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OBSERVATIONS and ANECDOTES, illuftrative of the present POLICE, COMMERCE, STATE of SOCIETY, and MANNERS at CONSTANTINOPLE.
[From the same Work.)
« THE greater part of the night prise; there is no noise of carri.
1 in many European capitals ages, and even the busy haunts is little discrimina:ed from the "of men' are scarcely different from broad day in the bustle of crowded the abode of Glence. fireets, but the last muezzin has “ Much of the romantie air scarcely called the hour of evening which pervades the domestic habits prayer before each habitually fober of the personis described in the Ara. musulman retires from public no- bian Nights' Entertainments, parti. tice, and the resort of thousands cularly in inferior life, will be ob. during a long day, from sun rise to served in passing through the street, sun set, becomes an unoccupied And we recur with additional pleaSpace, like a defert. One hour af. sure to a remembrance of the deter sun set every gate of the city is light with which we at first perused Thut, and entrance strictly prohibit them, in finding them autbentic ed.
portraits of every oriental nation. " The houses of the opulent " Some years ago no Frank could Turks are large, with the most con- walk in Constantinople without the venient part appropriated as the risque of incurring insult, and the harèm, which is usually surrounded merchants of Pera were usually with a court, be it ever so small, protected by a janissary. At this having a fountain in the midst. iime no molestation is to be feared, These apartments are remarkable at least by a person who is prudent for their neatness, and all the ac- enough to give the upper hand to commodation that the climate and a Turk. This favourable change architecture will admit: for it is has taken place only since the conhere only that the possessor displays clusion of the war in 1774. Many any expence in ornament; or furni- victories in succession had persuadture. As to the houses in general, ed them of their superiority over they are mere comfortless wooden the Christians, of whom they have boxes, cool in summer, but ill several millions of subjects; till at adapted to wet or cold weather, the time above mentioned prince being full of unglazed windows, Repning attended by fix bundred and without fire-places; in winter soldiers, with their drawn swords, supplied by earthen pans of char. paraded through the city, when he coal, which fuffocate wbilst they came to give them that peace, warm voll. The ground floor is a which they had so humbiy begged continuation of the street, and the of the Russians. This circumstance staircase a dirty ladder, frequently has had a wonderful effect in rein darkness.
ducing the insolence and ferocity of " That such a stillness should their national character. reign in the crowded streets of a “ Fires are so frequent that few capital, who ever has visited those months pass without them, and of Europe, will observe with sur. they are generally fo furious, that
whole districts are laid in ashes. At such rencounters ro crowned Houses are so foon re-erected, that head need envy sultan Selim his the former appearance of the streets situation. As this is the only priis speedily restored, and little altera. vileged time of conveying the voice tion is ever made in their form. of the people to his ears, and as Notice of a fire at Conftantinople, women in Turkey say any thing or at Galata, is given by beating a with impunity, it is presumed that great drum from two high towers; many of the fires are not accidenthe night watch then patrole the tal. streets, striking the pavement with “ As a grand spectacle, detachtheir staves thod with iron, and cry. ing the idea of commiseration of ing out “Yangen var'— There is the calamity from the present view,
a fire,' naming the place. The sul- if a volcanic eruption be excepted, tan is then summoned three times, none can exceed a great fire at and when the conflagration has Constantinople. The houses being lafted one hour he is forced to at constructed with wood, and frem teud in person, and to bring mules quently communicating with mawith him laden with piastres, which gazines filled with combustible he distributes with his own hands materials, a vast column of flame, to the firemen, who are very in- of the most luminous glow, rises active before his arrival. These from the centre, which lighting up are armed against accidents in the the mosques, and contiguous cyfame manner as they are in London, press groves, produces an effect and are equally expert and adven- of superior magnificence. In other turous. Fires are extinguished, by cities, where the buildings are'of pulling down the adjoining houses, stone, the fames are seen partially, for the engines are very small, and or are overpowered by smoke. borne on the shoulders of two “ The merchandise and trade of men.
Constantinople are carried on prin. " The perfect resignation with cipally in the khans, bazars, and which a good musulman sees his bezestèn, according to the custom house consumed by the flames, and of the East, each of which requires himself reduced from affluence to a summary description. poverty, has been often and justly “ The khans are spacious strucremarked by others; he exclairns tures, with quadrangles erected by • Allah Karim- God is merci. the munificence of the sultans, or • ful,' without apparent emotion, some of the royal family, for the and has assured himself that the public benefit. They are entirely same providence which bath made surrounded by a cloister and colonhim poor and abject, can once nade, into which numerous cells more restore him to wealth if open, generally repeated for three it be his fate. For the women, ftories; are built with stone, and they have not the praise of such fire proof. Here the merchants philosophy. They afsemble in a from every part of the empire, who groupe near the sultan, and unmer- travel with caravans, are received cifully load him with the bitterest with accommodations for themrevilings, particularising his own selves and their valuable traffic. crimes, and the errors of bis go. “In the bazars are assembled vernment, and charging him with dealers of each nation under the the cause of their present calamity. Turkish government, who have
small small fhops in front, and a room is fixed to his shop-board with his behind, for their wares. These are legs under him for many hours, and very extensive cloisters of stone, never relaxes into civility with his lofty, and lighted by domes; are Frank cuftomer, but from the hopes admirably adapted to the clinate, of advantage. One may venture and in summer are extreinely cool. to give him two thirds of his os One called the Misr Chartthè, or maud; but to those of other naEgyptian market, is set apart for tions not more than halt. The the merchandise of Cairo, chiefly Greek, more pliant and prevaricat: minerals and drugs, and is a great ing, praises his commodity bevond curiosity for the naturalist.
measure, and has generally to con“ Other quarters are occupied gratulate himself upon having out. by the working jewellers, where witted the most cautious dealer. taw jewels may be advantageously The Armenian, heavy and placid, purchased'; and by the booksellers, is rouled to animation only by the who have each his assortment of fight of money, which he cannot Turkish, Arabic, and Persian MSS. withstand. As for the Jew, every of which they do not always know where a few, he is more frequente: the value, but demand a confiderable by employed as a broker, a bulineis price. The oriental scholar may which that people have had address here find MSS. equally beautiful enough to engross; and some acand rare, as, since the civil coinmo. quit themselves with honeity and tions in Pertis, the most elegant credit. Those of the lower fort books, taken in plunder, have been are walking auctioneers, who tramp fent to Constantinople for sale, to over the bazars, and carry the avoid detection.
goods with them, vociferating the ** The staple articles of importa- price last offered. Each of these tion from England are clorh and nations, which constkute the vaft block tin, as the consumption of population of Constantinople, has a both is very great. English watches, different mode of covering the prepared for the Levant market, are head; a circumstance foon learned, more in demand than those of oilier and which renders the groupes of Frank nations, and are one of the figures, fufficiently amuing, as it first articles of luxury that a Turk breaks the samenefs of their other purchases or changes if he has moi dress. The Armenians, Jews, and ney to spare, i
the mechanical Greeks, usually “ The national character is here wear blue, which the Turks conaomirably discriminated, and to in fider as a dilhonourable colour, and vestigate it with success no place have their flippers of a dirty red offers such opportunity as thefe mar. leather. kets.
“ The common trades are dif• A stranger. will wonder to see pofed, all of one kind in fingle so many of their shops left open, streets. Shoe-makers, furriers, and without a master or guard; but pil. pipe-makers, with many others, ocfering is not a Turkish vice.
cupy each their distinct district, and " He should be informed previo are feldom found dispersed, as in . ously, that no article of commerce our cities. has a stated price; bargains must “A room of very considerable be made, and the baseft imposition dimensions, is called the bezetten, is counted fair gaia. The Turk or public exchange, where are col
lected second-hand goods, which fome during the greater part of the are hawked about by the aucti. day, which pastes there, confume oneers. In another part are the thirty or forty pipes, and as many sarraffs, or money-changers, Arme- cups of coffee, hoiling hot, thick, nians and Jews.
and without sugar. " I regret my incompetency to “Beside these, near the Osmanie, describe the various mechanic arts, are teriaki-liana, where (afioni) which are practised in the East, and opium is fold; and taken in gradaparticular y by the Turks, so dif- tion from ten to a hundred rains ferent from our own; and leave it in a day. Intoxication with this to some future visitant, well qua: noxious drug is certainly less prevalified to give the history of their lent than we have been intormed; manufactures, and the divers modes and he who is entirely addicted to by which the lame effect is pro. it, is considered with as much pity duced, and the same utensils are or disgust as an inveterate fot is made.
with us. The preparation of opi“ The necessaries of life are well · um is made with several rich symanaged, and the shops of cooks, rups, and inspissated juices, to renconfectioners, and fruiterers, ate der it palatable and iess intoxicalexcellently stored, and served with ing, and resembles elder rob. It is neatness. For the greater part of either taken with a spoon, or hardthe year, sherbets with ice are cried ened into small lozenges, ftamped about, the streets, at a very cheap with the words "Math allàh,' literate. The bakers exercise a lucra- rally the work of God.' tive, but a dangerous trade, if they • The Turks take opium as an are not proof against temptation to intoxicant, or occasionally under an fraud. Their weights are examined idea of its invigorating quality,' at uncertain times, and a common when unusual fatigue is to be enpunishment on detection is nailing dured. The Tartar' couriers, who their ear to the door-post. Upon travel with attonishing expedition, a complaint made to the late vifir generally furnish themselves with Mehmet Melek against a notorious Math allàh.' A leading cause of cheat, he ordered him to be instant- its disuse is, that the prejudices rely hanged. The master escaped, specting wine are daily relaxing, but the servant, a poor Greek, per. which accounts for the scarcely crefectly innocent, was executed. It dible quantity and universality menwas remarked to a Turk, that this tioned by old writers being unacinjustice was foreign to the charac- cordant with modern practice. ter for clemency, which Melek « The adminiftration of justico bore, when he sarcastically replied, in Constantinople is notoriously • The visir had not yet breakfast. corrupt. It is placed solely in the ed.'
hands of the oulemah, or ecclesiar“The coffee-houses, which a- tical body, who are confirmed in bound, are fitted up in an airy Chi. their rapacity by being secured nese taste, and curiously painted. from the interposition of the body Within, they are divided into par- politic, as they receive no salary titions or itages without seats, for from the state. In these two causes the Turks fit as the taylors in Eng. originates a system of enormous pe
land. The resort of all ranks to culation and bribery, so that fort · them is universal and constant; and the poor there is no redress. Turk
ills jurisprudence profeffes the im. are not frequent, excepting in be pricit direction of the koran, but great roads through d ftanı prosinmore atention is paid to the mul. ces, wliere they are always pun fbtekah, or forret, containing the ed with impalement. There is to traditional injunctions; after all, the place of public execution; and intereft or caprice of the judge when a criminal is condemned, be biasses the decision.
is led down the nearest street bv * The rank of Turkish lawyers the executioner, who is provided is the mufri, or deputy to the with a large nail and cord, which sultan; as kalife or oracle of the he places over the door of any shop law, the kadilelcars of Roumily and where he is not paid for forbearance. Anadoly; supreme in their diftinét The body is raised a few inches on. districts, mollahs, museims, and ly above the ground, and must be kadies. These hold their meke. left untouched for three days. lo mehs, or halls of justice, where instances of decapitation, the more they try criminals and hear causes, honourable punifliment, it is exin which oral testimony always pre- posed as long in the fireet, with the vajls against written evidence. — head under the arm, if a mufulThree MSS. of the Koran, the man, but if a rayah between the Evangelists, and the Pentateuch, leys. So horrid a spe&acle excites are kept by the kadies, who admi- no emotion in the mind of a Turk, nister oaths upon them, according for it is certain, that by no nation, to the religion of the person to be be it as savage as it may, is the life sworn. Faise witnesles are eally of a man so lightly regarded as by procured; they frequent certain them. This is a disgusting, but coffee-houses, where these infa. true sketch of their laws and execu• mous transactions are arranged. If tive justice. one of these wretches be too often “ Personal combat, unknown to detected, or has forfeited the inte. the ancients, but so universal in rested connivance of the judge, he modern Europe since the days of is given over to the punishment of chivalry, is not practised amongst the law. Mounted on an ass, with the Turks, nor is assassination, the his arms and legs tied, and his face disgrace of many nations, in any toward the tail, he is led through degree frequent. Conjections with the streets and bazars, where he is women, the great cause of inveteinsulted with every grossness, and if rate quarrels, are so arranged as to a Turk, fares very ill.
render interference with each other “ It is truly remarkable, in fo almost impofüble. Before marri. great a population, that criminal age they are not seen by their causes do not occur more frequent. lovers, and after only by their hus. ly. Murders are seldom heard of, bands and near relatives. There and happen amongst the soldiers is likewise an inviolable point of oftener than other descriptions of honour between men respecting people; they are certainly prevent their harems, and an avowed libered by the prohibition of wearing tine would be banithed from fociearms in the capital. If the mur. ty. Poison, secretly given, is the derer escape justice for twenty-four punishment he would probably inhours, he is not amenable to the cur. law; at least, has a good chance of “ To another occasion of perfon*evading its vengeance. Rubberies al provocation they are aqually