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mained exposed to worse perils than any | -the varying phases of religious zeal—the which had yet beset her. In the great peace conflict of traditional duties and practical of Europe there was no peace for Constanti- policy—and the rise and growth of such an nople. Thirty years since, the historian of the element as the power of the Czars—should Middle Ages expected, “ with an assurance command their share of interest and attenthat none can deem extravagant, the approach- tion. ing subversion of the Ottoman power;" and It may reasonably be thought remarkable the progressive current of events has certainly that the establishment of an infidel Power at in no degree changed, since this conviction the gates of Europe should not, in those was avowed. Yet, though the only symp- ages of faith, have provoked a prompt and tom of imminent dissolution that then seemed effective combination of the whole Christian wanting has now appeared, and though ter- world for the expulsion of the intruder. In ritorial dismemberment has partially super- explanation, however, of this apathy or imvened
upon internal disorganization, the im- potence, there are several considerations to perial fabric still stands—the Turkish Cres- be mentioned. In the first place, the phenocent still glitters on the Bosphorus—and mencn coincided singularly, in point of time, still “the tottering arch of conquest spans with the definite abandonment of the system the ample regions from Bagdad to Belgrade.” of Eastern crusades. The seventh and last
Without repeating, therefore, the ominous of these enterprises had resulted in scandal note of prophecy, we shall direct our re- and defeat; and had disclosed the growing marks to the historical elucidation of the reluctance of States and people to contribute questions involved in it. Our wish is to il- toward expeditions which neither promoted lustrate the origin and establishment of the the objects nor conduced to the credit of Ottoman Empire, as one of the substantive those engaged in them. The final and total Powers of Europe; to exhibit the causes loss of the Holy Land in 1291, preceded which conduced to its political recognition; but by eight years the enthronement of the to trace the subsequent action of so anoma- first Othman ; so that the origin of the Turklous a State upon the affairs of Christendom; ish State was almost exactly contemporato mark the fluctuations of fortune by which neous with the withdrawal of Christian arms its external relations were determined; and from the scene of its growth. That the exto distinguish the stages of estimation and tinction, too, of the crusading principle was influence through which it successively pass- then complete, may be inferred from the ed, until the dreaded Empire of the Otto- violent suppression, only ten years later, of mans dwindled virtually, though with domi- that military order which had been mainly nions not materially diminished, into the po- instrumental in checking the march of the sition of a Protected State-subsisting, ap- misbelievers. The commencement of the parently, by the interested patronage of those Ottoman dynasty is placed in the year 1299; very Powers which had been so scared and and, in the year 1309, the Knights Templars, scandalized at its growth. If our inquiry except as captives or pensioners, had ceased should include fewer exemplifications than to exist. Nor was the rise of the Turkish might be expected of the civil institutions of power an event calculated, at its first anthis extraordinary nation, the omission must nouncement, to create any extraordinary conbe attributed to the extent of the more im- sternation. As regards Asia Minor, the enmediate subject, and the imperative restrictire peninsula, with the exception of its westtions of space. A sagacious moralist once ern sea-board, had long been in the possessaid of an historian of the Turks, that he sion of kindred tribes; and the mere substiwas unhappy only in the choice of his mat- tution of Ottomans for Seljukians could ter. If the course of our proposed exposi- hardly be thought to menace the interests of tion were but a little less narrow, we should Europe. Even the actual passage of the not distrust our ability to cancel this invidious Straits, which was the first critical point of qualification ; for there are, in reality, no Turkish progress, presented no unparalleled known annals more striking in their details, phenomenon; for a Moorish kingdom still and often more purely romantic than those of flourished on the Guadalquiver; and a Tarthe House of Othman. Even as it is, we tar horde had just established its sovereignty hope for some success; for, though of all over the dismembered duchies of Russia. it kinds of history political history possesses is certainly true that the exigencies of Mogul the fewest superficial attractions, yet such invasions, and the remnants of crusading topics as the naturalization of a Mahometan zeal, did originally suggest the concert of sovereignty among the States of Christendom | nations, which became afterward systematized by the standing requirements of a poli- | accidental advantages of long reigns and tical equilibrium ; and, perhaps, the dread worthy representatives ; while its opportuniof Ottoman aggression produced the first ties of aggrandizement were so peculiar that faint foreshadowings of those State-combina- far weaker hands might have turned them to tions which characterize the modern history account. On one side of them lay the Roof Europe. But it was not so at the outset. man empire, shrunk to the dimensions of Adrianople had been made a Mahometan Constantinople and its environs ; on the other capital, and the metropolis of the Eastern the fragmentary or effete principalities of the Cæsars had become a mere enclave in Turk. Seljukian Turks, who had been quartered ish territory, before the aid of European for two centuries on these spoils of the Eastprinces was solicited against the new invaders ern Cæsars, and whose power had been re--and solicited in vain ! and when at length cently shattered by the shock of the Mogul the Christian allies and the infidel forces invasion. The House of Othman struck joined battle in the field of Nicopolis, the Ot- right and left. Before the sixty years of its toman power had been impregnably strength two first chiefs had terminated, the northened by the impunity and successes of a cen- western portions of Asia Minor had been eftury.
fectually subdued, and a capital had been As any particular narrative of these events found at Prusa for the new dominion. Alwould carry us beyond our limits and our de- ready the passage of the Hellespont had besign, we can only venture on a few brief re- come an ordinary incident of their expedimarks in elucidation of the subject directly tions, and by the middle of the fourteenth before us, and in aid of the general interest century, the European shore of the Straits of our disquisition. Toward the close of was studded with Turkish garrisons. Startthe thirteenth century,—that is to say, at the ing from the ground thus gained, Amurath, very moment when the election of a Swiss first of his name, and third of his race, knight to the Germanic throne was laying added the whole province of Thrace to his the foundations of the imperial House of territories, erected a second metropolis at Austria, events of equal singularity were Adrianople, and advanced the Ottoman fronpreparing the seat of the rival Cæsars for tiers to the Balkan. Our sketch runs rapidly the progeny of a Turkish freebooter. The to a close. A few years more, and we find Asiatic continent, from its central highlands these Turks of the third generation, at the to the shores of the Mediterranean, had very limits of their present empire; and on been utterly convulsed by the tremendous the very scenes of their present fortunes. irruptions of Zingis Khan ; and, in the course By 1390, they had occupied Widdin, and of the subsequent commotions, a Turcoman before five years more had elapsed, the Moschief named Ortogrul, from the banks of the lem and Christian hosts were delivering, as Oxus, found himself wandering in the hills of we have said, the first of their countless batAnatolia at the head of four hundred fami- tles on the banks of the Danube. lies. A service, which he accidentally ren- During these transactions, although the dered to a native prince, was acknowledged relative positions of Turkey and Christendom by a grant of land; and the estate was soon were wholly and alarmingly changed, and expanded into a respectable territory, by though the attitude of the new invaders on the talents which had originally acquired it. the borders of Germany did really portend The inheritance of Ortogrul devolved, in more serious results than the transient de1289, upon his son Osman or Othman, who, vastations of Tartar inroads, yet the deportat the death, ten years later, of his patron, ment of the European Powers appears to the Sultan of Iconium, no longer hesitated have undergone no corresponding alteration. to proclaim his independent sovereignty. The battle of Nicopolis had indeed been Such was the origin of the House of Othman. fought; but the crusade which this encounThe name itself, which is a vernacular epi- ter commenced and terminated, originated rathet of the royal vulture, and signifies a ther in the influence of family connections “bone-breaker," has been recognized by the than in any impulse of political foresight or Turks as not disagreeably symbolical of the religious zeal. The King of Hungary, whose national character and mission ; and so com- realm was menaced by the arms of Bajazet pletely do they identify their State with the I., was son of one German emperor, brother race of its founder, that they have foregone to another, and destined to be Emperor himall other denominations for the dignity, style, self; and he possessed therefore the obvious and title of the Ottoman Porte.
means of attracting to his standard the caThe new dynasty enjoyed the signal though pricious chivalry of the West. But there was no effective combination of forces, nor | nent of European opinion was no other than any permanent sense of the danger which the Roman Pontiff, - without whose co-operequired it. The progress of the Ottoman ration it would have been scarcely possible arms exercised little perceptible influence on to organize an effectual crusade. The applithe councils of Europe, nor did the impend- cation, therefore, of the Eastern emperors to ing fate of an imperial and Christian city pro- the Powers of Europe, took the form of voke any serviceable sympathy. After the conciliatory overtures to the Romish See; Thracian and Bulgarian conquests, to which and, excepting in the case of the Emperor we have alluded, Constantinople, for the first Manuel, the negotiations of the imperial vitime in its existence, was completely envi- sitors were confined to the limits of the Paroned by enemies ; and it became clear to pal Court. Neither could the Greek State the Greek emperors, that the invaders with be exactly represented to European sympawhom they had now to deal, were of a very thies as a Christian city brought finally to different mould from the swarming hordes bay, and desperately battling against the which had so often swept past them and re- overwhelming forces of the infidel. The tired. Yet, though four emperors in succes- terms on which Turks and Greeks bad for sion visited Western Europe in search of aid, some time been living, precluded any such and though one of them brought his petition description of their mutual relationship. The even to the king of this island, and Kentish presumptive antagonism of the two States yeomen saw a Greek Cæsar entertained in St. had been long openly compromised by conAustin's monastery, and received on Black- cessions, by tributes, and, what was worse, heath by a Lancastrian sovereign, there was by the ordinary passages of amity and no substantial aid forthcoming. This failure good-will
. Ottoman princes were educated was doubtless principally ascribable to the at the Christian court, and Christian princes disrepute into which crusading expeditions honorably lodged in the camp of the Ottohad fallen, and to the occupation with which mans; a mosque was tolerated in Constanboth the French and English monarchs were tinople ; and a daughter of John Cantacuthen provided in their own kingdoms. There zene was given in marriage to the second of are, however, other circumstances which, for the Turkish sovereigns. That these arrangethe full comprehension of the state of opi- ments were not wholly voluntary on the side nion at this period, it will be necessary to re- of the weaker party we may safely believe; collect.
but it will still be evident how materially Though the Greek emperors were not such a combination of circumstances must only Christian sovereigns, but even coheirs of have operated to the disadvantage of the the political supremacy of Christendom, yet Emperors, in their appeal to the sympathy this very rivalry had combined with their of Christian Europe. geographical isolation and foreign tongue to Meantime the Turkish power had been estrange them from the Powers of Europe. growing with a certainty and steadiness unAs early as the reign of Heraclius, the in- exampled in the history of an Oriental peotercourse between the East and West began ple. Two or three of the causes which prinvisibly to slacken, and the great religious cipally conduced to this remarkable result, it schism of the eleventh century completed may be right here to specify. The passage the disruption. After this time, Constanti- of the Ottomans into Europe might have nople was scarcely regarded, either spirit- been long retarded by the simple expedient ually or politically, as entering into the com- of guarding the Straits. While the power munity of European States. Even the con of the Greek Empire consisted almost solely tact induced by the Crusades rather increased in the relics of its fleet, still respectably apthan diminished the alienation. On more pointed, and furnished with the most formithan one occasion, Greek emperors were dable appliances of naval warfare known to leagued with the Saracens against the soldiers the age, the Turks were totally destitute both of the Cross; and the imperial city itself, of ships and of the science which concerned after triumphantly sustaining so many sieges, them. A few galleys might have sufficiently was captured and sacked for the first time by protected the channel against all the forces Christians and Franks. It may be imagined, of Orchan an Amurath ; and yet not only perhaps, that the differences between the were the Ottomans permitted to pass undisGreek and Latin churches could not much turbed, with such means as they could affect the dispositions of Norman barons ; extemporize, but even the intelligence of but it must be remembered, that in these ro- their having secured a lodgment, and fortimantic expeditions the moderator and expo-fied themselves on the European side, produced nothing but careless scoffs in the Im- | had he invested Constantinople, when events perial court. The next point requiring notice occurred by which the very course of Fate is, that the conquests of the Turks were itself appeared to be threatened with a mainly effected by the agency of European change. We can do no more than specify troops. The Ottomans will be found to have in a few words the occurrences which abconquered the Byzantine provinces as we con- ruptly subverted the whole superstructure of quered India--by enlisting and disciplining Turkish power; which scattered all its acquithe natives of the country. Only 400 families sitions to the winds, and which renders its ulhad originally obeyed the voice of Ortogrul; timate restoration one of the most extraordiand it is clear, therefore, that the subjects of his nary incidents in the records of history. successors must have been swelled in numbers In the height of his power and presumpby accessions from other tribes : in fact, the tion, Bajazet was conquered and carried into progress of the Ottomans was merely the captivity by Timour. By this defeat the inonward flow of the population of Asia Mi- heritance of his house became to all appearnor. Even this, however, would have been ance entirely dissolved. Its Asiatic possesdeficient in impulsive force but for the sin- sions, though contemptuously abandoned by gular institution which we are now to mention. the conqueror, were seized upon by the Sel
The Janizaries were originally formed and jukian Turks, who regained the positions recruited from the impressed children of from which they had been dislodged; while Christian captives ; afterward from those of in Europe the opportunity was turned to simany Christian subjects of the Porte, and at ilar account by the reviving spirit of the length from the sons of the soldiers them- Greeks. To complete the ruin, civil war be. selves ; so that a pure military caste, with tween the sons of Bajazet presently ensued ; habits and interests totally distinct from the and the heirs of the Ottoman House, instead rest of the people, was gradually established of repairing their fortunes by concord and in the very heart of the nation. The num- patience, were fighting desperately among ber of the Janizaries in the middle of the themselves, for a heritage which hardly exfourteenth century was only one thousand; isted save in name. The perfect restoration but this muster-roll_was repeatedly multi- of a State, dismembered and dismantled, at plied by successive Emperors, till at length, such a stage of its existence, by so destrucunder the Great Solyman, it reached to tive and shattering a shock, may be described twenty thousand, and in the German wars, as without parallel in history—and yet within under Mahomed IV., to double that strength. ten years it was completely effected. Ma. It is not a little singular that a body so con homet, the most sagacious of the sons of stituted should have been not only the main Bajazet, waited his time; and at length, by instrument of Turkish aggrandizement, but the extinction of other claims, succeeded in should have been so inveterately identified recovering both the Asiatic and European with Ottoman traditions, as at all times to conquests of his family, and in reuniting the have formed the chief obstacle to any social thrones of Adrianople and Prusa. A peace. or constitutional reforms. Nor should it be ful and prudent reign of eight years enabled overlooked, that the creation and mainte- him to consolidate his dominion anew; and nance of this standing army, isolated from when, in 1421, Amurath II. succeeded to the all popular sympathies by descent and cha- crown of his father, the Ottoman Power was racter, contributed most powerfully to con- as vigorous, as sound, and as aggressive as solidate the authority of the new dynasty, if the battle of Angora had never been and to furnish the Turkish sovereigns with fought. those permanent resources, in virtue of which We are now arrived at a period when the they escaped the ordinary vicissitudes of destinies of the Ottoman House were to be Oriental dynasties; and encountered the tu- finally determined. Up to this time the promultuous levies of Hungary and Germany gress and renown of the Turkish arms had with all the advantages of despotic power. stimulated Europe to nothing but a few inThe pretensions of the House of Othman sincere leagues and a single precipitate crukept pace with its achievements. Originally sade; nor can we be wrong in presuming its chief had been content with the title of that the recent temporary suspension and apEmir; but Bajazet I., by means to which parent annibilation of the Ottoman Power we shall immediately refer, procured for him- must have operated materially in still further self, toward the end of the century, the indisposing European statesmen to exertion more dignified denomination of Sultan. Al- or alarm.
But the capture of Constantinoready, in justification of his new assumptions, ple by Mahomet II., in 1453, changed the whole aspect of affairs. It has been usual the Germans, whose rival pretensions to imto describe this memorable event as one of perial supremacy were easily impugned. To those which mark a new epoch; and as ser- the other titles of the Ottoman sovereigns ving to introduce that period of history was now added, accordingly, that of Keesar which we now emphatically term Modern. of Roum; and they were furnished, indeUndoubtedly, the definite and final extinction pendently of the standing dictates of their of the Roman Empire and the diffusion of religion, with pretexts of some plausibility Greek literature were incidents of no ordina- for carrying their aggressive arms across the ry note; but by far the most important con- Adriatic. sequences of Mahomet's success were those We should probably not be justified in atwhich affected the Ottomans themselves. As tributing to any accurate perception of these regards Europe, it cannot be said that the risks, the anxiety and terror which are dedestruction of the Lower Empire left any scribed as pervading the courts of Christenperceptible void in the community of States. dom at the final intelligence of this catastroAs no system of mutual relationship had yet phe. There was serious agitation in Rome, been established among Christian Powers, considerable alarm on the Danube, and great no special disturbance, such as would in the scandal everywhere. A Christian capital of present day follow on the extinction of a par- ancient name and famous memory had been ticular member, could then be expected to sacked by an unbelieving race, whose name ensuė; and, even in the partial and transient for generations past had been the horror of examples of concert which had occasionally Europe. Yet, abruptly as the blow was at occurred, Constantinople had long been with last felt to descend, it had long been visibly out appreciable influence or consideration. suspended ; and, although no human power Since, therefore, no European functions had could have permanently protected the Greek been discharged by the Lower Empire, no Cæsars in their capital, while the Turks were positive loss could be felt from its destruc-established in unquestioned sovereignty betion ; nor was the capture of Constantinople tween the Danube and the Euphrates, the of much greater significance, in this respect, actual circumstances of the siege were, nevthan the capture of Delhi. But, as affecting ertheless, such as to cast heavy imputation the rising power of the Ottomans, the event and responsibility upon the Powers of Euwas of most material importance. It crea. rope. The Imperial city had been allowed led, as it were, a vacancy in the list of rec- to sustain the full shock of the Ottoman forognized monarchies, and delivered over to aces, with a weak and inadequate garrison of State, which already wanted little but a seat eight thousand men, three-fourths of whom of central power, one of the oldest and most were supplied from the population within the famous capitals of Europe. It gave to the walls; so that the chivalry of Christendom House of Othman, in a single day, exactly was represented, at this critical period, by the status which it needed ; and which years two thousand auxiliaries! Yet, that there of successful invasions and forays would have was both room and opportunity for effectual failed to secure. It precluded all future an- succor, was evident, not only from the mantagonism between Adrianople and Prusa ; ner in which the defence, even under such and established a permanent cohesion be- circumstances, was protracted, but from the tween the European and Asiatic dominions diversion which had been accomplished, duof the Turkish crown. More than this—it ring Bajazet's investment, by a force of only conveyed to the Sultans and their successors six hundred men-at-arms, and twice as many certain traditional pretensions, of which they archers, under Marshal Boucicault. soon discovered the value. The empire of But the truth was, that, although the acthe East, according to their assertions, had tual catastrophe created a momentary conneither been terminated nor dissolved, but sternation, and even occasioned the revival in had merely passed, like other kingdoms of certain quarters of crusading vows, there exthe earth, to stronger and more deserving isted, as we have already said, no fellow-feelpossessors. They claimed to represent the ing with the Greeks sufficiently strong to sugmajesty of Constantine, and to inherit his gest an effective expedition ; nor in fact any dominion. From such presumptions it was facilities for such an enterprise in the social or easy to derive warrants, if warrants were political condition of Europe. The Turks needed, for war against the Venetians, whose were no new enemies; nor were they now possessions in the Archipelago and the Le- seen for the first time on the northern shore vant were but spoils ravished from the de- of the Straits. The resources of Christenclining strength of Constantinople; or against dom might admit of combination and exer