Abbildungen der Seite

rienced and confessed their inferiority on the tracted positive alliances with it. The idea seas; and though their unexpected victory of attaching to it any political disabilities on over the Venetians at Sapienza for a moment the score of religion, had in reality become might appear to announce a change, yet the extinct, though it still survived in popular improvement was not maintained ; and the conceptions and received occasional illustrafamous battle of Lepanto decided the capa- tions in examples of individual chivalry. In city of the Turkish marine. Exasperated, fact, the existence of the still powerful order however, at the insults to which he was ex- of St. John, holding its possessions and privposed, and desirous of creating by any me- ileges on the recorded condition of war with ihods some counterpoise to the supremacy the infidel, was sufficient to perpetuate the of the European Powers in the Mediterra- traditions of a previous period ; and instannean, Solyman the Great invested the cele-ces of volunteers in the same cause were of brated Barbarossa with a title beyond the constant recurrence. The spirit of which we mere fact of conquest, to the possessions he are speaking was conspicuously exemplified had already acquired on the African coast. at the famous siege of Candia, when, in adAlgiers and its kindred strongholds became dition to other succors, the garrison was refeudatories of the Porte; and in this capa-inforced by a select band of Christian knights city supplied, as will be remembered, the under the Duc de Beaufort, although the almaterials for some of the most curious his- liance between France and the Porte remained torical episodes of the times in question. To nominally undisturbed. “The French,” said say that these predatory governments ever se- the vizier Kiuperli on this occasion, “ are our riously influenced the affairs of Europe would friends ;—but we usually find them with our be attributing to them too great importance ; enemies.” No serious notice, however, was but before the rise and growth of the proper taken of these incidents ; nor was there Powers Maritime, they often successfully wanting at Constantinople an accurate apprecontested the command of the adjacent wa- ciation of the subsisting policy of the printers. It might have been reasonably expect-cipal cabinets of Europe. In the reign of ed that they would have been outlawed by our Charles I., a Venetian envoy ventured to the very fact of the profession which they so threaten the Porte with a Christian league. audaciously carried on. Instead of this, “ The Pope,” returned the Turkish minister, treaties were entered into with theın by too "would sting if he could, but he has lost the many States to allow of their being proceeded power; Spain and Germany have their own against as pirates ; so that the favor of the work upon their hands ; 'the interests of Porte had little difficulty in maintaining them France are ours; while, as to England and for three centuries in their anomalous exist- Holland, they would only be too glad to suence. Something, perhaps, they owed to persede you in the commercial privileges you

the reciprocal jealousies of Christian States; enjoy. Declare your war, then,--and see 1 and it deserves at least to be mentioned, how you will fare for allies.” This estimate

that our own good understanding with these of the condition and temper of contemporapiratical communities preceded even our ry governments was tolerably correct, and, definite alliance with Holland, and was dis- indeed, a combination of motives frequently turbed by only a single serious rupture secured to the Porte diplomatic concessions, through a century and a half.

not yielded to any Christian Power. Nor Our review has now reached a point at was its character in its public relations wholwhich the action of the Ottoman Empire up- ly that of a barbarian State. It was unqueson the affairs of Christendom can no longer tionably chargeable with ignorant vanity, be described as peculiarly that of a Mahom- with passionate caprice, with savage cruelty, etan Power. The holy war against Chris- and with a contemptuous disregard of intertians no longer supplied any guiding princi- national usages; but, on the other hand, it ple of Turkish policy, nor was any combina- often displayed a magnanimous disdain of tion likely to be suggested by analogous con- opportunities, and a noble sympathy for siderations on the other side. When Ma- greatness in misfortune ; while its ordinary homet III. departed from Constantinople on respect for such treaty engagements as it had his campaign against the Emperor Rodolf II., formally contracted, was at least on a level his martial pomp was swelled by the ambas- with that of other governments, from whose sadors of France and England. And in civilization and religion more might have truth, at the opening of the seventeenth cen- been expected. tury, the principal Eu an States were ei- The truth is, that at this period the pecu ther at peace with the Porte, or had con- I liar character of the Turkish State was manifested rather in its neutrality than its ag- present in being before whose deadly antaggressiveness. Bacon's doctrine, that there onism its fortunes were at length to fail. was a perpetual justification of invasive war A step, however, had about this time been with the Turks, on the ground of prevention, taken toward the impending change, which was evidently an anachronism. Probably no deserves to be recorded. The Turks were Christian Power, in such a position, could disqualified no less by individual character have avoided an active participation in the than by national pretensions for the subtle wars of religion and succession which one functions of diplomacy; and the rude violence after another desolated the European Conti- of their deportment in their foreign relations nent; whereas the arms of Turkey, at this may be ascribed in no inconsiderable degree crisis of the destinies of Germany, were again to the fierce and obstinate bearing of a true turned with irresistible force upon Persia. It believer. Toward the end of the century, was not until that terrible struggle had been accidental events suggested the employment, terminated, that the Ottomans were allured, in this peculiar capacity of the Grecian subby the seductive representations of Tekeli, to jects of the Porte; who turned to such acmake their last gratuitous demonstrations count the opportunities which were thus afagainst the capital of the Western Empire. forded them, that they presently monopolised But the result of this famous invasion was the more important duties of external intervery different from what they had anticipa- course. In some sense, the Ottoman Empire ted. Not only were the ramparts of Vienna was of course a gainer by the substitution of maintained against Black Mustapha's janiza- these supple intriguers for its own intractable ries, and his spahis scattered by the first sons; but the change contributed materially charge of Sobieski's cavaliers, but the sev- to effect its position in the eyes of other naeral particulars of the campaign disclosed tions, and served incidentally to mark the the fact that the pre-eminence in arms had period at which its characteristic arrogance passed at length from the Ottomans to the began to recede. Christians. The stories of this celebrated With the eighteenth century a new scene siege, and the apparent peril of a second opened upon Europe, in which the part hithChristian capital, tended to revive in no smallerto played by Turkey was to be strangely degree the popular horror of the Turk; how- reversed. Though we have brought our ever, in point of fact, the growing ascend- sketch of the Ottoman fortunes to a compar. ency of Christendom had been indisputably atively modern period, we have as yet had shown. Already had the defence of Candia, no opportunity of naming that remarkable protracted to more than twice the length of nation by whose action they were to be finalthe defence of Troy, demonstrated the re- ly regulated. The reader may, perhaps, be sources of even unorganized Europe against amused with the first dim foreshadowing of the whole forces of the Ottoman Empire, di- the mighty figures which were to come. In rected by the ablest minister it had ever times long past, before the singular succession known; the recollections of Lepanto were of bold and sagacious monarchs on the throne reanimated and heightened by a new series of Constantinople had been broken by the of naval victories; and now, for the first time, elevation of idiots or debauchees from the rethe superior excellence of European tactics cesses of the seraglio, some of these powerful was displayed on the banks of the Danube. princes, with an enlightenment for which Even had Vienna yielded to the first assaults, they have hardly received sufficient credit, there is scarcely any room for doubting that cast about for means of restoring those comthe tide of conquest must soon have been mercial advantages of which their dominions both stayed and turned.

had been deprived by the discoveries of Still, although the seventeenth century Vasco di Gama, and by the consequent diwas to close upon the Porte with humiliation version of Eastern trade from the overland and discomfiture, neither its attitude nor its route to an entirely new channel. Among position among the States of Europe had yet other projects for this purpose, Selim II. experienced any material change. "It no lon- conceived or revived the idea of connecting ger indeed maintained a mastery in the field; by an artificial canal, at the most convenient but it still preserved its traditional carriage points, the two great streams of the Don and in the cabinet. It was still beyond obvious the Volga, thus opening a navigable passage reach of insult or attack, and still affected the from the Black Sea to the Caspian, and eshaughty language of unapproachable suprem- tablishing an easy communication between acy. It had not yet come to need counte- Central Asia and Western Europe. It was nance or protection ; nor was the Power at seldom that the Ottoman Sultans did their

work negligently. On this occasion the ercising a highly beneficial though partial inzeal of Selim was quickened by his desire to fluence upon the rising kingdom. But this invade Persia through the new route, and he removal of the grand“ princes” or “ dukes” commenced his canal as it might have been from so convenient a capital as Kiev, to what commenced by a king of Egypt. He may be is nearly the centre of the present monarchy, pardoned, in the fulness of his power, for not completely cut off the Russians from Contaking into account the destined opposition to stantinople and Christendom; and was the his schemes. As the work, however, was pro- first of those occurrences which so singularly ceeding, a body of men, with uncouth fig. retarded the political development of this ures, strange features, and barbarous lan- mighty State. The second was the invasion guage, sallied out from a neighboring town, of the Moguls. surprised the expedition, and cut soldiers When, in the middle of the thirteenth cenand workmen to pieces. These savages were tury, the Tartars of the Asiatic Highlands the Muscovite subjects of Ivan the Terrible, burst, for the third time, upon the plains of —and such was the first encounter of the Europe, they found an easy prey in the disTurks and the Russians.

organized principalities of Russia. Vladimir, About the middle of the ninth century, a as we have remarked, was the capital of a short time before the accession of our Alfred grand duchy, to which a score of princes, the Great, Rurik, one of the Varangian ro- all of the blood of Rurik, owed a nominal alvers of the Baltic, sailed into the Gulf of legiance; but, so destructive had been the Finland, and, with the audacity and fortune consequences of unsettled successions and recharacteristic of his race, established a Nor- peated partitions, that there was nothing to man dynasty at Novogorod. He presently de Oppose the inroad or settlement of the Mogul, spatched a step-son to secure the city of Kiev, and the result was the establishment, upon on the Dnieper, which had formed the south- the banks of the Don, of a Tartar kbannat, ern settlements of the old Slavish popula- with undisputed supremacy over the ancient tion, as Novogorod had formed the northern; princes of the land. The sovereignty of the and the invaders thus became the recogniz- horde, however, although complete, was not ed lords of a country which was even then very actively exerted; and, in the two cencalled Russia. To the instincts of the new turies which followed, the grand dukes were setlers, the wealthy and unwarlike empire of left at liberty to work out, in the interior of the East was a point of irresistible attraction, the country, the problem of Russian liberaand five times within a century were the lion. Kiev having now been definitely aban“Russians” conducted by their new rulers to doned, the seats of the three leading princes the siege of Constantinople. The bulwarks, were at Vladimir, Twer, and Moscow; the however, of the imperial city were proof first of which lines enjoyed the supremacy, against the canoes and spears of the barba- until it devolved, in the beginning of the rians; and the last of these expeditions, in fourteenth century, upon Twer, and, in the 955, terminated in an event which precluded course of about fifty years more, upon Mosany recurrence of the trial. By the instru- cow. At this point the succession was finalmentality of a princess, the House of Rurik ly settled in the person of Ivan of Moscow, and its subjects received the doctrines of surnamed · Kalita ; whose resources were Christianity; and from this time the maraud- strengthened by the gradual conflux of the ing ambition of the Russians was exchanged population upon his territory, as they retired for a deep respect toward that State from from the encroachments of the Lithuanians which they had obtained their religion, their and Poles. His descendents were soon enwritten characters, and many of the usages of abled to hold their own not only against these civilization. Unfortunately, one of the con- nations, but even against their Tartar lords ; sequences of the disorders of an irregular and and the frame of a kingdom of “Muscovy" disputed succession was the transfer, about was already formed, when, in 1462, Ivan the year 1170, of the seat of government The Great succeeded to the heritage of his from Kiev to Vladimir. The former city had ancestors. So completely, indeed, had the been early preferred to Novogorod, on ac- collateral lines of the royal stock been subcount of its contiguity to the scene of antici- ordinated to its head, that little more was pated conquest; and, when the relations be required for the consolidation of a powerful tween its rulers and the Greek emperors had monarchy than the reduction of some muniexperienced the change to which we have cipal republics, and the subjugation of the referred, the proximity was still desirable now enfeebled horde on the Don. These for the sake of an intercourse which was ex. conditions were soon realized. In 1481, Ivan, assuming the title of Czar, announced himself which we have referred, it is probable that as an independent sovereign to the States of the relations between Turkey and ChristenChristendom ;—and the EMPIRE OF Russia dom would have been changed at a much was formed.

early periud by the menacing attitude of It is very remarkable that even this remote Russian dominion. Alexis, the second of and peculiar State, which then gave so little the Romanoffs, suggested, even in the middle promise of its future destiny, should thus of the seventeenth century, the formation of a have been apparently consolidated at the holy league against the infidels of Constantisame period which witnessed the definite nople. His country, however, was as yet in formation of so many of the European king. no condition to play the part desired; nor doms. Ivan the Great was contemporary was it, indeed, until the days of Peter the with Maximilian of Austria, with Ferdinand Great, that Russian vessels, after a lapse of of Spain, and with Louis XI. of France. nearly eight centuries, again swam the sea of And circumstances, arising immediately from Azov. Still, the future was preparing. The the events before us, seemed at one moment peace of Carlowitz, in 1699, terminated the to favor, in no small degree, the ultimate de- last of those Turkish wars by which Eurovelopment of the new dominion. Constanti- pean freedom was conceived to be threatened. nople, the early patroness of Russian progress It actually included Russia : and thus was and civilization, from which the recollections Russia, for the first time, brought seriously of the people had never, even by the intru- into hostile contact with the Porte. It may ding Tartars, been wholly estranged, had be even added, that the terms of the treaty now, in her original capacity and influence, were honorable to Peter; nevertheless, albecome extinct, and was occupied by aliens though the ascendency of the Imperialist in religion and race. We may perhaps say, over the Ottoman arms had now been conindeed, that this catastrophe was more sin- clusively decided, some time further was to cerely felt in Russia than in any other part elapse before this superiority was shared by of Christendom. To the high gratification Russia also. of his subjects, Ivan raised Sophia, the last The Turkish Empire entered upon the of the Greek princesses, to a share of his eighteenth century, considerably damaged throne and bed ; adopted as the ensign of his by the last campaigns. Its forces had been State the two-headed eagle, which, by a relatively, though not, perhaps, actually strange vicissitude, bad now been replaced weakened ; but its reputation was most seat Constantinople by the old crescent of Pa- riously diminished. Nevertheless, this very gan Byzantium ; and appeared, by his alli- circumstance probably contributed, by finally ance and his sympathies, to have acquired removing all dread of its aggressions, to prosome of the dignity and pretensions of the mote that peculiar interest which the cabinets emperors of the Greeks. Detached, in this of Europe now began to take in its political manner, from its original connection with the fortunes. It was, however, the progress of East, the Russian monarchy acquired rather Russia alone which modified the estimat a European than an Asiatic aspect; an ex- of Turkey among the Western States; and change undoubtedly conducive to its eventual we shall best understand this gradual revoluadvancement. Its penance, however, was tion of opinion by observing the respective not yet done. At this critical juncture, when positions of the Porte and its new rival, at everything appeared to promise the speedy ihe close of the several wars by which this growth of the new Power, the old stock of century was distinguished. It should be reRurik, after seven centuries and a half of ex; collected, that the direct influence of Turkey, istence, failed in the third generation from at this period, upon the European system, the great Ivan ; and a succession of usurpers, was almost exclusively confined to the Northinvaders, and pretenders for fifteen years, ern States. The secret inspiration of France during which interregnum the country nar- was, indeed, perceptible in the decisions of rowly escaped annexation to Poland, threw the Divan; but it was only on the banks of back the rising monarchy into a condition the Vistula and the shores of the Baltic that scarcely better than that from which it had the vibrations of Ottoman struggles were emerged. At length, in 1613, the election of practically felt. Acting on Russia and PoMichael Romanoff to the vacant throne pro- land through the medium of Cossack and vided Russia anew with a royal stock ; and Tartar hordes, which carried their allegiance the fated antagonist of the House of Othman and their disorder to all these countries in was finally established in policy and power. turn-on Prussia and Sweden through Po

But for the retarding circumstances to l land, and on Denmark through Russia,—the Turkish Empire found itself connected with promptly found to renew hostilities with the the less important moiety of Christendom Ottomans. Indeed, the cabinet of St. Peters-its relations with the Great Powers of the burgh appears to have even now almost sucWest being mainly suggested by its capaci-ceeded to the imperious carriage of the Porte ties for annoying Austria. In the wars, itself. Though, twenty years later, such therefore, of the Spanish succession, as in was the condition of the country, that one of the other great European contests, the Otto- the most intelligent of French diplomatists man Empire was in no way directly mixed. described it as a country liable, at any moThough its councils, as we shall presently ment, to relapse into barbarism, and on that see, became more and more exposed to the ground disqualified for any permanent allianintrigues of diplomatists, yet so lordly was ces; yet it already assumed all the airs of the indifference of the Porte to such oppor- supremacy, so far as even to contest the antunities, and so capricious and uncertain was cient precedence of France. The war from its disposition, that no extensive combination 1735 to 1739, which now ensued, proved the could be safely based on its probable de- hinging point in the military fortunes of Turmeanor.

key. It cannot certainly be termed discreditWhen the division of Europe with which able in its conduct. Since, notwithstanding it was most immediately concerned had that it was actually engaged in Persia with been convulsed by the enterprises of Charles the formidable Nadir Shah, the Porte was XII. of Sweden, it took no original part in still able to show a resolute front to Munnich the quarrel ; but when, after the defeat of in the Crimea, and to the Count de Wallis Pultawa, the vanquished hero sought refuge on the Danube, and at length drove the at Bender, the peace of Carlowitz was sum- Austrians to a precipitate peace under the marily broken, in behalf of a sovoreign whose walls of Belgrade. But though the honor inferiority to his adversary had been exposed of the Ottoman arms was thus far unexpectbefore all the world. It would be a work edly maintained, and though no advantage of some interest to ascertain how far the was ever gained against them without a desDivan was actually influenced by any con- perate struggle, it was nevertheless demonsiderations respecting Russian aggrandize- strated, by the results of the campaign, that ment, and whether, upon this early occasion, the rising power of Russia had at length its deliberations were swayed by the maxims reached an equality with that of Turkey; of more modern policy. That it was not so nor could it be much longer doubtful with influenced, to any very great extent, we may which the superiority would rest for the fuperhaps infer from its promptitude in enga- ture. The point had now been reached afging the Czar, and from the justification ter which, even if Turkey did not retrograde, which such confidence received on the Pruth. yet Russia must continue to advance,—and Peter was there completely discomfited; and the distance between them must yearly inalthough the Swedish king gained nothing crease. Even the terms of the particular in the end, the advantages obtained by the treaty which followed immediately upon the Turks over the Russians appeared in 1711 peace of Belgrade, showed the change of requite decisive on the comparative strength of lationship between them. The territorial arthe two parties. In 1724, however, the rangements were not greatly to the disadDivan had begun to look with jealousy, if vantage of the Porte; but the haughty Ottonot apprehension, upon the growth of Russia ; man condescended to acknowledge an "Emand war was only averted by the good offices press” in the Czarina; and an explicit stipuof the French court. Its ambassador, on lation was introduced for the annulment of this occasion, represented to the Porte, re- all previous conventions, agreements, and markably enough, that the aggrandizement concessions, and the recognition of this treaty of Russia could be in nowise injurious to the as solely defining the relations which were to Ottoman interests; but that, on the contrary, subsist thereafter between the contracting it would supply a counterpoise against Aus- Powers. tria, the natural enemy

of Mahometan power. After this, all, excepting the actual conquest It is said, that Peter ihe Great bequeathed of the Ottoman Empire, may be said to be certain cabinet traditions for effacing what he virtually over. In fact, even the last war considered to be the humiliating features of had been commenced with the definite exthe treaty of the Pruth ; and it is at any pectation of despoiling the Porte of some, at rate clear, that when the accession of the least, of its European possessions—so preciEmpress Anne introduced fresh spirit into pitate had been its decline. Turkey was now the Russian councils, an opportunity was fairly on the descending limb of her orbit ;

« ZurückWeiter »