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When his uncle Dündar, a venerable man, nearly a hundred years old, reproved his intention of revenging this imaginary affront of his childhood, he killed the old man with a blow of his bow. Kepri Hissar fell before his armies. Two victories gained successively over the Heteriarch, who commanded the guards of the Emperor of Byzance, and over the army of the Governor of Broussa, gave Othman the whole of the plain which is bounded by the river Rhyndacus. Othman swore that neither his soldiers nor his flocks should ever cross the bed of this river, and he pretended he had faithfully kept his treaty, when they passed over to the prohibited side, along the shore, and at the mouth where the river runs into the sea.
The lieutenant of Othman, Kara-Ali, conquered the beautiful island of Kalolimno, which seemed a step from Asia to Europe. Othman rewarded him with the most beautiful Greek girl of the island. The boats found in the bays of Kalolimno conveyed the Ottoman pirates to the island of Chio, renowned as the garden of the East, and for its odoriferous gums and lovely women. A nocturnal surprise, massacre, and pillage, made them masters of Chio. Some of the inhabitants escaped to sea in boats, and perished in a tempest, within view of their country in flames. A small number only succeeded in reaching a citadel, the gates of which they closed against the pirates of Othman, who extended their ravages throughout the whole Archipelago, from the Gulf of Satalia to the Gulf of Mount Athos. The Greek emperor, Andronicus, sought the protection of a Turkish emir, Khodabenda, to whom he gave his sister in marriage, and who promised to restrain his countrymen, and especially Othman. Detained, himself, at Jenischyr, by gout, Othman sent his son Orkhan against Broussa, which the emperor Andronicus authorized to capitulate, on condition of paying annually thirty thousand golden ducats to the successors of Othman, a ransom which was paid for three hundred years. The messenger who carried to Othman the news of the victory of Orkhan, met messengers carrying to the latter the news of the approaching death of his father. The conquest of Broussa had been the life-dream of Othman, and he begged his son with his dying breath to bury him there. His double-edged sword is to this day a symbol on the Ottoman standards; one edge of it threatening Asia, and the other Europe. He made a public profession of repentance for the murder of his uncle, and ordered his secretaries to record his shame in his history, as a warning against anger. Oddly enough, the Turks call him Othman the Mild,' and whenever a new sultan is crowned, the people cry aloud to heaven to give him the mildness of Othman !
Orkhan and Aladdin, the two sons of Othman, divided between
them, without jealousy, the government of the new empire. The eldest, recognized as supreme, devoted himself to the executive, and his brother as vizer, or burden bearer, undertook the legislative functions. Orkhan spent his life in extending the empire, and Aladdin spent his in consolidating it. The governor of the fortress of Semendria, two hours' march from Scutari, having opened his gates to let out the funeral of his son, the Turks rushed in and took the town. The daughter of the Greek governor of Aïdos, smitten with the beauty of Abderrahman, whom she had seen fighting on horseback under the walls of the town, threw him a letter attached to a stone, which informed him of a secret passage through which he might pass and seize the garrison asleep. The son of this woman, by her Turkish lover, called KaraAbderrahman, became a dreadful scourge to the Greeks.
The sultans call themselves Osmanli, or sons of Othman or Osman. The organization of the future empire was the business of Aladdin. An idea borrowed from the caliphs of Bagdad suggested the formation of the corps of Janissaries, or new soldiers. They consisted of the sons of Christians who had embraced Islamism, and who could recommend themselves to their new masters only by acts of furious zeal against their old faith.
Just as springs and weights serve to show the strength of mechanical forces, there are certain facts and practices which measure moral forces. The tremendous force of the lust for power in the breast of Othman and his successors is apparent in the institution of fratricide as a ‘kanun,' or fundamental and constitutional principle, in regulating the succession and securing the stability of the throne. Fratricide is an imperial law. In the constitution of Othman it is written :-'A majority of the legislators have declared it is permissible that whoever of my illustrious children and grandchildren mounts the throne, should order his brothers to be assassinated, in order to preserve the peace of the world ; let them, therefore, act in accordance with this.'
Fratricide has accordingly prevailed in the families of the sultans from the time of Amurat down to our day. Bajazet committed the first fratricide in extraordinary circumstances. The Hungarians, Albanians, Epirotes, Bosnians, and Servians, had taken up arms in defence of their countries and their religion. They occupied the vast plain of Cossova, and were greatly more numerous than the Turks. When Bajazet, the son of Amurat, was advised to place his camels in advance, he rejected the proposal as unworthy of the conquerors of Asia. Victory,' said he,
belongs to him who believes himself victor, and not to him who fears to be vanquished.' Ali Pasha declared that he had turned up texts in the Koran which promised him victory. Amurat sought in the combat the glory of martyrdom, and himself led on
the centre of his army. The Christians were routed. In the evening he sat in his tent listening to the captives who were successively brought to him to beg for their lives and liberties.
The Servians alone had not fled, and were all either dead or wounded. They consisted of various mountain tribes, governed by chieftains of clans or villages, under their king or kral, Lazarus. This king had given two of his daughters in marriage to two chieftains named Brankowich and Milosch. A bitter jealousy raged between the
two chieftains, which was, of course, shared by the two sisters. The wife of Brankowich told her sister Mara, the wife of Milosch, that her husband was a coward and a traitor. Mara answered the calumnies by a slap on the face. The quarrel was referred to the arbitration of a combat between the brothersin-law. Milosch beat down Brankowich with his sword to the foot of his horse, and then generously spared his life. Brankowich, whose hatred was only envenomed by this generosity, accused his brother-in-law publicly at the royal table, on the eve of the battle, of having a parricidal understanding with Amurat. ‘Answer,' said the king, who shared the suspicions. I will answer to-morrow, replied Milosch. 'If you are innocent,' said the king, 'drink this full cup to my health. “Pass me the cup,' cried Milosch, and I will prove my fidelity to-morrow at sunrise.' During the battle, although wounded, he fought like a hero. When it was over he swam on his horse across the river, and arriving bleeding and exhausted at the tent of Amurat, solicited permission to kiss the feet of the sultan. Amurat, elated with the homage of a son-in-law of the king of Servia, ordered him to be introduced. Milosch, kneeling, took one of the feet of the sultan in his left hand, as if to embrace it, while with his right he plunged a concealed poignard into the body of Amurat. After knocking down eight of the guards, Milosch reached his horse, and had attained the Servian side of the river before he was overtaken and slain by the horsemen of Bajazet. While Amurat lay bathed in his blood Lazarus was brought before him, and received from the dying sultan the sentence of death. “Great God,' cried the king of the Servians, 'thou mayest now call me to thee, since I have seen the enemy of my religion, my people, and my family, die before me by the hand of an unjustly suspected warrior.' The Servian king and all his nobles were beheaded at the door of the tent of the sultan ; but the sacrifice of Milosch arrested the conquest of Servia, and his descendants have remained during five centuries to the present time, preserving the independence of their country alike against menaces from Constantinople and St. Petersburg.
Amurat left two sons equally dear to the Ottoman army, Jacob and Bajazet. During the night following the death of Amurat,
the grand vizier, Ali Pasha, convoked a divan in the tent of the sultan, and beside his corpse. A disputed succession was feared, less from the rivalry of the brothers or the character of Jacob, than from his popularity in the army. The Koran says, ' an execution is better than a rebellion. The counsellors issued from the imperial tent, and entered the tent of Jacob with the sentence of death. His corpse, which was left lying outside his tent, informed the army in the morning that they had only one master, the Sultan Bajazet. In this prompt way the army was informed that the race of Othman would not spare even their own blood for the safety and unity of the empire. The law thus savagely inaugurated has never fallen into desuetude. The Bedouin who buried his daughters alive, that they might not share his food, has always had bis lineal descendant in the sultan who has strangled his brothers, lest they should seek his throne. Of Murad III. and Mohamet III., both contemporaries of the English Queen Elizabeth, it is recorded, for example, that the one strangled five and the other nineteen of his brothers, on coming to the throne. Mahomet, the founder of the religion, rebuked the Bedouin, who was an infanticide from want, and Othman, the founder of the dynasty, legalized fratricide in favour of family ambition ;-a flagrant contradiction between the religious teacher and his imperial disciple. The present Sultan, Abdul Medjid, is praised by his flatterers as the first son of Othman who has not sought the security of his throne from fratricide! What depths of barbarity and sycophancy still disgrace humanity in this year, A.D. 1855 !
A singular fate befel Mustapha, one of the sons of Bajazet. During the reign of this sultan, the Turks having rapidly degenerated under the influence of success, and sunk down into the base vices of the Greeks they had conquered, were attacked by Timor the Tartar, who had issued from Samarcanda at the head of immense hosts, and after a great battle and terrible slaughter of Moslem against, Moslem, routed the Turks upon the plain of Angora. Bajazet entered the battle-field with five sons, named Soliman, Moussa, Isa, Mahomet, and Mustapha. Overtaken in his flight with his son Isa, and brought before Timor, Bajazet seemed less afflicted by the defeat of his army than by the loss of his four sons. Timor generously commanded a search to be made, and news was brought of them all except one, Mustapha, who was not heard of for twenty years, and who was believed to have fallen in the battle. Bajazet died in captivity. The three brothers, Soliman, Moussa, and Mahomet divided the empire, and carried on war against each other until two of them were killed, and the third reunited his father's empire as Mahomet I. His son Murad II., had in his turn ascended the throne, when news was brought that the lost Mustapha had reappeared, and supported by Hungarian and Greek princes, and by Djouneyd, governor of Nicopolis, who had been brought up with him at his father's court, and who had fought by his side on the field of Angora, was at the head of an army of 40,000 men, asserting his right to the throne as the Sultan Mustapha. His story was highly probable. Having fallen wounded and insensible on the battle-field, when he became conscious he found himself stript naked, without any sign of his former rank about him, incapable of understanding a word of the language of the victors, who in their turp neither heeded nor understood the sounds addressed to them by one of their slaves. He was marched in the gang of slaves in the rear of the army of Timor, as far as Samarcanda. At length, after being sold and resold, and passing twenty years chietly as a camel-keeper, he was bought by a merchant of Bokhara who took him to Bagdad, where his language was understood and his story believed, and whence he was conveyed to Turkey The unpopularity of Murad, and the justice of his claims, put Mustapha at the head of an army, which was, however, defeated at Salonica. He owed his safety to the swiftness of his horses, and spent the remainder of his days in the convent of the Virgin Mary on the Island of Lemnos, as an exile under the protection of the Greek emperors.
The rapidity of Turkish degeneracy, when subjected to the temptations which follow successful conquests, must be ascribed in part to the influence of Mahometanism. When Bajazet returned from the conquest of Adrianople, the Servian princess he had wedded had already given him a taste for the wines of Hungary and Cyprus. Monstrous depravity had spread in his army, and those mutilations and perversions of the sexes had commenced which have hung as a moral pestilence, a cloud of infamy, a sign and a cause of doom alike over Greek and Turkish Constantinople for more than a thousand years.
During the reigns of Bajazet and Mahomet I., a singular development took place among the Turkish people, of the ideas which have since been known in Europe under the names of communism, or red-democracy. Luxury had spread among the
. chiefs, and dreams and schemes of enjoyment inflamed the imaginations of their followers. Mahomet himself seems to have struck the first key-note of this fanaticism on the day in which he returned to Mecca, and smashed three hundred and sixty idols in the temple, beginning with the image of a dove. The truth is come,' he cried ; ' let the lies vanish. There is no other god but God. No more idolatry! No more inequality! No more differences on earth founded upon old genealogies and ancestors. All men are children of Adam, and Adam was the child of the