5 JULY 1828, Page 16


We should be thought guilty of exaggeration, if we were to ex- press the feelings of pleasure which a perusal of this volume has been the means of communicating to us : it overflows with curious in- formation : it abounds with novel descriptions of manners, character, and scenery, and greatly enlarges our stock of knowledge on points formerly supposed to be tolerably well ascertained. There is an utter want of pretension both in style and plan. The writer goes on conversing and describing from one end of his route to the other, with the ease of parties across a table: would that, across a table, we could often see a companion so gifted with learning without pride, so communicative without vanity, so earnest with- out bigotry, charged with intelligence, and yet only desirous of talking of that which may be useful ! Dr. Walsh was Lord Strangford's chaplain : his residence gave him many opportunities of seeing Constantinople and the Turks, as thoroughly and minutely as Frank may do : his habits of inquiry led him into investigation, and his permanent abode endured through a period big with great events to the Ottoman empire. The author continues to give us, en passant, numerous corrections of rumour, and various authentic accounts of remarkable facts, which are both valuable in themselves, and indicate:the possession of greater stores than one 'small volume can contain, however charged. To mention the topics of intelligent amusement that may be picked out of this journey, would be to count the pages— there is not a dull or poor one in the whole four hundred—there- fore the task would be endless; but we will run over the important events upon which information peculiarly valuable at this moment may be found.

First, the stern and relentless character of the present Sultan is described. Dr. Walsh was at Constantinople at the time of the destruction of the Janissaries, and gives a striking description of that tremendous scene, in which 20,000 of these untameable fellows were burnt and butchered in their barracks, or stabbed and drowned in the different corners of the city. The state of the military feeling, the characteristic and safeguard of the Turks, is represented as at present subdued. Constantinople seems shrouded with an apathy unknown in the time of the Janis- saries. On leaving Constantinople, the route by which the tra- veller made for Vienna, and the only one by which the Russians can reach the Porte by land, is described with excellent effect : with its interminable and depopulated towns, that lie between Con- stantinople and the great chain of Mount Hwmus, which pre- sents the famous pass of the Balkan, like a mere rent in a wall, as the road through which an army must make its way. Then we have the fertile fields of Bulgaria, and its amia- ble population, whom oppression and wrong can scarcely make miserable—so bountiful is nature, arid so disposed to enjoy and improve its gifts is the peaceful Bulgarian peasant. We arrive in this course at the fortified tewn of Shumla, where the Grand Vizier made his stand in the last Russian and Turkish ‘var, frem 1805 to 1811 or 12; and then to another fortified town, Rustchilk, whose walls, such as they are, run down to the Danube. Here the broad and muddy stream winds by the high banks of Bulgaria, while it covers the opposite flats of Wallachia with marsh and miasma. The traveller now enters the provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, long- owing only a kind of feudal homage to the Porte—lately receiving its Greek interpreters, or dragomen, as their princes—and for some time under a kind of protection from Russia. Wallachia is low, marshy, and treeless; its population is sunk in filth and ignorance ; its boyars, or noblemen, half Asiatic, half European, are little raised above the mass, except by their vanity and love of finery. Upper Wallachia is an improvement upon the lower country, and leads to the Carpathian Mountains, which are entered by the Valley of Rothenturn. Here the Austrian dominion commences, and here quarantine must be performed. The interesting country of Transylvania is next to be crossed, where the peasants talk Latin; and where, in the heart of the country, there dwells a sturdy race of migrated Saxons, whose migration is a secret—cherishing the reformed religion—clean, neat, honest, and industrious in their habits, independent and free, jealous of their rights, and covered with privileges from a despotic govern- ment, _which they have earned, and insist upon retaining. The description of this little republic, called the Saxon Heptarchy, cannot be read without emotions of pride and delight, after leaving in idea, the debased, degraded, oppressed, and grovelling subjects of the ignorant and unfeeling despotism of the Turks. When we arrive at Buda with Dr. Walsh, we enter countries better known ; and there we shall leave him, simply addling that he is a man who could not travel across Bagshot Heath without having some obser- vation to make which would be worth hearing. In another place we will record what we have learned from hint respecting the seat of war between Turkey and Russia ; to this paper we shall only append seine miscellaneous extracts of interests


"The ideas of travelling which you have mimed from experience, are associated closely with smooth roads, easy carriages, neat inns, comfort-. able suppers, and warm beds; and where these are to be found, all sea- sons of the year are pretty much alike to the traveller : but conceive tra- velling through a country in winter, where, generally speaking, there are no roads, no carriages, no inns, no suppers, and no beds ! The only roads are beaten pathways, made by one horseman and followed by another, and every man may make one for himself if he pleases. The only car- * Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England, by the Rev, 15. Walsh, LL.D. London:1628,12mo. riages are wooden planks, laid upon rough wheels, called arubas, drawn with cords by buffaloes, which are seldom used excel t for burthens. The only inns are large stables, where nothing is to be had but chopped straw. The only suppers are what you may pick up on the road, if you are so fortunate, and bring it to where you stop for the night ; and the only beds are the chopped straw in the stable, or a deal board in a cock-loft over it ; and even this, in many places, is not to be had. There are, doubtless, exceptions to this general picture, as I myself experienced; but, in the main, it is true : and such is the actual state of travelling at this day, in most parts of the Turkish empire through which I have passed, both in Asia and Europe."


The Virtue of a Bag. of Schiraz Tobacco.—"1 do not wonder at the general use of this most indispensable of Turkish luxuries ; it is always the corn- panion of coffee, and there is something so exceedingly congenial in the properties of both, that nature seems to have intended. them for inse- parable associates. We do not know how so use tobacco in this country, but defile and deteriorate it with malt liquor. When used with coffee, and after the Turkish fashion, it is singularly grateful to the taste, and refreshing to the spirits ; counteracting the effects of fatigue and cold, and appeasing the cravings of hunger, as I have often experienced. Hearne, I think, in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine River, mentions his experience of similar effects of tobacco. Ile had been fre- quently wandering without food for five or six days, in the most ioele- ment weather, and supported it all, he says, in good health and spirits, by smoking tobacco and wetting his mouth with a little snow. Had he taken with him a little coffee, the effect would have been still more decided."


"The Turks call the different people who reside under them by names indicative of the estimation in which they hold them. The Greeks, Ye- shir, or slaves, as they were considered to have forfeited their life at the taking of Constantinople, and hold it ever since on sufferance ; the Ar- menians, Reyes or subjects, as they were never a conquered people, but merged insensibly into the population of the empire ; but the Jews they call Mousaphir, or visitors, because they sought an asylum among them. They treat them, therefore, as visitors, with kindness and hospitality."


"The prejudice has also been greatly increased by a book vvritten by a Jewish rabbi converted to christranity, which is a great curiosity. It is entitled A Confutation of the Religion of the Jews,' by Neophytus, a Greek monk, formerly a Jewish rabbi. The original work was in the Moldavian language, and was printed in the year 1'803 ; but it is said that the Jews, at that time, gave a large sum of money to the Hospodar, and the book was suppressed and destroyed. A copy, however, escaped, which was translated into modern Greek, and printed at Yasi in ISIS, of which I had a copy at Constantinople. The first chapter is entitled Fvervneioe xmoty.clAvo■st, Iiii,rozszeaLuy,,,,:vo■—` The Concealed Mysteries now unveiled.' The subject is 'the blood which the Jews take from the Christians, and the purposes to which they apply It.' After detailing a number of the most extraordinary particulars, he concludes in the followins. words When I was thirteen years old, my father revealed to me the mystery of the blood, and cursed me by all the elements of heaven and earth, if ever I should divulge the secret, even to my brethren; and when I was married, and should even have ten sons, I should not discover it to all, but only to one, who should be the most prudent and learned, and, at the same time, firm and unmoved in the faith : but to a• female I should never disclose it on any account. "May the earth," said he, "never receive thee, if thou revealest these secrets !" So said my father; but 1, since I have taken as my father the I,ord Jesus Christ, will proclaim the truth in every place; and, as the wise Sirae says, "even unto death strive for the truth."' Much of these and similar representa- tions are to be attributed to prejudices, and '' ■ereat deductions are to be made from them; but certainly the Jews of Constatinople are a tierce and fanatic race ; persecution and suffering have not taught them moderation, and they pursue, even to death, any apostate from their own doctrines."


"The neceesity for this strictness, you will judge of from the following fact. I passed the autumn of 1822 at Belgrade, in the vicinity of which is situated one of the largest and most important of these reservoirs. The summer had been remarkably dry, and it appeared from a meteoro- logical table which I kept, that it had not rained from the 4th of April to the ad of November, with the exception of a few passing showers. The water in the bendts became low and muddy, and the Turks took the alarm. The Sou-ioldge, or water engineers, were sent out, and I accompanied them to some of the bendts : they measured the quantity of the water, and they found no more than sufficient to supply the city for fifteen days ! Judge of the consternation of 700,000 persons, suddenly deprived of an element essential not only for domestic but religious Uses, and having no other possible mode of obtaining it. Prayers were offered up in the mosques, and the sky was anxiously watched. The immuta- bility of things in the East, and the illustrations they give to the writings of former times, is not the least pleasure a person experiences in these countries. The approach of rain is al ways indicated here, as it was in Syria, by the appearance of a small, dark, dense, circumscribed cloud, hanging over either the Euxine or the Propontis. A dervish stands on the top of the Jouchi-daghi, or Giant's Mountain ; and when he sees a cloud, he announces its approach, like Elijah from the top of Mount Carmel. I one day climbed to the same place, and saw the dervish on the watch, and 'I looked towards the sea, and beheld a little cloud rising out of the sea, like a man's hand, and gat me down that the rain stopped me not.' In effect, it immediately followed, and the Turks were relieved from a very serious cause of anxiety."

Dr. Walsh saw Ali Pacha's head exposed in a charger in the courts of the Seraglio, and gives an interesting, and, at len..111, correct account of the manner of his death—but it is too long for quotation. It was proposed by a merchant to buy the head to exhibit in London, but he was outbid by an old friend of Ali's, who purchased it, and those of his three sons, to deposit them in a tomb now standing at one of the gates of the city.


"The janissaries now displayed a spirit and determination, which they never manifest but in extreme cases. The first thing that struck me, on my arrival, as odd and singular in the streets of Constantinople, was an extraordinary greasy-looking fellow, dressed in a leather jacket, covered over with ornaments of tin, bearing in his hand a lash of several leather thongs; he was followed by two men, also fantastically dressed, supporting

a pole on their shoulders, from which hung a large copper kettle. They

walked through the main streets with an air of great authority, and all the people hastily got out of their way. This I found, on inquiry, was the soul) kettle of a corps of janissaries, and always held in the highest respect : indeed, so distinguishing a characteristic of this body is their soup, that their colonel is called Tchor badge, or the distributor of soup. Their kettle, therefore, is, infect, their standard ; and whenever that is brought forward, it is the signal of Some desperate enterprise. These kettles were now solemnly brought into the Etmeidan, inverted in the middle of the area, and in a short time twenty thousand men rallied round them.

" The crisis had now arrived which the Sultan both feared and wished for ; and he immediately availed himself of all those resources which he had previously prepared for such an event. He first transmitted secret orders to the Aga Pasha of Yenikui, and to the Topttee Bashi, or Com- mander of Artillery, to hold themselves in readiness with their forces, if

their presence should be required; and then he summoned a council, which was numerously attended. Ile expressed to them the state of the

janissaries, their spirit of mutiny, and their incapability of subordination ; he declared his intention of either ruling without their control, or of passing over to Asia, and leaving Constantinople and European Turkey to their mercy ; and he submitted to them, as a measure of immediate ex- pediency, to raise the Sandjak Sherif, or Sacred Standard of Mahomet, that all good Mussulmen might rally round it. This last proposal met with unanimous applause, and orders were immediately issued for that purpose. "This sacred relic, said to have been the small cloth es of Mahomet, is never produced hut on the most solemn occasions, and it was not seen in Con- stantinople for fifty years before. It was now taken from the imperial treasury, to the imperial mosque of Sultan Achmet. The ulemas and softas walked before, and the Sultan and all his court followed it, all re- hearsing the Koran ; fellas, or public criers, were sent to announce every- where what had been done ; and in a short time the solemn news was communicated all over the city. This seems to have been a master-stroke

of policy, listing at once on his side the prejudices and fanaticism of the

whole nation. No sooner was it announced, than thousands rushed from their houses in all directions, and joined the procession with the fiercest enthusiasm. When they entered the magniticeut mosque, the mufti planted the standard on the pulpit, and the Sultan pronounced an anathema against all who refused to range themselves under it. The Aga Pasha's troops now arrived from the Bosphorus, and the Topgee Basha landed his artillery at the Vali Kiosk, just under the walls of the Seraglio. The Galiondg,ees, or Marines, and the Bostandgees, or Corps of Gardeners, had also been previously prepared and in readiness; so that every thing seemed to have been as perfectly matured as it was sagaciously planned. A few who had joined thejanissaries had landed higher up in the harbour ; they were but a handful, and it was already seen that their cause was desperate. "Four officers of rank were now despatched to the Etmeidan, to offer the Sultan's pardon to the janissaries, if they would desist from their de- mands, acknowledge their error, and immediately disperse. This, of course, was rejected with scorn. The experience of centuries had taught them that they had only to persist in their demands, to have them con- ceded ; and in this conviction they immediately put to death the four officers who had dared to propose submission to them. They peremptorily demanded that the Sultan should for ever renounce his plans of innova- tion ; and that the Grand Vizir, the Aga Pasha, the janissary Aga, and the Negib Effendi, the Egyptian agent, should be delivered lip to them,- to be punished as suhverters of the ancient usages of the empire. The Sultan now demanded from the Sheik Islam, whether it was lawful for him to put down his rebellious subjects by force. Tlw Sheik replied that it was. Then,' said the Sultan, give me a Fetva, authorizing rue to kill them if they resist.' Hc did so ; and every thing was accomplished. " The Aga Pasha had by this time collected a force of 60,000 men, on whom he could entirely depend ; aed he received immediate orders to put the janissaries down by force, which he lost no time in executing. He surrounded the Etmeidan, where they were all tumultuously assembled in a dense crowd, and having no apprehension of ellen a measure ; and the first intimation many of them had of their situation, was a murderous discharge of grape .shot from the cannon of the Toiashees. Vast numbers were killed on the spot, and the survivors retired to their kishts, or bar- racks, which were close by : here they shut themselves up ; and in order to dislodge them, it was necessary to set the kislas on fire, as they refused all terms of surrender. The flames were soon seen from Pera, bursting out in different plsces ; and that none might escape, tile barracks were surrounded, like the Etmeidan, with cannon, and the discharges continued without intermission. It is not possible, perhaps, to conceive any situa-

tion more horrible than that in winch the janissaries now found them- selves ; the houses in flames over their heads, and the walls battered down about them ; torn to pieces with grape-shot, and overwhelmed with ruins and burning fragments. As it was determined to exterminate them ut- terly, no quarter was any longer offered or given, and the conflagration and discharge of artillery continued for the remainder of the city. The janissaries, notwithstanding the surprise and comparatively unprepared state in which they were taken, defended themselves with a desperate fierceness and intrepidity. The Aga Pasha was wounded, and had four horses killed under him, and his troops suffered severely. At length, how- ever, opposition ceased, when there was no longer any thing left alive to make it. The firing slackened and silenced ; the flames were extinguished of themselves; and the next morning presented a frightful seene,—burn- ing ruins slaked in blood—a huge mass of mangled flesh and smoking ashes.

"During the whole of the two ensuing days, the gates continued closed, with the exception of one to admit faithful alussulmen from the country, to pay their devotion to the sacred standard ; and they came in crowds, with the Imaum, or parish priest, at their head. But the principal rem- nant of the janissaries, who had escaped the carnage of the Etrneidan, was thus shut in, and unremittingly hunted and destroyed ; so that the streets, as well as the barracks, were everywhere covered with dead bodies. During all this time, no Christian was allowed, under any pretence, to pass over to Constantinople. But though the two plafts are separated • only by a narrow channel, the most perfect tranquillity reigned in Pera ; the people bought and sold, and pursued their ordinary occupations; and would have known nothing, perhaps, of the tremendous convulsions of the other side, if it were not for the blaze of the fire and the report of the cannon.

'The exposure of the Sanjak Sherif brought immense crowds to Con- stantinople. It was a sight as rare as it was holy to the ,faithful ; and ninny considered it equal to a visit to the tomb of the Prophet. Toe Sul- tan in the mean time appeared in the uniform of the new corps, and went to the mosque, attended by the Seymen, Topghees, and Cromboradgees, instead of his usual guard of janissaries, whose nizams, or hadkes, were everywhere torn down and trampled upon : they had been effixed to nu- merous gates and guard. houses in the city, and indicated tileextensive power and influence of the corps to which they belonged. On the next day, the Sultan publicly anathematized the whole body of janissaries,— inhibited the mention of their name, or any allusion to them,—and in their place solemnly conferred the appellation of Assakiri Mohamoodich, or forces of Mahomet, on the new army now forming to replace them ; and in the evening fella, or public criers, were everywhere sent about the city and suburbs to proclaim that tranquillity was restored.

" The number of janissaries destroyed on this occasion is variously re

ported : besides those who perished at the Etmeidan, barracks, and in the.publiestreets, multitudes were caught and privately strangled in the houseswhere they were found ; so that none of the large body assembled were supposed to have escaped. All the officers, with the exception of a few of high rank who had joined the Sultan's party, were known to have perished; and the general opinion is, that twenty thousand were sacrificed on-the occasion. Arubas and other machines were employed for several days in dragging down the mangled bodies, and casting them into the harbour and Bosphorus. Here they lay, till becoming buoyant by corruption, they again rose to the top, and were floated into the sea of Matt:lora, where the eddies frequently carried them into still water; coveting the surface with large putrid masses, in which boats and ships were sornetimes entangled and delayed ; exhibiting, in nearly the same place, the reality of that which the poet only Feigned of the vessel of Xerxes impeded by the bodies of his own soldiers-

Cruentis Fluelibus, ac tarda per densa cadavera prora.

" Since the destruction of the janissaries, a deathlike tranquillity has reigned at Co--ntinople, which no cause of excitement can disturb.

Bad the mind been in that sensitive state, when the first news of the battic of Navarino arrived, which displayed itself at the breaking out of the frreek rebellion, it is highly probable that the whole of the Frank population would have fallen victims to a popular frenzy, which no au- thority could Control. But their spirits were subdued, and their courage broken down ; and the ordinary causes of irritation were powerless to

move them. Whether the discipline of the new corps can supply the want of this undisciplined energy in future encounters, remains to be tried. Had the .new system time to organize itself; had habit rendered the discipline agreeable to the TUrKiSh soldier, and practice made him expert, no doubt it would have been a renovation, which would have in- fused energy and vigour into a decaying system ; but the Turkish empire seems just now in a perilous state of imbecility. The old military de- stroyed, the new unorganized; their courage subdued, their attachment alienated ; and just at the critiCal moment, threatened with a combina- tion of force such as they never, in their highest state of power, had to encounter.

" The present Sultan, who has effected this perilous undertaling, in

which so many of his predecessors failed, is a man, not in the prime, but still in the vigour of life. He succeeded his brother Mustapha, iii the year 1308, and so has been on the throne twenty years. lie is now the only survivor, I believe, of thirty children—fifteen boys, and fifteen girls—which his lather left ; and is the last of the male race of Mahoinct of an age lit to reign : and it is to this circumstance, they say, he is in- debted for his inviolability ; had there been another of the sacred race, old enough to substitute in his place, the janissaries wouid have long since deposed him. He had two sons ; one about the age of ten to -vnoin their eyes were turned as his successor when he should arrive at compe- tent years; and he knew, by experience, it was as easy for them to do this as to say it ; for both of his predecessors had been strangled, one of whom vas his oWn brother. Ilk son prematurely died ; and it was re- ported that he had been made away with by his own father, lest he should be set up in his place. It is known, however, that the boy died of the small-pox, and that his father has given an extraordinary example to his subjects, by having his surviving children vaccinated; and so has shown, by one instance at least, a disposition to adopt European improvements in things not merely. military. He is, moreover, a man well versed in oriental literature, Writes and understands Arabic well ; and his liata- sl.erifs, which he always dictates, and sometimes writes with his own hand, are admired for their style and composition. Ile is not a man of a morose or cruel disposition in his own family: on the contrary, he has several daughters by different mothers, to all of whom he is affectionately attached; and in his ordinary intercourse in private life, he is urbane and affable. His public conduct, however, has been marked by extraordinary fierceness and unrelenting rigour, not only to Rajas, but to Turks them- selves; and in this he has shown an impartial disregard to human life, and not a strict adherence to human obligations. But whatever his con- duct has baen to his own subjects, to those of other nations he has af- forded the most inviolable protection. He has discontinued the barba- rous practice of his predecessors, in sending ambassadors to the Seven Towers; instead of which, whenever they disagree, and are disposed to depart, he affords them every facility, and those of their nation who please to remain, are in security. During the frenzied excitement of the populace, which took place at thebreaking out or the Greek insurrec- tion, the odium and prejudice of the Turks extended to all Christians ; yet the Franks were perfectly safe, while the Greeks were shot without mercy Wherever they were met by the mob ; and notwithstauding a few accidents which occurred to individuals in the confusion, we never hesi- tated to walk abroad, either in the town or its vicinity, for business or amusement, though every Turk was armed with a yatagan, and case of loaded pistols, which he was ready to use on the slightest provocation. On more recent occasions, where such real cause of complaint and irrita. tion existed, it is butjustice to the present Sultan to say, that his mode- ration and good faith have afforded examples, which the best Christian nations in Europe might be proud to follow."

We have at present no more room, but we shall probably con- tinue to make some further extracts from this work in our next SPECTATOR.