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SURVEY of the State of the principal Kingdoms of Asia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries:-Selim reduces Egypt-Solyman takes Rhodes, subdues Hungary, Moldavia, and Wallachi-Selim II. takes Cyprus--Battle of Lepanto-Persians under Shah-Abbas-Government and Re ligion-Tartars-India, early particulars of—Aurungzebe— Bramins-Division of Castes.

THE Turks, we have seen, in the middle of the fifteenth century, subverted the empire of Constantinople, which, from that period, became the imperial seat of the Ottoman dominion. In treating of that great revolution, I took occasion to offer some considerations on the government and political constitution of the Turkish empire-that great fabric of despotism.

The Turks proceeded to extend their conquests. Mahomet II. subdued a great extent of territory. Selim I. added new conquests. In the year 1515, he made himself master of Syria and Mesopotamia, and undertook the reduction of Egypt, which was then in the possession of the Mamelukes, a race of Circassians who had been masters of that country ever since the last crusade. The arms of Selim put an end to their dominion; but, what is a very extraordinary fact, he allowed the last of the Mameluke kings to govern Egypt in the quality of his bashaw; and these Mamelukes, though nominally under the dominion of the Grand Seignior, continued in reality the sovereigns of the country, acknowledging but a very slender subjection to the Ottoman power.

Solyman, the son of Selim, who is termed Solyman the Magnificent, was a formidable enemy to the Christians and to the Persians. He took the island of Rhodes in the year 1521. The Knights of St. John were at this time in possession of this island, from which they had expelled the Saracens in 1310. They made a noble defence, assisted by the English, Ital

lans, and Spaniards; but after a siege of many months were forced to capitulate. Solyman, a few years afterward, subdued the greatest part of Hungary, Moldavia, and Wallachia. He failed in his attempt upon Vienna; but turning his arms eastward against the Persians, he made himself master of Bagdad and subdued Georgia. He concluded a treaty of alliance with the French, which subsisted for two centuries. His son Selim II., in the year 1571, took the island of Cyprus from the Venetians; and this industrious people were carrying on a brisk trade with the Turks at the very time they were making this conquest. Genoa, Florence, and Marseilles were rivals with Venice in the trade of Turkey, for the silks and commodities of Asia. It is remarkable that the Christian nations have traded with the Ottoman empire to a very large extent, without its ever having been known that a Turkish vessel came into their ports for the purposes of commerce, in return for the vast fleets which they annually send to those of Turkey. All the trading nations of Christendom have consuls who reside in the seaports on the Levant, and most of them have ambassadors at the Ottoman Porte, while none are sent from thence to reside with other nations.

The Venetians, sensibly feeling the loss of Cyprus, which, besides the advantages of its produce, was a most convenient entrepot for their trade to the Levant -and finding their own force insufficient for its recovery from the Turks, applied to Pope Pius V. for the benefit of a crusade. The pope gave them more effectual aid, by waging war himself against the Ottoman empire, and by entering into a league for that purpose both with the Venetians and with Philip II. of Spain, the son and successor of Charles V. who was a good politician and a great economist, had amassed, in the course of his pontificate, such wealth as to render the holy see a very formidable power. The wealth of Philip II. was considered at that time as inexhaustible. A great armament was immediately


fitted out, consisting of two hundred and fifty ships-ofwar, with fifty transports. Don John of Austria, brother of Philip (a natural son of Charles V.), was admiral of the fleet. Historians compute that the number of men on board was fifty thousand. The fleet of the Turks, who had not been wanting in their preparations, consisted likewise of two hundred and fifty galleys. These powerful armaments met in the gulf of Lepanto, near Corinth, and an engagement ensued, more memorable than any naval fight that had happened since the battle of Actium. All the ancient and all the modern weapons of war were used in this sea-fight, which terminated to the honour of the Christians. The Turks lost above one hundred and fifty ships; the number of their slain is said to have been fifteen thousand, and among these was Ali, the admiral of their fleet, whose head was cut off and fixed upon the top of his flag.*

Don John of Austria acquired by this signal victory A very high degree of reputation, which was still heightened by the taking of Tunis, about two years after. But from these successes the Christians, after all, did not derive any lasting advantage; for Tunis was very soon recovered, and the Ottoman empire was as powerful as before. The Turks, after the death of Selim II., preserved their superiority both in Europe and in Asia. Under Amurath II., they extended the limits of their empire into Hungary on the one side, and into Persia on the other. Mahomet III., the successor of Amurath, began his reign like a monster, by strangled nineteen of his brothers, and drowning twelve of his father's concubines, on the supposition of their being pregnant. Yet this barbarian supported the dignity of the empire and extended its dominions. From his death, which was in the

In the battle of Lepanto, Cervantes, as he informs us in his inimitable romance of "Don Quixote," lost his left hand by the stroke of a Turkish sabre.

year 1603, the Ottoman power began to decline. The Persians at this period became the predominant power in Asia, under Shah-Abbas the Great, a prince who, in all his wars with the Turks, was constantly victorious. He gained from them many of their late acquisitions of territory; and effectually checking that career of success which had for several years attended their arms, he gave great relief to several of the princes of Europe, who at that time were scarcely able to defend their own dominions. Shah-Abbas thus involuntarily shielded the European kingdoms from the fury of the Turkish arms, as we have seen that Tamerlane and Gengis Khan had formerly been, in an in direct manner, the protectors of Constantinople.

Persia, under Shah-Abbas, was extremely flourishing. This vast empire had, some time before this period, experienced a revolution, somewhat similar to that which the change of religion produced in Europe. Toward the end of the fifteenth century, a new sect was formed by a Persian named Sophi, and his opinions were eagerly embraced by a great part of his countrymen, merely from the circumstance of thus distinguishing themselves from the Turks, whom they hated. The principal difference seems to have been that the reformer Sophi held Ali, the son-in-law of Mahomet, to have been the legitimate successor of the prophet; whereas the Mahometans generally acknowledged Omar the prophet's lieutenant. Sophi fell a martyr to his opinions: for he was assassinated by some of the opposite sect, in the year 1499. His son Ismael maintained his father's doctrines by force of arms: he conquered and converted Armenia and subdued all Persia, as far as Samarcand; and he left this empire to his descendants, who reigned there peaceably till the revolutions in the last century. The conqueror, Shah-Abbas, was the great grandson of this Ismael Sophi.

The government of Persia is as despotic as that of Turkey; but there seems to be this substantial differ

ence between the state of Turkey and of Persia, that the inhabitants of the latter enjoy their possession with some security, for the payment of a small tax or land-rent to the government. The kings of Persia receive presents from their subjects, as the Grand Seignior does; and according to Sir John Chardin's account, the king of Persia's new year's gifts amounted in those days to five or six millions of livres.

The crown of Persia is hereditary, with the exclusion of females from the succession; but the sons of a daughter are allowed to inherit the sovereignty. By the laws of Persia the blind are excluded from the throne. Hence it is a customary policy of the reigning prince to put out the eyes of all those of the blood royal of whom he has any jealousy.

The national religion of the Persians we have said is the Mahometan as reformed by Sophi. The slender difference of opinions between them and the Turks is the cause of an aversion much stronger than ever subsisted between the Protestants and Catholics. If a Persian were washing his hands in a river, he would conceive himself contaminated if he knew that a Turk had bathed in it. There are, however, various sects of Mahometans in Persia; and some of these adopt not a few of the tenets of Christianity. The ancient religion of Zoroaster, too, is yet preserved among the Persian Guebres, who pretend in their temples to have kept alive the sacred fire from the days of the great founder of their religion down to the present time. Of the religion of Zoroaster we formerly gave a full


The language of the Persians is extremely beautiful, and peculiarly adapted to poetical composition. Sir William Jones has given to the public several beautiful translations from that language, which display the utmost luxuriance of fancy; and Mr. Richardson, in his curious dissertation on the languages, literature, and manners of the Eastern nations, has given a pretty full account of the learning of the Per

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