صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

nisters of justice.' p. 101. " This dignity (of Ulema) is perpetual and hereditary, not in individuals, but in the order. ' note to p. 101. Their property is hereditary in their families, and is not liable to arbitrary confiscations.' p. 101. About the end of the seventeenth century, they were made removeable at pleasure, like all other functionaries.” note to p. 101. "The Ule ma used formerly to admit no one into their order who was not recommended by some extraordinary merit; but now the sultan creates Ulema at his pleasure,' p. 102. The children of Mollas' (judges of great towns): are admitted with the consent of the Sheik- Islam (or chief mufti); but it requires an express order of the sovereign to admit any other children.'p. 102. , The functions of the ulema are perfectly distinct and unconnected with those of the imams, or immediate ministers of religion. These do not even belong to the order of the Ulema, in the restricted meaning and general acceptation of the word.'' p. 103. "The mufti is the chief minister of the legal, judicial, and, religious -power. p. 94. .' An ancient prejudice, founded on the respect due to religion and its ministers, protects individuals of the order of the Ulema from judicial inflictions, entailing infamy or dishonour.' p. 106. In p. 107, it is twice státed, that the Ule<ma owe their appointment, individually, as well as their continuance in office, to the Sultan alone. « The Ulema are wholly unconnected with the ecclesiastical order.' p. 112. - Such being Mr Thoriton's various statements, we shall prov -bably be excused, if we have failed to catch his meaning; for indeed he seems nat to know it himself. But one thing appears clear, that whatever influence this body possesses, must be exerted without giving umbrage to the sovereign, who can remove every offending member, and destroy the mufti himself. The reputation which the mufti has for learning, and the high hoa nours with which he is treated, both by the Sultan and his court, give his opinion great weight. He is consulted on all occasions of importance; but if he gives an opinion (or fetiva, which he does in writing) contrary to the sovereign's inclination, he is without scruple dismissed, and a more complying counsellor is found to take office under the virtual pledge. © The administration of justice, by the members of the Ulema,

whom the sultan chooses for this purpose, is worse than any thing - which the subjects of a regular government can imagine. It is

strange to find Mr Thornton assert, in general, that justice is · equally administered in suits where both parties are Turks; and

fill a whole chapter with proofs, that the Turkish judges are the most cruel and venal persons in the world. If the trade of a false - witness is one of the most flourishing in Turkey,-if the judge is

compelled

that the ? If the tra the judgeiled

compelled to decide according to oral testimony, unless when he can, by cross-examination, convict a witness, on the spot, of per, jury,---if a person so convicted is scarcely liable to any punish, ment,-if, moreover, in all their decisions respecting the rights of Jews and Christians, bribery alone sways the Turkish judges; is it conceivable that the causes between Turks can be determined equitably? The account given by our author, of the summary mode in which both civil and criminal cases are decided, is equally at variance with his general panegyric ; and the inference to be drawn from his whole statement is, that no such thing as regular justice can be said to exist in the Turkish dominions.

What check, then, it may be asked, is furnished by the institutions of this empire to the power of the sultan? There is evidently but one--the dread of popular insurrection. Every thing depends for its existence on the nod of the prince; and he may just push his caprices as far as he thinks the degraded state of his subjects will permit him. He owes to their superstitions, imme. diately, the greater part of his influence-ultimately, the whole of it. He has chiefly to beware lest those superstitions are not the cause of some sudden commotion against his person, or that of his minister. He has also to guard against any conduct so generally hurtful to his people, and so plainly, so instantly felt by them, as to overcome the sense of religious awe with which they have been accustomed to view his government. Thus he must avoid any violent interference with religious observances and the established customs of the country, which are all more or less connected with superstitious feelings. He must also be ready to vary his conduct when he perceives symptoms of serious commotionsbe ing excited by it. The most successful mode of showing discontent 'at Constantinople is said to be setting the town on fire in different places. When the sultan learns that one of these fires is no sooner extinguished than another breaks out, he bethinks him of his situation, and begins to inquire into the grievances complained of. As for the inhabitants of the provinces, they may complain indeed of their pasha, by sundry remonstrances to the Porte; but without presents, so large as to exceed those which he sends in his defence, the application is altogether vain. It may easily be imagined, that the pasha is less exposed to insurrection than the sultan; and his government is in proportion more severe.

IV. When the Turks overran the provinces of the Greek empire, they divided the lands in a manner analogous to that pursued by the northern nations under similar circumstances. The general, after seizing a certain portion, assigned the rest to his officers and men, upon condition that they should attend him in all future wars as soon as required. The principal difference be

tween

tween this and the feudal tenures of the north was that all the proprietors held immediately of the general or sultan--and no one owed service to any intermediate chief. Such of the former info del proprietors as were not extirpated during the conquest, were permitted to remain as cultivators, or tributary proprietors of the lands not exhausted by the first partition. The Mussulmans a. lone were allowed to serve in war. Thoše conquered Mussul. mans who preferred a life of peace, were classed with the infidel tributaries, and paid a capitation tax as commutation for their mis litary services. This class, whether infidels or Mussulmans, are called Rayahs ; but that appellation is more commonly restricted to the infidel tributaries, who are likewise denominated Zimmys, while the Mussulman tributaries are called Beledis. The Mussul man Rayahs form the national; the feudal proprietors form the feudal militia. Al Mussulman inhabitants capable of bearing arms, are bound to join the Pasha's standard ; but the former class are a sort of volunteers, and soon return home; the latter serve, and furnish a contingent of troops, from the obligations of their charter, and are somewhat more to be depended upon. They are either Zäims or Timariots, according as they possess à Zäimet, or a Timer; the former containing 500 acres, or upwards, the latter from 300 to 500. * In the reign of Soliman I:, there were 3192 Zäims, and 50,160 Timars, which furnished 150,000 men to the militia ; Olivier reckons about 60,000, and Mr Eton 132,000. Whatever the number may now be, they are little a: dapted to the 'modern practice of warfare. They remain in the field only till they obtain a certificate which cannot be refused, afum ter the campaign has lasted six months. They then, at the beginning of winter, desert, or rather, march off in large bodies, as happened when they were serving in Syria last war. Those pros prietors of feudal lands, who do not furnish a contingent, must pay, in the European provinces, one year's revenues in the Asiatic, two. This, together with the capitation tax, and the commuta: tion money of the Beledis, formed the bulk of the Turkish revenue, as the militia supplied the army, by which the Ottoman conquests were made. The changes which have, in the course of time, been made in both, are merely additions to those original branches of the military and financial system.

About the middle of the fourteenth century, the body of Janižaries was formed ; at that time, 12,000 in number. They now amount to about 40,000, f and unite the functions of police ofVOL. X. No. 20. - S

ficers

::. * This is Mr Thornton's account:-We have reason to believe, that

he is wrong in the extent which he affigns to thofe divisions. ..n *** This is much lefs than the estimates of former authors ; but we are convinced of its accuracy. Mr T: judiciously grounds it on the amount of the pay.

ficers with the military profession. They have peculiar privileges--are judged only by their own officers-receive punishment in the most private inanner, to preserve the honour of the corps and are the especial instruments of the Sultan and his ministers in government, as well as his best regular troops. They were formerly trained to the service with the greatest care, and selected from the finest young men in the country. But their discipline has gradually relaxed, and they no longer deserve even a small part of the fame which they anciently possessed. It is the opinion of good judges, however, that a little care from European officers, might still restore the greater part of their merits as an army. Besides the effective force of the Janizaries, a vast num. ber of persons are nominally enrolled in the corps, for the sake of avoiding the capitation tax. The topgis or gunners, are said to be 30,000 in number, distributed over different parts of the empire. This includes those employed in the cannon founderies, and as artificers. There are 15,000 very good cavalry, on the regular establishment; besides corps- of gebegis or armourers, and sakkas or water-carriers; and the pashas levy bodies of pioneers, miners, &c. during war, or to assist the other forces on their march through the provinces. It is impossible to estimate the numbers of the Turkish army with tolerable precision. There is every reason to believe, that the government itself is in possession of no accurate enumeration of the militia ; and the calculation of the whole force, published by Marsigli a century ago, is said to be the only one that can be relied on. He estimated the regulars (or Capiculy): at about 58,000 infantry, including janizaries; topgis, sakkas, &c. and 15,200 cavalry; and the militia (or Toprakli ) at about 126,000. Of the regulars, above 21,000 Janizaries were required for garrisons and other ordinary services, and of the militia, about a sixth might be deducted for false returns: so that the effective disposable force, militia and regulars, could not exceed 160,000 men. The relaxation of provincial government having greatly increased since that time, the Porte generally expects the levies of militia which it makes, to fall short, by one half, of the numbers ordered.

The army, thus raised, is extremely deficient in discipline, though by no means wanting in courage. The officers understand but little of the tactics required to oppose a skilful enemy, and they pursue certain old rules for disposing their troops, handed down from their forefathers, incapable of application to the present state of military affairs, and indeed always adhered to, whatever movements might be made to oppose them. Where a few companies are required to perform any duty, and no preconcerted schemes are necessary, the Turkish troops frequently do

. 1 excellent

excellent service. The cavalry will follow up a successful attacking and their execution is then dreadful. The infantry, posted in forts, will defend them with admirable perseverance, and will act well as light troops behind walls or other fences. But the danger to which they are exposed must be immediate, and they must be employed when their courage is up ;-—they cannot be relied on for the regular duties of a besieged garrison, nor will they rally after being broken. In short, they are an undisciplined soldiery--possessed of sufficient ștrength and agility--abounding in individual courage and fanaticism--not unskilful in the management of horses and arms-capable of performing services where no great combination or foresight is required and likely to assist more regular forces, or even to oppose some resistance themselves to an invading army, however little may be expected from them in care rying on the war abroad. The same want of discipline prevails in their navy, with a much greater want of skill. They have several very beautiful ships, chiefly built by foreigners, but wretchedly manned. There are about fifteen sail of the line, and as many frigates. Mr Thornton asserts, that, in navigating small craft, the Turks are equally skilful with the Greeks, and that both are equally unfit to manage larger vessels. This is an opinion quite contrary to the common belief upon the subject. The Greeks are understood to be greatly superior in seamanship. Mr Thornton admits, that they form the bulk of the crews of the Turkish men of war; and, from their expertness in managing coasting vessels, they might certainly be trained, without difficulty, to make tolerable seamen. :

The territorial arrangements adopted by the Turks during their conquests, laid the foundation of their financial, as well as of their military system; but the additions afterwards made to the former, have been much less considerable. The revenues consist of two great branches, the Miri, or public income; and the Hazni, or sultan's private treasure. Neither Mr Thornton, nor any other writer, has explained to us in what manner this separation is kept up; and how a prince, so absolute as the Grand Signor, is prevented by any consideration, except that of his own interest as connected with that of the empire, or compliance with custom in order to avoid dangerous commotions, from viewing the whole treasury as Hazni. 1 In practice, however, the branches are kept distinct. The Miri, which is under the adminis stration of the Defterdar Effendi, or high treasurer, is derived from: the havatch, or capitation tax, paid by the rayahs; varying in different parts of the empire, and levied differently on persons according to their fortunes ; but, generally speaking, of three classes, ten, six, and three piastres, according to law : The

S?.-ni. . land-taxy.

« السابقةمتابعة »