was permitted to return to Paris, that he might relate the deplorable tale, and solicit the ransom of the noble captives. In the mean while the count of Nevers, with the princes and barons of France, were dragged along in the marches of the Turkish camp, exposed as a grateful trophy to the Moslems of Europe and Asia, and strictly confined at Boursa as often as Bajazet resided in his capital. The sultan was pressed each day to expiate with their blood the blood o: his martyrs; but he had pronounced that they should live, and either for mercy or destruction his word was irrevocable. He was assured of their value and importance by the return of the messenger, and the gifts and intercessions of the kings of France and of Cyprus. Lusignan presented him with a gold saltcellar of curious workmanship, and of the price of ten thousand ducats; and Charles the Sixth despatched by the way of Hungary a cast of Norwegian hawks, and six horse-loads of scarlet cloth, of fine linen of Rheims, and of Arras tapestry, representing the battles of the great Alexander. After much delay, the effect of distance rather than of art, Bajazet agreed to accept a ransom of two hundred thousand ducats for the count of Nevers and the surviving princes and barons : the marshal Boucicault, a famous warrior, was of the number of the fortunate ; but the admiral of France had been slain in the battle; and the constable, with the Sire de Coucy, died in the prison of Boursa. This heavy demand, which was doubled by incidental costs; fell chiefly on the duke of Burgundy, or rather on his Flemish subjects, who were bound by the feudal laws to contribute for the knighthood and captivity of the eldest son of their lord. For the faithful discharge of the debt some merchants of Genoa gave security to the amount of five times the sum; a lesson to those warlike times, that commerce and credit are the links of the society of nations. It had been stipulated in the treaty that the French captives should swear never to bear arms against the person of their conqueror; but the ungenerous restraint was abolished by Bajazet himself. “ I despise,” said he to the heir of Burgundy, “thy oaths and thy arms. Thou art young, and “ mayest be ambitious of effacing the disgrace or misfortune of thy “ first chivalry. Assemble thy powers, proclaim thy design, and be « assured that Bajazet will rejoice to meet thee a second time in a “ field of battle.” Before their departure they were indulged in the freedom and hospitality of the court of Boursa. The French princes

sion of the son of Bajazet, with a few which lasted from early in the morning others, on account of their extreme youth. till four o'clock p.M. It ceased cnly at No one under 20 years of age was put to the supplication of the leaders of Bajazet's death. Tho " duke of Burgundy” was army. Schuiltberger, p. 14.-M, obliged to bo a spectator of this butchery,

admired the magnificence of the Ottoman, whose hunting and hawking equipage was composed of seven thousand huntsmen and seven thousand falconers.65 In their presence, and at his command, the belly of one of his chamberlains was cut open, on a complaint against him for drinking the goat's milk of a poor woman.

The strangers were astonished by this act of justice; but it was the justice of a su tan who disdains to balance the weight of evidence or to measure the degrees of guilt.

After his enfranchisement from an oppressive guardian, John Palæologus remained thirty-six years the helpless, and, as The emperor it should seem, the careless, spectator of the public ruin.66 lobin PaleoLove, or rather lust, was his only vigorous passion; and Jan. 1355, m the embraces of the wives and virgins of the city the A.D. 1391. Turkish slave forgot the dishonour of the emperor of the Romans. Andronicus, his eldest son, had formed, at Adrianople, an intimate and guilty friendship with Sauzes, the son of Amurath ; and the two youths conspired against the authority and lives of their parents. The presence of Amurath in Europe soon discovered and dissipated their rash counsels; and, after depriving Sauzes of his sight, the Ottoman threatened his vassal with the treatment of an accomplice and an enemy unless he inflicted a similar punishment on his own son. Palæologus trembled and obeyed, and a cruel precaution involved in the same sentence the childhood and innocence of John the son of the criminal. But the operation was so mildly or so unskilfully performed that the one retained the sight of an eye, and the other was afflicted only with the infirmity of squinting. Thus excluded from the succession, the two princes were confined in the tower Discord of of Anema; and the piety of Manuel, the second son of the the Greeks. reigning monarch, was rewarded with the gift of the Imperial crown. But at the end of two years the turbulence of the Latins and the levity of the Greeks produced a revolution, and the two emperors were buried in the tower from whence the two prisoners were exalted

65 Sherefeddin Ali (Hist. de Timour Bec, 1. v. c. 13) allows Bajazet a round number of 12,000 officers and servants of the chase. A part of his spoils was afterwards displayed in a hunting match of Timour:-1, hounds with satin housings; 2, leopards with collars set with jewels; 3, Grecian greyhounds; and 4, dogs from Europe, as strong as African lions (idem, l. vi. c. 15). Pajazet was particularly fond of Aying bis hawks at cranes (Chalcondyles, 1. ii. p. 35 (p. 67, ed. Bonn]).

** For the reigns of John Palæologus and his son Manuel, from 1354 to 1402, see Ducan, c. 9-15; Phranza, 1. i. c. 16-21; and the ist and iid books of Chalcondyles, whose proper subject is drowned in a sea of episode.

• According to Von llammer, it was the power of Bajazet : yo', i. p. 218.-M.

o the throne. Another period of two years afforded Palæologus and Manuel the means of escape; it was contrived by the magic or subtlety of a monk, who was alternately named the angel or the devil; they fled to Scutari; their adherents armed in their cause, and the two Byzantine factions displayed the ambition and animosity with which Cæsar and Pompey had disputed the empire of the world. The Roman world was now contracted to a corner of Thrace, between the Propontis and the Black Sea, about fifty miles in length and thirty in breadth : a space of ground not more extensive than the lesser principalities of Germany or Italy, if the remains of Constantinople had not still represented the wealth and populousness of a kingdom. To restore the public peace it was found necessary to divide this fragment of the empire ; and while Palæologus and Manuel were left in possession of the capital, almost all that lay without the walls was ceded to the blind princes, who fixed their residence at Rhodosto and Selymbria. In the tranquil slumber of royalty the passions of John Palæologus survived his reason and his strength: he deprived his favourite and heir of a blooming princess of Trebizond; and while the feeble emperor laboured to consummate his nuptials, Manuel, with a hundred of the noblest Greeks, was sent on a peremptory summons to the Ottoman Porte. They served with honour in the wars of Bajazet; but a plan of fortifying Constantinople excited his jealousy; he threatened their lives; the new works were instantly demolished; and we shall bestow a praise, perhaps above the merit of Palæologus, if we impute this last humiliation as the cause of his death. The earliest intelligence of that event was communicated to

Manuel, who escaped with speed and secrecy from the palace of Boursa to the Byzantine throne. Bajazet affected a proud indifference at the loss of this valuable pledge; and

while he pursued his conquests in Europe and Asia, he left the emperor to struggle with his blind cousin John of Selymbria, who, in eight years of civil war, asserted his right of primogeniture. At length the ambition of the victorious sultan pointed to the conquest. of Constantinople: but he listened to the advice of his vizir, who represented that such an enterprise might unite the powers of Christendom in a second and more formidable crusade. His epistle

to the emperor was conceived in these words :-"By the “ divine clemency, our invincible scimitar has reduced to our “ obedience almost all Asia, with many and large countries

“ in Europe, excepting only the city of Constantinople; for “ begond the walls thou hast nothing left. Resign that city ; stipu

The emperor

A.D. 1391-1425, July 25.

Distress of Constantinople,

A.D. .386-1402.

“ late thy reward; or tremble, for thyself and thy unhappy peop.e, at “the consequences of a rash refusal.” But his annbassadors were instructed to soften their tone, and to propose a treaty, which was subscribed with submission and gratitude. A truce of ten years was purchased by an annual tribute of thirty thousand crowns of gold , the Greeks deplored the public toleration of the law of Mahomet, and Bajazet enjoyed the glory of establishing a Turkish cadhi, and founding a royal mosque, in the metropolis of the Eastern church.67 Yet this truce was soon violated by the restless sultan : in the cause of the prince of Selymbria, the lawful emperor, an army of Ottomans again threatened Constantinople, and the distress of Manuel implored the protection of the king of France. His plaintive embassy obtained much pity and some relief, and the conduct of the succour was intrusted to the marshal Boucicault,68 whose religious chivalry was inflamed by the desire of revenging his captivity on the infidels. He sailed, with four ships of war, from Aiguesmortes to the Hellespont; forced the passage, which was guarded by seventeen Turkish galleys; landed at Constantinople a supply of six hundred men at arms and sixteen hundred archers, and reviewed them in the adjacent plain without condescending to number or array the multitude of Greeks. By his presence the blockade was raised both by sea and land ; the flying squadrons of Bajazet were driven to a more respectful distance; and several castles in Europe and Asia were stormed by the emperor and the marshal, who fought with equal valour by each other's side. But the Ottomans soon returned with an increase of numbers; and the intrepid Boucicault, after a year's struggle, resolved to evacuate a country which could no longer afford either pay or provisions for his soldiers. The marshal offered to conduct Manuel to the French court, where he might solicit in person a supply of men and money; and advised, in the mean while, that, to extinguish all domestic discord, he should leave his blind competitor on the throne. The proposal was embraced : the prince of Selymbria was introduced to the capital ; and such was the public misery that the lot of the exile seemed more fortunate than that of the sovereign. Instead of applauding the success of his vassal, the Turkish sultan claimed the city as his own; and, on the refusal of the emperor John, Constantinople was more closely pressed by the calamities of war and famine. Against such an enemy prayers and resistance

67 Cantemir, p. 50-53. Of the Greeks, Ducas alone (c. 13, 15) acknowledges the Turkish cadhi at Constantinople. Yet even Ducas dissembles the mosque.

En Mémoires du bon Messire Jean le Maingre, dit Boucicault, Maréchal de Fas, ncc, partio i', c. 30-35,

were alike unavailing; and the savage would have devoured his prey if, in the fatal moment, he had not been overthrown by another savage stronger than himself. By the victory of Timour or Tamerlane the fall of Constantinople was delayed about fifty years; and this important though accidental service may justly introduce the .ife and character of the Mogul conqueror

« ForrigeFortsett »