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Engraved by Ridley from an Original Painting in the Possession of Spencer South E.4."

Selim ìlate Emperor of the Turkis

.

Published by i Aspirne at the Bible Crown diorntution cire: 11 ]. He pust. 1817

EUROPEAN MAGAZINE,
LONDON REVIEW,

,

AXD

FOR JULY 1807.

SELIM III. LATE EMPEROR OF THE TURKS.

(WITH A PORTRAIT.) THE The recent revolution in Turkey Endowed with a very prepossessing

calls upon us to take the earliest figure, and lively animated manners, opportunity of offering to the public a Selim was greeted at his accession by few sketches of the character of our the enthusiastic raptures of his people. late amiable ally Selim, with some But this favourable emotion was soon anecdotes of his reign. This essay, somewhat damped by the sudden exealthough hastily and irregularly sketch- cution of the Terzhanna Einini, supered, affords ample subject to excite the intendant of the arsenal, whom he commiseration of every generous mind, ordered to be beheaded, in his presence, for the miserable fate of this illustrious at the arsenal, the day after his uncle's victim to the atrocious policy of con- death. The reason of this not being, tending powers, and cannot fail of known at the time, it was naturally impressing the deepest regret in the attributed to capricious cruelty. The minds of our enlightened readers, on justice of the punishment was, howreflecting that the measures of our ever, applauded, as soon as it became government have co-operated, with known that this man, either by order machinations of the enemy, to bring of, or to ingratiate himself with Abdul, about a catastrophe, which is likely to Hammid, had endeavoured to take involve, in its consequences, the ruin of Selim off by poison, or otherwise to the dearest interests of our country. destroy him, in order to secure the

Mustapha III. father of Selim, made immediate succession to the children of a merit, during his life-time, of nomi. Abdul-Hammid, to whom two sons bad nating his brother Abdul-Hammid to been born. be his immediate successor to the Another execution, nearly at the same throne, although it had long been an period, of a jew, for no other reason, established rule, that the oldest male of as it was supposed, than for having hade the branch of Othman should reigo, in yellow slippers on when the Sultan met preference to the son of the last Sultan, him, impressed on the minds of many with a view to obviate, as much as pos- that he was of a wantouly cruel dissible, the disadvantages of a minor position. The rumour of his having reign. Abdul-Hammid was therefore ordered an Englishman to be beheaded, invested with the imperial sabre, at the whom he met near the custom-house, death of Mustapha, in January 1774, for being dressed in the Turkish dress, taking upon bim the name of Ach- spread a consternation in the inhabitants met iv. but was, notwithstanding, of Constantinople at the ferocity of his always called by his primitive name. temper. But the fact respecting the After a reign of fifteen years, Abdul- Englishman was simply as follows:Hammid deceased of a natural death, Selim taking his round, incognito, disin the middle of a war, which the guised in an Asiatic costume, perceived ambitious arrangements between Jo- a person walking arm in arm between seph II. of Austria and Catherine III. two Europeans, in precisely a similar of Russia had provoked. Upon which, dress to that which himself then had on. Selim III. was released from Eski This person could not be a Turk, as Serai, old palace (where the presump- Turks do not walk with christians in tive heirs and minor branches of the that manner ; and a late prvciamation imperial family are kept in honourable having prohibited the use of the Turkconfinement), 'in the full bloom of bis ish dress to the Europeans, on pain of life, at the age of 27 or 28; and was serere punishment, in consequence of invested with the sabre of his ancestors, very improper use having been made of on ibe 7th April. 1789.

the disguise, it was natural for the 415982

Sultan to order one of his attendants to cboose that of a muslin or calico-prin. inquire into the reason of an apparition ter, forming designs of flowers, and so unexpected. Such investigations are engraving the wooden blocks for printgenerally very peremptory, and their ing. He also early shewed a happy results very summary in Turkey. The turn for, music and poetry, by some Englishman was, bowever, accosted in pretty songs and original airs which he by no means a rude manner. He was bas composed. When he came to the asked, who and what he was? How he throne, he greatly encouraged music, dared to appear in that dress, in con- and often had European musicians to tempt of the Soltan's prohibition ? and, play before him, on instruments unusual in the same breath, was ordered to be to the Turks. taken before the grand vizier for fur- A chasteness and delicacy of taste for ther examination. The Englishman works of art, distinguished Selim from having about him the firinaun, or pass- his predecessors, and from orientals in port, for his protection in travelling, general. By rewarding, in the most and speaking Turkish fluently, craved liberal manner, such as excelled in any to be heard on the spot; and soon ingenious workmanship in gold, silver, satisfied his examiner, that the reason precious stones, enamelled-work, clockof his assuming that dress, was to work, fire-arms, and other productions facilitate his late journies in, Asia of ingenuity, a greater progress has Minor, where the European apparel been made by the artists in Turkey ia would have exposed him to many these branches during his single reign, inconveniences and insults; and that, than during the reigns of all his predesince his return, he only waited till bis

cessors. Nor was Selim's taste confined hair should have grown long enough to to the ornamental productions of the resume his usual dress. This was fully arts. The improvements in the guncorroborated by the Janissary attending manufactories, cannon-founderies, pow. the Englishman, and the custom-house der-mills, paper-mills, the erection of officers: at this, the Sultan's attendant many elegant and extensive barracks left him, surrounded by hundreds of for ihe artillery and other corps, and guards, to report to his master, and various other public establishments; returning in one minute, released him but above all, the vast improvements from further restraint, bidding him to which have been made in the arsenal, go home, and change his dress ; adding; and in naval architecture, within the in a flattering manner, that he was glad last twelve years, under the fostering the Englishman had been able to explain genius of Selim, testify that he possessed away so suspicious a circumstance, à spirit for the advancement of the which might have been attended with more useful arts in his country, which consequences, which both the Sultan bas seldom been surpassed by any moand himself would have regretted. The parch of any nation. moment the Englishman was accosted, many bye-standers, anticipating what The native energy of Selim's mind, their fears made them expect, ran soon disentangled him from the shackles towards the European quarters, and which the cramping precepts of the other parts of the town, declaring that seraglio, and the funatical tenets of they had actually seen his head struck Mahometanisin had thrown over his off by the executioner, who always understanding during his confinement. accompanies the Grand Signior in his So far from contemning the superiority incognito excursions. Nor was the real of Europeans in arts and sciences, he fact ever universally kuown. The case evinced an ardent desire to improve his of the sin is involved in much uncer- countrymen, by the example and intainty or mystery; but if his execution struction of Europeans of every nation, ever did take place, there is every whom he liberally encouraged to come reason to presume, froin the character into his service. Nor must it be omitof humanity which Seliin has ever ted, that a decided preference was since maintained, that there must have always offered to Englishinen; but the been some very strong, though latent, wicked selfishness of some of our agents, reason for the act.

whosc duty it was to encourage a par. Selim, as is customary for every male tiality so beneficial to our national child in Turkey, let his birth be what it interest, joined to the want of a certain may, was educated to a trade. His amenity of manuers in some of the genius for drawing inclined him to few adienturers who came to Coastane

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tinople to be employed, discouraged upon him to delay the execution of this predilection in our favour, and his intentions; and the variety of obforced that preference to be transferred jects of a public nature which were to our rivats and enemies, who, wisely planned, diverted him altogether from appreciating what our impious policy his martial purpose. spurned from us, have raised an ascen- The mildness and benignity of his dancy upon it, which has placed the fate mangers in private, secured the attache of the empire at their disposal, and ment of those who were placed about, which threatens the speedy destruction him, by sentiments of affection for his of all our influence and possessions in person, rather than that awe which the east.

eastern monarchs generally aspire at, The encouragement given by Selim, He was himself at once ardent and since his accession, for the re-establiela steady in his affection for those who had ment of the press, by which the study merited his particular regard. His of arts and sciences has been more tender attachinent to his mother and generally spreading in Turkey; the sisters, was an example of that exalted gracious manner with which he received sentiment of human nature. lle never a copy of the Tableau general de failed to raise those whow be honoured ? Empire Ottoman, accompanied with a with his esteein, tu stations of high large painting, containing, in genea- power, or important influence. Nor logical order, the portraits of all the did this appear the effect of mere oitoman Sultans in contempt of the capricious partiality. The genius and abhorrence in which the fanatical Mus- abilities which many of his favourites sulman holds pictures), presented by bave shewn, in the discharge of their the Chev. Druhson, are strong proofs offices, bear testimony to his discera. of the superiority of his mind over the ment of real merit. "Witness his first early impressions of education and favourite, Kutchuk-Hussein; who, from national prejudices. And the orga- one of the haz-oda, or gentlemen of the nization of the Nizami Dzedid, a new imperial household, he created capudan system of tactics and finance, in imi- pacha, lord high admiral, and gave him tation of European nations, notwith the sultana, his cousin, with a large standing the outrageous and alarming dowry, in marriage. We inust refrain, oppositions that bave several times through motives of prudence, from been raised against it by the Janissaries, publishing, for the present, many other forcibly exemplify the depth of his instances, whoin we hope are still livunderstanding, and energy of his cha- ing, of the soundness of Selim's judge racter, in the choice and execution of inent in the choice of his favourites. grcat measures for the renovation of Selim's munificence was limited only the powers of his empire.

by his means, which, although consiImmediately on coming to the throne, derable, were far inadequate to satisfy Selim declared an ardent inclination to his generous propensities. He ofteu follow the examples of the warlike rewarded the services of Europeans with princes of his race, and to take the his own hands. He was sometimes command of his armies in person, puzzled to find out novel and pleasing which were struggling with various ways to testify his obligations to those successes against the united powers of who rendered him particular services. Austria and Russia. Nor did the The gallant Nelson had been presented superior tactics and skill of his ene- with an inperial egret, and other tokens mies make him shrink from his pur-' of acknowledgment for the signal depose: strong opposition was, however, feat of the French fleet at Aboukir. made, by, every species of intrigue, That immortal admiral, soon after, against this resolution, by the Ulema, took two French frigates, in wbich he and the authorities which had been found many Turks lately made prisoorganized by his late predecessors. For nors; these be treated as became a considerable time they were not able himself, and sent them in a handto move him. The Valide Sultana, sul- some inanner to Constantinople. Selim tana mother, and many of his confiden- was at a loss how to testify his gratitial favourites, being persuaded, by tude; and, at the suggestion of Mr. certain reasons, of the danger and Spencer Smith, at that time our miimpolicy of his absenting himself froin nister at the Porte, he instituted the his capital so soon after his accession, Order of the Crescent ; which is a brilanderiood and succceded to prevail faut crescat set in relief, in a medal,

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