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aries. They are written in the true vein of a public orator; of a man who was always officially upon his legs, in days when orationes habitæ’ were more exclusively the mark of the scholar, and more carefully conned and delivered than they are at present. The language is Latin, and such Latin as became the official mouthpiece and recorder of the great and Sovereign Order of St. John, the military bulwark of Christendom. There is a noble turgidity in the style; a tendency to run into sonorous and Euphuistic triplets of expression, in almost every sentence far outdoing in their grave and decorous volume Cæsar's thrasonical brag of. I came, saw,
and overcame.' Caoursin was a man to whom every subject naturally arranged itself under three heads. It would perhaps hardly be unfair to say that he viewed the world as composed of three principal ingredients, of which · Magister Rhodi,' the Grand Master, was the first ; • Ordo perillustris,' the Order of St. John generally, was the second; and Guillelmus Caoursin, Rhodiorum Vice· Cancellarius,' the third. A touch of scholastic vanity was pardonable in the fifteenth century in a man whose historical commentary was not only written, but printed,~quæ per orbem impressorum arte est divulgata.'
Mary Dupuis is a very different sort of personage. Though Vertot quotes him as an eye-witness of the siege, relying on the expression, selon que je peu voir a l’ueil,' it is clear that he does not pretend to be one of the garrison, but only to have visited Rhodes shortly afterwards. The name of Pierre Dupui, a knight of the Priory of A'uvergne, is found in the archives of the Order as one of the actual defenders of Rhodes in 1480. Mary may have been some relative of his, and may have claimed kindred with Raymond Dupuy, the first Grand Master of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. Modestly conscious of his own literary inferiority, as well as of his imperfect military science, he styles himself 'gros et rude de sens et de entende* ment,' but is ready, for the information of ceulx les quieulx • en vouleront savoir des nouvelles,' to describe, as briefly and truly as possible, what he had seen with his own eyes no long time after the siege was raised, as well as what he had heard from many who were actually present and witnesses of all, both Knights of the Order and inhabitants of the town. Although his narrative is thus at second hand, it has every appearance of being as correct in details as Caoursin's; and they are both confirmed in the general outlines of the story by the despatch written by the Grand Master to the German Emperor within a month of the raising of the siege. This despatch is given at full length by the Chevalier Taaffe in his recent history: we are not aware that it was ever published before.
No one with a map in his hand or head can wonder that the Grand Turk should have been anxious to dislodge the Chevaliers of St. John from the island of Rhodes and its appurtenances. Tradition was in favour of the attempt. They had been driven back step by step from the Holy Land itself, from Cyprus, and along the coasts of Asia Minor. Convenience urged him on. They must have been in his eyes a pestilent set of warlike wasps, placed there on purpose to vex the Crescent and uplift the Cross: a hive of mischief-makers, who were always setting him and his neighbour, the Soldan of Egypt, by the ears, or at least perpetually intriguing for a temporary neutrality with the one, more successfully to harass the other. Posted at the corner of the Ægean and the Levant, they commanded both seas, to the great actual detriment of his navy, whether warlike or commercial. Policy, moreover, made it imperative on him to clear them out of the way. His most cherished idea was an assault upon the Cross in its stronghold: nothing less than the subjugation of Italy itself. To attempt this with the Knights of Rhodes in his rear would have been dangerous if not impossible. He resolved to attack them simultaneously, and failed; only succeeding for a short time in the establishment of his power at Otranto. The conquest of Rhodes was reserved for his descendant, Solyman the Second, some forty years later. The Chevalier Taaffe, with the feeling of an exile
in duri stenti E de' perduti beni si rammenti ...' gives a picturesque description of Rhodes as it was under the sway of the Order. We quote it at length, as a bird's-eye view which may illustrate and give life and colour to the plan which we subjoin, for the clearer comprehension by our readers of the course of the siege:
"-Rhodes, that lovely island, -rich, salubrious, and diversified with beautiful upland and lawns, remarkable from its quantities of roses, whence probably the name. On the top of a plain in the north-east stands its capital, also called Rhodes, as round as if drawn by a compass, nor unlike the full moon, when partly in light and partly shade- the side of the port, where the water bathes the foot of the houses, being in shade, and the city, the part in light, glittering like gold. And in the still mirror of the port (which itself is also a round) is the best place possible to observe the lunar reflexion at that ecstatic moment. Note, however, it is only one side (the eastern) has the sea and that commodious port, and three the land. This in its varieties had rising ground and hillocks, some of them close to the ramparts; and as far as the eye could reach, even from the steeple of St. John's, the view was loaded with orchards, gardens, villas, and most splendid forest-trees, and waving corn, and vineyards, and pastures full of well-bred cattle and fine fleet horses.'
There is the Chevalier Taaffe in his original English. As corroborative evidence, let us put beside him Mary Dupuis, in his original French. He points out the military disadvantages implied in the picturesque beauty of the situation. Heavy ordnance had not been long enough in use in the fifteenth century to make the Knights aware of the life-and-death importance of fortifying and maintaining the hill of St. Stephen :
• Laquelle ville de Rhodes est assise en beau pays et de belle venue de toutes pars bien murée et tourrée et à la muraille a XXII piex despesseur et plus; et y a de beaux fosses et larges tours à fons de cuve, et la ville la mieulx clause que je veix oncques qui soit au monde comme je croi, et est bien garnie d'artillerie tant grosse que petite et de tous autres batons, et y a toujours beaucoup de nobles et vaillans chevaliers et de toutes les nations du monde qui sont chacun jour prests et appareillés de combatre pour la foy Catholique et défendre la Chrétienté, et qui souvent courent en Turquie, et qui jamais n'ont paix aux Turcs et infidèles ; devant laquelle ville et cité du couste de terre et comme au meillieu des deux bandes de la marine y a une petite montaigne plate, laquelle montaigne est nommée et appellée la montaigne Saint Estienne. Et tout autour de ladicte ville et cité de Rhodes a le plus beau lieu du monde pour mettre et pour poser siège. Car tout autour de ladicte ville y a beaucoup de jardins et tout plein de petites maisons églises et chapelles de Grecs, vieilles murailles tant de pierres et petis roches où l'on se peut mettre à couvert contre ceulx de la ville, en telle manière que se toute l'artillerie du monde estoit dedans la ville, elle ne saroit faire nul mal à ceulx qui sont dehors s'ils ne se approuchent près de la ville.'
Such was Rhodes in 1480 — a rose of roses, well worth the plucking. More than a century and a half earlier, the Hospitallers had spent four years in conquering the island; and since that time they had lavished all their treasures, all their skill, and all their aristocratic taste, drawn from the richest countries of Europe, in perfecting its strength and beauty. Those who have seen what the Knights of St. John effected in less than three centuries on the barren rock of Malta, now proudly called by its indigenous patriots the fior del mondo,' will be able to imagine what an exquisite gem of the sea they created in Rhodes.
Caoursin the Vice-Chancellor, writing in the full pride of success, and possessed with an exemplary faith in the indestructibility of the tenure by which the Order of St. John then held this favoured island, chastises, in words which are barely represented by the following paraphrase, the presumptuous and unwarrantable insolence of the Turk in attempting to eject them. It should be remembered that he wrote at a time when the Turkish empire was divided against itself by the quarrel
between Mahomet's two sons, Bajazet and Zizim, if indeed Prince Zizim was not already a fugitive, living at Rhodes under the protection of the Order.
As the strength of the Grand Turk grew daily, so (says Caoursin) did his arrogance grow also. And whereas in the course of twenty-four years he had brought many of the neighbouring nations under his own yoke, he was thereby puffed up and took it hardly, that the city of Rhodes and the domain of the Knights of Jerusalem, bordering on his own so closely, should yet be free and independent of his empire. And, moreover at divers times he had sent four several expeditions to invade their territories and besiege their fortified places, but had reaped therefrom nothing but peril, loss, and shame. His soldiers had suffered fire and sword, stoning, hanging, and as many other varieties of capital punishment as the early Christian martyrs. In Caoursin's own exhaustive words - multi • trucidati: palo suffixi: furcis suspensi: sagittis affecti: lapi• dibusque cæsi: calamis perustis suffossi : gladiis objecti : mem• bratim discerpti: perierunt.'
Amurath was succeeded by Mahomet in 1451; Constantinople taken in 1453; so that from whichever date we assume the curriculum of twenty-four years to run, we must suppose the great struggle to have been meditated upon by one side, and prepared for by the other, for three years at least, if not five. The varied course of experiments in practical surgery on which Caoursin dwells with such unction took place chiefly between the years 1454 and 1467. Constantinople had not fallen six months before Mahomet demanded a yearly tribute from the Order, and ravaged their coasts on receiving a refusal. Except for two years, when he had signed a truce with them, in order to devote his whole power to the attack on Trebizond, there was a constant interchange of desultory hostilities. There was also from time to time an equally desultory interchange of negotiations; for he was politic enough to wish sincerely to keep the peace with his neighbours till his own time, and upon his own terms. As long as he was obliged to employ his chief strength against the Venetians, it was of the utmost convenience to him to keep the Rhodian wasps’-nest in good humour, both in respect of Cyprus and the more western possessions of the sovereign Republic. He was always ready to negotiate through his Greek agents (“greculi,' Caoursin calls them, in opposition to the Græci, or Greek citizens of Rhodes) a peace upon equal terms, provided only the Order would consent to pay him a trifle by way of tribute — dummodo quidpiam • tributi titulo concederetur.' The chivalrous Hospitallers had