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by declaring that his troops were never successful except when led by himself in person. After collecting in Bithynia during the ensuing winter an army estimated at 300,000 men, he commenced a southward march across Asia Minor, as soon as the season admitted of commencing the campaign. There can be no doubt that Rhodes, so long the eyesore of his
power, was the object of this expedition ; but such absolute secrecy was maintained as to its destination, that many thought it was intended against the soldan of Egypt. Forty years, however, were still to elapse before the banner of the Crescent should wave over the citadel of Rhodes; and Mahomet was fated to die in his march across Bithynia, on the 3rd of May, 1481.
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes : and they shone portentously on this occasion. Four comets foretold to the astrologers with great precision Mahomet's death, and the dissensions consequent thereon between his sons Bajazet and Zizim. Without professing to guarantee the prophecies as delivered before the event, we subjoin for the curious the accounts of these celestial phenomena transmitted through the poetry of the age.
• Inanci el suo spirare quatro comete
E una stella rossa loro in mezo.' Such were the heavenly signs — to each of which astrology assigned its due signification. The largest comet portended the death of the emperor-Cioe el gran turcho, capo di turchia,' — the three others, with their varieties of colour, twisted tails, and bloody scythe, foretold, with minute particularity, the course of the quarrel between Mahomet's sons, as it came to pass.
Ed e adempito per astrologia
Come el gran turcho morebbe di turchia,
E fra' figlioli sarebbe divisione :' and so on.
The earth gave its tokens as well as the sky:
l aere avia :' until, in accordance with his destiny,
• Si come piacque al eterno Signore
El gran turcho de vita trapassò.' The news of Mahomet's death reached Rhodes, as Caoursin tells us, exactly one year after the opening of the first battery against the tower of St. Nicholas. Well pleased the Knights must have been to escape a repetition of the last year's siege, if nothing worse. It became the duty of the Vice-Chancellor and Public Orator to improve the occasion; and he has happily reported in full the Oration · De Morte Magni Thurci, delivered in the Senate of Rhodes on the day before the Kalends of June, 1481. Our readers may be edified by a slight paraphrase or summary.
• Not without God's pity, begins the pious orator, and that • divine nod to which all things bow, is the poisoned wound of • Christendom healed, the consuming fire quenched; the devouring serpent, the second Mahomet, the bitterest enemy of the life-giving Cross, and of this our military Order (which • has been rescued by favour of that redeeming sign alone), is · dead. How did the infernal one rejoice at the coming of his • abandoned comrade, and the inmates of hell receive him with
shouts of joy ; if, indeed, there is any joy in that abode at all. • For surely the fearful mansion of eternal misery is duly reserved for that most wicked of tyrants, who destroyed the souls of so many children, whom he drove to the denying of • their faith; who dragged so many holy maidens from the • religious service whereunto they were dedicated; who ruined • so many noble virgins and chaste wives; who slaughtered
alike the young, the old, and the decrepid; who profaned the • relics of the saints, and polluted with the foul rites of Ma• homet the temples and monasteries of the Catholic faith ; who
swallowed up inheritances, trampled on and seized for his own • kingdoms principalities and cities; even to the noble imperial
city of Constantinople; where he committed such enormities
of cruelty, superstition, and wickedness,' as Caoursin does not like to think of. The tongue of a virtuous public orator sticks to the roof of his mouth, his face is suffused with blushes, and his pale lips are quivering, at speaking of crimes so savage in the presence of the Grand Master and that most illustrious assembly: he can scarcely refrain from tears: but he trusts they will pardon him, inasmuch as Plato himself says that speech must be suited to facts. Who can invent a punishment severe * enough, or find in hell a place fit for such a monster, where • his cruel soul may duly pay its endless penalty ? Truly a • second Lucifer, a second Mahomet, a second Anti-Christ; whose guilty corpse (as we may infer) Earth itself refused to contain, gaping so widely that it sank at once down to the centre and the perpetual chaos of the wicked, where its odour • of unholiness was so villainous as even to aggravate their
former pains. For, about the time of his expiring, shocks of ' earthquake were felt over Asia, Rhodes, and the adjscent islands, of which the violence destroyed castles, palaces, and
citadels : the sea itself rose on a sudden ten feet above, and ebbed as many below, its usual level. Such phenomena must . be referred to the strength of the horrid exhalation mentioned
above: for although they may be brought about in accordance ' with physical principles, still they are wont to portend or ' accompany some great event.'
It appeared noteworthy to the genius of that age, that the death of the Great Turk should have occurred on the anniversary of the finding of the true Cross. The oration naturally concludes with the compliments suggested by the occasion to ' our high and mighty prince and grandmaster, Peter D’Aubusson, who in faith may be said to rival the Maccabees, in strength Samson, in prudence Cato, in good fortune Metellus, in military genius Hannibal, and in the glory of his victory Julius Cæsar.'
One of the woodcuts in Caoursin's volume illustrates the scene of Mahomet's deathbed. A crowned, bearded, hooknosed, ghastly figure lies propped up by pillows on a couch, at the foot of which an attendant is uplifting the wail. The gaunt and powerless arms have fallen outside the coverlet, at the folds of which the fingers have been fumbling. The Ulemas, or whatever other name belongs to the Mahometan priesthood of that age, are administering the last consolations of their religion, and exhibiting for the sultan to kiss or adore an emblem which may be a metal plate with rayed edges, representing a sun or star. In the background are the royal physicians, with crossed forefingers and significant gesticulation, muttering their
last useless consultation upon the treatment of their patient. Over the head of the couch flutters a winged demon, such as Retzsch delights in designing, who, when the last breath exhales, and Mahomet the Second “trapassa' from his earthly tenement, seizes in grim triumph the helpless soul of his victim, as it issues from the dying lips in the likeness of a newborn child. Gavisus est quidem infernus perditi sodalis adventu.
To balance all the abuse which the vigorous and orthodox Caoursin makes it his pleasure and duty to heap on the Great Turk's devoted head, let us refer to the grand simplicity of Mahomet's epitaph, which there is every reason to suppose he drew up for himself. The man who conquered with his own right hand two empires, twelve kingdoms, and three hundred cities, inscribed on his tomb no word in record of so many victories. Not what he did, but what he tried to do, and failed in doing, stands written above his dust. •I designed to * conquer Rhodes, and subdue proud Italy.' It brings back at once the
Actum, inquit, nihil est, nisi Pono milite portas
Frangimus, et mediâ vexillum pono Saburrâ' of the great Carthaginian conqueror. A trait of similar character is recorded of Mahomet's great predecessor Saladin; who, before his death, ordered his standard-bearer to carry round the streets of Damascus the winding-sheet in which he was soon to be wrapped, crying aloud as he went, 'See here all that • the great Saladin, conqueror of the East, carries off with him of all his conquests and treasures.' This again is the moral of Expende Hannibalem,'—a moral which will bear much ·
—a repetition, not among the followers of El Islam alone, or the philosophical worshippers of the Roman Pantheon. Saladin and Mahomet the Second did not wait for a Giaour satirist to point the moral for them.
Here we may draw the curtain : for the death of Mahomet was the safety of Rhodes. Scarcely more than a year from this date elapsed, before Misach Palæologus, again restored to court-favour and greatness as a partisan of Bajazet, was treating with D’Aubusson's ambassadors respecting the jealous safekeeping of the unfortunate Prince Zizim."
Precellentissimus Princeps noster was the head of the Order
As a friendly diplomatist he found more favour in Caoursin's sight than as a hostile general. The monstrum horrendum informe ingens of the siege changes upon a nearer view into 'vir quidem per• humanus ac facundus.'
for twenty years more; but the rest of his acts, and the remaining portion of Caoursin's Chronicle, belong to a fresh period of history. Let us leave Rhodes to repair her damaged walls, and cultivate to their former trimness and beauty her spoiled vineyards and gardens; while the knightly champions of St. John of Jerusalem still talk over among themselves, and recount to Mary Dupuis for our benefit, their perils and their preservation non sine Dei pietate ac divino nutu.
Art. VI.- 1. Report of the Select Committee of the House of
Lords on Railways, together with the Minutes of Evidence taken
before the Committee. 1846. . 2. Private Bills and Business of the House of Lords.- Proposed
Resolutions. - The Lord Brougham and Vaux. 1846. Re
printed 1854. 3. Reports from the Select Committee of the House of Commons
on Private Bills ; together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appen
dir and Index, 1846 and 1847. 4. First and Second Reports from the Select Committee (House of
Commons on Railway Acts Enactments. 1846. 5. Reports of Select Committees (House of Commons) on Private
Business and Business of the House. 1851 and 1854. 6. Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament. 1854. We are told in Sir Simonds D’Ewes’ · Journal of the Par
liaments of Queen Elizabeth,' that when in one Session applications for individual exemptions from the general law had been rather freely listened to, so that sixty-seven Private Bills for this purpose were presented for the Royal Assent, the Sovereign peremptorily rejected all but nineteen of them. A return made in 1847 shows, that during the first ten years her present Majesty's reign there were no less than 2697 petitions for Private Bills, and that 2220 Local, Personal, and Private Acts of Parliament received the Royal Assent, or nearly double the number of the Public General Statutes passed during the same time. In the joint Minute of Messrs. Anstey and Rogers in the first Report of Mr. Bellenden Ker on the Proceedings of the Board for the Revision of the Statute Law, the number of Private Acts is estimated at 14,268 ; and to complete this large collection of special laws he enumerates 9285 Local and Personal Acts, and 2473 of the Public Acts which are merely of a local and personal nature.