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afterwards performed the most transcendant services to their country at large, and even to the very places which had discarded them.
Nor do we impugn the good sense of the new constituency of England, nor undervalue it, except on considerations drawn from the imperfections of our state and nature. Large masses of men cannot be well informed on the intricate details of politics and statistics; and even those that are less imperfectly informed are liable to seductions, excitements, and errors, which are often epidemic, and which, in such a system as the present, would be beyond remedy or control. Representative government itself stands on the admitted principle, that the people are not capable of exercising in primary assemblies political power; and, as Lord John Russell has truly said in his last work, (noticed in a preceding article,) this popular power is not fit for use, till it has been strained and filtered by some intermediate process. But his Lordship’s Reform Bill has broken all our strainers and filtering machines, and has sent us back to drink, as we may, at a turbid and turbulent stream, which, when we stoop to taste it, may hurry us away into the depths of destruction.
To conclude :-Will any man point out to us any one Principle, Institution, or Interest-in the constitutional or social system of these realms—which is not at this moment in imminent peril ? And will any man-whose hopes and fears hinge on any principle, institution, or interest thus threatened-be bold enough to say that he places his confidence, either in the strength of the Cabinet, or in the independence of the new House of Commons ?
Art. I.-Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches durch Joseph von
Hammer. Bände 1-8. Pest. 1827-1832. THIS HIS extensive and valuable work, before it is terminated, may
perhaps comprehend the whole drama of the Ottoman greatness. It has already traced the rise, and the decline, of the Turkish monarchy;—if we may judge from the signs of the times, one more concluding volume may describe its fall. The Sublime Porte seems gradually but rapidly sinking to the state of the Byzantine empire, just before its final extinction. With powerful enemies advancing and closing it in on every side—its nominal authority extending over a considerable territory, its real power shrinking by degrees into a still narrower compass-the terror of its name, the memory of former greatness losing its hold upon its own rebellious subjects—the wreck of the mighty empire of Mahomet the Second and of Solyman the Magnificent, appears to have but one chance of safety, which, in her last extremity, was wanting to the Eastern Rome. The politics of the Christian cabinets may yet maintain this barbarous and Asiatic power in possession of what once were the most flourishing and civilized regions of Europe ; mutual jealousy as to the distribution of the spoil, particularly of the great prize, the Imperial City; the difficulty of constructing an independent Christian and European kingdom, of sufficient strength to resist the encroachments of its formidable neighbours, or even perhaps the rallying energies of desperate Mahometanism : such are the only guarantees for the future existence of the Ottoman empire, -at least in Europe. Its fate will be averted or precipitated, by the turn which negotiations may take at Petersburgh, Paris, and London, rather than by the vigorous or indolent character of the reigning Sultan, or the system of government adopted at Constantinople.
The extraordinary changes which of late years have taken place, under the influence of the ruling sovereign, in Turkish habits and manners—the improvements which he has attempted to introduce into the military system-above all, the extinction of the Janizaries are indications of the decay of the ancient Turkish spirit, rather than of recruited strength, or reviying energy The Turk can only be formidable as a Turk; attempt to modernize, to Europeanize his habits, his mind, or even YOL. XLIX, NO. XCVIII,
his costume-he will lose all the power, the energy, the grandeur of his native and original character, without acquiring the quickness, the dexterity, the vivacity of that which is $9 foreign to his nature. The turbaned, the scymetared, the loose-trowsered Turk, will never fall into the trim and disciplined line of an European regiment; if he does, his movements, instead of being free, majestic, and vigorous, will be awkward and constrained; as he is initiated in modern habits, the staid and solemn dignity of his manners will depart;—and what will replace it? The huge cannon of the Dardanelles will no more perform the part of the flying artillery, in modern warfare, than their grave masters habituate themselves either to the military evolutions, or to the busy, peaceful pursuits of the West. To acquire European habits, the Turk must first forswear that potent drug, which of old used to intoxicate his valour to desperate enterprise-but which now stupifies him to a stately indifference to his humiliation. He must emancipate his mind from the moral opium of predestinarianism ; wbich, in the same manner, during the days of his ambition and glory, bred the noble defiance of danger, and the contempt of death—now reconciles him to his more inglorious destiny. Mashallah! (as God will !) once the proud exclamation of constant victory, is still the consolation of complacent apathy under defeat. It appears almost impossible that the most intimate connexion with Europeans should work a cqımplete revolution in a national character, to a certain degree inborn, and confirmed by centuries of pride or security; and that change, either repelled by the inert resistance of ancient habit, or but partially admitted, it seems still more inconceivable how it is to compete with the rapidly advancing activity of the rest of Europe ; alone to stand still, or advance but slowly, in the midst of the heady current, which is flowing with such violence throughout the Christian world.
If any nation should arise midway, as it were, between Asiatic and European, Mahometan and Christian civilization, the chances seem at present in favour of Egypt:-though even there, as in all countries where such revolutions are effected by the fiat of a despotic sovereign, too much depends on the life of an individual ; the state of the mass of the people is so far behind the forced and exotic cultivation upon the surface, that it would be dangerous to predict the duration of that which
• A breath may scatter, as a breath has made.' These observations, of course, suppose that the present dangerous crisis of the Ottoman power will be averted: that the conqueror of Konia will content himself, even if he renounces altogether his ancient vassalage, with reconstructing the empire of the Fatemite Sultans; and leave Roum and Stamboul to their fate.
The Turkish history, as yet, has lain hid in the ponderous tomes of Knolles and his continuator Rycaut; the rise alone of the Ottoman power, and its rapid growth, up to the taking of Constantinople, are familiar to the general reader, in the rapid but masterly description of Gibbon. The fame of Knolles's History rests on the well-known sentence of Johnson, who eulogizes this old worthy 'as the first of historians, unhappy only in the choice of his subject.' Gibbon, in his peculiar vein of solemn sarcasm, 'doubts whether a partial and verbose compilation from Latin writers, thirteen hundred folio pages of speeches and battles, can either instruct or amuse an enlightened age, which requires from the historian some tincture of philosophy and criticism.' It is extraordinary that even the pride of dictatorial paradox should have tempted Johnson to set up an idol of his own, at the head of the historic literature of England, which even then possessed Raleigh and Clarendon. The reverse of Johnson's decision we conceive to be more just. Knolles owes his fame, in a great degree, to his subject. The young imagination of Byron is said to have been strongly excited by the kindling pages of this historian. We suspect, however, that it was the Turkish character, its stern vigour, and its imposing and somewhat mysterious dignity, even perhaps the haughty and ferocious visages, in their noble and picturesque costume, which struck the congenial mind of the poet. The Turkish history retains much of the strangeness, the wildness, if we may so speak, the barbaric gorgeousness of its oriental character; while the constant collision with the western nations, its advance into the most celebrated regions of Europe, keep up a perpetual contrast and relief, and break that solemn monotony which reigns throughout Asiatic history. The purely Eastern annals are like one great battle, where a mass of
• Dusk faces, with white silken turbans wreathed,' mingle in undistinguishable confusion :- but in the Turkish, we find the scymitar and the turban opposed to the spear and the helmet of Christian chivalry. Nor is it here one warlike adventurer, one head of a wandering tribe, who suddenly rises up, forms a vast empire, founds a brief dynasty, which is as rapidly swept away, and replaced by another; one Tartar race, which perpetually throws down and reconstructs the empire or the kingdom of another; it is a solid and established monarchy; a line of kings, in which, notwithstanding the constitutional practice of general fratricide at each accession, the regular order of descent has been as seldom departed from, as in any royal race in Europe. Knolles, to whom we would render full justice, is occasionally both spirited and graphic in his battles and sieges : there is a grave earnestness in his manner, sometimes darkening into animosity,