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ART. XV.-Constantinopolis und der Bosporos örtlich und geschichtlich beschrieben von Jos. von Hammer.stantinople and the Bosphorus topographically and historically described by Joseph von Hammer. 2 vols. 8vo.
Nor a year has elapsed since this work was published in Hungary, and it is several months since the politeness of a friend favored us with a sight of perhaps the only copy of it, which has yet reached America. This rapid communication of literary intelligence is the great evidence, as it is the greatest engine of the civilization of our day; and we confess we look with added curiosity into a work not yet a year from the press, and reaching us from countries beyond the circle of our ordinary geography. Nothing illustrates more strongly the civilizing spirit of the christian religion, than to see one branch of the old race of Turkish Tartars-for such the Hungarians are-able to send forth publications like this from their provincial capital: while the other, politically speaking so much more important, constituting a powerful independent empire, are still substantially as barbarous, as when their ancestors, from the sides of the Altai mountains, sent ambassadors to Justinian.
Mr Von Hammer, the author of the work before us, was for a long time, at the head of the interpreters of the Austrian legation at Constantinople. No nation of Europe is brought so much into contact with the Turks, as Austria: for though the Russian empire bounds the Turkish, for a greater extent, yet the Austrian frontier is of much greater political consequence from the character of the population and the vicinity of the capital. The memory of the days is yet fresh, when Turkish armies knocked hard at the gates of Vienna; and the seat is still pointed out in the tower of St Stephen's church, in that city, where field marshall Stahremberg sat to direct the defence against the Mahometan besiegers. Though alarms like these are not likely to recur, the Austrian government has ever regarded its Turkish frontier as highly important, and a limitary militia of 80,000 men is stationed to defend it. The importance of the relations between the two powers is so great, that the Austrians have also imitated the example of the French government, and established a school for the education of interpreters in the Turkish
language and the other oriental tongues most connected with the Turkish, that it may not be obliged to depend in its negotiations on the mercenary and faithless services of the Greeks.
Mr Von Hammer is one of the most distinguished pupils of this school, and has long been at the head of the official interpreters of his government. The zeal, with which he magnifies the dignity of his calling, cannot be condemned: and his digression, in the second volume, on the antiquity and importance of the function of interpreter, if sometimes marked by extravagance, is nevertheless animated and instructive. We are not yet prepared, with Mr Von Hammer, to find the origin of the office of interpreter in the ancient doctrines of Egyptian and Persian theology; but it is quite plain that the great powers of Europe, who have the important relations of peace and war to negotiate with the Turks, must suffer great indignities in entrusting their diplomacy to the mercenary Greek subjects of the Porte; whose characters and situation are alike incompatible with the independent discharge of their duty to foreign employers. In fact, it is by no means to negotiations between Christians and Turks, that the pertinency of these remarks is limited. The English and American diplomacy has suffered, in the eyes of continental Europe, by a favorite practice of sending out ministers, who cannot speak the universal language of the continent; and it was pleasantly said by Napoleon of a certain legation, of which the head spoke no French and the secretary was hard of hearing, that 'the legation was deaf and dumb.'
Our readers may gain a little insight into our author's manner, by an extract containing an account of three distinguished interpreters in the service of the Porte.
'As a relief to the foregoing passages in the Turkish annals, relative to the ill treatment of European ministers and interpreters, one more shall be added from the same historians, as it is the only one, which bears honorable testimony to a foreign, and that an imperial German ambassador, in respect to the knowledge of eastern tongues. It is expressly stated by the Turkish historian Naima, that Negroni, who was sent ambassador to Constantinople in 1608, spoke the Turkish, Persian, and Arabic languages. Had other European ambassadors imitated this example, much abuse, on the part of the drogomans, would have been restrained.
It remains only to speak of the drogomans of the Porte, the real secretaries of state of the Ottoman empire, through whose hands all foreign negotiations pass; and of the fortunes and disasters recorded of them, in the Turkish histories. Imprisonment, confiscation, and the bow-string have as frequently been their reward, as wealth and the princedom of Moldavia and Wallachia. The three greatest interpreters of the Ottoman empire, lived in the seventeenth century, in the person of Graziani, Mavrocordato and Panajotti. The two last were Greeks, and the founders of the still existing princely families of Mavrocordato and Murusi. The family of the first, however, who seems to have been a native of Grätz, and who elevated himself, by great services to the princedom of Moldavia and the dukedom of Naxos, appears to have been extinguished in his own person. The less that has hitherto been known of the fortunes of the Gräzian, Graciano, who still retained this name as prince of Moldavia and duke of Naxos, the more are we bound by patriotic duty, to communicate what we have been able to learn of him from authentic sources. Casparo Graziani, (that is Caspar of Grätz), appears to have been properly named Chrunitsch, for a kinsman of Gratiani recommended for the school of linguists, by Starzer the imperial agent of the Porte, is called Peter Chrunitsch. Gratiani, as a servant of the archduke Ferdinand of Grätz, maintained a correspondence from Constantinople in 1612, with the secretary of the archduke and with the Spanish viceroy in Naples and Sicily, and he was recommended by Starzer, as his successor as agent to the Porte. He seems, however, to have preferred the Turkish service; for three years after, he appears with Achmet Kiaja and Mustapha Aga, as plenipotentiaries at the Vienna peace, which was signed in twelve articles, 14 July, 1615. As the imperial court was by no means contented with this first treaty, the Turkish plenipotentiaries, Achmet Kiaja and Gratiani, were retained till the subscription of a supplementary convention, which took place May 1, 1616, in the Italian, Hungarian, and Turkish languages. As a reward for the conclusion of this treaty, Gratiani received from the Turkish government the titles of duke of Naxos and count of Paros; an uncommon distinction, never bestowed on a Greek before or after him. The next year, 1617, Gratiani was sent to Vienna as plenipotentiary, to bring the ratification of the treaty of the preceding year and of the supplementary convention. Gratiani, although in the Turkish service, was less a traitor to his native land and sovereign than the imperial ambassador Negroni, praised above for his knowledge of the oriental tongues, who with his adjunct Buonuomo, a Genoese of the Pera, were detected
in treachery and unfaithfulness; and first made the necessity fully apparent of employing, instead of the faithless drogomans of the Pera, honest German interpreters, that should bar the intrusion of the Perotes into any important affairs.
'On his return from Vienna, Gratiani enjoyed the highest influence, and was appointed hospodar of Moldavia. In this post, he enticed the Poles to an invasion of the empire, and in a promiscuous conflict, was killed by a peasant, in whose house he had taken refuge. After Gratiani, who left no family behind him, his steps were followed exclusively by Greeks, as interpreters, ministers, and princes of Wallachia and Moldavia. The most distinguished after him was Panajotti the founder of the family of Murusi, who in 1650 entered into the imperial service, under the Swiss Schmid, at that time Austrian internuntio. Having afterwards married a lady from the noble Greek house of Cantacuzeni, he was elevated to the rank of nobility among the Genoese of Pera, and retaining his imperial salary of a thousand dollars, passed over as interpreter to the Porte, into the service of the Turks. After the peace of Candia in 1669, which he negotiated much to the satisfaction of the grand vizier, he received the revenues of the island of Mycone, and just before his death, in 1673, by means of his influence with the Porte, he obtained for the Greek communion, the care of the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem. To him succeeded Mavrocordato, a learned man and skilful negotiator, who was much employed in the negotiations between the Turks and the imperial court. Shortly after the execution of the grand vizier, Kara Mustapha Pacha, in 1683, he was thrown into prison and his property confiscated; but in 1689 he was sent with Sulfikar Effendi as ambassador to the imperial court, and in 1699 was plenipotentiary for the treaty at Carlowitz. As a testimonial of the satisfaction, which his services had given to all parties, he received from the emperor the patent of count of the empire, and from the sultan the rank of privy counsellor; and his son succeeded him as interpreter to the Porte.'
Mr Von Hammer, the author of the present work, is already advantageously known, for his learned publications of similar import. One of these appeared at Vienna in 1815, under the title, 'The Constitution and administration of the Ottoman empire, represented from its fundamental Laws,' a work of high repute on this topic.-Still earlier, viz. in 1811, Mr Von Hammer had published,- Topographical views, collected on a voyage in the Levant;'-and in 1818, appeared from
the same diligent pen, Observations on an excursion from Constantinople to Brussa and Olympus, and thence back to Nice and Nicomedia.' The present work is to be regarded as a continuation of the latter. It contains the sum of his personal observations, connected with the fruit of his perusal of the former writers. It is easy to perceive the advantages, which Mr Von Hammer possessed for an undertaking like the present. He repeatedly traversed the city of Constantinople and the Bosphorus, in every direction, with Kaufer's guide in his hand; compared regularly the accounts of the Turkish writers, who alone communicate authentic information as to the erection, destination, and changes of the most considerable buildings; and diligently noted every local circumstance that offered itself, particularly in the way of inscriptions. After his return to Austria, the materials thus collected were exposed to diligent revision, and subjected to the test of a systematic perusal of the Byzantine historians.-Mr Von Hammer also observes, that after his departure from Turkey, he became possessed of a large work of travels from the pen of a native Turkish writer, Evlia Effendi, who had been brought up in the seraglio, which he had sought in vain in Constantinople, and from which he derived important assistance. The whole chapter on the gilds among the mechanics of Constantinople is copied from that writer.
Mr Von Hammer's work is of the same class with many German publications;-it perfectly exhausts the subject. A host of writers have preceded him, some writing quietly at home, and deriving their materials from the Byzantines and earlier authors; others recording the results of their own observations. Mr Von Hammer does both. A very long official residence at Constantinople gave him advantages, which few of the travellers possessed, and a thorough acquaintance with Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, with the learned languages of antiquity, and the most important ones in modern Europe, placed within his reach many facilities of personal observation, and the means of consulting native authors, which scarce any other traveller has enjoyed. In addition to this, Mr Von Hammer goes regularly to work to digest his materials, on a comprehensive plan and in the most systematic order. He reads the Byzantines through in course, as he tells us himself, with the pen in his hand,' to make an abstract or a note of