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Harvey's, Dr. W. H., Seaside Book, 88.
Sketches of the Nations and Races between
the Black Sea and the Caspian, 62.
broker's Daughter, 446.
James's, Hugo, Volunteer's Scramble through
Scinde, &c., 184.
tal Palace, 247,
Lady Una and her Queendom, or Reform at
the Right End, 275.
Mitford's, Mary Russell, Dramatic Works, 363.
and Rumelia in 1828-9, 364.
of the oldest known Rocks containing Or-
ganic Remains, &c., 443.
Sketches of Syrian Life, 275.
française sous la Restauration, 276.
and Sweden, 394.
Correlation of Psychology and Physiology,
spheres, or Reminiscences of a Merchant's
Dialogue on the same subject, 360.
and other poems, 89.
Terre et Ciel, 537.
de Terville, ou Mémoires d'une Dame de
and Painting, 155, 247.
Songs of the Present, 182.
Stewart's, Agnes M., Church Festivals, or
Scenes in Many Lands, 182.
ical Brochures of School Literature, 90.
Journey through Syria and Palestine in
Rome : or the History of the Religious
See from 179 to 1534, 69.
testant Refugees, 87, 113.
ciples of Church Authority, or Reasons for
Sermons on the Holy
to the Island of Bourbon, Brazil, &c., 182.
WHEREVER nature is fairest and most beneficent, there man is not unfrequently most feeble or most degraded. All history warns us that we are not made to pass our days amidst the sweets of a fertile garden, inhaling its odours, plucking its flowers, and tasting its luscious fruits. It is in the struggle against difficulties that all that is best in man is nurtured into vigour, and preserved from decay. Through labour we live ; in enjoyment we die. The thorn of the rose-tree is a better friend to us than all the perfume which exhales from its blossoms.
It is through the working of this inevitable law, in conjunction with other causes, that the civilised world is now rent with the agitations of a war, whose progress is wrapt in the deepest obscurity, and whose influences on the destiny of mankind will probably be weightier than those of any conflicts which for generations have afflicted humanity. Europe, and no unimportant part of Asia, are now shaken to their foundations, because there exists a certain spot on the confines of the two continents, abounding beyond rivalry in all that would seem most fitted to add to the wealth, the dignity, the happiness, and the permanence of nations. If a people could not flourish and endure, with Constantinople for their centre, what kingdom is safe from poverty and decay ? Such would be the idea of those who estimate the fortunes of our race by the exuberance of the gifts which nature pours into our lap.
Such, no doubt, was the idea of Constantine the Great, when he thought to perpetuate his fame as a sovereign and a
VOL. II.NEW SERIES,
Christian by the foundation of a new imperial and Christian city. His unceasing journeyings through the vast domains which owned his sway had made him acquainted with their varied physical characteristics. His experience of the necessities of governments and armies had taught him the immense importance of fertile fields, commodious harbours, and positions at once accessible to friends and secure against foes. And when undivided empire and a new and pure faith had left him without any of the ordinary incentives to action which stimulate the hearts of kings, he conceived that the rearing a city of palaces and churches on that spot, which appeared the most perfect site in the world, could not fail to consolidate the power of his posterity, and to secure a new lease of life, glorious beyond precedent, to imperial Rome. For it was his notion that Rome herself was to migrate from Italy to the shores of the Propontis. Rome, stained with the blood of innumerable Christians, disfigured by a history at once bloody and republican, was to exchange the dreary levels of the Campagna for the exuberant fertility of the East, and the profitless Tiber for the prolific stream and harbour of Byzantium; and to rule the nations from a centre where all was Christian, all artistic and magnificent, and all imperial.
That the unimportant Byzantium should be the city chosen for this splendid transformation, brief reflection sufficed to decide; without exaggeration, its situation was, as it is, unrivalled. Europe and Asia could supply no other such harbour for ships of war and commerce. From the Black Sea to the Mediterranean (which were pre-eminently the seas of the ancient world) the waters flowed in a channel, formed, it seemed, with the especial design of supplying every thing that the sovereign and the merchant could desire. Rushing between the shores of the two continents, through a space so narrow that at certain places an immense chain might be thrown from bank to bank for the exclusion of a hostile fleet, the stream flowed past the natural quays of Byzantium in such depth as to allow the largest ships to anchor literally close to the land; while the surrounding hills protected them from every blast. Thence sweeping onwards, the waters spread themselves into a kind of lake, possessing all the advantages of an enormous harbour or dock, again to pass through another narrow channel before finally reaching the Mediterranean and its innumerable islands.
The triangular, or rather quadrilateral, portion of land thus secured on two of its sides by the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora, was further washed towards the north-east by the Black Sea itself; so that on one side alone was it accessible to the approach of an enemy from the European continent. Its climate was at once healthy and delicious; the waters around it swarmed with innumerable fish; the adjoining provinces presented a countless series of gardens, vineyards, and cornfields; gigantic forests clothed the shores of the Black Sea; the white marbles of Proconnesus were at hand, in quarries ample enough for the demands of an imperial projector; and lastly, the seven hills of the old Byzantium seemed to proclaim it the natural successor to the fame and greatness of the seven hills of old Rome.
Constantinople, or New Rome, as it was first named, was accordingly raised with all the breathless speed which absolute power and enormous wealth could command. From the hour, however, when the first stone was laid, the new city served only to foster the seeds of decay already planted in the Roman empire. So far, indeed, as security against invasion
, went, the hopes of its founder were in a great measure fulfilled. For many centuries after the fall of old Rome, its barbarian conquerors were unable to lay their hands on Constantinople. The natural strength of its position was increased by Theodosius II. by a line of wall, about four miles in length, with 180 towers; whose magnificent and picturesque ruins still furnish matter of admiration to the reflecting traveller. Thus situated, and supported by the immense pecuniary and numerical resources of the Greek emperors, Constantinople preserved its independence, save during a short interval after its capture by the French and the Venetians, till the middle of the fifteenth century. Still, it hastened the fall of the mighty sovereignty whose sway it was designed to confirm. It created jealousies, it forcibly diverted the sources of wealth into unnatural channels, it threw the highest offices of the state into the hands of a race which inherited only the name and the vices of the older Greeks; while its climate, its riches, and its security, served but the more rapidly to enfeeble the Roman race, to substitute subtlety for vigour of intellect, manufactured repetitions for works of art, and the luxurious vanity of a decaying people for the haughty ambition of a nation of conquerors.
At length its term of existence as a Christian city was run out. A new people had arisen, unknown to Constantine, with new blood, a new superstition, and all that fiery enthusiasm which carries a young and daring race to the throne of empire. While the Greeks were, age after age, yielding themselves with more hopeless listlessness to the enervating influences of a superb climate, a fertile territory, a schismatic and superstitious faith, the north had been pouring
forth its hordes of Tartars, animated by a new, a licentious, and a bloody creed, to seize the sceptres of the degenerate Christians of the East. That extraordinary portent, the religion of Mahomet, so wonderfully adapted to conciliate and vivify the passions of the age and country where it sprung, had for above eight centuries advanced upon Christianity and Paganism in an almost unvaried career of conquest. Framed with extraordinary skill to win its way over the prejudices of the Jews, the idolatries of the Pagans, and the subtleties of a class of Christians more metaphysical than devout, it was above all precisely fitted to attract the desires of mankind as they appear in a hot climate, and in a half-civilised state of society. The strongest nations of the East had long embraced its tenets, and had found in its theological organisation precisely that stimulus to perpetual conquest and restless advance which a rude paganism rarely, if ever, supplies,
At last, the victorious Ottomans marked Constantinople as their own. Seated between the newly-created civilisation of the West and the fiery fanaticisin of the Tartar tribes on the East, the Greek emperors had for generations trembled on their thrones-so far as that egregious vanity which characterised their dynasty would permit them to fear.
In the year 1448, Constantine Palæologus, the last of the Cæsars, assumed the crown of Constantine the Great How low the Cæsars had already fallen may be estimated from the fact, that the young emperor actually sought the hand of Maria, the widow of the recently deceased Sultan Amurath. She was a Christian (at least in name) it is true; but the very idea of such an alliance is sufficient to indicate a state of feeling between the Christian and the Mussulman nations which in this day we can with difficulty believe possible. Maria, however, preferred to take the veil; and her imperial suitor found a bride in a Georgian princess.
In the mean time, Mahomet II., the successor of Maria's husband Amurath, was inaugurating a policy towards the Greeks entirely opposed to that which had guided the latter years of his father. Mahomet is one of the great heroes of Turkish history, and as the sovereign who won the last and the fairest spoils from Christianity occupies a place in the recollection of Moslems to which his character and abilities, apart from his good fortune, would perhaps never have entitled him. In bis youth he appears to have been sincere in a bigoted attachment to the creed of Mahomet, not even conversing with a Christian without afterwards washing his hands, to cleanse himself from the pollution he had incurred. As he grew to maturity, the sincerity of his superstition became more than