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no means of making gold and silver; that these metals were obtained only from the earth; and that the advantage of philosophy ■was in being able to employ the best means of raising them from mines, and purifying them for use. I doubt whether he was satisfied with this reply, or did not still believe in further mysteries of the alchemic art. The desire of gold and longevity are natural to a despot; and especially to one who, like Ali Pasha, has been ever pursuing a scheme of ambitious progress.
Our conversation had often a reference to the politics of the day, on which I found him well and accurately informed. It was at this time that Bonaparte was pursuing his memorable campaign in Russia; in all the events of which Ali Pasha felt a lively interest, naturally arising out of his relation to the two great Powers concerned. It was obviously for his advantage, that they should mutually wear out their strength, without either of them obtaining the preponderance. While at peace, they checked each other as to Turkey; when at war, if either were eminently successful, there was eventual danger to him. The vicinity of the French in the lllyrian provinces would speedily give effect
any designs they might adopt in that quarter, either from views of general ambition, or from motives of personal hostility to himself, which be might be Well aware that he had created by his conduct at Prevesa, his recent connection with the English, and by other circumstances of less notoriety. Of the power of Russia, and the ultimate danger to, the
Turkish empire from this source, be was well informed j and he; as well as his sons, had felt and known the weight of the Russian armies pressing upon the Danube. He understood, too, that all foreign attempts at the restoration of Greece, whether with selfish or honourable motives, must of necessity imply a previous attack upon his power; and 1 believe he was fully sensible of his incapacity of resisting permanently .the efforts of a regular European army. At various times 1 have heard him converse, more or less directly, on these topics; and in general there was an air of sound -judgment in his remarks, which implied as well sagacity, as freedom from the prejudices of his nation-.
1 happened to be with him nt the Seraglio, on the evening of the day when he received information of the French having entered Moscow. He was evidently In low spirits, and discomposed by the intelligence. I spoke to him of the perseverance and resources cf Russia, and of the evils that migl t arise to the French army from t) e burning of Moscow, and the aj. proach of winter. He was net satisfied by these arguments, but alluded in reply to the pacific tern* per of Alexander, to the mistakes which had been committed in tlie last Polish campaign, to the treaty of Tilsit, and above all to the character of Bgnaparte, which he justly characterized "as one that the world had never before seen."
The assiduity with which he applies himself to all his business is very great. He rises commonly before six, and his officers and f Kcretaries are exported to be with
2 V % him
him at this hour. There are no pause* in business during the day, except at twelve o'clock, when he takes his dinner, sleeping afterwards for an hour; and again at eight in the evening, which is his hour of supper. I have found him as late as nine o'clock, with three secretaries on the ground before him, listening to the most minute details of that branch of expenditure which relates to the post-houses ; each article of which accounts he separately approved. His hours of pleasure are also in part subservient to the furtherance of business. I have seen him in the gardens of his pavilion surrounded by petitioners, and giving judgment on cases that were brought before him. Even when retiring to the Haram, he still preserves his public capacity; and, in the petty discords of tliree hundred women secluded from the world, it is not wonderful that his occupation and authority as a judge should still be required. •
In his habits at table, Ali Pasha is temperate, though by no means so strict a Mussulman as to refuse himself wine. He almost always eats alone, according to the custom ~of Turks of high rank, and at - the hours already mentioned. His dinner usually consists of twelve or sixteen covers, which are separately placed on a tray before him. The dishes, are chiefly those of Turkish cookery; in addition to which a whole lamb, provided by •' his shepherds, is served up at his table every day in the year. His appetite is not at all fastidious; and I have been told that his 'rooks, in providing for him, take liberties which, under a luxurious
despot, would infallibly cost then their heads.
The adherence of Ali Pasha to the tenets of the Mahomedan religion, is by no means rigid, and probably depending more on * sense of interest, than upon anv zeal or affection for these tenet*. He has few of the prejudices of a Mussulman; and in regarding those around him, his consideration obviously is, not the religion of the man, but whether he rac be of service to any of his views. I have seen a Christian, a Turkisb. and a Jewish secretary, sitting oa the ground before him at the same moment,—an instance of ibe principle which is carried throughout every branch of his government. In Albania especially, the Christian and Mussulman population are virtually on the same footing as to political liberty; all indeed slaves, but the former not oppressed, as elsewhere in Turkey, by those subordinate agencies of tyranny, which render more grating the chain that binds them. It may fairly be said, that under this government all religions find ac ample toleration. I have even known instances where Ali Pasha has directed Greek churches to be built for the use of the peasants, as in the case of one or two of the villages on the plain of Arta.
Truth compels the addition of other features of less pleasuv; kind; and to the general picture of eastern despotism must be annexed some traits peculiar to tk" mnn. The most striking of these are, a habit of perpetual artifice, shewn, in every circumstance o; his life; and a degree of vindictive feeling, producing acts of the xao-\ unqualified ferocity. The most legitimate legitimate form his cunning assumes, is in political matters, where, according to frequent usage, it might perhaps have the name of sagacity and adroitness. He is eminently skilled in all the arts of intrigue, and his agents or spies are to be found every where in the Turkish empire, doing the work of their master with a degree of zeal which testifies at once his own talent in their selection, and the commanding influence of his powers over the minds of all that surround him. His political information; derived from these sources, and from the ample use of bribery, is of the best kind; and it may, I believe, be affirmed as a fact, that not a single event of importance can occur at Constantinople, even in the most secret recesses of the Divan, which is not known within eight days at .the Seraglio of loannina.
Account Of Beggee Jan.
From Sir J. Malcolm's History of Persia.
Beggee J4n was the eldest son of the Ameer Daniel, who had, during the latter years of his life, by possessing himself of the person of the nominal prince, exercised an almost absolute authority over those tribes of the Usbegs which inhabit the territories immediately dependant upon Bokharah. When that noble died, he divided his great wealth among his numerous family, but declared Beggee Jim his heir. That chief, however, who had for some time before clothed himself in the patched garment of a fakeer, pr
religious mendicant, instead of taking a part in those contests for, power into which all his brothers and near relations had entered, shut himself up in a mosque, and forbad any person to disturb his religious meditations. He also refused to accept the share which had been left to him of his father's wealth. "Take it," said he to those who brought it to him, "to the managers of the public charities. Bid them reimburse with it, as far as they can, those from whom it was extorted. I can never consent to stain my hands with money that has been obtained by violence.'' The same writer who states this fact, asserts, that he attired himself in the coarse dress worn by those who supplicate for mercy, and, having hung a sword round his neck, he pro- ceeded to every quarter of the city of liokharah, imploring, with tears in his eyes, the forgiveness and blessings of the inhabitants for his deceased father, and offering his own life as an expiatory sacrifice for any sins or crimes which the Ameer Daniel might have committed. The character of Beggee Jan already stood high among the learned and religious j for he was deeply versed in theology, and had written many va« luable tracts; but. this was the first time he had presented himself to the people. These, at once astonished and delighted at seeing such proofs of humility and sanctity in a person of his rank, crouded around him as if he had been a prophet, and all joined with him in prayers for blessings upon his .parent. After having, by this proceeding, eradicated those feelings of revenge whie'i
the violence of his father's rule had excited, he retired to the principal mosque of the city, where he gave himself up for several mouths to devotion and mental abstraction. No one was allowed to approach him during this period, except some of his favourite disciples.
Beggee Jan, when he first assumed the holy mantle, had adopted the tenets of a Sooffee. He now openly professed himself to be one of those visionary devotees, who, from having their souls continually fixed on the contemplation of the divine essence, expect to attain a state of mental beatitude, which leads them to despise all the pleasures of this world, and, above all, earthly power. ConsisteDcyrequired, that while he professed this doctrine, he should not easily comply with the entreaties of the inhabitants of Bokharah ; who, wearied with the internal troubles caused by the ambition of his relations, earnestly solicited him to assume the government. The populace, who were entirely devoted to him, assembled daily at the mosque where he resided, and attended him wherever he went. The first instance in which he used the great influence and authority that he had acquired, was to destroy all the drinking and gambling houses in Bokharah. These are stated to have amounted to several thousands; and we are assured, that so extraordinary was the veneration for the commands of this holy prince, that even those who were ruined by this act, aided in it accomplishment.
Some of the bi-others of Beggee Jan had been slain j and the
danger in which hi* family were placed, from an increasing spirit of revoltamong their own followers, led them at last to jt.in in the general request, that he would assume the government; but all was in vain, till the occurrence of a serious commotion in the capital, inwhichabout a thousand citizens lost their lives, excited Lis compassion. Upon this occasion, the nominal king, AbdoolGl.azeeKhan, and all the nobles, assembled; and, having come to the mosque where he dwelt.theyconipelled him to attend them to the tomb of bis father, Ameer Daniel, and at that sacred spot he was solemnly invoked to support a falling state. Apparently overcome by c he urgency of their entreaties, he promised to give his counsel and aid in the management of public affairs; but we are informed that he withheld from acthe interference till Neaz Aly, a chief who had rebelled during the reign of his father, and seized upon the city of Shaher-e-subz, ventured to make an inroad upon tbe territories of Bokharah. This act roused his indignation so much, that he accepted the title of re> gent, and marched, at the head of a large army, to attack the invader 5 whom he not only forced to retreat from the territories of Bokharah, but to abandon some of those countries of which he had for some time been in possession. Beggee Jan may, from this date, be deemed tbe actual ruler of the Utbegs j for though he never assumed any title but that of regent, and continued to pay a nominal obedience to Abdool Ghazee Khan, he exercised, during the remainder cf his life,
an absolute and undisputed minority over his nation. No ■prince was ever more unanimously chosen to fill the seat of -power; and his first care, after he assumed the government, was to slit w his gratitude to those by -whom he had been elevated, by the establishment of some salutary regulations for the administs uion of justice, the collection of revenue, and the payment of the army.
The policy of BeggeeJan made him studiously reject all those •claims to respect and obedience which he had inherited from his fcther, the Ameer Daniel; who had not only been, for- a short period, the ruler of the Usbegs, 'but was the chief of a powerful tribe. His artful son knew too well the jealousies and the reKntment with which such claims were associated, to desire that they should appear in any shape as the foundation of his authority; therefore, in framing regulations for the management of public affairs, he gave to every institution a shape suited to his own character; and he desired always to be considered as a religions recluse, that had been compelled by his countrymen to exercise regal power; but who was resolved, as far as the dicharge of his duties would permit him, to maintain amid all the temptations with which he was surrounded, the same life of rigid austerity and self-denial, as he should have passed if he had never been called from acell to a throne. The splendid court at which the nobles of Bokharah had been PcCustomed to attend, was abo
lished; and in its place he established what may be termed a hall of justice, at which he sat as president, aided by forty moollahs, or learned men. All who had complaints to make came to this hall; but the prosecutor was never allowed to speak unless the accused was present. No person, however high his rank, dared to refuse a BHminons to attend this court. A slave could cite his master before it. Beggee Jan, we are informed, listened with great patience to the statement of both parties; and, in all cases not criminal, he sent them away, with an advice to coine to an amicable adjustment of their difference. If they did so, the cause terminated; if not, he took notes, at their re-appearance, of the evidence produced; and these were given, with his opinion, to the moollahs, who were directed to prepare a fetwah, or decision, according to the holy law. The parties, even after this proceeding, had a week allowed them to accommodate their dispute; but if that period elapsed without their having done so, the sentence was passed, and became irrevocable.
[Sir J. Malcolm adds many more particulars respecting this extraordinary personage; but we shall only copy the relation of a visit to him by an envoy of Mameish Khan, chief of Chinnaran, at the time when Beggee Jan invaded Khorassan.]
Mameish Khan, it appears from this memoir, was in correspondence with Ishan Nukeeb, a noble of high rank among the Usbegs, tmd a great favourite of their