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Title: Armenia - A year at Erzeroom, and on the frontiers of Russia, Turkey, and Persia
Author: Curzon, Robert
Language: English
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                                ARMENIA:

                          A YEAR AT ERZEROOM,
                    AND ON THE FRONTIERS OF RUSSIA,
                          TURKEY, AND PERSIA.


                       BY THE HON. ROBERT CURZON,
          AUTHOR OF "VISITS TO THE MONASTERIES OF THE LEVANT."


                           MAP AND WOODCUTS.


                               NEW YORK:
                     HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
                           82 BEEKMAN STREET.
                                 1854.



PREFACE.


Almost from time immemorial a border warfare has been carried on
between the Koordish tribes on the confines of Turkey and Persia, in
the mountainous country beginning at Mount Ararat toward the north,
and continuing southward to the low lands, where the Shat al Arab,
the name of the mighty river formed by the junction of the Tigris
and the Euphrates, pours those great volumes of water into the
Persian Gulf. The consequence of the unsettled state of affairs in
those wild districts was, that the roads were unsafe for travelers;
merchants were afraid to trust their merchandise to the conveyance
even of well-armed caravans, for they were constantly pillaged by the
Koords, headed in our days by the great chieftains Beder Khan Bey,
Noor Ullah Bey, Khan Abdall, and Khan Mahmoud. The chains of mountains
which occupy great part of the country in question are for months every
year covered with snow, which even in the elevated plains lies at the
depth of many yards; the bands of robbers constantly on the watch for
plunder of any kind prevented the mountain paths from being kept open,
so that those who escaped from the long lances of the Koords perished
in the avalanches and the snowdrifts by hundreds every year.

To put a stop, or at least a check, to so lamentable a state of
things, the governments of Turkey and Persia requested the assistance
of England and Russia to draw up a treaty of peace, and to come to
a distinct understanding as to where the line of border ran between
the two empires; for hitherto the Koordish tribes of Turkey made it a
virtue to plunder a Persian village, and the Persians, on their side,
considered no action more meritorious, as well as profitable, than
an inroad on the Turkish frontier, the forays on both sides being
conducted on the same plan. The invading party, always on horseback,
and with a number of trained led horses, which could travel one hundred
miles without flagging, managed to arrive in the neighborhood of the
devoted village one hour before sunrise. The barking of the village
curs was the first notice to the sleeping inhabitants that the enemy
was literally at the door. The houses were fired in every direction;
the people awoke from sleep, and, trying in confusion to escape, were
speared on their thresholds by their invaders; the place was plundered
of every thing worth taking; and one hour after sunrise the invading
bands were in full retreat, driving before them the flocks and herds
of their victims, and the children and girls of the village bound on
the led horses, to be sold or brought up as slaves; the rest having,
young and old, men and women, been killed without mercy, to prevent
their giving the alarm: their victors frequently coming down upon
them from a distance of one hundred to three hundred miles.

In hopes of remedying these misfortunes, a conference was appointed at
Erzeroom, where a Turkish plenipotentiary, Noori Effendi; a Persian
plenipotentiary, Merza Jaffer Khan; a Russian commissioner, Colonel
Dainese; and an English commissioner, Colonel Williams, of the Royal
Artillery, were to meet, each with a numerous suite, to discuss the
position of the boundary, and to check the border incursions of the
Koordish tribes, both by argument and by force of arms, the troops of
both nations being ordered to assist the deliberations of the congress
at Erzeroom by every endeavor on their part to keep the country in a
temporary state of tranquillity. The plenipotentiaries on the part
of Turkey and Persia, and the English and Russian commissioners,
entered upon their arduous task at the beginning of the year
1842. Colonel Williams, to whom the duties of the English commission
had been intrusted, was too unwell to proceed to Erzeroom, and I was
appointed in his stead, being at that time private secretary to Sir
Stratford Canning, her majesty's embassador at Constantinople. Colonel
Williams afterward recovered so much that he was able to set out, and
we started together as joint commissioners, in company with Colonel
(afterward General) Dainese, on the part of Russia, a gentleman of
very considerable talents and attainments. The discussions between
the two governments were protracted by every conceivable difficulty,
which was thrown in the way of the commissioners principally by the
Turks. At length, in June, 1847, a treaty was signed, in which the
confines of the two empires were defined: these, however, being
situated in places never surveyed, and only known by traditional
maps, which had copied the names of places one from another since
the invention of engraving, it was considered advisable that the
true situations of these places should be verified in a scientific
manner; consequently, a new commission was named in the year 1848,
whose officers were instructed to define the actual position of the
spots enumerated in the treaty above mentioned. These commissioners
consisted of Dervish Pasha for Turkey, Merza Jaffer for Persia,
Colonel Williams for England, and Colonel Ktchirikoff for Russia.

This party left Bagdad in 1848, surveyed the whole of that hitherto
unexplored region, among the Koordish and original Christian tribes,
which extends to the east of Mesopotamia, till they finished their
difficult and dangerous task at Mount Ararat, on the 16th of September,
1852. The results of this expedition are, I hope, to be presented to
the public by the pen of Colonel Williams, and will, I trust, throw
a new and interesting light upon the manners and customs of the wild
mountaineers of those districts, and give much information relating
to the Chaldeans, Maronites, Nestorians, and other Christian Churches
converted in the earliest ages by the successors of the Apostles,
of whom we know very little, no travelers hitherto having had the
opportunities of investigating their actual condition and their
religious tenets which have been afforded to Colonel Williams and
the little army under his command.

Armenia, the cradle of the human family, inoffensive and worthless
of itself, has for centuries, indeed from the beginning of time,
been a bone of contention between conflicting powers: scarcely has
it been made acquainted with the blessings of tranquillity and peace,
through the mediation of Great Britain, than again it is to become the
theatre of war, again to be overrun with bands of armed men seeking
each other's destruction, in a climate which may afford them burial
when dead, but which is too barren and inhospitable to provide them
with the necessaries of life; and this to satisfy the ambition of a
distant potentate, by whose success they gain no advantage in this
world or in the next.

It is much to be deplored that the Emperor of Russia, by his want
of principle, has brought the Christian religion into disrepute; for
throughout the Levant the Christians have for years been waiting an
opportunity to rise against the oppressors of their fortunes and their
faith. The manner in which the Czar has put himself so flagrantly in
the wrong will be a check to the progress of Christianity. That the
step he has now been taking has been the great object of his reign,
as well as that of all his predecessors since the time of Peter the
Great, will be illustrated in the following pages.

The accession of a Christian emperor to the throne of Constantinople
will be an event of greater consequence than is generally imagined;
for the Sultan of Roum is considered by all Mohammedans in India,
Africa, and all parts of the world, to be the vicegerent of God
upon earth, and the Caliph or successor of Mohammed; his downfall,
therefore, would shatter the whole fabric of the Mohammedan faith,
for the Sultan is the pride and glory of Islam, and the pale Crescent
of the East will wane and set when Kurie Eleison is chanted again
under the ancient dome of St. Sofia.

What an unfortunate mistake has been made in not waiting for a real
and just occasion for pressing forward the ranks of the Cross against
the Crescent! Then who would not have joined a righteous cause? who
would not have given his wealth, his assistance, or his life, in the
defense of his faith against the enemies of his religion?

I feel that, in laying this little book before the public, I am
committing a rash act, for I am perfectly aware that it has many
imperfections. I was prevented from visiting several important places
in Armenia by an illness so severe, brought on by the unhealthy
climate, that I have not been able to take an active part in life
since that time. The following pages were written in a very few days,
at a time when other occupations prevented me from giving them that
attention which should always be afforded to a work that is intended
for the perusal of the public.

Nevertheless, I consider that, as the countries described are so little
known, and as it is not improbable that events of great importance may
take place within their boundaries, I should be open to greater blame
in withholding any information, however humble, than in presenting to
the reader a meagre account of those wild and sterile regions, whose
climate and manners are so different from those which are generally
described in the works of Oriental travelers.

These sketches, slight as they are, may perhaps be found useful to
the members of any expedition which the chances of war may occasion
to be sent into those remote countries, by giving them beforehand
some intimation of the preparations necessary to be made for their
journey through a district where they would encounter at every step
difficulties which they might not have been led to expect in a latitude
considerably to the south of the Bay of Naples.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

    The "Bad Black Sea."--Coal-field near the Bosporus.--Trebizond
    from the Sea.--Fish and Turkeys.--The Bazaars.--Coronas.--Ancient
    Tombs.--Church of St. Sofia.--Preservation of old Manners and
    Ceremonies.--Toilet of a Person of Distinction.--Russian Loss in
    1828-9.--Ancient Prayer.--Varna.--Statistics of Wallachia.--Visit
    to Abdallah Pasha.--His outward Appearance.--His love of medical
    Experiments.--Trade of Trebizond                            Page 17


CHAPTER II.

    Departure from Trebizond.--A rough Road.--Turkish
    Pack-horses.--Value of Tea.--The Pipe in the East.--Mountain
    Riding.--Instinct of the Horse.--A Caravan overwhelmed by
    an Avalanche.--Mountain of Hoshabounar.--A Ride down the
    Mountain.--Arrival at Erzeroom                                   35


CHAPTER III.

    The Consulate at Erzeroom.--Subterranean
    Dwellings.--Snow-blindness.-- Effects of the severe Climate.--The
    City: its Population, Defenses, and Buildings.--Our House and
    Household.--Armenian Country-houses.--The Ox-stable              45


CHAPTER IV.

    Narrow Escape from Suffocation.--Death of Noori Effendi.--A
    good Shot.--History of Mirza Tekee.--Persian Ideas of the
    Principles of Government.--The "Blood-drinker."--Massacre at
    Kerbela.--Sanctity of the Place.--History of Hossein.--Attack
    on Kerbela, and Defeat of the Persians.--Good Effects of
    Commissioners' Exertions                                         61


CHAPTER V.

    The Boundary Question.--Koordish Chiefs.--Torture of
    Artin, an American Christian.--Improved State of Society in
    Turkey.--Execution of a Koord.--Power of Fatalism.--Gratitude of
    Artin's Family                                              Page 81


CHAPTER VI.

    The Clock of Erzeroom.--A Pasha's Notions of Horology.--Pathology
    of Clocks.--The Tower and Dungeon.--Ingenious Mode of Torture.
    --The modern Prison                                              99


CHAPTER VII.

    Spring in Erzeroom.--Coffee-house Diversions.--Koordish
    Exploits.--Summer Employment.--Preparation of Tezek.--Its
    Varieties and Uses                                              105


CHAPTER VIII.

    The Prophet of Khoi.--Climate.--Effects of great Elevation
    above the Sea.--The Genus Homo.--African Gold-diggings.--Sale
    of a Family.--Site of Paradise.--Tradition of Khosref
    Purveez.--Flowers.--A Flea-antidote.--Origin of the Tulip.--A
    Party at the Cave of Ferhad, and its Results.--Translation
    from Hafiz                                                      110


CHAPTER IX.

    The Bear.--Ruins of a Genoese Castle.--Lynx.--Lemming.--Cara
    Guz.--Gerboa.--Wolves.--Wild Sheep.--A hunting
    Adventure.--Camels.--Peculiar Method of Feeding.--Degeneration
    of domestic Animals                                             125


CHAPTER X.

    Birds.--Great Variety and vast Numbers of Birds.--Flocks of
    Geese.--Employment for the Sportsman.--The Captive Crane.--Wild
    and tame Geese.--The pious and profane Ancestors.--List of Birds
    found at Erzeroom                                               132


CHAPTER XI.

    Excursion to the Lake of Tortoom.--Romantic Bridge.--Gloomy Effect
    of the Lake.--Singular Boat.--"Evaporation" of a Pistol.--Kiamili
    Pasha.--Extraordinary Marksman.--Alarming Illness of the
    Author.--An Earthquake.--Lives lost through intense Cold.--The
    Author recovers                                            Page 145


CHAPTER XII.

    Start for Trebizond.--Personal Appearance of the Author.--Mountain
    Pass.--Reception at Beyboort.--Misfortunes of Mustapha.--Pass of
    Zigana Dagh.--Arrival at Trebizond                              155


CHAPTER XIII.

    Former History of Trebizond.--Ravages of the Goths.--Their
    Siege and Capture of the City.--Dynasties of Courtenai and
    the Comneni.--The "Emperor" David.--Conquest of Trebizond by
    Mehemet II.                                                     166


CHAPTER XIV.

    Impassable Character of the Country.--Dependence of Persia
    on the Czar.--Russian Aggrandizement.--Delays of the Western
    Powers.--Russian Acquisitions from Turkey and Persia.--Oppression
    of the Russian Government.--The Conscription.--Armenian
    Emigration.--The Armenian Patriarch.--Latent Power of the
    Pope.--Anomalous Aspect of religious Questions                  178


CHAPTER XV.

    Ecclesiastical History.--Supposed Letter of Abgarus, King
    of Edessa, to our Savior, and the Answer.--Promulgation
    and Establishment of Christianity.--Labors of
    Mesrob Maschdots.--Separation of the Armenian Church
    from that of Constantinople.--Hierarchy and religious
    Establishments.--Superstition of the Lower Classes.--Sacerdotal
    Vestments.--The Holy Books.--Romish Branch of the Church.--Labors
    of Mechitar.--His Establishment near Venice.--Diffusion of the
    Scriptures                                                      194


CHAPTER XVI.

    Modern division of Armenia.--Population.--Manners and Customs of
    the Christians.--Superiority of the Mohammedans            Page 209


CHAPTER XVII.

    Armenian Manuscripts.--Manuscripts at Etchmiazin.--Comparative
    Value of Manuscripts.--Uncial Writing.--Monastic
    Libraries.--Collections in Europe.--The St. Lazaro Library      213


CHAPTER XVIII.

    General History of Armenia.--Former Sovereigns.--Tiridates
    I. receives his Crown from Nero.--Conquest of the Country by the
    Persians and by the Arabs.--List of modern Kings.--Misfortunes
    of Leo V.: his Death at Paris                                   218



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


    Map of Armenia                                  To face title-page.
    Ruined Armenian Church near Erzeroom                 In title-page.
    General View of Erzeroom                           To face page 45
    Erzeroom. View from the house of the British
    Commissioners.                                     To face page 50
    Koordish Gallows                                        In page 95
    Fundook                                                    ,,  120
    Ruined Tower in the Castle of Tortoom             To face page 145
    Boat on the Lake of Tortoom                           ,,   ,,  149
    Quarantine Harbor, Trebizond                          ,,   ,,  165



ARMENIA.

CHAPTER I.

    The "Bad Black Sea."--Coal-field near the Bosporus.--Trebizond
    from the Sea.--Fish and Turkeys.--The Bazaars.--Coronas.--Ancient
    Tombs.--Church of St. Sofia.--Preservation of old Manners and
    Ceremonies.--Toilet of a Person of Distinction.--Russian Loss in
    1828-9.--Ancient Prayer.--Varna.--Statistics of Wallachia.--Visit
    to Abdallah Pasha.--His outward Appearance.--His love of medical
    Experiments.--Trade of Trebizond.


Fena kara Degniz, "The Bad Black Sea." This is the character that
stormy lake has acquired in the estimation of its neighbors at
Constantinople. Of 1000 Turkish vessels which skim over its waters
every year, 500 are said to be wrecked as a matter of course. The
wind sometimes will blow from all the four quarters of heaven within
two hours' time, agitating the waters like a boiling caldron. Dense
fogs obscure the air during the winter, by the assistance of which
the Turkish vessels continually mistake the entrance of a valley
called the False Bogaz for the entrance of the Bosporus, and are
wrecked there perpetually. I have seen dead bodies floating about in
that part of the sea, where I first became acquainted with the fact
that the corpse of a woman floats upon its back, while that of a man
floats upon its face. In short, at Constantinople they say that every
thing that is bad comes from the Black Sea: the plague, the Russians,
the fogs, and the cold, all come from thence; and though this time we
had a fine calm passage, I was glad enough to arrive at the end of the
voyage at Trebizond. Before landing, however, I must give a passing
tribute to the beauty of the scenery on the south coast, that is, on
the north coast of Asia Minor. Rocks and hills are its usual character
near the shore, with higher mountains inland. Between the Bosporus and
Heraclea are boundless fields of coal, which crops out on the side of
the hills, so that no mining would be required to get the coal; and
besides this great facility in its production, the hills are of such
an easy slope that a tram-road would convey the coal-wagons down to the
ships on the sea-coast without any difficulty. No nation but the Turks
would delay to make use of such a source of enormous wealth as this
coal would naturally supply, when it can be had with such remarkable
ease so near to the great maritime city of Constantinople. It seems
to be a peculiarity in human nature that those who are too stupid to
undertake any useful work are frequently jealous of the interference
of others who are more able and willing than themselves, as the old
fable of the dog in the manger exemplifies. I understand that more
than one English company have been desirous of opening these immense
mines of wealth, on the condition of paying a large sum or a good
per centage to the Turkish government; but they are jealous of a
foreigner's undertaking that which they are incapable of carrying out
themselves. So English steamers bring English coal to Constantinople,
which costs I don't know what by the time it arrives within a few
miles of a spot [1] which is as well furnished with the most useful,
if not the most ornamental, of minerals, as Newcastle-upon-Tyne itself.

Beyond Sinope, where the flat alluvial land stretches down to the
sea-shore, there are forests of such timber as we have no idea of
in these northern regions. Here there are miles of trees so high,
and large, and straight, that they look like minarets in flower. Wild
boars, stags, and various kinds of game abound in these magnificent
primeval woods, protected by the fevers and agues which arise from
the dense jungle and unhealthy swamps inland, which prevent the
sportsman from following the game during great part of the year. The
inhabitants of all this part of Turkey, Circassia, &c., are good
shots with the short, heavy rifle, which is their constant companion,
and they sometimes kill a deer. As their religion protects the pigs,
the wild boars roam unmolested in this, for them at least, "free and
independent country." The stag resembles the red deer in every respect,
only it is considerably smaller; its venison is not particularly good.

Trebizond presents an imposing appearance from the sea. It stands upon
a rocky table-land, from which peculiarity in its situation it takes
its name--trapeza being a table in Greek, if we are to believe what
Dr. ---- used to tell us at school. There is no harbor, not even a bay,
and a rolling sea comes in sometimes which looks, and I should think
must be, awfully dangerous. I have seen the whole of the keel of the
ships at anchor, as they rolled over from one side to the other. The
view from the sea of the curious ancient town, the mountains in the
background, and the great chain of the Circassian Mountains on the
left, is magnificent in the extreme. The only thing that the Black
Sea is good for, that I know of (and that, I think, may be said
of some other seas), is fish. The kalkan balouk, shield-fish--a
sort of turbot, with black prickles on his back--though not quite
worth a voyage to Trebizond, is well worth the attention of the most
experienced gastronome when he once gets there. The red mullet, also,
is caught in great quantities; but the oddest fish is the turkey. This
animal is generally considered to be a bird, of the genus poultry,
and so he is in all outward appearances; but at Trebizond the turkeys
live entirely upon a diet of sprats and other little fish washed on
shore by the waves, by which it comes to pass that their flesh tastes
like very exceedingly bad fish, and abominably nasty it is; though,
if reclaimed from these bad habits, and fed on corn and herbs, like
other respectable birds, they become very good, and are worthy of
being stuffed with chestnuts and roasted, and of occupying the spot
upon the dinner-table from whence the remains of the kalkan balouk
have been removed.

On landing, the beauty of the prospect ceases, for, like many Oriental
towns, the streets are lanes between blank walls, over which the
branches of fig-trees, roofs of houses, and boughs of orange and lemon
trees appear at intervals; so that, riding along the blind alleys,
you do not know whether there are houses or gardens on each side.

The bazaars are a contrast, by their life and bustle, to the narrow
lanes through which they are approached. Here numbers of the real
old-fashioned Turks are to be seen, with turbans as large as pumpkins,
of all colors and forms, steadily smoking all manner of pipes.

I do not know why Europeans persist in calling these places bazaars:
charchi is the Turkish for what we call bazaar, or bezestein for
an inclosed covered place containing various shops. The word bazaar
means a market, which is altogether a different kind of thing.

The bazaars of Trebizond contain a good deal of rubbish, both of the
human and inanimate kind. Cheese, saddles, old, dangerous-looking arms,
and various peddlery and provisions, were all that was to be seen. Many
ruined buildings of Byzantine architecture tottered by the sides of
the more open spaces, some apparently very ancient, and well worth
examination. In the porches of two little antiquated Greek churches
I saw some frescoes of the twelfth century, apparently in excellent
preservation; one of portraits of Byzantine kings and princes, in their
royal robes, caught my attention, but I had not time to do more than
take a hasty look at it. The tomb of Solomon, the son of David, king
of Georgia or Immeretia, standing in the court-yard of another Greek
church, under a sort of canopy of stone, is a very curious monument;
and in two churches there are ancient coronas, which seemed to be of
silver gilt, eight or ten feet in diameter, most precious specimens
of early metal-work, which I coveted and desired exceedingly. They
were both engraved with texts from Scripture, and saints and cherubim
of the grimmest aspect, so old, and quaint, and ugly, that they may be
said to be really painfully curious. While on this subject I may remark
that I am not aware where the authority is to be found for introducing
the quantities of coronas which are now hung up in modern antique
churches in England. I never saw one in any Latin church, except at
Aix-la-Chapelle; there are, I presume, others, but they certainly
never were common nor usual any where in Europe. All those I know of
are Greek, and belong to the Greek ceremonial rite. I have never met
with an ancient Gothic corona, and should be glad to know from whence
those lately introduced into our parish churches have been copied.

On the other side of the town from the landing-place, a mile or so
beyond the beautiful old walls of the Byzantine citadel, is a small
grassy plain, with some fine single trees. This plain is situated on
a terrace, with the open sea on the right hand, on a level of fifty
or more feet below. The view from hence on all sides is lovely. The
glorious blue sea--for it is not black here--on the right hand; the
walls and towers crumbling into ruin behind you, the hills to the left,
at the foot of which, built on the level grass, are several ancient
tombs, whether Mohammedan or Christian I do not know; they are low
round towers, with conical roofs, like old-fashioned pigeon-houses,
but rich in color, with old brick, and stone, and marble. Parasitical
plants, growing from rents and crevices occasioned by time, are left
in peace by the Turks, who, after all, are the best conservators
of antiquity in the world, for they let things alone. There are
no churchwardens yet in Turkey; there are no tasty architects,
with contemptible and gross ignorance of antiquity, architecture,
and taste, to build ridiculous failures for a confiding ministry in
London, or a rich gentleman in the country, who does not pretend to
know any thing about the matter, and falls into the error of believing
that if he pays well he will be well served, and that a man who has
been brought up to build buildings must know how to do it: and this
knowledge is displayed in the production of the British Museum,
the National Gallery, and other original edifices.

The spleen aroused in writing these words is calmed by the recollection
of the ruins of the fortified monastery, as it would appear to have
been, before my eyes at the further end of this charming open plain;
a Byzantine gate-house stands within a ditch surrounding a considerable
space, in which some broken walls give evidence of a stately palace
or monastery which once rose there; but there still stands towering
to a great height the almost perfect church of St. Sofia--the Holy
Wisdom, not the saint of that name, but the deity to whom the great
cathedral of St. Sofia is dedicated at Constantinople. This church
is curious and interesting in the extreme; it is most rich in many of
the peculiarities of Byzantine architecture outside, and within there
are very perfect remains of frescoes, in a style of art such as I have
hardly seen equaled, never in any fresco paintings. The only ones equal
to them are the illuminations in the one odd volume of the Mênologia
in the Vatican Library, and some in my own. There are several half
figures of emperors in brilliant colors, in circular compartments,
on the under sides of some arches, and numerous other paintings,
of which the colors are so vivid that they resemble painted glass,
particularly where they are broken, as the sharp outlines of what is
left betoken that they would be still as bright as jewelry where they
have not been destroyed by the plaster, on which they are painted,
giving way.

The position, beauty, and antiquity of this Christian relic in a
Mohammedan land, give a singular interest to the Church of St. Sofia at
Trebizond. I longed to give this place a thorough examination. Perhaps
a portrait of some old Comnenus would present itself to my admiring
eyes. Many likenesses of by-gone emperors, Cæsars, and princesses born
in the purple, might be recovered in all the splendor of their royal
robes and almost sacred crowns and diadems, to gladden the hearts
of antiquarians enthusiastic in the cause, and who, like myself,
would be ten times more delighted with the possession of a portrait,
or an incomprehensible work of art of undoubted Byzantine origin,
than with the offer of the hand, even of the illustrious Anna Comnena
herself. Her portrait, after the lapse of 600 years, would be most
interesting; but I do not envy the Cæsar who obtained the honor of
an alliance with that princess of the cærulean hose.

At this point, feeling myself entangled with the reminiscences of
Byzantine history, I must branch off into a little episode relating
to the singular preservation of ancient manners and ceremonies still
in use, or, at least, remaining in the year 1830 in Wallachia and
Moldavia. The usages and the etiquette of those courts, together
with the names and the costumes of the great officers of state,
are all derived from those of the Christian court of Constantinople
before the disastrous days of Mohammed the Second. Now that those
fertile lands are overrun by the descendants of the Avars, and the
fierce tribes of northern barbarians, who so often in the Middle Ages
carried fire and sword, tallow and sheepskins, almost to the walls
of the city--tên bolin· eis tên bolin--from whence comes Stamboul,
I may be, perhaps, excused if I put in a few lines relating to another
country, but which, I think, are interesting during the present state
of the affairs of the Turkish empire.

In the year 1838 I left Constantinople on my way to Vienna. I went to
Varna, and from thence proceeded up the Danube in a miserable steamer,
on board of which was a personage of high distinction belonging to
a neighboring nation, whose manners and habits afforded me great
amusement. He was courteous and gentlemanlike in a remarkable degree,
but his domestic ways differed from those of our own countrymen. He
had a numerous suite of servants, three or four of whom seemed to be
a sort of gentlemen; these attended him every night when he went to
bed, in the standing bed-place of the crazy steamer. First they wound
up six or seven gold watches, and the great man took off his boots,
his coat, and I don't know how many gold chains; then each night he
was invested by his attendants with a different fur pelisse, which
looked valuable and fusty to my humble eyes. Each morning the same
gentlemen spread out all the watches, took off the fur pelisse, and
insinuated their lord into a fashionable and somewhat tight coat,
not the one worn yesterday; but on no occasion did I perceive any
thing in the nature of an ablution, or any proof that such an article
as a clean shirt formed a part of the great man's traveling wardrobe.

Varna is situated on a gentle slope a short distance from the shores
of the Black Sea, and three or four miles to the south of a range
of hills, between which and the town the unfortunate Russian army
was encamped during the war of the year 1829. I say unfortunate,
and all will agree with me, if they take into consideration a fact
which I write on undoubted authority. When the Russians invaded
Turkey in 1828, they lost 50,000 men by sickness alone, by want of
the necessaries of life, and neglect in the commissariat department:
50,000 Russians died on the plains of Turkey, not one man of whom
was killed in battle, for their advance was not resisted by the Turks.

In the next year (1829) the Russians lost 60,000 men between the Pruth
and the city of Adrianople. Some of these, however, were legitimately
slain in battle. When they arrived at Adrianople, the troops were in
so wretched a condition from sickness and want of food that not 7000
men were able to bear arms: how many thousands of horses and mules
perished in these two years is not known. The Turkish government was
totally ignorant of this deplorable state of affairs at Adrianople
till some time afterward, when the intelligence came too late. If
the Turks had known what was going on, not one single Russian would
have seen his native land again; even as it was, out of 120,000 men,
not 6000 ever recrossed the Russian frontier alive. Since the days of
Cain, the first murderer, among all nations, and among all religions,
he who kills his fellow-creature without just cause is looked upon
with horror and disgust, and is pursued by the avenging curse of God
and man. What, then, shall be thought of that individual who, without
reason, without the slightest show of justice, right, or justifiable
pretense, from his own caprice, to satisfy his own feelings, and lust
of pride, and arrogance, destroys for his amusement, in two years,
more than 100,000 of his fellow-creatures? Shall not their blood cry
out for vengeance? Had not each of these men a soul, immortal as their
butcher's? Had not many of them, many thousands of them perhaps, more
faith, more trust in God, higher talents than their destroyer? Better
had it been for that man had he never been born!

The following prayer is translated from one at the end of an ancient
Bulgarian or Russian manuscript, written in the year 1355: "The Judge
seated, and the apostle standing before him, and the trumpet sounding,
and the fire burning, what wilt thou do, O my soul, when thou art
carried to the judgment? for then all thy evils will appear, and all
thy secret sins will be made manifest. Therefore now, beforehand,
endeavor to pray to Jesus Christ our Lord. Oh, do not thou reject me,
but save me."

The fortifications of Varna are very flat and low, though they are
said to be of great strength; but, as the town is built of wood, I
should think there would be little difficulty in setting it on fire
by the assistance of a few shells or red-hot shot, from ships at sea
or batteries on the land. From all such fortresses I am delighted to
escape: the bastions, ditches, and ramparts keep me in, though they
are intended to keep others out. There is nothing picturesque in a
modern stronghold, as there are no battlements and towers, or any
thing pleasing to the eye; only, whichever way you turn, you are sure
to be stopped by a green ditch with a frog in it; I therefore only
remained long enough at Varna to see that there was nothing to be seen.

The principality of Wallachia contains 1,500,000 inhabitants liable to
taxation, 800 nobles, and 15,000 strangers, subjects of various powers.

It is governed by a prince (gika), who reigns for life. The civil
list amounts to--


    50,000 Austrian ducats yearly.
    All the officials are paid by the government.
    The revenues of the principality are derived
    from tribute, which amounts to           300,000 ducats yearly.
    The salt-works, which yield              150,000   ,,     ,,
    Domains of the prince                     30,000   ,,     ,,
    The customs                               70,000   ,,     ,,
                                             -------
                       Total                 550,000   ,,     ,,


The expenses are, yearly:


                                             Ducats.
    Civil List of the prince                 50,000
    The Ottoman Porte for tribute            30,000
    Salaries of officials                   150,000
    Troops, 4000 men                        100,000
    Ten quarantine stations on the Danube    20,000
    Hospitals                                 5,000
    Schools                                  12,000
    Post                                     30,000
    Repair of roads                           8,000
                                            -------
                       Total                405,000


The capital of Wallachia is Bucharest, containing 12,000 houses and
80,000 inhabitants, of whom 10,000 are strangers.

There is one metropolitan, who lives at Bucharest, and has a revenue
of 10,000 ducats; and three bishops, of Rimnik, Argessi, and Buzeo,
who have 8000 each. The salary of the first minister is 3600 ducats
yearly. There are three ranks of nobles. The highest consists of sixty
individuals, who have the right of electing the prince; the second
numbers 300, and the third 440. The prime minister is called the
bano; the commander-in-chief, spathar; the minister of the interior,
the great dvornic; the minister of justice, the great logothete. The
greatest family is that of Brancovano, the revenue of its chief being
12,000 ducats. The titles of the great officers of state, and the
principal people about the court of the Hospodar, are derived from
the institutions of the Byzantine emperors. These nobles are divided
into three classes. The following is the order of their precedence:


    1st Class.

          1.  Bano        Marshal of the Palace.
          2.  Dvornic     Lord Chamberlain.
          3.  Spathar     Commander-in-Chief.
          4.  Logothete   Chief Secretary.
          5.  Postemic    Foreign Minister.
          6.  Aga         Inspector of Police.


    2d Class.

          1.  Clochiar    Commissary General.
          2.  Paharme     Cup-bearer.


    3d Class.

          1.  Serdar      Commander of 1000 men.
          2.  Pitar       Inspector of the Ovens.
          3.  Consepist   Registrar General.


It is in the power of the government to raise any of these nobles
a step after a service of three years. Before the year 1827 these
officers were paid by contributions raised on the subjects of the
Prince, who were then exempted from any other taxes. The Bano had
one hundred and twenty men, the Dvornic one hundred, the Paharme
twenty-five, and so on; from these they took as much as they could,
one man averaging three ducats a year in value to his lord.

The treaty of Adrianople contains an article insuring the independence
of the interior administration of the country. On the 18th of May,
1838, an order was brought from Constantinople by Baron Rukman,
in which it was stated that the General Assembly are to insert a
clause in the Constitution, which obliges them to have leave of the
Russians before any alteration whatever is made in the regulation of
the interior. The army can not be increased, or any differences made
in the administration of the quarantine, &c., without permission
from Russia, which is in direct contradiction to the Treaty of
Adrianople. Sentence of death is abolished by the Constitution,
but great offenders are sent to the mines for life.

Having accomplished our little tour to Wallachia, we will recross the
sea to Trebizond, and return to the inspection of that ancient city,
so famous in the romance of the Middle Ages. The Pasha and Governor,
Abdallah Pasha, resides in the citadel, a large space of ruinous
buildings, surrounded by romantic walls and towers, in the same style
as those of Constantinople. As in duty bound, we proceeded in great
state to pay a visit of ceremony to the viceroy. As our long train of
horsemen wound through the narrow streets, and passed under the long
dark tunnel of the Byzantine gateway, we must have looked quite in
keeping with the picturesque appearance of that ancient fortress. From
the gloomy gate we emerged into a large, ruinous court or space of no
particular shape, but surrounded by tumble-down houses, with wooden
balconies festooned with vines. I was struck with the absence of
guards and soldiers, who are usually drawn up on these occasions in
a wavy line, to do honor or to impose upon the awe-stricken feelings
of the Elchi Bey.

We passed through another court, if I remember right, till we found a
number of servants and officials waiting our arrival at an open door,
and, having dismounted, with the assistance of numerous supporters
we scrambled up a large, dark, crazy wooden stair, at the top of
which, on a curtain being drawn aside, we were ushered into a large,
lofty room, where we beheld the Pasha seated on the divan, under
a range of windows, at the upper end of the selamlik, or hall of
reception. Then commenced the regular exercise of formal civilities,
bows, and inquiries after each other's health, carried on in a
thorough mechanical manner, neither party even pretending to look as
if he meant any thing he said. We smoked pipes, and drank coffee, and
made a little bow to the Pasha afterward, in the most orthodox way,
till we were bored and tired, and wished it was time to come away;
but this sort of visit was a serious affair, and I don't know how
long we sat there, with the crowd of kawasses and chiboukgis staring
at us steadily from the lower end of the hall.

What the Pasha looked like, and what manner of man he was, it was
not easy to make out, seeing that to the outward eye he presented the
appearance of a large green bundle, with a red fez at the top, for he
was enveloped in a great furred cloak; he seemed to have dark eyes,
like every body else in this country, and a long nose and a black
beard, whereof the confines or limits were not to be ascertained, as I
could not readily distinguish what was beard and what was fur. Every
now and then his excellency snuffled, as if he had got a cold, but
I think it was only a trick; however, when he lifted up his voice
to speak, the depth and hollow sound was very remarkable. I have
heard several Turks speak in this way, which I believe they consider
dignified, and imagine that it is done in imitation of Sultan Mahmoud,
who, whether it was his natural voice or not, always spoke as if his
voice came out of his stomach instead of his mouth. Abdallah Pasha
paid us his compliments in this awful tone, and, till I got a little
used to it, I wondered out of what particular part of the heap of
fur, cloth, &c., this thoroughbass proceeded. I found, to my great
admiration, that the Pasha knew my name, and almost as much of my
own history as I did myself; where he had gained his very important
information I know not, but an interest so unusual in any thing
relating to another person induced me to make inquiries about him,
and I found he was not only a man of the highest dignity and wealth,
possessing villages, square miles and acres innumerable, but he was a
philosopher; if not a writer, he was a reader of books, particularly
works on medicine. This was his great hobby. In the way of government
he seemed to be a most patriarchal sort of king: he had no army or
soldiers whatever; fifteen or sixteen kawasses were all the guards
that he supported. He smoked the pipe of tranquillity on the carpet
of prudence, and the pashalik of Trebizond slumbered on in the sun;
the houses tumbled down occasionally, and people repaired them never;
the Secretary of State wrote to the Porte two or three times a year, to
say that nothing particular had happened. The only thing I wondered at
was how the tribute was exacted, for transmitted it must be regularly
to Constantinople. Rayahs must be squeezed: they were created, like
oranges, for that purpose; but, somehow or other, Abdallah Pasha seems
to have carried on the process quietly, and the multitudes under his
rule dozed on from year to year. That was all very well for those at
a distance, but his immediate attendants suffered occasionally from
the philosophical inquiries of their master. He thought of nothing
but physic, and whenever he could catch a Piedmontese doctor he would
buy any quantity of medicine from him, and talk learnedly on medical
subjects as long as the doctor could stand it. As nobody ever tells
the truth in these parts, the Pasha never believed what the doctor
told him, and usually satisfied his mind by experiments in corpore
vili, many of which, when the accounts were related to me, made me
cry with laughter. They were mostly too medical to be narrated in
any unmedical assembly.

Trebizond is not defensible by land or sea, nor could it be made
so from the land side, as it is commanded by the sloping hills
immediately behind it. From there being no bay or harbor of any kind,
its approach is dangerous during the prevalence of north winds, which
lash the waves against the rocks with fury. Inns are as yet unknown;
there are no khans that I know of, of any size or importance as far as
architecture is concerned; but large stables protect the pack-horses
which carry the bales of goods imported from Constantinople for the
Persian trade, the bulk of which has now passed out of the hands of
the English into those of the Greek merchants. The steamer running
from Constantinople is constantly laden with goods, and much more
would be sent if additional steamers were ready to convey it.

Our party was received under the hospitable roof of Mr. Stephens,
the Vice-Consul, whose court-yard was encumbered with luggage of
all sorts and kinds, over which katergis or muleteers continually
wrangled in setting apart different articles in two heaps, each two
heaps being reputed a sufficient load for one horse. This took some
days to arrange, and our time was occupied with preparations for the
journey through the mountains.



CHAPTER II.

    Departure from Trebizond.--A rough Road.--Turkish
    Pack-horses.--Value of Tea.--The Pipe in the East.--Mountain
    Riding.--Instinct of the Horse.--A Caravan overwhelmed by
    an Avalanche.--Mountain of Hoshabounar.--A Ride down the
    Mountain.--Arrival at Erzeroom.


At last we were ready; the Russian commissioner traveled with us,
and we sallied out of the town in a straggling line up the hill,
along the only road known in this part of the world. This wonder and
miracle of art extends one mile, to the top of a little hill. It is
said to have cost £19,000. It ascends the mountain side in defiance of
all obstacles, and is more convenient for rolling down than climbing
up, as it is nearly as steep as a ladder in some places. When you
get to the top you are safe, for there is no more road as far as
Tabriz. A glorious view rewards the traveler for his loss of breath in
accomplishing the ascent. From hence the road is a track, wide enough
for one loaded horse, passing through streams and mud, over rocks,
mountains, and precipices, such as I should hardly have imagined
a goat could travel upon; certainly no sensible animal would ever
try to do so, unless upon urgent business. Pleasure and amusement
must be sought on broader ways; here danger and difficulty occur at
every step; nevertheless, the horses are so well used to climbing,
and hopping, and floundering along, that the obstacles are gradually
overcome. In looking back occasionally, you wonder how in the world
you ever got to the spot you are standing on. The sure-footedness of
the horses was marvelous; we often galloped for half an hour along
the dry course of a mountain torrent, for these we considered our
best places, over round stones as big as a man's head, with larger
ones occasionally for a change; but the riding-horses hardly ever
fell. The baggage-horses, encumbered with their loads, tumbled in all
directions, but these unlucky animals were always kicked up again
by the efforts of a posse of hard-fisted, hard-hearted muleteers,
and were soon plodding on under the burdens which it seems it was
their lot to bear for the remainder of their lives. If this should
meet the eye of any London cab-horse--for what may we not expect
in these days of march of intellect and national education?--let
him thank his lucky star that he is not a Turkish pack-horse, made
to carry something nearly as heavy as a cab up and down rocks as
inaccessible as those immortalized in the famous verse--


        "Commodore Rogers was a man
          Exceedingly brave--particular;
        And he climb'd up very high rocks,
          Exceedingly high--perpendicular."


Thus saith the poet; what Commodore Rogers would have said if he had
been of our party, I don't know. Those ladies and gentlemen who,
leaning back in easy carriages, bowl along the great roads of the
Simplon, may imagine what traveling there may have been over the
Alps before the roads were made, while the nature of the ground is
such, in two or three places, that, unless at an incredible expense
in engineering, and a prodigious daily outlay to keep them clear
of snow, no road ever could be made; yet this is the only line
of communication between Constantinople and Persia. Through these
awful chasms and precipices all the merchandise is carried which
passes between these two great nations. The quiet Manchester stuffs,
accustomed to the broad-wheel wagons of Europe, and the rail-ways and
canals of England, must feel dreadfully jolted when they arrive at
this portion of their journey. How the crockery bears it is easily
understood by those who open the packages of this kind of ware at
the end of the journey, when cups and saucers take the appearance of
small geological specimens, though some do survive, notwithstanding the
regular custom of the muleteers to set down their loads every evening
by the summary process of untying with a jerk a certain cunning knot
in the rope which holds the bales in their places on each side of
the pack-horse: these immediately come down with a crash upon the
ground, from whence they are rolled along and built up into a wall,
on the lee side of which a fire is lit and the muleteers sleep when
there is no khan to retire to for the night.

On this journey I for the first time learned the true value of tea. One
of the kawasses of the Russian commissioners had a curious little
box, covered with cowskin, tied behind his saddle; about twice a day
he galloped off like mad, his arms and stirrups, &c., making a noise
as he started like that of upsetting all the fire-irons in a room at
home. In about half an hour we came up with him again, discovering
his whereabouts by seeing his panting horse led up and down by some
small boy before a hovel, into which we immediately dived. There we
found the kawass kneeling by a blazing fire, with the cowskin box open
on the ground beside him, from whence he presently produced glass
tumblers of delicious caravan tea, [2] sweetened with sugar-candy,
and a thin slice of lemon floating on the top of each cup. This is
the real way to drink tea, only one can not always get caravan tea,
and, when you can, it costs a guinea a pound, more or less; but its
refreshing, calming, and invigorating powers are truly remarkable.

In former days, in many a long and weary march, I found a pipe of great
service in quieting the tired and excited nerves; having no love for
smoking under ordinary circumstances, these were the only occasions
when a long chibouk did seem to be grateful and comforting. That this
is pretty universally acknowledged I gather from the habit of all the
solemn old Turks in Egypt and hot climates during the fast of Ramadan,
who invariably take a good whiff from their pipes the moment that
sunset is announced by the firing of a gun in cities, or on the
disappearance of its rays toward the west in the country. Supper
does not appear to be looked forward to with the same impatience as
the first puff from the chibouk. No pipe, however, possesses the
agreeable qualities of a cup of hot good tea made in this way; no
other beverage or contrivance that I know of produces so soothing an
effect, and that in so short a time. In a few minutes the glasses,
and the little teapot, and two canisters for tea and sugar-candy,
retired into the recesses of the cowskin box; the poor horses, who
had had no tea, were again mounted, and on we rode over the rocks and
stones, one after the other, in a long line, the regular tramp, tramp,
tramp, interrupted every now and then by the crash of one of our boxes
against a rock, and the exclamations of the katergis as its bearer
wallowed into a hole or tumbled over some horrible place, from whence
it seemed impossible that he should ever be got up again. However,
he always was, and at last we hardly took notice of one of these
little accidents, and notwithstanding which we generally got through
the mountains at the rate of about thirty miles a day.

On the second day from Trebizond we arrived at the snow; the hoods with
which we had provided ourselves were pulled over our heads. I tied
my bridle to the pommel of my saddle, put my hands in my pockets,
and nevertheless galloped along--at least the horse did, and all
the better for my not holding the bridle. In mountain traveling
this is perhaps the most necessary of all the whole craft and art
of horsemanship, not to touch the bridle on any occasion, except
when you want to stop the horse; for, in difficult circumstances,
a horse or mule goes much better if he is left to his own devices. In
some dreadful places, I have seen a horse smell the ground, and then,
resting on his haunches, put one foot forward as gently as if it was a
finger, cautiously to feel the way. They have a wonderful instinct of
self-preservation, seeming quite aware of the perils of false steps,
and the dangers by which they are surrounded on the ledges of bleak
mountains, and in passing bogs and torrents in the valleys below.

At Beyboort we were received by the governor, a Bey, who gave us
a famous good dinner or supper, whereof we all ate an incredible
quantity, and almost as much more at breakfast next morning. At Gumush
Hané, where there are silver mines, a good-natured old gentleman who
was sitting by the roadside gave me the most delicious pear I ever
tasted. This place is famous for its pears. Being situated in a deep
valley, the climate is much better than most parts of the country
on this road. Here we put up in a good house, slept like tops, and
waddled off next morning as before. I had an enormous pair of boots
lined with sheepskin, which were the envy and admiration of the party:
they were amazing snug certainly, and nearly came up to my middle. If
they had been a little bit larger, I might have crept into one at
night, which would have been a great convenience; they were of the
greatest service on horseback, but on foot I had much difficulty in
getting along, and was sorry I had neglected to inquire how Jack the
Giant-killer managed with his seven-league boots. Before arriving
at Beyboort we passed the mountain of Zigana Dagh, by a place where
a whole caravan accompanying the harem of the Pasha of Moush had
been overwhelmed in an avalanche, over the icy blocks of which we
made our way, the bodies of the unfortunate party and all the poor
ladies lying buried far below. Beyond Gumush Hané rises the mountain
of Hoshabounar, which is a part of the chain that bounds the great
plain of Erzeroom. This was the worst part of the whole journey:
we approached it by interminable plains of snow, along which the
track appeared like a narrow black line. These plains of snow, which
look so even to the sight, are not always really so; the hollows and
inequalities being filled with the snow, you may fall into a hole
and be smothered if you leave the path. This path is hardened by the
passage of caravans, which tread down the snow into a track of ice
just wide enough for a single file of horses; but while you think
you are on a plain, you are, in fact, riding on the top of a wall or
ridge, from whence, if your horse should chance to slip, you do not
know how deep you may sink down into the soft snow on either side.

At the top of the mountain we met thirty horses which the Pasha of
Erzeroom had sent for our use. We had above thirty of our own, so now
there were sixty horses in our train. The Russian commissioner and I
left all these behind, and rode on together with two or three guards,
accompanied by the chief of the village where we were to sleep. At last
we came to the brow of the hill--we could not see to the bottom from
the snow that was falling--it was as steep as the roof of a house,
and the road consisted of a series of holes, about six inches deep,
and about eighteen inches apart, the track being about sixteen inches
wide. To my surprise, the chief of the village, a man in long scarlet
robes, immediately dashed at a gallop down this road, or ladder, as
they call it; the Russian commissioner followed him; and I, thinking
that it would not do for an Englishman to be beat by a Russian or a
Turk, threw my bridle on my horse's neck and galloped after them. Never
did I see such a place to ride in! Down and down we went, plunging,
sliding, scrambling in and out of the deep holes, the snow flying
up like spray around us, to meet its brother snow that was falling
from the sky. It was wonderful how the horses kept their feet; they
burst out into perspiration as if it had been summer. I was as hot as
fire with the exertion. Still down we went, headlong as it seemed,
till at last I found myself sliding and bounding on level ground,
and, rushing over some horses which were standing in an open space,
I discovered that I was in a village, and was presently helped off
my panting horse by the gentleman in the red pelisse, who showed
the way into a cow-stable, the usual place in which we put up at
night. Thus ended the most extraordinary piece of horsemanship I ever
joined in. It was not wonderful, perhaps, for the rider, but how the
horses kept their feet, and how they had strength enough to undergo
such a wonderful series of leaps and plunges, out of one hole into
another, appeared quite astonishing to me. The next day we proceeded to
Erzeroom, and at a village about two hours' distance we were met by all
the authorities of the city on horseback. Some horses with magnificent
housings were sent by the Pasha for the principal personages, and we
rode into the town in a sort of procession, accompanied by perhaps
200 well-mounted cavaliers caracoling and prancing in every direction.



CHAPTER III.

    The Consulate at Erzeroom.--Subterranean
    Dwellings.--Snow-blindness.--Effects of the severe Climate.--The
    City: its Population, Defenses, and Buildings.--Our House and
    Household.--Armenian Country-houses.--The Ox-stable.


We were hospitably entertained at the British Consulate till the Pasha
could get a house prepared for us to occupy during our stay; but, as
Mr. Pepys says, "Lord, to see!" what a place this is at Erzeroom! I
have never seen or heard of any thing the least like it. It is totally
and entirely different from any thing I ever saw before. As the whole
view, whichever way one looked, was wrapped in interminable snow, we
had not at first any very distinct idea of the nature of the ground
that there might be underneath; the tops of the houses being flat, the
snow-covered city did not resemble any other town, but appeared more
like a great rabbit-warren; many of the houses being wholly or partly
subterranean, the doors looked like burrows. In the neighborhood of the
consulate (very comfortable within, from the excellent arrangements of
Mr. Brant) there were several large heaps and mounds of earth, and it
was difficult to the uninitiated to discriminate correctly as to which
was a house and which was a heap of soil or stones. Streets, glass
windows, green doors with brass knockers, areas, and chimney-pots,
were things only known from the accounts of travelers from the
distant regions where such things are used. Very few people were
about, the bulk of the population hybernating at this time of the
year in their strange holes and burrows. The bright colors of the
Oriental dresses looked to my eye strangely out of place in the cold,
dirty snow; scarlet robes, jackets embroidered with gold, brilliant
green and white costumes, were associated in my mind with a hot sun,
a dry climate, and fine weather. A bright sky there was, with the
sun shining away as if it was all right, but his rays gave no heat,
and only put your eyes out with its glare upon the snow. This glare
has an extraordinary effect, sometimes bringing on a blindness called
snow-blindness, and raising blisters on the face precisely like those
which are produced by exposure to extreme heat. Another inconvenience
has an absurd effect: the breath, out of doors, congeals upon the
mustaches and beard, and speedily produces icicles, which prevent the
possibility of opening the mouth. My mustaches were converted each
day into two sharp icicles, and if any thing came against them it
hurt horribly; and those who wore long beards were often obliged to
commence the series of Turkish civilities in dumb show; their faces
being fixtures for the time, they were not able to speak till their
beards thawed. A curious phenomenon might also be observed upon the
door of one of the subterranean stables being opened, when, although
the day was clear and fine without, the warm air within immediately
congealed into a little fall of snow; this might be seen in great
perfection every morning on the first opening of the outer door,
when the house was warm from its having been shut up all night.

Erzeroom is situated in an extensive elevated plain, about thirty
miles long and about ten wide, lying between 7000 and 8000 feet above
the level of the sea. It is surrounded on all sides with the tops of
lofty mountains, many of which are covered with eternal snow. The city
is said to contain between 30,000 and 40,000 inhabitants, but I do
not myself think that it contains much more than 20,000; this I had
no correct means of ascertaining. The city is said to have been, and
probably was, more populous before the disasters of the last Russian
war. It stands on a small hill, or several hills, at the foot of a
mountain with a double top, called Devé Dagh, the Camel Mountain. The
original city is nearly a square, and is surrounded by a double wall
with peculiarly-shaped towers, a sort of pentagon, about 20 towers on
each side, except on the south side, where a great part of the walls is
fallen down. Within these walls, on an elevated mound, is the smaller
square of the citadel, where there are some curious ancient buildings
and a prison, which I must describe afterward; a ditch, where it is
not filled up with rubbish and neglect, surrounds the walls of the
city; and beyond this are the suburbs, where the greater part of the
population reside. Beyond this, an immense work was accomplished as
a defense against the Russian invaders. This is an enormous fosse, so
large, and deep, and wide, as to resemble a ravine in many places. It
was some time before I was aware that this was an artificial work. As
there are no ramparts, walls, or breastworks on the inner side of
that immense excavation, it can have been of no more use than if it
did not exist, and did not, I believe, stop any of the Russians for
five minutes. They probably marched down one side and up the other,
supposing it to be a pleasing natural valley, useful as a promenade
in fine weather, and the prodigious labor employed on such a work
must have been entirely thrown away.

The palace of the Pasha, that of the Cadi and other functionaries,
are within the walls of the town. The doorways are the only parts of
the houses on which any architectural ornaments are displayed; many of
these are of carved stone, with inscriptions in Turkish beautifully
cut above them. There are said to be seventeen baths, but none of
them are particularly handsome, though the principal apartment is
covered with a dome, like those in finer towns. The mosques amount,
it is said, to forty-five: I never saw half so many myself. Many of
them are insignificant edifices. The principal one, or cathedral,
as it may be called, is of great size, its flat, turf-covered roof
supported by various thick piers and pointed arches. The finest
buildings are several ancient tombs: these are circular towers,
from twenty to thirty feet in diameter, with conical stone roofs,
beautifully built and ornamented. There must be twenty or thirty of
these very singular edifices, whose dates I was unable to ascertain;
they probably vary from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, judging
from a comparison of their ornamental work with Saracenic buildings
in other parts of the world.

The most beautiful buildings of Erzeroom are two ancient medressés
or colleges, or perhaps they may be considered more as a kind of
alms-houses, built for the accommodation of a certain number of
Mollahs, whose duty it was to pray around the tomb of the founder,
adjoining to which they are erected. One of these stands immediately to
the left hand on entering the principal gateway of the town; above its
elaborately-sculptured door are two most beautiful minarets, known by
the name of the iki chífteh. These are built of an exceedingly fine
brick, and are fluted like Ionic columns, the edges of the flutings
being composed of turquoise-blue bricks, which produces on the capitals
or galleries, as well as on the shafts, the appearance of a bright
azure pattern on a dark-colored ground. The roof of this very beautiful
building has fallen in, but the delicacy of the arabesques, cut in many
places in alto-relief in a very hard stone, would excite admiration in
India, and equals the most famous works of Italy. The other medressé
is in a still worse condition, a great cannon-foundry having been
erected in the middle of it. The whole building is broken, smoked,
and injured; still, what remains shows how fine it must have been.

There are one or two Greek churches and two Armenian churches here,
both very small, dark, cramped places, with immensely thick walls
and hewn-stone roofs. They appear to be of great antiquity, but can
boast of no other merit. Adjoining the principal one, in which is a
famous miraculous picture of St. George, they were building a large
and handsome church, which is now completed, in the Basilica form,
with an arched stone roof. Cut stone being very expensive, and indeed,
from the want of good masons, very difficult to procure, the priests
bethought themselves of a happy expedient to secure square hewn stone
for the corners, door-way, windows, &c., of the new cathedral. They
told their flock that, as the ancient tomb-stones were of no use to
the departed, it would be a meritorious act in the living to bring
them to assist in the erection of the church. They managed this so
well, that every one brought on his own back, or at his own expense,
the tombstones of his ancestors, and those were grieved and offended
who could not gain admission for the tomb-stones of their families to
complete a window or support a wall. The work advanced rapidly during
the summer, and any large, flat slabs of stone were reserved for the
covering of the roof. It promised to be, and I hear now is, a handsome
church, strong and solid enough to resist the awful climate, and the
snow which lies there for months every year. The Armenian inscriptions
and emblems on the stones have a singular effect; but I think, under
the circumstances, the priests were quite right to build up with the
tombstones of the dead a house of prayer for those about to die.

In course of time a house was ready for our reception: though not
so large as those of some of the great authorities, it was one of
the largest class of houses in Erzeroom, and a description of its
arrangements will convey an idea of what most of the others were. It
was situated in a very good position on the top of a hill, close to
the house of the Russian commissioner, and on the same side of the
town as those of the English and Russian consuls. From its small,
doubly-glazed windows we looked, over a narrow valley covered with
houses, on the walls and tower of the citadel, which stood on the hill
directly opposite. The walls and towers, and the principal gateway
of the town, with its two graceful minarets, to the left hand, and a
distant prospect of the great plain and the River Euphrates, and the
mountains over which we had traveled, to the right, completed our view,
which was, perhaps, the best enjoyed by any house in the place. Our
house, like most of the others, was built with great solidity, of
rough stone, with large blocks at the corners; the roof was flat,
and covered with green turf. The windows were small, like port-holes,
but the door was a large arch, through which we rode into the gloomy,
sepulchral-looking hall, out of which opened the stables on the right
hand, the kitchen, and offices, and some other rooms on the left,
while in front a dark staircase of square stones and heavy beams
looked as if it had tumbled through the ceiling, and gave access to
the upper floor. There was a little garden or yard under the windows,
where we planted vegetables, and in one part of which several English
dogs, two Persian greyhounds, and an Armenian turnspit, walked about
in the daytime. The railing between this and the garden part of the
yard was a triumph of art, accomplished by a Turkish guard, who turned
his sword into a plow-share when not wanted to look terrific. We had
also nineteen lambs, who grazed on the top of the highest part of the
house, where they were carried up every morning, except occasionally
when there was such a wind that they would be in danger of being blown
away. We had I know not how many sheep with large tails; these took
a walk every day with a shepherd, who led out all the sheep belonging
to the inhabitants of that part of the town. Every house having a few,
they are marked, and all come home every evening to their respective
houses, and go out again the next morning, and eat what they can get
upon the mountains. Our household contained, besides ourselves and
servants, one white Persian cat, with a spot on his back, and his tail
painted pink with hennah (this race, with long, silky hair falling to
the ground as it walks along, comes from Van); five pigeons, and one
hen, the rest having fallen victims to the rapacity of mankind; and a
lemming, [3] who lived in a brass foot-tub and ate biscuits. This last
beast was sadly frightened by a mouse which I put into his habitation
one day, and which made use of his back to jump out, after receiving
a severe bite in the tail. He generally slept all day, and took a
small walk in the tub in the evening.

All the building except the hall and stable had a garden on the roof,
that part only being two stories high. The kitchen and some of the
other rooms were lit by a skylight, the earth at the back of them
being on a level with their ceilings. The walls of the upper floor
were not exactly over those below, but were supported by immense beams,
some of which had given way, and the principal room leaned over to the
left frightfully. Those rooms which are lit by windows have two rows
of them one above the other, except the dining-room and ante-room,
which had only one row, too high from the floor to look out of,
but very convenient for looking into, from the upper garden and the
terrace of the next house. The rooms had all white-washed walls,
wooden flat ceilings curiously carved and painted. On the floors
there was blue cloth instead of carpets, and divans of red cloth. A
few chairs, and some lumbering deal tables, with covers on them,
at which we wrote, concluded our list of furniture and "genuine
effects." The great difficulty was the eating and drinking part of
the arrangements. Every thing except bread and meat came on horses
from Constantinople, and about one third of the bottles brought from
thence were usually broken. Glass, for the windows, was a curious and
expensive luxury, oiled paper being generally used, with a little
bit of real glass to peep out of in each, or sometimes only in one
window. Wood also was very dear, as there were no trees within a
distance of thirty hours. The climate is not too cold for the growth
of timber, I should think, for there were a few poplars in the yards
near the houses, but the people are too improvident to plant trees,
and, except some prodigiously large cabbages, horticulture is not
much practiced near the town.

The country houses of Armenia are constructed somewhat differently
from those of the towns. When a man wishes--I can not call it to
build a house, or erect a house, or set up a house, as none of these
terms are applicable--but when a house is to be constructed, the
following is the way in which it is set about. A space of ground is
marked out, perhaps nearly an English acre in extent; then the whole
space is excavated to the depth of about five feet: one part of the
excavation is set apart for the great cow-stable; this may be fifty
or one hundred feet long, and nearly as wide. Having got so far,
some trees are the next requisite; these trees being cut down, the
trunks are chopped into lengths of eight or nine feet, the general
height of the rooms, and are placed in two or four rows, to be used
as columns down the great stable; the larger branches, without being
squared or shaped, are laid across from pillar to pillar as beams;
the smaller branches are laid across these, the twigs on the top,
till the entire trees are used up; the twigs are sometimes tied
up in fagots, sometimes not: over this is spread some of the earth
that was excavated from below; this is well trodden down, then more
earth is added, and on the top of all is laid the turf which formed
the surface of the soil before it was moved. Round the stable, in
no particular order, smaller rooms are formed; if they are large,
their roofs are supported by columns like the stable. In a large
house there are often two stables. The space of ground taken up by
a rich man's house is prodigious, the turfed roof forming a small
field. The lesser rooms in this subterranean habitation are divided
from the stable and from each other by rough stone walls well filled up
with clay or mud; their ceilings are contrived by laying beams across
each other, two along and two across, in the form of a low pyramid,
so that the ceiling is a kind of low square dome: the smaller rooms
form store-rooms and apartments for the women. Each room has a rough
stone fire-place opposite the door; and in the roof, generally over
the door, there is one window about eighteen inches square, glazed
with a piece of oiled paper. Outside, these windows look like large
mole-hills, with a bit of plaster on one side surrounding the oiled
paper, or glass, which transmits the light. Inside, the window is
perceived at the end of a funnel, widening greatly toward the room,
and contrived so as to throw the light to the centre of the apartment,
opposite the fire-place, where a fire of tezek, or dried cow-dung
and chopped straw, is constantly smouldering. Over the chimney-piece
hangs an iron lamp of simple construction, which, with the help of
the fire, produces a dim light in the long nights of winter. There is
a divan, usually covered with most beautiful Koordish carpets, which
last forever, on each side of the fire-place; and large wooden pegs,
projecting from the walls, serve to hang up guns, pistols, cloaks,
and any thing else. Some of these rooms are rather roughly pretty
in appearance; the floors are covered with tekkè, a thick gray felt,
and, among smart people, Persian carpets are laid over the felt, their
beautiful colors producing a rich and comfortable effect. About half
way up the chimney is a wooden door or damper, which is opened and
shut by means of a string; and when it is very cold weather, and they
want to be snug and fusty down below, this door is shut, and the room
becomes as hot as an oven; the chimney does not rise more than two feet
above ground, and has a large flat stone on the top to keep the snow
from falling in, as well as the lambs and children; the smoke escapes
by apertures on the sides just below the coping-stone. The chimneys
look like toadstools from the outside, rising a little above the snow
or the grass which grows upon the roof. These subterranean habitations
are constructed, not on the side of a hill, but on the side of a gentle
slope; and all the earth excavated for the house is thrown back again
upon the roof in such a manner that on three sides there is often
no sign of any dwelling existing underneath. The entrance is on the
lower side of the slope, and there the mound is often visible, as it
is raised four or five feet above the level of the hill-side. There
are no fences to keep people off the roof, which has no appearance
different from the rest of the country. It is often only the dirt
opposite the doors, the cattle, and people standing about, which gives
information of a small village being present, particularly during the
eight months of snow, and ice, and intense cold, when no one stirs
abroad except for matters of importance. When a house is ruined and
deserted, these holes are sometimes rather dangerous, as the horse
you are riding may put his foot into an old chimney and break his
leg, there being very frequently no appearance of a habitation below,
while you are passing through the open, desolate country, of which the
roof seems to be a part. There are stories, perhaps founded on fact,
of hungry thieves lifting the flat stone off the top of the chimney,
and fishing up the kettle in which the supper was stewing over the
fire below with a hooked stick--a feat which would not be at all
difficult if the cook was thinking of something else, as sometimes
will happen even in the best-regulated families.

The most curious and remarkable part of the house is the great
ox-stable, which often holds some scores of cattle. Out of this
stable they do not stir, frequently, during the whole winter season,
and it is the breath and heat of these animals which warm the house;
besides which, they manufacture all the fuel for the establishment:
they are fed upon straw, bruised to small bits by the sledge which
is driven round the threshing-floor to separate the corn from the
husk after harvest time. In one corner of this huge, dim stable,
near the entrance door, a wooden platform is raised three feet
from the ground; two sides of it are bounded by the stone wall of
the house, in one of which, opposite the door, is the fire-place;
the other two sides of the square platform have open wooden rails
to keep off the cows. This original contrivance is the salemlik, or
reception-room, where the master sits, and where he entertains his
guests, who, as they stumble into the obscure den from the glare of
the sun shining on the snow outside, are received with a yell by all
the dogs, who live under the platform. This place is fitted up with
divans and carpets; arms and saddles hang against the walls; the
horses of the chief are tethered nearest to the rails, the donkeys
and cows further off. Among the horses there is always an immense
fat tame sheep; this is a universal custom in every stable in Turkey,
under or above ground. Among some of the Koordish tribes, a young wild
boar is kept in the stable with the horses--a remarkable custom among
Mohammedans, who consider the whole race of swine as unclean beasts;
this is the only case in which they are tolerated. A small flock of
other sheep are sometimes scampering about, or kept from doing so,
among the cows; chickens peck in the litter, and several grave cats
have their allotted places on the divans of the chief, his wife,
and others of his family. A vacant, that is, cowless space, is left
between the steps leading up to the platform and the entrance door
of the house; this part answers to the entrance hall, as man and
beast pass through it on coming in or going out, immediately before
the eyes of the master of the house. From hence a sloping passage,
about six feet wide, leads to the open air; it has an outer door at
the upper end, and an inner door below: this passage may be from ten
to twenty feet long. The outer door is a common strong wooden one,
but the inner doors all over the house are as singular as the rest of
the arrangements. The house-door is of the usual size for the cows and
horses to pass through, the others are not more than five feet high;
they are constructed in the following manner: the bare wooden valve
is first covered with ketché or felt, and on the inside the skin of a
sheep, with its legs and arms on, just in the shape in which it came
off the animal when it was skinned, being dyed red, is nailed over
the felt. On the other side of the door, down the middle, is a long
square pipe or box, in which hangs a heavy log of wood, attached to a
cord fixed to the upper part of the door-case, which keeps the door
shut, as it swings to again after it has been opened, and keeps out
the drafts, and keeps in the warm air generated by cows, fires, and
lamps, so that the atmosphere is always temperate within, while the
cold is such without that men are frozen to death if they stand still
even for a short time in the rigorous climate of an Armenian winter.



CHAPTER IV.

    Narrow Escape from Suffocation.--Death of Noori Effendi.--A good
    Shot.--History of Mirza Tekee.--Persian Ideas of the Principles of
    Government.--The "Blood-drinker."--Massacre at Kerbela.--Sanctity
    of the Place.--History of Hossein.--Attack on Kerbela, and Defeat
    of the Persians.--Good Effects of Commissioners' Exertions.


The first aspect of affairs at Erzeroom was not very satisfactory
in any way. The cold and dismal weather was enough to prevent
all enjoyment out of doors, and in-doors we had little cause of
rejoicing. On first taking possession of our house, my companions had
the narrowest possible escape of death from suffocation. The grooms in
the stable below the drawing-room had lit an immense fire of charcoal,
not for any particular object beyond that common to all servants of
all countries, that of wasting their master's goods, which they had
not to pay for themselves. The fumes from the charcoal penetrated
the ceiling, when, most fortunately, the Russian commissioner came
in, and, finding his two English friends in a half-stupefied state,
helped them out of the room on to the terrace, where they both fell
down fainting on the snow, and were only recovered after some time and
difficulty. If the Russian commissioner had not arrived so opportunely,
they would soon have perished. I did not participate in this risk,
because I was laid up at the Consulate with an attack of fever,
which effectually prevented my moving to my own house.

Another misfortune occurred almost at the same period. Noori Effendi,
the Turkish plenipotentiary, died suddenly of apoplexy in his
bath; he had been embassador in London and at Vienna. All prospect
of getting on with our affairs was put off by this unfortunate
circumstance. Subsequently, Enveri Effendi, formerly secretary to
Noori, was appointed in his place, but he did not arrive for some
time after the death of his former chief.

Mirza Jaffer, an old acquaintance of mine when he was embassador
from Persia to the Porte, was too unwell to leave Tabriz, and Mirza
Tekee was appointed Persian plenipotentiary instead. On his arrival
within sight of Erzeroom from Persia, all the great people, except the
Pasha and the commissioners, went out on horseback to meet him, and
accompany him on his entry into the town. There was a great concourse
and a prodigious firing of guns at full gallop, which, as the guns are
generally loaded with ball cartridge, bought ready made in the bazaar,
though intended as an honor, is a somewhat dangerous display. Unable to
resist so picturesque a sight, I had ridden out on the Persian road,
though I did not join the escort, and, having returned, I was walking
up and down on the roof of the house, watching the crowds passing
in the valley below, and looking at the great guns of the citadel,
which the soldiers were firing as a salute. They fired very well,
in very good time, but I observed several petty officers and a number
of men busily employed at one gun, the last to the left hand near the
corner of the battery. At length this gun was loaded. A prodigious
deal of peeping and pointing took place out of the embrasure, and,
just as I was turning in my walk, bang went the cannon, and I was
covered with dust from something which struck the ground in the yard
in a line below my feet. On looking down to see what this could be,
I saw a ball stuck in the earth: the soldiers had all disappeared from
the ramparts of the citadel, and I found they had been taking a shot at
the British commissioner. A very good shot it was too, exactly in the
line, but the ball, not being heavy enough, had fallen a little short,
so I was missed. They had manufactured a ball with a large stone,
wound round with rope to make it fit the gun, to shoot at the Frank,
and that was the occasion of all the peeping and crowding of the men
round the gun which I had observed.

As Mirza Tekee is now no more, and he was beyond all comparison the
most interesting of those assembled at the congress of Erzeroom,
I will give a short account of his history. Mirza Tekee was the son
of the cook of Bahman Meerza, brother of Mohammed Shah, and governor
of the province of Tabriz. The cook's little boy was brought up with
the children of his master and educated with them; being a clever boy,
as soon as he was old enough he was put into the office of accounts,
under the commander-in-chief, the famous Emir Nizam, who was employed
in drilling the Persian army in the European style. Tekee became Vizir
ul Nizam, or adjutant general, in course of time, under the old Emir
Nizam, and also amassed great wealth; and as the Shah did not like
the idea of paying the expenses of his plenipotentiary--"base is the
slave that pays"--he sent Mirza Tekee to Erzeroom with many flattering
speeches and promises, none of which he intended to fulfill. The
cunning old prime minister, Hadji Meerza Agassi, who was sedulously
employed in feathering his own nest, was jealous of Mirza Tekee,
and very glad to get him safe out of the way. The Turks and Persians,
as every body knows, hate each other religiously, which seems always
to be the worst sort of hatred. The Soonis and the Shiahs are, as it
were, Protestants and Papists in the Mohammedan faith; and if these
two countries are ever reconciled for a time, the smouldering flame
is sure to break out again at the first convenient opportunity, and it
will do so to the end of time. In 1845, the Turks, who disliked Mirza
Tekee with more than common aversion, from his dignified bearing and
stately manners, gave out various accusations against him and some
members of his household. A fanatical mob of many thousand indignant
Soonis surrounded all that quarter of the town, attacked the Persian
plenipotentiary's house, which was besieged for some hours, and
volleys after volleys of rifle-shots were fired at the windows,
while from within Mirza Tekee only permitted his party to fire
blank cartridges. Izzet Pasha, a drunken old gentleman of eighty,
who had succeeded Kiamili Pasha as governor of Erzeroom through
the intrigues of Enveri Effendi, sat on horseback and looked on,
and took no part in the disturbance, though he had all his troops,
amounting to several thousand men, under arms. For this conduct he
was turned out of his government, and was succeeded by Bahri Pasha,
who in 1847 was shot dead by one of his own servants, of the name of
Delhi Ibrahim--accidentally or not, does not appear.

Colonel Williams did every thing in his power to assist Mirza Tekee,
and risked his life in the affray; but he received no assistance from
the Pasha or any of the authorities, who made no attempt to quell
the riot.

The Turks swore they would have blood, and that one of the Persians
must be given up to them as a sacrifice. A poor man, who had called
that morning to say that he was going to Tabriz, and would be happy to
carry any letters or messages there, was thrown out of the window and
torn to pieces by the mob. Another Persian, a gentleman, secretary to
Mirza Tekee, was killed by a butcher the same day, in another part of
the town, where he was walking in ignorance of the disturbance that was
going on. The Mirza's house was pillaged, the roof and doors broken in,
and every thing destroyed that the mob could get hold of. He himself
was only saved by barricading a strong room in a back part of the
house, where he and his servants defended themselves for many hours,
till the Turks dispersed of their own accord. The Sultan afterward
sent him £8000 in repayment of his losses in this disgraceful outrage.

In June, 1847, after he had signed the treaty of peace and commerce
between Turkey and Persia with Enveri Effendi and the British and
Russian Commissioners, he returned to Tabriz. On the death of the Emir
Nizam, he succeeded to his office of commander-in-chief. During the
last illness of Mohammed Shah, Bahman Meerza had been intriguing in
hopes of succeeding to the throne; but being unsuccessful, and being
also found out, he escaped to Teflis, where he still resides, and is
protected by the Czar, who keeps him in terrorem over the present
Shah, who may be dethroned any day, in which case Bahman Meerza is
all ready to reign in his stead.

When Mohammed Shah, who had done nothing all his life but shoot
sparrows with a pistol, departed from this world, Mirza Tekee marched
the Persian army to Teheran, and seated the young Prince Noor Eddin
upon the throne. Noor Eddin Shah gave him his sister in marriage: she
is said to have been much attached to her husband, who also succeeded
to the immense territorial possessions of Hadji Meerza Agassi, the late
prime minister of Persia. The Hadji had been tutor to Mohammed Shah,
and became one of the most famous of the Grand Vizirs of that most
blundering of dynasties. As a matter of course, when he became rich
enough he was robbed by his master, having been himself the greatest
extortioner on record for many years. The Shah had allowed him to
keep an enormous treasure in gold, silver, and jewels, with which he
retired to Kerbela, where he died in the odor of sanctity in 1850.

Mirza Tekee was now seated on the highest pinnacle of the temple
of prosperity. The extent of the possessions which the Shah had
handed over to him from the plunder of the Hadji was so great as
to be hardly credible, and, by a judicious squeezing, the towns,
villages, and domains would have yielded the revenue of a petty
king. However, all prime ministers are detested--that is, in human
nature; first, there is the opposite party in politics, some of whom
think differently as to the form and manner in which the taxes should
be levied in Europe, the villages racked in Persia. All--whatever
they may think on political subjects--feel sure they ought to be in
place, rather than the party then in power; if to these are added all
thieves, rogues, revolutionists, and those sorts of people, who have
a natural antipathy to all government, law, or possession of wealth in
the hands of any man except the one individual himself, he being more
jealous of his friend than of any other person, a great mass of the
population are not only opposed to the minister for the time being,
but are in constant readiness to pull down whatever is above them,
good, indifferent, or bad.

It is said that the great enemy of Mirza Tekee at court was the Shah's
mother, a lady who in Persia and Turkey enjoys an extraordinary degree
of power, wealth, and dignity. In Turkey, the Sultana Validé has the
right to build a royal mosque, and to use a caique like that of her
son; she is above the law, and can do any thing she likes. If she likes
to do good, she can do much good; if she likes to do evil, she can do
much evil. Between those who were jealous of the power and who hated
the strong government of Mirza Tekee, a powerful party was created,
who got hold of the weak mind of the young Shah, who owed every thing
in this world to his minister; his destruction was agreed upon, and
he was given leave to go to Koom, where he had an estate. So secretly
were affairs managed that his suspicions do not seem to have been
aroused; his young wife followed him, with all her train, looking
forward to the pleasure of living with her husband for a while in
the quiet and retirement of a beautiful country; but when she arrived
within sight of the town of Koom, a messenger came out to meet her,
and the news that he brought was that Mirza Tekee had been killed by
the order of her brother the Shah, whose emissaries had seized him
unexpectedly in the bath. He made a desperate resistance, but he was
overpowered; they opened his veins and held him down till the Grand
Vizir had bled to death. No crime whatever was alleged against him:
he was murdered foully by the Shah, who thus destroyed one of his
best and most honest subjects at the instigation of some of the most
infamous and worst. This happened in the year 1851.

There is nothing, however, very unusual in this termination of the
life and fortunes of the prime minister of Persia, only it is usually
done under more extenuating circumstances. The singular ideas which
they entertain of the principles of government are summed up in the
notion that it is better to be in the hands of one furious ogre than
at the mercy of a hundred tyrants. For this reason the tribes of
the Kuzzulbash admire a truculent Shah, such as Aga Mohammed Shah,
and they like a Grand Vizir who lets nobody rob and plunder except
himself. When he is fat and fit for killing, the blood-drinker on
the throne cuts off his head, or strangles him, as the case may be,
and then takes possession of his property, throwing a sop to the mob
occasionally by allowing them to sack the great man's house. I do not
use the above-mentioned epithet as a term of reprehension or abuse,
for Hunkiar is one of the recognized titles of the Sultan of Turkey
and of other Eastern sovereigns. The treaty of Hunkiar Skellessi,
which made so great a sensation in its day, was so called from the name
of a place on the Asiatic shores of the Bosporus. The name means the
"Blood-drinker's Stairs"--an appellation at this time equally suited
to either of the "high contracting powers."

The plenipotentiaries and commissioners being assembled, every thing
was in the greatest danger of falling to pieces on the outset, by
the very first dispatches which we received, as these related to a
frightful massacre which had just taken place at Kerbela, where 22,000
Persians were reported to have been killed by the Turks. Kerbela,
in the pashalik of Bagdad, is a Turkish fortified place, containing
the tomb of Hossein, the brother of Hassan, and son of Ali, the great
saint of the Shiah, or Persian form of the Mohammedan religion. Not
only do an immense number of Persians habitually reside there, but
every one who has the power strives to retire there in his latter
days, that he may lay his bones in the neighborhood of the golden dome
which covers the ashes of Hossein. Those who die at a distance are
so anxious at least to be buried at Kerbela, that the great article
of commerce in that direction consists of the dead bodies of Persian
men and women, which are brought by thousands every year, from all
parts of the dominions of the Shah, by endless caravans of horses,
mules, and camels, many hundreds of which unlucky animals pass their
whole lives from year to year in carrying these horrid burdens,
which infect the air in all the villages through which they pass.

So great is the sanctity of Kerbela, that, in the estimation of
the sect of Ali, it even may be said to surpass that of Mecca, for
they, among Mohammedans, are those who "by their traditions have
made the law of none effect." The history of the death of Hossein
is so interesting an episode in the history of this country, that I
am tempted to give a short account of it, for the benefit of those
who may not be well acquainted with the history of the successors of
Mohammed, and upon whose fortunes so much of the welfare and also the
policy of the various nations of the East, from the seventh century to
the present time, depends--premising that the principal cause of the
rancorous hatred which always has existed, and still exists in full
force, between the Sooni Turks and the Shiah Persians, is principally
founded upon events connected with the death of the Imaum Hossein,
and the feeling is kept up in full vigor in Persia by a sort of drama,
representing the following history, which is enacted before the Shah,
and in every town in Persia, every year, at the annual feast of Noo
Rooz, which continues for ten days. In one of the acts of this most
curious ceremony, a Frank embassador is brought before the audience,
who intercedes for the life of Hossein and his followers with the
general of the army of Yezid. Who he can have been there is no means
of knowing, but he may possibly represent an embassador from the Greek
Emperor of Constantinople, who may have been passing on his way to
the court of the Caliph. However this may be, his presence produces
a kindly feeling toward Europeans in the minds of the Persian populace.

On the death of Ali (A.D. 661), his eldest son, Hassan, was proclaimed
Caliph and Imaum in Irák; the former title he was forced to resign
to Moawiyah; the latter, or spiritual dignity, his followers regarded
as inalienable. His rival granted him a pension, and permitted him to
retire into private life. After nine years, passed for the most part in
devotional exercise, he was poisoned by his wife Jaadah, who was bribed
to perpetrate this execrable crime by Yezid, the son of Moawiyah.

On the death of Moawiyah (A.D. 679), his son Yezid, who succeeded,
having provoked public indignation by his luxury, debauchery, and
impiety, Hossein was persuaded by the discontented people of Irák
to make an attempt for the recovery of his hereditary rights. The
inhabitants of Cufa and Bassorah were foremost in their professions of
zeal for the house of Ali, and sent Hossein a list of more than 124,000
persons, who, they said, were ready to take up arms in his cause.

Hossein did not take warning from the inconstancy and treachery
which these very persons had shown in their conduct toward his father
and brother. Assembling a small troop of his personal friends, and
accompanied by a part of his family, he departed from Medina, the place
of his residence, and was soon engaged in crossing the desert. But
while he was on his journey, Yezid's governor in Irák discovered the
meditated revolt, capitally punished the leaders of the conspiracy,
and so terrified the rest that they were afraid to move. When Hossein
arrived near the banks of the Euphrates, instead of finding an army
of his devoted adherents, he discovered that his further progress was
checked by the overwhelming forces of the enemy. Determined, however,
to persevere, he gave permission to all who pleased to retreat while
there was yet time; to their disgrace, many of his followers left him
to his fate, and he continued his route to Cufa, accompanied only
by seventy-two persons. But every step increased his difficulties,
and he attempted to return when it was too late. At length he was
surrounded by the troops of the Caliph in the arid plains of Kerbela,
his followers were cut off from their supply of water, and, when
he offered to negotiate, he was told that no terms would be made,
but that he should surrender at discretion. Twenty-four hours were
granted him for deliberation.

Hossein's choice was soon made: he deemed death preferable to
submission, but he counseled his friends to provide for their safety
either by surrender or escape. All replied that they preferred dying
with their beloved leader. The only matter now to be considered was
how they could sell their lives most dearly; they fortified their
little encampment with a trench, and then tranquilly awaited the event.

That night Hossein slept soundly, using for a pillow the pommel of
his sword. During his sleep he dreamed that Mohammed appeared to him,
and predicted that they should meet the next day in Paradise. When
morning dawned he related his dream to his sister Zeinab, who had
accompanied him on his fatal expedition. She burst into a passion
of tears, and exclaimed, "Alas! alas! my brother! What a destiny
is ours! My father is dead! my mother is dead! my brother Hassan is
dead! and the measure of our calamities is not yet full!"

Hossein tried to console her. "Why should you weep?" he said; "did we
not come on earth to die? My father was more worthy than I; my mother
was more worthy than I; my brother was more worthy than I. They are
all dead; why should not we be ready to follow their example?" He
then strictly enjoined his family to make no lamentation for his
approaching martyrdom, telling them that a patient submission to the
divine decrees was the conduct most pleasing to God and his Prophet.

When morning appeared, Hossein, having washed and perfumed himself,
as if preparing for a banquet, mounted his steed, and addressed his
followers in terms of endearing affection that drew tears from the
eyes of the gallant warriors. Then, opening the Koran, he read the
following verse: "O God, be thou my refuge in suffering, and my hope
in affliction." But the soldiers of Yezid were reluctant to assail the
favorite grandson of the Prophet; they demanded of their generals to
allow him to draw water from the Euphrates, a permission which would
not have been refused to beasts and infidels. "Let us be cautious,"
they exclaimed, "of raising our hands against him who was carried
in the arms of God's apostle. It would be, in fact, to fight against
himself." So strong were their feelings, that thirty cavaliers deserted
to Hossein, resolved to share with him the glories of martyrdom.

But Yezid's generals shared not in these sentiments. They affected
to regard Hossein as an enemy of Islám. They forced their soldiers
forward with blows, and exclaimed, "War to those who abandon the
true religion, and separate themselves from the council of the
faithful!" Hossein replied, "It is you who have abandoned the true
religion; it is you who have severed yourselves from the assembly
of the faithful. Ah! when your souls shall be separated from your
bodies, you will learn too late which party has incurred the penalty
of eternal condemnation." Notwithstanding their vast superiority,
the Caliph's forces hesitated to engage men determined on death;
they poured in their arrows from a distance, and soon dismounted the
little troop of Hossein's cavalry.

When the hour of noon arrived, Hossein solicited a suspension of arms
during the time appointed for the meridian prayers. This boon was
conceded with difficulty, the generals of Yezid asking "how a wretch
like him could venture to address the Deity;" and adding the vilest
reproaches, to which Hossein made no reply. The Persian traditions
relate a fabulous circumstance, designed to exalt the character of
Hossein, though fiction itself can not increase the deep interest
of his history. They tell us that while he was upon his knees, the
King of the Genii appeared to him, and offered, for the sake of his
father Ali, to disperse his enemies in a moment. "No," replied the
generous Hossein, "what use is there in fighting any longer? I am
but a guest of one breath in this transitory world; my relatives
and companions are all gone, and what will it profit me to remain
behind? I long for nothing now save my martyrdom; therefore depart
thou, and may the Lord recompense and bless thee!" The genius was so
deeply affected by the reply that his soul exhibited human weakness,
and he departed weeping and lamenting.

When the hour of prayer was past, the combat was renewed. One
of Hossein's sons, and several of his nephews, lay dead around
him; the rest of his followers were either killed or grievously
wounded. Hitherto he had escaped unhurt, for every one dreaded to
raise a hand against the grandson of Mohammed; at length a soldier,
more daring than the rest, gave him a severe wound in the head. Faint
with the loss of blood, he staggered to the door of his tent, and
with a burst of parental affection, which at such a moment must have
been mingled with unspeakable bitterness, took up his infant son,
and began to caress him. While the little child was lisping out
an inquiry as to the cause of his father's emotion, it was struck
dead by an arrow in Hossein's arms. When the blood of the innocent,
bubbling over his bosom, disclosed this new calamity, Hossein held
up the body toward heaven, exclaiming, "O Lord! if thou refusest us
thy succor, at least spare those who have not yet sinned, and turn
thy wrath upon the heads of the guilty." Parched by a burning thirst,
Hossein made a desperate effort to reach the banks of the Euphrates,
but, when he stooped to drink, he was struck by an arrow in the mouth,
and at the same moment one of his nephews, who came to embrace him for
the last time, had his hand cut off by the blow of a sabre. Hossein,
now the sole survivor of his party, threw himself into the midst of
the enemy, and fell beneath a thousand weapons. The officers of Yezid
barbarously mangled the corpse of the unfortunate prince; they cut
off his head, and sent it to the Caliph.

The escort who guarded it on its way to the court of Yezid, halting
for the night in the city of Mosul, placed the box which contained it
in a mosque; one of the sentinels, in the middle of the night hearing
a noise within, looked through a chink in the door, and saw a gigantic
figure, with a venerable white beard, take the head of Hossein out of
its box, kiss it with reverence, and weep over it, a crowd of venerable
personages following his example, and weeping bitterly at the same
time. Fearing that some of his partisans had gained admittance, and
that they would carry away the head which he was guarding, he unlocked
the door and entered the mosque, upon which one of the figures he had
seen approached, and, giving him a blow upon the cheek, exclaimed,
"The prophets have come to pay obeisance to the head of the martyr:
whither dost thou venture with such disrespect?" In the morning he
related what had happened to his commander, the impression of the hand
and fingers of the ancient prophet being still visible on his cheek.

The head of Hossein, and that of his brother Hassan, repose under a
mosque of the highest sanctity at Cairo: it is called the mosque of
Hassanen. Another mosque in the same city covers with its dome the
remains of Sitté, or the lady Zeinab, their sister, who was famous
for her beauty: her shrine is now visited with great devotion by
the ladies and women of her faith. The headless body of Hossein was
buried upon the spot where he fell, while above it afterward arose
the present place of pilgrimage, so much resorted to by the Shiah sect.

The Persian fanatics of Kerbela had long declined paying the accustomed
taxes to the Turkish government. Their insolent behavior had been
a constant source of anger and difficulty to successive Pashas of
Bagdad. At last the present Pasha was determined to enforce the law:
after sending various letters to the town requesting payment of taxes
and arrears, which were treated with ridicule and contempt, he gave
orders to a general called Aboullabout Pasha, who appears to have
been a Sooni of the most orthodox kind, to march an army of several
thousand men to compel the people of Kerbela to acknowledge the rule
of the Sultan. Aboullabout Pasha arrived accordingly, and pitched
his camp in a grove of palms not far from the walls of the city. He
brought four guns with him, and a number of topgis, or gunners, to
work these instruments of destruction, if the Persians in the town did
not choose to obey his commands. These impertinent fanatics treated
the Turkish Pasha and his army with derision; rode out in the cool
of the evening to look at the encampment, called the Turks grandsons
and great grandsons of dogs, whom they would soon pack off to their
kennels at Bagdad and Constantinople.

It seems that, trusting in the sanctity of the golden dome, they
did not imagine that the Turks would dare to advance to extremities,
particularly as several royal princesses and members of the family of
the Shah had taken up their abode in the vicinity of the tomb of the
Imaum. However, the four guns and the topgis advanced to a position
near the walls, and the Pasha sent a civil note to the insurgents
within, to say that he would trouble them to pay his little bill;
at the very notion of which the Persians were seized with fits of
laughter, they were so much amused at the idea of paying away their
money to the Turks. After several demands for their surrender, the
town was blockaded, and the Persians made various sallies on the
Turkish lines, in which they were always repulsed, and, all warnings
being disregarded, the four guns at last proceeded to business. The
walls tumbled down immediately, the Turks walked in, the Persians ran
away, making very little effectual resistance, and fire and the sword,
plunder and outrage of all kinds, took place in every quarter of the
devoted city. When the Turkish troops entered the town, Aboullabout
Pasha, who took it all in a religious point of view, had his carpet
spread upon a bastion close above the breach, and having cursed
Hassan and Hossein, Sitti Zeinab and Ali, offered ten shillings a
piece for the heads of any of their followers; and then went quietly
to prayers for the rest of the morning, without making any effort
to stop the horrors and excesses which occur when a city has been
taken by storm. The accounts of the shocking outrages and barbarities
committed by the brutal soldiery are not fit to be repeated. When the
town was pillaged, and every thing had been seized that they could lay
their hands upon, those who had not been fortunate in lighting upon
any treasure, or any thing worth taking away, bethought themselves
of the manner in which profit and amusement might be combined, by
cutting off every one's head that they could meet with, and taking
it up to the pious old Pasha, who continued praying on his carpet on
the bastion. When Persian heads became difficult to find, not being
particular, a great many Turks were shot and decapitated by their
fellow-soldiers, for the sake of their heads, the fraternal feeling
of nationality and Sooniism not being calculated to resist the offer
of one ducat per head. If this had been suffered to continue, it is
probable that the state of affairs would have resembled that of the
celebrated battle between the two Kilkenny cats, who ate each other
up entirely with the exception of a small piece of fluff. When the
massacre was stopped, 22,000 persons were reported to have been
slain. This was very much exaggerated, no doubt, and it does not
appear that a very correct account could be made out. A most curious
and interesting report was afterward drawn up on this subject by
Colonel Farrant, who was deputed by the British government to proceed
to Kerbela for the purpose of pacifying the contending parties,
and inquiring into the truth and extent of this terrible disaster.

This was the first subject which the congress assembled to discuss
measures of amity and mutual confidence between Turkey and Persia
had brought before them--one not precisely calculated to insure that
calmness of debate and general good-will which all wanted to establish.

In course of time matters calmed down; things were what is called
explained. We were all wonderfully civil to each other, and the Turkish
and Persian followers of their respective plenipotentiaries did not
express their private opinions of each other's merits till they got
home and shut the door.

Gradually they became more used to one another's ways, and the
commissioners worked like special constables to keep the peace--and
very hard work they had; and it is wholly and entirely owing to their
exertions that the Koordish tribes upon the frontiers, and the wild
spirits on both sides who were ready to back them up, were kept down
for more than ten years, during which time commerce has been enlarged,
the roads have been safe, and the Christian and agricultural population
from Bussora to Mount Ararat have enjoyed a tranquillity and prosperity
unknown in the memory of man.



CHAPTER V.

    The Boundary Question.--Koordish Chiefs.--Torture of
    Artin, an American Christian.--Improved State of Society in
    Turkey.--Execution of a Koord.--Power of Fatalism.--Gratitude of
    Artin's Family.


One of the most important of the affairs which were to be settled at
Erzeroom was the geographical position of the boundaries between the
two empires, for along the whole line there ran a broad belt of a kind
of debatable land, upon which every man felt it his duty to shoot at
every other man whom he did not get near enough to run through with
his long spear, or knock upon the head with his mace, these ancient
style of weapons being still in use among the Koords. For the purpose
of gaining local information, many of the chiefs and principal persons
of the wild districts in question were brought up to Erzeroom to be
examined before the plenipotentiaries and commissioners. Some of these
were most original individuals. The following extract from a letter,
written upon the spot, will give a faint idea of two or three of
these singular chieftains.


Extract of a Letter.


                                           "Erzeroom, August 11th, 1843.

    "One day passes much like another at Erzeroom, and though there
    seldom occurs any thing new to me, perhaps, as it would be all new
    to you, you may like to hear how I pass my time, so I will give
    you a sort of journal of the proceedings of yesterday, that you
    may see how I occupy myself in this outlandish place. First of
    all, I got up in the morning, ate my breakfast, and then walked
    about the terrace on the top of the house. At eleven o'clock a
    messenger came from Enveri Effendi, to ask us to go to his house
    at one. So at one o'clock we went; the Russian commissioner,
    with his suite, came also. At the door of Enveri Effendi's house
    I saw a fine mare, with very peculiar housings. It was held by a
    negro, and a Bedouin Arab was sitting on the ground near it. The
    head-stall was made of a red silk garter, which went over its head,
    and was attached to the bit by a piece of green leather strap;
    the saddle was a common Arab saddle, but the housings, made of
    wadded red silk, ended in two immense tassels, one on each side
    of the horse's tail, and almost as large; the shovel-stirrups
    were beautifully embossed and inlaid with silver, and there was
    a heavy mace of the same workmanship under the right flap of
    the saddle. This curious horse belonged to Sheikh Thamir, the
    chief of the Chaab tribe, and ex-sovereign of all the land at
    the mouths of the Euphrates. All the time that I was examining
    the horse and talking about its accouterments, the Turkish guard
    were presenting arms, and they looked very much relieved when I
    turned round and went into the house.

    "The staircase of this palace is like a chicken-ladder, and the
    hall at the top, where the servants wait, like a little barn
    or stable in England. Here, as I was kicking off my goloshes,
    I was seized by Enveri Effendi himself, who had come up behind
    me. This was considered as an excellent good joke by the
    Chaoushes, servants, &c., who stood in a row to receive us;
    so we went into the selamlik (or reception room) together, and
    there I was introduced to three of the most picturesque people
    I have ever seen. The first was Osman Pasha, late Governor
    of Zohab; the second, Sheikh Thamir, whose horse I had been
    looking at outside; the third was yclept Abdul Kader Effendi,
    chief secretary to the government of Bussorah. These persons
    were dressed in flowing robes of various colors; they had long
    beards, and enormous turbans of Cashmere shawl. All three were
    remarkably ugly, strange-looking men, and I can not describe to
    you the peculiar way in which their clothes were put on, and the
    wild and almost magnificent appearance they presented. There were,
    besides these and ourselves, B---- Pasha and four other gentlemen,
    in the modern Turkish dress. The three commissioners and their two
    dragomans sat on the divan under the window, all, except myself,
    with their legs sticking out, like people waiting for an operation
    in a hospital. Enveri Effendi sat on a cushion on the floor, in the
    right-hand corner, and the others were ranged on the two sides of
    the room. As we were fourteen people, on a sudden fourteen servants
    rushed into the room with pipes; then one brought coffee on a tray,
    the brocade covering of which was thrown over his left shoulder;
    and then came a man bringing to each of us a cup, well frothed up,
    and in a zarf, or outer cup, of a different kind, according to
    the rank of the person to whom it was presented. Enveri Effendi
    and the three commissioners had cups of enameled gold, the rest
    of the Pashas, &c., of silver. When this ceremony was concluded,
    the door was shut, the servants disappeared, a curtain was drawn
    across the door, and two chaoushes, with muskets, put to guard
    it outside. Then Enveri Effendi lifted up his voice, and, after
    swinging himself about, and grunting two or three times, he told
    us that the gentlemen in the turbans had brought up a number of
    old firmans, teskerès, and other papers relating to the lands
    between Zohab and the Persian Gulf; that he had examined them,
    and that now he begged the commissioners to put any questions
    they chose to the worthies before them respecting the lands, &c.

    "Then we all looked at each other for a little time, then they all
    looked at me. Then I took up my parable, and desired the dragoman
    to ask Osman Pasha who he was. 'I am Osman Pasha,' said he; 'and
    I and my family have been sovereigns (or hereditary governors
    rather) of Zohab for seven generations.' Having asked him a
    great many questions, and written down his answers, which made
    him somewhat nervous, I turned to Sheikh Thamir. 'What is your
    fortunate name?' said I; upon which Sheikh Thamir opened his eyes,
    then he opened his mouth, then he looked at Abdel Kader, then he
    shut his mouth again, and said nothing. So I asked him again who
    he had the honor to be. Upon this, Abdel Kader, who appeared to
    be his mentor or adviser, came and sat down by him, and said,
    'He is Sheikh Thamir.' Sheikh Thamir upon this shouted out,
    at the top of his voice, 'Yes, I am Sheikh Thamir, the son of
    Gashban, who was the son of Osman, who was the son of--' 'Thank
    you,' I said, 'I only wanted to know from your own lips who you
    were, but am not particular as to the names of all your respected
    ancestors.' However, Sheikh Thamir was not to be stopped in this
    way when he had once begun, so he shouted out a long string of
    names, and when he got to the end he said he was Sheikh of the
    Sheikhs of the great tribe of Chaab, and commander of the district
    of Ghoban, which his ancestors had held before him for one or two
    hundred years--or more, or less, as I pleased. In answer to other
    questions, which Abdel Kader always accompanied with his own notes
    and commentaries, he said, 'I have no papers; we do not understand
    such things. What do I know? I am an old man. I am forty-five years
    of age; let me alone.' In course of time I did let him alone,
    and a difficult thing it was to draw out any information from
    this wild desert chief. Every now and then somebody else put in a
    word. At about four o'clock the meeting broke up. We returned home
    and dined, and in the evening went out riding. Passing some tents,
    which the Pasha has set up at the other side of the town, near
    a tank--the only place where there are any trees near Erzeroom,
    and they are only about a dozen poplars--I saw a number of people,
    so I went up to the tents, and found Sabri Pasha, the commander
    of the troops, an Egyptian Pasha, who is come to buy horses for
    Mohammed Ali--he has bought some hundreds; Bekir Pasha, some other
    military Pashas, Namik Effendi, &c., two little sons of Sabri
    Pasha, dressed in a very odd way, with petticoats of different
    colored silks in stripes; he said it was the dress of the girls in
    Albania, but I never saw any thing like it in that country. Here
    we stayed and chatted with the Turks. The tents are superb; the
    principal one was 100 feet long, with an open colonnade round it,
    and lined inside with silk; rich Persian carpets were spread on
    the ground. I have never seen so beautiful a tent. When the moon
    rose I went away, a man carrying a meshaleh, a thing like a beacon,
    on the top of a pole, with old cotton dipped in pitch burning in
    it; it is the best light there is for out-of-doors, as it never
    blows out, and gives much more light than any torches or lanterns.

    "When I got home I paid my respects to the kid, who came out to
    meet me; and to the little cow, eighteen inches high, who sat in
    the door and would not get out of the way; and having drank tea,
    I went to bed."


On another occasion certain men represented to me that a Christian
oda bashi, or chamberlain of a khan or inn, had been unjustly seized
and tortured by the authorities, to make him confess to a robbery that
had taken place in his khan, which in reality had been perpetrated by
two Turkish soldiers; but the oda bashi being a Christian, neither his
evidence nor that of any other Christian could be taken in opposition
to that of a Mohammedan, according to the Turkish law. The case was
brought before me, and I took some interest in it. I had no authority
whatever to deal with such questions as these, and it was only by
representations to the Pasha that I was enabled to obtain justice
for the unlucky oda bashi.

Finding the case taken down at the time from the word of mouth of
some of those who moved in it, I thought it might be interesting
as a picture of manners in an out-of-the-way country, and I subjoin
it without making any alterations in the language of this piece of
justiciary business.


Case of Artin, Oda Bashi, an Armenian.


                                    "Erzeroom, August 2d and 12th, 1843.

    "A merchant, named Mehemed, brought his merchandise to the Khan
    Ghengé Aga Khan, where he slept. Two soldiers slept near him. In
    the morning his goods were gone; he accused the soldiers (who were
    the only people who had been near him) of the robbery; they denied
    it, and were let off by the judge at the mekemmé, before whom
    they had been taken. A Turkish woman, named Zeilha, saw the two
    soldiers bury something, upon which she told the merchant that his
    goods were buried at such a place by the soldiers. He went there,
    and found half the goods; the soldiers, therefore, were again
    taken up, when they confessed to the theft of half the goods,
    but said that the oda bashi, an Armenian, named Artin, had taken
    the other half. Artin was accordingly taken before the tribunal of
    the Kiaya; the Pasha ordered him to be tortured on his declaring
    himself ignorant of the theft. A tass (metal drinking-cup) of hot
    brass was put about his head; afterward a cord was tied round his
    head, two sheep's knuckle-bones were placed upon his temples, and
    the cord tightened till his eyes nearly came out. As he would not
    confess, his front teeth were then drawn one at a time; pieces of
    cane were run up under his toe-nails and his finger-nails. Various
    tortures have been inflicted on him in this way for the last twelve
    days, and he is now hung up by the hands in the prison of the
    Seraskier, where he will be kept and tormented till he confesses
    or dies. This is the deposition of his wife Mariam, who begs me to
    interpose to save her husband, who, she declares, slept at home,
    and not in the khan, on the night when the robbery took place."


According to the Turkish law, two witnesses of unimpeachable character
are sufficient to convict any man of any crime, on their accusing him
before the cadi. Only in the case of adultery four male witnesses are
required. A woman's evidence is never taken, nor is that of a Christian
or a foreigner held good in any case against a Mohammedan. These
two soldiers, however, being convicted thieves, their evidence was
not valid according to the law, and the oda bashi seems to have been
taken up and tortured by an entirely arbitrary act of the Pasha. I
went to the palace, and these are the words of Kiamili Pasha, the
Governor and Viceroy of Erzeroom.

"You are mistaken; the man has not been tortured; I have proof that
he was at the khan that night; he has been found guilty by the court
(mekemmé) on proper evidence, and sent to me to receive the punishment
due to his offense. As I wished to recover the goods stolen for the
benefit of their owner, the merchant Mehemed, I threatened the oda
bashi that if he did not tell what he had done with his share of the
property, it was in my power to inflict these tortures upon him.

"After this he desired to be allowed to speak to the two soldiers
who had possession of the other half of the goods. I consented,
and sent him to the prison at Selim Pasha's palace, where they were
confined. As I would not trust to the report of Selim Pasha's people,
I sent a confidential man of my own, who was put in a place where
he overheard all that passed. The oda bashi said to the soldiers,
'If you will say I am innocent, I will share my portion of the stolen
goods with you, and you will gain by this, as your share has been taken
from you, and I shall get off freely. Do this, and nobody will know.'

"The oda bashi was brought back to his prison: when I asked him what
he had said to the soldiers, he told me quite another story. Then
I spoke to him in his own words, whereat he was astonished, but he
kept silence. He is still in prison, and I am thinking what to do with
him; but he has not been tortured in any way; and as you seem to take
an interest in his case, I will set him free, and give him to you,
to show my friendship for you."

I replied, "I am glad to hear that the man has not been tortured, for
in England we consider torture to be an act of unnecessary cruelty;
but your story alters the case. The man is certainly guilty, and as I
only asked for justice in this case, and I wish in all things to see
justice done, I will not have the man; let him be punished according
to the law, only do not torture him.

"The other day you hung a Koord opposite my windows; he was a murderer,
and you did right: it is by acts like these that a country such as
this can be kept in order, and that protection is assured to those
who do well."

"I am sorry," said the Pasha, "that they hung the Koord before your
windows. I told them not to hang him before the house of the Persian
plenipotentiary, where there is a gibbet; but to take him to any
place where the Koords resorted, and as there are many coffee-houses
near you, that is the reason probably why they hung him there. His
story is a curious one: I have been looking after him for the last
three years; he has robbed and murdered many people, though he was
so young a man, but he had always escaped my agents. At last, a few
days ago, he stole a horse, in a valley near here, from a man who
was traveling, and whom he beat about the head and left for dead. He
brought the horse to Erzeroom and offered it for sale, when the owner,
who had recovered, saw him selling the horse, and gave him up to the
guard. He was brought up for judgment before me, when I said to him,
Who are you? After a silence, the man said, 'There is a fate in this,
it can not be denied. I am * * * *, whom you have been searching for
these three years. My fate brought me to Erzeroom, and now I am taken
up for stealing one poor horse. I felt when I took that horse that
I was fated to die for it. My time is come. It is fate.' And he went
to be hung without any complaint."

I said he deserved it, and hoped others would take warning by his
death.

"I hope they will," the Pasha said, "but among the Koords of this
country there are so few who do not deserve punishment, that if you see
two persons you may be sure that one has stolen something. You can not
see two people together here but that at least one has been a thief."

"Well," I answered, "the British commissioners are two people whom
your excellency has often seen together, but I hope, in our case,
when we leave the pashalik of Erzeroom, we may be convicted of having
stolen nothing but your good opinion;" and so I took my leave.

In the evening, hearing that the wife of the oda bashi was in my house,
I said to Paolo Cadelli, my servant, that my desire to liberate the
Armenian was changed; that he had not been tortured, but he was a
thief. "How!" said Paolo, in a great state of excitement; "a thief
he may be, but tortured he certainly was, for in the morning did I
not go forth into the bazaar to get wrappers (pestimal) of Persian
silk? I went to the Bezestein, and there did I not see the chief of
the criers of the Bit Bazaar? he is my friend. Did I not get from
him the embroidery, the cloth of gold which you have, which is in
your room? And we went, did we not go together, to the court of
the palace of the Pasha? It is opposite, is it not opposite to the
entrance of the Bezestein? Do not the soldiers present arms to you
there when you go in? Yes. There I went, and I saw the Armenian,
a poor devil--quite a poor devil--sitting down like a monkey,
altogether quite stupid with fear and martyrdom. They had martyred
him; they had drawn his teeth; his finger-ends and toes were black,
by reason of the canes they had run into them; his thighs had been
torn by pincers; he was half dead. He said to the people, 'What
can I do? I am innocent; kill me; but I can not restore goods which
I have not got.' Ah! he is a Christian. Is he not a Christian--an
Armenian? That is what these Turks do. They have not tortured the
soldiers who are guilty. Certainly they have not, but this man has
been tortured because he is an Armenian. They are Turks, my master
(padrone); are they not Turks? They are all Turks; that is what they
do;" and with many ejaculations Paolo went away to cool down his
indignation in the open air.

I was surprised at this account. Yesterday, August 5, * * * Pasha
came to breakfast, and I begged him to find out the truth. In the
afternoon I was at Enveri Effendi's house; * * * Pasha was there,
and he said the man had not been tortured; that the account given
me by Kiamili Pasha was correct; that the man was out of prison,
but that the Pasha would seek for him and send him to me.

I heard that, after I went to the Pasha, the Pasha sent for the
Kiaya, and finding the oda bashi had been tortured, he found great
fault with him, and ordered the man to be released the next day. He is
sentenced, as he understands, to pay the half of the value of the goods
stolen. While I was with the Pasha, the Tophenkyi Bashi was enraged
with this poor victim for getting the assistance of the Franks, as
he thought that we were come to the Pasha on his account, whereas our
visit was on public business in no way connected with this affair. It
appears that while we were sitting on the divan in the Pasha's hall
of audience, the Tophenkyi Bashi was employed during the same time
in inflicting additional torments on the unfortunate oda bashi; he
snapped his pistol at his head, and informed him that the Pasha had
given orders that he was to be hanged in the course of the day. The oda
bashi, after we had rescued him from his various tormentors, presented
himself before me. He was a good-looking man, about thirty-five
years of age, with a black beard, and respectably dressed in blue,
in the style usually adopted by the Armenian Christians. He said
he had been tortured by the order of the Kiaya Bey; the bones were
put to his temples, some of his teeth drawn, his nails pierced, his
left thigh torn with pincers; he was hung up by the arms by ropes,
but the hot cup was not placed upon his head. He showed me the marks
of the pincers and other scars about his body--evident proofs of the
truth of his assertion. The two soldiers who were convicted of having
stolen the goods (the oda bashi being entirely ignorant of the whole
transaction) were to be brought before the Council on the following
Monday. They are now in prison, and will be sentenced to pay the
other half of the value of the stolen goods. This information the
oda bashi received from the merchant Mehemed, the owner of the lost
property. He has not heard any other particulars about the soldiers.

From the above account it appears that much injustice may probably
be carried on by the inferior officers of the government which never
gets to the ears of the Pasha, small officials being notoriously
more tyrannical than greater men. The Pasha himself appears to be a
kind-hearted, well-intentioned man in a general way; but, in cases
where his own interest is not directly concerned, he does not look
into the affairs of the pashalik with sufficient keenness to prevent
his subordinate officers from practicing various acts of oppression
and extortion, according to the fashion of the good old times, when
Turkey, like the United States of America, was a land of liberty,
where every free and independent citizen had the right to beat his own
nigger; for, according to some doctors of the law, pashas, vizirs, &c.,
might cut off a few heads every day for no given reason, but just for
amusement. The Sultan had the privilege of destroying fourteen lives
per day of his faithful subjects, who might have committed no crime;
after that number, some reason was expected to be shown for the further
use of the sword and bow-string on that day. Now the case is altered:
fewer crimes are committed in Turkey than in London, and the Turkish
pashas endeavor to stop such practices as are considered discreditable
on the part of the inferior officers; though they have to contend with
great difficulties in a country where it is hardly possible to get at
the truth, and where the inferior officers have for generations been
accustomed to plunder those below them, directly they are out of sight
of the higher authorities; trusting to the want of communication,
the slight knowledge of writing, and the many obstacles in the way
which prevent the poor man's story getting to the ears of the Pasha
or the Sultan, who, in these days at least, are anxious to remedy
such abuses, and to distribute justice with a tolerably impartial
hand. I had great satisfaction in hearing afterward that, owing to my
exertions in this and other cases--the good cause being taken up warmly
by Colonel Williams, after I was gone--all torture was authoritatively
abolished in the pashalik of Erzeroom; and I am in hopes that, except
in some snug little dungeon in the rocky castle of a half independent
Koordish chief, this horrible custom is almost extinct.

The Koord above mentioned was hanged in so original a manner that
I must shortly describe it, as it took place immediately under my
window. What we called at school a cat-gallows was erected close to a
bridge, over the little stream which ran down the horse-market, between
my house and the bottom of the hill of the citadel. The culprit stood
under this; the cross-beam was not two feet above his head; a kawass,
having tied a rope to one end of the beam, passed a slip-knot round
the neck of the Koord, a young and very handsome man, with long black
hair; he then drew the rope over the other end of the beam, and pulled
away till the poor man's feet were just off the ground, when he tied
the rope in a knot, leaving the dead body hanging, supported by two
ropes in the form of the letter V. Hardly any one was looking on,
and in the afternoon the body was taken down and buried.

I shall always consider this case as a remarkable instance of the
power of fatalism over the mind of an ignorant and superstitious
man. This Koord was entirely the cause of his own execution: no
one knew him by sight at Erzeroom, and there was not the slightest
necessity for his declaring his name to the Pasha, and confessing
that he had committed murders and outrages of all kinds among the
villages of Koordistaun. His punishment for stealing a horse would not
have been very severe, and, but for his voluntary admission that he
was a notorious malefactor, for whom the police had long been on the
look-out, he might have been alive to this day, to rob and murder, till
somebody shot him, or he became too old for the exertion. Fatalism,
in other cases, has a powerful influence over the true believers in
the armies of Islam. The soldier goes to battle with the firm belief
that, if his hour is not come, the cannon of the enemy can have no
power over him; and that if his hour is arrived, the angel of death
will call him, whether he may be seated on his divan, or walking in
full health in his garden at home: just as readily does he bow his
head to fate in one place as in another. By this institution of the
Koran, the wonderful genius of Mohammed has gained many a victory by
the hands of his trusting and believing followers for the caliphs
and sultans of his creed. Some of the reforms of Sultan Mahmoud,
by treating lightly many of the ancient prejudices of the Osmanlis,
have shaken the throne under his feet. The progress of infidelity,
which has begun at Constantinople, is the greatest temporal danger
to the power of the Turkish empire. The Turk implicitly believes the
tenets of his religion; he keeps its precepts and obeys its laws; he
is proud of his faith, and prays in public when the hour of prayer
arrives. How different, alas! is the manner in which the divine
laws of Christianity are kept! The Christian seems ashamed of his
religion; as for obeying the doctrines of the Gospel, they have no
perceptible effect upon the mass of the people, among whom drunkenness,
dishonesty, and immorality prevail almost unchecked, except by the
fear of punishment in this world; while in Turkey not one tenth part
of the crime exists which is annually committed in Christendom.

A few days after this occurrence, as I was sitting in the summer
chamber at the top of the house, I heard a most extraordinary shuffling
and screeching behind the curtain which hung over the door; the curtain
shook about, and numerous subdued voices and noises were heard, which
sounded like cocks and hens suffering from strangulation. I shouted
out to know what in the world was going on; after a while the kawass
drew aside the curtain, and along the floor advanced a most strange
and incomprehensible procession of several women and men, crawling
on their hands and knees, each with a cock or a hen in their hands,
whose fluttering, and screaming, and crowing now broke forth in full
chorus; one or two got away, and flew about the room, as its owner,
making use of her hands to walk with, was unable to hold the terrified
fowl. This procession advanced to the divan, and, without saying a
word, the foremost woman seized hold of one of my legs, which was
inadvertently sticking out, and, holding on to my ankle, kissed my
foot, and burst out into a string of exclamations in Armenian, no one
word of which made any impression on my understanding. Being horribly
alarmed, I kicked as well as I could, and, having escaped into the
remotest corner of the divan, I begged to know what all this portended;
and on the chickens being caught, and comparative silence obtained,
I found that these were the family of the poor oda bashi, who had
brought the chickens as a present, and came with tears to thank me
for saving their father, brother, or husband. They were really pained,
poor people, when I would not accept the cocks and hens, for, though
of little value, it looked like receiving a bribe for justice; and,
after a long explanation of my strange notions, they walked off in
smiles upon their hind legs, the cocks crowing triumphantly on their
way down stairs.



CHAPTER VI.

    The Clock of Erzeroom.--A Pasha's Notions of Horology.--Pathology
    of Clocks.--The Tower and Dungeon.--Ingenious Mode of Torture.--The
    modern Prison.


In the citadel--a place which might, with great ease, be rendered very
strong, but which now is deserted and disused, having, I believe,
been knocked to pieces in the Russian war--there are still two
or three curious ancient tombs and some other incomprehensible
old buildings. The building containing the prison, which was in
constant use in the good old times, and the tower, from whence the
flag of Turkey is displayed, possessed an old clock, which had been
out of order for many years before the Russians carried it away,
but which was the wonder and admiration of all Koords, Armenians,
and strangers from the mountains, to whom time was "no object," and
who considered this old clock, with its dial and hands, as some sort
of talisman beyond the comprehension of ordinary folks. Erzeroom was
indeed lifted up in the estimation of those unsophisticated herdsmen
and robbers, as the only place they ever heard of where any thing in
the nature of a clock was to be seen. It might happen that some few of
those who not only were possessed of such an outlandish article as a
watch, but who were in some measure initiated into the uses of that
strange production, would expatiate learnedly in the coffee-houses
on the wondrous properties of the great talisman in the tower of the
citadel, which, in all probability, from its great size and exalted
position, was considered as the father of all the little watches of
the sheikhs and chiefs among the tribes. As for the clock not going,
that signified but little. Talleyrand said that speech was accorded to
man for the purpose of enabling him to conceal his sentiments. The big
clock had doubtless his reasons for holding his tongue, and telling
no lies; I believe his reputation was increased by his silence, as is
the case among many other distinguished characters besides the clock
of Erzeroom. Now it came to pass, once upon a time, that the great
Pasha or viceroy of the wide realms of this great pashalik chanced to
be a philosopher; he knew that clocks, though they might have been
made to sell, besides this very primary quality, also ought to go,
but no artificer in the land of Armenia was competent to accomplish
this desirable end. Whenever a Frank traveler--not that there ever
were any travelers by profession in those days--but whenever a Frank
doctor or hakim made his appearance in those regions, he was always
received with distinguished civility by the Pasha, who, after the
preliminaries of coffee, Kef enis ayi--"may your powers of enjoyment
be in good order!"--always ended with an expression of his desire
that the Frank would immediately set about the repairs of the clock.

"Sir, your excellency," said the poor man, "I am a doctor; I am not a
watchmaker or a mechanic. I don't understand clocks; it is not in my
power to set the clock right; it is not in my line of business. I am
very sorry, but, O Effendim, I fear I am unable to meet your wishes
in this point."

"Dog of a Frank," quoth the Pasha, "great-grandfather's uncle to
all dogs, more particularly those of Frangistaun, is it not thy base
profession to meddle with the bowels of mankind? canst thou not expel
ginns, and evil spirits, and other things, which have taken up their
abode in the innermost recesses of the bodies of true believers, which
thine eye can not penetrate, while, nevertheless, thou turnest their
livers upside down, and their souls inside out; and all this by the
accursed aid of thy wretched Frankish incantations; shooting thine
arrows at them, or rather sending down their throats certain wicked
and diabolical contrivances, which are known by the barbarians of thy
benighted country by the name of pills? Dost thou pretend to see all
that is going on in the stomach of a follower of the Prophet, and wilt
thou tell me with the same breath that thou canst not administer to
the disorganized constitution of a clock? Hath not a clock a pulse,
when he is alive and in good health? Go thou, feel his pulse, and see
whether it is fast or slow; whatever thou mayest want, thou shalt have;
my hakim bashi shall assist you, only cure the clock. All Franks make
clocks: I have it from authority: do not pretend that thou canst not
set the clock going again, for surely thou canst restore it to life,
and make it strike, and do all that it ought to do. Behold, thou
art a Frank! Guards! take the Frank up into the tower, and make him
mend the clock; and if the unbelieving dog will not mend the clock,
then put him into the dungeon down below till he confesses that he
is ready to do as he is commanded by the Pasha of the true believers."

In this way every audience concluded. The unlucky Frank, having been
exalted to the top of the tower, and exhorted to repair the rickety old
clock, which had lost half its works, was debased into the dungeon,
there to remain till further notice. Having often heard this story
of the good old times, I one day proceeded to the citadel to see
the tower where the clock had been, and to examine the dungeon,
where I should have been sent if I had arrived at Erzeroom fifty
or sixty years ago. This dungeon really was a dungeon: any thing so
terrible as an abode for a human being I never saw before. The pozzi
at Venice were rather pleasant and agreeable places of retirement,
compared with the abode of many a poor Frank, in whose education the
art and craft of clockology had been unfortunately omitted.

At the foot of that which had been the clock-tower was a range of
small low rooms, of which two were particularly belonging to the
prison: the outer room of the two was larger than the other; this
was appropriated to the guards, who kept watch and ward, and who
fed, or did not feed, the wretched prisoners under their care. The
inner room was small and low, and had one window, through which the
light and air had to struggle with the opposition of heavy crossed
and re-crossed iron bars. The window looked into the castle yard,
but the room was so dark that I could hardly see my way.

"A horrible place for the poor prisoners," said I to my guides;
"little chance of their escape from these thick walls, and heavy bars,
and low, strong roof; they must have been safe enough here."

"Oh Effendim," said the kawasses, "this is not the prison. Here is
the prison at your feet, down below."

"Where?" said I.

"Look down," they replied, "on the middle of the floor; there is the
entrance; you can not see the dungeon itself, for it is, perhaps,
a little dark."

In the centre of the floor of this dismal cell was a heavy wrought-iron
grating, square, made of great bars, about six inches apart, seemingly
of enormous weight, lying on the ground, and fastened down with two or
three huge rusty padlocks on one side, and some lumbering old hinges
on the other. This iron grate was opened and raised up for my especial
edification, and there appeared under it the mouth of a narrow well cut
in the rock, perhaps two feet and a half in diameter, which sank down
into the darkness far below. "Now," said my informants, "if you stand
on this side, and look steadily till your eye is accustomed to the
gloom, you will be able to distinguish something white a good way down;
that is a square stone, like a table, in the middle of the vault, upon
which the jailers let down the provisions for the prisoners, as they
can see on that stone when the things arrive at the bottom." This was
the old dungeon, the common prison not many years ago; but, I believe,
since the reign of Hadji Kiamili Pasha, few or none had been consigned
to this horrible abode. The shape of it below, I understood, was that
of the inside of a bottle; it was between twenty and thirty feet deep;
vermin, dirt and filth, and foul air, formed its only furniture; and
into this awful hole many and many an innocent man had been let down:
some to be brought up again to pay a ransom of all that they possessed,
some to linger there for years, and some to die and rot unnoticed
if no food was provided for them by government, when their bones,
if not their flesh, gave token to the next inhabitants of what they
were to expect, unless their interest or their wealth was greater
than that of the poor wretch whose remains lay there before them.

An ingenious and horrible species of torture was sometimes added to
the discomforts of this dread abode: a large piece of raw flesh was
thrown down into the dungeon; the vermin, and the effluvia which it
produced, added to other miseries, made the existence of the wretched
prisoner almost intolerable.

The modern prison is bad enough: it consists of a number of cells
opening on a small paved court-yard. The prisoners, being just shoved
through the door, have to shift for themselves inside, where a kind of
Pandemonium exists; the stronger Koords bullying and tyrannizing over
the weaker felons, who have neither fire nor candle during the intense
cold of a great part of the year: so I was told; but I was not there
in the winter, and hope these unhappy wretches may be allowed a little
tezek occasionally to keep their dirty bodies and souls together.



CHAPTER VII.

    Spring in Erzeroom.--Coffee-house Diversions.--Koordish
    Exploits.--Summer Employment.--Preparation of Tezek.--Its Varieties
    and Uses.


When the snows of winter have melted, and the air becomes more
temperate, the population of Erzeroom begin to revive. The women and
children, who, like the bears, lemmings, and marmottes, have hybernated
all the winter, now peep with red eyes out of their subterranean
habitations; those streets situated upon hills, as most of them are,
become torrents of melted snow, which cut deep ravines through the
frozen mass which is piled up many feet on each side; narrow paths
are gradually dug out from the low doors of the Armenian man-burrows
toward the central river of the street; the winking children creep out
to blink their eyes at the sun, and enjoy the fresh air; fusty cows,
who have been buried for eight months, come slowly staring out; every
now and then a more adventurous infant is carried away by the stream,
and its body quickly devoured by the ravenous dogs at the outskirts
of the town; wolves, it is said, though I never saw one, prowl about,
and eat the dog that ate the child, that came out to see the weather
so mild, in the street by the house that (not) Jack built. Women now
scream to each other in shrill voices, as they pitch down large wooden
spadefuls of half-melted snow upon the heads of those who are passing
in the street; knots of Tartars, Circassians, and Lazes, and Koords,
in iron-heeled boots and white woolen trowsers, tell lies to each other
at the doors of the coffee-houses, which are answered with dignified
exclamations of Wullah! Billah! nobody believing his neighbor's lie,
but considering straightway how he can invent a deliberate falsehood
to lay before the other liars in his turn. Every now and then one of
these stories is true, when a cadaverous-looking Koord, hung round
with arms and leaning on his lance, with the black ostrich feathers at
the top, being a practical man with very little imagination, coolly
relates the history of the sacking of a defenseless village, where
murder unresisted, rapine, sacrilege in the burning of the mosque,
and spearing the children who run shrieking from the flames of their
homes, bear with it the impress of truth, with the conviction on
the part of any honest man (if there should be one in the party)
that, although the rest are liars, the only truthful narrator is a
brute of that atrocious kind, that the falsehoods of the rest are
trifles, like chaff before the wind, in comparison with the real and
true experiences of this infernal child of hell. Such as this are
the Koords; their only virtue is that they are not cowards; but,
although they subscribe to a nominal adherence to the Mohammedan
religion, the most liberal Imaum would be ashamed to own them. The
Yezedis, who worship the devil, are angels in comparison. Yet they
are superstitious to a curious degree, as the foregoing anecdote of
the Koord who was hung through giving evidence about himself testifies.

At the commencement of the summer the whole city of Erzeroom is
engaged, even to desperation, in making tezek; you hear, smell, and
see nothing else. How are you off for tezek? Tezek katch, chok tezek,
tezek var bourda chok, chok, evet, tezek Effendim, katch gooroosh:
in short, no one cares for any thing except tezek, and he who has
most tezek is the greatest man, and he who has but little tezek he is
naught--no one cares for him, or, indeed, for any thing else except
the one absorbing topic of tezek.

The cows, and bulls, and oxen having reappeared on upper earth,
the Augean stable is cleared out. Tezek, the only fuel of Erzeroom,
consists of the production into which the said oxen have converted
their food for many months; it is trodden down hard, and is dug out by
zealous Armenians, and brought exultingly to the tops of the houses;
it is mixed with a good deal of the chopped straw with which horses,
and oxen, and sheep are fed while in the subterranean stables; more
chopped straw is added, mixed with water; and, except the higher
class of grandees, such as the Pasha, the commander-in-chief, and
the author, all true men were employed on the tops of their houses,
treading the chopped straw into the tezek with their naked feet, their
full Turkish trowsers being pulled up and tied with a belt round their
waists. With a stick to lean upon, they are there all day, trotting
about, up to their knees in tezek, shouting to each other; Mohammed
bringing some more water to pour upon it; Hassan staggering up the
ladder with more tezek of the genuine unadulterated kind from the
recesses of the stable; Bekir with a great basket of chopped straw;
and then all set to with a will, and tread steadily for an hour or
two, as sailors do round a capstan, for the dear life; and when they
get very hot they wipe their brow with a tezeky sleeve, and their
sleeve with a fold of a tezeky trowser, so that they become altogether
tezekious before the sun sets upon their labors, and veils his nose,
if not his eyes, under the clouds which hang over the eternal snows in
the dreaded passes of the mountains of Hoshabounar. The tezek being
trodden into a stiff clayey state, about six or seven inches thick,
is left alone for a day or two to dry; amateurs, however, scrambling up
to the top of the house to see how it is going on, to pick a bit off,
and look at it cunningly, and smell it, to find whether it has the true
flavor. There are Armenians who are knowing in tezek, who understand
the thing; and over a remarkably good batch a knot of the fancy will
sit on little stools, and smoke their pipes, and discuss the question
scientifically; telling tales of former celebrated heaps, and of Hadji
such a one, who was famous in that line, and of one Bokchi Bashi,
who had an astonishing talent in the preparation of inimitable tezek.

When it is all ready, it is dug out in square blocks, and carried
down the ladders again carefully in open baskets, and piled up in
the inner treasuries below, and stored for the fuel of the future
winter. It is better for being old, when it resembles peat turf. It
gets somewhat dusty in a year or so, and then rivals that sort of
snuff called Irish blackguard in its capacity for making you sneeze,
if you venture to move a clod of it to put upon the fire; it then
burns clear and clean, without flame, and is very hot; but when more
fresh--though that is not the word--more new, I may say--it produces a
thick stifling smoke, very odoriferous, and not generally appreciated
by those who do not love tezek for itself, or who are not at that
time maneuvering to make you purchase an astounding bargain of the
precious fuel of their own particular manufacture.

Erzeroom is not alone in the production of this article of
merchandise. From thence through the whole of Tartary as we call it, or
Turkistaun as they call it, this fuel is in universal use as far as the
Great Wall of China. Great care is taken sometimes in the production
of it for various artistic purposes. In Thibet it is called arghol,
and in the very remarkable travels of M. Huc, it is related that that
which comes from sheep and goats is more valuable for the purpose
of smelting iron and other metals, as it gives a greater heat, and,
instead of leaving any ash, melts into a vitreous mass of a bluish
green color. I never saw any of this myself, though it may have been
used at Erzeroom, for this place was lately famous for the workmanship
in iron and steel by seven brothers, whose productions are valuable
under the name of Yedi Kartasch, as Manton added a value to those guns
to which his name was affixed. The tezek of oxen and cows ranks next;
that of horses and donkeys last, from the quantity of smoke produced
by it; that of the oxen, with the slightest possible flavor of donkey,
was certainly most fashionable at Erzeroom.



CHAPTER VIII.

    The Prophet of Khoi.--Climate.--Effects of great Elevation
    above the Sea.--The Genus Homo.--African Gold-diggings.--Sale
    of a Family.--Site of Paradise.--Tradition of Khosref
    Purveez.--Flowers.--A Flea-antidote.--Origin of the Tulip.--A Party
    at the Cave of Ferhad, and its Results.--Translation from Hafiz.


The atmospheric peculiarities of this climate are such, that the
weather, as a general rule, may be considered as on the way from bad
to worse. Earthquakes more or less severe are often felt. A severe
one occurred in the year 1843, and in the same year the town of
Khoi was almost entirely destroyed by one of these awful convulsions
of nature. A circumstance occurred on that occasion which was very
remarkable, if true. A dervish or fakir of distinguished sanctity felt
himself about to die, and, calling his friends and disciples around
the couch of skins on which he lay, he prophesied that a terrible
disaster was about to fall upon the town of Khoi; that the lives
of many would fall into the hands of Monkir and Nakir on that day;
but that those faithful believers who accompanied his body to the
tomb would be permitted to escape from the sword of the avenging
angel for his sake. The old man died, and, being held in universal
reverence, the greater part of the inhabitants of Khoi followed his
corpse to the burial-ground, which was situated at some distance from
the town. While absent on this pious errand, a tremendous earthquake
suddenly reduced the city to ruin. So complete was the destruction
that hardly a house was left standing, and many of those who had
remained at home perished in the fall of their habitations, while
those who had accompanied the body of the dervish to the grave were
saved from the disaster, as he had prophesied.

This is a wonderful story; I heard it at the time, and was very much
struck with the peculiar circumstances of the case. Its accuracy would
be difficult either to prove or to disprove, but the history as I
have narrated it was current at the time when the earthquake happened.

Pillars of dust, like those of sand seen in the deserts of Africa
and Arabia, are supposed to be the works of evil spirits, and
often stalk like giants across the plain. The deep narrow valleys
and ravines which slope down from the elevated plateau of Erzeroom,
are unhealthy and pestilential in the extreme, while the inhabitants
of the upper country enjoy good health enough. Here the corn returns
about five-fold to the labor of the sower: one being retained for seed,
four bushels is the extent of the profit of the husbandman for one
which he had sown. The summer, though very short, is hot and parching,
the thermometer being usually about 84, though it rises occasionally,
I think, to nearly 90. The cold in winter is commonly 16 degrees below
zero of Fahrenheit, and is often colder. The mercury in my thermometer,
which was not calculated for such a climate, quietly retired into
the ball in the autumn, and never came out again while I remained at
Erzeroom. The great height of the town above the sea was exemplified
in a practical manner to me on my first arrival. I was in a state
of constant wrath about the tea: the tea was excellent, of the very
best quality, but the decoction thereof was always a failure. In
vain was the kettle placed upon the fire by my side; in vain did
the semavar, the best of tea-urns, boil and steam. Double, double,
toil and trouble! the fire burned and the caldron bubbled, but the
tea was vapid. As for the eggs, I don't know how long it took to boil
them till the white was fixed. The reason of all this only occurred
to me one day when I put my finger into some almost boiling water,
which by no means scalded me--for water boiled at 196° of Fahrenheit,
as we were between 7000 and 8000 feet above the level of the sea;
and, consequently, though boiling and steaming away, it was not hot
enough to produce the effects of water boiling at the heat of 212°,
which is the temperature at which it boils in London.

Nature has provided a kettle of her own, in a hot spring at Elijé,
near which place I was informed that there was a rock against which
iron stuck of its own accord--a rock of loadstone; but I never had
an opportunity of verifying this report.

The natural history of the highlands of Armenia is particularly
interesting, and rich in flowers hardly known to Europeans, and in the
prodigious quantities of birds which breed on the plain of Erzeroom,
and in the valleys and water-courses of the neighborhood.

The quadrupeds are not numerous; the climate is too rigorous for those
not provided with thick furs to protect them from the tremendous cold.

The fish consist only of a sort of barbel, which is found in the
high waters of the Euphrates, and of three kinds of trout, swarming
in the lesser streams and rivulets which flow down from the snowy
mountain-tops.

To commence with the highest order of mammalia: some extraordinary
specimens of the genus Homo are to be met with in many parts of the
East, generally in the character of Frank doctors. Erzeroom was not
wanting in productions of this kind. The character of these adventurers
is in every instance precisely alike: they are all sharp and so-called
clever men, speaking several languages correctly, with a smattering of
general knowledge, but understanding nothing perfectly, and all wanting
in the same two qualities--judgment and principle, the consequence of
which want is, that not one in a hundred succeeds in life, and, after
passing through a series of strange changes of fortune, they usually
die unlamented, as poor as when they began their erratic career.

The adventures of one old gentleman, with whom I was acquainted here,
was so extraordinary and uncommon, that a history of them would fill a
volume. After this man's death, it appeared that he was not himself,
but somebody else; and his true name being the same as that of a
person I had met, many years before, at Wadi Halfa, or at Assouan,
high up the Nile, made me suspect that these two persons were the
same. One half of this character certainly died in a khan at Erzeroom;
but as I do not know whether the other half is dead, or whether the
two were really one or not, I must forbear the strange narration of
their lives, for fear something might meet the eyes of their friends
or relations--if they had any--who, perhaps, may be under the pleasing
delusion that their respected relative was an honor to their name.

I must, however, relate a little anecdote of the Egyptian half
of my acquaintance. At Assouan, below the Cataracts, I saw
an extraordinary-looking boat, built of bits of hard wood, like
iron-wood, each about two feet long, caulked or cemented in the
seams with reeds and mud, precisely in the manner in which the
ancient boats are represented in the hieroglyphics. This strange
vessel was of large size, and was navigated by a crew of blacks,
of a tribe with which I was not acquainted. The proprietor of the
ship was dressed in a much worn and old-fashioned Turkish dress; his
cabin was carpeted with lion-skins; his cushions were the skins of
some small deer, stuffed. He was very civil, and spoke in the French
language to me, while he gave his orders to his servants in a dialect
which bore little resemblance to Arabic, but which belonged to some
distant region of the interior of Africa, where he had been living
many years. His personal servants were the handsomest negroes I had
ever seen: though they were dressed as men, I found they were girls;
one, who was beautiful, was his wife. He was an interesting personage,
and appeared on friendly terms with his black attendants, who looked
forward with great glee to the wondrous sights which they were to see
at Cairo. After listening to some curious stories of the manners and
customs of the black nations of the interior, unknown to Europeans,
he showed me three or four strongly-made iron-bound chests, which,
on being opened, proved to be full of gold, to the amount of some
thousands of pounds; some was in nuggets, but most part of it was
in the form of rings the size of bracelets, and others the size of
large heavy finger-rings, all of pure gold. These rings were passed
as money, and were of the exact form of those used for the same
purpose by the ancient Egyptians, and of the rings found in Celtic
and British tombs. Independent of their intrinsic value, they were
exceedingly curious; and he said gold might be procured in great
quantities in the mountains beyond Darfoor. Here, then, is an opening
for some future diggings, and an object to promote discoveries in the
centre of Africa. My informant was a European, of the same nation and
the same name as the person whom I met at Erzeroom, but I now doubt
whether the two were or were not the same. Some time afterward I made
inquiries at Cairo about this singular adventurer, when I heard that
he had sold his strange vessel, his wife, his servants, and his crew,
to their astonishment and dismay, for they did not consider themselves
as slaves, and he had taken his departure for Europe with his gold
rings and the produce of the sale of his confiding family.

It may not be generally known that Erzeroom is supposed to be the
site of the terrestrial paradise. The reason of this supposition is
deduced from the fact of so many great and famous rivers taking their
rise in this exalted region.

About three hours from Erzeroom, passing the ancient monastery of
Kuzzul Vank, on the way to Tortoom and Kars, a rocky top of a mountain
rises about two thousand feet above the plain, and consequently
about ten thousand feet above the level of the sea. Standing on one
spot upon this mountain, the traveler can see the sources, beneath
his feet, of the Euphrates, the Araxes, and the river which falls
into the Black Sea in the pestilential neighborhood of Batoum; one
river falling into the Persian Gulf, one into the Caspian, and one
into the Black Sea. The traditions of the country relate that the
flowers of paradise bloomed in luxuriant splendor in this now barren
region till the days of Khosref Purveez. This mighty Persian monarch,
"the Great King," was encamped upon the banks of the Euphrates, on
the plains of Erzeroom, when a messenger arrived from the Prophet
Mohammed, then an insignificant pretender, offering this magnificent
sovereign protection if he would give up the religion of his fathers
and embrace the faith of Islam. Khosref Purveez, in derision, threw the
letter from the prophet into the waters of the river, when Nature, in
dismay, withered all her trees and flowers, and the bounteous stream,
which formerly bestowed wealth and abundance to the country on its
shores, shrank into its bed, and, refusing to fertilize the earth,
cold, and frost, and barrenness have been ever since the consequence
of the impiety of the Persian king: not only this, but the days of his
ancient empire were numbered; and in the days of Yesdijird, a few years
after this event, the blacksmith's apron, the victorious standard of
Persia, fell into the hands of the Mohammedan general, at the great
battle of Kudseah, where the sun of Persia set to rise no more.

Among the rocks, not far from Erzeroom, is an artificial cavern, hewn
out of the mountain side by Ferhad, the successful rival of Khosref in
the affections of the beautiful Shireen. It was here--or others say at
Beysittoon--that Ferhad threw himself from the precipice on hearing
the false intelligence that Shireen was dead; and that famous beauty
herself died on seeing the remains of the mighty Khosref, who had been
murdered by his own son Schiroueh out of jealousy and love for her.

From the tops of the mountains surrounding Erzeroom the snowy summit
of Mount Ararat can be seen--another monument in the history of the
cradle of the human race, and at its feet the town of Nackchevan was
built by Noah, on his descent from the ark. This was the first city
built by man after the Flood, according to Armenian, and I think also
Mohammedan, tradition.

Some slight remains of paradise are left, even to our days, in the
form of the most lovely flowers, which I gathered on the very hill
from whence the three rivers take their departure to their distant
seas. Though one of them has a Latin scientific name, no plant of
it has ever been in Europe, and by no manner of contrivance could
we succeed in carrying one away. This most beautiful production
was called in Turkish, Yedi kartash kané (Seven brothers' blood),
in Latin, Ravanea, or Philipea coccinea, a parasite on absinthe,
or worm-wood. This is the most beautiful flower conceivable: it is
in the form of a lily, about nine to twelve inches long, including
the stalk; the flower and stalk, and all parts of it, resembling
crimson velvet; it has no leaves; it is found on the sides of the
mountains near Erzeroom, often in company with the Morena Orientalis,
a remarkable kind of thistle, with flowers all up the stalk, looking
and smelling like the honeysuckle. Another beautiful flower found
here has not been described. It grows among rocks, and has a tough
carroty root, two feet or more in length; the leaves are long grassy
filaments, forming a low bush, like a tussock of coarse grass; under
the leaves appear the flowers. Each plant has twelve or twenty of them
(like large white-heart cherries on a stalk), in the form of a bunch
of grapes, eight or ten inches long; these flowers are merely colored
bladders holding the seed. An iris, of a most brilliant flaming yellow,
is found among the rocks, and it, as well as all the more remarkable
flowers of this country, blooms in the spring soon after the melting
of the snow--that is to say, about June.

Piré otou, a herb, which is sold here in powder (Anthemis rosea,
aut carnea), instantly kills fleas and other insects, and would be
invaluable to travelers in warm climates. We possessed a certain
little dog called Fundook (a nut), who held the important position of
turnspit in our kitchen: he was a wise dog, with a look of dignity
about him like a dog in office, and one that had something on his
mind and knew more than he would say. He turned out his elbows and
turned in his toes, and sat at the door in a solemn attitude when
not employed on the business of the nation. In the pursuit of his
vocation he became sadly vexed with fleas, and his dignity suffered
from the necessity of scratching with his hind leg, just like a
common, vulgar dog. Commiserating his condition, one of the grooms
went to the expense of five paras (one farthing sterling), with
which he purchased two good handfuls of powdered leaves of Piré otou,
the effect of which was magical: in one minute every flea was dead,
and Fundook swaggered into the kitchen quite a renovated dog.

It may not be generally known that the tulip owes its origin to the
blood of Ferhad, which was sprinkled on the ground when he threw
himself from the rocks in despair, on hearing of the death of his
glorious Shireen. In this story we see how one beautiful idea is
copied and admired by mankind in the most distant regions, times, and
circumstances, for this is the same tradition as that of the Anemone,
which, in classic lore, arose from the blood of Adonis while Venus
was weeping for his loss.

Upon a day we gave a party at the cave of Ferhad; this was a rare
function; parties were not common at Erzeroom.

"When the Orient sun arose, and shed his golden beams o'er the
snowy peaks of the mountains of the East, Apollo on that day must
have reined in his steeds in wonder at the unwonted stir that was
taking place at Erzeroom, as Aurora withdrew the purple veil of night
from the features of fair mother Earth, refreshed with the slumbers
she had enjoyed under the guardianship of Endymion. She of the rosy
fingers doubtless started up in beautiful surprise at the bustle and
the activity displayed beneath her gaze. Phoebus, not resisting the
pleasure of curiosity, gazed down in all his glory on the Armenian
plain, where horses neighed, and cattle lowed, and hasty marmitons
laded ox-eyed oxen with bright coppers from the kitchen shelves;
wains were there laden with wide tubs of cooling snow; cooks, in
a perspiration, swore deep oaths; the voice official of Fundook was
heard yelping and barking in the morning breeze, and under Sol's first
rays a caravan set forth in long, dark outline, winding o'er the plain
of Erzeroom." For the rest, see Homer, unpublished edition, cap. x.

All the rank and fashion of the place were present; the rank rode on
horseback, the fashion followed in a cart drawn by four oxen--this
would sound better if it were called an araba--and therein was
contained all the beauty of the city of Erzeroom. The distance may
have been ten miles; some of the party got there in three quarters of
an hour, and others arrived in an hour and three quarters. Among the
distinguished guests were two philosophers, one of whom, having lately
arrived in these unknown regions, was remarkable for the glorious
colors of his waistcoat. This effulgent garment having been admired,
the answer was returned in the following mysterious sentence, as I well
remember, in a language unknown, as far as my knowledge is experienced,
in any nation upon earth: "Zést mon vamme, gui ma tonné ze chilet." Our
admiration of the chilet gave way before the announcement that the
carriage and four was approaching the cave, and all sallied forth
to receive the lovely damsels that it bore. Through many a quag,
o'er many a rock, and many a jolt had those oxen drawn the araba
for many a weary hour before they lay down in front of our cave; and
now it was the happy lot of those who got there first to hand out of
their carriage the admired beauties of Armenia. The carriage stopped,
and we were in readiness, our feelings of politeness screwed up to
the most perfect tone--


        When the pie was opened,
          The birds began to sing:
        Wasn't that a dainty dish
          To set before a king?


But the birds did not come out--there was much to be done before
that desired object was concluded: first, out came a cushion, then
a feather-bed, and then a pretty girl; then another cushion, then
another lovely damsel; then three or four more cushions, and another
feather-bed, and then the prettiest little girl of all jumped upon
the ground, half laughing and half smothered; for such dainty goods
would have broken all to bits on those rough roads, if they had not
been packed so carefully. The mother of the three graces accompanied
them, and, the party being assembled, the great business of life
commenced in earnest. Dolmas, and kieufté, and cabobs soon graced the
board--not that there was any board, but it sounds well. "Viands,"
that is, chickens, lamb stewed with quinces, and all manner of good
things, appeared and disappeared, to the wonder of certain hungry
Koords who happened to be passing, and who would have been run
through with the spits, if not devoured by Fundook, our brave ally,
if they had made a row. Corks from foreign bottles of champagne popped
in brisk salute. Cooks and kawasses, grooms, arabagis, eiwasses,
and heiwans followed the good example set them by their lords, and,
"fruges consumere nati," did their best to follow the end of their
creation. Then, and on that occasion only, did many a lantern-jawed,
hook-nosed Koord imbibe the unknown potations of Frangistaun. Then,
in glorious generosity, did the trusty marmiton dispense the bones
of slaughtered lamb, drumsticks of fowl, and crust of pie, whereof
repletion dire denied the power to partake. By staggering chiboukgis
pipes were next produced, and fragrant coffee, served on salvers
bright; and, on soft Persian carpets now reclined, the party enjoyed
the scene before them, passing an agreeable afternoon in each other's
society, accompanied, I thought, with some little flirtations between
some of the company, which, I suspect, left pleasing recollections
on their minds; for though I can not boast that any thing came of it
that day, yet not long afterward two marriages were declared between
some of those who assisted at the dinner in the cave of Ferhad; and
the most anxious chaperon will acknowledge that that was as much as
could be expected under the circumstances, seeing that there were
but two unmarried ladies of the company.

Afterward I found among my papers the following doleful ditty,
purporting to be a translation of Hafiz, on the fertile Persian subject
of Ferhad and Shireen; and as the reader is not obliged to read it
unless he likes to do so, I subjoin it in memory of the day that I,
for my part, passed so pleasantly with many agreeable companions
in this unfrequented spot. The accompaniment to the air having been
kindly undertaken by Fundook, the minstrel thus begins:



    Hafiz, who pass'd his sunny hours
      By the sweet stream of Mosellay,
    Singing of vineyards and of flowers
      To pass the fleeting time away,

    Tells how the blood of Ferhad's wound
      Had stain'd fair Nature's mantle green,
    Sprinkling with ruddy spots the ground
      Before the feet of fair Shireen.

    The tulip from his blood arose
      Beside her path in that sad hour.
    Displaying how its leaves inclose
      A goblet in each opening flower.

    Then to the lips the goblet press,
    Whose rim contains forgetfulness.

    The vine, the glorious vine, arose,
    Unscathed by crime, unchanged by woes,
      Exulting in her charms;
    Waving her tendrils in the breeze,
    And clasping the rough, rugged trees
      In her encircling arms.

    With clustering grapes upon her brow,
    Still as she binds each willing bough
      Their welcome aid she gains;
    On them she leans, but they confess
    The power of her loveliness,
      And glory in their chains.

    Fill up the bright and sparkling bowl,
    That cures the body, heals the soul.
      No--be it not refused--
    Hail to the vine! whose purple juice
    Was sent on earth for mortals' use,
      But not to be abused.

    Still to the lips the goblet press,
    Whose rim contains forgetfulness.

    Forgetfulness, alas! 'tis this
    That mortals hold the height of bliss
      In this sad world of care;
    For Memory through life retains
    A catalogue of griefs and pains,
      But little else is there.

    Then to the lips the goblet press,
    Whose rim contains forgetfulness.--Hafiz.



CHAPTER IX.

    The Bear.--Ruins of a Genoese Castle.--Lynx.--Lemming.--Cara
    Guz.--Gerboa.--Wolves.--Wild Sheep.--A hunting
    Adventure.--Camels.--Peculiar Method of Feeding.--Degeneration
    of domestic Animals.


Of four-footed beasts, the most illustrious is the bear, of which
there are a good many in the wooded sides of the mountains in the
neighborhood of Kars. Near the strange, unearthly lake of Tortoom,
I saw the fresh footprint of a real Ursa Major--a thundering old bear
he must have been. He had only just departed, and the mark of one of
his paws was large enough to hold more than both of mine. In another
place I came upon the ruins of one of the string of Genoese castles
which, in former days, reared up their lordly towers at distances of
not more than eight or ten hours apart the whole way from Trebizond
to Teflis. Their splendid ruins have been my admiration on many an
imposing rock, frowning over an unknown valley. Even the names of
most of these are lost, while we only know of the history of their
founders that once upon a time there were such merchant princes. In
the bottom of a broken turret a bear had taken lodgings, but he was
not at home when I called. Others, not far off, on another hill, had
given a small party, and had been amusing themselves by rolling about
a piece of rock about five feet in diameter--a game of roulette, on a
large scale, which showed their wondrous strength. The mud from their
paws upon the stone was wet when I came up to join the party, but,
perhaps luckily for me, they declined the honor of my acquaintance,
and the society had broken up. Some sturdy peasants of Lazistaun,
hearing of my partiality for strange creatures, brought me two
young bears one day, who lived in our house for some time. They
were very sensible, the she bear keeping her brother in remarkable
order. They became very tame. They were, in some respects, different
from the European bear, and of a light cinnamon color. I sent them to
England. They were great favorites with the sailors on board ship,
and arrived safely at the Tower Stairs, when some white paint being
left out for the beautification of the vessel, the poor bears ate it
all up, and not only died of the unwholesome feast, but the poison
was so strong as to bring the fur off their skins, so that they could
not be stuffed and immortalized in a glass case.

After the bear the next animal is the lynx, the fur of whose belly is
of the highest value in Turkey, while that of the back is worth very
much less. These animals are not rare in Armenia, and Enveri Effendi
prided himself on a splendid robe of this valuable fur, which he paid
for by selling the skins of the backs of the lynxes at Constantinople
for more than he had given for the precious under-fur at Erzeroom. The
lynx is famed for the quickness of his sight, but Enveri Effendi had
a sharper eye than he in all affairs relating to his own benefit.

In the spring of the year, soon after the women and children, the
lemmings come out, and sit upon their hind legs, and wipe their eyes
with their fore-paws, and seem to wonder quietly at those who pass by,
taking a header, or summerset, down their holes if you stop suddenly
to look at these curious little beasts.

A soft, cozy, fat little quadruped, called cara guz (black eyes), about
the size of a young Guinea-pig, and much of the same shape--only his
color is gray, and he has a most wonderfully soft coat--comes out,
too, about this time. He is so fat that he can not walk very fast,
and is easily taken, and in his captivity prefers almonds and raisins
to any other bill of fare which I was able to put before him. This
little fellow eats his breakfast, luncheon, dinner, and supper slowly
and respectably, without testifying any alarm for mankind. I could
not make out his scientific name; he is probably some kind of little
marmotte, and he falls readily into the manners and habits of the
society in which Providence has placed him.

After cara guz, the gerboa comes out of his hole, and hops about on his
long tail and hind legs; a miniature kangaroo, in whose acquaintance I
have rejoiced in the burning deserts of Africa as well as in the frozen
regions of the highlands of Erzeroom. In this country the number of
quadrupeds is very limited; the fox is occasionally seen, as well as
the gray beaver (kondooz), badgers, and wolves. At the melting of the
snow the wolves come even into the towns, and devour the dogs with
which every town is amply supplied. There are awful stories of their
carrying off the little, peeping, blear-eyed children, who creep out
of their holes in the beginning of spring, and who are occasionally
washed away in the torrents of melted snow--the only washing attended
to hereabouts. Wolves are not very unfrequently started out of the
inside of one of the numerous dead horses, whose overworked bodies
have been frozen into the consistency of flint during the winter,
and which form savory banquets for the famished wolves when the snow
and ice recede, and display these dainty morsels to their haggard eyes.

The wild sheep frequent the inaccessible rocks of the lower mountains,
where a scanty herbage may be browsed beneath the line of perpetual
snow. No two animals can be more different, both in appearance and
habits, than the wild and tame sheep. The wild sheep of Armenia (Ovis
gemelli) is in size, shape, and color like the doe of the fallow-deer,
only it has two short horns bending backward, like those of a goat. The
strength and agility of this most nimble creature are astonishing;
they are more difficult of approach than the chamois of the Alps. I
have usually seen them in pairs, but was never able to get a shot. I
brought three skins and several heads of this rare animal to Europe,
out of which one stuffed specimen was made up in the British Museum;
it is, I believe, the only one extant. The method employed to hunt
this sheep is to climb to the highest summit of a mountain, and then,
cautiously approaching the edges of the cliffs, to peep down with a
telescope into the gorges and ravines below, where, if you have luck,
you may see the sheep capering about on the ledges of the precipice,
jumping, standing on a stone on their hind legs to reach a little tuft
of herbage, and playing the most curious antics, for no perceptible
reason, unless it is that they find their digestion improved by taking
a considerable deal of exercise. In these gymnastics the hunter
must participate to a great extent in following the tracks of the
jumpingest creatures (excepting fleas) that he can ever have to deal
with. It requires much activity, and a good head for looking over
a height, to attempt to come up with them, and many a sad accident
has occurred to the adventurous sportsman in this pursuit. I myself
have been in some awkward situations: once particularly, having
let myself down by the roots of a kind of juniper on the ledge of
a tremendous precipice, I found there was no way further down, and,
what was of more consequence, no way up again, for the roots of the
stunted tree were above my reach. A hunter--a Laz, or a native of
Lazistaun--was with me, and when we had done watching the two sheep
scampering off out of shot below, we looked at the place we were on,
and then in each other's faces in blank dismay. We were in the same
scrape as the Emperor Maximilian got into in the Tyrol, near ... only
there being no angels about in the mountains of Lazistaun, we had no
expectation of being assisted by a spirited or a spiritual goatherd,
as he was. After a good deal of pantomime, which would have puzzled
any bird who might be wondering at our maneuvers--for we did not
understand each other's language--we took off our boots, all our
outer clothes, and our arms and rifles, and tied them in a bundle;
then I planted myself firmly, with my face to the wall of the cliff,
sticking my rifle into a crevice to give me more steadiness, and the
hunter climbed carefully up my back on to my shoulders till he got
hold of the roots of the tree; the tree shook, and plenty of stones
and dirt fell upon my head, while the hunter scrambled into the trunk,
and he was safe. He sat down a while to rest, and then hauled up the
clothes and guns with our shawls that we had taken off from round our
waists; a gentle qualm came over me at this moment, for fear he should
be off with my, to him, very valuable spoils, and leave me in peace
upon the shelf. But he was a true man, as a hunter generally is; so,
after a variety of signs and gesticulations to each other as to how
it was to be done, he lugged me up, first by the shawls, and then
by hand, until I could reach the roots of the tree. Here there was
only room for one, so he climbed higher, and, after some wonderful
positions, struggles, kicks, and scrambling, I got back among the
roots, then up the trunk of the old gnarled juniper, or whatever
it was, and at last upon a slope, partaking much of that character
which, in the states of the free and independent slave-dealers over
the water, is called slantindicular. Here we both lay down. As for me,
I was quite faint with giddiness and hard kicking, with nothing under
me to kick at; but soon we picked up our effects, put on our boots,
&c., scrambled, slid, and climbed about again after some more sheep;
but, by reason of their having two pair of legs each, and each pair
better adapted to present circumstances than our one pair each, they
always got away, and we came down the mountain muttonless and hungry
for that day, not sorry to find a famous good supper in the tent,
in our encampment by the trout stream, in the Valley of Tortoom.

One more quadruped nearly concludes the short catalogue of the mammalia
of Erzeroom--the capricorn, many specimens of whose enormous horns
are nailed up over the doors of houses in the city; but I never saw
this last animal at Erzeroom, alive or dead.

Innumerable camels accompany the caravans from hence to Persia, looking
very much out of place in the deep snow. They are the Arabian camel
with one hump, and I had no notion that my old acquaintance of Arabia
could bear the tremendous cold of Erzeroom. Great quantities of corn
and meal are brought here from the more prolific countries of the
neighborhood. This is the staple merchandise of the city, which is
the only place on the road between Persia and Turkey where caravans
can recruit their thousands of jaded horses, and procure provisions
for their journey. In this consists the political importance of an
otherwise worthless and infertile spot. The number of camels, horses,
mules, and beasts of burden assembled sometimes at Erzeroom is immense,
and they have here a peculiar method of feeding the camels by opening
their mouths with the left hand, and with the other shoving down the
poor beast's throat a ball of dough about the size of a cricket ball.

One peculiarity of the domestic animals in this fearful climate is,
that they are dwarfed and dwindled in size to an extraordinary
degree. A bull used to run about the lower regions of my house,
which was barely eighteen inches high; the sheep were so small that
grown up mutton looked like lamb. The same occurred with fruit; none
at all grew at Erzeroom, but we had from villages some miles off,
on the edges of the plain, plums the size of damsons, apricots the
size of walnuts, and other fruits in proportion.



CHAPTER X.

    Birds.--Great Variety and vast Numbers of Birds.--Flocks of
    Geese.--Employment for the Sportsman.--The Captive Crane.--Wild
    and tame Geese.--The pious and profane Ancestors.--List of Birds
    found at Erzeroom.


I now enter upon a subject to which I fear I have neither time
nor power to do justice. The number of various kinds of birds which
breed on the great plain of Erzeroom is so prodigious as to be almost
incredible to those who have not seen them, as I often have, covering
the earth for miles and miles so completely that the color of the
ground could not be seen; particularly at one period, when the whole
country had a rosy appearance, from the countless flocks of a sort of
red goose, which I take to be the ruddy sheldrake--a splendid bird,
though not good to eat. It is about the size of a small goose or a
Muscovy duck, almost entirely clothed in various shades of red. Troops
of the two varieties of the wild gray goose form whitish spots in the
animated landscape, their wild cries and noises sounding in every
direction. So closely covered was the plain with this prodigious
multitude of every kind of wild fowl, that I have galloped among them
for some distance, the birds getting up about one hundred yards in a
circle round my horse, and settling again behind me with loud cries,
while the air rustled with the beating of innumerable wings of those
birds which had been disturbed by my approach. The sportsman may
imagine what shooting there is at Erzeroom, for when one genus has
reared its young and flown away to far and distant lands, another
takes its place. Quails are at one time almost as thick as flies;
and numerous varieties of small birds, among which the horned lark
and the red-winged finch flew in clouds. That beautiful variety, the
rosy starling, has been often shot, as well as the merops, and so many
other little fowls of varied plumage, that I must refer the reader to
the accompanying list, for it would fill a book to give even a slight
description of them all. On the banks of the river I used to shoot all
sorts of waders, particularly spoonbills, and that most delicate of
birds, the egret or white heron, famous for its plumes. I must own
to being a bad shot, having been more accustomed to the rifle, but
these white herons afforded me great practice; as they flapped along,
I shot numbers of them, as well as many and many a quaint fellow with
long legs, whom I brought home merely to make out who he was, and to
write down his name. Later in the year I risked my neck by riding
as hard as I could tear over the rocky, or rather stony, plains at
the foot of the mountains after the great bustard. I have more than
once knocked some of the feathers out of these glorious huge birds,
as they ran at a terrible pace, half flying and scrambling before my
straining horse, but I never succeeded in killing one, though I have
constantly partaken of those which had fallen before more patient
gunners, who stalk them as you would a deer, and knock them over with
a rifle or swan-shot from behind a stone or bank.

I had more success with the great cinereous crane, which runs much
faster than a horse. I shot one at full gallop with a rifle, in a place
overgrown with reeds. This was a mighty triumph, for, though my game
was about five feet high, he was so very long in the legs and neck,
that the body offered but a small mark to be brought down under such
circumstances, and the pace he was going at the time, and I after
him, was, as they say, "a caution." This is a bird with whom it is
requisite to be wary: if he is down, and not killed outright, like
the heron and the stork he makes a dart with his sharp, long bill at
the eyes of his enemy, and its strength is such that it might easily,
I should think, penetrate the brain; at any rate, the eye would be
picked out at once, and that would suffice for that time.

A man brought in a crane which he had winged, and we turned him out
into the yard with the poultry, where he stalked up and down with a
proud, indignant air. He soon became pretty quiet, and ate his corn
with the rest, while he had a deep bucket of water for his own use,
into which he used to poke his head continually. One day a stupid,
heavy servant went into the yard, and, not knowing that the bucket
was placed there for the stork, he took it up to carry it away, when
the bird flew at him and pecked at his face, but, missing his eye,
seized him tightly by the nose, and there he held him for a good
while. The poor man halloed loud enough, but those who came to his
assistance could not help him at first for laughing; and though he
kept beating at the crane with the bucket, which he held in his hand,
his long neck enabled him to keep so far off that he escaped all
the frantic attempts of his prisoner to reach him. The man's nose was
swelled and very sore for some time, and he never got over the ridicule
which attached to him for his perilous adventure with the crane. It
was touching to watch this crane: when the time for its emigration
arrived, a flock of its magnificent companions every day used to fly
high up in the air, in a wheeling circle, above its head. This circle
of flying birds has a very striking effect. The cranes above called
to their friend to join them for their distant journey to a happier
climate, and the poor helpless crane below, stretching its long neck
up toward the sky, answered the appeal in a singularly mournful cry.

Various kinds of partridge exist, and the lesser bustard, called,
in Turkish, Mesmeldek, is an excellent bird for the table. They have
a curious method of catching the mesmeldek in some of the steppes in
Southern Russia. At the commencement of winter, parties of horsemen
gallop out upon the plains before sunrise, at which hour the wings of
these birds are frozen to their sides, and, the hunters stretching out
their horses in a line, the birds are driven by them into the villages,
and secured, before the warmth of the sun releases their wings and
restores their powers of flight. Great flocks of the lesser bustard
have been driven in this manner occasionally into Odessa. Hawks and
stately falcons hover over head, and prey upon their defenseless
brethren at their ease.

Storks build upon the chimneys; and among the sticks of which their
huge nest is formed, the sparrows make their nests, stealing, when
they can, any food, which the old birds bring for their young.

Here, as in all other parts of the world, this impertinent race of
little birds dispute possession of the house with mice and other
intruders; but at Erzeroom they are hardly put to it sometimes for
want of twigs to perch upon, and they sit usually, instead, upon
the iron bars of the windows in the town. Here I have often watched
them chirping in the cold, as they sat by the dozen on the bars of
my window, dressing their feathers, and jabbering to each other,
like true Koordish sparrows, about the corn that they stole from my
chickens yesterday, and how, with case-hardened consciences, they
intend to steal as much more as they can get to-day.

This is a subject on which I could dilate to any length, but at
present I must conclude with the following list of the various tribes
of birds who, in thousands and millions, would reward the toil of
the sportsman and the naturalist on the plains and mountains of the
high lands of Armenia; merely adding to this brief notice of the
birds of this country the following veracious anecdote, as perhaps
hitherto naturalists may not all of them be aware of the origin of
the separation of the wild and tame goose:

In former days, two geese agreed to take a long journey together:
the evening before they were to set out, one said to the other, "Mind
you are ready, my friend, for, Inshallah, I will set out to-morrow
morning!" "And so will I," replied he, "whether it pleases God or
not!" The sun rose the next day, and the pious goose, having ate his
breakfast, and quenched his thirst in the waters of the stream, rose
lightly on the wing, and soared away to a distant land. The impious
bird also prepared to follow him; but, after hopping and fluttering for
a long while, he found himself totally unable to rise from the ground;
and his evolutions having been observed by a fowler who happened to be
passing that way, he was presently caught, and reduced to servitude,
in which his race have ever since continued, while the descendants
of the religious goose still enjoy that freedom in which they were
originally created.


    LIST OF BIRDS FOUND AT ERZEROOM.

    Raptores (Birds of Prey).

        Vultur fulvus             Fulvous vulture.
        Aquila fulvus             Fulvous eagle.
        Aquila                    Eagle.
        Accipiter fringillarius   Sparrow-hawk.
        Falco tinnunculus         Kestril.
         ,,   osalon              Hobby.
         ,,   subbuteo            Merlin.
         ,,   rufipes             Orange-legged hobby.
         ,,   peregrinus          Peregrine falcon.
         ,,   peregrinus          Falcon.
        Milvus ater               Common kite.
        Buteo ater (?)            Common buzzard (?).
         ,,   ater                Marsh buzzard.
        Circus pallidus           White hen harrier.
          ,,   rufus              Marsh hen harrier.
        Noctua Indica             Small Indian owl.
        Strix Indica              Another owl.


    Insepores (or Perchers).

    Deutirostres.

        Lanius excubitor          Great strike (or butcher-bird).
          ,,   collurio           Red-backed strike.
        Collurio minor            Small strike.
        Musicapa grisola          Spotted fly-catcher.
           ,,    luctuosa         Pied fly-catcher.
        Turdus merula             Blackbird.
          ,,   torquatus          Ring-ouzel.
          ,,   pilaris            Fieldfare.
          ,,   musicus            Song-thrush.
        Petrocinela saxatilis     Rock-thrush.
        Cinclus aquaticus         Water-ouzel (or dipper).
        Oriolus galbula           Golden oriole.
        Motacilla alba            White wagtail.
            ,,    flava           Yellow wagtail.
        Saxicola rubicola         Stonechat.
           ,,    rubetra          Whinchat.
           ,,    ænanthe          Wheatear.
        Sylvia trochilus          Willow wren.
          ,,   hippolais          Willow wren.
        Salicaria phragmitis      Sedge-warbler.
            ,,    cetti(?)        Sedge-warbler(?).
        Curruca cineria           Whitethroat.
          ,,    atricapilla       Blackcap.
        Phoenicura ruticilla      Redstart.
            ,,     tilkys         Black redstart.
            ,,     succica        Bluebreast.
        Erythaca rubecula         Redbreast.
        Troglodytes Europæus      Wren.
        Rudytes melanocephala     Wren.
        Anthus arboreus           Tree-pipit.
          ,,   pratensis          Pipit-lark.
          ,,   rufescens          Pipit-pipit.


    Fissirostres.

        Hirundo riparia           Saced martin.
           ,,   rustica           Swallow.
        Cypselus murarius         Swift.
        Caprimulgus Europæus      Goat-sucker.


    Conirostres.

        Alanda arvensis           Skylark.
          ,,   arborea            Woodlark.
          ,,   calandra           Calandre.
          ,,   brachydactila      Little lark.
          ,,   penicillata        Horned lark.
          ,,   rupestris          Rock lark.
          ,,   rupestris (?)      (An Albino variety).
          ,,   rupestris          Albino lark.
        Parus major               Great titmouse.
          ,,  coeruleus           Blue titmouse.
        Emberiza citrinella       Yellow-hammer.
           ,,    hortulana        Ortolan.
           ,,    miliaria         Common bunting.
           ,,    cia              Meadow bunting.
        Fringilla coelebs         Chaffinch.
           ,,     montefrengilla  Mountain-finch (or brambling).
           ,,     nivalis (?)     Snow-finch (?)
           ,,     sanguinea       Bloody-finch.
        Pyrgita domestica         House-sparrow.
          ,,    petronea          Stone-sparrow.
        Carduelis communis        Goldfinch.
        Pyrrhula communis (?)     (A variety of the bullfinch).
        Linaria montuim           Mountain linnet (or twite).
           ,,   cannabina         Greater redpole.
        Coccothraustes chloris    Greenfinch.
              ,,       vulgaris   Hawfinch.
        Loxia curvirostra         Crossbill.
        Sturnus vulgaris          Common starling.
        Pastor roseus             Rosy-pastor.
        Corvus modedula           Jackdaw.
          ,,   frugeleus          Rook.
          ,,   cornix             Hooded or Royston crow.
        Pica candata              Magpie.
        Garrulus melanocephalus   Black-headed jay.
        Coracias garrula          Roller.


    Tenuirostres.

        Upupa epops               Hoopoe.
        Merops apiaster           Bee-eater.
        Alcedo ispida             Kingfisher.


    Scansores (or Climbers).

        Yuux torquilla            Wryneck.
        Cuculus canorus           Cuckoo.
        Cuculus (?)               Cuckoo.


    Rasores (allinaceous Birds).

        Otis tarda                Great bustard.
         ,,  tetrax               Small bustard.
        Pterocles arenarius       Sand-grouse.
        Perdix saxatilis          Red or Greek partridge.
          ,,   cineria            Gray or English partridge.
        Coternix vulgaris         Quail.
        Columba ænos              Stock-dove.
          ,,    turtur (?)        Turtle-dove (?).


    Grallæ (or Waders).

        Charadrius morinelles     Dotterel.
            ,,     minor          Small ring-plover.
            ,,     major          Large ring-plover.
        Ædienenuus crepitans      Stone-curlew.
            ,,     crepitans      Stone-curlew.
        Vanellus cristatus        Crested lapwing.
           ,,    keptuschka       Crested lapwing.
           ,,    keptuschka       Crested lapwing.
        Grus cineria              Gray crane.
        Ardea alba                White heron.
         ,,   cineria             Gray heron (two sorts very large).
         ,,   cineria             Night heron.
         ,,   cineria             Black heron.
         ,,   cineria             Black and gray heron.
        Botaurus stellaris        Bittern.
        Nycticorax Europæus       Night heron.
        Ciconia alba              White stork.
        Platolea leucorodia       White spoonbill.
        Scolopax rusticola        Woodcock.
           ,,    major            Double snipe.
        Gallinago media           Common snipe.
           ,,     minima          Jack-snipe.
        Ibis falcinellus          Marone ibis.
         ,,  falcinellus (?)      Marone ibis.
        Limosa melanolensa
        Tringa subaiquata         Curlew tringa.
          ,,   minuta             Small tringa.
          ,,   variabilis         Changeable tringa.
          ,,   pugnax             Ruff and reve.
          ,,   pugnax             Ruff and tringa.
        Totanus hypolencos        Common sandpiper.
          ,,    ochropus          Green sandpiper.
          ,,    glotis            Green shankpiper.
          ,,    calidris          Red shankpiper.
        Himantopus melanopterus   Stilts.
        Rallus crec               Corn-crake.
          ,,   crec               Corn-rail.
          ,,   crec               Corn-rail.
        Zapornia pusilla          Corn-rail.
        Fulica atra               Coot.
        Gallinula chloropus       Water-hen.
        Glareola limbata          Pratin cole.
           ,,    torquata         Austrian cole.


    Palmipedes (Web-footed Birds).

        Podiceps cristatus        Crested grebe.
           ,,    rubricollis      Red-necked grebe.
           ,,    auritus          Eared grebe.
        Larus ridibundus          Laughing gull.
          ,,  argentatus (?)      Herring gull (?).
        Sterna hirundo            Common tern.
          ,,   leucoptera         Common tern.
          ,,   nigra              Black tern.
        Pelicanus onocrotalus     Pelican.
        Carbo cormoranus          Cormorant.
        Anas boschas              Wild duck.
         ,,  boschas              Wild duck.
        Cygnus ferus              Wild swan.
        Anser ferus               Gray-leg goose.
          ,,  albifrons           White-fronted goose.
        Fuligula rufina           Red-headed pochard.
           ,,    rufina           Common pochard.
           ,,    cristata         Tufted duck.
        Querquedula cinerea       Summer teal.
        Querquedula crecca        Common teal.
        Dafila caudacuta          Pintail duck.
        Chaulelosmus strepera     Gadwall.
        Rynchapsis clypeata       Black-headed shoveler.
        Tadorna rutila            Ruddy sheldrake.
          ,,    vulpanser         Common sheldrake.
        Mergus albellus           Smew.


For this list of birds I am indebted to the kindness of my friend
Mr. Calvert, of Erzeroom, to whom I take this opportunity of expressing
my best thanks for a communication so interesting to lovers of
natural history.



CHAPTER XI.

    Excursion to the Lake of Tortoom.--Romantic Bridge.--Gloomy Effect
    of the Lake.--Singular Boat.--"Evaporation" of a Pistol.--Kiamili
    Pasha.--Extraordinary Marksman.--Alarming Illness of the
    Author.--An Earthquake.--Lives lost through intense Cold.--The
    Author recovers.


Between the days of arrival and departure of the tatars, or couriers,
to Constantinople, and the struggles to keep the peace and explain
the simplest transaction with our colleagues, we found time for
various expeditions to the neighboring countries on all sides. The
most remarkable of these was that to the deep, unfathomable lake of
Tortoom, about three days' journey off. Our main object in going
there was to fish, and we encamped for that purpose on the upper
streams of the Batoum River and other places. In the valley of the
castle of Tortoom the trout abounded, and were of that unsophisticated
nature that, fishing one hour in the dawn and one hour before sunset
with two fly-rods, we caught every day enough to feed our camp,
and to send a horse-load (no small quantity) in the evening to
our friends at Erzeroom. This was one day's march, and the horses,
traveling all night, brought the fish, though in the hot weather, in
great perfection to the city in the cool of the morning. We were not
aware, till it was too late, of the deadly nature of the malaria in
these rocky valleys, where the precipice shot up clear and straight
to the height, sometimes, we used to judge, of above a thousand
feet. On our way through one of these romantic dells, we all rode,
bag and baggage, over a bridge, to be compared only to the bridge of
Al Serat, over which the souls of the judged will have to pass from
the Temple of Jerusalem, over the Valley of Jehoshaphat, till they
reach the other world, which bridge is as narrow as the edge of the
cimeter of Mohammed. The fright I was in is not to be described when
I saw the first horseman, who was at the time filling his pipe, walk
his horse unconcernedly over this bridge, which was composed of two
pine-trees thrown over a torrent which roared and tumbled thirty feet
below. However, being afraid to show I was afraid, I rode over too,
and certainly thought myself a bold fellow when I got safe to the
other side. To ride safely over such a bridge, a horse ought to be
brought up to practice on a tight-rope. I would not attempt to walk
over such a place nowadays in England.

We passed a village in one lovely valley, in a grove of peach-trees,
where we found that every soul, or rather every body, was dead;
only one man survived the fever which had killed the rest.

Of all the strange and gloomy scenes that I have witnessed, none
have left a deeper impression on my mind than that of the black,
unfathomable lake of Tortoom. Mountains of dark rock fall sheer
down in awful precipices right into these deep, still waters on each
side. No fish are to be found in this Dead Sea, though perhaps they
may retreat there in the winter from the mountain rills. If the lake
was a strange place, the boat which we discovered on the shore was
in character with the scene. It was the only vessel on its waters,
and its builder probably never studied naval architecture in the
dock-yards of the maritime powers. It was formed out of the trunks of
two trees; but as no description would so well convey a notion of its
form, I refer the curious to the accompanying sketch. The standing
figure in it represents a valorous kawass, who fired his pistol in
the air for the sake of the echo, and, on the smoke clearing off,
he found that the entire pistol had evaporated too; nothing visible
remained in his hand; it had burst all to pieces. But, fortunately,
neither he nor any of the party were hurt by the fragments, which
fell into the waters of the dark and silent lake.

October 1, 1843. This day I was riding on the road toward Bayazeed and
Persia. Hearing some shots, I turned toward the hills lying between
the town of Erzeroom and the mountains, and there I saw two or three
tents pitched, and a number of officers, servants, and people attending
on Kiamili Pasha, who was shooting at a mark with a pistol.

He is the most wonderful shot I ever heard of: he always fired at
a distance of about 250 paces, or yards. Any one who will take the
trouble to step this distance in a field or park will see how far it is
to shoot with a rifle, and how entirely out of all usual calculations
in pistol practice. I went into the Pasha's tent. He received me,
as usual, with great kindness, and, after pipes and coffee, I begged
him to go on with his shooting. The way he set about it was this: he
sat on one of the low, square rush-bottomed stools which are always
found in Turkish coffee-houses, but which must have been brought from
Constantinople probably by the Pasha, as those kind of stools are not
usually met with in Erzeroom. He did not rest his elbow on his knee,
but pressed it steadily against his side, took a deliberate but not
very slow aim, and sent the ball through a brown pottery vase filled
with water, about fifteen inches high, which stood on the other side
of a valley, on a level with the tent, and full 250 yards off. I think
the Pasha broke two while I sat with him, and made a hole which let
the water out of another. His pistols were a pair of very slightly
rifled dueling-pistols, about nine inches in the barrel, made by Egg,
Great George Street, London. I was so much astonished at the Pasha's
shooting, that I asked him to give me one of the pieces of the vase,
which I took home with me, and talked to my friends about it. I felt
perfectly well when we went to dinner, when suddenly it appeared to
me that what I was eating was burning hot, and had a strange, odd
taste. I believe I got up and staggered across the room, but here my
senses failed me, and I remained insensible for twenty-seven days. An
attack of brain fever had come upon me like a blow, as sudden and
overwhelming as a flash of lightning.

On the 27th of October I awoke in the morning, but, as I suppose,
went to sleep for a while; in the afternoon I fairly came to my senses,
and saw my servant sitting on the scarlet-cloth divan under the window
looking at me. I felt something strange, and still, and gloomy in the
air, and was rather bewildered with the sensation. This was soon to
be accounted for: the servant, seeing that I was alive, came forward
toward the bed, while a low rumbling noise made itself heard. This
noise became louder; flakes of plaster fell from the ceiling;
the room trembled, and was filled with a fine dust, with which I
was nearly choked. My man exclaimed, "The earth moves--are you not
afraid?" As he spoke, the noise which we had heard increased, and an
immense beam, made of the trunk of a whole tree, which was immediately
above my bed, split with a report like a cannon. The earthquake shook
the house terribly; it creaked and trembled like a ship in a heavy
gale of wind; the noise increased to a roar, not like thunder, but
howling and bellowing, with a low rumbling sound, while the air was
as still as if Nature was paralyzed with dread; every now and then
a tremendous crash gave notice of a falling house. The one opposite
our house, belonging to a poor widow, was entirely destroyed; and,
in the midst of a most fearful uproar, the two rooms, one on each
side of my bed-room, fell in, while the air was darkened altogether,
as in an eclipse, with clouds of dust. So great was the noise of the
earthquake all around, that neither my attendant nor I distinguished
the particular crash when the two rooms adjoining us fell in. Some of
the minarets, and many of the houses of the city, were demolished;
parts of the ancient castellated walls fell down. The top of one of
the two beautiful minarets of the old medressé, the glory of Erzeroom,
called usually Eki Chifteh, disappeared. Those who were out, and able
to witness the devastation, and to hear the awful roaring noise, said
they had never seen or heard any thing more tremendous than the scene
before their eyes. It is difficult to express in words the strange,
awful sensation produced by the seeming impossible contradiction of
a dead stillness in the midst of the crash of falling buildings,
the sullen, low bellowing, which perhaps sounded from beneath the
ground, and the tremendous uproar that arose on all sides during the
earthquake. I have not met with an account of this strange phenomenon
in the descriptions of other earthquakes, and do not know whether it
is a usual accompaniment to these terrible convulsions of nature.

The earthquake accomplished its mission: in the midst of terror and
destruction, it restored one poor creature to life. I regained my
senses and my faculties on the 27th, as suddenly as I had lost them
on the 1st day of this month. God give me grace to make a good use
of the life which was restored to me under such awful circumstances!

On that day the doctor, who had some difficulty in getting to my
room through the ruins of the ante-room, took the ice off my head,
and in a few days I recovered sufficient strength to move my limbs,
which I could not do at first.

As soon as it appeared that there was any probability of my recovery,
my kind friends agreed that the best chance of regaining my health
lay in removing, as soon as I could bear the journey, to a better
climate. During great part of the year, and naturally in the winter,
the cold was so severe that any one standing still for even a very
short time was frozen to death. Dead frozen bodies were frequently
brought into the city; and it is common in the summer, on the melting
of the snow, to find numerous corpses of men, and bodies of horses,
who had perished in the preceding winter. So usual an event is this,
that there is a custom, or law, in the mountains of Armenia, that
every summer the villagers go out to the more dangerous passes,
and bury the dead whom they are sure to find. They have a legal
right to their clothes, arms, and the accouterments of the horses,
on condition of forwarding all bales of merchandise, letters, and
parcels to the places to which they are directed.

During the whole month of December the Pasha had caused four mules
to be exercised every day with a takterawan, or litter, which he
provided for my conveyance to Trebizond. Two mules, led by one man,
carried the litter; the other two followed tamely, led by another man,
close behind, to be ready to take the places of the others if they were
tired or disabled. From morning to night, the men and the mules, and
the takterawan, stumped along through the snow, till they dared to face
the storm and the immense cold, and could climb up and down the icy
rocks like goats. As soon as I was able, I was sent out in the litter
to try how I could bear it, and to settle various contrivances for
keeping out the cold, and enabling me to bear the motion of the mules.

One day Colonel Williams rode out on the Persian road to see whether
it was passable for Dr. Wolf, who was then staying at Erzeroom, and
who wished to continue his journey to Bokhara, when he met a number
of horses, each laden with two frozen bodies of Persian travelers,
one tied on each side of the pack-horse. An unfortunate Piedmontese
doctor had been lost in a snow-storm a short time before, and his body
was found afterward near a small monastery, three or four miles from
Erzeroom, where he had wandered, bewildered with the falling snow;
and a whole party, with one or two ox-carts, who left a village in
the morning on their way to another a short distance off, never
arrived there; they were found huddled together, oxen, horses,
men, and women, in a snow-drift, dead, and frozen hard and stiff,
some weeks afterward. The cold was so tremendous at this time that
the mountains were impassable, and no one was able to move beyond a
short distance from the town.



CHAPTER XII.

    Start for Trebizond.--Personal Appearance of the Author.--Mountain
    Pass.--Reception at Beyboort.--Misfortunes of Mustapha.--Pass of
    Zigana Dagh.--Arrival at Trebizond.


On the 27th of December, all preparations being completed, I started
on my journey over the mountains to Trebizond. Kiamili Pasha had
prepared an order to all and sundry, great and small, upon the road,
to give me every assistance, and, with this and a powerful firman
from the Sultan, I had authority to do whatever I pleased in that
part of the world. About twenty attendants accompanied me, besides
a certain levy from every village I passed, who were to march to
the next village every day to clear the roads, move the snow, and
pick us out of it when we tumbled in, &c. These villagers were all
armed with the peculiar dagger of Circassia, called a cama, a most
efficient tool as well as weapon, and a short, heavy rifle, generally
beautifully made, with which they hit objects at very long distances,
400 yards not being considered out of shot. My personal appearance
must have been remarkable: I had a long beard, and so thin a face
that my nose was translucent, if not transparent. I had a Persian cap
upon my head, and over other garments a toilet of my own invention,
which vested me with a dignity peculiar to myself: this was a large
eider down quilt, of bright green silk, in the middle of which I had
caused a hole to be made, through which I put my head; the two ends
of the quilt hung down before and behind, like a chasuble or a poncho;
round it I tied a girdle. My general appearance must have been rather
striking to the beholder, and was probably considered by the natives
on the road as the official costume of an Elchi Bey. I was so weak
that when I was bundled into the takterawan I could not turn round,
and was nearly smothered in my own feathers, till somebody turned me
on the right side upward, when I was able to bid adieu to all the
principal Europeans and others who had kindly assembled to see me
off. A number of people accompanied me for some distance out of the
town; and Colonel Williams came as far as Elijè, about three hours
in the snow, which ended my first day's march.

On the next day, December 28th, we got to Meymansoor, a village at
the foot of the first mountain pass, called Hoshapoona, a terrible
place at all times, but frightful in the depth of winter, and under
the circumstances I was in. Only two or three days before it had been
rendered practicable, by driving a thousand horses, belonging to the
caravans which were snowed up at the foot of the pass, up and down
the road to make a track. This road is what is called a scala; that
is, a series of holes, each about a foot deep, sometimes two feet,
about eighteen inches in diameter, and the same in distance from one
another. From long practice, the horses put their feet very cleverly
into these holes without tripping over the intervening ridges of
hardened snow. Men on foot usually step on the ridges, which is
like walking on the rounds of a ladder for a few hundred miles,
the probabilities of not breaking your leg if you slip into the hole
before or behind you being very slight. As in many places this road was
slantindicular, going up and down at an angle of 45°, I was reclining
in the litter alternately on my head and on my heels--mostly on my
head going up hill. My mules were held upon their feet by as many
men as could stand on each side, where the road was wide enough;
most of it was a ledge on a precipice, about eighteen inches wide,
when the men supported my equipage with ropes, a strong body hopping
and stumbling behind and before, at the rate of about one mile an
hour. My glass windows were smashed with the least possible delay,
but we repaired them the next day with oiled paper. At the top of
the pass we came upon a party of Persians, who were going the other
way toward Erzeroom; they were seated in a row, on the ledge of the
precipice, looking despairingly at a number of their baggage-horses
which had tumbled over, and were wallowing in the snow many hundred
feet below. They did not seem to be killed, as far as I could see,
as the snow had broken their fall. The drift covered the precipitous
rock from the bottom to within twenty or thirty feet of the top, and
they slid down this till they popped into a deep hole in the snow,
like a well, in the valley below. It did not appear that there was
any probability of their getting up again. The poor Persians crammed
themselves into nooks and little hollows on the ledge to make room for
us to pass. I presume their horses were frozen to death before we had
left them very long. This was an awful spot altogether. We had started
before light in the morning, and arrived in a dreary mountain valley,
at a hovel called Zaza Khan, in the evening. During one part of the
day, the danger to the takterawan was so great that I was plucked out,
and a tall, good-natured man, called Beyragdar (the standard-bearer),
carried me like a baby in his arms, one or two others supporting him,
across a tremendous ledge. I was light enough to carry, but was such a
great bundle of fluff that he could not see over me, and another man
helped him along, and showed him where to put his feet. We were very
fortunate in a fine sunny day for our journey over this tremendous
mountain. On the last day of the year 1843 we arrived at the town of
Beyboort. Though I had sent two horsemen on to say that I was coming,
no one came out of the town to meet me, and on proceeding to the
palace or house of the Bey, the governor of the place I was refused
admittance, though he had received orders before to pay me every
attention. I at last was taken in by the Cadi, in whose comfortable
house I was kindly entertained. The next day we met a tatar, a
government courier, on the road from Trebizond. I sent letters by him
to Erzeroom, complaining of my reception by the Bey of Beyboort; and so
rapidly were matters conducted by my friend the Pasha, that the Bey was
turned out of his government, and another Bey appointed to succeed him,
before I and my party arrived at Trebizond. This was sharp practice,
and doubtless had a good effect. The chiefs of the other villages, and
the one town of Gumush Khannè, treated me always with great kindness
and civility. On the 2d of January, at a hovel called Khaderach Khan,
I met a rich Persian merchant coming from Constantinople with his
wife and family. He had been eighteen days on the road from Trebizond,
which is thirty-two hours of tatar-posting; from hence, at this rate,
he would be six months on his journey to Teheran, to which place he
was bound. He was a remarkably gentleman-like man, as most Persian
gentlemen are. He had a great train of servants and attendants, well
dressed and well armed, each with a silver tass, or drinking-cup,
slung over his shoulder, and a handsome cama dangling by a narrow strap
from the front of his girdle, and his waist squeezed till he could
hardly shut his mouth, in true Circassian style. He had numbers of
curious contrivances for comfort and convenience: little fire-places,
hanging to the stirrup, for hot coals, to light the caleoons, &c. His
son, a smart youth, spoke French, and we passed a very pleasant hour
together, though I had turned him out of the best hole in the hovel,
into which Beyragdar laid me down softly in the corner; and I was so
much exhausted that I knew nothing of the confusion I had made till I
had had a cup of blazing hot Russian tea, with a slice of lemon in it
instead of cream, and had taken the diversion of wondering at an odd
sort of partridge which one of my men had knocked over with a stone,
for which act I presented him with the sum of 5 1/2d. sterling.

At Kalé Khan I had given leave to one Mustapha, my kawass bashi,
or captain of the kawasses, to go and see his family, who lived in
a village a short distance off the road; he had not seen them for a
long time, and went on his way rejoicing. At a place called Porda
Bakchelari, where I was resting on the 3d, he made his appearance
again; he was so altered in looks that I did not know him at first;
so much so, that I asked him who he was, and what he wanted with
me. His history, poor fellow! was as follows:

When he arrived at his village, he rode up to the door of his own
house, thinking to give a happy surprise to his wife and children,
whose names he called out as he stopped his horse in the little
street. No one answered, when he called again, and knocked loudly at
the door several times. At last an old woman put her head out of the
door of another house, and screamed to him to know what he was making
such a noise about.

"I want such a one," said he, naming his wife.

"What, Eyesha?" said the old woman; "who are you? You must be a
stranger to this place not to know that she died of the fever and
was buried two weeks ago."

"And where is Hassan?" said the poor kawass, asking for his eldest son.

"Oh, he died three months ago."

"And the two little ones?" he asked.

"They were buried, I forget how long it is since," said the old woman;
"the fever got into that house; the people are all dead. You had better
not go in, stranger, for it has been locked up by the cadi, and the
owner, Mustapha Aga, lives a long way off at Erzeroom. Inshalla! he
will come some day, and the cadi will deliver the key to him."

Mustapha kawass never dismounted from his horse in his native village;
he turned slowly away, and rode back to the track of the mules and
horses of my followers till he caught us up at Bakchelari Khan.

"Allahkerim!" (God is merciful!) said his companions, when he had told
us this sad history. His family was swept from the face of the earth;
there was not a servant left, not one old well-remembered face to
greet him in his visit to the village where he had passed his childish
days. He had heard nothing of the fever or of the infliction which
had fallen upon his house, and suddenly he found himself alone in the
wide world. We were all grieved for him, but what could we do? every
one looked grave as we plodded on again through the snow and ice,
and smoked the pipe of reflection in silence on our weary way.

On the 7th we got into a fix near a place called Madem Khanlari, in
the pass of Zigana Dagh, a worse place than Even Hoshabounar: we had
been all day scrambling about in rocky ledges, and crossing torrents
and snow-drifts, each of which seemed impassable till we went at it
with a will: a number of villagers, with axes and ropes, came with
us, and worked valiantly in clearing the ice off the narrow shelves
of rock, and leading the horses through the most difficult places,
where they could hardly stand; sometimes the horses were almost lifted
by the men. By the greatest care and exertion, none as yet fell over
the precipices. My takterawan was surrounded by a posse of zealous,
active mountaineers, clinging to each other, and putting the mules'
feet into the holes which they cut for them with their axes. At
last we got to a place where there was a sudden turn at the narrow
edge of a gorge or cleft of rock: the length of the litter, with one
mule before and another behind, made it impossible to turn without
going over. Somehow, by the help of a number of men, the front mule
was carried by main force round the corner, till we were in such a
position that the hinder mule was being dragged over the precipice
by the poles of the takterawan, to which it was harnessed. Without
a drawing it is difficult to describe the position we had got into;
but it may be partly understood by the fact that, out of whichever
side of the takterawan I looked, there was nothing under me, for
perhaps two hundred feet, till you arrived at a brawling torrent,
which kept itself alive by violent exercise, in jumping, leaping,
and tumbling over the rocks and cascades at the bottom of the ravine,
so that it was the only thing not frozen hard and still in the dead
landscape of thick ice, and snow, and shattered rock, and the clean,
smooth precipice towered up from the little merry stream to hundreds
of feet above our heads, where an edge of snow and a fringe of icicles
shone in the bright sky upon the topmost margin of the cliffs. Some of
the men now sat down, with their legs hanging over the precipice; they
were supported by other men, while, in their turn, they held the legs
of the mules, who were beginning to get frightened, or perhaps choked,
and gave utterance to curious exclamations. My friend Beyragdar made a
bridge of his long body, by leaning over from the inner angle of the
road to the side of the takterawan. As for me, beyond peeping like
an old rat out of a cage, I could not move, so I lay still till I was
pulled out by two men over Beyragdar's back, handed like a bundle over
the foremost mule, and stuck upon a horse a little farther on. The
mules were, somehow or other, saved and released from the shafts of
the takterawan, which I never saw again; they could get it no further,
and the rest of the journey I made on horseback, supported by a man
on each side when the road was wide enough, by one when it was too
narrow for two, and, when there was only room for the horse alone,
Beyragdar carried me in his arms till we got to the Strada Reale,
good two feet wide, when I was put upon a horse again.

In this way, by slow degrees, we scrambled on our way, till, on the
10th of January, after fifteen days' journey through the intense cold
of the mountains, I arrived, in better health and strength than when
I started, at the edge of the table-land, from whence I saw the blue
waters of the sea, and at 11 o'clock A.M. I was seated in my room in
the quarantine station at Trebizond.



CHAPTER XIII.

    Former History of Trebizond.--Ravages of the Goths.--Their
    Siege and Capture of the City.--Dynasties of Courtenai and
    the Comneni.--The "Emperor" David.--Conquest of Trebizond by
    Mehemet II.


Trebizond, so famous in the Middle Ages as the residence of magicians,
enchanters, and redoubted heroes of chivalry, is better known in
the pages of romance than for any facts of historical importance
which occurred there during many centuries. The only person who might
probably have been able to throw much light upon the ancient history
of this Byzantine city was that veracious chronicler, the Cid Hamet
Bengenelli, who, in his account of the renowned and valorous Knight of
the Rueful Countenance, records of Don Quixote that "the poor gentleman
already imagined himself at least crowned Emperor of Trebizond by the
valor of his arm; and wrapped up in these agreeable delusions, and
hurried on by the strange pleasure he took in romances of chivalry,
he prepared to execute what he so much desired."

Two real events, however, occurred at Trebizond which I shall endeavor
to describe--the only ones which stand out with any prominence in the
records of the dukes, counts, and governors who held this province
in their languid rule.

In the third century the Goths, a band of desperate barbarians,
who came originally from Prussia, were established in a curious
out-of-the-way kingdom, situated on the Cimmerian Bosporus, the inlet
which gives access to the Sea of Azof from the Black Sea. Trebizond,
the capital of a Roman province, had been founded in the days of
Xenophon by a Grecian colony, and now owed its wealth and splendor
to the munificence of the Emperor Hadrian, who had constructed an
artificial harbor for its shipping, while the town was defended on
the land side by a double line of walls and towers, some part of which
probably exist at the present time among the fortifications afterward
erected by the Christian emperors and the Turks. In those troublous
times the country was in disorder, and the wealthy patricians had sent
their treasures into the town for greater security, the garrison having
been re-enforced by an additional body of 10,000 men. A numerous fleet
of ships was in the harbor, which, perhaps, were timidly seeking refuge
from the pirates of the Euxine within the encircling quays of the
harbor of Hadrian. The riches of the inhabitants, the balmy climate,
and the soft manners of the Greeks, had enervated the spirits of the
commanders of the troops; the fashionable triflers were sunk in luxury
and ease; feeling secure within the impregnable walls of the imperial
fortress, they gave themselves up to feelings of indolent disdain of
foreign enemies; and the brilliant officers and scornful senators,
in flowing robes, passed their days in feasting and attending upon
the ladies, to the neglect of discipline and vigilance, trusting that
the lofty walls and mighty towers were sufficient bulwarks to keep
off the barbarians whom they despised.

About the year 260 of our era, the Goths, who had made several roving
expeditions on the shores of Circassia, had plundered, with various
success, the temples and cities on the coasts of the Black Sea. These
indomitable savages embarked on board a fleet of small flat-bottomed
boats, each containing only a few men, who inhabited a sort of house
with a shelving roof, built of wood, in the centre of the boat. An
innumerable shoal of these floating houses spread over the surface of
the waves, trusting to the winds for the course they should pursue,
and to the ravage of the villages on shore for food. This swarm of
rapacious pirates arrived in the course of one of their forays in the
neighborhood of Trebizond; they landed in numbers under the walls,
from the summits of which the fair damsels and silken warriors looked
down with pitying scorn on the uncouth behavior, badly-made garments,
and coarse appearance of the roving Goths, and, having satisfied their
curiosity and expressed their contempt for the horde of barbarians who
had arrived in the strange fleet of little boats, they retired to the
arcades surrounding the courts of the palaces; some went to the forum
in the centre of the town, to hear the news and laugh at the uncouth
appearance of the Goths. The ladies and gentlemen, changing their
morning dresses for a lighter and richer evening costume, assembled
in the marble halls of many palaces, charmed with the excitement of
a new subject for ridicule in the persons and dresses of the Goths,
and a new theme for conversation in the refined assemblies of the
polished nobles and lovely damsels of the luxurious city of Trebizond.

I can imagine the conversation of a pleasant little party assembled In
the triclinium of the prefect of the city. The gentlemen, in studied
attitudes, reclining on the divans or couches placed against the wall,
behind the marble tables; the ladies, in graceful robes, seated at
their feet; while pages, with wreaths of flowers round their heads, in
short tunics of white silk, brought up dishes of blackbirds stewed in
wine; tarts sweetened with honey, which could be eaten with impunity
by natives, while strangers lost their senses if they ventured on
the dangerous condiment.

"Eudocia, dearest, did you go up those horrid steps upon the wall,
to look at those people outside? Did you ever see such creatures?"

"Oh, yes, Lais, I did. Poor barbarians! why do they tie their legs
up with leather thongs in that funny way? And what skimpy tunics they
wear! I think they must be made of sheepskin! There was one of them--a
great personage, no doubt, in his own nasty little country--who had
made himself a toga of a blanket. Did not you see him, Xenophon? You
were with us."

"Well--aw--why, yes, I think I did," says Xenophon; "but what heavy
axes they carry! what long, straight swords they wear! They say their
hilts are gold; I dare swear they are brass. Our legionaries would
make short work of them."

"Well," says Lais, "I wish you would send those ugly people away,
for one can not take a drive in the Hippodrome since they have been
here these two days, and the new silver harness for my white oxen is so
pretty. But, Eudocia, did you see the lady? I hear she is a princess--a
princess, who travels in a punt! Dear me, a great lady she must be!"

"I never heard of her," says Eudocia; "do tell me all about her. What
is she like? Is she tall or short? pretty or ugly? or what? Let us
have a description of your barbarian lady."

"Why," answers Lais, "she is awfully tall, and she has light hair,
plaited in two long tails like ropes, and much of the same color,
which hang down on each side of her face in front, and reach to her
knees. She is dressed in a long and very full gown, with innumerable
plaits, coming high up round her throat. Her gown is confined round
her waist by a girdle of gold and jewels, and she has a golden fillet
round her head. This gown was light blue, and was so long I could not
see her feet; but those of the maidens with her were of such a size,
Eudocia, that four of our feet might walk about in their shoes,
which were of gold stuff, coming up to the ankle, and worked with
pearls--as heavy as lead, I should imagine."

"But was the princess pretty?" again inquires Eudocia.

"Xenophon says she is, but I don't believe him. She has strange-colored
eyes, I was told--the color of her gown, and is not pale and smooth
as marble, but with rosy cheeks and a throat as white as snow; but
she looked very stupid, and solemn, and proud. What she can have to
be proud of, poor creature! I can not conceive; she has not the black
eyes and bright smile of our girls."

"That is a curious wool the men wear on their caps," saith Xenophon;
"it is curly, and of a light bluish-gray color. The barbarians seem
to think it is very fine. I have not seen any thing like it: it is
made of the skin of a peculiar breed of lambs, to be met with nowhere
out of their country."

"What in the world can they want so many fagots for?" asks another
young lady. "I am sure the days are hot enough in the summer; perhaps
they have no firewood in their own miserable regions; they have been
doing nothing but cut bushes and make fagots of them on the hill-side
above the citadel ever since they have been here."

"Ah," says Xenophon, "except the amusement of burning a few villages,
though that could hardly repay them the trouble, for all the goods
worth carrying away have been brought within the walls. However, here
comes the little cup-bearer with the Chian and Falernian wine. Never
mind these outer barbarians; let us go to supper."

So they went to supper, and, affecting classic tastes, sang verses
on heroic themes from Homer, accompanied by music on the lyre and
the double pipe.

The Goths went to supper too outside, under the trees, and ate great
pieces of beef cut from oxen roasted whole. The night was very dark,
but the guards and the citizens lit up their rooms gayly within the
city, which resounded with laughter, songs, and merriment.

The night advanced, and so did the Goths; each man bore a fagot,
which he threw into the ditch below the wall. Thousands were piled
upon those below, others were thrown on them; the heap of fagots
rose, the upper ones were level with the battlements. Where were the
city guards? Where were the legionaries and the 10,000 auxiliary
troops? They were sleeping off the fatigues of the evening feast;
they were any where but where they should be--upon the walls.

Down from the towers and the bastions poured a stream of fierce
determined warriors; they closed the gates on that side, for fear the
garrison should get out; but the alarm was spread; the legionaries,
who were awakened by the cry, made off through the opposite side of
the fortifications and escaped into the country. Those who were not
quick enough were stabbed in the back and slain in heaps; fire and
the sword commenced their fearful reign, blood ran in the streets,
the massacre was horrible. The most holy temples, says the historian,
the most splendid edifices, were involved in a common destruction. The
booty that fell into the hands of the Goths was immense. The wealth
of the adjacent countries, which had been deposited in Trebizond as a
secure place of refuge, was added to the spoil. The number of captives
was incredible; those who were left alive were gathered together
by the Goths. Lais and Eudocia became the handmaids of the Gothic
princess. Xenophon and 2000 able-bodied dandies were driven down to
the port by 200 Goths, who made them chain each other to the oars
of the galleys, on board of which the enormous plunder of Trebizond
was embarked by the forced labor of the citizens, one or two being
cut in half with a sweep of the long Gothic sword, to encourage the
others if they did not hurry in their work under the burning rays of
the sun. The Cimmerian Bosporus received the fleet of galleys laden
with the treasures, and rowed by the slaves, of the noble city of
Trebizond, now smouldering in a heap of smoking ruins.

Thus ended the first episode in the history of Trebizond.

For more than a thousand years the history of Trebizond remains
enveloped in the mists of obscurity and insignificance; various
dukes, princes, and counts succeeded each other in a long line of
inglorious pride.

In the thirteenth century the chivalrous house of Courtenai, by
the assistance of the heroes of the Crusades, mounted the throne of
Constantinople, and the ancestors of the Earl of Devon produced three
emperors, who reigned in succession over the Oriental portion of the
Roman empire. The ancient dynasty of the Comneni, being expelled from
the dominions over which they had presided for centuries, fled for
refuge into various lands. Alexius, the son of Manuel and grandson
of Andronicus Comnenus, obtained the government of the duchy of
Trebizond, which extended from the unfortunate Sinope to the borders
of Circassia. He seems to have reigned in peace. The acts of his son,
who succeeded him, are as unknown as his name, which has not even
descended to posterity. The grandson of Alexius was David Comnenus,
who, with an assurance and presumption which is almost ludicrous, took
upon himself the style and title of Emperor of Trebizond. Puffed up
with vanity and self-conceit, this feeble prince enjoyed for a short
period the imperial dignity which he possessed only in name. The
erection of this quaint and ridiculous Christian empire appears to
have made a great sensation among the knights and troubadours of
the fifteenth century. The geographical knowledge of those days was
confined to few, and the empire of Trebizond, like that of Prester
John, whose extent and situation were equally apocryphal, formed the
theme of many a fabulous adventure and many a romance, which served
to beguile the evening hours by the firesides of the castles and
convents of England and France. Fairies and wizards, ogres and giants,
peopled the realms of fancy in this distant empire. Lovely princesses
were rescued from the thraldom of paynim castellans, and followers
of Mahound and Termagaunt, by valiant Christian knights armed with
cross-hilted swords, and lutes, and talismans, the gift of benignant
fairies, whose existence was only to be found in the imaginations
of the unknown but delightful authors of the romances of chivalry,
and the poems and ballads of the trouveurs and troubadours.

The truths were not so agreeable as the fictions of "the good old
times." As it happens to be in my power to do so, I present the reader
with a portrait of the mighty emperor, as he appeared on the occasion
which I am about to describe. His dress consisted of a tight gown of
scarlet silk; round his neck, down the front of his gown, and round
the bottom of it, were bands of gold about four inches wide; these
were edged with pearls, and ornamented with large rubies and emeralds
in rows down the centre of each band of gold. On his arms, above the
elbows, were golden armlets, and round his wrists gold bracelets, all
set with colored precious stones. His girdle, of the same pattern,
and about three inches wide, had a hanging end about two feet long,
which the Byzantine emperors, for some undiscovered reason, seem always
to have carried over the left arm. In his right hand he bore a golden
sceptre, about three feet long, with a largish cross at the top,
set with enormous pearls. On his head he wore a close golden crown,
of which the top (that part made of velvet in the crown of England)
was also of metal, like a helmet. From this crown a fillet set with
pearls hung down on each side of his face to his beard, which was
of some length. Scarlet silk hose and golden sandals completed the
imperial costume, except that he rejoiced in two round ornaments of
gold and jewels, each the size of a plate, which were affixed to his
robe on the outside of the thigh.

The costume of the empress was very similar, only her crown was open
at the summit. She, contrary to female custom, wore no girdle, while
over her shoulders hung a mantle of a dark color, embroidered all
over with gold. The emperor wore no mantle, although this garment is
usually considered as an essential part of the royal costume. Such
was the appearance of David Comnenus, Emperor of Trebizond, when he
gave audience to the embassadors from foreign powers, seated on a
golden throne at the summit of a high flight of steep golden steps,
surrounded by his court and his officers (conspicuous among whom
appeared the lictors with silver axes, for, as in the third century the
Romans affected the usages of the Greeks, in the fifteenth century
the Greeks followed the customs of the Cæsars--so prone is human
nature to revere the ancient ceremonies of by-gone days), puffed up
with vanity at his own glorious position, and placed in awful majesty
upon his golden throne in the chamber of audience, whose walls were
painted to look like porphyry, and the ceilings colored with figures
on a gold ground in imitation of mosaic, an ornament too expensive
for the resources of the empire. The chamberlains and heralds with a
loud voice announce the arrival of an envoy from the high and mighty
lord the Soldan Mehemet II.; upon which the twelve lictors round the
throne lifted up their voices, and cried out, "Semper bibat imperator:"
the letter v not being found in the Greek alphabet, vivat was spelt
with a beta, b; and being pronounced as it was spelt, the sense of
the exclamation was a good deal compromised.

The solemn envoy from the Soldan stalked into the hall, followed by a
grisly retinue clothed from head to foot in armor, partly composed of
steel plates inlaid with sentences from the Koran in gold letters, and
partly completed with flexible chain mail. Their helmets had conical
summits, almost like a low church steeple, while instead of plumes
they displayed a rod of steel, from which fluttered a small crimson
flag from the summits of their casques. The letter from the Soldan,
inclosed in a bag of brocade, was handed to the important emperor,
who, on breaking the seal, read the following words:

"Wilt thou secure thy treasures and thy life by resigning thy kingdom,
or wilt thou rather forfeit thy kingdom, thy treasures, and thy life?"

But a short time before, such was the terror occasioned by the name of
the redoubted Sultan Mehemet II., who had just planted the victorious
crescent over the cross of St. Sofia, that Ismael Beg, the Mohammedan
Prince of Sinope, who derived an enormous revenue from the copper-mines
in his principality, immediately surrendered his dominions on a summons
of a like import with the above, although at that period Sinope was
defended with strong fortifications, 400 cannons, and 12,000 men.

David Comnenus descended from his golden throne in the year 1461,
and with his family was sent, apparently as a prisoner, to a distant
castle, where, being accused of corresponding with the King of Persia,
he and his whole race were massacred by the orders of his furious
conqueror. With him ended the illustrious dynasty of the Comneni, and
the history of the independent state of Trebizond, which has since
those times remained a remote, and till lately an almost unexplored
province of the Turkish empire.



CHAPTER XIV.

PRESENT CONDITION OF ARMENIA.

    Impassable Character of the Country.--Dependence of Persia
    on the Czar.--Russian Aggrandizement.--Delays of the Western
    Powers.--Russian Acquisitions from Turkey and Persia.--Oppression
    of the Russian Government.--The Conscription.--Armenian
    Emigration.--The Armenian Patriarch.--Latent Power of the
    Pope.--Anomalous Aspect of religious Questions.


The description of Armenia and the adjacent districts in the
foregoing pages will have sufficed to give a general idea of the many
difficulties to be encountered by those whose business leads them
through this inhospitable region, where they meet with impediments at
every step, from the lofty mountains traversed by roads accessible
only to mules and horses, the extreme cold of the high passes
and elevated plains, the impossibility of obtaining provisions,
and the savage character of the Koords and other wandering tribes
who roam over this wild country. If a traveler, accompanied by a
few followers, and assisted by firmans from the Sultan, finds this
journey arduous in the extreme, how much more so must it prove to
the general in command of an army, with many thousand men to provide
for, with artillery and heavy baggage to encumber his march, on roads
inaccessible to carriages or wheeled vehicles of any kind! and if to
these is added an enemy on the alert to cut off supplies, to harass
the long, straggling line of march, and to attack the passing army in
narrow defiles from behind rocks, and from the summits of precipices,
where they are safe from molestation, it will be understood that the
difficulties presenting themselves to military operations in these
regions are almost insuperable. It is the inaccessible nature of
Circassia, even more than the bravery of its inhabitants, which has
enabled them to resist the overwhelming power of Russia for so many
years. On the approach to Erzeroom these difficulties increase. From
Georgia, Persia, and Trebizond, there is no other city or entrepôt
where an army could rest to lay in stores and collect supplies for a
campaign, with the exception of Erzeroom, which is the centre or key
to all these districts. If it was strongly fortified, as it should
be, or was, at any rate, in the occupation of an active, intelligent
government, the power who possessed it would hold the fate of that
part of Asia in its hands.

No caravans could pass, no mercantile speculations could be carried on,
and no large bodies of troops could march without its permission. They
would, in all probability, perish from the rigors of the climate if
they were not assisted, even without the necessity of attacking them
by force of arms. At this moment, the greater part of the artillery
of the Turkish army is, I believe, buried under the snow in one
of the ravines between Beyboort and Erzeroom, from whence it has
no chance of being rescued till next summer. It was the impassable
character of this country, and the treacherous habits of the robber
tribes of Koordistan, which made the retreat of Xenophon and the
Ten Thousand through the same regions the wonderful event which it
has been always considered. While this is the nature of the elevated
lands and mountains, the valleys which surround the snowy regions are
absolutely pestiferous: in many of them no one can sleep one night
without danger of fever, frequently ending in death. The port, or
roadstead, of Batoum is so unhealthy as to be utterly uninhabitable
to strangers during all the hot season of the year. I wish to draw
attention to these circumstances, in order to explain the almost
impossibility of dispossessing any power which had already obtained
a firm footing in this district; and it is in order to fix herself
firmly in this important post that Russia is now advancing in that
direction, with a perfect knowledge of the advantages to be derived
from this barren and unfruitful region, while she has the advantage
of being able to send supplies to her forces by the Caspian Sea;
for, once within her grasp, Persia is no longer independent; and,
fettered as she is by her Russian debt, and what, in private affairs,
would be called her heavy mortgage on her only valuable provinces on
the shores of the Caspian--Geilaun and Mazenderaun--she must sink
into the state of a vassal kingdom, subject to the commands of her
superior lord the Czar.

The sum she owes to Russia is said to be about two millions sterling;
far more than she could ever raise at a short notice, while she
would receive no assistance in war from any of the neighboring Sooni
tribes, whose religious feelings are so much opposed to the Sheahs;
therefore, unless supported by Great Britain, Persia is now almost
at the mercy of Russia. Russia is altogether a military power, and,
as in the Dark Ages, the Czar and his nobles affect to despise the
mercantile class, and, instead of doing what they can to promote
industry and commerce, by opening communications, making roads and
harbors, establishing steamers on rivers, and giving facility to
the interchange of various commodities, the productions of distant
quarters of her own enormous empire, she throws every obstacle in the
way of her internal trade, and by heavy import duties, exactions of
many oppressive kinds, and the universal plunder and cheating carried
on by all the government officials in the lower grades of employment,
she has paralyzed both her foreign and domestic resources. The Czar
prefers to buy his own aggrandizement with the blood of his confiding
subjects, to the more honorable and less cruel course of enriching
his empire by the extension of his commercial relations abroad, and
the development of the peaceful arts, industry, science, and general
improvement of the nations subjected to his rule. If it was not for
this utter disregard of commerce, and the undivided attention of the
Russian government to every thing connected with military glory, the
navigation of the great rivers would have poured many more roubles
into the treasury of St. Petersburgh than will be gained by any
territorial accessions previous to the taking of Constantinople. Even
under present circumstances, it is wonderful that a canal has not
been made from Tzaritzin, on the Volga, to the nearest point upon the
Don, a distance of not more than thirty miles, for by this means the
silk of the northern provinces of Persia would be brought with the
greatest facility into the Black Sea. In a mercantile point of view,
Russia would gain more by the construction of that canal than by the
conquest of Armenia, for it would enable her to develop the great
resources of Geilaun and Mazenderaun, virtually belonging to her
at this moment. The trade which in former times enriched the famous
cities of Bokhara and Samarkand would be carried by caravans through
Khiva, either now, or soon to be, the head-quarters of a Russian
governor; from thence they would, with any encouragement, pass on
their rich bales of merchandise to the Russian posts of Karagan, or
Krasnovodsk, on the eastern shores of the Caspian, or to Asterabad
on the south, and at these ports, now unknown to European navigators,
ships might be laden which would discharge their cargoes at Liverpool,
St. Petersburgh, or New York.

I have said above that Russia has but little to gain by her territorial
conquests in Asiatic Turkey until she takes Constantinople. I say this
because, if things are permitted by the Western Powers to continue
as they have done for some years, the Czar will most certainly be
enthroned in the capital of the Byzantine emperors, principally by
the assistance of England and France. It is a question only of time:
for that the Patriarch of Constantinople will give his blessing to
the Christian emperor under the dome of St. Sofia sooner or later,
and before many years have passed, I have hardly any doubt; and when
once fairly seated on that throne, the Powers of Europe will not
shake him in his seat. The acquisition of the Crimea, with the strong
naval arsenal of Sevastopol, gave the Czar the command of the Black
Sea. The wonderful business of Navarino, where the English and French
admirals fought his battle for him, and crippled his enemy and their
own ancient ally for many a year, was the next important step. The
third seems to be taking place at this moment, if indeed sufficient
advantages have not been gained already to suffice for the present
emergency. It matters little whether Russia does or does not retain
the provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, which she has several times
occupied before; she has almost drained the treasury of her enemy, now
straining every nerve to avert the impending evil. Turkey will hardly
be able to support the expenses of the war for any length of time from
her own resources. Even if a diplomatic peace is concluded, it will, in
fact, amount only to a truce, during which the Czar will have time to
strengthen his position, and prepare his forces for another and a more
vigorous assault on the first convenient opportunity which occurs, from
any dissension which may arise between the leading powers of the West;
and the Sultan, having received nothing from his ancient allies but
fair words, will be less able to defend himself than he is at present.

The greatest of blessings in this world is peace, and every thing
should be done to avoid the breaking out of war, with all the
horrors and sufferings which are brought upon mankind by that dreadful
scourge. I think it was the Duke of Wellington who said that, next to a
defeat, the most awful of all calamities was a victory. Every endeavor
should be made to secure the happiness of peace. To those, however,
who have no further means of information than what they read in
newspapers, it would seem that, while we might have put out the candle,
we have waited till the chimney is on fire, if not the house itself,
and then who can tell how far and wide the conflagration may extend?

If England and France had shown a determined front, and informed the
Czar that, being bound by treaty to preserve the integrity of the
Turkish empire, they should consider the passage of the Pruth by one
Russian armed man as a violation of that treaty and a declaration
of war, and that they should act accordingly without delay, in
all probability no war would have commenced, no blood would have
been shed, no ruinous expenses would have been incurred. War having
commenced, heavy and exhausting sums of money have been drawn from
the treasury of the Sultan. When the ice set in upon the Baltic, what
was to prevent the allied fleet from taking possession of the stores
of corn, and occupying or destroying the city of Odessa? Sevastopol,
impregnable by sea, is not--or was not two years ago, and, I believe,
at this day is not--defensible on the land side. The Bay of Streleskaia
offers a convenient landing-place about three miles in the rear of
the fortifications of the arsenal, where a Turkish army might be
brought in two days from Constantinople to try its fortunes with the
Russian force; or, if that was not judged expedient, Sevastopol could
have been blockaded till some advantageous terms were gained for our
ally. Failing this, a French army, convoyed and assisted by their
own and our fleets, would have settled the question without doubt,
and may do so still; but, unless an indemnity for the expenses of
the war is exacted from Russia for her most unjust and unjustifiable
aggression, very little advantage will be gained for Turkey, a great
step will have been accomplished by the Czar, and the possession
of the Crimea almost insures him the possession of Constantinople
some day, perhaps at no very distant period. The restoration of the
Crimea to the Turkish empire would, I imagine, be the only means of
checking the advance of Russia in that direction. This, accompanied
by a forced treaty, releasing Persia from her usurious debt, would
restrain the encroachments of the Czar within certain bounds for some
years to come. The present aspect of affairs in the East becomes more
alarming every day. If negotiations are protracted till the ice of
the Baltic melts in the spring or early summer, things will assume a
much more grave appearance, and it will depend on many circumstances
over which we have no control where the conflagration then may spread
and where the war will end.

It is impossible to look back upon the history of Russia for the
last 150 years without admiration and astonishment at the enormous
strides which have been made by the giants of the north since that
period. When Peter the Great acceded to the throne of Muscovy,
there was no maritime outlet to his empire excepting in the icy
shores of the Northern Ocean. The ground on which the metropolis of
St. Petersburgh now stands was not in the possession of Russia till
the year 1721. Since the year 1774 Russia has acquired, quite in the
memory of man, a territory from Turkey equal in extent to the whole
empire of Austria, and much larger than the present possessions of the
Turks in Europe. The following table of the progress of the Russian
arms in the East will show at a glance how rapidly and steadily she
has extended her power, her grasping hand, and her outstretched arm
in that direction; and it can not be expected that, when she has
rested and strengthened herself, and consolidated her resources in
her newly-acquired territories, she will be prevented by any slight
obstacle from further aggrandizement.


    Russian Acquisitions from Turkey.

    Country to the north of the Crimea                 1774
    The Crimea                                         1783
    Country round Odessa                               1792
    Country between the Sea of Azof and the Caspian,
    at the same period as the Crimea                   1783
    Besarabia                                          1812


    Russian Acquisitions from Persia.

    Mingrelia, on the Black Sea                        1802
    Immeritia, the same year                           1802
    Akalzik                                            1829
    Georgia                                            1814
    Ganja                                              1803
    Karabaugh                                          1805
    Erivan, Mount Ararat, and Etchmiazin               1828
    Sheki                                              1805
    Shirvan                                            1806
    Talish, on the Caspian                             1812


Few of these conquered or deluded nations have been able to bear the
intolerable oppression of the Russian government, arising from the
insolence of the petty employés, and more particularly the dreadful
scourge of the conscription, by the aid of which, at any moment,
children are remorselessly torn forever from their parents, whose sole
support they were; families are on a sudden divided; one half sent
off no one knows whither, never to meet again; none of these unhappy
slaves knowing whether it will be their lot to become soldiers or
sailors, but, in either case, they are driven off, like beasts, in
flocks, by cruel, savage tyrants, who steal, as a matter of course,
the money provided by the superior government for the food of the
despairing conscripts, while they--brutal and drunken though they
may be--are distinguished for their love of home, and the affection
and respect they bear for their parents.

The Nogai Tatars abandoned the Christian religion, and took refuge
in the territories of the Khan of the Crimea, becoming Mohammedans
in hopes of obtaining the protection of the milder rule of Turkey.

In 1771 a still more extraordinary event took place. The Kalmuks,
a people who had emigrated from the frontiers of China, unable to
endure the insults and oppressions of the Russian tyranny, made up
their minds to return to the dominions of the Celestial Empire, from
whence their ancestors had originally come. They fought their way
through all the hostile tribes intervening between them, and their
whole nation arrived safely under the wing of the Emperor of China,
who afforded them protection, and gave them great tracts of land for
the pasture of their flocks and herds. The embassador of the Empress
Catharine, who had been dispatched to desire the surrender of the
fugitive tribe, and--as at this day in Turkey--to demand a "renewal
of treaties" between the two countries, received the following
answer from the court of Pekin: "Let your mistress learn to keep
old treaties, and then it will be time to apply for new ones;" an
answer which might have been given in our day to Prince Menschikoff,
who was lucky in meeting with a milder reception at Constantinople
than his predecessor received from the stout old mandarin at Pekin.

In the year 1829, Kars, Bayazeed, Van, Moush, Erzeroom, and Beyboort
(which is coming very near) were occupied by the Russians, who
evacuated that portion of the Turkish empire on the conclusion of the
treaty of Adrianople. Trusting to the protestations of a Christian
emperor, sixty-nine thousand Christian Armenian families were beguiled
into the folly of leaving Mohammedan dominions, and sitting in peace
under the paternal protection of the Czar. Over their ruined houses I
have ridden, and surveyed with sorrow their ancient churches in the
valleys of Armenia, desecrated and injured, as far as their solid
construction permitted, by the sacrilegious hands of the Russian
soldiers, who tried to destroy those temples of their own religion
which the Turks had spared, and under whose rule many of the more
recent had been rebuilt on their old foundations. The greater part of
these Armenians perished from want and starvation; the few who survived
this sharp lesson have since been endeavoring, by every means in their
power, to return to the lesser evils of the frying-pan of Turkey,
from whence they had leaped into the fire of despotic Russia.

By the treaty of Turkomanchai, 1828, the Czar became possessed of
Persian Armenia, of which the capital is Erivan. In this district are
contained the two great objects of Armenian veneration, Etchmiazin
and Mount Ararat. This noble snowy mountain takes the place, in the
estimation of the Armenians, that Mount Sinai and Mount Zion do among
the followers of other Christian sects. The foolish legends which
disgrace the purity of true religion usually relate to the object
of local tradition which may be met with in the neighborhood of the
monastery; consequently an attack of indigestion in an Armenian monk
generally produces a vision of some nonsensical revelation about
Noah's ark, which is still supposed to remain, hidden to mortal eye,
under the clouds and snows of Mount Ararat.

Etchmiazin is an ancient fortified monastery, within whose walls
resides the Patriarch of the Armenian Church, the spiritual head of
that body, and who is looked up to indeed as the temporal chief of
that scattered nation whose industrious children are settled in India,
Constantinople, and in many other parts of the world, so that those
who live and thrive abroad are much more numerous and more wealthy than
those who reside in Armenia itself. The possession, therefore, of the
person and residence of the Patriarch is a fact of no small importance
in the history of Russian advancement. To undertake a pilgrimage to
Etchmiazin is a meritorious act among the professors of the Armenian
faith; and the influence exercised over the Patriarch is diffused,
through the obedient medium of bishops, priests, and deacons, through
all parts of Turkey, and many of the cities of India, to an extent
which would surprise those who never have troubled themselves with the
affairs of the Armenian jeweler or silversmith in an Eastern bazaar,
for they are almost invariably dealers in jewels and precious metals;
or serafs, bankers, among the native population; a position which
renders their influence of no small consequence in every city where
they reside. By these means, among others, the political interest of
the Czar is nourished and extended on the Persian Gulf, at Bombay,
Bushire, Madras, and many another place, in the same manner as the
sway and power of the Roman pontiff is upheld, and that by no weak
and trembling hand, in Ireland, England, London, and the House of
Commons. And yet we pretend that there is no such power as the See
of Rome; we ignore the existence of the Pope, and sneer at the prince
of a petty Italian state supported by French bayonets, who is in that
rotten and decaying state that we or our children are to see his end.

But my belief is, that the power of Rome is by no means in a falling
state, nor would it be so even if the rule of some band of miscreants
usurped for a little while the misgovernment of the Eternal City. The
power of the Pope is now, at this moment, one of the greatest upon
the earth; and as irreligion and dissent increase, so will the most
wonderfully clever institution of the temporal power of the Roman
Church increase. Its minute and marvelous organization, the perfect
understanding and subordination of the inferior to the superior
officer, its fixed and certain purpose, give the Pope the command
over such a united and well-disciplined army of trained and fearless
soldiers as never could be brought together by Cæsar, or Napoleon, or
our own old Duke. The peace of Europe in this direction arises not from
the slightest want of power or means on the part of the See of Rome,
but from the jealousy of the body in whose hands the election of the
Supreme Pontiff lies. For many years they have elected a good old monk,
who has passed his whole life in a state of supreme ignorance of the
world in general, and the whole art of government in particular. In
his hands the mighty power at his command remains inert--a slumbering
volcano. But should the ivory chair of St. Peter ever sustain the
weight of a young and energetic man of genius, with some years of
life before him, no one would laugh at the tottering state of Rome.

As for the petty principality of a state in Italy, I have been told,
in the Pope's own ante-room, that it is a burden to him. His extended
sway does not depend on the doubtful loyalty of half a dozen regiments
of Italians, or on the more honest obedience of two or three thousand
Swiss guards, but on the hearts and hands of many millions, who
look up to him as their spiritual superior at all times, and their
temporal superior, whom they are bound to obey in opposition to all
other sovereigns, when any thing occurs "ad majorem Dei gloriam,"
and for the advancement of the Church of Rome.

A power such as this, which in our trafficking and money-making
country is thought little of--a power such as this lies dormant in
the hands of the Grand Lama of Thibet, whose followers form almost
half of all mankind--in those of the Patriarch of Constantinople--and
to an inferior degree in those of the Patriarch of Etchmiazin. They
are all paralyzed and quiescent from the same cause, namely, that the
chiefs of these mighty institutions are old, ignorant men, whose minds
have not the energy, or their hands the power, to work the tremendous
engine committed to their care. That the Czar is perfectly aware of
the uses to be made of the religious feelings of the inhabitants of
other governments to further his own ends, we see from the numerous
magnificent presents ostentatiously forwarded by him to churches in
Greece and Turkey, where the monks and priests by these means are
gained over to his interests. From his generous hand, extended to
the borders of the Adriatic, about £5000 are annually dropped into
the poor-box of that truculent specimen of the church militant,
the Vladica of Montenegro. But the Czar is not an aged monk; he is
not wanting in energy or strength; and he will not fail to pull the
strings which hang loosely in the hands of the Armenian patriarch. If
he pulls them evenly and well, he will advance his interests far
and wide, even in the dominions of other princes, who may hardly be
aware of the influence exercised in their states from a source so
distant and unobtrusive. The danger in his case is, that he may use
too great violence, and break the strings from too severe a tension,
raising the storm against himself which he intended to direct against
others. However this may be, the power of which he holds the reins
is one which may be used for the advancement of the greatest or the
most ignoble ends. For the most sublime and glorious actions, the most
heroic and the most infernal deeds that have ever been accomplished
by mankind, have been occasioned by the awakening of religious zeal,
or by the fanaticism of religious hatred, from the earliest days,
when the pen of history was first dipped in blood.

Nothing can be more anomalous than the present aspect of religious
questions. The Christian Emperor of Russia is at this moment exciting
the minds of his subjects to make war upon the infidel; and his armies
march under the impression that they undertake a new crusade. Yet
this crusade is carried on in direct contradiction to truth, justice,
honor, and every principle of the Christian religion, whose pure
and sacred precepts are violated at every turn. On the other hand,
the Mohammedan, or infidel, as he is called, displays, under the most
difficult and insulting circumstances, the highest Christian virtues
of integrity, moderation, and strict adherence to his word in treaties
granted by himself or his predecessors; at the same time, the armies
of the upright Sultan are commanded by a Christian renegade who has
abjured his faith, and yet he fights against the Christian power in
a righteous cause.

The terrible revolution which is the cause of such awful scenes of
bloodshed and atrocities in China is carried on under the name of our
merciful and just Savior, whose mild religion these rebels against
their sovereign affect to follow.

The savage atrocities of the Holy Inquisition, the cruel massacres
by the Spaniards in America, were perpetrated by men who made a cloak
of the benevolent precepts of the Gospel for the perpetration of the
most brutal crimes.

Those times we thought were past, but human nature is the same;
and where the light of true Christianity has penetrated, we find a
period of wonderful intelligence and appreciation of the truths of
the doctrines of our Lord in some places; in others, where a nominal
Christianity alone prevails, actions are committed by men in the
highest stations which would disgrace the records of the Dark Ages.



CHAPTER XV.

    Ecclesiastical History.--Supposed Letter of Abgarus, King
    of Edessa, to our Savior, and the Answer.--Promulgation
    and Establishment of Christianity.--Labors of
    Mesrob Maschdots.--Separation of the Armenian Church
    from that of Constantinople.--Hierarchy and religious
    Establishments.--Superstition of the Lower Classes.--Sacerdotal
    Vestments.--The Holy Books.--Romish Branch of the Church.--Labors
    of Mechitar.--His Establishment near Venice.--Diffusion of the
    Scriptures.


The ruins of Ani to this day attest the magnificence and antiquity
of former dynasties which long since reigned and passed away in the
highlands of Armenia. In the time of Cyrus, according to Moses of
Chorene, the historian of that country in the sixteenth century,
Greek statues of Jupiter, Artemis (Diana), Minerva, Hephæstion,
and Venus, were brought to Ani and placed in the citadel of that
town. Here the treasures and the sepulchres of the ancient kings
were preserved in a fortress deemed by them impregnable. I will not
pause to disentangle the records of Armenia before the time of our
Savior, for even during the life of our Lord the annals of Armenia
become remarkably interesting as connected with his holy faith, and
the rise and progress of Christianity in the countries immediately
adjoining the sacred soil of Palestine. Abgarus, king of Edessa, and
sovereign of great part of Armenia, with the adjoining countries,
is said by Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, the early historian of the
Church, who flourished in the fourth century, to have written a letter
to our Savior, requesting him to repair to his court and to cure him
of a disease under which he labored. The following is a translation
of the letter which Abgarus is said to have written to our Lord:

"Abgarus, King of Edessa, to Jesus the good Savior, who appeareth at
Jerusalem, greeting:

"I have been informed concerning thee and thy cures, which are
performed without the use of medicines or of herbs.

"For it is reported that thou dost cause the blind to see, the lame
to walk, that thou dost cleanse the lepers, and dost cast out unclean
spirits and devils, and dost restore to health those who have been
long diseased, and also that thou dost raise the dead.

"All which when I heard I was persuaded of one of these two things:

"Either that thou art God himself descended from heaven;

"Or that thou art the Son of God.

"On this account, therefore, I have written unto thee, earnestly
desiring that thou wouldst trouble thyself to take a journey hither,
and that thou wilt also cure me of the disease under which I suffer.

"For I fear that the Jews hold thee in derision, and intend to do
thee harm.

"My city is indeed small, but it is sufficient to contain us both."

In the history of Moses of Chorene, this letter begins with the words
"Abgar, the son of Archam," but the substance of it is the same as the
above, which is taken from the pages of Eusebius, who lived a century
earlier than Moses of Chorene. This author ascribes the answer to
St. Thomas the Apostle, who was deputed to write an answer to the
above in these words:

"Happy art thou, O Abgarus, forasmuch as thou hast believed in me
whom thou hast not seen.

"For it is written concerning me, that those who have seen me have not
believed on me, that those who have not seen me might believe and live.

"As to that part of thine epistle which relates to my visiting thee,
I must inform thee that I must fulfill the ends of my mission in
this land, and after that be received up again unto Him that sent me;
but after my ascension I will send one of my disciples, who will cure
thy disease, and give life unto thee and all that are with thee."

These two letters are generally considered to be forgeries, although
they are mentioned by some of the earliest historians of the Church.

Some years ago I was informed, while at Alexandria, that a papyrus had
been discovered in Upper Egypt, in an ancient tomb; it was inclosed in
a coarse earthenware vase, and it contained the letter from Abgarus to
our Savior, written either in Coptic or uncial Greek characters. The
answer of St. Thomas was said not to be with it. I was told that the
manuscript afterward came into the possession of the King of Holland,
but I have no means at present of ascertaining the truth of the story,
or the antiquity of the papyrus of which it forms the subject.

The seeds of the Christian faith were sown in Armenia by the
apostles St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas. According to Tertullian
(adv. Judæos, c. 7), a Christian Church flourished there in the
second century. St. Blaise and other bishops suffered martyrdom in
different parts of Armenia during the persecution of Diocletian,
about the year 310.

To St. Gregory, the Illuminator, is due the honor of having established
Christianity in this region, and he is known by the title of the
Apostle of Armenia. Toward the middle of the third century, having
been himself a convert from Paganism, he first preached the doctrines
of our Lord among the mountains of his native land. He had received
his education at Cæsarea in Cappadocia, where he was baptized. The
zeal with which he was animated gave irresistible force to his words,
and the people flocked to him in great multitudes, and were baptized by
his hands. The King Tiridates, a violent persecutor of the Christians,
touched by the piety and virtues of St. Gregory, embraced the Christian
faith, and, with his queen and his sister, received the sacrament
of baptism in the 16th year of his reign, A.D. 274, and became the
first Christian King of Armenia. St. Gregory was consecrated bishop
by St. Leontius, Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, and continued
his labors in propagating the faith all over Armenia, Georgia,
and the nations living on the borders of the Caspian Sea. From this
circumstance it became the custom for the Primate of Armenia to receive
his consecration from the Archbishop of Cæsarea, which continued to be
the practice for several centuries. St. Gregory died in the year 336,
in a cave to which he had retired, desiring to end his days as an
anchorite, according to a custom much observed in the fourth century.

In those disturbed and unsettled times, the religion of our Savior
alternately rose and prospered, or was oppressed by the persecutions
of various governors under the Emperors of Rome. Numerous heresies
distracted the minds of the priesthood, and confused the doctrines of
the Armenian Church. About the year 390 rose the most celebrated man
in the history of this country: his name was Mesrob Maschdots. This
personage was born in the town of Hatsegatz-Avan, in the province
of Daron: he had been secretary to the Patriarch Narses, and to the
Prince Varastad, who was dethroned by the Romans in the year 382. In
the year 390, in conjunction with the Armenian Patriarch Sahag,
he occupied himself in the extinction of the idolatry which still
prevailed, and was the first person who arranged the forms of the
Armenian liturgy. Before this time the Armenian language had no written
character; the inhabitants of the eastern districts used the Persian
alphabet, while those of the west wrote in the Syriac character. Mesrob
either restored the ancient Armenian letters according to the historian
Moses of Chorene, who gives a long miraculous account of the event, or
he invented an entirely new alphabet--a solitary instance, I believe,
of such an undertaking having been accomplished by one man. The present
Armenian letters were adopted by the commands of Bahram Schahpoor
over the whole of that country in the year 406. The first complete
version of the Bible was now arranged and promulgated by Mesrob,
and written on parchment in his new characters; numerous copies of
it were distributed to the churches and monasteries of Armenia, and
the important circumstance of their being now able to read the Holy
Scriptures in their own language tended to preserve their faith, and to
unite them as a nation during the continual troubles and adversities
which they have suffered ever since. This great benefactor to his
country died in the year 441.

The Armenian hierarchy had till now been a branch of the Greek Church,
but, unable to read their liturgy, troubled with diversities of
opinion, and oppressed first by one neighboring tyrant and then by
another, this helpless nation finally settled down into the heresy
of Eutyches, and, under the guidance of their patriarch, separated
themselves from the Church of Constantinople. They believe that the
body of our Savior was created, or else existed without creation,
a divine and incorruptible substance, not subject to the infirmities
of the flesh. This schism took place about the year 535.

The Armenian era commences in the year 552, from which epoch their
manuscripts and calendar are dated. The custom continues to the
present day. By the council of Tibena in 554, they were confirmed in
their persistence in the Eutychian heresy. The council of Trullo,
692, and the council of Jerusalem, 1143, condemned the errors of
the Armenians. In the fourteenth century, Pope John XXII. sent a
Dominican friar, called Bartholomew the Little, into that distant
region, with several colleagues, to preach the doctrines of the
Church of Rome. Bartholomew was consecrated bishop (of Nakchevan?),
and since that time the archbishop of that province has, with all his
dependencies, continued a member of the Roman Church. The thunders of
the Lateran have often since been directed against the perseverance
of these distant heretics, but they have been of no avail.

The Patriarch of Armenia resides at Etchmiazin. He is styled
Catholicos, and holds under his sway forty-seven archbishops, of whom
the greater part are titular, having no jurisdiction or dignity beyond
their titles; many of these reside in the monastery, and form a sort
of court around their spiritual lord the Patriarch. They seem to hold
the same position as the Monsignores of the court of Rome. Above the
titular and actual archbishops are three Patriarchs, whose seats are
at Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Diarbekir. The number of bishops
and episcopal sees is very considerable, but I have not been able
to enumerate them. The monasteries are also very numerous, and are
scattered all over the mountains of Armenia, the islands of Lake Van,
and other places in Persia, Georgia, and Turkey.

The ancient monasteries of their own land are of a peculiar
construction, remarkable for the diminutive proportions of the churches
and the small size of the monastic buildings, as well as their massive
strength and the great squared stones of which they are built. They are
little fortresses, and seem always to have been very poor, though some
are larger and more wealthy, comparatively, than the generality. They
have been erected to resist the incursions of the Saracens, Knights
Templars, Koords, Turks, and Persians, who, from time to time, overran
this abject principality. Their massive strength alone has saved them
from being pulled down and utterly destroyed; the time necessary for
such an operation could not be spared during the inroad of a chappow,
or plundering expedition. Nothing worth stealing remains in the
various monasteries which I have visited. A few dirty and imperfect
church-books, some faded vestments and poor furniture for the altar,
and the cells of three or four peasant-monks, were all the wealth that
they displayed. Very few appear to have contained a library--none that
I have seen. Their manuscripts were written in former days at Edessa,
Etchmiazin (which is a more extensive fabric), Teflis, Ooroomia,
Tabriz, and other cities, and not usually in these outposts among
the mountains. The little monastery of Kuzzul Vank possesses one
ancient manuscript of the Holy Scriptures, written in the year, as
far as I can remember, 422, which, if it refers to the Armenian era,
would be 974; it is written in uncial letters, on vellum, in a small,
thick quarto form.

Ignorance and superstition contend for the mastery among the lower
classes of Armenia, whose religion shows that tendency to sink
into a kind of idolatry which is common among other branches of
the Church of Christ in warmer climates. The following anecdote
will explain my meaning in advancing such a charge. One of my
servants had a bad toothache; he was a Roman Catholic of Smyrna;
he made a vow to present an offering to the shrine of St. George at
Smyrna if his toothache was cured by the mediation of that saint,
but the pain still continued. A friend of his at Erzeroom advised
him to vow a silver mouth to St. George of Erzeroom; "for," he said,
"St. George of Smyrna is a Roman saint, and, of course, he can have
no authority here; but our St. George is an Armenian, and he will
hear your prayer." The advice was taken: a silver mouth was vowed
to St. George of Erzeroom, and the toothache ceased immediately, the
servant firmly believing that he had been cured by this saint, who,
he considered, was another person, and not the same as St. George
of Smyrna, and that his picture here was more powerful in working
miracles than the others. In the same manner, the pictures or images
of Our Lady of Loretto, Guadaloupe, or del Pilar are believed to be
endowed with peculiar powers, and are, in fact, worshiped for their
own merits, and not for what they represent.

A curious episode in the history of Armenia took place in the time
of Shah Abbas the Great, who established a colony of the natives
of that province at Julfa, a village near Isfahaun. He gave them
many privileges and immunities, which a remnant of their descendants
enjoy still. The forms and ceremonies of their worship resemble those
of the Greek Church, from which they are derived. Their vestments
are the same, or nearly so: and here I will remark that the sacred
vestures of the Christian Church are the same, with very insignificant
modifications, among every denomination of Christians in the world;
that they have always been the same, and never were otherwise in any
country, from the remotest times when we have any written accounts
of them, or any mosaics, sculptures, or pictures to explain their
forms. They are no more a Popish invention, or have any thing more
to do with the Roman Church, than any other usage which is common
to all denominations of Christians. They are, and always have been,
of general and universal--that is, of catholic--use; they have never
been used for many centuries for ornament or dress by the laity, having
been considered as set apart to be used only by priests in the church
during the celebration of the worship of Almighty God. These ancient
vestures have been worn by the bishops, priests, and deacons of that,
in common with the hierarchy of every other Church. In England they
have fallen into disuse by neglect; King Charles I. presented some
vestments to the Cathedral of Durham long after the Reformation,
and they continued in use there almost in the memory of man.

The parish priests of the Armenian religion are, I believe, permitted,
if not obliged, to marry, as is the case in the Greek and Russian
Churches; but they can not, so long as their wife survives, be
promoted to any of the higher orders of the hierarchy. Bishops,
archbishops, and patriarchs are elected out of the monastic bodies
who take the vows of celibacy; their fasts are long and rigorous,
their food simple, and their style of life severe; their time is
almost entirely taken up with the services of religion, and, as a
general rule, their ignorance is extreme.

In their doctrine of the Holy Trinity, they believe that the Holy
Spirit proceeds from the Father alone; that Christ descended into hell,
from whence he reprieved the souls of sinners till the day of judgment;
that the souls of the righteous will not be admitted to the beatific
vision till after the resurrection, notwithstanding which they invoke
them in their prayers. They make use of pictures in their churches,
but not of images; they use confession to the priests, and administer
the Eucharist in both kinds.

In baptism they plunge the child three times in water, apply the
chrism with consecrated oil prepared only by the Patriarch. They
also touch the child's lips with the Eucharist, which consists of
unleavened bread sopped in wine.

The Holy Scriptures contain more books than those of the Western
Churches. In the Old Testament, after the Book of Genesis, occurs
The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Sons of Jacob; then The
History of Joseph and of his wife Asenath; The Book of Jesus the Son
of Sirach. After these the order of the scriptural books succeeds
as with us. In the New Testament, after St. Paul's Second Epistle to
the Corinthians, we find the Epistle of the Corinthians to St. Paul,
which is followed by St. Paul's Third Epistle to the Corinthians. The
remainder of the New Testament is the same as ours.

The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Book of Jesus the
Son of Sirach, are well known; but I am not aware that the Book of
Asenath has been printed in any European language. This curious book
was translated into Italian, from an ancient Armenian manuscript of
the Bible in my possession, by an Armenian friend, and translated
from the Italian into English by myself: this I presume to be the
only copy of the Book of Asenath in the English language. It is a
work of considerable length, and is interesting, not only from the
place it holds in the estimation of a numerous body of Christians,
but also from the picture it presents of the manners and customs of
Egypt, at some remote period when it was written. Several passages in
it indicate that it must have been composed when what may be called
the classic style of life was still in use. Whether it was included
among the number of the sacred books collected by Mesrob I do not
know: in that case it would date as far back as the fourth century
after Christ, a period prolific in apocryphal books, several of which
were forged about that time to support the authority of the various
heresiarchs who promulgated their opinions in many countries of the
East, and who, being unable to produce texts from the accepted books of
the Sacred Scriptures which would prove the truth of their doctrines,
invented others more suitable to their own purposes, and written more
in accordance with their views.

The Epistle from the Corinthians to St. Paul, and the answer from the
great apostle, is of a higher class, and bears much resemblance to his
other Epistles. It has been published among Lord Byron's works. He
took a few lessons in Armenian from Father Pasquale Aucher, a monk
of the monastery of St. Lazarus, at Venice, a man of extraordinary
learning, who speaks most of the European languages, as well as
Turkish, Armenian, and other Oriental tongues. He translated these
Epistles into English, with the assistance of Lord Byron.

The Roman Catholic branch of the Armenian Church has done much more
for literature and civilization than the original body. Few Catholics
are found in Armenia itself, excepting at Erzeroom and other cities,
where a remnant remain, while at Constantinople a great number
of the higher and wealthier Armenians give their adherence to that
creed. Their minds are more enlarged, they are less Oriental in their
ideas, being usually considered as half Franks by their more Eastern
brethren. Their churches bear a great resemblance to those of other
Catholics, but they retain their own language in their ritual, with
many of the forms and ceremonies of the Oriental Church. The Armenian
Patriarch, with his long beard, and crown instead of a mitre, is one of
the picturesque figures to whom attention is drawn in the ceremonies of
the Holy Week at Rome, where there is a college for the education of
priests of their nation. They have another college at Constantinople,
and several handsome churches; but the most important establishment
of this branch of their religion is that of the convent or monastery
on the island of St. Lazarus, near Venice.

This society, as they themselves call it, was founded by Mechitar,
an Armenian, who was born at Sebaste, in lesser Armenia, in 1676. He
received holy orders from the Bishop Ananias, superior of the convent
of the Holy Cross, near Sebaste. He afterward studied in the convent of
Passen, near Erzeroom, and at another on the island on Lake Van. His
wish was to remain in the great monastery of Etchmiazin, to which
place he traveled, but, finding no opportunities of study at the seat
of the Patriarch, he proceeded to Constantinople, where he afterward
founded a small society, of a monastic kind, at Pera, in the year 1700.

In the year 1708 he established a church and monastic society at Modon
in the Morea, then under the government of Venice; but the Turks having
taken that place, his companions were made prisoners and sold for
slaves. He, with some others, escaped to Venice, where he received a
grant, in the year 1717, from the Signory, of a small deserted island
in the Lagunes, originally the property of the Benedictine order,
who established a hospital for lepers there in 1180. In this island
he set up a printing-press about the year 1730, for the production
of Armenian religious books; and he had the satisfaction of seeing
his convent increase in comfort, wealth, and respectability before
his death, which took place on the 27th of April, 1749.

So high was the character of this establishment for usefulness and
good conduct, that in 1810, when other monastic establishments were
suppressed at Venice, the abbot of St. Lazaro received a peculiar
decree, granting him and his community all the privileges of their
former independence. So high also has been the character of this
society since that time, that it has been usual for the Pope to
confer upon each new abbot the title and dignity of Archbishop,
although he has no province or bishops under him. The service they have
rendered to their countrymen is very great: they have at present five
printing-presses, from whence every year proceed numerous volumes
of religious and historical character, as well as school-books,
and a newspaper in the Armenian language. These are mostly sold at
Constantinople, and among the scattered societies of their nation. The
funds produced from this source enable them to establish a considerable
school or college at Venice, and to send literary missionaries, as they
may be called, to collect manuscripts and historical notices among the
barren mountains of Armenia. Of these they make good use, compiling,
from imperfect and mutilated fragments, authentic histories of their
country; printing the almost hitherto lost and unknown works of ancient
Armenian authors, and distributing copies of the Holy Scriptures
among their brethren in the wasted and benighted land of their fathers.

They printed the Armenian Bible in the year 1805; and, entirely by
their energy, the small spark which alone glimmered in the darkness
of Armenian ignorance in the East has gradually increased its light
into a feeble ray, which now, seen faintly through the mist, draws
every now and then the attention of some one endowed by nature
with more intelligence than the rest, and incites him to inquire
into those truths the rumors of whose existence had only reached
him hitherto. Slowly enough, but we trust surely, the good work
prospers: when curiosity and interest are awakened, the mind turns
naturally to the sources from which information may be gained. The
Holy Gospels, the New Testament, and, in some places, the whole
Bible, may now be procured at a comparatively trifling expense; the
leaven, once introduced, sooner or later will leaven the whole mass;
truth and common sense will dissipate the clouds which ignorance and
superstition have gathered over the face of the land, and the light
of true religion will arise to set no more.



CHAPTER XVI.

    Modern division of Armenia.--Population.--Manners and Customs of
    the Christians.--Superiority of the Mohammedans.


The country which was called Armenia in ancient times is now divided
into two portions; the smaller of the two belongs to Persia, but
the larger part is contained in the Turkish province or pashalik of
Erzeroom. It does not possess any communication with the sea, and is
a wild and mountainous district. Although not of any high importance
for mercantile productions, it has continually been an object of
jealousy to the neighboring empires of Persia and Byzantium--or, in
our time, Persia and Turkey--from the high road between those empires
necessarily passing through it; the power of cutting off supplies,
and permitting the passage of caravans laden with the rich productions
of other lands, being vested in the hands of the military governor of
Erzeroom. The number of inhabitants of this pashalik is estimated at
1,000,000; there were probably more in earlier times. The principal
cities are--Erzeroom, the capital, containing about 30,000 souls. The
population of Kars is considered to be about 20,000, Van 20,000, Moosh
and Beyboort about 8000 each. The Turkish governor of the pashalik
has generally an armed force of 25,000 regular soldiers; but it would
be easy for him, with sufficient funds, to raise a more considerable
force of irregular cavalry, and infantry armed with rifles, the use of
which weapon is well understood by the hardy mountaineers and hunters,
whose manners in some respects resemble those of the Tyrolese. The
greater half of the population are Mohammedan Turks or Osmanlis,
followers of Osman. The word Turk is never used in this country, and is
more generally applied to the Turkomans and some of the tribes on the
Persian border, who are of Calmuc or Tartar origin, and a completely
different sort of people from those whom we call Turks. The Christian
population consists of a small number of Greeks, Nestorians, and Roman
Catholics, the greater part being descendants of the ancient possessors
of the soil, and professing the Christianity of the Armenian Church,
which I have attempted to describe above. Their manners and customs are
the same as those of the Turks, whom they copy in dress and in their
general way of living; so much is this the case, that it is frequently
difficult to distinguish the Turkish from the Armenian family, both
in Armenia and at Constantinople; only the Armenian is the inferior
in all respects; he would be called in China a second-chop Turk. He
is more quick and restless in his motions, and wants the dignity and
straightforward bearing of the Osmanli. More than 100,000 Armenians
are settled at Constantinople. These are not so ignorant, and are,
even in appearance, different from those of their original country,
who are a heavy and loutish race, while the citizens are thin, sharp,
active in money-making arts, and remarkable for their acuteness in
mercantile transactions. Each Turkish village elects its cadi, a
sort of mayor; an Armenian Christian village elects its elder, who is
called the Ak Sakal, or White Beard; he is the responsible person in
all transactions with government, and sometimes holds an arduous post.

The women live in a harem, like the Turkish women, separate from the
men. The mistress of the house superintends the kitchen, the making
of preserves, and salting winter stores; they wear the yashmak,
or Turkish veil, at Constantinople, where the Armenian ladies are
celebrated for their beauty, and their fine eyes, and black, arched
eyebrows. In Armenia, the women, when they go out, wrap themselves
up in a large piece of bunting, the same kind of stuff that is
used in Europe for flags; being of wool, it takes a fine color in
dyeing. The ample wrappers of the women are sometimes of a bright
scarlet, sometimes a brilliant white or blue. The effect of this veil
is much more pleasing than those of Constantinople or Egypt. The
Armenians are not bad cooks: some of their dishes are excellent;
one of mutton stewed with quinces leaves a very favorable impression
on the recollection of the hungry traveler. The country people live
underground in the peculiar houses which I have described; they are
an agricultural peasantry, tilling the ground, and not possessing
large herds of sheep or cattle, like the Turkomans, Koords, or Arabs;
they are a heavy-looking race, but are hardy and active, and inured
from youth to exercise and endurance, but even in these respects they
are excelled by the Mohammedan mountaineers.

The superiority of the Mohammedan over the Christian can not fail to
strike the mind of an intelligent person who has lived among these
races, as the fact is evident throughout the Turkish empire. This
arises partly from the oppression which the Turkish rulers in the
provinces have exercised for centuries over their Christian subjects:
this is probably the chief reason; but the Turk obeys the dictates
of his religion, the Christian does not; the Turk does not drink,
the Christian gets drunk; the Turk is honest, the Turkish peasant is a
pattern of quiet, good-humored honesty; the Christian is a liar and a
cheat; his religion is so overgrown with the rank weeds of superstition
that it no longer serves to guide his mind in the right way. It would
be a work of great difficulty to disentangle the pure faith preached
by the Apostles from the mass of absurdities and strange notions with
which Christianity is encumbered, in the belief of the villagers in
out-of-the-way places, among the various sects of Christians in the
dominions of the Sultan. This seems to have been the case for many
centuries, and it has produced its effect in lowering the standard
of morality, and injuring the general character of those nations who
are subjects of Turkey and not of the Mohammedan religion. For, of
two evils, it is better to follow the doctrines of a false religion
than to neglect the precepts of the true faith.



CHAPTER XVII.

    Armenian Manuscripts.--Manuscripts at Etchmiazin.--Comparative
    Value of Manuscripts.--Uncial Writing.--Monastic
    Libraries.--Collections in Europe.--The St. Lazaro Library.


Armenian manuscripts are of extreme rarity, not only in Europe, but in
Armenia itself, at Constantinople, or any other place. The unsettled
state in which that distracted province has from time immemorial been
sunk, has prevented the development of the peaceful arts, and few of
the monastic establishments of that country had wealth, or leisure,
or convenience to copy and illuminate their books. The few fine
manuscripts which I have met with seem to have been written for some
Armenian princes, and were the works of scribes supported by exalted
personages, who wrote under the shadow of their protection in the
metropolitan cities, or in the patriarchal monastery of Etchmiazin. I
was prevented by illness when in the neighborhood from visiting
Etchmiazin, but there are preserved (or rather neglected) there, I have
been given to understand, more than 2000 ancient manuscripts. These
are completely unknown, unless within these few years they have been
examined by any Russian antiquarian; no other traveler has been there
who was competent to overlook a dusty library, so as to give any idea,
not of what there is, but even what it may be likely to contain. This,
as my bibliographical friends are well aware, is a peculiar art or
mystery depending more on a general knowledge of the first aspect
of an old book than a capacity to appreciate its contents. A book
written on vellum implies a certain antiquity immediately recognizable
by the initiated. If it does not appear to be ancient, it is then
more than probable that it contains the works of some author of more
than ordinary consideration, to have made it worth while to go to
the expense and labor of a careful scribe and a material difficult
in those days to procure. An illuminated manuscript on vellum, if
not a prayer-book, secures additional attention; independent of its
value as a work of art, it must be of some consequence to have made
it worth illuminating. A large manuscript, as a general rule, is worth
more than a little one, for the same evident reason that its contents
were considered at the time when it was written to have been of some
importance, and deserving of more labor, time, and care, than if it was
just written out cheaply by a common scribe. Uncial writing--that is, a
book written in capital letters--is much more ancient than one written
in a cursive hand, and the most ancient volumes were generally large
square quartos. It is curious that this should be the case in almost
all nations and languages surrounding the Mediterranean, though their
customs may be so different in other respects. Manuscripts on paper,
again, are sometimes of remarkable interest, from their containing
the works of authors then considered trivial and inferior, but now
of much more value than the more ponderous tomes of the Middle Ages.

The majority of the volumes in an ancient monastic library are
worn-out, imperfect church-books, which have been cast aside from
time to time, and committed to the care of the mice and spiders, who
alone frequent the shelves or the floor of that dusty lumber-room. It
is uncommon to find a manuscript in more than one volume, unless it
may be the works of St. Chrysostom, or another of the Fathers of the
Church. In this case the volumes are hardly ever found together,
and a complete set of three or four volumes is beyond hoping for,
carelessness and neglect having been for centuries the librarians of
the monastery. These and other circumstances combine to make a cursory
examination of one of these original hoards of by-gone literature
a task for which the learned student of some abstruse science, or
dead or dying language, is totally incompetent. The translator of
an almost forgotten tongue, the laborious compiler of unpublished
history, requires that the musty chronicles, the splendid illuminated
volumes bound in gold and velvet, the crabbed, ill-written works of
antique lore, should be laid upon the table before him, so that,
in the undisturbed silence of his study, surrounded with lexicons
and modern books of reference, he may bit by bit extract the pith,
and winnow off the chaff, from the venerable manuscripts of distant
lands and other times. The bibliographical traveler, who is to provide
these precious relics for his careful use, who is to drag them from
their dark recesses, where they have been lying undisturbed 500 or
1000 years, has an entirely different task to fulfill. The professor
would require months to look over each book one by one, to brush
away the cobwebs, to ascertain by difficult and uncertain passages
what the subject of those manuscripts might be which had lost many
pages at the beginning and end, and to satisfy himself at last that
it was worthless--a conclusion to which another would arrive at the
first glance. This power of immediately appreciating the value of
ancient manuscripts in the manner above mentioned will be understood
by those who are aware that such is the usual jealousy of the ignorant
monks for that which they can neither use nor understand themselves,
that it hardly ever happens that a stranger is permitted to take more
than a general survey of the worm-eaten and dusty mass which lies in
heaps upon the floor, or is piled in the corners of the room which
they call their library, but which they probably have never entered
on any other occasion.

Such as I have described are the libraries at Etchmiazin, the monastery
on Lake Van, those near Ooroomia, and the few places where more than
the church-books are still remaining.

In England, the Bodleian Library contains about twenty volumes of
Armenian manuscripts; the British Museum not so many, I believe;
the Royal Library at Paris has about 200, which were collected by the
emissaries of Louis XIV. Some of these are of considerable antiquity
and beauty. In private collections very few are to be found. In my
library there are about a dozen, of which two are the most splendid
that I have met with in the East, or in any country. I possess also
a number of loose leaves of the highest antiquity, which are so far
curious that they display the progress of the art of writing almost
since the days of Mesrob to the present time. But, with the exception
of the unknown treasures of Etchmiazin, the convent of St. Lazaro at
Venice not only preserves, but makes good use of, the finest collection
of Armenian manuscripts extant. Their number is about 1200, of which
100 are on vellum; the rest are written partly on ancient paper made
from cotton, and partly on paper such as we use at present. Three
volumes on Charta Bombycina are among the most ancient that I have met
with that are written on that material: one contains commentaries on
the Psalms and the Epistles, by Ephraim Syrius and St. Chrysostom,
written in the year of the Armenian era 448, Anno Domini 999; the
second is a small book of prayer, containing the date of A. D. 1178;
the third is the romance of Alexander the Great: this curious volume
is illustrated with numerous drawings, richly gilt and colored;
it was written in the thirteenth century.

They have three copies of the Gospels, and one Ritual written in uncial
letters (one of these ancient copies of the Gospels is illuminated
with several large miniatures in a style resembling Greek art),
as well as several others of inferior interest.

The library also possesses six or seven richly illuminated copies of
the Scriptures, some splendid books of prayer, and a great number of
other Armenian manuscripts, containing records of the history or the
works of authors who were natives of that country, from which have
been printed many volumes whose pages illustrate manners and events
which were completely forgotten before the monks of St. Lazaro rescued
them from oblivion.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    General History of Armenia.--Former Sovereigns.--Tiridates
    I. receives his Crown from Nero.--Conquest of the Country by the
    Persians and by the Arabs.--List of modern Kings.--Misfortunes
    of Leo V.: his Death at Paris.


The general history of Armenia contains but little that is
interesting. It presents the picture of a line of sovereigns who
have seldom been able to support their own authority, and who have
constantly abdicated, embraced monastic vows, or been driven from the
throne by rebellions of their subjects, and invasions of neighboring
conquerors more talented and more powerful than themselves. Many of
the Armenian kings seem to have lived almost on the charity of other
states; the lines of their dynasties have been so often interrupted,
and the changes from kings to governors, dukes, and counts have
been so frequent, that their history is most intricate; and, from
the boundaries of the so-called kingdom of Armenia having never been
the same for many years together, it is difficult to understand from
the scattered notices which history has transmitted to us who should
be considered as the head of the state, or which of the many vassal
princes, under the great empires of the East, has the better claim
to the title of sovereign of this ancient kingdom.

At the time of our Savior, Abgarus, king of Edessa, seems to have
exercised sovereignty over great part of Armenia, on the southern
and western sides. Tiridates I. is the first person styling himself
King of Armenia after this period. He conquered the country from
Rhadamistus, by the assistance of his brother Vologeses, King of
Parthia. The Romans, however, who did not approve of the erection
of an independent kingdom in those regions, sent an army against
Tiridates, commanded by Corbulo, who forced Tiridates to abdicate,
on condition of his proceeding to Rome to receive his crown from
the hands of the Emperor Nero. He was received with the highest
honors by the Roman emperor, who advanced as far as Naples to meet
him. Tiridates won his good graces by the artful manner in which he
flattered Nero on his skill in driving a chariot. They became great
friends: the Armenian king received large sums of money from the
emperor, with which he returned to his own country, and repaired
his dismantled fortresses. He changed the name of his capital from
Artaxarte to Neronia, in compliment to his imperial protector, and
died in the year 75 A.D., after a reign of eleven years.

To him succeeded several princes who were vassals to the Roman empire,
but whose actions do not seem to offer any thing of interest. Tiridates
II. had received his education at Rome, and, assisted by the emperor,
he was placed upon the throne of Armenia, by the general consent
of the nobles of his country, in 259. He, as I have mentioned in
the ecclesiastical sketch of this history, embraced Christianity,
and died in the year 314. Other unimportant princes succeeded, among
whom John Nustaron governed Armenia, under the Emperor Maurice. The
Persians conquered the country in the reign of the Emperor Phocas,
but it was soon retaken by Heraclius. Pasagnates revolted against
the Emperor Constantine II., who defeated him, and placed Sabarius,
a Persian, on the throne, who also rebelled, and was beat in the year
658. Justinian II. concluded a treaty with the Caliph Abdolmalek,
by which the two sovereigns divided between them the revenues of
Armenia, Iberia, and Cyprus; and the same emperor, Justinian II.,
placed Sablas on the Armenian throne. This prince, being established
in this mountainous kingdom, organized an army, and, having attempted
to extricate his country from the power of the Caliph, was defeated
by him in 687, and the Arabs became masters of Armenia. The Emperor
Constantine Copronymus retook this province, and established Paulus
as viceroy. Paulus was conquered by the forces of the Caliph, but he
afterward re-established himself upon the throne.

After his reign, Armenia was governed by several dukes and counts,
some of whom ruled over a larger, and some over a smaller, portion of
the country. During this period constant battles and disturbances took
place between the adherents of the caliphs and the Christian emperors
in this distracted province. The Patriarch of Constantinople made every
endeavor to break down the religious subjection of the Armenians to
their heretical Patriarch. But the history of the numerous princes who
succeeded each other, after periods of short and doubtful power, on the
throne of parts only of Armenia, is so complicated and so doubtful,
that I shall not attempt to speak of them, and proceed to the time
of the first generally acknowledged king of modern times. The name
of this monarch was

Philaretes Branchance. After resisting the forces of the Emperor
Michael Ducas, he submitted to his successor, Nicephorus Botoniates,
by whom he was supported through the rest of his reign. He flourished
about the year 1080.

Constantine was succeeded by his brother

Taphroc, or Taphnuz. Under these two sovereigns appear numerous petty
princes, who were feudatories to the King.

Leo, who was long a prisoner under the Turks, lived in 1131.

Theodorus, or Thoros, after a stormy reign, died in 1170.

Thomas, son of the sister of Thoros.

Milo, brother of Thoros. Under this reign the power of the Knights
Templars was formidable. They had acquired large possessions in
Armenia; and their numerous preceptories were in fact fortified
castles, from which they defied the power of their suzerain. Milo
waged war with the Templars, and succeeded in banishing many of their
followers from his dominions. He died in 1180.

Rupinus was made prisoner by Bohemond, Prince of Antioch. He died
in 1189.

Leo I., or Livon, concluded a treaty, by which he freed Armenia
from the tribute which it had paid to the Prince of Antioch, instead
of which he voluntarily paid homage to the Pope Celestinus III. He
lived in perpetual war with the formidable body of Knights Templars,
with various success, and died in 1219.

Isabel, daughter of Leo. In the reign of this princess the kingdom
of Armenia became tributary to the Turkish Sultans of Iconium.

Aiton, or Otho, sent embassadors to St. Louis, King of France, in the
island of Cyprus. He made a visit to Mangou, Khan of Tartary, whom
he converted to Christianity, and in alliance with whom, assisted
by his brother, Houlagou Khan, he made war against the Mohammedans,
and, having destroyed the castles of the Assassins, penetrated into
the dominions of the Sultan of Aleppo, their further progress being
stopped by the death of Mangou Khan, which occasioned the return of
Houlagou to his own country. The Saracens or Mohammedans, on this
change of affairs, in their turn overran Armenia, where they committed
dreadful cruelties; and Aiton, having abdicated the crown in 1270,
retired into a monastery, under the name of Macarius, where he died
in the year 1272.

Leo, the son of Aiton, mounted the throne of his father in 1270, and
was in constant war with Bondochar, Sultan of Egypt, who massacred
20,000 persons in Armenia. He was excommunicated for outrages committed
upon the Patriarch of Antioch. After a reign of trouble and disaster,
he died in 1288.

Aiton, or Otho II., the son of Leo, with many of his nation, embraced
the Roman faith, and demanded the assistance of Pope Boniface
VIII. against the infidels who menaced his power. No effective
assistance having been afforded him, he abdicated the throne, took
the habit of a Capuchin friar, and, under the name of Brother John,
died in the year 1294.

Thoros, or Theodorus, despairing of success against the incursions of
the neighboring nations, also became a Capuchin friar. He died in 1296.

Sembat, or Penibald, the brother of Aiton and Thoros, usurped the
throne in the absence of his brothers; he was dethroned by another
brother, Constantine, and died in 1298.

Constantine sent his remaining brothers to Constantinople, with a
recommendation to the Emperor to take care of them. The year of his
death is uncertain.

Leo III. was murdered in the year 1307.

Chir Ossim, with the assistance of Pope John XXII., made an
advantageous truce or treaty with the Kings of Sicily and Cyprus,
with whom he was at war. This was accomplished through the mediation
of the Genoese, who at this time appear to have been the principal
traders in Constantinople, Persia, and Armenia. He died in 1320.

Leo IV. lived in continual war with the Saracens. This king sent
embassadors to Philippe de Valois, King of France, to beg assistance
against the incursions of the Saracens. He married first Constancia,
daughter of Frederick, King of Sicily, and secondly the daughter of the
Prince of Tarentum, niece to Robert, King of Naples. Having provoked
the jealousy of his countrymen by promoting numerous Frenchmen to
high offices of government, he was assassinated in the year 1344.

After his death Guy de Lusignan was elected King of Armenia. He died
in 1344.

Constans, or Constantius, apparently his son, succeeded Guy de
Lusignan, and was killed by the Saracens in 1351. He had dispatched
embassadors to implore assistance against the infidels to the courts
of the Pope, the King of England, and the King of France.

Constantine, the next king, appears to have lived in continual troubles
with his own subjects, as well as in constant alarm at the increasing
inroads of the neighboring powers on both sides. The annals of his
stormy reign are almost silent, and it is not known when he died. To
such a state of misery and confusion was the kingdom of Armenia now
reduced, that the existence of another king, who was probably his
successor, is only known by the witness of a rare coin, which bears
as legend DRAGO . REX . ARMEN . AGAPI. In the year 1368 the nobles
of Armenia elected Peter I., King of Cyprus, king; but he was at Rome
at that period, and never took possession of his precarious honor.

The records of the Armenian sovereigns are now drawing to a
close. About this period, Leo V., of the family of Lusignan,
was seated on his trembling throne. He was famous only for his
misfortunes. Menaced on every side, his provinces and castles,
one by one, fell before the victorious inroads of the Turks. The
Genoese alone, who, in pursuit of trade, had fortified many strong
places in Armenia, held out gallantly against the common foe, and
the Mohammedan invaders were unable to gain possession of the town
of Curco, or Corycus, in Cilicia, which was defended by the soldiers
of the intrepid merchants. After a constant series of disasters and
defeats, the unhappy king escaped with his life to the island of
Cyprus, from whence he passed to Italy, and afterward to Castile,
where he implored in vain for assistance from those Christian princes
to reinstate him in the kingdom of his ancestors, which had fallen into
the power of the infidel, and which, from that period to the present
day, has continued to form one of the great pashaliks, or provinces
of the Turkish empire. From Castile he took refuge in France, where
he was received with distinguished favor and hospitality by King
Charles V., who assigned for his residence the hotel of St. Ouen,
near St. Denis. About the year 1378 Leo passed over to England, in
the hopes of effecting peace between King Richard II. and the King of
France, with whom he was then at war, and inducing the two sovereigns
to embark in a crusade against the Turks for the recovery of the
Holy Land, and for his own restoration to his kingdom. His overtures,
like all his other acts, were unsuccessful; but from Richard, King of
England, he received magnificent presents, and a pension of 20,000
marcs, which munificence was imitated by the King of France in an
annual allowance of 6000 livres.

Leo, King of Armenia, was of small stature, but of intelligent
expression and well-formed features. He lived in great magnificence,
being richer from the presents of the Christian monarchs than he
had been in his own beleaguered kingdom. The last of his royal line,
he died, leaving no successor, at Paris, in the year 1393. His body
was carried to the tomb clothed in royal robes of white, according to
the custom of Armenia, with an open crown upon his head and a golden
sceptre in his hand. He lay in state upon an open bier hung with white,
and surrounded by the officers of his household, clothed all of them
in white robes. He was buried by the high altar of the church of the
Celestines, where his effigy was to be seen upon a black marble tomb
under an archway in the wall, and on the tomb was written


    Cy gist le tres noble et tres excellent Prince, Lyon de Lusignan,
    quint Roi Latin du Royaulme d'Armenie, qui rendit l'ame a Dieu
    a Paris le xxix. Jour de Novembre, l'an de Grace mcccxciii.


                                THE END.



NOTES

[1] Since this was written, the coal-field of Eraglé has been opened
under the direction of English engineers, and the coals are sent
to Constantinople.

[2] Caravan tea is tea which is brought by caravans, over land, from
China, through the great deserts of Tartary: it is much superior to
the tea which comes by sea.

[3] Those who take an interest in natural history should read the
accounts of the extraordinary migrations of the lemmings, which occur
periodically in Norway, after a fixed number of years.





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