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officers, Bostangees, and Janissaries, conducted his Excellency to the Capigee Bashah, who acts upon these occasions as master of the ceremonies. Here were brought the dresses called Kaftan, with which all those who are presented to the Sultaun are previously invested ; not, however, according to common opinion, as a mark of distinction or respect, but as the remains of a custom formerly established, which compelled every ambassador to be completely habited in the Turkish manner before he could be allowed to see the light of the presence, as the interpreters of the Porte are pleased to term it. His Excellency, with his immediate suite, was introduced to the Sultaun; and after going through the usual ceremonies, which are detailed in almost every book that treats of the Levant, returned to his palace at Pera in the same manner as he came to the Seraglio.







A NUMBER of intelligent French military officers, about this time, poured into Constantinople, who taught the Turks a better system of military tactics than that to which they were accustomed ; and dissertations upon the art of gunnery were frequently delivered by them to the Turkish officers through the medium of Drugomauns or interpreters. Our court could not but see with a jealous eye the preponderance of French influence; and our respectable ambassador, Sir Robert Ainslie, frequently experienced, I believe, that the consideration which he had for many years enjoyed in the interior of the Divan gradually diminished after Monsieur de Choiseul Gouffier's arrival at the Porte.

The particular attention paid to the French interest by the Divan at this juncture, may be accounted for from the circumstance of its being known that Catharine was anxiously looking out for a pretext to make herself mistress of Constantinople, and all the Turkish possessions in Europe. Her success after the famous victory obtained by the Russian fleet at Tchesmé, which was followed by the acquisition of the Crimea, gave her good grounds for supposing that an extension of her conquests would not be difficult, provided the neighbouring courts did not interfere with her projects of aggrandisement; and as her strict connection with England induced the Porte to suppose that the cabinet of St James’s would rather participate in, than prevent the views of the Empress, it was natural that the Turks should court a friendly alliance with France, as the only power likely, and indeed interested, to thwart the ruinous intentions of the court of Russia.

France was most anxiously disposed to preserve the closest intimacy with Turkey ; not only from the desire of improving, and at length wholly engrossing, the Levant trade, by which the city of Marseilles, and many of the southern provinces of France, obtained very essential advantages ; but also from the expectation, no eagerly formed and supported by the court of the Tuilleries, of establishing a speedy, uninterrupted communication with our inveterate enemy Tippoo Saib, by taking possession of Egypt, or


at least by obtaining such a footing in that country as would facilitate their operations, and command the sovereignty of the Red Sea. This plan once accomplished, the French politicians saw, with exultation, the means, as they supposed, of humbling the English authority in the East; an authority which had completely extinguished every ray of French consequence since the time of Dupleix. To this hour, gigantic and impracticable as is the project, it has not been abandoned, notwithstanding the evermemorable events of Aboukir and Acre ; the death of their famous ally; the subjection of his country to British valour; and the more formidable derangements which an unexampled revo lution has given rise to throughout France. .

The grand mosque of Sancta Sophia, immediately adjoining the Seraglio, is undoubtedly one of the finest buildings of its kind, but not, as the Greeks imagine it, superior to the church of St Peter at Rome, or St Paul in London. It is generally believed that Sancta Sophia cannot be visited by Christians without an order or firmaun from the Sultaun ; but a sequin or two, offered through the medium of any ambassador's fanissary to the door-keeper, removes all difficulties, and silences the conscientious scruples of these disciples of Mahommed, who, at an infrequented hour, will admit, upon such terms, the pollution of their temple. I was much gratified by the sight of the interior, which is in the form of a Greek cross ; about two hundred and

stere feet in length by about two hundred and forty-three T w ith. It is situated east and west ; so that formerly the

morum in the east was at the head of this cross. Upi's sixty pillars form a colonade communicating with the series destined for females, which are nearly sixty feet wide. The

w dome is in an especial manner supported on each side Bu eser large columns of granite, forty feet in height ; over the mbes which connect these, a solid piece of masonry, in form para wall, is built to support six shorter columns, which add secerity and elegance to this magnificent cupola : the boldness of the style of architecture may be conceived when the diameter is mentioned, being no less than one hundred and fifteen feet. On each side of this grand dome is another of smaller dimensions, with three semidomes still less attached, as it were, to it, and appearing on the inside a continuation of the same roof, but on the outside totally distinct * The variety and ornamental beauty of the whole pile is, however, too difficult to be described.

THE situation of the altar, not being in the direction of Kibla, the sanctuary at Mecca, to which point all Mussulmauns turn their devotional attention, the Maharab or niche, in which

* “ The blending of the four semidomes, over the piers, doubling the expanse of the central one, is unique.”-DALLAWAY.

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