« הקודםהמשך »
HER CHRISTIAN SUBJECTS.
Rayahs.—Bératlees.---Jews. — Roman Catholics.-Greeks.
Their numbers, personal appearance, dress and character. Civil degradation.-Anecdote.-Present condition whence originating. - Brighter prospects.-Religious doctrines. — Public services.-Burial service.-Patriarch.-Bishops and clergy. - Marriage of priests. — Curious construction of law. — Deacons. — Avarice. - Simoniacal sales. - Chicanery. - Anecdote.—Armenians. Their numbers.-- Papal and “schismatic."-Anecdote.—Their political influence. -Character.- Person.-Dress.-Females.-Antiquity of language.--King Abgarus's letter to our Lord.Separation from church.—Catholicos.- Patriarchs.—Bishops.—Priests. -Their qualifications and character.—Ceremonial purity. -Respect for bible.-- Translation into Armenian.-Fasts. -Sacrifices.-Masses for dead.—Worship of cross.—Various modes of making sign of cross- 5.-Doctrines.-Monophysitism.-- Creed.-Confession.-Worship of virgin and saints.-Sacraments.-Judaism of Armenians.-Doctrines of Greek and Armenian churches compared.-Missionary proceedings in Turkey.- Difficulties and encouragements. State of religion and education among Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and Turks.-Anecdotes.-Concluding reflections.
The subjects of the Ottoman Porte are divided into Mussulmans and rayahs;* the latter name comprehending Jews and Christians, or all who are not followers of the prophet. A tax, called ljo (kharaj), for permission to retain his faith is demanded from every rayah, except the Bératlees, a small privileged class which includes some of the principal merchants and those who have rendered a service to the state. Besides the exemption referred to, these are liable only to the same custom duties as Europeans, and are entitled to wear yellow slippers : moreover, they are amenable to no courts but those at the seat of government, where they have authorized representatives of their body who defend their rights, and to whom they refer in all cases of injury or affront.
It is a remarkable fact that in Turkey during four centuries no amalgamation between the conquerors and the conquered was affected; and no modification attempted of tyranny
* The word rayahs is employed throughout this work, as being more familiar to the generality of readers than lls, (riaya), the proper plural of rayah or rayat; the first of which is commonly used by writers on Turkey, the last (generally spelt ryot) by those on India, though the two words are, in fact, identical ; the pronunciation of the final letter as h or t depending on two diacritical points.
THE SULTAN'S POLICY.
and slavery. But the present sultan resolved to pierce the cloud of Moslim prejudice which obscured the perceptions of his people, to recognize man as man apart from the prepossessions of bigotry, and to enthrone himself in the affections of the more enlightened, that is the Christian, portion of the population. This, however, was no easy task. By carrying his wishes into full operation, he would have forfeited the hold he yet retained on the hearts of his Mohammedan subjects, and he has therefore been compelled rather to keep within his desires and to await a happier season.
At the same time, the rayahs are alive to their favorable position and to the views of their sovereign; nor are they wanting in tendering him a return; very few are to be found who are not grateful for the amelioration of their condition ; and their attachment to his person may be regarded as one of the strongest bonds which now hold together the crumbling elements of the empire.
Jews in Turkey, like Jews in every other part of Asia, are objects of pity, whether we regard their physical, moral, or civil condition; they cherish the disease engendered by dirt, because they believe it purifies the blood; they cling to ignorance, because they interpret each effort to instruct into an attempt to Christianize them;
and they submit, because without resource, to a double. portion of every indignity which a capricious government is pleased to inflict on its helpless dissenting dependents. They are trampled on even by the persecuted Greeks ; and are actually obliged, during the week preceding Easter, to confine themselves to their houses, lest they should suffer violence from those whose feelings are more than ordinarily exasperated against the murderers of their Lord at the time when they commemorate his crucifixion. They are addicted to gain because the aristocracy of wealth is the one to which alone they can aspire, and yet poor because the indulgence of their passion enriches only their persecuting lords. Inoffensive and quiet, yet despised and hated, they are compelled to carry about with them a badge of degradation and a lure to insult in the purple color of their slippers and in a peculiar head-dress of figured cloth twined round a circular black hat. Thus, while the patois they speak, corrupted from the languages of Italy and Spain, points to the latter of those countries as giving them a claim to be regarded as Europeans, they exhibit a condition scarcely to be rivalled by that of the most debased Asiatics.
Of the four great classes of Christians only
three are known among Turkish rayahs, as the Protestants resident in the empire are all foreigners, enjoying the protection of the respective European governments to which they are subject. Many of the Roman Catholics are similarly circumstanced : of those who are not so a few are converts from the Greeks, while some are Armenians and some Syrians by birth.
All the other rayahs, constituting the great mass, belong to the Greek and Armenian churches, if we except an inconsiderable number attached to minor sects, inhabiting chiefly Egypt and Syria, as the Copts and Abyssinians.
About two hundred thousand Greeks reside in Constantinople and the neighbouring villages. The principal families have acquired the name of Fanariotes from the quarter they occupy, called the Fanar, which was originally consigned to their ancestors by Mohammed II. when he conquered the last of their emperors, and which has been retained ever since as the residence of their patriarch and of the old Greek nobles, some of whom still live in great splendor.
Both sexes are handsome; the young men particularly so; and the women have bright dark eyes and regular features. The usual