ADMINISTRATION OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW.188
Justices and magistrates.-Mehhkémé or tribunal.-Practice of the courts of law.-Administration of civil law.-False witnesses.-Inaccuracy of investigation.-Avania.-Proceedings in criminal cases.-Torture.Justices and magistrates.
The Mussulman law ordains, as a fundamental maxim of state, that in all countries, provinces, or cities, into which the Mahometan religion has been introduced, or whereever believers are united together by the institutions of civil society, two superior offices of magistracy shall be established, to which the judicial administration and the public force are confided. Both departments are comprehended, in strictness of expression, under the denomination of hakim, but, in general, this term is applied only to ministers of justice of all orders and classes, while that of zabith distinguishes and comprehends all civil governors and offices charged with the 189 execution of the laws, the care of the police, and the maintenance of public order. From the word hakim is derived mehhkémé, the name of the Turkish tribunals, which signifies the sanctuary of justice.Mehhkémé or tribunal.
In Constantinople every district has its Mehhkémé, in which a cadi, attended by his naïb, sits, and hears causes. These magistrates, as well as those of the superior classes, hear and determine all causes, civil and criminal. They also take cognizance of whatever relates to ecclesiastical dogmas, rites, morality, or discipline. They judge all suits respecting the vacufs (or church possessions) within their respective jurisdictions. They perform moreover all the functions of a public notary; and they legalize and register marriage-contracts, powers of attorney, wills, and covenants of every kind.
Nothing can be more simple and expeditious than the forms of proceeding in all the Turkish courts. Each party represents his cases, unassisted by counsellors, advocates, or pleaders of any kind, and supports his statement by the production of evidence. The deposition of two competent witnesses is admitted as complete legal proof, in all 190 cases whatever, whether concerning property, reputation, or life.Practice of the courts of law.
It has been asserted, that "it is the general characteristic of the Turkish government to be loaded with forms and regulations, which are of no effectual service." How little this censure is applicable to the Turkish courts of law, is evident from the simplicity with which law-suits are conducted in the divan haneh, or vizir's tribunal. Before the vizir takes his seat, all the parties assembled in court are ranged in two rows, with a chaoush1 at their head. The trial begins by reading the case of the plaintiff who is first in order of precedence; after which, both parties are publicly heard; a proper officer of the court briefly sums up the whole matter, and declares what sentence, according to the divine judgment, ought to be passed. If the vizir approves the sentence, 191 it is inserted in the vacant space of the arzuhal (or petition), and is confirmed by the vizir's signature. The arzuhal itself, be the case ever so intricate, must be comprised in about half a page, in order that room may be left on the other half for inserting the substance of the consultation on the subject, and the ilam (or sentence) of the judge. During the examination of one case, the parties and papers, necessary for elucidating the next in order, are put in a state of preparation; so that a new cause immediately commences; and so on until all are despatched. An oda (or company) of janizaries is appointed to guard the vizir's palace; they are employed to bring accused persons into court, and to watch over the prisoners. They are called muhzur from their office, and the nature of it may be discerned from the form of a citation "Go," says the muhzur aga, "and order such a person immediately to appear; if he hesitate to obey the summons, cleave him through the head and the eyes, and produce him in that state."
1There are two sorts of chaoushes among the Turks. Some are employed, in the divans of the vizir and the pashas, to receive the petitions of the plaintiffs, to communicate the orders and decisions of the court, and to see that the sentences are carried into execution. Others, in time of war, do the duty of adjutants in carrying the verbal or written orders of the sultan, the vizir, or the general in chief, to the officers of the army. (See Cantemir, p.407, note 19. Marsigli, t. i, p.89)Administration of civil law.
It is erroneous to suppose, "that the judges are not bound by any preceding decrees, but that they have the application of the law in 192 their own breasts." On the contrary, we learn from Abulfaragius, that, in ancient times, when any doubt arose as to the legality of an opinion or an action, the lawyers, in the first instance, had recourse to the koran, and if they found a text which applied to the case before them, they immediately determined it. If it were unnoticed in the koran, they sought for a solution of the difficulty among the traditional precepts of the prophet: if these too were silent, they founded their sentence on the opinions of the imams, and the commentaries of the orthodox doctors. The code multeka, ever since the period of its compilation in the reign of Soliman the First, is almost the only book, made use of by the cazy-askers, the mollas, the cadis, and the naïbs, in all the tribunals and courts of law throughout the whole extent of the Ottoman empire. It is expressly enjoined to the cadis, in the sultan's diploma which invests them with their judicial powers, to follow the most prevailing opinions of the imams Hanefys in the administration of justice; and although the instructions given to the mollas are not so explicit in this respect, they are nevertheless restricted to the 193 observance of the same rule in their practice2.
2"Although Abu Hanifah be the acknowledged head of the prevailing sect, and have given his name to it, yet so great veneration is shown to Abu Yusuf and the lawyer Muhammed that, when they both dissent from their master, the muselman judge is at liberty to adopt either of the two decisions, which may seem to him the more consonant to reason, and founded on the better authority." (Jones's Works, Vol.iii, p.510.)
The distribution of fetwas, or decisions on questions in law and equity, whether of a public or private nature, forms an important branch of the office of mufti; yet even in the exercise of this function, if any question is presented to him on a subject which has not been discussed by the fathers of Mussulman legislation or their commentators, the mufti does not dare to give a decision, but simply declares, that he finds nothing of similar nature in the canonical books. Government alone has the privilege of consulting the law on points which relate to the administration of public affairs. Individuals of all classes may, however, apply to the mufti for information and advice on cases of conscience, or of civil and criminal law: and previously to engaging in a lawsuit, it is customary for both parties to take out a fetwa on their case, as stated by them 194 selves. The fetwa, therefore, in civil causes, should be considered, not as the sentence of a judge, but as the opinion of counsel, in which the difficulty and the solution are presented under the form of question and answer, written in a small character on a sheet of paper nine inches long and four inches broad, and delivered to the parties on the payment of five paras, or about two-pence of our money. The collection of fetwas issued by a succession of muftis, as it embraces all the subjects of the code multeka, is now so extensive that Toderini counted fifty-five volumes in the library of Sancta Sophia3. The most celebrated of these compilations are used in every tribunal as a commentary on, or illustration of, the general code of laws, and for the guidance of the magistrate, who, however, exercises a discretion as to the admissibility of their authority, or their application to the point in dispute. I once saw a fetwa produced by the plaintiff on a trial, while I was attending at the house of a magistrate. He read it with great respect, and commended the justness of it; but "I am mufti here," said he, and placing it under the cushion on which he sat, 195 determined the cause, without any appeal or reference to it. Another opinion of the mufti, as I was told, was produced in court, in a case in point, and the person appealing to it, said, "such is the wil1 of God." "Be it so," said the cadi, " but if the will of God were to be always observed, the world would stand still4."
3See Tab.Gén. t.iv, p.510-530. Toderini, t.i, p.40.
4It must be observed, that the muftis, or doctors of the law, occupy only the second rank in the Mussulman hierarchy. In every city of the Ottoman empire, with the exception of the capital alone, they yield the precedency to the cadis, or judges.
Sir James Porter says, "it is not the Turkish laws, but a corrupt administration of them, which brings opprobrium on the empire." But the most necessary laws, and without which any code is defective, are those which provide for, and secure, an upright administration. In Turkey the laws indeed are simple, and by no means numerous; and the forms are little complicated. Their administration, however, differs according to circumstances of the parties, or their rank in a political point of view. The Turk has rarely to complain of injustice; and, generally speaking, the decision of the judges, in causes wherein both parties are Mussulmans, is unbiassed. Public opinion, 196 which is no where more free or more energetic than among the Turks, checks the voluntary commission of any injustice with respect to them. I have seen the cazy-asker, in his own tribunal, abused by women, with a licence which nothing could equal but the patience and submission with which be bore it, while the inferior officers were endeavouring to pacify them, and gently get them out of the court.False witnesses.
The Christian and Jewish subjects of the empire are an inexhaustible treasure, not only to government, but to individuals. From this source a tribe of extortioners, false witnesses, and embroilers, all who are too idle to dig, and too proud to beg, draw, without the imputation of infamy, the means of subsistence. It is impossible to conceive an idea of the effrontery of the false witnesses, who are encouraged by impunity. The punishment appointed for a false witness is only the shame of being led through the streets, seated upon an ass, with his face towards the animal's tail. But even this punishment, which cannot be supposed to have much effect upon such abandoned profligates, is scarcely ever put in execution. The vizir alone can punish them; the other 197 magistrates are compelled to pronounce according to their deposition, unless they can detect them in duplicity, or embarrass them by their questions5.
5Busbequius supposed, that the Turkish false witnesses were actuated only by hatred against Christians. "Turcæ magnæ pietatis loco ducunt dicere falsum testimonium adversus hominem Christianum. Non expectant ut regentur; injussi adsunt, seque ultro ingerunt." (Epist.iv, p.227.) "All the learned lawyers of Mohammed's religion, with whom I have conversed in different parts of India, have assured me with one voice, that an oath by a musliman is not held binding on his conscience, unless it be taken in the express nane of the Almighty, and that even then it is incomplete, unless the witness, after having given his evidence, swear again by the same awful name, that he has spoken nothing but the truth. Nor is this abstruse or refined learning, but generally known to Mohammedans of every degree, who are fully apprized, that an imprecation on themselves and their families, even with the koran on their heads, is in fact no oath at all; and that, if having sworn, that they will speak truth, they still utter falsehoods, they can expiate their offence by certain religious austerities; but that, if they forswear themselves in regard to evidence already given, they cannot, except by the divine mercy, escape misery in this world and in the next." Sir William Jones's charge to the Grand Jury, Calcutta, June 10, 1785. Vol.iii, p.14.
Among the Mahometans written testimony is of no avail, when opposed by living witnesses. But the treaties with all the Christian powers set aside this law in favour of their subjects, who are accordingly allowed 198 to support their claims by written evidence. The executors of a person under the English protection claimed from a certain sultana the payment of a sum of money, in virtue of a written obligation certifying the loan. The defendant denied the debt, alleging, that she had paid the principal before the decease of her claimant, but that he had detained the notes and pledges, with a view of compelling her to pay interest, which she had resisted, on the ground of its being contrary to the divine law. Her witnesses asserted, that the money had been paid to the deceased in their presence: the judge affected to give credit to their testimony, and urged to the plaintiffs the necessity of admitting so clear a proof; but suddenly turning to the witnesses, "what," said he, "was the name of the deceased merchant's father?" The abruptness of the question threw them off their guard, and they confessed, that they could not tell. " Not tell," said the judge, "how then can you expect, that I shall admit your evidence?" and immediately ordered an ilam in favour of the plaintiff.
The judge was indeed authorized by the usage of the Turks to require the witnesses 199 knowledge of such particulars; for as they have not among them surnames or family distinctions, it becomes necessary, in order to prevent confusion, to insert in a contract or official instrument not only the names of the parties, but also those of their parents. I have heard it asserted, that the judge is supposed to invalidate the testimony of a witness, if he can put to him any question whatever relating to the business in discussion, to which the latter is found unable to reply. In the case which I have related, the judge had been preconvinced of the futility of the defence, or he would not so readily have determined upon the case.
Peyssonnel, in his zeal to vindicate the Turks, attempts even to excuse their toleration of false witnesses. "Testimony," he says, "is the basis of all proceedings in criminal affairs, and is of great weight in civil affairs. Among all people, unfortunately, false witnesses are every where too numerous." But it is in Turkey alone, that the profession is avowed, and the individual personally known in every tribunal.Inaccuracy of investigation.
The prompt decision of the Turkish tribunals has been praised by men who may have observed, that patience and property 200 are frequently exhausted by the forms, delays, and expenses, attending law-suits Christian countries, but who have not reflected, that where injustice is authorized, promptitude of decision only assimilates it the more to an act of violence. Some idea may be formed of the precipitancy with which law-suits are determined in Turkey, by the following instance. Cantemir, in commendation of the vizir Chorluly Ali Pasha, with whom he was personally acquainted, says, that "when the was sitting in the divan no one could behold him without admiration; for he was a person of so much quickness and dexterity, that he could attend to three things at once, if he had divided himself into three parts. For the quicker despatch of business, he ordered two petitions to be read at the same time, and understood each cause as perfectly as if has had heard it three or four times, giving thereupon a suitable sentence. In the mean time he hearkened to others that were pleading before the cazy-asker, and delivering back the arzuhal to him, told him what sentence he was to give. He was so great a lover of justice that many affirm, that he never gave an unjust sentence6."
6Cantemir's Ottoman History, p.446, note 6. It appears from the "Extract of the letter written from Constantinople in the year 1527," that even in the reign of Solyman the Lawgiver the administration of justice in Turkey was no less corrupt than at present. "Pour fait de question ou cas litigieux qui surviennent aulcunes foys Nous en avons telle custume quant il ya deux personnes en question la deduction sen fait par devant celuy qui de ce en a la charge de par le Turcq: et fault que tout ainsi que iceluy juge en determinera soit bien ou mal prendre ou donner il le fault aussi ensuyr. Et combien que le juge ordonne de par le turc soit si merveilleusement enioinct et sur peine destre brochie den faire bonne justice si advient il souvent que a grant peine peult au poure homme demeurer a la tierce partie de ses biens. Et dont il se doibt gouverner et encore luy va bien quil ne pert point la vie. Vous nestes pas seulz pardela qui se complaindent de jistice je vous asseure quelle est bien petitement administree pardeca je nose dire que lon juge plus par fauveur pardeca que vraye justice."201
The European merchant, obliged to appeal to the laws of the country, is, equally with the rayah, exposed to the consequences of their venal administration, and must hope for success, not from the justice of his cause, but from undue influence, or from bribery. Hence the aversion from carrying disputes before the Turkish judges, and hence also credit and confidence, the bases of commerce, are undermined and destroyed7.
7A fetwa, extracted by the Chevalier D'Ohsson from the collection published by the mufti Behhdje Abd'ullah Effendi, will shew how precarious are the means which an European can employ to obtain justice in Turkey. "If Zeid, a stranger in a Mussulman country, having a law-suit with Amr, offers in favour of his cause the evidence of Bekir and Beschir, both of them strangers, can their depositions be received in justice? Answer: No." (Tab. Gen. t.iv, p.526.)202 Avania.
In civil causes, the Europeans, in virtue of the capitulations, pay three per cent. on the amount of the sum which constitutes their claim: the subjects of the country pay ten per cent. But, as the gainer pays the costs of suit in order that the judge may not lose his fees, the privilege granted to the European is in fact a disadvantage. The evil consequences of the gainer being burthened with the expenses of a law-suit, besides the injustice of such a mode of satisfying the court, are evident. A Turk will institute a vexatious suit against a rayah, in which he risks nothing, and may eventually avail himself of all the uncertainty of the law: the rayah is placed in a dilemma, from which he cannot escape without injury: he may be un- successful in his suit; and the least disadvantage he can hope for, is the payment of the costs; so that, in most cases, he finds it expedient to compound the business. I knew a person against whom an annual claim was made for a room in the upper part of a house, which he had built himself. He had bought off the first action; and this concession 203 was construed, by the opposite party, into an acknowledgment of his right, and the rayah was subjected, in consequence of it, to the payment of a tribute till his death. This species of robbery, which constitutes the chief riches of the Turkish populace in the great cities, is distinguished by the name of avania. The law indeed is equal, and, in the true spirit of it, extends the same protection to the believer and the infidel; but, in its administration, the household of faith enjoys peculiar privileges. The testimony of a Mussulman outweighs the clearest proof which a rayah can adduce, and a conviction of perjury, which entails severe, if not capital, punishment on the one, procures for the other only a gentle admonition to combine circumstances with less confusion in future8.
8The superior validity of a Mussulman's testimony will be more evident from the following examples. The emperor Bajazet the First, who was much addicted to wine and debauchery, submitted to a reprimand from the cadi of Brusa, who refused to admit his evidence, because he neglected to perform the five daily prayers in common with the faithful. "Les Musulmans non-circoncis semblent porter une sorte de réprobation aux yeux des autres Musulmans. On les appelle aklef, et dans différentes matières, soit civiles, soit criminelles, leur témoignage n'est jamais recevable." (Tab. Gén. t.ii, p.287.) Such defects, which can invalidate the testimony of a Musulman, must necessarily operate with much greater force against that of a Christian, who lives habitually and constantly in a state of reprobation.
The Mahometans themselves seldom seek legal redress for an insult. If not able to take revenge with their own hand, they quietly 204 submit to the oppression. Much less can a stranger expect justice: for, even if the judge were disposed to sacrifice his national prejudices to the duty of his office, the suffering party is induced by secret insinuations, and indirect menaces, to abandon his suit, and prefer suffering in silence.Proceedings in criminal cases.
Although capital executions are frequent in Turkey, criminal justice can scarcely be said to be administered at all. The life of man, concerning which no deliberation can be too long, is hastily sentenced away, without reflection, according to the influence of passion, or the impulse of the moment. A complaint was preferred to the vizir against some soldiers who had insulted the gentlemen of the Russian embassy: the vizir made a horizontal motion with his hand, and before the conference was over, seven heads were rolled from a sack at the feet of Prince Repnin9. A man, caught in the act of pilfering 205 property during a fire, has been thrown into the flames by order of the vizir10. A housebreaker, detected in robbery, is hanged up, without process, at the door of the house which he has robbed. Shopkeepers, or dealers, convicted of using false weights or measures, are fined, bastinadoed, or nailed by the ear to their own door-posts: but punishment it frequently inflicted on the innocent, while the guilty enjoy the fruits of criminality. A Swedish gentleman of my acquaintance, walking one day in thy streets of Constantinople, saw the body of an Armenian hanging in the front of a baker's shop. He inquired of a by-stander for what crime the poor wretch had suffered. "The vizir," said he, "in passing by early in the morning, stopped and ordered the loaves to be weighed; and finding them short of weight, immediately ordered the execution of the person in the shop." 206 "Good God," said the Swede, "how severe a punishment for so slight a crime!" "It was thought severe," replied the Turk, "for the Christian was but a servant, whose wages were twenty paras a day, and whose master derived the whole benefit from the deficiency in the weight of the bread." And yet other Armenians had already occupied the vacant place, and were serving the customers with the greatest indifference. In September, 1792, the Greeks who had been taken on board Lambro's squadron in the Archipelago, were brought to Constantinople, and several of them were hanged on the yard-arms, or under the bowsprits of the prizes. Others were detained a few days in prison, and at length led out, and separately executed at the corners of different streets in Constantinople. A person, who was accidentally present, told me, that they were driven along by the Turks with the most unfeeling barbarity: by a push on the back the criminal fell on his knees, with one stroke of a knife his head was cut off, the body fell forward, the head was thrown between the legs, and the executioner passed on to inflict the same punishment on the others. A prisoner in the bagnio, during the last Russian war, was witness to 207 the execution of two Turks, who for some crime had been condemned to die. The order for their death was concealed from them, the gaoler congratulated them on their deliverance. "Go," said he to one of them: "thank God you are free." And as the man stooped to pass through a low door, a cord was thrown about his neck, and he was instantly strangled. The other was told to sit down, that his irons might be knocked off, and was strangled while the smith was performing the work11.
9See Voyage à Constantinople, p.166. I give this story on the credit of a French gentleman, whom I saw at Constantinople, but whose name I have in vain endeavoured to recollect. He travelled in company with Emile Gaudin, who afterwards officiated as secretary to the council of five hundred in the memorable sitting at St. Cloud. I have also heard other instances of similar atrocities.
10De Tott (p.20) ridiculously says, that "they consider this death as little different from dying in their beds, because they often see a multitude of unhappy wretches perish accidentally in the same manner."
11See the account of the revolution at Constantinople in the year 1730, published in Lord Sandwich's Tour, which bears every mark of authenticity and correctness. The same illusory method of proceeding was employed to take away the lives of the chief courtiers, who were obnoxious to the rebels.
The punishments, usually inflicted on criminals throughout the Turkish empire, are re-presented by the more ancient writers as the refinement of barbarous cruelty12. But, as far as I have been able to judge from the practice of the metropolis, there seems in general to be no intention of wantonly prolonging the sufferings of the condemned person. If he be sentenced to death, the readiest mode of execution is instantly adopted. Strangling, beheading, and drowning, are the only capital punishments used in Constantinople 208 for all classes of offenders, though impaling is sometimes practised in the provinces on public robbers13.
12See Montalbánus, apud Elzevir, p.31,32.
13The manner of impaling and of fleaing alive is described by the Chevalier d'Arvieux, who was an eye-witness of the infliction of both these punishments at Rosetta in Egypt. (Memoirs, t.i, p.220-222.) The following extraordinary account is supported only by the authority of Purchas, (Pilgrimage, chap.x, sec.i, p.335.) but the parson of St. Martin's, though he appears to have believed, does not vouch for the authenticity of the story. "They have also another invention to twitch the offender about the wast with a towell, enforcing him by often pricking to draw up his breath, till they have drawne him within the compasse of a spanne: then tying it hard they cut him off in the middle, and setting the body on a hote plate of copper, which seareth the veynes, up-propping him during their cruell pleasure: who not only retayneth sense, but discourse also, till hee bee taken downe, and then departeth in an instant."
In the provinces of Greece, the villages, which are peopled by the rayahs, are made responsible for all highway robberies and assassinations which are committed within their districts, on the presumption, that, by proper vigilance, they might have prevented them. If a Turk or an agent of government be robbed or murdered, the inhabitants are fined, and if they are suspected of complicity, their village is sentenced to military execution. On information being given to the pasha, he sends out a detachment of his body-guards with full powers to search after, and apprehend, the offenders. They surround 209 the village nearest to the spot where the crime has been committed, and immediately summon the heads of it to appear before them, to give in a list of the present number of inhabitants, which they compare with the last returns, and to declare, and surrender, all the strangers who may be found among them. Those who are unacknowledged by the primate of the village, are seized, and led away for examination, or are instantly put to death. The requisite number of victims must be produced to the pasha on their return; and if they fail in apprehending those on whom suspicion can justly alight, they complete the list by beheading any unprotected persons who are so unfortunate as to fall into their hands, and thus they sometimes satisfy the demands of justice without inflicting punishment on any one of the guilty14.
14See Pouqueville, t.i, p.239, 324.
Laws for preventing the abuse of authority in parents or masters and the exertion of individual revenge, either do not exist in Turkey, or are slightly enforced, and easily evaded. The Mussulman governments, in general, do not seem to be sufficiently aware, that society itself is injured by offences committed against individuals; and that justice 210 is not satisfied by a mere reparation of the injury to the sufferer. Private revenge is tolerated by the express declaration, and by the example, of Mahomet, who indeed recommends forgiveness to his followers, but acquits them of sin, if the measure of vengeance do not exceed the measure of injury15.
15See Maracci, prodrom. ad refut. alcorani, cap.xxiv, p.65.
"Murder," says Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "is never pursued with the king's officers, as with us. 'Tis the business of the next relations to revenge the dead person; and if they like better to compound the matter for money (as they generally do), there is no more said of it." It is indeed true, that the robber and the murderer, when detected in the commission of the crime, are hanged up, or shot, or impaled without mercy; yet, if they escape the first fury of pursuit, or wish to retreat with their earnings into society, they are readmitted without difficulty, and almost without a reflection on their past conduct.
A Greek calfa (or builder) in the service of the present sultan, died in the month of June, 1792, leaving about twenty thousand pounds sterling, which he had amassed during his continuance in employment. His 211 effects were seized by government, as is usual, on the supposition of their having been gained in its service. His widow, reduced from affluence, in the first transports of her grief, accused her son of the murder of his farther. The young man had intrigued with a servant girl of the family, and would have married her; but the father, to prevent it, had dismissed her from his service. Upon his mother's accusation, he was imprisoned, and would have suffered; but the mother's tenderness awoke, and her conscience was alarmed; she threw herself at the feet of the judge, retracted all that she had before said, accused herself of precipitancy, occasioned by grief for the sudden death of her husband, and now as strongly asserted her son's, innocence. The judge, however, was hard to be convinced: he had his doubts and scruples, which there remained but one mode of dispelling. The remains of her husband's fortune, which her prudence had preserved from the vigilance of government, afforded the only hope of carrying home conviction to the breast of the conscientious judge; and the sacrifice of two thousand pounds was necessary to procure the reversal of the decree.212 Torture.
Torture is secretly, but not unfrequently, practised. The motive for inflicting it is generally to extort the confession of concealed property; and the scene of these inhuman proceedings is a building within the walls of the seraglio, called the oven because it was formerly used as such by the bostangis. The rich rayahs are frequently employed as bankers to the vizir and other great officers of state, a charge hazardous at best, and sometimes fatal: for though the advantages of it are great, and the influence which it procures is flattering to vain or ambitious men, yet they are exposed to the prying eyes of a suspicious court, and are usually involved in the ruin of their employer. The minister, knowing the uncertainty of his continuance in office, and apprehensive, that his riches will be swallowed up in his disgrace, secretly lodges money with some confidential person, from whom, through caution, he takes no written acknowledgement. This he keeps in reserve against the evil hour, or, should his life terminate with his office, directs the disposal of it to those for whom no provision can legally be made. On the deposition of a public minister, therefore, his 213 bankers, and others suspected of intimacy with him, are applied to for the delivery of all which they possess in his name. If the sum fall short of expectation, they are tortured, till they either confess, that they have more, or till they supply the sum required from their own capitals: but, if they are rich, even this confession does not always save their lives. I was acquainted with an Armenian, who had been confined and tortured into the renunciation of all his hereditary and acquired property16. His partner, more resolute, had resisted, even to death, all the horrible means employed to force him into a confession; and by this means he left his fanmily in affluence. I have listened with horror to the relation of their sufferings, which were aggravated by the constant presence of the executioner, who would insultingly complain of the fatigue of his morning's duty, and exact from them the most menial services, and at every repeat dip into the same dish with them his hand reeking with their blood.
16This was Couléli, banker to Raghib Pasha, whose sufferings are mentioned by De Tott, p.187.
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