by two cannon of almost equal magnitude; the long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed against the walls ; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most accessible places, and of one of these it is stated that it discharged one hundred and thirty balls. Yet, in the power and activity of the sultan, we may discern the infancy of the new science. Under a master who counted the moments, the great cannon could be loaded and fired no more than seven times in one day. The heated metal unfortunately burst, several workmen were destroyed, and the skill of an artist was admired, who found a way to prevent the danger of a recurrence of the accident, by pouring oil, after each discharge, into the mouth of the cannon.

The first random shots were productive of more sound than execution, and it was by the advice of a Christian, that the engineers were taught to level their aim against the two opposite sides of the salient angles of a bastion. The weight and repetition of the fire made some impression on the walls, and the Turks, pushing their approaches to the edge of the ditch, attempted to fill the enormous chasm, and to build a road to the assault. Innumerable fascines, and hogsheads, and trunks of trees, were heaped on each other, and such was the impetuosity of the throng, that the foremost and the weakest were pushed headlong down the precipice, and instantly buried under the accumulated

To fill the ditch was the toil of the besiegers ; to clear away the rubbish was the safety of the be. sieged, and, after a long and bloody conflict, the work that had been performed in the day was demolished in the night.


Mahomet's next resource was the expedient of mining; but the soil was rocky; in every attempt he was stopped and undermined by the Christian engineers; nor had the art been yet invented, of replenishing those subterraneous passages with gunpowder, and blowing whole towns and cities into the air. A circumstance that distinguished the siege of Constantinople is the union of the ancient and modern artillery. The can. non were intermingled with the mechanical engines for casting stones and darts; the bullet and the batteringram were directed against the same walls; nor had the discovery of gunpowder superseded the use of the Greek fire. A wooden turret of the largest size was advanced on rollers ; this portable magazine of ammunition and fascines was protected by a threefold covering of bull's hides; and incessant volleys were securely discharged from the loop-holes. In the front, three doors were contrived for the alternate sally and retreat of the soldiers and workmen. They ascended by a staircase to the upper platform, and as high as the level of that platformi a scaling-ladder could be raised by pulleys, to form a bridge and grapple with the adverse rampart. By these various arts of annoyance, some as new as they were fatal to the Greeks, the tow. er of St. Romanus was at length overturned. After a severe struggle, the Turks were repulsed from the breach, and interrupted by darkness ; but they trusted, that, with the return of light, they should renew the attack with fresh vigor and decisive success. Of this pause of action, this interval of hope, each moment was improved by the activity of the emperor, and Giustiniani, the commander of a body of Genoese,




who passed the night on the spot, and urged the labors which involved the safety of the city. At the dawn of day, the impatient sultan perceived, with astonishment and grief, that his wooden turret had been reduced to ashes; the ditch was cleared and restored, and the tower of St. Romanus was again strong and entire. He deplored the failure of his design, and uttered a profane exclamation, that the word of the thirty-seven thousand prophets should not have compelled him to believe that such a work, in so short a time, could have been accomplished by the infidels.

The reduction of the city appeared to be hopeless, unless a double attack could be made, from the har. bour as well as from the land; but the harbour was closed by a strong chain, and defended by eight large ships, more than twenty of a smaller size, and several galleys and sloops. In this perplexity, the genius of Mahomet conceived and executed a plan of a bold and marvellous cast, of transporting by land his lighter vessels and military stores from the Bosphorus into the higher part of the harbour. The distance was about ten miles; the ground was uneven, and overspread with thickets. A level way was covered with a broad platform of strong and solid planks, and, to render them more slippery, they were anointed with the fat of sheep and oxen. Eighty light galleys and brigantines of fifty and thirty oars were drawn upon the shore of the Bosphorus, arranged successively on rollers, and transported upon this railroad by the power of men and pulleys. Two guides or pilots were stationed at the helm and the prow of each vessel ; the sails were unfurled to the winds, and the labor was cheered by

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song and acclamation. In the course of a single night, this Turkish fleet painfully climbed the hill, steered over the plain, and was launched from the declivity into the shallow waters of the harbour, far above the molestation of the deeper vessels of the Greeks. The real importance of this operation was magnified by the consternation and confidence which it inspired; but the notorious, unquestionable fact was displayed before the eyes, and is recorded by the pens, of the two nations.

As soon as Mahomet had occupied the upper harbour with a fleet and army, he constructed, in the narrowest part, a bridge, or rather mole, of fifty cubits in breadth, and one hundred in length; it was formed of

l casks and hogsheads joined with rafters linked with iron, and covered with a solid floor. On this floating battery he planted one of his largest cannon, while the galleys, with troops and scaling-ladders, approached the most accessible side, which had formerly been stormed by the Latin conquerors. The Christians have been accused of indolence for not destroying these unfinished works, but their fire was controlled and silenced by the superior fire of the enemy; nor were they wanting in a nocturnal attempt to burn the vessels, as well as the bridge of the sultan. His vigilance prevented their approach; their foremost galleys were sunk or taken ; forty youths, the bravest of Italy and Greece, were inhumanly massacred at his command

; nor could the emperor's grief be assuaged by the just though cruel retaliation of exposing from the walls the heads of two hundred and sixty Mussulman captives. After a siege of forty days, the fate of Constantinople could no longer be averted.

In the great and general attack, the military judg. ment and astrological knowledge of Mahomet advised him to wait till the morning, the memorable twentyninth of May, in the fourteen hundred and fifty-third year of the Christian era. The preceding night had been actively employed ; the troops, the cannon, and the fascines were advanced to the edge of the ditch, which, in many parts, presented a smooth and level passage to the breach, and his fourscore galleys almost touched, with their prows and their scaling-ladders, the less defensible walls of the harbour. Under pain of death, silence was enjoined, but the physical laws of motion and sound are not obedient to discipline or fear. Each individual might suppress his voice, and measure his footsteps, but the march and labor of thousands must inevitably produce a strange confusion of dissonant clamors, which reached the ears of the watchmen on the towers. At daybreak, without the customary signal of the morning gun, the Turks assaulted the city by sea and land ; and the similitude of a twined or twisted thread has been applied to the closeness and continuity of their line of attack. The foremost ranks consisted of the refuse of the host, a voluntary crowd, who fought without order or command ; of the feebleage or childhood, of

peasants and

vagrants, and of all who had joined the camp in the blind hope of plunder and martyrdom. The common impulse drove them onwards to the wall; the most audacious to climb were instantly precipitated ; and not a dart or bullet of the Christians was idly wasted on the accumulating throng. But their strength and ammunition were exhausted in this laborious defence; the ditch was filled

ness of

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