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Men, women, children,-none held back; and there was need for all. Not even the Grand Master himself (says the admiring orator, in a torrent of triplets), or the Bailiffs and Priors of the Order (non Magister, non Bajulivi, non Priores"); not the knights, the natives, or the merchants of of Rhodes ("non milites, non cives, non negotiatores"); nor the women, whether mothers, wives, or maidens ("non matronæ, non nuptæ, non virgines, operæ vacant"), abstain from labor. They carry on their shoulders stone, mould, and lime, to fill up the ramparts, and throw in the most precious materials for the benefit of the common weal (" auro, argento supellectili non parcitur, ut publicæ saluti"). This work, besides physical labor, involved considerable danger. The Basha was not slow to perceive the Penelopean skill of the garrison in undoing by night the progress his batteries had made during the day. While taking his evening rounds, he bethought himself of ordering the cannon to be loaded and pointed afresh; and, as soon as he judged the defenders were busied in repairing the wall during the dark, opened a deadly fire upon them. From the hill of St. Stephens and the other eminences round the town, he kept up a constant fire upon the interior night and day with his guns of longest range; so, that no house was safe for a moment. As these shots were aimed at the more crowded portions of the city, D'Aubusson quartered all the women, children, and infirm persons under the shelter of large sheds, built for the purpose, close under the walls, where they would be most out of view and out of range. Active and quicksighted men, Caoursin tells us, could, in the daytime, see the huge bullets falling through the air, and spring out of the way. At night they took refuge where they best could some in vaults, ovens, and underground cellars; some in the deepest porches, or behind the thickest doors; some in the churches,-snatched such rest as they were able ("trepidum somnum carpebant.") They wondered, after all, to see how few were actually struck by the balls. The cattle which had been collected in the city, were, as it happened, the chief sufferers. The balls were obviously turned aside by a special intervention of superhuman power("prepeditæ non ambigo orationibus quæ Deo ejusque genetrici Mariæ Virgini intemeratæ et beato Joanni baptistæ fiebant.") "For, indeed," says Dupuis, "all the people of the town, knights of great and small estate, men, women, and children, were all
or stuck in them without doing much dam-tain.
It is quite clear that, sooner or later, the walls must give way before this ceaseless hammering. D'Aubusson and his knights, however, are not to be disheartened. Whenever the walls are breached by day, the gap is repaired during the night with beams, stones, barrels of earth, clay, faggots, and every kind of extemporized material. The buildings in the "pomoerium," or open space behind the walls, in the Jews' quarter, are thrown down; an inner ditch is dug, and a fresh rampart thrown up behind it. It was pleasant, say the historians, to see with what a will the whole population set to work, in execution of the orders of their great Cap
thoroughly confessed and repentant of their sins, and were all well-disposed as good Christians, and as expecting death from day to day, and hour to hour, and were often in the churches at their prayers and devotions, praying to God devoutly that he would save them and the town, and defend them from the hand of the false Turkish dogs who thus worried them from day to day, and from hour to hour without respite. In brief, it was then a fair and honorable sight to see the fair prayers and devotions of all the people, as well as the great diligence which they made night and day to fortify their town, and the great goodwill and courage which they had to sustain the Christian Faith."
Misach Palæologus Basha was not imbued with such chivalric feelings toward his opponents as are attributed to the great Sultan Saladin in regard of Richard Cœur de Lion. He may have thought it unbecoming in a lieutenant to indulge in those luxuries of conscience which are so graceful in a sovereign captain. Knowing how much of the defence rested on the personal skill and valor of the Grand Master, he made various attempts to poison or assassinate him by means of spies, who came into the town as professed deserters and converts to Christianity. None of his emissaries succeeded. One, being found "variable in his language" on examination, was tortured, made a full confession, and suffered capital punishment, of some kind or other for the accounts vary, whether he was torn in pieces by the angry mob, drowned like a dog with a stone round his neck, or beheaded like a better man. All who entered Rhodes during the siege in the doubtful character of catechumenical deserters (some sixty in all) were put under a strong guard, and afterwards sent by D'Aubusson to Rome, to be welcomed as true converts, or treated as incorrigible infidels and renegades, according to the infallible wisdom and pleasure of the Holy See.
coming so critical on the southern side, a fresh attack upon the tower of St. Nicholas was in preparation. The basha's engineers had constructed a bridge of boats and pontoons on the opposite side of the ancient harbor, between St. Nicholas and the Church of St. Anthony. It was long enough to reach across to the mole, wide and strong enough to carry six men abreast, and well sheltered with hulwarks and defences on both sides. Under cover of the night an anchor was let down into the sea close to the foot of the tower, by the aid of which the bridge was to be warped across. Fortunately this was observed; and a certain sailor, who knew his trade, and saw the importance of the manoeuvre ("nauta quidam rerum maritimarum non ignarus") took advantage of the darkness to dive to the anchor, and cut the cable. Leaving the cable loosely tied to a stone, he carried off the anchor into the town as a trophy. For this gallant exploit he was liberally rewarded ("aureo munere") by the Grand Master, and returned merrily among the cheers of his companions ("gaudens comitum plausu ") to his post on the mole. History preserves his name as Jervas Rogers of England. We can not help hopelessly wondering, even at this distance of time, in what particular form of entertainment the gallant British tar expended the aureum munus. A report of such trivial details was below the pomp of a public orator, and the dignity of a historian; but it is safe to assert that the plausus comitum, the cheers of Jervas Rogers's comrades, did not leave their throats absolutely dry,—that the gold was melted with the same free and careless grace with which it was won; and that the British sailor of the Siege of Rhodes exhibited, in some form or other, that openhanded and jolly liberality which distinguishes him now, and distinguished him even in those earlier days, when Chaucer said of his rough and ready fellow-pilgrim, the Shipman of Dartmouth :
The approaches of the besiegers were now very close to the works of the Jews' quarter and the post of Italy. They had even begun to fill up the ditch with stones and rubbish, when a successful sortie of fifty picked men drove them back and destroyed their works. Ten Turks' heads were brought back into the town in triumph, and planted on lances at various points of the walls("de quoy les gens de la ville furent bien aises de ladicte vaillance.")
At the same time that matters were be
"But certainly he was a good felawe.”
When the Turks perceived the loss of their anchor by the slackness of the cable, they resolved to tow the bridge across by their boats, and attack the mole simultaneously with thirty galleys from the seaside. Bombards and ammunition were shipped on their heavier barges, in readiness to establish a battery against the town and harbor as soon as the mole should be taken. D'Aubusson's chief anxiety was, lest they should attempt
to storm St. Nicholas and the breach on the southern side at the same time; in which case their overpowering numbers would have told with great effect against the harassed and divided garrison. It is by-the-bye a matter of regret that there exist no elements of calculation by which we can even approach to the actual number of fighting men within the walls. Taaffe points out some reasons for assuming the knights and brothers of the Order not to have exceeded a thousand; but there are no data with regard to the free lances and volunteers from all parts of Europe, or even the Rhodian citizens, who stood by their side in this quarrel.
the failure of his plans; eating his heart in rage and silence, because, even after breaching the tower so severely, he was unable to take it by storm.
What occurred shortly afterwards was not calculated to soothe his temper.
The 24th of June was the Feast of St. John, the Patron Saint of the Order and of the city of Rhodes. On the eve of this festival the knights, in accordance with their annual custom, lighted great bonfires upon the towers, belfiies, and other high places of the city. The general illumination excited the curiosity of the hostile soldiery, who came up close to the ditch to see what was in hand. All the cannons of the city had been loaded to fire a simultaneous salute in honor of their patron; and they saluted him with such success that 300 of the enemy were left dead beyond the ditch after that single discharge.
About midnight of the 19th June (and a rough, dark night it was, says Caoursin) the bridge and the galleys got under weigh in dead silence, until they came close upon the mole, when there rose of a sudden more terrible shouts and noises than in the former attack. The knights were not taken by surprise, for they had been anxiously listening (arrectis auribus) and peering through the darkness; and, as the enemy leaped yelling on shore, received them at the sword's point, and with volleys of artillery and showers of stones. Hand to hand again they dispute the mole and the tower, from midnight until morning, fighting on both sides with the most desperate bravery. A constant stream of the Basha's soldiery keeps pouring in across the water to take the places of the numbers that are slain; till the dawn permits the artillery of the town to take a more careful aim at the bridge, which is soon broken down and sunk. Some of the Turkish galleys are swamped or set on fire. Again the whole sea is covered with bloody corpses or drowning men; and at last, not before ten o'clock in the morning, the attack is given up in despair, the signal made for a retreat, and readily obeyed by such as are able. Corpses blazing with gold and silver float about or are tossed up by the surf upon the mole, for full three days after; and are, as occasion serves, despoiled by the besieged, not a little to their advantage,-"non parum commodi." Deserters report the Basha to have lost in this assault above 2,500 men, and many of his best officers. Of the knight ly defenders of the mole there were eleven or twelve killed, but a great many wounded. The Grand Master rode again in solemn procession to offer praise and thanksgiving to God and Our Lady of Philerme, and to St. John the Baptist; while the Basha shut. himself up in his pavilion for three days, in great grief for the loss of his bravest soldiers and
The ill success of the second attack on St. Nicholas induced the Turkish general to devote himself more entirely to breaching in due form the southern side of the walls. Constructing his approaches with greater precaution and science than before, he had now brought them, under shelter of mantelets, hurdles, and other defences, right up to the ditch, which he was gradually filling up with rubbish. "Precellentissimus princeps noster" Grand Master D'Aubusson called a council of war to debate upon the best plan of defence. There were present in council (such was the need of aid and advice) not only the worshipful bailiffs, preceptors, priors, and brethren of the Order, and the noble gentlemen who came as volunteers from the west, but citizens of Rhodes, crafty merchants, "negotiatores prudentiâ pollentes"
and shifty Greeks-"Græci quoque ingenio præditi." At the suggestion of some disciple of Archimedes, a machine is raised for casting large stones into the works of the enemy, so as to break in and fill up their covered ways-" et tousjours,' says Dupuis, "y demouroit quelque ung Turc mort dessoubs"-some improvident Turkish sapper, whose destiny it was to be thus ground to powder. This machine is in stern irony termed the Tribute, as being all the "quidpiam tributi titulo," all the answer the Kuights will make to the Sultan's arrogant demand. It is resolved at the same time to countermine the breach. Through this passage the stones and rubbish with which the Turks are filling up the ditch, are conveyed into the town, and used to build up the inner rampart already mentioned. This work is
carried across in a curve from one part of the walls to another, so as to intercept and embrace the weakest points, and is in fact a strong stockade, of two spans or eighteen inches thickness, made with piles stoutly driven in, and branches interwoven and strengthened with mud, stones, and mortar. All kinds of combustibles are prepared for use upon the storming of the breach; casks of pitch and sulphur, which will be poured down hot; bags charged with gunpowder and iron nails, and other such devices as delighted the intelligent Caoursin with their ingenuity" delectabant conspicientes virorum ingenia, quæ remedia excogitabant ac pandebant." It was thought advisable even to consult the professional experience of Master George upon some points of defence, and in regard of the general chances of the siege. The strict surveillance over him had never been relaxed; and the mysterious arrows bidding the Order beware of him were still shot ever and anon into the town. On mounting the walls his manner of talk was not consoling, as he pointed to the breaches already made as a confirmation of his first assertion that no wall in the world could withstand such powerful artillery. The practical proof of his talents was even more disheartening than his theory. Either from treachery or incapacity he erected batteries at the weakest points, and by drawing the fire of the enemy upon them caused considerable damage. It is soon whispered about that he does not abstain from uttering open insolence (procacia verba) in his conversation touching the fate of the town. Becoming more and more an object of suspicion he is subjected to a searching general scrutiny, and, on prevarication, to the torture. Under this ultima ratio of cross-examination he becomes consistent enough, and confesses himself a spy, renegade, and traitor, sent into the city of Rhodes by his patron the Turk to betray it, as he had already betrayed many others. The Grand Master (it is said) was still anxious to preserve him alive, as a man "fort espert et savant en toutes choses," but was obliged to execute summary justice upon him, for the satisfaction and encour agement of the indignant population. He was hung in an open space of the town, in full sight of an applauding multitude. There is a woodcut representing the closing scene of his mysterious story. A tall cross, and a stout gallows, are erected "in propatulo." Three figures form the centre of the composition, and are the points of interest to the crowd in front. The uppermost on the fatal
ladder is the minister of justice; below him, hand-cuffed, noosed, and ready to be launched into air, is unlucky Master George; and at the foot of the ladder stands the Confessor, eagerly holding up the crucifix to the penitent or impenitent sinner. The title of the woodcut explains the scene in simple but questionable Latin-GEORGIUS FIT SUSpensus. So died the last of the triumvirate of renegades who, according to Caoursin, had been the chief agents and promoters of this expedition. To him, too, the wheel had come full circle; the engineer had been hoisted with the petard of his own roguery. The evidence of Master George's guilt, consisting of his prevarications, his "procacia verba," his injudicious artillery practice, and his confession under torture, was strong enough to hang any man in those days. There can be no doubt that the stern scrutiny of the rack and thumb-screw did in many cases elicit the truth and the whole truth, if in many others it fell far short, or went far beyond. In this instance it is clear that the result was substantially true. If D'Aubusson did wish to spare Master George's life, it was more in the hope of making his expertness and science of use, and allowing him to pay the ransom of a double treason towards his old employers, than from any scruples as to the justice of his self condemnation. It may be that Master George was too high-spirited a traitor or too honest a Mussulman to accept such a composition; it may be (as it must often have been the result of that indiscrimi nating ordeal) that he was too much broken in body and spirit by the torture he had undergone to care whether he lived or died; and it is not clear that the alternative was ever offered him. Whether it be the description of him as the tall well formed fellow, the "beau langagier," and man of great entertainment, entering boldly into the town on his dark and dangerous errand; the individuality and historical distinctness which his figure assumes between the nameless crowd of followers of the Crescent on the one side, and cross-bearing knights on the other; or the quaint simplicity and pathos of the woodcut and its superscription, to which our feelings are due; we must confess a certain lurking and lingering pity for the evil fortunes of poor Master George.
While battering the walls day after day with his heaviest ordnance, the Basha neglected no chance of securing a capitulation. At one time he would suggest a negotiation with the Order itself, on the terms of a free departure from the island with their arms
and goods; at another he would set on foot the last. Gualtier the governor answers that a separate intrigue with the inhabitants of we on our part must receive with surprise the town, promising them life and property, and distrust such offers of peace, mingled besides many special immunities, if they | with such threats, from the mouths of enemies would betray the Knights of St. John and so savage and so mighty as they represent become vassals of the Grand Seignior. He themselves to be. If they wish for peace, let thought to find-vir nefarius-(says our them withdraw their feet and army, and Vice Chancellor) a faithless rabble liable to then send to treat upon equal terms; if they fear and accessible to bribery: he found in want the town, let them try to take it by truth a people true as steel to the Order, force of arms, and they shall be answered in and devoted to the orthodox faith. More kind.”. “We are all one in courage, and beeffectually to second his intrigues by a repre- | lieve firmly in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is sentation of the alternative in store for the very God, and for whom we are all prest conquered town, he impaled in sight of the and apparelled to fight and die, rather than walls a deserter from the garrison, whom he join ourselves to your Mahound, which is a took for a spy, and one or two unfortunate false and evil faith that you hold; and ours Christian prisoners. In the hope of discour is good and true, and with all our power we aging this barbarity, D'Aubusson retaliated, will keep it. Since you are come in great in full sight of the besieging camp, upon two strength, finish what you have begun; and Turkish prisoners for each Christian so mas- by the grace of Jesus Christ we will answer sacred.
you so well, and with such good courage, The last attempt made by the Basha to that you shall know you have not to do inveigle D'Aubusson into a composition, is with Asiatics, or cowards; and tell your given by the historians at some length. Basha, as he is so bold and so base for the Knowing from experience that the storming profit of the Turk his master, not to waste of the city would at any rate cost many of his time in firing bombards and mortars, but his soldiers' lives, he sent a flag of truce with to come on with all his force; and any two a proposal for a conference upon better gates of the city he chooses shall be thrown terms ihan he had hitherto offered. Whether wide open for him to do the best he can.” he would have observed them if accepted, is So bold a defiance enraged the Basha beperhaps questionable. The Grand Master yond measure. He “swore by his Mahound" agreed to the conference, as the gaining even and proclaimed by a herald to those within a day was desirable, for the repose of the the walls, that the city should be sacked, and garrison, and for the additional chance of (except children of tender years, who would some succor from the west. An interview be sold into slavery) every living soul put to took place accordingly between an envoy the sword or impaled :-“et fit faire" (says from the Basha, and Messire Anthony Gual- Mary Dupuis) “quatre cens paulx tous protier, governor of the castle, on behalf of the pres"-(Caoursin says 8,000)-continued Order. The wall and ditch separated them io batter the Jewish quarter more furiously while" loquentes simul,” as the superscrip- than ever, and ostentatiously paraded scaling tion of the woodcut hath it: so that the con. ladders on every side, to induce the defenders versation was carried on in a loud voice. to scatter their forces at a distance from the The Turkish ambassador assumed the tone breach which he intended to storm. The of the stronger party, anxious to spare the wall was now such a mass of ruins, and the weaker from the horrors of a sack, which if ditch so fully filled up, that he might have they were obstinate must fall upon them ridden on horseback through the breach into sooner or later; expressed the Basha's won- the town. The Grand Master as usual anider at the bravery of the defence, but asked mates all the garrison by his example, and how they could reasonably expect to resist a does not leave the "pomerium" night or sovereign who had already conquered so day; nor are the "magnanimous bailiffs, many cities and kingdoms; promised the priors, preceptors, or brothers of the Order," best terms that could be imagined, the free backward in their duty, nor the Greeks, and honorable possession of the island, on citizens, and merchants. The spirit of both their consenting to become allies of the Grand sides is kept up by martial music. At rise Seignior; and concluded by again exhorting and set of sun the Turks approach the ditch them to take pity on themselves and those of with a noise of drum and fife, chanting songs the town, and not persist in incurring such of triumph over the victory they have yet to cruel sufferings as the Basha was wont to win. They are answered by the defant notes inflict upon all cities which resisted him to l of the Christian trumpets within--" nostri in