12 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
INNER COURT OF THE MOSQUE OF SULTAN OSMAN.
Mahomed III. was distinguished by vice and imbecility; but his reign was embellished
by learned and upright men. Risman Ben Ac Hissar wrote a treatise on government for
the use of his master, which, notwithstanding the excellent precepts contained in it, seems
to have but little improved his weak and vicious sovereign. The treatise has come
down to us, with many sage maxims. One was—" that it is the duty of a prince to
govern with equity, for his own interest is concerned in it: justice is the support of the
throne, and Allah requires that those persons only should be entrusted with power and
dignity, who show themselves worthy of exercising them." Another, more shrewd,
declares that " a thousand friends are too few, and one enemy too many;" but the only
injunction that seems to have had any weight with the heedless monarch was, that "he
should not only honour and respect the Ulemah (men of the law,) but promote all
his undertakings by securing the aid of their prayers, for they have the inheritance of the
gifts of the Prophet." Influenced by this advice, he determined on building a mosque, and
adding another imperial Djami to the capital: in order to make it more splendid than that
of any of his predecessors, he sent architects to collect the models of the Christian cathedrals in Europe, that his mosque might be constructed from the perfections of them all.
This heterodox intention, however, was opposed by the Ulemah, who deriounced it as
a'desecration of a temple dedicated to the Prophet; and while he hesitated in his architectural plans, and before he had matured the whole design, death overtook him, and he
left his mosque unfinished.
It was reserved for Osman, or Ottoman, to complete it. His vizir died immensely rich,
and, by the maxims of the Turkish empire, his wealth reverted to the sovereign. " The
Sultan," says the law, " never loses his inheritance to wealth, for, cast it upon the ocean,
and let it sink to the bottom, it will again rise to the surface, and become visible."
Enabled, it should appear, by this accession of means, he set about completing the
unfinished mosque of his predecessor. This he effected, though his pious work did not
propitiate Allah to alter his decrees with respect to his own fate; it was very miserable.
He was seized by Daud, his rebellious vizir, and sent a prisoner to the Seven Towers ;
here, at the age of nineteen, in the prime of life, vigour of youth, and bloom of beauty,
he was strangled, his features mutilated, and one of his ears cut off, and sent as a grateful present to his successor.
Notwithstanding the intentions of its first architect, the design of the mosque of
Osman is purely Oriental; yet it has an elegant appearance. The approach is by an
arcade, supported by a colonnade of light and lofty pillars, enclosing the court. The
whole of the interior is covered by an expansive dome, without any visible support of
columns. Our illustration represents the court with the congregation gathering for