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caravan to Bagdad, Shirley professing himself a mer: chant, who expected goods by the next; but this pre. tence, and the number of his retinue, excited suspicions, and. all he brought was seized at the custom-house; which reduced them to live on the piece-meal sale of the clothes they wore: his anxiety in this situation was observed by a Florentine, named Victorio Spiciera, who was proceeding to Ormus in order to embark for China, and had frequently conversed with Shirley during the journey from Aleppo. He tried, by repeated questions, to discover his real condition and purpose; but failing, made up his own conjectures, that Shirley intended some signal mischief, either against the Turkish empire, or the sovereignty of the Portuguese in India, of which the one was as detestable to his piety, as the other to his traffic: from these motives, mixed perhaps with admiration of a character, which knew to personate romantic dignity, the Florentine determined not only to extricate him from the dangers of his present situation, but enable him to prosecute his views, whatsoever they might be. The emergency pressed; for the second caravan from Aleppo was come within ten days of Bagdad; and Spi,
ciera knew, that when the goods which Shirley had pretended to expect should not appear, he and all his fol. lowers would be doomed to imprisonment, if not worse. Fortunately, a caravan returning from Mecca to Persia arrived at this time, and encamped under the walls. Spiciera hired amongst them camels, horses, with all other necessaries of travel; and, when the caravan was ready to depart, revealed to Shirley the dangers which awaited him, and the measures he had taken for his preservation and success; confirming these assurances by the delivery of a great sum in gold, and many rarities of great value; so much in the whole amount, that Shirley declines to mention it, because he says it would not be believed. The Florentine left it to his honour to
repay him when he could ; and, for five days after the departure of the caravan, diverted suspicions of his escape by living in Shirley's house, to whom he pre
e more quiet from a fit of illness; he even requested the governor for his physician, knowing he had none; but was afterwards fined severely for these generous collusions.
“Fifty Janissaries were sent in pursuit of Shirley, but missed the caravan; which employed fifty days on the march to Casbin; where the aids of Spiciera enabled Shirley to equip himself and followers in sumptuous array, to live splendidly, and to make presents ; which procured commendations to Shah Abbas, who arrived at Casbin a month after, and was saluted by Shirley and his company at his entrance into the city, when the king distinguished him with the most honourable notice. The next day Shirley sent the king a present of jewels and Italian rarities, which were not only curious, but costly beyond the expectation of homage; and the more he professed that he had come to offer his service on his own account, and at his own expense, the more the king inclined to believe, that the denial was intended, by concealing, to heighten the elegant compliment of his monarch ; and at all events, could not resist the complacence of regarding the resort of this band of strangers as a signal proof of the great extent of his own fame, which Shirley took care on all occasions to inculcate,
“ It was the way of Shah Abbas, to discern those he employed by familiarities. Shirley was solemn in behaviour, pompous in elocution, quick in apprehension, and guarded in argument; and having served both at land and sea, was capable of suggesting the military ideas of Europe; which could not fail to attract the attention of a monarch whose ruling passion was the fame
of war: he even visited Shirley in his house, to examine a book of fortifications; and having, during a daily converse of six weeks, treated him more with the respect of a guest than the distance of a solicitor, on the very day before his departure to Cassan, declared him a Mirza, or lord in his service, and referred him to the treasurer ; who, as soon as the king was gone, sent to Shirley a present, which consisted of money to the amount of sixteen thousand ducats ; forty horses, all accoutred; two, intended for his brother and himself with saddles plated with gold, and set with rubies and torquoises; the others, with silver and embroidered velvet ; twelve camels laden with tents, and all furniture, not only for the field, but for his house in Casbin, which likewise was bestowed on him : he was ordered to follow the king to Cassan, from whence he accompanied him to Ispahan, and was treated by him with the same deference as before he had accepted his service.
Daily and artful suggestions prepared the way to the advice which Shirley had long premeditated, that the king should renew the war against the Turks, and depute an ambassador to excite the princes of Christendom to co-operate by land and sea from the west, whilst Persia inyaded the Turkish territories on the east: this. commission Shirley designed for himself, but avoided the mention. Nevertheless this intention was penetrated by the vizir, and several other of the principal noblemen, who said that the proposal was the artful scheme of a needy adventurer, seeking the sumptuous enjoyment of exalted fortune at the risk of an empire: but the king inclined to the war, which he regarded as inevitable; and reasoned, that if the mission of Shirley should be ineffectual, the detriment would be no more than the loss of the expense, which he foresaw would, even in this event, increase the reputation of his magnificence, without diminishing the solid estimation of his abilities. « The next morning the king went to Shirley's house, and entered fully into the discussion of the war and embassy to Europe, affecting to expect little hope from it, but to comply merely as a testimony of his extreme regard to Shirley, from whom he had received such undoubted proof of his own, by the fatigue and expense of his journey to Persia, and the risks to which he now offered to expose himself for his service. Shirley, in a very long discourse, explained all the probabilities of his plan :—that the emperor of Germany was already at war with the Turks; that the Pope would excite all the other catholic princes; that the king of Spain was
at continual enmity with the government of Algiers, which was subservient to the Turkish empire; that the invitations of the king would attract merchants and Christians of all other arts, trades, and occupations, who would not only increase the commerce of his country, but introduce new methods and inventions of great utility, especially to the improvement of his warfare ; and that the liberal schism of religion, which the king wished to promote as a descendant of Sesi, between his own subjects and the Turks, would be encouraged by the intercourse of Christians, whom they would be accustomed to see drinking wine, and exercising other tolerances, which the Turks held in detestation.
“ The king still cautiously avoided any expressions which might indicate much expectation, or any solicitude of assistance from the Christian princes ; in which he properly maintained his own dignity, by not trusting to the report of a stranger such a confession of the hopes or wishes he might entertain; but appeared much content with the probability of drawing European merchants to his country ; for the increase of its trade had long been a principal attention of his government. On this ground he consented to the embassy, and required Shirley'to undertake it ; who, after many apologies of his
insufficiency, accepted the commission with as much satisfaction as he had pretended diffidence. Shirley requested, that a young nobleman of distinction, named Assan Cawn, might accompany him, to be the witness of his conduct; which was granted, but soon after revoked, by reason of his marriage with an aunt of the king; when Shirley, to conciliate the vizir and other ministers, accepted Cuchin Allabi, a man of ordinary rank and suspected character. As Shirley could not pass through the Turkish dominions to Aleppo, excepting in disguise, it was resolved that he should proceed through Russia; which at this time was so little free quented by travellers, and so suspicious of them, that the king sent forward one of his officers as an ambassador to the czar, in order to announce his mission, and to procure him good reception through the country.
“ The day before that appointed for his departure, the king visited him, as if to recapitulate all the points of the various negotiations which he had intrusted to his conduct ; and now, with his usual foresight and sagacity, broke his last proposal, which, although dictated by warrantable suspicion, he clothed with the garb of elegant compliment. It was, that Robert Shirley should remain at his court during his brother's absence. Robert was present; and, without waiting his brother's answer, proffered himself to remain. This resolution produced a new arrangement in the retinue of Anthony; and several of his English followers were left with Robert. The king, as the last compliment, according to Shirley's relation, rode with him, when he set out, six miles on the way from Ispahan ; and then, he says, took leave of him, not without tears, although they had never spoke to one another but through an interpreter.
“ The travellers were two months, not without evil chances, before they had passed the Caspian to Astrachan, where they found the ambassador sent to the czar.”