was not safe to keep the precious person of the prince at Rhodes, so near the realm of Bayazid, who was ready to resort to any foul means of seizing or destroying him; and Jem and the Grand-Master agreed that France would be the best retreat, pending the efforts which they hoped would be made to restore him. To France, accordingly, Jem sailed (September, 1482). After his departure, the Knights concluded first a treaty of peace with Bayazid for the Sultan's lifetime, and secondly a contract by which he agreed to pay them 45,000 ducats a year, in return for which the Grand-Master undertook to maintain and guard Jem in such a way as to cause no inconvenience to the Sultan. In an age when the violation of engagements was regarded as justifiable, and was even in certain cases recommended by the heads of the Church, there is no more shameless instance of perfidy than this. D'Aubusson had guaranteed Jem his freedom, and undertaken to espouse his cause; he now took Bayazid's money to be Jem's jailor. His conduct could not even be defended on the plea of the interests of religion, which in those days were often furthered by dishonesty and bad faith; on the contrary, it was a treachery to the cause of Christendom, to which Jem's ambitions—according to the letters which D'Aubusson himself wrote to the western powers—furnished so unique an opportunity against its foe. For six years Jem was kept a prisoner in France, being constantly removed from one castle to another by his Rhodian guards, and making repeated attempts to escape which were always frustrated; while the Pope, the King of Naples, and the King of Hungary were each seeking to induce D'Aubusson to deliver the prince into his hands. At length Innocent VIII came to an arrangement. The concession of various privileges, and a cardinal's hat for D'Aubusson, persuaded the Knights, who were already anxious to rid themselves of a charge which involved them in troublesome relations with both Bayazid and the Sultan of Egypt. Another series of negotiations was required to obtain from Charles VIII permission for Jem to leave France; and not till March 1489 did the Turkish prince arrive at Rome. Pope Alexander VI, who succeeded Innocent in 1492, and who was threatened by the invasion of Charles VIII, affected the most friendly relations with Bayazid and had recourse to him for money and other support. In 1494 the document containing this Pope's instructions to his envoy, together with letters from Bayazid, was intercepted at Sinigaglia, in the possession of Turkish envoys who had landed at Ancona and were on their way to Rome. The compromising papers were taken to Charles VIII at Florence, and the Pope's treachery to Christendom was exposed. One of the Sultan's communications to the Pope is significant. Considering—wrote Bayazid in Latin, a language with which he was well acquainted—that sooner or later Jem must die, it would be well, for the tranquillity of his Holiness and the satisfaction of the Sultan, to hasten a death which for him would be life; and therefore he implored the Pope to remove Jem
Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/122
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