The English School, Vol. 4

The English School, Vol. 4

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Excerpt from The English School, Vol. 4: A Series of the Most Approved Productions in Painting and Sculpture

The annexed picture represents a Circassian chieftain selling to a Turkish Pacha some prisoners which he has captured in a marauding expedition against a neighbouring tribe.

The scene passes at the residence of the Turk, whither the conqueror has resorted with his booty as to a sure market. The two chief traffickers in human flesh had apparently brought their negotiation to a close, and the purchaser is in the act of presenting a purse to the Tender; but his hand is arrested by an officious counsellor at his elbow, who appears desirous to try the result of another haggle, and recalls Byron's words on a similar transaction.

"They haggled, wrangled, swore too - to they did!
As though they were in a mere Christian fair,
Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid,
So that their bargain sounded like a battle
For this superior yoke of human cattle."

Don Joan, Canto V.

The unhappy captives for the most part await the conclusion of this ceremony in submissive silence, and, kneeling before the divan, hope to propitiate their purchaser by humility; it is not so, however, with a beautiful girl whose hand is held by the Circassian Warrior, and who appears deeply sensible of her degradation; her brother by her side attempts to resist; but the high-spirited youth is mastered by numbers. The soldiers of the Pacha, and the followers of the Chief guarding other prisoners, fill up the composition.

The conception and execution of this picture are entitled to high praise: it is the property of the Earl of March and Wemyss, and has been well engraved by Stewart of Edinburgh.

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