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APPENDIX C.—THE JEWS OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
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memorable charters. The one, known as the Hatti-sherif of Oulhane, bears a date corresponding with the 3rd of November, 1839; and the other, entitled Ilatti-humayun, was issued in 1856. By these two famous edicts all subjects of Sultan Abdul-Medjid were placed on a footing of perfect equality before the law. Their individual and communal liberty was with much solemnity assured to them without any ambiguity. Abdul-Medjid had in 1839 ascended the throne, and, being anxious to repair the misfortunes which the recent war with Mehemet Ali of Egypt had inflicted upon the Turkish monarchy, proclaimed in the Hatti-sherif that he intended, by means of new and equitable regulations, to afford to the several provinces of his dominions the benefit of a good and honest administration; and he also pledged himself in the most solemn manner to adopt such measures as would secure to all his subjects the fullest protection of " life, honour, and property." It is recorded in the same document that its contents were publicly communicated to a large assembly of the great functionaries of the State. Among these personages were mentioned the " Rabbis of the Jews." They, together with other notables of Constantinople, had been summoned to meet " in the great square of Gulhane, which is situated in the precincts of the Imperial Palace." At that grand meeting the Sultan announced his intention, and affirmed it by a solemn oath, that he would faithfully carry into effect the concessions granted of his own accord in the above-named charter.
In the Hatti-humciyun, it was ordained, with reference to the Jews, that the Grand-Rabbis, on entering upon their official appointments, should bind themselves by a solemn oath to the conscientious discharge of their public duties— the form of the oath being referred for settlement to the Sublime Porte, jointly with the bodies concerned in the respective proceedings. The secular business of each communal section was at the same time committed to the management of a special Council, which was to be elected by the ecclesiastical and the secular authorities. This second charter reiterated the concession of equal rights to all Ottoman subjects of the Sultan, without any distinction of creed. It also declared that all youths were admissible into the civil and military colleges, provided that they passed the preliminary examinations, and otherwise satisfied the legal conditions.
These two edicts still retain their validity in the Ottoman legislature. Religious belief forms no longer a
legitimate
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