Özkaya, Υ., “Canikli Ali Paşa’nın risalesi “Tedâbîrü’l-ğazavât”, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil-Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi 7/12-13 (1969), 119-191 (transcription in pp. 135-73)
The author begins by explaining how he came to write the treatise, in the context of his continuous efforts for the army and the welfare of the subjects, as a response to the short war waged by Zand Karim Khan, the new Persian ruler, against Baghdad, which necessitated “new measures”. First, Canikli narrates in lengthy detail the shortcomings of the Baghdad governor and the imminent dangers for the Crimea due to the intrigues of the all-too-close to the Sultan ex-khans and the neglect of the proper arrangement of the Crimean affairs in Istanbul. Stressing the importance of such border regions (to which he also includes Egypt, “the end of Arab [lands]”: nihayet-i arab, O139), he describes the disadvantages of Russian ships going freely past the straits (O140) and suggests immediate measures for Baghdad. Canikli argues that Sultans should campaign in person; if they stay in the capital and leave the leadership of the army to the Grand Vizier, the substitute (kaymakam) of the latter will take advantage and try to take his place. Because all responsibility for the military affairs, whether they turn good or bad, will fall to the ruler, Sultans should rather stay in Edirne instead (O142-143). In the same vein, he proposes that the chief marshal of the Iran campaign should be named a vizier and be accompanied by a steward (devlet kethüdası) and a scholar from Rumili, each one inspecting the other and thus ensuring that everybody will act according to the law (gerek şer’î ve gerek kanûnî). The detailed instructions Canikli gives for the campaign include a warning for the retinue of the viziers and generals: they should be provided with special orders and diplomas so as they do not disperse after taking their gifts. Moreover, consultation in army affairs is very important, as whenever military commanders were moved out of selfishness (nefsaniyet) the army was destroyed. On the other hand, commanders should not be removed for a trifle; they may understand their mistakes and mend them accordingly by themselves.
Now Canikli passes to the subject of mübaaya or state purchase of army supplies (O146-150). He describes the ways it leads to oppression and theft, and remarks that judges take the ayan and the inspectors’ (mübaşir) side against the reaya; this task should be done under the personal inspection by the Sultan or his defterdar. To this aim, the defterdar or the Grand Vizier (sahib-i devlet) must make secret inspections and draw reliable lists of the peasants and their production. Canikli then describes the tricks used by the ayan of Rumili in such situations to hoard and profit. If some oppressive ayan are executed or exiled to Cyprus every year, he concludes, the poor peasants would be saved from their hands (O148). The elaborate instructions for the proper purchase of army supplies focus in the need for a personal involvement of the central government officials, without local intermediaries.
Canikli then proceeds to the usual enumeration of a vizier’s moral qualities; he stresses that viziers ought to be old and experienced, so as they would not owe respect to personalities (such as ulema or descendants of the Prophet) other than the Sultan (O150-151). He gives the example of Köprülü Mehmed Paşa, who was obliged to make unjust executions because he had no fame whatsoever before his appointment; other examples of disastrous vizierates include making enemies in all sides and being corrupt. As for the Sultan, he must be perfect in his ways because people will imitate him. Suleyman I, the “master of laws” (kanun sahibi) was always acting according to the law (şer’an ve kânûnen); and Murad IV showed such courage that all the people of his time imitated him and managed to make all these nice conquests. In this time, laments Canikli, people only care for their profit (kâr u kesbe mâ’il); it is advisable that the Sultan follows the law (şer’e ve kânûna tatbîk ideler), that he acts with majesty (celalet), and that he encourages knowledge, so as to form an example for the subjects. As an example of subjects gone astray (presumably due to the imperfection of the Sultans), the author cites the gunners, who have not learnt how to use their weapon, and the ulema, who practice or permit a kind of concealed usury in the form of the canonical alms-giving (O152).
Next, Canikli argues that officers such as the defterdar or the kapudan pasha must be appointed for life (kayd-ı hayat ile), and he tries (in a somehow strange way) to stress their importance by comparing them to the administrators of the arsenal; by the way, he describes the details of the misadministration of the imperial powder-mills. Furthermore, the sultan must give the vezirial rank to worthy people, regardless of their previous situation, after having checked their background and behaviour (especially their knowledge of the situation of the peasants, and their ability in war) in the case they come from “outside” (taşradan; O154). In general, as far as it concerns the rank of vizier, persons originating in the palace (ocaklu) must be given preference to those coming from outside; also, one should be promoted along a single career line (tarik): for instance, an agha of the janissaries is not to become a vizier (O156).
Canikli emphasizes the importance of consultation (meşveret), primarily for the war affairs but also for other issues. The Sultan must ask ulema, upright people and state officials for questions such as the appointment of a major-general; on the other hand, people who claim to have mystic knowledge such as dervishes or astrologers should not participate to such councils because they usually are charlatans seeking nothing but their private gain (O158). After remarking that now people seek gold, whereas in the old times they fought for a robe of honour (i.e. for the love of the Sultan), Canikli jumps to the provincial tax administration and suggests that offices such as the voyvoda or the tax-farmer should not be given to unknown persons but to people who have deep knowledge of a province and of its peasants; in the opposite case, there are various ways for such officers to fall prey to infidel usurers (O159-160). In an interesting excursus, the author states that the treasury should not be given more importance than it deserves: whenever an officer receives an order, his answer is invariably that there is no money, but this is only a pretext not to do the task—and moreover, a contribution to the majesty of the enemies. Mustafa III tried to win the 1768 war with money, with no avail, while all the conquests of old were done by valour and zeal rather than money (O160). If the Sultan looks after his subjects, takes care of the army discipline and consults with the right people, he will have no need of the treasury. Now, notes Canikli, in matters of war it is the ulema and the high officers (ricâl-ı devlet) who give their opinion, rather than the military officials, whereas in the old times the officials and viziers were asked on the order and protection of the imperial lands, the military on war affairs and the ulema on whether the advice given by the other two classes were compatible with the law (şer’e ve kânûna mutâbık; O161).
When war is imminent, the Sultan must first ask the high janissary officers on the number of salaried soldiers; he will discover that in the pursuit of gain everybody, from the petty traders (bakkal ve çakkal) till the infidel reaya, has been enlisted in the army ranks in exchange for bribes, and nobody actually goes in campaign. The Sultan must thus hold these officers responsible and ask them to take care of these problems. Similar measures should be taken concerning the gunners and bombardiers: their officers should be asked how the corps has arrived to be ignorant of their weapons. The reason for all these shortcomings is the intrusion of inappropriate people, servants of the households of the great statesmen and ulema (ricâl ve ulemâ kapusunun hidmetleri; O162), into the ranks; the officers must be made to cleanse these ranks. The same goes for the provincial armies, which must be rearranged with the help of two viziers, one for Rumeli and one for Anatolia (O163-164), as well as for the cavalry (O164-165); for all these, Canikli proposes a strict interrogation of the officers by the Sultan to the effect that all intruders, of peasant or urban origin, should be excluded from the military ranks. The Grand Vizier in person should ask every soldier where and how his diploma (esame) was obtained, so as to make sure that only active soldiers fill the army. Canikli also laments the situation of the timariot cavalry; the sipahis have been led to sell their horses for economic need and have been obliged to serve in the retinue of magnates and viziers. Again the Sultan should inspect the registers of the timar villages and the lists of provincial sipahis; what is more, these timars should be revived: the sipahis must be ordered to move there with their families and provide the peasants with oxen and seed. If they are not able to come up in times of campaign, they should give their timars to other candidates; as for those officers and magnates who hold timar revenues without being entitled to them, they must be executed (O166-167). Furthermore, Canikli gives detailed instructions for the order of an army in campaign, the arrangement of camps, the patrols guarding them, the order of battle and so forth. He justifies the importance he gives to these arrangements by stressing that nowadays wars are based on artillery rather than sword-fighting (O169).
Finally, Canikli deals with matters pertaining to Istanbul (O170-173). Because of the continuous campaigns, the presence of robbers (kapusuz levendât eşkiyâsı) and the greed of state officials (hademe-i devlet), peasants from the provinces have fled massively to the capital. Istanbul has grown in such a degree that it needs feeding from all its four mouths, namely the Aegean, the Black Sea, Anatolia and Rumeli; as the transport of goods from both land and sea gets difficult during the winter, profiteering merchants raise the prices, while the inhabitants gather in barber-shops and coffeehouses and accuse the administrators (zâbıtân) who take bribes instead of looking after the order. Since the viziers and other palace officials devote their time only to the affairs of the capital, ignoring the provinces, the latter have decayed; as a result, everybody comes to Istanbul, thinking that life there is easy, with the side effect that the peasants who remain in their avariz-hane (tax units) have to pay much more taxes than they should; all the more so since the poll-tax is farmed out as a fixed sum (maktu’an). This vicious circle results in more and more infidel peasants flowing into Istanbul. They find salaries and stipends from the custom-house or the janissaries, and thus further weaken the treasury; moreover, with such density of population it is difficult to discern the good from the inappropriate, which leads to the appointment of indecent people in various ranks and posts.
The reason for all this, according to Canikli, is that viziers only care for the provisioning and the revenues of Istanbul and neglect the provinces (O172). However, Istanbul is said to have eighty thousand quarters, each one of them having from one to five hundred houses; if each household was to give one kuruş for the needs of the army in times of campaign the treasury would be filled. Canikli seems persuaded that the inhabitants of the capital would not feel the burden, since they are all well-to-do: the magnates have practically given an appointment to everybody, as everyone of them has assumed the role of the protector of a quarter, and thus these folk do nothing but build nice houses and pass their time in coffeehouses. “I say that Istanbul is the place of the rich”, he concludes. But if the Sultan takes care of the provinces, the treasury will prosper and Istanbul will be less crowded.