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Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent

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THE IMPERIAL ORDER OF THE OTTOMAN CRESCENT, INSTITUTED IN AUGUST 1799, AND DESCRIPTION OF THE CHELENGK, OR PLUME OF TRIUMPH.

 It is an event which forms a memorable aera in the annals of the eighteenth century, that the Ottomans, against whom the first Order of Knighthood was established, should have instituted a military one, to recompense the bravery of a Christian Hero, and expressly with a view to commemorate a Victory gained on their own coasts, and upon which depended their existence as a Nation.

This order was, in the first instance, instituted to reward the unexampled exploits of Lord NELSON in the Battle of the Nile, and was sent to him in August, 1799, by Sultan Selim III. The distinguished success of the Army under Abercromby and Hutchinson on the plains of Egypt, in 1801, and the important services rendered by the navy under Lord Keith, induced the Sublime porte to extend this Order, and it has been formed into two classes. Lord Hutchinson, Major General Sir Eyre Coote, Lord Keith, Sir Richard Bickerton, and several other military and naval officers of rank, have been invested with the insignia of the first class; and a great many British officers of subordinate rank have had the badge, assigned to the second class, conferred upon them.

The decorations of the Order are composed of a badge, or medallion, of an oval form, on which are represented, upon a field of azure, argent, a Crescent, and a star, argent, in the centre: the whole is surrounded with diamonds: the ribbon is of a red colour. The knights of the first class wear it scarf-wise, with the badge appendant; and on the left side of their upper apparel is embroidered a star of silver, in the form of a radiant sun, bearing in the centre the star and crescent, on a field of azure. The ensigns which distinguish the knights of the second class are nearly the same with the following variations: the medallion is somewhat smaller than that assigned to those of the first class, and is not ornamented with jewels; the ribbon is not so broad; it is worn saltier-wise; and the junior knights have no star.

The Grand Seignior was so highly satisfied with Lord Nelsonís describing himself as a Knight of the Imperial Order of the Ottoman Crescent, in the Articles of Capitulation entered into with the Court of Denmark, on the 9th of April 1801, that he was please to add a ribbon and gold medal to the star.

The diamond Aigrette, called Chelengk, or Plume of Triumph, and a sable fur Pelisse, were presented by the Grand Seignior, in September, 1798, as a mark of the high esteem and sense of the gallant conduct of Lord Nelson in the glorious and decisive Victory of the Nile. The King thought fit to grant him his gracious permission to bear this Chelengk as his Crest on a Naval Crown, Or, as an honourable augmentation to his Armorial Ensigns. Such an honour, as a Plume of Triumph, had been, upon very famous and memorable successes of the Ottoman arms, conferred only upon victorious (Mussulmen) Seraskers, as the ne plus ultra of personal honour, separate from official dignity; but, it is believed, the like was never before conferred upon a disbeliever of the Mahometan faith. The one in question is indeed rich of its kind, being a blaze of brilliants, crowned with a vibrating plumage`, and a radiant star in the middle, turning upon its centre by means of a watch-work, which winds up behind. The plumage is composed of thirteen diamond sprigs, in allusion to the thirteen ships taken and destroyed in the Bay of Aboukir. This badge of military glory had been a part of the imperial insignia worn by the Ottoman Monarchs, and was absolutely taken from one of the imperial turbans, and the appropriate augmentations made to it. According to the ideas which the Ottomans annex to a Plume of Triumph, it is considered by them equivalent to the first Order of Chivalry in Christendom.

The Kingís warrant, permitting Lord Nelson to accept and wear the insignia of the Imperial Order of the Ottoman Crescent, is dated the 20th of March, 1802, and registered in the College of Arms.

(first order of knighthood was Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; who were afterwards called Knights of Rhodes, and now Knights of Malta. Instituted in the year 1048)

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