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Sketch of the Turkish Eace and Government 

The Policy of the British Ministry 

The Questions and Answers.. 

The Discovery of the Bulgarian Horrors 

The British Fleet at Besika Bay 

The Snares to be avoided 

The Ends to be pursued 





In^ the difficult question of the East, entangled by so 
many cross-purposes and interests, the people of this 
country have shown a just, but a very remarkable, 
disposition to repose confidence in the Government 
of the day : and the Government of the day has 
availed itself to the uttermost of that disposition. 
For months the nation was content, though measures 
and communications known to be of the highest in- 
terest were in progress, to remain without official 
information, and to subsist upon the fragmentary and 
uncertain notices which alone would transpire through 
the press. It had to dispense not only with official 
information, but with discussion in the House ot 
Commons. Only on the thirty-first of July did the 
House of Commons receive, from the bounty of the 
Government, after interminable delays and in the 
dregs of the Session, a single night in which to re- 
view the transactions of the Administration, together 


with those of other Powers, during a twelvemonth, 
and to ascertain the prospects and policy of the 
coming recess. The lateness of the period fixed for 
the debate went far to insure its inefficiency.) But 
this was not enough ; and further precautions were 
adopted. It was announced that, if the debate over- 
flowed this narrow limit, it could only be finished in 
fragments ; the ordinary business of the Government 
must proceed in preference to it, but it could doubt- 
less be renewed on some day of yet thinner benches, 
deeper exhaustion, and greater nearness to the Twelfth 
of August, the principal and inviolate festival of the 
sportsman's calendar. 

So much for discussion. Next as to information. 
For not weeks only but months together, appeal after 
appeal was made to the Government to supply Par- 
liament with full and authentic information, in lieu of 
the scanty and uncertain notices which alone could be 
obtained from unofficial sources. Appeal after appeal 
was met with dilatory pleas. In these pleas, taken 
singly, there may often be much reason ; but, in the 
aggregate, they were pushed to excess. Some measure 
was in progress, and could not be explained till it 
was completed; or was completed, and therefore a 
thing of the past, which had disappeared from the range 
of discussion ; or was in contemplation, and the public 
interest would suffer by disclosure. During this 
time, instead of preparing the papers and documents, 
to be ready for instant presentation, when presenta- 


tion might be allowable, they were left unprepared^ 
so that after every reason and every pretext for with- 
holding them had been exhausted, precious weeks 
were lost afresh in the necessary labours for, and 
of, the press. 

And the ending of this extraordinary confidence 
on the one side, and of these free drafts upon it from 
the other, what has it been ? That we have had by 
degrees, from private and voluntary exertion, the 
knowledge which it was the bounden duty of the 
Administration to supply : and that, by the light 
which this knowledge casts upon past events we 
learn with astonishment and horror that, so far as 
appears, we have been involved, in some amount, at 
least, of moral complicity with the basest and blackest 
outrages upon record within the present century, if 
not within the memory of man. 

The effect of the course which was taken by the Go- 
vernment was by no means confined within the walls 
of Parliament. For securing the escape of a great 
question from public vigilance there is no expedient 
comparable to adjourning Parliamentary discussion 
of it until the dying hours of a Session. For thus it 
is brought before the public mind at a time when the 
.nation is in holiday, when society as well as Parha- 
ment is prorogued, when the natural leaders of every 
country or municipal community are dispersed. It 
is the great vacation of the year, when no one 
expects, and few will consent, to be called to serious 
business. All, who are acquainted with the inner 


working of our Parliamentary as well as our social 
system, know the weight as well as the truth of what 
I now say. 

The state of the case, then, is this. The House of 
Commons has in the main been ousted from that 
legitimate share of influence which I may call its 
jurisdiction in the case. A subject of paramount 
weight goes before the people at tlie time when 
the classes having leisure, and usually contributing 
most to form and guide public opinion, are scat- 
tered, as disjointed units, over the face of this 
and of other countries. In default of Parliamentary 
action, and a public concentrated as usual, we must 
proceed as we can, with impaired means of appeal. 
But honour, duty, compassion, and I must add shame, 
are sentiments never in a state of coma. The 
working men of the country, whose condition is less 
affected than that of others by the season, have to 
their honour led the way^ and shown that the great 
heart of Britain has not ceased to beat. And the 
large towns and cities, now following in troops, are 
echoing back, each from its own place, the mingled 
notes of horror, pain, and indignation. 

Let them understand that the importance of their 
meetings, on this occasion at least, cannot be over- 
rated. As Inkerman was the soldiers' battle, so this 
is the nation's crisis. The question is not only 
whether unexampled wrongs shall receive effectual and 
righteous condemnation, but whether the only effec- 
tive security shall be taken against its repetition. In 


order to take this security, tlie nation will have to 
speak through its Government : but we now see 
clearly that it must first teach its Government, almost 
as it would teach a lisping child, what to say. Then 
will be taken out of the way of an united Europe the V 
sole efiicient obstacle to the punishment of a gigantic 

I have thus far endeavoured to describe how it 
has come about that the nation, deprived of its most 
rightful and most constitutional aids, has been called 
upon at the season when the task would under 
ordinary circumstances be impossible, to choose be- 
tween leaving its most sacred duties unperformed, 
and taking the performance of them primarily into 
its own hands. 

Had the call upon the country been only that of ] 
Servia, Bosnia^ and the Herzegovina, it would have ■ 
been a grave one. But it is now graver far. By a 
slow and dijBficult process, the details of which I shall 
presently consider, and through the aid partly of 
newspaper correspondence, and partly of the author- 
ised agent of a foreign State, but not through our own 
Parliament, or Administration, or establishments ^ 
abroad, we now know in detail that there have been 
perpetrated, under the immediate authority of a 
Government to which all the time we have been 
giving the strongest moral, and for part of the time 
even material support, crimes and outrages, so vast 
in scale as to exceed all modern example, and so 
unutterably vile as well as fierce in character, that it 


passes the power of heart to conceive, and of tongue 
and pen adequately to describe them. These are the 
Bulgarian horrors; and the question is, What can 
and should be done, either to punish, or to brand, or 
to prevent ? 

The details of these abominations may be read 
in published Eeports, now known to be accurate 
in the main. They are hardly fit for reproduc- 
tion. The authors of the crimes are the agents, 
the trusted, and in some instances, the since-pro- 
moted servants,* of the Turkish Government. 'J'he 
moral and material support, which during the year 
has been afforded to the Turkish Government, has 
been given by the Government of England on behalf 
of the people of England. In order to a full compre- 
hension of the practical question at issue, it will be 
necessary to describe the true character and position 
of the Turkish Power, and the policy, as I think it ^ 
the questionable and erroneous policy, of the British j 

Eet me endeavour very briefly to sketch, in the 
rudest outline, what the Turkish race was and what 
it is. It is not a question of Mahometanism simply, 
but of Mahometanism compounded with the peculiar 
character of a race. They are not the mild Ma- 
hometans of India, nor the chivalrous Saladins of 
Syria, nor the cultured Moors of Spain. They were, 

* Of these there arc named Ahmed Aga and Tus«um Bey (Mr. 
Schuyler); also Chovket Pacha (Consul Reade). Tapers 5, p. 18. 



Upon the whole, from the black day when they first 
entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of 
humanity. Wherever they went, a broad line of blood 
marked the track behind them ; and, as far as their 
dominion reached, civilisation disappeared from view. 
They represented everywhere government by force, as 
opposed to government by law. For the guide of 
this life they had a relentless fatalism : for its 
reward hereafter, a sensual paradise. 

They were indeed a tremendous incarnation of 
military power. This advancing curse menaced the 
whole of Europe. It was only stayed, and that not 
in one generation, but in many, by the heroism of the 
European population of those very countries, part 
of which form at this moment the scene of war, and 
the anxious subject of diplomatic action. In the olden 
time, all Western Christendom sympathised with the 
resistance to the common enemy ; and even during 
the hot and fierce struggles of the Reformation, there 
were prayers, if I mistake not, offered up in the 
English churches for the success of the Emperor, the 
head of the Roman Catholic power and influence, in 
his struggles with the Turk. 

But although the Turk represented force as opposed 
to law, yet not even a government of force can be 
maintained without the aid of an intellectual element, 
such as he did not possess. Hence there grew up, 
what has been rare in the history of the world, a 
kind of tolerance in the midst of cruelty, tyranny, 
and rapine. Much of Christian life was contemp- 


tuously let alone ; much of the subordinate functions 
of government was allowed to devolve upon the 
bishops ; and a race of Greeks was attracted to Con- 
stantinople, which has all along made up, in some 
degree, the deficiencies of Turkish Islam in the 
element of mind, and which at this moment provides 
the Porte with its long known, and, I must add, highly- 
esteemed Ambassador in London. Then there have 
been from time to time, but rarely, statesmen whom 
we have been too ready to mistake for specimens of 
what Turkey might become, whereas they were in 
truth more like lusus naturce, on the favourable side ; 
monsters, so to speak, of virtue or intelligence ; and 
there were (and are) also, scattered through the com- 
munity, men who were not indeed real citizens, but 
yet who have exhibited the true civic virtues, and 
who would have been citizens had there been a true 
polity around them. Besides all this, the conduct of 
the race has gradually been brought more under the 
eye of an Europe, which it has lost its power to 
resist or to defy ; and its central government, in con- 
forming perforce to many of the forms and traditions 
of civilisation, has occasionally caught something of 
their spirit. 

This, I think, is not an untrue description of the 
past, or even of the present. The decay of martial 
energy, in a Power which was for centuries the 
terror of the world, is wonderful. Of the two 
hundred millions sterling which in twenty years it 
borrowed from the credulity of European Exchanges, 


a large part has been spent upon its military and 
naval establishments. (The result is before us.) It is 
at war with Servia, which has a population, I think, 
under a million and a half, and an army which is 
variously stated at from five to eight thousand ; the 
rest of those bearing arms are a hitherto half-drilled 
militia. It is also at war with the few scores of 
thousands of that very martial people, who inhabit 
the mountain tract of Montenegro. fUpon these 
handfuls of our *rac^ an empire of more than thirty 
millions discharges all its might : for this purpose it 
applies all it own resources, and the whole of the 
property of its creditors ; and, after two months of 
desperate activity, it greatly plumes itself upon 
having incompletely succeeded against Servia, and 
less doubtfully failed against Montenegro. Shades 
of Bajazets, Amuraths, and Mahmouds ! 

Twenty years ago, France and England deter- 
mined to try a great experiment in remodelling the 
administrative system of Turkey, with the hope of 
curing its intolerable vices, and of making good its 
not less intolerable deficiencies. For this purpose, 
having defended her integrity, they made also her 
independence secure ; and they devised at Constanti- 
nople the reforms, which were publicly enacted in an 
Imperial Firman or Hatti-humayoum. The successes 
of the Crimean War, purchased (with the aid of Sar- 
dinia) by a vast expenditure of French and English 
life and treasure, gave to Turkey, for the first time 


perhaps in her blood-stained history, twenty years 
of a repose not disturbed either by herself or by any 
foreign Power. The Cretan insurrection imparted a 
shock to confidence ; but it was composed, and Turkey 
again was trusted. The insurrections of 1875, much 
more thoroughly examined, have disclosed the total 
failure of the Porte to fulfil the engagements, which 
she had contracted under circumstances peculiarly 
binding on interest, on honour, and on gratitude. 
Even these miserable insurrections, she had not the 
ability to* put down. In the midway of the current 
events, a lurid glare is thrown over the whole case 
by the Bulgarian horrors. The knowledge of these 
events is, whether by indifference or bungling, kept 
back from us, but only for a time. The proofs are 
now sufficiently before us. And the case is this. 
Turkey, which stood only upon force, has in the 
main lost that force. It is a Prussian, we learn, who 
has planned her campaign. Power is gone, and the 
virtues, such as they are, of power ; nothing but its 
passions and its pride remain. 

It is time, then, 'to clear an account which we have 
long, perhaps too long, left unsettled, and almost 

In the discussion of this great and sad subject, the 
attitude and the proceedings of the British Govern- 
ment cannot possibly be left out of view. Indeed, 
the topic is, from the nature of the case, so promi- 
nent, and from the acts done, so peculiar, that I could 


hardly be excused from stating in express and decided 
terms what appear to me its grave errors; were it 
only that I may not seem, by an apparent reserve, 
also to insinuate against them a purposed complicity 
in crime, which it would be not only rash, but even 
wicked, to impute. The consequences of their acts 
have been, in my view, deplorable. But as respects 
the acts themselves, and the motives they appear to 
indicate, the faults I find are these. They have not 
understood the rights and duties, in regard to the sub- 
jects, and particularly the Christian subjects, of Turkey, 
which inseparably attach to this country in conse- 
quence of the Crimean War, and of the Treaty of 
Paris in 1856. They have been remiss when they 
ought to have been active ; namely, in efforts to com- 
pose the Eastern revolts, by making provision against^ 
the terrible misgovernment which provoked them. | 
They have been, active, where they ought to have 
been circumspect and guarded. It is a grave charge, 
which cannot be withheld, that they have given to 
a maritime measure of humane precaution the cha-. 
racter of a military demonstration in support of the 
Turkish Government. They have seemed to be 
moved too little by an intelligent appreciation of 
prior obligations, and of the broad and deep interests 
of humanity, and too much by a disposition to 
keep out of sight what was disagreeable and 
might be inconvenient, and to consult and flatter 
the public opinion of the day in its ordinary, 

/ c 


that is to say, its narrow, selfish, epicurean hu- 
mour. I admit that, until a recent date^ an opinion 
^w idely p revailed, and perhaps was not confined to 
any particular party, that this game had been 
played with success and even brilliancy, and that, 
amidst whatever mishaps and miscarriages elsewhere, 
the Government stood high upon its foreign, that 
is, its Eastern policy, in the approval of the 

Since that time, but two or three weeks have 
elapsed. But a curtain opaque and dense, which 
at the Prorogation had been lifted but a few inches 
from the ground, has since then — from day to day — 
been slowly rising. And what a scene it has dis- 
closed ! and where ! Nearly four long months have 
passed, during which there has been maintained in 
this country, almost until now, an unnatural and 
deadly calm. We now look backwards over this tract 
of lethargy as over days of ease purchased by dis- 
honour, the prolonged fascination of an evil dream. 
A voice, an almost solitary voice, sounded indeed over 
sea and land, in the month of June, to warn us of what 
was going on. There was no want of ears disposed 
to listen, when the tale told was of wholesale massacre 
perpetrated by the authority of a Government to 
which we had procured, in our living memory, 
twenty years of grace; and to which, without in- 
quiring how those years had been employed, we 
had this year defied Europe in affording the strong 


support of the British name. Nor was this all ; for 
those^holesaTe massacres ^ere declared to be com- 
plicated and set off with crimes, by the side of which 
the horror and infamy of massacre itself grew pale. 
But what then ? These allegations came from a 
nameless, an irresponsible, newspaper correspondent. 
With the instinct of prudent Englishmen, startled 
Peers and Members of Parliament put question after 
question to the Government. The effect, the general 
sense of the answers was what I may call a moral, 
though not a verbal, denial. Whatever they were 
meant to produce, they did produce the result, not of 
belief qualified by a reserve for occasional error, but 
of pisbelief qualified by a reserve for purely accidental 
truth^ And this was the attitude which, conformably 
to general and needful rules, we could not do other- 
wise than assume. For what was the staple of those 
answers ? They consisted of warnings against ex- 
aggeration ; of general attenuations of the matter, as 
what must be expected to happen among salvage 
races, with a different idea or code of morals from 
our own ; of cynical remarks, such as that the allega- 
tions of lingering inflictions hardly could be true, 
since the Turkish taste was known to incline towards 
dispatch; (of difficulties in deciding on which side 
lay the balance of crime and cruelty^ of bold assur- 
ances that the insurgents were the aggressors, sug- 
gesting the reflection that the chief responsibility- 
must rest on him who strikes the first blow; of 

c 2 


acquittals of the Turkish armies and authorities in 
general, by suggesting that we were really dealing 
with a momentary outbreak of fanaticism among a 
handful of irregulars, gone by almost as soon as come ; 
and, above allj at first with calm denials of know- 
ledge. It was these denials of knowledge, which 
we believed to amount to a negative demonstration. 
For we know that we had a well-manned Embassy 
at Constantinople, and a network of Consulates and 
Yice-Consulates, really discharging diplomatic duties, 
all over the provinces of European Turkey. That 
villages could be burned down by scores, and men, 
women, and children murdered, or worse than mur- 
dered, by thousands, in a Turkish province lying 
between the capital and the scene of the recent 
excitements, and that our Embassy and Consulates 
could know nothing of it ?— The thing was impos- 
sible. It could not be. -^ So silence was obtained, and 
relief ; and the well-oiled machinery of our luxurious, 
indifferent life worked smoothly on. There was a 
pressure of inquiry, but the door was each time 
quickly closed upon the question, as the stone lid 
used to be shut down, in the Campo Santo of Naples, 
upon the mass of human corpses that lay festering 

But inquiry was to be made. And at this point 
I think the Government are to be charged with 
a serious offence. For inquiry, in these times, 
means the employment of the Telegraph. But I 



must here turn aside for a moment, in the endeavour 
to do an act of justice. 

The first alarm respecting the Bulgarian outrages 
was, I believe, that sounded in the ' Daily News,' on 
the 23rd of June. I am sensible of the many services 
constantly rendered by free journalism to humanity, 
to freedom, and to justice. I do not undervalue the 
performances, on this occasion^ of the ' Times,' the 
Doyen of the press in this country, and perhaps in 
the world, or of the ' Daily Telegraph ; ' and our 
other great organs. But of all these services, 
so far as my knowledge goes, that which has 
been rendered by the * Daily News,' through its 
foreign correspondence on this occasion, has been 
the most weighty, I may say, the most splendid.* 
We are now informed (Pari. Papers No. 5, p. 6) 
that the accounts received by the German Govern- 
ment confirm its report. It is even possible that, 
[hut for the courage, determination, and ability of this 
single organ, we might, even at this moment, have 
remained in darkness, and Bulgarian wretchedness 
might have been without its best and brightest hope. 

On the 26th of June, the Duke of Argyll, in the 
House of Lords, and Mr. Forster in the House of 
Commons, made anxious inquiries respecting the 
statements contained in a communication from the 

* I believe it is understood that the gentleman who has 
fought this battle — for a battle it has been — with such courage, 
intelligence, and conscientious care, is Mr. Pears, of Constanti- 
nople, correspondent of the * Daily News,' for Bulgaria. 


correspondent of the ^ Daily News/ which had been 
published in the paper of the 23rd, following a more 
general statement on the 10th. In order not to load 
these pages too heavily, as well as on other grounds, 
I shall cite or describe, in referring to these pro- 
ceedings, chiefly the replies of the Head of the 

In answer, then, to Mr. Forster, Mr. Disraeli said, 
*^ We have no information in our possession which 
justifies the statements, to which the Right Hon. 
gentleman refers." The disturbances appeared to 
have been begun " by strangers, burning the villages 
without reference to religion or race." A war was 
carried on between " Bashi-Bazouks and Circas- 
sians," on one side, and " the invaders " on the other, 
and no doubt, " with great atrocity," much to be de- 
plored. Since that time, measures had been adopted 
to stop these " Bashi-Bazouks and Circassians." " I 
will merely repeat," he concluded, " that the infor- 
mation which we have at various times received does 
not justify the statements made in the journal which 
he has named."* 

I must add Lord Derby's concluding sentence : — 

" As the noble Duke has th)ught the evidence in this 
matter sufficient to justify him in bringing the subject 
before the House, I will make further inquiry, and 
communicate the result to your Lordships." 

There were reasons enough why others besides the 

* * Times,' June 27. 


Duke of Argyll, should have thought the evidence 
sufficient to require some notice. For, in the state- 
ment of the 'Daily News,' there were contained 
these ominous words : * — 

June 16. — "Even now it is openly asserted by 
the Turks, that England has determined to help 
the Grovernment to put down the various insur- 
rections. England, says a Turkish journal, will | 
defend us against Russia, while we look after our / 

So much for the first attempt to throw light into 
these dark places. 
_^ On the 8th of July, the ' Daily News ' inserted a 
second communication from its correspondent at 
Constantinople, confirming and extending the pur- 
port of the first. On the 10th, Mr. Forster renewed 
his inquiries. Mr. Disraeli stated, that there had not 
yet been time to receive any reply to the inquiries 
made. And this, though the Telegraph passes in a 
few hours, and the statement in question had appeared 
on the 23rd of June. Even now the only efficient 
instrument was not put in action, nor did this happen 
until July 14th ;f and within five days after that 
date, a British agent was on his way to the bloody 
scene. It is absolutely necessary that Her Majesty's 
Government should explain why the Telegraph had 

* Pari. Tapers, Turkey, 1876. No. 3, p. 336. 
\ Papers No. 5, p. 1. 


not at once been employed on the 26th or 27th of 

But other parts of the First Minister's reply re- 
quire notice. He hoped, " for the sake of human 
nature itself," that the statements were scarcely 
warranted. There had without doubt been atrocities 
in Bulgaria. This was a war "not carried on by 
regular troops, in this case not even by irregular 
troops, but by a sort o^ posse comitatus of an armed 
population." " I doubt whether torture" .... "has 
been practised on a great scale among an historical 
people, who seldom have, I believe, resorted to tor- 
ture, but generally terminate their connection with 
culprits in a more expeditious manner (laughter)." 
Every effort had been made, and would continue to 
be made, " to soften and mitigate as much as pos- 
sible the terrible scenes that are now inevitably 
occurring." Atrocities, he believed, were " inevit-^^ 
able, when wars are carried on in certain countries, 
and between certain races''* 

Down to this date what we have to observe is — 

First. The deplorable inefficiency of the arrange- 
ments of the Government for receiving informa- 

Secondly. The yet more deplorable tardiness of the 
means, adopted under Parliamentary pressure, for 
enlarging their store of knowledge. 

♦ ' Times/ July 15. 


Thirdly. The effect of the answers of the Prime 
Minister, from which it could not but be collected, 
by Parliament and the public, 

a. That the responsibility lay in the first in- 
stance with certain " invaders of Bulgaria." 

b. That the deplorable atrocities, which had 
occurred, were fairly divided, and were such 
as were incidental to wars " between certain 
racesT What could and did this mean, but 
between Circassians on the one side, and 
Bulgarians on the other ? It now appears 
that the Circassians had but a very small 
share in the matter. 

c. While the Bulgarians were thus loaded with 
an even share of responsibility for the " atro- 
cities," we were given to understand that the 
Turkish Government, and its authorized/ 
agents, appeared to be no parties to them. / 

d. That the ** scenes," that is, as is now demon- 
strated, the wholesale murders, rapes, tortures, 
burnings, and the whole devilish enginery 
of crime, " were to be mitigated and softened 
as much as possible." 

I am concerned to subjoin the following declara- 
tions stated to have been made by Lord Derby to a 
Deputation on the 14th of July. 


"He did not in the least doubt that there had 
been many acts of cruelty, and of wanton cruelty, 
committed hy the irregular troops of both sides . . . 
It was not a case of lambs and wolves, but of 
some savage razees, fighting in a peculiarly savage 
manner." * 

This declaration is a gross wrong inadvertently 
done to the people of Bulgaria ; and it ought to be 

Again, on the 17th of July, Mr. Baxter revived 

the interrogatories. By this time, as we have seen, 

the G-overnment had used the Telegraph, and they 

had ordered on the 15th a real and special inquiry 

from Constantinople, The subject could no longer 

be entirely trifled with. The Prime Minister made 

a lengthened statement, which occupies two columns 

of the * Times.' The main portion of it was extracted 

from official reports, which are now before the world ; 

and which did not in the smallest degree sustain 

either the doctrine of a fair division of the blame of 

inevitable atrocities, or an acquittal of the Turkish 

Government. But the Minister added matter of his 

own. What wonder was it, as to the Circassians, that 

" when their villages were burned and their farms 

ravaged," " they should take matters into their own 

hands, and endeavour to defend themselves ? " " Scenes 

had occurred towards the end of May, and so on," 

* 'Times,' July 1. 


" from which with our feelings " — what fine feelings 
we have ! — " we naturally recoil." " We_were con-l 
stantly communicating," ''I will not say^remon- 
strating, with the Turkish Grovernment," for "the 
Turkish Government was most anodous to he guided by 
the advice of the British Ambassador" And still the 
guilt was to stand as a fairly divided guilt. 

" There is no doubt that acts oii both sides, as 
necessarily would be the case under such circum- 
stances, ^i^^r£e$'wa% terrible and atrocious.''* 

Observe: though information on particulars was 
still wanting, one thing was placed beyond doubt, 
the equality of guilt and infamy. And I am still, 
writing on the 6th of September, dependent mainly 
on a foreign source for any official voucher to bring 
this testimony to the test. Mr. Schuyler, on the 22nd 
of August, reports to the American Government that 
the outrages of the Turks were fully established. 
He proceeds as follows, with more to the same effect : 
" An attempt, however, has been made — and not by 
Turks alone — to defend and to palliate them, on the 
ground of the previous atrocities which, it is alleged, 
were committed by the Bulgarians. I have carefully 
investigated this point; and am unable to find that 
the Bulgarians committed any outrages or atrocities, 
or any acts which deserve that name. / have vainly 
tried to obtain from the Turkish officials a list of such 

* 'Times,' July 16. 


outrages, . . . No Turkish women or children were 
killed in cold blood. No Mussulmen women were 
violated. No Mussulmans were tortured. No purely 
Turkish village was attacked or burned. No Mus- 
sulman house was pillaged. No mosque was dese- 
crated or destroyed." 

The declarations, which had proceeded from the 
highest authority in the highest Parliamentary 
Assembly of the world, produced, at the time, an 
immense effect. They did not remove suspicion, but 
they effectually baffled and checkmated it, so far as 
the prevailing sentiment in this country was con- 
cerned. So that when, on the 7th of August, the 
question of cruelties in Bulgaria was yet again raised, 
a member, and not a young member, ** deprecated," 
says Mr. Ross, in his valuable Record, " party 
speeches against the Turkish Grovernment." 

But it was not only within these shores that the 
language of the Grovernment was heard. It rang 
through an astonished Europe. It reached, and it was 
questioned in, Constantinople. The Courrier d' Orient 
was so bold as to criticise a declaration imputed to 
the Minister that the alleged burning of the forty 
girls had been found false upon inquiry instituted. 
For this offence, in a notice issued by the Director 
of the Press for Turkey, which I subjoin in the 
French original, and which referred to the im- 
partiality of the heads of the British Government, 
and to "Me pretended excesses in Bulgaria'' — note 


this was on the 9th of August — the journal was sup- 

Five attempts had thus been made to penetrate 
what was still a mystery in the official mind. A 
sixth and a seventh still followed, on the 9th and 
the 11th of August. With true British determination, 
Mr. Ashley opened the question for discussion on the 
11th. He was ably supported ; and this time, it is 
pleasant to say, from both sides of the House there 



" Le Bureau de la Presse, 

" Vu le numero du journal le Courrier d'Orient du 8 aout : 
" Attendu que cette feuille en mention nant, dans sa revue 
politique, les declarations du premier ministre du gouvernement 
anglais devant le Parlement bfitannique, (1) toucliant les pre- 
tendus exces commis en Bulgarie, se fait une sorte de merite 
d*avoir et6 la premiere a publier la relation de ces crimes sup- 

" Attendu que la dite feuille se prevaut du silence que la 
Direction de la presse a garde a son egard, soit par inadvertence, 
soit par exces d'indulgence, pour en induire que ses assertions 
etaient fondees, et que les declarations du Chef du Cabinet Bri- 
tannique sont entacbees de partialite ; 

" Apres avoir pris les ordres de S. Exc. le ministre, 

" Arrete : 

" Le journal le Courrier d'Orient est et demeure supprime a 
partir du jour de la notification du present arrete. 

" Constantinople, 9 aout, 1.876. 

" Le Direct eur de la Presse, 

' " Blacque." 


might be heard the language of humanity, of justice, 
and of wisdom. It was in the dying throes of the 
Session. Mr. Ashley's action was especially judi- 
cious, because he had a right, which none could 
contest, to jippear as a representative of Lord Pal- 
merston. f The powerful speech of Sir W. Ilarcourt 
was denounced by the Prime Minister in terms of 
great vivacity. He was assured that " from the very 
commencement of the transactions " the Government 
" were constantly receiving " from the Ambassador 
information on " what was occurring in Bulgaria." 
The Minister selected particular statements for con- 
tradiction of details, on which I am not yet suffici- 
ently informed to pronounce ; but what I complain 
of is that he stilly on the 12th of August, effectually 
disguised the main issue, which lay in the question 
whether the Turkish Grovernment, which was re- 
ceiving from us both moral and virtually material 
support, had or had not by its agents and by its 
approval and reward of its agents been deeply guilty 
of excesses, than which none more abominable have 
disgraced the history of the world. For the Govern- 
ment, it was still merely a question of " civil war," 
"carried on under conditions of brutality unfortu- 
nately not unprecedented in that country," * namely 
Bulgaria. A repetition of language, which is either 
that of ignorance, or of brutal calumny upon a people 

* ' Times,' Aug. 12. 


whom Turkish authorities have themselves just 
described as industrious, primitive, and docile.* 

Such then are the steps taken by Her Majesty's 
Government during the Session with respect to the 
Bulgarian atrocities, for enlightening the country as 
some may think, or for keeping it in the dark, as 
may occur to other and less charitable minds. 

It is not the smallest part of the service rendered 
by the ' Daily News,' that it was probably the means 
of bringing into the field an American Commission 
of Inquiry. I have the fullest confidence in the 
honour and in the intelligence of Mr. Baring, who 
has been inquiring on behalf of England ; because 
he was chosen for the purpose by Sir H. Elliot, and 
because I believe he personally well deserves it. But 
he was not sent to examine the matter until the 
19th of July, three months after the rising, and 
nearly one month after the first inquiries in Parlia- 
ment. He had been but two days at Philippopolis, 
when he sent home, with all the dispatch he could 
use, some few rudiments of a future report. Among 
them was his estimate of the murders, necessarily far 
from final, at the figure of twelve thousand. f The 
leaf, which contains his "papei^ts^^a^^ only 

leaf in (the latest) Parliamentary Papers (Turkey, 
No. 5), " presented to both Houses of Parliament by 

* In the Report from PhiHppopolis, to which I shall presentlj^ 

I Mr. Schuyler's estimate is 15,000 at " the lowest." ^ 


Her Majesty's command," which in reference to the 
main issue is worth more than a straw.* I have read 
that compilation with pain and humiliation, called 
forth by finding that this was all which, in the month 
of August, the whole power and promises of the 
Government could contribute towards the elucidation 
of horrible transactions, the greatest and worst of 
which occurred if not in April, yet early in May. Mr. 
Baring's Report exists no doubt for us : but only in 
hope. When it comes^ we shall receive it with con- 
fidence, and with profit, although we may be very 
sure that the Ottoman Government will have done 
everything in its power to blind, and baffle, and 
mislead him. But is it equally sure, that it will be so 
received all over Europe ? Or, after what has passed, 
can we reasonably expect that it should ? Possibly, 
when it appears, it may dispute, and even correct, 
some of the statements now before us. It may 
establish a few deductions from the awful total. It 
is one of the painful incidents of a case like this, that 
injustice may be done unwittingly to this or that 
man, in this or that circumstance, even by the most 
necessary and best-considered efibrts to attain the 
ends of justice. These questions do not admit of 
absolute, but only of reasonable certainty. What 
seems now to be certain in this sense (besides the 
miserable daily misgovernment, which, however, 

* Paper No. 5, p. 5. 


dwindles by the side of the Bulgarian horrors) are 
the wholesale massacres, 

" Murder, most foul as in the best it is, 
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural,"* 

the elaborate and refined cruelty — the only refine- 
ment of which Turkey boasts ! — the utter disregard 
of sex and age — the abominable and bestial lust — and 
the utter and violent lawlessness which still stalks 
over the land. For my own part I have, in the 
House of Commons and elsewhere, whatever my in- 
ward impressions might be, declined to speak strongly 
on these atrocities, until there was both clear and 
responsible evidence before me. For want of this evi- 
dence, I did not join in the gallant effort of Mr. Ash- 
ley, at the last gasp of the Session. But the report 
of Mr. Schuyler, together with the report from 
Berlin, and the Prologue, so to call it, of Mr. Baring, 
in my opinion turns the scale, and makes the respon- 
sibility of silence, at least for one who was among the 
authors of the Crimean War, too great to be borne. 

I express then my gratitude to Mr. Schuyler, and 
to tbe Government which sent him into the field. It 
is too late, as I have said, to hope to convince Europe 
by any report of ours. We may ourselves be scep- 
tical as to Russian reports. Every European State 
is more or less open to the imputation of bias. 
But America has neither alliances with Turkey, nor 

* Samlet^ i. 5. 


grudges against her, nor purposes to gain by her 
destruction. She enters into this matter simply on 
the ground of its broad human character and moment ; 
she has no " American interests " to tempt her from 
her integrity, and to vitiate her aims. 

The ground, then, seemed to be sufficiently laid in 
point of evidence to call for action, when, as I am 
Meriting, a new piece of testimony reaches me* through 
the courtesy of M. Musurus. It is a French Transla- 
tion of a Eeport on the Bulgarian events, dated 
July 22, presented to the Ottoman Government by a 
commission of Mussulman and Christian notables, and 
approved by the Administrative Council of Philip- 
popoli. Since it is put forward as an official state- 
ment of the Turkish case (following the Report of 
Edib Effendi on the ^Yilayet' of Adrianople), I hope 
it will^ for the sake of justice, be extensively read. 
Others may think differently of it from myself. I 
cannot but at once denounce it as a disgraceful docu- 
ment ; confirmatory, in its moral effect, even of the 
worst parts of the charges. After all that has hap- 
pened, it would have been too much to expect a word 
of penitence or shame ; but it does not contain a word 
of sorrow or compassion. The reporting Commission, 
which was armed with the powers of the State, 
wonders that the Bulgarians should have risen against 
their " paternal " f government ; describes them as a 

♦ September 2nd. ^ T. 17. 


peaceable, primitive, and docile people ; * and then 
charges them largely with murdering, burning, im- 
paling, roasting, men, women, and children indiscri- 
minately, with the extremest refinements of cruelty .f 
One of the most definite statements it contains is this; it 
cites, J as a proof of the " barbarous devastations" com- 
mitted by the insurgents, the destruction of — a great 
bridge over the Railway. It is full of laudations of 
the humanity and consideration of the troops, the 
commanders, and the Mussulman population .§ It 
denounces those who have opened the eyes of Europe 
to this Turkish Inferno, as the " fantastic story-makers 
of dismal episodes." (| It takes no notice of the attested 
fact, that the bodies of slain women and children lie 
in multitudes, unburied and exposed ; except indeed 
by alleging that at Prestenitza some of the insurgents 
slew their own women and children. Dated three 
months after the first outbreak, and full of horrible 
accusation, it contains hardly in a single instance 
such verifying particulars as would allow of the 
detection of falsehood by inquiry into the statement. 
And it winds up with a particular account of a Pan- 
sclavic pamphlet, printed at Moscow in 1867 ! 

Then^ by way of Appendix, comes one original 
document in proof, which contains, in the form of a 
sort of Catechism, the plans and instructions of the 

* Pp. 8, 17. t ^P' 9, 10. 
t p. 9. § E.g. p. 16. II P. 15. 

D 2 


great Bulgarian conspiracy. They are signed by 
twelve names of individuals, without profession or 
employment specified; who may, for all we know, 
have been the most insignificant men in the country. 
The Report, however, states that the Insurgents 
had instructions to massacre the Mussulman popula- 
tion.* The sole document appended in proof of its 
charges contains, together with very severe provi- 
sions against such as should resist, the following 
passage :f 

" Question 13. What course is to be pursued with 
regard to those Turks who submit ? 

'* Answer. They should be put in charge of our 
agents, who will convey them to the headquarters 
of the insurrection. From thence, they will be sent, 
with their families and with the aged, to the places 
occupied for refuge by our own families. They are 
to live there as our brethren. It is part of our duty to 
take care for their happiness, their life, and their re- 
ligion : on the same ground as for the life and the honour 
of our own people'' 

The perusal of this statement of the Turkish case 
removes from my mind any remaining scruple. The 
facts are, in the gross, suflSciently established. The 
next, and for us the gravest part of the inquiry is. 
What have we had to do with them ? 

P. 5. t P- 22. 



It was on the 20th of April that the insurrection 
broke out in Bulgaria. In the beginning of May, 
the horrors of the repression had reached their climax. 
We had then no other concern in them than this very 
indirect one, that we were supporting rather too blindly 
and unwarily in the councils of Europe the supposed 
interest of the Power, which thus disgraced itself. 

On the 9th of May, Sir Henry Elliot seems to have 
had no consular information about Bulgaria, except a 
statement (strange enough) from Adrianople, dated 
the 6th,* that as far as appeared the Turks were- 
not committing any acts of violence against peaceful 
Christians. But, observing a great Mahomedan ex- 
citement, and an extensive purchase of arms in Con- 
stantinople, he wisely telegraphed to the British 
Admiral in the Mediterranean, expressing a desire 
that he would bring his squadron to Besika Bay. 
The purpose was, for the protection of British subjects, 
and of the Christians in general.f This judicious act, 
done by the Ambassador in conjunction with the Am- 
bassadors of other Powers, who seem to have taken 
similar steps, was communicated by him to Lord Derby 
on the 9th of May by letter and by telegraph. J 

On the fifth, had occurred the murder of the French 

* Pari. Papers, Turkey, No. 3, 1876, p. 145. 
t Ibid. p. 146. i Ibid. p. 129. 


and G-erman Consuls at Salonica. On the 15th, the 
Admiralty acquainted the Foreign Office that the 
squadron was ordered to Besika Bay, the ' Swiftsure ' 
sent to Salonica, and (as Sir H. Elliot had also asked) 
the ' Bittern' to Constantinople. J These measures, 
were substantially wise, and purely pacific. They 
had, if understood rightly, no political aspect ; or 
if any, pne rather anti-Turkish than Turkish. 

But there were reasons, and strong reasons, why 
the public should not have been left to grope out for 
itself the meaning of a step so serious, as the movement 
of a naval squadron towards a country disturbed both 
by revolt, and by an outbreak of murderous fanaticism. 

In the year 1853, when the negotiations with Russia* 
had assumed a gloomy and almost a hopeless aspect, 
the English and French fleets were sent Eastwards : 
not as a measure of war, but as a measure of prepa- 
ration for war, and proximate to war. The proceed- 
ing marked a transition of discussion into that angry 
stage, which immediately precedes a blow ; and the 
place, to which the fleets were then sent, was Besika 
Bay. In the absence of information, how could the 
British nation avoid supposing that the same act, as 
that done in 1853, bore also the same meaning ? 

It is evident that the Foreign Minister was saga- 
ciously alive to this danger. On the 10th of May, 
he asked Sir H. Elliot for a particular statement of 

X Pari. Papers, Turkey, No. 3, 1876, p. 147. 


the reasons, which had led him to desire the presence 
of the squadron *' at Besika Bay." * He indicated to 
the Admiralty Smyrna as a preferable destination.f 
And this he actually ordered ; but he yielded, and I 
believe he was quite right in yielding, to the renewed 
andjust instances of the Ambassador. 

The Government, then, were aware of the purely 
pacific character of this measure, and also that it was 
one liable to be dangerously misconstrued. 

There was another reason for securing it from 
misinterpretation. At this very time, the Berlin 
Memorandum was prepared. It was announced by 
Lord^do Russell to Lord Derby on May the 13th ; 
and, on May 15th, he sent to Lord Odo an elaborate 
pleading, rather than argument, against it.J It be- 
came known to the public that we ^^^ere in diplomatic 
discord with Europe, and particularly with Russia. 
Now the transition from discussion pure and simple 
to discussion backed by display of force is a transi- 
tion of vast and vital importance. The dispatch of 
the fleet to Besika Bay, could not but be interpreted, 
in the absence of explanation, as marking that 
perilous transition. And yet explanation was re- 
solutely withheld. 

The expectation of a rupture pervaded the public 
mind. The Russian Funds fell very heavily, under 
a war panic; partisans exulted in a diplomatic victory. 


* Pari. Papers, Turkey, No. 3, 1876, p. 130. 
t Ibid. p. 131. I Ibid. pp. 137, 147. 


and in the increase of what is called our prestige, the 
bane, in my opinion, of all upright politics. The 
Turk was encouraged in the humour of resistance. 
And this, as we now know, while his hands were so 
reddened with Bulgarian blood. Foreign capitals 
were amazed at the martial excitement in London. 
But the Grovernment never spoke a word. 

Silence in these circumstances was bad enough. 
But they were worse than silent. They caused the 
clang of preparation to be heard in the arsenals. 
They progressively increased the squadron to a fleet ; 
and, moreover, I believe it is true that they mainly 
increased it, not by sending the class of ships which 
had large crews, available for landing considerable 
numbers of men, for the purpose of defending such 
persons as might be assailed; but those vast 
ironclads, with crews relatively small, which princi- 
pally, and proudly, display the belhgerent power of 
England. If this be not an accurate statement, let 
it be contradicted.* 

And this ostentatious protection to Turkey, this 
wanton disturbance of Europe, was continued by our 
Ministry, with what I must call a strange perversity, 
for weeks and weeks. It was so continued, when 
a word of explanation as to the true cause of the 
dispatch of the fleet would have stopped all mischief, 

* July 27. Mr. Disraeli stated that the Fleet then in Turkish 
waters consisted of twenty vessels : eleven ironclads, and nine 
unarmoured ships of war. 


dissipated all alarm. I admit, that it would have 
also dissipated at the same time a little valueless 
popularity, too dearly bought. 

All this time, so far as we can learn, the sequels 
in detail to the wholesale massacres in Bulgaria were 
proceeding. In the latter part of it, the fencing 
answers of the Ministry about Turkish misdeeds had 
begun. And during the latter part of it also, the 
requests of members of Parliament for authentic 
information about the East, were repeatedly refused ; 
on the ground that the production of it would be 
injurious to the public service ! Nay more, com- 
pliments were accepted, with the silence which not 
only might mean consent, but could mean nothing 
else, from more than one Peer in the House of Lords, 
and from two members of Parliament in the House 
of Commons, on the vigorous policy which our 
Government was pursuing in the East. 

Such is the spectacle which, during the present 
spring and summer, we have exhibited to Europe. 

At last came a day of disclosure. Lord Derby 
received at the Foreign Office, on the 14th of July, 
a numerous and weighty deputation. They went 
there in the interests of peace, to which I cordially 
wish well, and of non-interference — a word which, 
in my opinion, must be construed, especially for the 
East of Europe, with a just regard to our honourable 
engagements, and to the obligations they entail. 
These gentlemen did not at all approve of the demon- 


stration in Besika Bay. Lord Derby justified it, by 
admitting that portion of Parliament and the public, 
who formed the Deputation, for the first time, to the 
knowledge of the truth. He stated that it was sent, 
at the request of Sir H. Elliot, for the defence of the 
Christians against a possible outbreak of Mahometan 
fanaticism. The country, or great part of it, felt re- 
lieved and grateful. But the mischief that had been 
done by the moral support, and I say boldly by the 
material support, afforded to Turkey during all those 
blood-stained weeks (the Servian war, too, was now 
raging) was not, and could not be, remedied. To 
repair, in some degree, the effects of that mischief is 
now a prime part of the peculiar obligation imposed 
upon the people of this country. For, in fact, what- 
ever our intentions may have been, it is our doing. 

And how are we, in this particular, to set about 
the work of reparation ? Any reader who has accom- 
panied me thus far will probably expect that I, at 
least, shall answer the question by recommending 
the tvithdrawal of the Fleet from Besika Bay. But 
such, I must at once say, is not my view of duty 
or of policy. I would neither recall the fleet, nor 
reduce it by one ship or man. 

We have been authoritatively warned, that the con- 
dition of the Christians in Turkey is now eminently 
critical. The issue of the war is still hanging in the 
balances, which have wavered from day to day. The 
lapse of time, and possibly aid from without, may 


still do much to retrieve the vast inequality of 
chance, with which the brave but raw levies of 
Servia carry on the contest. We are told, with too 
much appearance of credibility, that if the fortune of 
war should veer adversely to Turkey^ the consequence 
might be, in various provinces, a new and wide out- 
break of fanaticism, and a wholesale massacre. My 
hope, therefore, is twofold. First, that, through the 
energetic attitude of the people of England^ their 
Government may be led to declare distinctly, that it 
is for purposes of humanity alone that we have 
a fleet in Turkish waters. Secondly, that that fleet 
will be so distributed as to enable its force to be most 
promptly and efficiently applied, in case of need, on 
Turkish soil, in concert with the other Powers, for 
the defence of innocent lives, and to prevent the 
repetition of those recent scenes, at which hell itself 
might almost blush. 

For it must not be forgotten that the last utterance 
on this subject was from the Prime Minister, and was 
to the effect that our fleet was in the East for the 
support of British interests. I object to this constant 
system of appeal to our selfish leanings. It sets up 
false lights ; it hides the true ; it disturbs the world. 
Who has lifted a finger against British interests ? 
Who has spoken a word? If the declaration be 
anything beyond mere idle brag, it means that 
our fleet is waiting for the dissolution of the 
Turkish Empire, to have the first and the strongest 


hand in the seizure of the spoils. If this be 
the meaning, it is pure mischief: and if we want 
to form a just judgment upon it, we have only to put 
a parallel case. What should we say, if Eussia had 
assembled an army on the Pruth, or Austria on the 
Danube, and Prince Grortschakoff or Count Andrassy 
were to announce that it was so gathered, and so 
posted, for the defence of Russian, or of Austrian 
interests respectively ? 

Perhaps, in these unusual circumstances, before 
describing what it is that we should seek and should 
desire, it may be well to consider what we should 
carefully eschew. In the channel, which we have to 
navigate with or without our Government, there 
are plenty of false lights set up for us, which 
lead to certain shipwreck. The matter has become 
'too painfully real for us to be scared at present by 
the standing hobgoblin of Russia * Many a time has 
it done good service on the stage : it is at present out 
of repair, and unavailable. It is now too late to argue, 
as was aligned sometime back by a very clever and 
highly enlightened evening Journal, that it might be 
quite proper that twelve or thirteen millions of 
Christians in Turkey should remain unhappy, rather 
than that (such was the alternative hardily pre- 

* Yet it appears to be considered good enough for the electors 
of Bucks (I judge from a reported speech of Mr. Fremantle). 
They seem to be treated, as Railway Companies are sometimes 
said to treat obscure branch lines, with their worn-out rolling- 
stock, not presentable in more fashionable districts. 


sented) two hundred millions of men in India should 
be deprived of the benefits of British rule, and thirty 
millions more in the United Kingdom made uncom- 
fortable by the apprehension of such a catastrophe. 
But more plausible delusions are about. What we 
have to guard against is imposture ; that Proteus 
with a thousand forms. A few months ago, the 
new Sultan served the turn, and very well. Men 
affirmed that he must have time. And now another 
new Sultan is in the offing. I suppose it will be 
argued that he must have time too. Then there will 
be perhaps new constitutions ; firmans of reforms ; 
proclamations to commanders of Turkish armies, en- 
joining extra humanity. All these should be quietly 
set down as simply equal to zero. At this moment we 
hear of the adoption by the Turks of the last and most 
enlightened rule of warfare ; namely, the Geneva Con- 
vention. They might just as well adopt the Vatican 
Council, or the British Constitution. All these things 
are not even the oysters before the dinner. Still worse 
is any plea founded upon any reports made by Turkish 
authority upon the Bulgarian outrages. This expe- 
dient has been long ago tried by sending a Special 
Commissioner, Edib Effendi, who relates in effect that 
the outrages were small, and almost all committed by 
the Christians. Mr. Schuyler, officially, and with an 
American directness, declares that Edib's report con- 
tains statements on a particular point, " and on every 
other ywhich. are utterly unfounded in fact," and that it 


practically is " a tissue of falsehoods." Again ; one of 
the latest artifices is to separate the question of Servia 
from the question of Herzegovina and Bosnia and of 
Bulgaria. How, asks the ' Pall Mall Gazette,' can 
Turkey improve their condition while war is going 
on ? Inter arma silent leges. Give her peace, that she 
may set about reforms. If the people of this country 
are in earnest, they will brush aside all these and all 
other cobwebs, and will march as if they marched to 
drum and fife, straight, with one heart and one mind, 
ohne Hast und ohne Rast, towards their aim. 

The case of the Servian war is, in outer form, 
quite distinct from that of the misgovernment in 
Bosnia and the Herzegovina ; and these again, from 
the Bulgarian outrages. But they are distinct simply 
as the operations in the Baltic, during the Crimean 
War, were distinct from the operations in the Black 
Sea. They had one root ; they must surely have one 
remedy, I mean morally one ; and administered by 
the same handling ; for, if one part of the question be 
placed in relief, and one in shadow, the light will not 
fall on the dark places, and guilt will gain impunity. 

The case against Servia is the best part of the 
Turkish case. Servia, before she moved, had suffered 
no direct injury ; she had no stateable cause of war. 
It does not follow that she has committed a wanton 
aggression, or has, in fact, been guilty of any moral 
offence. A small and recently ordered State, with a 
weak government, and a peninsular territory, she is 


surrounded on every side by Sclave populations; 
along three-fourths of her frontier, by oppressed and 
misgoverned Sclave populations ; along nearly half 
of it, by a Sclave population in actual revolt, whom 
the Turks had been unable to put down, and whom 
Europe had ceased, since we succeeded in overthrow- 
ing the Berlin Memorandum, actively, though paci- 
fically, to befriend. Could her people do otherwise 
than sympathise with these populations? Could 
they, ought they to have recognised in Turkey an 
indefeasible right of oppression ? Further, Monte- 
negro, at a very small distance, was throbbing with 
emotions similar to her own. 

Now there are states of affairs, in which human 
sympathy refuses to be confined by the rules, neces- 
sarily limited and conventional, of international law. 
If any Englishman doubts that such a case may, 
though rarely, occur, let him remember the public 
excitement of this country nine months ago respect- 
ing the Slave Circulars of the Government ; and ask 
himself whether we model our proceedings towards 
slaveholding powers, respecting runaways, on the 
precise provisions of international law. Now such a 
case did arrive in the position of Servia and Monte- 
negro two months ago. As long as European 
action gave a hope of redress for their brethren, peace 
was maintained. I hold that in going to war, when 
that hope was finally withdrawn, they might plead 
human sympathies, broad, deep, and legitimate, and 
that they committed no moral offence. Their case 


is, therefore, one with that of the oppressed pro- 
vinces in their neighbourhood. It would have been 
as reasonable for the Thirteen Colonies of America 
in 1782, to negotiate separately for peace with Great 
Britain, as it would be for Europe in 1876 to allow 
that, in a settlement with Turkey, the five cases 
of Servia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and' 
Bulgaria, should be dealt with otherwise than as 
the connected limbs of one and the same trans- 

There is yet one other danger. Do not let us ask 
for, do not let us accept^ Jonahs or scapegoats, either 
English or Turkish. It is not a change of men that 
we want, but a change of measures. New Sultans or 
ministers among Turks, new consuls or new am- 
bassadors in Turkey, would only in my opinion divert 
us, at this moment, from the great practical aims in J 
view. Besides, if we are to talk of changing men, 
the first question that will arise will be that of our 
Ministers at home, to whose policy and bias both 
Ministers and subordinate officers abroad always feel 
a loyal desire as far as may be to conform. In my 
hope and my opinion, when once the old illusions as 
to British sentiment are dispelled, and Lord Derby 
is set free, with his clear, impartial mind and unos- 
tentatious character, to shape the course of the 
Administration, he will both faithfully and firmly 
give effect to the wishes of the country. 

We come now to consider the objects we should 
desire and seek for through our Government. 


I trust tbey will endeavour to make up, by means 
of the future, for the serious deficiencies of the past. 
Let them cast aside their narrow and ill-conceived 
construction of the ideas of a former period. I am well 
aware of the necessity which, after the severe labours 
of the Parliamentary Session, obliges the Ministers 
to disperse for a period of repose. Nevertheless, in 
so grave a state of facts, I trust we shall soon hear of a 
meeting of the Cabinet. It is not yet too late, but it 
is very urgent, to aim at the accomplishment of three 
great objects, in addition to the termination of the 
war, yet (in my view) inseparably associated with it. 

1. To put a stop to the anarchical misrule (let 

the phrase be excused), the plundering, the 
murdering, which, as we now seem to 
learn upon sufficient evidence, still desolate 

2. To make effectual provision jigainst the re- 
currence of the outrages recently perpetrated 
under the sanction of the Ottoman Grovern- 
ment, by excluding its administrative action 
for the future, not only from Bosnia and the 
Herzegovine, but also, and above all, from 
Bulgaria ; upon which at best there will 
remain, for years and for generations, the 
traces of its foul and bloody hand. 

3. To redeem by these measures the honour of 

the British name, which, in the deplorable 



events of the year, Las been more gravely- 
compromised than I have known it to be at 
any former period. 

I have named, then, three great aims, which ought 
I think at this crisis to be engraved on the heart, and 
demanded by the voice, of Britain. I may be asked, 
either seriously or tauntingly, whether there is not 
also a fourth to be added, namely, the maintenance 
of the " territorial integrity of Turkey." 

In order to comprehend the force and bearing of 
this expression, it is necessary to go back for a 
moment to the Crimean War. The watchword of 
that War, and of the policy which preceded it, was 
'^ The integrity and independence of Turkey." Of 
these two phrases, integrity and independence, the 
bearing is perfectly distinct. The first is negative, 
the second positive. The integrity of Turkey will 
be maintained by a titular sovereignty, verified as it 
were through a moderate payment of tribute, in order 
that Ottoman sovereignty may serve the purpose of 
shutting out from the present limits of the Turkish 
Empire any other sovereignty, or any exercise, in 
whole or in part, of sovereign rights by any other 
Power, whether it be Russia on the Euxine, or 
Austria on the Danube, or France or England on the 
Nile and the Red Sea. 

The independence of the Ottoman Empire is a very 
difi'erent afiair. It meant at the time of the Crimean 


War, and it means now, that, apart from Roumania 
and Servia, where Europe is already formally con- 
cerned, and apart from any arrangements self-made 
with a vassal State like Egypt, which can hold its 
own against Constantinople, the Porte is to be left 
in the actual, daily, and free administration of all the 
provinces of its vast dominion. 

Now, as regards the territorial integrity of Turkey, 
I for one am still desirous to see it upheld, though I 
do not say that desire should be treated as of a thing 
• .paramount to still higher objects of policy. For of 
' all the objects of policy, in my conviction, humanity, | 
rationally understood, and in due relation to justice, 
is the first and highest. My belief is that this great 
aim need not be compromised, and that other important 
objects would be gained, by maintaining the territorial \ 
integrity of Turkey. 

There is no reason to suppose that, at the present 
moment, any of the Continental Powers are governed a 
by selfish or aggressive views in their Eastern Policy, j 
The neighbours of Turkey, namely Austria and Russia, 
are the two Powers who might, in many conceivable 
states of European affairs, most naturally be tempted 
into plans of self-aggrandizement at her expense. But 
the peculiar conformation of Austria, in respect to 
territories and to the races which inhabit them, has 
operated, and will probably at least for the present 
operate^ so as to neutralize this temptation. In the 
case of Russia, we have been playing, through our 

E 2 


Government, a game of extreme indiscretion. ^ Pre- 
tending to thwart, to threaten, and to bully her, we 
. have most mal-adroitly, and most assiduously, played 
into her hands. Every circumstance of the most 
obvious prudence dictates to Russia, for the present 
epoch, what is called the waiting game. Her policy 
is, to preserve or to restore tranquillity for the pre- 
sent, and to- take the chances of the future. We have 
acted towards her as if she had a present conspiracy 
in hand, and as if the future did not exist, or never 
could arrive. But, regard it or not, arrive it will. 
. It offers Russia many chances. One acquisition, if 
now made by her, would bring those chances very 
near to certainties. In European Turkey, it cannot 
too often be repeated, the Christian element is the 
growing, and the Turkish the decaying one. If a 
conviction can but be engendered in the Christian, 
that is for the present purpose mainly the Sclavonic 
mind of the Turkish provinces, that Russia is their 
t/' stay, and England their enemy, then indeed the 
command of Russia over the future of Eastern Europe 
is assured. And this conviction, through the last 
/ six months, we have done everything that was in our 
power to beget and to confirm. 

But we may, I hope, say truly what Louis Napo- 
leon, in 1870, telegraphed in error: tout pent se 
ritahlir. Russia has in late years done much to 
estrange the Greek Christians of the Levant : and 
the Sclaves will, we may be sure, be at least as ready 


to accept help from Powers which are perforce more 
disinterested, as from Powers that may hereafter 
hope and claim to be repaid for it in political influ- 
ence or supremacy. It is surely wise, then, to avail 
ourselves of that happy approach to unanimity which 
prevails among the Powers, and to avert, or at the very 
least postpone, as long as we honourably can, the 
wholesale scramble, which is too likely to follow upon 
any premature abandonment of the principle of ter- 
ritorial integrity for Turkey. I for one will avoid 
even the infinitesimal share of responsibility, which 
alone could now belong to any of my acts or 
words, for inviting a crisis, of which at this time 
the dimensions must be large, and may be almost 

But even that crisis I for one would not agree to 
avert, or to postpone, at the cost of leaving room for 
the recurrence of the Bulgarian horrors. y^i Nothing 
could exceed the mockery, and nothing could redeem 
the disgrace, of a pretended settlement, which should 
place it in the power of Turkey to revive these fell 
Satanic orgies : a disgrace of which the largest share 
would accrue to England, but of which the smallest 
share would be large indeed. The public of this 
country, now I trust awakened from sloth to noble- 
ness, may begin to fear lest the integrity of Turkey 
should mean immunity for her unbounded savagery, 
her unbridled and bestial lust. I think these appre- 
hensions, so reasonable in principle, or if there were 


ground for them, may be dismissed upon an obser- 
vation of the facts. We have, in the neighbouring 
province of Roumania, a testimony which appears to 
be nearly conclusive. F'or twenty years it has, while 
paying tribute to the Porte, and acknowledging 
its supremacy, enjoyed an entire autonomy or self- 
government. It has constituted a real barrier for 
Turkey against the possibilities of foreign ag- 
gression. It has overcome for itself serious in- 
ternal difficulties, in the adjustment of the relations 
between class and class. It has withstood the 
temptation to join in the Servian war. Guaranteed 
by Europe, it has had no grave complaint to make 
against Turkey for the violation of its stipulated 
rights, which have indeed been not inconsiderably 
enlarged. With such an example before us, let us 
hope at least that the territorial integrity of Turkey 
need not be impaired, while Europe summons and 
requires her to adopt the measure which is the very 
least that the case demands, namely the total with- 
drawal of the administrative rule of the Turk from 
Bulgaria, as well as, and even more than, from 
Herzegovina and from Bosnia. 

But even this minimum of satisfaction for the past, 
and of security for the future, I am sorrowfully con- 
vinced will not be obtained, unless the public voice of 
this country shall sound it clearly and loudly, beyond 
all chances of mistake, in the ears of the Administra- 
tion. We have fortunately obtained a rather recent 


disclosure of the purposes of the G-overnment through 
the mouth of the Prime Minister. On the 31st of 
July (when we knew so much less than now), after 
endeavouring to describe the hopeless impotence of 
the Turkish Government, and to point out that any- 
effectual measures of redress or security must lie in 
the direction of local self-government for the dis- 
turbed provinces, I expressed the hope that this end 
might be obtained compatibly with the " territorial 
integrity " of Turkey. The Prime Minister, who fol- 
lowed me in the debate, did me the honour to refer 
to this portion of my speech, and said I had recom- 
mended the re-establishment of the status quo, 
Across the table I at once threw the interjection, 
" not status quo^ but territorial integrity." The 
Prime Minister promptly replied, that territorial 
integrity would be found virtually to mean the status 
quo. Now the territorial integrity means the reten- 
tion of a titular supremacy, which serves the purpose of 
warding off foreign aggression. The status quo means 
the maintenance of Turkish administrative authority 
in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. Territorial 
integrity shuts out the foreign state ; the status quo 
shuts out the inhabitants of the country, and keeps 
(I fear) everything to the Turk, with his airy pro- 
mises, his disembodied reforms, his ferocious passions, 
and his daily, gross, and incurable misgovernment. 
This, then, is the latest present indication of British 
policy, the re-establishment of the status quo. Let us 
take the phrase out of the dress of the learned Ian- 


guage, which somewhat hides its beauty. It means 
**as you were." It means the re-estabhshraent of 
the same forms and the same opportunities, which 
again mean^ on the arrival of the first occasion, the 
same abuses and the same crimes. This purpose of 
the Government, I feel convinced, is not irrevocable. 
But it will only be revoked, if we may take expe- 
rience for our guide, under the distinct and intelli- 
gible action of public opinion. No man will so well 
understand as the Prime Minister what is the force 
and weight of that opinion ; and at what stage, in 
the development of a national movement, its ex- 
pression should no longer be resisted. 

Since the ominous declaration of Lord Beaconsfield 
on the status quo, or "as you were" policy, there 
has appeared a letter from Mr. Bourke, the Under- 
Secretary of the Foreign Office ; which could not have 
been written without higher sanction. Of this letter, 
the positive part is null, the negative part important. 
It assures us of the indignation of the Grovernment 
at the crimes committed by the Turks. It might as 
well assure us of their indignation at the crimes of 
Danton, or of Robespierre, or of Nana Sahib. In- 
dignation is froth, except as it leads to action. This 
indignation has led, he says, to remonstrance. I say 
that mere remonstrance, in this case, is mockery. The 
only two things that are worth saying, the Under- 
Secretary does not say. The first of them would 
have been that, until these horrible outrages arc 
redressed, and their authors punished, the British 


Government would withdraw from Turkey the moral 
and even material support we have been lending her 
against Europe. The other was, that after crimes of 
so vast a scale and so deep a dye, the British Govern- 
ment would no longer be a party to the maintenance 
of Turkish administration in Bulgaria. It is, then, 
the negative part of this letter that signifies. Mr. 
Bourke's words, viewing their date, are futile. But 
his silence is trumpet-tongued : it proclaims that 
even last week, on the 27th of August, the Govern- 
ment were still unconverted ; and, warning us what 
we have to expect, it spurs the people of England 
onwards in the movement, which is to redeem its 
compromised and endangered honour. 

It would not be practicable, even if it were hon- 
ourable, to disguise the real character of what we 
want from the Government. It is a change of atti- 
tude and policy, nothing less. We want them to 
undo and efface that too just impression, which, 
while keeping their own countrymen so much in the 
dark, they have succeeded in propagating through- 
out Europe, that we are the determined supporters 
of the Turk, and that, declaring his " integrity and 
independence" essential to "British interests," we 
have winked hard, and shall wink, if such be, harder 
still, according to the exigencies of the case, alike at 
his crimes and at his impotence. We want to place 
ourselves in harmony with the general sentiment of 
civilized mankind, instead of being any longer, as 


we seem to be, the Evil G-enius which dogs, and 
mars, and baffles it. We want to make the Turk 
understand that, in conveying this impression by 
word and act to his mind, the British Grovernment 
have misunderstood, and, therefore, have misrepre- 
sented, the sense of the British people. 

But this change is dependent on an emphatic 
expression of the national sentiment, which is but 
beginning to be heard. It has grown from a whisper 
to a sound ; it will grow from a sound to a peal. 
But what, until it shall vibrate with such force as to 
awaken the Administration ? It is melancholy, but 
it is also true, that we, who upon this Eastern 
ground fought with Eussia, and thought Austria 
slack, and G-ermany all but servile, have actually for 
months past been indebted, and are even now in- 
debted, to all or some of these very Powers, possibly to 
Russia most among them, for having played the part 
which we think specially our own, in resistance to 
tyranny, in befriending the oppressed, in labouring 
for the happiness of mankind. I say the time has 
come for us to emulate Russia by, sharing in her 
good deeds, and to reserve our opposition until she 
shall visibly endeavour to turn them to evil account. 
There is no reason to apprehend serious difficulty 
in the Councils of Europe on this subject. All the 
Powers, except ourselves, have already been working 
in this direction. Nor is there any ground to suppose 
that the Ottoman Government will tenaciously resist a 


scheme based on the intention to do all in its favour 
that its own misconduct, and the fearful crimes of its 
trusted agents, have left possible. To do this Grovern- 
ment justice, a distinction must be drawn between 
what depends upon a decision to be taken at Constan- 
tinople once for all, and the permanent vitalizing 
force required for the discharge of the daily duties of 
administration all over its vast empire. The central 
agency at the capital, always under the eye of the 
representatives of the European Powers and in close 
contact with them, has acquired, and traditionally 
transmits, a good deal of the modes of European 
speech and thought. It is when they try to convey 
these influences to the provinces and the subordinate 
agents, who share little or none of that beneficial 
contact and supervision, that they, except here and 
there by some happy accident of personal virtue, ha- 
bitually and miserably break down. The promises 
of a Turkish Ministry given simply to Europe are 
generally good ; those given to its own subjects or con- 
cerning its own affairs are, without imputing absolute 
mendacity, of such tried and demonstrated worthless- 
ness, that any Ambassador or any State, who should 
trust them, must come under suspicion of nothing less 
than fraud by wilful connivance. The engagement of 
*a Turkish Ministry, taken in concert with Europe, 
that Bulgaria, or any other province, shall now settle 
and hereafter conduct its own local government and 
affairs, would carry within itself the guarantee of its 


own execution. The only question is, whether it 
would be given or withheld. I am disposed to believe 
it would be given, not withheld ; and for this reason. 
I know of no case in which Turkey has refused to 
accede to the counsel of United Europe, nay, even of 
less than United Europe, if Europe was not in actual 
schism with itself under unwise or factious influences. 
In the matter of Greece, in the Union of the Princi- 
palities after the Crimean War, and in the conduct 
of its relations (for example) with Persia and with 
Egypt, there has been abundant proof that the 
Ottoman Porte is no more disposed than other 
governments, in the homely phrase, to drive its 
head against a brick wall. It has known how to 
yield, not ungracefully, to real necessity, without pro- 
voking violence. And those of its self-constituted 
friends, who warn us against an outburst of wild 
Mohammedan fanaticism within the Cabinet of Con- 
stantinople, and in the year 1876, found themselves 
on notions drawn from their own fancy, or from 
what they call having been in the East, much more 
than on the recorded lessons of political and diplo- 
matic experience. 

No doubt there will be difficulties to overcome 
when these provinces set about their own affairs, in 
adjusting relations with the Maliometan minorities. 
These are difficulties insurmountable to those who have 
not the will to surmount them, but easily surmounted 
under the real pressure of such a case. They were sur- 


mounted in Greece ; and at this hour, as we learn by 
the very recent testimony of Sir Charles Trevelyan, 
Mahometan landlords in Euboea live contentedly under 
the Government of that country. Mahometan, it 
must be remembered, does not mean the same as Turk. 
And in none of these provinces has it been in the main 
a case of war between conflicting religions or local 
races : nearly the whole mischief has lain in the 
wretched laws, and the agents at once violent and cor- 
rupt, of a distant central Power, which (having none 
others) lets these agents loose- upon its territory ; and 
which has always physical force at its command to back 
outrage with the sanction of authority, but has no 
^^ moral force whatever, no power either of checking 
evil or of doing good. 

But I return to, and I end with, that which is the 
Omega as well as the Alpha of this great and most 
mournful case. An old servant of the Crown and 
State, I entreat my countrymen, upon whom far 
more than perhaps any other people of Europe it 
depends, to require, and to insist, that our Govern- 
ment, which has been working in one direction, shall 
work in the other, and shall apply all its vigour to 
concur with the other States of Europe in obtaining 
the extinction of the Turkish ^ executive power in 
Bulgaria. Let the Turks now carry away their abuses 
in the only possible manner^ namely by carrying off 
themselves. Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their 
Bimbashisand their Yuzbachis, their Kaimakams and 


their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall, 
I hope, clear out from the province they have deso- 
lated and profaned. This thorough riddance, this 
most blessed deliverance^ is the only reparation we 
can make to the memory of those heaps on heaps of 
dead ; to the violated purity alike of matron, of maiden, 
and of child ; to the civilization which has been af- 
fronted and shamed ; to the laws of God or, if you 
like, of Allah; to the moral sense of mankind at 
large. There is not a criminal in an European gaol, 
there is not a cannibal in the South Sea Islands, 
whose indignation would not rise and overboil at 
the recital of that which has been done, which has 
too late been examined^ but which remains una- 
venged ; which has left behind all the foul and all the 
fierce passions that produced it, and which may again 
spring up, in another murderous harvest, from the 
soil soaked and reeking with blood, and in the air 
tainted with every imaginable deed of crime and 
shame. That such things should be done once, is 
a damning disgrace to the portion of oux race which 
did them ; that a door should be left open for their 
ever-so-barely possible repetition would spread that 
shame over the whole. Better, we may justly tell 
the Sultan, almost any inconvenience, difficulty, or 
loss associated with Bulgaria, 

" Than thou reseated in thy place of light, 
The mockery of thy people, and their bane." * 

Tennyson's ' Guinevere.' 


We may ransack the annals of the world, but I know 
not what research can furnish us with so portentous 
an example of the fiendish misuse of the powers 
established by Grod " for the punishment of evil-doers, 
and for the encouragement of them that do well." 
No Government ever has so sinned ; none has so 
proved itself incorrigible in sin, or which is the 
same, so impotent for reformation. If it be allow- 
able that the Executive power of Turkey should 
renew at this great crisis, by permission or authority 
of Europe, the charter of its existence in Bulgaria, 
then there is not on record, since the beginnings of 
political society, a protest that man has lodged against 
intolerable misgovernment, or a stroke he has dealt 
at loathsome tyranny, that ought not henceforward 
to be branded as a crime. 

But we have not yet fallen to so low a depth of 
degradation; and it may cheerfully be hoped that, 
before many weeks have passed, the wise and ener- 
getic counsels of the Powers, again united, may have 
begun to afford relief to the overcharged emotion of 
a shuddering world. 

Having done with the argumentative portion of 
the case, I desire to perform yet one other duty, by 
reminding my countrymen that measures appear to 
be most urgently required for the relief of want, 
disease, and every form of suffering in Bulgaria. 


Lady StraDgford has, with energetic benevolence, 
proposed to undertake this work. It seems to me to 
go far beyond the powers of any individual, however 
active and intelligent. I will presume to urge that, 
under the peculiar circumstances of the case, there is 
a call upon Her Majesty's Government to take the 
matter in hand. I do not mean by means of a grant of 
public money : but by communicating with the muni- 
cipal and local authorities, and submitting to them the 
expediency of opening subscriptions : by placing the 
whole machinery of the Embassy at Constantinople 
and of the Consulates and Vice-Consulates at the 
service of the undertaking ; and by supplying men 
able to organize and superintend the distribution of 
relief from the military and possibly also the naval 

Hawabden, Chester, 
5th Sept., 1876. 

i-oNUoN: ritiNiiiu »v wii.i.i.Ai c;u.\vk* and boss, stamford stukkt 



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