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Full text of "The Christians of Turkey : their condition under Mussulman rule"

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THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY 



THEIR CONDITION UNDER 



MUSSULMAN RULE 



Bv REV. W. DENTON, M.A. 

AUTHOR OF 'SERVIA AND THE SERVIANS,' 
ETC. ETC. 



LONDON 

DALDY, ISBISTER & CO. 

56, LUDGATE HILL 

1876 

\_The right of Translation is reserved.] 



JOHN CHI1.DS AND SON, PRINTERS. 



513e55 



INTRODUCTION. 



Thirteen years ago, under the title of 'The 
Christians in Turkey,' I published a pamphlet, the 
greater part of which I am about to reprint in the 
present volume. Unhappily the description which 
I gave so many years ago of the state and condition 
of the Christian subjects of Turkey is as applicable 
at the present time as it was then. In 1863 the 
minds of the people of England were unprepared to 
believe that the position of our brethren in that 
empire was so miserable as they now know it to be, 
and my pamphlet excited but little attention. I 
have now, however, been asked by some of those 
who read it when first printed to allow of its repub- 
lication, and I respond to that request by embody- 
ing the information, sad and harrowing as it is, in 
the present volume. I have made but few altera- 
tions in the parts republished. Some mere tem- 
porary references have been omitted, and some few 



4 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

illustrations have been added, and in addition I have 
devoted one chapter to a brief survey of the differ- 
ent races which occupy the European provinces of 
Turkey, and another to tracing the cause for the 
outbreak in the Herzegovina which was the herald 
of the present war between Servia and Montenegro 
with the Porte. Beyond these additions this volume 
is mainly a reprint of the pamphlet of thirteen 
years ago : thirteen years of grave responsibility to 
us : thirteen years of violated promises on the part of 
the Turkish Government : thirteen years of intense 
misery and suffering, of violence and of massacre, for 
the Christian subjects of Turkey. 

I refer to the length of time which has gone by 
since the original publication of ' The Christians in 
Turkey,' and to the fact that the survey of the con- 
dition of these people is in the main reprinted from 
that pamphlet, to remove any misconception of my 
motive in putting forth the present volume. I have 
no wish to seem even to serve the interests or 
passions of party. I make no charge against any 
one set of ministers of state. To do so would be 
dishonest. The picture which I here reproduce of 
Turkish rule will at least show that the Ministry of 
the present day is not more responsible for the evils 
which weigh so heavily upon our Christian brethren 



INTRODUCTION. 

in Turkey than former administrations. Any words 
of blame on my part are directed against that ' foreign 
policy ' which has been pursued more or less con- 
sistently since the beginning of the Crimean war. 
I prefer therefore to alter the language of my former 
publication as little as possible, though some words 
and references may have but little applicability to 
the present. There has, however, been no change of 
circumstance, at least no amelioration in the con- 
dition of the Christians of Turkey, but the reverse. 
Their lot is harder, their condition more intolerable, 
in proportion to the decline in strength and number 
of the dominant race. 

If, indeed, this question were one of mere party 
politics, I should not venture to intrude into a 
region where the presence of a clergyman is rightly 
regarded as incongruous. It is because the unhappy 
circumstances which surround so many millions of 
our brethren inhabiting some of the fairest and 
most fertile portions of the globe, ought not to 
awaken party animosities, that I ask the attention of 
the reader to a review of the present wrongs of the 
Christians in Turkey, in order, not indeed to enlist 
the sympathies of Englishmen in their behalf, for 
this they already have, but to give to these sympa- 
thies a definite direction. Indeed, with rare and 



6 THE CHKISTIANS OF TUKKEY. 

noble exceptions, it must be confessed that party 
politicians of all shades of opinion are almost equally 
uninformed on this subject, and therefore equally 
indifferent to the sufferings of the great mass of the 
people of Turkey. This fact, whilst it removes this 
great political question out of the arena of party 
strife, at the same time renders more difficult the 
attempt to obtain for it an attentive hearing from 
those who seek, or affect to guide, popular opinion. 
My object, let me state at the outset, is to ask that 
our governors should cease from that strange inter- 
ference against the people of Turkey which has been 
for some years the policy of the English Govern- 
ment, and that they should no longer actively aid a 
despotism the most grinding on the face of the 
earth : one which, not content with the fanatical 
cruelty which led to the Diocletian and other 
early persecutions, poisons and pollutes the whole 
domestic life of the vast majority of the subjects of 
Turkey. 

There is another reason why I prefer to repro- 
duce my former words. In the indignation felt and 
expressed throughout all England there lurks one 
danger. In dwelling upon the atrocities perpetrated 
in Bulgaria we may come to believe that these were 
exceptional in their character, an outbreak caused by 



INTRODUCTION. 7 

some momentary panic, or by a sudden uncontrollable 
frenzy which may possibly never again occur. This 
is not true. They do but illustrate the normal con- 
dition of the provinces of Turkey. What has hap- 
pened in Bulgaria has happened also in Bosnia. 
Deeds have been done there as horrible as those 
done in Bulgaria, even if the number of victims 
should fall short of those in the latter province. 
Only by what may almost be called an accident were 
the atrocities perpetrated at Batak and elsewhere 
unveiled to us. We were made acquainted with one 
set of facts, we are in ignorance as to the extent of 
the other atrocities. Our ignorance indeed is our 
only excuse for the continuance of such horrors. 

In a letter written by an English gentleman re- 
sident at Constantinople, and quoted by Mr Cobden 
in a debate in the House of Commons in 1863, the 
following passage occurs : — c What is our policy sup- 
porting? Some one asked me how to account for 
this in a people the most moral of all, the English, 
that these deepest immoralities should be maintained 
by their patronage ? I replied, they are, for the 
most part, quite ignorant, or unwilling to believe 
what they hear.' When that ignorance is removed, 
when they know what is really meant by the phrase 
' supporting the integrity of Turkey,' Englishmen, 



8 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

I am assured, will no longer sustain by their patron- 
age a Government which exists only to inflict miseiy 
upon its subjects, whether by its active oppression 
or by its helplessness and imbecility. 

That this ignorance on the part of the people of 
England should exist is not to be wondered at. The 
same ignorance as to the condition of the people of 
Turkey, and of the habits and feelings of the large 
Christian communities which cover the face of that 
empire, has been long shared in by successive 
Governments in this country. The broad distinc- 
tion, however, between the ignorance of the people 
of England and that of the Government, lies in the 
circumstance that the latter has always had it in its 
power to obtain information, from which it has in- 
tentionally turned away, and has even taken con- 
siderable pains to suppress, whilst the ignorance of 
the people of England arises from the deliberate 
action of their governors in preventing, so far as 
possible, any information reaching this country as to 
the real condition of the people of Turkey. Since 
the time of Sir Henry Bulwer the large consular 
staff scattered throughout the dominions of the 
Sultan, either by positive instructions, or by those 
indirect means by which men are made acquainted 
with the wishes of their superiors, have long known 



INTRODUCTION. 9 

that amongst the most important duties which the 
Government required them to perform is a complete 
withholding all information as to the state,, and 
especially as to the sufferings, of the people of Tur- 
key. They are bidden significantly to shut their 
eyes, even if they cannot harden their hearts, against 
the daily recurring atrocities practised upon the un- 
armed and wretched peasantry of Rounielia, of Asia 
Minor, and of Syria, so that in answer to interroga- 
tions in the House of Commons respecting any case 
of grievous wrong, it may be answered by the organ 
of the Foreign Office, that no account of any such 
occurrence has been received from the consul on the 
spot, and that therefore the presumption is that such 
report is untrue. 

What the impression and the practice of the con- 
suls in this matter is may be gathered from the 
following extract from a letter addressed to me by 
Dr Sandwith, well known as the Chief of the 
Medical staff during the siege of Kars : — 

1 When I was in Turkey, about two years ago, I 
had a long conversation with a consul, who told me 
stories that curdled my blood with horror concerning 
the cruelties and barbarities of the Turks, chiefly to- 
wards the Christians, but their misdeeds were by no 



10 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

means confined to the unbelievers. Wherever a 
pasha could plunder, he never cared what ruin and 
misery were the result. The consul showed me 
clearly how inevitably the country was being ruined 
and depopulated. "At all events," I remarked, "you 
have the satisfaction of reporting all these horrors 
in your despatches ? " " Oh dear, no," he answered, 
" I dare not. We have received more than a hint 
that our Government is determined to uphold 
Turkey ; and if I were to tell the truth, and de- 
scribe things as they really are, my career would be 
ruined. More than one consul has been severely 
snubbed for doing so." On another occasion I 
heard also from a consular official of a horrible jcase 
of judicial torture. I asked for the details. He 
durst not give me them, and told me the case would 
not be reported, as the consuls had been made to 
understand that any reports unfavourable to the 
Turks would be unwelcome to the embassy.' 

The experience of Dr Sandwith is borne out by 
that of many other travellers in the countries sub- 
ject to the Sultan. English consuls who wish to 
stand well with the Embassy at Constantinople must 
make their reports as favourable as possible to 
Turkey, and conceal all facts which would enlighten 



INTRODUCTION. 1 1 

the English public as to the true nature of Turkish 
rule. Hence the long delay in informing the Govern- 
ment of the Bulgarian atrocities. Since the publica- 
tion of my pamphlet additional evidence has been 
tendered me in confirmation of this statement, and I 
have obtained permission of Dr Manning, the secre- 
tary of the Religious Tract Society, the writer of the 
following letter, to print this confirmation of the 
words of Dr Sandwith already quoted : — 

' Some surprise and incredulity having been 
expressed as to your statements respecting the con- 
sular reports from Turkey, I think it due to you to 
say that my own observations fully confirm their ac- 
curacy. Travelling in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey in 
Europe a few years ago, the sufferings of the people 
under the brutal and stupid tyranny of the Turks 
filled me with indignation. The reply everywhere 
given to my inquiry why the facts were not made 
known in England was, that the consuls were ex- 
pected to make their reports as favourable as possible 
to the Turkish Government, and that any report in a 
contrary sense would be regarded with disfavour at 
Constantinople.' 

But on this matter we are not left to conjecture, 
or even to seek for the testimony of men of veracity. 



12 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

It is witnessed to by the papers presented to Parlia- 
ment. The following instance will illustrate this 
policy. 

In the early part of 1860, Prince GortschakofF, 
the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, addressed 
a circular to the Great Powers of Europe, pointing 
out the continuance of that injustice of which the 
Christians in Turkey had so long complained, and 
which the Porte had, at various periods, for upwards 
of thirty years, promised should be removed. In 
that circular, which was dated in May, 1860, the 
following statement occurs : — 

' The attention which the discussions upon the 
condition of the Bast has excited throughout Europe, 
makes us desirous of freeing from all error and false 
and exaggerated interpretation the part which the 
Imperial Cabinet has taken, and the object which it 
proposes to itself in this matter. 

' For more than a year the official reports of our 
agents in Turkey have made us acquainted with the 
increasingly serious condition of the Christian pro- 
vinces under the rule of the Porte, and especially of 
Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. This condition 
does not date from to-day, but, far from getting 



INTRODUCTION. 13 

better, as was hoped, it has become worse during the 
last few years. 

' In this conviction, after having, on the one hand, 
vainly sought to enlighten the Turkish Government 
on the gravity of the circumstances, by communi- 
cating to it successively all the accounts which have 
been made known to us of the abuses committed by 
local authorities ; and after having, on the other 
hand, exhausted all means of persuasion that we 
could use among the Christians, in order to induce 
them to patience, we have frankly and loyally ad- 
dressed ourselves to the Cabinets of the Great 
Powers of Europe. We have explained to them 
the circumstances, as described in the reports of our 
agents ; the imminence of a crisis ; our conviction 
that isolated representations, sterile or palliative 
promises, will no longer suffice as a preventive ; and 
also the necessity of an understanding of the Great 
Powers among themselves and with the Porte, that 
they will consult together as to the measures which 
can alone put an end to this dangerous state of 
things. We have not made absolute propositions as 
to the course to be adopted. We have confined our- 
selves to showing the urgency, and indicating the 
object. As to the first, we have not concealed the 



14 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

fact that it appears to us to admit of no doubt, and 
to allow of no delay. 

' First of all, an immediate local inquiry, with the 
participation of Imperial delegates, in order to verify 
the reality of the facts ; next, an understanding 
which it is reserved for the Great Powers to establish 
with each other and with the Porte, in order to 
engage it to adopt the necessary organic measures for 
bringing about in its relations with the Christian 
populations of the empire, a real, serious, and 
durable amelioration. 

' There is nothing here,. then, in the shape of an 
interference wounding to the dignity of the Porte. 
"We do not suspect its intentions ; it is the Power 
most interested in a departure from the present situa- 
tion. Be it the result of blindness, tolerance, or 
feebleness, the concurrence of Europe cannot but be 
useful to the Porte, whether to enlighten its judg- 
ment or to fortify its action. There can no longer 
be a question of an attack on its rights, which we 
desire to see respected, or of creating complications, 
which it is our wish to prevent. The understanding 
which we wish to see established between the Great 
Powers and the Turkish Government, must be to the 
Christians a proof that their fate is taken into con- 
sideration, and that we are seriously occupied in 



INTRODUCTION. 15 

ameliorating it. At the same time, it will be to the 
Porte a certain pledge of the friendly intentions of 
the Powers which have placed the conservation of the 
Ottoman Empire among the essential conditions of 
the European equilibrium. Thus, both sides ought 
to see in it a motive : the Turkish Government, for 
confidence and security — the Christians, for patience 
and hope. Europe, on its part, after past experience, 
will not, in our opinion, find elsewhere than in this 
moral action the guarantees which a question of the 
first rank demands, with which its tranquillity is 
indissolubly connected, and in which the interests of 
humanity mingle with those of policy. Our August 
Master has never disavowed the strong sympathy 
with which the former inspire him. His Majesty 
desires not to burden his conscience with the reproach 
of having remained silent in the face of such suffer- 
ings, when so many voices are raised elsewhere, 
under circumstances much less imperious. We are, 
moreover, profoundly convinced that this order of 
ideas is inseparable from the political interest which 
Russia, like all the other Powers, has in the main- 
tenance of the Ottoman Empire. 

'We trust that these views are shared by all the 
Cabinets ; but we are also convinced that the time 
for illusions is past, that any hesitation, any adjourn- 



16 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

ment, will have grave consequences. In combining, 
with all our efforts, to place the Ottoman Govern- 
ment in a course which may avert these eventualities, 
we believe that we are giving it a proof of our 
solicitude, while at the same time we fulfil a duty to 
humanity.' 

Upon the receipt of this circular, Sir H. Bulwer, 
acting under the instructions of the English Govern- 
ment, drew up a list of questions, which he sent to 
the various consuls throughout Turkey. No persons 
could, from their position, better speak on such a 
subject ; none would be more ready to furnish 
evidence which would contradict the assertions of 
the Russian note, provided that this were possible. 
From their answer, honestly, faithfully, and intelli- 
gently given, we might have had a luminous survey 
of the Turkish empire. Such a report would have 
been invaluable. It was not likely that English 
consuls would exaggerate the unhappy condition of 
the Christians, since they had been made to feel in 
many ways that even truth on this subject was 
' unwelcome to the embassy ; ' and before sending in 
their answers they were reminded that their very 
bread depended upon the will of his Excellency the 
Ambassador.* At the same time, it is evident, that 

* ' I assure you that your conduct at this crisis will be 



INTRODUCTION. 17 

reports from the pens of English gentlemen, making 
allowances for this circumstance, would, on the 
whole, present a faithful picture of the condition of 
the people — slightly coloured, perhaps, in favour of 
things as they are, and framed in some degree to 
meet the wishes of the Government which they 
served, hut still generally trustworthy. It would 
seem, however, that Sir Henry Bulwer felt, from the 
first, some misgivings that a simple answer to these 
questions would confirm every jot and tittle of the 
accusations of the Russian minister, and accordingly 
he took the unusual step of issuing a circular, 
dated 'Constantinople, June 11th, I860,' and in- 
closing it under the same cover as the questions, by 
which circular he directed the consuls in what way 
he wished and expected them to answer the questions. 
In this circular, which one of the consuls rightly 
calls an ' instruction/ Sir Henry Bulwer said — 

'Looking at the barbarous and despotic power 
but a few years since exercised by the Pashas in the 
Provinces, and at the venal practices too long in- 
dulged in by Turkish functionaries, — the temptation 

duly watched by me, and my opinion respecting it, whether 
favourable or the reverse, communicated to Her Majesty's 
Government.' — Circular of Sir H. Buhver to Her Majesty's 
Consuls, August 8, 1860. 

2 



18 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

being not unoften given by the Rayahs themselves, 
who bribed such functionaries to favour the one 
against the other, — it is too much to expect that a 
pure and perfect administration will now be found. 

' The crimes, moreover, signalized by Russia, are 
in all countries unfortunately to be seen and deplored ; 
and whilst religious toleration, to a far greater extent 
than is even now practised by many European 
Governments, has been traditionally characteristic of 
Turkish domination, — a system of religious equality, 
though by no means easy to establish at first — when 
the conquering race is of one creed, and the conquered 
of another, — has, nevertheless, of late years, made a 
visible progress in the capital ; and can hardly, one 
would suppose, since it has been proclaimed ostenta- 
tiously and constantly, with the consent of the 
Sovereign, be altogether disregarded by the Porte's 
official servants in the country at large. 

' Thus, — whilst I am far from denying that great 
and radical reforms are required in the provincial 
administration, I am, nevertheless, inclined to believe 
that it is an exaggeration to contend that things are 
in a much worse state than under the circumstances 
might be expected, or that there is a constant and 
perverse action, on the part of the Governors and 
their subordinates, in opposition to the general 



INTRODUCTION. 19 

policy which, their superiors are pledged to carry 
out/ 

And Sir Henry Bulwer then significantly 
added — 

'Her Majesty's Government wishes, as you well 
know, to maintain the Ottoman Empire, — which in 
its fall would produce a general disorganization in 
the East, accompanied, probably, by war throughout 
the world, — the whole producing a series of disasters 
which would certainly not benefit any class in 
Turkey, and would be likely to cause great calamities 
to mankind/ 

Now it is evident that had Sir Henry Bulwer 
believed that the state of Turkey was improved or 
improving, he might have safely left it to the consuls 
to make such a declaration without telling them 
that he expected them to do so. If under the mild 
' toleration ' of Turkey the Christians were reposing 
in peace and were free from grievous oppressions, it 
was not necessary that the ambassador at Constan- 
tinople should tell this to the consuls, who must have 
known far better than he could what was the condition 
of the Christians. That his circular was regarded by 
the consuls as a dictation as to the kind of answers 
desired by Sir Henry Bulwer, and ' welcome to the 



20 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Embassy/ is evident from a circumstance which, if 
it were not for the gravity of the offence against 
the very first principles of morality, would be 
simply ludicrous. By some mistake in the office of 
the ambassador, the list of questions was received by 
one consul without the circular which should have 
accompanied it ; on the 4th of August, that gentle- 
man forwarded his answers in simple child-like faith 
that his Excellency required truthful answers to his 
questions. A few days, however, after the report 
had been sent, the circular arrived under another 
cover. It was then evident to him that he had 
committed a great blunder ; he had been asked to 
bless the Sultan, to praise his beneficent and ' toler- 
ant' rule, and to contradict the accusation in the 
Russian note. Alas ! he had unwittingly cursed the 
one and confirmed the other by a simple picture of 
the state of the province in which he resided. 
Here it would obviously have been better to have 
let the matter rest, the mistake of not sending the 
questions and the draught answers together had 
been made at Constantinople, and the blunder of 
telling the truth had been solely committed in 
consequence of the first error. This, however, did 
not satisfy the consul. He did what terrified men 
frequently do. He was bold even to rashness. He 



INTRODUCTION. 21 

undertook to confute himself, and wrote a despatch 
full of lamentation at his simplicity, and overflowing 
with apologies for speaking the truth. In this latter 
document the consul professes that he is not so 
competent to speak as his Excellency, his ideas are 
all ' crude,' and he seeks to recall his former state- 
ment, seemingly not knowing it was too late to do 
so. Eating his leek with a very wry face, in his 
alarm he made a larger meal of it than was at all 
necessary. 

In his second report, written after he had learnt 
why Sir Henry Bulwer had sent the list of questions 
to him, the consul thus writes — 

1 On the 4th instant I had the honour of forward- 
ing my replies to the queries contained in your Excel- 
lency's circular of June 11, which had reached me 
only a few days previously, and yesterday I received 
the other circular bearing the same date. I thus 
furnished what information I could without being 
aware of the motives dictating the questions, and with- 
out being in possession of the valuable instructions 
conveyed by the other circular. I shall, therefore, 
endeavour now to supply the deficiencies of my 
replies. 



22 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

' Your Excellency expresses the belief that it is 
an exaggeration to contend that things are in a much 
worse state than, under the circumstances, might be 
expected. This view of the case is fully corroborated 
by my experience. 

***** 

' I am sure your Excellency wishes to have 
opinions frankly stated, in order that they may be 
duly sifted, and appreciated according to their merits 
and demerits ; and I therefore hope I may be held 
excused if I have too freely given utterance to these 
crude notions on a subject, the consideration of 
which may not strictly form part of a consul's attri- 
butes.' 

It is a melancholy spectacle to see a man of mature 
age making piteous appeals for tender consideration 
because he had unfortunately spoken the truth ; but 
however melancholy the spectacle is, it is important, 
since it shows us the effect of the circular of Sir 
Henry Bulwer upon the mind at least of one of the 
consuls, and it leaves us to regret that we have 
missed those valuable photographs of the state of 
Turkey which, but for the forethought of Sir Henry 
Bulwer, we should have obtained. Under the cir- 
cumstances, therefore, every admission of the con- 



INTRODUCTION. 23 

sular body as to the misrule, the oppression, and 
cruelty practised by the officers of the Turkish 
Government, acquires additional weight. Nor would 
it be right to pass over, without a word of admira- 
tion, the courage which has led some of those officers 
to speak plain words and to declare unpalatable 
truths in their reports. 

But the record of the freaks of British diplo- 
macy are not at an end. The papers lately presented 
to Parliament are full of mournful instances of the 
way in which truth is paltered with, equivocation 
resorted to, and even positive untruth suggested, 
when it is thought necessary to throw the shield of 
England's might — I wish I could say England's 
greatness — over the cruel oppression and the profli- 
gate sensuality of Turkey. I will not weary the 
reader by quoting, as I might, the numerous de- 
spatches of Sir Henry Bulvver, especially those which 
occur in the Blue Books on the Syrian massacres, 
which illustrate this dishonesty. 

By means, then, such as these — the systematic 
suppi-ession of information, and the requiring our con- 
sular agents to make one-sided, partial, and coloured 
statements — are the sympathies of the public of this 
country diverted from the sufferings of the people of 
the East. But, let us bear in mind, in our zeal to 



24 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

preserve, at all hazards, ' the integrity of Turkey,' 
that the integrity of our public men is greatly suffer- 
ing, and the honour and humanity of England are 
in danger of becoming bywords in many parts of 
the world. It would surely be more manly, more 
honourable, more politic, to grapple with the real 
facts of the case. It would be better — for honesty 
is still the best policy — to acknowledge that though 
the Government of Turkey is hopelessly dead or 
dying ; though the moral corruption of all classes in 
that country, but especially of its rulers, has reached 
such a stage that it is too polluting a subject to be 
even mentioned, still less detailed ; though the un- 
happy subject races are exposed to daily massacres 
and to outrages worse than death ; though portions 
of the empire, naturally amongst the most fertile on 
the globe — tracts of land which a few years ago 
were cultivated with the same care as the gardens of 
Flanders or of Lombardy — are now a waste wilder- 
ness, trodden only by the feet of wandering 
Bedouins, by some Christian flying from the intoler- 
able oppression of his savage masters, or, more 
commonly, only by prowling beasts of prey, for this 
— as I shall be able to show from documents of 
unimpeachable veracity — is, in brief, the condition 
of the greater part of Turkey in Asia — yet that in 



INTRODUCTION. 25 

despite of all this it is for some reason or another so 
important to England to maintain all these abomina- 
tions that we are resolved to do so. It would be 
better to acknowledge this : but not at the cost of 
our own ' integrity ' to attempt to conceal that 
which is notoriously and unhappily true. We 
might still plead, if we would, that, all this accumu- 
lated misery and evil notwithstanding, it is sound 
policy to perpetuate these horrors, to sustain this 
crumbling pillar and to prop this falling edifice of 
Ottoman power. I confess that both humanity and 
policy are, in my opinion, damaged by the course 
which the Foreign Office is bent on pursuing ; but, 
at any rate, if necessary, let that course be held to 
without resorting to equivocation, deceit, and false- 
hood. Such weapons indicate a desperate cause, or 
they will injure that which, but for their use, need 
not be despaired of. 

I shall abstain as much as possible from any 
evidence or conclusions of my own. I have an 
abundance of witnesses whom I can cite, and I pre- 
fer their testimony to any which I can bring as to 
the condition of the great bulk of the people of 
Turkey. The witnesses whom I am about to quote 
are for the most part our own consuls settled in that 
country. These write with an evident consciousness 



26 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

that any bias in favour of the oppressed races of that 
country would be 'unwelcome to the Embassy,' and, 
as Sir Henry Bulwer had informed them in writing 
before requiring their testimony, to the British 
Government itself, yet they testify to these facts : — 

(I.) That the most fertile provinces in Turkey, 
formerly and even recently covered with flourishing 
villages and occupied by industrious inhabitants, are 
now waste and desolate, filled only with ruin, the 
mouldering remains of slaughtered men and chil- 
dren, and with prowling beasts of prey. That the 
former inhabitants have been massacred or driven 
away, and that the sands of the desert are fast 
encroaching upon what were formerly the most 
fruitful lands on the globe. 

(II.) That moral corruption the most horrible, 
and sensuality the most loathsome, has become 
universal amongst the Turkish people, and is fast 
depopulating the empire and destroying the whole 
Mussulman race. 

(III.) That alarm and terror for the lives and 
honour of their families reign in every quarter of 
the Turkish empire. That there is no security for 
industry, no safety for life ; and that with the 
diminution of the dominant race, the jealousy and 



INTRODUCTION. 27 

hatred of the Turk towards the Christian is acquir- 
ing fresh force. 

(IV.) That no attempt has been made by the 
Turkish Government to fulfil the engagements 
Avhich, from time to time, it has entered into with 
the Great Powers of Europe to guard against the 
oppression of the subject race. 

(V.) That in the Christian races of Turkey, and 
in them only, are there any signs of life, and that 
their rapid increase in numbers and material pros- 
perity, as well as the extension of education amongst 
them, together with their superior industry and 
morality, afford the only hope for the future. 

That the condition of the people of Turkey — the 
large mass of the population of that country — 
presents the sad spectacle which I have here 
indicated, and which I am about to illustrate from 
official and other unexceptionable documents, I be- 
lieve no one at all acquainted with the subject will 
deny. The utmost that the apologists of Turkey 
are accustomed to plead is, that the depopulation, 
the massacres, the cruel acts of injustice practised 
toward the Christians, arise not from the direct 
action of the Turkish Government, but from the 



28 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

corruption of the officers and the fanaticism of the 
Mussulmans, which it is too feeble to restrain or 
punish. This, no doubt, is in part true ; but then 
it ought to be remembered that the very feebleness 
of the central Government arises from its injustice. 
But, indeed, this is only true in part. The men 
who compose the Turkish Government — the owners 
of the sumptuous palaces which fringe the Bosphorus, 
are in no degree removed above the crowd in intelli- 
gence, in uprightness, or in morality ; and much of 
the ruin which lies like a heavy blight on the land, 
and the present hopeless condition of the Ottoman 
empire, arise from the positive sins of its Govern- 
ment, its miserable faithlessness towards its subjects, 
as well as from its inherent powerlessness. 

Practically, however, it is of little consequence 
to men who suffer, to what quarter the source of the 
evil of which they complain may be traced. A 
peasant who is stripped of his property because he is 
a Christian — whose testimony in a court of justice is 
refused for the same reason — who has been arbi- 
trarily imprisoned — whose wife and daughter have 
been outraged, and whose sons have been executed 
because they ventured to defend the honour of their 
mother and sisters — derives no comfort from being 
told that all these things have happened, not from 



INTRODUCTION. 29 

the vice and corruption of the Government, but only 
from its weakness or its want of power to protect 
him. And let it be remembered, that every means 
which statecraft can devise — protocols without 
number, alliances on all sides, conventions to avoid 
wars, and wars which have happened notwithstand- 
ing — have all been resorted to with the view of 
infusing new life into the veins of that dying body, 
and to give it artificial strength, but all without 
avail. The ruin goes on at an accelerated speed — 
the feeble Government is becoming every day more 
hopelessly feeble. 



30 



CHAPTER I. 



POPULATION OF TUKKEY. 



The races which occupy the country between the 
Danube and the Bosphorus — not taking account of 
Greece, which was erected some fifty years since into 
an independent kingdom ; Montenegro, which has 
never submitted to the yoke of the Ottoman ; and the 
principalities of Roumania and Servia, which are 
autonomous, and virtually independent — are the Bul- 
garians, the Serbs, the Albanians, and the Greeks. 
These are placed in the order of their numerical im- 
portance. It is not an easy matter to obtain correct 
statistics of the Turkish people among whom they 
live, and in some instances, it may be, the number of 
the Christians is somewhat understated. It is be- 
lieved, however, that the statistics here given will 
be found pretty correct. In some instances they are 
obtained from official returns. 



POPULATION OF TUEKEY. 31 

The Bulgarians 4,540,000 

The Serbs of Bosnia, Herze- \ „ _ _ njnA 

2,030,000 
govina, etc ) 

The Albanians 1,150,000 

The Greeks outside of the 



1,048,700 
kingdom of Greece 



Add to these- 



Armenians, Georgians, etc. . 420,000 

Wallachians not living in 



225,000 
Wallachia 



Total . . 9,543,700 

There are about 80)000 Jews living in the cities 
in the southern part of European Turkey, and more 
than double that number of Gipsies (165,000), who 
wander throughout the whole country, whether 
autonomous or subject. The Circassians are esti- 
mated at 144,000. The Turkish element of the 
population of European Turkey, excluding those 
living in Roumania, may be estimated at about 
1,260,000 ; according to the most liberal calcula- 
tion, 1,326,000 ; but this errs, if at all, on the side 
of too large an amount. The numbers of the Turk- 



32 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

ish race also are in a rapid state of decline in every 
province of European Turkey.* 

Though the Bulgarians, the Serbs, and the 
Greeks have, in the face of long and severe persecu- 
tion, for the most part, maintained their faith in Christ, 
yet large numbers have at various times — chiefly in 
past yeaTs — apostatized from their belief; though 
many, it is thought, have only conformed outwardly 
to Mahomedanism to avoid the sufferings of their 
Christian brethren, or for the sake of worldly advan- 
tage. For this reason the numbers of the Turks and 
non-Mussulman population are not identical with the 
Christians and Mahometans. According to race the 
relative proportion of Turks and non-Turks may be 
thus stated : — 

Non-Turkish races 11,583,700 
Turks .... 1,260,000 

Estimated, however, according to their religion, the 
people of European Turkey are : — 

* The official figures communicated to the editor of the 
Saxe-Gotha Almanack gives 2,095,833 as the estimated number 
of the Turkish population ; hut to make up so large a Turkish 
population the Armenian Christians — who number, accord- 
ing to the most trustworthy information, 420,000, the largest 
number of whom inhabit Pera, Constantinople, and Adrian- 
ople — and also the Gipsies, are included with the Turks ! 



POPULATION OF TURKEY. 38 

Christian . 10,673,700 
Mahometan 2,200,000 

I believe that both these figures, the estimated num- 
ber of Turks in the one case and of Mahometans in 
the other, are in excess of the real amount of the 
Turkish and Mussulman element in the population. 

Reckoning the Serbs of the principality of Servia 
and the people of Roumania, or the Danubian prin- 
cipality, the Turkish element is relatively small. 
As, however, these states are virtually free, and con- 
tain scarcely any Mussulmans, the Christians and 
Mahometans in the provinces ruled directly from 
Constantinople are more nearly balanced in point 
of numbers, although even here the Christian 
element largely preponderates. The population of 
Servia and Roumania, the latter principality of 
which contains 1300 Mussulmans, is estimated at — 

Roumania 4,500,000 
Servia . 1,340,000 

In both cases the population is an increasing one. 
As the large and constant decline of the Turkish 
population is due mainly to the corruption of morals 
throughout the empire, we have in the steady in- 
crease of the Christian races, especially when their 
numbers are not kept down by the massacres which 



34 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUKKEY. 

take place, an answer to the charge sometimes made 
against them, that, granted the Turkish part of the 
population is given over to vices which destroy it, 
yet the Christians are as bad, or at least are almost 
as bad, as the Mussulmans. The decline in the one 
case and the steady increase in numbers in the other 
is a vindication of the Christian race in this respect. 
Bulgaria is not the only home of the Bulgarian 
people. As in the case of Servia, the territory is 
more limited than the race. As the Serbs occupy 
Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Old Servia, as well as the 
principality of that name, so the Bulgarian people 
not only inhabit the province of Bulgaria, but make 
up a considerable part of the population of Thrace, 
Macedonia, Thessaly, and even Albania. Originally 
a Tartar race, and not dissimilar to the Turks at 
their first appearance in history, the Bulgarians 
crossed the Danube and settled on the north of the 
Balkan mountains in the seventh century. In the 
ninth century they embraced Christianity, and for 
awhile were the ruling power on the southern borders 
of the Danube. They were conquered, however, and 
incorporated in the Servian monarchy of Stephen Du- 
shan, and from similarity of origin, of language, and 
of identity in religion, became what they now are, 
virtually a Sclavonic people. The old kingdom of 



POPULATION OF TURKEY. 35 

Bulgaria came to an end in 1390, when the people 
submitted to the Turks, on the condition that they 
should be allowed to govern themselves and merely 
pay a tribute to the Sultan. These terms, however, 
were gradually set aside, and every vestige of their 
liberty was destroyed. Mr Paton, writing twenty 
years ago, says, 'They are a most unwarlike race, 
and submissive to the Turks as sheep to a colley dog. 
Their habits are pastoral and agricultural, having 
neither the soldier spirit and gigantic stature of the 
Serb, nor the mercantile enterprise and intelligence 
of the Greek.' * They are distinguished for their 
industry, honesty, domestic virtue, and submissive- 
ness. Recently a great awakening to the advantage 
of education has taken place, and almost every village 
has its school, supported by a rate voluntarily paid 
by the inhabitants. In the towns which I have 
visited their schools are large, well built, and sup- 
plied with good school apparatus. The numbers 
of the Bulgarians are estimated at 4,500,000, 
though some think that their true number is nearer 
6,000,000. Those who live in the province of Bul- 
garia are stated on Turkish official authority to 
amount to 1,837,053. 

* The Danube and Adriatic, by A. A. Paton, vol. i. 
pp. 292, 293. 



36 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

The Serbs of Turkey, as distinguished from the 
people of Sclavonia and Austrian Croatia,* occupy 
the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the prin- 
cipality of Servia, and a tract on the south-west of 
that State known by the name of Old Servia. The 
Serbs of Servia proper submitted to the Turkish 
rule, at least in part, after the fatal battle of Kossova 
in 1389, and became a province of the empire in 
1459. In 1804 the Servians revolted, and, under 
the leadership of Kara George, for nine years 
struggled against the authority of the Porte. In 
1813 the Turks overcame this revolt, but in 1815 
Milosh Obrenovich raised again the standard of 
independence, and after several vicissitudes the 
freedom of Servia was guaranteed by a Hatti Scheriff 
of the Sultan in 1830. Since that time Servia has 
been virtually free ; by Firman of the Porte no 
Turkish subject is allowed to live within the limits 
of the principality, and a small tribute alone marks 
the suzerainty of the Porte. The population of 
the principality is, according to an official return, 
1,838,506.+ 

Bosnia and Herzegovina surrendered to the Sultan 

* The Sclavs of Austria, Tehees, Slovacs, Serbs, and 
other kindred people, number nearly 20,000,000. 
t Almanack de Gotha, 1875. 



POPULATION OF TURKEY. 37 

of Turkey in the year 1454. In these provinces the 
large landowners, with hardly an exception, aposta- 
tized to Mahometanism, and by so doing retained 
their possessions and feudal privileges. The bulk 
of the population, however, remained Christians. 
These are divided into two sections, — members of 
the Orthodox or Eastern Church, and members of the 
Roman Catholic Church. According to the official 
report of 1874, the total population of this province, 
for Herzegovina is included in the Vilajet of Bosnia, 
was as follows : — 

Greek Christians 576,756 

Roman Catholics 185,503 

Mussulmans (Bosniac, not Turkish) . 442,050 

Jews . 3,000 

Gipsies 9,537 

Total . 1,216,846 

In this tripartite division of the Serb population 
consists the difficulty of forming an autonomous 
government for these two provinces. But this is a 
difficulty as great at the present moment as it can 
be in a period of autonomy. Whilst the Bosniac 
beys, with those of Herzegovina, are fanatical 
Mussulmans, they are as fanatically anti-Turk; 
and it would probably be easier to combine them 



38 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

under one rule as an independent State, notwith- 
standing religious differences, than it has been to 
overcome the antipathy of race between the people, 
of whatever race they may be, and their Osmanli 
rulers, the Turks of Constantinople. Indeed the 
Turkish Court now holds a precarious rule over 
these provinces, only by playing off religion against 
religion. The members of the Latin Church are in 
these provinces invested with peculiar privileges 
which are withheld from the members of the Ortho- 
dox or Eastern Church. The whole modern history 
of Bosnia has been a series of insurrections, mostly 
of the Mussulman aristocracy against the Turkish 
officials and the authority of the Porte. 

Montenegro has always maintained its independ- 
ence of Turkey, and though it has received tempting 
offers of an increase of territory on condition of its 
acknowledging the suzerainty of the Porte, it has 
always rejected the offer. Its population is estimated 
at about 200,000. 

The Albanians, divided into different clans, and 
generally supposed to be the descendants of the old 
Illyrian inhabitants driven southward by the inroads 
of the Sclavs, inhabit a rugged country, and this 
and their neighbourhood to the Montenegrins have 
enabled them to maintain a sort of turbulent inde- 



POPULATION OF TURKEY. 39 

pendence. According to the official information of 
the Turkish Government, the population of these 
tribes is stated to be 1,245,182. Of them 750,000 are 
Christians of the Orthodox or of the Roman rite, 
and the rest Mahometans. 

The whole of the possession of Turkey in Europe 
subject immediately to the Porte is divided into 
eight vilayets, or governments, each presided over 
by a Pasha. Constantinople is not included in these, 
having as its chief the Minister of Police. 



40 



CHAPTER II. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 



The first point which I indicated in my prefatory 
remarks as symptomatic of the decay and approach- 
ing extinction of Turkey is the desolation which is to 
be met with in all the provinces of the empire, and 
which is increasing in intensity, and widening in 
area. That this is so, we know from testimony which 
is as unimpeachable as it is uniform. The evidence 
is so abundant, and the witnesses to this fact so 
numerous, that the only difficulty arises from the 
necessity of selection. 

Of the country about Smyrna, Mr Senior thus 
describes what met his own eye, and was pointed out 
to him by the Prussian consul : — ' " A strong proof 
of the depopulation of the country is the presence of 
nomadic tribes, Irooks and Turcomans, who wander 
over it in parties of from thirty to forty families, 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 41 

carrying with them cattle, camels, horses, and sheep 
in thousands, encamping and feeding on the unoccu- 
pied lands. The Irooks live in tents ; and, besides 
their pastoral employments, weave carpets and coarse 
cloths. The Turcomans are purely pastoral, and 
sometimes build temporary villages of wood coated 
with mud. I remember finding one near Sardis on 
the same spot for two successive years. They had 
150 camels, 400 or 500 head of cattle, and perhaps 
10,000 sheep. I asked them how long they intended 
to remain there. * God only knows/ they answered. 
The next year they were gone." 

'"To whom then," I said, "does the land on 
which they encamp, and feed their herds and flocks, 
belong ? " 

' " To the Sultan in general," he answered. 

' " And do they pay for its use ? " 

' " Not," he replied, " when it is the Sultan's. 
The unoccupied land of the Sultan may be used with- 
out payment ; when they use that belonging to 
private persons, some payment is exacted. They 
ought to pay tithe, but the appearance of a tithe- 
collector is a notice to them to depart." 

' "How much of Asia Minor," I said, "do you 
suppose to be uncultivated ? " 

' " Ninety-nine hundredths," he answered ; " if 



42 THE CHHISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

you go from hence, to wards Magnesia, you will ride 
ten hours through fine land without seeing a human 
habitation. But such is the fertility of the hundredth 
part which is cultivated, that if there were roads its 
produce would influence sensibly the markets of 
Europe." ' * 

Of the whole province of Palestine, Mr Finn, 
Her Majesty's Consul at Jerusalem, reported, that it 
is f seriously under-populated, and consequently large 
tracts lie waste ; ' and of the inhabitants he writes : — 
' We have a thinly scattered population, almost 
entirely engaged in rural occupations, propagated 
like wild animals, without education, in the common 
acceptation of that word, or even a decent sense of 
any religion whatever, and ignorant of everything but 
the use of very clumsy fire-arms, and actuated by no 
conscientious feeling beyond the requirements of 
their clan or faction/ f 

As to Aleppo and its neighbourhood, Mr Skene 
thus writes : — ' This province is in a good condition 
as regards the amount of production. But unfor- 

* A Journal kept in Turkey and Greece, by Nassau W. 
Senior, Esq. London: 1859. 

t Keport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 27. 



THE DECAY OF TUEKEY. 43 

tunately, the productive class does not enjoy in peace 
the fruits of labour. A portion of its produce is 
carried off by the nomadic Arabs, and extorted from, 
the peasantry by the farmers of the tithes. 

• Vast plains of the most fertile land lie waste on 
account of the incursions of the Bedouins, who drive 
the agricultural population westward, in order to 
secure pasture for their increasing flocks of sheep 
and herds of camels. I have seen twenty-five villages 
plundered by a single incursion of Sheik Mohammed 
Dukhy with 2000 Beni Sachar horsemen. I have 
visited a fertile district which possessed 100 villages 
twenty years ago, and found only a few lingering 
fellows, destined soon to follow their kindred to the 
hills ranging along the seaboard. I have explored 
towns in the Desert, with well-paved streets, houses 
still roofed, and their stone doors swinging on the 
hinges, ready to be occupied, and yet quite unten- 
anted ; thousands of acres of fine arable land spread- 
ing around them, with tracks of watercourses for 
irrigation, now yielding but a scanty pasture to the 
sheep and camels of the Bedouin. This overlapping 
of the Desert on the cultivated plains commenced 
eighty years ago, when the Anazi tribes migrated 
from Central Arabia in search of more extended 



44 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

pasturage, and overran Syria. It has now reached 
the sea on two points, near Acre, and between La- 
takia and Tripoli. 

'The Arab, however, does not always carry off 
the whole stock of the villager, but is frequently 
satisfied by a conciliatory offering in money and 
grain. Something is thus left for extortion by the 
tax-gatherer. His operations are conducted in an 
equally open manner with those of the nomadic 
plunderer. When the tithes are put up to auction, 
the members of the Provincial Council select the 
villages whose revenues they wish to farm under the 
name of a retainer. They agree not to compete 
with each other, and use their joint endeavours to 
prevent others from outbidding them. When the 
highest price is offered the Pasha consults the 
Council, which declares it to be the full value ; and 
a profitable bargain is obtained by the Councillor 
whose turn has come. Then begins the pressure on 
the villager. His grain is threshed and ready for 
sale, but he must not move it until the tithe is taken 
by the farmer. Prices are falling in the market 
with the daily increasing abundance. He implores 
permission to sell, and receives it only on consenting 
to double or treble the tax. In lieu of 10 per cent., 
there are instances of 40 per cent, being thus wrung 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 45 

from liim, when the want of the necessaries of life 
for his family prevents his waiting longer. The 
peasant is next forced to convey the collector's 
share to town without remuneration, to feed his 
numerous satellites, to bring him presents of poultry, 
lambs, and forage, which latter produce is not tithed. 
He has no means of redress, for the voice of the 
all-powerful Council drowns every complaint. The 
Pasha is appealed to, and shrugs his shoulders. 

' Still the agricultural population is not plunged 
in that hopeless state of destitution which might be 
expected under these conditions : so rich is the soil, 
so industrious and frugal the labourer. 

' In the towns, until quite lately, trade and 
manufacturers were in a nourishing state. Since the 
revival, however, of the old feelings of aversion and 
animosity between the Mussulman and Christian 
communities, ,a disadvantageous change has con- 
sequently become apparent also in the material cir- 
cumstances of the population. Want of confidence 
in the future is withdrawing capital from circula- 
tion ; trade stagnates ; and one-half of the looms 
previously worked are now at rest.'* 

Of the province of Erzeroom, ' containing about 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
pp. 48, 49. 



46 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

fifteen hundred villages,' we read : — ' A correct cen- 
sus, I believe, is not desired by the Turks, who are 
conscious of a very sensible decrease in the Mussul- 
man population in many provinces, and naturally 
would not like to publish this fact.'* 

In Mr Senior's diary, again, occurs the following 
picture of the depopulation which is going on in 
Armenia: f — 'Saturday, October 2-Wi. — I sat at dinner 
next to V. W., who has just returned from the 
frontier separating Turkish and Russian Armenia. 

' He gave a frightful account of the misgovern - 
ment of Turkish Armenia. 

' " It is such," he said, " that the people are 
wishing for the Russians. A new Pasha — and there 
is one every three or four years — sends word of his 
arrival to all the subordinate local officers. This is a 
notice to all office-holders to be prepared with their 
bribes, and to all office-hunters to be prepared to 
outbribe them." 

' " And how," I said, " do those who have bribed 
him get back their money ? " 

1 " By increasing the taxation," he answered, 
"by not accounting for the public receipts, by wink- 

• Narrative of the Siege of Ears. By Humphry Sand- 
with, M. D. London, 1856. P. 60. 
f Senior, pp. 138-9. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 47 

ing at breaches of quarantine laws, or non-payment 
of custom-house dues, by selling justice, and through 
the corves. The last is a fertile source of profit. 
The Pasha is making a progress ; the villages in his 
line have to furnish camels and horses ; the Nazir 
requires twice as many, or five times as many, as are 
really wanted, and is bribed to reduce his demand. 
If the village is rich and bribes highly, it furnishes 
none, and the burden falls on those who cannot buy 
themselves off ; they are forced to travel with their 
beasts for ten or for twenty days, unpaid, carrying 
their own food and that of their beasts, or plundering 
it, and are discharged perhaps 100 miles from home, 
their cattle and themselves lame and worn out. The 
amount of tyranny may be inferred from the depo- 
pulation. You see vast districts without an in- 
habitant, in which are the traces of a large and civil- 
ized people, great works for irrigation now in ruins, 
and constant remains of deserted towns. There is a 
city near the frontier with high walls and large 
stone houses, now absolutely uninhabited ; it had 
once 60,000 inhabitants. There is not a palace on 
the Bosphorus that has not decimated the inhabitants 
of a province.' 

A like spectacle is presented in the Troad. In 
the same volume from which, the last extract has 



48 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

been taken, Mr Senior reports a conversation which 
he had with Mr Calvert in these words : * — ' " The 
Turks are dying out, and the Greeks, many of them 
immigrants from European Turkey, are increasing. 
In your ride round the plain of Troy to-morrow, in 
a circuit of thirty miles you will find three Greek 
villages, Runkoi, Yenekoi, and Yenisher, all thriving, 
surrounded by gardens and cultivated fields, the old 
houses in repair and new ones building. The only 
other human habitations that you will see will be 
three Turkish villages — Chiflic, on the site of the 
Ilium Novum, Bounar Bashi, just below the site of 
Troy, and Halil Eli. The first has about twenty 
inhabited houses, the second about fifteen, and the 
third, which, twenty years ago, was a considerable 
village, has only three/' ' 

Let us turn to another of the provinces of this 
empire. On leaving Constantinople Mr Senior 
reports the words of a friend well acquainted with 
the whole of Turkey : — ' " You are going/' he con- 
tinued, " to Smyrna and to Greece. "When you are 
at Smyrna, visit Ephesus. You will ride through 
fifty miles of the most fertile soil, blessed with the 
finest climate in the world. You will not see an 
inhabitant nor a cultivated field. This is Turkey. 
* Senior, p. 163. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 49 

In Greece, or in the Principalities, you will find 
comparative numbers, wealth, and population. They 
have been misgoverned ; they have been the seat of 
war ; but they have thrown off the Turk." ' * 

And again : — ' In towns where there were 3000 
Turks five or six years ago, there are now not 
2000. f ... In the provinces of the Dardanelles, the 
deaths exceed the births by about six per cent. 

' When we recollect that the Greek population 
is increasing, and, therefore, that the Turks alone 
suffer this excess of deaths, we may infer that they 
are, as has often been said to me, rapidly dying 
out.' % 

Nor is all this the inevitable result of any past 
policy which has now been abandoned. It exists 
still. The progress of ruin is going on before our 
eyes. Nay, it gathers force every day. Mr Skene 
contrasts the state of the country round Aleppo with 
what it was only twenty years before the date of his 
report. Within that district, he says, * one hundred 
villages ' had been entirely obliterated during the 
period of twenty years. The desolation is insepar- 
able from Turkish rule in the nineteenth century. 
It is not the consequence of Mussulman power 

* Senior, p. 148. t Ibid. p. 191. % Ibid. p. 184. 



50 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

merely, it is distinctively Turkish. During the brief 
rule of Mehemet Ali, Syria was beginning to be 
repeopled, and its waste places to be cultivated. Mr 
Brant, our consul at Damascus, writing in June, 
1858, says : — ' I have already sent a report on the 
trade of Damascus, but I conceive it would be incom- 
plete were I not to add a sketch of the state and 
administration of the Paschalic. In the report I 
said that, while the province was in the occupation 
of Mehemet Ali Pasha, many deserted cities and 
villages were reinhabited, and their lands brought 
again under cultivation. This was particularly the 
case in the Hauran, in the country round Hainan, 
and generally on the confines of the Desert. In 
these places the Arabs were made to respect authority, 
and the settled inhabitants were effectually secured 
against their depredations. 

' The whole of Syria was placed under the civil 
administration of Sheriff Pasha, and Ibrahim Pasha 
commanded the army, which amounted to 40,000 
troops, regular and irregular. The able administra- 
tion of the former increased the prosperity and 
improved the finances of the country as much as 
the activity and energy of the latter promoted 
security and confidence. The Government was 
certainly considered harsh, but it could scarcely, 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 51 

indeed, have been otherwise regarded, for it had to 
reform so many abuses, and to substitute system and 
equity for the disorder, license, and fanaticism which 
prevailed. The upper grades, the Effendis and 
Aghas, were most discontented, for they enriched 
themselves by the plunder and oppression of the 
industrious classes ; but the latter were pleased to 
find themselves freed from the tyranny they had so 
long groaned under, and the Christians were 
particularly delighted at being shielded from the 
fanaticism which had reduced them to a state of 
intolerable degradation. The peasantry were not 
less contented ; for, although the fixed taxes were 
rigorously exacted, no more was demanded, and no 
one was allowed to seize their produce without pay- 
ment, to extort from them anything at less than its 
value, or to force them to render services without a 
fair remuneration. The Mussulmans were subjected 
to a conscription, then a novelty, which was a source 
of serious discontent, but the Christians paying 
Haratch were exempt from military service. The 
peasants who had reoccupied abandoned villages 
were assisted with loans to repair the houses and to 
supply themselves with stock, and enjoj^ed besides 
immunity from taxes for three years ; every en- 
couragement, in short, was held out to increase 



52 THE CHEISTIANS OF TUKKEY. 

production, and sometimes even troops, with Ibrahim 
Pasha at their head, went out to destroy the eggs 
and young of the locusts. 

' Under a system so vigorous, equitable, and con- 
siderate, the country was gradually advancing in 
prosperity, and, had the Egyptian rule continued, 
Syria would have regained a great portion of its 
ancient populousness and wealth, of which evident 
traces are visible in the remains of innumerable 
villages and cities spread over the Hauran, as well as 
to be found far to the eastward in the Desert, where 
also Roman roads are yet to be traced.' * 

Then came the bombardment of Acre by the 
British fleet, the departure of the Egyptians, and 
the restoration of Syria to Turkish rule, with what 
effect the same witness reports : — ' Scarcely were the 
Egyptians expelled and the strong arm removed, 
which had kept every one in due subordination to 
the ruling Power, than resistance to authority began 
to replace obedience, peculation and waste to be sub- 
stituted for honesty and economy in the administra- 
tion of the finances, revenue to decrease, the Arabs 
again to encroach on the settled inhabitants, the 
newly repeopled villages and lands to be gradually 

* Despatches respecting apprehended disturbances in 
Syria, pp. 22, 23. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 53 

abandoned, until, at the present moment, there is so 
little security for person and property, that it may 
almost be said no longer to exist, and everything 
indicates a return to the state of anarchy in which 
the Egyptians found the country.' 

* * *■ *• * « 

' The revenue is daily diminishing, from villages 
and lands being thrown out of cultivation. "What is 
collected is in a great degree misapplied or plundered 
by the employes. Money is required from Constan- 
tinople to carry on the Government, and it is too 
evident that financial matters must progressively 
deteriorate, for the evils of a corrupt administration 
are constantly extending.' * 

Whatever energy and self-reliance the Turks 
once possessed has long since gone. To use again 
the language of Mr Senior : — ' Until the battle of 
Lepanto and the retreat from Vienna, they possessed 
the grand and heroic but dangerous virtues of a 
conquering nation. They are now degraded by the 
grovelling vices of a nation that relies on foreigners 
for its defence. But as respects the qualities which 
conduce to material prosperity, to riches and to 
numbers, I do not believe that they have much 

* Despatches respecting apprehended disturbances in 
Syria, p. 23. 



54 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

changed. I do not believe that they are more idle, 
wasteful, improvident, and brutal now than they 
were 400 years ago. But it is only within the last 
fifty years, that the effects of these qualities have 
shown themselves fully. When they first swarmed 
over Asia Minor, Roumelia, and Bulgaria, they 
seized on a country very populous and of enormous 
wealth. For 350 years they kept on consuming that 
wealth and wearing out that population. If a Turk 
wanted a house or a garden, he turned out a Rayah ; 
if he wanted money, he put a bullet into a handker- 
chief, tied it into a knot, and sent it to the nearest 
opulent Greek or Armenian. At last, having lived 
for three centuries and a half on their capital of 
things and of man, having reduced that rich and 
well-peopled country to the desert which you now 
see it, they find themselves poor. They cannot dig, 
to beg they are ashamed. They use the most mis- 
chievous means to prevent large families ; they kill 
their female children, the conscription takes off the 
males, and they disappear. The only memorial of 
what fifty years ago was a popular Turkish village 
is a crowded burial-ground, now unused. 

' "As a medical man/' said Y., "I, and perhaps 
i" only, know what crimes are committed in the 
Turkish part of Smyrna, which looks so gay and 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 55 

smiling, as its picturesque houses, embosomed in 
gardens of planes and cypresses, rise up the hill. I 
avoid as much as I can the Turkish houses, that I 
may not be cognisant of them. Sometimes it is a 
young second wife who is poisoned by the older one ; 
sometimes a female child, whom the father will not 
bring up ; sometimes a male killed by the mother to 
spite the father. Infanticide is rather the rule than 
the exception. No inquiry is made, no notice is 
taken by the police." * * 

But it is impossible to give all the facts which 
may be gathered from the Parliamentary papers 
issued of late years on the state of Syria and of 
Turkey in general, and to cite the evidence of wit- 
nesses worthy of confidence. Nor, indeed, is it 
necessary to accumulate evidence on a point about 
which there is no dispute. To use the words of the 
late Lord Carlisle when surveying, not a province 
merely, but the whole extent of the Turkish em- 
pire : — ' "When you leave the partial splendours of 
the capital, and the great state establishments, what 
is it you find over this broad surface of a land, which 
nature and climate have favoured beyond all others, 
once the home of all art and all civilization ? Look 
yourself — ask those who live there; — deserted vil- 

* Senior, pp. 211-12. 



56 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

lages, uncultivated plains, banditti-haunted moun- 
tains, torpid laws, a corrupt administration, a disap- 
pearing people.'* 

This, then, is the testimony which even the 
physical features of the country bear against the 
Turkish rule. In the nineteenth century, large 
tracts of what, thirty, twenty — nay, ten — years ago 
was a smiling and a fruitful land, cultivated with all 
the care of garden husbandry, and rivalling for 
beauty the best parts of the plains of Lombardy and 
of Flanders, have now become portions of the desert. 
From the shores of the Bosphorus, under the fairest 
sky, amid the most beautiful scenery, with a soil the 
most fertile of any in the world, surrounded by the 
ruins of ancient glory and civilization, the traveller 
now may wander for more than a hundred miles 
without meeting with a trace of the dwellings of 
man, save here and there the ruins which his horse 
tramples under its hoofs. If he asks for the inhabit- 
ants, he will hear only of graves, of heartless 
massacres, and of terrible martyrdoms on a gigantic 
scale, with pashas for the executioners, and grand 
viziers for the instigators. The desert is rapidly 
encroaching on the fertile land, and the sand is 

* Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters, by the Earl of 
Carlisle. Second edition. London, 1854. P. 184. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 57 

covering what was, a quarter of a century ago, the 
abode of industrious and happy peasants. The land 
was ' as the garden of Eden ; ' it is now ' a desolate 
wilderness.' 

In 1830 Smyrna contained 80,000 Turkish in- 
habitants and 20,000 Christians. In 1860 the 
Turks numbered 41,000 and the Christians 75,000* 
Though the Christians have increased at this 
enormous rate within thirty years, this increase has 
been almost neutralized by the great decline of the 
Turkish part of the inhabitants in the same period 
of time ; and the decline is even greater in the 
smaller towns and villages than in Smyrna. The 
same consul from whose report these statistics are 
taken, remarks : — ( It may be observed, in reference 
to this question, that rapid as the increase is of the 
Christian population, the decrease of the Turkish is 
in a greater ratio. Yisit any town or village where 
there is a mixed Mussulman and Christian popula- 
tion : in the Turkish quarter no one is visible, no 
children in the streets ; whereas in the Christian the 
streets are full of children.' f 

This is not peculiar to Smyrna or to the country 

* Eeport of Mr Charles Blunt, Consul at Smyrna. Par- 
liamentary Papers on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 31. 

t Ibid. p. 32. 



58 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

in its neighbourhood. This decline of the one race 
and the increase of the other is uniform throughout 
Turkey : — ' On the continent, in the islands, it is the 
Greek peasant who works and thrives ; the Turk 
reclines, smokes his pipe, and decays. The Greek 
village increases its population, and teems with 
children ; in the Turkish village you find roofless 
walls and crumbling mosques.' * 

1 As we rode through one of the villages from 
which the Turkish inhabitants have disappeared, my 
companion chimed in with the universal view of the 
rapid decay of their numbers. He gives them from 
twenty-five to forty years before, without the help 
of war or violence, they would entirely vanish from 
the land.' f 

This opinion is supported by the testimony of 
Mr Finn, who, speaking of the province of Palestine, 
tells us that there also — ' The Mahometan population 
is dying out ; I can scarcely say slowly/ $ 

To the same effect, again, Mr J. E. Blunt, 
writing from Pristina, says : — ' While everywhere 

* Lord Carlisle, Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters, 
p. 183. 

t Ibid. p. 171. 

X Despatches on apprehended disturbances in Syria, 1858 
to 1860, p. 89. 



THE DECAY OF TURKEY. 59 

there are signs that the Turks, more especially the 
higher classes, are losing ground in population, 
agriculture, and trade, the opposite is the case with 
the Christians. 

' In nearly all the towns, streets — entire quarters 
— have passed into the hands of the Christians/* 

The language of Sir George Bowen, the present 
Governor of Queensland, written a few years ago, will 
form a fitting conclusion to this chapter. He says, 
' We trust that the time is not very remote, when 
civilization, advancing gradually eastward, will 
achieve a bloodless conquest in those European 
provinces, where the finest country in the world has 
long, under the barbarous despotism of the Turk, 
been more wasted by peace than other lands have 
been wasted by war ; where science is unknown ; 
where arts and manufactures languish ; where agri- 
culture decays ; where the human race itself melts 
away.'t 

* Consular Reports on Condition of Christians of Turkey, 
p. 36. 

f Mount Athos, Thessaly, and Epirus, p. 245. 



60 



CHAPTER III. 

DECLINE OF THE TURKISH EACE. 

Notwithstanding the increase of the Christian 
subjects of Turkey, which but for the destruction of 
life by massacres and wholesale murder would be far 
larger, the population throughout the empire is still 
diminishing, and that in consequence of the enor- 
mous decrease of the Mussulmans. Thus this 
depopulation arises from two different causes : — (1) 
From the dying out of the dominant race ; and this 
diminution of the number of the Turkish inhabitants 
is going on at so rapid a rate as to threaten their 
total extinction within a comparatively short time. 
(2) From the frequent massacres of Christians, 
either such as are heard of in Europe because of the 
large number of lives which are lost — like those 
which took place some eighteen years ago in the 
Lebanon, in Damascus, at Jeddah, and other places 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH EACE. 61 

in Asia, and that in Bulgaria during the spring of 
the present year — or those massacres which occur 
daily on a smaller scale^ but which in the aggregate 
are even more destructive to life than those which 
led to the French occupation of Syria, and furnished 
much anxious employment to diplomatists. Of these 
two elements of ruin, it will be necessary to speak 
only of the first, which, from its nature, is generally 
kept out of sight in the account which travellers 
give us of that country. Most travellers and writers 
on Turkey act as Lord Carlisle did, who says, 
' Upon the state of morals I debar myself from 
entering/* And yet this is the most important 
matter for consideration when the state and prospects 
of an empire are to be examined. It is not surpris- 
ing, however, that men who know what the state of 
morals is shrink from so repulsive a subject. I 
cannot pass it by ; it would be unfair to do so. In 
it consists much of the misery which the Christians 
suffer. I cannot, however — I will not attempt to — 
give in detail that which it is in my power to give, 
mindful of the injunction, ' Uncleanness or covetous- 
ness (-7rAeoi>e£ta), let it not be once named among you, 

* Lord Carlisle, Diary in Turkish and Greek "Waters, 
p. 182. 



62 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

as becometh saints.'* I must content myself with 
vague words; the subject permits of no other. 

Polygamy is said to be generally less conducive 
to the increase of mankind than monogamy. The 
wide-spread practice of infanticide amongst all 
classes is a reason why the Turkish part of the popu- 
lation should not merely be stationary but diminish. 
Conscription for the army, which is raised entirely 
from the Mussulman portion of the population, has 
also an important influence in the same direction. 
But all these causes combined will not account for 
the fact that the Turks are rapidly becoming extinct. 
At best, these causes would but check or diminish 
the natural rate of increase. The evil lies far deeper. 
It is one, however, which cannot be laid bare. The 
hideous revolting profligacy of all classes, and almost 
every individual in every class, is the main cause for 
the diminution. This is a canker which has eaten 
into the very vitals of society. It is one, however, 
which has taken so loathsome a form that no pen 
dares describe the immoral state of Turkish society. 
It must be abandoned to vague generalities, for 
happily the imagination cannot picture the abomina- 
tions which are fast exterminating the whole Turk- 

* Ephes. v. 3. 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 63 

ish race. If, at the certainty of outraging decency, 
some hints even were given, they would necessarily 
fall so far short of the truth that they would have 
the effect of eulogy by making men believe that the 
horrid details of guilt revealed in any degree the real 
corruption of this deeply polluted race. I speak 
thus advisedly. 

I have the evidence now before me of persons at 
present resident in Turkey, as well as of English 
officers high in the civil service, whose duties have 
made them acquainted with the real state of society 
in Turkey ; and in addition to these, I have a volu- 
minous report addressed to me by a distinguished 
foreigner, formerly a colonel in the Turkish service, 
and, from the varied offices which he has filled in 
that country, of all men one of the most competent 
witnesses. I have all this evidence before me, but it 
is so disgusting and obscene that I dare not make 
use of it. The Satires of Juvenal and Petronius 
Arbiter are decorous in comparison. Students may 
remember how rabbinical writers describe the sins of 
the Amorites and other inhabitants of the land of 
Canaan, who for their revolting sins were driven out 
by the children of Israel.* That description gives 

* As, for instance, Maimonides, in ' More Nevochim,' 
§ Precepts of the second class. 



64 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

but a partial picture of what is the present state of 
Turkish society. The Cities of the Plain were de- 
stroyed for sins which are the common, normal, 
every-day practice of this people. 

And, be it remembered, I am not speaking of the 
dregs of society — the outcasts of humanity — herding 
together at Constantinople or Damascus ; I speak of 
grand viziers, of powerful pashas, of many of the 
present ministers of the Sultan. I read often in 
Blue Books and in the speeches of the supporters of 

Turkey, of Pasha, the friend of England ; or 

■ Pasha, the enlightened Minister for 

Affairs. I am told of their intelligence, but no one 
will become sponsor for their honesty, still less for 
their morality. The utmost that could be said by 
an English Ambassador, whose words have been 
already quoted, was, that what they ' ostentatiously 
and constantly ' assert can hardly be untrue. This is 
the first time, so far as my experience serves, that 
ostentatiousness has been supposed to be a guarantee 
for the truthfulness of any statement. But it is 
not necessary to call the English Ambassador as a 
witness in this matter. It is perfectly notorious 
that these pashas, these ministers, are men so foul 
and obscene in their lives, that the ' most infamous 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 65 

ruffians of the Haymarket ' * would shrink from 
them as beings sunk immeasurably beneath them- 
selves, and as too polluted for companionship. And 
yet these advisers of the Sultan are the men who 
were eulogized by Mr Layard in the House of Com- 
mons as ' good and worthy.' f That gentleman's 
standard of goodness and of worth seems a peculiar 
one. Several at least of the present advisers of the 
Sultan were educated in the harem (the rest of my 
sentence must of necessity be in a dead language) 
atque ibi cinaedi et pathici juventutem agebant. 
Iisdem in gubernationem regni promovendis primus 
ad honores et imperia gradus extitit quod libidini 
regiaB morigerentur. Ea autem ipsa flagitia quibus 
in pueritia et adolescentia, sunt imbuti maturi viri 
consequuntur, et pueros haud paucos, in quibus libi- 
dinem exerceant, a3que ac puellas, in domiis secre- 
tiore parte conservare solent.J If these are the 
' good and worthy men ' of Turkey, what are the 
ordinary inhabitants of that country ? And what 

* See Mr Gregory's Speech in the House of Commons, 
May 29, 1863. 

t See Mr Layard's Speech, in Morning Star, May 30, 
1863. 

\ These words were applied to the Ministers of the Porte 
of 1862. I have no knowledge as to the present Ministers. 

5 



66 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

honesty, what forbearance, what truth can be ex- 
pected when these are the rulers of the Ottoman 
Empire ? But I dare not pursue this subject. 

In a letter already quoted, which was read by Mr 
Cobden in the House of Commons on the occasion of 
a debate on the Eastern Question, occurs the follow- 
ing passage : — ' Few of you in England know the 
real horrors of this country. You will see what I 
mean when I tell you my intention of getting a 
number of tracts, in Turkish, written or lithographed, 
to be distributed by a Turk on the bridges, &c. The 
tract is to 'consist of such passages as the history of 
Sodom and Gomorrah. What can we hope to do 
with this people ? One Englishman, who has to do 
with multitudes of them, reckons those who are inno- 
cent of this hideous vice at two in a hundred. A 
Turkish teacher told an European that those who 
were guiltless as to that are two in a thousand. 
Stories of assaults, sub dio, effected or attempted, 
have come to me one after another. These people 
must be held together ? What is our policy support- 
ing ? Are we not responsible for corruption which 
breeds by our fostering ? Some one asked me how 
to account for this in a people the most moral of all — 
the English people — that these deepest immoralities 
should be maintained by their patronage ? I replied, 



DECLINE OP THE TURKISH RACE. 67 

they are for the most part quite ignorant, or unwill- 
ing to believe what they hear. Still, it is a condition 
of morals which makes khans and baths and lonely 
places dangerous to the unwary. . . . 

* . . . Believe me (my authority is the best), it 
is a question of time ; the decay of the Turkish 
people is going on rapidly ; their numbers are fast 
decreasing through vice, disease, neglect, and the 
conscription.' * 

It is painful to print even this extract, though 
what it reveals is only an approximation to the "hor- 
rors and licentiousness of Turkish society. It is 
better, however, to shock the reader rather than that, 
through ignorance, we should continue to ' maintain/ 
to ' foster/ and to ' patronize ' such a condition of 
society. Half the world knows what we are doing : 
it is high time that we were also conscious, and that 
we should consider whether any theory, or fancy, or 
chimera about the balance of power, or the ' integrity 
of Turkey/ will justify our maintenance of such un- 
speakable wickedness. 

It is this corruption, this revolting form of brutal 
sensuality, which makes the presence of a Turkish 

* Letter addressed to Rev. Ernest Hawkins, 8th January, 
1863, MSS. in Archives of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel. 



68 THE CHRISTIANS OP TURKEY. 

garrison so grievous a wrong to the Christians in its 
neighbourhood. If in Constantinople — in the chief 
city of the empire — in the presence of European 
civilization, a state of things exists which ' makes 
khans and baths and lonely places dangerous to the 
unwary,' what must be the condition of the people 
who, in Servia, in Bulgaria, or in Syria, live near 
these abodes of sin and pollution, with a fierce fana- 
tical soldiery free from all moral restraints, and en- 
couraged by their officers in every act of hostility 
towards the Christians ? It is unnatural horrors of 
this kind, even more than the numerous murders and 
acts of rapine which mark the presence of a Turkish 
garrison, against which the inhabitants of Belgrade 
and the Prince of , Servia protested. They prayed, 
until at length the Turkish garrison was withdrawn 
from that city, that their young children might be 
spared the sight of deeds which defiled at times the 
esplanade of the fortress. They prayed that they 
might have some safeguard that their sons may no 
longer be carried off. . . . 

It cannot be that the other races who inhabit 
Turkey will always pray in vain to a Christian 
people. If treaties be pleaded as a hindrance to 
our active assistance in their behalf, let us at any 
rate not encourage the wrongdoers in the perpetra- 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 69 

tion of these acts of abomination and wickedness. 
Nuy, rather let the sight and the love which we bear 
our own children, sheltered happily from such 
dangers, quicken our sympathies for the oppressed, 
and move us to desire at least that they may soon 
possess that liberty which is our inheritance ; but, 
above all, that they may obtain that freedom from 
the contamination of those horrid forms of vice to 
which all are exposed who are forced to live in con- 
tact with Turks. 

So far as can be gathered from the testimony of 
travellers, from the evidence furnished by Parlia- 
mentary papers, and from the imperfect statistics 
which we possess of various provinces of Turkey, as 
well as from the refusal to allow any statistical 
returns to be officially made, lest they should reveal 
the real condition of the empire, the Turkish element 
in the population ^11 be extinct within sixty years ; 
and should the present rate of decrease continue, 
within less than one generation the Ottoman power 
will necessarily have ceased to exist. The question, 
a deeply interesting one to ourselves, naturally sug- 
gests itself — What is to be the policy of England 
under these circumstances ? Is another generation 
of Turkish subjects to be reared under their present 
oppressors, and the whole nation be educated in bitter 



70 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

hostility and hatred to England because of the sup- 
port, I will not call it moral, which we give to this 
loathsome despotism. 

Let us remember — ' At no distant time the Greeks 
will govern this country. What we have to wish is 
that they should come to the government with 
English feelings, English opinions, and English 
sympathies. The Russians through their political 
agents, the French through their missionaries and 
schools, are striving to make them hate and despise 
us/* 

Judging from the policy of our public men we 
seem desirous of teaching the future masters of Asia 
Minor, of Syria, and of Eoumelia to ' hate and de- 
spise us/ An impression prevails throughout Turkey 
that England is the firm and unscrupulous ally of the 
Sultan. Young Turkey — the scoffing Mussulman 
who has broken away from even the restraint of the 
Koran — with a significant gesture indicative of the 
most polluted idea, passes his judgment upon the 
unnatural alliance of England and Turkey, and pays 
us the compliment of exclaiming, 'We are all 
brothers, the English and the Tosques — we are all 
Framasouns (infidels)/ f When the Druse chieftains 

* Senior, p. 219. 

t Layard's Nineveh. Yol. I. p. 163. Third edition. 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 71 

massacred, with unspeakable atrocities, the Christians 
of the Lebanon, it was done not only at the instiga- 
tion of the Court of Constantinople, but with the 
belief that it would be pleasing to the Queen of 
England, who, as the ruler of that ' infidel ' nation, 
and the devoted ally, and, as they believe, tributary 
of the Sultan, must needs rejoice at the slaughter of 
the Christians.* After the massacres in Bulgaria the 
Turkish newspapers published an alleged telegram 
from "Windsor to the effect that, come what might, 
the Queen of England had promised not to desert the 
cause of the Sultan, and the Bashi-bazouks, according 
to the correspondent of the Times at Constantinople, 
went to the war against Servia with the conviction 
that England had even guaranteed them their pay. 
If this is the belief, the firm belief, of the ruling 
race — and if, unhappity, our actions as a nation give 
currency to this notion — it is not to be wondered if 
the subject race should be reared in the same belief, 
and that they should begin to look upon the people 
of this country as their natural and implacable 
foes ; the more hateful because gratuitously joining 
in acts of wrong from which no benefit can accrue ; 
for, of all persecutors, the amateur persecutor 

* Correspondence on the Affairs of Syria, June, 1 860, p. 55. 



72 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

is the most intolerable. There are sad indi- 
cations that this belief is gaining ground. Let 
me first speak of my own experience. A few years 
ago I visited three of the Servian monasteries, 
having received from the Metropolitan of Servia a 
letter of commendation to all the clergy of that 
country. ' On my presenting the letter of the arch- 
bishop to a monk at one of these monasteries (Rako- 
witza), he remarked that he had read much about the 
English nation, but had never before met with any 
of my fellow-countrymen, as few Englishmen ever 
came to Servia. " And what has led you," said he, 
" to this country ? " I answered, that I had come 
partly in quest of health, and partly to see something 
more of the state of the Greek Church. " Then am 
I to understand," he rejoined, " that, though an 
Englishman, you are a friend of Servia ? " I 
told him that I knew no reason why an Englishman 
should be held to be hostile to Servia. "How, 
then," he added, " is it I find in the newspapers 
that whenever any act of oppression and cruelty 
by the Turks towards our people is complained 
of, members of the British Parliament always rise 
up to excuse and justify the Turks? Why is it," 
he continued, with animation, "you who are the 
great, the greatest civilizers in Europe, invariably 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 73 

support the cause of those who are most hostile 
to all civilization — the Turks — against us, who are 
doing our best to follow your example t '* * * 

This is a wide-spread feeling amongst all classes. 
I cite, from the letter of a friend, a recent instance 
of the same feeling in Asia : — ' On one occasion 
lately, an English traveller arrived at the house of an 
American missionary. He was hospitably welcomed, 
but before he had ^been long in the house where he 
intended to sleep he observed that there was a 
domestic commotion, and anxiety on the face of the 
missionary. It was evident that, in some way or 
another, he was the cause of this. He therefore in- 
sisted on an explanation, when the latter informed 
him that the servants had mutinied — they refused 
to do anything for one of the enemies of Christianity, 
an Englishman. Such is the result of our Eastern 
policy.' 

Instances of this kind might be multiplied without 
end. Fortunately, this hostility, which our recent 
policy is engendering, is only in the bud. The 
Christians of the East, from Montenegro to the 
borders of Persia, still turn their eyes to England in 
all their sufferings ; and proportionably to their ex- 

l* Servia and the Servians. By the Eev. W. Denton, p. 237. 



74 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

pectations, their feelings are made bitter by disap- 
pointment. To them, France is known chiefly as 
the advocate of the Roman Church and the armed 
assertor of Papal supremacy, and this will always 
interpose a barrier between that nation and the 
Christians of the East. Russia they dread as a 
gigantic power on their frontier, which would absorb 
them, to the loss of all national existence, and they 
turn away from her with fear, proportionate to her 
nearness and her strength. Austria, chiefly known 
to the people on the borders of the Danube by petty, 
stupid, vexatious acts of tyranny, as well as by her 
religious intolerance, is more odious than Russia, 
though in her case hatred is softened down and 
mitigated by contempt. England, from its distance, 
from the nature of its Government, and its separation 
from Rome, as well as because of its material interests 
in the trade of these nations, is regarded as their 
natural protector. This is a feeling to be fostered, 
not to be turned awry and embittered, to serve the 
interests of a few individuals amongst ourselves, or 
to satisfy the unreasoning prejudices of the many. 

But if the indifference to the condition of the 
Christians of Turkey is so general in this country, 
and if the belief in the necessity of maintaining what 
is called ' the integrity of Turkey ' is so deeply rooted 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 75 

in the minds of Englishmen, how, it may be asked, 
has this arisen ? How comes it that this opinion has 
so much vitality ? It springs from one cause : the 
people of this country are taught to believe that the 
Christians of Turkey are conspirators against what 
Sir Henry Bulwer calls the ' tolerant ' rule of the 
Sultan for the purpose of aggrandizing Russia. This 
one assertion, iterated, by interested speculators and 
repeated by unreasoning politicians, deafen the ears 
of Englishmen to the testimony of unprejudiced 
travellers, blinds their eyes to notorious facts, and 
dulls their intellect to the voice of reason. The 
supporters of Turkey know the value of this ' idol of 
the imagination/ and are always ready to brandish 
it before our eyes whenever we appear disposed to 
act independently, and in the interests of humanity, 
which is one with that of England. When it was 
desirable that ' our consular agents ' should testify 
that Turkish rule was ' tolerant,' that the Christians 
were not oppressed, and that the assertions of the 
Russian note were untrue, this fear was skilfully 
played upon. In the circular of the 11th of June, 
addressed to ' our consular agents,' the Ambassador 
informs them in words which, if true, must have 
sounded to them superfluous: — 'I have also been 
made acquainted, through the channel of our con- 



76 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

sular agents, as well as by other means, that great 
efforts have of late been made by persons of various 
kinds — not identified with, or belonging to, the 
native population — to get up discontent amongst the 
population, and to excite them to make complaints 
that may reach the ear of the European Powers ; and 
that in this way the Slave population has been 
especially brought to imagine that it may obtain, 
through foreign protection, great advantages, and 
even arrive at an independent existence. 

' I have likewise been informed that a conspiracy 
among the Slavonian race, with the object of making 
a revolution in this empire, actually exists — with 
chiefs selected, and plans more or less defined — and 
that though such conspiracy may not, at this moment, 
be formidable, its leaders imagine it may become so 
by exciting the sympathies of the great western and 
northern states.' 

Let us, however, listen to the words of competent 
witnesses, recorded by Mr Senior. Speaking of the 
Christians in European Turkey, he says: — 'They 
all, without any exception, hate Russia, and look for 
support and protection to England.* 

1 The Bulgarians hate not only the Russians, but 
the Greeks, and so do the Roumelians, until you 

* Senior, p. 34. 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 77 

reach Thessaly, where the Greek race prevails, and 
a desire for union with their brethren in the war of 
independence is naturally felt. 

' " What is the feeling," I asked, " of Servia, 
Bosnia, and the Principalities ? " 

'"A general hatred of all their neighbours. 
They hate the Russians, the Austrians, the Greeks, 
and the Turks. What they really wish for is inde- 
pendence, at least the virtual independence which 
has 'been gained by Servia." ' * 

In the same volume Mr Whittall, of Smyrna, is 
cited as a witness to the same effect : — ' The Greeks 
dream of nothing but a Greek empire, to be created 
by the help of Russia. They despise the Russians 
as slaves and savages, but they hope to make use of 
them, and then to throw them off.' f 

The words of another person are quoted by Mr 
Senior to the same purpose : — ' We sympathize with 
the Russians only as the enemies of the Turks. 
Their whole system of government, of trade, of 
thought, and of feeling is repulsive to us. Our 
strongest feeling is the desire to preserve our 
nationality; we have clung to it for 3000 years. 
If we are attached to the peculiarities of our religion, 
it is not because we care about the Patriarch of 
* Senior, p. 35. f Ibid. p. 205. 



78 THE CHEISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

Constantinople or about the doctrines which separate 
us from the Roman Catholics or from the Protestants, 
but because we think that those peculiarities are 
safeguards of our nationality. We shall not suffer 
ourselves to be merged in the semi-barbarous mass 
of Russia, or even to become one of its satellites.' * 

And this is borne out by notorious facts. The 
provinces of Turkey are in a chronic state of discon- 
tent through the daily outrages perpetrated on the 
Christians, which are less the result of the fanaticism 
of the Mussulman people than of the deliberate 
policy of the Sultan and his Ministers. At no 
period during the present century was there more 
quiet in these provinces than during the war in the 
Crimea, when the Turkish troops occupied in 
struggling against the Russians were withdrawn 
from the interior of Turkey. Now, had there 
existed any understanding with Russia, surely Bul- 
garia, Servia, Bosnia, Epirus, and Syria would have 
risen in arms, and, by so doing, have seriously 
embarrassed the Western Powers. They remained 
quiet, however. It was no part of their policy to 
unite with Russia, and this alone kept these pro- 
vinces from revolt, although denuded of Turkish 

* Senior, p. 215. 



DECLINE OF THE TURKISH RACE. 79 

troops.* The Montenegrins, it is notorious, have 
refused all offers of Russian protection, with the 
proud declaration that they would remain independ- 
ent both of Turkey and of Russia. A few years ago 
we were all of us taught to believe that Greece was 
but the vassal and bond-slave of Russia, and that all 
intrigues in that country were but to pave the way 
for some imaginary prince from St Petersburg or 
Moscow, who should convert Greece, from being ' a 
mere outpost of Russia/ into an integral part of that 
empire. I hope we are all of us ashamed of our old 
belief. I trust we shall for the future show less 
credulous confidence in our blind guides. This 
notion is getting too absurd to be maintained any 
longer. It is hardly worthy of serious refutation. 
Men may in desperation rush from grievous tyranny 
to some milder form of despotism, because unable to 
achieve their entire freedom ; but races half eman- 
cipated, provinces virtually independent, are not 
prone to immolate themselves, and to quench their 
young life, by voluntary submission to a new 

* 'In the Crimean War the Servians resisted every 
attempt to induce them to arm against the Turks in favour 
of Eussia. . . They steadily refused to take part in any 
war against Turkey, and remained faithful throughout the 
war to the Suzerain power.' — Speech of A. H. Layard, Esq. 
Murray, 1863. 



80 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

master. History gives us no instances of such 
madness, and we can but appeal to experience on 
such a matter. Let us therefore dismiss this delu- 
sion to the limbo of ghosts, as a bugbear which may 
be useful to terrify children, but which ought to be 
powerless to make men turn aside from the path of 
right ; for in fact, the notion that Servia, that Bul- 
garia, Bosnia, or Asia Minor, have secret relations 
with Russia, is so evidently a delusion, that it does 
not allow of serious argument. We have lived to see 
table-turning practised and spirit-rapping believed 
in, but to contend that there is a spirit- medium 
between Russia and the Christians of the East, is to 
own that we have sunk even below the credulity of 
those who think that mahogany and oak are in 
conspiracy with angels or demons, and that articles 
of domestic furniture really turn round through the 
effect of ' foreign intrigues/ 

In truth, neither the agents of Russia nor of any 
other Power could persuade the large Christian com- 
munities in Turkey to be dissatisfied with their lot, 
unless there existed causes for discontent. The fact 
that these races, widely separated from each other 
and possessing few means of intercourse, are all of 
them profoundly dissatisfied with their lot, is, at least, 
some ground for believing that their condition is one 



DECLINE OF THE TUKKISH RACE. 81 

of suffering and of injustice. Nations goaded to 
madness by oppression are often mistaken in the 
remedies to which they resort for deliverance from 
their wrongs ; hut no intrigues can persuade a nation 
that justice is injustice — that right is wrong — and 
that freedom is bondage. 

Here, however, we are not left to the testimony of 
the sufferers themselves. The pains and penalties 
attaching to the profession of Christianity are too 
patent: the sharp cry of anguish has so often 
reached even the ears of the people of Western 
Europe, that we cannot refuse to believe in the exist- 
ence of wide-spread, capricious, and bitter suffering. 
Hence for the last thirty years the public feeling of 
Europe has constantly demanded an amelioration of 
the hard lot of the Christian subjects of the Porte. 
The assistance rendered to Turkey by this country 
at the time of the Crimean war was fettered with 
this one condition, that as a return for such assistance 
the Government of that country should guarantee, I 
will not say equality, but a removal of some of the 
more galling inequalities of the position of the people 
of Turkey. This has been promised by the Ministers 
of successive Sultans, this has been embodied in 
solemn public treaties with the Great Powers of 

6 



82 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Christendom, this has been written in Hatt-i-Sherifs, 
Hatt-i-Humaiouns, and — not one item of these 
treaties, not one single provision of any of these 
Hatts, have ever been fulfilled by the Government 
of Turkey. 



83 



CHAPTER IV. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 



It is an ever-ready but a vulgar excuse to attri- 
bute all popular discontent to ' foreign intrigues/ 
That foreign agents may stimulate the urgency of 
an oppressed people for redress is possible, but their 
power is limited ; they can do no more than this, 
and these foreign agents will be disarmed when 
people cease to suffer. In place, then, of attributing 
the notorious dissatisfaction, the wide-spread dis- 
content, of the Christians of Turkey to ' foreign 
intrigues/ it would be more to the purpose to inquire 
whether there does not exist ample and legitimate 
grounds for such dissatisfaction. 

When in England we hear of brigandage in 
Bosnia, of sullen discontent in Bulgaria, we are told 
it is the work of Russian agents and of Muscovite 
intrigues. Russia probably denies the charge and 



84 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

retorts the accusation, pointing in support of her 
belief that England is intriguing in Turkey, to the 
notorious partiality of the Foreign Office of this 
country, the readiness with which every abominable 
and atrocious act of the governors of Turkey is 
palliated, and actions the simplest and most natural 
of an oppressed people are exaggerated by British 
officials. France certainly makes the same charges 
against England which English politicians make 
against Russia, and is as uneasy at the success 
of English intrigue as any minister of state in 
this country can be at the progress of Russian 
agents.* All this may possibly arise from the 
jealousy with which men watch the actions of a 
rival, and satisfy themselves by attributing evil 
motives where they are unable to point to evil 
actions. On this subject let us listen, I will not 
say even to the testimony of men of intelligence, 

* ' "What is the complaint ? In 1840 there was a Turkey 
and a Turkish Government, in 1862 there remains nothing 
but England and an English Government. The East can 
on longer faco decrepit mouldering Turkey, but it has to 
encounter vigorous and powerful England. Greece, Egypt, 
Syria, the Lebanon, Servia, the Danubian provinces, no 
longer look to Constantinople, but to London. Turkey has 
found the secret of being even more formidable than she was 
in the 18th or 16th century, by being nothing of herself, and 
of being everything through England.' — St Marc Gieaedin, 
Revue de$ Deux Mondes, Oct. 1862. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 85 

but to the voice of common sense, for, in truth, this 

childish accusation of ' foreign intrigue ' is not only 

beside the purpose, as wholly insufficient to account 

for the discontent which reigns throughout Turkey, 

but it is one which it is so easy to make, so difficult to 

substantiate, so impossible to disprove, that it cannot 

be allowed to stand, as it now does, instead of facts, in 

the place of information, and as a substitute for reason. 

The suggestion of such ' intrigues ' is often made by 

English consuls and other agents in defiance of 

evidence to the contrary. Compare for a moment 

the confession of Turkish ministers as to the cause 

of the outbreak in the Herzegovina which led to the 

present war between Servia and the Porte with the 

suggestion of Mr Holmes, the English consul at Bosna 

Serai. Whereas the first Secretary of the Sultan, 

writing to the Grand Vizier, declares ' that the causes 

which produce trouble among the peaceful population 

are in a great measure due to the unseemly conduct 

of some incapable functionaries, and particularly to 

the exactions to which the avaricious farmers of taxes 

lend themselves in the hope of a larger profit.' * 

Mr Holmes is sure it is all the work of ' Servian 

agitators.' f 

* Correspondence respecting affairs in Bosnia and Herze- 
govina, 1876, p. 17. 
f Ibid. p. 23. 



86 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

I am reminded by these words of Mr Holmes 
of a pleasant anecdote which I was told by the 
person chiefly concerned, at least the only one con- 
cerned who is now alive. Some few years ago a 
young attachi of a foreign embassy to this country, 
now one of the foremost diplomatists in Europe, was 
going by rail to Southampton. It chanced that at 
the same time several of her Majesty's ministers 
were on their way to Osborne. Lord Palmerston 
had in his jaunty manner referred a few nights 
before in the House of Commons to 'Russian 
intrigues/ On this the young and zealous diplomatist 
proceeded to lecture his Lordship, since, as he alleged, 
the fact was notoriously in opposition to this state- 
ment. ' I know — I know,' replied the Prime 
Minister, ' but one can do anything one likes with 
the Commons if only you tell them of Eussian 
intrigues/ Lord Palmerston was probably joking 
at the young attache's expense, but the jest was a 
truth notwithstanding. It settles everything. It 
atones for our shortcomings, it excuses our injustice, 
it saves us the trouble of thinking, it invests our 
unwisdom with the appearance of policy, if only we 
whisper, ' Russian intrigues/ 

The question then, I repeat, is not whether the 
Christians of Turkey are ever inflamed against the 



FOEEIGN INTRIGUES. 87 

Government of the Sultan by ' foreign intrigues,' 
but whether, without any such ' intrigues/ there 
exist grounds for such discontent ; whether every 
province of Turkey, from the banks of the Danube 
to the Red Sea, is not suffering from the gross in- 
justice of the Government towards the people ; 
whether the Christians of Turkey are not oppressed 
by such rapacious rulers, that men would cease to 
be men if they were not discontented, and that 
whether, under such a condition of existence, ' foreign 
intrigues' would not be needless, a mere work of 
supererogation. 

Now what do we find revealed to us in the report 
of our own consuls, and in the reeentiy-published 
books of men of sagacity and integrity ? Not only 
the evidence of wide- spread dissatisfaction and dis- 
content, but ample grounds for this feeling. The 
people of Turkey are discontented because they 
know that certain rights — the simplest rights which 
humanity can claim — have been promised, and are 
withheld from them by the Government of the Sul- 
tan. So long as this grievance remains, it will re- 
quire no ' foreign intrigues ' to make them dis- 
satisfied. For though the Hatt-i-humaioun has not 
been even read, * it cannot be a dead letter ... it 
stimulates the hopes, and also the hatred, of the 



88 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Greeks. They see that the Turks are resolved to 
render illusory stipulations made by the Allies in 
their favour. They are/ consequently, ' if possible, 
worse subjects of the Sultan than they were before 
the war.'* 

The Christians of Turkey, again, are naturally 
discontented, because they know that the Govern- 
ment of Turkey is utterly indifferent to their cries 
for redress ; that no official throughout that country 
troubles himself to ascertain how many of them are 
murdered, still less to punish any one for the mur- 
der of a Christian unless some active and trouble- 
some consul interfere. Except in this case, which is 
necessarily of rare occurrence, the life of a Christian 
may be, taken with perfect impunity. In one dis- 
trict, Mr Rogers reports that eleven hundred of 
such murders have taken place within nineteen 
years, ' not one of which has been avenged by law.'f 
Of another district, a most competent witness, Dr 
Dickson, of Smyrna, reporting the murder of a 
Greek woman under circumstances of great atrocity 
and the discovery of the murderer, says, ' He will be 
released ; no Mussulman cares about the murder of a 

* Senior, p. 152. 

t Correspondence on Affairs of Syria, I860, 1 86 1, p. 404. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 89 

Rayah/* At Beyrout the British consul reports 
nine murders, and remarks, 'Unfortunately, no 
effective steps are taken by the Turkish authorities 
to repress these disorders by the capture and in- 
fliction of condign punishment on delinquents ; in- 
deed, Mr Abel a, the vice-consul, states that the 
authorities in Sidon have become so accustomed to 
the commission of these atrocities, that they no 
longer seem to attach any gravity to them.'f There 
is no remedy for these wrongs whilst the present 
inequality between Mussulman and non-Mussulman 
subjects of the Porte is maintained. So long as 
Christian evidence is not received in a criminal 
court, there is the most perfect impunity for the 
murder of Christians. 

It would be a mistake, however, for us to sup- 
pose for a moment that the relatives, the friends, 
and the co-religionists of the murdered persons are 
perfectly satisfied with this state of things, and are 
only made discontented, as English consuls and 
party politicians tell us, by reason of ' foreign in- 
trigues.' 

There is indeed widespread discontent, and, 

* Senior, p. 68. 

t Despatches on apprehended disturbances in Syria, 1858 
—I860, p. 95. 



90 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

alas ! ample cause for it. The facts we have on the 
testimony of the English consuls in Turkey. 

Mr Holmes, writing from Bosna Serai, the 
capital of Bosnia, says : — ' I have the honour to re- 
port to your Lordship that I find the position of 
affairs in this province to be most unsatisfactory, 
the opinion being generally prevalent that, without 
some powerful intervention, Bosnia and Herze- 
govina may soon witness scenes similar to those 
which have lately horrified Europe in Syria. 

'Reports are continually arriving here of mas- 
sacres of Christians in different places, which, if 
untrue, serve at least to show the existing excitement 
and alarm. 

' On the night of the 6th the Ferik Pasha com- 
manding the troops here left this suddenly by post, 
taking with him his son and a few attendants. The 
Vali Pasha declared that he had merely proceeded 
to the Servian frontier to inspect the troops and 
defensible positions in that direction, as several in- 
roads had lately been made by bodies of Servian 
volunteers. This service, however, did not seem to 
call for a sudden and, as it were, secret departure at 
midnight, and the explanation of the Pasha was 
looked upon as an evasion of the truth. The next 
day a rumour was spread abroad that some twenty 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 91 

Christians had been massacred at Gradiska, in the 
district of Banialuka, by the Turkish population. 
This excited great alarm here. The authorities were 
said to have denied the truth of the report, but its 
coincidence with the departure of the Ferik threw 
suspicion on their sincerity.' * 

And again, a few weeks later, the same consul 
tells us : — ' A few days after my arrival here I wrote 
a despatch dated the 18th August regarding the 
state of affairs in this Pashalic, from which you will 
have perceived that a good deal of alarm and excite- 
ment prevails. Since that date I have had further 
opportunities of observation. There is here, at 
present, no deliberate intention, though the desire 
may perhaps exist, on the part of the Mussulman 
population, to assault the lives or property of the 
Christian population ; and I believe also that the 
chief danger lies in the agitated state of the public 
mind, of which, unfortunately, there is no doubt, 
and in connection with which the smallest accident 
maj 7 , at any moment, produce the most serious re- 
sults. In addition to real causes of complaint every 
little accident is magnified into a premeditated 
crime ; and dismal stories, no doubt often invented 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
pp. 47, 48. 



92 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

and industriously circulated, are not wanting to 
increase the existing alarm.' * 

Of the state of affairs in the same province, Mr 
Zohrab reports : — 

****** 

' The influence of the Central Government is 
daily becoming weaker, while the pride and 
fanaticism of the Bosniac Mussulmans is rapidly 
developing itself. Such a disregard to its inte- 
rests will eventually bring against the Porte two 
formidable antagonists — the Christians, who have 
given up all hope of amelioration of their position 
under the present regime, and who are daily subjected 
to fresh hardships, and the Mussulmans, who look 
upon the Government of the Sultan with disdain. 
The presence of an energetic and honest Governor is 
urgently required in Bosnia. Such a man could 
render valuable service in re-establishing order, and 
in removing many of the causes of irritation ; but if 
the Porte persists in sending Pashas, without regard 
to their capabilities, disgrace and misfortune must 
necessarily follow.'' f 

Of the country round Aleppo, Mr Skene writes : 
— ' In the towns, until quite lately, trade and manu- 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 69. t Ibid. p. 70. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 93 

factures were in a flourishing state. Since the 
revival, however, of the old feelings of aversion and 
animosity between the Mussulman and Christian 
communities, a disadvantageous change has conse- 
quently become apparent also in the material 
circumstances of the population. Want of con- 
fidence in the future is withdrawing capital 'from 
circulation ; trade stagnates ; and one-half of the 
looms previously worked are now at rest.' * 

Whilst murder, in every part of the Turkish 
empire, is unpunished ; whilst crimes of every de- 
scription are done with impunity on the persons of 
Christians ; whilst they are liable to be thrust from 
their little property at any moment, and to be 
despoiled of the goods which they have collected ; 
and whilst all the time the Government is under 
express treaty obligation to protect its subjects, and 
yet exerts no influence in this direction, we cannot 
wonder that the rule of the Sultan is everywhere 
despised : — ' Mr Vice-Consul Rogers reports that 
throughout his recent journeys over unfrequented 
parts of the country he heard everywhere the 
desponding expressions of the peasantry, that — 
" There is no Government." — " Where is the 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 49. 



94 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Government ? " — "The Government is sunk into 
nothing," — and this is confirmed, by the facts of 
robberies on the roads, and the hostile combats of 
villages.' * 

In the same strain Mr Finn, of Jerusalem, tells 
us : — ' Respect for the Ottoman Government is gone ; 
the plains are overrun by Bedaween, and these 
venture, as they never did before, to come in among 
villages and between the hills ; those from beyond 
Jordan have even plundered cattle in large numbers 
within sight of the sea-port Jaffa.' f 

In another direction we have testimony to the 
same effect. Mr Calvert, of Monastir, says : — 'I am 
obliged to confess that the people do not appear to 
have, at present, any confidence in the Government. 
The chief aim of the Governwfcit, therefore, should 
be to restore that confidence. If their good faith has 
been doubted, they should seize every opportunity to 
retrieve their lost character : and without some pal- 
pable, earnest, and continued proofs of their good 
intentions, they can scarcely hope to succeed.' J 

But this account of the state of alarm under which 

* Despatches on apprehended disturbances in Syria, p. 19. 
t Ibid. p. 72. 

X Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 18. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 95 

the whole Christian population of this empire drags 
on its precarious existence would be incomplete with- 
out some illustrations of the consequences of the 
legal disabilities of which the people complain, and 
to which I trace their discontent more readily than 
to any hypothetical activity of ' foreign agents.' 

I select my illustrations from different parts of 
Turkey, and the first fact is given on the authority 
of Mr Calvert, the British consul : — ' In June last a 
Government courier was killed near Maronia, in the 
pashalic of Salonica, and £2000 was taken from him ; 
the robbery took place just within our frontier. 
Probably the police-officers of Gallipoli and Serries 
were, as they generally are, in league with the rob- 
bers. Either to screen themselves, or to claim the 
merit of vigilance and activity, they determined to 
find the robbers in Maronia. They began by sur- 
rounding the village with troops, and for three days 
they allowed no one to leave it. It was at a critical 
period of the silkworm harvest. The worms required 
to be constantly fed with mulberry leaves. The mul- 
berry gardens are out of the village ; as no one was 
allowed to go to them, and fetch leaves, the whole 
stock of silkworms died. The loss to the village 
was at least £1500. The police then seized two 
brothers, Rayahs, respectable men, and accused them 



96 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

of the robbery. The governors of the districts near 
Maronia came to the village to superintend the in- 
vestigation, took possession of all the best houses, 
and lived there with all their retinues at free 
quarters. 

' The brothers proved, or at least offered to prove, 
an alibi. Many of the principal inhabitants were 
ready to depose that they had seen the prisoners at 
the very time of the robbery, and long before and 
after it, in a coffee-house, in the village. As they 
were Rayahs, their evidence was rejected. 

' " Notwithstanding the Hatt-i-Humayoon P " I 
said. 

' " The influence/' he answered, " of the Hatt-i- 
Humayoon does not extend 160 miles from Constan- 
tinople." 

'To procure evidence against the prisoners by 
confession, the police proceeded to torture them. 
One brother could not stand the torture, and con- 
fessed the robbery. Then they asked him where the 
money was ; of course he could not tell, so they tor- 
tured him again. To obtain a respite, he said that 
he had hid it in such a place ; it was not found 
there, so the torture was recommenced. He then said 
that his brother had it. The brother was tortured, 
but, being more resolute, persisted in his denial. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 97 

" You may kill me," he said, " but I will not confess 
what is not true." This had been going on for some 
time, the village was almost ruined, both the brothers 
had been so maimed, that they are cripples for life, 
when the Pasha of Salonica heard of it, and drew the 
attention of the Pasha of the Dardanelles to the 
scenes which were acting by his officers and under 
his authority. He was indignant, and begged me to 
assist in the inquiry. It is not quite concluded ; but 
the facts which I have mentioned have come out. I 
said to the Pasha : " You see now who are the real 
friends of the Russians. You see what sort of persons 
and what sort of means are employed to make the 
Turkish rule hateful to the Christians." ' * 

Mr Arbuthnot, who accompanied Omer Pasha in 
his campaign against the people of Herzegovina, and 
who naturally, from his position, is always inclined 
to present the Turks in their best aspect, gives us a 
reason why Bosnia should be discontented. He thus 
sketches the career of a Turkish pasha, and shows us 
how a province may be rendered dissatisfied without 
the aid of foreign intrigues : — ' Hadji Ali Pacha 
commenced his career as a clerk in the pay of the 
great Mehemet Ali Pacha, Viceroy of Egypt, but, 

* Senior, pp. 158, 159. 

7 



98 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

having deserted to the Turks, he was employed by 
them in the capacity of Uzbashee or Captain. Fear- 
ful of falling into the hands of the Egyptians, he fled 
from his post, and, having made his way to Constan- 
tinople, contrived, by scheming and bribery, not 
only to efface the memory of the past, but to secure 
the appointment of Kaimakan or Lieut. -Colonel, with 
which grade he was sent to Travnik in command of 
a regiment. Tahir Pacha, the Governor of Bosnia, 
had about this time been informed of the existence of 
some gold mines near Travnik, and ordered Hadji 
Ali to obtain samples for transmission to the Porte. 
This he did, taking care to retain all the valuable 
specimens, and forwarding those of inferior quality, 
which, on their arrival at Constantinople, were 
declared worthless. No sooner was this decision 
arrived at, than Hadji Ali imported the necessary 
machinery and an Austrian mechanic, to separate 
the gold from the ores, and in this way amassed 
immense wealth. Rumours having got abroad of 
what was going on, and the suspicions of Tahir being 
aroused, the unfortunate Austrian was put secretly 
out of the way, and, as a blind, the unprincipled 
ruffian procured the firman to which allusion has 
been made. It need hardly be said that he never 
availed himself of the privileges which it conferred 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 99 

upon him. Some time after these transactions, he 
applied for leave to visit Austria, on the plea of ill- 
health, but doubtless with the view of changing the 
gold. This was refused, and he was obliged to 
employ a Jew, who carried it to Vienna, and dis- 
posed of it there. In 1850, when Omer Pacha came 
to restore order in Bosnia, which had then revolted, 
Hadji Ali was sent with two battalions to the relief 
of another detachment ; upon this occasion he com- 
municated with the enemy, who cut off his rear- 
guard, and otherwise roughly handled the Turkish 
troops. Upon this, Omer Pacha put him in chains, 
and would have shot him, as he richly deserved, had 
he not known that his enemies at Constantinople 
would not fail to distort the true features of the case. 
He therefore sent him to Constantinople, where he 
was shortly afterwards released, and employed his 
gold to such good purpose, that he was actually sent 
down as Civil Governor to Travnik, which he had 
so recently left a prisoner convicted of robbery and 
treason. He was, however, soon dismissed for mis- 
conduct, and entered once more into private specula- 
tions. In 1857 he purchased the tithes of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina, and employed such ruffians to 
collect them as to make perfect martyrs of the 
people, some of whom were even killed by his 



100 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

agents. Exasperated beyond endurance, the people 
of Possavina rose en masse, and although the move- 
ment was put down without difficulty, it doubtless 
paved the way for the discord and rebellion which 
has been attended with such calamitous results. 
This is precisely one of those cases which has brought 
such odium on the Turkish Government, and which 
may so easily be avoided for the future, always pro- 
viding that the Porte be sincere in its oft-repeated 
protestations of a desire for genuine reform. Ali 
Pacha was at Mostar in the beginning of 1858, 
when the movement began, but was afraid to venture 
into the revolted districts to collect his tithes. 
The Government, therefore, made him Commandant 
of the Herzegovinian irregulars, in which post he 
vindicated the character which he had obtained for 
cruelty and despotism. Subsequently he was ap- 
pointed Kaimakan of Trebigne, but the European 
consuls interfered, and he has now decamped, owing 
a large sum to Government, the remnant of his con- 
tract for the tithes/* 

After reading Lieutenant Arbuthnot's sketch of 
the career of this pasha, and his remarks upon the 
effects of the rapacity of such a ruler, the words of 

' * Herzegovina ; or Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels. 
By Lieut. G. Arbuthnot, R.H.A. London, 1862. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 101 

Mr Zohrab, acting consul at Bosna Serai, acquire 
additional significance : — ' I do not hesitate to say 
that Bosnia and the Herzegovina, which ought to 
have been now prosperous, contented, and peace- 
ful, have been turned into discontented, disloyal, 
poverty-stricken provinces, through the unworthi- 
ness of the Sultan's lieutenants, and the gross mis- 
conduct of inferior employes.'* 

How the taxes are collected in this province — 
how the Christian peasants are oppressed by the 
subordinates of such a pasha as Hadji Ali — how 
men are rendered discontented and goaded on to 
insurrection without the aid of 'foreign intrigues,' 
may be illustrated by an anecdote related to me by 
the Princess Julia of Servia : — ' The usual method of 
wringing out the imposts from the Christian peasants 
in Bosnia is to tie them up in a small apartment 
and apply fire to green or half-dried wood until the 
place is filled with smoke. When the Christian is 
half- suffocated the money is sometimes extracted. 
Often, however, this iails, for the poor wretch has 
not sufficient means, and he is left to perish. A 
short time since a poor widow woman, frantic with 
agony, burst into the apartments of the Princess 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 58. 



102 THE CHEISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Julia at the Palace in Belgrade : alternately she 
wept, imprecated, besought the Princess to redress 
her wrongs. She had been assessed by the Turkish 
authorities of a village in Bosnia, on the Servian 
frontiers, at a sum which she had no more the means 
of paying than I have of discharging the National 
Debt. She was smoked. This failed of extracting 
the gold. She begged for a remission, and stated 
her inability to pay. In answer she was tossed into 
the river Drina, and after her were thrown her two 
infant children, one of four years old, the other of 
two. Before her eyes, notwithstanding her frantic 
efforts to save them, her children perished. Half- 
drowned and insensible, she was dragged to land by 
a Servian peasant. She made her way to Belgrade, 
believing, from the character of the Princess for 
humanity, that if she could she would aid her. Of 
course to do so was out of the question.'* 

Or, to turn in another direction, and to cite 
another author in illustration of the defenceless con- 
dition of which all classes of Christians complain, 
and which will remain so long as their evidence is 
refused in a Turkish court of justice, and officials 
may persecute and torture them with impunity. The 
relation of this outrage is from the pen of the late 

* The Guardian, April 29, 1863. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 103 

Mr MacFarlane, and, though a few years older than 
those which I have already given, is but an instance 
of those wrongs under which these poor people at 
present groan in all parts of the dominion of the 
Sultan. It took place after the Tanzimat and the 
Hatt-i-IIuniai'oun, and in disregard of all the stipu- 
lations which the Government of Turkey had made 
with the Great Powers of Europe : — ' During the 
late Ramazan Hadji Dhimitri, of Ascia-keui, a pic- 
turesque village in the ravine, situated among high 
rocks, which we had seen on our right hand in 
coming up from Keuplu to Billijik, had been 
miserably crippled and otherwise injured by order of 
the Turkish court, which had let off Abdullah 
Effendi without so much as a reprimand. Turks as 
well as Greeks lived at Ascia-keui. One day poor 
Hadji Dhimitri had with great toil brought up 
water from a fountain and had filled his reservoir in 
order to irrigate his little garden and mulberry 
ground. A Turk, his neighbour, one Kara-Ali, 
came to him and said that he wanted that water for 
his own garden and must have it. The Greek said 
that he might have brought up water for himself, 
but that he was free to take part of it. The Turk 
got into a towering passion, called the Greek a 
ghiaour and pezavenk, and swore he would have all 



104 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

the water. The quarrel was hot, but short. Dhi- 
mitri, fearing consequences if he resisted, went away 
and left the Turk to take and wantonly waste the 
water, merely saying that he submitted to violence 
and injustice, and that the Tanzimaut meant nothing. 
The Turkish savage went to the Mudir and Kadi at 
Billijik, and vowed that Hadji Dhimitri had wanted 
to rob him of his water, and had uttered horrible 
blasphemies against the Koran and the Prophet. 
Tufekjees were sent to Ascia-keui, and Hadji Dhi- 
mitri, being first of all soundly beaten, was hand- 
cuffed and chained and brought up to Billijik. The 
Greeks of the village were afraid of appearing in 
such a case or against a Mussulman ; but four or 
five did follow the unfortunate Hadji to the hall, 
misnamed of justice, and were there to depose that it 
was the Turk who had taken by violence his water 
and had traduced his religion ; and that he, the 
Hadji, though excited by anger, had not said a word 
against the Koran or the Prophet. But the testi- 
mony of these Christians could not be taken against 
Mussulman witnesses, and Kara Ali, the Turk, was 
provided with two false witnesses, one being Shakir 
Bey, his own son-in-law, and the other Otuz-Bir 
Oglou-Achmet-Bey. The pair were false witnesses 
of notoriety, and generally reputed to be the two 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 105 

greatest scoundrels of the town. There were scores 
upon scores of people who had seen them at the 
coffee-house in Billijik at the hour and time they 
pretended to have been at Ascia-keui, four miles off. 
But of those who had thus seen them the Mussul- 
mans would not appear, and the Christians could 
not get their evidence received in court. Kara Ali 
swore to the truth of his statement ; his two false 
witnesses swore that they had heard the Greek blas- 
pheme their holy religion, and by sentence of the 
Kadi poor Hadji Dhimitri received, then and there, 
300 strokes of the bastinado. His toes were broken 
by the blows,, his feet were beaten to a horrible jelly, 
he screamed and fainted under the torture. There 
were some among our narrators who had seen this 
forbidden torture inflicted, and others who had 
heard the poor man's shrieks. The victim was 
carried home on the back of an ass ; he had been 
laid prostrate for more than six weeks ; it was only 
the day before our arrival that he had been able to 
attend the Billijik market, and then he was lame and 
sick — a hobbling, crippled, broken man. " The law/' 
said one of our party, " is equal in the two cases. If 
Hadji Dhimitri were guilty, he was only guilty of 
that which we have all heard from the lips of Ab- 
dullah Effendi this morning in the khan; yet the 



106 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY, 

Hadji is cruelly bastinadoed and lamed for life, and 
this same Kadi does not even reprimand the Effendi. 
What then is the use of this Tanzimaut?" "The 
use of it," said Tchelebee John, " is just this : it 
throws dust in the eyes of the foreign ambassadors 
at Constantinople who recommended its promulga- 
tion, and it humbugs half the nations of Christen- 
dom, where people believe in newspaper reports." ' * 
I add one other illustration of the way in 
which discontent and dissatisfaction are fostered, 
not by ' foreign intrigues/ but by the mis- 
government of the Sultan. The narrative is one 
which I have already made use of in my little 
volume on Servia. I reproduce it in preference 
to many other similar anecdotes which I might 
have given, for the same reason which led me to 
print it before. It was related to me by a consul 
and his wife, who both witnessed the act of atrocity. 
I recorded it immediately after leaving their house. 
In one only part of it I have intentionally spoken 
vaguely. I have no wish to draw down upon their 
heads the wrath of Sir Henry Bulwer ; I have not, 
therefore, indicated the exact place where it happen- 
ed, lest I should betray my informants: — ' A short 

* Destiny of Turkey, by Chas. MacFarlane, vol. i. pp. 
336-338. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 107 

time since the inhabitants of a little village in Rou- 
melia were called upon to pay the taxes, at which 
they had been assessed by the authorities of the dis- 
trict in which the village is situated. When the 
principal inhabitants had assembled, they did what 
probably many others would have done in like cir- 
cumstances, they rather discussed the means by 
which the tax might be evaded than the mode of 
paying it. After mairy schemes had been suggested, 
the only means which appeared satisfactory to those 
who were present, was to compel some inhabitant 
who was not present to pay the whole assessment. 
In the outskirts of the village resided a Christian 
peasant, who owned a small strip of ground, which 
he cultivated for his maintenance. He was indus- 
trious, and was supposed to possess a hoard of money. 
Indeed, as he had only one child — a son who assisted 
him in the cultivation of his rood of land — how could 
he spend all his earnings ? It was evident, so his 
Mussulman neighbours argued, there must be a store 
somewhere, and it was resolved that he should be 
compelled to pay the whole amount at which the 
village was assessed. . By this means it was clear 
that the claim of the Porte would be satisfied, and 
the rest of the villagers would be lightened from the 
burden about to be imposed upon them. The dis- 



108 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

cussion took place in the presence of the cadi. He 
assured the assembly that it was a matter of indiffer- 
ence how the money was procured, provided that it 
was duly paid to him. After some deliberation as to 
the best means of wringing the whole sum from one 
peasant, the following plan was suggested, matured, 
and finally carried out. It was agreed that the rest 
of the villagers should seize his only child, a lad of 
some sixteen years, and imprison him until his father 
should ransom him for the sum at which the whole 
village was assessed ; and that the cadi should sus- 
pend the collection of the tax until this means had 
been tried. In order that this functionary should 
not, however, pocket the ransom himself, and then 
levy the tax upon the villagers, a deed was drawn 
up and witnessed according to the forms of Turkish 
law, by which the cadi covenanted to accept the 
money thus to be wrung from the parent in lieu of 
all claim upon the rest of the villagers ; to hold the 
boy in his custody until the ranson should be paid, 
and to release him as soon as this should be done. 
It was seed-time, and the lad, wholly unconscious of 
the plot, was employed with his parents in ploughing 
and sowing their little piece of ground, when he was 
seized, carried off to the cadi, and, amidst the cries 
of his mother and the entreaties of his father, thrown 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 109 

into prison, with the intimation that he should be 
released when the money was paid. The village was 
but ill- supplied with prison buildings, and the boy 
was thrust into the small dome, of some six feet 
square, which covered an unused well. Day by day 
the parents came, but could not weary the patience 
of the unjust but impassive judge. The only answer 
which they received was, that when the money was 
brought the boy should be released. The parents 
were not wealthy ; they had no hoard ; the supposi- 
tion of their fellow-villagers was unfounded ; they 
had nothing save the small strip of land which they 
cultivated for their daily needs. The last thing 
which a peasant will give up in Turkey is the privi- 
lege of being a landed proprietor. The father, who 
loved his son, clung, however, to his bit of garden 
ground, and exhausted all other means of raising the 
required sum before selling his land. He appealed 
to the authorities of the district. He was referred 
by them for redress to the cadi, by whom the wrong 
was done. Despairing of any other means of deliver- 
ing his child, the wretched parents now endeavoured 
to collect the money which the cadi required. Their 
furniture was first sold, then their tools and imple- 
ments of husbandry were parted with. The sum 
thus obtained fell so far short of the amount required, 



110 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

that it was at length evident that the rood of ground, 
the family estate, must be parted with. This also 
was sold, and still there lacked a portion of the total 
sum required. The cadi was inexorable, and rigidly 
upright. The Government expected so much from 
the village, and so much must be brought before the 
lad could be released. At length the last piastre was 
procured, and the wretched parents hastened joyfully 
to the cadi with the whole amount. All this had 
taken upwards of ten months to collect, and for so 
long a time the poor lad had been subjected to the 
horrors of solitary confinement, in total darkness, and 
in a dungeon only a few feet in extent, in which it 
was impossible to stand upright. The floor, partly 
of rough stones and partly of mud, was equally cold 
and damp, and on this he had sat and lain and lain 
and sat for more than ten months. On receiving 
the money the cadi assembled the villagers ; the deed 
was recited ; the money exhibited, and the legal in- 
strument duly cancelled with all the mocking 
formalities of law. And now the prison door, or 
what served for a door, was unbarred to the parents, 
and they were permitted to look again upon their 
child. For a time nothing moved within the narrow 
limits of the cell ; the call of his mother could elicit 
no signs of life in the poor prisoner. At length a 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. Ill 

bundle of humanity was dragged out ; it breathed ; 
it stirred : but these were the only tokens of life 
which could be seen. Signs of humanity there were 
none. The limbs had been contracted by cold, wet, 
rheumatism, and by the crouching posture which the 
poor lad had been compelled to assume, and he could 
only crawl on all-fours like a beast. His face re- 
sembled a skull covered with dirty parchment, and 
he was hopelessly an idiot. How long since reason 
had given way his jailors could not tell. He was 
now a slobbering, jabbering idiot. The light, and 
joy, and hope of his parents' cottage was not merely 
quenched, it had become a palpable and noisome 
blackness. 

' Amidst the wails of the parents, and the " God 
is great" of the persecutors, the crowd dispersed, 
some cursing more deeply than ever the despotism 
which rendered them liable to atrocities such as 
these. It needs no "Russian intrigues" to make 
these poor peasants believe that deeds like these are 
unjust, and to inspire them with a longing for an 
opportunity to break such an intolerable yoke from 
their necks. For this incident is but a specimen of 
what the Christians throughout Bosnia, E-oumelia, 
and Bulgaria are now enduring. I could narrate 
acts of atrocious cruelty and wrong which would go 



112 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

far beyond this ; but I have selected this anecdote 
because I can tell it on other authority than that of 
a Servian or a Dalmatian. I did not hear it from a 
suffering, and therefore a "prejudiced, Bosniac" or 
a " lying Greek." Amongst the crowd which wit- 
nessed this horror, amongst the many who saw the 
shattered remains of this poor and innocent lad 
dragged forth from his cell, and handed to his 
parents by the cadi, were the British consul and his 
wife, and from their lips I heard this tale of bar- 
barity.' * 

But beyond the unexceptionable nature of the 
source from which I obtained this illustration of the 
way in which a Turkish province is governed, and 
our Christian brethren are oppressed, I have re- 
printed this anecdote because, subsequently to its 
original publication, I have submitted it to persons 
conversant, from long residence, with the actual 
state of the Turkish empire, and I am assured that 
similar atrocities happen in every province, in every 
district, of that country, so that this fairly repre- 
sents the normal condition of our brethren unhappily 
living under the rule of the Sultan, f 

* Servia and the Servians, pp. 288—292. 

f See in the second volume of Mr MacFarlane's ' Turkey 
and its Destiny,' pp. 1 — 8, a somewhat similar story of 
exaction and wrong. 



FOREIGN INTKIGUES. 113 

Here are, surely, sufficient elements to produce 
discontent amongst the Christians of Turkey without 
our having recourse to any imaginary amount of 
' foreign intrigues/ or of clandestine exertions of 
'Russian agents.' If, indeed, weighed down by 
these intolerable severities, they do turn at times to 
some one who can protect them against their cruel 
oppressors, it is not a matter for wonder. They have 
ceased to expect anything, except additional wrongs, 
from their rulers. Husbands and fathers as they 
are, and unarmed in the midst of an armed Mussul- 
man population, they must look to some one to in- 
terpose in their behalf. At present this takes the form 
of supplicating passports from English, French, and, 
less frequently, from Russian consuls, so as to avail 
themselves of their protection ; and, while their 
condition is such as the illustrations which I have 
just given reveal to us, they will look for protection 
to any quarter of the heavens where there is the 
least gleam of sympathy, the least break in the 
dark cloud which hangs so heavily over them. That 
they do so — that they must do so — is the severest 
condemnation of the Government of the Sultan. 

Mr Abbott, the consul at the Dardanelles, says, 
that the ' vexatious and arbitrary proceedings ctf 
Turkish officials' is the cause why 'the subjects of 



114 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

the Porte get foreign passports/ and, after recount- 
ing a narrative of petty oppression, lie tells us : — 
'It is not a matter for surprise in the face of 
similar facts, which are of daily occurrence, that the 
Rayahs should occasionally resort to the only means 
at hand of protecting themselves against the short- 
comings of their legitimate rulers ; and it is the 
greatest reproach upon the Turkish Government, as 
well as one of the most incontestable proofs of its 
weak and degenerate state, that its own subjects 
should be compelled in self-defence to throw off 
their lawful allegiance, inasmuch as they are denied 
the protection which they have a right to expect, 
and are less favoured in this respect than foreigners ; 
being the reverse of what occurs in civilized coun- 
tries. 

'When a foreign passport cannot be procured, 
the Rayahs find it advantageous to carry on business 
in ostensible partnership with a foreigner or under 
a foreigner's power of attorney. This affords a 
great security for their property, and has become a 
common practice. 

' This anomalous state of things will not cease to 
exist, until the Porte has completed the task of 
reforming the present defective administration of 
justice, and has provided for that purpose properly- 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 115 

constituted tribunals. "When that time arrives, 
the Rayahs will, I doubt not, cheerfully return to 
their allegiance.' * 

Unhappily, as the evidence of the consuls show, 
the sufferings of the Christians throughout Turkey, 
so far from diminishing, are actually increasing. 
The legal condition of the Christian is as degraded 
as ever. The text-books of the law, by which the 
decisions of the cadi are regulated, are as intolerant 
as ever. It is easy to profess incredulity on this 
matter ; it is not so easy to overcome the logic of 
facts. The Multka is still the authority to which 
all Mussulmans appeal throughout Turkey. It is a 
book which possesses an authority greater than that 
of Lyndewood in our ecclesiastical tribunals. It 
ranks higher than Coke or Blackstone do in our 
common law courts ; and the precedents and axioms 
of this book of Institutes of Mahommedan law are 
not only still used and cited, but the volume is the 
ruling authority of the court of Turkey, from which 
no one dreams of appealing. In that book we read, 
and, more still, every cadi reads : — ' And the tri- 
butary (or Christian) is to be distinguished in the 
beast he rides, and in his saddle, and he is not to 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 88. 



116 THE CHEISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

ride a horse, he is not to work at his work with arms 
on, he shall not ride on a saddle like a pillion, he 
shall not ride on that except as a matter of necessity, 
and even then he shall dismount in places of public 
resort ; he shall not wear clothes worn by men of 
learning, piety, and nobilit} r . His women shall be 
distinguished in the street and at the baths, and he 
shall place in his house a sign and mark so that 
people may not pray for him or salute him. And 
the street shall be narrowed for him, and he shall 
pay his tribute standing, the receiver being seated, 
and he shall be seized by the collar, and shall be 
shaken, and it shall be said to him, "Pay the tri- 
bute, oh, tributary ! oh, thou enemy of God ! " ' * 
Nor are the forms of Turkish law, even when 

* The Multka, or digest of the Mahometan Canon Law, 
from which this extract is made, was written in Arabic by a 
Turkish lawyer several centuries ago. It gives the decisions 
arrived at by the two great legists of Sunni Mahommedan- 
ism, and is the text-book and authority in the law courts 
throughout Turkey. Indeed, all Sunni legists in Turkey, 
and in other Sunni countries, study this book, and make 
their references to it. Cadis and Muftis take it, with other 
similar books, as a guide to their decisions, as our judges 
consult the decisions of their predecessors. It is, however, 
of a far greater authority than any such decisions can be 
amongst ourselves ; because it is a fundamental principle in 
Turkey that no one, neither the Sultan nor the government 
combined, can change or abrogate the Canon Law of that 
country. 



FOREIGN INTRIGUES. 117 

the spirit has grown more tolerant, one whit more 
favourable to the poor Rayahs. Persecuted in life, 
1 treated,' as long as they lived, * not merely as 
slaves, but as slaves whom their masters hate,' * the 
persecution, the hatred, the contempt goes with 
them to their grave. In his account of the siege of 
Ears, Dr Sandwith has printed a burial certificate 
which is given when a Christian dies.f It is in 
these terms : — 

' We certify to the priest of the church of Mary, 
that the impure, putrified, stinking carcase of Saideh, 
damned this day, may be concealed under-ground. 

* Sealed. El Said Mehemed Faizi. 

<a.h. 1271. Rejib 11.' 
{March 29, a.d. 1855.) 

What years of hatred must have been endured be- 
fore the feeling was embodied in this document ! 
"What years of hatred must have been endured since ! 
How deep the scorn, how bitter the contempt, how 
fierce the intolerance ! So long as, even in official 
forms, such words as these are used, what hope can 
there be for a great part of the unhappy subjects of 
this empire ? 

* Senior, p. 113. t Siege of Ears, p. 173. 



118 



CHAPTER V. 

TURKISH PROMISES AND TURKISH NON-PERFORMANCES. 

In order to abate tlie wrongs of which the 
Christians of Turkey have long complained, the 
Great Powers of Europe have, from time to time, 
insisted upon certain concessions being made to 
them in return for the material assistance which the 
Western Powers have granted, the blood so lavishly- 
poured out, the treasure so freely expended. They 
demanded in 1839, and again on the non-fulfilment 
of that demand, in 1856, on the termination of the 
war with Russia, certain stipulations, of which these 
are the principal : (1) That the evidence of Chris- 
tians should be received by the Turkish courts of 
justice equally with that of Mussulmans. They 
pressed this the more earnestly since it is evident 
without this neither life nor property is secure. (2) 
That the Christian peasant should be able to pur- 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 119 

chase and hold land, and should not be liable to be 
ousted from his possession at the caprice of his Ma- 
hommedan neighbour. (3) That in regulating the 
taxation of the empire, Mahommedans and Chris- 
tians should be placed in a position of equality. (4) 
That both races should be eligible to serve in the 
army, and that it should be as lawful for the Chris- 
tian to possess arms as the Mussulman. (5) That 
compulsory conversion to the Mahommedan faith 
should be abolished. 

Every one of these essential conditions to the 
freedom of the Christian races of Turkey remains, 
however, notwithstanding repeated pledges, as much 
disregarded as they were fifty years ago. On this 
head let me cite the words of Lord Derby, who thus 
describes the Andrassy proposals for the quieting of 
the Herzegovina. They sum up the faithlessness 
of 'our faithful ally.' 'The proposals of Count 
Andrassy amount to little more than a request that 
the Porte will execute the Hatti-Scheriff of Grulhane 
of 1839, the Hatti-Humayoun of 1856, and the Irade 
and Firman of the 2nd October and 12th of Decem- 
ber last ; in short, that the measures for the improve- 
ment of the condition of the non- Mussulman and 
rural population generally throughout the empire, 
which have been publicly proclaimed, should be 



120 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

brought into practical application.'* In a word, that 
the solemn promise made to the Great Poweps of 
Europe nearly forty years ago should now be per- 
formed, or, in Lord Derby's phrase, be ' brought into 
practical application ; ' but to particularize : — 

(1) The evidence of a Christian is not received 
either in the criminal or civil courts of Turkey. It 
is true that some shadow of equality in this respect, 
between the Mussulman and non-Mussulman, exists 
at Constantinople, and is ostentatiously pointed out 
to travellers who limit their observations to that 
capital. But this only makes the faithlessness of 
Turkey to treaties the more evident. 

In the Hatt-i-Sherif of 1856, the Sultan, at the 
pressing instance of the European Powers, decreed :— 
1 The guarantees promised on our part by the 
Hatt-i-Huma'ioun of Gul-Hane, and in conformity 
with the Tanzimat, to all the subjects of my Empire, 
without distinction of classes or of religion, for the 
security of their persons and property, and the pre- 
servation of their honour, are to-day confirmed and 
consolidated, and efficacious measures shall be taken 
in order that they may have their full and entire 
effect.' . . . 

* Correspondence respecting Affairs in Bosnia and in 
Herzegovina, 1876. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 121 

' All commercial, correctional, and criminal suits 
between Mussulmans and Christian or other non- 
Mussulman subjects, or between Christians or other 
non- Mussulmans of different sects, shall be referred 
to Mixed Tribunals. 

' The proceedings of these tribunals shall be pub- 
lic ; the parties shall be confronted, and shall pro- 
duce their witnesses, whose testimony shall be 
received, without distinction, upon an oath taken 
according to the religious law of each sect.' 

It must be observed that the Sultan here appeals 
to a former promise made to the same effect as the 
provisions of the Hatt-i-Sherif ; the Hatt-i-Hu- 
mai'oun to which he refers bears date Nov. 3, 1839, 
and even this latter was only in accordance with the 
Tanzimat still more remote in date, so that, when it 
is pleaded by the Sultan's advocates that, though the 
Hatt-i-Sherif has been entirely disregarded, yet that 
this was only promised six years ago, and if we have 
patience its provisions may yet be carried out ; this 
is said in ignorance of the real circumstances of the 
case. The pledge that Christian evidence shall be 
received in the courts of justice throughout Turkey, 
and be accepted on the same footing as Mahometan 
evidence, was made upwards of thirty years ago.* 

* Now, alas ! fifty years ago. 



122 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

How then has this pledge, made to the nations of 
Europe, and re-confirmed in consideration gf the 
blood poured out and the treasure expended by the 
Allied Powers in behalf of Turkey, been fulfilled ? 

The seventh question in the list forwarded by Sir 
Henry Bulwer to the ' Consuls in the Ottoman do- 
minions,' was as follows : — ' Is Christian evidence ad- 
mitted in courts of justice ; and if not, point out the 
cases where it has been refused ? ' * 

In answer to this, Mr Abbott, the English con- 
sul at Monastir, writes : — ' It is only admitted at the 
Tahkik Medjlis (Court of Inquiry). There, Chris- 
tian witnesses are sworn, whereas Mussulmans are not. 
I cannot point out cases where it has been refused at 
the other Courts, as, it being considered an estab- 
lished rule not to admit Christian evidence, a Chris- 
tian has never dared present in. a suit one of his co- 
religionists to give his testimony.' f 

To the same inquiry Mr Finn, the consul at 
Jerusalem, thus replies : — ' In the Mehkemeh, or 
Cadi's Court, non-Mussulman evidence is always 
refused. In the various Medjlises some subterfuge 
is always sought for declining to receive non- Mussul- 
man evidence against a Mussulman, or recording it 

* Report of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 3. t Ibid. p. 7. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 123 

under the technical name of witness. These Courts 
and the Pasha will rather condemn at once a Mussul- 
man in favour of a Christian, without recording 
testimony, than accept non-Moslem evidence. Evi- 
dence of Christian against Christian, or Jew, or vice 
versa, i.e. non-Moslem against non-Moslem, is always 
received.' * 

Mr J. E. Blunt, consul at Pristina : — ' Christian 
evidence in law-suits between a Mussulman and a 
non-Mussulman is not admitted in the local Courts. 

'In such cases in which the parties are not 
Mussulman, Christian evidence is admitted.' f 

Mr Skene, the consul at Aleppo, in his report, 
says : — ' It is not admitted ; and the attempt is never 
made to obtain its admission. No case has occurred 
in connection with the business of this consulate to 
raise the question.' £ 

Major Cox, the consul at Bucharest, says : — * In 
cases between Christians, yes ; but in cases between 
Christians and Mahometans, no. This is one of the 
subjects on which the intelligent portion of the 
Christians earnestly insist for redress, and which 
they know at the same time is one of the most diffi- 
cult for the Ottoman Government to deal with, on 

* Eeport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 27. f Ibid. p. 3<5. % Ibid. p. 50. 



124 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

account of the strong prejudices entertained by the 
Mussulmans/ * 

Other consuls, indeed, report that the evidence 
of Christians is received in the criminal courts of 
justice in certain provinces of Turkey, but when we 
come to examine in what way it is received we find 
that contrary assertions are not always contradictory. 

Mr Charles Blunt, of Smyrna, thus answers Sir 
Henry Bulwer's question : — ' Generally speaking, 
from all that I can learn, Christian evidence is not 
admitted against Mussulmans in the interior, but 
only one instance has been brought before me, which 
was in 1857, when the authorities at Aidin would 
not admit Christian evidence in a suit in which a 
British subject was interested. On that occasion, in 
conjunction with the Pasha of Smyrna, officers were 
sent from the Governor and this Consulate to Aidin, 
when upon their united interference Christian evi- 
dence was, and has since been, admitted in the courts 
of Aidin. ^Christian evidence is admitted in the courts 
at Smyrna, but in all suits relating to houses and 
landed property, foreign Christian evidence is not 
admitted against the native Christian.' f 

* Keport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 58. The ' difficulty ' has now been dealt with and 
overcome ; but then Bucharest is the capital of an autonom- 
ous state. t Ibid- P- 32. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 125 

Mr Cathcart, the consul at Prevesa, states : — 
' Christian evidence is always admitted in the courts 
of justice, but I think it doubtful whether, in cases 
between a Mussulman and a Christian, it carries the 
same weight as Mahometan evidence.'* 

Acting - Consul Zohrab, writing | from Bosna 
Serai, says : — ' Christian evidence in the Medjlises 
is occasionally received, but as a rule it is refused, 
either directly or indirectly, by reference to the 
Mehkemeh. Knowing this, the Christians generally 
come forward prepared with Mussulman witnesses. 
The cases in which Christian evidence has been 
refused are numerous, but it would take time to 
collect them/f 

Mr Moore, the consul at Beyrout, writes : — 
' Christian evidence is admitted into the mixed 
Tribunals (those composed of Christian and Mussul- 
man members), but not in the purely Turkish court 
called the Mehkemeh, or in the Grand Medjlis of the 
Eyalet when it is presided over by the Cadi, and 
where the law may be administered according to the 
Shara (Mahometan Ecclesiastical law). In case of 
murder, for instance, when the murderer is a Moslem, 
that •presidency and that laic are resorted to, and Chris- 

* Eeport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 42. t Ibid. p. 55. 



126 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

tian evidence would be rejected. No such case having 
occurred for many years, I am unable to furnish 
instances. Petty criminal cases are tried at the 
Medjlis Tahkik (Court of Verification), and civil 
suits at the Commercial Courts, both mixed Tri- 
buHals where Christian evidence is accepted.' * 

Mr Abbott, the consul at the Dardanelles, says : — 
'It is admitted; though, generally speaking, the 
testimony of a Mussulman carries with it more 
weight. I may here add, that circumstantial evi- 
dence, though of the clearest nature, is refused ; 
that the Tidjaret-Medjlis, or Commercial Tribunal, 
goes only upon documentary evidence ; that the 
testimony of one female is rejected as insufficient, 
whilst that of two females, of whatever creed, i3 
accepted, being considered equivalent to that of one 
male. Owing to these peculiarities of Turkish law, 
a miscarriage of justice often ensues : whilst the fear 
of incurring vengeance deters many persons, both 
Mussulmans and Christians, from prosecuting notori- 
ous malefactors, or giving evidence against them.' f 

Major Cox, again writing from Bucharest, says : 
— ' The non-reception of the testimony of Christians 
on the same footing with that of the Mussulmans is 

* Beport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 71. t Ibid. p. 70. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 127 

as much a subject of complaint in Bosnia and the 
Herzegovine as in Bulgaria.' * 

In order in some degree to protect Christian 
witnesses, the Porte consented to the appointment of 
Christian assessors in the Medjlises, or local courts. 
This has been carried out certainly in form, though 
in substance the stipulation is as much disregarded as 
that by which the testimony of a Christian was 
declared to be placed on the same footing as that of 
a Mussulman. 

Mr Calvert, the consul at Monastir, tells us : — 
* As to the Christian members, they take their seats 
at the Medjlises as a matter of form, but dare not 
dissent from an opinion emitted by the Mussulman 
members. I hear that, some years back, the Chris- 
tian member of the Medjlis at Monaster was 
poisoned for opposing his Mussulman colleagues.' f 

To the same purpose Mr Calvert, writing from 
Salonica, says : — ' Christians are admitted into the 
local Councils, but they are so few in number com- 
pared with the Mussulman members as to be com- 
pletely overawed, and therefore practically useless. 
They blindly affix their seals to the * Mazbattas " 
(reports or decisions) which are written in Turkish, 

* Keport of Consuls on. the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 96. f Ibid. p. 4. 



128 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

— a language they can rarely read ; and even were 
they to understand what was written, they would 
scarcely venture to refuse to confirm it, although they 
might inwardly dissent from the purport of the 
document.' * 

I content myself with citing only one other 
witness, Mr Finn, the consul at Jerusalem : — 
' Christians are admitted as members of the Medjlises 
by virtue of laws of the Central Government, but 
the number of the members proportioned to the 
number of the sect is not equal to the proportion of 
the Mussulman members to the number of their 
sect. For instance, the Jews, who nearly equal the 
Christians and Mussulmans together, have but one 
member in each Medjlis ; the Christians, who are 
nearly equal to the Mussulmans, have but one 
member of each sect in each Medjlis; while the 
Mussulman members are as numerous as the Pasha 
pleases to make them, — generally six or seven.' 

'They are barely tolerated by the Mussulman 
members, and are always placed in lower seats : they 
have not the courage to make use of the privileges 
as intended. I sometimes hear of their placing 

* Eeport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 12. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 129 

their seals falsely to Mazbattas, merely from fear of 
displeasing the Mussulman members.' * 

Now, so long as this is the case — so long as 
Christian evidence is wholly refused, or is not 
allowed to have any weight in the determination of 
a civil suit, whilst it is utterly rejected in all crimi- 
nal causes, it is obvious there can be no security for 
life, limb, nor property for the great mass of the 
Christian subjects of the Sultan. Murder, attended 
by the most revolting circumstances, and perpetrated 
in the midst of a crowded Christian village, and in 
the sight of a hundred witnesses, is never punished, 
because the evidence of all these people is inadmiss- 
ible in the courts of Turkey. What impunity this 
gives to the criminal, and what encouragement to 
the commission of outrages, must be evident to 
every one. 

From a report of Mr Finn, dated Jerusalem, 
January 4, 1860, we obtain a glimpse of the normal 
condition of the Turkish provinces, as to the adminis- 
tration of justice : — ' The Arabs have a proverb that 
the Divine Government acts upon the two motives of, 
first, reward ; secondly, punishment ; but that in 



* Eeport of Consuls on the Condition of the Christians in 
Turkey, p. 28. 

9 



130 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUKKEY. 

Turkish rule it is all Heaven, there is no penalty for 
transgression. 

' On this same principle, political rebels are at 
the most only disabled temporarily from doing mis- 
chief. Officers of regiments convicted of extortion 
and peculation are only removed from one station to 
another. Pashas [with but one exception that I have 
knoicn) are always promoted, when dismissed on the 
complaints of consuls ; and throughout my experience 
I have never known a robbery or other such offence 
•punished as a crime. When burglars or highway 
robbers are discovered and convicted, it is always 
considered an ample retribution if a sum almost 
amounting to the loss is levied upon the guilty. 
The Government congratulates itself and the plaintiff 
on the success obtained, but the criminality is never 
punished.* 

When this is the case with reference to all crime, 
except in rare and exceptional cases, it is not sur- 
prising that crimes against Christians are committed 
with total impunity. 

Mr J. E. Blunt, of Pristina, thus reports three 
cases which had occurred in his neighbourhood : — 

•Despatches on apprehended disturbances in Syria, 1858 
—1860, p. 90. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 131 

'About seventeen months ago a Turkish soldier 
murdered a Mahometan, an old man, who was 
working in his field. The only persons, two in 
number, who witnessed the deed are Christians. 
The Medjlis of Uscup would not take their evidence, 
although the Undersigned urged the Kaimakam to 
accept it. 

1 About the same time a Zaptieh tried by force to 
convert a Bulgarian girl to Islamism. As she 
declared before the Medjlis of Camanova that she 
would not abjure her religion, he killed her in the 
very precincts of the Mudir's house. This tragedy 
created great sensation in the province. The Medj- 
lises of Camanova and Prisrend would not accept 
Christian evidence, and every effort was made to save 
the Zaptieh ; but on the case being referred to 
Constantinople, an order reached the authorities to 
" take the evidence of all persons who witnessed the 
murder." This was done, and Kiani Pasha, who at 
the time took charge of the province, where he 
has done much good, immediately had the Zaptieh 
beheaded. 

' Six months ago a Bulgarian in the district of 
Camanova was attacked, without provocation on his 
part, by two Albanians. They wounded him severely. 



132 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

On the case being referred to Prisrend, the Medjlis 
refused to take cognizance of it, as the only evidence 
produced was Christian.' * 

To this I would add an extract from Dr Sand- 
with's account of his travels in Armenia : — ' An 
Armenian tradesman, about to leave the town [of 
B — ] for another city, had been trying to change 
some paper-money into gold, the former not being 
current at the place of his destination. An officer, 
hearing of this, went and offered the Armenian gold 
for 5000 piastres in paper (about 40/.), ten per cent, 
agio being deducted. This offer the Armenian 
accepted, and gave the officer the paper-money, the 
latter promising to return immediately with the gold. 
Some time having elapsed, and the officer not having 
made his appearance, the Armenian went to look 
after him, and with much trouble succeeded in 
recovering, at various instalments, 4060 piastres. 
The Armenian then applied to the Turk's command- 
ing officer for the payment of the remainder, who 
recommended that the affair should be taken to the 
mijlis. The Turk, seeing that the proofs were rather 
strong against him, insisted on his right to be tried 
by the mehkeme, where he knew that the Koran 

* Keport of Consuls on the Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, pp. 35, 36. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 133 

would serve him in his need. Accordingly the Ar- 
menian and the Turk were confronted before this 
religious tribunal ; and there the Turk, grown bold, 
as a Mussulman, declared that, far from owing the 
Armenian anything, the latter wished to rob him ; 
that he (the Turk) had placed the above-named sum 
in the hands of a third person to be changed into 
gold, and that the Armenian had taken it for that 
purpose, but that the gold was not forthcoming. 
" Do you swear to this ? " asked the President. " I 
swear it on the Koran," answered the Turk. " It is 
enough." The Armenian had brought witnesses, but 
they were all Christians, their evidence was impossi- 
ble ; so the hapless Armenian was obliged to refund 
all the gold he had previously obtained, and found 
himself a ruined man/ * 

The consequence of this impunity is murder on 
so large a scale as almost to amount to continuous 
massacre. Thus, Mr Rogers, the vice-consul at 
Beyrout, reports from information satisfactory to 
himself : — 

' Exclusive of the blood sited in open civil warfare 
betioeen the years 1841 and 1858, or in other words, 
during the space of seventeen years, 780 individual 
murders have been committed in Mount Lebanon ; and 

* Narrative of the Siege of Kars, pp. 169, 170. 



134 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

probably since the year 1858 upwards of 300 more have 
occurred, thus forming a total of about 1100 in the 
space of nineteen years, not one of which has been 
avenged by law.* 

In illustration of what Mr Rogers here states the 
following details of such unprovoked, unpunished 
murders occur in Mr Evans' recent volume of travels 
— 'As we were walking our engineer pointed to a 
part of a maize plot on the road-side where the maize 
was slightly trodden down. " Do you see that ? " 
he asked ; " perhaps you would like to know how the 
maize got trodden down there ? " He then recounted 
to us the following narrative, which, coming from 
an eye-witness, served to enlighten us considerably 
about the amenities of Turkish rule. It must be 
prefaced that at the present time no one can go from 
one village to another without being provided with a 
Turkish pass, and that it was one of the practices of 
the Belgian engineer, as head of the road commission, 
to examine and set his vize on the pass of all who 
passed along the road. A few days ago a young 
Herzegovinian Christian stopped at his tent and 
showed his pass, which proved to be quite en regie, 
and was vized by the engineer accordingly. He 
then proceeded on his way with a light heart, but as 

* Correspondence on Affairs of Syria, 1860, 1861, p. 404. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 135 

he was passing by the booths near the bridge, 
two Turks — not officials or soldiers of any kind, 
but armed nevertheless — came up and insolently 
demanded to see his pass. This they had not a 
shadow of a right to ask for ; but the young fellow, 
knowing that in this country might is right, did not 
hesitate to comply, and handed his pass for their 
examination. Thereupon the two Mahometans, 
who could not read a syllable, swore that the whole 
thing was wrong, and seizing hold of the young 
rayah, began to drag him along, crying out to the 
Christians that they were taking him off to the road 
commission. But they had not proceeded far when 
they suddenly fell upon him, and hauling him off 
into the maize, butchered him with severe blows from 
their handshars, one of which half cut through his 
neck. They then made off in broad daylight, making 
their way through the Christians and others, whom 
the young fellow's cries were bringing to the scene 
of the tragedy — not a Greek daring to lay hands on 
the murderers, who were Turks. The Belgian who 
was in his tent had been roused by a loud " Homaun ! 
homaun I " as he expressed the cries, and coming out 
found the young rayah, who had succeeded in 
crawling to the road, past human assistance.'* Do 
* Through Bosnia and Herzegovina, p. 313. 



136 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

people thus treated, thus exposed by Turkish law to 
outrage and murder, need ' Servian agitators ' or 
1 Russian agents ' to teach them that they are foully 
wronged, or to inspire them with hatred towards 
their ' paternal Government ' ? 

I have dwelt at length on the refusal of Christian 
evidence in the Turkish courts of law, because it is 
the fountain of that injustice of which these people 
complain. From this flows, as from a copious well- 
bead, impunity for every outrage which the malice 
of envious neighbours, the cupidity of greedy officials, 
and the lustfulness of casual travellers of the ruling 
race, can prompt. Throughout the whole extent of 
the Turkish empire, every young girl, every 
Christian wife, is the lawful prey of any wandering 
Mussulman, who is at perfect liberty, in wantonness 
or in the consciousness of power, to show his con- 
tempt for the sanctities of a Christian household by 
the violation of any or every member of it, and the 
father, husband, or brother are liable to punishment, 
even that of death, if they defend their own honour 
and that of the females of their family. Well may 
Mr Layard say — ' Wherever the Osmanli has placed 
his foot he has bred fear and distrust. His visit has 
been one of oppression and rapine. The scarlet cap 
and the well-known garb of a Turkish irregular are 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 137 

the signals for a general panic. The women hide 
themselves in the innermost recesses to save them- 
selves from insult ; the men slink into their houses, 
and offer a vain protest against the seizure of their 
property.' 

Even Mr Longworth, the consul-general at Bel- 
grade, and formerly consul at Monastic, says, ' The 
forcible abduction of Christian girls by Mahometans 
is an abuse which calls urgently for correction.'' * . . 
There is, however, but little prospect that this abuse 
will be corrected, since Mr Abbott tells us — ' A cus- 
tom prevails here to exempt from military con- 
scription a Mussulman young man who elopes with 
a Christian girl, and whom he converts to his faith. 
This being considered a meritorious act for his reli- 
gion, it entitles him, as a reward, to be freed from 
military service. 'f 

When a man can, by the laws of Turkey, avoid 
the conscription merely by seizing and violating a 
Christian girl, it is not to be wondered if such cases 
abound in this ill-fated country. Nor is the sin- 
gular provision, that he should convert to his own 
' faith ' the victim of his lust, any safeguard to a 
Christian maiden, since, if she appeals to the tribu- 

* Consular Eeports on the Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 21. t Ibid. p. 7. 



138 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

nals, she is utterly unable to obtain redress : should 
she declare herself a Mahometan, then the ravisher 
is held to have done a praiseworthy action ; should 
she proclaim herself a Christian, she is, by the law 
of Turkey, prohibited from giving evidence of the 
wrong done to her ; so that, in either case, she must 
submit. On the subject Mr Long worth, apologizing 
as he does for Turkish abuses, yet says — ' It is an 
old custom of these wild districts, and was formerly 
held to evince manly spirit on the part of the 
ravisher. It is asserted also, and I believe it, that 
the girls are frequently consenting parties to their 
own abduction, and that the parents, by delaying to 
give them in marriage, with a view of appropriating 
their services as long as possible, indirectly bring 
this misfortune on themselves. But these palliatives, 
and others of the kind, which may be urged, are, I 
think, beside the question, which is simply if seduc- 
tion and violence has been employed in removing 
these girls from the roof and protection of their 
parents. But instead of putting it to this issue, it 
has been the rule to force the party to appear before 
the tribunal which rejects Christian evidence, and to 
dispose of the affair summarily, by compelling her to 
declare herself a Christian or a Mahometan.' * 

* Consular Keports on the Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 21. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFURMANCES. 139 

(2) Where the safety of life and respect for the 
honour of the family is utterly disregarded, it is not 
to be expected that much consideration will be given 
to the rights of property. With reference to this 
particular, the injustice and cruelty of their Turkish 
masters press heavily upon the whole Christian 
population. Acts of oppression, incited by the 
desire to possess the property of the subject race, 
will, indeed, be more numerous than murders and 
deeds of violence to Christian women, since cupidity 
is a more universal passion amongst men than even 
the thirst for blood or the gratification of lust. 

This fact has not escaped the attention of 
the Powers of Europe. So far indeed as solemn 
stipulations can go, nothing at present can be 
desired in behalf of the Christian subjects of the 
Porte. But then it must be remembered that every 
stipulation made has been — I will not say broken, 
because that implies a state of things which has 
existed and been violently destroyed — but disregard- 
ed. It must be borne in mind that no treaty has, 
on this point, ever been fulfilled. Every promise 
has been forgotten. Whenever a loan is required, 
for which the guarantee of England is necessary, or 
the assistance of this country is desired for the pre- 
servation of ' the integrity of Turkey,' and the lives 



140 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

of our fellow-countrymen are to be sacrificed on her 
soil,or the industry of England weighed down by tax- 
ation imposed for the security of the Ottoman power, 
we have promises in abundance — the Hatt-i-Sherifs 
and Hatt-i-IIumaiouns, which are then drawn up 
and signed, bristle with the pledges of freedom. 
But the loan once obtained, the assistance once 
given, the money squandered, and the blood of 
Englishmen poured out beyond recall ; every pledge 
is broken, every treaty forgotten, and the Hatt-i- 
Humai'oun, which has declared the equality of the 
.Mussulmans and Christians of Turkey in the eyes of 
the law, is quietly withdrawn. No nation, except 
Turkey, has ever shown such a flagrant disregard, 
such a contempt, for public treaties. Where the 
rights of her Christian subjects are concerned no 
attempt is ever made to observe them. Nor can 
this be said to be of little moment to ourselves. We 
are concerned in this breach of faith, we are parties 
to it. The simple right which the Christians of 
Turkey claim, the right to be heard as witnesses 
when the blood of their brothers has been shed in 
their sight, when their wives and daughters have 
been outraged, is one which we have pledged our- 
selves to procure for them ; the right of the Chris- 
tian to hold property has been demanded as the 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 141 

price of our assistance in upholding the rule of the 
Sultan. Neither right has been conceded, neither 
promise has been fulfilled, and we go on murmur- 
ing and maundering about ' the integrity of Turkey ;' 
but we are utterly indifferent whether Turkey takes 
any steps to preserve her own 'integrity/ by per- 
forming the repeated promises made on this subject, 
or whether she destroys the one and violates the 
other by her faithlessness. 

In the negotiations preceding the treaty of Paris, 
the condition of the Christians of Turkey engaged 
the attention of the representatives of the great 
European Powers. In order to obtain some guaran- 
tee that the Sultan would no longer disregard the 
provisions solemnly promised by the Hatt-i-Humai- 
oun of Gul-Hane of 1S39, which itself, however, as 
I have before said, was only a reiteration of like 
promises made in the Tanzimat of an older date, it 
was proposed that stipulations for the rights of the 
Christian people of Turkey should form a part of 
the treaty to be signed at Paris. At the represent- 
ation, however, of the Turkish minister that the 
Sultan would prefer to issue a document for this 
purpose, as though it were his own free act and not 
part of the proceedings of the Congress then as- 
sembled, this was overruled, and accordingly the 



142 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

treaty of Paris was completed without any stipula- 
tions for the better treatment of the Christians. It 
was left to the Sultan's honour, and the only notice 
taken of the subject, is that contained in the Ninth 
Article of the treaty, which is in these words : — 
'His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, having, in his 
constant solicitude for the welfare of his subjects, 
issued a firman which, while ameliorating their 
condition withput distinction of religion or of race, 
records his generous intentions towards the Christian 
population of his Empire, and wishing to give a 
further proof of his sentiments in that respect, has 
resolved to communicate to the Contracting Parties 
the said firman, emanating spontaneously from his 
sovereign will.' * 

A few weeks before this treaty was signed, the 
Sultan had issued his Hatt-i-Sherif, in which he 
says : — ' The guarantees promised on our part by the 
Hatt-i-Humaioun of Gul-Hane, and in conformity 
with the Tanzimat, to all the subjects of my Empire, 
without distinction of classes or of religion, for the 
security of their persons and property and the pre- 
servation of their honour, are to-day confirmed and 
consolidated, and efficacious measures shall be taken 

* Treaty of Paris. Parliamentary Paper, p. 20. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 143 

in order that they may have their full and entire 
effect/ 



'The equality of taxes entailing equality of 
burdens, as equality of duties entails that of rights, 
Christian subjects, and those of other non- Mussulman 
sects, as it has been already decided, shall, as well as 
Mussulmans, be subject to the obligations of the 
Law of Recruitment. The principle of obtaining 
substitutes, or of purchasing exemption, shall be 
admitted. A complete law shall be published, 
with as little delay as possible, respecting the 
admission into and service in the army of Christian 
and other non-Mussulman subjects.' 

****** 

• The taxes are to be levied under the same 
denomination from all the subjects of my Empire, 
without distinction of class or of religion. The 
most prompt and energetic means for remedying 
the abuses in collecting the taxes, and especially the 
tithes, shall be considered. The system of direct 
collection shall gradually, and as soon as possible, 
be substituted for the plan of farming, in all the 
branches of the revenues of the State. As long as 
the present system remains in force, all agents of 
the Government and all members of the Medjlis 



144 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

shall be forbidden, under the severest penalties, to 
become lessees of any farming contracts which are 
announced for public competition, or to have any- 
beneficial interest in carrying them out. The local 
taxes shall, as far as possible, be so imposed as not 
to affect the sources of production, or to hinder the 
progress of internal commerce.' 

Now, it is important to bear in mind the fact 
which, indeed, the Sultan himself states, apparently 
without any feeling of shame ; that the promises 
made in this Hatt-i-Sherif of 1856, were only the 
reiteration of those made in the Hatt-i-Humai'oun 
of 1839, and these again were only the reiteration of 
promises made in the older Tanzimat, and that this 
reiteration was made necessary by the fact that the 
promises made in the first instance, and re-promised 
in the second, were still unfulfilled. Now let us 
ask what has been the fate of this third instrument, 
with its reiteration of the unfulfilled engagements of 
the two preceding documents ? Have these promises 
been better kept than the self-same promises made 
thirty years ago ? 

The Hatt-i-Sher if has never been even 'promulgated. 
It is unknown throughout the whole of Turkey. Not one 
promise has been performed, not one stipulation has been 
fulfilled, and yet in the face of these facts, even 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 145 

members of Parliament, officers of the Government, 
presuming upon the almost universal ignorance which 
prevails respecting that country, venture to speak in 
the House of Commons of the fidelity of Turkey to 
her engagements ! 

By the Tanzimat, the Hatt-i-Humai'oun of 1839, 
and Hatt-i-Sherif of 1856, three editions of the sams 
unfulfilled promises, it was declared, as we have 
seen, amongst other things, that Christians might 
hold landed property in all parts of the empire as 
freely as Mussulmans, and also that there should be 
perfect equality as to taxation between the Mussul- 
mans and non-Mussulmans of Turkey. 

What attempt has been made to carry out these 
simple requirements of justice? 

Amongst the questions issued by Sir Henry Bul- 
wer to the English consuls in Turkey, occurs the 
following : — ' 4. Can Christians hold landed property 
on equal condition with Turks ? and if not, where is 
the difference ? ' 

To this question Mr Calvert of Salonica replies — 
' As regards the acquisition of landed property, a 
Christian is not allowed to purchase any belonging 
to a Turk.' * 

• Report of Consuls on the Condition of Christians in 

Turkey, p. 10. 

10 



146 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Since, then, nearly every acre of land at the 
present moment belongs to the Turks, the refusal to 
allow Christians to purchase such lands amounts 
almost to a prohibition of their purchasing any land. 
Again, on this subject Mr Finn of Jerusalem reports — 
* Native Christians are precisely on equal terms with 
Mussulmans in regard to the tenure of landed pro- 
perty, though in acquiring it they are exposed to 
pecuniary and other annoyances to which a Moslem 
would not be exposed/ * 

Mr Skene of Aleppo thus answers Sir Henry 
Bulwer's question : — ' Freehold property, the best of 
tenures, is within the reach of the Sultan's Christian 
subjects. The fear, however, of unfair treatment 
deters them from becoming landholders.' f 

To the same effect Acting- Consul Zohrab says — • 
' Christians are now permitted to possess real pro- 
perty, but the obstacles which they meet with when 
they attempt to acquire it are so many and vexatious 
that very few have as yet dared to brave them.' J 

What those obstacles are which prevent Chris- 
tians from acquiring and holding land he proceeds to 
state in these words : — ' Christians are permitted by 

* Report of Consuls on the Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 27. 

t Ibid. p. 50. X Ibid. p. 54. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 147 

law to possess landed property, but the difficulties 
opposed to their acquiring are so great that few have 
as yet dared to face them. As far as the mere pur- 
chase goes, no difficulties are made — a Christian can 
buy and take possession ; it is when he has got his 
land into order, or when the Mussulman who has 
sold has overcome the pecuniary difficulties which 
compelled him to sell, that the Christian feels the 
helplessness of his position and the insincerity of the 
Government. Steps are then taken by the original 
proprietor, or some relative of his, to reclaim the land 
from the Christian, generally on one of the folio wing- 
pleas : that the original owner, not being sole pro- 
prietor, had no right to sell ; that the ground being 
" meraah," or grazing- ground, could not be sold ; that 
the deeds of transfer being defective the sale had 
not been legally made. Under one or other of these 
pleas the Christian is in nineteen cases out of twenty 
dispossessed, and he may then deem himself fortun- 
ate if he gets back the price he gave. Few, a very 
few, have been able to obtain justice ; but I must say 
that the majority of these owe their good fortune not 
to the justice of their cause, but to the influence of 
some powerful Mussulman.' * 

* Report of Consuls on the Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 55. 



148 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

This, then, is the way in which this stipulation 
is carried out in Turkey. Christians may hold land, 
but — They must not purchase any belonging to a 
Turk. As at present scarcely any land belongs to 
any one else than a Turk, this is virtually to prevent 
all such purchases. But beyond this the dangers 
which threaten those who attempt to do that which 
the law declares they may do are so real, that 
few are hardy enough to brave them, and when they 
do, having paid the price for their possession, no 
sooner is the land brought under cultivation, than 
the original owner is at liberty to reclaim it, and 
having dragged the unfortunate purchaser into a 
court of law where his evidence cannot be received, 
he may re-enter his old possession with impunity, 
for even documentary evidence made in favour of a 
Christian is rejected by these courts of injustice. 

(3) Nor has the stipulation of equality of tax- 
ation been any more regarded than that which 
declared the right of the Christian to hold land. 
One provision of the Tanzimat was, that arbitrary 
taxation of the Christian peasant was to cease. This 
has never been fulfilled, except in a way which the 
petitioners could scarcely have contemplated. 

On this head we have the following observations 
in Mr Calvert's report : — ' The Turkish Government 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 149 

has too long neglected the interests of the two 
classes of the population upon whose well-being the 
prosperity of the country mainly depends, namely, 
the agricultural and mercantile classes. Almost 
every other consideration ought to have been sacri- 
ficed for the promotion of their interests. Like the 
Turkish landed proprietors, the State appears to care 
not how its revenues are raised, provided it receives 
them.' 

****** 

' We have an instance of this in the manner in 
which the direct taxes were assessed upon the Chris- 
tians on the promulgation of the "Tanzimati Hai- 
riye," which was intended to put a stop to the then 
existing systems of exactions. The Rayah popula- 
tion, on being called upon, promptly furnished state- 
ments of the exact amount of the contributions they 
had been arbitrarily subjected to in addition to the 
lawful taxes ; and since it was presumed that they 
had been able to satisfy all the requisitions made 
upon them, the Government, I am told, forthwith 
assessed them with the whole amount, which they 
pay at the present moment.' * 



* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
pp. 8, 9. 



150 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

' As the Mussulman peasantry are not as well 
off as they might be, the distinction between the 
condition of the Christians and that of the Mussul- 
mans in the villages is in some respects only relative. 
One point of difference consists in the fact that the 
irregularities of the tax and tithes collectors, and the 
excesses of the police force, not to speak of the de- 
predations of brigands, are practised to ** larger 
extent and with more barefacedness on the Christian 
than on the Mussulman peasantry. It is, however, 
extremely difficult to define the extent of the differ- 
ence, and quite impossible to prove the facts on 
which the general statement of its existence is 
founded. But I feel persuaded that, without admit- 
ting any special claim of the Christians on our 
sympathy, the tacit submission of the Christians to 
the abuses in question, and to others of a harassing 
character, has conduced to their perpetuation at the 
hands of the notoriously rapacious tax and tithes 
farmers. The Mussulman peasantry are not so 
extensively imposed upon, because the superior 
chance which their complaints have of being listened 
to by a District Government in which the element 
of their co-religionists preponderates, causes them 
to be regarded with greater respect. The Mussul- 
man peasantry, nevertheless, suffer from the same 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 151 

causes as their fellow-labourers on the soil, only to 
a smaller degree. There is, however, a positive 
difference, and a very important one, in the con- 
dition of the Christian peasants in the farms 
(" tchiftliks ") held by Turkish proprietors. They 
are forcibly tied to the spot by means of a perpetual 
and even hereditary debt which their landlord con- 
trives to fasten upon them. This has practically 
reduced many of the peasant families to a state of 
serfdom. As an illustration, I may mention, that 
when a tchiftlik is sold, the bonds of the peasantry 
are transferred with the stock to the new proprietor. 
In Thessaly there are Christians who own farms on 
the same conditions. Upon one occasion, in which 
the landlord, who was a merchant, had become a 
bankrupt, I remember noticing, that amongst the 
assets borne on his balance-sheet there figured the 
aggregate amount of the peasants' debts to him, 
and it formed a rather large item/ * 

These oppressions and exactions, according to the 
testimony of Mr Skene, so far from diminishing, 
have greatly increased of late years. It is sig- 
nificant of the utterly hopeless condition of the 
Turkish Government, that even administrative re- 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
pp. 10, 11. 



152 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

form becomes a fresh engine of evil to the over- 
burdened Christian. It has been the practice of 
late years to send an assistant or kehaya with 
the Pasha — a kind of deputy Pasha, to check and 
report the actions of that officer, with what effect 
Mr Skene will tell us. ' In my humble opinion, 
the experiment of municipal institutions was 
made in a manner not in harmony with the exist- 
ing state of the country. The feudal system 
of the East had degenerated when it produced 
the great barons of Turkey in the first quarter 
of the present century, Ali Tepedeleni, Ali of 
Stolatz, Kara Osman Oglu, Chassan Oglu, Haznadar 
Oglu, and others, equally powerful and independent, 
and it had reduced the body of the people to actual 
servitude. The spirit of industry was crushed by 
the narrow maxims of a military aristocracy. The 
country was on the verge of ruin. A counterpoise 
was sought for the oppression of Pashas of the old 
school. The remedy has outweighed the evil, and 
instead of one tyrant there are now many tyrants, 
each grasping his own advantage, and all inferior to 
the Pasha in qualifications for government. The 
desired control exists, but the local magnates are 
unworthy of the trust. The power of the function- 
aries sent from Constantinople, which is a whole 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 153 

century in advance of the provinces, is paralyzed by 
the corrupt action of the Ayans. A good Pasha is 
hampered ; a bad one not checked. Men of integrity 
and public spirit may come from the capital, but are 
not to be found in the towns of the interior. The 
Pasha of the present day is an improvement on the 
old feudal Satrap; the unchanging Ayan is still a 
man of the same stamp ; and the better is thus con- 
trolled by the worse. Composed of cruel, venal, and 
rapacious accomplices, the Medjlis oppresses the 
people and enriches itself, while Pashas are power- 
less, when willing, to cope with its collusive chi- 
canery. Possessed of superior local information and 
experience, wielding a dangerous influence over the 
lower orders, which fear their iron rule, and well 
versed in all the trickery of Oriental intrigue, they 
rarely fail soon to reduce the most zealous Pasha to 
the condition of a mere instrument in their hands. 
... I have followed the same familiar phases of 
provincial government with unvarying issue in 
Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Roumelia, in Asia Minor and 
Syria, and I have thus been forced into strong con- 
victions on the subject, which I hope to be held 
excused for thus expressing freely/ * 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
pp. 51, 52. 



154 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Mr Abbot, of Monastir, adds his testimony to the 
same effect. ' In giving my humble opinion on this 
subject, I am far from taking the part of the Turks, 
and exonerating the conduct of some of the Turkish 
officials. Abuses, and to a great extent, exist in this 
Province as well as in others, and the evils caused 
by these abuses are of such a nature as to admit of 
remedy. 

' For instance, a Pasha is apparently an honest 
man, but his Kehaya or Intendant is venal, and then 
the inhabitants have to suffer from the rapacity of a 
man whose advice has so much deliberative power 
with the Pasha, who, perhaps indolent and weak, 
allows himself to be influenced by an unprincipled 
man in whom he has entire confidence. 

' Then come next the Beys, who sit in the Medj- 
lises. Natives of the place where they hold their 
office, and with great local interests to protect, they 
connive, for a trifle, at illegal acts, if, by doing so, 
their interests are in any way promoted, and hence 
affix their seals to decisions which have not the 
slightest particle of justice/* 

The same testimony, again, is borne by Mr 
Zohrab as to the hopelessness of expecting any real 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 4. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 155 

amelioration of the condition of the Christians from 
the hands of the officers of the Sultan. Speaking of 
the Christians he says: — 'In the belief that the 
direct administration of the Porte would materially 
ameliorate their position, they were induced, in 
1850, to lend a hearty assistance to Omer Pasha, 
and to their aid must be attributed the rapid success 
of the Turkish arms. Their hopes were disap- 
pointed. That they were benefited by the change 
there can be no doubt, but the extent did not nearly 
come up to their expectation. They saw, with 
delight, the extinction of the Spahi privileges and 
of the corvee, but the imposition of new and heavy 
taxes, the gross peculation of the employes sent from 
Constantinople, and the demands of the army filled 
them with disappointments and dismay ; and, with 
these causes for complaint, their previous servile 
condition was almost forgotten. Their hopes had 
been raised high to be cruelly disappointed ; their 
pecuniary position was aggravated, while their social 
position was but slightly improved.' 

****** 

' Oppression cannot now be carried on as openly 
as formerly, but it must not be supposed that, be- 
cause the Government employes do not generally 
appear as the oppressors, the Christians are well 



156 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

treated and protected. A certain impunity, for 
which the Government must be rendered respons- 
ible, is allowed to the Mussulmans. This impunity, 
while it does not extend to permitting the Chris- 
tians to be treated as they formerly were treated, is 
so far unbearable and unjust, in that it permits the 
Mussulmans to despoil them with heavy exactions. 
False imprisonments are of daily occurrence. A 
Christian has but a small chance of exculpating 
himself when his opponent is a Mussulman. 
****** 

• Such being, generally speaking, the course pur- 
sued by the Government towards the Christians in 
the capital of the province where the Consular 
Agents of the different Powers reside and can exer- 
cise some degree of control, it may easily be guessed 
to what extent the Christians, in the remoter dis- 
tricts, suffer who are governed by Mudirs generally 
fanatical and unacquainted with the law.' * 

So uniform is the course of injustice practised to- 
wards the Christians, that the words of a consul at 
one end of the empire seems but an echo of those 
already spoken by another at the opposite extremity. 
Mr Abbot, consul at the Dardanelles, says : — ' It 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 54. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 157 

might reasonably have been expected that the general 
condition of the country ought, by this time, to have 
so far improved as to have inspired the whole popu- 
lation with the certain conviction that any just claim, 
even from the humblest individual, would meet with 
a fair investigation ; that the Porte would have 
devised such checks over its functionaries as to pre- 
vent the possibility of the powers confided to them 
being abused, and would have exercised the utmost 
vigilance over their conduct. Such, unfortunately, 
is not the case. Too much power is confided to the 
chief local authorities ; the laws and regulations are 
framed so carelessly — their construction is so defective 
(no provision being made for securing adhesion to 
them) — that it is obvious they are the work of per- 
sons inexperienced in the art of legislation. The 
consequence is, that with a host of officials who 
suffer no opportunity to escape them of abusing 
their power whenever they can derive any substan- 
tial advantage therefrom, the laws are either eluded 
or converted into instruments of oppression. 
****** 
' I trace, as one of the principal causes which 
renders the laws, framed in a most laudable spirit, 
perfectly inoperative, the fact of the Government 
trusting the welfare of the province to the sole good- 



158 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

will of the Governors, believing that they will carry 
out implicitly its instructions, without requiring proof 
of their being fulfilled. Thus, for instance, in the 
Porte's Proclamation of the 2nd of March, 1846, the 
Governors and other authorities are expressly for- 
bidden to receive bribes, to impose " corvees " with- 
out payment, &c. ; but I observe that the only check 
attempted to be imposed is, strange to say, confided 
to the Governors themselves, who are commanded to 
report any person infringing this order. The Porte 
appears to have forgotten that the Governor himself 
might be the first person to set this order at defiance ; 
so that it is rendered nugatory to all intents and 
purposes/ * 

Amongst other evils which press exclusively upon 
the Christians, Major Cox, writing from Bucharest, 
but speaking of the state of the whole province of 
Bulgaria, says : — ' The Christians are exposed to the 
necessity of entertaining strangers, and the others 
are not. 

'The Christians are the subjects of "hanghariyeh" 
or forced labour, and the others are not. 

'The Christians are frequently obliged to give 

* Beport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 76. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 159 

their labour to the Mussulmans of the village at a 
low rate of wages/ * 

The oppressive way in which the Government 
exacts the tithe of all agricultural produce, is made 
to press most injuriously upon the Christians. 

1 The crops, after being cut, are sometimes two 
months on the ground before the tithe-farmer comes, 
and until then the people dare not remove them ; 
their value is of course much diminished by the 
ravages of the animals and of the weather. If this 
tithe-tax could be assessed it would be a great boon, 
and the whole of the taxes collected in money after 
the harvest. 

1 It is stated that in many instances the cost to 
the villagers of entertaining the collectors of the 
" iltizam " has nearly doubled that tax.' f 

But I will not fatigue the reader by travelling 
through this wearying record of oppression. Hold- 
ing his life, the honour of his family, and his property 
at the mercy of his Mussulman neighbour, who hates 
him on account of his religion, and envies the results 
of his industry ; weighed down by Government tax- 
ation, and oppressed beyond even that by the rapacity 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 58. 

fjbid. p. 60. 



160 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

of the farmers of taxes ; without help from the tri- 
bunals, where his evidence cannot be heard ; mocked 
by promises of protection by the Sultan which have 
never been fulfilled — the lot of the Christian peasant, 
the condition of those who numerically are more than 
three-fourths of the people of European Turkey, and a 
very large proportion of the population of Asia Minor 
and Syria, is one of despair. He sees around him the 
bitter tokens of increasing wrong. His hard and 
cruel bondage has not sufficed to extinguish the love 
of home and the desire for children, and a blessing 
has gone with him ; so that whilst his stern task- 
masters are diminishing, he sees his own race increas- 
ing, and is doomed to feel the intolerable sufferings 
which are instigated by the jealousy excited in the 
breast of the Mussulmans by the impression, which 
is gaining force every day, that they are retrograding 
to the advantage of the Christian. Indeed — ' This 
feeling has acquired such influence in the subordin- 
ate Medjlises, that when any case of oppression takes 
place on the part of the populace, courts are disposed 
to assist in it.* * 

Shut out as the subject race is from the acquisi- 
tion of land, their attention has been turned chiefly 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 36. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 161 

to trade, and almost the whole of this throughout 
Turkey has passed into their hands, and as a conse- 
quence we read, in the report of another consul, 
that — ' The progress of the Christians has reached a 
degree which is becoming dangerous to them : the 
Mussulmans are jealous of their prosperity in trade.' * 
(4) Another concession, in favour of the Chris- 
tians of Turkey, which the Western Powers of 
Europe required from the Sultan was, that the 
armies of that country should be recruited alike 
from the Mussulman and non-Mussulman portions 
of the population. It was felt that so long as the 
Christians were forbidden to be armed, whilst the 
rest of the subjects of Turkey were allowed the use 
of arms, and whilst the soldiery of the empire was 
exclusively drawn from one race, those classes of the 
people which were excluded from the army and not 
allowed to be armed were exposed to a certain dis- 
advantage, and that their defenceless condition 
invited attack. Both in the Hatt-i-Sherif of 1839, 
and again in the Hatt-i-Humaioun of 1856, it was 
promised that this distinction should be abolished, 
and that the army should be drawn from the popula- 
tion of Turkey without distinction of creed. 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 50. 

11 



162 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

It may be well to cite the express words of the 
Hatt-i-Humai'oun of 1856. In the eighth clause of 
this document the Sultan declared that from hence- 
forth ' All the subjects of my empire, without distinc- 
tion, shall be received into the military and civil 
schools of the State.' In the fifteenth clause he pro- 
mised that ' there shall be published, with as little 
delay as possible, a law with full provisions as to the 
manner of admission into, and of the duties of my 
Christian and other non-Mussulman subjects while 
in, the army/ It was promised, and here the 
matter has rested. No Christian is allowed to 
bear arms ; the army is exclusively Mussulman. 
But not only is this pledge given to the Western 
Powers deliberately violated, the pledge extorted, 
though unfulfilled, has been turned into a fresh 
engine of oppression. Christians are not only 
excluded — they are subject to an oppressive tax 
on the ground that they are so excluded. 

The tenth of Sir Henry Bulwer's questions is as 

follows: — '10. Would the Christian population like 

to enter the military service instead of paying the 

tax which procures them exemption ; and which 

would they gain most by — serving in the army, or 

paying the said tax ? ' * 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 3. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 163 

To this Mr Abbot, of Monastir, replies : — ' Chris- 
tians would prefer entering the army instead of 
paying the exemption tax, provided they were 
formed into separate regiments, and were held out 
the prospect of advancing as much as Mussulmans 
would in similar positions. If this were the case, 
they would gain most by serving in the army/ * 

Mr Finn, of Jerusalem, answers this question in 
these words : — ' Excepting in Jerusalem, where they 
are too much priest-ridden, the Christians do wish 
to serve personally in the army instead of paying 
the substitution tax, and consider that they and 
their people would gain by it in consideration. I 
am told that, in several parts of Syria, the youthful 
Christian population have petitioned for the privilege 
of serving personally in the army, even without 
requiring to be placed in separate companies or 
regiments.' f 

Again, Mr J. E. Blunt, of Pristina : — ' It is the 
impression of the Undersigned that the Christians, 
the peasantry, which forms the bulk of their popula- 
tion, would prefer to enter the military service than 
pay the commutation-tax. . . . The Christians 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 5. 

t Ibid. p. 28, 



164 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

would gain more by serving in the army than by 
paying the tax/ * 

Mr Moore, consul at Beyrout, says : — f I think 
they would prefer entering the army to paying the 
tax, if there could be enrolled purely Christian 
regiments, officered by Christians ; but they much 
prefer paying the tax to serving in the army with 
the condition of being drafted into Turkish regiments 
with Turkish officers. They would gain most, I 
conceive, by entering the army under the former 
arrangement than by paying the tax/ t How the 
clauses of the Hatt-i-Humai'oun of 1856 have been 
fulfilled we may learn from the latest blue book on 
Turkey. Sir Henry Elliot, writing on June 8th of 
the present year to Lord Derby, says, ' The necessity 
of putting an end to the distinction which has been 
maintained between the two religions has long been 
admitted in principle, and while one clause of the 
Hatt-i-Humaioun of 1856, drawn up under the 
advice of the Western Powers, stated that Christians 
should be admitted to the military schools, another 
declared that measures should be immediately con- 
certed for admitting them into the army,' and he 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 36. 

t Ibid. p. 71. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 165 

adds the significant comment — ' These tivo clauses 
have hitherto remained a dead letter.' * 

A difference of opinion exists as to whether the 
Christians of Turkey, on the whole, would or would 
not be better off by paying the heavy exemption-tax, 
or by serving in the army ; but no difference of 
opinion is possible as to the fraud practised upon the 
"Western Powers by the non-fulfilment of the pro- 
mise made by the Porte. It is pleaded by some of 
the consuls that, under the present condition of the 
Christians, and in face of the injustice practised 
towards them, it would be dangerous for the Sultan 
to put arms into their hands. But this is only an 
additional reason why the contracting Powers should 
insist upon this stipulation being faithfully carried 
out. Compel the Government of Turkey to fulfil its 
obligation in this respect, and that Government will 
be compelled, as a necessary antecedent, to amelior- 
ate the condition of the Christians. At present the 
Christians are not armed, because they are so unjustly 
used, that it would be dangerous to place arms in 
their hands. By insisting upon this stipulation 
being fulfilled, we insist then upon their being fairly 
treated. 

* Correspondence respecting the Affairs of Turkey, No. 
3, 1876, p. 267. 



166 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

It is absurd to suppose that a nation of more 
than twenty- four millions of persons should re- 
quire the constant wet-nursing of England to 
carry them safely through their second infancy. 
Twenty-four millions of free men might defend 
themselves against the world in arms. The defens- 
ive strength of such a nation is far greater than the 
offensive power of Russia. It is because the strength 
of the Mussulman is exhausted in watching against 
and in oppressing the non-Mussulman portion of the 
empire that there exists any necessity of aid from 
England. If we compel Turkey to do justice to all 
her subjects, we shall obviate the necessity for Eng- 
lish blood being wasted and English treasure con- 
sumed in defence of such a Power. Tell Turkey 
that she must henceforth rely upon her own subjects, 
and she will be forced to adopt a generous policy 
towards them. "We are bearing at this moment the 
additional weight of seventy millions to our National 
Debt : we have to deplore the death of many thou- 
sands of Englishmen in the Crimean campaign : we 
maintain, at a great expense, a large Mediterranean 
fleet to be ready to defend Turkey against all assail- 
ants — only because the Sultan will not do justice to 
his Christian subjects. Had he done so, there would 
have been no Russian War ; and had the Czar been 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 167 

ever so ambitious, ever so warlike, Turkey, but for this 
standing wrong against the great bulk of her people, 
might, without aid from England, France, and Italy, 
have resisted all the assaults of the legions of the 
Northern autocrat. Whilst we are willing to pay 
for the injustice of Turkey towards her own subjects, 
we encourage her to persist in that injustice. 

(5) But there is another subject about which Sir 
Henry Bulwer professes incredulity, and on which 
he requires information, and that is the enforced 
conversions from Christianity — the compulsory 
adoption of the Mahomedan creed, in order to escape 
persecution and death. Nothing can show either 
the utter ignorance of Sir Henry Bulwer as to the 
state of Turkey or the unfairness of his questions 
than that he should ask for information on the sub- 
ject. He knew at the time of sending out the list 
of questions that in the massacres of the Lebanon 
and Damascus whole villages, hundreds of men, 
women, and children, had been compelled to adopt 
the Mahomedan faith in order to escape death in its 
most appalling forms. Sir Henry Bulwer knew, on 
the evidence of Lord Dufferin and of Mr Cyril 
Graham, that thousands of those who then perished 
died martyrs for Christianity. That the alternative 
of death, or accepting the Mahomedan creed, was 



168 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

presented not only to men, but to women, and 
even to girls of tender age, and that thousands 
deliberately preferred the cruellest martyrdoms to 
abandoning their religion. When we talk of the 
imperfect faith of our brethren in the East — when 
we are told of their low morality, be this remember- 
ed to their everlasting honour, that in the middle of 
the nineteenth century between five and six thou- 
sand, at the least, on that occasion, accepted death 
rather than deny their belief in Christ ! 

(6) But a survey of the condition of the Chris- 
tians in Turkey would be incomplete if I were to 
pass over all consideration of their moral state. The 
advocates of the Government of that country — the 
apologists for the rule of the Sultan-— tell us that the 
Christians — the large mass of the people of Turkey 
— have 'exaggerated notions of nationality and 
political freedom ; ' * that they have ' no independ- 
ence of character ;*f that they are 'ignorant;' 
' miserly at home, abject without support, and in- 
solent where unduly protected ; ' J that they are 
' lying, intriguing ; ' § and that their clergy and 



* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Tur- 
key, p. 8. 

t Ibid. p. 20. X Ibid. p. 49. § Ibid. p. 64. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 169 

municipal officers are ' rapacious/ and that the 
whole race is ' degraded and pusillanimous.' * 

I have no doubt but that much of this is true. 
It is the curse of slavery that it brings forth in 
men the fruits of slavery; and when we see such 
fruit, we are sure what the root must be. I know 
no heavier accusation against the Government of 
Turkey than that it makes men abject and lying, 
pusillanimous and miserly ; that it destroys inde- 
pendence of character, and that it degrades the whole 
man. The peasant, whose life and the lives of his 
children are at the mercy of his neighbours, cringes 
and submits to degrading acts until he acquires the 
habit of cringing. The man whose property may 
be seized at any moment by the meanest village 
official will, I am afraid, pretty generally ' intrigue ' 
and ' lie ' to preserve his hard-earned and dearly- 
prized possessions. This is the aspect which human 
nature invariably presents. But is this any excuse 
for slavery and oppression ? Surely it is but its 
severest reproach. If the Christians of Turkey were 
invariably honest, munificent, manly — if, in short, 
they had all the virtues of free men, then I for one 
should be content that they should abide under the 

* Mr Layarcl, in House of Commons, May 29, 1863. . 



170 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

rule of the Sultan. The assertion that these virtues 

are not to be found — at least, in profusion — but that 

the subject races are degraded by vices of this kind, 

is the strongest condemnation which can be uttered 

against that system of government by which they 

are weighed down and debased. Slaves are not 

freemen, neither have they the virtues of freedom. 

This is why slavery is so bitter a wrong, not that 

it diminishes the pleasures of the senses, but that it 

destroys the dignity of manhood ; and because I 

long for the day when our brethren of the East may 

be distinguished for independence of character — 

when they may be truthful, honest, courageous — in 

a word, free men, I desire they may be free. They 

cannot possess these qualities of the heart and soul 

so long as they are trampled under-foot by their 

present masters. It is because you cannot graft 

these virtues upon the stock of abject subjection, 

that we ought to strive for their deliverance from 

their present hard bondage. 

1 That man's half -virtue Jove takes quite away, 
That once is sun-burnt with the servile day.' * 

It is because you cannot gather grapes from thorns, 

nor figs from thistles, that the thorns and the 

thistles should no longer be permitted to hinder 

t * Chapman : Odyssey xvii. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 171 

the growth of those fruits which they cannot them- 
selves produce. 

But we overlook much of the evils of slavery 
when we only consider its effects upon the bodies 
and souls of the enslaved race. It spreads beyond 
these : it debases and corrupts the master often- 
times more than the slave. This — according to the 
testimony of all travellers, of all who know any- 
thing of the condition of Turkey — is the result of 
slavery in that country. The subject races are 
'degraded and pusillanimous/ so much so indeed 
that, in many places, they have lost heart, and have 
become meekly submissive to injustice ; * but the 
ruling caste — the masters of these slaves — have sunk 
to lower depths than these, so that, degraded as the 
Christians are, and degraded because oppressed, yet 
in them alone lies the hope that the people of the 
countries stretching from the Black Sea to Aden 
will ever again lift up their heads and be numbered 
amongst the nations. 

On this matter I prefer to pursue the same course 
which I have already followed, and to allow others 
to speak rather than, by generalizing their testi- 
mony, to weaken its force. 

•Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 65. 



172 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

In Mr Senior's diary this conversation is re- 
corded :— ' Soon after I left C. D., E. F. called 
on us. 

I ' " "What impression," he said, " does the East 
produce on you ? " 

' " The East," I said, " is not quite new to me, 
as I have passed some months in Egypt." 

' " Egypt," he answered, " is not a fair specimen. 
The government of Egypt is as superior to the 
Mahomedan government as the docile laborious 
Eellah is to the brutal Turk." 

' " I have had time," I said, " only to look at the 
exterior. I see a capital, the streets of which are 
impassable to wheels, and scarcely to be traversed on 
foot ; I see a country without a road ; I see a palace 
of the Sultan's on every promontory of the Bosporus ; 
I see vast tracts of unoccupied land, and more dogs 
than human beings ; these appearances are not 
favourable to the government or to the people." 

' " If you have the misfortune," he answered, 
" as I have had, to live among Turks for between 
two and three years, your opinions will be still 
less favourable. In government and in religion 
Turkey is a detritus. All that gave her strength, 
all that gave her consistency, has gone, what remains 
is crumbling into powder. The worst parts of her 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 173 

detestable religion, hatred of improvement, and 
hatred of the unbeliever; the worst parts of her de- 
testable government, violence, extortion, treachery, 
and fraud, are all that she has retained. Never was 
there a country that more required to be conquered. 
Our support merely delays her submission to that 
violent remedy." ' * 

Again, in the same volume : — ' The Turks of 
Europe are not producers ; they are a parasitical 
population, which lives only by plundering the 
Christians. Let this be made impossible, or even 
difficult, and they will emigrate or die out. The 
Turkish power in Bulgaria and Roumelia might 
thus fall of itself without conquest, as it has already 
done virtually in Servia, and in the Principalities/ f 

And a little further on :— ' " Turkey," said W., 
•* exists for two purposes. First, to act as a dog in the 
manger, and to prevent any Christian power from 
possessing a country which she herself in her present 
state is unable to govern or to protect. And, 
secondly, for the benefit of some fifty or sixty bankers 
and usurers, and some thirty or forty pashas, who 
make fortunes out of its spoils. It is the land of jobs. 
All these palaces, all these terraced gardens, are the 
fruit of jobs, when they are not the fruit of some- 

* Senior, pp. 27, 2S. f Ibid. p. 32. 



174 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

thing worse. All the most respectable statesmen 
are jobbers. Heschid Pasha during his different 
vizierships sold to himself at low prices large tracts 
of public land. He built a palace at Balti Liman, 
and sold it for £200,000 to the Sultan, who made 
a present of it to his daughter married to Keschid's 
son. * 

Another conversation is reported in these words : 
— 'We talked of the degeneracy of the Turks. "How 
do you account," I asked, " for the strange fact, if it 
be a fact, that in proportion as they have improved 
their institutions, in proportion as life and property 
have been more secure, their wealth and their 
numbers have diminished ? How comes it that the 
improvement which gives prosperity to every other 
nation ruins them ? " ' 

' " It is a fact," said Y., " that while their institu- 
tions have improved, their wealth and population 
have diminished. Many causes have contributed to 
this deterioration. The first and great one is, that 
they are not producers. They have neither diligence, 
intelligence, nor forethought. No Turk is an im- 
proving landlord, or even a repairing landlord. 
When he has money, he spends it on objects of 
immediate gratification. His most permanent in- 
. * Senior, p. 84. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 175 

vestment is a timber palace, to last about as long as 
its builder. His only professions are shop-keeping 
and service. He cannot engage in any foreign 
commerce, as he speaks no language but his own. 
No one ever heard of a Turkish house of business, or 
of a Turkish banker, or merchant, or manufacturer. 
If he has lands or houses, he lives on their rent ; if 
he has money, he spends it, or employs it in stocking 
a shop, in which he can smoke and gossip all day 
long. The only considerable enterprise in which he 
ever engages is the farming some branch of the 
public revenue." ' * 

But, not to multiply extracts, to testify to a fact 
which is illustrated in almost every page of this valu- 
able volume, I will only add the following : — ' " The 
distinguishing characteristic of the real Asiatic is, 
intellectual sterility and unfitness for change. One 
nation, to save itself trouble, declares that its laws 
shall be immutable. Another institutes caste, and 
makes all further improvement impossible. Another 
protects itself against new ideas, by refusing all 
intercourse with foreigners. An Asiatic had rather 
copy than try to invent, rather acquiesce than dis- 
cuss, rather attribute events to destiny than to 
causes that can be inquired into and explained. 

* Senior, pp. 210, 211. 



176 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

His only diplomacy is war ; his only internal 
means of government are poison, the stick, and the 
bowstring. 

'"In the Turk these peculiarities are exaggerated. 
Whatever be his purpose, he uses the means which 
require the least thought. If he has to create a 
local government, he simply hands over to the Pasha 
all the powers of the Sultan. If he wants money, he 
takes it wherever he can find it ; and if he cannot 
get it by force, he puts up to auction power, justice, 
the prosperity, and indeed the subsistence, of his 
subjects. He averts the dangers of a disputed 
succession by killing all the nephews of the Sultan, 
or preventing any from coming into existence. He 
relies on the rain for washing his streets, on the dogs 
for keeping them free from offal, on the sun for 
making passable the tracks which he calls roads, and 
on the climate for enabling him to live in his timber 
house without repairing it. For everything else he 
relies on Allah, and entreats God to do for him what 
he is too torpid to do for himself. His fatalism is, 
in fact, indolence in its most exaggerated form. 
It is an escape, not only from exertion, but from 
deliberation. 

' " Our attempts to improve the Turks put me in 
mind of the old story of the people who tried to wash 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 177 

the negro white. He never was, or will be, or can 
be anything but a barbarian." ' * 

Lord Hobart and Mr Forster, in their report on 
the state of Turkish finance, speak of Turkey as pos- 
sessing — ' An army scarcely sufficient to ensure the 
defence of the frontier from marauding tribes, and 
powerless in the face of a fanatical outbreak ; with a 
police, which in many parts of the empire casts not 
even a shadow of restraint upon the thriving trading 
of brigandage, and with production and commerce 
paralyzed for want of roads/ f 

But, on this subject, it is possible to cite Sir 
Henry Bulwer himself as a witness, the more valu- 
able, because his Turkish predilections are sufficiently 
notorious not to permit of our ^believing that he 
would exaggerate the evils of this empire of anarchy. 
Speaking of Syria, he says : — ' To expect the same 
state of things in Syria that exists in a well-, or even 
ill-, governed province in Europe, is out of the ques- 
tion. The warlike and more than half-barbarous 
mountaineers are in one quarter habituated to a state 
of military independence. In another, the wild 
Arabs of the Desert have through all times defied 

* Senior, pp. 227, 228. 

t Eeport on the Financial Condition of Turkey, Dec. 
1861, p. 32. 

12 



178 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

civilization, and resorted to plunder wherever there 
was not a superior force to overawe their temerity, 
or punish their misdeeds. In the plains there exists 
a peasantry thrifty and industrious, but for ages 
oppressed and subdued. How can all these, by the 
wand of an enchanter, be at once called into a homo- 
geneous class of cultivators, artizans, shopkeepers, 
and merchants obedient to the law, and acknowledg- 
ing that equality before it which distinguishes the 
citizens of our modern communities? It appears 
that, for some time at least, there is only a choice 
between the two extremes of disorder generated by 
licence, and submission, the consequence of power, 
which will rarely be unaccompanied by oppression. 
At the present time, however, these two extremes 
appear unhappily associated. Wherever the Turk is 
sufficiently predominant to be implicitly obeyed, 
laziness, corruption, extravagance, and penury mark 
his rule ; and wherever he is too feeble to exert more 
than a doubtful and nominal authority, the system 
of government which prevails is that of the Arab 
robber and the lawless Highland chieftain.' * 

And yet, according to the testimony of Mr Brant, 
quoted at page 50, it is evident that the task of 

* Papers on Administrative and Financial Reform in 
Turkey, 1858—1861, pp. 32, 33. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 179 

reducing Syria to order is only hopeless, because it is 
under the government of Turks. 

In answer to Sir Henry Bulwer's question to the 
consuls — ' What measures do you think could best 
be taken to improve generally the condition of the 
country ? ' * 

Mr Charles Blunt, of Smyrna, replies : — ' Pre- 
viously to suggesting any measures, it is most un- 
doubtedly, under existing circumstances, a question 
of very serious import whether, by attempting a re- 
organization, and consequently disturbing the pre- 
sent state of things, any beneficial results could be 
obtained. My foregoing replies have shown that, 
when human life and property were secure, the state 
of the Christian races began to improve simultane- 
ously, it may be said, with agriculture and commerce. 
The more than richness of the soil, and well-known 
superior intelligence of the Christian over the Ma- 
hometan races, mainly contributed to that improve- 
ment ; therefore the now daily -increasing means of 
instruction, so largely availed of by the Christians, 
but unheeded by the Turks ; the facility of communi- 
cation with more civilized nations by steam, and the 
introduction of railways, will probably do more for 

* Keport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 4. 



180 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

the general good of the country, even under the 
present faulty system, than the introduction of new 
measures which the Turks cannot or will not under- 
stand, and I may add, have neither the desire nor 
capacity for carrying out. 

' In making the latter remarks, however strong 
they may appear, I shall venture to add, for my justi- 
fication, that, with a people with whom the idea of 
patriotism is wanting ; people in whose characters 
apathy and procrastination are predominant ; people 
whose ideas are, in the extreme sense of the words, 
selfish and sensual ; people whose existing social and 
moral evils add to the daily-increasing degradation 
of the country ; with such sorry elements to work 
with, the introduction of new measures might pro- 
bably tend to disturb the present steadily-progressing 
intelligence and prosperity of the country.' * 

Nor is there any hope of improvement in the way 
of education : — ■ The ignorance of the Mussulmans 
on all educational matters is notorious : indeed, they 
delude themselves with the idea that they are so in- 
finitely superior to the conquered races that it would 
be derogatory in them to improve their minds in the 
same way as the Christians do. The Rayahs have 

* Keport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 34 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 181 

begun of late years to understand the immense im- 
portance of education, and the great advantages to 
be derived from it, arid they demonstrate a most 
praiseworthy desire for acquiring knowledge and for 
having their children properly educated. 

' The utmost that a Turk will attempt is to follow 
the old beaten track of his ancestors, in merely 
learning to read the Koran, and to write sufficiently 
well to be able to compose a letter with tolerable 
correctness and elegance. The Turkish Khoja, or 
schoolmaster, is totally ignorant of geography, gen- 
eral history, natural science, and modern languages ; 
indeed, the Turks deem such knowledge to be quite 
useless.' * 

No wonder that every one who has seen the 
country, has lived in Turkish society, and is able to 
observe, is in despair of preserving this empire as at 
present constituted : — ' "As for the integrity of 
Turkey," said W., "as a permanent arrangement, 
it is impossible. We may dose her with Hatt-i- 
Huma'iouns, but she is past physic, 'nullum reme- 
dium agit in cadaver.' She is worse than a corpse ; 
she is a corpse in a state of decomposition." ' f 

'This country is a pourriture. To civilize the 

* Eeport of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Turkey, 
p. 87. f Senior, p. 86. 



182 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Mussulman is impossible. All that we can do is to 
try to raise the Christian. He has borne on his 
shoulders far too long this cadavre.' * 

If there exists any gleam of hope, however faint, 
for this Turkish race, it is in the overthrow of the 
Government of the country ; for ignorant, and inert, 
and sensual as the whole people may be, the govern- 
ing body, the officials throughout the empire, are 
more depraved even than the Mussulmans whom 
they govern, and under the firm and equitable rule 
of a Christian people it might even be possible to 
save the poorer classes amongst the Turks from that 
utter extinction which surely awaits them if the 
Government of the Sultan continue much longer : — 
' Mr Blunt was for twenty years consul at Salonica. 
I asked him which population he preferred, the 
Salonicans or the Smyrniotes. 

• "There is not much," he said, "to choose be- 
tween them. The poorer, the humbler the Turk is, 
the better he is ; as he mixes with the world, and as he 
gets money and power, he deteriorates. In the low- 
est class I have sometimes found truth, honesty, and 
gratitude ; in the middle classes, seldom ; in the 
highest, never. Even the lowest classes are changed 
for the worse. Five and twenty years ago you could 

* Senior, p. 147. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 183 

trust a bag of money to a porter for short distances, 
to a courier for long ones ; it was the practice. No 
one ventures to do so now. The race, however, is 
rapidly dying out." ' * 

And, again : — ' "The Turk of the 15th century/' 
answered Y., " was a different person from the Turk 
of the 19th. 

' " He was athletic and vigorous, he lived in 
exercise and in the open air. He was not the se- 
dentary smoking sensualist that he is now : but I 
will not deny that even the degenerate Turk has 
some virtues. He is sober. All classes are sober in 
eating, the great majority are sober in drinking. 
He is sober in conduct, he is not easily ruffled or 
easily excited. He is calm in both good and bad 
fortune. He is eminently hospitable and charitable. 
Unhappily his virtues wither under the rays of pros- 
perity. The poor Turk is honest and humane, the 
Turkish private soldier is brave. The rich Turk is 
always an oppressor." ' f 

The testimony of Lord Carlisle is to much the 
same effect : — ( Among the lower orders of the people 
there is considerable simplicity and loyalty of cha- 
racter, and a fair disposition to be obliging and 
friendly. Among those who emerge from the mass, 
* Senior, pp. 189, 190. f Ibid. p. 226. 



184 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

and have the opportunities of helping themselves to 
the good things of the world, the exceptions from 
thorough-paced corruption and extortion are most 
rare ; and in the whole conduct of public business 
and routine of official life, under much apparent 
courtesy and undeviating good- breeding, a spirit of 
servility, detraction, and vindictiveness appears con- 
stantly at work. The bulk of the people is incredibly 
uninformed and ignorant.' * 

With one other extract from another traveller I 
quit this branch of my subject: — 'To do any good 
in this country, or to see it done, a man ought to live 
to a patriarchal age, and to see the Turks dispossessed 
of the sovereignty forthwith. There is a malediction 
of heaven and a self-destructiveness on their whole 
system. I know them well — I have now lived many 
years among them ; there are admirable qualities in 
the poor Turks, but their Government is a compound 
of ignorance, blundering, vice — vice of the most 
atrocious kind — and weakness and rottenness. And 
whatever becomes a part of Government, or in any 
way connected with it, by the fact becomes corrupt. 
Take the honestest Turk you can find, and put him 
in office and power, and then tell me three months 
afterwards what he is ! He must conform to the 

* Diary in Turkish Waters, p. 182. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 185 

general system, or cease to be in office. One little 
wheel, however subordinate it may be, would derange 
the whole machine if its teeth did not fit.' * 

The only hope, however, for this country rests in 
the Christian population. The superiority of the 
Rayah or Christian subjects of the Porte to the 
Mussulmans is so notorious, that no traveller in 
Turkey can pass it by unnoticed. They are at 
present rising elastic under the hand of the 
oppressor, so that the nature of the vices, with 
which they are justly charged, are, because clearly 
the result of servitude, grounds of hope and reason- 
able expectation that in their hands and under their 
government these fertile countries of Europe and Asia 
may again blossom as the rose and be studded by 
smiling villages. 

Again to make use of Mr Senior's diary : — 
'Monday, November lQth. — I showed Y. the journal 
which I have been keeping here. 

* " All that you have reported of me/' he said, 
" is correct. And I think that you have well col- 
lected the opinions that prevail in Smyrna respecting 
the Turks. But I should like to see more about the 
Greeks. They are destined to play — indeed they 

* Turkey and its Destiny, by Charles McFarlane. Vol. 
II. pp. 84, 85. 



186 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

play now — a more important part than the Turks. 
I admit that they have great faults ; that they are 
false, intriguing, and servile ; that they have, in 
short, many of the bad qualities which might be 
expected from four hundred years of oppression. 
The wonder is, that they are not worse. We find 
that even Englishmen are worse for twenty or thirty 
years of residence among us. But their diligence, 
their public spirit, their ambition, their thirst for 
knowledge, and their sagacity, are beyond all 
praise.-" ' * 

Again : — ' The Turks are idle and improvident. 
The Greek labourers are not good, one of them does 
not do half the work of an Englishman ; but he does 
three times the work of a Turk, and I pay him three 
times the wages.'f 

Mr J. E. Blunt, British consul at Pristina, 
though, in his report, he points out that ' the Chris- 
tian peasant labours under certain disadvantages 
from which the Turks, in comparison, suffer little or 
not at all,' yet tells us that ' A Christian village is in 
general better formed and cleaner, its yards more 
stocked, and its inhabitants better clothed, than the 
Turkish.' + 

* Senior, pp. 223, 224. f Ibid. p. 164. 

% Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in Tur- 
key, p. 35. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 187 

But, on this point, we hardly require the opinions 
of consuls, nor even the sad pictures which travel- 
lers give us of the contrast between the decaying 
Turkish village, or, more frequently, the clump of 
C}*presses and the deserted cemetery, which alone 
show where a Turkish village has been, and the 
Christian hamlet embosomed in trees and tracked 
from afar by the sounds of joyous infancy. The one 
fact that, in every province of Turkey, the popula- 
tion is rapidly declining — that scarcely a town in 
the empire can be pointed out, in which whole quar- 
ters have not totally disappeared within the last few 
years, • or have left nothing behind them but ruined 
mosques, minarets, and baths,' and that everywhere, 
whilst the Turks are on the decrease, Greeks, Arme- 
nians, and Jews are increasing in numbers,* is more 
significant than all reasoning or the partial accounts 
of travellers. To use again the words of Lord Car- 
lisle : — ' On the continent, in the islands, it is the 
Greek peasant who works and thrives; the Turk 
reclines, smokes his pipe, and decays. The Greek 
village increases its population, and teems with chil- 
dren ; in the Turkish village you find roofless walls 
and crumbling mosques.' f 

* Turkey and its Destiny, by Charles McFarlane. Vol. 
II. p. 63. 

f Diary in Turkish Waters, p. 183. 



188 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

So that no fate can be so afflictive, no injury to 
this country so great, as that which we aim at, ' the 
maintenance of the integrity of Turkey ; ' for if we 
repress the growth of the Christian races — if, in the 
words of Mr Senior, ' You leave the Turk to him- 
self, this country, if it does not become another 
Greece, " by shaking off the Turkish yoke," will be- 
come another Morocco.' * 

In this consists the hopelessness of expecting 
any improvement, so long as the Government of the 
Sultan continues. The evil of the present state of 
things arises not so much from Turkish character as 
from Turkish rule. This fact is sometimes contested 
by those who endeavour to defend the Government 
of that country at the expense of the people. Ac- 
cording to their view of the case, it is the people of 
Turkey as contradistinguished from the Government 
who are the source of all the misrule, all the cor- 
ruption, all the evil which have destroyed the 
national life ; it is the people alone, according to 
some, who are responsible for ' the horrid massacres 
and outrages ' by which the Turks have attempted 
to reduce the Christian population. The assertion, 
however, that these deplorable events have their 
origin in the spontaneous fanaticism of the people 

* Senior, pp. 208, 209. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 189 

is not true. Almost every massacre which has 
shocked Europe has been the deliberate work of the 
Sultan, and has not arisen from the people of Turkey. 
The people have, indeed, been incited to act, and 
have been but too ready to obey the suggestions or 
directions of the Court of Constantinople ; but the 
evidence is too complete on this matter to leave us 
in any doubt about the quarter from whence the 
instigation came. From the massacre of Scopia,* 
down to that of Damascus, f we have invariably seen 
fanatical populaces acting under the direction of 
their pashas, and these, again, only obeying the 
wishes of the Sultan and his advisers. There can 
be no doubt of the fact. It is this circumstance, 
that these were all Government massacres, ordered 
for the political object of keeping down the increase 
of the Christian population, which has led those 
who are best acquainted with Turkish politics to 
predict that there will be no more massacres on a 
large scale, until the Ministers of the Porte shall 
have recovered from the alarm felt throughout all 
the departments of State in Turkey, lest the recent 
French occupation of Syria should be permanent. 

* Turkey and its Destiny, by Charles McFarlane. Vol. 
I. pp. 202—228. 

t See the Blue Books on the Syrian Massacres, passim. 



190 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

One consul expressly says that 'the popular 
fanaticism never breaks out until the fanatical tend- 
ency of the Governor is visible.' * But even then 
it does not break out of itself. It watches and 
waits for the orders of the central Government, as 
it did in Bulgaria. Let us follow for a moment the 
course of one of these massacres, one in which the 
evidence is complete — its beginning, its course, and 
conclusion. In the Syrian massacre the arms of the 
Christians were first taken away by the Lieutenant 
of the Sultan, and given to the Druse chieftains. 
The Christians were next led to abandon their strong 
positions, and to rely upon the protection of the 
Turkish troops. When in a safe place, the approach 
to their retreat was thrown open by the Turkish 
commander to the Druses ; and the Turkish soldiers, 
pretending to aim at the assailants of the Chris- 
tians, poured in their whole fire upon the unarmed 
peasants, men, women, and children. For his share 
in these deeds, Kurschid Pasha was sent to Rhodes, 
where he soon became 'the fountain of all honour 
and advancement ' f in that island. Tahir Pasha, 

* Report of Consuls on Condition of Christians in 
Turkey, p. 28. 

t Mr Gregory's Speech in the House of Commons, May 
29, 1863. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 191 

who presided at the massacre, was allowed to retire 
to Beyrout,* whilst the guilty agent in the Jeddah 
massacre, Namik Pasha, was first rewarded with the 
office of Minister at War, and then appointed Pasha 
of Bagdad. We seem in this to be reading the 
history of the Bulgarian atrocities. Turkish rule is 
invariable. 

In considerations of general policy, in those 
deeper matters which involve the life of a nation, too 
great stress is oftentimes laid upon mere material 
interests. All is not to be settled by appeals to 

* ' When I was in Syria in the spring of 1861, 1 inquired 
what had become of Tahir Pasha, -whom I had known at 
Ears. I was told that he had been adjudged worthy of 
death by the almost unanimous verdict of the European 
commission, for having presided over and directed the whole- 
sale massacres of Christian villages of unresisting and 
disarmed men, women, and children. This man had 
received an English education, having been for six years 
at the Woolwich Artillery School. His sentence had been 
commuted to imprisonment for life, and so I concluded he 
was incarcerated in a gloomy dungeon. 

Before I left Beyrout, I was admiring the position of a 
building placed so as to command the finest scenery. I saw, 
on the balcony, two Turks of rank playing at dominoes, and 
enjoying themselves in true Turkish fashion. I thought I 
recognized Tahir Pasha in one of them, but to make sure, I 
rode up to the balcony and called him by name. He came 
forward, and we had some conversation together.' — Extract 
of a Letter from Dr Sanchvith, 



192 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

tables of exports and imports. There are more 
enduring interests than can be represented by bales 
of cotton goods and crates of earthenware. Com- 
munities of slave-owners may be larger importers of 
dry goods than a like number of freemen. Accident 
may cause this. The former may be larger pur- 
chasers merely because they are smaller producers. 
We are not, however, to make bills of lading the 
only measure of our sympathies, nor pore curiously 
over the columns of exports and imports, before we 
determine whether slavery be evil ; whether despot- 
ism be preferable to constitutionalism ; whether a 
profligate Mussulman Q-overnment shall so far enlist 
our support as to make us indifferent to the con- 
dition of the millions of Christians pining under its 
yoke. For this reason I should not have thought of 
appealing to the figures of the Custom-house. But 
I am willing to meet the friends of the Turkish 
Government on this ground. It is not that which I 
should have chosen, but it yields no support to those 
who cry out for the preservation of ' the integrity 
of Turkey,' in order that Manchester goods may not 
hang heavily upon our hands. I have abundantly 
proved, from the testimony of every one who has 
written on Turkey, that the race is dying out in 
every province of the empire, whilst the Christians 



TUEKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 193 

on the same soil are uniformly increasing in num- 
bers. Now, under these circumstances, we should 
expect to find some fluctuation in the value of the 
exports and imports to that country. If the de- 
clining, or Mussulman, race, were in the main the 
chief purchasers or producers, then we should find 
the exports and imports suffer a corresponding dimi- 
nution. If, however, the increasing race, the Chris- 
tian subjects of Turkey, are the better customers 
for the produce of the rest of the world, then 
the imports will show an increase proportionate 
to that of the increase of this part of the popu- 
lation. Now we were told by Mr Layard, in his 
zealous defence of Turkey some years ago, that — 
1 In 1831 the Turkish import trade from England 
amounted to £888,684; and in 1839 it had in- 
creased to £1,430,224; in 1848 to £3,116,365; and 
in 1860 to £5,639,898. The export trade had in- 
creased no less rapidly from £1,387,416 in 1840, to 
£3,202,558 in 1856, and £5,505,492 in 1860, the 
Danubian Principalities included. In fact, the 
trade with England had increased in twenty- 
three years 635 per cent. The results as regards 
France have been no less remarkable. In 1833 the 
imports from that country amounted in value to 

16,730,000 francs; in 1856 they had risen to 

13 



194 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

91,860,000 francs. The exports in 1833 were only 
874,000 francs; in 1856 they had risen to 
131,546,258 francs. The revenue of Turkey shows 
a no less extraordinary result. In the time of 
Sultan Mahmoud it amounted to only £3,000,000 
a year ; in 1850 it had risen to £7,000,000 : it has 
now reached £15,000,000> * 

How much of this increase is due to the freedom 
of the Danubian Principalities; how much of this 
must be credited to Servia, "Wallachia, and Molda- 
via, Mr Layard did not tell us : though it is note- 
worthy, that in order to show this great increase, he 
has to include countries now free from the Ottoman 
yoke, and flourishing because free. 

But in culling these figures, Mr Layard un- 
accountably overlooked others which are still more 
deeply significant of the difference between the 
slumberous and decaying Turkish race and the active 
and advancing Greek people. Thirty years ago, 
Greece commenced its national life. Till that time 
it was a province of Turkey. It has now a popula- 
tion of only about 1,200,000 — just a twentieth part 
of the population of Turkey. Yet the return of the 

* The Condition of Turkey and her Dependencies. A 
Speech delivered in the House of Commons, May 29, 1863, 
by A. H. Layard, Esq. M.P. (Murray), p. 57. 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 195 

ships and tonnage entering the port of Constanti- 
nople in the years 1857 and 1861, gives us these 
reraai-kable items : — 

1857. 1861. 

Ships. Tons. Ships. Tons. 

Turkish . . 4,055 377,500 3,690 360,612 

Greek . . 2,738 461,957 3,210 527,131 
Ionian Islands 290 45,634 500 82,853 

So that the whole shipping, coastwise and foreign, 
sailing under the Turkish flag, and entering the 
port of its own capital, is less than that of the petty- 
kingdom of Greece, and the former is declining, 
whilst the latter is increasing.* 

One fact, however, is clear from the figures 
which I have just given. With the rapid decline of 
the Turkish race the foreign trade as rapidly in- 
creases, whilst the increase in trade keeps pace with 
the increase in the numbers, the activity, and the 
intellectual progress of the subject races. What, 
then, is the inference, the only inference to be drawn 
from these facts, but that the Turks are neither con- 
sumers of foreign goods, nor producers of articles of 
commerce to any appreciable amount ; and that, 

* Statistical Tables of Trade of Foreign Countries. 
1 Parliamentary Papers.' 



196 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

when the whole race has disappeared from the coun- 
tries which it occupies, indeed, but does not fill; 
which it possesses but only to render desolate and to 
curse with sterility ; that then, not merely will the 
peace of the rest of the world be less frequently 
menaced, but its commerce will be largely augmented. 
Increasing wealth implies industrious population ; 
it does not prove that they are not oppressed. 
Tyrants tire of persecuting when there is unyielding 
submission, and no element exists to alarm their fears. 
Even the Turk would not plunder, unless stimulated 
by the knowledge of the gains of industry hoarded 
up or invested by the Christian races. But increase 
in numbers, and even augmenting wealth, is no evi- 
dence that the people are not oppressed. History 
gives us many examples of great increase in numbers, 
in wealth, and in intelligence, in face of grievous 
tyranny, and in defiance of cruelties resorted to to 
keep down the advance of a subject race. It was 
the growth of the Low Countries, in population and 
material resources, which, awakening the alarm of 
Spain, led to their oppression. The Prime Minister 
of Philip the Second retorted the charge of cruelty 
and wrong by pointing to the growth of Leyden and 
the thriving commerce of Antwerp. His Under 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs praised the tolerant 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 197 

rule of Alva, and condemned the restlessness and 
ingratitude of the Hollanders, much as an official now 
eulogized Turkish Pashas and condemned the dis- 
contented Christians ; and all the members of the 
Spanish Cabinet united in attributing the move- 
ments in the Low Countries to ' foreign intrigues,' 
and to ' persons of various kinds not identified with 
or belonging to the native population.' * 

Be it remembered, then, that these massacres 
are not the spontaneous outbreaks of Mussulman 
fanaticism directed against Christians, nor cruelties 
springing from the rapacity of the Turkish Govern- 
ment, and aimed against its richer subjects merely. 
It is the oppression of self-preservation springing 
from the alarm felt by the Turks at the increasing 
numbers, wealth, and influence of the Christians, and 
at their growth, notwithstanding all the cruel means 
which have been resorted to in order to keep down 
the increase of the Christian population. History is 
ever repeating itself. "We may see in Turkey the 
same spectacle which the rulers of Rome beheld in 
the early centuries of the Christian era, the growth 
within the empire of a despised and persecuted sect ; 
growing, though persecuted — nay, as it seemed, 

• Sir Henry Bulwer's Circular to Her Majesty's Consuls 
in the Ottoman dominions. 



198 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

growing because persecuted. But not only in this 
particular have we a parallel between the condition 
of the early Christians and those of modern times in 
countries subjected to Turkish rule, we have a 
repetition, also, of the means which the Neros and 
the Diocletians attempted to prevent the growth of 
the people and to destroy the hostile religion. But 
we may find a closer pai'allel than even this. When 
I read of the oppression which is the normal con- 
dition of the Christians of Turkey ; when I think of 
the massacres of Damascus and Jeddah, I am re- 
minded of the hard bondage of the Jews and the 
instincts of Pharaoh ; and in a few verses in the be- 
ginning of the book of Exodus I read a faithful 
picture of the growth of the Christian people amidst 
oppression, and of the cruel policy by which the 
government of Turkey endeavours to restrain the 
increase of a race which it hates and fears : — ' And 
the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased 
abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding 
mighty ; and the land was filled with them. Now 
there arose up a new king over Egypt. . . . And 
he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the 
children of Israel are more and mightier than we : 
Come on, let us deal wisely with them ; lest they 
multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there fall- 



TURKISH PROMISES AND NON-PERFORMANCES. 199 

eth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, 
and fight against us, and so get them up out of the 
land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters 
to afflict them with their burdens. . . . But the more 
they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and 
grew. And they were grieved because of the 
children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the 
children of Israel to serve with rigour : And they 
made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, 
and in brick, and in all manner of service in the 
field : all their service, wherein they made them serve, 
was with rigour.' * And when hard bondage failed 
to thin their numbers sufficiently, and to stay the 
increase of the oppressed people, then we read that 
Pharaoh ordered the destruction of the male children, 
from state policy, just as now, from the same state 
policy, the Sultan, from time to time, directs the 
massacre of his Christian subjects. 

But it is not the fact of the oppression and wrong 
practised throughout the Turkish empire which, as 
an Englishman, I chiefly regret; it is that, in de- 
fiance of all our boasted sympathy with enslaved and 
suffering people, in defiance of all our traditions of 
non-intervention in the internal affairs of other 
countries, we strengthen by our influence and our 

* Exodus i. 7 — 14. 



200 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

material power the hands of the oppressor, and are 
continually meddling, against this suffering people, 
in the internal government of Turkey. The impres- 
sion that we do so is increasing throughout the do- 
minions of the Sultan. This knowledge is embitter- 
ing the people, unhappily subject to his rule, against 
England. It is acting also as a perpetual irritant to 
France and Russia ; excusing, and, as they think, 
rendering necessary, their interference, and sowing 
the seeds of future trouble and wars between the 
Great Powers of Europe. At least half our warlike 
preparations and expenses of late years have arisen 
from this one source. The impression that we so 
interfere is, indeed, not groundless ; it is avowed by 
Ministers of State, and recorded in official documents. 
'Her Majesty's Government wishes, as you well 
know, to maintain the Ottoman Empire/ is the 
language of diplomacy ; but it does far more than 
wish ; in order to accomplish this object it tramples 
on all other considerations, it disregards every right, 
and tolerates the breach of every treaty which has 
been made for the amelioration of the people of this 
' Ottoman Empire/ 



201 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 

The vilayet of Bosnia, including the Herzegovina, 
has been among the most misgoverned of all the 
provinces of European Turkey. The peculiarity of 
its population, a Mahometan aristocracy, at once 
tyrannous towards the Christian rayahs and turbu- 
lent in their relations to Constantinople; an active 
minority of Latin Christians, due in a great measure 
to the fostering protection of Austria, and invested 
with exclusive privileges from the Porte, and hostile, 
from connection with Rome, to any national sentiment, 
has added largely to the element of mischief which 
exists in other provinces. Hence the language of 
Prince Gortschakoff in 1860, who, speaking of ' the 
increasing serious condition of the Christian pro- 
vinces under the rule of the Porte,' adds, that he 



202 THE CHRISTIANS OF TUEKEY. 

refers 'especially to Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bul- 
garia.' * 

Omitting all mention of Bulgaria, beyond noting 
the significaney of this warning, and confining my 
remarks to the state of Herzegovina when the insur- 
rection of 1875 first broke out, I find Mr Holmes, the 
English Consul in Bosnia, writing and saying that 
' in the Herzegovina there is much more oppression 
to complain of ' f than in Bosnia. The sterile soil, 
the small extent of fruitful land, the exorbitant tax- 
ation, added much to the evils intolerable in other 
parts. On this Mr Evans bears testimony: 'The 
case of Herzegovina differs in many respects from 
that of their Bosnian brothers. This is due to the dif- 
ference in the physical condition of the two countries. 
In Bosnia there are many tracts, like the Possavina, of 
marvellous fertility, where the most extortionate 
Government cannot so entirely consume the fat- 
ness of the land, as not to leave the rayah consider- 
able gleanings. Ear otherwise is the case in the 
Herzegovina. The greater part of this country 
may be briefly described as a limestone desert, and it 
is the terrible poverty of the soil which makes the 

* See ante, p. 12. 

t Correspondence respecting Affairs in Bosnia and Her- 
zegovina, p. 29.] 



THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 203 

position of its Christian tiller so unendurable/ * 
This desert was made more barren by the policy of 
the Turkish Government. A few years before it had 
inflicted an injury upon the country by the destruc- 
tion of the forests, which covered a soil hardly fitted 
for any purpose save that of the growth of timber. 
The fertility of much of this country was seriously 
impaired by this destruction, and the peasantry were 
the chief sufferers. I have elsewhere described the 
scene of the gigantic fire which raged for many months 
in South Herzegovina. Writing at the time, I said : — 
' Three or four miles' ride from Ostrug brought u^ 
to the northern frontier of Montenegro at Gradatz, 
and gave me a spectacle which I hope, for the sake 
of our common humanity, cannot be paralleled in any 
part of the world. We pulled up our horses at the 
edge of a precipitous slope, and looked down upon 
the beautiful plain of Niksich in the Herzegovina, 
clothed in perennial green and interlaced by two or 
three small streams of water. To the north this 
plain is backed' b} r a range of mountains — the true 
geographical frontier of Montenegro, but at present 
in the occupation of the Turks. This range was 
formerly wooded, and even yet remains of noble 

* Through Bosnia and Herzegovina, p. 329. 



204 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

forests in some parts blacken the slope of the lime- 
stone mountains. When we looked at it, however, 
the whole range was almost concealed by dense 
clouds of smoke. For eighteen months these moun- 
tains have been burning, and the magnificent oaks 
and beeches which furnished the country around 
with the choicest timber are now almost wholly de- 
stroyed. This has been done by orders from Con- 
stantinople, in order to form a sterile frontier, but its 
effect will be to destroy the plain which lies at the 
foot of the mountains, and to reduce it to the con- 
dition of the arid plains of Albania on the other 
frontier of Montenegro. But it will do more than 
even this : it will diminish the tributaries of the Zeta 
which flow through Montenegro, and render barren 
much of the scanty territory possessed by these 
people. Such a flagrant injury to the country of a 
neighbour is surely contrary to the spirit if not to 
the letter of the law of nations, and now the Turk 
has been brought within the pale of civilization such 
an act merits our strongest reprobation.' * 

This piece of vandalism, of stupid wanton destruc- 
tion, was not without some influence upon the out- 
break of last year. With diminished fertility the 

• Good Words, September, 1866. 



THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 205 

taxes were extorted as before. It was only the help- 
less who was to suffer from the waste caused by the 
Government of Turkey, and all trustworthy accounts 
represent the outbreak as occasioned by the exaction 
of the farmers of taxes. Lord Derby, writing on 
July 29, 1875, and speaking of the troubles in the 
Herzegovina, says that ' the rising, in the opinion of 
the Austro-Hungarian Government, had its origin in 
discontent arising from financial causes/ * And Mr 
Consul Holmes tells us that ' discontent undoubtedly 
exists against most of the chief Turkish landowners, 
and against the Zapatiehs and tax-farmers.' t But on 
this point we are able to cite the Porte itself as a 
witness. 'The first Secretary of His Majesty the 
Sultan,' writing to the Grand Vizier, and speaking 
of the prospect of putting down the insurrection, says : 
• Although there is every reason to hope that, thanks 
to the measures to be taken, the proposed object will 
be completely achieved, it is not the less true that 
the causes which produce trouble among the peace- 
able populations are in a great measure due to the un- 
seemly conduct of some incapable functionaries, and 
particularly to the exactions to which the avaricious 
farmers of taxes bind themselves in the hope of a 

* Correspondence, &c., p. 3. 
t Ibid. p. 29. 



206 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

larger profit/ * "With this evidence before us the 
words of Count Yon Bothman, the German consul, 
are sadly significant: 'God only knows what the 
rayahs suffer in the country districts.' God indeed 
only knows, no words of man can describe them, 
hardly can the imagination of man picture them. 

The testimony of Lord Derby that the insurrec- 
tion was due to 'financial causes,' which in plain 
English means extortion by the tax-gatherers, and 
not to ' Russian agents,' is borne out by the report 
of a foreign consul which appeared in the ' Times.' 
He says : ' There were no foreign influences which 
caused the movements, but cases of unusual mal- 
administration.' t On this Mr Evans remarks : ' The 
most galling oppression, and the main cause of the 
present revolt, is to be found in the system and 
manner of taxation. The centralized government 
set up in Bosnia since 1851 is so much machinery 
for wringing the uttermost farthing out of the 
unhappy Bosniac rayah. The desperate efforts of 
Turkish financiers, on the eve of national bankruptcy, 
have at last made the burden of taxation more than 
even the long-suffering Bosniac can bear. It was 
the last straw. 

* Correspondence, &c, p. 17. 
t ' Times,' December 15, 1875. 



THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 207 

' The principal tax — besides the house and land- 
tax, and that paid by the " Christian " in lieu of 
military service, which is wrung from the poorest 
rayah for every male of his family down to the 
baby in arms — is the Eighth, or, as it is facetiously 
called by the tax-collector, the tenth, which is levied 
on all the produce of the earth. "With regard to the 
exaction of this tax, every conceivable iniquity is 
practised. To begin with, its collection is farmed out 
to middle men, and these, ex- officio pitiless, are 
usually by origin the scum of the Levant. The 
Osmanli or the Sclavonic Mahometan possesses a 
natural dignity and self-respect which disinclines 
him from such dirty work. The men who come 
forward and offer the highest price for the licence 
for extortion are more often Christians — Favourite 
Greeks — adventurer^ from Stamboul, members of a 
race perhaps the vilest of mankind. No considera- 
tion of honour, or religion, or humanity, restrain 
these wretches. Having acquired the right to 
farm the taxes of a given district, the Turkish 
officials and gendarmerie are bound to support them 
in wringing the uttermost farthing out of the 
misera contribuem plebs. And it is natural that this 
help should be most readily forthcoming when needed 
to break the resistance of the rayah. 



208 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

' These men time their visitation well. They 
appear in the villages before the harvest is 
gathered, and assess the value of the crops accord- 
ing to the present prices, which of course are far 
higher just before the harvest than after it. But 
the rayah would be well contented if their exactors 
stopped here. They possess, however, a terrible lever 
for putting the screw on the miserable tiller. The 
harvest may not be gathered till the tax, which is 
pitilessly levied in cash, has been extorted. If the 
full amount — and they often double or treble the 
legal sum — is not forthcoming, the tax-gatherer 
simply has to say, " Then your harvest shall rot on 
the ground till you pay it," and the rayah must see 
the produce of his toil lost, or pay a ruinous imposi- 
tion which more than swamps his profits. Or if he 
remains obstinate, there are other paraphernalia 
of torture worthy of the vaults of the Inquisition. 
A village will occasionally bind together to defend 
themselves from the extortioners. Thereupon the 
tithe-farmer applies to the civil power, protesting that 
if he does not get the full amount from the village, 
he will be unable in his turn to pay the Government. 
The Zaptiehs, the factotums of the Turkish officials, 
are immediately quartered on the village, and live in 
them, insult their wives and ill-treat their children. 



THE REVOLT OF THE HEEZEGOVINA. 209 

With the aid of these gentry all kinds of personal 
tortures are applied to the recalcitrant. In the heat 
of summer men are stripped naked and tied to a tree 
smeared over with honey or other sweet stuff, and 
left to the tender mercies of the insect world. For 
winter extortion it is found convenient to bind people 
to stakes, and leave them barefooted to be frost- 
bitten ; or at other times they are shoved into a 
pig-sty and cold water poured on them. A favourite 
plan is to drive a party of rayahs up a tree or into a 
chamber, and then smoke them with green wood. 
Instances are recorded of Bosniac peasants being 
buried up to their heads in earth, and left to repent 
at leisure.' * 

Under such a state of things it is little wonder 
that the peasants of Herzegovina are discontented 
with a Government which exacts its taxes by these 
means. He has little less reason to be contented 
with his Mussulman landlord. Again I borrow 
from the pages of the same volume, the most recent 
and, so far as my testimony is of value, the most 
truthful account which has been published of this 
down-trodden district. 'The Christian kmet, or 
tiller of the soil, is worse off than many a serf in our 

* Through Bosnia and Herzegovina, 256 — 258. 
14 



210 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

darkest ages, and lies as completely at the mercy of 
the Mahometan owner of the soil as if he were a slave. 
Legally . . . the Bey or Aga can break the law with 
impunity. He is thus allowed to treat his kmet as 
a mere chattel ; "he uses a stick and beats the kmet 
without pity, in a manner that no one else would use 
a beast." Any land that the rayah may acquire, any 
house he may have built, any patch of garden that 
his industry may have cleared among the rocks, 
the Aga seizes at his pleasure. The ordinary dues, 
as paid by the kmet to the landowner, as specified in 
the appeal of the Herzegovinian rayahs, are heavy 
enough. He has to pay a fourth part of the produce 
of the ground ; to present him with one animal yearly, 
and a certain quantity of butter and cheese ; to 
carry for him so many loads of wood, and if the 
Aga is building a house to carry the materials for it ; 
to work for him gratuitously whenever he pleases ; 
and sometimes the Aga requisitions one of the 
kmet' 8 children, who must serve him for nothing ; 
to make a separate plantation of tobacco, cultivate 
it, and finally warehouse the produce in his master's 
store; and to plough and sow so many acres of 
land, the harvest of which he must also carry to his 
master's barn. Finally, to lodge the Aga in his 
own house when required, and to provide for his 



THE EEVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 211 

household and dogs.' * These being the relations of 
the peasant to his landlord, it is not surprising that 
Mr Holmes should remark that ' discontent undoubt- 
edly exists against most of the chief Turkish land- 
owners,' f since the picture which Mr Evans draws 
of the oppression of landlords is normal in its 
occurrence. 

Here we have the simple, all-sufficient cause of 
the outbreak in the Herzegovina. Apart from acts 
of brutal atrocity and murder which were of con- 
stant occurrence, the oppression of the Government 
which permitted the tax-gatherers to seize or spoil 
forty per cent, of the produce of the peasant's toil, 
and the rapacity of the landlords which took from 
him always twenty-five per cent, besides over-spolia- 
tion, never leaving the unhappy labourer more than 
one-fourth of his earnings, drove these 'peaceable 
populations/ J as the chief secretary of the Sultan 
admits them to be, into open revolt. This revolt, 
according to the testimony of the Austro-Hungarian 
Government, never disposed to judge too favourably 
of the Sclaves, had 'its origin in discontent aris- 
ing from financial causes,' and Lord Derby him- 
self said, on the 29th July, 1875, that so far from 

* Through. Bosnia and Herzegovina, p. 331. 
f Correspondence in Turkey, 2, p. 29. % Ibid. p. 17. 



212 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

being the work of Serb agitators, that it 'is not likely 
to find sympathy among Austrian or Montenegrin 
subjects/ * 

Consistent with the strictly Agrarian character 
of the insurrection were the demands which the 
peasants when driven to revolt made upon the 
Government of Turkey. Mr Holmes, notwithstand- 
ing his undisguised Turkish leanings, says : ' The 
people of Herzegovina . . . only ask to remain sub- 
jects of the Sultan, with reformed laws, and a 
proper and just administration of them. How to 
secure this is the difficulty.' t Or, again : ' The 
chief of the insurgents demand an European inter- 
vention, and an armistice to allow them to consult 
and assemble at any place which might be fixed to 
discuss their affairs. They do not and never have 
desired independence or annexation to Montenegro, 
but they wish to remain Turkish subjects under very 
extensive administration reforms, the execution of 
which to be guaranteed by Europe.' J 

And yet in face of these declarations of the 
Turkish authorities, of the Austro-Hungarian Govern- 
ment, of independent English travellers, and of Mr 
Holmes himself, we find that gentleman turning 

* Correspondence in Turkey, 2, p. 5. 
t Ibid. p. 23. X Ibid. p. 29. 



THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 213 

round and denying his own words, and afterwards 
attributing the outbreak to ' Servian agitators/ or, 
like Mr Baring, to 'Russian agents.' As though 
peasants, when exorbitant and illegal taxes were 
wrung from them by the Government by tying 
them in summer time to trees smeared with honey 
to be tortured by insects — as though peasants, who 
were bound barefooted to a stake in winter, were 
scorched with fire from green wood in an apartment 
without a chimney, or were buried to the neck in the 
earth, and were doomed to see their infants tossed like 
garbage into the stream and drowned, to witness 
their sons murdered with impunity, and their wives 
and daughters outraged without redress, needed the 
stimulus of ' Servian agitators,' of ' Russian agents,' 
or of the emissaries of ' secret societies.' Out upon 
such childish babble, such silly fictions. 'Agitators' 
I grant there were, ' agents ' I admit did instigate 
these people to rebellion, a 'society' there was 
which stirred up the people to discontent, but agitat- 
ors, agents, and secret societies met and conspired 
in one place — the Seraglio at Constantinople. 

The best answer to such an idle, silly assertion 
is to put on record the demand of these people. 
Never yet did political agitators suggest so modest 
a list of requests. These were — 



214 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

' 1. That Christian girls and women should no 
longer be molested by the Turks. 

2. That their churches should no longer be de- 
secrated, and that free exercise of their religion 
should be accorded to them. 

3. That they should have equal rights with the 
Turks before the law. 

4. That they should be protected from the 
violence of the Zaptiehs. 

5. That the tithe-farmers should take no more 
than they were legally entitled to, and that they 
should take it in due time. 

To these five two were subsequently added. 

6. That every house should pay in all only one 
ducat a year. 

7. That no forced labour, either personal or by 
horses, should be demanded by the Government ; but 
that labour, when needed, should be paid for, as was 
the case all over the world.' 

These modest demands the Turkish authorities 
refused to listen to, unless the peasants would first 
give up their arms. This they were willing to do 
provided the Mussulman population was at the same 
time disarmed. In the face of Syrian and of Bul- 
garian, and of twenty other massacres which had fol- 
lowed upon the giving up of arms, this request must 



THE REVOLT OF THE HERZEGOVINA. 215 

be pronounced a reasonable one. It was refused, and 
the rebellion, justifiable as it must be pronounced, 
went on its course, and the Bosnian insurrection, the 
Bulgarian massacre, and the generous attempt of 
Servia to interpose by arms between the Porte and 
its victims, were the consequences. 



216 



CHAPTER VII. 

MORAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE TURKISH ALLIANCE. 

It is some extenuation of a wrong that it was 
thoughtlessly inflicted. But even in that case the 
wrong-doer is bound to make some amends for the 
injury which has followed upon his thoughtlessness. 
And the thoughtlessness which we have manifested 
in the desire to maintain the integrity of Turkey has 
been the cause of much evil to the races subject to 
the rule of ' our faithful ally.' 

In 1840-41, in pursuance of the policy of this 
country, by the aid of a British fleet and land forces, 
the Pasha of Egypt was driven from Syria, and that 
country was restored to the immediate rule of the 
Porte. I am not concerned with the policy itself 
which led to this. It may or may not, for aught I 
know, have been, on the whole, a sound policy. The 
state of Syria, however, at the moment when we 



CONSEQUENCES OF TURKISH ALLIANCE. 217 

transferred it to the hands of the Sultan, is worth 
noticing. The condition of that country was this : — 
the people were, for the first time for a century at 
least, enjoying security of life and property, the 
laws were firmly and impartially administered, crime 
had diminished, outrages against the Christians had 
almost entirely ceased; trade had revived, lands 
which had long gone out of cultivation were again 
under tillage. The change from its former mis- 
government was, according to trustworthy accounts, 
marvellous. We interfered ; we drove out the 
Egyptians ; we transferred it to the rule of its old 
masters without,, unhappily, making one stipulation 
in favour of the inhabitants. Immediately, as if by 
an enchanter's wand, all life died out, the lands 
which had been but just rescued from the desert 
again went out of cultivation, the old insecurity 
made itself felt ; again we find the old outrages, the 
former crimes. But over and above this, the mas- 
sacres which have taken place since that moment, 
such as Mr Rogers, Mr Cyril Graham, Mr Moore, 
speak of, have caused a destruction of far more than 
50,000 persons, men, women, and children. This 
has been the result, the consequence, of our policy. 
It was a result which we were bound to have guard- 
ed against ; which we might have foreseen. It was 



218 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

a crime against humanity to have handed over the 
people of Syria to the rule of the Porte, without 
some stipulation for their better treatment, some 
precautions against their destruction. Though it 
be true that 

• Evil is wrought by want of thought, 
As well as want of heart,' * 

still evil is not the less evil whatever the source may 
be from which it springs. But granted that this 
was a thoughtless wrong, we ' maintain the integ- 
rity of Turkey ' in ways which lack even this ex- 
tenuation, unsatisfactory as it is. 

We are losing our own reputation. In our zeal to 
maintain the corrupt and cruel government of the 
Seraglio we are not really striving to maintain 
Turkey, for this means the Turkish people, nor the 
integrity of 'Turkish territory/ for this is not 
menaced. No European power is seeking to obtain 
any portion of this territory. The utmost that is 
asked is that * Turkish territory ' be left to the 
peaceable possession of the people of Turkey : that 
is, as I have shown, the Christian races who live in 
Turkey. These are the only power whom we can 
maintain. How this zeal for the Court, or Serag- 

* Hood. 



CONSEQUENCES OF TURKISH ALLIANCE. 219 

lio, at Constantinople is impairing our own credit 
and tarnishing our own flag may be illustrated from 
two examples. Alas ! there are abundant other in- 
stances. I will, however, only cite two on this painful 
topic. One shall be given as it stands in my original 
pamphlet, one I take from the Blue Book (Turkey, 
No. 2), recently issued. 

At the close of the Crimean War, the Great 
Powers of Europe, commiserating the condition of 
the people of Montenegro, appointed a commission 
to settle certain questions of boundary which had 
arisen between them and the Turks. Amongst the 
commissioners sent from England was a military 
officer who was or had been consul at Bosna Serai. 
He and the rest of the members of the commission 
were hospitably received by the people of Montenegro, 
who entered warmly into the pacific errand on which 
they had come. In order to arrange the question 
of frontier, the commissioners traversed Montenegro ; 
they penetrated its defiles; they made themselves 
familiar with its fastnesses ; those gorges which had 
enabled its inhabitants for so many ages to defy the 
Turks and to defend their independence. Hardly 
had the commission completed their labours when 
war broke out between Turkey and Montenegro — 
between the few thousands of those sons of the 



220 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

Black Mountain and the empire of 30,000,000 
inhabitants. Then conies a story which is scarcely 
credible. No sooner had this taken place, whilst the 
Turkish army was preparing to invade Montenegro, 
the commissioner was directed by the British 
Government to proceed to the head-quarters of Omer 
Pasha, and, with the knowledge of the defiles and 
approaches to the Black Mountain thus obtained in 
peace, to place himself at the service of the Turkish 
general. What follows I prefer to state in the 
language of the correspondent of the Times, who 
dates his letter from ' Scutari,' in Albania, on the 
31st of August, 1862, and who, after pointing out 
the defects in the organization of the Turkish army, 
says : — ' The fault must lie therefore somewhere 
else. The first thing which occurs in this respect, 
is of course the imperfect organization of the Turkish 
army in all the special services, such as staff, engineer- 
ing, &c. It is nothing better off in this respect 
than it was in the beginning of the Eastern War ; 
nay, if possible, it is worse off, for then there was 
still a number of foreigners there who knew some- 
thing about such things, but these have been for the 
most part shelved or eliminated, and now here with 
the flower of the Turkish army, there is not a single 
man who can be trusted with making even a simple 
sketch of the ground. How correct this is may be 



CONSEQUENCBS OF TURKISH ALLIANCE. 221 

judged from the circumstance that the only reliable 
sketches of the ground which are used are due to 
the exertions of Mr Churchill, Her Majesty's Com- 
missioner in these parts. Were it not for his sketches 
and personal knowledge of the country, they would be 
working altogether in the dark. They have not a single 
guide who knows anything about the country, or a single 
spy to give them information of the movements of the 
mountaineers.'' 

The truth of this statement has never been ques- 
tioned. It has remained since the date of this letter 
unchallenged. It would be hard to say what law 
was not broken by this act. The first principles of 
international law were utterly disregarded. Monte- 
negro was an independent state, and we had no right 
to interfere in this manner in a war in which we 
had no concern. And then we talk of 'Bussian 
agents,' and of 'foreign intrigues.' If it be by 
means such as these that we are to 'maintain the 
integrity of Turkey,' it is time that we should look 
to our own integrity. 

The second case to which I refer may be found 
recorded in the Blue Book recently issued.* On 
August 24, 1875, Sir Henry Elliott, in a letter 
dated from Therapia, directed Mr Holmes, consul in 
Bosnia, to invite the insurgent chiefs in Herzegovina 

* Correspondence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1876. 



222 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

to a conference, in order that their demands might 
be laid before the Sultan. He was told to represent 
himself as an agent of a friendly Government, to 
assure them that her Majesty's Government would 
use its influence in recommending that the legitimate 
grievances which might be established should be re- 
medied or removed. He was bidden ' to urge the 
insurgents to avoid attacking the imperial troops 
during the progress of the negotiations.' * In a 
letter dated Sept. 1, Lord Derby approves of this 
course, and bids Mr Holmes 'to induce the insur- 
gents in Herzegovina to suspend hostilities and lay 
their complaints before a Turkish commission.' f 
These chiefs at first demurred to meet the English 
consul, from a fear that advantage would be taken 
by the Turks of this meeting. At length, on the 
strength of British promises, they consented to meet 
Mr Holmes and the other consuls. Mr Holmes told 
the insurgents ' that they might be sure the Turkish 
Government was sincere in its promises, and that 
the attention of Europe having been drawn to their 
affairs, the Government could not deceive them with- 
out serious loss of honour and damage to its own 
vital interests.' £ Still the insurgents suspected the 

* Correspondence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, p. 11. 
f Ibid. p. 17. X Ibid. p. 28. 



CONSEQUENCES OF TURKISH ALLIANCE. 223 

good faith of the faithless Government of Turkey, 
and expressed a fear that during the conference they 
'would be attacked by the Turks,' on which Mr 
Holmes — to use his own language — 'assured them 
that whilst we were with them we did not think 
they would be molested.' Accordingly, to pursue 
the narrative, the insurgent chiefs said, 'that if 
we would go to the neighbourhood of Bilekia they 
would meet us there, and we should perhaps be 
able to see many others. They said if we went 
they would see us and join us.' And now what 
took place? Mr Holmes shall say how plighted 
English faith was observed. ' We left them with 
the intention of proceeding, if possible, to Bilekia. 
On the way to Stolatz, however, we met a couple of 
battalions, provisions, and ammunitions, proceeding 
in the direction from which we had come. I ordered 
my cavass to inquire of some of the soldiers in charge 
of the baggage where they were going. They in- 
formed me that they were going to attack the 
insurgents we had just left next morning before 
daybreak. I felt very indignant, as did my col- 
leagues, at this attempt, as it seemed to profit by 
the fact of our having assembled together a certain 
number of insurgents to attack them when off their 
guard. On arriving at Stolatz, the Kaimakan also 



224 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

stated that an attack was to be made on the insur- 
gents we had left, and on my expressing my dis- 
approval of this proceeding, he said that he did not 
know, that he rather thought the troops were marching 
to Bikkia with provisions for the garrison there. The 
Governor- General had been at Stolatz, and had only- 
left for Mortar two hours before our arrival.' 

Accordingly, General Chevket Pasha, afterwards 
infamous for his part in the Bulgarian atrocities, by 
what Servar Pasha in a telegraphic dispatch to the 
Grand Yizier calls 'clever strategy/ fell upon the 
unsuspecting troops, whose leaders were away, 
lured by the conjoint promises of Turkey and of 
England, and ' completely routed ' them, with a loss 
of « 160 dead on the field of battle.' * 

This scandalous act of perfidy, and the disregard 
of the English safe-conduct, for it was this in effect, 
was too much for Mr Holmes, who adds, ' On the 
23rd I spoke to the Governor- General about the ex- 
pedition to Trussina, and he said that Ali Pasha had 
not orders to attack the insurgents then, but the 
affair was brought on accidentally by the insurgents 
attacking a convoy. I said it might have been a very 
serious thing for us if it had happened one day sooner.' 

The reader will note the readiness with which 

* Correspondence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, p. 42. 



CONSEQUENCES OF TURKISH ALLIANCE. 225 

the Kaimakan and Governor-General alike lied on 
this occasion; but while the loss of Mr Holmes 
might not have been • a very serious thing,' except 
to himself and family, it is a very grievous thing to 
know that these men who were thus surprised by 
'clever strategy,' were at that moment relying on 
the plighted word of the English consul, and under 
the protection of England. And yet there is in the 
Blue Book not a trace of any remonstrance on the 
part of the English Government to the Turkish 
authorities for dragging down our credit for truth 
to a level with their own. But then we must expect 
to sacrifice something to maintain the integrity of 
Turkey ! 

I dare not speak more on the subject. To one 
who loves his country nothing can be more painful 
than this and similar terrible revelations. Would 
that we could wake up from our present delusion to 
see that this marsh-light which we are pursuing can 
never be possessed — that there is nothing to be 
grasped in this worse than phantom of Turkish 
integrity, and that, like similar adventurers, whilst 
straining after that which has no substantial exist- 
ence, we are becoming ourselves very noisome by 
reason of the foul mire through which we have 

to struggle. 

15 



226 



CONCLUSION. 

When, thirteen years ago, I wrote the first pages 
of the pamphlet which I now republish with addi- 
tions, it was my intention to have made use of the 
official records of Servia, and to have given instances 
of those ' cruelties and barbarities ' practised daily 
in Bulgaria and Bosnia, the recital of which Dr 
Sandwith* speaks of as curdling the blood with 
horror. I have, however, been unable to do so in 
consequence of the length to which this record of 
Turkish misrule and Turkish perfidy has extended. 
Nor is there any necessity to make use of such evi- 
dence. Though the fact that Servia has frequently 
protested against these atrocities perpetrated on her 
frontier should be borne in mind when we hear of 
the war between her and the Porte being ' unpro- 
voked,' I have, however, for want of space, not made 
detailed use of them. At best, the facts which are 

* See at p. 9. 



CONCLUSION. 227 

there treasured up, the deeds of violence there writ- 
ten, are but the incidents which Mr Holmes, Mr 
Zohrab, and other English consuls make use of in 
their generalizations, when they speak of the terror 
and discontent which reign throughout the limit of 
their respective consulates. I have another reason 
for passing by these deeply affecting documents — 
these wailings of young nations over the cruelties of 
their oppressors. English authorities, though they 
may not be more truthful than non-English ones, 
are deservedly of greater weight, inasmuch as they 
can be tested and examined — confronted with other 
witnesses, and rejected if their evidence should be 
undeserving of attention. Men who knew Mr 
Senior will place reliance on his statements. Those 
who have met Dr Sandwith in society will acknow- 
ledge the truthfulness of his character and the op- 
portunities which five years of travel in that country 
have given him of forming a judgment on matters 
connected with Turkey. Men cannot well doubt 
about Lord Carlisle's assertions or his power of 
describing accurately what he had observed. Mr 
Cyril Graham has had more abundant means of 
judging as to the effect of British policy in Syria 
than all the members of all the cabinets which have 
directed the affairs of England during the last half 



228 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

century. And the testimony of these men is uni- 
form. I have related only one incident upon the 
authority of a lady who is not English. I have 
cited the testimony of only one Englishman who is 
not alive to answer the interrogations of those who 
are still sceptical as to the condition of the Chris- 
tians of Turkey.* 

My chief authorities, however, are the reports of 
the various consuls throughout Turkey. It is true 
that these were collected for a purpose. It is true 
that the intention of Sir Henry Bulwer, who first 
collected them, was to supply materials wherewith to 
deny the statements of Prince Gortschakoff as to the 
misrule and consequent discontent in Bosnia, Herze- 
govina, and Bulgaria. It is true that only some of 
these reports have been selected by the Foreign 
Office ; that of those selected many have been 
pruned and mutilated — given not in extenso, but only 
in fragments — in such a way as to remind us of the 
famous Affghanistan despatches. Yet, garbled as 
the statements are — manipulated as the reports have 
been, there is enough remaining in that one Parlia- 
mentary Paper to demonstrate the absurdity, the 
impotent folly, of those who still cling to the notion 
of ' maintaining the integrity of Turkey.' 

* This was true in the year 1863. 



CONCLUSION. 229 

More noteworthy, however, than the positive 
evidence of the corruption, the injustice, the faith- 
lessness, the impotence of the Turkish Government, 
which is met with in every page of the Consular 
Reports, is the negative evidence of these documents 
— the portentous silence — the absence of any word 
of hope, any suggestion as to the possibility of the 
Turkish race ever shaking off the death torpor which 
presses upon it. Talk of ' maintaining the integrity 
of Turkey ! ' As well talk of ' maintaining ' the life 
of a corpse which is being galvanized into some 
mocking resemblance of the motions of a living man ! 
As well talk of keeping garbage from decay when it 
is seething with putrefaction and corrupting the 
whole atmosphere ! We may take care of the burial 
of a corpse and cover it reverently with earth because 
it has once been a living creature, but to prate about 
keeping it alive when it is dead is the language of 
a madman or a fool. We are doing much the same 
when we talk about ' maintaining the integrity of 
Turkey.' 

What, then, is the picture which these English 
writers — these English gentlemen — present to us? 
The witnesses whom I cite to testify as to the 
actual state of the lands of the Sultan, the govern- 
ment of that country and its millions of subjects — 



230 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

are men who have travelled in Turkey, and who 
have described what has passed before their eyes. 
In the pages of their books we see an empire occu- 
pied by two races — one the exclusive possessor of all 
social and political privileges — the other refused the 
simplest rights of humanity, and shut out from even 
the protection of that law which their masters have 
established. We see in the pages of these writers 
that the destruction of the ruling race is going on at 
so rapid a rate that within a few years, about half 
a century at the furthest, it will have ceased to be. 
This fearful destruction we learn is caused by deep 
inbred vices of the foulest kind, which prevail in 
every class of Turkish society. There is no possi- 
bility of staying the hand of the self-destroyer, for 
throughout the Ottoman empire we have the shock- 
ing spectacle of a whole race committing suicide — 
grovelling in hideous vice — dying sensually, but 
still dying. To arrest this the efforts of the Great 
Powers are as impotent as those of the smallest 
states. The whole world combined must needs fail 
in such an attempt. It is beyond the scope of 
political alliances. 

The significant proofs of this rapid waste and 
destruction of man are to be seen branded on the 
face of the whole country. Large tracts of rich and 



CONCLUSION. 231 

fertile soil, in which, travellers only a few years ago 
saw with wonder the profusion of nature, and 
admired the fair beauty of undulating tracts of 
golden corn, of luxuriant olives, and of groves of 
mulberry- trees, are now silent as the grave ; the 
inhabitants all dead ; the trees destroyed ; the once 
fruitful fields a sterile sandy waste. Fertile and yet 
barren — fertile by the bounty of its Maker, barren 
by the caprice, the sins, of man. The traveller, if 
he revisits the scenes of his former wanderings, be- 
holds no more the pleasing prospect which half a 
dozen years before met his eye, but in place of it a 
pathless waste over which he must track his course 
by the cypress-trees of deserted cemeteries — silent 
mourners over the villages which have disappeared 
from the face of God's earth. In almost every city 
of the empire, with scarcely one exception, within 
the memory of man, suburbs which were then alive 
with inhabitants and teeming with children, have 
become depopulated ; this quarter by the dying out 
of the Turks, that by the massacre of the Christians. 
This is the lot which has fallen on Smyrna ; this has 
been the ruin which has blighted Damascus; this 
is the spectacle which may be witnessed around 
Ephesus; this saddens the traveller as he silently 
wanders through the tenantless streets of Mcaea. 



232 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

"Wherever the Osmanli has planted his foot there 
the grass grows no more — there he brings desolation. 
Let us turn away from this sight, which will 
meet us in every province of Turkey ; let us turn 
our eyes upon the suffering people of that empire. 
If kingdoms exist not for kings, still less are people 
sent on God's earth merely to be playthings for 
Turkish Pashas, and to be trafficked in by jobbing 
Grand Viziers. What are the people of this the 
fairest region of the globe enduring, whilst their 
masters are dying ? We see throughout the length 
and breadth of that land, from the Danube to the 
Persian Gulf — from Kars to Albania, millions of men 
subjected to every wrong which jealous governors 
can devise, or the envy of their neighbours can 
suggest, whilst they are deprived by law of the 
power to make themselves heard against the violation 
of law. Living in perpetual fear, without any 
reasonable security for life, without one safeguard 
for the honour of their family, unarmed, by the fore- 
thought of their rulers, in the midst of a people 
armed with every weapon of offence, and easily 
moved to fanaticism, they are daily, hourly, exposed 
to every outrage which envy, cupidity, lust, or anger 
can urge, and they are exposed to the effects of these 
passions without possibility of defence. In such cases, 



CONCLUSION. 233 

if, goaded by the sense of wrong, the sufferer should 
make use of the rudest weapons of defence — a stone, 
a club — he is guilty in the eyes of his masters of a 
crime ; and many a boy has been executed within 
the last few years for no other sin than the generous 
impulse which led him thus too fatally to guard the 
honour of his sister, to avenge an outrage upon his 
mother. Dr Sandwith, in a letter quoted by Mr 
Cobden in the debate of 1863 in the House of 
Commons, tells us that within the last two years he 
' remembers a case in which a Christian, having lost 
many sheep from robbers, at last loaded a gun, and 
kept it by him. The next time the robbers came, he 
fired and killed one. This Christian was publicly 
executed for having shot a Mussulman.' * And only 
two years ago the Grand Vizier, in his tour to Bul- 
garia, ordered to instant execution a poor lad who, 
in defence of a companion from the foulest assault 
which is heard of in the laws of any civilized country, 
struck and killed one of the assailants. And what 
the Grand Vizier then did is — I will not say law, 
for this is too noble a term to be used to palliate 
such atrocities — but the practice throughout Turkey. 
But be it so, we must, say men who aspire to be 

* Speech of Mr Cobden in House of Commons, May 29th, 
1663. 



234 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

thought statesmen, ' maintain ' this accursed empire, 
this reign of lawlessness, this institution of persecu- 
tion. We must — because it is our policy. We dare 
not plead that it is right, that it is just, that it is in 
accordance with our principles, that it squares with 
our professions. Call it, however, what we will. It 
is surely impossible that a policy so barren of good 
fruit, so cankered with injustice, should be much 
longer persisted in. We cannot, if we would, ' main- 
tain the integrity of Turkey,' by which liberal poli- 
ticians mean the government of the Sultan — the rule 
of the handful of pashas who spoil and evil intreat 
the people of that country. Let us, if we must needs 
interfere at all, do so for Turkey itself — for the in- 
habitants of that fair and fertile land. If indifferent 
to the sufferings of our brethren, it surely becomes 
us to endeavour to set limits to the encroachment of 
the desert — to attempt to stay the desolation of those 
lands which their Maker and ours has enriched with 
all that can delight the eye or satisfy the wants of 
man. Honour, natural instinct, a common faith, 
should lead us to desire that the people who, in this 
fruitful cradle of nations, are fast rising to manhood, 
should do so with hearts beating with gratitude and 
affection for England, and not with the bitter feelings 
of hatred. Let us not thwart and repress their 



CONCLUSION. 235 

generous longings to tread in the same path of free- 
dom which, by God's blessing, has led this nation of 
England to so much happiness and greatness ; but 
rather let us encourage them in their efforts to 
emancipate themselves from the sensual and degrad- 
ing despotism which presses heavily upon their necks 
and corrupts their moral nature. In pursuing a 
magnanimous policy we shall be treading in the 
safest path ; whilst, on the other hand, we may be 
assured that a policy which is based upon wrong can- 
not prosper, and that the Nemesis which follows a 
nation is even more quick-footed than that which 
haunts the steps of an individual. 

I do not propose to speak of what English policy 
should be. I do not believe, however, that there 
are any extraordinary difficulties in the way of our 
acting honourably, and justly, and humanely, to the 
people of Turkey. And in stating this opinion I 
am satisfied with the weighty authority of the 
statesman most thoroughly acquainted with the con- 
dition of Turkey, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. It is 
a serious imputation upon most of our statesmen, 
however, that though more than fifty years have 
passed by since this ' Eastern Question ' first rose 
before their eyes, they utter to-day the same help- 
less cry which they did half a century ago, ' Non pos- 



236 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

sumus' — we know not what to do. And then to 
account for their inaction they conjure up terrible 
dreams of Mahometan discontent, and of possible 
insurrection in India, wars in Europe, and massa- 
cres of Christian subjects in Turkey. I would not 
undervalue danger. Those, however, who are best 
able to speak as to our Mussulman fellow- subjects 
declare that the danger of discontent in India is 
imaginary. Not, however, to intrude into the region 
of dreams and of fiction, it may be well for us to re- 
member that the Mussulman outbreak and mutiny 
in India took place at the moment we had shown 
our friendship for, not our hostility to, the Sultan of 
Turkey ; that a European war has never broken out 
in consequence of our intervention in favour of the 
Christian people of J Turkey, though a very bitter, 
and bloody, and costly war was the result of our in- 
tervention in favour of the oppressor of the Chris- 
tians ; and that massacres have always taken place at 
the moment when the Porte believed itself safe in 
defying the indignation of Europe, when it thought 
that it could safely depend upon British arms to 
shield it from punishment — in a word, when English 
influence has been paramount at Constantinople. In 
the spring of this year the correspondents of the 
English press, writing from that city, bore uniform 



CONCLUSION. 237 

testimony to the fact that Russian influence had 
waned away, and that the power and influence of the 
English ambassador were again predominant, and 
then — let Bulgaria tell the rest.* 

It is time that this pretext for a policy were at 
an end. The alliance is degrading England more 
even than it is maintaining Turkey. It is filling 
our history with the record of actions as base as 
those which we find in the chronicles of the Turks. 
It is making us as faithless to all high and noble 
instincts as the Sultan is to treaties. It is deaden- 
ing our conscience to wrong. It is tainting our 
public men, so that they are not ashamed to disre- 
gard truth as much as a Turkish pasha does. It 
cannot be persisted in without the violation of every 
principle of a true English policy and the sacrifice 
of every English virtue. For surely to disregard 
those principles which are enshrined in our laws, and 
embalmed in our literature, regardless of what evil 
we inflict — to strike hands with the oppressor — to 

* During the height of the Bulgarian massacres our 
Ambassador at Constantinople thus writes: — 'There is at 
this moment among all classes, both of Turks and Christ- 
ians, an enthusiasm for Great Britain, which puts her 
Majesty's Government in a position in this country which 
they have not held for many years.' — Sir Henry Elliot to 
Lord Derby, May 31st, 1876. Correspondence on the Affairs 
of Turkey, No. 3, p. 238. 



238 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

assist the faithless masters in afflicting their slaves — 
to support, to our own heavy injury, the persecutor 
in his barbarous treatment of those whom a common 
humanity binds to our fortune, and ought to bind 
still closer to our sympathies — is injustice for which 
we must needs suffer — is dishonour from which we 
may well shrink — is wrong for which we shall have 
to atone. 



239 



POSTSCRIPT. 

Whilst this volume was passing through the 
press I received a letter from Dr Thomson, for many 
years resident at Beyrout, and author of The Land 
and the Book. No one is more entitled to speak of 
Turkey, no one knows the condition of the people, 
both Christian and Mussulman, better than he does, 
and the solemn warning which he gives may well be 
pondered on at this crisis. I had written to him for 
some information, and in his letter in reply he says — 
' — There is at this moment terrible danger lest these 
down-trodden Bulgarians should be left to the 
tender mercies of the Turk ; and if under any 
plea this be done, then their condition will be far 
more intolerable than it was before. This sublime 
uprising of the English nation in their behalf will 
only add to the fury of their brutal enemies. Every 
great meeting, every resolution passed, every speech 
delivered, the publication of your own pamphlet, 
will only add to their calamities. The Turks will 



240 THE CHRISTIANS OF TURKEY. 

avenge themselves for all this manifestation of 
horror and indignation in those on whose behalf it 
has been manifested, and every guinea you con- 
tribute to their relief will be wrested from them with 
savage cruelty.' 

In a letter written to me a few days after the 
one in which this sentence occurs, Dr Thomson says — 
' For England now to use her powerful influence to 
force back these poor sufferers under the Turk, under 
any form, and from any pretended necessity, will be 
more monstrous than the conduct of the Bashi- 
bazuks themselves. I apprehend that the great 
English people must speak in tones still more stern 
to the present holders of power, or they may find, 
with shame and dismay, that all their efforts have 
only plunged the wretched sufferers into deeper 
despair and more fearful calamity.' ' 

Only in the complete independence of Bulgaria, 
an independence at least as complete as that of Ser- 
via, is there the least possibility of security for life 
and property. 



JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PBINTEES. 



Ifi 



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