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which have already served their time, and are no longer alluded to even as pretexts. The next question is, What progress has been made in the matter of taxation, and in the removal of class disabilities? Viewed with reference to the population, the revenue of Turkey is so small that the public burdens would not seem to press heavily on individuals. Assuming thirty millions? to be the number of the inhabitants of the Turkish dominions, and taking the revenue in round numbers at fifteen millions, the pressure would be no more than ten shillings per head. But this would give a very erroneous idea of the actual condition of the labouring classes. The tithe of agricultural produce, which forms the back-bone of the revenue, " is collected by speculators, who purchase from the Government the right of collection, hoping to receive from cultivators a greater amount than the price paid.” In general it is the provincial council that thus buys up the tithes of a district, and so unlimited is their power of extortion, that instances are by no means rare of their exacting from the unhappy cultivator thirty-five per cent. instead of ten. In addition to this a variety of presents in the shape of lambs, fruit, and forage, are wrung from the villagers, who are exposed as much to the violence and licentious passions of the tax-gátherer and his satellites as to their cupidity. One of the boons held out to the non-Moslem subjects of the Porte in the Hati-Humáyún was the abrogation of the capitation-tax, and to this was added a right of admission into military service. But this apparent concession has been changed into a fresh source of oppression. The capitation-tax reappears as the bedelieh askerieh, or tax in lieu of military service, which is a permanent impost levied whether a conscription is going on or not, and is at least double the amount of the sum formerly exacted under the name of capitation. At the same time none but a Mohammedan could really enter the Turkish army, for, to say nothing of insults, his
1 According to the census of 1844, the population of European and Asiatic Turkey, together with that of Tripoli, Fez, and Tunis, amounts to 33,350,000. But of these the Arabs number 885,000 in Asia, and 3,800,000 in Africa (The Resources of Turkey, by J. L. Farley, p. 3), and many of the Arab tribes, the Anezi, for example (Rambles in Syria, p. 29), pay no taxes to Government. The revenue for 1862 is calculated by Fuad Pasha at £15,118,640. (See Resources of Turkey, p. 29.)
2 Mr. Farley says (Resources of Turkey, p. 18), “ It is not the fiscal dues imposed by the State which are burdensome to the people ; on the contrary, taxation in Turkey is much lighter than in most other countries. It is the abuses of collec the extortion of the revenue farmers or their agents, and the numerous rates of interest charged by the Saraffs, that oppress the agriculturist, and by retarding the development of the vast natural resources of the empire, prevent her from taking that position among the commercial nations of Europe to which by nature she is eminently entitled."
Food of the Labouring Classes.
life would not be safe from the fanatical violence of his fellowsoldiers. In this respect the army of the Shah contrasts very favourably with that of the Sultan, for instances have occurred in which Mohammedan regiments in Persia have combined to save the lives of Nestorian Christians serving in their ranks.
While on the subject of taxation, it is only fair to say that the author of Rambles in Syria, after speaking of the extortion to which the agricultural classes, and all, whatever their avocation, who are not Mohammedans, are subjected, nevertheless asserts that the taxation is not severe. “I believe,” he writes, " that, in comparison with other countries, the population of Turkey is on the whole lightly taxed.” But it is quite evident that he is here looking rather at the amount of revenue raised, and of taxation per head, than at the ability of the population to pay. The best proof of the miserable condition of the people is the food on which they are obliged to support themselves. Of the whole Arab population, amounting to several millions, the same author writes, “ they never taste animal food, except when a sheep is slaughtered for a guest. Their ordinary food is bread dipped in melted butter, but they are often reduced to camel's milk, either alone or with a few dates.” The Irregulars under Háji Batrán were glad to feast on the flesh of a hyena. The Turkumans, who number about two hundred thousand, still live as in the time of Burckhardt, “ they taste flesh only upon extraordinary occasions." Yet these are professional robbers; and partly by plundering, partly by legitimate traffic, are in a position of luxury compared with the Fellahs or cultivators. The condition of these latter has not improved one whit since the days of the above-named traveller, who speaks of them thus :-“ The Fellahs live wretchedly; whenever they are able to scrape together a small pittance, their masters take it from them under the pretence of borrowing it. I was treated by several of them at di er with the best dish they could affordbad oil with coarse bread. They never taste meat except when they kill a cow or an ox, disabled by sickness or age; the greater part of them live literally upon bread and water.” European travellers, especially if they are officials or men of rank, are purposely hindered from seeing the poverty of the land in travelling through Turkey. But let them leave the highroad, put off the name and dress of Englishmen, and take shelter in the villages at random, as Burckhardt did, and they will soon learn the truth. What is said by Mr. Senior's informant of the state of the masses in Egypt, applies generally to the people all over Asiatic Turkey. “The habits of the - The agri
1 Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, Appendix I. 2 Journal kept in Egypt in 1855 and 1856 (Victoria Magazine, April 1864).
mass of the people are so bad, their bodies are so filthy, their dwellings are so wretched, their food is so ill prepared (and it may be added so unfit for man), that the climate must be excellent, or they could not live." To the excellence of the climate must be added also the fertility of the soil in most parts of Turkey, as the real reason why the scanty population does not dwindle even below its present number. cultural improvements,”1 says the author of Rambles in Syria, “seen on the plain, are still very primitive, and the science of husbandry remains in a stunted infancy; but the soil is so marvellously productive that heavy crops are obtained by merely throwing seed into shallow furrows scraped by the most wretched of ploughs, without harrowing, rolling, or weeding." As for the Turks themselves they are naturally averse to husbandry, and, if they had not Christians and others for their farm-serfs, would scarcely be induced to till the earth's surface at all. “Look,' said one of them, ‘at these, hills of El Himr, here a man can subsist without labour. There are sixteen kinds of roots here on which life can be supported, and amongst them the wild onion; what more is required ?'”
With absolute insecurity for life and property, with such preservers of the peace as Háji Batrán, with taxation carried to the utmost limits that the misery of the masses will allow; what, it may be asked, has been gained for Turkey by the Háti-Humáyún, and all the expenditure of blood and treasure in the Crimea ? There is but one reform to which the partisans of the Turks can point, and that is the security of life to converts from Islamism, or to those who lapse to their former faith after becoming Mohammedans. It is not so very long since that an Armenian, who had become a Mohammedan, and reverted to Christianity, was put to death at Constantinople. It is said that application was made to the British Embassy to interfere on that occasion, but that the intervention, however it was conducted, failed. A formal execution at the capital on such a charge would now, of course, be impossible, but, in spite of this, it is more than doubtful whether any step has been made in the right direction. Though a lapsed convert could not be openly put to death at Constantinople, his danger at any distant town would be extreme, and his execution certain, if the Mohammedan authorities were assured that the affair could not possibly come to the knowledge of a European Consul. If this be doubted, let reference be made to the unbiassed and unquestionable authority of the author of Rambles in Syria. His opinion on this head, which has been already quoted (see p. 477), is delivered in the clearest terms, and must be echoed by
1 Rambles in Syria, p. 86.
every one who pretends to a real acquaintance with the Turkish character, and the present state of feeling among all classes of the Mohammedan population in the Turkish Empire.
But more impressive and convincing than the language of any writer is the testimony of events. Is it the case, that since the Crimean War the Christian population of Turkey has lived in greater security, and that the old Mohammedan rigour has been softened towards a faith whose followers have saved Mohammedan power from being torn up by the roots ? What is to be said, then, of Jeddah? of the massacres in the Lebanon, at Deir-el Kamar, at Hasbeya and Rasheya, and at Zahleh? These places were destroyed by fire, and 3600 Maronites were slain in them. The same scenes of horror that occurred at Aleppo nine years and a half before, when for three weeks the Christian quarter was given up to pillage and the sword, would doubtless have been repeated in 1860, but for the firmness of Omar Pacha, a Russian refugee. What would have occurred at Aleppo may be inferred from what did occur at Damascus, where 1280 Christians were barbarously murdered, and every conceivable outrage that the most fiendish cruelty could suggest, was perpetrated on an unoffending population. It is true that the authors of these atrocities were punished, that Ahmed Pasha, the governor of Damascus, the commandants of Hasbeya and Rasheya, and a colonel of irregulars, with 117 of his officers and soldiers, and several civilians were shot, that 66 other ringleaders in the massacres were hanged, and 550 sentenced to hard labour for life or for twenty years. But these retributive acts were due to French intervention, and were in no degree ascribable to any regard for justice on the part of the Turkish Government.
It may be said, however, that the whole epoch of the Crimean War was fraught with bitter humiliation to the Turks, that to have required and received the aid of Christians to save them from being trampled under foot by Christians, was in itself inexpressibly galling to their proud spirit; that their pride was still further wounded when the Sultan was compelled to proclaim, as the price of the intervention which had saved his empire, equality of rights to all his subjects, and abolish the pre-eminence of the Osmanli, which for centuries had never been called in question; and that a violent revulsion of feeling was the inevitable result of such compulsory obedience to the wishes of a despised sect, but that the explosion once over the danger of reaction is past. This line of argument leads to the investigation of the second of the two questions with which we set out. It must, indeed, be admitted that hitherto the promised reforms in Turkey have not borne fruit, that there have been recent evidences of the continuance of the old rancorous spirit in the dominant race, that there is the same disorganization and anarchy and oppression, that for so many years have been indignantly described by so many writers; but may not a better time be looked for, when by the development of commerce, the immigration of Europeans, and incessant contact with Western civilisation, the Turkish character itself may be altered, Mohammedan prejudices softened, and the equality of rights for all Turkish subjects, which has been now twice proclaimed by imperial edicts, be really established ?
Were it indeed the case that the fanatical, unbending spirit which was formerly so characteristic of the Osmanli, was now found only in the lower order of Turks, or in those who, from residing in the interior, are less exposed to contact with European ideas, there might be some hope of improvement. But this is far from being the case. The higher classes of Turks, even those who have resided in the capitals of the European States, and who have mixed in European society, still continue quite devoid of those free and generous notions which are the true source of all real progress. The Government itself, though it yields to the remonstrances of the European ambassadors, returns to its original form wherever and whenever the pressure is removed. For example, retribution was exacted by the French for the massacres of 1860. The Porte yielded to the pressure, and about 740 Mohammedans suffered death or imprisonment, but no sooner was the excitement over than Namik Pasha, who was governor of Jeddah during the massacre, was appointed to the highest disposable command in the empire, the government of Baghdad, where he is at this moment. Namik Pasha is, besides, an excellent illustration in his own person of the unchangeable character of the Turk, under continual contact with European civilisation. He has resided in both England and France; he speaks French almost as well as a native of France; he affects a great regard and admiration for Lord Palmerston. Yet it is notorious that there is not a more bigoted and relentless Turk in the whole empire. Not to speak of Jeddah, it is well known that his constant aim is to resist European influence, and to mortify and harass those who are under consular protection. It is said, that having by an effort of this kind brought down on himself a sharp reprimand from the Porte, he was ordered to apologize to some European functionary, who, the better to insure the amende being made, was supplied with a copy of the despatch. Armed with this paper the European proceeded to an interview with the Pasha, who received him as usual, and said nothing about the instructions. At last the visitor, growing impatient, inquired if such a despatch had been received. “Yes !” said the Pasha, “ the order has arrived. The