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Sultan can take my head, but I will never apologize to an infidel.” It may easily be imagined how little respect is shown under such a viceroy to the regulations of the Hati-Humáyún. Thus, in that edict it is said: “All foreigners may possess landed property, obeying the laws and paying the taxes; for this purpose arrangements shall be made with foreign powers.” As a matter of fact, there are foreigners possessing land in the Pashalik of Baghdad, but an inquiry into their grievances would discover many curious circumstances. At a station, for instance, not very far from Baghdad, there is a most commodious caravanserah built by a foreigner. It is very much needed where it stands, and would be a great convenience to the public, but for some reason or other no one has ever entered it, or is likely to do so under the present régime.
The author of the Rambles in Syria admits most fully the wretched state of Turkey, and distinctly avows his disbelief in any improvement proceeding from the Government itself. At the same time he does not altogether despair of a change for the better under certain circumstances. His panacea is “a steady but not violent pressure from without," coupled with “the influence of European settlers." But under the most favourable circumstances, he thinks that progress in Turkey must be a work of time, and that whether the change that has commenced will reach a fortunate issue or not, is still an unsolved problem. It is fair to quote his opinions at length in his own words, before commenting on them
“Police is not what is most wanted in Turkey; it is government. The want of government creates here lawless classes, not individual criminals. Lord Macaulay says that no ordinary misgovernment will do as much to make a nation wretched as the constant effort of every man to better himself will do to make a nation prosperous. The constant effort of most Turks to better themselves belongs to one of two descriptions ; plunder and bribed connivance. High and low, official and unofficial, rich and poor, all follow the tortuous groove of peculation, corruption, and extortion, on the one hand, or are addicted, on the other, to armed depredations. I allude, of course, only to the provinces of Turkey, as I have already more than once specified in remarking on the state of the country. Were the astonishing perseverance and ingenuity employed in the pursuit of illicit gain, and the great courage and skill displayed in acts of violence, turned into the wide and legitimate channel referred to by our distinguished historian, they would, by a parity of reasoning, make the nation very prosperous. But to effect anything of the kind, a new social order must be inaugurated, which would admit of both classes earning their livelihood honestly, and some moral distinction must be established between what is right and what is wrong, that crime should be stigmatized. For the usual isolated disturbances, remedial measures, more or less prompt
and efficacious, may be expected from the Turks, but, when a people is thus perverted, as well as misgoverned, all practical improvement to be looked for from the Porte can, I fear, be of little avail. The evil is deep-seated in a country where labour is not allowed to be productive, and plunder in all its varieties is encouraged by sharing its profits. Lord Macaulay's ordinary misgovernment theory has no application here. This is a stupendous misgovernment, and the nation is
"By putting a check upon the abuse of power through its equal distribution between Mussulmans and Christians, by effecting a more equitable arrangement of the respective and relative rights of conflicting sects, and by opening the country to foreign colonists, along with an absolute prohibition of foreign protection and local interference, these ends might be attained in so far as legislative means can avail. Interests now antagonistic would thus be bound together. The labourer or artisan, no longer forced to work for another, might then work for that other while working for himself. A middle class would spring up from such a regulation of social rights in proportion as prosperity might enable the cultivator and tradesman to extend their operations, and according as necessity might oblige the great proprietor of land and looms to become himself industrious. Trade would then be indigenous, and wealth would cease to be monopolized by local magnates and foreign speculators, while money, instead of filling the coffers of a favoured few, leaving the provinces to purchase influence, or being sent abroad by strangers, would circulate at home, begetting affluence, producing what is now imported, and remaining in the country as the stock of future generations. The missing links in the social chain once supplied, the equilibrium essential to productive harmony established, the different wheels of the machine so adjusted as to work well alone, and the population brought to the normal state of well-regulated society, prosperity would become possible, and good government certain. The hour of redemption from starving pride on the one hand, and from debasing servitude on the other, sounded for millions of human beings at the close of the Crimean War. The lapse of a certain interval between the shock of a great conflict, and the realization of its stipulated and proclaimed results, naturally took place. The shaken supremacy of the dominant race oscillated for a time, and Europe looked on in expectation of the final practical abolition of all class privileges. Matters have settled down, however, on their former basis. The decree, comprising the germs of such important social and political changes, has remained a dead letter, in so far as regards all practical results. The warning conveyed to the tottering throne of Turkey has hitherto been disregarded. Unaided and unwatched, one can have but little confidence in the administrative abilities and political morality of any man or set of men in Turkey. With the exception of Fuad Pasha, Ahmed Wefik Effendi, and a select few, too few to achieve the rapid transformation of so vast and 80 corrupt an Empire, the best-intentioned Sultan has not instruments England's Policy towards Turkey.
at his disposal for such an undertaking. Hence arises the grievous evil of foreign local interference in the details of government, to which it may not be unfair to attribute in a great measure the failure of Turkey to keep her promises. She is not left time nor temper to do it under the constant teasing of embassies about trifles. Every one knows that our own ambassador has never followed that course, and that Sir Henry Bulwer has, on the contrary, contributed very efficaciously towards the realization of every good purpose of the Porte, while his not having always succeeded either in effecting progress or preventing evil is not to be wondered at in presence of other influences, less disinterested and beneficent, but equally entitled by position to claim the Sultan's careful consideration. I cannot doubt, however, that by a moderate and justifiable insistance on the adoption of obvious principles and practice, emanating directly from a friendly power, so as to escape the Scylla and Charybdis besetting the local approaches to the Porte, Turkey might be placed and kept in a train of improvement advantageous to herself and satisfactory to Europe. It must, certainly, be a work of time; for I imagine that a people cannot at once be raised, as was expected, from the actual state of the Sultan's subjects by international stipulations and imperial enactments, however beneficial and comprehensive they may appear, without passing through a period of transition. That period has commenced; whether or not it will ever arrive at a favourable issue, is still an unsolved problem, involving the peace of Europe.”
There are, it seems to us, two fallacies involved in these theories for the resuscitation of Turkey, as in similar views propounded by those whose opinions have been reported by Mr. Senior. The first of these fallacies is in speaking of “the steady but not violent pressure from without,” as if the welfare of Turkey was the prime object of all the European states, whereas there is nothing so certain as that, except England, Turkey has not a single real friend or disinterested ally. It is true that France, Sardinia, and, to a certain extent, Austria, combined with England to save Turkey in the Crimean War, but jealousy of Russia was the moving principle in that struggle, and not regard for the Porte. France has since then shown a strong disposition to join in the dismemberment of the country she protected; and were Austria assured of the impossibility of resisting Russian aggrandizement she would certainly, as the next best course, unite in plundering the fallen. There are not wanting politicians who would willingly assign the Principalities and perhaps Bosnia to Austria, and who would say, as was said to Mr. Senior, “Austria could hold them against Russia. Her interests are naturally the same as those of England. She is, as respects Western Europe, a pacific, unaggressive power. We
1 A Journal kept in Turkey and Greece in 1857 and 1858, p. 86. VOL. XL. ---NO. LXXX.
cannot strengthen her too much.” By an extraordinary combination of circumstances, France and England were able and willing to unite against Russia to preserve Turkey, but it is very improbable that such an alliance could be formed again for a similar purpose. In the meantime Russia has more than recovered the vantage-ground she lost by the Crimean War. In the first place, she has gained experience, and will never again advance by the difficult route of the Danube and the Balkan, though even in that direction her progress has not been slight, and there is truth in what was said by one of her diplomatists :1 “We are repaid for all our losses in the Crimea and in Bessarabia by what we have gained in the Principalities. From enemies we have made them friends.” But Russia has an efficient fleet of merchant steamers in the Black Sea, and before defensive measures could be adopted, might land 30,000 men in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, where they would find thousands of Greeks and other sympathizers to assist them.
But the great step which Russia has made, and it is one that more than compensates for the fall of Sebastopol, is the overthrow and expulsion of the Circassian tribes. As long as the almost impenetrable defiles of the Caucasus were occupied and defended by a hundred thousand such soldiers as the Circassians, the Russians never could have advanced in great force into the Turkish provinces. The giant of the North was chained like Prometheus to a rock, where the eagle of war fed on his vitals, but his fetters are now broken, and the way is clear. Into the localities deserted by the Circassians will pour a stream of Cossacks, and the great army of 200,000 men, which has been hitherto engaged in Caucasia, will now be able to detach twothirds of its number to invade Turkey or Persia. In the meantime, Turkey is likely to derive little benefit from the immigration of hordes of turbulent and semi-barbarous mountaineers. The author of the Rambles in Syria thus speaks of those who had immigrated into Turkey in 1860:2 " Robbery seems to be their present pursuit, while preparing to form agricultural settlements
. It would surely have been wise to reflect whether or not the authorities under whose rule they are intended to establish themselves, are in a position to preserve order, before thus adding to the number of a disorderly population.” On the whole, therefore, Russia is now in a better position for an attack on Turkey, and Turkey in a worse for resisting that attack than before the Crimean War; and to expect more forbearance from Russia now than formerly appears
1 A Journal kept in Turkey and Greece in 1857 and 1858, p. 96. 2 Rambles in the Deserts of Syria, p. 295.
The Circassian Exodus.
to be simply an absurdity, and the same reasoning applies, though in a less degree, to other European nations.
The second fallacy, which seems to pervade the arguments of alınost all those who maintain that the integrity of the Turkish Empire can be preserved is, the supposition that the Turks are willing to be assisted in the way their European allies think best. This is to take from the Turk all that distinguishes him from other sects and races, and to suppose him wholly uninfluenced by the religion which makes of him at one moment a moody bigot, at another a fanatical zealot. It is to ignore the testimony of all the most reliable witnesses, who assure us that the Turk is still “ what he was four centuries ago," that he retains "the characteristics of his savage intractable ancestors,”1 that “he is utterly unimprovable,” that he hates change, and therefore hates civilisation, hates Europeans, and hates and fears all that they propose." It is to deny the saying which is now in the mouths of even those Turks who have been most in contact with European ideas, and who reply to suggestions for the improvement of the races under their sway with the pithy saying, “ We came into Europe with the sword, and we will go out of it with the knife.”
Let those who expect improvement under the Turkish rule, or such modification of the rule as will render its continuance over millions of Christians possible in these days, examine well the character of the Mohammedan religion, and see whether it be reasonable to expect the desired changes while Islam continues the religion of the State, supported by a priesthood constituted as is that of Turkey. A very slight investigation of the principles of Islam will show that though they may, as Mohammedans boast, breathe freedom to the true believer, they absolutely enjoin restraint and degradation as the lot of all others. Were it not logically demonstrable, it is at least practically proved by the history of eleven hundred years, that Mohammedanism and civilisation are incompatible. The utmost that can be achieved with Islanı as the religion of the State, is a strong government under an absolute monarch. With such a government there may be considerable development of national resources, a magnificent court, and much splendour of living in the families of the chiefs or nobles, but the state of the people will be such as it was under Mohammed Ali, Pacha of Egypt. The security of the subject under such a ruler is well illustrated by the story of the jaded courier who had brought a letter of importance to the Pacha. As this unfortunate had been told that the errand was urgent he had exerted himself to the utmost
1 Rambles in the Deserts of Syria, pp. 44, 98.