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THE TURKISH REVOLUTION.
Three points are especially interest- tan-Caliph, were recognized to be of ing in connection with the remarkable such magnitude by the party as to change which has taken place in the cause it to believe that at least two or condition of the Ottoman Empire. three years more would be necessary Firstly, the unprecedented manner in to bring about that general revolt of which one of the most despotically gov- the troops upon which it had rightly erned countries in the world has ac- centred its efforts and which, by dequired freedom; secondly, the prospects priving the Hamidian régime of its of a satisfactory working of the new principal support, would bring it to the order of things and its permanence-in ground. What hastened the event is other words, the prospects of real that the indescribably wretched condireformation which the transformation tion which has been the lot of the offers; thirdly, the feelings with which Turkish soldier under the autocracy of the modified situation in which Tur- Yildiz, and which none but men of his keq finds herself is viewed by her im- admirably patient and disciplined race mediate neighbors and by the rest of would have endured so long, became at the world.
last intolerable to him when he was I propose to deal with these three brought into contact with his fellowpoints as comprehensively as is possible subjects, most of them his co-religion. within the compass of a Review ar- ists, of the Macedonian Gendarmerie, ticle.
whose treatment, under European suThe re-establishment by Abd-ul- pervision, formed such a contrast to Hamid of the Constitution he had pro
his own. The army concentrated in mulgated in 1876, and almost immedi- Macedonia, which represented fourately afterwards suspended, came as fifths of the military establishment of a tremendous surprise to everybody, Turkey, having revolted, the movement not excepting the chiefs of the Young spread with lightning rapidity to the Turkey party, who did not expect such neighboring troops in the Vilayet of a sudden fruition of their patriotic la Adrianople, and from them to those bors. Undoubtedly these labors have in the vicinity of Constantinople, bebeen very great during the last ten cause it arose from a reaction against years or so, and marked by an ability unbearable sufferings common to all and perseverance which reflect the the soldiers of the Sultan, with the exgreatest credit on the reorganizer of ception of those belonging to the panthe party, Prince Sabah-ed-dine, own pered Guard, garrisoned around Yildiz nephew of Abd-ul-Hamid, who, at the itself, and also because, unlike former early age of thirty, has gained undying mutinies, the rebellion in Macedonia glory as the prime agent in the de- broke out in the midst of a whole Army struction of one of the most infamous Corps simultaneously, and thus gave and yet most deeply-rooted political encouragement to other units and disystems in the world. But the obsta- visions to follow suit. cles to success opposed by the ill-in- The Young Turkey party had no anspired genius of Abd-ul-Hamid, and the ticipation of this happy precipitation extraordinary difficulty of weaning of events, due to unforeseen causes; the Turkish peasant, who forms the but no sooner had the tendency manbackbone of the Turkish army, from ifested itself among the rank and file his almost animal devotion to the Sul- to take into its own hands the matter
of the reformation of their lot-their three days—the crowned Machiavelli object was purely selfish in the begin- of modern times could not bring himping, and confined to the desire of self to believe that the system he had remedying military grievances only, devised for preventing his subjects, than the party intervened through the and especially his troops, from comnumerous officers affiliated to its bining against him in any but a spocouse, and, adjusting the movement to radic and timid manner-that system its general purposes, gave it the sig- which we cannot help admiring as a nificance of a political rising, which marvel of ingenuity, knowledge of huled, in an extraordinarily short time, man nature, and singleness of purpose to the attainment of its fundamental --had failed to act after serving him programme.
Herein lies the great so well for thirty-one years. When, merit of Prince Sabah-ed-dine and his however, with the quick perception coadjutors. They were prepared for which is one of the attributes of his emergencies because they had patiently extraordinary intellect, he realized that established a wide-spread connection this was the case, and that resistance with the regimental officers of the to the wishes of the nation was out of Turkish Army, the great majority of the question, he promptly adapted himwhom had personal as well as patriotic self to the new situation and, shedmotives for adhering to the Young Tur- ding the despot, entered into the skin key creed, but who ran the greatest of a constitutional sovereign with a risks in joining the ranks of the facility and good grace which came as party. In this way a military revolt a revelation even to those most inwas promptly transformed into a rey- timately acquainted with him. It was olution: the first, be it noted, which an axiom with all students of Abd-ulhas taken place in the history of Tur- Hamid's character that, rather than key. It is a fact that, so far, all de- part with the omnipotence of despotthronements and other forced political ism, which appeared to be as neceschanges in the Ottoman Empire have sary an element of existence to him is. been the result of conspiracies or re- the breath of his nostrils, he would volts. It is a sign of the times that, confront a hundred deaths or put an whereas it has been impossible in the end to his days with his own hands. past to bring the Turkish masses into Is he not authentically known to have line against the throne, because to said that, so long as he could remain them it represented an intangible Idol, the absolute master of his subjects, semi-religious, semi-political, they have the Empire might shrink to the size of been awakened by their sufferings into a single province? And does not the a notion of solidarity, the underlying whole history of his reign confirm this element of which is a new-born spirit statement? Does it not teach that his. of criticism in regard to the Sultan- object has been to weaken the Empire Caliph. The great difference between systematically, methodically, unrelentthe Turkish upheaval of 1876 and the ingly, in order the better to dominate present one is that the former repre. it, but nicely calculating withal his desented the ideas of a small group of structive action so as to prevent the enlightened patriots, whereas the latter fabric from collapsing entirely before is thoroughly national in character. his death, and thus have some terri
The rôle played by Abd-ul-Hamid in tory, if only that single province of the drama which has just been en- which we have just spoken, to domacted is intensely interesting to an- inate? Never in history has the motto alyze. At first-that is, during two or of "Après moi le déluge” been more
thoroughly followed than by Abd-ul- destined to become the best sovereign Hamid as Sultan of Turkey. And yet Turkey has ever had, after having certhat very man, when confronted by tainly been the worst. None better the inevitable in the shape of an un- than he, possessed as he is of an inexpected revolution, bows to it, and comparable experience, a unique coup says to his subjects: "I thoroughly d'ail, and a deftness of touch that identify myself with the change. My makes a very magician of him, could dearest wish is to preside over its suc- pilot the ship of State through the cessful development.” And he means stormy seas of reform; for stormy they what he says. Not that he would not will soon become, the present glad calm take advantage of the smallest chance and sunshine being the result of temof recovering his lost power; but, see- porary causes, as will be presently exing none, and rightly so, for reasons plained. Who knows but what Abdwhich will presently appear, he has no ul-Hamid may yet wipe out the memalternative, since he has decided to re- ory of the wrongs he has inflicted upon main on the throne, but to play the his country by services of equal mag. part of constitutional sovereign as thor- nitude? oughly as he has typified that of des- Another very remarkable circumpot. It is indeed a wonder that, in- stance accompanying the Turkish Revstead of abdicating committing olution, and which justifies the pretty suicide-as one would have expected name given to it by Hilmi Pasha, of a ruler who, having sacrificed every- unc évolution sans tache, is that it has thing to the possession of absolute given rise to no excesses on the part power, and having enjoyed it in all its of the soldiery or the civilian populaOriental plenitude for thirty-one years, tion. The movement has been, so far, is suddenly deprived of it-he should kept well in hand by the Young Turkey bend himself to the tameness of limited leaders, who have used their newmonarchy. It is only another reason found power with a tact and moderafor admiring this prodigious man, in tion equal to the consummate skill and whom will-power is evidently the su- dogged perseverance which has led to preme quality among so many other the triumph of their programme. Only remarkable attributes. But, it may be two cases of violence against the repasked, what is it that has caused him resentatives of the former régime, of to exercise his will-power in the direc- which the horrors were sufficient to tion he has adopted. No doubt the fact justify the most terrible reprisals on that, being no longer able to sacrifice the part of the population, have been the Empire to his misguided ambition, recorded up to date. Fehim Pasha, he has suddenly awakened to a sense perhaps the greatest villain of the inof patriotism, and wishes to make famous gang which served as an inamends to his country by serving it in strument for the execution of the now the only capacity left to him, that of defunct policy of Yildiz, was lynched constitutional sovereign. Be that as it at Broussa by the mob, and another may, we need not hesitate to believe myrmidon of the palace, a notorious the genius of Abd-ul-Hamid will act spy, was badly beaten at Salonica. For now as an invaluable aid to Turkey, the rest, arrest and imprisonment as invaluable in the present as its ill- have been the only forms of punishdirected action in the past has been ment to which recourse has been had. incalculably injurious to her. The As for pillaging or even mafficking, writer is firmly convinced that, if only there has been no instance of them. he live long enough, Abd-ul-Hamid is This constitutes the highest testimonial not only in favor of the leaders of the the second point of my article, namely, movement but of the Musulman popu- the prospects of good working and dulation at large, and more especially the rability of the new order of things in predominant Turkish element, which Turkey. was credited in so many quarters with The Turks proper, the founders of every instinct of brutality but has the Ottoman Empire, of which they given the world, not excluding the have always been and will continue to West, which indulges in such com- remain the axis, and which is complacent self-laudation, a lesson in self- posed of nearly as many nationalities restraint and generosity which should as the mosaic of peoples governed by receive ample recognition from the de- the Hapsburgs, are giving conclusive tractors of the race, its English de- proofs of their sincere desire to weld tractors especially, who have been the variegated and, so far, antagonistic loudest in their denunciations of the populations of Turkey into one whole. "unspeakable Turk.” It is only fair inspired by a feeling of common citto add that it is in England also that izenship. This is natural. Chastened Turkey has found her staunchest by a bitter experience, the Turks have friends, and that they have always become fully aware that they can only formed the majority of the population. keep together what remains of the in
While it developed without display- heritance of Osman, their inheritance, ing excesses of any kind, the Turkish through the contentment of the races Revolution has been marked by the fra- they have conquered. It is for this reaternization of Musulmans and Chris- son that the first care of the Young tians, and of Christians among them- Turkey party in its hour of triumph selves, and, still more astonishing has been to proclaim and emphasize phenomenon, by the surrendering to what, du reste, constitutes one of the the Turkish authorities of the “Com- fundamental principles of the resusciitadji" bands of Macedonia. But this tated Constitution of Midhat Pasha, fraternization, so far as the majority namely, the equality before the law, of the Christians is concerned, is at- under the common name of Ottomans, tributable to permanent feeling. of all the elements of the heterogeneous Overjoyed at the suppression of the tyr- multitude which inhabits the Empire. alny which weighed so heavily on
The Turkish population (I am still them, the Christians, thinking for the speaking of the Turks proper) has cormoment of nothing else but of man- dially adhered to this notion of its ifesting their wild delight, fell on the leaders. Few incidents in history are necks of their Musulman compatriots, more touching than the visit paid by who had already moved to meet them a large assemblage of Turks to the Armore than half way. The latter are menian cemetery in Constantinople in certainly inspired by a sincere desire order to deposit floral tributes on the for permanent reconciliation. But it
graves of the victims of the massacre is just as certain that the former, or of 1894 and to have prayers recited, by at least certain nationalities among a priest of their own persuasion, over them, will sooner or later, rather the butchered dead. Truly, the Turks sooner than later, freeze into indiffer- have shown to extraordinary advanence and from indifference pass back tage during the present crisis. Vot to hostility. As for the "('omitadjis," only have they displayed marked steadthe latest news to hand is to the effect iness of demeanor in a situation which that they are already reverting to their would have produced disorderly intoxforner occupation. This brings me to ication in most nations, but they have
also acted like men of feeling and re- do, less than 2,000,000, between two tinement, confirming the verdict of such powerful neighbors as Russia and those who knew them best that they are Turkey. The Poles, who form a com"the gentlemen of the East." And they pact ethnic mass numbering 20,000,000, have been well served by their in- and who possess at least as much pastincts. For, if anything was calcu- triotism and vitality, not to speak of lated to placate the Armenians and civilization, as the Armenians, have rethrow them into the arms of the race nounced the idea, not, indeed, of refrom whose midst sprang their arch gaining the unity of which the partition tormentor and which, though it did not of their country has deprived them -lend itself to the execution of the san- that will come—but of reconstituting guinary anti-Armenian policy of the an independent political entity. With Yildiz-it is the Kurds who are guilty the sense of realities they have develof this revolting complacency-yet has oped in the school of adversity they much with which to reproach itself in have understood that, situated as they regard to them, it is this charmingly are numerically and geographically, simple act of contrition and redemp- the extreme form of self-government tion.
they can attain is that of autonomy as The Turks have offered moral rep- federal member of one of the two giaration, in this and other gracefully in- gantic States between which and Ausspired forms, to the Armenians for past tria their territory is divided, namely ill-treatment, and the latter having ac- Russia, who offers them the advantage cepted it in the same spirit, while, on the of reconciliation and union with a kinother hand, the re-establishment of the dred race. Can the Armenians hope Constitution of 1876 has been already to do better than the Poles? As a mataccompanied by preliminary measures ter of fact, only a small minority of the of reform and other circumstances leaders of the race, which is sensible which make it imperative on every in the main, and has calmed down from fair-minded person to give the ruling the chimerical exaltation which poelement in Turkey credit for the ear- sessed it at one time, as it possessed nest desire and the ability to introduce the Poles, have aspired for anything competent government into the Empire else but happy conditions of existence -a point to which I will revert with uder Turkish rule. Excellent foundagreater wealth of argument at the end tions for this exist in the very considof this article, asking my readers to erable autonomy which the Armenians take it provisionally for granted that as well as the other non-Musulman the Turks deserve the full confidence elements of the Empire already enjoy of the world in the new rôle they have ir a form which is remarkable in that assumed-nothing stands in the way of it is racial, not territorial, and groups a permanent political association of the them into distinct units called two peoples.
Millet (nations) under their religious There are Armenians but there is no chiefs—Patriarchs, Exarchs, Rabbis, Armenia. In none of the Turkish vila- etc. If, to the full exercise of yets or Russian provinces included in this legally recognized privilege, the boundaries of the defunct Kingdom which, under the autocracy of Abdof Tigrane the Great do the Armenians ul-Hamid, received many checks, form the majority. Even if they did be added the benefits of a good impeand were well grouped geographically rial government, nothing will be wantthey could not dream of achieving ab- ing to make the lot of the Armenians, solute independence, counting, as they a people, as satisfactory as it is