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Title: Bleeding Armenia: Its history and horrors under the curse of Islam

Author: Augustus Warner Williams

M. Smbat Gabrielean

Release date: August 1, 2015 [eBook #49569]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



Newly Designed Front Cover.


Original Title Page.


Massacre of Armenians by Police, Softas and Kurds.

Massacre of Armenians by Police, Softas and Kurds.

Bleeding Armenia
Under the Curse of Islam
Fully and Appropriately Illustrated.


In offering to the public this volume on Bleeding Armenia under the Curse of Islam the writer does not seek to harrow the feelings of sensitive readers by the recital of blood-curdling outrages, tortures, murders, and butcherings; neither does he aim to discuss at any length the involved problems of the Eastern Question, but he does definitely seek to awaken interest in the history and fate of what may truly be called the Martyr Nation of the World.

It is not the isolated fact that Armenia is now undergoing a most terrible persecution, that fifty thousand or sixty thousand helpless men, women and children have already suffered death in every form which the most depraved nature, the most cruel instincts, the most bitter and fanatical hatred could devise, that so deeply arouses us; but the fact that for more than a thousand years this has been the bitter and bloody story of her wrongs—this is what staggers us.

That the reader may have some clearer conceptions of the present terrible situation in Armenia and of the causes which make her general condition one most deplorable to contemplate, its early history, civilization and conversion to Christianity is briefly sketched, and attention is called to the fact that its very geographical position has for many centuries made it the highway for the contending armies of the East and West.

Armenia has been the battle ground where diverse [6]systems of religion and civilization have fought for supremacy. Its fate has always been to suffer, whichever power was for the time victorious. It has been sometimes ground to powder between the upper and nether millstone.

The rise of that alien system of religion which is the most bitter and relentless persecutor of the Christian faith the world has ever seen is accurately sketched, and careful attention given to it because Christian people believe it to be true that the cause of the fiercest and most vindictive hatred of the Turk to Greek, Bulgarian or Armenian is primarily his loyalty to Mohammed and his hatred of Jesus as the Christ.

It were not in the heart of humanity to kindle the passions into a flame so fierce as to consume every element of mercy and compassion, unless these were set on fire by fiendish fanaticism or religious bigotry.

In this light these persecutions are but the irregular outbreak of that spirit of opposition which will never cease so long as Islam has power to draw the sword. From the hour that the Ottoman Turk was securely seated on that eastern throne of the Cæsars, there never has been peace, and there never can be while he holds the keys to the gateway of nations.

Without laborious disquisition, with only a sincere desire to let history tell its own story, some phases of the struggle for place, preëminence and power between England and Russia, which form the heart of the Eastern Question are also presented.

No one can be in the slightest doubt as to which side of the Turkish-Armenian question the policy of England leans. There is no question as to the fact that England has been the firmest friend to Turkey for [7]more than sixty years, and that the more she has feared the growing power of Russia the more resolutely she has stood by the Porte in spite of the atrocities which have marked the frequent persecutions of the Christian races under the sway of Islam.

Her purely selfish and commercial “interests” have caused the English government to be deaf to the cry of the decimated Bulgarians, and of Armenians to-day. The part that England played in elaborating the great treaties of Paris and of Berlin which controlled the issues of the Crimean and the Russo-Turkish wars stamps the character of her interests in the affairs of Turkey.

There is thus furnished in this historical data a broad ground on which public opinion in this country may call upon Great Britain in this hour of remorseless cruelty that she shall fulfil the treaty obligations which she most solemnly and publicly accepted and assumed and demand of the Porte at the mouth of shotted guns if need be, that the rights of Christian Armenians shall be defended and maintained by the whole power of the Turkish Empire.

The situation in Armenia is given with considerable fulness, though volumes could not contain a complete account of the sufferings that this long-doomed race has endured under the Curse of Islam.

The position that our government should occupy is that of high moral equity, the insistence upon the preservation of common rights of humanity irrespective of race or creed.

The immediate duty lying at our doors is to assist in relieving the distress even unto starvation, which hundreds of thousands of Armenians are now enduring. [8]Many will perish before aid can reach them. What is to be done must be done quickly.

This book while making little pretension to literary polish is the result of wide historical research and has been carefully written and edited, and is now cast upon the great tide of public opinion with the hope that it may stimulate permanent interest in the great problems which are at issue in the conflict between Christianity and Islam—that it may reach and move the springs of deepest sympathy for suffering Armenians; that it may rouse a more vigorous moral indignation against such crime and cruelty, and thereby assist in creating such a just and righteous public sentiment that our government may take such a stand as shall tell speedily for the bettering of the conditions of human existence in far off Armenia.

Thus confiding in the kindly consideration of a generous public, I send forth this book on the mission to which it is hereby dedicated, viz:—to plead the cause of Bleeding Armenia which is being done to death under the Curse of Islam. [9]





A Martyr Nation—Need of a Voice—Historical Annals at Nineveh—Abgar’s Letter to Jesus of Nazareth—Acceptance of Christianity—Council of Nice—Persian Conquests—Bible Translated—Great Persecutions—Dying for the Faith—Magi Driven Out—Saracens in Armenia—Fearful Tortures—Burned Alive—Bogha the Tyrant—Sultan of Turkey—Islam or Death—Yussuf the Persian—Great Horrors Repeated—Starvation—Peace Returns        21



Arabia—Mecca—Idolatry—Mohammed’s Birth—Carlyle on Islamism—The Hegira—Battle of Beder—Mecca Captured—Death of Mohammed—Golden Era of the Saracens—Khaled at Damascus—City Captured—Jerusalem Besieged—Capitulates—Persia Conquered—Egypt Won in a Day—Constantinople Besieged        44



Origin—Jerusalem Captured by the Turks—Peter the Hermit—Pope Urban—Crusade of the Mob—Walter the Penniless—Battle of Nicomedia—300,000 Perished in all—Crusade of the Kings and Nobles—Godfrey of Bouillon—Europe Moves Westward—Antioch—Jerusalem Captured July 14th, 1099—Godfrey Elected King        72



The Turcomans—Seljuks—Persia Conquered—Armenia Wasted—140,000 Slain—Ani with 1,001 Churches Falls—Awful Slaughter—Asia Minor Ravaged—Emperor of Constantinople Defeated—Damascus Falls—Saladin—Jerusalem Capitulates—Silence on the Coast—Jenghiz Khan—Armenia in Great Distress—Turks in Europe—Tamerlane—Armenia again in Torture—Pyramids of Human Skulls—Death of Tamerlane        104



Ottoman Empire Rising—Danger to Europe—Mohammed II. the Conqueror—Fortress Built at Gallipoli—Emperor Alarmed—Europe Indifferent—First Great Siege with Artillery—Seven Weeks Bombardment—Final [10]Assault—50,000 Ottomans Fall—Charge of the Janissaries—Constantine Died at His Post—Church of St. Sophia is turned into a Mosque—Islam sits on the Throne of Christianity        135



Four Centuries of Misrule—Chios, 40,000 Slain—Christians in Turkey Persecuted—Russia Demands their Protection—France and England against Russia—Czar’s Army Crosses into Moldavia—Sultan Declares War—Siege of Sebastopol—Treaty of Paris 1856—Turkish Loans—Revolt in Servia—Andrassy Note—Reforms Promised—Bulgarian Massacres—England Horror Struck—Gladstone on the Massacres—15,000 Butchered—Russia Arms for the Deliverance of the Christians        159



War Declared—Crossing the Danube—Siege of Plevna—Skobeleff’s Gallant Charge—Third Siege—Plevna Reduced and Surrenders—Alexander at the Danube—Shipka Pass—The Valley of Roses—Turkey Conquered—Adrianople—San Stefano—Berlin Treaty—Russia Robbed of her Victories        185



Questions of Policy—Palace Rule—Alarm of the Porte—Shrewd Diplomacy—Playing off the Powers—Balance of Power—Reforms Promised—Never Fulfilled        213



The First Chapter in Turkish Missions—Have Missions been a Failure—Modern Triumphs of the Gospel        250



Territory—Origin—Occupation—Character—Agriculture—Robbers—Cruelty of Warfare—Language—Homes—Women—Ruined Castles—Churches        277











Mission Stations—The Christian Herald—Red Cross Society—Miss Clara Barton        400



Despotic in Government—Intolerant in Religion—Evils of Polygamy—Degradation of Women—Ignorance—Cruelty of Officials—Extortion—Universal Distress—No Advance Possible—The Turk never Improves—Islam—Worse and Worse—Its Rule is against Humanity        423



England’s Inactivity—Her Solemn Obligation—Treaty of San Stefano—Berlin—Convention with Turkey—Cyprus—Occupation of Egypt—Position of the English Government—Difficulties in the Way—But the Suffering Awful—Freeman—Gladstone        433



Possible Solution—Universal Arbitration—Constantinople a Free City—Europe Free—Armenia’s Sorrows Healed—The Dawning of the Twentieth Century        470









At no time of the world’s history have there ever been two months so rich in grand tragedy as the Armenian period of November and December, 1895. It is not the enormous number of the killed nor the frightful suffering of the survivors that give this period its unique character, but the fact that the great majority of the 75,000 or more of the massacred Christians had a free choice to make between life and death, and they chose death. Civilized humanity is bound to take a supreme interest in the action of those heroes and heroines who sacrificed all the interests of existence to their moral ideal of life,—in those women who, in order to escape from the outrage of a bestial soldiery, threw themselves into the river Euphrates and were drowned,—in those virgins who, captured by the brutal Moslems, received twenty, thirty sword cuts in defending their honor,—in those men who, when threatened with instant death if they would not embrace Islam, answered, “we are ready to be immolated for the love of Christ,” and they were slaughtered like sheep. The historian and the dramatic writer, the poet and the painter will soon follow the diplomatist and the journalist to take up the matter, and the Christian peoples of all lands will continue to receive now a thrill of pious admiration, now a tremendous shock at the recital of these events.

In fact, the Armenian occurrences have two sides, one glorious, and one of hellish darkness. They bring out in the most striking fashion, the infernal genius of the Mahommedan religion. The Moslems, [16]high and low, exhibited such foul sensuality, such satanic cruelty and such delight in ferocity of which even the savages are incapable. And these qualities are precisely those which Mohammedanism cultivates.

The Armenian crisis served also as a test to bring out the actual degree of European morality. Alas! who would have believed a year ago that the Christian powers of Europe would permit the Turk to attempt before their eyes the extermination of a Christian nation and church by wholesale massacre and forced conversions? Such is, nevertheless, the dreadful revelation of the year. They did not prevent the most colossal crime of the century, nor did they punish the criminal who by their mercy alone had the power of committing such a crime; moreover, they had the front, at least some of them, to declare that, for reasons of high diplomacy, they were ready to support the authority of the monstrous criminal over his victims.

What makes this infamous course of the Christian governments the more ominous, is the fact that the Christian peoples and churches did not seem to be shocked. They stifled their indignation and swallowed their own protests if they felt or uttered any, and we see no nation whatever boiling with the sacred rage of revolting conscience.

The British government and press have tried hard to show that England has done all she could in order to protect the Armenians. Russia has yet her national conscience very imperfectly developed, Germany’s conscience is nearly dead under the curse of her success against France. It is only the government of Great Britain that feels the obligation of executing itself. But its failure in protecting Armenia is not merely the forced consequence of the course of the other powers in the matter, as it would like to make the public believe. England had sinned against Armenia during all the long period of 18 years before the matters came to a crisis. She had been, in 1878, [17]the champion of the Turk against Russia, and in order to justify her support of a Moslem power which had been the curse of its Christian subjects, Great Britain pledged herself by the Cyprus Convention to protect the Christians against Turkish misrule as she would protect Turkish territory against Russian aggression.

Did England fulfill her solemn obligation toward Armenia? No! The British consuls in Armenia did report to the government that the Turkish authorities and Kurdish beys and Hamidieh troops continued to oppress the Armenians just as before, nay, worse than before,—that their worthiest leaders, bishops, professors, influential men were being exiled, the benevolent associations scattered, the useful books censured, the peasantry ground to dust, and hundreds of innocent men flung into prison and tortured—but the British Government did not move.

Let there be no misunderstanding as to my meaning. I do not mean England remained absolutely indifferent, but she never acted in time, and with adequate energy. She remained always behind the times. She brought to bear upon the Sultan a pressure of 1,000 tons when a weight of 10,000 was required, and used 10,000 when 100,000 was needed, with the result that Abdul-Hamid, instead of coming to his senses, grew bolder after each successful resistance. With trifling concessions he pushed his way and had the Kurdish brigands organized into imperial troops, acquitted Moossa Beg, enjoyed the Erzeroum massacre, undertook the more important massacre of Sassoon, and after all, the crowning massacres of 1895. Had England insisted upon Moossa Beg’s being hung, the Erzeroum slaughter would not have been allowed, and if the leaders of the Erzeroum carnage at least were punished, the greater devastation of the Sassoon province would have been prevented. Evidently it was much easier for the British government to successfully coerce the Sultan [18]for the exemplary punishment of the first criminals than later to check the greater tides of sweeping evils. To judge aright, we must consider the whole course of the British in the matter and not merely what happened at the critical moment when the task was so much harder. And even then, namely in October last, did England show herself equal to the requirements of the crisis? Whatever Lord Salisbury and his party organs may say, he must have many times since avowed to himself that he did not act then as he could and ought to. He lacked courage and now the prestige of Great Britain has sunk to a miserably low degree in the Orient.

For the present the Sultan reigns in Constantinople and the Czar governs. The situation is evidently an unsettled one, as Hamid’s suicidal policy has prostrated the whole country, and a radical change is to come in the near future. The final doom of the Ottoman Empire can not delay much longer. The world expects to see some sudden developments in the affairs of the East. The fate of agonizing Armenia will be decided, and the relations of the Christian with the Moslem world will enter on a new phase.

This book therefore, is devoted to “Bleeding Armenia,” Under the Rule of Islam; will touch problems of the highest importance and command general interest. It can not give a definite solution to the multitudinous questions raised by the condition of Armenia, but will contribute to bring them to public comprehension and right judgment.

M. S. Gabriel. [19]

Great and Little Ararat, From the Northeast.

Great and Little Ararat, From the Northeast.






“Gather you, gather you angels of God

Chivalry, Justice and Truth:

Come, for the earth has grown cursed and old

Come down and renew us her youth!

Freedom, self-sacrifice, mercy and love,

Haste to the battlefield, stoop from above

To the Day of the Lord at Hand.”

“Who would sit down and sigh for a lost age of gold

While the Lord of all ages is here?

True hearts will leap up at the trumpet of God,

And those who can suffer can dare

Each past age of gold was an iron age too,

And the meanest of saints may find work to do

In the Day of the Lord at Hand.”


The history of Armenia is a chapter of horrors unequalled by the history of any other nation under the sun. The record should arouse interest in the fate of this ancient and most remarkable people, who have suffered the most cruel outrages—the victims of the most horrible crimes that have ever stained the pages of history with tears and blood. As we read the heart rending story of their awful fate, we can scarcely wonder that a heartbroken mother, as she gazed on the lifeless [22]form of a beloved daughter whom she had sought in vain to preserve from a ruffian band of Turks, should cry out in the frenzy of her grief that God himself had gone mad, and that maniacs and demons incarnate were stalking through the earth.

Where is there a voice with passion and fire enough in it to arouse the hearts of Christian America to demand, in the name of a common humanity, that the massacres and outrages of the fierce and fanatical Turks shall cease? In what nobler cause did ever Christian knight draw sword, or a nation ever spend treasure and blood.

Ours is not the terrible responsibility of the British nation which has suffered commercial considerations to outweigh frenzied appeals for justice and toleration, but it is a weight of shame that will be equally hard to bear in the Day of the Lord, if we, the mightiest Christian nation on the face of the globe, in the darkest night of religious persecution shall put forth no effective hand to deliver this most ancient Christian race from the clutch of fiendish fanaticism.

The cause of Armenia is founded on facts which exalt this people to the loftiest heights of martyrdom and have made them literally for eighteen centuries “The Blazing Torch of Asia.” Her tortures will not cease until the mailed hand of Christendom shall smite into the dust the power of the Prophet. The blood of probably a million martyrs to Christianity has drenched the soil of Armenia. Its fair proportions have been curtailed by conqueror after conqueror, its fields pillaged, its homes devastated and at no time has this devoted nation been without the presence of the sword suspended by the single hair. Embrace the creed of Islam, [23]or the scimitar of the fanatic Moslem severs the hair which separates an existence of fear from the martyr’s crown, is forever in the thoughts of every Armenian.

The historians of this people of Armenia claim for them a very ancient heritage—a career which though narrow, is one of thrilling interest.

About the year 150 B. C., by the might of conquest a Parthian King came to the throne of Armenia; and wishing to know something of the origin of the race and of the history of the country, and not finding anything satisfactory in Armenia, he sent the most learned man in all his dominions to consult the old Chaldean manuscripts and tablets that were to be found in the Royal Archives of Nineveh. Every facility was afforded him in his search, and among the archives he found a manuscript written in the Greek characters with this label: “This book containing the annals of ancient history was translated from Chaldean into Greek by order of Alexander the Great.” He extracted from that the history of Armenia as written and continuing it down to his own times presented it to the King, who ordered it preserved with great care in his treasury.

The principal sources of their national history rests upon the works of a celebrated Armenian writer of the fifth century, who claims to have derived his information from the above mentioned manuscript. They derive their parentage from Gomer, the son of Japhet, or rather from Haig, a grandson of Gomer, who moving northward from the plains of Shinar, settled with his families and followers in the country round about Ararat. This interesting story, which touches in many points the authentic histories of Nineveh and Babylon, cannot [24]here be told; but we hastily sketch the succeeding eras in the ever fateful history of this primitive race of people.

The grandson of the founder of this Parthian race of kings, Ardashes I., brought all Persia under his sway, and then turned westward with an army so vast he did not know their number. He subdued the whole of Asia Minor—passed the Hellespont, conquered Thrace and Greece, destroying many cities. Returning to Armenia, he planned another expedition into Persia in which he was defeated, wounded, and in dying, exclaimed, “Alas, how transient and unsatisfactory is glory.”

A little later an immense army of allied Persians and Armenians invade Palestine and Phenicia, the Roman armies being unable to stop their progress. For an immense bribe of one thousand talents of gold, Antigonus secures their assistance in dethroning Hyrcanus and establishes himself upon the throne of Jerusalem.

In the second year of Abgar (or Agbarus) (B. C. 3,) a decree was issued by Augustus that all the kingdoms acknowledging the Roman dominion should be taxed, and that statues of himself should be erected in the religious temples of every nation. Herod, King of the Jews, puffed up with pride, also sent statues of himself to be placed near those of Augustus. Abgar refusing to comply with this request, Herod sent a mighty force against him into Armenia, but the invaders were met and defeated with great loss. Abgar now determined to shake off the Roman yoke, and built the city of Edessa and strongly fortified it. Accused to Tiberius, the succeeding Emperor, of inciting the Persians to rebellion, he sent messengers to justify himself. [25]

During their stay in Palestine they heard all the wonders which were related to them of the extraordinary power of Christ. To gratify their curiosity they went to Jerusalem, witnessed the miracles performed by our Lord, and then returned to Armenia. Abgar, listening to their accounts, became satisfied that Jesus was the Son of God, and immediately sent back his messengers to Jerusalem with a letter to Christ in which acknowledging Him to be the true and only Son of God, he says: “Therefore, now I have written and besought Thee to visit me, and to heal the disease with which I am afflicted. I have also heard that the Jews murmur against Thee and are plotting to injure Thee; I have, however, a very small but noble state which is sufficient for us both.”

The authenticity of this letter and the answer which Jesus sent in reply has been questioned: but truth is often stranger than fiction. Eusebius (Ecc’l Hist. Bk. I., chap. 13), declares that in the public registers of the city of Edessa these letters and records of the transactions following them were still to be found in his day.

The story is that St. Thomas, directed by our Lord, wrote a reply to this letter, promising to send to them an apostle after His resurrection. Accordingly Thaddeus was afterwards sent to Edessa, where King Abgar was instructed and baptized.

Many believed and were baptized. So gladly was the truth received, that tradition says that Bartholomew and Jude also were sent into Armenia, but later rulers apostatizing from the faith, began a fierce persecution. Bartholomew was crucified, the others also suffered martyrdom with multitudes of their disciples.

Thus early was the infant church of Armenia baptized [26]in its own blood, and for scarcely a generation has its blood ever ceased to flow. It is the martyr church and race of Christendom. Its persecutors have literally bathed themselves in the blood of the slain.

Witness the horrible barbarity of a Persian Governor of Armenia in 1038, who, upon the capture of a city which had dared to rebel against their oppressors, was so wild with rage that he ordered all the Greek and Armenian captives to be slain; and when a trench that had been dug was filled with the blood of his butchered victims he satiated his revenge by bathing in it.

In 286 A. D., there was a revival of Christianity in Armenia. Diocletian, Emperor of Rome, restored Tiridates to his throne, driving out the Persian usurper. With Tiridates there came from Rome Gregory the Illuminator. By his preaching of the Gospel the whole nation was converted to Christianity; and in the year 302 A.D., on the occasion of his going to Cæsarea Gregory was consecrated Archbishop of Armenia by Leontius the Metropolitan. Later, when the news reached Armenia that the Emperor Constantine was a convert, Tiridates and St. Gregory undertook the journey to Rome, when an alliance was solemnly agreed upon between the two nations. At the Council of Nice, A. D. 325, the church of Armenia was represented by bishops who brought back with them the Creed of the Fathers. Thus the true light began to shine in fuller splendor in the midst of Cimmerian darkness.

The Armenians seem to have been born for sorrow. Their provinces were the highways of hostile nations. The armies of Rome and of Persia passing through always [27]carried desolation and ruin with them. Compelled to yield to the demands of one conquering army, they became objects of vengeance to the other when the former had withdrawn. In the year 369, Shabuh, King of Persia, sent a large army against Arshag of Armenia, who, being caught in a fortress which could not stand a siege, determined to deliver himself to the Persian general with a view of pleading his cause before the king.

Upon his arrival in Persia a palace was given him for his residence and that of his court. But Shabuh immediately compelled him to write to his Queen to join him in Persia; an order was also sent to the chiefs and nobles to proceed with their Queen to the Persian capital.

The Armenian chiefs, alarmed at the order, begged to be excused, but the King being inexorable, they attacked the troops he had sent for their escort, put them to flight, and then fled into distant provinces. The Queen also taking the treasures of the royal palace retired to a strong fortress and wrote to Bab, a royal prince held as hostage at Constantinople, to raise an army of Greeks and hasten to the rescue of his father.

Shabuh angry at these events caused Arshag to be loaded with chains and cast into the castle of Oblivion, where, once immured, no one was ever heard of again.

The King of Persia sent a powerful army against the Queen headed by two apostate Armenians. They found the country in a most deplorable condition and at once laid siege to the fortress in which the Queen had sought safety. The siege became a blockade, until despairing of relief the inhabitants opened the gates and surrendered. The castle was plundered with horrible atrocities, [28]while the Queen and captives who were spared were taken to Persia and by various and satanic methods of torture compelled to abjure their faith. Arshag, the imprisoned King, finding his bondage hopeless, driven to despair, fell on his sword and expired, having reigned eighteen years.

Shabuh sent Merujan the apostate again into Armenia with a large army and a company of magi, promising him the sovereignty of the country if he succeeded in subduing the chiefs and in forcing the Armenians to embrace the Persian religion. A most dreadful persecution followed, priests and bishops and people were exiled, and multitudes put to death. All the books found in the country written in Greek characters were destroyed, and an order issued that no Armenian should learn that tongue, and that thenceforth all writings must be in the Persian characters. The magi and the executioners were distributed among the towns and villages, the miserable inhabitants having only the alternative of abjuring their religion or meeting instant death.

This reads like a chapter of recent horrors. Finally Eastern Armenia became a province of Persia and after the death of Shabuh enjoyed a little tranquillity. At this time a certain Christian, Mesrob by name, became famous for sanctity and wisdom. He invented an Armenian alphabet, in the year 406. Learning began to flourish. Many schools were founded, and the Armenian youth were taught their language in their own alphabet. The Persian division of Armenia became celebrated throughout the East for its knowledge. The Old Testament was translated into Armenian from the Syriac, the New Testament having already been translated by St. Mesrob. [29]

A few years later, A. D. 428, the dominion of the Arsacides ceased forever, after having lasted for nearly six hundred years: and Armenia came under the dominion of Persia and was ruled by Prefects for four hundred and fifty-six years.

In A. D. 441 Hazguerd (Yezdiged) II. came to the throne of Persia and meditated the forcible conversion of all Armenia to the worship of the sun (fire worship) and the doctrines of Zoroaster. He exhorted the chiefs and people to embrace the doctrine of the magi, but without effect. He sent officers to collect most extortionate taxes with power to torture at discretion. Many chiefs and nobles and multitudes of people were tortured, thrown into dungeons, suffered most terrible forms of martyrdom, yet remained steadfast in faith. Some few yielded under the fierceness of persecution and kissed their hands to the sun—but only a few.

Pleading in vain for mercy, they resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. The bishops and chiefs called a great assembly where they swore to fight for the honor and in defence of the Holy Church. They gathered an army of one hundred thousand men and attacked all the Persians in the kingdom. The magi were put to death and their temples were demolished. Fresh armies were poured in from Persia and the carnage increased. Fire worship was reëstablished, the former tragedies of blood and torture were reënacted, many churches were demolished, the priests dying under most excruciating torture. Is it the fifth century or the nineteenth that we are describing?

In A. D. 451, Hazguerd ordered his generals to proceed into Armenia with a large army and put the entire Christian population to the sword. They were opposed [30]by Vartan, who by sending heralds throughout the country, warned the inhabitants of the threatened doom and gathered an army of sixty-six thousand determined men. The two armies faced each other late in the day with only a river between. That night Vartan, with priests and bishops, passed through the army exhorting them to fight manfully against the invaders. The Armenians all received the sacrament that night, and inflamed with love of Christ and country, were ready to do and die.

On the following day which was the 2d of June the Armenians, eager to shed their blood for their faith, crossed the river and commenced the attack.

At first they were successful and cut down the Persians with great slaughter. But there was treason in their ranks; and in the midst of the battle five thousand men drew off and joined their enemies. The fortunes of the day changed and the Armenians were routed. The glorious Vartan and eight allied chiefs and two hundred and eighty-six warriors were left on the field. Hundreds of wounded were taken prisoners and immediately put to death.

These outrages so exasperated the Armenians that again they rallied, defeated their enemies and pursuing them into Persian territory ravaged the country, burning towns and villages. The Persian King now offered terms of peace, promising to forbear persecuting them on account of their religious faith; and for a time the war ceased. But he did not deliver up his prisoners. Many bishops and priests suffered martyrdom in 454; not until 456 did the chiefs and nobles, who had been languishing in prison for years rather than deny their faith, regain their freedom and return into Armenia. [31]

From the year 600 no Persian Prefect was ever again sent into Armenia, that office being held by men of their own race; but on the West, however, a power was rising up that would prove a fearful scourge, a relentless and most bitter persecutor—The Saracenic Power.



About the year 636 Armenia was invaded by the Saracens. This was the beginning of the most unhappy era in the annals of Armenia. The whole country was shortly plunged into ruin and desolation.

Nothing at first could withstand the onslaught of these fierce warriors, Saracens, Infidels, who knew no word for mercy and regarded all women as but slaves to their worse than bestial passions.

After a fierce battle in which the Armenians were defeated with great slaughter the whole country was ablaze with conflagrations. A city captured after a siege of months was taken by storm. The most dreadful havoc ensued, twelve thousand inhabitants were massacred, churches, palaces pillaged and burned and thirty-five thousand citizens carried into captivity.

These were but the beginning of sorrows and horrors. Invasion after invasion followed until at last peace was bought at the cost of an immense yearly tribute which impoverished the whole people.

Justinian, the Greek Emperor, disregarding all ties of a common faith and heedless of the common danger from the rising power, demanded that they should renounce obedience to the Saracens and return to his authority. They replied: “How often have we been subject to the rule of Greeks, yet how little assistance [32]have they rendered us in time of our distress. * * * Should we at present submit ourselves to your power, our kingdom would be exposed to invasion, we should be delivered up to the sword and our habitations to fire and pillage. * * * We beseech you, therefore to let us remain under the dominion of our present masters by which alone our safety and the safety of our nation can be secured.”

The Emperor enraged at this humble pleading, sent an army to invade Armenia. Twenty-five provinces were almost depopulated by its ravages and thousands were carried away and sold as slaves in foreign lands. The following year another army of forty thousand men came to ravage the remaining territory. The nation was driven to madness and despair by the devastations committed. But as if all the vials of wrath and the horrors of hell were to be let loose at once, the Saracens, believing they had returned to the subjection of the Greeks, again invaded Armenia. They destroyed every town and village on their line of march, and carried away vast multitudes of captives.

Again they returned with greater numbers than before. Cities, towns, villages, fortresses, were razed to the ground, garrisons and people either butchered or carried away captive. What could the poor Armenians do but yield up their country to the power and government of the Saracens?

Again the Greeks returned with a large army, and the weakened, disheartened, impoverished people could only bow in subjection. The emperor taking hostages from among the most distinguished chiefs returned to Constantinople, leaving behind an army of thirty thousand men to protect his vassals. At the expiration of [33]three years all these had departed and the country lay open to the inroads of their fiercest enemies.

The Saracens soon reëstablished their power; the governors being appointed from Damascus. To punish the Armenians for what they termed their rebellion, many of the nobility were decoyed into churches which were then set on fire and the poor Armenians were burnt alive. Their property was then confiscated, their families siezed and put to death with fiendish cruelty on account of their religious faith.

This reads like a chapter of living horrors: for the photographs of to-day are only those of yesterday retouched with human blood.

The governors everywhere oppressed the Armenians with little intermission, levying heavy taxes and inflicting extortionate fines for their own private use. When the Saracens began the building of Bagdad, the tribute was mercilessly increased. The greatest distress prevailed, the evil became intolerable, a dreadful dearth occurred in their harvests because of the furious hailstorms that swept over wide regions of country. Clouds of locusts devoured what the hail had spared and famine and misery untold desolated the land.



It was in the year 850 that the most awful calamities fell upon this devoted race. Bogha the Tyrant, marched with a vast army to the utter ruin of Armenia. Everywhere terror and consternation prevailed as at their first entrance into the upper valleys, they cut off utterly every living soul they found. The Armenians who inhabited the summits of the mountains, beholding the awful massacres, rushed down in great [34]numbers to attack their enemies, but the Saracens taking possession of all the passes cut off their retreat. A great many were killed, and many more were taken alive. These were bound with ropes and dragged into the presence of the governor. Bogha selected the finest looking men and put them in confinement, intending to force them to renounce their religion; the remainder he ordered slain before his eyes.

This horrible carnage was repeated in several provinces. One of the most famous chiefs sought to make his peace with costly gifts, but was seized with his wife and children and sent in chains to Bagdad. Then Bogha marched his army into the province of Vasburagan with orders to seize and bind all who were able to carry arms. Separating the finest men again for confinement and torture, the others were inexorably consigned to death. The slaughter was immense, as the records state, human blood fertilized the land, and the valleys were choked up with the bodies of former inhabitants. Those whom he had spared resolutely refusing to deny their faith were tortured with fiendish ingenuity until death relieved them of their sufferings.

In the extremity of their anguish they cried out: “How long O Lord? How Long?” A thousand years has brought no adequate reply. You recall the exclamation of Sojourner Truth’s humble piety when Frederick Douglas was fiercely lamenting the death of Abraham Lincoln, “Frederick, is God dead?” and we wonder how the faith of the harried Armenians lived when to swear by Mohammed would have delivered them from their horrible sufferings.

Is the heart of this nation dead? Are we so taken up with the greed for gold, the establishment of commerce, [35]the extension of trade, the rivalries of political ambitions, that the bleeding arms of the Armenians are still stretched forth in vain, and their cries drowned by the din of business or the revels of pleasure.

But no deliverer was nigh. The mountains and the rocks reëchoed in vain their cries for help, their appeals for mercy.

Bogha was drunk with blood. The nation must perish. Province after province was swept of its cities, many thousands slain and massacred; and still the nobles and the chief men were spared for torture. Many were tortured to such an extent that scarcely a feature remained by which to distinguish them. When every art, device and glittering promise had failed to induce them to apostatize, and the cruel ingenuity of their tormentors could devise no more appalling agony, they were crucified.

The persecutions lasted almost without intermission for five years till the earth itself was sickened with the blood of innocent men. When almost the whole land lay desolate and many provinces were more like slaughterhouses than inhabited countries, Bogha gathered multitudes of captives for slavery, and the noblest, bravest men for sacrifice, and set out for Bagdad. In the presence of the Caliph and the chief and flower of Saracenic nobility, the most horrible scenes were reënacted in the capital of the Saracens. This only now remains for the Sultan of Turkey, the head of the Mohammedan religion to do, to equal in barbarity the deeds of Bogha the tyrant; and perhaps this alone will rouse all Christendom, viz: Drive the miserable and starving remnants left in his eastern provinces in chains to Constantinople and repeat in the eyes of all [36]Europe the awful crimes with which in the blazing light of modern civilization he has darkened the face of all the East.

The Caliph gave these hapless victims but one alternative—the only alternative Islam ever offers when it has the power, viz: either to renounce Christianity and embrace Islamism, or be put to torture and to death. We shall learn what torture is when we come to rehearse in your tingling ears the devilish cruelties under which upwards of sixty thousand Armenians have perished within the last few months.

Many outwardly renounced Christianity as the sight of the prolonged tortures lacerated their hearts and smote them with weakness. Many others, more firm, gloriously died in defence and confirmation of their faith.



The pressure on the reader’s sympathy will be relieved by the portrayal of a brief reign of peace in Armenia, but righteous indignation will not be lessened.

Ashod I., the son of Sumpad, the Confessor who died in chains at Bagdad, gathered the remains of his tribe together, after the retirement of Bogha, the Tyrant, and by his courage, wisdom and humanity became greatly esteemed. The Caliph of Bagdad in an hour of strange friendliness conferred on him the government of Armenia.

He sent him also a special messenger, bearing rich presents and splendid official robes, directing him to invest Ashod with the supreme power.



His first effort was to restore confidence and improve [39]the condition of the country, to the great satisfaction of all the Armenians. George II., Pontiff, and all the chiefs united in drawing up a petition to the Caliph soliciting him to bestow a crown upon Ashod, promising at the same time not to falter in their allegiance to the authority of Bagdad. To the great joy of all Armenians, their prayer was heard and a crown of royalty was sent. Basilius, the Emperor of Constantinople, who was an Armenian of the family of the Arsacids also sent him a magnificent crown. Thus patronized by two emperors, Ashod ascended with great splendor the throne of Armenia. All the ancient royal customs were restored and Armenia again became a great and flourishing country.

Armenia being now at peace, Ashod set out to visit Western Armenia, and thence he passed on to Constantinople to visit Emperor Leo, son of Basilius. His reception was magnificent. On his returning he fell sick—his malady increasing he sent for George, the Pontiff, and received the sacrament, after which he appointed that large sums should be distributed to the poor at the church doors and to hospitals, convents and almshouses. He died in his seventy-first year, having governed Armenia thirty-one years, viz: Twenty-six as governor and five as king. He was buried with all the royal magnificence due to an eastern Monarch.

In 892 the Caliph confirmed the crown to Sumpad, eldest son of Ashod and the ceremony of coronation was again performed. The treaty of his father was renewed with the Emperor of Constantinople, but his reign proved to be a stormy one through successive invasions of the Persians. At length he was enticed into the power of Yussuf, the Persian, bound in [40]chains and cast into a dark dungeon for a year. From prison he was taken before the walls of a castle which was being besieged. Furious with rage because of the continued resistance, Yussuf caused the most horrible barbarities to be executed upon the unfortunate Sumpad in sight of the beleaguered Armenians. The torture was renewed daily to cause him to deny Christ. Then hourly until death released his unshaken spirit.

Ashod II., surnamed the Iron-hearted, famed for bravery and extraordinary strength, son of Sumpad, now gathered a small body of six hundred men like himself and began to drive out the Persians. Soon he cleared the country of them and in gratitude the Armenians placed him on the throne. But many chiefs refused him their allegiance. They were a restless, jealous set of nobles, and these quarrels among themselves are by all their historians denounced as the chief source of their national weakness.

Nobles and peasants rose in rebellion, and Yussuf taking advantage of the anarchy again brought upon them his fiercest bands.

The former cruelties, and persecutions and barbarities were repeated. Aged men and women were tied together and then cut to pieces, babes were tossed in the air to be caught on the points of the spears or cut in twain with their swords, or dashed to the ground in the presence of their distracted and dishonored mothers.

Religious fanaticism was burning like the fires of hell in the breast of Yussuf and yet these Armenians though ready to fight against each other would die the death of martyrs rather than deny their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Greater horrors followed on the devastation of their [41]fields. Sore and dreadful famine began its cruel work. Thousands died of starvation. Cities and villages were attacked solely for the sake of devouring the slain. Individuals were seized and slain by bands of men driven to madness by their hunger.

There was no Red Cross Committee in those days for the relief of the starving populations and even if so, no person wearing a cross would have been permitted to carry to them a loaf of bread lest the religious sensibilities of Yussuf and his Infidel hordes should be deeply wounded.

Starvation was his best ally. It swept off multitudes he could not reach with the sword. The tender heart of the Sultan of Turkey must not to-day be lacerated with even suggestion that there is more mercy under the cross than under his own blood-red crescent. He turns fair and fertile provinces into cemeteries and makes of villages heaps of ruins, then publishes to Europe that he has restored peace to his people.

Peace returned to Armenia for twenty-five years however after the driving out of the Persians, Apas succeeding his brother Ashod II. Multitudes of self-exiled Armenians returned to their deserted fields and ruined villages, and peace soon made the valleys smile again.

Cities were restored, magnificent churches erected. The city of Ani was chosen as the new capital. But Ashod III., derives his greatest fame from his private virtues. Having built a number of hospitals, infirmaries and almshouses for the poor and suffering he gave his personal attention to their management. He visited them frequently, indulging in kindliest familiarity with the poorest.

He even invited the poor, the sick and the maimed to [42]eat with him at his own table. So unbounded was he in his donations to the poor and distressed that on his death not a single piece of money was found in his treasury. Hence he was surnamed the charitable.

These are the kind of men whom for more than a thousand years the Saracens and Turks have been trying to exterminate as dogs of Christians. And the work still goes fearfully on because the great Christian Powers of Europe say the Turk must be upheld and reverenced because he holds the balance of power. It would not do to offer him anything more than a diplomatic hint that some slight reform might be acceptable even if only put on paper to show to the guardians of poor, perishing Armenia.

Sumpad II., succeeded his father and completed the fortifying of the city of Ani. He surrounded it with a wall of exceeding height and thickness on which he raised lofty towers for the stations of its defenders. The wall was protected from assault by a wide, deep moat encompassing the city the whole being faced with stone and brick. It took him eight years to finish it. This city became the center of power and influence. A very large number of churches were erected so that in all they reached the surprising number of one thousand and one. The next largest city was Ardgen containing three hundred thousand souls and eight hundred churches.

The Empire was consolidated and strong and retained its prosperity and power until some years after the close of the century, (A. D., 1020).

Let us leave for a while this ancient race at the height of its power and glory, the only Christian Nation that western Asia has ever had, and take a glance [43]at the uprising of that power of Islam which to-day is, as for more than a thousand years it has been, the bitterest foe of the Church of Christ, the most ruthless destroyer of human life, the most brutal oppressor of enslaved humanity, which has always and everywhere robbed woman of her honor and immortality, motherhood of its glory, childhood of its innocence, the Deity of His mercy and even Heaven itself of its purity, making of Paradise its vestibule only a Mohammedan Seraglio. [44]




The reader will please turn aside for awhile to consider the rise of an alien religion which was destined to change the map of Europe and the course of history for many centuries; a religion which binds with fanatical zeal a sixth part of the human race; a power, which gathering its forces from the sands of Arabia swept like a fierce and pitiless simoon over the most ancient civilizations, until the flag of the Prophet waved from the Indus to the pillars of Hercules over an empire vaster than that ever ruled by Roman legions and Roman law.

While empires and kingdoms rose and fell; and the shock of contending armies shook all Europe and Northern Africa, and convulsed the rest of Asia, on its southwestern border, protected by the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and vast stretches of burning sand, lay a great peninsula by the name of Arabia, almost untouched by the cataclysm of centuries. In the depths of its deserts, its primitive character and independence remained unchanged, nor had the nomadic tribes of Ishmael ever bent their haughty necks to servitude.

For more than two thousand years Ishmael had been “a wild man; his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him” and now the other word “I will make him a great nation” was about to receive its fulfillment. [45]

Our first thought of Arabia is of a barren, desert country inhabited by a few wandering tribes, of little importance. But it is an immense country, almost as large as India, with a population of millions. Among its mountains are beautiful and fertile valleys, towns and castles surrounded by orchards and vineyards, groves of palm trees and date-palms, fields of grain and well-stocked pastures. In the south were the people of Yemen—or Arabia the Happy—that land of spices, perfumes and frankincense; the Sheba of the Scriptures.

These were the most active and skillful navigators of the eastern seas and brought the wealth of the far East to their ports: thence by caravans all these mingled products were distributed to Syria, Egypt and other lands on the borders of the Mediterranean. The caravans were generally fitted out and conducted by the nomadic tribes, who added to the merchandise of other lands the exquisite and costly garments woven from the finest fleeces of their countless flocks and herds. In Arabia, above all the other lands in the East, the track of the caravan has borne on it greater riches even than the ships of Tarshish.

At the intersection of two such tracks where the goods of India and of Africa were interchanged, and where the gold of the Roman Empire was weighed against the spices of “Araby the Blest,” was situated the great emporium of Mecca.

Mecca was both the commercial and religious center of the whole peninsula. Although there was no political capital, the tribe feeling had led to the establishment of a form of government aristocratic rather than despotic. The noblest tribe among them all was the Koreish; the noblest family of the Koreish was that of [46]Hashem: and the family of Hashem at the time of which we are writing were the rulers of Mecca and the guardians of its Kaaba.

The original religion of Arabia appears to have been the patriarchal monotheism in which there was still retained some knowledge of one, true, living, personal Deity. One supreme God was still worshiped, but in the language of the Koran they “gave Him companions,” they paid adoration to various subordinate powers, as to the host of heaven—to three female intelligences spoken of as the daughters of God, and to various family, local and national idols of which three hundred and sixty were found in the temple at Mecca.

This ancient temple, built according to Arabian tradition by the patriarch Abraham, contained besides these molten and graven images, the Black Stone—one of the stones of Paradise which fell down with Adam, but being taken up at the deluge, it was brought to Abraham by the angel Gabriel as a sacred ornament for his restored temple. At any rate, here at this temple in Mecca was the great center of worship, of sacrifice, and to it thronged in vast numbers the idolaters of Arabia.

The wild Arab of the desert and the comparatively civilized Arab of the cities show, though in different degrees, the same great elements of national character. Among them all the virtues and the vices of the half savage state, its revenge and its rapacity, its hospitality and its bounty were to be seen in their full force. How often have we had pictured before us the simplicity and beauty of such a natural life.

This wild man has been described as generous and hospitable. He delighted in giving gifts; his door was always open to the wayfarer, with whom he was ready [47]to share his last morsel; and his deadliest foe, having once broken bread with him, might repose securely beneath the inviolable sanctity of his tent.

His social life, however, was most degraded. Drunkenness, gambling and unrestrained licentiousness abounded: the horrible practice of female infanticide was prevalent among the pagan tribes: while polygamy, that curse of the East, everywhere prevailed.

Though speaking a language, copious in the extreme, the words of which have been compared to gems and flowers, literature in the strict sense of that word can hardly be said to have existed; but the Arab had a quick intellect, was always ready with a native vein of rhetoric and was easily aroused by the appeals of eloquence and charmed by the graces of poetry. He was naturally an orator, delighted in proverbs and clothed his ideas in florid oriental style with apologue and parable.

While thus a degraded and degrading polytheism was the prevailing religion of Arabia, many Jews were to be found at Medina and in the cities bordering on Syria, and there was also a corrupted form of Christianity incrusted with numerous errors and superstitions, so that in no part of the world did Christianity give forth so feeble a light.

A very decided reform was imperatively needed to restore the belief in the unity of God and set up a higher standard of morality.

It is claimed by his admirers that Mohammed brought about such a reform. He was born in the year 570 of the family of Hashem and the tribe of Koreish to whom was entrusted the guardianship of the pagan temple and the Black Stone. Early left an orphan and in [48]poverty, he was reared in the family of one of his uncles under all the influences of idolatry. This uncle was a merchant, and the youth made long journeys with him to distant fairs, especially into Syria where he became acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, especially with the Old Testament. At the age of twenty-five he entered the service of Cadijeh, a very wealthy widow conducting her immense caravans to fairs in distant cities. His personal beauty, his intelligence and spirit, won the heart of this powerful mistress and she became his wife.

He was now second to none in Arabia and his soul began to meditate on great things. There was in his household his wife’s cousin, Waraka, a man of flexible faith and of speculative spirit; originally a Jew, then a Christian, and withal a pretender to astrology. His name is worthy of notice as being the first on record to translate parts of the Old and New Testaments into Arabic.

As Mohammed contrasted these spiritual religions with the surrounding idolatry, he became more and more sensible of its grossness and absurdity. It appeared to him that the time for another reform had arrived. He talked with his uncles, they laughed at him. Only Cadijeh listened to him, believed in him, and encouraged him. Long afterwards, when she was dead, Ayeshah, his young and favorite wife, once asked him: “Am I not better than Cadijeh? Do you not love me better than you did her? She was a widow, old and ugly?” “No, by Allah,” said the prophet, “she believed in me when no one else did. In the whole world I had but one friend, and she was that friend.” [49]

Without her sympathy and faith he probably would have failed. He told her, and her alone, his dreams, his ecstasies, his visions; how that God at different times had sent prophets and teachers to reveal new truth: how this one God who created the heavens and the earth had never left himself without witness in the most degraded times.

It was in the fortieth year of his age while spending the month Ramadhan in the cavern of Mount Hara in fasting and prayer that an angel appeared to him and commanded him to read the writing displayed to him on a silken cloth.

Instantly he felt his understanding illumined with celestial light and read what was written thereon:—they were the decrees of God as afterwards promulgated in the Koran. When he had finished reading the angel said: “O Mohammed of a truth, thou art the prophet of God! and I am His angel Gabriel—”

In the morning, as we are told, Mohammed came trembling to Cadijeh not knowing whether what he had heard and seen was indeed true; and that he was a prophet decreed to effect that reform so long the object of his meditations; or whether it might not be a hallucination or worse than all, the apparition of an evil spirit. Cadijeh, however, saw everything with the eye of faith and the credulity of an affectionate wife. “Rejoice, Allah will not suffer thee to fall to shame.” Waraka caught eagerly at the oracle and exclaimed, “Thou speakest true, O Cadijeh! The angel who has appeared to thy husband is the same who, in days of old, was sent to Moses the son of Amram. His annunciation is true. Thy husband is indeed a prophet.” The wavering mind of Mohammed was thus confirmed and [50]throughout his life and even in the hour of death he never uttered a word of doubt concerning his heaven-sent mission.

“This,” says Carlyle, “is the soul of Islam. This is what Mohammed felt and now declared to be of infinite moment, that idols and formulas were nothing: that the jargon of argumentative Greek sects, the vague traditions of Jews, the stupid routine of Arab idolatry were a mockery and a delusion; that there is but one God: that we must let idols alone and look to Him. He alone is reality. He made us and sustains us. Our whole strength lies in submission to Him. The thing He sends us, be it death even, is good, is the best. We resign ourselves to Him.”

Thus far while possessed of this sole idea that he must proclaim to his degenerate countrymen in the midst of all but universal polytheism, that there is but one supreme God, Mohammed is regarded as a great reformer. He was neither a fanatic nor hypocrite; he was a very great man, and according to his light a very good man.

He began to preach everywhere that first word of Revelation “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord.” “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Few, however, believed in him. But why not acknowledge such a fundamental truth, appealing to the intellect as well as the moral sense? Because to confess that there is a supreme God who rewards and punishes, and to whom all are responsible both for words and actions, is to imply a confession of sinfulness and the justice of retribution.

Those degraded Arabians would not receive willingly such a truth as this; and how did the Israelites [51]forget it in spite of deliverance from slavery and quickly fall back into idolatry: and how opposed it is to the epicureanism of to-day and the natural pride of the human breast.

The uncles and friends of Mohammed treated his message with scorn and derision. Zealously he labored for three years, yet with all his eloquence, fervor and sincerity he had only won by his preaching some thirteen persons, one of whom was his slave.

His worldly relatives urged him to silence. Why attack idols? Why destroy his own interests? Why destroy his popularity? Then explained that great hero, “If the sun stood on my right hand and the moon on my left, ordering me to hold my peace I would still declare, there is but one God.” A speech following in spirit the famous words of Luther at the Diet of Worms.

At last hostilities began. He was threatened, he was persecuted. They laid plots to take his life. Then his wife died. The priests of an idolatrous religion became furious. He had laid hands on their idols. He was hated, persecuted and alone. Thirteen years had passed away in reproach, in persecution, in fear. At last forty picked men swore to assassinate him. Should he remain and die, or fly for his life? He concluded to fly to Medina, where there were a few Jews and some nominal converts to Christianity.

This was in the year 622—and the flight is called the Hegira—from which the East dates its era; the fifty-third year of the prophet’s life.

In this city he was cordially welcomed and soon found himself surrounded with enthusiastic followers. He built a mosque and openly performed the rites of [52]the new religion. He was for a time at a loss to know how to call his followers to prayer. While in this perplexity, Abdallah, the son of Zeid, suggested a form of words that he declared were revealed to him in a vision. It was instantly adopted by Mohammed, and is to this day heard from the lofty minarets throughout the East calling the Moslems to prayer: “God is great! God is great! There is no God but God. Mohammed is the apostle of God. Come to prayers! Come to prayers! God is great! God is great. There is no God but God.” To which at dawn of day are added the words: “Prayer is better than sleep! Prayer is better than sleep.”

Mohammed soon had an army at his disposal, and with this sudden accession of power there was wrought a fearful change in the spirit of his dreams. He had earnestly declared his great idea of the unity of God. He had pronounced the worship of images to be idolatrous. He held idolatry in supreme abhorrence. He enjoined charity, justice and forbearance. He denounced all falsehood and deception, especially in trade. He commanded his disciples to return good for evil, to be submissive to God; declared humility and benevolence to be the greatest virtues. He enjoined prayers, fastings and meditation as a means of grace.

But when he found an army at his command he lost command of himself. His anger burned against the Koreishites and their vindictive chief, Abu Sofian who now held full sway at Mecca. By them his fortunes had been blasted, his family degraded, impoverished, dispersed, and he himself driven into exile. He began to have visions to suit his changing temper, as all false religionists have even down to our own day. He [53]declared himself, the last of all the prophets, to be sent forth into the world with the sword: “Let those who promulgate my faith enter into no argument nor discussion; but slay all who refuse obedience to the law. Whoever fights for the true faith whether he fall or conquer will assuredly receive a glorious reward. * * * The sword is the key of heaven and hell; and all who draw it in the cause of the faith will be rewarded with temporal advantages; every drop shed of their blood, every peril and hardship endured by them, will be registered on high as more meritorious than even fasting or prayer. If they fall in battle, their sins will at once be blotted out, and they will be transported to Paradise, there to revel in eternal pleasures in the arms of black-eyed houris.” He added to this promise of sensual pleasures the doctrine of fixed-fate, predestination absolute. No man could die sooner or later than his alloted hour and when it arrived, it would be the same, whether the angel of death should find him in the quiet of his bed, or amid the storm of battle.

Behold in these words the chief sources of the fanatical fury which had well-nigh conquered the entire Christian world.

It is as if some Mephistopheles had whispered in his ear; “thy countrymen are wild, fierce and warlike, incite their martial passions in defence of thy doctrines. They are a fanatical people and believing in these teachings they will fight for them and establish them not only in Arabia but throughout the East. Grant them a reward in what their passions crave and they will follow you to the death.”

Certainly this is true, that these counsels of evil let loose upon the world the fiercest, the most cruel and [54]rapacious passions that were ever set on fire in hell. He resolved to adopt his religion to the depraved hearts of his followers. He mingled with sublimest truth the most debasing error. It was success he wanted; he would no longer scruple as to the means used to secure it. He became ambitious. He would become a mighty spiritual potentate, but descended to the level of his people to win them. He granted polygamy under the sanction of a pretended revelation from heaven. He who in his youth had been faithful to Cadijeh, fifteen years his senior, was now in his own age false to his youthful wife Ayeshah, multiplied wives to himself, robbed his faithful Zeid of his beautiful wife, absolved himself from his own law that a believer could only have four wives, and brought forth new revelations to justify in himself the gratifications of passions he condemned in others.

In the second year of the Hegira, Mohammed gratified his revenge against the Koreishites by attacking a caravan of a thousand camels laden with the merchandise of Syria. His arch enemy, Abu Sofian, commanded the escort. In this fight, known as the battle of Beder, the Moslems were victorious. It was during the progress of this battle that Mohammed encouraged his warriors with the memorable words: “Fight and fear not; the gates of Paradise are under the shade of swords.” This first cavalcade entering Medina with spoils, made Moslems of all the inhabitants and gave him control of the city. A few years later, at the head of ten thousand horsemen, he entered the city of Mecca—nothing but the swift commands of Mohammed to Khaled, “The Sword of God,” preserving the city from a general massacre. Mohammed now proceeded to [57]execute the great object of his religious aspirations—the purifying of the temple. He entered it with the sublime words: “Truth is come; let falsehood disappear,” and shivered in quick succession the three hundred and sixty abominations which were in the holy place.

Monastic Rock Chambers at Gueremeh.

Monastic Rock Chambers at Gueremeh.

Mohammed soon found himself the sovereign of all Arabia; and yet his military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory as they would have done had they been effected for selfish ends. He ever maintained the same simplicity of manners as in the days of his adversity. As to the temporal rule which grew up in his hands, as he used it without ostentation, so he took no steps to perpetuate it in his family. The riches which poured in upon him from tribute and the spoils of war were used in relieving the poor or expended in promoting the victories of the faith; so that his treasury was often drained of its last coin. “Allah” says an Arabian historian “offered him the keys of all the treasures of the earth; but he refused to accept them.”

It is this abnegation of self and his apparently heartfelt piety that even in his own dying hour, when there could be no worldly motive for deceit, still breathed the same religious devotion and the same belief in his apostolic mission; that so perplexes one in trying to estimate justly the full force of his character.

Whatever we may think of Mohammed personally, even though we may concede that he was a sincere religious fanatic we can but hold in abhorrence the religion which has ever appealed to the sword and to the basest passions of men either to compel or persuade them to yield allegiance to Islam. When he died at the age of sixty-three, eleven years after the Hegira, Mohammed [58]was next to Buddha, the most successful founder of a religion the world has ever known—a religion that is the most relentless and bitterest foe to Christianity, and that stands like a wall of fire and of adamant to oppose its progress in all the East.

The Saracens were ever loyal to the truth for which they fought. They never became idolaters; but their religion has ever been built up on the miseries of nations. To propagate the faith of Mohammed they drew the sword and overran the world. Never were conquests more rapid, more terrible or more remarkable.

Upon the death of Mohammed, Abu Beker, the father of Ayeshah, was elected to the supreme power, but refused to be called king or God’s vicar on earth, assuming only that of Caliph, that is to say Successor, and by this title the Arab sovereigns have ever since been designated. He was indifferent to riches, to all pomp and luxuries; his Arab establishment was of the simplest kind: his retinue consisting of a camel and a black slave.

The Golden Age of the Saracens was the twelve years, A. D. 632–644, comprised in the reigns of Abu Beker and Omar—a period of uninterrupted harmony and external conquest. Though Mohammed was dead, the sword of Islam was not buried with him; for Khaled, surnamed the Sword of God, now advanced to sustain the fame of former conquests. Within a year, Moseilma, a rival, and hence a false prophet, was slain, the rebellion subdued, the empire of Islam firmly reëstablished in Arabia; the scattered leaves gathered for the Koran; and an army for the subjugation of Syria and the East. [59]

It was a strangely opportune hour for the fierce warriors of the desert. The Romans and the Persians were almost always engaged in warfare and their last and most terrible war was contemporary with the preaching of Mohammed.

Under the great Khosru a war began which lasted more than twenty years and exhausted both nations and left them a more easy prey to the Saracens. The Asiatic provinces fell under his victorious armies and, as in the days of Darius, the Persian Empire extended to the Mediterranean and the Ægean Seas. When Heradius in 610 A. D. came to the throne of Constantinople, he was compelled to submit to the sight of a Persian army encamped at Chalcedon; but after some years’ preparation, he entered on a series of campaigns which places his name beside those of Hannibal and Belisarius. Leaving his own dominions, he struck at the very heart of his enemy’s country, and by a series of victories, one of them gained on the site of Nineveh, he utterly overthrew the Persian power, till Khosru was slain by his own subjects and a peace was concluded. Heradius returned to Constantinople leaving Persia torn by contending factions. The Prophet had been diligently watching from his safe retreat the course of the war which is alluded to in the Koran, and now the hour had come for the Saracens to strike their fatal blow.

In the second year of his reign, therefore, Abu Beker prepared for the great enterprise contemplated by Mohammed—the conquest of Syria.—Under this general name was included all the country lying on the north of Arabia and extending from the Mediterranean and the Euphrates. This had long been a land of promise [60]to them. It was a land of abundance. From it they had drawn their chief supplies of corn. Its cities had long been chief marts for the merchandise of their caravans; its seaports still were the centers of an opulent and widely extended commerce. This summons was sent to the chiefs of Arabia Petrea, and Arabia Felix: “In the name of the Most Merciful God * * * to all true believers, health, happiness and the blessing of God. Praise be to God and to Mohammed his prophet. This is to inform you that I intend to send an army of the faithful into Syria, to deliver that country from the infidels, and I remind you that to fight for the true faith is to obey God.”

This call to the conquest of nations in the name of the most merciful God is tender compared with the prayers which is now being daily offered up by the Mohammedans regarding the Armenians: “O Allah! make their children orphans, and defile their abodes. Cause their feet to slip, give them and their families, their households and their women, their children and their relations by marriage, their brothers and their friends, their possessions and their race, their wealth and their lands as booty to the Moslems, O Lord of all creatures.”

Has the spirit of Islam changed any during the last twelve hundred years? certainly not, except it be as much for the worse as the Turk is more lustful and cruel than the Saracen.

Speedily the plains about Medina were covered with the encampments of the chiefs who had responded from all Arabia, in hope of the rich booty to be had from conquered cities and provinces. From the brow of a hill, Abu Beker reviewed the army on the point of [61]departure. His heart swelled with pride, as he gazed on the passing multitudes; the glittering arms; the squadrons of horsemen; the lengthening line of camels, and called to mind the handful of men that followed Mohammed a fugitive from Mecca. Scarce ten years had elapsed, and now a mighty host assembled at the summons of his successor, and distant empires were threatened by the sword of Islam. He lifted up his voice and prayed God to make these troops valiant and victorious. Then giving the word to march, the tents were struck, the camels laden, and in a little while the army poured forth in a long, continuous train over hill and valley.

The “Scourge of God” was let loose against the nations. Before long an immense cavalcade of horses, mules and camels came pouring in with the booty from the first victory over a body of troops sent by the Emperor Heradius to observe them and harass their march.

Soon four armies were in the field; Jerusalem and Damascus were doomed and fate hastened on its march to Persia in the person of Khaled, “The Sword of God” with an army of ten thousand men. He besieged the city of Hira; stormed its palaces; slew the king in battle; subdued the kingdom; imposed on it an annual tribute of seventy thousand pieces of gold; the first tribute ever levied by Moslems on a foreign land, and sent the same to Medina. City after city fell before him. Nothing seemed able to withstand his arms. Planting his victorious standard on the banks of the Euphrates, he wrote to the Persian monarch calling upon him to embrace the faith or pay tribute. “If you refuse both, I will come upon you with a host who love death as much as you do life.” [62]

But meantime partial defeat had discouraged the leaders of the armies in Syria, and the caliph summoned Khaled to the command of the northern armies. Leaving the army in Persia under the command of a tried and trusty general, Khaled with an escort of fifteen hundred men spurred across the Syrian borders to join the Moslem host about to besiege the Christian city of Bosra.

It was on the Syrian frontier, a walled city of great strength and wealth, that could at anytime put twelve thousand men into the field.

After two days of furious battle the city was taken by treachery, many were massacred, and the survivors were compelled to pass under the yoke.

Khaled now aspired to the capture of Damascus. This renowned and beautiful city, one of the largest and most magnificent in the East and possibly the oldest in the world, stood in a plain of wondrous fertility, covered with groves and gardens. Through this plain flowed a river called by the ancients “The Stream of Gold,” feeding the canals and water courses of its gardens and the fountains of the city.

This most beautiful city lay at the mercy of the coming foe. As the Moslems accustomed to the barrenness of the desert came in sight of the rich plain of Damascus and wound along the banks of the shining river, it seemed as if they were already realizing the paradise promised by the Prophet to true believers: but when the walls and towers and fanes of the city rose upon their vision they could not restrain their shouts of rapture. For the many deeds of valor and personal prowess in single combat, and the fierce and repeated charges of either army, the reader may be referred [63]to the brilliant pages of Irving’s Mahomet or Ockley’s Saracens.

The inhabitants tried to bribe Khaled to raise the siege. The stern reply was: Embrace Islam, pay tribute; or fight unto the death. While the Arabs lay close encamped about the city as if watching its expiring throes, unusual shouts were one day heard within its walls. The cause of it proved to be that an army of one hundred thousand men sent by Heraclius from Antioch were drawing near to their relief.

With fierceness yet the coolness of a practiced warrior Khaled marched to the support of a small body of horsemen who had been sent to harass the enemy. He met and defeated division after division of this Roman army, defeating it in detail by an army less than a third of their number. Thousands of fugitives were slain in the pursuit that followed. An immense booty in treasure, arms, baggage, and horses fell into his hands; and Khaled flushed with conquest, fatigued and burdened with the spoils, led back his army to resume the siege of Damascus.

Word was soon received however that another army of seventy thousand men had been gathered by Heraclius to raise the siege of Damascus. Sending swift couriers to all the Moslem generals within his call to meet him at the camp of the Greeks, he began a hasty march to Aiznadin. When the Moslems beheld the multitude and formidable array of the imperial host they at first quailed at the sight: but Khaled harangued them with fervid speech: “You behold, he said, “the last stake of the infidels. This army met and vanquished they can never muster another force, and all Syria is ours.” Khaled armed the fierce women who were [64]among them—some of them of the highest rank with orders to slay any Moslem whom they saw turning his back to the foe. Reinforced by fresh thousands, when, after some preliminary skirmishes, on the second day the trumpets sounded a general charge, the imperial armies were struck with confusion and what followed was rather a massacre than a battle. They broke and fled in all directions to Cæsarea, to Damascus and to Antioch. The booty of the camp was of immense value, which Khaled declared should not be divided until after the capture of Damascus.

Great indeed was the consternation in the city when they learned from the fugitives that escaped, of the slaughter of this second army and that all hope of succor was gone. But they set themselves bravely to work to meet the coming storm. New fortifications were erected. The walls were lined with engines for hurling stones and darts upon the besiegers.

Soon the Moslems appeared greatly reinforced. The city was invested. The troops were carefully stationed and orders given as to the support to be given. The battles that followed were fierce as the passions of desperate men could make them. One day a simultaneous sortie was made from every gate of the city at the first peep of day. The besiegers were taken by surprise and were struck down before they could arm themselves or mount. Khaled is said to have wept as he beheld the carnage and the slaughter of his finest troops. “O thou, who never sleepest, aid thy faithful servants; let them not fall beneath the weapons of the infidels.” Finally the tide of battle turned and the Christians were repulsed and driven within the walls leaving several thousand dead on the field. It was no disgrace [65]for even such Christians to be beaten by such Moslems.

For seventy days had Damascus been besieged by these fanatic legions of the desert. They had no heart to make further sallies. They began to talk of capitulation. Khaled turned a deaf ear to their prayer for a truce: he was bent upon taking the city by the sword and giving it up to be plundered by his Arabs. Then they sought under promise of security the meek and humane Abu Obeidah. One hundred of the principal inhabitants went by night to this leader of the mighty power that was shaking the empire of the Orient, and found him living in a humble haircloth tent like a mere wanderer of the desert. He listened to their proposals, for his object was conversion rather than conquest, and tribute rather than plunder. A covenant was written; such of the inhabitants as pleased could depart in safety with so much of their effects as they could carry: the rest should remain as tributaries and have seven churches allotted to them. The gate was then thrown open and the venerable chief entered at the head of a hundred men to take possession.

At the eastern gate a very different transaction was taking place. An apostate priest, on condition of security of person and property to himself and relatives, agreed to deliver the gate into the hands of Khaled. Thus a hundred Arabs were introduced into the city, broke the bolts and chains and bars of the Eastern gate and threw it open with the cry “Allah Achbar.”

Khaled and his legions rushed in at the gate with sound of trumpet and tramp of steeds; putting all to the sword, deluging the streets with blood. “Mercy! Mercy!” was the cry. “No mercy for infidels,” was [66]Khaled’s fierce response. He pursued his career of carnage into the great square and there to his utter astonishment beheld Abu Obeidah and his attendants, with priests and monks, surrounded by the principal inhabitants and women and children.

Khaled was furious when he heard of the covenant. Abu Obeidah entreated him to respect the covenant he had made in the name of God and the prophet.

After fierce altercation he listened to policy though deaf to the cry of pity. They were just beginning their career of conquest. Many cities were to be taken. If the Moslem word was broken, other cities warned by the fate of Damascus would in fear and fury fight to the bitter end.

Khaled finally gave a slow consent, though murmuring at every article of the covenant.

All who chose to remain as tributaries were to enjoy the free exercise of their religion. All who wished might depart, but Khaled only gave them three days grace from pursuit.

It was a piteous sight to behold aged men, delicate and shrinking women, and helpless children thus setting forth with what they could carry on a wandering journey through wastes and deserts and mountains, and the angry hordes of Arabs only three days behind them and swiftly mounted. Many a time did they turn to cast another look of fondness and despair on their beautiful palaces and luxuriant gardens; and still they would turn and weep and beat their breasts—gaze through tears on the stately towers of Damascus and the flowery banks of the Pharpar. Thus Damascus was conquered and yet spared both fire and sword after more than a twelve months’ siege, which Voltaire has [67]likened for its stratagems, skirmishes and deeds of valor in single combat, to Homer’s Siege of Troy.

The cities of Baalbec, the famous city of the Sun, and Emessa the capital of the plains, with many intermediate cities soon fell before the victorious sword of Khaled.

After a short rest at Damascus Abu Obeidah wrote, asking if he should undertake the siege of Cæsarea or Jerusalem. The decision was for the instant siege of Jerusalem.

This was a holy war for the Moslems and soon the army was on the march to Jerusalem. The people saw the approach of these triumphant invaders: but sent out no plea for help. They planted engines on their walls and prepared for vigorous defence.

At early dawn, in the morning of the first assault, the Moslem host was marshalled—the leaders repeated the Matin prayer, each at the head of his battalion, and all as if by one consent with a loud voice gave the verse of the Koran “Enter ye, oh people! into the holy land which Allah hath destined for you.”

For ten days they made repeated but unavailing attacks and then the whole army was brought to their aid. Then a summons was sent requiring the inhabitants to accept the divine mission of Mohammed, to acknowledge allegiance and pay tribute to the Caliph, otherwise he concludes, “Nor will I leave you, God willing, until I have destroyed your fighting men and made slaves of your children.”

But the Christian Patriarch of Jerusalem felt confidence in setting the invaders at defiance, and above all, there was a pious incentive to courage and perseverance in defending the Sepulchre of Christ. [68]

Four wintry months elapsed and still the siege was carried on with undiminished spirit. Finally the Patriarch consented to give up the city if the Caliph would come in person to take possession and sign the articles of surrender.

To preserve the city, and inspirit his own troops after their long absence and the hardships of many campaigns the Caliph consented. His journey was made in utmost simplicity. He traveled on a red camel across which was slung his saddle bags, one pocket containing dates and dried fruits, and the other, nothing more than barley, rice or wheat, parched or sodden.

His companions ate with him out of a common wooden platter, using their fingers in true oriental style. At night he slept on a mat under a tree or under a common Bedouin tent: and never resumed his march until he had offered up the morning prayer.

When he came in sight of Jerusalem he lifted up his voice and exclaimed “Allah Achbar, God is mighty! God grant us an easy conquest.”

We give the degrading conditions somewhat in full as they formed the basis upon which other cities were granted terms of peace. “The Christians were to build no new churches in the surrendered territory. * * No crosses should be erected on the churches nor shown openly in the streets. They should not speak openly of their religion; nor attempt to make proselytes; nor hinder their kinsfolk from embracing Islam. * * * They should entertain every Moslem traveler three days gratis. They should sell no wine, bear no arms, and use no saddle in riding, nor sit in the presence of a Mohammedan.”

This utter prostration of all civil and religious liberty [69]took place in the old scenes of Christian triumph. The most bitter scorn and abhorrence of their religious adversaries formed main pillars in the Moslem faith. Upon agreeing to these degrading terms the Caliph gave them under his own hand an assurance of protection in their lives and fortunes, the use of their churches and the exercise of their religion.

The gates of the once splendid city of Solomon were then opened. Omar entered it in reverence and on foot in his simple Arab garb and soon the flag of the Prophet waved over the battlements of the Holy City. Strange city that is thus held in equal reverence by Moslem, Jew and Christian. The surrender of Jerusalem took place in the seventeenth year of the Hegira, the six hundred and thirty-seventh year of the Christian era. With the rapidly succeeding fall of Aleppo, Antioch, Tripoli and Tyre the conquest of Syria was complete. It still remains under the heel of the invader after more than twelve hundred years of varying fortunes.

Meanwhile the conquest of Persia had been pushed forward vigorously since the fall of Damascus. After the battle of Kadesia in which thirty thousand Persians are said to have fallen and upwards of seven thousand Moslems, all Persia lay at the feet of the conquerors. As they advanced with an army of sixty thousand against the capital Madayn the ancient Ctesiphon, fear paralyzed the King and his counsellors. There was no one brave enough to take the command and when the enemy were only a day’s march away they decided on flight to the mountains, leaving behind them the richest city of the world to be sacked by the Arabs. The spoil was incalculable. It required a caravan of nine [70]hundred heavily laden camels to convey to Medina the Caliph’s fifth part of the spoil.

Thus fell without a blow the capital of Persia in the same fateful year that saw the desolation of Jerusalem.

But one more struggle remained—it was the death agony of the Persian Empire. The fugitive king gathered to his standard at Nehavend, on the plains of Hamadan, one hundred and fifty thousand men. Tidings were sent to the Caliph Omar at Medina—and there in the Mosque, by a handful of grey-headed Arabs, who but a few years previously had been homeless wanderers, was debated and decided the fate of the once magnificent empires of the Orient,—Syria, Chaldea, Babylonia and the dominions of the Medes and Persians.

The army of the Saracens, reinforced by men hardened in war, daring, confident, and led by able generals, was greatly inferior in numbers, but fired with zeal and the courage of death.

At the signal given “Allah Achbar” thrice repeated with the shaking of the standard, the army rushed to battle rending the air with the universal shout “Allah Achbar! Allah Achbar!” The shock of the two armies was terrific. In an hour the Persians were routed; by midnight their slain numbered a hundred thousand men, and their Empire was destroyed. The battle of Nehavend commemorated as “The Victory of Victories,” took place in the twenty-first year of the Hegira the year six hundred and forty-one of our era, and only nine years after the death of Mohammed.

If all Syria fell in six years; if the fate of Persia was decided by a single battle, Egypt may be said to have fallen in a single moment. With the fall of Alexandria [71]perished the largest library of the world, the thesaurus of all the intellectual treasures of antiquity.

While Egypt was won almost without a blow, Latin Africa withstood the Saracens for sixty years. But at last it was conquered. Spain also fell. The world staggered. Thirty-six thousand cities, towns and castles had fallen. The armies of the Saracens were victorious from Scinde in India, westward to Constantinople, then southward they had swept through Palestine, Egypt, Northern Africa beyond the Pillars of Hercules into Spain, and were only and finally arrested in Western Europe as all the world knows by Charles Martel in 732 upon the field of Tours.

But all the world does not know so well how that in 673 the Saracens were beaten back from the walls of Constantinople and the Commander of the Faithful compelled to purchase peace by an annual tribute of three thousand pieces of gold, fifty slaves and fifty of the finest Arabian horses. The year 717 saw Constantinople again besieged by a Saracen army, but Leo, the Isaurian, again beat back the invader with utter defeat; and no Moslem army ever again appeared under the walls of the New Rome, until a fiercer, ruder, more cruel race of Conquerors from the far East grasped again with bloody hand the sword of the Prophet. [72]




As at one time Athens “was the Eye of Greece and Mother of the Arts” so both to pious Jew and humble Christian, Jerusalem has ever been the “City of God,” the “Joy of the Whole Earth.” To the fervid hearts of the early Christians a pilgrimage to that Holy City to see the sacred sights and commune with God amid scenes hallowed by the former presence of a Christ, was regarded as a mark of special faith and a source of peculiar blessing. After the Emperor Constantine removed his capital from Rome to Constantinople and embraced the Christian religion, Jerusalem was raised from its ruins, the way to the sacred places was made more easy and safe, and the spirit of pilgrimage greatly revived and stimulated. The magnificent church of The Holy Sepulchre—decorated with pillars and adorned and paved with precious stones—was raised above the obscure tomb, while churches, chapels and monuments filled the city and marked the places made sacred by the life and the death of the Saviour of the world.

Pilgrims flocked in crowds into Judea from almost every country in Europe and Asia, and when they gathered in immense throngs about these holy places, lifting their voices in prayers and hymns in many languages, the sound was like the Babel of former Pentecosts. Each returning pilgrim told his story of strange [75]sights and of the refreshment and inspiration received from his visit.

The Sultan Abdul Hamid in the Park of Yildiz Palace.

The Sultan Abdul Hamid in the Park of Yildiz Palace.

He had confirmed his faith by bathing in the Jordan, tested his faith by exposure and perils, warmed his emotions by prayer on Calvary and raised his soul in songs of praise in the Church of the Resurrection.

But in 610 A. D., the armies of Persia overran the provinces of the Byzantine Empire, invading Syria, Palestine and Egypt, capturing Jerusalem and bearing away many Christian captives.

Ten years of fiercest conflict followed and finally Heraclius, Emperor of Constantinople, recaptured the city. In the imposing ceremonies and festivities which followed, the Emperor walked barefoot in the streets, bearing on his shoulders to the summit of Calvary, the wood of the true cross, which to their weird and superstitious imaginations had been miraculously recovered. Jerusalem rescued, became more than ever an object of reverence. Blood had been shed for the church, only Christians should thenceforth be its custodians. Their joy was brief.

Already the Saracenic warriors under able leaders had overrun Persia and Syria, and in 637 Omar, their Caliph, after a four months’ siege, received the keys and homage of a city, which, though the home of many Christians, was very sacred also in the eyes of the Mohammedans, as a “House of God,” a city of saints and miracles, since Mohammed himself had visited it as a prophet and had thence set out for heaven in his nocturnal voyage. During the lifetime of Omar, the Christians escaped serious persecution, but violence and fanaticism increased at a fearful rate under his successors—except for the period (768–814 A. D.) during which [76]reigned Haroun al Raschid, the greatest of all the Saracen Caliphs.

In 1076—fateful day—Jerusalem was captured by the Seljukian Turks who had come down from the inner provinces of Asia in resistless numbers—embraced Islamism, and under the banners of the Caliph of Bagdad, had conquered Syria and Palestine. Their entry into Jerusalem was signalized by a terrible massacre of all opponents. The fanatical fury of these barbarians was untempered by any spirit of toleration that had sometimes marked Saracenic civilization,—and soon their wild hordes waved their banners of blood and fire before the very gates of Constantinople. The Emperor Alexius purchased peace by ceding Asia Minor to the victorious Solyman, who at once established his power at Nice and began building a fleet for the capture of the Byzantine capital.

All Europe was roused and smitten with alarm. The hour had come for the Greek and the Latin churches to unite all their power for the defence of their common faith and preserve their empires from being devastated by the barbarian Turks.

Pope Gregory began to exhort the sovereigns of Europe to arm against the infidel: when suddenly from an anchorite’s cell appeared a monk who fired with enthusiasm the heart of all Europe and blew into fiercest blaze all the fanatical elements of a religious war. It was reserved for a poor pilgrim who had found refuge in a cloister from the ridicule and follies of a wicked world to become the instrument of converting the zeal of pilgrimage into the fury of an armed crusade. This man was Peter the Hermit.

In his cell, amid silence, fasting and prayer he grew [77]to believe himself the agent of heaven for the accomplishment of some great purpose, and he left his retreat to go on a pilgrimage. What he witnessed and suffered on the way and at Jerusalem gave to his zeal fresh determination and to his devotion the fervor of righteous indignation. His spirit was fired by the insults to Christians, his piety shocked by the profanations of the Holy Sepulchre by the barbarians and infidels. To his fevered imagination as to that of Joan of Arc there was a vision and a voice. While prostrate before the Holy Sepulchre the voice of Christ was heard, saying: “Peter, arise, hasten to proclaim the tribulation of my people; it is time my servants should receive help, and that the holy places should be delivered.” He hastened to Italy and threw himself at the feet of the Pope, Urban II.

With the blessing of the Pope he went forth, the preacher of an armed crusade. In imitation of Christ, when he entered Jerusalem in that last week of his life, he traveled on a mule. With crucifix in hand, feet bare, his head uncovered, his body covered with a long frock and girded with a thick cord, his appearance was an awesome spectacle. He went from city to city, from province to province, working on the piety, the superstitions and the courage of his hearers; now in churches, then in village marts and again on the public highways. He was animated and eloquent, his speech filled with vehement apostrophes and appalling descriptions. His exhortations threw the people into sobs and groans, fury and frenzy. Sympathy with the afflicted Christians took the form of furious fervor, natural bravery went out in oaths to redeem or die; religious emotions ran wild in excesses and swung like [78]a pendulum from the lowest follies of superstition to the fiercest outbursts of fanaticism.

It was during this excitement that the Emperor Alexius sent a message to Pope Urban II., appealing for aid. A council was called at Clermont in France where Peter’s preaching had caused the greatest awakening. The Pope attended in person, about him gathered an immense throng of clergy, princes and laity, from France, Italy and Germany. At the tenth session of this council the Pope ascended a pulpit in the open air and preached the sacred duty of redeeming the Sepulchre of Christ from the infidels, proclaiming the certain propitiation for sin by devotion to this meritorious service.

This historic council was most ingeniously called and managed. The Germanic peoples were new and eager converts to Christianity. They were fierce and warlike in disposition. Feudalism still was in its fullest power. The hundreds of castles which add such picturesqueness to the valley of the Rhine were then the centers of feudal pride, and every petty Prince made war as he was able against his neighbor, or joined with others in wars of larger proportions. There was no national spirit as yet. These feuds which had been handed down for generations, had greatly impoverished and destroyed the people. The Church had sought to alleviate the distress and check these petty wars, by issuing decrees prohibiting private wars for four days in each week. This council renewed “The Truce of God,” and threatened all who would not comply, with its Anathemas. It placed all widows, orphans, merchants, artisans and non-combatants generally under the panoply of the Church—made all sanctuaries so many cities of refuge, and declared [79]that even the crosses by the roadside should be reverenced as guardians from violence. These and other salutary decrees struck into the midst of an assembly filled with enthusiasm and energy, and prepared the way for them to unite in any cause that would add to the strength and glory of Christendom. On this day of the tenth session the great square was filled with an immense crowd. The Pope ascended the throne followed by his Cardinals. By his side was Peter the Hermit, who was to speak first, clad in his pilgrim garb. He gave an impassioned and masterly sketch of what he had witnessed in Palestine and Jerusalem—the outrages against the religion of Christ, and the profanation of the most holy places, the persecutions of pilgrim visitors whom he had seen loaded with chains, dragged into slavery; harnessed to the yoke like cattle. And as he spoke he also acted, until the people shuddered in consternation and horror, vented their hate in vehement cries or wept in dismay—no heart remaining unmoved by the very agony of his appeal.

Then Urban rose and so enlarged upon the theme as to arouse and inflame their passions to the highest pitch; then addressing particularly the French he said: “Nation beloved by God, it is in your courage that the Christian Church has placed her hope. It is because I am well acquainted with your piety and your bravery that I have crossed the Alps, and have come to preach the word of God in these countries. You have not forgotten that the land you inhabit has been invaded by the Saracen, and that but for the exploits of Charles Martel and Charlemagne, France would have received the laws of Mohammed. Recall, without ceasing, to your minds the danger and the glory of your fathers, led by [80]heroes whose names shall never die. They delivered your country. They saved the West from shameful slavery. More noble triumphs await you under the guidance of the God of Armies. You will deliver Europe and Asia. You will save the city of Jesus Christ, that Jerusalem which was chosen by the Lord, and from whence the Gospel has come down to us.”

Urban swayed his audience as a wind does the leaves of the forest. It wept as he pictured the misfortunes and sorrows of Jerusalem. Warriors clutched their swords and swore vengeance against the Infidel when he described the tyranny and perfidy of the Mussulman conquerors. The enthusiasm of his auditors rose to the highest pitch, when he declared that God had chosen them to extirpate the Mohammedan. He appealed also to their cupidity by the promise of worldly gain, by possession of the riches of Asia and the lands which according to Scripture flowed with milk and honey. He played on every passion and emotion—ambition, patriotism, love of glory and wealth, piety, power and religion:—until at the close of his grandest outbursts the audience rose as one man and broke into the unanimous cry—a cry that became the war cry of the crusader—“It is the will of God! It is the will of God!”

Taking up this wild refrain Pope Urban repeated dramatically: “Yes, without doubt it is the will of God” * * * It is He who has dictated to you the words that I have heard. Let them be your war cry and let them announce everywhere the presence of the “Armies of God.” He then held up to the gaze of the assemblage the sign of their redemption, saying: “It is Christ himself who issues from the tomb and presents [81]to you his cross; it will be the sign raised among the nations which is to gather together again the dispersed of Israel. Wear it on your shoulders and on your breasts; let it shine on your arms and on your standards; it will be the surety of victory or the palm of martyrdom; it will unceasingly remind you that Christ died for you, and that it is your duty to die for Him.” Again the multitude rose to weep and cheer and vow vengeance against the Mussulman.

I have dwelt thus on the Council of Clermont, and quoted from the speech of Pope Urban, that the reader might see clearly the mixed motives that stirred the heart of Europe for nearly two centuries, and nerved her warriors to the most noble, heroic and almost superhuman deeds of valor and endurance that have ever been emblazoned among the memorials of the mightiest heroes of this mortal race.

This was the declaration of war against the Mohammedan. The breaking up of the Council was the scattering of the firebrands of fanaticism. Pope Urban traversed several provinces of France that seemed to rise en masse to his appeals. France seemed to have no country but the Holy Land. Ease, property and life were cast into the sacrificial cause. All Christian nations seemed to forget their internal strifes, and to plunge headlong into the excitement of the hour. Western Europe resounded with the Papal Watchword: “He who will not take up his cross and come after me, is not worthy of me.”

It must not be forgotten, however, that the political and physical condition of Europe contributed vastly to the warlike conflagration. The people groaned under feudal servitude and violence. Famine more or less [82]severe, for years had contributed to robbery and brigandage. Commerce was almost destroyed, agriculture was neglected. Towns and cities were in ruins; lands everywhere were abandoned. The Church made her appeals popular. The Crusader was freed from all imposts and from pursuit by debts. The Cross suspended all laws and all menaces. Tyranny could not seek a wearer of the emblem nor could justice find the guilty. What wonder that an entire population rushed to a cause that absolved them from a grinding past and pictured so glowing a future! What wonder that the inexpiable wickedness of tyrannical baron and brutal knight sought expiation or at least relief by a desperate plunge into foreign martial excesses! What wonder if freebooters and robbers should join the ranks in hope of sharing the plunder of the conquered East! Yet we must not lose sight of the fact that over and above all love of glory, all true patriotism or base cupidity, towered the sublime passion, the pervading emotion of the hour. Religion smelted every other sentiment into harmonious union with her fervid zeal and her intense zealotry. Monks deserted their cloisters, anchorites their cells or forest retreats to mingle with and encourage the crusading throngs. Thieves and robbers came out of their hiding places to confess their sins and expiate offences by assuming the sacred badge.

All Europe seemed to be on the move eastward. Barons were willing to desert their castles and Lords their manors. The artisan deserted his shop, merchants their stores, the laborer the field. Cities were depopulated, lands were mortgaged, castles sold. Values were nothing. Accumulations of centuries went for a song. Even miracles entered into the [83]furore. To their overheated imaginations stars fell; blood was seen in the clouds. Armed warriors were seen rushing to battle in the skies. Saints issued from the tomb, and the shade of Charlemagne arose to lead these phantom hosts to the rescue of the Holy City. While everywhere the women and children and the helpless of every estate espoused the cause of Heaven crying aloud, “It is the will of God,” and imprinting crosses on their limbs.

The early spring of 1096 saw the gathering of the impatient throngs. They came from every quarter, from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, and from Tiber to the Ocean. Troops of men, armed with every conceivable weapon or without arms of any kind, swarmed towards their respective rendezvous chanting and shouting their war cry until every hill reëchoed “It is the will of God.” Without preparation or forethought or commissary they gathered, blindly trusting that He who fed the sparrows would not suffer them to hunger. There was no voice of reason in all this surging multitude. It was a spectacle without a parallel in history. There is no way of computing the vast aggregate, but the French historian, Carnot, estimates that five billion enthusiasts were on the move in the spring of 1096. This certainly is most extravagant hyperbole, but all Western Europe was fiercely agitated and vast multitudes were on the march.



Their story is but a harrowing recital of a tumultuous and reckless march through an unknown country by a starving horde of men, women and children. Pillage, rapine and blood marked their way. For a time [84]in Germany the people were kindly disposed and brought them food. Fortunately for the mob Hungary had but recently embraced Christianity and its King, Carloman, gave it a friendly passage through his domains: but when it struck Bulgaria its struggles and sorrows began. They were forced to pillage to keep from starvation. Religion was laid aside. Hunger knew no law stronger than that of self-preservation. The Bulgarians flew to arms and inflicted great losses on the undisciplined and helpless crowd of beggars. At last that part of the throng led by Walter the Penniless, arrived under the walls of Constantinople and there were allowed by the Emperor to await the coming of Peter the Hermit. Alas! the excesses of his hosts led to still more terrible assaults while passing through Hungary and Bulgaria. At Nissa they endeavored to scale the ramparts and a terrific battle ensued in which the Crusaders were cut to pieces. Women, children, horses, camp and trophy chests, all fell a prey to the infuriated Bulgarians.

In August, Peter the Hermit appeared under the walls of Constantinople with about seven thousand soldiers and camp followers to recruit his wasted energies in the camp of Walter the Penniless while waiting for other and better armed and disciplined forces to arrive. From the banks of the Rhine, from Flanders, and even from Britain an army largely composed of the refuse of mankind, two hundred thousand strong, started on its march—but soon gave themselves to unheard-of barbarities. How much worse than a Mohammedan was a member of that hated race which had crucified the Christ and so they let loose their fury against the defenseless Jews in most pitiless massacres, sweeping on [85]into Hungary, to the city of Mersburg, which shut its gates and refused them provisions. Forests were cut down, causeways built across the swamps which partially protected the walls and a furious assault was made upon the city. The battle raged fiercely and for a long time with doubtful result, but at last the scaling ladders of the Crusaders began to give way, and then fell dragging down their occupants and fragments of the walls and towers. These disasters carried panic into the army of the besiegers and they fled into the forests, were caught in the swamps and were ruthlessly slaughtered. Few of the desperate and cruel adventurers escaped. Some found the way back to their own country covered with disgrace—a few more made their way to the army of Peter the Hermit encamped before Constantinople.

Thus far this fanatical spirit had cost Western Europe the lives of nearly a quarter of a million people, and not a Saracen had been seen. But the motley crowd encamped on the Bosphorus augmented by adventurers from Italian cities had gradually increased until now it probably numbered one hundred thousand all told. They were scarcely more welcome than the Saracens to the Emperor Alexius who had treated them as guests and supplied their famished hosts. Their desire for plunder could not long be restrained, and the churches, houses and palaces in the suburbs fell a prey to their rapacity which was as insatiable as the cry for blood that rises from a pack of ravening wolves. Alexius was therefore very glad to furnish them with transportation across the Bosphorus. They were now on Asiatic soil an undisciplined and motley crowd in the face of the well armed and equally furious [86]and fanatical Turk. They revelled in the pillage of the fertile plains of Nicomedia, dividing the booty at night in their camps. They plundered the valley, ravaged and burned the villages and committed most horrible excesses; they captured a small fort near the mountains from the Turks and massacred the garrison. The Turks reinforced, fell upon them in turn, and put nearly all of them to the sword. This roused the anger of the mixed crowds in camp. Nothing could restrain the blind fury of the soldier mob. They chased the apparently flying columns of the Turks into the mountains of an unknown country and fell into the ambush laid for them. In vain their courage, their despair. The carnage was horrible. Only three thousand escaped. The entire crusading army perished in this single battle and only their bleaching bones remained as a ghastly monument pointing out to other crusaders the way to the Holy Land.

Europe learned with astonishment and horror of the sad fate of over three hundred thousand soldiers who had departed amid the promises and the blessings of the church. Their misfortune, however, did not deter others, but seemed only to inspire them with resolution; their disasters furnished a warning to the better regulated and more formidable hosts which were to pour into the East from the now thoroughly aroused West.



The verdict of candid history is that the rabble which started in obedience to a popular ferment and perished as a miserable crowd of crazed humanity, deserved the fate they invited; for the world had never witnessed a more pitiable exhibition of demoniacal [87]fanaticism and flagrant violence than was shown by these lawless crowds who followed the cry of Peter the Hermit. They achieved nothing heroic; but their disasters taught Europe that to conquer Jerusalem would be no holiday work.

The Princes and Nobles of Germany, France and Britain now organized for war. While deliverance of Jerusalem was the popular cry and religious zeal fired the heart of all classes, the powers recognized the fact that the battles to be fought and won were for the preservation of their very existence.

You may call it organized infatuation and mailed folly, yet it was a splendid spectacle. Its spiritual zeal gave a silver lining to its superstitions. Its martial fame modified its brutality. Amid fearful excesses there was a show of prudence; and although you may impeach the justice of their cause, their magnanimous devotion of spirit and fearless heroism must always command a large share of sympathy and admiration, and make the Story of the Crusades the most thrilling of all the chapters in the history of the Middle Ages.

History and poetry place Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, at the head of the great captains that led the flower of all chivalry on its desperate venture. He was a descendant of the great Charlemagne. To natural bravery he added herculean strength. He was devout, prudent and humane. All his vengeance was for the enemies of Christ. He was generous, faithful to his word—a model knight and soldier. When he gave the signal, the nobility of France and the Rhine borders opened their purses and flocked to his standards. Women sold their jewels to [88]equip husbands and sons for service. Men sacrificed their domains for horses and arms. Godfrey himself sacrificed his estates that he might equip his soldiers, and a worldly Bishop eagerly took advantage of his zeal by purchasing his vast domains. Within eight months of the Council of Clermont, Godfrey had gathered an army of eighty thousand footmen and ten thousand horse. With him were a great number of nobles whose names became famous, beside his brother Baldwin and his cousin Baldwin de Bourg who were destined like himself to become Kings of Jerusalem. Whether actuated by piety or the hope of achieving fortune, they all quitted without regret their mean possessions and tame life in Europe.

They led an immense army used to marches and battles. Their admirable discipline and self-restraint reëstablished the honor of the Crusaders and drew allies and champions of the cross where Peter had met his worst enemies, and the hostile Hungarians and Bulgarians forgot their hatred for the leaders of the Mob in their admiration for Godfrey and his chivalric knights.

We must not neglect to mention the names of four chiefs who accompanied by throngs of lesser knights and nobles, crossed the Alps and marched towards the different coast cities of Italy intending to embark for Greece by water. Count Hugh, brother of Philip I. of France, a proud prince, brave in battle, but lacking perseverance under reverses: Robert, Duke of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror, who pledged his domains to his crafty brother, William Rufus, that he might equip his Norman vassals. Robert, of Flanders, whose father some time before had [89]made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, found it an easy task to attract a large and resolute following and exhausted the treasures of his province in arming his men for an expedition, which was to earn for him the reputation of a brave knight and the surname of “Lance and Sword of the Christians.” Five hundred of his men had already preceded him to Constantinople. Then Stephen of Blois and Chartres, whose castles numbered one for every day in the year, and who was reckoned one of the richest nobles of his time, took up the cross and led a large body of his retainers;—he, though lacking in physical strength, was eloquent and wise in council and enjoyed the exceptional distinction of being a man of letters. For the most part these chiefs and many men of lesser rank took with them their wives and children and camp equipments. Passing through Italy they roused the enthusiasm of the noble Bohemond, Prince of Tarentum, who was a cubit taller than the tallest soldier in his army. The historian of Constantinople and the Empire of the East, Anna Comnena, says that he was as astonishing to the eye as his reputation was to the mind. He was eloquent in debate, skilled with sword and lance. He was proud and haughty. Fear of God, the opinions of men, nor his own oaths afforded him no restraint. His enlistment under the banner of the cross was not for the purpose of delivering the tomb of Christ, but because he had sworn eternal enmity against Alexius and the Empire of the East. He hoped to win a kingdom long before reaching Jerusalem. In a surprisingly short time he sailed for the coasts of Greece with twenty thousand footmen and ten thousand horse, followed by every renowned knight of Apulia and Sicily. [90]None of them however became so celebrated for deeds of prowess as the brave Tancred, who has found a place in history and poetry and who seems to have been actuated by the loftiest sentiments of piety, chivalric honor and loyal friendship for his leader. From the southern provinces of France under the leadership of Raymond of Toulouse and Bishop Adhemar, who was as valorous in the field as he was eloquent in prayer, came another army one hundred thousand strong, marching eastward along the south side of the Alps and through northern Italy by way of Dalmatia, to Constantinople.

And now that all Europe seemed pouring into the empire and capital of Alexius, the Emperor began to be alarmed. He had not forgotten the excesses of the first swarm of Crusaders. Should these multitudes now sweeping into and through his domains choose to do so, they could speedily wrest his sovereignty from him and find riches and dominion far easier than in remote and hostile Asia. We have no time to dwell upon the intrigues and treachery that marked his dealings with these mighty leaders of the Crusaders. More than once the forces of Godfrey and Alexius were called to arms with the fate of Constantinople hanging in almost even balance. Finally a truce was made and the Emperor sent his son as a hostage to the Camp of the Crusaders. This dissipated all mistrust and the princes of the West swore to respect the laws of hospitality. They went in a body to the court of Alexius, where they bent before his throne and were magnificently received. After an imposing ceremony the now graciously disposed Emperor adopted Godfrey as a son, placed the Empire under his protection, promising [93]aid to the Crusaders by land and sea, provisions for their marches and the countenance of his leadership in glory or defeat.

Types of Softas (Mohammedan Students)

Types of Softas (Mohammedan Students)

But every day brought its hosts of Crusaders and magnificent presents must be given to all the leaders, and his profuse liberality was a heavy drain on his royal treasuries. His security now lay in keeping the armies in motion and hurrying them across the Bosphorus; and once in Asia their leaders would be engrossed in preparing to meet the Saracens and his capital would for a time be free from insult and the unwelcome presence of his mortal foe Bohemond who, struck with the riches of the apartments assigned him, exclaimed: “There is enough here to conquer kingdoms with.”

And now the plains of Bythinia were fast filling with the warrior hordes of Europe and as they swept along seeking safe camping places they came to the foot of the mountains where Walter the Penniless and his entire army perished in battle. The painful reminder of so great a calamity, and the recital by the starved remnants of Peter’s army found hiding in the mountains of their fearful sufferings, hushed all discord, silenced ambition and inspired fresh zeal for the conquest of the Holy City and the destruction of the fierce, cruel and equally fanatical Turks who swarmed in the valleys and filled the walled cities of Palestine with desperate garrisons.

But the first battle of invasion must be fought at the very gateway to Asia Minor. The chief of the Infidel forces was the son of Solyman; his name was David, surnamed Kilidge Arslan, or “The Sword of the Lion.” He called upon the defenders of Islam to rally to his [94]standard and they came in troops from all the surrounding provinces and even from distant Persia. The capital of his kingdom was Nicea (Nice). It was the advanced post of the Turks in Asia Minor and there they would concentrate for the later invasion of Europe. Its approaches were defended by high mountains. Its walls, surrounded by large water-filled ditches, were wide enough for the passage of chariots and were crowned by three hundred and seventy towers of brick. Its garrison was composed of the finest troops of the Turkish army; and one hundred thousand men were encamped for its defence upon the neighboring mountains.

Infatuated with their cause, blind in their faith, despising the martial quality of the enemy, and apparently ignorant of the careful and crafty preparations made to receive them, the Crusaders marched in magnificently terrible swarms over the Bythinian plains towards Nice; with a force of one hundred thousand horse and five hundred thousand footmen among whom were a large per cent. of women and children and ineffectives. It was the chivalry of Europe come out to dispute with the Infidel the possession of Asia. The sight of this immense army as the Turks gazed upon it from their mountain tops must have thrilled their hearts even if it did not carry terror to their camps. It was soon learned that Nice could only be captured by siege, if at all. For this preparations began to be made; but there was no central authority. In the camps of the Crusaders were nineteen different nationalities grouped about their respective standards. No count or prince would deign to receive orders from anyone. Each camp was protected by walls or palisades, [95]and as the supply of wood and stone was scarce they gathered up the bones of the first Crusaders that lay bleaching on the plains. The priests in all these various camps were always in the ranks and so great was their power that the commonest soldier gladly courted death for the sake of the rewards in store for all who perished in battle with the Infidel.

At the same time David, “The Sword of the Lion” animated his garrison by recalling former victories and saying: “We are going to fight for our wives and children and country. The religion of the Prophet implores our help, and the richest booty will reward our exploits.” While for every Turk that fell in battle the gates of Paradise would open and the most beautiful Houris would minister with wine and dance to the unlimited enjoyment of the faithful. The rewards of the future, though so different to the imagination of the followers of Christ and of Mohammed, had precisely the same effect in stimulating the courage of all alike to the same pitch of frenzied fanaticism—the utter contempt of all danger, and to the very courting of death itself in the destruction of their enemies.

As the Crusaders advanced, their siege operations animated by the boldness of their leaders, the Turks, similarly cheered and as bravely led, descended from their mountain camps and prepared for battle. Their army divided into two great bodies as they struck the plains. One of these fell on the army of Godfrey, and the other on that of Raymond of Toulouse. At first the troops of Raymond gave way to the fierce onset but were soon rallied by the voices and bugles of Raymond and Adhemar. Matthew of Edessa writes:—“The two armies joined, mingled and attacked each [96]other with equal fury. Everywhere glittered casques and shields; lances rang against cuirasses; the air resounded with piercing cries; the terrified horses recoiled from din of arms and the hissing of arrows; the earth trembled beneath the tread of the combatants, and the plain was for a vast space bristling with javelins.” The Crusaders were most valiantly led by Godfrey, Tancred and the two Roberts whose steeds seemed to be everywhere, whose valor knew no abatement and whose lances carried terror and death into the ranks of the Infidels. It was a disastrous day for the Turkish forces that were driven back in greatest confusion into their mountain camps. But the Sultan did not stop to deplore his defeat. He rallied his forces during the night and determined to avenge his disgrace on the morrow. At break of day again his troops rushed with the violence of mountain torrents into the plains, and with loudest cries dashed again and again into the serried ranks of the Crusaders. All day long under charge and counter charge the result of the battle hung in doubt. Not till night did the Turks confess their inability to crush the battle lines of the Christians by retiring from the scene of awful carnage, leaving four thousand prisoners in the hands of the victors. The next day the heads of one thousand were cut off and sent as trophies to Alexius at Constantinople; the heads of the remaining captives were thrown by machines over the walls of the city to inform the Turkish garrison of the disaster which had overtaken their supporting army.

The Crusaders were now free to push forward the siege by every artifice known to the Romans and directed by the skill and energy of the Greeks. They [97]allowed the garrison no rest, and the defence was as furious as the attack. The Turks covered their ramparts with formidable weapons which hurled destruction on their assailants. They shot forth darts, wooden beams and enormous stones which daily destroyed the labor of the Crusaders whose rashness and imprudence cost them many precious lives. Hundreds died from poisoned darts, and others, venturing too near the walls, were caught by grappling hooks, dragged alive over the walls to be shot back, stark naked, into the Christian camp. The tales of personal, single-handed prowess place Christian and Turkish chief on equal footing as to strength, courage and splendid daring.

After seven weeks had passed all hope for successful defence departed. The wife of the Sultan and her two children were captured in trying to escape, and consternation siezed the garrison. Just at this crisis the emissaries of Alexius entered the city, and by creating in the inhabitants a dread of the terrible vengeance that would be inflicted by the Crusaders, persuaded them to surrender to the Emperor of Constantinople.

While the Crusaders were preparing for what was intended to be their final assault, the standard of Alexius suddenly appeared on the ramparts. The wily Emperor had secured without the loss of a man the fruits of a victory won at terrible cost of life to the Crusaders. He succeeded in quieting the wrath of the soldiers by distributing among them largesses equal in extent to the booty they expected from the looting of the captured city. He also restored to the Sultan his wife and children, and thereby won his friendship. He also by this crafty stroke of policy secured the lives of the Greek Christians scattered throughout the cities of [98]Asia Minor; but won the lasting hatred of the Crusaders.

The siege of one city is like the siege of all, and we must hasten to Jerusalem, in the spring of 1097. Passing by the battlefield of Dorylaeum, where the newly gathered army of David, the Sultan, numbering two hundred thousand men, met with an awful defeat and the loss of nearly twenty-five thousand men; all the treasures of his camp, provisions, tents, horses and camels, and riches of gold and silver, falling as spoil into the hands of the Crusaders:—passing by the terrible march through “Burning Phrygia,” desolated by order of the Sultan, we descend through the mountain passes of the Taurus range into the fair and fertile and wealthy plains of the province of Antioch. The armies were soon gathered for the siege of this historic city, which lasted seven months and was finally captured through the assistance of an Armenian within the walls.

Six months after the sack of the city of Antioch, the word was given, “On to Jerusalem.”

It was now about the first of June. The harvests of Phœnicia were ripe, plenty of provisions were in sight, and the country was beautiful as they marched down the seacoast from Antioch. To their left rose the mountains of Lebanon. On their right the blue waters of the Mediterranean flashed in the sunlight of an eastern sky. Between mountain and sea the valleys and plains were filled with orchards of olive, orange and pomegranate. Among the plants which were new to the Crusaders was the sugar cane of the Syrian lowlands. Returning pilgrims carried this plant to Italy; the Saracens introduced it into Grenada, whence it spread throughout all the Spanish colonial possessions; [99]and to-day is the basis of the wealth of Cuba, and one of the chief productions of our own Southern States.

The Crusaders marched amid plenty and under balmy skies, with time enough to contemplate the fearful sacrifice of human life which their expedition had already cost. Battle and famine, disease and despair had cut off more than two hundred thousand of their number. Tens of thousands had deserted and returned to Europe; other thousands remained in the cities and villages of Palestine and were lost in the mixed crowds of the native races. While yet a vast host, the fighting force was about fifty thousand, but it was a compact and vigorous body of warriors. It marched better and lighter. Its victories gave it courage; its defeats had taught it the value of discipline. The names of Crusader and Christian carried terror wherever spoken in the Infidel camps or cities. Their zeal increased as they drew near the end of their long and wasting marches. Often the weary columns refused to halt for the night, but tramped on until forced to rest by sheer fatigue. To their disordered vision luminous angels appeared to guide them on the way.

Bending away from the sea and passing Lydda, they soon gained the Heights of Ephraim, only sixteen miles from Jerusalem. Here their ranks were broken up as they entered these jagged ravines and narrow, lonesome valleys scorched by the rays of a summer sun, riddled by gullies and choked by great fragments of rock fallen from the precipitous sides of the mountains. Had they been attacked from the heights above by even a few resolute Mussulmen while in such disorder, fearful loss might have been inflicted; but no enemy appeared as the more ardent and faithful souls [100]advanced barefooted, carrying with them the banner of the Prince of Peace to plant on the recaptured walls of the Holy City of God.

On June 10th, 1099, the Crusaders marched up the gloomy steeps to Emmaus, and looking over its barren edges caught their first sight of Zion. The cry of “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” rang out and down the slopes, and as the rear columns came up the war cry “It is the will of God,” resounded throughout the whole army until reëchoed by the slopes of the Mount of Olives and heard in the City of David. Horsemen dismounted and walked barefoot, thousands bent their knees and kissed the earth. Hallelujahs arose, petitions went up for the remission of their sins, tears were shed over the death of Christ, and the profanation of His tomb. Pious fervor soon changed into fierceness and wrath as oaths were resworn to rescue the Holy City from the sacrilegious hands of the followers of Mohammed.

They found a fierce and valiant memory awaiting them. The surrounding villages had been destroyed, cisterns and wells filled up or poisoned, the land made a desert.

The siege began at once; but their situation grew desperate. They were suffering under a scorching heat and the sand storms out of the southern deserts. Plants and animals perished. Kedron ran dry. The army became a prey to raging thirst. Water brought in skin bottles a distance of nine miles was worth its weight in silver. The old historians paint in most frightful colors the misery of the Crusaders at this juncture; and had the Mussulmen made a determined sortie upon the staggering hosts, the army must have perished. Their strength and courage revived by [101]the arrival of a Genoese fleet at Jaffa laden with provisions. A Syrian pointed out a mountain thirty miles away that was forest-clad. Every body wrought with unceasing energy. Water was brought long distances by the women and children; machines of war towers, catapults and battering rams were erected and pushed up close under the walls of Jerusalem.

The priests exhorted to peace and harmony. The hermit of the Mount of Olives led a penitential march around the city. On their return to camp as the Christian army marched by the tomb of David, and Mt. Zion they chanted “The nations of the West shall fear the Lord; and the nations of the East shall see His glory.”

On the morning of July 14, 1099, all the Crusaders flew to arms at the sound of the trumpets to make their first grand assault.

The great war machines were pushed close to the walls. Showers of stones were hurled upon the ramparts. Archers and crossbowmen kept up a continual fire from their towers. Scaling ladders were planted. The great leaders were everywhere. For twelve long hours the Crusaders maintained the unequal fight, and then nightfall covered their first repulse. The morning saw the renewal of the conflict more furious and desperate than before. It was carried on with demoniac obstinacy for half a day. Their courage began to fail; nearly all their machines were on fire and there was no water to quench the flames; even their leaders began to waver.

While the battle was in this desperate shape a mysterious knight made his appearance on the Mount of Olives waving his sword and signalling them to renew the [102]assault. They accepted the omen as from heaven and in the fury of their faith rushed again to the attack—dragged their machines still nearer the walls, caught them with their grappling hooks, lowered their drawbridges, let fly showers of flaming arrows which set on fire sacks of wool and bundles of hay that had been used for protection on the inner walls. The wind fanned the flames, driving smoke and heat upon the doomed Saracens. The Crusaders sprang upon the walls with lance and spear in hand. Godfrey, Baldwin, Raymond and Tancred followed by their knights and soldiers were soon in the streets and beating down the gates with their battle-axes opened the way for the great body of Crusaders to enter. Their battle cry rang through the streets of the Holy City.

The miracle-monger places the entry of the Crusaders at the very hour Friday, 3 P. M., at which Christ expired on the cross. But even this could not move their hearts to mercy. We throw a veil of silence over the awful massacre that followed, until Godfrey throwing aside his arms walked barefooted to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. His example was contagious. The army ceased its bloody fury, cast aside its blood-stained vestments, gave vent to its contrition in groans and sobs, and marched with uncovered heads and bare feet following their priests to the Church of the Resurrection. We marvel at the sudden transformation. The devotion of the Crusaders seemed profoundly tender after such horrible carnage. We do not excuse it. We do not condemn it in bitter speech recalling some terrible experiences during our late Civil War, when Christian men sometimes seemed possessed. The demon of war has never yet [103]been baptized with the Spirit of Him who gave up His life for the salvation of the very men who crucified Him.

The last chapter in the history of this first Crusade ends with the establishment of a kingdom of Jerusalem and the selection of the pious Godfrey as King. With its fortunes we may not here concern ourselves. We shall touch upon it as we sketch the resistless march of the warriors of Islam to the conquest of Constantinople and the overthrow of the Empire of Eastern Europe. [104]




From Jerusalem the reader must now transport himself beyond the Caspian Sea eastward if he would visit the early home of the Turks or Turcomans, or Turkmans, against which the first crusade was chiefly directed. Their Scythian empire of the sixth century was long since dissolved, the tribes of the nations, each a powerful and independent kingdom, were scattered over the deserts of Central Asia from China to the Oxus and the Danube. Hordes of these wandering shepherds were about to overspread the kingdoms of Persia, shake the thrones of China and India, and erect a solid and splendid empire from Samarcand to the confines of Greece and Egypt. Their conquests were not to cease till their victorious crescents had been planted on the walls of Constantinople, and unfurled to the breeze from the dome of the most magnificent Christian temple of the world—the dome of St. Sophia.

One of the greatest of Turkish princes was Mahmood, who reigned over the eastern provinces of Persia one thousand years after the birth of Christ, (A. D. 997–1028.) For him the title of Sultan was first invented—a word that signifies Lord or Master. His kingdom stretched from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the mouth of the river Indus.

In a series of twelve expeditions he waged a “Holy War” against the Gentoos of Hindustan. Never was [105]the Mussulman hero dismayed by the inclemency of the seasons, the heights of the mountains, the breadths of the rivers, the barrenness of the desert, the multitudes of the enemy or the formidable array of their elephants of war. But we cannot spare even a page to describe his swift and terrible campaigns that brought the power and wealth of India to his feet. As in his old age he surveyed the vast millions of gold and silver, the countless spoils in pearls and diamonds and rubies that filled his treasure house, even his boundless avarice might have been satiated for a moment. As he reviewed the state of his regular military forces which comprised one hundred thousand foot, fifty-five thousand horse and thirteen hundred elephants of battle; he wept the instability of human greatness, his grief embittered by the hostile progress of the Turcomans whom as allies he had introduced into the heart of his Persian kingdom.

He was admonished of his folly by the reply of the chief of the race of Seljuk of whom he had inquired what supply of men he could furnish for military service. “If you send,” replied Ishmael, “one of these arrows into our camp, fifty thousand of your servants will mount on horseback.”

“And if that number should not be sufficient?” “Send this second arrow to the horde of Balik and you will find fifty thousand more.” “But,” said Mahmood, dissembling his anxiety, “if I should stand in need of the whole force of your kindred tribes?”

“Despatch my bow,” was the last reply of Ishmael, “and as it is sent around, the summons will be obeyed by two hundred thousand horse.” Well might he fear, for the multitude of shepherds were converted into robbers; the bands of robbers only needed leaders to [106]become an army of conquerors, that would not be ashamed or afraid to measure courage and power with the proudest sovereigns of Asia.

Too long did his son and successor neglect the advice of his wise men. “Your enemies” they repeatedly urged “were in their origin a swarm of ants; they are now little snakes; and unless they be instantly crushed they will acquire the magnitude and venom of serpents.”

When the day of battle came, the swarm of ants had grown into a horde of fierce and mighty warriors: and although “Massoud exhibited such acts of gigantic force and valor as never king had before displayed,” in the very hour when victory was about to perch on his banners in dismay, he beheld almost his whole army led by some generals of the Turkish race, “devouring the paths of flight.” This memorable day of Zendecan founded in Persia the dynasty of the Shepherd Kings.



The victorious Turcomans, determined by lot, it is said, the selection of their King; and it fell to Togrul Beg, grandson of Seljuk, whose surname was immortalized in the greatness of his posterity. At the age of forty-five Togrul was invested with the title of Sultan in the royal city of Nishabur, and the sceptre of Irak passed from the Persian to the Turkish nation, that now and everywhere embraced with fervor and sincerity the religion of Mohammed.

At the conquest of Mosul and Bagdad he received from the Caliph of the East the title of the lieutenant of the vicar of the prophet, his mystic veil was perfumed [107]with musk, two crowns were placed on his head; two scimitars were girded to his side as the symbol of a double reign over the East and the West.

Soon myriads of Turkish horse went forth to conquest, overspreading the frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Erzeroum: and the blood of hundreds of thousands of Christians were a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.

The first invasion of poor Armenia was with more than a hundred thousand men and twenty-four provinces were laid waste. The second was with two hundred thousand and they completed the utter ruin of those provinces, carrying into captivity all the inhabitants. In the year 1049 the armies of Togrul made a third invasion, besieging the city of Ardzan, which had a population of three hundred thousand souls, and contained eight hundred churches with schools and hospitals. Notwithstanding their utmost resistance it was taken and a hundred and forty thousand people were massacred, the remnant were carried into captivity and the city was burned. Many other cities were treated in the same way.

At the same time there were in Armenia sixty thousand Greek Christian troops from Constantinople, ostensibly for the protection of Armenia, yet they did not take a single step to repel the invaders, preferring to see the Armenians slaughtered. Verily history repeated itself as the great “Christian” powers of Europe stood by witnessing the “reform of Armenia.”

There is some small sense of satisfaction in the fact that before the Turks left Armenia they utterly defeated and dispersed these miserable “Defenders of the Faith.” [108]

Again in the year 1053 Togrul appeared in Armenia, destroying many cities, among them the capital city of Kars and then marched to the city of Manazguerd and laid siege to it.

Basilius, the Chief of the city, was a man of great bravery and military skill. He was assisted in the defence of the city by a skillful Armenian priest who, by his inventions rendered the machines raised by the Persians against the walls entirely useless. Then they planned to undermine the fortifications; but this new design was revealed by a soldier who, smarting under some grievous and unjust punishment, shot an arrow into the city to which was fastened a letter making known their plans. A countermine was dug, and the Persian miners being captured they were taken into the city and beheaded on the battlements.

In his rage Togrul caused a huge wooden ballista to be erected,—so large that it required four hundred men to drag it before the walls. Basilius offered a great reward to the man who should succeed in burning it. There was a very ingenious Gaul in the city who, having composed an inflammable mixture, mounted a swift horse and proceeded to the Persian camp holding a letter in his outstretched hand. He went directly to the spot where the ballista stood and while the guards fancied him a messenger sent to the King he hurled the bottles filled with the combustible material into the machine and in the confusion that attended the burning of the ballista escaped back to the city.

The siege was soon raised but other cities felt the fury of his baffled rage as leaving a trail of fire and blood behind him, Togrul returned to Persia. The native historian whom we are consulting, in simplest [111]yet most telling pathos, writes: “Armenia, after this, enjoyed no repose.”

“The Turks are Upon Us”—The Panic in Stamboul.

“The Turks are Upon Us”—The Panic in Stamboul.

Upon the death of Togrul, (A. D. 1062) he was succeeded by his nephew, Alp Arslan who, in the following year came to wreak vengeance on unhappy Armenia. Everywhere he committed the most horrid devastation. Marching to the province of Ararat he laid siege to Ani the Magnificent, with its thousand and one churches.

The city was lost by the cowardice of the Governor. A breach had been made in an unprotected part of the wall, but being narrow the citizens so valiantly defended it that they compelled the Sultan to retire; but the Governor, fancying that the Persians had succeeded in forcing an entrance, retired into the citadel. Thinking themselves deserted, a panic seized the Armenians and about fifty thousand of them fled into the country from the gates on the opposite side of the city.

The retreat of the Persians was countermanded, the city was taken, orders being given to put every man to the sword. Human blood flowed in torrents. So great was the carnage that the streets were literally choked up with dead bodies, and the waters of the river Akhurian flowed in crimson tides. After his first fury was somewhat abated, Alp Arslan gave orders to seize the most wealthy citizens still alive and torture them to make them reveal places where their treasures were hidden. Then he pillaged the thousand and one churches, murdered all the priests found therein,—some were drowned, some he flayed alive, others died under tortures as excruciating as most fiendish imagination could conceive or invent. Finally, gathering his captives[112]—men, women and children and his plunder, Alp Arslan returned to Persia.

We must leave for awhile the bleeding Armenians whose kingdom had been annihilated, to the tender mercies of the wicked, to follow the path of rapine and horror as the torrents of unspeakable Turks flowed westward.

They captured cities, put the inhabitants of Asia Minor to the sword and devastated the interior provinces to convert them into pasture lands for their nomad followers.

Romanus, husband of the Greek Empress Eudocia took the field against them, and driving them back to the Euphrates, laid siege to the fortress of Manzikert or Malasgerd in Armenia midway between modern Erzeroum and Van. It was on the plain of Manzikert in 1071 after the capture of the fortress, that the East gained one of its greatest triumphs over the West. The Seljuk Sultan and the Roman Emperor met face to face. Romanus rejected in haughty pride the overtures of the Sultan that might have secured his retreat, perhaps peace—and prepared for battle. The Sultan with his own hands tied up the flowing tail of his horse, exchanged his bow and arrows for a mace and scimitar, clothed himself in a white garment, perfumed his body with musk, and declared that if he were vanquished, that spot should be the place of his burial. The Sultan himself had cast away his missile weapons, but his hopes of victory were in the arrows of his cavalry whose squadrons were loosely placed in the form of a crescent. Romanus led his army in a single and solid phalanx and pressed with vigor the artful and yielding resistance of the barbarians. Thus [113]the greater part of a hot summer’s day was spent in fruitless combat until fatigue compelled him to sound a return to camp. This was the fatal moment. The Turkish squadrons poured a cloud of arrows on the retreating army throwing them into confusion. The horns of the crescent closed in upon the rear of the Greeks.

The destruction of the army was complete, the booty immense. Nobly did the Emperor with desperate courage maintain the fight till the close of the day. The imperial station was left naked on all sides to the victorious Turks. His body guard fell about him—his horse was slain and he himself was wounded, yet he stood as a lion at bay. He was captured, despoiled of his jewelled robes, bound and guarded all night on the field of the dead.

In the morning the successor of Constantine in plebian habit was led into the presence of the Sultan and commanded to kiss the ground at the feet of the Lord of Asia. Reluctantly he obeyed, and Alp Arslan, starting from his throne, is said to have planted his foot on the neck of the Roman Emperor. No captive was ever more nobly treated than Romanus Diogenes; but no captivity ever wrought more lasting woe. Three years later the Seljuk was the recognized Lord of Asia Minor, and as such ventured to call himself the Lord of Rome. Following the defeat of the Romans the Turks marched into Syria and reduced Damascus by famine and the sword. Other cities in Palestine yielded until the victorious army passing southward stood on the banks of the Nile. The city of Cairo in desperate battle drove back the armies of the Sultan from the confines of Egypt; but in their retreat Jerusalem was [114]conquered and the house of Seljuk held the city for some twenty years.

When Jerusalem fell before the arms of the Crusaders in 1099, the event was applauded as a deliverance in Europe, and was deplored as a calamity in Asia. The Syrian fugitives diffused everywhere their sorrow and consternation: Bagdad mourned in the dust; the Cadi of Damascus tore his beard in the Caliph’s presence; the Commanders of the faithful could only weep and vow vengeance on the head of the infidels who had defiled the Holy City.

It is not our purpose to pursue the story of the crusades through all the years that made Jerusalem the prize of battle equally to Christian and Mohammedan. The life and exploits of Saladin and Richard, the lion-hearted are more thrilling than any romance. In a fanatic age, himself a fanatic, the genuine virtues of Saladin commanded the esteem of the Christians; the Emperor of Germany gloried in his friendship; the Greek Emperor solicited his alliance. Egypt, Syria, and Arabia were adorned by the royal foundations of hospitals, colleges and mosques; Cairo was fortified with a wall and citadel; but his works were consecrated to public use: nor did the Sultan indulge himself in a garden or palace of private luxury. The son of Job, a simple Kurd, Saladin was after the follies of a hot youth, a rigid Mussulman, his garment of coarse woolen, and water his only drink.

But already had he won for himself the name of “The Scourge of God.” He had united all the forces and riches of Egypt and Asia under his sword and now (1187 A. D.) hastened with eighty thousand horse to the deliverance of Palestine. [115]

Three months after the battle of Tiberias (July 4 and 5, 1187) he appeared in arms before Jerusalem. When Saladin had partially completed its investment, he invited its principal inhabitants to meet him in council. When they were assembled he said: “I acknowledge that Jerusalem is the House of God. I do not wish to profane its sanctity by the shedding of blood. Abandon its walls and I will bestow on you a part of my treasures, and I will bestow on you as much land as you will be able to cultivate.” To which the Christians replied: “We cannot yield the city in which our God died: still less can we give it up to you.”

This refusal enraged Saladin, and he swore to destroy the towers and ramparts of Jerusalem, and avenge the death of the Mussulmen slaughtered by the soldiers of Godfrey of Bouillon.

The siege went on. Many and fierce the sorties from the gates of the city: but fight as they would the operations of the infidels could not be stayed. Despair set in, mingled with wailing, tears and prayers. Jerusalem was filled with sobs and groans.

Deputies were sent out to propose a capitulation on the terms which he had first proposed. He sent them back without one word of hope. But one day as the deputies were pleading with unusual earnestness, Saladin pointed to his standards just placed upon the walls saying: “How can you ask me to grant conditions to a city which is already taken?” But he spoke too confidently, for at that moment they were stricken down again.

As they went down Baleau the leader of the Christian forces spoke up: “You see Jerusalem is not [116]without defenders. If we can obtain no mercy from you we will form a terrible resolution which will fill you with horror. These temples and palaces you are so anxious to conquer shall be destroyed. The riches which excite your cupidity shall be burned. We will destroy the mosque of Omar. We will pound into dust the stone of Jacob which is an object of your worship. We will stay our women and our children with our own hands that they shall never be your slaves. When the Holy City shall become a ruin—a vast tomb—we will march out of it armed with fire and sword and no one of us will ascend to Paradise without first consigning ten Mussulmen to hell. We shall thus obtain a glorious death and in dying shall call down on your head the maledictions of the God of Jerusalem.”

Saladin was awed by this terrible speech: told the deputies to return the next day, when the terms of capitulation were signed in the tent of the great sultan, and Jerusalem passed again into the hands of the infidels, after having remained for eighty-eight years in the possession of the Christians. The Saracens boast that they retook the Holy City on Friday, the anniversary of the day on which Mohammed ascended from it into heaven: but the complete conquest of the Holy Land by the Turks was to be delayed yet an hundred years.

Finally, however, before Mamelukes of Egypt, Jerusalem, and all the cities of the coast fell, and Acre became the last stronghold of the crusaders. Against it marched the Sultan Khali at the head of sixty thousand horse and one hundred and forty thousand foot. [117]

After a siege of thirty-three days the double wall was forced, the towers yielded to their engines, the Moslems stormed the city May 18, (A. D., 1291) carried it by the sword; and death or slavery was the lot of sixty thousand Christians. By the command of the Sultan the churches and the fortifications of the Latin cities were demolished, and a mournful and solitary silence prevailed along the coast which had so long resounded with the World’s Debate; and hundreds of thousands of warriors had found the “Paradise that lies under the shade of swords.”

Again must we go to the “roof of the world” to behold the great eruption of Moguls and Tartars whose fierce and rapid and cruel conquests can only be compared with the destructive forces of nature in her wildest moods when she lets loose upon the earth fire and flood, earthquake, avalanche and volcano. From these spacious highlands the tides of emigration and the floods of war have repeatedly been poured. In the twelfth century the various tribes akin to Hun and Turk were united and led to conquest by the formidable Jenghiz Khan, i. e. the most great Khan or Emperor of the Moguls and Tartars.

The code of laws which Jenghiz Khan dictated to his subjects was adapted to the preservation of domestic peace and the exercise of foreign hostility. These fiercest of men were mild and just in their intercourse with each other. Their primitive religion consisted in belief in the existence of one God, the author of all good, who fills by His presence the heavens and the earth which He has created by His power. The Tartars and Moguls were addicted to the idols of their various tribes yet there were among them converts [118]to the religions of Moses, Mohammed and of Christ.

Soon all the kindred tribes from the great wall of China to the Volga owned his sway. He was the Khan of many millions of shepherds and warriors. The court of Pekin was astonished at receiving an embassy from a former vassal demanding the same tribute and obedience which he himself had but lately paid. On receiving a haughty answer innumerable squadrons soon pierced on all sides the feeble rampart of the great wall and ninety cities were laid low. On his second invasion he laid siege to Pekin. The famine was terrible. Men were chosen by lot to be slain for food. The Moguls mined under the capital and the conflagration of the city lasted for thirty days. China was desolated by Tartar war and domestic faction and the five northern provinces were added to the empire of Jenghiz. On the west he touched the dominions of Mohammed, sultan of Carizme, who reigned from the Persian gulf to the borders of India and Turkestan.

A caravan of three ambassadors and one hundred and fifty merchants having been put to death by the orders of Mohammed, after he had fasted and prayed for three nights on a mountain, Jenghiz appealed to the judgment of God and his own sword. Seven hundred thousand Moguls and Tartars are said to have marched under the banners of Jenghiz and his four sons. On the vast plains stretching north of the river Jaxartes (now Jihon) they encountered four hundred thousand soldiers of the Sultan. In the first battle it is said that one hundred and sixty thousand Carizmians were slain. The whole country then lay open to his fierce warriors and from the Caspian to the Indus, a tract of many [119]hundreds of miles, adorned with the habitations and labors of the most highly civilized races of Asia, was desolated so completely that five centuries have not repaired the ravages of four years. In all this Jenghiz Khan indulged and encouraged the fury of his army. He now yielded with reluctance to the murmurs of his weary but wealthy troops who sighed for the rest of their native lands.

The return of Jenghiz was signalized by the overthrow of the few remaining independent kingdoms in Tartary: and he died in the fulness of years and glory, with his last breath exhorting his sons to achieve the conquest of the Chinese Empire. In the sixty-eight years of his first four successors the Mogul had subdued almost all Asia and a large portion of Europe.

To the East China was subdued; to the South the conquest of Hindustan was reserved for the house of Timour or Tamerlane. While the hosts that went forth to conquer Russia, Poland, Hungary, etc., (1235–1245) inscribed on the military roll numbered fifteen hundred thousand men. Holagon the grandson of Jenghiz Khan had but to thrust at the phantom of power which the Caliphs of Bagdad enjoyed when it vanished like the mist. Bagdad after a siege of two brief months, was stormed and sacked and the savage Tartar pronounced the death of the Caliph Mostasem the last of the temporal successors of Mohammed whose noble kinsmen of the race of Abbas had reigned in Asia above five hundred years.

Once more the torrents of woe flow in upon Armenia lying in the track of the Tartar armies westward. Ani is again besieged and soon a famine broke out within the walls and many of the citizens rushed out [120]and gave themselves up to the mercy of their enemies. They were kindly received and a sufficient supply of food was given to them. Induced by this kindness more than half of the inhabitants were soon found in the camp of the Tartars. All at once the poor wretches were divided into small parties under the pretext of receiving better protection when the soldiers fell upon them and massacred every individual. Then the city was easily taken, destroyed by fire and the entire population put to the sword.

Many cities suffered the desolations and horrors of Ani till the Khan ordered his chiefs on to other conquests. Then followed the infliction of a heavy capitation tax on all the remaining provinces—sixty pieces of money being demanded of every Armenian from the age of ten upwards. Those who were unable to pay this sum suffered intolerable tortures. Those who were possessed of lands lost them, their wives and children being seized and sold into slavery. Nothing ever equalled the horrors that now overspread this unhappy country, most of the inhabitants having no money to pay the tax and having no place to which to flee from their oppressors. Finally an embassy to Mangon Khan, a grandson of Jenghiz secured some little alleviation of their misery.

Meantime there was growing up in Cilicia a subordinate kingdom of Armenia with Tarsus for its capital—and receiving favor from the Sultan of Egypt and the Khan of the Tartars. Leo III. resumed the kingly reins of his kingdom comprising all of Modern Anatolia. He repaired his cities; he erected public schools. He caused all the literary productions of the Armenians from the earliest ages to be recopied and distributed [121]among the convents of the kingdom. He reigned for twenty years ardently devoted to the service of God and died in the year 1289.

His son, Hethum, was a prince who despised all worldly pomp and grandeur, seldom arrayed himself in royal apparel. He was greatly attached to the priests of his capital engaging daily with them in prayers and other religious exercises. He was particularly fond of the literary productions of the Fathers of the Church. His Bible was his daily companion. He caused a copy of it to be prepared expressly for himself, and at the end of it wrote some lines expressive of the high satisfaction and comfort he had derived from its frequent perusal.

These paragraphs may show what has ever been the character of these people who are still being harried to death in the same provinces where they have lived and suffered for centuries.

The decline of the spirit of conquest in the Mogul princes of Persia gave a free scope to the rise and progress of the Ottoman Empire which was soon to strike fear into the heart of the Emperor of Constantinople, and finally establish itself in Europe where it remains to this day a blot on Western civilization and a curse to all the people over which it rules.

In 1360 we find the throne of the Ottoman Turks established at Adrianople almost within sight of Constantinople which after resisting for a thousand years the assaults of barbarians of the East and the West, now saw herself hemmed in, both in Europe and Asia, by the same hostile power and her Emperor following at his summons the court and camp of an Ottoman Prince.

Bajazet surnamed Ilderim, or “The Lightning” who [122]came to the throne in 1389, and reigned fourteen years, fills a brilliant page in Ottoman history. He forced Constantinople to pay tribute and enjoyed the glory of being the first to found a royal Mosque in the glorious metropolis of the Eastern Church. He would speedily have forced its absolute surrender but that he was doomed to meet and be overthrown by a savage still more savage than himself—the name that caused all Europe and Asia to tremble with fear—the great, the terrible, the blood-thirsty Timour or Tamerlane. The family of Tamerlane was another branch of the imperial stem of Jenghiz Khan. He was born 1335 A. D., in a village that lies forty miles to the south of Samarcand, in a tribe of which his fathers were the hereditary chiefs. His birth was cast in a time of anarchy of bitter domestic feuds; when the Khans of Kashgar with an army of Calmucks harassed the Trans-oxian Kingdom. At the age of twenty-five he stood forth as the deliverer of his people: and in ten years he was invested with imperial command of the Zagatai. The rule over a fertile and populous land five hundred miles in extent either way, might have satisfied an ordinary man: but Timour aspired to the dominion of the world and before his death the crown of Zagatai was but one of twenty-seven which he had placed upon his head. He first swept Persia to the sea. The city of Ormuz bought its safety for an annual tribute of six hundred thousand pieces of gold. Bagdad was laid in ruins: and from the gulf to the mountains of Ararat the whole course of the Tigris and Euphrates was reduced to his obedience.

The Khan of the Mogul Empire of the North swept down through the gates of Derbend entering Persia at [123]the head of ninety thousand horse, burned the palaces of Timour and compelled him amidst the snows of winter to contend for Samarcand and his life.

After a mild expostulation, and a glorious victory he resolved on revenge. He invaded Tartary with armies so vast that thirteen miles stretched between his left and right wing. In a march of five months they rarely beheld the footsteps of man. At length the armies met in most fearful conflict. In the heat of conflict the treachery of the bearer of the imperial standard of Kipzak turned the tide of victory to the Zagatai, and Timour gave up the mingled hosts to the “wind of desolation.” The pursuit of a flying enemy led him into the provinces of Russia. Moscow trembled at the approach of the Tartar, but he turned his armies southward, and on the banks of the Don received a deputation of the merchants of Egypt, Venice, Genoa, and Spain, who had built up the great commerce and the city of Azoph. They offered him gifts, admired his magnificence, trusted his word. But the peaceful visit of an Emir who explored the state of the magazines and harbors was speedily followed by the destructive presence of the Tartars, who reduced the city to ashes, pillaged the Moslems, and put every Christian to the sword or sold them into slavery. Having laid waste all the cities in Southern Russia, he returned to his capital at Samarcand.

Samarcand, the center of his magnificence, the depot of all riches, arose and extended itself as by magic at each return of the world’s conqueror. It is said that Babylon, Bagdad, Persepolis, Palmyra, Baalbec and Damascus, were all cast into the shade by the mosques, palaces, gardens, and aqueducts which arose under the [124]hands of most skillful artisans brought from every captured city to decorate the capital of a barbarian.

Here amid the delights of his gardens, the love of his women, the conversation of his men of letters, the eulogies of poets, did Tamerlane refresh himself after the exploits of a five years’ campaign. But his loves, and delights of ease, did not make him forget that dream of all conquerors—India, and at this invasion he overran it from the Indus to Delhi, and from the Ocean to Thibet.

As he proceeded on his march, his army became encumbered with the captives, and he ordered one hundred thousand of them slain in a single night. Remorse, pity, and indignation, seized even a Tartar army, but Tamerlane answered it only by the conquest and massacre of Delhi, that great and magnificent city which had flourished for three hundred years, under Mohammedan kings; the ruins of which are still seen for miles on every side of the modern city. The blood of the slain, crimsoned the waters of the Sacred Ganges for many, many miles on its course to the sea. The recital of his cruelties could not be believed, were they not recorded in the history of all the nations he conquered. The treasures were of incalculable value, and every soldier received one hundred slaves for his share and every Tartar camp follower, twenty.

It was while camping on the bank of the Ganges that Tamerlane received from his couriers the tidings of the disturbances on the confines of Anatolia and Georgia, of the revolt of the Christians and the ambitious designs of Bajazet. He returned to Samarcand having accomplished in a twelve month the ten years’ campaign of Alexander the Great. [125]

After enjoying a few months tranquillity he proclaimed a seven years’ campaign against the countries of Western Asia. To the soldiers who had served in the Indian wars he granted their choice of home or camp, but the troops of all the kingdoms and provinces of Persia were commanded to assemble at Ispahan and await the imperial standard.

With an army of eight hundred thousand fighting men and a multitude of slaves so vast that it is said that they dried up the earth as they marched, he started westward. Words are lacking to describe the desolation and cruelty that attended his march and the sacking of cities.

Multitudes of Christians suffered untold horrors rather than deny their faith. The cities that attempted to resist behind their walls were effaced from the earth, and upon their sites towers were erected, the walls of which were composed of living men cemented in the lime.

Pursuing the people of Georgia into the gorges of the Caucasus Mountains he inflicted upon them great slaughter, and discovering many caverns into which men, women and children had fled for safety he walled up their entrances and left them to perish.

Ispahan in a moment of folly having rebelled and massacred three thousand Tartars he sent back one hundred thousand soldiers with orders that every man should bring him a head on penalty of losing his own. Ispahan in consternation and horror paid this price for its revolt, and on the site of a dismantled city, a mason-wrought pyramid of a hundred thousand heads told the awful story of their doom.

Proceeding westward Tamerlane laid siege to Siwas, [126]or Sebaste, modern Siwas, a city having walls of prodigious thickness and a broad moat filled with running water.

It contained one hundred and fifty thousand souls, was defended by intrepid Armenians and seemed able to defy every assault of a Tartar multitude without battering artillery to shake the walls.

But Tamerlane hesitated only a moment. Prodigal of men, he set thousands at work to undermine the rocks that formed the foundation of the walls. He emptied the moats by cutting deeper channels for the river. He cut down adjacent forests to prop up the mines dug under the towers of the walls; and then setting on fire this underground forest he saw the rocks give way engulfing walls, houses and defenders in the ruins. Twenty days and nights sufficed to open enormous breaches for his soldiers. The city naked and trembling before him awaited its fate. Timour promised to spare the lives of Mohammedans and Christians, and to be content with servitude. But scarcely had he entered it before he inundated it with the blood of its defenders. By his ferocity he made all the East and the West to shudder, and the world to stand aghast at its recital after more than four centuries have covered its horrors. Four thousand Ottomans were buried alive up to the neck and thus left to perish. Countless Christians were bound in couples and cast into trenches which were then covered with boards and earth, and over them the Tartars pitched their tents and took fiendish delight in their moanings. Women were bound by the hair of their heads to the tails of wild young horses and thus dragged to death. The young children were bound hand and foot and laid together [129]on an open plain and trampled to death by his cavalry. With the exception of the male children fit for slavery, and the young girls reserved for the harem the entire population was destroyed.

The New Grand Vizier on His Way to the Sublime Porte.

The New Grand Vizier on His Way to the Sublime Porte.


Do you shudder at even this cool recital? Far worse horrors are still being endured by the Christian people of Armenia this very day on ground that is dyed with the blood of a thousand years of martyrdom. And still Christian Europe is unmoved; and the Turk, drunk with the blood of his victims still is propped up on his throne by the arms that should drive him back to the deserts of Tartary: and Christian America contents itself with trying by their relief funds to keep alive the starving remnants of this harried race whose cry to Christendom is “either kill us or in God’s name redeem us.”

As Timour took up again his march from desolated Siwas he dragged with cords along the stones of the road at the heels of his horse the head of the governor of Siwas, one of the sons of Bajazet who was then besieging Constantinople. Aroused by the danger that threatened him yet with a deep sadness caused by the death of his son which settled upon him as if in presentiment of his own fate, Bajazet raised the siege, called all his forces together to meet the bloody Conqueror of the East. Aleppo and Damascus meanwhile fell with terrible slaughter, and now on the plains not far from Siwas, Timour awaited the coming of Bajazet.

Tamerlane hesitated to engage in this battle with a race of his own blood, the champions of the faith of the Prophet, who were fighting like himself for the triumph of Islam. His envoys were disgracefully treated and his messages were answered with most haughty and insulting [130]letters. “Thy armies” said Bajazet “are innumerable; be they so: but what are the arrows of the flying Tartars against the scimitars and battle-axes of my firm and invincible Janizaries?”

Then this deadly insult: “If I fly from thy arms, may my wives be thrice divorced from my bed; but, if thou hast not courage to meet me in the field mayest thou again receive thy wives after they have thrice endured the embraces of a stranger.”

On receiving this letter Timour exclaimed: “Decidedly the son of Mourad is mad.”

All day long Timour reviewed his troops of horse as the squadrons passed before him, then turning again to the envoy he made a last offer of peace, “Say to your master that he can still, in accepting my just and moderate conditions, spare the fatal dissension of two servants of the one God, and torrents of human blood to Asia.”

Bajazet was both deaf and blind to the advice of his viziers, his generals and the last message of Tamerlane; and was determined to meet with his army of four hundred thousand men which he had seen gathering for two years, the well trained army of eight hundred thousand men who were formed in nine divisions under the four sons and five favored grandsons of the greatest warrior of the world.

Never had the sun of Asia shed its light upon so vast a multitude of warriors gathered for so deadly a conflict on July 28, 1402. Timour brought forward only five hundred thousand of his choicest troops, horse and foot, yet they covered the amphitheater of the hills which arose behind the river in the basin to the north of Angora. He had most carefully chosen his field of [131]battle and his position, and facing him was the vast army of Bajazet. All historians, Arabian, Greek and Ottoman agree that over one million men faced each other on this listed field. The situation added to the tragic majesty of the spectacle. The plain, the gradation of the hills and the rugged mountains of Angora made a circus worthy of these imperial gladiators of the two Asias.

Timour was stationed on an elevated mound whence he could survey the whole field, while behind him and out of sight from the enemy were forty divisions of select cavalry ready at the critical moment to strengthen any wavering squadrons, or to be hurled on the field to consummate the victory.

The first dawn of day upon the mountains of Angora illuminated those two armies in order of battle but motionless. But when the sun had dispelled the shade from the foot of the hills, at the rolling of drums of the Turks with the cry of Allah Achbar the army of Bajazet was put in motion. Soon the battle was on. The first charge of one wing of Tartar cavalry was broken by the immobility of the Servian mountaineers.

Then in the rapid advance of his enemy’s troops Timour discovered that the Asiatic army of Bajazet had passed the level of the Ottoman lines in order to turn the hills he was occupying, and down he rushed with his reserve cavalry of forty divisions and cut in two the army of Europe and the army of Asia, throwing one of them back upon the hills and the other into the marshes on the left, slaughtering at the center some thousands of Ottomans and forcing Bajazet himself to fly with ten thousand of his Janizaries to a rising ground detached from the mountains whose steep declivities checked the impetuosity of the Tartar cavalry. [132]

Timour watched with admiration the retreat of the Servian mountaineers, as in dense columns clad in splendid mail, unshaken by repeated charges of his cavalry they forced their way obliquely through that multitude until they gained the foothills in safety. “These miserable peasants are lions,” he exclaimed in admiration of their discipline and their courage.

Two sons of Bajazet were rescued by the bold daring of their devoted followers, but in vain did they urge the Emperor himself to seek refuge in flight. Satisfied that his sons were safe he continued to fight for glory or for death behind the rampart of his Janizaries who formed about him a circular wall with their dead bodies. Never was fidelity more desperate, more unswerving. Stolen from Christian homes at an early age and trained as warriors they knew no other home than the camp. They knew that their birth among the Christians and their name of renegades left them no other choice than that of death upon the field of battle or the field of torture. The retreat of the ten thousand after the death of Cyrus did not equal the glorious suicide of these ten thousand Janizaries about the body of their Sultan.

As the shades of evening began to fall, Bajazet, his youngest son and a few faithful generals and a group of horsemen sought to escape into the woody recesses of the mountains. A troop of Tartar cavalry closely pursued the trail of the retreating Sultan. The day was about to break and they hoped to escape by swimming a swift stream, the horsemen they heard galloping behind them when a loose shoe caused the horse of the Sultan to stumble. None would save themselves [133]and leave their master, and as one of the Beys was presenting his own horse to him, a Tartar emir with a body of horsemen surrounded the small group of the Ottomans and they were prisoners.

Before night had fallen the vanquished Sultan in chains, covered with dust and blood, was brought before Timour, who was seated in the shade of his tent playing chess with the son whom he called the hope of his race. The vanquisher showed neither pride nor insolence before the vanquished. He remembered the maxims and respected the finger of God even in the enemy overthrown at his feet. He remembered that he was of the same race, that they were fighting for the same faith and he almost begged his pardon for the victory. He ordered him to be released, begged him to take a seat with him at the front of his tent on the same rank with himself and promised him that his honor and his life would suffer no risk during his brief captivity. Three imperial tents were prepared for his use; and after the discovery of his attempt to escape, Bajazet was chained at night in one of those iron-barred litters wherein women in their journeys are carried between two mules. Hence the popular, but erroneous, tradition throughout the East about the iron cage wherein Timour had shut up the Sultan intending to exhibit him in his palace at Samarcand. Timour permitted Bajazet to send for his favorite wife, the Princess of Servia—exacting from her at a banquet, but only for a single time, that she should hand him a cup of Cyprus wine the sole vengeance he wished to take for the insulting letter wherein Bajazet had threatened him with taking off his harem.

Bajazet died about nine months after his defeat at [134]Antioch in Pisidia—his empire, lost in a single battle—having fallen into fragments before his eyes.

Turning away from the possible conquest of Europe Tamerlane soon returned to Samarcand and in 1405 set out for the final and complete conquest of China. Neither age nor the severity of the winter could retard the impatience of Timour, he passed the Sihon on the ice, marched hundreds of miles, then pitching his last camp, died of fever and fatigue and the indiscreet use of iced water April 1, 1405. The conqueror of Asia had reigned for thirty-five years and died at the age of seventy-one, having shed more blood and caused more misery than any other human being ever born on the earth. [135]




With the death of Tamerlane all his further designs were lost; his armies were disbanded; China was saved; and fourteen years after his decease, the most powerful of his children sent an embassy of friendship and commerce to the court of Pekin. But far different was the fate of the Ottoman monarchy. The massive trunk was bent to the ground, but no sooner had the hurricane passed than it again rose with fresh vigor and more luxuriant foliage.

The province of Anatolia was desolated; the cities without walls or palaces, without treasures or rulers: while the open country was overspread with hordes of shepherds of Tartar or Turcoman origin. The five living sons of Bajazet were soon fighting for the spoils of their father’s empire: finally the favorite son Mohammed I., stood forth as the sole heir of the empire. He obtained Anatolia by treaty and Roumania by force of arms and the eight years of his peaceful reign were spent in banishing the vices of civil discord and placing on a firmer basis the fabric of the Ottoman monarchy. The wisest Turks were devoted to the unifying of the empire and from Anatolia to Roumania one spirit seemed to animate them all. The Christian powers of Europe might have emulated their example, but the bitter schism between the Greek and the Latin divisions of the church, the factions and the wars of [136]France and England, blinded them to the danger that was threatening in the East.

Had a confederate fleet occupied the straits of the Dardanelles and a strong fort been built on the west side at Gallipoli, the Ottoman power must speedily have been annihilated; but as it was the dissensions and the indifference of the other powers of Europe first yielded up the Greek Empire to the Turks as they have since sustained it—an alien power—race and religion in one of the fairest regions of the earth.

In sheerest folly did Manuel the Emperor of Constantinople enter into an alliance with Mohammed I., whereas his policy should have been to prolong the division of the Ottoman powers. The Sultan and his troops were transported over the Bosphorus, and were hospitably entertained in the capital. Not long after he unsheathed a sword of revenge in delivering the true or the false Mustapha, real or pretended son of Bajazet I., on his promise of delivering up the keys of Gallipoli, or rather of Europe, so soon as he was placed on the throne of Roumania. But no sooner was he established than he dismissed the Greek ambassadors with a smile of contempt, saying in a pious tone that at the day of judgment he would rather answer for the violation of an oath than for having delivered up a Mussulman city into the hands of an infidel.

The Emperor was thus at once the hated of the two rivals for the Ottoman throne; and the victory of Amurath over Mustapha was followed by the siege of Constantinople, the following spring (A. D. 1422, June 10, Aug. 24). The strength of the walls successfully resisted an army of two hundred thousand Turks for some two months, when the army was drawn off to [137]quell some domestic revolt, and the fall of the city was delayed for thirty years under the disgraceful conditions of the payment of tribute to Turkey.

Meantime the Ottomans were with cruel severity, organizing a terrible power for further conquest. The captured provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria and Servia, became the perpetual recruiting ground for the Turkish army. After the royal fifth of the captives was diminished by conquest, an inhuman tax of the fifth child or of every fifth year was rigorously levied on the Christian families. At the age of twelve or fourteen, the most robust youths were torn away from their parents to be trained for the army or for civil service. They might pass through four successive schools according to their development or promise and then found themselves without friendships, outside their own number, without parents, without homes, dependent on the will of the despot on the throne, whose hand, on the slightest displeasure could break in pieces “these statues of glass.”

Thus with satanic craftiness and cruelty were the stolen children of Christian races trained to become the destroyers of a Christian empire, which, for more than a thousand years had stayed the flood of barbarism from sweeping over all Europe.

Freeman, the historian, declares that we may take Mohammed II., as the ideal of his race, the embodiment in their fullest form of Ottoman greatness and Ottoman wickedness. A general and a statesman of the highest order, he was also a man of intellectual cultivation in other ways, a master of many languages and a patron of the art and the literature of his time. At the same time the three abiding Ottoman vices, [138]cruelty, lust and faithlessness, stand forth in terrible preëminence. His first act was the murder of his infant brother and he made the murder of brothers the standing law of his empire. He made the Ottoman power what it has been ever since. He defined its northern and western boundaries. “The Ottoman Empire as our age has to deal with it, is before all things the work of Mohammed the Conqueror.”

His reign was from 1451 to 1481. Coming to the throne at the early age of twenty-one, he had read Plutarch assiduously and studied the careers of Alexander, Cæsar and other great conquerors; causing also the biographies of illustrious men to be translated into Turkish, to give to himself and to his people the emulation of glory.

On returning to Adrianople, this thirst of glory and of conquest devoured him as it had devoured his ancient models. He coveted Constantinople with a consuming avidity that often woke him with a bound from his sleep. The phantom of Constantinople beset by day and night the young conqueror. He tried to conceal his impatience for fear of exciting before the hour the emotions of the Christian West. He could not restrain it. He sent for his grand vizier, Khalil, at night. Alarmed, the vizier embraced as in a last farewell his wife and daughter, made his death prayer and appeared before the Sultan. He prostrated himself as if to redeem his life by a ransom and presented to Mohammed II. the golden cup. “Do not fear, my lala, (familiar term as father), do not fear, it is not thy gold nor thy life I want: what I want that thou shouldest give me is Constantinople.” Then showing him his eyes, fatigued with sleeplessness, and his couch disordered, [139]he added, “I cannot sleep unless you promise me what I dream of night and day.”

“You must have it, my master,” responded Khalil. “Who could refuse you that which belonged to you by the grandeur of your views, and by the omnipotence of your arms. I have divined this long time your desires beneath your silence; I have all prepared to satisfy on an appointed day, your religion, your patriotism, your glory. Constantinople or my head is at your feet.”

The next day the Sultan set out with Khalil for Gallipoli and then proceeded to the village situated on the European shore of the Bosphorus at the point which formerly gave passage to the Persians of Darius. There he ordered Khalil to construct forthwith a fortress in front of the Asiatic fortress constructed twenty years before by his ancestor, Bajazet-Ilderim.

This promontory on the Bosphorus, at a point where the channel is not wider than a river and only a few miles distant from Constantinople, was admirably chosen to extend the limits of the conquest, to wall in the city, and to smother it by terror even before being swept by the fury of their fiery onslaught.

With fantastic superstition the Sultan or his architect gave the different compartments the form of the letters, which in Arabic compose both his name and the name of the false prophet, as if to stamp with the very walls of a fortress on the soil of Europe, the seal of Islamism, and the empire on the last promontory that still sheltered the capital of the Christians.

The Greek Emperor alarmed at this menace almost under the very walls of his capital sent Ambassadors who timidly demanded explanations from the Sultan.

“Of what do you complain?” replied he, “I form no [140]project against your city. To provide for the security of my dominions is not to infringe the treaties. Have you forgotten the extremity to which my father was reduced when your Emperor, leagued against him with the Hungarians, sought to hinder him from passing into Europe? His galleys at that time barred the passage and Mourad was obliged to claim the aid of the Genoese. * * * * My father at the battle of Varna vowed to construct a fortress on the European shore. This vow I fulfil. Have you the right or power to control in this manner what are mine; that of Asia because it is inhabited by Ottomans; that of Europe, because you are unable to defend it.

“Go tell your master that the reigning Sultan is not like his predecessors: that their wishes did not go so far as does to-day my power. I permit you to retire for this time: but I will have the skin flayed off the bodies of those who henceforth should have the insolence of calling me to an account for what I do in my own empire.”

A thousand masons and a host of laborers were soon at work on this fortress.

Some Greek peasants, at work in their harvest fields, having been slain, Constantine, the Emperor, sent messengers to expostulate, and then to add: “If unmerited reverses menace the capital of the empire, the Omnipotent will be the refuge of the Emperor. The inhabitants will defend themselves by all the means which destiny leaves them, so long as God shall not have inspired the Sultan with thoughts of justice and peace.”

Mohammed II. replied to this adjuration of his justice, but by the first cannon shot discharged from the [141]fortress, already armed, at a Venetian vessel wishing to try if the Bosphorus were still free.

While Mohammed thus threatened the capital of the East the Emperor implored with fervent prayers the assistance of earth and heaven. The invisible powers seemed deaf to his supplications; the Powers of Europe were stupid, jealous or deaf. Christendom beheld with indifference the fall of Constantinople. Some states were too weak and others too remote. By some the danger was considered imaginary, by others as inevitable. The western princes were involved in endless quarrels; and the Roman Pontiff was exasperated by the falsehood or obstinacy of the Greeks. Thus they were left to the tender mercies of the Turks.

The Sultan and Khalil had already returned to Adrianople to prepare the two hundred thousand men, the machines, the arms and the munitions stored in secret for the assault. From Germany and Italy were brought all the arts and the latest secrets of scientific warfare. A cannon founder, Urban, a Hungarian, deserted from Constantinople on pretext of poor pay and sought the service of the Sultan.

Mohammed thought nothing dear in exchange for Constantinople: and lavished gold and honors on the refugee. “Can you found me a piece sufficiently like a thunderbolt that a ball launched from it may shake the walls of Constantinople?”

“I can found you one,” replied the Hungarian, “that would overthrow the walls of Babylon.”

A foundry was established at Adrianople, the metal was prepared, and at the end of three months Urban produced a piece of brass ordnance of stupendous and almost incredible magnitude. The stone bullet was of [142]twelve palms circumference and weighed twelve hundred pounds. Before its trial the population were warned of the coming event. The explosion was felt or heard in the circuit of an hundred furlongs, the ball was driven above a mile and buried itself a fathom in the ground. It required a force of a hundred oxen and seven hundred men to move it, and nearly two months were consumed in dragging it one hundred and fifty miles to Constantinople.

In the spring of 1453 two hundred thousand men from Asia, and two hundred thousand from Europe assembled rapidly in the vast plains that extend from Gallipoli to Constantinople under the eye of the Sultan, Khalil and his generals. The land and the sea supplied them in abundance for all the wants of the army; while a fleet of one hundred and sixty vessels of war, many of them but small ones, cruised about in full view of the tents upon the sea of Marmora.

Constantine, the Emperor, must have been mad to hope to defend a city some thirteen miles in extent, when a careful enumeration showed only four thousand nine hundred and seventy Romans: to which were added some five or six thousand strangers under the command of John Justiniani, a noble Genoese.

No capital had been more favored by nature than Constantinople for defence against the investment and the assault of an entire people. Geography had made it a citadel, a thousand years of power in its emperors and of art in its engineers had completed the work of nature. Nature had made a peninsula, policy an island, the hills a fortress. The Greek Empire as if it had foreseen that one day it would fall, seemed to have meant to confine all its monuments, all its masterpieces, [143]all its riches in an Acropolis at the extreme point of the continent of Europe where it fled the barbarians to encounter the Conquerors.

While fear was falling upon the hearts of Byzantines presentiments of glory cheered the hearts of the soldiers of Mohammed through the sole prophecy of the Koran. “Know you the city,” says the Koran, “of which two sides look upon the sea and one side upon the land? It will fall, not beneath the force of the enginery of war, but before the omnipotence of these words: ‘There is no other God but God, and God alone is great.’”

Nevertheless the strength of the continuous wall outside of Thrace, flanked with towers and bristling with battlements, the great thickness and the height of the walls, the site and depth of the trenches, the cincture of the waves, the impregnable renown of the city, the history of the numerous and fruitless sieges which Constantinople had withstood did not leave Mohammed and his generals at ease as to the result. Twenty-nine times since its foundation had this mistress of the seas and of the continents seen an enemy under its walls. Constantinople had triumphed in twenty-one. Then any day the West might relieve the city through the two seas. Mohammed was looking ceaselessly towards the sea dreading to see approach through the Dardanelles a cloud of Christian sail bringing the courage and skill of Europe to the battlefield of Christendom. Oh that the wasted warriors of Jerusalem might spring to life again and save Europe from the curse of Islam. But there was no voice, neither any that regarded. Constantinople was left alone in her death agonies.

The Turkish vanguards soon swept away the towns [144]and villages as far as the gates of the city and Mohammed and his army halted at the distance of five miles. Thence ordering the final disposition of his vast army he marched in battle array, planted the imperial standard before the gate of St. Romanus and on the 6th of April, 1453, formed the memorable siege of Constantinople.

The colossal cannon of Adrianople and some others of very great size were trained upon this single gate, while eighteen other batteries were placed in a continuous line along the main wall. On the morning of the 7th at break of day the fire opened from all these volcanoes and the first great siege conducted with the help of heavy artillery had begun.

The tactics of the Hungarian officer were first to batter over a large area the ramparts of the gate of St. Romanus and then to shatter the center with the fire of the great guns. The charge of the great cannon of Urban was five hundred pounds of powder—the ball like a mass of rock hurled from a crater on fire made the very ground tremble beneath the walls. The entire facings of the towers and the bastions crumbled into the moat.

Thus during ten days, while keeping his soldiers behind the eminences of the ground only as necessary to work the batteries, did Mohammed watch the breaches being made by the cannon of Urban in the walls, towers and gates of Constantinople. But two hours and tons of oil were scarce sufficient to cool the bronze gun, and only seven or eight shot could be discharged a day: but each of these rent the walls like an earthquake. On the tenth day the great gun burst with terrific force, hurling the dismembered bodies of its inventor [147]and the gunners far over the walls into the doomed city.

Explaining the Inflammatory Placards.

Explaining the Inflammatory Placards.

Sapping and mining were now resorted to, and movable towers that could be pushed against the walls were provided, having grappling irons and drawbridges to let down upon the battlements, across which the fierce Janizaries could rush in hand to hand encounter with the defenders on or behind the ramparts.

The hope and heart of Constantine were cheered at last by the sight of an approaching squadron of fourteen sail—among them five stout and lofty ships guided by skillful pilots and manned by the veterans of Italy and Greece long practiced in the arts and perils of the sea. The Emperor however fearing to open the harbor of the Golden Horn to the fleet of Mohammed, kept his own ships safely anchored behind the chains that protected the harbor and left these ships to fight out the battle alone.

The ramparts, the camp, the coasts of Asia and Europe were lined with multitudes of spectators as these ships with joyful shouts sailed down upon the hostile fleet of three hundred vessels. Most of these however were huge boats crowded with troops but without artillery. Those who have in their eye the situation of city, harbor and shore, can easily conceive the scene and admire the grandeur of the spectacle.

On came the ships in proud defiance. Their artillery swept the waters. Bullets, rocks and Greek fire were showered from these floating fortresses upon the huge flat galleys of the Turks. The weight of the Venetian vessels crushed them like seashells beneath their planks. Wielding their helms and sails as skillfully as the Turks did their horses, they spread death, disorder [148]and flight among the hostile fleet and strewed the two beaches of Asia and Europe with their wrecks that burned as they drifted to the shore.

In vain Mohammed spurred his horse breast deep into the sea and drew his scimitar against the Venetian vessels which were fighting but a few yards from him in the mouth of the Bosphorus. For a moment his cries and his presence encouraged his galleys but they were shattered anew. The Greeks struck down the iron chains that protected the harbor of the Golden Horn and the Christian ships entered it under full sail amid the shouts of soldiers and populace thronging the walls of the city.

Twelve thousand Turks perished in this sea fight. The introduction of these supplies revived the hopes of the Greeks. The city could easily be saved by the sea. A rational and moderate armament of the maritime states might have saved the relics of the Roman name and maintained a Christian fortress in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Yet this was the sole and feeble attempt to save Constantinople.

Mohammed, now convinced that a complete investment by sea and land was the condition of conquest, resolved to conquer nature herself. By means of the thousands of wood cutters and miners who followed his army, he caused to be levelled and planked in a few weeks a road for his galleys and ships over the hills and across the valleys into the Golden Horn. Over these “ways” which were well greased with ox-fat, a part of his fleet were drawn by cables and launched into the waters and anchored in the same bay with the Greek fleet and under the shelter of the Ottoman artillery. Then a hundred thousand men were employed [149]in making from one bank to the other a bridge or causeway of sufficient breadth to permit one hundred men to march abreast to storm the bastions of the fort.

Seven weeks of bombardment on the land side had at last opened four immense breaches upon the ruins of four towers. Only the moat of great width and thirty feet deep protected the assault of four hundred thousand men from the ten thousand combatants of Constantine that were extended along the walls for more than three miles.

The Sultan was desirous of sparing the blood of his soldiers, now that the city lay at his mercy, of securing the Byzantine treasures as well and accordingly sent an envoy to appeal from the courage of the Emperor to the cowardice of the Greeks. The avarice of the Sultan might have been satisfied with the annual tribute of one hundred thousand ducats; but his ambition grasped the capital of the East. He guaranteed the Empire the absolute and independent sovereignty of the Peloponnesus, the property of all the inhabitants of Constantinople subject only to tribute if he would surrender.

The reply was grandly heroic and stoical, not to say Christian. It was sad, hopeless, yet grand and dignified. He said that he would give thanks to God if Mohammed really inclined, in according him a sure and honorable peace, to spare his nation the catastrophes that weighed upon it. * * * That he was ready to discuss with the Sultan the conditions of a treaty as from prince to prince or even the conditions of a tribute of war imposed by the strong upon the weak:—but that no human force and no personal advantage would ever make him consent to give up to the enemy of the [150]Christian name an empire and a capital, which he had sworn to his God, to his people and to himself, not to deliver, but with his life.

These words, too noble, too elevated for the rest of Christian Europe were most irritating to the impatient Sultan who, guided by his favorite science of astrology, fixed on the twenty-ninth day of May as the fortunate and fatal hour.

Several days were given to preparations for the assault. The Sultan proclaimed it throughout the camps, and dervishes, fired their religious fanaticism by going through the ranks and haranguing the Moslems: “It was the last step of Islam in Europe to sweep off the last focus of idolatry on the two continents. Their bows and their scimitars were the weapons of Allah the true God. Those who vanquish in his name will possess the earth; those who fall will possess the houris and the fountains of Paradise.”

On the eve of the day of the assault an illumination of joy suddenly lighted up the camps of the Ottomans from the hills of the Bosphorus of Europe to the sea of Marmora. Every soldier had his torch of resinous pine, and thousands of fires burned all night long, and the three contiguous seas were reddened with an anticipated reflection of the conflagration of the doomed city.

Constantinople lighted up as it were by its own funeral pyre watched and wept and prayed during the night. Endless processions of priests, monks, nuns, and other women thronged the streets chanting with mournful voice, “Kyrie Eleison. Lord, have mercy. Lord, rise in our defence.” The whole city ran to the altars; no one except Constantine and his few soldiers ran to [151]arms: and he was everywhere posting his generals and giving orders for the morrow.

The morning dawned with the four hundred thousand men in order of battle. The disciplined and veteran troops were carefully arranged in several lines of battle, Mohammed himself at the center and in their front with his twenty thousand Janizaries waiting for the decisive moment to arrive.

Between the city and the camp were the two hundred thousand motley volunteers whom he would send first into the battle to tire the defenders and fill the trenches with their dead bodies.

Constantine went with the nobles of his court to the Church of St. Sophia seeking to draw from the religion of his fathers the courage and perhaps the fortune of saving its altars.

He attended a short service, as if it were his own funeral service. He received communion from the hands of the Patriarch; made with tears a public confession of his sins to which the sobbings of the people were the only audible response. After this he repaired to his palace, his household and his family, where says one of his auditors in his farewell, he pronounced the funeral oration of the Greek Empire. He then threw aside the robes of royalty, keeping on only his shoes embroidered with a golden eagle, and his purple mantle, mounted on horseback in the costume of a private soldier, and went forth for the last time to battle in the front ranks of the defenders of the faith.

Such men only four hundred years ago did Western Christian Europe willingly let die when she failed to stand beside him to beat back the Turkish hordes and warriors to their desert plains in Asia. [152]

Mohammed II. then proclaimed to his army as if to excite every fiercest passion in the breast of his men, that the entire city was devoted to spoil, and the inhabitants to slavery or death. “The city and public buildings are mine; but I abandon to you the captives and the booty, the precious metals and beautiful women; be rich and happy. The provinces of my Empire are numerous, the intrepid soldier who first mounts the walls of Constantinople shall be governor of the most delightful and opulent of them all, and such will be my gratitude that he will obtain more wealth and honor than he can dream of.”

Mohammed thus fired all the cruel passions of the undisciplined hosts of his vanguard.

Neither pen nor tongue can fly fast enough to describe the wild impetuosity of their attack as they precipitated themselves upon the reverse side of the moat, one hundred feet wide and six thousand paces long. The stone, the earth, the wood these carried were not sufficient to fill this mighty trench. The cannon and the sharpshooters behind the ramparts still existing, strewed thousands of Turks on the back of the exterior ditch. The smoke of the Greek artillery rolled back upon the combatants, so that the gunners and archers of Constantine could take aim only by the noise against the hosts of their invisible assailants. In vain the bullets and the grape shot filled the trenches with the Turks: these masses of men, pushed forward by their mere impetus, rushed headlong into the water and formed with the dead and dying a causeway of human bodies about the gateway of St. Romanus, which supplied a bridge for the battalions that pressed behind.

After this sacrifice of the “Scum of the Army,” thus [153]put to death to secure victory, the three columns of the regular army, comprising two hundred and sixty thousand men, advanced in profound silence to the assault. The force of the fire of the nine thousand brave defenders was already exhausted by this desperate struggle of two hours. To protect them was this ditch now nearly filled up with earth and men and crumbling walls. The purple mantle of Constantine, as he appeared momentarily on the summits of the shattered walls, served as a target for the Tartars, and an inspiration to the Spartans and Italians inside. Strong yet in their broken walls, in their towers and in their artillery, in their despair they repulsed the mad rushes of these torrents of men as with wild cries, under cover of clouds of arrows and with glistening scimitars they charged again and again along the whole line on port and continent. For three terrible hours the carnage continued, and fifty thousand Ottomans rolled into the ditches or into the sea. The huge balls of Constantine tearing into these solid columns piled the ground with dead; stones, rocks, beams and Greek fire, crushed, burned, and mutilated those who tried to scale those wrecks of towers.

The three column heads halted, wavered and ebbed a moment towards the camp of Mohammed. A shout of victory rose from behind the ramparts, and a chanting of hymns from the heart of the city. Constantine hurried from gate to gate to encourage the hope of his soldiers, who were done nearly to death.

But their joy was vanishing. Mohammed wavered only a moment, then stirred by the cries of his Janizaries, who still stood motionless about his tent, yet burning with fury to avenge the rebuff of the army, he [154]turned and launched them like a mighty thunderbolt to the deserted center of attack—the gate of St. Romanus.

The presence of the Sultan brandishing his battle-mace, the shame of forsaking their sovereign, the reproaches of the Janizaries rallied the shaken columns and the battle was on as fierce as ever. Mohammed promised a kingdom to the first man who should take and hold a rampart.

At this juncture his heroic Justiniani fled his standard, though the Emperor pleaded with him by the panic that would follow his flight; but there may be bounds to human courage when men fight for glory, and not for country or for faith, and he fled. It proved the rout of the besieged.

The Italians followed their general. The Janizaries, at fearful loss, swarmed over the walls. Constantine, flinging off his purple mantle and retaining but the arms and the uniform of a common soldier, that it might not be mutilated, fought to the last breath between the inner and the outer wall at the breach of the gate of St. Romanus, that the Turks might enter the imperial city only upon the dead body of its fallen Emperor. Thus did Constantine by his heroic death put to eternal contrast and eternal shame the dastardly degeneracy of his own nation and the miserable cowardice and selfishness of the Christian nations of western Europe.

The story is soon finished. As the troops rushed through and over the deserted walls, a hundred thousand panic stricken men and women fled to the church of St. Sophia. The sight of this unarmed and helpless multitude disarmed the fury of the soldiers, who, remembering the promises of the Sultan, began each to seize his captives and his. The Greeks held out their [155]hands to be tied with cords or saddle girths; women and girls were tied by their girdles or their veils. Nuns were torn from the altars and from their convents with naked bosoms, outstretched hands and dishevelled hair. The cries of mothers, children and nuns were heartrending: even the Ottomans themselves were affected by it. Yet sixty thousand captives thus bound came forth from convent, hovel, or from palace, traversed for the last time the streets of their desolated city to be carried into captivity into all the cities and the tents of Asia.

The pillage lasted eight hours without exhausting the riches of an empire. The coined treasure was more than four million ducats, the uncoined gold, silver, pearls, diamonds, vases and ornaments of palaces and churches was incalculable. One hundred and twenty thousand manuscripts warmed the baths of the barbarians. But at the close of the day Mohammed entered at the head of his Janizaries to restore order. He proceeded at once to the Church of St. Sophia. The soldiers were still engaged in pillaging its treasures: and one of the barbarians even in his presence continued the work of destroying a precious marble of the sanctuary. Mohammed struck him a blow with his club saying: “I have abandoned you the slaves and the treasures, but the monuments belong to me.” The soldier was borne off dying from the church.

Accustomed to Arabian and barbarian magnificence—Constantinople dazzled him as she sat in her grandeur the Queen of two continents on the shores of the Bosphorus:—

“Earth hath no fairer sight to show

Than this blue strait, whose waters flow,

Bordered with vineyards, summer bowers,

White palaces and ivied towers.”


Mohammed after having admired the grandeur of the edifice, the elevation of the dome—a second temple upheld in air by one hundred columns of porphyry, of rose-colored marble or serpentine, mounted the altar and offered a Mussulman prayer: then ordered that this church, the most magnificent and majestic which Christianity had yet constructed should become the first Mosque of the Conquerors of Constantinople. The cross was torn down, the pictures of the saints destroyed, and Muezzins mounting to the dome chanted for the first time to the desert streets of the Metropolis of Christianity in the East, the well-known call: “God is God; God is great; Come to prayer.”

As the architects in his presence began to remove the mosaics of colored glass which formed the pictures in the ceiling we are told that Mohammed cried out: “Stop, confine yourselves to covering over these mosaics with a coat of lime so that they may not scandalize the believers but do not tear from the ceilings these marvelous incrustations. Who knows but that they may be uncovered at some future day in another change of fortune and of destination of this temple.”

That hour of Destiny has not yet struck the hour of deliverance, and the lime still covers the walls and the Muezzins still call the faithful to prayer above the noise and din of the busy streets of a fallen city once the glory of a Christian Empire.

From St. Sophia Mohammed proceeded to the august but desolate palace of a hundred successors of the great Constantine but which in a few hours had been stripped of its pomp of royalty. A passing reflection on the vanity and vicissitudes of human greatness caused him to repeat an elegant distich of Persian poetry:— [157]

“The spider has woven his net in the imperial palace; and the owl hath sung her watch-song on the towers of Afrasiab.”

The fifth day after the conquest he consecrated by a formal act the liberty of conscience accorded by the Koran to the vanquished. He claimed for the Mussulmans only half the churches leaving the rest to the Christians. The patriarch Gennadius led in pomp to the palace clothed in his pontifical robes and in the midst of a cortége of priests, received from him the investiture of the patriarchate. “It is my wish,” said the Sultan, “to give the Christians and their pontiffs the same rights and the same protection that they enjoyed under your emperors.” He even attended in person the pomps and ceremonies of the Christians, as an impartial of the two religions which henceforth were to divide his people.

Before the death of Mohammed in 1459, by his many conquests of the neighboring states and peoples he had consolidated his empire: and it stood forth a fearless conqueror until in 1571 the battle of Lepanto marked the turning point in the history of the Ottoman power.

We here turn aside for a brief hour from the stream of historical narrative to consider some of the results of Ottoman misrule which has for more than four centuries controlled an empire in Eastern Europe almost as large as France, in one of the most delightful and beautifully varied regions on the continent and which yet holds its peoples in the relentless grip of the Dark Ages.

Weighed in the balances of the humanity, the culture, the Christianity and the civilization of the dawning century, Turkey is in every way found wanting [158]and soon may appear the hand of fire to write on the black pages of her awful atrocities, “Thy days are numbered. Thy kingdom shall be destroyed and given to another.” How long shall the blood of her slain cry aloud in the ears of Christendom, yet in vain still cry aloud? The consciences of England and America must give answer to that cry of blood or be themselves weighed in the balances in the day of the Lord at hand. [159]




We must pass over in silence a period of four hundred years in the history of the Ottoman Empire to open its blood-stained pages in our own era at the narrative of the Bulgarian massacres. The centuries and the peoples have been under the rule of the barbarian; the story is one of continued persecution, outrage, and massacre. The Turk never changes. What he has always done he always will do. And as long as any Christian lands or people remain under his power and at his mercy, so long will there be discontents, disturbances, revolts and massacres. The only way to end these is to end the rule of the Turk. Reform—not to say regeneration, is an impossibility. He is an alien in race and religion. His spirit is fierce and fanatical: his rule that of the dark ages, the rule of a tyrant without conscience or remorse.

In the early part of this century the oppression of the Turk became unbearable, and throughout the empire the Greek Christians rose in rebellion.

Europe was at last horrified by the massacre on the island of Chios, April 11, 1822, when the entire population of forty thousand Greeks was put to the sword. Bravely did the Greeks fight for their freedom. The Sultan called to his aid the Khedive of Egypt, and for three years did they ravage Crete and the Peloponnesus, committing every crime and fiendish outrage [160]that even a Turk could think of from 1824 to 1827. At last Byron roused the spirit of England. The patience of Europe was worn out. England, France and Russia united to crush the power of the barbarian and to set free his victims, as the wild beast would not let go his prey till it was dragged out of his teeth.

In November, 1827, was fought the great battle of Navarino. The Turkish and Egyptian fleet was destroyed. Greece was saved.

The Russian protectorate over the Eastern Christians was confirmed and renewed: and also her right to free navigation in the Black Sea and the straits. Scarcely had this “fit of generous enthusiasm on behalf of the struggling Greeks” passed, than England under another minister began to regret the part she had taken. The glorious victory of Navarino was spoken of as an “untoward event.” Austria and France shared in her misgivings. She suddenly began to talk about the necessity of muzzling the Russian Bear, and upholding Turkey in behalf of British interests.

Ostensibly through fear of Russian aggression, but really from the preponderance of commercial interests, England has now for more than sixty years been the upholder and defender of the Turkish government. The sarcasm of Freeman, the historian, is cutting and pitiless as he reviews the policy of England up to the hour of the terrible outrages perpetrated against the Bulgarians, and her crime against humanity that followed the fall of Plevna.

Through fear of Russia, England induced the powers to sign a convention in 1841 by which it was agreed that no foreign fleets should enter the straits in time of peace.

The result of this convention was to shut up the [161]fleet of Russia in the Black Sea, making of it to her, merely an inland lake.

By a successful stroke of policy Louis Napoleon III., President of the Republic of France, had himself elected Emperor in November, 1852. To signalize his accession he sought to pose as an ally of England. It was his policy to pick quarrels with the great military powers of Europe and then get some other nation to help him out. He began with Russia over the holy shrines in Jerusalem by seeking to have the privileges of the Latin Church enlarged. The Greek Church appealed to the Czar of Russia, the head of the Church, and then it was carried to the Porte.

In the spring of 1853, Prince Menchikoff was sent to Constantinople. Firstly, to negotiate on the question of the shrines, which question was settled with Russia’s acquiescence. Secondly, to extract from Porte a note confirming the treaties that had conferred on Russia the Protectorate of the Christians of the Ottoman Empire.

The second demand was made necessary by the renewed exactions under which some of these populations were then suffering: as it “happened,” says an English writer, that Omar Pacha, at the head of a Turkish force, was operating against the Christians of Montenegro. And something of the sort was always happening somewhere. For the Turkish policy towards the Christian has always been the same from the beginning of its power and will continue the same to the end.

When the English Ambassador, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, returned to Constantinople, in April, 1853, after an absence of eight months, he was directed “to warn the Porte that the accumulated grievances of [162]foreign nations which the Porte is unable or unwilling to redress, the mal-administration of its own affairs * * * may lead to a general revolt among the Christian subjects of the Porte * * that perseverance in his (the Sultan’s) present conduct must end in alienating the sympathies of the British nation and make it impossible for Her Majesty’s government to overlook the exigencies of Christendom exposed to the natural consequence of his unwise policy and reckless mal-administration.”

The demand of Russia was refused and Prince Menchikoff left Constantinople May 21st, 1853.

A few days later the Sultan issues a firman in which he promises again that he will maintain all the rights and privileges of the Greek Christians, and appeals to his allies.

He was merely throwing dust in the air for the wind to blow away, though he thought he could fool Europe with his waste breath.

On the 13th of June the allied English and French fleets anchored in Besika Bay, the nearest point they could reach without the violation of the treaties.

The Czar Nicholas at once ordered his army to cross the Pruth and enter Moldavia, July 2d. Yet this occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia could not be considered an invasion of the Ottoman territory, nor a “Casus belli, per se,” for these provinces were autonomous and under Russian protection since the treaty of Bucharest, while according to the same treaty the Turks had no right to send troops into their territory.

Taking Armenian Prisoners to the Grand Zaptie Prison.

Taking Armenian Prisoners to the Grand Zaptie Prison.

The unanimous judgment of Europe was expressed in what is known as the “Vienna Note” and in urging its acceptance upon the Porte they practically acknowledged [165]the justice of the Czar’s demand and signed their own condemnation in the war that ensued.



“The government of His Majesty, the Sultan, will remain faithful to the letter and to the spirit of the treaties of Kainardji and Adrianople regarding the protection of the Christian Church.”

Now the English Ambassador had received instructions to bring his whole influence to bear upon the Turks, “and to impress them with the strong and earnest manner in which the Vienna Note was recommended to the acceptance of the Porte, not only by Her Majesty’s government, but also by the Cabinets of Austria, France and Prussia.”

Before the presentation of the “Vienna Note” Lord Stratford had informed the Porte with much circumstance and in his most impressive manner that the British fleet in Besika Bay was at his disposal; while therefore he read his instructions with most perfunctory obedience to the Ottoman Cabinet, his whole demeanor was urging them to disregard the note.

The duplicity of the French Emperor was more culpable as before the rejection of the Vienna Note and while the powers were still deliberating in concert he craftily succeeded in drawing England into a special alliance with France: and on receipt of some hysterical despatch from his Ambassador he insisted with the English cabinet that it was “indispensably necessary” that their combined fleets should, in violation of the convention of 1841 enter the straits before there had been a declaration of war on any side. That very day without asking any information from the English [166]Ambassador Lord Clarendon telegraphed to Lord Stratford: “Your Excellency is instructed to send for the British fleet to Constantinople.”

The Sultan now amended the “Vienna Note” by inserting the words, “by the Sublime Porte,” which completely destroyed the power of the existing treaty, making it read: “The government of His Majesty the Sultan, will remain faithful to the stipulations of the treaty of Kainardji, confirmed by that of Adrianople regarding the protection, ‘by the Sublime Porte’ of the Christian religion.”

In other words, the wolf solemnly engaged to protect the lambs for himself, and all the world knows what that means: and we know it now in 1896 by forty years more of broken promises and horrible atrocities. What insane folly to believe the Turk. The Czar did not, and rejected the amended note.

Seven days after his rejection of the Sultan’s proposal in obedience to the telegram from Lord Clarendon two English and two French ships entered the Dardanelles on September 14th, and on the strength of their presence and implied support, the Sultan declared war against Russia on the fifth of October, 1853. Thus did Louis Napoleon III. precipitate England into what Count Nesselrode declared to be the most unjustifiable and the most unintelligible of wars.

Czar Nicholas replied to this, by a counter declaration of war on November 1st, 1853, solemnly declaring to the Powers of Europe “that the sole aim of his endeavors was to assure the rights of his co-religionists, and to protect them from every form of oppression.”

The work of two centuries was undone for Russia. She lost the Black Sea and the protectorate of the [167]Christians of the Ottoman empire that she had wrung from the Porte by a succession of victorious campaigns. Instead of the powerful champion which they lost the poor Christians of the empire were granted another firman in which the Sultan repeated all his lying promises of former years. Not only so but the powers bound themselves not to interfere with the internal administration of affairs in the Turkish Empire.

The Christian nations in solemn treaty pledged themselves to let the Turk do what he would with the people under his yoke and promised that they would do nothing to help them. They disclaimed any right to interfere with the relations existing between the Sultan and his subjects: the relations between the robber and his victim, the master and the slave, the tyrant and the oppressed.

Future generations will stand aghast at the hideous spectacle of three civilized nations fighting side by side with and for barbarian Moslems to crush the noble champion of their fellow Christians and fellow slaves compelled by their victories to languish beneath the yoke of these savage aliens.

All reverence to the heroes of the Light Brigade

“Stormed at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well;

Into the jaws of Death

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.”

All reverence to millions of others, who at the voice of command if not of duty, gave themselves up for an unholy cause and perished by thousands of hunger and cold and disease on the bleak shores of the Crimea.

Froude says “that the whole power of England and [168]France supported passively by Austria, and actively by Sardinia and Turkey, succeeded with communications, secure and rapid with every advantage for procuring supplies, in partially conquering a single stronghold. It was a great victory but it was achieved at a cost to England alone of eighty millions (sterling) of money and perhaps fifty thousand lives.”

While Alexander writes (Manifesto 1856), “For eleven months Sebastopol was held against the allied aggressors: and in the whole empire from the shores of the Pacific to the Baltic, one thought, one resolution was dominant to fulfil duty, to protect the Fatherland at any cost of property and life. Husbandmen who had never left the fields they cultivated hastened to take up arms for the holy struggle and were not inferior to experienced warriors in bravery and renunciation.”

And this war was fought by France and England, not in the cause of freedom; not to redress the wrongs of the oppressed; not to help forward the wheels of progress. No, but to pave the way for the bloody atrocities which in 1876 called forth one long cry of horror and indignation throughout Christendom, while these in turn were to pale before the horrors of 1895–6 to which commercial England has turned a deaf ear, leaving Armenia helpless in the jaws of the wolf.

The Crimean War as fostered by England and France with the avowed purpose of upholding the power of the Turk really brought into action two new elements of weakness. First: up to 1856 Turkey had been free from foreign creditors, but the opening of the Dardanelles brought commerce and a foreign loan, and on the steps of indebtedness followed extravagance, [169]speculation and national bankruptcy. The most wanton and unbridled extravagance reigned at the palace. The corruptions produced by the foreign loans found their way into every artery of the state and poisoned the very existence of the country. New loans could only be obtained by promises which it was impossible to fulfil and which were made without any intention of carrying them out.

The navy was improved, the soldiers were better armed; a large part of the money was squandered on absurd building projects; while vast sums were spent on precious stones and personal pleasures.

These loans were liberally subscribed in England, and Englishmen helped the Sultan to spend it lavishly. The origin of the troubles of 1876–7 in Bosnia and Herzegovina was said to be the heavy burden of the increased taxes imposed to pay the expenses of a visit to the Paris Exposition, and the European capitals in 1867 made by the Sultan accompanied by his son, two nephews and an expensive suite.

But a second and more dangerous evil was this:—The self-exclusion of any right of interference on the part of the Powers threw the control of affairs into the hands of a ring in whose power the Sultan has been but little more than a puppet as the events of recent years have clearly shown.

In 1875 the situation was thus reviewed by Gladstone, sincerely penitent for the part he had taken in the Crimean War. “Twenty years ago,” he said, “France and England determined to try a great experiment in remodeling the administrative system of Turkey with the hope of curing its intolerable deficiencies. For this purpose having defended her integrity they [170]made also her independence secure, and they devised at Constantinople the reforms which were publicly enacted in an imperial Firman or Hati Humayoun.”

“The successes of the Crimean War purchased * * * by a vast expenditure of French and English life and treasure gave to Turkey, for the first time, perhaps, in her blood-stained history, twenty years of repose not disturbed either by herself or by any foreign power. The Cretan insurrection imparted a shock to confidence but it was composed and Turkey was again trusted. The insurrections of 1875, much more thoroughly examined, have disclosed the total failure of the Porte to fulfil the engagements which she had contracted under circumstances peculiarly binding on interest, on honor and on gratitude.”

So totally, indeed, had the Turks failed to keep any of their promises of reform and so hopeless did the condition of these hapless Christians appear, that they at first refused the mediation of the Powers, declaring that they preferred death to Turkish rule.

“If you are not willing to help us to attain our liberty,” they said, “at least you can not compel us to enter into slavery again. We will never fall into the hands of the Turks alive.”

About this time Turkey partially repudiated her national debt, pledging for the payment of the interest for some five years the tribute from Egypt and the tobacco revenue. Bondholders became aroused. Commercial interests, not interests of humanity, prompted some action; for if the Christians, who are the cultivators of the soil, were exterminated, what would become of their per cents.?

The Powers intervened by the Protocol, known as [171]the Andrassy Note, which proposed among others the following measures:—

1. Religious liberty, full and entire.

2. Abolition of the farming of taxes.

3. A law to guarantee that the direct taxation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina should be employed for the immediate interests of the provinces.

4. A special commission composed of an equal number of Mussulmans and Christians to superintend the execution of the reforms proclaimed and proposed.

5. The amelioration of the rural population.

The representatives of the six powers under instructions from their governments supported these measures of reform before the Porte, all of them heartily, except the English minister, Sir Henry Elliott, who acting evidently under secret instructions, expressed his belief that they would amount to nothing; and his fear that they trenched upon the right of the Ottoman Porte to manage its own affairs without foreign interference. The Grand Vizier did not reject them, but replied that he was preparing a constitution which would, he believed, embody these and other measures of reform.

The Powers believed or affected to believe these brilliant promises. England even tendered to the Sultan the cordial expression of her hopes that “he would soon succeed in quelling the revolts of his subjects and restoring order.” And this meant, as England ought to have known and as all the world knows now, that the Turks might put it down in the only way the Turk ever does put down a rebellion—with fiercest cruelty. It meant liberty from British interference while they proceeded to slay, kill, torture, burn, outrage, [172]violate men, women and children with fiendish lust and delight.

These promises of reform were made February 10, 1876, and the Turks answer to the cordial expression of the hope of England that they would soon succeed in quelling the revolts of his subjects, was the awful Bulgarian horrors executed by the orders of the Porte during the first two weeks in May.

The whole civilized world shuddered. Just as the gates of the Centennial were being thrown open to welcome the nations to the celebration of the glorious victories of peace and the triumphs of art, the unspeakable Turk let loose upon the defenceless Bulgarians the Bashi-Bazouks. These were irregular troops, the scum and offscouring of the Oriental cities, gathered from the prisons, jails and slums: the vilest wretches to be found on the face of the earth without military knowledge, ability, courage or discipline—men fit only for the work of murder, lust, rapine and cruelty on which they were sent by the Sublime Porte, the Infernal Tyrant.

On the 14th of May, 1876, the representatives of Russia, Austria, Hungary, and Germany met at Berlin without any knowledge of the massacres, and desirous of sustaining the good intentions of the Grand Vizier, agreed upon the paper known as the “Berlin Memorandum” which provided for a guaranty by the great Powers of the several reforms which had been proclaimed, but were not yet put in force. Five of the Powers signed it, but Great Britain refused, on the ground that it must obviously and inevitably lead to the military occupation of Turkey. Miserable subterfuge—didn’t she “occupy Egypt” a little later to secure [173]the payment of the interest on her bonds: but she had no “interest” in breaking the bonds and chains of Christian populations of Turkey. She knew very well that the Sublime Porte would never execute a reform except under compulsion.

The action of the British Ministry greatly encouraged the Turks, and gave them very naturally the impression that England sympathized with them, and would help them to subjugate the Christian races.

The British Ministry at first professed ignorance of the massacres: then thought the Bulgarians as much to blame as the Turk—the lamb as the wolf that devoured him—the helpless, disarmed Armenians as the Turkish soldiers that swept down upon them from the mountains—and at last compelled to acknowledge the enormity of the conduct of the Turks, said they had been greatly provoked by the Russian emissaries who were stirring up revolution among the Christians.

Instantly Great Britain sent her Mediterranean fleet again to Besika Bay, where it arrived May 21st, only seven days from the first meeting of the Powers. The Minister said it was to protect English subjects, the Turks said it was to protect them. From what, pray? It was never clearly explained why; but it looked then and it looks now as if England were ready to champion the Turk as she had done in the Crimean War. It must have made every Englishman with a conscience or heart in him, blush for shame that the Turks themselves and all the rest of the world took it for granted that the presence of this fleet in Turkish waters was a friendly demonstration on the part of the English towards the Sultan: that in fact they were going to [174]stand by and keep off the great Powers while the Turks continued to “restore order.”

The English people however were roused to such indignation by these massacres and by the course of the government, that under the lead of Mr. Gladstone they very soon made their Ministers understand that they were not at liberty to sustain Turkey in such acts of oppression or to alienate the friendship of Russia.

Great men like John Bright, always the friend of Russia, Gladstone, Freeman and others publicly denounced England as the accomplice of the Turks in their deeds of horror by the moral and material support she had so freely given them in recent years.

We need not trace the details of these horrors here but quote the eloquent and stirring language of the greatest statesman of the age:—

“There has been perpetrated,” said Gladstone, “under the authority of a Government to which all the time we have been giving the strongest moral support and for part of the time material support, crimes and outrages so vast in scale as to exceed all modern examples and so unutterably vile as well as fierce in character that it passes the power of heart to conceive and of tongue and pen adequately to describe them. These are the Bulgarian horrors. There is not a criminal in a European jail; there is not a cannibal in the South Sea Islands whose indignation would not arise and overboil at the recital of that which has been done, which has been too late examined but which remains unavenged—which has left behind the fierce passions that produced it and which may spring up in another murderous harvest from the soil reeked with blood and in the air tainted with every imaginable deed of crime [175]and shame. That such things should be done is a damning disgrace to the portion of our race that did them; that a door should be left open for their ever so barely possible repetition would spread that shame over the whole.”

Grand and noble words and yet the hand of the English Government not only left that door open but fastened it open and kept it open till again in Armenia the Bulgarian horrors were reproduced on a vaster and more terrible scale if the Turk ever can be worse than the history of centuries has so often declared and revealed him.

The Turkish government made some feeble attempts to disavow the Bulgarian atrocities. But the Turk is an unmitigated liar. Freeman, the historian does not hesitate to say that the Ring at Constantinople worked with a deliberate policy to oppress and if possible to destroy the whole Bulgarian people. The first means they took was to plant large colonies of savage Circassians in Bulgaria who were allowed to commit any kind of outrage on their defenceless Christian neighbors without redress. They could drive the Christians from their homes, rob their houses, destroy their crops, ravish their women, and if any dared to resist their violence they were killed without hesitation. If any dared to complain against the Circassians they were summarily punished. But worse than this was the quartering of Turkish troops upon the peasants and the landholders whose dastardly outrages upon the wives and daughters of the Bulgarians were fiendish and constant. Neither woman’s honor nor human life was safe where they were.

When flesh and blood could bear no more there was [176]some slight uprising of an unarmed people and then the fury of Circassian and of Bashi-Bazouk was let loose upon them.

Freeman says again, “there can be no doubt that the massacre was deliberately ordered by the Ring at Constantinople, the Highnesses and the Excellencies of polite diplomacy. This is proved by the fact that they honored and decorated the chief doers of the massacre, while they neglected and sometimes punished those Turkish officers who acted at all in a humane way. To this day (April, 1877) in defiance of all remonstrances from the European powers, the chief doers of the massacres remain unpunished, while we still hear of Bulgarians being punished for their share in the attempt to free their country.”

For a true statement of some of the facts in the case, for the full truth can never be told, the world is indebted to the Government of the United States, which sent a special commission of inquiry to Bulgaria, and History will owe them a debt of gratitude for having furnished reliable documents on this matter in which every European State was more or less exposed to an imputation of bias. As Mr. Gladstone observed: “America had neither alliances with Turkey nor grudges against her nor purposes to gain by her destruction. She entered into this matter simply on the ground of its broad human character and moment. She had no ‘American interests’ to tempt her from her integrity and to vitiate her aims.”

Mr. Eugene Schuyler, American Secretary of Legation at Constantinople, who visited the ruined villages in July and August, 1876, made his report to the United States Minister Plenipotentiary November 20th. [177]In that report he says that “in the districts he visited at least nine thousand houses were burned, seventy-two thousand persons were left without roof or shelter and ten thousand nine hundred and eighty-four persons were numbered as killed. Many more were killed in the roads, in the fields, in the mountains; so that he numbers the slain at about fifteen thousand,—but adds many more died subsequently from disease, exposure and in prison.” He says that he could only find proof of the death of one hundred and fifteen Mussulmans. “Neither Turkish women nor Turkish children were killed in cold blood. No Mussulman women were violated. No Mussulman was tortured. No purely Turkish village (with one exception) was attacked or burned. No Mussulman house was pillaged. No mosque was desecrated.”

The storm of indignation which followed the publication of the reports of Mr. Schuyler and Mr. Baring the British commissioner, was so terrible that even a Disraeli cabinet did not dare to enter into another monstrous alliance with the Turks against the only champion of the Christians. But official neutrality did not prevent the Turks from recruiting many officers in England; in spite of it British guineas and firearms strengthened their powers of resistance against Russia.

It is a terrible indictment that may be brought against England that the question of righteousness never seems to enter into the questions of her foreign “policy,” but only the question of interest and that chiefly the interest which is reckoned in pounds, shillings and pence.

From a letter dated September 4th, 1876, published [178]in one of the English Blue Books, addressed to the Earl of Derby by Sir Henry Elliot, English Ambassador at Constantinople,—the Sir Henry who would not support the Andrassy Note because he feared that the provisions of it trenched upon the rights of the Ottoman Porte to manage its own affairs,—the following quotation is taken, viz:—

“An insurrection or civil war is everywhere accompanied by cruelties and abominable excesses, this being tenfold the case in oriental countries where people are divided into antagonistic creeds and races. * * * To the accusation of being a blind partisan of the Turks, I will only answer that my conduct here has never been guided by any sentimental affection for them, but by a firm determination to uphold the interests of Great Britain to the utmost of my power, and that those interests are deeply engaged in preventing the disruption of the Turkish Empire, is a conviction which I share in common with the most eminent statesmen who have directed our foreign policy. (This is the key to every position assumed by British diplomacy at the Porte. Never a question of righteousness.)

“We may, and must feel indignant at the needless and monstrous severity with which the Bulgarian insurrection was put down, but the necessity which exists for England to prevent changes from occurring here which would be most detrimental to ourselves, is not affected by the question whether it was ten thousand or twenty thousand persons who perished in the suppression.

“We have been upholding what we know to be a semi-civilized nation, liable under certain circumstances to be carried into fearful excesses: but the fact of this [179]having now been brought home to us all, cannot be a sufficient reason for abandoning a policy which is the only one that can be followed with due regard to our interests.”

It is enough to take one’s breath away to read such words as these. They are clear enough. They declare what is the settled policy of the English government. Towards Turkey? Not alone, but towards the world. Her interests are purely commercial.—Interests payable in gold: always and everywhere. What are her interests in Venezuela? In the Bering Sea fisheries? In the Transvaal? In India and in China?

The integrity of the Turkish Empire must be maintained. All else is mere diplomatic froth, waste breath and ink in the torrents of her speeches and her correspondence with the Porte; and the Turk knows it, and Russia knows it and the world knows it. England is pilloried to-day for her selfishness, if not for her unrighteousness, in all her dealings with the rest of the earth. It is her government, not her people that the world arraigns.

Mr. Freeman is scathing and unsparing in his denunciation of the government’s position; but that he was not more severe than just the issue plainly declared, and we tarry on this situation a moment longer because of its special bearing upon the situation as regards the massacres in Armenia.

War had been declared by Servia and Montenegro against Turkey on the 2d of July, 1876, which had thus far resulted in victory for Montenegro and defeat for Servia. This situation still further increased the anxieties of the great powers. Not that they cared for Turkey only because they could not agree on how it [180]should be carved up. They would all like a generous slice if each could have the portion that he liked best.

When it became evident that there was no hope of any good resulting from notes and memorandums, the British Government suggested a conference of the powers which had been parties to the Treaty of Paris to meet at Constantinople in December 1876: and in order to open the way for this conference, proposed an armistice of six weeks between Turkey and Servia.

The Turkish government proposed six months: the Russians demanded an immediate armistice of from four to six weeks and threatened to break off diplomatic relations at once if it was not granted. The Turkish government complied with the demand.

In an interview with the British Minister, November 2d, 1876, the Emperor Alexander pledged his sacred word of honor in the most earnest and solemn manner that he had no intention of acquiring Constantinople, and that if necessity compelled him to occupy a portion of Bulgaria it would only be provisionally and until the peace and safety of the Christian population could be secured.

A few days later—November 10th, the Emperor made a speech at Moscow in which he said: “I have striven and shall still strive to obtain a real improvement of the position of the Christians in the East by peaceful means. But should I see that we cannot obtain such guarantees as are necessary for carrying out what we have a right to demand of the Porte I am firmly determined to act independently; and I am convinced, that in this case the whole of Russia will respond to my summons should I consider it necessary and should the honor of Russia require it.”

British Cabinet Debating the Armenian Question.

British Cabinet Debating the Armenian Question.


The preliminary conference at Constantinople was opened on the 11th of December, and was participated in by representatives from Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy.

The conference was foredoomed to end in failure, for by the treaty of Paris the Powers had no right to interfere, and they were all too righteous to sin against that treaty, though Bulgaria should be utterly wasted with fire and sword.

The Marquis of Salisbury, now Prime Minister, was the chief representative of Great Britain, and in a speech before the House of Lords thus defined the purposes of the conference and its failure. After speaking of previous treaties and the changes that had taken place both in Turkey and Great Britain which prevented the latter from maintaining exactly the same attitude towards Turkey which she did in 1856, he went on to say: “If the alliance was broken up, if our exertions for the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire were to cease * * * assuredly it was our duty to exhaust appeal, remonstrance and exhortation before deserting a cause we had hitherto maintained. * * * We went to stop a great and menacing danger, namely the prospect of a war between Russia and the Porte. It was in pointing out that evil that our moral influence on the Porte rested. We said to Turkey, “Unless you do this or that, this terrible danger which may well involve the loss of your Empire is ready to fall upon you. We hope that our influence and advice may be able to avert it: indeed we come here for that purpose, but we warn you that we shall accept no responsibility for the future, if you treat our advice with disdain. * * * It seems to me, as it must to everybody else, that the refusal [184]of the Turk is a mystery: for the infatuation of that cause seems to be so tremendous.”

The refusal of the Turk is no mystery to-day. There was no infatuation about it. The Porte knew that his speech meant no harm to Turkey: that he had come to avert the loss of the Empire. He knew very well that whatever the issue of the war might be on the battlefield, England would never let Russia profit by her victories. Hence the Porte in sublime contempt snapped its fingers in the face of the Conference and politely bowed it out of existence. The issue proved that the Turks knew exactly the man and the nation they were dealing with. Yet the English people thought the Government really meant to do something to help the cause of the persecuted Bulgarians: just as they thought for awhile that Salisbury as Prime Minister meant, really intended to do something in the cause of Armenia.

England has not changed in her traditional policy towards the Turk. She has not deserted the cause she has maintained for now some sixty years, and she never will desert it until she and Russia can agree about the division of the spoils: then her love for the Turk will vanish as a mist before the rising sun of her own increasing power and splendor. [185]




We turn back a single leaf of history in beginning this chapter on the Russo-Turkish War,—and stand at the opening of the year 1876. As the nations of Europe faced the questions of that hour, there was not one of them that desired to begin a war of which no statesman could foresee the issue.

Perhaps the traditional desire of Russia to possess the gates of the two continents and fly her flag over Constantinople, delivered from the Crescent of Islam, was growing apace, and her indignation at the treatment of the Greek Christians was rising to fever heat, but she did not desire war. Turkey did not desire war, the insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina was giving her serious trouble. England did not desire war, though her people were divided, part favoring Russia as a Christian nation, as against an infidel, but a greater part thinking of Turkish bonds which were held in London that would be worthless if Turkey should be dismembered; France did not want a war which would imperil her interests in the Suez Canal and in Syria, and because if she sided with Turkey, Germany might side with the Czar. And as neither Germany nor Italy desired war it would seem as if it might be easy to prevent its occurrence.

Hence the diplomats put their heads together, and Count Julius Andrassy, the Premier of Austria, one of [186]the ablest of the Continental statesmen undertook on the 25th of January, 1876, to draw up a note to the Ottoman Porte demanding certain reforms from Turkey, and promising to sustain her if she would institute these reforms promptly.

The following are some of the measures proposed for the pacification of discontented Servia, Roumania and Montenegro, viz:

1. Religious liberty, full and entire.

2. Abolition of the farming of taxes.

3. A law to guarantee that the direct taxation of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be employed for the immediate interests of the province.

4. A special commission, composed of an equal number of Mussulmans and Christians to superintend the execution of the reforms proclaimed and proposed.

5. The amelioration of the condition of the rural populations.

The Grand Vizier, Midhat Pasha, replied, that he was preparing a Constitution which would, he believed, embody these and other measures of reform.

The Powers trusted his integrity and disposition to promote these reforms; but even though the entire Imperial ministry saw clearly the evils out of which the insurrections had grown, it were in the face of centuries of deceit and the cruelty and the intolerance of Islam, to believe that the Porte would of its own volition enforce these reforms against a hostile Mussulman sentiment.

The Powers waited for months until on May 1st, 1876, without having received the honest approval of the Sultan, the outline of the Constitution of Midhat Pasha was published. [187]

Now note this fact—that on the 14th of May, when the representatives of Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany and Great Britain, met at Berlin, desirous of sustaining the good intentions of the Grand Vizier and agreed upon a paper known as the “Berlin Memorandum,” which provided for a guaranty by the great powers of the several reforms which had been already proclaimed, when all the others had signed it, knowing that only by such a broad guaranty could the reforms ever be enforced, Great Britain refused to sign it on the ground “that it must obviously and inevitably lead to the military occupation of Turkey.”

The Memorandum fell to the ground by the action of England, who was not willing to stand with the other powers and compel the enforcement of the reforms demanded. England was alone responsible for that failure.

But worse than that, with all the enormities of the Bulgarian outrages which took place during the sessions of the great powers, just coming to the ears of the horrified nations, England sent her fleet into Besika Bay, on the 26th of May, as if to say to the other powers, “Hands off, let Turkey alone, no reforms are needed.”

Two or three weeks after this demonstration, which had had its effect in assuring Turkey that England would stand by her, the fleet withdrew to its former harbor.

Those were stormy days at Constantinople. The Grand Vizier, Mehemet Ruchdi, and Midhat Pasha requested the Sultan Abdul Aziz to give up some of his treasure to save the nation from ruin. He refused and was deposed May 29th. The next day his nephew was proclaimed as Murad V., joyfully accepted by the [188]people and recognized by the Western powers. But he also was deposed on August 31st and his brother proclaimed. When invested on the 7th of September, with the Sword of Othman, Abdul Hamid II., in his inaugural address, said: “The great object to be aimed at, is to adopt measures for placing the laws and regulations of the country upon a basis which shall inspire confidence in their execution. For this purpose it is indispensable to proceed to the establishment of a general Council or National Assembly, whose acts will inspire confidence in the nation, and will be in harmony with the customs, aptitudes and capabilities of the populations of the Empire. The mission and duty of this Council will be, to guarantee without exception, the faithful execution of the existing laws, or of those which shall be promulgated in conformity with the provisions of the “Sheri” (The decrees already published), in connection with the real and legitimate wants of the country and its inhabitants, as also to control the equilibrium of the revenue and expenditures of the Empire.”

In accordance with this inaugural promise the Council of Ministers prepared a Constitution, not quite so liberal as the one Midhat Pasha had previously presented, and proclaimed it on December 23d, 1876.

Midhat Pasha had been made Grand Vizier on the 19th. On the 23d the opening of a Conference of six great Powers took place in Constantinople to consider measures that would ensure peace at the close of the Armistice then existing between Turkey and Servia and Montenegro which had been extended to February, 1877. They asked for local self-government for the Turkish provinces in Europe—equal treatment of Mohammedans [189]and Christians, better administration for both, security for life and property and effectual guarantees against the repetition of outrages. On January 18th, 1877, the great National Council of Turkey rejected the propositions of the Conference, which therefore closed its sittings on the 20th, having accomplished nothing.

Now just here please note this fact—that if Great Britain had signed the Berlin memorandum which was to guarantee the execution of the reforms promised—the Ambassadors might have demanded the enforcement of such reforms, and backed their demand by the presence of a fleet before Constantinople.

Great Britain thus was to blame for the feebleness of the advice which was tendered and of course rejected. If the Sultan had been sincere when he issued his inaugural, if he really meant to give equal rights to his Christian subjects he would have welcomed the presence of a combined fleet that would have protected himself from the opposition of fanatical leaders of the old Turkish party. This was the crisis of 1876,—granting that there was an honest desire to reform the government of Turkey and the distinct refusal of Great Britain to sign the memorandum guaranteeing that said reforms promised should be executed, settles upon her government the responsibility of the failure of the promised reforms of the constitution proposed, and also of the war that followed.

Notice further, the fanatical leading Turks were bound not to suffer the interference of any foreign power, and this bitterness of fanaticism apparently compelled the Sultan to dismiss and send into exile (February 5th) Midhat Pasha, the wisest minister in [190]the Government, and drove the Porte itself on to the war which followed.

After the failure of the Conference at Constantinople, Prince Gortschakoff issued a circular in which after reciting what had taken place he said, “It is necessary for us to know what the cabinets with which we have hitherto acted in common, propose to do with a view of meeting this refusal and insuring the execution of their wishes.”

Now remember the armistice was only extended to February 1st, 1877. Turkey refused to give any guarantee to fulfil the reforms promised, the atrocities of Bulgaria were still unpunished—the people were still at the mercy of the fanatical and cruel Turks.

Before any response had been made to this request for information from the other Cabinets, a treaty of peace with Servia had been signed March 1st, and the First Parliament was convened at Constantinople March 19th.

The Russian Government pressed for an answer, and fearing it might be embarrassed prepared a protocol which was signed by the representatives of the six powers at London on the 31st of March, 1877. After taking cognizance of the peace which had recently been concluded between Turkey and Servia, and of the good intentions of the Porte as had been shown in its declarations made from time to time during the past year, the protocol invited the Porte to place its army on a peace footing and then declared that “the Powers propose to watch carefully by means of their representatives at Constantinople and their local agents, the manner in which the promises of the Ottoman Government are carried into effect. [191]

“If their hopes should once more be disappointed, and if the condition of the Christian subjects of the Sultan should not be improved in such a manner as to prevent the returns of the complications which periodically disturb the peace of the East, they think it right to declare that such a state of affairs would be incompatible with their interests and those of Europe in general. In such case they reserve to themselves to consider in common as to the means which they may deem best fitted to secure the well-being of the Christian populations and the interests of the general peace.”

These are very good words, but unless the Powers meant to back them up with men and guns and war ships, they were only waste breath and paper.

On affixing his signature the Russian Ambassador filed the following declaration:—

“If peace with Montenegro is concluded and the Porte accepts the advice of Europe, and shows itself ready to replace its forces on a peace footing—seriously to undertake the reforms mentioned in the protocol, let it send to St. Petersburg a special envoy to treat of disarmament to which His Majesty, the Emperor, would also on his part consent. If massacres similar to those which have stained Bulgaria with blood take place, this would necessarily put a stop to the measures of demobilization.”

If Turkey had honestly desired to enforce the reforms promised, and deal justly by her Christian subjects, and avoid the dangers of war, there should have been no hesitation in giving its assent to this protocol.

But the Sublime Porte knew very well that Great Britain would never take up arms against her, as she [192]had distinctly refused to sign a memorandum that might involve the pressure of force. The Porte knew it could rely upon the diplomatic resources of England in the final issue of affairs, hence rejected the protocol with audacity and insolence. In substance the rejection of these last offers of peace stated that:—First, the Sublime Porte would spare no effort to arrive at an understanding with the Prince of Montenegro. Second, that the Imperial government was prepared to adopt all the promised reforms. Third, that Turkey was ready to place its armies on a peace footing as soon as it saw the Russian government take measures to the same end. Fourth, with regard to the disturbances which might break out and stop the demobilization of the Russian army, the Turkish government repelled the injurious terms in which the idea had been expressed, and stated its belief that Europe was convinced that the recent disturbances were due to foreign instigation, (i. e. Russia’s) and after other reasons given, it declared that Turkey can not allow foreign agents or representatives charged to protect the interests of their compatriots to have any mission of official supervision. (Precisely its position to-day.)

The Imperial government in fact is not aware how it can have deserved so ill of justice and civilization, as to see itself placed in a humiliating position without example in the world. (This after all the horrors of Bulgaria—which were known to the world long before this.)

The treaty of Paris gave an explicit sanction to the principle of non-intervention. * * * And if Turkey appeals to the stipulations of the treaty * * it is for the purpose of calling attention to the grave reasons which, in the interest of the general peace of Europe, [193]induced the powers, twenty years ago, to place the recognition of the inviolability of this Empire’s right to sovereignty, under the guaranty of its collective promise.

When the Turkish ambassador in London called upon Earl Derby, on the 12th of April, to deliver the above circular, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his deep regrets at the view the Porte had taken, and said he could not see what further steps England could take to avert the war which appeared to be inevitable.

On the 24th of April, the Czar, who was at Kischeneff, with his army, issued his manifesto in which he said:—

“For two years we have made incessant efforts to induce the Porte to effect such reforms as would protect the Christians in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria from the arbitrary measures of the local authorities. The accomplishment of these reforms was absolutely stipulated by anterior engagements contracted by the Porte to the whole of Europe.

“Our efforts supported by diplomatic representations made in common by the other governments have not, however, attained their object. The Porte has remained unshaken in its formal refusal of any effective guaranty for the security of its Christian subjects, and has rejected the conclusions of the Constantinople Conference. Wishing to essay every possible means of conciliation in order to persuade the Porte, we proposed to the other Cabinets to draw up a special protocol, comprising the most essential conditions of the Constantinople Conference, and to invite the Turkish government to adhere to this international act, which states the extreme limits of our peaceful demands. But our [194]expectation was not fulfilled. The Porte did not defer to this unanimous wish of Christian Europe and did not adhere to the conclusions of the protocol. Having exhausted pacific efforts we are compelled by the haughty obstinacy of the Porte to proceed to more decisive acts, feeling that equity and our own dignity enjoin it. By her refusal, Turkey places us under the necessity of having recourse to arms.

“Profoundly convinced of the justice of our cause and humbly committing ourselves to the grace and help of the Most High, we make known to our faithful subjects that the moment foreseen when we pronounced words to which all Russia responded with complete unanimity, has now arrived. We expressed the intention to act independently when we deemed it necessary, and when Russia’s honor should demand it. And now, invoking the blessing of God upon our valiant armies, we give them the order to cross the Turkish frontier.”

Never was the sword drawn in more dignified and solemn manner; never in a more holy war for the deliverance of persecuted and outraged humanity. Alexander drew his sword in the cause of Bulgaria, knowing that single-handed and alone he must face the armies of Turkey, the indifference of Continental Europe; knowing that he must face the bitter opposition and jealousy of England, and not knowing but he might have to meet her armies and fleets as well. This latter possibility was averted, as we know, by the vehement opposition of Gladstone, John Bright, and other statesmen; the people voiced their opinions in four hundred public meetings, and the Disraeli Cabinet was prevented from declaring war in behalf of injured and self-righteous Turkey. [195]

It is very well known that there are many who deny that Russia was moved by any high sense of honor, or driven by righteous and outraged Christian sentiment to draw the sword for the deliverance of Bulgaria and the punishment of the unspeakable Turk. They affirm her to be governed entirely by self-interest, and that under the garb of zeal for her distressed co-religionists she seeks to conceal her purposes of self-aggrandizement. Russia has been the persistent and bitter foe of Turkey for three hundred years, and Turkey of Russia.

Only once in all that time (1833) did Russia stretch out her hand to aid the Turk, and for reward she received the free navigation of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus for a series of years. She has fought the Turk single-handed and alone: she has fought him when he has had Poland and the Tartars for his allies: when Venice and Austria and Hungary fought under his banners: when Italy and France were his allies: when England, France and Sardinia united to help him in the Crimea.

Whatever her motives Russia has always been true to herself, and consistent in her hatred of the Turk. It may be that she has dreams of an empire ruled from Constantinople as a Winter Capital; but whatever her dreams or purposes, no nation has less claim to rule over the ancient Byzantine Empire than the alien race of the Ottoman Turks—fanatical followers of the prophet.

The Russo-Turkish war, while but a brief campaign, was from its beginning to the treaty of San Stefano a war for religious life and freedom and singularly free from death or insult to civilian or woman, while abounding in thrilling and dramatic incident. [196]

On the Russian side the preparations for war had been carried on with much secrecy, headquarters being at Kischeneff in Bessarabia. The greater part of the army had been distributed throughout the provinces in comfortable winter quarters, and were in excellent health and spirits. Early in April the soldiers began swarming towards Kischeneff for the Grand Review and the expected declaration of war. The city had put on its holiday attire, flags and streamers were flying from the houses, and there was the greatest excitement among the people and the soldiers as they waited the arrival of the Emperor. The Review was to be no dress parade, but the serious prelude to war. It was all the more impressive therefore, as early on the morning of April 24th, 1877, the army corps began to gather on the broad plains and sloping hillsides above the town. The troops were already under arms by nine o’clock, standing in lone lines and solid masses, silent and almost motionless as for an hour and a half, they waited the arrival of the Emperor. The crowd, too, of onlookers were serious, and spoke in hushed voices, for these splendid troops were soon to be hurled against the fortification of Plevna only to be shattered, broken, decimated. Only when the Emperor appeared mounted, accompanied by his brother the Grand Duke Nicholas and an immense staff of a hundred officers and rode slowly along the lines, was the silence broken by the sound of music and the cheering of the soldiers.

The review was over in an hour. The music ceased, silence reigned, the soldiers stood uncovered and the crowd also removed their caps. The voice of only one man was heard, that of the Bishop of Kischeneff saying a grand military Mass. For more than half an hour the [197]soldiers, composed, expectant, reverently stood and listened. When the Mass was finished a low murmur ran through the crowd. Then a dead silence, and again the strong voice of the Bishop was heard not now engaged in prayer but in reading the Manifesto. In the midst of it sobs were heard and as men looked they saw the Emperor weeping like a child. It had been the pride and glory of the reign of Alexander that his reign had been of peace. He hoped to finish it without war, and now the fatal step had been taken, and who could tell its issue. This was not the spirit of a man eager, determined on conquest, lusting for martial fame and glory. There was not a dry eye within sound of the Bishop’s voice, but when he closed with the impressive words, “And now, invoking the blessing of God upon our valiant armies we give them the order to cross the Turkish frontier,” a wild and universal shout went up—a shout of exultation, triumph, relief, which ran through all the army over hill and plain till the whole air resounded with the glad acclaim. Some corps started at once for the frontier and the rest began rapidly preparing for the march—and by the 10th of May the Russian army, over two hundred thousand men, was posted along the banks of the Danube facing the forts, the fleets and the armies of the Porte which numbered one hundred and fifty thousand effective soldiers.

Not until June 27th did the main body of the Russians succeed in crossing the Danube, but it was most skillfully done and the march began for Constantinople. Already the hero of the war had been revealed in the person of General Skobeleff—the Custer of the Russian army and the youngest general in the army, with a [198]strange and brilliant career which was to be most gloriously eclipsed by the successes of this campaign.

“He was a tall, handsome man with a lithe, slender, active figure, clear, blue eyes, a large prominent, but straight well-shaped nose, the kind of a nose it said Napoleon used to look for among his officers when he wished to find a general.” He was highly educated, speaking five languages fluently, and always had time even in his hardest campaigns for new books and reviews. He was every inch a soldier, and his great strength lay in the power and influence he had over his men. He was never weary of seeing that his men were well fed, warmly clothed and comfortable. He was always intelligible in his orders. He was the comrade of his men as well as their officer. When the passage of the Danube was made finally on the pontoon bridge, Skobeleff shouldered a musket like a private soldier and marched over with his men. Every officer under him was devoted to him. He treated them all as friends, but then every one of them was expected when occasion came to lay down his life as an example to his men. “Fear,” he said, “must cease when a man reaches the grade of captain.”

The British Mediterranean Fleet.

The British Mediterranean Fleet.

After the passage of the Danube, he was given the command of a division—was always at the front, in the thickest of every fight. He was a hero at Plevna, that stronghold commanding the pass through the Balkans, where Osman Pasha held the Russians at bay from July until December 11th. Three times the Russians had attacked it and been repulsed; twice in July and the third time in September. The great infantry assault was made on the 11th day of September, the fifth day of the bombardment. [201]

On this last occasion Skobeleff’s duty was to take a redoubt on a certain Green Hill, which he regarded as the key to the Turkish position. He always rode a white horse and wore a white coat that he might be more conspicuous to his own men during a battle. With his usual address to his soldiers he despatched them to the redoubt. He knew well that he was sending many of them to their death. They knew it too, but advanced unflinchingly in the face of a fearful fire from cannon and from infantry. One company wavered and broke. Instantly Skobeleff was among them on his white charger. “Follow me,” he cried, “I will show you how to thrash the Turks. Close up there! Follow me my men. I will lead you myself. He who deserts me should be ashamed of himself! Now then, drummers—look alive.”

Meantime the Turks were seen everywhere torturing the wounded before despatching them. This roused the spirit of the Russians and they pushed on with fury. With fearful loss they captured the redoubt, and planted two Russian flags on it. Then Skobeleff, who had had two horses shot under him, started back for reinforcements.

In vain he pleaded for men. In vain he pleaded that the redoubt was the key of the position. He burst into tears. He visited the redoubt three or four times during the day to encourage them. Plevna would soon be taken. Victory would crown their efforts. For the honor and the glory of the Russian arms;—and they always replied with the same cheery shouts while their numbers were dwindling by hundreds. But the battle was against the Russians. One more effort must be made. [202]

“Major Gortaloff, you will remain here in charge of the redoubt,” he said. “Can I depend on you? You must hold this at any price.” “I will remain or die, Your Excellency.” “Possibly I shall be unable to send you any reinforcements. Give me your word that you will not leave the redoubt.” “My honor is pledged. I will not leave this place alive.” The Major raised his hand as if taking an oath. Skobeleff embraced him. “God help you! Remember my men, there may be no reinforcements. Count only on yourselves. Farewell, heroes.” But as he took his last look at them—the finest troops of his division, he sighed. “Consecrated to death,” he said and thundered down the hill.

Only one thing remained, to draw off his men and save as many of them as possible.

A colonel of one regiment of Cossack infantry, however, without orders, put his men at Skobeleff’s disposal and once more he started for the redoubt.

The Turks were swarming over the ramparts, mounting its walls on dead bodies. The garrison defending themselves by bayonets began to despair. At last through the fog and smoke they saw their comrades coming. But Skobeleff had only one battalion; not enough to drive out the Turks.

“I think he wants to cover our retreat,” said the Major. He gathered his men about him. “Comrades go. Open your way with your bayonets. This place can no longer be held. God bless you, my children. Forward.” And bowing his head he reverently made the sign of the cross over his men. “And you, father?” they exclaimed. “I stay with our dead. Tell the general I have kept my word. Good by, [203]children.” They watched him as they turned their heads in their retreat. They saw him standing on the ramparts waving to them. Then the Turks rushed in. They saw the struggle. They saw his body uplifted upon Turkish bayonets.

“It was just after this,” said a correspondent, “that I met General Skobeleff the first time that day. He was in a fearful state of excitement and fury. His uniform was covered with mud and filth, his sword broken; his cross of St. George twisted round on his shoulder; his face black with powder and smoke; his eyes haggard and bloodshot, and his voice quite gone. I never before saw such a picture of battle as he presented. I saw him again in his tent at night. He was quite calm and collected. He said, ‘I have done my best. I could do no more. My detachment is half destroyed; my regiments do not exist; I have no officers left; they sent me no reinforcements, and I have lost three guns.’ ‘Why did they refuse you reinforcements?’ I asked. ‘Who was to blame?’ ‘I blame nobody,’ he replied. ‘It is the will of God.’”

The Russians fell back from Plevna for a little breathing spell, having lost in this third assault more than twenty thousand men.

At Bucharest General Skobeleff met General Todleben, the great engineer who had planned and superintended twenty-one years before the defence of Sebastopol. It had been decided to plan works by which Plevna should be taken, not by assault but by starvation.

By the middle of October, 1877, Skobeleff was back at the seat of war with his division of about forty thousand men. He had no longer with him the “lions,” [204]the “eagles,” the “heroes” of the third assault, but largely new recruits whom he must train.

Two months of the siege sufficed to starve out the garrison, and Osman Pasha surrendered unconditionally on December 11th, and thirty-two thousand men laid down their arms and the gates were open towards Constantinople. As soon as Plevna fell Skobeleff was appointed its military governor. The Roumanians in the Russian army had already begun the plunder of the city. When Skobeleff remonstrated, their officers replied: “We are the victors, and the victors have a right to the spoils.” “In the first place,” answered the general, “we were never at war with the peaceable inhabitants of this place, and consequently can not have conquered them. But, secondly, please acquaint your men that I shall have victors of this kind shot. Every man caught marauding shall be shot like a dog. Please bear this in mind. There is another thing. You must not insult women. Such conduct is very humiliating. Let me tell you that every such complaint will be investigated and every case of outrage punished.”

Compare this order with the horrible atrocities continually committed upon the Bulgarians during this campaign by Bashi-Bazouks and the thirty thousand Circassian horsemen, who were allowed to follow their own fashions, in which they excel even the Apache tribes once the terror of the Southwest. Before them went anguish and horror; after them death, ruin and despair.

We have no time to follow the war as carried on in Armenia, but on November 17–18, the city and fortress of Kars was carried by assault, and the Russian officers remembering how the fanatical Turks had tortured [205]and killed the wounded soldiers that had fallen into their cruel hands, expressed the fear lest their excited soldiers might put aside feelings of humanity and inflict summary vengeance.

But contrary to all expectations, Cossack and Russian put aside all thought of personal revenge; and not a single civilian was killed or insulted, and not a woman had to complain of insult or outrage. These facts are stated for the sake of those who may have thought that there is little to choose between the semi-barbarous hordes of Russia (as they call them) and the armies of Turks, Kurds and Circassians.

Another fact regarding the religious sentiment of the Russian peasant transformed into a soldier. A Frenchman who was at Plevna with the officers of the Commander-in-chief’s staff thus writes of Skobeleff: “He is a magnificent looking soldier, almost as tall as the Emperor. * * On the battlefield he is brave as a lion. * * * When ordering a retreat, he sheathes his sword, sends his white charger to the front and remains on foot, the last man in the rear, saying; ‘They may kill me if they like, but they shall not harm my horse unless he is advancing against the enemy. He has never quitted a battlefield without carrying off his wounded (unless in such retreat as from the third assault on Plevna), nor has he ever after a battle gone to rest without making an address to his men, and writing his own report to the commander-in-chief. He is adored by his soldiers. * * He is highly educated and a sincerely religious man. ‘No man can feel comfortable in facing death’ he has been heard to say ‘who does not believe in God and have hope of a life to come.’ Each evening in the camp he stood bareheaded [206]taking part in the evening service which was chanted by fifty or sixty of his soldiers. * If the people of Paris who shed tears over the Miserére in Trovatore, could hear these simple soldiers in the presence of death addressing prayers and praises to the Almighty Father with their whole hearts, they would find it far more moving. Skobeleff is as distinguished for his modesty as his bravery. ‘My children,’ he says to his soldiers, ‘I wear these crosses, but it is you who have won them for me.’”

Attention is called to these things that you can compare for yourselves the morale of the Russian army with its reverence for woman and for God, with the grossness and corruption and wickedness that prevails in the mixed multitudes that form the soldiers of Islam.

Who is not touched by the deep sincerity of that word in his first address to his army, “while you are fighting I shall pray for you.”

So deep was his interest in the war that he could not content himself in St. Petersburg but felt that his place was on the Danube. When he reached the seat of war he assumed no command, but he endeavored to inform himself about everything. The failures before Plevna greatly troubled him. “If we lose I will never return to Russia. I will die here with my brave soldiers. Hence it was with more than usual emotion that the Emperor reviewed the troops, seventy thousand men, at Plevna a few days after its fall.

The troops were drawn up in two lines of quarter columns at intervals of ten paces between regiments. The second line was about fifty paces in rear of the first. He embraced the Generals, greeted the officers and then accompanied by the Grand Duke and Prince [207]Charles, attended by a brilliant staff, he passed down the front line and back by the second. His reception was most enthusiastic, every regiment cheering the moment it caught sight of the white flag with the ornamental cross that denoted the Emperor’s presence; and nothing could be more impressive than the enormous volume of sound produced by the triumphant cheers of seventy thousand men.

In a few days Skobeleff’s division was to cross the Balkans by a pass leading to Senova while the main army was to take the Shipka Pass. One order he gave caused much amusement among his brother officers. Each man of his division was ordered to carry a log of wood with him. “What will he think of next?” said some one. “If Skobeleff has ordered,” said the Grand Duke Nicholas, “he has some good reason for it.”

He had a good reason. There was no wood on the summit of the Balkans. He wanted his men to have three hot meals a day. And in consequence of his precautions not one man of his division arrived disabled or frozen on the other side; not one had straggled, and the only two who were lost had slipped and fallen over a precipice. The soldiers who crossed the Shipka Pass suffered frightfully. The passage to Senova was an awful journey. The men had to break their way through great snowdrifts. They had to drag their cannon on sledges by hand, but on the third day they descended into the Valley of Roses in splendid form.

In the battles that raged during the next few days Skobeleff was uniformly successful, and the regiments coming down the Shipka Pass went right into the thick of the fight. At last the Turks put out two white flags. The Pashas surrendered themselves and their [208]whole army—thirty-five thousand men and one hundred and thirteen guns were given up.

“The scoundrels,” muttered Gen. Skobeleff “to give up with such a force and with such a position.” “No wonder,” cried the Turks, “that we were beaten; for the Russians were commanded by Akh Pasha and it is impossible to overcome him. The first order given was, “Let the Turks’ property be sacred to us. Let not a crumb of theirs be lost. Warn the men, I will shoot them for stealing.”

“I shall never forget,” said Mr. Kinnard Rose, “a solemn service for the repose of the souls of the dead that was held on that battlefield of Senova by the General and a score of companions. Skobeleff’s chaplain chanted the Mass with a simple dragoon for clerk. Every head was uncovered. The party stood in respectful groups around a monumental column with its cross, the General to the right of the priest. As the service progressed, the General wept like a child, and among the small but deeply moved congregation there were few dry eyes.”

And now the road lay open before him. The last army was beaten—Skobeleff’s forced march made the Turkish Pashas stand aghast—thirty, even fifty miles a day, and soon he had occupied Adrianople, the second city of the Empire. He had entered it without a sick man—there was not a theft nor burglary—not a street row, as he rested there a few days.

The heroes of the campaign in the Balkans were Generals Gourko, Radetzky and Skobeleff. They carried out operations which for difficulty of execution, rapidity of movement and quickness of combination have hardly ever been equalled. In fifteen days they had [209]destroyed three Turkish armies, and swept the country from Shipka Pass to Adrianople and with one hundred and thirty-two thousand bayonets were ready to dictate peace to the Sublime Porte.

General Gourko, who was Skobeleff’s senior, arrived in advance of his columns on January 26th, and took command of the city, while Skobeleff pushed on with his cavalry and in two weeks (February 5th) camped on the shores of the Sea of Marmora a short distance from Constantinople, having marched two hundred and seventy-five miles in twenty days, one hundred miles of it in four days.

The history of the Russo-Turkish war has been written in terms of highest eulogy by impartial historians and disinterested eyewitnesses. The condensed account given in these pages is accorded space to emphasize the difference between warfare as conducted by one of the Great Powers of Europe and the barbarous methods of the “Unspeakable Turk.” Previously to the occupancy of Adrianople by the Russian forces, representatives of the two nations most interested, met and seriously discussed the question of peace.

The Turkish delegates refused to accept the Russian terms. They were informed that the Russians would march upon Constantinople unless they accepted. On the question of the autonomy for Bulgaria, the Russians were inflexible. This the delegates refused, and the troops continued to close in upon Constantinople.

On January 31st an armistice was signed, and a neutral zone declared with Constantinople exposed to the Russian army. While going over the lines of delimitation one day, General Skobeleff and his whole staff gazed upon the city of Constantinople. He was furious [210]when he learned that the Russian army was not even to enter Constantinople, and he is said to have debated whether he would not on his own responsibility take the city without orders and break the meshes of diplomacy.

“I would hold a congress in Constantinople—here!” he said, “and would myself preside if I were Emperor, with three hundred thousand bayonets to back me—prepared for any eventuality. Then we could talk to them.”

“But suppose all Europe should oppose you?”

“There are moments when one must act—when it is criminal to be too cautious. We may have to wait centuries for so favorable an opportunity. You think the bulldogs would fight us? Never. It should be our duty to defend this—our own city—with the last drop of our blood.”

When General Grant said that Russia’s abstaining from entering Constantinople was the greatest mistake a nation ever committed, he was either not aware of the secret engagement made with Lord Loftus, the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, or he considered with reason that England’s sending her fleet into the Bosphorus was such a violation of her engagements of neutrality, as would justify Russia in not abiding by her promises.

England, on February 8th, had ordered her fleet to Constantinople to protect British interests. News was received by Skobeleff that the fleet was under way. He instantly informed headquarters, and had orders for concentrating his troops where they could strike at a moment’s notice. He quickly and gladly so disposed his army that in two hours he could occupy the Turkish [211]positions, and in thirty six hours could place two divisions on the high ground just behind Constantinople, the very ground from which the Turks in 1453 had besieged and assaulted and captured this Queen of Eastern Christian Empire. For Russia had decided before the armistice that the English fleet coming into the Bosphorus should be the signal for the march into the city. Then came the news that the Turks refused to allow the fleet to pass and that it was lying at the mouth of the Dardanelles and the danger of a general European war was passed for the time.

But the approach of the fleet was a warning and the delay, and hesitation of the Ambassadors to sign the preliminaries of peace and the objections they made were irritating to the last degree, and the answer of Russia was the removal of headquarters to San Stefano, only twelve miles from Constantinople, and there the treaty of peace must be signed.

There is little time to portray the many dramatic scenes connected with the signing of the treaty of San Stefano. March 3d was the anniversary of the Czar’s accession to the throne. There was to be a grand review. At four o’clock the Grand Duke galloped towards the hill where the army was drawn up; then up dashed a carriage from the village. General Ignatieff was in it and when he approached he rose and said: “I have the honor to congratulate Your Highness on the signature of peace.” Then the Grand Duke to the army: “I have the honor to inform the army that with the help of God we have concluded a treaty of peace.”

A shout, swelling and triumphant, rose from the throats of twenty thousand men, some of them the most famous regiments of Russia’s favored troops. [212]After the review the Grand Duke spoke briefly, “To an army which has accomplished what you have, my friends, nothing is impossible.” Then all dismounted, uncovered and a solemn service was held, the soldiers all kneeling, even the wife of General Ignatieff was seen kneeling on a fur rug beside her carriage. The religious ceremony over, the Grand Duke took his stand and the army began to file past with a swinging, rapid stride. The night was falling, darkness settling over all. Still the Grand Duke sat motionless on his horse, the troops still were passing; the joyous shouts grew fainter and the measured tramp, tramp died out on the ear and the war of 1877–78 had entered into the history of the struggle of humanity for religious life and freedom. The history of the treaties of San Stefano and of Berlin will be told in the chapter that records the greatest crime of the century against the life and freedom of a still suffering and outraged humanity under the curse of Islam. [213]




It does not lie within the plan of this volume to review at any length the history of Turkey, or to sketch the lives of the Sultans who have reigned during the century; it will answer, however, to make our work intelligible and clear, if the life of the reigning Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II. is presented briefly.

He is the second son of Abdul Medjid, who was Sultan from 1839 to 1861. He was born September 5th, 1842; and his mother having died when he was quite young, he was adopted by his father’s second wife, herself childless, who was very wealthy and made him her heir. His early life was quiet and uneventful; his boyhood was a continual scene of merry idleness. His education consisting mostly in amusements and tricks devised for his entertainment by the court slaves: and in an unusually early and complete initiation into the depravities of harem life. Indeed up to manhood all the learning he had acquired, amounted to but little more than the ability to read in the Arabic and Turkish tongues. His mother had died of consumption and his constitution was delicate. He had inherited a taste for drink, but his doctor who was a Greek, assured him it would be his destruction. “Then I will never touch wine or liquor again,” said Abdul Hamid, and he kept his word.

The turning point in his life came, when in 1867 his [214]Uncle Abdul Aziz, then Sultan, took his own son and his two nephews, Murad and Hamid, to the Paris Exposition, England and Germany. He saw with a quick and appreciative eye. He acquired a taste for political geography, and for European dress, customs and interests. What he then learned was to modify very considerably the subsequent course of his life. From April, 1876, both he and his brother Murad were kept under strict surveillance and not allowed to take any part in the political movements going on in Constantinople.

Abdul Aziz, the reigning Sultan, was determined to defy the Turkish law of succession and proclaim his son in June, as heir presumptive to the throne, thus displacing Murad and Hamid, who both were before him in rights of succession. At this crisis, Midhat Pasha, the leading and most progressive statesman and strong adherent of Murad, planned a revolution and Abdul Aziz, was deposed and Murad was proclaimed Sultan, May 31st, and so recognized by the Western powers: but he was never girded with the sword of Othman in the Mosque of Eyout, a ceremony equivalent to a Western Coronation.

His ill-health, increased by excessive use of liquor and the mistaken treatment of his physician, rendered him mentally incapable of ruling: though a celebrated Dr. Liedersdorf, sent for from Vienna, is said to have stated, “If I had Sultan Murad under my own care in Vienna, I would have him all right in six weeks.”

In consequence of this mental indisposition, Murad V. was deposed August 30th, and Abdul Hamid II. was proclaimed on August 31st, and girded with the [215]sword of Othman a few days later. He was then living in a small palace in the Valley of Sweet Waters, which he inherited from his father. He was very fond of agriculture, and amused himself by cultivating a model farm. To his mother, who is said to have been an Armenian from Georgia, in Russia, he owed a quality very rare in the family of the Sultans, the spirit of economy. He never allowed his expenses to exceed his income before he came to the throne. In this charming retreat he resided quietly with his wife and two children, all eating at the same table, and showing in his dress and surroundings his preference for European modes of life. The only concession he made to Orientalism in personal dress, was in wearing the “fez,” which he disliked, but continued to wear as the necessary token of his nationality.

Six weeks after he was proclaimed Sultan, it was announced that a scheme of reform for the whole Ottoman Empire, was in course of preparation. It was published in January, and while it was a much less sweeping reform than Midhat wished, it provided for a Senate and a House of Representatives, which last was to take control of the finances, the system of taxation was to be revised and better laws were to be enacted for the provinces.

Election to the lower house was to be by universal suffrage; for the upper house electors were restricted to two classes: the noble and the educated.

Abdul Hamid cordially disapproved of this check on the absolute power enjoyed by predecessors.

He was willing to do justice and to temper it with mercy, but to be placed in the position of a servant to his people was odious to himself. [216]

At a council held, when only his other ministers were present, the Sultan asked, what should be done with Midhat Pasha. Two of those present said: “Let him die.” But Abdul Hamid was not bloodthirsty, hence he only banished him to Arabia where two years later he was poisoned.

The Sultan was restive under the constitution and the Pashas, against whose cruelty and extortion the most of the reforms were aimed, sided with their sovereign. In 1875, Midhat Pasha had outlined the situation thus to the English Ambassador:

“The Sultan’s Empire is being rapidly brought to destruction; corruption has reached a pitch that it has never before attained. The service of the state is starved, while untold millions are being poured into the palaces and the provinces are being ruined by the uncontrolled exactions of the Governors who purchase their appointments at the palace: and nothing can save the country but a complete change of system.”

And the very worst governed portion of all his Empire was Armenia. We are officially told that its government for the last thirty years has been horrible.

In an Armenian village recently plundered by bandits, the famous Hungarian Professor, Arminius Vambery, an intimate friend of the Sultan, once asked, “Why do you not get help from the Governor of Erzeroum?” “Because,” answered the villagers, “he is at the head of the robbers. God alone and his representative on earth—the Russian Czar, can help us.” This brigandage, is one of the greatest curses of the Turkish Empire, exercising a rule of terror and oppression, and now legalized, apparently, by the transformation of [219]the Kurdish horsemen—robbers—into the Hamidieh—the Sultan’s own Cavalry.

Types and Costumes—Kurdish Gentlemen.

Types and Costumes—Kurdish Gentlemen.

Such being the spirit of the Pashas who had grown rich by plunder and official theft, of course they were opposed to the Constitution, and by the will of the Sultan it was abrogated after two sessions had been held. This was soon followed by the dismissal of the Ministers who had formed the triumvirate, and the Sultan resumed his despotic and absolute sway. Assured that England would not suffer the dismemberment of his Empire we have seen him refusing to guarantee the enforcement of promised reforms and provoking the war with Russia; but as we have already told this story, we will give some pictures of the Sultan as drawn by his admirers; leaving the horrors of the Armenian massacres to bear witness as to the honesty of his professed devotion to the welfare of his Christian subjects and his promises to observe the terms of said treaty in the amelioration of the condition of all who were suffering under the murderous oppression of Kurds and Circassians.

Professor Vambery, a most remarkable linguist who writes and speaks all the languages of Europe like a native, spent some time in Turkey a few years ago and was received into closest conference by the Sultan.—Here are extracts from what he has written of him:

“I must own that the education of Abdul Hamid, like that of all Oriental princes was defective, very defective indeed; but an iron will, good judgment and rare acuteness have made good this short-coming; and he not only knows the multifarious relations and intricacies of his own much tried Empire but is thoroughly conversant with European politics: and I am [220]not going far from fact when I state that it has been solely the moderation and self-restraint of Sultan Abdul Hamid which has saved us hitherto from a general European conflagration. As to his personal character, I have found the present ruler of the Ottoman Empire of great politeness, amiability and extreme gentleness. When sitting opposite to him during my private interviews, I could not avoid being struck by his extremely modest attitude, by his quiet manners and by the bashful look of his eyes. * * At his table, though wine is served to European guests, it is not offered to the Sultan or any other Mohammedan.

“His views on religion, politics and education have a decidedly modern tone, and yet he is a firm believer in the tenets of his religion, and likes to assemble around him the foremost Mollahs and pious Sheiks on whom he profusely bestows imperial favors; but he does not forget from time to time to send presents to the Greek and the Armenian patriarchates, and nothing is more ludicrous than to hear this prince accused by a certain class of politicians in Europe of being a fanatic and an enemy to Christians,—a prince who by appointing a Christian for his chief medical attendant and a Christian for his chief minister of finance, did not hesitate to intrust most important duties to non-Mohammedans. * * *”

[Doubtless he wanted the best men he could find as his physician and minister of finance, and these men were found among the Christians. Let the last year tell whether he be the friend or the enemy of the Christians.]

“In reference to the charge of ruthless despotism laid upon Sultan Abdul Hamid in connection with his [221]abrogation of the charter granted during the first months of his reign, I will quote his own words. He said to me one day:—‘In Europe the soil was prepared centuries ago for liberal institutions, and now I am asked to transplant a sapling to the foreign, stony and rugged ground of Asiatic life. Let me clear away the thistles, and stones, let me till the soil, and provide for irrigation because rain is very scarce in Asia and then we may transport the new plant; and believe me that nobody will be more delighted at its thriving than myself.’”

Thus far the professor. And now, it is to be wondered if he calls the extermination of the Armenians the clearing away of the thistles and does he propose to irrigate the soil of Armenia with the blood of its noblest race. Is he not rather slitting the veins of Asia Minor and pouring out its heart’s best blood?

That the Sultan was a warm personal friend of Gen. Lew Wallace does not make him any the less a despot; neither because Hon. S. S. Cox, who succeeded Gen. Wallace was an admirer of the Sultan as the following quotation will show; does that make him the less a fanatic and the most remorseless shedder of blood that Europe has seen since the days of Tamerlane.

“The Sultan is of middle size and of Turkish type. He wears a full black beard, is of a dark complexion and has very expressive eyes. His forehead is large, indicative of intellectual power. He is very gracious in manner though at times seemingly a little embarrassed. * * *

“As Caliph he is the divine representative of Mohammed. His family line runs back with unbroken links to the thirteenth century. He is one of the most industrious, [222]painstaking, honest, conscientious and vigilant rulers of the world. He is amiable and just withal. His every word betokens a good heart and a sagacious head. [What a comment the horrors of the many months just past furnishes to this flattering estimate a Mohammedian conscience!]

“He is an early riser. After he leaves his seraglio and has partaken of a slight repast his secretaries wait on him with portfolios. He peruses all the official correspondence and current reports. He gives up his time till noon to work of this character. Then his breakfast is served. After that he walks in his park and gardens, looks in at his aviaries, perhaps stirs up his menagerie, makes an inspection of his two hundred horses in their fine stables, indulges his little daughters in a row upon the fairy lake which he has had constructed, and it may be attends a performance at the little theatre provided for his children in the palace. At 5 P. M. having accomplished most of his official work, he mounts his favorite white horse, Ferhan, a war-scarred veteran for a ride in the park. The park of the palace Yildiz where he lives comprises some thousand acres. It is surrounded by high walls and protected by the soldiery.”

But all this does not tell us what the man at heart is any more than if some flatterer of Nero should expatiate on the esthetic taste of Nero and his love of the fine arts and his skill as a violinist when he sat at night in his marble palace and enjoyed the blazing magnificence of Rome. It is as foreign to the present situation as if some one should praise the skill of Nero’s horsemanship as he drove his mettled steeds with firm reins along the course lighted by the blazing torches [223]of the tar-besmeared Christians, whom he accused of having set the city on fire.

The persistence with which the Sultan has followed out his purpose of exterminating the Armenians, in the face of a horrified and indignant Christendom, marks his audacity and contempt of Christians as sublime in height, as infernal in spirit, and bottomless in its cruelty.

Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire can scarcely find polite words enough to express his contempt for the forms of early Christianity and praised the Turks as possessing the rarest of qualities when he said: “The Turks are distinguished for their patience, discipline, sobriety, bravery, honesty and modesty,” and Hon. Sunset Cox echoed the same when he wrote, “It is because of these solid characteristics, and in spite of the harem, in spite of autocratic power, in spite of the Janissary and the seraglio that this race and rule remain potent in the Orient. His heart (the heart of the present Sultan) is touched by suffering, and his views lean strongly to that toleration of the various races and religions of his realm, which other and more boastful nations would do well to imitate.”

The facts given in the chapters on The Reign of Terror will be sufficient commentary on such praise.

Probably no building in all Europe has so many associations with tragical events as that of the palace of the Sultan of Turkey—the autocrat whose rule is absolute over more than thirty million subjects. From this palace go forth the edicts which involve the death of thousands and which control the governments of distant provinces. Fifty years ago the Sultans governed a huge territory in Europe, but one province after another [224]has been freed from their yoke, until Turkey in Europe has dwindled in size to less than half its former area. But the Asiatic possession of the Sultan have not diminished, and the events in Armenia which have recently horrified the whole world, show what that possession means. Nor are these massacres a new or unparalleled feature of Turkish rule. Similar horrors have been perpetrated before under the cognizance of the Sultans and the only reason why the indignation now aroused on the subject is deeper and more intense, is that it is now impossible to conceal them, and in the days of the telegraph and cheap newspapers they are set in the light of publicity. The Turk is no worse now than he has always been, and is only trying to govern at the end of the nineteenth century as he governed in the sixteenth. As an eminent writer has said: “The Turk is still the aboriginal savage encamped on the ruins of a civilization which he destroyed.”

In some respects Abdul Hamid is better than his predecessors, and until the reports of the Armenian horrors were published, he was believed to be a great deal better; but they have proved that he has the same nature, and is at heart as fierce and relentless as they. The character of the man is of so much greater moment to his subjects than in other lands, because of the utter absence of even the semblance of constitutional government. The government of Turkey is a despotism pure and simple. It is tempered only by the dread of assassination or deposition, and even those calamities may come rather from a wise and merciful policy than from massacre. The Pashas who surround the Sultan, the successors of those who deposed his uncle and his brother, applaud the atrocities, [225]and are willing instruments in the perpetration of them. The danger to the Sultan’s person is far more likely to come through weakness and lack of vigor in persecution than from indignation at wholesale slaughter. The Sultan fully appreciates this fact, and lives in constant dread of treachery.

An interesting story of the present Sultan is related by Mr. W. T. Stead, in an article in his Review of Reviews, which in some measure explains the singular mixture in his character of fanaticism, such as that which produced the Armenian massacres, with the marked ability and intelligence he displays in the conduct of national affairs. It appears that when he was a mere youth, he was conspicuous even in Constantinople, which is notorious for its immorality, for the gross excesses of his private life. There was then little probability of his ever ascending the throne, and as he was condemned by his position to a life of idleness, he plunged into all the wickedness of the capital, and lived a life of debauchery. Suddenly he changed his course. He quitted his evil ways and became a devout follower of Mohammed, was attentive at the Mosque and gave all his thoughts to his religion. From that time until now his religious enthusiasm has been the most prominent feature of his character. But with the change came a fierce intolerance, a desire that others should follow his example and determination, evinced since his accession, that in his own dominions no enemy of the Prophet, nor any who did not avow themselves his followers, should have peace or rest until they accepted the faith. This spirit accounts for the crusade against the Armenians whom he hates because they are Christians. [226]

The real cause for all the trouble in the Turkish Empire will be found to lie within the spirit and purpose of the Sultan himself. His conduct towards the Powers will serve to most abundantly confirm this view.

The condition of Armenia under Turkish rule has for many years been a scandal to Christendom. After the horrors of the Blood bath of Sassoun had been made known to the world a commission of the Powers were sent to investigate and report on the massacres which had been perpetrated.

The investigation of the latest atrocities showed that the Armenians had been wantonly tortured and murdered, and that indescribable atrocities had been perpetrated. Men, women, and children were proved to have been hacked to pieces, and no respect had been shown to age or sex. Whole villages had been depopulated, and the fact of any community being Christian seemed to have been sufficient to provoke the murderous hostility of the authorities. Where the Turks did not commit the outrages themselves, they remained inactive while the Kurds committed them, and their inactivity amounted to connivance, because the Armenians are not allowed to arm themselves for their own protection. There was legitimate grounds for foreign powers urging reforms upon the Sultan, as in 1878, when the Berlin Congress was inclined to strip him of his Armenian provinces, he promised that Armenia should be governed better than it had been, and England became sponsor for the performance of his promises. Under those conditions the Sultan was allowed to retain the provinces, and his failure to effect the reforms was therefore a distinct breach of faith. The [227]Ambassadors of England, France and Russia accordingly presented to the Sultan on May 11th a demand for twelve specific changes in the government of Armenia. The scheme outlined included the appointment of a High Commissioner, with whom should be associated a commission to sit at Constantinople, for the purpose of carrying out all reforms. The full details of the plan were not made public, but among the suggestions made were these: The appointment of governors and vice-governors in six Armenian vilayets—Van, Erzeroum, Sivas, Bitlis, Harpoot, and Trebizond; that either the governor or the vice-governor of each vilayet should be a Christian; that the collection of taxes be on a better basis; with various other reforms in the judicial and administrative departments: especially that torture should be abolished; the gendarmérie to be recruited from Christians as well as Mohammedans, and the practical disarmament of the Kurds. Note the names of these vilayets as they are the centers of the horrible massacres that followed the Porte’s true answer to all its own promises of reform.

To this project of reforms the following memorandum was attached:—

“The appended scheme, containing the general statement of the modifications which it would be necessary to introduce in regard to the administration, financial and judicial organization of the vilayets mentioned, it has appeared useful to indicate in a separate memorandum certain measures exceeding the scope of an administrative regulation, but which form the very basis of this regulation and the adoption of which by the Porte is a matter of primary importance.” [228]

These different points are:

1. The eventual reduction of the number of vilayets.

2. The guarantee for the selection of the valis.

3. Amnesty for Armenians sentenced or in prison on political charges.

4. The return of the Armenian emigrants or exiles.

5. The final settlement of pending legal proceedings for common law crimes and offences.

6. The inspection of prisons and an inquiry into the condition of the prisoners.

7. The appointment of a high commission of surveillance for the application of reforms in the provinces.

8. The creation of a permanent committee of control at Constantinople.

9. Reparation for the loss suffered by the Armenians who were victims of the events at Sassoun, Talori, etc.

10. The regularization of matters connected with religious conversion.

11. The maintenance and strict application of the rights and privileges conceded to the Armenians.

12. The position of the Armenians in the other vilayets of Asiatic Turkey.

After much delay the Porte replied that it could not accept the proposals made. Of course not. Why should the Sultan do anything to favor the Armenians or even to prevent the recurrence of these terrible outrages unless compelled to do so by something more than advice! Yet the Sultan would be anxious to know what the three Powers would do about it. He was not kept long in suspense, so far as England was concerned. Orders were issued for the English fleet to proceed to Constantinople, and France and Russia were informed of the fact. The news reached the Sultan [229]and appears to have convinced him that it was not safe to trifle any longer with the demands of the powers. He accordingly telegraphed that he would accede to the principle of reform outlined for him.

The Sultan, learning also that the British Cabinet had met to consider Turkey’s reply to the plan of reform for Armenia, submitted by Great Britain, France and Russia, telegraphed to Rustem Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador in London, instructing him to ask the Earl of Kimberly, the British Foreign Minister, to postpone a decision in the matter.

The Earl of Kimberly acceded to the request. In the meanwhile the Porte handed to the British, French and Russian Ambassadors a fresh and satisfactory reply, acceding to the principle of control by the Powers, but asking that the period be limited to three years.

While these promises were being so freely made, letters from Armenia, in July, represented Turkish cruelty as unabated; the position of affairs never so grave and critical; and the Armenians to have reached the ultimate limit of despair. Yet in August the world was informed that Turkey had decided to accept in their entirety the Armenian reforms demanded by the Powers, and that the acceptance of these reforms was primarily due to the pressure brought to bear on the government by Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador, who communicated to the government a confidential note from Lord Salisbury to the effect that the Porte must accept the proposals of the powers unconditionally, or England would use sharper means than those adopted by Lord Rosebery to settle affairs in Armenia. [230]

The summer passed in fruitless and endless negotiations. Later in September a press telegram from London voiced the situation as follows:—

“European diplomacy seems already weary of the question, which Turkish diplomacy has handled with an evident ability, based upon temporization and inertia, as well as upon its knowledge of the jealousy existing between the three Powers which proclaim so loudly that they want nothing else but the happiness of the Armenians.

“The question has not progressed one iota, despite all the negotiations, memoranda, appointments of commissions, and even the (awful!) rumor, one month ago, of the assembling of the British fleet in Besika Bay, at the entrance of the Dardanelles. England, France and Russia, however, had the way clear before them, if they had been really in accord and seriously willing to accomplish the humanitarian mission they pretended to assume. Article sixty-one of the Berlin Treaty gave the Powers the right to see that the same rights granted to Bulgaria should be granted also to Armenia. This article has remained a dead letter in regard to the latter country since 1878. When the Sassoun atrocities were recently committed, the Powers merely sent to the Porte a memorandum, requesting it to cease its persecution of Armenians. During two or three months the European Ministers at Pera awaited the decision of the Sultan. Whenever they sent their dragomans to the Foreign Minister, Said Pasha caused his secretary to answer in the Spanish manner, ‘hasta la mañana’ (to-morrow a reply will be given). Finally the three Powers thought of using the rights conferred upon them by Article sixty-one, and required Abdul Hamid to consent [231]that a European Commission of Control should be sent to Armenia, in order to see that reforms be practically applied there. The Sultan will fight stubbornly before accepting them, which would amount to the abandonment of a portion of his sovereignty, and it remains to be seen how much the Powers, jealous of their respective influence at the Porte, are in earnest and how anxious they are promptly to enforce the acceptation of their Control Commission.”

The Turks continued to play a waiting game in Armenian affairs. Remembering the treaty of Berlin, they were shrewd enough to play off one Power against another so as to retain absolute control over their internal affairs, though they had forfeited all right to rule by their outrageous and brutal massacres. The Congress of Berlin was at the time a costly thing to the Eastern Christians but was destined to prove almost their utter ruin.

The Turks did not find it hard to pick flaws in the plan of administrative reform when they did not intend to have any reform. The whole scheme was without any security against the renewal of the Sassoun massacres. Everybody who was interested in Armenia protested against the plan, but it was the best that mere diplomacy could do.

Thus the summer passed filled with plenty of promises, but without any fulfilment, until suddenly the signal was given and the horrors of Sassoun were reënacted throughout all the provinces of Armenia.

At a mass meeting of Armenians held in New York, free expression was given to the feeling of horror with which the news of the Turks’ outrages was received there. There seemed to be no doubt in the minds of these [232]people as to the truth of the reports from Asia Minor, and many were of the opinion that still more terrible news would be received. Mr. Dionian presided, and in calling the meeting to order, said that Armenia and Turkey could never be friends, and that Armenia must either be liberated or annihilated.

Dr. P. Ayvard also spoke, and then Dr. S. Aparcian offered resolutions, which were unanimously adopted, saying in part:—

Resolved, That we most respectfully and appealingly call upon all the great Powers of Europe, and of our adopted and well loved country of America, to the deplorable condition of Armenia, and trust that the moral interests of Europe will demand taking immediate steps to put an end to this rule of anarchy and lawlessness prevailing there, and that the United States of America will give their moral support.

Knowing the Turk as they did, the Armenians in this country were prepared for the confirmation of these reports. In due time it came.

A prominent Turk laughed when he saw the report, and said it was a mere fabrication, and that if there was any slaughter it was not committed by the Turks. As to the Turks being opposed to the Armenians because of their being Christians, he said: “People who have lived in the Orient know that to be absurd. We have Christians and Jews among us, and as long as they obey the laws of the land they are treated the same as the members of our faith. Of course,” he added, “when people become revolutionists and conspire against our Government, then we take measures to punish them. The Armenians are revolutionists, and their revolutionary societies exist in every city in this country, while the head-centre is at Naples.” [233]

The Turk laughed and blamed the Armenian revolutionists. The Porte denied the outrages at first then charged the trouble to the Armenians, until the terrible situation at Trebizond and Erzeroum could no longer be kept from the knowledge of Christendom. The prisons in Trebizond were filled with wounded and helpless Armenians: the Mohammedans were well armed and the governor entirely in sympathy with, even if not the instigator of the outrages.

Meanwhile the European manager of the United Press at Constantinople gave the first detailed account of the appalling massacres to which Armenian Christians had been subjected since the Sultan Abdul Hamid gave perfidious assent to the reforms demanded by the European Powers. The harrowing and shameful facts were told on the authority of American Christian men, who witnessed them, and their narrative had the unqualified endorsement of Mr. Terrell, the United States Minister to Turkey. In view of such conclusive testimony to the duplicity and faithlessness of an incorrigible ruler, it seems incredible that Christian peoples will let their rescuing hands be stayed any longer by sordid jealousy and greed, or that they will any longer consent to bear a share of the responsibility for such crimes against humanity. The blood of the slaughtered thousands of their fellow Christians in Armenia cries against them from the ground.

By this trustworthy evidence the conclusion was justified that within the six provinces mainly concerned in the proposed reforms, no fewer than fifteen thousand Armenians were assassinated, while the number of those rendered homeless and robbed of all their possessions, did not fall short of two hundred thousand. [234]The places and dates exposed the aim of the hellish atrocities committed, and drove home the guilt to their authors and accomplices. On October 20, the Sultan authorized Kiamil Pasha, his Grand Vizier, to accept the reforms proposed for the Armenian provinces by the European Powers, and to promise that they should be forthwith carried out. On the next day, October 21, when there had been ample time for the reception of orders telegraphed from Constantinople, the Kurds and Turks throughout Armenia, openly incited and assisted by the regular troops, entered on a scheme of wholesale murder and devastation. The purpose of this preconcerted iniquity, as disclosed by its disgraceful antecedents and its horrible results, was to vent upon the helpless Armenians the venom and the spite engendered by enforced submission to the will of the Christian Powers. It was to enforce at one vindictive stroke the programme of extermination devised in 1890, but prosecuted hitherto with some show of secrecy and caution. It was to make of Armenia a solitude, and then with satanic mockery, to offer exact fulfilment of the pledge of peace and of reform.

A Common Scene in the Streets of Erzeroum.

A Common Scene in the Streets of Erzeroum.

All the circumstances showed that with this flagitious rupture of the Sultan’s plighted word, the person directly and primarily chargeable was the Sultan himself. He sanctioned the plot of extermination, if he did not personally concoct it in 1890, the relentless though disavowed execution of which at last provoked the interposition of Christian Powers. No sooner had Kiamil Pasha been reluctantly permitted to agree to the reforms exacted for Armenia, than he was summarily dismissed by Abdul Hamid from the Grand Vizierate, lest he should [237]execute the agreement in good faith. The new Ministers selected by the Sultan were drawn mainly from the scum of Constantinople, and their first act was to protest that time must be given to the Porte for the proper enforcement of the reform project. Time was needed to render reforms superfluous through the sweeping destruction of its intended beneficiaries. It was needed to perpetrate the design of annihilation on a scale of vast proportions. The Sultan well wished to hide his privity to such a devilish transaction, but he dared not disavow his agents, lest they should divulge his instructions. Accordingly, when high Turkish officials, unmistakably implicated in the Armenian enormities, were subjected to the nominal penalty of a recall at the imperative instance of England’s representative, they were decorated and promoted by Abdul Hamid, whose secret aims and wishes were thus betrayed.

On November 10, the Kurds made an attack on Harpoot, but were easily repulsed. On November 11, a party of the soldiers and leading Turks met the Kurds in conference, during the progress of which a bugle was sounded, at which signal the soldiers withdrew. The Kurds thereupon advanced with yells. There was no effort on the part of the soldiers and Armenians to resist, and the Turks joined in the killing and plundering. The Armenian school was burned, and then began an attack upon the Christian quarter, the buildings in which were also set on fire. The Christians were without weapons of any sort, and trusted entirely to the Government to protect them. The Armenians remained in the girls’ seminary until that building was set on fire, and then they appealed to the Governor for protection. They obtained a guard of soldiers, all but [238]two of whom afterward deserted. These two remained and carried out the orders issued to them, to fight the fires which had been kindled.

The burning continued for three days. The Armenians were stripped of everything but their clothing. All the Christian villages around were burned by the Kurds. The outrages continued unchecked until the Government at Constantinople ordered the troops to take action. Fourteen Kurds were then shot, when the murders and pillaging ceased instantly. The districts of Diarbekir, Malatia, Arabkir, Kyin and Palu were made desolate. Thirty-five villages were destroyed, and thousands of the inhabitants embraced Islamism in consequence of the pressure brought to bear upon them.

The Turkish troops which were on their way to Zeitoun to suppress the trouble there, were concentrated at Marash, where they awaited the return of the delegation sent to Zeitoun to negotiate with the Armenians in control there for their surrender.

The Government said they were projecting more extensive relief work, and would welcome foreign aid through a joint commission.

Despite this promise of greater relief, the Government was bent on continuing the work of extermination—all promises to the contrary notwithstanding.

The tidal wave of horror and indignation swept over Europe, and found expression in most intense and emphatic speech; it was even felt in the Cabinets of Diplomacy and in Constantinople. There seemed to be more iron in their blood and energy in their action and purpose in their speech.

The general situation was not changed, but it was [239]apparent that a change was about to take place. The representatives of the Powers, some of whom were awaiting instructions from their Governments in regard to the matter of sending additional guardboats into the Bosphorus, seemed to be unanimous in their insistence on the issue of permits for the admission of such boats by the Sultan, and the Ambassadors held a meeting to consider the situation as presented by the Sultan’s refusal to permit the passage of the additional boats through the straits, and to decide on a concerted plan of action.

For several days the wires were hot with the assertion that all the Powers were united and determined to carry their demands to a successful termination. The Sultan was unofficially informed that if he continued to maintain his stubborn attitude, a forced entry of the Dardanelles would possibly be made.

As previously, and with equal pertinence, at this hour of crisis the continental press devoted much space to the affairs of the Orient, and the Sultan was the recipient of much newspaper advice. One writer in particular urged him to remain master of the situation, and to show himself promptly disposed to fulfil his engagements. In that case the crisis would remain an internal one; but if it should assume an international aspect it would be peacefully adjusted on the basis of the maintenance of the integrity of Turkey which would be asserted by France and Russia, the two Pacific Powers. It was also telegraphed from Constantinople that the Czar, in reply to a personal appeal from the Sultan, consented to waive the Russian demand for a second guardship in the Bosphorus. At the same time she was prepared to [240]resent any aggressive action that England might undertake alone.

The Sultan knew very well that there would be no concerted action of the Powers—that England and Russia would never agree as to any joint action, and yet to give color of necessity to his refusal, it was given out that the Powers had decided to depose him, using for this purpose the forces aboard the second guardship which they demanded should be permitted to enter the Bosphorus. This was to stir up the populace against the Powers. Then to furnish another excuse the report was circulated that the Sultan was in daily fear of sharing the fate of Ishmail Pasha at the hands of the Softas and the Young Turkish party.

The Sultan’s letter to Lord Salisbury was often quoted as a confirmation of the report that the Sultan was panic stricken. It will be recalled that Lord Salisbury in his speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet on November 9th, declared that, if the Sultan will not heartily resolve to do justice to them, the most ingenious constitution that can be framed will not avail to protect the Armenians; that through the Sultan alone can any real permanent blessings be conferred on his subjects. “What if the Sultan,” exclaimed the British Prime Minister—

“What if the Sultan is not persuaded? I am bound to say that the news reaching us from Constantinople does not give much cheerfulness in that respect. You will readily understand that I can only speak briefly on such a matter. It would be dangerous to express the opinions that are on my lips lest they injure the cause of peace and good order.”

These words seemed to be freighted with some [241]ominous significance, and they would have been, if there had been any purpose to make them mean anything.

In a remarkable letter to Lord Salisbury which he read publicly at a conference in London, the Sultan used a most beseeching tone to show that the possible dissolution of his Empire was lying heavy on his mind. It sounded like a most abject plea for mercy, a cry for the postponement of the fate which the Powers seemed to be preparing for the terrified monarch. In this note the Sultan said:

“I repeat, I will execute the reforms. I will take the paper containing them, place it before me and see that it is put in force. This is my earnest determination and I give my word of honor, I wish Lord Salisbury to know this and I beg and desire his Lordship, having confidence in these declarations, to make another speech by virtue of the friendly feeling and disposition he has for me and my country. I shall await the result of this message with the greatest anxiety.”

It will be noted that the Sultan’s communication contained no denial that there are wrongs to be remedied in the administration of his government in Armenia and elsewhere. There is no plea that the terms of solemn treaty obligations have been observed. The letter is a tacit confession that the interposition of the Powers as far as it had gone was justifiable and that the reports of the atrocities in Asia Minor, which were at first strenuously denied by the Turkish Government, were true.

It was only a shrewd plea of helplessness to persuade the Powers not to enforce their demands and nothing more. In his rejoinder to the Sultan’s letter, Lord [242]Salisbury substantially admits the hopelessness of reform under the Sultan’s government as now constituted and administered.

A few days after this correspondence the fear of the Sultan seemed to have vanished, and he was brave enough to refuse permission to the Powers to send extra guardboats into the Bosphorus.

At this time it looked as if Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador, would act alone, and that he really meant to force the passage of the Dardanelles.

But the Sultan knew he would not dare to do it, and he knew also that the Powers were not agreed to use force. England proved herself impotent before the crafty diplomacy of the timid Sultan.

It is folly at this day to pretend to believe that the Sultan ever intended of his “spontaneous good-will” to protect the Armenians even as human beings from the cruelty of Kurd or Turkish officials.

The horrors of December and January give the lie direct to every promise made at Constantinople. The Sultan had outwitted England, if indeed England ever were in earnest, and by circulating a rumor of a Turco-Russian alliance, most effectually checked all danger of intervention by force—the only argument to which the Turk will ever yield—and proceeded to commit yet greater crimes if that were possible.

Under the very eyes of the Russian, English, and French delegates at Moush, the witnesses who had the courage to speak the truth to the representatives of the Powers were thrown into prison, and not a hand was raised to protect them: and within a stone’s throw of the foreign consuls and the missionaries, loyal Armenians were being hung up by the heels, the hair of their heads [243]and beards plucked out one by one, their bodies branded with red-hot irons, and defiled in beastly ways, and their wives and daughters dishonored before their very eyes. And all that philanthropic England has to offer its protégés, for whose protection she holds Cyprus as a pledge, is eloquent sympathy.

She received Cyprus by secret convention, and now holds it as the price of innocent blood. The rewards of iniquity are in her hand. It was worse than folly; it was the refinement of cruelty to send a commission to investigate the outrages in Armenia, thereby irritating the Turk to the height of possible fury as his deeds were proclaimed to the world and then leave him free to wreak his compressed wrath upon the Christians for whose protection no hand would be uplifted. The Powers saw Armenia in misery, bleeding, dying, and passed by on the other side, saying, we are bound by the terms of the Berlin Treaty not to interfere with Turkey in the administration of her domestic affairs; we are sorry for you; we wish the Sultan would listen to our advice and not be quite so severe in his chastisement, but really you must have given him some cause for his anger.

Yes, such provocation as the lamb gave to the wolf that charged it with soiling the water, though it was drinking much farther down the stream.

The humiliation of England as one of the Great Powers was complete when in the House of Commons March 16th, in reply to questions that were put to him Mr. Curzon Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs was obliged to say that reports received by the Government confirmed the statements that a great number of forced conversions from Christianity to Islamism were still [244]being made in Asia Minor. Under the circumstances of cruelty and systematic debauchery of defenceless Christian women through the devastated districts of Anatolia, he said, the British Consuls in Asia Minor had been instructed to report such cases, and representations in regard to them were constantly being made to the Government in Constantinople.

Representations were constantly being made! What did the Porte care for representations? How England was compelled to quaff the contempt even of the Turk who laughs or sneers as his mood may be over these representations of English Consuls and missionaries. The Sublime Porte—which means the Sultan—cabled the Turkish Legation at Washington to deny most emphatically the statements that appeared in the American religious press regarding forcible conversions to Islam.

The Sublime Porte affirmed that “the stories related therein are mere inventions of revolutionists, and their friends intended to attract the sympathy of credulous people. There is no forcible conversion to Islamism in Turkey and no animosity against Protestantism.” This is sublime impudence. The statements thus contradicted, represented conditions certified to by official reports, by careful investigations made by correspondents of newspapers in England and the United States, and by hundreds of private letters from persons in the region where the massacres occurred. Moreover, this declaration of the Sultan is contradicted by centuries of Mohammedan history, by the ruins of ancient churches throughout all Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, and by daily prayer concerning the Christians:—

“Oh Allah make their children orphans, * * give [245]them and their families * * their women, their children, * * their possessions and their race, their wealth and their lands as booty to the Moslems, O Lord of all creatures.”

The Softas are, properly speaking, the pupils who are engaged in the study of Mussulman theology and law in the medresses, or schools attached to the mosques, the range of their studies, however, being practically limited to learning to read the Koran. The Softas take their name from a corruption of the past-participle soukhte—burned—applied to them because they are supposed to be consumed by the love of study of sacred things, and devoted to a life of meditation. The Softas follow their studies in the school building, sleeping and eating at the imaretts, where free lodgings and food are provided for them out of the legacies of the pious. If their families can afford to do so, they furnish them with clothing and bedding; if not, these are given to them from the same charitable fund. The number of Softas is very large, for one reason because of their exemption from military service. After long-continued study of Arabic, and the Koran and its commentaries, the Softa, after an examination which, though nominally arduous, is almost invariably passed successfully, takes the title of Khodja.

The Khodja—khavadje, reader or singer—a scholar who has taken his diploma in the medresse, teaches for several years, in fact till he has conducted a class of Softas through the same course he had himself taken, when, on application to the Ministry of Worship, at whose head is the Sheikh-ul-Islam, and, after a severe examination, he receives the title of Ulema. The Mussulman does not arrive at this dignity until he has [246]reached the age of thirty or thirty-five. It confers numerous privileges, for those doctors escape military service, unless in the event of the djihad, or sacred war, and from their ranks are filled the Judgeships, the curacies (so to speak) of the mosques, the professorships in the medresses, the trusteeships connected with the administration of the trust funds for pious and charitable purposes, etc., etc.

The Imaums—who are the real priests and have charge of the public religious service—are selected from among the Ulema. The title of Imaum comes from the Arabic, and is the equivalent of leader or outpost. There is as a rule one Imaum to each mosque of minor importance—messdjid—while two, or, at most, three, one of whom is designated the chief authority, are appointed to the principal mosques—djamis. Even the Ulema—the word is plural and signifies wise men—are subject to military duty when a holy war is proclaimed.

The term Softa includes all the grades above mentioned, from the Imaum, or priest, to the Softa proper, or mere students of the Koran. They are usually distinguishable in Turkey by wearing a white turban around their fez, or skull cap. Sultan Abdul Medjid some years ago endeavored to induce his subjects to wear a European dress, and succeeded so far that almost without exception every one except the very lowest in the public service adopted it. But the Softas to a man retain the old-fashioned baggy, slouchy dress which Abdul Medjid wished to get rid of.

Who can believe that through fear of the uprising of a few thousand Softas, the Sultan planned a fanatical uprising of the Kurds in distant Armenia. How could [247]that benefit the Softas save as it were permitted them to beat, kill and plunder the Armenians in Stamboul?

If the fear of the Softas prompted it, still what a heartless wretch to doom seventy-five thousand to death and hundreds of thousands to starvation and outrage when to admit the fleets of Europe would have protected him from any possible insurrection in Constantinople.

The Turkish Government itself was directly and actively responsible for the outrages in Asia Minor; it not merely permitted, but actually ordered them. But there was in Constantinople itself a most serious conspiracy against the dynasty, which threatened to turn out the Sultan and revolutionize the whole form of government. As a sort of counter-irritant, which haply might cure this, the Government might have indeed resorted to any extravagance or conduct elsewhere. More than one monarch has begun a foreign war to quell disaffection at home. Why should not the Porte think a general harrying of the Armenians a ready way of allaying incipient disloyalty among the Faithful?

This conspiracy was made by what was known as the Young Turkey party. It included most of the Softas, and students in all colleges, and many lawyers, doctors, officers of the army and navy, and even civil servants of the Porte. Back of these were multitudes of the general populace. There were many who denied Abdul Hamid’s legal right to be Sultan while his elder brother was living. There were others, numbered by millions, who held that the Caliph must be an Arab and that the Sultan was therefore not to be recognized as the true Commander of the Faithful. Moreover, many, indeed all the leaders of Young Turkey, demanded [248]the carrying out of the Hatt of 1877, establishing a Constitution and Parliament, and denounced the suppression of that promised system as a gross breach of faith and wrong to the people of the Empire. It may not be generally remembered; men’s memories are so short; but it is a fact that a constitutional government was once officially proclaimed in Turkey. The plan was conceived by Midhat Pasha, then Grand Vizier, and formally approved by the Sultan. A Constitution was promulgated. A Parliament, consisting of a Senate and an elective Assembly, was created, and its first session was opened by Abdul Hamid in person on March 19, 1877. Later in the same year its second session was opened, and the Sultan publicly declared that the Constitution should thenceforth be the supreme law of the land, in practice as well as in theory. But before the end of the year one designing politician managed to get Parliament involved in a corrupt job, and then, to avoid investigation, persuaded the Sultan to issue a decree abrogating the Constitution and abolishing Parliament! It was a coup d’état, and it was successful; thanks largely to the indifference of the Powers, and especially of England.

The Young Turkey leaders demanded the restoration of the Constitution. In order to accomplish that they proposed to get rid, in some way, of the Sultan who first decreed and then abrogated that instrument. There were threats of assassination, and something like a reign of terror prevailed at Yildiz Kiosk. The Sultan took as many precautions against treachery as ever did the Russian Czar. The man who brought about the abolition of the Parliament by his rascality was a cabinet minister. He, too, was threatened with [249]death. The strictest repression was practiced. The merest hint was enough to cause a man’s arrest and summary execution. But in spite of all, the revolutionary movement grew. Mysterious placards appeared on the walls, calling for fulfilment of the Hatt of 1877. The name of Midhat Pasha, who suffered martyrdom for having given Turkey a Constitution, was spoken now and then, in whispers only, but in tones of grateful reverence. A whisper of “The Constitution,” too, went round. Army and navy were becoming secretly leavened with the idea. The Sultan and his Ministers did not know whom to trust.

And now that we have seen what a fiasco this brilliantly projected great naval demonstration proved itself to be; and how cleverly the Sultan played his pawns against Castles and Kings and Queens, and checkmated all the Powers of Europe, we will leave him in his hell of infamy bathed in the blood of nearly a hundred thousand slain, with the voices of agonized and outraged mothers and daughters raining maledictions upon his accursed head, while we try to be patient until the rod of the Almighty shall smite the wicked, till the day of reckoning and of vengeance shall come in the day of the Lord at hand. We leave the Sultan in his palace to the companionship, perhaps the guidance, of Khalil Rifaat Pasha, the new Grand Vizier, the voice of history and the righteous judgments of God, but as for Islam, as a system of government over Christian populations, we can but pray daily for its speedy, utter and final overthrow. [250]




In the following pages have been gathered a few very important papers that will be of permanent value, but necessarily the limits are very narrow, and only a sketch of the beneficent influences of the sweet and holy Gospel of Jesus as it comes into the dark, and cruel and ignorant heart of Moslem heathen, or breathes a new life into the dead forms of the ancient church of Armenia can be given. It may, however, be the less regretted as the great missionary periodicals of every Christian church have given to Christendom for years the ever thrilling and precious story of the victories won by grace. It is to be hoped however that these papers will freshen the interest of the reader and increase his faith in the coming of the kingdom of Christ—the kingdom of peace and good will and righteousness, wherein the terrible evils which prevail under the rule of Islam shall never more be done, but the will of God be sweetly supreme.



The providential preparation for the opening of the mission of the American Board at Constantinople sixty years ago was sufficiently remarkable to warrant recalling [251]the story. In the year 1825 a tract by the Rev. Jonas King on the necessity of studying the Scriptures was published in Syria. It was translated into Armenian by Bishop Dionysius at Beirût and sent in manuscript to an influential Armenian at Constantinople. Its convincing words produced an extraordinary effect upon all who read them. Minds largely ignorant of the Bible and its teachings were aroused at once, to see the lacks of the Armenian Church in the matter of Bible knowledge. A school, having for its principal object the education of the clergy, was established at the Armenian Patriarchate at Constantinople, under charge of the eminent teacher Peshtimiljian. A rule limiting ordinations for the priesthood in Constantinople to graduates at this school was adopted, indicating slightly the ignorance which had been prevalent up to that time among the ordinary priesthood. Peshtimiljian, the head master of the new school, was a learned man for his day and was also firm in his conviction that the Bible is the sole standard of Christian life and doctrine.

Thus it was that when five or six years later the missionaries of the Board went to reside at Constantinople, there to urge upon the people individual examination of the Bible, their access to Armenians was easy. They found a strong group in the Armenian Church who were already exercised with this question, although it was pathetically evident that they had no idea that any other branch of the Christian Church was equally interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is noteworthy that all the first converts under the labors of the missionaries at Constantinople and many of the later ones received their first impulse towards evangelical [252]Christianity from the school of Peshtimiljian, and that, perhaps, before a missionary had reached Constantinople.

An impressive ceremony in the Armenian Patriarchal Church in Constantinople, held in September, 1833, was part of the fruits of this remarkable movement. It was the first ordination of Armenian priests under the new rule. Fifteen young men, who had completed their studies in the school, were then solemnly set apart for the priest’s office, and the missionaries were specially invited to be present at the ceremony. One of the men ordained on that day, the Rev. Kevork Ardzrouni, had been brought into such relations to the missionaries, that after his ordination Dr. Goodell and Dr. Dwight could call upon him in his cell of retirement. As they were leaving, Der Kevork asked an interest in their prayers. It surely was not without significance in the after life of this priest that there, at the threshold of his church service, he received the benediction of that holy servant of God, Rev. William Goodell, who solemnly invoked upon him the descent of the Holy Spirit as they stood together in the cloisters of the Armenian Patriarchate.

Der Kevork’s name appears repeatedly in all the early records of the mission at Constantinople. His early history was inseparably linked with the history of the founding of the mission. He himself, full of years and of good works, died at Constantinople in January 1984, at the age of one hundred and seven. From the first Der Kevork was prominent among the fifteen priests, ordained on that great day in 1833, as a man of learning and of piety. During five or six years after his ordination he was one of the principal [255]teachers in a great Armenian school in Hasskeuy, the religious influence of which he at least helped to make as pure and as strong as that of the mission school. He also spent much time at that early day in visiting from house to house among the people, reading the Scriptures, and exhorting the people to obey the gospel message. Wherever he was there was a quiet but powerful influence for the spread of evangelical ideas.

Armenian Peasant Women Weaving Turkish Carpets.

Armenian Peasant Women Weaving Turkish Carpets.

Then came the reaction against the evangelicals. The more ignorant and bigoted of the clergy looked with terror upon the influx of light among the common people. It seemed to promise only harm to ecclesiastics who had not, and cared not to have, spiritual understanding of the priestly duty. The reactionary party gained the control of the church, they secured the imprisonment and banishment of the evangelical leaders in the Armenian Church, and the excommunication and cruel persecution of all among the laity who persisted in claiming the right to read the Bible and to judge by it of the value of the usages of the ancient church. Der Kevork was one of the pious priests imprisoned in 1839 and banished to a remote part of Asia Minor. The whole hope of reform in the Armenian Church seemed to be destroyed. The Sultan made a proclamation against the Protestants as enemies of the peace of the empire; the ecclesiastics, citing the fact that Dr. Hamlin did not make the sign of the cross or fast, officially asked for his expulsion from Bebek; the American Episcopal missionary added fuel to the flame by translating into Armenian, for the edification of the reactionary party among the clergy, passages from the Missionary Herald, which he claimed showed a purpose [256]to break up the church, and in print and in speech he denounced the missionaries of the Board as infidels and “radicals.” All these circumstances had their influence upon the mind of Der Kevork, and by the time this terrible persecution had led in 1846 to the organization of a separate evangelical church at Constantinople, Der Kevork had decided to make his peace with his own church and to break off relations with the missionaries. In doing this he did violence to his conscience. But his hope that still he might be able to aid in reforming his church from within, offers sufficient justification for charity towards this pious priest.

It was long before Der Kevork ventured to renew intimate relations with the missionaries and the evangelical Armenians. I can remember, forty years ago, being taken by my father to see Der Kevork in his home in Hasskeuy. There was evident constraint in their conversation, but the old affection of twenty years before still existed. And when the old man—for his beard even then was white as snow—laid his hand on my head and said, “God bless you, my son, and make you a good man!” it was like a blessing from a man of God.

As the conscience of the venerable priest more and more resumed its sway over his life he became more and more earnest in teaching evangelical truth. His great age made it necessary some time ago for him to commit the principal part of his parish duties to an assistant, happily a kindred spirit. But his influence in the Armenian Church, especially during the last fifteen years, has been thoroughly and penetratingly the influence of a simple and pure-minded Gospel Christian. He had a standing order in the Bible House for all new religious [257]publications, and to the day of his death he loved to talk with missionaries and pastors of the evangelical church upon the things of the kingdom. His last sermon was preached at Easter, 1892, when he was carried in a chair to the church which he had served for more than half a century. There, supported by loving arms, he preached a most powerful discourse upon the duty of Bible study and of conformity of life thereto in pure and spiritual piety and devotion to Christ.

The public life of this aged priest of the Gregorian Armenian Church corresponded with the whole period of the existence of the American Board’s mission among the Armenians. His spiritual life was largely determined by the influence of the fathers of that mission, and the outcome of his work was essentially on the same lines as the work of the mission. It is, then, a suggestive token of the great change which God had already effected in the Armenian Church that Protestants and Armenians joined in mourning his loss, and that both honored in him the same traits of character: a hearty love for the simple gospel and a life conformed to the life of Jesus Christ.



University of Chicago.

It is only a short time that I have been in America; yet my intercourse with American friends has led me to this conclusion, that the people in general do not know what the missions have done in Turkey.

So far as I can judge, much has been said on the dark side of the mission work. It seems to me that even the missionaries who return home for a short rest, [258]finding the people more interested with the funny customs of the Old East; they are tempted to forget to tell more about the results of the missions.

I thoroughly admit, that the need must be pictured before the eyes of the people as vividly as possible, and for this end the costumes and the beliefs of the natives are to be discussed. This must be done; but on the other hand, the results and the fruits of the sincere prayers and long toils should not be omitted. The former pleases the people but the latter encourages them.

Dear American friends, I assure you that the missions in Turkey have not been a failure. Your prayers and best wishes for Turkey have been answered by the Great Master of the work.

The mission’s first and most important work has been in the establishment of many strong and evangelical churches in Turkey. At this point you must remember that the main work of the missions in Asiatic Turkey has been among Armenians. Missionaries do not preach to Moslems or Mohammedans in Turkey, as it is often supposed. Neither do they preach to heathen. Now the Armenians had already accepted Christianity in the beginning of the fourth century as a whole nation, and to this day they have kept Christianity in their national church. But the intercourse with the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, took out the vital element from the church. Now the whole missionary effort is spent to reform the Old Armenian Church; and to a great extent they are successful. I call the work of the missions in Turkey only a reformation, nevertheless a great reformation. The attention of the people has been directed to the Bible itself. The most [259]important and principal doctrines of Christianity have been preached to the souls in a more open and simple way. Sunday schools, Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Associations and Christian Endeavor Societies have been formed, which were almost unknown before the mission work. From the ignorant women of Turkey have come out many Hannahs and Monicas. “Jesus, lover of my soul,” “My faith looks up to Thee,” “Nearer, my God, to Thee,” and many other hymns which are used so much among you, are also the favorite hymns of these Armenian Evangelical churches. Even the most ignorant woman sings them without having a hymn book in her hand. When you lift up your voices here in America in Christian prayers and songs, be sure that at that moment, four thousand miles beyond in Turkey, many voices have been lifted up with the same spirit towards heaven. Yours and theirs ascend together up to the throne of Almighty God. They have no such magnificent buildings for their churches as you have here. In many churches they have no organ or piano; a poor people. Yet if you should see those Protestant churches, their sincerity, their piety, and their love for the truth of God, you would surely say, “Truly the Gospel is preached to the poor.”

The educational work of the missions has been not less successful. The colleges and theological seminaries of the missions among those Protestant churches can be well compared with the many colleges and the theological seminaries of America. And the graduates of these institutions are carrying on the work of the missions. We have there able professors, able preachers and successful revivalists and evangelists. Dr. Daniels, [260]the secretary of the American Board, recently in one of the Congregational churches of Chicago said: “Our missionaries have laid the foundation, but our native preachers and professors are building up the rest.”

The congregations are made ready to hear more thoughtful sermons. Don’t think that it will be a very easy matter to preach in those churches. Criticism of sermons is not confined to American and European churches. Even the sermons of the missionaries are not so welcome as before. They are nowadays anxious to hear only the thoughts that come out from thoroughly educated minds. The cities of Marash, Aintab, etc., which are educational centers, are choosing their pastors from those who are educated in the American universities. The ideals of the people are going to be higher and higher. The present colleges and seminaries are being obliged almost every year to change their programs, to fit them to the conditions and wants of the people.

Missions have awakened an interest among the people in the musical department. Vocal music is taught in every high school. Haydn, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, etc., are familiar names to both educated young men and women. The “Hallelujah Chorus” of Handel, and many other classic pieces are sung in social meetings. During these last years kindergartens have done much in the education of the young folks. The kindergartens of Smyrna, Cæsarea, Aintab, Marash and Hadjin are very successful. Those children can sing many English songs.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder, what you are”

is one which I have heard many times. Even non-Protestants [261]are much attracted by this kind of education, and I think this is a good opportunity for missions.

The third and last result of the missions which I will mention, is the social improvement among the natives. The poverty of the people has been a hindrance to this. Yet the improvement on this point cannot be denied. An educated young man in Armenia wears the dress of an American gentleman, with this difference, that, the former puts on his fez instead of hat. Especially young women of the cities cannot be distinguished by their dress from European or American young women.

These are some direct results of the missions. Besides, the missions have done a great deal indirectly. Non-Protestant Armenians also have been awakened to their duties. The preaching of the gospel is becoming more common among them, and I am sure there are hundreds of Armenians, who do not call themselves Protestants, who are in reality Protestants. If so, then have missions been a failure? Mrs. Scott-Stevenson in her book entitled “Our Ride Through Asia Minor,” severely criticises the missions, their aims and their methods. If she should criticise only their methods, I should agree with her in some degree; but to criticise the sacred aim of preaching the Gospel is non-Christian sentiment, and I am sure she must have taken those notes under the influences of the wines of Turkey, which she seems very much delighted with.

Let me add one point more. The missionaries succeed better among Armenians than among any Christian sects in Turkey. And why? Simply because they love the truth. The history of the Armenian church proves this. The history of the missions in Turkey [262]proves this. Because their motto is progress. Forward to a higher spirituality; forward to a higher education; forward to a higher civilization. And no wonder that they accept reformation so readily. They believe that the Kingdom of God brings with itself all that which is necessary for a nation.

And we cannot help but mention our hearty gratitude to the American Board. Thanks for their love of humanity; thanks for their liberal gifts; thanks for their prayers, and thanks for their missionaries. Yet there is much to be done. We need more help. The harvest is ready—more reapers! The points thus far mentioned are pledges for a greater success.

[The following paper was contributed to the “World’s Congress of Missions,” held at Chicago in 1893. The “Parliament of Religions” will long be remembered as the most remarkable gathering the world has yet seen of the defenders of the Ethnic Faiths of the world. Representative men from the ends of the earth brought to this parliament the best religious thought of their respective faiths. It was the high water mark of that which the best and wisest of men have discovered or that has been revealed concerning God, duty and destiny.]



To recount the triumphs of the Gospel in the Ottoman Empire would be to write the history of its moral, intellectual and social progress for the past seventy-five years.

When Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons sailed for Jerusalem [263]in 1818 the Ottoman Empire was virtually a “terra incognita.” Ruling over thirty-five millions of souls in Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa, of whom twelve millions were Oriental Christians, this great empire had not a school excepting the Koranic medrisehs for boys in the mosques, and its vast populations were in a state of intellectual, moral and religious stagnation. These young Americans were instructed to ascertain “what good could be done for Jews, Pagans, Mohammedans and Christians in Egypt, Syria, Persia, Armenia and other adjacent countries.” Fisk died in Beirut in 1826, and by his grave was planted a little cypress tree. Parsons died in Alexandria, and his grave is unknown. They both “died without the sight” of fruit from their labors.

Three-quarters of a century have passed, and to-day we are asked, what good has been done to Jews, Pagans, Mohammedans and Christians in this great empire?

The work to be done in 1820 was formidable and the means seemingly contemptible. What could a handful of young men and women accomplish, coming from a distant land whose very existence was discredited, to an empire whose political and religious systems had been fossilized for centuries, where schools, books and Bibles were unknown? For these inexperienced youth from the land of the Pilgrims, reared in the air of civil and religious liberty, trained to hate all despotism, political or ecclesiastical, and to love a free press, free schools, and absolute freedom of conscience, to attempt to change public opinion and renovate society, to reform the Oriental churches and liberalize Islam, seemed a forlorn and desperate venture.

Seventy years have passed. Sultans have risen and [264]fallen. Patriarchs and Bishops remain, but Turkey is not what it was in 1820, and can never retrograde to those days of darkness. That little evergreen tree planted by Pliny Fisk’s grave in the suburbs of a town of eight thousand population has grown to be a stately cypress tree in the very center of a city of ninety thousand people. Overlooking it is a female seminary, a large church edifice, a Sunday school hall, a printing house, which sends out more than twenty millions of pages annually. That little iron door to the east opens into a vault containing thirteen thousand electrotype plates of various editions of the Arabic Scriptures. Within a radius of two miles are four Christian colleges, seven female seminaries, sixty boys’ day schools, thirty-one girls’ schools, seventeen printing presses, and four large hospitals. The boys’ and girls’ schools belong to the Protestants, Catholics, Greeks, Muslims and Jews, and sixteen thousand children are under instruction. Scores of Muslim girls are as familiar with the Old Testament prophecies with regard to Christ as are our Sunday school children at home. Bibles, hymn books and Christian literature, as well as scientific, historical and educational works, are scattered over the city and throughout the land. Young Syrian women, formerly shut up in ignorance and illiteracy, now enjoy the instruction of home libraries and useful periodicals, and even carry on discussions in the public press and write books of decided merit....



I. The Gospel has triumphed in securing in a great measure to the people of Turkey that most precious treasure, religious liberty and freedom of conscience. [265]

In 1820, every Ottoman subject had a right to remain in his own sect and to think as his fathers thought before him. Muslim could remain Muslim, Greek remain Greek, Armenian Armenian, and Maronite Maronite. Each sect was a walled enclosure with gates bolted and barred, and the only possible egress from any was into the fold of Islam.

The appearance of an open Bible, the preaching of the Gospel, free schools and open discussion of religious questions threw all things into confusion. Not a few received the Gospel and claimed the right to think for themselves.... Anathemas, the major excommunication, stripes and imprisonment, intimidated some, but drove multitudes out of the Oriental Churches, and as the imperial laws regarded every man outside the traditional sects as an outlaw, exile, death, or recantation seemed their only possible fate.

But these storms of persecution developed some of the noblest types of Christian character. True heroic spirits, like Asaad esh Shidiak in Lebanon, preferred death to submission to the doctrines of a priestly hierarchy. The Maronite monastery of Connobîn, near the Cedars of Lebanon, where he was walled up in a cell under the overhanging cliff and starved to death, has become memorable in Syria as the scene of the first martyrdom for the evangelical faith in Turkey in modern times.

Scourging, imprisonment and exile have been the lot of multitudes who have stood steadfast amid their sufferings. Mr. Butrus Bistany, a young Maronite scholar, who found the truth as Luther found it, in a monastery, fled for his life to Beirut, and remained concealed for two years in the American Mission, fearing death at [266]the hands of the spies of the Patriarch. But he was spared to be a pillar in the Protestant Church, a learned Arabic author, the assistant of Eli Smith in Bible translation, and the biographer of Asaad esh Shidiak....

Kamil Abdul Messiah, a youthful Syrian convert to Christianity from Islam, who died in Bussorah in June, 1892, seemed baptized by the Holy Spirit and divinely instructed in the Word of God. He grasped the vital truths of the Gospel as by a Heavenly instinct. He was a youth of pure life and lips, of faith and prayer, of courage and zeal, and he was mighty in the Scriptures. In Southern Arabia he preached in the streets of towns, in Arab camps, on the deck of coasting ships, and even in mosques. His journals read like chapters from the Acts. His early death was a loss to the Arab race, but his memory is fragrant with the aroma of a pure and godly life and example.

Time would fail us to recount the history of the able writers, the liberal Christian merchants, the faithful pastors and teachers, the godly physicians, the self-denying poor, the patient, loving, and exemplary women, who have been Christ’s witnesses during these years of toil and prayer in Syria.

In November, 1847, an Imperial decree recognized native Protestants as an independent community with a civil head.

In 1850 the Sultan gave a firman granting to Protestants all the privileges given to other Christian communities, and in 1853 another, declaring Christians before the law equal in all respects to Mohammedans, and the death penalty for apostasy from Islam was abolished. This Magna Charta of Protestant rights is the charter of liberty of conscience to all men in Turkey. [267]

The Ottoman Government became to a great extent tolerant, and to-day, as compared with its Northern Muscovite neighbor, it is a model of toleration. There is no open legal persecution for conscience’s sake.

The Bible in its various languages is distributed throughout the Empire, with the imperial permit printed on the title page. There is not yet liberty to print controversial books touching the religion of Islam, although Islamic works attacking Christianity are distributed openly, with official approbation. The censorship of the press is rigid, but the existing Christian literature is rarely interfered with.

The Sheikh ul Islam in Constantinople recently replied officially to a European convert to Islam who asked his aid in entering the Mohammedan religion, that “religion is a matter between man and God, and that no sheikh or priest or mediator is needed in man’s approach to his Maker.” This is one of the cardinal principles of Christianity,—the difference consisting in this:—that while the Sheikh ul Islam probably meant to exclude even the mediation of Christ, the Gospel claims Christ as the only Mediator.

It is also true that if any Christian wishes to become a Mohammedan he must go before the Kadi, who summons the Christian’s religious minister to labor with him and examine his case before he is admitted to Islam.

That so much of religious liberty exists is cause for profound gratitude.

II. The social triumphs of Gospel work in Turkey appear in the transformation of the family and the elevation of woman.

The Mohammedan practice of the veiling and seclusion [268]of woman and her exclusion from all social dignity and responsibilities rested like a blight on womankind among all the sects of the Empire. Even among the women of the non-Muslim sects the veil became a necessary shield from insult.

An exploration of the Empire in 1829 failed to discover a single school for girls. American women were the first to break the spell, and after long and patient efforts the first school building for the instruction of girls in the Ottoman Empire was erected in Beirut, in 1834, at the expense of Mrs. Tod, an American lady in Alexandria, and the teacher was Mrs. Sarah L. H. Smith....

In 1877, the first Muslim school for girls was opened in Beirut. They now have three girls’ schools in the city, with five hundred pupils. Thus far their girls’ schools are confined to the great cities, and they have shown commendable zeal in erecting neat and commodious buildings.

In Syria and Palestine there are now nine thousand and eighty-one girls under Protestant instruction, and there are thousands in the Greek and Papal schools. The effects of female education prosecuted for so many years has been a palpable change in the status and dignity of woman. The light and comfort, the moral and intellectual elevation which have resulted are plain even to the casual observer. The mother is becoming the primary instructor of the children at home, and by precept and example their moral and religious guide.

The indifference of the Oriental Christians and the opposition of the Mohammedans to female education has been largely overcome. A Mohammedan Turkish lady in Constantinople, Fatimeh Alia Khanum, daughter [269]of Joudet Pasha, has just published a novelette in Turkish and Arabic to show the superiority of the home life of Turkish Muslim women to that of European Christian women. A Protestant young lady of Northern Syria has taken a prize of $50 for the best original Arabic story illustrating the benefits of female education. Another Protestant young woman has recently published an Arabic book on “Society and Social Customs,” and, on the eve of her departure for the Columbian Exposition, delivered a public lecture on the duty of Ottoman subjects to support their own domestic manufacturers. It was largely attended by Muslim sheikhs, Turkish effendis and the public generally, and at the close a young Jewess, a fellow-graduate with her from the American Female Seminary, arose and made an impromptu address in support of the speaker’s views.

Too much cannot be said in admiration of the self-denying and successful labors of the American, English, Scotch and German women who have toiled patiently through long years, and many of whom have sacrificed their lives to the elevation of their sisters in this great Empire. Educated and cultivated wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, all over the land, rise up and call them blessed. These happy Oriental homes, neat and well ordered, their high character, their exemplary conduct, their intelligence and interest in the proper training of their own children and the best welfare of society, are among the noblest fruits of a revived Christianity in the East.

What is wanted to complete the symmetry of this picture of the intellectual progress of Oriental women is that a deputation of Mohammedan ladies should attend [270]the great World’s Congress of Women from all the nations, and explain to their sisters from Christian and pagan Empires wherein consists the excellency and glory of the veiling and seclusion of Mohammedan women in harems and zenanas, and the permission to their men to have four legal wives and as many concubines as their right hands may acquire by purchase or capture. They should have the opportunity to explain the superiority of this system to that of Christianity, under which woman is allowed the most complete liberty of action, is trusted and honored, and given the highest place in the great organized enterprises of benevolence, charity, religion and social reform, and in the relief of human suffering at home and abroad.

III. To Protestant Missions is due the modern intellectual and educational awakening of the whole Empire. The American schools had been in operation forty years before the Turkish government officially promulgated (in 1869), school laws, and instituted a scheme of governmental education.

In 1864 there were twelve thousand five hundred elementary Mosque schools for reading the Koran, in which there were said to be half a million of students. In 1890, according to the recently published Ottoman reports, there were in the Empire forty-one thousand six hundred and fifty-nine schools of all kinds, of which three thousand are probably Christian and Jewish. As there are thirty-five thousand five hundred and ninety-eight mosques in the Empire, and each mosque is supposed to have its “medriseh” or school, there would appear to be about four thousand secular government schools not connected with the mosques, independent of ecclesiastical control by mollahs and [273]sheikhs, and belonging to the imperial graded system of public instruction; yet many of the mosque schools have now been absorbed into the government system, so that there may be twenty thousand of these so-called secular government schools....

Armenian Peasants Fleeing to Russia.

Armenian Peasants Fleeing to Russia.

There are now in the Empire eighty hundred and ninety-two Protestant schools, with forty-three thousand and twenty-seven pupils.

Schools. Boys. Girls. Total Pupils.
In Syria and Palestine 328 9,756 9,081 18,837
In Egypt 100 3,271 3,029 6,300
In Asia Minor, etc. 464 10,000 7,890 17,890
Total 892 23,027 20,000 43,027

Of these pupils twenty thousand are girls, a fact most potent and eloquent with regard to the future of these interesting peoples.

There are thirty-one colleges, seminaries and boarding-schools for girls, of which eleven are taught by English and twenty by American ladies. In some of these schools young women are carried to the higher branches of science. In all of them the Bible is taught as a daily text book.

There are six American colleges for young men, the most of them well equipped and manned, taking the lead in academic and scientific training. The medical college in Beirut has pupils from nearly all parts of the Empire.

The standard of instruction is kept as high as the circumstances of the different provinces will admit, [274]and the education given is thoroughly Biblical and Christian. And there are no more upright, intelligent, useful, loyal and progressive subjects of the Sultan today than the graduates of these colleges.

IV. The fourth evidence of the Gospel’s triumph is the translation of the Bible into all the languages of the Empire, and the publication of a vast mass of religious, educational, historical, and scientific books. The Bible is now printed in eleven languages and made available to all the people of the Empire. About fifteen hundred different books have been published in these various languages, of which nearly seven hundred are from the Arabic press in Beirut. The Arabic Bible is sent to the whole Arabic reading Mohammedan world. The literary, scientific, historical and religious books also have a wide circulation.

Seventy years ago there were neither books nor readers. Now the hundreds of thousands of readers can find books in their own tongue, and to suit every taste. There are children’s illustrated books for the school and the fireside, stories and histories for the young, solid historical, theological, and instructive works for the old, and scientific books and periodicals for students. Bunyan, D’Aubigné, Edwards, Alexander, Moody, and Spurgeon are speaking to the Orientals. Richard Newton instructs and delights the children. Eli Smith, Van Dyck, and Post, Meshaka and Bistany, Nofel and Wortabet, instruct the scholarly and educated, while mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, chemistry, and medicine, geology and meteorology carry students on to the higher departments [275]of learning. Tracts and Sunday school lesson books abound, and periodical literature supplies the present daily wants of society.

The American Arabic Press, founded in Malta in 1822, and in Beirut in 1834, set in motion the forces which have now filled all the great cities of the Empire with presses and newspapers, and awakened the people to a new intellectual life. The Beirut Press alone has printed five hundred millions of pages in Arabic.

The Bible and the Koran are now the two religious books of the Empire. The Koran is in one language for one sect, and cannot be translated, and any copy of the Koran found in the possession of a native Christian or a European traveler is confiscated. The Bible is in eleven languages and is freely offered for sale to all. Sixty thousand copies of the Scriptures are sold annually in the Turkish Empire.



1. Russia is straining every nerve to destroy Protestant schools as endangering the political solidarity of the Greek Church and thus hostile to her prestige and future influence in Turkey.

2. Republican France, having exiled the Jesuits as intolerable at home, finds them pliant tools of her political schemes abroad and subsidizes them heavily with money and diplomatic support in thwarting Protestant missions.

3. The civil policy of the Turkish Government is “Turkey for the Turks.” This means virtually filling all the offices of the Empire with Mohammedans, thus gradually closing every avenue of public official employment and promotion to the six millions of the Christian [276]population, who are far in advance of the Muslims in education and intelligence.

We do not here dispute the right or the political sagacity of this new régime. But its natural result is seen in the emigration of thousands of the most energetic and enlightened young men to foreign lands. Protestant schools are endangered by losing their trained teachers, and the churches by losing their best members and the material for their future pastors, and the cause of self-support is gravely imperilled. But though thus threatened Protestantism is secured.

1. By the wide distribution of the Scriptures. The hundreds of thousands of Bibles in the hands of the people will make the extinction of Protestantism impossible unless the people themselves are exterminated.

2. By the wide diffusion of education and the founding of so many Protestant colleges and seminaries which have come to Turkey to stay.

3. By the deep-rooted faith and personal convictions of tens of thousands who believe in the right of individual judgment in religion and in the supremacy of conscience enlightened by the Word of God. Fifty thousand Protestants in the Empire can be depended upon to hold their own, even were all foreign missionaries to be withdrawn.

4. By the vast body of Christian literature and the power of the journalistic press, which are inconsistent with a recoil into the domain of priestly tyranny and the stifling of the human conscience.

Protestantism as a principle is steadily growing in every sect in the Empire. The Ark of God is safe in this land. Let us work on in patience and good cheer, with gratitude and unquestioning faith. [277]




Turkish Armenia, the northwestern division of Kurdestan, is a great plateau of nearly sixty thousand square miles, bounded on the north by the Russian frontier, by Persia on the east, the plains of Mesopotamia on the west, and Asia Minor on the south. There are in all, at the present time, about four million Armenians on the globe, of whom little more than half are in Turkey, and the rest in Russia, Persia, other Asiatic countries, Europe and America. In Armenia—the name and geographical existence of which are not recognized in Turkey—there are probably six hundred thousand native Armenians, or one-fourth of the whole number that are scattered throughout the Porte’s dominions. The climate is temperate and bracing. Facilities for travel and transportation are exceedingly meagre, and all the methods employed by the natives are unusually primitive. “Valis,” or municipal governors, are appointed by the government at Constantinople to administer the laws, and none but Moslems hold official positions.

Among the population are found many races, including Turks, Kurds, Russians, Circassians, and Jews, besides native Armenians. Fully one-half the people are Mohammedan. The Kurds lead a pastoral and predatory life, dwelling in mountain villages over the entire region. Their number is uncertain, but it is estimated [278]that in the villages of Erzeroum, Van and Bitlis there are not less than six hundred thousand. Some of these tribes are migratory, like the Bedouins of Syria. Almost all are warlike, and many have degenerated into lawless brigands. For centuries they have made serfs of the Christians, trampling them under foot at every opportunity, and extending to them no toleration whatsoever. These rude mountaineers delight in bloodshed and pillage, and it was their oppression of the Armenian villagers which precipitated the distress in Sassoun, Moush, Bitlis, and the surrounding country. The Kurdish costumes are picturesque, and nearly all the tribesmen are magnificent horsemen. The government at Constantinople organized them as a military force, and bestowed the name “Hamidieh” on their cavalry regiments, but their spirit, like that of the wild Arab, the Cossack, or the North American Indian, is one that scarcely brooks the restraints of military discipline. They were always formidably armed, and weapons in the hands of such a war-loving race were an incentive to disturbance and outrage. They spread universal terror among the Armenians by their cruelty and frightful excesses for many centuries, but it was reserved for our own time to witness the exhibition of barbarism on their part that filled Europe and America with horror.

Kurdestan, which is a name very common in the East, is no more than a geographical appellation for the entire country inhabited by the Kurds. Its area is estimated at more than fifty thousand square miles. This region has no political boundaries, but includes both Persian and Turkish territory. It may be said to extend from Turkish Armenia, on the north, to the [279]plains of the middle Tigris, and the Luristan mountains, on the south. It contains many other people besides Kurds, such as Turks, Nestorians, Chaldeans, Persians and Armenians.

The origin and ancestry of the Kurds, like that of most Eastern nations, is still unsettled among ethnologists. They stand among the Asiatic races, like the Basques and Lapps in Europe, wrapt in obscurity. They are a people without a literature, and almost without a history. They number about two millions, six hundred thousand of whom are under Persia, the rest being under Turkey. They are divided into many independent tribes; the tribal feeling is very strong, a very fortunate thing for Turkey and Persia, for could the Kurds be firmly united these Empires might often suffer much at their hands.

Some of them are nomadic, not, however, wandering indefinitely, for they have well defined circuits which they make annually.

But some of them are agricultural people, who live in villages, tilling ground on the plains and hillsides. It is amusing to notice them on their way to their work, dragging along their sluggish limbs, as though they might drop asleep at any moment. They will waste two hours before they even start to work. After an hour of pretended labor, in which they have really accomplished nothing, they will have to sit down and smoke awhile. But look at the Kurd as he rides his Arabian steed, gun on shoulder, sword at side and spear in hand—a veritable angel of death. His dark eyes and gloomy countenance are fearful to look upon. These warriors sleep most of the day, and at sunset start on their robbing expeditions. They descend to [280]the numerous villages in the valleys and drive away the cattle and flocks, no one daring to oppose them, as their very name strikes terror to the hearts of the people. Robbing is their business, and they believe that God created them for this purpose only.

One who has conversed with many of them, asked them why they steal. They answered that every man has some occupation; one is a judge, one a merchant, one a farmer, and “we are robbers.” They make their living in this way. “Why don’t you work?” “We do not know how to work.” “Why do you kill people?” “When we meet a man that we wish to rob, if we find him stronger than ourselves, we have to kill him in order to rob him.” “But you are liable to be killed some day.” “We must die at some time,” they answer, “what is the difference between dying now and a few days hence?”

The Kurds are profoundly ignorant and stupid, with neither books nor schools. Of the whole race not one in ten thousand can read.

The most of the summer they live in tents in the cool places on the mountain slopes and valleys. Their winter houses are built underground, most of them having a single room with one or two small holes at the top for light. This serves for a bedroom, parlor, kitchen and stable. In the daytime they are all away; towards sunset they come in, one by one, at least a score of men, women and children; but already the hens have found their resting place; sheep, oxen and horses each in their corner. After it is quite dark, coarse, stale bread and sour milk are brought out for supper. Two spoons and one big dish are sufficient for all; each in his turn tries the spoon. Of course [281]this is always done in the dark, as they have no lights. Now it is bedtime and one after another finds his place under the same quilt without a pillow or bed. In a few minutes all are fast asleep, and soon the heavy breathing and snoring of men and cattle is mingled, and the effect is anything but a sweet sound. The temperature of the room is sometimes as high as a hundred, and swarms of fleas (one of which would be enough to disturb the rest of an entire American family) attack the wild Kurd, but he stirs not until morning, the fleas being exhausted sooner than the men.

Their women wear an exceedingly picturesque costume. They have dark complexions, with eyes and hair intensely black. Their beauty is not of a refined type, but by a mass of paint is made sufficiently attractive for their easily pleased husbands. Almost all the work, both in and out of doors, is done by them. Early in the morning, when they are through their home work, they hasten to the field to attend the flocks, or gather fuel for use in winter. In the evening they come in with large burdens on their backs, which appear to be quite enough for two donkeys to carry. So industrious are they, that they frequently spin on their way to and from work, singing all the while, apparently as happy as if all the world were theirs. This industry the men do not appreciate, or reward. They will not hesitate, when it is raining, to drag the women from the tent, in order to make room for a favorite steed.

This country of Kurdestan is filled with wonderful ruins. On its western border is an inscription upon the face of a cliff which was written by Nebuchadnezzar when he came to conquer this country.

In the city of Farkin, only five miles from Kilise, [282]there are most magnificent ruins of churches, castles and towers. The columns still standing in one of these ruined churches are about twelve feet high and over two feet in diameter and above the arches thus supported is another corresponding series.

This church is closely surrounded with a great many graves—thousands of them—so that the church is often spoken of as “the Church of Martyrs.”

In all probability these are some of the ruins with which Tamerlane filled the land at the beginning of the Fifteenth century, and these are the remains of the splendid Christian civilization which he so ruthlessly destroyed, and the Kurdish-Armenians are the descendants of the few Armenians who accepted of Islam to save themselves and their families from utter destruction. Compulsory conversion to Islam is still the order of the day in all the desolated districts of Turkish-Armenia.



The following tour through the heart of Armenia and part of Kurdestan is prepared that the reader may follow more easily the course of the whirlwind of death and desolation that was soon to sweep down from the upper valleys of Ararat far out upon the plains until it met the cyclone from the West and enveloped the whole land in misery, destitution and despair, filled all the air of heaven with the shrieks and agonies of the tortured and the dying martyrs for the faith once delivered to the saints.

We enter the valley at Kharput or Harpoot, which is situated in the valley of the Murad, the eastern branch of the Euphrates river. Coming into the [283]valley from the west, we find ourselves in the midst of a well-cultivated district, and as we advance the villages become numerous. The city is situated upon rising ground, which is bounded by a long line of steep, flat-topped heights. The approach from the south presents a most striking appearance as we ascend by a steep, winding path the narrow ravine reaching up to the plateau above, where at the base of the ruined walls of a medieval castle, nestle the buildings of a part of the Armenian quarter—the rest of the city spreading out to the verge of the hill.

From this height, a thousand feet above the lower ground, there is a superb prospect over the rich plain studded with villages and bounded on the south by the Taurus range, which contains the sources of the Tigris and separates this country from the lowlands of Mesopotamia. To the east and west lie an expanse of undulating ground, stretching on the one hand towards the Murad, into which this district drains, on the other in the direction of the Euphrates. The length of this plain to the foot of the Taurus is about fifteen miles, while the Murad is about the same distance eastward. This plain is a most beautiful sight in the spring time, when the whole is one vast carpet of green. According to the natives, the number of the villages it contains is three hundred and sixty-five, and they also claim this place was the site of Eden—they even point out the place where Adam first saw the light. The houses of the missionaries of the American Board and the college buildings, all of which were laid in ruins, were built not far from the edge of the high precipitous cliff and commanded this beautiful prospect. The elevation of Kharput, or Harpoot, is about [286]four thousand five hundred feet above sea level. From its strategic position it has been occupied by a city from very early times. It is now the leading city in the province and has about five thousand houses—five hundred Armenian, the rest Turkish, while the villages in the plains are occupied almost entirely by the Armenians. These villages were almost swept off the earth during the Harpoot massacres. The Armenian College was the finest in Eastern Turkey and the value of mission property destroyed was upwards of $80,000.



A day’s journey up the eastern branch of the Euphrates brings us to the Castle-rock of Palu. This rock is nine hundred feet above the river and on its summit is the town of about one thousand five hundred houses. Palu has the honor of being the dwelling place of St. Mesrob, the saint who invented the Armenian alphabet about 406 A. D., and translated the Scriptures into that tongue. His name is still in great repute in his native country.

If we should leave the valley of the Euphrates to the northward, five hours of steep climbing would bring us to the top of the mountain ridge that overlooks the great plain of Moush, which stretches forty miles away to the eastward towards Lake Van. From the top of this ridge to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist the road is one of the most beautiful in all Armenia, as it follows a terrace path along the mountain side through low forests, commanding a succession of beautiful views into the valley of the Euphrates. On rounding a shoulder of the mountain we have the first sight of the towers of the monastery, which occupies a small table of ground with very steep slopes both above [287]and below it, at an elevation of six thousand feet above the sea and about two thousand above the plain.

This Monastery was founded by St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Apostle of the Armenians, having in residence before the massacres twenty Monks and one hundred lay brethren under the care of the Superior. Some of these priests were highly educated, speaking French fluently beside Armenian and Turkish. But all these monasteries were utterly destroyed by the Kurds in the late savage raids.

The town of Moush is nearly a day’s ride up the Euphrates valley from the point where the road down the mountains from the Monastery reaches the river. The plain is one of great beauty—quite productive, growing fine harvests of wheat. Fine gardens are found about the villages which nestle in the ravines which put up into the Taurus mountains on the south side of the plain. At the head of one of these narrow valleys is the city of Moush of three thousand houses, about one-fourth of them belonging to Armenians. The hillsides are devoted to gardens and vineyards which flourish here, though the elevation is four thousand feet above the sea. This plain was swept with the wind of desolation at the time of the Sassoun massacre.

As we continue our journey up the valley we rapidly rise above the plain into the mountains which separate the valley of Moush from Lake Van.

A few hours’ ride from Nurshin, the last Armenian village, takes us through a mountain pass about six thousand feet high, into the territory of the Kurds—Kurdestan.

We take this way that we may more readily understand [288]how the Kurds and the Turks could make such awful havoc of the Armenians when they were “let loose” upon them.

When the head of this pass is reached, we are at a point of some geographical interest. It is one of Nature’s great crossroads. The waters from this mountain plateau, flow north and westward down the valley of Moush into the Euphrates, another valley opens eastward and downwards into Lake Van, and another southwards into the Tigris. It is somewhat similar to the water shed in the Rocky Mountains above Leadville, Col., where, from the same marshy plateau, the waters flow southward, forming the Arkansas, and so through the Royal Gorge, into the plains of Colorado eastward, and also westward and southward into the Grand River, through a most magnificent and beautiful Canon, past Glenwood Springs and so into the Colorado River and the Gulf of California.

Let us turn southward and make an excursion to Bitlis before resuming the journey to Van. At various points in this high mountain valley are massively built stone Khans which are intended as refuges for travelers at unfavorable seasons of the year. They make considerable pretensions to architectural beauty, having portals and arched recesses and are of great antiquity. Three hours’ hard riding down a bare stony valley would bring us to the entrance of Bitlis.

Armenian Women, Province of Van.

Armenian Women, Province of Van.

When approached from this side Bitlis comes upon us as a surprise, for until you are within it, there is nothing but a few trees to suggest that an inhabited place is near. It lies completely below the level of the upper valley which here suddenly makes a sheer descent so that the river which has now been swelled into [291]a fair sized torrent, breaks into rapids and cataracts in its passage through the town. In the middle of the place it is joined by another stream from the mountains towards the northwest: and the buildings climb up the hillsides at the meeting of these valleys, rising one above another with a striking effect. Thus the Tigris breaks its way through deep chasms below, and for several days’ journey descends with great rapidity to the lower country. We will be struck with the massiveness of the stone built houses with large courts and gardens and abundance of trees surrounded with strong walls, the coping stones of which are constructed so as to rise to a sharp angle at the top.

In the middle of the town between the two streams rises the castle, occupying a platform of rock, the sides of which fall away precipitously and like all the cliffs around have vertical cleavings. The space which it covers is large, and it forms a very conspicuous object with its square and circular towers following the broken surface of the ground. There is a dull tone however, about the town, because of the brown sandstone which is used in its construction, being of the same hue as the bare mountains about it.

Remember that now we are on the southern slope of the mountains facing Arabia, and the climate is milder than in the Valley of Moush. The elevation is four thousand seven hundred feet and the thermometer rarely falls below zero in winter.

At Bitlis is a missionary station in charge of Rev. Mr. Knapp. The Kurdish mountains rise about the city in bare, cold grandeur. These summits are the conclusion of the Taurus Chain. They are the Niphates of antiquity, on the highest peak of which Milton makes [292]his Satan to alight. [Par. Lost III. 741, “Nor stayed, till on Niphates’ top he lights.”]

The Castle is said to have been built by Alexander the Great. Bitlis was the site of an ancient Armenian city and was strongly fortified in the days of the Saracens. It recently contained thirty thousand inhabitants, ten thousand being Armenians. This city was the scene of a terrible slaughter and being determined that the Armenians who were left should perish by starvation, the Porte placed Mr. Knapp under arrest for treason and ordered him taken to Constantinople for trial before United States Minister Terrell.

Returning up to the head waters of the Tigris we next see a level plain extending eastward, hemmed in on either side by lofty mountains. Here in August are wheatfields extending up the hillsides to quite an elevation, showing what the harvests of that region might become under safe and careful husbandry.

Five hours’ journey from Bitlis brings us to the opening of the valley eastward, and as mountain ranges go sweeping around to the north and to the south, suddenly Lake Van bursts upon our astonished vision in all its beauty and grandeur. Fed by the snow upon the mountains, but with no visible outlet, Lake Van is about twice the size of Lake Geneva, as it lies in a hollow of these highlands five thousand feet above the tide. Its extreme length is ninety miles, its breadth where widest is thirty miles. This mountain lake is only five hundred feet lower than the highest sources of the Tigris. On the northwestern shore of the lake are the remarkable ruins of the very ancient Armenian city of Akhlat, on the North Mount Sipan, an extinct volcano with most imposing form and lofty summit, [293]while on the southeastern shore is the Castle rock of Van, which, without exaggeration may be spoken of as one of the wonders of the world from its extraordinary formation, its rock-hewn chambers and its cuneiform inscriptions.

Coming down to the lake on its western shore and skirting it northwards, the little valleys are found full of copious springs surrounded by willows and poplars and an abundance of most luxuriant grass. Orchards filled with walnut, plum and apricot trees delight the eyes, and the apricots also the palate, being of excellent flavor. The ruins of Akhlat may be said to consist of three parts, the gardens on the upper, the ruined city on the second level and the castle one half mile distant on the lake shore. In the steep sandstone cliffs which wall in the ruined city, are numerous caves and also many artificial chambers, some of which were inhabited as late as 1880 as many doubtless now are in all parts of the mountains by the destitute Armenians. The most of the ruins here are of a Saracenic style of architecture. The castle is a large rectangular fortress measuring six hundred yards from the sea to the crest of the hill and three hundred yards across, having two gates which stand opposite to one another in the middle of the eastern and the western wall. Two ancient mosques, some fruit trees and ten inhabited cottages are the inventory of its contents. We must cut short the trip up Mount Sipan which is fourteen thousand feet high, for the sail in a very cumbrous craft across the lake to the city of Van.

It takes about four hours’ sailing to reach the landing place which is about a mile from the city proper. Immediately from the shore rises a curious mass of rocks [294]commanding a most beautiful view. The slopes of the sides are protected by a succession of irregular walls, whose long outline is diversified by towers and other fortifications, and a minaret.

This rock is three hundred feet high and runs due east from the lake about two-thirds of a mile. At either end it rises by a gradual ascent and on its summit are two forts and a central castle. The city which is an irregular oblong lies entirely beneath this rock to the south, and is enclosed by lines of Turkish walls with battlements. The famous inscriptions are found for the greater part on this side of the rock, the most important one occupying an inaccessible position halfway up the face of the cliff.

This inscription is trilingual being written in three parallel columns and is much later in date than some of the others that are found there. It commemorates the exploits of Xerxes the son of Darius, and is very nearly word for word the same as those of that king at Hamadan and Persepolis.

When it was copied, a telescope was required to read it.

Here we see the Turks in large turbans and flowing robes, wild looking Kurds in sheepskin jackets, Persians in tall felt hats, and the Armenians in their more moderate dress.

There is a Christian assistant-governor here. He is supposed to have much power, but in reality has very little, being not much more than a convenient agent to the Governor. But his position has this advantage that he is only removable by the central Government at Constantinople, and not at the will of the Pasha for the time being. The assistant-governor is an Armenian [295]and speaks both French and Italian well. The city contains about thirty thousand population of whom three-fourths are Armenians. On account of the nearness of the Persian frontier which is only sixteen hours off (about fifty miles) there is kept in the city a garrison of four hundred soldiers.

The view from the summit is most enchanting for on the one side lies the expanse of the blue sparkling lake with its circuit of mountains—not unlike Great Salt Lake with the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the beautiful plain stretching to the north and the south, and the Mountains away to the west. The fortifications at the shore end of the rock are of most massive stones, and are attributed to Semiramis, as in old Armenian books Van was called Shemiramagard or The City of Semiramis who made of it her summer capital.

The story of her love for the King of Armenia may be familiar. She had heard of the remarkable personal beauty and wisdom of Ara the King and sent Ambassadors offering him her hand and crown and love, and upon his spurning the offer and the dishonorable proposals attending it, she declared war against him giving orders that the King should not be slain. She was greatly distressed when she heard he had fallen in battle and before she left for Nineveh she had six hundred architects and twelve thousand workmen employed in erecting this new city for her summer residence.

The gardens of Van which stretch for several miles to the south and southeast were her glory and pride. Copious rivulets and streams with careful irrigation have made these gardens famous throughout the East.

Van was the only city which successfully resisted the Kurdish cavalry and the Turkish soldiers. It became [296]the center also of Dr. Kimball’s great relief work which was carried on through the generous aid furnished by the Relief Fund of the Christian Herald of New York.

The mountains of Ararat, rise about sixty miles north of Lake Van. After crossing the mountain divide which separates the watershed of Van from that of Ararat, a valley opens out to the northeast. It was one of the highways for the armies of the middle ages and the head of the valley was once a strongly fortified city. Here were erected the fortresses that protected the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire when it stood at the zenith of its power.

Continuing our journey northwards the upland pastures are soon reached and the Kurdish encampments with their black tents begin to be very numerous. But being armed with a firman from the Porte, and with an official escort we pass on without serious trouble. Now we come upon a large encampment with numerous tents stretching along the course of a clear mountain stream.

The men are a wild, surly looking set with hair streaming down in long straggling locks. All of course are fully armed. The possessions of these nomad Kurds may be seen about the encampment—sheep, goats, oxen, cows, herds of horses, big mastiff dogs and greyhounds clothed with small coats.

A first look at the Kurdish tents gives a person the idea that they are chilly habitations, but there are tents within tents or separate rooms partitioned off, having a plentiful supply of carpets, rugs and pillows that are very comfortable indeed even in the cold nights they have at that elevation of nearly eight thousand feet. [297]

Resuming our journey and soon after crossing a ridge a thousand feet higher than the valley where we have rested—the whole mass of Ararat—not merely the snow capped dome—suddenly reveals itself from base to summit—a most splendid sight.

Although the summit of Great Ararat, which has an elevation of seventeen thousand nine hundred and sixteen feet, yields in height to the peaks of the Caucasus in the north and to Demavend (nineteen thousand four hundred feet) in the east, nearly five hundred miles away, yet, as Bryce in his admirable book has observed, there can be but few other places in the world where a mountain so lofty rises from a plain so low. The summit of Great Ararat has the form of a dome and is covered with perpetual snow; this dome crowns an oval figure, the length of which is from northwest to southeast, and it is therefore the long side of this dome which we see from the valley of the Araxes. On the southeast, as we follow the outline farther, the slope falls at a more rapid gradient of from thirty to thirty-five degrees and ends in the saddle between the two mountains at a height of nearly nine thousand feet. From that point it is the shape of the Little Ararat which continues the outline towards the east; it rises in the shape of a graceful pyramid to the height of twelve thousand eight hundred and forty feet, and its summit is distant from that of Great Ararat a space of nearly seven miles. The southeastern slope of the lesser Ararat corresponds to the northwestern slope of the greater mountain and descends to the floor of the river valley in a long and regular train.

This mountain forms the boundary stone of three great Empires, the northern slopes of Great Ararat belong [298]to Russia, the southern slopes to Turkey, while a portion of Little Ararat belongs to Persia.

From Ararat it is a six days’ journey to Erzeroum along what may be called the roof of Western Asia—these elevated plains being about six thousand feet high, and forming the watershed between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. While its own barrenness is as wearisome to the eye as the plains of Wyoming from Laramie to the Wasatch Mountains, it is constantly sending forth its streams to fertilize the far off plains to the east and the south.

From the western slope of Ararat the Euphrates takes its rise—rapidly cuts for itself a deep bed through steep walls of rock. Half a day’s journey down the river brings us in sight of the Monastery of Utch Keliseh or “Three Churches.” Only one, however, can be discovered—but that is the finest Ecclesiastical building in all Ancient Armenia, though in a sad state of disrepair, having been sacked by the Kurds a few years ago.

It is built of large blocks of black and grey stone. It has both round and pointed arches; the western door has a rude cable moulding over it, and much interlaced ornament. But it would take the pen of a Ruskin and numerous photographs to make the stones of this old church as eloquent as the Stones of Venice, although the story they could tell would be far more tragic than any story told beside the murmuring waves of the Adriatic. These ruined Monasteries and Churches tell us of a superior order of architecture for the houses also in the days of prosperity, but now the poverty of the villagers is described by their dwellings which are sometimes large in area, with low stone wall, flat roofs, [299]the living-room raised but a foot or two above the floor of the stables. Here they are obliged to live—during the bitter cold winter—the warmth from the presence of the cattle being necessary to keep themselves from perishing, and for the sake of the heat, the smells and the noises are endured. Another day’s travel will bring us through Delibaba pass which is a succession of hills and valleys leading into the plains northward. After many miles of travel across the broad plain through which runs the Araxes eastward, the steep climbing of two extended ridges brings us to the top of the mountain slope that stretches down into the plain of Erzeroum, the city being built on the hillsides before they sweep out into the plain.

Erzeroum is the most important place in Armenia. The site is that of an ancient city as it commands the pass on the main line of communication between the Black Sea and Persia and is just on the edge of a wide and fertile plain.

The population which was once very large has declined of late years, and is now only about fifty thousand. About two-thirds are Armenians. Owing to its elevation, six thousand feet, and the fact that it lies on the north side of the range hence open to the blasts from the Black Sea it is very cold in winter. About two thousand of the people are Persians, and the great carrying trade is largely in their hands. They enjoy great freedom and consideration.

The journey from Erzeroum lies westward across the plain for three hours to the foot hills from which issue the “Hot Springs,” where Anatolius is said to have established his famous baths. In the mountains north of Erzeroum, six hours distant, are the sources of the [300]western branch of the Euphrates River and from the warm springs the route lies along the hills overlooking the course of the winding river. Crossing the river the road skirts the broad and ever-winding valley of the Frat as this branch of the Euphrates is called at Erzeroum—until turning into a narrow rocky gorge the road begins to climb the sides of the lofty Kop Dagh which is the great barrier between Erzeroum and Baiburt on the road to Trebizond, and forms the watershed between the valleys of the Euphrates and the Black Sea. The road has been finely engineered and the rise is one of easy ascent, but the roadbed is somewhat out of repair, the smaller bridges are all but impassable. The higher the ascent the grander the views become over the successive mountain ranges to the south and the long depression that marks the course of the Frat, while the wild storms that go sweeping over the sky in that direction add to the grandeur of the effect. Imagine a sunset from the summit of this pass which is nearly eight thousand feet above sea level, and then the rapid plunge down the mountain side under deepening shadows to the large Khan at its base called Kop Khané, which is the natural starting point or resting place for all those who cross the pass of Kop Dagh.

This is a magnificent view across and down a wide valley bounded by lofty mountains, and through it runs the river Tchoruk, which flowing northwards then westward empties itself into the Black Sea at Batoum. The town of Baiburt lies on either side of this river. The river banks are flanked by extensive gardens with fruit and vegetables and large poplar plantations, while directly opposite stands the lofty castle hill crowned with a long and varied line of fortifications. [301]

Baiburt is a considerable town of two thousand houses, three hundred of which are inhabited by Christians.

This fine old castle was built centuries ago by the Armenians, but had been captured and restored by the Seljukian Turks. But we will not linger longer here. A little farther on is the village of Varzahan which possesses some very interesting ruins of mediæval Armenian edifices of elaborate designs.

Our way now lies over granite mountains, wild and bare, though with some elements of grandeur about them. Large flocks of broadtailed sheep are feeding in the narrow valleys as we carefully pick our way along the road which is hardly more than a mountain path. The first view of the sea after crossing the chill, bleak mountains that divide Armenia from the coast, has a most inspiring effect. Away to the northeast rise the snow capped mountains of Lazistan, and completing all, the expanse of the soft, blue Euxine.

Our ride is now along terrace paths cut in the forests, everywhere embowered in trees. Every turn in the road opens up some new vista of beauty. The Greek villages on the hillsides present a prosperous appearance and an aspect of comfort. The faces that we see wear the bright, quick look which characterizes the Greek face. This is in striking contrast with the careworn look of the people of Armenia, where even the children had none of the brightness of other children: the life seemed too hard, the surroundings too dull, the lowering storms of persecution too near for even the children to smile.

The appearance of Trebizond as we approach it from the east is singularly pretty. The suburbs, on that side, are the starting places of the numerous caravans [302]that are fitted out for Persia, then comes the extensive Christian quarters and the walled town inhabited by the Turks, which is the site of an ancient Byzantine city.

The total population is estimated at about thirty-two thousand, of whom two thousand are Armenians, seven or eight thousand Greeks, and the rest, with but a sprinkling of foreigners are Turks.

The city was glorious in the days of Tamerlane. Ancient writers were enthusiastic in their praises of its lofty towers, of the churches and monasteries in the suburbs; especially charming were its gardens and orchards and olive groves which the delightful but humid climate is so well suited to foster. Nature lovingly smiles upon it still, but the handful of scattered Christians, the ruins of stately churches and monasteries and walls all tell the same story of the conquest and heartless rule of the Turk, and emphasize with silent but pathetic eloquence the moaning cry for deliverance that rose up from prostrate and bleeding Armenia.

As we have traveled we have seen the helplessness of the unarmed Armenians when the Kurds went sweeping down the valleys upon the defenceless villages. How hopeless also any attempt at escape when the Kurds held possession of all the passes. Saddest of all there were no cities of refuge for them.

Van alone of all the cities of Armenia was able to resist and drive back the hordes of mountain warriors, yet her fertile plains were swept naked of their beautiful villages. Thousands of refugees were, however, kept alive by the generosity of the tender hearted in America as the chapter on Relief Work will graphically portray. [303]




The time has come for every citizen to deliberately accept or repudiate his share of the joint indirect responsibility for a series of the hugest and foulest crimes that have ever stained the pages of human history. The Armenian people are being exterminated root and branch by Turks and Kurds—systematically and painfully exterminated by such abominable methods, and with such fiendish accompaniments as may well cause the most sluggish blood to boil and seethe with shame and indignation.

For the Armenians are not lawless barbarians or brigands: nor are the Turks and Kurds the accredited torch bearers of civilization. But even if the “rôles” of the actors in this hideous drama were thus distributed, an excuse might at most be found for severity, but no pretext could be discovered for the slow torture and gradual vivisection employed by fanatic Mohammedans to end the lives of their Christian neighbors. If for instance it be expedient that Armenians should be exterminated, why chop them up piecemeal, and in the intervals of this protracted process, banter the agonized victims who are wildly calling upon God and man to put them out of pain?

Why must an honest, hard workingman be torn from his bed or his fireside; forced to witness the violation of his own daughter by a band of all pitiless [304]demons unable to rescue or help her, and then, his own turn come, have his hand cut off and stuffed into his mouth while a short sermon is being preached to him on the text: “If your God be God, why does He not succor?” at the peroration of which the other hand is hacked off, and then amid boisterous shouts of jubilation, his ears are torn from his head and his feet severed with a hatchet, while the piercing screams, the piteous prayers, the hideous contortions of the agonizing victim seem to intoxicate with fiendish delight the fanatic Moslems who inflict such awful cruelties. And why when the last and merciful blow of death is being dealt, must obscene jokes and unutterable blasphemies sear the victim’s soul and prolong his hell to the uttermost limits of time, to the very threshold of eternity? Surely, roasting alive, flaying, disembowelling, impaling and all that elaborate and ingenious aggravation of savage pain on which the souls of these human fiends seem to feast and flourish, have nothing that can excuse them in the eyes of Christians, however deeply absorbed in politics or money getting whether in Downing Street or in Wall Street.

But the Turk or Kurd is at his best only a Tartar utterly averse to all humanizing influence, and at his worst seems a fiend incarnate perpetrating and glorying in the horrors just enumerated, and in others so gross and vile that they can not be mentioned. But remember that while we may shut our ears to the horrid tale, innocent women and young children are enduring even unto the agonies of death outrages we can not imagine.

The Armenians constitute the sole civilizing force—nay with all their faults, the sole humanizing element [305]in Anatolia: peaceful to the last limit of self sacrifice, law-abiding to their own undoing, and at the same time industrious and hopeful under conditions which would stagger the majority of mankind. At their best they are the stuff of which heroes and martyrs are made. Most emphatically they are the martyr nation of the world.

They are Christians, believing as we believe that God has revealed Himself to the world in Jesus Christ for the salvation of men; and they have held fast to that faith in our common Lord in spite of disgrace and misery, in the face of fire and sword, in the extremest agonies of torture and death. Whether suffering death at the hands of the Persia Magi, or being built alive by Tamerlane into pyramids of hideous glory, scarcely a generation has passed to the grave without giving up its heroes and martyrs to the Cross of Christ. The murdered of Sassoun, of Van, or Erzeroum were also Christian martyrs: and any or all of those whose eyes have been gouged out, whose limbs were torn asunder from their bodies might have obtained life and comparative prosperity by merely pronouncing the formula of Islam and abjuring Christ. But instead of this, thousands have commended their souls to their Creator, delivered up their bodies to the tormentors, endured indescribable agonies, and died, like Christian martyrs, defying Heaven itself so to speak, by their boundless trust in God, though he seemingly does not hear their cries for deliverance.

The apostacy to Islam by those who can no longer endure these horrors will, certainly, be laid at the doors of Christian Europe and America, who left them to perish in the direst, darkest hour of human history. [306]All Christendom knows what they are suffering yet not a Christian power has said in words like solid shot: “These persecutions must cease.” Identity of ideals, aspirations and religious faith give this unfortunate but heroic people strong claims on the sympathy of the English-speaking peoples, for our ancestors whatever the form of their religious creed never hesitated to die for it, and whenever the breath of God swept over them breasted the hurricane of persecution.

But even in the name of a common humanity to say nothing of race or creed what special claims to our sympathy are needed by men and women whom we see, treated their masters, as in the dark ages the damned were said to be dealt with by the devils in the deepest of hell’s abysses? Our written laws condemn cruelty to a horse or cat or dog; our innate sense of justice would compel us to punish the man who should wantonly torture even a rat by roasting it alive. And yet we read of wounded Armenians being thrown into wells where kerosene was poured upon them and then being burned alive and we are as cool as ever. What more is needed to compel us to stretch out a helping hand to tens of thousands of virtuous women and innocent children to save them from protracted tortures with some of which the Gehenna of fire were a swift and merciful death.

Why is it that the sentimental compassion of England has not gone out into effective help to poor Armenia? For reason of “higher politics.” Her interests demand that the Turks and Kurds in whose soulless bodies legions of devils seem to have taken up their abode, shall be protected; the integrity of the Empire and the rule of Islam are essential—indispensable to [309]Christian civilization, i.e., to England’s commercial prestige.

Armenian Mountaineer of Shadokh.

Armenian Mountaineer of Shadokh.

By the terms of the Berlin Treaty and the occupation of Cyprus, England bound herself to see to it that the Christian peoples under the rule of the Porte should have fair, humane treatment. This has been fully and clearly shown in our chapter on the Russo-Turkish war. At the close of that war (1878) the condition of Armenian Christians was from a humane point of view deplorable. Yet nothing was done—no efficacious step was taken to fulfil that solemn promise. Things were allowed to drift from bad to worse, mismanagement to develop into malignity, oppression merge into persecution, until just as in 1876 most solemn promises of reform were followed by the Bulgarian horrors, so the promises for reforms in Armenia after the Sassoun massacre were followed by the still more terrible atrocities which have not yet ceased.

The Turk knew that the powers would not agree in compelling the enforcement of the promises made. Time was needed. Yes time in which to slaughter and to starve the Armenians whom by the treaty of Berlin all the Great Powers were bound to protect in their rights.

But the unfortunate action and reaction of the English government made themselves immediately and fatally felt in the very homes and at the fireside of hundreds of thousands of Christian men and women driving them into exile, shutting them up in noisome prisons and subjecting them to every conceivable species of indignity, outrage and death. By pressing a knob in London, as it were, hell’s portals were opened in Asia Minor, letting loose legions of fiends in human shape [310]who set about torturing and exterminating the Christians there. Nor was the government ignorant of the wide-reaching effects of its ill-advised action. It is on record that for seventeen years it continued to watch the harrowing results of that action without once interfering to stop it although at any moment during that long period of persecution it could have redeemed its promise and rescued the Christians from their unbearable lot.

Mr. Dillon says that if a detailed description were possible of the horrors which England’s exclusive attention to her own mistaken interests let loose upon Turkish Armenians, there is not a man within the kingdom of Great Britain whose heart strings would not be touched and thrilled by the gruesome stories of which it would be composed.

During all those seventeen years written law, traditional custom, the fundamental maxims of human and divine justice were suspended in favor of a Mohammedan Saturnalia. The Christians by whose toil and thrift the empire was held together were despoiled, beggared, chained, beaten, banished and butchered: First, their movable wealth was seized, then their landed property was confiscated, next, the absolute necessaries of life were wrested from them, and finally honor, liberty and life were taken with as little to do as if these Christian men and women were wasps and mosquitoes. Thousands of Armenians were thrown into prisons by governors like Tahsin Pasha and Bahri Pasha, and tortured and terrorized till they delivered up the savings of a lifetime and the support of the helpless families to ruffianly parasites. Whole villages were attacked in broad daylight by the Imperial Kurdish [311]cavalry without pretext or warning, the male inhabitants killed or turned adrift, the wives and daughters falling victims to the foul lusts of these bestial murderers.

In a few years some of the provinces were decimated: Aloghkerd for instance being almost “purged” of Armenians. Over twenty thousand woe-stricken wretches once healthy and well-to-do, fled to Russia or Persia in rags and misery diseased or dying. On the way they were seized over and over again by the soldiers of the Sultan who deprived them of the little money they possessed, nay, of the very clothes they were wearing, most shamefully abused the wives and daughters and then drove them over the frontier to hunger and die. Those who remained behind for a time were no better off. Kurdish brigands lifted the last cow and goats of the peasants and carried away their carpets and their valuables. Turkish tax-gatherers followed after these, gleaning what the brigands had left, and lest anything should escape their avarice they bound the men, flogged them till their bodies were a bloody mass, cicatrized the wounds with red hot ramrods, plucked out their beards hair by hair, tore the flesh from their limbs with pincers and often even then hung the men whom they had thus beggared and maltreated from the rafters of their houses to witness with burning shame and impotent rage the hellish outrages of these fiends incarnate.

Terrible as these scenes are even in imagination, it is only proper that some effort should be made to realize the sufferings which have been brought down upon these thousands and hundreds of thousands of helpless men and women, and to understand somewhat of [312]the shame, terror and despair that must take possession of the souls of Christians whose lives are a daily martyrdom of such unchronicled agonies, during which no ray of the life-giving light that plays about the throne of God ever pierces the mist of blood and tears that rises between the blue of heaven and the everlasting grey of the charnel house called Armenia.

These statements are neither rumors nor exaggerations concerning which we are justified in suspending judgment,—though the Turks long denied the reports of the Sassoun massacres. History has set its seal upon them. Diplomacy has slowly verified and reluctantly recognized them as accepted facts. Religion and humanity are now called upon to place their emphatic protest against them on record.

The Turks in their confidential moods have admitted these and worse acts of savagery. The Kurds glory in them at all times. Trustworthy Europeans have witnessed them and described them: and the Armenians have groaned over them in blank despair, and the sweat of their anguish has been blood.

Officers and nobles in the Sultan’s own cavalry regiments like Mostigo the Kurd, glory in the long series of crimes and outrages which have marked their career, and laugh to scorn the idea of being punished for robbing and killing the Armenians whom the Sublime Porte desires them to exterminate.

The stories of the Bulgarian atrocities were repeated here. It was the Armenians themselves who were punished if they dared complain when their own relatives or friends were murdered. And often they were punished on the charge of having committed these [313]outrages themselves, or else on the suspicion of having killed the murderers who were afterwards found living and thriving in the Sultan’s employ, and were never disturbed there.

Three hundred and six of the principal inhabitants of the district of Khnouss in a piteous appeal to the people of England, wrote:—

“Year by year, month by month, day by day, innocent men, women and children have been shot down, stabbed, or clubbed to death in their houses and their fields, tortured in strange fiendish ways in fetid prison cells, or left to rot in exile under the scorching sun of Arabia. During that long and horrible tragedy no voice was raised for mercy, no hand extended to help us. * * * Is European sympathy destined to take the form of a cross over our graves.”

Now the answer has been given. What an answer! These ill-fated men might know that European sympathy has taken a different form—that of a marine guard before the Sultan’s palace to shield him and his from harm from without, while they proceed with their orgies of blood and lust within. They might know; only most of them have been butchered since then, like the relatives and friends whose lot they lamented and yet envied.

In accordance with the plan of extermination, which has been carried out with such signal success during these long years of Turkish vigor and English sluggishness, all those Armenians who possessed money or money’s worth were for a time allowed to purchase immunity from prison, and from all that prison life in Asia Minor implies. But, as soon as terror and summary confiscation took the place of slow and elaborate [314]extortion, the gloomy dungeons of Erzeroum, Erzinghan, Marsovan, Hassankaleh, and Van were filled, till there was no place to sit down, and scarcely sufficient standing room. And this means more than English people can realize, or any person believe who has not actually witnessed it. It would have been a torture for Turkish troopers and Kurdish brigands, but it was worse than death to the educated schoolmasters, missionaries, priests, and physicians who were immured in these noisome hotbeds of infection, and forced to sleep night after night standing on their feet, leaning against the foul, reeking corner of the wall which all the prisoners were compelled to use as.... The very worst class of Tartar and Kurdish criminals were turned in here to make these hell-chambers more unbearable to the Christians. And the experiment was everywhere successful. Human hatred and diabolical spite, combined with the most disgusting sights and sounds and stenches, with their gnawing hunger and their putrid food, their parching thirst and the slimy water, fit only for sewers, rendered their agony maddening. Yet these were not criminals, nor alleged criminals, but upright Christian men, who were never even accused of an infraction of the law. No man who has not seen these prisons with his own eyes, and heard these prisoners with his own ears, can be expected to conceive, much less realize, the sufferings inflicted and endured. The loathsome diseases, whose terrible ravages were freely displayed; the still more loathsome vices, which were continually and openly practised; the horrible blasphemies, revolting obscenities and ribald jests which alternated with cries of pain, songs of vice, and prayers to the unseen God, made these prisons, [315]in some respects, nearly as bad as the Black Hole of Calcutta, and in others infinitely worse.

Into these prisons venerable old ministers of religion were dragged from their churches, teachers from their schools, missionaries from their meeting-houses, merchants, physicians, and peasants from their firesides. Those among them who refused to denounce their friends, or consent to some atrocious crime, were subjected to horrible agonies. Many a one, for instance, was put into a sentry-box bristling with sharp spikes, and forced to stand there motionless, without food or drink, for twenty-four and even thirty-six hours, was revived with stripes whenever he fell fainting to the prickly floor, and was carried out unconscious at the end. It was thus that hundreds of Armenian Christians, whose names and histories are on record, suffered for refusing to sign addresses to the Sultan accusing their neighbors and relatives of high treason. It was thus that Azo was treated by his judges, the Turkish officials, Talib Effendi, Captain Reshid, and Captain Hadji Fehim Agha, for declining to swear away the lives of the best men of his village. A whole night was spent in torturing him. He was first bastinadoed in a room close to which his female relatives and friends were shut up so that they could hear his cries. Then he was stripped naked, and two poles, extending from his armpits to his feet, were placed on each side of his body and tied tightly. His arms were next stretched out horizontally and poles arranged to support his hands. This living cross was then bound to a pillar, and the flogging began. The whips left livid traces behind. The wretched man was unable to make the slightest movement to ease his pain. His features [316]alone, hideously distorted, revealed the anguish he endured. The louder he cried, the more heavily fell the whip. Over and over again he entreated his tormentors to put him out of pain, saying: “If you want my death, kill me with a bullet, but for God’s sake don’t torture me like this!” His head alone being free he, at last, maddened by excruciating pain, endeavored to dash out his brains against the pillar, hoping in this way to end his agony. But this consummation was hindered by the police. They questioned him again; but in spite of his condition, Azo replied as before: “I cannot defile my soul with the blood of innocent people. I am a Christian.” Enraged at this obstinacy, Talib Effendi, the Turkish official, ordered the application of other and more effective tortures. Pincers were fetched to pull out his teeth; but, Azo remaining firm, this method was not long persisted in. Then Talib commanded his servants to pluck out the prisoner’s moustachios by the roots, one hair at a time. This order the gendarmes executed, with roars of infernal laughter. But this treatment proving equally ineffectual, Talib instructed his men to cauterize the unfortunate victim’s body. A spit was heated in the fire. Azo’s arms were freed from their supports, and two brawny policemen approached, one on each side, and seized him. Meanwhile another gendarme held to the middle of the wretched man’s hands the glowing spit. While his flesh was thus burning, the victim shouted out in agony, “For the love of God kill me at once!”

Then the executioners, removing the red hot spit from his hands, applied it to his breast, then to his back, his face, his feet, and other parts. After this, they forced open his mouth, and burned his tongue [317]with red hot pincers. During these inhuman operations, Azo fainted several times, but on recovering consciousness maintained the same inflexibility of purpose. Meanwhile, in the adjoining apartment, a heartrending scene was being enacted. The women and the children, terrified by the groans and cries of the tortured man, fainted. When they revived, they endeavored to rush out to call for help, but the gendarmes, stationed at the door, barred their passage, and brutally pushed them back.1

Nights were passed in such hellish orgies and days in inventing new tortures or refining upon the old, with an ingenuity which reveals unimagined strata of malignity in the human heart. The results throw the most sickening horrors of the Middle Ages into the shade. Some of them cannot be described, nor even hinted at. The shock to people’s sensibilities would be too terrible. And yet they were not merely described to, but endured by, men of education and refinement, whose sensibilities were as delicate as ours.

And when the prisons in which these and analogous doings were carried on had no more room for new-comers, some of the least obnoxious of its actual inmates were released for a bribe, or, in case of poverty, were expeditiously poisoned off.

In the homes of these wretched people the fiendish fanatics were equally active and equally successful. Family life was poisoned at its very source. Dishonor menaced almost every girl and woman in the country. They could not stir out of their houses in the broad [318]daylight to visit the bazaars, or to work in the fields, nor even lie down at night in their own homes without fearing the fall of that Damocles’ sword ever suspended over their heads. Tender youth, childhood itself, was no guarantee. Children were often married at the age of eleven, even ten, in the vain hope of lessening this danger. But the protection of a husband proved unavailing; it merely meant one murder more, and one “Christian dog” less. A bride would be married in church yesterday and her body would be devoured by the beasts and birds of prey to-morrow. Others would be abducted, and, having for weeks been subjected to the embrace of lawless Kurds, would end by abjuring their God and embracing Islam; not from any vulgar motive of gain, but to escape the burning shame of returning home as pariahs and lepers to be shunned by those near and dear to them for ever. Little girls of five and six were frequently forced to be present during these horrible scenes, and they, too, were often sacrificed before the eyes of their mothers, who would have gladly, madly accepted death, ay, and damnation, to save their tender offspring from the corroding poison.

One of the abducted young women who, having been outraged by the son of the Deputy-Governor of Khnouss, Hussni Bey, returned, a pariah, and is now alone in the world, lately appealed to her English sisters for such aid as a heathen would give to a brute, and she besought it in the name of our common God. Lucine Mussegh—this is the name of that young woman whose Protestant education gave her, as she thought, a special claim to act as the spokeswoman of Armenian mothers and daughters—Lucine Mussegh besought, last March, the women of England to obtain for the women of Armenia [319]the privilege of living a pure and chaste life! This was the boon which she craved—but did not, could not, obtain. The interests of “higher politics,” the civilizing missions of the Christian Powers are, it seems, incompatible with it! “For the love of the God whom we worship in common,” wrote this outraged, but still hopeful, Armenian lady, “help us, Christian sisters! Help us before it is too late, and take the thanks of the mothers, the wives, the sisters, and the daughters of my people, and with them the gratitude of one for whom, in spite of her youth, death would come as a happy release.”

Neither the Christian sisters nor the Christian brethren in England have seen their way to comply with this strange request. But it may perhaps interest Lucine Mussegh to learn that the six Great Powers of Europe are quite unanimous, and are manfully resolved, come what will, to shield His Majesty the Sultan from harm, to support his rule, and to guarantee his kingdom from disintegration. These are objects worthy of the attention of the Great Powers; as for the privilege of leading pure and chaste lives—they cannot be importuned about such private matters.

What astonishes one throughout this long, sickening story of shame and crime is the religious faith of the sufferers. It envelops them like a Nessus’ shirt, aggravating their agonies by the fear it inspires that they must have offended in some inexplicable way the omnipotent God who created them. What is not at all wonderful, but only symptomatic, is the mood of one of the women, who, having prayed to God in heaven, discovered no signs of His guiding hand upon earth, and whose husband was killed in presence of her daughter, [320]after which each of the two terrified females was outraged by the band of ruffians in turn. When gazing, a few days later, on the lifeless corpse of that beloved child whom she had vainly endeavored to save, that wretched, heartbroken mother, wrung to frenzy by her soul-searing anguish, accounted to her neighbors for the horrors that were spread over her people and her country by the startling theory that God Himself had gone mad, and that maniacs and demons incarnate were stalking about the world!

Such, in broad outline, has been the normal condition of Armenia ever since the Treaty of Berlin, owing at first to the disastrous action, and subsequently to the equally disastrous inaction of the British Government. The above sketch contains but a few isolated instances of the daily commonplaces of the life of Armenian Christians. When these have been multiplied by thousands and the colors duly heightened, a more or less adequate idea may be formed of the hideous reality. Now, during all those seventeen years, we took no serious step to put an end to the brigandage, rapes, tortures, and murders which all Christendom agreed with us in regarding as the normal state of things. No one deemed it his duty to insist on the punishment of the professional butchers and demoralizers, who founded their claims to preferment upon the maintenance of this inhuman system, and had their claims allowed, for the Sultan, whose intelligence and humanity it was the fashion to eulogise and admire, decorated and rewarded these faithful servants, making them participators in the joy of their lord. Indeed, the utter perversion of the ideas of justice and humanity which characterized the views of European Christendom during the long period [321]of oppression and demoralization at last reached such a pitch that the Powers agreed to give the Sultan a “reasonable” time to reëstablish once more the normal state of things.



Sassoun is a mountainous province in the southern portion of the Armenian plateau, west of Lake Van. It is inhabited exclusively by Armenians and Kurds, the former race being in majority. There is, however, no intermingling of the races; the Armenian villages are grouped in the center of the province, and the Kurdish are scattered all around.

Map of Armenia.

Despite continuous spoliation by Kurd and Turk, the Armenians managed to get along tolerably. But Turk and Kurd became more and more exacting, the Kurd being instructed by the Turk. The Kurds would be satisfied with the traditional tribute, but the Turkish authorities incited them to demand more, to plunder and to kill. [322]

The Armenians of Sassoun were fully aware of the hostile intention of the Government, but they did not imagine it to be one of utter extermination.

The Porte had prepared its plans. Sassoun was doomed.

The Kurds were to come in much greater number, the Government was to furnish them provisions and ammunition, and the regular army was to second them in case of need.

The plan was to destroy first Shenig, Semal, Guelliegoozan, Aliantz, etc., and then to proceed towards Dalvorig.

The Kurds, notwithstanding their immense number, proved to be unequal to the task. The Armenians held their own and the Kurds got worsted.

After two weeks fight between Kurd and Armenian, the regular army entered into active campaign.

Mountain pieces began to thunder. The Armenians, having nearly exhausted their ammunition, took to flight.

Kurd and Turk pursued them and massacred men, women and children. The houses were searched and then put on fire.

The scene of the massacre was most horrible. The enemies took a special delight in butchering the Dalvorig people.

An immense crowd of Kurd and Turk soldiery fell upon the Dalvorig village, busy to search the houses, to find out hidden furniture, and then to put fire to the village.

A native of the Dalvorig village, succeeded in hiding from the searching soldiers, and when, twelve days after the destruction of his home, the army went away, [323]he came out of his hiding place and looked among the corpses for his own dead. He found and buried his father, two nephews and his aunt. The bodies were swollen enormously in the sun, and the stench was something awful in all the surroundings. He witnessed many acts of military cruelties which are not proper to be reported.

In June, 1893, four young Armenians and their wives, living only two miles from the city of Van, where the Governor and a large military force reside, were picking herbs on the hillside. They carefully kept together and intended to return before night. They were observed by a band of passing Kurds, who in broad daylight fell upon the defenseless party, butchered the young men, and, as to the brides, it is needless to relate further. The villagers going out the next day found the four bodies, not simply dead, but slashed and disfigured almost beyond recognition. They resolved to make a desperate effort to let their wrongs at least be known.

Hastily yoking up four rude ox carts they placed on each the naked remains of one of the victims, with his distracted widow sitting by the side, shorn of her hair in token of dishonor. This gruesome procession soon reached the outskirts of the city, where it was met by soldiers sent to turn it back. The unarmed villagers offered no resistance, but declared their readiness to perish if not heard. The soldiers shrank from extreme measures that might cause trouble among the thirty-thousand Armenians of Van, who rapidly gathered about the scene. The Turkish bayonets retreated before the bared breasts of the villagers. With ever-increasing numbers, but without tumult, the procession [324]passed before the doors of the British and Russian vice-consulates, of the Persian consul-general, the chief of police and other high officials, till it paused before the great palace of the Governor.

At this point Bahri Pasha, the Governor, stuck his head out of the second story window and said: ‘I see it. Too bad! Take them away and bury them. I will do what is necessary.’ Within two days some Kurds were brought in, among whom were several who were positively identified by the women; but, upon their denying the crime, they were immediately released, and escaped.

In 1893, the impoverished Armenians stripped of everything worth possessing, decided to resist further robberies. Early in the spring of that year, the Kurds came with demands more exorbitant than ever, the chiefs being escorted by a great number of armed men, but they were driven back by the brave villagers. When this became known to the Ottoman authorities, some of the more zealous of them applied for a large body of regular troops. The Turkish Government affected to believe that the secret political agitation which had been going on among the Armenians for some time had at length produced a serious revolt, and that it was necessary to quell it at once in energetic and relentless fashion.

Great Mosque and Interior of Urfah.

Great Mosque and Interior of Urfah.

Orders were accordingly sent to Zekki Pasha, the Mushir commanding the troops at Erzinghian, to proceed to Sassoun with a sufficient force and suppress the disturbances. The precise terms of the instructions to this energetic Pasha never transpired and were never known to any one outside the Turkish official world. Whatever they were the Pasha evidently understood [327]that he was literally to annihilate those who had resisted the authority of the local officials, and he executed what he supposed to be the wishes of his superiors with a barbarity towards both men and women, which deserves the reprobation of the civilized world. The Turkish soldiers hesitated to carry out such atrocious orders against defenceless women and men who offered no resistance, and they did not obey until threatened with condign punishment for disobedience. The protests of the Mutessarif, the civil Governor of the district, were disregarded.

The fixed hour of fate arrived.

In August 1894, Kurdish and Turkish troops came to Sassoun. Among them the famous Hamidieh troops, the specially organized Kurdish cavalry named after the Sultan, the name significant of the purpose for which they were organized.

Zekki Pasha who commanded on that infamous occasion was afterwards decorated by the Sultan as were four Kurdish chiefs who had been specially savage and merciless during the progress of the carnage, while the Civil Governor of the district who so humanely protested was summarily removed from his post.

The Kurds were newly armed with Martini rifles. Zekki Pasha, who had come from Erzingan, read the Sultan’s order for the attack, and then urged the soldiers to loyal obedience to their Imperial master. On the last day of August, the anniversary of Abdul Hamid’s accession to the throne, the soldiers were specially urged to distinguish themselves in making it the day of greatest slaughter. On that day the commander wore the edict of the Sultan on his breast. Kurds began the butchery by attacking the sleeping [328]villagers at night and slaying men, women and children. For twenty-three days this horrible work of slaughter lasted. Some of the Kurds afterward boasted of killing a hundred Christians apiece. At one village, Galogozan, many young men were tied hand and foot, laid in a row, covered with brushwood and burned alive. Others were seized and hacked to death piecemeal. At another village, a priest and several leading men were captured and promised release if they would tell where others had fled; and, after telling, all but the priest were killed. A chain was put around his neck and pulled from opposite sides until he was several times choked and revived, after which bayonets were planted upright and he was raised in the air and dropped upon them. The men of one village, when fleeing, took the women and children, some five hundred in number, and placed them in a ravine where soldiers found them and butchered them. Little children were cut in two and mutilated. Women were subjected to fearful agonies, ending in death. A newly wedded couple fled to a hilltop; soldiers followed and offered them their lives if they would accept Islam, but they preferred to die bravely professing Christ. On Mount Andoke, south of Moush, about a thousand persons sought refuge. The Kurds attacked them, but for days were repulsed. Then Turkish soldiers directed the fire of their cannon on them. Finally the ammunition of the fugitives was exhausted, and the troops succeeded in reaching the summit unopposed and butchered them to a man. In the Talvoreeg district, several thousand Armenians were left in a small plain. When surrounded by Turks and Kurds they appealed to heaven for deliverance, but were quickly dispatched [329]with rifles, bayonets and swords. The plain was a veritable shamble.

No accurate estimate of the number slain in the first massacre could be made. Forty villages were totally destroyed and the loss of life from ten to fifteen thousand. Efforts were made to conceal the real extent of the carnage, but the “blood-bath of Sassoun” has passed into history and cannot be forgotten.

At Bitlis there was a Kurdish raid on Armenian cattle, resulting in a fight in which two Kurds were killed.

The friends of the Kurds took the corpses to Moush and declared that the Armenians had overrun the land and were killing and plundering right and left. This furnished a pretext for a massing of the troops.

On the admissions of Turkish soldiers, some of whom tearfully protested that they merely obeyed orders, six thousand people were killed. No compassion was shown to age or sex. In one place three or four hundred women, after having been forced repeatedly to submit to the soldiery, were hacked to pieces with swords and bayonets. In another place two hundred women begged at the commander’s feet for mercy. The commander, after ordering that they be outraged, had them all despatched with the sword. Similar scenes were enacted in other places.

In one case sixty young brides and maidens were driven into a church, and after being violated were butchered until their blood flowed from the doors.

A large company, headed by a priest, knelt near the church begging for compassion, averring that they had nothing to do with the culprits who killed the Kurds. It was in vain; all were killed.

Several attractive women were told that they might [330]live if they would recant their faith. They replied: “Why should we deny Christ? We have no more reason to do so than had these,” pointing to the mangled bodies of their husbands and brothers, “Kill us, too.” This was done.

A priest was taken to the roof of his church and hacked to pieces; young men were placed among wood saturated with kerosene and set on fire. After the massacre, and when the terrified survivors had fled, there was a general looting by the Hamidieh Kurds. They stripped the houses bare, then piled the dead into them and fired the whole, intending as far as possible to cover up the evidences of their dreadful crime.

The rivulets were choked with corpses; the streams ran red with human blood, the mountain gorges and rocky caves were crowded with the dead and dying; among the black ruins of once prosperous villages lay half-burned infants on their mothers’ mangled bodies: pits were dug at night by the wretches destined to fill them; many of whom were flung in while but slightly wounded, and underneath a mountain of clammy corpses struggled vainly with death and with the dead who shut them out of life and light forever.

The following letter from an Armenian native of Sassoun added another page to the tale of woe:—

“At last we have escaped from the barbarity and atrocity of the Turks, and have arrived at Athens. Our escape from Sassoun was almost miraculous, and it is possible that the cannon and knives of the Turkish soldiers are still doing their bloody work there. Everybody knows that the orders for the massacre were given by direct counsellors of the Sultan.

“There is hardly a man left alive in Sassoun, and [331]pleading women and little children, all together, old and young, have been sacrificed by the swords of the Turkish soldiers. They besieged the village from the last of April until the first of August, and during all these weeks we fed on vegetables and the roots of grasses.

“The first few weeks were bitterly cold, and existence was terrible. All outside communication was cut off. The Turks suspected that other villages would give us food, and so they plundered the neighboring villages. The villagers resisted and hundreds of them were killed. Of the three hundred and twenty-five houses which made up the village of Varteniss only thirty-five were left standing.

“When the news of this massacre reached Sassoun our people were excited beyond all thought of personal safety, and we attacked the soldiers and succeeded in killing twelve of them. Then more ammunition and soldiers were sent there, and a devilish work was begun.

“The Chiefs of the tribes of the Kurds, with Celo Bey and his staff, together with the regular soldiers, came to the village of Samal. Many of the inhabitants, after suffering atrocious cruelties, were put to death. They brought the minister of the village from his house, and after putting the sacred chalice into his hands, bound him to a donkey and then shot him and the animal together. In all, the number killed in the village was forty-five.

“This deviltry was by no means the worse perpetrated. The greatest horror was at the village of Gely Guse. Celo Bey and his men entered the village before daybreak, and while the inhabitants were peacefully [332]sleeping in their homes set fire to the whole village, and not one escaped. The village of Shenig met with almost a similar fate, all the people of prominence being killed.

“The tribe of Kurds known as Gebran, headed by the Chief Ebo and accompanied by Turkish soldiers, entered the village of Konk. There they gathered all the women in the church. After defiling them in the most revolting manner, they slew them. The soldiers spent the night in the village in revelry and debauchery.

“Two other tribes, those of Pakran and Khisan, came against the village of Alpak. They collected all the herds and flocks, and drove them off. Then they returned and burned the whole village.

“We who have escaped thank God for our safety and are prayerfully exchanging the helpful sympathy of the civilized world.”

Another letter from a Sassoun fugitive, gave the saddening story of the experience of one family. It is typical of the experience of thousands of others. He wrote:

“Our family was composed of ten members, and were natives of Semal, a village in Sassoun. We fought the Kurds to protect our lives and property; but when the Turkish soldiers united with the Kurds, we fled. I was with my father. He could not run away because he was very weak, having eaten nothing for many days. I entered, with the rest of my family, into a thick forest. The soldiers overtook my father and struck him with their swords, disemboweling him; they filled his body with gunpowder and set fire to him. Afterwards I went with others and gathered [333]up what remained of my poor father and buried him.

“With the rest of my family I remained forty days in the forests, subsisting on herbs and roots until the soldiers were recalled, and there was nobody to pursue us. We came down to Moush, and the government sent us to Khibian, a village in the Moush plain, where we remained in a dilapidated hut with very little to eat. All of us became sick from hunger and cold: two girls and one boy died, and the rest, six members of our family, are now wandering from village to village, naked and hungry.”

Neither age nor sex were spared. A final refusal to deny Christ and accept Islam sealed the fate of the Armenian. Women torn from their homes and outraged, and hundreds of young girls forcibly carried off, fiendishly used and wantonly slain, and other horrors unnamable and unfit to print, were some of the methods employed with the Sultan’s permission, in upholding the glory of Islam.

The following narrative, was also obtained from Armenian sources: “Andakh was besieged in August. Gorgo, with his followers, strengthened their position and defended it heroically for six days, generally fighting with stones and daggers. The women often took the places of these who had been killed. The position becoming untenable, Gorgo left the women to defend it, and took his troops out to forage for food and ammunition. The women maintained the defence twenty-four hours, then yielded to greater numbers after being surrounded on all sides. Their condition was terrible. Many carried babies on their backs, while the elder children stood beside them. The women saw that they [334]never could fight their way through the ranks of the enemy. Gorgo’s wife stepped on a high rock and cried, ‘Sisters, you must choose between two things: Either fall into the hands of the Turks and forget your husbands, homes, and your holy religion to adopt Islam, and to be violated, or you must follow my example.’ Thereupon, holding her young child in her arms, she dashed herself into the abyss. Others followed her, falling without cry or groan. The children followed their mothers, and the ravine was soon filled with corpses. Those who jumped last were not hurt, as their companions’ bodies were piled high. About fifty women and one hundred children were taken prisoners. The women bore their tortures silently, and refused to betray Gorgo and his brave followers. Gorgo’s wife was named Schakhe.”

The following accounts gave in realistic language, some of the sufferings of the native Christians, who met death bravely rather than purchase life by denying their Saviour.

A man from Central Dalvorig, said: His family numbered twelve; of these six had been killed. His wife, a son six years of age, and a little girl, a brother, a daughter five years old, and son aged ten. These children tried to flee, but being greatly reduced by hunger, were unable to escape from the soldiers pursuing them. A brother, Shemo, survived, and with his wife and children found refuge in a monastery. He saw a group of three brothers, while hidden behind some trees, surprised by soldiers and brutally murdered. They were boys about three, seven, and ten years of age. Their anguished mother, from Hodwink, utterly powerless to rescue her children, [335]witnessed the awful deed from her place of concealment, and after the soldiers had gone, went and buried them. The same writer repeatedly heard women say, “We will be a sacrifice for our nation, but we cannot deny our faith.”

A man from Galigozan said that he had an uncle and three cousins killed in the massacre—all were shot and one was mutilated with the sword. Another nephew, thirty-five years of age, was burned in a house from which he could not escape. His wife and two children remained for five weeks in the covert afforded by the rocks and holes of a mountain side. On seeing soldiers approach one day, a man nearly strangled his little daughter, four years of age, to suppress her cries for food. She died a few days afterward from the effects of his treatment. The niece was betrothed to a young man from Semel who, with three others from the same house, came to Galigozan when the soldier called to surrender, promising safety. But on appearing there the whole company were told that they must either embrace Islam or meet instant death. The four men above referred to with forty others, were there pitilessly slaughtered, and thrown into the pit which had been dug.

From Spughawk, a village near Dalvorig, a man gave an account of the fate of his family. A Kurdish Sheik with fifteen hundred followers came and the terrified people fled to the mountain. In the attempt to escape many were killed. Afterwards soldiers came and with the Kurds surrounded the village, plundered and burned it. Its fine church built of hewn stone laid in lime and having an arched roof, was razed to the ground. This man’s brother Arakil was shot and then [336]pierced with twelve bayonet wounds. His nephew was killed with the bayonet and a niece who was about to be married was decapitated.

A woman and her two sons (thirty and seven years of age), were discovered by soldiers. They first attacked the woman, inflicting dangerous, though as it proved, not fatal wounds, and then killed her two sons. After the departure of the soldiers the mother with one hand, (the fingers of the other had been mangled), scraped shallow holes in the ground using sharp stones and then dragging the bodies of her sons thither, covered them with earth and stones. One man said that his family consisted of twelve persons. His brother was one of the chief men of the place, conspicuous at all times for his ability and courage. The soldiers had heard of this man and were anxious to find him. Finally they discovered his hiding place and attacked him fiercely saying: “At last we have found you, infidel!” With cursing and dreadful language they literally hacked him to pieces, his son, and his brother’s wife hidden among rocks near by, paralyzed with terror, saw the awful deed. His son Sarkis was afterward slain, as also his nephews.

A woman from Dalvorig said: “Of the twelve in my family, three were killed in the massacre, my husband (forty years), daughter (ten years), and Hukhit, my infant son. A brother-in-law was taken captive, and after suffering much from cruel treatment, died in Moush prison. When we saw the smoke of the burning villages we hastily fled. We had buried our most valuable household goods some days previous, but the Kurds found and carried off everything. While concealed among the rocks and thickets we heard the [337]sound of trumpets, and fearing lest we should be hunted down by the soldiery, about one hundred refugees got together and we then decided to go to the Hinatsee tribe of Kurds; (they were the aghas of our province), and implore their protection. We set out early in the morning and soon met five Kurds who said to us: ‘Come to the camp, to the surrender; there is peace.’ Thus saying, one of them seized a mule, the only animal we had with us, and rode away to betray us as it afterward proved. We followed the four Kurds till we came near a river. Then we saw two large companies of Kurds approaching us, one some distance below us, the other on the opposite side of the river. These soon surrounded us. They were led by a mollah, one of the followers of the noted Sheikh of Zeelon. They drove us into a ravine. One of our company attempted to escape, but was instantly cut down with the sword. The Kurds gave us the alternative of accepting the Moslem faith or death. With one accord we all said, ‘We cannot deny our Christ.’ Immediately they seized the men, there were only eleven in our company, bound their arms with cords, and then took from us women and children all clothing worth removing. Many were left with a single garment. One aged woman near us was left stark naked. After this the mollah sent a letter to the Turkish camp, which was about half an hour distant from Dalvorig village, inquiring as to what should be done with us. I heard them talk about the letter. Soon after this I heard the Kurds plotting to take the young women and send the others away to the mountains.

“They did not unite in this plan, and as the darkness came on they counted us and set a watch and lay down [338]to rest on the ground about the ravine. The next day towards noon they decided to take us to the Turkish camp and ordered us to set out. Our husbands and brothers who had been bound the night before were in a pitiable condition,—their arms and hands badly swollen. Shortly after this the Kinds dispersed and we made our escape to the mountains. One day while hiding among the rocks I saw my husband, and son-in-law, Kevork, bound by cords and cruelly murdered. My husband was cut limb from limb—literally hacked to pieces. Too terrified to move I stood gazing at the awful sight, when suddenly five Kurds sprang upon me. They did not harm me but wanted my child. I threw myself upon the ground to shield him, but they drugged me to one side and stabbed him with a dagger. (Her twelve-year old daughter was not far away. She was greatly terrified, having witnessed the murder of her father and brother.) I ran to her and tried to pull her along as we fled, but she soon stopped and exclaiming, ‘mother, I am dying,’ fell dead at my feet. I did not dare to linger and fled over the rocks until I found my other children, one of whom was the wife of Kevork, my son-in-law, who had just been murdered. The next day we turned back to bury the body of my daughter. We did not dare to go further then, as there were many soldiers and Kurds around. Twenty days later I returned and buried the remains of my husband and son-in-law. While I was hiding among the rocks I saw soldiers barbarously kill a woman, removing the yet unborn child and thrusting it through with a bayonet.”

What she saw and endured during those weary days of wandering would fill many pages. At length all the [339]surviving members of the family reached Shadald, a district near Moush.

One woman’s husband disappeared at the time of the massacre. She, with her husband, brother, and his son, were hiding in the mountains when soldiers murdered her brother-in-law, and his son-in-law, and his son in a most brutal manner. She was very near them, hidden behind some rocks, but they did not discover her, and the next day she joined a company of seven villagers, two women, three girls, and two boys, with whom she remained hiding among rocks and thickets. They were soon discovered by Kurds. Two soldiers took her away from her companions and told her she must adopt the Mohammedan faith, and that if she refused they would take her life then and there. She finally replied, “if you wish to kill me I am helpless, but I cannot commit the awful sin of denying Christ.” They took her with them for several miles, sometimes persuading, sometimes threatening her, till they were met by a company of Kurds, among whom was a woman who begged the soldiers to let the young woman go. This they did.

A woman from Somal said: “I am a member of a priest’s family; my husband was his brother’s son; I went with the family to surrender at Galigozan; the priest, my husband, and his two brothers were all cruelly murdered and thrown into the death-pit at Galigozan which the soldiers had dug. We were separated from our husbands and brothers, and soldiers took us to a church about half an hour away from the camp. There we were kept all night. In the morning soldiers came to us and said: ‘Come to camp and give your word that you will accept Islam.’ We cried out, [340]‘Never! We cannot do that great sin.’ They replied, ‘If you do not, we will do to you as we did to your husbands and sons last night.’ This was the first intimation we had of the awful massacre that had taken place the night before.”

Such are some of the causes that impelled these people to appeal to the Christian world for protection and redress. The incidents mentioned were only a few among thousands of similar experiences, which showed how loyally the Christian peasants of Armenia laid down their lives rather than betray their Master by accepting the faith of Islam. [341]

1 The above description is taken literally from a report of the British Vice-Consul of Erzeroum. Copies are in possession of the diplomatic representatives of the Powers at Constantinople. The scene occurred in the village of Semal before the massacres, during the normal condition of things. 




The Mohammedan populace in all the large cities of Asia Minor were deliberately inflamed against the Armenians by lying rumors of intended attacks on the mosques. Soon there was an outbreak at Constantinople in which nearly two hundred Armenians were killed by the “Softas” (Moslem students), and by the police.

This was followed by a terrific outburst of fanaticism all over the Sultan’s dominions, the Kurdish Hamidieh were brought into requisition, and such scenes of massacre ensued as have not been paralleled since the days of Tamerlane.

Through all the vilayets of Armenia ran the red tide of blood. In Trebizond, Erzeroum, Erzinghan and hundreds of other cities and villages the Christians were crushed like grapes during the vintage. In this work of destruction the Kurds may have been the leaders, but the Turkish soldiers and civilians did their full share.

For a week prior to the outbreak on October 8, there was great excitement in Trebizond, and the consuls called in a body upon the Vali, and urged him to arrest those who were exciting the populace to deeds of violence. Matters apparently quieted down for a few days, when, suddenly, like a clap of thunder in a clear sky, the assault began. Unsuspecting [342]people walking along the streets were shot ruthlessly down. Men standing or sitting quietly at their shop doors were instantly dropped with a bullet through their heads or hearts. The aim was deadly, and there were no wounded men. Some were slashed with swords until life was extinct. They passed through the quarters where only old men, women and children remained, killing the men and large boys, generally permitting the women and younger children to live. For five hours this horrid work of inhuman butchery went on; the cracking of musketry, sometimes like a volley from a platoon of soldiers, but more often single shots from near and distant points, the crashing in of doors, and the thud, thud of sword blows resounded on the ear. Then the sound of musketry died away, and the work of looting began. Every shop of an Armenian in the market was gutted, and the victors in this cowardly and brutal war glutted themselves with the spoils. For hours bales of broadcloth, cotton goods, and every conceivable kind of merchandise passed along without molestation to the houses of the spoilers. The intention evidently was to impoverish, and as near as possible, to blot out the Armenians of this town. So far as appearances went the police and soldiers distinctly aided in this savage work. They mingled with the armed men and, so far as could be seen, made not the least effort to check them. To any found with arms no quarter was given, but large numbers were shot down without any demand to surrender. One poor fellow when called on to surrender thought he was called on to give up his religion, and when he refused he was hacked to pieces in the presence of his wife and children. Not one of the perpetrators of these outrages [345]was arrested or disarmed, but all moved about with the utmost freedom to accomplish their nefarious purposes. On the other hand many of the Armenians were thrown into prison.

Passage Boat on the Arras.

Passage Boat on the Arras.

The frantic mob, seething and surging in the streets of the cities, swept down upon the defenceless Armenians, plundered their shops, gutted their houses, then joked and jested with the terrified victims, as cats play with mice. As rapid whirling motion produces apparent rest, so the wild frenzy of those fierce fanatic crowds resulted in a condition of seeming calmness, composure, and gentleness which, taken in connection with the unutterable brutality of their acts, was of a nature to freeze men’s blood with horror. In many cases they almost caressed their victims, and actually encouraged them to hope, while preparing the instruments of slaughter.

The French mob during the Terror were men—nay, angels of mercy—compared with these Turks. Those were not insensible to compassion; in these every instinct of humanity seemed atrophied or dead. On the first day of the massacre, an Armenian was coming out of a baker’s shop, where he had been purchasing bread for his sick wife and family, when he was surprised by the raging crowd. Fascinated with terror, he stood still, was seized, and dashed to the ground. He pleaded piteously for mercy and pardon, and they quietly promised it; and so grim and dry was the humor of this crowd that the trembling wretch took their promise seriously and offered them his heartfelt thanks. In truth they were only joking. When they were ready to be serious they tied the man’s feet together, and taunted him, but at first with the assumed gentleness [346]that might well be mistaken for the harbinger of mercy. Then they cut off one of his hands, slapped his face with the bloody wrist, and placed it between his quivering lips. Soon afterwards they chopped off the other hand and inquired whether he would like pen and paper to write to his wife. Others requested him to make the sign of the cross with his stumps or his feet while he still possessed them, while others desired him to shout louder so that his God might hear his cries for help. One of the most active members of the crowd then stepped forward and tore the man’s ears from his head, after which he put them between the man’s lips and then flung them in his face.

“That effendi’s mouth deserves to be punished for refusing such a choice morsel,” exclaimed a voice in the crowd, whereupon somebody stepped forward, knocked out some of his teeth and proceeded to cut out his tongue. “He will never blaspheme again,” a pious Moslem jocosely remarked. Thereupon a dagger was placed under one of his eyes which was scooped clean out of its socket. The hideous contortions of the man’s discolored face, the quick convulsions of his quivering body and the sight of the ebbing blood turning the dry dust to gory mud, literally intoxicated these furious fanatics, who having gouged out the other eye and chopped off his feet hit upon some other excruciating tortures before cutting his throat and sending his soul to “damnation” as they expressed it. These other ingenious, pain-sharpening devices, however, were such as do not lend themselves to descriptions.

More than one thousand people perished in Trebizond under similar tortures who were not more mercifully shot down at once—while many Armenian women were [347]murdered or kidnapped, and most of the Armenian houses were burned to the ground; the survivors of the massacres being driven to the hills and woods to suffer slow starvation.

Equally sad was the fate of the Christians of Baiburt whose tragic taking off was related in a letter addressed by the survivors to the Armenian Patriarch at Constantinople. After giving a partial list of the slain, the writers stated: “When the massacres and plundering began, on account of the prevailing terror and insecurity, the people were compelled to close all the churches, shops and schools, and take refuge in the houses. Letters were sent from our Prelate to the commandant of the Fourth Army Corps at Erzeroum, and to the Armenian Prelate at Erzeroum asking assistance; but all our prayers remained unanswered. After the massacres the Turks advised us indirectly that the order was secretly given from the Imperial Palace and was irrevocable!

“The frantic Turkish mob, assisted by regular troops suddenly fell upon the innocent and unarmed Armenians. The bloody work began at four o’clock A. M., and lasted until late in the evening. Besides murdering our people, the mob plundered and fired the Armenian dwellings and stores, taking care that the Greeks should not be molested. On that frightful day the Armenian community was almost annihilated.

“Strong men, youths and women, and even babies in the cradles and unborn children were butchered with most awful savagery. Infants were stuck on bayonets and exposed to the agonized view of their helpless and frantic mothers. Young brides and girls were subjected to a fate far worse than death. No resistance [348]was possible on the part of the Armenians. All the native teachers with a single exception were murdered with most cruel tortures. Baiburt became a slaughter house. Torrents of blood began to flow. The streets and bazaars were filled with dead bodies. On the following day the Turks did all in their power to conceal the bodies of those who had been pierced by bayonets. Similar scenes were enacted in all the surrounding villages.

“Mourning and lamentation prevail throughout Armenia. The churches are closed; no more can the sound of worshippers be heard. The pealing of the bells is silent. We have no more teachers to teach the remnant of Armenians who still live. Rich and poor alike have perished, and the survivors are in the direst indigence. No bread, no covering for their nakedness; they are shivering in the cold. Baiburt, until lately so generous to help others, is now helpless, and in need of moral and material assistance. Unless such assistance is soon received, nobody can live.

“After the massacres the government began to arrest the remaining Armenians who had escaped the slaughter. We hear that in the prisons the tortures have reached an extreme point of frightful cruelty. Thus the survivors of the massacre are now dying daily. Every moment we have the horrors of death.”

Turkish duplicity was fertile in its resources. Many documents were forwarded to the Grand Vizier at Constantinople from scenes of massacres, purporting to be signed by Armenian nobles, the signatures having been obtained by intimidation. One of the most remarkable was from Bitlis, and bore the signatures of thirty-one Armenian nobles. It proceeds to state that “some [349]of our co-religionists have been deceived by instigators coming from certain parts, and have been the cause of deplorable events and have committed crimes contrary to the wishes of his Imperial Majesty, and against the government of his Imperial Majesty—a government to be whose subject had been for six hundred years a title of glory to us, and through whose benevolence we were enjoying religious liberty and a self-government, the like of which cannot be found under any administration. This being so there remains no hope for us but the mercy of our august sovereign, who deigns to accept all classes of his subjects with a benevolence worthy of the greatest of monarchs.

“On the other hand, everlasting happiness for us consists in preserving our national existence in the shadow of the imperial government. We dare to commend ourselves to the humanity and benevolence of our sovereign, who is an object of admiration for the whole world, and we implore his pardon, taking refuge in that heavenly power bestowed upon him for the pardon of criminals.”

Such is an example of similar documents that were drawn up by local Turkish officials, in fulsome praise of the Porte’s humanity, and which the leading Armenians were compelled to sign, under threats of imprisonment and torture. These spurious testimonials, like the manufactured reports of outrages by Armenians, were designed to influence public opinion in Turkey’s favor.

Even the Porte, accustomed to distort facts, found itself no longer able to conceal from the world the pitiable condition of the Armenians. [350]

In Erzeroum, where a large tract of country, from the lofty mountains of Devi Boyen to the Black Sea shore was laid waste and completely purged of Armenians, similar scenes were enacted. The vilayet of Van, the town of Hassankaleh, and numerous other places were deluged with blood, and polluted with unbridled lust. A man in Erzeroum, hearing the tumult, and fearing for his children, who were playing in the street, went out to seek and save them. He was borne down upon by the mob. He pleaded for his life, protesting that he had always lived in peace with his Moslem neighbors, and sincerely loved them. The statement may have represented a fact, or it may have been but a plea for pity. The ringleader, however, told him that that was the proper spirit, and would be condignly rewarded. The man was then stripped, and a chunk of his flesh cut out of his body, and jestingly offered for sale: “Good fresh meat, and dirt cheap,” exclaimed some of the crowd. “Who’ll buy fine dogs’ meat?” echoed the amused bystanders. The writhing wretch uttered piercing screams as some of the mob, who had just come from rifling the shops, opened a bottle, and poured vinegar or some acid into the gaping wound. He called on God and man to end his agonies. But they had only begun. Soon, afterwards, two little boys came up, the elder crying, “Hairik, Hairik, (Father, father,) save me! See what they’ve done to me!” and pointed to his head, from which the blood was streaming over his handsome face, and down his neck. The younger brother—a child of about three—was playing with a wooden toy. The agonizing man was silent for a second and then, glancing at these, his children, made a frantic but vain effort to snatch a dagger from [351]a Turk by his side. This was the signal for the renewal of his torments. The bleeding boy was finally dashed with violence against the dying father, who began to lose strength and consciousness, and the two were then pounded to death where they lay. The younger child sat near, dabbling his wooden toy in the blood of his father and brother, and looking up, now through smiles at the prettily-dressed Kurds, and now through tears at the dust-begrimed thing that had lately been his father. A slash of a sabre wound up his short experience of God’s world, and the crowd turned its attention to others.

In Erzeroum about seven hundred houses and about fifteen thousand shops were plundered. The number of killed was never known, for there were many strangers in the city. The condition of the people was about as bad as that of the Sassoun people after the massacre. Between two thousand and three thousand people were destitute of fuel, bedding and food, and the majority had only the clothes they had on their backs.

The Government made a show of distributing the plunder collected from the barracks to the rightful owners, but the attempt was farcical.

The Turks declared that the Armenians made an attack on the Government House, and so the affair begun. This declaration was absolutely without foundation. There was no attack even contemplated by Armenians. The first man shot was an aged priest, who was at the Government House to present a complaint to the Governor. He had been robbed in his own house in the village of the Tivnig, and only got off with his life by giving a note for $500 for five days. He was an inoffensive old man, and would be the last [352]man in the world to offer an attack. The attack was made by Moslems after leaving the mosques after the noon hour of prayer, and it was simultaneous all over the city.

A letter from Erzeroum said: “It is almost impossible for me to describe that which I have seen and heard. In Gurum everything which hellish ingenuity can devise has been done by the Turkish soldiers and Bashi-bazouks. All the Armenian villages are in ashes, and the smoke which is rising from the ruined houses gives the appearance of a volcanic eruption. Along the road between Trebizond and Erzeroum, at every step, mutilated bodies are lying. We are unable to leave our homes to bury the dead; unable to sleep. The whole city has taken on the aspect of a wild desert strewn with corpses. Hundreds of thousands of families are compelled to wander in rags, begging for their living. The same fate has befallen a few of the Europeans.”

The Erzeroum massacre started at the office of the Vali in the government building. An Armenian priest of Tevnik was in the building endeavoring to gain an audience with the Vali, when he was shot down by Turkish murderers. Then followed a horrible saturnalia of carnage, during which over one thousand Christians were slaughtered. After the butchery, the dead victims were dragged by the neck and heels into the cemetery and cast into a long, deep trench, not unlike the death pit of Geliguzan—the murdered fathers, mothers and sweet, innocent babes, all calm and peaceful in the sleep of death, flung down like carrion. Nothing more horrible or more pathetic could be imagined than that scene at the cemetery two days after the massacre. The spaces between the poor dead bodies [353]were filled with the skulls and thigh-bones that had been taken by the sacrilegious Moslems from the old, upturned graves and then all were covered up together out of sight. The survivors dared not even express their grief.

Not less shocking was the news that came from Kaisarieh in that part of Asiatic Turkey known as Cappadocia, where a frightful massacre of Christians took place, accompanied by the outraging of women and the looting of the shops and houses. This was done in obedience to orders from Constantinople. Over one thousand were killed and the fury of the Kurds, not satiated with slaughter, vented itself in the mutilation of the inanimate bodies.

An extract from a paper on “The condition of Armenia” by E. J. Dillon will fitly close this chapter.

“The stories told of these Koordish Hamidieh officers in general, and of one of them, named Mostigo, in particular, seemed so wildly improbable, that I was at great pains to verify them. Learning that this particular Fra Diavolo had been arrested and was carefully guarded as a dangerous criminal in the prison of Erzeroum, where he would probably be hanged, I determined to obtain, if possible, an interview with him, and learn the truth from his own lips. My first attempt ended in failure; Mostigo being a desperate murderer, who had once before escaped from jail, was subjected to special restrictions, and if I had carried out my original plan of visiting him in disguise, the probability is that I should not have returned alive. After about three weeks’ tedious and roundabout negotiations, I succeeded in gaining the gaoler’s ear, having first replenished his purse. I next won over the brigand [354]himself, and the upshot of my endeavors was an arrangement that Mostigo was to be allowed to leave the prison secretly, and at night, to spend six hours in my room, and then to be re-conducted to his dungeon.

“When the appointed day arrived the gaoler repudiated his part of the contract, on the ground that Mostigo, aware that his life was forfeited, would probably give the prison a wide berth if allowed to leave its precincts. After some further negotiations, however, I agreed to give two hostages for his return, one of them a brother Koord, whose life the brigand’s notions of honor would not allow him to sacrifice for the chance of saving his own. At last he came to me one evening, walking over the roofs, lest the police permanently stationed at my door should espy him. I kept him all night, showed him to two of the most respectable Europeans in Erzeroum, and, lest any doubt should be thrown on my story, had myself photographed with him next morning.

The tale unfolded by that Koordish noble constitutes a most admirable commentary upon Turkish régime in Armenia. This is not the place to give it in full. One or two short extracts must suffice.

“‘Now, Mostigo, I desire to hear from your own lips and to write down some of your wonderful deeds. I want to make them known to the “hat-wearers.”’ (Europeans).

“‘Even so. Announce them to the Twelve Powers.’ (The whole universe).

“There were evidently no misgivings about moral consequences; no fears of judicial punishment. And yet retribution was at hand; Mostigo was said to be [355]doomed to death. Desirous of clearing up this point, I went on:

“‘I am sorry to find that you are living in prison. Have you been long there?’

“‘I, too, am sorry. Five months, but it seems an age.’

“‘These Armenians are to blame, I suppose?’


“‘You wiped out too many of them, carried off their women, burned their villages and made it generally hot for them, I am told.’

“(Scornfully). ‘That has nothing to do with my imprisonment. I shall not be punished for plundering Armenians. We all do that. I seldom killed, except when they resisted. But the Armenians betrayed me and I was caught. That’s what I mean. But if I be hanged it will be for attacking and robbing the Turkish post and violating the wife of a Turkish Colonel who is now here in Erzeroum. But not for Armenians! Who are they that I should suffer for them?’

After he had narrated several adventures of his, in the course of which he dishonored Christian woman, killed Armenian villagers, robbed the post and escaped from prison, he went on to say:

“‘We did great deeds after that: deeds that would astonish the Twelve Powers to hear told. We attacked villages, killed people who would have killed us, gutted houses, taking money, carpets, sheep and women, and robbed travelers.... Daring and great were our deeds, and the mouths of men were full of them.

“Having heard the story of many of these ‘great deeds,’ in some of which fifty persons met their death, I asked: [356]

“‘Do the Armenians ever offer you resistance when you take their cattle and their women?’

“‘Not often. They cannot. They have no arms, and they know that even if they could kill a few of us it would do them no good, for other Koords would come and take vengeance; but when we kill them no one’s eyes grow large with rage. The Turks hate them, and we do not. We only want money and spoil, and some Koords also want their lands, but the Turks want their lives. A few months ago I attacked the Armenian village of Kara Kipriu and drove off all the sheep in the place. I did not leave one behind. The villagers, in despair, did follow us that time and fire some shots at us, but it was nothing to speak of. We drove the sheep towards Erzeroum to sell them there. But on the way we had a fight near the Armenian village of Sheme. The peasants knew we had lifted the sheep from their own people, and they attacked us. We were only five Koords and they were many—the whole village was up against us. Two of my men—rayahs1 only—were killed. We killed fifteen Armenians. They succeeded in capturing forty of the sheep. The remainder we held and sold in Erzeroum.’

“‘Did you kill many Armenians generally?’

“‘Yes. We did not wish to do so. We only want booty, not lives. Lives are of no use to us. But we had to drive bullets through people at times to keep them quiet; that is, if they resisted.’

“‘Did you often use your daggers?’ [357]

“‘No; generally our rifles. We must live. In autumn we manage to get as much corn as we need for the winter, and money besides. We have cattle, but we take no care of it. We give it to the Armenians to look after and feed.

“‘But if they refuse?’

“‘Well, we burn their hay, their corn, their houses, and we drive off their sheep, so they do not refuse. We take back our cattle in spring, and the Armenians must return the same number that they received.’

“‘But if the cattle disease should carry them off?’

“‘That is the Armenians’ affair. They must return us what we gave them, or an equal number. And they know it. We cannot bear the loss. Why should not they? Nearly all our sheep come from them.’

“After having listened to scores of stories of his expeditions, murders, rapes, &c., &c., I again asked: Can you tell me some more of your daring deeds, Mostigo, for the ears of the Twelve Powers?’ to which I received this characteristic reply:

“‘Once the wolf was asked: Tell us something about the sheep you devoured? and he said: I ate thousands of sheep, which of them are you talking about? Even so it is with my deeds. If I spoke and you wrote for two days, much would still remain untold.’

“This brigand is a Koord, and the name of the Koords is legion. Ex uno disce omnes. And yet the Koords have shown themselves to be the most humane of all the persecutors of the Armenians. Needing money, this man robbed; desirous of pleasure he dishonored women and girls; defending his booty, he killed men and women, and during it all he felt absolutely certain [358]of impunity, so long as his victims were Armenians. Is there no law then? one is tempted to ask. There is, and a very good law for that corner of the globe were it only administered; for the moment he robbed the Imperial post and dishonored a Turkish woman, he was found worthy of death.

“Laws, reforms and constitutions therefore, were they drawn up by the wisest and most experienced legislators and statesmen of the world, will not be worth the paper they are written on so long as the Turks are allowed to administer them without control.”

* * * “Justice in all its aspects is rigorously denied to the Armenian. The mere fact that he dares to invoke it as plaintiff or prosecutor against a Koord or a Turk is always sufficient to metamorphose him into a defendant or a criminal, generally into both, whereupon he is invariably thrown into prison. In such cases the prison is intended to be no more than the halfway-house between relative comfort and absolute misery, the inmates being destined to be stripped of all they possess and then turned adrift. But what the prison really is cannot be made sufficiently clear in words. If the old English Star Chamber, the Spanish Inquisition, a Chinese opium den, the ward of a yellow fever hospital, and a nook in the lowest depths of Dante’s Hell be conceived as blended and merged into one, the resulting picture will somewhat resemble a bad Turkish prison. Filth, stench, disease, deformity, pain in forms and degrees inconceivable in Europe, constitute the physical characteristics: the psychological include the blank despair that is final, fiendish, fierce malignity, hellish delight in human suffering, stoic self-sacrifice in the cultivation of loathsome vices, stark madness raging [359]in the moral nature only—the whole incarnated in grotesque beings whose resemblance to man is a living blasphemy against the Deity. In these noisome dungeons, cries of exquisite suffering and shouts of unnatural delight continually commingle; ribald songs are sung to the accompaniment of heartrending groans; meanwhile the breath is passing away from bodies which had long before been soulless, and are unwept save by the clammy walls whereon the vapor of unimagined agonies and foul disease condenses into big drops and runs down in driblets to the reeking ground. Truly it is a horrid nightmare quickened into life.” [360]

1 The Koords are divided into Torens or nobles, who lead in war time, and possess and enjoy in peace; and Rayahs, who sacrifice their lives for their lords in all raids and feuds, and are wholly dependent on them at all times. A rayah’s life may be taken by a toren with almost the same impunity as a Christian’s. 




Much earnest and faithful missionary work had been done in the cities and towns of the various Armenian provinces, before the storm of desolation swept over them. Evangelistic, educational and medical lines had been followed and now the missionaries, who had been laboring in a land where crops had failed and where the inhabitants were leaving their homes to escape starvation, were to face massacre, pillage and horrors, such as the world had not beheld for centuries. No words of praise are adequate to tell the story of the devotion which kept them at their posts, or of the succor they extended to the victims of the Sultan’s hate.

A vivid picture of the desolation that everywhere prevailed, was given by one who was engaged in the work of distributing relief money in July, 1895.

Arresting the Murderers of Armenians.

Arresting the Murderers of Armenians.

“Semal and Shenig are situated in a continuous, moderately wide valley, with a little reach of rolling land between the encircling mountains where about half the hill fields are growing green with a sort of millet that matures in a few weeks and which the sufferers were persuaded to come and sow, with oxen loaned by the poor, but generous villagers of the Moush plain. These few fields and few people at work upon them, were all there was to relieve the sad desolation which reigned over all. Buildings, once the homes of happy and prosperous countrymen, now presented only ruined [363]walls with not a chip to show they had ever roofs to cover them, save a few, of which a little corner was rudely covered last fall, so that the wretched owners could find imperfect shelter during last winter. The torch of the incendiary soldiers had consumed every vestige of wood from all these scattered homes. The church at the central hamlet, where Der Hohannes (whose eyes were bored out and his throat pierced, while yet alive, by the cruel soldiers), used to officiate, being of stone, was not consumed, being the only roofed building in all the valley, after that flood of carnage had swept past. Near this church we pitched our tent, and began to study the situation.

“Beneath our eye, in these two villages, had already gathered over one thousand people, whom it was our work to try and set upon their feet again, so that they could start once more on the uphill road towards prosperity. Could a community be conceived of more completely prostrated? The sheep and cattle, which composed their wealth, in the hands of Kurds, as also their few simple household belongings, cooking vessels, clothing, bedding, etc., and whatever money they may have managed to hoard. Those who fled with their lives found themselves nearly as destitute of all that makes life comfortable as the day they were born.

English liberality has already spent five thousand dollars, and the authorities gave reluctant consent to our coming up to distribute it. We located here at Semal, while the Turkish committee has its headquarters at Shenig, half an hour distant. It was evident that the thing to be first accomplished was the erection of houses, and only a few weeks remained in which it would be accomplished, so we set about persuading the [364]people to begin preparing their walls for the timbers the government had promised them.

“Of the survivors of the massacre (of 1894), five thousand have already gathered to try and reëstablish their old homes, while possibly another eleven hundred may still be scattered over the world. It is impossible as yet to give the exact number of the slaughtered, but it will probably be not far from 4,000. We feel that unless a different status from the present can be secured to distribute anything to these people beyond daily food, is simply to run the risk of its falling into the hands of the Kurds. We have distributed a good many tools, with which the people are gathering hay, in hope of having some animal to eat it during the winter. We should be glad to furnish them with tools for laying up the walls of their houses, and even pay the wages of masons to come and help them. It is all we can do now to prevent the people from fleeing again to the plain, when all their crops would go for naught.”

Near Harpoot eleven villages were compelled to accept Mohammedanism, and also near Van the entire population of two villages were forced to change their religion. Eight villages near Van were entirely depopulated. Most of the inhabitants were killed, and those who survived escaped to the snow-covered mountains, where they wandered with their children, naked and starving. The men who were forced to accept Mohammedanism were compelled to take their own sisters-in-law, whose husbands have been killed, to wife—a practice most horrible to the Christians, who hated polygamy. They were also compelled to plunder and kill their Armenian brethren to show that their conversion to Mohammedanism was genuine. The young maidens [365]of these villages were carried into the Pasha’s harem. The Kurds attacked the same villages over and over to make their work of destruction complete, and yet the Sultan ordered his ambassador in Washington to deny that there were any forcible conversions to Islam.

All accounts received of the hardships endured by the Armenians were distressing in the extreme. Many of the refugees, weakened by want and exposure, were dying. Fully one thousand Armenian families in the province of Van alone were in want of food. A majority of these families lived on roots and herbs, the few fortunate ones had bread made of clover seed, linseed or flax, mixed with grass and roots. In the district of Moks, three-fourths of the villagers left their homes and were in danger of starving. In Shadakh, two-thirds of the population were homeless wanderers. Beggars swarmed in the streets of Van, but so general was the poverty that little help could be afforded. So widespread was the want that many declared, in bitterness of heart, “there is no food in all the length and breadth of Armenia”—which was long ago the Garden of Eden. Many poor were fed daily at the American mission in Van.

America and Armenia both owe more than words can ever express to the energy, devotion and abundant generosity that sent Mr. W. W. Howard, in 1895, to investigate the situation in Armenia. In a later chapter the story of the great relief work will be told, meanwhile Mr. Howard will tell his story. “I have just returned from the interior of the devastated region of Armenia and the English language is impotent to produce a true picture of the actual condition of that distressed country, and a just regard for the conventionalities [366]of civilized speech will not permit that the whole truth be told. The refined Christian mind can understand wickedness and iniquity up to a certain point, but beyond that point, it either refuses to believe, or it is incapable of receiving additional impressions.

“There are in Armenia at the present moment at least two hundred thousand persons fighting a death fight with famine! In the one province of Van, which is the center of Armenia, there are fully one hundred thousand persons, out of a total Armenian population of one hundred and forty-five thousand, in actual want of food.

“Many have already died of starvation, and thousands of villagers are barely keeping soul and body together by eating roots and herbs and sort of bread made of clover seed, flax or linseed meal, mixed with edible grass. I have brought to peaceful, prosperous America specimen loaves of this hunger-bread. Starving villagers, reduced to the verge of despair, are crowding into the cities to beg for food and work. Three thousand unwilling beggars walk the streets of the city of Van, like spectres of famine, asking bread from door to door, who six months ago were comparatively prosperous. Others, too proud to beg, but in as desperate condition, crouch in their ruined homes, waiting for a merciful death to end their sufferings.

“These are not hallucinations on my part, but are things which I myself have lately seen with my own eyes. Unless these wretched people receive immediate help, they will perish of starvation. They must have food and clothing or they cannot possibly survive the winter. They are now living on roots and herbs and [367]edible grass, together with this terrible hunger-bread, the mere odor of which is enough to make a strong man shudder; but when winter begins, in October, the supply of edible grass and roots and herbs will be cut off. What will become of them then?

“The Armenians have no wheat, and no money with which to buy food. The Kurds and the Turks have taken everything, and the Armenians have nothing.

“The Armenians planted only half a crop this year, owing to the persecutions and exactions which beset them on all sides. In the early summer, when the young grain was green, the Kurds pastured their buffalos and their cattle in the growing wheat. Much of the crop was thus destroyed. Later, when that which remained of the wheat was ready for the harvest, the Kurds came down, cut off the heads of the ripened grain, and left the worthless stubble for the Armenians to live upon during the long and bitter winter. Even a persecuted Armenian cannot hope to maintain his family on wheat straw.

“Now, we have this condition at the present moment in Armenia: The crop planted this year was entirely inadequate to the needs of the population, and when the Kurds got through pasturing their cattle in the growing fields they harvested the ripened grain for their own use, leaving only dry grass for the Armenians. The systematic persecutions of the people, the exactions of the tax-gatherers, and the repeated robberies by the Kurds have left the Armenians absolutely penniless and foodless. Utterly unable to maintain life in their nearly ruined and wasted villages, the country people are wandering about from place to place, and crowding into the cities. There is no work for them to be had, [368]and no chance of earning enough to keep starvation at bay.

“It is for the youngest Christian nation on earth to say whether the oldest shall perish and be no more, and whether the followers of Mohammed shall be the sole inhabitants of that land which, in the beginning of all things, was the Garden of Eden. If we turn a deaf ear now to the supplications of the starving thousands of fellow-Christians in Eastern Turkey, the coming of spring will see the troublous Armenian question forever at rest. There will be no more Armenian question, for there may be no more Armenians.

“If, on the contrary, the practical Christians of our own land desire to assist in preserving this ancient Christian race in the land in which it took descent from the grandson of Noah, the way is clear. A little help extended now, will not only save the lives of those who are dropping dead of hunger from day to day, but will provide work during the coming winter.

“I have necessarily been brief, and have dwelt entirely upon the starvation in Armenia, because it is the most urgent feature of the situation. I have not touched upon the Sassoun massacre, because as the Grand Vizier of Turkey truthfully says, ‘that is an old story.’ The victims of Sassoun were in many respects more fortunate than their fellows, for they had at least the privilege of dying quickly. They escaped persecution, torture, and starvation. There are very many hopeless creatures in Armenia to-day who would welcome a second Sassoun as an easy release from the burden and shame of living.

“As to the cause of the persecution which has brought [369]two hundred thousand human beings to the actual brink of starvation, there can be but one explanation. The Armenians are Christians. Should they become Mohammedans their troubles would vanish, and return no more. It is for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that they are persecuted unto death.”

A resident of Moush confirmed all that has been stated regarding the widespread suffering and destitution. He said:

“After the departure of the Kurdish tribes, which had perpetrated the massacres of Sassoun, the survivors left their hiding-places. One group of these people settled themselves on the plateaux, in the defiles, and in the forests of Sassoun, whilst the greater part emigrated to Moush, whence they were soon scattered among the Armenian villages of the plain. The Armenians sheltered and fed these emigrants as long as they had the means; but being themselves doubly tried by the want which reigns on all sides, and for the past two years and more, in the country, they soon found it impossible for them to supply the needs of these emigrants. The latter were obliged to move away to the mountains, where they are finding their food from herbs and leaves, or else to beg in the villages, where they are hardly finding a morsel of bread.”

The Kurds took advantage of the sufferings of the people of Sassoun to carry on a trade in white people. A young Armenian woman of Sassoun, was sold as a slave by these nomads. Another was sold to an inhabitant of the village of Hadji-Osman-Bey, and taken to Diarbekir. A little boy and little girl were bought for one hundred and thirty piastres of a Kurd named Mehmed; this amount included besides, the price of a [370]donkey. There were other instances also of the same character.

The following letter from the Duke of Westminster to the editor of an American paper, afforded new evidence of the widespread destitution in Armenia:

Sir:—There is an additional distressing phase connected with the sufferings of the Armenians consequent on the losses they have sustained at the hands of the Turks, which calls for consideration and assistance from those who are ever ready to relieve distress in whatever part of the world. Vice-Consul Shipley reports from Moush, that ‘there is great distress, amounting in a great number of cases to abject destitution, among the fugitives from Sassoun, of which he and his colleagues have had many opportunities of convincing themselves from personal observation.’ Mr. Hallward, Her Majesty’s Vice-Consul at Van, testifies that the need for relief is unquestioned; that there is an enormous amount of destitution, and that there will certainly be more before next winter.

“This applies, we are assured, to the province of Bitlis, and to a large extent to Erzeroum, where there are survivors of the Sassoun massacre—mostly women and children who have no one to provide for them—scattered about. A year ago these people were comparatively prosperous and comfortable, but are now barefoot and in rags, begging their daily bread from those who are not much better off than themselves.

“Consul Graves forwards a private letter describing the deplorable condition of the people at Talvorig:—‘There are about eight hundred and fifty of these houseless wanderers now living in the woods and mountains, in caves and hollow trees, half naked, and some, indeed, [371]entirely without covering for their nakedness. Bread they have not tasted for months, and curdled milk they only dream of, living, as they do, upon greens and the leaves of trees. There are two varieties of greens which are preferred, but these are disappearing, as they wither at this season. Living on such food, they become sickly; their skin has turned yellow, their strength is gone, their bodies are swollen, and fever is rife among them.’

“In addition to these, there are thousands of refugees who, compelled by poverty and danger to abandon their village homes, have flocked into the towns where they hope to find personal safety and charity to keep them alive.

“The Committee of the Armenian Relief Fund has already remitted £3,000 to Sir Philip Currie, Her Majesty’s Ambassador at Constantinople, for the distribution of food and clothing in the distressed districts, and further aid is very urgently required.

Grosvenor House, London, W., Sept. 20th, 1895.

Probably the best known and most experienced of all the Americans who have served in the missionary field in Asia Minor is Rev. Cyrus Hamlin, D.D. the venerable founder of Roberts College, Constantinople. Dr. Hamlin, has a lifelong acquaintance with the Armenian question in its various phases, and is a strong champion of the right of this oldest Christian nation on earth to be permitted to live and worship in the faith of their fathers. Conversing on the subject, Dr. Hamlin said:

“The condition of affairs in that country has not been exaggerated in the printed reports. I have lately [372]finished reading the MS. of some two hundred letters from missionaries, a very large part of them dealing with the oppressions and sufferings of the Armenians, which were of a most frightful character. The poor creatures must have help before the winter opens in earnest, or they will perish. An Armenian winter is usually very severe, the snow lying on the ground from four to six feet in depth and the cold being intense.

“The whole civilized Christian world must help these people—they must be saved from death and assisted over the winter. They can look in no other direction for help, for there is no sympathy and assistance to be had from Turkey. Indeed, the policy of the Sultan’s government is apparently dictated by a desire to efface the Armenian people altogether—at least those of them who will not accept Mohammed. When you talk sympathizingly about these people, a Turk will say in surprise: ‘Why do you speak in behalf of such worthless trash and try to save them? They can save themselves—all they need do is to accept Islam and then they are safe and out of trouble.’

“And so,” continued Dr. Hamlin, “A Turk regards it as strange that an Armenian should refuse to purchase his life at the cost of his faith; but there are some among them who take a different view. Some of the Turkish soldiers who shared in the terrible atrocities lately perpetrated on the Armenian Christians have been stricken by remorse afterward. One soldier, who had borne his part in several horrible butcheries of women and children, was so troubled that he could not sleep. He had visions of his victims that ultimately drove him insane.” [373]

Dr. Hamlin spoke in the highest terms of Miss Kimball and her relief work, in conjunction with the other missionaries at Van. “No one knew the needs of the suffering people better, or was better qualified to deal with the present very trying situation. It is the duty of the Christians of America to help them as far as we can help them. The Turks will embarrass the work if they can; they wish these people to die. In the whole region of Sassoun—comprised of about one hundred villages—forty or fifty villages have been annihilated.” A letter from Mr. Cole, a missionary who is employed in relief work, stated that he visited a village of one hundred and seventy-five houses, every one of which had been destroyed. The Turks would not even permit him to erect a shanty as a defence against the weather, lest some Armenian should get the use of it. They wished these people to die out of cold or starvation.

England, whose official support of Turkey made it in large measure responsible for the wrongs and sufferings of the Armenians, now moved for reform in that unfortunate country. At the same time, the English people were helping the Armenians by contributions. On the occasion of opening a bazaar held at Chester, for the benefit of the Armenian sufferers, Mrs. Gladstone gave expression to the popular sentiment prevailing in England regarding Armenia’s condition in these terms: “No words of mine are needed to describe the frightful need of help. You are all aware of the terrible details. I plead to-day in behalf of the poor sufferers—that we may be instrumental in allaying their sufferings. As my husband says, we cannot dictate to the government as to the time, but we pray that the Powers may soon take action to end Armenia’s woes.” [374]

But while this most blessed work of caring for these hunger-stricken, homeless and wretched Armenians was going on, the storm burst upon them in all its fury. The appetite of the Moslem had merely been whetted, not satiated.

Following the massacres in Trebizond and Erzeroum all the villages about them were almost depopulated, the orders for the slaughter of the Christians, as the Moslem troops admit, having come from Constantinople. At Sivas the massacre was terrible, and a like horror occurred at Marash. The ungovernable fury of the Turks spared neither age or sex, and the brutalities practiced upon women and children could not be described. Bodies of little children, dead and mutilated, were found in the fields after the slaughter had ended. Large numbers of the victims of these atrocities died the death of martyrs. They fell in the Moslem war for the extermination of the religion of Jesus in Asia Minor.

At Diarbekir, where the victims were numbered by thousands, there was abundant evidence that the massacre was premeditated. It was claimed that the Armenians had attacked a Moslem mosque, whereas the facts, as afterwards disclosed, showed the Kurds and Turks to have been the sole and intentional aggressors. The massacre began on Friday, and continued on Saturday and Sunday with insatiable ferocity.

Meanwhile, the story of what was taking place in the villages and hamlets of the different districts had not reached the public ear. When it came, it disclosed a tale of suffering and savagism that had scarcely a parallel. Many hundreds of villages were literally swept out of existence. The story of one is the story of all: the Kurds, directed from higher sources, swooping [375]down, rounding up the cattle, slaying the strong men, outraging and abducting the women, and killing even the children, concluded the satanic work by burning everything that would consume. In many places the Kurdish troops came equipped with empty sacks strapped to their saddles for the purpose of carrying off the plunder. The Kurdish chiefs openly declared that they were ordered to slay the Christians and take the plunder for their pay.

Rev. John Wright, another missionary, wrote: “In one instance, the Kurds, after compelling a family to provide food for their horses and themselves, smothered a babe which was asleep in the cradle, cut it in pieces and roasted it before the fire on their weapons, and then made the mother eat the flesh. In another case, when the Kurds had killed an Armenian, they joined hands and danced about the corpse, singing a song of triumph. They then cut up the corpse, boiled it, and forced the Armenians residing there to eat the flesh. Flocks were driven off, grain burned, and houses razed to the ground and burned. Many women died from fright, and the children also died from fright or exposure to the cold. We found that nearly half the members of the families we met had perished during the flight. They had great difficulty in securing food to eat. All of them had substantially the same harrowing tale to tell. About ten thousand refugees are estimated to have passed through the district of Khoi.”

Eight of the villages near Van were totally depopulated and all their people slain or rendered fugitives, except the young women who were seized and taken to Kurdish harems. In the Van provinces nearly two hundred villages were partially destroyed. [376]

During the last weeks in December, 1895, the carnival of slaughter continued with tireless energy and terrible ferocity by the Turks and Kurds. From every side came reports of atrocities by Turks, Kurds, and Circassians—villages swept by fire, the men massacred, the women either slain or reserved for a fate worse than death. Thousands of women were carried away captive to become inmates of some vile Moslem harem. An illustration of the Turkish method of extermination was found in the case of the village of Hoh, in the Sandjak district. At first the aghas (or local magistrates) promised to protect the Christians, but when they saw villages burning in every direction they refused to keep their word. All the Christians were told that, under the pain of death, they must accept Islam. They were assembled at the Mosque, and there eighty young men were picked out and led outside the village—for slaughter. Eight escaped, sixty-two were killed, and ten wounded. The young women of the village were taken to Turkish harems, and the survivors of the Christian population were scattered among other villages.

In every district there was the same tragic story of massacre, outrage, pillage, and abduction; monasteries sacked, and Christian pastors and people butchered. In many villages the Armenian priests were among the number who laid down their lives as a testimony to the faith. In almost every village the strong men and youths were killed, and in nearly every case they met death with the fortitude of true martyrs. Many were killed with horrible tortures, because of their refusal to deny Christ. Among those who so perished were the Armenian pastors at Khizan, Halakeny, and Koh. [377]

Although in official communications the atrocities were denied by the Turkish government, the statements issued by the Porte were nowhere credited. Denials of the massacres of Trebizond and Erzeroum were circulated, despite the statements of American and European Consular officials, missionaries, and Armenian survivors, supplemented by the photographs of the piles of dead in the streets and cemeteries. A number of Armenian citizens were arrested by the authorities after the Trebizond massacre, on the pretext that they caused the riot, and six of them were condemned to death.

In January, 1896, the Mesopotamian Christians of Mardin were suddenly attacked by a large body of Kurds, the town being surrounded. News had already been received of the burning of many villages and the massacre of thousands of peaceful peasants, but the Mardin attack came like a thunderbolt. Many hundreds were butchered in a few hours. A number of native ministers of the Gospel were slain.

The town was a scene of terror and desolation; groups of weeping mothers and crying children sheltered themselves in the houses, while all around, and even upon the floors were the telltale pools of blood that showed where the martyrs fell under the Kurdish swords. Dead bodies, clotted with blood that had flowed from great gaping wounds, lay everywhere in sight. There were other horrors that added to the terror—the attacks on the native women and girls, who were subjected to nameless abuse.

The massacres at Mardin and Gemerek resulted in leaving the survivors in those once populous villages in a condition that threatened to exterminate them by [378]starvation. The help which was cabled to them from the relief fund was welcomed with a gratitude that can hardly be expressed in words. With the horror of their recent woes still unrelieved, the aid seemed as if heaven-sent. Erzeroum was still full of wounded, and rows upon rows of blackened ruins alone showed where its homes once stood. There were many hundreds homeless. Harpoot, too, had a large number exposed to hunger and cold. At Diarbekir the destitution was probably worst of all, for both in the city and villages, the slaughter was relentless, and the survivors had nothing to expect but death by slow degrees—their little ones perishing of hunger and cold beside them. At Erzinjian, where many martyrs fell, the remaining Christians were scattered around, hiding where they could, like hunted wild beasts.

After these massacres most piteous appeals were received in this country from relatives in the stricken towns and villages. A letter sent by a poor mother from Gurun to a relative here, said:

“We have only to say that I and my child are living. No male population has been left in our town. They have killed my father. I took the child with me and sought refuge in the church. Our cousin also has been killed. Of our three families, only one family has partly a shelter, but we have not even a piece of a blanket to cover our nakedness! We have nothing to eat. The government is giving a small piece of bread for each living person. No physician has been left. Our child has not a book to study from or to read. Everything has been destroyed. They have plundered even the goods which were concealed in the ground. There is no life for us here. In our three families, [381]there is not a lamp to give light. For God’s sake send help or else we will die of starvation.”

Sketches of Armenia and Kurdestan.

Sketches of Armenia and Kurdestan.

A letter from a young man in the same town to an Armenian in New York, said:

“You have no doubt heard of the terrible events that have taken place in our town. They have not left anything in our house. They killed your brother and sister. They have burned our stable and woodhouse and our winter house. We are in terrible distress. We have no bedding, no clothes. We have not even the means to procure a piece of dry bread. Rich and poor are all alike, and our generous neighbors are not any better off than ourselves, so that they cannot help us. No merchant or broker has been left.”

A few extracts from another report of Mr. W. W. Howard, sent from Urumia in December, 1895, will fitly close this chapter of woe and destitution.

“The American mission work at Van has been suspended, and all the schools closed. The closing of the schools, however, has not been confined to the American mission, but has extended to every school in the city, of whatever race or creed. All the shops have likewise been closed, both Armenian and Turkish. Even the Turkish shops in the bazaar proper have been shut, so great is the fear of massacre. The Turkish Government ordered the Armenian merchants to open their shops, and the Armenians obeyed, but when the shops were opened they were entirely empty, the goods having been removed to the merchants’ houses. The merchants then sat in their empty stores with nothing to sell.

“With the money already sent to her, Miss Kimball has done a large work in the supplying of bread for the [382]starving, and she is now at work on a soup kitchen. Her plan of relief is to furnish work to such of the poor as are able to work. Business in Van and the province of Van has been dead for months. Nothing is being bought or sold except the simplest articles of food that will sustain life. Miss Kimball is, therefore, distributing these articles of clothing free to the wretched village refugees who are flocking to Van in rags and nakedness.

“In raiding the villages the Hamidieh cavalry not only destroyed the houses, drove off the sheep and cattle and removed every portable piece of property, but actually stripped the villagers of the clothes on their backs. The unfortunate peasants, men, women and children, were thrust out into the wilderness of snow-covered mountains without clothes to cover them or food to eat. How many of these poor creatures left bloody tracks on snow and ice; how many dropped by the wayside to go down to death in a shroud of snow and a tomb of ice no man may know. The snow will not give up its dead for long months to come.

“Are the Christian people of America willing that this thing shall continue?” [383]




The Harpoot massacre was another butchery carried out under orders. Sixty Christians fled to a church in the vain hope that its walls would furnish them a shelter against those who were crying for the blood of Armenians. They were permitted for a time to believe themselves secure, but suddenly the church was surrounded by a great number of Kurds. The doors were then blown in, and the Christians thought that they would be massacred within the sacred structure. They were not. Their captors took them one at a time outside the church, and there, heedless of the cries for mercy from women and children, killed them, either by shooting or stabbing them. The first victim was the Protestant pastor of the church, who, as he was dragged out, bade the others, if they had to die, to die as Christians. He met his death like a martyr. Some of the refugees, in a very agony of terror, offered to abjure their faith and accept Islamism, thinking thus to save their lives. The offers availed them nothing, for their insatiable enemies, after accepting them, dragged the converts out and killed them one by one. The Armenian Church was turned into a mosque, and the Protestant Church into a stable.

An eyewitness who saw the Christian quarter in flames and the houses of the American mission burning, said that he came on to Malatia (the ancient Melitene), [384]and found not a house in the Christian quarter standing. In a khan there were about twenty wounded men, the sole survivors of a caravan of two hundred who had been traveling to Harpoot from Northern Syria and whose members had nearly all been slain by the Kurdish bands. There were one hundred and fifty bodies lying in the road. At Marash, the same witness, days after the massacre, counted eighty-seven dead Armenians in one spot, and there were hundreds of bodies strewn around in the near neighborhood. In the villages on the plains near Harpoot, each containing from fifty to one thousand houses, the evidences of slaughter were sickeningly abundant. The Kurdish butchers had slain fully half the population. The door of a house would be burst open, a volley fired upon the shuddering inmates, while those who rushed out were caught and killed in the fields. Then the houses were plundered, fired and left blazing. This was the fate of thousands of Christian homes.

Several thousand Armenian Christians fell in the city of Harpoot under Kurdish and Turkish swords. In the Province of Harpoot were hundreds of small towns and villages, few of which escaped the terrible fate of slaughter and desolation that befell over two thousand other towns and villages throughout the country.

Harpoot is one of the principal stations of the Eastern Turkey Mission, and is the seat of Euphrates College, a group of buildings, eight of which were badly wrecked during the riots. This institution had about five hundred and sixty-four pupils in all its departments, and was exerting a powerful influence for good throughout Eastern Turkey.

It was estimated that the loss would not be less than [385]$88,000. At Marash, the destruction of mission buildings was more complete. The Central Turkey Girls’ College and the Theological Seminary were both wrecked. There were in the former institution (which was organized in 1884), about thirty-five students. Both buildings were located a little distance outside of Marash.

In February, 1896, the United States Minister, Mr. Terrell, demanded an indemnity of $100,000 for the burning and pillaging of the American missions at Marash and Harpoot. He also asked for the immediate granting of firmans for the rebuilding of them.

Rev. Grigos Hachadoovian, the pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Harpoot, when the Turkish soldiers commenced shooting all over the city, took his wife and children and went to church, where about sixty of his congregation joined him. Naturally good and earnest Christians as they were, they lifted their voices up to heaven for help. While in prayer the Turks rushed in and demanded of the minister to become a Mohammedan then and there, with his congregation. He refused promptly. The Turks removed the pulpit, made a butchering platform, cut off the head of the minister and actually cut him to pieces before his congregation. Mind you on the platform from which he had preached Christ for twenty years. This horrible spectacle had no effect upon the devout Christian Armenians, as they all refused to denounce Christ and pray to Mohammed, and all were killed in the church to the last man, woman and child. What do you think of that picture, Christian people of America? That is the Mohammedanism some people would like to have introduced into our county. [386]

Letters received from persons engaged in relief work among the Armenians, gave the following carefully prepared statistics concerning the recent massacres by the Turks under the tolerance of Christian powers in the year of our Lord, 1895–6. These statistics were given in detail for the several villages in Harpoot province.

“Killed, thirty thousand six hundred and one; burned to death, one thousand four hundred and thirty-six; preachers and priests killed, fifty-one; died from starvation, two thousand four hundred and sixty-one; died unprotected in the fields, four thousand three hundred and forty; died from fear, six hundred and sixty; wounded, eight thousand; houses burned, twenty-eight thousand five hundred and forty-two; forcible conversions, fifteen thousand and sixty-six; women and girls abducted, five thousand five hundred and forty-six: forcible marriages, one thousand five hundred and fifty-one; churches burned, two hundred and twenty-seven; destitute and starving, ninety-four thousand seven hundred and fifty.” The account does not add the number of English and American cannon with the cobwebs left over their mouths. The Turks said that they killed too few the last time, and would kill more in the next massacre.

When the Kurds were expelled from Diarbekir and the gates closed against them, they turned their attention to the villages. These, one after another, were taken, plundered, and in many instances, burned—massacre being generally in proportion to the degree of resistance made by the villagers. A district about ninety miles long and fifty broad, east of Diarbekir, and up to the boarders of Syert, in the vilayet of [387]Bitlis, was swept by this hurricane of destruction, wherever Christian villages nestled among the billows of this rolling country. The first intimation that the wave of wanton wreckage was moving southward was given in the attack upon Tel-Ermin. This Armenian town of two hundred houses and sixty shops, five hours west of Mardin, was taken, plundered and burned. The next day Gorli, a Syrian village south of Mardin, and only two hours away, shared the same fate. About the same time the village of Abrahamiyeh fell into the hands of the Kurds and only Monsoruyeh, twenty miles north of the city remained intact. This they tried to capture, but were driven back. Serious attempts were made by the Kurds to enter the city in the hope that they would be aided from within. In this they were disappointed and obliged to draw off with severe loss. The Kurds persistently asserted that a firman for the slaughter of Christians had been given, but that the Christians of Mardin had bribed the government to conceal it and defend them. When the Kurds realized that the government and city garrison were a unit for the common defence, they drew off and the tide of attack swept further east taking Nisibin, and some twenty Christian villages in its way. Thousands of refugees collected near Mardin. In the village of Kulleth, three hundred refugees from the Diarbekir plain were begging food and clothing. The entire Christian population remaining in Syert was stripped of everything.

Fully three thousand Armenians were massacred at Arabkir, and the widows and orphans of those killed were left in terrible distress from cold and hunger.

The Armenians of Sivas and Cæsarea were in daily fear of massacre, and soon their fears were terribly realized, [388]for the Kurds and Turks thoroughly performed their inhuman work of butchery and plunder, the former taking the booty as their pay, according to the permission granted from Constantinople.

In the district between Gemerek and Cæsarea twenty-seven Armenian villages were pillaged and burned. The thirteen villages this side of Gemerek, and five or six hours distant, such as Burhan, Dendil, Tekmen, etc., were also pillaged and ruined. Burhan was ravaged five times and Tekmen seven times. The raiders carried plunder from Dendil for three days continuously; they carried away even the old mats and wooden spoons from the houses. No clothing, no bedding, no utensils, and no food was left to the survivors in those villages. The people lived on herbs gathered from the hillsides, and cooked in the petroleum tins which the raiders had brought along full of petroleum to fire the houses with. In the district of Tounnouz the Armenian villages, especially Hantavos, Kazmakara and Patsin were pillaged and destroyed, the male inhabitants were butchered, and the young women were carried off. Some of the villages were so utterly destroyed that now there is no sign that such places existed.

At Gemerek the Turks joined the Armenians and drove away the raiders, who however carried away one thousand sheep and cattle and about one hundred horse loads of wheat and flour from the neighboring mills.

The reader can understand the ferocity of the attack upon the Christians in this city from the fact that the wife of a captain in the Turkish army watched the horrors from her window. She was so affected by what she saw that she has since that event become insane.

Another terrible massacre occurred in Palu, a district [389]not far from Harpoot. An Armenian lady of Palu, writing to her son in New York, thus told the story:

“You are my comfort in God. My only joy is that you are safe; but we are in great distress. My hands are trembling; I cannot write from hunger. The Turks have burned forty-one villages, destroying everything. They take the beautiful women to their homes and use them badly. They kill the old men, and the old women and children are entirely naked. Their bed is now the snow. They go begging at Turkish doors for a piece of bread, and instead of bread they get mulberry and husks. After six days of plundering and burning those villages, our enemies returned to the city. Ten thousand Kurds with the Mohammedans of the city, attacked the houses and killed one thousand seven hundred and thirty-two grown-up men and many children and women who would not accept Mohammedism.

“They took all the articles which were useful and broke everything they had no use for. They tore up every place in the hope of finding something valuable.”

A letter received from an Armenian resident on the seacoast of Cilicia, said:

“The government has taken away all the arms from the Armenians of Chok Marsovan, who were armed to protect themselves against fifteen thousand Bashi-Bazouks, who were marching on them. Since then the Turks have reduced to ashes the villages of Engerli and Ojakli, which contained respectively three hundred and two hundred and fifty houses. They have plundered seventy-five houses in the Armenian village of Najarli. They set on fire the houses in the presence of the regular soldiers. Now all the villagers are reduced to [390]the utmost distress. More than one hundred farms have been plundered, and many people butchered in the houses and in the gardens.”

Every account from survivors of the massacres who succeeded in reaching places of safety, disclosed some new and revolting trait of Moslem ferocity and hatred against Christianity. A veritable crusade of Mohammedan fanaticism ruled the hour. Whole villages and towns, and whole Christian quarters in cities were driven like helpless sheep into the Moslem fold.

Aintab, a city of forty-five thousand inhabitants had its baptism of blood. The massacre and pillage began in the markets and in those parts of the city where Christian houses offered easy points of attack, crowds rushed in every direction while pistol and gun shots with cries of fear, anger and defiance made an exhibition of the most fearful tumult and confusion.

After the Kurds and Turkish soldiers of Harpoot had plundered and burned nearly all of the Christian houses in the missionary quarter of the city, including eight of the mission buildings which were then in flames, when massacre was rife and the air was rent with the cry of the wounded and dying, nearly five hundred Christian refugees with the missionaries, driven from place to place by fire and bullet, found themselves in the large, new stone building of Euphrates College. The Turkish officers, seeing that in order to reach the refugees they must withdraw the Americans whom they feared to kill, attempted to induce the missionaries to come out from the building “that they might be the better protected.” Dr. Barnum (a missionary for thirty-nine years) replied, “You can protect us here better than anywhere else; we shall remain [391]and if you burn the building we will die with these Christians.” They were all spared. Certainly the age of heroism is not past.

The city of Oorfa is one of the most ancient in the world. It is the Edessa of the time of Christ where Abgar reigned as King (see Chapter I.)—the Ur of Chaldea, where the patriarch Abraham was born.

It was one of the great heathen cities to which the disciples went immediately after Pentecost and where they were most gladly received. In this city, on October 27th, 1895, began an awful slaughter, which continued for two days. When the massacre was yet proceeding, a Muezzin ascended to the steeple of the Armenian church and began to call the faithful to prayer. During the two days’ disturbance three thousand Christians were slaughtered by a single Hamidieh regiment and a force of Bedouins and all their property was either looted or destroyed. Among other horrors, one hundred and fifty wounded Armenians were thrown down a well and petroleum having been poured over them the whole mass of human beings were set on fire and perished in most awful agony.

For two months, the Christian population of Oorfa experienced all the vicissitudes of a veritable “Reign of Terror.” During all this time the Christians ventured beyond the precincts of their own homes only at the risk of their lives. Nor were they secure even in their homes. For six or seven weeks the soldiers of the government went from house to house almost daily, and after forcing an entrance, offered the inmates the option of becoming Moslems, or being killed on the spot.

When the general onslaught began on December [392]29th, the Christians sought the refuge of their churches and every other possible place which they hoped might shelter them from the fury of their fiendish assailants. Many took refuge in wells, some under manure heaps, while others had their friends cover them under piles of charcoal. For some of these their shelters proved to be a living grave. Two hundred and forty-six persons took refuge in the home of the American Missionary, Miss Shattuck.

During the six weeks immediately following the first massacre, this devoted missionary heroine was obliged to keep all but constant vigil, and was unable through all this time to undress even once, and retire to her room for a night’s rest. Any rest or sleep obtained was on a lounge and for but short intervals, while others kept watch.

This church was built entirely of stone and may be said to be absolutely fire-proof. It was to this edifice from fifteen hundred to two thousand of the people fled when the general massacre began, and the story of what took place within its walls on that awful day will never be fully known. These nearly two thousand victims were at the mercy of the merciless soldiers and the worse than merciless mob. The soldiers were first to enter, but they soon allowed the promiscuous rabble to follow and share with them in the carnival of debauchery and blood. The fiendish fanaticism of these Moslems had its climax in setting fire to the victims of their wild fury. There being no wood finishing on the inside of the church, and little or no inflammable furnishings, one can only conjecture how they succeeded in transforming this multitude of human sacrifices into the great mass of bones and ashes to which they were [393]all reduced by the following morning. For two or three days afterward a number of hammals (Turkish porters), were engaged in carrying the bones and charred remains of these victims from the church to a place close in the rear of the American mission premises, where they were dumped over a portion of the old wall of the city.

Apart altogether from those killed and burned in the church, the bodies of over one thousand five hundred by actual count were dragged, usually by the legs, and in considerable numbers at a time, by animals, to a large trench dug for the purpose on the outskirts of the city. There they lie in one, irregular mass, awaiting the day when all wrongs shall be righted.

As many as three hundred bodies were taken from one of the large cistern wells some days after the massacre, while another furnished over fifty and yet another about thirty. Scarcely a single Gregorian or Protestant home escaped the general pillage and bloodshed and the total number of victims in this last massacre in Oorfa must now be put down at four thousand.

Read this farewell which seemed to come out from the tombs of the dead:

Some days before the massacre at Oorfa the Armenians were warned that it was impending, but the officials prevented them from leaving the town. During the suspense the Gregorian clergy compiled a letter which they sent secretly to Aintab, whence it was forwarded to Europe. The Arch Priest Stephen and four other priests were subsequently slain before the altar while celebrating the Eucharist. The letter contained messages to the Sultan and to the Gregorian’s Moslem fellow-countrymen, and reproached their European [394]brethren for standing by, watching the bloody work. It also contained the following:

“To the Christians of the United States of America we say farewell. We have been strenuously opposed to your mission work among us, but these bloody days have shown that some of our Protestant brethren have been staunch defenders of our honor and our faith. You, at least, know that our crime, in the eyes of the Turk, has been that we adopted the civilization you commended to us. Behold now the missions and schools which you planted among us, at the cost of many millions of dollars and hundreds of precious lives! They are in ruins, and the Turk is planning to rid himself of the missionaries and teachers by leaving them nobody among whom to labor.”

Zeitoun has the glory of being the only town that successfully resisted the Turkish troops and secured for itself an honorable capitulation.

Peace having been secured through the Consuls of the various Powers, it was believed that the terms of the amnesty granted by the Porte would honestly be fulfilled.

It would not have been a very easy thing to hush up another massacre, and if one had occurred it might at last have aroused the Powers that (ought to) be to some decisive action.

The town of Zeitoun lies several hours’ journey over the mountains, to the north of Marash. Secluded in a deep valley, it is well protected on all four of the roads leading into it and could be defended against very great odds if there were a small force at each narrow pass.

The Zeitounlis had early determined to make a stand [395]for their lives and had succeeded in capturing the barracks, which are situated just at the edge of the town, after an attack of sixty hours and taking prisoners nearly six hundred Turkish soldiers, and then they proceeded to garrison and provision the town for a siege.

In one of the battles which took place at Hot Springs, some five miles east of the city, the Zeitounlis made a stand at a stone bridge which there spans a rushing torrent. But after holding it bravely for awhile they slowly retreated up a steep hill until almost the entire Turkish army had crossed the bridge, when suddenly the bridge was blown up and the Zeitounlis turning, hurled down from the hills above great rocks and poured upon them a most destructive fire. Hemmed in as they were the loss was very great. The Turkish account was that fire burst out from the air or from the ground and destroyed the army. Seven distinct attacks were made in which the losses as sent through official sources to the Porte were placed at ten thousand men.

On February 9th, 1896, the Porte communicated to the embassies of the Powers its reply to the proposals of the Zeitounlis for conditions of surrender. The Porte promised a satisfactory settlement, and on the 13th the terms were announced. Terrible distress and illness prevailed in the city as the consequence of the siege. Thousands died of cold and starvation.

How the Turk began on the first day of 1896 to keep the oft repeated promises made to the Powers of Europe, was best told in the following account of the massacre at Birijik (province of Aleppo).

“The assault on the Christian houses commenced at about nine o’clock in the morning, and continued until nightfall. The soldiers were aided by the Moslems of [396]the city in the terrible work. The object at first seemed to be mainly plunder, but, after the plunder had been secured, the soldiers seemed to make a systematic search for men, to kill those who were unwilling to accept Mohammedanism. The cruelty used to force men to become Moslems was terrible. In one case the soldiers found some twenty people, men, women and children, who had taken refuge in a sort of cave. They dragged them out, and killed all the men and boys because they would not become Moslems.

“After cutting down one old man who had thus refused they put live coals upon his body, and, as he was writhing in torture, they held a Bible before him and asked him mockingly to read them some of the promises in which he had trusted. Others were thrown into the river while still alive, after having been cruelly wounded. The wounded and children of this party were loaded up like goods upon the backs of porters and carried off to the houses of Mussulmans.

“Christian girls were eagerly sought after, and much quarreling occurred over the question of their division among their captors. Every Christian house, except two claimed to be owned by Turks, was plundered. Ninety-six men were killed, or about half of the adult Christian men. The others became Mussulmans to save their lives, so that there was not a single Christian left in Birijik. The Armenian Church was made into a mosque and the Protestant Church into a Medresse Seminary.”

Refugees and Policemen at an Armenian Church.

Refugees and Policemen at an Armenian Church.

Massacres went on actively in Armenia for over sixteen months, dating from the terrible slaughter at Sassoun in August and September, 1894. A low estimate of those either killed, or in a state of actual starvation, [399]was half the agricultural population of seven vilayets—two hundred and seventy-five thousand, according to Turkish statistics, two-thirds of the starving being women and children. The government completed its work in the vilayets by reducing the population and the remaining property under the forms of martial law, and by forcing the Armenians to declare themselves Mohammedans. Many died for their faith, but the greater number still held out, dying by inches.

Turkish estimates, which, as can be readily understood, did not magnify the massacres, gave the following as the net result of the sanguinary work up to the middle of December:

Armenian population in larger towns 177,700
Armenian population in villages 538,500
Number killed in towns (estimated) 20,000
Number of Armenian villages (about) 3,300
Villages destroyed 2,500
Number killed in villages, no data, but probably, 60,000
Number reduced to starvation in towns 75,000
Number reduced to starvation in villages 366,600





In presenting an account of the relief work done in Armenia, the order in time has been observed in a very great degree in order that as the distress and misery increased the reader might see that greater efforts were made to relieve the terrible condition of the starving thousands.

March 15, 1896, Hon. John Wanamaker who was then in the East, sent this cablegram to the Relief Committee of Philadelphia. “I am convinced that the necessity is appalling. Needs for relief extremely urgent.”

The spring of 1894 saw the gaunt spectre of poverty stalking through this devoted land. It trod on the beautiful valleys and they lost their verdure and their harvests withered. Poverty became hunger and cheeks grew thin and death’s pallor looked out from hollow eyes. Hunger became starvation and the keenest form of suffering became the portion of thousands of once prosperous and happy Armenians.

The Rev. Mr. Macallum, a missionary at Erzeroum said of the situation in and about that city in April 1894:

“The famine continues to increase in severity. Spring is opening up late. Very many of the farmers have no grain to sow; we wish we had enough money on hand to supply the Protestants of Khanoos with seed, but I am sorry to say that what has come to us is now exhausted, [401]or practically so. We are feeding about seven hundred people a day in this city, who otherwise would have nothing to eat. Besides this, we have sent sufficient out to the country districts to keep life and courage in several hundred more.”

Over $2,000 had been sent to Mr. Macallum up to the middle of May but though spring had arrived and the agony of the cold was over, there was no work to be found, and over one-third of the sixty thousand inhabitants of Erzeroum had nothing to eat except the bread of charity. In the Passen and Khanoos district near by a similar famine was prevailing, and but for the help sent to them many of the people would have died of starvation.

Writing to the friends who had sent him aid Mr. Macallum said: “You may rest assured that there are hundreds of poor starving people who bless you and the givers night and day. We have sought to help only those who are most needy, and the testimony of all is that the help we have administered has saved many from a terrible death. ‘You have redeemed us.’ ‘You have bought our children’s blood.’ ‘May the Lord reward you a thousandfold for all you have done!’ These and other like expressions we hear every day. Some of those who get bread from us regard it as sacred, and eat it as they take the sacrament in church. We are giving bread regularly to over a thousand people a day in the city, Protestants, Greeks, Catholics, and Gregorians. We have given £50 to the governor here for the Turkish poor. This gift was comparatively small, but more gratitude was expressed by the Turkish authorities than by the Gregorians, to whom we had given the most.” [402]

The summer of 1894 instead of bringing relief, brought increased burdens from the frequent raids of the wild Kurds, who during that single year drove out of the districts of Boolanyk and Moush alone more than ten thousand head of cattle and sheep. The result was the utter disappearance of wealth and the rapid spread of misery so intense, so hopeless, so distressing in its moral and physical effects as to have inspired some of its victims with that wild courage which is akin to despair.

To the depredations of the Kurds, were added the cruel extortions of the Zaptiehs, or official tax-gatherers. There was absolutely no redress for Christians who suffered in property, life or limb at the hands of Mohammedans.

The taxes levied upon Armenians were exorbitant; the bribes that invariably accompanied them, and were imposed by the Zaptiehs, swelled to any proportions, and assumed the most repugnant forms, while the methods employed to collect both constituted by themselves sufficient justification for the sweeping away of Ottoman rule in Armenia.

To give a fair instance of the different rates of taxation for Christians and Mohammedans in towns it will suffice to point out that in Erzeroum, where there are eight thousand Mohammedan houses, the Moslems paid only three hundred and ninety-five thousand piastres, whereas the Christians, whose houses number but two thousand, paid four hundred and thirty thousand piastres.

The barbarities and the enormities and savagery of the Sassoun massacres left those districts in a most deplorable condition. After decimating the population, [403]the Kurds burned and utterly destroyed many villages and drove off all their cattle and sheep and left the plains as if swept by cyclone and wrecked by earthquake.

The fugitives returning after the Kurdish fiends had returned into the mountains had neither the means nor the opportunity to cultivate the soil which their forefathers had possessed for many generations. Their homes were wrecked, their farms destroyed, and their implements and cattle seized by the bandit mountaineers, and they themselves were compelled to seek such shelter as the woods and caves afforded.

It was the Medical Missionary at Van, Dr. Grace W. Kimball whose heart was so smitten with anguish at the sight of such suffering that she determined to let the world know what the horrors of Sassoun really were. In the smitten districts at least five thousand were living in the mountains and faring little better than the wild beasts.

They were sustaining life on roots and berries and were almost naked—many wholly so. It is not surprising that this terrible privation should have bred disease, and, when she wrote, fever and other physical troubles were carrying the wretched people off in large numbers. She described the condition of the women and little children as miserable beyond anything she had ever heard of.

This brave Christian woman did not spend the time in lamenting the wretchedness of the people among whom she labored, but set about to find out some practical way of helping them. Food, clothing, and shelter were the three prime necessities. She gathered the adults in about one hundred of the fugitive families, [404]and soon had them employed at making cotton cloth—an industry with which they were already familiar. She supplied the material, and paid the workers for their labor, expending in this way about $100 weekly, which was applied to the relief of the families. By this excellent method, she gave the needed help to many of the sufferers without pauperizing them, and she earned the warmest love and gratitude of the Armenians.

But the market for the product of this labor was soon supplied and the resources of the missionaries were soon exhausted. It was then that she wrote in the anguish of her soul to this country and this was the origin of The Christian Herald Relief Fund which collected and sent many thousand dollars to the centers of massacres and suffering.

Early in October, 1895, Mr. W. W. Howard the commissioner sent by The Christian Herald of New York to relieve the persecuted and hunger smitten peasants of Armenia, set forth on his errand of mercy. In retaliation for his articles on the terrible suffering in Armenia and its cause, the Turkish government resolved to prevent Mr. Howard from entering its dominions. Refused permission to pass through Anatolia he was compelled to go through Russia and Persia, and eventually was prevented by the Turkish officials from crossing the frontier opposite Van, a notification of the order for his exclusion being sent to Mr. Terrell, the American minister at Constantinople, who cabled the fact to this country.

This, however, did not impede the work of the distribution of the relief fund as the money was sent to W. W. Peet, Constantinople, to be distributed by Rev. [405]H. O. Dwight “with special reference to sufferers in the neighborhood of Van.”

The whole country was in fearful peril and Van itself practically in a state of siege, the trees along the streets having been leveled to permit the placing of cannon in position to command the Armenian quarter. A most various phase of the condition was wholesale exile. Thousands of Armenian villagers, unable to endure privation longer, or to see their wives and children starve left their ruined homes and bare fields and poured into the neighboring cities, unsheltered and hungry.

Meanwhile the good work that the missionaries were doing at Van and Bitlis led the Duke of Westminster, Chairman of the British Committee of Relief, and Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador at Constantinople, to designate Messrs. Raynolds and Cole as almoners of their bounty as they were of the gifts from America.

When these gentlemen first reached the desolated region they were greatly hindered in caring for the poor by petty officials, but later on and in view of representations made by the embassies, the opposition ceased, at least outwardly. Men were set at work rebuilding houses and food was distributed to the most needy. It was estimated that $40,000 would be needed to feed upwards of five thousand persons until the next harvest, and a call was sent for further aid from Europe and America. Finally the bitter hate of the Turkish officials prevailed and the distribution of supplies was stopped and Messrs. Cole and Raynolds compelled to return to their homes.

There were one hundred thousand persons in the two [406]hundred towns and villages in one district alone, who were actually starving, and the story of one was the story of all sections. No one not in the actual midst of it could have any comprehension of the extent of the desolation and of the degree of the suffering. Daily rations of bread, amounting to two cents for adults and one cent for children, were delivered to more than one thousand six hundred in one city. Over four thousand suits consisting of shirt and drawers, were made and distributed, three hundred mattresses and four hundred quilts were given. Many were glad of a piece of bagging to put over them. Poor Armenia! Drenched with the blood of her children, her hills and valleys resounding with their shrieks and sighs and moans, she stood the oldest Christian nation in the world—asking for the smallest of small coins to preserve lives that might yet be given the crown of martyrdom—a spectacle for the world.

In the first outburst of righteous indignation that blazed out from all Europe, it seemed as if the Infidel Turkish Government condemned unanimously by the verdict of all nations for its crimes against God and humanity, would soon be swept out of Europe and that even its possessions in Asia Minor would be torn from its grasp and partitioned among civilized races.

Lord Salisbury, the British Premier, at a public dinner, made an address which plainly intimated that the patience of Europe was exhausted, and that the Sultan’s folly had sealed the doom of his own government, if not of the Ottoman Empire. Lord Salisbury recognized in the present condition of Turkey, the result of its offences against God. He said: [407]

“Above all treaties, all combinations of the Powers, in the nature of things, is Providence. God, if you please to put it so, has determined that persistent and constant misgovernment must lead the government which follows it to its doom. The Sultan is not exempt any more than any other potentate from the law that injustice will bring the highest one on earth to ruin.”

These words sounded as if the Prime Minister really meant to do something to permanently better the condition of Christian Armenia, but in the light of after events it seemed that Lord Salisbury, after considerable reflection, concluded to let the Lord settle the account with Turkey without England’s intervention.

There was one man in Constantinople who played a mighty part in the life and death struggle between Christianity and Islam—Mattheos Ismirlian, the Armenian Patriarch, but great as was his influence, he was powerless to relieve the increasing mass of suffering and misery in all the provinces.

The story of Zeitoun, of its long and brave defence and of its final capitulation has been already told, but the distress which prevailed there was simply awful.

The five European Consuls who went to Zeitoun to negotiate for the submission of the Armenian insurgents telegraphed to their respective embassies that indescribable distress prevailed among the eight thousand refugees at that place. The sick, the dying and the dead were heaped together in all kinds of astonishing places where a little extra warmth was to be hoped for. Bitter cold prevailed and the women and girls were devoid of necessary clothing.

Although the inhabitants of Zeitoun gave up their [408]arms, the refugees shrank from quitting the town through lack of confidence in the Turks. Only too well founded were their fears, as, a little while after this disarming, sixteen Zeitounlis were proceeding under the escort of one gendarme to Albistan to buy wheat or barley; they were suddenly fallen upon and nine of them were massacred.

It was an awful crime against humanity, the stupidest folly to put faith in the promises of the Turk where the welfare of a Christian was at stake.

Fifteen Armenian families were murdered by Kurds in the district of Tchabakeiour, Bitlis, because, having embraced Islamism, they returned to Christianity. The authorities declined to recognize them as Mohammedans, and are said even to have advised them to remain Christians. This exasperated the Kurds, who decided to exterminate them.

At many points the lives of our missionaries were in peril but United States Minister Terrell warned the Sultan that his Government would be held responsible “If even a hair upon the head of an American should be touched:” and to enforce that word—a good straightforward, understandable word, there were three American warships cruising in Turkish waters.

There is not the slightest doubt but that if the fleets of the Great Powers had passed the Dardanelles in November, 1894, and demanded that the outrages against the Armenians should cease, or their guns would fire on Stamboul, silence would have fallen like that of death upon the fierce soldiers and fiercer Kurds, in Armenia. But the word was not spoken, and before God and in the sight of Christendom the blood of the slain is upon them. [409]

From every quarter of the afflicted country appeals came pouring in, saying that the suffering was beyond all description and starvation imminent. “Aid must be sent quickly if lives were to be saved.” The survivors of the Erzingan massacre appealed to the Patriarch at Constantinople to lay their sore need before the world, and to “send aid quickly, quickly, quickly.” But these were only a few; similar appeals, heart-moving in their terrible earnestness, kept coming in from a score of districts where continued massacres made the trembling survivors almost wish for death, that they might be spared the pain of witnessing further horrors.

Noble work was done by American missionaries everywhere in Armenia. Nearly all were engaged in aiding the distressed families, and it was that fact alone that caused the Turkish officials to demand their withdrawal, in order that the homeless and destitute Armenians might be left to die.

Conspicuous among the relief work accomplished was that done at Van under the direction of Dr. Grace W. Kimball. All who care for the amelioration of destitution and suffering, cannot fail to see in the following letter, the practical wisdom which characterized her work. October 15, 1895, Dr. Kimball wrote:

“The plan of this work is to aid without pauperizing, and to utilize a part of the great number of workers who are idle and starving because there is no work to be had. A large proportion of the people of both city and villages are conversant with the various processes in the manufacture of coarse cotton and woolen fabrics. This suggested a simple solution of the work problem. Small sums of money had, as early [410]as June, come to us for our distressed people. And on the strength of this money and the increasingly urgent demands for help, a very simple beginning was made. A bag of wool was bought, weighed out into pound portions, and whenever a woman came begging for help or work, her case was investigated, her name registered, and she was given wool to card and spin. On return of the thread it was weighed and examined as to quality: the woman was paid at a rate that, it was estimated, would supply her with bread, and she was given another lot of wool. The giving of two or three lots of wool in this way was enough to bring down on us a crowd, and speedily we found a large business flooding in upon us—one demanding good organization and a corps of distributors. Cotton was added to our supplies, and all the processes and tricks of the two trades were quickly investigated, and every attempt was made to put the enterprise on a sound business basis. We were able to select at once those whom our hearts had ached to help to gain a living, and a good corps of helpers was soon organized. Men to keep the door—and it often took three men to do this against the clamoring crowd—men to receive and weigh the wool, cotton and thread; men for the various demands of the Central Bureau.

“For the first two months the work was accommodated in our house, in the rooms used as a dispensary, and we were in a state of siege from morning to night. The long lower hall was devoted to a row of cotton-carders, the twang of whose primitive cards and the dust of whose work, filled the house from early morning till dark, while a crowd of wretched men and women was never absent. The accumulation of thread [411]brought the necessity for weavers, and all the processes of weaving had to be studied. The demand was met at once by weavers who were out of work and in dire poverty. The thread was given them by weight, and the woven goods received by weight; and they in turn were paid with due regard to the needs of their families. Then to the children and to some who were too weak and sick to do the heavier work, yarn was given to be knitted into socks.

“Shortly, we found ourselves in possession of a good stock of cotton cloth, woolen goods for the loose trousers worn here, and huge piles of coarse socks. And the question what to do with them came to the front. The suggestion was made that this work might help and be helped by the Sassoun Relief work, by our supplying materials for distribution there. The proposition was submitted to Messrs. Raynolds and Cole and gladly accepted by them, and this arrangement has been the means whereby our Bureau could double its efficiency, thanks to having an assured market for all its produce, without affecting the same industries here, which on the contrary it should help. Our goods are done up in bales, loaded on donkeys or ox-carts, and carried down to the lake harbor. They are received by the miserable little sailboats that ply the lake, and taken—with prayers for insurance—to the opposite side of Van Lake, a distance of some sixty miles. Thence they are transported by horses or carts to Moush, the headquarters of the Sassoun Commission. The journey takes from ten days to two or three weeks. In this way we have already sent some two thousand pairs of socks, and fourteen hundred webs of cloth. The total [412]number of workers (up to October 15) was as follows:

Spinners of cotton and wool 373
Weavers of cotton goods 49
woolen goods
Carders 9
Spindle Fillers 9
Sizers 4
Weighers, Door-tenders, etc. 5
Total 476

“The average of wages per capita for the week was seven piastres, or about thirty cents. The intense poverty of the people is shown by the fact that these wages, small as they are, exceed from one-third to one-half the regular rates for the same work. On the other hand the demands grow more and more urgent—desperate, I might well say. So importunate are the crowds that I often have to call a man to pass me out of the office after my work is done. They beg and weep and catch at my clothes and will not let me go. And it is maddening to see such misery, and yet be obliged to turn a deaf ear to so much of it. We help, through our four hundred and seventy six workers, some two thousand souls, and this is not in itself, a small thing. But when it is compared with the vast number of helpless poor about us, it accentuates our appeal to our more fortunate fellow Christians for larger help.

“The gratitude of these people is touching in the extreme. [413]Would that I could send to each one who has given to this work the blessings and the prayers and the gratitude that are bestowed on them daily. And yet the cry goes up for more help. Winter cold and rains are upon us. Thousands have but the thinnest and most ragged clothing, no shoes or stockings, many no beds, and most no fuel or other winter provisions. Thousands never taste anything but coarse, dry bread for weeks and months at a time—and little enough of that—while, especially in the villages, hundreds have not even that, and are on the verge of starvation. I doubt not that many will have actually starved before these words are read in America.

“It is a national tragedy we are witnessing, and we know not what the end will be. It is also and especially an historical struggle between Islam and Christianity. Christianity is for the present sadly worsted, and it remains for Christian Europe, England and America to decide which shall ultimately be victorious. All that Armenian Christians can do is to die martyrs to the Faith, and that they have done, are doing, and will continue to do daily, until help come—help which reaches not merely Embassies and the Capital, but which penetrates to the remote villages and mountain fastnesses where the worshippers of the Cross are to-day at the pitiless mercy of the fanatical Kurd and Turk.

“In closing this incomplete report of our mutual work, let me again assure all our helpers and coöperators, of the deep appreciation of their aid and sympathy that is felt, not only by those who receive their gifts, but by the entire Armenian people. And let me also remind whomsoever may feel impelled to send us aid that he is [414]not only aiding a starving people, but is also helping to maintain Christianity against its most virulent foes.”

Early in the following December, Dr. Kimball again wrote: “The bakery which we opened is taxed to its utmost capacity and beyond, so that we have been giving orders on another bakery as a temporary thing, and are having a new bakery fitted up, to be ready in two or three days. We are now feeding about one thousand five hundred people daily, and are distributing clothing to these people and hundreds of other villagers who are in greatest need. We have laid in one thousand five hundred bushels of wheat and a considerable amount of wood at very advantageous prices.

“Just here, the man in charge of the bakeries comes and reports that the Governor is giving out orders for bread to the villagers. This Governor is a good man, and we do not doubt his good intentions. But as the treasury is entirely empty, we do not anticipate any very material assistance from Turkish sources. However little it may be, it will doubtless be noised abroad, especially in English papers, as a proof of the tender feelings the Government entertains for its Christian subjects. The hand that smote will not long comfort. Please assure all contributors and helpers in this work of Armenian relief, of the deepest gratitude of the poor people, and of the hearty thanks of us who are witnesses of their misery. * * *”

A Prayer for Revenge.

A Prayer for Revenge.

The following is a summary of relief work at Van up to January 1st, 1895: Number of employees of Industrial Bureau nine hundred and eighty-one, representing over nine hundred and fifty families, or about four thousand seven hundred and fifty persons. Of [417]these four are overseers, nine master-workmen, six hundred and fifty eight spinners of cotton and wool, one hundred and fifteen weavers of cotton, thirty-seven weavers of woolen goods, and the remainder, carpet weavers, carders, spindle-fillers, sizers, knitters and sewers of clothing. The manufactures are coarse cotton cloth, woolen goods, carpets; a kind of heavy jacket worn by the villagers; socks, ready-made clothing and bedding. The product from July to November was largely sold to the Sassoun Relief Commission, though small quantities were distributed here, chiefly among refugees. The supply is not nearly equal to the demand.

In the Baking Department free bread is given regularly to four hundred and fifteen families or about two thousand five hundred persons. About one thousand five hundred persons have received rations for from a week to a month, while waiting to return to their villages. The allowance per capita is one and a half pounds a day. Free bread is being given to the extent of three thousand pounds a day.

At this time, in Harpoot there was still much unrelieved suffering. In the city the missionaries were giving one thousand five hundred rations of bread daily. The ladies distributed one thousand two hundred shirts and drawers, sixty pairs of stockings, one hundred and forty six mattresses, and two hundred quilts. These garments were manufactured by the destitute women, with regular wages of three or four cents a day. At Aintab the missionaries with the relief moneys were feeding three thousand two hundred and twenty-six persons, at Erzeroum two thousand five hundred, at Erzingan one thousand, and also large [418]numbers at Palu, Diarbekir, Oorfa, Arabkir, Malatia, Marash, Hadjin, Cæsarea, and Sivas.

By Christmas, 1895, generous responses came from all over the land, though by no means large enough to equal the necessities of the starving thousands scattered throughout the cities and towns and villages of Anatolia.

This work of relief was conducted under extraordinary conditions, the Turkish Government hampering and opposing it at every point and making it clear to all the missionaries that the deliberate intent was to allow the Armenians to die of cold and hunger.

Abdul Hamid decreed that the Christians should be exterminated; those who had survived the massacres at Moush, Sassoun, Dalvorig, Trebizond, Erzeroum and Harpoot, would die quietly if let alone. They were mere Christian dogs—all of them, and deserved to perish for the glory of Allah and his prophet. And when the missionaries, faithful to their duty, and at the risk of their own lives, continued to extend succor to the starving ones, their mission buildings were burned down, their converts slain and they themselves compelled to seek a place of shelter.

Early in December, 1895, Miss Clara Barton, of Washington, President of the Red Cross Society, was requested to undertake relief work in Armenia, and as Turkey belonged to the Red Cross Association, it was thought that no obstacles would be placed in her way by the Sultan. Miss Barton quickly responded and prepared to take the field in person with a corps of trained workers, sailing from New York, January 22, 1896. Upon her arrival at Constantinople the fullest permission was given for the entrance into Armenia of [419]the Red Cross party and an apparently active and generous effort was made towards making their endeavors, journeys, etc., as safe and easy as possible. Miss Barton took with her many letters of great influence addressed to the Turkish authorities and other persons in close contact with them, but in spite of this and the reiterated promise of the Turkish Foreign Minister to permit the distributors of relief to go to Anatolia, the necessary irades were withheld by the Sultan and for some time Miss Barton’s work was limited to Constantinople. It was during this period that the Porte permanently prohibited several leading American newspapers from entering Turkey.

Early in April, 1896, as the result of the incessant pressure brought to bear upon the Porte by Mr. J. W. Riddle, United States Chargé d’affaires, and Sir Philip Currie, British Ambassador, Tewfik Pasha, the Turkish Foreign Minister, gave assent to the demand that all relief afforded to the suffering Armenians by the agents of the Red Cross Society should be distributed unconditionally, with the exception of one provision, namely, that one member of the Turkish Relief Commission should be present.

Miss Barton at once despatched one caravan with goods to Marash and followed it with another including eight physicians and apothecaries with medical supplies. At Marash, the destitution and misery were past human imagination. Cold, famine, smallpox and typhoid fever had carried off four thousand people and twelve thousand refugees were in need of food, clothing and bedding. There was not a yard of cotton cloth in the place and no doctors. At Aintab, Oorfa, Harpoot and Zeitoun the needs were almost as great, [420]and to each of these points, goods and medical supplies were despatched and distributed by trustworthy American residents and Miss Barton’s Red Cross agents.

Upwards of $70,000 were sent by cable from America to the missionaries in Armenia, through the American Board of Foreign Missions. Not one dollar of this amount was lost or failed to reach its proper field. In many instances the money was given out in the form of bread and clothing to the starving refugees in Asia, within forty-eight hours of the time of cabling it from New York. This fact should go far towards disarming the severe criticisms sometimes heard regarding the business management of missionary enterprises.

Massacre of Armenians at Erzeroum.

Massacre of Armenians at Erzeroum.





Dr. M. S. Gabriel.

In Europe and America there is very little, if any, exact knowledge of what Mohammedanism means and who the Turks are. The Christian subjects of Turkey alone have the unfortunate opportunity of knowing well both the Turk and his religion. And of all the Christian subjects of the Porte the Armenians have the profoundest understanding in this matter. In the case of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Christian, Turkish oppression has more or less been alleviated by the sympathy and protection of some one or the other of European Powers, while the Armenians, related to none of the great nations by close ties of either church or race, are absolutely friendless and have known the virulence of Moslem hatred in its utmost intensity.

This remark, I hope, will caution those of my readers who, having heard of the “tolerant spirit” of Islam and “the benign rule” of the Sultan, might think my description of them to be rather exaggerated.

Of “the benign rule” of the Ottomans and the spirit of Islam I can speak from personal and intimate acquaintance. There can be no curse for a Christian nation as great as that of bearing the yoke of Moslem tyranny. Armenia has many times during her long national life seen foreign rule or supremacy, that, for instance, of the Romans, but not without some consoling [424]advantage. The British, called the true Romans of modern times, carry some blessing to the countries they conquer or rule, although they conquer or rule in the commercial interests of their own. They are like butterflies which fly from flower to flower in order to suck the honey, but, in so doing, they transfer to them the fertilizing pollen attached to their wings.

What have the Turks brought into the Greek and Armenian centers of civilization in the Orient? Any commerce, or industry, or literature, or art, or science? No, not a bit. They have come, sword in hand, bringing with them new vices and novel methods of torture. Since they established their rule in the East, Italy, in the West, had her literary Renaissance, Germany her religious Reformation, France her great Revolution, each contributing to the cause of general civilization, and all Europe and America appear to-day gloriously transfigured, thanks to modern science and industry and art, while Turkey remains where she was five centuries ago. The task of the Turk has been not to enter himself and not to allow his Christian subjects to enter into the path of progress. Whatever progress has been realized by the Armenians has been despite the systematic opposition of the Turkish government. They have smuggled, so to say, European elements of civilization into Armenia. But Armenian experience proved that it is vain, it is even dangerous, for Christians under Moslem rule to try to progress, to multiply schools and churches and colleges, to educate the children, to send the young men to the Universities of Europe and America, to be economical and industrious, to grow rich and to be influential or merely to be born beautiful under the Turkish flag. The destruction of [425]Armenia, after the general massacres of October and November last, is going on by starvation and exposure and sickness. Armenian progress is buried by Islam in the heaps of slaughtered bodies and under the ashes that cover her ruined and deserted villages.

Why is the Turk so fiercely opposed to progress? Why does he so bitterly hate the progressive Armenians? Because, in the first place, he is Turkish; and because, in the second place, he is Mohammedan.

The Turk is not a member of the best human race—the Indo-European or Arian, like the Armenians. The Turk does not belong even to the next best of races, the Semitic, like the Jews and the Arabs. He is a branch of the Mongolian race, and, as such, incapable of assimilating complex ideas and higher forms of civilization.

The mental inferiority of the Turk unfortunately matched with a religion of a very low order, has made of him what he is, worse than savages.

There is much to say of the inferiority of Islam, but I shall confine myself to showing that the moral law of Islam is essentially immoral.

This may seem to some too bold an assertion. Let us see. According to the Koran, the woman must be veiled lest any man look at her and lust after her. She is not to talk with any man other than her nearest relatives. A Moslem must not drink wine or liquor at all, in order that he may not drink too much. There should be no liberty of Press, nor of speech, nor of association, lest any seditious utterance or movement be the outcome. In a word, man must be watched from above, governed, repressed, in order that he may not have any occasion to sin. He is not to be left free, he [426]is not to govern himself, but remain under tutelage, like a child. The consequence is that the Moslem is condemned to perpetual infancy as a moral creature; his individuality, his will power remain undeveloped.

Compare that with the moral law of Christianity. Christianity is the fight of man’s deeper, true nature against his animal or lower nature. It is a healthful exercise by which his soul grows in grace and strength and will power, building up a Christlike character, that is the ideal of his life. The more he fights, the greater and surer becomes the supremacy of his higher nature over the lower.

Just the reverse of this is the spiritual course of a Moslem. He does not aspire at all at purity or moral freedom, but, on the contrary, he believes that by certain acts he can so please Allah and become his friend as to get the privilege of indulging in things forbidden to the common “faithful.” I know this to be the belief among the learned Moslems. It has its ground in the Koran itself—in the fact that Mohammed the “Prophet” was granted such privileges. “O Prophet!” says the Koranic oracle, “we have allowed thee thy wives, unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth, of the booty which God hath granted thee; and the daughters of thy uncle, and the daughters of thy aunts, both on thy father’s side and on thy mother’s side, who have fled with thee from Mecca, and any other believing woman, if she give herself unto the prophet; in case the prophet desireth to take her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted unto thee, above the rest of the true believers. (Koran, Chapter XXXIII.) Another privilege, necessitated by the above, is thus declared: “Thou mayest [427]postpone the turn of such of thy wives as thou shalt please, in being called to thy bed; and thou mayest take unto thee her whom thou shalt please ..., and it shall be no crime in thee.” A further affirmation of the peculiar privilege: “O Prophet, why holdest thou that to be prohibited which God hath allowed thee, seeking to please thy wives?” (Chapter LXVI.)

Gratification of senses in this world under certain regulations, and unlimited gratification of senses in the paradise, with plenty of wine, without any danger of “headache,” enjoying “wives free from impurity,” and “fair damsels with large black eyes” result of “a peculiar creation” ... remaining “virgins” though “beloved by their husbands.” (Chapter LVI.) Such is the ideal of the Moslem for the present life and the future.

This is not mere theory. To be fully convinced of this, a Christian must live among the Turks, see their homes, attend to their festivals, visit their schools, watch their prayers, and become acquainted with their priests and princes.

Did I say their “homes?” The Turk has no home in the European sense of the term, nor wife, nor schools, nor government. His prayers are gymnastics of lips and limbs. His charity is a mere show—as are his prayers, and often an act of cruelty. His school is a place where the spark of Tartaric intelligence is put out under the fuel of Koranic verses. His courts are stores where justice is sold by auction. His Government is an organized brigandage and his diplomacy, falsehood and shameless hypocrisy.

Outsiders may think that the Turks will make some progress. No, there is no hope. As long as the Turks [428]are faithful to the teachings of their sacred law, the only form of their Government will be absolute monarchy, their only instrument the sword, and their ideal sensualism.

For the present life the Turks have for centuries secured an abundance of sensual gratification, thanks to the sword, the great instrument recommended to them by their religion. Reserving for their pious selves the sword, they have left all other instruments to the “unbelievers.” They have devoted themselves to the higher vocations of the State as soldiers, priests, judges, governors, and ministers, and if those careers are not easily open to any one, another noble profession, that of brigandage, is embraced, and in all cases, they have had plenty of income, gardens, palaces and wives. They have left to the Armenians all the low, hard or undignified work—to till the soil, to build houses and roads, bridges and palaces, to make shoes, clothes, rugs and carpets and all the rest.

Thus the Turks led an existence full of pleasure, pride and luxury, and they degenerated; while agriculture, commerce and industry which they despised made the Armenians comparatively prosperous, and the Christian faith which the Turks hated, rendered the Armenian family great and healthy, and the Armenian community stronger, having greater solidarity. In brief, Armenia appeared to the Turk like a little Europe rising in the very bosom of the Ottoman Empire. Already in 1876 the Turkish newspapers of Constantinople were publishing editorials with regard to the alarming increase of the Armenians and the decrease of the Turks. The Sultan, Abdul-Hamid, who aimed, and still is aiming, to be a very great Padishah, devoted [429]himself to the task of readjusting the balance in favor of the Turks. His Khalific intelligence had nothing to do with causes. He never troubled himself with the complicated question why the Turks were not increasing, why a rich Moslem with three wives had no children, while a simple Christian artisan with one wife had three or four or half a dozen. To Hamid’s mind the problem was very simple. Are the Armenians getting rich? he will plunder them. Have they organized educational, religious or other benevolent associations? he will scatter them. Have they bishops, professors and other leaders of high education; and are they increasing in numbers? he will by exile and wholesale massacres get rid of them. If anywhere any of them should venture to resist plunderers or defend the honor of their wives and daughters or kill any of his imperial brigands in self-defense, he will regard and declare them to Europe as rebels and treat them and the rest of their nation as such. His satanic accounts were quite well made up. Some Armenians did, from sheer exasperation and desperation, resist their foul aggressors. Hamid was glad. He ordered the annihilation of Sassoun in 1894. Successful in that, he, in 1895, by the kind permission of Christian Europe and America, proceeded to destroy the Armenian nation and extirpate the Armenian Church by wholesale massacres and forced conversions to Islam.

The sword, even in the hands of the Turks, had never been used with such ferocity. The Turks surpassed themselves in these late massacres. They displayed to the world the bottom of their infernal foulness. Unable to use their sword against Europe, which has grown far too powerful for them, they used it to [430]cut down the Armenian Europe in its bud. And the consciousness of their impotence against the Great Powers intensified their cruelty and hatred with regard to the defenseless and unarmed Armenians.

But all these frightful deeds of the Moslems do not surprise us. It is but natural that “a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” There is perfect harmony between these happenings and the Mohammedan faith. The surprise, the shock we experience when we think that the “Christian” Emperors of Russia, of United Germany, of Austria-Hungary, and the “Christian” Empress of Great Britain and India, and the “Christian” Presidents of the United States and of France could prevent the massacres, and did not. They looked on. They are all, in various degrees, the accomplices of the criminal Turk. Is it to be supposed, logically, that while Hamid is acting in accordance with his religious belief and the example of the “Prophet,” certain Christian princes have no sincere faith in Christ and his Gospel of love? May the exhibition of Islamic barbarity and blindness open the eyes of the “Christians” to see the heavenly holiness of Christ! May the curse of Islam which has fallen upon Armenia as a deadly pestilence arouse the torpid conscience of Christendom to a full appreciation of its sacred Book, its Christian homes, its free institutions and its religious liberty! [431]

Burying the Bodies after the Massacre at Erzeroum.

Burying the Bodies after the Massacre at Erzeroum.





That the Powers of Europe, having their fleets lying at anchor in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas within a day’s sail of Constantinople, should stand by and permit the Sultan to slaughter the helpless Armenians by the tens of thousands is the greatest crime of the century.

The mutual jealousies and distrusts and diverse ambitions of the Powers of Europe have been as fatal and as horrible in result as the cruel wrath of a Nero, when for the first time he smote the early Christians with the clenched fist of the Roman Empire. Would that some hand could strip off the blood-soaked, dagger-pierced garments of nearly a hundred thousand martyred dead, and lay them at the feet of the nations who were consenting unto their death. Far be it from us to attempt to divide, or measure, or weigh out the guilt that lies with common shame upon them all; but that the burden rests with unequal weight upon the Powers a brief recital of some of the facts of history will show.

In little more than three hundred (322) days the Russian Army had swept from the Danube, through Bulgaria, over the passes of the Balkans across the plains of Adrianople, breaking and scattering the power of the Turkish armies until in February, 1878, nearly one hundred thousand victorious troops encamped before the gates of Constantinople which lay defeated and helpless at the feet of the conquering Czar. [434]

General Grant said that for Russia not to enter Constantinople at that conjuncture was the greatest mistake a nation ever made. Could he have foreseen the misrule of the coming years culminating in the recent awful massacres, he would have called the failure a crime and not a blunder.

But Alexander had not entered upon the war for the sake of conquest, but to punish Turkey for her crimes against the Bulgarians and to deliver them from her power. Hence the terms of the treaty of San Stefano were specially in the interest of the subject Christian races that were under the rule of the Sublime Porte.

The treaty established the independence and boundaries of Montenegro, Servia and Roumania. It constituted Bulgaria an autonomous principality with a Christian government, a national militia, with fixed tribute; its boundaries carefully defined, included over sixty-five thousand square miles with a population of nearly four million Christian people. The Ottoman army was to be withdrawn and the irregular forces, the Bashi-Bazouks and the Circassians were to be absolutely excluded from it. The Russian army of occupation was to consist of fifty thousand men to remain until the new government should be firmly established (for the term approximately of two years.) All Danubian fortresses were to be razed and Bessarabia restored to Russia. Kars, Batoum, Ardahan, Bayazet and certain surrounding territory to be ceded to Russia, and Armenia to be guaranteed protection against Kurds and Circassians, and besides this territory, a war indemnity of a paltry $250,000,000. This is all that Russia claimed for herself at the close of a victorious campaign that had cost her $600,000,000 and the loss of [435]nearly one hundred thousand men. This was the sacrifice she had offered to free her Bulgarian fellow Christians from the power of the Turk. Russia was the master of the situation and had well earned the right to dictate her own terms when the Sultan sued for peace.

Already the British Government had declared that they would not permit any power to interfere with the freedom of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, and that they should protect Constantinople from becoming the prize of conquest. The Parliament had been convened in January (17th) 1878, and in the Queen’s speech there was this sentence: “I can not conceal from myself that should hostilities be unfortunately prolonged some unexpected occurrence may render it incumbent on me to adopt measures of precaution. Such measures could not be effectually taken without adequate preparation and I trust to the liberality of my Parliament to supply the means which may be required for that purpose.”

In the debate that followed the Marquis of Salisbury said, “If you will not trust the government provide yourselves a government you will trust.”

The danger flag was waved ominously bearing the insignia of the Russian bear. On February 8th, the House voted a war credit of an additional $30,000,000, and on the same day five British war vessels were ordered to Constantinople. Troops were ordered to Malta from India, and Disraeli, the Premier, significantly declared “that in a righteous cause England would commence a fight that would not end till right was done.”

On March 17th, the ratifications of the treaty between [436]Russia and Turkey were exchanged at St. Petersburg. Now note the situation. Russia has but three or four towns and the fortress of Kars on the frontiers of Armenia, and the seaport of Batoum, from which to compel the Porte to protect the Armenians from Kurds and Circassians. But there is a Bulgaria freed from Turkish despotism. Four millions of Christians are given the privilege of self government while still tributary to the Porte. The frontier of Russia is restored as it was before the treaty of Paris by the addition of Bessarabia. This is the only political advantage to compensate for the expenditure of blood and treasure in the liberation of Bulgaria. What does England want? What does she mean to fight for? How is she injured? The Dardanelles are opened for the free passage of merchant vessels both in peace and war. What right has she to interfere now that the treaty has been signed?

Yet on March 28th, the Disraeli government announces that the first class of the Army reserve numbering thirteen thousand, and the militia reserve of about twenty-five thousand men were to be called out. This determination led to the resignation of Lord Derby as Foreign Secretary and the Marquis of Salisbury was appointed in his place. On April 1st, Salisbury addressed a circular to the Powers, and after giving Russia’s refusal to consent to England’s demand (by what right?) relative to placing the treaty as a whole before the Congress—which Germany was endeavoring to secure to avoid another war—he goes on to complain of the terms imposed by Russia on Turkey: and the violation of the treaty of Paris, etc. Prince Gortchakoff in his reply among other questions asks Lord Salisbury [439]how he would reconcile these treaties with the benevolent ends to which the united action of Europe had always been directed and the attainment of which one learns with pleasure the English government desires, namely, good government, peace and liberty for the oppressed populations.

A Grim Corner of the Cemetery, Erzeroum.

A Grim Corner of the Cemetery, Erzeroum.

Having allowed Russia single handed to chastise the Turks for the massacre of the Bulgarians—and we think that any one can see that she had done it with neatness and despatch, and had delivered four million Christians from the cursed rule of Islam, England now comes forward and demands that the treaty of San Stefano shall be broken and a new one made. We may well exclaim “Cui bono?” In whose interest? For the greater security of the Christians in Bulgaria? For larger liberty and protection to the Armenians from Kurds and Circassians, or the protection of the Balkan populations from Circassians and Bashi-Bazouks?

No indeed! Noble, Christian England in her sympathy for the suffering Bulgarians wanted a Congress called to give back into the hands of the Turk, Bashi-Bazouk and Circassian more than three million Christians and forty thousand square miles of territory which might have formed the home of a strong, progressive Christian nation under the terms of the San Stefano treaty.

Having thus purposed to give back these millions into the jaws of the wolf, she yet desired to pose as the chief guardian of Armenia, and said to Turkey now give me Cyprus and I will protect you against Russia, and we can let Kurds and Circassians alone for awhile.

Thus while urging a Congress of the Powers, already on June 4th, 1878, England had secured the Island of [440]Cyprus, and alone Christian England had agreed to defend by force of arms the integrity and the independence of the Turkish Dominions.

On June 13th, the Congress was called, Prince Bismarck occupying the presidential chair. Beaconsfield and Salisbury and the Ambassador at Berlin representing England, Russia, Austria, France, Italy and Turkey also having their respective representatives.

At the twentieth and last meeting held July 13th, the treaty of Berlin was signed. Thus by the conduct and the persistence of the English government alone was the calling of the Congress made necessary or possible, and by the spirit of England was the Congress dominated, and its final deliverances controlled. At the behest of England were millions of Bulgarians and Armenians handed over again to the tender mercies of the wicked Turk, and Russia was robbed of the glory of her victories.

An international crime like this must cry to Heaven for vengeance and the most powerful and enlightened nation that insisted on it and forced it through is also the most guilty. On their return to England Beaconsfield and Salisbury received an ovation, and the Queen conferred the Order of the Garter on these two Lords who had delivered the lives and welfare of millions of Christians back into the hands of the unspeakable Turk.

That England’s attitude has not been too strongly emphasized, read this quotation from Lord Salisbury’s summing up of the situation in 1879:

“The Sultan’s dominions he informed the Powers have been provided with a defensible frontier far removed from his capital. * * Rich and extensive provinces have been restored to his rule, at the same [441]time that careful provision against future misgovernment has been made which will, it may be hoped assure their loyalty, and prevent the recurrence of calamities which have brought the Ottoman Power to the verge of ruin. Arrangements of a different kind, having the same end in view, have provided for the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan security for the present, and hope of prosperity and stability in the future. Whether use will be made of this, probably the last opportunity which has thus been obtained for Turkey by the interposition of the Powers of Europe, of England in particular, (note this phrase) or whether it is to be thrown away, will depend upon the sincerity with which Turkish statesmen now address themselves to the duties of good government and the task of reform.”

One would suppose from the terms of the treaties that the Bulgarian war had been undertaken for the sole and express purpose of establishing and assuring the integrity and independence of Turkey, the entrenchment of the Bashi-Bazouks in Bulgaria and for protecting the fierce wolves that dwell in the mountains of Kurdestan from the helpless lambs that infest the valleys of Armenia. In Russia the Berlin Treaty called out the most indignant disapprobation. It was said to be “a colossal absurdity, a blundering failure, an impudent outrage.” The nation had been robbed of all reward for the sacrifices she had made in the name of humanity: and before the people Alexander had been humiliated. He saw the incompleteness of his work, felt his inability to deal with the forces that were at that time massed against him and felt bitterly the reproach of the army and of those who had suffered the loss of kindred and friends in a useless and expensive war. [442]Russian diplomacy at Berlin was felt to be more disastrous than the war, while the nation had been decked with a fool’s cap and bells and their honor trampled under foot.

England had taken on her hands a most difficult task, viz: To be the Protector of the Armenians, while at the same time she wore the belt as champion defender of Turkey against all comers. The Protector of the Christians, and the Christian Champion of Islam!!



Art. LXI. The sublime Porte undertakes to carry out, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds. It will periodically make known the steps taken to this effect to the Powers, who will superintend their application.



Art. I. If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further territory of His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in Asia, as fixed by the Definitive Treaty of Peace, England engages to join His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in defending them by force of arms.

In return, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, promises to England to introduce necessary reforms, to be agreed upon later between the two Powers, into the Government and for the protection of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories; and in order to [445]enable England to make necessary provisions for executing her engagement, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, further consents to assign the Island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England.



The Anglo-Turkish Convention having been made June 4th, and the Berlin Treaty not being signed until July 13th, places priority (may we not almost say entirety?) of obligation upon England, which obligation with all that it implies she fully and alone accepted when she accepted the island of Cyprus as a necessary base of operations and a promise and pledge of good faith.

The Berlin Treaty did not release England from this distinct and individual obligation nor did she wish to divide the honor of being the defender of the Armenian Christians. It may be questioned whether she had any right to expect anything more from the other signatory Powers than their moral support in any attempted enforcement of its terms.

Passing by the first part of Art. I. in the Anglo-Turkish Convention the reader is asked to give special attention to the wording of the second part: “In return, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, promises to England to introduce necessary reforms to be agreed upon later between the two Powers, into the Government and for the protection of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories.”

With that clause inserted “to be agreed upon later” how could Lord Salisbury possibly dream, let alone say “that careful provision against future misgovernment has been made”? Absolutely no provision had been made to protect Armenia from Kurd or Circassian or the rapacity and cruelty and outrage of Turkish officials. [446]And none could be made unless these two Powers alone, England and the Porte could agree upon the nature of the reforms and the manner in which they should be carried out. Was any promise, pledge or convention ever written that actually meant less? Was this honest British Statesmanship actually determining that something should be done? or was it shrewd Turkish diplomacy that will promise anything in the bond but withdraw it in the terms of later stipulations? Or was it understood that it was merely dust for the eyes of Christian Europe?

The following incident in the career of Gen. B. F. Butler was given as a newspaper item. In the course of a very spirited conversation one day a gentleman called him a knave. The general smiled and replied, “Well, did you ever hear anybody say that I was a fool?” Somebody was surely fooled by this convention. Who was it? Not Russia and certainly not the Turk. Who then? Salisbury? or England?

There were many men even in England who did not hesitate to express hottest indignation against the policy of the Government regarding her dealings with Turkey. Here are paragraphs from “The Ottoman Power in Europe” by the English historian E. A. Freeman:

“The England of Canning and Codrington, the England of Byron and Hastings has come to this, that the world knows us as the nation which upholds oppression for the sake of its own interests. We have indeed a national sin to redress and atone for. We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us and we would not hear. Nay, our guilt is deeper still. We have not [447]merely looked on and passed by on the other side, but we have given our active help to the oppressors of our brothers. We have “upheld” the foulest fabric of wrong that earth ever saw, because it was deemed that the interests of England were involved in upholding the wrong and trampling down the right. * * * *

“Our national crime is that we have upheld the Turk for our own supposed interests. For these we have doomed the struggling nations to abide in their bondage. We have doomed them to stay under a rule under which the life and property of the Christian, the honor of his wife, the honor of his children of both sexes alike are at every moment at the mercy of the savages whom our august and cherished ally honors and promotes in proportion to the blackness of their deeds. We have for our own interests upheld the power which has done its foul and bloody work in Chios, at Damascus and in Bulgaria, which is still doing the same foul and bloody work wherever a victim may be found. We uphold the power whose daily work is massacre and worse than massacre. It matters not whether ten thousand or twenty thousand perish. We are still to uphold the slaughterer, for it is to our interest that he should not be shorn of his power of slaughtering.

“Now if there be any such thing as right and wrong in public affairs, if moral considerations are ever to come in to determine the actions of nations, it is hard to see how there can be deeper national guilt than this. Unjust wars, aggressions and conquests are bad enough, but they are hardly so bad as the calm, unblushing upholding of wrong for our own interests. * * * * We look on, we count the cost, we see how the wrong-doer deals with his victim and we determine to uphold [448]the wrong-doer because we think that to uphold him will suit some interest of our own. There is no question of national glory, no question of national honor; nothing which can stir up even a false enthusiasm. It is a calm mercantile calculation that the wrongs of millions of men will pay.

“The revenue returns of Egypt for 1890 were over $50,000,000. If we knew how large a part of this went to bondholders in London, we would know something about England’s interest in Egypt. If we knew how large a portion of the Turkish debt of above $500,000,000, is held in London, we would know something about the interest the British government has in maintaining the integrity of Turkey.

“England wouldn’t care if that Turkey were carved to-morrow if only she could hold Constantinople and administer on the dead Sultan’s estate until all the obligations she holds should be paid off. She would rather like to occupy Stamboul on those conditions—Armenia, Kurds, Circassians and all.”

But to return from our digression which was meant to show something of the nature of the interest England had in bringing Bulgaria again under Turkish rule and taxation, we remark that with this Cypress Convention already a deed accomplished what other European powers would care a fig about seeing to the execution of possible reforms in Armenia. What happened is notorious. A few ineffectual attempts to agree upon reforms and when agreed upon many excuses for not carrying them out and there the whole matter of reform was practically dropped; but Cypress was retained as counsel fees possibly for securing such a favorable revision of the terms of the San Stefano [449]Treaty in the interests of Turkey—of the Moslem not of the Christian.

For the sake of retaining influence with the Sublime Porte and to outwit the possible plans and intrigues of the Russian Ambassador, scared by visions in the night of some muscovite move towards Constantinople. England for fifteen years connived at a state of things which was decimating and impoverishing the provinces of Armenia, and costing more lives and causing more suffering in the aggregate than the massacres of Sassoun.

Often the question was asked, “Where is England’s guarantee to Armenian and Macedonian Christians now?” The Russian press was not slow to give prominence to these reports of continually increasing oppressions and pillage, of outrage and murder.

But nothing pierced the political-commercial conscience of England until tidings of the most horrible massacres committed three months before began to creep over the mountains of Armenia and find their way to England and America.

When for very shame they could shut their ears to the clamor no longer the British Government demanded a commission—it’s great on commissions. The British Ambassador intimated to the Porte that if steps were not taken to satisfy her Majesty’s Government that the Sultan’s promise (respecting the commission) would be fulfilled, “they might find it necessary to inquire into the treatment of the Armenians, and that they might also be forced to publish the consular reports from the Asiatic provinces which had been so long withheld!”

What fires of shame should burn on cheek and forehead [450]of the English Government that nothing had been done to stop those outrages till indifference and inactivity had given the impression that nobody cared what became of the Armenians.

At last the heart of England flamed out in pity and her conscience fired the brain to hot and earnest and even vehement utterance, and hundreds of public meetings were held. Instinctively all eyes turned to Gladstone to voice the sorrow, the pity or the indignation of a Christian people who felt themselves in some measure responsible for the deliverance of Armenia from further horrors.



At a meeting held in the Town Hall, Chester, England, a great many members of Parliament being present, the Duke of Westminster presiding, Mr. Gladstone spoke (in part) as follows:

My Lord Duke, my Lord and Ladies and Gentlemen:

“It is perfectly true that the Government whose deeds we have to impeach is a Mohammedan Government, and it is perfectly true that the sufferers under those outrages, under those afflictions, are Christian sufferers. The Mohammedan subjects of Turkey suffer a great deal, but what they suffer is only in the way of the ordinary excesses and defects of an intolerably bad Government—perhaps the worst on the face of the earth. (Hear, hear.) I will take the liberty of reading a resolution which has been placed in my hands and which seems to me to express with firmness, but with moderation, the opinions which I am very confident [451]this meeting will entertain, and this meeting, in entertaining such opinions, is but the representative of the country at large. (Cheers.)

“Allow me to go further and to say that the country at large in entertaining these ideas is only a representative of civilized humanity, and I will presume to speak on the ground, in part, of personal knowledge, of the opinions and sympathies that are entertained among our own Transatlantic brethren of the United States. If possible, the sentiment in America entertained on the subject of these recent occurrences is even more vivid and even stronger, if it can be, than that which beats in the hearts of the people of this country.

“The terms of the resolution are as follows:

“‘That this meeting expresses its conviction that her Majesty’s Government will have the cordial support of the entire nation, without distinction of party, in any measures which it may adopt for securing to the people of Turkish Armenia such reforms in the administration of that province as shall provide effective guarantees for the safety of life, honor, religion, and property, and that no reforms can be effective which are not placed under the continuous control of the Great Powers of Europe.’ (Cheers.)

“That means, without doubt, the Great Powers of Europe, all who choose to combine, and those great Powers which happily have combined and have already, in my judgment, pledged their honor as well as their power to the attainment of the object we have in view. (Cheers.)

“Now, it was my fate, I think six or more months ago, to address a very limited number, not a public assembly, but a limited number of Armenian gentlemen, and [452]gentlemen interested in Armenia on this subject. There was no authoritative and impartial declaration before the world at that period on the subject of what is known as the Sassoun massacre; that massacre to which the Noble Duke has alluded and with respect to which, horrible as that massacre was, one of the most important witnesses in this case declares that it is thrown into the shade and has become pale and ineffective by the side of the unspeakable horrors which are being enacted from month to month, from week to week, and day to day in the different provinces of Armenia. (Hear, hear.) It was a duty to avoid premature judgment, and I think it was avoided. But though it is a duty to avoid exaggeration, a most sacred duty, it is a duty that has little or no place in the case before us, because it is too well known that the powers of language hardly suffice to describe what has been and is being done, and that exaggeration, if we were ever so much disposed to it, is in such a case really beyond our power. (Cheers.) Those are dreadful words to speak. It is a painful office to perform, and nothing but a strong sense of duty could gather us together between these walls or could induce a man of my age and a man who is not wholly without other difficulties to contend with to resign for the moment that repose and quietude which is the last of many great earthly blessings remaining to him in order to invite you to enter into a consideration of this question. What witnesses ought we to call before us? I should be disposed to say that it matters very little what witness you call. So far as the character of the testimony you will receive is concerned the witnesses are all agreed. At the time that I have just spoken of, six or eight months [455]ago, they were private witnesses. Since that time, although we have not seen the detailed documents of public authority, yet we know that all the broader statements which had been made up to that time and which have made the blood of this nation run cold have been confirmed and verified. They have not been overstated, not withdrawn, not qualified, not reduced, but confirmed in all their breadth, in all that horrible substance, in all their sickening details. (Hear, hear.)

The Prison at Erzeroum.

The Prison at Erzeroum.

“I will refer to the last of these witnesses, one whom I must say I am disposed to name with honor, it is Dr. Dillon, a man who, as the special commissioner of the Daily Telegraph newspaper, some months ago with care and labor, and with the hazard of his life (hear, hear), went into Turkey, laudably making use of a disguise for the purpose, and went into Armenia, so that he might make himself thoroughly master of the facts. (Cheers.) He published his results before any public authority had given utterance to its judgments and those results which he, I rather think, was the first to give to the world in a connected shape—at any rate he was very early in the field—those results have been completely confirmed and established by the inquiries of the delegates appointed by the three Powers—England, France and Russia. (Cheers.) I say he has, at the risk of his life, acquired a title to be believed, and (in the Contemporary Review) he gives us an account which bears upon it all the marks of truth, but which, at the same time that we must believe it to be true, you would say is hardly credible. Unhappily some of those matters which are not credible do, in this strange and wayward world of ours, turn out to be true; and here it is hardly credible that there can [456]dwell in the human form a spirit of such intense and diabolical wickedness as is unhappily displayed in some of the narratives Dr. Dillon has laid before the world. I shall not quote from them in detail though I mean to make a single citation, which will be a citation, if I may say so, rather of principle than of detail. I shall not quote the details, but I will say to you that when you begin to read them you will see the truth of what I just now said—namely that we are not dealing at all with a common and ordinary question of abuses of government or the defects of them. We are dealing with something that goes far deeper, far wider, and that imposes upon us and upon you far heavier obligations.

“The whole substance of this remarkable article may be summed up in four awful words—plunder, murder, rape and torture. (‘Shame.’) Every incident turns upon one or upon several of those awful words. Plunder and murder you would think are bad enough, but plunder and murder are almost venial by the side of the work of the ravisher and the work of the torturer, as it is described in these pages, and as it is now fully and authentically known to be going on. I will keep my word, and I will not be tempted by—what shall I say?—the dramatic interests attached to such exaggeration of human action as we find here to travel into the details of the facts. They are fitter for private perusal than they are for public discussion. In all ordinary cases when we have before us instances of crime, perhaps of very horrible crime—we at once assume that in all countries, unfortunately, there are malefactors, there are plunderers whose deeds we are going to consider. Here, my lord duke, it is nothing of the kind; we have nothing to do here with what are called the [457]dangerous classes of the community; it is not their proceedings which you are asked to consider; it is the proceedings of the Government of Constantinople and its agents. (Cheers.)

“There is not one of these misdeeds for which the Government at Constantinople is not morally responsible. (Cheers.) Now, who are these agents? Let me tell you very briefly. They fall into three classes. The first have been mentioned by the noble duke—namely the savage Kurds, who are, unhappily, the neighbors of the Armenians, the Armenians being the representatives of one of the oldest civilized Christian races, and being beyond all doubt one of the most pacific, one of the most industrious, and one of the most intelligent races in the world. (Cheers.) These Kurds are by them; they are wild, savage clans, organized as bands of robbers. These the Sultan and the Government at Constantinople have enrolled, though in a nominal fashion, not with a military discipline, into pretended cavalry regiments and then set them loose with the authority of soldiers of the Sultan to harry and destroy the people of Armenia. (Cheers.) Well, these Kurds are the first of the agents in this horrible business; the next are the Turkish soldiers, who are in no sense behind the Kurds in their performances; the third are the peace officers, the police and the tax gatherers of the Turkish Government; and there seems to be a deadly competition among all these classes which shall most prove itself an adept in the horrible and infernal work that is before them, but above them and more guilty than they, are the higher officers of the Turkish Government.

Principal Street and Bazars of Erzeroum.

Principal Street and Bazars of Erzeroum.

“I think there are certain matters, such as those [458]which have been discussed to-day and discussed in many other forms, on which it is perfectly possible to make up our minds. And what I should say is, that the whole position may be summed up in three brief propositions. I do not know to which of these propositions to assign the less or the greater importance. It appears to me that they are probably each and every one of them absolutely indispensable. The first proposition is this, You ought to moderate your demands. You ought to ask for nothing but that which is strictly necessary, and that possibly according to all that we know of the proposals before us, the rule has been rigidly complied with. I do not hesitate to say, ladies and gentlemen, that the cleanest and clearest method of dealing with this subject, if we should have done it, would have been to tell the Turk to march out of Armenia. (Loud cheers.) He has no right to remain there, and it would have been an excellent settlement of the question. But it is by no means certain that Europe or even the three Powers would have been unanimous in seeking after that end. Therefore, let us part with everything except what is known to be indispensable. Then I come to the other two rules, and of these the first is that you should accept no Turkish promises. (Hear, hear.) They are absolutely and entirely worthless. They are worse than worthless, because they may serve to delude a few persons who, without information or experience, naturally would suppose, when promises are given, that there is something like an intentional fulfilment. Recollect that no scheme is worth having unless it be supported by efficient guarantees entirely outside the promises of the Turkish Government. (Applause.) There is another word which I must speak, [461]and it is this: Don’t be too much afraid if you hear introduced into this discussion a word that I admit, in ordinary cases, ought to be excluded from all diplomatic proceeding, namely, the word coercion. Coercion is a word perfectly well understood in Constantinople, and it is a word highly appreciated in Constantinople. It is a drastic dose—(laughter)—which never fails of its aim when it is administered in that quarter. (Laughter.) Gentlemen, I would not use these words if I had not myself personally had large and close experience of the proceedings of the Turkish Government. I say, first make your case good, and when your case is made good, determine that it shall prevail. (Cheers.) Grammar has something to do with this case. Recollect that while the word ‘ought’ sounded in Constantinople, passes in thin air, and has no force or solidity whatever attaching to it; on the contrary, the brother or sister monosyllable, the word ‘must’ is perfectly understood—(cheers)—and it is a known fact supported by positive experience, which can be verified upon the map of Europe, that a timely and judicious use of the word never fails for its effect. (Cheers.) Gentlemen, I must point out to you that we have reached a very critical position indeed. How are three great Governments in Europe, ruling a population of more than two hundred million souls, with perhaps eight or ten times the population of Turkey, with twenty times the wealth of Turkey, with fifty times the influence and power of Turkey, who have committed themselves in this matter before the world, I put it to you that if they recede before an irrational resistance—and remember that I have in the first instance postulated that our demands should be reasonable—if they recede before the irrational resistance [462]of the Sultan and the Ottoman Government they are disgraced in the face of the world. Every motive of duty coincides with every motive of self respect, and, my lord duke, yourself let drop a word which is a frightful word, unhappily not wholly out of place, the word


There has gone abroad, I don’t say that I feel myself competent to judge the matter, I don’t think I do, but there has gone abroad and there is widely entertained a belief that the recent proceedings of the Turkish Government in Armenia particularly, but not in Armenia exclusively, are founded upon deliberate determination to exterminate the Christians in that Empire. I hope it is not true, but at the same time I must say that there are evidences tending to support it—(hear, hear)—and the grand evidence which tends to support it is this: the perfect infatuation of the Turkish Government. The Turkish Government is evidently in such a state of infatuation that it is fain to believe it may, under certain circumstances, be infatuated enough to scheme the extermination of the Christian population. Well, this is a sad and terrible story, and I have been a very long time in telling it, but a very small part of it, but I hope that, having heard the terms of the resolution that will be submitted to you, you will agree that a case is made out. (Cheers.) I for one, for the sake of avoiding other complications, would rejoice if the Government of Turkey would come to its senses. That is, in my opinion, what we ought all to desire, and though it would be more agreeable to clear Turkey than to find her guilty of these terrible charges, yet if we [463]have the smallest regard to humanity, if we are sensible at all of what is due to our own honor after the steps which have been taken within the last twelve or eighteen months, we must interfere. We must be careful to demand no more than what is just—but at least as much as is necessary—and we must be determined that, with the help of God that which is necessary, and that which is just shall be done, whether there will be a response or whether there be none.” (Loud cheers.)

In a letter written late in March, to the Duke of Argyle, chairman of the Armenian Relief Committee, Mr. Gladstone said, “that he hopes that nobody will suppose that deplorable and ignominious failure of Europe to do her duty in Armenia will in any way diminish the force of the present appeal (for aid) to Christian pity.”

But what about this deplorable and ignominious failure of Europe to do her duty? Lord Salisbury has gravely assured the nation that England is utterly powerless to alleviate the lot of the Armenians in Turkey. If this be true and the Porte should choose to finish his work of extermination, must all the world stand by and see it done and no arm be raised to defend the helpless? If so, woe to the world when the Lord God of hosts shall arise to avenge the blood of a slaughtered race.

When the first rumors of a massacre at Sassoun was confirmed in all essential details, the Government had to act quickly and somewhat decidedly, to avoid a swelling storm of indignation, that might break with serious effect upon their heads.

Two courses of action were open to England, either to use all her power of persuasion, with some strong [464]language, by way of emphasis, to induce the Porte to bring the officials to justice and obtain a guarantee that no such massacres should be permitted in the future, or sound an alarm and call on all the Powers of Europe for an armed intervention, in which case she must be ready to cast in her heaviest weight of men and metal. As the responsibility for the terrible state of affairs in Armenia was due to England’s neglect, in not enforcing reforms, essential to prevent such awful scenes, she should have secured from the Powers their consent to let her thrash the Turks in Constantinople and Anatolia, while the fleets anchored in the Bosphorus to protect the “balance of power” when the deed was done.

A guarantee from the Powers, that England would not be permitted to occupy Constantinople, might have satisfied Russia, or have prevented any interference in the carrying out the purpose of delivering the Armenians from further outrages and massacres. In that case the dissolution of “the Sick Man” might have been the solution of the Eastern question.

At least unless England knew that the Powers would stand by her the threat of using force was stupid folly. A conference of the Powers was a necessity and the pledge of concurrence or armed neutrality should have been given before she began to bait the Sultan. It has been known for years that the Sultan is the last man to be controlled by mere sentiment. He only yields to necessity, to force actually present, to guns trained upon him. He was never scared by all the letters and the threats of the English Government. He knew the Powers were not agreed to use force.

Sir Philip Currie telegraphed to Lord Kimberley:

“I impressed upon His Excellency (said Pasha) as [467]forcibly as I could that the only safe course for the Turkish Government was to authorize the Commission to make a fair and impartial inquiry; that failing this they would be held responsible for the cruelties perpetrated on the Armenians by the local authorities, and that the feeling aroused in Europe was such that if these cruelties were not punished, active interference from without must be looked for.”

Town and Citadel of Van.

Town and Citadel of Van.

This was an earnest, urgent, emphatic, even threatening appeal: but where was there any warrant for the last threat? There was no ultimatum ready. No nation was going to take up arms against Turkey, England least of all. There was no agreement among them to let England take up the task alone. If there had been, one battleship before Constantinople would have brought the massacres to a speedy close and could have compelled the punishment of the Governors in every vilayet where the horrors of Sassoun had been repeated with increased torment and misery. But the fact remains, and the fact is the thing emphasized, that England and all the Signatory Powers sat in masterly inactivity though with steam up at Salonica and let the deadly work go on. There is only time to notice one question, “Why did not Russia agree to the forcing the Dardanelles and coercing the Turks? The blame for the fiasco must fall upon Russia.”

How so? Could you reasonably expect Russia to assist England in performing her promises to protect Armenia when you remember the humiliation of the Berlin Treaty? If England entered into engagements she was powerless to make good, whose fault was that? And when the implicit appeal was to her Christian sympathy the Russians replied in their press: [468]“Where were all these glorious virtues of Englishmen when Lord Beaconsfield handed back the Christian subjects of the Sultan to the dismal fate which has only now begun to excite their pity, when an improvement would suit their policy and further their designs? If England continued to be both humane and Christian while suppressing those noble impulses eighteen years ago, it is hard to understand why we can not remain both, while holding them in control to-day.”

To those who deny to Russia any disinterested motives of Christian sympathy in her war with Turkey to deliver Bulgaria from the horrible misrule of the Sultan, this refusal will furnish only another illustration of her being what they consider her, viz: a half-civilized nation.

But for England to look to a Power she considers her mortal enemy as regards the occupation of Constantinople, for help to rescue the Armenians from Kurd and Circassian and Turkish regulars, set upon them by the Porte, is the sublimity of political innocence, or the confession of utter weakness.

The Russian Bear smiled at the innocence, and with grim satisfaction, perhaps, allowed the Turk to wave back the fleets of the allied Powers from the straits of the Dardanelles and continue his fiendish massacres.

Weigh each for himself the responsibility of each of the Great Powers in any scales he may choose, distribute the guilt by a different judgment, and yet the failure of these Christian nations to unite for the deliverance of Christian Armenia from the barbarous and cruel, most lustful and brutal outrages under which they were suffering, will be stamped by history as the most awful crime against humanity upon which the sun [469]ever gazed during all the passing years of the nineteenth century, and only to be paralleled by the apathy of Western Europe, when alone in 1453 Constantinople fought her last battle for the cross and fell under the sword and power of Islam. [470]




Our self-imposed task to voice as clearly and strongly as we could the History and Horrors of Armenia under the Curse of Islam is nearly finished. For many weeks the fires have burned hot within us, and the daily news from the land of sorrows has only made our heart beat more rapidly and our pen fly the faster that our appeal might reach your ears while yet there was time to save from utter destruction a remnant of this most ancient Christian people of whom two hundred thousand now look to England and America for daily bread.

“The Armenians are the representatives of one of the oldest civilized Christian races, being beyond all doubt one of the most pacific, one of the most industrious, and one of the most intelligent races in the world.”


In all the history of the Roman Empire, from Nero down to the days of Constantine, there is no chapter so cruel, so terrible as the atrocious crimes of the present Turkish Empire. These massacres have been committed at the command of the Sultan, and with flourish of trumpets, as at Zilleh, when at noon November 28, 1895, the trumpet was blown and the Turks began to assault the Christians with the cry, “Down with Armenians. This is the Sultan’s order.”

This is the Curse of Islam that it makes it the religious [471]duty of every follower of the prophet, from the Sultan down to the howling dervishes, to hate the Christians, to kill and plunder, rob, outrage and torture every one who will not accept the faith of Mohammed. The evident intention of the Sultan is to utterly destroy and exterminate the Christian people in Armenia.

It is reserved for the dawning of the twentieth century to see all the horrors of the conquests of Tamerlane repeated, and to realize for itself what these Christian races have suffered since the fateful year 1453, when Constantinople, the glory of Eastern Europe, fell a prey to hordes of the Ottoman Turks. It is because he has outdone the cruelties of all the ages that caused the foremost of living English poets to stigmatize the reigning Sultan as “Abdul, the Damned.”

In our helplessness we can only take refuge, perhaps, under the arms of the Almighty. Justice and judgment are the habitations of His throne and a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of His kingdom. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”

When Christendom repeats that phrase “Thy Kingdom Come” in the universal prayer it means the downfall of Islam, the overthrow of every throne of iniquity, and of all kingdoms whose foundations are laid in blood.

The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of righteousness and between it and the cruel, lustful barbarism of Islam there can be no peace. It affords an outlet for one’s outraged feelings as the cries of smitten Armenia fill our ears, to read the woes once denounced by the prophets of Jehovah against the gigantic wickedness of empires founded in blood.

The cry of the bittern is heard in the pools of Chaldea, and the howling of jackals amid the ruins of Nineveh. [472]The lions roam among the deserted palaces of Babylon and it shall be desolate forever.

When the judgments of the Lord are visited upon the earth the nations will learn righteousness. The ultimate issue can not be doubtful, but still the cry is, “How long, O Lord? How long?”

There are three kingdoms which are chiefly concerned in this Eastern question:—Turkey, England and Russia; and while they are debating and manœuvring, poor Armenia is being ground between the upper and nether millstones of their mutual jealousies and ambitions and the coming of the Kingdom of Righteousness is delayed.

These three nations have stood facing each other for more than a century. Russia on the one side resisting the invasions, conquests and atrocities of the Turk, England on the other his right hand of strength in time of pressure. Throughout the entire history of the Tartar invasions with all their bloody victories and cruel conquests you see Russia rising again and again across his path like a stone wall. But England, in spite of all professions to the contrary and in spite of the earnest and solemn protests of her people against the atrocities of the Sultan’s reign—and never more hot or indignant words have been uttered throughout England than during the last few months—England has always stepped in just in time to save the Empire from destruction and prolong its barbarous rule.

Is it not written large on the page of history that in 1798, when Napoleon invaded Egypt, England came to the rescue and fought France to save the Turk? In 1853, it joined France and fought Russia, when the Czar attempted to protect the Greek Christians in Turkey: [473]and by the treaty of Paris restored to the Sultan the command of the Lower Danube, shut out the Czar from his protectorate over the Danubian provinces and closed the Black Sea against all ships of war. Worst of all the treaty adopted the Porte into the family of European nations. Mr. James Boyce, in a Century article on the Armenian question, says: “The other nations of Europe now treat the Turks as if they were a civilized state and even talk of respecting their susceptibilities.” But they have no title to be so treated and ought never to have been admitted into the rank of civilized nations. Mr. Freeman describes them as “merely a band of robbers encamped in a country whose inhabitants they despoil.” And the passionate words of Edmund Burke are quoted as he exclaimed, “What have these worse than savages to do with the Powers of Europe but to spread destruction and pestilence among them. The ministers and the policy which shall give these people any weight in Europe will deserve all the bans and curses of posterity.”

Brave and noble words, but this is just what England forced on Russia and Europe by the treaty of Paris. And again at the close of the Russo-Turkish war, when the Porte was pleading for life and had gladly accepted the San Stefano treaty, the wily Beaconsfield and the present Premier stepped in and, by the Berlin treaty, handed back to the tender mercies of the Turk more than forty thousand square miles of territory and three million Bulgarian Christians. But what do we see in 1895? England afraid in the critical moment to send her despatch boat through the Dardanelles to insist that the promised reforms in Armenia should be executed and that the massacres of Christians should be stopped. [474]Yet for this purpose had she secured the cession of the island of Cyprus.

By declining at the last moment to give her consent to the forcing of the Dardanelles, Russia most shrewdly outwitted England and humiliated her before the world. England lost her prestige and the glory of her power was tarnished when she failed, through fear of Russia, to execute what before the world she had pledged herself to do.

We are not called upon to defend Russia’s internal policy—her argus-eyed espionage, the cruelties attending the exiling of criminals to Siberia and deporting many suspects without even a form of trial. But when Russia is called semi-civilized, or half-barbarous, and is scarcely allowed to rank among the Christian nations of Europe—we merely remark that she has no opium war laid to her charge, she never blew mutinous sepoys from the mouths of shotted guns. She has never taken possession of any Turkish territory under pretext of reforming the internal administration of the Sublime Porte. If now, by shrewd diplomacy, the Czar rules at Constantinople, while the Sultan reigns but is in reality only his vassal, there is a decided checkmate on the political chessboard of European politics since the last move at Berlin.

If it be true then the Bosphorus is free to Russia, and the Czar is at liberty to march Russian troops at any time into Armenia. Indeed the rumor was that the excessive massacres ceased immediately when the Czar said “enough.”

England was brought into this humiliating situation by her own hesitation to do the right when all Europe except Russia was a unit with her in insisting that the [477]Sultan must be brought to terms even if they should be obliged to force the Dardanelles.

Armenian Refugees at the Labor Bureau at Van.

Armenian Refugees at the Labor Bureau at Van.

It is remembered that Mr. Terrell openly expressed the opinion that if European pressure for reforms repulsive to the Turk, which were to admit to the army a subject race should be successful, a general massacre was sure to result unless concerted and armed coöperation among the Powers prevented it. There was no such coöperation, and accordingly on the very day that these reforms were announced, Mr. Terrell demanded immediate military protection for all missionaries, saying that if a single hair on the head of one of our missionaries was injured the Sultan must answer for it: and the protection was granted.

On December 19, 1895, the President transmitted to Congress a communication from Secretary Olney on the Armenian outrages, in response to the resolution of the Senate. Secretary Olney stated that the number of citizens of the United States resident in the Turkish Empire is not accurately known, but there are one hundred and seventy-two American missionaries and dependents scattered over Asia Minor. There are also a number of American citizens engaged in business in the Turkish dominions, and others originally Turkish subjects, but now naturalized citizens of the United States.

The bulk of this American element is to be found remote from our few Consular establishments. He bore testimony to the energy and promptness displayed by our Minister, Mr. Terrell, in taking measures for their protection which had received the moral support of naval vessels of the United States. He added that while [478]the physical safety of the United States citizens seemed to be assured, their property had been destroyed at Harpoot and Marash, in the former case to the extent of $100,000.

The Turkish Government had been notified that it would “be held responsible for the immediate and full satisfaction of all injuries on that score.” The loss of American property at Marash had not been ascertained, but a like demand for adequate indemnity would be made as soon as the facts were known.

Of the incidents contained in the correspondence in which the rights and power of the United States to demand protection for its citizens whether missionaries from this country or naturalized Armenians returning to their native country, one is given that it may be seen that the demands of our Government for justice will always be met when backed by a warship.



“On the night of the 4th of August last the premises of Dr. Christie, principal of St. Paul’s Institute, at Tarsus, who was spending the summer months at the neighboring village of Namroun, were invaded by an armed mob, obviously collected in pursuance of a preconcerted plan, and an outrageous attack made on a defenceless native servant of Dr. Christie and some students of the institute who were then at Namroun. The authors of this brutal attack were abundantly identified, and through the prompt intervention of the United States Consul at Beirut and the Consular agent at Mersine—the nearest port—a number of arrests were made. Notwithstanding the peremptory demands of [479]the United States Minister for simple justice the assailants, when taken before the local Judge of Tarsus, were released.

“So grave did this miscarriage of justice appear that an early occasion was taken to send the ‘Marblehead’ to Mersine to investigate the incident and lend all proper moral aid to Consular representatives of the United States in pressing for due redress. Their efforts to this end were most cordially seconded by the Mutessarif (Prefect) of Mersine and on October 28 last the accused, to the number of eight, were brought to trial at Tarsus, and convicted upon the evidence, subsequently confessing their guilt.

“Having established his rights, and in view of the dismissal of the Tarsus Judge who had conducted the preliminary inquest, and a promise to degrade the incompetent Mudir of Namroun, Dr. Christie interceded with the Court for clemency to the individual culprits, upon whom light sentences of imprisonment were passed. The signal rebuke administered in high places where responsibility really existed and was abused, coupled with the establishment of the important principle that American domicile in Turkey may not be violated with impunity, renders the conclusion of this incident satisfactory.”

The correspondence closed with the statement by Secretary Olney that a telegram just received from Minister Terrell, under date of the 16th, expressed the gravest apprehensions concerning the ultimate fate of American citizens in the disturbed region unless the appalling massacres can be stopped by the united efforts of the Christian Powers. He saw no hope, however, of a European conceit to that end. He said [480]that if the missionaries wished to leave Turkey he could procure their transportation to Christian ports; if the men wished to remain he could get escorts for all to the seacoast, whereupon the men could return; but he added that the women and children should quit Turkey.



The missionaries of the American Board throughout Anatolia declined to follow the advice of minister Terrell and seek a place of safety, feeling it to be their duty to care for the property of the Boards, to preserve the schools from being scattered and destroyed, and by their presence restrain the impulses of fanatical Moslems and make safer the conditions of native Christians. “If we fall martyrs to our desire to prevent horrible massacres so be it. God has plenty of workers to take our places.”

Nobly did they stand in their places protecting lives and property as far as possible.

At Oorfa there were but two lady teachers Miss Shattuck and Miss Mellinger. They were four days’ journey from any other American missionaries. But when the massacre began they threw open the mission premises and through all that reign of horror they preserved two hundred and forty-six women and children from assault and death.

More than three thousand men, women and children, who had fled to the Armenian church suffered most horrible cruelties before the church was set on fire: most of them were burned alive. Some sixty or a hundred escaped by secret stairs. This large stone church, now purified, is used as a hospital for some eight hundred [481]Armenians and these two women have sole care of them. What heroism!

But more than that the Sublime Porte had learned the temper of our government and knew that damages would have to be paid for all mission property destroyed, hence the Governor of the city sent a double guard of soldiers to protect the premises from fire or assault. The mob was never so desperate as not to realize that they must obey orders. This fact makes the responsibility of the Powers the more fearful as the pressure of an ultimatum at Constantinople backed by a war fleet would have been instantly felt to the extremity of the remotest vilayet.

At Harpoot the bullets fell thick around the missionaries, but they were divinely protected, and saved the lives of many of their scholars; at Marash, the lady missionaries stood bravely in front of their students in the college, ready to die, if the call came; but they were unharmed. “I thought our time had come,” wrote one worthy missionary, afterward, and he added, “and if we were to lay down our lives there, we felt that we would not have chosen it otherwise.” But they were preserved for still further duty in the Lord’s vineyard, and it is largely due to their humane efforts to-day that any relief work is being done in Armenia at all.

Not one of the American missionaries deserted his post, not even one of the women missionaries. Never has there been a time in the history of Turkey when a brave and faithful missionary counted for so much, and never has the power of the United States counted for as much.

The presence of these Christian men and women has [482]been a comfort and protection to thousands of those afflicted, frightened and smitten people. Many a martyr has been strengthened to bear the awful agonies of torture by their devotion in the midst of most terrible scenes. Alone has some noble American woman dragged from the hands of a mob a young girl screaming for life. Mr. Wingate and Miss Burrage were alone in the city of Cæsarea on that fearful 30th of November and nobly did they defend the persecuted, saving many lives. Mr. Wingate took a policeman, went to a Turkish house and demanded a bride and a daughter, who had been carried off and got them both. The people in all that region are ready to kiss his feet.

But time would fail to tell you of the noble deeds wrought by brave, devoted women at Sivas, Hadjin, Adana, Oorfa and among the villages of Mesopotamia. Only the recording angels at the last day can fully recite their deeds of heroism. At the great crisis in their life’s work, nobly did they fulfill their highest, holiest duty.



Action of the United States Senate—a protest against European apathy in not compelling Turkey to observe the Berlin Treaty:

On January 22, 1896, Mr. Cullom, from the Senate committee on foreign relations, reported a resolution in the Senate relative to the Armenian troubles. It recited the provision of the treaty of Berlin as to religious freedom and resolved that it is the imperative duty of the United States to express the hope that the European powers will bring about the carrying out of [483]the treaty, and requested the President to transmit this resolution to the Powers.



Mr. Cullom (Rep., Ill.) reported from the Senate committee on foreign relations the following Armenian resolution:

“Whereas, The supplementary treaty of Berlin of July 13, 1878, between the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Russia contains the following provisions:

“‘LXI.—The Sublime Porte undertakes to carry out without further delay the ameliorations and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds. It will periodically make known the steps taken to this effect, to the powers, and will superintend their application.’

“‘LXII.—The Sublime Porte having expressed the wish to maintain the principle of religious liberty, to give it the widest scope, the contracting parties take note of this spontaneous declaration. In no part of the Ottoman Empire shall difference of religion be alleged against an individual as a ground for exclusion or incapacity as regards the discharge of civil and political rights, admission to the police service, functions and honors, and the exercise of the different professions and industries. All persons shall be admitted without distinction of religion to give evidence before the tribunals. Liberty and outward exercise of all forms of worship are assured to all, and no hindrance shall be offered either to hierarchial organization of the various communions or to their relations with their [484]spiritual chiefs. The right of official protection by the diplomatic and consular agents of the powers in Turkey is recognized both as regards the above mentioned persons and their religious, charitable, and other establishments in the holy places;’ and,

“Whereas, The extent and object of the above cited provisions of said treaty are to place the Christian subjects of the Porte under the protection of the other signatories thereto, and to secure to such Christian subjects full liberty of religious worship and belief, the equal benefit of the laws, and all the privileges and immunities belonging to any subject of the Turkish empire; and,

“Whereas, By said treaty the Christian powers parties thereto, having established under the consent of Turkey their right to accomplish and secure the above recited objects; and,

“Whereas, The American people, in common with all Christian people everywhere, have beheld with horror the recent appalling outrages and massacres of which the Christian population of Turkey have been made the victims,

“Resolved, by the Senate of the United States, the House of Representatives concurring, That it is an imperative duty in the interests of humanity to express the earnest hope that the European concert brought about by the treaty referred to may speedily be given its just effects in such decisive measures as shall stay the hand of fanaticism and lawless violence and as shall secure to the unoffending Christians of the Turkish Empire all the rights belonging to them, both as men and as Christians and as beneficiaries of the explicit provisions of the treaty above recited. [485]

“Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate these resolutions to the governments of Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Russia.

“Resolved, further, That the Senate of the United States, the House of Representatives concurring, will support the President in the most vigorous action he may take for the protection and security of American citizens in Turkey, and to obtain redress for injuries committed on the persons or property of such citizens.”

Mr. Cullom said the resolution was reported by the unanimous vote of the committee, and he desired immediate action.

Mr. Gray (Dem., Del.) said he did not anticipate any objection to the resolution, but it was of such importance that there should be time for consideration of the terms of the resolution.

Mr. Cullom acceded to this suggestion, giving notice that he would ask for action to-morrow.

On the 24th, the resolutions were brought up and Senator Cullom took the floor and spoke of the serious conditions prevailing in Turkey. He said that he was appalled by the carnival of blood prevailing. A massacre of innocence, unparalleled for ages, had been perpetrated. The evidence of the bloody enormities was given by all classes and nationalities until it was beyond the slightest doubt. A Turkish army had bayonetted, robbed, murdered and flayed alive the people of Armenia. There was no war, but a pitiless, merciless tornado of ruin, bloodshed and death. The demon of fanaticism had been let loose. There was a responsibility somewhere. It did not rest with the slavish ruler of Turkey, the Sultan. Back of this were the disputes of the countries of the European alliance, [486]seeking their territorial advantages. These countries were responsible. The Sultan was but a puppet in their hands. It was a matter of regret and embarrassment, continued Mr. Cullom, that the policy of the United States was such as to prevent the sending of a fleet to Turkish waters to put a stop to the bloody rule prevailing. But Europe had assumed the obligation of protection to Armenia. The people of the United States were intensely interested in seeing the obligation executed and the purpose of these resolutions was to plead with the greatest earnestness for the protection of Armenia. It was amazing to people of the United States to witness this appalling slaughter and at the same time to see the indifference of the Christian powers. There was a double obligation upon England and yet nothing had been done to stay the hand of the Sultan, except by fruitless diplomatic correspondence. No event of the centuries called so loudly to the civilized world as this slaughter in Turkey, the greatest, the Senator believed, in the history of the world.

Then Senator Frye, of Maine, arose and addressing the chair began an address that electrified an audience which constantly grew until the galleries were crowded.

In the midst of his speech with intensely dramatic earnestness and thrilling effect Senator Frye cried aloud: “I would gladly have this Congress send a memorial to Russia, saying, ‘Take Armenia under your protection, and the United States will stand by you with all its power and resources.’” The words are strong but the manner and emphasis of the orator cannot be described. Every Senator upon the floor gave expression of approval. Many of them clapped [487]their hands. The people in the galleries broke forth in prolonged applause, which the voice of the Vice President found difficulty in checking.

The scene was one of the most dramatic ever witnessed in the Senate. Again and again Senator Frye gave expression to aggressive views of a similar character, and from beginning to close of his address he received the closest attention and frequent applause. He declared that Great Britain is no friend of this country, nor of any country. Great Britain should have taken part in the suppression of the slaughters in Armenia, but she has not done so. The other countries of Europe are equally derelict.

Mr. Frye declared the United States had never given its assent to the agreement of the European powers closing the Dardanelles, and proceeded with much vigor and earnestness to say that if necessary in order to protect American citizens he would order the American ships to sail up the Dardanelles, regardless of the European alliance, and when in front of Constantinople demand the protection of our people within the Sultan’s dominions. The resolutions were adopted with great applause without a dissenting vote.

The action of our government has been energetic and effective in preserving the lives of the American missionaries in Anatolia. It has been conclusively shown that the Sultan has a considerate regard to an emphatic demand when backed by a battleship. It is a serious question whether the time has not come for the United States to rise to the higher question of privilege, and demand in the name of common humanity that the massacres shall cease and the Christian populations be protected according to the provisions of the [488]Berlin Treaty, and the former promises of the Sublime Porte, “that no one shall be compelled to change his religion.”

The latest reports from Constantinople asserted that there have been many thousands of forced conversions to Islam and that scores of Armenians who had accepted Islam but did not live up to all its requirements with sufficient zeal to please the Turks have been put to death since the wholesale massacres have ceased.

How much longer can human nature stand the strain? What greater—greater outrages can be conceived of to rouse the Christian conscience, than have filled our ears for months? It was published in London as very important news that Sir Philip Currie was the first Ambassador invited this year to take “iftar” at the Palace. The audience lasted half an hour and was very cordial. “It is understood that the Sultan renewed his assurances regarding the execution of reforms.” Thereupon the English Government washes its hands in Pilate’s basin and rids itself of all responsibility.

If we haven’t any treaty rights in this matter in God’s name let us assert the higher law of human rights—the right of every man to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us declare through Congress our judgment to the Porte that the hour has come for armed interference in the cause of outraged humanity.

Mr. Chauncey M. Depew having been invited to deliver an address in Detroit, Mich., in the interest of Armenia, not being able to attend, wrote a letter to Gen. Alger, the chairman of the meeting, from which we quote as follows: [489]

“The air is full just now of wars and rumors of wars. The fighting blood of all the peoples of all civilized countries seems to be warmed to the battle point. But, while there is a great and dangerous excitement over a boundary line in Venezuela and a filibustering expedition in South Africa, the peoples of Europe and of the United States remain unmoved and undisturbed by the burnings, sackings, slaughter and every form of savage murder and lust perpetrated upon the Christians of Armenia simply because of their adherence to the faith of Christendom. I have seen congregations weep at the presentation of the tortures and massacres of Christian martyrs under Nero and Diocletian two thousand years ago. Where are the tears for Christian men tortured and killed, Christian women outraged and slain, Christian children tossed upon the bayonets of a savage soldiery yesterday, last week and last month, with the frightful assurance that they will continue to be slaughtered and outraged and tortured and tossed upon bayonets to-morrow, the day after and next month and for months to come?

“Much as I believe in peace and its blessings, much as I detest war and its horrors, much as I feel that great provocations and the most imminent dangers to the liberty or the existence of the territories or the safety of the citizens of the country will justify an appeal to the arbitrament of arms, nevertheless I do feel that by a concert of action of Christian nations, of which the United States should be one, such a presentation should be made to the Sultan and his advisers as would stop these horrors and save our Christian brethren.”

The case of Rev. Mr. Knapp, of Bitlis, who is to be [490]sent to Constantinople for trial on the charge of sedition, will afford a splendid occasion for a naval display. Let the question be opened up whether these treaty obligations of the Porte mean anything outside the reach of a warship. How can we maintain our traditions as the friend of the oppressed and downtrodden of earth if we let the brutal fanatical Sultan riot still in plunder, lust and blood?

Did we care for the poor manacled negro undergoing the horrors of the Middle Passage? Did we have any interest in healing “the open sore of the world?” Did we once have spirit enough to demand of the Bey of Algiers the release of all Christian slaves, the abandonment of the piracy he had practiced for years, and compel him to forego the tribute exacted from all nations?

And have we no voice, no heart, no sympathy, no power to demand that the Sultan shall stop his awful carnage of blood and prove before the bar of all Christendom by what right he any longer shall reign?

We can do this because the Eastern Question does not exist for us. Higher questions of humanity demand the first consideration. We can interfere in defence of the lives and property of Christians in Turkey without violating the Monroe Doctrine and would merit the gratitude of Europe and the world, if the final decision should be that the Sultan had forfeited by the slaughter of one hundred thousand men, women and children with the fiendish accompaniments of outrage, violation, torture, all right to be treated as anything else than an enemy of humanity, and a wild beast to be caged and gazed upon with execration and horror.

Are not the lives and happiness of a half million [491]Armenians left homeless and penniless and who still tremble with fear and terror at the sight of their relentless foes of more consequence than the boundary line of Venezuela? And yet for the location of an imaginary line the President’s message came perilously near being a threat of war.

Had the President written as strong a message as that to the Sultan in November or December, 1895, and sent it with an escort of three battleships under the Stars and Stripes (stars for heroes, stripes for tyrants) demanding that the massacres cease at once or Yildiz Palace would be bombarded, the telegraph wires might have melted under the hot haste with which every Governor had been ordered to call off the hounds of hell from their battening on human blood. (I beg pardon of the hounds, hyenas, tigers and all other wild beasts for using their names in simile or metaphor to describe the swiftness, eagerness or ferocity of Kurd or Turk. It is only the poverty of language that makes such use allowable.)

But there is another thing we can do and England has shown us how to do it, scores of times, if not hundreds of times, in her own history. The American Board has suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the destruction of missionary property; American citizens have suffered great money losses and their work has been broken up in many quarters; many churches in all parts of Anatolia, built wholly or in part with contributions from America, have been laid in ruins; they have gone down in ashes and pillage under the trampling hordes of Islam; the cost of relief has been enormous and the extra cost to all the missionaries has been very great, to say nothing of all the [492]indignities to which they have been subjected (and in British estimation outrage upon the dignity of an Englishman is placed at very high figures.) Now let these damages be tabulated at full value and the bill presented to the Sublime Porte payable on demand and let us land a few marines at Stamboul and open out a few port holes upon the Palace and wake Mr. Sultan to the fact that it is quite as serious an affair to pluck the feathers of the American eagle as it is to twist the tail of the British lion.

As Mr. Talmage has said in his own inimitable style: “When the English lion and the Russian bear put their paws on that Turkey, the American eagle ought to put in its bill.

Seriously this demand ought to be made with such energy, decision and despatch with such a demand for adequate protection and guarantee of inviolability of domicile both as to churches, colleges, schools and private residences of missionaries with a demand for necessary papers for all the consuls we may choose to send into Anatolia, that the Sultan would have very little time for the next few weeks to talk to his three hundred and sixty-five wives, or lay out any new plans for reforming the Armenians out of existence.

Another thing is possible, and possible only to America, viz: The calling of an International Conference—say on the Island of Cyprus, which England holds as a pledge that she will see that necessary reforms shall be executed—to discuss the further existence of the power of the Porte.

After the battle of Waterloo the Powers of Europe dealt with Napoleon as an enemy of the human race, of the peace and prosperity of every realm and not [493]liking to take him off suddenly, they took him off to the island of St. Helena, where English ships and soldiers guarded him from all danger till the angel of death, black or white, called him before a higher tribunal.

There would be some grim justice in the retribution if the Sultan should be exiled to the island of Cyprus where he could be supported without cost to Europe according to Article III. of the Annex to the Cyprus Convention. It is understood “that England will pay to the Porte whatever is the present excess of revenue over expenditure in the island.”

One gunboat could guard the island, and Abdul-Hamid II., after whom there should be no III., could dwell in peaceful security, unless through his seared Islamic conscience some dreams of blood should come, or shrieks of outraged womanhood be heard above the waves of the resounding sea.

It has been said that if the contents of the Blue Book on Armenia were known Lord Salisbury would be mobbed in the streets of London. The Christian Herald, of New York, has also stated that a number of official documents has come into its possession which form such an indictment against the Turk as has never yet been framed in the Saxon tongue. “It may never be necessary to drag this shameful exhibit to the light, nor will it ever be done save as a last resort in the interest of justice and mercy.”

As nothing which has yet been told has touched the springs of power in Europe or America, save to start a few rills of generosity for pity’s sake and a few tears which a dainty lace handkerchief could wipe away, it would seem as if justice to the Turk and mercy to the Armenians demanded that these official documents, [494]whether in England or America, should be given to the light, if perchance at last the nations of Christendom might be roused to action before the country shall be utterly laid waste and the only service left us shall be to lay a cross upon the grave of Bleeding Armenia.

Armenia has stood the only Christian race and nation in Asia, for more than a thousand years, despite the oft repeated threat, Islam or Death. At any hour, in any age its glorious roll of martyrs would have been filled up and its blood would have ceased to flow, if it had been willing to deny the Christ and swear allegiance to the false Prophet.

The History of this Martyr Nation that has been written in tears and blood as thus rehearsed to you will, I trust, not have been told in vain. May the voice of an outraged humanity be heard above the din of all conflicting political alliances demanding mercy and justice for the perishing.

I believe our indignation would burst into fiercest flame if these awful atrocities could but be realized; and to noble, free and Christian America might be the honor of leading in a glorious crusade for the deliverance of crushed, desolated and bleeding Armenia from the accursed rule of Islam.






Massacre of Armenians by Police, Softas and Kurds.—Frontispiece. Sept. 30th, 1895, and the following days will long be remembered as a Reign of Terror in Constantinople. Scarcely an Armenian family but mourns the loss of some of its members. The Mahommedans seemed worked to such a pitch of fury, that mere death was too mild a punishment to inflict on their victims.

They battered the heads of the Armenians with bludgeons, mutilated the unhappy creatures in every possible way, and left them lying about the streets in ghastly heaps. Many lived thus for hours in horrible agonies, no one daring to succor them.

Great and Little Ararat from the North-east.—Page 19. The village of Aralykh, from which the view of the mountain is taken, is merely a row of wooden barracks, neatly painted, with a smith’s and carpenter’s shop, cottages for the soldiers scattered about it, and a few trees for shade and shelter.

The situation is striking. The mountain seems quite close, but in reality its true base is fully twelve miles distant. As you look up into the great black chasm you can see the cornice of ice, 300 or 400 feet in thickness, lying at a height of about 14,000 feet, and above it a steep slope of snow, pierced here and there by rocks, running up to the summit.

About seven miles to the south from Great Mountain, rises the singularly elegant peak of Little Ararat, which in the autumn is free from snow.

Armenian Types and Costumes.—Page 38. The costumes of the better class of Armenian women, before these terrible days, were very picturesque and some quite costly.

They are fond of personal adornment, and wear silver coins [496]about the head and neck; sometimes the ornaments are of gold, very handsome and expensive. The costume of the men varies considerably according to the province and occupation. Many of the merchant class have adopted the European dress almost entirely.

Monastic Rock-Chambers at Gueremeh.—Page 55. The mountains in this neighborhood of Kaiserieh are remarkable for the numerous rock-chambers and caves, which were filled with hermits in the early days of Christianity.

In one valley, about one mile in length and one thousand feet across, a gorge opens out about five hundred feet deep. The cliffs fall steeply away, sometimes with a sheer descent; sometimes in a succession of terraces, and from them rise up pyramids and pinnacles of rock; the wonders of the valley. On both the face of the cliffs, and in these detached masses there are caves and niches, all the work of human hands. At one time the whole valley was the abode of a vast monastic community.

The Sultan in the Park of the Yildiz Palace.—Page 74. The Sultan rises at six o’clock, and labors with clerks and secretaries until noon, when he breakfasts. Then he goes for a drive, or a row on the lake in the palace park, and returning gives audience until eight. At that hour he dines as a rule, alone.

The Sultan’s food is prepared by chosen persons, cooked in sealed vessels, within locked rooms, and tasted before it is served to him. The water he drinks is brought from a distance in sealed barrels.

Sometimes the Sultan, who is fond of light operatic music, plays duets on the piano with his younger children. For other recreations, he studies odd machines and novelties of inventions.

He never sleeps two successive nights in the same room, and when the fear of death is strongest upon him, he goes to a chamber reached by a ladder, which he draws up after him.

Types of Softas.—Page 91. At Cairo, in Egypt, are the most famous universities of Islam. To these schools, students flock from all quarters of the Mahommedan world.

These Softas are the most fanatical of the Moslems; their entire training is one of bitter intolerance and hatred of Christianity; they have been the inciters to riots in many cities in the Turkish Empire, [497]notably in that of Constantinople, in September, 1895. The number of Softas in the Empire, is said to be about 30,000—8,000 of them being in Stamboul.

His majesty has at times sought to have some of them return to their native provinces, but to this, great opposition has been shown, so that he was obliged to abandon his first plan and get rid of them quietly. From time to time numbers of them have been put on board of transports for unknown destinations.

“The Turks are upon Us.” A Panic in Stamboul.—Page 110. While the photograph, from which this illustration is reproduced, was taken in Stamboul, it would answer equally well for the panic that prevailed among Armenian merchants, everywhere, whenever the cry was raised that the feared and hated Turk was coming. Costly merchandise was quickly thrust behind doors, that were as quickly barred against the common foe, and children were hastily summoned from the streets. That such scenes have their ludicrous side, is evidenced by the upsetting of the young man who, in his haste to gain a place of safety, has trodden upon the trailing end of one of the rugs which the venerable dealer in such merchandise, is in equal haste to place beyond the reach of the marauders.

The New Grand Vizier on his way to the Sublime Porte.—Page 127. The renowned office of grand vizier, in the realms of the Ottoman Turk, is a very precarious and dangerous post. Rifaat Pasha, the latest appointee, is the nominal head of whatever government may be supposed to exist at the Porte. He has been many years in the civil service, and has been Governor, successively, of the former Danubian Provinces, of Salonica, of Smyrna, and of Monastir, and latterly Minister of the Interior.

Explaining the Inflammatory Placards.—Page 146. There is a cry for reform in the system of government in Turkey, and revolutionary placards are posted up almost daily in the streets of Stamboul. The police specially patrol the streets at night with the object of tearing down these seditious utterances. The illustration shows a man of education, explaining to some of his more ignorant fellow-citizens, the meaning of one of these placards, that has escaped the notice of the police.

Taking Armenian Prisoners to the Grand Zaptieh Prison.—Page 163. Over the portal of the Grand Zaptieh Prison, Stamboul, might well be inscribed “All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” [498]The engraving gives a forcible illustration of the brutality exhibited by the Turkish soldiers and police towards their prisoners, whom, in many instances, they literally dragged to their place of confinement.

British Cabinet Debating the Armenian Question.—Page 182. The councils of the English Government are more important to the welfare of the world than the decision of any other European power. But British interests—interest on Turkish bonds held in London—have been paramount to all questions of righteousness and humanity; and Bleeding Armenia cries in vain for deliverance from the accursed rule of the Turk.

The British Mediterranean Fleet.—Page 199. When the squadrons of the great powers began to assemble in Eastern waters, it seemed for awhile as if the day of reckoning for Turkey had surely come. The British fleet is seen in the harbor of Salonica, ready for action. At this time the French ironclads were in the Piraeus, the German warships off Smyrna, the Italian and Austro-Hungarian squadrons had started for the East, and Russia’s fleet was close at hand in the Black Sea. A single warship in front of Constantinople would have restored order in Armenia; none were sent.

Types and Costumes of Kurdish Gentlemen.—Page 218. The Kurdish costumes are picturesque and nearly all the tribesmen are magnificent horsemen. They are always formidably armed. They are very cruel; fierce in battle; merciless in torture and outrage of their victims. They have neither books nor schools; not one in ten thousand can read.

A Common Scene in the Streets of Erzeroum.—Page 235. A camel caravan from Persia passing through to Trebizond. Some of these caravans consist of as many as eight hundred camels—estimating the value of a camel at $150, which is moderate, we have the sum of $120,000 as the worth of the caravan, without counting the vast stores of merchandise. This immense trade is for the time destroyed and the inhabitants of Erzeroum reduced to great extremities.

Armenian Women Weaving Turkish Carpets.—Page 254. In the reign of Edward VI. we read that before communion-tables were placed, “Carpets full gay, that wrought were in the Orient.” The greater part of the real Turkey carpets are manufactured in the [499]province of Aidin. No large manufactory exists; the carpets are the work of families and households. The illustration shows Armenian women engaged at their primitive looms.

Armenian Peasants Fleeing to Russia.—Page 271. Fortunate indeed is the family that could escape into Russia and save their lives. Yet, across the borders there is no peace and prosperity. Thousands are on the mountains, or out on the plains escaping from the sword and bayonet and spear of the Turk and Kurd. Their misery, as they wander in rags, or creep about the ruins of their villages, is appalling.

Armenian Women, Province of Van.—Page 290. Besides trade and agriculture, the inhabitants of this province are engaged in a few industries, such as the making of coarse cotton chintz, a highly prized water-proof fabric of goat hair and a thick woolen cloth called shayah. The women assist in all the labors of the men, particularly in the field, where entire families may be seen.

Armenian Mountaineer of Shadokh.—Page 307. This illustration gives a good idea of the sturdy manliness of these people, who, if permitted to bear arms and defend themselves, would soon deliver their villages from plunder, and their wives and children from outrage and misery.

Grand Mosque and Interior at Urfah.—Page 324. Urfah is the present name for Edessa, once the capital of Armenia—the Ur of the Chaldees.

There was a Christian church at Edessa as early as 200 A. D., and it was famous for its schools of learning, which were large and flourishing. A great tower is still standing, from which, five times a-day, the Muezzin calls Mahommedans to prayer, marks the site of the great Christian seminary of the fourth century.

The Turks pay thousands of dollars to the mosque for the privilege of being buried in this place.

Passage Boat on the Arras.—Page 343. Ferriage and transportation by water in Asia Minor is still carried on in primitive fashion. The illustration shows an unwieldy craft, propelled by long and heavy oars. The usual shape of the boats is much like that of a coffin. The submerged portion is coated within and without with hot bitumen. Frequently, when the craft arrives at her destination, she is broken up, and the bitumen, with which she is coated, is sold, as well as the cargo. [500]

Arresting the Murderers of Armenians.—Page 362. These arrests have only been a matter of form, and only because some foreign consuls may have demanded it.

Turkish justice, outside the centers of European influence, rarely ever punishes either Kurd or Turk for outrage, plunder or murder, if only the Armenians are the sufferers.

Sketches of Armenia and Kurdestan.—Page 379. A group of views showing the interior of a Kurdish tent, in which three chiefs are partaking of coffee; a soldier, in picturesque dress, standing on guard, or, to salute his superior officer; a valley of surpassing beauty, with snow-capped mountains in the distance; a Kurdish encampment, with houses in the background, and a view of Sinna, the capital of Persian-Kurdestan.

Refugees and Cavasses at an Armenian Church.—Page 398. After the first riots in Constantinople, the various Armenian churches were filled with refugees who could hardly be persuaded to leave their sanctuary. After repeated assurances of protection by the dragomans of the six European embassies, the refugees returned to their homes. As they left each church, they were drawn up in line and searched for arms.

A Prayer for Revenge.—Page 415. The heart-rending agonies of the martyr have died out, and his soul has gone up in anguish before the throne. The aged father and brother have been favored in being able to secure the body for burial. But how can they pray? The Turkish soldiers cried out as they tortured the dying man, “Where is your God, now? Why doesn’t he deliver you?” and filled his ears with awful blasphemies in his last moments.

Massacre of Armenians at Erzeroum.—Page 434. The massacre at Erzeroum began October 30, 1895, in the Serai, the chief government building in which the Vali and his chief officials reside. The massacre started by the shooting of the priest of Tevrick by Turkish soldiers when he and other Armenians were at the Serai trying to gain audience of the Vali.

Burying the Bodies after the Massacre at Erzeroum.—Page 451. This illustration was reproduced from a photograph taken in the Armenian cemetery, two days after the massacre. Two rows of dead, thirty-five deep, had already been laid down and partially covered with earth by laborers, when the photograph was taken. [501]Four men had just deposited another corpse, and so started a third row. The open spaces between the bodies were filled up with skulls, thigh-bones, and other human remains disturbed by digging this grave, which was fifty-three feet square, for the reception of the slaughtered Armenians.

A Grim Corner of the Cemetery, Erzeroum.—Page 470. About 1,000 Armenians were inhumanly butchered in the massacre of October 30, 1895. The illustration shows how their corpses were laid out in the cemetery, waiting until one large common grave could be dug for their reception.

Principal Street and Bazaar of Erzeroum.—Page 480. Erzeroum is a town of great antiquity. In 1201, the time of its capture by the Seejuks, 140,000 of its inhabitants were said to have been lost. Recent estimates of the population are from 50,000 to 100,000, of which, probably, two-thirds are Armenians. The circular-towers, shown in the illustration, with their conical tops, add a certain picturesqueness to the view, and are popularly reputed to be the tombs of holy men who died in the fourteenth century.

The Prison at Erzeroum.—Page 481. To describe the sufferings of a Turkish prison is impossible. It combines the stifling air of the Black-Hole of Calcutta, the stench of an open sewer, the poison of a yellow fever ward, the pangs of starvation, besides the horrors of the Inferno when Moslem criminals are shut in with Christian prisoners.

“It is a living grave, a visible hell, a world without God.” Men are suffering in nakedness and rags, and dying of hunger and disease, but there is no one to pity.

Trebizond.—Page 491. This city, the principal seaport for the Armenians, is on the southern coast of the Black sea, and has a population of about forty-five thousand. The old walls are now ruinous, but the engraving shows how formidable they must have been originally. Many Armenians were massacred at Trebizond in the autumn of 1895.

Town and Citadel of Van.—Page 502. Van, the capital of the province of the same name, lies in an extremely fertile plain—one of the gardens of the East. Its low, flat-roofed houses are enclosed within a double line of walls and ditches on the three sides not protected by the rock which rises 300 feet sheer above the plain, [502]and is crowned by the citadel. In this rock are numerous galleries and crypts which probably date back to the ninth century. The city of Van is one mile from the shore of the lake to which it gives its name.

Armenian Refugees at the Labor Bureau at Van.—Page 503. At this point Dr. Grace N. Kimball has, so far, been able to employ over 900, representing 4,500 souls, keeping them from starvation by her efforts. Thousands of famished, almost naked creatures have toiled barefoot to the city. Her factory has also been a school of honesty to those employed, and the work is a shining example of clean, upright, business methods and Yankee executive ability.


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The following corrections have been applied to the text:

Page Source Correction
5, 150, 197, 280, 480 [Not in source] ,
6 preeminence preëminence
7 insistance insistence
9 Heigira Hegira
13 , [Deleted]
16 Mahommedanism Mohammedanism
17 Abd-ul-Hamid Abdul-Hamid
23, 112, 148 scimiter scimitar
26 Cesarea Cæsarea
46 [Not in source] .
51, 52 idoltary idolatry
51 wordly worldly
62 christian Christian
63, 492
69 Ctesiphor Ctesiphon
89 Comnera Comnena
104 Sycthian Scythian
107, 130, 150, 153 scimiters scimitars
108 grevious grievous
116 possesion possession
117 [Deleted]
129 martydrom martyrdom
130 Bajezet Bajazet
150, 172, 229 [Deleted]
151 embroided embroidered
155 ived ivied
172, 205 [Not in source]
180 [Not in source] no
189 Britian Britain
190 embarassed embarrassed
206, 208 [Not in source]
240 guardships guardship
245 lmaretts imaretts
248 d’etat d’état
348 the [Deleted]
371 [Not in source]
386 convertions conversions
412 Rillers Fillers
418 Diabekir Diarbekir
424 Unversities Universities
435 omniously ominously
448 quesion question
482 women woman
495 ree free
496 decent descent
497 successivly successively
498 neithers neither
499 unwieldly unwieldy