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Title: Around the Black Sea

Author: William Eleroy Curtis

Release date: March 17, 2021 [eBook #64843]
Most recently updated: October 12, 2022

Language: English



E-text prepared by Turgut Dincer, Charlie Howard,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See


Transcriber’s Note

Larger versions of most illustrations may be seen by right-clicking them and selecting an option to view them separately, or by double-tapping and/or stretching them. Links to larger, higher-resolution versions of the maps at the end of the book are shown below those maps.






A complete map of the Black Sea and surrounding country will be found affixed to the inside of the back cover of this book.

Around The Black Sea





Copyright, 1911,
By George H. Doran Company



I Cruising in the Black Sea 3
II The Ancient City of Trebizond 29
III Railway Concessions in Turkey 60
IV The Caucasus 85
V The City of Tiflis 105
VI Mount Ararat and the Oldest Town in the World 129
VII The Armenians and Their Persecutions 154
VIII The Massacres of 1909 168
IX The Results of American Missions 185
X The Caspian Oil Fields 214
XI Daghestan and its Ancient Peoples 228
XII The Circassians and the Cossacks 252
XIII The Crimea 265
XIV Sevastopol and Balaklava 292
XV Florence Nightingale and Her Work 313
XVI Odessa, the Capital of Southern Russia 325
XVII The Kingdom of Roumania 348
XVIII The New Régime in Turkey 379
XIX The Emancipation of Turkish Women 411
XX Robert College and Other American Schools 430


Map of the Black Sea Opposite title page
A Turk of Trebizond 10
Coffee peddler on our steamer 10
Group of Lazis, Armenia, ready for a dance 53
The city of Batoum 56
A Georgian beauty 88
A Georgian prince and his sons 88
Head dress of a Georgian lady 94
The native costume of Georgia 94
Section of the road in Dariel Pass 95
A Georgian gentleman and wife 100
A Georgian peasant 100
Principal club at Tiflis 106
Floating flour mill, Tiflis 110
A Georgian cavalier 114
Palace of the viceroy, Tiflis 120
Patriarch of the Georgian Church, Tiflis 126
A Georgian prince 126
Mount Ararat 131
Nakhikheban, founded by Noah on the slope of Ararat, the oldest town in the world 142
Entrance to the monastery of Etchmiadzin, Armenia 155
Kibitkas of the nomadic tribes 160
Persian quarter, Baku 213
A mosque of Baku 213
Temple of the fire worshippers near Baku 216
Domes of the Persian section of Baku 224
Prince Schamyl; “The Lion of Daghestan,” and his sons 228
City Hall, of Vladicaucasus 249
Type of the old-fashioned Circassian 252
A Circassian gentleman 257
Type of Circassian beauty 257
Gateway to Aloupka Palace, Crimea 266
Villa of the Czar at livadia, Crimea 284
Villa at Livadia in which Alexander III. died 290
Grafskaya Pristan, Monumental Landing, Sevastopol 294
Memorial Church, Sevastopol 294
The village of Balaklava 304
Chamber of Commerce, Odessa 328
Municipal Opera House, Odessa 332
View of the Bosphorus; ancient castle of Mohammed the Great in foreground 392
Robert College, on the Bosphorus 432


There are several lines of steamers on the Black Sea, sailing under the Turkish, Greek, Russian, German, French, Austrian, and Italian flags. The steamers of the North German Lloyd Company, which sail from Genoa and Naples, through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, are best, but they visit only the ports on the northern coast. The Austrian Lloyd steamers, which come from Trieste, are second best, and we were fortunate in obtaining cabins on the Euterpe, which is old-fashioned, but comfortable. The captain is an Italian of Trieste, who speaks English well, as do two of the under officers; the steward is thoughtful and attentive and the cook is beyond criticism.

The passengers were a perfect babel, representing all the races and speaking all the tongues of the East, with several Europeans mixed in, each wearing his own peculiar costume. There were Turks of all kinds and all classes and all ages wearing fezzes of red felt; there were Persians, wearing fezzes of black lamb’s-wool; Albanians with fezzes of white felt, and Jews with turbans and long robes, such as they used to wear in the days of the Scriptures. We had several Turkish army officers to amuse us, and one big, blue-eyed4 general, who looked like a philanthropist, but is said to be a fiend of a fighter. There were English, German, and French tourists and rug buyers on their way to Persia and Turkestan; a very fat Austrian woman who was going to visit her son, consul at Batoum, and several Russians who had been visiting Paris and the Riviera and were on their way back to their homes in the Caucasus.

We had five different kinds of clergymen—Mohammedan mullahs, wearing long robes and red fezzes with white turbans wound around them, Greek and Armenian priests, who are difficult to distinguish, and three Capuchin monks. One of them was a venerable old gentleman with a patriarchal beard, and one was a mere boy who smoked cigarettes incessantly—and a cigarette does not fit in well with the hood and robe of a monk. The Capuchins have several monasteries in Asia Minor, and maintain schools and do parish work in several of the cities along the coast, where there are communities of Roman Catholics.

There were several Armenians in frock suits of broadcloth, low-cut vests, and snowy shirt bosoms, like those affected by lawyers in Mississippi and Arkansas, and one howling dervish. He did not look a bit as you would expect, but was a jaunty fellow in a fancy shirt of black cotton with white spots, without a collar, and an ordinary sack suit of gray European clothes over which he wore his distinctive coat of camel’s hair with wide sleeves and facings and trimmings of broad black braid, and on his shaven head a fez of gray wool with a wide band of black around it. He carried a dainty cane and whirled it around in his fingers like a dandy when he promenaded the deck. He was a presumptuous young dervish, for he endeavoured to enjoy5 the privileges of first-class passengers on a third-class ticket, which the deck steward would not permit. And when he did not go back to his proper place, after being told to do so, he was rudely elbowed down the stairs. It was not a respectful way to treat a saint in embryo, which howling dervishes are supposed to be, but I suppose the deck steward had his orders, and perhaps he was accustomed to dealing with such men.

Most of the Turks in the first-class cabin did not come to the table, because they will not eat Christian food for fear that lard or some other extract of the despised pig was used in its preparation. They took their meals in their state-rooms, with their wives and children, where they made their own coffee over spirit lamps and drank water from red earthen jugs which they had filled at the sacred fountains before leaving Constantinople. The women did not leave their cabins until they reached their destination, when they climbed blindly down the gangways into the row-boats, with veils drawn closely over their faces and their bodies enveloped in large shawls.

Several Persians in the first cabin came to their meals regularly, and brought their appetites with them. The Koran applies to them the same as it does to the Turks, but those gentlemen were not so pious as they should be. And I noticed that none of the Mohammedan passengers, except the mullahs and one general, said their prayers when the time came. The general was very devout. He wore a long, light-gray overcoat, reaching to his heels, which he kept so closely buttoned that we wondered if he had anything under it, and, like all military men over here, Russians, Austrians, and Turks, he never put aside his sword, not even6 when he spread his prayer rug on the deck and turned his face toward Mecca to pray.

The other first-class Mohammedan passengers paid no attention whatever to the hours for devotions, which gave me a disagreeable shock, because I have always understood that a Moslem is so conscientious that he will say his prayers five times a day at the proper moment, no matter what he happens to be doing or where he happens to be.

Many of the third-class passengers, who are compelled to sleep on the open deck, performed their duties regularly. They spread their prayer rugs carefully down in the first open place they could find, and, turning their eyes toward Mecca, went through with the genuflections which are a part of the Mohammedan ritual, and cried in loud voices that there is no God but Allah. Several of the private soldiers, and we had a large number on board, said their prayers regularly, regardless of their surroundings, but the majority of them did not and probably not more than one out of five of the Moslem passengers paid any attention to the hours of prayer.

Two of the mullahs in the first-class end of the ship had handsomely bound books from which they read aloud, as is their custom. Turkish students always study aloud. When you are riding along through country villages in the East you can locate the school-houses by the murmur of the voices of the pupils learning their lessons. If you go into a mosque that is used for educational purposes you can always find groups of students squatting on the floor, rocking their bodies back and forth with a motion as regular as that of a rocking chair, and repeating the lines of their lessons in loud voices.


I once asked a Mohammedan teacher in a Syrian mosque why this is done. He explained that people understand that which they learn through their ears better than that which they learn through their eyes. In the second place, he said, when a person studies aloud the mind is kept upon the subject intently and is not so apt to wander; thirdly, a person who is studying aloud is not so apt to go to sleep as when he reads to himself—and the danger of falling asleep is the reason for the rocking motion of the body which all students practise when they are at their books.

On the forward deck, where the anchor winch is, was camped a group of Persians. Some of them were merchants of Constantinople and other cities on their way to their native country to buy rugs and other goods; others were faithful Mohammedans returning from pilgrimages to Mecca. They were dignified, thoughtful persons with dreamy eyes and intensely black beards, and two or three old men had made themselves supremely ridiculous by the use of henna, which gives hair a bright scarlet hue. It reminded me of What’s-His-Name in “Alice in Wonderland,” who suggested that it would be awfully funny if everybody would dye his whiskers green.

“And hide our heads behind our fans
So they cannot be seen.”

Others had their finger nails stained scarlet with the same stuff, which gives a startling effect.

On the other side of the deck from the Armenians was a nest of their hereditary enemies, Kurds—tall, robust, brown fellows, with snub noses, small, fierce eyes and garments that are indescribable because of the variety of cut8 and colour. They lay around smoking cigarettes in the most indolent manner, each having what looked like an old-fashioned quilted comfortable for a mattress and an embroidered bag for a pillow.

The most interesting of all were the Lazis, from Lazistan, short, broad-shouldered, muscular chaps, most of whom brought their wives and children with them and camped amidship on the open deck like a lot of gypsies. The women were entirely concealed in shawls of cotton or silk that cover the head as well as the body, and they squatted in groups in the same place all day long, scarcely moving a muscle except when their husbands were hungry, and then they would dig down into a bag and produce a loaf of bread, a dried fish, a few onions, and other simple forms of food.

There were several babies scattered about promiscuously in bright-coloured wrappings, and a number of children under ten years old. Some of them had dainty features and lovely eyes, and a better behaved lot of children you never saw. We did not hear one of them cry during the entire voyage. They lay in their clumsy, queer-looking cradles, made by rude carpenters, without the slightest attention, as self-satisfied as if they had been millionaires smothered in luxury.

One night the peasants from Lazistan gave an interesting performance. The music was furnished by an ordinary bagpipe with three stops, which emitted a mournful and monotonous refrain, but with perfect time, and the dancers kept step to it very much after the manner of the North American Indian. They placed a child in the centre, a dozen or so of them clasped hands in a circle, alternately spreading out as far as their arms would reach and then9 coming together in a bunch, and in the meantime stamping their feet, bowing the knees, and bending the upper part of the body forward. Sometimes they would stoop to a squatting posture and hop along on one side and then on the other; then they would raise their arms as high as they could reach, revolving all the time to the left. It was a graceful movement and rather fascinating, and they seemed to enjoy it.

The third-class passengers who occupy the open deck, make themselves as comfortable as possible with big bundles of rugs and blankets and pillows, which they spread out wherever the boatswain will let them. They gave us a continuous performance abounding in life and a gorgeous riot of colour, entirely unconscious of their odd ways, their artistic poses, and the entertainment they were furnishing to the foreigners who could look down upon them from the afterdeck. The captain told me that there were doubtless thirty different races among the passengers upon that ship—Turks, Tartars, Mongols, Arabs, Armenians, Albanians, Circassians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Lazis, Slavs, Syrians, Turkomans, Bokharoits, Wallachs, and Persians of various clans, which can be detected one from another by experts, because of the way they wear their clothes. Everybody except the women wore brilliant colours, and they were shut off from observation as much as possible by blankets pinned to the canvas awning so as to make screens.

Turks are very democratic. Islam recognizes no caste; there is no aristocracy or nobility or any divisions among the Turks except on an official basis and the inferiors show great respect to those who are above them. The ordinary10 Turkish peasant is good-natured, honest, sober, patient, frugal, industrious, and capable of great endurance. He is not fanatical, but is kindly disposed toward everybody. His hospitality is unbounded and the exercise of charity is one of his greatest pleasures. Two ragged fellows came up to the first-class deck one day, bringing a wash basin of graniteware painted a bright blue, which they passed around, asking contributions for the benefit of a sick man with five children who was lying helpless on the open deck and ought to be given shelter below in the second-class cabin, which he had no money to pay for. I noticed that everybody chipped in something, from the glittering general to the tatterdemalions who lay sprawled upon their blankets in the shady places.

Every third-class passenger had a basket of provisions and a jug of water, and an old man fixed himself a place in the corner, where he set up a samovar and made coffee to sell. He did a good business, too. His little brass pot was always in motion, because Turks are inveterate coffee drinkers and want a cup of that beverage every few minutes. The old coffee seller was a picture—a Turk from Samsoun, a good-natured old fellow with a wrinkled face, a curly beard, a white turban, and a smile like that of our President, which won’t come off.

Coffee peddler on our steamer
A Turk of Trebizard

The beauties of the Bosphorus have often been described, and probably no sheet of water of corresponding length is so highly decorated by nature and by man. There are a dozen splendid palaces, some of the most imposing residences in all the world, sitting on the very edge of the water at the foot of the hills which enclose the Bosphorus. The Dolma Bactche Palace, now occupied by the sultan, is perhaps the11 finest, and near it is another equally famous, the Cherigan Palace, which was occupied by the Turkish Parliament until it was burned in February, 1910. The roofless walls, stained with smoke, and the hollow windows now stand mute, unable to testify in their own defence and solve the mystery whether the calamity was due to arson or accident. It is generally assumed that the fire was started by incendiaries, for it seemed to break out in several places at the same time, and burned so fiercely as to suggest inflammables. However, there is no definite knowledge on the subject. It occurred in the night, the watchmen were asleep or absent, there were no police in the neighbourhood, and one of the most exquisite gems of architecture in existence was a hideous skeleton of marble before an attempt to save it could be organized.

The possible motive of an incendiary was to destroy a mass of documents discovered in the Yildiz Kiosk after the forcible evacuation of Abdul Hamid. His archives, official and personal, filled fifty carts and were hauled away to some unknown place, where they were being sorted over by a parliamentary commission, and already extraordinary discoveries had been made concerning the treachery and hypocrisy of prominent men. There has been and still is a determination on the part of certain personages, whose reputations will be ruined, to prevent the publication of these papers, and there have been several stormy debates in the Chamber of Deputies on the subject. Lacking other explanations, it has been assumed that the Cherigan Palace was set on fire for the purpose of destroying these private papers of the ex-sultan, although it was a useless sacrifice. The documents were not there. Few people knew12 where they were, except the commission which was engaged in classifying them.

Cherigan Palace stood on the shore of the Bosphorus about two miles from the bridge which connects Galata and Stamboul, and it was the most attractive and artistic of all the many buildings which give that water course its fame. It was built about sixty years ago by Abdul Aziz, who was sultan from 1861 to 1876, and was the best ruler Turkey has known for centuries. He intended it for his own residence, lived there for twelve years, and died there in a most tragic manner, June 17, 1876. There his son, Murad V, was allowed to reign for a few months, until he was deposed by a conspiracy which placed Abdul Hamid, the late sultan, in power, and the latter kept his elder brother a prisoner within its beautiful walls for several years, until he, too, was taken off in a mysterious way—some believe by suicide and some by violence. However, no prison was ever more artistic in design or expensive in construction. It was entirely of marble, inside and out, and the interior was remarkable for the richness of the carvings and of the hangings and upholstery and for the beauty of the mural decorations. When the Parliament was organized, Cherigan Palace seemed to be the most convenient building for its sessions. The Senate sat in the state dining-room, and the Chamber of Deputies in the ballroom, which were easily fitted up for the purpose.

There are several hotels on the Bosphorus, which are occupied during the summer, and all of the great nations, except the United States, have handsome residences for their embassies in a water suburb known as Therapia. The Russian embassy is the last and looks directly up the13 narrow throat which leads from the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. Both sides of this passage are guarded by heavy earthworks against a Russian invasion. Turkey fears no other nation and Russia cannot reach her southern coast by sea without going through Turkish waters. This situation has exasperated every Russian since Peter the Great, who is supposed to have left a will in which he admonished his successors never to rest until they have added the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn to the Russian Empire.

Robert College, an American institution which has turned out some of the best men in the East, and an old Byzantine castle which dates back many centuries, are the most conspicuous objects on the European side, and near them is a sightly location where Dr. Mary Patrick has erected new buildings for the American College for Girls, with funds contributed by friends in the United States. Her former buildings in Scutari were not half big enough, since the constitution was adopted, to accommodate the young Turkish women who want an education.

The first town of importance, sailing eastward from Constantinople along the southern coast of the Black Sea, is the ancient City of Samsoun, founded by the Greeks more than two thousand five hundred years ago, and always of consequence commercially. It has a splendid location, sloping gradually upward from the sea, but like many people, as well as towns, does not fulfil the expectations excited by its appearance from a distance. There is a big hospital for soldiers upon a slight eminence back of the town; several minarets show where the mosques are; the five domes of a Greek church glisten in the sun; several imposing business blocks and residences line up well along the seashore and14 give a brave appearance to the place: but when you land, you are disappointed to find the streets narrow and dirty, with a mixture of smells arising from unknown sources, wretched pavements, and mangy dogs lying around in the sun scratching themselves in a way that is more suggestive than comfortable. Scratching is sometimes contagious.

But the narrow streets are interesting, and the market place, with a circular fountain and an ancient mosque, offers one of the quaintest and most picturesque Oriental scenes you could imagine. In the foreground a butter dealer in an indescribable costume of more colours than Joseph could possibly have had in his coat, was ladling greasy-looking stuff from a great tub with a wooden spoon and, on his scales, he used stones for weights. The vegetables and oranges were fine. Onions and garlic could be felt in the air, both in the raw material and in the finished form of odours. Turks are largely vegetarians. Vegetables, fruits, and soups made of grain are the chief articles of their diet. We were told that Samsoun is a great place for apples, so much so that the bears come down in droves from the mountains back of the town when the fruit is ripe and rob the orchards. We tried some of the apples which the peasants sell by weight in the market place, and found them dry and tasteless, but I don’t think they were to blame. No apples are good in May.

There is a café every few yards on every street, where it seemed as if the entire male population were sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes. We saw a few nargiles—those long-tubed water pipes which are generally associated with cross-legged Turks—in Constantinople, but did not find15 one anywhere else. I suppose they are out of style, for all the Turks that we met were smoking cigarettes instead.

Quantities of licorice root are shipped from Samsoun. It grows wild in the mountains. The quality, as well as the value, might be improved by cultivation, but such a thing has never been attempted on a large scale. The sheep upon the mountain sides furnish cargoes of wool, and the cattle we saw grazing in large herds add many hides, but tobacco is the chief article of export from Samsoun, and a boy who voluntarily attached himself to our party and followed us along, chattering as he went, told us that a large establishment surrounded by a high wall belonged to Americans.

How a Turkish lad, who presumably had never been out of his native place, could have identified us as Americans is remarkable, for in Oriental countries, even in China and Japan, the natives are seldom able to distinguish between Uncle Sam and John Bull; but, nevertheless, we acted on the welcome information and soon found three fellow-countrymen representing the American Tobacco Company purely for the purpose of buying cigarette material, and, in 1909, they shipped $397,000 in tobacco from that port alone. There are several other buyers for the American market, but they come and go with the season.

The tobacco produced around Samsoun is light of colour, and of fine flavour, especially suited for cigarettes. There is a great difference in the quality according to the care and cultivation, and the Americans have persuaded a few of the farmers to improve their methods and implements. They told me that twice the present crop might be produced from16 the same area if half the care and skill were expended upon it that the Cuban planters give to their tobacco. Samsoun expects to be the northern terminus of one of the railways which have been authorized by the Turkish Parliament.

If you will look on your map you will notice that Asia Minor is that part of Turkey which projects into the Mediterranean on the Asiatic side, an almost square peninsula about three hundred miles each way. It is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the east by Armenia and Kurdistan, on the south by Syria and the Mediterranean and on the west by the Ægean Sea. The western portion of Asia Minor is called Anatolia. It is densely settled by Turkish farmers who cultivate the ground in a primitive, awkward way, but do not realize more than half the value of their labour; first, because of their primitive tools and instruments and their imperfect cultivation, and, second, because there are no transportation facilities by which they can send their produce to market. There are two railways running into the interior from the Mediterranean coast, furnishing communication for about 10 per cent. of the population. Throughout 90 per cent. of Asia Minor the only way of travelling is on the back of a horse or a donkey and the only facility for moving freight is by caravans of camels, which are slow and very expensive. For these reasons the inhabitants depend to a great extent upon their own resources. They make everything they wear except cotton fabrics and have very little to ship away.

Almost directly south of Samsoun, about a hundred miles, is the Marsovan station of the American Board, first occupied in 1852, and for fifty-eight years the headquarters of17 missionary work, not only for that important city, but for a wide reach of country, including Samsoun, Amasia, and other important towns. The work has naturally been built up by a process of growth. Little day schools, teaching reading, writing, and spelling in the vernacular, have developed into two great institutions: Anatolia College, with its extensive buildings devoted to the collegiate training of young men, and the Girls’ High and Boarding School, an institution quite by itself, giving nearly the same complete course of study that is given to the young men.

These two schools have ample grounds and are both adding gradually to their large plants. The college for young men will soon have $30,000 worth of new buildings, which amount will erect about eight times as much as in the United States. The girls’ school has completely outgrown its large plant, completed only a few years ago, and is adding substantial new buildings.

The college for boys has in a peculiar way taken hold upon southern Russia. Three or four years ago Russian students began to come across the Black Sea, and have doubled in number every year since. It was feared at first that they might be unruly and disorderly, or perhaps revolutionary in their tendencies, but, quite contrary to expectations, they have proved to be among the most steady, earnest, able students the college has had. Like Robert College, at Constantinople, Anatolia has Greek, Mohammedan, and Armenian students. Greeks are not found in colleges east of Marsovan, to any extent.

The college has also, as a part of its organization, a large medical department with extensive hospitals and a nurses’ training school under the direction of two efficient American18 physicians, Dr. Jesse K. Marden and Dr. Alden R. Hoover, assisted by a large native medical staff.

Patients come to the hospital at Marsovan from a wide area of country and it is reaching not only the Armenians but the Mohammedan classes. The medical service has an unmeasured influence upon the people of the country and makes an impression which no other form of missionary work can possibly do. The people know when they are ill and want medicines, but they are not often aware when they are ignorant and need educating or are morally in need of spiritual uplift. When they meet with severe accidents, as so frequently occurs in that country, or when they are racked by disease, they quickly learn that relief can be found at the mission hospital at Marsovan, and some means of reaching there is devised. They often go on a rude cart, sometimes upon the back of some animal, or, if they live upon a possible road, in a Turkish araba or hooded “carry-all.” They find their way to the hospital and there receive the kind treatment which belongs to every hospital, but especially to the missionary hospital in a non-Christian land. After treatment, they return to their homes full of enthusiasm and gratitude for what they have seen and received.

In addition to the institutions already mentioned, which have separate buildings, there is a theological school for training native college graduates for direct evangelistic work among their countrymen. This school will soon have a separate building, having hitherto been considered a part of the college to which it was attached. The importance of this work has now reached a stage where it demands a separate home and possibly separate management.


Industrial work is an important adjunct to the college. It was started as a means of self-help, to enable students who could not pay their tuition or board to earn a part of it by manual labour, and American machinery and tools were introduced for cabinet work according to modern methods. This has proved so popular that it was necessary to make a rule that no boy should take the mechanical courses alone, without taking some of the regular courses in the college or the preparatory school. Many fathers were so anxious to have their sons learn to use tools and machinery and to make things, that they brought them to the college and asked that they be admitted simply for mechanical instruction. While the school has not been wholly self-supporting, the students have been able to earn a large part of the cost of their education and have received instruction that could not have been given them in any other way.

This kind of training is especially important in Turkey, where the idea has prevailed, and still prevails to no small extent, that when a man is educated he must not do anything that looks like manual labour. Unfortunately this delusion is not confined to Turkey. The mechanical department is calculated to take that fallacy out of the minds of young men, making them see that manual labour is no disgrace and that even a scholar may do things with his hands. Turkey must come to the idea that a scholar of the highest type may be a civil engineer, who will be required to do outdoor work. The industrial school at Marsovan is but a preparatory step to the larger comprehensions of the dignity of labour, while at the same time, it trains the students who come within its influence in mechanical exactness. There is much of value, missionaries have learned, as well as educators20 in America, in training a boy to do something that is worth while in a mechanical way.

As a part of the medical work, it has been necessary for the American missionaries to establish dispensaries where cases can be treated temporarily, and especially where medicines can be provided for outside patients. It is so difficult to get pure drugs at regular Turkish drug stores that it has been necessary for all the American hospitals in the country to establish and maintain their own dispensaries. Their supplies, bought at wholesale, are sent out from the mission headquarters in Boston, and, therefore, are reliable in every way. Many native pharmacists are being properly trained. These dispensaries often prove almost as valuable for the lives and health of the people as the hospitals, and are regarded as a necessary adjunct of every hospital.

At Marsovan, to carry on this work in all departments, there are nineteen Americans: four ordained missionaries and their wives, three laymen, two physicians, and six single women, all college graduates, and nearly all having taken from three to five years of post-graduate work. Connected with them, and working with them in every way, are at least twenty-five times this number of trained native Christian leaders, many of whom are graduates of the college or other American institutions. Some have studied in Europe after taking a course in the college at Marsovan. Upon the American staff, with the native associates, also rests the responsibility of supervising native evangelistic work in a wide field. Tours of inspection are taken by the missionaries from time to time, thus keeping them familiar with what is going on, so that they may devote their energies at the centre to the demands of the work outside.


As an illustration of the way in which educational institutions grow, Anatolia College is an admirable example. The germ which produced this great institution, now with more than three hundred students and several departments, was a little school in the corner of a stable in the city of Marsovan in charge of Dr. C. C. Tracy. The stable filled the greater part of the building, and in one of the corners, on a platform of earth raised a foot or so above the common level of the mud floor, and protected by a light rail, was the school. Less than a dozen children there took their first lessons in learning to read. At the start, in common intelligence, they were but little in advance of the animals that occupied the rest of the room. No one could have detected in that humble beginning the germ of an institution that now covers several acres in buildings and campus just outside the large and flourishing city of Marsovan, filled with bright young men from all parts of Anatolia, from along the entire southern shore of the Black Sea, and even from Russia, on the northern coast—studying for academic degrees in preparation for positions of influence and leadership in the new Turkish Empire.

This little stable school became a high school in 1886, and a full-grown college a few years later. It now has a faculty of twenty-three professors, fourteen of whom are natives of the country and eight have taken post-graduate courses to prepare themselves for their work. They have degrees from the New College at Edinburgh, the University of Berlin, the University of Athens, the Imperial Law School at Constantinople, the Royal Conservatory of Music at Stuttgart and the Academy at Paris.


Anatolia College has sent out 224 graduates, of whom 207 are now living. Fifty-two are engaged in teaching, forty-eight are practising medicine, and eighty-six are in business. In addition to these graduates, several thousand other young men have for a time studied in the institution and for various reasons have been compelled to leave without completing the course. These have, however, gone out armed with a new power which this college has given them, and many are doing signal service within and without the Turkish Empire. Not long since, in a mixed gathering of Turks and Christians in Marsovan, profound thanks were expressed by Mohammedan leaders for this institution and what it has done to disseminate ideas of liberty, for the emancipation of women, and for the general welfare.

Among the students in the college, who come from about half of the twenty-nine provinces of the Ottoman Empire, are also found natives of Greece, Albania, Egypt, and, as has already been stated, Russia. The courses of study are similar to the usual college courses in the United States, with the exception that more emphasis is put upon the living languages than upon the dead.

Coasting along the south shore of the Black Sea, we were sailing through a land of fable, and our steamer touched at some scene of Greek mythology two or three times every day. At every port where we stopped to discharge or take on cargo we were surrounded by fleets of queer-looking boats with high-pointed prows and sterns, like the gondolas of Venice and the ancient galleys of the Greeks. There is always an exciting scramble when the gangway is lowered, and the barefooted boatmen climb over each other to get on board to solicit the patronage of the passengers. Their23 costumes, their cries, their gesticulations, and the confusion they create make it hard to believe that they are the descendants of gods and demi-gods, the heroes of the poems and the fables and legends we read in Greek mythology. The coast is bordered with a continuous range of magnificent mountains, rising gradually from the sea, clothed with forests on the upper heights and usually a strip of cultivated land along the coast. The successive ranges, rising one above the other, culminate in snow-capped peaks in the far background. The lower slopes and the coast line are dotted with villages embowered in oak, chestnut, beech, walnut, and hazel trees and masses of lilac, rhododendrons, azaleas, myrtles, orange groves, and orchards of quince and cherry trees, which are all in blossom in April and May and make a charming picture.

The steamer stops usually from one to five hours, which is long enough to see everything that is interesting and gave us a good idea of northern Turkey, which, by the way, is very different from what I expected in many respects. Indeed it is necessary for every one who goes there to revise his preconceived ideas of Turkish life and character; but the way we had to fight with the boatmen and the hackmen, who refused in almost every case to accept the fares agreed upon before starting, shows that the successors of Castor and Pollux, Theseus, Diana, and the other demi-gods have degenerated from the classic days. It seemed almost incredible that we were actually visiting the playgrounds of the gods. The imagination of the ancient Greeks peopled that beautiful coast with supernatural beings, who were the heroes of their fables and their songs, and there was a mixture of history in them all.


The Argonauts, you will remember, sailed from Thessaly to Colchis under command of Jason, to fetch a golden fleece, which was suspended from an oak tree in a grove, guarded day and night by a ferocious dragon. Jason built a ship of fifty oars, called the Argo, after the name of the designer, who was instructed by the goddess Minerva.

Jason was accompanied upon this expedition by several of the greatest heroes of Greek fable, including Hercules, Castor and Pollux, Theseus, and others, who were called the Argonauts, after the name of the ship. They met with surprising adventures, and when they arrived at their destination the king of Colchis promised to give up the golden fleece provided Jason would yoke together two fire-breathing oxen and sow the teeth of the dragon which had not been used by Cadmus at Thebes. Meantime Medea, the daughter of the king, fell in love with the captain of the Argonauts, and, when he promised to marry her, showed him how to put to sleep the dragon that guarded the golden fleece, and how to protect himself against the flames that came from the nostrils of those terrible steers. Jason did the stunt, to use a classic phrase, married the girl, and sailed away with the treasure. After wandering about the coast of the Black Sea and threading the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, the Argonauts at length arrived at Thessaly and told the story of their adventures.

It is believed that the fable of the Argonauts was founded upon a commercial expedition which wealthy merchants of Thessaly sent out to explore the coast of the Black Sea, twelve or fifteen hundred years before the Christian era, and the remains of the colonies they founded may still be found along the shores of Asia Minor. This expedition25 was followed by many Greeks from Miletus and other places who built a fringe of cities and towns on every bay and island along the coast. And their fleets carried on a commerce quite as important as that of to-day. All historic interest in the Black Sea centres around those colonies, which brought with them the culture that distinguished the Greek from the barbarian of those days. Situated on carefully selected sites, which the traveller can still identify, these colonies became the profitable markets where the products of Asia and those of Europe changed hands.

But the Argonauts were not the only characters of mythology that may be met with up there. The city of Eregli, the first port at which the steamer touches after leaving the Bosphorus and entering the Black Sea, stands on the site of Heraclea, a famous town founded by Hercules in prehistoric days; and in a garden north of the town is the cavern called Acherusia, through which he is supposed to have descended to the infernal regions to encounter Cerberus, according to the story. Near this cave are the ruins of a Roman aqueduct and of two temples which have been converted into churches, and on the mountain side are coal mines that were worked by the ancient Greek colonists before the dawn of history. Fuel was obtained from them, also, for the European battleships during the Crimean war. These mines are said to contain an excellent quality of steam and gas coal, but have never been developed because the Turkish government, for some reason or another, has not permitted it.

A poisonous honey made in the neighbourhood of Heraclea, according to Pliny the historian, is supposed to have been derived from yellow azaleas and purple rhododendrons,26 which abound on the hillsides in that neighbourhood. Even now the farmers cannot keep bees, because the honey they produce invariably makes people ill.

A little farther up the coast, the village of Bartan, known in ancient times as Parthenius, according to Greek fables was the home of Artemis, or the goddess Diana, as she is better known, who hunted deer and more harmful creatures among the forests upon the mountain sides and bathed in the waters of the river that comes bubbling down into the sea. Those who do not believe this story can find proof in nearly every picture gallery of Europe, for acres of canvas have been covered with paintings of Diana, the divine huntress, and her achievements in forest and field.

The next village, Amastris, was the birthplace of the wife of Darius, the great Persian king, and Dionysius, the Roman tyrant, and in a gossippy letter to the emperor Trajan Pliny describes Amastris as “a handsome city.” It continued to be a port of importance as late as the ninth century. The Venetians and the Genoese occupied it in turn in the Middle Ages several times. The site of the ancient city is now occupied by an insignificant village, and the only reminder of the power and prosperity associated with its past are the ruins of a citadel, an aqueduct, and fortifications.

The port of Sinub is the ancient Sinope, the mother colony founded by Autolycus, a companion of Hercules, and the most important of all the Greek colonies on the Euxine or Black Sea. Here the cynic philosopher, Diogenes, was born. It was also the birthplace of Mithridates the Great, who ruled Asia Minor and all the country surrounding it several hundred years before Christ. During the time of Pericles, Sinope was the strongest and most important of all the colonies of27 Greece, having the only safe harbour on the southern coast. It was the terminus of the royal road which extended from the Persian Gulf through Mesopotamia, following the valley of the Euphrates to the shores of the Black Sea. Sinub is surrounded by high-wooded mountains which were occupied by the fabled Amazons, and upon the island called Adasi, there was a temple to Mars erected by and presided over by two Amazonian queens.

One of the stories connected with Sinub, which, however, I do not vouch for, is that Mithridates, the Greek emperor, put his wives and sisters to death with his own hands in the palace whose ruins we saw one morning to prevent their falling into the hands of Lucullus and his Roman invaders.

There is much to see in all these little towns in the way of ruins, but the difficulty is that nobody can tell you anything about them. They are not esteemed by the people and no archæologist has ever undertaken to investigate them. They represent successive civilizations, first Greek, then Roman, then Persian and Venetian, and, finally, the Byzantine periods of occupation and culture, each of which was founded upon the fragments of those which preceded it. No country has had so much history, but it is impossible to fix dates or circumstances. Asia Minor and that coast have been in the midst of the current of events from the beginning of things. Every great conqueror has occupied that country in turn, down to the final invasion of the Turks, whose supremacy was established in the fifteenth century and has been maintained ever since.

It was difficult to adjust ourselves to the realization that the little towns where we went ashore as the steamer stopped are the same that were occupied by Alexander the Great, by28 Cyrus, Darius and Timour the Tartar, and it is asserted that there are traces of every one of them there. But those communities have seen many changes since. That coast has been a thoroughfare for conquerors, because of its geographical position—a battle field for many, but the abiding place of none.

I remember, when a boy, seeing one of Offenbach’s comic operas entitled “The Princess of Trebizond,” the plot of which, I supposed, was pure fiction; but, since looking into things, it seems entirely probable that the main incidents actually occurred when Trebizond was an empire and a despot known as the “Grand Comnenus” ruled over that quaint, little, old town and the country that surrounds it. The ruins of the palaces the rulers occupied and the fortifications which they built to defend their capital still remain, and it is difficult to conceive anything more picturesque than the ancient walls and towers covered with ivy and other creeping vines. The Turks have utilized a good part of them, and from the deck of the ship we saw the ugly mouths of cannon yawning at us from the top of a castle that is at least one thousand, and perhaps fifteen hundred years old. The central part of the little city, where the Moslem population lives, is still partly enclosed by the old wall, while the Christian population live outside.

Trebizond is older than Rome. It was founded by a colony of Greeks from the neighbouring town of Sinope in the year 756 B.C., while Rome was not founded until three years later, in 753. But even the good people of Trebizond30 will admit that Rome is a little ahead of their own town at present. After the Romans drove out the Greeks the emperor Trajan made Trebizond the capital of the province of Cappadocia, and Hadrian built the harbour, which wasn’t a very good job, for the anchorage is so unsafe that in stormy weather the ships have to pull up anchor and run to Platena, seven miles westward, for safety. There is an unfinished pier and custom house, which our captain said had been building a hundred years and would not be finished for another hundred, according to the way the Turks do things. Just now passengers and cargo are handled at a small iron pier extending beyond the breakers, and it is a nasty place for people to land.

The Roman emperor, Justinian, built the original castle and gave the city its water supply, but most of the ruins date from the empire which was founded in 1204 by Alexius I, grandson of the Byzantine emperor, Andronicus I, who assumed the title of “Grand Comnenus.” Alexius had twenty successors and the empire lasted until 1461. In the meantime Trebizond, according to the historians, “was famed for its magnificence, the court for its luxury and elaborate ceremonials, while at the same time it was frequently a hotbed of intrigue and immorality.” The imperial family were renowned for their beauty, and the princesses were sought as brides not only by the Byzantine emperors, but by the Moslem rulers of Persia and the chiefs of the Mongols and Turkomans. The Grand Comneni were patrons of art and learning; the library of the palace was filled with valuable manuscripts; and the city was adorned with splendid buildings. The writers of that time speak with enthusiasm of its lofty towers, of the churches31 and monasteries in its suburbs, and especially of the gardens, orchards, and olive groves.

It is difficult to believe all this, but the ruins are there, and the mute walls of crumbling stone would probably confirm the statements if they could speak. There is an enormous monastery in ruins at the top of a hill, which is said to have played an important part in the history of the city and was the scene of a crisis which ended the empire. There is an old church in the suburbs which dates back nearly a thousand years and contains the tombs of several of the emperors of Trebizond and a monument to Solomon, one of the early kings of the neighbouring state of Georgia, now a Russian province.

About two miles west of the town is the Church of St. Sophia, which was built eight hundred years ago, and must have been a magnificent structure, judging from what remains. It has been a mosque for several centuries, but is seldom used these days. The pavement of many-coloured marble is very beautiful, and the walls are decorated with pictures in mosaic, like those in the mosques of Salonika, although the vandals have covered them with whitewash because they represent Christian saints and martyrs. In the vestibule, until 1843, was a fine fresco representing the emperor Alexius, his mother, the dowager Irene, and his wife, the empress Theodora, all clad in their imperial robes, but it mysteriously disappeared while the church was being repaired and has never been recovered. There are other relics of ancient times which one would like to know more about, but there was no one to tell us, and the archæologists have neglected this part of the world.

To a historical student, perhaps, the most interesting fact32 about Trebizond is that it was the end of the masterly retreat of the famous “Ten Thousand” under command of Xenophon, a newspaper man, whose story is told in the Anabasis. Every school-boy who has ever studied Greek knows more or less about it.

Darius, the great king of Persia, had two sons, Artaxerxes and Cyrus. The latter was not satisfied with the division of the kingdom and 400 B.C. organized an army in Greece and marched against his brother at Babylon. Xenophon accompanied the expedition as a war correspondent. When Cyrus was killed, his barbaric troops scattered, leaving ten thousand Greek mercenaries who had accompanied him to look after themselves in a desert between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Their commanders became rattled and lay down, whereupon Xenophon showed what newspaper men are capable of doing when responsibility falls upon them, by assuming command, reorganizing the force, and leading it back through an unknown country with marvellous skill. He had never served as a soldier, but like every other newspaper man was a master of the science of war.

The retreat of the “Ten Thousand” is one of the greatest military achievements in history, for, although he had no supplies and was compelled to forage on the people, and no knowledge of the geography or topography of the country, Xenophon conducted the “Ten Thousand” across Armenia and over the mountains to Trebizond, where the settlers received him with generous hospitality and assisted him to obtain boats to carry his soldiers back to Greece.

The American consul at Trebizond has a beautiful house with a terrace, and a view that is worth a fortune, and our33 government ought to buy it while it is possible, because there are very few houses suitable for a consulate in Trebizond and they are in great demand. Other nations own the houses that their consuls occupy and the United States ought to be equally prudent. The present consul is Dr. Milo A. Jewett, who was born in Turkey, the son of an American missionary, but was educated and practised medicine in Massachusetts until he came into the consular service many years ago.

There is an American school there also, in charge of Dr. L. S. Crawford of North Adams, Mass., who is doing great work under the direction of the American Board of Foreign Missions by educating young Trebizonians. All the students obtain a good knowledge of English, and their advanced courses are taken through the medium of that language.

Trebizond was the first mission station occupied east of Constantinople on the Black Sea. Thomas P. Johnson, the first American missionary, took up his residence there in 1835. The nearest mission station is at Erzroom, six days’ journey to the south, over extensive ranges of mountains and on one of the upper branches of the Euphrates River. The territory directly connected with this important city has a population of about 800,000 Mohammedans, 120,000 Greeks, and 32,000 Armenians. The city itself has a population of only 56,000, being now nearly four times as large as it was seventy-five years ago.

No large educational institution or important medical work has been built up in Trebizond, not because of the want of need or opportunity, but because it has not been possible to find a force sufficient for the other missions. The work34 carried on by Doctor and Mrs. Crawford, in the city itself, has been largely among the Armenians, while Ordoun, a large city on the Black Sea, west of Trebizond, has been the headquarters of a mission for the Greeks. As Trebizond is so near the Russian border and so accessible by water for all that part of Russia, there has been a most urgent call during the last few years for institutions there to meet the demands of the Russian young men who are seeking a modern education, but have no facilities for it in their own country. Many Russians go to the mission high school in Trebizond and it is evident that if a strong educational institution could be started there, it would have a wide patronage from the Russian coast of the Black Sea and from the Caucasus.

The city of Erzroom is situated on a high plateau six days inland from Trebizond. It stands at an elevation of some six thousand feet above the sea, and at the same time is surrounded by mountains rising a thousand or more feet above the plain. The most northerly branch of the Euphrates River rises to the eastward and flows down through the plain a little below the city. In times of drought this is only a trickling stream, but in the wet season it becomes a river of no small proportions. The city is one of the most important in the Turkish Empire, in that it is only about twelve hours’ journey from the Russian border. At the time of the Russo-Turkish war in 1878, it was occupied by the Russians for some time, until, through the pressure of the Powers, they were compelled to withdraw, and to their great disappointment the line between the two countries was established to the eastward and left it still a part of Turkey.

The mountains about the city are fortified by the Turks,35 and the city itself is enclosed in earthworks, the entrances being through guarded passage ways and heavy gates, to be shut in times of attack. Because of the strategic importance of the post, the Turkish governor is usually a man of large military experience. It is believed that should war break out between Turkey and Russia, and it may happen at any time, Erzroom would be the first point of attack. For the same reason the great European Powers maintain in Trebizond consuls of unusual ability, and not infrequently these consuls have had extensive military experience.

Erzroom, like most of the large cities of interior Turkey, is the centre of a great number of smaller cities and villages scattered over the far-stretching plain and into the ravines of the mountains. There is a large Kurdish population to the south and east of Erzroom, which presents in itself a considerable problem. Erzroom itself has for many years been the headquarters of an army corps of the Turkish Empire, maintained there particularly to keep order among the various antagonistic races, especially the Kurds, and particularly to guard the frontier against undue aggression on the part of Russia.

The people of Erzroom and vicinity, like mountain people generally, are unusually hardy and vigorous, with a large degree of independence. The city itself, so far as wealth is concerned, is hardly surpassed by any of the interior cities of Turkey. Its merchants go all over the empire, and as a centre of trade with Persia as well as with Europe Erzroom holds a unique place.

Since the city was occupied as a mission station in 1840, many distracting events have occurred, such as the war of 1877–78, when it was taken by the Russians and, following36 the siege, was sorely afflicted by the plague. One of the American missionaries, Rev. Royal M. Cole, D.D., then in Erzroom, went to the front with the army to care for the wounded and the suffering, and gave himself wholly to this work so long as the war lasted, devoting himself to the sick after the Russian troops had withdrawn. Two of his own children died from the plague at that time. Again in 1895 Erzroom came within the massacre belt and suffered greatly from the attacks upon the Christians by the Turks and Kurds.

Beside the evangelistic activity, two lines of work have been developed at Erzroom that have had great influence and won the approbation of Turkish officials: namely, education and medical relief for both men and women. An American nurse, left in charge of the missionary hospital in the absence of the missionary physician who went home on furlough, was invited by the military authorities to take charge of the military hospital, which she did, and was there brought into direct contact with Turkish soldiers. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a Christian missionary nurse, at the invitation of army officials, was ever identified with the staff of a Mohammedan hospital or given unhampered freedom in contact with Mohammedans. Her ministrations were most gratefully received and by her example she removed from the minds of many Moslems deep-seated prejudices against Christianity.

Mrs. Dr. Stapleton, a trained lady physician of unusual skill and tact, has had access during many years to the homes of the high Turkish officials, where she meets with a cordial welcome. She has no hospital, but does her medical work almost wholly by visitation in the homes, and largely the37 homes of the officials. It takes time to break down the prejudices of honest Mohammedan believers, many of whom have a conviction that Christianity is an inferior religion and that those who profess it lack the moral virtues. These opinions cannot be changed by argument or by preaching, and only by that close personal contact that a physician may have with his patients in their homes during periods of protracted illness. This, of all the methods of missionary work, is most effective. It does not show results that can be tabulated; but nevertheless is far-reaching in its influence and power, and ultimately will accomplish much by changing the attitude of those who have believed that there is nothing good in Christianity.

The school work in Erzroom does not differ from that at Sivas and Trebizond. There are boarding-schools for both young men and young women, always separate, as they must be in the Turkish Empire. The importance of the boarding-school as a missionary force can hardly be over-estimated. Into these schools young men and young women are brought, often from rude homes and not infrequently from homes that exert a demoralizing and harmful influence upon the children. The boarding-school is so arranged that it becomes a new home to the pupils. They are surrounded by wholesome influences. Their minds are constantly stimulated to activity and they are led unconsciously to adopt American methods and helpful ideas. Children coming from a distance often remain the entire year under these influences before returning to their homes. Sometimes employment is given them during the vacation months so that they stay longer. One can readily imagine the change that takes place in a young man or young woman38 who has never before been out of one of the rude villages after a year or two of this refining experience and inspiring instruction.

When these young people return to their homes the change that has taken place in them makes a profound impression upon the entire village. The value of education is promptly recognized, and often one pupil from a district in the interior of the country will be the means of bringing dozens of others to the school, sent by parents who, ambitious for their children, wish for them the same kind of education and to see in them the same advance that has appeared in the child of a neighbour. One does not need to use his imagination to see how the entire villages and communities are elevated through a single pupil who has spent, it may be, no more than a couple of years in an American mission boarding-school in some remote city and who, upon his return, not only exercises a silent influence for education and morals, but may at once open a school for the children of his own village.

This represents, in a simple way, something of the influence and power of the missionary boarding-school upon the region in which it is located. While time is required for the full exercise of this influence, and while the lines can only in the remotest degree ever be traced, it is found that they are far-reaching and fundamental. These schools also prepare students for college. The graduates of the two high schools at Erzroom have gone chiefly to the colleges at Harpoot, Marsovan, and Constantinople.

The city of Sivas, in Asia Minor, was occupied by the Americans as a mission station in 1851. It is located on the old caravan road extending from Samsoun, through39 Tokat and Amasia, an eight days’ journey by camel, but now covered easily in six days by the Turkish Arabs. It is on the route of the proposed American railroad now under discussion, which is expected to extend eastward into Mamurettaul-Aziz, in the vilayet of Harpoot, and so on southward.

Sivas is noted among archæologists for its ruins of the Seljuko, an ancient Persian dynasty, some of which reveal in their fragments the splendour of the structure of which they formed a part. The city is in the midst of a large and fertile plain, and is the central market for a wide area. It was selected as a location for missionary work because of its strategic position on the caravan road, and its large and thrifty population, which is composed of Turks, Kurds, Greeks, and Armenians.

One of the first missionaries sent into that country was a physician, Doctor West, who, by his successful practice, and, to them, astounding surgical operations, won a reputation which stands to-day unsurpassed even so far as the remote villages of the mountains of that district. The natives still tell of the miracles which Doctor West performed with his surgical instruments, and one can rest assured that these stories have lost nothing as they have passed on into the second generation and are still doing service in support of scientific medicine. They made it difficult for a modern physician to live up to the reputation of the first missionary doctor seen in that region. As might be expected, this work, at once recognized as of such importance, has been maintained and an American physician is now located at Sivas with a hospital and dispensary.

At the time of Doctor West there were no missionary hospitals,40 and the dispensary usually consisted of a cupboard in a corner of the doctor’s office, or more frequently of saddle bags from which he drew according to his needs on his journeys up and down the country. The first missionary physicians were itinerants with no office hours, but ready whenever and wherever called to render relief to the sick and suffering to the limit of their power. Under the changes that have taken place since those days, the physician naturally and rightfully demands a place in which he can care for patients who are seriously ill or after surgical operations, until danger is passed.

There was no hospital in Sivas until six years ago, when a small house was hired with four beds in it. After passing through various changes, it is now equipped with twenty beds, with a royal permit from Constantinople which puts it upon a legal and recognized basis. The physician in charge, Charles E. Clark, M.D., has a trained nurse as an assistant. The patients who avail themselves of their services range all the way from the beggar on the street to the wealthy government official. Turkish Moslems, Circassian soldiers, Kurds, Armenians, all come to the American doctor and the American dispensary and hospital, when suffering. The hospital is crowded to such extent that it must be enlarged to accommodate not only the hospital patients, but the clinics in the dispensary. The demands which press upon the physician cannot be met with the present equipment. Over five thousand patients were treated in the year 1910.

Several of the colleges administered by American missionaries in Turkey have passed out of the first period of their history, that of laying foundations, and have entered on a41 period of expansion. One hundred and thirteen high schools and boarding-schools which are the feeders for the colleges, have hitherto lacked the attention and the money necessary for their best development, but now that they are firmly established more attention is being given to the lower schools, without which the colleges cannot do their best work. Several of these high schools are the educational centres of territory larger in extent and containing a greater population than some of our American states.

The Sivas Normal School, located in the heart of Sivas, a city of 65,000 people, and the capital of the ancient Seljuks, is a good example, and until recently was unique in Turkey in the attention it gives to training teachers for the common schools.

More than twenty-five years ago, the American missionaries, because of the increasing need of more and better prepared teachers, decided to strengthen a common school which was being carried on under their direction and to raise the standard to that of a high school. The name Sivas Normal School was given to it at that time to represent the consciousness of the need and the purpose. Those who laid the foundations were Rev. Henry T. Perry, who is still connected with the school, and Rev. Albert W. Hubbard. Whatever has been accomplished since in making the school a more effective and wider agency for Christian education has been built on the foundation which they laid.

About fifteen years ago, when a striking increase of interest in education began to appear in the Sivas field, two men of exceptional ability as teachers became associated in its management. Mr. Baliosian, a graduate of the normal school, returned after completing his course of study42 in Central Turkey College, and soon Mr. Kabakjian came from Anatolia College to join him. Many good ideas and influences from these two strong colleges were thus introduced into the normal school and it was due in no small degree to the coöperation of these two men that it began to progress rapidly. The number of students grew in a few years from twenty-five to one hundred and thirty, greatly overcrowding the building which had been enlarged to its fullest possible capacity.

The educational system which has been developed by the missionaries in Sivas now includes about four thousand pupils, of whom nine hundred are in the city under their direct care; two thirds are in the lower grades; four hundred and thirty are boys, of whom about one hundred are in the normal school.

The Turkish officials are making strenuous efforts to establish a thorough compulsory educational system for all classes of Ottoman subjects. They are having the same difficulty that China experienced a few years ago when that government set about to build up a comprehensive system of education for her people and could not find teachers competent to do the work required. There has been a great reaction in China for that reason, and New Turkey is now facing exactly the same problem. The minister of public instruction and his associates are convinced that there must be a system of general education in Turkey in order to make constitutional and representative government safe and stable. And how are they to secure teachers with proper training to make them competent for the work? The Turkish schools hitherto have not provided them, and the American colleges, although filled with students for the43 last twenty years, have not been able to turn out more than a fraction of the number required to supply the Turkish national schools, to say nothing of the demands of private institutions.

To aid in meeting these demands a normal school has been established at Sivas and is preparing to give a thorough modern training to young men who are fitting themselves for the profession of teacher. For all such there is a future full of promise. The American Board purchased a fine site just outside the city and is now endeavouring to secure funds to complete a commodious and attractive building to accommodate the number of ambitious students knocking at its doors. If this school were equipped to train a thousand young men and to send out annually two hundred graduates with the most complete normal training that could be given them in a course of five years, it would not begin to meet the demand that New Turkey is placing upon it at the present time.

You must not forget that a large proportion of the people of Turkey are villagers, uneducated and unambitious, but full of possibilities if properly trained. It is to meet the needs of this intelligent but untrained village population that the normal school exists. It is expected that the government schools will take all the graduates and set them to work as rapidly as they can be prepared for it. Wherever these teachers are sent in the villages of Turkey, they will be the best educated men of the entire region, and their influence will be tremendous for peace, order, progress, education, and for the building up of a new society on the basis of Western Christian civilization. School committees in these villages, priests and bishops of the old churches, are44 clamouring for teachers. The success of constitutional government depends upon raising the general level of thought and character, and all this depends upon the supply of proper teachers.

The studies provided are the ordinary American course for normal training, including the theory and practice of teaching and school management, lectures on the common branches by speakers of experience, and a considerable amount of practice teaching under proper supervision. A year’s course in pedagogy is also given.

American missionaries tell me that the education of women has been a critical subject of discussion among the inhabitants of Sivas and that part of Turkey. In the interior provinces it has been the common belief that women cannot learn to read under the most favourable circumstances; in intellectual ability it was customary to class them with animals. Not infrequently in conversation with men of the last generation the statement would be made that a girl could no more learn to read than a donkey, and at any rate, of what possible use in the world could a reading woman be? It was often asserted that, if women learned to read, the whole fabric of Turkish society would be overturned, since they would become independent, would be liable to talk back when beaten by their husbands, and make trouble for the family and the community. It was the general opinion that it was safer to leave women in ignorance, even if the point should be conceded that they were capable of learning anything under the most favourable conditions.

The first missionaries who went into the country fought these theories down, largely by hiring girls to attend school45 in order to demonstrate the fact that they can learn to read. The girls of Turkey are as bright as those of any country, and generally the languages of Turkey are easier to learn than English, so that in every case the missionary won. He was careful to select bright girls for the tests, and in no instance was there a failure. They demonstrated that it was possible for a girl to learn to read and that in very quick time. A little group of ten girls was gathered into a school in Sivas away back in 1864, and from that time to this the education of this sex has not been neglected. In two years that little school had thirty-two pupils. It became so popular that the Armenian bishop twice anathematized the school and its teachers, but that only tended to advertise it and the number of pupils rapidly increased.

The present High School for Girls, which had only four pupils in 1874 and was located in an old native house, has attained extensive influence and power, not only through the pupils themselves, but through the five hundred and sixty girls in various other schools in the city, all of which are affiliated with this high school, and those in other cities, like Gurum, Tokat, Divrik, Endires, Zara, etc., where all the teachers are its graduates. What is perhaps of equal importance is that the Gregorian priests have founded and are now carrying on similar schools for girls in many of the centres of population in the vilayet, in which the American methods have been adopted, American courses are taught, and American ideas about the education of women are accepted and are in practical operation. This recognition of missionary methods is as sincere as it is general; an imitation is the most genuine endorsement.

In addition to the medical and educational work it has46 been necessary for the American missionaries, especially in the interior towns of Turkey, during the last fifteen years, to open orphanages for the accommodation of the great number of children that have been left wholly destitute by the frequent massacres. This began in 1895, at the time of the great massacres which swept over so much of the Turkish Empire, when more than three hundred children were gathered into an orphanage in Sivas. Our missionaries were aided by helpers sent out from Switzerland under a Swiss committee, so that the work has become international in its character. These children have been given comfortable Christian homes and a modern education. It became necessary to introduce many forms of industry for them that they might not be idle and to enable them to bear at least a part of the expense of their support and schooling. Later this work was enlarged somewhat to include relief for widows.

As missionary enterprises, all these lines of work are connected with general Christian instruction in no way hostile to the belief and thoughts of the people. The instruction given has been constructive and helpful rather than destructive and combative.

Trebizond is the terminus of the northern caravan route from Persia, and about 30 per cent. of the commerce of the city is carried back and forth on camels. The road over which the caravans travel is the same that Xenophon followed in the retreat of the “Ten Thousand,” and it has been kept in fairly good condition all these centuries, although it is scarcely fit for vehicles. In former years about twenty thousand camels arrived annually at Trebizond, each carrying from four hundred to five hundred pounds. So47 much of the trade has been diverted through the Caucasus by the new Russian road from Teheran to Rescht and the railway through the Caucasus, that not more than eight thousand to ten thousand camels are employed at present.

The distances between the principal points along the caravan route are as follows:

From Trebizond to Erzroom 198
Erzroom to the Persian frontier 156
Persian frontier to Tabriz 162
Tabriz to Teheran 344
Total distance from Trebizond to Teheran 860

The caravans usually take sixty days for the journey each way, twenty-four days from Trebizond to the frontier and thirty-six days from the frontier to Teheran.

Formerly travellers for Teheran used to go that way and made the journey upon swift-moving camels in about twenty days. The route to Persia via the steamers on the Black Sea to Batoum, the railway across the Caucasus, and steamers on the Caspian Sea is quicker, shorter, and cheaper, and hence the trade goes that way.

The caravans stop at a khan (as the old-fashioned hotels are called where entertainment is given to both man and beast), just outside of Trebizond, and we went down there to see the camels and their drivers. Two hundred camels had just arrived from Persia after a journey of thirty days, bringing twelve hundred bags of rice. I talked with the boss driver, a gigantic Persian with a broad, cheerful face, who told me that he had never been anywhere but along the same route between Tabriz and Trebizond, and had travelled that regularly two or three times a year for more than48 twenty years. Caravans often went to Tibet and as far as China, he said, but he had never been that far.

The camels used on this line are a common species of dromedary with only one hump, and cost all the way from $50 to $150 each, according to age and condition. There is no regular system of camel-breeding in Asia Minor, although that animal is the only beast of burden and is absolutely indispensable. Most of the animals used here come from Arabia, where they are bred by the Bedouins, and at the age of three years are broken to load. The strength of a camel begins to decline at twenty years, and after he reaches twenty-five he is not worth much. An ordinary caravan is made up of groups of seven camels in charge of one man, who leads them, feeds them, and cares for them from the time he is twenty years old until they all die together. A camel driver has no home. He is a nomad. He never has anything but the clothes he wears. He sleeps with one of his camels for a pillow, and it might be said that he eats the same food, which consists of straw and beans. A caravan is usually led by a little donkey, for camels, as well as human beings, will follow donkeys wherever they may go, in a most mysterious manner.

A camel is never relieved of its load from the beginning to the end of a journey. It eats, sleeps, and travels under its burden, often for weeks at a time, and will carry six hundred pounds without a murmur. When the load is off, the driver rides, but when the load is on he walks by the side of his charge.

Camels are used for all kinds of purposes, the same as horses. They are broken to saddle and to wagon. They are hitched to plows and haul saw logs out of the forests. They49 can go for ten days over a desert without water. Their stomachs are divided into compartments and the contents are digested in order, one after the other, as the system needs nourishment. And it is often said that a “fifth stomach” is kept as a reserve for an emergency.

Our word caravansary comes from the Turkish term caravanseria, which means literally a bower for caravans, or a resting place where the animals are fed and the camel driver eats his bread and drinks his wine. He gets nothing and pays for nothing except space, shelter, and protection against robbers and thieves. These caravanserias are found in every town along the caravan roads. They are distinguished from khans—which are usually square enclosures or court-yards paved with stone, with rooms opening upon them, where travellers can store their goods, and often a gallery and a second floor, where the better class can obtain lodgings. These khans may be found in Constantinople and in every other Eastern city, and in the day-time are busy places, the freighters loading and unloading and merchants showing their goods to customers. At sunset the gates are closed, the donkeys and the animals lie down to sleep, and their drivers lie down beside them.

There is a long range of snow-clad mountains along the southern coast of the Black Sea reaching almost the entire distance from Trebizond to Rizeh, the next stopping place, and between them and the water side are low foothills covered with farms. The new wheat was a vivid green that lights up a lovely picture. There is no more beautiful sea coast. Indeed, there is nothing to surpass that landscape in the Alps, or the Pyrenees, or the Andes, or the Rocky50 Mountains, or anywhere else, owing to the great variety of scenery that lies between the water and the snow-capped crags. In May, when we were there, nature is all smiles. Both the woods and the fields are alive with glory. The foliage is perfect; rhododendrons and azaleas hide the scars in the rocks and creepers drape the rugged cliffs with a profusion of garlands that artificial decorations cannot compare with. Here and there the farming land is broken by a lofty precipice rising a thousand feet or more directly out of luxuriant vegetation, just as an artist would put some bold figure into a picture to offer a contrast to the peaceful, cultivated slope. And the lofty mountain peaks look bolder and sterner because they rise so near the wheat fields, the gentle valleys dotted with white villages, and the sombre forests that are so thick and so green.

We were told that the finest oranges, cherries, and other fruits in the world come from the slopes that line the shore of the Black Sea. We were told, too, that cherries got their name from the town of Kerasun, which was called Cherryson by the Greeks. We were too early, of course, for all the fruits except oranges, but the captain said that in the summer and fall cherries, grapes, plums, peaches, pears, and melons, finer than can be found in Paris, “can be bought for almost nothing.”

The people of the villages on that part of the coast, and particularly those of the town of Rizeh, are sailors and fishermen. They are wild, reckless, handsome fellows, wearing short open jackets of scarlet or blue, with zouave trousers, purple or yellow sashes bound around their waists, and a knotted black turban with the tasselled ends hanging down over their shoulders. Most of the seamen on the Turkish51 cruisers and gunboats come from that town and the neighbouring villages.

“Rizeh is the most beautiful place on the Black Sea,” said the captain with a shrug, “but everybody carries a knife, and would not hesitate to kill a stranger for his hat or his handkerchief.”

And we learned afterward that there were two hundred murderers serving sentences of from fifteen years to life in the prison that day. We saw several of the short-sentence men at the windows as we passed the prison, and somebody was standing on a tomb in the cemetery under the windows talking to them in a loud tone. The people on the street did not appear to pay any attention to him, although he was very much in earnest.

Near by was a more interesting crowd. Our steamer brought the mail from Constantinople and fifty or sixty citizens of Rizeh were gathered in a compact body around the steps of the post-office, while some gentleman read the news aloud to them. We were told it was a regular practice every time a mail came in. Most of the population are illiterate, but they are intensely patriotic and partisan, and keep close tab on political events at Constantinople and elsewhere.

They must be very superstitious, also, judging by the precautions they adopt to protect their houses and fields from the evil eye and other uncanny influences. The skull of a goat or a sheep, with a bunch of red peppers attached to it, was hanging from the corner of the eaves of almost every dwelling. We saw similar amulets in the gardens, orchards, and fields to protect the fruit and the crops. An old shoe and a bunch of garlic are equally efficacious, we52 are told, if you haven’t the skull of a sheep. The peasants in the country believe in miraculous cures, in witchcraft, and all such things, and often sacrifice animals at the shrines of saints to fulfil vows they have made in times of danger or distress. On a certain day in summer they splash water over each other; in the spring every woman releases a pigeon she has kept during the winter, and in some places the women go out to welcome the storks which fly in here at a certain time of the year. A new baby is always passed over a flame and young girls leap through fire to insure good husbands.

The patriarchal system prevails very generally among the farmer peasants, and the father, or after his death the eldest son, is the head and dictator of the family. A newly married couple always go to live in the house of the groom’s father, and the bride is condemned to perpetual silence in the presence of the family until her first child is born or until another marriage takes place in the same house. A young wife is not permitted to speak to any one save her own husband, and to him only when they are alone. But after her first baby is born she is considered worthy of sufficient respect to be recognized as a member of the household.

Although this practice doubtless would not be encouraged by the Daughters of the Revolution or the suffragettes, nevertheless, every one will admit that it has its advantages. I have read the wise comments of a certain Baron Haxthausen, a learned German who spent some time in that country forty or fifty years ago and saw many things to approve. The herr professor must have had some painful matrimonial experience, for he commended this custom as tending to increase the peace of a family as well as conjugal53 devotion. He is very positive that its adoption in other countries would reduce the business of the divorce courts and promote the peace and happiness of mankind.

Group of Lazis, Armenia, ready for a dance

“Imagine five or six women living together in the same house,” he says, “and a new member added to the company with the pride and vanity which are usually felt by a bride. Should we not anticipate continued dissension which the authority in the head of the family is unable to prevent? Much unhappiness and quarrelling arise from the use of women’s tongues, and what is so certain a cure as silence? It is only in the rarest cases that a bride submits gracefully to the opinion and the authority of her mother-in-law. She usually enters the family with a disposition to assert her independence, and if her freedom of speech is restrained, this cannot be done to an extent that will be offensive. Indeed, I cannot imagine a more wholesome custom than that which restrains the conversational powers of a young woman entering a new family.”

It must be distinctly understood that the above opinions are in quotation marks, and those who do not agree with them are not compelled to act upon the recommendations. And, notwithstanding these precautions, you will remember that the prison at Rizeh is full of murderers. How many of them are women and how many are brides is not stated.

These people are called Lazis, and this part of Armenia is known as Lazistan. They belong to the Georgian race and came there from Georgia, which lies a little farther along, west of the Caucasus Mountains, in order to escape persecution from their neighbours because they accepted the Mohammedan faith. It sounds refreshing to hear that a Mohammedan has been persecuted on religious grounds.54 It is the first case of the kind I have ever known, and the Lazis showed their good sense by coming over into a Mohammedan country after accepting that religion. And they are said to be very fanatical about it, as converts often are, and will stab a man for a difference of opinion on theology, as soon as cut his throat for his purse. At the same time, they are the most highly skilled gardeners in all the Ottoman Empire and are conspicuous, under ordinary circumstances, for their quiet, orderly behaviour, for their industry, honesty, and fair dealing. We can testify to the last fact, because we always made a bargain with the boatmen who took us ashore from the steamer at every port we stopped, and those at Rizeh are the only ones that did not demand more money than they had agreed to accept.

With all these virtues, they have been known to dodge their religious obligations. During the Mohammedan Lent, which is called Ramazan, every faithful member of that faith is bound to abstain from all kinds of nourishment, stimulants, and pleasures between sunrise and sunset; but the Lazis continue to smoke all day long on the pretext that tobacco was unknown to the prophet Mohammed, and therefore its use could not have been forbidden by him.

And so far as persecution is concerned, they have proven very handy when a massacre has been ordered, and no pious Moslem ever cut the throat of a Christian or burned his home with so much zeal as they have shown on several occasions. Nearly all of the Armenian population has been driven back into the country by the fanatical outbreaks of the Lazis, and the Greeks, who were the original settlers and civilizers of that coast, have been driven across to the Russian side of the Black Sea, where they can worship in their55 own way without being interfered with. But the whole world will be glad to learn that it is believed that religious persecution is at an end in Armenia. No people have ever suffered so much or have ever shown greater loyalty and tenacity to the faith which they profess.

During the thirteenth, fourteenth, and part of the fifteenth centuries the Venetians controlled this coast, and their rivals in the Genoese Republic continually attempted to drive them out. Every port was protected by a formidable castle and every town was surrounded by a high wall. The Venetian castle at Rizeh has been almost entirely obliterated, although its site is marked by a pile of débris, and one can trace the foundations upon the summit overlooking the bay. The city wall is quite perfect in places and can be followed for half a mile or more on one side of the town. The Venetian influence appears in a striking manner in the architecture. There are several distinctly Venetian houses that contribute to the charming picture which this little city embowered in foliage presents from the deck of a ship. And the cottages are unique in their designs and methods of construction, suggesting the familiar Elizabethan school so common in English villages. The walls are made of cross pieces of wood with the spaces between them filled in with masonry, broad roofs, overhanging eaves, narrow windows, and loggias.

Everybody seems to be fond of brilliant colours, which makes the place look gay, although the women keep their faces hid and envelop their bodies in large cotton shawls. They select the gayest patterns they can find, which, of course, makes them all the more conspicuous. The guide book says that Rizeh is a great place for linen and other56 fabrics, and that the women weave their own shawls, but the fashion must have changed since the book was written, because we inquired at several of the shops and found that all of the dry-goods offered for sale were made in Germany, in imitation of the old home-made patterns.

Batoum, the Colchis of the ancients, where Jason and the Argonauts captured the golden fleece, is the only seaport of the Russian province of the Caucasus and the only outlet for the trade of that vast and productive area. It is the terminus of nearly all the lines of steamers on the Black Sea, and, therefore, a place of great importance. There is a railway across the Caucasus between the Black and the Caspian Seas, a pipe line for conveying oil from Baku and special docks for loading tank steamers with that kind of freight.

Batoum was a part of Turkey until the year 1878, and was awarded to Russia by the Treaty of Berlin, in which the European Powers all participated, as part of the price which Turkey was compelled to pay for peace. Since the cession the place has been strongly fortified by the Russians, notwithstanding a stipulation in that convention against it. There is a population of about thirty thousand, very cosmopolitan. All the Turkish clans are represented and there are about six thousand Greeks. There is an old and a new town. The former is a duplication of one hundred small Turkish cities with bazaars, mosques, cafés, and khans, where travellers and caravans find accommodations for themselves, their animals, and their merchandise. All of the labour is done by Armenians, Georgians, Greeks, Turks, and Circassians and representatives of a dozen other races, each of which adheres tenaciously to its native costume as well as its native customs.

The city of Batoum


The new town is distinctly Russian, with wide streets, good sidewalks, and shade trees everywhere. There are two well-kept parks, a boulevard and promenade along the seashore which is very attractive and must be a great comfort to the population during the long, hot summer months. There is a good deal of bathing au naturel, the women undressing and going into the water “in the altogether” at one end of the promenade, and the men at the other, without the formality of bathing-houses, although they might be built at a very slight expense in the interest of common decency as well as convenience. No other necessity is neglected.

It was decidedly pleasant to see the unveiled faces of women again, after several weeks in Mohammedan towns; and one never admires blonde hair and blue eyes, particularly when worn by an American girl, as he does after spending some time among Orientals. It was pleasant to escape the musty smells which are attached to every Turkish town and to see healthy, clean dogs that could be touched without contamination.

Batoum has a splendid cathedral of the solid and ornate Russian style of architecture, with the five domes required by Byzantine traditions. It was erected as a memorial several years ago. Somebody, unfortunately, furnished the cathedral with a peal of heavy, deep-toned bells, which are ringing nearly all the time and cause a suspension of business, because nobody can talk or hear or even think in the eruption of sound they produce. There are good shops, well filled with modern merchandise, and a hotel that is quite comfortable, but is kept by a man whose name might be Barabbas, for he is a robber.

The streets and cafés are full of Russian officers and58 soldiers, including many stately Cossacks wearing tall chimney-pot hats of white Persian lamb and the many other accoutrements that pertain to that race of professional warriors. A Cossack, as perhaps you know, comes from the valley of the river Don, in eastern Russia, where soldiers are bred, and they go into the Russian army for life, furnishing their own uniforms, their own horses, and their own arms, as well as their own rations and supplies, for which they receive a lump sum per month. They are doubtless the finest cavalry in the world and are absolutely loyal to their employers. It is a matter of principle and not a matter of partisanship. In all the Russian revolutions, in all the conspiracies against the czar and the government, no Cossack has ever been corrupted. On the other hand, they are absolutely merciless. They seem to be entirely without the ordinary feelings of humanity, knowing neither sympathy nor sorrow, regret nor remorse. They will shoot an infant as readily as an armed foe.

The Russian drosky, the little baby victoria, so familiar to the czar’s possessions, which may be found in every town between Riga and Vladivostock, is here at the convenience of the tourist as well as the residents. We saw a few of the splendid black stallions, with long tails and manes, that were introduced into Russia during the reign of Catherine II by Prince Orloff, whose descendants now own the largest and most celebrated stock farm in the world, although I believe it was badly used by the revolutionists several years ago. The ishvostchik, as a drosky driver is called, is another distinctively Russian institution and we were very glad to see him again.

The constitution of Russia hasn’t made any difference59 with the vigilance of the police, and it seemed as if the passengers of the good ship Euterpe were subjected to more than ordinary scrutiny by the police before they would allow us to land. The captain made the dock at daylight, which at that time of year is about five o’clock in the morning, and shortly before six o’clock all the passengers were awakened and invited to the salon. There we found a police officer with a couple of clerks examining passports. After we had presented ours and had explained our motives in visiting Russia, we were gruffly dismissed, but it was after nine o’clock before they would allow us to land. In the meantime they examined our luggage with great care in order, as were advised, to make sure that we were not importing arms or anarchistic literature to corrupt the Caucasians. When the examination was about half finished, I showed the chief inquisitor a general letter of introduction given me by the Russian ambassador at Washington, certifying to my respectability and innocence. He read it through carefully, scowled fiercely, shook his head, and then began to search more energetically than before, regardless of ambassadors or other outside influences who have nothing to do with the case. But we are taught that there is good in everything, and contact with Russian police officials certainly cultivates patience if nothing else.

Shortly after the overthrow of the despotism in Turkey, the new government formulated a comprehensive scheme of public improvements intended to promote the material development of the Ottoman Empire, which was forbidden for a third of a century by Abdul Hamid, the late sultan. He seemed to think that progress and prosperity were inconsistent with the welfare of a nation, or at least a menace to the authority of an autocrat, and as long as he kept his subjects in poverty and ignorance, his sceptre was safe in his hands. He adhered strictly to that policy. He forbade the development of mines or any other of the natural resources, and reluctantly consented to the construction of a few lines of railway, which were demanded by foreign commerce and were built by foreign capital. The Germans always had the preference in such matters, but there are also English and French railway lines in Turkey. The sultan would never permit a telephone or an electric light or a trolley car or any other modern necessity of commerce and social life, and his subjects were forbidden to travel from one place to another, even in their own province, without the permission of the police.

When the present government invited proposals for the construction of railways through the interior of Turkey in61 Asia, one of the most important plans was submitted by Admiral C. M. Chester of the United States Navy (retired) and his associates, who are organized under the title of “The Ottoman-American Development Company.” Their proposition was thoroughly investigated by the Turkish government, approved by the department of public works and the council of state and only required the ratification of the Turkish Parliament to be complete. This would have been done at the session of the Parliament in 1910 but for the intervention of Baron von Bieberstein, the German ambassador, who protested on the ground that the concession interfered with the mining rights of some German subjects and was in violation of a treaty made between his government and the late sultan guaranteeing that no further mining concessions would be granted in Turkey without the consent of the German government.

Baron von Bieberstein’s purpose seems to have been to secure command of the situation and to obtain additional favours for a company which was formed several years ago to extend one of the existing railway lines from its present terminus in the province of Anatolia to the Persian Gulf. It is suspected also that certain German and Belgian capitalists would be glad to secure a share of the Chester concession, which is very comprehensive and involves a variety of interests.

Although the Turkish ministry was exceedingly anxious to close the arrangement and obtain the credit of promoting such an extensive scheme of internal improvements, they were afraid of Germany—first, on account of the controversy with Greece over Crete, and, second, for fear the kaiser would object to a proposed increase in the Turkish tariff.62 This situation was complicated by the fact that the kaiser’s sister is the wife of the crown prince and the future king of Greece, and the Turkish administration cannot raise the necessary revenue by advancing duties on imported goods 5 per cent., as is now proposed, without the consent of the five European Powers.

The concession involves the construction of about fifteen hundred miles of track through Armenia, Kurdistan, and Mesopotamia, and the vilayets of Trebizond, Sivas, Van, Diarbekir and Mossoul. The road begins at the port of Snedis, on the Mediterranean, at the mouth of the Orontes River, about sixty miles south of Alexandretta, and about thirty miles from the ancient town of Antioch. From there it runs eastward through Aleppo, Urfa, Diarbekir, Bitlis, and other populous cities to Lake Van and encircles that lake, which is the most important of all the interior bodies of water in Turkey. From Diarbekir, which is to be a junction, one branch of the road will run northwest to the city of Sivas and another southwest to the Persian boundary at Suleimanieh, crossing the valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers and bisecting the province of Mesopotamia, which it is proposed to reclaim to agriculture by the reconstruction of the vast systems of irrigation which were used by the ancients, and for some mysterious reason have been allowed to go to waste.

The Turkish government is contemplating the construction of a railroad from Sivas northward to Samsoun and Trebizond, on the Black Sea, and intends to extend the existing railroad from Constantinople to Angora to connect with the tracks of the Chester syndicate at Sivas. The Russian government is determined to control all of the railway63 lines that touch the Black Sea, and has a treaty with Turkey which prevents any concession being granted to the Chester syndicate or any other except a Russian or Turkish corporation for a railroad into that territory. It is entirely probable, however, that some arrangement might be made for the construction of one and perhaps two lines between Sivas and the Black Sea by the Turkish government.

The Chester concession is for ninety-nine years, the government reserving the right to purchase the whole or any part of the property after a period of sixty years, on the basis of the average gross receipts for the previous five years. The syndicate agrees to complete the first third in five years, the second third in six years, and the entire system in ten years, the total cost being estimated at $100,000,000. The government reserves the right to regulate charges for freight and passengers, and the company agrees to transport mails, soldiers, and military supplies at a certain reduction from the regular rates. The property is to be exempt from taxation for a certain period. All materials are to be admitted free of duty, but the company must employ subjects of Turkey in the operation of the road as far as possible, and “they must wear the fez and such uniforms as the government shall direct.” The company is under obligations to give preference to the government in transportation of troops and supplies in time of war, or whenever necessary. The funds for paying the cost of construction are to be raised by an issue of bonds and at least one half of the total must be offered publicly to Turkish subscribers for a period of thirty-one days.

There is no subsidy or guarantee of interest or principal, and no financial obligation whatever on the part of the64 government, but the development company, which is organized under the laws of New Jersey, with the right to form subordinate companies, will have the exclusive right for ninety-nine years to exploit and work directly, or by leases to others, all mineral and petroleum deposits, all quarries, mineral water springs, known or unknown, within an area of twenty kilometres on both sides of the tracks for the entire distance, a total of about fifteen hundred miles through the heart of Turkey. It has the exclusive right to all water-power within twenty kilometres of the track on both sides for electricity or manufacturing purposes; it is authorized to furnish light and power to all towns and cities within a zone of one hundred kilometres on both sides of the track; it has the exclusive right to operate boats on Lake Van and build and operate smelters, furnaces, elevators, warehouses, wharves, machine-shops and a variety of other industries. One of the most important features of the concession is the right to establish stores to sell such merchandise as it may deem proper or useful to the public and to its own employés. The company is authorized to construct and operate telegraph lines for its own use, but it cannot do a commercial business, because that would interfere with the government telegraph, which is a part of its postal service.

The enterprise being of public utility, all property belonging to individuals can be appropriated whenever necessary for carrying out the provisions of the concession, and all concessions previously granted which may interfere with the conditions of the contract are to be terminated as speedily as possible. The government undertakes to indemnify the owners.

The resources of Turkey have never been developed.65 Nothing has ever been done by the government and very little by individuals, because, whenever a Turk discovered anything of value or acquired any wealth, he was robbed, blackmailed, and persecuted, and the government confiscated whatever it could reach. Abdul Hamid had a personal title to much valuable property, such as mineral deposits, petroleum wells, stone quarries, forests, and placed others in the names of his confidential men. The new government has confiscated all of these properties and the titles are now in the state. All such property lying along the line of the proposed road becomes subject to the concession.

The Chester syndicate thus obtains the exclusive right to work certain coal deposits that have been operated more or less by the government. They are of unlimited extent, and the quality of the coal is said to be as fine as that of Cardiff. There is a deposit of copper at Arghana, which has been worked in a rude way for several thousand years and is believed to be one of the most valuable in the world. It belongs to the Turkish government and has been producing about $750,000 worth of ore a month for the benefit of the sovereign. Several syndicates have been organized from time to time to get hold of it, but the sultan would never let it go.

Other extensive copper deposits are known to exist, but they have never been developed or even explored. There is a very large oil territory in the neighbourhood of Mosul, in the valley of the Tigris, which has been known for centuries. So long ago as the reign of Alexander the Great the people used the seepage for lubricating purposes, for liniments, and for fuel. There is oil in other localities along the line, and no end of lead, zinc, and other minerals of66 greater or less value. The mountains through which the railway will pass have been the source of silver supply of the Armenians and the Kurds for twenty or thirty centuries, but the mines have never been worked by modern processes.

It is believed that the mineral deposits alone represent hundreds of millions of dollars in the territory covered by the concession, without regard to other interests of value. The development company, which will own the concession, proposes to divide and separate these interests among several subordinate companies—one to build and operate the railway, another to operate the coal mines, another to operate the copper mines, another to develop the oil deposits, and others to undertake the development of the various other interests. Numerous propositions have already been received from syndicates and individuals, who are aware of valuable mineral, timber, and other resources along the proposed line, and have been trying in vain to obtain concessions from the Turkish government to develop them.

Mr. W. W. Masterson, American consul at Harpoot, who has served in this part of the world for many years and knows Turkey thoroughly, made a horseback journey of 800 miles over the proposed routes of railways and reported to the secretary of state that he found no serious difficulties of construction. The chief line proposed, he says, would follow the Euphrates River almost its entire length without a heavier grade than one foot to the mile, and there are no great engineering difficulties to the other lines.

“The valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris, and the coves bordering on Lake Van, are cultivated to a degree,” Mr. Masterson says, “and enough is raised with their primitive farming implements to feed the people in that67 region. But little is exported because of the difficulties and cost of transportation. With an outlet to market, proper methods of cultivation, and modern farming implements, the land is capable of producing many times more than is now raised. For example, take the Mush Plain, through which the Euphrates winds its sluggish course. While the plain is wonderfully productive and well fitted in soil and climate for raising crops of all kinds, and every acre is fit for cultivation, yet not more than one third is cultivated. The land is so abundant that a field is cultivated one year, and the next year, possibly for several years, it is left fallow. The method used for breaking up new ground is slow, laborious, and unsatisfactory. A wooden plow on wheels is used, to which often eight or ten yoke of oxen or buffalo are hitched, with a man sitting on the yoke of each team, and a man behind to guide the plow. Each furrow is turned so slowly that the amount plowed each day would not equal a few hours’ work with an up-to-date plow and a strong team of horses, while the furrows are never over six inches deep.

“In the neighbourhood of many of the villages around the shores of Lake Van is a considerable quantity of Circassian walnut timber, some of the trunks being of enormous size, upon which are knotty growths that would make them of great value if they could be shipped to market. Some little business is done in this line with Marseilles, but in the most unsatisfactory and wasteful manner, so that the returns are small.

“Lake Van is an unusually beautiful body of water,” continued Mr. Masterson, “about sixty miles long and thirty miles wide. The water is impregnated with a potash68 of some kind and has a soft, soapy feeling. The natives use it for washing their clothing without soap. Around the lake is much tilled land of great richness, and many villages, in addition to the thriving city of Van, are located upon its shores. There are a number of sailing boats, but they are so unwieldly that they can only go before the wind and frequently are compelled to wait a week or ten days for favourable weather. A boat run by steam power would be a paying investment, and some years ago the local government ordered a forty horse-power motor-boat from the United States through an American missionary, but it was delayed in the custom-house of Trebizond for more than a year and a half, and only reached Van last fall.

“It is the mineral wealth of the country, however,” continued Mr. Masterson, “that is destined to make it prosperous. While I could not investigate for myself, I was told by thoroughly reliable persons of rich deposits of coal, iron, and copper, which have been worked more or less at long intervals for many centuries, but only for local supply. An Armenian bishop told me of a vein of coal eight feet in thickness, which juts out of a mountain; a German told me that he knew of a bed of iron ore of such richness and purity that the blacksmiths of the villages in that neighbourhood have been using it for years in their work without having it smelted. There are beds of coal of excellent quality near the city of Van and every indication of petroleum. During the insurrection two years ago the revolutionists secured all their bullets from some wonderfully rich lead deposits in the neighbourhood of Van. While I was at Bitlas the governor-general showed me some fine specimens that looked like American anthracite and he69 told me of a sulphur mine near that city. Two days out from Bitlas I came across immense deposits of marble jutting out of the mountain, not only white, but dark red, green, and black.

“There is an extensive deposit of copper half way between Diarbekir and Harpoot that is being worked to some extent in three places, one by private individuals and two by the government. A smelter near the mine is operated with wood fuel, which is a very scarce and expensive commodity in this country, although the western branch of the Tigris River, a mountain torrent with a tremendous fall, passes only a few feet from the smelter and might easily develop enough electrical energy for all that country.

“The copper ore is very rich. There is a spring of water at the outcropping which is so strongly impregnated that a French prospector offered the government $25,000 a year for the privilege of converting the solution into solid copper, but the offer was refused and the overflow of that spring is still carrying its load of mineral into the Tigris River.”

Russia has already acquired about one third of Armenia by conquest, and has been pushing its southern boundary line farther and farther into Turkey and Persia every time there is a war. And now Turkey has given the Russians the exclusive right to construct railway lines from the ports of Asia Minor and Armenia on the Black Sea. Several short lines will doubtless be built. They will belong to the Russian government, and the next time an excuse is offered for hostilities the cars will be loaded with Russian troops and arms and ammunition, brought across the Black Sea from Sebastopol on Russian ships. The Turks have thus furnished their most dangerous and aggressive enemy the70 facilities for an easy and irresistible invasion of their own territory. In addition to its military importance, the Russians have obtained a commercial advantage of the greatest value. The country along the southern coast of the Black Sea is very rich and produces abundant crops, but the people of the interior have no means except camel caravans of getting their produce to market. The Russians are to furnish them the necessary facilities and will have the benefit of the results.

Furthermore, the mountains which skirt the coast are rich in minerals, but have never been developed or even explored, because the sultan of Turkey has always forbidden it. A French company has a concession for working a coal mine near the city of Kastamuni (you can find it on the map about thirty miles inland from the coast of the Black Sea), but they have no harbour and no railway and it costs as much to get the coal over that thirty miles to the coast as it does to bring it from England. If a railway could be built and a harbour provided, the mines would be a very profitable source of revenue. The coal is of excellent quality. It is easily worked and the nearest competition is Cardiff and Newcastle in England. The sultan has always opposed the development of these resources, but the new government is favourable. Russia and France are allies in all that concerns the East and it may be assumed that the Russians will not only encourage but assist the French concessionaires for this coal industry.

Although the Chester concession had been approved and signed by every authority of the executive branch of the government whose signature was necessary, and had been formally approved by a unanimous vote of the council of71 state, the grand vizier refused to submit it to the Chamber of Deputies whose ratification was necessary to make it complete. When pressed to do so by the American ambassador, he explained that it would first be necessary to make some modifications in the treaty of amity and commerce which has been standing for nearly a hundred years, in order that the officials and employés of the proposed railroad, and the adventurers it would attract to the country, might be placed under the jurisdiction of the Turkish courts. At present, as in all semi-civilized countries, citizens of the United States residing in Turkey are tried before the American consul on the theory that they cannot secure justice in the local courts. This is called the doctrine of extra-territoriality, and is also adhered to by European Powers. While there has been considerable improvement in the judiciary of Turkey, the government is not yet sufficiently secure and the laws have not yet been sufficiently modernized to justify the United States or the European governments in submitting the personal and property rights of their subjects in Turkey to such jurisdiction, and neither the merchants nor the missionaries now in the Ottoman Empire would consider themselves safe under such an arrangement.

The grand vizier also raised the objection suggested by the German ambassador, that the Chester concession interfered with the mining rights of a certain German subject, and with an agreement with the late sultan that no mining concessions would be granted in Turkey without the consent of the German government. But the real reason for the refusal to submit the concession for the ratification of the Chamber of Deputies appeared in January,72 1911, when a secret arrangement entered into between Russia and Germany as to the future policy to be pursued by those two governments in Persia and Turkey became known. This agreement practically apportions the Turkish provinces in Asia and the northern provinces of Persia between those two governments, so far as transportation facilities are concerned, without even consulting the governments of Turkey or Persia. It is as follows:

“Article I.—The Imperial Russian government declares its willingness not to oppose the realization of the Bagdad Railway project, and agrees not to oppose any obstacle to the participation of foreign capitalists in this enterprise, it being understood that no sacrifice of a monetary or economic nature will be asked from Russia.

“Article II.—In order to meet the wishes of the German government to connect the Bagdad Railway with the system of railways to be built in Persia at a future date, the Russian government agrees, when this system has been constructed, to proceed with the building of a line to join, on the Turco-Persian frontier, the railway from Sadje to Khanikin, when this branch of the Bagdad Railway, together with the line from Koniah to Bagdad, shall have been completed. The Russian government reserves the right to determine, at a time to suit itself, the definite route of the line, which is to join up at Khanikin. Both governments will facilitate the international traffic on the Khanikin line, and will avoid all measures that might tend to hinder it; for instance, the establishment of a transit time or the application of differential treatment.

“Article III.—The German government agrees not to construct any railway lines in any other zone than that of73 the Bagdad line and the Turco-Persian frontier to the north of Khanikin, and not to lend its material or diplomatic support to any undertakings of this nature in the said zone.

“Article IV.—The German government once more declares that it has no political interests in Persia, and that it is only pursuing commercial aims there. It recognizes, on the other hand, that Russia has special interests in northern Persia, from a political, strategic, and economical point of view.

“The German government also declares that it has no intention of seeking, for its own profit, or of supporting in any way, either for its own subjects or for those of other nations, any concessions for railways, roads, steamship routes, telegraphs, or other concessions of a territorial nature to the north of the line beginning at Kasrihin, crossing Ispahan, Jezd, and Khakh, and ending at the Afghan frontier at the latitude of Ghasik. If the German government seeks such concessions, it must first of all come to an agreement with the Russian government.

“On the other hand, the Russian government will consent to recognize, with regard to German trade in Persia, the principle of absolute equality of treatment.”

The publication of this agreement naturally created a decided sensation in Turkey and Persia, and the grand vizier was questioned about it on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies at Constantinople. He had very little to say and was evidently very much embarrassed. He explained that the arrangement was made without preliminary conferences with his government, but assurances had been received from both Germany and Russia that the interests of Turkey would be completely protected. As the plans74 for transportation lines disclosed by this arrangement interfere directly with the rights granted to the Chester syndicate, it will be necessary for the government of the United States to take part in whatever negotiations may follow, or withdraw entirely from participation in the development of the material resources of Turkey.

What is known as the Bagdad Railway is one of the greatest projects decided upon by the Turkish government. The concession has already been granted. The work of construction has already begun; two hundred kilometres of track have been laid from Konia toward Adana, and the company has received $80,000 a mile for what has cost it less than $50,000. Now that the expensive part of the line has been reached, through the Anti-Taurus Mountains, the managers are holding up and making excuses for not continuing work. They want to change the route. They have already made between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000 profit, which has been divided among the concessionaires, and have thus gotten into bad habits. They are reluctant to undertake work that will cost every dollar they will get for it, and perhaps more, although the concession was accepted as a whole and not in parts. Instead of crossing the mountains where the road is needed they have asked the government to permit them to follow the coast line, where there will be little or no grade and where the track can be laid for less than one half of the guarantee per mile. If you will take a map of the Turkish Empire you can easily see the situation.

What is known as the Anatolian Railway begins at Haidar-Pasha, on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, opposite Constantinople, and runs eastward, following a sort of zigzag course, to the city of Angora, in Asia Minor.75 A branch runs down to Murad, where it connects with a line from Smyrna, and a little farther south, at Alshehr, it connects with a line from Aidin. Both Smyrna and Aidin are on the Ægean Sea and are very important ports.

The railways I have described have been in operation for several years. They owe their existence to British enterprise and were built with British capital, but have passed into the control of the International Syndicate, which holds the concession for the Bagdad Railway, and are to be a part of that system. In other words, the present Anatolian Railway is to be extended through Asia Minor and Mesopotamia via Bagdad to the Persian Gulf, and there connect with a projected line across Persia and Afghanistan to join the railway system of India at Quetta or some other convenient place. This will connect the Mediterranean and the Black Seas with the Persian Gulf, and, in the growing railway transportation system of Asia, will correspond to the Sunset line of the Southern Pacific in the United States, in the same way as the Great Siberian road corresponds to the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern, and the Central Asia Railway to the Union and Central Pacific route. Already 640 kilometres, or about four hundred and fifty miles, have been completed and about one thousand miles remain to be built.

The greatest difficulty in carrying out the scheme has been politics. The financial aspects are clear, but the political interests at stake are widespread and complicated. Five of the great Powers of Europe are involved in the undertaking. Great Britain acquiesced only upon the condition that it should be allowed to control that portion of the route between Bagdad and the Persian Gulf. The76 company is incorporated in Switzerland. The incorporators represent the Anatolian Railway Company of Constantinople, which, as I have already explained, is the first link in the line; the Deutsche Bank of Berlin, the Credit-Mobilier of Paris, the Imperial Ottoman Bank of Constantinople, the Weiner Bank Verein of Vienna, the Banca Commerciale Italiana of Milan, the Swiss Creditanstadt, and several British and Belgian interests. The Deutsche Bank of Berlin, through its branch at Constantinople, has immediate management, and by manipulation has obtained practically absolute control, so that, with the exception of the unbuilt but proposed section from Bagdad to the Persian Gulf, which may not be constructed for years, it is practically a German enterprise.

Although the other powers are involved, as I have explained, their representatives have taken no active participation in the work and have simply been content to have their names appear in the articles of incorporation, and to encourage their capitalists to invest in the stocks and bonds. With the exception of the Germans, therefore, the international representation which has been insisted upon from the beginning by Turkey, and by the Powers also, is merely theoretical. In case of war or any aggressive demonstration on the part of Turkey, it is likely to assume a practical character, however, and therefore, Austria, Italy, and especially England are contented to allow the Germans to do the work so long as they have a voice in controlling the politics of the road.

As you will see by looking at the map, the city of Adana, Turkey, is some distance in the interior; but it is connected with the Mediterranean by a short line of railway to the port77 of Mersina on the southern coast of Asia Minor. At present, Mersina is only an open roadstead and offers no shelter to vessels, but the situation is such that a harbour will not cost a large sum of money and the engineering features are not difficult. The railway from Mersina to Adana was constructed by a British company in 1886, but has since passed under the control of the Germans and is doing a good business. The country back of Adana, known as the Cilician Plain, is very favourable to cotton culture, and a considerable quantity of that staple is already produced there. Under the encouragement of the new government the industry will doubtless develop rapidly, but so long as Abdul Hamid was in control of affairs it was scarcely worth while for anybody to develop profitable enterprises, because they would invariably tempt the cormorants who surrounded the sultan to spoliation.

The Bagdad Railway has now reached the town of Bulgurlu, beyond Eregli, in the foothills of the Anti-Taurus Mountains, and about fifty miles from Adana; but, as I have said, it is the most expensive piece of construction on the road and the German managers hesitate to undertake it. After they reach Adana there is another stretch of a hundred miles or more which is also very heavy and expensive work, requiring many cuts, embankments, rockwork, and tunnels. The managers have put in an application for a change of route along the coast by way of Alexandretta and Antioch and from there approach the valley of the Euphrates by way of Aleppo. This route would be a great advantage as a measure of economy, but as the Turkish military authorities have pointed out, it exposes the railway to any foreign fleet that may enter the Gulf of Iskanderoon, on which78 Alexandretta is located. If the track lay back in the mountains, it would be more difficult to interfere with traffic in time of war.

The Bagdad Railway is expected to follow the valley of the Euphrates or that of the Tigris, the two great historic rivers which encircle that mysterious country known as Mesopotamia, where, according to the Scriptures, was the cradle of mankind, and the first inhabited section of the earth’s surface. Mesopotamia was formerly dotted with prosperous cities and supported a large population, but it is now practically uninhabited. The cities are in ruins, the population has perished, and the entire area has become a desert because of the destruction of irrigation systems which were built before the birth of Abraham. The government has already undertaken a scheme of reclamation at a cost of $10,000,000. Sir William Willcocks, who built the Assouan dam on the Nile, made the survey and furnished the estimates. He declares that there is no difficulty in the reclamation of the entire area between the Euphrates and the Tigris that money cannot remove.

In January, 1911, Nazim Pasha, governor-general of Bagdad, on behalf of the Turkish government, signed a contract with Sir John Jackson, of Westminster, London, for the erection of a dam at the head of the Hindia branch of the Euphrates, as the first step in carrying out these recommendations, and the work is to be pushed forward as rapidly as possible.

Mesopotamia is that portion of Turkey lying between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers—an area about three hundred miles long and varying from fifty to two hundred miles in width. Within the oval, according to the estimates79 of the engineers, are about 12,000,000 acres, of which 9,000,000 is desert and 2,500,000 fresh-water swamp, and they estimate that 6,000,000 acres can be reclaimed. There are several large, shallow lakes fed by the annual overflow of the Euphrates and Tigris. Both are large rivers having their sources in the lakes and mountains of Armenia and emptying into the Persian Gulf about fifty miles below the town of Kurna, where they join their waters and become one.

Between those rivers are the oldest habitations of men; the birthplace of the human race; the supposed site of the Garden of Eden, and the ruins of the capitals and commercial cities of a dozen extinct civilizations. It is the most interesting field for archæologists on the earth’s surface and exploring parties from American, British, German, and French universities and scientific societies have been constantly at work for half a century or more uncovering the remains of the imperial magnificence of Babylon, Nineveh, Palmyra, and other cities.

Sir William Willcocks has contributed some interesting theories in connection with Biblical history and archæology, in addition to his recommendations for an irrigation system. He locates the Garden of Eden at Hairlah, a lovely and flourishing oasis in a delta of the Euphrates, about two hundred miles northwest of the city of Bagdad. At this point the four rivers of Eden mentioned in the book of Genesis have been identified by him, and other topographical features which he believes to be indisputable.

Sir William also gives us an interesting theory concerning the deluge, which he believes was merely the flooding of the plain between the Euphrates and the Tigris by the80 overflow of those rivers, which is caused by the sudden melting of the snows and the heavy rainfalls in the latter part of March and the first of April. These floods occur annually, and on the particular occasion referred to in the book of Genesis, Sir William believes an unusual volume of water came down because of a sudden “spell” of hot weather and an unusually heavy rainfall.

Sir William thinks Noah was inspired to build the ark in anticipation of such a flood, and floated around in it until he ran aground, not on the mountain of Ararat, but near the town of Ur of the Chaldees, in the province of Ararat and a part of Armenia. He believes that a careful reading of the Scripture story of the flood will justify this theory, which, indeed, is not new. Many Biblical scholars reject the tradition that the ark landed on a mountain and hold that the word “Ararat” in the book of Genesis refers to the province and not to the peaks of that name.

He declares that if Noah had been a hydraulic engineer he would have done much better by cutting a channel for the escape of the waters through the bed of the river Pison, for he might thus have saved the entire population. The Pison is one of the four rivers of Eden, the Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates being the others. All of them are really branches of the Euphrates and form a delta in which the Garden of Eden is believed to have been situated.

Nearly the entire area of Mesopotamia was once under irrigation, and the first known dams and canals were built by Nimrod of the Bible, who is identified as the Hammurabi of the inscriptions that are frequently found among the ruins. Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great saw Mesopotamia in its greatest prosperity. The decay of the country began81 with the invasion of Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde and Timour the Tartar, who destroyed the dams and the ditches and plundered the people of all their wealth so that they had no means to restore the irrigation system. Hundreds of miles of the ancient canals can be easily identified, and Sir William testifies to the remarkable degree of genius shown by the engineers who designed and constructed them. In his report to the Turkish government he recommends that the old canals be restored as far as possible, which can be done at half the cost of constructing new ones.

The Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, and Caliphs added to the number of reservoirs and extended the canals that were built by the patriarchs of the Scriptures. The fabulous wealth of Babylon, Nineveh, Palmyra, Nippur, Kufa, and other great cities of ancient times was largely derived from agriculture, in a territory that is now a desert; from the cultivation of soil which for thousands of years has been celebrated for its extreme fertility. Sir William Willcocks declares that the greater part of the valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris and of the area between these rivers is as rich as the valley of the Nile. In his report he says:

“Of all the regions of the earth none is more favoured by nature for the production of cereals than the valley of the Tigris. Cotton, sugar-cane, Indian corn, and all the summer cereals, leguminous plants, Egyptian clover, opium, and tobacco will find themselves at home as they do in Egypt.”

There is a passage in Herodotus, written more than 2,000 years previous, about this same country, which sounds very much like the Willcocks report:


“This is of all lands with which we are acquainted, by far the best for the growth of corn. It is so fruitful in the produce of corn that it yields continually two hundred-fold, and when it produces its best it yields even three hundred-fold. The blades of wheat and barley grow there to full four fingers in breadth, and though I well know to what a height millet and sesame grow, I shall not mention it.”

The proposed reclamation, according to the Willcocks report, can be completed for $40,000,000, and bring under irrigation more than 3,000,000 acres, which he estimates would be worth at least $100,000,000, or $30 an acre. The Assouan dam system, which he has recently completed, cost the Egyptian government $25,000,000, and only about half the area was reclaimed.

Sir William proposes, by dams and canals, to store the floods that are brought down from the mountains in the spring, in enormous reservoirs for use during the summer, and has indicated locations for at least five, which will, he believes, answer every purpose. At least two of these locations were used as reservoirs by the Babylonians and probably by previous civilizations, and Sir William will adapt to modern use the same canals that were then used to distribute the water over the plains. Several dry river beds can also be made available and thus economize the cost.

After the 3,000,000 acres that will be first reclaimed have been sold and settled, the area available for agriculture can be doubled by the expenditure of $15,000,000 additional, and ultimately the gain would be 6,000,000 acres capable of producing annually, according to his estimates, 2,000,000 tons of wheat, 4,000,000 hundred-weight of cotton and83 fabulous quantities of other exportable products, in addition to whatever food will be necessary to support a population of a million people.

In addition to the agricultural products, he promises pasturage for millions of sheep and goats and hundreds of thousands of cattle in the delta, and he would build a railway from Bagdad to Damascus with branches here and there to tap the harvest fields. The total length of this road would be about five hundred and fifty miles and, according to his estimates, it could be constructed for between ten and eleven million dollars.

The high price of cotton has caused the manufacturers of Manchester and other mill districts of England to seek new sources of supply. The attempts to extend the volume of the products of Egypt have not been successful, notwithstanding the investment of $25,000,000 in irrigation plants. The trouble is chiefly the lack of labour, and the indifference and indolence of the fellahs or peasant farmers in the valley of the Nile. Nor can the product of Egypt be increased to any considerable degree without the importation of labour. Several planters have tried American negroes but they wilt under the climate of Egypt and soon acquire the habits of the peasants around them.

The experimental plantations on the west coast of Africa have also been a disappointment for similar reasons. In the British possessions on both coasts of Africa are millions of available acres for planting cotton, but they lie idle because there are no hands to cultivate them. The native African will not work. He and his ancestors have managed to survive until the present day without labour, and it is difficult to persuade him that the curse pronounced upon our84 common father applies to him as it does to other human beings. Nature has supplied him with sufficient food thus far and he cannot be induced to go into the cotton fields to earn money that he has no use for.

These facts, which have given the manufacturers of Manchester great concern, are the reasons for the interest they are taking in the development of Mesopotamia, and several schemes have been proposed for colonizing there the excess of human life in Italy that has been going to the United States and the Argentine Republic. It has also been suggested that the Jews, who are not wanted in Russia and Roumania, might also be induced to settle in Mesopotamia. These plans, however, will not be realized for the present. The members of the Turkish cabinet are so timid about granting concessions for more necessary public works that it seems scarcely worth while to seek their approval of such a comprehensive plan as Sir William Willcocks has offered. So long as they cannot be induced to give concessions for telephones, electric lights, electric cars, and other public conveniences in their own capital, it is not likely that they would authorize the expenditure of $40,000,000 in reclaiming an uninhabited desert.

If you will glance at the map, you will notice a mountain chain extending diagonally across what looks like a narrow strip of land between the Black and Caspian Seas, but it is not as narrow as it looks. It is more than five hundred miles between the two seas. The Caucasus range is one of the most remarkable of all geological phenomena. It is the boundary between Europe and Asia, and an almost impenetrable wall which can be crossed by vehicles or horsemen in only two places, known as the Dariel and the Manisson Passes.

From the beginning of history until the Middle Ages it was the boundary of the world. Beyond, all was mystery and fable, and for that reason the ancients made the Caucasus the scene of much mythological activity and the home of many marvels. They called the country Colchis, and it was there that Jason and the Argonauts found the Golden Fleece. Prometheus was chained to one of the peaks by the gods to punish him for giving fire to the mortals. Within the Caucasus dwelt man-hating Amazons of whom scandalous stories were told, with treasures of gold and silver and precious stones unlimited but unattainable, because they were guarded by griffins and one-eyed monsters called Arimaspians.


The Cæsars led their legions as far as the foot of the mountains; Pompey fought a battle under the shadow of the highest peak; Alexander the Great reconnoitred through the foothills seeking a passage to the unknown regions beyond, but did not find it until he reached the Caspian Sea. All the great invaders of the prehistoric period smote the Caucasus with their impotent swords, but never passed beyond; and the first Europeans to find their way through the rocky labyrinths were Greek and Genoese traders, who crawled through the cañons on foot in the Middle Ages in search of customers. Much was risked for gold and glory in man’s struggle with nature that lasted many centuries here, and it was not until the territory was added to the Russian Empire early in the nineteenth century that the Caucasus became passable. For military purposes the Russians have built wagon roads through the two cañons at a cost of many hundred thousand rubles, over which its armies and their supplies have since passed into the hinterland.

Shakespeare shared the awe of the ancient Greeks, and was also inspired by the romance attached to these impassable barriers. He frequently alluded to them in his plays.

“For who can hold a coal of fire in his hands
While thinking of the frosty Caucasus.”

Prometheus was one of the Titans, a gigantic race which inhabited the earth before the creation of men. To him and his brother Epimetheus was entrusted the duty of providing man and all other animals with the faculties necessary for their comfort and preservation. Epimetheus proceeded to bestow upon the animals gifts of strength, intelligence,87 courage, and swiftness. He gave wings to one class, claws to another, horns to a third, and fur to those that were to inhabit the colder parts of the earth; but when man came to be provided for, Epimetheus had been so generous in giving away his treasures that he had nothing left to bestow upon him. In his perplexity he appealed to his brother Prometheus, who, with the aid of Minerva, went up to heaven, lighted a torch from the sun, and brought down to man the gift of fire which made him superior to all other animals. It enabled him to make weapons wherewith to subdue them, tools with which to cultivate the earth, material for the arts and trades and commerce, and heat to warm his dwelling and cook his food.

Jupiter, seeing this state of things, burned with anger and summoned the gods to council. They obeyed the call and started for the palace of heaven along a road which any one may see on a clear night. It stretches across the face of the sky, and is called the Milky Way. Having considered his offence, Prometheus was declared an enemy of the gods and Jupiter had him chained to a rock at the summit of Mt. Kazbek in the Caucasus, where a vulture preyed forever upon his liver, which was renewed as fast as devoured. This state of torment might have been terminated at any time by Prometheus if he had been willing to submit to Jupiter, but he disdained to do so. He was a friend of mankind, who had interposed in their behalf when the gods were incensed against them, and had taught them civilization and the arts. He has therefore been used as a symbol of magnanimous endurance, of unmerited suffering, and strength of will to resist oppression.

The range is about seven hundred miles long, although88 the distance looks much shorter on the map, and it bisects the Russian province of the Caucasus northwest and southeast, dipping so low as it approaches the Caspian Sea that for thirty miles the coast is only a few feet above tide-water.

The territory north of the mountains is known officially as the Caucasus, and that south of it as the trans-Caucasus. Both belong to Russia. Formerly, and the names can be found on all of the old maps, the territory north was divided into independent states—Circassia, Daghestan, Astrakan, and the steppe of the Kalmucks—but they have lost their identity, and the thrones of their former rulers may be found in that marvellous collection of trophies of conquest in the Kremlin at Moscow. South of the Caucasus is the ancient kingdom of Georgia, and beyond that Armenia, Kurdistan, and the Azerbaijan province of Persia.

The geological interest in the Caucasus Mountains is due to the fact that they rise abruptly from two flat plains, similar to our western prairies, known as steppes, and are unique because of the simplicity of their structure, the regularity of their outlines, the steepness of the declivities, and the narrowness of the range. It is not split up, as other great mountain chains are, into secondary and parallel ranges, and has no buttresses running at right angles, nor outlying peaks. The greatest width of the range is only about 120 miles; all the loftiest summits are on the single watershed, which for several hundred miles does not sink below seven thousand feet. Elburz, the highest peak, rises 18,493 feet above the Black Sea and overtops all others in Europe. Kazbek, to which Prometheus was chained, according to the legend, is 16,523 feet. There are seven other89 peaks exceeding 15,000 feet and nine peaks exceeding 14,000 feet, which make the Caucasus by far the highest mountains in Europe. The gorges are more savage, the cañons are deeper, the peaks are steeper and sharper and more difficult of ascent than those of any other range in the world. The Caucasus Mountains are not as beautiful as the Alps, but are more imposing and majestic.

A Georgian Prince and his sons
A Georgian beauty

There is supposed to be great mineral wealth in the Caucasus, and the natives in ancient times, on both sides of the range, possessed much gold and an abundance of rough jewels. The crowns and sceptres of the Georgian and Circassian kings in the Kremlin at Moscow are richly decorated with jewels, some uncut and others rudely cut. The nobles and warriors of both countries loaded themselves with silver and gold ornaments. Their guns and pistols and their swords and daggers had handles of gold and silver set in precious stones. The vessels they used in their households, the ornaments in their churches, the gifts they presented to their friends, and the loot that was taken away by the Persians, Russians, and other invaders, testify that there must have been much profitable mining in ancient times: and the story of the Golden Fleece is not a mere legend, because even to-day the mountaineers are in the habit of anchoring fleeces of wool from their sheep in the streams, as traps to catch the grains of gold that float down in the water.

The Caucasians have always been famous as goldsmiths and silversmiths, and in every museum of Europe you can find examples of their skill and taste. Even to-day in the bazaars of old Tiflis, long streets are occupied exclusively by cunning artificers making cups and flagons, handles for90 swords and knives, pistols and guns, ornaments for the body and the household, bowls and dishes for the table, and all sorts of decorative and useful objects of the precious metals. They are especially skilful in combining iron and silver, and iron and gold, although this art has never reached the same perfection there that is found in similar products in Toledo, Spain.

There are rumours of coal mines, and they probably exist, but the abundance of timber has not encouraged the people to work them. Iron and copper are found frequently, from which the ancients always had an abundant supply. About twenty-five miles up the railway from Batoum is an extensive operation by the Caucasus Copper Company, an American-English syndicate. They are getting out a good deal of copper, an average of 120 tons a month, which is shipped to Moscow and St. Petersburg for local use. About eight hundred hands are employed in the mines and in the smelters.

Petroleum has been known in the foothills and along the sea coast at the eastern extremity of the Caucasus Mountains from the earliest times.

There is a railway on each side of the Caucasus Mountains. That on the northern side runs from Baku, the oil centre, to the city of Rostov, at the mouth of the river Don and the head of the Sea of Azov. That on the south runs from Batoum to Baku, and is the principal thoroughfare for the shipment of oil to other parts of Europe than Russia. The annual shipments of refined petroleum from Batoum to the rest of the world have averaged about four million barrels, but the Russian refiners cannot compete with the Standard Oil Company, either in the quality or the price91 of their product. Russian oil has practically been driven out of all the European countries except Turkey, Roumania, Hungary, and Russia, and the Standard Oil Company is now “the Light of Asia” without a rival flame.

At the time of the revolution in Russia in 1905, the employés of both oil companies at Batoum struck. Fifteen hundred men on the Nobel dock, and a thousand more who were working for the other companies, quit work because the new constitution of Russia, as they construed it, granted them liberty to do as they pleased. The oil companies, assuming that they possessed similar rights, closed their warehouses and have never resumed business. After the strikers had enjoyed all of the liberty of this kind they desired, they asked to be taken back, but the operators shook their heads and said there would be no more work for them. Hence the population of Batoum has been reduced by several thousand since that time.

In 1863 the Russian government built a broad highway, with a gentle grade, from Tiflis, the capital of the Caucasus, through the southernmost of the only two passes by which the Caucasus Mountains can be crossed. It is called Dariel Pass, and it crosses the grand divide between Europe and Asia at an altitude of 7,698 feet. The other pass, about eighty miles farther north, is called Manisson and crosses the divide at 8,400 feet. On the European side of the Caucasus, at the northern end of the pass, is the city of Vladicaucasus, sometimes spelled Vladikowkaz, and in various other ways—a Russian word which means “the master of the Caucasus,” and from a military sense it answers that definition.


Mount Elburz, 18,493 feet high, the highest peak in Europe, is on the northern side of the grand divide, but cannot be seen from either Tiflis or Vladicaucasus. Kazbek, 16,523 feet, the second peak in height, 112 miles almost directly north of Tiflis, can often be seen from that city, and at one point of the military road, for a few rods, a splendid vista can be had of the monster when its snow-clad summit is not hidden in the clouds.

The pass is crossed daily by an automobile omnibus similar to those which run between hotels and railway stations in our cities. The passengers occupy slippery longitudinal seats inside, and their luggage is carried on top. It is a most inappropriate vehicle for pleasure riding and those who are unfortunate enough to cross that way see a little of the scenery on one side of the road. It is much better to take an open carriage, a “tsetvioria,” as they call it, a sort of landeau drawn by four horses hitched abreast. That is open to all that may be seen above or below, and has a cover that can be drawn over it in case of rain. The journey across the pass by carriage requires two days, being 135 miles, but you have to start at daylight both mornings. There are rest houses on the way where one can eat and sleep if he can put up with a good deal of dirt and discomfort, but the best way is to make an excursion down from Vladicaucasus to the village of Kazbek at the foot of that mountain, which will permit one to see the finest part of the scenery and return the same night.

A railway has been planned and surveyed, and will doubtless be built, through the pass. Indeed, we understand that construction has already been begun by the Russian war department. It will not be a difficult or very expensive93 task, because the cañon is wide, except in a few places, and the engineering problem is nowhere nearly as difficult as many that have been encountered in other parts of Russia.

The scenery will attract many tourists, although the Russian government cares little about that. There is nothing in Europe grander or more savage than the cañons and gorges and mountain peaks of the Dariel; they equal, if they do not surpass, the boldest forms of nature in the Alps. One cañon is 4,000 feet deep, with almost perpendicular walls, and for seventy-five miles or more the cliffs and crags on both sides rise to a height of 1,500 and 1,800 feet. From the time the cañon is entered at the north until the traveller emerges from it at the south the distance is about seventy-five miles, and there is not one mile without peculiar interest and attraction. The Terek River, which finds its source among the everlasting snows of Kazbek, dashes northward in a tawny torrent and the carriage road follows its bed. On the southern slope the river Kur, born in the glaciers of Kazbek, is followed to the city of Tiflis. For three fourths of the distance the cañon is wide enough to admit half a dozen railway tracks without trenching upon the river or having to blast a roadway out of the rocky mountain side, but in two or three of the narrower places some heavy stonework will be necessary. The scenery will remind you of the fiords of Norway more than anything you have ever seen in Switzerland or the United States, and its greatest attraction is due to the forests and underbrush, with which every mountain side is clothed up to the snow line.

Twenty-seven miles from Vladicaucasus, going south, the94 road suddenly turns a sharp corner around a point of rocks and the traveller finds himself face to face with Kazbek, a steep, glittering dome of snow rising 16,523 feet above the sea. There is a little village of the same name at the snow line, which is about 9,000 feet, in the most savage part of the range, and the Russian government keeps a rest house there for the shelter of those who wish to make the ascent.

According to local tradition, Prometheus was chained to a certain precipice on the slopes of Kazbek. The guides will show you the exact spot, just as visitors to the Chateau d’If in the harbour of Marseilles are shown the exact dungeon in which the hero of Alexander Dumas’s famous novel, “Monte Cristo,” was imprisoned. They forget that both were heroes of fiction, and Æschylus, in writing his tragedy, evidently did not know the geography of the Caucasus, for he describes the rock as overhanging the sea, which is more than three hundred miles distant. There are several magnificent glaciers in sight of the roadway, those of Dievdorak being among the largest in the world and altogether the most extensive in Europe. There are none in Switzerland that will compare with them.

This road was built by the Russian government for purely military purposes, in order that troops, artillery, and supplies may be hurried across into Turkey or Persia or wherever else they may be needed, and Manisson is the only other route by which the highest range in Europe can be crossed. Otherwise, it would be necessary to go as far east as the shores of the Caspian or as far west as the Black Sea.

The native costume of Georgia
Head-dress of a Georgian lady

The road is fortified from end to end. There are half a dozen garrisons stationed at different points and a stronger95 military defence can scarcely be imagined. A few rapid-fire guns could hold back an army of millions. Nobody has ever tried to force the pass and nobody ever will. The Russians usually allude to it as “the famous Georgian military road,” and it is better known to military students than geographers, and to strategists than to the public. The grand divide, called “Krestovaia Gora” (the Crest of the Cross), is forty-one miles from Vladicaucasus, and upon a ledge above it, at an altitude of 8,015 feet, is an obelisk surmounted by a cross attributed to Queen Tamara, who ruled Georgia in the Middle Ages: and there, it is said, when that amiable lady became tired of a lover, she would have him thrown over the precipice.

Section of the road in Dariel Pass

Going north from Tiflis the first place of interest is Mtskheta, the ancient capital of the Georgian kings, which is now a humble and uninteresting village of two or three hundred people with the ruins of a large castle, two ancient Greek churches, and other evidences of former greatness. The place is fourteen miles from Tiflis on the railway to Batoum, and people who care to do so can shorten their journey by taking a carriage there, although there is no decent place to stop. The surrounding country was inhabited by a prehistoric race of cave dwellers, even before the European invasion. Chambers have been chiselled out of the limestone cliffs of the foothills similar to those in the cliffs of Arizona and were evidently inhabited by a large population.

The Georgians claim to be the oldest of races and Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in the world. It was founded, according to the tradition, by Karthlos, who was the son of Thargamos, who was the son of Gomar, who was the son of Japhet, who was the son of Noah, and came up here from96 Ararat after the flood to settle down in that lovely country. (See Genesis x. 3.) From him the royal line of Georgia sprang and Mtskheta was their capital. The city is described by Ptolemy, the Egyptian; by Strabo, the Greek; and by Pliny, the Roman geographer; and its wealth and power and influence in his land caused it to be called Dedakhalakhy which being translated into English means “the Mother City.” Christianity was introduced among the Georgians by St. Nina during the reign of King Meriam, in the year 322–324 A.D., and she persuaded them to tear down their pagan altars, to abandon their human sacrifices, and to accept the gospel of peace and love, although they have not always lived up to it very closely. Of all the peoples in the world, the Georgians have been the most consistent sinners.

King Meriam after his conversion built a church wherein to deposit “the seamless garment” of our Saviour, which was bought at the crucifixion by a Jew named Elioz. He purchased it of a soldier who won it by lot at the foot of the cross. It was kept in that church for many centuries, and in 1656 was presented by the king of Georgia to the czar Boris Godunof of Russia, who placed it in the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Kremlin at Moscow, where it may be seen to-day.

In the sanctuary where this precious relic was formerly kept, is a pillar called the Samyrone (a Georgian word meaning “whence issues sacred oil”) which possesses the miraculous power of supplying the Holy Chrism with blood that oozes through its pores. This miracle occurs every year or two, and, although the Georgians are not noted for their piety, thousands come every year to worship and to touch the pillar with their fingers. In that way, they believe,97 they can cleanse themselves from all diseases of the body and the soul.

This old church was the burial place of the kings of Georgia for centuries, and although the tombs are not well kept and are neglected in a shameful manner, many of them are still splendid specimens of the art of carving. In front of the tabernacle, where the robe of the Saviour was kept, is a reliquary containing what is believed to be a monk’s habit worn by the prophet Elias. Tradition claims that he was a native of Mtskheta, although there is no documentary evidence of that fact.

The dust of the last king of Georgia lies in a beautiful marble sarcophagus bearing the following inscription:

“Here rests the Tzar George; born in 1750; ascended the throne of Georgia in 1798. Desiring the welfare of his subjects and to secure them forever in peace he ceded Georgia to the Russian Empire and died in 1801.

“For the purpose of preserving to future generations the memory of the last of the Georgian tzars, the Marquis Paolucci, commander-in-chief of the Russian army, caused this monument to be erected in the name of His Majesty the Emperor Alexander I in the year 1812.”

The renunciation of the crown and the cession of the territory of Georgia to Russia, as described above, were not approved by his family or his subjects. His queen accused him of cowardice and denounced him to the people. When the Russians attempted to take her to Moscow to prevent her from raising a rebellion, she drew a dagger from her breast and drove it into the heart of Gen. Ivan Petrovitch Lazareff, who expired immediately.

While she was being conveyed to Russia by General Toulthkoff98 an attempt to rescue her was made in the Dariel Pass and nearly every one of her escort were killed in the fight.

Among the other tombs is one bearing the following touching inscription:

“I, Miriam, daughter of Davian, and Queen of Georgia, have taken possession of this little tomb. You who look upon it, remember me in charity and pray for me, for the love of Jesus Christ.”

One of the early Christian kings of Georgia, named Ivane, who in 1123 delivered his country out of the hands of the Moslems, is identified as the mysterious Prester John who attracted a great deal of attention during the Crusades and was the subject of much speculation and frequent discussion. He was first brought to the notice of Europe by Pope Eugene III as having been the saviour and defender of Christianity in this part of the world, but from the indefinite information it was impossible to identify the original among several petty sovereigns in the East.

Sir John Mandeville, knight, in his “Narrative of Marvells,” written in 1332, tells us more about this mysterious character than we have from any other source. He says:

“The Emperor Prester John has been christened and a great part of his land also. They believe well in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Emperor Prester John, when he goeth to battle, hath no banner born before him, but he hath born before him three crosses of fine gold, large and great, and thickly set with precious stones. And when he hath no battle, but rideth to take the air, then hath he born before him a cross made of a tree.”

In all their history there seems to have been only one of their sovereigns of whom the Georgians are proud, and that99 was Queen Tamara, who ruled all the territory between the Black and Caspian Seas, south of the Caucasus Mountains, from 1184 to 1212. That was the golden age of Georgia. Tamara seems to have been a mixture of masculine energy and courage and feminine loveliness and grace, a Cleopatra and a Joan of Arc in the same woman, combining the virtues of Queen Elizabeth and the vices of Catherine II. Her portraits are found in every household, she is credited with founding every monastery and every church of age, and seems to have had a castle in every corner of the country. Her throne may be seen in the Kremlin at Moscow.

Prince Aragva, the present representative of the Georgian dynasty, a great-great-grandson of George XIII, who renounced his authority in favour of the Russian emperor in 1799, lives at Donchet, at the southern entrance to the Dariel Pass, an agricultural town of about 3,500 inhabitants. He has large estates and an abundance of money and the Russian authorities treat him with distinction. He spends most of his time in St. Petersburg and Paris, but cultivates, through his agents, a large and productive estate. He is said to have no ambition but pleasure and realizes a good deal of that.

The railway across the Caucasus from Batoum, the port on the Black Sea, to Baku, on the Caspian, is 558 miles long, although from the map the strip of territory between those two bodies of water does not seem half so wide. The track follows the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains through the ancient state of Georgia on the southern and Asiatic side, and snow-capped peaks are in sight from the car windows nearly every day in the year during half the journey. The highest point reached by the train is 3,027100 feet, where it passes through a long tunnel. The railway was built by the Russian government for military purposes about forty years ago, and is still under military control and managed by military methods. All the material and rolling stock came from the government shops at Moscow; the engines burn oil for fuel and the tracks are five feet gauge.

A squad of soldiers accompanies every train and occupies a car immediately back of the locomotive, to guard the mails and the express car, which often contains treasure and always many valuable packages. This guard has been maintained ever since the revolution. The functions of the civil governor-general have been practically suspended for years; the military commander exercises autocratic authority, and martial law is enforced according to his judgment. That is, all crimes which he construes as being political are tried by military courts and punished by the military authorities, who have practically filled the prisons with political offenders. Other crimes against person and property, which, in the judgment of the military authorities, have no political significance, are committed to the jurisdiction of the civil courts.

No part of Russia suffered so much from fire and sword during the revolution of 1905–6 as the Caucasus, and many revolting stories are told of the barbarities and horrors committed on both sides. But there is no use in reviving those disagreeable things. The terrible prison in the citadel that crowns a hill overlooking the city of Tiflis is still crowded with patriots whose zeal outran their judgment, and whose ideas of civil liberty are somewhat broader and more radical than we are accustomed to concede.

A Georgian Peasant
A Georgian gentleman and wife

Russian anarchists who throw bombs at their rulers and101 blow up barracks filled with sleeping soldiers in the name of God and liberty are not quite sane and are entitled to no sympathy. That is the most charitable way to regard the awful crimes that have been committed in the name of patriotism and liberty. The leaders of the insurrection here look upon the French revolution as sacred history, and the province of the Caucasus has been the scene of many similar occurrences.

The land troubles in Ireland have not been a circumstance to those that have occurred there, and the same fanatical spirit has been carried into education and religion as well as into business. The Georgian church is a branch of the orthodox Greek, with some minor and technical differences in theology and ritual. I have never been able to learn just what they are, and, indeed, no one seems to know, but the Georgians refuse to commune with the Russians and would burn the Russian churches and massacre their priests if they could accomplish anything thereby. They are ultra fanatical in racial prejudice.

The Russians are not altogether blameless for this terrible situation, because they have attempted to force the Russian ritual and Russian priests upon unwilling parishes in many places, and have insisted that the Russian language instead of the Georgian language shall be used in the schools. Therefore the children are growing up in ignorance. No Georgian parent will allow his children to attend a school where the Russian language is taught. He would probably suffer ostracism, if not a worse punishment, if he did.

The railway from the Black Sea enters the mountains about 150 miles from Batoum and climbs up very slowly with two locomotives over a solid track between timber-crowned102 hills. There are forests of locust trees white with blossoms, whose perfume fills the air. The locust seems to be popular and is not only planted around every station on the railway but around all the dwelling houses, farm houses and the cottages in the villages along the way. The farm houses look like timber claims in our Western states, and all the trees are locusts. There are a good many orchards and the quince and apple trees were in bloom when we made our journey. They seem to be well trimmed and cared for. The rocks along the cañons are decorated with rhododendrons and yellow honeysuckles, which are in blossom in April, and you can fancy how beautiful a railway right of way can be where the walls are covered with such foliage on both sides. But the scenery is not so wild as I expected from the printed descriptions I had read.

We crossed the divide through a long tunnel at an elevation of 3,027 feet and dropped down rapidly into a lovely, wide, level valley, every acre of which is covered to-day with a carpet of living green. The city of Tiflis is 1,355 feet above the sea, about the same latitude as Rome, and has an annual rainfall of nineteen inches, which is sufficient to raise all kinds of staples of the temperate zone without irrigation. Notwithstanding the restless and turbulent disposition of the Georgian and other races who make up the population, the farming element seem to be industrious and prosperous, and although their houses and the manner in which they live, their tools and implements would not be tolerated by an American farmer, their standards of comfort and luxury are not high; they would be, no doubt, contented if they had political liberty and were not so constantly reminded that they are the subjects no longer103 of a Georgian king, but of a Russian czar. If the government would do something for them to promote their material interests they might be more contented, but the Russian official regards the Georgians as an undisciplined and rebellious race, and as long as such relations continue there cannot be much improvement.

Long trains of tank cars stood on the sidetracks at almost every station, either loaded with oil for Batoum or empties on their way back to Baku to be refilled. One of the most important oil companies built its own pipe lines following the railway across the entire Caucasus from Baku to Batoum, but the weaker and less wealthy operators use the railway. There is an odour of petroleum almost the entire distance, chiefly because the locomotives burn that kind of fuel, but also owing to the continual leakage of the tank cars along the track. The track between the rails is black with oil almost the entire distance between the Caspian and the Black Seas, which keeps down the dust, although it is an accidental and not an intentional device.

The passenger cars are large, the seats are wide, low, and comfortable, and in the first-class coaches are arranged so that they can be made up into beds at night like those in the ordinary European sleeping car, although every passenger who desires to utilize them in that way must bring his own sheets, blankets and pillow. The cars are divided into compartments, and the only objection is that there is but one small, high window in each compartment, so that it is impossible to see the country you are passing through unless you stand up or go out into the corridor, which is lighted in a similar way. The first-class passengers except ourselves were military officers and their families, and they all104 wore their uniforms and swords, high-topped boots and heavy overcoats, notwithstanding the hot weather.

The first third of the distance from Batoum to Tiflis is a level plain, called a steppe in Russia, which is thoroughly cultivated, but the farm homes are wretched wooden hovels. We saw the women working in the fields—which they have to do to keep the pot boiling, for the men are in the army, drawing no wages and producing nothing.

There is a good deal of timber, and we saw several droves of scraggy-looking cattle on the hillsides. Most of the cultivated land is planted to wheat and other grains. At every stopping place a portion of the platform at the end of the station house is surrendered to vegetable sellers, usually old women, who have onions, lettuce, radishes, and other garden truck piled up on little trays around them and seemed to be doing a good business. Boys peddled baskets of strawberries under the windows of the cars—and they were swindles, of course. When we had eaten off a couple of layers we found nothing but leaves. They offered us cherries in attractive form, the stems of the fruit ingeniously inserted through slits in a stick, making long red wands, some of them three feet long. There are refreshment stands at every station, at which tea, sausages, sandwiches, bread, cheese, and other edibles are offered, and the train makes long stops so that the passengers have time to drink a cup of tea or a glass of vodka and to exercise on the platform. At every station tanks of cold water and samovars of hot water are provided free for third-class passengers, who can help themselves and make their own tea, as most of them do.

The running time was very slow with the long stops, and it took us thirteen hours to make 228 miles.

The Right Honourable James Bryce, British Ambassador to Washington, who visited Tiflis thirty-five years ago or more, on his way to climb Mount Ararat, described that city as “a human melting pot, a city of contrasts and mixtures, into which elements have been poured from half Europe and Asia and in which they as yet show no signs of combining. The most interesting thing about it,” he said, “is the city itself, the strange mixture of so many races, tongues, religions, customs. Its character lies in the fact that it has no character, but ever so many different ones. Here all these people live side by side, buying and selling and working for hire, yet never coming into any closer union, remaining indifferent to one another, with neither love nor hate nor ambition, peaceably obeying a government of strangers who conquered them without resistance and retains them without effort, and held together by no bond but its existence. Of national life or numerical life there is not the first faint glimmer; indeed, the aboriginal people of the country seem scarcely less strangers in its streets than do all the other races that tread them.”

There are said to be seventy different languages spoken on the streets of Tiflis, or at least so many dialects of the various races of Europe and Asia who have been attracted there by106 business and other interests and in search of employment. Many of the dialects belong to the same parent language; many of the races sprang from the same stock, but each has acquired a certain individuality by reason of its environment and the conditions under which it has been living. As Mr. Bryce says: “Probably nowhere else in all the world can so great a variety of stocks, languages, and religions be found huddled together in so narrow an area. All these races live together, not merely within the limits of the same country, a country politically and physically one, but to a great extent actually on the same soil, mixed up with and crossing one another. In one part Georgians, in another Armenians, in a third Tartars, predominate, but there are large districts where Armenians and Georgians; or Armenians, Georgians, and Tartars; or Tartars and Persians; or Persians, Tartars, and Armenians, are so equally represented in point of numbers that it is difficult to say which element predominates. This phenomenon is strange to one who knows only the homogeneous population of west European countries, or of a country like America, where all sorts of elements are day by day being flung into their melting pot and lose their identity almost at once.”

What Mr. Bryce wrote thirty-five years ago of Tiflis is equally true to-day. Perhaps it is even more true than it was then because of the increase of population. Tiflis is twice as large by the census of 1905 as it was in 1875, when he was here. Tiflis already has two hundred thousand population, and is growing rapidly. A bird’s-eye view of this curious old town can be obtained by taking a funicular, or inclined plane, railway to the top of a bluff, where there are a restaurant, tea houses, a merry-go-round, and other107 simple amusements which are much patronized by the working classes. Standing upon a platform, you can take in the whole panorama. The different sections of the town can be pointed out to you—the Russian, German, Georgian, Persian, Armenian, and Tartar quarters, with the brown river dividing them and the roofs painted in different colours.

Principal Club at Tiflis

Wherever you see a group of dark crimson roofs you may know that they cover Russian soldiers, for that is the colour of their barracks, selected, a cynical friend remarked, by accident and not by design—although it is very appropriate to the business upon which the garrisons are engaged. The Armenians paint their roofs a copper green or silver gilt, similar to the steeples on their churches, which are ugly-looking cylinders with tin caps shaped like a cartridge, although the cross that springs from the top of each sanctifies it. They are in striking contrast with the Byzantine domes of the orthodox Greek church. There are two sects, the Russian and the Georgian, who disagree more from racial than from theological incompatibility. The Greek domes are of the shape of an inverted turnip and are painted blue, which adds to the picturesqueness of the scene.

You can see several mosques patronized by the Persian Mohammedans, but they are shabby, dirty places, without the slightest attractive feature, and very poor places for any respectable person to pray in. Judging from their houses of worship, the Persians have not much respect for their own religion, although they look thoughtful and earnest and sincere, and pray aloud like the Pharisees of the Bible, regardless of others, and the sounds from a mosque are often like a hubbub.


We went into a mosque in the tailors’ quarter one morning and saw an old Persian priest with whiskers dyed a vivid scarlet. I asked Naskidoff, our dragoman, why the old man made himself look so ridiculous, and he explained that it is the fashion—that is all. As the priest is the only man in Tiflis I had seen so decorated, he must be introducing the style and is not receiving much encouragement.

There are several other cities in the Caucasus, but none of any importance, and Tiflis, being the political capital, with a viceroy; the military headquarters, with a force of 135,000 men; and the centre of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, there is much beside commercial business and agriculture to draw the people there. The city is divided almost equally by the river Kur, a swift, muddy stream about the colour of strong coffee, which is confined to a narrow cañon, with steep walls of stone, where it dashes through the town. There is a great waste of manufacturing power, which might be profitably utilized, but, with the exception of some curious floating flour mills, I did not see any mechanical industries.

These flour mills are built of wood, and at first glance look like bath houses. Each of them has a big water wheel, which turns the stones. The houses are supported on the water by a sort of catamaran, a wide float being underneath the mill and a narrow one on the other side of the power wheel. They are anchored near the banks, and their position can be shifted according to the will of the owner. Usually each of them has a little warehouse barge attached, where the raw material and the finished product are stored, and if you will watch you can see men going109 back and forth between the sawmill ship and the shore carrying bags upon their backs.

At the eastern end of the town is a narrow pass between two rocky hills, which seems to have been cut by the water. The walls are precipitous—one hundred feet or more above the river. On one side the bluff is crowned by a citadel strongly fortified. It commands the entire city. A few shells from one of the guns could utterly destroy both the business and the residence sections. Within these fortifications is a repulsive looking prison, said to be crowded with political offenders. Strangers are not invited to visit the place, and they are likely to make themselves unpopular by discussing it.

The Russian section is new and modern, with wide, clean streets, good sidewalks, an opera house, a theatre, a club, and a military museum or “Temple of Glory,” as they call it. There trophies won by Russian arms, battle flags, portraits and relics of military heroes and other interesting mementoes, have been collected, with several battle pictures and other representations of war. One of the pictures, painted on a mammoth canvas, represents the entrance of the Russian army into Tiflis in 1808, when the king of Georgia asked Alexander I to come down and protect him against the Persians; another represents a treaty being negotiated in a forest between a native chief and a Russian general; but the most interesting of all is a relief map of the Caucasus which shows you at a glance the extraordinary configuration of this part of the earth. Bronze tablets inscribed with records of all the battles fought by the Russian soldiers in the Caucasus from 1567 to 1878 have been embedded in panels in the outer walls of the museum, which110 are of great historical value. They give the number of men engaged and the casualties.

The principal street of the town is called Golovinski Prospekt, in imitation of the Nevsky Prospekt of St. Petersburg, and it is a fashionable promenade.

To the east of this clean Russian town is the Persian quarter, as genuine as any city of Persia, with narrow, crooked streets and mud houses of only one or two stories, which were built when the Persians occupied this country. On both sides of the street are little shops, like closets, set back into the walls, not more than six or eight feet square, with no light or ventilation except that which comes through the door. Each line of business has a street or a covered arcade to itself. The rug dealers are all in one street, the silversmiths and goldsmiths in another; the hat makers, the dry-goods dealers, the hardware men, the butchers, the bakers, and even the bath houses and the barbers are segregated like the tailors and the dealers in kitchen utensils, which is a great convenience.

One whole street is given up to barbers, who do a big business, for the Persians shave their heads instead of their faces. All the bath houses are on one street, which seems to be well patronized also. Naskidoff, who knows everything, says the Persians wait until they are very dirty and then go and take a long, hot bath.

Many of the merchants make their own goods and work at their own trade in their shops where their customers can see them. The Persians are petty merchants; the Georgians manufacture arms and are gold and silver smiths. Their handiwork is rude but artistic; that is, they show more taste than skill. They run to belts, daggers, revolver handles,111 cups, flagons, filigree buttons, and saddle ornaments, which the Georgians covet more than virtue. They do some very clever work by inlaying steel with silver and gold, but it is not so fine or so artistic as the cloisonné of Japan.

Floating Flour Mill, Tiflis

The Armenians are the big dealers, the bankers, the money lenders, and, like most prosperous people, are the object of jealousy and resentment. I was told that when an Armenian loans money he expects to have it repaid. His business reputation is fine, but the people who owe him money hate him. All the Armenians are thrifty, industrious, and temperate, and do not waste their substance in riotous living.

The Tartars, who have their own section of the town, hate the Armenians more than the Persians do, not only because of a difference of temperament and habits of life, but because the Tartars and Persians are Mohammedans and the Armenians are Christians. The Tartars are the toughest of the lot. They are kindly and loyal but hot-headed, with a fondness for a fight and strong drink, notwithstanding the prohibition of the Koran. When a Tartar lets himself go, other people are wise to give him the right of way, particularly when he wears a knife at his belt and “totes” a couple of guns. He abominates the Armenians, who are a constant moral reproach to him, and makes no effort to conceal his hatred.

Upon the summit of a mighty rock, upon a promontory projecting from a ridge rising several hundred feet above the river that bathes its base, is an old citadel built in the twelfth century by Georgian kings to defend Tiflis against Persian invasion. It is a mighty mass of brick masonry but was abandoned a hundred years ago. The ruins are112 well cared for and the government has made a botanical garden which is very creditable in the old moat and the approaches that surround the fortifications.

I noticed a number of American trees tagged in English with the botanical and the common names and acknowledgments to the Agricultural Department at Washington, from which they came.

Across the gulch which surrounds the garden is a gloomy old cemetery filled with Tartar tombs. They spell the name “Tatar” now, and say that it is the only proper way, but you must admit that it isn’t so forcible. “Timour the Tartar” could only have been a bold and belligerent Oriental chieftain, with a dozen wives and a stable of Arabian chargers with manes and tails like thunderclouds and hoofs shod with fire. “Timour the Tatar” might just as well have been a cook.

And what would become of the old saying, more familiar to England than to us, if they adopt the new way of spelling? How would it sound to say: “Scratch a Russian and you find a Tatar?” They pronounce it “Tottaar-r-r” in a most savage way, putting all the r’s on the end instead of leaving one for the first syllable.

The Tartars are as careless and indifferent about money matters as the Armenians are keen and cunning, and are always in debt to the latter, which makes hatred, of course. No man loves his creditors. The Tartars, who are Mohammedans, abominate the Armenians as much as the Kurds do, first, because they are Christians; second, because they are money makers, economical, frugal, and thrifty; and, finally, because they won’t fight. The Tartars care nothing for money nor for property of any kind, except113 that they love their horses and their wives and children alike and are extremely jealous of all three. The family attachment and devotion of this rough and turbulent race is said to be an example for all the rest of mankind.

The Tartars have been the terror of Asia for centuries. You have read, of course, about the invasions of the Tartar hordes from time to time that have overrun the eastern part of Europe. They are always fierce, always restless, and do not thrive under the restraints of civilization. A Tartar will fight his weight in wildcats on any provocation, but an Armenian is a man of peace.

Not long ago there was an international row here between these two races, whose settlements adjoin on the east side of the river. I cannot find out how it began but it was over some trifle that everybody has forgotten. It waxed more serious daily, and when the Armenians, who have been butchered mercilessly for ages in Turkey as well as in the Caucasus, saw the bloodthirsty Tartars sharpening their knives, they sent a committee to the viceroy to plead for protection. The viceroy, who is a humane man, understood the situation, but naturally did not care to butt in for fear of exciting animosity against the government. Hence he instructed the leaders of both races to appoint committees of representative men to discuss the troubles with him.

The delegates were selected and came to the palace; they went over the history of the feud from its primal causes to the present moment, and then each side submitted arguments. The viceroy, having heard them through, dodged the issue, and told them that it was not a matter for the government to meddle with, but one which they must settle among themselves.


“You are all rational, sensible, business men of intelligence and experience,” he said, “and it is absurd that you should quarrel over such trifles as you bring here for me to settle. The government does not propose to take any part in your controversy; it is too trivial to waste our time about, and now I simply ask you to sit down together like sensible men and settle it among yourselves,” and with that he dismissed the delegation.

The next morning the Armenian committee received a challenge from the Tartar committee demanding that it select one or two hundred men, or as many as it pleased, of the best fighting Armenians in Tiflis, to go out into the country and fight to the death with an equal number of Tartars.

The Armenians returned a scornful reply. They are better at writing than at fighting. With great dignity and decorum they rebuked the Tartars for suggesting such a barbarous method of settling a quarrel in the twentieth century of human civilization.

The Tartars reported that the Armenians were cowards and offered to give them odds of two to one, but the Armenians refused to discuss the subject any further, and kept inside their doors as closely as possible until the excitement died down.

There is no unity among the seventy races of Tiflis, there is no common national feeling; there is nothing upon which patriotism could be based. No two of the many races represented here are on amicable terms, except the Germans, who mind their own business and are friendly to everybody.

A Georgian Cavalier

There is no loyalty to the czar and nothing to inspire it.115 The administration of the Caucasus is purely military. The first thought in the Russian mind is conquest. After that there is no other thought but to retain possession. Instead of planting trees and encouraging the people to improve their methods of agriculture, the Russians build fortresses, and instead of building school-houses they build barracks. The railway across the province and that which runs down to the Persian border were primarily for the movement of troops, and military supplies are given preference over all other freight. The famous road through the Caucasus Mountains is for military purposes rather than for commerce. At least one hundred and fifty thousand soldiers are kept on a war footing in this province alone. That number of men are not only withdrawn from the fields and factories, and the number of producers thus reduced, but the peasants who work the farms, the shopkeepers and other peaceful members of the population, are taxed to pay for their support, which is a continual grievance that cannot be removed. If the money that is spent upon military purposes could be devoted to material development and the education of the people the army would not be needed.

All the influential and lucrative offices are held by imported Russians, although clerkships and other minor positions are given to natives. The province of the Caucasus, which is north of the mountain range, and that of the trans-Caucasus, which is south, are governed by autocrats who are directly responsible to the czar, and to him alone. Several members of the imperial family have occupied the posts which were considered desirable until the revolution.


At the same time, it should be explained that the Russians are there by invitation. More than a hundred years ago the Georgian king voluntarily appealed for the protection of Alexander I, against the aggressiveness of Aga Mohammed Khan, a Persian invader, and in 1801 he signed a treaty of practical annexation to Russia with Alexander I. There is a fine large historical picture by a Georgian artist in the military museum here representing the enthusiasm manifested by the people when the Russian troops entered the city of Tiflis and the Russian governor assumed authority.

The political situation here is practically the same as that in Poland. Georgia is a conquered province. It was added to the Russian Empire without the consent of the people. They are Russian subjects by compulsion and they do not like it. Their former king appealed to the Russians for protection against the Persians more than a century ago; the Russians responded to the appeal and have “assimilated” the kingdom of Georgia as they did the kingdom of Poland.

All the big buildings are barracks. The garrison of Tiflis is thirty-five thousand soldiers, and that does not seem to be sufficient to keep the people in order. There are soldiers everywhere. Every other man you meet on the street wears a uniform; almost every guest at the hotel is a general or a colonel, and every first-class passenger on the railway trains is an officer of rank. They are a fine-looking lot of men, and their uniforms are very conspicuous, being of a light bluish gray, with an abundance of gold braid. A Russian officer is never out of uniform and never parts from his sword. In the railway trains, in the restaurants, even at church, he is heavily armed, and every officer seems to wear his winter overcoat in this hot weather which is117 difficult to understand. There may be a regulation requiring officers to wear overcoats twelve months in the year, regardless of the temperature, and that is the only way we can explain it.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at St. Petersburg, as a matter of convenience for the transaction of business, has an annex here, and a sub-secretary of foreign affairs who deals with Persia, the emir of Bokhara, and other Asiatic princes under Russian protection. He receives his instructions from St. Petersburg, but is allowed a good deal of discretion in dealing with matters of official business. The present incumbent of that office is a very agreeable gentleman, Loukainow Stanislavovitchou Kokhanowskiomou, to whom I had a letter of introduction, but fortunately I was not compelled to pronounce his name. I could properly address him as “Excellency.” He occupies a commodious house not far from the viceroy’s palace, comporting with the dignity and importance of his office, and has a collection of rugs and Oriental embroideries that a connoisseur would covet.

His Excellency has handled the Persian question with a great deal of diplomatic skill and keeps the British government in a perpetual fidget, but the policy of Russia can never be mistaken. The czar proposes to control Asia, regardless of the opposition of Great Britain and all whom it may concern. Because of the stupendous folly of her own agents Russia lost her hold on China and all that she had gained during the last thirty years in her advance toward the East. All this will have to be done over again, but the preparations have begun and the work is under way.

The condition of affairs here may be judged by the manner118 in which the mail is carried through the streets between the railway station and the post-office. There is a military guard on every train, always occupying the car next to the locomotive, and at every station when the train stops the soldiers are the first to alight and assume defensive positions. This is in addition to the local police, who are also in evidence in every direction. When a train comes into Tiflis the guard alights and takes a position around the mail and express car, where it remains until all the passengers have disembarked and gone their way. Then when the mail car is opened, the bags and express packages of value are placed in steel safes, which are lifted upon light wagons drawn by three horses. When the transfer is made the horses start on a dead run for the post-office, led by a drosky containing two heavily armed men and entirely surrounded by a squad of Cossacks, the famous Rough Riders, every one of them with a cocked rifle across the pommel of his saddle. These precautions are said to be necessary because on several occasions mail has been held up and destroyed and valuable express packages have been stolen by gangs of men representing the social revolutionary party.

The most satisfactory section of Tiflis is called by everybody “the Colony.” It is a settlement of between four and five thousand Germans from Wurtemberg, who came to southern Russia early in the nineteenth century by invitation of Catherine the Great. She gave them lands, guaranteed them the free exercise of their religious beliefs, and exemption from military service forever. The latter pledge was violated during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1877, and since that time the Germans have been compelled to serve their five years in the army with all other119 Russian subjects, although they take no part in politics and have no social relations with the Russians, but are very exclusive and tenacious in their adherence to the customs and habits of the fatherland.

There are fifty thousand Wurtembergers in the Caucasus and they are pretty well scattered, but always in colonies, this one at Tiflis being the largest. They left their native country because the government attempted to compel them to sing from a new hymn book which they did not consider orthodox, and rather than submit they abandoned the homes of their fathers and sought new ones in a far country where they could worship God in their own way.

Catherine II was a great colonizer, and they have been valuable colonists. They are the best mechanics and the best farmers in the country. They have minded their own business, maintained their own schools, built Lutheran churches, accumulated property, sung the dear old hymns, increased in numbers, and flourished in a phlegmatic sort of way.

The members of “the Colony,” as it is always called, have never attempted to proselyte the Russians or other neighbours, but are fanatical in their Protestantism, which prevents them from marrying or even mixing with believers in other faiths. They have a wholesome Protestant contempt for Mohammedans and also for the Armenians. They regard the former as worse than heathens and the latter as treacherous, deceitful, and insincere in their professions of the Christian creed. They speak nothing but German among themselves, although they are compelled to use Russian in their business transactions. “The Colony” was originally a distinct town, but when the railway was built into Tiflis120 the station was located on the farther edge of the settlement, and since that time the gap has been filled and the Germans have become surrounded with Russians, Persians, Armenians, Tartars, and representatives of the numerous other races which form the population here. But they have maintained their exclusiveness just the same. They have their own beer gardens and places of entertainment, as well as their own church and schools, and they confine their trade to their own race so far as possible.

The Lutheran church is a large, fine building, and attached to it, under the direction of Pastor Mayer, is a school for the education of teachers, missionaries, ministers, and other religious workers for the many German colonists throughout the Caucasus. Four miles in the country is a German farming settlement, resembling an agricultural village in the fatherland, as closely as it is possible here, with big stables, cattle-yards, and pigstyes, and evidences of German thrift on every side. Their orchard fruits, their strawberries and garden truck, are always the first and the best in the market and bring the highest prices, and they furnish a valuable object lesson for the Russian and Georgian farmers which, however, is not imitated so closely as it might be.

Palace of the Viceroy, Tiflis

The viceroy’s palace is a miniature copy of the winter palace at St. Petersburg, of the same architectural design and painted the same terra-cotta colour, although it is not more than one tenth the size. It stands upon the principal street, with a large garden in the rear, and across the street are the barracks of the guards, which seem to be needed. Wooden barriers have been placed upon the sidewalk to prevent unauthorized persons from approaching near121 enough to the building to do any harm, as some of the people down there have a nasty way of throwing bombs about, and the posts and railing are painted in stripes like barbers’ poles. The viceroy’s guards wear the Georgian uniform, with red coats. They are striking-looking fellows, who are often mistaken for Cossacks, and the sentinels add a touch of colour to the picture. There is usually a drosky, drawn by a beautiful black stallion, awaiting orders at the entrance, and the isvostchik, as the driver is called, is well worth looking at.

Prince Woronzoff Dashoff, the viceroy, has been there many years and is popular with the people, who regard him as a just and humane man, but they complain that his authority has been limited to such a degree that he is practically a figurehead representing the emperor, while the military commander rules the country. I wouldn’t wonder if there was a good deal of truth in the complaint, but the Georgians are in a state of chronic rebellion and martial law prevails throughout the province. There has been no peace but that of the sword and the torch since the 1905–6 revolution and the granting of a constitution several years ago, and there will be no peace until the government gives the Georgians a show by recognizing their racial individuality and permitting them to use their ancestral language and enjoy a liberal measure of home rule.

The more we saw of both the men and women of Georgia the better we appreciate the reputation they have among the beauties of the world. You could not find a finer looking lot of men in any city in the world than you meet on the streets of Tiflis, and the women have all the charms they have been credited with, although it is said that they122 become fat early in life from indolence and sweetmeats. Perhaps dress has a good deal to do with setting off the shape and the features of the men. I have heard that fine feathers make fine birds. No national costume is more stately or adds more to the stature and the pose of a wearer. Perhaps the high-stepping heroes of romance and tragedy whom we were constantly meeting on the sidewalk would not look so well in an ordinary suit of store clothes, but one can at least give them the credit of wearing their ancestral garments with stunning effect.

A certain Georgian dandy patronized the Hotel de Londres, where we were stopping, to excess. It was remarked that so long as he continues to spend his money so freely there, the bustling little German lady who keeps the house will never fail to make an annual profit. He is said to be very rich, and is a prince, of course. The gossips reported that he had a quarrel with his brother, and as the two were partners he was spending the money of the firm more freely than was prudent. But that is neither here nor there. We only asked the privilege of admiring his clothes and his poses. We were not responsible for his moral behaviour and would continue to admire him even if his reputation was twice as bad as it is.

He wore a different coat and a different dagger and a different shako every day, and they always matched. He had coats of white, blue, red, gray, brown, and a mixed colour like Irish homespun. The tunic that he wore under them was always of a colour to make a striking contrast. When his overcoat was red, it would be white, and when his overcoat was white, the tunic would be red. He must have had a large armoury of daggers and pistols, for he seldom123 wore the same ones, and we liked those with plain ivory handles the best. He was a moving picture unlike anything you can see outside of Georgia.

And then we had another prince with a good reputation, one of the best men in the province, a man of great wealth and eminent respectability, who was stopping at the hotel with his two little sons. The boys wore the national dress, like their father, and with the same dignity and grace. And we must not forget the Paderewski hair, which is quite fashionable among gentlemen of literary and musical taste. I do not know how they make it stick out as they do, but I have seen heads that a bushel basket would not cover. It is fine hair, too, not coarse and rough and vulgar. You see such bushy heads upon real, live, ordinary men frequently upon the streets, with the hair bulging out below shakos of lamb’s-skin like the curls of the Circassian beauty in the sideshow of a circus.

One would never tire of the fantastic costumes that are to be seen at every railway station. The men wear tall chimney-pot hats of Persian lamb-skin, which look very heavy and very hot, and you wonder how they can endure them in the summer weather. The hats must weigh several pounds, but if you ask the wearers they will tell you that the weight is nothing; and that, like the Irishman’s sheepskin coat, the fur keeps the heat out in summer as it keeps the cold out in winter.

Their long coats of homespun are of varied colours. We are accustomed to see the Cossacks at Buffalo Bill’s great moral show in dark gray coats, but the Georgians, whose costume is precisely similar in every particular, affect bright colours—reds and blues of various shades, grays,124 and browns, as well as whites and blacks, according to their taste, and some of them have their shakos of Persian lamb dyed the same shade as their coats. Many Georgian gentlemen wear beautiful cloaks of heavy cloth as thick as a board, with a pile heavier than that of plush and curled like Astrakhan wool. We were told that this material is homespun too, and it makes a stunning garment.

Every gentleman wears high top boots outside of his trousers, which are very loose and hang over his boot tops like the knickerbockers of an English school-boy. Sometimes the boots are embroidered in colours over the shin and down the calf of the leg. And every gentleman wears an arsenal in his girdle, consisting of richly mounted knives and pistols, which look very formidable, but I am told are seldom used.

A Georgian dandy is a great sight, and you see them everywhere in the Caucasus. The most perfect costume and the most becoming to their dark complexions, intensely black hair and beards, and their glowing black eyes is, I think, a pure white coat and a shako of white lamb’s-wool. And with that colour the Georgian gentleman usually wears a long dagger with an ivory handle and an ivory sheath and a revolver mounted to match; although other people might fancy a gentleman done up in scarlet, who is also worth looking at.

The costumes of the women are not so fancy as those of the men, and are mostly head dress and veil. They do not wear bright colours like their husbands and brothers, but chiefly black. The head dress is a little skull cap about an inch high made of black velvet, with the top embroidered in silver or gold braid. It is worn low on the forehead and125 over it a square of lace or chiffon hanging down over the shoulders to the waist, either embroidered or trimmed with edging all around. There is as much difference in the quality of the veil as there is in the incomes of the wearers. But it is the principal feature of the costume, and the effect is studied accordingly. Some of the veils are of Venetian point, others of Brussels lace, and you often see very fine examples, but most of them are from the local lacemakers or made at home.

The hair is dressed in four curls, two hanging down in front of the ears upon the breast and two down the back. As the glory of a Georgian woman is her hair, her curls are usually conspicuous and kept with great neatness. Sometimes they reach below the waist.

The rest of the costume is a jacket, either sleeveless or with slashed sleeves, a frill of lace or a silk handkerchief embroidered in bright colours around the neck and crossed upon the breast as a Quakeress would wear it, and from the waist in front hang two broad ribbons or strips of silk edged with a different colour, like an apron.

The costume varies as to the quality of the material and the amount of embroidery according to the means of the wearer. The entire dress is notable for its refinement. Although we saw few of the dazzling beauties for which Georgia has always been famous, it is probably our own fault, or rather our misfortune. The best-looking women in any country are not in the habit of going to the railway stations or promenading in the parks. We noticed several ladies with beautiful and refined faces in the shops, and often passed them driving—sufficient to justify a confirmation of the stories we have heard about the clear olive complexions,126 the regular features, the Egyptian eyes, and the midnight hair, which are the gifts of the women of the Georgian race.

It’s a joke among the Russians that every Georgian is a nobleman and that your porter or drosky driver is certain to be a baron or perhaps a count. It is undoubtedly true that titles were once bestowed with lavish generosity by the Georgian kings, who paid their debts as well as rewarded merit by conferring rank promiscuously. A gentleman remarked the other day, however, that the only title worth taking off your hat to is that of a prince. Every large land owner is a prince. I do not know that it is necessary for him to have any given area. As a rule, a Georgian nobleman looks and dresses the part much more naturally than Russian or other European dukes and princes.

The national pride is equally amusing—pride of ancestry, pride of race, pride of costume, pride of children; and, as John G. Saxe wrote of a similar case, they are proud of their pride. To this characteristic we are indebted for much pleasure. It induces them to cling to their national costumes and even to the gilded daggers at their belts.

A striking illustration of this is found in a Georgian shrine opposite the Hotel de Londres, at the principal gateway to a pretty little park in Tiflis. There you can see a mosaic icon, representing a full-length figure of the Saviour in the most gorgeous variety of the Georgian costume. He is dressed in a long bowrka, or overcoat, faced or lined with ermine; under this a scarlet tunic and loose blue trousers, tucked into high-topped leather boots. He wears a green girdle into which a revolver and a dagger with beautifully enamelled handles are thrust; upon His breast are silver kilebi, the cases where cartridges are usually carried, and127 on His head is a tall nabadi, or stove-pipe hat, of black Persian lamb’s-wool—Jesus of Nazareth in the raiment of a Georgian dandy!

A Georgian Prince
Patriarch of the Georgian Church, Tiflis

The peasants seem to approve of it, notwithstanding the incongruity, and we loved to watch them from our windows, thousands every day, for the park is much frequented by workingmen at the noon and evening hours of rest. Every one who passes invariably kneels, crosses himself, and murmurs a prayer, and many kiss the glass that covers the feet of this Christ, who is clad according to the peasants’ dream of what the Redeemer should be.

The Georgian priests are fine looking, and the archbishop, or patriarch, who presides at Tiflis is as handsome and venerable an ecclesiastic as can be imagined. Some of the priests make themselves up to look like the Saviour, wearing their hair long and their beards trimmed as He is represented to look in the pictures. They are said to be rather illiterate, however. No educational qualifications are required for ordination. It is a popular saying that only lazy men go into the priesthood, but I do not think that all of them are lazy. I have seen many who look like men of energy and brains and devotion.

Almost every store has three or four signs in different languages—Russian, Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Tartar, and German also over in “the Colony,” which makes the sign boards look very odd. Armenian and Georgian lettering is different from Russian, but each is quite similar to the other.

The shops are unattractive. There are one or two large department stores filled with modern goods, but in the bazaars and native shops there is little worth buying.128 The native goods are rudely made, although sometimes of artistic design. Rug shops are innumerable and some of them in the Persian quarter have a large variety of stock, but the quality is inferior and prices are high. Friends explained that we must be patient and wait for the dealers to come down; because a Persian, like all Orientals, never expects the buyer to pay his first price; but life is too short to haggle over such bargains, particularly as we can get better goods of the same kind in the shops of Chicago and Washington at prices quite as low as are charged here. I doubt if there is a single thing in Tiflis that any American would want which cannot be purchased to equal advantage at home. But, as I have said, there is very little that any American would want. The merchants select their stock to suit the tastes of their local customers, as everywhere. At a curio shop we picked up some curious old pieces of silver, but they are valuable only because they are unique.

There are many fine buildings in Tiflis and several handsome residences. Some of the Armenian merchants are said to be very rich and they live in costly houses, which are said to be handsomely furnished, but the Russian officials have the most attractive homes.

You can go to the foot of Mount Ararat by railway nowadays, and although you cannot see the ark, you will be able to meet many venerable Armenians who will remind you of Noah, for they look exactly as that old mariner must have looked. And you can visit what is claimed to be the oldest town in the world, the Armenian village of Nakhikheban—an Armenian word which means “he descended first”—which, according to local tradition, was founded by Noah when he landed after his memorable experience with the flood and doves. This railroad is due to the military enterprise of the Russian government. It is intended for strategic purposes, in anticipation of another war with Turkey, and must not be attributed to any benevolent disposition toward tourists. As a matter of fact the Russian government does not encourage tourists, and every stranger who comes within range is an object of espionage so long as he remains, which is often disagreeable.

If you will take your map of Turkey in Asia and the Caucasus you can see for yourself where Ararat is situated, just across the boundary of Turkish Armenia and very near the corner where the territories of Russia, Turkey, and Persia meet. North and east of Ararat is the Russian province130 of Georgia with the river Aidaraaras, which is the Araxes of the Bible, separating it from the Persian province of Azerbaijan. The famous river flows into the Caspian Sea about sixty miles south of Baku, the centre of the Russian petroleum interest. South of Armenia is Kurdistan, a Turkish province, whose inhabitants, nomadic and half civilized, claim to be descended from the concubines of Solomon. Beyond Ararat, to the southeast, is the city of Bayazid, and still further is Lake Van, a very interesting body of water, with two cities called Van and Bitlis upon its banks, both of which are important commercial centres of Armenia. Lake Van is 5,907 feet above the level of the sea and is one of the sources of the famous Tigris River. Another source of the Tigris is Lake Urmi, in Persia, which is 4,100 feet above the sea, and near it is Tabriz, the most important city in northern Persia.

South of Kurdistan is the Turkish province of Mesopotamia, lying between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which was once the centre of the world and as important to mankind as London or New York is to-day. Somewhere there the Garden of Eden is supposed to have been located, although it is very far away from anything like a paradise now. It is a sandy waste, producing very little vegetation, supporting a few goats, sheep, and camels and practically uninhabited except by roving tribes of half-savage Kurds. It is confidently believed, however, that Mesopotamia can be reclaimed, and Sir William Willcocks, an English engineer, who built the Assouan dam in Egypt, has laid before the new Turkish government a plan for the irrigation of that historic province.

Mount Ararat

The railway to Mount Ararat begins at Tiflis and creeps131 around through the mountains for a distance of 278 miles, climbing as high as 4,200 feet and making the journey in seventeen hours, which seems too long for the distance, but trains go very slowly and stop a long time at every station. The first-class cars are luxurious. They are divided into compartments for the accommodation of two and four people, with the seats running from side to side, and are arranged so that the back, which is upholstered, can be lifted to a horizontal position like an upper berth in one of our Pullman cars. Thus a day coach may be transformed into a sleeper without extra charge, although passengers, if they would be comfortable, must carry their own sheets, pillows, blankets, and towels and make up their own beds. Therefore practically every traveller carries a roll of bedding with him, as is done in India, although the Russian cars are infinitely more comfortable in every respect. The second-class passengers all over Russia are taken care of much better than the first-class on the India railways. Their accommodations are almost as good as those in the first-class carriages. The only reason for taking the latter is to avoid the crowd and be a little more exclusive. No seats or compartments are reserved, hence there is a rush for the vacant places whenever the train stops at a station, and if you happen to get into one of the four-berth compartments you cannot choose your company. But these petty annoyances are forgotten a few hours after the journey is over.

The scenery along the line is sublime. Every now and then you can catch a glimpse of a snow-clad peak with noble outlines. The mountain sides are covered with forests, notwithstanding the fact that this is the oldest part of the world, and you can scarcely realize that some of132 the towns at which the train stops have been standing since the flood. Most of the people at the stations are farmers, who make a good living cultivating the soil and raising sheep and goats, and the women of their households work up the wool with old-fashioned looms into rugs and felt.

Since the Romanoffs brought their expansion policy down that way so far as to include a part of the ancient kingdom of Armenia, they have rebuilt the Turkish town of Gumri and have re-christened it Alexandropol in honour of one of their emperors. It is a purely modern military station at a strategic point, with barracks for four thousand troops, arsenals, armouries, large warehouses filled with military supplies, and everything necessary to equip an army at short notice. Such posts have been located all along the southern borders of the Russian empire overlooking Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, India, China, and other Asiatic neighbours.

All Russian towns are built on the same model, with wide, well-shaded streets, substantial residences, good shops, electric lights, and, if the patronage will justify it, a line of street cars. There is always an imposing church, under the care of a group of priests who are doing secular missionary work laid out for them by the holy synod at St. Petersburg—Russofying the natives, if that word may be used; conducting a political rather than an evangelical propaganda. Their policy is never to interfere with the religions or the customs of the people they conquer, but to assimilate them quietly and gradually by educating the children in Russian schools, teaching them the language first and then lessons in patriotism and loyalty.

The population of Alexandropol was almost exclusively133 Armenian until the Russians came. Now it is about half and half. The Armenians have a handsome church, dedicated to St. Gregory “the Enlightener”; they keep the shops and do the mechanical work and are infinitely better off since Russian occupation than they ever were before. Russian Armenia is peaceful and prosperous and in a degree progressive—much more so than any other section of the ancient Armenian kingdom at any period of its history. The construction of the railway has given the farmers an outlet for their produce; the large expenditures for maintaining troops have brought much money into communities that scarcely ever knew what money was during Turkish domination, and have provided a permanent and profitable market for everything the people produce. The construction of barracks, fortifications, roads, and other such public works has furnished employment for thousands and has provided a permanent and steady income for the labouring classes.

Alexandropol is 4,850 feet above the sea and almost surrounded by snow-covered peaks. The highest is Alaghez, 15,000 feet; and Ararat, 17,260 feet high, may often be seen in the distance.

On the eastern side of Alaghez is a wonderful lake called Goktcha, occupying the crater of a volcano 6,337 feet above the sea. The lake is forty-three miles long and an average of twenty miles wide and receives the drainage of a very large area. The mountains that encircle it rise like a wall between 4,000 and 5,000 feet and most of them are entirely covered with timber. The water is very deep, clear, and cold, and abounds with fish, which furnish employment for many people. They ship their catch daily134 by train to Tiflis, which is a limited but a profitable market. The choicest fish is a salmon trout similar to that found in the streams and lakes of the Rocky Mountains.

In ancient times, if we are to believe the legends, the fish in Lake Goktcha were never seen between Christmas Day and Lent, but on Ash Wednesday used to come to the surface in large schools and permit themselves to be caught daily until Easter Sunday. This practice, as I understand, has become obsolete, and they behave like other fish in these degenerate days.

On an island in the lake is a picturesque Armenian monastery called after St. Sevan, alleged to have been founded by Tiridates, the most famous of all the kings of Armenia, only three hundred years after the crucifixion.

Below Alexandropol, a branch of the railway runs up to the city of Kars, another point of great strategic importance in case Russia and Turkey should ever come to blows again, as they have so many times in the past, for it commands all northern Armenia. The Russians intend to annex the rest of Armenia to their dominions sooner or later, and then they will have Persia practically surrounded. This is the second time they have occupied Kars. They captured it during the Crimean war, but were compelled to give it up. In 1877 they took it again, and the following year it was definitely assigned to them by the Powers of Europe in the treaty of Berlin. The improvements since that time have been purely military, like everything else that Russia does down there. The old town remains just as it was in Turkish times, and the new town is like Alexandropol and other places I have described.

Not far south of Alexandropol, the railway passes through135 the extensive ruins of Ani, from the beginning of things down to the eleventh century the capital of the Armenians. In 1046 the king relinquished his authority in favour of the Byzantine emperor at Constantinople, and from that date up to 1877 that territory has been a part of Turkey. There are evidences of considerable splendour. The walls which surrounded the city are only partly destroyed, and a considerable section still remains forty and fifty feet high, with numerous round towers and battlements built of yellow stone and embellished with courses and crosses and other ornaments in black basalt. The gateways were imposing. The churches must have been large. The walls of several remain and portions of beautifully arched roofs. Here and there are decorations of rich carving, mosaic, and tiles, which, however, are rapidly peeling away and crumbling from neglect. Upon the edge of a ravine are the ruins of an extensive building with a monumental gateway which is supposed to have been the palace of the king, although there is no description of such a building in Armenian literature.

The capital of Russian Armenia is thoroughly Russian in spots, but the greater part of it is thoroughly Oriental, and the bazaars, where most of the trade is conducted, are as interesting as any in the East. The name of the town is pronounced “Yer-ri-van,” with the accent on the last syllable, and the word means “at the foot,” referring of course to Mount Ararat, the most famous of all mountains, perhaps, as well as one of the most interesting. The two peaks that compose the mountain, the greater 17,260 feet and the lesser 13,000 feet high, are always within view, barring the weather, and there is a decided difference of opinion as to the number of clear days in that climate.136 People who want to “knock the town” insist that the peak of Great Ararat cannot be seen more than once a week, but the more loyal inhabitants will assure you that it is in plain sight every hour, morning, noon, and night, and every day in the year.

The streets of Erivan are wide, the houses are of one story, built very much after the Spanish or Moorish plan, around a patio, and without windows on the street. There are a few good shops filled with modern merchandise in the Russian quarter, with restaurants, cafés, and other modern improvements. There are two hotels which are simply tolerable and no more—the kind that you would not patronize unless you had to. The bazaars, however, are very busy, because a large population come here for trade, and Erivan is practically the terminus of the railway, which brings vast quantities of freight that must be carried farther on by camel caravans. These caravans meet and receive and discharge their cargoes at a large open square, surrounded by khans, the Oriental substitute for hotels, and such places are always fascinating to people from other parts of the world. Most of the goods that are carried into the interior come from Moscow, for the Russian government always protects its manufacturers and promotes their trade where it can be done without interfering with military affairs. Most of the goods that are shipped out are rugs, wool, hides, and skins from various parts of Persia and Turkish-Armenia, which are sent in bulk by rail and boat and steamer to Constantinople and there distributed.

There is nothing to buy; nothing that any American would want. Although the bazaars contain a complex assortment of merchandise of sufficient variety to suit Oriental comers,137 they are not our kind of goods. The bazaars are made up of little boxes not more than six or eight feet square, lined with shelves filled with goods, and the proprietor sits in the midst of them, “squatting like a Turk,” or stretched out comfortably upon a rug smoking cigarettes. You seldom see the narghile, or Turkish water pipe with a long tube. The bazaars cover many acres, which are cut up into narrow, winding streets sheltered from the sun by roofs of masonry or awnings of matting, and, as usual, the trade is classified for the convenience of the public. The vegetable dealers, the butchers, the candlestick makers, the hardware and iron mongers, the leather mongers and print dealers, all have their own streets, and the shops are so close together that rival merchants can chatter together while waiting for customers.

There is an old fortress built by the Persians while they occupied the country, and an ancient palace within its walls, several of the rooms being handsomely decorated with tiles and fantastic designs in coloured glass. Most of the space, however, is occupied by barracks for the soldiers, who are as numerous as they are in all other frontier Russian towns; but at the same time they bring in a great deal of business and contribute to the prosperity of the farmers and merchants and everybody. And I do not know what the hotels would do if it were not for the officers of the Russian army.

The population of Erivan is very much mixed, but the larger number are Armenian Christians, who control the financial and commercial affairs, as they do everywhere else in this section, and have displayed that remarkable aptitude for commerce and accumulation that is characteristic138 of the race. There are many Turks, more Persians, and still more Kurds, who do the teaming, drive the cabs, and load the camels. The heavy labour is done by Kurds and Tartars, and the trading by Persians and Armenians, as it is elsewhere.

There are many monasteries in Armenia and all of them are very old. Etchmiadzin is undoubtedly the oldest monastic establishment in the world, and is not only interesting for that reason, but also because it was the cradle of the Christian faith in that region, and the residence of the much venerated St. Gregory, the Enlightener. He is so called because he converted King Tiridates. There are many relics of this most famous Armenian saint. Any one who will take the trouble to drive eight or ten miles to the village of Khorvirab may see a well in which St. Gregory is said to have been confined by his persecutors for fourteen years, having his food and drink lowered down to him by a rope all this time. In one of the chapels of the monastery is the slab of marble he used to cover a cave into which he drove all the devils that pestered Armenia in his day. A picturesque shrine now occupies the spot. But St. Gregory does not seem to have been as successful as St. Patrick was with the snakes in Ireland. Some of the devils must have been overlooked, because he was not only bitterly persecuted himself, but his followers in Armenia have suffered more than the believers in any religion in any other part of the world.

The monastery is very large and is surrounded by a massive wall which has sustained many a siege and repelled frequent attacks by Kurds, Turks, Tartars, Persians, and Saracens. There are several buildings, the most conspicuous139 containing the apartments of the patriarch and the several archbishops, bishops, and clerks who assist him in the performance of his duties. There is a hospice for the entertainment of visiting clergy who go there in large numbers on business and to seek inspiration; another less pretentious is for the entertainment of pilgrims, and near by is a bazaar, or market, where they can purchase food and other supplies. A theological seminary with forty or fifty students who are studying for the Armenian ministry is maintained also, and the privilege of attending it is quite as highly prized as that enjoyed by the students of the famous Roman Catholic colleges at Rome. As a rule, the Armenian clergy are not highly educated. The reason is that their parishioners are not able to pay for the services of educated men; but many brilliant young theologians have gone out from that school to Armenian colonies in different parts of the world to defend the faith with zeal and eloquence.

The library of the institution, however, does not convey an impression of scholarship. The number of books upon its shelves is very small, they are all very old, and most of them are obsolete. There does not appear to be a demand for a supply of literature, theological or otherwise, in the Armenian language. Very few of the books are of any value.

There has been a delusion among Oriental scholars that the library at Etchmiadzin is filled with ancient manuscripts of great interest and value, but that is not the case. There are no attractions there for students, and the Armenian clergy seem to take much deeper interest in certain superstitions and the traditions attached to the highly venerated relics in their sanctuary than in the contents of their book shelves.


The treasury of the monastery contains a third “holy lance”—the weapon of the soldier which pierced the side of the Saviour as He hung upon the cross. There is a duplicate at the palace of the emperor of Austria, which was brought from Jerusalem by St. Helena and once belonged to Constantine the Great, then to Charlemagne, by whom it was passed down to his successors as the head of the Holy Roman Empire. There is still another in St. Peter’s at Rome, which was brought from the Holy Land by the Crusaders, who discovered it through a miracle at Antioch. The “holy lance” here is said to have been brought to Armenia by Thaddeus, the disciple, when he came at the invitation of the king to convert the nation.

A still more interesting relic is a fragment of Noah’s ark—a ragged and rotten piece of a plank, about four feet long, eighteen inches wide, and two inches thick, which is alleged to have been taken from the hull of that venerated vessel. There are no written guarantees, and therefore it is impossible to establish identity, but as it is equally impossible to disprove the statement, it is easier to accept the faith of those good people without question.

What is probably more genuine is a beautifully chased silver reliquary in the shape of a forearm and hand, which is said to contain the actual right hand and arm of St. Gregory, and it is used in an impressive ceremony at the consecration of the patriarch of the Armenian church. At the benediction this silver reliquary containing the hand of the founder of the Armenian church is solemnly placed upon the forehead of the candidate by the officiating bishop.

There are many other relics of saints and martyrs of the Armenian faith whose names and history are unknown to141 us. Indeed, one has to go there to realize how little the people of the United States know about one of the greatest branches of the Christian church.

The monastery proper is an ancient building with cells for thirty-four monks, who spend most of their time looking after the business management of the institution and, as you can well understand, are proud of their vocation and highly prize the privileges they enjoy. They are assisted in the cultivation of a farm and in caring for large flocks of sheep and goats by a village of peasants, who increase the dependents of the institution to several thousand persons.

The architectural attractions are not great—the buildings are not imposing and the chapel, a portion of which dates back to the fourth and the rest to the seventh century, is a small, dark, cruciform building without beauty of design or decoration. Still it is interesting because it is undoubtedly one of the oldest houses of worship in all the world. There are two patriarchal thrones, one on each side of the apse. That on the left is occupied on occasions of ceremony by the patriarch. That on the right is reserved for the use of the Saviour in case the second advent should occur without warning.

There are no portraits or paintings of interest, but one is struck by the simple, primitive, earnest dignity of the place, and the unostentatious manner in which the inmates live and conduct their affairs. All of them take their meals in one of two refectories, both low, long rooms, with a single narrow table running down the centre between rude benches. At the end of the larger refectory is a throne under a canopy which the patriarch may occupy if he pleases, although he usually dines alone, and at the other end is a pulpit from142 which somebody always reads aloud from the Bible or from some volume of religious literature while the meals are being served. The same practice is followed in many Roman Catholic monasteries and seminaries and is intended to keep the minds of the listeners upon serious things and make their meals as solemn as possible. There is no disposition to remain at the table longer than is absolutely necessary.

One of the refectories assigned to the clergy and the students is always open to visitors, and lodgings are afforded to all comers in the old monastic style, with a cordial welcome, without money and without price, although a guest is expected to drop a contribution in a poor box, which is conveniently placed for the purpose.

If that entertaining old story teller, called Tradition, can be relied upon, Nakhikheban, Armenia, is the oldest town in existence; the first human settlement founded after the deluge—and there began the renaissance by Noah of a world that had been washed clean of sin and iniquity after a thorough soaking of forty days. Nakhikheban is where Noah and his family settled when they came out of the ark, and he made his home here, according to the legends, until his death. We do not know exactly where he lived before the deluge or where the ark was built, but at any rate he did not go back there, and from this place the family scattered to obey the divine command to replenish the earth.

Nakhikheban, founded by Noah on the slope of Ararat. The oldest town in the world

There are various ways of spelling the name of the town, which is the case with nearly all the towns in that part of the world. The Russians have it Nakhitchevan, but the map makers generally accept the Armenian version, for it is an Armenian word, and it means “he descended here”—referring, of course, to the landing from the ark. It is143 worth the trip from Erivan, and even from Tiflis, if only to say that you have been there. It is a distinction to have visited the oldest community on the entire globe, and Noah would feel very much set up if he could know that people came all the way from America to accord his town such an honour. Unfortunately, there are no records back of the pretensions of the sleepy little place; there is no history of those eventful days; the oldest inhabitants are dead; and the only foundation for the tradition is a few vague words in the Bible.

Noah is buried near Damascus, where his grave is forty-five feet long, and the people there will tell you that he was a very tall man. His wife is buried at the village of Marand, at the base of Ararat, where she died a few years after the landing. The poor woman was not allowed to live to see the glory of her descendants. The local traditions also place the Garden of Eden in that vicinity, in the valley of the Araxes, at the base of Ararat, through which runs the great highway from Erivan into Persia, which has been travelled for six thousand years in peace and in war, and has been the channel of commerce since human beings began to trade with one another. It has also been the scene of untold slaughter and misery, and forty battles have been fought to control it. This road has been trodden by the mighty hosts of Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and Alexander the Great, and Hannibal led his legions along this way to conquer the Caucasus. The Russians control that highway now and they bought it by the sacrifice of many lives.

All that remains of a memorable epoch in the world’s history, in which Noah was the leading actor, is Mt. Ararat itself, and many wise men are of the opinion that there has144 been a universal misapprehension concerning that. The Right Honourable James Bryce, British Ambassador to Washington, who wrote a book about that country thirty-five years ago, may be accepted as the most reliable authority, and with his permission I may quote him on this subject. He says:

“The only topographical reference in the Scripture narrative of the flood is to be found in the words, Genesis viii, 4—‘In the seventh month, on the 17th day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat,’ which may be taken as equivalent to ‘on a mountain of (or in) Ararat.’

“The word Ararat is used in three, or rather in two, other places in the Scriptures. One is in II Kings xix, 38, where it is said of the sons of Sennacherib, who had just murdered their father, that they escaped into the land of Ararat, rendered in our version, and in the Septuagint, ‘Armenia.’ The other is in Jeremiah li., 27 ‘Call together: against her (i. e., Babylon) the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Aschenaz.’ The question then is what does this Ararat denote? Clearly, the Alexandrian translators took it for Armenia; so does the Vulgate when it renders in Genesis viii, 4, the words which we translate On the mountains of Ararat’ by ‘super montes Armeniæ.’ This narrows it a little, and St. Jerome himself helps us to narrow it still further when, in his commentary on Isaiah xxxvii, 38, he says that ‘Ararat means the plain of the middle Araxes, which lies at the foot of the great mountain Taurus.’

“The identification, therefore, is natural enough; what is of more consequence is to determine how early it took place; for as there is little or no trace of an independent local145 tradition of the flood, we may assume the identification to rest entirely on the use of the name Ararat in the Hebrew narrative. Josephus (Ant. Jud., bk i, ch. iii) says that the Armenians called the place where Noah descended the ‘disembarking place, for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day’ and also quotes Nicolas of Damascus, who writes that: ‘In Armenia, above Minyas, there is a great mountain called Baras, upon which it is said that many who escaped at the time of the flood were saved, and that one who was carried in an ark came ashore on top of it, and that the remains of the wood were preserved for a long while. This might be the man about whom Moses, the law-giver of the Jews, wrote.’

“Marco Polo, whose route does not seem to have led him near it, says only, in speaking of Armenia: ‘Here is an exceeding great mountain, on which, it is said, the ark of Noah rested, and for this cause it is called the Mountain of the Ark of Noah. The circuit of its base cannot be traversed in less than two days; and the ascent is rendered impossible by the snow on its summit, which never dissolves, but is increased by each successive fall. On the lower declivities the melted snows cause an abundant vegetation, and afford rich pastures for the cattle which in summer resort thither from all the surrounding countries.’”

For centuries it was conceded that the top of Ararat could not be reached, and even to-day the highest Armenian ecclesiastics insist that God has made it impossible for human feet to climb it. They insist that no one has ever reached the top and that no one ever will, but the ascent has been made by at least fourteen or fifteen experienced mountaineers. Mr. Bryce himself not only made the quickest146 ascent on record in 1877, but went up entirely alone. The Russian governor-general at Erivan furnished him with a body-guard of Cossacks and several Kurd porters, who, when they reached a height of twelve thousand feet, refused to go any farther, and, at one o’clock in the morning, Mr. Bryce started on alone, reaching the summit, about two the following afternoon, and returning to camp the same night.

It had been his ambition from childhood to ascend Ararat, which was due to Scriptural associations and to reading when a boy a thrilling account of an ascent by Doctor Parrot, the first human being, so far as known, to reach the summit.

There are two peaks, called Greater and Lesser Ararat, about seven miles apart. Greater Ararat rises to a height of 17,323 feet from the plain of the Araxes, being the second mountain in height west of the Himalayas, Elburz, in the Caucasus, alone exceeding it, with a height of 18,493 feet. Lesser Ararat rises 13,300 feet, and is almost identical in shape with its greater companion. Both are slumbering volcanoes, and although there has been no eruption within the memory of men, earthquakes have frequently occurred and have caused much damage. The line of perpetual snow is thirteen thousand feet, and the summit of the Greater Ararat is always covered, an almost perfect dome of spotless white rising against an azure sky. It is one of the most beautiful of mountains. At an elevation of about 5,600 feet on the slopes of Greater Ararat formerly stood an Armenian village called Arghuri, an Armenian name meaning “he planted the vine.” According to tradition an Armenian church dating from the eighth century occupied the spot where Noah built his altar and offered his first sacrifice after leaving the ark147 and making a safe descent of the mountain with his family and the living creatures that were saved with him. At Arghuri “he planted the vine” and raised grapes, made wine, drank to excess, and got caught in the scrape narrated in Genesis ix, 20. Until 1840, when the village was destroyed by an earthquake, the actual vine referred to, planted by the hands of the patriarch, was still pointed out by the people.

The Persian rulers of this country used to have a summer residence near the village, but it was destroyed with the rest and has never been restored.

Near the site of Arghuri, the monastery of St. Jacob marked the spot where a saintly monk of that name, a contemporary of St. Gregory, founder of the Armenian church, received divine evidence that the traditions connecting Noah and the ark with Ararat are true. For years he lived a hermit upon the mountain side praying for light. At length God sent an angel, who appeared to him in his sleep and deposited upon his breast a fragment of the ark as a reward for his faith and zeal and piety. That is the fragment of a plank which may now be seen in the treasury of the monastery at Etchmiadzin.

Van is an ancient city, appearing in early Persian and Assyrian annals. Above the city on the face of a cliff are inscriptions said to have been written by Darius the Great when he was at the height of his power. From Castle Rock, on a clear day, Mount Ararat with its perpetually snow-capped peak can be seen. Eastward from Van, less than a three days’ journey, are the borders of Persia, and on the south lie the mountains occupied by the Nestorians and the Kurds. Even up to the present time, these southern regions148 are not brought wholly under governmental control, although order is gradually being established.

The city is upon a high plateau six thousand feet above the sea and on the border of a great salt lake. Around this lake many a bloody war has been waged, during a period of from three to four thousand years. History shows that from 1000 to 600 B.C. Van was the capital of a strong kingdom. Its kings often went forth with armies to battle and frequently left records upon the rocks recounting their victories. Such inscriptions are found as far west as Harpoot where a record is made that in 700 B.C., the king of Van waged war against the Hittite king of Valetia. There are two records of conflict between these two rulers, and it is a significant fact that in both instances the king of Van did not halt to write the inscription telling of his great success until after he had put a considerable distance between himself and the enemy whom he claims to have vanquished.

Van was the capital of Armenia for centuries, and even to-day is regarded by many Armenians as their capital city. The Armenians, in large numbers there, are unusually strong intellectually and commercially. They outnumber the Turks and control trade. Van has been a centre and hotbed of Armenian revolutionists for many years, which has been the cause of no little anxiety to the Turkish officials. Being so near the Russian border on the north and the Persian border on the east, it has been possible for the revolutionists to escape punishment by fleeing across the line. The Turks complain that Russia and Persia have allowed their territory to be made places of refuge for outlaws sought by Turkey.

Van is one of the latest mission stations opened by the149 American Board in Turkey. It was not occupied until 1872. This district, being the headquarters of one of the divisions of the Armenian church (the monastery in which the Vartebad resides is located upon an island in the lake of Van), mission work made progress very slowly at first. The people were suspicious of the strangers who had come. One of the first missionaries sent in was a physician, Dr. G. C. Raynolds, of Long-meadow, Mass., and it was largely through his influence that the early prejudice was overcome. Within the last ten years the medical work has made rapid advance until there is now a well established and equipped American hospital with an American trained nurse. Something like ten or twelve thousand patients are treated every year, including Kurds, Turks, and Armenians of all classes and all grades of society.

At the time of the Armenian massacres in 1895, seven or eight thousand refugees were admitted into the mission compound and were there fed for several days until the excitement had passed. There was a feeling among the Armenians that safety could only be found in the American premises. Following the universal custom of our missionaries in such cases, arms were not allowed to be brought in, and only those who were willing to give up their guns at the gate were admitted. Because of this attitude the government was ready, when asked, to send soldiers to guard the premises, so that no one who reached the missionary grounds was injured.

There was such destitution after the massacres, owing to the death of so many of the wage earners and the loss of crops, that it became necessary to make the Van mission a relief and supply station for that entire section. Money was150 sent from Europe and America in large amounts. Seed was bought for the farmer that he might sow his ground when the time for sowing came. As most of the cattle had been driven off, oxen were brought from remote districts and loaned to the farmers that they might plough their land; and many agricultural implements were bought for them. In the city, bakeries were started and a variety of industries organized, so that for a year or two the mission became a hive of industry, giving more time and strength to ministering to the physical needs of the people than to preaching and teaching, to demonstrate to the people the fundamental principles of Christianity.

Educational work has made rapid advances. The prejudices of the people against the Americans have been largely broken down, and for the last few years the mission schools have been crowded beyond their capacity. At the present writing (1910), the American schools in Van alone have over one thousand pupils in attendance. The High School for Boys, which has been unusually prosperous, has reached a point where the people are urging that it be erected into a college. A tract of land has recently been purchased which is suitable to meet the needs of such a college for at least a quarter of a century. Some funds have already been subscribed for this purpose, and it is expected that, in the near future, there will be an American college in Van to supply the demand for higher education among the large population occupying the eastern part of the Turkish Empire. Such a college will undoubtedly attract many students from Russia as well as from Persia. There can be little doubt as to its success, or as to the widespread influence that such an institution would exert. Graduates of the high school151 now in America are taking courses of study with a view to returning to their country to take part in its establishment, and undoubtedly many Armenians of wealth will contribute liberally toward the buildings and endowment.

Doctor Raynolds, already referred to, who began mission work in 1872, has faced many trying circumstances. At times the revolutionists have been so hostile to him that they have threatened his life. On the other hand, he has been accused by the Turkish government of connection with the revolutionists, and has often been kept under surveillance by them. Nevertheless, through all emergencies, the doctor has held steadily to an attitude of strict neutrality. A few years ago, the revolutionists, having secured arms from outside, barricaded a part of the city and defied the Turkish governor and his army. The governor made preparations to attack. It was well known to Doctor Raynolds and other missionaries, that, if the attack began, hundreds of lives would be sacrificed, the innocent with the guilty, and the spirit of murder and looting would be let loose. The missionary went to the governor and asked him to delay the attack until he could go in person to the revolutionists to see if something could not be done to heal the open breach between them and the government. The governor seemed to feel that it was useless; that nothing remained for him but to crush the spirit of revolution out of the Armenians of the city, which in itself meant a general massacre. At Doctor Raynolds’s solicitation, however, an armistice was declared, and at midnight, without an attendant and unarmed, he went into the camp of the revolutionists. Their guards seized him as soon as he approached. He was taken before the leaders and urged152 them, for the sake of the innocent people who would suffer most severely in case an attack was made, to come to some agreement with the governor, or else withdraw from the city.

He returned from the revolutionists to the governor, and from the governor went back to the revolutionists, until finally an agreement was reached. The leaders of the insurrection were allowed to escape from the country unmolested; and order was restored without the loss of a single life. This is only one of many instances in which this missionary doctor has been instrumental in preventing a bloody collision between conflicting forces. While critical persons might say that this is not one of the duties of a missionary yet no one would suggest that it was not worthy of an advocate of the Gospel of Peace.

If one starts from Constantinople and travels eastward across Asia Minor, Armenia, and Kurdistan, and keeps on in that direction until he arrives at the foot of snow-capped Ararat; if he then turns northward to the Black Sea coast and from there strikes south over the Taurus and the Anti-Taurus Mountains, crossing the great populous plains of the upper waters of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Araxes and the Halys Rivers, holding still to the south across northern Mesopotamia into Syria—in traversing all that vast region he will find almost nothing of modern medicine or surgery or hospital facilities except those which belong to the American missionary or have sprung from his work.

In great centres of trade and population like Cæsarea, Marsovan, Sivas, Harpoot, Erzeroom, Van, Diarbekir, Mardin, and Aintab, one will find medical missionaries of the American Board carrying on the most benevolent and153 soul-winning lines of work God gives His children to perform on earth. With them are associated an increasing company of native doctors. Some of them were trained by the missionaries alone, while not a few have received their professional preparation either in the medical school at the Syrian Protestant Medical College at Beirut, or in some foreign country.

Were it possible to separate and set aside by themselves all the civilizing forces, all the facilities for betterment in society, that have entered Turkey through missionary agencies, it would surprise the commercial world. The sum total of American textile manufactures, American sewing machines, ploughs, and other farming implements, cabinet organs, bells, books, cabinet-makers’ tools, drugs and medicines, and numberless other commodities they have brought in would foot up to an astonishing figure. And this is but the beginning. There are movements of great significance on foot, resulting from the same influence, and likely to develop into a greater expansion of American commerce in that country.

The other part, the all-pervasive influence of their work, the change in ideas and ideals, the enlightenment of the people of all grades and classes, the change in the condition of women, the betterment of the family, the fading out of superstitious notions, the widespread longing for reform in matters social and secular, and for advancement in civilization—all these are results of the greatest moment, which cannot be shown in figures, for they are greater than figures.

Armenia is perhaps the oldest of all the Christian countries in the world. It was a powerful nation at the advent of Christ, although at different periods in its history it was occupied by the Persians under Cyrus, the Macedonians under Alexander the Great, and the Romans under the Cæsars. One of the kings of Armenia, Tigranes II, made a treaty with Pompey under which he submitted to a protectorate from Rome, but after his death his son and successor, Artavasdes III, rebelled, was severely chastised by Marc Antony, and taken prisoner to Alexandria, where he was beheaded in the year 30 B.C. by order of Cleopatra.

There is a legend that one of the immediate successors of Tigranes, having heard of the teachings of Jesus and His persecution by the Jews, sent Him a letter by a distinguished envoy offering Him the hospitality of Armenia and the widest freedom in carrying on His work. Jesus, the tradition continues, replied that His duty lay among His own people, but sent a representative in the person of His disciple, Thaddeus, who was warmly received and preached the new Gospel throughout the kingdom until the entire population accepted the Christian faith. Some clever fabricator several years ago pretended to discover the original manuscript155 of this correspondence among the archives of one of the ancient Armenian monasteries, and the announcement created a decided sensation.

Entrance to the monastery of Etchmiadzin, Armenia

It is a matter of regret that this legend cannot be sustained, but it is an actual fact that Tiridates, king of Armenia, was converted to Christianity in the year 259 A.D. by St. Gregory, “the Enlightener,” and was therefore the first sovereign in the world to accept the new faith and to adopt it as the religion of his nation. The Emperor Constantine did not accept Christianity until thirty years or more afterward. Armenia is therefore the oldest of Christian countries, and the monastery of Etchmiadzin, twelve miles from Erivan, is still, as it has been from the third century, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the Armenian church. The word in English means “the only begotten.”

But the Armenians have had a stormy time in defence of their religion ever since. Theological controversies began early among them, and persecution has been relentless. The Armenian clergy refused to accept the decree of the council of Chalcedon, and in 491 A.D. seceded from the Church of Rome. Later they separated from the orthodox Greeks, and although frequent attempts have been made to bring about a reunion with the Church of Russia, which is a branch of the Greek Church, the Armenians have remained an independent ecclesiastical body, with a pope or patriarch called a katholikos as its administrative head, with the monastery of Etchmiadzin as his metropolis. He is elected for life by delegates from the various Armenian communities throughout the world, who come there for that purpose when a vacancy occurs, and he is the spiritual head of believers in the Armenian creed in America, Europe,156 Asia, and Africa. The authority of the Armenian katholikos does not extend to theological questions. The creed of that faith cannot be altered except by a vote of the house of bishops, and he does not claim to be infallible. His jurisdiction is executive and judicial, and he is protected by the czar of Russia, who enforces his edicts.

No people have suffered so much for their religion, not even the children of Israel, as the Armenians, and the atrocities committed upon them during the thirty years of the reign of Abdul Hamid, the late sultan of Turkey, were the most barbarous that modern history has ever recorded. I do not remember that ever before, at least in modern times, the sovereign of a country deliberately set about to exterminate by massacre the subjects of his authority. There is no longer any question that “The great assassin, the unspeakable Turk,” as Mr. Gladstone called him, gave the instructions that led to the slaughter of nearly 100,000 innocent inhabitants of his province of Armenia, the destruction of their homes, the plundering of their property, and the violation of their wives and daughters. Even if there had been any previous doubt of his guilt, documents found in the Yildiz Kiosk after he was deposed, established the fact that he had a deliberate intention to depopulate Armenia by the torch and the sword in a systematic and thorough manner.

It has long been conceded that a Mohammedan cannot govern believers in other religions with justice, but how far Abdul Hamid was actuated by fanaticism, how far he applied religious prejudices for political purposes, or whether he was afraid that the Armenians would ultimately succeed in throwing off his yoke, are conjectures upon which students157 of Turkish affairs will never agree. He knew from the events of the past that he could never convert the Christian inhabitants of his empire to Islam by the sword, because the persecution which the Armenians had suffered for centuries only strengthened their faith, but no sultan since Selim the Inflexible ever did more to stimulate religious intolerance and encourage his Mussulman subjects to persecute his Christian subjects, than Abdul Hamid in Bulgaria and other parts of his empire as well as Armenia.

The Armenians who inhabit the northern part of Asia Minor along the southern coast of the Black Sea are a simple, quiet, primitive people of agricultural and pastoral pursuits. They live in small villages, and are devoted to their families and their religion. For centuries they have suffered from the depredations of the Kurds, migratory, half-civilized tribes who haunt the mountains during the summer but in winter come down to the plains and either quarter themselves upon the Armenian peasants or plunder them. Some villages pay regular blackmail, as the Scottish farmers used to do to protect themselves from troublesome Highland clans. Sometimes the Armenians defended themselves, but while they have not lacked courage, as their records show, very few had arms and those who did purchase guns and ammunition were in constant peril of arrest for conspiracy. Occasionally when they resisted the invasions of the Kurds, their villages were entirely destroyed and the inhabitants put to the sword, men, women, and children alike, with a ferocious brutality in which Turkish soldiers invariably joined with enthusiasm.

While a large majority of the Armenian population lived pastoral lives, caring nothing for the rest of the world, without158 any ideas of constitutional freedom or national independence, many of the young men drifted to the cities, where they prospered and became prominent and influential. They are thrifty and shrewd in trade. It is a common saying that it takes two Jews to cheat one Greek, and two Greeks to cheat one Armenian; but as a rule the members of that race have a high reputation for integrity as well as sagacity, and the late sultan, himself their bitterest enemy, trusted his finances to Armenians, as he trusted his life to Albanians in preference to Turks.

Gradually the mercantile affairs, the manufacturing, the banking, and other lines of business in the principal cities of Turkey have become absorbed by Armenians, Greeks, and Jews, for the Turk is no trader, and the Armenians are the most enterprising and successful of all.

There was no act of disloyalty until they recognized the significance of the persecution of their people at home. They accepted their long years of agony and despair as the penalty of their religion, but when American missionaries planted schools and colleges in Turkey and began to educate the young people, a new spirit of national pride and hope gradually developed. Thousands of Armenians, and among them some of the ablest leaders and most influential thinkers, received their first impulses and aspirations for civil and religious liberty at Robert College, an American institution on the Bosphorus, and in other colleges of the American Board of Foreign Missions in different parts of Asia Minor. This racial pride and spirit first found its expression in attempts to improve the intellectual condition of their own families, in the emancipation of their women, in a revival of the use of the Armenian language, which had been very159 largely superseded by the Turkish, and the enlightenment of the common people as to the rights and privileges to which all human beings are entitled.

Having the example of Bosnia and Bulgaria always in mind, the sultan undoubtedly suspected that the Armenians were preparing for a struggle for freedom and determined to check it by extermination if necessary. His intentions soon became known. When an Armenian was murdered or robbed, his assailant was rewarded, and the more Christians the Kurdish chiefs could kill the more rapid was their promotion. The prisons were filled with innocent men, the schools were closed, the Armenian language was forbidden, Armenian books were seized and burned, and American missionaries were prohibited from teaching anything that suggested freedom. Their text-books and newspapers were censored and suppressed if they were found to contain a sentence or even a word that could be construed to reflect upon political conditions. One newspaper was suppressed because it mentioned the dog star in a scientific article on astronomy.

This was considered an insult to the sultan because Yildiz, the name of his palace, is the word for star. Everything that related to Armenia, Macedonia, and other Christian provinces was stricken out; hymn books and even Bibles were censored; two professors in the missionary college at Marsovan were accused of teaching treason and condemned to death, but were rescued by the British government at the very steps of the scaffold. All reference to the assassination of President McKinley was forbidden, lest it might suggest a similar fate for the sultan.

Armenians in other parts of the world organized revolutionary160 societies, published revolutionary documents, and held conventions to consider revolutionary expedients. This defiance of his authority exasperated the sultan and furnished the pretext for more violent persecutions and more slaughter. Being unable to reach the revolutionary organizers in other countries, he punished their relatives, friends, and former townsmen by imprisonment and death, and, finally, after many years of atrocious and barbarous treatment, he conceived a fiendish scheme of general massacre which was carried out by his officials with fanatical zeal under his directions. One of his ministers remarked to an European diplomatist in Constantinople that, “according to his majesty’s notion, the best way to get rid of the Armenian question is to get rid of the Armenians.”

In order that they might do their work more thoroughly the half-savage, nomadic bands of Kurds were organized into companies by Turkish officers, equipped with modern weapons, and turned loose with orders to provoke the Armenians to resistance, and thus furnish an excuse for a general slaughter. Self-defence was always treated as rebellion. The butchers who hunted helpless men and women like wild beasts and killed them on the roadside or in the brush where they had taken refuge, who looted and burned their homes and butchered their wives and children, were promptly rewarded, and no one was ever punished. A succession of massacres occurred all over Armenia, in almost every case begun with a signal by a trumpet from military headquarters. The soldiers not only participated in the slaughter, but burned the homes of their victims after plundering them, and both civil and official representatives of the government directed the work of the mob. In many161 cases these men were afterward called to Constantinople and decorated by their sovereign for the energetic manner in which the work was done.

Kibitkas of the Nomadic tribes

Prominent men were offered their lives if they would renounce their religion, and some of them did so, but very few. The great mass of the Armenians who died in those massacres were martyrs to their faith. Special efforts were made to force priests to apostasy. An official investigation showed that 170 Armenian clergymen in a single province were tortured to death because they would not deny their Christ. In the province of Kars is a group of sixty towns and villages in which no Christian church was left standing and no Christian priest was left alive. Investigation showed that 568 churches were destroyed and 282 were transformed into mosques. No one will ever know the extent of the massacres, but, as accurately as can be ascertained, nearly 100,000 Armenian Christians suffered martyrdom during the reign of Abdul Hamid by his orders, and it is believed that as many more who fled to the mountains perished from exposure and starvation.

The massacres of Armenians in October, 1895, which horrified the world, began in Trebizond, and I asked Doctor Crawford, an American who has spent thirty years in that country, his opinion of the causes and motives.

“For centuries the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire have suffered continuous cruelties and persecutions,” said Doctor Crawford. “They have suffered from heavy taxation and unjust ways of collecting; there has been no safety for their property, no protection for their crops which were often stolen or destroyed, and their wives and daughters were never safe. Most of this persecution was162 due to the Kurds, their semi-civilized neighbours in Kurdistan, the adjoining province to Armenia on the east. Certain Kurdish chiefs levied blackmail upon Armenian villages for their protection. That is, they assessed tribute upon the inhabitants, in exchange for which they protected them against other Kurds. Those who paid this tribute were safe, those who did not were never secure, either in life or property or in their families.

“Fifty or sixty years ago the Armenians began to emigrate; thousands have gone to Constantinople and other cities; others to Europe and America; and there are many thousands in the United States. Those who had seen the world naturally realized the unfortunate situation in which their fellow countrymen were living, even more so than the latter themselves, and began to devise means for their relief. They organized societies; they collected funds; they published newspapers, denounced the iniquities of and conspired against the Turkish government.

“As soon as the government learned of this movement, instead of relieving the oppression, it bore down on the Armenians more heavily than before. The situation was very much aggravated because the Turks had discovered a pretext for their cruelty in the patriotic movements. All mail matter was opened; everything that related to Armenia was suppressed and destroyed; even the Bible was mutilated by tearing out the leaves that bore the name of Macedonia, and every geography and atlas had the name Armenia obliterated”—and Doctor Crawford showed me a copy of an English classical dictionary in which the text under the word Armenia had been cut out. “It was proclaimed that the Turkish government intended to wipe Armenia163 from the map of the world. The very name was accursed to the Turks,” he continued.

“But the innocent people at home were compelled to suffer for the offences of the Armenians abroad. Whenever any man received a letter or a newspaper containing sentiments unfriendly to the Turkish government he was cast into prison and often his property was confiscated.

“This was going on for many years until on September 7 1895, a society of young Armenians of Constantinople marched in procession to the Sublime Porte—which, you know, is the seat of government in that city—and presented a petition begging for justice and protection for their people at home. The Turkish government chose to interpret this exercise of the right of petition as insurrection. The soldiers attacked the procession. Several Armenians were killed, many were wounded, others were thrown into prison, and every one who could be seized was maltreated. This incident was followed by many murders and raids in Armenian towns and villages and hundreds of innocent people were slaughtered on the pretext that they were involved in a conspiracy against the government.

“About thirty days later a government official who had been notorious for his cruelties was shot at near Erzeroom, and, of course, the Armenians were charged with the responsibility. Retaliation was ordered and the governor of Trebizond received instructions from Constantinople to turn the rabble loose upon the Armenian population of that city. At 11 o’clock on the morning of Oct. 8, 1895, a bugle was blown at the barracks. This was the signal for slaughter, and every Armenian that could be reached was murdered in cold blood. Six hundred bodies were carried164 off in garbage carts and buried in a ditch outside this city. At 3 o’clock that afternoon the bugle blew again, and at that signal the mob began to loot the houses and shops of Armenians and did not stop until dark.

“This massacre was repeated in all the towns and villages of Armenia, and it is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 men, women, and children were slaughtered simply because they were Christians, and because some of their fellow countrymen had attempted to organize a conspiracy against the government with the hope of relieving their distress and protecting them from persecution. There is no way of telling how many were killed, but we know that 40,000 children were left orphans. More than 6,000 fatherless and motherless little ones were gathered into our own American orphanages. Altogether, $1,000,000 from England and America was distributed for the relief of the sufferers.”

“Is the hatred of the Turk for the Armenians due exclusively to religious fanaticism?” I asked.

“By no means,” said Doctor Crawford. “The Armenian is a very keen business man, and the Turk is not. The Armenian is thrifty and gets ahead, or at least he would do so if the government would permit him. He is charged with usury. When he loans money he collects his interest and his principal and is usually very strict about it, which makes him unpopular. Baron Rothschild once said that if all the Jews and all the Armenians were put upon a desert island together, the Armenians would have all the money of both before they were rescued. But they are equally successful in the professions, and are eminent as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and especially gifted in oratory. Successful men are often compelled to suffer from the jealousy165 of those who are unsuccessful, and that is one of the chief causes of the persecution of the Armenians in Turkey, as it has been of the persecution of the Jews in Russia.”

“What is the present situation?”

“Comparatively speaking, it is very favourable. There has been a great improvement in the character and the conduct of the Turkish officials since the adoption of the constitution; there is comparatively little oppression; there is less corruption and blackmail; the lives and property of all citizens are comparatively safe; and there have been several cases of justice being granted to Armenians in the courts against their Turkish oppressors, something that was never dreamed of until within the last two years. A few Armenians have been appointed to office, which is another extraordinary thing; all political prisoners have been released; the spy system has been practically abolished; and people are no longer afraid to express their opinions. There are many newspapers and they are printed with the greatest freedom, but as a rule the social and moral conditions are worse than they were under the despotism. What they call liberty we call license, because they do not know any better. They construe the word liberty to mean the privilege of doing whatever they please, and many who have suffered horribly from oppression are now retaliating because in a way there is no means of preventing it. There is more drunkenness, more disorder, more crime, more stealing, more begging than ever before. People seem to lose their self-respect as well as their self-control when the restraint is withdrawn. One of our Armenian pastors said in apology:

“‘We must not expect fruit from a tree that has just been set out.’


“What they need here more than anything else is good men, and that is the work which the American schools are doing.

“Formerly every man professing the Christian faith, from the date of his birth to the date of his death, had to pay $2.50 tax a year in lieu of military service, because none but Moslems were admitted to the army. That rule has been abolished and members of all religious faiths, Jews and Gentiles, are now eligible for military service and are compelled to serve three years in the army when they become of age. Hence the increased emigration, which is becoming very large. Some of our most promising young men among the Armenians and Greeks are going to America. Three of our own native teachers left recently, among others, to work in shirt and collar factories of Troy, N. Y. Others have gone to the shoe factories of Massachusetts, to work in restaurants, and to engage in other business in the United States where their friends have gone before them and have found positions for them. During the last few months sixty promising young men from our little Protestant congregation have left for the United States, and thus our schools and churches are educating future American citizens.

“This emigration is not entirely due to a desire to avoid military service, but very largely to improve their condition. If there was a common foe, if Turkey was at war with some foreign power, the Christian young men would be perfectly willing to go into the army, but they are afraid of being sent to Arabia to suppress uprisings of Mohammedans, a duty from which no soldier ever returns, or to Macedonia to put down insurrections of their co-religionists in that province.

“The Turkish government is trying to make the military167 service more attractive for Christian young men and has commissioned several of the most intelligent young fellows as officers. It is providing military schools for the education of Christian as well as Turkish cadets, and as soon as they are competent gives them posts in the gendarmes.

“The cost of living in Armenia has been increasing gradually for several years,” continued Doctor Crawford, “which is a serious matter for teachers as well as for the pastors of the Greek and Armenian churches, who are very poorly paid and receive barely enough to buy their food. The pastor of our Protestant church is being urged by friends to go to Dakota, where there are several prosperous Armenian colonies. We have a neat little Protestant church here. Services in the Armenian language are held Sunday morning, in the Greek language in the afternoon, and in Turkish in the evening. Many Turks attend our evening service—some from curiosity and some from interest. A thoughtful Turk is usually fair-minded. He is willing to hear what you have to say, although he is not easily convinced. Indeed, there is a great deal that is good in a Turk. He is charitable and hospitable; he is industrious and reasonably honest; and we can get along with him very easily if his religious prejudices are not excited and he is given a good government.”

In April, 1909, there was an organized uprising of fanatical Moslems at Adana, Kessab, and other towns in eastern Turkey, in which more than 25,000 native Christians were massacred and four times as many lost all of their belongings by the burning of their homes. At Tarsus several hundred Armenian houses were destroyed, and at least four thousand refugees were protected from massacre in the grounds and buildings of the American College. At Antioch, forty miles south of Alexandretta, an Armenian population of 7,000 was nearly annihilated. Ruthless gangs of Kurds, Arabs, and Circassians attacked the small Armenian villages, pillaging and burning the houses, and carrying the women into captivity. Kessab, a thrifty Armenian town of 8,000 inhabitants, was entirely destroyed and a large portion of the population was put to death. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, the residences of the American missionaries, an American high school for girls and grammar school for boys were all destroyed. At Adana, Tarsus, and Mersina the atrocities were beyond description, and the survivors of the massacres were reduced to poverty and despair. All the Armenian villages throughout that section were looted and burned, and the crops of the people were destroyed so that 50,000 helpless, innocent peasants fled169 to the mountains, where only starvation remained for them. It is estimated that not less than 25,000 people were massacred and more than 100,000 were made homeless—the victims of a fiendish conspiracy for which Abdul Hamid, the former sultan of Turkey, was directly or indirectly responsible. Appeals for help and protection came down to the cities on the coast from scores of interior towns and villages, but the local officials as a rule, knowing the reason and recognizing the significance of the outbreak, dared not interfere, even had they desired to do so. The consuls of foreign governments cabled information as promptly as possible. American physicians and teachers organized relief forces, and Mr. Kennedy, an American missionary at Alexandretta, even persuaded a battalion of 450 Turkish soldiers to follow him to the relief of Deurtyul, an Armenian city of 10,000 inhabitants, which was besieged by a horde of Kurds and Circassians.

The officials of the American Red Cross at Washington, learning of these horrors through the newspapers, appealed to the Department of State for information and got reports from all our consuls in this part of the world. The Honourable G. Bie Ravndal, American consul-general at Beirut, E. G. Freyer of the Presbyterian mission, and George E. Post of the Syrian Protestant College had already organized a relief committee which was promptly equipped with the authority as well as the supplies of the American Cross.

The sum of $30,500 was sent immediately through the secretary of state and the American ambassador at Constantinople and was liberally expended in feeding the hungry, nursing the wounded, and providing for the orphan children of the families that had been put to death. Temporary170 hospitals for the sick and wounded and barracks and tents for the homeless were erected, provisions and clothing of all kinds were supplied, and as soon as the actual suffering was relieved, seeds and implements were provided for the farmers so that they might be able to replant the crops that had been destroyed.

Mr. Ravndal, who had charge of the disbursements, says in his report: “In every instance we availed ourselves of the services of American, British, and German missionaries in the field, individually known and fully trusted by your committee, as distributing agents. Most of them ‘went through’ the massacre of 1895, and thus acquired experience in relief work. Among such field agents we would especially mention Rev. Mr. Chambers at Adana, Rev. Mr. Dodds at Mersina, Rev. Mr. Kennedy at Alexandretta, Dr. Balph at Latakia, Rev. Mr. Maccullum at Marsh, and Rev. Mr. Trowbridge at large, as having rendered valuable assistance.”

Several heroes were developed and in every case the American missionaries, both men and women, showed coolness and capability, courage and influence, and demonstrated the respect and confidence with which they are regarded by the public. Nesbit Chambers, representative of the Y. M. C. A. at Adana, and Major C. H. M. Doughty-Wylie, British consul at Mersina, and Mrs. Doughty-Wylie distinguished themselves especially by their personal bravery, their presence of mind during the massacres, and their devotion and self-sacrifice in relief work.

It is not the intention of the United States to claim indemnity for the murder of Rev. D. Miner Rogers and Rev. Mr. Maurer, Christian missionaries at Adana, Turkey,171 during the massacres of April, 1909, nor for the destruction of the schools, churches, and other property belonging to the American missions. In the first place, the missionaries do not ask for damages. They do not wish to convert the death of two martyrs into money, but want to convert it into greater security for their lives and their property in the future, and into the advancement of the cause they represent. If the Turkish government will give them greater freedom and broader privileges in their educational, medical, and evangelical work, they will consider that Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer did not die in vain.

Some of the privileges desired have already been granted. Mr. Straus secured for them firmins which give every American school and mission in Turkey rights and privileges that are not enjoyed even by Turkish institutions, and the title to every one of the 161 different property holdings of the American Board of Foreign Missions can now rest in that organization instead of in the name of some individual, which was formerly necessary because the Turkish government would not recognize its corporate existence.

The government of the United States does not wish to claim indemnity for the loss of American lives and property during the massacre, because the present government was in no sense responsible. On the contrary, the massacres were a part of an unsuccessful conspiracy to overthrow it, and to punish the present administration for the hostile acts of its enemies would not only be unjust, but would weaken its standing with the people. The Turkish government needs and deserves the support of the foreign powers, and has all the trouble it can attend to at present.


There is no longer any doubt that Abdul Hamid, the late sultan, planned and ordered a general massacre of Christians in Constantinople and other parts of the empire for Friday, the 14th of April, in order to force the European Powers to seize and occupy the city. In that way he hoped to save his throne. This has been repeatedly admitted by those who were in his confidence at the time. It was the last struggle of despair, but Shevket Pasha, the commander of the troops that were loyal to the young Turks, received notice and pushed on so that he was able to attack Constantinople on the day previous, and thus prevent the sacrifice of Christian lives and property at the Turkish capital, similar to that which took place at Adana, Marash, Tarsus, Aintab, and other places in central Turkey.

In every instance an officer of the sultan’s body-guard appeared at the places where the massacres took place several days previous, bringing instructions to the officials and the police, and several local officials have since confessed that they were simply carrying out orders received from Constantinople, and therefore are not responsible for anything that happened. In certain places Moslem priests appeared and preached in the mosques, calling upon the people to make a holy war and kill all the Christians, beginning on the following day.

The mutiny of the regular army in Constantinople on the 13th of April, 1909, was a part of the conspiracy, and on the 14th, after the regular salamlik, or worship of the sultan at his mosque, they were expecting the signal to be given for a general slaughter of Armenians, Greeks, and other Christians, as well as Europeans, similar to that which occurred years ago.


It is now an open secret that Tchelebi Effendi, the superior of the whirling dervishes, and one of the most highly respected of the Moslem clergy, is the man who sent the warning to Shevket Pasha and the other young Turk leaders. I understand that he does not deny but claims the credit of averting the proposed horrors.

The simultaneous outbreak in Constantinople and in various other parts of the empire is something more than a coincidence. That was the universal conclusion at the time, and now that Abdul Hamid is no longer able to punish those who interested themselves to save the lives of the Christians and the good name of Turkey, some of those who knew of his intentions are willing to tell the truth.

The destruction of lives and property in the interior of Asia Minor was appalling, but very little damage was done in Constantinople, because the timely appearance of the Young Turk army from Macedonia prevented the plan from being carried out.

For the first time in the history of Turkey there are Christian soldiers, Greeks, and Armenians in the regular army. Hitherto none but Mohammedans have been considered worthy to wear the uniform, and Christian young men, instead of serving three or five years in the ranks, were compelled to commute their service in cash, for an exemption they did not desire. The same applied to the Jews, who are also found in the ranks for the first time. In Austria, which, as you know, is a Christian country, Mohammedan soldiers from Bosnia and other provinces are organized in separate companies, have their own barracks, officers of their own faith, and cooks who are accustomed to preparing Mohammedan food. They are regularly excused174 from duty on Friday, the Moslem Sabbath, and have mullahs for chaplains.

The Christian soldiers in the Turkish army are allowed to live apart from the Mohammedans; they are relieved from duty on Sunday, and are given leave to attend service in the Christian church. The Armenian and Greek patriarchs and the Jewish rabbis agree that they have no reason to find fault with the treatment of their co-religionists in the army, except that there are no Christian officers. This is due to the fact that there has been no time to educate them and the government has given assurances that whenever it is possible to find the men, it will commission Christian officers in proportion to the number of privates, and provide Christian chaplains. It is not considered desirable to organize exclusively Christian regiments, and thus far the Mohammedan troops have made no complaint about having Christians quartered with them.

The greatest trouble in the army has been the retirement and dismissal of useless officers. Under the old régime, a cook or a hostler could secure a commission and rapid promotion if he made charges against one of his superiors, or any person who was offensive to the government, and promotion was often earned that way. Abdul Hamid was very generous in rewarding treachery and the cheapest method was by giving military rank. There were thirty-five marshals in the Turkish army when he abdicated, 250 full generals, 600 major-generals and enough brigadier-generals to make a brigade.

All restrictions against the Jewish population of the Ottoman Empire have been removed. Jews can come and go as they please, without permission and without passports,175 and the Haham Bashi, the recognized spiritual head of the Jews in Turkey, has been promised that the government will confer full citizenship upon the Jewish population. It is also disposed to encourage Jewish immigration, which has been theoretically prohibited until now. It is understood that a movement is on foot to divert the movement of Russian Jews from the United States into Turkey. Turkey has always been more favourable to Jewish colonization than any other country in the East, and an enormous area of territory in Asia Minor and Mesopotamia which was formerly densely inhabited, will one day be capable of colonization by the construction of an irrigation system.

There should be no surprise at the attitude of the Mohammedans toward Christian soldiers, however, because the Sheikh-ul-Islam, who is the head of that church, occupies a seat in the cabinet of the new government with Jews and Christians, and has an active part in the work of reform. Shortly after the adoption of the constitution, he issued a circular and caused it to be published throughout the Mohammedan world, asserting the right of members of that faith to associate with persons of other faiths in conducting the affairs of the government. He declared that nothing in the Koran conflicted with constitutional government and that there was no reason why believers in other creeds should not be recognized as having equal rights. He argued that the object of all governments being the welfare and prosperity of the people, it is clear that the claims of all should be considered as of equal strength and that the supreme authority should lie in the people instead of in the king. In ancient times the king was the ruler, the people were the servants, and everything was ordered to suit the176 king’s pleasure. But the Koran does not justify any such system. The king is not the ruler, but the servant of the people, and his highest duty is to find out the wishes of the people and to obey them.

In the same circular he explained that the Mohammedan population of Turkey was labouring under several delusions because they do not understand the Koran, which is written in Arabic, and has never been translated into Turkish. He promised that a translation should be made at once, because, if the people of Turkey cannot read the Koran, they will naturally be ignorant concerning the sacred law, and are likely to fall into mistakes because of a lack of knowledge of the truth. The Arab language is no more sacred than the Turkish language, and the only reason why the Koran was written in Arabic is that Mohammed was the son of an Arab, and knew that language better than any other. Inspiration is not a question of language.

Throughout the interior of the country there has been no trouble between members of the different religious faiths; there have been no persecutions, no complaints of ill treatment from Christians on the part of the Mohammedans, and even the Kurds, who are a barbarous, brutal horde, living on the borders of Armenia, have made no raids and committed no robberies, but are showing the most friendly disposition toward their Christian neighbours.

This is the first time for generations that the different religious denominations in Turkey have been in such a friendly mood toward each other.

One would not be apt to look for co-educational institutions in Turkey, but a very prosperous one is Euphrates College at Harpoot in Armenia, on the banks of the great177 river for which is was named. It is one of the largest and most influential of all the American colleges in Turkey, and was founded in 1876 by Dr. Crosby H. Wheeler, a human dynamo from the state of Maine. The first class graduated from the men’s department in 1880 and from the women’s department in 1883, and a good class has been turned out annually ever since. In looking up the record of the graduates I find that the largest number of both sexes are teachers. Nearly all the unmarried alumnæ are at the head of schools and the married ones are the wives of teachers, ministers and college professors. Of the men graduates the second largest number are in business, the third are ministers, the fourth doctors, and the rest are scattered among the different professions, government officials, druggists, lawyers, farmers, and so on.

The latest catalogue for 1910 shows 1,045 students in the various departments—540 men and boys and 505 women and girls—and the financial report shows that last year the institution came within $2,800 of being self-supporting. Its success is the more remarkable from the fact that it is co-educational in the face of traditions and the prejudice of ages.

Dr. Wheeler was a man of tremendous energy and strength of character, and he left his impress upon the institution, but it has had other important men connected with it since his time. Dr. Caleb F. Gates of Chicago, now at the head of Robert College, was president of Euphrates from 1898 to 1903. Dr. Henry Biggs has since directed its destinies with great ability.

Harpoot is the capital of one of the largest and most important interior provinces of the Turkish empire, called178 Mamuretta-ul-Aziz. It is a city of some 20,000 inhabitants, situated on the top of a small mountain which rises abruptly from the plain a thousand feet below. The plain stretches away to the Euphrates River and is one of the most fertile and densely populated sections of Turkey. The residence of the governor is at the end of the mountain in a city called Mezereh, which in the last ten years has increased rapidly in population, while Harpoot has been practically at a standstill. There are other large cities like Malatea, two days to the west on the Euphrates River, Diarbekir, two days to the northwest, and Egin, still farther north, within the province.

It was inevitable that this centre of wealth and population should have been chosen by the American Board fifty years and more ago as a centre from which to carry on mission work for that district. The people were found to be unusually intelligent and enterprising. They responded quickly to Western ideas which the missionaries brought into the country. It was from that province that the first emigrants to America came in large numbers, and to-day there are probably more Armenians and Turks in the United States from Mamuretta-ul-Aziz than from any other single province in the empire, notwithstanding the fact that from Harpoot to the Black Sea is a journey of from four to five hundred miles, and it is nearly the same distance to the Mediterranean on the southwest.

The people responded promptly to the suggestion of modern education. This natural impulse was greatly fostered by the young men who came to the United States and reported the great value of an education in English. It was but natural for the schools, started at the very179 beginning of the missionary enterprise, to pass through a stage of rapid development until a college resulted, which was at first called “Armenia College,” because Harpoot is really in the heart of ancient Armenia, and also because the students were mostly Armenians. When the Turkish government became suspicious of everything Armenian, it was necessary to change the name of the college and accordingly it has since been called “Euphrates College.”

Unlike other American colleges in the Turkish Empire, it has been co-educational from the first, in that it has departments for both women and men. They are under the same administration, although, of course, it is impossible for the two sexes to mingle in the same school rooms and only in a few cases in later years have they been able to recite together. From the first, however, teachers in the boys’ department have also had classes in the girls’ department, and the institution has been under a single president. The girls’ department has had a separate head, holding the title of dean.

From the beginning the college has been overcrowded with students. The Armenians, instinctively eager for advancement, with unusually alert minds, saw at once the commercial value of modern education for their sons. At the same time, not a few of them realized the value of education for their daughters. We cannot be sure what advantages were uppermost in their thoughts in discussing this matter among themselves, but perhaps a statement made by a widowed mother who, at great sacrifice, put her daughter into the school, may show one side of the question. “I am perfectly willing to make the sacrifice,” she said, “because I know in the end I shall get the money all back,180 and more. If my daughter marries, with her present ignorance, she will have to marry a farmer or a common labourer. If, however, I can give her a full college education, she will marry a preacher or a teacher or some other professional man who will have a much larger income and hold a position of greater honour.”

As a result of the general sentiment in favour of the education of women which prevails in the entire province, the girls’ college has been prosperous from the beginning. A large proportion of the expenses were met by the parents, they were so eager to have their girls educated. The latest catalogue shows 74 girls in the college, 60 in the high school and 247 in the lower departments, making 381 in all. Some of the graduates who have had post-graduate courses in other institutions are employed as teachers. As a result of its influence and the desire of the people for a more liberal education for their daughters, flourishing girls’ schools have sprung up in various parts of the province, some of them reaching the high school grade. These are, for the most part, supported by the people themselves, but the teachers are provided from the American College.

The boys’ college has followed practically the same course as other American colleges in the Turkish Empire, except that the number of students has been unusually large and almost wholly from the Armenian race. There have been a few Syrian students, and some other races are represented, but a great majority are Armenians.

The total number of students in the institution has sometimes passed one thousand, and the average attendance in the college department alone has usually stood at about two hundred. A majority of the one thousand have been181 in grades below the high school, but all under the general administration of the college. Seven years ago 34 per cent. of the students in the college came from within a radius of fifteen miles, immediately adjacent to Harpoot. But since then 56 per cent. have come from outside that radius. In the meantime the increased interest in education has caused other important schools to grow up in the vicinity, which have relieved the local pressure upon the college, allowing it to take more students from abroad.

The college is recognized as a strong force in that part of Turkey. It is the only institution of its grade for a population of three or four millions of people. Eastward to Persia, southward into Mesopotamia and northward to the Black Sea, it has the entire field to itself for the higher education of both men and women. It is the model upon which government institutions are now being established, and the faculty are often called upon to aid the officials in organizing and conducting them. It has had close relations with the government for at least twenty years, being recognized officially as an American college, with a charter from the Imperial Turkish government, and its commanding position at the head of the educational work of all that part of Turkey is acknowledged by all classes.

Immediately following the massacres of 1895, the college, which then had practically its entire plant burned out, took a prominent part in looking after the thousands of orphans that were left in the district. It was a leading force for some years in relief work; thousands of dollars of relief funds passed through the hands of its treasurer and were distributed under the direction of the then president, Caleb F. Gates, D.D., LL.D., now president of Robert College at182 Constantinople. The industrial enterprises started then to give employment to the destitute have been maintained, including weaving, lacemaking, tailoring, and other trades which are taught to the students, and through which they are able to earn at least a part of their tuition.

The teaching force of the college numbers forty-five, including six Americans, all the rest being natives with the exception of one Swiss teacher. Two of the native teachers have taken graduate courses in Europe, one is now taking a post-graduate course in America; three or four who were formerly teachers in the college are now studying in America at their own expense, with the expectation of returning later to resume their work.

In connection with the college there has been for fifty years a theological seminary for training young men for the Christian ministry. It was at first a part of the college itself, but when the college was put under an independent board of trustees in America, it was separated from the rest of the institution, and has remained a part of the mission plant.

In the early days the college had a printing establishment and published a monthly paper in English which circulated among the English-speaking people of the country, especially among the friends of the college in America. When the Turkish government became suspicious and the censors began their work of suppression, this printing press was stopped and the government seal was put on it to prevent its being used in the future. The college was even fined fifty dollars for having run a press without official sanction. For twenty-five years the press was silent, but as soon as the constitution was proclaimed, one of the fundamental183 principles of which is a free press, the college printing office at Harpoot was again started and has met with no government interference up to the present time. New furniture has been secured and the work goes on satisfactorily. Before the press was stopped, a large number of text-books for the use of the college and lower schools had been published. Fearing that the work might be interfered with, the Rev. Crosby H. Wheeler, D.D., founder and at that time president of the college, ran the press to its full capacity up to the very moment the police appeared. In this way a supply of text-books was produced which stood the educational work well in hand during the period of silence.

One cannot speak of this large station of the American Board without referring to the medical work. Dr. West, the first medical missionary at Sivas, had for one of his students and assistants a bright young Armenian who later took up practice himself at Harpoot. Because of his thorough training he was able to supply in large measure the medical needs at that city. For years he attended the missionaries and their children. Later there was a loud call for an American physician, so that ten years ago it was decided to begin medical work. A commodious hospital was erected at the foot of the hill on the plain below Harpoot, which was formally opened only in the fall of 1910, with the governor and higher officials present, all speaking in high terms of approbation of the missionary doctors and their benefits to that country.

As a branch of this station, medical work has been established in Diarbekir, nearly one hundred miles to the south, with funds left in a legacy by an Armenian formerly connected with the mission school in that place and afterward184 a prosperous merchant in the United States. He was so much interested in missionary work, especially in his native city, that he gave $10,000 for the construction of a hospital and $20,000 as an endowment for its continuous support.

Hospitals and dispensaries in Turkey are far more nearly self-supporting than similar institutions in Europe and America. The people are always ready to pay for medical attendance and for medicines. Some of the mission hospitals are wholly self-supporting; many are partly so. Men of wealth who have received substantial help from Christian hospitals often give liberally for the up-keep of those institutions in order that those who cannot pay for what they receive may be treated free.

In Harpoot are two large Protestant churches, with smaller churches in all of the centres of population, and in the villages of the field. Protestant principles have become widely disseminated and the relations between Christians and Mohammedans are cordial and friendly. Conditions are very different now from what they were a few years ago in this respect.

Nowhere in all the world, not even in China or Japan, are the results of the labours and influence of American missionaries more conspicuous or more generally recognized than in the Ottoman Empire. They have not confined themselves to making converts to Christianity, but their intelligence and enterprise have been felt even more extensively and effectively in the material than in the spiritual improvement of the people. The first electric telegraph instrument in Turkey was set up by missionaries. They introduced the first sewing machine, the first printing press, and the first modern agricultural implements. They brought the tomato and the potato and the other valuable vegetables and fruits that are now staples; they built the first hospitals; they started the first dispensary and the first modern schools. Before they came, not one of the several races in Turkey had the Bible in its own language. To-day, thanks to the American missionaries, every subject of the Turkish sultan can read the Bible in his own language, if he can read at all.

But a large volume would be necessary to tell what I would like to say on this subject. Mr. Bryce, the British ambassador to Washington, in one of his books, says: “I cannot mention the American missionaries without a tribute to the admirable work they have done. They have186 been the only good influence that has worked from abroad upon the Turkish Empire.” Sir William Ramsey, the famous British scientist, who has spent much time in Turkey, is quite as enthusiastic, and I could quote a dozen other equally competent authorities as to the character of the men and the results they have accomplished.

In the division of territory the Presbyterians have Syria, the United Presbyterians Egypt, while European Turkey and Asia Minor are occupied by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, affiliated with the Congregational Church, with headquarters at Boston. There are several Church of England missions, but no central organization. The Swedish, German, and Swiss Lutherans have schools, churches, and orphanages. The French Roman Catholics have schools and hospitals in Asia Minor in charge of Capuchin and Franciscan monks, but the chief missionary work in Turkey—educational, benevolent, and evangelical—has been done by agents of the American Board since 1820, when two pioneers, Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons, landed at Smyrna and began to prepare themselves for preaching and teaching, by learning the native languages.

The actual number of central stations of the American Board of Foreign Missions in Turkey in 1910 is seventeen, at which 159 American born missionaries are engaged. There are 263 out-stations, with 1,032 native Protestant pastors and labourers, and 46,131 adherents; and 444 schools and colleges with an average attendance of 23,846 students. This is the summary of returns for the year 1910.

The headquarters from which the campaign of evangelization187 is directed is called the Bible House in Stamboul, the native section of Constantinople, which was built in 1871 and is to-day the most far-reaching lighthouse in all the East. Its rays penetrate to every corner of the Ottoman Empire. Here are the offices of administration, the depository of the Bible Society, the printing plant and publication house, the treasury, the library, the information bureaus, and other branches of the work. If you ever want to know anything about missions or missionaries in the near East, individually or collectively, their personnel, their purposes, or the results they have accomplished, or anything about American education and charitable work in Turkey, write to the Bible House, Stamboul, Constantinople, and if you have any money to contribute toward the expenses of the great work that is going on, send it there to Dr. Peet.

The most far-reaching work of the American missionaries is educational, which comprehends all races, all religions, and all languages. They are educating representatives of every one of the many different races of which the Turkish Empire is composed, regardless of religious faith—Turks, Arabs, Egyptians, Armenians, Kurds, Persians, Macedonians, Bulgars, Druses, Nestorians, Greeks, Russians, Georgians, Circassians, and others too numerous to mention. Their influence is thus extended to every community, because no student leaves an American institution without carrying with him the germs of progress which must affect the family and the neighbourhood and all of the inhabitants with whom he may thereafter come in contact. This influence has been working for half a century or more and has been preparing the minds of the people for the great change that has recently come over them. The missionaries do188 not teach revolution; they do not encourage revolutionary methods, but they have always preached and taught liberty, equality, fraternity, and the rights of man.

The congregations of the American churches, and especially the pupils of the missionary schools, are usually reduced from 25 to 30 per cent. ever year by immigration to the United States. Having learned from their teachers of the advantages and the opportunities that exist across the water, having acquired the English language, and being able to get good advice as to location and often letters of introduction, they have decided advantages over ordinary emigrants and for the same reason they make the best sort of citizens when they reach their new homes. It had been very difficult for an emigrant to leave Turkey until two years ago, but somehow or another, there has been a constant stream running that way for a quarter of a century.

A dozen missionaries have told me that the brightest and most promising young men and women in their districts, and especially the best teachers in their schools, have emigrated. Many of them go to Massachusetts, Chicago has thousands, and there is a large colony in Troy working in the shirt and collar factories. For example, the churches at Harpoot had 3,107 members one year and 2,413 the next. The balance had gone to America. One fourth of the congregation of the mission church at Bitlis emigrated, almost in a body, last year. It would be a great deal better for Turkey if these people would stay at home and use the knowledge and the principles they have gained in the regeneration of their country, but it cannot be denied that they are among the most valuable immigrants of all the aliens that go to the United States.


Most of the mission churches are small, like those in the villages of the United States, with congregations of only twenty-five or thirty or fifty members. Those in the cities are larger, several having more than a thousand members. They are organized just like the Protestant churches in the United States with native pastors and native church officers. They have Sunday schools, prayer meetings, Christian Endeavor societies and other organizations, and they study the same Sunday school lessons as the Protestant children in the United States.

Most of them are self-supporting. Sometimes the newly organized congregations get a little help from the United States at the start, but the great majority of native converts pay more for their religion and make greater sacrifices than the Christians of the United States. For example, thirteen out of twenty-seven churches in the Central Turkish mission are not only entirely self-supporting but contribute substantial aid to weaker churches in their neighbourhood. In the entire Turkish Empire last year the native churches paid five sixths of all the expenses of education, worship, and charity.

The board pays the salaries of the missionaries, but the effort is to bring the native churches to a condition of pecuniary independence for the reason that it stimulates their pride and their ambition; it gives them confidence and self-respect, which, as everybody knows, are the strongest elements in the formation of national as well as individual character. Notwithstanding the extension of the work, the amount of money contributed by the United States for the support of native churches has been growing smaller every year. Whereas the board contributed $54,585 to190 assist native churches twenty years ago, in 1910 it gave less than $20,000.

The most significant feature of the statistical reports of American missions in Turkey is the column which gives the contributions of the natives for the support of their churches. In 1910, the total was $119,987, an increase from $92,937 for the year 1903.

This is very remarkable, and means ten times as much as the same amount would mean in America, because of the poverty of the people and the fact that the earnings of the great mass of native Christians do not often exceed thirty or forty cents a day. This money is given voluntarily for the erection and support of houses of worship, for the salaries of their native pastors, and for the circulation of religious literature. It may safely be said that no Christian community in the world, unless it be the Roman Catholics of Ireland, contributes so large a portion of its income for religious purposes as the native Protestants of Turkey. Because of the liberality of the people in this respect the Protestant church in Turkey has been able to enjoy the ministration of educated pastors. This accounts also for the large attendance of natives upon the American schools, which derive a larger proportion of their income from tuition fees probably than any other schools of their class in the world. This is particularly true of the American colleges. No college these days pretends to live, and few could survive without, endowments, but the American colleges in Turkey are more dependent upon their tuition fees and less dependent upon endowments for support than any similar institutions in existence.

In making a comparison of the American and Turkish191 schools, Dr. Crawford, a veteran missionary teacher at Trebizond, said:

“Although the Department of Public Instruction at Constantinople is making noble efforts to improve the schools of Turkey, they still are limited in quantity and poor in quality. The Mohammedan schools are taught by priests, who are themselves, with few exceptions, illiterate. The pupils sit on the floor of a mosque swaying back and forth, studying about the three ‘R’s’—reading, writing and ’rithmetic—and the Koran, of course. They pay more attention to that than to anything else, and, indeed, some of the mullahs are so illiterate that they would not be able to read anything else. Of late the Turkish officials have begun to recognize the usefulness of Christian schools and not only tolerate them, but are introducing their methods to a degree into the mosque schools. With a liberal and intelligent minister of education there ought to be a decided improvement in the Turkish system of instruction, but there will be great difficulty in securing teachers. Of course, women teachers cannot be utilized and men who have education enough to qualify them to teach properly can get positions under the government or elsewhere that pay much better salaries than teaching school.

“The Greeks have excellent schools and their people show a craving for knowledge which is characteristic of the race. The Roman Catholics have French and Italian schools for the colonies of those nations under the instruction of Jesuits and Capuchin monks, and they are usually very good. But the lack of education throughout the Turkish Empire is deplorable, and if the American schools have done nothing else than stimulate a rivalry on the part of the other192 religious denominations and the government, the money that has been contributed to support them has been well invested.

“As a rule, both the Greek and the Armenian clergy are uneducated. Most of them are very little higher intellectually than the Turkish mullahs. Some of them can merely read the service, and no more. There is no inducement for educated men to go into the priesthood because the pay is so small; altogether too small to enable them to live decently and to give their families the ordinary comforts of life. Educated men cannot afford to become priests, and as education is not required in either the Greek or Armenian Churches, when a priest dies the congregation select one of their own number who happens to be able to read and make him their priest. A bishop of the Armenian Church in this vicinity recently resigned to accept a government office, and gave as his reason for doing so that his salary was not sufficient to support his family and to educate his children.

“Agricultural and industrial education is needed more than anything else in order to enable the people to get the best profit from their labour and to teach them to use modern labour-saving implements and methods.

“It is the policy of the missionaries to make the natives do everything for themselves so far as practicable, and native pastors relieve them of much of their labour except supervision. But at the same time the missionary must drive new stakes and plough new ground and plant new seeds all the time to extend his sphere of influence. And he travels about for this reason, holding religious services in the native languages and drawing believers together until he gets enough material to start a church. I know a man who193 preaches three times every Sunday in three different languages in different places to different congregations—Turkish, Armenian and Greek. And they have all kinds of schools to look after, from kindergartens to theological seminaries. The latter are especially important because they furnish pastors for the native churches. The faculties in the American colleges are nearly all natives, but the presidents, the deans, and the treasurers are always Americans, and the boards of trustees are mixed.”

If you would attend a gathering of native pastors in Turkey you would find that they compare favourably in appearance and manners and intelligence and education with the members of any conference or presbytery or ministerial association in the United States, and that is one of the reasons why their work has been so successful. The Moslem priests and the clergy of the orthodox Greek and Armenian churches are almost universally uncouth and illiterate men and the public in Turkey is prompt and keen in detecting the difference.

President Angell, of the University of Michigan, who was United States minister to Turkey for several years, once said: “So far as Americans are concerned the missionary work in European Turkey and Asia Minor is and long has been almost exclusively in the hands of the American Board. In no part of the world has that board or any board had abler or more devoted representatives to preach the gospel, to conduct schools and colleges or to establish and administer hospitals. Wherever an American mission is established, there is a centre of alert, enterprising American life, whose influence in a hundred ways is felt even by the lethargic Oriental life.”


The vital need, however, is chapels. Every congregation ought to have a home and its own place of worship. It is not necessary to explain the advantages. They are obvious. It is just ten times as important for a native congregation in Turkey to have its own house of worship as it is for a congregation in the United States, and for the same reason. And, as a rule, the congregation in the United States has ten times the financial ability to provide its own house of worship as the little circle of native believers in Turkey.

Each of the one hundred and fifty-nine American missionaries in Turkey to-day has a district like the diocese of an Episcopal bishop, with a dozen or twenty churches under his care. He visits them regularly, advises with their pastors, superintends their schools, and exercises a paternal authority over the people. They consult him concerning their temporal as well as their spiritual welfare, not only the members of his congregation, but men of every class. No class of people in all Turkey are so trusted by the officials and the public and by every race as the American missionaries. All classes accept the word of a missionary without question. Money is intrusted to him for safe-keeping or for transmission to other hands without asking for a receipt, and it is a common thing for officials of high rank to seek counsel of missionaries when they are in doubt or in danger. As a well-known writer has said:

“They know that in times of trouble the missionary is their best friend, no matter how much they may have abused him in times of prosperity. They know that he will always do what he believes to be for their best good, even though there may be a difference of judgment as to what is the best195 thing. In the midst of Oriental duplicity the missionaries have established a reputation for speaking the truth. At first this was one of the severest puzzles to the Turks in the dealings of the missionaries with the government. They could conceive of no reason for telling the truth under such circumstances, so they were completely misled.”

Under the new régime, the missionaries are having their own way. They are being sought instead of seeking. Not only are they free to come and go and introduce American ideas and knowledge, but the government is taking away their best native teachers and is using them for the education of more young men and young women who are needed to take charge of the public schools.

Until the constitution was proclaimed missionary education and medical work was seriously hampered throughout the Levant by the government authorities, and the remarkable results that have been accomplished by the American missionaries have been obtained in the face of all kinds of obstacles and embarrassments. Travelling permits were refused by the police and neither the missionaries nor their native helpers were allowed to go freely from place to place. The missionaries, when buying real estate, often have been required to give pledges that it would not be used for religious or educational purposes. Twenty-nine years ago the Protestants of Constantinople purchased a site for a house of worship, and the American ambassador has not yet been able to obtain permission for them to erect a building. Places of worship and schools have frequently been closed by order of the officials. The residences and the school-houses of American missionaries have often been searched and books and manuscripts—even ordinary text books—196have been seized and destroyed. Schools have been burned by local fanatics and several American missionaries have suffered martyrdom.

No Moslem can be released from his religious obligations, and when he renounces his faith and professes any other religion the only punishment is death. Hitherto the only safety for a convert was to flee from his country before his conversion became known. This is not strange when it is considered that Islam is the political as well as the religious system of the country; the judges of the courts are theologians; the shariat, or code of laws, is based upon the Koran, and both are grounded upon divine authority as set forth in the teachings of the Prophet.

In discussing this question with the late Rev. Herbert M. Allen, editor and founder of The Orient, the enterprising American missionary newspaper, at Constantinople, whose death in 1910 was a sad loss to the cause of civilization in Turkey, he said:

“The most imperative need of Turkey in an educational way at present is a high-class theological seminary, such as you have in Chicago and New York. Here we are in the land of the Bible. Nearly all the religions of the world originated in this section. Here the gospel was first preached. Turkey is occupied to-day with the same races that lived here then, all of them preserving their memorials. I believe that a non-sectarian theological seminary established here for the purpose of teaching Biblical history and comparative theology in a broad way would appeal to every one of these races. The schools of theology that we have to-day appeal only to those who intend to enter the Protestant missionary service, but a seminary on a197 university basis, like that at Chicago, would draw ambitious young men from all races and denominations, and would undoubtedly receive sufficient patronage to become self supporting with the aid of the endowments that such an institution should command.

“The weakness of the Greek and the Armenian Churches has been the absence of an educated clergy. Their lack of influence among the people; their lack of progress, and the diminishing respect that is shown to the profession is due to this cause. Such a seminary would educate leaders in thought and progress in the social and political, as well as the religious, life of the country. And what this country needs more than anything else is educated leaders.

“The several races that make up the population of the Turkish Empire are all represented in the Armenian schools,” continued Mr. Allen, “but vary according to localities. In Armenia most of the students are Armenians; in the colleges nearer the coast and the commercial cities the larger number are Greeks. As for Mohammedans, they are scattered and have been comparatively few in number until recently, but now the eagerness for education is so great that a Moslem father will send his son to a Christian college without the slightest hesitation. They have no fear that their children will be proselyted by Christian teachers, and they know they will get a good education; that their morals will be protected; that their health will be looked after, and that they will be given a broad view of things. There is no difficulty in mixing the different creeds. They all worship together and sit together in the dining-room and mingle in the playgrounds, as well as in the classroom. And they submit without the198 slightest hesitation to all the rules concerning prayers and divine worship and the study of the Bible.

“Outside of Constantinople, the American colleges have no competition. There are some French schools and the Greeks have contributed plenty of money for the education of their own race, but they do not seem to know how to spend it. Not long ago I visited a Greek college near Cesarea, endowed by a wealthy merchant in Constantinople. I found fine buildings, well equipped, but everybody told me the schools scarcely amounted to anything. The reason is that they have incompetent teachers and poor management and what is still worse, the lack of an ideal. The success of the American schools and their popularity is due to the high American ideal that is maintained by the faculties. It combines discipline, punctuality, truth, honour, self-control, self-respect, and other virtues that are not always found in the Oriental, but which are just as essential for good citizens and well-rounded characters here as anywhere else. We aim to make our students full men; to elevate them to the highest standard of manhood, and that is the reason of the influence and the success of the American schools. We have practically no competition in that line of education.

“Very often the same families who send pupils to us will first send them to a French school to study French, but they afterward send them to us to get what they call the American training; that standard of manhood and sterling character which most of our graduates have taken away with their diplomas.

“There is an English school in Constantinople for the benefit of English children, although other nationalities are199 admitted, and there are various other schools, but the American is the only nationality or religious denomination that has ever attempted general educational work in Turkey.

“What race is most responsive and appreciative of the opportunities furnished by the American schools?

“The Armenians by all means. From the beginning they have filled our schools. They are the most progressive element in the empire and they appreciate the value of education more highly than any other race. Several years ago, before Abdul Hamid showed his hostility to them, the Armenians started what was called ‘The Union Educational Society,’ which established primary schools in various parts of Armenia. When the sultan began to persecute the Armenians the schools were closed and the society was converted into a political organization, but since the revolution it has been re organized under an excellent board of managers and is doing good work, establishing schools in different parts of that province.

“They already have opened sixty to my knowledge and the number is increasing so fast that it is difficult to keep track of them. Mr. Minassian, a graduate of Yale, who took a post-graduate course in pedagogy and applied sciences at Harvard, is the superintendent of these schools—and a very competent man. He could have been an assistant professor at Yale if he had been willing to stay there, but he came over here to assist in the regeneration of his native country and is doing splendid work. He is making a special feature of agriculture and is teaching the young men, and the old men, also, how to get better results from the soil.

“The missionaries in Armenia are considering the question200 of placing their common schools under his direction, and I think within a few years it will be an accomplished fact, provided they can come to some satisfactory understanding concerning the regulations. Armenia will be the most progressive and prosperous part of the Ottoman Empire before many years. The ambition of the people is unbounded; their national pride is stronger and their industry is greater than that of any other race. No people have suffered so much, but none has gained more than the Armenians.”

“Has there been any change in the policy of the government toward education?”

“Decidedly. The new government seems to be working very hard to organize an educational system throughout the empire and is copying European methods. It is sending boys to foreign countries to be educated for teachers, and is also placing students in almost every one of the American colleges and high schools. Five government students have matriculated at Robert College and five young women entered the American College for Girls last winter to be educated at the government’s expense as instructors in the national schools. When the American College for Girls moves to its new location next year, the imperial government will start a school in their old building, with the American college as its model. Normal schools and high schools are being opened as fast as competent instructors can be found, but the great obstacle to the extension of the school system is the lack of teachers and the inability to pay such salaries as will tempt educated men to undertake the work.

“The most significant and satisfactory feature of the new régime is the recognition of Christian schools on the same201 basis as Moslem schools by the Department of Education. In the allotment of the funds appropriated for education the American missionary schools are receiving the same assistance as those recently organized by the government.”

In the work of the American missionaries in Turkey, as in other parts of the world, printing presses are of importance. Without them little could have been accomplished; slow progress would have been made. There are two great publication houses in the near East, one under the direction of the Presbyterian board at Beirut, and the other under the Congregational church in Constantinople. They are the most complete and modern printing plants in that part of the world, representing an investment of many thousands of dollars and equal to any of their size in the United States. The presses are going all the time, turning out an average of fifty million pages each a year in not less than ten languages. The output, since the presses were established in 1833, has undoubtedly been as large as that of any other printing house in the world, and indeed there are few of longer or greater age or better record.

The entire plan of missionary work in Turkey at the beginning was based upon the use of these presses, and within three years after the first missionaries arrived in that field, a plant was set up on the island of Malta to furnish literature for Palestine and Turkey. It was considered unsafe to attempt at that time to do any printing on Turkish soil, and Malta, being under the British flag, was the nearest locality where the presses could run without interruption. In 1833, the political atmosphere having cleared, the Arabic outfit was transferred to Beirut in Syria, while the Greek,202 Turkish, and Armenian branches were set up in Smyrna. During the ten years at Malta, more than twenty-one million pages were printed for the benefit of Greeks, Armenians and Turks. This included text-books for the elementary schools, which were chiefly translations of standard American editions. Then came the Bible, which has since been translated and published entire in four different languages, and partially in several more, and distributed by millions of copies throughout the East.

The Bible was translated into Turkish and published at Smyrna in 1836. Dr. Elias Riggs’s translation into Armenian was published in 1852, and his translation into Bulgarian in 1871. The Arabic Bible, translated by Smith and Van Dyck, has since been issued from the Beirut press, and more than 1,500,000 copies have been circulated.

In a single year the American press at Beirut issued 152,500 volumes of distinctively Biblical literature, with a total of 47,278,000 pages, in addition to nearly 9,000,000 pages of text-books and other literature, making a total of 56,000,000 pages from that one plant.

This other literature consists of hymn books, school books of all kinds and of all grades, from kindergarten material to theological and medical works; picture books for children, Christmas cards, Sunday-school lessons, story books, translations of standard works, and several original works by both native and American authors.

The work of Bible publication has since continued under the patronage of the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Societies, until the entire Scriptures are now available for all Turkish, Arabic, Syrian, Persian, Armenian, Bulgarian, and Greek speaking peoples, and the203 New Testament, the Psalms and other parts are available for Kurds and Albanians. It is bound in cheap form and convenient size and sold at cost. Very few copies are given away.

Although the Armenian claims to be the oldest branch of the Christian church, yet when the American missionaries came, they had only a few manuscript copies of the Bible, kept in monasteries or in the larger churches, carefully guarded by priests who were themselves unable to read the text, while the people were permitted only to kiss the covers which were often of solid silver. To-day, thanks to Dr. Elias Riggs, one of the veteran American missionaries, every Armenian can have his copy of the Scriptures in his own language at a nominal price. It is a significant fact that the editions are disposed of as rapidly as they are turned off the press, and it is asserted by competent authority that this book has done more to unify and simplify the modern Armenian language than all other influences combined.

The same is true of the Bulgarian language. There was no Bulgarian literature until American missionaries began to write it, and the missionary presses began to publish it. Of the first one hundred books in the Bulgarian language seventy were issued by the missionary press at Smyrna and Constantinople.

The Kurds, a powerful and populous element of the Turkish Empire, had no written language and no literature of any kind until the American missionaries created one for them and translated the New Testament into the local dialect written with Armenian characters.

The Albanians had no literature when the Americans came, and it would not be far from the truth to say that204 they have none now except what the missionaries have given them.

Although every Turk is a Mohammedan and the sultan of Turkey is the recognized head of that faith, the Koran, the Moslem Bible, written by the prophet Mohammed, has never been printed in the Turkish language, but remains exclusively in the Arabic tongue, in which it is written, but the Bible has been printed in Turkish for nearly seventy-five years, and may be read to-day in his own dialect by every one of the many races which constitute the Mohammedan world.

When the Americans first began to issue literature in Arabic the scholars of that race criticised the type, which had been made in Europe and was about as perfect as English type would be if it were made by an Arab. Rev. Eli Smith, who was in charge at that time, realized that half the value of the American publications would be lost unless their typographical appearance met with the approval of the artistic taste of Mohammedan scholars. The type did not exist and it was his duty to create it. He made models of the letters of the alphabet by copying them from choice Arabic manuscripts, and in 1836 he took them to Germany to be cast. The voyage ended in a shipwreck and all his work was lost in the waters of the Mediterranean. Dr. Smith, however, was a patient and persistent man. He began again at the beginning and did it all over with the greatest care and fonts of type were cast in the Tauchnitz establishment at Leipzig under his supervision. After five years of patient labour, the first book was issued from the mission press at Beirut in 1841, and it was not only a model of the “art preservative,” but was undoubtedly the most205 perfect and beautiful specimen of Arabic printing ever seen.

Then the work of printing the Bible was decided upon and Dr. Smith was detailed to superintend it. It was the labour of his life, and no literary task was ever conducted with such conscientious care. As soon as he had completed one of the books it was put into type, and a hundred proofs were struck off and sent to educated Syrians and Arabs and British, American and German scholars, whose criticisms were carefully considered, and, after twenty-eight years of hard work by Dr. Smith and his successor, Dr. Van Dyck, the American press at Beirut issued a translation which has received the approval of all the real Arabic scholars of the day.

The next step was to electrotype the pages and secure duplicate plates that would insure its preservation forever, and that long and costly labour, which involved probably the hardest task of proof-reading ever undertaken, has recently been completed by Dr. Franklin P. Hoskins of Beirut.

The mission press of Beirut, under Dr. Hoskins’s direction, had already issued 1,535,266 copies of the Arabic Bible up to December 31, 1909, which have been distributed among the Mohammedan races from the Adriatic to the Yellow Seas. Thousands of copies have gone to our Mohammedan wards in the Philippines. They are to be found in Yucatan, in Brazil, in the Argentine Republic, and at the Cape of Good Hope. There is a regular demand from every section of Asia and Africa, where most of the followers of Mohammed live. They generally accept the Old Testament as history and claim the patriarchs and the prophets as their own.


Next in importance to the publication of the Bible, has been the work of producing text-books for the schools in the East. Like the general literature, they are mostly reprints and translations of American editions, but they have to be adapted in a measure to local conditions. The courses in the American colleges in Turkey are conducted in English, but French, German, Turkish, and other languages are taught. For these American text-books are used, the same as in our own colleges, but for the common schools of the Turkish Empire an entire set of school books had to be created by the American missionaries, which have since been adopted by the government for local use.

No geography, or history, or arithmetic, or anything else in Turkish or the other ten languages in common use in that empire existed when the Americans undertook their campaign of education seventy-five years ago. They had to be prepared and printed with the sultan’s stupid and malicious censors looking over the shoulders of the writers and the printers and the proof-readers to prevent the publication of anything that might reflect upon the benign policy of “the great assassin,” as Mr. Gladstone called him, or suggest to the people ideas inconsistent with their poverty and retrogression. Many amusing stories are told of the ridiculous rules and corrections made by these censors. Even the text of the Bible had to be changed and certain passages omitted because they taught the doctrine of human rights and referred to penalties visited upon unjust rulers by God and man. The word Armenia, the name of one of the largest provinces of the Ottoman Empire, was forbidden, and the name of Macedonia, another, was also placed upon the list of terms that could not be used.207 The same rules that were applied by the censors to daily newspapers were applied to the Bible and all other books, but nevertheless the presses have never been stopped and the influence of the literature they have issued is incalculable.

For two generations the two publishing houses of the American missions have issued newspapers in Armenian, Greek, Bulgarian, Arabic, and other languages used in the Turkish Empire, which have had a wide circulation and a permanent influence among all classes. These papers contain reviews of current events, religious intelligence, stories and poetry, miscellaneous information, and have been the only newspapers that have been allowed to circulate in certain portions of the empire.

The Orient, a weekly founded by Herbert Allen and published by the Bible House in Constantinople, for example, contains items of interest to the native Christian communities all over the empire. Among other things I have found in it the best reports of the proceedings of the Turkish Parliament I have seen anywhere.

Monthly magazines containing religious and general literature are issued regularly and have a large circulation. Theological and scientific discussions and the news of the scientific world are published for the benefit of professional readers. In other words, the missionary presses have been putting out for circulation throughout the Turkish Empire the same sort of literature that is expected from our own first-class publishing houses in the United States, to supply the needs of people whose intellects are gradually awakening, to develop native writers, and to create a demand for their writings, so that they may live by their pens.

There have been many eminent and remarkable men208 among the American missionaries in Turkey, and several of them have had remarkable experiences. The career of the Rev. Dr. Elias Riggs stands unique in missionary annals. For sixty-nine years he laboured in the Turkish Empire, with only one visit to the United States. On that occasion, he was invited to accept a professorship at Yale University, which he promptly declined in order to continue his missionary work. Doctor Riggs was a genius in languages. He was one of the most learned men of his time. He was the King of Translators. He translated the Bible and other books into all the languages of Turkey and Bulgaria. He translated many hymns into those languages, and many of his own verses are still sung in the Christian churches of the East. His entire life was devoted to the labour of bringing Christian literature within reach of the numerous races which composed the Ottoman Empire, for no foreigner has ever known their complex dialects so well as he.

At one time there was a very stormy meeting of missionaries at Constantinople. Good men often differ in opinion and sometimes do not hesitate to criticise the opinions of others. If everybody thought alike this world would not make much progress. We all know that friction makes the wheels go round. It was one of those occasions when good men of strong character differ as to the proper course that should be adopted, and the discussion was long and earnest, and sometimes so earnest that some of the wise and good men lost their tempers. A new-comer, who was deeply interested in the debate and sat through the sessions for several days, asked one of his colleagues the name of “a little old man who has been present from the beginning and has never said a word.” The reply was:


“That is Dr. Elias Riggs, and he is able to keep silent in seventeen different languages.”

At the dedication of a new church in Smyrna, several years ago, the programme of exercises was made up so that every community in that polyglot city should be represented, and Dr. Riggs, who presided, introduced each speaker in the language he was to use.

Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, founder of Robert College at Constantinople, was a master of colloquial conversation, which he picked up by contact with his fellow men rather than from books, and, while he was not always correct in his moods and tenses, he never failed to make himself understood. He used to tell a good story on himself to illustrate the difference between his own linguistic accomplishments and those of Dr. Riggs. He said that a learned Armenian, complimenting him upon the freedom with which he spoke that language, remarked:

“Dr. Riggs, he speaks the Armenian grammatic; but you speak Armenian idiotic.”

Dr. Riggs was never detected in a grammatical error in the use of the seventeen languages with which he was familiar. Whether he was speaking, writing, or translating, he used each language “grammatic.”

When Dr. Riggs was in the prime of his usefulness, a committee previously appointed, finished a translation of the New Testament in the Komanji language, which is spoken by a barbaric klan of Kurds in the mountains of northern Mesopotamia and the eastern section of Turkey. When the committee brought their manuscript to the printing office at the Bible House in Constantinople, they were asked if they had submitted it to Dr. Riggs. They replied promptly:


“Dr. Riggs has never been in the Kurdistan mountains; he knows nothing of the Komanji language, and, therefore, we have never thought of consulting him.”

And they were very much annoyed at the pressure brought upon them by people at the Bible House who insisted that the manuscript ought to be submitted to the criticism of the greatest translator in the world before subjecting the board to the expense of putting it in type. The committee was finally compelled to yield, and asked Dr. Riggs if he would spare them a few hours to listen to a reading of their translation. He readily consented, and came into the conference with his well-worn old copy of the Greek Testament under his arm. As one of the committee read the Komanji version of the Gospel of St. Matthew aloud, Dr. Riggs followed him in his Greek text, and, in the middle of the second chapter, asked why they had translated a certain phrase differently from that given in the first chapter. The translators made a note of the criticism and said they would look it up. They made a similar note of another criticism a short time later, and then several more, and before they had finished the Gospel of St. Matthew, they turned the whole manuscript over for Dr. Riggs to review and were finally compelled to put it through another thorough revision in which they were guided by his advice.

When he was quite a young man and shortly after he entered the field, Dr. Riggs was thrown in with a party of Albanians for several weeks while travelling in that province. Twenty-five years later at a meeting of the American missionaries in European Turkey, a committee was appointed to arrange for the preparation and publication of an Albanian grammar. During the discussion, Dr. Riggs211 said nothing, but after a decision had been reached and a committee had been appointed, he remarked quietly to the chairman that several years before, while in Albania, he had taken a few notes concerning the language and would be glad to put them into the hands of the committee, who might find them of some aid in their work. The chairman took the manuscripts and thanked him. When the committee met and came to examine the “few notes” of Dr. Riggs, they were astonished to find that they comprised an almost complete grammar of the Albanian language, the fullest that had ever been undertaken, and it was the foundation of the text-book that was shortly afterward published.

The value of the services rendered by Dr. Riggs to the people of the various races which compose the Ottoman Empire can never be overestimated. He not only gave them translations of the Bible and other Christian literature, but furnished them the means of recording their spoken languages. By his translations of the Bible he accomplished for the Armenians, the Bulgarians, and other Turkish races, what the King James Version of the Holy Scriptures accomplished for the English language and the English-speaking people, and what the translations and dictionary of Dr. Hepburn did for Japan. He made the literature of these races accessible to other scholars.

Another remarkable linguist among the American missionaries in Turkey was the Rev. Dr. William Gottlieb Schauffler, a native of Stuttgart, Germany, and a graduate of Andover. He was a very versatile man, being not only a great scholar and linguist, but a powerful preacher, a skilful musician, a fascinating conversationalist, and a man of brilliant social attainments. He translated the Old Testament212 into Spanish, and his work was published in Vienna. He also translated the entire Bible into the Osmanli-Turkish. His son, Rev. Dr. Henry Albert Schauffler, who was born at Constantinople, and educated at Williams College and Andover Seminary, was engaged among the Slavic population of Cleveland, Ohio, during the later years of his life.

Rev. Dr. Edwin Elijah Bliss, a graduate of Amherst College and Andover Seminary, went to Trebizond in 1843, and spent his life in missionary work there and at Erzeroom, Marsovan, and Constantinople, where he died at a ripe old age in 1892. His principal and widely influential service was the preparation and publication of books for other missionaries to use among the natives; and he edited the mission periodical called the Avedaper for many years.

There was another famous missionary of the same name, Dr. Isaac Grout Bliss, also a graduate of Amherst and Andover, who represented the American Bible Society at Constantinople for many years. He raised the funds and built the Bible House at Constantinople, which is the headquarters of American missionary and educational work in Turkey.

Dr. Wilson Amos Fornsworth, a graduate of Middlebury College and Andover Seminary, and his wife, Caroline Elizabeth Palmer Fornsworth, were, perhaps, next to Dr. Riggs, the longest in the service. They were at Cæsarea from 1852 to 1903, a period of fifty-one years. During this time, he travelled 75,000 miles in his missionary work, including 30,000 miles on horseback.

Harrison Grey Otis Dwight, D.D., who was one of the earliest missionaries in the field, was a graduate of Hamilton College and Andover Seminary, and went out to Turkey in 1830, where he remained until his death in 1862. Doctor213 Dwight’s explorations in Asiatic Turkey and in Persia in 1831–32, led to the establishment of the American missions in Armenia and Nestoria. He was a man of remarkable talent, judgment, and discernment, and an intrepid explorer and pioneer.

A Mosque of Baku
Persian quarter, Baku

The late Justice Brewer of the United States Supreme Court, was the son of Rev. Josiah Brewer, one of the earliest American missionaries in Turkey, and was born at Smyrna in 1837. His mother was a member of the famous Field family of Stockbridge, Mass., a sister of David Dudley, Cyrus, Henry, and Stephen J. Field.

The pioneer of the education of women in Turkey was Eliza Fritcher, a native of Millport, N. Y., and a graduate of Mt. Holyoke Seminary. She set in operation and for more than thirty years managed a boarding-school for girls at Marsovan, which is now a large and influential institution.

Charlotte Elizabeth Ely, and her sister, Mary Anne Ely, both graduates of Mt. Holyoke, also did very important work in the education of girls.

Maria Abigail West, another pioneer, spent her life in strenuous service among the women and children of Armenia. And there were many others equally earnest and equally useful in the early days. It is a remarkable fact that no American missionary in Turkey has ever retired from that field because of a lack of interest or encouragement in the work.

The railway across the Caucasus from Batoum on the Black Sea to Baku on the Caspian Sea is 558 miles long, the distance from Batoum to Tiflis, the capital of the Caucasus, being 218 miles, and from Tiflis to Baku 340 miles. The latter route is almost a straight line, following the broad valley of the river Kur, a swift and turbulent stream of water about the same colour as our own Mississippi. For three fourths of the distance the track runs at the base of the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, which are always in sight from the left hand windows of the cars going east. On the right hand is a broad prairie stretching out to the horizon, and with the exception of much low and swampy land the greater part of it is closely cultivated.

The farmers do not live upon their farms, however, but stay in the villages for mutual protection, which was necessary in ancient days, although they might be safe enough in these times if they lived in isolated places as our farmers do. It is very largely the custom all over Europe for the farmers to live in villages and go back and forth to their fields in the morning and at night. Scattered among the cultivated fields in the Caucasus are little huts of brush and sod, used as summer residences by the farmers, who bring out two or three days’ rations with them, and after working215 in the soil all day crawl into these miserable little shacks to sleep for the night.

There are many cattle and sheep upon the hillsides, and every herd and flock is attended by a shepherd, sometimes a man and sometimes a woman, and often a child. Even the geese have to be attended as they meander. No animal of value is ever left alone, and such attention is necessary to keep them from straying into the cultivated fields, for there are no fences. The property is divided by landmarks of stone; there are no other boundary marks, and you wonder if the farmers do not sometimes get into the wrong harvest field or plough up a piece of their neighbour’s land by mistakes.

There are a good many orchards of cherries, apricots, peaches, and other fruit, and a few vineyards, which belong to Germans. Wherever you see a vineyard down in that country, you may rely upon it that a German either owns it, or has set out the vines on rented land. The Germans are altogether the best farmers and make the most money, because of their economical methods, their intelligent industry, and their thrifty habits. About half way between Tiflis and Baku is a German colony that looks like an oasis in the desert. It is surrounded by mile after mile of vineyards.

Women work in the fields on equal terms with the men without any distinction of labour, and sometimes one is tempted to think that they carry the heavier ends of the load. You see young girls ten and twelve years old with hoe and spade when they ought to be in school or learning to sew and bake in the kitchen. But the czar needs so many men in his army that their mothers and sisters are required216 to go into the fields. You will notice, too, that women are switchmen and flagmen all along the railway lines, and if you will keep looking out of the car window you will see at every crossing a woman with a flag in her hand standing at attention, like a soldier on guard duty, as the train rushes by.

The government owns and operates the railway, and, although the running time is very slow, not more than fifteen or eighteen miles an hour, the management is admirable, and there are some excellent features which might be imitated with profit by the railway companies in the United States. For example, at every railway station on the platform, is a big wooden tank of cool water with plenty of dippers. Beside it is a similar tank of hot water, so that the passengers, who expect it, bring their teapots along with them. When the train stops, those in the third-class cars rush out for hot water and then go back to their places and enjoy a cup of home-made tea.

Trains of tank cars stand on every side track, and we seemed to pass one every few minutes, which is natural, because crude and refined petroleum is the principal freight hauled over the Caucasus from the oil wells at Baku to Batoum, the principal shipping port on the Black Sea.

Sleeping cars are free—at least every first-class railway carriage is arranged in compartments, so that the back of the seat can be lifted to make an upper berth, which is quite as comfortable as those in American Pullmans, but passengers have to carry bedding with them, sheets and pillows and blankets, and make up their own bunks when it comes time to retire. There is either a dining-car or a buffet on every train, from which coffee, tea, eggs, cold217 meats, bread and butter are served, so that a journey is made very comfortable.

Temple of the Fire Worshippers near Baku

When we went to bed, a few hours after leaving Tiflis, we were passing through a beautiful and highly cultivated agricultural country. When we awoke in the morning, we were in a desert and everything smelled of oil. The first thing I saw, looking out of the car window, was a long caravan of camels loaded with cans of refined petroleum, plodding through the sands on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The surroundings are forbidding. The Caspian Sea is not an attractive body of water. Its shores are as barren as a granite bowlder. There is no fresh water either above or below the surface of the ground anywhere around the coast, and the inhabitants are required to bring their supply in pipes for a long distance or else condense sea water. At every port is a floating condenser, some worn out steamer or sailing vessel which has served its time carrying cargoes and is now anchored at a convenient place off the shore and filled with machinery for transforming salt water into fresh. Sometimes the product is carried ashore by pipes, but usually in large tank barges, and then peddled around the streets like milk in our cities, from house to house.

The surroundings of Baku remind me of the nitrate towns on the coast of Chile, which are also waterless; but it is much larger and more finely built than any of them. There is already a population of 130,000 or more at Baku, and the boosters are boasting of an expected 200,000 at the end of this decade. There is no doubt that Baku is growing very fast in people and in wealth, although the oil industry is not prosperous. The Standard Oil Company of the United States is driving Russian oil out of every country except218 Russia and its provinces. There are many evidences of wealth in Baku; many fine business blocks and residences, churches and school-houses, shops and restaurants, and, indeed, it is quite as up-to-date as any city in the East. The large wholesale houses indicate an extensive trade, and its merchants practically control the markets of Central Asia.

The activity upon the docks indicates that there must be a large commerce on the Caspian. The quays along the seashore in front of the city for a mile or more are occupied by steamers and sailing vessels discharging and receiving cargoes, which lie in great stacks upon the wharves. Long processions of carts and wagons are constantly coming and going between the docks and the railway stations. Nearly all the commerce of Central Asia is handled there and it is brought or carried away by the two railways, one running to Batoum and the other to Odessa and Moscow.

Baku is an ancient Persian city and belongs to Russia by conquest. A majority of the inhabitants are still Persians, who furnish the manual labor; the next largest racial division are Armenians, who keep the small shops, and many of the larger ones, for that matter, and compose the mercantile class. And then come the Tartars, who are third in numbers and there, as everywhere else, are the disorderly element.

The old city is a typical Persian town, half surrounded by a wall built in the twelfth century, with monumental towers and gates, several of which have been preserved. The followers of Zoroaster came here in early times, attracted by the burning springs of naphtha, and built temples for fire worship at intervals along the coast. The Parsees of Bombay, descendants of fire worshippers who were driven from219 Persia by Mohammedan mobs, formerly kept up a perpetual fire upon an altar near the city, but it was extinguished several years ago, and an oil refinery now stands upon the spot.

We had rather an exciting experience trying to find one of the old temples of the fire worshippers. We hunted around the old Persian town until we discovered a man who knew where it was, and he sent two small boys to show us the way. Following them through a labyrinth of narrow streets, we came to a small block of land enclosed with a high stone wall and guarded by soldiers, who drove us off. When we tried to look through the cracks in the gates to get a glimpse of the buildings inside, they pointed their rifles at us and were dangerously demonstrative. We did not imagine that we were doing anything wrong. Our motives were as innocent as those of a Sunday-school teacher, but the guard evidently suspected that we were up to some kind of mischief, and finally threatened us with instant death unless we left the place.

At that critical moment a polite citizen came along, who remonstrated with the belligerent guard. He explained to us that the ancient temple was now used as a magazine for ammunition and had to be closely guarded because of the energy of anarchists and revolutionists in the city.

There is a Byzantine fortress 800 years old, and an imposing tower 180 feet high and 84 feet in diameter. It is circular in form, with an oblong extension, and built of regular courses of cut stone, alternating out and in about four inches. There are four doors at the base, but they are all sealed up except one. They call it the Kiskala, which in Persian means the Tower of the Virgin, and several220 romantic stories are told about its origin, but we finally discovered that it was built for a prison by the early Persians and is now used by the Russians for the storage of military supplies.

In ancient times, for thousands of years—no one knows how long—the Persians used to come up to the shore of the Caspian Sea, where the city of Baku now stands, and scrape from the ground the seepage from the springs of oil that were found near the water. They used these scrapings for lubricating purposes, for fuel, for light, for healing wounds, and for various other useful purposes, and exercised much ingenuity in cleansing and applying them.

At some remote date—it may have been as far back as the time of Daniel the Prophet—the fire worshippers, the followers of Zoroaster, found here several oil springs on fire. The naphtha must have caught fire by accident, but they considered it a miracle, and through many centuries made pilgrimages to worship and adore the flames. Ultimately they built a temple, a square structure of brick with a dome and four chimneys, through which, in some ingenious manner, they conducted the natural gas which exhales from the naphtha springs, and thus were able to maintain four bright flames. The temple was in the centre of a large courtyard, inclosed by a high wall, in which were rooms for the accommodation of pilgrims. The gateway was monumental and above it rose a square tower about fifty feet in height, at the four corners of which were chimneys through which the gas was conducted in the same manner as at the temple within the inclosure, and the light could be seen for many miles in every direction. They called it “The Shrine of Grace.”


Zoroaster, founder of the fire worshippers, lived in Persia before the time of Cyrus the Great, and about six hundred years before Christ. He taught the existence of a Supreme Being who created two other mighty beings and imparted to them as much of his own nature as seemed good to him. One of them, Ormuzd, remained faithful and was regarded as the source of all good, while Ahriman rebelled, and became the author of all the evil upon the earth. The religious rites of the fire worshippers were exceedingly simple. They adored fire, light, and the sun as the emblems of Ormuzd, the source of all light and purity, and performed their worship on the tops of mountains, having neither temples, nor altars, nor images. Their priests were called Magi, whose learning was so celebrated that their name has been applied since to astrologers, prophets, necromancers, and all orders of magicians and enchanters.

The religion of Zoroaster continued to flourish after the introduction of Christianity and in the third century was the dominant faith in the East until the conquest of Persia by the Mohammedans in the seventh century compelled the greater number of the fire worshippers to renounce their faith. Those who refused fled to India, where they still exist under the name of Parsees, which is derived from Pars, an ancient name for Persia. At Bombay the Parsees are an enterprising, intelligent, and wealthy class of the population, and are distinguished for their integrity and business ability. They have numerous temples in which they worship fire as the symbol of divinity.

This temple stood at the village of Sourakhany, about ten miles from Baku. The site is now owned by the Kokovev Oil Company. It was abandoned about 1880. For a222 century or two before that date pilgrims came all the way from India, and the Parsee merchants of Bombay, famous for their riches and enterprise, furnished the money to maintain the fire and entertain the pilgrims.

Why the temple was abandoned and the lights were allowed to go out I have not been able to ascertain. The only reasonable explanation is that after that part of the world was wrested from Persia by the Russians something must have happened, or some regulation may have been introduced, which made it difficult or impossible to continue the ceremonials and maintain the pilgrimages. However that may have been, the form of worship and the nationality of the worshippers were gradually changed, until now Russians and Armenians adore the oil for the money it brings instead of for its symbolic significance.

The development of the petroleum industry was very slow and began late. The inhabitants of the old Persian city of Baku utilized the oil for light and fuel gas undisturbed until 1856, when a Russian named Kokreff and an Armenian named Mirsoeff obtained a concession from the Russian government to operate wells and refine the product. They had a monopoly for twenty years, but did a very small business, producing an insignificant quantity and a poor quality of burning fluid compared with the product of the present day.

In 1876 the concession was revoked and there was a rush of prospectors and speculators to this territory. Everybody who could raise enough money to drive a well did so, until to-day, within a radius of ten miles from the city of Baku, are 736 wells, producing more or less oil and belonging to almost as many people. The largest number are on a223 peninsula extending into the Caspian Sea, called Apocheron, between six and eight miles north of the city, with about one third as many at a place called Bibbi-Eybat, about three miles south.

There are over a hundred independent companies, but only twenty-five are doing a refining business, and of these only eight have sufficient capital to conduct their operations upon a paying basis. The large distribution of the interests is, however, very demoralizing. It has been a bad thing for the town and the industry and for everybody concerned, because whenever any large enterprise was undertaken, cut-throat competition has been used to interrupt and embarrass it. As one gentleman expressed it, it would have been to the advantage of everybody concerned if half the oil that has been produced at Baku had been allowed to run into the sea.

There are three large companies, the largest one belonging to the family of the late Alfred Nobel, the Swedish philanthropist, who founded the Nobel Institute at Stockholm and endowed it with funds from which the prizes for the promotion of peace, science, and literature are annually paid. Colonel Roosevelt, you will remember, went to Christiania in May, 1910, to receive the Nobel prize for peace which was awarded him because of his success in conciliating Russia and Japan and putting an end to the recent war.

Alfred Nobel, himself, was largely interested in the development of the Baku oil industry at the beginning, but, about the year 1877, he withdrew, and his brothers, Ludwig and Robert Nobel, continued the work. They turned their holdings over to a stock company many years ago, and224 Emmanuel Nobel, a son of Ludwig, now holds the controlling interest in the company. He is the Rockefeller of Russian petroleum and is estimated to be worth $60,000,000. Although a Swede by birth and ancestry, he is a Russian subject, maintains a splendid palace in St. Petersburg and has a villa with a large park in the Crimea, where he goes for the summer.

The next richest man is an Armenian named Mantashoff, who still lives in Baku and looks after his interests. There is also a Tartar gentleman who has made millions in the oil fields and is spending a part of his income in the erection of a splendid building for a college in the city of Baku. The institution will be provided with an endowment sufficient to maintain a competent faculty and pay for the free education of a certain number of young men of Tartar families forever. It will be altogether the most imposing building in Baku when it is finished, and it stands upon the principal street.

The second largest company is controlled by a French syndicate organized by the Rothschilds twenty-two years ago, and the third in importance is owned by local Armenians. These three companies practically control the refining industry, which is very large, considering the area of the oil fields, much larger than in any part of the United States.

Baku produces more oil than any other single field. Last year (1909), its total product was 55,863,504 barrels, and Groznyi, the neighbouring district, produced 6,249,627 barrels, making the total from the Caspian 62,113,131 barrels, as compared with 179,562,479 barrels produced in the United States.

Domes of the Persian section of Baku

Austria is the second producer of the countries in Europe225 and reports 12,612,295 barrels for 1908; Roumania comes next, with 8,252,157 barrels, and Germany, 1,009,278 barrels.

From these figures, you will see that the industry at Baku is very important, and the Russian government derives a revenue of between $60,000,000 and $75,000,000 a year by taxing it. There is a direct tax upon the producers, an additional tax of thirty cents upon every pood, which is eight gallons, produced, beside the income from the sale of stamps required on contracts, bills of lading, and all other commercial paper. The little city of Baku, with 130,000 inhabitants, and they mostly Persians, Armenians, and Tartars, is the fourth source of revenue for the Russian treasury.

Most of the refineries, especially those of the Nobel and French companies, are located at what is called in Russian, Tchorny Gorod, or the “Dark City,” which is connected with Baku by street car lines. The Nobel Company has provided homes for its officers and employés at the “White City,” a mile or two away—Biely Gorod, as it is called in Russian.

The Dark City consists of a large number of refineries, surrounded by high railway tracks, mostly covered with tank cars, and the gutters on both sides are filled with a network of pipes tapping a myriad of tanks and conducting the oil between the wells and the refineries and the reservoirs where it is stored for shipment. The Dark City is located upon the shore of the Caspian Sea, where extensive docks have been built and pumps provided for filling tank boats, which carry oil up the Volga River into the interior of Russia as far as Moscow, via Astrakhan, where it flows into the Caspian.


Mr. Norman, an English engineer, who formerly lived in Chicago, and spent several years in the employ of the Standard Oil Company, showed me around the Nobel refineries and told me an interesting story of the development of the industry here.

“Naphtha Springs, as they were called, have been known here for ages,” said Mr. Norman. “The fire worshippers came a thousand miles for thousands of years to worship them until the Russians conquered the territory. In the ’50s a steamship company on the Caspian Sea undertook to collect oil by scraping the surface of the ground, and they carried it to other ports. It was also shipped into the interior by camel caravans. Then two gentlemen, a Russian and an Armenian, obtained a concession to work the deposit, and had a monopoly until 1876, when the Nobel Brothers of Sweden—Alfred, Ludwig, and Robert—came down, put their brains to work, built refineries, and have been here ever since. They now practically control the industry, employing about 10,000 people and have refineries and machine shops covering an area of one and a half square miles.

“Mr. Arthur Lessner, also a Swede, is general manager. The company is a stock concern, organized under the Russian laws, and its shares are dealt regularly in on all the stock exchanges of Europe.

“The specific gravity of the Baku oil is much higher than that of the American oil,” continued Mr. Norman. “It has a naphtha basis, while the American oil has a paraffine basis. This oil is more like that of California. It is better for fuel than for illuminating purposes and is used for steaming on the railways and steamships in this part of the empire.

“The distinctive feature of the Nobel refineries is a continuous227 system of distillation; that is, a series of stills from which the various properties of the oil are extracted as the crude raw material is passed from one to another, each having a higher temperature than the last.

“There are eighteen pipe lines between the wells and the works,” said Mr. Norman, “which were built by the Nobels about thirty years ago. Until then the oil was carried on the backs of camels and in carts. The common labour is performed by Persians, who are paid from thirty to thirty-five cents a day (American money), and the skilled labour is Armenian, which is paid from sixty to seventy-five cents a day. The Nobel Company has provided neat and comfortable tenement houses for its employés at the White City, with clubhouses, hospitals and other humane provisions.”

Mr. Norman says the industry is not prosperous; that the Standard Oil Company is driving the Baku product out of Europe and that Russia is now practically the only market the Baku manufacturers are able to control.

A new oil field has been found within the last year or so near the town of Maikop, in the northern foothills of the Caucasus range of mountains, and there has been a good deal of excitement in consequence. Very little is known about conditions there, however, and the condition of the market, because of the aggressive policy of the Standard Oil Company, is not encouraging for its developement. The Standard Company, everybody admits, can produce a better quality of refined petroleum as well as lubricating oil and other by-products, and sell them at a less price in every market in the world, except the Russian Empire, which is protected by a prohibitory tariff, than the Baku refiners.

Daghestan is a province of Russia which lies immediately north of the Caucasus Mountains, and for 300 miles or more along the west shore of the Caspian Sea. It is the tip end of Europe. The Caucasus range is the boundary between the two continents, and beyond it is the hinterland. It is the wall of separation between the Christian and the Mohammedan worlds. Daghestan is also the limit of the region of natural moisture. It is a well-watered country, with hundreds of rivers and creeks, which rise in the snow-clad mountains and flow into the Caspian. Beyond Daghestan it is necessary to irrigate the soil by artificial means to raise any kind of crops. West of Daghestan are forests, fields of clover and grain, and pastures that are always green. East of its boundaries lies a desert which stretches for thousands of miles across the parched areas of Asia. There is no green thing of natural growth until the borders of China are reached.

Daghestan has always been the prey of rival powers. It has been plundered and ravaged in turn by all the Asiatic hordes. Its soil has been fertilized by the blood of Persians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Avars, Slavs, Mongols, Tartars, Turks. The “Golden Horde” swept over it once and again in the great tidal wave of war that lit up the two229 continents during the Middle Ages. It has been a battle-ground for twenty centuries, and the war-chargers of fifty armies have fattened upon its pastures.

Prince Schamyl “The Lion of Daghestan,” and his sons

The most important river in Daghestan is the Terek, which is fed by a glacier on the slopes of that mystic mountain called Kasbek—16,546 feet in height—to which Prometheus was chained. None of the rivers in Daghestan are navigable, but an almost incredible amount of water power is going to waste for the lack of mechanical interest and ingenuity. The inhabitants are farmers and herdsmen; they plow their fields and reap their harvests and follow their flocks and herds with skill and diligence, but a Tartar never learns a trade. Agriculture is too profitable and permits too much leisure for enjoyment, to be exchanged for any other occupation by those pleasure-loving people. They work on their farms and in their orchards from the first of May to the first of September. During that period the custom of centuries forbids festivities, but after the crops are in, and the cattle and sheep have been brought down from the mountains into the plains, the Tartar population give themselves up to their native diversions for the rest of the year. They are a hospitable people, and whoever breaks bread or eats salt with them is protected and defended with their lives. A Tartar farmhouse is a hotel for travellers—a free house of call for the homeless. No hungry man was ever sent from a Tartar threshold, the exercise of hospitality being the most important article in their creed.

The women spend their lives at the looms and work up the wool from the flocks into marketable products—rugs, saddle-bags, blankets, and other coarse fabrics, which are230 admired for their design and finish. The rugs of Daghestan are found on the floors of every city in the world, and, while they do not compare with those from Persia or Bokhara and are graded as medium in value, they last forever. The people were formerly all Mohammedans, and all the Tartars are still—but the shifting tides of humanity have left adherents of all creeds, and a majority of the present inhabitants profess the faith of the orthodox Greek church and are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the patriarch at St. Petersburg.

There is a railway from Baku to Moscow, and through sleeping cars. The track hugs the shore of the Caspian Sea for more than a hundred miles, passing first through a flat, desolate desert, broken by many rocks of slate and mounds of sun-burned clay. But after several streams are crossed, mountains appear in the distance and the soil, as well as the climate, improves. The dryness of the desert is moistened by damp breezes that blow down from the Caucasus and bring life to the earth. It was a relief to see green meadows and pastures and verdure-covered hills, after our long sojourn among the barren wastes of Turkestan. The meadows were gay in their summer raiment. Wild flowers were fashionable that year, and the steppes of Daghestan were strewn with them, an almost infinite variety of colours.

The topography of the steppes of Daghestan resembles the steppes of North Dakota after harvest time. The surface of the earth undulates in great waves and ridges. Americans would call it a rolling prairie. The slopes that face the sun are yellow with the stubble of the grain that has been harvested. Vast herds of cattle and sheep are231 grazing on the northern slopes of the hills, and the absence of fences makes necessary the employment of shepherds, who wear long, greasy looking coats of sheepskin, with the wool inside. Their heads are covered with big shakos that look very heavy and very hot.

At night the sheep are herded in folds made of braided saplings which are planted and grown for that express purpose. A grove of elms or hickory or other flexible saplings can be planted at a slight expense, and when they are two or three years old they can be cut and braided like basket work. The herdsmen make litters eight or ten feet long and four or five feet wide, which, when supported by light posts, make a strong and “hog-tight” fence. Every ranchman has one, and moves it from pasture to pasture, following his flocks, and turns the sheep and lambs into this movable corral every night.

The men we saw around the railway stations are Tartars, whose love of society and excitement brings upon them the contempt of the phlegmatic Germans and Russians, who scorn such diversions. Their love of dress also excites the derision of their neighbours. They cling to the ancient Georgian costume and will not give it up. They wear the kalak—a long coat with a plaited skirt—and a hood of white woolen cloth, called a kabula, over their heads, with a long end and tassels hanging down their back. It is much more graceful than the fez but is not so dignified as the turban.

The Russian government is diverting immigrants to that section of the Caucasus from other parts of the empire. Although one of the oldest communities in the universe, it is still thinly settled. The revolution of the land-hungry232 peasants of European Russia in 1905 was followed by legislation in the duma similar to that of the British Parliament concerning Ireland, and the great estates are being purchased by the government, broken up into small farms and sold to the peasants on long time at a low rate of interest. This movement was hastened and the land owners were persuaded to sell by arguments similar to those used by the tenantry in Ireland. The landlords who still refuse to yield are having a hard time of it. Their barns are set on fire, their cattle are mutilated, their wheat fields are burned, and various other penalties are imposed upon them. There is now a law authorizing the compulsory expropriation of large estates, and the lands belonging to the crown and the church are being divided and disposed of slowly among peasant farmers imported from the more densely populated sections of central Russia.

There are many sturdy Germans there, descendants of immigrants who were induced to go into the Caucasus by Catherine the Great one hundred and twenty-five years ago. She gave them large grants of land and relieved them from taxation and military service, as an inducement to develop the natural wealth of her empire. By minding their own business they have managed to get along with the fiery-hearted and hot-tempered Tartars. The Germans make the best farmers and are the richest portion of the population. Armenians, Persians, and Greeks are the tradesmen and the same races furnish the mechanics and labourers. Representatives of all the races of central Asia are to be found there, and many of European stock, Latins and Greeks, Huns, Iberians, and Italians, because when the tidal waves of humanity, to which I have already233 referred, receded, a good deal of driftwood was always left behind.

Daghestan has been known to history for three thousand years. Josephus tells us of a race called the Alans, who dwelt upon the coast of the Caspian Sea and along the northern slopes of the Caucasus, whence, passing through “Iron Gates,” they fell upon the Medes and nearly exterminated them. They invaded Armenia, eight hundred or nine hundred years before Christ, and laid everything waste behind them. They crossed over into Persia and made themselves at home in that country until they were driven out by Cyrus the Great. The “Iron Gates,” so called, were a part of a great wall, like that of the Chinese, which, in prehistoric times, extended from the present city of Derbent on the shore of the Caspian Sea, to the mountain of Koushan-Dagh near the western limits of Daghestan. This wall is believed by several authorities to have been built a thousand years before the Christian era during the reign of a monarch called Nashrevan the Just, for the protection of his people, who lived north of the Caucasus, against the wild tribes of Asia. It was eighteen or twenty feet high and so thick that a squadron of cavalry could gallop along its top. Remnants are still preserved and the ruins of forty-three castles along its foundation have been counted between the mountains and the sea. There was only one passage, through the “Iron Gates” which remained in perfect preservation until the Middle Ages.

Arabian writers in the early part of the Christian era refer to it frequently as a gigantic work, and describe fortifications that were filled with soldiers, and impregnable234 to attack. The total length of the wall was two hundred and sixty-six miles so that the castles must have been about six miles apart. You will remember that the Romans built a similar wall across the north of England between Carlisle and Newcastle to keep the Highlanders out of Briton, and other defences of the kind have been known elsewhere. Oriental writers say that the hour of prayer used to be communicated along this wall by the sentinels five times a day.

Other writers attribute the construction of the wall and the gate to Iskander, or Alexander the Great, who conquered this country and took possession of it. It was a very important part of his empire, and from the mountains of Daghestan he drew the bravest and most efficient horsemen in his armies. He called the people Khozars, and they were pagans.

Professor A. V. Williams Jackson, of the chair of archæology of Columbia University, New York, has been engaged for several years in the fascinating and important task of locating the trail traversed by Alexander the Great in his conquest of the world between 334 and 323 B.C. He has been able to identify with reasonable certainty nearly all of the stages made by the great Macedonian in his pursuit of Darius III, the last of the Achæmenian kings, the places at which he stopped during his march, and the battle-fields upon which he fought. He is especially gratified that he has been able to fix with certainty the location of the famous “Caspian Gates” beyond the city of Rai, which is ancient Rappa, where the mother of Zoroaster, the founder of the fire worshippers, was born, between five hundred and four hundred years before Christ.


Philip of Macedonia, as you will remember, fell by the hand of an assassin in the midst of his preparations for an invasion of the Persian empire in the year 336 B.C., and was succeeded by his son, Alexander, then a mere boy, twenty years old. He had not been on the throne a year, notwithstanding his youth, before he was recognized as a greater warrior and a more powerful sovereign than his father and commanded the universal awe and admiration of the Greeks. At the head of an army of forty thousand cavalry, infantry, and archers, he started eastward, on his world-conquering campaign, and fought his first great battle, B.C. 334, in Asia Minor. He crossed the Taurus Mountains and subdued Mesopotamia. Thence he marched southward and captured Damascus; besieged Tyre successfully, passed through Jerusalem, paused to overthrow the fortress at Gaza, conquered Egypt, founded the city of Alexandria, which he called by his own name, and there made his first claim to divinity. Having added all this territory to his empire, he returned to Mesopotamia and occupied, one after the other, the capitals of Assyria, Persia, and Media, which were full of wealth and splendour. The actual amount of gold and silver seized by him in these capitals is estimated at one hundred and fifty million dollars and the loot made every soldier in his army rich.

Darius the Great fled before him, and Alexander’s pursuit from Ecbatana, the capital of Media, through the Parthian passes, is considered one of the most remarkable of all military campaigns. He overtook the flying Persian as the latter was dying of wounds dealt him by a traitor, Bessus, his satrap in Bacoria, in what is now called Turkestan. Bessus placed the wounded monarch in a covered chariot236 and set out to meet Alexander. But Darius refused to follow a band of traitors, whereupon the conspirators, roused to fury, transfixed him with their javelins and left him weltering in his blood. Alexander, who came up only a few moments after Darius had expired, ordered the body to be embalmed and buried with the honours of an emperor. He captured and executed Bessus, the regicide, and married the daughter of Darius, who had no other heir. Thus he assumed, so far as possible, the character of Darius’s legitimate successor and proclaimed himself emperor of the East.

He then returned westward to subdue the Caucasus, and marched northward along the western shore of the Caspian Sea to what was then considered the limits of the world.

Professor Jackson believes that he then built the wall from the shores of the Caspian to the crags of the Caucasus Mountains, like the great wall of China, to hold back the wild tribes of Asia that roamed upon the northern steppes, and the iron gates near the present city of Derbent.

After reducing the Caucasus, Alexander invaded the Trans-Caspian country and marched east and south through Afghanistan, where he founded a city said to be the modern Kandahar. Then he turned northward across the Hindu-Kush Mountains and founded another colony, at what is now Kabul. Then he kept on northward to Bokhara and Samarkand, where he spent a year or more and built a splendid city which he called Marakanda.

From there he set out to conquer India and conquered the desert on the way. In the spring of the year 323 B.C. he returned to Babylon, where he was met by embassies from all the rulers of the civilized world. Fresh troops237 had arrived from Greece for the campaign against India and the expedition was on the point of starting when Alexander was seized with fever and died in June, 323 B.C., at the age of thirty-two years.

The scarcity of maps in ancient times and the frequent changes in nomenclature in the countries of the East has caused interminable controversies as to the route of the great Macedonian, and the identity of many of the places which are associated with his achievements. Dr. Jackson, who has devoted his life to the study of Persian and Indian history, undertook to set things straight some years ago and has made several visits to Asia for that purpose. He is perhaps the highest authority in America on Persian affairs and has recently published a book of absorbing interest called “Persia, Past and Present.” A second book will treat of the Trans-Caspian country and other scenes of the achievements of Alexander in that part of the world.

Dr. Jackson tells me that he feels confident that he has established the fact that Alexander built the wall between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. He has been convinced of this by certain inscriptions upon tablets attached to the wall, which attribute its creation to the first world conqueror. And they confirm a belief which is always cherished. But in his investigations in Baku, the Caspian oil district, he met with a surprise from which it is difficult to recover, concerning the age of the ruins of a temple of the fire worshippers a few miles from that city. It is supposed to have been erected in very ancient times by pilgrims who were attracted to the banks of the Caspian because of the naphtha springs that were burning along its238 western coast. It is one of the most striking and interesting of all the ruins in that country. Later comers supposed that these fires were natural and were worshipped from the earliest times. They built an imposing temple around them and with great ingenuity conducted the gas through pipes of cane sheathed with clay to the tops of towers erected over the gates and at the corners of the enclosure. These fires were kept up by Parsees from Bombay, descendants of the ancient fire worshippers of Persia, until early in the ’80s, when the owners of a concession from the Russian government to develop the oil deposit seized the place and built a refinery.

Dr. Jackson says: “I always supposed that this fire temple was built by Zoroaster or some of his followers, and was very much shocked when I discovered that it is a modern institution; although I still cling to the belief that it may have been a place of worship for the Persian fire worshippers from the earliest times.

“In a careful examination of the ruins of the temple at Surakhany, near Baku, I found seventeen inscriptions, some of them in excellent condition, and was able to make photographs of them all. Six of them are on the outside and fifteen on the inside of the walls, and they are all dated in the eighteenth century A.D., instead of the sixth or eighth century B.C., as I have always supposed. There is no question about it. The temple is not only modern, but it was built by Hindoo fire worshippers—Brahmins from the Punjab—survivors of the old Vedic worship. They were probably Hindoo merchants at Baku and were reminded of the faith and the forms of worship of their ancestors by finding these flaming springs. Furthermore, some of the239 inscriptions correspond very closely with those I have seen at Kanzra, in northern India.

“It has always been a mystery why there is no mention of this temple in ancient Greek and Roman accounts of the Caucasus and the Caspian country, which have frequent references to the burning springs of naphtha. Nor do any of the early Mohammedan writers mention the temple. The first we hear of it is about the beginning of the eighteenth century in a narrative of a London merchant named Hanmay, who went over to that country on a trading expedition and wrote a book about the Caspian Sea and the surrounding country. He describes the temple and the fires and gives some interesting information concerning both. Gibbon in his history describes the temple and says it was destroyed by Heraclius, the Christian emperor of Byzantium, in the seventh century, but that is not true.

“I have been able to locate most of the places identified with the campaigns of Alexander of Macedonia,” continued Professor Jackson, “and it has been an exceedingly interesting task.

“I have been able to trace back the history of the city of Derbent for several hundred years before Christ. Notwithstanding its location on the shores of the Caspian Sea, so far from what we generally assumed to have been the scenes of human activity at that period, it has had an important and busy place in history, and is frequently referred to by writers in ancient days. For example, Tacitus tells us that Alexander quartered his invalid soldiers there in 330 B.C.

“I have not been able to decipher the inscriptions upon the tablets I found in the temple of the fire worshippers at240 Surakhany. I cannot read the language in which they are written, and I don’t know anything about them, but one of these days we hope to make them clear.”

Señor Don Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, “chamberlain of the most high and puissant Lord Don Henry, third of that name, King of Castile and Leon,” who visited the court of the great Tamerlane, the emperor of Asia, at Samarkand as an ambassador in 1403, refers to the iron gates in the wall at Derbent. He speaks also of others in the mountains which separate China and Turkestan, where, he says: “There is a pass leading up by a ravine which looks as if it had been artificially cut, and the hills rise to a great height on either side, and the pass is smooth and very deep. In the centre of the pass there is a village, and the mountain rises to a great height behind. This pass is called ‘the gates of iron,’ and in all the mountain range there is no other pass, so that it guards the land of Samarkand in the direction of India. These ‘gates of iron’ produce a large revenue to the lord Timour Beg, for all merchants who come from India pass this way.

“Timour Beg is also lord of the other ‘gates of iron,’ which are near Derbent, leading to the province of Tartary, in the city of Caffa, which are also in very lofty mountains, between Tartary and the land of Derbent, facing the Sea of Bakou, and the people of Tartary are obliged to use that pass when they go to Persia. The distance from the ‘gates of iron’ at Derbent to those in the land of Samarkand is fifteen hundred leagues.

“Say if a great lord, who is master of these ‘gates of iron,’ and of all the land that is between them, such as Timour Beg, is not a mighty prince! Derbent is a very large city,241 with a large territory. They call the ‘gates of iron’ by the names of Derbent and Termit. At this house they made the ambassadors a present of a horse, and the horses of this country are much praised for their great spirit. These mountains of the ‘gates of iron’ are without woods, and in former times they say that there were gates covered with iron placed across the pass, so that no one could pass without an order.”

Daghestan was the most costly province ever added to the Russian Empire. It cost thirty-five years of war and the sacrifice of 200,000 soldiers to subdue the fierce mountain warriors, the Lesghians, the Teherkess and the other tribes, who were the fiercest fighters in Europe, and are said to be the descendants of the Hittites of the Old Testament. They were pagans until Mohammed appeared. Since then they have been fanatical in their adherence to Islam. They were taught the art of war by the savage Scythians in prehistoric times, and the aboriginal tribes were amalgamated in the Middle Ages with the Golden Horde of Kirghiz from the desert of Khiva, which swept through eastern Europe like a cyclone. Many of those desert warriors settled here, and from them descended the hardy, fearless, uncompromising race who continued to fight for their independence long after Georgia and the Circassians had acknowledged the sovereignty of the czar. Fifty years ago Daghestan was called “the graveyard of the Russian army.”

Through the gorges of the Caucasus for more than a generation the ablest generals in Russian history, including three czars—Nicholas, the iron czar, and the Alexanders I and II—fought in vain to subdue those fearless people, who, with one man to their forty, defeated them often in242 open fights as well as in ambush among the impregnable fortresses of nature. Not until the resources of the country were exhausted and nearly all the towns and cities were laid waste and the population of fighting men was almost exterminated did they yield. Finally, when further resistance was impossible, Prince Schamyl, prophet, priest, astrologer, and necromancer, the hereditary sultan of those Tartar tribes, laid his gory scimitar at the feet of General Baryantinsky and took an oath of allegiance to Alexander II. The lord of the Caucasus, the lion of Daghestan, as the old warrior was called, was permitted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he died of a broken heart beside the tomb of the Prophet and was buried in the sacred city. After the surrender his warriors settled down on farms and ranches and have been blessed with great prosperity, although they are restless of disposition and have made an occasional display of temper and dissatisfaction that has called for discipline.

The men of Daghestan are irrepressible fighters. They inherited their warlike habits, and are never so happy and never so contented as when they are engaged in a desperate campaign. During the war of 1877–8 between Turkey and Russia many of the more fanatical Mohammedans crossed over into Asia Minor and joined the army of the sultan because they recognized him as the Padishah of Islam and the lineal successor of the Prophet. But after peace was arranged most of them came back to their homes, and Gen. Loris Melikoff, one of the few Armenians who have risen to military distinction and received honours in the Russian service, became their governor.

Melikoff is a remarkable man. He conducted the campaign243 against Turkey east of the Black Sea under the nominal supervision of the Grand Duke Michael, brother of the czar, was made an aide-de-camp to the emperor, and at nine and twenty was commander-in-chief of the Caucasus. As a rule, Armenians do not make good soldiers. They are merchants instead of military men, but Melikoff ranks as one of the most brilliant and successful commanders of the Russian army.

The first and only important city on the railroad between Baku and Vladikavkas is Derbent, a market for the produce of a large area of well cultivated fields, for the wool of a thousand flocks, and the hides of a thousand herds. A good deal of timber from the forests of the Caucasus is shipped across the Caspian from there also and goes to Turkestan. Most of the freight is loaded upon barges, towed over to Astrakhan, and thence up the Volga River to Moscow, Kavan, and other manufacturing centres.

Derbent is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. It is situated on the western coast of the Caspian, and has about forty thousand inhabitants, who are a mixture of all bloods and races and clans. It is supposed to have been founded in prehistoric times by a race known as the Aylans, from which the German people sprang. It was besieged by Alexander of Macedon, by Cyrus the Great, emperor of the Medes and Persians. All of the great warriors of ancient history have sat before its walls, recognizing the strategic value of its position and the importance of placing a shield before the approaches to Persia, Armenia, and Kurdistan, which have been the prey of every ambitious empire-builder since the time of Christ.

Another city of lesser importance is Petrosky, comparatively244 modern, without much history, but, nevertheless, a busy shipping port for grain. The small steamers that ply the Caspian are continually going in and coming out as they find their way between Petrosky and the other Caspian ports. Much grain is grown upon the steppes of Daghestan, and the larger part of it is transported to Astrakhan, to be ground into flour to feed the people of Moscow and Petersburg. At Astrakhan, the mouth of the Volga, all freight brought by steamer is transferred to barges, which ply that great river far to the northward.

When the train leaves Petrosky it starts directly westward toward the mountains, and is welcomed by a row of glorious peaks which rise snow-clad toward the heavens. The highest peak in the southern part of the range is called Bazar-Duez, and measures 14,723 feet; the next highest are Shah-Dagh, 13,951 feet; Kourousch, 13,750 feet; Doulty-Dagh, 13,425 feet; Kontana-Dagh, 11,425 feet; Goudour-Dagh, 11,075 feet; and a dozen more of ten thousand feet and less. They are full of romance as well as history. Daghestan has been the scene of very important events, but during the last four or five centuries, since America was discovered and the development of European civilization has required so much attention, it has been overlooked.

The original of the tragedy of Mazeppa, Byron’s hero, was Ivan Stephanovich, the son of a Tcherkess prince, and was born in 1644. While a page at the court of one of the petty principalities of Russia, a nobleman discovered that his wife was in love with the handsome young mountaineer, and with the cruelty characteristic of the Tartar race, caused the boy to be stripped naked and bound upon the back of a245 wild horse, which was turned loose upon the steppes. After days of wandering without food Ivan was carried unconscious into a Cossack camp and after a time became secretary to the hetman or chief. His influence grew until, in 1687, he was elected chieftain. He won the admiration of Peter the Great, who bestowed upon him the title of Prince of the Ukrain, but a few years after, when Peter revoked some of the ancient privileges and liberties of the Cossacks, he organized a rebellion against his patron. Before he had a chance to make a public demonstration the conspiracy was discovered, and Mazeppa fled for protection to the court of Charles XII of Sweden. Being unable to capture the rebel, Peter the Great ordered his effigy to be hanged upon a gallows before the palace, and his capital, Baturin, was sacked and burned and razed to the ground. Mazeppa’s romantic career furnished the plot for several novels and dramatic works in addition to Byron’s poem, and suggested a theme for several famous paintings.

There seems to be something in the atmosphere of the Caucasus to addle religious ideas and inspire queer interpretations of the Bible. A majority of the population were formerly Mohammedans, but large numbers have been converted to the Russian church, although an active propaganda is not permitted by the government. There are about 500,000 Protestants from Wurtemberg and other German states, who were induced to settle there during the reign of Catherine II. They hold fast to their faith, and have built a Lutheran church in almost every town, where the herr pastor supplements his scanty salary by farming or fruit growing.

One of the queerest sects of dissenters, which has sloughed246 off the orthodox Greek organization, is called “Sgrannyky,” which means “wanderers.” They have no homes nor houses of worship; no priests or organizations. Their preachers are elected from among the most intelligent members of the community, who preach, baptize, perform funeral obsequies, expound the Scriptures to inquirers, and often teach in the parochial schools.

The “wanderers” claim to be the only true and literal followers of Christ. They have “given up everything,” as He commanded. They denounce the Russian Church for having corrupted the simplicity of the original faith. They condemn the splendid ritual and ostentatious forms of worship in temples which cost millions of rubles for unnecessary architecture and ornaments and vestments, which should be sold and the proceeds given to the poor.

The “wanderers” hold their services in the open air, like the Druids, and the “Bush-Baptists” of our own Southern states, because Christ never preached under a roof or in a temple made with human hands. They abstain from the exercise of the privileges and rights of citizenship; they refuse to pay taxes because a portion of the revenue of the Russian government is devoted to the support of the church; they avoid being counted in the census, because they do not acknowledge the sovereignty of the czar; and refuse to sign or accept written contracts or agreements of any kind, because they regard writing as an invention of the devil.

Another queer sect are called Hlistys or “People of God,” who practice a life of absolute chastity, mutilate their bodies, inflict torture upon themselves, refuse to accept any compensation but food for their labour, renounce all luxuries and247 comforts, and believe that by so doing they purify their spirits and become perfect in holiness.

Another and similar sect style themselves the Stundists, or “Brethren in Friendship with God.” They adhere to a strict interpretation of the Bible, live simple lives, renounce wealth, give all they have to the poor, condemn the institutions and ceremonies of the Russian church, and are intolerant toward people who do not agree with them.

The “Old Believers,” or Douhobortsy sect, many of whom have emigrated to Canada, are quite numerous down there, and are among the most prosperous and successful of the farmers. They were banished from northern Russia to the Caucasus during the reign of Alexander I, and forcibly deported by the government at the instigation of the holy synod. They are, however, honest, industrious, law-abiding farmers, who educate their children with great care, practise all the virtues we commend, and are at fault only in some odd practices and queer manifestations of spirituality which are not conventional.

We awakened in the morning in the midst of a wide prairie which reminded us more than ever of North Dakota, and we saw what looked like American reapers in the fields and heard their music above the noise of the train. Much of the harvest work was being done by women, which isn’t the Dakota way, but the men are in the army and somebody must reap the grain. Another thing equally unlike North Dakota is that the conductor and porter of the train wear big revolvers at their belts, one on either side, which look like business, and suspended from their belts behind them are round leather scabbards, like cylinders, into which something is thrust that looks like a policeman’s club.248 We discovered afterward that they are signal flags, tightly rolled and always within reach.

The train turned westward later in the day to run for many miles along the foot of the mountains, and at a handsome stone station that might easily be mistaken for an armoury, we changed to a branch line for the city of Vladikavkas and the famous Dariel Pass, one of the only two pathways through the Caucasus.

Vladikavkas is a typical Russian city, founded in 1775 by Prince Potemkin by direction of Catherine the Great, upon the site of a native village called Kapoukaya, which means “the gate of the gorge.” At that time it was of considerable importance to the Russians as a post of defence against the rebellious mountain tribes, and it has grown into a busy, bustling, commercial city, with a rich agricultural territory to support it, and is a depot of military supplies for the entire Caucasus. The name is spelled several ways—Valdicaucasus, Viadicaukus, and otherwise, according to the nationality of the speller—but each of the versions has the same meaning, and that is “the master of the Caucasus,” for its garrisons command and protect the Dariel Pass and the military road which was built through its gorges to Tiflis by the Russians half a century ago. Considered from a military standpoint, there is no more important highway in the world, and when the next war between Russia and Turkey occurs within the next ten years, a continual procession of troops and wagons loaded with ammunition and military supplies will be passing down to Armenia and Asia Minor through its narrow defiles.

City Hall of Vladicaucasus

Vladikavkas has fine, broad streets, which, however, are either very dusty or very muddy at all times. They249 are laid out at right angles and planted with poplars; and the main street, which is a hundred and sixty feet wide, has a promenade in the centre for the entire distance, shaded by two rows of trees on both sides and watered by dashing streams that flow through the gutters. Booths for the sale of tea and beer, catch-penny shows, seats for the weary, band stands and kiosks occur at frequent intervals, and in the long twilight of the summer evenings all the people of the town come out to promenade up and down this pleasant way, to listen to the military bands, to greet each other and gossip, and to learn what is going on in their little world.

An electric car line reaches every corner of the city, which is a great convenience because, like all provincial towns in Russia, Vladikavkas covers an enormous area. The houses are chiefly of a single story, built of stone around a courtyard, and occupy large spaces. The shops are filled with attractive stocks of merchandise, and there are several large warehouses in which all kinds of agricultural machinery is offered for sale. Nearly all of it comes from the United States.

The official residence of the governor-general, a city hall of fantastic Oriental architecture, and a Russian cathedral with five green domes, are the most conspicuous buildings except the barracks and military hospital. Just outside of the city is an immense military school, accommodating five hundred cadets, and a hospital for sick soldiers, almost as large. Nearly every other man you meet on the street wears a military uniform, and the dining-room at the hotel looks like an officers’ mess at headquarters, for most of the tables are occupied by colonels and generals and favoured gentlemen of the staff. These signs illustrate the250 importance of Vladikavkas to the Russian government, and, although the czar is on friendly terms with everybody just at present, his preparations for war do not seem to be suspended. In addition to commanding the approaches to the Dariel Pass, Vladikavkas is also the northern terminus of the Manisson Pass, the only other highway over the Caucasus, and is connected with the ancient city of Kutias over what is known as the Ossetian Road. The distance is longer and the grades are heavier than those of the Dariel Pass, but it is the shortest route to Batoum and the Black Sea, and for that reason is of the greatest importance.

Both of these passes are heavily fortified and numerous monuments have been erected along the way to mark spots of historic importance and to inspire the army with a heroic and patriotic feeling. One of these monuments is in honour of a private soldier.

In 1840, during an uprising of the Circassians, the Mihailovosky fort, about half way through the pass, was garrisoned by a detachment of the Seventy-seventh regiment of Russian infantry, under command of Captain Liko. Being besieged by the rebels and short of provisions and ammunition, he decided to blow up the place at the next assault. The remaining powder was converted into a mine and placed under the only approach to the fort, and a private named Arhippe Ossipoff volunteered to apply the match. When the besieging force had broken down the gates and were surging through the archway, Ossipoff fired the mine. Nearly every man in the Russian garrison and all of the enemy perished, and the few survivors crawled down the road to tell the news.

When he heard the story the emperor issued a general251 order commanding that the name of Arhippe Ossipoff should remain forever upon the muster roll of the Seventy-seventh regiment. Every morning at dress parade it is called with the rest, when the first sergeant replies:

“Arhippe Ossipoff died for his country and for the glory of Russia.”

It is seventy-two hours by the fastest train from Vladikavkas to Odessa, which is a practical realization of the size of the Russian Empire, but the fastest trains are very slow when measured by the American standard. The government, which owns and operates all the railways in Russia, charges for extra speed on express trains, and then runs them at twenty miles an hour, with long waits at every station. It seemed unnecessary and unreasonable to delay a train for ten or fifteen minutes every time it stopped, but I thought there must be some reason for it, and I tried to gratify my curiosity by an investigation. Inquiry disclosed the caution of the railway managers. When a train arrives at a station the conductor notifies the man in charge of the station ahead, and also the chief despatcher wherever he may be. He then waits for orders. The telegraph operator at the next station reports to the train despatcher that the track is clear, and the latter then, and not until then, gives orders for the waiting train to move. They take no chances. On a single track road one train only is given the right of way, regardless of side tracks, and everything else is held up until it is reported at the next station.

Type of the old fashioned Circassian

The track traverses the great granary of Russia, which corresponds to Minnesota and the Dakotas in the United States. The land is held in large estates, partly cultivated253 by tenant farmers, and also by a well organized system under the direction of administrators or stewards, as they call them. Absentee landlordism is the curse of this country, as it was in Ireland, and the profits of the crops are wasted in St. Petersburg and Paris, in gambling and high living, and in all possible forms of extravagance. Very little of the money is left in the country; very little is used to improve the property or the conditions of the tenants, although there are commendable exceptions. Every village is an index to the character of the man who owns it. The peasant farmers and the employés of an estate dwell and govern themselves in communes or mirs, as they are called, and each has a little tract of land for his own use, which he can cultivate at odd times when his services are not needed on the farm. The landlord is supposed to keep the houses of his tenants and employés in order, and is expected to contribute to the support of the poor and afflicted, to build a church and keep it in order, and to exercise a patriarchal protection over everybody who lives on his estates, but this is only theoretical in too many cases. The practice of a majority of the landlords is to squeeze every cent they can get out of their tenants and squander it in pleasure and dissipation.

The Russians are inveterate and reckless gamblers, and in the play of a single night often lose enough money to make their tenants comfortable for a generation. We were told of a Russian landlord of Daghestan who lost $400,000 in a game at the Jockey Club in Vienna in one night.

These big estates, however, are being broken up, under a law passed since Russia has a constitution, and are being254 divided into small farms among the families who actually till them.

Large towns are few and far between, but the villages are numerous. There are three or four cities of 25,000 or 30,000 inhabitants, markets for the grain and other produce of the country, in a thousand miles, but people there are accustomed to long distances. Rostov is the scene of the commercial transactions of the population for 300 miles or more on both sides of it.

One of the most prosperous towns is called Ekaterinodar, which means “Catherine’s Gift,” and there is a story connected with it. The site was presented to a colony of Cossacks by Catherine the Great as a reward for their loyalty in 1792, and, with the reckless generosity that characterized all the acts of that extraordinary woman, she built their houses and shops and churches for them. It is now a thriving city of 60,000 inhabitants, with a large trade in horses, cattle, sheep, and grain.

At Piatigorski one can get the best view of Elburz, the highest mountain in Europe, which lifts its proud head 18,526 feet above the sea and looks even loftier than it actually is because it rises almost directly from the plains. It is buttressed with other peaks 10,000 feet or more in height, but rises above the rest of the range fully 7,000 feet like a block of Parian marble, pure and spotless and without a flaw, one of the noblest pieces of sculpture ever carved by the Creator’s hands. The native poets have called it the “Snow King’s Citadel,” and it is the abode of Osching Padishah, “Emperor of the Air.” His diadem of snow is eternal. Dikhtau, 16,924 feet in height, Ikhara, 17,278 feet, Koshantan, 17,196 feet, and Kasbek, 16,546, make the255 finest and grandest group of mountains this side of the Himalayas.

On a tablet imbedded in the walls of the public library at Piatigorski is inscribed a record of the various attempts to ascend Elburz, and a Circassian named Killar is credited as being the first to reach the summit. Killar’s achievement is disputed, however, and the first authentic ascent was made by two Englishmen, D. W. Freshfield of Birmingham and a companion, with Swiss alpine guides, in 1868. These gentlemen climbed Kasbek the same summer, and were probably the first to do so.

The Circassians are a superstitious and a poetic people, and like the North American Indians, have a legend attached to every freak of nature and a story to explain every mystery. Their imaginations are as fertile and as full of poetic conceits as the “Children of the Mist” on the coast of Ireland. It is unfortunate that somebody has not taken the trouble to translate their traditions and folk-lore into English. The Circassians really have no literature, although their poets have written many charming lines and there are two or three local histories of merit.

They call Kasbek by many names, the “Ice Mountain,” the “Mountain of Christ,” and the “Mountain of Bethlehem,” and among the ignorant Ossets—one of the largest of the Circassian tribes—the belief exists that the tent of Abraham and the manger in which Jesus was born are preserved in a cavern under the eternal snow.

About one hundred years ago an aged priest organized an expedition to ascend the mountain for the recovery of the sacred relics, but the old man died from fatigue and the rest of the party were driven back by storms. Several were256 so badly frozen that they were crippled for life. Their sufferings and their failure were accepted as a decree of fate and the sacred relics still lie in the cavern concealed by the snow.

All the territory west of Vladikavkas to the end of the mountain range is known as Circassia. The inhabitants are divided into several tribes of the same race but of distinct organization. They are descended from the ancient Iranians and have occupied their country for about 2,600 years, so far as known. The Circassians are the most reckless, irresponsible, and superstitious of all the people in that part of the world. They are proverbially handsome, of perfect physical proportions, active, brave, and temperate in their habits, but heartless, cruel, relentless, and always unreliable. Few of them are industrious or thrifty, or saving, they have no morals and for centuries have sold their daughters to replenish the harems of wealthy Turks.

It is said that the name Caucasian was adopted for one of the main ethnological divisions of the human race because Professor Blumenbach found the most perfect types of skulls in Circassia.

The physical perfection of the women, and their vivacity, their cheerfulness, their affectionate dispositions, and their adaptability to any conditions in which they may be placed, made “Circassian Beauties” the most desirable recruits for the harems, and the low esteem in which the feminine sex is held by the Circassians made it easy for them to sell their daughters into slavery. In ancient times no Turk of any prominence or pride was without at least one Circassian houri in his harem. The mother of Abdul Hamid, the late sultan of Turkey, was a Circassian. But the sale257 and export of this class of produce has been stopped by the Russian authorities, and the changing conditions in Turkey have diminished the demand for Circassian beauties.

Type of the Circassian beauty
A Circassian gentleman

You have doubtless seen them in the side shows of circuses, and in the dime museums throughout the world are hundreds of Circassian girls leased by their parents for exhibition purposes. While they are among the proudest of human beings, and, as I have already said, are celebrated for their affectionate and generous disposition, the Circassians are the only people in modern times who have ever sold their daughters into slavery.

Among other national characteristics, which, however, is confined to the Lhesian tribe, is bushy hair, similar to that worn by Paderewski, the pianist. It is not universal. It is a tribal fad, and is cultivated for the same reason that the German emperor has spent so much time in the training of his moustache. Long hair is usually associated with cranks, artists, and musicians, but in Circassia business men and even farmers train their kinky locks to stand out from their skulls until they have heads as big as a bushel basket. We see them on the street, at the railway stations, and other public places.

The Circassians are almost always in rebellion against the Russian government. They are not susceptible to discipline; they will not obey the laws and they dislike to pay taxes. Although they profess the most intense love of country, in 1858 nearly one half the population of Circassia emigrated to Asia Minor, Bulgaria, and other provinces of Turkey, carrying with them their insubordinate dispositions and reckless habits rather than submit to a code of regulations introduced by the Russian authorities.


One of the tribes, known as the Swannys, still practise the Mosaic doctrine of atonement. When an injury is suffered or an offence is committed they do not appeal to the courts, but impose the penalty in person upon the cattle or the horses, or the crops or other property, or upon the person of the offender. It is called “the Code of Blood,” and the present code was prepared by Prince Royal Vakhtang in 1703. In this code the life of a noble, an archbishop or a general is estimated at 15,000 rubles ($7,500), and each social grade has its value, down to the peasant, whose life is estimated at 6,000 rubles. If the offender has no cash there is a clause authorizing that “cattle may be given in lieu of coin.” A horse is estimated at sixty rubles and a bullock at twenty in such settlements. If the offender refuses to settle for money the price is paid in blood.

Only a few years ago a Circassian of wealth and influence, of education and refinement, told a friend of mine in Odessa that he intended to kill one of his neighbours at the first opportunity because the man was odious to him and was making love to his daughter. He was afraid the girl would yield to his blandishments and therefore thought it judicious to kill him. He had come to Odessa in advance of committing the crime for the purpose of borrowing funds to pay the blood money.

Rostov-on-the-Don, the capital of the Cossacks, is a live city, with an enterprising and prosperous population of 160,000 or more; wide streets, fine business blocks, handsome homes, attractive parks, splendid churches, and all the modern improvements. It is one of the greatest grain shipping ports in the world, being favourably situated at the mouth of the river Don, and at the head of the Sea of259 Azov, but that body of water is so shallow that most of the grain barges that come down the river are towed on to Taganrog, the next port, about thirty miles below, where there is enough water to accommodate a 2,500-ton steamer. The channel at Rostov is only twelve feet. The Sea of Azov is very shallow over its entire area, and has flat, sandy shores, which slope so gently that a bather can wade two or three miles into the water without wetting his ears. The Russian government has promised to dredge a deeper channel and probably will do so one of these days.

The valley of the Don is a famous wheat field, stretching back for a hundred miles or more on both sides of its banks, and producing large crops. The land is mostly owned by the Cossacks. They are very progressive and seek the most efficient means of multiplying their labour. Hence Rostov has an enormous trade in agricultural machinery and implements. Several American companies have agencies there. The Cossacks buy a great deal of machinery and implements, mostly Russian ploughs, American harvesters, hay rakes, spreaders, etc., and English threshing machines.

The valley of the Don is owned by the Cossacks. The entire province belongs to the tribe collectively and is allotted in parcels of various sizes to the different families, who occupy and cultivate it generation after generation, although the title remains in the tribe. The fisheries in the river and the Sea of Azov, the timber on the slopes of the mountains, and everything else in the way of real property belongs to the tribe in common. Some of the Cossacks have individual wealth, none are poor. Those who save money and let it accumulate by fortunate investments, however, are comparatively few. The majority are spendthrifts. They know260 they will be taken care of by their tribe, and that takes away the incentive to economy. The individual wealth consists of horses, cattle, securities, household furniture, ornaments, and investments of various sorts. Every Cossack, therefore, when he is born is immediately a land owner.

The name Cossack was originally spelled “Kasak,” and is a Tartar word meaning vagabond. This indicates the origin of this famous clan. The original Cossacks were adventurers and outlaws from Circassia, Daghestan, Georgia, and other parts of the Caucasus, whose restless disposition drove them away from the homes of their fathers. They joined the Russians living along the banks of the river and made up that portion of the czar’s subjects known as the “Cossacks of the Don.”

Although they consider themselves the most essential part of the Russian Empire, the Cossacks have always insisted upon maintaining their independence and are actually a state within a state. They were always wild and irresponsible and made guerrilla raids upon the adjoining provinces. In 1770 they supported a pretender to the Russian throne, who gave himself the title of Peter III. His followers ravaged the valley of the Volga and threatened Moscow, but in 1775 were beaten in battle with terrible loss. Pugatcheff, the pretender, was captured and executed. After a time the Cossacks were granted amnesty and made a treaty with the government of Catherine II, under which they were given a vast tract of land on both sides of the river Don, and were made practically independent. In return for these privileges they agreed to furnish the czar a certain number of soldiers for his army, without pay. That is the reason the Cossacks, the most important corps in the Russian261 service, receive no compensation or rations or other supplies. They provide their own horses and uniforms, their own guns and ammunition, their own camp equipage, and receive no money whatever from the public treasury.

Every Cossack is a soldier for life, subject to instant orders, and always keeps a horse saddled and a rifle loaded ready for service. A certain number are always in the army. Every Cossack is expected to serve fifteen years consecutively and be ready to answer every call that is made. The only exemption is made in favour of the sons of dependent mothers, bread winners of families dependent upon them, fathers who already have three sons in the service, priests and teachers, and one out of four brothers. A rich Cossack can hire a substitute if he pleases, and many of them do so.

Although the Cossacks are Tartars and come from Mohammedan stock, most of them belong to what is known as the “Old Believers,” a sect of the Russian Greek Church which condemns the splendour and extravagance displayed in the houses of worship, the ritual, and in the ceremonies of the Church, and advocates a return to the simple forms of worship practised by the Saviour and His disciples. A small number of the Cossacks still remain Mohammedans.

The beautiful black horses which the Cossacks ride and which are admired by every one who visits Russia come chiefly from the province of Tamboff, southeast of Moscow, northeast of Odessa, northwest of Rostov and adjoining the Cossack province. This stock was introduced from Arabia by Prince Orloff, the famous favourite of the Empress Catherine II, and were scattered by him among the stock growers in different parts of European Russia. Tamboff262 became the centre of the breeding business because conditions are most favourable there. It may be called the Kentucky of Russia. Nearly all the farmers have breeding studs. There are several estates with thousands of mares that drop a colt each annually. They are all dead black, without a blemish, with long tails, beautiful thick manes, gentle dispositions, great speed and endurance. The breeder never sells a mare; you never see a mare working in harness—always a stallion, and they cost on the farm from two hundred and fifty dollars up.

The farmers of southern Russia are quite contented with present conditions. They have always been loyal to the czar, but they applauded the constitution and unanimously approve of the legislative government. They are also very generally in favour of the platform of the constitutional democrats, which advocates making the ministry responsible to the duma, instead of the czar, and thus having a parliamentary party like that of Great Britain.

The government has established a string of land banks in order to loan money to the farmers to buy land and to improve their holdings. When a large estate is offered for sale the land is divided into small farms by government appraisers, who fix the value and make out the deeds to the purchasers. The land bank advances the money and takes a mortgage on the property for thirty-five years at 3¼ per cent., 2½ per cent. being considered as interest and ¼ per cent. being placed in a sinking fund to redeem the bonds that are issued to raise the purchase money.

The farmer pays his annual interest into the bank in four quarterly instalments. I was told that the sale of the lands belonging to the crown and to the church is practically a263 humbug. A large area belonging to both has been sold, but it was of comparatively little value. The best quality and the largest proportion of both church and crown lands have been reserved and will not be sold until some future revolution compels the government to dispose of them.

The revolution of 1906 is practically forgotten. As soon as the farmers of southern Russia got a law passed allowing them to buy farms of their own they accepted the situation in good faith and have relied upon the government to carry out its part of the agreement honestly. As soon as they have land that they can call their own they are perfectly contented.

Most of these peasant farmers are descended from serfs, who were emancipated by Alexander II and they continue to live upon the soil which their fathers worked as slaves, and they recognize the sons of the men who owned their ancestors as their “patrons.”

The average Russian peasant is honest and industrious; he pays his taxes and gives one fifth of all his income to the church, but he has a terrible appetite for strong drink, and vodka, the Russian brandy, made of potatoes, is his curse. The government, however, has done a great deal to promote temperance. It has a monopoly of the liquor business, both in manufacture and sale, and its policy to prohibit the sale of liquor in agricultural villages has been strictly applied to a considerable section in southern Russia, where no strong drink of any kind can be obtained. Some of the country districts, generally speaking, are strictly prohibition, but the sale of liquor as a beverage is still permitted in the cities and the larger towns, and at first-class restaurants, hotels, and eating houses.


A benevolent society, of which the duke of Orenburg, a brother-in-law of the czar, is president, is doing a great deal of good in supplying substitutes for saloons—temperance resorts and loafing places, where the peasants can spend the long winter evenings amusing themselves, without getting drunk. Non-alcoholic drinks are sold at these places, with a sufficient profit to maintain them, and they are now found in almost every village.

The greatest drawback among the peasant class in southern Russia is the lack of schools. If the church would spend less money for gilded domes and resplendent decorations in its houses of worship, and more for school-houses, it would be a great benefit to the people. But whenever you criticise the absence of school-houses, the loyal Russian always attributes it to the lack of teachers. If you discuss the subject with school boards and other educational authorities, they will tell you that it is impossible to obtain competent teachers. The chief reason is the low wages offered by the government. The peasants have been making money for several years. They are saving it, and many of them are using every means within their reach, except education, to improve their condition. They have better homes and furniture than they ever had before; they are breeding up their horses, sheep and cattle; they are buying labour-saving machinery and the best seed in the market, and still have money in the bank.

The Crimea, the loveliest gem in the crown of the czar, is a trophy captured by Catherine the Great in one of the numerous wars of conquest that have been brought by the Russians against Turkey. These wars have been going on at intervals for centuries, and will continue to occur until the patriarch of the Greek orthodox church presides again at St. Sophia, the most famous of all Mohammedan mosques—once a Christian temple. The Turks let the sign of the cross remain upon the pediment over the entrance that faces toward Mecca as a reminder and a taunt to the Christian world.

After Catherine captured the Crimea she attempted to realize the dream of Peter the Great by chasing the Turks from Europe. She proclaimed her supremacy over all the northern shore of the Black Sea and made preparations to erect her throne in Constantinople. It was a magnificent scheme of conquest, and it might have been carried out but for the outbreak of the French Revolution and a national uprising under Kosciusko in Poland. Her attention was thus diverted from the south, and it was left for Nicholas, the “iron czar,” to subdue the Caucasus and extend the limits of Russia to the Caspian Sea.

In 1787 Catherine made a triumphal journey to visit her new possessions. She rode in a chariot covered with266 gold leaf and bearing her monogram in diamonds upon the doors. The axles of the wheels were studded with costly gems and never was such a splendid equipage used by mortal. It outshone the chariots of the fairies, and you may see it, if you wish, preserved with other relics of the most luxurious of all queens, in the Kremlin at Moscow.

The empress was received everywhere with great enthusiasm by the communities her soldiers had conquered. Festivals and illuminations were prepared to impress her with the loyalty of her new subjects and Prince Potemkin, her viceroy, built a road 200 miles long through the wilderness in order that her journey might be more comfortable. She was convinced of the glory and prosperity of her dominions and over the gate through which she passed into the city of Kherson, thirty miles north of Odessa, was this inscription:

“This is the way to Byzantium”—the Russian name for Constantinople.

By the same war Russia got Odessa and the north shore of the Black Sea. Alexander I renewed the struggle in 1855, for the purpose of taking the south coast and the northern provinces of Asia Minor from the sultan, when the intervention of England, France, and Sardinia provoked the Crimean war. It was not until 1877 that the conquest was resumed by Alexander II, and Russia then gained Batoum, and the eastern shore of the Black Sea, and a portion of Armenia; deprived the Great Turk of Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and established the independence of Montenegro under the protection of the Powers. And the end is not yet. The advance of the Russian boundaries toward the Mediterranean and the winning of a port upon the Pacific as an outlet for the products of Siberia are the267 fixed policy of the Romanoffs and they will fight until they get it. The late war with Japan set back the pointer upon the dial of Russian conquest, and the results which had been accomplished by diplomacy in Manchuria were lost. That will all have to be done over again, and the task will be ten-fold more difficult, but it will nevertheless be attempted, sooner or later.

Gateway to Aloupka Palace, The Crimea

By the next war Russia expects to gain the south coast of the Black Sea, and the northern provinces of Asia Minor. In anticipation of early possession, Nicholas Cherikoff, the czar’s ambassador at Constantinople, has succeeded in concluding a treaty under which the Turkish government is pledged not to permit the subjects of any other nation but Russia to build railways, to buy mines, to secure control of any form of property, or engage in any form of enterprise in that territory. When an American syndicate was seeking a railway concession in Asia Minor not long ago its representatives were notified by the Turkish minister of public works that it could not build its tracks north of Sivas; that Russia claimed exclusive rights in the belt of provinces lying along the southern coast of the Black Sea. This humiliating confession is loaded with significance. It illustrates the foresight and the determination with which the Russian policy of conquest is conducted.

The Crimea is one of the loveliest spots on earth—“A Little Paradise,” the Tartar inhabitants call it, as fertile as it is beautiful, with a climate as attractive as its scenery, and every physical condition that is favourable to health, happiness, and prosperity. That is one of the reasons why the peninsula has been fought over so fiercely through all the ages by the dominating nations of the earth.


The peninsula, which extends from the southern coast of Russia into the Black Sea, is almost circular in form, and measures 225 miles east and west and 155 miles north and south at its widest points. The total area is about ten thousand English square miles. The delightful climate and the scenic attractions have made the Crimea the playground of Russia, and the southern coast is lined with splendid villas belonging to rich nobles, merchants, and manufacturers, and hotels of all descriptions, villages of boarding-houses, and popular resorts for the accommodation of the ten thousand. The hotels are open the year around, the thermometer runs up to ninety degrees in midsummer, but the heat is tempered by cool breezes that play upon the Black Sea, and in winter the climate is ideal. The best months for comfort are May, June, October, and November, and the imperial family of Russia usually spend them here at a villa called Livadia, where the late Alexander III died several years ago.

A range of mountains called the Yallis runs parallel with the southern and eastern coast, culminating in Tohadyr-Dagh, a peak which rises 4,800 feet above the waters of the Black Sea, and is surrounded by other peaks between three thousand and four thousand feet in height. The southern coast is very abrupt and picturesque. The cliffs rise abruptly from the water to the height of 2,000, 3,000 and even 4,000 feet, and are crowned with domes, pyramids, pinnacles, and spires of rock as fantastic as the architecture of a dream. The cliffs are honeycombed with caverns caused by the decomposition of the limestone and are the delight of geologists, because of their stalactites and stalagmite formations. Other phenomena are abundant. Hot269 springs and mud volcanoes bubble up, spout steam, and indulge in other frightful manifestations, which made the Crimea uncanny and mysterious to the ancients, but in these prosaic days the hot mud is used to cure rheumatism and skin diseases, and the hot water to restore the digestive apparatus of Russian gluttons.

These caverns were once inhabited by a mysterious race called the Cimmerians and Troglodytes, who were supposed to live in darkness and worshipped a virgin goddess named Iphigenia. When a stranger landed on their shores they robbed him and sacrificed him on her altars. In modern times the hotel landlords carry on a similar business on a cash basis. They allow strangers to depart with their lives, but without their money.

The mountains of the Crimea are covered with dense forests and wild flowers grow there more abundantly than in any other part of Europe. The woods and meadows are carpeted with white and purple violets. The tulip, the veronica, the lily of the valley, the geranium, sweet peas, and other flowering plants reach perfection in a wild state, and are so plentiful that nobody thinks of cultivating them. In the northern part of the Crimea are salt lakes from which a hundred million pounds of salt are harvested annually by evaporation, and distributed throughout Russia, bringing much profit to the operators, and a large revenue to the government. The coast abounds in a great variety of fish, which furnish another profitable occupation for the people, and are shipped by train loads into the interior of Russia every day.

In ancient times the Crimea produced vast quantities of corn, which was exported to Greece and Rome and other270 Mediterranean countries, but agriculture has been supplanted by horticulture, and the sunny slopes of the peninsula are covered with orchards and vineyards and truck gardens. The Crimea is famous for wines, although they are too sweet and heavy for the American taste. Fruits of every kind, peaches, apples, pears, plums, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, and currants, walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, hazel nuts, melons, and vegetables of every variety are produced in enormous quantities and shipped to northern Russia. The Crimea is the hothouse, the conservatory of the empire, and supplies early vegetables to the tables of the rich residents of St. Petersburg and Moscow, as the truck forms of Florida provide for those of our northern cities.

The largest part of the population of the Crimea are Tartars—Crim-Tartars they are called, to distinguish them from other representatives of that race—Crim being the Russian form of the word Crimea. They are Mohammedans and have a streak of the savage left in them. No Tartar was ever thoroughly civilized. They resemble the Sicilians in character and habits—in their passionate natures, their jealous dispositions, their vendetta and love of revenge, but they are a sober, industrious, generous-hearted people, whose most sacred fetich is hospitality. They never turn a stranger, even a tramp, from the door. They are always courteous, always deferential and expect their kindness to be returned in good faith.

The Crim-Tartars have a genius for gardening. They love plants and trees and flowers. Whatever they sow brings forth a thousand-fold. They tend the orchards and the gardens of the peninsula, raise the fruit and make the271 wines, carry on the fisheries, furnish household servants for the hotels, boarding-houses and villas, and leave shop-keeping and trading to the Armenians and the Jews, who are numerous there as everywhere else in southern Russia, and control financial and mercantile affairs.

The Crimea is a fascinating field for historians and archæologists, for its original inhabitants furnished much material for mythology, and their remains abound in various parts of the little peninsula. The Cimmerians, the first inhabitants referred to in history, were known to Homer and Herodotus, and their gloomy situation is described in the “Odyssey” xi, 15:

“There in a lonely land and gloomy cells
The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells;
Unhappy race! Whom endless night invades,
Clouds the dull air and wraps them round in shades.”

The Scythians, an Asiatic tribe, drove the Cimmerians out of the Crimea in 680 B.C. The latter crossed the Black Sea and settled along the coast of Asia Minor. Thence they spread over Europe and were the founders of three races—the Welsh, the Milesians, and the Goths. Welsh names abound throughout the Crimea, and in the mountains of Wales the old families are known as Cymry.

The Strait of Kertch, which connects the Sea of Azov with the Euxine, or Black Sea, is labelled the “Cimmerian Bosphorus” on all the early maps. The word Bosphorus means, literally, “the passage of an ox,” and is an ancient designation of all streams and water-courses which will permit an ox to cross them by wading or swimming.

The port of Theodosia, the first important town on the272 Black Sea south of Kertch, dates back a thousand years before the Christian era and was known to Ptolemy, Strabo, Pliny, and the historians and geographers of the Romans, Greeks, and the Egyptians under the name Caffa; afterward as Ardava, which means “the city of the seven gods.” This was the capital of the Milesians in the seventh century before Christ, and it was a place of great importance. Scattered throughout the country are tumuli, which are believed to be the graves of kings, and several of them have already been explored with surprising success. Herodotus, the Greek historian, who must have visited Crimea about 375 or 400 B.C., describes the peninsula in considerable detail, and tells about the burial ceremonies of Scythian chieftains. The same customs were followed by the Milesians in Ireland centuries afterward.

He relates that when a king died his body was embalmed and laid in a tomb surrounded by at least one of his wives and several of his servants and his horse, who were strangled for that purpose. His weapons, golden cups, and other articles of daily use were placed beside him in the sepulchre, in order that he might be properly equipped in the next world. Earth was then piled upon the tomb until it formed a miniature mountain. Several of these tumuli have been opened; one, in which Parisades I, who was king of Crimea in the fifth century B.C., was buried, contained the skeletons of his queen, of several attendants, a horse with helmet and greaves, various arms and utensils for eating and drinking, and the bones of a sheep.

In the neighbourhood of Kertch are extensive catacombs similar to those built by the early Christians in Rome. Excavations conducted under the direction of the Russian273 authorities several years ago disclosed rich ornaments of gold and silver, quaint arms and utensils of exquisite workmanship, which are now in the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg. The walls of the catacombs are plastered over and covered with cryptographs and paintings, containing the history of prominent people who are buried near by. They are similar to the inscriptions on the Egyptian tombs, and represent combats, hunting scenes, court ceremonies and various other human activities, with accurate pictures of horses, oxen, dogs, and other animals. The men are usually represented in shirts of mail, wearing trousers supported by belts and conical caps similar to the Turkish fez. These catacombs date back at least twenty-five hundred years, and in several cases the occupants can be identified as the early sovereigns of the Cimmerians and the Milesians.

In the sixth century B.C., a Greek colony from Ionia settled near Kertch and dedicated their city to the god Pan, calling it Panticapæum. Coins bearing the effigy of that divinity have been dug up in the neighbourhood. In the same century the Scythians sent a force of men into Asia Minor to assist in repelling the invasion of Darius. In the year 480 B.C. the king of the Crimea was Archæanax. His successor was Spartacus, who died 438 B.C. The people of the peninsula preserved their independence until 115 B.C., when Parisades, the last native king, surrendered to Mithridates, who was the sovereign of twenty-two nations, and able to converse with the inhabitants of all of them without an interpreter.

From that time on the Crimea was the scene of continual struggles. The Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the274 Goths, the Huns, the Genoese, the Venetians, the Byzantines, and other races succeeded one another in control at intervals of a century or two. The Golden Horde of Tartars in the fourteenth century drove out the Genoese and retained control, although compelled to pay tribute to the Turks, until in 1771, when the Tartar khan, Sahym Ghyrey, surrendered to Prince Potemkin and the Crimea became a part of the Russian empire.

One of the early rulers, Pharnaces, son of Mithridates, A.D. 63, was in command of the forces that were whipped by Cæsar so easily at the battle of Zelah as to cause him to send his famous despatch to the Roman senate: “Veni! Vidi! Vici!”

Another of the kings of the Crimea, Polemo II, a pagan, married the daughter of King Agrippa of Bible fame and adopted the Jewish faith, which he afterward renounced when his wife deserted him.

The Tartar khanate, which dates from 1380, had its capital at Baghtchasarai, about thirty miles northeast of Sevastopol and the same distance northwest of Yalta. The Khan Sarai, or palace, was restored and refurnished according to the original style by Prince Potemkin for the reception of Catherine the Great when she visited the Crimea in 1787. It is a fantastic building of barbaric splendour, and it is said to be described in the famous poem “Lallah Rookh.” The Russian poet Pushkin rhapsodizes over its beauties in some pretty verses of description. It is by no means as beautiful or as extensive as the Alhambra in Spain, but resembles it in the arrangement and the decoration of the apartments.

There are several well-preserved tombs of the khans who275 reigned between 1380 and 1786, including a graceful mausoleum, similar to those at Delhi outside the walls, in which repose the mortal remains of Deliarah Bikeh, the beautiful Georgian wife of Khan Shahim Gherai. Her original name was Maria Potorzka. She was the daughter of a Georgian chieftain, a Christian by birth and training, and refused to change her religion. In one of the apartments of the palace is a fountain which her husband, Shahim Gherai, erected in her memory as a symbol of the tears he shed after her death. It is called “the flood of tears.” Outside the walls, in an octagonal mausoleum with a dome, she is buried, and over the door is written in Tartar characters:

“This is the tomb of Deliarah Bikeh, beloved wife of Shahim Gherai, died 1746 A.D. She was a Christian.”

The fountain bears the same date.

About four miles from the town, upon the crest of a lofty crag called Chufut Kaleh (“Jewish rock”) is another stately tomb. It is regarded as one of the finest specimens of Tartar architecture in existence, and was erected in 1437 in honour of a Jewess, Nene Kejeh, queen of Toktamysh, khan of the Golden Horde.

There are many Jews in this part of the Crimea, whose ancestors came there eight centuries before the Christian era. They are of the Karaim sect and follow the Mosaic laws strictly. They are supposed to have many old manuscripts of priceless value, but the Russian government has never been able to secure any of them for the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg, although repeated attempts have been made. The museums at St. Petersburg have collections of great value and interest illustrating the arts,276 industries, habits, and customs of the early occupants of the Crimean peninsula. There are also many interesting ethnological and archæological examples in a pretty little museum at Odessa; but only a few of the ruins of ancient cities have ever been excavated and many tumuli remain unexplored. It is a popular impression that the manuscripts carried from Jerusalem at the time of the captivity and brought to the Crimea shortly after, are numerous and of the greatest value, but the rabbis pretend to know nothing of them.

The Karaims in the Crimea have enjoyed full rights and privileges as citizens of Russia since 1802 and have never suffered from the restrictions and persecutions of their race elsewhere. They live in a suburb of Baghtchasarai, from choice and not from compulsion. The name means “the stronghold of Israel,” and it has been the headquarters of the community for 2,500 years. From this stronghold the sons of Karaim have scattered over the peninsula and along the northern coast of the Black Sea in pursuit of trade, and like most of their brethren, they are industrious, energetic, and successful competitors in every business in which they engage.

Their synagogue stands upon a hill called Mount Zion, their cemetery is in the valley of Jehoshaphat, where thousands of tombstones bear Hebrew inscriptions. The most ancient epitaph that can be deciphered commends the virtues and piety of a rabbi, Moses Levi, who died “in the year 726 after the exile,” which is the same as the year 30 A.D. Another marks the grave of “Zadok, son of Moses the Levite, who died 4,000 years after the creation, and 785 years after the exile,” which was 89 A.D.


There are many Karaims in southern Russia, and more in Egypt and Turkey. They are found in larger or smaller numbers everywhere along the coast of the Mediterranean. They adapt themselves very readily to their surroundings. In the Crimea they speak the Tartar language; in Odessa they speak Russian; in Athens they speak Greek, and in Egypt their language is the Arabic.

The market place of Baghtchasarai is one of the most interesting places in the Crimea. The display of fruits and vegetables makes the observer hungry. It also gives an unusually good opportunity to study ethnology, for representatives of the most ancient races in the world, which have exhausted themselves or have been exterminated elsewhere, may be found engaged in ordinary avocations, unconscious of the fact that, counting generations of ancestors, they are entitled to the distinction of being the aristocracy of the earth. The Jews, the Cimmerians, the Milesians, the Scythians, the Tauri, families in the Crimea, have pedigrees that run back farther than human history.

The habitations of European seashore resorts are very much alike, and consist of solid rows of masonry packed as closely as possible, with large windows fronting the water. The ground floors are always occupied by a series of gayly decorated show windows, with small shops behind them, restaurants, cafés, flower stalls, and confectioners. On the opposite side of the street there is always a sea wall, with a heavy stone balustrade, protecting a cement promenade, from which piers at intervals extend over the water and to the bath houses that are clustered on the beach. All the life and all the ardour of those who come for health or pleasure are expended upon this thoroughfare, which is crowded from278 ten to eleven o’clock in the morning until midnight, and the restaurants, tea pavilions and cafés are always filled with people eating and drinking and having what they consider a good time.

Yalta, which is considered the Newport of Russia, the most fashionable resort for both winter and summer in that great empire, resembles, in the way I have described, those of France and Spain, Italy and England, but here nature has also offered irresistible inducements for the rich people to build villas upon the slopes of the mountains that rise in the background, leaving a belt of about a mile wide to be thus occupied. There is a Greek church, with five gilded domes, numerous hotels and handsome residences belonging to grand dukes, princes and other dignitaries; rich merchants and manufacturers. They are mostly of very ornate architecture, built of rough brick or stone, covered with white stucco and embellished with elaborate mouldings over the windows and doors and along the cornices and the balconies. Some of them are painted, and, in two or three cases, the owners have their coats of arms displayed in brilliant colours on the walls.

One of the most attractive villas is that of the emir of Bokhara, a political protegé of the Russian government. He goes there every winter and sometimes in the summer, also, for he is glad to get away from home as often as the Russian government will permit him. His villa is a fine specimen of Saracenic architecture. He has a farm back in the hills, also, but seldom goes there.

The hotels are very comfortable, large rooms well furnished, good meals well served, and, during the summer months, the tables are placed on the lawn, a practice which the managers279 of the hotels at our summer resorts at home might adopt to the comfort of their patrons, instead of feeding them in hot, close dining-rooms, blazing with light. In the heat of midsummer a dinner will be relished a great deal more if it is served on a lawn under the shade of a tree in the soft twilight, than in a superheated dining-room. The charges are high, quite as high as they are at any of our fashionable resorts, but that is to be expected. European hotel people have discovered to their profit that tourists will pay whatever is asked, and there are no more ten-franc-a-day stopping places on the continent.

The bath houses are not so large nor so good as in America, and comparatively few people bathe. The women are afraid of spoiling their complexions and the men find more sport in other diversions.

There are lovely drives in every direction from Yalta, and waterfalls, gorges, highly decorated gardens, dense groves, observation towers, restaurants and all sorts of attractions scattered along the slopes of the mountains, which rise 2,500 or 3,000 feet behind the town. I am told that there is an average of about 7,500 visitors at Yalta daily the year around, for in that climate, like that of Monterey and Santa Barbara, California, one month is as pleasant as another. Hence, people from the north of Russia come in the winter and people from the south of Russia in the summer, and the hotels are always filled.

There is no railway, although they are talking of one to connect with the trunk lines that run between Sevastopol and Moscow. Everybody has to come on the steamers from Sevastopol, Odessa, Nicholaief, Rostov, Batoum, and other ports on the Black Sea. The visitors from St. Petersburg,280 Moscow and other northern points take a train to Sevastopol and then come around by steamer in four hours, or by carriage over a wonderful mountain road, a ten-hour ride. The steamers are not very comfortable because the state-rooms are all below the water line, so that the port holes cannot be opened, and there is no ventilation; but the voyage between Yalta and Sevastopol is made both ways in the day-time, in order to give passengers an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery along the coast, and they keep well in toward the shore for that purpose. I do not know of any other sea voyage that will equal it for scenery.

There is a roadway around to Sevastopol from Yalta cut out of the side of the cliff, on a level averaging 300 or 400 feet above the water, and often running as high as a thousand feet on the slopes of the precipices, which was built by the late Prince Woronzoff. It is one of the most delightful and picturesque drives you can imagine. You leave Sevastopol at nine o’clock in the morning, lunch at the Gate of Baidar, which is the water shed, spend the night at Aloupka, and drive over to Yalta in time for luncheon the next morning. There is a procession of carriages loaded with tourists going both ways daily.

For nearly the entire distance a wall of rock rises from 1,000 to 4,000 feet almost abruptly from the Black Sea, being broken at intervals by gorges and narrow valleys which run back into the fertile fields in the interior of the Crimea. Wherever there is room for a handful of soil it is cultivated. There are Tartar villages every few miles, and between them orchards, vineyards, gardens, and truck farms, from which fruit and vegetables are shipped to St. Petersburg and Moscow. The tables of the rich people281 of those cities and other parts of Russia are supplied with early vegetables and fruit from this source.

Below the roadway and between it and the water many beautiful villas are located among the rocks and the trees. Hotels and sanitariums occur every few miles. The hard, smooth roads are kept in perfect order and decorated on both sides with sweetbriar roses, which continue to bloom through the entire summer. There are myriads of wild flowers also, for which the Crimea is famous, and it is said to have a larger variety than any other place in the world.

This coast is much more beautiful than that of Dalmatia, although it lacks the life and colour that is given the latter by the costumes of the women and the men. It is more like the drive from Cork to the Lakes of Killarney than any other place I know. The French Riviera is more finished and polished and complete, the villas are finer; the hotels are more imposing and the architects and landscape gardeners have embellished nature to a greater extent, but there is more natural beauty on the Crimean coast.

You cross the highest point, 2,200 feet, at Baidar Gate which occupies the site of an ancient fortification intended to protect the tax collector and to prevent hostile armies from passing along this coast, and there you eat your luncheon upon a balcony from which you can look down more than 2,000 feet upon the turquoise waters of the Black Sea.

Near by, upon a promontory projecting out from the precipice, a beautiful Byzantine church has been erected as a memorial to a tea merchant of Moscow named Kouzedneff, who had a winter villa on the coast immediately below. The interior of the church is extravagantly decorated and282 with much taste, and among the paintings is the Christmas scene in the manger at Bethlehem. A beautiful babe lies on a pile of straw in a stable, emitting a halo of light from its entire body, like a block of phosphorus or radium, while a girl and a young man in the costumes of Russian peasants look down in adoration upon their child.

Aloupka is not so fashionable as Yalta, but is more beautiful. The location is more picturesque and the surroundings are more attractive. It is an assortment of hotels, boarding-houses, and sanitariums collected around one of the most unique and fascinating country seats I have ever seen—the palace of the Woronzoff family, built in 1839 by a governor of the Crimea of that name. He was one of the most famous fighters in Russian history and one of the ablest executives, and contributed more to the glory of Catherine the Great than almost any other of her servants. He was viceroy of the Crimea and afterward of the Caucasus, and his grandson, Prince Woronzoff Dashkoff, is governor-general of the Caucasus to-day.

The Woronzoff palace occupies a terrace one hundred and fifty feet or so above the Black Sea, and a stately stairway, fit for any palace, extends from the threshold of the main entrance to the edge of the water, being guarded on both sides by marble lions, some of them asleep, some of them awake, some of them yawning and others in a playful mood. The façade was copied from one of the palaces of the Alhambra, which critics have pronounced very much out of place on a Tudor castle. Four Byzantine towers at the corners of the walls have also been objected to as untasteful intrusions. The rest of the architecture is in harmony and resembles that of an English castle of the period of Henry283 VIII. It was built by Sir Matthew Blore, an English architect.

There is a monumental hall and dining-room with wainscoting and ceiling of heavy carved oak; a drawing-room done in Wedgwood tiles of blue and white; a second drawing-room in empire style, a library that would not be out of place in one of the Oxford colleges, and other rooms of dignity and perfect order. There is a large courtyard upon which the offices of the estate and the stables open. The latter are now occupied by a battalion of troops, which have been considered necessary to protect the place since the revolution.

The grounds, which are unique, are always open to the public and attract many visitors to the town. They include a dense artificial forest of thirty acres at the foot of a precipice 4,000 feet high, filled with enormous bowlders that during the ages have fallen from the cliffs in odd shapes and lodged in positions which the landscape artist has utilized in an ingenious and artistic manner. There are said to be 1,140,000 plants. Every tree was planted by hand and 127 varieties are represented. Every plant and flowering shrub that will grow in that climate may be found upon the grounds, and we were told that some of the varieties cannot be found elsewhere in the Russian Empire.

Everything seems to be unique. For example, a large bowlder shaped like an irregular pyramid, with the narrow end upward, has been converted into a fountain. A hole has been drilled through it and a pipe has been laid which throws a stream of water an inch in diameter to the height of fifty feet, but strangest of all is the tomb of a pet dog, whose precious bones occupy a marble sarcophagus large enough for a child, placed in the centre of a cave formed284 by two enormous bowlders which lean against each other. Chiseled upon the rock at the side of the entrance is this epitaph:

Born in Brussa, May 20, 1861.
Died Aloupka, Nov. 24, 1874.

Near by is a grotto fitted up as a chapel, with an altar and the stations of the cross, where, the old bearded Tartar who showed us around said, the Princess Woronzoff-Dashkoff used to pray for the soul of her dog.

The owners seldom visit this beautiful estate. The prince has been viceroy of the Caucasus at Tiflis for many years and affairs there have been so troublesome as to require all of his attention.

In front of the park at Sevastopol is a monumental sea-gate called the “Grafskaya Pristan,” or “landing place of the nobility.” A stairway of white marble fifty feet wide leads from the edge of the water to the summit of the bluff, where is a classic marble pavilion, supported by twelve Ionic columns. Here the czar and other distinguished visitors are received with ceremony. This pavilion was erected as a memorial to Prince Mihail Simonovitch Woronzoff who, next to Potemkin, was the empire-builder of southern Russia. Traces of his ability and evidences of his energy and enterprise are found everywhere. He was one of the earliest governors of Odessa, where he founded numerous educational and charitable institutions and gave an impulse to trade and commerce. He was equally a benefactor to Sevastopol and the Grafskaya Pristan was a tribute of285 the people to the permanent benefit he conferred upon them.

Villa of the Czar at Livadia, Crimea

Another interesting place near by is called “Gaspra,” where three notorious women who had been banished from the Russian Court at St. Petersburg took refuge and not only repented of their sins but attempted the impossible task of converting the Tartar population to Christianity. One of them was the Princess Galatzin, whose amours were more notorious than those of Catherine the Great; another was the Baroness de Krudener, who told Alexander I, to his face, in a crowded ballroom, that he was an awful sinner. The third was the Countess de la Mothe, who was publicly whipped and branded in Paris as an accomplice in the theft of a diamond necklace from Marie Antoinette.

Another beautiful estate in that neighbourhood, which belonged to Gen. Leo Naryshkin, was laid out by Joachim Tascher, said to have been a natural half-brother of Josephine, the first empress of France. When Napoleon became emperor, Josephine offered Tascher a position suitable to his rank and relationship, but he declined and begged to be allowed to remain in obscurity, to follow his favourite pursuit of gardening.

Alexander III, emperor of Russia and father of the present czar, died October 20, 1894, in a pretty little villa near Yalta, on the southern coast of the Crimea, overlooking the Black Sea. It was his favourite residence, as it was that of his father, Alexander II, before him. At Livadia he could throw off those dignities which hedge about a king, and live like an ordinary man. A stately chapel of the Byzantine type of architecture, with five gilded domes, stands on the hillside near by as a memorial to this man whose piety and286 devotion were among his most marked characteristics. He was a stern, relentless, implacable autocrat, very different in character and disposition from his father and his son, men of amiable disposition and great forbearance.

It is a singular fact that every alternate czar has been a tyrant and every other one a broad-minded man of liberal views. But Alexander III was embittered by the assassination of his father, who was the most generous and benevolent of all the czars. He emancipated the serfs and gave them land and a draft of a constitution giving Russia a parliamentary government, which he intended to confer as a voluntary gift upon his subjects, lay upon his desk the morning he was assassinated. He was gentle and considerate and unselfish as McKinley, and died the same way. No assassination was ever less excusable.

Alexander III was naturally of a reticent, morbid disposition, without the slightest sense of humour, but lofty aspirations and a keen appreciation of his imperial prerogatives and power. He conceived it to be his duty to punish the entire 135,000,000 population of Russia for the crime of a few fanatics, and thus arrested the progress of Russian civilization during the entire period of his reign. He even went so far as to issue an edict forbidding the education of the peasants, because it made them discontented, closing all the schools in Russia to the children of the labouring class and permitting the attendance only of those whose parents had a certain income and paid a certain amount of taxes. This decree was revoked by his son Nicholas II, who has few of his characteristics, and is as different from him as one man can be from another.

Alexander III sent more poor creatures to Siberia than287 all the other czars. He was neither merciful nor just; his heavy hand fell upon the innocent as well as the guilty. No modern monarch has caused so much grief, so much suffering, or was guilty of greater cruelty and injustice in his administration.

No Oriental king of the Middle Ages was more fond of display, or more rigorous in his requirements concerning the ceremonies and the etiquette of his court, yet the man loved to escape his imperial splendour and seek rest and recreation in a cottage of not more than twenty rooms, with his wife and children and a few Tartar servants. There he lived the simple life and enjoyed it. There was no ceremony; there was no etiquette; there was no imperial prestige to maintain. There he became the husband and father instead of the king.

In the palaces of St. Petersburg he was always surrounded by Cossacks, policemen, and detectives, even in the family circle, and never crossed the threshold of his apartments without a military guard. At Livadia, fearless of anarchists, he wandered about the village with his wife and children, talked familiarly with the Tartar peasants, and often visited the villas of his friends. There was a guard at the gate and a sentinel at the door of the cottage, but he never had an escort when he went out for his walks or drives.

There are thousands of more spacious and pretentious country villas in Russia; there are hundreds of thousands in the United States more beautiful, more luxurious and better equipped than that in which he lived and died. Every village in America has homes equally elegant and comfortable, but Alexander III found it the most satisfactory and the most restful of all the places in the world.288 In the little red cottage, with its broad verandas and its walls half hidden with vines, he could forget the affairs of state that made his reign so stormy.

Alexander II, his father, fled to Livadia every winter for two or three months for relaxation from the stern and tragic life he was compelled to lead. The present czar has spent his happiest days there, also, and during his childhood was brought every winter to escape the arctic climate of St. Petersburg, with his governesses and tutors, and the rooms which he and his brothers occupied remain very much as they were in those days. They open immediately off a small hallway in the centre of the cottage on the ground floor, and the windows, which are only breast high from the lawn, overlook the garden. They are small and cosy, but very plain. Boyish traps are still hanging on the walls; tennis rackets, fencing foils and masks and rubber-soled canvas shoes.

There is an ordinary hat rack, a table and two plain chairs in the entrance hall. Two or three hats that belonged to Alexander III still remain where he hung them when he wore them last. The children’s schoolroom and the bedrooms of the boys occupy one half of the ground floor. On the opposite side is a dining-room, a very plain apartment, with a polished floor and a rug and sideboards, carving tables, high-backed mahogany chairs and a table that will seat twenty.

Back of the dining-room is the kitchen, and over it, on the second floor, is the drawing-room with handsome and tasteful but inexpensive furniture. There is a grand piano, a Swiss music box, upon a stand in the corner; a collection of fans and other feminine trifles in a cabinet; several presentation289 books and albums, and rather ordinary paintings upon the walls.

There is a suite of three rooms for the emperor and a corresponding suite for the empress. Her sitting-room is very pretty, with a Brussels carpet on the floor and hangings and upholstery of cretonne. Her bedroom is furnished with the same material and is similar to those you can find in every country-house of well-to-do people and much more convenient than any palace apartment I have ever seen. The bedstead is of brass with a canopy and curtains of cretonne. Between the sitting-room and the bedroom is a dressing-room, with several large wardrobes and a storeroom for linen with chests of drawers.

The czar’s library contains two desks of plain, ordinary white oak, one for himself and one for his secretary or military aide. It is furnished with substantial leather tufted furniture, cretonne hangings and an ordinary Brussels carpet upon the floor, while the walls are hung with family photographs, including a group taken on the front porch of the cottage when the late King Christian, Queen Alexandra of England, King George of Greece and other relatives of the Dowager Empress were there. There are several photographs of Queen Alexandra of England and King George of Greece about the house. The affection and devotion for which the royal family of Denmark is famous is illustrated by the number of photographs that are scattered around.

The czar’s sleeping chamber is a large, square room with an outlook upon the Black Sea. It is left exactly as it was when he died. His bed, a large four-poster with two mattresses, is shielded from the light by a high screen,290 and beside it is a small iron camp bedstead that was used by his nurse. In the corner is a cabinet bathtub, which closes up like a settee; in the centre is a table, with several Russian books, reviews and newspapers—the last he read. There is a sofa behind it with a pillow embroidered with the imperial arms, where he rested in his last days. Beside one window is a large easy chair, in tufted blue leather, much worn, and rather shabby, in which Alexander III sat when he breathed his last. He died of a combination of Bright’s disease and dropsy, and his lungs and heart were drowned. For several days before his death he was unable to lie down, and slept in this chair. It stands exactly where it was when he died, and where his feet rested a cross of olive-wood has been embedded in the floor.

The rooms of Alexander II in the winter palace at St. Petersburg and those of Nicholas I, the iron czar, are preserved in the same way, and will never be occupied again. But no emperor ever died in such simple, homelike surroundings as Alexander III.

The widow has never been there since she left for St. Petersburg with the funeral cortege, but Nicholas II, the son, always spends a portion of the year in Livadia, usually three months in the fall. The old vine-covered villa, which has been photographed and used as an illustration for books and magazines so often, has been torn down, and a splendid palace of white sandstone, to cost $750,000, has been constructed on plans prepared by Architect Krasnoff of Yalta.

There are 700 acres in the estate, 250 acres under cultivation and the rest in park. Nearly 200 acres are in vineyards, and the best wine of the Crimea is said to come from291 the emperor’s grapes. It is not made on the place, but the grapes are hauled to a wine press in the neighbourhood.

Villa at Livadia in which Alexander III died

The estate is surrounded by a high barbed-wire fence, draped with honeysuckle and creepers. It lies between the main highway and the Black Sea, and people who drive that way can get a very good idea of the establishment—the groups of stables, the cottages for aide-de-camp and members of the household, the conservatories, the chapel, and other buildings which are scattered over the place, and half hidden in the foliage. There is an especial residence for the cabinet minister, who attends the czar, and apartments for the entertainment of other members of the government who are brought here on official business. Nothing, however, is pretentious. Many summer homes in the United States surpass it in every respect, but Livadia will always be sacred to Russians because of its associations with Alexander III.

When the Crimea was annexed to Russia in 1783, Prince Potemkin recognized the natural strength and military advantages of a village called Ak-yar and the marine advantages of its harbour, which is a narrow, deep fiord, extending inward several miles between low hills. A few weeks after the treaty was signed which gave Russia sovereignty over the peninsula, Catherine the Great, upon his recommendation, issued an edict directing the creation of a military and naval station and a fortress at that point.

She passed two days here in 1787 and rechristened the place with a combination of two Greek words: Sevastos-polis, which means, in English, “honoured” or “august city.” From that time Sevastopol (it is pronounced Sevas-tow-pol—with the accent on the “tow”—) next to Cronstadt, the Gibraltar of the north, has been the most strongly fortified place in Russia, the military and naval headquarters of the Black Sea, with a shipyard for the construction of vessels, shops for the manufacture of guns, engines, and other machinery and equipment, both military and naval; and the natural advantages have been improved with such skill and expense as to make the finest and best equipped military harbour in Europe. Sevastopol is purely a military town. Every resident is either connected with the293 army or navy, or is dependent upon one or the other branches of that service.

The city was almost entirely destroyed during the Crimean war, but was immediately rebuilt and made stronger than ever. The Crimean war was the result of the intervention of Great Britain, France, and Sardinia for the protection of Turkey against the aggressive movements of Russia, which insisted upon a treaty with the sultan giving the czar the protectorate over all members of the Greek Church in his dominion, who comprise about three fourths of the population of Turkey in Europe. This claim could not be conceded by Turkey without ceasing to remain an independent state, and war was declared against Russia in March, 1854. England and France sent fleets and armies to support Turkey and a campaign was fought on the Danube to resist the Russian invasion. Fleets of transports, loaded with Sardinians, French, and British troops were sent to the Black Sea, through the Bosphorus, and landed at Varna, which is now the port of Bulgaria, in April and May, 1854, but cholera broke out there, and in September following, an army of 25,000 British, 25,000 French, and 8,000 Turks was transferred to the Crimea, and disembarked thirty miles north of Sevastopol, where they fought the battle of Alam and commenced the siege of Sevastopol.

The Battle of Balaklava followed on the 25th of October and that of Inkerman on the 5th of November. Inkerman was known as the soldiers’ battle, because of the absence of officers of high rank. The British camp was surprised by the Russians on a dark and drizzly morning when most of the officers were absent, and the soldiers sustained a hand to hand fight against five times their294 number of Russians until 6,000 French came to their aid and completed the rout of the enemy.

Balaklava was one of the fiercest battles ever fought and will be ever remembered for the charge of the Light Brigade. No more spectacular exhibition of nerve and courage was ever witnessed, and the act was performed before an audience of 50,000 men. The charge of Pickett’s division of the confederate army at the battle of Gettysburg was made by several times the number of men and was repeated again and again each time they were driven back. For desperate tenacity of purpose and heroic determination, the charge of the First Minnesota infantry at Gettysburg is more notable, but for dramatic effect nothing could exceed the charge of the 600—or in reality 723—English cavalrymen, who in obedience to a mistaken order, rode a mile and a half between two Russian lines, under a murderous fire of musketry to silence a battery that had been seriously harassing the British position.

The British forces suffered severely in the campaign, more than the French or the Sardinians, and almost as much as the Russians. The Turks suffered least of all, notwithstanding the fact that the war was fought in their behalf. They were an insignificant factor in the struggle.

Grafskaya Pristan—Monumental Landing Place, Sevastopol
Memorial Church, Sevastopol

The war was famous for two of the most notable events in military history—the siege of Sevastopol and the charge of the Light Brigade. The siege lasted thirteen months, until the Russians were absolutely starved out. They have always asserted that with food they might have resisted forever. The city was assaulted four times “with infernal fire,” and an appalling sacrifice of life, without making much impression. It was not the assaults that brought Sevastopol295 down, but the persistence of the siege. Military critics have often said that it was a war of spades and not of guns. The entrenchments of the allies were gradually advanced until the city was like a body of men wrapped in the coils of an anaconda. The situation being no longer tenable, as soldiers say, the Russians spiked their guns, blew up their magazines and fortifications, burned their storehouses, sunk every floating thing in the harbour, and evacuated, Sept. 10, 1855, having lost in the siege, according to their own accounts, 2,684 killed, 7,342 wounded, and 1,763 missing. The Russian losses in the several battles which preceded the siege were more than 30,000 killed and wounded. The French cemetery contains 28,000 graves, most of them marked.

After the Russians retired, the allies took possession of the ruins of the city and remained until peace was declared.

The English losses were placed at 30,000. The unusual severity of the winter, the lack of food, clothing, blankets, medicines, and other necessaries caused terrible hardship and suffering, and more than 18,000 British soldiers died of disease, which is ten times as many as were killed in battle during the entire campaign.

The trouble with the British army in the Crimea was the same that appeared in the South African war fifty years later; the same that prevailed on the part of the United States during our recent war with Spain, a condition that military students are always warning each other against, but seldom providing for. Although England went into the war voluntarily, intervening for the protection of Turkey in an affair which was of no direct interest to the government or the people of Great Britain, both the army and the296 navy, in every department, were totally unprepared. Upon the arrival of the troops at the Crimea, they were absolutely without necessary supplies of food, clothing, ammunition, and indeed practically everything else. The medical department was without drugs, instruments, litters, and all other requirements.

General Sir Evelyn Wood, in his history of the Crimean War, says:

“The neglect of all preparation for war during the forty years of peace foredoomed the gallant army which left England in 1854, and general mismanagement led it to the verge of annihilation. England’s futility cost her dear in treasure, reputation, in blood; but the victims of her short-sighted parsimony sustained the honour of Englishmen, and with ragged clothes, muddy tents, and empty stomachs enriched the best traditions of the service, past and to come.”

To make bad matters worse, a gale of unprecedented fury struck the British fleet lying outside the little harbour of Balaklava and wrecked twenty-one vessels, including the Resolute, a frigate, several loaded transports, and a magazine ship laden with 10,000,000 rounds of rifle and gun ammunition. General Wood says:

“She had been sent outside the harbour after the battle of Balaklava, when we were apprehensive for the safety of the place. The Prince, one of our largest transports, went down laden with warm clothing and stores of all descriptions. It was, however, as unreasonable as it was unjust to attempt to fasten the blame for the helpless muddle which ensued on those in the Crimea. It was caused mainly by the neglect to maintain the departments of the army during forty years of peace. It was easy to297 criticise the conduct of our generals, but it should be remembered that the government by very decided instructions had urged them on to the undertaking of a great task with inadequate means.”

During the winter following the evacuation, Nicholas, the iron czar, whose ambition to emulate Peter the Great and Catherine II, the most famous of his ancestors, was the cause of the war, died. His brother, Alexander II, a man of less determination and greater humanity, sought the intervention of Austria, and peace was arranged Feb. 26, 1856. A treaty was signed at Paris a few weeks later by all the powers of Europe, in which the integrity and territory of the Ottoman Empire were guaranteed. Russia was compelled to agree to abandon Sevastopol as a military and naval station, not to fortify her coast, nor keep more than six gunboats of a maximum of 800 tons each on the Black Sea. These pledges, made under pressure, were repudiated by Russia as soon as she was strong enough to do so. Sevastopol was not only strengthened in its fortifications, but reinforced by a large fleet of battleships and cruisers, and finally in 1876–77 the efforts of Alexander II to drive the Turk out of Europe and emancipate Bulgaria, Rumelia, Bosnia, Servia, Hertzegovia and Montenegro caused another war which was more successful than that of the Crimea, and added much territory to the Russian Empire and won much prestige for the Russian armies.

Sevastopol is to-day stronger than ever, the headquarters of a large army and a large fleet of battle ships, cruisers, torpedo boats, submarines and destroyers. New barracks are being erected, the machine-shops and arsenals have been refitted with modern machinery, and Russia is preparing298 for any opportunity that may offer to recover the prestige she lost in the late war with Japan. The little city of Sevastopol, which has about forty thousand inhabitants, occupies a very picturesque situation upon a low promontory or hog’s back, as such formations are usually called, about one hundred and fifty feet high in the centre, and sloping gradually to the water on both sides. Viewed from the sea the city looks much larger than it is, and the white walls of the buildings glisten in the sun. On one shore is an estuary given up to commerce. On the other side of the ridge is the naval harbour, or inner bay, with a narrow entrance, defended by two old-fashioned forts with square portholes, like those in the harbour of New York. The outer bay is also strongly fortified, but the batteries are modern and are masked, and it is difficult for a stranger to identify them.

At the beginning of the War of 1855 the entrance to the harbour was blockaded in the same way that Hobson tried to bottle up Santiago de Cuba. The Russians had a large fleet of rotten old wooden ships. They were quite as good as any the Turks had, and Russia did not anticipate the intervention of England and France, whose men-of-war were very powerful in comparison. The Russian Admiral Kazarsky, in command of the Russian ships, proposed to attack the British ships whether or no, grapple them, blow them up and go down with them, but the Russian authorities would not permit such a sacrifice of human life as the scheme involved. So it was decided to use the hulls for defensive rather than offensive purposes, and the entire fleet of the czar was scuttled and sunk at the entrance of the harbor of Sevastopol. Providence took care of the British299 fleet and sent a storm which wrecked twenty-one of the vessels off the entrance to the little harbour of Balaklava.

On the opposite side of the harbour from the town is the naval station, reached by ferry boats which cross every few minutes. Immense buildings—barracks for sailors and marines, hospitals, machine-shops, arsenals, warehouses, sail lofts, and other structures—cover an area of several hundred acres and extend up the side of the harbour into the hills which surround the city on the north. There are tall smokestacks rising in the air, and long docks and piers running into the water. The officers’ houses are quite attractive in their situation and appearance, and form a city of themselves. The commandant is also the governor-general of the district, which seems a good idea, because in that way rivalry, controversy, and conflict of authority, such as constantly occurs in India and other places that might be mentioned, is avoided. The present governor-general has a charming wife and family, who speak English perfectly, having lived for several years in London, where he was naval attaché of the Russian embassy. His official residence is on the point of the promontory, in the centre of the town, where he can overlook everything and everybody.

On both shores of the harbour are dry docks, yards for the building of ships, and long rows of obsolete gunboats and transports of ancient design. Near where the passenger steamers land is a yard for building smaller craft and at present large gangs of men are at work upon long, narrow torpedo boats, a dozen or more keels having been laid in a row.

At the passenger dock is a custom-house, fronting a large square, with a park and a promenade, bathing-houses, an300 outdoor theatre, restaurants, cafés, a skating rink, and a concert stand, where the band plays every afternoon and evening. The social life of the citizens centres there during the summer months. Everybody comes out in the evening. Many families take their dinner there and entertain their friends, and the scene is animated and enlivened by a large number of army and navy officers in resplendent uniforms.

There is another park at the opposite end of the town, and a much larger one, which was the site of the strongest fortifications during the siege. Some of the old earthworks remain as relics, piles of sandbags, basket-work, and trenches. The rest have been levelled, the ground has been planted with trees and laid off into walks, drives, and gardens. In the centre is a permanent building for the exhibition of a panorama of the siege, but the original picture has been removed to St. Petersburg and replaced with one representing the battle with Circassian cavalry during the invasion of Daghestan.

There are several imposing monuments also, the most notable being in honour of General Todleben, the engineer who designed and constructed the defenses of the city at the time of the siege. He is regarded as the greatest hero of the war, and shortly after the recovery of Sevastopol by Russians he was presented with a handsome residence on the main street. It is now occupied for official purposes.

In the public square in front of the custom-house is a striking bronze figure of Admiral Nazanikin, who captured two Turkish frigates with one small brig in the war of 1829.

A little way up the street is a memorial church, erected to the memory of four admirals, Nakhimoff, Lazareff, Korniloff, and Istomin, all of whom were conspicuous in301 the siege. Lazareff and Korniloff were both killed at the battle of Malikoff Hill, near which the British cemetery is located. This hill is called after a warrant officer in the Russian navy, who lived on the site of the cemetery and was the grandfather of the famous French marshal of that name.

Admiral Lazareff was educated in England, held a commission as midshipman in the British navy for several years, and served under Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

There are imposing statues located in various parts of the city to Admirals Kornkioff and Nashkioff and several other heroes of the siege.

There is a memorial chapel for Prince Gorchakoff, commander-in-chief of the Russian forces during the siege. He died in 1861 and was brought there for burial at his own request.

There is a charming little museum of pure classic architecture, containing relics of the siege and of the men who were engaged upon the Russian side.

Each nation has its own cemetery, in which the dead of the Crimean War are buried. The Russian cemetery is the largest and occupies the slopes of a hill across the outer bay from the city. In the centre is a pyramid of stone 105 feet high, erected by the government in honour of the officers and soldiers who fell in the siege, and surrounding it are the graves of 38,000 soldiers.

The French cemetery contains 28,000 graves, and the British cemetery only about 1,800, nearly all of the bodies of the dead having been taken back to England. Several famous men are resting there, including Major-general Sir John Campbell, who, the inscription upon his monument tells us, was killed in action, June 18, 1855. His brother,302 Major-general Colin Campbell, was also conspicuous on the British side and afterward distinguished himself in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

Sir George Cathcart, lieutenant-general, commanding the fourth division of the British army, was also killed in action. By a strange coincidence, he had served in the Russian army against Napoleon in 1813 and 1814, just as Admiral Lazareff had served with Nelson. Sir George Cathcart was killed at the battle of Inkerman, wearing upon his breast three decorations which had been bestowed upon him for bravery by the Russian czar when he was a young man.

A cottage in which Lord Raglan, commander of the British forces, died, overlooks the battlefield of Balaklava. It was the headquarters of the British army and was known as Vracker’s farmhouse, but it is now occupied and owned by a Russian named Maximovitch, who has a large vineyard. A sign on his gate reads: “Alpha Vineyard.”

A stone slab under a tree in the garden marks the place where Lord Raglan used to sit in his last illness, brooding over the unjust criticisms that were directed at his conduct of the campaign. In one of the rooms is a tablet inscribed: “In this room died Field Marshal Lord Raglan, G. C. B., Commander in Chief of the British army of the Crimea, 28th June, 1855.”

On the door of the house are the names of Raglan, Simpson, and Cedrington, the three officers who commanded the British army during the campaign.

The British have been more careful and more thoughtful in preserving the remembrances of their share in the campaign than either of the other nations, and the cemetery and other spots identified with their men are preserved in303 perfect order under the direction of Douglas Young, the British consul, who also looks after American interests at Sevastopol.

A trolley line encircles the city of Sevastopol, and extends into the suburbs, with open cars which are more comfortable than carriages, because of the rough stone pavements in the streets. There is a military and naval club, many attractive shops, and several churches, including a replica of the Temple of Thesus at Athens.

There are several good hotels, the chief one being close to the passenger landing. It is neat and well kept, and has an excellent cook, but the charges are as high as those of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, or the Savoy in London, with petty extortions that exasperate travellers, particularly Americans, to the limit of patience. No one objects to a straight bill at so much per day, even if the total is excessive, but when you are charged for candles and soap that you don’t use, for the use of towels and the bed linen, for the ordinary stationery that is always supplied free elsewhere, and for the use of the newspapers in the public reading-room, a righteous indignation is excited.

These impositions, which are common all over Russia, are merely a gamble. If a guest objects to them they are stricken off the bill; but if he pays them without protest rather than make a row, as most Americans do, the landlord is so much ahead. And what makes it more aggravating than all is to realize that you are being purposely imposed upon simply to test your forbearance.

The battlefield of Balaklava is carpeted with flowers, and the poppies are so thick upon the meadow where the charge of the Light Brigade was made that it looks like a field of304 blood. There are patches of purple flowers whose name I do not know, and the road which winds around the battlefield has a hedge of sweetbriar roses, which are covered with pink blossoms. You cannot imagine a more peaceful landscape than the gentle slope of that beautiful valley, lying between two low ridges, which on the morning of Oct. 25, 1855, was covered with 40,000 spectators—Englishmen, Frenchmen, Russians, Sardinians, and Turks, involuntary and astonished witnesses of one of the most reckless exhibitions of human courage ever seen, and one of the most useless sacrifices of human life. No arena could have been arranged for a better view of the spectacle. And to-day the landscape is precisely as it was then, except that the valley is now dotted with several farmhouses surrounded by groves of locust and shrubbery and a Chicago windmill stands in the centre.

The spot where the dragoons started, where Earl Cardigan, the impetuous young Irishman, who commanded the Light Brigade, gave his one and only word of command during the charge, is marked by a marble shaft and the pedestal is inscribed:

“Erected by the British army to the memory of their comrades who fell at Balaklava.”

That word of command was: “Left wheel into line! Forward, march!” Not a word was spoken after that.

Where stood the battery which was the object of assault is now a cherry orchard.

Water is very scarce upon the battlefield of Balaklava; all the farmers have is pumped up by the Chicago windmill, and hauled in casks to the neighbouring houses. Every drop used to water the English cemetery is hauled half a mile.

The village of Balaklava


There were two splendid cavalry charges at the battle of Balaklava, one by 300 heavy dragoons under command of Major-general Scarlett and the other by the light cavalry under command of the Earl of Cardigan. The former, from a military standpoint, was remarkably successful, because three squadrons of Englishmen surprised, demoralized, and practically put to rout two brigades of Russian cavalry, numbering nearly three thousand men. The latter, although one of the most spectacular displays of human daring in all history, was of comparatively no effect and was the result of a misunderstanding of orders.

The scene of those two cavalry charges is a wide and beautiful valley between two low ridges about two miles south of the picturesque little port of Balaklava. The British troops had taken possession of the ridge north of this valley, were throwing up earthworks, and completing their camp, when, on the evening of Oct. 24, 1855, Rustem Pasha, in command of the Turkish contingent, sent word to Lord Raglan, in command of the British troops, that the Russians were preparing for a surprise attack the next morning. As there had been already more than one false alarm, Lord Raglan contented himself with asking for an immediate report of any further news and no extra precautions were taken.

Shortly after daylight the next morning General Scarlett, with eight squadrons of heavy dragoons, started out on a reconnoissance, and as he passed over the ridge came plump upon the flank of a brigade of Russian cavalry, about three thousand strong, which was advancing quietly upon the British position. Both forces were moving without scouts or flankers, and thus neither of the cavalry generals, whose306 men were soon to be in close personal conflict, was aware of the movements of his adversary. When General Scarlett realized the situation he immediately gave the command to charge and plunged directly into the centre of the Russian line, which was only about two hundred yards distant. But the order was heard by only three of the eight squadrons, the other five having passed on the other side of a narrow vineyard. Scarlett’s movement, however, was distinctly seen by the rest of the army and the witnesses say that when the three troops of dragoons dashed into the Russian ranks they were entirely engulfed, but, with their sabers they hacked their way through with such impetuosity that in eight minutes they were entirely clear. The shock and the surprise threw the Russian troops into such confusion that they practically fled from the field, pursued on both flanks by the other British troops.

Scarlett lost seventy-eight men in the charge. The Russians lost about six hundred.

During this extraordinary episode the Light Brigade, under the command of Earl Cardigan, remained motionless because the commander believed that Lord Lucan, in command of the cavalry, had given him orders to defend the position on which he stood against any attack, and on no account to leave it.

The Earl of Cardigan was an Irish peer, fifty-seven years old, rich, reckless and popular, notorious for his love affairs, famous as a sportsman and as a rider to hounds, resolute in purpose, a dare-devil with a terrible temper, and entirely without military experience. He owed his rank and prominence in the army to the purchase system and to the favour of the Duke of York, and although he had a307 passionate love for military affairs, unfaltering courage and a strong sense of duty, his inexperience alone would have unfitted him for any responsibility. He had fought two duels. One of the quarrels was over the colour of a bottle; the other was over the size of a teacup. At the time of the famous charge, although a brigade commander of troops in the field, he was living on board a yacht in the harbour of Balaklava by permission of Lord Lucan, his brother-in-law, commander of the cavalry, while the officers and men under him as well as his superiors, were cheerfully bearing the hardships and privations of camp life.

Thus the Earl of Cardigan had nothing to recommend him for his command but his courage and horsemanship.

The Light Brigade had seen their comrades of the Heavy Dragoons achieve one of the most brilliant cavalry victories ever recorded, and were naturally impatient to emulate their example, when an order was brought to Lord Lucan by a young lieutenant, named Nolan, which read as follows:

“Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop of horse artillery may accompany. The French cavalry is on your left. Immediate.”

From the spot where Lord Lucan received this order no Russians were visible, and he asked sharply:

“Attack, sir! Attack what guns?”

Nolan replied with an insulting tone, pointing in an easterly direction:

“There, My Lord, is your enemy, and there are your guns.”

Lord Lucan rode across to where the Light Brigade was308 impatiently waiting, and communicated the order to Lord Cardigan, who gave the command and led his troops down the valley at a slow trot. Shortly after the advance began, Nolan, the aide who had brought the order, galloped across their front, shouting and pointing with his sword toward a Russian battery in a hollow a mile and a half distant. Lord Cardigan understood that Nolan was indicating the object of the charge, but the latter was unable to give any further information, for he was instantly struck by a shell which tore away his chest. His horse continued on a gallop and his body remained for some seconds erect in the saddle.

The floor of the valley is as smooth as a race course; there is a gentle slope the entire distance, which is about a mile and a quarter, but on the west and south sides were masses of Russian troops and in front a battery of twelve guns, so that the brigade was subjected to a cross fire of musketry and a direct fire of artillery the entire distance.

It is estimated that the entire movement lasted but twenty minutes, and that Cardigan rode at the rate of seventeen miles an hour. His troops were composed of the flower of the army, life guards, lancers, hussars, and light dragoons. Most of them were English and Irishmen, and several noblemen were among the officers. The command kept its formation with remarkable skill, considering that so many of their comrades fell from their saddles, but nearly all the riderless horses maintained their positions until the battery was reached. The gunners were sabered, the guns were turned upon their owners and the greater part of the survivors of the Light Brigade threw themselves furiously309 upon a line of Russian cavalry which was supporting the battery in the rear.

The French Chasseurs d’Afrique, which had observed the movement with astonishment, came to the rescue of the Englishmen, and the latter made their way back singly and in squads to headquarters.

Out of 723 officers and men who followed the Earl of Cardigan down that valley only 195 came back.

General Sir Evelyn Wood says: “It was a glorious failure, as the charge of the Heavy Dragoons was an astounding success, but Lord Tennyson’s enthusiastic pen blinded the public to the military value of the two exploits, and thus the determined gallantry shown in the attack of the three squadrons of the heavy brigade has remained comparatively unappreciated.”

Of course a controversy followed and it lasted for many years in the war office, in the newspapers, in the clubs, in parliament, and wherever men and women talked of the war. Cardigan showed a manly spirit in the controversy as he had shown unparalleled bravery in leading the charge. He had never been under fire before. He had never had the responsibility of actual command under serious conditions of any kind; he did not have the slightest knowledge of military tactics, and he admitted frankly that it did not occur to him that an unsupported movement of cavalry across an open field, a mile and a quarter, exposed from two lines of the enemy, and in the face of a battery of twelve guns, was a feat absolutely impossible of performance. He said he understood that his orders were to take that battery and he took it. His reckless Irish courage saw no reason why he should not do so.


Lord Lucan, in command of the cavalry, and who, as I have said, was Cardigan’s brother-in-law, was utterly astounded when he saw how his orders had been interpreted, and Lord Raglan, the commander-in-chief, was paralyzed. The movement could be seen from start to finish by the entire army and the scarlet uniforms of the Light Brigade made it possible to watch man by man, as they plunged into the ranks of the Russians whose uniforms were gray.

Sifting the single grain of truth from the volume of argument and opinion, the charge of the Light Brigade was a blunder committed by an impetuous Irishman who misunderstood his orders and whose inexperience did not permit him to suspect a mistake.

General Bosquet, commander of the French contingent, who witnessed the charge from the beginning to the end, turned to Colonel Layard of the British army and remarked:

C’est magnifique; mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” (It is magnificent; but it is not war.)

Lord Tennyson and time have sanctified the blunder and, notwithstanding the folly of the act and the awful wastage of heroic blood, the charge of the Light Brigade stands unparalleled as an exhibition of soldierly discipline and daring. Not a man faltered in the ranks, not a man hesitated to enter “the jaws of death” and “the mouth of hell,” as ordered, although every experienced private in the ranks must have realized that “some one had blundered.” But it was a case of “Theirs not to reason why; theirs but to do and die,” and they rode down the long valley with the same coolness and alignment that they would have kept on the parade ground.


“When can their glory fade?
Oh the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge made,
Honour the Light Brigade
Noble six hundred!”

Florence Nightingale is the immortal, as she was the most interesting figure of the Crimean war, and every school child knows her name. Millions of people throughout the world recognized her as “the Angel of the Crimea,” although they have never heard the name of the commander of the Light Brigade or the names of the generals-in-chief of either army. And I do not believe that one man or woman out of a thousand to-day can tell who commanded the British troops or the French allies; I doubt if one in ten thousand could give the name of the Russian general commander-in-chief; but the fame of Florence Nightingale is universal. She was the first woman to take up professional nursing; the first to follow an army into action, to nurse the sick and to bind up the wounds of the fallen. She was the only woman who ever received the Order of Merit of Great Britain, the most exclusive and highly prized decoration, with the exception of the Victoria Cross, that can be bestowed by the king of England. The membership of the order is limited to twenty-four and includes such men as Earl Roberts, Lord Kitchener, John Morley, James Bryce, Lord Kelvin, George Meredith, and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Florence Nightingale died Aug. 14, 1910, at the advanced age of ninety years three months and two days. She312 lived at Chelsea, one of the outlying parishes of London, and although her body showed the infirmities of age, her mind was as bright and her sympathies as active as they were when she won the title of “Angel of the Crimea” in 1855–56.

In September, 1854, after the battle of Alma, the English newspapers were filled with complaints and protests concerning the treatment of the sick and the wounded in the Crimea, and Sir Robert Peel started a relief fund which amounted to nearly $60,000. Lord Sidney Herbert, secretary of war, asked Florence Nightingale if she would go to Turkey with a party of nurses and carry out the scheme of relief proposed by the contributors to the fund. It is a singular fact that his letter was crossed in the mails by one from Miss Nightingale volunteering her services, not as a leader or director of the movement, but as an ordinary nurse.

Miss Nightingale was then a little more than thirty-four years old. She was the youngest daughter of William Shore Nightingale, a descendant of a famous old Derbyshire family of considerable wealth, and her mother was the daughter of William Smith, a practical philanthropist, an associate of Wilberforce in the abolition of slavery, in prison reforms, and similar movements, and for many years a member of the House of Commons.

Miss Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, May 12, 1820; hence her name. From early childhood, she had been associated with philanthropic movements in which her314 father and grandfather were engaged, and natural inclination as well as deep sympathy with distress led her to give her entire time to benevolent work instead of seeking social enjoyment and distinction. During her girlhood she had been thoroughly educated, was familiar with the classics and modern languages, and was one of the first women anywhere to take up the study of medicine.

She gained practical experience in the hospitals of London, Dublin, and Edinburgh, spent three years with the Sœurs de Charité at Paris, in the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses at Kaiserworth on the Rhine, and in the hospitals at Berlin and Brussels, and in 1850, upon her return to England, had undertaken the management of a home for sick governesses in London. She was also engaged with Sir Robert Raikes in organizing “ragged schools” and in segregating diseased children who attended them. In the meantime she had established a training school for nurses—the first in England.

She thus had ten years of preparation for the work she was called to perform in the Crimea, and within ten days after receiving her invitation from the secretary of war, was on her way to Constantinople with a staff of thirty-eight trained nurses, including fourteen Anglican Sisters and ten Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy. All of them were volunteers and among them were three ladies of noble families.

Upon their arrival at Constantinople, Miss Nightingale and her nurses at once took charge of the hospitals at Scutari, the suburb which occupies the opposite bank of the Bosphorus, and there they found 3,000 diseased and wounded Englishmen lying on the ground, without any comforts,315 and lacking actual necessities. They had no proper food or medical attendance, and the few surgeons who were trying to relieve their distress were without instruments or drugs or bandages, or even the commonest medical supplies. Hundreds died from sheer exhaustion, from lack of nourishment and ordinary attention, and as Miss Nightingale herself described the scene: “Neglect, mismanagement and disease had united to render the situation one of unparalleled hideousness.”

Within a few days Miss Nightingale had in operation a kitchen capable of feeding eight hundred men daily, and a laundry which was ample to wash the linen that had never been changed until she came. With a daring that few men would have shown, she ordered warehouses broken open by force and confiscated supplies that were needed by her patients. Her courage, her zeal, and her determination brought order out of chaos, and a few weeks after her arrival the hospitals at Scutari were in excellent condition.

As is usual in such cases, Miss Nightingale was the continual object of attack from malicious, jealous, and uncharitable people. But this made no difference in her work or her influence, and when she received an autograph letter from Queen Victoria conveying her congratulations and expressions of gratitude and sympathy she felt sure of her position.

More nurses kept coming from England, and several other hospitals were established on the Bosphorus. Then Miss Nightingale went to the Crimea and organized at Balaklava and vicinity the work I have already described. In addition to hospitals, she established a series of reading tents and recreation huts for the diversion of the soldiers,316 and sent to England for books, periodicals, and newspapers. She set up neat coffee houses as a counter attraction to the liquor saloons; she started lecture courses, opened school-rooms, and upon her own responsibility founded a bank where the soldiers could deposit their pay and secure money orders for transmission home. More than $350,000 passed through her hands in that way before the end of the war.

After the evacuation of the Crimea by the British troops, Florence Nightingale returned to England. Her last act in the Crimea was the dedication of a cross, twenty feet high, upon the crest of a crag overlooking her hospital. The only inscription was these words:


Upon her return to England, Miss Nightingale received from Queen Victoria a beautiful jewel designed by Prince Albert, accompanied by an autograph letter; the sultan of Turkey sent her a diamond bracelet, valued at $100,000, and she was overwhelmed with gifts, testimonials, and tributes of every sort from municipalities, corporations, benevolent societies, religious associations, and individuals. A fund in cash, amounting to about $240,000, raised as a gift to her, was at her request devoted to the establishment of a training school for nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital. She was a guest of the queen at Balmoral, she received the “freedom of the city” from nearly every town of importance in England, and was honoured in every possible way by every class of people, from royalty to the clubs of workingmen and women.

She was the only woman who ever received the Order of317 Merit; she was the only woman who was ever made a member of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; Queen Victoria bestowed upon her the Red Cross; the city of London conferred upon her “the freedom of the city,” an honour enjoyed by only one other woman—the late Baroness Burdette-Coutts. For twenty years or more her birthday has always been recognized by an autograph letter of congratulations from the queen or the king of England, and by resolutions of congratulations from numerous organizations throughout the world.

She celebrated her ninetieth birthday on May 12, 1910, and one of the first acts of King George V, who came to the throne only a few days previously, was to send her a telegram of congratulation.

After her return from the Crimea, Miss Nightingale was engaged for several years, under the direction of the secretary of state for war, in reorganizing the military hospital service of Great Britain. Her instructions and rules in regard to army nursing, which fill a large volume, prepared at the request of the war office, have been the basis of reforms throughout the world. They were of special importance during the Civil War in the United States and the war between France and Germany which followed shortly after, and led to the founding of the Red Cross Society, now established in every civilized country.

Miss Nightingale did not confine her work to the military service, but directed and assisted the organization of training schools for nurses in all the principal cities of Great Britain and the establishment of district nursing associations for outdoor relief among the poor. Her theory had always been that hospitals should be reserved for surgical cases318 and infectious or contagious diseases and that, so far as possible, the indigent sick should be treated in their own homes.

She reorganized the infirmaries connected with workhouses and almshouses throughout Great Britain, and through her influence acts of Parliament were passed making compulsory the employment of trained nurses in these institutions instead of women paupers to whose tender mercies the care of the sick had always been committed.

During all this activity, Miss Nightingale found time to write a series of books of instruction, and many pamphlets and papers concerning public health and the efficiency of hospital administration. In 1858, she published a book on hospital construction. In 1860, her “Notes on Nursing,” a volume of five hundred pages, ran up to an edition of one hundred thousand copies. Other publications on similar subjects came from her pen with extraordinary frequency.

But at last her frail constitution broke down under this labour and responsibility. She became a helpless invalid, confined to her bed for more than twenty-five years, yet she continued to devote her entire time to “doing good work—work after my own heart, and, I trust, God’s work.” From her pillow she continued to direct several institutions and movements in which she was particularly interested. The meetings of boards of directors and trustees of a dozen benevolent institutions were held regularly in her bedroom, and her judgment was regarded of the highest value on all subjects relating to hospital management and benevolent work. Even up to the last month of her life she continued319 to receive reports and to give instructions, to write communications to the government authorities and to give advice upon various subjects, and it was not until forty-eight hours before her death that she was considered dangerously ill.

There never was a more useful woman than Florence Nightingale, and never one more honoured and revered throughout the world. Therefore there was a universal demand in England that she should be honoured with a burial and a monument in Westminster Abbey, and when the executors of her estate who were in charge of the funeral refused an offer from the dean and chapter, there was great surprise. It afterward appeared that Miss Nightingale had given the following directions in her will:

“I give my body for dissection or post-mortem examination for the purposes of medical science, and I request that the directions about my funeral given by me to my uncle, the late Samuel Smith, be observed. My original request was that no memorial whatever should mark the place where lies my ‘mortal coil.’ I much desire this, but should the expression of such wish render invalid my other wishes, I limit myself to the above-mentioned directions, praying that my body may be carried to the nearest convenient burial ground, accompanied by not more than two persons without trappings, and that a simple cross with only my initials, date of birth and of death, mark the spot.”

Balaklava, which was the scene of Miss Nightingale’s usefulness, is an ancient village of Greek fishermen, whose ancestors settled on the southern shores of the Crimea at least three thousand years ago, to catch the unusually large variety of fish in which that section of the Black Sea abounds. Balaklava320 is the source of a large portion of the supply of the eggs of the pilchard, the most popular of caviars among Russian epicures. The name Balaklava is a composition of “bella” and “klava,” which means “fine port,” although the bay is no larger than a Norwegian fiord, and is set like a sapphire between two emerald mountains. The entrance is as crooked as the letter S and very narrow. Balaklava is also an unfashionable summer resort, a retreat for tired people, who wish to escape society and who are not fond of style. There are three or four unpretentious hotels, two or three beautiful villas, and every fisher-wife takes boarders. There are bathing houses, a hydropathic sanitarium, and on the mountain side among the vineyards a “grape cure” establishment, which at the height of the fad was largely patronized.

There is only one street in the village and houses on only one side of that. Every citizen, therefore, has the benefit of an exquisite view. There are a few small shops and cafés and two pavilions where visitors can sit and sip their tea and look over the waters. The view is fascinating and the effect is heightened by the miniature character of the place—the bay is so tiny, the village so small, and the cliffs which enclose them are so high and bold and rugged.

A walk over the cliffs leads to the ruins of a castle and fortress built by the Genoese in the Middle Ages on the summit to command the harbour. Only a portion of the walls remain. The castle, or citadel, was the apex of a triangular fortification, the base of which was parallel to the port, and there was a strong tower at each corner. The Genoese were in possession of this part of the coast for several centuries and made Balaklava a stronghold. A321 graphic description of the place was written by a Russian merchant named Nikitin, who stopped here in 1472 on his return from a trip to India, but a thousand years previous Balaklava was described by Strabo and other Greek writers when it was known as “the calm port of the signals.”

“Miss Nightingale’s seat,” on the hillside overlooking the village, is a group of rocks where she used to go for rest and thought, and beside it are the graves of a few of her brave nurses. Every house in which she slept, every place in the vicinity that is associated with her in any way is hallowed. The present owners are as proud of that distinction as owners of English castles are of the rooms in which Queen Elizabeth slept. Her principal hospital was at the monastery of St. George, said to be the oldest and one of the largest in Russia. Most of the monks fled on the approach of the allies, and the British seized the buildings for hospital purposes and placed them under Miss Nightingale’s charge. The room she occupied is sacred and is shown to all visitors with great satisfaction.

The monastery was built in the latter part of the ninth century, somewhere about the year 890, by certain Greek merchants who were miraculously saved during a fearful storm by the intercession of St. George. It occupies an extraordinary position at the top of a cliff, several hundred feet above the sea, in the midst of an amphitheatre of black basaltic rock, which rises to the height of one thousand feet on both sides and in the rear. The amphitheatre is entered through a tunnel cut in the rocks, no doubt by the ancient troglodytes, whose remains are found in the neighbourhood. Tradition says that this amphitheatre was the site of a temple and altar to the goddess Iphigenia,322 daughter of Agamemnon, and here were sacrificed all strangers and castaways that the Tauri found upon their coast.

The most interesting remains of the troglodytes are found in cliffs overhanging a little stream at Inkerman, where another fierce battle was fought during the Crimean war. The Russians have erected a monument in the field where most of the fighting was done, and a granite shaft marks the centre of the English camp, which is inscribed:

In memory of the English, French
and Russian soldiers who fell in the
battle of Inkerman, Nov. 5, 1854.

Erected by the British Army, 1856

The battle of Inkerman was a surprise. The Russians crept up a ravine in the night and before daylight struck the sleeping Englishmen in their camp. It so happened that many of the officers were absent and in the beginning every soldier fought independently for his life. After the dawn, when there was light enough for the Englishmen to see what was going on, the defence was thoroughly organized and the Russians were driven back with a heavy loss.

The village of Inkerman occupies the head of the bay which forms the harbour of Sevastopol and is surrounded by the most noted quarries in southern Russia. They have been worked for ages, and vast chambers have been excavated in the soft limestone which underlies the scanty soil of a high, dry, bare plateau. These chambers are entered323 through square doorways cut in the cliffs and wooden tramways and skids are laid along the floors of the galleries, so that the blocks of stone can be hauled out. It is as soft as chalk when first cut, but grows hard by exposure. Odessa, Sevastopol and other cities in southern Russia are built almost entirely of this material. At present the quarrymen are engaged in cutting out vast quantities of small blocks of stone for a new palace which the czar is building on his estate on the Crimean coast, near Yalta.

Both walls of the gorge in which Inkerman sits are honeycombed with artificial caves, supposed to have been the dwellings of the troglodytes of mythology in prehistoric ages, and afterward the refuge of the early Christians during the persecutions of the emperor Justinian. Some of the caves were converted into chapels and are used as such still. There is a monastery of twelve or fifteen monks entirely underground, occupying the cliff dwellings of the troglodytes, and on the opposite side of the gorge is a chapel that will accommodate a hundred and fifty or two hundred people, where service is held every Sabbath and mass is sung every morning. In the vestibule are niches for coffins, and only clean skeletons are lying in three open graves which were chiselled out of the stone. They were uncovered only a few years ago and are supposed to be the remains of early bishops or priests.

Pope Clement I was sentenced by the emperor Trajan of Rome, to hard labour in these quarries and was brought here in the year 94 A.D. He was afterward condemned to death for trying to convert the natives to Christianity and suffered martyrdom by being thrown from the cliffs into the sea in the year 100. Until the ninth century, on324 each anniversary of his death, the sea receded from the shore for the space of seven days, leaving his petrified body exposed upon the sands, and multitudes of pilgrims came here on these occasions to venerate him and to be relieved of deformities, disease, and distress. Pope Clement was subsequently canonized.

We crossed from Sevastopol to Odessa by steamer in about eighteen hours, stopping to discharge cargo and passengers at the ancient port of Eupatoria. The Greek name denotes the origin of that town, which flourished centuries before the Christian era, but is now of comparative insignificance. In the morning we found ourselves in a crowded harbour under a bluff 200 or 250 feet high, crowned with several monumental buildings and presenting a noble front to the sea. At the extreme western end of the town, beyond the expanse of foliage of Alexander II Park, are the buildings of the industrial exposition, which is now in progress. Their fantastic forms are so white that they look like the fancy ornaments with which confectioners decorate wedding cake.

Odessa is comparatively a new town, being only a little more than a hundred years old, and entirely a Russian creation. The Turks had a fortress here called Khodja-bey, which was carried by assault in 1778 by the Russian forces under General Ribas during the war with Turkey, which Catherine II provoked for conquest. The title to the property was conveyed by the Great Turk to the czar of all the Russias by the treaty of Jassy, December 29, 1791. It graciously pleased her imperial majesty to utilize326 the natural advantages of the location for defence of commerce, and she ordered a town created here. General Ribas laid it out and built the first house, and her majesty, who was always fond of classical names, commanded that it should be called Odessus, from the Odyssey of Homer, which mentions this place.

In 1803 the Duke de Richelieu, a refugee from the French Revolution, who came to Russia and was given an important commission in the army, was appointed governor. The population then numbered only a few thousand, but his enterprise and taste made it a beautiful and important city. Upon his death, Count Woronzoff, afterward prince, to whom I have alluded several times in connection with the Crimea, took up the work where Richelieu left it off, and proved himself a remarkable builder. He founded the university, the public library, the museum, the municipal opera house; and schools of medicine attached to the hospitals were encouraged and subsidized by him. He gave an impetus to trade and commerce which lasted for half a century; he built roads into the interior, dredged the harbour, created docks, and encouraged the introduction of profitable industries.

Woronzoff was born in St. Petersburg in 1782, and was the son of a distinguished statesman. His father was ambassador to London during his boyhood, which caused him to be educated there, and he took a degree at Cambridge University. Returning to Russia he obtained a commission in the army and commenced his military career as a subaltern in a Caucasian regiment commanded by a famous Georgian, Prince Tzytzyanoff. He proved a brilliant soldier, was promoted rapidly and wore the epaulets of a major327 general before he was thirty years old. In the war with Napoleon he commanded a division of grenadiers and during the retreat of the French, followed closely upon their flank to the German frontier.

At the conclusion of the war he went to England and remained until he was called by the emperor to undertake the organization of the government of Bessarabia, and shortly after succeeded the Duke de Richelieu as governor of Odessa. He was afterward governor of the Caucasus and the Crimea, and in all three provinces his memory is revered and many public works exist as monuments to his enterprise and foresightedness.

The most conspicuous object on the bluff that overlooks the harbour of Odessa is a mansion built by Prince Woronzoff and occupied by him for many years. It is of classical design, with walls of granite, and is surrounded by limited but handsomely embellished grounds. The chief feature is a pergola of lofty granite columns reached from the house, and rising from a little promontory that projects from the bluff. It can be seen for a long distance and invests with a classical character the earliest impression of the city. The mansion is spacious, containing thirty large apartments, and is entered through an extensive courtyard under a monumental gate. For several years it has been occupied as a school for engineers.

In 1810, when the first census was taken, Odessa had 9,000 population; in 1910 it has 520,000 but there has been a steady decrease during the last five years, which is due to the rivalry of other ports which are attracting trade because of better harbours, better railway connections and better facilities for doing business. The strong328 and violent socialistic element in Odessa has also injured the city by frightening away capital and preventing the establishment of manufacturing industries because of the fear of labour strikes.

About 25 per cent. of all the grain exports from Russia were shipped from Odessa until about ten years ago. The total often reached nearly three million tons, but the old-fashioned methods of handling freight, and particularly grain, in use here are so expensive as to be practically prohibitory. Sometimes the elevator charges are as high as two and a half cents per pood, or thirty-six pounds. Nicolaieff, Kherson and Rostov-on-the-Don have such superior facilities that Odessa cannot recover the trade until she improves her docks and harbour and mechanical appliances for handling freight.

The imperial government has plans for extensive improvements in the harbour of Odessa to furnish suitable facilities for handling the grain, at a total expenditure of ten million dollars. A commission from St. Petersburg and the municipal officials have made thorough surveys and completed designs which have been submitted to the duma for approval and the necessary appropriations. The work will be done under the direction of the minister of commerce and labour at St. Petersburg and will include a breakwater nearly a mile long, costing a million dollars or more, a series of stone wharves and piers costing two millions, railway terminals costing two and a half millions, four grain elevators and conveyors, with a capacity of seventy-two thousand tons, each two millions; granaries, conveyers and other facilities for loading and unloading, one million; an electric light and power plant to cost half a million; filling in and329 reclaiming land, half a million; and various other features.

Chamber of Commerce, Odessa

Odessa has the reputation of being a very fast city, one of the most immoral communities in Europe, and the young Russians are given to gambling and dissipation of all kinds. At night the streets are brilliantly lighted, and are crowded with promenaders of both sexes. There are many cafés on the sidewalks, in the interior courts of the business section, and in the parks and squares. All night the air is filled with music and laughter, and pleasure-seekers turn night into day. One is inclined to wonder when the crowd of men he sees in the cafés and theatres attend to their business, but when the shops, offices, and banks open in the morning at ten o’clock there seems to be no lack of customers and clerks, and everybody is on the rush.

The Exchange, a handsome building of Oriental architecture, is the centre of activity. The trading takes place in a splendid hall on lines similar to those of the board of trade at Chicago. The remainder of the building is devoted to sample rooms, committee rooms, reading rooms, and other purposes.

As grain is the principal staple of southern Russia, and Odessa is the chief market, all business movements centre around the board of trade. Business is very dull just now; there have been several bad crops; fourteen of the largest flour mills in the city have been closed down for want of wheat to grind, and that has thrown a large number of people out of employment, as well as reduced the volume of business. But this year’s crop is a record breaker and prosperity is expected soon again.

There are more than 200,000 Jews in Odessa—exceeding330 one third of the entire population—and, as everywhere else, they control the banking, the manufacturing, the export trade, the milling, the wholesale and retail mercantile establishments, and practically everything of an industrial and commercial enterprise. And, naturally, they are hated by the Russians and envied for their success and prosperity. The prejudice against the Jewish population elsewhere as well as here is due to economic rather than religious reasons—simply because they are getting richer and more prosperous, while the Russians are losing ground in all the professions and occupations. They have wasted their capital in bad investments and dissipations and extravagance, and are forced to mortgage their property to the Jews to keep up appearances.

In the meantime the Jews have been securing control of all the profitable enterprises and lines of business in Odessa. Their sons show the same earnestness and zeal in the university that they show in the counting-room. Therefore they make the best doctors and lawyers and engineers, and their services are in demand, while the Russian members of the professions are idly waiting for business. A Russian will employ a Jewish lawyer or doctor or engineer in preference to one of his own race, not because he loves the Jew or desires to encourage him, but simply because he needs him, and recognizes his superiority, his shrewdness, and his success.

The same is true among the working classes. The Russians labourer spends his wages for vodka. The Jew puts his in the savings bank. The Russian labourer never saves anything. The Jew is economical and abstemious, his family live on bread and vegetables, and by keeping good331 habits they grow strong, while the Russian grows weak. While the proud young Russian is carousing in the cafés chantant, and losing his money in gambling halls, the Jewish young man is busy with his books.

This difference in habits produces the results which exasperate the Russian and drive him to the persecution of his rivals. He considers it an insult to himself and his race whenever he hears of a brilliant achievement or instance of prosperity among the Jews, and the spirit of envy and jealousy so aroused is the cause of persecution.

Odessa is a fine city, one of the finest in Europe, and its proud people are in the habit of comparing it with Paris, Vienna, and Berlin. The streets are wide and well paved and most of them are shaded with double columns of trees. There is no residence section, however, as in many other cities, for everybody lives in an apartment-house, with the lower floor occupied by shops and the upper floors for lodgings and offices. Most people live with their business. You will find a hardware shop, a dairy, a grocery on the ground floor of your dwelling, insurance offices and lawyers scattered through the upper floors, with the households of the tenants in the adjoining rooms. There is no home life, almost everybody lunches and dines at a restaurant, and in the summer months they are mostly on the street. In the winter the weather is very cold. In October house-keepers close the double windows and stop the leaks with cotton batting and padding made for that purpose. This keeps out every particle of fresh air until spring. I have never found a people so afraid of fresh air as the Russians, and that antipathy is very annoying to American and English people who are compelled to occupy the same332 compartments in railway trains and the same dining and drawing rooms in the hotels.

Another peculiarity is that everybody wears an overcoat of the same weight, summer and winter. No matter how hot it is the men wear long, thick, heavy overcoats over their regular suits. This is especially true of army officers, and it is odd to see a gallant captain in winter apparel walking in the promenade with a graceful young woman in the lightest of embroidered white batiste.

The principal business section of Odessa is noted for its architecture. The public buildings and the hotels are unusually good. The cathedral of the orthodox Greek church, which is placed in the centre of a wide square, where it can be seen to the best advantage, is a splendid example of Byzantine architecture, and the interior furnishings fine examples of gilt carving. There are several highly revered relics—the arms and fingers and teeth of saints.

The municipality erected and owns the opera house, one of the finest in Europe and modeled after that of Paris. A subsidized opera company gives performances twice a week for six months of the year. Around the opera house is a group of interesting buildings. Several of the most important streets of the city focus there. It is the centre of the banking community and exporting business. The city hall is a large building of classic design overlooking the bay, and contains a well-proportioned chamber for the use of the provincial duma or legislature.

Municipal Opera House, Odessa

Beginning at the city hall and extending for a quarter of a mile or more along a bluff that overlooks the bay is a wide promenade, heavily shaded, that is cool even at noon in the heat of midsummer. There thousands of people gather333 every evening and spend the twilight walking to and fro, flirting and gossiping and having a good time. On a shelf in the bluff a little below is a large and well-arranged playground for children, maintained by the city, where grown people, except nurses and mothers, are not admitted. Adjoining it is an open-air gymnasium for men, equipped with ample facilities, and that is well patronized also.

Leading from the esplanade to the docks below is a wide stairway of stone, which was built seventy-five years ago, and a continual stream of human beings is surging up and down throughout the day and the night. There are restaurants and cafés on each side, and at the foot several public bathing-houses before you reach the docks.

The principal hotels and cafés front on the promenade, and during the afternoon and evening the music never ceases and the gay crowds never grow less.

Among the other public buildings around the opera house is the Imperial Museum, where a small but remarkable collection of Scythian and Greek antiquities from the Crimea and the coast of the Black Sea have been arranged in excellent taste. It is unique in several respects and the most important collection consists of twenty thousand coins, dating back to the beginning of civilization—Greek, Persian, Scythian, Cimmerian, Taurian, Gothic, Avar, Genoese, Turkish, etc. I am told there are coins in this collection that cannot be found anywhere else, and what makes it the more interesting is that every one of them was dug out of the ground in the Crimea or along the northern shore of the Black Sea. How so many coins of different denominations and different periods of time came to be buried in the earth is a mystery. Perhaps it was due to334 the carelessness of people who went around with holes in their pockets, scattering silver and gold and copper over the earth as they walked; perhaps they were so much afraid of burglars that they buried their money, or maybe they were overtaken by the wrath of the Almighty, like Mrs. Lot, and the money they carried refused to turn into salt. But it is the actual fact that not only these twenty thousand specimens, mostly prehistoric, were found in the soil at different places but similar money is being dug up every few months.

Opposite the museum is an attractive looking building called the English clubhouse by a sort of official Irish bull. Notwithstanding the name, there isn’t a single Englishman or American in the list of members and no newspaper, magazine, or other publication in the English language can be found in its reading room. This anomaly is due to the opposition of the Russian government to all social organizations among its subjects, for fear of conspiracies and co-operation in resisting the tyranny of laws and the police. When this club was proposed a permit was asked for a social organization on the plan of an English club, and, after due consideration, it was granted for “an English club,” that is, a club similar to those of England. Hence the significance of the name.

There is a German club and an Anglo-American club in the same neighbourhood, to which the English-speaking portion of the population belongs, and a British Sailors’ Institute on the lines of a Y. M. C. A. for the benefit of the crews of the many British steamers which come regularly to Odessa.

In another part of the city the imperial library occupies335 an imposing building of classic design with several hundred thousand books. The university, which ranks third among educational institutions in Russia, occupies several buildings and has between four thousand and five thousand students. The schools of art, engineering, chemistry, and medicine are celebrated, and the students of medicine have access to several enormous hospitals and charitable institutions for the infirm and defective. I am told that medical science has attained much higher proficiency in the southern provinces than in northern Russia.

There are several military schools, which are needed more than anything else, and are well patronized, for the army is the principal thing here, and when a young man is deciding upon a career he always tries that first. The army grows bigger, the taxes grow higher, the people grow poorer, and labour becomes scarcer in Russia every year. Military rank seems to be essential to happiness and social prestige. Nearly every man you meet on the street or in the hotels and cafés wears a uniform and everybody has a military rank. The school teacher, the apothecary, the lawyer, and doctor, and architect, the clerks in the custom-house, the post-office and city hall—even the convicts in the prisons—wear uniforms, and the registrars of the schools of the university are dressed like major-generals.

There is a boom town in southern Russia with a short history like that of some of our Western cities—yesterday a village, to-day a flourishing centre of commerce and trade, to-morrow the metropolis of the Black Sea. The boomers call it “The Winnipeg of Europe,” but it was named Nicolaieff, in honour of Nicholas, the iron czar, and it is situated at the mouth of the river Bug, at the head of an estuary336 of the Black Sea, sixty miles north of Odessa and six hours’ sail from that port by the ordinary steamers.

Until 1884 Nicolaieff was a sleepy and insignificant village included in the area which Catherine II wrested from the Great Turk in the war of 1778. During the Crimean War it gained some historical prestige by being a temporary naval station after Sevastopol was corked up. During the latest war between Russia and Turkey in 1877–78 it was used as a rendezvous camp, but there was no business there until 1884, when a railway from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities in the northern part of the empire was extended down to touch the Black Sea, and Nicolaieff became an outlet for the grain of southern Russia and an entrepôt of much imported merchandise.

The convenience of the situation, the superiority of its harbour over that of Odessa, and the favour of the imperial family and the clique of sycophants and speculators who hang around the grand dukes, gave it a preference among shippers, and, since 1898, it has been growing faster than Minneapolis or Seattle. It has jumped from 18,000 to 200,000 population in a decade. During the same time it has acquired the largest shipping business in grain, manganese ore, and coal in the Russian Empire and is booming along in an extraordinary manner. The population is increasing at the rate of ten thousand a year. The volume of business is gaining with even greater rapidity, the value of real estate has advanced 1,000 per cent. during the last eighteen years and the wealth of the community is increasing at a corresponding rate.

The successful prosperity of Nicolaieff, correctly or incorrectly, is attributed to the partiality of the grand dukes337 and the imperial court, through whose influence much has doubtless been done to encourage the new town, at the expense of Odessa. A deep harbour has been dredged, with a channel of thirty feet; the government has built elevators, and the department of communications has manipulated railway rates and traffic arrangements so as to divert the grain trade in that direction.

It is the unanimous opinion that Nicolaieff is favoured above all other cities by the imperial family and the members of the court, and that the benefits and advantages it enjoys have been entirely due to their influence for two reasons:

First, it is asserted that the grand dukes and their friends are heavily interested in real estate speculations at Nicolaieff and have made enormous sums of money by the advance in the prices of property, which is entirely probable.

Second, it is asserted that the grand dukes and their friends are not only willing but anxious to destroy Odessa because of their hatred of the Jews. Nearly all of the business at Nicolaieff is in the hands of Russians; at Odessa the Jews control everything, and will enjoy the benefit of whatever is done for the improvement and prosperity of this city.

This is a strange reason, but stranger things have happened in Russia and even more civilized countries. The court never comes to Odessa. There is no nobility, no aristocracy, no society here. It is purely a business community, and the wealthy classes are all Jews. It is asserted that the governor-general cannot round up enough civilians of sufficient rank to fill his dinner table, while a large number of impecunious noblemen and poor relations of the proud338 families of the court have been given lucrative situations at Nicolaieff.

One would think that the grand dukes would keep out of such schemes, after their experience at Manchuria. It was their avarice and grasping disposition that brought on the war with Japan. You will remember that the first clash between the two nations occurred in the Yalu Valley of Korea, where a company organized by the grand dukes was trying to steal the timber.

That is a historical fact, and there may be equal foundation for the reports that are so freely repeated concerning their speculations at Nicolaieff. If so, the future prosperity of the town rests upon an unstable foundation.

The latest story is that the naval headquarters are to be removed from Sevastopol to Nicolaieff, through the influence of the grand ducal circle, but it scarcely seems credible that such a perfect harbour and such enormous investments in shops, docks, warehouses, arsenals, and other plants as have been made there should be abandoned to gratify a few greedy speculators, not to mention the sentimental and historical interest, and the soil that has been sanctified with Russian blood.

Nicolaieff is a very crude and uncouth place at present. It covers an enormous area, with wide streets, well shaded with artificially planted trees, and long blocks of one-story houses. Some of the streets are three miles long and two hundred feet wide, with parking in the centre. As is usual with new towns, living is very expensive. The swells drink champagne instead of beer, and seats at the opera are five rubles instead of two. There are several large department stores filled with the most expensive goods; the jewellery339 shops are equal to any in St. Petersburg and quite as many diamonds are disposed of. One shop sells nothing but goloshes and during the muddy weather in spring and fall, fifteen clerks are necessary to serve the crowds of customers. There are several large restaurants with orchestra music; café chantants are found on almost every block, with artists from Paris, and they run all night. The most popular resort just now is an American skating rink.

The school-houses are superior to any others in Russia, outside of St. Petersburg or Moscow. There are technical schools for instruction in all the branches; there is a military school, a naval academy and a school of art and architecture. Altogether Nicolaieff is the most up-to-date town in the empire, and has great confidence in the future. The municipality has recently negotiated a loan for $500,000,000 for public improvements—an electric tramway, a new sewerage system, new markets and slaughter-houses, a new court-house and school-houses and a municipal pawnshop.

Kherson, one of the oldest towns on the Black Sea, not far from Nicolaieff, is also prospering mightily under the favour of the imperial government. While its future is not so bright as that of Nicolaieff, a great deal of government money is being spent there for public improvements and it is growing rapidly.

Kherson has a historic interest, because it was the home and is the burial place of the great Prince Potemkin, one of the many lovers of Catherine the Great, who conquered this country for her and added the north coast of the Black Sea to her domain. He died in 1791 and Catherine built a cathedral over his grave. Her crazy son and successor, Paul I, jealous of his mother’s love for Potemkin and his340 influence over her life, ordered the body to be taken from the splendid marble sarcophagus she had designed for it, and “thrown into a hole under the floor of the crypt, and the crypt filled with earth, and levelled over, so that it will appear as if it had never existed.” This order was obeyed, but in 1854 Nicholas I had the crypt cleared out and the remains of Potemkin restored to the altar of the cathedral and a monument erected in memory of the great prince upon which his principal achievements are inscribed.

There is an extraordinary painting in this cathedral, which illustrates how far the flattery of empresses can be carried. It represents Catherine the Great in the guise of the Holy Virgin, borne to paradise on the back of a double-headed eagle of Russia.

John Howard, the great English philanthropist, is also buried at Kherson, where he had large business interests and spent much time. He died there while on a business visit. There is a monument to his memory, erected by the citizens, bearing this inscription:

Died January 20, 1790
In the fifty-sixth year of his age
Vixit Propter Alios
Alios Salvos Fecit

Southern Russia is developing very rapidly in population, in wealth, in the area of land cultivated and in the volume of grain harvested and coal produced. The large estates, which have comprised as many as forty thousand and fifty thousand acres, owned by non-residents among the nobility,341 are being split up into small farms and sold to the tenants who actually work the land, through the assistance of agricultural banks which have been established by the Russian government.

Many wise people think this is a bad policy, because the small farmer cannot handle labour-saving machinery, and thus multiply the capacity of his hands, but the socialistic policy of the duma is to feed the land-hungry, and every peasant demands a farm. There has been no necessity of applying the compulsory clause or going into the courts or commencing proceedings for expropriation. Sufficient land has been offered for sale thus far to satisfy every demand, as in Ireland, and within a few years the entire area of southern Russia will be divided up into “one-mule farms,” which is as much as one family can cultivate.

A good deal is being done in the way of improving the educational facilities of the peasants. There is now a school in almost every village and almost every child fifteen years old and under can read and write. Fifteen years ago a peasant who could read and write was as rare as a lion. The schools are of a very low grade, however, and the number ought to be increased, but the officials who have charge of such matters answer the criticism by saying that they will start a school for every competent teacher that can be found. It is not a question of school-houses, they declare, but a question of teachers. Other people retort that there would be a sufficient number of teachers if the government would offer reasonable wages. The salaries paid are no inducement for competent teachers to offer their services. Educated men and women can earn more money in other occupations.


There is a deep murmur of discontent throughout all the provinces that have been annexed to Russia within the last century, over a recent edict issued by the czar prohibiting instruction in any other but the Russian language and forbidding the organization of literary societies and mutual improvement clubs to study other languages and literature. The same trouble occurred in the Turkish provinces, but as the Russian Empire is a conglomerate of seventy-seven different races, each having its own language, history and traditions, the situation is more serious.

The object of this edict is to Russianize and assimilate these numerous elements and destroy, as far as possible, their individuality and clannishness, but the people consider it an attack upon their race and their traditions, and it has caused an intense prejudice against the Russian national public schools. I am told there has been much improvement in the personnel of the clergy of the Russian church. It is slow, but apparent. The salaries paid to the priests are not sufficient to support their families, and therefore intelligent and educated men are kept out of the priesthood. The ignorance and incompetency of the priests is responsible for a dry rot and an almost universal disintegration in the established church. The intelligent people are losing their respect for the priesthood and drifting away into dissenting sects, which are becoming stronger and more numerous as they attract more intelligent and influential elements of the population.

Everybody will agree that it is a good deal of a job to steal a battleship, but that very thing was done off the harbour of Sevastopol on June 27, 1905, during the Russian revolution. There is a big fleet of war vessels always lying343 in the inner and outer bay of Sevastopol, strung along for several miles, and some of them go out to maneuvre every day. I counted three battleships, four cruisers, and we could see a swarm of gunboats, torpedo boats and submarines, and three or four big transports tied up at the dock of the naval station. They were painted “battle gray,” or lead colour, and looked very formidable; but the record made by the Russian navy in the war with Japan demonstrated that it can lose ships easier than it can capture them.

The huge, lead-coloured leviathan called Panteleimon, in honour of one of the most popular saints in the Russian calendar, was formerly the Potemkin, and under that name left Sevastopol for gun practice Sunday morning, June 25, 1905, convoyed by a torpedo boat. On Tuesday the crew sent a round robin to the captain declaring that their food was not fit to eat and that the meat especially was decomposed and unhealthful. At the second meal on that day the crew refused to eat their rations and dumped them overboard. They were mustered on the quarterdeck, where the executive officer ordered those who considered the food wholesome and had taken no part in the demonstration to step to starboard.

A majority of the sailors obeyed the order. The malcontents were then ordered forward, and as they started at a sign from their leader each seized a gun from the pyramids that were stacked upon the deck after the muster, and each began to load with cartridges from his belt. The executive officer commanded them to stack the guns. As they refused to obey, he seized a gun from the nearest man and fired two or three shots with it at the spokesman of344 the complainants, who fell mortally wounded to the deck, and died in a few moments. The mutineers returned the fire and followed the officers to their cabins, shooting them down as fast as they were overtaken. Several officers who jumped overboard were killed in the water, and it is said that a rapid-fire gun was used upon them. Every officer and midshipman on the Potemkin and about thirty sailors were killed in the mêlée. The officers on the torpedo boat attempted to go to the rescue of their comrades on the Potemkin, but the sailors would not permit it, and before the day was over seized their commander and all the other officers, put them into a boat and cut them adrift.

A managing committee of twenty mutineers was organized upon the Potemkin, who selected the chief boatswain for navigator, and started for Odessa, where they arrived about daylight the next morning, June 28. They took ashore the body of the sailor who was first killed by the executive officer, placed it in a coffin and left it lying upon a bier in front of a Russian orthodox church near the railway wharves, which is attended chiefly by sailors and workingmen. Inscribed upon a paper pinned to the breast of the dead man was his name, Omelchuk, and a statement that he had been murdered by Captain Gilyarkovsky because he was not willing to eat putrid food. It was also explained that all of the officers of the battleship had been killed by the crew, and that the vessel was under the command of a committee of sailors, who would bombard the city if any attempt was made to take away the body of the sailor or attack the ship.

The news spread rapidly and created a profound sensation. Thousands of workmen gathered around the bier at the church and listened to inflammatory speeches made by345 anarchists and other agitators, and on the following day began a series of riots lasting all that week; accompanied by murders, looting, arson, highway robbery, blackmail, and the hold-up of all passenger trains on the railroads entering the city. This disturbance was followed by a general strike in which the strikers set fire to warehouses, elevators and other buildings along the dock, seizing the cargoes of several steamers and throwing them into the sea. Almost the entire docks of Odessa were swept with fire, and many of the rioters, drunk with wine and other liquors found in looting, are said to have perished in the flames. The exact number of killed during the disorders has never been ascertained, but is estimated at six hundred men, with a few women and children. The financial loss and damage done to property amounted to several millions of dollars.

While this was going on the stolen battleship Potemkin was lying at anchor in the harbour within sight of the esplanade which is the centre of social gayety and a parade ground for the people of Odessa. The next morning the sailors seized two colliers, private property, and transferred the coal to the bunkers of the battleship.

On the thirtieth of June the Black Sea fleet, consisting of four battleships and five torpedo boats, arrived at Odessa under command of a senior flag-officer and the Potemkin went out to meet them with decks cleared for action. She first ranged alongside the battleship George Victorius, the crew of which met them with an ovation and immediately after rose in mutiny, overpowered their officers, disarmed them, and conducted them ashore, with the exception of Lieutenant Grigorkoff, officer of the deck, who committed suicide.


The mutineers, having full possession of the George Victorius, appointed a committee of twenty sailors to take charge. A quarrel ensued, and a portion of the crew, actuated partially by fear of punishment and partially by jealousy and dissatisfaction, gained the upper hand and under the leadership of the boatswain surrendered to the commander of the military district of Odessa. Several days later the crew delivered over sixty-seven of the leaders in the mutiny and renewed their oaths of allegiance to the czar. After this the commander and officers of the vessel went on board and resumed their former duties.

The crew of the transport Prut also mutinied, seized their officers, killing an ensign and boatswain who resisted. But on the following day they thought better of the situation, released their officers, and requested them to take command again.

The battleship Potemkin, under the command of her former boatswain, attended by the torpedo boat No. 267, then started for a cruise around the Black Sea, visiting various ports, saluting them according to custom and, in two instances, requesting provisions and fuel, which were refused. At the port of Constanza, in Roumania, the authorities endeavoured to persuade the mutineers to surrender the ship, with an assurance that they should not be arrested or held subject to extradition, but after consulting together the six hundred sailors rejected the proposition and continued to sail about several days longer until their coal gave out. Finally, when they realized that it was impossible for them to obtain more fuel, or to continue afloat without it, they cruised quietly into the harbour at Constanza, Roumania, where the committee in command347 entered into negotiations with the government for the surrender of the ship.

It was agreed that none of the mutineers should be arrested, detained, or otherwise interfered with, but that every man aboard would be permitted to land and to go where he pleased, on condition that no arms or other property belonging to the ship should be injured or carried away, and that everything should be left exactly as it was when the mutiny broke out. It was also agreed that the sailors should be given five days to get out of the country.

This agreement was kept, and five days later the Potemkin was delivered by the captain of the port of Constanza to a crew of officers and men from the Russian navy, who were sent down from Sevastopol for that purpose. Her bunkers were filled with coal and she was taken back to Sevastopol, where she was repainted and renamed. Her extraordinary experience is never alluded to in the Russian navy. It is a painful topic. Most of the mutineers left Constanza and scattered over Europe. Those who remained in Roumania have been protected, but many of the others have been captured. Some are in prison, some were shot at the time of the arrest, others were hanged under sentence of a court-martial.

The western coast of the Black Sea is divided into four parts—the Russian province of Bessarabia at the north, a strip of European Turkey at the south, and between these two contesting nations are Bulgaria and Roumania. The latter is a recent nation, made up of the ancient principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, which have the Danube River for their southern and the Carpathian Mountains for the northern and western boundary. Hungary is on the other side of the range.

Roumania is the most advanced of all the Balkan states yet at the same time one third of its area toward the north and west is inhabited by a semi-savage class of shepherds—one of the strangest peoples in Europe. They follow their flocks in utter solitude among the heights of the Carpathians during the warmer months of the year, and in the winter drive them down into the sheltered valleys and plains. They never accept the shelter of a roof, but sleep among their flocks like dogs, no matter how cold the atmosphere or how deep the snow. They seldom speak, and many of them have lost the use of their tongues in their solitary existence. They are a race by themselves. They are entirely illiterate; they cannot abide in towns, and they wear a costume of their own, consisting of coarse white349 woollen shirts, long mantles of wool as thick as a carpet, and high caps of sheepskin with the wool upon them. They let their hair grow long until it hangs upon their shoulders, and their beards sometimes reach to their waists. They are very superstitious; they know all the signs and omens, and their folk-lore and legends have been the theme of poets and writers of romance for centuries.

There is a race of gypsies in Roumania, too, of greater numbers than are found in any other country. They are called Tzigany and are famous for their musical genius. Tzigany orchestras are the fashion in European restaurants these days, and their wild, weird, passionate music has a fascination and an exhilaration that comes from none other. These gypsies number perhaps a quarter of a million and are related to the tribes that wander about Hungary. They preserve their distinctive habits, customs, and dress as well as their racial purity with fierce jealousy. No Tzigany ever marries any but a gypsy; and they are faithful until death to the members of their own race, although their transactions with the rest of the population are usually open to suspicion.

The population of Roumania is about six million, of whom about three hundred thousand are Jews, 250,000 Roman Catholics, 50,000 Protestants and the rest orthodox Greeks. It is a singular fact that, although a greater part of the population belong to the Greek Church, their greatest pride and satisfaction are found in their descent from the Roman legions which overcame and occupied the country during the reign of the emperor Trajan, a century after the Christian era.

The famous column of Trajan, in the centre of Rome,350 which is familiar to everybody, bears an epitome in marble of his campaign for the subjugation of Roumania. You will remember that it is covered with carvings, winding around it from top to bottom, like the coils of a serpent, which show the progress of armies and battle scenes. These carved reliefs contain 2,500 human figures and representations of hundreds of animals and other objects, and all of them relate to Roumania. Trajan lies buried beneath this column, but in the Middle Ages the piety of the popes led them to remove his statue, which was originally placed upon the summit, and to replace it by one of St. Peter, so that the rock upon which the Christian church was builded now assumes, responsibility for the Roman campaign along the Danube.

Trajan left his legions in Roumania as a rampart against the barbarians upon the north and east, and, notwithstanding the constant invasions of Avars, Huns, Goths, Tartars, Mongols, Turks, and other hordes from Asia, their descendants have held their ground, and nothing, as I have said, is dearer to them than their consciousness of Latin origin. Many of the customs of the ancient Romans still prevail. And on a certain holiday in all the villages may be witnessed a revival of the Pyrrhic dance so sacred in mythology. The peasants wear robes in imitation of those of the ancient Roman warriors, with bells on their belts and sleeves; they stamp their feet on the ground like the North American Indians, and they shout in unison as the warriors of mythology are said to have shouted in order to prevent Saturn from hearing the voice of the infant Jupiter, the future king of the gods. The Roumanian peasants bestow Latin names upon their children, and even351 upon their steers. A farmer will call his oxen after Cassius, Cæsar, Brutus, Augustus, and Antony, and the name of Trajan is as common as the name of John with us.

There are several tangible traces of Trajan remaining. One of them is a bridge which he built to convey his army across the Danube in the year 104 A.D. It consisted originally of twenty piers, each 160 feet long, 145 feet high and 58 feet wide. The original piers still remain as solid as the mountains, although the bridge has several times been rebuilt; and the road which leads to the bridge along the right bank of the Danube is still maintained. Whoever cares to go there may find a bronze tablet blackened by the hand of centuries, which still bears a Latin inscription, with the name and the titles and the achievements of Trajan.

The original inhabitants of the country were called Dacians, and their warlike disposition got them into print very frequently. They are discussed by Pliny and Herodotus as the bravest and most honourable of all the barbarian tribes, and Thucydides alludes to their prowess on horseback with the bow and arrow and the determination with which they resisted the advance of the Persian king, Darius. About 325 B.C. Philip of Macedon invaded Dacia and laid siege to one of the towns. That great Grecian conqueror was about to give the signal for an assault upon the walls, when the gates opened and a long line of priests, clad in snow-white robes, with lyres in their hands, came forth and approached the Macedonian camp with songs of peace. Impressed with the spectacle and their confidence in him, Philip spared the citadel, married Meda, the daughter of the king, and entered into a treaty of offence and defence,352 which was greatly to his advantage in his future campaigns. Even to-day the natives wear gold pieces bearing the busts of Philip and Alexander the Great and their successors upon the Macedonian throne.

The Romans were driven out by the Goths and afterward by the Huns, and for a thousand years the history of the country is one continuous and confusing struggle against successive savage tribes, which marched both east and west, going and coming between Europe and Asia. The high road between the continents led over Roumanian soil, and the trail is now followed very closely by the railway between Budapest and Constanza, the principal port of Roumania upon the Black Sea.

Constantine the Great introduced Christianity, and by the year 360 A.D. Dacia was one of the most thoroughly civilized parts of Christendom, but there was no peace for the people until they obtained their present government. For century after century no settled authority seems to have existed in the country, which was the shuttle-cock of the rival sovereigns of Russia, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. Peter the Great took the country under his protection, and Catherine the Great soon after her accession began to prepare the Roumanians for annexation to Russia. She was not able to carry out her designs, because Austria had become restive at the rapid expansions of Russia in her direction, and it was solely to pacify Austrian fears that Russia in 1774 consented to place Moldavia and Wallachia under the protectorate of the sultan of Turkey.

In that relation the people lived until the great revolution of 1848, which, sweeping over Europe, aroused the national spirit among the Roumanians and revived their pride in353 their ancient origin, their native language, their literature and their history. The wealthier families, the land owners, called boyards, as in Russia, sent their young men to the universities of Germany and France, where they developed ideas of liberty and patriotism and came home to educate the people. The same spirit aroused the neighbouring nations to civil liberty and advocated independence from Russia and Turkey, and Roumanian patriots offered their lives as a sacrifice for the freedom of their country. The revolutionary leaders, however, were compelled to flee, but proclaimed the grievances of their country wherever they were scattered and awakened practical sympathy in France and in England and wherever the friends of liberty were found.

The Crimean war gave them a chance to escape from the control of both the principal participants in that great struggle, and one of the articles in the treaty of peace guaranteed the autonomy of the two provinces along the northern bank of the Danube. This action was soon followed by a mutual agreement between Wallachia and Moldavia to unite as a single state under a single government with a foreign prince, a member of some reigning family of Europe, as their king. In 1859 they both elected Col. Alexander Couza as their “hospodar,” or lord, who assumed the throne as Alexander John I, Prince of Roumania.

Couza was a failure. He did not please anybody, and in 1866 was forced to abdicate in a dramatic manner. The incident was repeated almost in detail twenty years after at Sofia, capital of the neighbouring kingdom, when Prince Alexander of Bulgaria was compelled to resign his throne. On the night of Feb. 23, 1866, a party of army officers,354 members of the national assembly, and leading citizens of Roumania entered the palace, forced open the door of the prince’s bedroom and demanded his abdication. The document had already been prepared, and when the prince was handed a pen wet with ink he signed it promptly.

He was allowed to dress and pack a few necessities for travelling, was placed in a carriage and driven by relays of horses to the nearest railway station, where he was shipped off to Paris, and Roumania saw him no more.

A provincial government was organized, a national assembly was called and proceeded to elect the Count of Flanders, younger brother of the late King Leopold of Belgium, as hospodar. The sultan protested, and the Count of Flanders declined the honour. Prince Charles of Hohenzollern, a member of the royal family of Prussia, was chosen in his stead and the choice was unanimously ratified by a vote of the whole people. Again the neighbouring nations remonstrated, but Bismarck sent for Prince Charles, who was then a colonel of dragoons in the Prussian army, and advised him to hurry to Bucharest in disguise, saying:

“If you fail, you will at any rate have a pleasant reminiscence for the rest of your life.”

One month later Prince Charles appeared at Bucharest and was received with great enthusiasm. He had slipped through Austria in disguise.

Prince Charles was proclaimed ruler of Roumania on his twenty-seventh birthday. His father was the head of one of the non-reigning branches of the Hohenzollern family of Prussia, and a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm the Great. His grandmother was a Bonaparte. He was educated at Dresden and had served for several years in a crack regiment of Prussian355 cavalry. He was a personal favourite at the courts of Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Paris. He was a man of broad ideas, accurate judgment, and keen intelligence.

The first act of the new prince was to call a convention to revise the constitution, which was liberalized and gave the Roumanians a free press, free speech, free religion, free compulsory education and other rights and privileges. And its provisions have been recognized consistently in relation to the Jews, whose commercial supremacy and success have aroused the jealousy of the less enterprising and intelligent natives, as in Russia, and has made them the object of the most cruel persecution to which that race has been subjected in recent years. There have been numerous conspiracies and intrigues against the authority of Prince Charles, but he has grown in strength with years, and in 1906 celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his reign amid universal rejoicings and unanimous expressions of confidence.

During his reign he has distinguished himself as a military commander as well as a statesman. He supported the Russian army with great skill and courage in the war with Turkey in 1877–78. On March 26, 1881, Roumania proclaimed herself a kingdom, with the consent of the Powers, and the prince was recrowned King Carol I.

The crown that was placed upon his head was made of iron from the Turkish cannon which he had personally captured at the battle of Plevna. Since that date Roumania has made constant progress in wealth and civilization, and although the king has remained childless, the people have cordially accepted his nephew, Prince Ferdinand, as heir to the throne, and the latter has strengthened his claims for popularity by marrying the Princess Marie, daughter356 of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth of Roumania is probably the most accomplished and intellectual of all the royal women of Europe. She speaks, reads, and writes six languages fluently, and has written poems in four. She is a poetess of no mean ability and her stories and essays have been awarded a high place in European literature. They have been translated into all the modern languages and have been read by the people of every civilized land. A book of maxims, entitled “The Thoughts of a Queen,” was granted a medal of honour by the French Academy. She has published more than thirty books and has contributed hundreds of articles to magazines. She has shown unusual skill in literary research in connection with Roumanian legends and folk-lore. She has written an opera entitled “Master Manole,” which has been successfully presented in Munich and other cities of Europe. She is a brilliant pianist and was a favourite pupil of Rubinstein and Clara Schumann. She is equally accomplished as an organist and frequently conducts orchestral concerts in the music hall of the palace at Bukharest. She has composed symphonies and other orchestral pieces. She plays the harp gracefully, and has adapted the gypsy melodies of her country to that instrument, frequently calling attention to their similarity to the ancient melodies for the harp in Ireland.

Queen Elizabeth is also an accomplished artist. She has painted several pictures of recognized merit and has done miniatures of many of her friends on ivory. She is skilful with a needle, in embroidery and in lacemaking, and has introduced both arts among the peasant women of Roumania.357 She has also introduced the silk worm and has persuaded the government to plant hundreds of thousands of mulberry trees throughout the country. She has founded schools, opera houses, hospitals, asylums of various sorts, training homes for nurses, and a home for women of education who have lost their money. Much of her time is devoted to charity and in organizing and directing both military and civil hospitals and other institutions.

Although the national religion is the orthodox Greek, and King Carol, her husband, made a public profession of that faith when he was crowned in 1866, Queen Elizabeth was excused from doing so at the time of their marriage in 1869, and has continued to be an earnest and active member of the Lutheran congregation in Bukharest, for which she erected a modest but appropriate house of worship at her own expense. However, she does not intrude her faith upon others and participates in the religious festivals of the people without the slightest reserve. They know that she is a Protestant and that she recognizes the claims of their own faith and always remembers that she is the queen of an orthodox Greek population.

Those who know her well say that she never wastes a moment, and she keeps many assistants busy looking out for the poor, finding employment for those who need it and serving the interests of the Roumanian people. Although Bukharest has the reputation of being a very immoral city, there has never been a scandal in the court; her ladies in waiting and maids of honour have always been women of exemplary lives, and their devotion to her is remarkable. Her sweet disposition, her generous heart, and her anxiety for the welfare of her subjects are universally recognized,358 and it is said that no one has even known her who has not loved her.

Queen Elizabeth is better known throughout the world by her nom de plume of “Carmen Sylva,” and many people who have read her charming lyrics have been ignorant of the fact that they were written by a queen. The peasants of Roumania call her “Mamma Regina.” She is now sixty-seven years old, short in stature, a matronly figure, a bright complexion, and pure white hair. Her features are small, her profile is regular Greek; her lips are thin; her eyes are blue, and her forehead is high. She usually brushes her hair straight over a roll and coiled at the back of her head in the old-fashioned way. On formal occasions she appears in royal robes; when she goes out among the people in the country she usually wears the national dress, which pleases them immensely, and while she is at home and employed among her multifarious and often distracting duties she dresses in plain black with a white linen collar. Her gowns and her hats are seldom at the height of fashion, and most of the wives of the boyards, the land-owning aristocracy of Roumania, spend more for gowns and jewels than she. On state occasions she wears a crown that once was worn by Josephine, the unhappy empress of Napoleon I, and she owns a string of pearls that was also worn by Josephine, to whom her husband’s great-grandmother was related.

Notwithstanding her unqualified popularity among her own subjects, her brilliant success in everything she has undertaken, and the respect and esteem in which she is universally held by the royal families of Europe, “Carmen Sylva” has had a very sad life, and when her face is at rest359 one can recognize the effect sorrow has had upon her. The saddest thoughts that come into her mind are regrets for her childlessness. A babe was born to her after she had been three years upon the throne, and she called her Marie. But the child lived only a few years and their cradle has since then been empty. The royal palace at Bukharest has known no greater sorrow.

Queen Elizabeth is the daughter of the Prince van Wied, whose ancestors held for several centuries one of the most noble and picturesque castles upon the banks of the Rhine. Her mother was the eldest daughter of the duke of Nassau, sister of the late queen of Sweden, and of the present duke of Luxenburg. Her aunt is the venerable Grand Duchess Helena, widow of Grand Duke Michael of Russia.

The queen’s childhood was full of sadness because of the illness of her father and her only brother, for both of whom she was nurse and companion. The boy was afflicted with an incurable disease from birth, but had a brilliant mind and lingered on earth until he was fourteen or fifteen years old. Elizabeth’s life was wrapped up in his, for they were never separated until his death. She has written the pathetic story in lines that bleed. After the death of her father and brother she made the tour of Europe with her mother, and visited several of the courts of her royal relatives, but at a hotel in Cologne she accepted a proposal of marriage from her future husband, Prince Carol of Hohenzollern, then a colonel in the Prussian army, who had been elected king of Roumania a few months previous and had gone to Bukharest in disguise to accept the crown. Their courtship was very brief and unromantic. “Carmen360 Sylva” once told the story to Helene Vacaresco, one of her ladies-in-waiting, and it is worth repeating.

“One day at Cologne,” she said, “where we had gone to spend a few hours and listen to a Beethoven festival, we met, by accident, the reigning prince of Roumania, Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. We were staying that afternoon at the Hotel du Nord, which can be seen as the train crosses the Cologne station—I never pass on my way to Germany without remembering vividly every word of the interview there which settled my fate. I was very glad to meet the prince of Roumania again, as he had been much talked about in my presence of late, and I knew he had won his way to the throne among political perils almost as great as the perils of war. He had crossed Austria in disguise, because the Austrian government had objected strongly to his election.

“In the small garden of the Hotel du Nord, where the beautiful towers of the cathedral threw their shadows upon us, I poured eager questions into his ears without even casting a glance at his refined and regular features, and he patiently answered every one of my inquiries. He told me about his difficult task, and about the exotic country that had become his own, his wide plains and savage mountains, its white-clad peasantry, frugal, grave, and endowed with weird powers of untaught eloquence and poetry. He spoke long and well, while I listened breathlessly, rapt in astonishment and delight. He described the great masters of the land, those boyards, cultivated yet barbarous in mind and customs, whose souls were alive with the blended charm of the Byzantine influence, and the hot blood of old Latin descent. I envied the young sovereign who had taken361 up a sceptre whose maintenance required as firm a grasp as a sword, and I said to him, openly: ‘You are a happy man.’

“‘And the concert?’ asked my mother as we went up to our rooms. ‘You were so impatient to go to the concert before we met the prince.’

“‘The concert?’ I repeated in utter amazement. ‘I had forgotten all about the concert! Oh, mother, you can’t guess how deeply interesting, how thrilling is the conversation of the prince of Roumania, and how I envy him his beautiful task! Just imagine, he rules a nation quite new to the world, but, at the same time, ancient in blood and history; and he has to understand them and to make them happy. A splendid mission, indeed!’

“‘Well, my child, that task, that mission, might be yours also. The prince of Roumania wants to marry you. He has come here with the sole purpose of meeting you. This is no chance encounter, as you believe. You have but one word to say.’

“I remained perfectly bewildered for a few seconds; then, as if urged on by the resistless impulse of my destiny, I answered:

“‘Yes, I will marry him. I will help him and follow him to that wonderful land.’

“Half an hour afterward the prince of Hohenzollern came up to our private sitting room. He kissed my hand as he entered, and my lips trembled timidly for one moment on his bowed forehead. Then he knew that he was my accepted future husband. This time he did all the talking himself; I was abashed and silent, but still intent on his every word. Not one syllable of love, not one stray compliment, was362 uttered during those hours whose meaning has since thrown a light over my whole existence. Ours was no love marriage, but it was a union based on self-devotion, duty, and a fervent desire to do our best toward each other and toward the nation that I already loved. That very evening the prince went back to Roumania; he was to return in three weeks, and then take me back with him as his wife.”

Helene Vacaresco who, as I have said, has been a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth for many years, and is her authorized biographer, commenting upon her usefulness and devotion to her subjects, says:

“From the moment of her arrival in her new country to this hour, her life has been a constant effort, a constant labour of love on behalf of her people. Patiently and without ceasing she listens to the throbbing of their veins, to the wants and aspirations of a race she has tried so hard to understand that she has almost become a Roumanian herself.

“When she reached the banks of the Danube, when before her dazzled sight white-clad peasants made their appearance, wearing carved silver knives in their belts and big peacock feathers on their high fur caps; when in brilliant costumes the women rushed forth to meet her, veils thin as the mountain mists floating around their proud features, and distaffs trembling on their bosoms; when the gayly attired village beauties danced the national dances before her to the sound of the rude violin; when disheveled and ragged tziganes played tunes a thousand years old, yet fresh with the eternal youth of innocence, then Elizabeth believed her own life would be like an eternal pastorale. And at once she gave her heart to the rustic crowds whose welcome was showered upon her, who blessed her winning363 smile and her ready curiosity to learn more about them and their village homes. No one will ever know or appreciate the whole extent of the labour that from morning to eve made her stoop toward the soil from which she drew the secrets of the race, or raise her head to the sky whence faith and inspiration descended upon her sacred toil.”

Queen Elizabeth and her ladies in waiting spend the summer months at Castle Polesch, at Sinaia, about sixty miles from Bukharest in the Carpathian Mountains. It is an imposing but gloomy edifice of gray stone and red brick, situated in a wild forest, and looks like a very ancient, although it is a very modern castle. It has been surrounded by villas and hotels which attract the wealthy classes from Bukharest society.

The lack of an heir to the throne of Roumania was supplied by the selection of Prince Ferdinand, a nephew of King Carol, and a son of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. He was born August 24, 1865, was proclaimed crown prince of Roumania in 1889, was married in 1893 to the Princess Marie, daughter of the Duke of Albany, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. They have two sons, Carol, born in 1893, and Nicholas, born in 1903, and three daughters.

The good people of Bukharest take great pride in their city and they call it “the Paris of the Balkans.” So far as gayety and glamour and sin and wickedness are concerned the term applies. It might be said also that the extravagance of everybody who has money to spend, the exorbitant prices that are imposed upon strangers for everything they eat and drink and do, the giddy costumes and conduct of the feminine patrons of the cafés, and the gay crowds that364 pervade the streets from the time the lamps are lighted until they are extinguished, are all quite up to the Paris standard. Men of experience assert that Bukharest is a wickeder city than Budapest, and that is saying a good deal. Every stranger is surprised to find such handsome residences, such luxurious hotels, such imposing public buildings and such fine mercantile houses and business blocks in the capital of so primitive a country as Roumania, and there is a striking contrast between the city and the country life in that little kingdom. Outside of the larger cities the peasants cling tenaciously to their ancient customs and costumes and habits of life. No country in Europe, unless it be Dalmatia, has so much of what artists call “local colour.”

In the villages on market days you can see crowds of peasants, both men and women, wearing the national dress, which is artistic and attractive. In Bukharest, however, the women wear Paris gowns and Paris hats, and the hobble skirt is as common these days as it is in any city of Europe. The extravagance of the people is seen on every block. The cafés are numerous, and they are always crowded; the public vehicles are smarter than any you see in London, or Paris, or New York, and they are drawn by magnificent Russian horses, black as ebony, with long, flowing manes and tails. The coachmen wear a gay livery—a long tunic of velvet, generally blue or black and heavily embroidered with gold braid. Nearly all of them are Russian exiles. They belong to a dissenting religious sect called the Skoptski, which is proscribed by the orthodox Greek Church. But the cab charges are quite as high as they are in New York, and twice as high as they are in Berlin. It is asserted that there are more automobiles in Bukharest than in any other365 European city in proportion to the population, and there are taxicabs galore.

The hotels are as fine as any in Europe and their charges are higher than those of Paris or New York. Everything is French—French cooks, French waiters, French bills of fare—and French charges. A friend who came straight to Bukharest from Monte Carlo and occupied similar rooms at the most expensive of the hotels at both places asserts that the charges at Bukharest were 15 and 25 per cent. higher than at Monte Carlo.

One is surprised at the number of jewellery stores and the gorgeous displays of diamonds and other precious stones, which are pointed out as evidence of the extravagance of the people, and it goes without saying that merchants would not offer such things for sale unless there was a demand for them. We did not have an opportunity to see the women of Bukharest in full dress, but from the toilettes displayed at the cafés and at other public places one can infer what might be seen indoors on occasions of display. The Roumanian women are famous for their dress and for their good looks. It has been said that they combine the beauty of the Magyar, the grace of the Viennese, the style of the Parisienne and the passion of the Neapolitan. They are said to be brilliant conversationalists also, quick of perception and nimble of wit. Most women of the upper class are educated at home by French governesses, who do not contribute so much to their intellectual as to their social attractions. As one broad-minded gentleman put it, “the Roumanian girl is a natural flirt. She can’t help it, and her French governess adds refinement to the art and makes her self-confident to recklessness.”


It is not fair, to judge women or men upon a short acquaintance, and, although the stranger who visits Bukharest for a few days must necessarily carry away an impression of frivolity and extravagance, I am very sure there must be an undercurrent of earnestness and goodness where there is so much froth. The cafés are always open and one would think that the people of Bukharest never go to bed. The population is about the same as that of Washington, but there are ten times as many street lamps, twenty times as many restaurants and cafés, and twice as many theatres. The gambling houses are wide open, and it is said that very high stakes prevail. The Roumanians are a nation of gamblers and many Russians go to Bukharest to play. They find much to attract them in other respects, and perhaps the reputation of the city has been injured by visitors from other lands.

In Bukharest one can hear genuine Tzigany orchestras and genuine gypsy music, of which that heard in London and New York is only a mild imitation. In every restaurant and café there is a band—sometimes only two or three and sometimes a dozen musicians—constantly playing those ravishing rag-time barbaric melodies that have been conceived in the semi-savage brains of some gypsy genius. Occasionally a Tzigany girl sings to the accompaniment of the orchestra, wild, weird strains of the native music, which cannot be transplanted without losing its force and fascination. While we cannot understand the words, the meaning of the music is as plain as if it were written in English capital letters.

The Roumanian language is more like the Italian than the Russian, and has a Latin origin, because the population367 of the country is descended from the Roman legions that were sent up in the year 104 A.D. by the Emperor Trajan to hold the barbarians at bay and the name of the country is properly “Roman-ia.” It is a liquid language and flows freely off the tongues of the people, who talk faster than any Frenchman you ever saw and gesticulate like the Italians. If any one should hold the hands of a Roumanian woman she would become dumb instantly.

The architecture of the business section is solid and regular, and would remind you of Frankfort, or Leipzig, or Dresden, or any city of similar size on the European continent, but the shop windows are more like those of Paris. We were told that the merchants put nearly all their goods in their windows, and that may be true, but they certainly arrange them with a great deal of taste. There is a number of newspapers, all intensely partisan, including a humorous publication of merit. Its cartoons are equal to those of any of the German funny papers.

There are two universities in the country, and the government pays 39,000,000 francs ($7,800,000) for the support of the schools. Education is free and compulsory, but there is a lamentable lack of schools in the rural districts, so that the purpose of the educational provision in the constitution is not fully carried out. Nearly 70 per cent. of the young men who report for military service can neither read nor write and only a little more than half the school population is in actual attendance.

The University of Bukharest has 3,443 students and the University of Jassy has 629. There are schools for engineering, agriculture, forestry, and art. There are various technical schools in the larger cities, all of them under the368 care of the general government, and they are well attended. The administration of King Carol is as thorough as the Germans in promoting technical education and in introducing scientific theories into practice in municipal and national administration. Many of the young men go to Paris or to Berlin for post-graduate courses, and several of them have become distinguished in science, literature, music, and art. The Roumanian taste for painting is as bizarre as that for music. The pictures by native artists in the art stores and galleries of Bukharest are vivid in colour and action and daring in their conceptions.

There is a good deal of politics in Roumania, and partisanship usually encourages radical measures during political campaigns. But King Carol is more than a figurehead. He takes a deep interest in diplomatic and legislative affairs, and has recently concluded negotiations for an alliance with Turkey, Austria, and Germany against the other Balkan states, England, and Greece. Although Roumania has the same religion, neither the government nor the people have much political sympathy with their neighbours in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Servia, and Greece, and in case of war between Greece and Turkey, Roumania would undoubtedly be found on the side of the latter. The influence of Austria and Germany is much greater in Roumania than that of any other nation, which is not unnatural, as the king is a German, and a near relative of the kaiser.

The Roumanian army, for its size, is often said to be the best in Europe. The king is a trained soldier and has taken an active personal interest in its organization and equipment. But the people grumble at the expense. The standing army for a nation of 6,000,000 people here is precisely369 as large as that of the United States, with a population of 80,000,000, not including 200,000 reserves, who are paid full wages for two months in the year, when they are in camp. The army of Roumania costs more than $15,000,000 a year, which is almost equal to $2.50 of taxation per capita upon every man, woman and child in the country.

Roumania is fortunate in having unusually rich resources. The wide plains in the valley of the Danube produce enormous crops of grain and are cultivated with American machinery. Several of the manufacturers of agricultural implements in the United States have branch houses, whose sales mount into the millions every year. Roumania is the most profitable market for American agricultural implements in Europe excepting Russia and Hungary. The farms are large and are owned by a landed aristocracy—there are no orders of nobility in the country—who live in a feudal state and have armies of retainers born and brought up on the soil they cultivate. The land owners are called boyards—the same term is used in Russia—and the profits they make from their lands are expended in maintaining handsome and extravagant establishments in Bukharest.

There are enormous flocks of sheep also, mounting into millions, and immense herds of cattle scattered among the foothills and on the mountain slopes. The sheep and cattle barons of Roumania have residences in Bukharest also, and spend a great deal of their money there. Few of them ever try to live on their ranches, which are in charge of overseers, and they do nothing to improve the condition of their labourers or to provide them with schools or even decent habitations. The farm villages throughout the country370 are in a primitive condition—worse than those of Ireland. They have not been improved for centuries, but the peasants are not unhappy or discontented and they do not know that their condition could be bettered. The Greek priests keep them in order and exercise a similar influence to that of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland and Italy, and while they have the credit of being honest and earnest, most of them are uneducated and some are actually illiterate. I was told that there was scarcely a hundred university men among the entire clergy of the orthodox Greek church in Roumania, although there are nearly seven thousand churches, six bishops, two archbishops and a patriarch, who is at the head of the spiritual system of the country.

There is plenty of petroleum of a high grade and two or three German corporations are refining it, but the exports are small owing to the inability of local refiners to compete with the Standard Oil Company. The market is practically limited to Roumania and the adjacent countries. Several years ago the Standard Oil Company tried to obtain control of the Roumanian wells in order to get a more complete command of the market in the East, in competition with the Russian producers at Baku; but the Germans had more influence with the government and kept the Americans out. There is a disposition among business men here to regret the outcome of that transaction, because they believe the Standard Oil Company would have made a great deal more petroleum than the Germans have ever done, and would have contributed in a larger degree to the prosperity of the country. The government officials sympathize with this view of the case, and if the Standard Oil Company should again attempt to secure control of the industry in Roumania371 it would have the encouragement of the administration and the business organizations. The German refiners are doing practically nothing in the way of improvement and expansion, and are actually letting their plants run down.

In no country has the Jewish race suffered more brutal and relentless persecution than in Roumania, and as elsewhere it has been more from economic than from religious motives. It is true that synagogues have been plundered and polluted; laws have been passed and regulations have been framed to hinder believers from performing their rites of worship. On holidays, Good Friday, and anniversaries of the saints, fanatical mobs have often attacked quarters in which Jewish families have lived, but these have been mere incidents in a general campaign that has continued for a thousand years for the purpose of disabling the Jew from competition with his Christian rivals in commerce, industry, and the professions. That is the secret of all the Jewish persecution in Russia to-day and everywhere else that this remarkable race suffers from discrimination under the laws and the prejudices of society.

There is no doubt that Jews were among the earliest inhabitants of Roumanian territory. After the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of its inhabitants by the Roman Emperor Titus many families found their way into what are now Roumania, Hungary and Austria, and many more followed the Roman legions, who occupied this country a hundred years after the Christian era, and settled in different places favourable to their trade. They were treated with favour in early days, many became rich and influential, but shared the lot of the whole population which was subjected to the caprice and the tyranny of the semi-barbarous372 rulers who succeeded to the throne. Jews were conspicuous in the professions as well as in finance and trade; they often occupied high places under the government and were honoured with the confidence of kings as well as that of the public generally. They played an important rôle in state affairs, but all men of wealth suffered blackmail in those days and were the prey of greedy and impecunious princes. It was not until the development of civilization in the eighteenth century that the Jewish population was singled out for special attention. Then they were made objects of insult and persecution, but it was not until the nineteenth century that they were deprived of any of the rights that other men enjoyed in commerce and trade. Jews were allowed to live in all the cities, villages, and market towns and to engage in all the crafts and lines of commerce. They were permitted to join the guilds of artisans and merchants on an equal footing with Christians, and their skill, ability, and sagacity enabled them to acquire special privileges, favours and influence. They engaged in all of the professions; they were physicians, lawyers, bankers, merchants, manufacturers, distillers, goldsmiths, and their representatives were found in every occupation.

For various reasons during the earlier part of the nineteenth century the Jews were accused of crimes and conspiracies, and in 1821 a tremendous storm broke out against them. Their homes were pillaged and burned, their business houses were looted; men, and even women and children, were stoned in the streets, and no protection was given them in the courts or by the police. Taxes were doubled; they were forbidden to engage in certain trades or live in certain towns and cities; they were compelled to wear a distinctive373 costume; they were arrested on trivial pretexts and compelled to pay heavy fines, and property owners were prohibited from renting shops and stores and houses to them. But when the Revolution of 1848 broke out the Jews took an active part in it, contributed liberally to the cause of liberty and were among the leaders of the movement which accomplished so much for the freedom of the people. Their services were recognized at the time, but no sooner was the kingdom of Roumania recognized in 1866 than a methodical and thorough system of persecution was adopted, which has continued until the present day. It has been intended to drive the Jewish population, which numbers about a quarter of a million, from Roumania, to deprive them of their property and savings and to relieve the native members of the professions and occupations from rivals with whom they cannot compete. The motive, as I have said, is purely business, and religion has not been offered even as a pretext.

One of the first acts of King Carol when he came to the throne of Roumania in 1866 was to provide a constitution which guarantees civil and religious equality and freedom to all citizens of Roumania; free compulsory education, the right of petition, the right of public meetings, and specifically provides that the difference of religious creeds shall not be used as a ground for exclusion or incapacity in the enjoyment of civil and political rights or the exercise of any of the professions, trades, or industries.

These provisions were still further guaranteed by the powers of Europe in a treaty signed by all of them at Berlin at the close of the war between Russia and Turkey in 1878. Article thirty-four of that treaty specifically mentions the Jews. This treaty proclaimed the equality of all creeds374 before the law for the special purpose of regulating the Jewish question in Roumania, but its provisions were promptly nullified on the pretext that all persons living in Roumania who did not profess the Christian religion were aliens and therefore the provisions did not apply to them.

This theory has been the basis of all legislation and regulation in Roumania since that time. The Jewish subjects of Roumania who had assisted in the revolution for liberty, who had been cordially commended by their neighbours and their king, disappeared from existence with a stroke of the pen. Thenceforth there were no Roumanian Jews, and all Jews who happened to be in Roumania were declared outlaw aliens, not subject to protection.

To emphasize this action a series of raids upon Jewish settlements was organized, and the hunting down of the Jews began. The most brutal atrocities were committed. Thousands of families were driven from their homes, and in many cases their houses were burned over their heads. These raids were led by officials and policemen and soldiers, and for months they were general throughout Roumania. The barbarities shocked the Powers of Europe to such an extent that energetic remonstrances were addressed to the Roumanian government, and a change of the ministry occurred. But while the violence was suspended, except at intervals, the object of driving the Jews from Roumania was attempted by legislative measures.

The guarantee of protection in the Berlin treaty has never been recognized. Every Jew has been declared an alien, although his ancestors may have lived in the country for twenty centuries. No Jew can be naturalized except by act of parliament; they are prohibited from holding government375 positions; they are not allowed to organize corporations or joint stock companies; they are shut out of the learned professions; they cannot be bankers or brokers, agents or forwarders, or engage in any similar classes of business; they cannot engage in manufacturing, and cannot work in factories; they cannot be employed upon railroads; and there is a law providing that no one shall employ a Jew without also employing two Roumanians, which practically prohibits them from earning wages in the small industries and on small farms.

Jews are prohibited from owning farm land, and the renting of land to a Jew is forbidden. No Jew can keep a drug store, or be a veterinary surgeon; they cannot be employed in the sanitary service of the state or municipality; they cannot be received as free patients in hospitals, except in cases of great urgency; no Jew can peddle merchandise in Roumania, or sell liquor, or tobacco, and nearly every other mercantile occupation is closed to them.

The free schools are for Roumanians only; Jews must pay tuition fees, and even then they cannot be admitted if Christian children want their places. A law passed in 1898 debars Jews from all professional and agricultural schools and admits them only to schools of commerce and of the arts and trades to the number of one fifth of the average attendance, and then they must pay tuition, where Christian students are admitted free. Where they have founded schools of their own they are hampered with the most exasperating regulations and are required to keep open on Saturdays and on other Jewish holidays.

Although the Jewish population is not recognized by law, the young men are compelled to serve their time in376 the army, just as if they had a legal existence, but no Jew can be an officer; they are excluded from pensions, and in barracks and camp they are required to perform menial service, to clean the streets and the closets and to carry off the garbage.

A Jew has no standing in court; his testimony is not accepted; when he is a defendant he has no right to employ counsel or question a jury. It is not necessary to recite other features of the peculiar laws and regulations which are intended to drive the Jews from Roumania by making it impossible for them to earn a living there. It is sufficient to say that a Jew is not recognized as having a legal existence; he is an object of persecution as well as contempt and has no redress for any ill treatment he may suffer in body, mind or estate.

These persecutions have driven a large proportion of the Jewish people from Roumania to the United States and other countries. Emigration is their only hope, and the number of arrivals at the ports of the United States in 1902 caused Secretary Hay to call the attention of the civilized world to the inhuman treatment of that race in Roumania by making a formal protest. The pretext for this unusual action was the large number of emigrants that had been driven to this country under conditions which rendered them unfit for citizens of the United States and were likely to make them a burden upon public and private charity.

Secretary Hay’s protest caused a tremendous sensation throughout the diplomatic world, and was discussed everywhere, but no official action was taken by any European government in regard to the matter, and the only beneficial effect was to direct the eyes of the world upon Roumania377 and thus cause a cessation of the persecutions for the time being. Since then the treatment of the Jewish subjects of Roumania has not been so cruel as before, although no law has been repealed and no restriction has been modified. The tide of immigration has recently been turned from the United States to Turkey, where the government has invited Jewish colonists to settle in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Syria, and other parts of the empire. And there are large schemes of benevolence to transplant as many as can find room upon the unoccupied lands of Turkey.

Notwithstanding all this persecution, the Jews of Roumania seem to be flourishing. They are still the leading business men of that country, and in the coast cities they show evidence of prosperity.

A large business in the way of grain exporting is done at Constanza and other ports. All the export grain goes out that way, but more than half the crop is sent up the Danube on barges to Budapest, which manufactures almost as much flour as Minneapolis.

The railway from Budapest via Bukharest to the Black Sea is the shortest route from central Europe to Constantinople, although it is necessary for passengers to change to a steamer at Constanza. The steamers are fast and comfortable, sailing promptly in connection with the trains three nights in the week, so that the journey can be made without delay.

South of Constanza are two or three Bulgarian ports which also handle a good deal of grain, which is shipped in bags, and not in bulk, as in the United States, by various lines of steamers to Marseilles and Genoa. The Black Sea region probably exports more wheat than any other part378 of the world except the United States and the Argentine Republic.

The Bulgarians have a summer resort on the Black Sea called Varna, which is well patronized by the wealthier classes, and is said to be very attractive. The king of Bulgaria has a villa there.

The new government of Turkey is doing as well as could be expected, notwithstanding the many embarrassments which are perfectly natural under the circumstances. It has been properly said that the greatest evil which Abdul Hamid inflicted upon his country was by depriving it of men of capacity, trained to exercise the functions of government. His policy of centralization, the monopoly of administration which he kept in his own hands, and the small number of subordinates who were entrusted with responsibility, has resulted in a lack of experience and knowledge which is being realized now for the first time in its full significance. Almost everybody agrees that the leaders of the Young Turk party, and the cabinet ministers they have selected, represent the best sentiment of the country, and that a better class of officials could not be found. They are honest and disinterested to a degree which has been unknown before in Turkish history. They are full of good intentions and their greatest fault, or rather weakness, is shrinking from responsibility. The people have expected much and have received little or nothing.

People complain that it is more difficult to do business with the government now than it was under the old régime because now a contractor has to deal with forty different380 people, when formerly he had to deal with one. Now, if he fails to consult or overlooks some official who has to do with the case, or neglects to show that deference which the sub-deputy assistant to some minister expects, he makes an enemy for life, and his business is blocked beyond relief. And, although the prevailing opinion gives the new government an excellent reputation for integrity, there are still skeptics who insist that the bribes are passed under the table instead of over it, as was formerly the case.

It is scarcely to be expected that a nation will change its habits in a day. The payment of “baksheesh” has been customary in Turkey since the beginning of time, and the practice was not only tolerated but recognized as legitimate by the former government. Abdul Hamid, for example, expected the ambassadors and ministers of foreign powers to pay the salaries of the officials of the foreign office with whom they had to deal, which relieved him of the necessity of paying them himself, and the same system prevailed through the entire government. Nobody ever went to a Turkish official for a favour without bringing a gift. That has always been the custom in all Oriental countries, even in Bible times, and the value of the gift must correspond with the value of the favour desired. No one who understands the Oriental character would concede that this practice had been entirely abandoned at the sublime porte, although the ministers and the other men high in authority are believed to be incorruptible. Mr. Crawford, the Englishman who is in charge of the customs, has made it perfectly plain to the employés of that department, that any man who accepts a bribe from an importer must hand in his resignation at the same time. There has undoubtedly381 been a great improvement in this respect. The delay in granting concessions for public works, therefore, is not due to the reasons which might have prevailed in the old régime, but merely to indecision on the part of the officials, who have never been accustomed to decide questions of importance for themselves and hesitate to do so for fear they may be criticised. They try to shoulder the responsibility upon somebody else or, as the saying goes, to provide a screen behind which they may hide in case they are criticised. These delays have been the greatest fault of the administration.

The next most serious cause of complaint is the failure of the government to require the governors of provinces and other local officials to go ahead and carry out plans for the benefit of the people. It is conceded that the character and ability of the local officials have been greatly improved. Better governors have been selected, and they have been cautioned that their tenure of office depends upon their behaviour. The provincial magistrates no longer depend upon blackmail for a living. Formerly a governor bought his position and used it to reimburse himself for past expenditures and to provide for his future. While he was robbing the people and feathering his own nest, nothing was done for the benefit of the public. No roads were built or bridges repaired and none of the revenues were spent for the general welfare. To-day, things are supposed to be different, and the governors have been instructed to drain the marshes, build roads and bridges, to improve the prisons and the barracks, to provide schools and repair the mosques; but they do not act. They are afraid of responsibility. They cannot get rid of habits formed under382 the old régime, when no governor dared do anything without first reporting his intentions to the sultan and securing his majesty’s approval and consent.

There are some exceptions. Certain governors have acted promptly and have received the cordial commendation of the ministry at Constantinople. Their work has been publicly commended in the Chamber of Deputies and it is probable that these examples will be regarded as precedents and imitated by others.

The greatest amount of trouble from this source is found in the eastern portion of Asia Minor, where ignorance and fanaticism are universal and where the people need public works more than any other community. They have given the new régime their cordial indorsement; they have been told that the new government will give them roads by which they can take their produce to market; schools in which their children may be educated; bridges over the streams and other modern improvements, and they have waited patiently for more than a year for something to happen; but there is “nothing doing,” and the peasants are beginning to have their doubts as to the sincerity of the government, which, if it goes much further, will result in repudiation and revolution.

One great benefit which the peasants enjoy, however, and the importance of which they recognize, is the abolition of the passport system, which prohibited the resident of one village from visiting another without the permission of the police. Now any one can go wherever he pleases at any time without interference from the authorities and no questions asked.

Another great improvement has been in the character and383 the conduct of the gendarmes or national police, who are under the direction of the minister of the interior, with local commanders who report to the governors of the provinces. Formerly the gendarmes were the brutal tools of tyranny. Every massacre was led by them. They were blackmailers, robbers, despoilers of homes, ravishers of women, and murderers, and their uniforms protected them from punishment. Since the new government came in there has been an almost universal change in the personnel of the police, and the present force is made up largely of veteran soldiers with honourable records. The most intelligent and reliable men have been detailed for the service, and as a rule they are honest, conscientious and anxious to perform their duties properly.

There are several schools for training them similar to those adopted by the foreign officials in Macedonia. They are taught by European officers, and the first lesson is to convince them that they must command and deserve the respect of the people. It is perfectly natural that they should be regarded with jealousy by the zaptiehs and spies of the old régime, but there has been very little complaint and they are winning golden opinions.

Another serious mistake of the new government has been the treatment of the Albanians, who were greatly favoured by Abdul Hamid and are haughty, independent, fearless mountaineers, very difficult to deal with. They are only semi-civilized, and their province is probably the most primitive in all Europe. Instead of giving them roads, railways and schools of their own and cultivating their good will, the new government has antagonized the Albanians from the start. They were recognized as favourites384 and adherents of the old sultan, and the Albanian regiments, which formed his body-guard and received four times the pay of the ordinary soldier, were disbanded and sent home to make mischief. An unwise governor issued an order requiring the use of the Turkish language exclusively in all the Albanian schools, which was the most offensive act that could have been committed. The Albanian representatives in the Chamber of Deputies protested and in vain. They had thrown in their lot with the reformers and had offered their support to the government, but the government would not trust them and treated them as enemies. Hence an insurrection which stirred up the entire province, cost several hundred lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars. An armed peace has been restored, but no attempt has been made to improve the condition of the Albanians. The ruins of the villages that have been burned and the graves of the neighbours that have been killed will be perpetual reminders of what the Albanians consider to be a tyrannical and unjust treatment of their province.

A similar mistake was made in Macedonia, where the sympathy of the people was so strongly on the side of their nextdoor neighbours, the Albanians, that the government feared a revolution. Instead of trying to prevent it by giving the Macedonians new roads and schools and other public improvements they need so much, an order was issued to disarm the entire population. Comparatively few guns have been surrendered and even a smaller number have been found by searching parties. The rest are buried in the woods, ready for use whenever a favourable opportunity is offered to show their resentment against the new government. It would not be difficult to point out other mistakes,385 but none so serious as these. And, taking all in all, there has been a decided improvement in conditions. The finances are in good shape; the taxes are honestly collected and the money is honestly expended. The increase in the revenues is remarkable and the importers and other tax-payers no longer complain of favouritism.

Another sign of progress is the respect which the officials show to the public, and that is much appreciated. There is still some complaint concerning the administration of justice, but such troubles will naturally correct themselves with changes in the personnel of the judiciary. At any rate, the least that can be said is that the courts are no longer used for political purposes or for blackmail or persecution. The present government is the best Turkey has ever had, and as Sir Edwin Pears, the venerable correspondent of the London Times, says: “Its faults are those of inexperience which time will cure. Experience will give the ministers greater courage to accept responsibility, and they and the masses of the people are gradually gaining confidence in each other and in themselves.”

There has always been a department of education in the Turkish administration, but it has never amounted to anything until now. The present minister is an earnest, ambitious, conscientious man, who realizes the illiterate condition of the people and the importance of education. And he has begun the organization of a free public school system throughout the entire empire, to be supported by local taxation, with subsidies from the imperial treasury. The parliament appropriated $4,300,000 for the year 1910, of which one sixth was paid to private schools and the remainder was allotted to public educational institutions and386 the free public schools throughout the empire. It is expected that this amount will be increased gradually year by year as the revenues will permit. The spirit shown by members of Parliament promises generous grants in the future.

D. J. Mahmoud Bey, the inspector general of public instruction, told me that there would be about 65,000 elementary public schools in operation throughout the Turkish Empire before the end of 1910, and that number will be increased as rapidly as possible. The greatest difficulty is to get teachers. Indeed, that is the only obstacle to the extension of the system. Mahmoud Bey says the inhabitants of the various provinces are “crazy” for schools, and are willing to pay any amount of taxes within their power to secure them. But there are no teachers to be had. The salaries that can be allowed will not tempt educated men away from other professions and there are so few educated women in the country that it is almost impossible to find instructors for the girls’ schools. Mohammedan girls cannot attend mixed schools and cannot be taught by men.

“We have just started two large normal schools in Constantinople for the education of teachers,” said Mahmoud Bey, “and will establish others in the provinces as rapidly as possible. It will be at least two years and probably three years before any of the students from these schools will be available for teachers, and in the meantime we will have to do the best we can. We are getting some teachers from the American missionary schools in different parts of Turkey, although they are, of course, reluctant to let their teachers go. We are placing promising young men and women in all the American institutions, to be educated at government expense. We have five government students in the American387 College for Girls at Scutari. We shall have as many or more young men in Robert College at the opening of the fall term. We have already sent 150 students to Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Geneva and other European educational centres at government expense. These young men are selected from the most promising students in our high schools. We will send more next year. We expect to send twenty-five, perhaps fifty, young men to America to be educated. We like the American system of education very much, but in the organization of our public schools we are adopting the German and Swiss systems rather than the American because it is more easily applied.

“There is a great educational renaissance in Turkey,” continued Mahmoud Bey. “The deputies of our parliament are here every day demanding more schools for their constituents. One of them who was in this morning said that the people in his province were ‘actually screaming for schools.’ The deputy from Mesopotamia has just sent me a copy of a speech he has recently made in approval of our efforts and promising his earnest support for us in the future.”

The appropriations for 1910 were divided as follows—a piaster being five cents in American money:

Subventions to primary schools 20,000,000
Subventions to secondary schools 12,000,000
Government primary schools 3,000,000
Government lyceums 3,000,000
Government normal schools 2,453,820
Subventions to provincial normal schools 3,000,000
Subventions to provincial lyceums 4,000,000
University of Constantinople 2,928,816
Agricultural schools 3,636,000388
Medical schools 8,502,200
Schools of music and art 1,030,000
Technical schools 7,839,000
Schools of commerce 2,670,120
Students in private schools 5,190,000

The several military academies are supported from the appropriations for the war department. The provincial schools referred to in the above table are situated in forty or fifty of the largest centres of population in the different provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The lyceums are what we call high or preparatory schools. Schools of commerce are what we call commercial colleges where modern languages, bookkeeping, typewriting, stenography, and other accomplishments required in a business career are taught.

The Ottoman Imperial University was established in Stamboul, the native part of Constantinople, by the ex-sultan, Abdul Hamid, in 1904, with six departments—law, medicine, politics, theology, literature, and natural sciences. It was a concession to the orthodox and loyal families of the Moslem faith who were determined that their sons should have a liberal education, but were reluctant to send them to the American missionary colleges or to the European universities. Hundreds of Turkish young men have been going to the universities of Paris, Geneva, Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest, and at those institutions have acquired liberal and revolutionary doctrines which made them dangerous to the despotism. Abdul Hamid was opposed to education in every form, particularly among the middle and lower classes of his subjects, because it made them troublesome and discontented, but he threw a tub to the whale, as it were, by starting a university of his own about four years389 before his downfall. It did not amount to much under his reign, but since the Young Turks came into power it has branched out considerably and promises to be an institution of importance.

There are now about twenty-five hundred students in the various departments, and a faculty of two hundred professors, most of them competent men, but only a few have had experience in instruction. For the year 1910, the appropriation for the support of the university was three million piasters, which is equivalent to $150,000 in American money—a sum that is ample to meet the present demands.

The university occupies the former palace of Kiamil Pasha, near the mosque of Sultan Bayazid, on one of the highest and best positions in the city. While the building is not at all adapted to the purpose, it is a costly and highly decorated mansion, and when the Cheragan Palace, occupied by the parliament, was burned in 1909, it was proposed to turn out the university and use the Kiamil Palace as a parliament house. Fortunately the minister of public education was able to head off the plan, because he would have found it very difficult to find even so good, or so poor a place in Constantinople for the institution. Plans have been made for a new building to cost five million dollars, but it will be a long time before the Turkish treasury can afford such an expenditure.

The largest branch of the university is the law department, called the Mektebi Hookouk, where an average of more than a thousand young men are attending lectures to prepare themselves for the bar, and for employment by the government as magistrates and in other legal capacities. Many of these young men finish their courses at the Sorbonne,390 Paris, and other European institutions. More attention is paid to the Shariat, the Mohammedan code, than to European law, because that prevails throughout the entire Ottoman Empire, and is based entirely upon the Koran. Several propositions have been offered for the appointment of a commission to modernize this code, that it may better apply to everyday affairs, but thus far the Mohammedan priests have been able to head them off.

The law school is open to students of all nationalities. The matriculation fee is $5.00 and there are similar fees for tuition and for each examination, which makes the total charge $15.00 for the first year. Parliament has passed a law authorizing the officials of the university to waive the fees of students who bring certificates from local magistrates that they are competent and worthy to attend the lectures, but are not able to pay the charges. During the year 1910, 40 per cent. of the students in the law department took advantage of this exemption.

There are about fifty instructors in the law school, and probably 2,500 different young men attend all or a part of the lectures during the year, coming and going according to their convenience, but the average attendance does not exceed one thousand.

The next largest school is the Mektebi Milkieh, or school of politics, where attendance is obligatory and each student is required to appear at three lectures a day, except on Friday, which is the Moslem sabbath. There are about three hundred students and nine professors, who are teaching the several languages spoken in the Turkish Empire, and other general branches for the purpose of qualifying the graduates to fill official positions in the different provinces391 and in the various departments of the government. It is a training school for government employés.

The Ulumi Dinieh, or theological department, has ten professors and one hundred and forty students, who are being prepared for the Moslem priesthood. The methods of instruction are said to be considerably in advance of those that prevail in the ordinary medresses, or seminaries. In the latter the students simply commit to memory the Koran and study the commentators on that remarkable book. At the university the instruction is broader and includes other branches of learning.

The medical department has nearly a thousand students and occupies a separate building near the railway station in Haidar Pasha on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. This school was established many years ago to train medical officers for the army and most of the instructors are Frenchmen and Greeks. There are several Germans also. The course of study covers five years and the examinations are said to be very strict. There are schools of dentistry and pharmacy connected with the medical department.

The department of natural sciences has ten instructors and ninety students, who are mostly engaged in studying chemistry, and the graduates are employed in laboratories connected with the custom house, arsenals, and other military depots. There does not seem to be any fixed course.

The school of literature includes everything else, a sort of omnibus, where a student may receive instruction in almost every branch. And the department is divided into various schools of mathematics, modern languages, finance, engineering and fine arts. The latter has about one hundred and fifty students under the direction of Vosgam Effendi, a392 sculptor who has made a considerable reputation by his work. Architecture, painting, sculpture, engraving, and etching are taught by twelve instructors. The school occupies a building in the Seraglio near the new museum.

A normal school, called Dar-ul-Mouallumin, was added to the university in 1910, for the purpose of training teachers for the public schools that have recently been established throughout the empire. The corps of instructors are mostly drawn from the American missionary schools, which have been accepted as models by the government, and to secure admission to the normal schools students must have diplomas from one of the branches of the university or from some American missionary school.

The best education to be had in Turkey outside of the American colleges has been given by the military school at Constantinople. Nearly all the leaders of the recent revolution were educated there. It was a pet of Abdul Hamid and at times he treated it with great generosity. The lyceum of Galata Serai, in the foreign quarter of Constantinople, has been the only other native school where Turkish boys could get a respectable education, and some of the best men in the Turkish service have been educated there under a French principal and German and Swiss professors. The school had a bad reputation, however, among the autocrats. It was suspected of being a nursery for breeding enemies of the despotism, and Abdul Hamid compelled several of his ministers to take away their boys who had been sent there, because of the liberal tendencies of the faculty. Five or six years ago, the school was burned down. It was a case of arson, and every body believed that the sultan paid one of his minions to set it on fire. He would never allow393 the Galata Serai to be rebuilt, and the ruins lay undisturbed until the Young Turk party came into power. Then the school was promptly reorganized and Fikret Bey, a Turkish scholar and poet and a member of the faculty of Robert College, was appointed director. As soon as a new building can be erected the school will resume its old importance.

View of the Bosphorus; ancient castle of Mohammed the Great in foreground

There are several Roman Catholic schools in Constantinople, taught by the Franciscan and Augustinian monks. There is a German school of some importance and a dozen or more French schools, including a medical college. Its faculty have charge of the French hospital, which is the most important institution of the kind in Turkey, and is patronized by members of the diplomatic corps from all countries. A large number of schools are supported by the Greek population, and some of them are attended by the children of Turkish families. There are probably more Greek schools than those of all the nations put together, and they are scattered in every part of the city. The French language is taught as well as Greek, because French is really the language of commerce, diplomacy, and fashionable society in the East. If a stranger goes into a bank, he is always addressed in the French language, and it is spoken by a larger number of the inhabitants of Constantinople than any other, except the Turkish.

The Armenians, the Jews, and the other different races have their own schools, which have been made necessary because of the absence of a general educational system. And it is from the graduates of these schools that the Turkish government is now getting its supply of teachers.

The Mohammedan schools connected with the mosques are worthless for a practical education. The teachers are394 priests, most of whom have no knowledge outside the Koran, which, to them, is the source of all light and learning and law and morals, and is regarded with as much reverence as the maxims of Confucius by the Chinese. Connected with each medress, or theological seminary, are several ulemas, or theologians, who are supposed to be profound thinkers and expound the doctrines of the church to groups of students who gather around them in the different mosques. These students are called “softas” and there are said to be 7,000 of them in Constantinople to-day studying the Koran and the Shariat—a code of laws used, based upon the teachings of the Koran, which is the authority of every court in the empire. These softas become priests, judges, notaries, valis, cadis, and other local officials. Many of them go into private practice, but there are comparatively few lawyers in Turkey. A judge here gets the facts direct from the litigants who come before him and applies the law himself. The softas are never taught geography or history or mathematics, and most of them are so illiterate that they cannot read an ordinary book at sight. The text of the Koran would puzzle them if they had not been required to commit it to memory.

The English government has established a high school for boys, which will accommodate about one hundred and fifty, with rooms for thirty or forty boarders. It is intended primarily for the education of the sons of English families living in Turkey, but is free to everybody who can pay the fees. It is partially a charitable institution, and a fund of $50,000 has been contributed during past years by benevolent people to assist in the education of worthy young men who haven’t the means to pay the fees.


Thus you will observe that the lack of government educational system in Turkey has been very largely supplied by foreigners, primarily for the benefit of their own children, but often available for the natives also. Most of these schools have been established and maintained in defiance of the prejudice and the hostility of the late sultan, who was opposed to all forms of education and did his best to keep his subjects in ignorance as well as poverty.

Mr. Straus, the American ambassador, has recently succeeded in correcting a great wrong inflicted upon these institutions by Abdul Hamid. He has obtained from the new government an irade authorizing all foreign schools and benevolent institutions to hold their property in their corporate name, instead of being compelled to place it in the names of individuals, as heretofore. His predecessors in the embassy have been working for it for thirty years or more. He tried to get such a decision when he was occupying the same post during the Cleveland administration, but Abdul Hamid was inflexible in his refusal to do anything for the encouragement of education. The recent decision of the council of state, secured by Mr. Straus, exempts all religious, benevolent and educational institutions founded and conducted by foreigners from the restrictions imposed upon other foreign corporations. It applies to about three hundred American schools, hospitals, colleges, orphanages, and asylums, and to as many institutions of the same kind supported by Europeans.

The privilege of searching the libraries of the mosques of Constantinople has long been coveted by the scholars of the world, because they are supposed to contain many ancient manuscripts of unique value and interest by Arabic, Persian,396 Greek, Latin, Egyptian, and Byzantine scholars and historians, but very few originals of literary merit are likely to be found there. Constantinople has never been renowned for its scholars or literary men. It never had a university until recently. The ancient city of Khiva, far away to the northeast, beyond the Caspian Sea and the deserts of Central Asia, was a literary centre when Constantinople was the political capital of the world. Samarkand, Bokhara, and the cities of Asia Minor were centres of learning and theological controversy when the thoughts of Constantinople were absorbed in military and political affairs. Practically all of the literary treasures in the libraries of this city are the loot of a score of conquered nations. Most of them, when brought home from the wars, were dumped at the mosques and other places without arrangement and generally without any appreciation of their value or knowledge of their contents. Several of the sultans had an appreciation of literary merit and encouraged science and art, but this encouragement has never been continuous. More of them have been iconoclasts, like the Caliph Omar, who used the books of the great library at Alexandria, the greatest of its period, to heat the waters for the public baths.

Many of the manuscripts of the Alexandrian library were stolen, and some of them, doubtless, found their way to Constantinople. There were colonies of Greek and Roman scholars all along the coast of the Black Sea, particularly at Trebizond and in the Crimea. Palestine was once rich in lore. Damascus, Antioch, Ephesus, Armenia, and several cities of Persia and Turkestan were well blessed with wise men—authors, philosophers, theologians, mathematicians,397 poets, and essayists, and were the seats of colleges and universities.

Nobody knows much about the libraries of Constantinople, however; none of them have ever been catalogued; few of them have even been consulted. The books are piled up on their sides in shelves and covered with the dust of ages. The Mohammedan priests, who have charge of them, are usually illiterate men and look upon learning with superstition. They can give no information concerning the volumes in their charge. Only occasionally, when some scholar from Germany, England, or Italy comes here, with sufficient patience and persistence to break through the restrictions that have protected these collections, has anything of interest ever been brought to light.

These unknown collections, however, are believed to contain early copies of the Gospel, of the Greek poets, of the Egyptian geographers, the Phœnician astrologers, and other ancient tomes, and probably within a short time we will be able to learn something about them. The lost books of Livy are supposed to be in a collection of ancient manuscripts at what is called the topcapon or Cannongate of the Seraglio, the ancient residence of the Turkish sultans.

Dr. Arminius Vámbéry, a Hungarian author, writer, and scholar of note, who somehow or other made himself popular with Abdul Hamid, obtained permission to examine the Cannongate collection, and spent several weeks there. He afterward persuaded the sultan to let him take back to Hungary a number of historical manuscripts which were brought to Constantinople as loot from Budapest after the Turkish army sacked that city in the Middle Ages. As it was strictly a personal matter between the sultan and398 Dr. Vambery, there is no record of what the latter carried away.

Several years ago an enterprising Russian scholar found his way into the same library and secured a very early manuscript copy of the Hexateuch, the first six books of the Bible. The manuscript was sent to the Russian Institute at St. Petersburg, where it is now being edited for publication.

Arthur Evans of London also got an opportunity to look over the books at the Cannongate a few months ago, and found a manuscript of great historical interest. It was a life of Mohammed II, by Critobolus, a Greek author, who accepted service under that sultan and became a sort of Boswell for him. His work is especially important because he was the only Greek writer of importance in that period who belonged to the Mohammedan faith and had an opportunity of consulting the Mohammedan authorities.

There is a strong impression that the libraries at all the mosques have been looted of their treasures from time to time, because the opportunity has not been lacking, and they have never been properly protected. No one has been responsible for the library at that most famous of all mosques, St. Sophia, which must have been very important at one time, but is now only a collection of bound manuscripts, not more than three or four hundred in number, in the custody of a fanatical old priest. They have been kicked around the mosque and could easily have been looted by any one who was able to gain the confidence of the custodian. But all the libraries are amply protected now, and the world of book lovers will soon have accurate information about them.


There have been conflicting reports about Abdul Hamid’s library at the Yildiz Kiosk. It has been represented by some newspaper writers to be of incomparable value and importance. Others condemned it as a lot of rubbish. Mahmoud Bey told me that it contains about 40,000 printed books and manuscripts which have been hauled away to Kuba-Altai, one of the old palaces in the Seraglio, where they have been examined and classified by a commission, of which Abdureman Sherif Bey, minister of public instruction, is the chairman. Captain Safed Bey, perhaps the foremost historian in Turkey, was in immediate charge of the work.

The sultan’s collection contains many manuscripts in the oriental languages, which were inherited by him and were received as gifts during his reign; and many printed volumes of great value for their bindings and illustrations are in English, French, and German, and were presented to him by people who were seeking favours and supposed that he had a taste for such things. But Mahmoud Bey says that he really did not care particularly for books. He was no student; he never read anything and was actually illiterate. His early education was neglected, like that of the present sultan, who has no culture or inclination to acquire it. Mehmed V is fond of show and ceremony, but it is probable that he never read anything more serious than a French novel in his life. Abdul Hamid was a miser in everything. He accepted all gifts that came his way and seized everything he could reach, simply for the pleasure of possession. He was crazy to add to his wealth, but did not care much what he acquired.

Hence his books are a motley collection of good, bad, and400 indifferent works in manuscripts and printed in all languages, but there is very little to interest scholars, so far as they have been examined. They were never classified nor catalogued, but were carefully kept. Sixteen librarians were employed during the latter days of Abdul Hamid, and they had several servants who dusted the books regularly and kept them clean, but the librarians were neither competent nor inclined to make a catalogue.

The most valuable items in the collection are ornamental copies of the Koran and ancient classical poems in Persian and other oriental languages. Many of them are of script of the greatest beauty. They were made when penmanship was an art. Painting is prohibited by the Koran, and for that reason, Moslems turn to penmanship and the illumination of manuscripts to exercise their taste. There are also many Turkish and Arabic works of historical value, but thus far no Hebrew, Greek, or Latin volumes of interest have been discovered.

The acquisitive disposition of Abdul Hamid is manifested in a curious way by some of the books that were found on his shelves. Catalogues of American manufacturers, price lists, descriptions of battleships and torpedo boats, and every kind of commercial advertising was mixed up with his French novels, illustrated manuscripts of the Koran, illuminated copies of Persian poems and Turkish classics. One of the most elaborate volumes in the collection is a description of the exposition held at the Crystal Palace in London sixty years ago. His majesty was very well supplied with similar literature. He had the official reports of almost every exposition that has since been held, including that of the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago,401 which has additional value for the reason that it is a presentation copy from Hakki Bey, the present grand vizier and one of the leaders of the Young Turk party, which shoved him off his throne.

The number of books about Turkey in all the European languages, and most of them presented “with the compliments of the author,” is surprising. The sultan never bought a book, and never read one, and whether these descriptions of his empire were sent him because they spoke favourably of his reign or the contrary can only be determined by examination.

Opening into the library was a sort of storeroom filled with Abdul Hamid’s clothing, new and old, mixed with sheets and towels and other soiled linen. Why these things should have been there, a long way from his living apartments, has never been explained. In another room was a stuffed horse and several stuffed dogs, cats, and pigeons, all of them pets of his majesty, which he had preserved in that way.

The library of St. Sophia, which was founded nearly a thousand years ago, consists of only about two thousand volumes, all manuscripts, without one single printed book, which are piled up like merchandise upon shelves protected by woven wire doors, in a small room adjoining that mosque. The walls are covered with beautiful Persian tiles and the roof is a low enamelled dome. The windows are small and narrow and are protected by heavy bars. Only since the constitution was proclaimed and the new government came into power have strangers been allowed to enter this library, and its existence was practically unknown to the public until recently. There is no catalogue; the books have lain undisturbed402 for centuries, and even now nobody knows exactly what they are.

A quaint old patriarch with a long white beard and keen black eyes that shoot out rays from under heavy black eyebrows is in charge. He told me he had been connected with the mosque of St. Sophia for fifty years and had been in charge of the books for more than thirty years, but was unable to read one of them. He was very much more disposed to discuss theology and politics than to tell me about the books, and I learned by close questioning that he was quite as ignorant on that subject as the rest of the mullahs about the mosque. He was so garrulous that it was difficult to stop him long enough for Michel Naskidoff, my interpreter, to tell me what he was talking about.

His name is Selim Abdullah; he was born and brought up in Constantinople, and was never outside of this city in his life. He gave us a few other facts in his biography and to make sure that we did not report him unfavourably to the minister of education, who gave us a permit to visit the library, he explained that he had always been in favour of constitutional government and had never been a fanatic in religion, but until recently people in Turkey had not been allowed to say what was in their minds.

Here we stopped him long enough to examine what he said were the rarest books in the collection. They are kept in a wonderful old chest which is modelled after a mosque and heavily veneered with mother of pearl. That chest would be a prize in any museum, and the old man told me that it was more than 2,000 years old. Nine of the most precious volumes are kept there under lock and key, and he brought them all out for us. He told us that they are worth403 more than 20,000 piasters each and were written more than 3,000 years ago. They are the original manuscript, in the handwriting of the authors in the classical language which was spoken by the early Turks in Turkestan. No one could read that language now, he said, in Turkey at least, although certain famous scholars in Khiva are familiar with the text.

He showed us, among others, an exquisite specimen of penmanship bound in gold covers, about ten by fourteen inches in size, which he said was an ancient Tartar poem, called “Divan,” written in the year 911, by Hussein Biscara, one of the most famous of all Tartar poets. This volume was presented to one of the sultans of Turkey about 600 years ago by one of the shahs of Persia. The text is the most ornate Persian script, and each page is illuminated with a border about two inches wide, of geometric designs worked out in mosaic, with gold leaf and bright coloured paper. The colours are as brilliant as they were when the book was written, and the mosaic was made by cutting the coloured paper and gold leaf into little bits and pasting them on according to a design. The volume contains fifty-two leaves and 104 pages, also illuminated with a title page that is a mass of colour. The binding is not particularly artistic, but is very rich and costly.

The old gentleman explained that no one in Constantinople could read the book, but in Khiva there were plenty of scholars who could do so. When we told him we had recently returned from a visit to Turkestan, he inquired eagerly what the Russians were doing up there and whether they were persecuting the Mohammedans. He said the Russians are the worst people in the world to persecute believers in other religions and are trying to force the404 Mohammedans and Jews to accept the orthodox Greek faith. Large numbers of Jews have done so to avoid persecution and to preserve their property, but no Mohammedan, under any circumstances, had ever renounced his belief in the prophet. The only nations who do not persecute the Mohammedans, the old man said, are the English and the French.

“Do the Americans persecute Mohammedans?” I asked.

“I do not know that I ever heard that they did,” he replied, “but the Americans are just the same as the English, and most of them live in England, because they can make more money there. All the Americans want is money. They don’t care for art, or science, or religion. I have heard that they dig up the bones of their ancestors from the cemeteries and sell them to the farmers for fertilizers, they are so greedy to get money, but I never saw any of them do it. I never saw an American to know him, but I suppose they look like other people.”

We assured him that we were Americans and that he had been misinformed about their persecuting Mohammedans. I asked him if he knew how much American money had been expended to educate Mohammedans and to give them hospitals, and how much had been devoted to the relief of people of the Turkish Empire who had suffered in droughts and epidemics and massacres. He confessed that he did not know; he was not aware that the Americans had ever contributed any money for such purposes, and admitted, reluctantly, that he did not read the newspapers, for the reason that he did not consider them reliable. He had known so many cases where people had been deceived by newspaper publications, and he had never read anything about American405 contributions for the benefit of Turkey. I told him about the recent Kennedy legacy of $2,500,000 to Robert College and of the Red Cross fund that had been sent to the relief of sufferers by massacre, by flood, and by epidemics. He had never heard anything of the kind. He never had anything to do with Christians.

“We are not Christians,” he said, “because we cannot understand how they can have two or three Gods (referring to the doctrine of the trinity). Such a thing is impossible. There is but one God. There can be no division of spiritual responsibility. It is impossible to believe that a man can become a God, and I cannot understand why you Christians have three Gods when the first commandment of Moses forbids you to have more than one.”

I didn’t try to explain the doctrine of the trinity to him, because our time was short, and endeavoured to get him back to his books. After a little further discussion he showed us two ancient volumes in Sanscrit script on parchment which he said were more than three thousand years old and were also presented to Mahomet the Great by the shah of Persia.

“Nobody can read these books,” he said, “because the language in which they are written has been forgotten by all mankind. It is a language that was spoken by millions of people once, but they are all dead and it has been forgotten.”

He showed us a gorgeous volume called “Nargai,” which, he said, contained the observations of Mohammed “the champion,” the first Turkish sultan of that name, whose reign, beginning in 1314, is noted as the period when a taste for literature and art and a fondness for poetry and the drama first prevailed among the Osmanlis. Each parchment406 leaf is stained a different tint, including various shades of the primary colours, and they are ornamented with gold tracery in the corners and at the tops and bottoms of the pages. On many pages are broad borders of exquisite design and workmanship.

Another beautiful volume in Persian script on parchment about fourteen inches square, the old gentleman said, is the third book ever written about the stars. The author was a very learned Egyptian who lived about three thousand years ago. The name was on the title page, but he could not read it—nevertheless, he was certain that there had never been any such book on astronomy written since that time. It contained everything that was ever known about the stars, and all other astronomies could be destroyed without doing any damage so long as this one existed. The covers are exquisite pieces of leather enamel inlaid with pearl, and the work is as fine as that of a watchmaker.

All of the 2,000 books in the collection, he said, had been written by hand. He does not believe much in printed books, because they are full of mistakes and wear out in a very short time, while manuscripts are more accurate and parchment lasts much longer than paper. Many of the books in the collection had belonged to Moorish princes in Spain and were taken from them at the time of their expulsion from the peninsula. “The most learned men in the world are Persians. There are very few scholars in Europe,” he said, and the wisest of them had studied in this library, which he declared was founded by the Sultan Mahmoud, who reigned from 1142 to 1158.

The most remarkable volume he showed us was a heavy folio, perhaps 15 by 20 inches in size, of the thickest kind of407 parchment, covered with beautiful script. It is a work of world-wide fame, but doubtless there are few such beautiful copies. It is known in the medical world as the “Avicenna,” and is a treatise on botany and medicine by a famous physician and philosopher and the most learned man of his time.

The librarian insisted that it was the most important book on medicine ever written and that medical men from every part of the world came to Constantinople to consult it. “It tells,” he said, “about every kind of disease that afflicts human beings, and about every plant that grows, and what diseases each plant will cure.” There is no finer specimen of penmanship in the world than this volume, and although he was certainly mistaken when he said that it was written by the hand of Dr. Avicenna himself, he did not wander very far from the truth in his assertions concerning the value and importance of the treatise. Although many of its theories have long since been exploded, and human knowledge on the subjects of which it treats has been expanded, it is undoubtedly the most famous and remarkable medical work that was ever written, and is well known to every educated physician.

The author, whose name was Abu Ali el Hosein, was born in Bokhara, about the year 980 A.D., of a Persian father and a Bokhara mother. He was educated among the great scholars who at that period made Bokhara famous as a centre of learning. At a very early age he had mastered mathematics, logic, theology, and medicine. Before he was sixteen he was familiar with all the medical theories of that time, and by gratuitous attendance upon the sick had discovered new methods of treatment. He developed remarkable genius in botanizing and in extracting the medicinal408 properties from plants, in which he was assisted, according to the popular idea, by supernatural agencies. When he was seventeen years old he was famous throughout the khanate of Bokhara, and was appointed official physician to the emir, who owed him his recovery from a dangerous illness. This appointment gave Avicenna, as he was known, leisure to study, means to purchase books that he required, and access to a library which was filled with important manuscripts on scientific and other subjects.

When he was twenty-two years old, Avicenna left Bokhara and proceeded westward to Merv, Khiva, and other centres of learning, where he remained for a few years, and then went over into Persia, where he settled at Rai, the birthplace of Zoroaster, in the vicinity of modern Teheran. There Avicenna remained the greater part of his life, prosecuting his studies, teaching medicine, and writing books. He received generous support from the emir, although at times he was subject to persecution and various annoyances. The last twelve years of his life were spent as physician and scientific adviser to the emir of Ispaha.

It appears that Avicenna, like many other wise and great men, did not practise what he preached, but at intervals indulged in excessive sensual pleasures and dissipation, which ruined his health, and he died in June, 1037, at the age of fifty-eight, at the city of Hamaden, Persia, and was buried among the palm trees in the park that surrounds the palace.

He wrote more than one hundred treatises. Some of them are pamphlets of a few pages; others extend through several volumes, and they covered the entire range of scientific and intellectual activity at that age of the world, from astronomy409 to zoölogy. His greatest work, entitled “The Canons of Medicine,” that which was shown me by the librarian at St. Sophia, for six centuries was the highest authority upon medical subjects throughout the civilized world. Up to the beginning of the eighteenth century it was used as a text book in most of the European universities, and even now lecturers in the most famous medical schools frequently refer to the discoveries and theories of Avicenna with profound respect.

In the Middle Ages manuscript copies of this book were sought for the libraries of kings as well as scientists, and no library was complete without his works on metaphysics, mathematics, alchemy, logic, botany, and philosophy. Avicenna ranks among Moslem scholars as Aristotle or Plato ranks among the Greeks. For six hundred years he was entitled to his surname of “Prince of Physicians.” In the mediæval world he ranked equally high as a philosopher and astronomer. His writings have been discussed and elucidated by hundreds of commentators in every one of the civilized nations.

And so he continued to discuss his treasures, as fast as his tongue could waggle, and he would not let us go without explaining his views on the doctrine of the atonement as taught by the Christian missionaries in Turkey. He did not know whether Christian theologians in other parts of the world were guilty of the same folly, but the American missionaries in Turkey were teaching the people that they could be saved and go to heaven, no matter how many sins they committed, provided they repented of those sins before they died. “This,” the old gentleman declared, “is such a pernicious doctrine that I am surprised that the government410 does not prohibit the missionaries from teaching it. Anyone must see what it would lead to; for if this missionary theory is correct, it simply offers an inducement for men to sin. And then, when they get old, and do not care to sin any more, it is only necessary for them to say that they are sorry and they will be forgiven and taken back into the fold and have just as high a place in heaven as those who have been good and pious all their lives.”

The emancipation of Turkish women is not complete, but has advanced with remarkable speed. The restrictions which have kept them in seclusion and ignorance have already been very largely removed. No single reform that has followed the change of government has been more radical or complete. Upon the retail trading streets of Pera, the foreign section of Constantinople, you can see thousands of unveiled Turkish women any afternoon and thousands more of women whose veils are thrust aside so that their physical and mental visions are clear, and they can look a man in the face without a blush of embarrassment or shame. In Stamboul, which is almost exclusively of native inhabitants, the innovation is not so general, but a stranger would scarcely notice the difference. In other Turkish cities the same change has taken place. Half the women of the empire wear veils now simply as a matter of habit instead of preference. The majority of them wear the thinnest sort of gauze in place of the impenetrable yashmak that they were compelled to draw over their faces before the constitution. Indeed, the average veil worn by the women of Turkey to-day does not conceal their eyes or their features any more than the dotted stuff affected by the fashionable women of the European cities and the United States.


This gossamer stuff is also in the nature of a compromise, rather than a mask. During the first weeks that followed the revolution of July, 1908, nearly every woman drew off her veil and many participated in the political demonstrations, as the women of Paris did in the riots of the commune. And I was told that throughout the day and the evening the windows of the residences were filled with unveiled faces, which looked without embarrassment upon the people who were passing by. To-day women who drive about in carriages discard the veil altogether; even the inmates of the imperial harem, which, however, is not so radical a change as would appear, because the new sultan is perhaps the most liberal man in all Turkey. So many Turkish women were imprudent in their behaviour immediately after the revolution that the thoughtful ones called a halt and resumed their veils as a protest against the indelicate and unwomanly demeanour of some of their sex. The minister of police issued an official communication, with the approval of the leaders of the Young Turk party, requesting women not to go into the streets with their faces uncovered, and the managers of theatres were forbidden to admit women to their performances. But such things usually adjust themselves in time, and the experience of two years has resulted in a sort of compromise, by which sensible women still wear veils, but cover their faces only when necessary to protect themselves against masculine insolence.

The use of the veil for centuries has been more or less an act of piety, as well as a social custom. It is supposed to be required by the Koran. I have never been able to find any passage which demands or even suggests it, but that is the413 interpretation of the Mohammedan world, and the association of ideas has made the veil a badge of feminine virtue. An ordinary Mohammedan woman would no more go into the street, or stand in the presence of a man who does not belong to her family, without a veil than she would without a skirt or any other necessary article of clothing.

This practice prevails throughout the Mohammedan world, but in the larger cities, where the women of the foreign population have been accustomed to go about with uncovered faces as they do at home, the veil has come to be regarded as a badge of slavery, and women of intelligence and self-respect have detested it as they would shackles upon their hands or feet. This explains why so many Turkish women cast off their veils and went about the streets with uncovered faces at the first opportunity that was offered them. But the thoughtful ones have settled down to a rational estimate of their condition and have taken their fate in their own hands. They have decided upon their own emancipation, but their leaders are wise enough to urge the necessity of caution and to beg their sisters to avoid every form of imprudence, lest too radical and rapid a reform should create a reaction.

The change, however, has been a long time coming. It is by no means the consequence of constitutional government, although the revolution furnished the opportunity. For many years the traditional Turkish harem has been breaking up. One of the principal causes has been the extravagance of the women and their love of fine raiment. None but a very rich man could afford more than one wife. The French dressmakers and milliners, who occupy a large space in Constantinople, invaded the harems with samples414 and models many years ago, and are entitled to the credit of being the pioneers of the emancipation of Turkish women. English and German and French governesses have also played a very important part in preparing the minds of their pupils and inspiring them with ideas and ambitions which were incompatible with the harem. French novels have had an equal influence.

All this has been realized, and the events that have occurred have been feared. In 1901 Abdul Hamid ordered all Turkish families to dismiss their European governesses and instructed the police to prohibit Turkish ladies from visiting European milliners and dressmakers. He forbade the importation of European books. He summoned a council of Mohammedan bishops to prescribe the colour of the garments, the thickness of the veils, and the shape of the shoes that the women of Turkey should wear, but he was as helpless as Canute, the old Viking, who only tried to brush back the tide with his broom. The only effect of the sultan’s efforts to preserve the morals of his subjects was to strengthen their determination to have their own way. I have heard that it is folly to oppose a woman when her mind is made up, and perhaps Abdul Hamid realizes that he defeated his own purpose by his interference with the fashions of the day. No evidence is needed to demonstrate that fact. He is a prisoner for life in a gloomy villa near Salonika, while the women of Turkey are shopping without their veils.

The most important and the most gratifying sign of the times is the eagerness of the young women of Turkey for education. The use of the veil is a matter of the greatest insignificance in comparison with the new spirit that is415 apparent everywhere among the families of the higher and middle classes. Many Turkish women have acquired the French language. A few speak English and German, which they have learned from their governesses, but they are very few who have a knowledge of books. But now every woman wants to know and she is seeking in every direction for instruction that will aid her in performing her duty to her husband, her family, and herself.

In an article in the National Magazine of London, in the summer of 1910, Sir Edwin Pears, correspondent of the London Times in Constantinople for forty years, who knows Turkey better than any Turk, gave a very interesting review of this situation, and, among other things, said:

“There is now being held at the great American College for Girls at Scutari a weekly class of about eighty Turkish women who are studying preventive medicine, the proper sanitary regulations for a household, the management of children, and similar subjects of primary importance to the sex. The lecturers are medical men, for the hekim, or doctor, is privileged, and Turkish women may attend his lectures, while conventionality would prevent their being present at lectures given by any other man. I may mention here that no one has done more for the education of the women of Turkey than Dr. Mary Patrick, the principal of Scutari College. She is an enthusiastic teacher whose influence upon hundreds of girls has been of incalculable value.”

Sir William Ramsey, the eminent Scottish scientist, in a book published by him concerning Turkey in 1910, said:

“Robert College is one of the most remarkable creations of pure, unselfish beneficence, guided by admirable common sense, that the history of the world has known. It has been416 for more than fifty years making an educated middle class among the Christians of southeastern Europe and of Asia Minor. And many people who know the country well believe that it has done more to render possible a peaceful solution of the Eastern question than all the European powers and ambassadors. * * * The sole aim of the American missions and of Robert College has been to create self-respect and life in the people of this country.

“The American College for Women at Scutari, which is soon going to migrate to new quarters on the European side of the Bosphorus, aims at doing for the women of the various races of Turkey what Robert College has been doing for the men. It was started as a high school in 1871, it was chartered in 1890 as a college by the legislature of Massachusetts, and it has also an imperial Turkish irade. The language is English and the life is English or American, which in this case are equivalent; but the native languages of the students are also taught, and (if desired) the languages which are to them classical, ancient Greek, Latin, Persian, and Arabic.

“Hitherto,” Sir William Ramsey continues, “Turkish girls could only be educated at the college in defiance of the will and the commands of the sultan, and therefore the number of such pupils has been small. Only two Mohammedan girls have graduated. But the different races in Turkey live side and side, and what is taking place in one community is not hidden from the other—especially such important facts as the sending away to school or college of the daughters of any family, and the inevitable, although gradual, changes in the ideas and life of the people that result from education. Many instances could be cited of417 the imitation by Turks of new habits thus introduced among their Armenian neighbours by the daughters returned from this college or educated at the American missionary schools and colleges in the country.”

Sir William Ramsey continues to say: “The writer Halideh Salih is a graduate of the American College for Girls, and a writer of distinction. She has frequently been described as the leading woman in Turkey in popularity and influence. Her first published work was a translation into Turkish of an English book, ‘The Mother in the Home,’ for which she was decorated by the sultan. It always struck me as remarkable that a Mohammedan sultan—and that sultan Abdul Hamid—should be the first monarch to bestow such a distinction upon a woman.”

Halideh Salih is undoubtedly the foremost woman in Turkey. Her father was formerly minister of finance for many years under Abdul Hamid and sacrificed his political position and prospects by sending his daughter to the American College for Girls, because such an act was forbidden by the sultan. She spent seven years under Dr. Patrick’s instruction, graduated in 1901, and married a professor in the Imperial University. “The Mother in the Home” is an old-fashioned book for girls written by Rev. Jacob Abbott seventy-five or eighty years ago, and she translated it into Turkish when she was a freshman in the American college. Her father was so proud of it that he had it printed and circulated privately among the families of his friends in Constantinople and other Turkish cities, and, considering its limited circulation, there is not the slightest doubt that this little volume of fatherly advice to girls, written by a modest Massachusetts village clergyman,418 had as much influence in the emancipation of Turkish women as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” had in the emancipation of the slaves. When the constitution was proclaimed Halideh Salih wrote the leading editorials in the Tanin newspaper, the organ of the committee of union and progress, at the request of the editor, defining the policy and the purposes of the revolution. Her articles became the platform of the liberal party in Turkey.

She has written a great deal for the Tanin since, and for the London papers and magazines. She has a novel dealing with recent events in Turkey.

Dr. Patrick bought fifty acres of land upon a bluff 400 feet above the Bosphorus, behind the village of Arnaoutkeny, six miles from Constantinople. It is the ancient seat of a pasha, and more than a century ago was purchased by a rich Armenian, who laid out the grounds in luxurious style. It has been occupied by his descendants for several generations. During the last five or six years it has been leased by the consul general of Great Britain. The sultan tried to purchase it as a wedding present for one of his daughters, and when he found that Dr. Patrick had an option upon the property, instructed his minister at Washington to request President Roosevelt to persuade her to give it up, but she declined to do so, and fought him off until he was overthrown and then she closed the trade.

A large part of the property is in forest, venerable old trees as dark as a druid temple; and a winding road leads from a landing on the Bosphorus to the mansion at the top of the bluff, 400 feet above the water, through a ravine. The mansion is in the midst of an old-fashioned garden surrounded by several immense cedars of Lebanon, said to419 be the finest in Turkey. Back of the mansion is a terrace 1,500 feet long and about one thousand feet wide, where the buildings will be laid out in a quadrangle. They will all be of the same school of architecture—free Italian renaissance and the material will be stone quarried on the ground.

The central building, to be called Gould Hall, will be 176 by 80 feet in size, with four stories and a basement. It will contain an auditorium, to be used as a temporary chapel and for literary exercises, that will accommodate 700 people, a central parlour or rendezvous for the students, 40 by 45 feet; several lecture rooms; a temporary art gallery; the offices of the administration, and several study rooms. It is hoped that some one will soon give funds for a chapel, a library, and a refectory, as plans have already been drawn for these buildings as a part of the general group. Space will be left for them, but Dr. Patrick is confident that it will not remain vacant long. The great necessity is to get dormitories where the girls can sleep and rooms where they can study and recite, in order to relieve the pressure from those who are earnestly seeking an education. The rooms in Gould Hall will suffice for administration, worship, exhibitions, and library until the greater necessities are provided for.

The second building, known as Science Hall, will be connected with Gould Hall by an arcade to shelter the students in stormy weather. It will be a memorial to the late Henry Woods, a Boston merchant, and is being erected by his widow. The dimensions will be 150 feet and it will be of similar design and the same material as Gould Hall. The interior will be arranged for lecture rooms and laboratories for biology, physics, and chemistry and will be used as a420 dining hall for the time being, and one of the laboratories as a kitchen until a permanent refectory is provided.

The next building, of similar design and materials, will be called Rockefeller Hall and will contain sleeping accommodations for 150 students, two in a room. The ground plan is 114 by 50 feet, with two wings extending in the rear, 50 by 35 feet, and it will be four stories in height. There will be two more dormitories, each capable of accommodating 150 students—a total of 450 boarders, in place of the 190 that were accommodated at the last term.

The twenty-first annual commencement of the Mektep Ammerrycolly Kuzlaran, or the American College for Girls, at Constantinople in June, 1910, was a momentous occasion in many respects and especially because the women of Turkey have been so far released from the restrictions that have surrounded them that they are now free to seek an education like men and are taking an active and influential part in public affairs. The commencement was also of unprecedented interest because it is probably the last celebration of the kind that will ever take place in the old buildings in Scutari, a suburb of Constantinople on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, where the school was started a quarter of a century ago, and where so many good women have been educated to mould public opinion in the households throughout the Turkish Empire and the neighbouring states. Before another year is passed the college will be at least partially occupying splendid new buildings, located on a beautiful site on the European side of the Bosphorus, where the work of construction has already been begun and is rapidly progressing. Already the preparatory department has been removed to the European side. With the change421 the college not only gains the advantages of greater room and larger conveniences, but greater dignity and prestige, pride of purpose, and ambition of achievement, which are the best inspirations that a man or woman of an institution of learning can possess.

Dr. Mary Mills Patrick, the president of the college, to whose ability and energy and tact its success and influence is largely due, had just returned from a year’s visit to the United States, where she had been successful in raising funds for the purchase of new grounds and the erection of new buildings which will enable the college to extend its influence and usefulness. No one can realize so fully as that noble woman the importance of the results she accomplished for the good of the women of Turkey and the welfare of the Turkish race.

Dr. Patrick raised $350,000 while she was in the United States. Miss Helen Gould gave $150,000 for a new building to be called Gould Hall, and $25,000 for general purposes, John D. Rockefeller gave $150,000 for a new building, Mrs. Henry Woods of Boston $50,000, Mrs. Russell Sage gave $15,000 for land and $5,000 for a wall to be built around it, the late John H. Converse gave $10,000, Miss Grace Dodge gave $10,000 for the purchase of the land. Mrs. D. Willis James, Mrs. Henry F. Durant, Mrs. John Hay, James Talcott, D. Stuart Dodge and other friends made generous contributions toward the purchase of the land, the erection of new buildings, and the general fund.

The Mektep Ammerrycolly Kuzlaran, as the American College for Girls is called by the Turks, is now at high tide. It not only possesses the most beautiful site on the banks of the Bosphorus, considered by many the most beautiful422 sheet of water in the world, but will have a group of buildings equal to any in the United States. It has been officially recognized by the Turkish government and commended by the minister of education as a model for Turkish educational institutions to imitate. Mahmoud Bey, inspector general of education, told me several times that he considered it an ideal school. He said it “had set the pace and furnished the standard for colleges for women in the East. No institution for women in Europe has a higher standard and its graduates are recognized as among the most influential women in Turkey.”

The minister of finance delivered the address to the graduating class and the American ambassador presided. A Mohammedan government is officially contracting for the education of Mohammedan girls in a Christian school to be qualified as teachers of Mohammedan children. This is perhaps the most extraordinary event that has taken place in the educational world for many years and indicates the radical changes that have taken place in the Ottoman empire.

A great boom in the education of women is about to begin in Turkey. The American College for Girls has been the source of inspiration and the ideal. Everybody agrees that the most remarkable change in social conditions caused by the revolution in Turkey has occurred among the feminine portion of the population, and it is conceded that the wives and mothers of the Young Turk party had a powerful influence in bringing it about. During the anxious months of conspiracy and preparation many high-born Turkish ladies worked with enthusiasm and intelligence for the cause of liberty. Some of them acted as423 messengers, carrying concealed about their persons papers which, if discovered, would have meant their death; others afforded the revolutionary committees opportunities for holding their meetings and furnished those who were in danger means of escape. Twelve thousand spies in the employ of Abdul Hamid were unable to outwit the women of Turkey in their work, and the leaders of the Young Turk party concede that they owe their success largely to the assistance of their wives and sisters and mothers.

It was not the work of a day, however, or a year, but of a generation, and in the preparation of the women of Turkey for the performance of this patriotic duty the American College for Girls at Scutari has been one of the most effective agencies. Its president, its faculty, and its alumnæ have been engaged for a quarter of a century in a far-reaching propaganda to convince the women of Turkey that they are entitled to light and learning, and the results are seen in the eagerness with which the daughters of the foremost families of the empire are seeking an education similar to that which English and American girls receive.

It is purely an American institution which began in a small way twenty-five years ago, and for all those years has offered the only opportunity for a higher education within the reach of the young women of the East. Among the faculty are graduates of Cornell, Wellesley, Barnard, Middlebury, and Smith colleges, and six of the alumnæ of the institution are on the corps of instructors.

“You ask if there has been any difference in the conduct of our students since the constitution,” said Dr. Patrick in reply to my question. “I have noticed a much greater largeness of ideas and a much wider scope of ambition since424 the adoption of the constitution has opened new opportunities to them. The change is wholly favourable. The new government is decidedly in favour of the education of women, while Abdul Hamid was stubbornly opposed. It is favourably disposed to the American College for Women. Djavid Bey, the minister of finance, delivered our commencement address. Nedjneddin Bey, minister of justice in the cabinet, sends his daughter to us, and we have five students whose tuition is paid by the government. We have just received an application from the government to buy our property in Scutari when the college moves to its new site, in order that a school for Turkish women may be continued in the place where one has existed for so long. This could not have occurred before the constitution, and is sufficient of itself to convince any one of the feeling of the Turkish government toward our work.

“Several of our graduates are the wives of men who have been active in the development of Bulgaria, members of the cabinet and members of parliament, and I do not know how many had an active part in the recent revolution in Turkey. At that time we had only two Mohammedans among our alumnæ. Since then we have added another. Both of these took an active part in the recent revolution, consulting with the men leaders, who sought their advice and suggestions, writing for the papers, and even speaking in behalf of the reform. One of our Mohammedan graduates has already become a power in political circles of Constantinople. I refer to Mme. Halideh Salih, who writes for the newspapers constantly, discussing leading questions with great ability, and her advice is often asked by the political leaders and the statesmen of Turkey.


“The principal races represented among the students of the American College for Women are Armenians, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Turks, the proportion of each being not far from equal. It is a new thing, however, to have so many Turkish girls in our college, and everybody will be interested to know that a Turkish girl leads the preparatory school in scholarship. She has been in school only one year, but during that time has finished all the courses except the last in the preparatory department.

“During the last year one fourth of all our resident students were Turkish girls, although it was their first year of freedom—the first time in history that young women of Mohammedan families have felt able or willing to go openly to Christian schools.

“Several of our alumnæ have studied for the medical profession and are practising with success. Until now the conditions in Turkey have not permitted women to enter into other professions, but that will soon be changed.

“The present Turkish government is making praiseworthy efforts in the direction of education,” continued Dr. Patrick. “Reforms have been instituted in the Turkish University for Men, in the Galata Serai School, and a large normal school for girls organized in Stamboul by Mme. Halideh Salih, to whom I have just referred. She has practically taken charge of it. The department of education is now a careful and conscientious body of officials who have taken in hand the reorganization of the different schools and are planning an educational system similar to that in other countries.

“The visits of the parents of the Turkish girls who have come into our school this year have been extremely interesting.426 Invariably they say that they have long wished to send their daughters here, and they are curious to see how a woman’s college is conducted. They inspect the houses and the grounds and express themselves as very much pleased with what they see. The social position of our Turkish students varies from that of a cabinet minister’s daughter to the merchant class, but for the most part they come from cultured and progressive families. Several of the girls had a knowledge of English or French when they came to us.

“It is impossible to put into words the enthusiasm which has been awakened among the girls since the political change. The Armenians are especially enthusiastic. You know that under the old sultan it was forbidden to speak the name Armenia, but our girls from that province organized a society and gave a concert consisting of Armenian folk songs which were formerly forbidden, but since the constitution have been brought out of various monasteries or Russian homes where they have been hidden. The meetings of the society have been devoted to the study of Armenian history and literature. Two seniors wrote their theses along the lines of Armenian history, and are talking of beginning research work into the remains of ancient Armenia.

“An enlightened study of history has long been forbidden in Turkey, although a garbled version has been taught in the schools. Now that all restrictions are removed it is possible to offer the students a wider range of reading and discussion and we have endeavoured to give the Turkish and Armenian girls such a breadth of knowledge of their own national history as they have never been able to enjoy before.

“The opportunities for people of the lower classes to send427 their children to school are so meagre and competent teachers in Turkey are so few that our students realize the tremendous opportunity offered the graduates of the American college who are Ottoman subjects to assist in the education of the people. We have been greatly handicapped in receiving Turkish students because they have received no elementary education in their own schools and in their own language.

“It is impossible for those who have not lived in Turkey to realize what the changes mean and what freedom means. During the preceding year, for example, we were advised not to have the simple constitution of an association of our girls put into print, as it would be unsafe for them if by accident a printed copy should be discovered. But that is all changed now and we are practically as free as the schools of any European country.

“The whole country, suddenly awakened to the importance of education, is filled with a desire to study, and young men and women of all classes are eagerly demanding a share in the benefits that education gives. The most serious part of the situation, and a lamentable fact, is that there are so few Turkish teachers ready or competent to impart instruction, and already a plan is on foot to send groups to Europe to be trained. Several night schools have been started in the city, where, in the absence of other instructors, leaders of the Young Turk party have themselves undertaken the teaching.

“The Mohammedan women are no less eager than the men, and they naturally turn for help to this college, which for so many years has been the only institution for the higher education of women in all countries in the East. We are ready and able to give them the education they so428 eagerly desire, but our quarters are so crowded that it is impossible to accept more than a small number of the many applications for admission that we receive. In spite of the knowledge of the present overcrowded state of the college many Turkish women are so anxious that their daughters shall share in the new life that is opening to the women of Turkey that they persist in coming to Scutari to beg us to take in their daughters. And when they get the inevitable answer that there is no room, the girls frequently burst into tears, while their mothers have difficulty in concealing their disappointment.

“When we get into the new buildings on the other side of the Bosphorus one of the first steps will be the establishment of a normal school. Even now, in the limited space at our disposal, we have the nucleus of a normal school in five Turkish young women sent to us by the government to be trained for teachers of Mohammedan children. Think of training teachers for Mohammedan schools in a Christian school, and you will have a slight suggestion of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in Turkey.

“I am often asked what is the use to educate women for the harem? But you must know that the character of the harem has entirely changed under the new régime, and the women of the harem are now at liberty to learn and to read, and to work, and even to come into contact with the outside world; to participate in the movements of the day, and even to influence them. With this liberty and this continual increase of opportunities it is even more important that the women of the harem should be educated than any others.

“It is true that the Turkish woman is still more restricted429 than those of the European countries and the United States, but the day of her complete seclusion has passed forever; the barriers that confined her from contact with the outside world have been removed. She is no longer ignorant; she no longer is kept from a knowledge of what is going on around her, and she will have no lack of influence in the development of Turkey in future years.”

The forty-seventh scholastic year at Robert College opened in October, 1910, under most favourable and gratifying auspices. Never before were the prospects of usefulness so glowing. Through the efforts of Mr. Straus, the American ambassador, Robert College has been recognized by the Turkish government and is no longer a mere squatter on Turkish soil, without legal rights and simply tolerated. After many years of patient application and argument an imperial irade has been issued recognizing the institution in the fullest sense as entitled to all the legal rights and privileges of Turkish institutions of learning, under its charter by the State of New York; and, at the same time, granting it exemption from the recent “laws of association,” which require all foreign corporations doing business in Turkey to have Turkish representation in their boards of directors and trustees. The same privileges are granted at the same time to the Protestant college at Beirut, the American College for Girls at Scutari, and to all other American missionary institutions for higher education throughout the Turkish Empire. For this recognition these institutions are indebted to the persistency and the influence431 of Mr. Straus, who, during all the years that he has served as the diplomatic representative of the United States at the Turkish court, has been an active friend and protector of Christian missionaries and the work in which they are engaged.

In addition to this irade the Turkish government has placed in Robert College five more students, making ten in all, to be educated according to American ideas for teachers and superintendents of schools. Although Robert College is founded on the Christian faith and its students are required to attend religious worship on Sunday and morning prayer on week days, it is entirely non-sectarian and no questions are ever asked as to the religious belief of students, any more than concerning their political views. They attend worship just as they attend lectures, as a part of the curriculum, be they Jews, or Greeks, or Mohammedans. But it is very significant that a Mohammedan government should select a Christian college for the education of Mohammedan youth. Perhaps it would not do so if there were Mohammedan institutions where these young men could be educated. But the Turkish cabinet shows confidence in the good faith as well as the capacity of the American missionaries not only in this case but in a hundred other similar cases where the government is paying the expenses of Mohammedan students in missionary schools.

Robert College occupies one of the most superb sites of any institution in the world. It stands on the summit of one of the highest bluffs of the Bosphorus, commanding a view in both directions and over both shores of that wonderful body of water. It is a test of limb and lung to climb the path that leads up the Hill of Science from the boat432 landing at the suburban village of Bebek, but when you reach the top you are fully repaid for the exertion by the panorama that is spread out before you as well as by the cordial welcome of President Gates and his associates.

Mohammed II selected this commanding point for the Rumili Hisar, a mighty castle which he built in the middle of the fifteenth century while he was besieging the city of Constantinople. Immediately opposite, upon the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, a similar castle was erected, and the two commanded the passage so that every ship passing up and down was compelled to pay toll. Mohammed called this castle Boghag Kessen (Throat Cutter), for he had a very pleasant way with him. The ruins are as picturesque and extensive as any in Europe, and the towers are almost perfect after nearly 600 years, although the floors and ceilings have long since fallen through. The walls have crumbled and much stone has been taken away for building material. They were originally thirty feet thick and thirty feet high and were built with the greatest haste and energy. Mohammed employed 1,000 masons, 1,000 lime burners, and 10,000 labourers in the construction, and to each mason was assigned the task of building two yards of wall in three months. By this division of labour and responsibility the work was completed in the time named by the ingenious designs of the engineers, and the outline of the walls forms the Turkish word “Mahomet.”

Robert College, on the Bosphorus

Certain incidents in connection with the foundation and early history of Robert College are quite romantic. During the Crimean war a New York merchant, Christopher Robert, was visiting Constantinople, and while crossing the Bosphorus one day in a boat to Scutari, the principal suburb433 on the Asiatic side, ran across a boat-load of bread which looked very much like that he was accustomed to at home. Upon inquiry he learned that the loaves came from the ovens of an American missionary school conducted by a man named Hamlin at Bebek, on the opposite side of the strait, and that they were on their way to hospitals established by Florence Nightingale for the care of the sick and wounded British soldiers. Mr. Robert, who was a keen Scotsman, was impressed with the sagacity of a missionary who would enter into an arrangement like that, and took an early opportunity of visiting the school. Dr. Hamlin explained that he obtained the contract to supply the British hospitals with bread: first, because he needed the money; second, because they needed the bread, and, third, because he had an industrial department in connection with his school and was trying to teach his students how to earn their living.

The missionary baker and the Scottish merchant soon became intimate friends, and Dr. Hamlin lost no opportunity to impress upon him the opportunities for an American college at the capital of the Ottoman Empire. As a consequence Mr. Robert gave Dr. Hamlin $30,000 to purchase a site and put up a building.

Dr. Hamlin selected the ground on which the college now stands, but the owner, Ahmed Vefik Pasha, Turkish ambassador to Paris, and a famous man in his day, declined to sell. So Dr. Hamlin had to go elsewhere, and examined twenty-two sites. As the best, he selected one above the village of Courouchesmeh, and bought it, but the Turkish notables in the vicinity protested against the erection of a Christian college in their neighbourhood, and the ground434 remained unoccupied until its sale a few years ago. Meantime Ahmed Vefik Pasha was in need of money, owing to the failure of the government to provide for his heavy expenses in Paris, and he accepted the offer he had refused before. A permit to build was obtained without much difficulty, but no sooner was work begun than the police stopped it, strange to say, upon the complaint of France and Russia, whose ambassadors objected to the influence of an American college on the banks of the Bosphorus.

But Dr. Hamlin was not to be deterred in his purpose and in September, 1863, with three professors and four students, began work in a room of a large house, now the residence of Mr. Heizer, the American vice-consul general, which was then used for Christian worship by members of the English and American colonies, and also by the missionaries of the American Board for a theological seminary. The college remained there for eight years while Dr. Hamlin was importuning the government for a permit to build on his own ground. He became such a nuisance that Ali Pasha exclaimed one day:

“Will this man Hamlin ever die and stop bothering me about his everlasting college?”

About that time the late Edwin D. Morgan of New York visited Constantinople and became interested in the embryonic institution. Upon his return to Washington he told Mr. Seward, then secretary of state, about the situation. The latter sent for the Turkish minister and gave him some very strong talk. The minister, being impressed with Mr. Seward’s earnestness, telegraphed the Sublime Porte to give a building permit to the American college at once, “lest it prove a thorny question.”


The thorn which he predicted, all unconscious of its own influence or the apprehension it created in the mind of the sultan, appeared in the Bosphorus a few weeks later in the form of that grand old man-of-war Hartford, with Admiral Farragut in command. The admiral was making a cruise around the world, without the slightest political or diplomatic responsibility, but the guilty conscience of the sultan needed no accuser.

Dr. Hamlin’s son Alfred, now a professor in Columbia University, New York, was so eager to see an American flagship that he persuaded his father very reluctantly to waste the time, as he then believed, to go on board; and, upon paying his respects to the admiral, he explained who he was and what he was trying to do in Constantinople, and his difficulty about getting a building permit from the Turkish government. Dr. Seropain, an Armenian physician, who understood the situation, was present at the interview, and, knowing that the admiral was to dine with the grand vizier that evening, suggested that he ask his host the simple question:

“Why do you refuse the American college permission to put up its buildings?”

“Please do not say anything more,” said Dr. Seropain, “and do not make any comments upon the answer you receive.”

A few days later an imperial irade was received authorizing the erection of the necessary buildings for the college. Dr. Hamlin was almost paralyzed, but he soon learned that the Turkish government, putting one thing and another together, imagined that the Hartford had been sent over to enforce the demands of our government in behalf of the436 American college, and accepted the situation before it became serious.

The corner stone of the first building was laid on the Fourth of July, 1869, and on the Fourth of July, 1871, it was formally inaugurated in an address by William H. Seward, then on his journey around the world.

Mr. Robert continued to support the institution until his death, when he bequeathed it one fifth of his entire estate, making his benefactions altogether nearly a half million dollars. Since his death the college has had many generous benefactors, and the late John S. Kennedy, who had given a good deal of money before, left it a legacy of nearly $2,000,000 in his will.

There have been three presidents—Cyrus Hamlin, its founder; George Washburn, now president-emeritus, who is spending his well-earned vacation in the United States, and Caleb Frank Gates, D.D., LL.D., who was born in Chicago and is a son of the late Caleb F. Gates, a partner of E. W. Blatchford in the shot tower and lead works on North Side. Dr. Gates graduated at Beloit College in the class of ’77, and from the Chicago Theological Seminary in the class of ’81; went to Turkey as a missionary, where he engaged in educational work and was elected president of Euphrates College in 1894. He remained there until 1902, when he took a year’s vacation, and was elected president of Robert College in 1903.

The most distinguished member of the faculty is Professor Alexander van Milligen, a Scotchman from Edinburgh, where he was educated. He is perhaps the highest authority in archæology in the Levant, and has written several books on the Byzantine Empire, Turkey and Constantinople.


The commencement of 1910 at Robert College was of unusual interest and significance. It not only added another class of twenty-eight well-trained young men of ambition to the list of leaders of modern civilization in the East, but marked an epoch in the history of one of the most useful of all educational institutions. Robert College has been struggling along for half a century with limited resources, but, by reason of a legacy from the late John S. Kennedy of New York, the trustees will be able to increase its educational capacity threefold, add eight new chairs to the faculty, extend the campus, and thus enlarge its usefulness and influence.

“You will find the graduates of Robert College scattered pretty thoroughly over Turkey, Armenia, and the Balkan states,” said Dr. Caleb F. Gates, president of that institution, in reply to my inquiry. “You will find many physicians, attorneys, teachers, bankers, merchants, shipping agents, clerks in the Imperial Ottoman Bank, in the post-office service of Turkey, and in the counting-houses of Constantinople and other cities. Several of our students are merchants in New York. One of our graduates of the class of ’72, Dr. Zenos, is professor of theology in McCormick Seminary at Chicago. Dr. Mangasarian of the Chicago Society for Ethical Culture graduated in the class of ’76. Our first class, graduated in 1868, was composed of two men, both of whom have since become distinguished. One of them is Professor Hagopos Djedjizian, who occupies the chair of Armenian language and literature in Robert College, and the other is Petco Gorbanoff, who has occupied several prominent positions in the government of Bulgaria and is now vice-president of its parliament.


“Our graduates have played a most important part in the building up of Bulgaria. We have furnished at least two prime ministers, Constantine Stoiloff and Todor Ivantchoff; four ministers of foreign affairs, three secretaries to the king, one secretary to the Bulgarian cabinet, three attorney generals, two ministers of public works, a minister of commerce and agriculture, a minister of the interior, a minister of finance, a minister of posts and telegraphs, a director of the state railways, three ministers of justice, a commissary general for the Bulgarian army, the administrator of the Bulgarian national bank, the administrator of the state agricultural bank, no less than twenty-two members of the Bulgarian parliament, and ten or twelve members of the diplomatic service of that country.

“You will find among the list of our alumni the names of two members of the deputation which selected Prince Ferdinand to be the sovereign of Bulgaria and offered him the crown, and the names of both the commissioners to the St. Louis Exposition, Peter M. Mattheoff and Dimiter M. Stantcheff. We have furnished ten or twelve professors for the colleges of Bulgaria, numerous superintendents of schools, teachers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, and surgeons in the army.

“You will find our alumni teaching in all the American schools and colleges throughout Turkey, in Armenia, Macedonia, and other provinces. Most of our Greek graduates have gone into commercial life and several have been remarkably successful. They are the sons of Greek merchants in Constantinople, Athens, Patras, and the islands of the Mediterranean. Some of our Greek students have come from Russia also. The Armenian graduates have generally gone into professional life, and have been remarkably successful439 in medicine, law and education. Two of them are now studying engineering in Edinburgh.”

“What has become of your Turkish graduates?”

“We have had only one Turkish graduate before this year and he is now a teacher. Under the old régime Mohammedan boys were not permitted to attend Robert College. They frequently came, but the government ordered them away. At one time we had two nephews of former Sultan Abdul Hamid, but they remained only a few weeks. As soon as he heard they were studying in a Christian college he sent for them, and we never saw them again. But since the new order of things we have more applications from Turkish students than we can accommodate. We have fifty-four Turks now on our rolls, and I reckon we turned away more than a hundred last fall. Among them is a nephew of the superintendent of education and a grandson of the sheik of one of the orders of dervishes. The Turkish government is sending five students annually, selected by the department of public instruction. The head of that department said to me:

“‘Take these young men and make good Americans of them if you want to, but make them good teachers; we need them for our schools; train these men; we need good men in Turkey; make them good men.’”

“Do you teach the Christian religion?” I asked.

“We are absolutely non-sectarian, but try to practise the Christian religion. We do not ask our students to become Christians, but every student who enters this institution has an opportunity to learn what the Christian religion is, and can accept it if he pleases, but he is never asked to do so. We have Mohammedans, Jews, Armenians, orthodox440 Greeks, Persians, Russians, Bulgarians, Servians, Bosnians, Egyptians, Germans, Englishmen, and altogether representatives of fifteen different races and five different religions, and every one of them is required to attend daily prayers and the regular services on Sunday. They sing Christian hymns; they hear Christian prayers; they listen to Christian sermons, according to the creed of the Congregational Church, but the sermons are usually lectures on morality rather than doctrinal exhortations.

“The students thus get the truth concerning religion in the chapel on Sunday, as they do in the classroom concerning science, history, and geography on week days, and they can make such use of it as they please. We have never had any complaints concerning the preaching. The Jewish and the Moslem students are often among the most attentive listeners to the sermons and the most punctual in their attendance upon prayers, but we never ask their impressions; we never discuss doctrinal questions with them; we never invite their confidence; we never interfere with the faith they profess.”

“Have you received any congratulations from the Turkish government upon your recent legacy?” I asked.

“Officially, no; but unofficially several members of the government have sent us their congratulations. Robert College is now regarded not only as a part of the Turkish educational system, but as an important agency in carrying out the plans of reform of the Young Turk party. They have given us full recognition. Our students have the same privileges as those of the Imperial University and the government lyceums. They will be exempt from military service until they finish their courses; our diplomas will441 be recognized for admission into the Imperial University without examination, and the same applies to appointments in the civil service.

“We had very little trouble with the old régime, although the former sultan was opposed to all modern ideas and especially American ideas, because they are inconsistent with his theory of administration. But the present government is as far removed from that line as possible. It favours all modern ideas and is especially friendly to American institutions.

“The government wants to subject Robert College and all other foreign institutions to the regulations of the Turkish laws of corporations. They want us to be under Turkish control, to be incorporated as a Turkish association, and have a certain number of Turkish directors, but I do not think they will insist upon it, because it would be entirely contrary to our charter. We are organized under the laws of New York. The title of our property is held in the name of an individual and the use of our endowments and the proper management of our institution require that we shall continue on the same basis as we are now. None of the foreign corporations, however, is submitting to the new arrangement. They decline to accept the conditions and we shall do the same.”

“Has there been any difference in the conduct of your students since the constitution was proclaimed?”

“Yes; at first all over the empire there was a manifestation of a very crude and vague idea of what they called liberty having possessed the minds of inexperienced people. They thought liberty meant that everybody could do as he pleased, but they soon found out their mistake. They442 had the same delusions concerning equality. Liberty became license. In some of the Turkish schools the students refused to obey the teachers and tried to run things themselves; they drove the teachers out of their rooms and insisted that they should sleep in the dormitories with the students. At Beirut the Moslems demanded exemption from compulsory attendance upon chapel and Bible classes; in some of our colleges the students insisted that, under the new constitution, they had a right to come and go as they pleased; but that wave of hysteria soon passed over; all the institutions have resumed their normal condition and the greatest change that we see is a new inspiration to work and a realization of the opportunities that are offered educated men. Interest in education has increased to such a degree that every school is filled, and the schools do not suffer from the restrictions that often embarrassed them during the reign of Abdul Hamid.

“One of the most important reforms is the removal of restrictions upon travel. In former times no citizen could go from one town to another without the permission of the authorities. That law has been abolished and now there is no interference with travel. Our students come and go without passports. The people in the interior can go about and trade with each other without interference. This has enlarged their markets; it has given them an opportunity to become acquainted; it broadens their ideas; it removes prejudices and relieves the social and commercial stagnation that formerly kept them down. They can now read newspapers freely. They can read any books they like, and while no doubt the influence of some of the publications is pernicious, that fault will correct itself in time.”


“The late revolution was the result of education, was it not?”

“I think it most certainly was. The leaders of the Young Turk party were educated either in Paris and elsewhere abroad or in the Turkish military schools, and by that education they were able to realize the deplorable condition of the empire and the necessity of the reforms which they have since accomplished.”

“Is the present government doing any more for education than the old one?”

“It is doing a good deal. The department of public instruction has been thoroughly organized and is under progressive and intelligent direction. Normal schools have been established, one for women and one for men, which will assist to solve the greatest difficulties under which the department is labouring, and that is the lack of teachers. Abdul Hamid reduced the university to nothing; the new régime has restored it, enlarged its scope, and introduced new methods and many improvements. There has been a considerable increase in the appropriations for education and a general improvement has taken place in all the schools. The military schools of Turkey have always been the best educational institutions in the empire, and their influence has been good. As a proof of that I can point to the moderation and good judgment shown by the military leaders in the recent revolution. Most of them were educated in the military schools.”

“How far are the American colleges in the Ottoman Empire self-supporting?”

“The conditions are about the same as among similar colleges at home. About two thirds, and in some cases444 three fourths, of the running expenses are paid from the tuition fees, and the deficit must be met by endowments. American colleges in Turkey are not charitable institutions by any means. While they need endowments, and must have them in order to make both ends meet, they do not need them any more than Harvard, or Yale, or Princeton, or any other college in Massachusetts or Kansas. The same amount of money will go a great deal farther here than in the United States, because our students do not expect so much, and the standard of living is lower here. Hence, I am confident that the American colleges in Turkey are more nearly self-supporting, on the average, than similar institutions in the United States.”

There were at last accounts 447 American schools in Asia Minor, with 23,846 students in all grades, from kindergartens to theological seminaries. The lower grades are entirely supported by the patrons; the higher grades require a certain amount of assistance to maintain a high standard, but no more than corresponding institutions in the United States. There are hospitals connected with most of them, which are also very important. In almost every case they are the only places in those sections of the country where the sick may receive medicines and care. Some of the hospitals are practically self-supporting, the fees of the patients and the sums paid for medicines being sufficient to meet the cost of attendance, supplies, and care.

Few of the schools receive financial assistance from missionary boards, and whenever assistance is given it is with the understanding that it shall diminish as the income of the school increases. The people for whom these institutions are provided appreciate the value of education and445 are willing to pay what they can for it. Methods of self-help are provided for students who cannot pay their tuition, so that their self-respect and independence are not disturbed. In the same way provision is made for books. In the hospitals no one who is worthy is ever refused treatment or medicine, but those who are able to pay are required to do so.

This principle of self-support has been a fixed rule from the beginning in all missionary work in Turkey, and it has proved to be one of the most important features of policy. Missionary physicians and teachers learned at the start that they could accomplish more good by requiring compensation for all services rendered, because in the Orient, as elsewhere, no real value attaches to that which costs nothing. Parents and pupils would be indifferent regarding attendance if the schools were free; books would be easily lost or damaged or destroyed if they had not been paid for; and where assistance is rendered to individuals it is arranged in such a way that the beneficiary shall be impressed with the value of what he is receiving.

The five colleges and the many preparatory and high schools for men and women in Asia Minor have not less than 6,000 students, who are being trained for useful citizenship by a wide range of instruction in the applied sciences, agriculture, chemistry, pharmacy, engineering, and even manual training. The courses of study are adapted to the needs of the country and with a view to qualifying the students for the highest service for their own people. There are six theological seminaries training young men for the ministry. Two of them are intended especially for workers among Arabic-speaking people, one for work among the446 Armenians, another for the Turks, and others for Greeks and Bulgarians.

In these seminaries the largest number of students are natives of Turkey. Some of the graduates have afterward had the benefit of post-graduate training in Europe or the United States, but that is not encouraged. It has been demonstrated by many cases that students from Turkey who go to the United States find it difficult to return to their native country, while others are made discontented by differences in conditions. It is the policy to employ native teachers and professors, so far as is consistent with maintaining a high intellectual and moral tone in the schools. That is the rule in all lines of work. No missionary is ever pastor of a native church. He supervises and directs, but he leaves the active work to the natives.

Perhaps the greatest value of the educational work done in Turkey by the American missionaries has been its influence upon native educational methods; in setting a standard to native schools; in furnishing text-books; and in awakening an ambition for learning. These missionary schools have in a large measure caused a revolution in the social life of Turkey. Men and women who have graduated or have taken partial courses command the best positions in commerce and society and have been most successful in professional life. Their services are sought for and they are able to command larger salaries than others who have not enjoyed their advantages. Large numbers of former students are prosperous business men in the principal cities of Turkey, while others are the leaders in their respective professions. Most of them are examples in the eyes of the community of the benefit and the value of an educational training.


The college at Beirut is not included in the estimate I have made. It was established in 1866 by Rev. Daniel Bliss, who remained at the head of it until a few years since, when his son succeeded him. It is one of the most successful educational institutions in all the world, and one of the most prosperous. It has a campus of over forty acres, a model plant of dormitories, laboratories, and lecture-rooms for between 700 and 800 students, representing fourteen different races and nationalities. No other institution between Athens and Tokio compares with it.

The International College at Smyrna is the youngest of the group of American institutions, having been established in 1902. Under the direction of Dr. Alexander MacLaclan it has had remarkable success, and has not only become self-supporting but two or three years ago the trustees were astonished to find a surplus in their treasury. There is a faculty of twenty-two professors and instructors and between 350 and 400 students, the largest number being Greeks. The International College has a wide field, because Smyrna is the second city in Asiatic Turkey, whose cosmopolitan and enterprising population, previous to its foundation, had no educational privileges nearer than Beirut or Athens and sent their young men to European universities. The great popularity and success of the college have undoubtedly been due to its non-sectarian policy, and while the Christian religion is the corner stone of its foundation and attendance at chapel exercises and Protestant worship is required of Jews, Greeks, and Mahommedans, as well as Christian students, every tendency to proselyting is avoided. The courses are especially strong in the scientific branches, and the college has been made a government meteorological station,448 with seismograph, a full set of apparatus for recording the weather and for taking the time. The American College for Girls in Constantinople is doing similar work.

The Central Turkey College at Aintab is 250 miles east of Tarsus in the valley of the Euphrates. It was founded in 1874 by Rev. Dr. Trowbridge, who died after he had placed it firmly upon its feet, and was succeeded by Dr. Merrill. The college has no endowment, but by reason of its marvellous management has been practically self-supporting from the first. It has the reputation of being more sectarian than other American institutions, and strongly Protestant, which is natural, because most of the students are studying for evangelical work. Protestantism is very strong in that section of Turkey. Three churches in Aintab and Marash have more than one thousand members each, and congregations of 2,000 are not uncommon. Until recently there have been no Turks or Jews among the students of the Central Turkey College, and the patronage has been drawn entirely from the native Protestants and Armenians, but since the constitution was proclaimed large numbers of Mohammedans have matriculated, and President Merrill has provided a private room for them, where they can worship according to their own custom. The medical department is especially important.

At Marash, a neighbouring city, is a prosperous college for women, started in 1882, with preparatory departments at Adana, Hajin, and Aintab, all flourishing and popular, particularly since the new régime has made it possible for Turkish families to send their girls to school. At first, it was difficult to persuade even Protestant parents to educate their daughters. It was contrary to custom, but now that449 an educational “boom” has been started, these schools are overwhelmed with applications from young women they cannot accommodate. Their educational standards are about the same as those of the average finishing school for young women in the United States, and the same text-books are used.

The college at Marash is on the Mount Holyoke plan. There has been another college for women on the Mount Holyoke plan at Bitlis for more than forty years, where two noble women, the Ely sisters, have been training wives and mothers for the passing and the coming generations. Their usefulness cannot be even estimated.

There is a school for girls at Smyrna, founded in 1881, with 250 students, and another at Adabazar, eighty miles from Constantinople, with about one hundred students.

A very promising American institution in Turkey is St. Paul’s College, at the ancient city of Tarsus, with a preparatory department known as St. Paul’s Academy, founded by the late Elliott F. Shepherd of New York and chartered by the legislature of that state in 1887. Dr. Howard Crosby was the first president of the board of trustees. He was succeeded by Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCracken, chancellor of the University of New York. Daniel W. McWilliams is secretary, Frederick A. Booth is treasurer, and William Jay Schieffelin, a son-in-law of the late Colonel Shepherd, is the other member of the board. The academy was opened in the fall of 1888, the college in the following year, and the first class graduated in June, 1893.

St. Paul’s is not a sectarian institution and is intended primarily to train young men in that part of Turkey to be useful citizens, with a foundation of Christian learning. The450 language of the schools is English, the faculty are all Christians, and most of them are Americans, and every year a number of the graduating class go up to the theological seminaries of the American Board, or the medical department of the Presbyterian College at Beirut.

Tarsus, which, you will remember, was the birthplace of St. Paul, is a thriving city, eighteen miles from the Mediterranean on the river Cydnus, and is connected by rail with both Mersina, the port of the province of Cilicia and Adana. The buildings of the institute occupy an elevation in the suburbs and command a fascinating view of a great plain and a long line of the Taurus Mountains in the background. There is no other institution for higher education within a six days’ journey, and the educational boom that has recently broken out in Turkey has caused a rush of students from the most influential families in that part of the empire. Unfortunately only a few of them can be taken care of. The capacity of the college is limited.




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Turkish Territory coloured Green. Russian Territory coloured Brown.
The Vilayets of Turkey and the Governments & Provinces of Russia are separated by Red Lines.


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Transcriber’s Note

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they were not changed. When in doubt, Transcriber kept the hyphens in end-of-line hyphenated words.

Many simple typographical errors were silently corrected.

Text frequently uses “régime” and “regime”; both forms retained here.

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs and outside quotations. In versions of this eBook that support hyperlinks, the page references in the List of Illustrations lead to the corresponding illustrations.

The original book included a large foldout map affixed to the inside back cover. The digitized source of this eBook divided that map into four quadrants of unequal sizes. In the HTML versions of this eBook, the map is displayable in several ways, including smaller and larger versions of the entire map and smaller and larger versions of its four quadrants. The Transcriber was unable to recombine the quadrants into a seamless single map. Some text in the smaller versions is not readable. The larger versions of the map may not be included in some mobile (epub and mobi) versions of this eBook, but they are available at Project Gutenberg.

The index was not systematically checked for proper alphabetization or correct page references.

Page 3: Redundant book title removed.

Page 453: “Hospitals, American” includes a reference to page 149. In the original book, that page number was printed below the entry for “Howard, John”. Page 149 mentions an American hospital but does not mention John Howard.