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Title: The Turk and his lost provinces

Greece, Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia

Author: William Eleroy Curtis

Release date: June 21, 2023 [eBook #71013]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: F.H. Revell company, 1903

Credits: Peter Becker, Craig Kirkwood, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



By Wm. Eleroy Curtis

The TURK and HIS



Author of “The True Thomas Jefferson,” “The Yankees of the
East,” “Between the Andes and the Ocean,” etc.

Publisher signet.



Copyright, 1903, by

Chicago: 63 Washington Street
New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 30 St. Mary Street



Von Moltke, the great German soldier, predicted that a universal war would be fought under the walls of Constantinople. He had faith that the Christian Powers of Europe, sooner or later, would compel the Turks to respect their moral, political, and financial obligations. This would have been done years ago but for the jealousy of those Powers, and the thousands of innocent Macedonians who have been massacred and the hundreds of thousands who have suffered from Turkish cruelty are the victims of that jealousy. The Czar would intervene, but England, France, Austria, and Germany will not permit him to do so for fear Russia will obtain a port upon the Mediterranean. At intervals the uprisings in Macedonia have indicated the approach of hostilities. They have grown more frequent and serious until, as this little book goes to press, Russia and Austria have demanded a better government for Macedonia, and the Sultan has responded by ordering 250,000 Turkish troops into that province. Diplomatic negotiations and empty assurances may again avert war, but every sign indicates that Von Moltke’s prophecy is soon to be fulfilled. The purpose of this publication is to give English readers a few facts about the several “buffer states” of the Balkan Peninsula which cannot be elsewhere obtained. It is the result of a journey through that peninsula as correspondent of The Chicago Record-Herald, and although the author realizes that it is defective and incomplete, he is confident that the American public will appreciate his efforts to give them the timely information it contains.


I.The Lost Provinces13
II.The Turkish Government35
III.The Sultan and His Family54
IV.The Selamlik82
V.The City of the Grand Turk91
VI.Scenes in Constantinople107
VII.Mosques and Palaces126
VIII.Robert College and the Missionaries142
IX.Recent History and Politics165
X.The People of Bulgaria191
XI.The Kidnaping of Miss Stone217
XII.The Political Situation in Servia243
XIII.The Capital of Servia257
XIV.A Remarkable Example of Administration273
XV.From Corfu to Corinth311
XVI.Modern Athens332
XVII.Shrines and Temples369


Facing Page
A Ghazi—a Mohammedan Fanatic49
Gate to Dalma Baghtcheh Palace, Constantinople69
A Street of Constantinople91
The Seraglio, Constantinople92
Fire Brigade, Constantinople116
Beyler-Bey Palace, Constantinople132
Suleiman Mosque, Constantinople136
Robert College, Constantinople142
Sofia, the Capital of Bulgaria166
House of the Sobranje, Sofia176
Monastery of St. John of Ryle, Bulgaria186
Royal Palace at Sofia197
Business Street in Sofia198
Military Club at Sofia200
A Macedonian Ready for Revolution239
King Alexander of Servia248
Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria248
A Glimpse of Modern Belgrade259
Royal Palace at Belgrade260
A Glimpse of Old Belgrade262
Government Hotels, Bosnia296
Jewish Cemetery in Bosnia299
A Young and an Old Corinthian322
Ruins of Ancient Corinth328
Modern Athens332
Modern Athenians335
The Museum at Athens357
Mars Hill, Athens378
Temple of Theseus, Athens380

The Great Turk and His Capital


The Turk and His Lost Provinces



The next battle-ground of Europe, like the last, will be the so-called Balkan Peninsula, comprising a group of petty states lying south of Austria-Hungary, bounded on one side by the Adriatic, on the other by the Black Sea, and on the south by the Ægean Sea. It is one of the most primitive, yet one of the first settled sections of Europe, where kings and queens and courts shone resplendent in ermine and jewels when Germany, Great Britain and France were still overrun by barbarians. The earliest inhabitants were the Dacians or Getæ, who had reached a considerable degree of culture when we first hear of them, from Pliny and Herodotus, resisting the invasion of Darius, the Persian, five centuries before Christ. A hundred years later, when Philip of Macedon besieged one of their cities, and was about to give a signal for the assault, the gates opened and a long line of priests, clad in robes of snow-white linen, came forth with musical instruments in their hands, singing songs of peace. Philip was so impressed by this demonstration that he laid down his sword, married the daughter of their king, and entered into a treaty of alliance with them.


They fought Alexander the Great; they resisted the Roman legions; and Julius Cæsar was planning a campaign against them when he fell in the forum with the dagger of Brutus in his breast. Trajan subdued them, and the story of his marvelous campaign is carved in marble upon his column in Rome. Theirs was the last province to be added to the Roman Empire and the first to go at its dissolution. The territory was fought over at frequent intervals by contending forces to the end of the fourteenth century, when, one after another, the several Christian states which composed the Bulgarian Empire were subdued by the Ottoman invaders who, in 1529 and 1683, actually reached the gates of Vienna. For nearly five centuries they submitted to the yoke of the Sultan and, like all his subjects, were gradually submerged in political, moral, intellectual and commercial oblivion. The existence of the once powerful people was almost forgotten. They lay helpless and hopeless under the heel of a vindictive and merciless despot until what were termed “the Bulgarian atrocities” excited universal horror in 1875-77. Then Russia intervened on the pretext of racial and religious relationship, and attempted to take them from Turkey.

The original Treaty of San Stefano, which fixed the terms of peace exacted by the Czar from the Sultan, would almost have restored the boundaries of the ancient Bulgarian Empire, given its people theoretical independence under his protection, and reduced European Turkey to a narrow strip of territory; but the jealousy of the other Powers would not permit it. Russia must not be allowed to extend her sphere of influence towards the Mediterranean. England and Germany interfered, called a conference of nations at[15] Berlin, tore up the Treaty of San Stefano, restored a large area to the Turkish Empire, and left a group of small, weak states to stand as a buffer between the Sultan and his aggressive neighbors.

This was done upon certain conditions. Positive pledges were exacted from the Sultan concerning the administration and taxation of the restored provinces, particularly that the inhabitants should be given religious liberty, and be governed by officials of their own faith. Not one of these conditions has been fulfilled, and the most appalling injustice and cruelties have been practiced year after year, similar to those which occurred in Bulgaria and provoked the Turko-Russian war. Human life and property have been held as worthless by the Turkish officials and military garrisons. No woman has been safe from their lust. No man has been allowed to accumulate property or to improve his condition without exciting the avarice of the tax-gatherer and the military commandant. It has been useless for the inhabitants to save money or produce more than enough to supply their own wants, for the slightest surplus would attract attention and be stolen from the owner. The Christian population have had no standing in the courts and are often prohibited from practicing their religion. The number of lives wantonly taken, the number of homes wantonly destroyed, the number of women ravished and the number of children butchered in the Turkish provinces of Europe, particularly in Rumelia, where the population is almost entirely Christian, would shock the world if the truth were known, notwithstanding, year after year, the Powers of Europe have permitted these barbarities to continue. The other provinces, Kosovo, Monastir, Salonika and Scutari, have suffered severely,[16] but the barbarities have not been so extended nor general; and they are not in such a state of anarchy, but are ripe for rebellion. Macedonia, as Eastern Rumelia is familiarly called, is the center of disturbance.

An occasional insurrection or lawless incident of which a foreigner has been the victim, such as the kidnaping of Miss Stone, has attracted public attention, and frequent written protests have been filed at the Sublime Porte by the ambassadors at Constantinople, in which the Sultan has been warned that the atrocities would not longer be tolerated, and has been admonished to repentance and reform. But, instead of improving, the conditions have grown worse. Each of these diplomatic episodes has been followed by more serious exactions and persecutions. Every remonstrance has been the signal for an increase of the military garrison in Macedonia, greater restrictions upon the liberties of the people, and the arrest and imprisonment of patriots who were suspected of having inspired the protests. This fact is well known at every embassy in Constantinople and at every foreign office in Europe, both from official and unofficial information. Every one who cares to know the truth may learn it without the slightest trouble.

How long the Powers of Europe will permit the Sultan to defy them and the present conditions to continue are questions often asked both in private and in public, but never answered. The Powers are too much engrossed in their own troubles to hear the cry from Macedonia, “Come and help us!” for neither their pride nor their pockets nor their politics are affected by the sufferings of a distant people whose commerce is insignificant and who have no influence in international[17] affairs. Russia and Greece are the only sympathetic nations. They belong to the same race and profess the same religion. Greece, being feeble, is powerless, although her recent disastrous war with Turkey secured the partial emancipation of Crete. The Czar would instantly go to the relief of the Macedonians were he not restrained by the jealousy of Germany, Austria and England. The British people will stand unmoved and permit the entire Macedonian population to be exterminated rather than allow Russia to gain a political advantage or extend her boundaries towards the Bosphorus. Nor will Austria allow any interference lest her manufacturers lose an insignificant market.

Austria is the natural protector of the people of the Balkan Peninsula, and her administration of affairs in Bosnia has been remarkable for tact, intelligence and success. If she were allowed to extend a protectorate over Servia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and the other countries and provinces, and introduce among them the same reforms that have been admirably carried out in the countries on the Adriatic, which the Berlin Conference intrusted to her care, it would be an unmeasured blessing; but neither Germany, England nor Russia would permit such an arrangement.

Germany is more culpable than any of the other nations, because its government sustains and protects the Sultan in his atrocious policy of administration, not only in Macedonia, but in all parts of the “Near East.” No diplomatist of ancient or modern times has been more shrewd and skillful in profiting by the rivalries of his enemies. He knows that Germany will not allow Russia, England or Austria to punish him; therefore he can afford to defy them, and treat the[18] remonstrances of their ambassadors with contempt. It must amuse His Majesty the Sultan to read the signature of the German ambassador at the bottom of the frequent diplomatic notes that are handed to him concerning the misgovernment of his empire, and we can imagine his large, sad eyes grow merry at the farces so frequently enacted at the Yildiz Kiosk, when the representatives of the Powers appear in their radiant uniforms, as they often do, to remonstrate against his inhumanity to his Christian subjects, and the massacres that are committed at his very doors. He realizes, and he knows that they realize, that the slightest interference by force on the part of any one sovereign will provoke another and even more emphatic remonstrance elsewhere, lest some political or commercial advantage may be gained. When the situation grows serious, however, he grants another profitable concession to some German syndicate as an additional policy of insurance against intervention.

The continual extension of German enterprise in the Ottoman Empire makes the reform of abuses more difficult and the position of the Sultan more secure. If Germany will cultivate his good will to obtain concessions, their possession will make it necessary for Germany to protect them. The invasion of Turkey by a foreign army, the disturbance of commerce and industrial conditions, would be a serious danger to German investments already there, and the longer such interference is postponed the more serious that danger will be, because those investments are rapidly multiplying and gaining in importance. The peace of Turkey and the maintenance of present conditions are essential to their profit. Thus the Kaiser stands as the nurse of the Sick Man of the East.


There are few German investments in European Turkey, because the anarchy which has prevailed there for many years has kept capital and immigrants away; but throughout the other Balkan States German enterprise is taking the lead in every line of trade and industry, and pushing the sales of German goods. In Asia Minor, Armenia, Syria, Palestine and other parts of Turkey, the Germans are already numerous and are increasing. They have greater privileges and better advantages than any other class. The significance and value of the Kaiser’s friendship for the Sultan is appreciated, not only by the officials, but by the public at large, and for that reason Germans are exempt from many, if not all, of the annoyances suffered by other foreigners.

It is useless to speculate as to what might happen if the friendship of the German Emperor for Abdul Hamid were withdrawn. History teaches that political problems in Turkey cannot be solved by the same rules that apply to other countries. The Sultan and his ministers are not to be considered as logical or rational beings. The extraordinary skill which they have displayed in eluding the frequent crises that have occurred in recent years, offers no ground upon which to base a prediction, but the Germans are not to be involved in any ordinary complication. The latest episode was the seizure of the island of Mitylene by a French fleet to enforce the payment of money due French contractors who built the docks at Salonika. The Sultan appealed to the Kaiser to extend his good offices in arranging an amicable settlement, and the German Minister of Foreign Relations advised the Turkish ambassador at Berlin to pay the bill. The bill was not paid, but a mortgage upon the future[20] receipts of a Turkish custom house was given instead, and the French fleet withdrew; but when the mortgage falls due, two years hence, it will be necessary to send another fleet to collect it, for the Sultan never keeps his promises nor pays his bills until he is compelled to. The Kaiser is too shrewd to become involved in such a scandal; but if the French go so far as to interfere with German interests in Turkey or the Balkan States, they will undoubtedly meet with resistance.

The desperate state of affairs in Macedonia, or Eastern Rumelia, as that province is named on the map, is attracting no marked attention in Europe. This apathy, however, cannot long continue, for sooner or later some nation, whether from humanity or selfishness, will interfere and provoke hostilities in which all the Powers of Europe must become engaged. The seeds and causes of conflict are there, and cannot be exterminated without a struggle. The Austrians could do more than any other nation were they permitted to make the attempt. They have already demonstrated in Bosnia their ability to regenerate and govern a mongrel population, but the ambition and purpose of Russia, ever since the Romanoff dynasty came into power, has been to make Constantinople its southern capital, and add the Ottoman Empire to its own.

In Bulgaria, Servia and Roumania, disorganization and decay are advancing more rapidly than the elements of progress. These nations are becoming poorer and weaker because of misgovernment for which there is no hope of reform. Before many years their condition will have reached a crisis that will call for intervention. Russian influence is now supreme in Roumania and Bulgaria, and the Servians are willing to submit[21] to Russian domination under certain contingencies; but Austria lies just across the Danube, and, as the nearest neighbor, takes a deep interest in Servian affairs.

It is probable that trouble will ultimately arise through collisions between the Bulgarian patriots and the Turkish troops in Macedonia. They occur frequently. Scarcely a month passes without a skirmish upon the border between brigands, as they are usually called, and Turkish military guards. Bulgarian citizens are being arrested continually and imprisoned in Turkish jails, and the Bulgarian government is always making useless protests to the authorities at Constantinople. The fact that Bulgaria is nominally under a Turkish protectorate complicates matters and gives an additional excuse for hostilities on the Turkish side, for the tribute which was agreed upon at the Berlin Conference has never been paid, and never will be. Even if there were a disposition on the part of the Bulgarians to comply with this stipulation, it would be difficult for them to raise the funds; thus the debt continues to pile up year after year, until Turkey, when the Sultan considers it wise to act, will make a demand and call upon the Powers to enforce it.

The casus belli is always on the side of the Turk. Bulgarians are continually invading Turkish territory, and it is the policy of the Sultan to shoot them when his soldiers can catch them, and say nothing about it. If Bulgaria makes a complaint, it is claimed that the dead men were brigands, caught with arms in their hands, and that the government is trying to suppress brigandage. Some day, however, the Bulgarian people will not be satisfied with this answer. They will insist that their government demand reparation[22] from Turkey, and make a hostile demonstration that shall attract the attention of Europe. If Turkey “calls the bluff,” and sends her troops over the border, Bulgaria will appeal to the Powers for protection, and thus force the Macedonian cause upon their notice. This would have occurred long ago but for the inability of Bulgaria to raise funds to equip and pay her army, the indifference of Prince Ferdinand and the lack of leadership. The influence of Russia is against radical measures also, because she does not think the time is ripe. If Stambouloff had lived, the situation in Bulgaria might have been very different from what it is to-day. His death removed the chief obstacle to Russian domination and left Bulgaria a mere pawn in the great game of diplomacy which the Czar is now playing with the other sovereigns of Europe.

An American gentleman who has spent his life in Turkey, and is familiar with the situation throughout the country, describes it as follows: “The state of the Turkish Empire—morally, socially, financially and politically—betokens the coming of a night of anguish. In every department of government the amount of shameless iniquity is appalling. Simony and bribery, treachery and extortion, always present, but once wont to hide themselves, have lost all shame and fear of rebuke, and are hideous in their ramifications. Socially the situation everywhere is dismal. You read of riots and bloodshed in Albania, in Montenegro, along the frontiers of Bulgaria, and more recent outrages and bloodshed in Armenia. Things are not quite so bad in Syria, though they are on the way to it. During the past four years emissaries from Constantinople of a certain type have sown seeds of bitterness among the Moslems and Christians until their relations to each[23] other are marked with unusual hostility, suspicion and open bloodshed. Even in Beirut, one of the most peaceful and progressive communities in the empire, an active vendetta is in progress and almost nightly men are murdered. No one is punished, no one’s life is safe. It would seem as though the very foundations of the social fabric had fallen.

“I can give you in brief the reasons why this awful state of affairs will continue: The corruption of the courts, in which all crimes are condoned for money. The sole ambition of the unpaid officials, after the collection of the exorbitant taxes, is to get a hold upon citizens of every degree and by means of charges, false or true, extort money from them. I have lived in Turkey more than eighteen years, and have yet to hear the innocence or guilt of a prisoner or criminal dwelt upon. The officials apparently exult in the increase of crime, caring only for the bribes and gifts resulting therefrom, while the wretched people caught seek only for a way by which they can get free from the clutches of these minions of the law. No one ever places any moral weight on the judgments delivered, for in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they are worse than worthless. I am measuring my words and know whereof I speak.

“The second fruitful cause is the centralization of absolute power in Constantinople and the treacherous subversion of every vestige of civil rights ever enjoyed by the people. The present Sultan, years ago, instituted a policy by which he was to become the absolute master of everything in the empire. The military establishment, in its six great divisions, takes its orders direct from Abdul Hamid. Civil affairs are supposed to be administered through the vilayets[24] (some thirty-five in all). In former times the chief officials, civil and military, were almost absolute in their departments and are still so in theory. But in recent years the Sultan, by an invidious system of imperial irades or edicts, has filched away every privilege and prerogative of these provincial officials. Constantinople has become a huge auction-market where every position in the empire is bought or sold for a price. Worse than this is the ominous fact that the high provincial officials, who once had the power to punish or remove a disobedient or unworthy subordinate, are now powerless to effect any reform. When an official falls under their displeasure or judgment, the matter must be referred to Constantinople. The delinquent hurries off to the capital and returns with an imperial rescript in his hand, confirming him in his position and enabling him to defy courts and judgments, officials and public opinion. By this process the Sultan has insidiously undermined and completely overthrown the legitimate form of government and replaced it by a set of spies, iniquitous and despicable beyond description. The despotic master and the irresponsible clique which has displaced the real government, have now extended their abominable practices and travesty of justice to the ends of the empire. As a result good men are disheartened and are leaving the empire by thousands. Everyone who ever expressed dissatisfaction with the present régime or sighs for reform or change for the better is instantly branded as one of the Young Turkish party and treated as a felon. So the empire has fallen into the hands of the worst elements—parasites and sycophants who are mocking and baffling one another in every department, while the common people are trampled under foot.


“The third cause of corruption and lawlessness is, if possible, worse than all. Immediately after the massacres in Armenia and Constantinople there were thousands of soldiers, military officers and civil officials whose hands were dyed with innocent human blood, and whose pockets and houses were filled with the accursed plunder which they were allowed to take as their reward. Fearing at that time that the Powers might seek the punishment of these red-handed murderers, the Sultan began a wholesale shifting of them to all parts of the empire, so that in every district we have thousands of these brutes who participated in the killing of 100,000 Armenians. No one was ever punished, no one was ever rebuked. Europe, in her pitiful jealousies, failed to exact punishment for anyone. In a little time the Sultan and all his miserable crew came to glory in this colossal crime. But retribution is coming. The Albanians and the Kurds, after such orgies of lawlessness and bloodshed, rapine and plunder, could never be expected to relapse into law-abiding citizens of any empire, and so they are completely out of hand and at this moment shaking off the last shadow of control from Constantinople. Those parts of the empire which were once safe and law-abiding are now preyed upon by treacherous spies and men whose sense of decency and justice was forever blotted out by their acts in Armenia. So neither Europe nor the world need express any surprise as the hand of God rolls up the stormclouds of retribution and smites the empire with the awful agonies of the coming night.”

Unspeakable horrors have been constantly occurring in this corner of the earth, and will continue to occur so long as Turks are permitted to govern Christian communities. The present management of the Macedonian[26] Committee is patriotic, unselfish and honest. The previous administration was corrupt and vicious, but no one will suggest that the sufferings of the Christian citizens of Turkish provinces should be prolonged, even though bandits and blackmailers may be interested in their redemption. The world owes a duty to the people of Macedonia. So far as Armenia is concerned, anything more than diplomatic intervention is impracticable, and civilized nations can only continue to exert moral pressure on the Sultan in its behalf. But Macedonia is in an entirely different position. There will be no difficulty in reaching the sufferers with a fleet or an army of rescue if necessary, because its ports are on this side of the Dardanelles, and the continued violation of treaty stipulations will justify forcible interference. Every day the situation becomes more and more serious, the necessity for action more urgent.

The number of Bulgarians and other Christians massacred in Rumelia and other Turkish provinces will never be known. There is no hope that time will effect any change for the better. The motives for murder, torture and oppression are too deep-seated for moral suasion or diplomatic negotiation to reach. So long as the Christians submit patiently to every wrong that may be inflicted upon them, so long will they be permitted to live; but, in the eyes of the Mohammedans, they have forfeited their lives by accepting the faith of the Greek or the Roman Catholic Church, and so often as an excuse is offered it becomes a religious duty to exterminate them. Just as Saul was bidden to smite the Amalekites, and to slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass, so does the Koran admonish the[27] faithful to remove unbelievers from the earth. Hence it is absurd for the Powers of Europe to wrangle with the Turks concerning the principles of good government or the introduction of reforms.

Not one of the many stipulations in the Treaty of Berlin has ever been faithfully fulfilled; not one of the reforms demanded has ever been actually carried out by the Turkish authorities. It is true that a Christian was appointed governor-general and served in that capacity for five years; but he was a cowardly creature and permitted himself to be used as a screen to shield Mohammedan subordinates who murdered, robbed and tortured the members of his own faith. “The Bulgarian atrocities” perpetrated between 1865 and 1875 have been repeated in Macedonia, and the population of that province has been largely reduced by massacre and persecution until several sections are now entirely deserted by their former Christian inhabitants. Every form of tyranny and brutality has prevailed. One record shows 15,000 victims during the last ten years. If a faithful Moslem covets the property of his Christian neighbor it is only necessary to denounce him for “discontent” before the nearest magistrate, and the soldiers will do the rest.

The inhabitants of Macedonia, as previously stated, are of the same stock, profess the same religion, speak the same language, and have the same customs as the Bulgarians. They are generally intermarried, so that the persecutions are a matter of family as well as national concern. Ever since the refusal of the Berlin Conference to include Eastern Rumelia in the Bulgarian Kingdom, the people of both countries have been determined to bring about annexation by force, and, soon after the recognition of the Bulgarian[28] government, an organization was formed to promote that cause. It is known as the Macedonian Committee. Its headquarters are at Sofia, Bulgaria, occupying the second floor of one of the most conspicuous buildings in the center of the city. No secrecy is attempted. The meetings are open to the public, their proceedings are published in the newspapers, the names of the officers and committees appear upon every document issued, and a weekly periodical, maintained in the interest of the cause, usually contains lists of contributors to its support and signed articles by prominent agitators. Branch organizations exist in every community. There is not a village in Bulgaria without one, and the membership includes at least ninety-five per cent of the Bulgarian people. The organization is non-partisan, and has the tacit support of the government, being composed of members of all political parties—both the opponents and the supporters of the present administration.

Until 1901 some of the managers were disreputable persons, and were guilty of practices which brought the committee and the cause into contempt. The late president, Boris Sarafoff, was a notorious gambler and dissolute politician. His reputation was such that people would no longer contribute money. He squandered every dollar he could control, and, in order to obtain funds for the support of himself and his associates, adopted a bold system of blackmail. He even went so far as to threaten a high officer of the government with personal injury if he declined to contribute, and gave notice that he would kidnap the child of a Sofia banker unless a large sum was paid into the Macedonian Committee’s treasury. When these practices became known in the community there was a[29] thorough overhauling of the organization and Stoyan Mikhailovsky was elected president. He is a literary man of high character, and enjoys universal respect and confidence, being the most eminent writer and poet in Bulgaria, as well as an orator and scholar. His associates in the management of affairs are men of similar ability and reputation, but, upon taking charge, they found the treasury empty and the accounts in such confusion that they were unable to make a financial statement to their supporters. Under the administration of Sarafoff, the worst elements in Bulgaria obtained control and the local organization at Samakof, or Samacov, as it appears on some of the maps, was undoubtedly responsible for the kidnaping of Miss Stone.

We do not know definitely what is being done in Macedonia to prepare for a revolution, but it is no secret that the entire province is practically in a state of anarchy, and whenever an opportunity is offered it will occur. In the spring of 1901 the treasury of the Macedonian Committee at Sofia was stripped of every dollar by the rascals who had charge of its affairs, and the difficulties of raising funds have seriously increased since the scandalous disclosures made at that time. Nevertheless the committee has renewed its activity and is making energetic preparations in anticipation of an outbreak. No secrecy is attempted with regard to revolutionary operations in Bulgaria. The propaganda is carried on with the greatest publicity. But all movements on the Macedonian side of the mountains are covered with mystery. Conscious of danger, the Turkish authorities in Macedonia are vigilant and constantly engaged in efforts to suppress the proposed revolt. For several years the Macedonians have been[30] organized and arms and ammunition have been distributed among them. They drill in the forests by night and bury their guns and cartridges among the roots of the trees. This is an ancient custom, and strangers riding through the country often have their attention directed to ancient oaks which bear signs to mark the spot where arms have been concealed.

When the struggle does come the Macedonians will fight to the finish. After five centuries of Turkish bondage they have become convinced that it is better to die than to live under present conditions. Deserted farms and heaps of ashes indicate where the Turks have been administering discipline. The Turkish officials spare neither women nor children, and make no distinction between Bulgarians and Greeks. Every person who does not profess their faith is an infidel fit only to die the death, and must submit to their lust, cruelty and extortion. No Christian woman in Macedonia can be protected from the passion of the Turkish soldiers and officials, and the thresholds of thousands of homes are slippery with the blood of husbands and fathers who have died defending the honor of their wives and daughters. But the Turks have a way of accomplishing their purpose without the apparent use of force.

If a Turk finds a Christian woman who pleases his fancy it is only necessary for him to have her summoned before the nearest magistrate and asked if she desires to become his wife. If she consents the marriage ceremony is performed at once. If she refuses persecution begins—not only herself, but her father, mother, brothers and sisters are arrested for fictitious offenses and thrown into prison. They may be accused of treason and shot; they may be fined the entire value[31] of their property, and made to suffer other penalties which the Turks show great ingenuity in devising. Some women yield to save their families, and are self-condemned to spend their lives in the perpetual slavery of the harem, but usually the entire family abandons everything, and flees across the boundary into Bulgaria with only such property as can be carried in their hands, to begin life over again under the protection of the Bulgarian authorities and among sympathetic surroundings. The Turkish officials invariably confiscate any property that may be left. Southern Bulgaria is full of such refugees. A friend told me that more than a dozen families within his own personal acquaintance had been compelled to abandon their homes in Macedonia for this reason alone, and within the limits of Bulgaria are several thousand similar cases. Young women actually disfigure themselves that their attractions may not excite the admiration of the Turk.

A gentleman who recently passed through Macedonia told me of a spectacle he saw with his own eyes and an experience which can never be forgotten. He says that, stopping for a drink of water at a roadside cabin, he saw evidences of a recent disturbance, and, as no one responded to his knock at the door, he entered. Seated upon a rude bench was a wild-eyed woman holding to her breast the body of a young babe, whose head had been crushed by a cruel blow, and whose face was stained with fresh blood. Upon the floor in the corner of the room was the mutilated body of a young peasant, the face hacked by scimiters until it was beyond recognition, while the abdomen had been ripped up until the bowels protruded. The woman was evidently insane from fear and grief, and the fact that she was unharmed was construed by the[32] guide to mean that she was absent when a troop of Turkish soldiers, passing by, had stopped at her home long enough to murder her husband and child. The cause could only be inferred. The man was said to be an industrious, honest, well-to-do peasant, who had married the comely daughter of a prosperous neighbor about three years before. The neighbors dared not discuss the occurrence, but from the little information he could obtain it was not unusual. The people are accustomed to such tragedies. The man was a member of the Greek Church, and the Turkish soldiers killed him and his child because he either refused to renounce his faith or because they supposed he had hidden his handsome wife at their approach.

Much of the trouble is due to the desire of Turkish officials and soldiers to secure the daughters of Christian families for their harems. Is it any wonder, then, that the women of Bulgaria and Macedonia have taken the sword in their own hands and defended their homes and their persons with the courage and the strength of men? We read of a band of Bulgarian Amazons who performed such prodigies of valor in one of the revolutions years ago that, when they were finally overcome, the Turks impaled them alive before the gates of the governor’s palace and placed their heads upon the town walls.

The rebellious provinces have a population of about 4,000,000, three-fourths of whom are Christians and one-fourth Turks. Almost two-thirds are of Bulgarian ancestry, and, naturally, the people of Bulgaria have a deeper sympathy for them than have those of other nations. A portion of Macedonia formerly belonged to Servia and the remainder to Bulgaria. If it were understood that, in the event of emancipation from[33] Turkish rule, the province would be divided upon ancient lines, the Serbs would doubtless lend their assistance and reënforce the Bulgarians; but unless some such understanding can be reached in advance the Serbs might resist Bulgaria, because of neighborly jealousy, and aid Turkey to suppress the revolt by making war upon Bulgaria. The present committee advocates Macedonian independence on the same basis as that of Servia, Bulgaria and Roumania, and its local newspaper organ asserts that it would be the crime of crimes to involve these three nations in a war.

Entirely disinterested judgment would suggest that the province of Rumelia should be placed under the protection of Austria, Germany or England; or, if that could not be permitted, that it should be governed by the Swiss, the Danes or the Dutch, who have no political interests at stake. The people are not fit for self-government, while the old policy of trying to reform the Turkish administration is criminal folly. Improvement will appear, however, the moment the curse of centuries is withdrawn, and the ground left free for wise, honest and just administration. Peaceful Moslems should, of course, be permitted to pursue their vocations and practice their religious rites, as in Bosnia. Religious freedom should be the fundamental condition, but the Turkish pashas and bashi-bazouks, and every official of Islam faith should be compelled to disappear, never to return.

If Russia could be induced to extend her influence in Armenia, which no other power can approach without crossing foreign territory, and permit Austria to control the Balkan Peninsula, there might be peace; but Russia is indifferent to the Armenians, because they do not belong to her race, nor profess her religion,[34] while the populations of the Balkan States are almost exclusively Slavs and members of the orthodox Greek Church. Whatever may be said of the political aggressiveness of the Russians, it cannot be denied that the rulers, statesmen and people of that empire have always shown active sympathy for oppressed Christians, and there is not the slightest doubt that Alexander II. entered upon the war with Turkey in 1877 as if it were a holy crusade. The religious relation gives Russia an advantage over Austria, because the latter is a Roman Catholic country, and very few members of that faith are found in Bulgaria or the Turkish provinces. Neither Russia nor Austria would consent to British domination in the Balkans, but they might yield their own claims in favor of a protectorate by one of the smaller nations, such as Switzerland, Denmark or the Netherlands.



The Sultan of Turkey is a good deal like President Cleveland, in that he tries to look after the details of his government himself. President Cleveland used to sit up all night sometimes examining the recommendations of postoffice candidates because he felt a personal responsibility in the selection of good men, which he could not delegate to the officials of the postoffice department. He used to read all the evidence and other documents connected with pardon cases, because he could not trust the judgment of the attorney-general and the officials in the department of justice. He frequently sent for the papers relating to Indian contracts, public lands and other matters of business which no President before him ever investigated personally, but he knew more about what was going on, and had more influence with his own administration, as President Lincoln used to say, than any other man. The Sultan of Turkey has a similar disposition, but a different motive. He trusts nobody, although everybody succeeds finally in deceiving him. He endeavors to do everything himself and to attend to all the details, but never goes anywhere and is compelled to depend upon his ministers and other subordinates to see that his orders are carried out. Therefore most of his labor is wasted and the people suffer the consequences.

For example, recently a bridge over a river in Asia Minor was carried away by a flood and the people[36] came down to Constantinople with a petition for a new one, because all such things are within the Sultan’s personal jurisdiction and can only be done by his orders. He read the petition and heard the committee, and, casting his eyes over the map they had submitted, suggested that the new bridge be built at another place. It was somewhat distant from the old one and in a situation more liable to danger from floods. At the same time it was very inconvenient for the public; but nobody dare tell the Sultan so, or even question the accuracy of his judgment. So a new bridge was erected at the new location and a few weeks later it was carried away like the first. The people came back to the Sultan. He refused to receive them and sent word that he had given them a new bridge and that they ought to be thankful and ask no more of him. Since then the population of that district has been compelled to cross the river in small boats because the government will not build another bridge for them and will not allow them to build one for themselves. That is about the way the government of Turkey is managed; a fair sample of maladministration that applies to every department.

Up the Golden Horn is a navy yard, with a fine marble building for the headquarters of the admiralty, a school for the education of officers, barracks for the accommodation of sailors, a hospital for the sick, and a long line of sheds and shops for the construction and repair of ships, and an enormous amount of money is expended annually for the maintenance of ships which are supposed to be in commission, but cannot be used because their engines, boilers and other machinery are useless. Some of them have no smoke-stacks. They lie at anchor where the Sultan can see them through a[37] glass from a certain point in the park that surrounds his palace, and he supposes them to be in full commission and ready for active service. He gives the minister of marine every year money to pay for coal that is never bought, for provisions and other supplies for crews that do not exist, and for repairs that are never made. The shops are idle and empty, although he believes them to be filled with busy workmen. According to the official register, the Turkish navy consists of eighteen cruisers of from 2,000 to 8,000 tons, twelve coast-defense ships, six gunboats and twenty-six torpedo boats, but all are useless except a few small torpedo and gunboats stationed at different ports along the coast. The annual allotment of money for the supplies of the navy is about $3,200,000, but, according to the popular impression, a very small part of it is ever applied to the purpose for which it is intended. The navy yard on the Golden Horn is the most extraordinary marine morgue in existence. Long rows of vessels of the most antiquated pattern lie side by side, stripped of their machinery and equipments and fit only to be knocked to pieces for junk. Students of marine architecture will find there types of vessels that have not been used for a century, and the Sultan still appropriates money to maintain them. But even the most modern vessels, built during the late war with Greece, have been stripped of everything portable by officers and sailors whose wages have not been paid. The Sultan does not know anything about it. He depends upon his minister of marine, who gives him such information as he thinks advisable, and is supposed to rob him right and left.

Hassan Pasha has the reputation of being the richest[38] and the most corrupt official in the Turkish government. He is supposed to be worth $4,000,000 or $5,000,000, all of which he has acquired while in the service of the government. He has great influence with the Sultan. The latter considers him one of his most loyal and efficient officers and trusts him implicitly. It is said that Hassan would like to resign and enjoy his money in London or Paris, but dare not do so. The moment he suggested any such idea the Sultan’s suspicions would be excited, and it would be dangerous for Hassan to retire, because his successor would discover what has been going on in the navy department, and Hassan’s head and his money would both be in danger. Many other pashas are very rich, but they send their money out of the country as a precaution, for they never know when they may forfeit their sovereign’s favor, and that usually means the confiscation of their estates and perhaps decapitation or imprisonment for life. When a prominent man disappears in Turkey no questions are asked. It is impolitic to be inquisitive.

Said Pasha, the grand vizier, is believed to be an honest man. He is one of the few prominent officials of the government who has not amassed a fortune while in office. For his honesty and other reasons he has many bitter and revengeful enemies. Six years ago, when he was grand vizier, he endeavored to punish certain influential pashas for robbing the government. They engaged in a conspiracy against him and got the ear of the Sultan, who believed their statements, and sent the Kapu-aghasi, chief of the white eunuchs and first officer of the imperial bedchamber—the Sultan’s most confidential man—to summon Said Pasha to his presence. The Kapu-aghasi is always an unwelcome[39] messenger, because the Sultan trusts him when he will trust nobody else. When he carries a message it has unusual significance.

Said Pasha understood the situation, and, instead of going to the palace, sought an asylum at the British embassy, where Lord Dufferin, then ambassador, gave him protection. Nobody knew what had become of the grand vizier until after seven days, when he sent a carefully prepared report of his proceedings and the motives for the conspiracy against him to the Sultan by the hand of the British ambassador. The latter explained to the Sultan his opinion of the case, and vouched for Said Pasha as an honest, truthful and loyal man. The Sultan was not convinced, but agreed to accept Said Pasha’s resignation without further proceedings, and gave a formal assurance that if his former prime minister left the embassy and returned to his own home he would not be injured. Lord Dufferin notified the Sultan that the British government would hold him responsible for any injury that Said Pasha might suffer, and that in case of his death not even a plea of sickness would be accepted. From that hour Said Pasha was the safest man in Turkey. The Sultan sent his own physician and two of his most trusted aides-de-camp to live in his house to protect him, and, adopting Lord Dufferin’s suggestion, made an investigation of the charges against him. Nobody knows how he got at the facts, but he executed some of his new favorites, sent others into exile and finally restored Said Pasha to power and gave him his confidence as fully as he ever gives it to any one.

It is said that Shanghai, China, is the dirtiest city in the world, that Peking is ten times as dirty as Shanghai, and that Canton is ten times as dirty as[40] Peking: but Constantinople is as dirty as all the rest of them put together, and the pavements are simply horrible. Yet the Sultan, who has never ridden about his capital, is laboring under the delusion that it is well paved and sweet and clean. Several years ago he took a notion to go by carriage instead of by boat to Seraglio Point upon his annual pilgrimage to worship before the holy mantle of the Prophet Mohammed, and the officers of the municipal government covered the pavement of the streets through which he was to pass with fine sand two or three inches deep. This not only concealed the filth, but made a smooth and comfortable track for his carriage. The Sultan was delighted, and gave instructions to fix all the streets in Constantinople in the same manner, allotting a large sum of money to pay the expenses. The officials took the money and put it in their pockets, and nothing was done to the streets. The Sultan honestly believes that Constantinople is one of the best-kept cities in Europe, and often boasts of that fact to foreign visitors. As he dare not go through the streets to see for himself, and is surrounded by men whose interests and safety require them to maintain the deception, he will probably never discover how he has been deceived. The two great bridges across the Golden Horn, which connect Stamboul, the Turkish town, with Galata, the foreign settlement, produce not less than $2,000 a day in tolls. Every foot passenger is charged a penny, about the same fee as that collected by the ferry companies of New York, and carriages pay ten cents. But of the receipts not more than $100 a day goes into the public treasury. The rest is stolen by people who have charge of the collections. Everybody gets his “squeeze,” from the general manager down to the[41] Turks with white aprons who stand at the entrances and take the money. Curious people have taken the trouble to stand at the approaches to the bridge and count the number of passengers within a certain time as a basis for an estimate of the revenues, and assert that $2,000 a day is a low calculation. It is also asserted that not more than ten per cent of the customs collections goes into the treasury. The balance is stolen by the officials, who receive no salaries and are expected to take care of themselves. Sometimes they get their money out of the importers and exporters by blackmail, because each collector of customs is required to turn a certain amount into the treasury every month, but some of them simply take a proportion of the ordinary receipts and are satisfied with that.

Several propositions have been made to the Sultan to farm out the collection of duties to a bank, which is willing to guarantee him a stated sum in cash annually and take its chances of collecting an equal amount or a good deal more upon the present tariff rates, but the Sultan dare not make such an arrangement because the customs service takes care of so many poor relations and hangers on of his favorites. If he should put this patronage out of his hands they would have to be supported in some other manner. Therefore he declines to have his revenues honestly collected.

Some people think that the Sultan was not responsible for the Armenian massacre in 1896. Others are confident that he ordered it, just as Charles of France ordered the massacre of St. Bartholomew. They believe that he was induced to do so by the representations of the Sheik-ul-Islam and his ministers that the[42] Armenians were on the point of revolution, and there was circumstantial evidence to sustain their claims. There had been repeated massacres by the Kurds and other Turkish barbarians in Armenia, and thousands of Christians there lost their lives and property. When a committee of Armenian citizens went to the Sublime Porte to present a petition demanding the protection guaranteed their countrymen by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, they were prevented from entering, and attempted to fight their way in, which caused a riot and gave their enemies an argument to secure official sanction for their persecution. But what is known as the “Ottoman Bank Affair” was really the immediate cause of the massacre. It is practically the only bank in Constantinople, and is managed by an Englishman. One morning in 1896, while business was going on as usual, a party of forty or fifty armed men entered the building and closed the doors. The manager, Mr. Vincent, succeeded in escaping. The bank was promptly surrounded by troops, which made it impossible for the bandits to get away with any booty or with their lives, but they threatened to blow up the vaults and to set fire to the building unless they were granted immunity. Mr. Vincent had sufficient influence with the authorities to secure such terms, and during the night after the raid the bandits were taken from the bank to the nearest dock, placed on board Mr. Vincent’s private yacht and carried to Marseilles, where they were put ashore and disappeared. They claimed to be Armenians, but were all strangers. Some people think it was a “fake” raid arranged by the Turkish police to arouse public prejudice against the Armenians. Others think that a foolhardy group of Armenian revolutionists attempted to secure funds[43] to carry on a revolution. But whatever the intent or expectation, on the following day the Sultan was persuaded that unless the Armenian community was effectually terrorized it would overthrow his government. He gave the word, the Mohammedan priests and softas (theological students) led the mobs, and the Turkish fanatics continued to kill Christians until they were exhausted.

There is a multitude of priests, divided into classes and ranks. The lowest is the muezzin, who is a sort of sacristan or sexton at the mosque. He calls the faithful to prayer, but takes no part in the devotional exercises. Softas are theological students—young preachers who make up a fanatical and turbulent class and are the cause of most of the disturbances in Constantinople, as the students of universities often are in other European countries. Next to them in rank are the cadis, who exercise a temporal as well as spiritual jurisdiction, acting as notaries, justices of the peace, judges of the courts and look after the financial affairs of the different parishes and religious orders. There are several religious brotherhoods and orders like the dervishes. The moulahs or regular priests, who conduct the services at the mosques, may be compared with the ordinary clergy in our country. One grade above the moulah is the khodja, or professor of theology, who is found daily at the mosques with a copy of the Koran and other orthodox authorities before him, expounding the faith of the Mohammedans to groups of students and others who gather around him, sitting cross-legged upon the floor.

You can find these groups in every mosque at all hours of the day, and they remind you of the story of Jesus teaching in the temple. The theologians receive[44] fees from their pupils. Another class of khodja expound the Koran to ordinary people very much in the manner of our Sunday-school classes. After the regular prayers are over in the mosques they take convenient places, and those who desire to learn from them squat around in semicircles within the sound of their voices. The lesson or lecture lasts about half an hour. Many of the pupils are business men who are interested to hear and know. Others are poor devotees who scarcely understand the language of the teacher, but listen attentively to everything he says. There is no regularity about the lectures and no stated fees are charged. Those who attend can pay whatever they like. Some of the ablest theologians attract large classes and make a good living. Their incomes are much better than the salaries paid to the ordinary moulahs, or parish priests. Superior to them are the mufti, or bishops, and the Sheik-ul-Islam, or patriarch, the spiritual head of the Mohammedan Church, who often is known as the Great Mufti.

Nearly all of the Moslems in Constantinople are employed either by the church or the state, or are ordinary common working men. They are ignorant and fanatical, dangerous when excited by the priests or the softas, who make the mischief, and are as devout as any people in the world. It is the universal testimony that Mussulmans are more loyal to their religion and more faithful to its teachings than the members of any other church. The pashas and the higher officials of the government wear the European dress with the red fez. The poorer Turks retain the native dress.


While there are doubtless many good traits about the Mohammedans, and, as an old lady said about[45] Christianity, their religion would be a good thing if it were lived up to, it is difficult to reconcile the facts. For example, the Koran and the teachings of the prophet enjoin personal cleanliness as necessary to salvation. The Moslems always bathe before they pray. They would not dare enter the house of prayer with unclean hands or feet or faces. Hence when the muezzin’s call is heard from a minaret five times a day, faithful Moslems go first to the fountains that are found outside of every mosque and bathe themselves. There are innumerable bath-houses also in which genuine Turkish baths and massage are given. At the same time their houses are positively filthy; too filthy, as a rule, for human beings to occupy; and the streets of Constantinople and every other Turkish town are indescribable in their nastiness. The clothing they wear is as dirty as their bodies are clean, and their food is often unfit for sanitary reasons. A true believer will not cut down a tree without planting another in its place. Hence the Turkish forests are in splendid condition. The kindness of the Mohammedan to animals is proverbial. He will not kill a rat and will share his crust with a dog; he will not beat a horse, and, as you have often read, among the Bedouins man and horse always share the same tent. But it is no offense to kill a Christian. Human life is nowhere else held at so low a value.

The Koran forbids the followers of the prophet to charge interest upon loans of money, hence Mohammedans cannot engage in the banking business, and you often hear that true believers never swindle each other; that no Mohammedan ever lies, except where the interests of Christians are involved; that he will tell the truth to his own people.


It is evident that the Turks consider it no crime to cheat a Christian or to tell him a falsehood, and it is a beautiful delusion that Mohammedans never deceive or swindle one another. I have tried to reconcile this generally accepted fable with the notorious robbery of the government. Almost every official of the Ottoman Empire is a Mohammedan. Very few Christians are employed in any capacity, and in no other land on earth is official corruption, bribery and embezzlement so general and common. It is not only known, but tolerated. Few officials receive salaries, and they are expected to make a living by robbing their government and by blackmailing people who have business with it. While there is nothing in precise terms in the Koran to prohibit malfeasance in office, one would suppose that the general laws of morality and honesty, if not patriotism, would be recognized and applied. When I asked an intelligent and liberal Mohammedan to explain this phenomenon he did so without the slightest hesitation. He declared in the first place that the government knew that its officials were robbing the revenues and expected them to do so. Therefore, it was no crime against the laws and no violation of the teachings of the prophet. In the second place, he said, there were bad men among the followers of the prophet as well as among the followers of Christ, and that, “while no man who obeyed the teachings of the Koran and the injunctions of Mohammed would cheat or steal, many sometimes did so under great temptation.”

We are also told that Mohammedans are strict prohibitionists; that they drink no wine or liquor of any kind, and this is more generally true than any of the other statements to which I have referred.


There are plenty of saloons in Constantinople, but they are all found in the foreign quarter. In Stamboul, which is almost exclusively Mohammedan, there are none, and the natives dissipate at coffee-houses, which are as numerous in the Mohammedan districts as saloons in Chicago. The highest joy that a Turk can realize is to sit outside a café, sip a cup of coffee, smoke a nargileh—one of those long-stemmed water pipes—and contemplate the infinite. At least, I suppose that is what the solemn-looking old chaps who sit around on the sidewalk are contemplating. Their faces wear an expression of unutterable wisdom, solemnity and benevolence that cannot be surpassed, and their composure is perfect. A Turk is always composed at a coffee-house, and you would think that his soul was submerged in benevolence. But when he comes to action he is an entirely different sort of a person.

As a rule Turks of the upper classes are very good-looking. Their features are fine, their heads are intellectual and their expressions are amiable. In addition to the coffee-houses water fountains for the benefit of the poor are found on almost every block. When a rich man wants to erect a monument by which he may be remembered, he builds a fountain in a public place and leaves money for its maintenance. When Kaiser William of Germany was in Constantinople a few years ago he ordered the erection of a fountain, which is beautiful in design and of expensive construction. It must have cost him a very large sum of money, and was an appropriate, useful and noble gift. Thousands of men make a business of peddling water, lemonade and sherbet through the streets of the Turkish part of the city, and another praiseworthy custom among benevolent men is to leave legacies to pay[48] for the free distribution of drinking water among the working people. You see many such peddlers on the docks, in the factories and at other places where laborers are employed. They go about with pigskins full of fresh water upon their backs and a dozen cups hanging from hooks in their belts. Anybody can stop them on the street and ask for a drink, which they always furnish with great courtesy, as they are required to do by their employers. If you give them a tip they will accept it, but it is not necessary and it is not expected. The Turks are a very temperate people.

A Turkish gentleman declared that the young men of Constantinople were being led into dissipation because they thought it was “progress”; that fast foreigners had introduced bad habits into the country, including whisky and brandy drinking, and many young Turks had followed their example. The saloons and beer gardens, he said, were intended for, and were generally patronized by, the foreign population—the French, Germans, Italians, Austrians, Hungarians and others—and several liquor stores had been established to supply them.

“Many young Moslems have become intemperate,” he exclaimed, “and it can only be attributed to the bad example of Christians.” The pashas and other public men think it is necessary to serve wine at their houses because it is served to them when they visit the homes of foreigners, and thus the habit is being introduced. The Sultan drinks nothing but water and coffee, although at formal dinners he offers wine to his guests.

“I met a friend the other day,” continued my informant, “who offered me a glass of wine. I declined, saying that my religion forbade the use of wine. ‘So[49] does mine,’ replied the pasha, ‘but God is merciful and I shall be forgiven.’”

One great trouble in Turkey is the disloyalty of the upper classes. The lower classes are fanatical in their devotion to the Sultan and the Mohammedan Church. But it is the office and not the man they adore. They care very little who occupies the throne and will give their lives cheerfully to support and defend him. The Turkish soldiers are great fighters, if well led, and are absolutely destitute of fear because they are taught from infancy that he who dies in defense of the church or the Sultan goes straight to paradise, which is sufficient incentive for them. At the same time the words “loyalty” and “patriotism” do not appear in the Turkish language, and those emotions are almost entirely unknown to the pashas and other persons of high rank who are always striving to excel each other and secure the favor of the sovereign, and the power, influence and wealth that attend it. The foundation of all the trouble is the absolute authority intrusted to the Sultan, who is able to appoint to the highest offices and elevate to the highest rank the most unworthy and incompetent favorite at his court. The Sultan can make and unmake pashas at pleasure, and this precarious tenure of rank and dignity induces them to be so corrupt, so treacherous and envious. Another great source of weakness is the entire absence of anything like justice. If a man is accused before the Sultan by one of his spies or by any informer, high or low, he has no trial and often there is no investigation. In very rare cases the accused has an opportunity to make a personal defense; but in the Sultan’s eyes every man is guilty until he is proved innocent, and the opportunity to submit the proof seldom comes.


A Constantinople photographer to whom I applied for portraits of the Sultan and other public men explained that he was not able to furnish them because the Moslem religion forbade its adherents to make the likeness of anything in the heaven above or in the earth beneath, and that the injunction was strictly observed by old-fashioned and conservative Mohammedans. Being the head of the church, the Sultan thinks he ought to observe it as an example to others. Nevertheless the portraits of his sons have been painted, and you can buy their photographs wherever such things are sold about town. And there are oil portraits of previous Sultans in all the public buildings. On the table in the audience chamber at the Seraglio, is a large quarto volume containing a collection of the portraits of thirty-seven Sultans of the Osman dynasty. In the treasury are a lot of miniatures and several busts in bronze and marble. Statues of several Turkish heroes, including Sultans, have been erected, and hence we must find some other reason why Abdul Hamid will not be photographed. Perhaps it is merely an idiosyncrasy, for he has many.

At the same time public men in Turkey do not have their portraits painted, nor do they have their photographs taken as frequently as those of Christian countries, and it is difficult to buy their pictures. Certain photographs of public buildings, the interiors of mosques, and women in the Turkish costume, are sold only to foreigners. No photographer would dare sell the picture of a woman to a Moslem, because her husband or father would take it as a mortal insult, although he would have no objection to its sale to foreigners, particularly those who take it out of the country. He would consider that a compliment. These notions are[51] relaxing generally throughout the country, like many other of the Moslem habits and customs.

When I was at Constantinople the city was filled with pilgrims on their way to Mecca. They came from all parts of the Ottoman Empire and from the Mohammedan settlements in Russia. One party of 4,000 arrived from Central Asia via Odessa upon special steamers, which carried them to Jiddah on the Red Sea, the nearest port to Mecca. Hundreds of Persians, Kurds, Mongols, men from Turkestan, Afghanistan, Bokhara, Cashmere and other far-off countries had ridden thousands of miles over the desert on this religious mission, and had come to Constantinople for the purpose of paying homage to the Sultan, who is the head of their church. The bazaars and mosques and the streets and public places were crowded with them.

Very few were able to see the Sultan. Their only opportunity was on Friday, when he rides through his park from the palace to the mosque to say his prayers. They knelt when he passed, and afterward kissed the ground over which his carriage had driven. Many of them were men of wealth and property, but did not look it. They were dressed in the fantastic costumes of their races and added to the variety of apparel for which Constantinople is noted.

Every Moslem who can afford to do so makes a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life, for that not only insures the salvation of his soul but advances him in social and religious rank also, and he then becomes a Hadji, a title for which we have no equivalent. It gives him a higher place in the mosque and secures for him certain privileges and advantages which people who have not been to Mecca do not enjoy. Hence it is the ambition of every Mussulman[52] to make the pilgrimage, and millions go every year. The pilgrimages are regulated much better now than formerly. Sanitary rules are enforced, which tend to prevent the plagues that have invariably followed the annual hegira. Formerly thousands upon thousands died from fatigue, starvation and disease, and contagion was carried to different parts of the world by returning caravans. But this no longer occurs. The pilgrimages are so regulated that nowadays they can be accomplished without much danger or fatigue and at comparatively small expense.

The most conspicuous man among the pilgrims was Hadji Sheik Islam, the head of the church in Persia, who was accompanied by his son and three other prominent Persian ecclesiastics. Upon their arrival they were met with great ceremony by the Persian ambassador and the Sheik-ul-Islam of Constantinople. They were guests at the Persian embassy, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Sultan, who decorated them with badges and other honors and conferred upon them his blessing as the head of the church. Their dress is quite picturesque. They wear long tunics, or gowns, of white silk with plaited bosoms and flowing sleeves, and the finest of cashmere shawls as sashes around their waists. Over their gowns were large brown camel’s-hair robes and upon their heads enormous white turbans. The Sheik’s party were men of noble appearance and dignified demeanor and received the homage of the people as if they were accustomed to it.

When a Turkish steamer, carrying 1,400 pilgrims, was about to start for Mecca the Sultan sent orders that no passenger should be charged more than $8 fare, and that those who could not afford to pay should be carried free. When the officers of the steamship[53] company remonstrated he blandly told them to send the bill for the difference to him—an act of generosity which amused everybody who has a sense of humor, for the Sultan of Turkey was never known to pay for anything. The steamship company dared not defy his orders, but after reflection was ingenious enough to partially recoup itself. When the steamer got as far as Beirut, it dropped anchor, and the officers informed the managers of the pilgrimage that they could not go any farther because they had run out of coal, and they could not buy coal because they had no money, the small amount paid by the pilgrims for fare having already been exhausted. The pilgrims appealed by telegraph to the Sultan, who ordered the governor of Beirut to furnish them coal, and he was compelled to levy blackmail upon his constituents to reimburse himself.

The Moslem day is reckoned from sunset to sunset, and is divided into two divisions of twelve hours each. Sunset is always twelve o’clock, and as the length of the day varies throughout the year, Turkish watches have to be altered at least every five days by the official clock, which is set in the tower of a mosque in Stamboul.

The crescent, which is the symbol of the Turkish Empire, was adopted by the Sultan Osman, the founder of the present Ottoman Empire, in 1299. It is said that in the year 340 B.C., when Constantinople was besieged by Philip of Macedon, and was only saved by the timely arrival of reënforcements which Demosthenes sent to its assistance, a bright light in the form of a crescent was seen in the sky and was regarded by the inhabitants as a sign that rescue was approaching. Hence, like the star in the east that was seen by the wise men, it was accepted as a divine revelation, and since then the crescent has been a sacred emblem to the Turks.



The present Sultan of Turkey is the most interesting personality among the sovereigns of the world, both for what he is and for what he represents, exercising as he does the functions of an emperor over a semi-barbarous and turbulent people, and spiritual jurisdiction over the most fanatical and numerous of religious sects. He is the ecclesiastical successor of Mohammed, head of the Moslem Church with 200,000,000 believers, and of the house of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, and in his person is supposed to receive and enjoy the blessings which God promised to Hagar. That is one of the most dramatic incidents in Biblical history when, in obedience to the jealousy of Sarah, his wife, “Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and a bottle of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulders, and the child, and sent her away, and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” And after the water was spent in the bottle and she had cast the child under one of the shrubs, and lifted up her voice and wept, “The angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her: ‘Arise, lift up the lad and hold him in thine hands, for I will make him a great nation.’”

The Moslem world believes that Abraham was the founder of Mecca; that Ishmael was their ancestor and that they have inherited the religion of Abraham with its promises and blessings, and the characteristic traits[55] ascribed to Ishmael. Their hand has been against every man, and every man’s hand has been against them, and still they defy all other nations, whether pagan or Christian. Padishah (father of all the sovereigns of the earth) is the official title of the Sultan, and is used exclusively by the Turks in official communications. He is also styled Imam-ul-Muselmin (pontiff of Mussulmans), Alem Penah (refuge of the world), Zil-ullah (shadow of God), Hunkiar (the slayer of infidels), and has several other honorary titles. He controls the Mohammedan subjects of all nations, and if he should go to a little mosque at the Seraglio, unfurl the green banner which was carried by Mohammed, and declare a holy war, the sons of Ishmael in every part of the earth—in India, Africa, China, the East Indies, and the islands of the sea—would be required by their religion to sustain him and obey his orders, regardless of their allegiance to their own civil authorities.

Abdul Hamid II., the present Sultan, who was sixty years old in September, 1902, is said to be a great coward who dare not leave his country palace or show himself in his own capital. It is true that the most extraordinary precautions are taken for his protection. He dare not leave the safe solitude of Yildiz Park, which is situated about two miles outside the gates of Constantinople and surrounded by a double wall. The road from the palace to the Bosphorus passes between those walls and is protected every inch of the way from the gates of the park to the wharf on the Bosphorus, where, once a year only, he takes a state barge and is rowed over to the Seraglio to perform the obligation imposed upon him by his religion: viz., to worship the holy mantle of the prophet on the[56] anniversary of the death of Mohammed. That act is required of him. If he did not perform it the whole church would rise against him. Therefore, for that day, he is compelled to suppress his fears and appear before the public; but it would be impossible for an outsider to get anywhere near him unless he were highly recommended and identified. Some people say that his cowardice is cultivated by his ministers and other men who surround him, because they find it to their personal advantage to prevent him from going abroad. So they keep him locked in the Yildiz Kiosk, where they can control his surroundings and prevent him from receiving any information that will be to their discredit. At the same time there is no doubt that the Sultan keeps constantly in mind the fact that many of the twenty-seven Padishahs who have reigned at Constantinople are believed to have died by violence. Several endeavored to save their lives by abdication, but the public never saw them again.

The conspiracies are all among his own people and his immediate attendants—the “outs” are always scheming to get in and the “ins” are always conspiring to maintain their position. There are no political parties in Turkey; there are no political issues. It is all a question of obtaining the Sultan’s favor, and the entire Mohammedan population is divided into two classes,—the ruling favorites and those who have been discarded. The officials and army officers who have been disgraced and removed from their positions naturally desire to recover them, and hate the Sultan because he likes other people better than themselves. The same jealousies prevail among the men of the court as among the women of the harem. The outside population take no interest. They are glad to be let[57] alone. The business community consists of Armenians, Greeks and Jews, with a few Turks. It would not be accurate to say that all Turks are in office, but it is actually true that all the offices are filled by Turks, and as there are not enough offices to go round, those who are left out and compelled to get their living without the aid of the government, are forever conspiring against the Sultan or the grand vizier.

Some curious conspiracies are discovered. One of the most recent, which for a time created a profound sensation at the Yildiz Kiosk and caused the Sultan the loss of considerable sleep, was inspired by a young Turk of high family named Rechad Bey. His father occupies a post of distinction and many of his relatives are employed about the court in offices of responsibility. As a rare favor to the family the Sultan permitted them to send the young man to England, where he attended school for several years and imbibed a great many ideas which do not conform to the present state of affairs in Turkey. In 1901, upon his return, he organized a football club among the young men of his acquaintance and practiced in a vacant lot behind a high wall in the neighborhood of his father’s palace. The detectives, who are always around, discovered that something unusual was going on, and upon making a thorough investigation decided that Rechad Bey had organized a desperate conspiracy against the life and government of the Sultan. He was arrested in the middle of the night. The keys to the garden and the clubhouse were seized, and the most astounding discoveries followed. In the clubhouse were found several footballs, a lot of jerseys and the colors of the club, with shin guards, nose protectors, elbow pads and other paraphernalia familiar to football players. To[58] complete the damning evidence one of the detectives cunningly ascertained that the name of the large elastic bomb which these young men were in the habit of kicking around at each other was the same term as that used by the Turks for a cannon ball. Hence it must be a new kind of bomb or shell, and the police authorities were convinced that they had unearthed an important conspiracy to assassinate the Sultan and blow up the palace. The footballs were submerged in water to prevent their explosion, and the sweaters and the rest of the outfit were carried cautiously to the palace in order that the Sultan might see for himself.

Football has been played for years in Constantinople by the young men of the English embassy and the European colony, and also by the students of Robert College, but the police authorities and the Sultan never happened to hear of it. Hence they knew nothing of the game. When the friends of Rechad Bey learned how serious a predicament he was in they appealed to the British embassy for assistance. One of the secretaries was sent to the minister of police to explain the nature of the game and the uses of the terrible articles that had been discovered at the clubhouse. He unlaced a football without the slightest trepidation and showed the officials how it was made. He put on the nose guards, the shin protectors and the other armor and attempted to convince them of its innocent purpose. But they were still very suspicious. Perhaps their pride had something to do with it, for they insisted upon having Rechad Bey severely punished, and he was bundled off in great haste to Teheran, Persia, where he cannot do anything to aid in the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

The Sultan’s advisers tell him that his life is in[59] danger, and are continually discovering conspiracies which never exist. A recent fictitious conspiracy against him was attributed to one of his best and most loyal friends, Fuad Pasha, “The Hero of Elena,” one of the foremost generals in the war against Russia in 1877 and the war against Greece in 1897. Fuad Pasha is an enlightened and honest man and has had the confidence of the foreigners to a degree greater than almost any other of the Sultan’s favorites. Until recently he was so much of a favorite that the Sultan allowed him to hold his handkerchief for the people to kiss, which was a mark of the greatest honor and confidence. He kept Fuad Pasha about his person constantly, giving him the command of his bodyguard; but Fuad in some way offended the detective department, which reported to the Sultan that his favorite was involved with the reformers known as the “Young Turkey” party, and spies were set to watch his house. Fuad noticed strange men about the premises. He probably suspected who they were and what they were there for, but pretended to believe that they were burglars, and purchased a supply of rifles and revolvers, which he placed in the hands of his servants with instructions to fire upon the intruders if they became offensive. This fact was reported to the Sultan promptly, and the vigilance of the spies was increased. A few days later a collision occurred between them and Fuad’s servants, in which several were killed and wounded. Fuad was immediately arrested, taken to the palace, and after an interview with the Sultan was sent aboard the latter’s private yacht, which sailed at once for Beirut without allowing the prisoner to communicate with his family or friends. He is supposed to have been sentenced to exile at Damascus[60] instead of being executed, which is a mark of great forbearance upon the Sultan’s part.

Fuad found plenty of company at Damascus. Several other of the Sultan’s former favorites are there in exile, hopefully awaiting a day when their sovereign will be less susceptible to the influence of his hired spies and detectives and more trustful of his loyal friends and supporters. The great difficulty, however, is in His Majesty’s natural distrust. When his suspicions are once aroused his ideas are always distorted and his confidence can scarcely ever be restored. He is thus driving away some of his most valuable supporters.

In 1901, when the Sultan went to Seraglio Point to worship at the mosque that holds the sacred mantle of the prophet, another funny thing occurred. He was landed at the regular dock, where a carriage was waiting to convey him to the old palace, but he had not proceeded far when he noticed that telegraph wires had been stretched across the driveway along the line of the railroad, and positively declined to pass under them. Nobody knows what was in his mind, or what he thought would happen, but the entire procession was stopped right there, and remained motionless until aides-de-camp had galloped away to summon somebody from the railway headquarters who could climb the poles and cut down the wires. Nor have they been replaced. The Sultan positively forbade it, but the railway officials are supposed to have dug a trench and hidden them underground. If the Sultan learns that fact he may refuse to drive over them.

He is very superstitious about electricity, but is as inconsistent concerning it as he is with everything else. He will not permit electric lights or telephones or electric[61] street cars anywhere in Turkey, although the government has a telegraph line to every important point in the empire, and the Sultan has an instrument and an operator in his private office to receive messages in his own private cipher from detectives and other officials in different parts of the country in whom he has special confidence, or to whom he may have intrusted important business. He maintains a regular system of communication with officials of the empire entirely distinct from and without the knowledge of their immediate superiors. The general of the army and the minister of war do not know what communications are passing between commanders of posts and districts and their sovereign, and the minister of the interior can never be sure what private reports are being made by his subordinates. Thus the mutual distrust that exists between the Sultan and his ministers is not only recognized, but promoted. There are three electric-light plants in Constantinople—at one of the hotels, at the palace of the mother of the Khedive of Egypt on the Bosphorus, and at the palace of Hassan Pasha, minister of marine. There are two private telephone systems, one between the headquarters of the Imperial Ottoman Bank and its branches throughout the city, and the other between the signal-station where the Bosphorus connects with the Black Sea and the headquarters of the Maritime Association in Constantinople. The Sultan will not allow gas or petroleum or other explosives to be used about the palace, although the park surrounding the palace is brilliantly illuminated by gas. His rooms and the other apartments are lit with candles and equipped with beautiful crystal chandeliers. There are several street-car lines operated by horses, and the companies have repeatedly[62] applied for permission to use electricity, but have always been refused. In the street-cars, ferry-boats and other public conveyances there is always a little apartment curtained off for the use of ladies.

Gorges Dorys, author of “The Private Life of the Sultan,” recently published in England, France and the United States, has been sentenced to death. His real name is Adossides. The proceedings are only formal, however, because Mr. Dorys left the country before the manuscript of the book was finished and is now living in Paris. The French government has been asked to surrender him, but has refused to do so. Mr. Dorys, however, will never be able to return to his home. All of the European nations were requested by the Turkish ambassadors to suppress the volume, and the Sultan has been led to believe that his wishes have been complied with all over the world; but nothing has been actually done, except in Sweden, where an attempt to prevent the sale of the book by legal proceedings not only failed but gave it a tremendous advertisement.

Mr. Dorys is the son of Adossides Pasha, one of the former ministers of the Sultan. His father was a distinguished and influential man, at one time governor of Crete and afterwards prince of Samos, a post he occupied until his death. The son spent his childhood and youth about the Yildiz Kiosk, where he had exceptional opportunities for seeing and knowing the extraordinary events of the Ottoman court, and much of the material used in his book is said to have been obtained from the private papers of his late father, which fell into his possession after the latter’s death. Mr. Dorys was correspondent of the London Times at Constantinople for two or three years, and as such[63] made himself familiar with political conditions. He was therefore admirably equipped for the task he undertook, but was unable to suppress his prejudice, and does not give the Sultan credit for his few virtues. The work is both approved and condemned by people in Turkey. Some say that it is accurate and just; others accuse him of being actuated by personal spite. He has at least stirred up the Sultan and his court to a degree of indignation that has not been shown there for many years.

The missionaries say that Abdul Hamid is a bad Sultan, but a good Moslem; that his fanaticism is equal to that of any fakir in his realm; that he is responsible for the persecution of the Christians and for the massacre of the Armenians; that the orders were given by him personally. On the other hand, Americans and Englishmen who are in the habit of visiting the palace and have personal acquaintance with His Majesty, insist that he has many good traits and that he would not be a bad man at all if he lived under different conditions.

When General Horace Porter, our ambassador to France, visited Turkey, the Sultan received him with unusual cordiality and attention, because of General Porter’s former relations to General Grant. When he heard that Mr. Porter had been Grant’s private secretary, it was enough. A carriage from the imperial stable, an aide-de-camp from the Yildiz Kiosk and a military escort were placed at his disposal and all doors in Constantinople were ordered thrown open to him. Few travelers have ever been received with so much distinction, and before he left the city the Sultan gave a dinner in his honor at the palace and decorated Mrs. Porter with one of his most important orders.


It is remarkable what an impression General Grant left during his famous tour around the world. He is remembered with reverence everywhere—in China and Japan as well as in Turkey. The Sultan and the King of Siam, as well as Li Hung Chang, have always quoted him to Americans as their highest authority. His fame and his influence will be everlasting.

Mrs. Porter was entertained in the Sultan’s harem, but that was no unusual courtesy. The wives of the diplomatic corps are often received by the sultanas, who are glad to see them, and any other strangers for that matter, because their lives are very monotonous and their diversions are few. No person may ask permission to visit the imperial or any private harem. It would be considered an insult. If the Sultan or any Turkish gentleman desires foreign ladies to meet his wives he will offer them an invitation, and will either conduct them in person to the harem or send them in charge of the kizlar-aghasi, or chief eunuch, a very important personage, who ranks next to the grand vizier and the Sheik-ul-Islam.

The Sultans have long ceased to contract regular marriages, and the harem is a state institution. Nobody knows the exact number of Abdul Hamid’s wives, but he is supposed to have 300 or 400, who are graded and live according to their rank under the direction of the khasna-dar kadin, or superintendent of the harem. They are from the prominent families of the empire, as frequently the sultanas are able to exercise a powerful influence in behalf of their relatives and friends. When a rich pasha wants to secure the favor of the Sultan he offers him one of his daughters with a suitable dowry as a wife. If she is accepted it is a sign of friendliness as well as a mark of distinction.[65] When the governor of the Circassian province, which is said to have the most beautiful women in Turkey, wishes to please his imperial master, he will send him a handsome young girl as a gift, or when any of his subordinates discover a young woman of remarkable attractions they secure her for the harem just as they would secure a valuable horse for the imperial stables. The Sultan does not always accept such gifts. He is supposed to be very fastidious, particularly now that he has passed the age of sixty years, and is becoming quite as suspicious regarding the inmates of the harem as he is concerning the members of his court. His eldest sister, who is a woman of very strong character and has more influence with him than any other person, looks after the harem very closely, and has sent away a large number of girls whom she considered supernumeraries, if such a term can be used in that connection. It is also understood throughout the empire that His Majesty does not care for any more wives. He has transferred to his favorite pashas several remarkable beauties who have been added to the harem within the last few years. In the summer of 1902 he sent one of the most beautiful to the governor of Damascus to comfort the latter in affliction, as he had recently become a widower.

The ladies of the harem are called sultanas. They enter as slaves, and the younger become the servants of the older and attend upon them until they are promoted. If the Sultan takes a fancy to any one of his wives her fortune is made, for she is rapidly promoted, her allowance for dresses and jewels is increased and, if she bears a child, she can live apart from the rest, as becomes a princess. All children born in the[66] harem, whether of free women or slaves, are legitimate and of equal lineage, and may inherit the throne if they ever become the head of the family.

The daughters of the Sultan are married to favorite pashas and officers of the army. He confers them upon his favorite subjects at pleasure, but they are not always regarded as a blessing. It is assuming a great responsibility to marry the daughter or the sister of the Sultan. They are very exacting and naturally realize their rank and superiority to ordinary people. They are expensive luxuries also, because an imperial princess must live in a certain degree of state.

Ladies of the imperial harem almost without exception wear European dress. Only the most recent arrivals, girls who come from the interior of the country, retain the native costume. The sultanas have French maids and order their gowns and hats in Paris. Every now and then a French modiste or milliner arrives in Constantinople with samples for the inspection of the sultanas, from whom she receives very large and liberal orders. Although they are seldom seen by men, the inmates of the harem have all the feminine instincts and there is a great deal of rivalry among them. We saw one of the Sultan’s favorite wives and her daughter driving in a victoria, accompanied by a negro eunuch and a military escort. They were dressed in European fashion, but were closely veiled so that their features could not be distinguished.

The apartments of the harem are equipped with European furniture. The meals are served in European style and the cooks are French. The French language is spoken generally among the sultanas and they read French novels. Turkish customs are almost obsolete. The traditional harem in which houris sit[67] around upon silk rugs with their legs crossed and play guitars and eat sweetmeats exists only in the imagination. The women live just like any other royal family, except that they are not allowed to receive company or enter society, and when they leave the palace they must wear heavy veils. When the Sultan’s wives are ill they are attended by the male physician of the British embassy. This is also an innovation. Formerly no Christian physician was allowed in the harem. The patients are always veiled when the doctor visits them. Even if they are confined to their beds, strips of mull are thrown over their faces.

Abdul Hamid is the son of Abdul Medjid, who abdicated in 1861 in favor of his eldest son, Abdul Aziz. The latter reigned until 1876, when he was overthrown and his next brother, Murad V., was placed in power. The latter was an impetuous reformer and one of the founders of the “Young Turkey” party, which demands a constitution and a change in the form of government from an absolute to a limited monarchy. When he attempted to carry his ideas into effect his ministers pronounced him insane—and perhaps it was an evidence of insanity to introduce liberal reforms into Turkey—so they shut him up in the Tcheragan Palace, upon the banks of the Bosphorus, where it is supposed that he still resides in seclusion, although no one is bold enough to show curiosity as to his fate in the presence of those who would be apt to know. It was in that palace also that Abdul Aziz died after his abdication. So reliable a witness as the surgeon of the British embassy testified that it was a case of suicide; that the deposed Sultan, in a fit of passion and disappointment, opened the arteries in his arms with a pair of scissors that were given him to trim his nails.[68] But the popular theory is that somebody opened them for him and let him bleed to death. Perhaps Prince Murad may have met with a similar fate years ago. He has not been seen by any competent witness since the spring of 1877, and was then pronounced to be in an advanced state of paresis—a mere idiot—but the circumstance that the Tcheragan Palace has never been opened since, and is as closely guarded as ever, leads people to suppose Murad still survives. But, as I have said, nobody but the confidential eunuchs of the Sultan knows anything about him.

The heir to the Turkish throne is not the son of the Sultan, but his eldest living male relative—brother, son or cousin, whoever it happens to be. This is the law of Islam, and has been a fruitful source of conspiracy and tragedy ever since the Turks have been in possession of the Ottoman Empire. It was formerly customary for a new Sultan to order the immediate execution of all his brothers as soon as he was seated upon the throne; but public sentiment in Europe has forbidden the application of that heroic precaution during the last fifty or sixty years. It is generally assumed that the present Sultan would like to murder his brothers, but dare not do so; hence he keeps them prisoners or constantly under surveillance in the many palaces of Constantinople. They are the most unhappy and wretched of all his subjects. He has five brothers:

Murad Effendi, born September 21, 1840.
Mohammed Reshad Effendi, born November 3, 1844.
Kemel Eddin Effendi, born December 3, 1847.
Suleiman Effendi, born March 12, 1860.
Wahid Uddin Effendi, born January 12, 1861.


Reshad Effendi, the second brother, is therefore the heir to the throne, and, although he has been kept a[69] practical prisoner for twenty years, so that very few people know him, he is said to be a man of refinement, education and integrity, much superior to his imperial brother in intellect and appearance. He occupies a portion of the Dolma-Baghtcheh Palace in Constantinople during the winter months, and during the summer goes to Machla, a suburban town, where he has a farm and a pretty villa. He has never been allowed to leave the immediate vicinity of Constantinople, and his communications with the outside world have been closely restricted by the orders of his brother. He is said to read French readily and to receive the principal newspapers and reviews of Europe that are printed in that language. He is also believed to have been in sympathy and in communication with his brother-in-law, the late Damad-Mahmoud Pasha, who fled to escape a sentence of death for his liberal opinions. This is, however, purely conjecture, because if the Sultan, with all his spies, cannot discover such a circumstance, it would seem impossible for the gossips to learn anything about it.

Prince Kemel Eddin, the third brother, is an invalid, and quite as feeble in mind as in body, with a low degree of cunning and strong animal instincts. He inherits the family tendency to pulmonary complaints. Prince Suleiman and Prince Wahid Uddin are allowed to go about Constantinople more freely than the other brothers, and are quite familiar to the public, better known perhaps than any other members of the family. Both live in handsome palaces and have liberal allowances from the public revenues, which they spend with great extravagance in luxury and vice. Neither Turks nor foreigners seem to care much for them. They have no social position and very few friends.


The Sultan has several sisters. One of them, Djemile Sultana, six years older than he, is a woman of strong character and has a great deal of influence with her brother. She is with him frequently and takes an active interest in public affairs. She has been a widow since 1858, and really has been a mother to him. They were born of the same mother, a Circassian slave, who lost her life in giving him birth, and hence they have naturally been very much attached to each other. The other brothers and sisters are the children of different wives of his father. As previously stated, all children born in the harem, whether of free women or of slaves, are legitimate and of equal rank; but, by the law of succession, the crown is inherited by the senior male descendant of Othman, the founder of the present dynasty in 1299. Therefore, so long as he has any brothers living, the children of Abdul Hamid will not come to the throne.

The Princess Senieh Sultana, another sister of Abdul Hamid, is about fifty years old, and the widow of Mahmoud Pasha, who was the leader of the “Young Turkey” party and for years an active advocate of its principles, regardless of his near relationship to the Sultan. His conspiracies, if they may be called such, were always carried on directly under the eyes of the Sultan, and of course were very offensive to him. Mahmoud was a good man, judged by our standard, but a great traitor and an unpardonable villain from the Turkish point of view. He was educated in France and England, where he imbibed liberal ideas, and, returning to Turkey, married the Sultan’s sister and introduced into his own family many of the customs and ideas which he had acquired in western Europe.

Being anxious that his sons should have a liberal[71] education, he sent them to Robert College, the American Presbyterian Institution on the Bosphorus, just beyond the Sultan’s palace, which was founded there half a century ago by the munificence of Mr. Robert, an American merchant. Mahmoud Pasha himself went to arrange for the education of his boys, and as there were reasons why he did not wish them to form intimacies with the ordinary students, he persuaded Dr. Washburn, the president of the institution, to take them into his own family.

The boys remained there just two days. On the evening of the second day an aide-de-camp of the Sultan summoned them to his presence. They were conducted to Yildiz Kiosk, where they had an interview with him, and were offered commissions in the army. The Sultan told their father that they must be educated according to Turkish ideas and in the Moslem religion. “We have been educated by Turkish scholars, selected by our father, who was a wise and learned man,” he said, “and such an education is good enough for your sons, instead of sending them to be taught by Christian giaours (infidels).” The boys took commissions in the army, but a few months later surrendered them and went to Paris, where they have since resided. By an official edict of the Sultan they have been degraded from their princely rank, cashiered from the army, banished from Constantinople permanently and their allowances cut off. In 1901 their father was also formally banished after he had fled from the city to escape arrest and execution. For several months his whereabouts were unknown. He was then discovered to be living quietly at Corfu, one of the Greek islands. Being compelled to leave there he went to Rome, Geneva, and afterward to Brussels[72] where he died January 17, 1903. His wife, the Princess Senieh Sultana, is supposed to be imprisoned somewhere among the many palaces of the Sultan, to prevent her from joining her sons, as she is known to sympathize with their liberal views.

An elder sister, the Princess Fatma Sultana, died insane in 1892, and the aberration of her mind was a serious shock to the Sultan, who dreads insanity as much as he dreads death—perhaps more. She was the wife of a military adventurer, Nouri Damad Pasha, who was sent into exile and afterward assassinated on suspicion.

The youngest member of the family, the Princess Medie Sultana, is a woman of quiet disposition, about forty years of age, who lives in absolute retirement, and is unknown to the foreign colony of Constantinople. Her husband is Ferid Pasha, an inoffensive but respectable army officer.

Two or three members of the immediate family of the Sultan have given him much trouble, and it is from his own household that he fears most. He trusts nobody. He reigns alone. His ministers are merely his instruments and very few of them have any influence with him, although, of course, he is compelled to depend upon them to carry out his orders and to furnish him information.

Abdul Hamid has ten children—Mehemmed Selim, born 1870; Abdul Kidir, born 1878; Ahmed, born 1878; Mehemmed Burhan, born 1885; Abdur Rahim, born 1892. Zekie, his eldest daughter, born 1871, was married in 1889 to Nur-ed-din Pasha, who occupies a high position in the military department; Naime, a second daughter, born 1876, is the wife of Mehemmed Kemal, another army officer. There are three other[73] daughters—Naile, born 1884; Shadieh, born 1886, and Ayisheh, born 1887.

So far as I was able to find out, the Sultan’s sons are decent fellows, although their horizon is very narrow. None of them have been permitted to travel, as he does not wish them to see anything of the world for fear of weakening their faith in their religion and their confidence in the form of government he maintains. Their education has been intrusted to military officers and Moslem priests, and they will probably turn out as narrow, bigoted and superstitious as their father.

Prince Selim, the eldest son, is more respected than any other member of the family. The fact that there are several lives between him and the throne gives him greater freedom than he would otherwise enjoy. He was born in January, 1870, and is, therefore, thirty-three years old. He has only one wife and keeps no harem, which is a surprising exception in the imperial family. He holds the rank of colonel in the army, and commands one of the regiments of the palace guards. His duties are light, however, and leave him plenty of leisure, which he spends in study with French and German tutors, although I understand that his French tutors were recently dismissed by command of the Sultan, because they were suspected of giving the young man dangerous information. Prince Selim is not intellectual, however; his mind is said to be rather dull, but he is patient and studious and has a retentive memory, which is perhaps better for a man of his position than more brilliant attainments.

Some years ago Prince Selim incurred the enmity of his father because of the use of disrespectful language, and was banished to Bagdad for several months, but was allowed to return to Constantinople under the[74] surveillance of Kiazim Pasha, his maternal uncle, who has the confidence of the Sultan. The relations between the prince and his father have never been fully restored, and there is no confidence between them; but the prince receives a liberal allowance and is allowed to do practically as he pleases, although he is surrounded by spies and is not permitted to leave the city. He seems to be very fond of his wife, who is the daughter of one of the pashas about the court, and of his only child, a little girl now twelve years old.

Ahmed, the third son, who is twenty-four years old, is his father’s favorite, and is studying military tactics under one of the most successful of Turkish generals. He is destined to be commander of the army. Burhan Eddin, who is seventeen years old, is also a favorite and has considerable musical talent. The Sultan frequently introduces him to foreign visitors, and has him perform for them upon the piano. When Emperor William of Germany was visiting Constantinople, the young prince was detailed as one of his attendants, and the members of the Kaiser’s suite took a great fancy to him. He was then only about fourteen years old, but was quite mature, and conducted himself with great dignity. All the princes are educated by French and German tutors.

The Sultan is very liberal toward his family. He is absolute master of the finances of the empire. He is not required to prepare a budget or report his expenditures. The public money belongs to him and he directs its disbursement. He gives each one of his brothers and sisters a palace fully furnished and equipped, and all their household expenses are paid from the imperial treasury. In addition to this each one of them has an allowance of $5,000 a month[75] for pin money. But Abdul Hamid is much more economical than Abdul Aziz, his predecessor, who squandered more than $100,000,000 during his reign without a thing to show for it, and piled up a debt so big that it can never be paid. The public bonds now outstanding amount to over $750,000,000, and the revenues of the government can scarcely pay the interest. The finances of Turkey, like those of other bankrupts, are controlled by a committee representing the foreign bondholders, who receive from the treasury a certain amount of money every month and distribute it among the creditors of the nation.

A Constantinople physician who has had abundant opportunities for studying his case, told me that Abdul Hamid is a victim of neurasthenia, a nervous disease which is a form of insanity, and that his psychological condition presents a most interesting problem, for his symptoms are complex and vary materially from time to time. He is naturally very intelligent, but, living in continual terror of assassination, being afflicted with chronic insomnia, and having a naturally suspicious nature abnormally developed, he has become a monomaniac on the subject of self-preservation. His disposition is gentle, and if he had lived like an ordinary man he might have escaped the disease from which he suffers almost continual agony; but his mistrust of everyone around him has become chronic, and he has developed a cunning that is never at a loss for expedients.

He sleeps only two or three hours out of the twenty-four, and then only when somebody is reading to him, or some orchestra or musician is performing in the adjoining room. Darkness frightens him. Therefore a light is always kept burning in his chamber, and[76] Ismet Bey, grand master of the imperial wardrobe, always sleeps in the same room. Ismet Bey is his foster brother, and probably possesses his confidence more fully than any other man. Because he resembles the Sultan so closely in appearance, it is believed among the gossips of Constantinople that he often impersonates His Majesty at ceremonies and on other occasions where the latter is likely to be exposed to the danger of assassination.

Ismet Bey carries the keys to his desk, his wardrobe and his treasury caskets, and is perhaps trusted farther and knows more secrets than any other man about the palace; but he has no influence whatever with the Sultan and would not attempt to exercise it if he did, for it would be fatal to him. By a lifetime of devotion, as unselfish as any Turk can render, he has demonstrated his loyalty and disinterestedness.

The Sultan is always restless and is awakened at the slightest sound. When he awakes he always wants somebody to talk to, and Elias Bey, second officer of the wardrobe, or Faik Bey, one of his confidential secretaries, is usually at hand for that purpose. The Sultan sleeps in a detached chamber, surrounded by corridors on all four sides, and it is a popular impression that the walls are of steel. Four or five sentinels slowly pace the corridors during the entire night, and if the regular measure of their footsteps is interrupted the Sultan will waken and inquire the cause. In addition to this guard an officer sits at each corner of the corridor, where he can see both ways. In order to prevent a conspiracy, a detail for this purpose is made from among the subalterns of the different regiments about the palace every night. The names are drawn by lot a few moments before the hour and no[77] one knows of his selection until he receives orders to report. These officers have watches of four hours each, coming on duty at sunset and remaining until sunrise. The Sultan is such a light sleeper that he awakens every time the guard is changed.

He is extremely fond of music, and when restless, his orchestra, which is under the direction of Dussap Pasha, is required to play all night, or until orders are sent to relieve them. His Majesty is also fond of theatrical and vaudeville performances and similar diversions, finding them a relief from his perpetual fears. A theater connected with the palace has two troupes of well-paid actors for dramatic and musical performances. One of them is composed of Turkish and the other of French and Italian artists. Foreign actresses and opera singers who visit Constantinople are always anxious to appear before His Majesty, because they not only receive liberal compensation from the master of ceremonies, but, if they happen to please, His Majesty is sure to present them with valuable jewels. Few people except members of the imperial family are permitted to attend these performances. When the Sultan invites one of the ambassadors, as he sometimes does, it is considered a mark of unusual distinction.

The Sultan’s dress is extremely simple and free from extravagance. He wears a military uniform and a campaign cloak such as is worn by the ordinary officers of the army. His jewels, however, are unsurpassed by any of the sovereigns of Europe. When His Majesty requires a new suit of clothes Ismet Bey, his foster brother, is used as a model by the tailor, as he and the Sultan are almost of the same size.

His diet is also very simple. He eats very little, of[78] the plainest food, and never touches wine nor liquors of any kind, but consumes enormous quantities of coffee, which aggravates his nervousness. Up to a few years ago a servant with a coffee pot always followed him when he went out for exercise, and while driving in the park coffee stations were placed at frequent intervals, where he could stop and refresh himself. By the advice of his physicians he now limits himself to five or six cups of his favorite beverage a day, and it is said that he has himself noticed an improvement in his health. He is not so nervous and sleeps better. General Porter, the American ambassador to Paris, told me of a dinner at the Yildiz Kiosk, when the Sultan ate little but American corn bread and soup. His meals are cooked separately from those served to his family and guests, and the same man always prepares them in a little room, like a laboratory, not bigger than an ordinary bathroom. During their preparation an inspector always watches the cook for fear of poison. The food purchased for the Sultan’s use is kept in a huge safe to which his private chef alone has the key. Eggs and milk are the principal articles of his diet. He seldom touches meat, but at dinner usually has one or two vegetables.

Not being able to sleep, the Sultan does not retire before midnight, and is always up by 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning, when he puts on a long silken robe, takes a cup of coffee, smokes a few cigarettes and reads his correspondence. About seven o’clock he takes a bath, and then a breakfast of eggs and rolls and more coffee. At one o’clock his luncheon is served, which is seldom more than a crust of bread and a glass of milk—perhaps a small omelet. Although he takes his breakfast and luncheon alone, his dinners[79] are always served with great ceremony. His younger sons, several of his secretaries and usually two or three of his ministers dine with him. The list of his guests is usually made out by the grand chamberlain of the palace and submitted to His Majesty’s approval. The dinner is served at eight o’clock in French style, with liveried attendants and an orchestra in the balcony of the state dining-room, which is a gorgeous apartment. As a formality each course is placed before the Sultan by the chief butler before it is served to his guests, although he never touches it himself, his own food being brought from his private kitchen by his personal attendant. Sometimes he dines in his harem, where his sisters and wives and daughters receive him with great ceremony.

Yildiz, the park in which the palace is situated, is a veritable city, with a population of nearly 5,000, including the members of the official staff and their families, the women of the harem, their slaves and eunuchs, the princes and sultanas, with their households and servants, the chambermaids, aides-de-camp, the imperial guard, which consists of several regiments, musicians, clerks, gardeners, grooms, valets, domestics and other employés, including a number of masons, carpenters and other mechanics. The Sultan has a machine-shop for the repair of machinery used upon the place, an arsenal, which contains several thousand stands of arms for both sport and war, and samples of all patents and styles. He has also a very rich collection of antique oriental arms.

One of His Majesty’s fads is the manufacture of porcelain. He has recently set up a factory in the park and imported a number of French artists, who are making placques and other ornaments. He is fond of[80] wild animals and has quite an interesting zoölogical garden, with one of the best kennels of dogs in the world.

I was informed by a high authority in Constantinople that the Sultan pays $500,000 annually as subsidies to newspapers in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and other cities of Europe to defend him and his acts and create public sentiment in his favor. After the Armenian massacres, a few years ago, he distributed more than $1,000,000 among the newspapers that treated him kindly. Notwithstanding his self-enforced seclusion, he is as familiar with European affairs as any man on the continent, and scarcely anything that appears in print of importance or interest concerning him or his empire fails to meet his eye. His ambassadors and ministers at the different capitals are instructed to secure all press clippings that relate to Turkey and forward them to a central information bureau in Constantinople, where they are classified, translated and arranged for the Sultan’s inspection. He spends a great deal of time reading them and frequently receives important suggestions and information from them.

I was repeatedly warned that every newspaper letter I wrote from Turkey would be read by the Sultan personally. Missionaries and others from whom I obtained information frequently asked me not to publish certain things, because the Sultan was certain to see them and trace them to their source. One gentleman, in giving me an account of a certain enterprise, remarked: “I wish you would say that the Sultan takes a great interest in our affairs. It will do you no harm and will do us a great deal of good, for he is certain to see your letter and will be pleased.”


The largest sums of money expended in purchasing the good opinion of the press are expended in Germany and France, for the Kaiser is the Sultan’s best friend and most reliable supporter, and he is pleased when the German newspapers approve his policy.

Although the censorship in Turkey is very strict, the Sultan is a thorough believer in the usefulness and importance of the press, and in 1886 conceived the idea of founding a great national journal, to be published in the Turkish and French languages and to be for Turkey what the London Times is to Great Britain. He appointed a committee of five of his ministers and secretaries to formulate a plan and prepare estimates of the cost, but when he received a report and found how expensive a luxury his proposed newspaper would be, he abandoned the idea.



On Friday of each week—the Mohammedan Sabbath—occurs the Selamlik, the one occasion on which the public may see the Sultan, although at a great distance for most of them. The Moslem law requires the head of the church to make a formal prayer at some mosque at least once a week, and Friday is the day naturally chosen. Therefore the Sultan must go, sick or well, to worship publicly. If he could not perform this duty his ministers would dress up a dummy and send it in a closed carriage in his place, because the act of reverence must be performed though the heavens fall. The Sultan has his own little mosque attached to the palace, where he prays frequently and with great regularity, often abruptly leaving his ministers and others with whom he is engaged on business when the cry of the muezzin is heard from the neighboring minaret. No man is more devout or scrupulous in the observances of the ritual in which he believes, and in that way he sets a good example to his subjects.

Abdul Hamid’s public worship is performed at Hamidieh Mosque, a pretty structure within the imperial park and close to the high iron fence which surrounds it, so that those who enter and leave the temple may be seen from the street. There is a large vacant lot, with rising ground, across the road, intended for a drilling ground for cavalry, and on every Friday it is crowded with the carriages of those who are curious to see the Sultan, and are not[83] allowed to approach any nearer to him. Formerly the Selamliks were more public. There was a wooden pavilion, a sort of grand stand for spectators, which was generally crowded by strangers visiting the city, members of the diplomatic corps, and others who were fortunate enough to get tickets, but since the assassination of King Humbert of Italy and President McKinley, it has been torn down and no more invitations are issued, although upon the personal application of the ambassadors the Sultan will sometimes admit foreigners whom they vouch for. Guests are allowed to witness the ceremony from the windows or the roof of the neighboring palace, but no one else is permitted inside the grounds except officials of the government, officers of the army and pilgrims who constantly visit Constantinople in large numbers. The public must be contented with looking through the bars of the iron fence or witnessing the pageant through field-glasses from the tops of the neighboring hills.

We were at Constantinople during the pilgrim season, when faithful Mohammedans on their way to Mecca were arriving daily from Russia and the surrounding states as well as from all parts of the Ottoman Empire to pay their respects to the Sultan, who is the visible head of their church, and to the Sheik-ul-Islam, his vicar in charge of ecclesiastical affairs. They are admitted to the Selamlik when properly vouched for, but the police are very careful to see that no assassin disguised as a pilgrim shall pass the gates. The pilgrims occupy a plot bordering upon the roadway over which the Sultan drives. As he approaches they utter a peculiar cry. It sounds more like a wail than a cheer, and is supposed to express reverence and[84] admiration rather than enthusiasm. It is the salutation of the true believer to the head of his church, but if anyone were to make such a noise at the approach of President Roosevelt or any of the sovereigns of Europe he would be immediately arrested as a dangerous person. When the Sultan has gone by, the pilgrims bow their heads in reverence and afterward push forward and kiss the ground over which the wheels of his carriage have passed. Many of them are venerable men, priests as well as laymen, and as each wears the costume of his country the group usually presents a picturesque appearance and adds much to the interest of the scene. Those with green turbans are descendants of the Prophet Mohammed and constitute a clan of themselves. They have maintained their individuality during all the centuries, like the house of David among the Jews, but it gives them no material advantages. They honor themselves more than they are honored by others. You see laborers wearing green turbans; yea, even the children of the prophet begging bread from infidels.

There is very little to be seen at a Selamlik except the military display. And that is splendid. Nearly the entire garrison of Constantinople, numbering 12,000 or 15,000 of the picked soldiers of the Turkish army, appear every Friday in brilliant and peculiar uniforms, line the roadway over which the Sultan passes, surround the mosque in which he worships and are packed into the grounds until their red fezzes and glistening bayonets light up the entire park. There are regiments of Nubians, Soudanese, Albanians, Arabs, Syrians, Kurds, Turkestanese, Bokharans, Georgians, Circassians and other races unknown to us, which cannot be seen elsewhere. The red fez,[85] white turbans, gold lace, stripes and sashes, white gloves, red and green banners and the glitter of the arms make a brilliant combination, and one must acknowledge that the soldiers of the Sultan are fine-looking fellows, although they may be as wicked and as cruel as represented. They are all Moslems. No Christian is admitted to the army, but every Christian, Jew and Gentile subject of military age is required to furnish a Moslem substitute. There are numerous military bands playing modern music very poorly, and it may gratify Mr. Sousa to know that his marches are as popular in Turkey as elsewhere. The pashas and generals wear dazzling uniforms, covered with gold braid and lace, and other officers, bedecked with equal brilliancy, seem innumerable. The grounds of the palace suddenly become an ocean of gold lace and red fezzes.

When a carriage arrived with a black man upon the box in the footman’s place, we knew it brought ladies from the harem with a eunuch in charge. While all black men are not eunuchs, all eunuchs are black. They are brought from Africa and Arabia when children and are purchased like other slaves. The Sultan’s wives and sisters usually attend the Selamlik, but have their own place in the mosque partitioned off by screens. They cannot even enter the same door with their sovereign master. He must pray alone. Only the Sheik-ul-Islam, the high priest of the Moslems, or some great mufti designated to represent him, is admitted, whose presence is necessary to carry out the ritual.

The guardian of the harem, the kizlar-aghasi, or chief eunuch, who ranks next to the grand vizier and the Sheik-ul-Islam, was present, having in charge four[86] sultanas. Each had her own carriage drawn by white horses and a military escort and was attended by ladies-in-waiting. Three of the Sultan’s sons rode on horseback among the pashas that formed his bodyguard, and another, a little chap about ten years old, had a tiny brougham drawn by ponies similar to that used by Tom Thumb. He was accompanied by his tutor, an officer of the army, and by a little aide-de-camp of his own age, a miniature imitation of those who attended his imperial father. The little prince was in the uniform of a colonel of the army, wearing a sword and baby revolvers, and his aide was dressed to correspond.

Another carriage, one of the latest arrivals, was occupied by a little girl—one of the Sultan’s daughters, attended by a woman with unveiled face, wearing a violet satin gown. Hence we knew her to be a foreigner and were told that she was the little sultana’s French governess. We noticed that she sent one of her attending eunuchs with a coin to a crippled beggar who caught her eye outside the gates.

After the carriages came two covered vans like those used in the United States to move furniture. They backed up to the entrance of the mosque and discharged a lot of rugs, chairs, chests and other things that were carried inside, but I could not find out what they were for or why they should be delivered just at this time. Then a squad of servants in long white robes came out of the mosque, washed the marble steps and dried them carefully with cloths, after which they spread a long rug that reached from the gravel roadway to the vestibule, so that His Majesty’s feet might not touch the vulgar earth, and fastened it down with brass rods. Then appeared a dozen carts loaded[87] with sand, which was sprinkled along the roadway to absorb the moisture and deaden the noise of the wheels. When these preparations were complete the notes of a trumpet were heard in the distance—the signal that the Sultan had left the palace and was on his way. A white-robed muezzin with a big turban appeared upon the balcony of the beautiful minaret and gave the conventional call to prayer, only his cry was louder and the wail more prolonged than usual. Two columns of pashas and generals in brilliant uniform, on horseback, appeared around the curve, riding slowly, and when the leaders reached the steps of the mosque they opened ranks, facing each other, and formed an aisle for the Sultan to pass through. They were an additional guard for his safety.

The general of the army, a stern-looking man with an intellectual forehead, large gray eyes, a Roman nose and a grizzled beard, mounted upon a magnificent charger, next appeared, surrounded by his staff. Formerly Osman Pasha, the hero of the Russo-Turkish war, held this position and attended his sovereign regularly each Friday until his death. Closely following him, surrounded by a squad of officers running on foot, came a low carriage drawn by a pair of beautiful white horses, in which sat Abdul Hamid, the Sultan of Turkey and the successor of the Prophet of Islam. On the opposite seat was the minister of war—one more precaution—and it is said that the standing order to the bodyguard is to shoot down that official instantly in case an attack is made upon the Sultan. He is held responsible for the safety of his imperial master, and if the protection provided by him proves inadequate his punishment is death. Riza Pasha, the present minister of war, is a large, fat man, so large[88] that the diminutive figure of the Sultan looked very small by contrast. Abdul Hamid is slight of stature and weighs only 135 pounds. He looks like the late Jay Gould and the late Matias Romero, for many years Mexican ambassador to the United States. He wore a shabby military overcoat and a red fez. His face is very melancholy. His eyes are large and have a wandering look. He is said to be the saddest man on earth, and he looks it. An escort of young officers on foot followed the carriage, the Sultan’s aides-de-camp and secretaries, and as the pageant proceeded everybody saluted and bowed. The crowd outside the gates cheered, but were not very enthusiastic. The Sultan’s eyes took in everything. They surveyed the scene with extraordinary rapidity. His officers say that he never overlooks anything that is amiss. He can see where a button is off the coat of a soldier as he rides by.

The imperial group was followed by an empty phaeton drawn by a pair of white horses with gold-mounted harness and half-blankets of leopard skin, and also by five saddle horses—the most beautiful animals you ever saw—so that the Sultan could choose among them if he should take the whim to ride back to the palace from the ceremony. As he passed the pilgrims he bowed to them several times. When he reached the mosque he stopped upon the steps, turned around, faced them and bowed and bowed again, while they uttered the peculiar wail that I have described. He then entered the vestibule, followed by the minister of war and several of his aides.

While the Sultan was at prayer strips of matting were unrolled upon the pavement, and the pilgrims, swarming out, kneeled upon it with their faces toward[89] Mecca and went through their devotions, a priest leading them. This continued for half an hour or so, until the Sultan reappeared, got into the phaeton, took the reins in his own hands and drove back to the palace surrounded by his aides-de-camp and secretaries on foot, who are compelled to run at full speed to keep up with him. This pageant is witnessed every Friday, but it is conducted with so many safeguards and precautions that the military display is not seen at its full effect.

There is no particular place for the burial of Sultans. Each Sultan usually builds his own tomb, according to his own taste and extravagance, but throughout the city may be found several turbets, or tombs, containing the bodies of one or more Sultans with their favorite wives beside them. The graves are covered with plain cenotaphs of stuccoed brick four or five feet high and seven or eight feet long, draped with covers of black broadcloth or velvet, exquisitely embroidered with silver or gold, and upon them are usually several cashmere shawls of the very finest texture, fabrics of priceless value, gifts and tributes from neighboring kings and governors. Distinguished men, Sultans and others, are buried in the different mosques, the most sacred being that of Eyub Ansari, the standard-bearer and most intimate companion of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed by the Arabs at the siege of Constantinople, A.D. 668. His burial-place was revealed in a dream to a celebrated priest during the attack of Mohammed II. upon Constantinople, and its discovery inflamed the fanaticism of the Turkish soldiers to such a degree that their next attack upon the city was irresistible. After the capture Mohammed II. erected the mosque[90] of Eyub upon the site of the grave, and it is held so sacred that no Christian has ever been allowed to enter the gates of the walls that surround it, or even to live in the neighborhood. It is a beautiful building of white marble, with a large dome, two small domes and many semi-domes, and two graceful minarets. It stands on the banks of the Golden Horn about five miles from the city, and upon the accession of a new Sultan a ceremony corresponding to the coronation of a Christian sovereign takes place there. After performing an elaborate service of prayer the new Sultan is girded with the sword of Osman, the founder of the dynasty, by the superior of the dervishes. The sword of Osman always lies upon the tomb of Eyub, constantly watched by relays of the priests and monks who have charge of the temple. The tomb is of silver gilt and elaborate workmanship, covered with a cloth of gold, surrounded by a high gilt railing and overhung with many costly lamps.

At the village is a factory in which are made the fezzes worn by the soldiers of the Turkish army.




Poets, painters and other people with vivid imaginations and emotional natures have become ecstatic in describing the city of the Grand Turk, and while it has unique and exquisite attractions, it is no more beautiful than New York or San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Naples, Hongkong or half a dozen other cities I might name. There is none of the barbaric splendor, the gold and purple and blue and scarlet of Moscow, as seen from the Sparrow Hills; nor the fantastic pagodas and temples of Kioto or Peking. It has none of the quiet dignity of Stockholm or the soft beauty of Naples, but the colors that are lacking and the gorgeousness that is invisible is readily supplied by the imaginations of tourists, who generally see what they expect to see, no matter whether it is there or not. You find the same trouble in Holland and Spain after reading the books of D’Amicis, and at Venice after studying Ruskin. Perhaps it is the fault of the observer, who lacks sufficient sentiment, but when you begin to dissect the scene and separate the actual from the imaginary the criticism of practical minds is sustained.

The continents of Europe and Asia are separated by the Sea of Marmora, which is 110 miles long and 40 miles wide in its widest part. At the west end it is entered through the Hellespont or Dardanelles, a deep and swift stream or strait, about as wide as the Hudson River. The place where Leander swam across[92] to visit Hero, his sweetheart, and where Lord Byron imitated his example, is only about three-quarters of a mile wide, and although to swim it was a prodigious feat in those days, it would not be more than an ordinary adventure to many members of a modern athletic club.

At its east end the Sea of Marmora is connected with the Black Sea by the Bosphorus, a channel similar to the Hellespont. These streams, which form a remarkable boundary between the continents, have always been regarded of great strategic importance, and from the time of Alexander the Great to Alexander II. of Russia have been fought for by rival nations.

Where the Bosphorus joins the Sea of Marmora there is a little bay, about half a mile wide at its mouth, growing gradually narrower and curving like a cornucopia for about three miles through the hills to a point where it receives fresh water from a little stream. This bay is called the Golden Horn. Between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmora is a tongue of land similar in size and shape to Manhattan Island, upon which New York is built, except that it is higher in the center. This ridge, or “hog’s back,” rises about five hundred feet above the water, and at intervals is broken by gullies, several of them very wide and deep,—gashes that have been cut into the soil by water. This ridge or tongue of land is occupied by the old city of Stamboul, and upon the extreme point, corresponding to Battery Park, New York, is located the Seraglio, a group of palaces occupied by the Sultans before the nineteenth century. An imposing marble gate, by which the grounds are entered, is the ancient Sublime Porte, and from it is derived the title by which the Turkish government is often referred to in history and diplomatic discussions. The modern Sublime[93] Porte is a still more imposing marble gate which leads into an inclosure where are situated the palace of the grand vizier, the ministry of finance and other official departments of the government.

The Sublime Porte, Mosque of St. Sophia

Upon the opposite side of the Bosphorus, situated to Stamboul as Jersey City is to New York, is Scutari, a city of residences, schools, hospitals, military barracks, carpet factories and other manufacturing establishments, with a population of about 50,000. It is surrounded by a group of fertile hills, which in the spring and summer are covered with brilliant foliage.

Upon the opposite side of the Golden Horn a steep hill, rising directly from the water, is occupied by the city of Galata, corresponding to Brooklyn. Its houses and shops are arranged in terraces along precipitous slopes to a height of five hundred feet; and on the other side of the crest, which slopes to the Golden Horn, is the city of Pera, which means “beyond”—that is, the place beyond the hill.

This completes the group of four cities, which, combined, are called Constantinople, and from the bridge which connects Stamboul and Galata, or at any other point between, they are spread out before the spectator like an audience in an amphitheater, rising in irregular terraces and showing patches of whitewashed walls among unpainted, wood-colored houses, shingled roofs and occasionally a roof of tile. Here and there appear squatty domes like warts, queer-looking towers and slender minarets, which are peculiar to Constantinople and are its greatest attraction. The domes indicate mosques and occupy the summits of the hills. Their ugliness heightens the beauty and grace of the minarets by which they are surrounded. The minarets take the place of church steeples and the campaniles[94] or bell-towers that are usually attached to cathedrals in southern Europe. They look very slender and very tall, rising often to the height of three hundred feet—delicate, beautiful shafts, perhaps twenty feet in diameter at the bottom and gradually tapering to a needle point at the top, upon which a golden crescent is always placed. About the center, overlooking the roofs of the houses and the adjoining streets, are balconies, sometimes only one, sometimes two, and, on the taller minarets three, protected by beautifully carved balustrades and sustained by brackets, from which the muezzin calls the Mohammedans to prayer. In Constantinople most of the minarets are of marble and other stones, as they were built by rich Sultans as monuments to their own memory, but elsewhere such structures are of brick, coated with stucco, and kept neatly whitewashed. Whatever may be said of the Moslem, his houses of worship always show evidences of careful and constant attention. You seldom see a slovenly mosque and seldom a mosque out of repair. They set an example to other religious sects in this, as in several other matters.

The view from any place of observation will comprehend nearly all of the city of Constantinople except, of course, those portions which are on the opposite side of the ridges. I do not know of any city of which so much can be viewed from a single point. Standing upon the bridge that crosses the Golden Horn, one can easily see the abodes of two-thirds of the population spread out before him. But the view is monotonous. There is a lack of variety about the architecture which is very tiresome. One house differs from another so little that the eye becomes weary and rests gratefully upon the picturesque[95] towers and the beautiful minarets that rise here and there in striking relief. Several conspicuous buildings stand out boldly. These are the embassies of Russia, Germany and other European Powers on the Galata side and the government offices in Stamboul. The largest buildings, and those which are most conspicuous in every direction, are occupied as barracks by the Sultan’s army. There are no parks, no promenades, no amusements, no theaters except one which is insignificant, and no entertainments or diversions for the people except a few low-class vaudeville performances.

The streets are irregular, narrow and crooked and wind up in serpentine or zigzag fashion to the top of the town. It is evident that they originally followed the trails of goats, which, unlike the buffalo, are poor engineers. The straight streets are so steep that no load can be hauled up them, and many of them are actually stairways, with small shops on either side. In building the city no grading was done and no filling. The natural topography was allowed to remain unaltered, which, while it adds to the picturesqueness, is a permanent embargo on business. Horses cannot be used for transportation purposes because the streets are too narrow and too steep and the pavements are too rough.

There are a few carts and a good many donkeys with panniers upon their backs, but heavy freight, like lumber, bales of merchandise and such things are carried from one place to another by men. It is a common thing to see eight, twelve or sixteen men with long poles staggering under a load of dry goods, hardware, iron rails or timbers for the construction of houses. They can carry their cargo only a little way without stopping to rest, and as long as they are[96] engaged, block the entire street. No carriage can pass them, and even a donkey finds it difficult to creep by. You will appreciate the difficulty of doing business with these embarrassments, and will not be surprised that the commerce and internal trade of Constantinople is less than that of the average German or French city of one-fourth its population. More business is done in New York in one day than in Constantinople during the entire 365.

There are no sidewalks except upon a few of the principal streets, and they are very narrow. The houses are high—five, six and seven stories—without elevators, and are divided into tenements, the ground floor being occupied in most cases for business purposes. The architecture is indifferent where it is not ugly. Most of the city is built of wood, unpainted, and the cheapest kind of construction; much of it being in an advanced state of dilapidation. Some of the houses in the principal residence quarter remind me of those on the West Side in Chicago, the wooden façades being covered with “ginger-bread work,” balconies, loggias and other architectural frills. In the Turkish quarter there is even less of architectural interest. Only occasionally can a Moorish design be seen or any building of the oriental type. You can follow some of the longest streets from one end to the other without finding a window or a door or a roof or a balcony that looks like what you expected to see in Turkey. When the lower sash of the window is covered with fixed lattice work you may know that it is some Turk’s harem. The houses occupied by Greeks, Armenians, Jews and Europeans have ordinary windows and no blinds, and as only about one-fourth of the population of Constantinople—the estimates are[97] generally less—are Turks, and three-fourths are foreigners, you should not expect anything but what you see, and must swallow your disappointment.

There are other reasons, in addition to the topography, why the houses are so cheaply and indifferently built. All foreigners are in Constantinople on sufferance and the investment of money is unsafe. When a foreigner erects a house he takes great risks and naturally does not wish to spend any more upon it than is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, an evidence of prosperity would immediately attract the attention of the officials, who are all Turks, and the assessment for taxation would at once be raised. The Turkish officials receive little if any compensation from the government, and are obliged to turn into the treasury for the use of the Sultan and his court certain sums of money annually. This money and whatever they need for themselves must be raised by whatever measures they can manage, and, as they have autocratic powers, it is easy for them to make good their quota. If they see a man, particularly an Armenian or a Jew—they do not care so much about Greeks—showing signs of prosperity and wealth, they make preparations to bleed him, and the methods they adopt are usually successful. The population of Stamboul around the Seraglio is mostly Turkish, and beyond that Armenian and Jewish. The inhabitants of Galata are mostly Greeks, and those of Pera are English, French, Germans and subjects of other European Powers.

Landing at Constantinople is an exciting experience. The ships anchor out in the stream, and passengers, with their luggage, are taken ashore in rowboats. No traveler is allowed to land without a passport. If he[98] is a resident of Turkey he must have a permit granted by the police officials of the town in which he lives. If he is a foreigner his passport must be viséd by the Turkish consul or minister at the port of his departure.

When the steamer comes to anchor the gangplank is at once surrounded by a motley crowd of boatmen, howling like a lot of demons and grabbing at the luggage of the passengers. If you have not a courier to look after you and your belongings the best thing is to give yourself up to Cook, the traveler’s friend and protector. If you have written ahead to engage apartments at any of the hotels a dragoman, or interpreter, will be sent down to meet you and help you through the custom-house, but Cook’s men always come aboard, not only at Constantinople but at all the eastern ports, and are a blessing to the inexperienced.

As each boatload passes towards the landing-place it is stopped in midstream by a policeman seated in the stern of a Turkish caique, or canoe, who counts the number of passengers and the number of pieces of baggage. What this is done for I was unable to discover, but the most reasonable theory is that it is intended as a checking system for the police, in order that no stranger shall enter the country without their knowledge.

The guidebooks, which are closely censored by the Turkish government, so that they may not contain anything offensive or treasonable to the Sultan, state very plainly that couriers and dragomans from the hotels can “arrange” with the customs officers so that the inspection of luggage will be only formal. The only thing that they are after is books. Their orders are very strict in that respect. They are positively forbidden to pass any books, newspapers, manuscripts[99] or sealed parcels, all of which must be submitted to examination by the censor, who destroys all works pertaining to the Mussulman religion, the personality of the Sultan, the foreign relations or the internal affairs of Turkey. Guns, revolvers and that sort of thing, which are prohibited in most countries, are admitted without objection in Turkey. We were advised to conceal all our guidebooks, notebooks, manuscripts and that sort of thing in the bottom of our trunks in case of an emergency, although our dragoman, or guide, said he did not think any of them would be opened. When they were landed and carried into the dilapidated and dirty old wooden building of one story used for a custom-house, all the trunks, bags and rug rolls were arranged in a row upon a bench and the dragoman proceeded calmly to negotiate with the inspectors. How much he paid to pass them I do not know, but it was not a large sum, and we were soon sent on our way rejoicing.

The baggage of passengers leaving Constantinople is examined quite as closely as that which comes in, and the same process occurs. The customs officers often demand larger bribes from outgoing than incoming travelers, and will threaten to detain their luggage if the money is not paid.

The same corruption and the same practices exist in other branches of the custom-house, only to a greater extent. Imported merchandise is seldom inspected. Merchants doing business in Constantinople usually have a regular arrangement with the customs officials to admit their goods without examination upon the payment of certain sums, which cover both the customs duties and the bribes. These practices must be known to the higher officials, because nearly all of them have[100] been promoted to the positions they occupy, and they require a certain amount of revenue from each inspector or appraiser every month. The latter must raise it the best way he can. There is a regular tariff, of course, and fixed rates of duty for different kinds of merchandise, but it is seldom observed, even in the case of strangers.

All travelers in Turkey must have tezkerehs, or traveling permits, which are granted upon the application of the minister or consul of the country from which they come, and are an acknowledgment on the part of the Ottoman authorities of their responsibility for the safety of the bearer. Natives have ordinary passports, but no man can land at a port or buy a steamship or railway ticket without showing a document of this kind, which not only is a protection to the traveler, but also gives the police authorities an opportunity to watch suspicious persons.

The United States diplomatic and consular officials in Turkey receive almost daily applications for certificates from Armenians who claim to be naturalized, but there has been so much fraudulent naturalization that they no longer issue them unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a bona fide citizen of the United States stopping temporarily in Turkey. Certain Armenians in New York, San Francisco and other cities for years did a fraudulent naturalization business, and for large fees obtained papers for Armenians in Turkey who had never been in the United States. It is an easy thing for a man to make application in any of the courts under any name, and again make a second or third or fourth or repeated applications under other names later without being detected. When the papers are issued they are forwarded to Turkey to the persons[101] whose names they bear, and the latter use them whenever necessary. Not long ago such fraudulent papers were abundant in Turkey, but many of them have been taken from the holders and retained by the United States officials. When a man claiming to be a naturalized citizen of New York cannot tell the name of the street upon which he lives and does not know the location of Brooklyn or Jersey City; who never heard of Washington, Grant, McKinley or Roosevelt, and cannot give the name of the long street which runs from one end of New York to the other, it is pretty certain that he is not entitled to the protection of our government, but has abused its hospitality by obtaining naturalization papers under false pretenses.

Constantinople is the seat of the Sheik-ul-Islam, the ecclesiastical head of the Moslem faith, and also the seat of the Patriarchs of the Greek and the Armenian churches, and of the chief rabbi of the Jews. Every other religion has its representatives among the population, which is more cosmopolitan than that of any other city. It is claimed that there are in Constantinople representatives of every nation and every tribe upon the globe, and that every language is spoken. It is common to see signs written in eight or nine languages on the fronts of the retail shops. These races and religions are all more or less antagonistic. There is nothing to unite them. Each suspects the other of treachery. They have no relations, except in trade, and in their commercial dealings they are all trying to cheat each other.

Everybody lives in a state of constant apprehension, in a vague dread of danger, and there is good reason for it, because the hand of Ishmael is still against every man.


No census has ever been taken of Constantinople, and the population is unknown. Estimates range all the way from 875,000 to 1,250,000, and the latter figure is probably somewhere near the truth, judging from the dense manner in which the people are huddled together and the enormous area covered by the city. The floating population is very large. Thousands of men are constantly coming and going, spending a portion of each season in the city and the remainder of the year in the provinces of Turkey or in some neighboring state.

According to religious belief the population is supposed to be divided somewhat as follows:

Jews 75,000
Bulgarians 6,000
Greek Catholics1,200
Roman Catholics7,500

The city is divided into ten municipal circles or wards, which, combined, constitute a vilayet, whose affairs are directed by a prefet, assisted by a mejlis, or council, and a large staff of officials. Each municipal circle has a director and is subdivided into precincts which are governed by mudirs. The prefet, or governor, is a despot, responsible to no one but the Sultan and exercising absolute and unquestioned authority over the lives and property of his subjects. Men disappear and their property is confiscated at his orders, and no questions can be asked. He regulates the taxes, receives the funds and disposes of them without a question. The mudirs and other subordinates carry[103] out his instructions and trust him to stand between them and the Sultan. The priests and monks of the Moslem Church must be taken into consideration always, as they are the most powerful body in Constantinople, and their influence over the people is undisputed. The Sheik-ul-Islam, the head of the church, stands next to the Sultan in power and authority and the prefet and mudirs are careful never to offend him.

The Armenians at one time were the most important part of the business community, but since the massacres in 1896, when at least 5,000 of that sect were butchered and their property looted and confiscated, they have been exceedingly cautious, and at present very few of the 250,000 Armenians in Constantinople are doing business under their own names. Some of them have gone into partnership with Turks, paying the latter a certain percentage of the profits of their business for protection and the use of their names. Many of the old shops of Armenian merchants now have Turkish signs over the doors, for which privilege, however, the owners have to pay a heavy blackmail. Since the massacres every Armenian has been discharged from the employ of the government and very generally from the employment of private Turks. Before 1896 and as far back as anyone can remember, Armenians held the most important subordinate positions under the government because of their executive ability, particularly in the financial department, where they are very strong; but now the vindictiveness of the Turk against them is so violent that the name of Armenia has been stricken off the map and that province is known as Upper Turkey. The custom-house officers will not permit the importation of maps bearing the[104] name Armenia. If any such are found they are confiscated and burned, and every book containing the name Armenia is blotted by the censor.

The Greeks, who are next in numbers, are also business men and now have the largest share of the mercantile trade in their own quarter of the city. Although Turkey was recently at war with Greece and the rivalry between the two countries is bitter, there is no hatred or prejudice against them. The same is true of the Jews. Both races live at peace with their Turkish neighbors, and are allowed to worship God in their own way without interference, and are never compelled to endure such persecutions as have been suffered by the Armenians for centuries. The explanation of this is that Greeks and Jews never meddle in politics, while the Armenians are continually doing so. Furthermore, the province of Armenia has been in a state of discontent for many years, and its inhabitants are constantly exciting revolutions against their oppressors—usually with very bad judgment and no possible prospect of success. Palestine is just as much a Turkish province as Armenia, but its inhabitants submit to the despotism under which they are born, while the Armenians will not.

Half the Greeks and Armenians in Turkey have lost their own languages because they have been forbidden to speak them. Without practice they have forgotten their native tongues. The Jews have been more kindly treated. The Armenians are compelled to worship in secret. Greek churches can be found in every part of the Ottoman Empire as public as the Mohammedan mosques, and no Jewish synagogue is ever interfered with by Moslem mobs. It is the Armenians that they attack exclusively.


The ferry-boats which run to all parts of the Bosphorus are very much like those on the Thames in London and on the Seine in Paris. They have time-tables, which are posted in convenient places and published in the newspapers, but are seldom observed; no one knows why, except that it is the nature of the Turk. A boat which is advertised to start at nine o’clock may go ten minutes before or twenty minutes after. The guidebooks warn people not to rely upon the published announcements. The boats to Brussa, a neighboring town much frequented by tourists, the guidebook says, leave daily, “some time between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., according to circumstances.” In other words, their movements depend upon the cargo, the number of passengers and the whim of the captain.

The railway management is very much the same. While I was in Constantinople, in the spring of 1902, a small section of the track between that city and Budapest was washed away. The trains going west returned to Constantinople, but the trains coming east from Budapest and Vienna were not notified of the obstruction and were allowed to start as usual and accumulated at the washout, where there were no accommodations for the passengers, no place for them to eat or sleep. When the cars were finally sent back to Adrianople, the nearest town, the passengers were compelled to pay full fare to that point. The mails for several days were allowed to accumulate at the washout and were held there for nearly three weeks, when they might have been taken back a few miles to Adrianople and sent around by another route, via Bucharest, but no one seemed to have thought of it, although such accidents and interruptions of traffic occur every year. Passengers by the Orient express,[106] which is the most expensive train in the world, were allowed to leave Constantinople and were carried to the washout. Tickets were sold to London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and other distant points and full sleeping-car fare was collected and all tickets are limited to one day—the date stamped upon them. The railway company would not extend them or refund the money or give rebates, and even compelled the passengers who were carried to the blockade to pay, not only the regular fare, but what is termed a “speed supplement” charged upon express trains, and also the full sleeping-car rates. Those who attempted to secure a rebate or the return of their money were calmly informed that it was not the practice of the railway company to redeem its tickets, and persons who started for London and other places by the first train after the break was repaired were compelled to buy new tickets and pay again the regular sleeping-car charge and the “speed supplement.”

A gentleman who purchased a ticket from Vienna to Constantinople was compelled to turn back at Sofia, about half way on his journey, and asked the railway officials to redeem the unused portion. They refused to do so on the ground that he had given no reason why it should be done. He replied at once that he had been met by a telegram stating illness in his family which required him to postpone his journey and return to Vienna, and asked that the money he had paid for the ticket be refunded or the time limit be extended, so that he could use it at some future date. The railway officials calmly replied that they did not consider the reason given sufficient.



Experienced travelers have often asserted that the representatives of a larger number of races and more picturesque costumes can be seen upon the bridges of Constantinople than anywhere else in the world, and those who have watched the throngs that are continually passing to and fro on foot, on horseback, on donkeys, in carriages and in sedan chairs are inclined to believe the assertion. There are two bridges across the Golden Horn, about one mile apart. Both are pontoons, strips of planks laid upon iron floats or caissons, and were intended to be temporary. The erection of a permanent bridge across the Golden Horn between Stamboul, the principal and most populous Mohammedan quarter, and Galata, where the foreigners live, has been frequently proposed and plans have been repeatedly submitted, but no engineer or bridge company will undertake the job without a large payment in advance, and there is never any money in the Sultan’s treasury. Several companies have been organized to construct bridges, but have never been able to obtain permission, and a multitude of promoters have sought concessions for that purpose from time to time, but there is no sign of a permanent bridge. The old floats still remain and answer every purpose, not only being a means of communication for a million people, but landing places for ferry boats, pleasure steamers, private yachts and other small craft upon the Bosphorus. The caissons are immense rectangular[108] casks of iron sixty by thirty by twenty feet in size. They are chained together, with passages between so as to give free flow to the water. About the middle of the channel there is an arrangement by which two of the floats can be detached and brought around out of the way so as to allow the passage of vessels, but this always was a very slow process and interrupted traffic for half an hour or more. Hence a regular time is appointed for the passage of vessels, and from four to six o’clock every morning the gateway is opened, and those who do not avail themselves of that opportunity have to wait twenty-four hours. Upon the caissons a frame of timbers sixty feet wide has been laid and planked over. Sidewalks for foot passengers are reserved, but pedestrians take the roadway quite as often, and from six o’clock in the morning until nearly midnight the bridge is thronged by two endless streams of humanity passing both ways. At either entrance are groups of toll collectors wearing long white tunics to distinguish them from the rest of the public, and they hold out their hands to receive the coppers from people who walk and people who ride. Everybody has to pay except the high officials of the government—usually great, fat pashas, who are identified by the livery of their coachmen. The toll is about one cent for foot passengers, two cents for mounted persons and ten cents for carriages.

It would take many pages to describe the different classes of people that may be seen upon this wonderful bridge, and the catalogue would contain representatives of every race and religion under the sun. Their costumes afford a very interesting study. Those who are familiar with the oriental races can identify them readily and tell you where every man comes from.[109] Many of the women are veiled, with long mantles and black shawls over their heads. Some of them wear a sort of mackintosh belted in, altogether unlovely and ungraceful, which is the intention. The idea of wearing a veil is to make a woman as hideous as possible, and the Turk succeeds in that purpose, if in no other. The ladies who are not veiled are either Greeks, Armenians, Jewesses or other foreigners. All the women of Constantinople, except Turkish women, wear European garments and ordinary hats. Turkish women of position always ride attended by a eunuch or a mounted escort, because it is not proper for them to appear alone in a public place, even if they are veiled, and the etiquette of the country forbids men to accost veiled women. If such a thing should be noticed there would be a mob in an instant, for every Moslem in sight would consider it an insult to his mother, his wife and his sister—in fact to all their sex. Few men dare assist a veiled woman even if she should stumble, or even pick up a package if she should drop one, for fear his courtesy should be misconstrued. The first caution offered to strangers in Constantinople concerns this matter of national etiquette, and it is often wisely bestowed. To take no notice whatever of veiled women is the safest thing a stranger in Constantinople can do. Women who do not wear veils are not included in the category, for they are not Mohammedans and may be treated with ordinary courtesy. Some of the Armenian women are beautiful and are richly dressed. The Greek women have dark eyes, thin lips, and dress with Parisian taste. In certain parts of Constantinople very few veiled women are to be seen. On the Grand Rue de Pera, the principal shopping-place of the European quarter, where most[110] of the tradesmen are French and German, they seldom appear.

Each side of the bridge is lined with peddlers, selling all sorts of things and crying their wares in stentorian tones, and beggars who crouch under the railing, holding out their hands in a piteous manner and appealing for baksheesh. The priests of the Mohammedan Church wear white wrappings around their fezzes as a badge of their profession. Persians wear black fezzes, often made of lamb’s wool or astrakhan, while the other races have different head-dresses. The Greeks wear stiffly starched white petticoats of cotton about the length of the skirts of a ballet-dancer, with white leggings, embroidered vests and jackets with long, flowing sleeves. The dervishes wear long black caftans or cloaks, which reach to their heels like the frock of a Catholic priest. You see all sorts of priests. They seem to number next to the soldiers, who constitute almost one-half of the passengers to be seen upon the bridge.

Many of the carriages and the horses are fine, although not equal to those to be seen in St. Petersburg. The mounted officers dash through the crowd in the most reckless manner, without regard to the lame or the lazy, and the donkey drivers do not seem to care whether they run over people or not, although they are extremely careful not to injure the mangy mongrels that lie around on the bridge, as they do everywhere else. Upon the bridge can be bought from peddlers almost anything a human being can want, because they are constantly passing back and forth, offering their wares. The number of peddlers in Constantinople is estimated at 75,000.

The water-front of Constantinople, instead of being[111] devoted to docks, warehouses and other facilities for shipping and commerce, is occupied by the palaces of the Sultan and the pashas. There is one short quay reserved for the landing and embarkation of goods, not larger than a single pier in New York harbor, or the space between two of the bridges over the Chicago River, and every article of merchandise that is brought into Constantinople or is shipped out of the city, including the luggage of passengers, must be handled in that narrow space. A little narrow-gauge manpower railway track runs along the edge of the water and terminates at the custom-house, through which all goods must pass. There are no bonded warehouses, and imported merchandise must be taken out at once upon arrival and the duty paid.

Upon the graves of the dead in the Turkish cemeteries little vessels of water are placed for the benefit of the birds, and some of the marble tombs have basins chiseled out for the same purpose, the superstition being that birds carry messages about the living to the dead, and, like everybody else in Turkey, are suspected of being spiteful unless something is done to win their favor.

Upon entering a Mohammedan mosque the hat is kept on, but the shoes must be taken off, for “the spot on which thou standest is holy ground.” Hence the Turks have their boots made with double bottoms. A sort of slip like the new-fashioned rubber sandals fits over the toe as far as the instep and the sole of the shoe and is held on by a band passing around the heel. A little brass point projects at the heel, which is convenient in kicking them off.

The Turks use beads for conversational purposes as well as to count their prayers. The ordinary ritual of[112] the Mohammedan faith requires thirty-six prayers and sixteen quotations from the Koran, and the full ritual embraces ninety-nine prayers. If a mistake is made it is necessary for the worshiper to begin at the beginning and go over the whole list again. Hence he is very careful to check off each prayer that he utters and each quotation that he repeats. Most of the prayers are very short, however, and consist of the same meaning expressed in different phrases: “Allah is great. I testify that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.”

At several points in Constantinople saddle-horses as well as carriages are kept for hire, and they are much more convenient for certain parts of the city, where the streets are narrow and the grades are steep. The owner or the man in charge sends a boy along to bring the horse back.

The number of people who speak English is quite remarkable, but all orientals are great linguists. They seem to have a faculty for picking up languages that is not enjoyed by Anglo-Saxons.

Turkish rugs are sold by the bale as they enter the custom-house, and the purchaser has no opportunity to examine them. He must take them as they come—good, bad and indifferent, old and new, coarse and fine, perfect and ragged. The week’s arrivals are usually put up at auction on Monday morning. The greatest number of rugs comes from the interior of Asia and is brought down to the ports of the Mediterranean and Black Sea by caravans of camels and shipped to Smyrna and Constantinople, which are the great markets. They are packed so many to the bale by sizes, and if the purchaser knows the name of the seller and the place from which they have been shipped, it gives him a[113] slight basis upon which he can estimate their value; but it is always more or less of a lottery and hence the rugs bring much less than their actual worth. The sellers might make a great deal more money if they were not bound by this ancient custom.

The dogs and the firemen of Constantinople are famous, and always excite a great deal of interest among tourists. There are two popular errors regarding the dogs—that they are ferocious and dangerous, and that they are the city scavengers and have a contract for cleaning the streets, which last is equally false. The dogs are wretched, harmless, cowardly curs, which never bite unless abused or driven into a corner, and then only in self-defense. They bark continually, however, particularly in the night, and newcomers will be disturbed in their rest for two or three nights until they become accustomed to them. In this respect, as in several others, they are great nuisances.

So far as street cleaning is concerned they undoubtedly contribute more filth and unhealthiness because their work as scavengers is limited to rooting and scratching around for morsels of food in the offal and other débris, and thus they keep it stirred up when it would be less offensive if it were let alone. In that offal the dogs find their subsistence, and they number tens of thousands. Thus their existence is precarious. Each street has its own band, which is very jealous of intruders, and when you hear a tumultuous barking you may be sure that some stranger has strayed into a section where he does not belong and is being evicted. The dogs are ownerless. There may be a few high-bred animals kept in the houses by private owners, but the great mass of them have no home but the street and no owners but the public.[114] They are allowed to live for superstitious reasons. The Moslem inhabitants look upon them as a religious institution, as the protégés of the prophet, and while they do not give them any care they would not injure them under any circumstances for fear of bringing misfortune upon themselves. A Mohammedan hackman or cartman would sooner drive around the block than run over a dog. He will get down from his box and wake up a cur that lies sleeping in the middle of the street rather than drive over it, but usually flicks his whip gently to remind it that it is in the way. The animal, being awakened, yawns and stretches itself in an indifferent manner and then slowly moves towards the sidewalk. The children are taught to be merciful to them and to believe that they are under the special protection of the prophet.

The butchers throw their scraps into the street every morning at a certain hour, and the dogs that belong in that locality are always on hand to snatch their share of the morsels. Bakers cut up stale loaves and toss them out in a similar way. Hotel and boarding-house keepers are equally thoughtful in putting out their garbage cans, but nobody ever offers the dogs shelter or attempts to cure them of the mange, with which the majority are afflicted. Many of them are repulsive sights. They live entirely upon the streets, each dog having some shelter of its own during the storms of winter, where it leaves its litters of puppies until they are old enough to look out for themselves. When they die their bodies are left lying in the road or are kicked out of the way by pedestrians. They are mostly yellow, coarse-haired, wolfish-looking beasts, with long tails and pointed ears. The guides say that the number is diminishing because the waste places in[115] which they formerly basked and bred are being rapidly built over; but other authorities claim that this is a mistake and that the number is increasing. A stranger would assume that the latter is the case, because they seem so numerous and occupy so large a part of the narrow sidewalks and streets. It is not safe to kick them out of the way because you would be sure to disturb a colony of fleas which might take refuge upon your own person, even if the cur did not turn and snap at you. Old residents will tell you that it is not good policy to kick a dog, because some Moslem might see the act and resent it. The natives are so accustomed to their presence in the streets and to their nocturnal barking and howling that they take them as a matter of course, like the other nuisances of the city.

The animals have a high degree of intelligence. They know their rights and insist upon them, and the manner in which each cur holds and defends his own territory is remarkable. The occupants of the same street never quarrel with each other, no matter how numerous or how hungry they may be, but lie curled up in bunches on the street corners in a most affectionate manner. But let a strange animal appear in sight and every one is on the alert instantly. There is a scurrying of feet, a series of low growls, a rush towards the intruder and then a tumult of barking and yelping and shrieks of agony from the injured. It may end in a dogicide. It usually does. The intruder is not often allowed to escape alive and his mangled body will be found afterwards in the roadway.

Abdul Azziz, predecessor of the present Sultan, was a great reformer and, among other reforms, proposed to exterminate the dogs. Policemen were sent around with poisoned meat, which was scattered freely[116] throughout the city, and the next day the streets were blocked by dead dogs, which were not removed, but their bodies were allowed to lie and fester in the sun. Instead of attributing the epidemic to the unquestionable cause, the superstitious Turks construed it as the penalty pronounced upon them by the prophet for the massacre of the innocent. Since then no further attempts have been made to exterminate the curs, which have been held more sacred than ever. There is a story to account for the presence of the dogs in Constantinople. It is said that in the Middle Ages their barking awoke the garrison of the city and warned it of the approach of an enemy, so that it was able to make a successful defense. At that time, the legend goes, the reigning Sultan issued an order requiring all dogs to be held sacred, as the prophet had made them the vehicle of the Divine will.


Sometimes I think the firemen are more interesting than the dogs. Fires are of frequent occurrence, and often very destructive, because the greater part of the old city is composed of wooden dwellings, which are very dry and burn like tinder when a flame is once started. Great precautions, from the Turkish point of view, are taken to protect them, but they are only ludicrous to those who are familiar with modern fire departments in our cities. Watchmen keep a lookout day and night from three commanding spots which overlook the roofs of the entire city—the Galata tower in the foreign section, the Serasker tower in Stamboul, the Mohammedan city, and another tower upon a high hill on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. Cannon are fired from the last-mentioned place as a warning to the public and a notice to the firemen, but at the other towers large balls made of bamboo and painted a[117] brilliant red are hung out in the daytime, and a red balloon at night with a number of flags of different designs, like signals from a ship, which indicate to the firemen the section of the city in which their services are needed.

Upon these towers watchmen with telescopes are always on guard, walking around the balcony and carefully inspecting every roof within the limits of their vision. When a suspicious sign is discovered there is a consultation, and, if it appears to be a fire, half-naked runners are started to give an alarm through the streets and the signals are hung out. The runners yell at the top of their voices the locality where the fire has been discovered. The firemen, who are in waiting at their various headquarters, strip themselves to a shirt and a pair of drawers, seize hand engines, which are carried upon their shoulders, and start at full tilt for the point of danger. They are spurred to a high rate of speed because of rivalry between the different organizations. The first to arrive is apt to get the job of extinguishing the conflagration, but as they receive no pay from the government, the owner of the house must bargain with them and make the best terms possible before they will do anything to save his house. Usually the neighbors, whose property is also in danger, are required to contribute baksheesh before the pumping begins.

The engine is a small affair, which can easily be carried upon the shoulders of four men running at a high rate of speed. Others carry the hose, while the nozzle is handled like the baton of a drum-major by the captain of the company, who leads the group of runners through the streets crying “Yangin var!” in brazen tones. A company on its way to a fire is a[118] novel sight, and everybody rushes out to join in the excitement. When the scene is reached the confusion is even greater. Men, women and children plunge into the burning building to seize and save or steal whatever can be reached. The police usually stand by and watch the spectacle with admirable composure. They never think of interfering, because their religion teaches them that misfortunes of all kinds are penalties imposed by the prophet to punish sins, and hence the houses of none but wicked people ever catch fire.

Pigeons are sacred in Constantinople. No true Moslem will kill a pigeon, and in certain parts of the city they are found by the millions. One of the most sacred temples is called the Pigeon Mosque, because of the number of birds that live there. They are so numerous that the air is often dark with them. Rich people leave legacies to pay for their food. At all of the mosques peddlers are found who sell corn for the faithful to offer to the birds, and it is regarded as a religious sacrifice. The superstition against killing pigeons is based upon the belief that the Holy Ghost inhabits the body of a pigeon, and none can be put to death without a fear of sacrificing the right one. The pigeons at the Bayezidiyeh, or Pigeon Mosque, which was built in 1497 by Sultan Bayezid, are said to be the offspring of a pair bought by him from a poor woman in the market near by and presented to the priests of the mosque. These pigeons are under the special protection of several priests, who feed them regularly, and every Friday at eight o’clock in the morning distribute food to the dogs that live in that quarter. The scene is very noisy and exciting. The dogs know the dates and appear promptly upon the appointed morning every week, but woe to the stranger cur that attempts[119] to sneak in for a share. He is disposed of without mercy, for the legitimate tenants of the district know each other as accurately as if each had been furnished with a copy of a census. This food is distributed in obedience to a legacy left by a Turkish tailor, who died sixty or seventy years ago with a provision in his will for feeding the dogs on Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath. Beggars, hungry, ragged and diseased, often appear when the dogs are fed and try to snatch morsels of meat from them if possible, but it takes a great deal of courage to do so. The uproar is tremendous. For half a mile around the barking and yelping can be heard, but the inhabitants of the neighborhood are accustomed to it.

At the mosque of St. Andrew, Constantinople, which is in charge of the dervishes, hangs an iron chain which is said to have the power of detecting deceit and dishonesty, and believers who are accused of theft or falsehood often demand the right to be tried by that test, which is usually accorded them. If they are guilty it is indicated by the vibration of the iron. If they are innocent the chain remains at rest. A curious story is told of a Jewish debtor who falsely claimed to have paid his obligations and demanded to be tried by the chain. Before taking his station he asked his creditor to hold his cane, and handed him a hollow staff, in which was concealed the exact amount of money that he owed him. The chain, recognizing that the money had been passed, declared him innocent—which showed that it is influenced by technicalities like many other courts.

There are in Constantinople one hundred and eighty khans—immense stone barracks of two stories covering entire blocks and inclosing square courts which are[120] usually ornamented with trees and fountains. These khans are all very ancient, the oldest having been erected in the time of Constantine and still being used. They are intended for the entertainment and accommodation of traveling merchants, who are provided by the government with lodging and sample-rooms in which to display their wares. Each khan is in charge of a steward, who is the master of everything under its roof, the representative of the Sultan and the government, and the superintendent of a gang of workmen who are employed about the place. A merchant from Persia, Russia, Turkestan or any other part of the earth, having goods for sale, may apply to the steward, and, if an apartment is vacant, is furnished with one or more rooms in which he can sleep and live and receive his customers for a certain length of time without paying rent. If there is no demand for quarters he may retain the rooms indefinitely. Attached to each khan are restaurants and eating-houses at which the occupants may live, but many of them prefer to cook their own meals. Some bring servants with them. The khans are the scenes of constant bustle, dealers in all kinds of merchandise continually passing in and out, and although most of them are dark, damp and uncomfortable, they have contributed a great deal to the commercial importance and activity of the city. Men from the country who are in the habit of trading in Constantinople always go to the same khan, where they are known and expected, just as we have our favorite hotels in the cities we are accustomed to visit. But the khans are open to all merchants, of whatever quality, condition, country or religion.

The tradesmen and artisans of Constantinople still maintain guilds, which prevailed elsewhere throughout[121] Europe for centuries until modern methods of commerce and industry caused them to dissolve by making them unnecessary. The primitive condition of affairs in Constantinople, however, makes them of supreme importance, and they are maintained with the greatest energy and exactness. There were formerly about six hundred different guilds, but by consolidation the number has been reduced to two hundred and seventy-five, which are registered at the office of the minister of the interior and represent a membership of two hundred thousand. They are managed very much like the trades unions of the United States, and no artisan, mechanic or skilled workman can obtain employment in Constantinople without carrying a card of membership in some guild. The workmen are graded according to their ability and accomplishments, an idea which it seems to me could be adopted with advantage by the labor unions of the United States, which recognize no difference between skill and incompetence, and demand the same wages for every man regardless of his power of production.

The Turkish guilds are governed by a president and council, and their funds are derived from the revenues of property owned and fixed contributions, which are chiefly expended in charity, in assistance to sick brethren and to the widows and orphans of deceased members. The discipline is good, the organizations are thorough and extensive, and the public have long since adapted themselves to their conditions. The butchers’ guild is said to be the richest, and owns several million dollars’ worth of property; the bakers and carpenters are the most numerous. The subdivision of trades is amusing. There is a guild of the makers of straw-seated stools, who at some time or[122] another seceded from the guild of the makers of straw-seated chairs and organized independently. There is one guild for barbers who have shops, and a separate guild for barbers who go out to serve customers at their homes or places of business and work upon the public streets. These are the most numerous of the barber guilds, because it is the fashion for men to be shaved at their coffee-houses or their homes or offices, and itinerant barbers go about like bootblacks in our cities. Each guild has a patron, usually some notable scriptural patriarch, but I have not been able to ascertain how this happens. Adam is the patron of the bakers; Eve of the women who work in the Turkish baths; Abel is the patron of the shepherds; Cain of the grave-diggers; Enoch of the inkstand-makers; Noah of the shipwrights, which is perfectly natural and proper, and Elijah of the tailors who make fur coats.

The most interesting places in Constantinople are the bazaars of Stamboul, and they are peculiarly Turkish. They cover entire blocks, divided up into sections by narrow streets or corridors, vaulted over so as to protect from the weather the little booths or shops which line them on both sides. These shops consist of a single room, perhaps fifteen by twenty feet in size, seldom larger, without windows or doors. At night the front is closed with heavy wooden shutters held by iron bars. Around the walls of the interior are shelves upon which the stock of the merchant is stored, and it is very limited, scarcely more than samples of many articles in the same line of trade. One dealer will have nothing but silk shawls, another nothing but calico prints, a third nothing but fezzes. The business is all divided and dealers in the[123] same line of goods occupy the same quarter and sit cross-legged in their shops waiting for customers. Several hundred merchants are found in each of the bazaars, who pay a small rental to the government and are under the control of a superintendent appointed by the minister of the interior, who is supposed to keep the alleys clean and preserve order. Ladies of wealth seldom go into the bazaars to trade. Articles which they wish to purchase are sent to their homes.

There are miles and miles of these little shops, through which one may walk for hours without crossing his own path, glittering with diamonds and other precious stones, ivory and mother-of-pearl, costly perfumes, marvelous carvings in ebony and other cabinet woods, embroidered slippers and jackets, jeweled pipes, necklaces, rare brocades, furs and leather, Persian and Indian shawls, Damascus silks, Bokhara table covers, hammered brass and copper, metal pots and vases covered with inscriptions, porcelain of all kinds, and an infinite variety of articles new and old. There is no fixed price for any article, and a dealer would be disappointed if you purchased at the first figure demanded, because it would prevent him from showing his ability at negotiation. Residents tell you that you must not pay more than half the price asked, and must dicker until the merchant comes down to your figure. If he does not do so you must walk away, when he will certainly follow you and tell you that you may have it at your own price.

There are second-hand dealers in some of the bazaars, and during the month of Ramazan, the Mohammedan Lent, the Turks, who live from hand to mouth, are so much in need of money that they sell their most precious possessions, and careful buyers can pick up[124] wonderful bargains among the second-hand dealers. The ladies of the harems are especially anxious to obtain money at this season to celebrate the approaching feast of Bairam, which corresponds to our Easter, when everybody is supposed to appear in a new dress. When they cannot obtain the money from their husbands they send their servants to the bazaars with jewelry, embroideries, rugs, silver plate and other articles of value, which are sold for almost anything they will bring. On Friday the Turkish stalls in the bazaars are closed, on Saturday all the Jewish stalls, and on Sunday those of the Christians, the Armenians and Greeks.

A certain portion of the bazaars is given up to auction sales, which are very noisy and confusing. It is often impossible for a newcomer to understand what is going on, because the buyers are not contented with shouting their bids once, but keep up an exchange of repartee with the auctioneer as loud as they can yell, which reminds you of the Board of Trade in Chicago. Sometimes in the middle of an auction the hour of prayer will arrive, and the faithful Moslem, who imitates the Pharisees of the Saviour’s time, never neglects his devotions. He will kneel down in the auction-room, in the street or in any other place when he hears the muezzin’s voice, and go through his prayers without regard to publicity.

A friend tells an interesting story about an auction he attended not long ago, in which an English lady was bidding for some rugs. There was a little hush in the confusion, of which she took advantage to ask the auctioneer whether her bid was standing or not. “Yes,” he replied, “yours was the last bid, and I shall knock the carpet down to you in a few moments unless[125] that Moslem who is now saying his prayers offers more.” As Moslem prayers take a long time, the other bidders became impatient and urged the auctioneer to go on. The praying buyer, however, heard the conversation and clutched hold of the rug, but went on bowing his head to the ground and muttering his prayers faster than ever. When he finished he put in another bid, and the carpet was knocked down to him.



St. Sophia is one of the great churches of the world, ranking next to St. Peter’s at Rome in magnitude, majesty and beauty. Three churches of the same name have stood upon the site of this celebrated sanctuary. The first was built by Constantine the Great, completed by his son and successor, Constantius, and dedicated with great pomp on the 15th of February, 316 A. D. The second, which rose upon the ashes of the first, was built by the Emperor Theodosius and dedicated in 415. It was burned during the sedition in 532, and the present edifice was erected by Justinian the Great, after five years and ten months of labor, and was dedicated on Christmas day of the year 537. Constantinople was then the center of the world and the headquarters of the Christian Church, and it was the ambition of that great emperor to embody in this building an expression of his adoration for and devotion to the omniscient and the omnipotent God, to place before the world a symbol combining all things beautiful, all art—then rescued from paganism—all riches, all human thought and skill as a tribute to the Creator. Justinian sought architects, artists, decorators and workmen in every land, and his biographers say that his authority enabled him to choose the most competent and skillful of all mankind to execute the noblest of human enterprises.

The entire world contributed material. As was the custom in those days, the pagan temples were stripped of their treasures to adorn the sanctuary of the true[127] God. The shrines of Isis and Osiris were despoiled to do it honor; the temple of the Sun at Baalbek, of Diana at Ephesus, of Minerva at Athens, of Phoebus at Delos and of Cybele at Cyzicus were robbed of their pillars and columns and adornments of marble and gold. Solomon’s temple at Jerusalem was searched for architectural glories, and every quarry in the civilized world was seized and made to contribute. The wonderful columns of dark green marble which support the galleries came from the temple of Diana at Ephesus, eight columns of dark red porphyry came from the temple of the Sun at Baalbek, other columns under the galleries were formerly in the temples and the palaces of the Cæsars at Rome. The walls of St. Sophia showed the finest specimens of material and handicraft in existence, and the magnificence and variety surpassed all other structures. Every species of marble, granite and porphyry that was considered of any value in the known world is said to have been represented in the construction, and the decorations were of corresponding magnificence.

The altar was more costly than gold, for it was composed of a variety of precious materials imbedded together in gold and silver and incrusted with pearls and jewels, and its cavity, which was called the sea, was set with diamonds, rubies and other costly stones. Above the altar was a tabernacle upon which rested a golden cupola and a golden cross weighing seventy-five pounds, which, it is said, was so thickly veneered with diamonds and other jewels that the gold could not be seen. The seats of the priests and the throne of the patriarchs, arranged in a semicircle behind the altar, were of solid silver. The doors of the temple were of ivory, electrum and silver.


We do not know the cost of this wonderful edifice, except that it weighed heavily upon all classes of the community, for every soul within the dominions of the emperor, which then comprised the civilized world, was compelled to contribute. Finally, as it approached completion, Justinian, who stood by, clad in a cotton tunic, to encourage the hundred thousand workmen, stretched out his arms to Heaven and exclaimed:

“Solomon, I have surpassed thee. God be thanked, who has esteemed me worthy to complete this work.”

And he dedicated it to Divine Wisdom.

The Archangel Michael is said to have been the architect, and revealed the designs to Justinian in a dream. Celestial visitors frequently descended to inspect the progress of the work, and, according to the legends of the time, it could not have been accomplished without them. When the building was approaching completion Justinian ran short of money, whereupon an angel appeared, and, leading the mules of the treasury into a subterranean vault, loaded them with eight thousand pounds of miraculous gold, which relieved the situation. When a dispute arose between the emperor and the architects as to how the light should fall upon the altar, the angel appeared again and instructed them to arrange a corona, or circle of windows, and dedicate three of them to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

It is claimed that the dome was the first of the kind ever erected, but that is a misrepresentation, for the Pantheon at Rome was built many years before. The dome rises over the center of the church to a height of one hundred and seventy-nine feet and is one hundred and seven feet in diameter. The dome of the Pantheon is one hundred and thirty feet, those of St. Peter’s at[129] Rome and Santa Maria at Florence are each one hundred and twenty-six feet, and that of St. Paul’s at London one hundred and eight feet. The interior of St. Sophia is oval in shape, the greatest length being two hundred and fifty feet and the narrowest one hundred feet, with aisles and recesses of eighty feet on either side, making the entire width from wall to wall two hundred and sixty feet. There are one hundred and fourteen columns, forty supporting the galleries and seventy-four the dome. One hundred architects were employed as superintendents, under each of whom were a thousand men, including masons, carpenters, laborers, decorators and others.

Externally the building is very ugly—a mass of irregular blank walls and domes painted a hideous yellow with black stripes, reminding one of a convict’s garb. But the interior is majestic in its beauty, and, according to a famous architectural authority, “is the most perfect and the most beautiful church ever erected by any Christian people.” The chief charm of the interior is its massive simplicity and perfect proportions. It is almost entirely without ornamentation, except the mosaic work upon the walls and ceiling. All the flat surfaces are covered with mosaic laid upon gold. Compared with St. Peter’s at Rome it is as empty as a barn. There are no tombs, no statues, no altars, nothing to obstruct the view in any direction; nothing to conceal the graceful outlines of the arches and the simple coloring of the walls, which is a soft yellow, nearly as deep as an orange and traced with different dark shades of green. I heard a young American critic remark that there was “nothing to see in St. Sophia,” which is almost strictly true, in comparison with the other great churches with which we[130] are familiar. There is a beautiful balcony for the Sultan to occupy in case he should come to St. Sophia to worship, and he would be sheltered by gilded screens. The mihrab, which corresponds to the altar in Roman Catholic churches and indicates the direction of Mecca, towards which Moslems turn in prayer, is a simple recess unadorned, and near by is the mimber, or pulpit. In St. Sophia, as in all mosques which have been secured to Islam by the power of arms, the preacher still mounts the pulpit with sword in hand and hangs out a flag as a symbol of victory and conquest.

The floor of the entire mosque is covered with Turkish rugs of the richest texture, and at intervals of six or eight feet wooden troughs made of undressed lumber stretch across the entire area. These are for the convenience of worshipers and for the promotion of neatness, and when one selects a place to kneel and pray he drops his shoes into a trough. The rugs are divided into sections, plainly marked, so that the faithful cannot have any excuse for crowding each other. At two large fountains they can perform their ablutions before beginning their prayers, and above them is the sensible admonition: “Wash thy sins and not thy face only.”

Nine gates lead into the temple. Over the central one, by which the emperor entered, is painted an open book on a reading desk, surmounted by a dove with outstretched wings. Upon the pages of the book are the words: “I am the door of the sheep. By me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.” In the tympanum above is a mosaic, also dating back to Christian times, representing Christ upon the throne, with the words: “Peace be unto you. I am the light of the world.”


The Mohammedans have retained most of the ornamentation of the Christians, and even here and there a cross is permitted to remain, although most of them were chiseled off centuries ago. There are also several relics of Christ which they refuse to return to the Christians. The most interesting is a cradle of red marble, said to have been used by Jesus, and a basin in which He is said to have been washed.

St. Sophia for fifteen hundred years has been the theater of some of the greatest and most solemn ceremonies in history, and was particularly associated with the Crusades. On one of the piers in the nave is the mark resembling the imprint of a bloody hand, said to have been made by Mohammed II. as his war charger stood upon the bodies of Christian corpses on the day of the capture of Constantinople by the Turks.

All around the mosques are tombs, schools, baths, fountains, shops for the sale of chaplets and other religious articles, hospices for pilgrims, kitchens for the poor and a theological seminary with several thousand students.

The Sultan has many palaces, all of them constructed by his predecessors. He has built none himself, although he altered the Yildiz Kiosk, in which he lives in seclusion, and modernized it a good deal. Most of his palaces are occupied by his seven brothers and sisters, his three married children, and other relatives. Only two of the palaces are ever seen by strangers, and those can be entered only with a permit from the Sultan himself, to whom application must be made with the endorsement of your ambassador. Dolma-Baghtcheh Palace, an enormous mass of glittering marble, with gorgeous gates and a pretty garden around it, stands not far from the city on the European[132] side, and Beyler-Bey, on the Asiatic shore. If exquisitely carved marble, carved wood and gilding, mosaics and mirrors, crystal chandeliers and gorgeous frescoes, priceless rugs, tapestries, gilded furniture and divans upholstered in costly damask, all in a prodigality from which taste is excluded, constitute an ideal palace, Beyler-Bey excels.


At a distance the exterior, shown against the woodlands and the grassy plateaus of the Asiatic shore, makes an exceedingly pretty picture, and Dolma-Baghtcheh as a mass is imposing. When you come to examine the details you wonder without admiration at the lace-work doors, the massive gilt columns, the barbaric domes and the Saracenic arches and a crystal staircase, which must have cost an enormous sum of money. Everything about the place is of the most costly material. The bath and toilet-room connected with the Sultan’s apartments, which is shown with great pride, is lined with slabs of alabaster—floor, walls and ceiling—and the tub is of the same material. There are wash-basins in nearly all the reception-rooms made of onyx and alabaster, which we were told were necessary to take the place of finger-bowls after the people of the court ate sweets. Both the Dolma-Baghtcheh and the Beyler-Bey palaces are mixtures of Moorish, Arabic, Turkish and French architecture and decoration, but the big ballroom, where the Sultans formerly held receptions, is pure French.

We asked the handsome young aide-de-camp, who was detailed by His Imperial Majesty to conduct us through the palaces, how a ball-room was used in a country where gentlemen were not permitted to meet ladies. He explained that in the harems the ladies often danced among themselves for the entertainment[133] of their husbands, although the latter never danced with them, but a ball-room was considered a necessary feature of a palace, and this one had been used on several occasions years ago. The young colonel showed us through the picture gallery also, where there is a collection of paintings made by the late Sultan Abdul Aziz, who evidently knew very little about art. His taste seemed to run to nude women, horses, and battle pictures in which Turkish legions were trampling down their enemies. There were several portraits of Sultans also, notwithstanding the popular impression that the Mohammedan religion forbids the reproduction of the human face and figure.

People who have read fanciful descriptions of Constantinople, penned by poets, artists and other sentimentalists like D’Amicis, for example, who are apt to see more than appears to ordinary eyes, have an impression that the Seraglio of the Sultan is a palace of mysterious seclusion; that it has something to do with the harem and other private affairs of His Imperial Majesty. I supposed so until I came to Constantinople, but it is nothing of the sort. Literally, a seraglio means a portico or vestibule surrounding any habitation, palace, kiosk or mosque, but the term is commonly used as a collective noun, and refers to a collection of buildings used for different purposes, such as the residence of a pasha, his harem, his offices, his stables and the mosque that is attached to all of the large establishments in Turkey. The Seraglio of the Sultan is a large collection of buildings inclosed by a mighty wall, covering the extreme point of the peninsula upon which Stamboul stands, and dividing the Sea of Marmora from the Golden Horn. In its geographical association it corresponds to Battery Park,[134] New York, and is the most conspicuous object one sees upon approaching the city and the last upon which the eye rests when departing. It is also the most interesting spot in all Turkey from a historical standpoint. There is no place in the East except the Holy Land which has so many associations. It is to Constantinople what the Kremlin is to Moscow, the Escurial to Madrid, Potsdam to Berlin, Versailles to Paris, and perhaps we may compare it to Hampton Court near London.

The garden of the Seraglio was the Acropolis of the original city, the site of the Palatium sacrum of Constantine, the citadel of his successors, the palace of Justinian and Placidia, queen of the Goths. Few spots on earth have had a longer or more tragic history. From the gardens of the Seraglio sailed the fleets of the Phoenicians, the war barges of the Romans, the triremes from Asia, the galleys of Darius the Persian, of Xerxes, of Alexander the Great, Philip of Macedon, and I would not be surprised if Agamemnon, Ajax, Achilles and those bold old warriors had landed there many a time. The gilded barges of Venice and Genoa brought their soldiers there and from that landing-place carried away millions of plunder. The feet of the Crusaders trod the gravel walks—Richard the Lion-Hearted, Godfrey de Bouillon, and the Frank emperors made it their headquarters in the time of the Crusades. Since the occupation of Constantinople by the Turks, the resplendent caiques of the Sultans have come and gone, some of them bearing candidates for uneasy thrones, and others, desperate creatures, seeking refuge from a miserable death.

From the time of Mohammed II., who took Constantinople[135] by storm in 1453, to Abdul Medjid, in 1864, who deserted it for the more cheerful palace of the Dolma-Baghtcheh on the banks of the Bosphorus, twenty-two Sultans have been imprisoned or murdered, or died by violence within the palaces of the Seraglio. For four hundred years the fate of the sovereigns of Turkey was subject to the caprice of the all-powerful Janizaries, who made it their headquarters. Up to the beginning of the last century it was the fashion for the Janizaries to decapitate unpopular Sultans and ministers and expose their heads upon the pillars of the gate in order that the public might know what had happened. Two niches on either side of the Sublime Porte, which is the main gateway to the Seraglio, were made for that purpose. Sometimes, however, as a special mark of vengeance or honor, the heads were placed, like that of John the Baptist, upon a silver charger and left outside where the public could examine them closely.

Over the Sublime Porte, a stately arch with ponderous gates, is an Arabic inscription reading: “May Allah ever preserve the glory of the possessor; may Allah ever strengthen his foundations.”

In the first large court, known as the Court of the Janizaries, is an enormous tree called by their name, under which they were in the habit of hatching their conspiracies. It is said to be the largest tree in Europe, and two stunted columns under its far-spreading branches once served as a guillotine. There are many buildings within the walls in addition to the palaces, the harem, the barracks of the soldiers and those used for official purposes. The mint is there, the arsenal, magazines for the storage of explosives, a hospital, the imperial stables, quarters for an army of[136] slaves, several pleasure kiosks and a mosque. The Greek church of St. Irene, erected by Constantine the Great, which was converted into an armory instead of a mosque, is a venerable monument of the Byzantine style of architecture. In the museum of the armory is the scimiter used by Mohammed II. in the siege of Constantinople, the sword of Scanderbeg, the armor of Tamerlane and the porphyry tombs of Constantine, Theodosius, Julian the Apostate and other early Greek emperors.

The Chirkau Scherif, or Hall of the Holy Garment, is the most sacred place in Turkey, for it shelters the mantle of the Prophet Mohammed, his staff, his saber, his standard, and, among other relics, two hairs from his venerable beard, which are inclosed in a casket of gold. The sacred mantle is a long brown robe of camel’s-hair, made in the same shape and style and resembling in appearance those worn by Persian priests. It is inclosed in a frame and covered with cloth-of-gold for protection, with little slits cut in the covering in order that the threads may be seen. The standard of Islam is a green flag or banner, about two feet square, of the finest silk, embroidered with an inscription similar to those seen in all the Mohammedan churches, declaring that “there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” This standard is said to have been carried by Mohammed himself and has ever since been the most significant and sacred egis of the Moslem world, the symbol of el jihad, or call to a religious war, when borne publicly by the Sultan in the mosque of St. Sophia.


There are many other interesting buildings in the Seraglio, some of them famous for their decorations and the carved marble used in their construction.[137] Others are gloomy-looking storehouses for archives and wardrobes for the robes of state—once carefully kept by black eunuchs, now all more or less dilapidated and abandoned. The kitchens cover a large area and are roofed with domes perforated to let out the smoke instead of having the ordinary chimney, and in the olden days it is said that 40,000 oxen was the yearly complement, with a corresponding number of sheep, goats, calves, capons, geese, ducks, pigeons and other supplies.

In August, 1863, several of the ancient buildings were destroyed and damaged by fire, and nowadays the most of them are yellow and dingy, sadly in need of paint and restoration. There is everywhere a look of neglect. Most of the Seraglio is vacant except for the custodians and guards, and everywhere there is a pathetic squalor.

The most beautiful of all the buildings, the famous oriental kiosk known as Tschinili, or the mosque of porcelain, built by the conqueror Mohammed in imitation of one he saw at Bagdad, remains in an excellent state of preservation, for which we are duly grateful, and its portico, with graceful pillars elaborately carved in the most delicate lace-work, its dome starred with gilt coruscations, and lined from ceiling to floor with beautiful blue Persian tiles, look as bright and new as they did on the day they were made. The doors are of bronze, the woodwork is set with mother-of-pearl and the rugs and hangings are of the finest silk. It is altogether the prettiest thing in Constantinople.

Across the court, however, is what we came to see,—the treasury of the Ottoman Empire, or, as it used to be known, the Green Vaults of Constantine. Here is a display of barbaric splendor and a collection of[138] treasure and baubles which no Turk is ever allowed to look upon except the Aghas and eunuchs who are intrusted with its protection, and even they are spies upon each other. No one can enter this building without an order signed by Abrahim Pasha, private secretary to His Majesty. Applications by strangers must be made to the Sultan personally through the ambassador of their country, and he requires several days to consider before granting a permit. Perhaps he makes inquiries as to the character of the applicant, because he is exceedingly jealous of his treasures and always apprehensive lest they should be seen by some person who may make trouble about them.

No resident of Constantinople except the families of the diplomatic corps, no Turk and no person who understands the Turkish language can be admitted, for fear they might give information concerning the millions of dollars’ worth of precious stones and other valuables which would tempt robbers or cause discontent among the poverty-stricken people. When the Sultan tells suppliants that he has no money they might ask him to sell some of the diamonds and pearls and emeralds or melt up some of the gold in his treasury. Very few Turks know what is there. Few members of the Sultan’s household have ever seen the collection. Most of them are gifts, heirlooms and trophies of war. Many have been handed down by twenty-eight generations of Sultans, and it is claimed that the collection has never been disturbed; but that is an exaggeration. No matter how hard-pressed the Sultan may be for money he would not sell any of his treasures, but sometimes he has taken out some trifle for a gift—a jewel or an ornament; something that would not be missed.


There is no such useless wealth in all the world except in the Kremlin at Moscow. That looks larger because it occupies more space and is better arranged for display. The Sultan’s treasures are crowded into two little rooms, arranged without any taste or plan of installation, and the loose and unset jewels, seals and other articles of adornment are kept in big salad-bowls that will hold a couple of gallons. There are five bowls full of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, turquoise and other unset precious stones, perhaps a half bushel altogether, and a large tray about twelve by fifteen inches in size covered with beautiful unmounted pearls. One of the emeralds weighs two kilograms and another is almost of the same size. They are said to be the largest emeralds in the world.

The most gorgeous and overpowering spectacle in the collection is a throne said to be of solid gold set, mosaic-like, with uncut rubies, emeralds and pearls, which formerly belonged to the Shah of Persia, and was captured and brought to Constantinople as the spoil of war by Sultan Selim I. in 1502. There are scepters, armor, sabers, scimiters, pistols, saddles and other equestrian equipments, walking-sticks, sandals and other articles, some of them imbedded with jewels. A toilet table of ordinary size is veneered with diamonds, while the wash-bowl, pitcher and other toilet articles are set thickly with the most beautiful turquoise. There are cups of onyx, crystal and jade; stirrups, bridles and other horse-furniture of gold, and in the corner of a little case is a two-quart bowl filled with diamond buttons, which some time or another fastened the garments of some extravagant sultan. Arranged around the wall are effigies of a dozen or more of the great sultans in their richest robes of state and wearing[140] their favorite jewels. If those effigies could be stripped of their ornaments they alone would make a display of the jeweler’s art that would be worth exhibition. There is no catalogue, and I was prohibited from taking notes. Newspaper men are never knowingly admitted, lest they should publish descriptions of the riches of the treasury and give the Sultan hysterics.

The ceremony of opening the doors was quite interesting. There are two sets of keys for everything, and they are held by two custodians who have nothing to do with each other and are supposed to be enemies. Each has a guard of twenty-four men, who live apart and are forbidden to associate with each other or have any more than the strictest official communication. Representatives of each of these squads are on duty at all times and are expected to act as spies on each other. They are peculiar-looking people and wear a queer livery—a high-buttoned coat of black broadcloth like an Episcopal clergyman, with a red fez.

Our card of invitation fixed our reception at 11:30 a.m. We arrived a little before that hour, to find that the custodians had anticipated us and had drawn up their guards in two lines facing each other. One of the chiefs then went forward and unlocked his share of the fastenings. Then the other came forward and used his keys. Each was accompanied by at least twelve men, and under the regulations could not turn a bolt until they all were present. If anyone had been absent we would have been compelled to wait for him or come another day. And every one of these guards expected a liberal fee. The cost of looking at the Sultan’s treasures amounted to $35. After the inspection we were invited to a pavilion where coffee, sweets and cigarettes were served with great formality.[141] While we were there an accident happened. Our courier, in reply to an inquiry, unintentionally dropped a few words of Turkish, and there was great excitement. One of the officials took him aside and put him through a close examination, but finally accepted his explanation that he was not a Turk nor a resident of Turkey, and was not familiar with the language, but had learned a few words during the recent war with Greece, when he had served as a dragoman for an English newspaper correspondent.



Upon the summit of a bold promontory, overlooking the Bosphorus, almost midway between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmora, one hour’s ride by boat from Constantinople, stands a monument. No man could need or wish a nobler one. It is called Robert College, and was erected about forty years ago by a New York merchant, Christopher R. Robert, who was interested in Turkish trade. It has an appropriate place. A lighthouse should always stand were it can see and be seen, and Robert College has done more to enlighten the East than any other agency. Little passenger boats, like those upon the Thames in London and upon the Seine in Paris, run regularly or rather irregularly, up and down the Bosphorus, touching the many little suburban settlements along its shores. At Bebek, a pretty town much frequented by European residents of Constantinople, is a Protestant church, where formerly stood a temple to Artemis Dictynna. After the Turks obtained possession palaces were laid out there, and at one of them, called “The Kiosk of the Conferences,” the Sultans used to receive ambassadors secretly, without the knowledge of their ministers and other officials of the government, and there several important treaties between the Ottoman Empire and the European Powers were negotiated and signed. The Bosphorus is only about eight hundred yards wide at this point. Near Bebek was the celebrated bridge over which Darius led the Persian armies into Europe.[143] A throne was hewn in a rock at the top of the promontory on which he sat and watched his army crossing from Asia. Two pillars of white marble inscribed with the names of the nations that contributed to his army formerly stood there, according to Herodotus, but have since been removed.


Passengers for the college land from the boats at Bebek and follow an easy path up a hill beside an ancient cemetery and under the shadow of the walls of Rumili Hisar, a mighty castle built by Mohammed II. in 1453 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 pleasant way with him. The ruins are as picturesque and extensive as any in Europe, and the towers are almost perfect after nearly six hundred 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 laborers in the construction, and to each mason was assigned the task of building two yards of wall in three months. By this division of labor 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.”

There are other interesting places in the neighborhood, but Robert College is the most interesting of[144] all. The institution is built and conducted upon the American plan. You might fancy that the dormitories and lecture-rooms and library of some institution in Ohio or Illinois had been lifted bodily and transported there. They are of solid masonry and as nearly fireproof as it is possible to make them. Dr. Washburn, the president, has a comfortable home within the grounds, of corresponding architecture and material, and the residences of the faculty are scattered around the neighborhood inside and outside the walls. It is not necessary to describe the buildings, for they are so much like our own. In the basement of the principal dormitory is the common dining-room at which the boarding students take their meals and the day students their lunches, and that, too, is conducted upon the American rather than the Turkish plan. The same can be said of the dormitories, the library and the gymnasium. The preparatory department has a new building, the gift of Miss Stokes, of New York, which cost $40,000. Other buildings are greatly needed, because the present accommodations are not sufficient for the demands upon them. It is a lamentable fact that students have to be turned away every year because there is no room for them. The institution has done incalculable good, but it might do more. Its usefulness could be materially increased with a little more room and a little more money.

The gymnasium and playground are considered of unusual importance, as the faculty encourage athletics not only for physical, but for moral and social culture. Football, cricket, baseball and other athletic sports are the most effective equalizers that can be adopted. The students of the college come from all ranks, castes and from every social stratum, but social distinctions[145] are not recognized at Robert College any more than at our institutions at home, and there is always more or less difficulty in reconciling the representatives of the favored classes to the doctrine of human equality. The football field, however, is a pure democracy, where all meet on the same level and the best man wins the greatest degree of respect and exercises the greatest influence.

Robert College is not a missionary institution, nor is it sectarian in any respect. Its object is to afford the young men of Turkey and the surrounding countries facilities for acquiring such an education as will best fit them for professional and business life. It aims to combine the highest moral training with the most complete mental discipline. The purpose of the faculty is to adapt it to the needs of the people and develop Christian manliness among the students without attempting to teach them theology. The plan of discipline and instruction is the same as in the ordinary colleges in America. The recitations and lectures are all in English. American text-books only are used. Students are required to attend chapel daily and religious services on Sunday. No exceptions are made either for Jews or Gentiles, Roman Catholics or Mohammedans. They study the evidences of Christianity just as they study moral philosophy, political economy and geology. The course of study has been selected with a view to the practical application of learning, as well as intellectual development. The regular collegiate department occupies five full years. The tuition fees, including board and lodging, are $200 a year. Tuition without board is $40 a year, and tuition and luncheon daily $65 a year. There are several scholarships which are utilized to the assistance of[146] worthy young men upon the recommendation of the faculty.

The board of trustees has its office in New York. The president is John S. Kennedy, the secretary Edward B. Coe and the treasurer Frederick A. Booth. John Sloane, Cleveland H. Dodge, William T. Booth, William C. Sturgis, Robert W. de Forrest and William Church Osborn constitute the board. The faculty is mixed, a majority of them being natives of the East—Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Roumanians and Turks—all graduates of the institution and members of the Protestant faith. Dr. George Washburn is the president; and his father-in-law, Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, was the actual founder of the institution. In 1860 Christopher R. Robert, having visited Constantinople, was deeply impressed with the necessity for an institution of higher learning there, and invited Dr. Hamlin to join him in founding an institution which should offer to young men, without distinction of race or creed, a thorough American education. Dr. Hamlin opened the college in a rented house in Bebek in 1863. Mr. Robert furnished all the funds to sustain the institution until his death, in 1878, when he bequeathed to the college one-fifth of his estate, amounting to about $400,000. Articles of incorporation were secured in New York in 1864, and in 1869 the Sultan of Turkey was persuaded by the American minister at Constantinople to issue an irade conferring upon the institution all the advantages bestowed by the imperial government upon schools in Turkey. On July 4, 1869, the corner-stone of the first building was laid by E. J. Morris, the American minister, and it was completed in 1871. It still stands as the principal building of the college, and is known as Hamlin Hall.


Other buildings have been erected since with funds contributed by friends of the college in America, and since the death of Mr. Robert the endowment fund has been increased by generous contributions from other American citizens. The college is almost self-supporting. The receipts from tuition fees cover the salaries of the professors, leaving a balance to be paid from the income of the endowment fund which is greater or less according to circumstances. The total annual expenses are within $50,000 a year, which is a very small average for three hundred and eleven students, of whom one hundred and eighty-two sleep and board in the college.

The students come from all parts of Asia Minor, Turkey in Europe, Greece and the Balkan States—the largest number from the immediate neighborhood of Constantinople; the next largest from Greece, Bulgaria and Roumania, but almost every nation is represented. The Greeks outnumber the rest, having had one hundred and twenty-seven representatives in 1902, the Armenians one hundred and eight and the Bulgarians fifty-one. Then came the Turks, Israelites, Roumanians, Austrians, French, Russians, English and Americans, Assyrians, Georgians, Persians and Levantines in order. The parents of the students belong to almost every religious faith represented in Constantinople, and are willing to sacrifice their religious scruples in order to obtain the educational advantages of the college.

The policy of the Turkish government makes it difficult and often impossible for Turks to attend the institution, and hence there are no professed Moslems among the students. It would be unsafe and it might be fatal for any student to declare himself a Moslem.[148] It is suspected, however, that students belonging to that faith have enrolled themselves as members of others. Young men who have come from different parts of Turkey to enter the college are often arrested and imprisoned upon their arrival. Dr. Washburn says, however, that the minister of police is usually reasonable, and when satisfied that they have come in good faith he delivers them to the treasurer of the institution and holds him responsible for their behavior. In 1901 one of the students was detained in prison for two months on the charge of bringing seditious literature into the country. The police inspectors found in his luggage two pieces of music which can be bought at any music store in Constantinople, but for some reason or another the charge was pressed against him and it cost his father a large sum of money to obtain his release.

The graduates are found in high places throughout the East. Many of them occupy conspicuous positions under the governments of Bulgaria, Roumania and the neighboring countries. At one time four of the Robert College alumni were in the ministry of Bulgaria, including the late Mr. Stoiloff, who was recognized as the ablest statesman in that country after Stambouloff’s death, and was prime minister from 1894 to 1901.

Eleven different services are held in Protestant churches in Constantinople every Sunday in four different languages. Three by the Church of England—one in the chapel of the embassy, for the British ambassador has a chaplain and a physician furnished by his government, as well as a secretary; at St. Paul’s Church, which was erected fifty years ago as a memorial to the English soldiers who died in the Crimean war, and in a chapel in the suburbs at ancient Calcedon.[149] At a chapel connected with the Dutch embassy, union services are held by the Presbyterians, Methodists and Dutch Reformed. There is also a chapel connected with the German embassy and a Lutheran chaplain. Besides these there are churches under the direction of the American Board of Foreign Missions, attended by Protestants at Robert College, at the American College for Girls at Scutari and at the American and English colony at Bebek on the Bosphorus. The Scotch Presbyterians and the Established Church of Scotland each has a house of worship, and the French Protestants residing in Galata and Pera have a very pretty church. Protestant missions to the natives are scattered all over the city and are conducted by British, German, Dutch and American societies. The American Board of Foreign Missions has one hundred and seventy-six missionaries in Turkey, including forty men and over one hundred unmarried women. The British and Dutch Reformed missionaries are almost as numerous. In all Turkey there are about 50,000 registered Protestants and 13,000 communicants in the various churches, being mostly Greeks and Armenians. As we were particularly interested in the work of the American missionaries only, I did not obtain the statistics of the others, but the American Board alone has one hundred and thirty organized native churches, twenty-five of which are self-supporting. In the city of Constantinople are two large congregations of Armenian and Greek Protestants, who have already purchased lots to erect houses of worship and have raised funds for that purpose, but are prohibited from doing so by the officials. They have made applications for building permits frequently from time to time during the last[150] eight or ten years, which have always been denied them, and even the American minister cannot exert sufficient influence to secure that privilege. No Protestant church can be erected in Constantinople. No man dare sell a piece of land for the purpose. The churches already standing have been erected under the patronage of the different foreign legations and embassies.

A number of high standard colleges are maintained by the missionary boards in Turkey, as well as schools of all grades. The colleges are now educating a total of 3,000 students, and the pupils in the schools number over 20,000, most of these institutions being self-supporting. The students come chiefly from the mercantile class, and only about one-fourth of them are Protestants. The remainder represent all creeds and races, although the Mohammedan believers are few. More than three-fourths of the students pay full tuition, ranging from $40 to $250 a year, according to location and circumstances. There are scholarships for the benefit of poor students, but they are usually reserved for such young men and women as are studying for the mission work and for teaching in the mission schools.

From 1856 to 1876, from the Crimean war to the reign of Abdul Hamid II., the present Sultan, religious liberty prevailed throughout all Turkey, and, the government encouraging Mohammedans to enter the schools, they came in large numbers. But under the present Sultan the policy has been to restrict education and keep the people in ignorance, and no Moslem can attend a Protestant school without rendering himself and his family the objects of suspicion and persecution of all sorts. The father may[151] be arrested upon false charges, sent to prison and his property confiscated, or the son may be accused of “discontent” (a crime which is very prevalent) and be sent to prison for months or years, or some member of the family may be charged with membership in the “Young Turkey” party, which is an offense punishable by death or banishment. Any of these things is likely to occur without the slightest justification, and they are intended as discipline to prevent proselyting by the Protestants among Mohammedans, and to make the Protestant schools unpopular. A Christianized Mohammedan cannot live in Turkey. He is compelled to leave the country, for as soon as the fact is known he is either assassinated or thrown into prison. Mohammedans who accept Christianity are very few. A somewhat notable case occurred recently—perhaps two. I have heard two versions with different names, but am confident they refer to the same person.

The son of a prominent pasha who held a commission in the Turkish army became acquainted with an American family and visited them frequently for the purpose of improving his English conversation. He became quite intimate with them, accompanied them to church and read books on religious subjects which were loaned by them. He decided to formally renounce the religion of his fathers and become a Protestant, but was compelled to leave the country as soon as his intentions were known. If his father had not condemned his own son with great promptness the entire family would have been involved in danger. The young man fled on an English ship, reached the United States about the time of the opening of the Spanish war, enlisted in the army, served through the Santiago campaign, was promoted for efficiency and[152] has since been appointed a second lieutenant. It is impossible for him to return to Turkey. He would be assassinated by some fanatic if the government police did not get him first and arrest him upon some pretext. He would then disappear and nobody would dare ask questions as to his fate. It would be dangerous to do so. This case is known to every Protestant family and throughout the upper classes of Constantinople, and all other examples of the conversion of Moslems are equally familiar because they are so few. There is, nevertheless, a good deal of missionary work done by the Protestants among the Mohammedans, and at least 5,000 copies of the Bible in the Turkish language are sold in the Ottoman Empire every year, which shows an interest among the people; but the government officials and the Mohammedan priests are so vigilant that the purchasers would not be willing to have their names known. In fact, the Bible House was prohibited from publishing the Bible in the Turkish language for many years and was originally compelled by the censor to print upon the title page a warning that the book was intended for Protestants only.

The educational system of the Turks is not entirely bad, but is mostly for religious instruction. The mekteb, or primary schools, are numerous, and afford every boy and girl in the city an opportunity to learn to read and write and obtain a knowledge of the Koran. Such schools are attached to every mosque in the empire. The ibtidaiyeh, or secondary schools, afford opportunities for learning geography, arithmetic, history and the modern languages, but there are only twenty of these schools in all Constantinople for a million and more people. The medresseh, or colleges, teach philosophy, logic, rhetoric, theology[153] and Turkish law, and generally take the place of the universities found in other countries. They are the highest educational institutions maintained by the Turkish government. There are schools of law, medicine, mines and forestry, art, and a manual-training establishment supported by the government, with nine large institutions for military and naval education. The Greeks, Armenians and Jews each have their own schools connected with their churches and maintained by private contributions. Some of them offer a high standard of education and have fine libraries.

There is a Protestant college for girls at Scutari, on the opposite side of the Bosphorus, which offers education for young women and has an average of one hundred and seventy-five pupils. It has been established for a quarter of a century, and has sent out a large number of useful teachers of nine different nationalities, who are now engaged throughout different parts of the Turkish Empire and the neighboring countries. Miss Mary M. Patrick, the president, is assisted by a faculty of six American professors and fifteen other instructors. You must not think, however, that the Americans are the only people who are doing good in an educational way in the Sultan’s dominions. The English, the Germans, the Swiss, the French and the Austrians all have institutions for the education of the natives, more or less supported by charities.

The editor of a Turkish newspaper is surrounded by numerous embarrassments, yet, notwithstanding the strict censorship to which it is subjected, the press exercises a much wider influence than it is given credit for, considering that the first newspaper was not published, and that no private printing-office was allowed[154] in Turkey until during the Crimean war. There are daily papers in all of the large towns of the interior. Each vilayet, or province, has an official journal. In Constantinople the newspapers are innumerable—political, religious, literary, scientific and commercial—and are published in more different languages than in any other city in the world. There are papers in Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Syriac, Persian, Spanish and in three different dialects of the Turkish language. During the Crimean war papers sprang up in Constantinople like mushrooms, and were free so far as formal regulations were concerned until a press law was promulgated in 1861, under which the publication of articles reflecting upon the Sultan, the government, the church, the police and other officials was prohibited and certain political and religious topics were tabooed. In case of violation of the law the responsible editor was punished by fine, imprisonment or the suspension of his newspaper.

A few years later the minister of the interior assumed arbitrary authority over the press, and when an article appeared that displeased him he punished the editor, suppressed the paper and confiscated the property at his pleasure. This continued until about 1886, when a preventive censorship was adopted and a press bureau was added to the private cabinet of His Majesty the Sultan. Representatives of this bureau are detailed to assist the editors of newspapers and are paid by them. Liberality is a matter of mutual agreement. The more they are paid the less trouble they cause, and if they do not receive as much as they want they generally find means to revenge themselves. The censors have desks in the newspaper offices and proof[155] slips of every article must be submitted for their approval, which is indicated by a rubber stamp and signature. The proof slips thus marked are carefully filed away for the protection of the editor. The censors are usually incapable of forming an opinion as to the merits or effect of a political or economic article, but have a quick eye for prohibited subjects and words. Editors very soon get to understand them, and by the exercise of a little tact are able to handle them without difficulty. But certain rules must be observed. Nobody, of course, dare speak ill of the Sultan or of his government. Everything done by them must be approved; foreign relations cannot be touched upon, and religious discussions must be avoided so far as they affect Mohammedans. Nothing can appear which relates to political revolutions, insurrections or disturbances of any kind in other countries. If all the cabinets in Europe should resign, if a political revolution should break out in England and King Edward’s throne should be overturned, the fact would never be mentioned in a Turkish newspaper. No particulars of the assassinations of King Humbert and of President McKinley were printed—only the announcement of their deaths, which the readers would infer were due to natural causes. It is not safe to let the discontented element in Turkey know that kings or presidents can be killed. They might take a hint.

Nowhere at any of the courts of Europe do the diplomatic representatives of the United States appear to so great a disadvantage among the ambassadors and ministers of other Powers as at Constantinople, and Congress should do something to improve their position for the dignity and honor of our government. If[156] there should be trouble at the Turkish capital to-morrow or next week—and it is likely to occur at any time—the American minister, the members of his legation, the consul-general and his staff and their families would be compelled to take refuge at the British embassy. They might, of course, go to the German or Russian embassy, but our relations with the British are more intimate there, as well as elsewhere, because of a similarity of language and mutual interests. At all capitals the interests of citizens of the United States are protected by the representatives of Great Britain when our own ministers are absent, and vice versa, and the records of our legations and consulates are always intrusted to the British diplomatic and consular officials, and theirs to ours, whenever necessary. Our minister and consul-general, with their secretaries and attachés, would be welcome at the British embassy, which has often extended its hospitality to their predecessors, but it is nevertheless a humiliating fact that they are dependent upon other nations for protection when Uncle Sam is great enough and rich enough to provide for his own agents in foreign countries.

The doctrine of extra-territoriality prevails in Turkey—that is, the citizens of each nation residing there are tried for offenses according to their own laws, and before their own diplomatic and consular representatives. It does not matter who the plaintiff is. He may be a Turk or a Dutchman; the nationality of the defendant determines the court and the law by which an offense shall be tried, for every offense he may commit, from murder down to petty larceny. Hence court is held regularly at the various embassies and legations, petty offenses being tried before the[157] consuls, and those of a more serious character before the minister or ambassador. The Turkish officials have nothing to do with them.

Turkish law is founded on the Koran, the teachings of famous Khalifs and other disciples of Islam, and upon decisions rendered upon questions proposed to the Sheik-ul-Islam, the head of the Moslem Church, who is the court of final appeal and has authority to overrule all magistrates. The teachings of the Koran and the prophet and such precedents, maxims and decisions are codified and published in a volume divided into chapters relating to commercial affairs, penal offenses, etc., and the canon, or ecclesiastic, and common law. To them are added the firmans, or proclamations, of the Sultan, which permit or forbid certain things among his subjects, and the regulations provided by the police authorities which generally stand from year to year. The kazasskers, or justices, as we would call them, a body of theologians, jurists and teachers of Moslem law, are supposed to assist the Sheik-ul-Islam in the investigation and decision of questions of law, and prepare briefs for him to sign. There is also a court known as the Ulema, of minor jurisdiction.

All residents of Turkey are supposed to belong to some religious society, or millet, and are reached through the head of their particular community. Theoretically each millet is allowed the free exercise of religion, the management of its own monasteries, schools, hospitals and charitable institutions and in certain cases judicial authority. The chief millets are Roman Catholic, Greek, Orthodox, Armenian, Jewish, Protestant, Bulgarian, Maronite, Nestorian and Greek Roman Catholic; and each citizen, no matter how[158] humble, is required to be registered as a member of one of these millets. In case he has committed an offense he has the nominal right to appeal to the head of his sect for protection, and on the other hand the patriarch or chief of each millet is nominally the medium through which the laws and orders of the Turkish government are enforced; but this is purely theoretical. Men who are accused of crime or misdemeanor are hauled up by the Turkish police and cast into prison without mercy or justice and remain there until their friends can raise money enough to buy them out or the diplomatic agent of their government appears to protect them.

In the embassy courts no account is taken of Turkish law or mode of procedure, and the proceedings are conducted exactly as they would be at home. Our consul-general has a clerk of court, a United States marshal and other judicial officers, whose powers and duties correspond precisely to those of similar officials at home, and our government has a prison also for the detention of offenders. The business of the United States court, however, is very small compared with that of other legation courts, because we have very few citizens in Constantinople. There are only about two hundred Americans in Turkey all told, and they are mostly missionaries, who do not often appear in the consular courts. But some of the embassies—the Russian, the German, Austrian and French—do considerable business.

Each of the European Powers, even Holland and Belgium, has a handsome residence and legation building. The German embassy is one of the finest edifices in Constantinople. None but the palaces of the Sultan exceed it in dimensions or pretensions. It[159] stands in a conspicuous place and may be seen from all parts of the city. The Russian embassy is an enormous building, surrounded by a high wall, and has a hospital connected with it. The British embassy is also a fine building. Our minister usually has to live in a hotel because it is always difficult and often impossible to rent a suitable residence. At present only one house in Constantinople fit for the purpose can be secured. It belongs to an Italian nobleman who has returned to his former home in Italy, and stands in one of the most convenient and desirable sections of the city, but the cellar is full of water and cannot be kept dry. The walls are saturated with moisture, and hence the prospect of leasing it is not good. Usually the United States minister rents a residence at Therepia, a suburban town a few miles up the Bosphorus, where several of the European governments have legations for the use of their representatives during the hot season, when the heat and the filth make it impossible for them to live in the city. On the first of July the entire diplomatic corps moves en masse from Constantinople to Therepia and remains there until the first of November, when it is again safe to return. The ambassadors or their secretaries come to town nearly every day for the transaction of necessary business and to communicate with the officials of the government, and are provided with yachts for the journey. Our government is the only one of importance which does not have a yacht for the use of its minister lying at anchor near the custom-house. During the summer months he is permitted to lease a little steam launch, but at the close of the season it is sent back to its owner.

These yachts have, however, a purpose which is[160] much more important, but it is not often mentioned. The condition of affairs in Turkey is similar to that in China, and the members of the diplomatic corps are exposed at all times to the same dangers that imperiled the legations at Peking two years ago. When a mob of Moslems, whose religion teaches them that it is their duty to kill Christians, takes possession of the city of Constantinople, it does not distinguish between foreigners. All persons who do not profess the Moslem faith are infidels and must die, no matter whether they are Armenians or English or Austrians, and the police and other officials have no means of controlling or directing the ignorant and fanatical Turks. It is considered necessary, therefore, that the members of the different embassies and legations should have means of escape always at hand, and hence the long line of steam yachts anchored at a convenient situation near the foreign quarter of the city. Germany, Russia, England, France, Austria and Italy always have gunboats anchored in the Bosphorus as an additional protection. The Turkish government requires them to be small. As a rule it will not permit a foreign man-of-war to pass the Dardanelles, but these guard-boats, as they are called, are admitted to be necessary by the police themselves, and by special treaty provision are allowed to anchor off the city.

Public confidence in the government is so small that nearly all the European nations have their own mail service. The British, German, French, Austrians and Russians have distinct and separate postoffices, because the subjects of those nations residing in Turkey cannot trust the Turkish mails. This is done with the consent of the Sultan, and is regulated by treaty stipulations. The postoffices are open to the public[161] and can be used by anyone. The mail is put into bags, sealed and shipped by railroad to the nearest convenient point within the territory of the nation interested. The British mail goes to London, the French mail to Marseilles, the Austrian to Budapest and the Russian to Odessa. The seals are broken at those places, and the contents of the bags are turned over to the regular postal officials. At the British postoffice British stamps are sold, surcharged with the value in Turkish money. The same is true of all the other postoffices.

Tourists can no longer visit the great “Cistern of the 1,001 Pillars,” which was formerly one of the most interesting objects in Constantinople. It was built in the time of Constantine for the purpose of storing water, is one hundred and ninety-five feet long, one hundred and sixty-seven feet wide and twenty-seven feet deep. The roof is sustained by a vast forest of columns, and it is the popular notion that they number one more than a thousand. It is estimated that the cistern formerly held enough water to supply the population of Stamboul for ten days, but it has not been used since 1850 for that purpose. Constantinople has an excellent water system carried in aqueducts running to various quarters of the city. For many years this and several other great cisterns, having been pumped out, were used for storage of government supplies, but of late they have been practically abandoned, and certain Armenian manufacturers of rope, carpets and other articles which required more room than light, have been using them rent free, because of their large size and other advantages. During the massacre of 1896, however, the Turkish mob surprised the Armenians at work in this cistern and killed between sixty[162] and seventy in cold blood. Their bodies were allowed to remain in the cistern unburied and are there still. Hence it is not an agreeable place to visit.

Two thousand children, orphans of people who lost their lives in that massacre, are employed in a carpet factory in the suburbs of Constantinople.






In the early days, at the time of that great soldier, Philip of Macedon, the name of Thrace was applied to the whole district south of the Danube. It was inhabited by a savage race, which Philip and his successor, Alexander, brought under subjection and incorporated into their empire. Early in the Christian era the Emperor Vespasian conquered the country, and it became a Roman province, and remained such until the horde of eastern barbarians swept up the valley of the Danube about the beginning of the third century. Among them were the Bulgari, an Asiatic clan, who remained in possession of the Balkan Mountain region and gave it their name. During subsequent centuries they founded the great Bulgarian Empire, which attained the zenith of its power during the reign of the Czar Simeon (893-927 A.D.), but fell under Byzantine rule in the eleventh century.

The first appearance of Russia in the affairs of Bulgaria was a most important event, for it has affected the politics of the country until this very day. One August morning in the year 967 A.D. 10,000 men landed from a Russian fleet at the mouth of the Danube. They were led by a valiant and hardy warrior named Sviatoslav, whose food was horseflesh and whose bed[166] was a bearskin laid upon the ground. Since then the Russians, by reason of racial and religious relationship, have claimed the right to interfere in the affairs of the country, and no nation has shown greater sympathy with the unhappy people who have suffered so much from Turkish oppression.

The balance of power in Europe prevents the annexation of the Balkan States to the Russian Empire. Austria and Germany will not permit the Czar to extend his boundaries to the Mediterranean, but no power has yet been able to counteract the Russian influence in Bulgarian politics or prevent the Bulgarians from appealing to the Great White Bear when they are in danger or distress. Russian influence is paramount in Bulgaria to-day, not only because of affection, but for two other reasons: In the first place, the people are not strong enough to resist it, and in the second place, it is important for the Bulgarians to cultivate the friendship of their powerful neighbor in anticipation of events which may occur at any time. To no other source can they look for assistance.


In the twelfth century occurred the second Russian invasion of Bulgaria, which was so general as to cause a fusion of races and the adoption of the Slav language and religion, which has been used by Russia as a pretext for exercising a protectorate over southeastern Europe. In the fourteenth century the Turks drove the Russians out, and in 1389 the country was brought completely under Ottoman rule, which continued until the close of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-78. The pretext for that war was the protection of the members of the Greek Church against the cruelties and persecutions of the Turkish officials, and Mr. Gladstone, although out of power at the time in England,[167] undoubtedly did more to bring it about than any other influence, by the publication of a pamphlet entitled “The Bulgarian Atrocities.” With fervid eloquence he described the sufferings of the Christians, and Eugene Schuyler, then United States consul-general at Constantinople, prepared a report which furnished the facts to sustain the appeal of Mr. Gladstone in awakening sympathy and indignation throughout the civilized world. The state of public feeling justified Alexander II. of Russia in undertaking to protect and avenge the victims of Moslem cruelty, who professed the same religion and spoke almost the same language as himself. While the motives of the Russian government may not have been entirely disinterested, the crusade was so just that public opinion overlooked the fact that it had been striving several hundred years to annex European Turkey to its own great empire and make Constantinople its southern capital.

Alexander II. was a humane man. He emancipated 40,000,000 of serfs, and, if his life had been spared a few years longer, he would have given the Russian people a liberal allowance of self-government and transformed an autocratic despotism into a constitutional monarchy. The Bulgarians worship his memory. They have erected a monument in his honor, and have called their principal park by his name. His portrait may be seen in the cabins of the peasants as well as in the palace of the reigning prince. At every stationer’s and news-stand, in every shop where postage stamps are sold, postal cards bearing his picture over the title “Liberator of Bulgaria” may be purchased. More of them are sold than of any other variety and this devotion and gratitude has continued for nearly a quarter of a century. One of the principal streets of Sofia is[168] named in honor of Mr. Gladstone, and his portrait is also printed on postal cards, although I saw no recognition of Mr. Schuyler’s services to that country.

The blood that was spilled in behalf of Bulgaria in the siege of Plevna and in the defense of Shipka Pass was not shed in vain; and, as the price of peace, Russia demanded and Turkey consented in the Treaty of San Stefano that Bulgaria and Macedonia, known on the map as Rumelia, should be independent of the Sultan’s authority. But the other jealous Powers of Europe unfortunately interfered with this arrangement, and, at a conference in Berlin, created a new nation called Bulgaria, defining its limits as they appear upon current maps, but leaving out Macedonia and providing that it should be under “the direct political and military authority of the Sultan” with a Christian governor-general. It was also stipulated that religious freedom and tolerance should be guaranteed by the Turks, and that the people of the various provinces should have the privilege of electing their own magistrates and enacting their own laws, subject to the general approval of the imperial authorities at Constantinople. Various other important reforms were also promised by the Sultan affecting taxation, the protection of personal and property rights, and the general welfare of the people. If these pledges and stipulations had been carried out according to the letter of the treaty, Rumelia would be a happy, prosperous and peaceful country to-day, but the Powers at Berlin must have known that the Sultan of Turkey never kept a promise, and probably never will, and the childlike faith with which they accepted his profuse assurances of reform is the most astonishing phenomenon in political history.


When the great Powers met at Berlin after the close of the Russo-Turkish war, they told the people of Bulgaria that they might thereafter manage their own affairs and select their own king, subject to the approval of the Sultan. They were required to pay him annual tribute in lieu of the taxes which he used to collect in Bulgaria, but the amount was not definitely fixed, and the financial relations of the two countries are in a hopeless muddle, and will some time require an international commission to adjust them. Bulgaria was also held responsible for a share of the Turkish national debt, but it has never been definitely apportioned. As soon as their neighbors had decided what the Bulgarians must do, an election was ordered, and a legislative assembly chosen under the supervision of Russian soldiers, who interfered more or less at the polls, and endeavored to influence the voting by bulldozing, moral suasion, gilded promises and other inducements. A curious constitution was also prepared by a shrewd Russian politician and adopted by the people, although very few of them were able to comprehend it. In fact, nobody pretends to understand the document, and it was evidently intended to be ambiguous.

After a good deal of conferring and correspondence the national assembly selected as their sovereign Prince Alexander of Battenberg, a man of twenty-four, then holding a commission as lieutenant upon the staff of his great-uncle, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and stationed at Potsdam. Alexander was directly or indirectly connected with several of the reigning families of Europe, and was therefore believed to be impartial. He was a nephew of the Czar of Russia, and his brother Henry was the husband of[170] Queen Victoria’s daughter Beatrice. He was a great favorite with everybody, because of his amiable disposition, his frank and brave nature and his sterling integrity. The people of Bulgaria gave him a cordial welcome, and he commenced a series of reforms, said to have been recommended by Prince Bismarck, who took great interest in his career. He proved to be a good king, unselfish, warm-hearted, patriotic and ambitious to promote the welfare of the people whose destiny he was selected to control. But he was too frank and honest to cope with the conspirators by whom he was surrounded. The Bulgarians had been under Turkish bondage for five centuries, and were unfitted to govern themselves, like all people who have been subject to tyranny. They were even worse than the Cubans or the Filipinos. Bismarck said they “had been put into the saddle before they learned to ride.” The situation was aggravated by the jealousy of the surrounding nations—Germany, Austria, Russia, Turkey and Greece—which were inclined to use Bulgaria as a football in their political games. Russia was disappointed and vindictive because the other Powers had not permitted her to enjoy the fruits of her victory over the Turks and was determined to recover control of Bulgaria by intrigue, which has been done.

The lack of educated natives in Bulgaria made it necessary to fill nearly all of the important military and civil offices with foreigners, and the Russians obtained the most influential places. Clever men were sent from St. Petersburg to cultivate public sentiment and by mercenary and other means to influence the elections. The parliament, or Sobranje, as it is called, consists of a single chamber, elected by the[171] votes of all citizens who can read and write. The ministry are absolutely independent of the chamber, and no parliamentary action can upset them. They are responsible only to the ruling prince, who also has entire authority to appoint and dismiss the officers of the army and the civil service. The only way the Sobranje can control him is by withholding appropriations, and in case of a deadlock with the sovereign there is no one to decide.

Bulgaria, without the slightest experience or preparation, was suddenly transformed into an independent state, with the machinery of the government entirely in the hands of foreigners, who were not only jealous, but hostile towards each other.

People say that Alexander lacked judgment and discretion; that he talked too much; that he was no diplomatist; that he quarreled with his advisers; that he was lamentably deficient in the arts of the politician, and was too liberal and lenient to govern a country which had never known any ruler but a despot. This is probably true. If Alexander could have had a sagacious and experienced statesman to guide him, he might have had a different fate. But, under his brief administration, Bulgaria made extraordinary progress, and if he had been allowed to remain upon the throne, by this time it would have advanced to a gratifying position among nations. When he came to Sofia the entire country was in a state of anarchy, a hundred times worse than Cuba after the Spanish war. The people had been suffering horrors that shocked the civilized world, and had been oppressed by cruelty that cannot be described. Being exasperated into resistance, their oppressors punished them with sword and torch. The number of[172] victims is unknown. The British minister, who made an investigation, declared that not less than 12,000 persons were massacred in a single month by the Turks. Eugene Schuyler, the American consul then at Constantinople, put the number at 15,000. The country had been in a state of chronic revolution for several years and the theater of a war between two powerful nations whose armies foraged upon the farms, burned the cities and left desolate a large portion of the territory. Most of the population had fled to the mountains from their burning homes, and many of them were too poor and discouraged to repair damages when peace was restored.

In attempting to regenerate this distracted nation, Alexander of Battenberg undertook a task more difficult than was attempted by any other man of his generation. He endeavored to build up a new nation out of heterogeneous materials, and had little assistance but much interference from the Powers that had intrusted him with the work. He is one of the most romantic figures in modern European history. His frank and cheerful nature, his social charms, his personal courage upon the field of battle and his heroic attempts to overcome the impossible won for him the enduring affection of the common people and all patriotic spirits in Bulgaria, who recognized that he had no motive but their good. The same qualities, however, made him bitter and relentless enemies. He was surrounded by ambitious and avaricious adventurers and corrupt officials whom he dismissed the moment he discovered their misconduct. He was a poor judge of a rascal. He was so honest and candid himself that he could not detect the insincerity of others. He might have overcome these obstacles[173] and defeated the conspiracies that were constantly formed against him if Alexander II. of Russia, whose assassination was a sad blow to Bulgaria as well as to his own people, had lived. He had great confidence in his nephew, Prince Alexander, loved him like his own son and supported him in every direction, even against the intrigues of Russian politicians who had been sent to Sofia to control the government. The people of Bulgaria loved him and still call him their “Liberator.”

Alexander III., for some reason or other, never liked his cousin of Battenberg, and soon after ascending the throne called him to account for his anti-Russian policy in Bulgaria. The explanation was unsatisfactory. Alexander said he was endeavoring to administer affairs for the best interests of the people themselves without regard to foreign complications. His liberality was too great to please the Czar. He was a Protestant and encouraged education to an extent that was not appreciated by the clergy of the Greek Church. He granted freedom to the press, which encouraged the democratic spirit of the people and strengthened the Liberal party in politics, which was anti-Russian in its tendencies and even advocated a republican form of government. Failing to meet the requirements of the Czar, Alexander found he was no longer allowed to be master in his own house, and that the Russian officials who surrounded him were taking their orders from St. Petersburg rather than from their own sovereign. He attempted to dismiss them and asserted his independence by filling their positions with native Liberals upon whom he could rely. The Russians retaliated by one of the most scandalous and shameful conspiracies that has[174] ever occurred in political history. It might have happened in the Middle Ages, in the days of the robber barons and the Medicis, but there is nothing to compare with it in modern times.

At two o’clock on the morning of August 21, 1886, Prince Alexander was aroused from his slumbers by his valet, who thrust a revolver into his hand and begged him to flee through an open window. But the prince was a man to face danger, and, partially dressing himself, stepped into an ante-room where he found a crowd of Russian officers, some of whom he had recently dismissed from their positions, and others still in the employment of the government. They coolly informed him that he had the option to choose between death and abdication. A Russian officer tore a blank page out of the visitors’ book that lay upon the table and attempted to write an abdication, but he was too drunk to do so. A young cadet from the military academy took the pen and wrote a few incoherent words at his dictation. With five revolvers pointing at his head, Alexander calmly read the document and remarked sarcastically:

“Gentlemen, you shall have your way,” and wrote in German the words, “God protect Bulgaria. Alexander.”

A few moments later he was hustled into a carriage and, guarded by an escort of Russian officers and cadets from the military academy, which was in their charge, he was driven at a gallop seventeen miles to a monastery, where, after a few hours’ rest, an exchange of horses was made and he was hurried over the Balkan Mountains to the Danube River and placed upon a yacht.

The conspirators at Sofia, with the aid of the Metropolitan,[175] or archbishop, of the Greek Church, proclaimed a provisional government; but Stambouloff, the young president of the parliament, who was equal to the emergency, declared them to be outlaws, appealed to the Bulgarians to defend the throne against the Russian conspirators, and persuaded the parliament to appoint him regent until Prince Alexander could be restored. It was several days before the latter could be found. In the meantime he was concealed upon the yacht on the Danube River. When the facts became known throughout Europe the Russians were compelled by public sentiment to surrender him, and the Czar made desperate efforts to exculpate himself from the responsibility. Nevertheless, not one of the Russian officials who were engaged in the plot was ever punished or even censured.

Prince Alexander returned to Sofia in triumph, and was enthusiastically welcomed by the people; but, with characteristic frankness, immediately telegraphed the Czar:

“I received my crown from Russia. I am ready to return it to the hands of her sovereign whenever it is demanded.”

The Czar at once replied, as might have been expected, expressing disapproval of the return of Alexander to Bulgaria and censuring his administration of affairs. In vain Stambouloff and other Bulgarians implored their prince to remain and defy Russia, and even threatened to prevent him by force from abdication, but Alexander declared that his usefulness was ended, and that it was the only wise course for him to retire and save the country from a war with Russia. Before doing so, however, he exacted a pledge from the Czar that he would permit the[176] Bulgarians to manage their own affairs without interference—a pledge that was violated within the next thirty days, and has never been kept in any respect. Then, appointing a regency, Alexander formally abdicated authority and left the country with the affection and confidence of the people. He went to Austria, where he remained in retirement, under the title of Count Hartenau, until his death in 1893.

When Alexander abdicated it was necessary for the Bulgarians to choose another king, and they selected Prince Waldemar of Denmark, a brother of the Queen of Great Britain, the dowager Czarina of Russia and the King of Greece; but, rather than risk a quarrel with his big brother-in-law at St. Petersburg, who had compelled Alexander to throw down the crown, Waldemar declined the honor, and a committee was sent from Sofia to the various capitals of Europe to find a proper man. In the meantime Stambouloff, president of the Sobranje, or parliament, ruled the country as regent, and his policy was openly and defiantly anti-Russian. The Czar sent down two commissioners to take the state in hand. Stambouloff treated them respectfully, but declined to obey their orders. Two Russian men-of-war soon after appeared in the harbor of Varna, the principal seaport of Bulgaria, but even that did not intimidate Stambouloff, and the Russians, becoming disgusted, recalled all of their countrymen who were holding official and military positions, and even their minister and consuls, leaving Bulgaria to its fate. What Alexander III. expected to happen it is difficult to determine. He probably believed that anarchy would follow and furnish him an excuse for occupying Bulgaria with an army, but the country remained at peace. Stambouloff proved to be not only[177] an able but a satisfactory ruler, and he carried out the policy of the deposed Alexander of Battenberg in an able and enlightened manner.


Stepan Stambouloff was undoubtedly the ablest man that has appeared upon the Balkan Peninsula for several centuries, and one of the most extraordinary characters of his generation. Although his faults were conspicuous, his patriotism was never questioned. His integrity of purpose shines out like a planet among the vacillating and cowardly politicians who surrounded him. He was born at the little town of Tirnovo, the son of a humble innkeeper, and was educated at an ordinary country school. He came into prominence during the revolution against Turkish authority previous to the Russo-Turkish war, and, although barely of age, emerged from that struggle one of the most conspicuous and influential of the Bulgarian patriots. Although the new constitution required a man to be thirty years old to be eligible to the Sobranje, he was an active member of that body before he was twenty-three, and its president before he was twenty-five, and he occupied that position continuously until he became prime minister in 1887 at the age of thirty-three years. He was remarkable for his courage, firmness and determination; he was a natural ruler of men and always exercised a remarkable influence over every person who came in contact with him. It used to be said that his enemies were always his friends so long as they remained in his presence. He was gifted with the highest degree of skill as a politician, and would have been a political dictator if he had lived in a republic. Among the ignorant and inexperienced population of Bulgaria he was able to exercise an influence that was absolute, and the[178] Sobranje was almost unanimous in his support. No doubt Stambouloff’s methods were often questionable. He believed that the end justified the means, and never hesitated to employ any measures he thought necessary to accomplish a purpose. He was arbitrary, cruel and vindictive. The savage nature of the Bulgarian mountaineers, from whom he came, frequently appeared in his manners and disposition. He lacked polish and was indifferent to suffering; but his entire career is an example of unselfish integrity. He devoted his life and his talents to promoting the welfare of his fellow countrymen, and never asked an advantage for himself. He died poorer than he was born, although for seven years he was in absolute control of the Bulgarian finances and for ten years previous was able to command anything in the way of remuneration that he desired.

Recognizing that public sentiment in Europe would not approve an empty throne in Bulgaria, Stambouloff dispatched a deputation to find a king. They made advances to several cadets of the royal houses, but found it very difficult to select a man of proper qualifications who was not so involved by ties of relationship as to excite jealousy among the great Powers. The story goes that they were on their way back to Bulgaria when they met an acquaintance in a beer garden at Vienna. Learning their business, he remarked:

“That young officer sitting at the table yonder is just the man you want. He is Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, grandson of Louis Philippe of France, and a cousin of every crowned head in Europe. He is a favorite of the Emperor of Austria and the Emperor of Russia and a man of great wealth.”


At that time Ferdinand held a commission in the Austrian army and was stationed in Vienna. The committee accepted the suggestion eagerly, conferred with the prime minister of Austria the next morning, communicated with Stambouloff at Sofia by telegraph, and within forty-eight hours offered the throne of Bulgaria to the young prince, who was not yet twenty-four years of age. The selection was approved by all the European Powers except Russia. Czar Alexander III. had no personal objection to the prince, but his policy was to boycott Bulgaria as long as Stambouloff and the Liberal party, then in power, continued to defy him.

The regents resigned, Prince Ferdinand ascended the throne, and appointed Stambouloff to the post of prime minister, which he occupied continuously until May, 1894. During that time he absolutely controlled the policy of the government and the opinions of the prince. For the first three or four years the two got on without friction, and Ferdinand was a willing agent of his minister; but as he grew older, particularly after his marriage in 1893, he became restless under the yoke, showed signs of independence, and, probably through the influence of his wife, began to yearn for the social and official recognition of Russia, which up to that time had absolutely ignored him. If Stambouloff had shown more tact in dealing with his sovereign and more deference towards the bride the latter had brought to Bulgaria, he might have continued at the head of the government indefinitely, but he made no effort to conceal, either from the public or the court, the fact that the prince was merely his puppet, and when the latter showed signs of self-assertion drew the curb even more firmly upon him. The[180] Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon, daughter of the Duke of Parma, whom Ferdinand married in 1893, first aroused his pride and stimulated his independence, and finally acquired sufficient influence over her husband to persuade him to resist Stambouloff.

Both she and Ferdinand were ambitious to advance their position and power. Instead of being registered in the almanacs as “princes” they wanted to be called king and queen, and actually had crowns made at Munich in anticipation of a favorable vote in the Sobranje. But Stambouloff, who despised pomp and pretensions like the true democrat that he was, and looked forward to a time when Bulgaria should have a republican form of government, opposed the aspirations of his sovereigns, and a quarrel occurred which ended with his retirement from the ministry and the selection of Mr. Stoiloff, his bitterest enemy, as his successor. Stambouloff might have weathered the storm but for his own arrogance and a domestic scandal in which his most trusted subordinate was involved. In a moment of pique and anger he wrote a hasty letter, resigning the office of prime minister, which the prince, under the influence of his wife, was only too glad to receive and promptly accept.

Immediately after, following the example of his great prototype, the Bulgarian Bismarck unbosomed himself to a sympathetic friend who happened to be correspondent of a German newspaper, and in most sarcastic and disrespectful terms discussed the weaknesses of his sovereign and the Princess Marie, and grossly violated confidence by relating several amusing and rather humiliating incidents that had occurred during his experience with them. This indiscretion[181] was the ruin of Stambouloff. The interview was republished with unfavorable comments in every city of Europe and in all the Bulgarian papers; even those that had formerly given him a cordial support. The public was disgusted and the indignation of the royal household knew no bounds. Prince Ferdinand actually went into court with a suit for defamation of character against his former prime minister; he discharged from office every man who was suspected of being a sympathizer of Stambouloff; ordered the arrest of several of the ex-minister’s confidential associates for malfeasance; revoked pensions that he had granted to those who had served their country faithfully under Stambouloff’s direction; confiscated the property of several of his supporters and by other means terrified almost every man in Bulgaria who had been loyal to Stambouloff. The Bulgarians are a fickle people, and within a few weeks were ready to stone their former idol. His fall was complete. Even the parliament, which he had absolutely controlled so long, passed a law confiscating his property, although it was almost worthless. Stambouloff attempted to escape from the storm, but, by order of the prince, the police forbade him to leave the country.

Russia took advantage of the situation to encourage Ferdinand’s spirit of independence, and immediately after the dismissal of Stambouloff removed the boycott that had been declared against Bulgaria seven years before. The Czar Nicholas recognized Ferdinand in a formal manner and sent a diplomatic agent to Sofia, who has gradually acquired an influence over the prince and a control over the government that are now almost absolute. Ferdinand might as well be the governor of a Russian province.


Although the recognition from Russia which he yearned for was finally obtained, Prince Ferdinand has entirely forfeited the respect of Europe and the confidence of the other Powers, because of certain events that have occurred in Sofia since the change of ministry. One night in July, 1895, a little more than a year after his retirement, and when he was beginning to show signs of recovering his political influence, Stambouloff was cruelly assassinated while walking home from his club. One of the assassins was identified without the slightest difficulty by Stambouloff himself, by a friend who accompanied him and by a servant who was following them. Three men were engaged in the crime. Their leader was a political adventurer named Michael Stavreff, or Michael Malieu as he is usually called, who had been identified with the Russian party in Sofia and had frequently been employed by the Russian minister on confidential missions.

It was firmly believed by the friends of Stambouloff and the members of the anti-Russian element from the beginning that Stavreff was hired to commit the murder, and the fact that the assassin was permitted to remain unpunished, and was not even arrested was assumed to be evidence that the government sympathized with the crime. The indifference of Prince Ferdinand excited unfavorable comment throughout Europe, and he has never recovered the respect of the courts or the people. Stavreff was a familiar object of interest about Sofia, a habitué of the cafés, and an active participant in political affairs, being frequently pointed out to strangers as the man who assassinated Stambouloff, the prime minister; and while he never acknowledged his guilt, seemed to enjoy his[183] notoriety. His source of revenue was a matter of some curiosity, and it was the popular opinion that he was drawing a pension from the government or from some person in power.

As his intemperate habits grew upon him he lost control of his tongue, and frequently uttered mysterious hints of secrets which he might disclose if certain prominent officials did not treat him with greater consideration. He became reckless in gambling as well as dissipation, and his losses made him bolder and less discreet in his allusions, until in October 24, 1902, he was arrested, secretly tried in prison with great haste, and condemned to death for the assassination of Stambouloff more than seven years previous. It was officially announced that he had made a full confession of his guilt.

Shortly after this announcement there appeared upon the streets of Sofia lithographed facsimiles of letters in the handwriting of Mr. Ludskanoff, the minister of the interior, who had ordered the arrest and execution of Stavreff, showing conclusively that he had employed that desperado to murder not only Stambouloff, but also Mr. Vulkovitch, who, until his death in 1892, in ability and influence was second only to Stambouloff in the anti-Russian party. At that time Ludskanoff was the leader of the pro-Russian faction, and fled from the country to escape arrest for complicity in the assassination of Vulkovitch. Stambouloff issued a decree of perpetual banishment against him, and he did not return to Bulgaria until a proclamation of universal amnesty was issued after Stambouloff’s death. Upon his return Ludskanoff, who is a man of force and ability, resumed his former prominence in politics, entered the parliament, and for[184] several years has been a member of the ministry, and an obedient tool of Russian influence.

The publication of the incriminating letters naturally created a profound sensation, especially as they were followed, in a few days, by several others of similar character, and caused a dissolution of the cabinet. It was immediately reorganized, however, and Ludskanoff was reappointed to the ministry of the interior; the prime minister, Mr. Kavachoff, explaining that the proclamation of amnesty was a full pardon for any offenses with which his colleagues might have been connected, which seems to have been satisfactory to the Russian sympathizers.

The police were not able to ascertain the source of the mysterious publications, but it was the popular opinion that the letters were intrusted by Stavreff to loyal friends to be used for his protection in an emergency. They appear to have served their purpose, for at this writing Stavreff has not been executed, although he still remains in solitary confinement under sentence of death.

In 1900 Prince Ferdinand was guilty of another act of an entirely different character, which brought down upon him the undisguised condemnation of every Catholic country and civilization generally. Upon his marriage with Marie Louise of Orleans, Ferdinand made a vow that their children should be baptized and educated in the Roman Catholic Church. This was one of the stipulations insisted upon by the father and family of the bride. Ferdinand is himself a Roman Catholic by birth and baptism. He has erected a chapel in the palace, has a Roman Catholic chaplain, and attends mass each morning at seven o’clock. While making his annual visits to an Austrian watering-place[185] he never fails to attend mass daily at a public church, and has otherwise shown a devout and consistent spirit. But no sooner was his wife buried in 1899 than he placed his eldest son, the Crown Prince Boris, a child five years old and the future king of Bulgaria, in charge of a Russian priest of the Greek Church, who secretly baptized and is now educating the boy in that faith. This is said to have been done at the suggestion of Russia, but no one believes that the Czar thinks any better of him for it, while the Emperor of Austria, the King of Italy, the German Emperor and other sovereigns of Europe have publicly expressed their disapproval of the proceeding. The other children are being brought up in the faith of their parents.

Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria spends very little time at his capital. There is not much there to attract his interest. The affairs of state are carefully looked after by Mr. Bakhmeteff, the Russian representative, and the members of the ministry; social and intellectual diversions are almost unknown, and the prince has a hobby which he can pursue with greater satisfaction at Varna, where he has a country palace on the shores of the Black Sea. He is an accomplished naturalist, and spends much of his time hunting and classifying insects, plants and other phenomena of animate and inanimate nature. He has catalogued nearly all the flora and fauna of Bulgaria and has established in Sofia a very respectable zoölogical garden at his own expense.

Although a grandson of Louis Philippe, the prince has the nose of Louis Napoleon, and is said to bear a singular resemblance to the last emperor of France, both in disposition and character. His nose is a gratification to the caricaturists. It is so conspicuous that it answers for a trade-mark, and they are able to play[186] upon it with great ingenuity. He is altogether a clever and accomplished gentleman, a skillful politician with an accommodating conscience, and very different from his predecessor, Alexander of Battenberg. He has inherited the manners of his French ancestors, as well as their insincerity, and can wriggle out of a tight place, they say, more gracefully than any other prince in Europe. Alexander was a Lutheran and encouraged Protestant missionary work. Ferdinand does not object to the missionary invasion, because the constitution guarantees free worship and the police protect the Protestants in case of disturbance.

Prince Ferdinand had a brief but happy married life. Marie Louise lived about six years after marriage and had four children—Boris, born January 30, 1894; Cyril, born November 17, 1895; Eudoxie, born January 17, 1898, and Madeja, born January 30, 1899. The late Queen died on the day following the birth of her youngest child. They are all interesting children, and are being carefully trained after European methods.

The patron saint of Bulgaria is St. John of Ryle, although Christianity was introduced into the country by St. Methodias. Originally a shepherd, John of Ryle became a monk and ascetic, and lived for twenty years in the hollow of an oak tree in the mountains that divide Bulgaria and Macedonia, which are now called by his name. He then removed to an inaccessible rock, under which was afterwards built in his honor what is known as the Ryle Monastery. It is an extensive building of medieval architecture and one of the most picturesque objects in Bulgaria. It lies in the midst of beautiful mountain scenery two days’ journey south of Sofia, and is frequently visited by tourists, who are hospitably entertained by the monks.



The old monastery has come to considerable notoriety recently, because of a report that Miss Stone was concealed within its walls, and the building was thoroughly searched by the soldiers under orders from the government at Sofia. This invasion and profanation of the holy place caused great indignation among members of the Greek Church throughout Bulgaria, who blamed the American missionaries and threatened reprisals. The hostility of the monks against missionary proselyting is much more bitter and vindictive than is shown by the regular parish clergy, because the latter as a rule are better educated. They mingle with the world, and therefore are more liberal in their views on all subjects.

It is not altogether certain that the monks of St. Ryle were blameless of complicity in Miss Stone’s abduction, but there is no proof that they had any share in or knowledge of the outrage. The suspicion is based upon knowledge of previous circumstances. Their relation with the brigands has always been friendly, and in olden times the secluded situation of the monastery made it a convenient rendezvous for enterprising gentlemen who ordinarily pursued peaceful vocations in the fields and pastures, but took to the road whenever tempted by favorable opportunities or pressed by necessity. They are said to have given liberally of their booty to the monks and to have brought to their table much game and other food supplies from the mountains. In return for this generosity the monks often afforded them an asylum when they were pressed by the police, gave them shelter in stormy weather, concealed their arms and ammunition, and permitted them to use the monastery as a meeting place before and after their raids. It would be perfectly[188] natural for the bandits who captured Miss Stone to take their captives to St. Ryle for the night or for a longer period if they happened to be in that locality, and, acting upon this knowledge of their habits, the government ordered the place to be searched. The monastery has withstood many a siege, and has been the scene of slaughter and suffering as well as devotion during every epoch of Bulgarian history. The fanaticism of the Moslems is recorded upon the frescoes that represent Christian saints and legends, by numerous gashes made by scimiters and punctures by yataghans. The cells are damp and narrow and without creature comforts, but the holy fathers seem to be contented, and judging from their appearance have not entirely denied themselves carnal pleasures.

John of Ryle lived in the tenth century and died in the year 976. St. Methodias lived from 852 to 888. The monastery was originally built in the eleventh century. In those days Bulgaria was a powerful nation, and its opulence and the magnificence of its court were the wonder of the world. The ruins of the palaces of the Bulgarian czars at Tirnova, the ancient capital, are extensive and still show evidences of their original splendor. The walls were decorated with gold and inlaid with mosaics of gilded glass. The pillars were of polished marble, and much bronze was used in ornamentation. In the early chronicles we catch a glimpse of the czar who sat upon a throne of ivory ornamented with gold, silver and precious stones, in an audience chamber of marble. His robe was trimmed with pearls, his girdle glistened with diamonds, his armor tinkled with the chains of gold coin that hung about his neck and shoulders. The bracelets, anklets[189] and collars which he wore were embossed with jewels of great price, and his scepter was set with rubies, diamonds, sapphires and other precious stones, like those that can now be seen among the relics of early Russian history in the Kremlin at Moscow.

Tirnova, the ancient capital, still stands, a picturesque study, upon the rocky walls of a rapid river. Its streets run up and down the slopes of the hills; its houses are perched upon rocks. Ingenious warriors in olden times utilized the limestone cliffs which surround it and rise to altitudes of seven or eight hundred feet, for fortifications, partly natural and partly artificial. Among them appear groups of gayly painted houses separated by the heavy foliage of the venerable trees and luxurious gardens. The domes of the Greek churches, the minarets of the mosques, the clock towers, steeples and the French roofs of modern buildings form a curious architectural medley. The East and West meet in this romantic little place, where nature seems to have forbidden a city to be built.

In the center of the town, upon the longest street, is a natural bridge of stone spanning a deep chasm, through which the river Jantra flows. It is not so high nor so wide by half as the natural bridge of Virginia, but is equally curious, and being in the center of a city is, of course, of greater interest. Some historians assert that both the causeway and the chasm were cut by human hands as a protection to the citadel which stands upon the other side. If this is true it was an ingenious device, and before the days of gunpowder and heavy artillery the place must have been impregnable.

Ancient history occasionally appears in a most startling manner, and it is often difficult to realize that[190] you are actually gazing upon buildings and scenes that are identified with the most romantic episodes of human history. Here, in the tower of this picturesque castle, Baldwin, the Frank crusader who accompanied Richard the Lion-Hearted and became Emperor of Constantinople, was confined as a prisoner. He was defeated at Adrianople by the Bulgarian army under the Czar Kalojan, and brought to Tirnova, where he was imprisoned for several years, and is said to have been buried alive. They call it “Baldwin’s Tower,” and although partially ruined it is still sufficiently preserved to give one an idea of its original appearance, and its walls and windows look out upon one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Attached to the palace of the Bulgarian czars were gardens filled with fruit trees and flowering plants whose traces still remain until the present day. Wherever the earth is turned or a cellar is dug for a new building, vestiges of former grandeur and sometimes relics of the Roman occupation are disclosed. Lying by the roadside are mutilated remains of marble pillars and pedestals; capitals with bulls’ heads and wreaths exquisitely carved; discs of glazed pottery and gilded glass; pieces of molding with bronze still clinging to them; quartz enameled with colors and gold, and sometimes fragments of plaster still retaining the colors of a fresco.



Bulgaria is about as big as Pennsylvania, has a similar shape, and reminds one very much of that State, because of the resemblance in topography and other physical features. The forests and the rivers watering rich valleys, the mountain ranges, the rocky ledges, and the landscape generally are very much like the Quaker State. The population is about thirty per cent less. The Danube River forms the northern boundary of Bulgaria, and much of the produce of the state goes out, and much of its imported merchandise comes in upon enormous barges towed in strings from Budapest and from Vienna. Austria monopolizes the trade in manufactured merchandise. During the summer season the passenger steamers on the Danube offer a very pleasant voyage through Hungary, Servia, Bulgaria and Roumania to the Black Sea, but in the dry season in the fall the water is low, fogs are frequent and the air is too cool to sit on the deck, hence a trip by train is more agreeable. You can go to Sofia from Vienna by rail in twenty-four hours in comfortable sleeping-cars and good dining-cars, in which table d’hôte meals are served at city prices, but the fares are very high.

The Orient Express, which is the great railway train of Europe, and runs from Calais and Ostend through Germany and France to Constantinople three times a week, is a pretentious humbug when judged by American standards. The distance between Vienna and Sofia is about the same as between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, but it takes twice as long to make the[192] journey, and the fare is about four times as much. The extra fare, or supplement, as they call it, demanded for the privilege of riding upon this famous train, is forty-four francs between those two cities, or $8.40, which is about full fare between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, and instead of getting a wide berth in a Pullman sleeper for $2 you have to pay $3.80 for a night’s lodging in a stuffy little closet. The beds are comfortable, but the space is so narrow that it is scarcely safe to roll over, and the only way to ventilate the compartment is to open a window directly over your head. The ordinary trains are only two hours slower than the Orient Express; they are equally well equipped, run every day and the charge is only about one-half as much.

Bulgaria has several railroads, running to the Black Sea, to Bucharest and to Salonika on the Mediterranean, in addition to the trunk line to Constantinople. They belong to the government, and seem to be well managed, although they make very slow time. The Orient Express sometimes works up a speed of twenty miles an hour, but averages about eighteen, and that is considered remarkable. The entire railway system aggregates nine hundred and nine miles, with one hundred and thirty miles of new track under construction. Telephone and telegraph wires, belonging to the government, are stretched all over the country, the telephone service being a great improvement upon that of Germany, which, however, is the worst I have ever found—so bad that foreigners will not use a telephone if they can possibly avoid it. I have often thought that perhaps some of the German parts of speech are too big to send over an ordinary wire, that perhaps the wear and tear of the telephone instruments[193] is too great for them to endure; but an eminent professor in the University of Berlin, to whom I suggested this one evening, thought I was in earnest and punished my impudence by holding me up in a corner for half an hour while he demonstrated the absurdity of the proposition. Moral—Never try to joke with German professors.

The eastern boundary of Bulgaria is the Black Sea; on the west is the Kingdom of Servia, and on the south the Rhodope chain of mountains divides it from the Turkish province of Eastern Rumelia, or Macedonia, as that portion situated south of Bulgaria is commonly called. The Balkan Mountains, like the Alleghanies in Pennsylvania, bisect the country and divide it into two provinces. In some parts we find beautiful undulating landscapes and at intervals long expanses of elevated plateaus varying from twelve hundred to two thousand feet above the sea, which lie between the mountain ranges. These plains are irrigated and drained by several important streams, the most interesting being the Jantra, which winds among the mountains through high limestone gorges, and furnishes a picturesque feature to the topography. There are no large cities in Bulgaria, but several important towns, each of which has its marked peculiarities:

Tatar Pazarjik22,056


There are several other towns of less than twenty thousand and more than ten thousand population, but three-fourths of the inhabitants are engaged in agricultural and pastoral pursuits, most of them being small farmers, cultivating from one to six acres, and having large flocks and herds which graze at large. Theoretically, the state owns all the land, and the people are tenants with perpetual leases, descending from generation to generation, who pay one-tenth of all their products to the state, usually in kind, in lieu of rental and taxes. The pasture land is free, and is held in common by unwritten and unrecorded titles by those who occupy it with their flocks and herds. The forests have also been free until recently, and anyone who chose to do so was at liberty to cut whatever timber he needed for his own use without payment, but the police exercised a supervisory authority to prevent the wholesale destruction of the trees for commercial purposes. Forty-seven per cent of the entire territory is in pasture, and sheep, goats, cattle, horses and pigs are raised in large numbers. The wool product of Bulgaria is the greatest source of wealth, and is sent to Austria and Germany. The exports of hides and skins are next in value, not less than five million sheep pelts being shipped annually. The principal agricultural product is wheat, which goes to Germany and Turkey, and a very important and profitable industry is the distillation of attar of roses, which is carried on in the provinces bordering on the Black Sea.

The Bulgarians have a language of their own, a sort of dialect of the Russian, which bears the same relation to that language as the Scotch bears to the English. There are Greek letters in their alphabet and Greek words in their vocabulary, but the language[195] is Slavonic. No Bulgarian could understand a Greek, and vice versa, and a Russian peasant could not converse with a Bulgarian peasant any more readily than a Highlander could talk with a costermonger from Whitechapel, because each has his local idioms; but educated Russians and Bulgarians can understand each other even if each talks in his own language. Russians can read Bulgarian newspapers very readily. Philologists are of the opinion that the Bulgarian language is quite as close to the old Slav tongue as the Russian, and it is a curious fact that many words may be traced to the old Thracian and Illyrian tongues. The Slavs drove the original population into the mountains and seized their lands on the plains, but in the second half of the seventh century a horde of uncouth warriors crossed the Danube and subjugated the Slavs, and their descendants have since occupied the territory which bears their name. The Bulgarians are of mysterious origin. The source from which they came has never been satisfactorily determined. Some ethnologists argue that they were Finns, others believe they were Tartars, but the greatest weight of evidence seems to fix their former residence on the banks of the Volga River. They were without a history, which is a singular thing for so vigorous, progressive and intelligent a race. It is a curious coincidence that the Bulgarians lost their language but kept their name, while the Slavs, whom they subdued, lost their name but kept their language.

Sofia, the capital and commercial center, is situated in the southwestern corner of Bulgaria on an elevated plain, at the base of Mount Vitosch, a beautiful peak seven thousand eight hundred feet high. Its head is usually clothed in the clouds, and perpetual snow lies[196] in the wrinkles upon its face. The cloud movements and other atmospheric effects add greatly to its picturesqueness, and in autumn the forests which cover its breast are vivid with scarlet and yellow foliage, which reaches to the snow line and affords a striking and lovely contrast. The base of the mountain is only a few miles from the city, and excursions to it are one of the few amusements in which foreigners can indulge in warm weather. They have very little diversion. There are no theaters—only one little vaudeville show—no concerts, except occasionally by a military band attached to the palace, and only a limited amount of social entertainment. The foreign colony must therefore find its fun in driving, riding, picnicking and playing tennis. Golf has not been introduced, for the natives take little interest in such sports. The foreign colony is small, and limited almost entirely to the diplomatic representatives of the European countries. A few Austrians and Germans are engaged in business affairs, several Belgian engineers run the electric-light and street-car lines, and there are one Englishman and two or three Americans, mostly missionary teachers.


The city covers a considerable area, and looks as if a building boom had been suddenly checked, which is true. Prince Alexander was a great promoter. Under his administration Bulgaria made extraordinary progress, and Sofia started upon a promising career. Stambouloff took up the work where Alexander left it at his abdication, and carried out many of his schemes, but since the “Bulgarian Bismarck” was relieved as prime minister, little has been done in the way of public or private improvement. The stagnation is said to be due in a measure to a lack of confidence in the stability of the present government, and to the[197] fact that Prince Ferdinand is interested in other things. One must infer that he takes little pride in the appearance of his capital and does not encourage the expenditure of money upon public works.

Shortly before he retired, Stambouloff purchased an entire block of ground opposite the palace, upon which he intended to erect a magnificent building for the offices of the government. The plans were drawn by an Austrian architect, excavations were made for the foundation and cellars, and a large quantity of cut stone was delivered by the contractors. A few days after Stambouloff’s retirement work was suspended and has never been resumed. Several train loads of granite lie scattered over the ground; the cellar is half-filled with water during the wet season and overgrown with weeds during the dry months. Every stranger who comes to Sofia instinctively asks an explanation, but Prince Ferdinand, who always has this reproachful panorama before him, seems to be entirely indifferent to it. The palace is a fine building in French style, surrounded by pleasant grounds, and facing a public park that is well laid out with foliage plants and fountains, and is a pleasure ground for the people.

The old city, or the Turkish quarter, as it is called, resembles a patch of Constantinople, and has the low adobe walls, the heavy tiled roofs, the deep windows and the narrow streets of all oriental cities, with long blocks of bazaars kept by Turks and Jews, who have most of their wares displayed upon the sidewalks. This is by far the most interesting section of the town to strangers. The shops are open, so that the visitor is enabled to watch the artisans at their work. The trades seem to be grouped together—the shoemakers in one bunch, the tailors in another, the[198] butchers, bakers, brassworkers, tinsmiths and other people in the same trade occupying adjoining houses.

Most of the natives wear unshorn sheepskin clothing, with the wool next to the body, the leather side being tanned to a soft white, velvety appearance like buckskin; and the most interesting occupation is that of the tailors, who make all sorts of queer-looking garments from sheepskins. Many of the men wear short jackets of the Eton pattern, but as the weather grows colder they change them for warmer garments, and some have long ulsters with wide skirts which reach to their heels. The rest of their clothing is the natural color of the wool woven into heavy fabrics; their headgear is made of lamb’s wool curled like the skating caps sometimes worn in the United States. They are called kalpaks.

In the new part of the city the streets are wide, and in the business portion are lined with fine buildings of stuccoed brick, ornamented with elaborate moldings similar to those of Germany and Austria. The residence portion is only partially built up, there being wide gaps between the houses, showing the town lots that have been held for speculative purposes and where building schemes have been abandoned. If Sofia were as closely built as the ordinary European city it could accommodate three times its present population. Occasionally a stately residence rises from behind a forbidding wall. The foliage around it indicates a garden, but Bulgarian civilization has not passed the period when it is prudent to omit any means of protection. The streets and sidewalks are in a horrible condition. In the business portion of the city the roadways are paved with cobblestones and the sidewalks are well laid with flags, tiles and bricks.[199] Each householder in the residence portion is expected to lay the sidewalk in front of his premises, but many of them neglect to do so.


Several imposing buildings were erected for government purposes during the reign of Prince Alexander, usually of French architecture, and among other things a Protestant church (he was a Lutheran), which Ferdinand has converted into a riding-school. The military barracks, schoolhouses, the public printing office, a technical school and other public buildings are creditable, but lose much of their dignity by being scattered over the city, with unsightly spaces of open ground and half-finished buildings that have been abandoned between them. Several former Turkish mosques have been converted to secular uses and are now occupied as prisons, markets, warehouses and arsenals. The largest mosque, in the center of the city, and only a stone’s throw from the palace, was recently fitted up for a national museum.

Although Sofia is still primitive in many respects, modern ideas are rapidly growing in favor and there is nothing in the new part of the town to recall the recent Turkish occupation. The citizens very generally wear modern European clothing. The only place one can see the native costume is at the market in the early morning, where the country people bring vegetables and dairy products for sale. There are two hotels with comfortable rooms and excellent tables, a club that would be an ornament to any city in Europe, and other features of modern civilization quite as advanced as are to be found in Austria or Germany. The streets, public buildings, hotels and many private houses are lighted by electricity. Electric street-cars run in every direction, owned and managed by a[200] Belgian company. The fare is three cents for first-class passengers and two cents for second-class. The cars are divided in the middle by a partition, and the only difference between the two classes is that one sits upon red-plush cushions and the other upon wooden benches. The conductors change the cushions from one part of the car to the other at each end of the trip.

The Bulgarian army is composed of thirty thousand men, well drilled, equipped in the German style, and organized by Russian officers upon the Russian system. Every man between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years is obliged to do military duty for four years, although Mohammedans may escape service by the payment of a special tax. Persons exempted on account of infirmities are also required to pay special taxes. On an average forty thousand young men become of military age annually, but, as the government does not need and cannot pay so many, about one-third of this number are drawn by lot for service, so that the actual time spent in the army is two years instead of five as required by law. The reserves, numbering about 200,000, can be called into service upon a few days’ notice, provided there is money in the treasury to meet the expense. There is a military academy at Sofia at which officers are educated, and to enter that institution and graduate with a commission in the army is the highest ambition of every Bulgarian youth. The officers about town are a handsome lot of fellows, with pleasant manners, fine physique, intelligent faces and soldierly carriage. The natives are all natural horsemen, and a squadron of Bulgarian cavalry is a worthy object of admiration. The uniforms are similar to those of Germany. None but an expert could distinguish the[201] difference, and the garrison of Sofia must be very large, because uniformed men are so numerous in the streets. The army is kept up to a high degree of efficiency because trouble with Turkey is always anticipated, and may occur at any moment. The Bulgarians have dedicated themselves as a nation to the emancipation of their neighbors and relatives in Macedonia, and are only waiting a favorable opportunity to strike. Their great difficulty is money. Their treasury is empty and their national credit is exhausted, but they will seize every opportunity that is offered for a coup d’état. Politics seems to monopolize the attention of everybody, and the entire Bulgarian population is involved in a perpetual intrigue with the freedom of the Macedonians as its object.


The native horses are small, but nervy and enduring. Domesticated buffaloes of the Asiatic species are used for draft animals. They are not so noble in appearance as the great American bison. Their necks are not shaggy, their heads are smaller and more like that of ordinary oxen. Their coats are smooth and sleek, and the only resemblance to the bison which formerly roamed over our prairies is the horns.

There are several excellent schools in Sofia. The technical school at the foot of the mountain in the suburbs of the city is a model institution, and one of the most interesting and complete of its kind I have ever visited. It gives a practical training in the trades and applied sciences to one hundred or more young men. The standard of education is not high, but that is not needed in Bulgaria. What the country requires is a practical training of its mechanics in the different trades, as the people are generally devoted to agriculture and most of the artisans are foreigners.


The working classes are comparatively well off. There is no lack of employment for all those who are willing to work, and there is a growing demand for skilled mechanics, who receive much higher wages than in Germany and Austria. Masons, carpenters, cabinet-makers, painters, stone-cutters and other skilled laborers earn from $1.25 to $2.50 a day, and ordinary laborers earn from forty to eighty cents a day, which is nearly double the average earnings of people of the same classes in other European countries.

Meat and vegetables are cheap, and the diet of the laboring people is much more nourishing than is usual throughout Europe. The family of a Bulgarian laborer is quite as well fed as are their brethren in the United States. Except in the large cities the peasantry live upon their own produce and dress in garments of sheepskin, cotton or wool, that are made by themselves. Taxes are moderate, compared with Germany and France; they are no greater than in Norway and Sweden, although the peasants complain bitterly of the extravagance of Prince Ferdinand and the amount of money spent for military purposes. The working classes are ardent politicians and are devoted to the cause of Macedonian freedom. They contribute their money as liberally and as patiently as the servant girls in the United States to the Irish cause, and their faith is not weakened by the knowledge that the funds are often squandered in dissipation by their leaders.

The administration of justice is mild, the police system is purely political, and, while the management of the courts is perhaps not as perfect as in more highly civilized countries, I am told that bribery is unknown. Political influence, and particularly the “pull” of the Macedonian Committee, is all-powerful, however. It[203] is practically out of the question to convict of crime any man who has been active or conspicuous in this patriotic movement. It appears possible for any disreputable fellow to violate all the ten commandments with impunity so long as he goes about the cafés shouting the battle cry of freedom for Macedonia.

The Jewish population of the Bulgarian cities is quite large and practically monopolizes the banking and mercantile business. They are the descendants of the large colony of Jews who were expelled from Spain during the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella and Philip II. and found their way by the Mediterranean to the Balkan Provinces. The Spanish language is still spoken in their intercourse among themselves. While the Jews are not persecuted in Bulgaria as in Roumania, they are ostracized and subjected to much injustice. It is not considered dishonest to swindle a Jew if such a thing is possible, and they are contemptuously and roughly treated; but, on the other hand, they are in a great measure to blame for the prejudice against them because of their sharp practices and extortionate methods in business affairs. They have no mercy upon a Christian if he once gets into their power, and the spirit of retaliation seems quite as strong with them as with their enemies.

Generally speaking, Bulgaria has no manufactories, although mechanical industries of various sorts are being introduced upon a small scale. There is plenty of convenient water-power and raw material. The mineral wealth of the country is mythical. There are stories of deposits of coal and ores in the mountains, but they are unexplored. Ninety-five per cent of the population are engaged in agriculture, and the peasants are in a fairly prosperous condition. They[204] are ingenious as well as industrious, but show little tendency to make use of modern improvements and foreign merchandise, or to depart from the habits of thrift so characteristic of their race. It pays them well to produce and export cattle, sheep, hides, wool, wheat, corn, tobacco, the oil of roses, fruits and vegetables, and to supply their own wants by the work of their own hands as far as possible. Most of their clothing is of wool, grown and sheared upon their own farms, spun and woven in their own cabins, cut and made by the members of their own household. Formerly large quantities of cotton goods were imported from England and Germany, but they have learned that cotton will grow in Bulgaria, and a little patch is now found beside nearly every cabin, which is ginned, spun and woven by the women, like the wool.

Their taste is artistic. The women do beautiful embroidery, and their cotton garments are often handsomely decorated. It is difficult to buy these embroideries, because the work is home-made and intended for home use. The peasants are well-to-do. Their wealth is not only apparent in the flocks and herds which they have accumulated since the emancipation from Turkish tyranny twenty-three years ago, but it is believed that they have large sums of money concealed about their premises. Their experience with avaricious Turkish officials taught them great caution, for in the old days no man could accumulate property without endangering his liberty and usually his life. Nor have they yet acquired faith in banks. Few investments are available for them, and for these reasons they bury their surplus money in the ground. One of the strongest evidences of this practice is the continual disappearance of Bulgarian coin from circulation.[205] Nobody seems to know what becomes of it. It cannot be shipped to foreign countries, because the balance of trade is in favor of Bulgaria; and it is not used in the arts and industries. Yet it disappears almost as fast as it is coined, and the only explanation offered is the prosperity and the secretive habits of the peasants.

An Englishman who traveled through the country and saw much of peasant life says that when he asked a man one day why they hid their money in the ground he answered with surprise:

“Where do the English peasants hide theirs?”

The peasants have the characteristics of the other oriental races, and, in their eagerness to acquire wealth and anxiety to get the best of a bargain, they are not surpassed by the Armenian, Arab, Turk, Greek, or Jew. They are very sharp traders, economical and thrifty in their habits, shrewd in negotiation, and never miss an opportunity to make a penny. The impression there, as in other parts of Europe, is that all Americans are rich and reckless with their money. The hotels, the shopkeepers, hackmen, guides, curio-dealers and everyone else with whom strangers come in contact has a special price for Americans, from twenty to fifty per cent higher than is paid by other people. The waiters and porters expect bigger fees, and the whole community, in fact, considers an American traveler a pigeon to be plucked.

The peasants are industrious, ingenious and intelligent. Both men and women are of fine physique, capable of great endurance, and very few of them are idle or vicious. I noticed but three or four beggars during my visit to Bulgaria, and every one was a cripple. The women do their share of the work on[206] the farms, and seem never to be idle a moment. Holding the distaff in their hands, they spin as they walk along the highway and as they sit behind piles of vegetables in the market waiting for customers. They are so accustomed to it that the work is done unconsciously. They also care for the flocks and herds. Most of the shepherds you see from the highways or the railway trains are children from eight years old and upward, who follow the cattle, sheep and goats over the ranges. The large herds in the mountains far from the towns are kept by men and well-grown boys, and often young women are found among them, who sleep in the open air with sheepskins wrapped around them during the entire winter season.

The hospitality of the peasants is always commented upon by travelers. Whenever you enter a cottage you are cordially welcomed. The oriental laws of hospitality prevail everywhere in Bulgaria and among all classes. No stranger is ever turned from the door if he comes in peace, and the poorest peasant will share his blanket and his bread without the asking, and at the poorest cottage a glass of water or milk, or a bunch of grapes is invariably offered the visitor. Nearly every peasant has a farm of from five to fifteen acres. The cottages of the owners are grouped together in a little village, and the cultivated lands, as in France, usually lie at some distance. There are no fences, and to a stranger the landmarks are obscure. Every family has at least one pair of oxen and forty or fifty sheep, besides cattle, goats, pigs, geese and chickens, all of which are allowed to graze upon the mera, or common pasture, which belongs to the government, but has been held by the community from time immemorial. A peasant of one community is not allowed[207] to use the pasture belonging to another unless he owns a hut or garden spot there to give him a title, but there is no limit to the extent of pasture. He may have only ten sheep or cows, or he may have a thousand—they are all entitled to their share of the common range. If a man wishes to sell his place his next-door neighbor has the option. No stranger is permitted to acquire property that any member of the community desires to purchase, and public opinion will regulate the price.

Fruit is plentiful, and in the valleys there is a succession of vineyards which produce an excellent wine. All ordinary vegetables known to the temperate zone are cultivated, and tobacco and cotton grow well. Although the soil has been producing for more than twenty centuries, no fertilizers are used. The revenue from the manufacture of attar of roses amounts to more than $1,000,000 annually. You can buy it in little gilded glass flagons at shops where Turkish goods are sold. The town of Shipka, where was fought the decisive battle of the Russo-Turkish war on the 7th of July, 1877, is the center of the rose gardens. Upon the battlefield are many memorials of that great struggle in the form of monuments, crucifixes, pyramids of cannon balls, cannons and crosses, scattered over a large area, erected by the survivors of different regiments that were engaged in the battle, in memory of their officers and comrades, and many of them mark the burial places of officers and men who distinguished themselves in the fight. In the center of the field is an imposing obelisk erected by Alexander II. of Russia to commemorate the victory of General Gourko, who commanded his troops. It bears an appropriate inscription upon the pedestal, and upon the shaft is engraved a representation of the[208] Russian coat of arms, with crossed rifles and flags beneath it. Upon the top of the shaft is a spear and a cross.

The climate and soil of that part of Bulgaria are unusually favorable for rose culture, and for miles around the fields are full of the most luxuriant roses, which are cultivated like the grapevines in the valleys and on the mountain slopes farther west. The rose fields cover altogether many thousand acres. The bushes are carefully pruned, so that all the strength of the sap may go into the flowers, and from the middle of June until the last of October women with bags hanging over their shoulders go through them daily plucking the flowers that have reached maturity. At night they take their harvests home, where the petals are carefully removed, placed in kettles similar to an ordinary still, and the oil extracted by steam. Thousands of tons of rose leaves are thus gathered annually, and the oil produced is worth at the distillery from $50 to $75 a pound. A single drop will perfume a two-ounce bottle of alcohol. Much of the product is sent to Paris and Vienna, the remainder to Constantinople.

Philippopolis, the second city in population and importance in Bulgaria, is a famous old town, founded by Philip of Macedon about the year 350 B.C., and its history has been both romantic and exciting. It is picturesquely situated upon three hills of granite and has several fine buildings and churches of every religious denomination. The Alexander Gymnasium, for boys, established by the late prince, is perhaps the most progressive educational institution in the whole country and has exerted a wide influence. There is a government school for the higher education of girls[209] also, which has done much towards the advancement of women. In the market place at Philippopolis you see all sorts of costumes, for nearly every oriental race is represented in the population. The Bulgarian is distinguished by the kalpak, a headdress of lamb’s wool, and the Turk by his fez. The Turkish women wrap their faces in muslin veils or shawls, but the Bulgarian women follow the European custom and do not attempt to conceal their features.

According to the census of 1893, and there has been very little change since, the population of Bulgaria is 3,310,713, and is composed of 2,505,326 Bulgarians, 569,728 Turks, 58,518 Greeks, 13,260 gypsies, 27,531 Spanish-speaking Jews, 16,298 Tartars and representatives of nearly every other race on earth. The national faith is that of the Orthodox Greek Church, although in 1870 the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated the entire Bulgarian people in consequence of their persistent demands for religious independence and autonomy. Since then the church has been governed by a synod of twelve bishops, and is under the care of the minister of education, the clergy being paid by the government. In 1893 the members of the Orthodox Greek Church numbered 2,606,786, the Mohammedans 643,258, the Roman Catholics 22,617, and the Protestants about 3,500.

Protestant missionaries from the United States have been at work in Bulgaria ever since the establishment of an independent government, the field being divided between the Methodists, who have the territory north of the Balkan Mountains, and the American Board of Foreign Missions, who are engaged in the southern part and in Eastern Rumelia.

The Bulgarians generally commend the missionaries[210] and tell of the great good that they have done. The newspapers speak well of them, and the government officials have nothing but commendation for their educational and charitable work, although their evangelical labors are not encouraged. The government is willing that they should educate the people, take care of them when they are sick, feed them when they are hungry and clothe them when they are naked, but naturally does not approve of the efforts to convert them from the Greek to the Protestant faith. The Greek clergy are generally bitter and at times fanatical in their opposition, except in the large cities, where there is a cosmopolitan spirit. The Turks have very little to say in Bulgaria, but treat Protestants much more amiably than they treat the Greeks, and are particularly friendly with the missionaries. The American colony very seldom has any difficulties with the Turks. The Russians, whose influence in Bulgaria is greater than that of any other foreign people, and who control the policy of the government, are even more opposed to the evangelical work of the missionaries than the natives, because of their connection with the Greek Church and their hereditary disapproval of the education of the common people. Personally, however, missionaries are often friendly with the Russian residents. That depends, however, largely upon their individuality. Miss Stone, for example, is a great favorite among them, as she is everywhere, and the greatest degree of anxiety was shown by the Russian colony for her rescue.

The Methodists in northern Bulgaria have eight houses of worship, valued at $31,500. Most of them have parsonages attached. There are eleven American and native missionaries, four hundred and thirty-four[211] communicants, forty-three probationers, thirteen schools and three hundred and twenty-eight pupils.

The American Board of Foreign Missions has been at work in that country since 1858, when the first mission station was established at Adrianople. It has three stations in Bulgaria. At Philippopolis there is a church of two hundred and fifty native members under the care of Rev. George L. Marsh, a veteran who has just completed the finest Protestant house of worship in the East, and dedicated it in November, 1901. At Sofia there is a self-supporting church of three hundred members under the care of Rev. Marko Popoff, and a large school at Samakov, under the direction of Messrs. Haskell, Clark and Baird. The work in Rumelia is under the direction of Rev. John Henry House, who resides at Salonika, where there is a flourishing church. There is another station at Monastir. Altogether the American Board has nine missionaries in Bulgaria and East Rumelia, seven American lady teachers, three established schools for the higher education of both men and women, and one kindergarten. Its last reports show fifteen organized churches with regular preaching, fifty places with irregular preaching, twelve houses of worship, about fifteen hundred communicants, and an annual average attendance in 1901 of nine hundred and fifty-six at worship and eight hundred and forty-two at the Sunday-school. There is a large church at Bansko, the place Miss Stone started to visit on the morning of her capture, which has one hundred and fifty members and a house of worship which cost $6,000.

American mission work in Bulgaria and Macedonia is divided into three departments—publication, education and evangelical. There is a Bulgarian publication[212] society for both secular and religious literature which maintains a printing office, a bookstore and a well-patronized free public reading-room at Sofia. It has circulated thousands of copies of the best American literature translated into the Bulgarian language, and formerly published a weekly newspaper, which has been revived in Philippopolis recently with a native Bulgarian editor. The Bible was translated into Bulgarian in 1872 by the late Dr. Riggs and Dr. Long, and thousands of copies are sold annually. The Methodists are also circulating both religious and secular literature with great energy, and find that it awakens an interest among the natives to learn more, stimulates their ambition, broadens their ideas, and encourages them to improve their own schools and extend the facilities for the education of the coming generation. If the missionaries in Bulgaria had done nothing else than create this public sentiment their labors in Bulgaria would have been well repaid. They have been the pioneers of a general-education system, in which the government has recently shown a decided interest; they have inspired a temperance movement, they have broken the bonds that restrained the women of the country, and wherever their influence extends may be found a radical change from the social, educational and moral conditions which existed when independence was established twenty-four years ago.

The schools at Samakov for the education of teachers and preachers have compelled the government to establish similar institutions to satisfy the demands of the public; and a model kindergarten, maintained by Miss Clark at Sofia, is being imitated under the direction of the minister of education. Miss Clark is a great favorite in Sofia. She is a daughter of[213] Rev. Mr. Clark, one of the missionaries in charge of the schools at Samakov, and she is assisted by two graduates of those institutions. We visited her kindergarten one morning and found twenty-eight black-eyed urchins engaged in making baskets and building barns with blocks. They are the children of the best families in Sofia—bankers, merchants, professional men and government officials, who patronize the missionary kindergarten from self-interest and not because they belong to the Protestant Church. The popularity and success of Miss Clark’s kindergarten has been recognized throughout the entire kingdom, and before long kindergarten work will be recognized as a necessary part of the system of public education.

The Protestants in Bulgaria are trying to raise money to endow the schools at Samakov and want help from America. They recognize that the influence of those schools is wider and more permanent than that of any other branch of work in which they are engaged, because the chief object is to train teachers for the native schools. There is a great demand for teachers, which, with the rapid development of the educational system, far exceeds the supply, and the graduates of the missionary schools at Samakov command the highest positions and do the greatest amount of good. It is not necessary that they should profess the Protestant faith. That is a matter of minor importance, and the missionaries feel that if they can thoroughly educate the people their object will be attained.

The government has recently passed a law providing for compulsory education and requiring the attendance at school of all children between the ages of eight and twelve years. The schools are free to the peasants, but those who can afford to pay are taxed $4 a year for[214] the elementary branches and a corresponding amount for the higher schools. Two-thirds of the cost of the free schools is paid by the general government, the remainder by the municipalities and village authorities. The appropriation in 1901 for education was about $1,500,000, which supported 4,589 primary schools with 7,998 teachers and 336,000 pupils, one hundred and seventy high schools with 1,477 teachers and 33,700 pupils, forty-five technical schools with 255 teachers and 4,640 pupils, and seventeen preparatory schools with 569 teachers and 13,892 pupils.

There is a university at Sofia with three faculties—law, medicine and science—forty-two professors and lecturers and four hundred and nine students. At present it is occupying a temporary building, but is doing good work and promises increased influence.

It is gratifying to find in this far-off country ladies and gentlemen who have been educated in the United States and are familiar with American institutions. The most influential woman in Bulgaria is Mrs. Ivan B. Kassuroff, who was a pupil of Miss Stone. She is notable for having been the first Bulgarian woman to engage in active mercantile business. She violated the customs and traditions of the country and for a time created considerable stir, but Mme. Kassuroff’s character and abilities have not only carried her through a trying ordeal, but have gained for her the respect, confidence and admiration of the entire population, and she now has many imitators. She opened the field of business for women. Although the native citizens, with their oriental conservatism, had a hereditary prejudice against women engaging in business enterprises, they now lift their hats to Mme. Kassuroff when they meet her in the street.


Mme. Kassuroff’s business career, however, was not entirely voluntary. Her husband was proprietor of the principal bookstore in Sofia, and in 1874 died, leaving no one to carry on his profitable business. Rather than make a sacrifice, his widow assumed the responsibility, has since taken personal charge of it, has developed remarkable capacity, and, as I have said, is honored and admired by all classes. She supplies the government with books and stationery, and her shop is known as the “Court Book Store.” It stands upon the opposite side of the public square from the palace. She is a typical example of what an American education and American ideas introduced by the missionaries can do for a Bulgarian woman, and illustrates the advancement women have made in the East under missionary influence.

Mrs. Popoff, wife of the pastor of the Protestant church in Sofia, is also a graduate of the Painesville (Ohio) Seminary, and has done much to bring American ideas into the family circles of Bulgaria and develop the ambition and independence of Bulgarian women. Her husband, Rev. Marko N. Popoff, is a graduate of Hamilton College, was prepared at Fredonia, New York, and took a course in theology at Auburn Seminary. Altogether he spent about eleven years in America, is a fine all-round scholar, an orator of ability, and exercises a large and growing influence. His church is always crowded and he is a popular lecturer.

Another American product is Stoyan Kristoff Vatralsky, a son of a Bulgarian shepherd, who graduated at Harvard in 1894, was class poet, and was engaged in literary work and on the lecture platform in the United States until recently, preparing himself[216] for educational and literary work in his own country. Mr. Vatralsky is a graduate of the missionary school at Samakov, where he was inspired with an ambition to go to the United States and prepare himself for greater usefulness to his fellow countrymen.

The supreme representative of Russia in Bulgaria to-day is Mr. Bakhmeteff, a diplomatist of great talent, learning and long experience, who disguises his cleverness under an air of cynical indifference. He is well known in the United States, for he has spent much time in Washington, his wife being a daughter of the late General Edward F. Beale, who was General Grant’s roommate at West Point and his most intimate friend for a lifetime. Mme. Bakhmeteff is as clever as her husband, and although she naturally sympathizes with his efforts to keep Bulgaria within the Russian “sphere of influence,” she is thoroughly American in her habits and sympathies. To her benevolent spirit is due the establishment of several much needed charities in Bulgaria. She organized a free hospital and interested in her work the Czarina, who at her own expense sent to Sofia a staff of nurses from a Russian religious sisterhood. Mme. Bakhmeteff also introduced the Red Cross Society into Bulgaria, has interested herself in the improvements of the schools, and as the social leader of the capital has made charitable work fashionable among the Bulgarian women. She has also started a school for trained nurses, in which other ladies of high position take an active interest.

While his wife is engaged in charitable work Mr. Bakhmeteff keeps the government straight. The prime minister never does anything of importance without consulting him, and his advice is equivalent to an order from the Czar.



The capture and detention for five months and twenty days—from the 3d of September, 1901, to the 23d of February, 1902—of Miss Ellen M. Stone, a representative of the American Board of Foreign Missions, and her companion, Mrs. Katarina Stephanova Tsilka, wife of the Rev. Gregory Tsilka, has excited much interest in Bulgarian affairs and the cause of Macedonian liberty, but failed to provoke intervention on the part of the United States or the European nations, as the conspirators hoped it might do. That was undoubtedly their chief purpose, and it was successful only so far as it attracted public attention to the condition of anarchy that prevails in Rumelia and the dangers with which missionaries and other foreigners are surrounded.

Miss Stone is well known in Sofia and throughout all the Balkan Provinces. She has been engaged in missionary work in that region ever since the independence of Bulgaria was established at the close of the Russo-Turkish war. Her headquarters have been at Salonika, a Turkish port on the Mediterranean, which was formerly known as Thessalonica. St. Paul addressed his Epistle to the Thessalonians to its inhabitants, and the city is otherwise identified with important events in the history of Christianity. Rev. John H. House of Painesville, Ohio, whose influence and usefulness extend beyond the borders of Bulgaria, where he was a pioneer in missionary work, has charge[218] of the headquarters at Salonika, and Miss Stone has been associated with him for many years. Her especial duties have been to supervise the educational work, and it has been her habit to travel on horseback throughout the country, opening schools, establishing native teachers and looking after their work. In this way she has acquired a wide acquaintance and is universally respected and beloved, not only by the Protestant converts, but by all classes. In her own personal narrative she says:

“During the frequent missionary tours which I have made in Macedonia during the last twenty years and more, I have often been conscious of danger from the brigands who have long infested that country. Thrice before my capture I had come into personal contact with them. Once I spent the night in the common room of a khan or inn with a brigand sleeping on the other side of the fire; once two horses were stolen from the party with which I was traveling; and the third time two bandits stopped us on the road, but hesitated as to what manner of people we were, and so let us pass. On our journey in September, however, we had no thought of fear. Only three weeks before, I had come to Bansko by way of Strumitza and Djumia with two Bulgarian ladies, teachers in our village schools, accompanied only by a muleteer and a young native boy. We had ridden through a wild and rugged country, spending four days on the road, sleeping one night in a native house, and two in khans, all without molestation. I had, indeed, traversed the road on which we were finally captured many times before, and, knowing the people and their ways, I was conscious of all the safety of long familiarity.”

Mr. Tsilka is an Albanian by birth, from the[219] province adjoining Macedonia on the west, was educated in the missionary schools at Monastir and Samakov, and afterwards took a course in Union Theological Seminary, New York City. He is pastor of a native church at Kortcha, Albania, and for several years, with the assistance of his wife, has conducted a school there. Mrs. Tsilka, a Bulgarian, and a native of Bansko, was visiting her parents in that town for several weeks before her capture. Like her husband, she is a graduate of the mission school at Samakov, completed her education at Northfield, Massachusetts, and afterwards graduated from the Presbyterian Training School for nurses in New York City.

They had been attending a summer school for teachers at Bansko, and, with several members of the class, started on horseback for their respective homes on the 3d of September, 1901. Miss Stone’s journey led her towards the railway which runs from Budapest to Salonika. Mr. and Mrs. Tsilka and Mr. Dimitsoff, her father, were on their way to Albania, and the rest of the party expected to leave them at various stations on the road which crosses the Perion range of the Balkan Mountains. Seven of the party were men, but only one of them was armed. Upon a rough mountain trail between Bansko and Djumia, after three hours’ journey, they sat down under the forest trees to eat their luncheon and feed their animals, when they were captured by a band of alleged brigands variously estimated from twelve to forty. Miss Stone says:

“They were of various ages—some bearded, fierce of face and wild of dress; some younger, but all athletic and heavily armed. Some wore suits of brown homespun, some Turkish uniforms with red or white fezzes, while others were in strange and nondescript attire.[220] One had his face so bound up in a red handkerchief as to be unrecognizable; others with faces horribly blackened and disguised with what looked like rags bobbing over their foreheads—the knotted corners of their handkerchiefs, as we afterwards learned.

“Their rifles and accouterments seemed fresh and new, and they also carried revolvers and daggers in their belts, with a plentiful and evident supply of cartridges. They had undoubtedly intended to fill us with terror at the sight of them—and truly horrible they looked.

“Mr. Tsilka had given his wife his watch and money; the latter she secreted in her mouth, and tucked the watch under her belt, as she supposed, but it slipped below and showed. One of the brigands called her attention to it, sarcastically remarking that she had better put it away more securely. He could not have alarmed her more; if the brigands did not want our money and watches, what could be their purpose!”

The brigands seemed to be on friendly terms with George Toderoff, the guide of Miss Stone’s party, who had been employed at Bansko, and was afterwards arrested as an accomplice, but was released by the Bulgarian government without trial or examination and against the protest of the diplomatic agent of the United States. They showed no disposition to rob or injure any member of the party, although they promptly and in cold blood murdered an unarmed Turk who happened to be passing along the trail, and who, they no doubt feared, might communicate their movements to the authorities. As soon as a convenient place was reached, the brigands instructed the party to go into camp, and repeatedly assured them that they need fear no harm. No threats of violence[221] were made and no insults offered, as is customary when Turks encounter Christians. No Christian woman can expect to escape insult and seldom injury if she meets a Turkish soldier in Macedonia; but Miss Stone, being an American of strong character and past middle age, has usually been treated with respect. If her captors had been Turks the proceedings would have been entirely different from what actually occurred, and the three young women teachers, especially, would have had an entirely different experience. This circumstance is the strongest kind of evidence that their captors were Bulgarians. The party went into camp, and during the evening the brigands disappeared, taking with them Miss Stone and Mrs. Tsilka and two horses. If they had been Turks their captives would have been stripped of everything valuable and their animals would have been stolen, but not an article was missing. The luggage was undisturbed and the brigands did not even help themselves to the food supplies provided for the journey.

During the remainder of the fall and the succeeding winter, until February 23, 1902, the captives were kept moving from place to place in the mountains, suffering considerable privation and discomfort, but, as both Miss Stone and Mrs. Tsilka testify, they were treated with invariable respect and kindness, and were as well supplied with the necessaries of life as was possible in that primitive country. They seemed to appreciate the value of their captives and took a great deal of care and trouble to protect them from exposure and injury, and in November, when Mrs. Tsilka’s child was born, they brought an old woman from some unknown quarter to assist as a nurse.

In the meantime there was great excitement in Sofia[222] and other parts of Bulgaria. In the United States public meetings were held in many places and liberal contributions made towards a fund to ransom Miss Stone and her companion, and the secretary of state ordered Mr. Charles M. Dickinson, the American consul-general at Constantinople, to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, with instructions to use his best efforts to secure the release of the captives.

On the morning of September 4, after the disappearance of their captors with Miss Stone and Mrs. Tsilka, that lady’s husband and father, with the other men in the party, made a careful examination of the country around them, but could find no trace of the women or the brigands except their trail, which led over the mountains back towards Bulgaria. The entire day was spent in the search. The husband and the father of Mrs. Tsilka, almost overcome with grief and consternation, pursued their fruitless search through the next night, and as there were no further signs of the brigands decided to return to Bansko and give an alarm. Messengers had already been sent there, and to notify the missionary colony at Samakov, but, strange to say, the news of the capture preceded them and was whispered about the streets by Cyril Vaciloff and other Macedonian revolutionists, who appeared to know all about it. They also predicted the amount of ransom that would be demanded before anything had been heard from the brigands. The demand, which was contained in a letter written by Miss Stone in the Bulgarian language to the treasurer of the missionary board, was dictated by some person of intelligence. The language and the forms of expression used were very unlike her literary style. There was no doubt, however, of the penmanship. That letter[223] was thrown into the window of the house of missionary Haskell at Samakov during the night, and his daughter identified Vaciloff in the moonlight while trying to open the window. A local newspaper friendly to the Macedonian cause published the important part of the contents of the letter before they were made known by the missionaries, including the amount of ransom demanded.

This and other circumstances make it very clear that Vaciloff intended or expected to be the medium of negotiation for Miss Stone’s release, and his failure was undoubtedly due to his arrest, which frightened him and induced him to deny all knowledge of the affair. The missionaries and the United States consul-general were not allowed to question him or communicate with him while he was in jail. He was released by the order of the authorities at Sofia upon the pretext that no evidence had been offered against him, although no one had been invited to present evidence. No attempt was made by anybody to secure evidence. The missionaries and Consul-general Dickinson were not informed of the decision to release him, and they did not know of his release until they saw the announcement in the newspapers. The only inference to be drawn from this unusual procedure was that the officials and the managers of the Macedonian Revolutionary Committee realized the complications that might ensue with the United States, the damage their cause would suffer before the world and the odium they would be compelled to endure if Vaciloff’s plans were carried out.

Cyril Vaciloff is a young adventurer, who had been acting as president of the Macedonian Committee at Samakov, a small town near the border, about fifty[224] miles south of Sofia, in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. That is the missionaries’ headquarters, where a large school for young men and women has been conducted ever since Bulgarian independence. Its graduates may be found occupying important positions in every part of the country, and the good it has accomplished directly and indirectly is incalculable. Cyril Vaciloff was educated at this school. His father was formerly a man of some importance, but intemperance ruined him. His mother was a good woman and was quite intimate with the missionary families up to her death. Although she remained a member of the Greek Church, she frequently attended Protestant worship and sent her children to the Protestant school. Young Vaciloff was a bright scholar and a fluent speaker, with considerable literary talent, but was always wild and restless, fond of notoriety and unreliable in character. He never earned a dollar in his life, but went into politics while a mere boy, and for several years lived off the contributions for Macedonian freedom. He is a popular café orator, writes pamphlets in support of the Macedonian cause, and is an active, eloquent and effective agitator. In the spring of 1901, after the reorganization of the Macedonian Committee, he called upon Mr. Clark, superintendent of the mission at Samakov, and requested a contribution for the Macedonian cause. Mr. Clark explained that while his sympathies were with the Macedonians in their struggle for liberty, it would be impolitic and unwise for foreigners, and especially for missionaries, to subscribe to political funds. They were working in Turkey, as well as in Bulgaria, and must keep on terms with the Sultan. Vaciloff was not satisfied with this explanation, and shortly after his visit Mr. Clark[225] received a written warning that unless a prompt contribution was made to the Macedonian cause the missionaries would regret it. This threat was followed by an incendiary fire and the destruction of the barn attached to the mission establishment. Mr. Clark then received another letter from Vaciloff saying that the barn caught fire from an electric spark, and that another would soon fall in the same neighborhood unless $2,500 were immediately forthcoming. No notice was taken of this threat except to solicit police protection, and nothing happened.

During the summer of 1901 the missionaries frequently heard of threats made by him and by others associated with the Macedonian cause, and Vaciloff frequently remarked that the Protestants would soon be compelled to pay a large sum into the treasury whether they wanted to or not. He was the first to learn of the capture of Miss Stone; he was the first to announce that $110,000 was the sum fixed for her ransom, and as I have said, he was identified as the man who threw the letter from Miss Stone into the window of Mr. Haskell’s residence.

It is believed that the actual leader of the bandits who captured Miss Stone was Ivan Zandanski, formerly keeper of the Bulgaria penitentiary, who resides at Dubnitza, a little town near the scene of the incident. He is also active in connection with the Macedonian movement, is associated with Vaciloff, and is a notorious desperado. He is known to have followed Miss Stone during the summer on several of her journeys, and usually appeared wherever she was. This was noticed and commented upon, without suspicion at the time, but is remembered as of significance since the outrage. Shortly before the kidnaping Zandanski[226] started ostensibly upon an expedition to visit and organize the Bulgarian sympathizers on the Turkish side of the boundary in the Balkan Mountains, and took with him twenty or more guns from the arsenal of the Macedonian Committee at Samakov. He returned on the 11th of October, surrendered the guns to their proper custodian, and reported that he had met with great success. It is current gossip among the peasants in that part of the country that he was the leader of the band, and he was actually identified by several of Miss Stone’s companions. He was arrested and released for want of evidence, without consulting the missionaries or the United States consul-general.

George Toderoff, the mule driver who was in charge of the animals used by Miss Stone’s party, and acted as their guide, is believed to be implicated. Upon his return from the mountains he told several conflicting stories concerning the event, which caused his arrest, but he also was released by order of the government at Sofia because of supposed threats from Macedonian patriots. It is established by abundant evidence that a number of members of the local Macedonian organization around Samakov disappeared the last of August, shortly before the capture, gradually returning to their homes during September. They claimed to have been engaged, like Zandanski, in organizing revolutionary bands in Macedonia, but the natives generally believe that they were members of the party.

The presence of a military force which was sent to the neighborhood, ostensibly to capture the brigands and rescue Miss Stone, also aided to defeat that purpose, because it prevented people who might have furnished valuable information from communicating with the missionaries or lending them aid. Every[227] man who showed signs of knowledge was arrested, imprisoned for a few days, and then released without any opportunity having been offered to the friends of Miss Stone to communicate with him. These proceedings terrorized the neighborhood, and balked every effort made by the missionaries. Another reason for the delay to open communication was the refusal of the missionaries to offer money as ransom or for information. The inhabitants of that part of the country are very poor, they are naturally avaricious, and some of them might have been persuaded by the judicious use of money to defy the authorities and furnish information and assistance. The missionaries, however, were exceedingly scrupulous in refusing to appeal to mercenary motives. At the beginning they declared that no ransom would be paid, and all offers to them and to Consul-general Dickinson involving payments of money were promptly rejected. The wisdom of this policy was seriously questioned by those who know the Bulgarian character and the customs of the country, and it afterwards proved to be a mistake and was abandoned. Natives and foreigners in the neighboring country are in the habit of paying blackmail and ransom. Custom has overcome their scruples on this point, and in several of the Turkish provinces brigandage is regarded as a legitimate occupation. It is, of course, impossible to say what might have happened if the customs of the country had been followed at the start in this respect, but the missionaries took the same high ground as the merchants of New York in 1775, when they declared that they would pay “millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”

There have been a large number of kidnaping cases in the Turkish provinces during the last few[228] years. People in this country have heard very little about them because the means of communication are limited and we seldom have newspaper letters or dispatches from that part of the world. Miss Stone’s case was exceptional in this respect, because of the missionary colonies that communicated with their friends at home and the interest taken in the matter by the American public. The following is a partial list of the persons kidnaped and the amount of ransom paid for their release, since 1880. There have been other cases, but I have not been able to obtain the facts:

1880, Colonel Singe, ransomed for $50,000.
1881, Henry Suter, ransomed for $60,000.
1884, Richard Dussi, $6,000 paid.
1885, Mrs. Giovenov, $35,000 demanded, $2,000 paid.
1885, Fritz Charmand, $8,000 demanded, $1,500 paid.
1887, R. C. H. Wilkins, $30,000 demanded, $8,000 paid.
1890, Gray Hill, $100,000 demanded, amount paid unknown.
1890, Mr. Landler, $15,000 paid.
1891, M. Rayneud, $5,000 paid.
1891, M. Michele, $2,000 paid.
1894, M. Provost, $3,000 paid.
1896, Captain Marriott, $15,000 demanded, $120 paid.
1896, M. Waligrski, $4,000 paid.
1896, Mme. Branzian, $50,000 demanded, $10,000 paid.
1898, James Whithall, $500 paid.
1899, M. Chevalier, $15,000 paid.
1900, Gerasim Kirias, $2,000 paid.
1901, M. Alphonse, $5,000 demanded, $1,000 paid.
1901, Miss Stone, $125,000 demanded, $65,000 paid.

The missionaries almost unanimously opposed the payment of ransom. They abhor blackmail as a matter of principle, and argued that submission in the Stone case would establish a precedent that would be disastrous to the cause of missions not only in Turkey[229] but in all semi-civilized countries. They feared that it would result in a new industry; that all the idle desperadoes would engage in the business of kidnaping missionaries, and one good man went so far as to declare that “God would prefer Miss Stone to perish of hunger in the mountains than endanger the lives of his servants elsewhere.”

The latest foreigner kidnaped before Miss Stone was Gerasim Kirias, an Albanian Protestant preacher, a naturalized subject of Great Britain and agent for the British Bible Society. He was captured under circumstances similar to those of Miss Stone and carried into the mountains, where he was kept for three months, while negotiations were conducted by the British consul-general. He was finally released upon the payment of 500 Turkish pounds, which is equivalent to about $2,000. The exposure and privation cost him his life. He became ill of rheumatism while in the hands of the bandits and never recovered.

Mr. Landler, engineer-in-chief of the railroad which runs through Bulgaria to Constantinople, was seized by brigands and carried into the mountains several years ago. The Austrian government, backed by Italy and Germany, attempted to force Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria to secure his release, but as with Miss Stone the government made no attempt to capture the brigands or rescue the prisoner, although it was not shown that the Macedonian Committee or any other political organization was involved in the outrage. Austria finally paid $15,000 ransom, Mr. Landler was released, and the Bulgarian government was compelled to refund the money and pay a handsome indemnity. Other men of prominence and wealth have been kidnaped and the government has refused to intervene. I[230] cannot ascertain that any brigand has been punished in Bulgaria since the retirement of Stambouloff, late prime minister.

Mr. Dickinson, agent of the United States, assuming that the government of Bulgaria was responsible for the safety of foreigners within its jurisdiction, and for the good behavior of its subjects, undertook to compel its authorities to compel the Macedonian Committee to compel the Samakov local committee to compel the conspirators to call in the brigands and release Miss Stone, but his efforts were useless because the Macedonian Committee was determined to avoid the odium of the kidnaping, and is much more powerful than the government. It was not believed then, or now, by those who are well informed, that the present managers of the Macedonian movement had any part in or knowledge of the conspiracy, but there was abundant circumstantial evidence that the plot was arranged and carried out by the former leaders, “the old committee,” as it is called, of which a desperate adventurer named Boris Sarafoff was the chairman and leader. Sarafoff was removed as head of the central committee because he was indicted for murder and gambled away the funds in the treasury. He was also engaged in several blackmailing conspiracies which brought discredit upon the cause. Nevertheless he is one of the most popular heroes in Bulgaria and has more influence with the people than any official of the government or any respectable member of the community.

Sarafoff was suspected of complicity with the conspiracy as soon as Miss Stone’s abduction was reported. The British minister, acting in behalf of the United States, because we have no official representative at Sofia, notified the Bulgarian minister of[231] foreign relations of his suspicions that Sarafoff was implicated and demanded officially that he either be arrested and locked up or placed under surveillance, so that he could not leave the country until an investigation could be made. The government did not touch him, and probably did not dare to do so. Sarafoff left Sofia within a few days and went to Budapest. He was afterwards reported to be in Paris. The police knew his whereabouts, but were more afraid of him than he was of them.

Mr. Dickinson is a gentleman of ability and integrity, and has the entire confidence of the American colony in Constantinople, but from the beginning of the negotiations in behalf of Miss Stone he adopted a policy which was calculated to prevent instead of secure her release. He seems to have imagined that diplomacy could solve the problem, and instead of dealing with the brigands he endeavored to compel the Bulgarian government to interfere, when he should have known that it was absolutely powerless to do so. After two months had passed, and having fully demonstrated his inability to deal with the case, Mr. Dickinson was recalled from Bulgaria and Mr. Leishman, the United States minister at Constantinople, who had been on leave, was ordered back to his post of duty. He arrived at Constantinople about the 1st of January, and, after informing himself as to the situation, proceeded to undertake Miss Stone’s release by the application of business methods and common sense. He abandoned the diplomatic controversy, and, recognizing that the officials of the Bulgarian government were impotent, endeavored to open communication directly with the brigands. He appointed a committee consisting of Mr. Gargiulo, chief dragoman and interpreter[232] of the United States legation at Constantinople; Rev. John Henry House, D.D., formerly of Painesville, Ohio, and for twenty-five years in charge of the mission work of the American Board in Macedonia, with headquarters at Salonika; and W. W. Peet, treasurer of the Bible Society and Missionary Board at Constantinople. These gentlemen managed the business with great skill and tact.

Dr. Peet was the custodian of the fund contributed by citizens of the United States for the ransom, and it amounted to $65,000. Rev. Dr. House commands the confidence of the people of Macedonia to a degree beyond that of any other American, and for that reason Mr. Leishman selected him to negotiate with the brigands. Mr. Gargiulo is more familiar with the methods and habits of the natives of Turkey than any other man whose services could be obtained. He is also upon familiar terms with the officials and knows how to deal with both classes.

Mr. Leishman invited these three gentlemen to take charge of the case, and they went directly to the scene of Miss Stone’s capture.

On the 18th of January Dr. House succeeded in opening communication with Miss Stone from a town called Razlog. She wrote that she was well and kindly treated, and that the alarming reports about Mrs. Tsilka and herself were unfounded. But the brigands would not release her except upon the payment of $65,000, which they were aware had been contributed for the ransom, and was in the hands of the missionaries at Constantinople. They knew to a dollar the extent of the funds raised, and would not listen to any proposition except the payment of the full amount. They had been in constant communication[233] with friends at Sofia and elsewhere, who kept them advised of all the movements of our government and of Mr. Dickinson, and were familiar with the newspaper publications concerning the case in the United States. They declined to surrender Miss Stone in advance of payment and insisted that the money should be paid first.

Mr. Leishman investigated the precedents and found that this had always been customary and that in every case on record the brigands had acted honorably and carried out their part of the agreement. In the case of Colonel Singe, an Englishman who was kidnaped some years ago, his captors not only demanded $60,000 ransom money in advance, but required that his wife and daughter should be delivered as hostages and detained until they had been given twenty-four hours to escape. The money and the women were delivered to a representative of the bandits at a place agreed upon. The hostages remained in absolute seclusion until the following day, when, at the hour appointed, they left the cabin in which they had been placed and returned to their home. If they had attempted to leave before or to communicate with anybody during that time they undoubtedly would have been shot, but they submitted to the exactions of the bandits, and on the following day Colonel Singe was released.

Mme. Branzian, a French lady who was kidnaped in 1896, was released under similar conditions. Her captors demanded £10,000 in advance and three days’ time in which to escape with the money. If they were molested in the meantime they gave notice that she would be killed. Ten thousand dollars was paid as agreed and the conditions were complied with, but at the end of the three days soldiers started in pursuit,[234] four of the brigands were captured and $8,000 of the money recovered.

In every other case that Mr. Leishman could hear of the conditions were the same, and, upon the advice of Dr. House, he decided to accept the terms and authorized the payment of the ransom. There was a little difficulty at first as to the place and the manner in which the money was to be delivered, but in this, as in every other particular, the committee was compelled to submit to the demands of the brigands. The result justified their confidence, and Miss Stone and her companion were surrendered according to the stipulation. On October 25 Dr. Haskell and Dr. Baird, of the Congregational mission at Samakov, had an interview with one of the so-called brigands, and he knew everything that Consul-general Dickinson had done up to that date, as well as the exact amount of the ransom fund that had been contributed in the United States. Rev. Dr. House met three of them by appointment January 22. Two days later Messrs. House, Peet and Gargiulo met several others, discussed the matter of ransom as business men usually discuss commercial transactions, and arranged for the payment of the money on the following day, January 25. The brigands demanded payment in gold coin, and swore the Americans to perpetual secrecy concerning their individuality, the place where the ransom was paid and other circumstances connected with the case. They insisted that the place of payment should remain a secret for fear the people in the neighborhood might be suspected of complicity and be punished by the Turks. The unexpected appearance of a company of Turkish soldiers, who were always on the alert to watch the movements of the rescue committee, prevented[235] the payment of the ransom until the 13th of February. Three men were waiting around the place of rendezvous all this time for a chance to receive the money safely; and, in order to throw the Turkish soldiers off the scent, the missionaries removed the gold from the packages in which it had been brought from Constantinople, filled the packages with stones and sent them back under guard to the railway station.

This ruse proved successful. The Turkish officials and detectives who were watching the missionaries supposed that they had failed to connect with the brigands and had shipped the money to Constantinople. Their vigilance was, therefore, relaxed, and on February 13 the rescue committee paid over $65,000 in gold coin to four brigands, who insisted upon counting it piece by piece, to be sure that they received the full amount demanded. Twelve other brigands were in the immediate neighborhood, within call and on guard, and several of them are known to the missionaries.

Two days later, in a cabin in the mountains, Miss Stone received a letter from Dr. House, brought in by the brigands, containing the welcome news that the ransom had been paid, and was informed by her captors that she would be released as soon as their safety would permit. After several days of impatient waiting the bandits started upon a journey with their captives. They traveled through the mountains two nights and part of three days, and about dusk on the evening of the third day, February 23, Miss Stone, Mrs. Tsilka and her baby were left in the woods and were told that they were free to go their way, and would find a village within five minutes’ walk. The[236] women thanked their captors for their kindness, expressed the natural degree of relief at the end of their captivity and soon found themselves in the village of Gradshortsky, where the natives received them hospitably and notified the governor of the town of Stronmitza, only a few miles away.

On the following morning Miss Stone and Mrs. Tsilka were taken to Stronmitza, where the governor received them with considerable ceremony and notified the missionaries. Dr. House, Mr. Peet and Mr. Gargiulo, who had been patiently waiting for this news, soon joined the ladies and conducted them to Salonika, where Dr. House lives. From there, after a few days of rest, they went to Constantinople.

There is a decided difference of opinion among the European colony and the missionaries as to the moral effect of the transaction, but the proceedings of the American minister and his committee are generally approved. It is also the almost unanimous sentiment that the same methods should have been adopted at once after Miss Stone’s capture. A few members of the missionary colony still insist that it would have been better to sacrifice Miss Stone’s life than to “compromise with wrong,” as they term it. They predict that the lives and liberty of American missionaries will be imperiled from this time on and that it will be unsafe for any foreigner to travel without an armed escort. The people of the United States, having shown their willingness to pay a large sum of money to ransom one missionary, will be called upon frequently hereafter to pay blackmail to protect others, and they argue that the establishment of such a precedent is not only fatal as a matter of policy but a shameful surrender of the dignity of a powerful Christian nation.


No demand has been made upon Turkey for indemnity or other reparation because it is clear that the crime was committed by Bulgarians, and not by Turks, although upon Turkish soil, and in Turkish disguises; and it is equally clear that the conspirators desired and intended to involve Turkey in complications with the United States. No demand has been made upon Bulgaria since the release of Miss Stone because she declines to make a complaint or furnish any clues to the identity of her captors or any evidence upon which a claim can be based. She intends to return to her mission field in Macedonia and Bulgaria, and therefore does not wish to impair her popularity or usefulness among the people of those countries. She is intensely sympathetic with the Macedonian cause, notwithstanding her sufferings at the hands of its advocates, and she is evidently under pledges to her captors not to do or say anything that might interfere with their peace of mind or pursuit of happiness, for she has declined, or at least neglected, to furnish the department of state any information concerning them. She is also so confident that her deliverance is due to the intercession of Providence, in answer to her prayers, that she has entirely overlooked all the human agencies that were engaged in her behalf.

Mrs. Tsilka made a brief statement at the request of Mr. Leishman, the United States minister at Constantinople, but it furnishes little information, and it is of no value whatever for official purposes. The United States government intended to make some sort of a demonstration in order to assert its dignity and show its disapproval of the liberties the brigands of Bulgaria have taken with American citizens, but it cannot do very much unless the parties of the first part make[238] complaint or furnish some ground for action, which they both seem disinclined to do.

To those who are familiar with the facts and the situation in Macedonia, Miss Stone’s narrative in McClure’s Magazine is more remarkable for what she omits than for what she tells. It is very clear that she is determined to furnish no clew to her captors, for with great care and skill she avoids giving any information that may reveal their identity or disclose the places in which she and Mrs. Tsilka were detained during their captivity.

Nevertheless, she makes one or two slips, evidently unconscious of their significance. For example, she expresses her relief at finding that her captors were not “black shirts” or regular brigands. She says that their arms and equipments were all new; that they were in communication with friends in Sofia and received regular and prompt information from that city. She speaks well of them, appreciates their kindness and courtesy, and in her letters to Dr. House and others certifies that they are “entirely trustworthy.” Dr. House, Dr. Peet and Mr. Gargiulo, who had several interviews with her captors, testify that they were “neither shepherds nor husbandmen, but men of education and some polish,” especially the chief, who knew some English.

Mr. Gargiulo calls attention to a singular circumstance. He says that it is the custom for brigands to give their captives a liberal contribution from the ransom paid for their release. He mentions that when Colonel Singe, an Englishman, was ransomed in 1880, each brigand in the band gave him a handful of gold, from £20 to £25 sterling, before leaving him. In other cases of abduction by regular brigands the same[239] practice has been followed, but in Miss Stone’s case her captors were not so generous. They gave her no money whatever, which, Mr. Gargiulo argues, indicates that they are unfamiliar with the etiquette of brigandage; that it was new business for them, and therefore they are not regular brigands. This confirms the belief that they are members of the Macedonian Committee.


Assuming that the conspiracy to kidnap Miss Stone was hatched and carried out by the Macedonian Committee, the motives are easily understood:

(1) The Macedonian Committee, having an empty treasury, needed money for arms and ammunition.

(2) They desired to terrify the American missionaries into coöperation with them in their efforts to secure the emancipation of Macedonia from Turkish rule. While the sympathies of the missionaries have always been with the Macedonian patriots, they have carefully abstained from doing anything to excite the criticism or provoke the hostility of the Turks.

(3) The Macedonian Committee desired to attract the attention of Europe to the misgovernment of the Macedonian province by Turkish officials and to the condition of anarchy that prevails there, hoping to secure the intervention of the great Powers and compel the Sultan to carry into effect the pledges he made to the international conference at Berlin, when Macedonia was restored to his authority in 1878. The members of the Macedonian Committee have proclaimed boldly, both before Miss Stone’s abduction and since, that they will make it so unsafe for foreigners in Macedonia that the Powers will be compelled to intervene for the protection of their own subjects.

(4) The committee hoped to provoke war, or at least[240] serious complications, between Turkey and the United States by kidnaping an American citizen while upon Turkish soil, and thus involve the government of the United States in what is known as the Eastern question. Hitherto we have always held aloof from that perplexing problem.

There is strong ground for the belief that there was a quarrel between the old and new Macedonian Committees, although the facts are not known. Miss Stone was captured by the old committee, which, as I have already said, was composed of desperate and disreputable adventurers. The new committee is composed of respectable and honorable men, who did not approve of the abduction and were very anxious lest it should injure the cause of Macedonian freedom among the Christian people of Europe. Miss Stone, in her narrative in McClure’s Magazine, tells of a fight between her captors and another band of brigands who, she thinks, were trying to recapture Mrs. Tsilka and herself for the sake of securing the ransom. Private information from Sofia, which was not credited at the time, referred to such an attempt upon the part of the new committee, but it has never been made clear whether they intended to release the prisoners, if captured, or whether they intended to demand the ransom for themselves instead of allowing it to be collected by the members of the old committee.






To understand the situation in Servia it is necessary to know a little of the history of that interesting country, which is always furnishing a sensation for Europe, and the story of the feud between two peasant families, which has been the cause of most of the trouble. At the beginning of the last century Servia was a Turkish province and was governed by a just and humane pasha named Hadji Mustapha. He was not only popular, but was beloved by his Christian subjects, and the land was peaceful and prosperous. The Janizaries, however, did not approve of his liberal policy or his efforts to protect the inhabitants against their extortions and cruelties, so they shut him up in the citadel and put him to death. They explained to the Sultan that he had been untrue to the Turks and was a friend of the Christians. The Janizaries had their own way for four or five years, and, fearing an uprising of the people, decided to murder every man who could possibly be looked upon as a leader. Thousands were massacred; every town and village in Servia flowed with blood. Among those who escaped to the mountains was a swineherd named George Petrovitch (George, the son of Peter), better known to history by his nickname, Kara (Black)[244] George, because of his dark complexion and raven hair. He is the greatest hero of Servian history, and to him his country owes its independence from the Turks.

He was a very able man and generally respected, but was absolutely illiterate, being unable to read or write, and could not even sign his name. When he became king he used a peculiar cipher or rubric to show his approval of state papers. But he had natural intelligence and sagacity. His integrity was never questioned and his sense of justice was Spartan. He allowed his own brother to suffer the death penalty as an example to others for defying the authority of the government. While King of Servia he wore the ordinary peasant’s garb, because he said it was more appropriate to his ignorance and simple character than a crown and robe of state, and he lived with the same frugality as when he was tending his pigs in the mountains, often cooking his own meals in the palace kitchen.

Karageorge drove out the Turks and organized a liberal monarchy in Servia. Keenly appreciating his own deficiencies, the first thing he did was to establish a free public school system in every province, with a university at Belgrade. He introduced courts of justice, reduced taxation, punished corruption, suppressed vice and organized the different branches of the government with the skill of an experienced statesman; but the people were not able to advance at his rapid pace and he suffered the fate of many men who have been ahead of their generation. His enemies encompassed him about, and his critics interfered with his plans for the improvement of the country. In a fit of anger and indignation because[245] the public would not sustain his reforms, he abdicated the crown after a reign of nine years. He was the founder of the Karageorgovitch family, which is one of the parties to a perpetual feud for the control of Servia.

His rival, the founder of the other faction, was also a peasant, the son of a house-servant, a man who did menial work about the castle of an aristocratic family named Obren. His father was called Tescho, but, as is common among the Balkan peasants, he had no family name, and when he became conspicuous enough to need one he adopted that of his master, and the founder of the present reigning house of Servia became known as Milos Obren. When Karageorge abdicated, Milos was the most influential man left in the city of Belgrade, and the Turkish pasha who invaded the country and captured the city appointed him governor of the province. This honor excited his ambition and jealousy, and, fearing a popular movement to recall Karageorge to the throne, he betrayed him to the Turkish pasha, and, in obedience to the latter’s orders, willingly hired a professional assassin named Vuica to murder his unsuspecting rival while asleep in the shepherd’s hut he occupied in the mountains. Thus began the feud between the descendants of the two men, which continues to the present day, and the history of Servia is little more than a recital of the rivalries between the Obrenovitch and the Karageorgovitch families. Milos finally succeeded in reaching the throne, and, being a man of very different disposition from Karageorge, ruled as an autocrat until he was compelled to abdicate by an outraged people, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Milan III., who died a month later, when his brother Michael was seated.


Michael made a good king. He was liberal, just, progressive, and introduced many modern improvements into Servia, besides carrying on the reforms begun by Karageorge. He built a fine system of roads and highways, erected several good public buildings, laid out parks, built an opera-house and an art gallery, all of which were excellent things in their way, but cost money. The peasants, who have always ruled Servia, objected to what they called “German ideas” and drove Michael from power, electing as king in his place Alexander Karageorgovitch, a son of the national hero. The latter had held an humble position in the Servian army, was modest, quiet and reserved. In an unostentatious way he continued the policy of public improvements begun by Michael, encouraging the arts and industries. During his reign Servia enjoyed peace for several years and made rapid progress, but the dissatisfied element soon began agitations again, and, encouraged by the partisans of the Obrenovitch family, obtained control of the parliament, which demanded Alexander’s abdication, and called back old Milos, who had been in exile in Austria. He reigned for two years, until he died, and it was good for the country that his life was not prolonged, for he labored under the delusion that his recall was a vindication of his previous autocratic policy, and his rule was worse than before.

Upon the death of Milos, Michael again came into power. During his exile he had traveled much, had studied the art of government in several of the European capitals, had learned foreign languages and foreign affairs, and this education and observation, with his natural abilities, made him a safe and prudent sovereign. He was altogether the best ruler Servia[247] has ever had; but there were continual conspiracies against him by partisans of the Karageorge family, and, being unable to control the parliament, they removed Michael by assassination. He was murdered in the garden of his country palace. It was the intention of the conspirators to proclaim Peter Karageorgovitch as king simultaneously with the announcement of Michael’s death, but their carriage broke down on their way back to Belgrade and the news of their crime preceded them. The minister of war took prompt action, arrested the assassins and locked them up in the dungeons of the citadel. The plot proved to be widespread. Several members of the Karageorge family were convicted of complicity and put to death, but there was no direct evidence against Peter, who then, as now, was living quietly at Lucerne, Switzerland, engaged in scientific pursuits. His late wife, Zorka, was a daughter of the reigning Prince of Montenegro, and he has two sons in the Russian army. He is now an old man, but, like Don Carlos of Spain and the Duke of Orleans of France, is a recognized “pretender,” and his name is always used by the “outs” as a shibboleth when they are trying to raise a revolution.

The national assembly placed Milan IV. on the throne, and in 1869 he was crowned. While getting his education in Paris he had acquired habits of luxury, gambling and dissipation, which unfitted him for the responsibility of ruling a primitive and a restless country like Servia. His love of pleasure, his low tastes, reckless extravagance and selfish disposition were his ruin. He squandered the nation’s money and lost his private fortune at cards. His wife, Natalie Keskho, daughter of a colonel in the Russian army,[248] was compelled to leave him and was finally granted a divorce. Their domestic troubles and the scandals of the Servian court for a dozen years during the reign of Milan furnished gossip for all Europe. Finally, enervated by dissipation and despised by his subjects and all decent people, he abdicated in 1889 in favor of his son Alexander, a lad of thirteen, who is now king of Servia.

This precocious youth, when not more than fifteen years old, fell under the fascinations of Mme. Draga Maschin, who had been a lady-in-waiting to his mother. She is an ambitious and brilliant woman, gifted with considerable beauty, and the daughter of a cattle-dealer in Belgrade named Lunjevitza. When only seventeen years of age she married Colonel Maschin, an engineer in the Servian army, who obtained a divorce from her because of her scandalous relations with the young king, which began when he was a mere boy, and since that time she has resided in the palace and has absolutely controlled him. The Dowager Queen Natalie again and again attempted to bring the lad to his senses and break off the relations, but Mme. Draga had more influence than the mother, and actually compelled the latter to leave the palace and the Kingdom of Servia. Natalie is now residing at Biarritz, very much respected and beloved by many people, although she made herself very unhappy and excited much hostility among the Servian politicians by her sympathy with Russia, and her desire to bring Servia within the Russian influence. Whatever may have been said of her political imprudence, her character has never been questioned.



Draga was ambitious to share the throne with her youthful lover, although she was nearly twice his age,[249] but her high aspirations were stubbornly opposed by the ministers of state and the leading politicians of Servia. After the abdication of his father, Prince Alexander, during his minority, ruled the country through three regents, all venerable and patriotic men, but it became necessary for Draga to get rid of them for her own safety and the success of her schemes. She found the young king a willing tool, and one night, when he was only seventeen years old, he invited the regents to the palace, and while they sat at dinner they were arrested upon a charge of treason and thrown into prison, while he proclaimed himself king. This coup d’état was successful, for the army admired the audacity of the youngster and sustained him. He has since married his mistress, and she remains as influential as ever, the most interesting and conspicuous figure in Servian politics.

King Alexander is a degenerate, and his brief career is disgusting. He looks as if he had escaped from an asylum for the depraved, but is by no means feeble of mind or body. On the contrary, he has a vigorous constitution, and on two or three occasions has shown a nerve and power of command which would do credit to a great general. Unfortunately he has inherited some of the depravity of his father, the late King Milan, who was probably the worst ruler Europe has seen for a generation, but at the same time the son possesses a physical and moral courage that Milan never displayed.

Draga Maschin, the daughter of the Servian cattle-dealer, reached the throne by a series of sacrifices and intrigues more sensational than have ever occurred outside of fictional literature; and yet she is not happy, because for their sins both she and her youthful[250] husband are boycotted by all the courts of Europe. Queen Victoria was so disgusted at the vulgar comedy enacted at Belgrade that she wanted to emphasize her disapproval by withdrawing the British minister. There have been a good many scandals in royal families, and some exist at the present time, which would make an interesting chapter, but there has been nothing for generations so nasty as that of Servia. As a consequence the royal couple have not been recognized in any way by other royal houses, much to the chagrin and disappointment of Queen Draga.

The latest political crisis in Servia was due to the lack of a baby. The country was excited by intrigues attending the selection of an heir to the throne. Our guide sagaciously observed that “some people complain of having too many children, but this is the first time I ever heard of national politics being disturbed by the lack of one.” Servia is a little country, but is an important factor in European politics, being one of the “buffer states” between Russia and the port on the Mediterranean which the Czar covets. Austrian influence is stronger than Russian, yet there is a Russian party which also represents the interest of a family whose ancestors once occupied the throne, and are all the time suspected of being engaged in a conspiracy to recover power. These conspiracies have been more frequent than ever of late years, and the field for intrigue is the more fertile because Queen Draga has not furnished an heir to the crown, and the doctors say that she is not likely to do so. It therefore becomes necessary to select a successor to King Alexander in order to avoid revolution if he should suddenly die or be driven from the palace. By selecting the heir-apparent in advance, future conspiracies[251] may be avoided; but the political interests of a great part of the European continent are directly involved in the selection, and the question is, Shall Russia name the man?

Negotiations were conducted for several years between the Servian minister of foreign affairs and Count Lamsdorff, the head of the foreign office at St. Petersburg, for a visit to the Czar, which is the height of the ambition of both King Alexander and his Queen, and a matter of political importance for the Russians. This involved the political control of Servia, and the nomination of an heir to the Servian throne. Although Queen Draga had other plans, and desired her brother, a young lieutenant in the Servian army, to be proclaimed heir-apparent, she was willing to sacrifice him and all the rest of her relations if the Empress Alix would receive her. But the latter, who is a good woman, absolutely refused to do so, and even declined to answer a letter which Queen Draga wrote, imploring her kindly consideration. It is said that she threw the letter indignantly into the fire before reading it, as soon as she discovered whom it was from.

It is one of the open secrets of the Servian court that Queen Draga proposed that if the Emperor and Empress of Russia would receive her husband and herself at their country palace near Odessa, King Alexander would nominate, as his successor on the Servian throne, Prince Mirko, son of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, and brother of Helena, Queen of Italy. The royal family of Montenegro have very close relations with the Russians, and are always educated at St. Petersburg. Prince Mirko is a great favorite with the widow dowager Czarina, and spent several years of[252] his childhood in her family, developing a remarkable taste for music. He is such a clever composer that his music is played by all the Russian military bands, and is equally popular in Italy. He is a good-looking lad of twenty-one, of stalwart figure and athletic habits. His life has been very different from that of the depraved young King of Servia; in fact, all the members of the family of Montenegrins have been admirably brought up and are persons of cultivation and refinement.

Two of his sisters, who were also educated under the direction of the dowager Czarina, have married members of the Russian imperial family, and their dowry was provided by the late Czar. Danilo, crown prince of Montenegro, married a daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and is, therefore, a brother-in-law of the Grand Duke Vladimir, who gave him a million rubles to start housekeeping. Thus the interest of the Russian imperial family, as well as the ministers of state, was excited by the prospect of securing a throne for young Mirko, and the Servians realized that such an inducement would have great weight with the Czarina Alix and might possibly persuade her to consent to receive a woman with even so bad a record as Queen Draga.

The Italian interest in the appointment of Mirko was equally great. Queen Helena was an active participant in the negotiations with Servia for Mirko’s nomination. The Servians do not care so much for Italy as for Russia. Queen Draga did not care whether the Queen of Italy received her or not, but of course appreciated that Queen Helena might exert some influence upon the Czarina.

There was still another and very important political[253] phase to the negotiations. Peter Karageorgovitch, the “pretender” to the Servian throne, married a sister of Mirko, the eldest daughter of Prince Nicholas, and, although she died in 1887, he is still considered a member of the Montenegrin family, and the relations between his sons and their uncles and aunts in Montenegro are very cordial. Two of these sons are now at a military school at St. Petersburg, and a third is in the Russian army. It might be that Peter would renounce formally all pretensions on the part of himself and the Karageorgovitch family to the throne of Servia if his brother-in-law, Mirko, were proclaimed heir-apparent. This would be a great advantage to Servia, and would do more than any other one thing to put an end to the conspiracies and political agitations which have distracted this country.

King Alexander, as well as Queen Draga, will have to swallow a good deal of chagrin if Mirko is selected, for that depraved sovereign received a most humiliating snub from the lovely Princess Xenia, the fourth daughter of Prince Nicholas, which he cannot have forgotten. Before his marriage with Draga Maschin, the boy king agreed to yield to the importunities of his ministers and seek a wife elsewhere, and there was some correspondence concerning an alliance with the royal family of Montenegro. King Alexander made a visit to Cetinje, the Montenegrin capital, to become acquainted with the young lady who was recommended as a suitable bride, but when the Princess Xenia saw him she was so disgusted with his appearance and manners that she refused to sit at the same dinner-table or receive any attention whatever from him, and Alexander had to be told that his suit would not be successful. He left Cetinje in a state of furious[254] indignation, and when he returned to his capital he dismissed from office and banished from the country all the members of his cabinet who had advised him to go there, and married Draga Maschin forthwith.

There was a sensational scene at the palace when Queen Draga’s plan to proclaim her brother as heir-apparent was disclosed. He is said to be a reputable young fellow and a good soldier, about twenty-four years of age, but he has no claims upon the throne, and nobody wanted him except his sister, who, the people think, has already received more consideration than she is entitled to. His name is Nikodem Lunjevitza. At first nobody believed the story that floated out of some mysterious quarter, that Alexander intended to adopt his brother-in-law as a son and name him as the future king of Servia, because it was so audacious as to be incredible, but within a few days the confirmation was abundant. The king expressed his intention to three or four different persons. Then the ministry took up the matter and decided, after long and serious consultation, that it would be an act of duty and patriotism to immediately check the ambition of their queen. Therefore, the entire cabinet, with Mr. Vuitsch, the prime minister, at their head, called at the palace at an unusual hour and asked for an audience. Alexander must have suspected the purpose of their visit, for, after keeping them waiting for fifteen or twenty minutes, he appeared in the full uniform of the commander-in-chief of the Servian army, with his wife upon his arm. Advancing a few steps from the entrance, the royal couple stood arm-in-arm, with a defiant air, while the eight ministers arose and saluted them. Mr. Vuitsch, in a conciliatory[255] way, suggested that as they desired to consult the king upon a matter of importance to the state, the presence of Her Majesty was not necessary. But Alexander had evidently been through a rehearsal, for he replied firmly and without hesitation:

“The Queen of Servia is interested as much as myself in all affairs of state.”

The prime minister bowed in acquiescence and proceeded to say that disquieting rumors concerning the selection of an heir to the throne had been in circulation for several days, and had reached the ears of the cabinet from unofficial sources. No notice had been taken of them until they had been confirmed by persons who were in the confidence of His Majesty more than his own cabinet and lawful advisers. Therefore they deemed it their duty to enter a remonstrance and to remind him that the Skupshtina, which was about to assemble, under the constitution must be consulted, and their approval obtained before the proclamation of an heir-apparent could be formally made. He was confident, the premier said, that a majority of that body, which was Radical in sentiment, would never agree to the choice His Majesty had made, and, with the history of Servia so familiar in his mind, His Majesty must recognize the danger to himself and to the country of a difference with his parliament upon so important a subject as the selection of his successor. He, therefore, begged that, before any formal steps were taken, the leaders of the parliament should be consulted.

Alexander here interrupted, and shouted in an excited manner: “I shall carry out my will.”

“The will of the people must also be considered,” answered the prime minister firmly.


Queen Draga, who seemed perfectly cool in contrast to the agitation of her husband, motioned to the latter to be silent, and said, “The will of the monarch is the more important,” then, whirling the king around, she almost dragged him to the door, and the royal couple left the audience-chamber without the usual formalities. The cabinet exchanged glances and retired. Within a few days they took occasion to have the leader of the Radical majority in the parliament send a message to the queen by a person who would be sure to deliver it correctly, that her plan to name her brother as heir to the throne would never be agreed to, and admonished her that her own safety required her to relinquish it.

There have been frequent attempts to assassinate the queen, and at one time a story was circulated that she had committed suicide. It is believed to have originated with her enemies to cover a failure at assassination. She is extremely unpopular, and her vindictiveness has incited a personal hostility and provoked attempts upon her life. Alexander is a mere puppet in her hands. He does nothing without her approval. She is actually the head of the Servian government.



The train rolled into a fine large station at ten o’clock on a beautiful night in October, 1901, when we had an opportunity to observe how things are managed in a hotbed of revolutions, for in Servia there is more politics than in Kansas or Nebraska, and the “ins” are always afraid the “outs” are going to raise a rumpus. As a consequence, the country is often compared to a volcano, and the government officials are very cautious about admitting strangers and political exiles into the capital.

An hour or so before we entered the Servian boundaries from Budapest, an officer in a dizzy uniform of scarlet and gold braid collected our passports, and asked a series of questions concerning our residences, birthplaces, religion, professions and “stations in life,” which we answered with accuracy and patience. Then, shortly before we arrived at Belgrade, he returned the documents with the most polite compliments. Alighting from the car, we followed the crowd into a sort of chute upon the station platform, like those used for cattle in stock-yards, at the end of which two more officers stood, and again demanded our passports and railway tickets. Having complied, we passed on into a big room with benches running up and down the center, where our luggage, with that of other arrivals, was arranged.

The customs office did not show us much attention; their inspection of our luggage was over in a minute;[258] but they overhauled that of the native passengers as if they meant to find something. I suppose they were looking for arms, ammunition, incriminating documents or something of that sort, or perhaps only for liquors and tobacco, which are government monopolies; but the examinations were very thorough, and both men and women had to tumble the contents of their bags and boxes out upon the bench in a most exasperating manner. One man, who had ridden with us all the way from Budapest, evidently had been indulging in a little extravagance, and had half a dozen new collars and cuffs. These attracted the attention of the inspector, who counted them three or four times, and then took them into an inner room, where he weighed them, and collected a few coppers in duty. Hot with indignation the owner searched his pockets, slammed the duty down upon the bench and hurled about a bushel of Servian oaths at the inspector, who took it as coolly as possible and went on examining the luggage of other people. The indignant man then began to collect his scattered effects; but between every three or four handfuls he would explode again. I do not know who he was, but if he ever catches that customs inspector in a dark alley there will be a homicide reported in the Servian newspapers.

Our trunks were loaded upon the box of an ancient cab drawn by a pair of diminutive animals, which had more spirit than flesh, and whirled around the corner of the station to a brilliantly lighted office, which the driver told us was the police headquarters, where our passports could be recovered. The officers were very polite, but they wanted to know my profession. There are often reasons why one does not care to advertise[259] himself as a newspaper reporter. It sometimes interferes with the success of a mission. I told them I was a traveler, but they desired something a little more definite. So, for the time being, I concluded to be a gentleman of leisure, and was visiting Servia in pursuit of the picturesque. The chief was extremely deferential and hoped he had not put me to any inconvenience. He insisted upon shaking hands, and bowed us to the door with the grace of a dancing-master.


The big café of the hotel to which we were driven was filled with blue smoke. Underneath the cloud we could discern a crowd of men earnestly engaged in a discussion which they kept up until an early hour in the morning, and we learned that the chief occupation of a large portion of the inhabitants was drinking beer, talking politics and smoking cigarettes. The next morning was Sunday, and the café was again filled at an early hour, with women as well as men, and every table was occupied all day long, while the cigarette smoke hung over their heads like a blue mist and concealed the ceiling. It was always so as long as we remained in Belgrade. The café was crowded when we came downstairs in the morning and when we went to bed at night, and the consumption of beer, wine, coffee and cigarettes must be very large.

Sunday morning the king gave an audience to the Skupshtina, as parliament is called, and it was, therefore, one of the great days of the year. The bishops and the clergy, in their magnificent, embroidered vestments, were even more imposing than the generals in uniforms of blue, scarlet and green, with gold braid. The members of the diplomatic corps in court dress were led by the Turkish minister and his suite. The Austrian and Russian representatives were handsomely[260] decorated and made a fine appearance. They were watched with interest because it is supposed that both are intriguing for the control of the country. The members of the Skupshtina were clad in black evening dress, with embroidered shirt-fronts, white ties and white gloves. A band of music stood in the area beside the palace and played lively airs while the ceremonies were going on, and a battalion of the king’s bodyguard, in brilliant uniforms like those of the Austrian Hussars, was drawn up in two lines, between which everybody had to pass. I looked at those troops with peculiar interest, because upon their loyalty the life of the king depends. Most of them are young men, some mere boys, but they all had intelligent faces and seemed conscious of their responsibility.

The royal palace, which is in the center of the city of Belgrade, is in two parts and disconnected. One resembles a French chateau and looks like a comfortable home, being pleasantly and tastefully fitted up. It is only two stories in height, the lower floor containing the drawing, dining and reception rooms and the upper floor the living apartments. It is large enough for an ordinary family, and would make an acceptable abode for a gentleman of wealth and culture. The other part, which is across an area forty or fifty feet wide, is a more pretentious structure, which rises next to the street, without grounds, and looks like a public building. It is known as the New Konak, and was built by Milan, the gambler king, for entertaining purposes. The exterior as well as the interior is very pretentious, being of stuccoed brick, with elaborate moldings, four stories high and painted yellow, like nearly all the government buildings and business[261] blocks. Within is a series of magnificent apartments, equal to those in the palaces at Berlin and Vienna, designed by a French architect and finished with tapestries and gilding at a cost that was enormous for the size and wealth of the country. The guards are thick around the palace, which indicates either lack of confidence or a cowardly king. But the precaution is well taken.


Sunday morning everybody goes to market, and the display of fish, meats and vegetables is large and interesting. On one side of the principal square were butchers, hucksters, and dealers in knickknacks from Servia, while everything on the other came from Hungary, across the River Save, and paid duty. The latter and their wares were much better looking, and the venders wore better garments than the Servians, many of them appearing in the Hungarian national costume. Their butter and cheese were more appetizing and were displayed in a neater manner; their vegetables were superior to those of Servian growth, the meat was of a better quality, and it was, therefore, not surprising when we were told that the wealthy class of the population patronized the Hungarians and paid a little more for their supplies. The common people buy food at the Servian end of the market. The fruits were beautiful, especially the grapes and plums. From those plums are made the prunes of commerce, and a large part of our supply comes from Servia. Plums are the largest and most valuable crop of the country. The exports of dried prunes were more than forty thousand tons in 1901, and from thirty to forty thousand tons were used in the distillation of plum brandy.

Servia is an agricultural country, and out of a population[262] of 2,312,000, eighty-seven per cent are engaged in farming, the number of individual farms being 293,421, generally comprising from twenty to thirty acres each. Over 300,000 acres are devoted to plum trees. The next best crops are wheat, grass and corn. Pigs are one of the staple products. After the war with Bulgaria a few years ago, in which Servia was defeated, it was proposed to pay an indemnity of a million and a half of swine instead of cash. There are large flocks of sheep and a good deal of wool is handled, and the ranges are well stocked with cattle.

Whenever Servia has a period of peace the flocks and herds increase with great rapidity, and the wealth of the country grows like compound interest. Servia has been extensively advertised as “a poor man’s paradise,” as the soil, climate and other conditions are favorable for people of small means. Farms can be bought for small sums of money, and the ranges for cattle and sheep are usually public lands, which cost nothing except a small tax which is paid into the treasury of the township or commune. Recently several new industries have been established. A German company has built a large beet-sugar factory within sight of Belgrade, and a linen manufactory has been erected by Belgian capital. There are several match factories, flour-mills, tanneries and breweries, and the government is proposing to pay subsidies to encourage the introduction of woolen mills and other mechanical industries in different parts of the country. Servia is prospering. There is plenty of work at good wages, but at the same time considerable emigration to the United States and to the neighboring countries, because of a disinclination among the young men to spend five years of their lives in the military service.



At market we saw a bride in the native dress, who had just come from the church where the marriage ceremony had been performed, and was receiving the congratulations of her friends and neighbors, while her proud husband stood at her side and was envied. She was a buxom damsel of the Swedish type, with blond hair and a clear blue eye. Her head was covered with a peculiar turban, from which hung clusters of silver coins. Long strings of coins were suspended from a necklace and a girdle, and hung over her shoulders and hips, and must have been very heavy. These were her dowry. She had begun to save them during her childhood, and instead of putting them in a savings-bank had strung them together for ornaments and had worn some or all of them on festive occasions to attract the attention of the eligible young men of the neighborhood. They were of different denominations, large and small, and were arranged with a good deal of taste. The custom of the country permits a bride to control her dowry after marriage, and many women are able to preserve their wedding coins and transmit them to their children. Sometimes they are exchanged for a piece of land, a cottage, or cattle, and sometimes the coins are taken, one by one, from the string, to meet emergencies in domestic economy. As a rule, however, the peasants of Servia are well-to-do, and as long as peace can be preserved they are able to live comfortably and save money.

The city of Belgrade lies upon a narrow, elevated peninsula between the River Save and the Danube. It has improved considerably during the last quarter of a century. The streets are wide and lined with fine buildings after the Austrian style of architecture, with frequent open squares which the public uses for[264] market-places. The older part of the city, nearest to the banks of the rivers, which was built during Turkish domination, is composed of low buildings of adobe, with roofs of red tile, fronting upon narrow and crooked streets and abounding in filth and bad smells. One part is given up to the Jewish population, who are huddled together in narrow quarters called the Ghetto, although many are supposed to be rich and to own large areas of valuable real estate in other sections of the city. There is no persecution of the Jews in Servia. Freedom of worship is granted by the constitution, although the state religion is the Greek orthodox. Out of a total population of 2,312,484 souls 2,281,018 are communicants of that church. The Roman Catholics number 10,411; the Mohammedan gypsies, 11,586; Turks, 2,489; Jews, 5,102; Protestants, 1,002.

The prevailing prejudice against the Jews is due to their success in business rather than to religious scruples. They are not allowed to hold office, although there is no legal prohibition, and are often hooted at in the streets. In ordinary business transactions the keen rivalry of the Jews is exasperating to their Christian competitors, and their commercial enterprise in all directions has interfered considerably with the prosperity of the natives. In the mercantile trade they have the best shops and undersell the Christians; in brokerage and the commission business they show a shrewdness and prudence which enable them to make money while others lose, and they have thus acquired wealth and commercial influence which make them objects of envy. I did not hear any Christian say a good word of a Jew in Servia, but at the same time I was not able to discover an[265] instance in which a member of that race has failed to fulfill his contracts or has asked more than his due. The persecution of the Jews in the neighboring Kingdom of Roumania, where they form a large portion of the population, is becoming desperate. There the restrictions of the Middle Ages are still in force. Jewish children are not allowed to attend the public schools; Jewish students are not admitted to the technical schools or the university; Jewish operatives cannot be employed in manufacturing establishments; the Jews are prohibited from practicing professions and engaging in certain kinds of commercial business, the object being to drive them out of the country. All this is in violation of the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin, under which the Kingdom of Roumania received the protection of the great Powers, but it is useless for the Jews to appeal because they cannot get a hearing. There is no such trouble in Servia or Bulgaria, and for that reason a considerable emigration from Roumania is moving that way.

Since the time of King Michael, Servia has had an excellent school system and a law making education compulsory. All children between the ages of seven and fourteen must attend school, and since 1865, when only four per cent of the population could read and write, there has been remarkable advancement. There are a number of academies, a school of commerce, an agricultural college, a school of wine-culture and a university with four hundred and thirty-six students, of whom twenty-eight are women. In addition to these there are also twenty-seven hospitens, or guests—students who are too poor to pay the matriculation fees, but are allowed to attend the lectures and enjoy the full benefit of the university training without[266] receiving degrees. The university occupies a fine building opposite the principal square, and has a well-selected library of forty thousand volumes. The entire expense of the university is paid by the national treasury, and during the year 1900 was $109,000. There are four faculties—law, medicine, science and philosophy.

Some of the school buildings are excellent examples of modern construction and convenience, and they show an educational enterprise that is creditable to the country. The government supports a museum of natural history, a theater for the encouragement of opera and the drama in the native tongue, and a small picture-gallery, which contains an interesting collection of portraits of national characters and several examples of old masters which have been presented from time to time. There are also a number of paintings by native artists. One of them, representing the coronation of an early king of Servia, was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Salon in 1900, and was purchased by the government as an encouragement to other artists. Nearly all the pictures by native artists relate to historical events—warfare, massacres and assassinations, dying women and headless men, for the history of Servia has been a chronicle of horrors.

There are a public park and children’s playground, with swings, merry-go-rounds, toboggan slides and other amusements; a musical garden, where a military band plays two or three times a week; and a botanical collection that promises well. In the parks and public square are a number of statues and monuments to Servian military heroes, poets and literary men.

The Servian language is a mixture of the Russian and Greek and is similar to that of Bulgaria.


The cathedral is a commonplace building with a fantastic tower of Byzantine style. It is interesting only because it contains the tombs of Kings Milos and Michael. The epitaph of the latter reads: “Thy memory shall not perish.” Karageorge is buried in the woods in the mountains where he was assassinated. King Milan was buried in Vienna, where he died in 1899.

At the extreme point of the peninsula, at the junction of the Save and the Danube, is a promontory rising between three and four hundred feet, with sheer cliffs at the point and on both sides. Here a fortress was erected by the Romans before the time of Christ. Much of the original wall still remains and the inclosure has been used continuously for military purposes for at least two thousand years. There are two series of fortifications, both protected by moats and double walls, and the citadel must have been impregnable before the invention of heavy artillery. It commands a wide valley, and the view from the point is one of the most attractive in Europe.

The castle is in an excellent state of preservation and the outer walls are used as a prison for all kinds of offenders. The prison is well kept, the inmates are humanely treated and every Sunday morning are allowed to send to the public market articles of their handiwork to be sold for their own benefit. Every prisoner is allowed to prosecute his trade if he has one and enjoy the proceeds of the sale of everything he makes. If he is a shoemaker or a tailor he can continue to work for his customers, and one day of the week he is allowed to receive visitors, who bring him orders and take away goods that are finished. Women prisoners do sewing and embroidery. At the market[268] on Sunday the stand for the sale of prison-made goods is attended by officers of the police, who take the names of purchasers and the prices of the articles purchased. During the last few years the administration of justice has been much improved and the courts are said to be well managed.

Within the walls of the citadel are barracks for a regiment of artillery, residences for the commander of the army and his staff, a school for the education of non-commissioned officers, a church which the soldiers are required to attend, and the headquarters of the military administration. There is also a memorial mosque, which was erected in honor of Hadji Mustapha who governed Servia early in the last century, and, strange to say, was beloved by the people. He was murdered by the Janizaries because he was too just and liberal.

The remains of Roman times are interesting and among the best preserved in Europe. In the center of the citadel is a well containing fifty-five feet of water, on a level with the Danube River, which is reached by descending four hundred and thirty-two steps. The well is surrounded by a brick wall three feet thick. The steps wind around it, and you go down, down, down into the darkness of the bowels of the earth, until the water-level is reached, where there is a chamber of considerable size, evidently intended for storage of ammunition. This well is said to be nearly two thousand years old, yet the brick-work is almost perfect. It was built by the Romans to furnish water for the garrison in case of a siege.

Below the walls of the citadel, upon the banks of the Danube, are two large barracks capable of accommodating twenty-five hundred men, with magazines for[269] the storage of powder, and an old tower called the Nebojsche, or torture-tower, which is supposed to have formerly had an underground connection with the citadel, but it has been filled up and forgotten for centuries. Here prisoners were taken to be tortured and executed, and their bodies were thrown into the Danube.

Military service is compulsory. Every young man of sound body, when he becomes of age, must serve two years in the army, eight years in the reserve, and ten years in the national militia, or second reserve. The active strength of the army in time of peace is 35,640 men, the first reserve 160,751, and the second reserve 126,110, making a total of 322,501 men capable of military service in time of war. The army is organized and uniformed on the Russian plan, and has been trained by Russian officers.

Every man who has performed military service is entitled to the right of suffrage, and all others who pay taxes to the extent of fifteen francs a year.

There are no paupers in Servia, and therefore no need of almshouses. There is a free hospital for both military and civilian patients, which is well kept.

Three miles from town, a park called Topschider, reached by a line of electric cars, surrounds a country palace in which King Michael lived much of his time. There is a farm where he conducted experiments in agriculture and horticulture. In the upper rooms of the palace are cases containing his library of agricultural works, many of which are in English; glass jars filled with seeds which he imported from foreign countries for experimental purposes, and glass cases containing wax casts of apples, pears, peaches, grapes and other fruits which he raised. Here he lived the[270] life of a farmer and devoted his time to studying the interests of his people; and here he was assassinated by conspirators who were not allowed to have the share they wanted in the control of the government.

The park is very pretty, and in front of the palace is a group of noble old sycamores, one of which is said to be the largest tree in Europe. Its branches extend over a diameter of more than two hundred feet and are sustained by props. We paced it and made it thirty paces from the trunk to the tip of the outermost branch. The trunk is twenty-two feet in circumference, and the tree is perfectly healthy and symmetrical.

The house, or palace, so called, is rude and uncomfortable. There is nothing attractive about it. The rooms are dark, dismal and ill-furnished, but it was the favorite residence of King Milos and of King Michael who were men of primitive tastes. Milos died in an upper chamber he used to occupy, and everything remains as he left it—his bed, his clothing, his slippers and a tattered old dressing-gown hanging on a nail.






The problem which is puzzling the United States in the Philippine Islands should give our people a particular interest in the little state of Bosnia, where a similar situation has been successfully handled by the Austrians. From 1463 to 1878 Bosnia and Herzegovina were a part of the Turkish Empire, and are nominally so still, although under Austrian authority. While subject to the Turks, they practically vanished from the current of civilization. Scarcely a ray of light or progress brightened the intellectual, social and industrial stagnation that settled upon these people until 1875, when, exasperated by extortion, taxation, robbery, rapine, murder and religious persecution, they rose in rebellion. Upon the failure of the Sultan to restore order, the great Powers of Europe, at the Berlin Conference of 1878, placed the two provinces under the protection of Austria, although still requiring them to pay tribute to Turkey.

The success of the Austrians has been chiefly due to the methods adopted by Count von Kallay, the able Hungarian statesman who has been practically a dictator since 1878. For Austria to reconcile a proud people of different races and religions was no easy[274] task. The results speak volumes for the forbearance and tact shown by the officials, and demonstrate the practicability of governing an alien race by justice, benevolence and liberal treatment.

Thirty years ago Bosnia was in the same condition that Macedonia is to-day, except that it was worse in the respect that it had a much larger proportion of Mohammedans and Turkish outlaws. The population were not fit for liberty, and if it had been granted them by the Berlin Conference, as they demanded, it would have been a curse instead of a blessing. A German writer, shortly before the Russo-Turkish war, described the situation in these words: “The misrule existing in the whole of the Turkish Empire is so great and so universal that it can be best characterized as a state of chronic and chaotic anarchy. One province, however, and that perhaps the least known of all, has in this respect a sad preëminence. It is a province where one can travel only with the greatest difficulty, and with not less danger than in the wilds of Kurdistan, where the intolerance and hate against the Christians is more living and active than around fanatical Damascus, and where the condition of the people is more abject and hopeless than that of any Fellaheen upon the Nile. That province is Bosnia.”

One who visits that country to-day can scarcely believe that such conditions could have existed only a short time ago—the people are so peaceful, contented and prosperous. Crime is almost unknown. Railroads reach every corner of the province, and the freighthouses are fed by long caravans of carts hauled over excellent highways. The towns are filled with new and handsome houses, factories have been built to utilize the water power, a university, colleges, academies,[275] training-schools and other institutions have been established to qualify the people to make the most intelligent use of their opportunities. Members of the different religious faiths mix with each other on amicable terms and show mutual respect and mutual toleration; the courts are wisely and honestly administered, justice is awarded to every citizen regardless of his religion or social position, taxes are low and honestly collected and disbursed. There has been little corruption in office and whenever it has been discovered it has been severely punished. The people have learned for the first time in their history that honest complaints will be patiently listened to and that wrongs will be redressed. The introduction of free education has enabled them to appreciate the value of such a government, and, although the older peasants are still ignorant, backward and distrustful, the younger generation show ambition and enterprise, and are conducting their affairs with intelligence and order.

The most convincing proof of the change in the condition of affairs is furnished by the statistics of crime and violence and the increase in population. Thirty years ago brigandage was a recognized profession. There were no railways, and few wagon roads. When people were compelled to travel they went in large parties, fully armed, or were accompanied by an escort of soldiers. Murder was not considered a crime and the number of people killed by the soldiers or by each other was not recorded. Robbery was as common as lying. To-day human life is as safe in Bosnia as in Illinois. Travel is safer there because there has never been a train robbery in that country. During the last ten years, out of a total population of nearly[276] 2,000,000, the homicides have averaged six a year, and in 1900 there were only two. There has been no case of highway robbery since 1895. Which of the states in the American Union can show a better record?

Under Turkish rule the population was not counted but in 1879, one year after Austrian authority was recognized, the census showed 1,111,216 people. In 1885 this total had increased to 1,336,097, in 1895 to 1,568,092, and in 1900 to 1,879,978, of which 548,632 were Turks, 673,246 Greek orthodox, 494,124 Roman Catholics, 9,311 Jews, 4,695 Protestants and representatives of nearly every religion. This change has been accomplished by the exercise of a strong, firm, honest and benevolent government. The proclamation announcing the occupation of the country by Austria promised that all the people in the land should enjoy equal rights before the law and should be protected in life, property and worship. That promise has been kept. Order has been brought out of anarchy; all races and religions are not only tolerated, but are encouraged, and the immigration from other Turkish provinces has been large.

Whatever has been done in Bosnia might also be done in Macedonia but for the jealousy of the Powers.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are situated in the northwest corner of the Balkan Peninsula, bounded on the north by the Slavonian province of Austro-Hungary, on the east by Servia, Turkey and Montenegro, and on the south and west by Dalmatia and the Adriatic Sea. The country is mountainous, being broken by high peaks, deep glens, ridges, beautifully wooded hills, winding streams, and rich alluvial basins, which yield large crops of grain—wheat, barley, rye, oats and other cereals—and are especially adapted to fruit.[277] The landscape is a series of terraces which slope gradually in a southwestward direction and finally disappear in the Adriatic, whose coast is broken into an archipelago of lovely islands. The Dalmatian coast is one of the most enchanting pictures in the universe, and its attractions have been the theme of poets since the days of Homer.

A curious phenomenon is the abrupt and unreasonable behavior of the rivers and streams in that region, which, like the North Platte of Nebraska, disappear from the surface of the earth and lose themselves in underground passages called ponars, reappearing in the most eccentric and surprising manner. The Narenta is the only river that finds its way to the sea entirely above ground.

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, a city of 60,000 inhabitants, almost in the geographical center of the country, is reached by railway from Belgrade or from Budapest. You change from the trunk-line of the Austrian state railway at a town called Bosna-brod on the Save River, which is the boundary of the province, and there you take a narrow-gauge line belonging to the Bosnian government, which winds through narrow defiles in the mountains until it reaches the Adriatic at Metcovic, the port of Bosnia, although within Dalmatian territory. Along the railway villages and villas cling to the mountain sides like swallow-nests and are very picturesque, the older ones being of oriental architecture with towers and minarets, and roofs of red tiles. There are several medieval castles, more or less in ruins, interspersed with modern paper mills, tanneries, cigarette factories and other industrial enterprises introduced by the Austrians. One of those old castles has been converted into a prison, and is[278] managed on the Pennsylvania plan, with the most enlightened methods for correction, reformation and education. Under the Turks prisons were more common, but were used to satisfy vengeance, to extort money from unwilling pockets and to torture political suspects and offenders. They were similar to the prisons of Cuba, perhaps worse; but under the present system of government the prevention of crime and the reformation of criminals have been the subject of great solicitude and scientific study.

Looking from the car windows between villages you would think the train was running through the Rocky Mountains. The fantastic crags and peaks of granite, the deep cuttings, the many tunnels, the chasms spanned by steel bridges and the “right of way” carved out of the sides of precipices, with the roaring, foaming streams, would remind you of Colorado. The train is hauled over the grand divide, 2,667 feet high, by what is called the “rack-and-pinion process,” which, however, must remain a mystery, because it does not stop for passengers to inspect; but it is some description of a cable-and-cog-wheel arrangement. The longest tunnel is 700 yards. The trains run very slowly and carefully, as if afraid of accidents, and it is a long journey to cover comparatively a few miles. As a bird flies, the distance between Bosna-brod and Sarajevo is less than a hundred miles, but winding in and out among the gorges and following the long curves made necessary to regulate the grade, you get an all-day’s ride, but finally reach a vast garden of vineyards, olive groves, foliage plants and truck farms in an amphitheater surrounded by snow-clad peaks.

Near Sarajevo is a mountain called Trebevic, 5,100 feet high, which furnishes a sublime view of the surrounding[279] country for a radius of fifty miles within the circle of the mountain. There is a pavilion at the summit, reached by a good bridle path, which was built, like everything else, by the Austrian officials.

Approaching the city of Sarajevo the railway runs through a famous gorge. The rails cling to the granite walls that inclose the Narenta River in a way that reminds you of the Black Cañon of Utah. The gorge is twelve miles long, peaks 6,000 and 7,000 feet high rise on either side, and the precipices are almost perpendicular to the height of 1,000 feet above the riverbed.

Sarajevo is a partly modernized Turkish town, and in its architecture and arrangement a curious combination of the old and the new, the Orient and the Occident. It is half Turkish and half Austrian, and so many of the inhabitants cling tenaciously to their native customs that they add to the picturesqueness of the place. I was told that the city contains a larger variety of types of the oriental races than even Constantinople, and that in the bazaar may be seen daily a sample of every native costume worn from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Red Sea. It requires much local experience and sartorial knowledge to distinguish a Dalmatian from a Serb, a Magyar from an Albanian, or a Greek from a Jew, but whatever their ancestry or religion may be—Slav, Semite, Moslem, Egyptian, Greek, Slavonian, Latin, Swiss, Saxon, Teuton, Frank, Magyar, Turk, Russian, Swede, Spaniard, Moor or Nubian—they live in peace and harmony, each recognizing the scruples of the other concerning the creed and the customs of his faith, and under the firm and kindly rule of the Austrians they dwell together in unity. Many of the women also adhere to their native costumes, except the wives and daughters of the middle[280] class. When you see a veiled woman you may know that she is a Moslem, but those who wear their faces uncovered are either Christians or Jews.

Austrian officers in uniform seem to be numerous and popular, and all classes of the people are grateful for their deliverance from the unspeakable Turk. The fathers and mothers still find it difficult to overcome their suspicions and distrust of their rulers, which have been bred into their bones through long centuries of deception, cruelty and corruption.

The capital of Bosnia occupies a sightly place in a wide valley surrounded by picturesque mountains, and is divided into two nearly equal parts by the Miljacka, a rapid, foaming stream which tumbles over a rocky bed. Nine or ten artistic bridges, some of them incrusted with the lichens of centuries, are approached by wide, well-shaded streets which slope up the mountain sides with a comfortable grade and give excellent drainage. Observed from the distant hills, Sarajevo looks as if it were built in terraces, and the trees in the streets make parallel lines of green alternating with lines of red, which are the roofs of the houses. In many places are luxuriant gardens reached through wide archways under the houses in the oriental style, but they are generally secluded. There is an abundance of pure water supplied from the mountains for domestic purposes and for the many fountains which decorate the interior patios of the houses and gardens. While the residential portion of the town is irregular and only partially built up, Sarajevo compares well in architecture and in every other respect with any city of its size in Europe or America, and some time will be a beautiful place, for it is much favored by nature, and the inhabitants are rapidly accumulating wealth.


Sarajevo has been frequently compared with Jerusalem and Damascus. It is often called “the Damascus of the North,” and perhaps the old part may bear some resemblance to those venerable cities, but the new part is more like a German or an Italian town. There are several mosques with minarets and domes and spires. Churches of every religion, fine office-buildings, apartment-houses, government buildings and public institutions. The Rathaus, or city hall, is a beautiful modern structure of the oriental school of architecture, and might have been transplanted from Constantinople or Algiers, while the Scheriatschule, a law college, is also imposing. The citadel or castle, which formerly was the residence of the Turkish governor, is an irregular inclosure defended by a high wall with a collection of buildings representing several ages and schools of architecture. It is now garrisoned by a battalion of Austrian troops, whose gay uniforms delight the eyes of the people.

In Budapest I saw a regiment of troops from Bosnia parading the streets. They were fine-looking young fellows, full of military ardor, and seemed to take great pride in their appearance. I was told that there are 7,000 Bosnian soldiers in Austria and Hungary, and an equal number of Austrian soldiers in Bosnia, which, by the way, is a very good scheme, if you will stop to think of the effect. According to law every able-bodied man in Bosnia, upon reaching the age of eighteen, is required to enter the army for a period of five years, two years being spent in active service and three years as a member of the reserve. Those in active service are sent to Austria and Hungary, where they learn something of life and civilization, become familiar with the German language and the[282] customs and habits of the people, and make many friends, often marrying Austrian girls and taking them back to Bosnia. The government encourages such marriages, and offers tempting inducements in the way of relief from certain duty and additional pay. Married soldiers are allowed to live in barracks with their wives, who are employed as cooks, laundresses and in other capacities. Thus, after a term of two years spent in the army in Austria, the young Bosnian goes home thoroughly naturalized and imbued with Austrian ideas, while those who take wives with them have an even greater attachment to the empire. Thus the scheme works well. On the other hand, the Austrian soldiers who are stationed in Bosnia make friends with the people, and often marry and settle down there. They are encouraged to do so by the government’s offering inducements similar to those I have described.

Police duty is performed by a force of about 2,500 gendarmes, selected from the best material in the Bosnian and Austrian reserves. They are well paid and pensioned, and the pay and privileges are sufficient to secure men of education, judgment and good habits. This is absolutely necessary for the success of Austrian government in Bosnia, because the experience of the people with the Turkish soldiers was so terrible that a military uniform is still hateful to them. The Bosnian police are divided in squads of eight or ten men under the command of a sergeant, and are scattered throughout the country in every community. They are called upon to perform unusual duties. They not only patrol their districts to keep the peace, investigate complaints, make arrests and do ordinary police duty, but also serve as sanitary[283] officers, veterinarians, legal advisers and instructors in agriculture and the industrial arts. They are, in fact, fathers to the people, or as one of them described it, “maids of all work.” The idea is to furnish the people advisers in all occupations and stations in life, who carry the authority and the protection of the government with them and bring it not only into the households, but into the stables and the gardens of the entire population.

Thus a peasant when he is out of work applies to the policeman, who knows everybody and everything in the district, and can generally find him a job. When an old woman wants seed to plant in her garden, the policeman sends to the agricultural department for a supply. When he hears that anyone is sick he fetches medicine from the police dispensary; when an accident occurs he exercises his ingenuity to aid in making repairs; when a cow or a horse has the distemper he gives advice to the owner and instructs him how to administer the proper remedy. When a cabin is to be built or a marriage performed or a funeral is held on his beat, he is the master of ceremonies, no matter whether the persons involved are Turks, Roman Catholics, Protestants or members of the Greek Church. In this way the policemen become identified with the interests of the people, and obtain their confidence. And this form of paternalism has been very effective in winning the Bosnians to the support of the Austrian authorities. The contrast with the conduct of the Turkish soldiers in the past is so radical that the system is all the more effective in accomplishing its purpose; for, in Turkish times, the man most feared by the community was the policeman, for he was always a robber and often a fiend.


In order to avoid scandals and protect the police from temptation each gendarme is accompanied at all times by a deputy or assistant who is both a student studying the business with the expectation of promotion to the first place, when his turn comes, and a check or restraint upon his superior, who, by the wholesome regulations, is required to teach him and set him a good example. There have been cases where dishonest and vicious men obtain positions in the police corps and oppress people, but the penalty for malfeasance is very heavy, and whenever a case occurs it is utilized as an opportunity to furnish an example. The testimony is almost unanimous that the Bosnian gendarmes are a model force; that they have acquired the respect and the confidence of the people, and that to this system is largely due the remarkable success of the Austrian administration in Bosnia.

The old part of Sarajevo, called Carsija, consists of crooked and narrow streets running at right angles with shops and bazaars opening upon the sidewalks as is customary in all oriental towns. The merchants and mechanics squat on their haunches or sit cross-legged as they make and sell their wares. Although nearly everything is oriental in appearance, and sold as souvenirs of the country to tourists, the greater part of the gay colored silks and cottons were woven in the factories of Germany and France; the gold and silver embroideries in arabesque designs were imported from Austria, and much of the jewelry, the ornamental pipes and velvet slippers, from Paris. The only goods that can be depended upon as of native workmanship are those that are manufactured before your eyes. The busy artisans keep at it from daybreak till bedtime,[285] seldom knocking off except to say their prayers at the nearest mosque or drink a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette at the nearest café. That is the Bosnian idea of rest and pleasure. He will smoke and drink coffee all day long if he has the leisure to do so. They tell of men whose daily allowance is a hundred cups of coffee and a hundred cigarettes.

Contrary to the French and Italian habit the Bosnians never urge people to purchase their goods. They manifest no eagerness, but offer them with dignified courtesy and apparent indifference. They never raise their voices or gesticulate, but imitate their Turkish neighbors, who are trained from the cradle to observe the command of the prophet who said: “Be moderate in thy pace and lower thy voice.” Nor do you ever see a Mohammedan beggar. He never complains. One of the most admirable characteristics of the race is the composure with which disappointment and misfortune are accepted. “If you have food, eat,” is his doctrine. “If you have no food, die.” In his shop as well as in his place of worship, the Mohammedan practices his religion and preserves the same proud and uncomplaining calm.

The different trades are governed by guilds as was formerly the rule throughout Europe. Each guild has a patron saint and a long list of officers, who fix prices and profits, regulate wages, appoint apprentices and decide disputes. The trades are classified and each has its particular locality. Competitors seem to be upon the most friendly terms.

In the center of the old city is a common meeting-place—a coffee-house in the oriental style called the Kiraet-han—a resort for the better class of merchants[286] and artisans, where types of all races may be found. Near by is the beautiful Begova Djamia, the largest and the finest mosque in Europe with the exception of St. Sofia in Constantinople and Selim’s in Adrianople. In the courtyard is the inevitable fountain, in which the worshipers wash their hands before performing their religious duties, for cleanliness is not only next to godliness in the Mohammedan creed, but was declared by the prophet to be “the key of prayer.” In this courtyard is the official measuring stone, exactly the Turkish equivalent for a yard in length, and whenever there is a dispute or discussion as to the accuracy of a merchant’s measurement he is compelled to subject it to the test.

Many injunctions from the prophet make it difficult for a conscientious Moslem to compete with the Greeks, Jews, Italians and Austrians, who are his rivals there. His religious observances take up much valuable time. He goes to worship five times a day whenever the Hodja calls to prayer. So many times must he lay his forehead to the ground, repeating so many verses from the Koran; so many times must he rise to a sitting posture with his hands upon his knees, and with eyes closed repeat the gospel of his religion; and so many times must he arise and recite so many prayers. Not one prayer or position must be omitted or neglected. As a rule the Mohammedans are much more regular and devout in the observance of their spiritual duties than the members of the Christian churches, and no race is so faithful to the teachings of its religion. They told me there, as I have often heard elsewhere, that no matter how cruel, bloodthirsty or treacherous a Turk may be, he will not lie or cheat. I have been frequently advised that I can always trust[287] a Moslem to give me real value for my money, and depend upon his word as to the article he sells me, but when I deal with a Christian or a Jew I must look out for myself. That, however, is a myth, to entertain strangers.

Strangers find great difficulty in distinguishing between the Christians and the Turks in Bosnia, for both wear turbans, embroidered waistcoats, loose open jackets, zouave trousers gathered at the knee, and heelless shoes with toes that turn up like the arms of a crescent, the same that you see in the windows of shops that sell Turkish goods at home. The ordinary European costume is being adopted rapidly by those who wish to be considered up-to-date. The rich families of the middle class buy all their clothing at Vienna or Budapest, and it is difficult to distinguish them from the Austrians. Nevertheless there are little signs by which those familiar with the country can always tell whether a man he meets upon the street is a Mohammedan or a Christian. The peasants adhere most tenaciously to the ancient customs, and by going into the country one can get a much better idea of what Bosnia used to be than in the cities, although the latter are still picturesque and interesting. In Turkish times Christians were compelled to wear a certain costume of dark colors to denote their servile condition, and it was as much as life was worth for anyone to wear green, the color of the prophet. The Turks considered it sacrilege, and the penalty for violating this unwritten law was so terrible that it was seldom broken. Now, however, any man or woman, Christian, Jew or Turk, is allowed to wear whatever pleases the taste and fancy, and you see mixed costumes as often as any, the fez, which was formerly the[288] distinguishing badge of the Mohammedans, being frequently worn by Christians and Jews.

A similar change has been going on among the women. Formerly they were restricted to the harems, as in Turkey, but now they may be seen in the streets and bazaars and even in the fields, where, before the Austrian occupation, it was impossible for them to appear, because of the danger of insult from any passing Turk. They never ventured far from their homes and the protection of their husbands and neighbors. It has never been customary for Turkish women to work in the fields like the Germans and Austrians; but this is all changed, and throughout Bosnia these days their bright costumes illuminate the landscape in every direction. They work side by side with men, as in Hungary. Nowadays, also, many Mohammedan husbands in Bosnia allow their wives and daughters to be treated by Christian doctors when they are ill, notwithstanding the superstition that it is contrary to the will of Allah. Enlightened Mohammedans who have observed the advantages of the social, agricultural and administrative reforms introduced into Bosnia and have reflected thoughtfully upon them are gradually yielding to their better judgment, and, while they will never yield in their attachment to the old faith, are adopting the customs and habits of the western world. The lives of women are thus becoming enlarged. They are being released from the degraded position which they occupy in all Mohammedan countries. The popular impression that the Mohammedan religion denies souls and immortality to women is a fallacy. The Koran teaches the reverse, and admits them to the hope of Paradise; and it is custom rather than a religious injunction that prohibits them from entering[289] mosques at the same time with men. Certain hours are allotted women for prayer in most of the mosques, but some of them they are not allowed to enter.

The Turk is not altogether terrible. He has many admirable traits. There is much to be admired in his religion and in the spirit with which he observes the injunctions of the prophet. The Mohammedans are a curious contradiction. Although it is asserted that ninety out of every one hundred cases in the Turkish courts are settled by bribery, and the official class is absolutely untrustworthy, yet I am informed by those who have had long experience that the word and still more the oath of a Mohammedan may be accepted implicitly wherever it affects members of his own faith. Their religion teaches that those who are guilty of falsehood shall have no part in the next life. In Egypt and in other countries the rule is the same as in Bosnia, that when a suit is being tried between two Moslems, the defendant, if he has justice on his side, will insist that the plaintiff be compelled to testify, feeling confident that he will tell the exact truth, if properly questioned, and admit that he is wrong. Thus it is not because of religion, but in spite of it, that corruption is universal wherever the Turks control.

In Bosnia the Austrians have separate courts for Turkish cases, because it is not perjury for a Mohammedan to swear falsely against a Christian. A different rule and practice is required in the administration of justice where representatives of both religions are involved. They also have courts there for the settlement of trifling differences, in which lawyers are not allowed to appear, because that honorable profession is accused of encouraging litigation for the sake of making fees. Before the Austrian occupation this[290] was a great evil. Almost the entire population were involved one way or another in lawsuits. If a man was dissatisfied in any way with the conduct of his neighbor he would drag him into the courts. About twenty years ago the Austrians decided to put an end to this litigation, and a law was enacted limiting the number of lawyers to sixteen for the entire country. No one can be admitted to practice unless there is a vacancy.

The tenure of land was one of the most difficult questions to deal with, because, under Turkish rule, the larger part of the cultivated area belonged to the government or the ecclesiastics, who were oppressive and extortionate in their treatment of their tenants. Gradually these conditions have been reformed, and, although agriculture is still in a low state of development, the farmers are secure in the possession of their lands and are thus encouraged to improve and cultivate them with care. Eighty-eight per cent of the population are engaged in farming and raising cattle, sheep and swine. Tobacco is a very important crop, and a government monopoly. It may be raised by any farmer under the supervision of the revenue inspectors, who not only measure the acreage planted, but even count the number of plants in order that sales to private individuals may be detected. A considerable proportion of the crop is exported—nearly 2,000 tons in 1901—but the greater part is manufactured into cigarettes in government factories, which not only bring in a handsome revenue, but furnish employment for nearly four thousand women and girls.

The cattle industry is next in importance, there being an average of one steer, one goat, one hog and three sheep per capita of the population. The hides[291] are tanned at home and shipped to Great Britain, France and Austria. They are of the highest grade and bring the best prices. The next important industry is dried prunes, the exports in 1901 amounting to more than $1,500,000.

Beet sugar is now being manufactured by the government, and silk culture is also being introduced. The government gives assistance to the agricultural population in many important ways—by the establishment of schools of instruction, by the introduction of new ideas, by furnishing seeds and sample implements and by other methods. There are several excellent schools of agriculture situated at convenient locations, where the country people may send their sons to study the practical cultivation of the soil, and their daughters to learn how to make butter and cheese, cultivate silk worms and raise poultry and other by-products which materially increase the family income. Experts have been brought from Italy to instruct the natives in the cultivation of silk worms, as the climate and other conditions appear to be unusually favorable for that industry.

The government has also taken great pains to improve the breeds of horses, cattle and sheep and to induce the peasants to take proper care of their stock. It has established farms and studs at convenient locations and holds cattle and horse shows at the provincial capitals every year, at which considerable sums are given as prizes to stimulate competition. There are at least a dozen poultry farms belonging to the government, where a large variety of game birds and domestic fowls are kept. Eggs of the best breeds of poultry, ducks, geese and turkeys are furnished free to farmers who will agree to observe the printed rules for[292] hatching them, and so successful has this policy been that poultry is now plenty throughout the entire province. An ordinary chicken can be bought in the market for ten or fifteen cents and a goose or a turkey for twenty-five cents. The turkey is so common that we might properly call it the national bird.

Not only in agriculture but in the other industries has the paternal policy of the government brought happiness and prosperity to the people. It has established factories and training-schools in all the principal towns in order to produce artisans and mechanics, who are very scarce in that country. Students are educated in the simpler sciences, such as electricity, chemistry, mechanics, engineering, architecture and house-building, designing, the construction, repair and operation of machinery, carpentering, masonry, stone-cutting, molding, iron-working and the other useful trades. It will not be the fault of the officials if the next generation of Bosnians is not thoroughly skilled in the useful arts and trades.

A woolen mill and a carpet factory have recently been established under government supervision. The former produces fabrics for ordinary clothing of a low grade, similar to the homespun generally used by the people. The carpet factory buys the raw wool from the farmers and turns it into Turkish rugs, which are shipped to Austria and Hungary, and are sold at good prices. In connection with the factory is a training school for spinners and weavers, a school of design to develop the artistic talent of young men and women, and a laboratory for the manufacture of dyes.

All this is done under official supervision with capital from the public treasury, and the proceeds add considerably to the public revenues, although that is[293] not the object aimed at. Under Turkish rule the Bosnians lived from hand to mouth. They were prevented from accumulating wealth or acquiring homes or providing themselves with comforts by the rapacity of their rulers, and hence there was no incentive for them to labor or save or to improve their condition. They even hid their houses as far as possible behind clumps of trees or in the valleys some distance away from the road, hoping that they might escape the observation of Turkish officials and soldiers. Now there is no longer any danger, and they are building comfortable cabins and surrounding them with stables and pens for their poultry and live stock. It is now safe for women to live or to travel alone in any part of Bosnia, whereas a few years ago they dared not show themselves in the fields or on the public highway. More than 200,000 people fled from Bosnia during the ten years preceding the Russo-Turkish war to escape the cruelties and extortions of the Turks. They took with them only what they could carry on their backs, and, leading their little children by the hand, abandoned their homes and harvests and crept through the thickets and the forests of the mountains until they reached the Austrian boundary, where they could live in safety and were protected, not from their enemies, but from the officials that were appointed to rule over them.

The cruelties committed by the Turks in their efforts to keep the people in subjection are indescribable. Centuries of horrors compose the history of the Bosnian people, and, although almost incredible, it is officially asserted by the British consul that from 8,000 to 10,000 people were annually murdered by the officials and military guards. The same conditions[294] prevailed in Bulgaria. They prevail in Macedonia or Eastern Rumelia to-day, and will continue so long as the Powers of Europe permit the Turks to govern that country.

The Scheriatschule is a peculiar local institution, in which is taught Moslem, Christian and Jewish law. In fact, the instruction covers the laws of all races and religions which is necessary to that mixed population, where the government endeavors to respect the religious scruples of every citizen and to adjust its requirements to the ordinances of the different churches. The Austrian statesmen who were required to solve the Bosnian problem recognized the importance of a fact which many rulers in all parts of the world and in all times have forgotten or overlooked—that religious sentiment and conscience lie deeper than any other influences that affect human action. Hence, in Bosnia, each individual is not only allowed to worship in his own way, but is excused from the observance of laws which conflict with his religious duties. For that reason different courts are provided for the trial of different races. Speaking generally, the laws of Turkey still prevail in Bosnia, because that country is nominally a Turkish province still, although it never again will come under Turkish power. There is much that is good in the Turkish statutes, and when honestly administered they are peculiarly suitable for the government of that race. It has been necessary, however, to supplement them with local statutes, which are enacted by an assembly chosen by the tax-payers of the country. This legislature also assesses taxes and makes appropriations for public purposes to be disbursed by the executives.

To instruct and qualify natives for the bar, the[295] bench, the legislature and positions in the executive department of the government, the Scheriatschule was established, and it now has about 200 pupils who pay a small entrance fee and a moderate price for their rooms and board. It occupies a large rectangular building of the oriental style, built of horizontal rows of black and white stone that suggest a prison garb. It is approached by broad stone stairs with parterres of flowers on either side, and the entrance is a lofty arch which leads into a central court decorated with a fountain and flowers. Upon this court open lecture-rooms, libraries and recitation-rooms, a dormitory, a refectory and a chapel, well constructed and fitted up with modern conveniences. Great care has been taken by the Austrians to make the Bosnian schools models.

There is a fine national museum. Bosnia is unusually rich in ethnology, and practically an unexplored field for ethnographic research. An international congress of archeologists and ethnologists met here several years ago, and the members were handsomely entertained by the government with the hope of stimulating scientific interest. Its reports attracted considerable attention, but I cannot learn that the United States was represented. Prehistoric remains are numerous and have been practically undisturbed except by the ignorant populace, who have searched some of them for treasure and dismantled others for building material. The country has seen successive civilizations from century to century, and at several periods reached a high degree of culture under the Romans and the Greeks, which in turn were engulfed or destroyed by barbaric invasions only to spring up again in another form. Its art and architecture are largely buried under the soil and are represented by[296] ruins in the valleys of the mountains. In addition to Roman and Greek remains there are traces of Germanic, Gothic, Saracenic and Turkish occupations; but the field, as I have said, is practically unexplored and should tempt the learned societies to undertake systematic investigations such as have been carried on in Greece.

There are good hotels in every part of the province, most of them having been established by the government either directly or indirectly by the payment of subsidies, as an inducement to travelers, and they have proved to be valuable investments. The policy pursued here has been very different from that adopted by the United States Congress in our new possessions. We passed a law forbidding the introduction of new capital and the organization of new enterprises to develop the industry and material resources of Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands, because our legislators were afraid that somebody would derive a profit from the application of money, energy or brains. The granting of franchises was forbidden. Austria has taken the opposite course in Bosnia, and not only invited capital and enterprise, but erected hotels in order to entertain their representatives in a comfortable manner and give them pleasant impressions of the country.

When the Austrians first assumed control everything in Bosnia was extremely primitive and old-fashioned. There were no conveniences nor comforts; no modern improvements whatever; but filth, disorder and discomfort prevailed everywhere, so much so that decent people avoided Bosnia. The description which Francis Bacon applied to Turkey centuries ago was true of Bosnia in 1876: “Without morality, without[297] letters, arts or sciences; a people that can scarce measure an acre of land or an hour of the day; base and sluttish in building, diet and the like; and, in a word, a very reproach to human society; and yet this nation hath made the garden of the world a wilderness, for it is truly said concerning the Turk—where the Ottoman’s horse sets his foot people will come up very thin.”


The Austrians devised every means to induce immigration and capital, to encourage commerce and industry, and they decided to make the country attractive to strangers and tourists, who would advertise it. It is now pleasant to visit Bosnia. The hotels have not only proved an attraction, but a source of profit. Amusements and pleasures of all kinds were introduced for the entertainment of the people, who, under Turkish rule, had been deprived of everything of that sort. The diversions have been gratefully appreciated—theaters, operas, parks, museums, gardens, cafés, military bands, parades, ceremonials—by a people whose natural love of music and motion is very strong. They also have proved remarkably important in diverting their minds from politics and opening to them a new world. This is another hint to the administration of affairs in the Philippines, where the people have similar tastes and the conditions are very much like those that existed in Bosnia twenty-five years ago.

The official residence of the Austrian governor-general is a pleasant structure surrounded by rich gardens and shrubbery, and is called the Konak. It was built half a century ago for the use of the Turkish pasha, who was a man of luxury and taste, and had unlimited command of money. In many places are other evidences[298] of official and private extravagance, and the people were taxed to pay for it.

The Roman Catholic church is a fine Gothic structure, with two handsome spires. It was built by the government with contributions from the Catholics of Vienna and other Austrian cities. The orthodox Greek church is also imposing, and most of the wealthy men are members of that faith. The Jewish synagogue is also a notable building. There is no Protestant church.

Under Turkish rule all public worship except that of the Moslems was forbidden, but the Christians were allowed to say their prayers in secret. They were known as rayahs,—the word means “ransomed”—those who have merited death because of unbelief, but have purchased permission to live by paying tribute. Western Christians do not appreciate the religious heroism which the poor peasants, not of Bosnia only, but of Bulgaria, Macedonia and other parts of the Balkans, have displayed during all the centuries that they have suffered from the persecution of the Turks. They have lived in daily dread of martyrdom, for the Mohammedans consider that they do no wrong when they kill a Christian. Nevertheless the Greeks and the Roman Catholics clung to their faith when they might at any moment have secured safety, prosperity and position by recanting and accepting the religion of their oppressors. The same may be said of the Jews, who actually increased in numbers under persecution because emigrants came from Roumania, where they suffered even more from the Christians than in Bosnia from the Turks.

Since the Austrian occupation there has been a large invasion of Jewish traders, who have been attracted by[299] the commercial opportunities. But, curiously enough, the old Jewish families will have nothing to do with the newcomers. They are descendants of the Jews who were driven out of Spain in 1574 and obtained permission from the Sultan of Turkey to settle in Bosnia and Servia. They number altogether about 7,000, and at least 3,000 live in Sarajevo. They speak Spanish among themselves and have preserved their ancient customs and habits. Their burial-ground in a suburb of the city, on the slope of the Mountain Trebevic, is an interesting place. Unhewn boulders are used for tombstones, a practice which originated when the Jews were too poor to buy anything better.


The Bosnian Jews claim exemption from the persecution imposed upon the rest of their race on the ground that they are descended from a member of the Sanhedrin of Pilate, who voted against the crucifixion of Christ. The same claim is made by the Jews of Toledo, Spain.

It is the prevailing impression that the Turks are the most difficult of all races to govern, but the Austrian experiment in Bosnia has demonstrated that this is a mistake. The better class of the Turkish population have welcomed the restoration of order and have been the strongest supporters of the new government. The officials have suppressed the fanatics by the application of a punishment which they dread more than death. To shoot or kill a Mohammedan is simply to send him to the paradise he is seeking, and he believes that he will rise again in the actual body; but if his body is burned or cut to pieces it is impossible for him to attain paradise, for he cannot rise again or be translated if his soul has no body to inhabit. Therefore all Moslem believers who have been convicted of[300] murder or other capital crimes have been sentenced to death and cremation, which so terrified the fanatics that they have left the country.

The Bosnians are naturally very bright, although the lack of educational facilities and the ordinary compensations for industry and ingenuity have kept them down. Occasionally some man like Nikola Tesla, the famous electrician of New York, who is a native of Bosnia, has broken through the restrictions and has found an opportunity to develop his genius elsewhere. But such cases are very few. Long Turkish oppression crushed the minds as well as the spirits of the people, and only with the coming generation are they beginning to show the talents, ingenuity and other natural qualities which their admirers have claimed for them. They are naturally honest, too, although until recently they have had few examples of integrity to imitate. There is very little stealing, and corruption in office has been so severely punished that the government is almost free from it. At first natives who were favored with official positions attempted to imitate the practices of the Turks who preceded them, but soon found that it would not be tolerated, and I was assured that for four or five years there have been no cases of official dishonesty detected. On the other hand, the Austrian officials have set excellent examples for the natives in this respect.

A large part of the property in Bosnia belongs to the government or the ecclesiastical authorities, or has been bequeathed or appropriated to religious and charitable objects and held in trust by officials for the benefit of mosques, hospitals, schools, fountains and for the relief of the sick and the poor. Under the Turks the revenues of these properties were generally[301] stolen, but since the Austrian occupation the business has been so well managed that it has not only supported but paid for the extensive improvement of the charities for which it was intended. The same may be said of the government revenues. Under the Turks the harvests were not allowed to be gathered until the collectors had calculated the amount of taxes and had received the money, which was often one-third of the total value and usually one-fifth, and a great part of the money went into the pockets of the collectors instead of the public treasury. This was such a common practice that everybody knew all about it, and hence the reforms which the Austrians have introduced are all the more conspicuous.

The most fascinating town in Bosnia is Jajce, where the people have had so little intercourse with the outside world that they still retain the customs and manners and wear the costumes of their ancestors four or five centuries back. The women are clothed in brilliant colors and load themselves with ornaments of silver, bronze and enamel. Like the Hindus and the North American Indians, they wear the greater portion of their wealth upon their bodies. The men dress in white sheepskin, beautifully tanned. In summer they wear the wool outside and in the winter they wear it inside. The arms and hands of both men and women are usually tattooed with religious emblems. They are devout Catholics, and you seldom find a boy or a girl over sixteen who does not carry a crucifix tattooed upon some part of the person. Both men and women wear their hair long.

At Jajce is one of the most celebrated of sanctuaries, the Church of St. Luke, which is venerated equally by Catholics, Greeks and Mohammedans, as everybody[302] believes that it was the early burial-place of the apostle, and that when it was threatened with destruction by the Turks in the Middle Ages an army of angels lifted it from one side of the river to the other. You are shown the place where the church formerly stood on the east bank, and the inhabitants of all the surrounding country would regard you as a hopeless skeptic if you expressed a doubt of the truth of the story that it was lifted by invisible hands, carried several hundred yards and placed intact upon a new foundation. Thousands of pilgrims, especially people who are crippled and diseased, visit the shrine, and many miracles have been performed there.

According to the local belief, St. Luke lived and died in Jajce, and was buried in this church, but the priest in charge says that is a mistake. He does not know of any evidence that the apostle ever lived at Jajce, and believes that he died in Syria, but the records show that in the thirteenth century the remains of the apostle were brought from Constantinople to Rogus, one of the towns upon the Adriatic coast, and, in 1436, George Brankovic, King of Servia, purchased them of the Turkish governor of that province. The latter, fearing a riot in the town if an attempt were made to take them away, caused his spies to circulate a rumor that the Sultan had ordered a census for the purpose of taxation and military service, and that it would be taken on a certain day. All the Christian population had business in the country for a few days about that time, so that they might evade the enumerators. While they were absent the holy casket was secretly taken from the church and carried aboard a vessel. For several months it was not missed, and the theft was[303] not detected until rumors began to come back from Servia concerning its reception in that country.

Helena, daughter of Brankovic, married Tyrtko, the last king of Bosnia, and took the body with her as part of her dowry. When Jajce was captured by the Turks she managed to escape and carried it to Italy, where it was placed in the convent of St. Giustina at Padua.

A voyage up the Adriatic to Venice or Trieste along the Dalmatian coast is one of the most enjoyable that can be imagined. The scenery is sublime. The cloudless blue of the skies and the water, the purple tints of the hills, mingled with the orange and scarlet of the autumn foliage, make a harmony of color that can scarcely be found elsewhere, while the little islands that make up the archipelago protect the coast from rough water, and the steamers glide in and out among them without feeling the wind or the tide or any other marine disturbance that a passenger can object to. It is very much like sailing through the famous Inland Sea of Japan, only in this case you have a continuous coast on one side, while in the other it is on both sides. There is a choice of steamers, two or three a week, so that one can stop off at any of the beautiful little towns for twenty-four or forty-eight hours and then take up his journey again.

Cattaro is only interesting and important as the port of the little principality of Montenegro, which has caused so much dissention among the European nations, and the terminus of the road to Cetinje, its capital. Cattaro does not belong to Montenegro, because England and Austria are afraid Prince Nicholas would cede it to Russia if he had the power to do so. Montenegro is theoretically independent,[304] and under the protection of the great Powers, but there is a very close intimacy between the ruling family and the imperial house of Russia, and everybody believes that there is a secret treaty of alliance also. Like the other Balkan States, Montenegro was a province of Turkey until 1878, when the treaty of Berlin made it independent, and, although it contains a population of only 228,000, less than that of the District of Columbia, its political importance is great. Two of the daughters of the reigning prince have married cousins of the Czar, another is the wife of the King of Italy, and a fourth is the Duchess of Leuchtenburg, whose husband is next to a king.

Ragusa, another of the towns on the coast, and a charming old place, is identified with some of the most stirring incidents in history. In the Middle Ages it was almost as powerful as Venice, Naples or Genoa, and was able to resist the attacks of the Turks. Here Richard Cœur-de-Leon landed on his return from the Crusade. During a gale at sea he made a vow that he would build a church to his patron saint on the spot where he was permitted to make a safe landing. He finally went ashore on the little island of La Croma, then moved over to Ragusa, where the people received him with such hospitality that he asked the Pope to relieve him from his vow and let him build the church in Ragusa, which had several thousand inhabitants, instead of upon a barren little island. But the Pope would not grant his prayer, and, like the gentleman that he was, he built churches in both places. That at Ragusa was destroyed in an earthquake in the seventeenth century, but the church at La Croma still stands.

Metkovic, the port of Bosnia on the Mediterranean,[305] and the southern terminus of the state railway, is situated upon a point of land made by the silt of the Narenta River, twelve miles from its mouth, and has the unhappy reputation of being the most unhealthy port on the Adriatic. The surrounding country is swampy, and miasmatic poisons are believed to rise in clouds from the surface of the earth whenever the sun goes down. It is purely a modern commercial city, with about 4,000 population, mostly Italians, Greeks and Jews, and looks like an Italian town. Everybody is engaged in fishing or shipping. Metkovic will become a port of growing importance as the trade of Bosnia develops, but people never stop there if they can help it for fear of malaria and mosquitoes, and the trains from Sarajevo are arranged to connect with the steamers so that passengers can be rushed through as if it were a plague-infested place. I do not think it is any worse than Colon, and it really looks much better, because the buildings are of stone or stuccoed brick, with thick walls, solid floors and tiled roofs, while Colon is a collection of bamboo huts and wooden houses. Metkovic is fourteen miles from salt water. A canal is being dredged through the delta, which is broad and level, so that the largest steamers can reach the docks instead of handling cargoes in lighters. The marsh, being made of the soil washed down from the mountains, is of prodigious richness, and marvelous stories are told of its fertility; but the atmosphere is so unhealthful that few people attempt to cultivate the land. Syndicates have been organized to drain the marsh, but the outlay is too great. I have seen tropical vegetation along the Spanish Main, in Yucatan, Cuba and the other West India Islands, in the valleys of the Amazon and the Orinoco, but there is nothing on[306] the American hemisphere to compare with the plant life there.

The most interesting of the many places along the eastern coast of the Adriatic are Spalato and Salona, where are found the most extensive and best-preserved Roman ruins and remains in all that country. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Salona was a populous and prosperous city, and its people were far advanced in culture; quite equal to those of Rome. Their wealth and artistic taste, their luxurious habits and rivalry in display, are clearly illustrated by the remains of their palaces, baths and places of amusement. The entire district for fifty miles around is full of absorbing attractions to archeologists and historians, and the palace of Diocletian at Salona is declared to be the best-preserved example of Roman architecture of its period now extant. It possesses extraordinary interest for everybody, and fascinates artists and architects.

Attracted by the entrancing scenery of Salona, his native place, the Emperor Diocletian, at the height of his power and opulence, erected here an incomparable retreat in which he spent his declining years. The palace, or more properly the series of palaces, covers nearly ten acres of ground, and contemporary writers relate that 6,000 servants, attendants and guards were required to protect and wait upon this luxurious Roman. The palace was twelve years in construction, and must have cost an enormous sum of money, for in size, magnificence and architectural pretensions it surpassed all dwellings that had been erected before or have been erected since. At the time of its completion, at the end of the third century after Christ, it was doubtless the largest, the most beautiful and costly structure ever built by human hands. Many of[307] the architectural details still remain in a perfect or partial state of preservation, sufficient to excite the wonder and the admiration of visitors. The most perfect portions are the mausoleum, intended for Diocletian’s tomb, which is now used as a church; the Capella Palatine, now the baptistery; the main vestibule, a colonnade and three of the gates. All of them are sufficiently well preserved to permit an accurate study, but the rest of the palaces have been practically destroyed, and the marble is being gradually carried to Trieste, Venice and even to Rome and other cities of Italy for building purposes. Several of the most beautiful palaces in Venice are said to have been constructed entirely of material taken from the palace of Diocletian. After the death of the emperor, in 313 A.D., the palace became state property, but none of his successors ever made it an abode, because of the expense of maintaining the establishment. Shortly after the Christian era it was converted into a fortress and after the fall of the Roman empire was allowed to crumble into ruins.






A little narrow-gauge railway runs across the kingdom of Greece from Patras to the town of Corinth, hugging the Gulf of Corinth, and then, crossing a ridge that divides the isthmus, follows the shore of the Saronic Gulf to Athens. There are altogether about six hundred miles of railroad under operation in Greece, and about three hundred miles abandoned. You can find the track of the latter in various parts of the country, but the most important of the abandoned routes was to run up through Thessaly, the northern part of the kingdom, to the Turkish frontier. A little more patience and a little more money would have carried it through and made a splendid thing for the entire country, because the people of southern Greece do not raise food enough to supply their own wants, while in northern Greece there is a good deal to spare. The difference in the price of bread in the Peloponnesus and in Thessaly is unnaturally great, for the Thessalians have few markets and the Peloponnesians have few farms. This railroad was expected to equalize things, but unfortunately it has not been completed and the rails lie rusting until they are stolen for old iron.

Brindisi is the gateway to the East. The steamers[312] for India, China and Japan touch there coming and going, to leave and take passengers for and from Paris, London, Berlin and other parts of Europe, who can thus save the long voyage of seven or eight days from Bremen and Hamburg and five and six days from London and Havre, and cross Europe by rail. Special trains with dining-cars and sleepers are run in connection with the steamers which carry the mails also, making Paris and Berlin in thirty-six hours from Brindisi and London in forty-eight.

When you leave Brindisi going east you enter Hellenic ground. The Adriatic, like some other beauties, has an uncertain temper and behaves badly sometimes. It is called “the blue Adriatic,” “the gem of seas,” “the sapphire sea,” and by other poetic names, but it is also “the stormy Adriatic,” and an old seaman told me that “it could kick up more sea than the Atlantic Ocean on the slightest provocation.” The steamers for Greece generally leave Brindisi at midnight, so as to reach the opposite coast early in the morning, and there, when you awaken, if you please, you can see the sun rise upon masses of solid snow that crown the mountains of the Albanian coast of Turkey. The land of mythology is before you. Every island, every mountain, every valley was the scene of some fable, the abode of some god, or a battlefield that you read about in the Greek classics when you were in college. The places and the names of ancient history are brought home in a familiar way, and as you gaze from the deck of the steamer upon them they look like the real thing.

At Corfu, a beautiful little island lying off the Turkish coast, you get your first view of oriental life and customs, and a girl with a kodak is kept busy[313] taking snap-shots of the queer things she sees. There is a temptation to photograph all the ruins, because they remind you of the warriors, heroes and philosophers you studied about when a boy, and Greece is full of them. The island of Ithaca excites vivid recollections, and the Phæacian ship which brought Ulysses home lies in the harbor of Corfu, turned to stone. It is now occupied by a monastery of Greek monks and called by the humiliating name of Mouse Island. According to the Odyssey, after he was wrecked, Ulysses landed at Corfu, swimming to the shore. He made up a bed of dead leaves on the rocks as a precaution against rheumatism, and, worn out by excitement, peril and fatigue, sank into a dreamless sleep. There he was discovered by Nausicaa, a beautiful princess, upon whose charms Homer loves to linger. She was the daughter of King Alcinous, and when Ulysses awoke she led him to her father’s palace, with its exquisite gardens and luscious fruits. The local guides, who endeavor to adjust their moral consciousness to the curiosity of visitors, and the topography of the island to the demands made upon them, show the exact place where Ulysses swam ashore, and tell you that the garden of the King Alcinous is now occupied by the country palace of King George of Greece, one of the most democratic and considerate of monarchs, who loves to have the people enjoy everything that belongs to him. He opens his gates to strangers and subjects alike. Nobody is required to pay a fee or even to ask permission, although the proper thing to do is to leave a card at the porter’s lodge and a word of appreciation, which that official takes entirely to himself. One of the streets in Corfu is named in honor of King Alcinous,[314] and Ulysses is considered a sort of stepson of whom the community is exceedingly proud.

Corfu has been the scene of many exciting events both in modern and mythological times. When we arrived the people were more or less excited over the action of the government in expelling the late Mahmoud Damad Pasha, brother-in-law of the Sultan of Turkey, and Hadji Kadri and Siret, two other Turkish exiles, who were accused of sedition and conspiracy, and, having fled from Constantinople, took refuge upon the beautiful Greek island, where they were received with warm sympathy and treated with distinguished respect. The government of Greece, however, could not very well furnish an asylum to Turkish fugitives of such eminent notoriety. The relations between the two countries have been cordial since the close of the war four years ago, and the Grecian ministry considered it prudent not to offer any new cause of offense. So the Sultan’s brother-in-law and his companions were requested to leave Corfu and go to Switzerland, which is the most hospitable country in Europe to political exiles.

Corfu hates the Turks. No people on the earth’s surface hates them more, not even the Bulgarians or Macedonians, although more than two centuries have passed since the wrongs of which they complain were committed. From 1815 to 1863, with the other Ionian islands, Corfu was occupied by the English, and in the latter year, upon the accession of the present King George to the throne, Mr. Gladstone persuaded Queen Victoria to give them back to Greece. That accounts for a statue of Mr. Gladstone, before the university in Athens, erected by the students a few years ago.

Fortunately for those who go to Corfu to enjoy the[315] climate—and it is a favorite winter resort for people with weak lungs, and other invalids—the English administration built a fine system of roads which are still kept in comparatively good repair, although the modern Greeks will never be celebrated for road-building. You can drive from one end of the island to the other and, during the spring and autumn, it is as near paradise as any place on earth. The late Empress of Austria had a beautiful villa on the outskirts of the city. It was proposed to bring the late Czar of Russia to Corfu in the hope that his life might be saved, and numerous other famous invalids have sought health and strength in its glorious sunshine and soft, but invigorating air.

The island embraces about 277 square miles, and is thickly settled, having more than 115,000 inhabitants Most of the surface is covered with olive groves. It is estimated that there are more than 4,000,000 trees, which are allowed to grow without pruning and develop a beauty and attain a size unparalleled elsewhere. The manufacture and export of preserved olives and olive oil is the chief occupation of the people, but they raise a good deal of other fruit and wine, and their cheese made from goat’s milk is famous in the London and Paris markets.

To the beauty of the scenery and the delightful climate is added the charm that always attends the mysteries of mythology, and besides the romance of Ulysses many other stories of ancient days were located there. Near the base of a picturesque old citadel with twin towers is a low, circular structure dating back to the sixth or seventh century before Christ, but the inscription is still decipherable and records that this monument was erected to Menerates, son of[316] Tlasias, who lost his life by drowning. Near by are two or three monuments erected in honor of officials of the British government who distinguished themselves during the occupation.

Sailing toward Patras, the steamer from Corfu soon passes the Ambracian Gulf, where Octavius laid the foundation of his influence in Rome by a victory over the fleet of his rival, Mark Antony, and a little farther down is the island of Leucas, where, according to the ancient story-tellers, Sappho plunged into the sea because Phaon did not return her love. A little farther on is Ithaca, whose connection with the Odyssey has made it familiar to every student of Greek, for the wanderings and misfortunes, the sufferings and the fortitude of Ulysses, the king of this island, have been handed down to us in one of the most fascinating stories of adventure. His descendants occupy Ithaca to-day, and are distinguished for their bold seamanship, their love of home, their hospitality and their courage, and their mercantile instincts have made them rich. The most important product of the island is a strong aromatic wine. They show you where Homer lived in the town of Stavros, and an ancient staircase cut in the rock leads past a Greek church to a rectangular forum hewn in the side of the mountain. It is surrounded by seats and looks like an ancient place of worship, but is claimed to be the place where Homer had a school.

Nearly every natural phenomenon upon the island is described in the Odyssey—even a stalactite cave to which any boy in town will lead you through a vineyard and over stony goat pastures. The entrance is narrow, and it is hard work for fat men to squeeze through, but with a little effort you can enter a damp[317] chamber about fifty feet in diameter and thirty feet in height, from the roof of which hang numerous stalactites like those to be seen in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. If you want to know how it looks, read Book XIII of the Odyssey, where Homer describes the grotto of the nymphs.

The suitors of Penelope waited for the return of Telemachus upon a little island on the east of Ithaca, and on the island of Zante, from which we get so many currants and raisins, the fishermen still collect pitch to calk their boats from a spring mentioned by Herodotus.

Patras is one of the most enterprising commercial towns of Greece, and one of the oldest. It is second to Athens in population and has one-third of all the commerce of the country. In some respects it is the most modern of Grecian towns, but its history can be traced back at least seven centuries before Christ. Patras was also one of the first centers of Christian teaching, and, according to local tradition, the Apostle Andrew was crucified and buried there. He is the patron saint of the town and the cathedral is dedicated to his memory.

Near by is a curious spring, to which is attached a superstition that has kept its hold upon the people since the age of mythology, when, as now, sick people looked upon their reflections in the water and by their appearance judged as to the probability of recovery. The effect appears to be a matter of light. If the sun is obscured by clouds or happens to be in a certain part of the heavens every face reflected in the water shows a deathlike pallor. With a clear sky and at high noon the reflection is always full and ruddy with color.


From Patras to Corinth, along the edge of the gulf, through olive groves and currant plantations, with a range of snow-clad mountains on one side and picturesque hills on the other, is a delightful journey. The culture of currants seems to absorb the greatest degree of attention. They tell me that toothsome little fruit was formerly called “corenth,” taking its name from the historic city. The currant trade is the largest and the most profitable in Greece, and a considerable part of the cultivated area is planted like the vineyards of Italy, in rows about three feet apart, with single stalks, which are trimmed down every fall in order to strengthen the roots. New shoots spring out with the sunshine in March and April, and, by August, are loaded with large light and dark currants unlike those grown in America. You can buy them in boxes at any grocery store for mince pies, fruit-cake, plum pudding or that sort of thing. The development of this industry has been gradual. In 1830, after the independence of Greece was established, the crop amounted to only about 1,900 tons. In 1899 it was 153,500 tons, and it was a poor year. The average for the last ten years has been about 170,000 tons, and the value of the currants exported annually has reached nearly $8,000,000. The largest quantity goes to England and France. The United States takes 10,000 tons, which, you must appreciate, is an enormous quantity of dried currants. The French wine-growers use them for toning up their wine.

While currant-culture is profitable, there is a good deal of risk in it. The crop is easily affected both by drought and excessive rains. Severe wind-storms may blow the fruit off the bushes, and the hills surrounding the Gulf of Corinth, which is the most productive[319] section of the country, are exposed to storms which at any day may convert a good crop into a poor one.

Olive oil is also a source of wealth, and the beautiful silver-leaved trees are one of the pleasantest features of the landscape. Olive trees live to a great age. It is asserted by some who delight to entertain travelers that groves are now standing which bore fruit in the days of Socrates and Demosthenes, and near Eleusis, trees are pointed out which may have been standing for 2,800 years. The trunks are enormous and are perforated with holes, new bark having grown around the wounds made by decay. Most of the olives are consumed in the country. Much of the oil is sent to France.

Owing to the infrequent and irregular rains, irrigation is necessary everywhere in Greece; and every farmer has a simple and limited irrigation system of his own. The water is pumped up from wells by blindfolded mules, horses or oxen, and pours into cement reservoirs set at such an elevation as will give a natural flow into the fields. Windmills are not used.

At every railway station were crowds of people, many of them in the picturesque native costume, which is a cross between that of a ballet-dancer and a Highland chieftain. The kilts are white cotton, accordion-plaited, and worn over white woolen tights, with black garters below the knee. The shoe or slipper is without a heel, curling up over the toe like an old-fashioned skate, and having a large rosette or pompon of silk or black cotton upon the tip. The jacket is beautifully embroidered in gold or silver braid, sleeveless and open in front. The shirt sleeves of cotton are full and flowing, and the front of the shirt is plaited. The collar is a stiff circlet, embroidered[320] with gold thread or braid; the girdle is often of leather or sometimes a sort of sash. A Greek gentleman in full dress or a servant in complete livery will wear a pistol and two or three daggers stuck in between his belt and his shirt-front in a handy sort of way. The peasant wears a leathern belt, with a sheathed dagger or a pouch over the pit of his stomach, from which the handles of a knife and a revolver usually protrude. The Greek still wears the red Phrygian cap upon his head, and the tassel dangles down upon his shoulder in an artistic way.

A “well-greaved Greek” is the most picturesque looking object in Europe. No other costume will compare with his; but, like all national peculiarities, it is gradually becoming obsolete. You see it in the country and towns of the interior, but in the cities few people wear it. The aristocracy dress their servants in that way, which has made it unpopular among the mechanics and the working classes generally. They fear people will mistake them for household servants.

In the rural districts, however, those objections do not prevail, and almost all the natives at the railway stations and the few men who were digging in the fields were in native dress. Their picturesqueness would be greatly enhanced if they were a little neater about their persons. At first acquaintance the modern Greek does not inspire either admiration or confidence. He is very dirty as to his garments, as to his habits and as to his house, and, I grieve to say, judging from appearances, that he lets his wife and sisters carry more than their share of the load. Most of the labor in the fields, as we passed through on the railroads, was being done by women. We saw women staggering along the highways under heavy cargoes,[321] which they carried upon their heads, and clambering down from the mountains with big bundles of fagots upon their backs. In fact, the men seemed to have selected the easy jobs. None of them had burdens upon their heads or backs, and very few were toiling in the fields. They were driving carts and watching the sheep, goats and swine while their wives and daughters were swinging the hoe.

“As beautiful as a Greek shepherd” used to be a favorite phrase with writers of romance, but I doubt if those who used it had ever seen one, for the ideal Greek shepherd is not visible to the ordinary eye. The men who tend the flocks are stupid, filthy-looking fellows, with blank faces, matted beards and clothing that apparently has never seen a laundry. The ancient Greek knew all about statuary and architecture. That we know by evidences that have been found under the soil of his country; but the modern Greek of the working class lives in a house that is comfortless, unclean and dismal, with no evidences of beauty or taste or culture. He needs whitewash, chloride of lime and carbolic acid, although it is claimed by many that his intellect is as strong and active as those of his prototype who lived twenty centuries ago.

In passing through the railway towns of the “currant country” nature alone is lovely. Everything else seems stricken with poverty and neglect. The men who hang around the railway stations seem to be indifferent to their condition and do not inspire either respect or admiration, although their conversational powers seem to be well developed, and nearly every one of them carried a string of beads—not to count his prayers, but to occupy his hands while talking. Beads are aids to conversation. Members of parliament use[322] them when making speeches. I never learned that Demosthenes required any such auxiliary to eloquence, but am assured that the activity of the brain and the fluency of tongue are increased by fingering them.

Modern Corinth, which stands at the head of the gulf, is a town of four thousand inhabitants, having been founded only forty years ago, after the last houses of the ancient town had been overturned by an earthquake. During recent years its prosperity has been considerably revived by the completion of a ship-canal, cut through the clay ridge that divides the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf, which shortens the journey for ships by two hundred and two miles. The idea of cutting a canal through that isthmus was proposed by the ancients and was undertaken by Caesar, Hadrian and Nero. Traces of the work of Nero still exist. The present canal was built by a French company and opened in 1893. It is three miles and a half in length, one hundred feet in breadth, and can accommodate vessels drawing twenty-six feet of water. There are no locks or sluices, but it is on the tidewater level, with breakwaters to protect the entrances.


Old Corinth, that St. Paul visited three times and possibly four, and which was one of the most important, populous, immoral and enterprising cities of his day, is dead and buried. Buttercups and dandelions are growing upon its grave, as bright and cheerful as those that decorate the prairies of Kansas or the dooryards of New England. The Grecian buttercup is not so large nor so beautiful as that we found in Norway, but it gives one a home feeling to find it everywhere—a universal flower. New Corinth resembles Santa Fé and other of the adobe towns of New Mexico and[323] Arizona. It is surrounded by clay cliffs, weatherworn into fantastic shapes like those of the Rio Grande valley, and the dust is deep in the unpaved streets. The same lean cattle, mangy dogs and half-naked children playing in the sunshine; the same diminutive donkeys, the modern “Greek slaves,” bearing burdens that hide their bodies and leave only their legs and ears exposed; the same mud fences and adobe walls that are found in New Mexico; the same bake-ovens beside the cabins, and women of similar features, wearing similar garments, picking the live stock out of the children’s hair. Crowds of men are sitting at tables in front of the cafés, drinking coffee and talking politics, and the same dilapidated vehicles that you see in the old Spanish-American settlements were waiting for our arrival at the railway station.

The town has a beautiful site, at the head of the gulf. The water has a deep-blue color, with opalescent tints upon the surface. It receded in ancient times and left a sandy beach upon which goats were browsing among old barrel-hoops, piles of rubbish and struggling weeds, and fishermen were leisurely mending their nets beside their boats, or in the shade of the little shanties in which they keep their implements. Modern Corinth is surrounded by mighty hills upon which shepherds were guarding sheep and cattle, and when storms come upon them they find shelter in the caves that the wind and the rain have burrowed in the clay cliffs. At the top of the highest hill, the Acro-Corinth, as it is called, is a medieval fortress erected by the Venetians when they possessed the country. It is surrounded by ruins of houses and temples from which the material to build the fort was taken. The[324] view from the peak, famous even in antiquity, embraces a great part of the mountainous district on both sides of the Gulf of Corinth, which is spread out like a map around the observer. In ancient times a watch was always kept there to signal the approach of an enemy to the people of the towns and the farmers in the valley below.

The traveler who enters Greece from the west has a continuous view of Parnassus, which rears its snow-clad summit among less famous mountains upon the opposite side of the gulf, and beside it is the beautiful Helicon, the haunt of the Muses. In clear weather the Acropolis of Athens is visible, the pillars of the Parthenon and the glistening marble walls of the royal palace.

Near the base of Acro-Corinth is the remarkable spring of Pirene, which, according to mythology, gushed forth at a stroke of the hoof of Pegasus, and was bestowed on Sisyphus by the river god Asopus, in return for his having revealed the hiding-place of the owner’s daughter, Aegina, who had been carried off by Zeus. Near by are ruins of a barracks and several dismounted cannon.

In the golden age, four hundred years before Christ, old Corinth was the most splendid, luxurious and wealthy, the most frivolous and wicked of all the cities of Greece. It was a commercial metropolis, the Chicago of that period, a center and focus of financial affairs, and stood upon a plateau about six miles from the sea, upon the side of the hill called Acro-Corinth, looking down upon a narrow and beautiful inlet of blue water, between two ranges of mountains. The Gulf of Corinth is often compared to the fjords of Norway, but its surroundings are mild and modest[325] beside their rugged grandeur. It bears a closer resemblance to the Bosphorus and to the Inland Sea of Japan.

The road which leads from the railway station at new Corinth to the ruins of the old city is exceptionally good for Greece. It rises with an almost imperceptible grade toward a group of seven majestic columns, the earliest examples of the Doric school of architecture extant, and one of the oldest and most precious monuments of the art, scholarship and religion of ancient Greece. They are deeply fluted monoliths, twenty-three and one-half feet high, five feet and eight inches in diameter at the base and four feet and three inches at the top, with projecting capitals and heavy entablature. They were once covered with enamel. Five of them are nearly perfect. The other two have been broken and the pieces are now held together by iron bands. All have been gnawed more or less by the tooth of time and show curious wounds, which look as if they had been cut with a chisel. These pillars are all that remain of the famous Temple of Apollo, the ideal of Doric architecture, the noblest, simplest and most natural of all the schools.

Unconscious of their artistic and archeological advantages, which students travel four thousand miles to enjoy, the Grecian peasants continue to plow the adjacent fields, and, the day that we rode through, groups of women with tucked-up skirts were breaking the earth with heavy hoes and heaping it around the roots of the currant bushes. Fields of winter wheat were vivid with tender shoots of green, and a fodder plant that resembles alfalfa was growing bravely on the other side of formidable fences built with stones stolen from the ruins of the old metropolis. Here and there is an old-fashioned threshing-floor, almost[326] as venerable as the pillars of the temple, a circle thirty or forty feet in diameter, paved with smooth stones, upon which, after the harvest, the grain is separated from the stalk by driving hoofed cattle over it. In his Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul recalled to them that pious injunction in Deuteronomy, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn,” but he might have appealed to them also in behalf of the blindfolded donkeys that patiently follow the treadmills to fill the irrigation reservoirs so that the plants may live when the earth is dry.

Women were washing at the reservoirs and spreading the garments out upon the grass and cobble-stones to dry, and little children were amusing themselves with the same simple games that absorb the attention of childhood in America.

Before reaching the site of the old city we passed a cross-roads where a troop of young Corinthians was rushing out of an unpainted adobe schoolhouse. Nearly all of them were clothed in tunics made of blue and white checked gingham, the favorite pattern for aprons among New England housewives. It was the noonday recess, and, notwithstanding their traditional eagerness for intellectual culture, it is evident that the schoolboys of Greece feel more amiable when coming away from the schoolhouse than when they are following their noses in the other direction. They were playing pranks upon one another, and we stopped the carriage to see the result of an amateur wrestling match. In the adjoining lot was a boy about twelve years old, clad in a similar tunic, herding a drove of pigs. He looked as if he felt his humiliating situation, and we silently extended our sympathy to him. I felt like reminding the youngster, for his encouragement[327] and consolation, that one of the noblest and the greatest of the popes was a pig-driver when he was a boy, and that that also was the occupation of Pizarro, the conquistador of Peru, before he entered the Spanish army.

Where this schoolhouse stands was once a suburb of Corinth, known as Kraneion, which, about 2,300 years ago, was the abode of an old crank named Diogenes; perhaps not the first, and I am certain not the last, of the cynics. He was born and brought up in the town of Sinope, where his father was a money-changer, and the old man, being deficient in the moral perception and the cunning of some of the modern Greeks, was detected in the adulteration of coin. He died in prison, and the disgrace seems to have soured the life of his son, who wandered about telling people what fools they were to waste their time in enjoyment; and, to practice what he preached, he discarded all earthly possessions except a cloak, a wallet in which he carried bread, and a wooden bowl. He threw the last away some time after, when he saw a boy drinking out of the hollow of his hand—at least that is the story as I remember it from my college days, when for a time I knew Diogenes and other famous Greeks quite intimately.

When Diogenes finally reached Corinth he found that prosperous and luxurious city a fine field for a cynic to work in, and took lodgings and office-room in a large jar that was made to hold wine but had been thrown away as leaky and useless. He used to make fun of the rich and vain Corinthians, and although he ate nothing but scraps that the cooks threw at him, he lived to a very old age, and became so famous that Alexander the Great came to visit him. After a memorable interview, when the emperor arose to take his[328] departure, with a gracious impulse he told the old cynic that he would grant him any favor that he desired to ask. Diogenes looked up with a twinkle in his eye, and requested him to get out of his light.

Diogenes died from the bite of a dog, and his last request to the neighbors was that they throw his body into the alley for the dogs to eat; but they refused to do so, and gave him a noble funeral and erected a monument in his honor, upon which was carved the figure of a dog—the symbol of his life.

A little village of fifty or sixty houses, with a store or two, a post-office and a café, occupies the site of the old city. Part of the lands about have been purchased by the American Archeological Institute. Its representatives from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have been engaged for several years in making excavations, and have laid bare a considerable portion of old Corinth, including the forum, the market-place, the temple of justice, three fountains, baths hewn in the solid rock, and several dwellings and buildings that were occupied for business purposes. The work is being extended gradually as fast as the limited funds of the society will allow, and the disclosures are of great classical interest and importance to historians and students. It will be continued until all the important ruins are disclosed. Near by, upon a convenient roadway, a warehouse has been erected to preserve the statues, the inscriptions and other small articles of interest that are found in the excavations.

Excavated by the American School at Athens

Unfortunately for us, the laws of Greece prohibit the exportation of these relics. The government is very strict about such matters. No excavations can be[329] made without a permit from the authorities, who designate an inspector to supervise them, and he keeps a careful watch upon all that is done. Everything must go to the museum at Athens unless the owner of the property is willing to erect a building for the public exhibition of whatever he may find. In this way some of the old cities and the little towns of Greece have secured local museums which possess a certain advantage in enabling students to study archeology upon the ground, but this scarcely offsets many disadvantages, for most of them are difficult of access. The most important articles discovered at Corinth have been sent by the American school to the National Museum at Athens.

At a shop in the village a few fragments of indifferent value from the excavations are for sale, and they are no doubt genuine. Bogus antiquities are manufactured in large quantities, but most of them are more expensive than the genuine. Although the Romans carried away from Greece the choicest works of art to embellish their palaces and temples, and vandals have been following their example ever since, the earth is still full of marble, pottery and bronzes, which are being uncovered daily. But most of the work is done by foreigners. The Greek government is so poor that it can afford to do but little, and the citizens have other uses for their money.

Near the excavations, in front of a low adobe hut, sat an aged man in the native costume, smoking his pipe and rocking the cradle of a child. He might have posed for a portrait of Diogenes.

In the center of the village is an enormous plane-tree, which shades a triangular market-place. Several men were sipping coffee at little tables and babbling[330] children were playing around them who evidently did not realize the historical sanctity of their surroundings.

Old Corinth has as much interest for religious people as for archeologists and historians, for it is closely associated with the missionary work of St. Paul. In the year 51, in company with Luke the Evangelist, he visited Macedonia—where Miss Stone was captured by brigands. At Philippi he was scourged, imprisoned and put into the stocks. There was an earthquake while he was in prison and he converted the jailer. Having frightened the officials by telling them that he was a Roman, they permitted him to depart, and he sailed to Athens, where he preached an eloquent sermon from Mars Hill. Then he came to Corinth, lodged at the house of Gaius, and found Aquila and Priscilla, and there Silas and Timotheus joined him. He lived at Corinth a year and a half, and there wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians, which he sent by the hand of Timotheus. He was then brought before Gallio, the proconsul, a brother of Seneca, the great philosopher, who was prime minister for the Emperor Nero, at Rome, at that time. After this he “tarried there yet a good while” before returning to Syria and Jerusalem. Six years later he visited Corinth again, “and there abode three months” at the house of Gaius, where he wrote his epistles to the Romans and Galatians, after which he returned again to Jerusalem and then made his fatal journey to Rome.

Timotheus was left in charge of the church at Corinth, and when Paul sent him there he said: “Let no man despise him.” It would be interesting to know the places in Corinth where Paul lived and preached,[331] and perhaps American shovels may yet discover some evidences of his life there, although beyond his own testimony we know nothing about it. The lintel of the Jewish synagogue has been found already by the American excavations.



Modern Athens is a city of marble. Many of the dwellings and business houses and nearly all the public edifices are of that material, and even the sidewalks on some of the streets are paved with it. Upon the bosom of Mount Pentelikos are two great gashes which can be seen for many miles. One of them is the quarry from which was hewn the marble for the Parthenon, the Temple of Jupiter, the Temple of Theseus and other famous structures of ancient Athens. The other wound was made in modern times, and shows the source of the material of which the present city of Athens was built. The authorities have protected the old quarry for historical and archeological reasons, and nothing has been taken from it for several centuries. The other quarry is just as good. The stone is easily cut and removed, and, although the grain is not so fine as the Parian marble from the quarries in southern Greece, it is equal to that from the famous Carrara quarries of Italy, and costs much less. I was wondering why some enterprising American did not build a railway to the quarry from Piræus, the seaport of Athens, so as to export the marble, for none is exported now. It need be only about eighteen miles long, not counting the curves necessary to make the grade, and it could be run on the gravity principle.


The use of marble and white stucco gives modern Athens an appearance of neatness and beauty which[333] there is no soot to deface. The dust is very bad, however, when the wind blows. The streets are unpaved and the soil is a clay that moistens into mud or dries into dust very readily, and a waiter always stands at the door of the hotel with a feather duster to brush off your boots. One of the streets is named in honor of Æolus, the god of the winds, but he does not confine his attentions to that thoroughfare. In the old part of Athens is a well-preserved octagonal structure of marble called the Tower of the Winds, and one might suppose that it was the place where they originated, but the name seems to have been given merely because it was surmounted by a weather-vane. The tower was built about a hundred years before Christ by Andronicus of Syria, so an inscription tells us, as a compliment to the city of Athens, and was adorned with a sun-dial and a clock that was run by water-power in some ingenious manner; but the exact plan of its operation is not understood by modern mortals. An aqueduct supplied a cistern and the cistern fed machinery too complicated for modern horologists to comprehend.

The streets leading east from the Tower of the Winds enter a depression in the side of a hill, inclosed by a wall which was formerly the site of a school called the Diogeneion, supposed to have been founded by Diogenes, the famous cynic in the third century before Christ.

The palace of the king is an ugly modern structure, of which a nation with the taste of the Greeks ought to be ashamed. It looks like a factory, but the other public buildings are so imposing and appropriate, particularly a group of three—the university, the Academy of Sciences and the library—that they more[334] than offset the atrocity in which the king resides. I doubt if there is a more beautiful combination of buildings in all the world. The academy, designed by a Vienna architect, is asserted to be the purest example of the classic school that has arisen in modern times. The surroundings are appropriate, and the entire street, called University Street, is worthy of the artistic traditions of the Athenians, as well as the spirit of modern enterprise.

A pretty park adjoins the palace grounds in the center of the city, and several of the residence streets are lined with pepper-trees, but there is no other shade in Athens—except the awnings stretched across the sidewalks in the business section to shelter show-windows and politicians who sit at little tables in front of the cafés. The gleam of the white marble is painful to the eyes. The architecture of most of the houses in the new quarter of the town is pure Greek; simple, dignified and stately; a striking contrast to the picturesque squalor and dilapidation of Constantinople and the ornate embellishment of the Italian cities. Some critics complain that the architecture of Athens is monotonous, but it is the monotony of pure and simple taste, and none can deny the beauty of the residences. Most of them are constructed upon modern plans, especially the interiors, to meet the demand for conveniences, and I am sure that the private buildings of Athens to-day are more comfortable and beautiful than in the days of Pericles and Phidias. The mountain Pentelikos can furnish all the marble that is necessary to meet the demands of the builders for twenty-five more centuries.

In the old part of the city the streets are narrow, dirty, and the odors rise to heaven. The modern[335] Greek peasant is not a tidy person, nor is his wife, and the street that passes his dwelling, the house in which he lives and all his surroundings are repulsive to the eye, the nostrils and the sense of propriety.


There are three theaters in Athens, one of them a stately marble building of classic design, at which original plays in Greek are produced to encourage native literary genius. An opera company comes over from Italy for two or three weeks every winter, but otherwise there is very little music in Athens. Nor is there any modern art. The museum is not attractive to ordinary visitors, but it is a fountain of joy and never-ending bliss to archeologists, being filled with broken statuary and pottery, old bronzes and tablets bearing inscriptions that are half-effaced, leaving just enough to excite curiosity and controversy among students.

The classic spirit still prevails in Greece. It even pervades the common council of Athens, or whoever has the duty of naming the streets, for they are nearly all called in honor of the ancient gods, philosophers and poets of the golden age. The Boulevard of the University and the Boulevard of the Academy are the broadest and the finest avenues in the residence portion of the city, while the principal business street is named in honor of Mercury. Other streets are called after Solon, Æsculapius, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Thucydides, Pericles, Sophocles, Menander, Venus, Pan, Hebe, Apollo, Jupiter, Theseus, Philip, Constantine and most of the holy apostles. One of the principal hotels is the Minerva, and it is the fashion to christen shops in honor of the great men of the past. Classic names are also usual in baptizing children. You frequently hear of Hermes, Alcibiades[336] and Homer, and the Athens city directory reads like the muster-roll of the army of Agamemnon, which you will find in the early part of Homer. Achilles, Ajax, Menelaus, Miltiades, Leonidas, Themistocles, and other names equally familiar to students of Greek, are in daily use among the people.

Greece is a true democracy. No other country in Europe, not even Norway, is so subject to the will of the people, and the democratic spirit is often shown in ways that are disagreeable. The feeling of equality is general, and there is an undisguised jealousy against one man rising above another. That is one of the great obstacles to progress—a sort of dead-line which no man can cross without being made the target of every selfish and dissatisfied citizen who construes the superiority of his neighbor as a personal grievance and an offense against the individual and the state. The king is a foreigner. Were he not a foreigner he might not be king. Those who know the Greek character best declare that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the Greeks to permit one of their own citizens to rule over them. The king is democratic enough to suit their tastes. He mingles freely with the people, and while he maintains beyond criticism the dignity that becomes his position, he is nevertheless simple in his habits, unostentatious in his exercise of power and loves nothing so well as to be considered one of the Greeks. There have been no scandals or intrigues at his court. The scepter has not been wielded to the injury of any one. He treats everybody alike and perhaps goes a little too far that way, because the exercise of more severe discipline might do something to suppress crime. The king’s example is followed by his sons, his ministers and the[337] attachés of the court, and therefore is imitated by the people. The children have inherited the spirit. The common schools of Athens are attended by boys and girls of all grades of society, the children of laborers sitting beside those of the ministers of state, reading from the same books and engaging in the same games.

Travelers in the country sometimes complain that the democratic spirit is offensive; that the “common people” sometimes are too aggressive and independent. I heard an English gentleman relate his experience with the villagers of the interior, which was evidence that they considered themselves quite as good as he, and he declared that such things could never have occurred in England, or in the United States, for that matter. A gentleman who has lived many years in Greece explained that the peasants did not intend to be impertinent, but were simply exercising what they believed to be their privileges, and demonstrating that a practical democracy was in working order. There is no lack of discipline among the servant class, but they assert their rights like the servant-girls of New England.

Athenian society is divided into sets, as it is everywhere; first, the court set, made up of the higher officials, members of the diplomatic corps, officers of the army and navy, rich residents both foreign and native who entertain extensively, and others who are honored with a personal acquaintance with the royal family. This set is more or less exclusive, and includes only a small fraction of those who are entitled to invitations to court functions. The king’s balls and receptions are very much like those at the White House in Washington, and people with shabby clothes and muddy boots are often present, because[338] their political influence, if not their social position entitles them to invitations. There are no orders of nobility in Greece. There is only one order of knighthood—the Order of the Savior, which is conferred by the king for distinguished services of any character. About one-half of the honors go to the army and navy; the next in number are to those who have distinguished themselves in the service of the state, either as executives, legislators or members of the diplomatic corps, and after them come the scientists, who esteem the ribbon very highly. Some of the descendants of the ancient nobility try to retain their titles, but are laughed at. Men whose ancestors played a conspicuous part in patriotic movements are much more admired and envied, but even they have to give way to learning, for scholars stand higher in Greece to-day than any other class of the community, and learning is considered of more value than great riches.

The education of women is gradually reaching a level with that of men. There are still certain social restraints, due to tradition and the influence of the neighboring countries of Europe, and the old-fashioned method of contracting marriages between families still prevails; but, speaking generally, the women of Greece are to-day quite as independent, quite as influential and quite as well educated as any on the continent, south of Sweden, and it is gratifying to know that the queen herself has been one of the most active and influential agents in bringing about the emancipation of her sex.

Athens has more than her share of newspapers, dailies, weeklies and those of occasional publication, which are not intended for news purposes, but to express the opinions of the different owners or editors[339] upon public affairs. Even these are not sufficient, however, and the politicians and the editors visit the cafés every evening, and often in the afternoon, in order to proclaim their views to whomsoever it may concern. Coffee-houses have taken the place of the ancient forums, and one of the largest in Athens is called “Public Opinion Coffee-house.” Instead of referring to a man as a demagogue or a pot-house politician, over here they call him a coffee-house politician, and nowhere in the country is there such an abundance of oratorical talent and public sentiment as in these institutions. They are the resort of would-be leaders who cannot afford to maintain newspapers and are reduced to the necessity of communicating their thoughts by word of mouth. The newspapers contain very little news—a few brief telegrams from London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Constantinople, relating to the most important events of the day; a report of the proceedings of parliament; a review of the decisions of the courts; a few paragraphs of local news; personal items concerning the royal family and prominent citizens; half a column of market quotations, an installment of a continued story, and a few miscellaneous items clipped from other European newspapers. The remainder of the sheet is filled with editorials and communications upon political topics, which are discussed with the greatest freedom, for in Greece the liberty of the press is not abridged. Both editors and correspondents seem to feel as much at liberty as in the United States to criticise or condemn the policy of the government, the extravagance of the officials, the inefficiency of the army, the corruption of parliament, and even the personal habits of public men.


Visitors to Greece are always amazed at the criminal statistics, particularly at the number of murders, and can scarcely believe them to be accurate, because the number seems to be so much in excess of that of any other country in Europe. Ordinary crimes—dishonesty and the vices that prevail in other countries—are not general, but murders occur almost daily, and the frequent attempts at murder and the number of mysterious deaths are shocking in the stage of civilization to which Greece has attained. In the province in which Athens is located homicides average annually almost one to 1,000 of population. It is not without significance that the province of Attica should be the scene of many homicides, for it is the center of learning and education, the seat of the government and the headquarters of the national police. The causes lie mostly in politics. The government has forbidden the carrying of concealed weapons, but the law is not enforced. A pouch or sheath for a knife and a revolver is a part of the national costume, and both are worn openly. You see them upon almost every Greek who wears the old-fashioned garments of his race, and those who have adopted the modern dress have hip pockets.

When two Greeks quarrel the first act is to draw their knives, and unless they are separated instantly there is either a homicide or a case for the hospital, and the hospitals of Athens, which are extensive and up-to-date, are abundantly supplied with patients, especially during periods of political excitement. If a man is killed in a controversy it usually begins a feud which does not end until several graves are filled, because the unwritten law requires a life for a life, and the Greeks adhere to the vendetta as do the Corsicans and the people of Sicily.


In the provinces of Arcadia, which is a synonym of peace and happiness, and in Laconia, the southernmost section of the Grecian peninsula, the vendetta is as strictly observed as it ever was in Corsica. One murder is usually followed by half a dozen, and sometimes they continue until families are extinct. If there are no sons to take revenge, the duty passes to the nearest relative, and the code is understood by children. Singularly enough the obligation to kill ceases when the offending person leaves the province. The code prohibits attacks upon enemies when they remove to another part of the country. The cause of this extraordinary condition can be traced to the days of Turkish domination, when murder and other crimes committed upon Christians were allowed to remain unpunished. The Turkish officials took no notice of injuries suffered by unbelievers and never attempted to punish the perpetrators.

The indifference of the government down to the present day has encouraged murder. Capital punishment is seldom inflicted, and the verdict of a court is generally acquittal. Those who happen to be convicted are soon pardoned through political influence.

Politics is the influential factor in this problem. When a man is arrested for murder, his friends and family naturally use every effort to secure his acquittal, and appeal to their representatives in the chamber of deputies and other officials of the government who are supposed to have a “pull” with the courts, and skill in convincing juries. If the defendants are convicted and sent to prison their confinement must be made as short and as easy as possible. Hence members of the Greek parliament are kept quite as busy looking after constituents who have committed homicides[342] as the members of our Congress are in getting an increase of pensions for old soldiers.

Persons who have served a term for murder bear no stigma. On the contrary, as every man in Greece is likely to suffer a similar experience sooner or later, the contrary is the case. The prisons are generally dirty, uncomfortable and without ventilation or sanitary appliances, but they are no worse in these respects than the homes from which the prisoners come. No labor is required, and there is very little discipline. Except in a few cases, where solitary confinement is the penalty, the prisoners congregate in one room during the daytime, and the social enjoyment is almost as great as if they were in their village cafés instead. Friends are allowed to bring them delicacies and bedding and to see them frequently. Thus a lazy man is sometimes more comfortable and happy in prison than out, for in the latter case he would be compelled to support himself. As long as he is in prison for such a crime as homicide, public opinion requires his friends and family to support him. Hence he can loaf, gossip, argue, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee all day long, which is the Greek ideal of happiness. If the laws could be amended so as to require the prisoners to work and cut off their enjoyments entirely, no doubt it would go far to diminish crime.

Somebody has said that what Greece wants is not men of culture, but men of agriculture, and that is probably true. There are plenty of men to till the limited area between the mountains and the rocky plateaus if they would devote themselves to it, but it is the ambition of every Greek youth to obtain a classical education and to engage in one of the learned[343] professions. No country in the world has so few children in the primary schools in proportion to the young men and women in the academies and universities. One class of the population is under-educated and the other over-educated. Intellectual culture therefore is not properly distributed. A compulsory education law is not enforced because of the interference of the politicians, and thousands of children of school age in the country districts who should attend school are assisting their parents on the farms and in the homes and adding a little to the family income.

There has been no census lately, but estimates based upon the young men who come into the army place the illiterates at thirty per cent of the population in the country and fifteen per cent in the towns. Those who go to school, however, show remarkable eagerness for learning, and when a boy has passed through the secondary schools nothing will stop him from going to the university, where education is free. Then it is necessary for him to select a professional career, because the labor of the farm is too arduous and the society of the peasants is uncongenial. The students in the University of Athens to-day number more than three thousand, and the larger part of them come from the peasant class. As a consequence, Greece is oversupplied with lawyers, doctors and other professional young men, who are compelled to get a living the best way they can, because there is no parental allowance to support them. Many of them go in for politics and seek offices under the government. Many go into the army, and more are engaged in humble clerical employment and are living upon crusts until something turns up. There are said to be more[344] university graduates in Athens in proportion to the population than in any other city in the world, and the number of unemployed is very large. A few of them drift off into Turkey and other countries of the Orient, where the opportunities are greater, but so many remain and make a business of politics that they are the curse of Greece.

The traveler who comes to Greece from Italy or from Turkey or the Oriental countries is always gratified at the absence of beggars. You may live there for years and never see one, except a few cripples, blind and decrepit old crones, who sit at the doors of the churches and hold out their hands, pleading pitifully for alms. There are excellent hospitals and asylums for all the ills and woes that humankind suffer, and, although there are many poor and afflicted people and much misery and degradation in Greece, the pride and independence of the people will not permit them to beg, and the benevolent spirit of those who are more prosperous makes good provision for them. Philanthropy is a Greek word. In Greece children never run after strangers in the street and beg for pennies as they do in other countries of southern Europe. If a stranger stops on the sidewalk in Italy he is immediately surrounded by a crowd of urchins, ragged, dirty and impudent, who follow him for blocks with importunities. In Turkey and Egypt it is even worse. In Greece travelers are never troubled in that way.

A long time ago a hermit made his home upon the top of the columns of the temple of Jupiter at Athens, and lived there, exposed to the sun and the wind and the storms, until compelled to come down. He had an arrangement with a woman in the neighborhood to provide him with food, and she used to appear every[345] morning with a basket of supplies, which he was accustomed to haul up to his eyrie with a clothes-line.

In the Odeum of Herodes Atticus, one of the loftiest and most conspicuous of the ruins at the base of the Acropolis, which was formerly a theater accommodating six thousand spectators, erected by an Athenian millionaire in memory of his wife, Appia Annia Regilla, a noble Roman lady, there is an enormous earthen wine-jar called a pithos. For several years a half-witted man named Demetrius lived in it, just as Diogenes lived in his jar. A kind woman in the neighborhood furnished him food whenever he called for it, and in stormy weather he covered the mouth of his curious dwelling with a curtain of canvas, which gave him adequate shelter.

The parliament of Greece occupies a conspicuous building in the center of the city of Athens, which is the scene of frequent exciting episodes and heated debates. After observing the behavior of the German, Austrian, Hungarian, French, Italian and Greek chambers of deputies, I have deliberately reached the conclusion that the House of Representatives at Washington is the most orderly, dignified and statesmanlike legislative body elected by popular suffrage—not excepting the House of Commons. This is a recent opinion, and is contrary to what I have often written. From the reporter’s gallery of the House of Representatives I have witnessed some very stormy scenes during the last quarter of a century, but they have been incidental. Confusion and boisterous behavior in the European parliaments are chronic. The Greeks are so fond of debate that they ought to have several legislative chambers instead of one, in order to give the eloquent members of that body a chance to express[346] their views; but, failing to get a hearing in the house, they go to the nearest café immediately after adjournment, where they are able to discourse to their heart’s content without interruption.

Politics is the curse of Greece. The country is so small, its financial and other interests are so limited, and its influence in the affairs of nations so insignificant, that one would suppose the people would devote themselves to the development of their material resources and the encouragement of their industries instead of wasting their time in useless discussions and quarrels. But I have always noticed that the smaller the country the hotter the political contests. In Servia, Bulgaria, and certain American republics, where the population is less than in Greece, political agitation is even more bitter and a larger number of people give their exclusive time to it.

I have been trying to discover the political issues in Greece, but have given up in despair. They seem to be numerous, but are not well defined. The local complications are too intricate to be untangled by a stranger, and when you bore through into the pith of the thing you find that the ambition to hold office is the ruling motive, as it is almost everywhere else. There are few offices in Greece and many men who desire to fill them. Hence the outs are opposed to the ins and attempt to justify their demands for authority by proclaiming political principles and promising administrative reforms.

King George is a wise, liberal and tactful ruler. He has a turbulent population to deal with, but is discreet, judicious, generous, and never mixes in political affairs. He always selects his ministers from the party which has a majority in the parliament and is usually able to[347] handle them without difficulty. He holds the confidence of the parliament and the people. Everybody trusts him as a safe man. The only criticism I heard in Greece was that he is too merciful with violators of the law, and perhaps it would be to the advantage of the country if the criminal courts were more severe in their penalties and the pardoning power were not so freely exercised.

The political riots in Athens in the spring of 1902 were due to an unusual cause. Greek scholars are very jealous of the language and are trying to restore ancient Greek to common use. Modern Greek is not taught at the university, and whether it shall be taught in the public schools is a political issue. The advocates of a return to the classic tongue insist that the only way to restore it is to teach it to the children in the primary schools. Their opponents argue that if the children are taught nothing but ancient Greek they can not read modern newspapers, magazines or books. Modern Greek is a corruption of the ancient language, which has become debased by common usage, as the modern Italian is a corruption of the ancient Latin. While it is possible for the native of one province to understand another in conversation, just as a man from New England can understand the lingo of the Arizona miner, very few of the common people are able to read the pure classic. Some of the literary men of the country and many politicians are so democratic in their notions that they would use nothing but the vulgar, modern Athenian dialect, and one man in particular has made himself conspicuous in support of that proposition. He has been bitterly denounced, however, by the university faculties and the serious scholars of the country, and is held up to[348] students as an enemy of their language and their race. So he resides in England.

This controversy is hot and cold according as provocation occurs, and volumes have been written upon one side and the other. During the recent war with Turkey, Queen Olga, who is a noble woman, famous for her good works, and a niece of the late Czar of Russia, found that the sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals she visited were not able to read the Bibles she gave them, which were printed only in the classic Greek. She was greatly grieved at this, and arranged with two eminent members of the theological faculty to translate the gospels into the modern Greek. They were hastily printed and circulated in large numbers in the army at the queen’s expense. She paid the translators handsomely for their work and bore all the cost of the enterprise from her private purse. Before the war with Turkey had ended every soldier in the Greek army had one of Queen Olga’s Testaments in his knapsack.

The excitement was so great in those days that the matter was overlooked and nothing was said about it until last spring, when somehow or other the students of the university provoked an agitation and held a series of meetings at which inflammatory speeches were made against the desecration of the Holy Scriptures and the words of the Redeemer by translating them into modern Greek. As is often the case, the police authorities used unwise measures to suppress the agitation, which only made it worse, and it culminated in a mass-meeting called at the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter, near the base of the Acropolis and near the edge of the park which surrounds the palace. This is the usual place for public demonstrations.[349] Political meetings of all kinds are held at the Olympieion, which Aristotle describes as a “work of despotic grandeur.” The ruins are the favorite place of promenade on summer evenings, and demagogues, fanatics and cranks take the opportunity to declaim their views there as they do at Hyde Park in London.

There were originally more than one hundred columns of Pentelic marble, fifty-six feet high and five and a half feet in diameter, of the second largest Greek temple known, being three hundred and fifty-three feet in length and one hundred and thirty-four feet in width, dimensions exceeded only by those of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. Only sixteen of the columns remain. Several of them are said to have been taken to Rome by the emperors; more have been broken up for building-material, and at least sixteen are now supporting the domes of mosques in Constantinople.

The meeting called to discuss the queen’s translations of the gospels was a very large one, many people attending purely out of curiosity. It was managed by the students of the university, who, to emphasize their objections, secured several copies of the book and burned them over a slow fire in a dramatic manner. The police attempted to disperse the crowd; stones were thrown, shots were fired, and an infuriated populace showed its resentment against the authorities by driving the policemen off the ground and using some of them very roughly. A general alarm was given, soldiers were called out and for two days it was a question whether the military or the mob would rule the city. The number of killed and wounded was quite large. At least seven students died in the streets or were fatally wounded, and their[350] funerals were made occasions for political demonstrations. The result has been to strengthen the support of the classic language and to make the good queen very unpopular. Before this incident she was beloved and admired by everybody, and since no one except the demagogues has ever accused her of more than indiscretion. She was evidently unaware of the philological controversy, and the professors who made her translation should have advised her of it. Her translation, however, was never offered to the public; no copy was ever sold, and it was used simply for the purpose intended. Her Majesty’s critics, however, made the most of the fact that she is a foreigner and a Russian.

Queen Olga’s nobility of character, her pure life, her charitable works and her spotless dignity as a queen, wife and mother will outlive the criticisms upon her indiscretion, which would be soon forgotten if the demagogues would drop the subject. She is a member of the Greek Church, sincere and earnest in the performance of her religious duties, and a strong believer in the miraculous power of an image of the Holy Virgin which attracts many pilgrims to a little town in the southern part of Greece. She is actively interested in charitable work also and rarely fails to visit some hospital or asylum or other benevolent institution. She walks upon the streets like the wife of any ordinary citizen, is unassuming in her manners and democratic in her habits, and if a stranger should meet her upon an errand of mercy or when she is taking her constitutional he would never suspect her to be a queen. The court of Greece is said to be the purest in all Europe, for Queen Olga is even more critical than Queen Victoria used to be[351] concerning the character and reputation of those who are presented to her. There are no adventurers, either men or women, about the palace at Athens. She has brought up her boys under her own eye and according to her own religion, and everybody agrees that they are young men of exemplary character and habits, very different from the ordinary prince.

The king is a Protestant. He is a son of old King Christian of Denmark, “the father-in-law of Europe;” a brother of Queen Alexandra of England, and of Dagmar, the empress mother of Russia. When he accepted the throne of Greece he agreed that his children should be brought up in the religion of the country, but declined to change his own faith. He does not try to proselyte the Greeks, however, but his Lutheran chaplain holds services on Sunday very quietly in a little chapel connected with the palace. Protestants connected with the court have an opportunity to attend, but outsiders are never admitted.

The wife of the crown prince and the future queen of Greece, is the Princess Sophia, a sister of the Kaiser of Germany. When the latter consented to her marriage it was with the understanding that she should not be required to renounce Protestantism, although it was stipulated that her children were to be educated in the Greek faith. Two years ago, however, she voluntarily left the Lutheran Church and was baptized in the Greek communion. Her august brother was furious and did not hesitate to censure his sister openly for renouncing the religion of her fathers. Nor has he forgiven her. She has not been in Germany since, and it is the general understanding that she has not been invited. No Protestant missionary work is now done in Greece, although there[352] are several Protestant churches in different parts of the country, and two in Athens.

Everyone who knows the facts testifies that the priests of the Greek Church are useful, morally and spiritually, but there are altogether too many of them. According to the census of 1889 there were over eight thousand priests for a population of 2,187,208, and the number has rapidly increased since that date, so that the ratio is even larger. There are probably ten thousand priests and monks in Greece to-day, while the membership of the Greek church is 2,138,609. A slight calculation will show you that this is an average of about one priest to every two hundred souls, so that the clerical profession, like all others, is suffering from an oversupply, and the people are required to support it. There are one hundred and seventy monasteries with over nineteen hundred monks, and nine nunneries with two hundred and twenty nuns. The head of the church is called the Metropolitan, who is elected by the Holy Synod, composed of twenty-one archbishops and twenty-nine bishops; and all these have to be supported by the taxpayers. Nominally the church is under the care of the Patriarch of Constantinople, but while his jurisdiction is never questioned in theory, he does not attempt to exercise more than formal ecclesiastical authority. The compensation of the clergy is insignificant. The Metropolitan receives only $120 a month and the bishops only $50. In Athens the most prominent of the parish clergy do not receive more than $500 a year, while country parsons are obliged to subsist upon a mere pittance, many of them being paid only in the produce of the farms of their parishes. The monks belong to orders which own property, and are, therefore,[353] much better off. For these reasons the regular clergy in the country are compelled to earn a living like their parishioners.

The priests in the Greek Church are allowed to marry. Most of them have large families, and according to the customs of the country it is the rule for the sons to follow in the profession of their father. As they cannot marry a second wife under the canon law, they imitate Dr. Primrose, and take good care of their first. It is the uniform testimony of people familiar with the facts that the country parsons of Greece as a rule are honorable, sincere and well-meaning men, living lives of self-sacrifice and comforting those who are worse off than themselves. The Greek priests wear their hair and beards long in imitation of the Saviour. The ecclesiastical dress is a frock similar to that of the Roman Catholic priests, which reaches to the heels, and a black chimney-pot hat without a brim. Sometimes a veil is worn, falling over the shoulders. They are generally men of fine appearance and excellent manners. There are even more chapels than priests, because every village must have a church or a chapel, and sometimes villages are deserted. The inhabitants, for some reason or another, remove to another location, but the chapel must stand. The peasants naturally have a deep religious sentiment, mingled with superstition, and, as in the days of St. Paul, worship unknown gods. They are strong believers in the miraculous also, and consequently there are several miracle-working images of the Holy Virgin and certain saints.

The patriotism of the Greeks is proverbial, and evidences of the munificence of the prosperous children of this classic country are on every side. I do[354] not know of any other city or any other land of similar population which shows so many public buildings and benevolent institutions founded by private individuals. Most of the fortunes have been made abroad. Greece is not a money-making country. The opportunities for gaining wealth are limited. Agriculture is still in a primitive condition; there is comparatively little manufacturing; the mining resources are insignificant, and the commerce and mercantile trade can never amount to much because of the meager population. Therefore, Greeks who are ambitious for wealth go elsewhere. They are a migrating race. There are Greek communities in every important city of the world, and they use the same methods, practice the same economy and show the same skill in trade as the Jews. It is a proverb that one Greek is as good as two Jews in a bargain. They often begin in a small way, peddling fruit, knickknacks and other trifles, but gradually extend their commercial horizons until many of them become mercantile princes. You find them in London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Vienna and especially in Constantinople, where nearly one-third of the population is Greek, and the richest residents belong to that race. Throughout Syria, Egypt and along the coast of Africa the larger share of the mercantile business is in the hands of Greeks. In the Black Sea country they monopolize the grain trade, and throughout the East, from Italy to Egypt and as far north as Budapest and Odessa they practically control commercial affairs.

Greece has no naturalization treaties. Like Russia, the government never releases its subjects from their obligations—once a Greek, always a Greek. Any naturalized Greek citizen of the United States who returns to his native country may be impressed into[355] the army without ceremony if he did not serve his term before he left the country. The same rule applies to the Greek residents of England, France and all other countries. Hence the chief business of the United States minister at Athens is to help our naturalized Greeks out of trouble.

Many Greeks are found in South America also, and in the Transvaal and other parts of South Africa. During the Boer War several Greeks had important contracts for furnishing supplies to the British government and made more money during the troubles than they did while the country was at peace. In the Argentine Republic are several important Greek families. In fact wherever they go they make money, and it is the ambition of every Greek to return to Athens and live among his own people. The long streets of fine mansions and other evidences of wealth and luxury demonstrate that many have been able to do so.

There are many reasons for the working classes as well as the tradesmen to emigrate. Wages are low, although laborers are scarce, and particularly mechanics. The earnings of those who remain in the country have not improved since the war with Turkey, but are lower than before because wages are paid in a depreciated paper currency worth not more than sixty per cent of its former value. The wages of ordinary laborers run from twenty to fifty cents a day, and those of skilled mechanics from fifty to eighty cents a day. The law which requires military service of every citizen drives a good many young men from the country, for it compels them to waste the best years of their life. There is no reason why Greece should have an army. If she had none she would be much[356] better off. Her military history is not at all flattering, and during the late war with Turkey it was clearly demonstrated that the people had neither military skill nor courage. If the parliament would abolish the army and navy, leaving just enough soldiers to preserve the peace, and rest entirely upon the protection of the great Powers of Europe, it would be a blessing to the people and relieve them from an enormous burden of taxation. Many thousand able-bodied young men would be released from a military servitude which not only keeps them from the fields and factories, but unfits them for labor after their term of duty has expired. It would also remove from the sons of the upper classes a temptation which often proves fatal to success in life. Opportunities are so few in Greece that educated young men must seek employment under the government or obtain commissions in the army. Under the present system of politics the former can only look forward to an uncertain and an unprofitable career, while there is even less to encourage the ambitious in the army. The number of officers is so much in excess of the requirements that there is nothing for them to do but to spend their time in the coffee-houses and in worse forms of dissipation. The streets of Athens and other cities of Greece are crowded with men in uniform, and if you will enter any café or stop at one of the many groups of idlers in public places you may notice that at least one-third and sometimes more than half of all those present wear the uniform of officers of high rank. I have been told that there is an officer for every three privates in the Greek army, and certainly that proportion exists in Athens, although it may not be so large in other parts of the country.


Most of the public institutions at Athens were founded and endowed by the private means of Greeks who have made fortunes abroad. Others have left large legacies directly to the government. That has occurred several times in the United States, but not often in other countries. Several men in their wills have left money to be applied toward the payment of the Greek national debt. One man, not long ago, who evidently feared that his money might be stolen, required his executors to purchase a stated amount of government bonds and burn them in the presence of a committee. Some years ago a man left two hotels to the Greek government. They stand on the Place de la Concorde, and yield a good rental, which goes into the public treasury.

One of the most notable acts of patriotism is told of a Greek barber in the city of New York, who, dying, left his entire estate to the University of Athens. He was not an educated man, but was proud of the classic traditions of his country, and gave more than Carnegie or Rockefeller to the cause of education. The amount was only $150, the proceeds of the sale of the equipment of his barber shop, his razors, and doubtless the bottles of hair-tonic that ornamented its shelves, but it was all that he had.

Somebody should give something for repairing the streets and roads. With the exception of the principal thoroughfares, they are very bad, and often impassable.

The University of Athens was founded about 1835. It is conducted on the German plan. Many of the professors are graduates of German universities, and the German language is heard about the building more frequently than any other except Greek. The institution[358] has a large amount of property, from which it draws a considerable revenue, but several of the chairs have been handsomely endowed by private individuals.

The National Library, which has one of the most beautiful modern buildings in the world, is the legacy of the Vallianos brothers, grain-merchants doing business at Odessa and the ports of the Black Sea. A marble statue of one of them stands in front of the building.

The National Museum was given to the people by George Averof, a cotton-merchant in Egypt, who also founded a military school and established a model reformatory for children.


The exposition building, called the Zappeion, intended for temporary exhibitions of art and industry, is the gift of the Zappas brothers, grain-merchants in Roumania.

The building of the Academy of Sciences, which is the most beautiful modern structure in Europe, and the Royal Observatory were erected and endowed by Baron Sina, a Greek banker in Vienna.

The Arsakion, a college for young women, was founded and richly endowed by Mr. Arsakis, a Greek merchant in Vienna. The Varvakion, a manual training-school and gymnasium for boys, was founded by Mr. Varvakes, a raisin merchant. The Polytechnic Institute was the gift of Mr. Metzorios, a merchant of Epirus. The Aretesian, a surgical institute, was founded by Dr. Areteas, a poor boy, who became an eminent surgeon and left 1,000,000 francs for the institution. Dr. Anagnostokes, another eminent surgeon, founded a hospital for eye and ear diseases. George and Mathos Rhizares founded a theological seminary. The late Mr. Syngros, a banker, built an opera-house and gave it to[359] the city; he also founded a model prison for first offenders, a house for impoverished women of rank, a home with a factory for light employment for poor working women, and also a home for the aged of both sexes. The Royal Theater was erected by a stock company, organized by King George, who owns three-fourths of the stock, and was intended to encourage native writers and actors.

Queen Olga built a prison for women. The Crown Princess Sophia built a hospital for children and reorganized and reëquipped in German style the military hospital. The ex-Queen Amalia of Bavaria founded a free dispensary, and Haji Costa, a Greek merchant in Russia, founded the orphan asylum.

The ancient Stadium, originally built three hundred and thirty years before Christ by Lycurgus, the famous Athenian statesman, and one of the noblest, ablest and most practical rulers of Greece, is now being restored in pure white marble after the old style, by the generosity of the late George Averof, who founded the National Museum. His motive was the same as that of Lycurgus, to encourage physical culture among the Greeks, who are very deficient in that important particular. This was demonstrated at the Olympian games, which took place here in 1896. Every event with one exception was captured by strangers. The one exception was the long distance race, twenty-five miles, from the mound at Marathon to the Stadium at Athens, which was won by a young Greek shepherd named Spiridon Louis, and as a reward, in addition to the prize, the government gave him a monopoly of the sale of water from the springs of Marousi, the favorite drinking-water of the Greeks. This spring is a popular resort on the side of the Pentelikos Mountain,[360] near Tatoi, the summer residence of the king. There is a large sale of the water in Athens, and it is brought in fresh from the spring every morning in sheepskins and in large earthen jars. Louis, the runner, is doing a good business, and has increased the demand by representing that its use gave him the strength and speed which won the Marathon race.

The representatives of American colleges who appeared in the games of 1896 acquitted themselves with distinguished honor and carried off their share of the prizes. One of the remarkable incidents was the capture by Robert Garrett of Baltimore, then of Princeton University, of the prize for discus-throwing, a classic Greek game. Mr. Garrett had never seen a discus until his arrival in Athens, but outplayed the Greeks in their own game on their own field.

The new Stadium will be a beautiful structure of marble, six hundred and seventy feet long and one hundred and nine feet broad, with sixty rows of seats of pure white marble, rising one upon the other and accommodating thirty thousand spectators. It is an ideal place for football and similar athletics, and when finished will surpass every other field for sports in ancient or modern times. The cost is comparatively small in Greece, because the extensive quarries of Pentelikos yield their marble treasures for only the cost of cutting and transportation, and no doubt Mr. Averof’s munificence will inspire an ambition among his countrymen to develop their physical as well as their intellectual qualities.

A shrine of history in which all lovers of liberty feel an interest is the little town of Mesolongion, in the western part of the kingdom, where, during the revolution against the Turks in 1823, Marco Bozzaris[361] gained immortality. He is buried under an insignificant monument near a military hospital, and near by is a tomb containing the heart of Lord Byron, who died there. His body was conveyed to England. A monument was erected to Byron at Mesolongion in 1881, and a beautiful group in marble, representing him protecting a beautiful female, symbolizing Greece, from a ferocious barbarian, signifying Turkey, has recently been placed in one of the parks of Athens.

The connection of Lord Byron with the emancipation of Greece was more sentimental than otherwise. It is true that during the war for liberty he offered his services to the Greek patriots and brought them several thousand dollars of his own money, which was sadly needed by the revolutionary leaders. He loaned £4,000 toward the equipment of a Greek fleet, and assisted the patriots to borrow money in London, where he did much to awaken sympathy for the gallant struggle they were making against the Turks. He enlisted a company of adventurers and drilled them at Mesolongion for several months, but they made endless trouble, and he was finally compelled to pay them large sums of money and send them away. It was a motley gang of desperadoes, composed of Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen, Americans, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Swiss, Belgians, Russians, Poles, Austrians, Hungarians, Danes, Italians, Frenchmen, Servians, Bulgarians and representatives of every other race and nation who were attracted to him by popular rumors that he had large sums of money to expend in the cause of Grecian liberty. But his plans were impracticable. It was a case of poetic genius and not military skill; but Byron died a hero. It redeemed his reputation, however, and there is no[362] doubt that during the few weeks preceding his death he lived upon a sixpence a day, as his biographers claim, for he had stripped himself of every farthing and had forfeited all claims upon his friends in behalf of the Greek cause. His name will always be cherished by the Greeks.

“The Maid of Athens,” to whom Byron addressed the charming love-song with which we are all familiar, is said to have been Miss Theresa Macri, daughter of the English vice-consul, with whom he fell desperately in love while he was a guest of her father during his first visit to Greece in 1809. He was just twenty-one years old and was still unknown to fame, having published only his first volume of poems. He lived with the family for several months and wanted to marry the daughter, but her father seems to have been a sensible man and refused his consent. Byron returned to England, married Miss Milbanke, separated from her a few months later and left England forever. The next year he met the Countess Guicciolo at Venice and lived with her, without the formality of a marriage for seven years, until he went to Greece, where her father Count Gamba, accompanied him and remained with him until his death.

Some writers have asserted that ancient Greece had a population of at least 10,000,000, and certain antiquarians have estimated that the city of Athens, at the age of Pericles, had a population of 750,000. Now it has 117,000. But the best authorities believe that neither Athens nor Greece ever had a greater population than now. It is certainly true that the number of inhabitants gradually diminished during the Turkish tyranny until, at the outbreak of the revolution in 1821, there were only 766,747 people in Greece. After the revolution[363] the population began to increase gradually until in 1890 it had passed two millions, more than three times the number when the present government was formed, notwithstanding the large emigration. The natural increase is about 2.4 per cent per year, very nearly the same as that of the United States. Seventy-eight per cent of the population live in the country and twenty-two per cent in the towns. A good many of the so-called towns are small villages of farmers. It is the custom in Greece for the people to live in communities and go to their farms every morning. This practice was necessary for mutual protection in the days of the Turks. You see few detached farmhouses, and few country-seats, although the number is rapidly increasing, now that brigandage is extinct. As a rule, however, even now, travelers find the farmhouses in clusters, and the farmers going out to their work every morning with a lunch of bread and olives in their pockets.

Nearly all the land that is capable of raising crops is under cultivation, but the methods are very primitive, and it does not produce anything like the crops that ought to come from such soil. The government has recently instituted a general movement for agricultural education, and has established schools in all the provinces, at which the science of farming is taught—only the rudiments at present, because the Greeks are very conservative, and the wise men who are at the head of this movement know better than to go too rapidly. The farms average about ten acres in extent, the great majority of them being less than two. They are cultivated entirely by hand, and with home-made implements. The soil is plowed with a crooked stick, similar to that used by the Egyptians in the days[364] of Moses, and the grain is thrashed with the hoofs of animals trampling upon it. Near by every community can be seen a circular platform paved with stone, often with a post in the center. When the harvest comes the grain will be spread upon the surface, and three or four animals will be hitched to the post and driven round and round until they have trampled the kernels out of the husks. Greece does not grow enough food for her own consumption. At least sixty per cent of the meat, vegetables and grain consumed annually are imported, which is entirely unnecessary and a direct loss to the people, because the transportation has to be paid for, and so much more comes out of the pockets of the laboring classes.

On a few large estates the land is worked on shares, the peasants taking two-thirds of the produce, and giving the other third in lieu of the rental, the landlord sharing the losses, as well as the profits, when they occur. Olive groves are often managed on this plan, and it is generally satisfactory.

Although square miles of land are lying idle, it is a singular fact that the fields in the neighborhood of Athens do not produce enough vegetables to supply the local market. Nobody seems to know exactly why, although there is a general disposition to attribute the phenomenon to the natural characteristics of the people and to say that the Greeks are poor gardeners. The king sets a good example. He has an estate and country-house about fifteen miles from Athens, and several thousand acres of land under a high state of cultivation. It is a sort of experimental farm in more senses than one, at which he not only shows what can be done, but how to do it, and the advantages of intelligent farming. He has[365] the best live stock in Greece, the most improved machinery, the best breeds of cattle, horses, sheep, swine and poultry, and he sells milk, vegetables and other farm-produce in the local market, as Victoria of England used to do on the Isle of Wight.

This example has done some good. It has made farming respectable, although the Greeks have not followed the fashion to any great extent. In fact, I could not learn of any native of wealth or influence who has imitated His Majesty and gone into the garden-truck business. In another direction the king has done great good. He furnishes seeds to all farmers who will apply for them, and applications are frequent. He has also done a good deal to improve the breeds of live stock and poultry, although the horses and cattle of Greece are comparatively poor. The sheep are much better.

Dairy farming is limited. More goat’s milk is sold than cow’s milk. The natives use comparatively little butter. The Greek butter must be used promptly, because it has a coarse grain and will not keep. It looks like “smear-kase” and tastes more like whipped cream than anything else. Cow’s milk cannot be obtained outside of the large cities, and even there it is scarce and expensive. Nearly all Greeks use goat’s milk. Both goats and cows are driven into town every morning and milked at the doors of the customers. This is not a new fashion, but, like nearly all the customs of the people, can be traced back through many centuries. The herdsman, shuffling through the streets with milk-measure in his hand, behind a herd of seven or eight solemn-looking goats, was probably as familiar to the ancients as he is to the Athenians of to-day, and, viewed in all its aspects, it is an excellent[366] proposition, because all the customers along his route are sure to get their milk fresh and pure, and the goat-herd’s honesty is not tempted by the convenience of the pump. When he reaches the house of a customer he milks one of the goats into his measure and pours the contents into a bucket or the bowl that is brought for him. Some of the milkmen come in with a pair of cans strapped over the back of a donkey.

As in South America, you can buy turkeys and geese “on the hoof.” They are driven in from the country in flocks, so that customers may make selections as they pass through the streets. Everything else is peddled, not only food in the form of fruits, meats, cakes, bread, vegetables, fish, butter and cheese, but all sorts of dry goods and notions, shoes, stockings and even hats, tinware, hardware, stationery; sometimes on a tray suspended from the neck of a man, sometimes on a cart, but oftener upon the back of a donkey. You can frequently see in the streets show-cases with glass fronts containing all kinds of dry goods suspended from pack-saddles of donkeys and transported from house to house, while the owner or attendant bellows an inventory of his merchandise and describes its merits in a brazen voice. There are, however, several fine shops in Athens. Those in the new quarter of the city will compare with the best in our towns of the same size.

Other relics of ancient times are public cook-shops, found in the oldest quarter of the city, similar to those of Naples, where a variety of viands are prepared at the regular meal-hours and sold already cooked at the most extraordinarily low prices. Housewives go there for their supplies instead of to the market. It saves fuel and labor and nothing is wasted. This custom is[367] said to have come down from the classic period before the Christian era, and then, as now, professional cooks used to go about the town with stoves on wheels, filled with bright fires of charcoal, over which persons who had no stoves or ranges in their houses could cook their meats or vegetables for a small fee. It is common to see a peripatetic cook standing in front of a prosperous-looking residence, while the soft and genial atmosphere is filled with the odor of frying fish or roasted rabbit.

Foreigners are always shocked at the sight of a Greek funeral. It is a spectacle which most people desire to avoid, because the body of the dead is exposed in an open hearse. The coffin is shallow, so that not only the face and head but the hands and much of the body can be distinctly seen from the sidewalk as the procession passes through the streets. The lid of the coffin, richly upholstered and often decorated with garlands and wreaths, is carried on the hearse by the undertaker. The priest, the relatives and other mourners follow, and as the ghastly spectacle passes it is customary for bystanders to remove their hats and cross themselves. Men sitting around the cafés always rise out of respect for the dead and stand bareheaded until the procession has passed. In case of an officer of the army, a horse with an empty saddle, heavily draped with crape, is led by an orderly in advance of the hearse.

When the body is lowered to the grave the coffin-lid is placed upon it, but does not close down, and the earth is allowed to come in direct contact, to hasten decay. The superstition in the popular mind is that the soul of the departed is in a state of suspense until the temple it formerly inhabited has turned to dust.[368] Graves are rented in the Athens cemeteries for terms of years, just like the habitations of the living. None but the rich own burial lots. It is an evidence of wealth and aristocracy. The poor never think of buying a lot or a tomb. It would be considered an unnecessary luxury. At the end of the term for which a grave is rented the bones are dug up, put into a bag, labeled with the name and dates, and deposited in a general receptacle.

The custom of carrying the body to the grave in the full sight of the people is said to have originated during the Turkish occupation of Greece. The country was in a state of chronic revolution. The importation of arms and ammunition was forbidden, and the revolutionists were in the habit of importing them in coffins. Frequently people who were “wanted” by the police were assisted to escape in a similar manner, and revolutionary leaders who had been banished were brought back in coffins. Therefore, as a precaution, the Turks required that dead bodies should be exposed.



The Acropolis of Athens is the most famous hill in the universe. The columns of the Parthenon are familiar to all the world. They are the remains of the most majestic monument ever erected by human hands, and did it ever occur to you that it was intended for the honor and the worship of a woman? The lord mayor of an Irish city, in accepting the honor of an election, declared that if it had not been for his mother he would not have stood before his constituents that day. We might all pay a similar tribute to Eve, yet no monument has ever been erected to her memory, and the place of her burial has been forgotten, if anybody ever knew where it was. Three graves of Adam are pointed out to tourists in the East, but not even one of Eve.

We estimate the Greeks of the age of Pericles as having reached the highest degree of development in intellect, philosophy and wisdom. We teach our children their precepts. Our students of medicine, art, science and theology must study them in preparation for their life-work. It is a popular belief that the summit of human culture was reached at the period of the building of the Parthenon. Yet the ancient Greeks believed that the source of their learning, wisdom and strength was a woman, and to her they raised that matchless tribute, the admiration of all ages, the most perfect example of architecture ever conceived, and in it they not only worshiped a woman, Athena, but[370] made sacrifices to one whom they had deified. Its ruined columns stand to-day as a testimonial to womanhood. An old friend used to say that the best rule he ever found in life was, “When in doubt, do as your wife tells you,” and for his authority he might have referred to the ancient Greeks.

The Acropolis is a mighty rock which rises five hundred feet in what was the center of ancient Athens, when that city had 200,000 population. On all sides but one the walls are perpendicular. Toward the west there is a slope by which the summit is reached by a winding roadway. In ancient times there was a series of stairways, and the Propylaea, or gateway, was as remarkable as the temples at the top. There was also a road for chariots, and we can see the ruts made by the wheels in the pavements. The Acropolis is visible from a long distance. It looms up in majesty as the city is approached from all directions, and the columns of the Parthenon are dwarfed by its height. The first effect, therefore, upon strangers is disappointing. The ruins are not as grand as they expected, and they feel a little sorry that they came, but familiarity breeds respect in this instance. The columns grow larger and grander and more beautiful every time you look at them, and those who have had the privilege of visiting the Acropolis by moonlight will retain an impression that cannot be effaced from their memory by anything else that may remain for their enjoyment. Age and the salt air from the sea have given the marble a rusty color, which detracts from its purity, but gives it a tone of richness and ripeness entirely appropriate to a ruin. You would not like to see a ruin of pure white marble. It would look incongruous, although you can imagine how beautiful the Parthenon and the surrounding[371] buildings must have been when they were fresh and new.

The temple to Athena (Minerva) and the surrounding buildings were destroyed when the Venetians bombarded Athens to drive out the Turks. The latter, who held the city, intrenched themselves on the Acropolis and concealed their store of powder in the Parthenon. The Acropolis, therefore, became the target for the Venetian artillerymen, and on Friday, September 26, 1687, a German lieutenant fired a bomb which fell into the magazine and was followed by an explosion which destroyed forever the most glorious architectural triumph of men. Three hundred Turkish soldiers lost their lives in the explosion and their commander, having no ammunition, was compelled to surrender three days later. No attempt was ever made to restore the building. On the contrary, the Acropolis has been plundered century after century for building-material, and for works of art. Some of the finest of the marbles were burned to make lime for the masonry in building modern Athens, and Lord Elgin, the British minister to Greece, in the earlier part of the last century, removed the most beautiful and valuable of the sculptures, which are now exhibited in the British Museum, under the name of “The Elgin Marbles.” Within late years much care has been taken in protecting and preserving the treasures that remain, and the Grecian government is exceedingly anxious to recover the works of art which have been taken from the Acropolis to foreign lands. On several occasions during the last half-century overtures have been made to the British government to restore the Elgin marbles, but they have met with no favorable response. Mr. Gladstone gave the Ionian Islands[372] back to Greece when he was prime minister and received the gratitude of a nation. The Athenians would be equally grateful if King Edward would return to them the sculptures which once decorated the temple of Minerva, and were taken away with the authority of the Turkish government, and not with the consent of Greece.

It is difficult to avoid moralizing about the Acropolis. I do not know of any other place on earth, unless it be Bethlehem, Jerusalem, or St. Peter’s at Rome, or Westminster Abbey in London, which furnishes such food for thought. The columns of the Parthenon are older than anything in Rome except the obelisk in the center of the Piazza del Popolo, and older than anything in London except a similar obelisk that stands on the Thames embankment. Both of those were transplanted from the soil in which the Pharaohs originally erected them, to show how Christian nations sometimes despoil the heathen. It is an old trick. Rome is filled with objects of art of which her emperors robbed the Athenians. The Parthenon has had a varied experience. It was first a temple to the Goddess of Wisdom; for several hundred years it was a church for the worship of a Jewish peasant; and at the time of its destruction it had been for centuries a mosque dedicated to a camel-driver.

The most important incident that has occurred upon the Acropolis in recent times, and it has a personal interest for us, was the discovery in 1900 by Mr. Eugene P. Andrews of Oswego, New York, then a student at the American School of Classical Studies and now an instructor at Cornell University, of an inscription to Nero upon the architrave of the Parthenon, which had been unknown for a dozen centuries.[373] It was a great achievement, one of the most notable events in modern archeology. He thought that certain small holes in the marble must have served some useful purpose, and so he let himself down from the top by a rope ladder similar to those that sailors use, and discovered that they had once been occupied by nails which supported brass letters. By taking a series of impressions with damp wrapping-paper, he secured a diagram, from which he was able to trace the Greek letters, and the inscription, which had never been suspected, was announced to the scholars of the world by Professor Richardson, the director of the American school.

The American Archeological Institute has a school in Athens similar to that in Rome, which was founded several years later. The object is to furnish American scholars an opportunity to study art, archeology, ancient history, literature and the classic languages upon the ground and in the atmosphere in which they were developed.

He who would the poet understand
Most read him in the poet’s land.

I may not have the quotation exact, but that is the idea. In addition to the branches of study I have named, the students hear lectures on Greek law, religion, philosophy and upon all subjects dealing with the institutions, the social life and the industrial activity of the ancients. They are conducted about the country to various points of historic and archeological interest, such as Thebes, Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, Sparta and Thessaly, and are allowed to tread in the footsteps of the old philosophers. They hear lectures in the museums, which are illustrated by object-lessons. The museums of Athens are particularly[374] rich in relics of the archaic period of Greece—before the Persian war, 480 B.C.—and the director gives that branch his special attention. Other members of the faculty lecture on history, poetry, politics and kindred subjects. The students also have the advantage of similar institutions founded by the English, French, German and Austrian governments. All the national schools of archeology are affiliated, and each has its special line of investigation, selected after a consultation, in order that they may not interfere with or duplicate the work of each other. The American school is the strongest of all, the French next, then the German, and last the English. The German school, however, is particularly fortunate in having for its director Dr. Doerpfeld, who succeeded Dr. Schliemann in the archeological work at Troy. The students of one school are admitted to the lectures of the others and also have the use of their libraries. Most of them are fitting themselves for instructors in Greek and archeology, and nearly all of the graduates since the school was founded in 1882 now occupy chairs in the faculties of American colleges and universities.

The present director is Professor Richardson, who was graduated from Yale in the class of ’69, and was for a long time professor of Greek language and literature at Dartmouth College. He has been at Athens since 1893. Each year an assistant is selected from one of the contributing colleges. Professor Thomas Day Seymour, of Yale, was chairman of the Managing Committee of the school for fourteen years, but recently has been succeeded by Professor Wheeler, of Columbia. Part of its income is precarious, consisting of contributions from various colleges and private individuals, and if they should withdraw it would[375] leave the institution without funds. There ought to be a larger endowment, so as to secure permanency. At present the endowment amounts to about $65,000. The society owns a fine building, well adapted to its purposes, and a considerable area of ground which may be found available in the future. Among the most generous donors for excavations is Colonel Hay, secretary of state, who has recently placed a considerable sum of money in the hands of the trustees, to be used as a foundation for the library in memory of his son, the late Adelbert Stone Hay. There is no limit to the number of students. Anyone is received who has had a thorough classical training at an American college. It is important that applicants should gain as great command as possible of the German, French and modern Greek languages before entering the school in order that they may enjoy the full benefit of their opportunities. The tuition fee is nominal, and the cost of living at Athens is anything that one may choose to make it. At the large hotels board and lodging can be obtained for $14 a week and upward, and at the smaller hotels and in private families, from $5 and upward. Six fellowships with stipends of $600 each, and one with a stipend of $1,000, will be awarded annually, upon competitive examination, to bachelors of art of the universities and colleges of the United States, and may be extended for two years, upon the recommendation of the faculty, to students in the Schools of Classical Studies at Athens and in Rome, and in the School of Oriental Study in Palestine—all under the general care of the Archeological Institute of America.

The fellows are required to pursue original investigations and twice a year to report the results.


Everyone can appreciate the advantages offered by the American school to those who are seeking a career as scholars or instructors. It gives a vitality to their learning which they cannot get in books, and the same books read in Greece are much more luminous than in the class-rooms at home. The original work done by the students is also of great importance to them, and it is gratifying to know that this institution has taken the lead and is recognized as the most important among the several national colleges at Athens. The Greek government is liberal in its encouragement and the king feels a deep interest in all its concerns.

Original work has been going on since 1886, and the results of the excavations may be seen in the National Museum, at the Argive Heraeum, at Athens, and in a volume recently published by Professor Waldstein, now lecturer at King’s College, Cambridge, who was the director for some years. Some of the most interesting of the explorations have been at Icaria, the first seat of the worship of Bacchus, and the home of Thespis, the inventor of the theater. He was the first man to present a play to the public. There had been recitations and declamations upon the platform before his time, but he introduced dialogues and plots, and invented the mask so that one man-actor could take two parts. Women never appeared on the stage in those days. The feminine parts were always taken by men. The director of the American school discovered the original home of Thespis and it was excavated under his direction. The Americans were not allowed, however, to take anything away. Under the laws of Greece the finder is protected in publishing reports of his discoveries, and may receive the honor and the[377] credit, but the tangible results are the property of the government or of the owner of the land, who, however, to retain them, must erect a museum upon the ground for their public exhibition.

The American School has done a good deal of work at Plataea, the scene of a great battle between the Greeks and the Persians in 479 B.C., but found little of value. The excavations were more successful at Eretria, at one time an important city, which was destroyed by the Persians before the battle of Marathon. Here they uncovered a theater, a temple to Bacchus, a fine lot of baths, and the most perfect gymnasium that has ever been found.

Near Argos the American School, under Dr. Waldstein, discovered and excavated the ruins of a magnificent temple of Hera, which was destroyed in the year 423 B.C., when one of the priestesses went to sleep without blowing out her candle; the decorations caught fire and the temple was burned. This was a rich find, for, in addition to the temple, they uncovered several other buildings of interest, and brought to the National Museum at Athens a number of valuable statues and a large quantity of bronze and terra-cotta work.

The excavations of the American students at Corinth I have referred to in a previous chapter. They began work there in 1896, and will continue in a systematic manner until the old city is entirely uncovered and opened to the public, as Pompeii is to-day. Old Corinth was a very populous city, larger than Athens, and, at the height of its glory in 325 B.C., had a population of nearly 200,000, with many magnificent structures, which suffered from earthquakes, and were plundered and destroyed by the Romans and other[378] invaders. Julius Caesar rebuilt a portion of the old city, but it was again destroyed by his successors, and finally disappeared and was covered from the sight of men by the drifting sands. The American School has purchased part of the site, and, with the encouragement of the Greek government, is working as rapidly as its funds will permit; but is entirely dependent, as I have said, upon the generosity of private supporters. The German Institute receives $5,000 a year from its government for excavations; the French have an even larger allowance, and the English are spending large sums. The American explorers alone lack funds, yet from them the most important results are expected.

Mars Hill, from which Paul delivered the eloquent address of which we have an account in Chapter xvii of the Acts of the Apostles, beginning, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are very religious”—not “too superstitious,” as the old version has it—stands across a little gully from the Acropolis at Athens. It was then occupied by the Athenian courts, called the Areopagus, and the learned men, lawyers, philosophers, teachers and orators of the city met there every day to exchange ideas and talk politics. The ancient court of the Areopagus, composed of the most venerable and eminent Athenians, and exercising supreme jurisdiction in certain cases involving life, sat there regularly to hear arguments and announce their decisions. The hill is said to have derived its name from the fact that Ares, or Mars, was the first person tried there for murder. It was there also that Orestes was arraigned and acquitted of criminal responsibility for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra. Many other famous trials took place upon the hill. Lawyers were never allowed to appear before an[379] Athenian court, still less the Areopagus. Every man had to plead his own case.


St. Paul appeared upon the Areopagus five hundred and twenty years after the birth of Socrates and three hundred and seventy years after the death of Demosthenes, but Greece was still filled with learned men. Upon its stage the masterpieces of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were first presented to the public.

Phaleron, the summer-resort of the Athenians upon the bay, where there are several hotels and bathing establishments and a little villa for the pleasure of the royal family, is the place where Demosthenes used to go to practice speaking. It was there, according to the legend, that he picked up pebbles and put them under his tongue to prevent him from stammering.

Near by are two tombs hewn in the living rock, accessible at low tide but often submerged by the sea. One of them is popularly believed to be the tomb of Themistocles, one of the greatest men of ancient Greece, who persuaded his fellow citizens to devote the proceeds of the silver mine of Laurion to the construction of a naval fleet, which made Athens for a time preëminent upon the sea. But this fleet did not last very long, and Athens absolutely had her ships taken from her at the close of the fifth century B.C.

Across the bay is the island of Salamis, the scene of one of the most famous sea battles in all history, when Xerxes, King of Persia, witnessed the destruction of his fleet of one thousand vessels from a rocky promontory which projects into the bay. The point is called “the throne of Xerxes.” The poet Aeschylus was on one of the ships and distinguished himself in[380] the battle. Eight years later, in March, 472, his tragedy, based upon it, was performed in the theater of Dionysus at Athens.

Socrates was born in Athens in the year 469 B.C. He was originally a sculptor, but abandoned art and became an astrologer. He afterwards taught in the market-place, surrounded by his students and disciples, and it was to them that he delivered the opinions which brought him into collision with the authorities, and particularly the priests. The trial of Socrates was similar to that of Christ. Both were accused of sedition, of denying the gods, of introducing a new religion, of corrupting the minds of the youth and disturbing the tranquillity of the people. Socrates was arraigned for this crime before the courts, as Christ was before the Sanhedrin. Both admitted the truth of the charge, while they denied the criminality. The answer of Socrates to his accusers was almost the same as that of Jesus before Pilate, four hundred years later. He was convicted, however, and condemned to die. Owing to a superstition about putting men to death during a festival, the execution of his sentence was postponed, and in the meantime he drank his cup of hemlock juice. Near the Areopagus are two chambers about sixteen feet square, hewn in the side of a rocky cliff. They are divided by a partition with a narrow door and are protected by gratings of iron bars, like the cage of a wild beast. The guide-book calls them “the prison of Socrates,” and it is generally understood among the people that he was imprisoned and died there, but there is no evidence to sustain such a supposition.


Demosthenes had a country home on the other side of Mount Hymettus, which is as famous for its honey[381] to-day as it was two thousand years ago. The wild flowers that grow in the soil of that mountain contain an unusual amount of saccharine and give a flavor to the honey which is not found in that made elsewhere. The ancient Greeks considered it a great luxury, and it still sustains its reputation and is sold to-day in all the markets of Europe for high prices. Tourists buy it at the hotels and curiosity-shops of Athens.

Demosthenes was the son of a rich furniture-dealer, and was a statesman, lawyer, orator and patriot. He lived nearly a century after Socrates, and in the year 322 B.C., when the Macedonians secured control of the government, fled from Athens across the sea into the Peloponnesus. There he was followed by an officer of the police with a warrant for his arrest. Demosthenes was prepared for him and received him in the temple of Poseidon in Calauria. Rather than suffer the humiliation of trial and imprisonment, he decided to take his own life. Suspecting such an intention, the authorities ordered the police officials to take precautions to prevent suicide, and they watched him very closely. After the arrest was made Demosthenes asked the officers to allow him to write a note to his family, and sat down at his desk to do so. It was noticed that he frequently moistened the tip of his pen with his lips, and when the note was finished he fell lifeless from his seat. The ink had been poisoned.

The field of Marathon, where the great battle with the Persians was fought in 490 B.C., about twenty-five miles from Athens, is marked by a great mound, under which the bones of the slain were buried.

Tanagra, where, in 455 B.C., the Athenians first measured strength and valor with the Spartans, is a little further north and has been one of the most[382] prolific sources of satisfaction to archeologists. From the graves around it have come those charming figurines in painted terra-cotta that are so highly prized by collectors. The quantity of figures discovered there during the excavations has been so great that fine examples are now to be found in nearly every museum, and tourists can purchase for a small sum imitations largely made up of the fragments, which are quite as pretty as the genuine.

West from Tanagra is Thebes, a famous old town founded by Cadmus, the home of Pindar, the poet, and Epaminondas, the soldier and statesman. It was the rival of Athens until Alexander the Great sacked it in 336 B.C., when six thousand of the citizens were slain and thirty thousand carried away as slaves. It is now a sleepy little town of about twenty-five hundred inhabitants who grow fruit and do other kinds of farming. The ruins of the ancient town are covered with rubbish and the topography has been considerably changed by earthquakes. There is no hotel, and very little to interest the traveler.

From Thebes one can go west to Delphi, the seat of the famous oracle and the headquarters of the cult of Apollo, but it is a difficult and uncomfortable journey, requiring several days on horseback. The easier route is from Corinth by boat, twice a week, to a little town called Itea. From there to Delphi is only a ride of two and a half hours. The grandeur of the scenery and the magnificent view of Parnassus are full compensation for the time and fatigue, and even in these modern times the gorges in the mountains are filled with a mysterious atmosphere which must have affected the imagination of the ancients. The oracle was consulted, you remember, upon all affairs of importance,[383] both by the people and the state, and its influence was not diminished by the ambiguity of its utterances. The voice of the oracle came from a chasm in the rocks which can not be identified these days, probably because of earthquakes. Above the chasm the prophetic virgin sat upon a golden tripod and uttered responses which none but the priests could understand. Altogether the oracle was a good scheme and its influence was wholesome among the people. Solon, the great law-giver; Plato, the philosopher; Aeschylus, Pindar, and Sophocles all spoke of it with great respect.

Modern Delphi is called Castri, and stands on part of the ancient site, at an altitude of twenty-one hundred and thirty feet above the gulf of Corinth and among the cliffs of Parnassus. There has been an enormous amount of excavating done there by the French School of Archeology which has been rewarded by many interesting and important discoveries.

The classic mountain Parnassus, which rises eight thousand and seventy feet, may be comfortably climbed from Delphi, the ascent being made most of the way on horseback. Every foot of the journey is crowded with historic and mythical associations.

The pass of Thermopylae, known to every schoolboy as the place where Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans held the whole Persian army at bay, is thirty miles in a straight line directly north from Delphi, on the other side of Parnassus, but nearly three times that distance by the circuitous route which must be traveled. There are no roads and it takes several days to make the journey on horseback. The pass is a narrow ravine or defile between two wooded hills and its strategic advantages are perfectly apparent,[384] although the guide-books say that a rocky eminence which formerly overhung the defile has been thrown down by earthquakes and the gorge has been considerably filled up by alluvial deposits brought down by mountain torrents, so that the present appearance of the pass gives very little idea of what it must have been. It resembles hundreds of similar gorges in Colorado and other parts of the Rocky Mountains. Here Leonidas detained the Persian army under Xerxes until the Greeks were able to make a safe retreat. The exact spot was afterwards marked by a monument with this inscription:


Due north from Thermopylae is the famous Mount Olympus, 9,754 feet high, the home of the gods, which, unfortunately, is now on Turkish soil, much to the sorrow and mortification of the Greeks. If they had their territorial rights they would still include that noble peak within their jurisdiction.

Mount Ossa, 6,398 feet high, lies immediately south of Olympus; Mount Pelion is farther to the south, rising 5,308 feet above the sea.

Going westward from Athens, crossing the peninsula by railroad to Corinth, and then turning southward for fifteen or sixteen miles, we come to Mycenae, which was the scene of so much activity in mythological times, but its importance dwindled long before the dawn of history. It was founded by Perseus, who raised the massive walls of the city with the aid of the Cyclops. Agamemnon, the great soldier, had his seat there, and was not only the ruler of that district but[385] the chieftain of all the Greeks, of the islands as well as the mainland. He led them against Troy and after his return was murdered by Aegisthos, the lover of his wife, Clytemnestra. Although Orestes, his only son, avenged his father’s death and his mother’s shame, when he grew up, the legends do not tell us that he regained the throne.

The tomb of the great Grecian chieftain is well preserved and is one of the most striking examples of ancient masonry. It is a sort of underground temple in the shape of a bee-hive, fifty feet high, and near it is another vaulted sepulcher, supposed to have been the tomb of Clytemnestra. Extensive excavations have been made at Mycenae by Grecian archeologists under the direction of Dr. Schliemann, who disclosed to the world the ruins of Troy. It is one of the most interesting places in Greece.

Near the western boundary of Peloponnesus is Olympia, the scene of the celebrated games, which may be reached by railway from Patras, the western port of the Gulf of Corinth, more easily than from Athens. It was never properly a town, but was a group of temples, shrines, palaces, amphitheaters and public buildings where the entire Hellenic world used to assemble periodically, for more than a thousand years, and engage in semi-sacred games founded by Hercules in the mythical ages. The Olympic games reached their greatest importance immediately after the Persian wars, when they were partially divested of their religious character and became a national festival in honor of Hellenic unity. Competitors came from all the states, the islands and the colonies of greater Greece; the functions lasted for five days, and a list of the victors was kept in the archives of[386] the state. The record begins B.C. 776 and is continued for several centuries after the Roman occupation. The winners enjoyed life-long distinction, were entertained annually at banquets and festivals at the public expense, and were exempt from taxation.

During the Roman period Tiberius and Nero themselves engaged in the games, but about the third century after Christ athletic sports were degraded by the entrance of professionals, and became a trade. The Olympic games were finally suppressed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in the year 394.

Extensive excavations have been made at Olympia by the Germans, who have spent several hundred thousand dollars uncovering the ruins of temples, palaces and amphitheaters which were buried from fifteen to twenty feet deep under deposits of sand and gravel, washed down by cloud-bursts and floods from the mountains, which also undermined the walls of the Hippodrome, the Stadium and other of the ancient structures. The interest in the excavations at one time was as great as that excited at Pompeii, but very little of artistic interest was found.

Still south of Olympia, near the extreme end of the peninsula, is the old town of Sparta, which is still the capital of the province of Laconia, and a place of considerable importance. The remains of ancient Sparta, however, are scanty and insignificant and, although the modern town is beautifully located, it is said to be very unhealthy. There is a museum there containing a large collection of antiquities, and several of great importance. The guides show you an open plain, surrounded with ditches, where the youthful Spartans used to wage their mimic warfare. They show you also a rectangular enclosure of massive stones which[387] they claim to be the ruins of the tomb of Leonidas, and several other fictitious scenes of interest.

For the classical scholar, the historian, the archeologist, and lovers of the picturesque, there is no country more abundant in interest than Greece, and although the accommodations are primitive and the means of transportation are limited, even the shortest visit to the country will be full of gratification. Greece is now only four days from London and three days from Paris, and in these times, when many people have exhausted the novelties of northern Europe, they will find the classic grounds of the Hellenic peninsula a most satisfactory place of resort. Excepting Japan, southern Italy and the Tyrol, no country compares with Greece in the beauty of its landscapes. The remarkable purity of the atmosphere at Athens enhances the effect of artificial as well as natural objects of interest. As in Arizona, distances are very deceptive. Far-off mountains are brought close to the eye as with a field-glass, and as you approach them they recede in a most provoking way. Hymettus and Pentelikos, the two famous mountains which lie on either side of Athens, are often enveloped in a curious pink glow at sunset, and then, as the flame fades out of the sky, they take on a deep violet tinge. The Greek sunset is something that cannot be represented on canvas. Artists and poets rave about it, but it is beyond their power to reproduce.

It is not a land for luxurious people, however. The climate is more to be recommended than the hotels, but the natural scenery has a variety, a richness and a color that no other part of Europe affords. The foliage and the flowers are abundant and beautiful, and in the rural districts the people are picturesque in[388] manners, customs and dress. Their habits and social life have not been affected by what we call the advances of modern civilization. In public conveniences, however, Greece is still far behind the times. Athens is the only place where the hotels are tolerable, and travelers who go into the interior must take their own provisions and bedding. Even those who make little excursions by carriage for a single day in the neighborhood of Athens must carry a lunch-basket, because the inns are primitive and filthy. Railway facilities are limited. With a few exceptions the roads are bad, but they are gradually improving, and several of the centers of great interest to tourists may now be reached by carriage. Only a few years ago travelers had to go on horseback or on foot, as they do in the Holy Land. Even now those who visit some of the most interesting places have to put up with discomforts, inconveniences and a good deal of dirt and bad smells, although they are fully repaid.




Transcriber’s Notes:

Illustrations have been moved to paragraph breaks near where they are mentioned, except for the frontispiece.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have been corrected.