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If England for the moment specifically confines her action to the prevention of further outrages, and the concession of such reforms or autonomy to Armenia as will secure its people there, and through the Turkish dominion, life and liberty, that temporarily will suffice.
And it is only because British aggrandisement is feared that some Powers do not join England. That fear dispelled by pledges, they will allow England to be the Garrison Police of Europe to keep the Turks in order.
If doing this, however, should open up, as it may, the deposition of the Sultan, the repartition of Turkey, and the allocation of its dominions to other states in Europe, that must be faced.
But I believe the cost of Europe's armed peace, in the main due to the untenable position of Turkey, will very soon lead all the Powers to settle without war, perhaps by arbitration, as soon they must, the distribution of the Turkish Empire to better hands than those who now palter with its possibilities, plunder its people, and prey upon its resources. Pending that decision, which is inevitable, England would be supported in her attempt to secure an armistice from assassination for the Armenians.
It does not need enthusiasm for the social and political aims of the Armenians as a people to justify their prompt rescue from their present condition on the part of England.
I cannot enthuse over the Armenian. He is not an ideal subject. for help or sympathy, but he is, with all his faults, human, and should not be hunted like a beast. That the Armenians are the least favoured of the polyglot peoples that submit to, but do not accept, Turkish rule is true.
I have no love for the Armenian, his Christianity is in many instances a cloak for crafty commercialism, his huckstering and usurious pursuits are incapable of defence. That he is the Jew of the East we know, and, like the Jew of the other hemisphere, he may : look upon the Mussulman as his commercial Mecca and to prey upon him his religion. A dash of the vigour the Cretans recently displayed would have been to his credit. The undue cultivation of the worst form of commercial spirit has evolved in the Armenian faculties that do not endear him to the Turk. We have the same thing under another name nearer home. The Jewification of the Armenian is in no small degree the cause of the recent troubles ; but that is no excuse for persecution as a preliminary to extinction. All this given and admitted, the senseless slaughter of otherwise innocent, if undesirable, people must be stopped.
On the other hand, I do not share even now the wholesale denunciation of the Turks as a people. Not even the number of Armenians killed by them decides my opinion for intervention. I venture to believe that the ordinary Turks, if left to themselves, are incapable of the organised brutality that, under the inspiration from their rulers, the dregs of its population have assisted in.
The broad fact that tells with me is that, without sufficient cause or provocation, an Eastern oligarchy is plundering and murdering a section of its people under the corrupt domination of its pashas. Worse than this, they were secretly, then openly, now defiantly stirring up the fanaticism of its otherwise decent people, and for their own ends importing the most savage of their auxiliaries to carry out what the real Turkish people at Constantinople do not approve.
The fact is, and the past and present history of the Ottoman Empire proves, that there are two Turks to be reckoned with : the governing element, which is nearly always criminal and corrupt, and the governed, who, considering their race, religion, and Oriental customs, are not the immoral replicas of their infamous rulers. In a word, the autocracy of degeneracy which stands for government in Turkey has to be destroyed, and in its destruction the overtaxed, blackmailed, Turkish people would rejoice, and good administration for Armenia would begin.
Turkey has for generations been in the hands of a brutal bureaucracy. This official despotism that combines Oriental craft with Western hypocrisy, and both with Eastern vice, must go. Its puppet and embodiment, the Sultan, must be deposed. In the permanent interests of Turkey itself the Sultan and all his entourage must be :sacrificed, or, for lack of this, the Turks will provoke universal hostility and, as a nation, must disappear.
As a Turkish proverb pertinently says, “Their fish now stinks at the head.' That ghoulish head must be severed to save the whole Eastern peoples from moral putrefaction, administrative decay, and social dissolution.
How best and quickest can relief to the Armenians be given and the better Turkey saved from its wicked parts ? For any one, not of the Government, it is difficult to say, and through the curse of our secret diplomacy it is difficult to suggest what to do. That is the business of our governors and parliamentary pashas, the Cabinet. The details of it is their work, its necessity is their mandate, and their political responsibility as an administration makes it their duty.
When they will apply the vital spark of kindling action I cannot say. Europe is indignant, England is agreed, and it commands the only voice that can order the Porte to desist. Such an order. given by our fleet in forcing the Dardanelles would suffice. This decisive act, once before taken for less justification than has recently occurred, would have created a situation the outcome of which would not be war, but the agreed dismemberment of Turkey.
Risks must always be run. England was made and lives by them at home and abroad.
A bold venture would have exposed the bluff of the reptile Press
of Europe, and disclosed not a unity of Powers against England, but a rupture amongst them over the division of an empire that England alone can and must tumble to its doom.
But what has come over our statesmen that they should hesitate even at strenuous mediation, when a real casus belli, as the condition of Armenia is, exists? Is their hesitancy and apprehension due to a knowledge of factors in the Eastern Question that the public do not possess ? If so, it is time the English people were informed, so that if the dread arbitrament of war alone will suffice, they should know it, and on that knowledge decide, or if a bargain with Russia is needed, discuss the terms, accepting or rejecting as humanity, not territory, decides. There have been few European troubles that possessed the justification for English initiative and collective action of the Powers which these massacres have furnished. Had some crisis been wanted for reasons of la haute politique, it would have arisen and been created over the matrimonial alliance of some petty prince with another member of a royal house, and war would have been declared ere this. Had some irritable ambassador had a violent dislike to another, means would have been found for the 'suspension of friendly relations.'
Had the Sultan been at Coomassie instead of Constantinople, at Zanzibar or Khartoum, or anywhere else than in his lair at Yildiz Kiosk, the long fingers of our commercial interests would have found some sordid trade reason for pulling him up, as our sailors say, with a round turn. If the sanctified political exigencies of palm oil, cotton, and trade gin have driven us to the splendid and heroic audacity that has marked some of our expeditions, and often illumined the pages of our history, we have yet, I am certain, conscience and courage enough for the rescue of millions of human beings from a cruel and obsolete despotism.
Surely in the heyday of our naval supremacy and military preparedness, our statesmen have the firmness to indicate what our sailors and soldiers would cheerfully do and dare ?
Over the Armenian atrocities there has been greater incentive for interference than evoked the courage of the Crusaders. In some form, in varying degrees, the subject peoples of Turkey have been oppressed by a continuity of crime in their rulers. What in more barbarous times we could have tolerated, we now must take acti steps to suppress.
I decline to accept the view which recent events have seemed to justify, namely, that women and children, the aged, and the deliberately unarmed, must continue to be killed in Turkey because the armed giants of Europe are jealous as to who shall be the first or last to stay the murderer's hand.
Have the 'Big Battalions' taken the other side and now become the bodyguard of his Satanic Majesty the Sultan ? Is it safer for the Great Assassin to ply his murderous mission with an armed host VOL. XL-No. 236
surrounding him, while he, in proportion to their strength, craftily exploits their rival plans, their hidden antagonisms, and their secret policies ? If this be so, England, exempt from territorial aggrandisement in that part of Europe, is driven to plainly telling the other Powers that, in their desire to divide the Turkish dominions in the future, they must help to stay the annihilation of its people in the present.
If war is out of the question singlehanded and collective deposition impossible, these do not exhaust the versatility and resources of the potential Pitts and embryonic Cromwells who aspire to direct our policies and govern our Empire. I at least await their action with some degree of doubt. But if they can prove that their hand is stayed because intervention will mean the intensification of Armenian massacres and universal persecution, we perhaps will have to wait. But how long? Judging by recent references to the impotency of England, Armenia is always to be the theatre of atrocity because some statesmen and journalists regard England as weak and as nervous as themselves.
But at least the convening of a conference of the Powers is possible. Let the world know which nation shields the Sultan, and what for. Let England at that conference or now boldly exploit for humanity the real divisions amongst the Powers, with a full knowledge that some of them dare not attempt war abroad for fear of revolution at home, whilst at the same time subordinating those • British interests' that a false pride and a mistaken policy have maintained too long in Turkey, and caused the present difficulty.
The pity of it all is, that the impression created on Europe and the Porte by the spirited action of our Consul at Constantinople was allowed to pass away. It was the plucky preliminary of further action by his superiors at home; at least it foreshadowed what their policy should have been.
The withdrawal then or even now of our Ambassador, and the substitution of an admiral with an hour's notice for all four-footed beasts to vacate Yildiz Kiosk and a bombardment if reforms were not granted within an hour. Audacious well-doing would have solved the situation.
The Concert of Europe, however, is to be waited upon, and the chief element in it, as I regard England to be, must await, I suppose, another tragedy to invoke its aid. If that should come—and vacillation is its chief stimulus—then even with the Powers against us, but America and our colonies helping England, the Sultan must be thrown from that pivotal position he now occupies, and from which he has dexterously lured, or drawn to his side, or kept neutral, the very forces and powers that, in preserving their diplomatic balance, sent the Armenians to their fate and made a murderer master of the Eastern Question.
BY PROFESSOR H. ANTHONY SALMONÉ
The darkest record in the pages of modern history is unquestionably that of the reign of Abdul Hamid. What is still more lamentable is the fact that an indelible stain blemishes the fair repute of European chivalry and honour. With all the boasted claim of Western nations to civilisation, culture, love of justice and humanity, and the protection of the oppressed, they have of late remained inert witnesses of the most barbaric treatment that & subjugated people ever received from its rulers. All this notwithstanding that the six Great Powers stand pledged by treaties to afford protection to the persecuted subjects of the Sultan. But they have continued passive, lest by active intervention some spoke may thereby be put in the wheel of their political machinery.
It is true that the Powers, following the lead of Great Britain and Russia (I do not mention France, for her latter-day statesmen have made her the puppet of the Tzar), made strong representation last year to the Sultan. This was followed by several others. Every one is now acquainted with the result. His Sultanic Majesty, after months of tedious exchange of polite remonstrances, granted some modified reforms-on paper. This, be it understood, he took the precaution to make publicly known to the world, and especially for the edification of his wretched subjects, as voluntarily 'emanating from the fountain of his limitless mercy and boundless love for his people !! Despite the apparent absurdity of the whole affair, the representatives of the Powers were constrained to make a virtue of necessity and accept this magnanimous concession. Months elapsed and not a sign was made as to putting this into force. On the contrary, the officers and officials at whose instigation and by whose aid the atrocities in Armenia took place were decorated and promoted.
The tone of the press on the Continent has been, throughout the period of the sad occurrences, modified and extremely cautious. But, on the other hand, I venture to ask what real good has accrued from the voluminous writings in this country and the tirades made against the Sultan and his Government. Worse than nothing. Abdul Hamid retaliated by a repetition of his former dark deeds of blood ! Numerous indignation meetings were held, eloquent platform speeches
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