RULERS OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
SULTANS OF THE PAST
Written by Reverend George Filian and originally published in 1896
The Ottoman Empire begins with Othman, born 1258 A.D.; the dynasty is usually counted from the time of his being given a local governorship by the last of the Seljuk Sultans, in 1289. The tribe was simply one small group of families when we first hear of it; Othman’s father Ertogrul entered the Seljuk dominion not many years before that date with only four hundred tents, say two thousand people in all, counting women and children. They had been driven from their homes in Central Asia by the Mongols. The Seljuk Sultan Ala-ed-din III made Othman governor of Karadja-hissar (Melangeia). Now Othman, though a plundering marauder like other tribal chiefs, turbulent and cruel, knew some things that better men never find out. He knew that impartial justice is a greater strength to a state and a greater lure to draw others to it than anything else; he made the fair at Karadja-hissar a model of business equity for all races and religions, it was thronged with traders, and other Turkish tribes soon flocked to the banner of the man who never broke his promises and dealt out even-handed justice. The lying Greeks never learned the lesson in all their history. In a dozen years he was able to collect an army of 5,000 soldiers, beat a Byzantine force sent against him, overrun a large province of Asia Minor, and with the plunder greatly increased his following. He realized too that education and thorough practical training and moral discipline were the foundations of success; most of us know that now, but few understood it then. But the wild and barbarous Turks could not be educated and disciplined as he wished,—would not stand it and were incapable of profiting by it,—and so he or his son Orkhan developed the terrible system which for centuries made the “Turks” irresistible, which made the “Turks” seem to increase rapidly, and makes the “Turks” to-day appear numerous while in fact not one drop in ten of the blood in their veins is Turkish at all. This was to exact from the Christian population—Greek or Armenian chiefly—a regular tribute of boys as well as money. These were taken from their parents at about eight years old, educated and trained in the household of the Ottoman Sultan himself, of course drilled in the Mohammedan religion, and gradually inducted into the highest posts, civil or military, if fit for them, or made into a special body guard for the Sultan. These were called “yeni cheri” (new soldiers), which is familiar to everybody in the form “Janissaries.” From that day to this, the Turkish system has been built up by foreign blood, and outside of the Sultanate pretty much entirely by foreign brains; it was the constant infusion of fresh civilized Christian ability and moral character into it that kept its inherent defects and vices from bringing it to an end long ago. Finally the system partly rotted out and partly became impossible to enforce for fear of revolution (Sultan Mahmoud ended it in 1826); but never outside of this has a tribe of barbarians ever succeeded so completely in impressing into its own service the powers of a higher race. It is as though horses should have regularly broken and driven teams of men for centuries; even more usefully to the Turks, because intermarriage (largely by force on their part) has filled their own veins with civilized Armenian and other blood. As soon as this reinforcement stopped, the Turks began to decay.
I cannot enter even in outline into the political history of the Armenians during the next few centuries. The country has been torn into fragments, and each fragment has a history so separate that there would be no unity between them. One section of what was once Armenia would be governed by Persian officials; another occupied by the savage Kurds; another mis-governed and oppressed by the Turks; another under the rule of Russia; and so on. Persia, when she recovered her national being, held and still holds a small part of the eastern section, as I stated earlier in the book, Russia the north; but the heart of old Armenia is in Turkish hands. The Sultans have succeeded in mixing themselves with the natives and occupying their confiscated lands till the Armenians are put in a minority in their own country.
I must correct here a notion fostered by historical writers, that the Turks are very brave. They may have been once, though I doubt it and there is no proof of it; but they certainly have gotten over it now. In the last Turko-Russian war (1878), they ran by thousands to Christian houses for protection. They are just like wild dogs: savage and ferocious, but not brave. Nor are they wise: they have some low cunning, but no practical sagacity—that too is a thing of the past. As to industrial talents they have simply none whatever; they depend on foreigners for everything: they will not learn and indeed cannot learn, and never try to learn. They have never made a cannon or even a gun, they never built a war vessel and very few if any other kinds, they make neither powder nor shot; all come from Europe or America. Nor have they even decent military talent, the very thing they pretend is their special business: their best generals are Germans, their admiral for a long time was the Englishman Hobart, I think the Englishman Woods is so now. As to civil ability, their best administrators have always been Armenians. Bezjian Amira was Sultan Mahmoud’s adviser; Haroun Dadian, another Armenian, is the chief adviser in foreign affairs of the present Sultan. His personal treasurer is an Armenian, Portucalian Pasha. Is this inconsistent with what I have said of his hating the Armenians for their intelligence? Not in the least: he employs them in spite of his hatred, because he can trust no others: the Turks are too stupid and all others too unsafe.
LIST OF OTTOMAN SULTANS AND DATE OF ACCESSION
|1. Othman I, gazi, 1299||18. Ibrahim I, 1640|
|2. Orkhan I, gazi, 1327||19. Mohammed IV, 1648|
|3. Murad I, gazi, 1360||20. Suleyman II, 1687|
|4. Bayazid I, yelderim, 1389||21. Ahmed II, 1691|
|5. Mohammed I, chelebi, 1413||22. Mustafa II, 1695|
|6. Murad II, gazi, 1421||23. Ahmed III, gazi, 1702|
|7. Mohammed II, faith, 1451||24. Mahmud I, gazi, 1730|
|8. Bayazid II, gazi, 1481||25. Othman III, 1754|
|9. Selim I, yavouz, 1512||26. Mustafa III, gazi, 1757|
|10. Suleyman I, kanooni, 1520||27. Abdul Hamid I, gazi, 1773|
|11. Selim II, gazi, 1566||28. Selim III, 1789|
|12. Murad III, gazi, 1574||29. Mustafa IV, 1807|
|13. Mohammed III, gazi, 1595||30. Mahmud II, adil, 1808|
|14. Ahmed I, gazi, 1603||31. Abdul Mejid I, gazi, 1839|
|15. Mustafa I, 1617||32. Abdul Aziz I, 1861|
|16. Othman II, guendj, 1618||33. Murad V, 1876|
|17. Murad IV, gazi, 1622||34. Abdul Hamid II, gazi, 1876|
Some of the above Sultans have special titles, like our “William the Conqueror,” “Charles the Bold,” “Henry Beauclerk,” etc. Thus, gazi and fatih mean conqueror; adil, righteous; guendj, young; yavouz, brave; kanooni, law-giver; yelderim, lightning; chelebi, gentleman. Most of them have the title gazi, or conqueror; the present Sultan bears it because he fought with Russia. He was beaten, to be sure, but he took the title all the same.
Sultan Mohammed II, who captured the city of Constantinople, established an Armenian Patriarchate there in 1461 A.D. The first Patriarch was Hovaguem, the Bishop of Broosa, a friend of the Sultan. Mohammed II had two motives in this: first, to have an Armenian ecclesiastical center in Constantinople for the nucleus of a strong Armenian settlement there, to play off against the Greeks from whom the city was taken and who might be dangerous, whereas the feud between Armenians and Greeks would make each weaken the other; second, to have a hostage for the Armenians, responsible for their not breaking into revolt; not at all for the benefit of the Armenians, but for that of the Sultan. The same reason obtains to this day. If there was no Patriarch, their cause would be much better off. After the establishment of this Patriarchate the Armenians had no more kings or princes; their political head was the Patriarch. Even after the Patriarchate was established they were not safe. They yielded to the Sultans, they became slaves to the Sultans, but the Persian Mohammedans were foes of the Turkish Mohammedans, and Armenia, as of old in Roman times, was the battle-ground. In the time of Sultan Ahmed and Shah Appas, the latter overran Armenia and carried away the people to captivity, besides killing hundreds of thousands. Then it was retaken by the Turks. Then a part of it was captured by the Russians. Historians write of the Huguenots and their sufferings; of the conflicts in Europe between the Catholics and the Protestants. How many centuries were the Protestants persecuted and martyred? How many millions were killed by the Roman Catholics? Do all the Protestant martyrs in Europe number as many as the Armenian martyrs? I doubt it.
And let it not be said that these were not religious martyrs, but merely victims of the fortunes of war or political conflicts. The wars were three times out of four based on real if not nominal grounds of religious antagonism,—Mohammedan or Zoroastrian against Christian,—or claims of religious protectorate, as Russia over the Armenian Christians; the political exigencies which called or formed a pretext for the massacre of myriads of men and old women, the outrage of the young brides and maidens, the enslavement of the children, were without a single exception created by the resistance of Christians to forced conversion, or the fear of Mohammedan rulers that as Christians they meant to revolt, or sheer blind hatred to men of another creed. The victims were truly martyrs to Christianity.
THE PRESENT SULTAN, HAMID II
This is the thirty-fourth Sultan in the Ottoman line, and probably the worst, the least, and the last. It is not likely the Turks will ever have another Sultan, for this one is pretty sure to bring the Sultanate to an end. His days are numbered, he knows it well, and the Turks know it well too. Before his life and his kingdom are finished, he has resolved to end the Armenian nation; that, however, will not be ended, the people will not be exterminated; when the Turkish Empire is abolished the remaining Armenians will have freedom.
Hamid II was born September 22, 1842, second son of Abdul Mejid, and wrested the throne from his brother Mourad August 31, 1876. He is not a legitimate Sultan, but a usurper. When but a little boy he manifested a savage and cruel spirit. While the Dalma Bagsh Palace, the largest in Constantinople, perhaps in the world—was going up, he went to visit it; seeing it unfinished, he called the Armenian architect and told him it must be finished by the next day. “My dear prince and lord,” said the architect, “I wish I could finish it, but it is impossible; and especially not to-morrow, since it is Sunday, and we Christians do not work on Sundays.” “You heathen dog, you Armenian,” said the boy Hamid, “if I grow up, and some day become a Sultan, I will force all the Armenians to break the Sabbath, and if they do not, I will order the soldiers to kill them all.” He is carrying out his threat. He grew to manhood without becoming any milder, and is morally corrupt besides. He has drunken bouts with worthless associates, and spent his time in all sorts of monstrous debauchery and brutality. He was such a miserable wretch that it is impossible to describe his beastly life on paper. There is no humanity in him, no grace, no sympathy, no brains, no strength; he is pale and sick, well worthy to be called the “sick man of Turkey.”
This is a very different description of him from that given by General Lew Wallace and Mr. Terrell. I can only say that I know what I am talking about, and they do not. I lived in Constantinople, as a native of Turkey, and with means of knowing, seeing him often, and hear authentic stories of his doings day by day. General Wallace was invited to the palace, feasted and flattered, and his wife decorated with jewels; naturally, he thinks no ill of a man who treated him so well, and with whom he hopes for more good times when he goes back. He has done infinite harm to the cause of Armenia by his popular lectures, declaring the atrocities “exaggerated” (he evidently thinks that if a newspaper report gives ten thousand men murdered when there were only five, and all the women of a city violated when a dozen of them got away, you are entitled to dismiss the whole thing from your mind as of little account), and the Sultan a good man, incapable of such things. People are bewildered, and ask, “How can we doubt a good American who was minister there?” Why, good people, what has his ministry got to do with it? He was hundreds of miles from Armenia, and did not know any of the chief languages of Constantinople,—either Armenian, Turkish, or Romanic; and what could he tell of his host, except of the quality of his hospitality? A man usually shows his best side to those he entertains; did he suppose the Sultan was going to amuse his guests by having one Armenian disemboweled, and another emasculated or impaled on red-hot iron rods, and a couple of women ravished, as a light and playful interlude between the main dishes and the dessert? His praise of the Sultan is as valuable as his praise of the Grand Llama would be,—he knows nothing of either; and his inference from the Sultan’s pleasant talk that he could not order a nation extirpated with hideous cruelties, is simply imbecile. And since he has given all this loose talk, the consular reports, from English residents among the very scenes, have been published, showing that the atrocities have not only not been exaggerated, but are even worse than reported. In this case, even the newspapers were unable to come up to the truth; their rhetoric fell short of the full measure of the awful truth.
To go back a little: Twenty years ago Abdul Aziz, uncle of the present Sultan, was the ruler of the Ottoman Empire. He cared little for the country or the people; he wanted only to eat and drink, and have good times. He was a very strong and hearty man, and I was told he could eat a whole roast lamb for dinner, and think it probable. He had the innate cruelty of his family, their love of blood for its own sake. He had tigers and lions fight together; he would order a live lamb flung to a lion, and laugh to see the lion tear and devour it. He married all the handsome girls he could find, but for pure animality; he cared nothing for their education or virtue, and his several hundred wives were what you might expect. One of them fell in love with the commander-in-chief, or Minister of War, Heussein Avni Pasha, a very ambitious and daring adventurer, who had gained the confidence of the Sultan, and went often to the palace. The Sultan heard of the intrigue, went to the woman’s room, kicked her fatally, and threw her out of the window. But before her death, she sent word to Heussein to avenge her on the Sultan. Heussein’s position was very critical; evidently it was a race between him and the Sultan which should kill the other first. He went to Midhad, the Grand Vezir, and to Kaysereli Ahmed, the admiral, both liberal-minded pashas, in favor of establishing a constitutional (or even if they could, a republican) government, and without telling them his relations to and fears from the Sultan, persuaded them that now was the time to depose the Sultan, and establish liberal institutions, and told them it must be done that night, or the Sultan would get wind of it, and then good-by to all of them. And he clinched the argument by telling them he would order his soldiers to kill both of them if they refused to join him, and then depose the Sultan just the same; “as commander-in-chief,” he said, “I can compel obedience, and I am in earnest.” They consented, and while the Sultan was asleep that night the commander’s soldiers and the admiral’s sailors surrounded the palace by the land and sea. This was the Dalma Bagsh, the largest and handsomest palace in Constantinople. Heussein entered, saying he had important news for the Sultan. Going to the chamber where Aziz was sleeping, he awakened him, and said, “In the name of your nephew, Sultan Murad, I depose you.” Then he compelled him to go down-stairs to a boat in waiting, filled with soldiers, carried him to Cheragan Palace, and imprisoned him there; after which he informed the Sultan’s nephew, then Prince Murad, that his uncle had been deposed because the people would not endure him, and added, “As the oldest in the royal family you succeed him, and I, as commander-in-chief, have the honor and privilege of humbly serving my master, and leading your majesty to the throne of the Ottoman Empire.”
Murad was too astonished to know what to do or say; but Heussein was resolute, and Murad reluctantly followed him to the Dalma Bagsh; there the commander ordered the soldiers to cry out three times “Padishahum chock yasa” (Long live the Sultan). All this was about midnight; and meantime printed notices were prepared and scattered throughout Constantinople that Sultan Aziz was deposed and Sultan Murad was on the throne. After a few days the commander-in-chief sent a eunuch and a physician to Cheragan Palace, with orders to put Aziz to death. They did so by chloroforming him and cutting his blood-vessels with scissors. Heussein prepared a false report stating that he had committed suicide, and brought it to Sultan Murad. The latter did not believe it, and said, “you killed my uncle.” Heussein left the Sultan’s presence in great anger, and went to Midhad’s palace to confer with him, calling in also Kaysereli Ahmed and other officers. While they were together, another officer, Cherkez Hassan by name, brother-in-law of the dead Sultan, came to the palace, informing the guard that he had a message from the Sultan to the pashas, who were in conference. The guard admitted him, and he went to the parlor. After the usual salutations the commander asked him, “Hassan, why did you come here?” Hassan replied, “I came to kill you, dog,” and fired three shots at him from his revolver, stretching him dead on the floor. Then, before the others could assail him, he killed every one present, except Midhad, who escaped. Hassan was finally captured and hanged, but Murad was established on the throne. He was a good-natured and liberal-minded man; he believed in constitutional government, and organized a working system. There was to be a parliament, one-third Christians and two-thirds Mohammedans, elected by the people of the provinces or vilayets. Each vilayet furnished three members, two Mohammedans and one Christian, all indorsed by the clergymen. During the elections I was pastor of Adana in Armenia Minor, and had to endorse our members. The Adana member was an Armenian named Krikor Bizdigian, the richest man of that city, perhaps in Turkey; if still living, he must be ninety. When the parliament was opened in Constantinople, Sultan Murad presided, and told the members to discuss any questions freely. He said, “We are here for the good of the country, and the empire needs to be reformed; how can we reform it?” This was an entire novelty; “government by discussion” is not the Oriental way, and not the Oriental liking either. The Mohammedan members were astonished, and they were wrathful at the Christian members when the latter began to make free and able speeches. They said, “Are we going to be governed by these heathen dogs, the Christian hogs? We will have no parliament where every dog is free to open his mouth. We want the good old ways of Mohammed.” They were like mad dogs, ready to bite. They hated the Christians, and they hated the Sultan. They went to his younger brother, the present Sultan, and told him his brother Murad was insane. “He makes Christian dogs equal to Mussulmen; he will ruin the country; you must become Sultan to save the Turkish Empire.” This suited Abdul Aziz exactly; he headed a revolt, deposed his good brother, dissolved the parliament, imprisoned Murad in the palace where his uncle was assassinated, and since then has been carrying the country to destruction. He is a perfect devil in all respects. A devil can take the guise of an angel, and the Sultan has the cunning to make himself appear a perfect gentleman, a benevolent and humane person. The devil can cheat most people, and so can the Sultan, all but the native Christians in Turkey, to whom he shows his horns, and hoofs, and tail.
The nauseous praise of the Sultan from travelers and ministers reminds me of a Turkish brigand named Guro, who infested Asia Minor a quarter of a century ago. He robbed year after year all travelers who had anything worth taking; but when he met tramps he gave them money, and even a roasted lamb to eat now and then. The tramps all praised him; he was a benevolent, humane, kind-hearted man; they had never seen anything cruel or dishonest about him. So the Sultan robs the Armenians, and uses their money to feast the American ministers and decorate their wives. Oh, but the Sultan sent money to the sufferers from famine in the Western States of America; so generous of him! I am glad to say the money was refused. All Americans who praise the Sultan are like the tramps and the brigand. They are either ignorant or in effect bribed. And then there is the affectation of impartiality, so easy a cover for ignorance, coldness, and laziness. You must say some good things about a scoundrel, and some ill ones about a saint, or you will be considered a partisan. You must not tell even the truth, if the truth is all on one side. If the Sultan massacres all the Christians in Turkey, why, there are two sides to the question; perhaps the Christians were not agreeable people, and if so, you cannot wonder he has them exterminated by sword, and fire, and torture, and rape; it is really the only way he could get rid of them. And then, he is king, and has a right to do what he pleases with his own; nobody has any business to interfere. Of course a President could not order three millions of people put to death by letting loose all the savage Indians of the West on them to do as they pleased with them, for the sake of making them worship the Big Manitou; but a Sultan—that is different, even though a Kurd is exactly as bad as an Indian, and an Indian’s knife does not cut throats any more effectively, nor an Indian’s tortures inflict more unnamable horrors of suffering, nor an Indian’s torch burn houses any better, nor an Indian’s beastly lust defile women any worse. Are all the writers, then, who have praised him ignorant or silly? Yes; the Sultan’s deeds, proved by countless thousands of witnesses, set forth in the consular reports, show that they are.
As soon as Abdul Hamid had seized the throne, he girded on the sword of Osman, which I will explain later is equivalent to coronation. The keys of the palace where Murad was imprisoned he keeps in his pocket. The nominal ground of his imprisonment is insanity, but he was not insane; it was his liberality of mind, his greatness of heart, and his mild and kind spirit. He was an exceptional Turk. Then Hamid called Midhad Pasha to him, gave him $25,000, and told him to leave the country and never come back. The country was thus left without a single man of any force of character and a large position combined. After the death of Aziz the two greatest Turks were Sultan Murad and Midhad Pasha, and had Murad not been imprisoned, and Midhad banished, the Turkish Empire would be an entirely different country, and have a different future.
Midhad was finally recalled, but only to be murdered. As the Sultan felt his position secure, he began to get rid of all men of superior character and education. Some he banished, some he imprisoned, some he killed. But Midhad, as the greatest, was the most obnoxious. He was of course not dispatched at once. He was invited back, made governor of Smyrna, given the highest emoluments, paid the greatest honors; then one night he was suddenly summoned to Constantinople by the Sultan. He knew it was the death-call, and fled to the French consulate for shelter, but the consul was afraid to protect him. Finally he was taken by force to Constantinople, tried before a tribunal of course packed by the Sultan, and condemned to death. But the kind-hearted Sultan commuted the death sentence to banishment and hard labor for life, and quietly ordered the officers who were going to take him to banishment to kill him instead, which they did.
After he had got rid of all the great Turks, he appointed a host of ignorant and cruel ruffians as governors, sub-governors, and generals; like Hadjii Hassan Pasha, governor of Beshick-Tash near the Sultan’s palace, and whose business is to watch over the Sultan, and who cannot read or write. He prefers ignorance, because it means fanaticism, and he thinks cannot plot against him. He dreads and hates education and the educated, though he makes a show of encouraging them. He taxed the people for public schools and put up magnificent buildings, but there are few if any scholars in them; they were not built for educational purposes, but for a show, and if necessary, for barracks in the future. All the same, he has his agents in Europe and America chant his praises as a lover of learning. Parents will not send their children to them anyway, for there are not competent teachers in them; there are a very few ignorant Mohammedan teachers, but even they are so corrupt morally that no one dares trust his boy or girl with them. The Sultan professed that people of all nationalities and religions would have equal privileges in his public schools, therefore he ordered all to contribute money for them. He raised the farmers’ tax from one-tenth to one-eighth of the crops on pretense of supporting the public schools. Of course he got most of it from the Armenians, but there is not an Armenian teacher or child in them.
Abdul Hamid is a stupendous hypocrite and charlatan; he makes a great pretense of wisdom, religion, and morality, and he has not a spark of either one. His wisdom is only the animal cunning of a jealous, cruel, suspicious brute, his morals simply do not exist, and his religion is pure sham. It is often reported that he is very religious. All that it amounts to is that every Friday (the Mohammedan Sunday) he goes to the mosque to worship (a ceremony called selamlik), with several thousand soldiers lining the roads from the palace to the mosque to prevent his assassination, of which he is in hourly fear; that once a year he goes to the old Seraglio and pays tribute to the mantle of Mohammed and other relics, kissing the slipper, coat, and beard of the prophet; and he worships in the mosque of St. Sophia as a conqueror. All this is merely for show, to please the fanatic Mohammedans. He advertises himself as a temperance man, too, but he drinks to excess privately. In a word, he is thoroughly false from top to bottom, pretending all good, and doing all evil.
His officers of course imitate him; most of them are absolute infidels, believing in nothing, but professing great devotion. I knew a governor of this stamp. He used to worship at the mosque, and even ordered a hair of Mohammed’s whiskers to be brought from Constantinople to please the Mohammedan population. He never drank a drop of liquor in public, but privately drank all he could hold. He had plenty of fellows. For instance, Khalil Rifat Pasha, the present Grand Vezir, appointed a few months ago, has been governor of several different provinces, and notorious in all as a great hypocrite and a thoroughly corrupt man, full of lust and profligacy. When a European or a native Christian of high position called on him, he would treat the visitor with great politeness, promise anything he asked, say, “take my word of honor,” and assure him of his entire sincerity; as soon as he was gone, Khalil would curse him, and call him a heathen dog, say to another Mohammedan, “See how that Christian hog believed what I said!” and keep not a word of his promises.
The Sultan is just the same. He is outwardly very pleasant, very gentlemanly, very humane. He will promise almost anything, but he will do nothing, and he calls his enraptured guests dogs and hogs behind their backs. Who knows how many times he has called Lord Salisbury, the German Emperor, or the Russian Czar, who are helping him to kill the Armenians, heathen dogs? See the promises of the Sultan in 1878, in the Berlin Treaty, Article 61:—”The Sublime Porte undertakes to carry out without further delay the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against Circassians and Kurds. It will periodically make known the steps taken to this effect to the powers, who will superintend their application.” These promises were made eighteen years ago, and the reforms were to be made “without further delay.” His reforms have consisted in ordering Circassians and Kurds to murder and plunder them. Since the Berlin Treaty, the Sultan, calling the European kings, emperors, and princes heathen hogs and Christian dogs, directly and indirectly has killed 200,000 Armenians. That was his reform.
When he seized the throne, Turkey had 40,000,000 people, and the Sultan thought his power was irresistible. He let loose a horde of Circassians to massacre the Bulgarians, just as he has let loose the Kurds to massacre the Armenians. But the Bulgarians are Slavs, and belong to the Greek Church, and the Russian Czar, Alexander, grandfather of the present Czar, interfered in their favor. This excited the fears of the other powers, and a Congress was held in Constantinople to settle the question. Lord Salisbury came from England, Count Ignatieff from Russia, and others from other parts of Europe, gathered in a beautiful palace (now the admiralty) on the shores of the Golden Horn of sweet waters, discussed the question, and decided that the Bulgarian atrocities must stop, Bulgaria be reformed and allowed to govern itself internally, and that Turkey must not fight Russia because it was too weak. This decision was communicated to the Sultan, and he was furious: he would not grant freedom or a government to Bulgaria, and he was quite able to fight Russia. Finally he refused flatly to accept the decision, and called a Turkish Congress to give their “opinion.” Of course they gave what was wanted, and pronounced in favor of a war with Russia. A few were bold enough to disfavor it, and the Sultan punished them. One of these was Hagop Efendi Madteosian, the representative of the Protestant Armenian community. Another was a thoughtful, experienced Turk, and when the Sultan asked him his reason for opposing the war, he related the following parable:
“There was once a miser whom the king gave his choice of three things: to eat five pounds of raw onions without bread at one meal, to receive five hundred lashes on the bare back, or to pay $5,000. The miser could not bear to lose so much money; he could not endure such a flogging; and he chose to eat the onions. After eating a pound or so their bitterness and rankness nauseated him, and he concluded to take the whipping. He stood about a hundred lashes, and saw that he should die under it; and decided to pay the $5,000 after all.” “Now,” said the wise Turk, “this illustrates what I mean. If you go to war with Russia, you will sacrifice many thousands of soldiers, which is a very bitter thing to digest; then you will lose European Turkey, and finally you will have to pay millions of dollars indemnity and ruin the country. I cannot approve the war.” The Sultan cried out in rage, “Begone, you old crank! I will not listen to any more foolish words from you. I shall conquer the Czar, enlarge the country, and strengthen my kingdom.” He did go to war in 1876, was whipped by the Czar, and lost almost the whole of European Turkey and other parts of the empire, with 22,000,000 people: Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, part of Macedonia, part of Armenia, Cyprus, and afterwards Egypt. He lost many thousands of soldiers and millions of dollars, and besides has had to pay millions of dollars indemnity to Russia. And the Sultan is called an “able man” and “wise ruler”! These things look like it.
After the war and the loss of the provinces, he encouraged the Mohammedan population of European Turkey to emigrate to Asiatic Turkey, that they might not live under Christians, and that they might increase the number of Mohammedans in the Asiatic part. The slaughter of the Armenians and the confiscation of their property forms part of the scheme to make room for them. Before his time the Armenians in Armenia outnumbered the Turks; but the massacres, the occupation of the farms and houses by the savages let loose on them, and the emigration of many more Armenians to Persia and Russia, have greatly diminished their numbers. Of course they are not permitted to emigrate, they simply fly. About 200,000 have actually perished. As to the forced conversions, the Sultan does not care a particle for Islamism, but wants to please the Moslem and finds this an agreeable way to do it. As to the converts from Islamism to Christianity, they are ordered to go to Constantinople and are killed there. Hundreds and thousands of the Mohammedan Turks are Christians in secret, but do not dare to confess it. These are the ones who helped and protected the Armenians during the recent atrocities. Some six years ago a number of such professed the Christian religion publicly; they were at once ordered to go to Constantinople and every one of them was murdered by order of the Sultan. When the representatives of the Christian powers asked about them the Sultan denied that they had come there at all. This was the method of their assassination: The Sultan has several pleasure boats, and in one of these boats he fitted up an air-tight room with an air-pump; each night one of the converts was taken from prison and put into this room, the air was pumped out, and he was suffocated; then an iron chain was hooked round him, and he was thrown into the Bosphorus. One by one all of them were so murdered. How did the author of this book discover the secret? Well, when in Constantinople, I had an intimate friend among the engineers; the engineer of this death boat told my friend about it, and he told me.
And the Sultan is not simply a murderer by proxy and official order; he is a murderer himself personally. When in Constantinople, I learned from several authoritative sources that he killed with his own revolver several of his servants, for no cause whatever, but merely from suspicion or rage. He always keeps a revolver in his pocket, and whomever in the palace he suspects, he shoots. He is a great coward. I heard there that he has more than 10,000 detectives, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars a year. He lives in Yildiz Palace, about two miles from the Bosphorus, on a hill on the European shore; he has built new barracks, and keeps a large army around the palace to protect him from assassination. His “wisdom” is merely care for his skin. He cares nothing for the prosperity of the country; it is steadily growing poorer, while he is personally growing very rich. That is one reason why he keeps an Armenian treasurer, that the Turks may not know his secrets. Even the Turks are disgusted with him. I often used to hear the Turks say, “God deliver us from the Sultan and send another master, even if he is the Czar of Russia.” His immense family costs him from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 a year; it is the largest in the world. I was told that it consists of 5,000 persons, counting the eunuchs, the servants, and all. He has about 500 wives; he did not marry them all; he inherited most of them. When a Sultan dies, his successor has everything that belonged to him, including his wives. And besides, he has to marry a new wife every year, by the Mohammedan and governmental law; he has no choice in the matter. That makes twenty wives in the twenty years of Abdul Hamid’s reign. This is the system: He has at present nearly one hundred young girls in the harem, supposed to be the most beautiful in the world; they are presented to him by the governor-generals, who get them from the local governors, who get their offices by sending their superiors the finest looking girls, or the best Arabian horses, and the governor-generals get theirs by passing the gifts on to the Sultan. That is the way to get office in Turkey. You may be a murderer, a thief, or an ignoramus, but you can be sure of an office if you can furnish a handsome girl, or a fine stallion, or a few thousand dollars. When I was pastor in Marsovan, the local governor, Sudduc Bey, bought a very pretty girl, and sent her to the governor-general of Beshick-Tash in Constantinople, Hadji Hassan Pash, the Sultan’s special guard; he had got his office from that functionary. As to how the girls are got, it depends; if they are Mohammedan, they are bought; if they are Christian they are seized by force, for the Christians will not sell their daughters. Several months ago Bahri Pasha, the governor-general of Van, carried off several Armenian girls and presented them to the Sultan, who decorated him for the service, and appointed him Vali or governor-general of Adana, in Armenia Minor. These girls are kept in the harem of the Sultan. When the time comes to marry another wife, he has the girls stand in a row, and chooses one of them by covering her face with a silk handkerchief; then she is taken by the eunuchs to the quarters allotted to the Sultanas, and can have separate servants, carriages, and eunuchs. The life of the Sultan and his big family is the most miserable in the world. The palace is a focus of discontent, quarrels, jealousy, lust, and cruelty; in a word, it is a perfect hell. The women have nothing to do, and nothing to think of; they do not read, they have no work, and no share even in household management; they are idle, and unspeakably bored, and they do what most idle people of both sexes do all over the world—excite their nerves with sensual cravings, and then try to satisfy them. They often manage to bring boys to their quarters by stealth, and keep them there for weeks for purposes of lust, and the Sultan knows nothing about it; often they bribe their eunuchs, and go to other places to satisfy their desires, and the Sultan never hears of it. Aziz lost his life through an intrigue of one of his wives. With so large and exacting a family, it is no wonder the Sultan has no time or energy left for improving his administration. He only finds a little time to send telegrams to the governors to exterminate the Armenians.
THE SULTANATE AND ITS POWERS
There is no coronation in Turkey; instead the Sultans gird on the sword of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty, which is kept in the mosque of Ayoob, in Constantinople. When a Sultan is proclaimed, he goes to that mosque with great pomp, and all the members of the Sublime Porte, the civil officers, the generals, commanders, soldiers, patriarchs of different religions, and the Sheik-ul-Islam, the Mohammedan religious head, follow him. But no Christians enter that holy place, as it is forbidden them. After impressive service, the chief of the dervishes of the order of Mevlair girds the Sultan with the sword; then he is officially recognized as emperor. Then, as God’s will be done, Sultan’s will be done, because the Sultan represents God in heaven, Mohammed in Paradise, Osman on the earth. He has three offices, God’s office, Mohammed’s office, Osman’s office. He is as infallible as the Pope of Rome, and temporally everything belongs to him without exception, men, women, children, money, property, just as everything belongs to God. A Turkish proverb says, “Mal, jan, erz, Padishahin dir” (Property, soul, and virtue belong to the Sultan). He can claim any man’s wife for his enjoyment at any time; his son, or his daughter, or his money, or his property of any sort; there is no use refusing—a man does not own himself, or his wife, or his children; the Sultan owns them all, and it is only by his grace that he permits his subjects to have anything, and he can resume it at any time, for half an hour, or forever. Besides, anybody’s head would come off that refused. If the Sultan asks a millionaire in Constantinople to send him half his wealth, the millionaire must not refuse; he himself is simply a steward; if the Sultan wants it all it must go to him, and the millionaire must beg bread for a living. At the same time he must praise the Sultan, because the Sultan is God on earth. If he refuses to send his wife or daughter to the Sultan’s bed, or his son or money for whatever uses they are wanted to supply, the Sultan has a right to kill him, and take all his possessions by force, because the man was not a faithful slave.
“But I cannot believe this,” says the American in his free, peaceful country. “It is not natural. How can a man be considered as God, owning everything, not in a spiritual sense, but in a very material, pecuniary, and male sense?”
Go to Turkey, get naturalized there, become a Turkish subject, and you will understand it fully, and perhaps shockingly. Of course, if you go as an American citizen, with plenty of money, travel under the escort of soldiers, or Zapties, get presented by the American minister to the Sultan, are entertained in the palace, and receive handsome presents, you will not understand it at all; very likely not believe it; you may come home and praise the Sultan like the rest.
The natural question is, I know, “Do the Sultans, any of them, carry this theory into practice? Has the present Sultan?” Yes; and not once or twice, but thousands of times. To be sure, they do not go in person on such errands; they depute their officers and soldiers to do what they wish. I have shown how the history of the Armenians illustrates it, in the seizure of their property, the forced conversion of their boys into troops to fight against their parents, the appropriation of their wives and daughters, to be given to the Sultan. As to the present Sultan, I have already spoken of Bahri Pasha’s exploit in carrying off by force several Armenian young brides, and girls, and presenting them to the Sultan, and his being decorated and promoted for it. While on his way, he had to pass through Trebizond, and the Armenians fired on him to rescue the women, but failed. They forgot that all women belong to the Sultan, and they made a mistake in firing on one of his officers. He at once ordered all the Armenians in Trebizond to be slaughtered. Some of the richest of the nation lived there; every penny was taken from them, most of them were killed, and their wives and children, and those of them who survived are begging bread. And all through Armenia the girls and young brides are being looked over to pick out the best looking ones for the Sultan’s harem.
Once for all, Armenia is not America. The Turks, the Kurds, the Circassians, the Georgians, though they may be like Americans, are like American Indians only. The Sultan is not a president, and his divine right to kill any man, appropriate any property, or enjoy any woman, is not like the Constitution of the United States. People who think that the Sultan would not do or be allowed to do such things because no ruler they are familiar with does them, that it is impossible they can happen in Armenia because they could not happen in America, that the Armenians must have provoked them in some way, because it is hard to believe any ruler could do so in pure wantonness or from deliberate policy, are reasoning from wrong premises. They did happen, and are happening,—see the consular reports; were perfectly unprovoked,—see the plentiful proofs that the Armenians carry no arms, and cannot even defend themselves from murder, or their wives from dishonor before their eyes. Why it is done, and how much more is to be done, I have explained repeatedly.
THE SUBLIME PORTE AND THE MOHAMMEDAN RELIGION
The Sublime Porte, or in Turkish Babi-Ali, is the cabinet of the Turkish government, as follows:—
1. The Grand Vezir, or Prime Minister.
2. The Minister of the Interior.
3. The Minister of Foreign Affairs.
4. The Superintendent of the Cabinet Council.
5. The Commander-in-chief, or Minister of War.
6. The Minister of the Navy.
7. The Minister of Finance.
8. The Minister of Commerce and Public Buildings.
9. The Minister of Sacred Properties.
10. The Minister of Education.
11. The Sheik-ul-Islam, or religious head.
There is no election in Turkey; all officers are appointed by the Sultan, who can dismiss any of them at any time, and appoint some one else, and I have already explained why he almost always appoints bad ones. The Sublime Porte has no power to decide anything; it is simply a farce council to cheat the European powers; a dumb tool in the hands of the Sultan. For instance, the Sultan calls the Grand Vezir, the president of the Sublime Porte, into his presence, and tells him such a question is to be discussed in such a way, and this or that conclusion reached. “Very well, my Lord and Master,” says the Grand Vezir; he goes to the Sublime Porte palace, and says to the council: “To-day I was permitted to come into the presence of His Majesty the Sultan, and he instructed me that I must bring such a question before you, and after we discuss it in such a manner, we must come to such a decision.” Then all of them stand up and say, “Sultan’s will be done,” and that is all; their “decision” is announced to the Sultan, and he “sanctions” it. There is no discussion for days or weeks, as in England or here; it is all cut short. The Sublime Porte can decide any question in a few minutes. This is the sort of thing Mr. Carlyle wanted. You have seen the beautiful effects of it.
The question naturally arises, “Why does the Sultan keep a Sublime Porte, since he decides everything himself?”
There are three reasons.
First, it is the old custom. All the other Sultans have had one, and he might offend the Turks if he abolished it.
Second, as the Sultan can do no wrong, there must be somebody else to lay blame on. He is the representative of God and Prophet Mohammed. If there is any mistake in any decision, he is not responsible for it; the Sublime Porte is responsible.
Third, because he has relations with the European powers, and if any decision needs to be reversed, it can be if it is that of the Sublime Porte; but if it were the personal decision of the Sultan it could not be changed, because he is considered immutable, just as God is.
When people read about the Sublime Porte after this, I hope they will understand that there is not really any Sublime Porte; that it is a mere name, an echo, a farce, a show to bunco the world with.
Some newspaper and other writers think it is “impartial” to say that the Sultan means well, but he has a “corrupt ministry”; that it is the Sublime Porte that ruins the Turkish Empire; if it were left to the Sultan, he would reform the country; he would not let the Armenians be massacred. Put no faith in such ignorant rubbish. The Sultan dictates everything; and if any minister has the sense and courage to suggest any improvement, the Sultan dismisses him, saying that it is his own business to consider the improvements of the country and not that of any one else. The governors would not dare to order the Kurds and the Turks to wreak their worst and vilest will on the Armenians without direct orders from the Sultan. The Sultan originates all these cruelties. The recent Grand Vezir, Said Pasha, at one time was a very decent Turk. When he differed with the Sultan about massacreing the Armenians, the Sultan threatened to kill him, and he had to fly to the English embassy for protection. Murad Bey was another good Turk who remonstrated against the cruelties; his life was threatened, and he fled to Europe; now he is in Egypt, denouncing the Sultan in the press and in letters. The Sultan sentenced him to death, and asked the British government to hand him over to the Turkish officers; but the representative of the British government in Cairo refused. Just before the Armenian atrocities in Constantinople, the members of the Sublime Porte tried to have the Armenian grievances redressed, and the people pacified; the Sultan would have no such pottering, and ordered the soldiers to kill the Armenians in the streets. But this was a rare piece of virtue in the Porte. Mostly they are as bad as the Sultan himself, for he appoints men of his own stripe. Good men would not be useful tools. The Sultan has another trick of management; before making any one a member of the Porte, he tries to find out whether he is a friend to any of the ministers already in; if so, he will not appoint him. On the other hand, if the man happens to be an enemy to one of the members, he is almost sure of appointment. The Sublime Porte, therefore, is a group of mutual enemies, hating one another, and ready to betray one another at any time. He thinks if they are friendly, they may unite and depose him some day. Besides this, there are more detectives in the Sublime Porte, watching the ministers on behalf of the Sultan, than there are members. They keep the Sultan informed about the situation. If any minister or officer acts contrary to the wishes of the Sultan, he is marked for death.
Sheikh-ul-Islam means chief of Islam—the Mohammedan religion. His office is solely religious; he has nothing to do with politics. He sees that the mosques and priests are kept in order, and the religious services properly conducted; and there are many questions among the Mohammedans which are settled without going to a magistrate, by the Sheik-ul-Islam, or by his deputies, called Muftees. These Muftees can be found in every city in Turkey. The Sheik-ul-Islam and his representatives issue Fetvas (religious decrees) according to the Koran.
There is no inconsistency between this and what I have said before about the Sultan being the representative of Mohammed, and therefore the chief of his religion. Both the Sultan and the Sheik-ul-Islam are the heads of it, just as the Greek emperor and the Patriarch were of the Greek church, and the relative position is about the same. The Sheik-ul-Islam is the special head of the ecclesiastical organization. The Sultan appoints him, but once appointed, if he is insubordinate and opposes the Sultan, the latter cannot suppress or replace him without grave scandal to the Mohammedan world. It is like Henry II and Becket; it is easier to make a head of a church than to rule him afterwards. It is like the Emperors and the Popes in the Middle Ages; and as with them, sometimes the Sheik-ul-Islam joins with political officers to depose the Sultan, and his fetva, or decree, makes it legal. When Abdul Aziz was deposed, the then Sheik-ul-Islam, Khairollah Effendi, issued the fetva for it, reluctantly, for Heussein Avni Pasha forced him to do it under threat of death. As Heussein’s own head was in immediate peril, he had no scruples about the Sheik-ul-Islam’s. Every fetva has two questions and one answer. A case is set forth; after a brief discussion the question Olourni (To be?) and Olmazmi (Not to be?) are asked, and the answer is given as either Olour or Olmaz (To be, or Not to be). The fetva which Heussein forced the Sheik-ul-Islam to sign was something like this:—”If a Sultan should prove to be unworthy to govern his people, is it necessary to uphold him or not?” The answer was Olmaz, and Abdul Aziz was deposed.
MOHAMMEDANISM AND THE INTERNAL STATE OF TURKEY
Nobody who has not lived in Turkey can realize how hopeless, almost self-contradictory, it is to talk of “reforming” Turkey. It could not be reformed and be Mohammedan Turkey; the lack of reform or power of reform is just what makes it what it is. The root of the evil is Mohammedanism itself; it is embodied social stagnation, corruption, ultimate ruin. Neither the Sultan nor the Turks can improve the state of the Empire, even if they wished. The usual “broad-minded” statements about Mohammed and his religion are simply elaborations of ignorance, made up out of men’s own minds, and what they think must be true. It is customary for writers to talk in this fashion:—”Mohammedanism is a half-way house to Christianity; Mohammed converted the heathen Arabs to a belief in the true God. Mohammed established a great religion and a great Empire,” etc., etc. There is no truth in this, for all its plausible sound. Mohammedanism is not even on the road to Christianity; and Arabia, Asia Minor, and Palestine were all much better off before the Mohammedan conquest than after it. Buddhism and Brahmanism are better religions than Mohammedanism. The Chinese, the Japanese, the people of India are much better than the Turks. The Chinese Emperor and the Japanese Mikado are far better men than the Mohammedan Sultan. The heathen religions rear better men than Mohammedanism. The Mongols are more humane and sympathetic than the Turks. Heathenism at its worst, though a low form of religion, is really a form of religion; but Mohammedanism is not a religion at all. Then what is it? It is a system of imposture and false pretense, and of lives of human lust and cruelty. Mohammed practiced all these, and his successors have done the same, and taught the same ever since; and the system means just that now, and nothing else. There is neither love nor sympathy, manliness nor humanity in Mohammedanism. Can a system lacking all these be considered a religion? This is the substance of Mohammed’s teachings:—”Love your fellow believers, hate and slay all who refuse to accept your religion. Marry as many wives as you can afford; if you can afford but one do not repine, for you shall have seven thousand to enjoy in Paradise. If you conquer a country, show no mercy to the people unless they embrace Islam; if they refuse, either kill them or make slaves of them.” What sort of reforms can you expect in Armenia, or in Turkey, when the very religion that is to make people better, inculcates such principles? If one does not know a language he cannot speak it; if he has not a principle he will not practice it; how can the Sultan, a vicious man to begin with, trained in a religion calculated to make a cruel and licentious animal even out of a decent man, reform anything? His very religion forbids it; he cares nothing for the religion when it stands in his way, but he will follow its injunctions to please the Mohammedans, especially when they gratify and justify his worst passions.
I shall be asked if the Mohammedans do not believe in one God, and the same God as the Christian; and if that does not make it a religion, and very near that of Christians. Yes, they do; and so do the devils. That is what Mohammedanism is, the religion of devils. Most of the Turkish conversation consists of oaths and smut. I do not mean among the common people—theirs is nothing else—but of the educated upper classes, their scholars, teachers, governors, and priests. I came in contact with them for years, and I hated to listen to them, their talk was so full of cursing and filth. You never see the fruits of the spirit in them; only the fruits of the flesh. They do not understand what spiritual life is; with them all is sense,—eating and drinking, finery and lust,—lust above all, everywhere and always, like cattle. They seem never able to forget sex and its uses. Some people think the climate makes the Turks lazy; it is enough on that point to say that Constantinople is almost exactly in the same latitude as New York, and Smyrna as St. Louis. The Turkish climate is a temperate and salubrious one, with no greater extremes of temperature than the United States; not tropical or enervating. Nor is it their race that makes the Turks lazy; they were not so at the outset. It is their religion and the habits it breeds. Their minds and bodies are enervated by the unwholesome nervous excitation of lust, their energies further sapped by a falsehood that leaves no room for aspiration, their vanity as a military caste in not working takes all the spirit of manly enterprise out of them. If the climate enervates the Turks, why does it not the Christians? In the very same cities you find the Christians rich, enterprising, full of energy; the Turks poor, ignorant, unambitious, and lazy. The religion makes all the difference. Christianity teaches purity, sympathy, and industry; Mohammedanism teaches impurity, hate, and sloth. The pure life of the Christian conserves all the energies; the hopes of Christianity give vigor and endurance. The promise of each for the future gives the clue to the history of each; the Christian heaven of unity with God, the Mohammedan heaven of a lot of street dogs and sluts.
Here I must comment on the extraordinary statement of Alexander Webb, at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Mr. Webb was an American consul in the East, and became a convert to Mohammedanism, or professes to have done so; it is not very hard to guess what part of that so-called religion attracted him. He said the religion of Mohammed teaches the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Humanity. Now, as a fact, Mohammedans believe in neither one. As to God, they believe he is a monarch, and that no one can approach him; they have the same idea the Jews had. “Our Father who art in Heaven” is a purely Christian aspiration, not that of any other religion on earth; it is Christianity alone that teaches the Fatherhood of God. And Mohammedans directly ridicule the idea of God the Father, or of a Son of God. They say God is not married, and cannot be a father; and that when they go to heaven they will not be in his presence, nor wish to be, but will have a separate heaven, to enjoy their wives in. They look at everything from a sexual or sensual standpoint. As to brotherhood, there is no such thing in Mohammedanism; even sons of the same mother are not brothers in feeling. A Mohammedan has not confidence enough, even in his brother, to show his wives to him, and even in heaven they will have to live in different places on account of their wives. How can there be brotherhood without love or purity? And we have seen and know what the “brotherhood” of Mohammedans to other nations and religions is; there can be no relations whatever but of master and slave, or murderer and corpse, or violator and victim. The impudence of this talk of brotherhood is fathomless.
And then he said he was proud to be a convert to Islam, because that meant believing in purity! This is more outrageously impudent still. His ideal of purity must be a curious one if he finds more in Mohammedanism than in Christianity; in a religion with a heaven stuffed with concubines than in one where even earth is sprinkled with nuns; in one that makes Titanic lust its crowning reward, as if men were so feeble in sexual desires that they needed to be stimulated, than in one which makes chastity its key-note, and pronounces the very coveting of more than one wife a spiritual adultery; in one that prescribes polygamy (that is, keeping erotic turbulence stirred up much oftener and longer than it naturally would be), than in one that allows but one wife, and smiles on getting along without that; in one whose devotees are ashamed of foul language, and even of foul thoughts, than in one whose devotees are rank and rotten with lustful ideas and talk to correspond.
The whole Mohammedan system is designed to make the gratification of lust as easy and plentiful as possible short of a promiscuity that would lead to civil anarchy. A Mohammedan can divorce his wife any time he pleases by paying back her dower, and marry another and do likewise; every week, or day if he sees fit, and he can remarry and redivorce the first one as often as he pleases. It is like trading horses; as little sentiment or morality in one as the other; the slightest possible regulation of sheer animal desire. There is, however, one form or divorce which is complete, and does not allow of remarriage until another marriage has intervened; that is called the achden docuza (three to nine) divorce, from the terms the husband uses in doing it, “I divorce you three to nine.” Nobody knows what it means or meant. After this, if he wants his wife back, he must get somebody else to marry and divorce her regularly; and as this is perilous, because the second husband after marrying her may take a notion to keep her, or anyway keep her much longer than the first one relishes, or demand a large sum of money, the usual plan is to fix on a very poor man, or a blind beggar (preferably blind, so that he cannot see the wife, and be so charmed by her beauties that he will wish to keep her), get him to become the woman’s husband for a few days, and then pay him something to divorce her. Then the first can marry her again if he chooses.
There are many more specimens of Mohammedan “purity” too shameful to write, and too shameful to read; I cannot soil the paper with them. Doubtless they are part of Mr. Webb’s pride in being a Mohammedan. But I must mention one more engine of corruption which lies at the very root of Mohammedanism itself: the pilgrimage to Mecca, to the birthplace of Mohammed in Arabia. Once a year Mohammedan pilgrims from every quarter of the world go to Mecca to pay homage to their beloved prophet; averaging a million a year. It is their duty to sacrifice animals there, and about a million are so sacrificed. This is done on the hills which surround the great temple, the greatest mosque in the world. It is a square building, which covers several acres of land. Just in the cluster is the Holy Well, called Zemzem. Mohammedans believe that if they drink of that water, hell-fire cannot burn them, and every pilgrim does so; then they begin to die from cholera to the tune of fifty thousand a year or so, for the well is a mere cesspool. You see, after cutting the throats of the animals, they leave the filth and blood just as they are, for the Mohammedan religion does not allow the sacrifice to be touched. The sandy soil absorbs this putrid filth, which leaches into the well. But it is a great merit to die on the spot where Mohammed was born; one goes straight to heaven if he does. That is not the worst, however; they fill bottles with that water, and carry it to their families, and friends throughout the Turkish Empire, Persia, and India, from which cholera is spread abroad over the world.
The pilgrims do not take their wives as far as the birthplace of Mohammed, but leave them half-way, and on reaching Mecca they marry temporarily. About 20,000 prostitutes there make a business of being short-term wives of the pilgrims, getting $5 to $25 from each, and being his wife for anywhere from a day to a fortnight, so that each woman marries from fifty to a hundred pilgrims a year. This is not prostitution; it is religion—and Mohammedan “purity.” Mecca is considered the most holy spot on earth by Mohammedans; but it is the most corrupt spot. It is a hell. And the Mohammedan Paradise is worse than Mecca.
In one word, Mohammedans have no right to exist, politically, socially, or religiously. In the first they have wrought nothing but ruin; in the second nothing but corruption; in the third nothing but devilishness. They are working nothing else now in either of the three. They have never built up anything; they are pure destroyers. Anything which is built in any Mohammedan country is built both by Christian money and by Christian architects; Mohammedans have neither the money, the architects, nor the sense. The day one becomes a Mohammedan he loses his intellect, his skill, and his common sense. Mohammedanism is a poison fatal to any good gifts or graces; it cultivates in him falsehood, cruelty, and lust. It was sent by God for a curse to the Christians; as a punishment, just as the Philistines were sent to the people of Israel.