THE GREAT POWERS AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION
Written by Reverend George Filian and originally published in 1896
There was no Armenian question till the time of the present Sultan; under Abdul Aziz, whatever his faults as a ruler or a man, the Armenians prospered well, and though the whole system of administration is bad, corrupt, and uncertain, they had no special grievance as a race to complain of. I have already referred to Abdul Hamid’s usurpation, his Bulgarian atrocities, his famous war against Russia, and the Congress in Berlin in which the powers ordered him to execute reforms in Armenia, and report to them, and the Sultan signed the treaty promising to do it. This was in 1878. The Sultan lost no time in violating the treaty, and not only so, but in acting grossly contrary to it. He called in Circassians and Kurds to settle in the midst of Armenians, and confiscated Armenian lands for them to settle on. The Armenians were far worse off than before the treaty; but foolishly depending on the powers, they did not try to arm themselves for the future. They have had plenty of chance to repent in blood and tears, agony and shame, their faith that Christian nations would not ignore a solemn obligation, voluntarily entered into, to save a whole people from being exterminated by fire and sword. England was the worst of these sinners, for she had taken on special obligations by a separate treaty, and forced those who would have taken the Sultan by the throat to let go.
THE ANGLO-TURKISH CONVENTION
This took place at the same time as the Berlin Congress; it was simply between Turkey and England.
“If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further territory of His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in Asia, as fixed by the Definitive Treaty of Peace, England engages to join His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in defending them by force of arms.
“In return, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, promises England to introduce necessary reforms, to be agreed upon later between the two powers, into the government and for the protection of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories; and in order to enable England to make necessary provisions for executing her engagement, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, further consents to assign the Island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England.
“If Russia restores to Turkey Kars and the other conquests made by her in Armenia during the last war, the Island of Cyprus will be evacuated by England, and the convention of the 4th of June, 1878, will be at an end.”
When England was preparing this private treaty, the English fleet was on the Sea of Marmora, at the gate of the Bosphorus, threatening Russia, to make her withdraw her soldiers from the gates of Constantinople, for the conquering Russian army had reached the suburbs, and encamped at San Stefano, only eight or ten miles away. But for England, Russia would have captured Constantinople, and kept it. But England backed Turkey, and the other powers backed England, and Russia reluctantly withdrew her troops. But Russia has never forgiven England for it; and if England wishes to help the Armenians, no matter how many are massacred, Russia will help Turkey, while the others side with neither. As to there ever being a European concert to reform Armenia, a pleasant dream which has deluded many thousands, I have always laughed at it, and I laugh at it still. The powers will never act together for any such purpose. It is not “practical politics” to think of it. The real center of action is not Germany or Russia, but England, for several reasons. One is that London is the money capital of the world. Money rules; money buys force. The richest nation is the strongest. What does Lombard street say? is the vital question. The second is her navy, the strongest in the world; stronger that that of any other two nations combined; perhaps in actual fight a match for all combined. The third is that her possessions are everywhere; she is a local power in every quarter of the globe; she has to pass by everybody’s doors in managing her colonies. So I will begin with England.
ENGLAND AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION
If England had wished to solve this question, she could have done it long ago; but she never cared to. When Mr. Gladstone was in power, he tried to do it, but his Cabinet overbore him. He did, however, show by isolated cases what power England had if she chose to exercise it. After I was banished by the Turkish government, two native Christian ministers supplied my pulpit. They were sentenced to death on a false charge, but Gladstone threatened the Sultan, and the latter commuted the sentence to banishment. These ministers were Professors Thoumaian and Kayayian, who are now in England with their families. What could be done on a small scale could be done on a large one. I will give here some of the speeches of Gladstone on the Armenian question; then compare Lord Salisbury with him and his policy.
W. E. Gladstone.
He assails Turkey’s Intolerable Misgovernment and Emphasizes the Value of Impartial American Testimony [By cable to the new york herald]
London, Aug. 6, 1895.—A pro-American meeting, presided over by the Duke of Westminster, was held at Chester this afternoon. Mr. Gladstone was among those present, and upon entering the hall was received with great enthusiasm.
In addressing the meeting, Mr. Gladstone said he had attended rather to meet the expectation that he would be present than because he had any important contribution to make to the discussion of the subject under consideration. The question before the meeting, he said, was not a party question, neither was it strictly a religious question, although the sufferers, on whose behalf the meeting was called, were Christians. The evil arose from the fact that the sufferers were under an intolerably bad government—one of the worst, in fact, that ever existed. A resolution would be proposed presenting, with justice and firmness, the true view of the matter. Mr. Gladstone added that as America had no political interest in the Levant her witnesses were doubly entitled to credit.
IMPORTANT TREATY PROVISIONS
The treaty of 1856, Mr. Gladstone continued, gave the powers the right to march into Armenia and take the government of the country out of the hands of Turkey, and under the treaty of 1878 the Sultan was bound to carry out reforms. The ex-Premier made three proposals:—First, that the demands of the powers should be moderate; second, that no promises of the Turkish authorities should be accepted; and third, that the powers should not fear the word “coercion.”
“We have reached a critical position,” said Mr. Gladstone, in conclusion, “and the honor of the powers is pledged to the institution of reforms in Armenia.”
A resolution was then proposed expressing the conviction that the government would have the support of the entire nation in any measures it might adopt to secure in Armenia reforms guaranteeing to the inhabitants safety of life, honor, religion, and property, and that no reforms can be effected which are not placed under the continuous control of the great powers of Europe. The resolution was seconded by the Rev. Canon Malcolm MacColl, and was adopted.
Says Baseness and Villany Have Reached a Climax in Turkey’s Treatment of Armenia [From The New York Herald]
London, Dec. 27, 1895.—Murad Bey, formerly Ottoman Commissioner of the Turkish debt, who recently fled from Constantinople to Paris, sent to Mr. Gladstone a few days ago a pamphlet which he had published in Paris, entitled “The Yildiz Palace and the Sublime Porte,” with a view to enlightening public opinion on Turkish affairs. In the course of his reply acknowledging the receipt of the pamphlet, Mr. Gladstone disavowed any feeling of enmity toward the Turks and Mussulmans generally. He said:—”I have felt it my duty to make it known that the Mohammedans, including the Turks, suffer from the bad government of the Sultan. I have heartily wished success to every effort made toward ending the great evil. Still, Turks and other Mohammedans are not, so far as I know, plundered, raped, murdered, starved, and burned; but this is the treatment that the Sultan knowingly deals out to his Armenian subjects daily. There are degrees of suffering, degrees of baseness and villany among men, and both seem to have reached their climax in the case of Armenia.”
His Masterly Speech in Chester Re-enforced with a letter to a Turk [From The New York Sun]
London, Aug. 10.—Once more have the wonderful power and the true greatness of England’s Grand Old Man been demonstrated in the remarkable revival of popular interest in the fate of Armenia. The whole nation is marveling over his great speech at Chester, and there are no words, even among those who have always been his political opponents, save those of sympathy and admiration. Nobody is any longer foolish enough to deny the main features of the fearful atrocities in Armenia, and there is no possible doubt of the accuracy of the latest reports that thousands near the scene of the massacres are perishing of starvation.
The only protest against Mr. Gladstone’s speech has been a long letter from Khalef Khalid, a conspicuous Turk, who asks the Grand Old Man why he hates and denounces the Turks so indiscriminately, when as many and as great outrages against the Mohammedans have been perpetrated by Christians as were ever committed by the subjects of Islam.
Mr. Gladstone’s reply was made public to-day. It is one of the most pointed epistles the old man ever wrote. He says:—”I entirely disclaim the hatred and hostility to the Turks, or any race of men, which you ascribe to me. I do not doubt that you write in entire good faith, but your statements of facts are unauthenticated. I proceed only upon authenticated statements. I make no charge against the Turks at large, but against a Turkish government. I make the charges which they have been proved guilty of by public authority. In my opinion, I have been a far better friend to the Ottoman Empire than have the Sultan and his advisers. I have always recommended the granting of reasonable powers of local self-government, which would have saved Turkey from terrible losses. This good advice has been spurned, and in consequence Turkey has lost 18,000,000 of people, and may lose more. Pray weigh these words.”—
The birthday of the Ex-Premier was made the occasion for an anti-Turkish demonstration.
Outrages and Abominations of 1876 in Bulgaria Repeated in Armenia in 1894 [From The New York Herald]
London, Dec. 29, 1894.—Mr. Gladstone celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday to-day, and was the recipient of hundreds of letters and telegrams of congratulation and parcels containing birthday gifts. Mr. Gladstone was in remarkably good health and spirits, and, despite the stormy weather, drove through the village of Hawarden to the church, where he met a deputation of Armenian Christians from Paris and London. The deputation presented a silver chalice to the church. The chalice was presented to the Rev. Stephen Gladstone, son of the ex-Premier, and rector of the Hawarden church, in recognition of the interest his father has taken in the Armenian outrages. Mr. Gladstone, in his reply to the deputation’s address, said that it was not their duty to assume that all the allegations of outrages were true, but rather to await the result of the inquiry which had been instituted. However, he said, the published accounts pointed strongly to the conclusion that the outrages, sins, and abominations committed in 1876 in Bulgaria had been repeated in 1894 in Armenia. Continuing, Mr. Gladstone said: “Don’t let me be told that one nation has no authority over another. Every nation, aye, every human being, has authority in behalf of humanity and justice.” He had been silent, he said, because he had full confidence that the government knew its duty. If the allegations made should prove to be true, it was time that the execration of humanity should force itself upon the ears of the Sultan of Turkey, and make him sensible of the madness of such a course as was being pursued. Mr. Gladstone, in conclusion, said:—”The history of Turkey is a sad and painful one. The Turkish race has not been without remarkable, even fine qualities, but from too many points of view it has been a scourge which has been made use of by a wise Providence for the sins of the world. If these tales of murder, violation, and outrage be true, well, then, they cannot be overlooked, nor can they be made light of. I have lived to see the Empire of Turkey in Europe reduced to less than one-half of what it was when I was born. And why? Simply because of its misdeeds, and the great record written by the hand of Almighty God against its injustice, lust, and most abominable cruelty. I hope and feel sure that the government of Great Britain will do everything that can be done to pierce to the bottom of this mystery, and make the facts known to the world.
“If happily (I speak hoping against hope) the reports be disproved or mitigated, let us thank God. If, on the other hand, they be established, it will more than ever stand before the world that there is a lesson, however severe it may be, that can teach certain people the duty of prudence, and the necessity of observing the laws of decency, humanity, and justice. If the allegations are true, it is time that there should be one general shout of execration against these deeds of wickedness from outraged humanity. If the facts are well established, it should be written in letters of iron upon the records of the world that a government which could be guilty of countenancing and covering up such atrocities is a disgrace to Mohammed the prophet, a disgrace to civilization at large, and a disgrace to mankind. Now that is strong language, but strong language ought to be used when the facts are strong. But strong language ought not to be used without the strength of facts.
“I have counseled you to be still and keep your judgment in suspense; but as the evidence grows, the case darkens, and my hopes dwindle and decline, and as long as I have voice it will be uttered in behalf of humanity and truth. I wish you heartily every blessing, and also wish with every heartiness prosperity to your nation, however dark the present may seem.”
Now we come to the present Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. He is reputed a great statesman. That should mean that he has accomplished something great. Well, what? I know of nothing, have heard of nothing. Has he saved any country? Has he elevated any? Has he done any public action that can be set down to his credit? He has hindered some good ones, that is all. On the Armenian question he has done enormous harm. If he is not a great hypocrite, there is no use comparing a man’s words with his actions. I have always told my friends that nothing good could be hoped for from him, for morally he is worse than the Sultan. An eminent English clergyman told me that Lord Salisbury is another Sultan, and I believe him. Here are a few of Lord Salisbury’s deliverances; see how they agree:—
Lord Salisbury to Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador to Constantinople [From The New York World, August 16, 1895]
“The Porte must accept the proposals of the Powers unconditionally, or England would use sharper means than those adopted by Lord Rosebery to settle affairs in Armenia.”—July 30, 1895.
Lord Salisbury, in a speech in London about the time of the above, said, “The concert of Europe on the Armenian question is complete, and England has the loyal support of other powers to reform Armenia.”
At another time we note:—”There is every reason to believe that the Chinese government is sincerely desirous of punishing the perpetrators of the outrages and those who connived at them. Should any lukewarmness become discernible, it will become our duty to supply its defect.
“With respect to Armenia, we have accepted the policy which our predecessors initiated, and our efforts will be directed to obtaining an adequate guarantee for the carrying out of reform. We have received the most loyal support from both France and Russia. The permanence of the Sultan’s rule is involved in the conduct he pursues. If the cries of misery continue, the Sultan must realize that Europe will become weary of appeals, and the fictitious strength which the powers have given the empire will fail it. The Sultan will make a calamitous mistake if he refuses to accept the advice of the European powers relative to the reforms.” The House of Lords adopted the address in reply to the Queen’s speech.
After the above strong words, Lord Salisbury backed down and sneaked out of his bold attitude in this way. (Jan. 31, 1896.) See how he asserts, first that England cannot do anything for the Armenians, and second that it is not her duty to do anything:—
[From The New York Tribune]
“The Prime Minister expressed sympathy with the Armenians, but denied that Great Britain was under obligation to declare war against the Sultan of Turkey in order to compel him to govern justly, and cited the treaties in proof of his contention. He ascribed the atrocities to the passions of race and creed. He believed that the Sultan’s government was wretched and impotent, but there was no ground for imagining that the Sultan had instigated the massacres. It might be asked why Europe did not interfere. He could only answer for England. She had lacked the power to do the only thing necessary to end the troubles, namely, to militarily occupy Turkish provinces. None of the powers wished so to occupy them.
“Lord Salisbury said he concurred in the belief that the only authority, albeit it was an evil one, in that country was the prestige of the Sultan’s name. Patience must be exercised, and time must be given to His Majesty to enforce the reforms he had promised. He remarked upon the gradual return of order in Anatolia during the last few weeks, although he admitted that these signs should not be trusted too much. He concluded by declaring that if Great Britain did not co-operate with the other powers, she must act against them, which would lead to calamities far more awful than the Armenian massacres.”
Ambassador Currie instructed not to exert Undue Pressure on the Sultan [From The New York World, 1895]
London, Nov. 23, 1895.—It can be authoritatively stated that Lord Salisbury’s instructions to Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador to Turkey, who left England a few days ago on his return to his post of duty, are to refrain from exerting undue pressure on the Sultan for the execution of the reforms in Armenia, and to give the Porte time to recover from the existing administrative anarchy, and appoint authorities through whom the reforms must be effected.
Sir Philip has taken with him an autograph letter from the Queen to the Sultan. This is supposed to be a reply to a letter the Sultan sent to her with the communication he sent to Lord Salisbury, which the latter read at the meeting of the National Union of Conservatives at Brighton, on Tuesday night last.
It is reported that the Queen will invite the Sultan to visit England, when the time shall be auspicious. The anxiety at the Foreign Office in regard to the East has greatly lessened during the week.
England possessed the Island of Cyprus, and it became her duty to look after the reforms in Turkey. But now Salisbury denies it, saying that it is not her duty, and meantime says that time must be given to the Sultan of Turkey, as if all the time had not been given him since the Berlin treaty of 1878.
Salisbury used another silly trick, persuading the Queen of England to write a letter to the Sultan and appeal to his good nature; as if the Sultan had a good nature; but the Queen wrote the letter.
A strong criticism by the editor of the New York “Press” on Lord Salisbury’s speech
February 3, 1896
“We confess that we are at a loss to comprehend the meaning of Lord Salisbury’s Armenian speech. We do not know what to make of it when he says that the Berlin Treaty “bound the signatory powers, that, if the Sultan promulgated certain reforms, they would watch over the progress of these reforms. Nothing more.” We cannot understand him when he declares that the Cyprus Convention ‘contains no trace of an understanding to interfere in behalf of the Sultan’s subjects.’ When Russia made, in March, 1878, a treaty with Turkey, called the treaty of San Stefano, Great Britain became alarmed lest Russia should secure too much influence in Constantinople. Russia then held some Armenian provinces bordering on her territory, and it seemed clear that it was her purpose to seize others. England protested to the Sultan against the treaty of San Stefano, but the government of the Ottoman Porte was helpless against the Czar, and the Sultan declared that he must adhere to the treaty. Great Britain then secretly bound herself to aid Turkey by force of arms in preventing Russia from appropriating further Armenian provinces, Turkey agreeing, on her part, to reform her local administration in her remaining Armenian provinces and assigning the island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by Great Britain.
“Great Britain, meanwhile, had incited the other powers of Europe to take action against the treaty of San Stefano. Austria was induced to suggest a European Congress. Russia at first refused to go into this Congress; but, seeing that all the great powers were uniting against her, she consented to attend. The result of this Congress was the Treaty of Berlin, signed by the six powers,—England, Russia, Germany, France, Austria, and Italy. By this treaty Turkey was stripped of Bulgaria, Servia, and Roumania, and Russia was deprived of all she had won during the Turko-Russian war, except the Armenian provinces which she still controls. By this treaty, also, the signatory powers became guardians and trustees of the Ottoman Porte, pledging themselves that religious freedom should be secured in the Turkish Empire, and that Armenian Christians should be protected against the Circassians and Kurds.
“We are puzzled, therefore, to understand Lord Salisbury when he says that all these promises did not mean anything. Certainly he ought to know, for, as the agent of the Disraeli government, it was Lord Salisbury who drafted the agreements and drew up the promises. For eighteen years Christian civilization has supposed that they did mean something. But Lord Salisbury says not. He says that all the powers agreed to do was to ‘watch over the execution of those reforms’ if they were promulgated.
“What does that mean, anyway? Does it mean, as the Christian world has all along supposed, that the six powers would engage themselves to see that these reforms were carried out by Turkey, or does it mean that if the reforms were carried out they would simply look on; and if the reforms were not carried out, if ten thousand Armenian homes were destroyed, and four times ten thousand Armenian citizens were butchered, they would still simply look on?
“Nor do we understand Lord Salisbury when he pleads that it requires time for the Turkish government to carry out the reforms ‘which the Sultan recently has accepted.’ Why the Turkish government? There is no Turkish government. There is a Mohammedan administration, but the government of the Ottoman Porte expired with the Treaty of Berlin. The Turkish government is vested de facto in the six signatory powers of the Berlin Congress. Even the local government of Constantinople itself lies in the hands of these powers. The capital is divided into six sections, each controlled by a treaty power. Each has its own courts, its own military, even its own police. When Englishmen wish a wrong to be righted in the Turkish Empire, or a reform to be executed, they do not request the ‘Turkish government’ to listen to their appeal. The British Minister summons the Grand Vezir and orders him to do what is wished. And he does it forthwith, so far as he is permitted by the orders of the representatives of the other treaty powers. It is in London, in Berlin, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, in Vienna, and in Rome that the Turkish government rests.
“It is for these reasons that we are unable to understand what Lord Salisbury means when he says that the Berlin Treaty and the Cyprus Convention impose no responsibility for Armenian reforms upon any one save the Sultan. The Cyprus Convention specifies:—
“Treaty of Defensive Alliance between the British Government and the Sublime Porte, signed on June 4, 1878:—
If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further territories of his imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in Asia, as fixed by the definitive treaty of peace, England engages to join His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, in defending them by force of arms. In return, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, promises to England to introduce necessary reforms, to be agreed upon later between the two powers, into the government, and for the protection of Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories; and in order to enable England to make necessary provision for executing her engagement, His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan, further consents to assign the Island of Cyprus, to be occupied and administered by England.
“Why, then, does not Lord Salisbury carry out England’s pledges, for which he is directly responsible, since he made them in her name?
“England must be held to an accounting for the disorders in Armenia. There are no such disorders in the provinces administered by the Czar, provinces adjoining those where for the last six years pillage, destruction, and murder have swept away every sign of government. In the provinces controlled by the Czar the Armenians have been so well treated, enjoying unquestioned religious freedom and rights, that there have been not the slightest disorders. But in the provinces where England pledged reform, the Armenian is butchered daily.
“Does Lord Salisbury mean that so long as Great Britain occupies Cyprus, pending the execution of reforms, it is better for England that the reforms should not be executed and that England should ‘watch over them; nothing more’?”
Note carefully what Salisbury says first; then what he says afterward. First he says there is complete concert among the powers, then he says there is not; first he threatens the Sultan, then he is friendly. First he seems to be a brave and noble statesman, then a cowardly politician.
Sir Philip Currie, the British Ambassador at Constantinople, is a brave and noble gentleman. He was sent there by the Liberal government, before Salisbury’s accession. He has done a great deal for the Armenian cause. But after Lord Salisbury became Prime Minister, he called him to London and instructed him to have cordial relations with the Sultan, and now he can do nothing.
Finally there appear to be two Englands, conservative England and liberal England, slave England and free England, selfish England and noble and sympathetic England, false England and true England. The head of conservative, selfish, false, oppressive England is Lord Salisbury. The head of liberal, free, noble, and true England is Mr. Gladstone. Therefore nothing for Armenia can be expected from the Conservatives, while much may be hoped from the Liberals. Gladstone is an old man, but God will raise a Joshua to succeed Moses; Gladstone will see the Armenian nation free, and then he will die.
GERMANY AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION
Listen to what the haughty young ruler of Germany says:—”It is better that the Armenians be killed than the peace of Europe be disturbed.” The explanation is easy enough. When he visited Constantinople half a dozen years ago, the Sultan presented him with Arabian horses, jewelry of massive gold, and many other valuable articles, worth in all several hundred thousand dollars; and last summer sent him a beautiful and valuable sword made in Constantinople by Armenians, which was carried to him by Shakir Pasha, the butcher who was afterwards appointed by the Sultan to reform Armenia,—the commander of the “Hamidieh Cavalry,” whose work I tell of later on. This embassy was to secure the alliance of Germany against molestation by Russia.
The German Emperor has three motives in his present action. One is to show gratitude for the Sultan’s generosity—as though it were not the easiest thing in the world to be munificent when it all comes out of other people. The second is to punish Lord Salisbury for not getting England to join the Triple Alliance, when the Emperor asked him in person on his journey to England. When Salisbury threatened the Sultan in the interest of Armenia, the German Emperor said, “The English government has no right to interfere with the Turkish Empire. Every sovereign must have the right to govern as he thinks necessary, or he is no sovereign.” He afterwards sent his Chancellor, Prince Hohenlohe, to the Czar to arrange united resistance to England, and afterwards sent Count Von Moltke on the same errand. And the Czar instructed his Ambassador at Constantinople, M. Nelidoff, to inform the Sultan that he would not support the English government in coercing Turkey. The Sultan therefore refused Salisbury’s demands, and he dared not go on alone. The Emperor’s third motive was to gain the friendship of the Czar against France, which had lately been taking up the Russian alliance with great fervor. Another reason is that he hates the Armenians for having bought the German factories and property in Amassia. He is very anxious to plant German colonies in Turkey, of all places in the world, for profit. There are about fifty families in Amassia, near Marsovan, and they had started various kinds of factories there; but the shrewd and wealthy Armenians bought them out. The Emperor is angry because his colony was not successful.
For all these reasons the German Emperor refused to send gunboats to the Bosphorus when the other powers did; he said he saw no need of it. He was right so far as Germans were concerned; the Sultan was not going to allow his ally’s subjects to be slaughtered and the ally turned into an enemy. And if he could stop the massacre of one sort of people, he could of another; nothing shows the Sultan’s deliberate purpose in the massacres better than the fact that when he chose not to let any particular sort of people be harmed, that sort were not harmed. But as to Germany, what hope for Armenia is there from it? The Emperor has his own interests, and the Armenians might be tortured or outraged to death, and he would not stir a finger.
RUSSIA AND THE ARMENIANS
The present Czar, Nicholas II, is a corrupt weakling, who is on the throne by the law of heredity, against the will of his father. Morally he is as bad as the Sultan; not so cruel yet, though he may develop that in time, but fully as sensual and devoid of principle. I have had it from good Russian authority that his life before his marriage was so bad that it has rendered him entirely impotent. “Birds of a feather flock together.” No wonder he helps the Sultan. His political aims and character are wholly selfish. He, too, like the German Emperor, is continually exchanging presents with the Sultan. Here is a press notice of Feb. 26, 1896:—”M. Nelidoff, the Russian Ambassador, has presented to the Sultan a pair of jasper vases from the Czar, together with an autograph letter from His Majesty thanking the Sultan for the gifts sent to him.” Not only so, but they have concluded an alliance. Read the following dispatch of Jan. 23, 1896:—
“London, Jan. 23, 1896.—A dispatch to the Pall Mall Gazette from Constantinople, dated yesterday, says that an offensive and defensive alliance has been concluded between Russia and Turkey. The Pall Mall Gazette correspondent adds that the treaty was signed at Constantinople, and that the ratifications were exchanged at St. Petersburg between Arifi Pasha and the Czar.
“The basis of the treaty is declared to be on the lines of the Unkiarskelessi agreement of 1833, by which Turkey agreed, in the event of Russia going to war, to close the Dardanelles to war-ships of all nations. The Pall Mall Gazette’s correspondent then says the treaty will soon be abandoned, owing to the refusal of the powers to recognize it. He also says that the French Ambassador, M. Cambon, conferred with the Sultan yesterday, and that it is probable France will be included in the new alliance.
“The Pall Mall Gazette says: ‘We regard the news as true, and the result of the treaty is that the Dardanelles is now the Southern outpost of Russia, and Turkey is Russia’s vassal. We presume the British government will protest against the treaty for all it is worth.
“’The information is plainly of the very gravest importance. The first intimation reached us four days ago; but we withheld it until the arrival of strong confirmation, which we received this morning. This brings Russia into the Mediterranean with a vengeance, and may necessitate the strengthening of our fleet in those waters. Politically, the effect will be far greater. The treaty means that Turkey has realized her own impotence against disorders both from within and without, and has decided to throw herself for safety into the arms of Russia. She is now Russia’s vassal, and Russia is entitled to dispatch troops to any part of the Sultan’s dominions whenever there is the least breach of order—and when is there not?
“’We presume the arrangement will give the keenest satisfaction to the Anglo-American section of our people. With them lies the chief blame for the complete alienation of Turkey, though it must be owned that it has been sedulously fostered by a long term of weak policy at Constantinople.’”
For the present the Czar will do no more mischief, because he is to have his coronation in May, and prefers to put on the smoothest outside to every nation; but after that is over he will show his hand. His father and his grandfather favored the Armenians in Russia, and they prospered wonderfully, but this one proposes to persecute them to please the Sultan. The two will join in a common policy toward the unhappy race, till not less than a million are slain. The Czar’s motive is not love of the Sultan, whom he hates in spite of their community of character; it is simply that he wishes to get Constantinople peaceably if he can. The Sultan knows this quite well, but he is too weak in military power, and too poor, and owes too large an indemnity to the Czar to be able to help himself. He is compelled to throw himself on the Czar for protection.
Will the Czar succeed in getting Constantinople? No; the attempt will ruin and break up the Russian Empire. All the European powers would resist it; some of them may seem friendly to the Czar now, but when he comes to seize Constantinople every one of them will be against him. He will try it, none the less. The famous “will” of Peter the Great, though a patent and notorious forgery of Napoleon’s,—never seen till 1812, just before the Russian campaign, and circulated then to influence Europe against Russia,—was the most magnificent piece of forgery ever committed, for it has actually become a guiding policy to the country it was aimed against, just as if it had been real. Nothing in history equals this for impudence and success combined; it is a true Napoleonism. This bogus “will” has become the “Monroe doctrine” of Russia; I am not entitled to say whether the latter is as mischievous as the former. That most Russian of all Russian journals, the “Ruskija Vjadomosti,” has lately been having one of its periodical spasms of hysterical hatred toward all policy not “good Russian,” and boldly proclaims that Russia must follow the precepts laid down in this will! Since, therefore, it is just as important as if it were not the greatest of all “fakes,” I give it here that the reader may know what Russian policy is to be:—
WILL OF PETER THE GREAT
In the name of the most holy and indivisible Trinity, we, Peter the Great, unto all our descendants and successors to the throne and government of the Russian nation: the All-Powerful, from whom we hold our life and our throne, after having revealed unto us his wishes and intentions, and after being our support, permits us to look upon Russia as called upon to establish her rule over all Europe. This idea is based upon the fact that all nations of this portion of the globe are fast approaching a state of utter decrepitude. From this it results that they can be easily conquered by a new race of people when it has attained full power and strength. We look upon our invasion of the West and East as a decree of divine providence, which has already once regenerated the Roman Empire by an invasion of “barbarians.”
The emigration of men from the North is like the inundation of the Nile, which, at certain seasons, enriches with its waters the arid plains of Egypt. We found Russia a small rivulet; we leave it an immense river. Our successors will make it an ocean, destined to fertilize the whole of Europe if they know how to guide its waves. We leave them, then, the following instructions, which we earnestly recommend to their constant meditation.
I. To keep the Prussian nation in constant warfare, in order always to have good soldiers. Peace must only be permitted to recuperate finance, to recruit the army, to choose the moment favorable for attack. Thus peace will advance your projects of war, and war those of peace, for obtaining the enlargement and prosperity of Russia.
II. Draw unto you by all possible means, from the civilized nations of Europe, captains during war and learned men during peace, so that Russia may benefit by the advantages of other nations.
III. Take care to mix in the affairs of all Europe, and in particular of Germany, which, being the nearest nation to you, deserves your chief attention.
IV. Divide Poland by raising up continual disorders and jealousies within its bosom. Gain over its rulers with gold influence and corrupt the Diet, in order to have a voice in the election of the kings. Make partisans and protect them; if neighboring powers raise objections and opposition, surmount the obstacles by stirring up discord within their countries.
V. Take all you can from Sweden, and to this effect isolate her from Denmark, and vice versa. Be careful to rouse their mutual jealousy.
VI. Marry Russian princes to German Princesses; multiply these alliances, unite these interests, and by the increase of our influence attach Germany to our cause.
VII. Seek the alliance with England on account of our commerce, as being the country most useful for the development of our navy, merchants, etc., and for the exchange of our produce against her gold. Keep up continual communication with her merchants and sailors, so that ours may acquire experience in commerce and navigation.
VIII. Constantly extend yourselves along the shores of the Baltic and the borders of the Euxine.
IX. Do all in your power to approach closely Constantinople and India. Remember that he who rules over these countries is the real sovereign of the world. Keep up continued wars with Turkey and with Persia. Establish dockyards in the Black Sea. Gradually obtain the command of this sea as well as of the Baltic. This is necessary for the entire success of our projects. Hasten the fall of Persia. Open for yourself a route toward the Persian Gulf. Re-establish as much as possible, by means of Syria, the ancient commerce of the Levant, and thus advance toward India. Once there you will not require English gold.
X. Carefully seek the alliance of Austria. Make her believe that you will second her in her projects for dominion over Germany, but secretly stir up other princes against her, and manage so that each be disposed to claim the assistance of Russia; and exercise over each a sort of protection, which will lead the way to a future dominion over them.
XI. Make Austria drive the Turks out of Europe, and neutralize her jealousy by offering to her a portion of your conquests, which you will further on take back.
XII. Above all, recall around you the schismatic Greeks who are spread over Hungary and Poland. Become their center, and support a universal dominion over them by a kind of sacerdotal autocracy; by this you will have many friends among your enemies.
XIII. Sweden dismembered, Persia conquered, Poland subjugated, Turkey beaten, our armies united, the Black and Baltic seas guarded by our vessels, prepare, separately and secretly, first the court of Versailles, then that of Vienna, to share the empire of the universe with Russia. If one accept, flatter her ambition and vanity, and make use of one to crush the other by engaging them in war. The result cannot be doubted; Russia will be possessed of the whole of the East and a great portion of Europe.
XIV. If, which is not probable, both should refuse the offer of Russia, raise a quarrel between them, and one which will ruin them both; then Russia, profiting by this decisive movement, will inundate Germany with the troops which she will have assembled beforehand. At the same time two fleets full of soldiers will leave the Baltic and the Black Sea, will advance along the Mediterranean and the ocean, keeping France in check with the one and Germany with the other. And these two countries conquered, the remainder of Europe will fall under our yoke. Thus can Europe be subjugated.
But aside from this, no help could be expected from Russia in any event, because she needs all her strength to save herself from destruction by her own internal decay. She is a great tree, hollow in the inside. The Nihilists and the Constitutional Reformers are both against her, and, in my belief, she will go to pieces in the present Czar’s lifetime. The Sultan’s days are numbered, but the Czar’s and the Emperor’s are too; their own people will rise and depose them. It is against Socialists and Nihilists that they are massing such great armies. How can they spare any service for a people being murdered off the earth?
FRANCE AND ARMENIA
Of the other powers, little need be said. France has lost all her great men, and become a tail to Russia, and is ready to be moved blindly, as Russia may direct. And as part of the people are infidels, and the rest fanatical Catholics, there is no religious motive to prompt them to come to the rescue. France, in a word, can or will do nothing directly; all it can do is to threaten the haughty Emperor of Germany. Italy is bankrupt, and even the throne of King Humbert is in danger, and that country will follow in the wake of Austria.
THE POPE OF ROME AND THE ARMENIANS
Pope Leo XIII sent 70,000 lire to the Armenian sufferers; probably to the Catholics alone, for there are about 100,000 Catholic Armenians in Turkey. But the Armenians can expect no help from the Pope; he has no troops; he has no great fund of spare money, and he would be very unlikely to use either if he had them. The motive of all the Popes has been to convert the Protestant Armenian Church to become a part of the Roman Catholic Church,—to acknowledge the Papacy. I say Protestant, for before Martin Luther was born, the Armenian Church protested against the popes of Rome age after age, and was persecuted by them. The Armenians offer their thanks to the Pope for his gifts, but they cannot accept his dominion.
[Press dispatch, N.Y. Herald.]
“Rome, Dec. 16, 1895.—The Pope has sent 20,000 lire for the relief of the sufferers from Turkish misrule in Anatolia, in addition to the 50,000 lire previously given by him for the same purpose.”
The European edition published recently in a dispatch from Rome the following passage dealing with the Eastern question in the allocution delivered by Leo XIII at the consistory on November 29:—
“The whole of Europe in anxious expectation looks toward its eastern neighbor, troubled by grievous events and internal conflicts. The sight of towns and villages defiled by scenes of blood and of vast extents of territory ravaged by fire and sword is a cruel and lamentable spectacle.
“While the powers are taking counsel together in the laudable effort to find means of putting an end to the carnage and restore quiet, we have not omitted to defend this noble and just cause to the extent of our power. Long before these recent events, we voluntarily intervened in favor of the Armenian nation. We advised concord, quiet, and equity.
“Our counsels did not appear to give offense. We mean to pursue the work we have begun, for we desire nothing so much as to see the security of persons and all rights safeguarded throughout the immense empire.
“In the meantime we have decided to send help to the most tried and the most needy of the Armenians.”
AMERICA AND ARMENIA
Now we cross the ocean and come to the United States. Everywhere here the people have shown the greatest sympathy for us; and the Armenians are deeply moved and exceedingly grateful for it. The newspapers have almost uniformly been on our side also; the only exception of any moment has been the New York “Herald,” which has steadily favored the Sultan. The reason is the same as for General Wallace’s like opinion of that worthless animal,—mistaking his entertainments and gifts for proofs of good character, humanity, and statesmanship. Mr. Bennett, too, knows the taste of the dinners at the palace, and perhaps the weight of the golden ornaments he gives out. Fortunately his paper has very little influence on public opinion; and the real leaders of it have remained true.
I believe it will be the Americans who will finally put an end to the Armenian atrocities; but the time has not come yet. It will take two years more, then this 70,000,000 of people will be aroused as one man and stop them. I should like here to give an account of the many mass meetings held here for our cause; but I can only take space for two, one which I organized in Baltimore, and one held in New York, at which I was present.
Mass-Meeting at Levering Hall, Baltimore [Report From Baltimore Sun]
December 11, 1894.—An enthusiastic meeting of Baltimoreans was held last night at Levering Hall, Johns Hopkins University, to make an emphatic protest against the Turkish outrages upon Christian Armenians, and to urge the United States government to do all in its power to remedy the existing evils.
The meeting was called by a committee of Baltimore ministers. It was presided over by Attorney-General John P. Poe, and the Rev. T. M. Beadenkoff was the secretary.
Addresses were made by Mr. Poe, Rev. George H. Filian, an exiled Armenian Christian Minister, Rabbi Wm. Rosenan, and Rev. Dr. F. M. Ellis.
Cardinal Gibbons and Judge Harlan sent letters regretting their inability to be present, and expressing sympathy with the object of the gathering.
Mr. Poe, in taking the chair, said:—”The accounts which have reached us of the indescribable atrocities recently committed upon the Christians in Armenia have stirred the indignation and aroused the sympathy of the whole country.
“At first the nameless outrages inflicted upon them were received with incredulity, for it seemed almost impossible that they could be true. But there is now no reason to discredit the harrowing details. Indeed, denial is hardly any longer attempted, nor is it claimed that the reports of the cruelties of which these helpless people are the victims have been exaggerated.
“Conscious that the facts cannot be suppressed or belittled, the representatives and apologists of the ruthless perpetrators of these atrocities are endeavoring to palliate and excuse the enormities which they cannot truthfully deny. In order to shield themselves and their governments from universal execration, the world is asked to believe that the Christians of Armenia were themselves the aggressors, and that the horrors of massacre and rapine which have been visited upon them with such relentless fury were but necessary and pardonable measures of punishment and repression. The long record of the patient and submissive sufferers is a silent yet unanswerable refutation of this falsehood.
“In their misery and woe these sufferers lift their eyes to us, and ask us to extend to them such sympathy and assistance as will rescue them from total ruin.
“We are met here to-night to express these feelings—to declare that we cannot look unmoved upon the calamities of our Christian brethren, though separated from us by thousands of miles, and to recommend to Congress the adoption of such measures as, without departure from the well-settled policy of our government, will bring to them speedy and effectual deliverance, safety, and peace.”
Cardinal Gibbons’ letter sent to the meeting was as follows:
“I regret my inability to attend the meeting to protest against the alleged outrages recently committed in Armenia.
“The reports of these outrages have been published with harrowing details throughout the civilized world, and I am not aware that these circumstantial details have been successfully denied.
“The Christians of Armenia have been conspicuous among their Oriental co-religionists for their enlightened and progressive spirit.
“It is earnestly to be hoped that these alleged deeds of lawless violence will be thoroughly investigated in a calm and dispassionate spirit, so that the whole truth may be brought to light, and that outraged law may be vindicated. The recital of these inhuman cruelties is calculated to fill every generous heart with righteous indignation.
“The commercial and social ties that now bind together the human family quicken our sympathy for our suffering brethren, though separated from us by ocean and mountains, and this sympathy is deepened by the consideration that many of their countrymen have cast their lot among us, and that they and their persecuted brethren are united to us in the sacred bonds of a common Christian faith.
“It is gratifying to note, from recent publications, that a mixed commission, to make thorough investigation, has been appointed by the Sublime Porte.”
Dr. Cyrus Hamlin of Lexington, Mass., whose article on the outrages in Armenia, published in the “Congregationalist,” has been used by the Turkish government as a defense of the recent actions of the soldiers of the Porte, was asked to be present at the meeting, and was also asked to define his position as to the probable accuracy of the reports from Armenia, and as to the responsibility of the Sultan for the occurrence of the massacre.
His letter of reply was read at the meeting. He stated emphatically that he believed the accounts of the horrible atrocities to be in the main true, and added that he believed the Sultan of Turkey was perfectly cognizant of them, and should be held responsible for them.
Extracts were also read from a letter from some Congregational missionaries now near the seat of the massacres. The stories which they told, having been written nearly a month after the occurrences, showed that the earlier dispatches did not enlarge upon or exaggerate the horror of the scenes.
Much interest was manifested in the address of Mr. Filian, who feelingly described the pitiable condition of his country and his countrymen, and graphically portrayed the extent of the recent massacres, illustrating his talk with references to a large map of Turkey and Armenia.
“Armenia,” he said, “was mentioned in the Bible 700 years before Christ. It then had an area of 1,000,000 square miles, and it was in that land that the Garden of Eden was situated. Adam was created there, and within its confines, upon Mt. Ararat, the ark of Noah found a resting place after the flood. Armenia was named after Armen, the great-grandson of Japhet, one of the three sons of Noah. In the time of Christ the population of the country was 40,000,000. It was fully Christianized in 310 A.D., and was not only the first Christian nation of the earth, but the first civilized nation. And now, from all these glories, the people of Armenia have dwindled to 4,000,000.”
He concluded by citing the cause of the massacre as the desire of the Turks to check the rapid growth and improvement of the Armenians.
The following resolutions, which had been prepared by a committee composed of Rev. Dr. Conrad Clever, Rev. W. T. McKenney, Rev. Y. T. Tagg, and Rev. C. A. Fulton, were, after some discussion, passed:
“It has come to our knowledge through sources that cannot be disputed that an outrageous massacre of Armenians has been executed within the boundaries of the Turkish empire.
“These outrages have been committed by soldiers who are in the employ and under the direction of the Sultan at Constantinople.
“The thousands who have been murdered were Christians and peaceably disposed citizens.
“We, representatives of the citizens of Baltimore, prompted by motives of Christianity and common brotherhood, do call upon our government to use every power in its control, in harmony with that international law which governs nations in their relationship with each other, to aid these sufferers, and if possible to bring such influence to bear upon the Turkish government as will render justice to those who have been deprived of their rightful liberties as honest and industrious citizens of one of the recognized empires of the earth.”
It was also resolved that a committee of five, with Mr. John P. Poe chairman, should be appointed to present the resolutions to the president at the earliest opportunity, and “to gratefully acknowledge the steps already taken in the appointment of an American member of the committee of investigation.”
Mass Meeting In Dr. Greer’s Church [Report from N.Y. Tribune]
The interest which the American Christian feels in the Armenian question was shown by the large attendance at St. Bartholomew’s Church, last night, when a special service was held under the direction of Rev. Dr. David H. Greer. The object was to express indignation at Turkey’s acts of violence toward Armenians, and to enter a protest against a course of conduct which is not in keeping with the spirit of the nineteenth century.
The main body of the church was reserved for Armenians, of whom there were about 500 present.
After the processional hymn, “The Son of God Goes Forth,” had been given, the full choir sang the anthem, “I Will Mention the Loving Kindnesses of the Lord.”
Dr. Greer then spoke of the outrages committed last September in Armenia, the particulars of which had only recently become known. He said in part:
“The purpose of this meeting is not only to express sympathy with those who have suffered, and are suffering now from the atrocities and barbarous cruelties inflicted by Turkish soldiers, but for protesting against the further infliction of such atrocities. What has been done is done, and cannot be undone; but if it is possible to prevent in any measure a repetition of it in the future, it should become everyone who is not a Christian merely, but a man, to exert himself to the utmost in that direction.”
The speaker told of the untrustworthiness of reports from Turkey, and said that letters recently received from good sources give the following details:
Early in September some Kurds—the brigands of that region—robbed some Armenian villages of their flocks. The Armenians tried to recover their property, and about a dozen Kurds were killed. The authorities then telegraphed to the Sultan that the Armenians had killed some of the Sultan’s troops. The Sultan on hearing this ordered the army, infantry, and cavalry, to put down the rebellion; and not finding any rebellion to put down, they cleared the country so that none should occur in the future. A number of towns and villages—the estimate varying from twenty-four to forty-eight—were destroyed. Men, women, and children were put to the sword, and from six to ten thousand persons massacred in the district of Sassoun. As the result of this wholesale butchery and slaughter, an epidemic of cholera has broken out, which is still ravaging the country.
The Turk has always been a cruel force, and has practiced his cruelties hitherto with impunity. But he cannot do so now. An enlightened public opinion is to-day the governing power of the world. It is to that we have to trust to accomplish moral reforms, not only here, but everywhere. It is stronger than states; it is mightier than empires, and the most arbitrary and autocratic of despots feel its controlling force. It is the force that moves the world. If meetings similar to this are held in different parts of the country and public sentiment aroused, even the Turkish authorities will not be impervious to it.
Dr. Greer read a letter from Bishop Potter, in which he expressed his regret at being unable to be present at the meeting. “I am,” he wrote, “A Monroe-doctrine disciple, first, last, and all time, but I am a human being also, and while I think our competency as a nation to send a commissioner to Turkish-Armenia is open to question, I am quite clear that our duty as something else than savages is to protest against barbarism wherever it is to be found.”
The Rev. Abraham Johannan then spoke in Armenian, and was followed by the Rev. Dr. George H. McGrew, who, during years of missionary work in Armenia, had become familiar with the people and their customs, and gave vivid pictures of the hatred of the Turks toward any who acknowledges Christ as the Son of God.
MR. DEPEW’S SPEECH
Chauncey M. Depew was then introduced, and made an eloquent appeal for the Armenians. He said in part:
“The closing days of 1894 could not be passed more appropriately than in a protest by the Christian peoples of the world against the outrages upon humanity which will be the ever-living disgrace of the dying year. The industrial and financial disturbances which have convulsed the world, and caused such widespread distress during the last twelve months, are of temporary and passing importance compared with the merciless persecutions of a people because of their religious faith.
“It is a criticism upon the boastfulness of the nineteenth century that there should be any occasion for this meeting, but it is also a tribute to the spirit of the century that this meeting is held. There have been religious wars and persecutions, and bloody reprisals, in all ages of modern times. They arouse our indignation and our horror, but they excited little attention beyond the countries where they occurred from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. The distinguishing feature of our period is an international public opinion. It came with steam and electricity; it is the child of liberty of conscience. The Turkish government, founded by the sword of Islam, is a hierarchy and a creed, and not a government of liberty and law.”
Mr. Depew then described the disadvantages under which Christians dwell in Turkey, and how their standing before the law amounts to nothing.
“It was the atrocities incident to such institutions,” he said, “which aroused Europe and liberated Greece, which caused the other nations to stand still and risk the balance of power, while Russia freed Bulgaria, Roumania, and Servia, and made them practically independent states. It was to assure religious liberty that the treaty of Berlin recognized the autonomy of the states, and bound the Christian nations of Europe to protect the Christian people still within the Turkish dominion.”
After holding up to ridicule the European “peace” which is being maintained with continually growing armies, Mr. Depew said: “The Armenians are the New Englanders of the East. Their intellect, industry, and thrift make them prosperous.” He spoke of their being the oldest Christian people, and of the sacrifices which they have made and which they daily make in the cause of their faith. The horrible outrages committed against the peasants in Armenia were graphically described, and in this connection Mr. Depew said:
“The story of the attacks of these savage hordes and no less savage troops reads as if fourteenth-century conditions, repeated with all their horrors in 1894, were the means adopted by Providence to shame the civilized world into the performance of its duty, and to stir the Christian conscience to a sense of its neglect of it.”
Mr. Depew’s description of the heroism of the Armenian women who, rather than be captured by the Turks and suffer defilement, threw themselves into the ravine which surrounded their village, moved the audience deeply. He went on:
“The world has taken little note of this supreme tragedy. Fifty years from now, and some painter will become immortal by putting it upon canvas. A few years, and some novelist will mount to enduring fame by a romance, of which it will be the center. A few years, and some poet will embalm it in verse which will stand in literature alongside of the battle lyrics of Campbell, Macaulay, and Tennyson. Some orator will give to the narrative and its lesson a setting and an inspiration, so that from the stage of the school and the academy, from the lips of the boys and the girls, it will teach down the centuries the triumphs of patriotism and faith.
“Yesterday an old man of world-wide fame celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday. He had been the ruler of the British Empire—he is a private citizen. Among the utterances which he deemed appropriate, in reply to the congratulations which came to him from every land, was an indignant protest against the outrages against the Armenian Christians, and a demand upon the Christian people of the earth to compel their governments to call upon Turkey for a halt.
“This warning and appeal from the lips of Mr. Gladstone was flashed across continents and under oceans; it penetrated cabinets, it thundered in the ears of sovereigns, and through the great journals it thrilled every household and every church of every race and of every tongue.
“To-morrow—aye, to-day—Rosebery is consulting with the French Premier, and France and England are speaking to the Emperor of Germany, and the young Czar and the King of Italy, and the Emperor of Austria for united action, which will bring the Turk to mercy, peace, and liberty for the Armenian Christian without destroying the equilibrium of Europe.
“We seek no foreign alliances, we court no international complications, but we claim the right under the Fatherhood of God to demand for our brother and our sister in the distant East, law, justice, and the exercise of conscience.”
Dr. Greer then read resolutions expressing sympathy for the Armenians, and protesting against further outrages. The document closes as follows:
“Resolved, That we hereby extend our deepest sympathy to the Armenian people who, for their Christian faith, have repeatedly suffered unspeakable cruelties from their Turkish rulers and Kurdish neighbors;
“Resolved, That we hereby express to our Christian brethren in England and on the continent, who are endeavoring to investigate these outrages and to bring the perpetrators of them to justice, our hearty good-will and godspeed. We hope and believe that they will not pause until the extent of these atrocities is clearly ascertained and the responsibility for them finally fixed;
“Resolved, That in their efforts to provide against the recurrence of similar acts of oppression in the future, they shall receive our hearty and unwavering moral support;
“Resolved, That we earnestly call upon our Christian fellow-citizens everywhere throughout the country to organize and express an indignant and universal protest against the continuance of a state of affairs under which it is possible for women and children to be murdered simply because they are Christians.”
The resolutions were adopted by a rising vote, and the Rev. Dr. Tiffany, Archdeacon of New York, pronounced the benediction.
Very many such mass meetings were held in different cities of the United States. The U. S. Senate discussed the question and made similar resolutions. Mr. Call submitted the following as a substitute for the committee resolutions:
“’That humanity and religion, and the principles on which all civilization rests, demand that the civilized governments shall, by peaceful negotiations, or, if necessary, by force of arms, prevent and suppress the cruelties and massacres inflicted on the Armenian subjects of Turkey, by the establishment of a government of their own people, with such guarantees by the civilized powers of its authority and permanence as shall be adequate to that end.’”
All these resolutions, both of the people and the Senate, went to President Cleveland, but he has not seen fit to act on them. It would be absurd to impute this to weakness or unwillingness to decide a new question: Mr. Cleveland, whatever his limitations, has never lacked firmness or decision. Doubtless it is because he thinks this country ought not to break away from its old traditions and involve itself with European concerns. But this is not a European concern; it is European, Asiatic, American, the world’s; the concern of all humanity, not to say Christianity.
It concerns the lives and result of sixty years’ work of American missionaries; the government cannot wash its hands of all concern or responsibility for them, and alone of all great powers declare that its Christian citizens may not spread Christianity. And a great and rich nation has no more right to go off with its hands in its pockets, and declare that it has no obligation to the well-being of the world, than a great, rich man has a right to declare that he has no obligation to society. The rich man only keeps his money because there is a civilized society with laws and policemen to protect him in it; this nation only keeps at peace because other nations’ civilization and international law prevent a great combination to plunder it. It ought to accept its share of the general social duty—man the fire pumps, and do police work if needed; and not let a thug murder one of its companions—nay, relatives—before its eyes. It is bound as a Christian state not to let a bloody and sensual Mohammedan barbarism extinguish the light of a sister Christian community; it is bound as a nation of civilized beings not to let a horde of savages like its own Indians stamp out a civilized nation millions in number by horrors unspeakable, every atrocity of butchery, and rape, and torture that ever sprung from the cruelty or the lust of man. These things are as awful, as hideous to the Armenians as they would be to you if fifty thousand Indians overflowed Colorado and inflicted them on your American families. What would you feel and do if most of that State were turned into a burnt desolation, with here and there a cabin standing, Denver half obliterated and ten thousand of its inhabitants slaughtered in cold blood, hundreds impaled, or burnt, or flayed alive, the sisters and daughters of your own households by thousands violated over and over, thousands made slaves and concubines in the wigwams of dirty Indian brutes, and others wandering as naked beggars in the wintry snows about the ruins of their once happy homes? Yet this is a picture of what happened over part of Armenia; can you think it is of no concern to you? Ought Congress and the President to think it of no concern to them? Surely there are some things where national lines ought not to count.
Mr. Cleveland has been unfortunate in his advisers, partly chosen by himself, and partly inherited. Minister Terrill has taken the word of the Sultan and the palace clique, and made no attempt to investigate for himself; consequently he is full of respect for the Mohammedans, and scorn for the Armenians. Admiral Kirtland visited a few seaports, found the Armenians there working as usual (of course—the massacres were carried on where news could be intercepted and suppressed by the Turks), and reports that he didn’t find any evidence of outrages or disorders, and considers the stories false, or much exaggerated. And such lazy or prejudiced negatives as these are to be counted as outweighing the sworn official reports of consuls on the spot, and of pitiful letters from the survivors among the very victims themselves!
I have said that Mr. Cleveland does not lack firmness. He does not in internal policy, but he certainly did not show enough in the matter of these atrocities. The Sultan asked him to nominate a commissioner to join those of other powers in investigating the Sassoun massacres. He appointed Milo A. Jewett, consul at Sivas; but Mr. Jewett was much too keen and forcible a man for the Sultan, who refused to let him take his place on the commission. Mr. Cleveland did not insist, as he ought. The very fact that the Sultan did not want it, was the best of reasons for persisting.
Again, last year, the Senate voted to send two more consuls to Armenia; Mr. Cleveland appointed Messrs. Chilton and Hunter to go to Erzeroum and Harpoot respectively, but the Sultan refused to accept them, and they had to come back. To consent to this was wrong and weak; the American government should firmly declare its right to protect its own interests in its own way.
But the President will act if the American people will stand at his back. When will they send forth a mandate that these horrors must stop?