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Fifty Years in a Changing World

Extract from the book


Sir Valentine Chirol

Chirol was Foreign Correspondent for The Times then Director of Foreign Department for the newspaper from 1899. In 1902 he travelled overland to India, followed, in November 1903, by a tour of the Persian Gulf. His travelling continued until he retired from The Times on December 21st 1911. He subsequently was sent on a secret mission to the Balkans in 1915 by the Foreign Office. This wide-ranging and episodic account captures the flavour of his episodic life.

”. . . internal dissensions soon began to break out amongst the supporters of the new regime, and Abdul Hamid imagined that the hour was ripe for a counter-revolution. He was, however, rapidly undeceived, and though there was actually a few hours’ severe fighting in Constantinople itself between Albanian troops who remained loyal to him and the Salonika army that hurried to the rescue of the revolution, he was finally deposed on April 22, 1909, and removed a few days later to Salonika . . .“


Chapter VII


Whilst that was the condition of the Sultan's Asiatic dominions, European Turkey presented a somewhat different picture when in the autumn of 1880 I travelled through Thessaly into Southern Macedonia and across the Pindus into Epirus and Albania. There, too, there was abundant misrule and disaffection, but there was not the same universal dejection. There was everywhere the sense of great changes soon to come, and all seemed to be equally convinced that notwithstanding the respite that Disraeli had secured for the old Ottoman Empire at the Berlin Congress, Turkish domination was already doomed to disappear from Europe, save perhaps at Constantinople where it might derive continued immunity from the dividing jealousies of the great Powers. Even the Turks had few delusions and with their inborn fatalism they were beginning to turn their eyes once more on to their ancient homelands East of the Bosporus. European Turkey was for the most part richer and better cultivated and more prosperous than Asiatic Turkey, and the Christian races, generally in a large majority, were stirred by new expectations to work with a better will. The appetites of all had been merely whetted by the creation of a new Bulgaria, though on a much smaller scale than Russia had proposed in the Treaty of San Stefano, and the promises made to Greece in Berlin still awaited fulfilment. Thessaly was still Turkish and Larissa was still officially called Yeni Shehir. But the Turks themselves knew that annexation to Greece was imminent, and when I passed through the beautiful Vale of Tempe, a wild garden of broad spreading trees and flowering bushes between lofty cliffs of grey limestone and super-impendent forests, on the slopes of Thessalian Olympus the grey-bearded old dervish of Baba Osman's Tekke showed toe with many lamentations the sword and the Koran of its ancient founder. They had, he assured me, worked great wonders in far-away times, but Allah had withdrawn his strength from them, and he would soon have to take them down from the wall where they had so long hung as objects of veneration throughout the land and wander forthwith them in his old age to the distant countries whence his ancestors had crossed as conquerors into the land of Roum, i.e. the Byzantine Empire of the Greeks. When I asked him why he could not remain and finish his days in peace under Christian rule, he added: 'To me all men are sons of God; hut Baba Osman (the mercy of God be upon him!) lived in other days and his sword is still red with the Ghiaours' blood. It would not be well that it should fall into their hands.'

More uncertain than the fate of Thessaly was the fate of Macedonia. It had been restored to Turkish rule under the Herlin Treaty, but only to become the cockpit of internecine feuds between Greeks and Bulgars, who were already scheming for a larger share of the Turkish inheritance 'after the next war.' I had the good luck to be invited by a friendly old Turkish General, Selami Pasha, who was then Inspector of Cavalry in European Turkey, to accompany him on an official tour he was just about to undertake in the districts I was most anxious to visit. He belonged to one of the old Turkish families in Stambul; he had fought in the Crimea, where he had learnt to like the English, and he was an easygoing, elderly and rather portly gentleman, though still thoroughly at home in the saddle, who was waiting quietly for his impending retirement and preferred to be on pleasant terms with everybody, not excluding the Ghiaours, as, without at all intending to be offensive, he often called the Christians when talking to me. It was upon them he indeed preferred to quarter himself when he could during our tour, partly because that was his right as one of the ruling race on a military mission, and partly because it enabled him to enjoy his glass of the forbidden fruit, the country we crossed being a particularly good wine country. His staff was less forthcoming, but he knew how to keep them in order, and as neither he nor they knew anything of any language but their own, I had a first-rate opportunity of improving my Turkish which was only colloquial but already fairly fluent. It was altogether a very pleasant experience, riding day after day in the early autumn through fertile valleys, dotted with villages and orchards and fields of ripening maize, and on either side a background of deep blue mountains; or crossing here and there up and down slippery stairways of rock the lower ranges of intervening hills; and at night putting up in rough but by no means comfortless quarters with well-to-do farmers who were generally the agents of an absentee Turkish landlord, and once, even, at Kosana, with the local Greek bishop, with whom the Pasha exchanged rather ribald but good-humoured jokes all through the long and very succulent supper, washed down with the best Kosana wine. Anyone who judged Turkish rule by Selami Pasha's attitude towards all and sundry would have imagined it to be of a not unkindly patriarchal type. But it had other aspects, and as I was an Englishman and credited with immense influence because I was travelling with a Pasha, I was sometimes sought out, especially after dark or just as we were starting in the morning, by groups of unfortunate people who begged for my intervention to obtain the redress of cruel grievances which, if doubtless often exaggerated, were seldom baseless. The Pasha invariably washed his hands of them as he had, he declared, nothing to do with 'polities'; but he would freely confess to me when we were riding side by side - and he was never more confidential than during our rides - that the civil administration, and especially the judges, whom he detested, were 'all rotten,' and that now that the Turkish sword had lost its edge he saw very bad times coming for his country. He too was, however, a fatalist, and with a shrug of the shoulders and a pious reference to the will of Allah, he would dig his spurs into his steed, saying, 'Now let us have a bit of a gallop.' And the old cavalry officer did not much care what sort of ground it was for a gallop! From Larissa to beyond Kosana the population was almost wholly Greek with a small sprinkling of Turks; but as we approached Monastir we got into the debatable zone in which Greeks and Slavs hated each other almost more than they hated the Turks, and were already starting the fratricidal feuds which lasted into and survived the Balkan War and the Great War, and appear to have only now reached an end in so much of Macedonia as has been finally annexed to Greece through the settlement of an overwhelming majority of Greeks driven out of Asia Minor by the Turks. In 1880 a very brisk propaganda was being carried on in the Greek and the Slav interest respectively by school masters and priests and more ferociously by brigands who called themselves patriots and claimed to be the successors of the Klephts and Arnatoli of the War of Independence. Language was held to be the great test of nationality, and at Monastir both sides flooded me with arguments and statistics to show that in such-and-such a district the majority were Greeks because they spoke Greek, or inversely, that they were not Greeks though they spoke Greek, but were really Hellenophone Bulgars. In another district the majority might speak Bulgarian, but in reality were Bulgarophone Hellenes, and so on. The one redeeming feature was that schools were founded and multiplied by all these contending factions, though chiefly in order to bring up boys to speak the language, which would serve the political purpose of the conflicting factions. More drastic were the arguments used by the militant type of propagandists who called themselves Komitajis because they were generally in league with some secret political committee and, in spite of their often appalling cruelty, were therefore popular heroes with those whose national aspirations they were supposed to serve. Whilst I was at Monastir one of these bands swooped down on a Sunday morning on a small and prosperous village less than a day's march from the city.

The leader having posted most of his men outside the little church, he marched into it gorgeously attired and armed to the teeth, accompanied by an equally picturesque attendant and eight other men carrying Martini rifles. He attended the whole service devoutly and waited for the priest's final blessing before he turned on the panic-stricken congregation and announced that they were his prisoners, and must yield up eight hostages, men, women or children at his choice, whom he intended to carry off into the mountains until payment of the heavy fine he was about to impose upon them as a penalty for their 'lack of patriotism.' Resistance was impossible and the hostages were duly carried away. No help of course came from the Turkish authorities at Monastir and a couple of hundred Turkish liras were scraped together in the village, with which two of the villagers were despatched into the mountains. The brigand patriot laughed at such a paltry ransom, but to show that his captives were still safely alive he paraded them in turn before their friends, until, as the last one of the eight was passing, he swung his sword and sliced off the old man's head, which rolled at the feet of the luckless messengers of peace, who were his son and his nephew.

Crossing the Pindus range into Epirus a few weeks later, I found things still worse, for in that wild mountain country there had developed a regular guerilla warfare between Greeks and Turks. I had parted then from Selami Pasha and had joined company with an adventurous fellow-countryman, George Paget, who was in great favour with the Turks, as he had led the Pomak mountaineers of the Rhodope in their rising against the Russians towards the close of the Russo-Turkish War. The Turkish authorities were doubtless far more concerned for his safety than for mine, but anyhow they insisted upon giving us a large escort of troops with a Turkish major and a Turkish subaltern to escort us over the worst part of the journey. As these wretched fellows had had no pay for months, they naturally looked to us to recoup

them, and their zeal was consequently boundless - and expensive. We frequently heard occasional shots some distance in front or behind, and these, we were told, were exchanged between our covering parties and large bands of brigands who were after us for ransom. How far these stories were true we never quite got to know, but one night there was a moment when we certainly believed in them. We had pitched our one tent in a moderately broad highland valley where there was plenty of room for our escort to deploy in case of need. We woke up in the middle of the night to hear very brisk firing and wild shouting, and then suddenly our tent collapsed on to us and we were pinned down on our camp beds. It certainly seemed as if this time the enemy was on us. Paget had to rip up the canvas with a knife before we could get ourselves disentangled, but when we finally emerged, revolver in hand, to face the worst, we heard our servant, an Albanian, calling out that it had been a false alarm and that all was right. What had happened was that a herd of cattle had been scared by, or had scared, our own Turkish soldiers, who had opened fire blindly in the dark, and then the frightened animals had charged, equally blindly, through the open, and, butting up against our tent, had dragged its ropes and brought our canvas house about our ears. We could afford to laugh over that incident, but on the very next day's march we had incontestably gruesome evidence of the frightful lawlessness that was just then devastating that Turkish borderland. At one spot the bodies of five Turkish soldiers, trapped in a narrow gorge, were lying almost in a heap, and further on at short distances we came across two Greeks who had their throats cut from ear to ear. All this had evidently happened within the last day or two. Presently our track began to descend abruptly to the half-deserted town of Metzovo, and then by easier stages to Yanina, lying apparently in perfect peace on the further banks of its shining lake . . .

Chapter IX


I never spent so long a time again in Turkey as in 1880-81, but in the course of many subsequent visits I was able to watch the extraordinary success with which for more than twenty-five years Abdul Hamid continued to prosecute his two-fold policy of concentrating within his Palace the whole civil and military government of the Ottoman Empire, and of making Yeldiz at the same time a shining beacon to attract the devotion of all orthodox Mohammedans, outside as well as inside the Empire, to the Ottoman Caliphate. No less adroit was his resistance to outside pressure whenever it took the shape of renewed demands for administrative reforms in Turkey. He knew how to play with unerring skill on the jealousies within the concert of the European Powers, which he reduced to a concert des impuissances, even before William II threw his mantle over him and, during his spectacular tour to Syria in 1898, did homage to his august ally 'whom 300,000,000 Mohammedans throughout the world revere as their Caliph,' and obtained in return the promise of the Bagdad railway concession which was to carry German penetration right down to the Persian Gulf - and this at the time when the whole of Europe was horrified by the first Armenian massacres which initiated the long course of massacres and deportations that were to make Asia Minor safe for the ruling Turkish race. Nor did Abdul Hamid disdain the smaller arts of diplomacy. When he liked he could coo as gently as any sucking dove. He was full of delicate personal attentions for the diplomatic corps and not least for the ladies that belonged to it. He had at Yeldiz a theatre at which European performances were given for their benefit, and on more intimate occasions he would have his favourite daughter brought in to show off before them on the piano the 'up-to-date' education he was giving her. From the spacious grounds of Yeldiz, within which he had his own little railway train and a small steam launch on a miniature lake, he only emerged to conduct the Friday prayers at his own mosque close by, to which, between a double line of troops, he drove himself in a smart carriage and pair, whilst a long tail of Pashas struggled up the hill on foot behind him, puffing and perspiring in their full uniforms heavy with gold lace. Whilst the Sultan transacted all the more important business of the State through his secretariat at Yeldiz, composed more and more largely of Syrians and Albanians and Circassians and other nationalities, to the almost complete exclusion of the Turkish element, his Ministers, whether Turks or non-Turks, were reduced to the position of mere heads of departments who, when summoned to Yeldiz to take their orders, were given a particular route for them to follow between the Sublime Porte and the Palace, with a Palace official or spy on the box of each carriage to see that they did not deviate from it, or to report the reason why they did.

For a long time Abdul Hamid was able to boast that no dog could bark within his Empire without his hearing it. Of the ubiquity of his secret police I myself, on one occasion, had ample evidence. Since my journey in Thessaly and Macedonia with Selami Pasha in 1880 I had always kept in touch with him. Being in Constantinople for a few days in 1894, I called upon him in the quiet little house in which he was living since his retirement, many years previously, in Stambul. He was out and I left a message asking him to let me know if I should have a chance of finding him in on another day. I was staying with friends in the European quarter at Pera, and during dinner on the same evening I was told that a Turkish gentleman was outside who wished to speak to me. He would not give his name, but he had been sent by his father, upon whom I had called in the afternoon. I then learnt from him that a couple of hours after my visit Secret Service men had been sent to find out who Selami Pasha's European visitor had been and what was his business, and they had only retired after receiving a present in return for which they had sternly warned him 'not to do it again.' The Pasha, therefore, begged me not to go near his house, but as he was very anxious to see me, he proposed that we should meet at a secluded spot at Scutari on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus. We met accordingly, and whilst we were walking up and down amongst the cypresses of an old Turkish graveyard the old man poured out his troubles to me and called down the wrath of Heaven on the ruler who was steering Turkey to her ruin. 'You foreigners,' he said, 'do not know what he is doing. You do not know how he has built up his tyranny on the twin pillars of corruption and delation, setting brother against brother and son against father, so that there is barely anyone left whom an honest man can trust.' And in a final explosion of righteous indignation he pointed the finger of scorn in the direction of Yeldiz, which lay opposite to us on the European side of the Bosporus. 'Buyuk bir bokluk dir. It is a huge cesspool,' he exclaimed, and spat solemnly on the ground.

On another occasion I had a less tragic illustration of the curious network of spies with which Government officials were encompassed all over the Empire. Even ladies detached from Abdul Hamid's female establishments were employed to keep an eye on them. When I was once again in Syria, I called upon the Mutessarif of an important district of whom I had seen a good deal in Constantinople. He had been educated in France, and after some years in the public service, he had been sent into honourable exile from the capital because he was suspected of entertaining liberal opinions. Whilst I was talking to him I heard a little Turkish drum being vigorously beaten in an apartment on the other side of the courtyard, doubtless reserved for the ladies of the hareem. I suppose I showed some surprise at the insistence with which the drumming went on; for my friend jerked his finger in the direction from which it proceeded and leaning forward, whispered to me, 'Do you know what that means? His Imperial Majesty, being specially solicitous for my official welfare, has deigned to present me with a charming lady who played the drum in his private band of female musicians. She is in a temper to-day because I refused her something, and when she has a crise de nerfs she beats the drum until I give way. And how can I help giving way? For she is not only very attractive, but can pull the wires on which my fortunes depend at Yeldiz.'

There were, however, two weak points in Abdul Hamid's armour; a strong vein of superstition and a constant dread of assassination. Upon both no one played so successfully as a fakir - possibly the same one who had first read the youthful Abdul Hamid's star - who was for many years an intimate member of his household. He was a strange, repulsive-looking creature, almost a negro; but messages direct from Heaven dropped at auspicious moments into his favoured hands, and he alone could interpret them for the edification of his Imperial patron, whom they greatly impressed. Just as for the instruments of his most secret policy Abdul Hamid preferred non-Turks rather than Turks, so he chose for the Praetorian Guard that watched over his safety in Constantinople battalions recruited amongst the Circassians and Albanians and Kurds and Arabs of his Empire, rather than amongst full-blooded Turks. He was not in any case a fighter and trusted to his diplomatic manoeuvres to avoid the risk, which he wisely never underrated, of putting his throne to the hazard of a European war. What he did ultimately underrate were other dangers that eluded even his crafty vision. On the one hand the large numbers whom he interned or drove into exile on the merest suspicion of liberal opinions or of opposition of any kind to his imperious will, created in various parts of his Empire, as well as in the capitals of Western Europe, dangerous centres of disaffection prepared to join in a revolution, whilst on the other hand he gradually alienated the army, which, outside the Constantinople garrison, had no reason to love him, by the successive concessions which, with all his diplomacy, he was slowly driven to make at the expense of Turkish national pride to the combined pressure of some of the Powers. The situation in Macedonia had become intolerable, and if England, Russia and Austria were otherwise an ill-assorted team that seldom pulled heartily together, Abdul Hamid's obstinacy quailed before the immediate menace of war in the heart of the Balkans.

He had already sat too long on the safety valve. The explosion took place in July, 1908, at first in the Turkish Army Corps in Macedonia, where the leaders - amongst them Enver, who afterwards acquired a more unenviable notoriety - were ready to co-operate with a revolutionary group at Salonika that was the nucleus of the Committee of Union and Progress. Abdul Hamid saved his throne for a time by agreeing to resuscitate the Ottoman Constitution of 1876, and forming a new ministry with the aged Kiamil Pasha, a veteran reformer long in disgrace, as Grand Vizier, and two Christians, one a Greek and one an Armenian, as Ministers. I was in Constantinople when the freshly-elected Parliament assembled in a delirium of popular enthusiasm. Liberty and fraternity was the popular watchword. Mollahs and priests and deputations of all classes and creeds, Mohammedans, Christians and Jews, and processions of students and school children paraded the streets singing the new Hymn of the Constitution, stopping to cheer frantically every person who was supposed to have had a hand in, or to have been in sympathy with, the revolution. It was a glorious honeymoon, and few who witnessed it, myself included, were not swept for a time off their feet by such a spontaneous and unanimous demonstration of national faith, hope and charity. But the honeymoon did not last long, nor had Abdul Hamid's claws yet been thoroughly clipped. Many Young Turks were convinced that the revolution would never be safe so long as he was even nominally Sultan, but the more conservative shrank from deposing him; for where was there a successor who would curb their own hot-heads.

The next in succession to him was his younger brother Reshad, who had been for the last thirty years a prisoner of state in a palace on the Bosporus, with a Turkish man-of-war to see that he did not escape by water and a horde of spies to watch over all his movements and see that he did not escape by land. A Turkish friend arranged that I should pay him a visit, but the vigilance of Yeldiz had been so little relaxed that the visit had to be secret. I went to him after nightfall and wearing a fez, and in an old Palace brougham successfully borrowed on some pretence or other for the occasion. The poor old man's appearance and manner showed how much he had suffered, and not merely from physical confinement, during those thirty years. He himself pointed to the marks of thumb-screws on his hands, though he doubted whether his brother was directly responsible for them. The welcome he gave me was like that of a very shy schoolboy who wanted to convince me that he was really 'a good sort.' After coffee and tea and Turkish sweets, to which he himself helped me repeatedly, had been brought in by the only servant whom he professed to be able to trust, we were alone for over an hour. He told me I was the first foreigner with whom he had had speech for thirty years, and for the last ten years he had not been allowed to see any newspapers and only such book s as the Palace censorship permitted. Hehad known nothing of what was going on in the outside world or in Turkey except what his jailers chose to tell him. Hence his delight when he had heard that an Englishman was coming to visit him, for he had always liked the few Englishmen he had known; they had always told the truth, and would I, please, also tell him the truth about everything. He thereupon plied me with questions of every sort, and though his ignorance of everything that was of common knowledge outside his gilded prison was pathetic, his remarks were often quite sensible and showed a kindly disposition. I could certainly detect no traces of the drunkenness and depravity to which he was supposed to have succumbed. That Abdul Hamid, who always hesitated to inflict an actual death sentence, had had every temptation put in his way which would have shortened his life, I do not doubt, but he had been saved, as his friends declared and he himself incidentally confirmed, by the devotion of a daughter who had been left to bear him company, and perhaps also by his taste for poetry which had enabled him to kill many dreary hours by writing Turkish verses. He was clearly aware that he might be called upon at any moment to succeed his brother, though he prayed with all appearance of sincerity he should be spared so heavy a burden. 'I am a poor ignorant old man,' he said more than once, 'and have no experience of affairs.' And then he would add, 'I will be at any rate a good master to my people and give peace to them. God is my witness that all I ask for and all I desire is peace.' Great, however, was the fear that was still on him, for he would constantly look nervously round the room and, as if every wall might have ears, lean suddenly forward and sink his voice to a mere whisper. I could not but be moved to deep pity for him, but when I left him after he had thanked me over and over again for a visit which he assured me had put new life into him, I had to admit how utterly unequal he must prove to such a damnable inheritance as Abdul Hamid's, should it ever be forced upon his feeble shoulders.

Within less than a year it was. For internal dissensions soon began to break out amongst the supporters of the new regime, and Abdul Hamid imagined that the hour was ripe for a counter-revolution. He was, however, rapidly undeceived, and though there was actually a few hours' severe fighting in Constantinople itself between Albanian troops who remained loyal to him and the Salonika army that hurried to the rescue of the revolution, he was finally deposed on April 22, 1909, and removed a few days later to Salonika, the birthplace of the revolution, where he died in captivity during the first Balkan War just before the city was occupied by the Greek army. The unfortunate Reshad Effendi was proclaimed Sultan with the style of Mahomet V, but merely to be a figurehead, whilst all real power passed into the hands of the Committee of Union and Progress. In the early days they had talked abundantly about liberty and fraternity, but less about equality between the different races, which soon disappeared even more completely from their programme. The policy which they called Ottomanization was in effect directed to restore the supremacy of the ruling Turk, and the pre-eminence of the military caste, which Abdul Hamid's power had to some extent overshadowed. Pan-Islamism retired, but only temporarily, into the background. Germany quickly recovered her ascendancy, though under the first impact of the revolution it had been shaken by the compromising intimacy that had so long existed between William II and Abdul Hamid. After the first Balkan War German diplomacy was fain to seek British co-operation in rescuing the Ottoman Empire in Europe from the worst penalties of defeat, which were further lightened after Ferdinand of Bulgaria had precipitated a fratricidal struggle between the Balkan States for the redistribution of the spoils. When Germany succeeded in bringing Turkey into the Great War as her ally, the puppet Sultan was at once told to remember that he was Caliph, and to proclaim the Jehad, or Holy War, against the Allies. It produced scarcely any effect at the time, but I witnessed a few years later in India the aftermath of Hamidian Pan-Islamism in the frenzy of the Caliphate movement which for a time brought Indian Mohammedans and Hindus into line in a turbulent agitation that derived as much from hatred of British rule as from confidence in Mustapha Pasha's power to wield the sword of Islam and in Turkey's ability to act as the spear-head of Asia against Europe.

The old Ottoman Empire, which had lost the war, passed away when the men of Angora who had won the peace at Lausanne abolished the Sultanate and shortly afterwards the Caliphate. The new and lay republic boasts of having cast off the dead cerements of autocracy and theocracy, and of being intensely modern and democratic. It conforms unquestionably to the very latest type, for it excludes liberty, which Bolshevism regards as unhealthy for real democracy. It prefers a Dictator whose powers are in effect scarcely less than Abdul Hamid's. Mustapha Kemal is President of the Republic, President of the Grand National Assembly, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and he has his Tribunals of Independence which, like the Russian Cheka, mete out condign punishment to counter-revolutionaries, and Mr. Spender tells us that when he was recently at Angora his bedroom window at the hotel looked immediately on the place of public executions, though, fortunately for him, during the few days he was there, none happened to take place. He still tolerates a Turkish Parliament, but he has eliminated all opposition parties from it, and he has suppressed all free speech and all newspapers that do not give him the fullest support. Like the Bolshevists, he has set his face against religion, and he has abolished the tehkes and confiscated most of the revenues of the Wakf, which were held to be, in theory at least, sacred, and Mohammedan law is no longer administered in the law courts but only civil law, and justice seems to be as rarely done under the latter as under the former. Equality for all creeds has been proclaimed in principle and is fairly easy of practice as far as the Christians are concerned, as there are scarcely any left to-day in Turkey after a systematic process of extirpation by deportation and expulsion and massacre initiated by Abdul Hamid and carried out with even greater thoroughness during the Great War and the Greek War. He has abolished the turban and the fez, and the people who would have been shot five years ago for wearing European headgear are shot to-day for not wearing it. The women have discarded yashmak and feridji and go about unveiled and unashamed in European clothes. He has turned his back on Constantinople and proposes to convert the ramshackle and evil-smelling old city of Angora into a modern capital worthy of a modern republic. The highest Turkish officials who formerly showed little diligence in the transaction of business at the Sublime Porte now work quite a number of hours every day at their offices in Angora, but they spend a good part of the night jazzing and drinking hard, as a symbol, no doubt, of thorough modernity. Behind all this there may be a genuine belief that a complete and spectacular breach with the past can alone make a new Turkey, which must be judged not by the present stage of violent and sometimes grotesque transition but by future achievements which are still in the womb of time. The dead Ottoman Empire will be mourned by few who have seen as much of it as I happen to have done. But, though I am no pessimist, I fail as yet to foresee any great future for a race which at one time ruled Eastern and South-Eastern and even part of Central Europe up to the gates of Vienna, and many of the finest regions of Western Asia and Northern Africa, but ruled so abominably that it has dwindled into a petty Asiatic state with a diminishing population of barely nine millions, whose immediate destinies appear to be bound up with the life of a single man, be he even a born leader of men.