5 OCTOBER 1878, Page 1

It is difficult to pity a Sultan, but torture should

not be in flitted even on Abdul Hamid. That unfortunate Prince, who only wants to be let alone, and to scrape up what

revenue he may, and to spend it happily on the Seraglio —buying twelve new Circassians at once in Batoum, just before the surrender—is exposed just now to a new and ghastly form of oppression. Sir Austen Layard is aware that if he cannot secure some rights or other in Asia Minor, his failure will be manifest to the British public, and is accord- ingly threatening the Pashas and their master as no Russian Ambassador ever did. He actually demanded and obtained from the Sultan on Tuesday an interview of five hours ! If any one will just picture to himself the gentle but weak and irascible monarch, a thorough Asiatic, bred in the Seraglio, accustomed to be amused, and ignorant as a fish, as he endured Sir Austen Layard, objur- gating, expostulating, and arguing from noon till five, with no interval for repose, he will conceive of a misery such as Dante never imagined and Gustave Dor6 never sketched. No wonder the Sultan dreams of a Russian alliance, and listens to advisers who tell him to reject English offers unconditionally, and reign as best he can, with some chance of occasional respite from the exhausting boredom of the West. Sydney Smith's horrible suggestion of being preached to death by wild curates is a joke to this, which would of itself explain the sort of irritated horror with which the British Embassy begins to be regarded in -Constantinople.