15 OCTOBER 1859, Page 16


TEE SICK NAN OF THE BOSPHOBITS.. WHAT are the present condition and prospects of the Turkish ern- , pire ? May the Sick Man rally yet? or Millis malady beyond cure or palliation ? These are questions in which the interests of our own country are deeply concerned ; for if Turkey is to be saved by any extraneous aid it must be chiefly by that of England, and if she must perish, her fall willleadto European complications and pie- bably to war, from which England can by no means keep aloof. • But how are we to obtain trustworthy information respecting the pa- tient's case? Diplomatists never tell us the whole truth, and scarcely any part of the truth purely and simply as it is, uncoloured by the official medium through which it passes. The reports of travellers are in general as little to be relied on.Their oppor- tunities for observation are very limited, and their liability to draw false conclusions from premises fragmentary and ill under- stood, is indefinitely great. Ire& Effendi, the Turkish Minister of Justice, is described by Mr. Senior as one who would pass in Eu- rope for a remarkably well-informed man. He speaks French perfectly, has a respectable library containing many English books, and he reads them. Now, said this thoughtful and well- informed Turk, "to know this country you must do four things. First, you must learn the language; secondly, you must unlearn all your previous notions ; thirdly, you must seek the truth, not facts in support of preformed conclusions ; and lastly, you must stay among us for three or four years. Slade's are among the best works on Turkey, and Urquhart's, favourable as he is tons, are among the worst ; he is an advocate, not a critic. But you must trust none of them." If Mr. Senior has not followed the letter of this advice, he has scrupulously complied with its spirit in the eoinposition of his "Journal." He propounds no theories of his own, lays down no general propositions, but appears, as it were, in the character of a commissioner to take evidence. He conversed with many persons of various political tendencies, either natives or foreigners long resident in the country,'whose intelligence and experience made their opinions worth!' re- cording • and his own part in these interviews was limited to putting such questions as should elicit the fullest. and most accurate information. The "Journal" consists almost wholly of these conversations faithfully reported, and verified whenever possible by being submitted to the interlocutors them- selves. "The reader will therefore find, on many points, great difference of opinion. On a few, such as the rapid decline of the Ottoman empire in wealth and in population, the corruption of its officials, and the mischief done to it by diplomatic interference, he will find nearly unanimity." The resources of Turkey are enormous, but all accounts agree that they remain comparatively useless for want of roads. "We have not in Turkey a single real road, except a bit about five miles long which the French made for us.' This is the testimony of Mehmet Kuprisli Pasha, formerly ambassador in London. Except in the immediate neighbourhood of the towns the peasant cannot carry his produce to market, and therefore he produces only for his own consumption. He is truly a proletaire ; he contributes to the population of the country, but not to its wealth. Our author asked Herr Spiegelthal, Prussian Consul at Smyrna, how much of Asia Minor he supposed to be unoulti- vated.

"Ninety-nine hundredths," he answered ; "if you go from hence towards Magnesia, you will ride ten hours through fine land without seeing a human habitation. But such is the fertility of the hundredth part which is culti- vated, that if there were roads its produce would influence sensibly the mar- kets of Europe. A few years ago the crop of madder failed in the south of France. The export from Smyrna doubled, and in a great measure supplied the loss. If we had roads we should drive the French madder out of the market."

For the last twenty years the English residents have beeiPim- ploring the government to make roads. The government pro- mises, plans, and levies taxes for the purpose ; but the money is embezzled and the roads are never made. Talking with Mr. Hanson, Mr. Senior suggested that individuals or a company might be allowed to make roads, and repay themselves by tolls.

"If an English company," he said, "proposed to do so, M. Thouvenel would warn the government of the danger of letting foreigners acquire a new footing in the country. If it were a French scheme, the English minister, whoever he were, would protest against it. The Turks wish for nothing but to be let alone, and to be allowed to go quietly to ruin. The embassies all join in abusing them for their inactivity ; but as soon as one foreign minister proposes anything that is specific and practical, the others combine to oppose it."

This touches upon one main item in the complication of dis- orders under which the patient is suffering. An Englishman, who has for many years held a high rank in the Turkish service, de- clares that-

" Turkey is like the man in Moliere, who died of three physicians and two apothecaries. She is the seat of war in which seventeen embassies, lwre17 one attacking every other, fight their battles at her expense. When Mesabi is in power, France tries to s • il his policy, when Fund or Mus- tapha succeeds him, England opposes . Austria and Russia have each their proteges and their victims. For one friend, every minister has sixteen enemies, all intriguing against him, rousing against him the suspicions of his master, getting him whispered against in the Harem, discrediting his reforms, preventing their being tried, or striving to defeat them when they are tried. Leave her quiet for ten years, and she will, at least to some ex- tent, reform herself. But the bullying, and perverseness, and mischief- making of the ambassadors, make everything that is European distasteful to

• A Journal kept in Turkey and Greece in the Autumn 01457 and the beginning of 18,58. By Nassau W. Senior, Esq. Published by Longman and Co.

her. They defeat their object. We wish to promote the immigration of into nto Turkey, and we are right in wishing it. But every Christian immigrant, protected by his capitulations and by his consul, becomes a little tyrant ; he insults the Turks, breaks their laws, invokes his consul, and ' defies them. You must not suppose that the European proteges, except perhaps the Greeks, are fair samples of the people of their respective coun- tries. • They are the refuse of their fellow-subjects. The English proteges are Ionians and Maltese ; the French are Arabs and Cabyles ; the Austrian are Croats and Dalmatians."

" A Maltese or an Ionian, or indeed any foreigner," says Mr. Hornby, the judge of the English Consular Court, " if he is sup- ported by his ambassador, may do what he likes in Turkey." A Maltese, for instance, may commit murder with impunity if the victim is not a Turk, for in that case he will be sent to Malta for trial. The witnesses will not easily be induced to accompany him, and in any ease the Maltese jury will probably acquit the prisoner. Per contra if a Turk murder a foreigner he will be tried by his own countrymen, and have an equally good chance of escaping.

The Englishman in the Turkish service who has described for us the external source of the Sick Man's disease, fears that he will not resist it for many years, though he might struggle on against his internal diseases. Being asked what are the principal of these,—

" The great and permanent one," he answered, "is the diminution of the number of Turks, both positively and as compared with other Mussulmen, and still more as compared with the Greeks. The Turk is proud and idle ; he is not a producer ; he can multiply only by forcing subject races to work for him ; his women, weakened by their unnatural life and by premature marriage, are not prolific. The whole burden of military service falls on him, and the losses of a war, with Turkish hospitals, and a Turkish com- misariat, are enormous. I have passed through whole districts in which I saw only women and old men."

"But now," I said, "the Rayahs are to take their turn in military ser- vice."

"The ambassadors," said T. II., "made poor Resehid insert that clause in the Hatt-i-Humeyoon. They claimed for the Rayahs the honour and the advantage of joining in the defence of the country ; but the Rayahs protest against their new privilege. They are not fond of fighting, still less of fighting for Turks ; and they fear that the Turks will corrupt the faith and the morals of their children. The Turks, too, have had a warning from India. They see the danger of putting arms into the hands of a sub- ject race. The only result is that instead of the Harateh, the Rayahs pay a new and larger tax to be excused from service. Under the influence of these causes," he continued, "the Turks are dying out, gradually in Asia, but quickly in European Turkey." "And what," I asked, "is their next great disease ? " "I was dining the other day," he answered, "with several Pashas. 'What,' they said, is the principal change which you have observed du- ring the thirty years that you have known Turkey?' "'The great increase,' I answered, of corruption.' " I am not surprised,' said one of them, at your answer,' and the rest assented.

"This is bad, not only as a cause of evil, but as a sign. It shows that the higher classes have lost their self-respect; that they despair of the future, and are anxious merely to get the means of immediate employment. Then there is the pride of ignorance, the recklessness of the Mussulman character, the absence of education in their public men, the carelessness with which they are selected, their want of confidence in, one another, their constant intrigues and quarrels; and I think these are diseases enough to make the man very sick, though, if heyere left to himself, he might drag on for a long time."

In consequence of the univercal corruption many of the out- lying pashalics are encumbrances to the government instead of being a source of revenue. One. of Mr. Senior's acquaintances had. been intimate with the defterdar, or finance minister of Tripoli, who showed him two books, one of them kept by the minister for his own use, and the other for transmission to the Turkish go- vernment. The former contained a faithful account of income, in the latter every sum was reduced to one half, and thus the defterdar kept back 125,0001. every year, and paid over to the Turkish Government an equal sum which was not sufficient to pay the local expenses. Out of the moiety of which he defrauded the imperial exchequer he probably did not retain for himself more than ,50,000l.; the rest he had to distribute as hush-money among the other officials.

"I should like," he said to Mr. Senior's informant, " to be honest, strange as such conduct would be in this country. But I could not retain my place for a month if I did not bribe all the people around me, and it certain portion of the people at Constantinople. Those bribes are what they live on. If I were to discontinue them I should soon be calumniated, dismissed, plun- dered, perhaps bastinadoed. Then I must make a little purse for the time when Ishall lose my office. I shall have to bribe in order to get another. How could I do all this out of my salary ? "

From another informant, an Englishman, Mr. Senior had a frightful account of the misgovernment of Turkish Armenia.

"It is such," he said, "that the people are wishing for the Russians. A new Pasha, and there is one every three or four gears, sends word of his arrival to all the subordinate local officers. This is a notice to all office holders to be prepared with their bribes, and to all office hunters to be pre- pared to outbribe them."

"And how," I said, " do those who have bribed him get back their money ? "

" By increasing the taxation," he answered, "by not accounting for the public receipts, by winking at breaches of quarantine laws, or non-payment of custom-house dues, by selling justice, and through the corvees. The last is a fertile source of profit. The INtsba is making a progress ; the villages in his line have to furnish camels and horses ; the Nam% requires twice as many, or five times as many, as are really wanted, and is bribed to reduce his demand. If the village is rich and bribes highly it furnishes none, and the burden falls on those who cannot buy themselves off; they are forced to travel with their beasts for ten or for twenty days, unpaid, carrying their own food and that of their beasts, or plundering it, and are discharged per- haps 100 miles from home ; their cattle and themselves lame and worn out. The amount of tyranny may be inferred from the depopulation. You see vast districts without an inhabitant, in which are the traces of a large and civilized people, great works for irrigation now in ruins, and constant re- mains of deserted towns. There i8 a city near the frontier with high walls

and large stone houses, now absolutely uninhabited ; it had once 60,000 in- habitants. There is not a palace on the Bosphorus that has not decimated the inhabitants of a province. "Besides the wholesale robbery of the great Turks, there is the petty o - pression of the little Turks. One of them, with his belt full of piste walks up to a Rayah's house. He calls out the master, who perhaps 111 the head man of the village, and bids him hold his horse. He walks in, sits down, and makes the women light his pipe. The girls all run away, and i

hide n the outhouses, or among the neighbours. When he has finished his pipe, he asks for a fowl. He is told that there are none. A few blows bring one out, a few more produce bread and wine. What is the source of this in- solence? That he is armed, and that he is the only person in the village who is so."

"Are the Rayahs," I said, "forbidden to wear arms ?" "Forbidden," he answered, "not only to wear them, but to possess them. The Turks from time to time search the houses of the Rayahs, and if they find arms, seize them, and beat the householders. If the Rayahs were armed, or the Turks were disarmed, there would be none of this petty op- pression. The Turkish Government lost, two years ago, a noble opportunity of producing equality among its different races. Before it disbanded its army, it might have employed it to disarm the Turkish population ; now it is too late."

"Could the government," I asked, "allow the Rayahs to wear arms ?" "That," ho answered, "would be giving the signal for civil war."

The case seems almost desperate. If the doctors are doing their best to kill the patient, and cannot be induced to let him alone, what hope is there for him ? If indeed a new Sultan were to arise, who was also a man of genius, he might save the perishing em- pire; but where is the political mathematician who shall tell us what may be the infinitesimal value of that contingency ?