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but, in the first place, these dogs are valuable citizens, for they act both as scavengers and police, keeping the streets free from garbage and filth, and serving to intimidate nightly depredators. Secondly, would it not be more to the credit of the Turks, if the bread which is thrown to these dogs were given to some of the starving Christian families around them; and would not that be the employment of their kindness of heart, did it really exist ? For want and destitution are rife and open to view ; yet that species of charity is far from being prevalent.
This phlegmatic temperament encloses a latent fire of energy, and is possessed of a degree of elasticity, a strong spring of passion, which, when roused, becomes ungovernable. The Turk, in whom this combination exists, is consequently addicted to excess in everything. His indolence, when forced into action, gives place to inordinate exercise ; his temperance falls into unbridled intoxication when his habitual sobriety is once violated; his inert sedateness becomes impetuous fury when he is provoked ; and his cold-blooded voluptuousness, which betrays no symptom of real attachment, condemns without remorse the wife of his bosom to the death of a cat, when suspicion fires his implacable jealousy. In fact, the Turkish character in this respect is aptly illustrated by the old adage, “ It never rains but it pours.”
When the lurking rancour of the Turks against the Greeks is excited into open violence, whatever may have been its first cause, it invariably falls into the old subject of contention, which is the difference of religion. The talented and munificent Philhellene, General Gordon of Cairness, who not only fought in the Greek revolution, but also wrote its history, says, in his excellent work, that “The insolent superiority assumed by the Turks was the more galling that it arose entirely out of a principle of fanatical intolerance, which renders Mussulman superiority singularly bitter and odious to people of a different faith.” Indeed, when persecution on the part of the Mahometans becomes active and wholesale, it generally takes religion for its pretext. Then does the Christian trust in vain to his wonted humility and cunning; and nothing can save him but the immediate abandonment of the Cross for the Crescent. Property, family, honour, and life, are at once laid low before the fury of the spoiler, which
lashed into frenzy by its own consummation. Apostacy alone diverts the attacks of fanaticism; and is it not then extraordinary that there should still remain a single Christian in Turkey? For such fits of raving bigotry are not rare when the Turk becomes a wild beast, and is satiated only by blood. Let it not, therefore, be wondered at that the Greeks should have become what they are, but rather let them be admired for dying as martyrs, or living true to the Cross, by whatever means that life, and that faith, may
preserved to them.
Uskup, and the surrounding villages, situated in the heart of European Turkey, were, only four years ago, the scene of a most atrocious persecution of the Christians. Armed bands of infuriated Mussulmen rushed about in all direetions, torturing and slaughtering those of both sexes and all ages who refused to embrace Islamism. To save their lives, some
fell victims to the barbarous mob; others survived, mutilated and crippled; to find themselves the only living members of their families, which had been inhumanly butchered. Such horrors in the present day prove the fallacy of the idea that the Mahometans have
emerged from their primitive state of ferocity and barbarism. This erroneous notion seems to have arisen from the fact that most travellers judge of the state of Turkey by that of Constantinople ; and, from all appearances, there cannot exist a more deceptive criterion, for no one who has been in contact with the inhabitants of the provinces can shut his eyes to the conviction that the Mussulman is now as bad, if not worse,
than he ever was. Circumstances have of late assimilated to a certain degree the characteristic features of Constantinople to those of the other great mercantile towns of the Mediterranean, and not only a certain semblance of modernisation
have imparted to the casual observer a more favourable than just opinion of its inhabitants, but also the comparison with the large and condensed communities of other countries may have produced an impression to their advantage ; for the vices and corruptions which seem to be the natural growth of all large cities and commercial seaports have but little hold upon the Turkish disposition, and this redeeming quality is more conspicuous in the capital than in the provinces, where their true character, displaying itself more obviously, is less difficult of being discerned.
The atrocities of Uskup called forth the most vigorous remonstrances on the part of the representatives of the great powers of Europe at Constantinople, and they were followed by a nominal admission by the Divan of the principle of religious tolerance : but even supposing that this declaration were acted up to, there would still remain numberless pretexts for persecution in the reciprocal social attitude of the different classes of the population. Were these changed the level would be obtained; and although the Greeks are undoubtedly superior to the Turks, both in numbers and in intrinsic worth, still the latter would not be altogether useless in the state as they now are. The Turks, from their innate strength and vigour of character, might become valuable citizens and subjects, were they deprived of their unmerited privileges and supremacy over the other classes of the population. They possess, indeed, a species of idiosyncracy which is all their own; and this quality it was which raised them to greatness. It should be amply taken into consideration in the fitting together and adjustment of the different component parts of a new state of matters, because it is a powerful lever, which may shake the very basis of its own policy, as it has that of foreign states. This it was which brought Islam into Europe, sword in hand, against the élite of Christendom, and kept their banners and horse-tails triumphantly flying until they were lowered under the walls of Vienna and Malta. The prestige of their name thus became terrible in Europe, whilst it was impossible to withhold all feeling of respect from such a people.
Fear, therefore, probably first dictated the admiration which was bestowed
the Turks three or four centuries back; but now that their history seems to be forgotten, even by themselves, there certainly remains little either to admire or to dread. Moreover, if the accounts given of them by the older authors, who still wrote under that influence, were entirely laid aside, it is probable that opinions would not now differ so much on the subject of the reputation they merit.
Yet, as regards the politics of Europe, the Crescent shines in its wane nearly as brightly as it did in its ascendant. Its very impotence has procured it friends, and these supporters lavish praise on it, in order to justify
its continued existence as a power. Were the integrity and statu quo of Turkey no longer necessary to European cabinets, the vices and debility of the nation, and of their government, would soon be discovered and acknowledged; for state reasons, as they are called, bring conviction with wonderful rapidity.
The fact is simply this : for the present, the sultan happens to be the most convenient holder of Constantinople; therefore he is a great potentate, ruling a powerful people, endowed with virtues and rights innumerable; his tottering throne must be propped up, and his sceptre, too weighty now for his feeble grasp, must be supported for him, even at the expense and trouble of an occasional expedition to chastise a refractory pasha and to drive him back from Syria to Egypt. But this policy is no doubt better than that of a neighbouring government, which promised protection to the said pasha, and, when the time came that it was required, withdrew, and left him to receive a severe lesson as to the value of his patron's friendship, and the power of his Ottoman master's ally. The conduct of England in her decided support of Turkey at least suggests the hope, that, when that support shall cease to be necessary or politic, the same straightforward determination will be displayed.
The decline and present abasement of this once great empire is principally owing to the check on all progress which is effected by its civil and religious institutions. These were not placed in so great a contrast as they now are with those of Europe when the Turkish invasion first appeared on its eastern horizon ; but the western nations have made immeasurable strides of improvement, while the invader has remained the same : hence has arisen a complete incompatibility with the advanced state of the rest of Europe ; requiring, consequently, extraneous means to keep it in existence. Three hundred years ago, for instance, the Osmanli was a far more civilised and enlightened being than the rude Muscovite of those days; but the effects of this stationary tendency of the institutions of the one, and the rapid progress of those of the other, have rendered the modern Russian greatly superior to the Turk. Again, the inherent nature of the civil and religious principles of Mahometanism is favourable to conquest, while it is hostile to the growth of concentrated power; therefore, as long as the Turks kept advancing, they were strong and mighty; but when they were compelled to halt, and to set about consolidating their empire, it fell back to a state of debility and decay. Thornton remarks of absolute governments, that “ the evils, and by no means the least of those, necessarily accompanying despotism is, that it represses the spring of improvement which there is in society. Whatever talents may have been called forth during the struggle which despotism was making to establish its dominion, become stationary at best, or more probably retrograde, when once it has perfected its plan, and stretched itself out to repose on the summit of its power."
In military conquest, therefore, the Ottoman despotism was great and powerful, but in stationary peace it has become weak and decrepit.
When the Turks renounced the project of further invasions, the noble stimulus of glory gave place to the debasing lust of gain : avarice became what territorial ambition had been—the mode of outbreak which their fitful energy assumed—and it acted as the safety-valve by which the dangerous vapours of the Turkish orgasm were carried off. The reaction
of their phlegm must of necessity plunge them into excess of some kind: formerly it found vent in wholesale conquest, afterwards it attacked the substance of their serfs; and instead of usurping kingdoms and empires, as they did in the time of their glory, they seized private wealth and fortunes in this their diminished field of oppression. Thus, the power of plundering their inferior, in order to bribe their superior, became the sole object of desire in every grade of the sliding scale of petty tyrants
-from the lordly pasha to the paltry tshaoush. Such is the fall of the once great successors of the still greater Romans; and, as far as the absolute domination of the Turks is concerned, Constantinople may become the tomb of the second empire, as Byzantium was of the first.
It is a favourite theory with some who have lived in those countries, that their population will regenerate itself without any previous social or religious change. They think that the inequalities which appear on the surface of the relative position of its different parts will gradually wear down; and that the rough edges, to use a homely metaphor, will be rubbed off in the course of time. The Greeks and the Turks would then, according to this idea, live happily together in the mean time, and ultimately raise themselves to the standard of civilisation of other countries. To this doctrine may be traced many of the erroneous ideas which dictate our present policy with regard to Turkey; and it has been the origin of the inferiority of our diplomacy there, when contrasted with that of the other great powers, which openly repudiate this notion as an evident fallacy.
It may be asked how similar expectations can be placed on the mere effects of time alone, when the experience of nearly four centuries proves that they have produced a diametrically opposite result. The longer the Greeks and Turks have lived together, the less have they liked each other. Again, the blame of the oppression under which the Christians of Turkey now groan is even imputed by these theorists to the slave, and not to the master; and the Turks themselves are also fond of asserting this paradox. The fable of the wolf which accused the lamb of disturbing the clearness of the water, when the latter was drinking farther down the stream, is here realised. The effect is taken for the cause ; and if the Greek cheats the Turk, it is because the latter desires to rob him of his share. The water which the lamb drinks would be pure enough if the wolf did not trouble it higher up the stream. It is said, that if the Greek would leave off the attempts to overreach his rulers, they might then come to a perfect understanding together, and, to use the cant expression of some politicians, finally amalgamate. The spontaneous regeneration of the Turks, and their amalgamation with the Greeks under the present system, are two chimeras which can only assume bodily existence on the conditions of a change of religion, a total renunciation of old prejudices, and complete oblivion of their own history, which could as reasonably be expected as the fusion of the southern states of North America with their negro slaves.
By such a consummation the condition of the latter would, no doubt, be bettered, as that of the Greeks might also be in becoming thus analgamated with the Turks ; but it cannot for a moment be seriously supposed by any one sufficiently acquainted with the nature of the two races, as they now exist in the provinces, that such an event could ever take place, unless a previous reformation of the social compact between
them is effected, and unless a real and practical religious tolerance is established.
How can the Turks be regenerated as long as the Koran remains their exclusive law ? Their religious faith, their social system, and their code of laws, all spring from the same source; and the current of any one of these cannot be altered unless the whole stream is diverted. Nevertheless, in doing so, somewhat that is good might be lost with what is evil ; for there are many principles of Mahometanism which give weight and stability both to government and to morals. It is not to be desired that there should be an absolutely radical change in all these, some of which it would be profitable to admit in the purest and wisest legislature. Such, for instance, are its prohibitions against over-indulgence in wine, the injunction as to ablutions and cleanliness, the strict observance of the forms of worship, the encouragement of filial piety, the illegality of usury, and the obligatiori which every Mussulman is under to learn some handicraft, whatever may be his wealth or birth ; as the late sultan Mach moud, for instance, was a maker of toothpicks, which he was in the habit of selling for the benefit of the indigent; and besides these, there are other similar precepts of Islamism which it would be a pity to see altered. An accommodation, therefore, of the institutions of the one people to those of the other would suffice; and an examination of the Turkish sacred book will prove that such an issue is far from being impossible.
There is no subject connected with the East on which greater errors prevail among Europeans than that of Mahometanism, the real spirit of which is altogether mistaken. The Koran preaches justification by faith, and not by works, although faith is diverted from the true object ; it acknowledges our gospels to be inspired writings, and Jesus Christ to be the spirit of God, and the Messiah of the Jews; it admits also that he is the appointed Judge of mankind,—including even Mahomet himself,— and the future head of a universal religion, as well as that he was born of a virgin. Mahomet tried to prove that he was the Paraclete, or Comforter, whom Jesus had promised to his disciples, and asserted that he was sent to reveal what the Son of God had omitted, because they could not bear the whole truth,” as stated in St. John's Gospel.
These facts sufficiently prove the Jewish and Christian derivation of Mahometanism, unauthorised and inconsistent as the superstructure is; and, indeed, according to a catechism printed at Constantinople, the Mussulman's creed commences with the following words : " I believe in the books which have been delivered from heaven, and the prophets. In this manner was the Pentateuch given to Moses, the Psalter to David,
the Gospel to Jesus, and the Koran to Mahomet.” This view of the subject is not generally appreciated, however undeniable it may be. Could the last article of their belief be suppressed, statesmen might then look for amalgamation between the Turks and the Greeks; and were the Turks to renounce their Prophet, and further adopt the spirit of Christianity, as well as what they now admit of its doctrines, the only object might, and probably would, be accomplished. What is contradictory being then abrogated, its precepts might be inculcated, considering that its authenticity is already allowed. The object would therefore be to attempt to modify, if it be not possible completely to abolish, those of the Prophet's dogmas which militate against Christianity; and these,