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the right the undulating land of Cassandra, with grassy, tree-studded shores, and windmills on the skyline testifying to the productiveness of the fields beyond; on the left the mountain ranges of Thessaly, with peaks whose names are known to every school-boy—Pelion to the south, then Ossa, and, near the head of the Gulf, a noble mountain mass towering over the lesser heights, with snowy summits ten thousand feet above the sea, Mount Olympus itself, the abode of the old gods. From the busy quay of Salonica one looks across the blue water at the snows of Olympus and a wonderful far panorama of hills and dales of classic Greece; and Salonica itself is a fair city to look upon from the sea, with its gleaming white houses and minarets, and dark groves of cypress sloping up to the ancient castle and fortifications. I need not recall here the great part which Thessalonika played in the old days when Persians, Athenians, Macedonians, Romans, Normans of Sicily, and Saracens, in succession conquered and held the famous port, the principal city between Rome and the East; its vicissitudes and many bloody sieges. Old Thessalonika with its Greek, Roman, and Byzantine ruins, relics of “sad, half-forgotten things and battles long ago,” the thronged city where St. Paul preached and worked with his hands among the Macedonian artisans, as the modern Salonica has once again
come to the forefront in the shaping of the world's history, and its citizens walk proudly because here dawned the liberty of the Ottomans, with its inspiring hopes. There is something about the atmosphere of Salonica which makes it seem a fitting place to be the birthplace of a great movement. One feels freer on its broad quay and in its clean, well-paved streets than in the narrow, ever muddy lanes which imprison one in Constantinople. The climate for the greater part of the year is most exhilarating, and the inhabitants of this white city, “ever delicately walking through most pellucid air,” seem more vivacious and brisk, and are said to be more enlightened, more industrious, and shrewder than those of the capital. Even under the tyranny and corruption of the old régime things were fairly well ordered in Salonica, and the municipal authorities did some good work, as the appearance of the streets shows, though they did appropriate, in the shape of irregular salaries, one half of the rates. Salonica, too, enjoyed a measure of liberty, even in those dark days, and men could do here many things which would have ensured their prompt punishment in Constantinople. For example, though meetings of any description were banned by the Palace, and a man could not invite two or three friends to dine with him in his house without permission, and though to be found guilty of being a Freemason was to incur the death
Spanish and Italian) flourished in Salonica; there were five Masonic Lodges in the town throughout the long years of despotism, though of course the Lodges had no fixed habitations, and the Masons used to meet in whatever house or perhaps lonely spot in the open country was at any time deemed to be the safest place. In Salonica, with its teeming population of Turks, Greeks, Jews, Albanians, Bulgarians and Levantines of many mixed races, speaking divers tongues, it is easy for men to assume disguises and difficult for spies to trace conspiracies. In no city does one come across a greater variety of race and picturesque costume than in these busy bazaars and streets—the Jews (who here number fifty thousand) who look as if they had stepped straight out of the Venice of Shakespeare's time, the men in gabardines, the women in robes such as were worn by the ancestors of these people when they were driven out of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella, still speaking among themselves a strange Spanish dialect—swaggering Albanians in their picturesque becoming national costume of which Byron sang—burly Bulgarian peasants— priests of all denominations, including Russian monks of neighbouring Mount Athos, emissaries from that holy promontory on which for one thousand years no woman or even animal of the female sex has been allowed to set foot, where ment in monasteries perched like the lamaseries of Tibet among the mountains, while in the wildest and most inaccessible spots anchorites have their hermitages and live in complete solitude after the manner of their predecessor, St. Anthony.
monks in their thousands dwell in ascetic retire
The fact that it was possible in this crowded city to escape observation and to organise secret societies made Salonica the natural centre of the Young Turk movement in Macedonia. Secret political organisation already existed there, and the Internal Organisations of the Bulgarian revolutionary party had had its head-quarters there since about 1895.
The secret society — Method of initiation — The Central Committee—Methods of the propaganda—The contre espionage—The part taken by the Turkish women in the revolution—How the army was won over to the cause—How the civil administration was undermined.
THUs, in the summer of 1906, the Young Turk movement crystallised into a secret society in Salonica, so well organised that it effected its purpose despite the universal espionage, its work, of course, being facilitated by the fact that in every part of the Empire the system of administration had become so hateful to the people that, outside the horde of spies, and those who prospered under the methods of the old régime, few men could be found so base as to betray the leaders to the authorities. It will make a wonderful story, when it is fully told, that of these men working in secret and danger, many losing their lives and still more their fortunes, but spreading their propaganda, becoming ever stronger, until at last, having secured the support of a great army and a powerful Church, they won liberty for Turkey by the almost bloodless revolution that has taken all Europe by surprise.
This secret society was to a large extent