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declared himself in favour of the Constitution, there remained no doubt in their minds that they were acting as their creed commanded in following the lead of their young officers. As a matter of fact, it was not difficult to show that Abdul Hamid, to quote from Mr. Hamil Halid's book, The Diary of a Young Turk, was “the worst enemy of Islam, as no Moslem ruler has ever brought by his misdeeds so much shame upon the faith as he has. Any one who has observed his career closely, knows that his actions are diametrically opposed to the principles of the Mussulman law and creed.” Moreover, the Turkish soldier, like the soldiers in other armies and the majority of healthy young men, can be appealed to through his stomach, and he naturally acquired an affection for and confidence in these majors, captains and lieutenants of the new school who sympathised with him, pitied his wretched condition, and with their own money, or the Committee funds, supplemented his miserable rations and supplied him with comforts. Of the methods of the propaganda in Macedonia we learn a good deal from the published letters of Major Niazi Bey, the officer who first raised the standard of revolt. He explains how, gradually, the young officers, hitherto estranged from one another by the mutual suspicions engendered by the system of espionage, were emboldened by the patriotic hopes held up before them, and through the possession of a common secret became as a band of brothers, mutual confidence and affection increasing daily; and how even those who had not been made members of the secret Society, and knew not its mysteries, were convinced by their affiliated comrades that the Committee was powerful and just, and was working in the sacred name of liberty for the integrity of the fatherland; and so sympathised heart and soul with the movement, and were in readiness to co-operate with the revolutionaries. In the meanwhile the Committee was steadily undermining the entire civil as well as military administration of the Empire. It acted, as a member of the association put it to me, like a well-ordered but secret Government. It kept books in which were inscribed the names of all the higher Government officials, with particulars as to their careers and habits—their dossiers, in short. Some of the enlightened and right-minded of these officials had been gained over to the cause; the others were closely watched, and whether they were Valis, Inspectors General, or Governors of districts, or what not, their moral influence was destroyed, and their authority was made impotent by the fact that their subordinates, on whom they had to rely for the execution of their wishes, had almost without exception become adherents of the Committee.
How the revolution was precipitated—The Committee's manifesto to the Great Powers—The Reval Meeting— Efforts of the Palace to crush the revolutionary movement—The Spy Commission—The Committee condemns to death the agents of the Palace—Nazim Bey attempts to unearth the secret Committee—Ismail Pasha's Commission—An army is despatched from Asia Minor.
It had been calculated by the Young Turks that the time would not be ripe for their great coup until the autumn of 1909, but the menace of further foreign intervention in Macedonia and an active campaign against the Committee, which was opened by the Palace at the beginning of 1908, precipitated the revolt. The propaganda had been spreading rapidly, the movement had been prospering, when suddenly the prospect darkened, and there were happenings that threatened even to break up the Society and shatter the hopes of the reformers. It became known to the Committee that the British Government had decided to withdraw from that “Concert of Europe,” which had failed so signally in dealing with the question of reforms in Macedonia, and that England and Russia were now going to work together to introduce a most drastic scheme of reform, which would include the suppression of all the bands in Macedonia, of whatever race or creed, by means of flying columns of troops. This intended co-operation of England and Russia greatly alarmed the Committee, such intervention, in the opinion of its leaders, necessarily leading to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, and to an immediate foreign domination of Macedonia that would make it impossible for the Committee to carry on its patriotic work in this, the stronghold of the movement and the contemplated base for the revolutionary campaign in the following year. The Committee of Union and Progress therefore held secret meetings in Salonica in May 1908, and it was decided, in view of what was happening, that it had now become necessary for the Committee to reveal to the European Powers the fact of its real existence and great influence, and also to explain to those Powers, especially to England, whose aim was honest but which, in the opinion of many Turks, was being duped by Russia, that the Committee alone could bring peace to Macedonia, and that for various good reasons it would be better that Europe should abandon all these futile schemes of reform and leave Macedonia to work out her own salvation. A manifesto of the Committee was therefore drawn up and a copy of it was despatched to
were posted in the foreign post-offices in Salonica by members of the Committee. A friend of mine told me of what a narrow escape he had while taking one of these letters to a certain foreign post-office. On entering the office he handed the letter to a Levantine clerk, who, after reading the superscription, put to him the unusual question, “From whom do you bring this letter?” “From Mr. Snider,” replied my friend, with ready invention, and hastened to leave the place. The clerk, evidently a Palace spy, followed him outside and looked up and down the street, no doubt to find some agent whom he could send to follow up the suspect. My friend fortunately got clear away before the pursuit could be started, and for the future he gave that post-office a wide berth. The manifesto itself is a long one. My quotations from it are literal translations from the original Turkish version. It speaks in the name of the Committee of Union and Progress, and, of course, as coming from a secret society, bears no signatures. It opens thus— “We, the children of the fatherland called Turkey, of which Macedonia is a part—actuated by the love which we bear to the land of our birth, our desire to work in harmony to bring about its tranquillity and welfare, and our wish to disabuse your minds of the false impression which we know you entertain to the effect that we (the
Committee of Union and Progress) are few in