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took the oath of allegiance to the Committee, and supplied the band with two days' rations of bread and cheese, for which they refused to accept payment. Moreover, the Bosnian officer, on receiving the news of Shemshi Pasha's execution at Monastir, abandoned his pursuit of Niazi and marched with his band to Ochrida to submit to the Committee. On July 12, Niazi, having been summoned to Ochrida to confer with the Committee, marched boldly into that town with his band, none daring to interfere with him, so much had the authority of the Government been weakened by this time. Here the members of the Committee gave him information concerning the other bands, and instructed him to keep in touch with them, as the time was near when an important combined movement might be made. They told him that the Government had sent General Osman Pasha to Monastir as Commander Extraordinary of the Vilayet, in the place of the assassinated Shemshi Pasha, and that the Bulgarian Executive Committee had issued instructions to all the Bulgarian villages to the effect that the Moslem revolutionary bands should be treated hospitably and with consideration, but that, until further orders, armed assistance must not be given. Niazi was also informed of the shooting, by order of the Committee, of the imam, Mustapha Effendi, and
other dangerous agents of the Palace.
The business completed, Niazi's band marched out of the town, and followed the sandy shores of the great lake of Ochrida, where they were warmly welcomed in the villages of the Bulgarian fishing-folk. The objective of the band was Istarova, but on the way they carried out their mission in the villages, swearing in the people, overthrowing the authority of the Government, establishing elective administrative bodies, and expelling any tax-gatherers or other servants of the Government who had oppressed the people, or were known to be subservient to Palace influence. Threatened at one point by a pursuing detachment of four hundred men, Niazi divided his band into small parties and took up commanding positions on the rocky hills that bordered the main road. But it turned out that the detachment was under the command of Captain Ziya Bey, a young officer whose sympathies were with the revolutionaries. Ziya Bey and some other officers came up to Niazi's camp, offered to join the band so soon as their services should be needed, and undertook to withdraw the detachment from the neighbourhood. There was another detachment, too, in pursuit of the band at that time, but it had purposely been sent off in a wrong direction.
It was Niazi's intention to make Istarova, the centre of an important district, his head-quarters
for a short while. His band made a triumphal progress through the district. The villagers were all eager to be sworn as adherents of the Committee. In one village Niazi ordered the execution of a particularly iniquitous tax-gatherer (who succeeded in effecting his escape) and the man's rams were divided among the members of the band, who were thus enabled to enjoy a luxurious meal for a change. Before entering Istarova, Niazi sent a letter to the principal Government official in the place, the kaimakan (or administrator, of the Caza, or district of Istarova), an honourable young man who had exercised his authority with justice, and of whom the peasants in the district had spoken well to Niazi. It was a characteristic letter, in which Niazi, after explaining that all the inhabitants of the district, Moslem and Christian, had sworn to stand by the Committee, told him that though he entertained a great esteem for him as a just ruler of the people, at the same time he, Niazi, regretted that the kaimakan had shown negligence in one important particular; for in that large district there was not a single school. “The calamities of this nation,” he went on, “are mainly due to the ignorance of the people,” and he urged him to do his best to promote education. On July 16 the band entered Istarova, where the men enjoyed a welcome and much-needed rest—the villagers supplying cigars and coffee to cheer them—and were able to sleep in unwonted security, surrounded by their friends; for in that district of a hundred villages, with a population of 30,000, all men were with the Committee of Union and Progress, while any troops that might have proved troublesome had been removed to a distance by arrangement with friendly officers. As for Niazi, he saw to the swearing in of the people of Istarova, and the election of the administrative body, and then he preached the gospel of the Constitution in the Mosque, and recommended the newly appointed administrative body to build schools, to educate the people, and to repair their mosques, and for this purpose, on behalf of his band, he subscribed the sum of two pounds. The kaimakan himself sought out Niazi in the night, and praised him to his face as a brave man and a bringer of justice to the people, declared his belief in the righteousness of the Committee's aim, and placed himself under Niazi's orders. Thus did Niazi influence all the men with whom he came into contact. Throughout the following day Niazi remained in Istarova, which presented a very animated appearance, for there poured into the village thousands of peasants from all the surrounding countryside, eager to be sworn, together with a number of soldiers who had deserted to join Niazi, and had come in, bringing their rifles with them, from the neighbouring garrisons and posts. There was good reason for Niazi's exultation in the success of the movement. Resna, Ochrida, Persepe, Dibra, Malisa, and now Istarova had all been brought within the revolutionary union by the efforts of the bands. He now knew that with a word, when the time came, he would be able to summon a large armed force to execute the Committee's will. And now to leave the mountains and the bands of brave fedais for a while, to return to the less wholesome atmosphere of the Yildiz Palace, and follow the last vain efforts of the Despotism to crush the life out of the revolutionary movement. The advisers of the Sultan were fully aware of the significance of the reports that came to them from Macedonia, though the newspapers, officially inspired, still spoke lightly of “unimportant manifestations of disaffection in a few garrisons." There were high Government officials in the European Vilayets who ventured to inform the Palace of the exact state of affairs. Notable among these was the Vali of Monastir, who in the following despatch to the Grand Vizier (dated, I think, July 17) pointed out, as plainly as he dared, that the revolutionary movement was too strong for the Despotism, that further repressive measures must fail, and could only result in useless bloodshed, and that it would be well to submit to the will of the people and grant a Constitution. The last suggestion was, of course, put in an ambiguous way, for at that time no one