Imagens da página

the power of executing its threats. Here, in Monastir, when General Osman Hidayet Pasha had gathered his officers around him to read to them the telegram which communicated the high Irade of his Imperial Majesty the Caliph, he was shot by one of the officers, who fired three times at him in the presence of all these people, and yet this officer was not arrested, and it has been found impossible even to ascertain his name. The police and judiciary officials are meditating resignation from their posts in order to save their lives if pressure is brought upon them to make them carry out their duties. As for me, your servant, my ancestry having been faithful for four hundred years, and myself having served the Government in various capacities for the last fortyfour years, I consider that for me to resign my post in this hour of trouble would be an act of ingratitude; and therefore, despite the perils to which I and my family are exposed, I am prepared to discharge my duty, that is to devise means for preventing the active co-operation of the people with the officers of the army, whose views and aims they undoubtedly share. “At the same time I consider it a duty and a proof of my loyalty that I should submit to you in detail the true facts of the situation. I must inform you that the sentiments of which I am speaking are now acquiring a strong hold upon the private soldiers. The six battalions which were sent to Resna now remain there inactive, and their commanders confess their powerlessness. Should any attempt be made to pursue Niazi, the soldiers will refuse to fire upon him and his band. I may mention in proof of this that when General Shemshi Pasha was assassinated here, the men of his Albanian bodyguard, the gendarmes, and the other soldiers present, when pursuing the criminal in accordance with the orders given to them, discharged their rifles in the air and allowed the assassin to escape. According to private information which I have received it is believed that the troops who are to be despatched from Anatolia will, on their arrival here, refuse to use their arms against their comrades. What I have stated concerning the condition of this region is applicable also, so I am informed, to the Vilayets of Salonica and Kosovo. “The urgency of this matter and the fact that this movement is daily gaining strength and spreading with extraordinary rapidity being taken into consideration by the Government, I submit, prompted by my loyalty, that the time for either measures of persuasion or those of force and severity have passed, and that, in order to obviate a still worse state of things, other more effective measures, more consonant with the times, should be adopted. I am awaiting your commands.”

The plan of the Palace was to crush the revolt with a great force of troops from Anatolia; but as straightforward methods by themselves never sufficed the Sultan's advisers, underground devices were also employed. The Greek element in Macedonia on previous occasions had been found willing to join hands with the Turkish Government in the suppression of Bulgarian rebellions, so Munir Pasha, who had for some years been the Turkish Ambassador in Paris, was now sent to Athens to arrange for the organisation of Greek bands to attack the Moslem and Christian supporters of the Committee of Union and Progress. The Palace also attempted, by offers of full pardons, gifts and promotions, to withdraw army officers from the revolutionary movement, and so leave the disorganised followers of the Committee of Union and Progress an easy prey for the forces that were to be brought against them. The thirty-eight young officers who had been arrested in Salonica and were imprisoned in the capital were released and pardoned. Thousands of officers in the army and navy were astonished to find themselves suddenly promoted, and decorations were distributed wholesale. The Palace entertained the foolish belief that every man has his price; but all this hypocritical benevolence was of no avail and only served to lay bare to the world the incompetence and panic of the Camarilla in the hour of danger.

It was decided to despatch no less than fortyeight battalions from Anatolia to overpower the disaffected Macedonian army, and had these Asiatic troops proved staunch there would have been a terrible shedding of blood. Twenty-seven of these battalions were transported by sea from Smyrna to Salonica, where they disembarked on July 16. The efforts of Dr. Nazim Bey and other agents of the Young Turk party had already, to a large extent, inoculated these troops with the revolutionary doctrines before they left Asia Minor, and from the moment of their embarkation at Smyrna the emissaries of the Committee were at work among them, testing the officers to find out who were of the revolutionary party and using persuasive arguments with the rank and file. Some of the regiments on reaching Salonica refused to proceed to Monastir and were isolated from the rest. The remaining regiments were marched to Monastir, and with them went officers who were initiates of the secret society, disguised as sherbet sellers, mollahs, and so forth, ever winning over adherents to the cause. It soon became clear that the bulk of the officers and men of this force were in sympathy with the troops whom they had been sent to slaughter, and that they would never fire upon their comrades of the Third Army Corps. These battalions that entered Monastir were soon persuaded to take the oath of allegiance to the Committee of Union and Progress.

The state of affairs in the third week in July may therefore be summed up as follows: The Government still nominally ruled and administered the three Vilayets of Monastir, Salonica and Kosovo, but its authority had been reduced to impotence. In the chief military centre, Monastir, General Osman Pasha was in command, but, knowing the temper of his men, hesitated to attempt decisive action to crush the insurrection. The men of the Second and Third Army Corps, and of the regiments that had been brought from Anatolia, were either adherents of the Committee or wavering in their allegiance to the Government. It was unlikely that more than a small proportion of the troops would be found willing to fight the battles of the Palace. The Moslem and Bulgarian peasants, among whom arms had been distributed by the Committee of Union and Progress, were awaiting the word to take part in the general rising. Ten thousand Albanian warriors were in arms, eager to fall upon the supporters of the Despotism.

The one doubtful element of the population was the Greek. It appears that the Palace had not only sent Munir Pasha to Athens to seek the assistance of those intriguing subjects of King George who used to equip the brigand bands that had been the curse of Macedonia; but it also issued instructions to General Osman Pasha in

Monastir to persuade the Greek bands within his

« AnteriorContinuar »