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Japanese who, while being as patriotic as the Turks, are not remarkable for commercial probity, regard it as far more criminal to embezzle the country's funds than to cheat the individual; but Japan is the only country which has attained this high ethical standard.
Effect of Austria's annexations—Reactionary intrigues—Panic in the capital—The mutinous Palace Guards—The Selamlik—The Committee's head-quarters in Constantinople— Some members of the Committee.
It is not within the scope of this work to deal with the foreign complications which followed the Turkish revolution. Suffice it to say that the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the beginning of October had the effect of striking what might well have proved to be a deadly blow at the party of reform in Turkey. It was the old story of an ambitious Christian Power, fearing lest a reformed Turkey might become a strong Turkey, treacherously obstructing her path of progress. Austria's action gave the reactionaries their last chance of bringing back the old order of things, and they fully availed themselves of it “These Young Turks,” they were able to say to the people, “used the preservation of the integrity of the Empire as their watchword when they rebelled against the Padisha; and lo! the first thing that happens after they get the power is the complete separation from Turkey of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a declaration of independence on
the part of the Bulgarians and a separatist movement in Crete l" These arguments produced a considerable effect upon the ignorant, who blamed thereformers for what had happened and clamoured for rulers strong enough to protect Turkey against her foreign foes.
The reactionaries were wholly unscrupulous in their methods and were prepared to plunge their country into a disastrous war if by so doing they could restore the Despotism. Ex-spies and other reactionaries made demonstrations in favour of war with Austria in some of the mosques of the capital; they posted placards on the walls of the city by night, calling upon Mussulmans to massacre the Christians; and everywhere they attempted to foment disorder so as to discredit the Young Turk rule as leading to a state of anarchy. But the Young Turks knew that the preservation of peace abroad and order at home was of vital importance, and they displayed a firmness that soon made their position stronger than it had ever been.
In the first place, so as to overawe the reactionary party and the untrustworthy Yildiz soldiery, they garrisoned the capital with a large force of Macedonian troops loyal to the Constitution, who could be relied upon to suppress a rising in the firmest manner. Loyal troops were also employed to police the city; all reactionary assemblies were stopped and the agitators were cast into prison.
The machinations of the reactionaries, however, produced some effect. For a considerable time Constantinople was in an overwrought and nervous condition, and various incidents inspired the Christian inhabitants with a great dread of impending peril. These Greeks, Armenians, Levantines, and others, timid of nature after their ages of oppression, suffered from an epidemic of panic, acute fits of which were daily brought about by very small causes. Thus, one day at about this time, as I was walking through the Grand Bazaar in Stamboul I witnessed the following incident which showed the jumpy condition of the population. A man, revolver in hand, chased by soldiers and others, suddenly appeared, running at full speed through the crowded lanes of the Bazaar. This was quite enough to start a panic. Like wildfire spread the report that the Moslem mob, stirred up by the Softas, had at last commenced the massacre of the Christians. The scene was indeed an extraordinary one. Men and women turned pallid, wrung their hands, wept and howled, and there was a general stampede for the shelter of the houses. People ran into their own or other shops, doors were bolted, bars were drawn, shutters were closed, and in a trice what had become a busy mart had become empty and silent as a city of the dead, and remained so until Sami Pasha, the Minister
of Police, came down to reassure the frightened Greek and Armenian traders. It turned out that the origin of this widespread panic was merely the endeavouring of a vendor of contraband tobacco to escape from the soldiers who had been sent to arrest him. On another morning the terrifying rumour spread from end to end of the city that the Second Division of the Imperial Guard, stationed at the Tashkishla Barracks, outside the Yildiz Palace, had mutinied under the leadership of the reactionaries, and were engaged in a sanguinary struggle with the Constitutional troops from Salonica. The facts had been grossly exaggerated but the incident was significant enough. This Second Division of the Imperial Guard, about seven thousand strong, including the Sultan's faithful Albanian Bodyguard, had for its post the neighbourhood of the Yildiz Palace. These troops, officered by men risen from their own ranks, who protected the person of the Sultan, had been ever pampered and spoilt; their discipline was very slack and their loyalty to the Constitution was doubtful. Consequently the Minister of War, who by virtue of a recent Irade was empowered for the first time to despatch the regiments of this favoured Division to any part of the Empire, decided to remove by degrees from Constantinople some of the battalions of the Division and to replace them with loyal, well