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Servia, Bulgarians of the larger Bulgaria, Greeks of the larger Greece—their territorial claims, based upon race distinctions, all overlapping each other ; an entanglement of rival rights and interests impossible of unravelment. Neither of these Christian races would submit to be ruled by the other. For example, there can be no doubt that a Bulgarian would rather be governed by the Moslem Turk than by the Greek. And amid all these races, more numerous than any of them taken singly, are the ruling Turks, who own the fee simple of the land by the best of titles, conquest. They are the strong race whose bearing is in strong contrast to the servility of some of the races in their midst. They are the masterly people fit to rule the others; for whatever peace fanatics may say, only people ready to fight bravely in defence of their possessions are fit to own possessions. We have not arrived at the state of civilisation when it can be otherwise. Even our humanitarians, who unknown to themselves have some of the old Adam in them, respect those who can use the sword; for whereas they sympathise with the aspirations of the plucky Bulgarians they pay little heed to the Greeks, who, though the noisiest of the claimants to Turkey's heritage and having vast pretensions which extend to every piece of territory in Europe and Asia that ever belonged to any of the states of ancient Greece, are among the feeblest people in the world in the practice of war. It needs a strong rule to keep the rival Christian sects of the Balkan Peninsula in order and to prevent them from cutting each other's throats, lopping off each other's ears and burning each other's priests. The Turks can provide that strong rule; and if we add to the Turks the Mussulmans of other race in the country— Albanians, Moslem Bulgarians, Circassians and others—we have nearly half the total population united by a common religion, as the Christians certainly are not. The Young Turks may now prove that Lord Palmerston, after all, was right when he said that the rule of the Mussulman Turk was the only one that could combine the different races and sects of Turkey in one kingdom. The Turks have no ambition to recover the territory which they have lost, but they are determined to hold on to what still remains to them. With a strong Turkey, in close alliance with a federation of the Slav states to the north of her, we may yet see a quiet and contented Balkan Peninsula.
Early reformers—The Palace and the Sublime Porte— The deposition of Abd-ul-Aziz—The opening of Abdul Hamid's reign—Midhat Pasha's fate—The overthrow of the Turkish Constitution.
It is about a century ago that Western ideas began to influence the better Turkish statesmen and efforts were made to reform the system of government and bring it into harmony with modern civilisation. Mahmud II, who came to the throne in 1808, and his successor Abd-ulMejid, who died in 1861, were wise and reforming monarchs, who were advised by enlightened statesmen such as Reshid Pasha, at whose instance in 1839 the edict known as the Hatti-Sherif of Gulhane was promulgated. This edict, which has been called the Magna Charta of Turkey, promised many useful administrative and judicial reforms, and secured to the Christian as well as Mussulman subjects of the Sultan security for their lives, honour and property. Again, in 1856, after the Crimean war, the Hatti Houmaioum Firman announced among other things the complete equality in the eyes of the law of the Christians and Mussulmans in Turkey. I need scarcely say that these solemn engagements have been wholly ignored by Turkey's recent rulers. In 1861, on the death of Abd-ul-Mejid, Abd-ulAziz succeeded to the throne of Othman. He was assisted by a group of patriotic and able statesmen, among whom were Fuad Pasha, Rushdi Pasha, Aali Pasha and Midhat Pasha; and for the first ten years of his reign he ruled his country well. He made the Turkish navy one of the most formidable in Europe; he organised the army that fought so stubbornly at Plevna ; justice was administered, and the Press was free to criticise the Government. But this promising monarch, unfortunately for his country, broke away from the tutelage of wise men and fell under the influence of evil advisers. On the death of Aali Pasha in 1872, Mahmud Nedim Pasha, a man who was fanatically anti-European and uneducated, became the chief adviser of the Sultan, and was soon created Grand Vizier. The character of the Sultan seemed now to undergo a complete change; his policy became retrograde and reactionary; he drove from his side the good and wise and surrounded himself with corrupt parasites, who were in many cases the ready tools of Ignatieff; for the Russian diplomacy had gained the ascendency in Constantinople, and, as usual, was employed in intriguing against the party of reform and organising the disruption
And now commenced that final struggle between the Palace and the Sublime Porte which has resulted in the overthrow of the Despotism. The Sultan, though the absolute head of the Church and State, had hitherto left the administration of the Empire to his Cabinet of Ministers chosen by himself, whose office is known as the Sublime Porte. Abd-ul-Aziz attempted to break down this system, and to centre in himself the entire rule of the country; soon the ministers became mere puppets, and the Palace was made paramount. The Sultan assumed the complete control of the Treasury, and refused to give any account of the public revenues which he wasted. He contracted loans in Europe under onerous conditions that endangered the very independence of the Empire.
The patriots among the Turkish statesmen, who had been cast out from all direction of public affairs, almost despaired of their country, and the risings in Herzegovina and Bosnia, presaging European intervention, seemed to many to be the beginning of the end. The great Midhat Pasha, whom the Young Turks speak of as the first martyr of their cause, had the temerity to seek a two-hours' private audience of the Sultan, and pointed out to him with such forcible eloquence the corruption of his administration, the incapacity of his Grand Vizier, and the certain destruction to which he was dragging his country,