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Sultan. The outspoken Hurriet alarmed the Palace, and was of course placed on the black list; but was smuggled into the country, exercised a great influence, and effected its purpose of spreading antagonism to the existing state of things.
Liberalism, as we have seen, waxed strong enough to have its way for a short period in Turkey. Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed, and Midhat Pasha and the patriotic statesmen who were his associates began to introduce their reforms. Many of the Young Turks returned from Europe to support the new Constitutional Government, some sitting in the short-lived Parliament which the present Sultan opened on his accession to the throne.
Those who loved Turkey thought that the day of her regeneration had dawned at last; but the disillusionment soon came, for Abdul Hamid, in the spring of 1878, dissolved the Parliament, suspended the Constitution, and commenced his ruthless persecution of liberalism. So the Young Turks were once again scattered over the face of the earth; some were imprisoned; some were exiled to distant provinces of the Empire; some escaped to Europe; and such as were allowed to remain in Turkey as free men, had to conduct themselves warily and shun politics, living as they did under the sleepless eyes of the ubiquitous espionage.
For about fifteen years after this date one heard nothing of the Young Turkey movement. If it existed it had little if any organisation, and had no power. To all appearances it had been stamped out effectually by the suppressive measures that had been taken by the Palace. One came across members of the scattered band in European cities, earning their living as teachers of languages and in other capacities, but these rarely spoke to foreigners of what was in their hearts, for they found few sympathisers with the sorrows of Turkey.
But though “Young Turkey" showed no signs of life it was not dead. In Constantinople and other big Turkish cities the visitor from Europe would never hear the movement spoken of; the word hurriet was, so to speak, expunged from the Turkish dictionary, and to have been heard uttering it would have brought denunciation as a traitor. But in far parts of the Empire tongues wagged more freely, and the memory of the reformers was kept green. In the autumn and winter of 1879 I was wandering over that wildest region of all Europe, Northern Albania, and there I found that men were speaking very plainly indeed; for the espionage system was not then fully organised, and at any rate it had not reached that lawless province, where the Government was helpless, and inspired neither respect or fear.
At the period of my visit, Albania, a country which, as I shall show later, took a prominent part in the recent revolution, was in a state of positive anarchy—the gendarmerie on strike, the mutinous soldiers refusing to salute their officers, neither having received pay for months, while the natives held seditious meetings publicly and unmolested in the mosques of the garrison towns, in which rebellion against the Porte was fearlessly advocated. The army officers with whom I conversed despaired of their country, and those who had been in Constantinople said that the one hope for Turkey—an administration under the direction of men of Midhat Pasha's stamp—had been destroyed. The army doctors in Scutari—for the most part Armenians—were still more outspoken, and advocated the deposition and even killing of the Sultan. One of these doctors described the condition of the country to me in the following words: “You have no idea of what a corrupt, vile thing this Turkish Government is. The Court eats all the country. We who work, the employes of the State, the doctors, the soldiers, never receive any pay now. As long as they think they can obtain our labour for nothing, not a para will they let slip through their fingers. Look at my case. I have been a doctor in the Turkish army for forty years. I have been through the Crimean war, over all Asia, in the service of Turkey. I am entitled to a good pension. I have been day after day to the offices at Constantinople, and put my case before the authorities. They put me off with all sorts of fair promises, but I knew what these meant, so went to them day after day, and worried them so much that they decided to get rid of me in some way. “There is a permanent hospital in Scutari in Albania,' they told me. “In consideration of your long service we appoint you as head doctor of it. Start at once to your post.' Now that I have travelled all this way, at my own expense, mind you, what do I find? The permanent hospital no longer exists—it is a myth, and they knew it in Constantinople all the time, and no doubt chuckled merrily, when I had turned my back, at the clever way they had rid themselves of the importunate old nuisance.” Then he went on to speak of the sufferings of the troops, and assured me that, faithful and obedient as they were by nature and tradition, they would not put up with the vile treatment much longer, and that a military mutiny was brewing which would destroy the Despotism within a few months. In this opinion he was wrong, for thirty years had to roll by before the eyent which he predicted actually came to pass. He also spoke to me of men of the Young Turk party whom he met in Constantinople during the brief period of free institutions. He much admired their tolerance, and asked me whether I thought that the Young Turk refugees in England, by explaining Turkey's trouble, would be able to persuade the British Government to champion the cause of Turkish liberty. I discovered, too, that the fame of Midhat Pasha as an honest, just, and patriotic statesman, had spread throughout that wild country, and it is not to be wondered at that the Sultan, fearing him, brought about his destruction, and so made him the first martyr of the Young Turkey cause. The Mussulman Albanians themselves greatly revered Midhat, and regarded him as their possible saviour. They had at that time formed themselves into the organisation known as the Albanian League, whose object it was in the first place to resist by force of arms the handing over to Montenegro of the Albanian town and district of Gussinje, which, by the terms of the Treaty of Berlin, Turkey had ceded to the mountain Principality; and in the second place to throw off the yoke of the Sultan. The leaguesmen were then the masters of Albania. They decided on, and carried out, the murder in Jakova of Mehemet Ali, the General who had been sent by the Porte on the dangerous mission of negotiating this transfer of Turkish territories to her enemies, and about eight thousand of them, Albanians, Mussulman refugees from Bosnia, and deserters from the Turkish army, were holding Gussinje under the leadership of Ali Bey. Gussinje, by the way, still belongs to Turkey;