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for the Great Powers who had given it to Montenegro were unable to enforce with the cannon of their warships the surrender of a place lying amid the mountains of the interior; so Montenegro ultimately had to content itself with another arrangement. I crossed the mountains that lie between Scutari and Gussinje, and narrowly escaped having my head cut off as a Russian spy on one occasion; but I succeeded in seeing a good deal of the Albanian leaguesmen. In the course of conversation with one of their chiefs he spoke to me as follows: “The men who rule in Constantinople, what do they do for us? Tax us, robus— that is all. And what do they give us in return for what they steal? Can they defend us, protect us? No! They have sold our lands to the Montenegrins and the Austrians. I tell you that we of the League have sworn that we will have the Turk no more. Albania shall have her independence and the Powers shall recognise us. If they do not, we care not. Leave us alone; that is enough for us.” Then, turning suddenly to me, he asked, “What do you English think of Midhat Pasha P” I told him of the esteem in which Midhat was held by my countrymen; he seemed pleased on hearing this, and said, “The Turks will not have him, but we will. What we wish is to create an independent Albanian principality,
with this good man Midhat Pasha as our prince.” I have described these experiences of mine in Albania to show how things were shaping in the outer provinces of Turkey thirty years ago, and how, though one heard nothing of the Young Turks in Europe, the seed they had sown had not fallen on barren ground; so that at last, when the time was ripe, the people of Turkey, remembering what their fathers had told them of the good Midhat, were ready to range themselves by the side of his disciples. But from the year 1878, when the Constitution was suspended, until 1891, there appears to have been no Young Turk organisation, though the number of Turks who longed for deliverance from a detested régime was increasing by leaps and bounds. For centuries Geneva has been the safe asylum for men from other lands who have revolted against the tyranny of Church or Government, and there, in these days, is to be found an interesting little society of Russian anarchists, and all manner of malcontents and visionaries, who hatch their various plots, and when the demand arises manufacture the favourite weapon of anarchy, the bomb. It was in this fair city, in the year 1891, that a group of Turkish refugees and exiles formed themselves into the association that afterwards developed into the “Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress.” The time had indeed arrived for patriotic Turks to bestir themselves and come to the rescue of their country; for it was about this date that the most critical period of her history opened, and that various happenings in her European and Asiatic provinces threatened the disruption of the Empire. In 1890 the persecuted Armenians commenced the agitation which later on the Sultan put down with wholesale massacres. In the early nineties, too, the Bulgarians in Macedonia initiated the conspiracy which, after various small risings, culminated in the rebellion of 1903; and here, as in Armenia, the Turkish irregulars suppressed insurrection with slaughter and rapine. Indignation was aroused in Europe, especially in England, and in 1903 the British Government urged the other Powers to join her in compelling the Porte to accept a scheme of reform under European supervision that should secure fair government and the security of Turkey's Christian subjects. But the jealousy of the Powers stood in the way of any genuine co-operation, while the policy of Turkey's two most powerful neighbours was to destroy the Ottoman Empire and not to reform it; so the British scheme was rejected; the measures that were taken by the Powers proved wholly inadequate; the anarchy in Macedonia ever grew worse; and that sooner or later foreign intervention of an effective and forcible character would be necessitated became evident.
Now the one essential part of the Young Turk programme is the preservation of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Opportunists in the rest of their policy, the Young Turks are determined that no more Ottoman territory shall be placed under foreign domination. They feel that foreign interference in Turkey's internal affairs means loss of national independence and the ultimate expulsion of the Turks from the European side of the Bosphorus. They entertain the strongest objection to the attempted settlement of the racial disputes in Macedonia by foreign Powers, and the chief article of their faith is that, for Turkey to hold her own in the world, her reforms must come from within and not from without. Therefore at this juncture, knowing that they had the educated classes in Turkey in sympathy with them, and that oppression had made the masses discontented, these Turkish patriots in Geneva decided to create an organisation whose object it would be to bring pressure to bear upon the Turkish Government, and move the Sultan to sanction the much-needed reforms. At this early stage they did not feel sufficiently strong to plan the deposition of the monarch should he prove obdurate, but they resolved to so arrange matters in Constantinople as to make it impossible, in the case of the death of that clever and masterly monarch, for his successor to rule on the same despotic lines. The headquarters of the organisation was moved from Geneva to Paris, and it had its branches in London and other capitals. Little heed was paid to the Young Turks by the peoples in whose midst they lived, and many regarded them as harmless dreamers. But the Sultan himself knew better; his Embassy in Paris was instructed to closely watch the organisation, and spies were sent from Constantinople whose business it was to report directly to the Palace all they could discover concerning the members. In Turkey itself active methods of suppression were taken, and the system of espionage became ever more unbearable, with the result that the enemies of the régime increased in number, and Turkey's best men fled the country to swell the band of conspirators in Paris. Now that men can talk quite freely in Turkey, returning exiles tell strange and romantic tales of their adventures in those dark days. For a Turkish subject to leave Turkey without the permission of the inquisitorial Government was then a treasonable offence involving outlawry and the confiscation of property. As every outgoing steamer was closely watched by the police, it was no easy matter to escape from Constantinople by sea, and to do so by land was still more difficult. On several occasions distinguished Turks were assisted in their flight by their English friends. For example, with the connivance of one of our