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protected their own people from the exactions of the central government at Constantinople. The power of the Sultans in Anatolia was ineffective and narrowly circumscribed. Under this system there was no economic progress and no mercantile development; things went on in the old fashion year after year, and century after century; but the peasantry were on the whole happy, because they were contented and free, generally speaking, from any serious oppression.
With regard to the simple ways of Anatolian trade I give one example. An English friend, an experienced and successful business man in the inner part of Turkey, used to relate what he had heard during a visit to Trebizond more than sixty years ago. Down to a time not many years before he was there, and within the experience of many of his business associates, the custom had been that goods for sale in Central Asia were entrusted to native traders, who went in charge of caravans of camels laden with merchandise. A trading journey lasted from a year to eighteen months. On their return these native traders entered Trebizond early in the morning, having bivouacked for the last time some little distance outside the city. As they passed along the street they deposited at the door of each merchant for whom they had done business a bag containing the money which was due to him; and, when the merchant in Trebizond arose, he found the money waiting on his doorstep. Everybody was satisfied; there were no contracts, no accounts, and a reasonable profit. Most remarkable of all, there was never any theft of money from the doors, until Maltese immigrants began to settle in Trebizond, and introduced European civilisation.' Such a method of doing business is inconsistent with the highly developed Western business system and Western civilisation'; but it was not oppressive to the people. There were no large fortunes; there was no opportunity for making a great fortune; it was impossible for one man to force into his service the minds and the work of a large number of people, and so to create a big organisation out of which he might make big profits. There was a very large number of small men doing business on a small scale, all making a decent living and all reasonably happy in a humble fashion.
Now contrast that picture with what was the case in the year 1878, when a Consul-General for Anatolia, appointed to inaugurate the British Protectorate of Asia Minor, reached Sivas after a rapid progress through Central Anatolia. I have the story from the Consul's own lips, as he related it to me at Sivas in 1881 and referred to it more than once afterwards. There was in Sivas an extremely wealthy Armenian who controlled, and indeed possessed as his own business, the entire carrying trade with Central Asia. Every load which was taken from the harbours of the Black Sea up towards the East, and every parcel of goods which was brought back, was carried by his pack animals and managed by his men. He was a man of no education, but simply of great natural unregulated ability, and possessed of the skill to make use of other men. It was doubtful whether he could write; it was certain that there were no accounts kept of his business except in his own head; he knew everything personally, he managed everything personally, he remembered everything, and could tell at any moment where any one of his vast numbers of employees was, what he was doing, and when he ought to return. It happened that the entire Christian population of Sivas and of most of the great province of which Sivas is the capital, including the great man, went forth to welcome the Consul, who was charged with the duty of improving the administration of Turkey and thereby alleviating the lot of the poor Christians. There was quite a marvellous concourse of a whole nation. The Consul was taken as a guest to the house of this Armenian, until he had hired his own official residence and furnished it for his convenience. The great man promptly seized the opportunity of selling to the Consul an inferior carpet at an exorbitant price. It was his habit, which had become nature with him, to sell at the highest price that he could get in every situation and in every bargain. To Turkish Pasha or to British Consul he would behave alike; but, when he met a Turkish Pasha, he had to deal with a man who knew something about the true values of native articles, whereas, when he dealt with an English Consul, a soldier new to the country, he was dealing with a man who was not acquainted with values and who was misled by the apparent enthusiasm with
which his advent had been welcomed; and not even in the peculiar circumstances of this case did it occur to the wealthy man that it would be patriotic to behave with simple honesty. It was his nature to make money, and he was too old to change. To such Orientals the profit of one piastre exercises almost as strong attraction as the profit of 10007.; and they will haggle over a bargain of the smallest kind with the same pertinacity that they apply to the largest trading ventures.
In these two anecdotes the difference between the situation in 1800 and in 1878 is evident. The big man was replacing the many small men. The one point that interests us is whether or not the peasants benefited by the change. It may be true that the big man was able to do a greater amount of business, and work the carrying trade to a larger extent and at a cheaper rate than the many small men; but was the mass of the people happier than before?
I am far from holding up to admiration, as if it were perfect, the administration of the Lords of the Valley.' It involved some serious evils; it was too much dependent on the character of the individual; it was infected with the vice of the feudal system. Moreover, it was undoubtedly weakening the Turkish state (though that need not be regarded as an evil for the world as a whole), for the power of the Sultans was steadily diminishing as the power of the great territorial families increased; but, here again, what we want to find out is the comparative happiness of the mass of the people. It would have done no harm, but probably only good, both to the Anatolian peasants and to the world in general, if the Osmanli Sultans had gone the way of their predecessors the Seljuk Sultans of Rum, and had gradually perished as the parts of their ramshackle Empire' broke off and became practically independent. Resident landlords belonging to old-established families, being in continual contact with their own people, can never be so harsh to the peasant population as the administrative agents of a distant Government, especially when these come and go in such rapid change as was the case under Abd-ulHamid's administration.
The chiefs of the Turkmen Asheret (tribes) were at least as independent as the Dere-Beys, and they were in
a more advantageous position. They were massed always in considerable numbers, some in the mountains, and some roving over the great plains, and thus they were removed from the power of the central government and its agents. The same was the case with the chiefs of the Kurdish tribes, even of those Western Kurds on this side of the Halys in the great plains that lie between Konia and Angora. The Turkmens and Kurds, therefore, were not so easily reduced to obedience; but the DereBeys had their seats for the most part in or close to the great cities, and were more exposed to the reviving power of the Sultans' organisation. I have been a guest of the most exposed of the Turkmen chiefs in the hill country immediately south of Eski-Sheher (the great railway centre of the country), and learned something of the long struggle which they were maintaining against the exactions and impositions of the Government, and of the gradual wearing-down of their strength by the centralised administration. The nomad chiefs, as a rule, could protect their people to a considerable degree. They could not, however, educate them, nor would they, even if they could, have tried to transform the nomad into the agriculturist. They could not give the knowledge and skill which is required in successful cultivation of the soil.
Gradually the old territorial families were eliminated, sometimes by war, sometimes in other ways. To take one example: the great family of Kara-Osman-Oglu, 'Son of Black Osman,' had its principal seat at Manisa (Magnesia), eight hours north of Smyrna. The head of the family said with pride that he was able to ride from Smyrna to Baghdad and sleep in his own house every night, so widely extended was their immense property. I do not imply that this was literally true, for Turks in conversation are apt to take a very grandiose view of their circumstances and scale of expenditure, and further they are unqualified by nature and untrained by education to cultivate exactness in estimate or in arithmetical statement; but at least there was a broad basis of fact on which such a proud assertion rested. Most of the Dere-Beys' property passed into the hands of the Sultans; and Abd-ul-Hamid was particularly skilful and successful in getting possession of estates all over the country on
an enormous scale. A friend of my own, much younger than myself, had seen the last Kara-Osman-Oglu residing in poverty at Pergamos. My friend's grandfather, whom also I knew well, told me that in his youth he had visited the head of the family at his home in Magnesia, and had witnessed the hospitality, the generosity and the kindliness, with which the Bey exercised his great influence. As he said to my old friend, he had only three things which he did not share with his friends or his guests-his own horse, his own gun, and his own wife. There was something about that old system which makes one long to have seen it. The best analogy to-day is found in the old Irish landlord system as it is pictured in the novels of Samuel Lover; and the best way to comprehend the spirit of that old system is to study the works of Lover. I have always been struck with a certain resemblance between the Irish character and the Anatolian character; and this resemblance is in the kindliest and most human qualities of both. The Turks, indeed, are absolutely devoid of the wit and the brilliance and the quick intellect of the typical Irishman, but there is a certain quality of spirit and humour and quaintness and kindliness, also (it must be said) of carelessness, untidiness and thriftlessness, which is common to both. I speak, of course, of the Irishman who has not been corrupted by politics, and who remains his natural self, free from any need to court the favour of the populace and to 'go one better than' his rival.
This characteristic of the Turks has not escaped the attention of Sir William Whittall, to whose pages every one that appreciates Turkey will return over and over again in order to find illustrations of the deep-lying character of the Turkish, or rather of the Anatolian, people. As he remarks, the stories that are told of old Nasr-ed-din Hodja, the typical Anatolian peasant of the mediæval period under Moslem education,
'embody the humour of the confusion of ideas-the humour of nonsense, as some would call it. In fact, it is the humour which is conspicuous in the Irish race. Why the quick-witted Irish and the slow and sedate Turks should have the same kind of sense of the humorous is a profound mystery which I cannot understand. Possibly the Turkish kind is of a coarser,