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systematically took bribes. There was no false shame about it. Every one, with the rarest exceptions, bought his appointment, and had to recoup himself during his term of office. He could not do so from his salary, which was miserably small and generally was not paid. Nobody seriously blamed any official for taking bribes, because all knew that they themselves in the same circumstances would act exactly in the same way. Moreover the Turk was not naturally a good official. He rarely had any desire to carry out the law, or much knowledge of what the law provided, or any wish to learn what were its provisions. He was in office for a short time, because officials changed very rapidly; and he had not merely to repay himself for the cost of getting his office, but also to prepare to bribe higher officials in order to get a new appointment. The centre of power in Constantinople was most corrupt of all and most thoroughly opposed to change, because the officials there made good business out of the existing system and knew that, if the system were changed, they would have to go.
The cost of everything had to be squeezed out of the peasantry. There was no rational or uniform system of taxation. The wealthier classes found it much cheaper not to pay the taxes but to bribe the officials; and it was the poor, who were unable to bribe, that suffered I have seen with almost uncontrollable indignation the treatment which an official bestowed on some wretched peasant clad in rags who was brought before him by policemen, though I never witnessed the sequel after the peasant was led away. I heard of it. These peasantry of central Anatolia were almost all Mohammedans; and formerly they suffered more than the Christians in the towns, because the Christians were usually more successful, better traders, possessed of more money and therefore better able to give bribes. In the Armenian country, further east, the peasants were in large proportion Armenian Christians.
Abd-ul-Hamid certainly had the wish, and tried in his own way, to recreate and improve the position of the Moslem peasantry, but his methods were entirely wrong and only made things worse in the long run, because they were based on the old Turkish system of massacring sections of the Christians, in the hope that the
Moslems, being thus set free from the competition of the Christians, would succeed in occupying their place and their comparative prosperity. For a year or two some sections of the Moslems were certainly placed in a more favourable position, but their intellectual and moral capacity for maintaining that position was steadily weakened by being accustomed to false and violent ways of life. Abd-ul-Hamid himself was the supreme head of the system of bribery; and I was told by excellent authorities that a percentage of all bribes received by members of the Imperial household went to the Sultan himself in regular course. Everybody knew what everybody else was getting, and the Sultan knew what all were getting, and so the vicious circle was completed. Reform in such a case was impossible. The evil had to be radically rooted out. While all of us are now well informed about the misdeeds of the Young Turks who expelled the Sultan, and who themselves (it must be confessed) are after all mere Turks-I use the word in its political sense-it stands to their credit that they did eliminate and almost exterminate the old gang, and that for a year or two the practical facts of administration in Anatolia were made far better and more honest than they had been; for officials were paid, from the highest to the lowest, and thus the mainspring of economic need, which had made bribery a universal necessity, was done away with. This my friends and I know from personal observation.
Such are the general circumstances which produced a steady deterioration in the economic life of the peasant population. They became poorer and poorer, alike financially and morally and even intellectually. The strongest counterbalancing influence was that of their religion and of the Book'; but still the Koran is not pitched on a sufficiently high standard to keep the soul of the people vigorous. 'Reform is quite possible in Turkey, but not under Turkish rule.' So the present writer said in a book published in 1897, where he quoted also the opinion of that excellent traveller, Hamilton, that 'the Turks are incapable of that high moral energy and perseverance in the path of duty, which are essential to the accomplishment of any moral or political regeneration.'
My conclusion is that Turkey must be taken in tutelage by the Western powers, and that everything will depend upon the personal character and the knowledge of the men into whose hands the task of regenerating Turkey will be put. Foremost among those who are fit to be entrusted with this duty are certain American missionaries in the country-not by any means all of them, for I have known one who said to me with fervour that he had never been inside a Turkish mosque. Such as he may be eliminated at once, but many missionaries whom I have known are well fitted to be guides, as in their life they are ensamples, of economic management and moral vigour, and of living on a high standard. It is, however, not the purpose of this paper to do more than point out the urgent need for the application of knowledge and study and preparation for this revivification of Western Asia. The knowledge is wanting, the facts have never been collected, and it is of the first importance that they should be collected and tabulated now, before the need for applying the knowledge presses upon us. To benefit a class like the Anatolian peasant it is necessary to have regard in the first place to his present condition, education and circumstances, and in the second place to the historical process which has brought him to the situation which he now occupies. A cure which would be useful to one class of peasantry having certain racial characteristics would be useless and perhaps even harmful to peasants of a different type. The Anatolian peasant is obedient, contented and easily governed in a way that is almost unique in the case of a race possessing such a courageous and in some ways trustworthy basis of nature.
No amount of knowledge, however, and no collecting and tabulating of facts or statistics will be of any avail without the will and the skill to use them in practice. Our diplomatists in Turkey have usually been strenuously opposed to doing anything to aid the people except in the way of sending armies and doctors and nurses, the last two elements almost entirely through private initiative and at private expense, but cordially supported on most occasions by the Embassy. To improve the economic situation of the people lay wholly outside the
interest and wish of diplomacy. In this respect all that has been done by Britain has been done by private persons and trading enterprise, in spite of the systematic neglect and sometimes the contempt and opposition of the official world. General von der Goltz, in July 1908, said to an intimate friend of his and mine that the deal by which a British railway was handed over to Germany about 1888 could never have been carried through without the energetic support of the British Ambassador. The words used shortly afterwards by my good friend the Manager of the Ottoman Railway to the same ambassador are significant: All that I ask of you, Sir, is that you let me alone, and do not use your influence against me.'
Another friend, somewhere about 1900-1905, wanted to instal electric light in his large engineering works. Desiring to place the order in his own country, he consulted our Consul. The reply was that this was quite impossible, as the Turkish Government would never consent: The Sultan is determined that no dynamo shall be admitted into the country.' Yet by treaty and right there was no reason why such goods should be refused admittance. My friend went to the German Consul to see what he could do. The reply came on the instant. The installation would be made; terms, price according to published rates plus customs payable to Government; payment, when the work was completed and in satisfactory working order; sole condition, that the order must be placed with a German firm. The success of this first installation in Turkey led to the placing of many similar orders with the same firm; but it needed all the influence and resolution of the able German Ambassador to force the first order through the Custom House. The idea that British influence should be used to make Turkey admit goods according to agreement in spite of the Sultan's feelings would have been too absurd at that time.
I fully admit that there can fairly be put forward an argument in defence of this reluctance, namely, that it tended to keep British embassies free from the charge of favouring private interests. Such charges have been made not rarely in respect of other embassies and consulates within my experience; and I could quote, if space
allowed, quaint examples, some of which became public and notorious, while others did not; but it was rarely possible to make such a charge against any British representative, because it was notorious that private mercantile enterprise received no favour and was generally treated with the scantiest respect in any British office. On the whole, however, results have proved, without any argument being needed here, that this aversion was unfortunate. No person (except perhaps a few old officials) entertains any doubt about that; and there is hardly anyone who has not long ago determined that change is necessary.
The story of the British administration of Cyprus will stand out in history as a memorial of incapacity. Cyprus was occupied in 1878 in order to be a basis from which the Protectorate of Asiatic Turkey could be exercised. It lies off the south coast of Asia Minor and the west coast of northern Syria. Taken for this military purpose, and governed thirty-seven years, the island proved to be absolutely useless when war with Turkey broke out in 1915. It has not played any part, and could not serve any purpose, in the war. Why? It had never been developed industrially, or commercially, or as a naval or military station. British officialism went and stayed and for long did practically nothing, though in recent time the Department of Public Works has been actively and usefully employing resources too limited. Now look at another picture. One of our ablest statesmen, who was at Berlin in 1878, bartered Heligoland to Germany about ten years later. That barren tiny stretch of sand and rock, which was rapidly being washed away by the sea, was transformed into a great fortress, which has been the crown of German sea-defences. If Britain had spent on harbours in Cyprus and their needed defences, or on developing agriculture and trade, onefifth of the money that Germany spent on Heligoland, it might have been of incalculable service in this war.
Moreover, Cyprus is a large island, and was once rich and fertile; but, like all the Mediterranean lands, it depends for its productivity on the energy and labour and skill of the population. Under Turkish rule it had deteriorated seriously. In 1878 it needed roads, railways, bridges, harbours, and all the many devices for conducting trade