[ocr errors]

Sureya Pasha, whom I knew in 1857 as a kiatib (writer), was a kindhearted man, differing very often in political and humanitarian questions from his master, particularly since the latter began to give ear to Izzet, the instigator of the Armenian massacres, an act of cruelty to which Sureya strongly demurred. Before Sureya, the Sultan had two secretaries, one Küchük Said, later Grand Vizier, and Rashid Efendi, a clever young man, who died a premature death. His last secretary, Tahsin Pasha, the son-in-law of my former pupil, was a creature of Lutfi Aga, but, lacking all notoriety, he remained a genuine representative of the old Turkish Efendi class, ignorant and servile, but grasping and corruptible in the extreme.

The Court officer of importance next to the First Secretary I found in the person of the Sultan's First Interpreter, who acted also as Introducteur des Ambassadeurs. In my time it was Munir Pasha, a man of elegant manners and a kind heart. His office was not a light one. Besides serving as interpreter in most important diplomatic negotiations, he had to stand on the right hand of the Sultan during the dinner parties given to foreign visitors, and as the imperial host used to speak to his neighbour at the table and to pay flattering compliments to the European ladies present, the translator had constantly to turn from right to left, and the patient skill and readiness the Pasha exhibited on such occasions were worthy of admiration. After the demise of Munir Pasha the office of the Grand Maître des Cérémonies went over to Ibrahim Pasha, a kind-hearted gentleman of the old Turkish school, and after the death of the latter, one Galil Pasha, a clever and welleducated young gentleman, was invested with the not enviable position of First Interpreter to His Majesty. At some private interviews I had to serve in the same capacity, and Prince M-, the Greek envoy,

appeared much astonished at the confidence the Sultan had shown me. The office of an interpreter was at all events a delicate one, for the Sultan had a smattering of French, and he was always restless, fearing that his Turkish sentences had not been duly rendered. A not less important part was played in the household of the Sultan by the Kizlar Agasi (i.e. the Chief Eunuch), called also out of politeness Dar es Seadet esh-Sherife Agasi (viz. the master of the noble house of happiness), formerly Yaver Aga, and later on a certain Abdul-Gani by name, both most horrible looking creatures, whom I happened to know personally, and who, on my first meeting them, reminded me that the title Altesse is due to them, and that their rank is next to that of the Grand Vizier. The conversation with these illiterate and stupid people was most disgusting to me, and they not only claimed a high title but also a corresponding treatment. In connection with this queer dignitary of the palace, I may mention that Sultan Abdul Hamid was not at all so fervently attached to the imperial harem as generally supposed.

If my intercourse with the Sultan did not belong to the comforts

[ocr errors]

of life, for I had to be careful of his whims and freaks, the association with the Court officers was certainly the most unpleasant task I had to perform. Whilst the educated and semi-Europeanised portion of them were extremely jealous at my position, the ignorant and uneducated were all my enemies, suspecting in me a Giaur who had bewitched their master, and who, assisted by the Shaitan, had appropriated Mohammedan learning. To the former class belonged the famous Izzet Pasha, the Second Secretary of the Sultan, my and every European’s most inveterate enemy, and who was regarded as the chief adviser of Abdul Hamid. The ways and means which brought this man to the palace are not generally known, much less the art with which he succeeded in enticing the suspicious ruler, to whom he was evidently superior in cunning ruse and all kinds of lies and treachery. I have seen a portion of the letter which he had addressed to the Sultan, full of denunciations of the leading statesmen and of confessions of his own loyalty, patriotism and Moslem zeal. He produced even proofs of sedition against a leading minister (of course, forged) and, assisted by his countryman, the Sheik Ebul Huda, he succeeded in ensnaring the distrustful ruler and in becoming his chief adviser. Izzet and the aforesaid sheikh have been the chief cause of the Sultan's anti-European feelings. Suffice to say that Izzet persecuted me from the very moment that he entered the palace, and he made no secret of it, for he used to dart at me furious looks of anger and hatred, and he made it known to me that I should no longer continue to make the palace unsafe and beguile the Padishah. Poor, innocent Sultan; he certainly was an easy prey to the seducer! Izzet having made up his mind to exclude every non-Mohammedan from intercourse with the Sultan had an easy task to put me aside, since the representative of a foreign great Power, suspecting in me a secret agent of his rivals, had a similar object in view. Sultan Abdul Hamid noticing that he could not make me a willing instrument in his hands, and that I was disliked by his friend in Europe, readily gave up his plans of winning me over entirely to his interests, and without betraying his displeasure our relations grew gradually colder, until I ceased visiting Constantinople and his palace.

A. VAMBÉRY. The University, Budapest.

(To be continued.)


MERCILESS contempt is poured on anyone who can be labelled a friend of the brewers by many of the Temperance party. How much more, then, will they consider me unworthy of credence, for I write as a director of a brewery! And yet one would imagine that a brewer would have sufficient knowledge of the trade in beer to entitle him to write about it. In the case of any other business which it is proposed to affect by legislation, those engaged in it are considered peculiarly qualified to express their views on the subject.

Of course the question of the future of the public-house is more important to us than to anyone. We are told by some temperance writers that all we care about is to sell as much alcohol as possible, regardless of the degradation of our fellow-men. But since the Act of 1904 provided that licences should only be taken away (without compensation) for misconduct, the fact that anything that will reduce drunkenness, and improve the status of the public-house, is directly to our pecuniary advantage is more obvious than ever. I think there is little doubt that the present state of the public-house is in various ways unsatisfactory to all concerned. And also I am confident that it is in the improvement of the public-house that one of the most important advances of temperance will lie. This improvement should be both in the form of the structure and also in the entertainment offered to its patrons.

In his speech at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on the 25th of June 1908, Mr. Balfour said:

I have sometimes doubted whether, in the long series of legislative enactments connected with the sale of alcohol in this country, we have not been on the wrong tack. On the Continent, at all events, you see, and everybody who has been there must rejoice to see, a man and his family going to enjoy music, it maybe under cover in winter, or in the open air in the summer, hearing the band and enjoying nature and art, and accompanying that enjoyment by consumption of lager beer and alcohol, which is rarely, in such circumstances,

Who but must regret that we see so little of that in this country, and that when a poor man desires—not a rich man—but when a poor man desires to consume alcohol, even in the utmost moderation, you for the most part compel him to go to a house in which you have forbidden, by the police and other regulations, anything to take place except the bare sale of food and drink i But it is often said that the main obstacle to reform lies in the fact that nearly all houses are now tied, and that consequently no improvement can be made. On the face of it this is most improbable. An improvement to a house should make it more fit to serve its end, and so more valuable. The better it meets the real needs of the population the better for all concerned. It is true that there has been little improvement in the last fifty years. The habits and customs of the population have largely changed, but the public-house remains to a much larger extent than should be the case the mere drinkingshop of many years ago. But if one asks the reason of this strange and important phenomenon, it is to be found not so much in any want of progressiveness, or moving with the times, on the part of the trade as in the fact that licensing benches control absolutely every change of any kind, either in the fabric of the house or in what is permitted to its users. The public-house has been regarded too often as an evilnecessary indeed, but to be kept as unattractive as possible. So it is rare that any enlargement is permitted, and games such as even chess or draughts are frequently forbidden, billiards only being, apparently, considered a moral game; music usually is taboo ; in fact nothing is left in many cases but drinking. This is a policy with which on every ground I profoundly disagree. I do not believe that it makes for temperance in the people, and I believe it to be an interference with liberties and rights which would need a very strong and clearly proved reason to justify.

used to excess.

I propose to discuss first what a tied house is, and then, having stated the present situation, to consider in what direction improvements may lie. I hope to give reasons for thinking that a new type of house more suited to present needs would be of public benefit. Of course it is necessary that the new type of house should


its owners. You cannot hope for any great change unless philanthropy goes with 5 per cent. But holding, as I do, that there is nothing that pays owners of public-houses so well as true temperance, I do not think it should be impossible to suggest great improvements which will come about by the working of the laws of commercial profit, if liberty can be allowed to owners to experiment.

First as to tied houses. Though everyone talks glibly about it, I doubt if everyone understands exactly what a tied house is. Anyway, a short definition will not be out of place. A tied house is a public-house whose licensee has entered into an agreement with a brewer or brewery company, by way of tenancy or by way of loan, or both, which contains among its covenants one providing that the licensee shall buy certain articles exclusively from the brewery. These articles, of course, invariably include malt liquors (though even in regard to them a latitude is allowed in respect to the stocking of one

| This may, I imagine, be supposed to be one reason for some of the present Budget proposals.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

or two world-famed brands). In the case of London houses that usually represents the extent of the ' tie.' But a 'tie’ extending to wines and spirits, &c., is not uncommon in various parts of the country. In such cases the licensee buys these other articles also from or through the brewery company. The tie extends for as long as the agreement remains in force ; that is to say, in the case of a tenancy agreement it operates during the whole of the licensee's tenancy; where the agreement is merely by way of loan, the licensee can get rid of it by paying off the loan. To this definition should be added a reference to the managed house, which is often confused with the tied house, but is in reality quite distinct. These managed houses are common in the great Northern and Midland towns. There the licensee is not a tenant

. working on his own account for a profit, but a servant of the brewery company in receipt of a salary as manager, just like a branch manager of a bank or the manager of a branch shop of a big boot stores. He often has no interest in the sales of beer or spirits, but lives on a weekly salary, and gets a percentage on food, aerated water, tea, &c., which he may sell.

Now how did this tied-house system arise ? Historically, it goes back much further than is commonly supposed. The report of a House of Commons Select Committee issued in 1818 declared that ' nearly one-half of the victualling houses in the Metropolis, and more in the country, are held by brewers.' But later there appears to have been a period in which the free house was much more in evidence; and this development of the free house must be connected with the policy which began with the Duke of Wellington's Act of 1830, under which beer-houses were encouraged. Practically, anyone could obtain a licence (only an excise licence was needed) if he paid the fees, had premises of sufficient rateable value, and was a man of good character. This policy, though checked somewhat soon after the start, really remained in force until 1869, during which period the number of licensed houses increased very considerably. For not only beer licences but full licences were comparatively easy to obtain during this period; some magistrates, indeed, preferring to grant full licences rather than beer-house licences, because of the better-class premises in which full licences were usually housed. So freely were licences granted that it became not uncommon to see two next door to each other. Now that had an adverse influence upon the tiedhouse system. Let me illustrate how it worked by a quotation from a speech by Mr. Henry Mitchell, the chairman of Messrs. Mitchells & Butlers Brewery, at the last annual meeting of that company :


Under such conditions (said Mr. Mitchell] it will be readily understood that no incentive at that time existed for brewery firms to become possessors of publichouse property. People with comparatively small capital could then enter the trade as possessors of public-houses. In Birmingham and district at this time there was comparatively no tied trade' and certainly no 'monopoly value.'

« VorigeDoorgaan »