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    March 26, 1896

    “The Eastern Question. What Its Solution Means to All the World. No. 4.—Origin of the Present Trouble” The Present Truth 12, 13, pp. 196-198.

    ATJ

    “NOT RELIGION BUT REVOLUTION.

    WHAT, then, is the real cause of the difficulty and of these great troubles? The answer is: It is not religion, but revolution. Whatever people in England or America may believe, or say, the truth is, and all the evidence shows it, that it is solely on account of their revolutionary practices that the Armenians are involved in this great trouble. Anyone who will spend a little time amongst them, can know this, and those who are there do know it. It is for this reason that Russia would not consent that the other Powers should use force in dealing with the Porte. In the second Parliamentary Blue Book on this question, is given the correspondence, and there it is stated by Prince Lobanoff that—PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.1

    The fact is that the Armenian Committees in London and elsewhere aim at the creation in Asia Minor of a district in which the Armenians shall enjoy special privileges, and which will form the nucleus of a future independent Armenian kingdom; and to this Russia will not and cannot agree.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.2

    That this view is correct is further shown by a statement by the editor (J. M. Buckley, D. D) of The Christian Advocate, of New York, the leading paper of the Methodist Church in America, January 23, 1896. The editorial is on “Bleeding Armenia,” and after stating that there is “a small revolutionary body” operating both “outside of Turkey” and “within its bounds,” there is the following passage:—PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.3

    One of the representatives of this body said to Cyrus Hamlin: “We are determined to be free. Europe listened to the Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it comes up in the shrieks of women and children.” To this Dr. Hamlin said: “This scheme will make the very name of Armenia hateful among all civilised people.” He replied: “We are desperate, and we will do it.” Dr. Hamlin communicated these facts to the world in an article in The Congregationalist in December, 1893.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.4

    This scheme was thus announced in December, 1893, and it was not till the summer of 1894 that the troubles began which have continued to the present. As early as May, 1893 a revolutionary agitator named Damatian since. August 20, 1895, the British Consul at Erzeroum in a despatch to the British Ambassador at Constantinople wrote as follows:—PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.5

    The party of action among the Armenians have kept very quiet of late, having been persuaded that a contrary course would only prejudice the Armenian cause, and impede diplomatic action for the introduction of reforms. It is, however, more than probable that, if disappointed in their expectations, they will renew their agitation with increased violence, and endeavour to provoke reprisals on a scale certain to involve European intervention.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.6

    THE RIOT IN CONSTANTINOPLE

    IN perfect accord with this fore-cast of August 20, there came the outbreak in Constantinople, September 30, which originated wholly in two thousand Armenians marching in a body from the Patriarch’s Church to the Porte to demand diet the Sultan should sign the propositions of the Powers. These “Armenians carried revolvers and knives, all of one pattern,” says the British Ambassador in his report. The first shots were fired by the Armenians, killing a Turkish officer. Then the Turkish troops returned the fire, and with such effect that the Armenians soon fled, and, says the British Ambassador, “one thousand armed Armenians, with women and children, took refuge in the Church of the Patriarchate.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.7

    Now I personally know that this movement in Constantinople, September 30, 1895, was made for the purpose of bringing on such a crisis as would necessitate armed intervention of the Powers to restore order, and in the hope that thus they might be delivered from the Turkish rule and find a protectorate in the British Power. Our Bible School was in session at the hour when this armed force started from the Patriarch’s Church to the Porte. I myself was conducting the lesson of the hour. Suddenly the doors in the houses along the street were opened, and out rushed, all at once, the people,—men, women and children,—and poured along the street to a point where they could see the force as it marched toward the Porte. The sudden rush of so many crested something of a sensation in the school, though only for a moment, when we continued till the regular time for the close of the session.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.8

    When the session had closed, and those in attendance went into the street to go to their homes, they asked those who were in the street what was the cause of the sudden rush of all the people. The answer, and the only answer that was given, was: “The British fleet is coming in, and they a [referring to the Armenians who had gone up to the Porte] have gone up to compel the Sultan to sign.” And it was their daily expectation for more than a week afterward that the British fleet would then come in, and take them under its protection.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.9

    Five days afterward, October 5, the British Ambassador reported to the Government at London, that, “Grave fears are entertained that the Armenian Committee is organising some further demonstrations.” And not long after this the Armenians of Zeitun suddenly arose and captured the Turkish garrison of nearly six hundred troops, destroyed the barracks, and took possession of the city, where they sustained a considerable siege.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 196.10

    ORGANISED POLITICAL REVOLUTION

    THESE facts present evidence sufficient to show beyond dispute that there is a widespread revolutionary movement amongst the Armenians, and that it is carried on altogether for the purpose, and in the hope, of creating such a condition of affairs even at the deliberate expense of “the shrieks of women and children,” that the Great Powers will intervene and make them and the country free. And as a part of this plan, it is plain to those who know the facts, that many of the reports to the English and American papers have been exaggerated out of all semblance of the truth, and some indeed have not had a vestige of truth upon which to base even an exaggeration.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.1

    For instance: When the English papers reached Constantinople giving the accounts of the riot there, we read that “Stamboul is a desert;” “the shops are closed;” “the churches are filled with men, women, and children, refugees, to keep from being massacred.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.2

    The truth is, that Stamboul was no more of a desert than it usually is, except for the closing of the Armenian shops; and after two days after the riot even these were not closed for fear of the Turks, but for fear of the Armenians.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.3

    I myself saw a circular letter sent by the Armenian Revolutionary Society to the Armenian shopkeepers. This letter was written in Armenian, and was interpreted to me by an Armenian. It called for money for the Armenian cause, and told them not to “dare” to open their shops; that “thousands of eyes which they did not know” were watching them with the certainty of reprisal if they did disregard this warning. And the letter was not signed by the President, nor the Secretary of the Society, nor by the Society itself, but it was signed with a smoking revolver and a drawn sheath-knife.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.4

    Under these circumstances, is it strange that the Armenian shops were closed long after all danger was past? and long after the time when the shop owners would have been glad to open their shops?PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.5

    As for the churches being filled with men, women, and children, refugees, my etc., as though there was a general resort of the Armenian populace to the churches, this also is not true. Of the armed body that left the Patriarch’s Church to compel the Sultan,” those of them that escaped did take refuge in the church from which they started. But as for the Armenian people generally, they were in their homes and are about their daily work as usual, and without any molestation. There may have been, there probably were, some women also in the Patriarch’s Church. For there were some women there she before the riot, inciting the men to arise and avenge their injuries.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.6

    The day before the riot, in the midst of the assembly in the church, a woman sprang to her feet and exclaimed, “Woe, woe, to the Armenians! Why do you sit still? Why do you not an arise and avenge your injuries?”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.7

    “FOR THE FAITH.

    Another woman came into the house of the Armenian family where I was living, the next day after the riot. As she seated herself the handle of a large knife was exposed in the folds of her dress. The lady of the house asked her, “What have you that great knife for?” She replied: “To kill Turks with.” Then she drew it forth and showed how it must be used so as certainly to kill. Suiting actions to words, she said, “You take it in your hand this way; and then turn it, so. If you only drive it in straight and pull it oat again, they may live. But if you give it such a turn as that they are sure to die.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.8

    The lady of the house then said to her: “How is it that you know so much about it? Have you been doing it?” She answered: “Not here in Constantinople; but in Armenia I have.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.9

    Then said the lady of the house, “Why, you silly woman, what can you hope to accomplish by that? What can you do but get yourself killed?” Exultingly the woman exclaimed: “Suppose I do get myself killed! Is it not the best death to die? What is more glorious than to die for the faith!”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.10

    There may have been some such women as these, refugees in the churches. But in that part of the city where I was, and near to the Patriarch’s Church, too, it is certain that the women and children in general were at home as before, and were in safety there, as we all were. Again, for days long despatches were published, telling of the capture of Zeitun by the Turks and the “massacre of ten thousand Christians.” When in truth the only capture was its capture by the Armenians.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.11

    At Harput it was reported that “thousands of Christians” had been slaughtered. But the report of the missionary who was through it all at Harput, says there were “one hundred killed in the whole city.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.12

    At Sassoun it was reported “ten thousand” killed. It is now allowed even by the Armenian Society that there were “nine hundred killed.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.13

    At Trebizond it was said there were many thousands wiped out. The British consul’s official report says “not much above five hundred.”PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.14

    Now I do not say that 900 or 500, or even 100 killed, is a small thing. Any number killed is vastly too many. One person killed is far too many. But as compared with tens of thousands several times repeated, 900 and 500, and 100 all put together are not many.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.15

    Now in all this I have only stated the case as it is, and the facts as I personally know them to be, in truth. Yet let me not be misunderstood. I have said nothing, and I have nothing to say against the Armenians gaining their freedom, or even their independence, if they can. No subject people is to be blamed for desiring to be free and independent. All that I have attempted to say, and all that I do say is, that when the Armenians, or any other people, start out to gain their freedom, and have to fight for and do fight for it, and get beaten, and have a harder time than they expected, then let them not raise the cry that they are oppressed and persecuted and massacred, on account of their religion. This cry raises an entirely false issue.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.16

    Again, I would not say a word against any effort of societies to relieve the privations and miseries of the Armenians. They are suffering greatly, the innocent with the guilty. Let anybody, and everybody, send means as he chooses to relieve their distress. But when calls are made in their behalf, and the people are appealed to, to furnish relief, because the Armenians are martyrs for Christianity, it is all a mistake, and a wholly false issue.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.17

    That many Armenians who are not revolutionists, some of whom may possibly be Christians, have suffered, is undoubtedly true; but let it be remembered that this is what the revolutionists planned for. They calculated that if they fomented sedition the innocent would suffer with the guilty, and far more, and that “the shrieks of women and children” would rouse the world to assist them in securing independence.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 197.18

    Nor have I attempted to make any apology for, or any special showing in favour of the Turkish Government. I have simply written the facts as they are, and as I found them by experience to be; and that is all. As to the merits of the political controversy between the Armenians and the Turkish Government, I have nothing to say one way nor the other, I know that it is wholly political, and not religious at all. And merely to give what I know to be the truth of the case as to that point is what I have done and all that I intended to do.PTUK March 26, 1896, page 198.1

    THE ALL-IMPORTANT QUESTION

    BUT above it all, and back of it all, lies the much greater question as it lies in the Word of God, at to the Turkish Empire and its standing in the world and the end of it which must certainly come soon. And when the Turkish Government does come to its end, then comes that “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Who is prepared for this? And at that time comes the deliverance of God’s people, “every one that shall be found written in the book.” Who is ready for this? Is your name in the book of life? Are you ready for all these things that must shortly collie to pass?PTUK March 26, 1896, page 198.2

    A. T. JONES.

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