AMERICA'S RELIEF EXPEDITION TO ASIA MINOR UNDER THE RED CROSS
Note from the administration of ArmenianHouse.org: the page numbering is preserved, so the book can be used for quoting. Also we did our best to keep the layout as close to the original as possible.
REPORT OF MISS CLARA BARTON,
PRESIDENT AND TREASURER OF THE AMERICAN
NATIONAL RED CROSS.
To the People of the United States:
In November, 1895, while busily occupied in editing a history of the Red Cross for publication, the press commenced to warn us of a possible call for the relief of the terrible sufferings of Armenia, which were engaging the attention of the civilized world. These warnings were followed later by a letter from Rev. Judson Smith, D. D., of Boston, Secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions referring his suggestion back to Rev. Henry O. Dwight, D. D., of the American Board of Foreign Missions at Constantinople. The American Red Cross was requested by these representative gentlemen, to undertake the distribution of relief funds among the sufferers of Armenia. Owing to the disturbed condition of the country and of its strict laws, combined as they were with existing racial and religious differences, it was found almost impossible at the moment to distribute the relief needed. The faithful but distressed resident missionaries were themselves helpless sufferers to a great extent and practically prisoners in their own houses. These had not always been spared to them in the wild excitement which reigned for several months previous, otherwise they would have been the normal channels for distributing aid. This written request from Dr. Smith was nearly identical with a similar one from Mr. Spencer Trask, of New York, who,
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with others, was about to form a National Armenian Relief Committee, to be established in that city. Following their letters, both of these gentlemen, Dr. Smith and Mr. Trask, came to Washington to personally urge our compliance with the request that we accept the charge of this distribution of relief funds. Accustomed to the trials, responsibilities and hardships of field relief labor, this proposition seemed something to be shrunk from rather than accepted and we naturally hesitated. The idea, however, became public, and a general importunity on the part of the people became prevalent. The necessity for immediate action was urged; human beings were starving and could not be reached, hundreds of towns and villages had not been heard from since the fire and sword went over them, and no one else was so well prepared for the work of field relief, it was said, as ourselves. It was urged that we had a trained force of field workers, and as Turkey was one of the signatory powers to the Red Cross treaty of Geneva, having given its adhesion as long ago as July, 1865, it must consequently be familiar with its methods and humanitarian ideas. Thus it was hoped that she would the more readily accept its presence than that of a more strange body of workers. These are only a shadowing of the reasons urged on behalf of our acceptance. Under this pressure, coupled with our strong sympathies, the subject was taken into serious consideration with the simple demand on our part of two positive assurances: First, we must be assured by the committees that we were the choice of the people of the entire country, that there was no opposition to us, and that there was perfect unanimity between themselves; there must be nowhere any discord; the task would be difficult enough under the best conditions. Second,, that they had the funds to distribute. Assured on both these points, our promise was given that we would go and do our best to make the desired distribution in the interior of Asia Minor.
With this ray of hope that something might be done, the pentup sympathies of the people burst forth. Public meetings
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were held, addresses made, Armenian conditions estimated, horrors reproduced, responsibilities placed, causes canvassed, and opinions expressed; honest, humane, and entirely natural, precisely the course to rouse public sentiment and indignation, if that were the only or the main object in view. In consideration, however, of the relief effort, it was of questionable wisdom perhaps, when it is borne in mind that we had yet to ask the opening of a door hitherto closed against the world, when we needed permission to enter, in order to reach the starving sufferers with the relief that was planning for them. In the enthusiasm of the hour, this fact seemed to be entirely lost sight of. It also seemed to be forgotten that if this difficult and delicate task were to be assigned to the Red Cross and its officers, that the making of their mission or of themselves personally, prominent or laudatory features of public gatherings where Ottoman officials or representatives were always listeners, could not fail to render the post more difficult, and prospects of success more doubtful.
The international and neutral character of the Red Cross, as a mediam of relief in mitigation of war or overwhelming calamity, appeared to be overlooked or wholly misunderstood. It was not recognized that only by abstaining from discordant opinions could we be in a position to perform our work. By the obligations of the Geneva treaty, all national controversies, racial distinctions, and differences in creed must be held in abeyance and only the needs of humanity considered. In this spirit alone can the Red Cross meet its obligations as the representative of the nations and governments of the world acting under it. But American enthusiasm is boundless, and its expression limitless; and the same breath that crushed the Ottoman Empire, scattered it to the winds or sunk it in the lowest depths, elevated the Red Cross and its proposed relief out of sight among the clouds. Precautionary remonstrance from us was in vain, but it was not until after we had publicly given our consent, made all arrangements and appointed our aids, that the
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fruits of these ardent demonstrations became visible in a pronunciamento through the Turkish Minister resident at Washington, prohibiting the Red Cross from entering Turkey.
I found this decision on the part of the Bey and his government very natural and politically justifiable—our own government and people would probably have done the same or even more under similar conditions, provided similar conditions could have existed among them. I was ready to abide by the decision and remain at home. This, neither people nor committees, would consent to. Of course our selected force of more than a score of trained and experienced field workers, each a specialist, must be given up. If any relief were now attempted it could only be individual, with two or three officers from headquarters as indispensable aids.
Previous to the announcement of the Turkish Minister prohibiting the Red Cross from entering Turkey, the promise had been gained from us to leave by the S. S. "New York" on the 2 2X.1 of January, and notwithstanding the reply to a cablegram from the Department of State to Constantinople, asking if the prohibition against the entrance of the Red Cross was really official and from the government itself, or but semi-official, had not been received, our promise was kept and we sailed with this uncertainty resting over us.
The picture of that scene is still vivid in my memory. Crowded piers, wild with hurrahs, white with parting salutes, hearts beating with exultation and expectation—a little shorn band of five, prohibited, unsustained either by government or other authority, destined to a port five thousand miles away, from approach to which even the powers of the world had shrunk. What was it expected to do or how to do it? Visions of Don Quixote and his windmills loomed up, as I turned away and wondered.
A week at sea, to be met at midnight at Southampton, by messenger down from London, to say that the prohibition was sustained, the Red Cross was forbidden, but that such persons
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as our Minister, Mr. Terrell, would appoint, would be received. Here was another delicate uncertainty which could not be committed to Ottoman telegraph, and Dr. Hubbell was dispatched alone to Constantinople (while we waited in London) to learn from Mr. Terrell his attitude toward ourselves and our mission. Under favorable responses we proceeded, and reached Constantinople on February 15th; met a most cordial reception from all our own government officials, and located pro tem at Pera Palace Hotel; it being so recently after the Stamboul massacres that no less public place was deemed safe.
The following day we received in a body the members of the Missionary Board in Constantinople, including its treasurer, W. W. Peet, Esq., and Dr. Washburn, president of Robert College, and here commenced that friendly intercourse which continued without interruption, strengthening as the days wore on through the half year that followed, till moistened eyes and warm hand grasp at parting told more plainly than words how fraught with confidence that intercourse had been. If one would look for peers of this accomplished Christian body of our countrymen, they would only be found in the noble band of women, who, as wives, mothers and teachers, aid their labors and share their hardships, privations and dangers. I shall always feel it a privilege and an honor to have been called, even in a small way, to assist the efforts of this chosen body of our countrymen and women, whose faithful and devoted lives are made sacred to the service of God and their fellow men.
The first step was to procure an introduction to the Government which had in one sense refused me; and accompanied by Minister Terrell and his premier interpreter, Gargiulo, perhaps the longest serving and one of the most experienced diplomatic officers in Constantinople, I called by appointment upon Tewfik Pasha, the Turkish Minister of Foreign affairs or Minister of State. To those conversant with the personages connected with Turkish affairs, I need not say that Tewfik Pasha is probably the foremost man of the Government; a manly man, with a
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kind, fine face, and genial, polished manners. Educated abroad, with advanced views on general subjects, he impresses one as a man who would sanction no wrong it was in his power to avert.
We were received at the Department of State in an uninterrupted interview lasting over an hour. As this was the main interview and the base of all our work, it is perhaps proper that I give it somewhat in detail. Mr. Terrell's introduction was most appropriate and well expressed, bearing with strong emphasis upon the suffering condition of the people of the interior in consequence of the massacres, and the great sympathy of the people of America, their intense desire to help them, the heartfelt interest in their missionaries whose burdens were greater than they ought to bear, and the desire to aid them, and that for all these reasons we had been asked to come; that our objects were purely humanitarian, having neither political, racial, or religious bearing as such; that as the head of the organization thus represented I could have no other ideas, and it was the privilege of putting these ideas into practice and the protection required meanwhile that the people of America, through him and through me, were asking.
The Pasha listened most attentively to the speech of Mr. Terrell, thanked him, and replied that this was well understood; that they knew the Red Cross and its president, and turning to me repeated: "We know you, Miss Barton; have long known you and your work. We would like to hear your plans for relief and what you desire."
I proceeded to state them, bearing fully upon the fact that the condition to which the people of the interior of Asia Minor had been reduced by recent events had aroused the sympathy of the entire American people until they asked, almost to the extent of a demand, that assistance from them should be allowed to go directly to these sufferers, hundreds of whom had friends and relatives in America — a fact which naturally strengthened both the interest and the demand; that it was at the request of our people, en masse, that I and a few assist-
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ants had come; that our object would be to use the funds ourselves among the people needing them wherever they were found, in helping them to resume their former positions and avocations, thus relieving them from continued distress, the State from the burden of providing for them, and other nations and people from a torrent of sympathy which was both hard to endure and unwholesome in its effects; that I had brought skilled agents, practical and experienced farmers whose first efforts would be to get the people back to their deserted fields and provide them with farming implements and material wherewith to put in summer crops and thus enable them to feed themselves. These would embrace plows, hoes, spades, seed-corn, wheat, and later, sickles, scythes, etc., for harvesting, with which to save the miles of autumn grain which we had heard of as growing on the great plains already in the ground before the trouble; also to provide for them such cattle and other animals as it would be possible to purchase or to get back; that if some such thing were not done before another winter, unless we had been greatly misinformed, the suffering there would shock the entire civilized world. None of us knew from personal observations, as yet, the full need of assistance, but had reason to believe it very great. That if my agents were permitted to go, such need as they found they would be prompt to relieve. On the other hand, if they did not find the need existing there, none would leave the field so gladly as they. There would be no respecting of persons; humanity alone would be their guide. "We have," I added, "brought only ourselves, no correspondent has accompanied us, and we shall have none, and shall not go home to write a book on Turkey. We are not here for that. Nothing shall be done in any concealed manner. All dispatches which we send will go openly through your own telegraph, and I should be glad if all that we shall write could be seen by your Government. I cannot, of course, say what its character will be, but can vouch for its truth, fairness and integrity, and for
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the conduct of every leading man who shall be sent. I shall never counsel nor permit a sly or underhand action with your Government, and you will pardon me, Pasha, if I say that I shall expect the same treatment in return — such as I give I shall expect to receive."
Almost without a breath he replied—"And you shall have it. We honor your position and your wishes will be respected. Such aid and protection as we are able to, we shall render."
I then asked if it were necessary for me to see other officials. "No," he replied, "I speak for my Government;" and with cordial good wishes, our interview closed.
I never spoke personally with this gentleman again; all further business being officially transacted through the officers of our Legation. Yet I can truly say, as I have said of my first meeting with our matchless band of missionary workers, that here commenced an acquaintance which proved invaluable, and here were given pledges of mutual faith of which not a word was ever broken or invalidated on either side, and to which I owe what we were able to do through all Asia Minor. It is to the strong escorts ordered from the Sublime Porte for our expeditions and men, that I owe the fact that they all came back to me, and that I bring them home to you, tired and worn, but saved and useful still.
Dr. Hubbell, and the leaders of the five expeditions tell us that they were never, even for a portion of a day without an escort for protection, and this at the expense of the Turkish Government, and that without this protection they must not and could not have proceeded.
This interview with Tewfik Pasha was equal to a permit. Both Minister Terrell and myself cabled it to America as such. Dr. Hubbell, as general field agent, commenced at once to fit himself for a passage by the Black Sea, through Sivas to Harpoot. He had engaged a dragoman and assistants, and with Ernest Mason, who went with us as Oriental linguist, was prepared to ship next day, when at Selamlik I was officially waited
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upon by a Court Chamberlain who informed me that although greatly regretting it, they were compelled to ask me to delay my expedition, in order to give the Government time to translate and read some of the immense quantities of newspaper matter which was being thrown in upon them from America, and which from its context appeared to be official, representing all our State Governors as engaged in a general move against Turkey, and that the chief seat of operations was the National Capitol. The Chamberlain tried by motions to show me that there were bushels of papers, and that it was impossible for them to translate them at once; that if they proved to be official as appeared by the great names connected with them, it was imperative that the Government consider them; but if it proved to be mere newspaper talk it was of no consequence, and I was begged to delay until they could investigate. Having received some specimens myself, I did not wonder at this request, I only wondered at the kindly courtesy with which it was made. I will take the liberty of inserting one of the clippings which I had received as a sample of what Turkey had to consider. This is only one among scores, which had led me to consider how, with these representations, we were ever to get any further:
PRO ARMENIAN ALLIANCE.
ITS WORK TO BE EXTENDED TO THE REMOTEST SECTIONS OF THE UNITED
GOVERNORS OF STATES WILL AID.
[Special dispatch to the Sunday Herald.]
WASHINGTON, D. C., FEBRUARY 8, 1896.—The pro Armenian Alliance, with headquarters in this city, says the Evening News, which is working hand in glove with Miss Clara Barton and the Red Cross society for the relief of the Armenians, is rapidly completing arrangements for extending its work to the remotest sections of the United States. The permanent organization of the alliance was perfected in this city a little over a week ago, when the following officers were elected: President, R. S. Tharin; Vice-Presidents, B. Sunderland, D. D., and I. E. Gilbert, D. D.; Secretary, H. L. Sargent; Treasurer, F. A. Stier.
Within a few days the broadest promulgation of a pamphlet prepared by the alliance will begin.
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On the title page of the little book will appear these uniquemottos, "God against Allah, Christ against Mohammed, Bible against Koran, Heaven against Hell!"
It is proposed to proceed at once with the organization of local alliances throughout the Union, any person connected with a Christian organization or society, regardless of denomination, being eligible to membership.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The headquarters of the alliance at the National Hotel are open from 10 to 12 o'clock.
It is intended to send out about 2,000,000 of the pamphlets explaining the purposes of the alliance, in lots of 200,000 or more. The delegates to the national convention will be selected by the different local clubs.
Well knowing, however, that investigation would show no trace of government or other official authority, we decided to lose no time, but to prepare ourselves for work at the earliest moment; and taking up the role of merchants, went into Stamboul, and purchased from the great wholesale houses, immense quantities of such material as could not fail of being useful and needed, to be later taken by caravan into the interior. Just at this interval, a request was brought to me by Dr. Washburn, of Robert College, from Sir Philip Currie, English Ambassador, asking if I could not be "persuaded" to turn my expedition through the Mediterranean, rather than the Black Sea, in order to reach Marash and Zeitoun, where the foreign consuls were at the moment convened. They had gotten word to him that ten thousand people in those two cities were down with four distinct epidemics—typhoid and typhus fevers, disen-tery and small pox—that the victims were dying in overwhelming numbers and that there was not a physician among them, all being either sick or dead, with no medicines and little food. This was not a case for "persuasion," but of heartfelt thanks from us all that Sir Philip had remembered to call us whom he had never met. But here was a hindrance. The only means of conveyance from Constantinople to Alexandretta were coasting boats, belonging to different nationalties, and which left only once in two weeks and irregularly at that. Transport for our goods was secured on the first boat to leave, the goods taken to the wharf
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at Galata, and at the latest moment in order to give time, a request was made to the Government for teskeres or traveling permits for Dr. Hubbell and assistants. To our surprise they were granted instantly, but by some delay on the part of the messenger sent for them, they reached a moment too late; the boat left a little more than promptly, taking with it our relief goods, and leaving the men on the dock to receive their permits only when the boat was beyond recall. It was really the fault of no one. With the least possible delay the doctor secured passage by the first boat to Smyrna, and a fortunate chance boat from there, took him to Alexandretta, via Beyrout and Tripoli, Syria. The goods arrived in safety and two other of our assistants, whom we had called by cable from America, Messrs. Edward M. Wistar and Charles King Wood, were also passed over to the same point with more goods. There caravans were fitted out to leave over the, to them, unknown track to Aintab, as a first base. From this point the reports of each of these gentlemen made to me and compiled with this, will be living witnesses. I leave them to tell their own modest tales of exposure, severe travel, hard work and hardship, of which no word of complaint has ever passed their lips. There has been only gratitude and joy that they could do something in a cause at once so great and so terrible.
These little changes and accidents of travel, of not the slightest importance or concern to any one but ourselves, were naturally picked up and cabled to America as "news." The naming of the mere facts with neither explanations nor reasons assigned, could not be understood and only created confusion in the minds of the readers. They must, nevertheless, be accepted by our reporters, circulated, and discussed by our anxious people and perplexed committees.
The transcript of a paragraph from a letter received from America March 25, will serve to recall, at this late date, something of the state of feeling at the moment prevailing in America:
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"Great doubt and dissatisfaction is felt here at the changeable course you seem to pursue — why you should propose to go first to the Black Sea, then to the Mediterranean, then not at all. Why to Smyna, then to Alexandretta, points where nothing is the matter and no help needed. They feel that you do not understand your own course, or are being deceived— will never get into the country—a fact which, it is said, is clearly seen here."
To further elucidate the intense feeling in our sympathetic country, we give a few sentences from other letters received at that time:
"What are those folks doing over there? First we hear they are going to Harpoot by the Black Sea, next they have gone to Smyrna, there is nothing the matter at Smyrna, next to Alexandretta; what have they gone there for? that is no place to go, any one can go to Alexandretta." "They don't seem to know what they are about." "They will never get into the country, we said so when they went, they ought to have known better themselves, we knew the Sultan would forbid them as he has; they are only being duped."
Unpleasant and somewhat ludicrous as these criticisms were, they served a purpose in coming back to us, as by them we were able to understand more fully the cables which had preceded them. "Give us news in full of your doings, it is important that we know." Every cable was answered with all the news we could send by that costly method.
I had asked permission and escort for two caravans from Alexandretta but had learned later from them that they would unite and go together to Aintab, in company with the Rev. Dr. Fuller of that city, who requires no introduction to the missionary or religious world. At this junction Mr. Gargiulo of the legation came to me in great haste (he having been sent for by the Sublime Porte), to know where our expeditions were. They had provided for two and could only get trace of one; where was the other? Please get definite information and let them know at once. I had served on too many battle fields
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not to understand what this meant. I knew our men were in danger somewhere, and some one was trying to protect them, and sent back the fullest information that there was but one expedition out, and waited. Two days later came the news of the massacre at Killis by the Circassians. Killis lay directly in their track, unknown to them, and the Turkish troops had unexpectedly come up and taken them on. I can perhaps, at this distant date, give no more correct note of this and the condition of things as found, than by an extract from a letter written by me at the time to our world's friend and mine, Frances Willard. We were at this moment securing the medical expedition for Marash and Zeitoun.
DEAR FRANCES WILLARD: * * * * * May I also send a message by you to our people, to your people and my people; in the name of your God and my God, ask them not to be discouraged in the good work they have undertaken. My heart would grow faint and words fail, were I to attempt to tell them the woes and the needs of these Christian martyrs. But what need to tell? They already know what words can say—alone, bereft, forsaken, sick and heartbroken, without food, raiment or shelter, on the snow-piled mountain sides and along the smoking valleys they wander and linger and perish. What more should I say to our people, but to show them the picture of what they themselves have already done.
The scores of holy men and women sustained by them, with prayers in their hearts, tears in their voices, hovering like angels and toiling like slaves, along all these borders of misery and woe, counting peril as gain and death as naught, so it is in His Name. But here another picture rises; as if common woe were not enough, the angel of disease flaps his black wings like a pall and in once bright Zeitoun and Marash contagion reigns. By scores, by hundreds, they die; no help, no medicine, no skill, little food, and the last yard of cotton gone to cover the sick and dying. To whom came the cry, "Help or we perish! Send us physicians! " The contributed gifts of America open the doors of classic Beyrout, and Ira Harris with his band of doctors speeds his way. In Eskandaroon sleep the waiting caravans. The order comes, "Arise and go ! henceforth your way is clear." Camels heavy laden, not with ivory and jewels, gold in the ingot and silk in the bales, but food and raiment for the starving, the sick, and the dying. Onward they sweep toward dread Killis—the wild tribe's knives before the Moslem troops behind—" go on! we protect;" till at length the spires of Aintab rise in view. Weary the camels and weary the men — Hub-
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bell, Fuller, Wistar, Wood, Mason — names that should live in story for the brave deeds of that march but just begun. The quick, glad cry of welcome of a city that had known but terror, sorrow and neglect for months — a little rest, help given, and over the mountains deep in snow, weary and worn their caravans go, toiling on towards fever and death. Let us leave them to their task. This is the work of America's people abroad. My message, through you, to her people at home—not to her small and poor, but to her rich and powerful people is, remember this picture and be not weary in well doing.
While the first and second expeditions were fitting out from Alexandretta, the terrible state of things at Zeitoun and Marash was confirmed by the leading missionaries there, and we were asked to assume the expense of physicians, druggists, medicines and medical relief in general. This we were only too glad to do. Negotiations had already been opened by them with Dr. George E. Post of Beyrout, the glorious outcome of which was the going out of Dr. Ira Harris of Tripoli, Syria, with his corps of local physicians, and the marvelous results achieved. For some cause the doctor took the route via Adana, rather than by Alexandretta, and found himself in the midst of an unsafe country with insufficient escort. After a delay of two or three days, he got a dispatch to us at Constantinople. This dispatch was immediately sent through our Legation to the Porte, and directly returned to me with the written assurance that the proper steps had been instantly taken. On the same day Dr. Harris left Adana with a military escort that took his expedition through, leaving it only when safe in Marash.
Dr. Hubbell had arrived some days previous, but following instructions left immediately on the arrival of Dr. Harris, to pursue his investigations in the villages, and supply the general need of the people wherever found. This formed really the fourth expedition in the field at that early date, as the separate charges later so efficiently assumed by Messrs. Wistar and Wood, who were on the ground previous to the medical expedition, became known as the second and third expeditions.
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It will be inferred that the assignment, furnishing and direction of these several expeditions, nearly a thousand miles distant, four weeks by personal travel, six weeks to write a letter and get reply, from two days to almost any time by "telegraph, according to the condition of the wires, and in any language from Turkish and Greek to Arabic, with all other duties immediately surrounding, could not leave large leisure for home correspondence. While conscious of a restlessness on this score, we began to be mystified by the nature and text of dispatches from committees at home: "Contributors object to Turkish distribution." What could it mean? We could only reply: "Do not understand your dispatch. Please explain." These were followed by others of a similar character from other sources; finally letters, expressing great regret at the means to which I had been compelled to resort in order to accomplish my distribution, and the disastrous effect it could not fail to have upon the raising of funds. "Well, it was probably the only way to do, they had expected it, in fact, foretold it all the time."— What had I done? The mystery deepened. Finally, through the waste of waters and the lapse of time it got to me.—A little four line cablegram from Constantinople as follows:
'' The council of ministers has decided that Miss Clara Barton can work only in conjunction with the Turkish commission in the distribution of relief, and ca.n only use their lists of destitute Armenians. An Irade to that effect is expected."
No one had thought to inquire if this statement were true, no one had referred it to me, and as well as I ought to be known by our people, the question if I would be likely to take such a step, seems not to have been raised. It had been taken for granted through all America, England, and even the Missionary Boards of Turkey, that I had pledged myself and signed papers, to distribute the funds entrusted to me, under Turkish inspection and from lists furnished by Turkish officials. Myself and my officers appeared to be the only persons who had never heard of it. Astonished and pained beyond measure it was plainly and emphati-
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cally denied. Our press books of that date are marvels of denial. Sir Philip Currie and the Turkish Government itself, came to the rescue, declaring that no such course was ever intended. Secretary Olney was cabled to try "to make the people of America understand that the Turkish Government did not interfere with their distribution." In spite of: all this, it went on until people and committees were discouraged; the latter cabling that in the present state of feeling little or nothing more could be expected, and gently suggesting the propriety of sending the balance in hand to other parties for distribution. My own National Red Cross officers in America, hurt and disgusted at the unjust form affairs were taking, in sympathy advised the leaving of the field and returning home.
Here was a singular condition of affairs. A great international work of relief, every department of which was succeeding beyond all expectation, wherein no mistakes had been made, letters of gratitude and blessing pouring in from every field of labor, finances carefully handled and no pressure for funds. On the other hand a whole nation in a panic, strong committees going to pieces, and brave faithful officers driven through pity to despair and contempt, and the cause about to be abandoned and given up to the lasting harm of all humanity. So desperate a case called for quick and heroic measures. Realizing the position of the committees from their own sad reports, I at once cabled relieving them from further contributions: ''We will finish the field without further aid." To my Red Cross officers I dictated the following letter, which I believe was used somewhat by the harrassed committees in struggling on to their feet again:
AYAZ-PACHA, TAHIM, CONSTANTINOPLE, April 18, 1896.
P. V. DEGRAW, ESQ., Corresponding Secretary,
American National Red Cross, Washington, D. C., U. S. A.
DEAR MR. DEGRAW: I received both your and Stephen E. Barton's heavy-hearted and friendly letters, and they fell on soil about as heavy. I could not understand how it could be, for I knew we had done our best and I believed the best that could have been done under the circumstances and
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conditions. I knew we held a great, well organized relief that would be needed as nothing else could be. That besides us, there was no one to handle the terrible scourge that was settling down—no one here, no one to come, who could touch it. I knew I was not interfered with; that no "restrictions" nor propositions had been imposed or even offered; that the Government was considerate and accorded all I asked. But what had stirred America up and set it, apparently, against us ? The relief societies going to pieces, and turning sad glances here ? We could not understand it. I did not wonder that you thought we "had best come home," still I knew we would not; indeed, we could not. I have a body of relief on these fields, hundreds of miles away in the mountains, a thousand miles from me, that I could not draw off in six weeks, and if we were to, it would be to abandon thousands of poor, sick, suffering wretches to a fate that ought to shock the entire world. Sick, foodless, naked, and not one doctor and no medicine among them; whole cities scourged and left to their fate, to die without a hand raised to help excepting the three or four resolute missionaries, tired, worn, God-serving, at their posts until they drop. The civilized world running over with skillful physicians, and not one there; no one to arrange to get them there; to pay expenses, take special charge and thus make it possible for them to go. And we, seeing that state of things, holding in our grasp the relief we had been weeks preparing and organizing in anticipation of this, to turn back, draw off our helpers, send back the doctors already started, give all up because somebody had said something, the press had circulated it, the world had believed it, our disappointed committees had lost heart and grown sore struggling with an occupation rather new to them, and the people had taken alarm and failed to sustain them. Was this all there was of us? No purpose of our own? "On Change," like the price of wheat on the market? In the name of God and Humanity this field must be carried, these people must be rescued; skill, care, medicines and food for the sick must reach them. And it is a glad sight to my soul to think of Turkish troops taking thsse bands of doctors on to Marash. They have done it, and are at this very hour marching on with them to their field of labor. What does one care for criticism, disapproval or approval, under circumstances like these ? Don't be troubled —we can carry it. We are fair financiers, not dismayed, and God helping, can save our hospitals.
It remains to be said that the remedy was effective. The panic settled away and it is to be hoped that there are few people in any country to-day who do not understand that America's fund was distributed by its own agents, without mo-
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lestation or advices from the Turkish or any other government. I have named this incident, not so much as a direct feature of the work of distribution, nor to elicit sympathy, as to point a characteristic of our people and the customs of the times in which we are living, in the hope that reflection may draw from it some lessons for the future. One cannot fail to see how nearly a misguided enthusiasm, desire for sensational news, vital action without thought or reflection, came to the overthrowing of their entire object, the destruction of all that had been, or has since been accomplished for humanity, and the burial of their grand work and hopes in a defeated and disgraceful grave, which, in their confusion, they would never have realized that they had dug for themselves. They are today justly proud of their work and the world is proud of them. Our very limited number of assistants made it necessary that each take a separate charge as soon as possible; and the division at Aintab and the hastening of the first division, tinder Dr. Hubbell, northeastAvard to Marash, left the northwestern route through Oorfa and Diarbekir, to Messrs. Wistar and Wood; the objective point for all being Harpoot, where they planned to meet at a certain date. Nothing gave me greater joy than to know they would meet our brave and world-honored country-woman, Miss Shattuck, isolated, surrounded by want and misery, holding her fort alone, and that something from our hands could go to strengthen hers, emptied by the needs of thousands every day. If they might have still gone to Van, and reached our other heroic, capable and accomplished countrywoman, Dr. Grace Kimball, it would have been an added joy. But the way was long, almost to Ararat; the mountains high and the snows deep; and more than all it seemed that the superb management of her own grand work made help there less needed than at many other less fortunate points. It seemed remarkable that the two expeditions separating at Aintab, on the sixth day of April, with no trace of each other between, should have met at Harpoot on April 29, within three hours of each other; and that
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when the city turned out en masse, with its missionaries in the lead, to meet and welcome Dr. Hubbell and the "Red Cross," that far away in the rear, through masses of people from housetop to street, modestly waited the expedition from Oorfa.
This expedition containing as it did two leading men, again divided, taking between them, as their separate reports show, charges of the relief of two hundred villages of the Harpoot vilayet, and later on Diarbekir, and that by their active provision and distribution of farming implements and cattle and the raising of the hopes and courage of the people, they succeeded in securing the harvest and saving the grain crops of those magnificent valleys.
While this was in progress a dispatch came to me at Constantinople from Dr. Shepard of Aintab, whose tireless hands had done the work of a score of men, saying that fevers, both typhoid and typhus of a most virulent nature had broken out in Arabkir, two or three days north of Harpoot; could I send doctors and help? Passing the word on to Dr. Hubbell at Harpoot, the prompt and courageous action was taken by him which his report will name, but never fully show. It is something to say that from a rising pestilence with a score of deaths daily, in five weeks, himself and his assistants left the city in a normally healthful condition in which it remained at last accounts, the mortality ceasing at once under their care and treatment.
During this time the medical relief for the cities of Zeitoun and Marash was in charge of Dr. Harris, who reached there March 18th. The report of the consuls had placed the daily number of deaths from the four contagious diseases at one hundred. This would be quite probable when it is considered that ten thousand were smitten with the prevailing diseases, and that added to this were the crowded conditions of the patients, by the thousands of homeless refugees who had flocked from their forsaken villages; the lack of all comforts, of air, cleanliness, and a state of prolonged starvation. Dr. Harris'
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first report to me was that he was obliged to set the soup kettles boiling and feed his patients before medicine could be retained. My reply was a draft for two hundred liras, with the added dispatch: "Keep the pot boiling; let us know your wants." The further reports show from this time an astonishingly small number of deaths. The utmost care was taken by all our expeditions to prevent the spread of the contagion and there is no record of its ever having been carried out of the cities, where it was found, either at Zeitoun, Marash, or Arabkir. Lacking this precaution, it might well have spread throughout all Asia Minor, as was greatly feared by the anxious people. On the 24th of May Dr. Harris reported the disease as overcome. His stay being no longer needed, he returned to his great charge in Tripoli with the record of a medical work and success behind him never surpassed if ever equalled. The lives he had saved were enough to gain Heaven's choicest diadem. Never has America cause to be so justly proud and grateful as when its sons and daughters in foreign lands perform deeds of worth like that.
The appalling conditions at Zeitoun and Marash on the arrival of Dr. Harris, naturally led him to call for more physicians, and the most strenuous efforts were made to procure them, but the conditions of the field were not tempting to medical men. Dr. Post had already sent the last recruit from Beyrout, still he manfully continued his efforts. Smyrna was canvassed through the efforts of our prompt and efficient Consul, Col. Madden, on whom I felt free to make heavy drafts, remembering tenderly as we both did, when we stood together in the Red Cross relief of the Ohio floods of 1884. Failing there, I turned my efforts upon Constantinople. Naturally, we must seek nationalties outside of Armenians. We succeeded in finding four Greek plxysicians, who were contracted with, and sailed May nth, through perplexing delays of shipping, taking with them large and useful medical supplies and delicacies for the sick, as well as several large disinfecting machines which were loaned to us by
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the Turkish Government, Dr. Zavitziano, a Greek physician, who kindly assisted us in many ways, conducting the negotiations. Through unavoidable delays they were able to reach Alexandretta only on May 25th. By this time the fevers had been so far overcome that it was not deemed absolutely necessary for them to proceed to Marash; and after conferring with Dr. Harris, they returned to Constantinople, still remaining under kindly contract without remuneration to go at once if called upon by us even to the facing of cholera, if it gained a foothold in Asia Minor. We should not hesitate to call for the services of these gentlemen even at this distance if they became necessary. This was known as the fifth expedition, which, although performing less service was by far the most difficult to obtain, and the most firmly and legally organized of any.
The closing of the medical fields threw our entire force into the general relief of the vilayet of Harpoot which the relieving missionaries had well named their "bottomless pit," and where we had already placed almost the entire funds of the Boston and Worcester committees.
One will need to read largely between the lines of the modest skeleton reports of our agents in order to comprehend only approximately the work performed by them and set in motion for others to perform. The apathy to which the state of utter nothingness, together with their grief and fear, had reduced the inhabitants was by no means the smallest difficulty to be overcome ; and here was realized the great danger felt by all — that of continued almsgiving, lest they settle down into a condition of pauperism, and thus, finally starve from the inability of the world at large to feed them. The presence of a strange body of friendly working people coming thousands of miles to help them, awakened a hope and stimulated the desire to help themselves. It was a new experience that these strangers dared to come to them. Although the aforetime home lay a heap of stone and sand, and nothing belonging to it remained, still the land was there and when seed to plant the ground and the farming
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utensils and cattle were brought to work it with, the faint spirit revived, the weak, hopeless hands unclasped, and the farmer stood on his feet again; and when the cities could no longer provide the spades, hoes, plows, picks, and shovels, and the crude iron and steel to make them was taken to them, the blacksmith found again his fire and forge and traveled weary miles with his bellows on his back. The carpenter again swung his hammer and drew his saw. The broken and scattered spinning wheels and looms from under the storms and debris of winter, again took form and motion, and the fresh bundles of wool, cotton, flax, and hemp, in the waiting widow's hand brought hopeful visions of the revival of industries which should not only clothe but feed.
At length, in early June, the great grain fields of Diarbekir, Parkin and Harpoot valleys, planted the year before, grew golden and bowed their heavy spear-crowned heads in waiting for the sickle. But no sickles were there, no scythes, not even knives, and it was a new and sorry sight for our full-handed American farming men, to see those poor, hard, Asiatic hands, trying by main strength to break the tough straw or pull it by the roots. This state of things could not continue, and their sorrow and pity gave place to joy when they were able to drain the cities of Harpoot and Diarbekir of harvest tools, and turned the work of all the village blacksmiths on to the manufacture of sickles and scythes, and of the flint workers upon the rude threshing machines. They have told me since their return that the pleasantest memories left to them, were of those great valleys of golden grain, bending and falling before the harvesters, men and women, each with the new sharp sickle or scythe—the crude threshing planks, the cattle trampling out the grain, and the gleaners in the rear as in the days of Abraham and Moab. God grant that somewhere among them was a kind hearted king of the harvest who gave orders to let some sheaves fall.
Even while this saving process was going on, another condition no less imperative arose. These fields must be replanted
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for the coming year, or starvation had been simply delayed. Only the strength of their old time teams of oxen could break up the hard sod and prepare for the Fall sowing. Not an animal—ox, cow, horse, goat or sheep had been left. All had been driven to the Kourdish mountains. When Mr. Wood's telegram came, calling for a thousand oxen for the hundreds of villages, some of which were very large, I thought of our not rapidly swelling bank account, and all that was needed everywhere else, and replied accordingly. But when, in return, came the telegram from the Rev. Dr. Gates, president of Harpoot College, the live, active, practical man of affairs, whose judgment no one could question, saying that the need of oxen was imperative, that unless the ground could be ploughed before it dried and hardened, it could not be done at all, and the next harvest would be lost, and that "Mr. Wood's estimate was moderate," I loosened my grasp on the bank account and directed the financial secretary to send a draft for 5,000 liras ($22,000) to care of Rev. Dr. Gates, Harpoot, to be divided among the three expeditions for the purchase of cattle and the progress of the harvest of 1897.
This draft left something less than $3,000 with us to finish up the field in all other directions. As the sum sent would be immediately applied, the active services of the men would be no longer required, and directions went with the remittance to report in person at Constantinople. Unheard of toil, care, hard riding day and night, with risk of life, were all involved in the carrying out of that order. Among the uncivilized and robber bands of Kourds, the cattle that had been stolen and driven off must be picked up, purchased and brought back to the waiting farmers' field. There were routes so dangerous that a brigand chief was selected by those understanding the situation as the safest escort for our men. Perhaps the greatest danger encountered was in the region of Parkin, beyond Diarbekir, where the official escort had not been waited for, and the levelled musket of the faithless guide told the difference.
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At length the task was accomplished. One by one the expeditions closed and withdrew, returning by Sivas and Samsoun and coming out by the Black Sea. By that time it is probable that no one questioned the propriety of their route or longer wondered or cared why they went to Smyrna or Alexandretta, Sivas or Samsoun. The perplexed frowns of our anxious committees and sympathetic people had long given way to smiles of confidence and approval, and glad hands would have reached far over the waters to meet ours as warmly extended to them.
With the return of the expeditions we closed the field, but contributors will be glad to know that subsequent to this, before leaving Constantinople, funds from both the New York and Boston committees came to us amounting to some $15,000. This was happily placed with Mr. Peet, treasurer of the Board of Foreign Missions at Stamboul, to be used subject to our order, and with our concurrence it is now being employed in the building of little houses in the interior as a winter shelter and protection where all had been destroyed.
The appearance of our men on their arrival at Constantinople confirmed the impression that they had not been recalled too soon. They had gone out through the snows and ice of winter and without change or rest had come back through the scorching suns of midsummer — five months of rough, uncivilized life, faring and sharing with their beasts of burden, well nigh out of communication with the civilized world, but never out of danger, it seemed but just to themselves and to others who might yet need them that change and rest be given them.
Since our entrance upon Turkish soil no general disturbance had taken place. One heard only the low rumbling of the thunder after the storm, the clouds were drifting southward and settling over Crete and Macedonia, and we felt that we might take at least some steps towards home. It was only when this movement commenced that we began to truly realize how deep the roots of friendship, comradeship, confidence, and love had struck back among our newly found friends and country-
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men; how much a part of ourselves — educational, humanitarian, and official—their work and interests had become, and surely from them we learned anew the lesson of reciprocity.
Some days of physical rest were needful for the men of the expeditions after reaching Constantinople before commencing another journey of thousands of miles, worn as they were by exposure, hardship, and incessant labor, both physical and mental. This interval of time was, however, mainly employed by them in the preparation of the reports submitted with this, and in attention to the letters which followed them from their various fields, telling of further need but more largely overflowing with gratitude and blessing for what had been done.
For our Financial Secretary and myself there could be neither rest nor respite while we remained at a disbursing post so well known as ours. Indeed there never had been. From the time of our arrival in February to our embarkation in August, there were but two days not strictly devoted to business — the 4th of July and the 5th of August — the last a farewell to our friends. For both of these occasions we were indebted to the hospitality of Treasurer and Mrs. W. W. Peet, and although held in the open air, on the crowning point of Proti, one of the Princes' Islands, with the Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn in full view, the spires and minarets of Constantinople and Scutari telling us of a land we knew little of, with peoples and customs strange and incomprehensible to us, still there was no lack of the emblem that makes every American at home, and its wavy folds of red, white and blue shaded the tables' and flecked the tasteful viands around which sat the renowned leaders of the American missionary element of Asia Minor. Henry O. Dwight, D. D., the accomplished gentleman and diplomatic head, who was the first to suggest an appeal to the Red Cross, and I am glad to feel he has never repented him of his decision. One fact in regard to Dr. Dwight may be of interest to some hundreds of thousands of our people: On first meeting him I was not quite sure of the title by which to address him, if
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reverend or doctor, and took the courage to ask him. He turned a glance full of amused meaning upon me as he replied : "That is of little consequence; the title I prize most is Captain Dwight." "Of what ?" I asked. ''Co. D, 20th Ohio Volunteers in our late war." The recognition which followed can well be imagined by the comrades for whose interest I have named the incident.
Rev. Joseph K. Greene, D. D., and his amiable wife, to whom so much is due towards the well being of the missionary work of Constantinople. I regret that I am not able to reproduce the eloquent and patriotic remarks of Dr. Greene on both these occasions, so true to our country, our Government and our laws. Rev. George P. Knapp, formerly of Bitlis, whose courage no one questions. Mrs. Lee of Marash, and Mrs. Dr. George. Washburn of Robert College, the worthy and efficient daughters of Rev. Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, the veteran missionary and founder of Robert College, living in Lexington, Mass. A half-score of teachers, whose grand lives will one day grace the pages of religious history. And last, though by no means least, our host, the man of few words and much work, who bears the burden of monetary relief for the woes and wants of Asia Minor, W. W. Peet, Esq.
It was a great satisfaction that most of our field agents were able to be present at the last of these beautiful occasions and personally render an account of their stewardship to those who had watched their course with such interest. The pleasure of these two days of recreation will ever remain a golden light in our memories.
As the first official act of the relief work after our arrival in Constantinople was my formal presentation to the Sublime Porte by the American minister, Hon. A. W. Terrell, diplomatic courtesy demanded that I take proper occasion to notify the Turkish Government of our departure and return thanks for its assistance, which was done formally at "Selamlic,"a religious ceremony held on the Turkish Sabbath which corre-
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sponds to our Friday. The Court Chamberlain delivered my message to the palace. It was received and responded to through the same medium and I took my departure, having finished my diplomatic work with that Government which had from first to last treated me with respect, assisted my work and protected my workers.
To correct certain impressions and expressions which have been circulating more or less extensively in this country, and for the correct information of the people who through their loyal interest deserve to know the facts, I make known my entire social relations while residing in Turkey. Personally I did not go beyond Constantinople. The proper conduct of our work demanded the continuous presence of both our Financial Secretary and myself at headquarters. I never saw, to personally communicate with, any member of the Turkish Government excepting its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tewfik Pasha, as named previously. I never spoke with the Sultan and have never seen him excepting in his carriage on the way to his mosque.
On being informed through our Legation that the Turkish minister at Washington, Mavroyeni Bey, had been recalled and that his successor was about to leave for his new position, I felt that national courtesy required that I call upon him and, attended by a member of our legation, my secretary and myself crossed the Bosphorus to a magnificent estate on the Asiatic shore, the palatial home of Moustapha Tahsin Bey, a gentleman of culture, who had resided in New York in some legal capacity and who, I feel certain, will be socially and officially acceptable to our Government.
I have never received from the Turkish Government any decoration or other testimonial of approval, although that is its customary and usual method of expressing public satisfaction. If later any such expression of approval of the relief sent by our country be given I will make it known, as due to the generosity of our people and by no means personal for myself.
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I have, however, received a decoration, officially described as follows:
"Brevet of Chevalier of the Royal Order of Melusine, founded in 1186, by Sibylle, Queen and spouse of King Guy of Jerusalem, and re-instituted several years since by Marie, Princess of Lusignan. The order is conferred for humanitarian, scientific and other services of distinction, but especially when such services are rendered to the House of Lusignan, and particularly to the Armenian Nation. The Order is worn by a number of reigning sovereigns, and is highly prized by the recipients because of its rare bestowal and its beauty. This decoration is bestowed by His Royal Highness, Guy of Lusignan, Prince of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Armenia."
The first notice of this honor came to me through our own Smithsonian Institute, as indicating its scientific character.
On the ninth of August we took passage on board the S. S. "Meteor," a Roumanian steamer plying between Constantinople and the ports of the Black Sea, our objective point being Costanza at the mouth of the Danube River. This was our first step toward home, and the leaving of a people on whom, in common with the civilized world, our whole heart interest had been centered for more than half a year; having no thought, however, until the hour of parting revealed it, of the degree of interest that had been centered on us.
On the spacious deck of the steamer were assembled our entire American representation at Constantinople, prepared to accompany us through the Bosphorus, their boats having been sent forward to take them off near the entrance of the Black Sea.
The magnificent new quay in either direction was crowded with people without distinction of nationality, the strange costumes and colors commingling in such variety as only an Oriental city can produce, patiently waiting the long hour of preparation. When at length the hoarse whistle sounded and the boat swayed from its moorings, the dense crowd swayed with it and the subdued tones pealed out in tongues many and strange; but all had one meaning — thanks, blessings and God speed. We received these manifestations reverently, for while
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they meant kindliness to us and our work, they meant far more of homage and honor for the nation and people we represented. And not only in Constantinople but the shores of the Bosphorus as we proceeded, presented similar tokens of recognition—the wavy Stars and Stripes from Robert College, Bebek, and Hissar, told more strongly than words how loyal to their own free land were the hearts and hands toiling so faithfully in others.
Touching at Budapest for a glimpse at its Millennial Exposition; at Vienna to pay respects to our worthy Minister, Hon. Bartlett Tripp; we hastened to meet the royal greeting of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden, at their beautiful island of Minau in Lake Constance—the wedding gift of the Grand Duke to his young princess bride forty-three years ago. It was a great pleasure to be able to bring our hard-worked men into personal contact with these active royal personages, who know so well in their own philanthropic lives how to appreciate such labor in others.
Lest some may not recall directly the lines of royal succession, our readers will pardon me if I say that the Grand Duchess of Baden is the only daughter of the old Emperor William and Empress Augusta, the sister of Germany's "Fritz," the aunt of the present Emperor, the mother of the Crown Princess of Sweden, and the granddaughter of the beloved Queen Louise, whom she is said to very much resemble.
One day was given to Strassburg—another labor field of the Franco-German war, of longer duration than Armenia—reaching London on the 24th day of August.
Our passage was engaged on the "Servia," to sail September 1st, when the news of the terrible troubles in Constantinople reached us. We were shocked and distressed beyond words. The streets where we had passed, the people who had served us, the Ottoman bank where we had transacted business almost daily for nearly half a year, all in jeopardy if not destroyed. Our men of the interior feared a general uprising there, in
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which case we might be able to help. Our sense of duty did not permit us to proceed until the facts were better known. We cancelled or rather transferred our passage by the "Servia," telegraphed to Constantinople and cabled to America, expressing our willingness to return to the field if our services were in any way needed. Kindly advices from both directions, together with a more quiet condition of things, decided us to continue our journey, and engaging passage by the " Umbria" for the 5th, we arrived in New York on the 12th of September, eight months lacking ten days from the time of our departure on the 22d of January.
DISTANCES AND DIFFICULTIES OF TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION
For the convenience of the closely occupied who have not time to study as they read, I have thought it well to condense the information above referred to in a paragraph, which can be taken in at a glance, in connection with the map.
The one great port of Asia Minor, is Constantinople. To reach the center, known as Anatolia or Armenia, there are two routes from Constantinople. One by way of the Mediterranean sea to Alexandretta, the southern port or gateway; the other by the Black Sea, to reach the northern ports of Samsoun and Trebizond, lying along the southern coast of the Black Sea. There is no land route, but a "pony post," like the overland days of California, takes important dispatches for the government, or money. The way is infested by brigands.
There are no regular passenger boats, but Russia, Austria, France and Greece have despatch—in reality, coasting boats, one of which aims to leave Constantinople each week, although at first we found it at least two weeks between the times of sailing and irregular at that.
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The time from Constantinople to Alexandretta is eight to ten days. From Constantinople to Samsoun, two days. From either of these ports the interior must be reached by land.
|From||Alexandretta||to||Harpoot is fifteen (15) days.|
|"||"||"||Marash is five (5) days.|
|"||"||"||Zeitoun is seven (7) days.|
|"||"||"||Oorfa is six (6) days.|
|"||"||"||Diarbekir is twelve (12) days.|
|On the north from Samsoun to Harpoot is fifteen (15) days.|
These journeys were made by horse, mule or donkey, over mountain paths, rocks and precipices. Only in comparatively a few places are there roads allowing the passing of a wheeled vehicle of any kind, even the passing of a horse along the steep declivities is sometimes dangerous.
As will be seen, the sending of a letter from Constantinople to the interior, requires at the best six weeks, or forty-six days with no delays.
Only the large and more important towns have telegraphic communication. This requires two, three, four days or a week, according to circumstances. These despatches are all sent and must be answered in Turkish. The larger towns have mails usually leaving" once a week, carried on horses with a military guard. No newspaper is published in Asia Minor.
The missionary stations, with but two or three exceptions, are not near the seacoast, but from three to fifteen days travel from either the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, or three to twenty-five days to the nearest Mediterranean port. As will be seen by reference to the map the following stations are on the seaboard: Trebizond on the Black Sea; Smyrna and a small station near Merisine on the Mediterranean, and Constantinople on the Bosphorus.
The following are inland and during several months in the winter and spring must be nearly, if not quite, inaccessible to
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outside approach: Adabazar, Bardezag, Brousa, Cesarea, Marsovan, Hadjin, Tarsus, Adana, Mardin, Aintab, Marash, Sivas, Harpoot, Oorfa, Erzingan, Erzroom, Van, Bitlis.
It should be distinctly understood by contributors, that neither their letters, nor any individual contributions came to us: these were received by the committees or parties raising the funds in America. The letters were doubtless faithfully acknowledged, and the various sums of money placed in the general fund forwarded to us by them. All contributions received by us directly at Constantinople are acknowledged in our report.
Although an account of the disposition of all funds is rendered in the report of the financial secretary, which, after verification, I signed jointly with him, I will however at the risk of repetition, take the liberty of adding the following remarks on the subject:
It is to be borne always in mind that the amount of money to be distributed was never made a concern of ours, provided there were actually "funds to distribute.'' To the question so frequently and kindly asked of us, "Did you have money enough, or were you embarrassed in your operations by want of funds? " I beg to have this reply intelligently understood; that we had always money enough in hand for the work in hand. We were never embarrassed in our operations by lack of funds, holding as I always have, that charitable relief in order to be safe and efficient, should be conducted on the same reasonable basis as business, and that a good business man unless by accident on the part of other persons, or of circumstances, will never find himself embarrassed, as he will never undertake more than he has the means to successfully accomplish. We were never embarassed in our operations by lack of funds, and our committees will testify that no intimation of that kind ever came to them from us. This would have been both unwise and unjust. According to the universal system of charitable relief,
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all was being done that could be done; but if asked if we had enough for the needs of the people, enough to relieve the distress through desolated Asia Minor, enough to make those people comfortable again, then a very tender chord has been touched. No hearts in America are more sore than ours; its richest mine might drain in that attempt. Our men in the interior have seen and lived among what others vainly strive to picture; they are men of work not words, and under Heaven have labored to do what they could with what they had. It is their stewardship they are trying to render to a great-hearted, sympathetic and perplexed people, racked by various emotions, seeking light through every channel, and conclusively solving and settling in a score of ways, every day, problems and questions which have unsettled a considerable portion of the world for centuries.
On behalf of the wrechedness and suffering met through Asia Minor, we return heartfelt thanks to the committees who labored with such untiring zeal toward their relief. We were never unmindful of the difficulties which they were constantly called to encounter and to overcome. Not having in hand the funds desired or even guaranteed, they must raise them, and this largely from persons whose sympathies outran their generosity, if not their means. This naturally opened the door for excuses for withholding, until it could be seen that ''something was actually being accomplished;" then the doubt if anything "could be accomplished;" next the certainty that it "could not be," and so on through whole chapters of dark prophecies and discouragements sufficient to dishearten the most hopeful natures, and weaken at times the best efforts that could be put forth. Against volumes, nay, oceans of these discouragements, our committees must have struggled, with more or less of success, and again for their efforts on behalf of such suffering as even they never witnessed, we return with reverence our sincerest
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gratitude. Their efforts have been herculean, their obstructions scarcely less.
The cause of these difficulties lay in the customary conception and methods of charitable relief, which they were naturally compelled to adopt and follow. Until the world comes to recognize that charity is not beggary, and should not be made to depend upon it, that a legitimate and ready fund to draw from in order to facilitate and validate its transactions is as necessary as in other movements, the difficulties of our tireless and noble committees will be everywhere met.
It is with these views that the Red Cross has never solicited means in aid of its work of relief. Heretofore on all its fields, the people have been left free to contribute what they desired, and through whom they desired, and it is we believe, a well understood fact, that the use of the name of the Red Cross in the raising of funds for the late Armenian relief, was simply incidental, one of the methods naturally resorted to in order to secure the end, and by no concurrence of ours, as has been previously and fully explained.
TO THE PRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
Among the dark hours that came to us in the hopeless waste of work and woe on every side, the strong sustaining power has been the Press of the United States. While naturally compelled to give circulation to unauthorized reports from other sources, it has evidently done it with regret, and hastened by strong editorials, in words of no uncertain sound, to set right before its readers any errors that may have crept in. The American press has always been loyal to the Red Cross and to its work, and once more it is our privilege to tender to it our meed of grateful praise.
TO THE CONTRIBUTORS OF THE UNITED STATES;
Whose sympathy, God-like pity and mercy prompted them to the grand work of relief for the half million suffering and dying
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in a land they had never seen, whose purses were opened, whose own desires were repressed that they might give, not of their abundance, but of their scantiness ofttimes, whose confidence made us their almoners, whose whole-hearted trust has strengthened us, whose hearts have been with us, whose prayers have followed us, whose hopes have sustained us, and whose beckoning hands were held out in tenderness to welcome us back to them, what can be said, what can be clone, but to bow our heads in grateful recognition of the words of unexpected commendation which nearly overwhelm us, and pray the gracious God that He bless our work, to the measure of the praise bestowed.
TO OUR GOVERNMENT AT WASHINGTON;
To its cordial sympathy so warmly expressed through its honored Secretaries of State and Navy, and through whose ready access we were at all times able to reach the public, our earnest and respectful thanks are rendered, begging our warm-hearted people to bear in mind that our rulers are a part of, and like themselves; that the security of the government lies largely in the fact that responsibility tends to conservatism—not necessarily less sympathetic, but less free, more responsible and more thoughtful.
TO OUR LEGATION IN CONSTANTINOPLE.
Our thanks are due to our genial minister, Hon. A. W. Terrell, his accomplished secretary, and charges d'affairs, J. W. Riddle, his interpreter and dragoman, Gargiulo, our Consul General, Luther Short, Esq., the consular interpreter, Demetriades, from every one of whom we received unremitting care and attention during all the months of our residence at Constantinople, and without which aid we could not have succeeded in our work. There was not an hour that their free service was not placed at our command. Through them all governmental business was transacted. The day was never too long nor the night too short for any active help they could render; I only hope that our diplomatic service at all courts is as faithfully
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and cheerfully rendered as at Constantinople. In this connection I desire to make special mention of the assistance of U. S. Consul, Dr. Milo A. Jewett, at Sivas, and Consular Agent, Daniel Walker, at Alexandretta.
Both personally and officially I believe the record of Minister Terrell will sustain him. While firm and direct of speech he is a man of uncommon courtesy, abounding in the old time hospitality of his native state, Virginia. If at the close of his official term, he shall be able to report that through all the months—nay, years of unheard-of troubles, dangers and deaths in the country to which he was assigned, while some hundreds of his fellow citizens were constantly and peculiarly exposed to these dangers, that with no direct governmental aid or authority, without even a ship of his own country in port, that no life in his charge has been lost, and that only such dangers, hardship and losses as were incident to the terrible transactions about them had been inflicted upon them, we will, I trust, look calmly at the results, and decide that if this were not diplomacy, it was a very good substitute.
TO THE AMBASSADORS OF OTHER NATIONS AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
To these high and honorable gentlemen our thanks are due. To Sir Philip Currie of England, there seemed to come no difference in sentiment between our people and his own; a tower of strength wherever he took hold. Germany and Russia were cordial and ready to aid, as also our English Consul, R. A. Fontana, at Harpoot, and C. M. Hallward, at Diarbekir; and following these, may I also name the ready help of Reuter's Express and the United and Associated Presses of both Constantinople and London.
Here is a phase of our work which should not be entirely passed by, and yet, if only partially taken up would overrun our entire report. Only one or two excerpts must suffice to show what the others might mean.
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From Rev. Dr. H. O. Dwight, one word among the many so generously spoken:
"Miss Barton has done a splendid work, sensibly and economically managed. Wherever her agents have been, the missionaries have expressed the strongest approval of their methods and efficiency. The work done has been of great and permanent importance."
Rev. Joseph K. Greene, D. D. :
"After some six months of service Miss Clara Barton and her five able assistants have left Constantinople on their return to America. It was only on the earnest solicitation of the missionaries, the officers of the American Board and many other friends of the suffering Armenians that Miss Barton undertook the relief in this land. The difficulties of the work, arising from the suspicions of the Turkish authorities, the distance from the capital to the sufferers, the perils and discomforts in communicating with them, and from unfamilarity with the languages and customs of the people of the land would surely have appalled a less courageous heart. Under such circumstances it is only just and fair that the American public should be apprised of the substantial success of this mission of the Red Cross.
"In the first place, Miss Barton has shown a rare faculty in getting on well with everybody. To facilitate her work she, and the assistants whom she loves to call "my men," laid aside all the insignia of the Red Cross and appeared everywhere simply as private individuals. She clearly understood that she could accomplish her mission only by securing the confidence and good will of the authorities, and this she did by her patience and repeated explanations, and by the assistance of the American Legation. When the iradé, or imperial decree sanctioning her mission was delayed, she sent forward her assistants with only a traveling permit for a part of the way, trusting and not in vain, that the local authorities, instructed from headquarters, would facilitate their way. As a matter of fact, while Mr. Pullman, her secretary and treasurer, remained at Constantinople with Miss Barton, her distributing agents, namely, Dr. Hubbell and Mr. Mason, Mr. Wistar and Mr. Wood, either together or in two parties, traveled inland from Alexandretta to Killis, Aintab, Marash, Zeitun, Birejik, Oorfa, Diarbekir, Farkin, Harpoot, Palou, Malatia, Arabkir, Egin, Sivas, Tokat, Samsoun and back to Constantinople without interruption or molestation. They were readily and constantly supplied with guards, and could not with safety have made their perilous four months' journey without them. Demands are said to have been made that the distribution of aid be made under the supervision of Government officials, but in fact, Miss Barton's agents knew how to make their distributions in every place, after careful
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consultation and examination, without any interferance on the part of the authorities.
"Miss Barton received in all, about $116,000, andan unexpended balance of $15,400 was committed to Mr. Peet, the treasurer of the American Missions in Turkey, to be held as an emergency fund, subject to Miss Barton's orders. No expense has been incurred for Miss Barton or her agents save for traveling expenses and the wages of interpreters, and with this exception the entire sum expended has gone to the actual relief of the sufferers. While the fund committed to the Anglo-American Committee, of which Mr. Peet is a member—a sum four to five times the amount committed to Miss Barton—has been expended through the missionaries, largely to save the hungry from starvation, the relief through the agents of the Red Cross has for the most part, been wisely devoted to the putting of the poor sufferers on their feet again and thus helping them to help themselves. Some 500 liras (a lira is $4.40 of good money) were given for the cure and care of the sick in Marash, Zeitoun and elsewhere, and some 2,000 liras' worth of cloths, thread, pins and needles were sent inland; but many times this amount was expended in providing material for poor widows, seeds, agricultural implements and oxen for farmers; tools for blacksmiths and carpenters, and looms for weavers. In some places Miss Barton's agents had the pleasure of seeing vegetable gardens coming forward from seed furnished by the Red Cross, and village farmers reaping the grain with sickles which the Red Cross had given. The great want now—a want which the funds of the Red Cross agents did not permit them to any large extent to meet—is aid to the poor villagers to help them rebuild their burned and ruined houses, and thus provide for themselves shelter against the rigors of the coming winter. The Red Cross agents have however, gathered a great stock of information; and passing by the horrors of the massacres and the awful abuse of girls and women, as unimpeachable witnesses they can bear testimony to the frightful sufferings and needs of the people. We most sincerely hope and pray that Miss Barton and the agents and friends of the Red Cross will not esteem their work in Turkey done, but knowing now so well just what remains to be done, and what can be done, will bend every effort to secure further relief for the widows and orphans of the more than sixty thousand murdered men—mostly between the ages of eighteen and fifty—whose lives no earthly arm was outstretched to save.
"While we gratefully bear witness to the wise and indefatigable efforts of Miss Barton's agents, permit us to add that during her more than six months' stay in Constantinople Miss Barton gave herself unremittingly to the work of her mission. She seems to have had no time for sight-seeing, and not a few of her friends are disposed to complain that she had no time to accept the invitations of those who would have been glad to enter-
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tain her. The only relaxation she seems to have given herself was on two occasions—the first, a Fourth of July picnic with a few American friends, on one of the Princes' Islands, and the second, another picnic on the same island, on Wednesday, August 5th when, with three of her "men," she met some twenty American lady teachers and missionaries, in order to bid them a courteous farewell. The first occasion she unqualifiedly declared to have been the happiest Fourth of July she had ever had; and inspired by the occasion, she penned some verses which she kindly read to her friends on ths second gathering, and which we very much wish she would permit the editor of The Independent to publish. On the second occasion, at Miss Barton's request, Mr. Pullman read his financial report and Dr. Hubbell and Mr. Wood presented reports of the work of distribution. We gratefully acknowledged the honor done us in permitting us to hear these reports; and, remembering our concern for Miss Barton while preparing for the work of distribution six months ago, we gladly expressed our joy and congratulations now on the happy return of her faithful and efficient agents, of whom it may be truly said that they went and saw and conquered. We rejoiced that these new friends had come to know so well the American missionaries in Turkey, and were truly thankful for a mutually happy acquaintance. We wished Miss Barton and her "men" a hearty welcome on their arrival, and now, with all our hearts, we wish them god-speed on their return home."
The little "verses" so kindly referred to by Dr. Greene, were not even written, but were a simple train of thought that took rythmic form as we crossed over the sea of Marmara, on our way to an island celebration of the 4th of July. Later I found time to put them on paper and read them to the guests at our farewell meeting, presenting them to our host, Mr. W. W. Peet. They appear to have gained a favor far beyond "their merit, and by request of many friends they are given place in the report as a "part of its history."
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It was twenty and a hundred years, oh blue and rolling sea,
A thousand in the onward inarch of human liberty,
Since on its sunlit bosom, wind tossed and sails unfurled,
Atlantic's mighty billows bore a message to the world.
It thunders down its rocky coast, and stirs its frugal homes;
The Saxon hears it as he toils, the Indian as he roams;
The buffalo upon the plains, the panther in his lair,
And the eagle hails the kindred note, and screams it through the air.
"Make way for liberty," it roared, "here let the oppressed go free,
Break loose your bands of tyrant hands, this land is not for thee.
The old world in its crusted grasp, grinds out the souls of men,
Here plant their feet in freedom's soil, this land was made for them."
The mother slept in her island home, but the children heard the call,
And 'ere the western sun went down, had answered, one and all;
For Britain's thirteen colonies had vanished in a day,
And six and half a hundred men had signed their lives away.
And brows were dark, and words were few, the steps were quick and strong,
And firm the lips as ever his who treasures up a wrong;
And stern the tone that offered up the prayer beside the bed,
And many a Molly Stark that night, wept silent tears of dread.
The bugles call, and swords are out, and armies march abreast,
Aud the old world casts a wondering glance to the strange light in the west;
Lo, from its lurid lightnings play, free tossing in the wind,
Bursts forth the star-gemmed flag that wraps the hopes of all mankind,
And weary eyes grew brighter then, and fainting hearts grew strong,
And hope was mingled in the cry, "How long, oh Lord, how long ?"
The seething millions turn and stir and struggle towards the light;
The free flag streams, and morning gleams where 'erst was hopeless night.
And grim Atlantic thunders still, adown its rocky shores,
And still the eagle screams his note, as aloft he sails and soars;
Aud hope is born, that even thou, in some far day to come,
Oh blue and rolling Marmara, shalt bear the message home.
Dedicated to W. W. Peet, Esq.
Constantinople. July 4th, 1896.
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Reports are always tedious. If some reader, having persevered thus far, if such there be, shall find himself or herself saying with a little thrill of disappointment, "But this does not give the information expected, it does not recommend any specific course to be pursued, whether emmigration for the Armenians, and if so, where, and how; or Autonomy, and if so, how to be secured, and assured; if more ships should be sent, and what they should do when there; if greater pressure of the Powers should be demanded by us, or what course, as a nation, we ought to pursue. We had expected some light on these questions."
Appreciating and regretting this disappointment, we must remind our anxious readers and friends—for such they are— that we have never been required to do this; that all conclusions to that effect, are simply inferential, and all such expectations were born of anxious hope. But that which we feel does immediately concern us, and comes directly within our province, is. to state that notwithstanding all that has been done through all sources, infinitely more remains to be done by some one; and while speculation upon the moral duty of nations, the rights or wrongs of governments, the problem of whether one ruler or another shall sit upon a throne for the next six months; what expressions of individual principle in regard to certain actions should be given; the proper stand for a people to take and maintain on high moral and religious questions—all important subjects—none value them more than I—all marking the high tone and progressive spirit of the most advanced stage of human thought and culture the world has yet known, it would seem that each and all of these, imperative and important as they are, admit of at least a little moment of time for consideration, and will probably take it whether admitted or not.
But the facts are, that between the Archipelago and the Caspian Seas, the Black and the Mediterranean, are to-day living a million and a half of people of the Armenian race, existing under the ordinances of, at least, semi-civilization, and professing the
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religion of Jesus Christ; that according to the stated estimate of intelligent and impartial observers of various countries and concurred in by our own agents, whose observations have been unrestricted, from 100,000 to 200,000 of these persons, men, women and children, are destitute of shelter, raiment, fire, food, medicines, the comforts that tend to make human life preservable, or any means of obtaining them, save through the charitable beneficence of the world.
The same estimates concur in the statement, that without such outside support, at least 50,000 of these persons will have died of starvation or perished through accumulated hardship, before the first of May, 1897.
That even now it is cold in their mountain recesses, the frosts are whitening the rocky crests, trodden by their wandering feet, and long before Christmas the friendly snow will have commenced to cover their graves.
These facts, bare and grim, are what I have to present to the American people; and if it should be proposed to make any use of them there is not much time for consideration. We have hastened, without loss of a day, to bring them plainly and truthfully before the public as a subject pertaining peculiarly to it.
I would like to add that this great work of human relief should not fall wholly upon the people of our own country—by no means without its own suffering poor—neither would it. The people of most enlightened nations should unite in this relief, and I believe, properly conferred with, would do so.
None of us have found any better medium for the dispensation of charitable relief than the faithful missionaries already on the ground, and our Government officers, whose present course bespeaks their active interest.
| Pages 1, 2 | Executive
Report by Miss Clara Barton
Financial Report by George H. Pullman | Financial Balance Sheet | Map Of Asia Minor
Pages 57, 58 | 1st Expedition Report | 2nd Expedition Report | 3rd Expediton Report
4th Expedition Report | Telegrams | Red Cross Principles | In Memoriam
Contents (as in the book) | Illustrations
Source: Clara Barton. America's relief expedition to Asia Minor under the Red Cross. Journal Publishing Company, Meriden, Conn. 1896.
Provided by: Sona Tumanyan