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Edwin Munsell Bliss

TURKEY AND THE ARMENIAN ATROCITIES


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[page 302]

CHAPTER XVII.

PROTESTANT MISSIONS IN TURKEY.

Early History — Opposition of Ecclesiastics in the Oriental Churches — Attitude of the Turkish Government — Work Among Moslems — Development of Education — Societies at Work The American Board — Presbyterian Boards — American and British Bible Societies — English Societies — General Statistics — Relations to the Turkish Government — Character of the Missionaries.

No statement of Turkey is complete without an account of the rise and development of Protestant mission work. The first effort of this kind in modern times was put forth by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Soon after its organization in 1804 colporteurs were sent inland from Smyrna, and subsequent missionaries found to a considerable degree traces of their work. There was also an attempt on the part of English societies to reach the country from Malta, but there was no organized effort until that of the missionaries of the American Board, at that time representing the Congregational, Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of the United States. In 1819 two missionaries left Boston appointed to work in Palestine. They stopped at Malta and conferred with the representatives of the Church Missionary and London Missionary Societies of England, and then went to Smyrna. It did not take long for them to realize that there was little opportunity for successful work in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and they turned their attention to the Oriental Churches with which they came in contact. They were joined during the following years by a number of others, and aside

[page 303] ORIENTAL CHURCHES

from Smyrna there were stations occupied at Beirut and at Constantinople; this last in 1832.

Without entering into any detailed account of the occupation of the different cities by individual missionaries, a general statement as to their relations to the different races and religions and the progress of their influence among them will furnish what is most essential for the present purpose. This may be done under two heads; the Oriental Churches, and Moslems. The work among the Jews has been carried on to a limited degree chiefly by Scotch Presbyterians and members of the Church of England, but it has not been of such general success as to materially affect the empire. Other work has entered into the development of the empire in a most noticeable degree.

We take up first work among the Oriental Churches. These include the Armenian, Greek, Bulgarian, Jacobite, Nestorian, Chaldean and Maronite. For the general statement of these see a preceding chapter. It is sufficient here to speak of the relations that Protestant missions have held towards them all. The first missionaries entered upon their work with no thought whatever of proselyting. They recognized the essential Christian character of the churches, and their object was to set before them not a new creed or a different form of church government, but simply a higher conception of what constituted Christian life. They found almost absolute ignorance of the Bible; complete domination by an ignorant and superstitious hierarchy, and a general feeling that their church life was so thoroughly identified with national life that to leave the church was to leave the nation, and that every heretic was also a traitor. Combined with all of these was the peculiar civil organization by which the ecclesiastics

[page 304] HOSTILITIES OF PRIESTS.

were the practical rulers in every community and were enabled to exercise a pressure, the extent and severity of which it is almost impossible for us to understand at this time. Excommunication from the church meant far more than ecclesiastical disability; it involved the absolute loss of any civil status. An Armenian or a Greek who incurred the hostility of his bishop and was placed under the ban had no rights that any one was bound to respect. He could neither be baptized nor be buried; he could neither marry nor purchase; no baker would furnish him with bread and no butcher with meat; no one would employ him and no court recognized his existence so as to give him the most ordinary protection.

The full extent of this situation did not appear at first. The early missionaries sought merely to explain the Bible doctrine of a purer, truer life dependent upon the atoning work of Christ. As always, they met with some who seemed to be looking for just such truth, and not a few welcomed very gladly the teaching. The moment this became apparent, however, the priests began to realize that their power was in danger. Undoubtedly in some cases their hostility was perfectly sincere. They really thought that it was dangerous for these people to read the Bible for themselves. Fortified by the traditions and education of centuries they felt that the complete acceptance of certain formulas was absolutely essential to eternal life. There were others, however, who feared far more the loss of political influence. There was just beginning to dawn upon Western Asia the light of European civilization. Its influence was felt on every hand, as yet very vaguely in most cases, but perhaps all the more forcibly. The Greeks and Armenians had been trained to look upon the Western churches as heretics or at least schismatics.

[page 305 - illustration]

Circassian Officer in the Sultan's Army

[caption] CIRCASSIAN OFFICER IN THE SULTAN’S ARMY. After the defeat of Schamyl, the famous Circassian leader, multitudes of his people came into Turkey and spread over the whole of Asia Minor. They are powerful, fearless men, and committed widespread depredations among the villages. They are bolder than the Kurds and much braver; are all bigoted Moslems.

[page 306 - illustration]

Slaughter of Armenians at Sassun

[caption] SLAUGHTER OF ARMENIANS AT SASSUN. This is a fair illustration of the slaughter of innocents that the bloody Kurds and infuriated soldiers have visited upon the unarmed and unoffending Armenians, resulting in the murder of some 50,000 or more, and through pillage and fire rendering homeless and destitute hundreds of thousands.

[page 307] STRIFE OF CHURCHES.

The remembrance of the strife that preceded the final break between the Roman Catholic and the Greek Churches has been handed down until the bitterness of hostility which rules is scarcely conceivable. The predominant feeling was that whatever of weakness or of poverty there was, was due entirely to the tyranny of the Turkish Government which had held them in thrall for nearly four centuries. They saw that government perceptibly changing. Mahmud II was manifestly recognizing that old-time methods were incompatible with the changing situation, and was introducing customs which to the traditional Turk savored of revolution if not of denial of the faith.

The ecclesiastics of the Christian churches in a certain dim way probably thought that if at this time they could hold their own positively, and even aggressively, there would come to them a share of the improvement all expected in the future. It is therefore from every standpoint scarcely surprising that they failed to recognize the true character of the work commenced among them by these representatives of a, to them, despised church. The strife that followed was exceedingly bitter. On the one hand there was the all-engrossing power of the hierarchy, on the other the irresistible force which the reception of new ideas in an old established community always betrays. Persecution merely fanned the flame of eager desire to learn what it was that so aroused the ire of the priests, whose power indeed had been recognized, but who, in the degenerate condition of the church, had largely lost their personal influence over the people. Man after man, women even, came, openly at times, usually secretly, to the homes of missionaries, not themselves with any thought of leaving the old church, simply anxious to understand more

[page 308] EXCOMMUNICATION.

perfectly what they had been taught from childhood. Over both, watching with a curious and somewhat nonchalant eye, was the Turkish Government. It cared not a straw what particular form of worship the “ infidel dogs ” preferred. On the whole its officers were rather pleased at the newly offered opportunity for carrying out their traditional policy of ruling through the disunion of either their subjects, their allies, or their enemies.

It was not long before matters came to a crisis. The priests issued their bulls of excommunication and those thus excommunicated naturally came to the missionaries for assistance. They were indeed in a pitiable condition, some of them persons of wealth and education, all of intellectual ability, and keenly sensitive to the charges brought against them. Common humanity compelled the missionaries to interest themselves in their welfare, and they appealed to the representatives of the Protestant Powers at Constantinople. They in turn carried the matter before the Turkish Government, and the Turkish Government in its semi-lordly, semi-contemptuous way, reached out a hand of protection to the unfortunate objects of ecclesiastical persecution. They granted a quasi-civil organization to these Evangelical or Protestant Armenians, as they were called, and recognized them as a distinct body, notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the Armenian and Greek Patriarchs. They, however took care not to give this new body so much of power, or rather so much of prestige, as to materially affect the standing of the older communities. They used it as a foil to ward off dangers which they conceived might come rather than as a means of doing justice to a portion of their subjects. One instance will furnish an illustration of the situation. One of the honored members of

[page 309] ECCLESIASTICAL PRIDE.

the Evangelical community died. The question arose where he should be buried. To bury him in the regular Armenian burying-ground, consecrated by the bishops, was out of the question. The Turkish Government granted a separate plot, but the Armenians were bound that he should not be buried at all. Every effort was made to preserve secrecy. The time of the service became known and a great mob collected. The Turkish Government was appealed to and the military was drawn out. And this simple Evangelical Armenian was buried amid a pomp of military display and a manifestation of racial and ecclesiastical hatred which was a fit symbol of the conflict that was to signalize the whole century.

If special description is given of the work among the Armenians, it is merely because they attracted the most of public attention. There were missionaries who sought to reach the Greeks, but their efforts met with very little of success. Their national and ecclesiastical pride was too strong, and their nearer relations to Western life made the new teaching appear less attractive than to those to whom it was in great degree a revelation. In Syria also a work had been commenced, chiefly among the Maronites of Mount Lebanon, and carried to a great degree of success, so also among the Nestorians and Jacobites of Eastern Turkey and the mountains along the Persian border. It was among the Armenians, however, that the greatest efforts were put forth and the greatest success achieved. The general methods of work were the same with all and whatever was done for one race was done with varying degrees of success for all the, Christian peoples of the empire.

Of work among the Moslems there has been very little. Various attempts have been made to reach them with special

[page 310] MISSION INFLUENCES.

work, but aside from the experiments of the Reformed Church in America at Busrah and the Free Church of Scotland at Sheikh Othman in Arabia, all have failed. There have been several converts from Mohammedanism in different parts of the empire, especially in Egypt, but no general movement Large numbers of Bibles in Turkish and Arabic are bought by Moslems and it is evident that there are a number who would accept Christianity, but for the fact that the penalty is absolute loss of property, if not of life. So long as the Turkish Government holds absolute power it cannot be expected that much impression will be made on the Moslem population.

Within twenty-five years after the establishment of the work at Constantinople, the mission influences had spread throughout the empire. There were missionaries at Trebizond, Erzrum, Diabekir, Aintab, Brusa and Sivas. There were also smaller communities in the different villages within
reach of these central stations and the Evangelicals or Protestant Armenians had come to be recognized on every hand as a power in the land. With the practical victory of Turkey and her allies over Russia and the promulgation of the treaty of Paris referred to above, there came increasing demand upon the Christian powers for recognition and protection of those who accepted the Evangelical ideas and forms. The Hatti Humayoun was issued, the charter of religious liberty. With this commenced in a certain sense a new phase of missionary work. Hitherto it had been almost entirely evangelistic. The effort had been to reach the consciences of the people and set before them the Gospel demand for a pure and true life. There was comparatively little of general education. With the growth, however, of the communities and the

[page 311] EDUCATION ESSENTIAL.

recognition of the fact that a community life was before them such as had neither been expected nor planned, it became evident to all that emphasis must be placed upon those same principles of community development which had done so much for England and America. It was not sufficient to put the Bible into men’s hands nor to develop within them the idea of their relation to God. They must learn to interpret the Bible and apply it to their daily life; must learn the principles that governed social and civil organizations. Hence education in its broader sense became essential.

Education in the primary sense had always been carried on by the missionaries. A certain amount was needed in order to enable the people to read, for there was widespread ignorance in that respect. It was essential in some degree for those who were under training to be the spiritual guides of their people. Now it became evident that something more was necessary. At first there was considerable difference of opinion. Many of the missionaries themselves felt that they were simply heralds of spiritual truth. They could not admit that they had anything to do with secular education. Others realized that secular education has a fundamentally important place in the development of national life; that it is essential that that should be under religious influence if the general life is to be in accord with true religious development. Moreover the demand for this was increasing. Young men of intellectual attainments sought instruction. They found opening before them a constantly widening sphere of thought and of investigation which they must enter. They would rather enter it under the lead of Christian thought, but enter it they would, and if the missionaries refused their counsel they would go to what were then almost purely infidel schools in Europe.

[page 312] CHRISTIAN COLLEGES.

Thus there was started, in minor form at first, afterwards more fully developed, a system of education that has grown until, taking into consideration the obstacles and perplexities attending it, it is surpassed in its widespread and high influence by no educational system even in far more favored lands.

As in regard to the spread of the Evangelistic work, so here it is not the purpose to describe in detail the growth of this school system. It is sufficient to say that five years later, in 1861, Robert College was started on the shores of the Bosporus by one who had been from the very beginning an earnest supporter of the idea that evangelism and education must go hand in hand if there is to be any Christian national life. He had had experience in the work of training preachers, and he realized that preachers need preparatory instruction. The story of the years during which he battled the influence of Armenian and Greek priests, of Papal representatives, and even of French and Russian ambassadors, is one of the most interesting on record. Robert College was followed within two years by the Syrian Protestant College of Beirut. Then commenced the development of the primary, intermediate and higher schools that had already been formed throughout the empire into larger institutions, until there are to-day in the Turkish Empire seven colleges all under Christian influence, though not all directly connected with missionary enterprise. There are also hospitals, orphanages and a variety of institutions which owe their inception to the influence of the missions, even in cases where they are entirely under native control.

A general survey of missions in the Turkish Empire at the present time shows that there are the following societies at work:

[page 313] MISSIONARY SOCIETIES.

From this country there are the American Board, representing the Congregational Churches; the Boards of Missions of the Presbyterian Church (North), the United Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanter), and the Reformed (Dutch) Church; the Foreign Christian Missionary Society of the Disciples of Christ; the American Bible Society, and several independent workers connected with other organizations. There are also a number of English societies; the Church Missionary Society, the Presbyterian Board of Ireland, the Free and Established Churches of Scotland, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and several societies for special work among the Jews. The Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church has work in Bulgaria, which, however, hardly comes under review as a part of the Turkish Empire.

Of all these the largest work is that done by the American Board. It covers the whole of Asia Minor and Eastern Turkey together with Macedonia and a portion of Bulgaria. The latest statistics show that there are 176 American missionaries, including 56 ordained ministers and 68 unmarried women, most of them engaged in teaching. There are also 869 native laborers, including 100 ordained ministers and 128 other preachers, the remainder being chiefly teachers. They occupy 19 principal stations and have work in 306 important out-stations. (The term out-station is given to a town or city where there are preaching services and educational work and sometimes a missionary resident, but not the full organization of a mission station.) These are all divided into four missions, called: The European Turkey Mission, covering Macedonia and Bulgaria; the Western Turkey Mission, covering Western Asia Minor; the Eastern Turkey Mission, covering

[page 314] MISSIONARY STATIONS.

Eastern Turkey; and the Central Turkey Mission, covering Northern Syria south of the Taurus Mountains. Constantinople is the general headquarters for all four missions, and has a large staff of missionaries engaged in the general conduct of the work, the preparation of literature and evangelistic work to a limited degree. The important stations aside from this are as follows: In the European Turkey Mission, Samakov and Philippopolis in Bulgaria, and Salonica and Monastir in Macedonia; Western Turkey Mission: Brusa, Smyrna, Marsovan, Cesarea, Sivas and Trebizond, this last being associated with this mission because of easy access by sea; Eastern Turkey Mission: Erzrum, Harput, Bitlis, Van and Mardin; Central Turkey Mission: Aintab, Marash, Adana and Hajin. Aside from these there are many important cities occupied, such as Nicomedia, on the gulf of that name; Angora, Yuzgat, Amasia, Tokat, in Western Turkey; Arabkir, Malatia, Palu, Diarbekir, in Eastern Turkey; Urfa, Birejik, Albistan and Tarsus, in Central Turkey. The city of Aleppo, just south of Aintab, has been occupied at times by the American Board, but the language being Arabic, association with the work at Aintab has been somewhat difficult, and hence it has not been developed.

In all of this great field the chief work has been, carried on in Europe among the Bulgarians, and in Asia among the Armenians, though from the city of Mardin considerable work has been done among the Jacobites of Northern Mesopotamia. The result of this work is seen in the following statements:

In European Turkey the number of places for stated preaching is 42; the average congregations number 2,278; the number of organized churches is 14, and of church members

[page 315] CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS.

952, while 2,713 are ordinarily classed as belonging to the Evangelical community. There is one theological school with 8 students; one training school for boys with 65 students; two boarding schools for girls with 92 pupils, while there are 17 common schools with 450 pupils. In this field the Bulgarian Government has established an excellent system of schools, so that the missionaries have not been compelled to do as much work in that line. There are also a large number of Bulgarian students in Robert College at Constantinople. In Western Turkey the result of these years shows 122 places for stated preaching, with average congregations of 10,336; 35 organized churches with a membership of 3,604 and a Protestant community numbering over 14,000. There is a theological seminary with 6 pupils; schools for higher education with 528 boys and 686 girls, while there are 122 common schools with a membership of 5,027. These figures do not include Robert College at Constantinople, which is on an entirely independent basis, and has a staff of 21 professors and instructors and about 200 students. They do, however, include the American College for Girls in Constantinople with its 23 teachers and 161 pupils. In Eastern Turkey there are 111 places for stated preaching, with average congregations of 11,639; 42 churches with a membership of 3,107 and a Protestant community of nearly 17,000. The two theological classes have been seriously broken up by the disturbances, but only a short time ago had 11 members. There are 364 boys and 220 girls in schools for higher education, and 6,232 pupils in the 130 common schools. In Central Turkey there are 52 places for stated preaching with an average congregation of over 10,000; 34 churches with a membership of 5,124, a Protestant community of 15,374, a

[page 316] LITERATURE.

theological class of 9 students, and the pupils in the schools for higher education number 321 boys and 300 girls; while in the 98 common schools there are 4,326 pupils. These statistics, however, give but a very partial conception of the work done. As has already been intimated, the schools established by the missionaries have been in many cases duplicated by the Gregorian Armenians themselves, and the influences that have gone forth from these preaching places have been most effective in raising the general tone of community life throughout the empire. In many places the preaching in the Gregorian churches is of a most thoroughly evangelical type. There are Bible classes formed in many places and the general spiritual as well as moral effect of the mission work is by no means to be gauged by the figures of statistics.

One of the most important branches of work carried on by the American Board is that of furnishing literature for the people. There are conducted in Constantinople four weeklies and four monthlies, in the Bulgarian, Armenian and Turkish languages, there being two Turkish papers, one printed in Armenian characters for those Armenians who use chiefly the Turkish language, and one in Greek characters for the Greeks who also use the Turkish language. Aside from these there are school books and books of general character, predominantly religious, though also scientific and literary, issued by the committee of the mission from the Bible House in Constantinople. There is also not a little medical work carried on. There are medical missionaries in several of the interior stations, especially Cesarea, Van and Mardin. The fact that a large number of Armenians have studied medicine in this country and have returned has

[page 317] PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH MISSION.

lessened the demand for American medical missionaries. At Aintab there is a hospital under the care of Americans connected with the Aintab College, but not under the immediate control of the mission.

The Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church (North) occupies Syria and Mesopotamia. In Syria there are 14 ordained missionaries, 2 medical missionaries, including one woman, and 9 unmarried lady missionaries, making the total American force 39. There are 6 native pastors, 26 organized churches with a membership of 2,048. In the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut, which is in harmony with, though not under the direct control of the mission, there are 266 pupils; there are also boarding schools for boys with 213 pupils and for girls with 270 pupils; 8 high schools with 478 pupils, and 130 common schools with 6,387 pupils. The stations occupied are Beirut, Abieh on Mount Lebanon, Tripoli and Sidon on the seacoast, and Zahleh on the eastern coast of Mount Lebanon. The work of this mission has been chiefly among the Maronites, though to some degree among the other races. The influence of the mission, however, is by no means to be measured by its size. It was here in Beirut that the Arabic version of the Scriptures was prepared, the foundation being laid by Dr. Eli Smith, and the completion being under the guidance of Dr. C. V. A. Van Dyck, both men famous as among the finest orientalists in the world. The version prepared by them is unsurpassed by versions of the Bible anywhere, and has perhaps the widest use of any except the English. It is in the vernacular not only of Syria and Arabia, but of Northern and Central Africa; is used with facility in India, China and Malaysia, and everywhere where the Arabic language has spread. Its influence for good can-

[page 318] UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH MISSION.

not be measured. The same should be said of the college, with its medical as well as academical department. Its graduates are found all over the East.

The Mesopotamia mission of this Board has its headquarters at Mosul. This was formerly occupied by the American Board, but because of its close connection with the Western Persia mission of the Presbyterian Board it was passed over to that Board. The work is chiefly among the Nestorians of the mountains and to a degree among the Jacobites and Chaldeans of the city itself. It has schools for boys and girls fully attended in the city itself, and Syriac village schools in the field. During the past year (1895), owing to the disturbance in the mountains, there has been much difficulty in securing full attendance.

The mission of the United Presbyterian Board of this country is located in Egypt and shows a very marked degree of success. The principal stations occupied are Alexandria, Cairo, Mansurieh, Fayum and Osiut. At the latter place there is a large and successful college with a department for girls. The work of the mission is among the Copts, though, there has been something accomplished among the Moslems.

The mission of the Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) Church is located in Northern Syria and occupies the stations of Latakia and Mersine. There are six missionaries in the different stations, including two physicians. Their work is chiefly educational among the Nusairyieh, the evangelistic work among that class of people being extremely difficult.

The Board of Missions of the Reformed (Dutch) Church is carrying on an interesting work in Arabia. It was started as an independent enterprise, but more lately has been taken up by the Board. Its headquarters are at Busrah on the Persian

[page 319] AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY.

Gulf, but it extends all along the coast, working solely among the Arabs. The mission staff is still very small, and the establishment of schools has not yet been effected.

The Disciples of Christ have a few missionaries, all Armenians who have become naturalized Americans, in Constantinople and vicinity, and at some stations in the interior. The same is true of some Baptist work carried on chiefly by the same class of workers and supported by independent organizations in this country.

The work of the American Bible Society covers the whole empire. There are two agents resident in Constantinople with sub-agents in Beirut and Alexandria. A large staff of colporteurs is employed, numbering during the past year over 100, some of them directly under the control of the agency, others- under the supervision of missions and assisted by the agency. The agency does most of its own publishing, including printing and binding, in the Bible House at Constantinople and at the mission press of the Presbyterian Board in Beirut. The languages are: Turkish in the Arabic, Armenian and Greek characters; Armenian both ancient and modern, Bulgarian, Kurdish and Arabic. It also purchases Scriptures in other languages from the British and Foreign Bible Society, which has an agency also in the same places. The total distributions during the year 1894 from the depots at Constantinople and Beirut, were 52,895 in 32 different languages and dialects, including most of the European as well as the different Oriental languages. Of this total 8,674 were Bibles, 13,826 New Testaments and 30,395 were portions. By the direct agency of the society through the colporteurs and in their depots, the total distribution was 31,678, while 21,107 were through correspondents, the largest number

[page 320] ENGLISH AND SCOTCH MISSIONS.

being in Egypt, 14,258. It is interesting to note that of the sales from the Syrian depot 6 Bibles went to Zanzibar on the west coast of Africa, and 51 Bibles and 500 Testaments to Tangiers in Africa. The total issues for 37 years amounted to 1,376,798, and of the distribution for the past year it is estimated that 12,000 at least went to non-Christian nationalities.

Of the English societies, the Church Missionary Society of England occupies a few stations in Syria and Palestine, the principal ones being Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza and Nablus. There are also a number of out-stations. The missionaries number 11 ordained clergy, 4 lay workers and 20 women. The native clergy number 9 ordained and 71 lay workers. The total number of communicants is about 500. There are also 42 schools; seminaries with 1,752 students. Medical work is carried on to a considerable extent, there being 284 in-patients and 32,810 out-patients-under the care of the physicians. The work is among Jews and also among the Maronites. There is more work accomplished by this society than by others among the Moslems.
The Scotch missions have stations at Constantinople, Smyrna and different points in Syria and Palestine. Their work is chiefly educational and almost entirely confined to the Jews. There are some very fine schools in Syria carried on under different organizations, English and Scotch, intended primarily for the education of girls. They have accomplished an excellent work.

The British and Foreign Bible Society conducts its work on much the same general plan as the American Bible Society, but confines its efforts more to the coast. Its chief work is in Bulgaria, among the Greek islands and along the

[page 321] MISSIONARY INFLUENCE.

Aegean coast of Asia Minor. It has also agencies in Syria and Egypt. Arrangements are made between the two Bible societies so that they shall not crowd or interfere with each other. The Turkish agency reports a circulation of 31,548; the Egypt agency of 15,191; Syria and Palestine 4,741, making a total of 51,480, which with the circulation of the American Bible Society makes a grand total of about 104,000 copies.

This survey of missions in the Turkish Empire is necessarily very meagre. To go into it in full would require far more space than can be given. If fuller details are given with regard to the American Board it is simply because that Board occupies the territory which is more especially under notice at this time.

The question is frequently asked, What are the relations between the missionaries and the Turkish Government? Repeatedly the statement is made by that government that the influence of the missionaries is antagonistic, disturbing, and that they are the enemies of the present rule. This is in no sense true. American missionaries have invariably ranked themselves on the side of law. They have taken the position that the Turkish Government is the government of the land and its laws must be obeyed. If those laws are oppressive they will do their best to secure a change, but so long as the law is law it must be obeyed. In all the various attempts to stir up revolutionary feelings among the people, they have opposed with all their influence such movements. It is undoubtedly the fact that the general result of their instruction by stirring intellectual development, has been to make men restive under oppression. Undoubtedly their preaching has created an intense desire for true religious liberty. Undoubtedly they have brought light into the empire,

[page 322] CHARACTER OF MISSIONARIES.

and light is always a disturbing element where there is corruption; it creates fermentation, and such fermentation as is not pleasant to oppressors. As has already been indicated, they have found some of their most bitter opponents among the clergy of the Christian Churches, even more bitter than the Turkish rulers themselves. But as the better class of that clergy have come to recognize the value of their instruction and their preaching, so the better class of Turkish officials have realized that there are no more loyal subjects, no more honest citizens than those who are under the guidance of the American missionaries. Wherever their course has been objected to their objectors have been men who sought to cover up their evil deeds and hide from the world the story of their outrageous conduct.

Individually there is no question but that the missionaries represent the very highest grade of ability and personal character. The record of their achievements in literature, in research, in education, is not surpassed by that of any other class of men or women in the world. Ambassadors, and travelers of high character, who have come among them, have uniformly borne testimony to their nobility, and the high position that they deservedly hold in the world. Not infrequently the diplomatic representatives of this country and England have come to their post at Constantinople with the feeling that these missionaries were a set of honest fanatics, well intentioned, but incapable of judging accurately and wisely as to the work which they were to do. In not one single case has any such man returned from his post, without putting on record his high estimate of these men and women. Whether it be Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, Lord Dufferin or Sir Philip Currie from England, Admiral Porter, General Williams, E. Joy

[page 323] MISREPRESENTATIONS

Morris, Gen. Lew. Wallace or Oscar Straus, from America, their testimony has been one of unvarying praise for the conduct of the mission work, and those who have had longest experience have been slow to condemn, even where their judgment could not coincide with that of the missionaries. Such remarks as have been made by occasional travelers, who have seen only the outskirts of mission work, to the effect that they are a “ bad lot; ” that they are well meaning, but ignorant enthusiasts, have simply served to rank those who uttered them with the class of people who talk about what they know nothing of. The words of Sir Philip Currie, uttered in private conversation in connection with the recent events in Turkey, will stand as a perpetual refutal of any such charges. He said: “The one bright spot in all the darkness that has covered Asiatic Turkey, has been the heroism, the prudence and the common-sense of the American missionaries.”

 


Table of Contents | The Cover, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright Notice, etc.
Introduction | Preface | Turkey in Asia (map) | Table of Contents (as in the book)
List of Illustrations | 1. The Turkish Empire | 2. Population and Languages | 3. Religions
4. The Turks | 5. The Kurds | 6. The Armenians | 7. The Greeks | 8. Other Oriental Churches
9. Rise and Decline of Ottoman Power | 10. Turkey and Europe | 11. Russia and Turkey
12. Mahmud II | 13. Reform and Progress | 14. Treaties of Paris and Berlin
15. Condition of the Christians | 16. The Turkish Government
17. Protestant Missions in Turkey
18. The Armenian Question | 19. General Situation in 1894 | 20. The Sassun Massacre
21. Politics and Massacre at Constantinople | 22. Massacres at Trebizond and Erzrum
23. Massacres in Harput District | 24. Aintab, Marash and Urfa | 25. Character of the Massacres
26. Religious Persecution | 27. Relief Work | 28. Partition of Turkey | 29. America and Turkey
30. General Survey | Alphabetical Index

Acknowledgements:

Source: Bliss, Rev. Edwin Munsell . Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities. Edgewood Publishing Company , 1896
Provided by: Aram Arkun, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Scanned by: Karen Vrtanesyan
OCR: Irina Minasyan

See also:

J. Rendel Harris & B. Helen Harris, Letters from the Scenes of the Recent Massacres in Armenia
Helen Davenport Gibbons, The Red Rugs of Tarsus
Maj. General James G. Harbord Conditions in the Near East: Report of the American Military Mission to Armenia

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