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Cl)e aftent

PAPERS

on

(Bm^tion Sls^sionatiom

THE EASTERN QUESTION.


No.

2.

RELIGIOUS ASPECTS OF

THE EASTERN QUESTION.

REV.

J.

LLEWELYN DAVIES,

Rector of Christ Church, St. AIaryleboJU\

Hon. Chaplain

to

M.A.,

and

the Queen.

PUBLISHED FOR THE

EASTERN QUESTION ASSOCIATION,


28,

CANADA BUILDING, WESTMINSTER;


BY

CASSELL FETTER

&

GALPIN,

London, Paris 6^ Nero York.

RELIGIOUS ASPECTS OF THE


EASTERN QUESTION.
The

insurgent and disaffected inhabitants of the European pro-

and the Turks who claim

vinces of Turkey are Christians,

Two

them are Mussulmans.

great

have thus been

religions

Looking

brought into deadly conflict with each other.


struggle in Eastern

Europe from the

Is

need to know about the matter


it

is

our duty, because

we

this

and

yoke of an alien race and religion

fact is a

are

to help

others

them

to throw off

Christians.

as well as Jews

those of a

common

to

There are

whom

primarily induced by
It is

it

this

There
to wish

reasonable that such

No

religion should be felt deeply.

will think less respectfully

tlie

the fact

reason for lending their sympathies to the Turks.

well to the cause of the insurgents.

one

for granted that

Turkey are

many more who have been

ties as

side

Christians

some account should be taken of

that the disaffected subjects of

persons in this country

that English

we

are Christians, to sympathise with our

struggling fellow- Christians,

It is inevitable that

all

on the other

Are we to take

at the

religious point of view,

see on the one side followers of the Cross,


followers of the Crescent.

to rule

of the prosperous English Jews for

sympathising with oppressed Jews in Roumania or elsewhere

no

one ought

to think

strange that the cries of suffering Christians

it

Nor ought we

should touch the hearts of their fellow-Christians.


to

make an

reminded

effort to

different type
in thinking

which we

munion

common name,

from our own.

We

it

in

which we agree than of those

is

supremely sacred, and

may have been degraded by

New

and sources of moral influence which

hope of a regenerated

Mohammedan

traditions of the

beginning to
priests

future.

It is surely

the fanaticism

much new

life

for

world from a recurrence to the primary

Koran, as we might reasonably hope to see


the dry branches of the Eastern Church,

stir in

if its

and people would turn with opened eyes and teachable

hearts to the Christ of the Gospels

Uieir

own

Christians cannot forget that a Reformation


therefore

it

may be

yoke or moving

warm

freely

who

these millions

to

Testament,

superstitious corruptions,

of philosophic impartiality which can expect as


a corrupt

in

have a right to believe that in any com-

there are objects of appeal


justify the

though

Christians,

which confesses the paramount authority of the

however

are

neither folly nor injustice

is

which the name of Christ

to

when we

profess a Christianity of a very

There

more of the points

differ.

instinctive feeling

and Bulgarian

these Bosnian

that

they bear the

quench our

EngHsh

Christ.

is

possible.

And

admitted that the professed religion of

are either defiantly casting off the Turkish

their shoulders uneasily

under

it,

our hearts into goodwill towards them.

that the vital instincts of resentment

does something

The

very fact

and independence are

burst-

ing into expression, suggests a hope of religious reform.

The free

Men who

are facing

national spirit

is

akin to the love of truth.

risks in defence of

domestic honour and security are in the way

to rise above servile superstitions.

'^\.
x^^^

We may
impatient

Mussulman
which has

see a Christian population trampled

But

rulers.

set the

common

and

are so

no

exists

EngHsh

banner.

It is often

communions

we do not

We

in Europe.

by the

so rent

is

are

willingly unite

under

a cause of sadness and complaint

High Church and

But now we see

men

united in the pro-Christian

stands shoulder to shoulder with

The

country against the

Christianity

Dissenters, the

Christians together.

Ritualist

this

responsive to appeals which address

little

upon by

of religious partisanship

spirit

and works

parties that

Churchmen and

that

it

to the reproach that

divisions of sects
its

is

it

mass of the people of

Turkish dominion as

open

we fed

frankly confess, tlierefore, that, as Christians,

when we

of

all

the Low,

them

as

all

schools and

The bishop

cause.

the Dissenting

minister, the

clergyman with the promoter of the Public Worship Act.

truth

that our

is

the religious

mind amongst us

We

humane.

common humanity
is

are believers in the

care for the sacred

human

If the operations

panic, they were,

Son of Man, and


it

and

in proportion

a matter of conscience to

interests.

known

had been a unique and

outraged

thank God, profoundly

still,

we make

to the strength of our faith

feels itself

as the Bulgarian Atrocities or Horrors

solitary

outbreak of exasperation and

even in that case, of a nature to

revulsion of feeling in relation to

justify

Turkey which occurred

the

in this

man whose

country and throughout European Christendom.

If a

character has been previously irreproachable

betrayed into a

single act of

penalty

murderous or

and, though

excuse him.
or epithet

lustful violence,

human compassion

is

he must

will pity

him,

suffer the
it

will

not

deny myself here the use of any damnatory term

to describe the acts

by which the

feeble Bulgarian

attempt at insurrection was trampled out; but


it

may become

a melancholy necessity to restate in

what then took place.


in

Bulgaria

can imagine that

much

some

If people affirm that nothing

worse than has been habitually

detail

was done

done by the

Russians in Poland, in Turkestan, and elsewhere, or than was

done by the English

in the suppression of the Indian mutiny,

it

can only be supposed that they refused, with the natural loathing
of

humane and

delicate minds, to read the authentic reports of

the doings of the Turks in that province,

these

or else that

things have faded with strange quickness from their memories.

But those who happened to know anything of the general condition of the Christian provinces of

or

who have

since

made

it

Turkey during recent

their business

years,

inquire into the

to

customary character of the Turkish administration, are aware that


the Christians of those provinces lead lives continually exposed to
insults,

wrongs, and outrages such as no

spirit is

man can

bear whose

not crushed, and for which they can obtain no redress.

If these allegations

can be disproved, the English people have

been misled by statements of which the Turks have good


complain.

evidence
business

is

Feelings

and the

and
really

policy

important

question

The

very promises and

it

virtually

is

new

fact

in

But the charge

oppressive or not.

sustained by irresistible evidence,

that

upon

rest

whether the local Turkish administration

corrupt and

accused.

should

right to

this
is

is

answer returned contemptuously by

amendment

is,

The Turks can promise

whole

hopelessly

not

admitted by

only
tlie

decrees of the Porte imply

the complaints of the Christians are well founded.

offers of

and

all

Europe

that their hollowness

is

The

to these Turkish

too well known.

nothing, decree nothing, which they have

Men

not repeatedly promised and decreed before.


professions once or twice, but in time they

There
lasting

are

grow

tired of them.

no reasonable prospect whatever of any

is

amendment

substantial

of the condition of the Christians

in unrestricted

left

accept such

if

the Turks

What should make

power over them.

things better in the future than they have been in the past

Turkish Empire

not in a more vigorous state

is

not more flourishing

and a

licentious

it

its

soldiery.

Its

Christian

subjects,

against hopeless misgovernment, cry out for sympathy


ance.

If

man

should

we

turn a deaf ear to these suffering millions

The

is

ever to help his brother

man

The

finances are

not less at the mercy of venal

is

and

officials

struggling

and

assist-

in trouble,

why

question might be asked, "Suppose that the positions

were reversed

the Turks were

that

and the Slavs

Christians

were Mussulmans would you be so ready to plead the cause of

We

the oppressed?"

and

my

answer would be

would be
there are

ought not to shrink from the question;

still

many

hope

that

Englishmen

more indignant than they are now.


of us

who would

feel so acutely the

on the Christian profession and cause by such


our simply

human

in general
I

am

sure

shame brought
iniquities,

that

hatred of them would be stimulated by an

eager desire to clear our religion from the discredit of them.

cannot deny that cruel and unjust deeds have been done by

Englishmen

memory
demning
at the

in

their

dealings

of these things
others.

Our

may

reasonably

make

us slow in con-

hands of Turks should quicken our consciences

tempted to do,

to

The

civiHsed races.

sympathy with those who now

appreciation of any injury

be

with less

we

ourselves

may be

weaker populations.

suffer

in the

doing, or

But

if

it

may
were

some thousands

reported here that in the remotest part of Asia


of natives were receiving from
the treatment which ^has
millions

would be an outburst
nation against those

in

of the Christian

lot

England of honest and

who brought

country and our religion

question,

been the daily

European Turkey, does any one doubt

in

Much

EngUshmen anything approaching

that there

effectual indig-

so great a dishonour

on our

scorn has been cast, during the recent agitation of this

upon sentimental benevolence.

Indignation against

Turkish violence has been represented as the luxury of those


like to

have

their feelings stimulated

by sensational

who

descriptions.

Contrasts have been drawn between the politics of popular emotion

and the prudent wisdom of statesmanship. Let

it

out hesitation, that enthusiastic meetings are not


with the administration of our foreign policy
to

commence

cruelties perpetrated in

evil

would not do

it

we hear

any part of the world.

of wrongs or

Let us

the utmost respect to the cautions of prudence.


folly

be entrusted

to

fit

that

a crusade of redress whenever

be admitted, with-

listen with

would be a

It

to embroil the world in the attempt to remedy some local

and the passionate enthusiasm of ignorant and

persons

is

not incapable of committing such a

danger therefore,

let it

be frankly admitted,

folly.

irresponsible

There

is

some

such demonstrations

in

of feeling as those of the last half-year in favour of the Christian


subjects of Turkey.

The work

of ministers

not to be set aside by popular emotion.


to suppose

that

the world

either

by ministers and diplomatists


perhaps, than that of those
meetings.

is

who

is

But,

and diplomatists

on the other hand,

or ought

a delusion

is

to

be governed

graver delusion,

believe too hastily in public

The world goes by motive power, and

the motive

power

is

by the wariness of statesmen, but by the

supplied, not

These convictions and

convictions and desires of populations.


desires are not always noble

diplomatic

but they

move

not in their nature to be

is

it

the machinery

Now

engine-driver be without steam?

and where would the

and then some great

minister of state^more of a hero than a diplomatist

has

an

exceptional opportunity of forcing on, by his individual energ}^,

an important step in the development of


late years the

human

power of making changes

But of

history.

for the

better in the

condition of nations and of the world has been chiefly diffused

Every decade of history con-

amongst the general populations.


victs the shortsightedness of those

who imagine

diplomacy possess the

over

tions, wars, reforms,

sometimes simply

compare
world,

for a

final control

have

all

been

human

that the arts of

instinct wdth emotional impulse,

patriotic, often strongly religious.

moment what

Revolu-

affairs.

Let any one

has been done by religion in the

and what by the professional knowledge and

skill

of

ministers of state
It is

not wonderful that

who

men who

are born to be bureaucratic

keeping things quiet, have a

agents,

and

distrust

and disHke of popular movements.

phenomena

all

those

disarrange

are

their

for

calculations.

These troublesome
It

is

natural

such persons should

make

up by a philanthropic

agitation, of the ignorance of the

the worst of the froth that

is

that

thrown

many, of

the disproportion between the aims of platforms and practical


possibilities,

of the interested element which mixes

every public-spirited movement.


respects the resolute convictions

indispensable

to

great

But

and ardent

policy;

itself

with

the abler kind of minister


desires

which are

he does not think himself

humilfated by the sense of a force in such motives superior to his

own

skill

he

his nation,

probably be in sympathy with the living part of

will

and he

likes to feel a high-mettled steed

strongly excited national will,

may do wrong

instrument,

and a strong minister acting

things.

am

under him.
as

its

not in the least con-

tending that a policy of religious emotion must necessarily be a

good one.

But the excitement of religious feeling has been the

method of bringing about many of those events which

historical

remember and

later generations care to


It is surely

to study.

apparent to the most sober-minded view that great

things are yet to be

ment operating upon

done by the action of

its

appreciation

In domestic

nation with nation.

Our sense of duty

international affairs.

notoriously behindhand in

politics

true Christian senti-

it

of the

is

of

dealings

has become a nearly

general conviction that we ought to be governed by the aims of a

high Christian morality, that the strong ought to care for the

weak, and that the well-being of the community ought to prevail


over the interests of the few.
idea that,

if

But we are hardly awakened to the

the laws of morality have any force at

they must

all,

much

bind the conduct of the larger societies called nations as


that of individuals

and

classes.

men, who without appealing


it

Great honour

all politics,

of moraUty.

But

it

is

beginning

to

all.

have made

foreign as well as domestic, to the laws

in this sphere that Christianity ought to

overleap

the barriers

tongues, and to proclaim a unity of

Father of

to a few

and uncompromisingly the

speak with pre-eminent authority and power.


the

due

to the Christian traditions

their business to affirm strenuously

subjection of

is

as

It

was

its

glory in

dividing nations

and

men under one God and

Catholicity belongs to the primary idea of the

The more

Christian religion.

ought to

of

of all duty towards others,

and

self-suppression

which

service

Undoubtedly,

spirit.

under somewhat

if

to

is

be practised

must be practised

more

careful of

its

of

his.

National policy would

imagine, by the most exacting standard of

duty to be what might justly be called reckless or

But

Quixotic.

denial that,
virtues,

that spirit

need not here enlarge, than a

man would be

thoroughly Christian

never be bound,

countries.

from those which the Gospel

nation must be

on which

for reasons

it

more he

characteristically

self-abnegation

different conditions

prescribes for individuals.

Christian

the

we need

the

is

in the dealings of a nation with other nations,

safety,

is,

drawn towards men of other races and

feel

For the discharge

Christian

man

Christian a

if

we

we must

seems

it

to

me

certain

beyond the

possibility of

are to think of nations as having duties

desire that the action of our

and

own country should

be marked by unselfishness and generosity as well as by a narrow


justice.

We

shall

never attain to the highest blessings in store for

humanity, nor shall

we

religion, until nations

reaHse the

scope and power of our

determine to judge their public and mutual

conduct by the Christian


the

full

The

ideal.

international peace which

is

path, for example, towards

now

so

much

desired,

through a more enlightened and sensitive regard to

but through loyalty to the

common Master

tious devotion to the well-being of

of

all,

is

not

self-interest,

and conscien-

mankind.

Let those, then, who are conscious of a religious desire that


the power of this country should be used for the liberation of the

oppressed Christians in Turkey, assure themselves that there


nothing weakly sentimental, nothing but what

harmony with the

best statesmanship

is

rational

and serviceable

and
to

is

in

the

highest public ends, in the utmost fervour of such a desire.

longing like this belongs to the

human

existence.

patriotism

The mood

but those

aspirations

other political

and purifying

vital

when

Alas for a country

breath of

sons have no

its

narrow and sordid

of a

would cynically shut out pity and

that

kindness and enthusiasm from the external policy of a country

would be

like ours

as the frost

and cramping them

energies,

The weight

in ignoble

their business to

impotence.

keep

state at a crisis like the present.

their eyes

open

thwart

country

is

in the position

states,

and

be

to

When

and dangerous designs.

insidious

It

to all possibilities, to

watch with some jealousy the action of other


ready to

its

of their responsibilities must needs press heavily

upon the representatives of a


is

age creeping over

of old

now occupied by England, which

has

nothing to gain by a disturbance of existing relations, and could


scarcely

to suffer

fail

natural that

it

the status quo,

some

should be a main object of

and

European war,

injury from a
its

that the undefinable risks attending the sub-

from any action which might contribute to

body

beyond

all

European Powers.

no one can say what may happen


resolves to fight desperately for

But the

its

if

Turkey

It is

to shrink

a very serious

sentiment

of

It
is

is

quite true that

brought to bay, and

empire and independence.

To

would be criminal

folly.

result with a light heart

religious

it.

them

question, to disturb the equilibrium of such a

as the congeries of

promote such a

is

ministers to preserve

version of an established government should cause

thing,

it

a thoughtful people has this

advantage over the apprehensive wariness of the diplomatist, that


it

consists essentially of faith.

world as subject to chance.

We Christians cannot
We habitually assume

think of the
that

human

under the control of a righteous Providence.

affairs are

faith

it is

In this

natural to act with a certain disregard of consequences.

In such a condition

as

that

Turkey

European

of

the

old

dominion, established and maintained by the sword, crumbling to


pieces through internal corruption

the oppressed populations at

once so angered by lawless violence, and so stimulated by new


hope, that they refuse to be patient any longer

We deem

judgment beginning.

we see a

Divine

safer to side with justice

it

and

freedom insurgent, though we cannot foresee what the exact issues


of the insurrection

may

be, than to use our influence to preserve

the status quo which crushes them.

At the same time


policy which

it

would be

affectation to

has been proposed that England should adopt

it

with regard to this Eastern Question would

upon the

that stands

faith

make

is,

a grave

demand

by a good cause and pursues noble

The

ends in defiance of possible consequences.


suggested

assume that any

in the opinion of

boldest course

many shrewd and experienced

That England should join with Russia

public men, the safest.

in

using force to compel the Turks to submit to restrictions which

united

Europe beheves

to

be reasonable and necessary,

mode

the most considerate

is

of dealing with the Turks, and the

best calculated to prevent any dangerous convulsion.


to

probably

It is idle

suppose that a settlement can be effected on any terms which

will

not

power.

wound
It is

the self-respect of the Turks

not pleasant to a generous

humiliated, whatever

admittedly at

is

superior foe.

the

arbitrary

its

his

It is

ruler

misdoings

best

when

mind

to see

may have been


fighting

an act of high policy


of Christians,

and diminish

a nation

and the Turk

against

an equal or

to disarm the

and we

their

are

Turk

accustomed

as
to

14

some admiration

feel

an offender who

for

painful

may be

struggle

overwhelming as
It

would be an easy task

has

very strong

But a

justice.

matter

of

course.

Russia and England together

for

to reduce the Porte to instant submission.


fore,

and

spirit

by the use of strength so

averted

make submission

to

of

representatives

courage even against the

shows

This policy, there-

recommendations for those w4io shrink


But there has been nothing

from bloodshed and convulsions.

impracticable or Quixotic in the temper or

demands of those

Englishmen who have advocated the liberation of the Christian subjects of Turkey.

we do not

We

are

most of us well aware that

possess the information which would justify us

affirming peremptorily

and

what

in detail

in

country ought to

this

AVe are anxious to learn, and willing to be instructed by any

do.

one who has special knowledge.


plausibility as to the attitude

we deny

that there

is

Whatever may be alleged with

and language of some few persons,

anything sentimental or fanatical in the

tone of those, for example,

general

who took

part in the St.

James's Hall Conference.

But having kept our eyes open

for

many months, and being

conscious of no interest or prepossession which should warp our

minds from the honest desire

and

dressed,
its

to see right enforced

feeling the obligation that lies

and wrong

re-

upon our country to do

duty in the sight of God, we cannot doubt that we see with

sufficient clearness the

own Government,

ends at which we are bound to aim.

starting with being

concurrence

in the

its

made

by Russia on behalf of

Europe

justifies

avowedly pro-Turkish, has

most decided manner

given

its

Our

co-religionists.

the non possuiniis of Turkey.

to the

demands

Not a

There

still

state in

remains

^5
to

the

army of the Porte the task which

accompUshing, to beat

down

Herzegovina, and Montenegro

bought

was so slow

it

or, if

Servia

and Montenegro

by propitiatory terms of peace, there

off

in

the resistance of Servia, Bosnia,

is

are

the original

insurrection in the other two provinces to be dealt with.

The

peasants of Bosnia and Herzegovina have not yet been reduced


Russia, not to speak of its sovereign's verbal engage-

to submission.

ment,

be no more able than before to look on and see the

will

embers of

their courageous revolt extinguished in blood.

signs in the political heavens portend continued


until

We

license.

cannot believe that England has permission from Heaven to

play the faineant in this business.

England
last

war and tumults

Mohammedan

the Christians are secured against

last

All the

is

Turkey has owed the power

that

twenty years.

reparation to

It

make

Our own hands

to
to

the protection of

misgovern

are not clean

to offended justice.

If

it

for the

we have some

has been right to use

our influence and material force to sustain Turkey against what


believed to be the aggressive ambition of Russia,

now, when

all

it

must be

we

right

reasonable fear of that Power has been dispelled, to

recognise the responsibility

our protection

we have

thus assumed, and to transfer

from the corrupt oppressor to the populations

blighted by his rule.

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