Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/36

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14
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

before, had made Turkey a constitutional state. A more bewildering fall from the highest idealism to the crassest materialism could not be imagined. Talaat, Enver, and Djemal were the ostensible leaders, yet back of them was the Committee, consisting of about forty men. This committee met secretly, manipulated elections, and filled the offices with its own henchmen. It occupied a building in Coristantinople, and had a supreme chief who gave all his time to its affairs and issued orders to his subordinates. This functionary ruled the party and the country something like an American city boss in our most unregenerate days; and the whole organization thus furnished a typical illustration of what we sometimes describe as "invisible government." This kind of irresponsible control has at times flourished in American cities, mainly because the citizens have devoted all their time to their private affairs and thus neglected the public good. But in Turkey the masses were altogether too ignorant to understand the meaning of democracy, and the bankruptcy and general vicissitudes of the country had left the nation with practically no government and an easy prey to a determined band of adventurers. The Committee of Union and Progress, with Talaat Bey as the most powerful leader, constituted such a band. Besides the forty men in Constantinople, sub-committees were organized in all important cities of the empire. The men whom the Committee placed in power "took orders" and made the appointments submitted to them. No man could hold an office, high or low, who was not indorsed by this committee.

I must admit, however, that I do our corrupt American gangs a great injustice in comparing them with