Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/41

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17
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

have described him as an energetic, masterful man. It is a miracle that the circumstances which fate had forced upon Mohammed had not long since completely destroyed him. He was a brother of Abdul Hamid — Gladstone's "great assassin" — a man who ruled by espionage and bloodshed, and who had no more consideration for his own relatives than for the massacred Armenians. One of Abdul Hamid's first acts, when he ascended the throne, was to shut up his heir apparent in a palace, surrounding him with spies, restricting him for society to his harem and a few palace functionaries, and constantly holding over his head the fear of assassination. Naturally Mohammed's education had been limited; he spoke only Turkish, and his only means of learning about the outside world was an occasional Turkish newspaper. So long as he remained quiescent, the heir apparent was comfortable and fairly secure, but he knew that the first sign of revolt, or even a too curious interest in what was going on, would be the signal for his death. Hard as this ordeal was, it had not destroyed what was fundamentally a benevolent, gentle nature. The Sultan had no characteristics that suggested the "terrible Turk." He was simply a quiet, easy-going, gentlemanly old man. Everybody liked him and I do not think that he harboured ill-feeling against a human soul. He could not rule his empire, for he had had no preparation for such a difficult task; he took a certain satisfaction in his title and in the consciousness that he was a lineal descendant of the great Osman; clearly, however, he could not oppose the schemes of the men who were then struggling for the control of Turkey. In the replacement of Abdul Hamid, as his master, by Talaat, Enver, and Djemal, the Sultan