For years it had been the Turkish policy to provoke the Christian population into committing overt acts, and then seizing upon such misbehaviour as an excuse for massacres. The Armenian clergy and political leaders saw many evidences that the Turks were now up to their old tactics, and they therefore went among the people, cautioning them to keep quiet, to bear all insults and even outrages patiently, so as not to give the Moslems the opening which they were seeking. "Even though they burn a few of our villages," these leaders would say, "do not retaliate, for it is better that a few be destroyed than that the whole nation be massacred."
When the war started, the Central Government recalled Tahsin Pasha, the conciliatory governor of Van, and replaced him with Djevdet Bey, a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha. This act in itself was most disquieting. Turkish officialdom has always contained a minority of men who do not believe in massacre as a state policy and cannot be depended upon to carry out strictly the most bloody orders of the Central Government. Whenever massacres have been planned, therefore, it has been customary first to remove such "untrustworthy" public servants and replace them by men who are regarded as more reliable. The character of Tahsin's successor made his displacement still more alarming. Djevdet had spent the larger part of his life at Van; he was a man of unstable character, friendly to non-Moslems one moment, hostile the next, hypocritical, treacherous, and ferocious according to the worst traditions of his race. He hated the Armenians and cordially sympathized with the long-established Turkish plan of solving the Armenian problem. There is little question that he