Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/10

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Turkey, not a case of milk put into tea, which amalgamates with the tea; it is the case of oil put into water, which will not mix. That may make intelligible to you the condition of the Turks in regard to their subject races. They are no more mixed than the oil with the water.

The only qualification which I must make to that saying is this: when the Turks came into the country they came upon this principle, that all the populations of the countries that they conquered were to have the choice between three alternatives. One of them was death, another was a sort of servitude, in which the Christians now remain, and the third was the embracing of the Mahometan religion. A portion of the Christian population of those countries chose to embrace the Mahometan creed; and I am sorry to say—for it does not tell well for the benefit of worldly prosperity on the human heart and character—that these were almost entirely the wealthy people. They were the people who had what is called something to lose, who had what is sometimes spoken of as "a stake in the country." We sometimes hear "a stake in the country" spoken of really as if it invested a man with special virtues and moral excellences. However that may be, in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Crete, and Bulgaria, a number of those who had wealth turned Mahometan to save their property, and have formed a class by themselves, the Turks being partially, and only very partially, mixed with these Mahometans; but with the Christian population, whether Roman Catholic or belonging to the Eastern Church, they have not amalgamated at all.

Their government was originally a government of force, and a government of force it still remains. It is impossible for me to explain at full length the nature of that government, but it is as unlike as anything can be to the government of England. That is something of a beginning towards an explanation. If you consider what is done by our government—I do not mean a particular administration, but the whole constitution, or rather, the series of those who administer that constitution—if you consider the aspects of our own government, you must wipe them all out and put them away, and then start afresh to consider what the Turkish government is. The business of our government is to preserve property, to preserve order, to prevent each man from injuring his neighbour, to promote education, and knowledge of religion, to guard the sanctity of the family, and, above all, the sanctity and honour of women. In Turkey not one of these is guarded; except, to a certain degree for the Turks themselves and the Mussulmans. For the Christian they are not guarded; and that is the great and palpable fact which distinguishes the Turkish government from the English government, and, in its degree, from every government in Christendom.

The Turkish government, in truth, so far as it has merit, has it not in what it does, but in what it does not do. When this