Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/12

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matters appear to be absolutely worse than they were twenty-five years ago.

Such is the state of things which we approach in this great question. And I will endeavour now to give you some details which will open it up to you in a certain degree—I am afraid, in a very limited degree, because it is far too wide to be embraced in the time which you can to-night devote to it; but I can show you that the language which I hold is not the language of persons with inflamed and heated minds. It is rather a striking fact that several members of the legal profession, and of great legal authority, have been writing upon this subject in different parts of the continent of Europe. I have read three works of this description, one of them by a German who is the greatest authority on international law of the present day, another by a Belgian legist of very great ability, and the third by an Italian Advocate; and I will read an extract from the writings of the latter to show that, although the language I use might appear to be extremely strong, yet it is not really stronger than what these lawyers use. These lawyers make no doubt whatever about the fact that it is the absolute duty of Europe to look at the condition of Turkey, and to prevent the continuance of the horrible state of things that prevails there. The Italian lawyer says that Turkey has never existed in Europe as a nation, if a state be an organic union of one or more peoples within defined limits of space, dependent upon a sovereign authority for the well-being of those associated in it. It follows logically that Turkey, as it is constituted, is not to be held as a state. An organic union of the different peoples constituting Turkey does not and cannot exist, because the denial of the equality of the subect in the face of the public authority carries logically, as a consequence, the violation of the sanctuary, of the family, of property, of religion, of personal existence. The Turk believes in his own supremacy over other people, and does not hold possible any relations between them except upon this condition. Lawyers are supposed to take judicial views of these matters, and such is the language of an Italian lawyer who has written upon this terrible subject.

I shall now go on to describe the condition of Servia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and those southern and northern parts of Macedonia which are inhabited principally by people of the Servian race and people of Servian sympathies. In former times, the countries that run along the south of the Danube were occupied by two kingdoms of considerable power. One of them, the Bulgarian kingdom, was subdued in the fourteenth century; the other was the Servian kingdom, and that was subdued at the end of the fourteenth century; that is, they made themselves vassals of the Turks; but the Turks very soon trampled them altogether under foot. The conditions under which they submitted to a Mahometan power were broken: