Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/15

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butchered him with seven blows from their handshars. They then made off in broad daylight, making their way through the Christians and others whom the young fellow's cries were bringing to the scene of the tragedy—not a soul daring to lay a hand on the murderers, for they were Turks. The Belgian, coming out from his tent, and finding the young rayah dying or dead, at once sent for zaptiehs to arrest the murderers, but of course in vain; they made no real effort. You will say, "How cowardly of the Christians to make no attempt to seize them;" but cowardice is one of those vices engendered by a long course of tyranny that crushes the very heart out of its victims. Wherever there is a subject and a dominant race, the vices of subjection belong not to the oppressed, but to the oppressor. It is on those who practise the oppression that the whole responsibility of these vices devolves. Take the case of negro slavery; it is just the same thing. We are often told that among negroes lying, stealing, and every kind of petty fraud and trickery prevail, and that they are poor debased creatures. But who are responsible for this state of things? If those Christians failed to do their duty, as they did fail in not standing up like men to act against the wrong-doers, the whole responsibility of their failure of duty and justice belongs to the system under which they live, and to those who favour and maintain that system.

There is, in fact, a great deal of resemblance between the system which prevails in Turkey and the old system of negro slavery. In some respects it is less bad than negro slavery, and in other respects a great deal worse. It is worse in this respect, that in the case of negro slavery, at any rate, it was a race of higher capacities ruling over a race of lower capacities; but in the case of this system, it is unfortunately a race of lower capacities which rules over a race of higher capacities. The hinge of both alike was the law of evidence. Whatever misdeed the master of the slave committed, he was pretty sure of impunity, because the slave's evidence against him could not be received. Now that is the case with the Christians in the Turkish provinces. It was promised in 1856 that that should be redressed, and that the Christian's evidence should be received. But to this hour it is not generally received. Here is a story related by Misses Mackenzie and Irby as taking place at Ipek:—A Servian woman was taken ill: the master of the house went out to call assistance, and an Arnaout, who had a grudge against him, shot him dead. In an evil hour, the Christians of Ipek, knowing the murderer, denounced him to the kaïmakam; and thereupon the Arnaouts seized on another Christian, and declared that he, and not an Arnaout, was guilty of the deed. Christian evidence going for nothing against a Mussulman, of course the Servian could not be cleared. The kaïmakam threw him into prison. Months passed, and