Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/20

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are in truth a race of heroes; and though their history has drawn very little attention, and though I am far from denying it has dark spots in it, because, as I have said, the spirit of ferocity in former times prevailed to a considerable extent among them, yet their heroism, the sacrifices they have made, their noble constancy, will secure to them, in my opinion, to the latest times, a name far more illustrious than that which will belong to nations and states and peoples infinitely greater in the eyes of this world, and according to the common measure of human judgment.

In conclusion, let me say I have had to use very hard words about the Turks. I have hardly said a good word for them, except that their soldiers are brave and sober, but let me say this to cover the whole. The Turks are what circumstances have made them, and depend upon it that if a lot of us were taken and put in their circumstances we, either individually or as a race, would soon cease to do even the limited credit to the Christian name that we now bring to it. They exercise a perfectly unnatural domination over their fellow-creatures; and arbitrary power is the greatest corruptor of the human mind and heart. There is nothing that can withstand it. Human nature requires the restraint of law. There is, unfortunately, no restraint of law in Turkey, and in the sight of God and man, much as these Christians are to be pitied, perhaps the Turks, who are the victims of that system, are to be pitied still more. The very worst things that men have ever done have been done when they were performing acts of violence in the name of religion. That has been the unfortunate position of the Turks, as a race that not only has conquered, but has conquered in the sacred name of religion. The corruption that results from such a system as that is deep and profound. Mahometans, where they manage their own affairs, and have not got the charge of the destinies of other people, can live in tolerable communities together, and discharge many of the duties of civil and social life. In certain cases, as, for instance, in the case of the Moors of Spain, they have exhibited many great and conspicuous merits. It is not the fact, that their religion is different from ours, which prevents them from discharging civil duties. Do not suppose that for a moment. It is not because they are in themselves so much worse than we are. God forbid that we should judge them. It is that this wretched system under which they live puts into their hands power which human beings ought not to possess, and the consequences are corruption to themselves and misery to those around. God in his mercy grant that the wisdom and patience and courage of Christendom may apply an effectual remedy to this state of things. (Loud applause.)—A vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Gladstone, and the proceedings terminated.