Puslapio vaizdai


changer refused to give a Mussulman a hundred suls. The report was sent, and it was communisilver piasters in exchange for a hundred-piaster cated by the English embassy to the Sultan's note, which was then current for forty piasters. Government, which blamed the governor-general The holder of the note gathered a mob in the for not having summarily dismissed the officer bazaar, which plundered the money-changer's and constables from the public service. The whole stock-in-trade. No notice was taken of provincial council was at once convoked, and a the complaint the Jewish victim lodged at the solemn and formal declaration was signed by the police office, whither a considerable share of the governor-general, as president of it, and by all spoil had found its way. There have even been the councilors, to the effect that no incident of instances of housebreaking in which some of the the kind had ever occurred, and that the English robbers were seen in the uniform of the con- consul's statement was the mere offspring of his stabulary.

imagination. This declaration was forwarded to Again, on one occasion, the Turkish chief of the Porte, and by the Porte to the embassy, where a police station was making his nightly rounds, no further notice was taken of the case; and the accompanied by a strong force, when he was met consul heard of it only a year afterward, from the by a gang of thieves going about to find some clerk who wrote the declaration under the goveropportunity of robbing people passing through nor-general's dictation. The officer and constables the streets on their way home after spending the were of course ordered to return to their duty. evening, as is the practice, at friends' houses. In a neighboring provincial town, where there They called to him to put out his lantern, and he is no British consul, a circumstance of a somedid so. That police officer was in nominal re- what similar nature took place at about the same ceipt of a salary of about one hundred pounds a time. The chief of the police, with half a dozen year, he had no private resources whatever, and constables, entered the workshop of a Christian yet, after fourteen years' service, he retired with blacksmith, and told him that he must move ima fortune of nearly twenty thousand pounds. The mediately to another street where there was a fact speaks for itself.

vacant workshop belonging to the Government, A murder was committed, and, on hearing of for which he must pay rent in advance. The it, the authorities sent another officer of police to blacksmith replied quite respectfully that he had find out the names of the assassins. This was paid rent in advance for the one he occupied, easily done, as there were many witnesses of the which he would lose by moving to another, crime, which was perpetrated by daylight in an and that he would lose also many of his customopen street ; and the officer repaired to the house ers by the change; but he was peremptorily of three brothers, who had been seen killing the ordered to go. He complained of this treatmurdered man. He remained closeted with them ment to his bishop, who went to intercede for for nearly an hour, and then took them to the him with the governor - general. Before the gate of the town, where he told them to make case was decided either way, the chief of the their way to some village. One of them was af- police returned with his followers, and they comterward captured by the friends of the victim, menced beating him with sticks until he was and taken to the police office. A written accu- hardly able to reach his house. Two days later sation had been presented, and was produced; he died of the injuries he had received. An but the names inscribed in it had been altered by English medical man, who was there at the time, the chief of the police, and the prisoner was re- being much shocked by what had happened, and leased on the plea that his name was not men- seeing the governor-general seated at the door of tioned in it. Several cases of burglary had oc- a shop in the bazaar, went to him with his dragocurred, and one of them was falsely laid at the man, and told him that he ought to bring his podoor of a personal enemy of the informant. An lice agents to justice for killing the Christian officer and two constables were sent to the house blacksmith. He had himself gone to see him beof the man accused, and they arrested him. On fore his death, and had verified the fact of its his declaring that he had no knowledge of the having been caused by a severe blow on the burglary, he was stripped and put to the torture head. The Pasha made no reply to him, but comwith red-hot irons to make him confess. He laid plained to the Porte of the irregularity of this a complaint before the governor-general of the proceeding on the part of a person not holding a province, who had him carried to the military consular position, at the same time forwarding a hospital to be cured of his wounds, and had the certificate from a native doctor to prove that the officer and constables placed under arrest. When blacksmith had died of a liver complaint of long conversing with the English consul, the gover- standing. The case was referred by the Porte nor-general requested him to report the case to to the English embassy, where it was known his embassy, because he had heard of his con- through a report from the nearest English conduct having been misrepresented by other con- sulate, sent after a full inquiry into all the facts. The only result was an instruction to warn the on the many recent instances of abominable conEnglishman to abstain for the future from med- duct on the part of the police department in dling in matters which did not concern him. Asiatic Turkey. Suffice it to say that in one

Quite recently, a town in the same part of the town of about one hundred thousand inhabitants, country, inhabited solely by Christians, has suf- during the year just closed, no less than one hunfered wholesale persecution by the Turkish po- dred and ninety-three murders have been comlice. Arrears of taxes were due, and a detach- mitted, while only two murderers have been ment of constables was sent to collect them. brought to justice; and even in their case no Houses were ransacked with the utmost violence, credit is due to the provincial government, beand effects were exposed for sale at any price. cause every possible effort was made by the auA complaint was forwarded to the governor- thorities for the purpose of screening them from general of the province, who hastened to the the punishment which was insisted upon by the town alluded to, and he was received by its British consulate, armed with a legal right to inwhole population with every possible mark of terfere. In consequence of this utter inefficiency respect. He promised to give them time for the of the police department in that town, nothing payment of their arrears, the great accumulation but contempt was felt for the constabulary force, of which has been the almost universal and time- and in one case an officer with thirty constables honored consequence, in the Asiatic provinces, was mobbed in the streets, and a prisoner, arof bribing the collectors to let them stand over. rested for some imaginary offense because able The people were now too poor to furnish the to pay a heavy ransom, was forcibly taken from usual gratuities, to obtain which, by extortion and them. The governor-general then gave one hunterror, the police agents were acting with such dred pounds per month to an influential Mussulrigor. The Pasha's back was hardly turned when man to keep the town quiet. This local magnate the persecution recommenced as violently as ever. made a few of his own people patrol the streets, One of the Christians, in his exasperation at see- and put the money in his pocket, without any iming his wife and children thus deprived of their provement in security of life and property being bedding and household utensils, shot the consta- attained. The same system is followed in the ble who was carrying them off. Troops were villages, which are pillaged with impunity by the brought from the chief provincial city to quella retainers of powerful chiefs who have obtained so-called bold insurrection. Many of the Chris- such contracts by large bribes to the authorities. tians fled to the mountains, and their wives and The facts cursorily related above will not, probchildren were arrested and escorted by the police ably, leave room for any doubt that the police deto that chief city, which is a hundred and fifty partment in the Turkish provinces of Asia is conmiles distant. It was cold and rainy as the women spicuous for the absence of every quality that could were driven along. One of them was in feeble make it useful, and stands in the most deplorable health, and begged to be allowed to stop at a need of immediate and complete reorganization. village on the road. She was refused, and, un- The judicial department is the next field which able to bear up longer, she lay down and died. requires the application of strong measures to A priest wrote a paper for collective signature to remedy its inherent defects, if these Asiatic provlay the grievances of the town before the Porte. inces of the Ottoman Empire can be expected to He was arrested, stripped, and beaten in presence rise from their present state of absolute collapse of the troops.

A telegraphic report was dis- to that level of good government which could patched by the governor-general to the Grand alone sanction their protection by England. Vizier, declaring that a Russian plot, headed by Judgment in causes is exclusively given in favor priests, and inciting the Christians to revolt, had of the side which makes the highest bid for it. been discovered, and successfully counteracted Professional witnesses crowd the doors of all the and completely frustrated by him. The plain courts of law, ready to swear whatever may be truth is that the Turkish police agents were the required, and receiving payment in advance aconly firebrands in the whole affair. Numerous cording to the amount involved in a civil suit, or arrests were effected, and some of the chief in- the importance of the evidence for the prisoner habitants of the place were handcuffed and or the prosecutor in a criminal case. These are chained by the neck and feet in a standing pos- Mussulmans, of course-Christian and Jewish ture in a prison flooded with several inches of witnesses not being admitted to testify, on the water, half frozen over. The last intelligence re- plea that by the Koranic law their oath is not leceived is that the Christians had risen in a body gal. Some of the recent trials in Asiatic Turkey and broken open the prison, liberating the Chris- are so striking that they can not fail to convey tian prisoners, and putting the Turkish police an idea of the enormity of the injustice prevailagents in their place in the same prison. ing there. In one case, two trustworthy Mussul

It would be as superfluous as tedious to dwell man witnesses had their depositions rejected af



ter a nocturnal visit by the prisoner's relatives to was the status of the murdered man—the trial all the members of the tribunal. Although those would have arrived at no practical result. two witnesses swore that they had seen the pris- Justice was soon again tampered with by the oner stab the murdered man, he was acquitted. same tribunal in a case of murder in a village. The son of the victim of the crime applied, as Two men had been seen by many witnesses putprosecutor, for an inquiry into this suspicious pro- ting an enemy of theirs to death, and ample eviceeding, and a paper was found in the record of dence was given quite regularly, but neither of the trial, bearing ten seals and signatures pur- the prisoners was punished, the one having disporting to be those of the best reputed house- tributed one hundred and sixty pounds, and the holders in the quarter of the town to which the other one hundred and fifty pounds among the two witnesses belonged, and declaring them to members of the tribunal. The prosecutor, seebe men of bad character, and accustomed to per- ing the murderers at large, has presented ten jure themselves before the courts of justice for successive memorials to the Government, but hire. The ten householders were summoned, without the least notice being taken of them. and, on being questioned, they swore that they In another instance there was not even a had not sealed or signed any such document, and trial. An elderly Christian woman earned a livethat they knew the two witnesses to be very good lihood for her irfirm husband and numerous men, and quite incapable of taking a false oath. family by acting as a broker for the sale of jewels The whole proceedings in the case were quashed, in the harems of the wealthier class of Mussuland a new trial was ordered ; but this was not mans. One day she was told to take all the obtained without the strongest possible pressure jewels she had for sale to a house where she had from without, in the form of a serious remon- occasionally been employed in her calling. Her strance from the British consulate. By Mussul- husband accompanied her to the door of the man law a criminal case can not be tried without harem, and said he would wait there for her, as there being a "davaji,' or prosecutor, who must he had been in the habit of doing. After he had be the next of kin of the person suffering by the stood at the door for several hours he knocked, crime, if that person be dead. The son of the and three negresses appeared, and he asked them murdered man had been very active and intelli- to tell his wife to come to him. They denied gent in his exertions to bring his father's murder- that his wife had come to the house that day, and ers to justice. The device resorted to by the treated him as a madman. He went home, hopfriends of the murderer first arrested was in per- ing that she had, unseen by the black slaves, left fect keeping with Turkish character. Another the harem by some other door, and gone to their murder had just been reported. A young girl own house; but nothing had been heard of her had threatened to complain to her absent uncle there. For several days he went about the town of the treatment she received from his wife, and inquiring for her without success. At last he had been strangled in the night by the wife and happened to meet in the street the youngest of her mother. An accusation was immediately the three negresses whom he had seen at the brought against the son of the man previously Turkish house, a girl of fifteen; she stopped murdered, and a proposal was made to him to him, saying she was so sorry for him, that she withdraw the charge on condition of his giving would tell him the whole truth; and she then up the prosecution of his father's murderer. He related how her mistress had taken his wife into rejected the offer, and was put on his trial. The a room where there was a trap-door opening wife and her mother swore to having seen him above a deep vault, and there asked her to show strangle the girl, and the innocent youth was the jewels she had brought. They were carecondemned to be hanged. He has not been ex- fully examined, and placed on a divan. Her misecuted, for what reason does not appear; but he tress then, with the help of the two other female remains in prison under sentence of death, the slaves, pushed the poor woman into the vault, and object in view having been attained by his being closed the trap-door over her. All this the girl prevented from acting as prosecutor. The new said she had seen; and she added that they had trial could not have gone on if it had not been heard his wife's cries until late at night, and supfor the vigorous efforts of the English consulate, posed that she must then have died from the efwhich also succeeded in having another of the fects of her fall. In the morning, she continued, murderers captured. They were tried together, the body was taken out by a small staircase leadand sentence of twelve years' imprisonment was ing down to the vault from the courtyard, and passed on both of them. If the English consul- buried in the garden by the same black slaves. ate had not taken up the prosecution officially, Armed with this statement, the husband laid an satisfying thereby the quasi-legal scruples of the accusation against both the Turkish lady and her law officers of the Porte by exercising the treaty two negresses. The tribunal ordered a domiright of protecting a consular guard-for this ciliary visit to the house, but nothing was found that could inculpate any one. He then applied Turkish tribunal. In the other civil case alluded for the summoning of the young negress to give to a Jew was sued by a Mussulman for one hunevidence, but she was not summoned, and no dred and eighty pounds in part payment for a trial took place, the husband of the lady being house which the latter had sold to the former. high in office, rich and influential, which were While stating the grounds of his suit the Musthree good reasons for screening his wife from sulman plaintiff was stopped by a Mussulman justice. The jewels obtained by this abominable member of the court, who said that he could crime were worth eight hundred pounds, and never gain his cause in that way, and who dictheir different owners, who had merely intrusted tated to the registrar, for insertion in the record them to the murdered woman for sale, never of the trial, another statement of facts, and a heard more of them, though it is believed that line of argument altogether different. The dethe president and members of the tribunal had fendant objected to this mode of proceeding, and been requested, not without compliance, to select was ordered by the president to keep silence, or a few of them for the use of their harems, he might otherwise be imprisoned for contempt

In a case of robbery, still pending, a Chris- of court. The poor Jew bowed to this injunctian merchant lost two hundred pounds from his tion, and humbly produced the plaintiff's receipt, strong box, which had been forced open before in his own handwriting, for the whole of the daybreak. He applied for the arrest of a Mus- price of the house, of a part of which he now sulman miller, whom his servants had seen run- now claimed payment a second time. Two most ning across the courtyard of his house at that influential Mussulmans were brought forward to time. A trial took place, but this evidence was swear that the receipt was a forgery, not written not admitted, the servants being Christians. The by the plaintiff, and not sealed with his own seal. Mussulman workmen of the mill were then called These witnesses could not be classed with those as witnesses by the plaintiff, and they deposed who habitually swear anything for money, being on oath that the miller had left them before day- rich and respected; but there is a practice among light on that Sunday morning, having worked all the best-reputed Mussulmans to lend their testinight, and had returned after daylight breathless mony, and these two had causes pending in fawith running, and without his shoes. A pair of vor of which the present plaintiff would give shoes was found close to the strong box in the evidence in return. The Jew was condemned to merchant's house which fitted the prisoner per- disburse the one hundred and eighty pounds, and fectly, and were also sprinkled with flour, as if he paid the amount at once, asking only that coming from a mill. This was not thought this second settlement of the account should be enough to condemn him against the all-powerful registered by the court, to prevent its being testimony of a share of the money stolen, which claimed a third time, and sentence being again was said to have been presented to the tribunal. passed against him by the same court for the The merchant was informed by its president same sum. This was received as an excellent that, if he did not bring within a fixed term two joke by the president and members of the tribuMussulman witnesses of the act of taking the two nal, who laughed heartily as they counted the hundred pounds from the strong box the prison- coin, calculating doubtless how much of it would er would be acquitted.

fall to their own share. With reference to civil causes tried before the A great commercial cause, the trial of which ordinary court two may be mentioned as recently has lasted eight years, offers an apt illustration of concluded. The guardian of a family of orphans, the mode of administering justice in the Turkish a Christian, sued a Mussulman for a sum of provinces of Asia, so striking are its details, and two hundred and forty pounds which had been so important will be its results. A native Chrislent to him by their deceased father. The debt tian merchant sent an agent to open a house of was denied by the Mussulman, and witnesses business in Manchester in connection with his were called to prove it, the first of whom de- own in Turkey. For a couple of years there was posed clearly in favor of the plaintiff, though the perfect regularity in their payments, but, when witness was a Mussulman. The registrar of the their credit was well established, a colossal swincourt commenced writing the deposition in the dle was attempted, showing the purpose with record of the trial, when the president inter- which the branch house had been founded. A rupted him and dictated to him a statement as large quantity of manufactured goods was bought clearly in favor of the defendant. The witness from forty different sellers, to whom strong aswas begged by the plaintiff to repeat his evi- surances were given that the amount in payment dence, which he did in the identical words of the would be remitted by the foreign principal of the president. The plaintiff then withdrew his suit, English firm, who was stated to be the moneyed regretting aloud that he had paid the fees in ad- partner in it. The goods were shipped under vance, as it was vain to expect justice from a consignment to this native merchant, and he



promptly sold them at any price which he could priating to themselves the proceeds of the sales ; obtain without delay. The purchase money was and they collected the outstanding debts, formed never remitted to Manchester. The agent there by advances made for the purchase of cotton, became a bankrupt, and the creditors, finding no taking care to receive always a little less than the assets, sued the native merchant in Asiatic Tur- full amounts due, so that the bonds and bills repkey, as his partner. The case seems so very resenting the debts should remain in their hands, simple, that it is hardly credible that a court of lest they might ever be required to account for justice exists anywhere capable of keeping it up the sums, for the payment of which they conso long. It is said to have cost the defendant, trived to give no receipts. Remittances not bein the province and at the capital on appeal, no ing made by them to the heirs in England, another less than six thousand pounds, to stave off a final representative was dispatched to see into the judgment against him; but he can afford even matter. He soon understood the whole truth, that enormous amount of bribery, considering and he brought an action against the Frenchthat the claim brought forward exceeds twenty- man. It was tried before the French consular nine thousand pounds.

court at the chief station of the consular district. Another great commercial cause is pending To the Englishman's utter amazement, the dein a neighboring province, which also has lasted fense made was simply the production of the several years. An English merchant invested British consular letter of recommendation, statupward of twenty thousand pounds in business ing that the native was the sole agent for windof a nature apparently promising fair profits. He ing up the affairs of the estate. In vain the Engpurchased about twenty villages for the facilita- lishman pleaded that no British consular officer's tion of a trade in the exportation of cotton. He letter could annul the power of attorney delivered then went home, leaving a native partner in charge by a British subject. Judgment was given against of his affairs. During ten years he found that, him, and it was confirmed by the appeal court of instead of receiving any return from his capital, Aix, where he carried his case. There thus rehe was called upon to make frequent remittances mained only the native to prosecute, and the for the purpose of carrying on his speculation. cause became amenable to Turkish justice alone. At last he visited the province himself to inquire In spite of this feeble hope of success, the Enginto the state of his interests. On the third daylishman thought it his duty to proceed. Every after his arrival he died suddenly. Suspicions of possible obstacle was placed in his way. The foul play very naturally arose, but a consular in- Frenchman, in throwing the onus of their joint vestigation did not corroborate them. His heirs swindle on the native alone, had bound himself in England sent out a lawyer to liquidate their in- to protect him from all evil consequences, and heritance, and he appointed two agents, a French- he has hitherto been quite successful in doing so. man and a native Christian, to carry out the ob- The Turkish authorities have exercised the chiject in view. Those two agents conceived a deep canery which they possess in so great a degree scheme of robbery. The Frenchman expressed to frustrate the ends of justice, and it is not diffia wish that a strong letter of recommendation cult to comprehend the means employed to inshould be addressed by a British consular au- spire so much zeal. They even went so far as thority to the Turkish governor-general of the to allow the defendant to give a merely nominal province in which the villages were situated. bail, and he of course absconded, but, through The English lawyer readily agreed to this, and energetic measures taken by the British consul he applied by mistake to a consular officer not really holding the Queen's commission for jurisholding the Queen's commission for the jurisdic- diction in that province, he has now been found tion which he assumed in that part of the con- and brought back to stand his trial. sular district of another British consulate. A In municipal cases most of the minor offenses daring device was resorted to for shifting all giving rise to them are punished by fines, levied responsibility from the French agent, who was indiscriminately from the guilty and from the inpossessed of some property, to the native agent, nocent. Bribery is not so rife in these cases, for who had not a farthing in the world. Means the elementary reason that a more profitable were found of dictating the terms of the letter of practice is followed. The fines collected have recommendation in the Turkish language, which to be sent by monthly payments to the Treasury that consular officer did not understand, and in with a register referring to receipts given for the it the native was alone mentioned as the agent fines; but, when they are being received, a smallfor the liquidation of the deceased Englishman's er sum is accepted, the receipt to be given when estate. They then commenced together to carry the remainder is called for, which is never the out the audacious fraud on which they were in- case. The fine is thus omitted in the register, tent. They concealed the existence of several and the money is divided every evening among most valuable villages, which they sold, appro- those composing the municipal court,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »