ing for more fugitives than it seems possible can
A Chapter of Hoi^rori. 25
To cap the climax, the Governor-General, through
imprisonment and intimidation of various kinds, has
forced the chief men in all the province (the city of
Bitlis alone excepted), to seal an address of gratitude
to the Sultan, that the Governor has restored order
in the vilayet ! !
[The following extract is from a personal letter
written by one whose name would be immediately
recognized by every reader were we at liberty to
make public use of it. The writer is a person of
broad influciice ; but for the present, owing to facts
which we are not at liberty to relate, he cannot take
a public stand. He will probably be heard from
F . . ., Nov. ro, 1894.
The massacre which took place a few weeks ago â€”
I do not know the exact date â€” occurred in the district
of Talvoreeg which lies between Moosh and Diabe-
kir. It is an Armenian district, comj^rising thirty or
forty villages, surrounded by Kourds.
Last year some of the Armenians there armed
themselves and resisted the Kourds, who arc con-
stantly making raids on their villages and carr)-ing
off their property. The Governor sent some soldiers,
who k'illed a few Armenians and received a medal
from the government for having wiped out a great
rebellion. This year there are said to have been ten
or fifteen revolutionists among these Armenians. A
26 The Crisis in Turkey.
Kourdish chief in order to get out of some difificul-
ties that he had gotten into with the government
set the ball rolling by carrying off some cattle be-
longing to certain of the Armenians. The Armeni-
ans endeavored to recover the cattle, and a fight
followed, in which two Kourds were killed and three
were wounded. The Kourds immediately carried
their dead to Moosh, laid them down at the govern-
ment house, reporting that Armenian soldiers were
overrunning the land, killing and plundering them.
This furnished the government with the desired
excuse for collecting soldiers from far and near.
The general is said to have worn on his breast an
order from Constantinople, which he read to the sol-
diers, commanding them to cut down the Armenians
root and branch, and adjuring them if they loved
their Sultan and their government they would do
so. A terrible massacre followed. Between five and
ten thousand Christians are said to have been
butchered in a most terrible manner. Some soldiers
say a hundred fell to each one of them to dispose
of; others wept because the Kourds did more execu-
tion than they.
No respect was shown to age or sex. Men, women,
and infants were treated alike, except that the women
were subjected to greater outrage before they were
slaughtered. The women were not even granted the
privilege of a life of slavery. For example, in one
place three or four hundred women, after being
forced to serve the vile purposes of a merciless sol-
diery, were taken to a valley near by and hacked to
pieces with sword and bayonet. In another place
A Chapter of Horrors. 2 7
about two hundred women, weeping and wailing,
knelt before the commander and begged for mercy,
but the blood-thirsty wretch, after ordering their
violation directed the soldiers to dispatch them in a
similar manner. In another place a large company,
headed by the priest, fell down before the officers
saying they had nothing to do with the culprits, and
pleading for compassion, but all to no purpose â€” all
were killed. Some sixty young brides and more at-
tractive girls were crowded into a little church in
another village, where, after being violated, they
were slaughtered, and a stream of human blood
flowed from the church door. To some of the more
attractive women in one place the proposition was
made that they might be spared if they denied their
faith. " Why should we deny Christ," they said,
and pointing to the dead bodies of their husbands
and brothers before them, they nobly answered, " We
are no better than they ; kill us too," â€” and they died.
After the above-mentioned events the Governor
attempted to persuade and compel the Armenians to
sign a paper thanking the Sultan and himself that
justice had been dc^ie to the rebels !
[From another cit\' to which soldiers returning
brought details of what they had done.]
E . ., Dec. 6, 1894.
The Armenians, op[)ressed by Kourds and Turks,
said, " We can't pay taxes to both Kourds and the
government." Plundered and oppressed by the
28 The Crisis in Turkey.
Kourds, they resisted them ; there were some killed.
Then false reports were sent to Constantinople that
the Armenians were in arms, in rebellion. Orders
were sent to the Mushire [Commander-in-chief] at
Erzingan to exterminate them root and branch. The
orders read before the army collected in haste from
all the chief cities of Eastern Turkey was : " Who-
ever spares man, woman, or child is disloyal."
The region was surrounded by soldiers of the army
and twenty thousand Kourds also are said to have
been massed there. Then they advanced upon the
centre, driving in the people like a flock of sheep, and
continued thus to advance for days. No quarter was
given, no mercy shown. Men, women, and children
shot down or butchered like sheep. Probably when
they were set upon in this way some tried to save
their lives and resisted in self-defense. Many who
could fled in all directions, but the majority were
slain. The most probable estimate is fifteen thousand
killed, thirty-five villages plundered, razed, burnt.
Women were outraged and then butchered ; a
priest taken to the roof of his church and hacked to
pieces ; young men piled in with wood saturated
with kerosene and set on fire ; a large number of
women and girls collected in church, kept for days,
violated by the brutal soldiers, and then murdered.'
It is said the number was so large that the blood
flowed out of the church door. Three soldiers con-
tended over a beautiful girl. They wanted to pre-
serve her, but she too was killed.
Every effort is being made and will be made to
falsify (excuse the blots â€” emblematic of the horrible
A Chapter of Horrors.
story) the facts and pull the wool over the eyes of
European governments. But the bloody tale will
finally be known, the most horrible, it seems to me,
that the nineteenth century lias known. As a con-
firmation of the report, the other day several hun-
NAKEG : ANCIKNT CHURCH A.NU MUUEKN HOVELS.
dred soldiers were returning from the seat of war,
and at a village near us one was heard to say that
he alone with his own hand had killed thirty pregnant
women. Some who seem to have some shame for
their atrocious deeds say : " W' hat could we do, we
were under orders? "
30 The Crisis hi Turkey.
[Later from the same place as the preceding ex-
tract. Evidence of a regular soldier who helped
dispose of the dead.]
E . . ., Dec. 17, 1894.
The soldiers who went from here talk quite freely
about matters at Sassoun. A. heard one talk the
other day. He said the work was mostly finished
before the E . . . soldiers got there. There was
great spoil â€” flocks, herds, household goods, etc. â€” but
their chief work was to dispose of the heaps and
heaps of the dead. The stench was awful. They
were gathered into the still standing houses and
burned with the houses. They say that the work
of destruction was wrought by the Havieduh, i. e.,
the newly organized Kourdish regiments. Those
regiments are one of the chief elements of danger to
the country now.
[From a city some distance from the scene.]
B . . ., Dec. 22, 1894.
You may believe most all that the papers say about
the mountains west of Moosh. I wrote you giving
you a few more authenticated details. I hope that
letter reached you. I give the outline here again. In
August the Armenians were declared in rebellion.
The regular soldiers and Hamcdichs were ordered to
the spot. Orders were issued from Constantinople
A Chapter of Horrors, 3 1
to put down the rebellion. Both regulars and
HamedicJis were used. The massacre began after
the middle of August â€” about the 1 8th â€” and con-
tinued to about the loth of September. The safe
estimates put the number of victims at about four
thousand, not less than three thousand five hundred,
and, in all probability, more than four thousand.
Men, women, and children were most barbarously
slaughtered â€” unnamable outrages were perpetrated
on all. The less horrible outrages were some of the
following : bayoneting the men, and .in this wounded
condition either burying or burning them ; outraging
women and then dispatching them with bayonets or
swords ; ripping up pregnant women ; impaling in-
fants and children on the bayonet, or dispatching
them with the sword ; houses fired, and the inmates
driven back into the flames.
The unspeakable horror of those three weeks must
have sent many a one crazy. The story is told that
one soldier found a comely infant and took compas-
sion on it and wished to save it. The mother was
found in a crowd of poor, wretched women, but she
was raving, calling for her children. She did not
recognize the child, and nothing was left to the sol-
dier but to dispatch it.
[Efforts to block the Commission and put the
country in sha[)e for insj)ection by emptying prisons
of innocent people.]
32 The Crisis in Turkey.
B . . ., Dec. 29, 1894.
The Bitlis Governor asks for a cordon on Moosh,
as there is cholera reported there. So the Considar
Commission is delayed. The Turkish Commission is
at Moosh now. Only, the president of it was re-
called. In the meantime Sassoun refugees are scat-
tered over the country, begging. Their stories, to-
gether with the stories of the soldiers, confirm the
most horrible of the reports of cruelty.
In all this, remember that the same thing has been
going on on a lesser scale all over the country.
Two weeks ago thirty-six men were dismissed from
B . . . prison after three years three months' de-
tention. A little over three years ago three Armeni-
ans were most barbarously murdered in the Narman
district, north of this city and near the Russian
boundary. Some Turks were called up for examina-
tion, and all were dismissed. Later, three Turks were
murdered and mutilated, apparently in retaliation.
The able-bodied men â€” sixty-two in number â€” of two
villages were thrown into prison. Some of them were
condemned to death, some to life imprisonment, and
others to various terms of imprisonment. A number
of them died â€” fifteen, I think â€” in prison. Thirty-six
were released the other day, and eleven are still in
prison. They have suffered horribly during these
three years. In what condition will they find their
homes when those who are released return ? It is
almost certain that none of them knew anything
about the murder or had any hand in it. It is said
that the murderer is well known, and is in Russia.
This case is a Sassoun atrocity on a smaller scale.
A Chapter of Hoi'r or s. 33
For God's sake do not let the public conscience go
to sleep again over this reign of terror. The land is
almost paralyzed Math horror and terror !
[The crisis and the need of keeping the issue clear.
The real explanation of the massacre.]
A . . ., Jan. 7, 1895.
The importance of the present crisis grows upon
me. In the first place Turkey is preparing for a ter-
rible catastrophe by squeezing Armenians, and arm-
ing Moslem civilians in Sivas, Aleppo, Castamouni,
and other provinces ; and in the second place it is
putting on the screws tighter everywhere excepting
in the three eastern provinces where the Commission
is now commencing investigation. In Van and Bit-
lis the process of arresting and intimidating Avitnesses
went on until the very hour of the departure of the
Commission of Investigation. Then the order went
out to stop, and those provinces are enjoying the
first semblance of quiet that they have known for
This policy of continued massacre and outrage is
favored by the profound ignorance which prevails
everywhere as to the actual state of things in Turkey.
People think that the Sassoun massacre is something
exceptional, and that until that is proved there is no
evidence of a need of European interference in behalf
of Christians in Turkey. What ought to be done is
to fix on the mind of the public the fact that Turkey
34 The Crisis in Turkey.
has taken up the poHcy of crushing the Christians all
over the Empire, and has been at it for several years,
so that even if the massacre had not taken place, the
duty of Europe to prohibit Turkey from acting the
part of Anti-Christ was still self-evident.
[Turks getting nervous, but not enough to forget
B . . ., Jan. 5, 1895.
The horrible stories are only being confirmed. It
is said that unborn babes were cut from their quiver-
ing mothers and carried about on spear tops. The
Turks themselves now see that they went a step too
far, and they are feeling the awful tension of suspense
as much as the Christians. However, the pitiless
collection of taxes is causine fearful sufferincf.
[Prospects of the Commission of Inquiry, and its
inadequacy in any case to do justice to the chronic
state of the country.]
B . . ., Jan. 12, 1895.
The people are in a state of horror because of the
massacre. The Commission has been expected for
some time, and without doubt the local authorities
have used every means to cover up their tracks and
terrorize still further those who may be probable
A Chapter of Horrors. 35
witnesses. Those who are encouraged to testify will
be again at the mercy of the Turks after the Com-
mission rises. I have not the slightest doubt that
some will be courageous enough to testify, but it
will be at great odds. Almost everything is against
the perfect success of the Commission's work, or
rather the favorable outcome of the work of the
European delegates. It will not be right to stake
the fate of Armenia on the outcome of the work of
Rather it should be remembered that Sassoun is
the outcome of a governmental system. There have
been hundreds of Sassouns all over the country all
through the last ten years, as you know. The laxity
of Europe has afforded opportunity for the merciless
working of this system in all its vigor. It is born of
religious and race hatred, and has in mind the crush-
ing of Christianity and Christians.
It is not the Kourdish robbers, or famine, or chol-
era that have to answer for the present state of the
country. It is rather the robbery, and famine, and
worse than cholera entailed on the country b}- the
workings of this system. It is not alone the blood
of fi\x^ thousand men, women, children, and babies,
that rises in a fearful wail to hea\xMi, calling for
just vengeance, but also the fearful suffering, the
desolate homes, the wanton cruelty of tax collectors
and petty oflficials, and the violated honor of scores
The Turk is on trial. Let not Sassoun alone go
in evidence, but remember that the same wail rises
from all over the country.
36 The Crisis i7i Tzirkey,
[Evidence of an eye-witness, whose occupation
saved him. Very few succeeded in escaping to tell
I saw an eye-witness to some of the Sassoun de-
struction. He passed through three villages. They
were all in ruins, and mutilated bodies told the hor-
rible tale. For four or five days he was in one vil-
lage. During the day parties of the scattered
inhabitants would come in and throw themselves
upon the mercy of the of^cer in command. About
two hours after sundown each evening these prisoners
of that day were marched out of camp to a neighbor-
ing valley, and the air was rent with their pitiful
cries. He saw nothing more of them. He estimates
that five hundred men disappeared in that way while
he was there.
Between two hundred and three hundred women
and children were brought into camp. They also
disappeared, how he did not know. He was an
Armenian muleteer pressed for the transport of the
military. He was sent out of the district to Moosh.
He and his companion are the only eye-witnesses we
Another refugee from a village on the border tells
the story of how his mother, after terrible hardships,
escaped to a monastery where this young man was
a servant. She told of the merciless slaughter of all
the rest of the household, and destruction of the
village. She with her young child succeeded in
reaching the monastery, where after a few days she
died of her wounds.
A Chapter of Horrors. 3 7
The country waits breathlessly the result of the
investigation. May the Lord of nations stretch forth
His almighty arm to save !
B . . ., Jan. 25, 1895.
Eight to ten thousand breaths gone out is about
enough, but the form beggars description. Some
impaled, some buried alive, some burned in houses
with the help of kerosene, pregnant women ripped
up, children seized by the hair to have the head
lopped off as if it were a worthless bud, hundreds of
women turned over to the vile soldiery with sequence
of terrible slaughter.
[The last letter was written in this country by one
who has spent years in the vcr}' heart of the afflicted
New York, Jan. 25, 1895.
Up to May, 1894, when 1 left Van, the whole Chris-
tian population of that region was simply paralyzed
by fear, and there was no manifestation of any revo-
lutionary thought or intention by the Armenians.
Certainly, if such a revolution were contemplated,
you would expect to find it in the Van and Bitlis
vilayets [provinces], where the provocati(jn is the
38 The Crisis in Turkey.
[Many other letters have been received which con-
tain no new evidence, but which in every particular
confirm what is here reported. It would add
nothing to the evidence to give further extracts
Many who have given no reports, but knowing
that some others have done so, say : "-You can
safely believe all, and more, for the sickening details
that come in are becoming worse and worse." " No
report can be exaggerated as to the horrible event,"
All the sixteen preceding extracts, and the original
letters from which they are taken, are endorsed by
the twenty names which are reproduced in facsimile
on pages 2 and 4. The following additional letters,
which have arrived too late to be submitted with
the above, have come through the same channels
and are of equal weight.]
[This is an extract from a letter written from a
town in the province of Erzroom, and has no con-
nection with the Sassoun affair. It is the written
testimony of a pure, sensitive Christian woman, who
is only one of hundreds that have been and are being
trodden in the mire of Moslem lust. It was intended
for the eye of a beloved teacher of the poor victim
who wrote it. If it is wrong for me to publish it to
the world, let God and the reader judge. Remember
that the silence of death reigns in Sassoun, and that
A Chapter of Horrors.
throughout other regions terror paralyzes the tongue.
It bears date, November 4, 1894, Old Style (/. r.,
November i6th). It is eloquent in its agonizing
pathos, and shows the condition of the country
in which such events are common occurrences, and
against which there is no redress.]
ARMKNIAN GIRLS OF VAN.
G . . ., Nov. 4, 1894.
" / implore and earnestly entreat that you xvill re-
member one of yonr former pupils, and hear my ery
for sympathy and protection. I have been outraged.
Oh, woe IS me, eternal pain and sorroiu to my young
heart I Evil disposed and lawless men have robbed
me of the bloom and beauty of my wifely purity. It
zuas II Bey, the son of the Kaimakam (the loeal
40 TPie Crisis in Turkey.
Turkish Governor residing in the village). It zvas in
the evening betiveen six and seven o'clock. I zvas en-
gaged in my household zvork. I stepped outside the
door, when I suddenly found myself in the grasp of
four men. They smothered my cries and threatened
my life, and by force carried me off to a strange house.
Oh, tvhat black hours zvere those till the sxveet light of
the sun once more arose ! Though this is zvrittcn
%vith ink, believe me, it is zvrittcn in blood and
No. 1 8.
[The following letter was written from an entirely
different part of Turkey from the preceding letters.
It is a region far remote from the massacres, and yet
indicates a state of affairs that is deplorable. The
writer is not an American nor is he a native of
Turkey ; he has spent several years in that country
and is a man in whom all would have the highest
confidence were we at liberty to give the name.]
H . . ., Jan. II, 1895.
Those cordons and quarantine, together with the
extraordinary precautions, taken by the hitherto im-
movable Turk, with regard to cholera that was still
far away and in an entirely different direction, were
a mystery to all, although every person knew that
the ostensible purpose was not the real one. Now
that the tidings from Moosh have come in, the mys-
A Chapter of Horrors. 4 1
tery of the series of cordons between here and Har-
poot is explained. There is very strong evidence
that a general massacre or a series of massacres of
Christians has been understood by the local govern-
ments to be the order of the day. It is not likely
that a definite order to that effect has been given
out from the Capitol, but multitudes of recent events
go to show that the everlasting persecutions and
annoyances, and the methods used in past times to
grind down the Christians, have come to be regarded
as insufificient. Everywhere there is an activity, a
watchfulness, and an energy displayed by the gov-
ernment in the recent efforts to encompass the
Christians and to cut off their name and existence,
that point to a newly formed plan to be put into ex-
ecution with as little waste of time as possible. Woe
to the poor remnant in this land if the European and
American governments disregard recent events in
Turkey ! Christian nations in that case, even if they
do not directly participate in what will certainly fol-
low sooner or later, cannot be held guiltless of the
blood of their fellow-men. . . .
Another case in which I was concerned has gone
the same way. Last spring a Protestant woman in
Y. was assaulted and violated by three Turks. They
were tried in F. and found guilty ; but that infamous
court in S., under the influence of the still more
infamous iMuti'sarif (Governor), having rccentl}'
reviewed the case, reversed the original judgment
and released the guilty. There is no remedy. No
appeal can be made. The only thing that can be
done is to prosecute the court in S., but that, in the
42 The Crisis in Turkey.
present state of things, would be utterly useless.
The result will be that such crimes will become more
frequent than ever â€” the perpetrators feeling confi-
dent that there is very little likelihood of punishment
being meted out to them.
The government pretends to look with special
suspicion on H. just now. The F^/z (Governor-Gen-
eral) claims there are secret societies here. I told
him there is nothing of the kind in H. now. The
poor people are afraid to open their mouths or to go
out of their houses. You can scarcely conceive the
change that has come over the people within the past
few months. Terror and amazement have taken
hold of them to such an extent as to become mani-
fest in their countenances even. All arms and
weapons are being taken from the people here these
The Kainiakani (local Governor) and other oflficers
walk the streets and the K. road every night.
Attempts have been made by officers and soldiers
to draw Christians into a quarrel, but they have
hitherto failed. One night this week, the Commis-
saire (Chief of Police) without any provocation fired
three times at a Christian, but the other offered no
resistance. Moslem officers are taking possession of
the property of Christians and doing just as they
please without regard to law or justice.
The church and school in O. have been closed
and for two months now the people have not been
allowed to come together for worship. They are
forbidden even to have prayers offered in their
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT EASTERN
IN order that the ordinary reader may grasp the
situation in Arnaenia, information is given at
this point in regard to the country itself, its ad-
ministration, the elements that compose the popula-
tion, and their relations to one another.