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Copyright 1914



Fidelis in Litteris



At present troubled Turkey is attracting
more and more attention from those who follow
world affairs. The question in every mind is,
"How will things turn out?" In order, how-
ever, to form any adequate conception of the
future of a race, one must have studied the race
at first hand, and must be acquainted with "the
soul of the people." The time has gone by when
every race not white is assigned to a predestined
barbarism. We are beginning to believe that the
future may belong to the Chinese, to the
Japanese, to the Hindu, as well as to the Anglo-
Saxon. Will it belong also to the Turk, or must
he be condemned to a helpless inferiority?

It was my good fortune to spend three event-
ful years in Turkey during a period which saw
the rise of the Young Turk Party and the down-
fall of Abdul Hamid; and I had excellent op-
portunities for studying the possibilities of the
Turk and comparing him with the races amidst



which he lives the Greek, the Jewish, the Ar-
menian and the Bulgarian.

In the course of these years I grew to love the
Turk, as do all Americans who live among them.
I tried to understand his character, his temper-
ament and his way of looking at life. I was
constantly analyzing the Oriental customs, in
order to distinguish the factors of race, climate,
environment and religion which make the Turk
what he is. The conclusions which I reached I
present to the reader, feeling sure that he will
find here a true portrait of the Turk, and one
that does him what justice is in my power.

What will be the future of Turkey? In spite
of the many misfortunes, discouragements and
evils through which the Land of Allah and the
Crescent is passing, I have never given up my
faith in the ultimate salvation of this brave and
admirable people. There are still true patriots
in Turkey men whom I know and love and
if the reins of government can but fall into
their hands, true progress will ensue.

Some may accuse me of giving too favorable
an impression of the Turk and of his religion.
That there are many evils to deplore in the in-


stitutions, government and religion of Turkey,
I would be the last to deny; but so much has
been written of these more unfavorable aspects
that I prefer to present the good side of the
Turk, believing that the best way of helping a
people, as is the case with an individual, is by
seeing their good qualities rather than their bad.
I hope this book will bring to the reader a new
point of view, depicting the life of the Turk and
his character in such a way as to give a better
understanding of that much-maligned race.

Several chapters of it were written for mag-
azine publication. Chapters I and IX and a
part of chapter XIII have been published in
The Boston Transcript; parts of Chapters VIII
and XI in The Open Court; and Chapter V
in The New England Magazine.

I take pleasure here in thanking the friends
who have helped in the making of the book my
dear Oriental brother, Halousi Hussein, Pro-
fessor of Turkish at Robert College, for much
of the material that has gone into the book ; Miss
Hester D. Jenkins, formerly Professor of His-
tory at the American College for Girls, and Dr.
George Washburn, twenty years President of



Robert College, for reviewing the manuscript;
and my brother, Percival B. Cobb, for a final
reading of the manuscript, for the revision of
the proof sheets, and for constructive criticism.


Newton Upper Falls
June 16, 1914.



I Character and Climate .... 1

Climate an Important Factor in History The
American's Contempt for Turkish Indolence Yet
He Succumbs to It Himself Enervating Effects of
the Turkish Climate Customs of the Country-
Peculiar Effects of Climate on Mentality "Never
Do Today What You Can Put Off till Tomorrow"
Delightful Dreaminess of the Orient The Fascina-
tion of the East

II The Turk Still a Medieval ... 21

The Turks a Kindly People Yet Still Barbarous
The Oriental and the Occidental Cruelties of the
Turks The Explanation A Change for the Better
The Turk a Medieval in Religion Also in Educa-

III The Turk as a Citizen .... 87

Loyal to His Sultan and His Religion Soldier and
Citizen Peculiar Oriental Methods of Government
The Novelty of Citizenship The First Taste of
Liberty A Visit to the Turkish Parliament Recep-
tion of Delegates on Their Return to Native

IV The Turk in Business .... 51

Turks not Naturally Traders Very Honest as
Merchants and as Servants Have Little Ambition
Do not Solicit Business^ Methods of Industry and
Business Medieval The Turkish Merchant Has a
Sense of Leisure, and Is not a Slave to the Dollar

V The Eternal Feminine .... 63

Oriental Attitude towards the Gentler Sex Mo-
hammedanism not Solely Responsible The Usual
Life of a Turkish Lady Evils of Polygamy




Polygamy and the West The Mohammedan's De-
fence of Polygamy Turks Treat Women Better
than Do Other Oriental Races The Sentiment
Against Polygamy Character of Turkish Women
The Revolution and the New Freedom Halliday
Hanum Changing Conditions Love and Marriage
The Oriental Dream

VI At Home 83

The "Simple Life" in the Orient Domestic Habits
of the Turk Common Sense in Clothes Headgear
and Footwear Need of Tolerance for Other
People's Customs Turkish Diet Favorite Dishes-
Delicious Fruit and Vegetables of the Orient
Pilaff A Persian Dinner

VII A Great Ottoman Patriot and Teacher . 105

Sacrifice and Character Tewfik Fikret Bey His
Youth Becomes Teacher and Editor His Influence
for Good Persecuted by Abdul Hamid The
Tragedy of Helplessness Means of Diversion Pro-
fessor at Robert College His Charming Wife The
Revolution New Opportunities for Service Fik-
ret's Vision of the Perfect School Fikret a Poet
His Lofty Character

VIII Turkish Schools 127

Turkish Education in a Process of Transition
The Mosque Schools No Higher Education for
Women Secondary Schools for Boys The Galata
Serai A Progressive Turkish Educator The Otto-
man University Turkish Theological Schools A
Visit to the University of Cairo Intellectual Stag-

IX American Influence on Turkish Education . 143

American Schools Had Nothing to Do with the
Turkish Revolution Influence of Missionary Schools
Confined Largely to Christian Population of Tur-
key Missionary and Mohammedan Great Scholars
Among the Turkish Missionaries A Movement to
Reorganize and Endow the Mission Schools of
Turkey Robert College Its Influence The Syrian




Protestant College at Beirut Career of Dr. Post
The American College for Girls Amateur Theatri-
cals in the Orient Different Events of the College
Year Commencement Future of the Girl Gradu-
ates A Splendid Testimony

X The Education of Oriental Boys at Robert

College 167

Their Eagerness for Study Their Thoughtfulness
The Ancient Sources of Education in the Near
East Modern Languages and Oriental Learning
The Enthusiasm of the Students Early Maturity of
Thought The Marvelous Greek Mind The Suicide
Club Problems of Oriental Boys Student Anar-
chistsTeacher and Pupil The Joy of Teaching

XI Islam 185

The Religion of Mohammed Cannot Be Despised
Its Civilizing Influence in Arabia Its Rapid
Spread What Europe Owes to the Arabian Civiliza-
tionThe Spell of Islam Its Simplicity Devotions
and Observances Influence of Islam Waning Among
Educated Moslems The Mosque Service on Friday
The Pilgrimage to Mecca Tolerant Attitude of
Islam toward Christianity Points of Agreement
and Difference Islam and the Revolution Mistaken
Missionary Methods The Cultured Turk an Eclectic

XII Islam and the Inner Life .... 207

Sunnis and Shiites Sufi Mysticism The Dervish
Orders Bektashis Bahaism Its History, Baba
Ullah and His Teachings Is the East more Spir-
itual than the West? "Inshallah" Fatalism The
Oriental Calm Attitude toward Death The Mos-
lem Lives His Religion His Devotions Total Ab-
stinenceThe Oriental not Worldly His Mind
Dwells on Eternity and not on Material Things Ori-
ental and Occidental Attitudes

XIII Peculiar Rites and Beliefs of Islam . . 241

The Night of Power at St. Sophia Its Impressive-
ness The Power of Fanaticism Howling Der-




vishes Phenomena for the Abnormal Psychologist
to Study Strange Immunity from Pain and In-
jury Incredulity and the Unexplained Religious
Parallels The Dancing Dervishes The Bektashis
General Observations on the Dervishes The Ghastly
Persian Festival The Month of Ramazan Night
Scenes Bayram

XIV Faith Healing in the Orient . . . 269

Faith Healing among the Howling Dervishes
Sacred Springs Holy Men Forms of Magic
Professional Healers Peculiar Religious Survivals
Mohammedan Superstitions The Mohammedan
View of Death Mohammedan Cemeteries

XV Brotherhood of East and West ... 285

Contact through Education The Ideal of World
Peace The East and the West Emerson the Great
Interpreter of the East to the West Oriental Re-
ligions Broad The Broadening Effect of Education
The Awakening of the East An Ideal Civiliza-
tion Would Result from the Mingling of the Oriental
and Occidental Elements America's Opportunity
The Brotherhood of Man



Author Frontispiece


The Sweet Waters of Asia 18

An Original Turk 24

A Typical Untamed Turk 80

Typical Turkish Citizens 49

A Typical Turkish House 68

Gypsy Women 68

A Vender of Liquorice Water .... 97

An Old Style Turk 130

A Training Class of Turkish Girls . . . 146

A Group from American College for Girls . . 164

A Turkish Mullah 188

Turks travelling Deck Passage .... 198

Some Queer Deck Passengers . . . . 198

St. Sophia 245

A Turkish Coffee Shop 264

The Ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople . . 276

The Buffalo Ox-Team .,297

A Turkish Family from Bokhara .... 297

Walls and Tower built by Mohammed . . . Cover





One of the greatest difficulties which a truly
progressive Turkey will always have to face is
the enervating nature of her climate. There is
a close connection between character and climate.
Changes in the Persian climate, for example,
since ancient times are claimed by some to be
largely responsible for the degeneration of the
inhabitants, especially in regard to honesty.
The ancient Persians were renowned for their
honesty; the Persians of today are renowned for
the opposite. The sexual degeneracy of South-
ern races, the vigor of Northern peoples, the
phlegmatic temperament of the English, the
nervousness of the American, the pessimism of
the Hindu, the laziness and politeness of people
in warm climes, the psychic nature of those
dwelling in high altitudes, all these differences
may be traced with some reason to climate.

When an American first comes to Turkey he



brings with him all the vigor and energy which
is the peculiar gift of the American climate. He
looks with disdain upon the slow-moving Orien-
tals and ridicules their shiftless and easy-going
ways. To a typical Chicagoan, the lazy Turk
is a being who has hardly any right to existence ;
and he loves to picture the benefit the East would
gain if it could be peopled with a lot of hustling
Americans like himself.

For the first year or so he rushes around in
the American way, and accomplishes twice as
much work as would be adapted to Oriental
standards. He feels that he has conferred a
blessing on the Orientals by showing them how
to work.

But what do the Orientals think about it?
They look on and smile, for they know that when
the momentum is worn out these busy Americans
must moderate their pace, or go to pieces. At
this point the laugh is on the American, and,
rebel as he will against the inevitable, he has
finally to adapt himself to the Orient; and in
time he becomes a very good Oriental, or is worn
out and goes back to America.

Kipling has expressed this so inimitably that



I cannot do better than quote his poem written
from his own experience in India.

For it is not right

For the Christian white

To hustle the Aryan brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Aryan smiles

And he weareth the Christian down.

And the end of that fight
Is a tombstone white

With the name of the late deceased;
And an epitaph drear
" A fool lies here

Who tried to hustle the East."

It is a hard lesson for the American to learn,
but the fact is finally forced upon him that the
climate of Turkey is enervating, and that he
cannot do much more than half the work he
could do in America. One lives there always
under low vitality, and the least trouble will take
away that little vitality and tend to prostrate

This is made clear by the ease with which one
falls ill there. It is the usual thing in Robert
College for every teacher in the institution to
have at least one week's illness during the year,
and there will always be several who are laid up



for months. The hospital is always full of stu-
dents, who take their turns, too, at being in-
valids. Illness there seems to be the result of
exhaustion. It may take the form of a cold, a
stomach trouble, or nervous debilitation, but
it simply means low vitality, and medicine is not
so much needed as rest and food to build up the
system. When such an attack comes it cannot
be fought off, as in the bracing climate of Amer-
ica, but must be yielded to: postponement only
means worse illness in the end.

Another thing which is peculiar is the ease
with which one takes cold. The slightest draft
is sufficient for this. It is generally true that if
you feel cold, you will catch cold. This is doubt-
less the reason why the Orientals bundle them-
selves up so. Even in summer they wear heavy
woolens and overcoats, when not in the sun.
This is one of the first customs to be noticed and
ridiculed by the Americans : but there is a reason
for it in the lowness of vitality and the dampness
of the climate. Even in warm weather it is not
safe to lie on the ground in the shade if there is
much of a breeze.

One American teacher, a football hero and



athlete in his own college, who had hardly known
a sick day in his life, contracted bronchitis
during his first month by going to sleep under
an open window and much to his surprise and
disgust he was in bed a month. Had he yielded
to his cold immediately, a week would probably
have sufficed to restore his health, but by trying
to fight it off, and continuing to stay on his feet,
he merely increased his period of illness.

It is by such experiences one learns that
in the Orient the Anglo-Saxon method of stand-
ing up to a foe and braving him is not always the
wisest. Just as it is best to succumb to illness, so
it is often best to succumb to other things, and I
have no doubt the climate of the East has some-
thing to do with the indirect methods pursued
there. As Kipling has said, you cannot drive
the East. They are not used to such methods,
and their whole mode of life is based, not on
fight incessant struggle but on finding the
line of least resistance.

In this enervating climate one can take, and
indeed needs, more stimulants than in a more
vigorous climate. I found that, although of a
nervous temperament, I could drink tea and



coffee and smoke cigarettes without noticing
any of the bad effects which they would have
upon me in America. The Turks smoke all day
long without becoming nervous. I found also
that I could not skip a meal, as I had been in the
habit of doing when in a hurry. In America, if
one is pressed for time he makes a lunch of an
egg-shake or a piece of chocolate, and goes on
with his work till the evening meal. But this is
impossible in Turkey. If you eat but little at
noon, by four or five o'clock you feel completely
tired out, having that sensation of being "all
gone" "gevshek" as the Turks call it which
makes you depressed and incapable of doing
much. It is wonderful what effect a little food
will have upon you at this juncture: quickly your
spirits rise, and you are able to go about your
work again or to continue your shopping.

It is the universal custom among Americans
and Europeans living in Constantinople to have
afternoon tea at four or five o'clock. The old
inhabitants could no more do without that than
without their dinner. The new-coming Amer-
icans laugh at this custom, for afternoon teas are
generally a subject of ridicule with American



men; but in time they fall in with it and a de-
lightful custom it is, apart from its dietetic
necessity. As a social function, it fills a
place in life which no American institution

As the climate of England is somewhat sim-
ilar to that of Constantinople, I imagine the
large amount of food eaten by the English and
their afternoon teas are natural results of cli-
mate. In fact the diet of every nation is natur-
ally adapted to its climate. Americans who live
in London come to feel the need of tea; Kipling
said recently to one of them: "The difference be-
tween America and England is this. Our cli-
mate is so depressing that we have to stimulate
ourselves all the time with food and drink,
while yours is so bracing that you can run across
a Carpet and then light the gas from the electric-
ity in your fingers."

Orientals take a nap after the midday meal;
and although Constantinople is by no means
a tropical city, being on the same latitude as New
York, yet Americans who live there any length
of time find this nap a necessity. Generally very
little work is done in the afternoon. A nap



after dinner, then a short spell of work, then
afternoon tea, and a stroll before supper, is the
ordinary program. After dinner at noon you
begin to feel more and more sleepy; your eyes
become so prickly that you can hardly see; and
there is no greater bliss than to yield to this de-
lightful sensation and float off to slumberland.
One awakens refreshed and happy, in good con-
dition for the rest of the day.

I stopped once for a week with a group of
Persian friends. After lunch they would all
roll up in their yorgans on the Oriental couches,
and in a few minutes every one would be asleep.
At about three o'clock they would begin to stir,
and one after another would awake and sit up.
When all were awake, tea would be prepared,
and the intervening time spent in conversation.
Then a stroll at sunset would bring the day to
a delightful close.

The morning is reserved for work, the after-
noon for rest and recreation, and the evening
given partly to work and partly to social pleas-
ures. The longer you stay in the Orient the
harder it is to study or work in the evening after
a heavy dinner. The Orientals themselves go to



bed with the sun like the birds, and rise with it.
In the summer they put in many hours of work
before the European is awake.

I have spoken of the enervating effects of
this climate upon the body. It has similar ef-
fects upon the mind. This delicate organ, which
responds so sensitively to conditions of the body,
seems to lose its vivacity and clearness. One
finds it difficult to think incisively. Dreamy,
speculative thinking is delightful, but mathe-
matical thinking a burden. This is probably
why Orientals are so poor in mathematics and
exact sciences.

Forgetfulness becomes a habit. You cannot
carry anything in your mind. Errands, duties,
appointments, are all likely to be forgotten, un-
less careful note is made. If you want anything
done by another person, you have to remind him
several times before he remembers to do it. This
is true even of men in administrative positions,
where, if anywhere, you would expect to find
exactness. The climate exercises its effect upon
all, from room-servant to college president.
Even troubles do not stay on your mind if they
are of the future you forget to worry! Thus


the natural state of the Oriental mind is one of
dreamy meditation, which is delightful.

When, however, you have to give a lecture or
write an article, this condition interferes, for you
find it hard then to collect the thoughts, to think
clearly, and to retain the subject as a whole.
Lack of vitality makes lectures lack vigor and
takes the fire out of one's style. You never hear
a piece of oratory or impassioned delivery.
Strangely enough, it becomes almost impossible
to write. Style demands energy, vitality, and
you haven't it to give. Finally the time conies
when you can hardly compose at all. Yet let one
go to the invigorating climate of Switzerland,
among the eternal snows for a few weeks, and
composition again becomes easy.

It has been said that the motto of the East is,
"Never do today what you can put off till to-
morrow." One might think this a caricature of
the Oriental, but it is absolutely true. And in
fact, why should you do today what you can put
off till tomorrow? Are we any happier with the
opposite rule of conduct? In our sanitariums
and hospitals are many people who are broken-
down, miserable and unfit for work, because they



tried to do everything today, and left nothing for
the morrow but nervous prostration and the rest-
cure. The Orientals take their rest as they go
along, and sanitariums are unknown among

The result of such a maxim is a tendency to
let all things go. If one has a piece of business
to attend to, he puts it off as long as possible
and spends little time worrying about it. Re-
pairs are delayed until they become absolutely
necessary, and often they are postponed beyond
the point where they will do any good. When
the Turks, by some miracle, do construct a good
road, they leave it after its completion in the
hands of God; such a thing as keeping it in re-
pair is beyond their comprehension. Each suc-
cessive rainy season washes a bit from the road,
until finally not only the surfacing is carried
away, but the foundation is ruined in many
places; and when the road becomes impassable,
the teams turn out into the fields and form cart-
paths there, so that it is not uncommon to run
across paved roads which, once highways but
now unused, are paralleled by roads struck out
through the original soil.



Similarly, Turkish bridges are always out of
repair. If a route in the interior crosses many
bridges, you may be sure it will be impracticable
to follow it, for some of the bridges will be in
ruins; so you would better take a route that
crosses the streams by fords, which never need

One of the saddest sights in Turkey is a de-
serted palace gradually falling into ruins. The
damp climate of the Bosphorus hastens decay,
and the stucco and plaster peel from the walls.
Many palaces which once cost immense sums are
left to the mercy of the elements.

Until the Turks change their nature it would
be ludicrous to expect them to adopt agricultural
machines. At the first disaster to the machine
they would leave it standing in the fields, putting
off repairs until rain and rust would have ren-
dered it worthless.

It is true that under the new regime the
Turks are waking up somewhat. That they can
exercise care and system is evidenced by the dis-
cipline in their army. The Young Turks took
hold of the navy, too, which Abdul Hamid had
left to rot in the Golden Horn, and they have



developed it to a good degree of efficiency. The
Turks are not incapable of using the mechanism
of modern civilization, in spite of the drawbacks
of climate. Yet it is significant that the leaders
in the revolution had been living for years, not in
Constantinople, but in Europe, to which they
had been exiled. When the crisis came they
acted with a dash and energy which was due
largely to their European environment and cli-
mate. Ali Risa, the first President of the Senate
and political leader of the Young Turks, had
been for years in Paris ; and Chevket Pasha, once
the most able personality in all Turkey, and its
practical dictator, who conducted the capture of
Constantinople so ably as to call forth the praise
of Europe's best strategists, had been trained
for twelve years in Germany, And so with

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