07 March 2008
By Rev. Geo. H. Hepworth With Map And Illustrations
London Isbister And Company Limited 1898
To James Gordon Bennett, Esq. Who Offered Me A Unique Opportunity To Visit The Turks, The Kurds, And The Armenians Of Eastern Anatolia
I Dedicate This Book Containing The Results Of My Journey
IT was after a hard day's travel — ^we had been in the saddle twelve long hours and had stopped for the night at a little village on the banks of the Tigris. It was cold beyond the reach of language to express. Mr. Sidney Whitman, Dr. Wallish and I had just finished our evening meal, prepared by Migurditch, our Armenian cook and had sought the welcome solace of cigars. The room which had been allotted to us had two defects. First, it could not be heated though the pile of cow-dung was blazing in the fireplace. Second, there were holes in the wall, but no windows ; glass is too expensive a luxury for that part of the world. The frozen air chilled us to the bones and we begged our host, a kind old Turk, who looked as I imagine Abraham must have looked when he had reached his three-score and tenth anniversary, to fill all these holes in the wall with hay.
None of us was sleepy, however. Our camp beds were in readiness, but there was no disposition to occupy them. Perhaps we were too tired to sleep. It is possible to be so. So we sat with our fur overcoats on, talking about the experiences of the day, the precipice just behind us, the long caravans of camels we had met, and a group of rough-looking fellows who had passed us in the middle of the after-noon, brigands to a certainty, but sullenly quiet as we had twenty cavalrymen with us, who would not have been sorry if they had seen a good chance for a brush.
Dr. Wallish is a scholar, thoroughly abreast of the times ; Mr. Whitman knew Moltke, is honored with the friendship of Bismarck, and has a thousand anecdotes on his tongue's tip, while as for myself — I am an American, have seen something of the Civil War, and so had a good deal to say about our national institutions, our industries, and the spirit of the people.
The fire burned dimly. The oil in the lamp was nearly spent. It was just such a lamp as Roman boys used to light themselves to bed with, a vessel filled with oil and a wick floating about in it supported by a cork.
" How many books have been written on Armenia and the Armenians ? " asked the doctor.
"More than you can count," replied Mr. Whitman. " They are mostly one-sided, how-ever, and untrustworthy. One man is in love with the Turks and his book is a eulogy. An-other one pities the Armenians and his book is a Hbel on the Turkish government."
" True," added the doctor. " It is worse than folly to visit this country with preconceived notions. Turkey is like the Bible — you can find anything in it you may happen to want. If you come here with a theory you will find plenty of facts to back the theory no matter what the theory may be. There are not many books on Turkey in which you can-not find a bias. Hence the strangely contradictory statements that are met with."
Whitman turned to me and remarked : " And you, do you propose to write a book also ? "
** That is my purpose," I answered, " and I have notes enough already to fill a large volume."
" Well," said Dr. Wallish, " if you can be impartial "
I had been getting under the blankets and said in sleepy tones, " I shall try to be. Good-night, gentlemen."
And here is the book. I know that I have looked at both sides of the Armenian question) but whether I have seen both sides or not, I must leave you to determine.
G. H. H.
Purpose of the Expedition .
The Golden Horn
Zigana Pass .
Over Kop Dagh .
Another View of the Queer People
Hamidiehs and Massacres
The Weakness of Turkey
The Missionaries .
An Armenian's View . . .
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