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On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Volume 1 of 2

On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Volume 1 of 2
Author: Burnaby Fred
Title: On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Volume 1 of 2
Release Date: 2019-01-25
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

The Errata listed at the end of the volume have been corrected in the text.

Footnote 10 is missing.

This volume contains references to Volume I. of this work.

It can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/58738/58738-h/58738-h.htm.




Photographed from Life by Lock and Whitfield.






[All rights reserved.]



It has been said that a man often writes his bookfirst, his preface last. The author of this work isno exception to the general rule. These volumescontain an account of a journey on horsebackthrough Asia Minor. I was five months in thatcountry, and traversed a district extendingover 2000 miles. My limited leave of absenceprevented me from staying more than a fewdays at the important towns which lay on theroute.

Although unable to learn so much as was to bedesired of the ways and mode of life of the variousinhabitants of Anatolia, I had the opportunity oftalking to every class of society with reference tothe questions of the day—the Conference, andthe impending war with Russia. Pachas, farmers,vipeasants, all of them had something to say aboutthese subjects.

I met people of many different races: Turks,Armenians, Greeks, Turkomans, Circassians,Kurds, and Persians. They almost invariablyreceived me very hospitably.

The remarks which were made by the Mohammedansabout the Christians, and by the Armeniansabout the Turks and Russians, sometimesinterested me. I have thought that they mightinterest the public.

The impression formed in my own mind as tothe probable result of the war between Russia andTurkey was decidedly unfavourable to the latterpower. Since this work has been written thesoldiers of the Crescent have gallantly withstoodtheir foe. My reasons for arriving at the above-mentionedopinion will be found in thesevolumes. They merely contain a sort of verbalphotograph—if the reader will allow me to usethe expression—of what I saw and heard duringthe journey.

A few official reports, referring to the treatmentof the members of the United Greek Christiansby the Russian authorities will be seen in theviiAppendices, and amongst other matter a documentbrought to England by two Circassian Chiefs.It relates to the invasion of Circassia by theRussians. There are also some march routesand descriptions of various districts, taken andtranslated from different military works.


Somerby Hall, Leicestershire,
September, 1877.



It was the autumn of 1876: I had not as yetdetermined where to spend my winter leave ofabsence. There was a great deal of excitement inEngland; the news of some terrible massacres inBulgaria had thoroughly aroused the public. Theindignation against the perpetrators of theseawful crimes became still more violent, when itwas remembered that the Turkish Governmenthad repudiated its loans, and that more than ahundred millions sterling had gone for ever fromthe pockets of the British tax-payer. This wasvery annoying.

We were on the eve of an important election.[1]Some people declared that our Government mighthave prevented the massacres in Bulgaria; others,that an ostentatious protection had been shown toTurkey, and that Europe had been wantonly disturbedthrough the instrumentality of our Ministry.x

Illustrious statesmen, who were solacing themselvesafter the toils of the session, by meanderingthrough the rural districts on bicycles, or byfelling timber in sylvan groves, hurried up totown.

Two letters appeared in the columns of theleading journal signed by gentlemen belonging tothe Church of England, saying that they had seenChristians impaled by the Turks.

Pamphlets were written and speeches made inwhich the subjects of the Sultan were heldup to universal execration. Several distinguishedRussians, who happened at that time to be inEngland, threw oil on the flames which had beenkindled.

Ladies, like Madame de Lievens, of whom thelate Duke of Wellington wrote,[2] went from salonto salon and extolled the Christian motives of theTzar. This feminine eloquence proved too muchfor a few of our legislators, who, like Lord Greyin the year 1829, entertained some old oppositionopinions of Mr. Fox's, that "the Turks ought tobe driven out of Europe."

It was difficult to arrive at the truth amidst allxithe turmoil which prevailed. Were the Turkssuch awful scoundrels? Had the reverend gentlemen,to whom I have already alluded, really seenChristians impaled, or were these clergymen underthe influence of a hallucination? There was oneway to satisfy my own mind as to whether thesubjects of the Porte were so cruel as they hadbeen described. I determined to travel in AsiaMinor; for there I should be with Turks who arefar removed from any European supervision.Should I not behold Christians impaled and wrigglinglike worms on hooks in every high roadof Armenia, or find an Inquisition and a weeklyauto da fé the amusement of the Mohammedans atVan?

Judging from the pamphlets which were continuallybeing written about the inhuman natureof the Turks, this was not at all improbable. Ishould also have the opportunity of seeing somethingof the country between the Russo-Turkishfrontier and Scutari.

It was the beginning of November. My leaveof absence would commence towards the middleof the month. It was time to make preparationsfor the journey. On this occasion I determinedto take an English servant, a faithful fellow, whohad been with me in many parts of the world.xii

Before leaving London I thought that it mightbe as well to write to the Turkish Ambassador,and ask him if there would be any objection onthe part of the authorities in Constantinople tomy proposed journey in Asia Minor, at the sametime saying that in the event of my obtaining thepermission to travel in Anatolia, I should bemuch obliged to His Excellency if he could supplyme with the requisite passport. To this letter Ireceived, by return of post, the most courteousreply. I was informed that every Englishmancould travel where he liked in the Turkish Empire,and that nothing was required but the ordinaryforeign office passport, one of which His Excellencyenclosed.

In the meantime I read all the books I couldfind which treated of Asia Minor. According tothe works of those travellers who have been toArmenia in the winter, the cold would be verygreat. Indeed Tournefort found the wells inErzeroum frozen over in July. Milner in his"History of the Turkish Empire," remarks of themountainous district in Armenia, "Throughoutthis high region no one thinks, except under mosturgent necessity, of travelling for eight months inthe year, owing to the snow, ice, and intensecold."xiii

Regimental duty detained me in England duringthe summer. I could only avail myself of thewinter for my journey. I had experienced thecold of the Kirghiz steppes in December andJanuary, 1876, and was of opinion that the clotheswhich would keep a man alive in the deserts ofTartary, would more than protect him against theclimate of Kurdistan. For shooting purposes Idetermined to take a little single Express rifle,made by Henry, and a No. 12 smooth-bore. Asmall stock of medicines was put in my saddle-bagsin the event of any illness on the road.

My arrangements were completed. I wasready to start.xv


The start—Cartridges and medicine bottles—The obeseEnglishman and the Yankee's cook—The refreshment-roomat Dijon—"Ne vous pressez pas, messieurs"—Fellow-passengers—Thesilk-merchant—Thepretty Greek girl who was a friend of MadameIgnatieff—The doctor—The respective merits ofmedicine and Christianity—The Bay of Smyrna—TheGreek ladies are not shy—Come along andsmoke a Nargileh—A café in Smyrna—The Italianprima donna—The Christians and Turks in Smyrna—Newspapersbelieved to be in Russian pay—ThePacha's seraglio—A comely dame—Five hundredrecruits—A doleful melody—To die for the sake ofIslam—People so silly as to think that Gortschakoffwishes for peace—The fat woman—The eunuch indifficulties1
The Bosphorus—The commissionnaires—Nothing like theHôtel de Luxembourg—Perdrix aux truffes—Baksheesh—Officialsxviin the custom-house—A rickety oldcarriage—A Turkish Café Chantant—A vocalist—SultanAbdul Aziz—His kismet—We are all underthe influence of destiny—"Great Sultan, rest inpeace!"—Did Sultan Abdul Aziz really kill himself?—Thepopular belief—He had agreed to sell the fleetto Russia—A Russian force to garrison Constantinople—Twoof the secret police—The other verse—Theaudience—Too much liberty in Constantinople—Englishnewspapers, hostile to Turkey, sold atevery bookstall—An English army of occupation inConstantinople—No gold; nothing but paper—Tradeparalyzed—In search of a servant—A Mohammedanservant; his costume—A coachman to a Pacha—Buffaloesas a means of locomotion—Mr. Schuyler—Mr.Gallenga—Our consul at Belgrade—Mr. Sala—Thestations along the Russian line crowded withtroops—Mr. McGahan very popular with the Christians—TheTurkish newspapers—A ruse on the partof England—An English officer—A strategic position—Someinfluential Armenians—"We have no wishto become Russian subjects"—The Catholics inPoland—Similar treatment required for all sects—Theword of a Christian in a court of law—An Armenianpriest—From Scutari to Kars—The roadblocked by snow—The dread of being seen speakingto a European 12
The porter at the hotel—A little persuasive force—Trainsin Turkey are not very punctual—Two Englishmen—Snipe-shooting—Therailroad takes a circuitousxviicourse—Krupp guns—The Christians are toomuch for the Turks in a bargain—Hadem Kui—Nohorse waiting—The station-master—A lanky, overgrownlad—Buyuk Checkmedge and Kara Bournu—Abranch railway required—A station-master'ssalary—The horse—Attacked by a dog—Thedefence of Constantinople—A song in which theTurks delighted—Good-looking Hungarian girls—Thehandsome Italian—"I am not a barrel"—Thesong about the Turcos—Spontaneous combustion—Aspecial Correspondent—Algeria is not Turkey, butit does not much signify27
Osman—Five horses for sale—An industrious man—Acemetery—A wall-eyed Turk—A little black—"Heain't got no shoulders"—A horse with a sore back—Aroarer—The blind beggars hear him coming—ATurkish horseshoe—Provisions for the journey—Aprince belonging to the Russian Embassy in the hospital—Aprince a boot-cleaner—Osman's relatives—TheHôtel Royal—A stirrup-cup—Osman's religiousscruples—The boat for Scutari—Shipping our horses—Jealoushusbands—A Turk's seraglio—Was it aTorpedo?—The panels of the Bey's carriage—An explosionof cartridges—Readjusting the luggage—Atorrent of expletives39
Scutari—The resting-place of departed Turks—Afrightened horse—Obadiah—Tea and sugar in thexviiimud—A rahvan, or ambler—A runaway steed—Osmanalways praying whenever there is work to bedone—The grave-digger—The Hammall—Radford—Throughthe swamp—The Khan at Moltape—Amungo54
The proprietor of the establishment—Lingua franca—Gold,not paper—Gold a charm to the Greek—Norooms—The Onbashee—His costume—The guard-house—Aqueer place—"At gitdi! the horse hasgone!"—The Pacha at Scutari—The corporal's demeanourwhen offered a tip—A beautiful country—Thebay of Ismid—A goose plump as a Georgianwoman—A Zaptieh—The chief of the telegraphdepartment in Ismid—A grievance—The appearanceof Ismid—Washing-day—The Pacha of Ismid—Mr.Gladstone—"Gladstone is what you call a Liberal,is he not?"—The Turkish debt—Russian agentsbring about the massacres of Christians63
An Armenian Bishop—An economical refreshment—Ramazan—Smokingin the streets—The TurkishGovernment is not so bad—The Koran and a Christianwitness—A telegram from the Pacha at Scutari—Apost-horse to Sabanja—Two Zaptieh—Turkishswords—A horse lost—Four feet of mud—An ox-cartupset in the mud—Woe-begone drivers—Apriest during the Carlist war—Turks and Christianshave an extreme dislike to the dread ordeal—CircassianxixBashi Bazouks—Women ravished and thenbutchered by the Russians—Sabanja—Scenery—Therewas to have been a railway—A mule underdifficulties75
Camels—The Sakaria—Geiweh—Yakoob Khan—Kashgar—TheGreeks in league with the Tzar—The KaraSu—A strategic position—Terekli—Bashi Bazouksfiring at a target—The river Goonook—A blackslave—Gondokoro—Abou Saood—How to becomerich—Set a slave to catch a slave—Sharab makesone gay—Mudurlu—Absence of shops—Toujourspoulet—English manufactures in Anatolia—A CircassianZaptieh—A precipice—A baggage-horseupset86
Nalihan—Armenian, Turkish, and Circassian visitors—Thestate of the roads—Will there be war?—TheImaum—The Servians—A bellicose old farmer—TheArmenians friends with the Russians—Sunnitesand Shiites—Scenery near Nalihan—Alatai river—ATurkish counterpane—Turkish beds—Osman's Yorgan—Osman'swife—A girl with eyes like a hare,and plump as a turkey—The farmer's nuptial couch—Anuncultivated district—An old Khan—A refugefor travellers—An invalid soldier—A Christian wouldhave let me die like a dog—The votaries of Christianityin the East95xx
Radford and Osman—The quarrel—Do the Roossians kisseach other?—Bei Bazar—The pig tobacco—Osman'shonesty—Forage for five horses—It is a good sign ina horse to be always hungry—The Tchechmet river—TheMudir at Istanos—The Cadi's mule—Thetradition about Istanos—Caverns formerly inhabitedby marauders—A chasm—The entrance to thecaverns—A levee of the inhabitants—No newspapersin the villages—An Armenian priest—The furnitureof the room—Has the Conference commenced?—Whatis it all about?—Russia is strong and we areweak—The other Powers are afraid of Russia—WillEngland be our ally?—Are the
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