Diaries

13/7/1909

Tuesday July 13. [13 July 1909] Lunched with Hamdi Bey at Kura Chesme and went on after in his kayik to Roumeli Hissar where I spent the afternoon looking at P. van Milligen's plans and photographs. Trajnair[?] has invented a new and I think useful distinction, the ambulatory church for churches near the domed basilica, with X vaulted aisles and without galleries, small columns between the big piers. So back by boat to Galata Bridge thereby missing Mr Fitzmaurice. Mr Graves picked me up and we dined together with Sir Adam. He insists on the intense vitality of the Committee, underestimated by the Embassy. The Em. and all here have always underestimated Salonica [Thessaloniki (Saloniki)]. They did not believe the troops wd come up from there after Ap 13 - Mr Graves also said he made a mistake on that head but realized how great the force of Salonica was when he went there. The young men mean to carry things through and if they are opposed they will storm C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)] again. Sir A. says the young officers are at present neglecting their regiments and living in C'ple, sitting in cafÈs and drinking raki. If you tell them to go back they say they cannot as the Constitution is still in danger and that they hold their troops. If V.d. Goltz drives them back what will become of the Committee said I, of which they are the life? I cd get no direct answer but Sir A thinks their strength is shown by the way Shevket is ready to accept the loss of his grade. No doubt the older men are really against them. They are determined not to have either Ferid or Kiamil as Grand Vizier. If Ferid shd get it (which Sir A thinks possible) they will use force and turn him and all the old lot out. Sir A does not think much of Jarid's ability. The receipts cd no doubt be immensely increased if the taxes were properly collected, but it is so difficult to do that that Jarid had even said he thinks all the big taxes had better be handed over to the Debt. The army bill is settled. No more askareyyeh[?] but any Xian can buy himself off with £50 and Sir A thinks most of the Greeks will. As to the fall of Kiamil: it was quite unconstitutional; the young soldiers used a show of force - Kiamil tried a fall[?] with the Committee and was beaten. As far as Sir A knows Ap 13 was due firstly to the Liberals - Ismail Kemal much to blame, he has not come up to expectation. They coquetted with all that was likely to help them against the Committee. Not unprobably they themselves founded or helped to found the Muhammidiyyeh committee. Said Pasha almost undoubtedly had a hand in it. Kiamil like all the rest miscalculated the strength of the Committee. But the movement once started soon got out of the hands of the Liberals and went much further than they meant. By the evening of the 13th they were as thoroughly frightened as the Committee itself and were flying in all directions. The Story of Makhmud Mukhtar's escape very curious. He fled to the Whittall's house at Moda which was surrounded by troops. Mr Fitzmaurice went about among the swells till after midnight trying to save him and at last heard that Abd ul Hamid had had a letter from his father Ahmed Mukhtar (the Egyptian commissioner, an old friend of his) interceding for his son's life and had at once given the order for the troops to be withdrawn. They withdrew at once - clearly the Sultan had them absolutely in hand. If the younger men think it necessary they will change every official throughout the empire in their passion for purity. There was a story going that Sir Gerard [Lowther] had telegraphed to ..... telling him to stop the Salonica troops from moving. Sir G. however denies this and says all he did was to telegraph everywhere that the Constitution was not in danger (which Sir A. doubts) Shevket did not want to advance; he was given no alternative by the Commitee. The Persian frontier question ought to have been settled long ago but Sir N. O'Conor wd not push it through. As to the Consuls Sir A quite agreed with me. In 1882 Lord Dufferin kept all the consuls fully informed of every step in the Egyptian affair. Baghdad rly. The Germans have issued the bonds for the sections up to Aleppo [Halab] and they must begin because they are paying interest on the bonds till they begin which wd be ruinous if long continued. They have not got the money for the next sections up to Khalif and there is nowhere for the money to come from. There is deficit everywhere and not surplus. Sir A evidently hopes that the concession beyond Aleppo may be revised. The Vali, Commandant, Mufti of Adana [(Seyhan, Ataniya)], together with Abd al Kadir and one or two more have been arrested ie the govt has decided to punish the authorities. Sir A declaimed against Izzet. The worst banishings and punishings of all the big people happened after he had got into power. A great mistake that the Embassy shd take up its sort of feigned air of regret for Abd ul Hamid. Mrs Vere actually said in a Turkish house the other day that "we are all reactionary - so is the Embassy." We[?] stayed till 12.

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