The Massacre Summer of 1860
EVEN now I find it difficult to recall the scenes and events of the Syrian massacres of 1860 without a shudder. Every event was so branded into my memory that it seems but yesterday that this beautiful land was grimed with fire and sword, pillage and carnage.
Mount Lebanon is a range of mountains extending 100 miles along the seacoast, and some thirty miles into the interior. The Damascus Road, in those days a mere mule track, afterwards a French diligence road, and now an "Abt System" Railway, divides the Lebanon into two provinces, the Northern, chiefly Maronite Catholic, and the Southern, Druse, mixed with Maronites and Greeks. The Druses are neither Moslem nor Christian, but a peculiar, secret, mystic sect, having no priesthood and no assemblies for worship, claiming to be Unitarians, or believers in one God, infinite, indefinable, incomprehensible and passionless, who has become incarnate in a succession of ten men, the last of whom was the mad Egyptian caliph, Hakim b'amr Illah' who was assassinated A. D. 1044. They are more of a political than a religious society, and the national spirit is intense. The Druse nation can neither increase nor decrease. It is lawful to pretend to believe in the religion of any sect among whom they dwell. Among the Moslems they are Moslems, among the Jews, Jews, among the Greeks they are Greeks, among the Romanists they are good papists, and among the Protestants they are evangelical Biblical Christians. In politics they look to the English for protection, and have always favoured the American schools. They are courteous, hospitable, industrious, temperate and brave. The okkal, or initiated class, use neither tobacco nor liquors of any kind. Any one leaving their sect for Christianity would be disinherited.
They live in Lebanon, in Wady Et Teim, northwest of Mount Hermon, and in Hauran. [It is not correct to say "the Hauran," the Arabic form of Auranitis. In Ezekiel 47;90, there is no definite article. It is simply Hauran.] They number in all between 75,000 and 100,000. They have several feudal families in Lebanon, the Jumblatts, the Arslans, the Telhooks, the Bu-Nakids, the Abdul Meleks, the Hamadys, the 'Amads, etc. Said Beg Jumblatt was called Kees ed Druse, "The Purse of the Druses," Khattur el Amad, the " Sword of the Druses," and Sheikh Hassein Telhook, the "Tongue of the Druses." As a national body they are compact, united and bound to obedience in peace and war.
The Maronites of Northern Lebanon are a Romish sect, in abject obedience to their priests, bishops and patriarch, at that time an illiterate people with a well-trained priesthood. The sect is of great antiquity and for centuries maintained its independence in the heights of Northern Lebanon against Moslems, Greeks and Bedawin Arabs. In the twelfth century, during the Crusades, they accepted the primacy of the Pope and have ever since been devoted to Rome. The patriarch was, in the beginning of modern missionary work in Syria, the unscrupulous enemy of light and of God's Word, claiming the right to arrest, imprison and even put to death any Maronite reading the Bible or leaving the sect. He caused the death of Asaad es Shidiak in 1829, the first Protestant martyr in Syria in modern times. These Oriental hierarchs are avaricious, haughty, and full of political intrigue, encouraging their people to oppress other sects. Their policy is to keep the people in ignorance, educating only those in training for the priesthood.
In the beginning of the eighteenth century the Druses called to the government of Lebanon, the Mohammedan family of Shebab, a branch of the Beni Koreish, and allied by blood and marriage with the line of the prophet Mohammed. The Shehab emirs had ruled Hauran ever since the taking of Damascus by their ancestor, Khalid, surnamed the "Sword of God." In the twelfth century Sultan Noureddin gave them the petty principality of Hasbeiya and Rasheiya at the foot of Mount Hermon.
They long remained firm friends of the Druses and placed the feudal system of the Druse begs on a firm basis. [See Churchhills's "Druses and Maronites," P. 20.]
But, in 1756, two of the Shehab emirs were converted to Christianity and became Maronites, and several others followed their example. This fact increased the ambition of the Maronite patriarch to crush the Druses and bring all Lebanon under his sway. The ruler of all Syria including Lebanon, at this time, was the infamous and cruel tyrant Jezzar Pasha of Acre, whose pastime was burning out the eyes, mutilating and impaling men obnoxious to him and his minions. Nofel Effendi Nofel, one of the most learned and excellent men of modern Syria, told me, in 1865, that his grandfather was publicly impaled by Jezzar, a sharp stake being driven through his body from below and out of his mouth, and he was left to die of this horrible torture.
He was the Nero of modern Syria, and degraded and corrupted the people by extinguishing all self-respect, and dividing them into hostile factions, each anxious by fawning and cringing to gain his favour. Colonel Churchill says that he inaugurated that unscrupulous policy, which continued to 1860, of keeping the Lebanon in a constant state of weakness and paralysis.
Up to the time of Jezzar Pasha in Acre, and the Emir Beshir Shehab in Lebanon, there had been no "fanning of religious animosities" in Lebanon. Druses and Christians lived together in perfect harmony. During the wars of the feudal chiefs, Druse and Christian together fought promiscuously on rival sides. The Emir Beshir Shehab who ruled from 1789 to 1840, although a Maronite, never thought of rallying the Maronites in a crusade against the Druses. He felt that the Druses were the most important element of his power, and never in all his wars called for aid from the Maronites. The Christian sects, Maronite and Greek, now prospered and -increased in wealth and security, in striking contrast to the -condition of their coreligionists in the great towns and .on the plains, who were under direct Turkish rule. The city Christians were allowed to live as they paid the tribute. If suspected of having money they were forthwith robbed. A Christian was not permitted to ride even a donkey.
He must dress only in black. He could not have his seal engraved in Arabic, that language being too noble for his usage; his name was engraved in Hebrew or Greek. If his house was noticed as higher than that of his Mohammedan neighbour it was pulled down. His corpse might not be carried before the door of a mosque. The Christians sought relief by bribing prominent and influential Mohammedans to befriend them.
In 1831 Syria passed under the dominion of Mohammed Ali, viceroy of Egypt, and his son Ibrahim Pasha, and he enforced the equality of all sects before the law. The Moslem aghas, effendis and kadis conspired to nullify his liberal laws and after the battle of Nezib in which Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the Turkish army, he executed some scores of these fanatical Moslem agitators. Christians were admitted into the local councils and allowed liberty of dress, person and property. Commerce increased and the country prospered.
But in the summer of 1840, the allied fleets of England, Austria and Turkey bombarded the Syrian seaports and drove Ibrahim Pasha back to Egypt. As he had enforced a military conscription on all sects, the Maronites refused to yield and consequently they welcomed the fleets. In six months Syria was restored to the Turks, and everything went back to its old condition of oppression, extortion, and misrule. The Emir Beshir Shehab surrendered and was banished to Malta. The Emir Beshir Kasim Shehab succeeded him as governor of Lebanon and soon alienated all the Druse sheikhs by his haughty and arrogant treatment and his threats to put them under the iron rule of the Maronite patriarch. This patriarch now issued an Irlam or circular, virtually abolishing the ancient and feudal rights of the Druses.
Colonel Hugh Rose, British commissioner, in a despatch at this time states that "the Maronite clergy show a determination to uphold their supremacy in the mountains at the risk of a civil war." At the same time the Druses were ordered by the Emir Beshir at the instigation of the patriarch, to close the Protestant schools which had been opened in their villages. The bishop of Beirut boasted that ere long the Maronites would drive the Druses out of the country. Under the old emir, religious toleration had been sternly prohibited, and as we have seen in the sketches of King, Bird and Goodell, the early efforts of Protestant missionaries were promptly crushed. Any one who was known to hold intercourse of any kind with Englishmen or Americans was immediately put under the ban of excommunication. The idea was sedulously impressed on the minds of Maronites and Greeks, that the English were free masons and infidels, and as such, outcasts from the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. On the arrival of the British fleet off the coast in 1840, a decree was issued throughout the mountain that whoever went down to look on the ships should have his eyes put out. But the presence of the English army and imperial commissioner, on Syrian soil, broke the spell. The Druses everywhere welcomed the English, asked for schools and wanted to be taught, enlightened, civilized. This increased the bitter hatred and animosity of the patriarch and his priests and monks against the Druses, and their efforts, to stir up discord and strife in the mixed districts south of the Damascus Road.
On September 14, 1841, an affray took place at Deir el Komr, arising out of the shooting by a Maronite of a partridge on a shooting preserve of the Druse chief, Nasif Beg Abu Nakad. The Druses lost thirty-two killed and wounded and the Maronites thirteen, and a Druse army was suddenly mustered and surrounded Deir el Komr, and only the prompt interference of Colonel Rose, H. B. M. Consul-General, who happened to be in the town, prevented a general war. The Druses now prepared for war in self-defense, and the Maronite patriarch announced that he and his clergy was ready to head the Maronites and exterminate the Druses. The Druses also entered into a compact with the Turks and were guided by their secret instructions. On October 18. the Druse army of the Jumblatts, the Abu Nakads and the Amads, again attacked Deir el Komr and kept up the fight three days, burning houses, and the Abu Nakads burned the neighbouring Maronite villages, slaughtering the inhabitants.
On the 16th, Colonel Rose, with Ayub Pasha arrived from Beirut, just in time to save the male population from a ruthless massacre. Colonel Churchill says, "When Druse vengeance is once aroused, it is remorseless. They imbrue their hands in blood with a savage joy that is incredible. Yet as a general principle, they never touch women."
The war now became general throughout Lebanon, the Greek Christians joining the Druses in attacking the Maronites. In less than ten days the Druses had completely subdued the Maronites residing among them, sacking and burning their villages and convents, and, but for the moderation and intense activity of Naaman Beg Jumblatt, the war would have been carried into Northern Lebanon. "The Maronite patriarch, bewildered by the sweeping successes of those he thought to exterminate, shut himself up at first in a room in his convent, and finally negotiated for refuge on a British man-of-war."
On November 5th, Deir el Komr surrendered to the Druses, and the Emir Beshir Kasim. rode out, deprived of his arms and his turban, in great chagrin, and as he approached Beirut, saw the villages of Baabda and Hadeth in flames, together with his own palace and those of the Shehab emirs, and he saw the Maronite fugitives being wounded, plundered even to the women, and stripped by the Turkish irregular cavalry, sent out to restore order. The Maronites declared that "they would sooner be plundered by the Druses than protected by the Turks."
The crushing of the Maronite power in Lebanon encouraged the Druses and certain Turkish officials to attack Zahleh and even exterminate the Christians of Damascus. But by the energy of H. B. M. Consul Wood in Damascus, the effort failed and the bloody wave was stayed. For two years Lebanon was in constant ferment, until January 1, 1843, the Porte invested the Emir Haider Abu Lama, a Maronite, as kaimakam for the Christians of Lebanon, and the Emir Ahmed Arslan as kaimakarn for the Druses south of the Damascus Road. As a large body of Maronites lived in the Druse district they protested against being under Druse rule. The Greeks, however, were quite content to have a Druse governor. The Maronite patriarch then declared that "all Lebanon must be under either Druse or Maronite rule, the blow must be struck, and he who strikes first will have two chances to one in his favour." This principle the Druses acted upon. Colonel Churchill says that large funds had been received by the Maronite patriarch from France and Austria to relieve the sufferers from the last civil war, and he used these funds for the promotion of a second.
In January, 1845, Said Beg Jumblatt summoned a grand meeting of all the Druse sheikhs at Mukhtara. Being the wealthiest chief of the Druses his influence was supreme. In April, the storm burst, in Deir el Komr, Jezzin and Abeih. In Abeih Dr. Thomson bore a flag of truce to the Druse leader who had besieged the Shehab emirs and the Maronites in the castle. Hostilities ceased and the timely arrival of Colonel Rose saved the lives of hundreds of Christians. A Turkish governor was placed in Deir el Komr and matters settled down to the usual quiet of alarms and rumours. The feudal chief, Beshir Beg Abu Nakad, driven out of his ancestral seat in Deir el Komr, vowed vengeance and bided his time.
Deir el Komr increased in wealth, in silk weaving and various industries, and its merchants built elegant stone houses paved with marble, while, as Colonel Churchill says, "their wives and daughters were appareled in silks and satins, and blazed with jewelry, gold and pearls and diamonds. They boasted of having warriors, who, if properly led, could have defended their 2,000 town against any army the Druses could raise." Beshir Beg Abu Nakad wished to build a house on his land about a mile west of the town, but they refused him permission, and threatened to raze as fast as he would build. He desisted, but exclaimed, "Those dogs, I will yet lay the foundations of my house with their skulls!"
The town of Zahleh, the other Lebanon Christian stronghold on the east of Lebanon, and facing the great plain of the Bookaa, had risen rapidly to wealth, by its trade in sheep, wool, and in wheat from Hauran. Its population was about 12,000, boasting 3,000 warriors, horse and foot, and claiming that they, protected the great plain of the Bookaa from the marauding raids of the Druses and Bedawin Arabs. They were Orthodox Greeks and Greek Catholics, and were in a kind of federal alliance with Deir el Komr for general protection against the Druses.
In the Anti-Lebanon, at the foot of Mount Hermon, was the large village of Hasbeiya, with a population of 6,000 Orthodox Greeks and scarcely 1,500 Druses. The Mohammedan Shehab emirs, worried and in constant conflict with the Druses, had a warm friendship for the Greeks and the few Protestants of the town. Long before this time Protestantism was well established in Hasbeiya, a church edifice built, and Rev. John Wortabet, M. D., was the faithful pastor. But the whole region around Hermon was insecure. Highway robbery and murder were constant. In Druse Lebanon, Colonel Churchill declares that "In ten years, upwards of eleven hundred murders were committed without an attempt at investigation or inquiry."
French intrigue was active, and as Churchill says, "In Northern Lebanon the Maronite kaimakam, the Maronite patriarch and the French consul-general formed a triumvirate, animated by two principles, submission of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, and exclusive devotion of both to France." France was at that time the "elder son of the Church," and all Catholic sects in Syria looked to France as their protector. It was even proclaimed that Lebanon would be occupied by a French army. The Greeks on the other hand looked to Russia, and the Druses to a great extent to England for protection.
I cannot enter into the part borne by Khurshid Pasha of Beirut in the events which culminated in the awful massacres of 1860. 1 would refer the reader to Colonel Churchill's book, "The Maronites and the Druses," for his views of the political situation and the treachery of that infamous character.
But in 1859 we saw clearly that a crisis was at hand. Arms and ammunition were being imported freely by both parties without objection from the custom-house officials. Dr. Thomson said to me that the then existing dual government of Lebanon could not last. A murderer in the north would find a refuge in the south, and a murderer in the Druse region had only to cross the Damascus Road and he was safe from arrest. The mountain thronged with untried and unhung murderers. The blood of their victims cried to God for vengance
The Maronite Bishop Tobiya of Beirut organized a Maronite Young Men's League, for the extermination of the Druses. His chief lieutenant was one Aiub Beg Trabulsy, who once presented blooded Arab mares to Secretary William H. Seward. In Damascus itself, the new liberties granted to the Christian sects, their growth in wealth, the appointment of their prominent men to foreign consular offices, with armed kavasses before whom haughty Moslem effendis must stand aside and give way, and the inroads made on the pride and exclusiveness of Damascene Mohammedans, whose city was the third of the holy cities, ranking after Mecca and Jerusalem; all these and other causes had kindled fires of fanatical hatred and preparations were made for the destruction of their Christian vassals and the restoration of the ancient glory of Islam. So holy was this city, and so strong the feeling of its divine rights, that up to that time the Ottoman government had exempted its population from the military conscription.
Colonel Churchill lays great stress upon the point that the then existing dual kaimakamate in Lebanon was utterly distasteful to the Turkish government, and that - their object was to show (to the European Powers) "that no government but their own could possibly succeed in Lebanon."
In 1859 I was living in Tripoli a seacoast city fifty miles north of Beirut. It is a Moslem city whose aristocratic families and Ulema look with disdain on the small population of Greeks and Maronites dwelling among them. But, as is generally the case, where the Christians are in a small minority, there had never been any attack by the Moslems on the Christians, but the chief reason was probably the existence of a powerful Maronite population in Lebanon, near by on the east, who often, out of mere bravado, threatened to attack the Moslems removed to Abeih and enjoyed the cheery hospitality of Mrs. Calhoun, whose bright disposition was like sunshine in the gloom of apprehension which filled all minds. The air was thick with news of outrage and murder: two Christians killed at Owaly bridge near Sidon, four Druses killed at Medairij on the Damascus Road, three Christians at Jisr el Kadi bridge; two Moslems at Juneh north of Dog River near Beirut; muleteers carrying flour to Deir el Komr stopped by the Druses, the highroad everywhere dangerous. The Druse leader, Said Beg Jumblatt, held constant councils, and his adherents poured in from all quarters.
I was busy with my work, conducting Arabic prayers in the seminary at 6 A. M., Arabic Bible study in Isaiah at 8, and then working on the Arabic atlas with Mr. Ibrahim Sarkis.
The Druse begs of Abeih, Kasim Beg Abu Nakad and his brothers, Said Beg and Selim Beg, were constant in their assurances that we need have no fear in Abeih, as they would guarantee that whatever might occur, this village would be protected, and they kept their word. Mr. Calhoun returned May 22d, finding great excitement in Beirut and all over the land. All confidence in the ruling authorities was lost. Dr. Thomson and the United States consul in Beirut sent up word urging us and Mr. Calhoun and family, and Mr. Bird and his family in Deir el Komr, to remove at once to Beirut. The consul sent up an armed kavass, together with Hamiyeh, a venerable Druse horseman from the Emir Ahmed Arslan at Shwifat, to remain with us and accompany us to Beirut. Mr. Bird replied that he could not come away and leave the Protestants in that field, as his presence was a protection to them. Mr. Calhoun declined to leave, and did not remove during the whole of that battle summer. The circumstances of my family made my duty more clear, as it was impossible to say when all communication between Beirut and Lebanon might be cut off On the 23d we heard of ten murders in the Shuf district near Deir el Komr, and also the burning of the Maronite Convent of Awmeuk near Deir el Komr, and the murder of the superior in his bed.
The placid, undisturbed peace of the saintly Mr. Calhoun was a joy and an inspiration. He knew the Druses well, better probably than any foreigner, unless it were Colonel Churchill, who had lived among them twenty years, and written a history of their religion and their feudal families and the Lebanon. Every day the Druse begs called, and after giving Mr. Calhoun news of what was going on in other parts, renewed their assurances of perfect security in Abeih, where the bulk of the property belonged to the Druses, and the peasants were largely their tenants. Besides it was understood among the Druses that no American or Englishman was to be harmed. This was partly from shrewd policy, and partly because their only schools were those opened by the Americans.
The Protestants in Ain Zehalteh, nine miles east of Deir el Komr, were now in danger, not from their own Druse begs, but from the horde of wild Druses from Hauran east of the Jordan, who were now pouring into Lebanon in response to signals flashed by fires from Lebanon to Hermon and from Hermon to the regions beyond.
Mr. Ford came up from Sidon May 24th, and accompanied Mr. Calhoun to Suk el Gharb, to consult with Mr. Bliss with regard to the closing of the Suk Girls' Boarding-school, as the teachers were in a panic, and the parents were anxious a to have their daughters sent home. That day three Druses were killed on the plain near Beirut.
A Maronite champion now appeared on the scene, Tannoos Shahin el Beitar, who had led the rebellion of the Kesrawan peasants against their feudal sheikhs of Beit el Khazin, with the aid of the Maronite patriarch.
On Saturday the 26th, we made an American flag to hoist over the mission premises as a protection in case the hordes from Hauran should invade this district, for we had no fear from the Lebanon Druses. The whole population were in a state of apprehension. Bodies of armed Druses, horse and foot, marched from village to village, singing their weird song, "Ma hala, Ma hala, kotl en Nasara I" "How sweet, how sweet, to kill the Christians." Early on Sunday, May 27th, the Protestants of the village all came to Mr. Calhoun to get advice. Shall we stay or go down to Beirut? Mr. Birbari, teacher in the seminary, was much exercised' as his relatives were in Hadeth on the plain which was threatened by the Druses. Mr. Calhoun reassured him, and said that as soon as he thought it unsafe for them to stay he would give them word. Kasim Beg Abu Nakad came in and reassured them that nothing should happen in Abeih. At ten o'clock we went down to the little church under Mr. Calhoun's house. That church was an old tank or reservoir belonging to the Im Hassein house which was burned in 1845, and repaired and occupied by Mr. Calhoun. It was my turn to preach. I looked down on a company of anxious faces. I had begun the service and was reading the first verse of' "My faith looks up to Thee," "Araka bil eeman," when the report of a gun near by, followed by a scream, startled the congregation. Just then a man ran by the church door shouting, "Abu Shehedan is killed. Rise and run for your lives!" That church was emptied in a moment. It had been agreed beforehand among the Protestants, Greeks and Maronites, that if any Christian was killed in Abeih they would all run en masse down the steep mountain descent of six miles to Moallakah, a large Maronite village on the seashore and thence twelve miles to Beirut. So no time was needed for consultation.
The entire male Christian population fled, over walls, terraces, vineyards and through pine groves and the rocky slope, avoiding the roads. A few fell by the way, waylaid by the Druses, but the great majority reached Moallakah in safety and some went on to Beirut. Kasim Beg came at once with the Druse sheikhs and explained the matter to Mr. Calhoun and myself He said that in the civil war of 1845, Abu Shehedan killed a Druse of Binnai, a small Druse village one mile over the ridge from Abeih, and the family had been watching for fifteen years an opportunity for revenge, and this morning a small body of them crept in and surprised him and shot him. He said he regretted it deeply and had driven the men away, and would guarantee that there should be no more shooting in Abeih. But his new assurances came too late. Not a Christian man or boy over ten years was left in the village. As the Druses never touch women in their wars, the Christian women and girls all remained. And now began a procession of Maronite, Greek and Protestant women to the house of Mr. Calhoun. It was a little house of five small rooms below and two upstairs, one of which, a low, vaulted room, part of an ancient castle ruined long ago, formed Mr. Calhoun's study. From the windows you could look down on the lower spurs of Lebanon and beyond them, fifteen miles away, in plain sight, on the Cape, the city of Beirut. Every one of these women brought a bundle of valuables to deposit for safe-keeping with Mrs. Calhoun. There was gold and silver money, jewelry, precious stones, bridal dresses embroidered with gold thread, and even rugs. These things had no labels, were unsealed, and the women did not ask for receipts, so absolute was -their confidence in these good missionaries. Mrs. Calhoun's closets were soon full and piles of bundles lay on the floors. Four months later, September 25th, when a detachment of the French army, which had landed in Beirut August 16th, moved in two columns into Lebanon, the Druses fell into a panic and stampeded to Hauran, leaving their women and children behind, and then the Druse women in town brought their jewelry and treasures and threw them at Mrs. Calhoun's feet, so that these missionaries, who had been years before cursed and excommunicated by the Maronite patriarch, bishops and priests, as "incarnate devils," now held in trust without a receipt all the wealth of both Christians and Druses. [This confidence of the people in the missionaries continues to this day, and the Syrian emigrants of all sects, it, the United States, Brazil and Australia, often send back their savings to their families in sterling drafts on London payable to the order of the American missionaries. Mr. W. K. Eddy in one year received thousands of pounds in this way, and he deposited the money and paid it out through his own checks.]
That Sunday was a weary and dismal day. All to the north we could see the smoke of burning villages, and just below Abeih a Maronite village was burned. Scores of frightened women and children filled the open court of Mr. Calhoun's house, crowded on the pavement, making it difficult for Mrs. Jessup and myself to reach the rickety wooden staircase leading up to our room. That room had a second door opening upon the terrace above towards the boys' seminary, but we felt so little concern about Mr. Calhoun's house that we did not look to see whether that upper door was locked. We soon had occasion to regret the oversight.
Monday, May 28th, we had finished the sheets of the Arabic atlas. Messrs. Appleton in New York had prepared the maps in outline, putting in the rivers, mountains, etc., and we had written in the names in Arabic in India ink. These sheets were placed in a tin case and shipped, June 30th, On the bark Speedwell to the United States, and there the artists photographed them upon stone and printed an edition, the first correct atlas in the Arabic language. Kasim Beg sent to Moallakah and tried to induce the refugees to return and attend to their crops, but in vain. Mr. Bird sent a boy messenger from Deir el Komr saying that the water-supply was cut off, and the people in great straits for food, as the Druses had stopped all traffic on the roads. That evening Rev. J. A. Ford, Mr. P. Carabet and three guards arrived from Beirut with orders from the consul that we remove to Beirut.
On the 27th of May, 3,000 men Of Zahleh advanced to attack the Druses of the Arkoob, near Aindara. On the Damascus Road they were encountered by 600 Druses led by their sheikhs and after fighting all day, the Christians were defeated and fled. The Druses then entered the Metn at Modairij, and burned down some Christian villages. Indeed during the month of the war, some sixty villages in that district were entirely destroyed. The Christians lacked leaders and discipline. Every priest, monk and
sheikh wanted to lead and give orders, and the result was utter confusion and defeat. They were brave enough, but had no good leaders. The Druses, on the contrary had perfect discipline, skillful and daring leaders and all moved as one man.
Khurshid Pasha of Beirut had stationed a regiment of Turkish troops at Hazimiyeh, three miles from Beirut at the foot of Lebanon, on the road running from Northern to Southern Lebanon. Tannoos el Beitar, hearing that the large Maronite villages of Baabda and Hadeth near Beirut, home of the Shehab emirs, were in danger, sent 300 men to protect them. The pasha allowed the force to go to Baabda, but the next day, May 29th, sent word to the emirs to send back the reinforcements as he would protect them. They obeyed, but immediately the mass of the male inhabitants fled to Beirut, having lost all faith in his assurances of protection. On the morning of May 3oth, the Druses from our part of Lebanon descended on Baabda and Hadeth, compelling their Greek and Protestant tenants to go with them and help in burning those two fine villages. We saw the column of black smoke ascending all that day, and the Druse begs came in and told us what had been done.
At 9 P. M. we went up-stairs. I closed the door at the head of the stairs and lighted the candle on the bureau. just then Mrs. Jessup, who was hardly able to bear a sudden shock, called out "Listen!" and hurried into the vaulted study which was in darkness. I turned and saw the bedstead shaking violently, and just then out crawled a burly fellah, who rushed to me trying to kiss my feet and begging to be A to stay under my protection I had never seen him before, and ordered him to leave. I never carry weapons and was glad I had none at that time, or he might have followed Abu Shehedan. He refused to go. I threw open the door at the head of the stairs and pushed him towards it, and planting my foot in the middle of his back, sent him headlong down the stairs. He fell into the crowd of women who were gathered there and were allowed to sleep there, and they broke into terrified screams. Then there came a clamour of voices and a loud laugh. "Why," said they, "it's old Shaheen. He was afraid of the Druses and crept in through the upper door ,and under the bed, expecting you to protect him!" He was allowed to stay near the house all night, but the nervous shock was not soon forgotten. All that night, the drear sound of the Druse war-song echoed over the mountains and would startle us, capsizing in the narrow zigzags of the road. We were frequently passed by armed bodies of Druses hastening north to the Mew district, the men carrying guns, swords and ammunition and the women bread and water. These Druses saluted us with profuse salutations and we had no fear whatever of being molested. Our course lay along the shelf or terrace of Lebanon, keeping at about the height of 2,500 feet above the sea, passing Ainab and Shemlan and thence to Suk el Gharb, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Bliss, and the site of our girls' boarding-school. We found the village in great excitement. They were all Orthodox Greeks and Protestants, and were in favour with the Druses, and donning white turbans for their own protection, had been forced to help in the burning of Baabda and Hadeth. Their white turbans had saved them from being killed by Turkish irregulars, who hung around the villages during the pillage and burning. Our nine horsemen, including the three armed guards, and the attendants, made a heavy draught on the hospitality of Mrs. Bliss, especially as it was now well-nigh impossible to get provisions from Beirut, and no flour could get through from Damascus. Mr. Bliss and I walked over to the neighbouring house to see the famous Colonel Churchill, the English officer of engineers, who stood on his flat roof watching with his field-glass the burning villages of the Metn. This remarkable man of the Marlborough family came to Syria at the time of the bombardment in 1841, remained as British agent, and' liking the climate, settled at B'Howwara in a Lebanon valley, married a Syrian lady and spent nineteen years in studying the history of Lebanon and especially the religion and history of the Druses, and published two octavo volumes which are reliable and deeply interesting. He was allied by his second marriage with the Maronite Shehabs and yet was the confidential adviser and military counselor of the Druse begs and sheikhs. Regarding this war as begun by the Maronite patriarch and bishops, who openly announced their plan for exterminating the Druses, and anticipating that, after a short season of village burning and plunder as had been usual in previous civil warms, peace would be restored, he threw his whole influence on the side of the Druses, and actually planned the "Bethel and Ai" campaign against Zahleh. But, in justice to him, it should be said that as soon as the Druses, with the aid of Turkish military officers of the Nizam, or regular army, began to disarm the Christians and then massacre them like sheep, he turned against them, wrote to them and spoke to them denouncing them as wild beasts and fiends. His book on "The Druses and Maronites" is the only correct published account of the struggle of 1860 and its political causes and results.
At 2 P. M. we resumed our march to Beirut, taking Miss Temple and the teachers, with nine girls of the boarding-school and a crowd of refugees. The descent over rocks and ledges on the old mule track was a perilous one for the takht, with one mule ahead and the other behind, but we at length reached the plain at Kefr Shima, and in five hours and a half reached Beirut, not having seen a. living creature on this road generally thronged, excepting one black slave looking for plunder in the smoking ruins of Hadeth and an ownerless, hungry dog. All the way down we could see the columns of smoke in Lebanon, showing that some twenty-five villages were in flames. We saw the Turkish military camp whose sole object seemed to be to restrain the Maronites and give the Druses a free hand.
We found Beirut in a ferment, the Moslems morose and insolent, threatening trouble, and the Christian refugees, terror-stricken, hungry and shelterless, fearing for their lives and not knowing whom to trust. Their ecclesiastics had urged them to begin the war, and now were powerless to aid them. We found it necessary to open relief measures at once. Two hundred and fifty refugees were sleeping in the room now occupied by the steam printing machines of the American Press. We had daily religious services and the crowds of fellahin sleeping on our premises would venture in and hear words of heavenly comfort. The new translation of the New Testament had just been published and it was ready for hundreds, and later on for thousands, who had heretofore been taught by their priests that Protestants were the enemies of God and man.
Our missionaries were now at their stations Dr. Thomson and Mr. Hurter in Beirut. Dr. and Mrs. Van Dyck had just gone to Europe on furlough on account of his impaired health; Messrs. J. A. Ford and W. W. Eddy were in Sidon; Mr. Bird in Deir el Komr; Mr. Calhoun in Abeih; Mr. Benton in Bhamdoun, Mr. Wilson in Hums and Mr. Lyons in Tripoli. I occupied the house of Dr. Van Dyck in Beirut.
Letters from all the stations agreed in the existence of a reign of panic and terror among the Christian population everywhere. The American and Irish United Presbyterian missionaries in Damascus wrote of constant threats by Moslems of a general massacre of all Christians and foreigners. It was even said by Druses, Moslems, Metawileh and Arabs, that orders to that effect had come from Constantinople. About this time Mr. Wilson, with his Syrian helper, Mr. Sulleeba Jerawan, set out from Hums to Tripoli to get information as to the state of things and consult with Mr. Lyons as to duty. On reaching the bridge of the Orontes, three miles from Hums, they were suddenly surrounded by a party of Bedawin Arabs, who ordered them to dismount. Mr. Wilson spoke to his companion in English, telling him to say nothing, but listen to what the Arabs would say. One said, "Let us kill them. Our Lord, the Sultan, has ordered us to kill every ghawir (infidel) native or foreign. We can throw their bodies into the Amy (Orontes), and take their clothing and horses as booty." Another objected, "We cannot do this without orders from the sheikh. Let us take them to the sheikh and do his bidding." This counsel prevailed, and to the sheikh's tent they went. A little after, the sheikh arrived, and Mr. Wilson told him the story, and asked why his men had arrested them on the public highway. The sheikh replied, "Khowaja, it is a time of peril. No road is safe now. Why did you set out for Tripoli through that always dangerous region without a guard from the governor of Hums? I will escort you back to Hums, to the governor, and there my responsibility ceases. Be sure not to go again without a guard." They went to Hums, obtained a guard, and made the journey to Tripoli and back safely. But ere long Mr. Wilson was persuaded to remove his family and go with Mr. Lyons and his family to the seaside village of Enfeh, nine miles south of Tripoli, where they were in a Christian Greek population, and had a quiet summer.
Said Beg Jumblatt had by this time assumed the command of the Druse forces of Lebanon, and hearing, through an intercepted letter from the Maronite bishops to the people of Zahleh and Deir el Komr, that the Maronites boasted of "an army 50,000 strong," whereas the Druses could only muster 12,000, and that this was "a war of religion," resolved on "war to the knife."
On June 1st, 4,000 Druses suddenly attacked Deir el Komr. The Jumblatts, Abu Nakads, Amads and Hamadis poured down upon the town. Only half of the Christians joined in the defense. The other half had made secret submission to the Abu Nakads. Yet the battle lasted all day, the Druses losing 100 killed, as the Christians fired from their stone houses. June 2d, the town surrendered to the Druses, and the day following Tahir Pasha arrived in Beirut with 400 soldiers. After the surrender, the rived from Druses burned 130 houses and then retired. The pasha remained a fortnight and although the people were suffering from famine and want of water, he assured them of their safety and said, "Resume your ordinary occupations. Fear nothing. Deir el Komr is as safe as Constantinople." June 18th he returned to Beirut.
Said Beg now attacked Jezzin. His brother, Selim Beg, led 2,000 Druses who suddenly pounced on the town. The people fled. Twelve hundred were cut down on the mountain The women and children fled down towards Sidon, joined by hundreds of men pursued by Kasim Amadi, agent of Said Beg. As this body of 300 Christians approached the walls of Sidon, the gates were closed against them, and they were attacked by a horde of city Moslems and village Metawilehs, who slaughtered them all. The house of Dr. Eddy in Sidon was on the eastern wall, and from his window he saw Moslem acquaintances killing these unarmed fugitives and called on them to desist. But the bloody work went on, -- Young girls and women were carried off by their assailants who heeded not their screams for help.
Several Catholic monasteries and nunneries were invaded, robbed and burned, nuns being carried off, and in some instances suffered personal violence. "In the wealthy convent of Meshmoushy, thirty monks had their throats cut." [Churchill, p. 157.] The plunder here was something fabulous; in gold vases, cups, jewelled crosses sparkling with diamonds, besides whole heaps of money, the accumulated stores of a century. The whole was valued at 80,000 pounds. The buildings, after being stripped of furniture, doors and window-shutters, were burned.
In Sidon itself the alarm had become appalling, and the lives of the Christian natives, Catholic and Protestant, as well as the two missionary families, were in imminent peril from the Moslems. But the opportune arrival of H. B. M. ship Firefly, Captain Mansell, June 3d, and the vigorous measures taken by that gallant officer, overawed the governor and the populace, and restored confidence to the people.
The Druses now turned their attention to Hasbeiya. Sixteen years before, in 1844, thirty armed horsemen from Zahleh had come to Hasbeiya and driven out eighty Protestants who would not give up the right to read the Word of God. The Greek bishop of Habeiya was in league. with the pugnacious Zahleh "defenders of the faith." But now, alas, both towns were to fall victims to Druse ferocity.
There were in Hasbeiya two characters whose names have gone down to everlasting infamy, Osman Beg, the Turkish colonel , and the Sitt Naaify, sister of Said Beg jumblatt. Osman as a soldier may have thought he was obeying orders, but his summary execution in August for treachety, by Fuad Pasha, would indicate that his conduct in Hasbeiya was the result of his own fanatical hatred of Christians. Sitt Naaify was a woman of great intellectual power, sternness and duplicity, yet none could surpass her in apparent courtesy and hospitality. These two were in constant conference, she in her palace above the town and he in the seraia in the midst of the town.
On Sunday, June 4 the Druse forces surrounded Hasbeiya. The Christians demanded protection front Osman Beg. He told them to go out and defend themselves. They went out and fought all day and then returned en masse and took refuge in the spacious seraia. Then Osman asked the Sitt Naaify her wishes. She replied unconditional surrender and the delivering up of their arms. Osman gave them a written guarantee, pledging the faith of the government for their personal safety. The next morning she came down and witnessed the stacking of their arms. The best were selected by the Druses and the Turks and the rest, eight hundred stand, were packed on mules ostensibly to be taken to Damascus, but actually divided among the Druses.
The unfortunate Christians in the seraia were now enduring the double misery of imprisonment and starvation. Water was hardly to be got. Bread was scarce and at exorbitant prices. The men lived chiefly on bran, dried beasts and vine leaves, and gradually they lost strength, hope and courage. The women in despair tore off their ornaments and gave them to the Turkish soldiers, to move them to pity. They appealed with frantic grief to Sitt Naaify to release their husbands and fathers. She selected a few who were tenants, of her son-in-law, Selim Beg, and also asked the Protestants to accept the protection of her house. A few consented, but the rest said, "No, Osman Beg has promised to protect us and why should we go to you?" Colonel Churchill insists that site protected the men in her house in order that, when the day of reckoning came, site might prove her clemency and favour to the Christians. I notice in Black's life of the Marquess of Dufferin, he claims that the Sitt Naaify was a noble woman, "a bright exception to the above record of barbarity, that she took on herself to shelter within her house four hundred Christian fugitives, and when their would-be murderers, panting for more blood, demanded of her to give up the dogs of Christians, she replied, 'Enter if you dare, and take them.' The poor refugees by command of their patroness were carefully escorted to Mukhtara, thence to Sidon, and thence brought off by a British man-of-war to Beirut." Colonel Churchill, who was in constant communication with the Druses, gives an entirely different account, as we shall see.
Word of the condition of Hasbeiya reached Damascus, and the Christian bishops and European consuls demanded of Ahmed Pasha the governor that he send immediate relief to Hasbeiya. So he ordered a Druse sheikh, Kenj el Amad, who had been for a fortnight laying waste the Bookaa with fire and sword, burning Christian villages and slaying every Christian he could overtake, to proceed with 150 horsemen to bring all the Christians of Hasbeiya and Rasheiya to Damascus! Stopping at Karaoon he took sixty Christians with him, and being joined on the way by Ali Beg Hamady, the lieutenant of Said Beg Jumblatt, they entered Hasbeiya together on June 10th. The fugitives were thrust into the seraias and the order of Ahmed Pasha was read. The Christians were overjoyed, and cried, "Long live the Sultan!" Kenj and Ali Beg then went to Sitt Naaify to receive orders. Colonel Churchill says, "All depended upon Sitt Naaify. Whatever was to be said must be said quickly. Ali Hamady had to make a last, perhaps a presumptuous appeal, and he made it. Said Beg was inflexible, but a woman's heart might yet relent. 'Are the Christians all to be massacred?' said-he, earnestly looking in her face. 'Think of their families, the widows and the orphan babes, and take compassion. Spare those fine young men. Execute the leaders, the most turbulent, the most obnoxious. Come down and sec them executed if you will, but spare, oh, spare the rest!'
'Impossible,' she exclaimed, 'Impossible; my brother's orders are peremptory and explicit,' holding a letter from him in her bands. 'Not a Christian is to be left alive from seven to seventy years.' Not another word was uttered.. The Druses now thronged to the seraia. Colonel Osman Beg ordered the trumpets to sound. The soldiers stood to their arms. The seraia is three stories high, surrounding an open court in the middle with spacious chambers and lofty corridors. The soldiers now drove the Christians down into the central court, beating and stabbing them and tearing off their clothes. The gates were then thrown open and the Druses rushed in with a loud yell. The soldiers were ordered to go out, and then the butchery began, the Druses first firing and then springing on the unarmed Christians with yataghans, swords and hatchets. Yusef Raies, who had paid two hundred pounds to Osman Beg for protection, was the first victim. Then the Moslem Shehab emir, Saad ed Deen, was decapitated, and his head sent as a trophy to Said Beg. He had befriended the Christians. Thirty other Shehab emirs were also killed. Then the Protestant elder, Abu Monsur Barakat, who had been stoned and persecuted by many of these Greek neighbours around him, seeing the impending fate of all, stood up and prayed for them all and for the fiendish Druse butchers, and as he prayed he was cut down by a battle-axe. And as he said, 'In Thy name, Lord Jesus,' his murderer responded, 'Call upon your Jesus and see whether He can help you now! Don't you know God is a Druse?'"
Nine Protestants were killed in the seraia: of the remainder, some took refuge at Sitt Naaify's, who saved them, it is believed, in order to prove to the English her own innocence, and some fled through the mountains to Tyre.
Colonel Churchill says that in the evening Sitt Naaify went to the seraia, and "for a long time feasted her eyes on the ghastly sight." Eight hundred mangled corpses lay piled on each other before her. "Well done, my good and faithful Druses," she exclaimed; "this is just what I expected from you."
Osman Beg then gathered the women and children and took them to Damascus, where on the 9th of July they went through another massacre.
We in Beirut received constant news from Hasbeiya, and all the surrounding region, of burning, pillage, and universal ruin. Thousands fled by night to Tyre and there awaited transport to Beirut. Mr. Eddy and Mr. Miss now went to the British Consul General Moore and asked for one of his armed kavasses to go as their escort, and they would go to Hasbeiya and try to save the imprisoned Christians. The consul-general, acting with the pro-Turkish policy of Palmerston of absolute non-interference, declined, saying that he "could not interfere in the domestic affairs of the Turkish Empire." As no one could go without such an escort, and the Druses would respect none but a British guard, the journey was reluctantly abandoned. Then came the dreadful news, on Thursday, June 14th, that on Sunday, June 10th, 800 Christians were massacred in Hasbeiya. Every Christian house was burned as was the Protestant Church. The Druses carried off the bell and the furniture before firing the roof.
On Friday a crowd of refugees arrived by sea from Tyre and came to my house. Among them was a Hasbeiya Protestant, Jebran Haslob. His clothes and hair were matted with blood. In the seraia he had covered himself with dead bodies, lay in a pool of blood until 2 A. M., when he crept to a window, let himself down to the ground and ran all night to the west, and by hiding in the daytime and travelling at night, he reached Tyre exhausted. There he got food and was sent on board a ship coming to Beirut. His accounts were heartrending. [In December the Sitt Naaify was brought to Beirut. Her house was at once surrounded by hundreds of Hasbeiyan widows walling and shouting, "Give back our husbands, brothers and sons!" They sent word to Fuad Pasha that if she appeared in the streets she would be torn to pieces. She was thrown into prison and placed on trial. On the 11th of the following May, her brother, Said Beg Jumblatt, died in the Beirut prison. On November 27, 1860, the infamous Mutsellim of Deir el Komr died suddenly in the barracks, and rumour was busy as to his having drunk a fatal cup of coffee.]
Just before the Hasbeiya massacre, Mr. Bliss had volunteered to take a mule train loaded with flour to relieve Mr. Bird and his large family. During the siege, Mr. Bird had gone through the Druse lines to Ain Zehalteh and brought away thirty Protestants. They reached B'teddin after sunset and as firing was going on, the Druse sheikhs insisted on his waiting there until morning, before entering Deir el Komr. All that night houses were burning right in the direction of his own house, and the flash of musketry was incessant. The next morning he entered the town with these thirty refugees, thirty more mouths to feed and the town supplies cut off! So Mr. Bliss had some apprehension that he would not be able to get through the cordon of besiegers. About an hour this side of Deir el Komr he passed through the Druse village of B'Shafteen. Suddenly a Druse sprang out from a hedge, rushed up, seized the bridle of Mr. Bliss's horse with his left hand and drew out from under his cloak with his right hand, and thrust towards Mr. Bliss a long cucumber! The situation was so grotesque that all burst into laughter. Years after Dr. Bliss, as president of the Syrian Protestant College, passed that way, and seeing the selfsame Druse by the wayside, recognized him, and asked his name. "Hamiyeh," he said. "All right," said Dr. Bliss, "come to Beirut and you shall have work." He came, and for some twenty years was the faithful gatekeeper of the college, true to his trust and liked equally by the teachers and pupils.
Mr. Bliss reached Deir el Komr in safety. Bushir Beg Abu Nakad passed him through the lines to Mr. Bird's house. This was June 12th. Mr. Bird did not feel willing to come away then, but said he would do so whenever it was plain duty. He felt that his presence was a restraint on the Druses, but the large company in his house and the gathered treasure of the people made the situation extremely perilous to himself and family. So Mr. Bliss returned alone to Beirut with his Moslem muleteers and American consular kavass.
Just at this time, Dr. Thomson sent to me an elderly Arabic scholar, asking me as an act of charity to employ him as an Arabic teacher. He was a white-bearded and truly venerable man, Tannoos es Shidiak, from Hadeth, brother of the Protestant martyr, Asaad es Shidiak, who was starved to death by order of the Maronite patriarch, just thirty-two years before. Tannoos in 1825 gave his brother Faris a caning for reading the Bible and other books belonging to Asaad. He was now very friendly to us Protestants and having fled with his fellow townsmen May 29th, before the burning of Hadeth, he had lost everything, having barely a quilt to cover him at night. So I read daily with him in Arabic his "History of Mount Lebanon and its Feudal Families." It was an opportune time to read of the old families of sheikhs and begs who were now in deadly strife, with the aid of the author himself, but the circumstances were not favourable for much consecutive study.
Ships of war now began to arrive in the port ; the Firefly had been On the coast for many months making a chart of the entire Syrian coast for the British Admiralty, and Captain Mansell's charts are now the standard for all navigators in these waters. The Captain Mansell gave himself cordially to the to the work of protecting the seacoast cities. Then came the Gannti, a gunboat, Exmouth, eighty guns, Captain Paynter. There also arrived two French war steamers, and a Russian fifty-gun ship.
On the 14th of June Mr. Eddy came from Sidon on the Firefly, bringing dreadful particulars of the work of burning and massacre all through his missionary district, from Tyre to Sidon, and cast to Merj Aiyun and Hasbeiya; Khiyam, Ibl and Deir Mimas burned, churches ruined, schools scattered, people either killed, or refugees, and all possibility of itineration or missionary work at an end for the present. As the time for his furlough was near, the mission authorized him to take his family to the United States and he sailed June 26th. Mr. Ford also left Sidon and came to Beirut to aid us in the work of caring for the refugees.
So many thousands of refugees had now come to Beirut that the Moslem populace became threatening, and there was a general panic and stoppage of business. Every night hundreds of Maronites and Greeks went on board the shipping in the harbour to sleep, and the conduct of the traitorous Khurshid Pasha only increased the public anxiety. The European consuls warned him of the dangers of the situation, but no one trusted him.
Two Christian strongholds now remained in Lebanon, Zahleh, which had hitherto defied the Druses, and Deir el Komr, which lay helpless and starving in their hands. On June 14th, Ismail el Atrosh, the leader of the Hauran Druses, after massacring 700 Christians in Rashaiyat el Wady, joined his forces with the Lebanon Druses and moved up the Bookaa to attack Zahleh. This town, then of 10,000 inhabitants, lies on both sides of a narrow valley through which roars and dashes the cold mountain stream, the Bardouni. It is four miles north of the Damascus Road on the eastern slope of the Lebanon range. Its people had been for years prosperous, trading in wheat, sheep and silk, and they had not only defied the Druses but the government itself. They were a rough, vigorous race and if well led, and had they been supported by the bragging horde of Maronites just west of them and not ten miles distant, could have defended their town against even the 8,000 Druses who were coming to attack them. But the Kesrawan sheikhs, monks and priests contended for the right to command, and no one moved to the relief of Zahleh. In Zahleh itself counsels were divided. Jealous disputes arose, and the different parties charged each other with treason. Yet on the morning of the 14th, 200 horse and 600 foot sallied forth to the plain of the Bookaa to meet their foe. This great plain, fifty miles long and from five to ten miles wide, has been a battle-field from the days of Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar down to 1860. The Christians were defeated and dispersed and the Kurds, Arabs and Druses returned to their camp carrying seventy Christian heads on the points of their spears. The next day the Christians repeated the sortie with similar results. The Turkish kaimakam at Moallakah, a suburb of Zahleh, now tried to persuade the Zahlehites to give up their arms and trust to him and his soldiers to protect them, but they declined and preferred to trust to their own right arms.
On the morning of the 18th, the Druses attacked from the plain, repeating the tactics of Joshua at Ai, drawing the Zahleh men, numbering some 4,000 men, out of their town, and down the valley below Moallakah, when suddenly from the heights above, 1,200 Druses came running down. They soon reached the centre of the town and set fire to the houses, when the Zahleh army, panic-stricken, turned and fled up the northern side of the gorge, fighting as they went, the Druses picking off stragglers, but before sunset the entire population had crossed the ridge to the northwest 3,000 feet above the town and reached the Maronite districts, whither the Druses cared not to pursue them. The town was now plundered and laid in ashes. That is, the poplar wood ceilings and roofs were burned out and the limestone and adobe walls left standing. The churches were rifled. The great church of Saiyedet en Neja, "The Lady of Refuge," i. e., the Virgin, which the priests had told the people would miraculously protect the town, was destroyed, only bare walls left standing. The most of the money and jewelry was saved and the Zahleh people were able to return in the fall and rebuild, before the people of any other town.
The fall of Zahleh filled the Christians with consternation. The cowardice of the Maronites and the conduct of the Turks had betrayed them. "Though 15,000 Maronites were standing by their arms within six hours of Zahleh, not one moved to its defense, owing to the treason of their selfish aristocracy and the bombastic ravings of their bigoted and contemptible priesthood." [Churchill, p. 189.]
And now came the turn of Deir el Komr. Through the urgent demands of the United States consul in Beirut and the advice of his fellow missionaries, Mr. Bird brought his family over, three hours' ride, across the deep gorge of the Damur River to Abeih, on Monday, June 18th. He was obliged to leave the thirty Protestants of Ain Zehalteh in his house, and the Druse sheikhs promised, as Mr. Bird came away, that his house should not be molested. On that day Mr. Calhoun came down to Beirut and we had a mission conference that evening at Dr. Thomson's. Mr. Ford of Sidon reported that the Metawileh chiefs of Belad Beshara bad brought multitudes of Christian refugees to Sidon and the governor refused to admit them until compelled to do so by the English vice-consul. It was a relief to know that Mr. Bird was safely out of Deir el Komr' as the Druse vultures of Hauran and the whole Druse army of Lebanon were now surrounding that ill-fated town.
We were driven to earnest prayer. The element of fury and the thirst for blood were raging unrestrained. Damascus was threatened. Beirut was threatened. Provisions were becoming dearer, and thousands were without food or shelter. Dr. Thomson said, "Brethren, the work of forty years is destroyed, and if we are spared, we must begin again." Others said, "It cannot be that the new translation of the Scriptures is to be in vain, or that the foundations already laid can be utterly uprooted." We all felt that the plowshare of the divine judgments was rending the soil of Syria to prepare the way for a new seed sowing in the future.
On Tuesday, the 19th of June, Mr. Calhoun returned to Abeih as calm and unquestioning as if he had been in a New England village. His peace was like a river and comforted and encouraged us all. On that same day the Druses began to concentrate around Deir el Komr. Kasim Beg in Abeih told Mr. Calhoun on his return that matters looked serious for Deir el Komr. The Christians there asked Abd es Salaam Beg, the Turkish colonel, what was the meaning of this new army of Druses. He replied that there was no real cause for alarm, but they had better bring their valuables to the seraia, where they would be safe until order was restored. "Forthwith, men, women and children began streaming into that building from every quarter, carrying trunks, chests and bundles filled with clothes, linen and jewelry, with gold, pearls and diamonds in profusion, an immense booty which the Turks proceeded to divide among themselves. The majority of the men were now crowded within the seraia and adjoining buildings. Then began the slaughter. Every Christian in the streets and houses was cut down. They had been disarmed by the Turkish colonel on promise of protection. Priests fled to their churches and were butchered before their altars." [Churchill]
On Thursday the 12th, Ali Beg Hamady led the armed Druses to the seraia and demanded admittance. The kaimakarn (colonel) refused to open the gates but pointed to a low wall close by. Over went the Druses, "like bloodhounds into a sheepfold," and began to hew in pieces the helpless men within the walls. With axes, swords and billhooks the slaughter of Hasbeiya was repeated. For six long hours the infernal work went on. "The blood at length rose above the ankles, flowed along the gutters, gushed out of the waterspouts and gurgled through the streets. The Turkish colonel sat smoking his pipe, the bowl resting on, a corpse, and the stream of blood running beneath him into the inner court." Not a body was buried.
Twenty-two hundred bodies lay, heaps on heaps, nearly all that was left of the manhood of Deir el Komr. The Druse leaders at once gathered the women and children, and led them, a heartbroken and terror-stricken company, down to the mouth of the Damur River on the sea, and sent word politely to the English consul to send and take them to Beirut.
The Gannet, Captain West, and the Mohawk, Captain Lambert, were sent at once and embarked the wretched sufferers. The women frantically threw themselves into the surf in their anxiety to get on board, some holding their infants high above their heads. Several had sabre cuts. Most of them had not tasted food for four days. But they were all brought safely to Beirut, and found lodgings where they could, in khans, vacant rooms and under the olive and mulberry trees.
On Thursday evening, June 21st, Kasim Beg Bu Nakad called about nine o'clock on Mr. Calhoun (see sketch of Mr. Calhoun's life in this volume) and Mr. Bird. After an ominous silence, he said to them, "The Deir has fallen, not a man remains alive, excepting those in Mr. Bird's house. But they are in danger. It is hard to restrain the Hauran Druses. We have protected the house thus far, but cannot much longer. You will do well to go with us early to the Deir and bring away those thirty men."
Very early in the morning they set out, a silent, sorrow-stricken pair. In three hours they reached the town. The air was thick with smoke from the burning houses. The streets were blocked with corpses. Old friends and pupils of Mr. Bird, and neighbours for long years, lay ghastly stiffened corpses along the streets, and Druse men and women were still at work stripping the corpses of the last shred of clothing. At the seraia was that awful hecatomb of hundreds of the dead, stripped, mutilated and indistinguishable. They hastened to Mr. Bird's home. A band of wild Hauran Druses had just brought a long rod timber and were using it as a battering-ram on Mr. Bird's door. The Abu Nakad begs drove them back and ordered them off. The terrified Syrian pastor within and his flock, hearing the familiar voice of Mr. Bird, opened the door. The Druses now took Mr. Bird's furniture and books up to their khalweh or sacred room and kept it until he could send for it. The two heart-stricken and weary brethren then began their journey home to Abeih, leading the procession of the rescued ones, whom Ali Beg Hamady years after told me he had guarded out of esteem for Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Bird.
A few of the men of the leading families, the Meshakas, the Dumanis, and others were invited before the massacre to Mukhtara by Said Beg out of motives of policy and were escorted safely to Sidon. On Saturday, June 23d, Mr. Calhoun alone escorted the Ain Zehalteh men to Beirut. All along the streets from the suburbs into the city they were taunted and threatened by the Moslems, and felt that they were hardly safer here than in Lebanon. Mr. Calhoun hastened back to Abeih and there he remained all through that summer of peril and anxiety.
On the 5th of July, Mr. Bird and family sailed for the United States. His station was gone, his people killed or scattered. He and Mrs. Bird were quite prostrated from long watching and weariness by day and night and needed the rest of a complete change. Meantime we in Beirut had been through our season of terror by day and night.
June 21st, Khurshid Pasha went to Deir el Komr and arrived after the awful massacre was over. What he said and what followed I cannot vouch for. Colonel Churchill gives details, which are shocking in the extreme, of his interviews with leading Druses, etc. But it is well known that the Druses and Moslems had agreed upon a day for the sack and massacre of Beirut. Two thousand armed Druses had entered the town and were secreted in the Moslem houses or were walking about the streets. The thousands of refugees constantly recognized Druses who had massacred their fathers, brothers or husbands in Jezzin, Hasbeiya or Deir el Komr. The whole city was in a ferment. We afterwards learned that Sunday, the 24th, was the day fixed for the burning and massacre of Beirut. On the 22d, a Moslem was killed in the public square in Beirut. Immediately the shout arose that a Christian had done it. All the shops were at once closed and deserted. An armed rabble paraded the streets singing war-songs, and demanding the arrest and execution of the murderer before sunset, or they would rise on the Christians during the night and massacre them. Europeans were insulted. The French consul-general had a sword flourished in his face.
An Englishman had a pistol snapped at him. A young Maronite was then seized, dragged along to the seraia, and after a hasty trial was condemned to death and was taken outside the gate and executed, although undoubtedly innocent. The poor lad calmly and heroically said, "I am innocent. God knows I am innocent; but if my death is necessary for the safety of my brethren, I gladly give up my life."
The mob was thus for the moment satisfied, but the night was a sleepless one. All the ships of war lowered their boats, filled with armed marines, ready to land on a signal from the shore. Every ship sloop and coasting craft in port was covered from stem to stern with crowds of trembling fugitives.
But God in His providence interposed. The next morning, June 23d, there arrived from Constantinople a Protestant Hungarian, General Kmety, whose Turkish title was Ismail Pasha, with 1,800 troops. He was a confrere of Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian patriotic leader, and on the crushing of the revolution Of 1849, fled to Constantinople and entered the. Turkish military service as Ismail Pasha. He had been sent on demand of the European ambassadors in Constantinople as the only officer they could trust, to restore order in Syria. His troops were instantly landed, and the general called together the European and American consuls to ascertain the state of things. He then called together his officers, and gave them directions to place guards at the European and American consulates, and detachments all over the city. Then, drawing his revolver, he said to the officers, "You are to keep the peace. If a Christian is injured or killed in any part of the city, I will shoot the officer in whose section the event occurs without a trial. Do you understand?" Thus Beirut was saved. The Druses, who had been welcomed by the Moslems, and who walked with braggart air through the bazaars receiving the congratulations of the Moslems, who decked their firearms with flowers, now slunk away and went back to the mountains. It was days before the city was quiet. On the 23d, Messrs. Eddy and Ford arrived from Sidon on the English ships of war, bringing 1,000 women and children from Deir el Komr and Merj Aiyun. The European consuls met and sent a letter to the Druse chiefs warning them to stop the war and threatening them in case they should invade Northern Lebanon. This alarmed the Druses, and evidently broke whatever alliance existed between them and Khurshid Pasha.
That afternoon, by advice of Dr. Barclay, I took Mrs. Jessup on board H. B. M. ship Exmouth, eighty guns, Captain Paynter. The captain received us very courteously. Being aware of her delicate condition he refrained from firing salutes while we were on board. Several European families came on board for the night and a large number of wounded refugees were being kindly attended by the ship's surgeons. The better class of families in Beirut chartered sailing vessels and steamers and left for Athens, Syra and Alexandria. Merchant steamers laden with goods were ordered to take their goods back to Malta.
From the British official papers "relating to the disturbances in Syria," page 48, it is stated plainly that "nothing could convince the Christian population of Beirut, but that the fate of their brethren at Deir el Komr, Hasbeiya and Rasheiya awaited them at the hands of the Turkish authorities and their troops." That night a comet appeared, which filled the superstitious common people with apprehension of "war, pestilence and famine."
Sunday , June 24th, Dr. Eddy and family came on board the Exmouth and at 2 P. M. we returned to the shore, as the consul, having a guard of five soldiers from General Kmety, felt sure that his house was secure, and invited us to his house. We then entered into negotiations with the captain of the American bark Speedwell to take us with Dr. Barclay and family to Cyprus. Dr. Thomson was fruitful in expedients, and it was arranged that if the captain would consent, we would go the next day, and hundreds of Syrians were ready to take passage at the same time. That night at the consul's we could hear firing in Lebanon, and every noise in the streets seemed the beginning of an outbreak. It was a troubled Sunday. The Arabic service was crowded with refugees who were sleeping under the Pride of India trees near the church door. But the English service was omitted. We were all living by the day, simply trusting, praying earnestly for divine guidance and sure of safety under the shadow of His wings. We felt comforted, however, by the manifest divine interposition in sending a Protestant general just at this awful crisis, to hold Beirut with a grip of iron, and to save this city as a refuge for the homeless, houseless and hungry refugees from Lebanon and the interior.
Monday, June 25th - This morning we removed from Consul Johnson's house back to Dr. Van Dyck's house. Then came a rumour, which proved to be false, that the Druses were coming, and for a time the whole town was in a panic, but General Kmety's prompt action quieted the Moslem populace and the panic subsided.
Dr. Thomson's house was adjoining ours, and we went over to dine with him, as all our goods and utensils were packed, in anticipation of leaving town. At 3 P. M., word having come that the Speedwell would sail soon for Cyprus, we again sent for porters, and walked down, taking "bag and baggage," to the port and went on board. It was a small clipper bark, loading with wool for Boston. The weather was intensely hot, with a strong westerly wind, so that the sea was rough, and the crowds of refugees on the deck were suffering the agonies of seasickness. The sailors soon cleared a space large enough for us to spread our bed, and around it we piled our baggage. Dr. and Mrs. Barclay and his sister, Mrs. Consul Johnson, were our neighbours on the deck. We curtained off a space around our bed, and were just being rocked to sleep, when one of the deck passengers suffering from delirium tremens made night hideous with his shrieks of terror. All along the shore, near the custom-house, lay the boats from the English, French and Russian ships of war with marines had been the prosperous capital of Lebanon. On the 28th, we were surprised to receive Mr. Eddy's horse from Sidon, sent on by Kasim Beg el Yusef, who was called by the people, "Azraeel," or the "Angel of Death." On the 28th, Sitt Naaify, of Hasbeiya, sent out seventy Christians, whom she was supposed to be protecting, to reap in her fields, and they were all cut off by the Druses. That day began the great Moslem feast of Sacrifice, or "Aieed ul Adha"' which lasted four days. There was little sympathy among the Christians for the Moslems in their rejoicings, and in some parts of the land, Christians instead of sheep were being offered as sacrifices. On the 30th, the Speedwell sailed for Boston. By it we sent the case of Arabic maps to the Appletons.
On Sunday, July 1st, no church bells were rung in Beirut. I preached in English, and Mr. Araman and Dr. Wortabet in Arabic. We appointed daily meetings in the little church, and recommended Friday for observance as a day of fasting and prayer.
Mr. Cyril Graham, an English traveller, now visited Deir el Komr and its horrors, and then went to Said Beg Jumblatt, leader of the Druses, to present the consular letter calling on him to stop the war. This great "Friend of the English" assured Mr. Graham that he knew nothing of recent events and had no influence whatever with. the Druses. Bushir Beg Abu Nakad, who bad boasted that "He would lay the foundations of his house with Christian skulls," now insisted that he was quite innocent and ignorant of what had been going on. Mr. Graham returned to Beirut' thwarted at every step, but the consular letter did stop the massacres in Lebanon. At length the Maronite leaders signed a paper forced on them by Khurshid Pasha, making peace on condition that the past be forgotten, no plunder restored, and no indemnification given. This satisfied the Druses, enriched with the spoils of the murdered Christians, and there was peace in Lebanon.
July 2d, we formed an Anglo-American relief committee, headed by Consul-General Moore and the American Consul J. A. Johnson, and later on, by the German Consul-General Weber, with English and American residents. We sent off urgent appeals to Europe and America for help for these thousands of refugees. The British naval commanders in port seconded our appeals, and from that time on until November the best of our time and strength, from sunrise to sunset, was devoted to relief work. We had carefully prepared lists of the refugees from hundreds of villages, until we had 16,000 names of persons receiving aid. In August and September money came pouring in from all over the civilized world, even from India and Australia, so that we handled over $150,000, the accounts being strictly kept by Mr. James Black, the eminent English merchant, and the Imperial Ottoman Bank. I used to begin at sunrise and work till sunset for months, in that stifling heat, my whole body covered with blotches of prickly heat. Our Syrian teachers were working with us as clerks and assistants, sifting out the lists, and ferreting out impostors, and helping in the religious services. Work in the printing house was suspended and some of the rooms used for relief work, The ladies, headed by Miss Emilia Thomson and Mrs. Consul Johnson, directed a large corps of Syrian Protestant women, many of them recently widowed, in cutting out, and binding in bundles, cotton cloth and prints, with needles and thread, for 100,000 garments.
On Saturday, July 7th, Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Frazier, Dr. Hatty and Rev. Jules Ferette of the United Presbyterian Mission in Damascus, reached Beirut after a journey of terror and narrow escapes. They reported the condition of things in Damascus as most alarming. Christians were reviled, insulted and threatened, and all the men were forced to wear black turbans. That same Turkish regiment, which a month before had presided over the massacre in Hasbeiya, was now ordered into the Christian quarter of Damascus to "Protect" the Christians. These unarmed and defenseless people now tried to propitiate their protectors. They bribed and feasted them and raised hundreds of pounds for this purpose.
The European consuls appealed in vain to Ahmed Pasha. Even the British consul refused to believe the urgent representations of Rev. S. Robson that a massacre was imminent, and would not believe it, until forced by his kavasses to go on the roof and see the ascending flames of the Christian quarter. At length, on the 9th of July, three Moslem lads were arrested for trampling on crosses in the street and insulting Christians. They were sent, accompanied by police, through the bazaars to sweep the Christian quarter. This insult was the signal for the Moslems to rise. Two men started shouting, "Deen, Deen, Deen Mohammed" (religion, religion, the religion of Mohammed). This was enough. At once an infuriated mob of the lower classes with guns, swords, battle-axes and pistols rushed to the Christian quarter, shouting, "Kill them, butcher them, plunder, burn, leave not one alive, fear nothing, the soldiers will not touch us." Then began the work of plundering and burning. The supply of water was cut off. By sunset the whole Christian quarter was in a blaze. The first day the chief thought was plunder, and all the rich spoil of the Christian houses was carried off, gold, silver, copper, money, jewelry, rugs, silks and Damascus wares. The people tried to escape but were driven back by the Turkish soldiers. Then began the work of butchery. The Christians were cut down in the houses and in the streets. The priests were tortured in their churches and then beheaded. Nothing seemed able to prevent the extermination of the entire Christian population.
But God had prepared a deliverer. In 1848, the Emir Abd el Kadir, prince of Algiers, after resisting the armies of France for fifteen years, surrendered to the French General Lamoriciere, and took a solemn oath of loyalty to France. That engagement contains the following language: "Grace to God only. I give my sacred word that does not admit of any doubt. I declare I will not again excite my people against the French either by person or by letters, or by any other method, I take my oath before Mohammed, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ, by the Tourat (Old Testament), the Ingeel (New Testament), and the Koran' by the book of Bokhari and that of the 'Moslem.' I take this oath solemnly from my heart and tongue. This oath is binding both on me and my friends, who sign not this present paper with me, because they do not know how to write. Compliments of Abd el Kadir, son of Moohyeh-ed-din."
He was then retired in 1852 by Louis Napoleon in honourable exile to Damascus, the city of his choice, with a princely pension. He was accompanied by one hundred of his faithful Algerine body-guards, and purchased a spacious house in Damascus, which had been for ten years a model of hospitality, open to all. He was visited by European notables, French nobility, English lords, American tourists, Protestant and Catholic missionaries, and Mohammedan pilgrims from Asia and Africa. No visit to Damascus was complete without a call on this noble Moghrabi emir. He was the noblest type of an Oriental, devout in his religious belief in one God, constant in prayer, a lover of the poor, bounteous in his benefactions to them, broad and liberal in his views. Dr. Meshaka, the Protestant doctor, United States viceconsul, and author, was one of his intimate friends. He declared all men to be his brothers.
Colonel Churchill, who wrote his memoir after his death in 1883, says of him, "His brightest laurels were his reverses. He had accepted his destiny with cheerfulness and resignation, and joyfully contemplated his career as finished. But Providence had reserved for his brows another and a nobler wreath, a work of mercy; and, heaven- directed, he arose this day to do the deed that was to shed fresh lustre on his name."
When the attack began, he was in the suburbs of the city far away from -the Christian quarter. No sooner did he hear of it, than he sent out his faithful Algerines into the Christian quarter with orders to rescue all the wretched sufferers they could meet. Hundreds were safely escorted to his house before dark. Many rushed to the British consulate. Rev. Mr. Graham, Irish Presbyterian missionary, was cut down with a hatchet in the street. Rev. Mr. Robson, dressed as a woman, escaped to the house of a friendly Moslem effendi. Dr. Meshaka fled through the streets, until he was rescued by a Moslem friend, just after he had received a cut in the head from a hatchet. But he lived to be a swift witness against the instigators of this dreadful carnage. On the 23d of August Dr. Meshaka sent to Beirut the following account of his experience during the outbreak (translated from the Arabic):
"On Monday morning, the 9th of July, the city was quiet and his highness the Emir Abd el Kadir had left for the village of Ashrafiyeh on business (about twelve miles up the river Barada). At 2 P. M. excitement was caused by the government having put some Moslems in chains for having made that morning crosses in the streets and obliged the Christians to trample over them. I was then alone in my house. My kavasses had gone to the seraia on business. But the Kavass Haj Ali returned immediately. It was then that the insurrection reached our quarter and I could not go out alone. I sent my kavass at once to the Emir Abd el Kadir, to beg his highness to send me some of his Algerines for my protection. He had then returned from the village and sent me four, but being without arms, they could not reach me. But my kavasses came boldly to me alone. I then locked the doors of my house. I had only time to put some money in my pocket, when the door was broken open and many ruffians rushed into the house, the most of them irregular Turkish troops. They began firing frequently but I escaped from them with my kavass and my two young children, Ibrahim and Selma, by going out of a door at the back of the house. Their attention was diverted from me by plundering the house. I then resolved to hide myself in one of the neighbouring Moslem houses, until I could escape safely to the house of the Emir Abd el Kadir. But none of them would receive me. I then directed my steps to the house of his highness, and a party of the rabble met me and fired at me. I threw them some gold coins to turn their attention from me, and returned to the street of Bab Tooma where soldiers were stationed. Here I met another party of plunderers. I threw them money as before. Then I met many armed persons and knew eight of them. I afterwards gave their names to the local government. Six were caught, and two of them were hanged on the 20th inst. Some of them attacked me with firearms, some with axes and clubs and one with a sword.
"My two children were behind me, crying to the men, 'Kill us and leave our father! We cannot live without him.' One of these ruffians came and struck my daughter Selma with an axe and wounded her. I then threw them more money to divert them.
Thanks be to God, all the shots missed me though one of them shot at me twice at two yards' distance. I was, however, wounded by axes and clubs. I received a severe wound in the head from an axe and had not my kavass weakened the force of the blow, it would have killed me. I was also struck by a large club on my eye and received several wounds on my right arm from a sword. After severe suffering, by the aid of my kavass, who was constantly with me, I reached the house of Mustafa Beg Hawashe, appointed by the government to protect the quarter. When I saw the beg I asked him to receive me into his house. He refused and sent me to the house of Faris el Kelf, a notorious ruffian in the same street. I saw from the windows, the mob breaking into Christian houses and massacring the inmates. The beg's people were plundering and some of the plunder was brought to the house where I was. This made me feel unsafe, and I planned to escape after dark to Mustafa Beg's, who would not dare to kill me in his own house. just then a body of armed men knocked at the door and came in. They were Abd el Kadir's men with my friend Said Mohammed es Sautery. He had been searching for me and finding my house plundered and empty. traced me to Mustafa's house. He then obtained eight Algerines from Abd el Kadir and demanded me of Mustafa who, alarmed, sent his nephew to guide them to me. I was taken at once to the Emir Abd el Kadir's, where I was received very kindly, but as I was covered with blood and the house was crowded with Christians, the emir allowed Said Modammed es Sautery to take me into his own house. The Said then went to ,look for the members of my family and was searching until the morning. He found all but my son Selim, who, after being given up as dead for three days, was found in the house of the daughter of Ali Agha Katilee in the Shaghur quarter.
"I remained a month in the house Of Said Mohammed es Sautery and was very kindly treated. As we were only half clothed and had Only two or three Piastres in money, Sheikh Selim Effendi el Attar sent me clothes and money. He sheltered, in his house, more than one hundred Christians, providing them all necessaries."
"As for me, I was on the morning of the 9th a rich man, and on the 9th a poor man, but I ought to be thankful to God for saving my life and that of my family. There was a sufficient reason for the distrust which I felt in the house in which they first put me, because, since the arrival of H. E. Fuad Pasha, it has been proved that by different devices, Mustafa Beg, his nephews and his people murdered hundreds Of Christians, one of whom was Rev. Mr. Graham, Irish missionary. The Almighty saved me from their brutality. The beg, his two nephews and some of his people were hanged on the 20th inst." The wound by an axe affected Dr. Meshaka's sense of smell in a peculiar way. Meat and certain vegetables had such a nauseous odour that he could only bear it by closing his nostrils. This continued for many months and he could not allow the odour of cooking meat in the house. The medical profession were much interested in his case.
Fresh hordes of Kurds, Arabs, Druses, with the Moslem populace and soldiers now began the dreadful work of massacre. All that night and the next day the pitiless work went on. But Abd el Kadir and his men stood between the living and the dead, and, forming the Christians into detached parties, forwarded them under successive guards, first to his own house and then to the great castle, where he reassured them, consoled them, fed them. "There, as the terrific day closed in, nearly 12,000 of all ages and sexes were collected, and huddled together, a fortunate, but exhausted residue, fruits of his untiring exertions. There they remained for weeks, lying on the bare ground without covering, exposed to the sun's scorching rays, their rations cucumbers and coarse bread."
Abd el Kadir himself was now menaced. His house was full of hundreds of fugitives, European consuls and native Christians. Hearing that the mob was coming, "the hero coolly ordered his horse to be saddled, put on his cuirass and helmet, and mounting, drew his sword. His faithful followers formed around him, brave remnant of his old guard, comrades in many a well-fought field, victors at the river Mootaia, when with 2,500 horse and foot he defeated the army of the Emperor of Morocco 60,000 strong."
"The fanatics came in sight. Singly he charged into the midst and drew up. 'Wretches!,' he exclaimed, 'is this the way you honour your prophet? May his curses be upon you! Shame upon you, shame! You will yet live to repent. You think you may do as you please with the Christians: but the day of retribution will come. The Franks will yet turn your mosques into churches. Not a Christian will I give up. They are my brothers. Stand back or I will give my men orders to fire.' The crowd dispersed. Not a man of that Moslem throng dared raise his voice or lift his arm against the renowned champion of Islam."
All honour to that noble man! His work of mercy and humanity became known all over the civilized world, and all the rulers of Europe sent him letters and tokens of acknowledgment.
On the 15th of September I saw at the United States consulate in Beirut a beautiful pair of gold-mounted revolvers properly inscribed as a present from the President of the United States to Abd el Kadir, and I afterwards saw them at his house in Damascus. Both Abd el Kadir and Schamyl, the Circassian Mohammedan prince who was obliged to surrender to Russia, wrote eloquent protests against the massacre, as contrary to Islam and the Koran, and these were widely distributed.
In 1883 the great emir passed away, aged seventy-five. Sixty thousand persons, it is said, followed him to his grave, and among the vast throng there were many bowed with "grateful grief," at the remembrance of how gallantly he bad stood by the flying Christians when the gutters of Damascus ran with the blood of their kith and kin.
From Schamyl, the Circassian, to the Abd el Kadir:
To him who is famous among all, renowned for his exalted benevolence above all mankind, who extinguished the fires of insurrection when they were at their height, and uprooted the tree of enmity, whose proportions had become like Satan himself I Moreover, praise to him who grants to his servant piety and faith, that is, to the beloved Abd el Kadir the just. Peace be Unto you, and may the palm tree of glory and excellence continue fruitful in your life.
After this, we state, after there had smitten my ears that which paralyzes the hearing and from which human nature revolts, with regard to what happened in Damascus between the Moslems and those under their covenanted protection (zimmeh) the Christians, events which ought not to happen among the people of Islam which tend to the spread of corruption among men; my hair stood on end and my face grew dark with melancholy, and I said, How has corruption appeared on sea and land, in the horrors men's hands have wrought I And I wonder how any among the rulers could be so blind as to enact such a mighty iniquity in the face of what the Prophet of God (prayer and peace from God be upon him!) has said. "Whoever oppresses one under covenant, or lessens his rights or taxes him beyond his ability or takes from him aught by force, of such am I the accuser in the resurrection day." This is a just and true remark. When then I heard that you had spread the wings of compassion and mercy to them, and checked those who passed the bounds set by God most Exalted, and that you had run a good course in the highway of praise, and bad deserved all thanks, I was pleased with you, and God the Exalted will show you His approbation in that day when neither wealth nor sons will remain with you. For you have loved the word of the great prophet whom God the Exalted sent as a mercy to the ages, and you have held in check those who violated his law and majesty. (God forbid that any should transgress his laws!)
"My object in writing this is to show you how well pleased I am with you, and may my epistle be to you as a refreshing draught of cold water."
From the Poor Schamyl the stranger.
Reply of Abd el Kadir to Shamyl:
Praise to God, Lord of the ages. Prayer and peace from God upon out our lord Mohammed and upon all his brethren the prophets and apostles!
From the poor one to his master the rich, from Abd el Kadir the son of Moohyeh-ed-din-el Hasneh, to the brother in God and the beloved for God's sake, the Imam Schamyl! God has been our portion at home and abroad. The peace and mercy of God be upon you! . . . After this we say that your most precious letter has reached us; your discourse was a joy and a delight to us. What you have heard and been pleased with in regard to our protection of the people of the "zimmeh" and the covenant (Christians), and our defense of their lives and their, virtue, was, as is well known to your precious intelligence, necessitated by the commands of the law most holy and exalted, as well as by humanity and self-respect. For our law fulfills the rules of a generous nature and requires the doing of all those praiseworthy actions which lead to friendship by a bond closer than that of a golden collar upon the neck. In every sect violence is abhorred. Its practice is vile: yet man, often in the hour of temptation, sees that to be good which is not good.
By the name of Him whose we are and to whom we return, I depreciate the lapse of the followers of religion and the want of faith in the Victorious One, in Truth and its Defender. Unlearned men have begun to think that the root of the faith of Islam is stupidity, brutality, harshness and violence. It is well to be patient and God will bring deliverance. There is no object of worship but God.
These letters are interesting from the remarkable history of their authors and as indicating the current and shape of the opinion of the more enlightened Mohammedans in the East in these days.
One of the proposed solutions of the future of Syria was the appointment of Abd el Kadir as viceroy over all Syria. But it is well that he was not. In an interview with an Englishman familiar with the Arabic, he stated that if made viceroy, he would govern justly, but that he would not allow Christians to enter the army, nor to testify against Moslems, "as Christians can never be on an equality with Moslems," as the Mohammedan "Shera"(the religious law of the Koran) is paramount to all other laws, and must be obeyed. above all. He would regard Christians as "zimmeh" or under covenant, and entitled to entire protection as long as they pay tribute. This view of Abd el Kadir, the finest specimen of Mohammedan manhood in modern times, shows how impossible it is for a Moslem sovereign to grant equal rights to Christian subjects. Where the people are all Moslems, a Moslem ruler dots well. But in a mixed population, a Moslem ruler cannot grant equal rights to non-Moslems and must exclude them from military service and from the high God-given right of testifying in a court of justice.
Seven thousand Christians had been killed or burned alive in their houses, 1,000 of them in the Franciscan convent. A survivor, who was a boy at the time, told me that he was in the Greek one by one and cutting off their ears, noses and hands would Church when the mob broke in and that they took thirty priests call on them to deny Christ and then behead them amid fiendish jeers. This young man said that although thirty years had passed, he would often awake at night screaming with terror at the memory of that horrible scene. Young girls and women were carried off to Moslem hareems and forcibly married to Moslems.
The news of this massacre spread terror all over the land, and Jerusalem, Jaffa, Acre, Tyre and even Aleppo were in great danger. One Russian steamer took 1,000 refugees to Alexandria.
July 17th Fuad Pasha, the grand vizier of the Sultan, arrived with three frigates and additional troops. He was clothed with absolute authority over the military and civil officials and ordered to punish the guilty at once. The next day there was an eclipse, which added to the terror of the ignorant populace. On the 19th, we printed the Sultan Abdul Majid's new firman, and it was publicly read before Moslems and Christians, but no one responded, "Long live the Sultan," the usual reply at such a time. On the 20th, Fuad Pasha was visited by a black-veiled procession Of 3,000 widows and orphans and seemed to be much affected. He promised to provide for them and to punish the murderers.
Abro Effendi, secretary to the pasha, formed mixed commissions to examine the claims for indemnities for all foreigners. The claims of the natives were to be settled by the government itself. The American and English Commission consisted of Abro Effendi, Mr. James Black, Dr. Thomson, Mr. M. Beihum and myself. We had to examine claims for damages to American property in Damascus, Hasbeiya, Deir el Komr, Sidon and other places, amounting in all to about $10,000. The purely American claims, as to the correctness of which we could give our word of honour, were allowed to the last piastre. But we learned that the majority of the lists handed in by the suffering natives were cut down one-half and often three-fourths, and then paid in orders on the government, which were brought up by brokers and bankers at less than half their value, so the real sufferers never got a fourth of what they lost.
The British flag-ship Marlborough (131 guns, Admiral Martin) arrived on the 24th of July, and soon after there was a fleet of twenty-five British ships of war, and nearly twenty French, Austrian, Dutch, Italian, Greek and Turkish ships. Then came news of the coming of a French army of 10,000 men, and in case of need of as many more of other nations. Mustafa Pasha declared that he would resist their landing, and the Moslem populace became much excited. But soon orders arrived from Constantinople that the troops were coming at the request of the Sultan and to aid him in restoring order.
Khurshid Pasha, who had been sent by Fuad Pasha to Latakia on some trivial errand, returned on the 26th, expecting to resume his office at the seraia' But before his arrival, Admiral Martin addressed an emphatic protest to Fuad Pasha, demanding that he be punished. He said, "The Turkish government will have no claims to consideration if it should not do voluntary and ample justice. The matter will probably be taken out of their hands, if they exhibit any indication of shortcoming." He also demanded "conspicuous retribution to infamous functionaries." So on the arrival of Khurshid he was arrested at the landing, his sword taken from him and he sent as a prisoner to the barracks.
The missionaries, Thomson, Bliss and myself, called on Admiral Martin, and on the other officers of the fleet. The sight of that neighbouring villages to carry away the debris and ashes of the Christian quarter, outside of the city, and to cut down poplar and walnut trees for rebuilding the Christian quarter. They were also obliged to furnish flour to the Christians left in the city. A raid was also made on all the Moslem houses, and beds, rugs, clothing and copper utensils were recovered and given to the sorrowing Christians. In the course of a month eleven thousand of the Christians were transported to Beirut and lodged in the quarantine buildings, and in khans and houses rented for the purpose by the government. We used to stand on the Damascus Road to see these long processions of men, women and children passing mournfully along, on horses, mules, donkeys and camels, a melancholy sight. Among those in the quarantine buildings were 600 children. Within a month 100 of them had died from exposure and improper and insufficient food. All these 11,000 names were added to our relief lists, and garments were given to every man, woman and child.
Not the least crushing blow, however, to the pride of Moslem Damascus, was the immediate enforcement of the military conscription. From the days of Mohammed until 1860, Damascus, as one of the four holy cities (Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem being the other three), had been exempted from the conscription, and no Damascene Moslem ever entered the army. But now Fuad Pasha seized the opportunity to humble the proud city. Within three months 21,000 men were sent handcuffed to Beirut and thence by ship to Arabia, Asia Minor and European Turkey. Some hundreds were culprits more or less directly implicated in the massacre, and the rest were thrust into the army, and ever since, the conscription has been enforced. A large stone barracks was erected at the entrance of the Christian quarter to prevent any recurrence of a Moslem invasion. [In December the following urgent orders were sent to Damascus, to be enforced by the army. Section 1 appoints a committee of four Christians, three Mohammedans, and a secretary and president elected by Fuad Pasha. The members of the committee must be from the higher classes of the community.]
The spectacle of the arrival in Beirut, week after week, of bodies of one hundred, two hundred or five hundred Damascus Moslems, some of them sons of the highest families, all with their wrists fastened in wooden stocks, nailed fast, was an object lesson to the whole country and especially to Beirut. And during all these subsequent years the memory of the punishment visited on that city has kept the Christians in safety. The French army of occupation began to arrive August 16th, and in a few weeks entered Lebanon. A Turkish army also entered Lebanon from Sidon by way of Hermon, to cut off the retreat of the Druses.
[Section 2 requires one thousand Mohammedan men with two hundred mules, to be collected from Damascus itself and all of the villages within a distance of three hours or nine miles in every direction, for !he purpose of cleansing the ruined quarter and preparing it for building.
Section 3 requires that all tools and implements needed in this work, such as shovels, pickaxes, baskets and ropes, together with the provisions of the labourers, shall be furnished by the city and the above mentioned villages.
Section 4 orders the storing away in proper magazines of all the beams, timbers and hewn stones found among the ruined houses.
Section 5 requires that all the labourers and animals must be on hand ready to work within three days of the date of the proclaimation.
Section 6 requires the immediate repair of all the water-pipes and canals leading to the Christian quarter, and inasmuch as the most of those I led in the construction of the watercourses are Christians, that class may be employed, and their wages must be paid by the Mohammedan citizens.
Section 7. An overseer shall be appointed in every district of the Christian quarter with two guards, to attend to the collection and preparation of the building materials which have escaped destruction.
Section 8. One hundred and fifty howr trees (this tree is a white-barked poplar which grows tall and straight and is much used for roofing houses) are to be cut down from the gardens of Damascus, and from the villages in every direction around for a distance of fifteen miles, according to the number of trees found in each place.
Sections 9 to 14 provide for the proper registration of all the trees cut down, the giving of receipts to the sheikhs of the villages for them, and the marking the trees with the stamp of the "commission" to prevent their being removed and others substituted in their room before they are taken into the city for use.]
But a gap was left in the cordon, and 2,000 Druses escaped to Hauran to the utter chagrin of the French General Beaufort d'Hautpol who found himself thwarted by Turkish treachery.
On September 8th, Lord Dufferin arrived, and the European commission was organized to investigate the massacres and plan for a new government for Lebanon. The members of the commission were as follows: Fuad Pasha, for Turkey; Lord Dufferin-and-Claneboye, for England; M. Beclard, for France; M. Novikoff, for Russia; M. Weckbecker, for Austria; M. De Rehfuss, for Prussia.
Its labours extended, over five months, its last and twenty-fifth meeting taking place March 5, 1861, the day of the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. [Churchill, p. 258.]
Owing to differences of opinion among the members as to who should be punished, the French advocating the execution of a few leaders, and the English the hanging of the actual rank and file perpetrators of the massacres, and owing also to the fact, stated by the biographer of Lord Dufferin (P. 42), that, "unfortunately British policy was then strongly pr0-Turkish." And "M. Thouvenel (French minister), who acted with energy throughout, had a good deal of difficulty in persuading Lord John Russell to consent to the landing of an international force." And owing also to the consummate ability of Fuad Pasha who succeeded in arousing the jealousies of the European Powers to thwart the ends of justice - the result as a fact was that not a single Druse was executed. Many were tried and condemned. Several hundreds were temporarily exiled to Tunis and Belgrade, Cyprus and Crete. France and England were fearful of each other's influence in Syria. Lord Russell saw in the French occupation a preparation for annexation and determined that it should cease. The international treaty fixed the term of the occupation at six months, but, owing to the unsettled state of the country, and the difficulty of embarking an army from a harbourless coast in midwinter, it was prolonged four months and the last French soldier sailed June 8, 1861. It had thus lasted from August 16, 1860i-Amly ten months. During the last four months, the Emperor Napoleon III proposed a still longer occupation, and for a few weeks, as we learned from Colonel Frazier, who remained after Lord Dufferin departed in May, 1861, there was imminent danger of war between France and England, which would have been ruinous to Syria. We were distinctly informed by official authority, "that if France did not evacuate Syria by the 5th of June, England would drive her out by force of arms. Already 10,000 troops were in readiness in Malta and Gibraltar, and," said our informant, "if necessary, England will land troops at Acre and Tripoli on the Syrian coast and arm the whole non-Christian population of Druses, Moslems and Arabs, and expel the French, no matter what happens to the Christians." It was a very serious crisis. Very few knew what was transpiring between London and Paris. But the French departed on time, and the world was saved the spectacle of English officers leading an army of unhung Druse and Moslem murderers against the French army, which came in the interest of our common humanity to put a stop to the awful Syrian massacres.
The joint commission completed its labours Match 5, 1861. It laboured faithfully to reorganize the country; it endeavoured to restore the scattered Christians to their homes; to rebuild their ruined tenements; to fix the amount of their pecuniary indemnities; to supervise the criminal procedures against the inculpated Turkish authorities and the Druse malefactors; and lastly, to frame such a plan of government for the Lebanon, as might bid fair to give the inhabitants that peace, order and security which they had been vainly invoking for twenty years.
The "Organic Statute" agreed upon, and finally approved by the Sultan, made Lebanon a distinct, independent pashalic, under a Mutserrif, or pasha, appointed by the Sultan and confirmed by the six signatory powers (now including England, France) Germany, Russia, Austria and Italy). He must be a Latin Catholic, and not a native of Syria, and cannot be removed but by consent of the European ambassadors in Constantinople.
Lord Dufferin, twenty-seven years later (1887), when Viceroy of India, was confronted with a somewhat analogous problem in the rising of the Ghilzais, an Afghan tribe, and in a letter to the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, suggested the substitution for the existing regime in Afghanistan of some such system as that established by him and his fellow commissioners in the Lebanon in 1861. ["Life of Lord Dufferin," p. 58.]
He says, "Every plan in Lebanon failed in turn, until we put each principal section of the people under its own chief, assisted by divisional councils, with an intertribal (volunteer) police, under an independent governor, appointed by the Turks, though not himself a Mohammedan. Under this system the domestic independence both of the Druses and the Maronites remained perfectly free and uncontrolled. The Turkish troops garrisoned certain strategical points outside the privileged limits, but no Turkish soldiers were permitted to be quartered on the villagers, or to enter within the liberties of the tribes. Within a couple of years after these arrangements had been carried into effect, blood feuds entirely ceased, and from that time until the present day the Lebanon has been the most peaceful, the most contented and the most prosperous province of the Ottoman Dominion."
The three seaport cities, Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon, which front the middle, the northern and southern extremities of Lebanon, being ports of entry, and having a large Moslem population, were excluded from the Lebanon district and remained under direct Turkish rule. Thus, to this day, Lebanon has had no seaport and all traffic and passenger travel must be through ports in the hands of the Sultan's officials. Lebanon has had seven Christian pashas since 1861, Daud, Franco, Rustem, Wassa, Naoom, Muzaffar, and Yusef, the present ruler. As Lord Dufferin says, " It is the most peaceful, contented and prosperous province of the Ottoman Dominion." It pays no taxes to Constantinople and its army is a volunteer army of Maronites, Greeks, Catholics, Protestants, Druses and a few Moslems. The people are industrious and easily governed.
Since 1860, the value of property has increased a hundredfold. Vast regions have been brought under cultivation and planted to the mulberry, olive, fig and vine. The very architecture of the houses has improved wonderfully, and macadamized carriage roads zigzag through the mountain range in every direction.
On New Year's Day, 1861, Syria was prostrated, humbled and sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Homeless widows and orphans, exiles, despairingly begged for the restoration of their property and the rebuilding of their homes. Schools were closed, church buildings in ruins and the people dead or dispersed.
The foreign missionaries were mostly gathered in Beirut. Dr. Crawford of Damascus had summered in the Moslem town of Yebrud, north of Damascus, and was unable to reach Damascus until the 7th of August and soon after, with Rev. S. Robson, came to Beirut. After frequent consultations, we decided to hold on to all our stations, and reoccupy them when the land became settled. But the prospect was dark enough. It seemed as though the work of forty years was swept away. On the 18th of September, 1860, I wrote to my brother Samuel, then studying in preparation for the Syria Mission work, as follows:
"I think the prospect brighter for our mission. The Druses are to be attacked at once, and the Christians restored to their homes as soon as possible. Tell George Post not to give up Syria. Dr. Van Dyck is overburdened, and must have some one to relieve him of the medical work, to give him time for the translation of the Old Testament. Let nothing discourage you. I regret having written anything to put you in doubt, but when one expects every minute to be massacred (as we did in July) he cannot write very encouragingly. Now, we are all hopeful, and I doubt not we shall need you both and more besides, before December, 1861."
Dr. Van Dyck had returned from Europe and at once resumed work on the translation of the Old Testament. Mr. Ford returned to Sidon. We never doubted that God would bring good out of this appalling disaster. And He did.
To add to the gloom of the year 1861, the Civil War began between the federal government in the United States and the Southern seceding slave states. Financial ruin seemed impending over the Northern states. Churches and missionary societies were staggered and crippled. The Board of Missions sounded the note of warning and retrenchment. No boarding-schools could be reopened - no new books published - no new missionaries sent out. In the spring of 1861, we were all assembled in Beirut at our annual meeting, when the mail brought the news of the firing on Fort Sumter. We were startled and thrilled, and as one man felt like starting for home to defend our beloved country's flag from dishonour.
But it soon became evident that God had still a work for His servants to do in Syria.
The total receipts of the Anglo-American and German Relief Committee, up to December 31st, were over 20,000 pounds or $100,000, of which one-fourth came from the United States. This sum was expended on bedding, clothing, medical relief and bread.
Of this sum $40,000 was given in wheat for seed, $14,000 for clothing, $5,000 for medical relief, $3'000 for soup rations through the soup kitchen of the Prussian deaconesses, and the balance in food and clothing. Twenty-five thousand dollars of this sum passed through my hands and was distributed in cash to the needy according to carefully prepared lists, and all the accounts were audited by a British merchant in Beirut.
The number of refugees on all our lists in Beirut, Belad, Baalbec, and Sidon reached 26,000. In addition it should be remembered that large sums were raised in Catholic Europe which were distributed through the European consulates and the Romish orders. The Turkish authorities also furnished rent and a small pittance daily, especially to the refugees from Damascus, Deir el Komr and Hasbeiya. In December we had distributed 1,000 shepherds' coats for elderly people. One steamer several weeks later brought from England 2,000 beds, 4,000 blankets, 500 rugs and forty large boxes of clothing, most of it almost entirely new.
Lord Dufferin, in his report to the British Foreign Office, in speaking of the part borne by the American missionaries in this work of humanity and religion, awards to them unmeasured commendation, declaring that "without their indefatigable exertions, the supplies sent from Christendom could never have been properly distributed, nor the starvation of thousands of the needy been prevented."
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