SUNDRY NOTES AND INCIDENTS - ARRIVAL OF H. E. RUSTUM PASHA
ARRIVAL OF H. E. RUSTUM PASHA, MAY, 1873
As stated in the account of the reorganization of the Lebanon District in 186o-61, the pashas of the Lebanon were to be thereafter Latin Catholics owing to the great predominance of the Maronite and Papal Greek sects in Lebanon.
The first pasha was Daud, an Armenian Catholic, a scholarly man who had published in French a history of the laws of the Anglo-Saxon nations and was a man of liberal views, firm and just in administration.
The second was Franco, a Papal Greek, a well-meaning but not an energetic man, who died in office.
Rustum Pasha, the third in the line, was an Italian by birth, long in the Turkish service, recently the Turkish ambassador to St. Petersburg, and the ablest and most just and efficient governor ever known in or out of Lebanon. He kept the ambitious and domineering Romish hierarchy within bounds and -procured the exile of the Maronite Bishop B----, who had intrigued against the government. At first he viewed the American schools with suspicion, as he regarded us on a par with the "clergy" who were always engaged in political intrigues, but on a careful study of them, became their warm friend and supporter. He had planned a system of. government schools in Lebanon and appointed as superintendent a man who, unbeknown to the pasha, was a mere tool of the ecclesiastics. He was told to open schools in the most needy districts, and proceeded to open them only in the towns and villages where American schools had been in operation for twenty years. He threatened all who should send, their children to other than government schools, and yet left the entire Maronite district of Northern Lebanon with its 150,000 people without a school. When finally the true inwardness of the man's character became known to the pasha he ordered every government school in towns occupied by the Americans to be closed. The superintendent was cashiered and the pasha was indignant that he had been hoodwinked by a tool of the priests and monks. Rustum Pasha put a stop to bribery, punished crime, built roads and encouraged reform. Up to that time the sanitary condition of Lebanon was vile beyond description and he compelled every householder to conform to sanitary rules. A priest in Zahleh knocked down a Protestant and smote him with his shoe. The pasha banished the priest to a village outside of Lebanon and forbade his return to Zahleh. He generally spent his winters in Beirut and was fond of showing to children his fine collection of stuffed bears which he had shot when living in Russia.
One day an eccentric foreigner, who spoke English and was more zealous than wise, called on the pasha. When ushered into his private room, the man marched up to the pasha and exclaimed, "Are you prepared to die?" The pasha sprang back, opened a drawer, took out his revolver and said to the man, "What do you mean? Leave this room at once, or-" and the man backed out in great terror. Some friends warned him against trying that kind of evangelistic labour again.
The pasha was a warm friend of Rev. Gerald F. Dale, Jr., of Zahleh, and gave him every facility in the prosecution of his work. He admired Mr. Dale's courtesy and open-hearted manliness.
At one time he had his administrative headquarters at Ghuzir, in the Maronite Mountain, in full view of Beirut and about fifteen miles up the coast to the northeast. One day his clerk was filling cartridges for the pasha's fowling-piece, but did it so clumsily that the pasha said, "Give me the cartridge case and hammer and I will teach you how to do it." Taking the copper case in his left hand he struck the charge with the hammer, when the cartridge exploded tearing his left hand to tatters. The pashas doctor was called but said he could do nothing but stop the bleeding and said to the pasha, "There is no man in Syria can help you but Dr. Post of the American College in Beirut." Dr. Post was telegraphed for, and a special Turkish revenue cutter ordered to take him from Beirut to the seashore below Ghuzir. He went at once and by frequent visits and that skill which has made Dr. Post famous throughout the East, he succceded in saving all but two fingers of the hand.
The pasha's gratitude knew no bounds. On his recovery he visited the college, studied all its departments and by official correspondence with his old friends, the Turkish ministers in Constantinople, did all in his power to further the interests of the college and all American schools. After completing his term of office he left Syria, to the regret of all true friends of law and justice, and became Turkish ambassador to London where he died greatly respected.
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