Overworked - The High - Anglican Church hostility - An English Moslem - Religious cranks - The first railroad - Educational missions - The Armenian massacres.
THE year 1891 was a strenuous one for me. For a large part of the time I was alone as I was in 1866-1867. Dr. Samuel Jessup and Dr. Eddy were in America and Dr. Dennis was called home on account of his father's death. Dr. Van Dyck was in feeble health, and I had the management of the press with all its accounts, business correspondence, examining of manuscripts, reading proofs, editing the Neshrah and the
Mulhoc, helping the native pastor, taking my turn in preaching in the church and in the college, and giving regular instruction in the theological class, besides doing the custom-house business. In my diary I find that my average weekly letters in English and Arabic numbered from thirty to forty, some of them of considerable length.
We had our usual struggle with the custom-house authorities, who freely granted immunities to all nationalities but the Americans.
Two more Mohammedan converts appeared, one of whom has persevered and become a faithful and exemplary man in his profession. The other, from Samaria, stated that before he was born his mother had vowed that if she had a son she would have him baptized by a Greek priest and taught the Greek catechism and creed. He grew up and went to school. Not liking the picture worship and saint worship of the Greeks, he became a Protestant with his mother's consent. He remained some time with Mr. Hardin and then disappeared, presumably having gone with a company of emigrants to America.
A cyclone of great violence swept over Lebanon in March. The Damascus diligence with six mules, and carrying passengers, near the summit of Mount Lebanon beyond Sowfar, was hurled, mules and all, about 200 feet from the road and landed in a field below. The mules were killed, but the passengers and driver escaped with slight bruises. A few days after I passed that point in the diligence going east and saw the dead mules lying in the field where they fell. A gaunt wolf stood by them devouring the flesh. A French engineer on the diligence sprang down, levelled his revolver, and fired. The wolf turned his head and kept on with his meal. He fired again and the wolf limped away. He fired a third shot and the wolf staggered somewhat and disappeared down the mountain slope. Some days after, on my return, I asked at Sowfar station whether anything had been heard of the wolf. "Yes," they said, "his dead body was found that day at the foot of the cliff."
The struggle between High Church Anglicanism and the truly evangelical missionaries of the Church Missionary Society in Palestine came to a crisis, with the appointment of Bishop Blyth as Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. As all the missionaries in Palestine are decidedly Low Church, it was expected that on the occurrence of a vacancy in the English Episcopate, the appointing power would send a man in sympathy with the missionary clergy. But what occurred was exactly the reverse. The Right Reverend G. F. Popham Blyth, D. D., was appointed. Before his day, Anglican bishops such as Gobat and Barclay, with deans, canons, archdeacons, and rectors had visited Beirut and officiated in our mission church at the English service and conducted the communion service which we all attended. But on the arrival of Bishop Blyth, up went the bars. At his first service in Beirut, we Americans, in our simplicity, Dr. Bliss, Dr. Dennis, Dr. Samuel Jessup and myself attended. We communed. The good bishop's holy soul must have writhed in agony at the thought of such uncircumcised Presbyterians taking the communion at his hands. But he atoned for it the next Sunday by setting up a barbed wire fence around the communion table. In language some thing like this: "Hereafter any one of this flock wishing to commune with Catholics, Greeks, or Presbyterians must first obtain permission from the bishop's chaplain in charge of this church. And any Catholic, Greek, or Presbyterian wishing to commune here must first obtain permission from the bishop's chaplain." That was a fence intended to be an offense, and the little exclusive fold has not been invaded since by Presbyterian, nor even by the Evangelical Church of England missionaries in this part of Syria. He tried the threat of excommunication against two eminent English missionary ladies and received a reply that if he persisted in his course they would complain of him to the Archbishop of Canterbury. I have said enough in a previous chapter (on the Greek Church) with regard to the corruption of the Oriental churches.
My little booklet, "The Greek Church and Protestant Missions," which was published by the Christian Literature Society in New York and reprinted in two editions in England, contains all I have to say further on this subject.
It is a special delight of these high Anglicans to hobnob with the Greek monks, bishops, and priests and to do all in their power to antagonize the Syrian evangelical churches. Any attempt on the part of Maronites, Catholics, or Greeks to break away from the Mariolatry and picture worship of their old churches and from the grinding tyranny of their priests, as our fathers did in the time of the Reformation, will be frowned upon by the Anglican clergy and every possible means be used to drive them back into spiritual bondage.
In 1850, Archbishop Sumner, in an agreement with Baron Bunsen about the Jerusalem bishopric, said that when men in the Oriental churches become "emancipated from the fetters of a corrupt faith, we have no right to turn our backs upon the liberated captive and bid him return to his slavery or seek aid elsewhere."
In 1907, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem "requested his Haifa Chaplain Archdeacon Dowling to write to the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem asking his approval of opening negotiations, saying, 'The terms on which the Anglican Church can negotiate with the Orthodox Greek Church are formal recognition between the two churches of the validity of Holy Baptism and Holy Orders.'" The patriarch replied that "the Eastern Church cannot accept the baptism or the orders of the Anglican Church, and only - the entire Eastern Orthodox Church and the entire Anglican Church" are competent to determine this question.
One little specimen of animated millinery tried to prohibit Rev. H. E. Fox of London from preaching in our church in Beirut. Finding that he was going to preach at 11 A. M., he withdrew an invitation to him to officiate in the Anglican evening service! Mr. Fox wrote him a letter in reply which contained some fatherly counsel and severe rebuke to the little usurper which he will not soon forget. Mr. Fox sent me a copy of his letter which I have on file. The Church Missionary Society, true to its evangelical principles, will not allow its churches and chapels on missionary ground to be consecrated by a bishop, and they freely invite missionaries of other churches to preach in them. I would recommend to the Anglican clergy who are so keen upon fraternizing with the higher clergy of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, especially the "Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre," to read a book published by the Orthodox Russian bishop of Moscow about the year 1885 after spending a year in Jerusalem. He exposes the shocking immoralities of these clergy and says that no one can hear what he heard and know what he knows without blushing for the good name of Christianity. He enters into details with regard to the numerous progeny of these holy celibate monks, who are sent to Cyprus and trained in their turn to be monks. A prominent Greek gentleman in Beirut, connected with the Russian consulate-general, gave me a copy of the book.
An English traveller who visited Beirut April 16, 1891, wrote out the Wowing questions to Dr. Van Dyck, which I give in brief with the doctor's replies
"1. Can Bishop Blyth and the Church Missionary Society be reconciled? Ans: No."
"2. Can the Anglican and Greek Churches be affiliated? Ans. Yes, by all Englishmen being rebaptized and the clergy reordained, and receiving Holy Chrism with a mixture cooked over a fire made of rotten and filthy pictures of the saints which have been worn out by being kissed for years."
"3. Can the American missions and the British Syrian Schools evangelize Syria? Ans. Yes, in time."
"4. Is a theological school, endowed in England and manned by natives, needed? Ans. No, the East is pauperized enough now."
While the American Mission was holding its semiannual meeting in August in Suk el Gharb, news came of the death in the neighbouring village of Shemlan of Mrs. E. H. Watson, an English missionary aged eighty-seven. She had laboured in Christian education for more than thirty years. Before coming to Syria, she had taught school in Ireland, in Brooklyn, in Crete, in Valparaiso, in Athens, in Smyrna, and lastly in Beirut, Shemlan, Sidon, and Ain Zehalteh. For sixty-two years she was a teacher. In stature she was diminutive and her physique was that of a child, but her life was one of constant toil and self-sacrifice. She crossed seas and oceans at her own charges and here in Syria erected buildings, founded schools, and aided in Christian work with the greatest zeal and patience. She built and presented to our mission the house in Deir Mimas and the church in Shemlan. The Training-School for Girls in Shemlan was founded by her, and its edifice reared and deeded by her to a British Female Education Society and by that society finally given to the British Syrian Mission. In some other enterprises she suffered grievous disappointment, but this alone is her monument.
The following week, Dr. and Mrs. Hoskins' infant son Horace E. Hoskins died in Suk. On August 31st, Syria suffered a great loss in the death of Mrs. Augusta Mentor Mott, long the directress of the British Syrian Schools and Bible Mission. These schools were founded by the late Mrs. J. Bowen Thompson, then conducted by her sisters, the late Mrs. Henry Smith and Mrs. Mott. They were a remarkable trio of sisters, and with the admirable corps of teachers associated with them, have done a work of the highest value in the education of the daughters of Syria. Thoroughly spiritual in their religious character, liberal and broad minded, using their fortunes and their sympathies in the work, they have left their mark on Syrian family life and done this people immortal service. Although belonging to the Church of England, they would have nothing to do with the ritualistic Romanizing party and cooperated with our own mission and the Irish Presbyterian Mission in Damascus, and their teachers and converted pupils were communicants in the American Mission churches.
Before her death Mrs. Mott sent for me to come and pray with her, and stated that she wished the British Syrian Schools to be conducted in the future on the same basis as before and to continue in cordial cooperation with the American Mission.
In October and December, 1891, death again invaded the mission circle. Little Geraldine Dale, daughter of the late Rev. Gerald F. Dale of Zahleh, died after a brief illness, a severe affliction to her already afflicted and widowed mother. This beautiful child was laid beside her father and sister in the mission cemetery. Then followed in two months the sudden death of Mrs. Dr. Wm. Schauffler, after childbirth, and on the day before Christmas I baptized little William Gray Schauffler over his mother's coffin. She was the daughter of my old Hebrew teacher in Union Seminary, Rev. Dr. Theron F. Hawkes, and the father was the grandson of the distinguished Dr. Schauffler, one of the Bible translators of Constantinople.
On September 3oth, Rev. Asaad Abdullah was ordained in Ain Zehalteh and has continued steadfast in the ministry and is now, after fifteen years, the useful pastor of the Beirut Evangelical Church.
About this time, one Quilliam, an Englishman in Liverpool, embraced Islam. He was invited to Constantinople and honoured and received the name of Mohammed Quilliam. The Moslem papers of the East rejoiced with great joy that now Mohammed Webb, who had collapsed in New York, was to be succeeded by a genuine English convert. Quilliam received money in aid of his scheme to convert England from Turkey, Egypt, and India. In 1903, the Moslem sheikh, Abdul Kerim Effendi Marat, of Medina, the Holy City of Islam (where Mohammed was buried), having heard of the great English Moslem, visited England and became the guest of Quilliam of Liverpool. He was surprised, shocked, disgusted. He wrote long letters to the Moslem Arabic journal Thomrat, No. 1,058, of Beirut, in which he described his feelings, on being met at the station by a dog-cart driven by a handsome young lady, daughter of Abdullah Quilliam, who wore a fancy hat, without a veil (God forbid!). She was one of the converts to Islam. The mosque was his house, the minaret, a balcony on the street. The prayer room war, fitted with seats like a church and at the time of prayer, Quilliam went up to the balcony and, 'Istughfur Allah!' (God forgive!) repeated in English a call to prayer. Then this unveiled girl sat down to a small organ and played the tunes, while the handful of men and boys sang out of books hymns such as the Christians use, with the name of Christ omitted! I was amazed. Then Quilliam said a few words, and they prayed, not in the required kneelings and bowings, but in a free and easy way shocking to the true believer. I found that he knew no Arabic, that he read The Koran in English (!) and that the women go unveiled like Christian women. He knows nothing about the principles and practice of Islam, but whenever he hears of men converted in Africa or India, he announces it to his subscribers in India or Turkey as the result of the labours of his missionaries. When the Emir of Afghanistan visited England, he gave Quilliam twenty-five hundred pounds, and the Prince of Lagos, West Africa, gave him one thousand pounds, supposing that he is printing Moslem books and leading the English people into Islam. He asked me to preach and I did. I told the whole truth. I told him that if, after being in Protestant schools twenty years, he really wished to serve the cause of Islam, he would have studied The Koran and Islamic books by bringing a learned sheikh here to teach Arabic and The Koran, whereas now he asks them to enter a religion of which he knows nothing.
"In leaving him, after thanking him for his hospitality, I said, 'I advise you at once to bring three learned Moslem sheikhs with the funds you receive from India and Turkey, and let them teach Arabic and the holy faith and publish a journal.' I also said, 'You must command your women and girls to veil their faces and never let any man but their fathers and husbands see them.' I reminded him that when six hundred negroes in Lagos with their emir had accepted Islam through agents we sent from the Hejaz in Arabia, he took my report of the same, and sent it to the Sheikh ul Islam in Constantinople claiming that these were converts of his agents whom he had sent to West Africa! I rebuked him for this barefaced lying in order to raise money. The fact is he knows nothing about Islam."
This is a literal translation of Sheikh Abdul Kerim's letter.
During this year, two itinerant evangelists, whom we will call X and Z, came to Syria. They held Bible readings and preached in chapels in Beirut and vicinity. They agreed on one point, and that was their suspicion and, jealousy of each other. X came to Dr. Mackie of the Anglo-American Church in Beirut and said, "I want to warn you against Z. He cannot be trusted. He will pry into the secrets of your families and then blaze them abroad in the pulpit. Look out for him." A few days later Z came to Dr. Mackie and said, "I hear you have asked X to preach in your pulpit - a great mistake, sir. He cannot be relied on. Those X's, even the bishop, are all a little off; beware of him." One of them afterwards asked permission to lecture on the Second Coming. It was known that be held radical arithmetical views on the subject. So a pledge was taken from him that he would not fix the day nor the year for the Second Coming of Christ. He solemnly promised that he would avoid that aspect of the subject. A learned elder of the Arabic Church acted as interpreter. After a time his arithmetic got the better of his conscience and he solemnly declared that "as sure as the Word of God is true, the times of the Gentiles will end in 1910, and Christ's reign on earth will begin. There will be no king, emperor, president, or sultan, and the Turkish Empire will come to an end!" The interpreter was terrified. There might be present a Turkish policeman or spy, and the interpreter and all his brethren be arrested as enemies of the Sultan. So he adroitly generalized the language and perhaps saved us from having our Sunday-school closed by the police!
After the meeting I confronted the man with his violation of his solemn pledge, - he did not seem to regret what he had done, but met my protest with "a smile that was bland."
It is often difficult to know what is duty when strangers come and ask permission to address the Sunday-school, the girls' boarding-school or the college.
It is generally necessary, however, to warn the eager speaker to avoid absolutely all flattering remarks about the "beautiful bright eyes of the girls," and the "intelligent faces" or "high promise" of the boys. I have often been obliged, when translating for a tourist speaker, to use my own discretion as to the amount of "soft soap" proper to be administered to the hearers.
One speaker in the college told the students that if they ever came to America he would be glad to see them in his home in -----. Out came the notebooks and within the next two years the quiet country study of this good man was invaded, to his dismay, by a number of eager youths, expecting that he would find them work in their adopted country. He had no means of furnishing them employment. They had taken him at his word. He had forgotten it, but they had not, and they were disappointed.
In several instances professors, pastors, and teachers have given high recommendations to young men for the foreign missionary work, and afterwards, when the men found they Were out of place and had to give up the work, those who recommended them admitted that they did it "with misgivings," as one seminary professor stated. The result was the expense of outfit, thousands of miles out and back, a disappointed labourer, a disappointed mission, and the loss of much money. I felt at the time that the man who had the "misgivings should now try to make amends for his imprudence by liberal givings" to make up the loss.
In August a Boston man bearing a familiar name wrote to me asking information about the Arabic language, and added the extraordinary "hope that you will not in your missionary work be guilty of indiscretion in disturbing the good-will of Ishmael." I wrote him that I was unable to grasp his meaning. According to Genesis 16:12, "Ishmael will be a wild man. His hand will be against every man and every man's hand will be against him." The Bedawin and the people of Arabia are the Ishmaelites of to-day. It is difficult to see how a foreigner can secure the "good-will" of such a body of robbers and murderers. They live by constant forays and cowardly midnight "ghazus" upon each others' camps.
The famous Mohammed Smair, the Bedawy emir who visited Beirut, told me that a Christian teacher or khotib might live among his tribe if he had a good horse and would migrate with the tribe in their nomadic life and live as they live, but he would have to help in the "ghazu" against other tribes. Our Boston friend might say that such a course would be justified if thereby we secure the "good-will" of the Arabs. The true way to secure the permanent good-will of these poor Ishmaelites would be to compel them to abandon their nomad life and internecine wars, settle down, and cultivate the soil and live in peace. This will come when there is a strong and honest government in Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia.
If the Boston scholar meant that the Gospel is not to be preached to the Arabs because they are Moslems, lest their "good-will" be disturbed, I will suggest that he read Matthew 10: 34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword." This is the teaching of the "Prince of Peace." Light dissipates darkness. Truth antagonizes error. Ahab charged Elijah with "troubling Israel." Elijah replied that the trouble came from Ahab and his idolatrous abandonment of God. In every mission field the "Gospel of Peace" stirs up strife and hostility. "Bonds and imprisonment" awaited Paul in every city. In our day in every heathen and Mohammedan land, sons are persecuted by fathers and fathers by sons. I have known an ignorant Maronite mother to poison her own son, a worthy and lovable man. Moslems hang or shoot or poison apostates and glory in their shame. Christ has bidden us to go and preach the Gospel. He says be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," but He also says, "go and teach all nations" that is "evangelize them, give them the pure Gospel," because they are sinners and need it, and without Christ they are lost.
In a land like this, every year yields its crop of cranks. Sometimes singly and sometimes in organized companies. The careful chronicle of all the religious, political, and ethical cranks who have ravaged the Holy Land during the past fifty years would furnish a fruitful theme for psychological research.
Here is one of them. In July, 1891, an archaeological friend wrote from Jerusalem that he had been playing "Halma" at the house of the British consul with the "Forerunner." Some time after, this "forerunner" appeared at Hasbeiya under Mount Hermon and put up at the school of an English lady. He was in sorry plight, his clothes ragged and dirty and no change of raiment; a package of dried plants about all he possessed. He was obliged to go to bed to have his garments washed and the good hostess was horrified to find that the guest-room had become infested with vermin of the third plague of Egypt.
He stated solemnly that be was the "'Forerunner" and that he was going to the summit of Hermon to meet the Lord and that then they were going to London to resurrect Dean Stanley!
He next appeared at the beautiful cottage home of Mr. and Mrs. Bird, in Abeih, Mount Lebanon, and asked for a lodging. Mrs. Bird, who is a model of the New England housewife, was no less horrified than was the Hasbeiya lady to see this unkempt, ragged, and unsavoury tramp entering her neat and spotless house. Here also he left vestiges. The family were amazed at his refined language and his knowledge of botanical science, yet none the less relieved when he took his departure. Soon after, Dr. George E. Post, of the college in Beirut, found a tramp asleep on the porch of his house, and ordered him to decamp. He begged for food, and promised to work, if the doctor would give him passage money to Alexandria. Dr. Post, who is a distinguished botanist, soon found out that the "pack" of this straggler contained dried plants and flowers. One thing led to another. The man said his name was S-----, from Boston. He had tramped on foot from the Suez Canal to Gaza and Jerusalem and thence through the land to Beirut, living on the people. The doctor agreed to pay his fare if he would write out a journal of his trip from Egypt to Beirut. He did so. It was written in elegant phrase, a model of Addisonian diction, humorous, keen in observation, and with a decided scientific turn. It was impossible to say whether the man was a scholar with a crazy streak of mental hallucination, or whether the "Forerunner" was assumed as a disguise to account for his unwashed person and filthy rags, and to enable him to beg his way through the tramp-trodden Holy Land.
This summer I had a visit from a tramp of quite another stamp. When at my desk in the press, Sheikh Mohammed Hassan, one of the keepers of the Sacred Haram of Mecca, was announced. He was not of the unwashed. He bad gone through all the ablutions of the orthodox Sunni Moslems from his youth up. His flowing robe and immaculate white turban, with his mellifluous Arabic, excited my admiration as it had done at about this time of the year for several years. He was on his annual round to gather in the spare copper and silver of the faithful. On his first visit he received a finely-bound Bible for the sherif of Mecca, which he afterwards reported as having been received with thanks. This time he descanted volubly on the noble generosity of the Americans and how they love all men and help all laudable enterprises. He then produced from under the folds of his robe a box of Mecca dates and a bottle of water from the Bir Zem Zem in Mecca. I accepted the dates with profuse thanks, but took pains to see that the Zem Zem bottle was well sealed, as the water is reputed to have more microbes to the ounce than any water on earth. It would have been preposterous to give a small present to such a distinguished and learned mendicant. I got off with two dollars and an Arabic book.
Several other "forerunners" have appeared in Palestine in latter years, leading all decent and sane people to wish that the wardens of insane hospitals in Europe and America would keep their lunatics at home.
The American diplomatic representatives at this time were Hon. S. Hirsch, United States Minister at the Porte and Mr. Erhard Bissinger, consul in Beirut, both of whom were efficient and conscientious men and an honour to their country. The American Mission in Syria sent to each of them letters of thanks and high appreciation of their efforts to promote American educational and benevolent interests in Turkey, as well as in the interests of our commerce.
As a rule, our representatives have been able men and efficient. In these fifty-one years I have known ten consuls in Beirut, and not more than three of them left Syria unregretted. Six were total abstinence men. Over a few, I would draw the veil. Up to the year 1906, their salaries were quite inadequate, and they were not able without great self-denial to maintain adequately the dignity of their country. The new consular regulations will insure the appointment of efficient men with sufficient support to make it worth the while of first-class men to enter the foreign consular service.
1892 - The year 1892 was marked by the death of Kamil in Bussorah, of Mr. R. Konawaty, an aged disciple of eighty in Beirut, and of Wassa Pasha, Governor of Mount Lebanon, June 29th, and the arrival of his successor, Naoom Pasha, September 4th.
Dr. and Mrs. S. Jessup, Rev. and Mrs. W. K. Eddy, and Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Bliss arrived from furloughs.
In April Dr. Van Dyck received the honorary degree of L.H.D. from the University of Edinburgh and on December 23rd, his friends, native and foreign, congratulated him and Mrs. Van Dyck on their golden wedding and presented him with a beautiful English cathedral clock.
On March 10th another Moslem convert, Mustafa from Damascus, passed through Beirut en route for the land of liberty. A young Moslem woman educated in a Christian school was summoned before the Maktubji, with her parents, and charged with being a Christian. She said, "Yes, I am a Christian: I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour and I am not afraid to confess Him before men. Do with me what you please. I belong to Jesus Christ and do not fear." The man threatened her but she was so calm and firm that he decided to let her alone. And she is as firm to-day (1909) as then.
On August 28th the first locomotive reached Jerusalem, and December 8th ground was broken in Beirut for the Beirut Damascus Railway. A great company of invited guests assembled on the spot, and while the Nakib el Ashraf Abdurahman Effendi Nahass offered an eloquent prayer, twelve sheep were sacrificed in front of him and the meat given to the poor. The sacrifice of sheep is a constant custom in Turkey on laying the cornerstone of any new building, or opening any new enterprise.
A division occurred in Beirut church and the seceding portion called a pastor of their own. It was a sad experience to all concerned, but the new native churches have to learn by experience, and the trials through which they pass may yet prove to be the means of greater ultimate success and progress. The only practical gain was the fact that the new church thus formed paid its own way without expense to the mission. Time is a great healer and the good men who have been temporarily separated will no doubt eventually come together again. I shall give no details of this church dissension, as it is clear that all parties would prefer that it be forgotten.
In January the zealous censor of the press expunged from our weekly Neshrah an account of the oppression of the Israelites by Pharaoh. He said that Egypt is under the Sultan and oppression of the Jews could not occur in Egypt. We were so stupefied by this display of learning and loyalty that we tamely submitted. The rebellion of Absalom was also forbidden to be mentioned, although taken verbatim from the Scriptures. In most cases we might appeal to the Waly, and the Walys are generally men of sense and experience and would overrule the decision of a petty press censor, but when your type is on the press and your hour of publication is at hand you have no time to draw up a formal protest on stamped paper stating your grievances. In the fall of that same year, we printed a collection of eulogiums of the Bible by eminent men. These were all stricken out as implying that The Koran was not the only divine book in the world, and our paper threatened with suppression if we repeated such language!
Swarms of locusts again appeared in Syria. In Aleppo the Waly ordered every man in the district to bring one oke (three pounds) to the government inspectors, to be destroyed. Four million okes were brought according to the official journal, or about 5,500 tons. These flights of locusts are terrific. They darken the sky and lighting down, destroy every green thing. I have seen them three or four inches deep on the ground. A tailor in Beirut when ordered out with the rest of the crowd to gather a sack full of locusts, brought back his sack after sunset and locked it up in his shop. Each locust's body contains about ninety eggs like the spawn of a fish. The tailor was taken down with a fever that night and did not return for a month. On his return, he opened the door and a swarm of young "gowgahs" came jumping out like gigantic fleas, black imps with heads like horses. The eggs had hatched out and for his two thousand locusts, he had 18o,ooo, completely covering his shop and ruining his stock of goods.
An event of the year greatly regretted by the mission was the resignation of Dr. James S. Dennis.
Owing to a quarrel in the Orthodox Greek Church in Damascus, three hundred Greeks declared themselves Protestants and attended the Protestant church. The missionaries welcomed them and gave them daily evangelical instruction, but felt assured from the outset that it was only the "morning cloud and early dew," and was only meant as a menace to the other party to yield and in a short time the whole three hundred who had marched up the hill marched down again and resumed their prayers to the holy pictures and the Virgin.
A new mosque having been built in Tripoli, Syria, it was dedicated June 17th, by the arrival of three hairs from the beard of Mohammed, from Constantinople. Thousands of Moslems went down to the seaport to greet the casket, and half-naked men danced in the procession and cut themselves with knives amid the jubilation of the populace. In the addresses made on the occasion, according to the Moslem journals, there was no explanation as to what special virtue came from these relics. It has been supposed that the Moslems borrowed the custom from the Christian crusaders who carried off shiploads of relics from the Holy Land to Europe. The conduct of the ignorant populace can be explained, as it can in the Orthodox Greek orgies at the fraudulent Greek fire at Easter in Jerusalem, and the worshipping of bones and hairs and other relics of reputed saints in almost every papal church in Europe; but the winking of Greek and Roman bishops and Moslem effendis and kadis at such puerile superstition, and giving them the sanction of their presence and cooperation cannot be too severely condemned.
In April, I wrote to Dr. Dennis in New York pleading by order of the mission for reinforcements. It was urged that "Dr. Van Dyck is seventy-two, Dr. Eddy sixty-four, H. H. Jessup sixty, S. Jessup fifty-nine, Dr. Daniel Bliss at the college sixty-nine, and Mr. Bird sixty-nine. You may get 'bottom out of such venerable steeds, but you cannot expect much I speed.' I am feeling somewhat the burdens of this year, and the confusing secularities of running a printinghouse, in addition to my preaching and teaching duties with my voluminous correspondence, sometimes make my head swim. I don't think I could carry this load another year. We must have one or two first-rate young men in training to take our places before we break down."
I now add to the above, sixteen years later, that Dr. Van Dyck, Dr. Eddy, Mr. Bird and W. K. Eddy have gone to their reward, Dr. Dennis and Mr. Watson resigned, a loss of six men, and only five, Messrs. Doolittle, Erdman, S. D. Jessup, Nicol and Brown, have come in their place, so that the mission is numerically weaker in 1909 than in 1892, and I am seventy-six and a half, and my brother seventy-five and a half.
Dr. R. Anderson, in giving his consent to the establishment of the Syrian Protestant College, expressed the fear that its teaching English would result in denationalizing the Syrians, making them restless, and unfitting them for the work of humble pastors and preachers in their own country. He instanced the results of English teaching in India as disastrous to the training of a native ministry.
It is not easy now to say what would have been the effect of making English the language of instruction in the college, had all things remained as they were. But the discovery of America by certain Syrian merchants in 1876, and the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 put a new phase on the future of Syrian youth. The demand for English-speaking and English-trained doctors, lawyers, surveyors, and engineers, clerks and accountants in the Anglo-Egyptian military and civil service, tempted the best trained youth of Syria to go to Egypt. Then the opening El Dorado for Syrian dealers in Oriental wares and fabrics in North and South America, Mexico, and Australia sent, first, hundreds and then thousands of Syrians, men, women, and children, to seek their fortune beyond the seas. Many sent back thousands of dollars, and the rumour of their success spread over the land. Then steamer agents and emigrant agency runners visited the towns and villages and sounded the praises of America, Brazil and Argentine, etc., until every steamer to Naples and Marseilles went crowded with hopeful Syrians. Was the teaching in the college and boys' boarding-schools responsible for this phenomenal exodus? The answer must be affirmative with regard to Egypt. The Egyptian and Sudanese governments want bright, intelligent young Syrians, well up in English, and with a sound moral training, and this class largely goes to Egypt. But the rank and file of the tens of thousands of emigrants know no language but Arabic and literally "go forth not knowing whither they are going." Not a few college men are in the United States, but I was surprised on examining the Syrian Protestant College catalogue for 1906 to find that only fifty-eight college graduates are now in the United States, and eighty-seven in Egypt, or a hundred and forty-five in all, out of one thousand three hundred and eighty-seven graduates in all departments.
It is perhaps true that a knowledge of English has increased the number of emigrants, but their number is small as compared with the whole, number of emigrants. Professor Lucius Miller of Princeton, who was for three years tutor in the Beirut College, spent a year in collecting statistics of the Syrian Colony in New, York for the New York Federation of Churches, and he found the Protestant Syrians comprise fewer illiterate, and more educated men and women in proportion to their whole number than those of any other Syrian sect in New York.
The figures are as follows:
Able to read and write Arabic
Protestant . .. . 6o.1.% Maronite…. 39.4%
Greek . . . . 44. % Catholic . . . 33.7%
Able to read and write English
Protestant . . . 60. 1 % Maronite . . . 19.1%
Greek ....25.8% Catholic . . . 13.1%
This ratio would hold good with regard to the Protestant sect in the whole Turkish Empire as compared with other sects. It is the best educated of all the sects owing chiefly to the American schools. The priest-ridden district of Maronite Northern Lebanon stands among the lowest. The Maronite higher clergy and the hordes of lazy worthless monks have gradually seized upon the best landed property and roll in wealth leaving the children and youth uneducated. Of late years a few, like the late Archbishop Dibbs of Beirut, have opened high schools, but the villages are left in ignorance. Emigration, however, is beginning to break up this monotone of ignorance and illiteracy. Many of the emigrants have returned with liberal ideas and will not submit to priestly tyranny and are demanding schools under American and English auspices. The next twenty-five years will see a great change in the power and influence of this proud and tyrannical hierarchy.
During this year, the Protestant missionaries in Constantinople drew up, signed, and forwarded to all the Protestant ambassadors an appeal protesting against the attempted suppression of Bible sale and colportage in the empire. The result was, after long delay, a new order forbidding interference with Bible work.
In the Hatti Humayoun of February, 1856, it is said that It each community inhabiting a distinct quarter shall have equal power to repair and improve its churches, hospitals, schools, and cemeteries. The Sublime Porte will "insure to each sect, whatever be the number of its adherents, entire freedom in the exercise of its religion." Yet there is constant obstruction of every effort to build churches or open schools.
The Presbyterian church in Plainfield (New Jersey), Dr. W. R. Richards, pastor, sent out this year as a gift to the mission a new Walter Scott printing machine, made, in Plainfield, and it arrived in May. On reaching the custom-house, the appraisers valued it at about double its real worth and I insisted that if they held their ground, they must "take their pay in kind." They then summoned several proprietors of presses in the city to aid in the appraisal and it was fixed at $800, on which we paid eight per cent. duty, or $64. We had also to pay moderate bucksheesh to boatmen, porters, inspectors, appraisers, clerks, scribes, copyists, overseers, doorkeepers, and watchmen for facilitating the egress of the machine. It was set up by means of a winch and tackle blocks by Mr. R. Somerville. This machine added greatly to the efficiency of our press, and is a memorial of the liberality of the Crescent Avenue Church.
We were at that time shipping books by mule and donkey to the Lebanon villages and the cities of Syria and Palestine; by post to Hamadan, Ispahan and Tabriz in Persia; by sea, to Constantinople, Mogador, Tangier, Algiers, Tunis, Egypt and Zanzibar. Egypt was and is still our best customer. We send also to Aden in Arabia, to Bombay and other parts of India, and to Bussorah and Bushire on the Persian Gulf, and also to Rio Janeiro, San Paolo (Brazil), and to New York, Chicago, Toledo, Philadelphia, Lawrence, Mass., and other Syrian colonies in America. In concluding my letter of acknowledgment to the Plainfield friends, I said, "The labour is ours, the results are God's. It is a privilege to preach the Gospel and to print and scatter God's Word throughout the world. May the Holy Spirit attend our teaching and preaching and our printing with His own mighty power from on high. The Lord raise up missionaries from your church in Plainfield and send them forth to the whitening harvest field! I can testify after thirty-six years of service in Syria that the missionary work is a blessed work indeed and can commend it to your young Christians as a happy and glorious work. It was instituted by the command and is crowned with the promised blessing of the Son of God."
In September, at the request of Dr. Arthur Pierson of the Missionary Review, I sent him an article on Educational Missions, of which the following is the substance:
We have given much of time and strength to mission schools but not to the detriment and neglect of other departments of the work. Schools have been looked upon as vital to missionary success, and yet only as a means to an end, not as the end itself. Schools were called "entering wedges" and such they really were, introducing the Gospel in many districts where otherwise, as far as could be seen, neither Bible nor missionary would have been allowed to enter.
Education is only a means to an end in Christian missions, and that end is to lead men to Christ and teach them to become Christian peoples and nations. When it goes beyond this and claims to be in itself an end; that mere intellectual and scientific eminence are objects worthy of the Christian missionary, that it is worth while for consecrated missionaries and missionary societies to aim to have the best astronomers, geologists, botanists, surgeons, and physicians in the realm for the sake of the scientific prestige and the world-wide reputation; then we do not hesitate to say that such a mission has stepped out of the Christian and missionary sphere into one purely secular, scientific, and worldly. Such a work might be done by a, Heidelberg or a Cambridge, a Harvard or a Sheffield, but not by a missionary society labouring for purely spiritual ends. The Syria Mission has had wide experience in the matter of education. The missionaries have had a larger proportion of literary and educational work thrown upon them than is common in Asiatic and African missions.
The Syrian people differ from the "Nature" tribes of Africa, and the settled communities of Central and Eastern Asia, in having been engaged for centuries in the conflict between the corrupt forms of Christianity, the religion of Islam, and the sects of semi-Paganism. There being no political parties in the empire, the inborn love of political dissent finds its vent in the religious sects. A man's religion is his politics, that is, his sect takes the place occupied in other countries by the political party. To separate any Syrian from his religious sect is to throw him out of his endeared political party with all its traditions and prejudices.
A Christian missionary must steer clear of all these racial and sectarian political jealousies and try to teach loyalty to the "powers that be," the common brotherhood of man, and offer to all a common Saviour. The Holy Spirit is indeed omnipotent, and can make men of these hostile sects one in Christ "by the word of His power," just as He can place a Tammany ward politician side by side with a negro Republican at the Lord's table.
But as human nature is, it generally requires early Christian training to break down these ancient sectarian antipathies. Men and women converted in adult years from various sects find it hard to forget their former differences and on slight occasions the old political lines define themselves with perilous vividness. It is different with youths of different sects when educated together, and the brightest examples of mutual love and confidence have been found among the young men and women trained for years together in Christian schools.
The present educational work of the Syria Mission has been a gradual growth. The 119 common schools were as a rule located in places where previously there were no schools. In not a few cases high schools have been opened in the same towns by native sects, who, as experience shows, would close their schools at once were the evangelical schools withdrawn.
The total of pupils in 1891 was 7,117. If we add to this at least an equal number in the schools of other Protestant missions in Syria and Palestine, we have a total of about 15,000 children under evangelical instruction in the land.
This is a work of large extent and influence, and it is of the first importance to know whether these schools are helping in the work of evangelization. To aid in a correct estimate on this point, we should remember that:
1. The Bible is a text-book in all of them. These thousands of children are taught the Old and New Testaments, "Line upon Line," "Life of St. Paul," the catechisms, and the advanced pupils the "Bible Hand Book," Scripture history and geography. The Bible tests at the foundation of them all.
2. As far as possible, none but Christian teachers, communicants in the churches, are employed in these schools. The common schools are thus Bible schools, and where the teachers are truly godly men, their prayers and example give a strong religious influence to their teaching, and in the high schools daily religious instruction is given in the most thorough manner.
3. Sometimes a school has been maintained for years in a village without any apparent spiritual result, either among the children or their parents, and yet there are numerous instances in which the school has been the means of the establishment of a church and a decided religious reformation.
4. The mission schools in Turkey have had one important effect and that is that the Protestant community has for its size less illiteracy than any other community in the empire, more readers than any other, and is in consequence more intelligent.
In the towns and cities where the high schools are situate, the majority of the additions to the churches come from the children and the youth trained in the schools.
6. It is the unanimous testimony of intelligent natives of all sects that the intellectual awakening of modern Syria is due, in the first instance, to the schools of the American missions. They were the first and have continued for over sixty years, and the most of the institutions now in existence in Syria, native and foreign, have grown out of them or have been directly occasioned by them.
7. If the question be raised, as to the comparative cost of educational and non-educational missions, it is doubtless true that the educational are the most costly.
The Syrian Protestant College is an endowed institution separate from the Board of Missions, and its expensive edifices, which are an honour to American Christianity and an ornament to the city, were erected without cost to the Board of Missions.
Since coming under the Presbyterian Board of Missions in 1870, the mission has introduced the English language in addition to the Arabic into its boys' and girls' boarding-schools, and many of its day-schools. The English and Scotch schools all teach the English language. In this way many thousands of Syrian youths have learned English, and the Romish and Greek schools are also teaching it in addition to French and Arabic.
The question now arises, "Cui bono?" Has twenty-five years' experience in teaching English justified the hopes and expectations of the American missionaries? We reply that it has, and that beyond all question. The limited scope of Arabic literature, though greatly extended during the past thirty years by the Christian Press, makes it impossible for one to attain a thorough education without the use of a foreign language.
One needs but to turn the pages of the catalogue of the Syrian Protestant College and of the Protestant girls' boarding-schools to see the names of men and women who are now the leaders in every good and elevating enterprise, authors, editors, physicians, preachers, teachers, and business men who owe their success and influence to their broad and thorough education. They are scattered throughout Syria, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa, and North and South America.
The advocates of a purely vernacular system sometimes point to another side of the question which is plain to every candid observer, namely, that the English-speaking youth of both sexes are leaving the country and emigrating to Egypt and America. This is true and to such an extent as to be phenomenal. The Christian youth of Syria, Protestant and Catholic, Greek and Armenian, are emigrating by thousands. The promised land is not now east and west of the Jordan, but cast and west of the Mississippi and the Rio de la Plata. And the same passion for emigration prevails in Asia Minor, Eastern Turkey, Mesopotamia. It is a striking if not a startling providential fact. The Christian element in Turkey is seeking a freer and fairer field for development. The ruling power is Moslem. Its motto has become "This is a Moslem land and Moslems must rule it."
The Chicago Fair fanned the emigration fever to a flame. It has taken hold of all classes, and farmers, planters, mechanics, merchants, doctors, teachers, preachers, young men and women, boys and girls, even old men and women, are setting out in crowds for the El Dorado of the West. A company of plain peasants will pay high wages for an English-speaking boy or girl to go with them as interpreter. There is thus a premium on the English language. The English occupation of Egypt and Cyprus has acted in the same direction by opening new avenues of employment.
On the other hand ignorance of English does not deter the people from emigrating. It is a deep-seated popular impulse, wide-spread and irresistible, and it is equally strong in Eastern Turkey where little has been done in teaching the English language. The land is too narrow for its people, at least under the present regime. The Moslems cannot get away, and few have gone. It cannot be claimed that the teaching of English alone has produced this great movement, for the masses of emigrants do not know a word of English. The reason is a desire to better their condition, "to buy and sell and get gain," and in some cases, a longing to live under a Christian government. Whether the Syrians, like the Chinese, will return to their own land, is a problem as yet unsolved.
The residence of Americans here for sixty years, the great numbers of American tourists who yearly pass through Syria and Palestine, the teaching of geography in the schools, the general spread of light, the news published in the Arabic journals, and the increase of population with no corresponding openings for earning a living, these and many other causes have now culminated in this emigration movement which is sending a Semitic wave across seas and continents. Let us hope and pray that those who do at length return to the East will return better and broader and more useful men and women than if they had never left their native land.
It must be that there is a divine plan and meaning in it all, and that the result will be great moral gain to Western Asia in the future. The suspension of the mission schools in Syria would be a disaster. These thousands of children would be left untaught, or at least deprived of Bible instruction We do not see cause for modifying our system of Christian education. Its great mission is yet to be performed. These schools in which the Bible is taught are doing a gradual, leavening work among thousands who, thus far, do not accept the Word of God.
There will yet be a new Phoenicia, a new Syria, better cultivated, better governed, with a wider diffusion of Christian truth, a nobler sphere for women, happier homes for the people, and that contentment which grows out of faith in God and man.
The schools will help on this consummation. The press will hasten it. The Christian pulpit will prepare the way for it. The churches and congregations now existing and yet to be formed will lay the foundations for it, and the distribution of the Bible will confirm it and make it enduring. We believe in Christian mission schools. With all the drawbacks in expense and toil, and at times the semi-secularization of the missionary labourer, they are a blessing to any land. They let in the light. They teach the Bible to the children. They conciliate the parents, remove prejudice, root up old superstition, brighten and cheer the hearts of the little ones and the houses of their parents and lead many to a true knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ.
They are a means to an end, and that end is the salvation of souls and the glory of God.
1893 - The chief events in the mission in 1893 were the resolution recommending the founding of an industrial orphanage in Sidon, the resignation of Miss Rebecca M. Brown from the Sidon Girls' Seminary, the baptism of another Mohammedan, Andraus, the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle for Sidon, the transfer of Mrs. Dale to Sidon for the year, and the arrival in Beirut of Dr. Mary Pierson Eddy from New York and Constantinople, having obtained, November 22, 1893, the first official permit granted to a woman to practice medicine in the Turkish Empire on the same terms as have been previously granted to men only. The learned professors in the Imperial Medical College were for a long time incredulous as to the competency of a woman to master medical science, but when they finally consented to give her a medical examination and she passed triumphantly, they were warm in their congratulations and gave her not only the legal diploma, but also letters of introduction to the different Turkish authorities in Syria.
She has attained a wide reputation and her hospital clinics at Maamiltein and her itinerant camps are crowded with patients.
Among the prominent visitors to Syria this year were exSecretary of State John W. Foster and wife, and Dr. F. E. Clark, founder of the Christian Endeavour Society. Both of these eminent men made addresses in Beirut full of Christian wisdom and earnestness.
In May I prepared two papers for the World's Congress of Religions and Missions in Chicago, one on "The Religious Mission of the English-speaking Nations," and the other on "Triumphs of the Gospel in the Ottoman Empire." As both of these papers were published in the volume of Reports, I need not allude to them in detail. I had no fear of ill effects from that congress.
Two tragic events occurred during the year. The first was the sinking of the splendid British battle-ship Victoria off Tripoli harbour, june 22d, by collision with the Camperdown, in which 375 officers and men lost their lives. The fleet had been five days off Beirut, and Admiral Sir George Tryon and his officers bad been entertained in a garden party on the grounds of Colonel Trotter, H. B. M. consul-general. The admiral was most affable. He spoke to Dr. Bliss and myself of Mr. Andrew Carnegie's recent plea for an alliance of the Anglo-Saxon nations. We remarked to him that on the recent visit of the French fleet the ships went to Tripoli, and in the evening as a cloud hung over Tripoli, the gleam of the search-lights could be seen herein Beirut forty miles distant. He said, "On Friday evening you will see the search-lights of our fleet at Tripoli." Alas, on Friday evening the admiral and his good ship and 375 men were at the bottom of the sea! The ships left Beirut Friday morning in two parallel lines far apart. They kept far out beyond the Tripoli islands and were to make a great curve around to the north and then turn inward and backward and deploy on another parallel line inside the double line of sailing. As they turned, the viceadmiral signalled, inquiring if they were not too near to make that curve. The answer of the admiral was, "Go ahead!" They went ahead and as they turned inward, the Caynperdown struck the Victoria back of the starboard bow, crushing in the solid armour and letting in the sea in a mighty stream. Rapid signals were interchanged, and there was for a moment danger that the other huge floating castles would collide, but they were managed with marvellous skill. The boats were lowered and hastened to rescue their comrades who had flung themselves into the sea. Then as the Victoria sank bows foremost, the engines still moving and the screw revolving in the air, there was a fearful explosion and hundreds of men were sucked down to the depths in eighty fathoms of water. Two hundred and sixty-three men were rescued and 375 were lost.
Dr. Ira Harris, missionary in Tripoli, was on the shore and saw the Victoria disappear. Dr. M---- a Syrian physician, a graduate of the Syrian Protestant College, saw the Victoria go down and remarked to Dr. Harris, "One of them has gone down -it is one of those submarines. Watch and we shall see it come up again." Soon after, the boats came ashore and officers telegraphed to the consul-general in Beirut of the awful disaster. As they sat on the shore, they recited the full details of the dreadful event and Dr. Harris took notes. No officer was allowed to write or telegraph to the British public the details. When the cablegram reached England of the bare fact, "Victoria sunk," and thence to New York, the New York World, finding that Dr. Harris was their only subscriber in Syria, cabled him to telegraph them full details. With all the facts now in his possession he obtained the use of the telegraph office and sent off a detailed account of hundreds of words as he had heard it from the officers on the wharf. That telegram was printed in New York, repeated to London, and published by the New York World in London before any reliable report had been given to the British public. The search for the bodies of the dead men was long and thorough, on the spot, and on the adjacent shores, but few were ever found. Six bodies were brought ashore and buried in a plot given by the Sultan, adjoining the American Mission cemetery. Fragments of furniture floated up on the coast of Akkar and were collected by the peasants. Owing to the great depth, no divers could be employed, and that colossal steel coffin lies on the bottom, never to be touched by man, safer than the famous porphyry sarcophagus of Ashmunazer, Phoenician King of Sidon, who inscribed a curse upon any one who should disturb his tomb, and yet that tomb is now in the Louvre in Paris. The reason of Admiral Tryon's failing to heed the warning signal will never be known. It was understood that he said to the officer who stood by him on the bridge, when he saw that the ships were colliding, "I only am to blame," and he went down, holding to the railing of the bridge.
A part of the fleet remained on the coast for some weeks. Ex-Admiral Sir George Wellesley, a nephew of the Duke of Wellington, was at this time visiting his daughter, Mrs. Colonel Trotter, and accepted the invitation of his old subaltern officer, Captain Benham of the Camperdown, to be his guest on this cruise along the Syrian coast. He was on the deck of the Camperdown when the collision occurred and saw the awful scene in all its heartrending details. He returned to Beirut on a dispatch boat the next day, but was so heart-broken that be could not speak. After four days I called upon him with my brother Samuel, and it was most pathetic to witness his manly grief over the loss of his friend Sir George Tryon and so many brave men.
Another event which deeply affected the Mohammedan, populace, and might have led to another massacre, was the burning of the famous Mosque of Amweh in Damascus, October 19th. A Jewish tinman had been soldering the leaden plates on the roof and left his hand furnace while he went to his noon meal. A high wind sprang up which fanned the fire to a flame, the lead melted, the boards and timbers beneath took fire, and owing to the great height and the want of fire engines, the whole roof was destroyed, as well as many treasures within the building. At first ill-disposed persons charged it on the Christians and a panic fell on the city. But the pasha published the facts and the excitement subsided. But the Arabic and Turkish journals were prohibited from alluding to it in any way, and months after, when subscriptions were made up by wealthy Moslems, the mosque was not mentioned, but the gifts were acknowledged " for the sake of religious objects This mosque was originally the "House of Rimmon," then the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist, then half of it was made into a mosque by Khalid, the "Sword of Mohammed" and finally the whole was seized by Welid, who himself destroyed the attar.
When the Sultan decided to order it rebuilt, the Waly of Damascus telegraphed the Sultan that "the city of Damascus will alone rebuild it." This produced great indignation, as the Damascenes wished it rebuilt in magnificent style with the aid of the Sultan himself. In December, Mohammed Said Pasha, manager of the Hajj pilgrim caravan, subscribed one thousand Turkish pounds, Yusef Pasha three hundred and fifty, and Beit Odham seven hundred and fifty. Contributions of poplar and walnut timbers were made by the villagers and brought into the city with music and shouts of joy. Plans were decided on, and quarrymen, stone carvers, carpenters, decorators, and gilders employed, and the work of construction was carried on for thirteen years. Presents of costly and beautiful rugs of great size were sent from all parts of the empire and Egypt. Today the work is about complete, and the tomb of John the Baptist in the midst is elegantly adorned.
The pilgrimage to Mecca this year was unprecedently large owing to the "Wakfat," or standing on Mount Arafat, coming on Friday. This is regarded as a most auspicious concurrence, and the throng was immense. Unfortunately the cholera broke out among them and there were a thousand deaths a day. A Beirut sailor, Hassan, who was there, told me that as the procession started from Mecca out to Jebel Arafat, the men kept dropping dead by the way and the bodies were left in the field, and on reaching the place of sacrifice, the great trenches, dug by the Turkish soldiers for burying the offal of the tens of thousands of slaughtered sheep, were filled with the bodies of dead pilgrims. Hassan said he felt no fear at the time but the sight was horrible. All good Moslems regard it as a special blessing to be able to die in the Holy City of Mecca or near it.
Just at this time Mohammed Webb was parading his newfledged Islamism in the Chicago World's Congress. He stated that "Woman under Islam is the mistress of the home." The Interior asked him, "Which one of her? As she is in the plural number, anywhere from two to twenty? Will Mr. Webb tell us which one of the twenty is mistress?"
I sent to Sir William Muir a second Arabic manuscript by the author of the "Bakurat," called "Minar ul Hoc," which Dr. Van Dyck pronounced superior in argument even to the "Bakurat." Sir William was greatly impressed by it, and after numerous letters had been interchanged by us, he obtained its publication in Arabic and also a clear translation of it into English, to which he wrote a preface, in which he says, "I am unhesitatingly of opinion that, taken as a whole, no apology of the Christian faith, carrying similar weight and urgency, has ever been addressed to the Mohammedan world, and I look upon it as the duty of the Church, should this opinion be concurred in, to take measures for the translation of 'Minar ul Hoc' into the vernacular of every land inhabited by those professing the Moslem faith, and to see that all missionaries in these lands have the means of becoming familiar with its contents."
In November, 1893, Rev. J. Phillips of Damascus was returning from Ireland to Syria, and had in his baggage a number of maps. They were nearly all confiscated. A large valuable map of Europe happened to have on the east end a strip of Asia with the word, "Armenia." For that ill-omened word the map was confiscated. A map of "Palestine under the kingdoms of Judah and Israel" was destroyed, as "the Sultan Abdul Hamid cannot acknowledge any kingdoms of Judah and Israel in his empire." Mr. Phillips remarked that this referred to a period many centuries before Christ. The triumphant reply was, "But this map was not made then. Judah and Israel did not know how to make maps." That is, all ancient maps showing the historic empire of the past are to be suppressed as dangerous to the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
Really the Sultan ought to know what a set of ignorant blunderers are appointed censors over the literature of his realm. There are intelligent, educated young men enough to fill honourably this office, but they are not generally worth enough to buy official position.
The death of Rev. Dr. Arthur Mitchell, secretary of our Board of Missions, was to me a personal affliction. He was not only an accomplished scholar, of great literary ability and a powerful pen, but personally of winning and attractive sweetness of character. He had strong faith and a tender, sympathetic nature. I shall never forget his address at a public meeting in Beirut, describing his feelings as he sailed. up the great rivers of China at night. The steamer passed city after city of 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, and so on, and he asked how many missionaries were here and there? None none, none, was the awful reply-no light here ---- all heathen darkness! And he said that such a feeling of awe and horror and sorrow came over him in thinking of Christ's command and of His Church's neglect and the blackness of darkness resting like a pall on these millions, that he was quite overcome.
The most notable events in the history of the Syria Mission in 1894 were the deaths of two octogenarian members of the mission, Rev. William M. Thomson, D. D., aged eighty-nine, who died at the house of his daughter, Mrs. Walker, in Denver, Colorado, April 8th; and Mr. George C. Hurter, for twenty years (from 1841 to 1861) printer for the American Mission Press, who died in Hyde Park, Mass., December 29th, aged eighty years. Of Dr. Thomson's life-work, full account has been even in a previous chapter.
Mr. Hurter was born in Malta, May 10, 1813, his father being Swiss and his mother a native of England. He worked first in Corfu on a Greek and Latin lexicon. Then he lived in Leghorn and Marseilles and went to the United States in 1838, where, in Xenia, Ohio, he printed a newspaper for two years. In 1839 he married Miss Elizabeth Grozier of Roxbury, and in 1841 was appointed by the A. B. C. F. M. to the mission press in Syria. Returning to America in 1861 for family reasons, he laboured at his trade and did business with Beirut, being the first to introduce petroleum oil and lamps into Syria. He was a man of simple, childlike faith, a lover of prayer, and a student of God's Word. His pressmen in Beirut loved him. His life was pure and blameless. His pastor, Rev. Mr. Davis, of Hyde Park, said at his funeral, "He was for twenty years my parishioner, and I loved and admired him exceedingly. I think he came the nearest to being a perfect man of any that I have, ever known." He celebrated his golden wedding in 1889 and survived his wife by one year.
On being presented with an encyclopedia a year before his death, he was asked what part of it he would enjoy the most, and his characteristic reply was, "Finding the typographical mistakes."
Would that all lay missionaries had his patience, gentleness, fidelity, perseverence, and brotherly kindness. His prayers were most touching and edifying. Men like Dr. Eli Smith and Dr. rliomson, and some of us lesser lights as well, always enjoyed a prayer-meeting led by Mr. Hurter.
This year the theological class was again opened in Mount Lebanon, this time at Suk el Gharb, May 16th, as a summer school. The instructors were Dr. W. W. Eddy, Dr. Samuel Jessup, Mr. Hardin, and Mr. B. Barudi. This plan continued with intervals until 1905, when it was resumed in the newly' purchased Misk house adjoining the church in Beirut.
In February of this year, another professed convert from Islam to Christianity came to Beirut. His name is Ibmbim Effendi from Bagdad - a man about thirty-five years of age, of scholarly bearing, refined and courteous. He said he was the brother of the wife of Abbas Effendi, the new Babi religious head, who last year succeeded Beha Allah in Acre. Threatened three years ago in Bagdad because he would not become a Babi, he fled to Deir on the Euphrates and practiced pharmacy, and from there came to Beirut. He was looking for a place where he could work for Moslems without restriction from the government. I wrote to Mr. Zwemer at Bahrain about him, and on reaching Alexandria, April 28th, I found him there an attendant on the religious services of Rev. Dr. Ewing.
I left Syria on furlough with Mrs. Jessup and my daughters, Anna and Amy, April 25th, for needed rest, or rather for a change of work in the intense life of America. We arrived in New York May 28th, and by December 31st I had delivered seventy-four addresses and sermons and had travelled many hundreds of miles, from Boston to St. Paul, Minn.
As in previous visits to America, the most refreshing and comforting feature of that year was revisiting my childhood's home, meeting brothers and sisters and their children, walking with brother William, the judge, over the old farm, seeing the stock, gathering blackberries and raspberries in the "clearings." Fishing in the old trout brooks, and in Jones Lake, Heart Lake, and Silver Lake, entering the old church and seeing the new generation of rosy, bright children in the Sunday-school, meeting the elders and deacons, a very few of whom I knew way back in 1855 and of whom I had read in the village paper all these years; attending the County Agricultural Fair, and addressing the farmers in the grove; meeting on the street men and women whose face and names had long been familiar; and breathing the clear, fresh air of that beautiful village, my native place, Montrose, with its broad streets, shaded by maple trees and its village green and lawns, with its wide view over the forest clad hills of Susquehanna County; the very thought of these, as I write among the oaks: and olive trees and vine-clad terraces of Mount Lebanon, brings joy and comfort to my heart of hearts.
During the latter months of 1894 and the early part of 1895, I found myself beset with letters, interviews, and questions for lectures and addresses on the Armenian question, which at that time was exciting the whole civilized world. I found it necessary to be "wise as a serpent" that I might be "harmless as a dove." Having lived thirty-eight years (at that time) in the Turkish Empire, and expecting to return, it would not have been I wise of me, as one of a body of some two hundred and fifty American missionaries, to tell all I knew or express all I felt with regard to those infamous massacres. I had no patience with Armenian revolutionists, who, at a safe distance, were stirring up their coreligionists in the interior of a Moslem Empire to revolt. It was on the face of it a hopeless and cruel policy. Were the Armenians all concentrated in one province, with one language and religion, they might reasonably have appealed to Europe - I give them equal privileges with Bulgaria, under the suzerainty of the Sultan. But they are scattered over an immense territory, intermingled with an overwhelming majority of Moslems, so that a general uprising was only a signal for punishment by the government. But on the other hand, nothing can justify any government on earth in punishing a handful of revolutionists by a wholesale massacre of men, women, and children. No civilized government could do it, or would do it. The real rebels could have been arrested and punished with ease, without annihilating the whole population.
I found it difficult therefore to speak on the subject and was careful to avoid the ubiquitous newspaper interviewers. Alas for the unwary, who fall into their snares, especially if the one visiting you be a cultivated lady. What can you do? If you turn your back and refuse to speak, they will invent an interview and saddle upon you utterances which when in print make your hair stand on end.
One interviewer made me say that there were three millions of Moslem converts to Christianity in Syria. Others have fathered upon me statements which must have led the public to regard me as recently escaped from a lunatic asylum. Much as we writhe under the inane censorship of the press in Syria, I felt when in America, on reading the curious and inexplicable blunders made in reports of my own language, that a moderate censorship of the unbridled statements of the reporters would not be an unmixed evil.
When in Chicago, October 22, 1894, Dr. Hillis kindly invited me to attend the ministers' meeting in Association Hall. They begged me to speak on the Armenian question. I consented on condition that no report of my remarks be published without being first submitted to we for correction. Mr. Ford, of the Chicago News, was the reporter, and agreed to write out the remarks verbatim and bring them to me. He met me at the "Big Four" railroad station the next morning as I was leaving with Mrs. Jessup for Indianapolis and handed me the report. It was admirably done, and after making a few corrections in proper names and figures, I returned it to him. Some of the Armenians in New York afterwards called on me and objected to my allusions to the "Revolutionary Committee" which was working from Russian soil to inflame the minds of the Armenian peasantry in Turkey. I replied that the wisest thing the Armenians in America could do was to dissuade those misguided Armenians in Russia from occasioning disaster and ruin to the poor Armenians in Turkey.
The working force in Syria was weakened this year by the departure of Miss M. C. Holmes, on account of the feeble health of her mother, and of Miss Mary T. M. Ford, another faithful labourer. Both of them are now (1909) on the field again, though doing work independent of our mission-excellent work which needs no praise from me. Miss Holmes has a school in Jebail half-way between Beirut and Tripoli, a town never before occupied by a missionary, and Miss Ford is doing brave pioneer work among the neglected tribes of Upper Galilee and the Hauran.
Among the returning missionaries after absence in America were Dr. George A. Ford and his mother, Miss E. Thomson and Prof. A. Day, Miss C. H. Brown and Mrs. Dr. George E. Post.
In the fall, I stopped one day on 12th Street near Broadway, where men were blasting for a foundation and had thrown out beautiful glistening slabs of mica slate. Having made friends with a good-natured labourer, I made several trips to the mission house on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 12th Street, carrying fine specimens of this rock which I packed in a box and shipped to the museum of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. My father used to say in my youthful days that I had the "stone fever." I have it still.
September 19th I preached in Binghamton the ordination sermon of our nephew, Rev. Wm. J. Leverett, under appointment as missionary to Hainan, China.
During the fall I was searching the country over to find a Christian layman to become secular agent for the Syria Mission. For years, since 1861, the management of the press, the financial, custom-house, post-office, and shipping business had been done by us ordained missionaries, and the mission decided that it was high time to call in some deacon to "serve tables" and let us devote ourselves to the "ministry of the Word." Before the end of the year, we had found Mr. E. G. Freyer, who had been for nine years in the United States Navy on the China station and now desired to enter upon Christian business work in some foreign mission. When in Washington, December 6th, I received from Lieutenant Ranney of the United States Navy a warm testimonial to the character and ability of Mr. Freyer, and he was appointed lay missionary, sailing in the winter for Beirut.
1895 - The six months of my stay in America from January to July were filled with intense activity. When not prostrated with grippe, I was travelling incessantly. I was authorized by the Board to raise $8,000 for the Sidon Industrial School, and secured it all; lectured before the Quill Club in New York on the World's Peace; before Union College; at the Evangelical Alliance, New York; at First Church, New York, for a collection for home missions; prepared a memorial to President Cleveland asking that the Hon. Oscar Straus be sent as a special commissioner to Constantinople to negotiate a naturalization treaty; before the alumni of Union Seminary at the St. Denis' on the crisis in Turkey; and before the students and faculty of Union Seminary. In New York I received a call from Mr. Reugh, a zealous young student of Union Seminary who was impatient to go to East Africa as a pioneer missionary before completing his course. He knew nothing of the climate or the country, did not know to what port he should sail. He said he had no support but should go on faith. I warned him by the experience of several persons I had known and begged him if he should go to go first to Cairo and study the Arabic language and take advice of Drs. Watson and Harvey as to his field. But he did not need nor heed advice. I told him of the seven young men and the seven young women who went as a "Band" to Japan without money or hardly a change of clothing, and found themselves soon in a starving condition and had to be taken care of by the missionaries and residents. They had been misled by some ignorant enthusiast and came to grief. But Mr. Reugh would not be advised. He went to East Africa and died May 23, 1896.
I also spoke at Elmira College; several times at the Inter Seminary Missionary Alliance at Colgate University, New York, when we were literally snowed under and one delegation was snowbound in Delaware county and prevented from coming to the meeting; at Pittsburg in the church of Dr. Holmes; at Wooster University. At Lakewood I met the beloved Mrs. Dr. De Forest who had taught the first girls' boarding-school in Syria from 1843 to 185 3. At Washington, by invitation of Mr. Everett Hayden, I lectured on the Turkish Empire before the American Geographical Society in Columbian University. I attended Lackawanna Presbytery; then addressed a women's meeting in the Missionary House, Boston; called on the beloved Dr. N. G. Clark, retired from active service by ill health; visited the Arabic library of Harvard University with my friend and correspondent, Mr. John Orne; met on the train the venerable Dr. I A. C. Thompson of Roxbury who was at our farewell meeting December 11, 1855, and found him to be en route to lecture on missions before the Hartford Theological Seminary; then gave the annual address before the students and alumni of Auburn Theological Seminary, and renewed my acquaintance, alas, for the last time, with that gifted Christian scholar and gentleman, Dr. Henry M. Booth ; then to the church of Dr. Frank Hodge at Wilkesbarre; to the General Assembly at Pittsburg with Mrs. Jessup and my brother William. We were the guests of one of the Lord's noblemen, Dr. Cyrus W. King of Allegheny. By invitation of Dr. Holland, we visited the university and met Mr. Brashear, the noted maker of astronomical instruments. He showed us in his workshop a row of glass lenses of all sizes from three inches in diameter to one foot, and told us that the molecular structure of the glass is so peculiar that sometimes a vibration in the air or in the building will cause a lens to explode and fly into a thousand fragments. He constructed the spectroscope and the visual and photographic object glasses attached to the twelve Inch refracting telescope in the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. One day I went as a member of the delegation to salute the United Presbyterian Assembly in East Liberty. General Beaver was chairman, and the committee were my classmate Wm. W. Cleveland' brother of President Cleveland, Dr. Howard Agnew Johnston, judge Hibbard, and Mr. Landon. We were astonished at the splendour of that beautiful edifice, the gift of one of the Pittsburg magnates. Thinking of the past of the old Scotch Covenanters, I told the audience that I almost anticipated finding them huddled in a cave through fear of persecution, but when I looked, up at that marvellous roof, the superb organ, and the matchless hues of the stained glass windows, it seemed as if Iliad suddenly been ushered into heaven! General Beaver asked the moderator about a dozen questions from the Shorter Catechism, answering them himself and saying after each one "Mr. Moderator, do you believe that?" He answered, "Yes." And that? and that ? Why then we believe alike, we are one in faith, why not be one in fact?
On Sunday I preached to the Syrians in the Italian quarter in Pittsburg.
In June I attended the International Missionary Conference of Foreign Missionaries at Clifton, a meeting of spiritual uplifting and fraternal communion. Ever blessed be the memory of Dr Foster and his wife who founded this conference and whose free hospitality makes it possible from year to year. After hasty visits to the old Montrose home, to the hospitable home of the venerable Wm. A. Booth, and to the charming mansion of Mrs. Elbert B. Monroe at Tarrytown, we sailed. Mrs. Jessup, my daughters, Anna and Amy, my niece, Fanny M. Jessup, and I, once more for our Syrian home, on July 20th, reaching Beirut August 12th, twenty-three days from New York.
In the opening of this year Dr. and Mrs. Harris and children returned from America to Syria. Mr. E. G. Freyer arrived February 11th, and soon took up the work of manager of the press and treasurer of the mission, and on December 3d was married in Cairo to Miss S. A. French, formerly a teacher for the Methodist Board in Japan.
Miss Everett was obliged to resign from the work in Beirut Seminary and left for America June 25th.
We arrived August 17th, and in four days I resumed instruction in the theological seminary in Suk el Gharb, thus relieving my brother who had been teaching during my absence. In October his daughter Fanny went to Tripoli to assist Miss La Grange in the girls' seminary.
On Saturday, October 12th, Mr. John R. Mott and Mrs. Mott with Mrs. Livingston Taylor reached Beirut. As the college term had just begun, Mr. Mott was asked to address the students, which he did morning and evening, speaking on "Bible study for personal growth." I took copious notes, then translated both addresses into Arabic, and published them in our weekly Neshrah journal.
On Monday, October 14th, we rose early to take the seven o'clock train as they were going to Damascus and I to Aleih. It was a bright, clear morning. The whole eastern horizon over the range of Lebanon was cloudless in a glow with the rising sun. To the west and southwest the sea horizon was a clear-cut line of blue. But on the northwest was a mountainous pyramid of cumulous clouds, the blackness of darkness at the base, but on the top tinged with purple and gold. A deep calm rested on the sea. I called the attention of Dr. Bliss, at whose house I had been staying, to this extraordinary isolated cloud which loomed like an island of amethyst. At its base it grew blacker and blacker, and as we drove the mile to the railroad station, it seemed to be moving towards Beirut. As the train began the slow ascent over the cogged railway up the mountain, we could see the scouts of the moving column approaching Beirut, and farther up at Jumhur, we saw the lofty summit of Lebanon covered with scurrying masses of black cloud through which the lightning flashed, while deep thunders rolled through the mountain gorges and reverberated from the cliffs. We bad hardly reached my door in Aleih when the cloud burst upon us. Lebanon was flooded, and the mountain torrents swollen. Five inches of rain fell in Beirut within two hours. There is no proper sewerage and the water rolled in rivers through the streets. The filth from cesspools which is usually cleared out in August and spread over the ground among the houses, polluting the air, was now washed into the streets and spread over the highways, when suddenly the cloud monster passed and disappeared, leaving the streets coated over with this fever-breeding slime. And to make the peril complete, from that time for two weeks the sky was as brass and the heat intense. All this filth was dried and pulverized, and driving hot north winds blew the fine dust in clouds into the houses, over the meat, vegetables, and bread in the markets and into the throats of the people. Within a month there were between seven hundred and a thousand cases of typhoid fever and it was estimated that at least three hundred of the children and youth of the city died. Some estimated it still higher. Various theories were put forth to explain it. One was that the discharges from typhoid patients in a Lebanon village above the aqueduct had been washed down by the cloudburst and thus infected the city water, but in that case the whole city would have suffered, whereas, the most numerous and worst cases were along the line of the streets and highways which received the wash of the surface drainage. Others ascribed it to the fact that the vegetables raised in the truck gardens were washed by the gardeners in pools of foul water, and thus the lettuce, radishes, add cabbages carried the infection among the population.
It was a grievous affliction and the city was in sorrow and distress. Early in November the blow began to fall on our mission. Our. Nestor, the veteran of fifty-five years, Dr. Cornelius V. A. Van Dyck, whose strength was already depleted by previous illness, was attacked by the dread typhoid, and on November 13th breathed his last. The whole city felt his death as a personal bereavement, and his funeral was attended by men of all sects and nationalities. By his special request, no address was made at his funeral. A simple service was conducted in Arabic and English. But under instructions from my missionary brethren, I delivered on Sunday, the 17th, a memorial discourse in English and on Wednesday, the 20th, the same discourse in Arabic, with the text, John 12 :24, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This sermon was afterwards by request repeated in Arabic in Tripoli, Sidon, Zahleh, Suk el Gharb and Abeih, and in all these places men of all sects, Oriental Christians, Moslems and Druses were among the hearers. Dr. Van Dyck was seventy-seven years of age. We have already sketched his life and work on a previous page. A gloom seemed settling over Beirut.
Rumours of the Armenian massacres multiplied. On the 25th, letters from Constantinople told Of 20,000 massacred in the region of Bitlis, Sivas, and Erzeroom, etc. A war broke out between the Druses and Bedawin Arabs at Mejdel Shems and other towns south of Mount Hermon and the two Protestant churches of Mejdel Shems and Ain Kuryeh were plundered and destroyed, When in Tripoli, I met my old friend, Sheikh Ali Rashid, who expressed great sorrow at the death of Dr. Van Dyck. He said that he had recently preached in the Great Mosque on the text from the Fatiha, "Rabbi-ul-Ahlameen," "Lord of the Worlds" -in which he taught that Allah is not the God of the Moslem world only, but also of the Christian world, and that all men are brothers. I could well believe this, as his aged father, Sheikh Rashid, during the Crimean War in 1855, when the Moslem rabble were threatening to kill the Greek Christians of Tripoli for sympathizing with Russia, went through the streets and quelled the mob, sending them to their homes.
Then came news of cholera in Damascus, and, without previous notice, a cordon was put on against passengers by the railroad. Mrs. Dr. George E. Post and Dr. Mary P. Eddy who had taken the train from Aleih to Beirut found themselves at sunset ordered to the quarantine outside of Beirut, where they were told they must spend the night in an empty room whose floor was covered with filth, without a morsel of food. However, Dr. Post, hearing of the situation, sent down beds from the city and everything needed to make the place comfortable for the night. The dirt had to be shovelled out. And this was for first-class passengers on the railroad. Fortunately the quarantine did not last more than twenty-four hours.
On December 5th the United States ship, San Francisco, Admiral Selfridge, reached Beirut. He had come out to look after American interests while the massacres were going on. The Moslem rabble in Mersina, Alexandretta, Latakia, Tripoli, and Beirut, and other seaports, hold such a ship in high respect, and such an admiral speaks plain English to Turkish officials and local sheikhs along the coast.
But another blow was to fall, to fill up the measure of our grief. The theological class had closed in Lebanon and we had all moved down to Beirut, when, on December 11th, "Aunt Annie" my brother Samuel's wife, was stricken down with apoplexy. He lived in the lower story and I in the upper of the same house. Samuel returned from the press before sunset, and went to his study as usual. Soon after he looked for his wife and found her lying unconscious on the floor of her room. We were called, doctors were summoned, but all in vain. Consciousness never returned, and as Dr. William Van Dyck stood with us by the bedside, she passed away. The only son was in America and the only daughter, Fanny (now Mrs. Rev. James R. Swain), was forty miles away up the coast in Tripoli. The next morning through the aid of a beloved niece, then a visitor, and a namesake of "Aunt Annie" the little coasting steamer, Prince George, was chartered, and Dr. W. G. Schauffler and my daughter Mary volunteered to go and bring the absent one. Consul Gibson and Dr. Van Dyck went down to the wharf at 6 P. m. to meet them and the rest of the friends sat waiting. But we sat four long hours that dark night waiting in suspense, not knowing what might have befallen that frail, unsteady craft on the troubled sea, but at ten o'clock they all arrived in safety. The funeral the next day was largely attended by a loving and sympathetic community. The exercises were conducted by Drs. Bliss, Post, Ford, and Porter, and Messrs. March and Hardin. On the Sunday following, Dr. Post, who was the seminary classmate of my brother, his fellow chaplain in the army of the Potomac, 1861-1863, and his colleague in Tripoli for three years, delivered a most touching and beautiful discourse on her life and character. She was known by the whole Anglo-American community as "Aunt Annie." Full of hospitality, with a lovely face, cheerful and winning in her manner, her home attracted old and young.
One week later, a little boy, Edgar Rosedale, the son of a transient resident physician, died after a remarkable religious experience. He was twelve years old, but during the last two days of his life, his language was thrilling. He said to me as I was about to offer prayer, "I am going to meet Christ. When you pray tell Jesus I am coming, so He can tell the angels and they can recognize me. I will give your love to all your friends when I get there. I see Jesus." He bade good-bye to all his friends, a notorious scoffer being near came in and would not leave his bedside, saying, "Now I know that Christ is a real Saviour."
A young student of the college was ill with typhoid fever. His professors urged the family who lived in a crowded tenement house to remove him to the hospital. They declined. I went often to see him. He lay on a pallet in the middle of the floor and the room was crowded with a noisy company of men, women, and children, talking and walking about, while the poor lad tossed in a delirium. The people made their remarks about the patient, and literally gave him no rest. I expostulated with the mother and tried to drive out the crowd, telling them that they would kill the young man, but to no avail, and in a few hours he died. The people have an unaccountable dread of a hospital' although the service of the trained German deaconesses, who are nurses in the German hospital in Beirut, is better than any possible service in a Syrian house. Several members of our family have been nursed through typhoid in that beautiful hospital' and we lose no opportunity to commend it to the people.
On the 26th of December I baptized a young Mohammedan convert from near Acre. He gave good evidence of being an intelligent and sincere Christian. His Christian name was Naanet Ullah Abdul Messiah.
The statement so often made that there are no converts from Islam is easily refuted. The facts cannot be published at the time, lest the ignorant and fanatical populace, incited by their sheikhs, take the lives of the converts. I have baptized no less than thirty males and females. Some are unmolested, but the majority had to flee from the country. The whole number of converts of whom I have knowledge is between forty and fifty.
1896 - This year opened in gloom. New massacres of Armenians in Oorfa and Eastern Turkey, a desperate rebellion of the Druses in Hauran, who killed hundreds of Turkish regulars, the excitement of the Moslem populace on being obliged to send their brothers, husbands, and sons as reserves to the war, and the continuance of the typhoid epidemic in Beirut, filling the city with mourning; all these combined to depress the public mind. Ships of war from England, France, and the United States restored confidence to the seaport provinces, but the apathy of the Christian powers with regard to the murder of 50,000 men, women, and children in the interior was inexplicable. But it was asserted by British residents in the East that a British fleet was ordered to the Dardanelles, and to force an entrance to the Bosphorus as a protest against the massacres, but just at that moment President Cleveland's raising of a critical question with England with regard to Venezuela occasioned the instant withdrawal of the fleet, and thus the opportunity was lost. On January 4, 1896, I received a cable from a daughter of our dear friend Mr. William A. Booth, announcing his death, January 2d, aged ninety-one. The departure of this patriarch of the missionary Board and supporter and friend of every good cause was a loss to the whole Church. His breadth of view and grasp of all details and bearings of important questions and his imperturbable serenity and sweetness of disposition made him a man to be sought for as counsellor and friend. His sons and daughters have followed his example. The whole Church mourned his departure. With Hon. Wm. E. Dodge, his fellow elder in the old 14th Street Church, he was one of the original trustees of the Syrian Protestant College, and having visited Syria, he was wise in counsel and fertile in resources for the good of this institution.
During the summer, brother Samuel Jessup and his daughter were afflicted with whooping-cough, and soon after I took it from them. As both Samuel and I had had it in childhood, we concluded that we had it every sixty years. It was quite severe and played such havoc with my voice that in November the physicians enjoined upon me absolute silence and a change of air. This led to my going to Helouan, thirteen miles southeast of Cairo. Here a dry, clear, cloudless atmosphere, cool, bracing desert air at night, and opportunity for walks and donkey rides to the adjacent hills and mountains, with quiet, cool rooms at Heltgel's Hotel, wrought wonders in the way of restoration, and after a month I was able to return to my work in Beirut. On my return I brought about five hundred pounds of geological specimens of fossil wood and shells from the "drift" at Helouan and from the Mukottam mountains east of Cairo. The customhouse inspectors in Beirut were full of amazement at my bringing so many stones. They said, "Are there no stones in Syria?" I might have reminded them that the old Phoenician emperors, and the Greeks and Romans, brought granite and porphyry columns to Syria from Assowan in Upper Egypt.
At the annual meeting of the mission on February 4th, my brother Samuel was stationed in Sidon, whither he removed in October and Mr. Doolittle removed from Sidon to Deir el Komr, the old capital of Lebanon.
Miss Mary Lyons, who was born in Beirut in 1855 and taught for a season in Sidon Seminary, died in Montrose, Pa., the home of her father, June 12th.
March 2d Messrs. John Wanamaker, John W. Parsons, and W. W. Crapo arrived on the Furst Bismarck. Mr. Wanamaker gave a stirring talk to the college students and gave a substantial contribution towards a new professorship.
Mrs. H. A. De Forest died in Lakewood April 3, 1896. It was hard to understand why the blessed work of Dr. and Mrs. De Forest was so prematurely interrupted in 1854, when their mastery of the Arabic language, their intellectual culture and unusual gifts and graces of personal character had fitted them to mould a whole generation of Syrian youth.
The Russian consul in Beirut, the Prince Gargarin, who is superintendent of the Russian Schools in Syria, ordered our Arabic Scriptures to be put in all the Russian Schools. They purchased in one year some 7,000 copies, and thus thousands of children of the Orthodox Greek sect will be taught to read the Word of God. After the siege of Zeitoon in Asia Minor by Turkish troops, when the hardy Armenian mountaineers defeated the Turkish regulars in battle after battle, a surrender was arranged through the interposition and guarantees of the British consul in Aleppo. But owing to want of food, exposure, and cold, a pestilence broke out among the people, attended by famine. The Red Cross Society telegraped to Beirut for doctors and medicines, and April 4th, Dr. Ira Harris of Tripoli left for Zeitoon accompanied by two faithful doctors, Dr. Faris Sahyun and Dr. Amin Maloof, graduates of the Beirut Medical College. After encountering great difficulties from the local governors along the road who feared that this deputation might in some way "aid or abet" the Armenian revolt, they reached Zeitoon and found famine, fever, and dysentery raging and at once opened a soup kitchen and fed the half-starved people, treated them for disease, cleaned the town of filth unspeakable and finally the plague was stayed.
In April, the United States minister in Constantinople left on a visit to America., He was a man of much energy, and in language more forcible than Scriptural had threatened the Porte, in case any American should be killed in the massacres, with dire consequences. Orden actually went out from the Porte that all American missionaries be ordered to leave the empire at once.
Nothing was known of this among the foreigners in Constantinople until Saturday P. m., March 28th, when Sir Philip Currie, British ambassador, received a telegram from the British consul in Moosh that the Waly there informed him that he had received such an irade and had ordered the American missionaries in Bitlis and Van to leave in forty-eight hours. Sir Philip drove at once to the house of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and demanded an explanation. The minister denied that such an order had been issued, but the next morning, Sunday, when Mr. Block was sent by Sir Philip to demand an explanation, he admitted it but that it was not his work. Sir Philip then sent word to Mr. Riddle, United States Charge d'affaires, in the absence of judge Turrell, and they went together to the grand vizier and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They both admitted it had been sent. Sir Philip then in the joint name of England and the United States, demanded that the order be revoked within twenty-four hours and that a copy of its revocation be given them.
The Turkish official retraction of the imperial irade or order for the expulsion of the American missionaries I copy from the Beirut Arabic journal, Lisan el Hal.
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