« 前へ次へ »
But this contrast between East and West does not confine itself to these general fentures. It pervades all the minutiæ of daily life, as the loose dress and tight dress — the shaven head and the full grown beard, compared with the flowing hair and shaven face, sufficiently show. The distinction in gestures, and other symbolic actions, is likewise remarkable. The Oriental expresses his veneration for a holy place by taking off his shoes and keeping his head covered. The European takes off his hat, but not his shoes. The Oriental beckons to his acquaintance with his fingers turned towards the ground, and would esteem the western habit of beckoning with the fingers pointed upwards as a mortal insult.
In proportion as the great opposing tendencies, which we have before described, developed themselves, the two rallying centres, Catholicism and Mahometanism, lost their absorbing power. They had sheltered the infant nations against foreign influences, and now the bond which had been useful — perhaps necessary—for the preservation and support of the young institutions, became, by degrees, an intolerable yoke-impeding, instead of promoting, their growth. Consequently, many of the Western nations, strong enough to stand alone, threw off the heavy chains of Papal power, while others impatiently shook the fetters which they were as yet too feeble to break. The same fate now impends over Mahometanism. The Crescent has sunk low in the horizon, and is no longer that faithful guide to every believer which it was for centuries. The nations of the East, though more tardy in the development of their ideas, are now in the same state in which the Western world was shortly before the Reformation. Under the apparent unity of Mahometanism, national differences have been born and matured, which, though as yet undeveloped, are only waiting for an occasion to manifest themselves. The East presents to our view that state of uneasiness which, in the life of nations, is the symptom of an approaching crisis. There are, moreover, powerful and unmistakeable signs that the eruption is not far distant.
The gradual decay of Mahometanism shows itself from two sides—the religious and the national. In the religious the tendency is to get rid of all the Semitic and Arabic elements which are incorporated into Mahometanism, and to establish an abstract and pure Theism. Already the Persian Shiis have taken that direction, by rejecting the Sunna — the traditions and disavowing the successors of Mahomet. Many independent Tartar tribes have done the same. The most curious instance of this tendency are the sect of Wehabites, whose numbers are daily increasing in Mahomet's own country, the very heart of Arabia. During Ibrahim Pasha's expeditions in the Nejd they were able, successfully, to oppose him with an army of 60,000 men, pillaging and dispersing several caravans of pilgrims on their way to Mecca. Their principle is to reject all tradition, disbelieving in Mahomet's mission as prophetical, and adhering strictly to the unity of God. It is a remarkable and interesting circumstance that these reformers belong almost exclusively to the pure Arab tribes, which were the first champions of Mahometanism, and which, of all the Eastern races, have the greatest vitality and energy. Moreover, that strong, although imperfect, feeling of independence which they have cherished through good and evil fortune, contains the germs of further development.
In addition to this religious movement there is also a national one, tending to the dissolution of Mahometanism. Until recently this had only a negative operation, Mahometanism gradually ceasing to be the one focus of the Eastern races, in which all their differences had been if not absorbed at least neutralised. Now many of the Eastern races begin to feel an obscure longing after a separate national existence. This feeling expresses itself more in dissatisfaction with their present condition than in any clearly defined struggle after a definite object.
The effect of this is manifested in a growing animosity among the different races, tending to draw a line of demarcation be tween them, and to produce different characteristic features in each. Separate nationalities must grow out of such a state of things, and with them a conscious feeling of their individual existence, apart from a common Orientalism. Although this fermentation has not yet worked long enough to produce great results, its operations may be distinctly traced, especially in those races which are brought into daily contact: we refer to the Turks and the Arabs. At first Mahometanism sunk all differences between the conquerors and the conquered: now the contrast between them grows every day stronger. So long as Mahometanism was the all-uniting, all-governing spirit, there were wars for supremacy among the rulers, but no hatred of
Hatred of race is, however, now growing out of the feeling of animosity, and jealousy rankles in the breasts of Turks and Arabs. All new regulations of the government are accepted with the greatest reluctance and distrust, and are resisted as long as possible. This vis inertiæ is the greatest obstacle which as yet the Turkish Government finds in the Arabs.
Another difference arises out of the different forms which the
original patriarchal system assumed in the two races. Every where, and under all circumstances, the Arabs have more or less preserved aristocratic distinctions and feelings among the descendants of their ancient chiefs, who, although deprived of every influence, still retain their standing in the mind and estimation of their people. Turkish policy has always endeavoured to oppress these prominent families, by encouraging rivalries between them, and frequently instigating one member of a family to intrigue against another member of the same family. All these efforts have, however, proved vain. veneration for high birth and ancient lineage is too deeply rooted in the Semitic race to be eradicated. These old families form the natural rallying point of the people in every difficulty. They are regarded as their leaders by birth. They were the chief promoters of the disturbances in Syria occasioned by the attempted introduction of the conscriptions. They head the revolt which is again existing in the Haurau, in which the Turkish forces have lately been completely routed by the Druses and the Sheiks of the desert.
Not a trace of aristocracy is to be found among the Turks. The attempt made to create a species of military landed aristocracy in the Spahis has failed. Upon the introduction of the new military system by Mahomet the Spahis lost that little influence which they had possessed. This absence of all class distinction among the Turks may be principally attributed to their position as the ruling people, which obliges them to remain as united as possible in order to maintain their dominion. Thus the whole race may be said in some respect to constitute an oilgarchy, ruling over the conquered inhabitants, and keeping up their position by avoiding all alliances with them. Their pride of race lies in the name of Osmanli, which belongs alike to the Pacha and to the Turkish barber. The Padishah, the successor of Othman, the founder of their rule, represents their lofty position, as a conquering race, and embodies in his person their history as Osmanlis. Hence the awe and reverence which they manifest for him, and which is distinct from that feeling of slavish subjection which fear produces in other despotic States. He, in fact, occupies the same position which the head of the family or tribe fills under the old patri
This hatred between the Arab and Turkish races is also generating a new and most important phenomenon. It is gradually diminishing the long-felt aversion between the Christian and the Mahometan Arabs, and bringing them into closer connexion. During the vigour of Mahometanism, the existence
of the Christian portion of the population was one of indescribable suffering. They experienced from their kindred, the Mahometan Arabs, greater hardships than from their common rulers the Turks. In great measure this is now changed. The Mahometan Arabs begin to feel towards the Christian Arabs the unity of a kindred race. Their growing hatred of a foreign yoke serves to cement this alliance between them. In 1850, during the revolt of Aleppo, the Mahometan insurgents took the greatest pains to induce the Christians to join them, in order to relieve Syria from the Turkish rule. The Christians, who were not liable to the military conscription—the proximate cause of the insurrection—refused to join in a revolution which did not immediately concern them, and which promised little success: then only was the Christian quarter pillaged.
It is not from such outbreaks that the Eastern Christians expect any advantages. Excluded for centuries from all influence in the State, and all union of race, dwelling more like strangers and half slaves under their Mahometan masters, they have found from time to time a connecting link in their religion, which, while it severed them from their neighbours and kindred, and deprived them of all rights at home, has naturally led them to seek for support among the European brethren. On the other hand, the unprotected state of the Christians prompted the Western Powers to use their interest to screen them from the oppressions of their Mahometan rulers. Thus each Christian sect in the East has found some western protector. The Roman Catholics look to France; the Eastern Church clings to Russia. The few Protestants seek the good offices of Prussia and England.
What was at first a matter of humanity has at length become a matter of policy with the Western Power; and notwithstanding the famous Firman of Gulhane has declared that all sub*jects of whatever religion and class they may be, are equal before the law and subjected to the same code,' and that • difference in religion is a matter of conscience which belongs to
God, the convenient protectorate which afforded such good optunities for meddling with the internal affairs of the Turkish Empire, is still maintained to the great detriment of the Turkish administration. Amongst these protected Christian sects, the Protestants are of course too few in number to come under consideration. The Roman Catholics, although more numerous, are scattered over the whole Turkish Empire, and, with the exception of the Maronites of Lebanon, are nowhere to be found in a compact body. Moreover they have no common centre. They are nearly all converts, more or less recent, from the
Greek Church, yielding an imperfect submission to their spiritual head the Pope, and anxious for the preservation of the ancient privileges of their church. This want of a uniting centre frustrates the most assiduous endeavours of France in the East to derive any influence or weight from such scattered and powerless elements, although as their protector she has availed herself of the opportunity of harassing the Turkish Government.
Far more numerous, and infinitely more important, are the followers of the Greek Church, who are spread in a continued chain from the borders of Arabia all along Syria and Asia Minor to the Black Sea. They are the remains of the old Greek element strongly mixed up in Europe with Slavonic and in Asia with Arab blood. Although most of the latter have lost their language, and have adopted the Arabic tongue as well as Arab customs from the people into whose race they are engrafted, they still retain a common feeling of union with their coreligionaries, whose head is the Patriarch of Constantinople. Too weak himself to afford protection to this flock, the Patriarch has found a willing and efficient supporter in his powerful colleague the Czar, the head of the Russian Church. This support proves so ample, and has been so willingly and so lavishly bestowed, that a great portion of the Eastern churches, now under the Patriarch of Constantinople, look with hope towards the time when there will be one flock, under the supreme headship of the Czar. In anticipation of this golden age, the expectant priesthood of the Oriental Church receive and enjoy the magnificent presents which their faithful protector bestows upon them, humbly desiring their prayers, — and of course, as in duty bound, they praise his name before their people.
When in 1850, during the insurrection in Syria, Mustapha Pasha of Beyrout defeated the Metuali insurgents near Malula, his troops, intoxicated with victory and arrack, forced the convent of St. Thecla, from which they alleged hostile shots had been fired, they wounded two monks and pillaged the church and convent. The monks of course were not slow in appealing against such injustice, but as the case was not quite so clear as the pious brethren asserted, the Turkish authorities did not listen to their demands for indemnification. Not so the Czar, their zealous protector. His magnanimity supplied them with funds to restore their church with a splendour of which they never dreamt before its fortunate destruction; and the good people of Malula and other Greek villages are now in the habit of asking the Frengi traveller, when the good Moscow Czar will come to deliver them from their present oppression. We give this as one instance out of many we could adduce.