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Bosphorus, what Constitutional liberty means. massacres at Adana still suggest awful possibilities, but it is not believed that such an outrage can occur again while the Young Turks are in power. The new Sultan, the brother of Abdul Hamid, reigns as Mohammed V.
The Ambassadors and Ministers from European and Asiatic capitals and from Washington are in the main ardent believers in the purposes and achievements of the Young Turks. It is not too much to believe that their leaders have taken advice from some of the foreign diplomats resident in Constantinople. There are friendly interviews and dinner conversations which are never dignified by the terms "diplomatic relations" which often mean more for the peace of nations than a formal agreement.
America has been fortunate in the selection of the men sent to Turkey as Minister and Ambassador. Mr. Oscar S. Straus has had an unusual experience, having been appointed by President Cleveland, it is said, at the request of Henry Ward Beecher. President Taft selected his Cabinet associate for Japan, but Mr. Straus was unable to go to Tokio, and failing to secure him for the Far Orient, the President urged him to give the new administration the benefit of a wide business experience and recognized diplomatic ability extending over a quarter of a century, and return to his post in the Near Orient.
The rights of men interested in the investment of
THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR 103
capital in Turkey for financial or educational purposes are safe in the hands of a man who cares personally for great financial interests at home; the poorest American that lands in the dominion finds the same sympathetic heart that beat in behalf of laboring men when the present Ambassador was a young lawyer. President
Taft knew his man when he urged, even insistently, that Mr. Straus should become the Ambassador to Turkey in this its time of change and reorganization, when special knowledge and rare tact and limitless patience are needed. In these qualities and in many others Mr. Straus and his charming wife excel.
Mr. Straus believes absolutely in the honesty of purpose of those among whom he labors. Based upon an experience covering nearly a quarter of a century, he regards the Turkish people as polite, sincere and entirely trustworthy. This will probably bear the same qualification, if pressed for one, that he would make upon the people of the United States. Many of the officials in Constantinople, as well as those who are representing their Government abroad, are, in the opinion of the Ambassador, equal in ability to those from other nations; the Prime Minister of Turkey is as well versed in international law, as capable an official, as honest a man, as any representative from any country. His word can be relied upon absolutely. And what is true of him is true also of the majority of men with whom the Ambassador has to deal.
"The missionaries in Turkey were never so safe, nor
their interests so well protected," said a missionary a few years ago, "as when Great Britain had a Roman Catholic Ambassador and America was represented by a Jew." And apparently a similar feeling exists today between the missionaries and the American Ambassador; each trusts the other absolutely.
"We are very glad to have Mr. Straus with us again," said one of the officers of the Bible Society. "The change in Turkey from the administration of Abdul Hamid to the rule of the Young Turks has wrought wonders. We are greatly honored by having as our representative one who sincerely appreciates the changed condition in the empire and who has the interests of his fellow-countrymen so sincerely at heart as does Mr. Straus."
Entertaining in her hospitable home in the Embassy a few friends from America, Mrs. Straus approved her husband's statement that many of the missionaries and college professors in Turkey were really statesmen. An interesting incident was related attesting the high esteem in which these missionaries and educators are
held. At a dinner-party in Washington some time ago, it is said, a member of the Senate was severely criticising foreign missionaries, ridiculing their ability and minimizing the importance of their work. After being an unwilling listener for a few minutes, Mrs. Straus interrupted him with the remark that his information, which he doubtless received at second-hand, did not correspond with her experiences gained in Tur
DEFENDING THE MISSIONARIES
key and Syria; that the missionaries whom she had met, and she had seen most of them, were not ordinary people, but were far above the average American in education, in culture and in good judgment; while there might be here and there one not so prominent nor so efficient as preachers, college professors or teachers in girls' schools in America, as a class they were superior to similar classes whom she had known in the home land.
"What are they doing that justifies their going to a foreign country to try to change old-time customs and ancient religions? Mention one single thing.'
"Education. The colleges and schools in Turkey under the direction of American missionaries are models of their kind, and the professors and teachers are doing a work in that country which is worthy of all praise.
But what one missionary does in a foreign country, even in the matter of education, is only a drop in the bucket and is not worth while.”
"The individual work of a missionary in a country may not seem to be more than a 'drop,' but the combined labors of a company of American missionaries are far from being single drops."
"What is the use after all? . What does it all amount to? How is the country benefited to which they go? They might better be at home attending to their own affairs.”
"Their achievement in the matter of education, for
illustration, compels the Governments of the countries where they labor to improve the public system of education-they are forced to do this when they see the results of the missionary schools and colleges-the 'drops' to which you refer."
Better testimony to the value of the work of missionaries and educators could not be desired, for it was based upon personal investigation and not upon misrepresentation, and the Senator was glad to change the subject. By the way, no missionary could hope to make a better plea in talking with critics of missions than that presented by this friend of the missionaries.
Discussing problems, political as well as missionary, in American and other countries at the present time, Mr. Straus said that the millennium was not, in his judgment, about to dawn immediately, but that the time of its appearance is nearer than it was when Mr. Roosevelt began his administration in Washington. In the conversation the question of Socialism was suggested as one of the problems likely to perplex both America and European countries in the near future.
"What is Socialism, Mr. Straus?" asked a member of the party.
"A pious wish," was the quick reply.
"I have studied the question of Socialism for many years and heard lectures and questioned Socialists and those who oppose Socialism, but I never had so satisfactory and so succinct a definition-that will go at once in my commonplace book," the inquirer declared.