As with every rule, there are
exceptions. Not all missionaries were out of their minds regarding the evils
of the Turks, making up horror
stories beyond the imaginations of religious witch-hunting
persecutors such as Torquemada and Cotton Mather. Not all were blindly
sympathetic to the Armenians, the one people they could successfully convert
to Catholicism and Protestantism, when the Moslems and Jews of the Ottoman
Empire proved resistant. Not all of them had a blind agenda, to present the
Armenians and Greeks as the persecuted darlings in the eyes of the West, in
order to secure the great sums of money they managed to get from their fellow
Christians. Here is a rare report from a missionary with integrity, Dr. Cyrus
Hamlin, the co-founder of Robert College in Istanbul... as published in “The
Congregationalist,” in 1893.
After learning from
Dr. Dennis Papazian (and his ironically titled "Misplaced Credulity")
about where Cyrus Hamlin was truly coming from, I have revised my
opinion on Cyrus Hamlin. However, I have faith... there must be a
missionary with integrity out there. Somewhere.
However, my changed
opinion on Cyrus Hamlin does not lessen the worth of the article below.
(Which... now that I've read it more carefully... wasn't written
with Turks in mind... but Protestant missionaries and Armenians, against
the terrorism of unconverted Orthodox Armenians.) Like your typical
missionary and against the values of true Christianity,
Hamlin did not appear to give Turks much value. (Although I read more
about his life story, and he appears to have been a pretty accomplished
and cool fellow in many ways.) Now that I've come to believe he was
pretty anti-Turkish, however, the value of the below article has been
heightened even more. (That is, Hamlin could have suppressed this
account which takes away from the Armenians, inadvertently making the
Turks not all that bad... since making the Armenians look as innocent
angels is core to the apologists' campaign. As Arnold Toynbee, editor of the Bryce report, wrote
years later: "To lessen the credit of Armenians is to weaken the
ADDENDUM, Nov. 2006:
The year provided for this article in the magazine it was taken from, 1897, was
Two newspaper accounts have been added:
1) An American College On the Shores of the Bosporus.
2) Cyrus Hamlin Attempts to Minimize His
Dangerous Movement Among the Armenians
appeared in ATA-USA, Spring 1987
Long before the 1915-23 time period often cited by
the Armenians as the onset of an unprovoked genocide, the seeds for quite a different
scenario were being sown. Cyrus Hamlin, who, along with Christopher Robert, founded Robert
College, reported in “The Congregationalist” a very disturbing conversation he had
with an Armenian who staunchly defended the revolutionary movement among his people to
prepare the way for Russia to enter and eventually gain independence for Armenians.
According to the plan, revolutionary Huntchagist bands were to kill Kurds and Turks and
burn their villages. This would enrage the Muslims who would then set upon the Armenians
in retaliation. Russia would come in and take control. The local Armenian population who
preferred the Turks to the Russians would have to suffer for their stupidity.
College in Istanbul, 1919
Cyrus Hamlin felt compelled to write this article to warn missionary groups as well as
Armenians about the nature of this movement. In a sense the article was prophetic in that
the scenario outlined was played out tragically in the 1915-23 time frame. This letter
points to an early involvement by the Huntchagist Revolutionary Party in an insidious plot
of villainy and treason which certainly goes against claims by modern Armenian historians
that the attacks upon their people were unprovoked and government-sponsored.
Make 'em say
movement in the 1890s continues to haunt and intimidate the Turkish-American community
today. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (A.R.F.), or Dashnaks as they are known, were
the forerunners of the Armenian National Committee of America (A.N.C.A.). This committee
now has a political-lobbying wing, the Armenian National Committee (A.N.C.), which lobbies
in Congress, publishes documents and contributes to political campaigns. Another wing of
the A.N.C.A. is its action-terrorist arm. Under this banner we find the Justice Commandos
of the Armenian Genocide (J.C.A.G.) and the Armenian Revolutionary Army (A.R.A.) which are
two of the most violent, insidious terrorist organizations in the world today. Many in
Congress have received money from the A.N.C. and proclaim themselves to be against
terrorism. However, they do not connect their campaign money to this mother organization
with its terrorist wing.
A recently published book by Michael Gunter of Tennessee Technological University, "Pursuing the Just Cause of their People, a
Study of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism," illustrates this linkage very clearly.
This book is available from the Greenwood Press, Contributions in Political Science,
Number 152, New York, 1966.
In this historical record the roots of Armenian terrorism can be seen very clearly and the
Armenian master plan becomes evident. An original of this document can be seen in the
Library of Congress located in Washington, D.C. at 10 First St., S.E., in the Jefferson
Bldg., 2nd Floor, Periodicals and Newspapers Section. (202) 287-5522.
To see the original page,
(thanks to D. Karsan)
A Dangerous Movement
Among the Armenians
by Cyrus Hamlin
The Congregationalist, December 28, 1893
An Armenian “revolutionary party” is causing great evil and suffering to the
missionary work and to the whole Christian population of certain parts of the
Turkish Empire. It is a secret organization and is managed with a skill in deceit
which is known only in the East.
In a widely distributed pamphlet the following announcement is made at the close.
HUNTCHAGIST REVOLUTIONARY PARTY
This is the only Armenian party which is leading on the revolutionary movement in
Armenia. Its center is Athens, and it has branches in every village and city in
Armenia, also in the colonies. Nishan Garabedian, one of the founders of the party,
is in America, and those desiring to get further information may communicate with
him, addressing Nishan Garabedian, No. 15 Fountain Street, Worcester, Mass., or with
the center, M. Beniard, Poste Restante, Athens, Greece.
such stupidity they (fellow Armenians) will have to suffer"
A very intelligent Armenian gentleman, who speaks fluently and correctly
English as well as Armenian, and is an eloquent defender of the revolution, assured me
that they have the strongest hopes of preparing the way for Russia’s entrance to Asia
Minor to take possession. In answer to the question how, he replied: “These Huntchagist
bands, organized all over the empire, will watch their opportunities to kill Turks and
Kurds, set fire to their villages and then make their escape into the mountains. The
enraged Moslems will then rise and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them
with such barbarities that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian
civilization and take possession.” When I denounced the scheme as atrocious and infernal
beyond anything ever known, he calmly replied: “It appears so to you, no doubt, but we
Armenians are determined to be free. Europe listened to the Bulgarian horrors and made
Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of
millions of women and children.” I urged in vain that this scheme will make the very
name of Armenian hateful among all civilized people. He replied, “We are desperate; we
shall do it.” “But your people do not want Russian protection. They prefer Turkey, bad
as she is. There are hundreds of miles of conterminous territory into which emigration is
easy at all times. It has been so for all the centuries of the Moslem rule. If your people
preferred the Russian Government there would not be now an Armenian family in Turkey.”
“Yes,” he replied, “and for such stupidity they will have to suffer.” I have had
conversations with others who avow the same things, but no one acknowledges that he is a
member of the party. Falsehood is, of course, justifiable where murder and arson are.
In Turkey the party aims to excite the Turks against Protestant missionaries and against
Protestant Armenians. All the troubles at Marsovan originated in their movements. They are
cunning, unprincipled and cruel. They terrorize their own people by demanding
contributions of money under threats of assassination—a threat which has often been put
I have made the mildest possible disclosure of only a few of the abominations of this
Huntchagist revolutionary party. It is of Russian origin, Russian gold and craft govern
it. Let all missionaries, home and foreign, denounce it. Let all Protestant Armenians
everywhere boldly denounce it. It is trying to enter every Sunday school and deceive and
pervert the innocent and ignorant into supporters of this craft. We must therefore be
careful that in befriending Armenians we do nothing that can be construed into an approval
of this movement, which all should abhor. While yet we recognize the probability that some
Armenians in this country, ignorant of the real object and cruel designs of the
Huntchagists, are led by their patriotism to join with them, and while we sympathize with
the sufferings of the Armenians at home, we must stand aloof from any such desperate
attempts, which contemplate the destruction of Protestant missions, churches, schools and
Bible work, involving all in a common ruin that is diligently and craftily sought. Let all
home and foreign missionaries beware of any alliance with, or countenance of, the
page, 19th Century
Maybe another thing missionary Cyrus Hamlin didn't
appreciate about the "Lustful" Turks was that they had the "Bahnâme,"
or Book of Sexology... These types of books have had a long history in eastern
cultures (such as the Indian 'Kama Sutra' and the Arabic 'Perfumed Garden'). The
Bahnâmes were especially popular in Istanbul during the 18th and 19th Centuries.
|AN AMERICAN COLLEGE ON THE SHORES OF THE BOSPORUS.
(From The Newark Daily Advocate, Dec. 31, 1895)
Dr. Cyrus Hamlin Established Robert College at Constantinople In the Face of Great
Opposition—How Admiral Farragut's Warships Impressed the Sultan.
The fact does not seem to be generally recognized that the deplorable condition of affairs
in the land of the sultan is of more than casual interest to Americans. That we have
missionaries in that blood soaked land and that these missionaries have been in mortal
danger is generally recognized, but that these men and women who are threatened with death
at the hands of the cruel Kurds and Turks who have already made the blood of the nations
run cold with horror have done more to spread enlightened ideas through that dark empire
than the representatives of any other Christian nation does not seem to have been fully
realized. It is a fact, however.
It was the American board of foreign missions that established the
first mission in western Asia and from the same source have sprung the most important of
the evangelical enterprises that are slowly but surely lifting the gloom from the country
of the star and crescent. The obstacles which the pioneers of this movement met seemed
almost insurmountable. The great majority of the millions of people under the rule of the
sultan they found were Mohammedans, who looked upon all others as infidels and best
converted to the true faith by the sword. They found that while legally any person was
entitled to change his religious belief, practically he could do no such thing; that the
Turk who renounced the faith of the prophet at once became a social outcast and a subject
for the most fanatical and cruel persecution. This was bad enough.
Under these conditions it is not to be wondered that so few Turks have been converted, but
that any should have been. Besides the Mohammedan there are seven other creeds recognized—
Greek, Armenian, Syrian, Maronite, Protestant, Jewish and Roman Catholic. The harmony
between these is not great.
Thus it was not a very promising field that the Rev. Dr. Cyrus Hamlin looked upon when he
went there early in the fifties. To attempt to teach those people a new religion was
purely out of the question. The way for that must first be prepared by educating them.
Like barbarians, they must first be civilized and Christianized afterward. With money
furnished by Christopher Robert, a wealthy New York merchant, and with $30,000 of his own,
Dr. Hamlin endeavored to establish a college, but such was the strength of the prejudice
of the Turkish government that for eight years he labored in vain.
"Washburn writes of the
passing of Cyrus Hamlin in his memoirs:
In August we arranged for a gathering at my son's summer home at Manchester-by-the-Sea
of all who could be got together of the Hamlin family. Dr. Hamlin, then nearly ninety
years old, was there in good spirits and apparently good health. He was much pleased
to hear what the trustees had done and promised to do for Robert College and rejoiced
in its present prosperity. The next morning, August 8, he went with Mrs. Hamlin to
Portland to assist in the celebration of 'Home Week' there. That evening, on his
return from a public meeting, he complained of feeling ill and soon died, His funeral
took place at Lexington, near Boston, which had been his home for some years. His
body was carried to the grave by Armenian friends, who afterwards erected a monument
over it, in memory of what he had done for the Armenian people in Turkey."
John Freely, A HISTORY OF ROBERT COLLEGE, Istanbul, p. 136; thanks to Sukru Aya
David G. Farragut (1810-1870),
America's first Admiral, born of Hispanic
heritage. Credited for the statement when
encountering mines in the Battle of
Mobile Bay: "Damn the torpedoes,
full speed ahead!”
At last Admiral Farragut sailed into the
Bosporus with three big men-of-war and went ashore to pay his respects to the porte.
Dr. Hamlin told Farragut of the obstacles that had been thrown in his way, and the
admiral said that he would see what he could do for him. The sultan looked at the
big ships which floated the stars and stripes under his palace windows, and he was
much impressed. He invited the American admiral to a grand banquet in the palace of
the grand vizier. During the course of the entertainment Farragut asked the sultan:
"Why has Dr. Hamlin been prevented from building a college in your
The answer made was an evasive one, but soon after a charter was
granted by the terms of which a most beautifully situated plot of ground,
overlooking Constantinople and the Bosporus was given to Dr. Hamlin. Afterward, when
the grand vizier was asked why the permission had been granted to the Americans, he
replied in two words:
It was in 1863 that Robert college was built Additions have been made since then and
now three imposing buildings are occupied by Professor Washburn and his able corps
of professors. As an illustration of the vast influence which this institution is
exerting in all parts of the Turkish empire it is noted that in the national
assembly of Bulgaria are no less than 40 graduates of Robert college. This
institution now offers the advantages of a full college course to 225 students.
Dr. Hamlin, who was the president of Robert college for nearly 20 years, finally
retired from missionary work and returned to this country. In 1880 he became
president of Middlebury college at Middlebury. Vt. He is now 84 years old and lives
at Lexington, Mass. He began his missionary work in 1838? and for nearly half a
century labored in foreign lands.
Another remarkable example of success in the face of great opposition was the
establishing of the American schools at Beirut. They were begun in 1830? by the
Presbyterian board. At first, there were only a handful of children, but today the
schools, boarding schools and colleges founded there by Americans have no less than
15,000 scholars, and Beirut is recognized as the metropolis of western Asia.
(Thanks to Gokalp. To get another take on some of
these developments, check out Ottoman Official Attitudes Towards American Missionaries.
A quick side note: here is another brief appearing on the same page of the article
"King of Korea Fears Assassination.
ST. PETERSBURG, Dec. 31.—A dispatch from Vladivostock says that the situation of
affairs in Korea is most serious.
The king is constantly surrounded by Japanese spies, and he fears he will be
assassinated. The dispatch adds that
his majesty is guarded nightly by the American missionaries."
Now we know who to blame the Reverend Sun Myung Moon on.)
By the way, how did a missionary like Cyrus Hamlin come by
$30,000, a great fortune in those days?
According to a rare "pro-Turk" (i.e.,
(Aug. 23, 1895) allowed to see print in The New York Times, where The
Congregationalist article was reprinted in its entirety to demonstrate the
nature of the Armenian agitators:
"...After the fulfillment of his own prophecy, the Rev. Cyrus Hamlin was
bold enough to say that the above statement was written by him only 'to show the
absurdity of the revolutionary plotters.' The reverend gentleman must have a candid
and innocent soul. Otherwise he would not have attempted to prove to fair-minded
Americans that the 'bloodthirstiness' of the Armenian revolutionary plotters is
synonymous to their 'absurdity.' We suppose that the Rev. Cyrus Hamlin will also
attribute to the 'absurdity of revolutionary plotters' the following statement,
showing his past guilty interference in Turkish affairs. One of these Armenian
'plotters' made some time ago to The Boston Herald this extraordinary admission.
which, for the honor of Robert College, if not for his own, the Rev. Cyrus Hamlin
ought, If he can, to contradict.
Several years ago, writes the Armenian, 'I heard him lecture at Amherst, Mass. How
proud he was to tell his audience the important part taken by the Bulgarian
graduates of Robert College in securing the freedom and independence of their
country.' I ask the Rev. Cyrus Hamlin if he was not aware of the existence of
patriotic societies among his Bulgarian students."
The above ties in superbly with the second article, which boasted: "in
the national assembly of Bulgaria are no less than 40 graduates of Robert
college." Certainly these institutions contributed a degree of
enlightenment in the Ottoman Empire, but they surely did their part in contributing
to strife and the nation's bloody break-up, as well.
Regarding the "superiority attitude" and racism of the second article, so
typical in the Western press, along with a further observation of Hamlin's bigoted
Following a letter Hamlin wrote to The
Boston Daily Advertiser in 1894, the Ottoman Minister in Washington,
Mavroyeni Bey (himself a Greek Christian) sent a letter to the State
Department. He wrote:
"I am not surprised to read this letter that the missionaries of the
American Board have been, and they are the truest friends the Armenians ever
had. But I am greatly surprised to see Revd. Hamlin affirm the Imperial
Government is an oppressor, and that the missionaries 'have stood for more
than half a century between the oppressors and oppressed.'"
Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS 1878-1896, Frank
Cass & Co. Ltd. U.K., p. 112
|Cyrus Hamlin Attempts to Minimize His "Congregationalist"
(From The Middletown Daily Argus, December 8, 1894)
RUSSIA AND ARMENIA
The Czar's Government Wants to Take Possession.
CYRUS HAMILTON [sic] INTERVIEWED.
The Former Missionary to Armenia Ridicules the Idea of a Revolution on the part of
Armenians—The Turkish Hatred of Christians.
LEXINGTON, Mass., Dec. 8.—Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, of this town, whose article in The
Congregationalist on the Armenian troubles a year ago has been translated by the Turkish
government and sent out to the European powers as a defense for the recent atrocities
committed upon the Armenians by the Moslems, was seen last night by an Associated Press
reporter. The article in question was regarding the existence of a revolutionary society
of Armenians, which the writer denounced as senseless.
Dr. Hamlin was for many years a missionary in Turkey, and knows something of the temper of
the Turks regarding Christians. He had, moreover, a seven years' contest with the Turkish
authorities over the building of the famous Roberts college in Constantinople, but finally
carried the day. He said:
"The Turks are capable of being incited to atrocious acts through their intense
Mahomrneden feeling. They are capable of religious excitement that would lead them to the
most horrible extremes. The great danger is that the populace will become excited, and
instead of trusting to the soldiery will become an infuriated mob to destroy the Armenians
themselves. That has been my fear. At the same time, I have always said that the
revolutionary movement is of Russian origin. Russian gold and craft govern it. That is my
"The Armenians are so scattered in Turkey that the very idea of a
revolution on their part is absurd. I think that the Turkish population has been growing
unfriendly to the Armenians for the past three or four years on account of their
comparative prosperity. The Armenians are everywhere buying up Turkish lands. The Armenian
population is increasing and the Turkish population is decreasing. Twenty years ago a Turk
would not sell a piece of land to an Armenian at any price. Now the Turks are eager to
sell, because the Armenians are the only ones who will buy. The Turkish government is
wholly inexcusable for the recent atrocities.
It has been published in the newspaper reports that word was sent from Constantinople to
subdue the revolution. It would be just as reasonable to guard the wolves of Kurdistan
from the attacks of the [?] from the plains. The Turkish government shows that it knows
the weakness of its position by its frantic efforts to hide the truth from Europe. It will
not even allow persons to travel from the region of the existing troubles to the capital,
and many Armenians who have attempted to reach Constantinople have been captured by the
authorities and sent back. If these people should reach that city the true state of
affairs would not be long in getting to the ears of the embassies and through them to
their own governments.
I have a strong suspicion the Turkish minister in Washington is in league with Russia. He
is a Greek. He belongs to the Greek church and he is in natural league with Russia. I
cannot see why the Turks have sent a Greek to represent them in America. I know the
Turkish character very well, and I know there is a great deal of good[?] in it. Yeni[?]
has reported to the Turkish government that the Armenians in America are sending all arms
through Russia into Turkey for revolutionary purposes. That is childish. It is nonsense to
anybody who knows anything about the matter, but these reports sent out from such an
authority throughout the world will be believed. I venture to say that there has never
been a rifle or a pound of ammunition sent into Turkey by the revolutionists of America.
The whole idea emanates from Russia and is merely a subterfuge to give good occasion for
Russia to march into Armenia and take control, and, if the Turks are to be so easily be
fooled, let Russia go in and teach them a lesson, although I am strongly opposed to having
Russia do so because her government will be much worse than the government of Turkey, if
you set assassinationtions [sic] aside.
"I am profoundly disappointed on the folly and wickedness of the Turkish government
and its action in using what I have written for purposes exactly opposed to my views. You
may depend that the Turkish government has not produced it in full. I am still opposed to
the revolutionary movement because it is silly and foolish and the Turkish government can
never exculpate itself from the atrocities by reference to any proposed revolution by the
Armenians. Such a revolution is an absurdity on the face of it."
What a Creepy Man.
This no doubt escaped the
comprehension of such a bigoted religious fanatic, but the reason why a Greek was
sent to represent the Ottoman Empire in Washington was entirely within the
"melting pot" concept of Ottomanism and the tolerant ways of the Turks.
How despicable of Hamlin to have raised the notion that the Ottoman-Greek could be a
traitor to his country. It is precisely this measure of divisiveness that these
"men of God" exploited that helped cause the problems in the empire, the
problems this creepy man turned around and then condemned the Ottoman government
for. (He starts off his piece by reinforcing the "Turks are savages"
impression, as though the Turks invented the concept of mob mentality. If Turks as a
rule went out of control and had to kill, the bulk of the empire's Armenians would
have bought the farm.)
(The above appointment of a Christian serving at a sensitive governmental post was
no aberration, by the way. For example, the Ottoman ambassador to Great Britain was
Costaki Anthopulo Pacha. ["An Unsatisfactory Explanation," The Des
Moines Daily Leader, Nov. 11, 1901])
One interesting revelation: the Armenians had become so prosperous they were the
only buyers for Turkish real estate. The missionary unwittingly contradicted
himself, while pushing the notion of the oppressive ways of the Turks. If the Turks
were so oppressive, Armenians would never have been able to attain such prosperity.
He explains the Turks were "frantic" in trying to hide the truth from
Europe, to the point of sending Armenians en route to Istanbul back home, so that
their stories would not reach the "ears" of the West. Was Hamlin living on
another planet? There was no end to Armenian accounts that appeared wholesale in the
Western press. There was no need for the testimony of these travelling Armenians
(who did not have to travel to provide their stories; missionaries and western
consuls were only a stone's throw away in the interior); the propaganda machinery
simply made up the stories anyway, and the bigoted West was glad to publish them.
But the worst embarrassment for Cyrus Hamlin was his attempt to undo the inadvertent
good he offered the world, in his Congregationalist article. He was then
caught with his pants down, revealing the nasty nature of the Armenians, undoing all
of his "Godly" work. Now he feebly attempted damage control. History has
proven how on the mark he was with his Congregationalist article, and his
dishonesty with the damage control attempt above. Of course Armenian-Americans were
turning the knobs of the Armenian revolution, as were Armenian "colonists"
elsewhere in the world. (With the difference that the Armenians in America were
generally wealthier and more influential.) Could Hamlin have been so ignorant as to
not be aware? Particularly since he was residing in "Armenian country,"
Massachusetts? Not very likely.
Hamlin concludes by stating "You may depend that the Turkish government
has not produced it in full." There was nothing "wicked" about the
Ottomans pointing to Hamlin's Congregationalist article "in full"
to prove the true character of the Armenians. He now mentions, "The Armenians
are so scattered in Turkey that the very idea of a revolution on their part is
absurd." Hamlin was right in one sense; of course the Armenian revolutionary
leaders were overtaken by greed and madness, and their whole idea was absurd (if not
utterly evil, exposing their own people and others to so much harm and suffering);
but the whole point of his Congregationalist article was in revealing the
irrationality and absurdity of the Armenians. (Hamlin's words went further; he
condemned the aims of the terrorists as "atrocious and infernal beyond anything
ever known." Yet here he is, pooh-poohing their evil threat. All because he had
to perform his missionary duty, perpetuating the "Armenians good, Turks
|Shades of gray to Cyrus Hamlin
While ultimately Hamlin's heart was with fellow Christians, he obviously exhibited a sense
of fairness as his Congregationalist article above lent evidence. Perhaps he was
less set in his ways during younger days.
"Among the Turks" was a book written by Cyrus Hamlin (American Tract
Society, 1877) where he stated that the reporters and travelers coming to the Ottoman
Empire would hire dragomans (translators), generally from the better educated class of
Armenians. These dragomans, Hamlin wrote, would weave ‘’unspeakable Turk’’ horror
tales, palming them off upon all unsuspecting travelers who were just passing through.
Hamlin stated of such travelers: ‘[H]e must be a man of rare sagacity who can sift
the truth from the falsehood, while he is in Levantine hands.’’ And Hamlin
emphasized the often neglected fact that ‘’this whole class of Levantines are the
enemies of Turkey.’’ (p357)
Thanks to Yuksel Oktay
Cyrus Hamlin Lashes Out