Mr. Boker to Mr. Fish
Constantinople , April 15, 1873. (Received May 9.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 83, under date of March 28, 1873.
To-day the city was excited by the intelligence that the grand vizier, Essad Pacha, who has held office for just two months, had been superseded by Mehmed-Rushdi Pacha, who until then had been minister of finance. No reasons are assigned for this unexpected change of ministers, which it would be as difficult to account for as it would be to predict what and how soon will be the next.
It would perhaps be unjust to attribute the many changes which within a short time have taken place in the government to mere caprice on the part of the Sultan. I, as one who have had unusual opportunities of estimating His Majesty, think too highly of his intelligence to refer his conduct to so slight a cause. I believe that he is seeking among his pachas for one who has the ability and the resolution to carry out a policy already laid down by His Majesty, and that the cumbersome form of Ottoman government, and the traditional abuses which have hardened into customs, almost prevent the possibility of reform or of alteration. No man can be a successful autocrat at second-hand; and * * * he may try long and in vain to find a substitute to perform to his satisfaction duties which he should assume as his own—duties of whose good or ill performance he is shrewd enough to judge justly, but from active participation in which he is debarred by his sacred function as caliph. There is no country in Europe where the curse brought upon the government by the union of church and state is so visible as in Turkey, now that the Pope has lost his secular kingdom; for here, as it was in the case of the latter, the union is in a single person, and therefore the vices of the combination are the more evident and unavoidable. Here, too, as formerly at Rome, we see the same kind of weakness, sapping the foundation of the state, [Page 1111] impoverishing the treasury and the credit, degrading and enslaving the people, and finally making the whole system at once ridiculous and odious in the sight of rational governments.
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I have, &c.,