Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish.
the United States,
January 22, 1875.
(Received February 17.)
Sir: The Podgaritza affair, in which last autumn
several Montenegrins were massacred by the Turks, is causing here
The Russian government * * * * is acting in cooperation with Germany and
Austria-Hungary. Within a day or two the French ambassador has presented a
declaration from his government that France will also act collectively with
these three powers.
I inclose to you copies and translation of an article from the “Journal of
SS. Petersburg,” * * * * * by which you will see what a strong position the
Russian government is taking up against Turkey. Special attention was called
to this article by the fact that it appeared the day after a holiday in an
extra bulletin, in which it is usual to print nothing but telegrams, and was
subsequently published again in the ordinary issue.
On the occasion of the blessing of the waters, the Emperor did not give his
hand to the Turkish ambassador, Kiamil Pasha, and said to him, “If the Porte
does not become more reasonable the consequences will be very disastrous for
it.” (Si la Porte ne dement pas plus raisonnable les
consequences pour elle seront funestes.) * * * *
The grand vizier appears to be very obstinate in the matter, and a question
has arisen which might better have been allowed to sleep. The Porte refuses
to punish the Turks who took part in the massacre unless the Montenegrins,
who killed some Turkish soldiers, are also tried. The prince of Montenegro
agrees to this, and is willing to try them by a mixed commission, but only
on Montenegrian soil. The Porte, however, insists on these men being sent
for trial before Turkish judges.
Turkey does not recognize Montenegro as an independent state, although for a
long time it has been independent in fact, and has been so recognized by
Russia. The pretensions, therefore, to sovereignty over Montenegro, which
are now put forward, may still more excite the warlike population of that
country. Even at present, according to telegrams [Page 1036] received here, the prince, who has acted throughout
with moderation, has the greatest difficulty in restraining his subjects,
and says that unless the matter is speedily settled he can no longer be
responsible for them.
There seems to be no question here among diplomats that the Porte will yield
in the end, but it is greatly to be feared that the matter may be protracted
too long. The excursion of an armed band from Montenegro, or even any
violent act of a single shepherd, who may have concealed a dagger, on the
Turkish side of the border, would perhaps cause a general war in the east of
I have, &c.,
[Inclosure in No.
The Montenegro affair.
[From the “Journal of St. Petersburg.”]
Yesterday we published in our last number in terms of the “Havas agency,”
a correspondence from Constantinople, January 11, the tenor of which is
“The commission appointed to institute an inquiry into the massacre of
Podgoritza has given its verdict. It has discovered that the murder of
an eminent Mussulman was the origin of the massacre. Five Turks have
been condemned to death, three of whom are not now in custody. Twenty
others are condemned to penal servitude for terms varying from five to
fifteen years. The Porte insists that before the execution of the
sentence the Montenegrins, who in retaliation killed three Turkish
soldiers, be brought to trial.
“The prince of Montenegro declares that it is impossible to permit these
Montenegrins to be tried out of his territory. It is believed that the
difficulty will be removed by the formation at Cettigne of a mixed
This correspondence contains such serious inaccuracies that we believe
ourselves in duty bound to re-establish the truth of the facts.
1. The eminent Mussulman, Goussouf Montchine, whose murder brought about
the massacre of Podgoritza, was engaged in commerce, but he had had an
administrative employment at Medoun, a little town in the Turkish
territory of Koutcha, where he had taken into his service Pero Koutch, a
Turkish Christian, and a native of Medoun.
The murder was committed on the 7 (19) October, which was a
The assassin was this same Pero, who had for his late master some ill
feeling, the cause of which has not been sufficiently stated. It was
evidently a matter of personal revenge.
The servants of Goussouf Montchine threw themselves upon the murderer and
killed him on the spot. Not content with this act of summary justice,
under pretext that the criminal was a Christian, they stirred up the
crowd and sought out all over the town the Montenegrins who had come
there on commercial business. According to custom these unfortunate
persons had been obliged to give up their arms on entering the town. It
was therefore against disarmed individuals that this fanatical crowd
launched itself. Eight Montenegrins were massacred in the town. The
assassins then proceeded from there to the valley of Zeta, which leads
to the Montenegro. They there killed seven more inhabitants, and wounded
a woman who tried to protect her son against their blows.
It is to be observed, moreover, that the authorities as well as the
Turkish troops, who were witnesses of these odious acts, did absolutely
nothing to prevent them.
These are the facts established by the consular reports, and even by the
inquiry of the Turkish commission of Scutari.
It is consequently false that the murder which provoked these massacres
was committed by the Montenegrins as is stated, by the Havas Agency. If
a fresh proof were wanting that the assassin was a Turkish subject, it
would be found in the fact that a part of the town of Medoun, his native
place, has been pillaged by the exasperated Mussulman populace, and all
the relations of the criminal have had to take to flight.
2. As to the Montenegrins accused of having, in retaliation, fired from
their side upon the Turkish soldiers, three of whom were killed, the
affirmation of the Havas Agency is equally at variance with the
Here are the facts: Two Montenegrins, who both arrived on that day for
the market, [Page 1037] hearing the
cries and the discharge of fire-arms, sought shelter in a Turkish
military station, the soldiers of which themselves invited them to
enter, after having obliged them to lay down their arms.
However, the troop of Turkish assassins, having become aware of their
presence, invaded the station and threw themselves upon these two
disarmed victims. The Turkish soldiers stood by unmoved at this
aggression. One of the Montenegrins was killed on the spot. The other,
although wounded, succeeded in escaping, pursued by the murderous band
which the soldiers had now joined. He was able to reach the frontier of
the Piperi, which was near. These, seeing one of their number wounded
and pursued, fired some shots in his defense, and succeeded in saving
him. It was under these circumstances that two Turkish soldiers were