to Mr. Fish.
Vienna, August 18, 1876. (Received September 11.)
Sir: The character of the war as waged by the Turks against the Servians does not seem to lessen in violence, in spite of the horror such scenes are exciting in the civilized world.
The occupation by them of the valley of the Timok presents a repetition of the horrors of the province of Bulgaria, but it is to be hoped a knowledge at Constantinople of a united and ominous sentiment throughout Europe of sympathy with their fellow Christians may at least tend to soften the rigor of the conquerors. The valley of the Timok, it is said, has been absolutely depopulated. Those of the inhabitants who have escaped the sword have taken refuge, to the number of 60,000, in Roumania.
Although against a probability of success, the Servians seem determined to fight this war out to the bitter end, probably with the hope [Page 16]that its prolongation may bring to their aid some of those powers who are burning with impatience to assist them, but withheld by motives of policy.
Sir Charles Dilke, in a speech delivered in London on the 16th instant, vouches for the veracity of the accounts of the desolation of Bulgaria and the wholesale slaughter of unarmed men and innocent women and children, scenes which have been repeated, it is said, in the valley of the Timok, and will be, I fear, throughout Servia. These appalling massacres, reported oh such respectable authority, lead me to qualify my first opinion that they had been exaggerated, both in extent of territory and numbers, and to join in, the horror which is everywhere expressed at such barbarity.
* * * * * * *
To create a desert and call it peace is not a new art, but to revive it as a lost one belongs to the warfare of the modern Turks, if we may believe what is currently reported, on apparently good authority, of them, but which it is still to be hoped may prove to be the exaggeration of partisan feeling.
The following proclamation has been issued by the Sultan:
Constantinople, August 14. 14.
The following is the dispatch sent by the Porte to its representatives abroad, relative to the Bulgarian amnesty:
“His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, our august master, moved by his sentiments of paternal solicitude and exceeding clemency, has been pleased to grant a full and complete amnesty to all the individuals who were implicated in the Bulgarian insurrection, and to those whose trial is not yet terminated. Excepted from this imperial clemency are those who have already been sentenced, and those who, having been accused of being the chiefs and organizers of the insurrection, have already been delivered into the hands of justice. All the others who are in custody will be set at liberty on giving due security. All prosecutions in connection with the events in question will be stopped, and henceforth no one will be pursued or arrested on this head. At the same time the special tribunals to which the preliminary inquiries have been intrusted will be suppressed, and the sentences passed on those coming under the above-mentioned exceptions will be referred to the ordinary tribunals.”
I have, &c.,