Mr. Maynard to Mr. Evarts.
Constantinople, October 31, 1877. (Received November 26.)
Sir: The military results of the last month have been more favorable to the Russians than during August and September. Without attempting details obtainable only from impartial eye-witnesses, they may be summarized as follows:
In Asia, the Turks have retired from the frontier before a vastly superior force, and have fallen back upon Kars and Erzeroum, with serious loss of men and material.
In Europe, the army of the Lower Danube has resumed its position along the Black Lom, having attempted movements against the Russian line of the Jantra without success. The command of this army has been transferred from Mehemet Ali Pasha to Sulieman Pasha. Around Plevna some important successes by the Russians are reported, but the place itself is still held by the army of Osman Pasha. The Shipka Pass remains with the Russians, and the operations against it have been reduced to a corps of observation. By comparing these positions with those held at the close of the last month, it will be seen that they are nearly the same, with the advantage to the Russians of having gained somewhat and lost nothing.
The Turks make success the absolute standard of merit in their military [Page 848] leaders. I have already mentioned the fall of Redif Pasha, minister of war, and of Abdul Kerim Pasha, the generalissimo (dispatch No. 173, dated July 31, 1877). I inclose a paragraph from the Daily Press giving their subsequent fate, and that of other unsuccessful generals. Mehemet Ali Pasha, after being superseded in the command of the army of the Danube, has been relegated to his old army corps in the Herzegovina, a milder sentence indeed, but still very humiliating. On the other hand, the Sultan has conferred upon Osman Pasha, for his defense of Plevna, and upon Ahmed Moukhtar Pasha, for his campaign in Asia, the imperial title of Ghazi (the Conqueror), with orders, jeweled swords, and Arab horses.
Everything at the capital is quiet, almost apathetic. The feast of Beiram was observed this year with less spirit than usual, although the display by the Sultan and his ministers was very brilliant.
Rumors of peace negotiations and of mediation by foreign powers are occasionally heard, but receive very little attention. The general feeling is, that peace will be possible only after a more decided success than either belligerent has yet achieved.
I have, & c.,