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Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  An American Missionary Warns of Armenian Terrorism  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

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 anti-Turkish action."


ADDENDUM, Nov. 2006:

The year provided for this article in the magazine it was taken from, 1897, was incorrect. Apologies.

Two newspaper accounts have been added:

1) An American College On the Shores of the Bosporus.

2) Cyrus Hamlin Attempts to Minimize His "Congregationalist" Report


A Dangerous Movement Among the Armenians

The following 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.

Robert College in Istanbul, 1919

Robert 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.

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Make 'em say ANCA!

   The revolutionary 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.

 The Article

To see the original page, Click Here for Pic
(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.


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.

"...For 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 in execution.

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 Huntchagists.




Bahname page, 19th Century

Bahname 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.



(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.

Cyrus Hamlin

Dr. Cyrus Hamlin

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


Adm. Farragut

Admiral 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 country?"

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:

"Farragut, warships."

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 above:

"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., "pro-Truth") letter (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 missionary character:

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" Report

(From The Middletown Daily Argus, December 8, 1894)


The Czar's Government Wants to Take Possession.


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 opinion still.

"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 bad" message.)


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

See also:

Missionary Cyrus Hamlin Lashes Out

"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


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