From The Archives: May 1976 as North Caucasians Independence Month in New Jersey, NJ Gov. B. Byrne


WHEREAS, through the ages, the people of North Caucasia have struggled bitterly to regain their freedom; and

WHEREAS, on May 11, 1918, following the Bolshevik revolution, the people of North Caucasia declared their independence and North Caucasia was recognized by many nations as a free state; and

WHEREAS, in 1920, North Caucasia lost its freedom when it was conquered by the new Communist regime; and

WHEREAS, over the years, people of North Caucasia who resisted oppression were either massacred or forced into exile, including many now living in the United States and in New Jersey;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BRENDAN BYRNE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, do hereby proclaim

WHEREAS, Since 1864, the people of North Caucasia have been the victims of oppression by the Russian government; and

MAY, 1976



in New Jersey.

GIVEN, under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of New Jersey, this twenty-sixth day of May in the year of Our land one thousand nine hundred and seventy-six, and in the Independence of the United States, the two-hundredth.


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Congressional Record


Vol. 122  WASHINGTON, TUESDAY, MAY 11, 1976   NO.69

House of Representatives




Tuesday, May 11, 1976

Mr. ROE. Mr. Speaker, I have received a communique from the Honorable Tscherim Soobzokov of my congressional District, who is President of the Committee for Liberation of North Caucasia, Inc., requesting that I call to the attention of you and our colleagues here in the Congress the plight of the freedom-loving people of North Caucasia in seeking independence as a free state among the nations of the world and join with North Caucasians of Paterson, N.J. and the North Caucasian-American community throughout our country in commemorating this week, May 9-15 of our Bicentennial Year, as North Caucasian Independence Week.

On May 11, 1918 the North Caucasians, having survived many, many battles since the Russian conquest of 1864, declared their independence and with your permission, I would like to insert at this point in our historical journal of Congress a brief summary of the oppression of the North Caucasians forwarded to me by the Committee for Liberation of North Caucasia. Inc. The summary is as follows:


The North Caucasians have suffered Russian enslavement for a long time, but little of this has been known to the free world. One of the reasons is that the North Caucasians are little known, and their cause is overshadowed by other enslaved European people who are beter known to the Western World, such as the Poles, Hungarians, and the Ukranians. Since the suffering of the North Caucasians, as well as of these peoples, is a result of Soviet Imperialism and since freedom should be enjoyed by all peoples regardless of nationality, it is important that the oppression of North Caucasians be made known.

The North Caucasians are the peoples who inhabit the Caucasus, now under Soviet rule. Through the ages, the North Caucasian people struggled bitterly against any oppressor who tried to deny them the right to be free. In the 19th century, however, with an intensification of the Tsarist Russian imperial scheme to reach the warm waters of the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, the North Caucasian position became more serious. Being inhabitants of the corridor which leads to the Persian Gulf, the North Caucasians fell under constant Russian aggression. From the outset, the North Caucasians realized, owing to their small numbers, the futility of their fight against the colossus, Russia. But they made their choise to die on their feet rather than to live on their knees. The whole first part of the 19th century, the North Caucasians fought the tremendous Russian Army without any outside help. After six decades of fighting, in 1864. Russia claimed that she pacified the North Caucasians by forcing over half a million people into mass exile. Most of these exiles were scattered into the Otoman Empire and their descendants are stil living in several countries of the Middle East.

The North Caucasians who remained in the Caucasus under Tsarist rule, tried through several sporadic uprisings to regain their freedom and independence, but without any success. When the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 took place, the North Caucasians as well as other subjugated peoples of the Caucasus, believed that their golder opportunity to reestablish themselves, as a free people, had come and they began to organize themselves into a democratic republic. But as soon as the Bolsheviks established themselves, the whole Caucasus once again came under the Russian yoke. This time the Russians instead of being white, were red, more efficient, and more ruthless. They enforced their collectivization on the people, massacring anybody who did not accept so called Marxist doctrine. Many North Caucasians who took arms against the new master of the Caucasus were killed, and some, who escaped, moved out of the Caucasus. Thus the second exodus of the North Caucasians took place.

Between the two World Wars, the North Caucasians experienced the most severe rules and subjugation in their history. When the Second World War started, once again the North Caucasians took it as an opportunity to free themselves and joined sides against their Communist masters. Again they were suppressed, and again some managed to escape to the free world. The North Caucasians of Paterson are some of these who found a haven in the United States and belong to the third exodus of the North Caucasian peoples.

Although the North Caucasians of Paterson are lucky to find a refuge in the United States, where they enjoy the blessings of its democratic institutions and human rights, they cannot free themselves from thoughts of their brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who are not free but enslaved in the fullest meaning of that word. Therefore, the North Caucasians of Paterson deem it their duty to raise their voice and let Americans and the peoples of the free world know about their case and cause.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of my Congressional District and the State of New Jersey. I join in this annual observance of the North Caucasians of Paterson and trust that through our mutual endeavors and responsibilities that we will strive to continue to achieve international understanding and agreement that will eliminate the oppression of people and restore ''human rights'' and the rights of self-determination by the peoples of the so-called captive nations of the world.

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Fund for the Circassians, 1864 - C.Hoare & Co.

In June 1864, a subscription account entitled ‘Fund for the Circassians’ was opened at Hoare’s Bank. The account was short lived: no donations were received after October that year. And the sum raised, £77-15-9, was modest. But the story behind the account provoked scenes similar to those being witnessed across Europe today.

Nestled beside the Black Sea, in a landscape of dramatic mountains and lush fertile valleys, Circassia was just one of a numberless jumble of ethnic groups that comprised the Northern Caucasus. Russia loomed large to the north, while to the south lay the mighty Ottoman and Persian Empires. For hundreds of years, much of the Northern Caucasus had been controlled by the two latter powers. But during the nineteenth century Russia launched a determined bid to seize control of the entire territory. Over half a century, the Tzar’s armies invaded, conquered and annexed their way across the region, subjugating or expelling the indigenous populations as they went. The resistance these armies encountered along the way was intense. And few resisted more fiercely than the Circassians, some of whom held out for forty years. Ultimately, however, they were no match for the Russian military machine. In April 1864, their last stronghold, Vardar, capitulated and the outlook for the Circassians themselves appeared bleak.

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Source: Hoare’s Bank | C. Hoare & Co. is the United Kingdom's oldest privately owned bank.

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Khilar Khashirov, first man in the world who climbed to the top of mt Elbrus

Khilar Khashirov is the first man in the world who climbed to the top of mt #Elbrus without special training. He was a guide for Imperial Russian army scientific expedition led by General Georgi Emmanuel. Khashirov's nationality is claimed both by Kabardians and Karachays. Georgi Emanuel's biographer Prince Golitsyn, identified Khilar specifically as a Circassian from the region of Kabarda. [Zhizneopisannie Generela ot Kavalerii Emanuelya (Life-Sketches of the Cavalry General Emanuel), Moscow, 1851] but Turkic tribesmen claim him as ethnically one of their own.

A detailed research about it can be read in Russian at: “Восхождение на Эльбрус в 1829 году. Архивные материалы.”

Here is a news from the "Morning Post"  (London, England)
The Scientific Expedition To The Caucasus(Thursday 29 October 1829) 


Another clipping from the "[Glasgow] Evening Citizen" - Monday 14 September 1868, page 2.

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Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey

Sir H. Bulwer to Earl Russell. – (Received April 23) Constantinople, April 12, 1864 -- My Lord,The continued advances of the Russians in Circassia, and the ill-treatment... 

Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864.

London, Printed by Harrison & Sons.

The full original papers in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (1.61 MB)

Sir H. Bulwer to Earl Russell. – (Received April 23)

Constantinople, April 12, 1864

My Lord,

The continued advances of the Russians in Circassia, and the ill-treatment experienced by the natives from Russian troops, have led to an almost complete emigration from the country: 25,000 have already reached Trebizond, and others are endeavouring to escape in small boats at every risk. The conglomeration of vast quantities of these people, who have no industrial habits, threatens the health and peace of any one locality, and the loss of life which is occasioned by their hazardous attempts to escape from their conquerors is shocking to humanity. The Turkish Government is therefore about sending vessels to Trebizond to remove the emigrants thence, and place them in different parts of the Empire; and it is also in negotiation with the Russian Chargé d'Affaires here, in order to be able to adopt some measures by which those unfortunate people, who, after the most heroic attempts in defending the country where they were born, are at last obliged to abandon it, may be able to seek asylum with safety in the Ottoman dominions.

I understand that the Russian Chargé d'Affaires has shown no difficulty, as far as he is concerned, in entering into arrangements with the Porte, and has applied to his Government for further instructions.

(Signed) Henry L. Bulwer

PS. – I may take this opportunity of transmitting to your Lordship a Petition which has been addressed to Her majesty the Queen by the Circassians, together with a translation of the same.



"Our most humble Petition to Her Magnificent Majesty the Queen and Emperor of England is to the effect that ---

It is now more than eighty years since the Russian Government is unlawfully striving to subdue and annex to its dominions Circassia, which since the creation of the world has been our home and our country. It slaughters like sheep the children, helpless women, and old men that fall into its hands. It rolls about their heads with the bayonet like melons, and there is no act of oppression or cruelty which is beyond the pale of civilization and humanity, and which defies description, that it has not committed. We have not, from father to son, at the cost of our lives and properties, refrained from opposing the tyrannical acts of that Government in defence of our country, which is dearer to us than our lives. But during the last year or two it has taken advantage of a famine caused by a drought with which the Almighty visited is, as well as by its own ravages, and it as occasioned us great distress by its severe attacks by sea and land. Many are the lives which have been lost in battle, from hunger in the mountains, from destitution on the sea-coast, and from want of skill at sea.

We therefore invoke the mediation and precious assistance of the British Government and people – the guardian of humanity and centre if justice – in order to repel the brutal attacks of the Russian Government on our country, and save our country and our nation together.

But if it is not possible to afford this help for the preservation of our country and race, then we pray to be afforded facilities for removing to a place of safety our helpless and miserable children and women that are perishing by the brutal attacks of the enemy as well as by the effects of famine; and if neither of these two requests are taken into consideration, and if in our helpless condition we are utterly annihilated notwithstanding our appeals to the mercy and grace of the Governments, then we shall not cease to invoke our right in the presence of the Lord of the Universe, of Him who has confided to your Majesty sovereignty, strength, and power for the purpose of protecting the weak."

"We beg your Excellency [Sir Henry Bulwer] to be the medium of making known to the great British Government and to the glorious British nation our condition of helplessness and misery, and we have therefore ventured to present to your Excellency our most humble petition. A copy of it has been submitted to the Sultan's Government and to the Embassies of other Powers."

(Signed by the people of Circassia)                                        29 Sheval, 1280 (April 9, 1864)



Papers Respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey.

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864

London, Printed by Harrison and Sons. Pages 2 and 3.

Enclosed  in  Despatch  No.3  From  Sir  Henry  Bulwer  to  Earl  Russell,  Constantinople,  April 12, 1864 (FO 881/1259)

Consul-General Murray to Earl Russell. – (Received May 17)


Odessa, April 29, 1864.

My Lord,

I have the honour to report that information has reached me that Vardan and Sochyi have recently been occupied by the troops under the command of Major-General Heyman, who encountered no resistance. The mountaineers are in most distressing condition, and are emigrating to Turkey as fast as boats can be found to take them away.

Grants of land in the conquered districts will now be offrerd to such of the Azoff Cossacks as desire to settle in the South if the Caucasus, and every encouragement will be given them to do so.

His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Michael has recently made a tour of inspection in the South.

(Signed) E.C. Grenville Murray.


Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey.

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864

London, Printed by Harrison and Sons. Page 4.

Consul Dickson to Earl Russell. – (Received May 17)


Soukoum-Kalé, March 17, 1864.

I feel it is a painful duty to report a deed that has come to my knowledge, which has so exasperated the Circassians as to excite them to further resistance, however desperate their case may be.

A Russian detachment having captured the village of Toobeh on the Soobashi River, inhabited by about 100 Abadzekh, and after these had surrendered themselves prisoners, they were all massacred by the Russian troops. Among the victims were two women in an advanced state of pregnancy, and five children. The detachment is question belongs to Count Evdokimoff's army, and is said to have advanced from the Pshish valley.

As the Russian troops gain ground on the coast, the natives are not allowed to remain there on any terms, but are compelled either to transfer themselves to the plains of the Kouban or emigrate to Turkey. 


Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey.

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864

London, Printed by Harrison and Sons. Page 2.


Consul Dickson to Earl Russell. – (Received May 17)


Soukoum-Kalé, April 13, 1864.

The Ubikh and Fighett tribes are fast embarking for Trebizond. In fact, after their land having been laid waste by fire and sword, emigration to Turkey is the only alternative allowed to those mountaineers who refuse to transfer themselves to the Kouban steppes and contribute periodically to the militia.

The condition of these poor people is described by eye-witnesses as most distressing. In the hurry of departure the overcrowding of boats is so little heeded as to lead to frequent disasters, while such of their horses and cattle as war and famine have spared are being sold for a few paper roubles.

In some instances the emigrants, sooner than see their weapons (may be heir-looms in the family for centuries) exchange hands with the enemy, have flung them into the sea.

With a view of introducing Russian colonization in the conquered districts the Government offer grants of land and other privileges to the Azoff Cossacks who may desire to settle there. Government employés indiscriminately, who may have served ten years in the Caucasus, will be entitled to claim an allotment if the land.


Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey.

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864

London, Printed by Harrison and Sons. Page 3 and 4.


Consul-General Murray to Earl Russell. – (Received May 17)


Odessa, April 29, 1864.

My Lord,

I have the honour to report that information has reached me that Vardan and Sochi have recently been occupied by the troops under the command of Major-General Heyman, who encountered no resistance. The mountaineers are in most distressing condition, and are emigrating to Turkey as fast as boats can be found to take them away.

Grants of land in the conquered districts will now be offrerd to such of the Azoff Cossacks as desire to settle in the South if the Caucasus, and every encouragement will be given them to do so.

His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Michael has recently made a tour of inspection in the South.

(Signed) E.C. Grenville Murray.


Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey.

Presented to the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of their Address dated June 6, 1864

London, Printed by Harrison and Sons. Page 4.

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Photos from Count Eugene Zichy’s expedition to the Caucasus in 1895

By late Amjad Jaimoukha

The Hungarian Count Eugene [Jenő] Zichy (1837-1906) wanted to investigate the original seat of the Magyars (Hungarians). Since the Circassians were called “Zikhi”, the Count was convinced that his roots were to be found amongst the Circassians. His Circassian guide in Circassia was Kanamat Agirov [Аджыр Къэнэмэт].

He published his account of the expedition:

Zichy, E. (de), “Voyages au Caucase et en Asie Centrale”, Budapest, 1897. (2 volumes)


1. Kabardians of the Het’ox’wschiqwe (Atazhukin; ХьэтIохъущыкъуэ) princely family, Baksan Valley, 1895.

2. Kabardian Woman of Het’ox’wschiqwe (Atazhukin), Baksan Valley, 1895.

3. Kabardians of the Heghwndoqwe (Хьэгъундокъуэ) clan, 1895.

 4. Kabardian cemetery, Dubaruk village, 1895. Count Eugene [Jenő] Zichy is second from right.

5. Kabardians in X’wmeren (Khumara) village, 1895. [Now part of Cherkessia in the Karachai-Cherkess Republic]

6. Kabardian elders, Kabarda [Eastern Circassia], 1895.

For more on the expedition:

László Károly Marácz, “Gábor Bálint de Szentkatolna (1844-1913) and the Study of Kabardian”, in Françoise Companjen, et al (eds.), “Exploring the Caucasus in the 21st Century: Essays on Culture, History and Politics in a Dynamic Context”, Amsterdam University Press, 2010, pp. 27-46. 

András Maracskó, “Hungarian Orientalism and the Zichy Expeditions”, Master of Arts thesis, Department of History, Central European University, 2014. []

Szádeczky-kardoss Lajos, “Zichy-expedíció, Kaukázus, Közép-Ázsia, 1895” [“Zichy Expedition, Caucasus, Central Asia, 1895”], Hungarian Ostörténeti Research and Publications, 2002. [contains precious photographs taken in Circassia/Kabarda in 1895]

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The Annual Register, 1836: Invasion of Circassia by the Russians


View of the History, Politics and Literature of the Year

The Annual Register is an annual survey of the past year (traditionally focusing on history, politics, and literature), published in the UK.

Invasion of Circassia by the Russians (P.1-3)


Classes of Society Among the Circassians (P.3-4)

Administration of Justice in Circassia (P.4-5)

Circassian Religious Rites (P.5-6)

Circassian Women (P.6)

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The Circassian Exodus, The Times, May 9, 1864


New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume XIX, Issue 1987, 17 August 1864, Page 4

(From The Times, May 9, 1864, p.11.)

Constantinople, April 28.

Official intimation has been received here of the capitulation or Vardar, the last stronghold of the Circassians, and of the consequent submission of all the tribes. I had occasion in a previous letter to refer to the flood of immigration which was pouring into the Turkish dominions from the Caucasus, and to the defeats which had been experienced by these gallant mountaineers; and although there could be no doubt at that time that the cause of the Circassians was hopeless, there was not sufficient ground for anticipating the extraordinary movement which has since developed itself, and which threatens, unless immediate relief and succour be obtained, to degenerate, as regards these poor people, into an awful disaster. Whether this movement is to be attributed to a panic consequent on defeat, or to the hatred inspired by the Russians, it is rather difficult to determine; but there is no doubt that the three tribes known as the ‘’Shabsoukhs,’’ and ‘’Oboukhs’’ and ‘’Abazehs’’ have determined to abandon their country to a man, and take refuge on Turkish territory. Already the outflowing tide of emigrants it to great as to place the Turkish Government in the greatest embarrassment. 27,000 of these unfortunate creatures, in the most utter destitution, have poured into Trebizonde (Trabzon - CW). The privations of the voyage in a most inclement season have produced disease of the very worst kind among them, which is not only committing fearful ravages in their own famished ranks, but it is extending to the local population. Typhus and smallpox are raging at Trebizonde, and the place is threatened with a famine. The Turkish Government is willing and anxious to receive the fugitives, and incorporated them into their own population, but the movement has been so sudden and so extensive that it bas been impossible to make provision for the hosts that are daily pouring in. It is calculated that no less than 300,000 will, within the next two or three months, seek shelter in this country, and half that number are now seeking the means of transporting themselves to the Turkish coast of the Black Sea. Unfortunately, it is found most difficult to obtain transports for this purpose. The Turkish Government has offered every pecuniary inducement for obtaining it, without avail. It is now their intention to disarm some of their men-of-war, and employ them for this service; but even this resource will not be sufficient to meet the difficulty. Some idea may be formed of the mortality raging among them when it is known that out of 600 Circassians who took passage in a steam transport, after a voyage of three or four days 370 only arrived at their destination. The accounts that are received of the helpless and destitute state of these unhappy beings surpass in misery and horror anything I have ever seen recorded in connexion with suffering humanity. Women in childbirth exposed to the inclemencies of a Black Sea journey, without assistance or the bare necessaries of life, enveloping their newborn in a corner of their own ragged garment; sturdy warriors who had achieved many a gallant deed lying prostrate in the agonies of a horrible death, decks swarming with the dead and dying. These are things now of everyday occurrence in the waters of the Euxine. I do not wish to excite unnecessary horror by a faithful description of the awful visitation which has fallen upon the Circassian race; indeed, no description, however minute and accurate, could convey a sense of the fearful sufferings of this now-proscribed people; but I should be failing in public duty if I did not put upon record the dreadful calamity of which I have such abundant evidence. I have been appealed to, moreover, from every quarter to give publicity to this awful state of things as a means of concentrating attention on a subject the present and future importance of which is great, and in the hope also that it may elicit seme manifestation of public sympathy.

Justice must be done to the Government and to the people of Turkey for good charitable intentions in this emergency. Unfortunately these intentions cannot be carried out effectively. Organization is not the peculiar attribute of Oriental institutions. When the ultimate defeat and surrender of the Circassians become apparent the Russian Government made overtures to the Porte, in view of ascertaining whether the Sultan would receive into his dominions such proportion of the Circassian tribes as would desire to leave their country. The Turkish Government consented to receive them on the condition that the emigration should be gradual and should not commence before the fine season. It was then believed that 40,000 or 50,000 would avail themselves of this refuge. The progress of events, however, has been so rapid that these stipulations heve been totally disregarded, and the successive victories cf the Russian army in the Caucasus produced the panic and the flight which lmve been recorded above. Such arrangements have been made as could be devised in the exigency of the moment for procuring shelter and nourishment, but they are so inadequate to actual requirements that considerable alarm is felt for the future. It is proposed to provide for a certain number of the emigrants by quartering them upon the population in the proportion of ten families to every Turkish village of 100 families. The wisdom of such a measure is, I think, doubtful. It will impose upon the people an obligation which they are hardly in a position to assume — that of partially providing for a helpless and destitute class, who, for a time, at least, must prey opon the limited resources of the local inhabitants. It will lead, moreover, to the propagation of disease the infection of which has, to a certain extent, reached even the capital. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the decision may be modified. If a proper system of succour be established, the Turkish Government might make considerable capital of this movement. There are vast and fertile plains and tracts of land in Asia Minor, and other parts of the empire, comparatively denuded of population, to which the Circassians may be drafted with advantage. The rapid development in the growth of cotton, which only requires bands for its further extension, could bring into immediate requisition and profit the employment of a vast number of the people; but something must be done immediately, and the most practical and useful mode of proceeding is to provide abundant means of transport. Dissatisfaction and mutiny make rapid strides among a large number of men massed together in one particular spot, when they find themselves the prey of misery and destitution; and there have already been threatening indications of such a spirit among those who have taken ground at Trebizonde and other localities. All these considerations have forced themselves upon the Government, and there is no question of political import which at this moment engrosses so much of their attention. Negotiations are in progress with the Russian Government to induce them to open their ports in the Black Sea, so as to give a regular end systematic course to the movement, instead of driving the unfortunate emigrants to the unprotected beach in search of small coasting vessels, which are crowded to excess, and soon become the scenes of death and desolation.

There is a project also of draughting some 20,000 of these men into the Turkish army: the Grand Vizier and Minister of War, Fuad Pasha, has sent a military commission to the Black Sea, with this object, headed by Ali Pasha,  a general officer of Circassian origin, who is said to have weight and authority with them. The execution ot this measure will enable the War department to relax considerably the system of recruiting, which would be an incalculable boon to the country at large; and judging by the past exploits of the Circassian race, neither the army nor the general population of the empire will suffer by the infusion of this new blood into their ranks. This is certainly an execellent idea, and one that may work well in time, but the urgent, the almost imperative want of the moment is to obtain immediate relief, and by the adoption of stringent sanitary measures to check the progress of the disease which is destroying these unfortunate creatures in the proportion of twenty per cent., and is spreading itself among the indigenous population. A commission for this special object, under the suspices of the Government, is in existence. Private contributions have not been wanting. The Sultan’s Ministers have contributed to the limit of their means. The Sultan himself, to hit honour be it recorded, has given as much as £50,000 from his privy purse. The Government have estimated that an outlay of more that one million sterling will have to be voted by the state in older to provide for the permanent establishment of the emigrants.

Some interest will naturally be manifested as to the causes which have led the Circassian people to abandon their hearths and property, and to take refuge, under fearful difficulties and dangers, on a foreign territory. On tbis subject it is rather difficult, as I have already stated, to arrive at the accurate truth. The privations, the hardships, and the loss of life which have attended the first stages of the emigration have not weakened the determination of those left behind to brave the same dangers, rather than remain on their native soil. There is ample ground for inference, therefore — and the Circassians so represent it — that the Russian rule in the Caucasus is of a nature which cannot be endured. The sacrifice of independence alone would surely not have induced 300,000 people to fly in a body from their country; and supposing their national feeling impelled them to do it, it is probable that the movement would bave been effected in such a manner as not to expose them to the cruel fate which they have met. It is generally believed that the Russians bave been anxious to drive them out of the country, and to colonise the territory with the Cossack element. On the other hand, the Russian account is that they bave endeavoured in every way to conciliate these tribes, and to induce them to remain in their homes. Be that as it may, their failure in this attempt— supposing they were in earnest about it — does not argue favorably as to the means which they have adopted to enforce their rule upon the bulk of these populations; and there remains this startling fact unprecedented in the annals of modern times, — of a vast and warlike population, under the influence of those symptoms which are generated by tyranny and oppression, flying in a body to a strange land rather than remain in the power of their conquerors.

Captain L. Oliphant, in a letter to the Times of May 12, says: — ,

"The heartrending narrative of the Circassian exodus, which appeared in the Times of Monday, must have appealed to the sympathies of every reader, and I had hoped that ere this an abler pen than mine would have pleaded the cause in behalf of which I now venture to ask your support. Some years ago I travelled in Circassia, and was hospitably entertained by those very tribes of Shabsoukhs, Oboukhs, and Abazehs, who have now preferred a great national suicide to the horrors of the Russian rule. Sebastopol fell while I was still in the country, and those valiant mountaineers vainly hoped that one result of the allied success would be a stipulation prohibiting the Russians from rebuilding those forts upon the eastern shores of the Black Sea, which completed the blockade of their country, and rendered their final subjugation a mere question of time. Had we insisted upon this point in our treaty — then a very easy matter — the Circassians would never bave been driven out by Russia. To a certain extent, therefore, upon us falls the responsibility of a calamity gigantic in its proportions and unequilled in the horror of its details. At last the Western tribes have broken, but they have scorned to bend. For upwards of forty years they have kept the whole armies of the Czar at bay, and now they have abandoned the loveliest valleys in the world to perish of destitution and pestilence, but to die as they have lived, free and unconquered. It is impossible that so grand an instance of heroism should not find a responsive chord in the heart of every Englishman. There are not so many nations in the world who prefer death to slavery, that we should withhold in this instance sympathy and money which might relieve the sufferings of those 300,000 persons who, according to your correspondent, will be thrown destitute during the next two or three months upon the shores of Asiatic Turkey. It is probable that a large proportion of them will die on the way, since, according to the same authority, out of 600 during a voyage of four days only 370 arrived at their destination. And he goes on to say, — 'The accounts that are received of the helpless and destitute state of these unhappy beings surpass in misery and horror anything I have ever seen recorded in connexion with suffering humanity. Women in childbirth, exposed to the inclemencies of a Black Sea journey, without assistance or the bare necesaaries of life, enveloping their new-born in a corner of their own ragged garment ; sturdy warriors who had achieved many a gallant deed, lying prostrate in the agonies of a horrible death; decks swarming with dead and dying — these are things of everyday occurrence on the waters of the Euxine.' In Circassia, as in Poland, Russia has not shrunk from applying that unrelenting policy which in the end extinguishes the obnoxious race. There have been moments when by stretching out the band we might have saved both victims. Now all that is left to us is, by the display of that individual generosity which partially redeems our national character for selfishness, to alleviate as far as possible their dying agonies. I have already received from many quarters promises of subscriptions. I now most earnestly trust that this appeal will be responded to by the public."

Source: National Library of New Zealand

- THE CIRCASSIAN EXODUS (Original paper)
Other issues about Circassians in National Library of New Zealand
- THE CIRCASSIAN IMMIGRATION - Otago Witness, Issue 662, 6 August 1864, Page 2
- THE EMIGRATION OF THE CIRCASSIANS. - Otago Witness, Issue 732, 9 December 1865, Page 3

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