Edwin Pears

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Sir Edwin Pears (18 March 1835 – 27 November 1919) was a British barrister, author and historian. He lived in Constantinople for about forty years and he is known for his 1911 book Turkey and its People.[1][2]

Sir Edwin Pears and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, 29 June 1909, by Sir (John) Benjamin Stone[3]

Early life[edit]

Pears was born on 18 March 1835 in York, England. He was educated privately and at the University of London where he took first-class honours in Roman law and jurisprudence.

Pears was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1870. He was also private secretary to Frederick Temple, then Bishop of Exeter, and later Archbishop of Canterbury. Pears was also secretary to various associations connected with social work in London.


Pears settled in Constantinople in 1873. He practised in the consular courts[4] and became president of the European bar there. He rose to become one of the leaders of the British colony in Constantinople.[5]

Pears travelled much through Turkish dominions, and studied Turkish history from both the Turkish and foreign perspectives.[6]

In this way, Pears acquired an intimate knowledge of Turkey. In 1876, as correspondent of The Daily News, he sent letters home describing Ottoman atrocities and the April Uprising in Bulgaria.[7][8][9] The letters aroused popular demonstrations in England led by William Ewart Gladstone.[6] [10]At the time, the reports of these atrocities were generally disbelieved and Pears' letters placed all the incontrovertible facts before the English people.[11][12]

In 1909, Pears was knighted, returning to London to receive the honour in person on 22 July 1909.[13]

In 1911, Pears wrote the book Turkey and its People. It is regarded as his most distinguished book. In that book, he displayed his expert knowledge of Byzantine Constantinople. The book contains original material on the nationalities of the Ottoman empire.[5] The book was an attempt to interpret Turkey to the western people.[6]

In 1916, Pears wrote Forty Years in Constantinople.[14] This book is regarded as essential reading for the study of the Ottoman constitutional revolution of 1908.[5]


Pears died on 27 November 1919 in Malta from an accident on his journey home from Constantinople.

Awards and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pears, Edwin (1911). Turkey and Its People (1 ed.). London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 19 March 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  2. ^ He is also author of the following books: Pears, Edwin (1880). The Fall of Constantinople Being the Story of the Fourth Crusade (1 ed.). New York: Harper & Brothers. Retrieved 31 March 2016 – via Internet Archive. ; Pears, Edwin (1903). The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople (1 ed.). London: Longmans, Green & Co. Retrieved 31 March 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  3. ^ National Portrait Gallery
  4. ^ "No. 25252". The London Gazette. 20 July 1883. p. 3681. 
  5. ^ a b c Walker, Christopher J. (2005). Visions of Ararat: Writings on Armenia. I.B. Tauris. p. 105. ISBN 1-85043-888-9. 
  6. ^ a b c Doran, George H. (March 24, 1912). "ALL THE TURKS; Sir Edwin Pears Writes Authoritatively on the Turkish Peoples" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Modern History Sourcebook: Sir Edwin Pears: The Massacre of Bulgarians, 1876". Fordham University. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  8. ^ Frederick Moy Thomas, ed. (1904). Fifty Years of Fleet Street being the Life and Letters of John Richard Robinson (1 ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 183. Retrieved 5 June 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  9. ^ Pears, Edwin (1916). Forty Years in Constantinople, The Recollections of Sir Edwin Pears 1873-1915 (1 ed.). London: Herbert Jenkins Limited. p. 12-24. Retrieved 19 March 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  10. ^ Gladstone, William Ewart (1876). Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East (1 ed.). London: John Murray. p. 13. Retrieved 20 March 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  11. ^ Morgenthau, Henry (1919). Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (1 ed.). Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. p. 256-257. Retrieved June 23, 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  12. ^ Страшимиров, Димитър Т. (1907). История на априлското въстание. III (1 ed.). Пловдив: Издание и собственост на Пловдивската Окръжна Постоянна Комисия. p. 360. Retrieved 23 June 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  13. ^ "No. 28275". The London Gazette. 30 July 1909. p. 5805. 
  14. ^ Pears, Edwin (1916). Forty Years in Constantinople, The Recollections of Sir Edwin Pears 1873-1915 (1 ed.). London: Herbert Jenkins Limited. Retrieved 18 March 2016 – via Internet Archive.