1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Khaireddin

KHAIREDDIN (Khair-ed-Din = “Joy of Religion”) (d. 1890), Turkish statesman, was of Circassian race, but nothing is known about his birth and parentage. In early boyhood he was in the hands of a Tunisian slave-dealer, by whom he was sold to Hamuda Pasha, then bey of Tunis, who gave him his freedom and a French education. When Khaireddin left school the bey made him steward of his estates, and from this position he rose to be minister of finance. When the prime minister, Mahmud ben Ayad, absconded to France with the treasure-chest of the beylic, Hamuda despatched Khaireddin to obtain the extradition of the fugitive. The mission failed; but the six years it occupied enabled Khaireddin to make himself widely known in France, to become acquainted with French political ideas and administrative methods, and, on his return to Tunisia, to render himself more than ever useful to his government. Hamuda died while Khaireddin was in France, but he was highly appreciated by the three beys—Ahmet (1837), Mohammed (1855), and Sadok (1859)—who in turn followed Hamuda, and to his influence was due the sequence of liberal measures which distinguished their successive reigns. Khaireddin also secured for the reigning family the confirmation from the sultan of Turkey of their right of succession to the beylic. But although Khaireddin’s protracted residence in France had imbued him with liberal ideas, it had not made him a French partisan, and he strenuously opposed the French scheme of establishing a protectorate over Tunisia upon which France embarked in the early ’seventies. This rendered him obnoxious to Sadok’s prime minister—an apostate Jew named Mustapha ben Ismael—who succeeded in completely undermining the bey’s confidence in him. His position thus became untenable in Tunisia, and shortly after the accession of Abdul Hamid he acquainted the sultan with his desire to enter the Turkish service. In 1877 the sultan bade him come to Constantinople, and on his arrival gave him a seat on the Reform Commission then sitting at Tophane. Early in 1879 the sultan appointed him grand vizier, and shortly afterwards he prepared a scheme of constitutional government, but Abdul Hamid refused to have anything to do with it. Thereupon Khaireddin resigned office, on the 28th of July 1879. More than once the sultan offered him anew the grand vizierate, but Khaireddin persistently refused it, and thus incurred disfavour. He died on the 30th of January 1890, practically a prisoner in his own house.