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A GLANCE at the Table of Contents will show that this volume aims at giving a more comprehensive view of the Eastern Question than has yet been attempted. The author believes that his conclusions follow, by logical necessity, from the facts which he has marshalled in support of them ; but, however that may be, the facts themselves are indisputable. His witnesses, too, whether as regards the principles and tendencies of Islam in general, or the particular development of it which we observe in the Turkish Empire, are for the most part unwilling witnesses — honest men, who have been constrained by loyalty to the truth to deliver judgment in opposition to their cherished prepossessions and natural bias. The author's views in respect to Turkey are based mainly, though not entirely, on a careful examination of all the Parliamentary Papers on the state of the Turkish Empire published since the Crimean War. His brief sketch of Arab rule in Spain and Sicily is also founded, as the reader will see, on standard authorities. With that part of his subject the author has been for some time tolerably familiar, having first interested
himself in the study of it during a prolonged visit to Sicily, since repeated, in 1868.
It was not till his return from the East of Europe last October, that the author resolved to write upon the subject at all; and the analysis of Parliamentary Papers and other sources of evidence occupied his time uninterruptedly till the beginning of January, when he began—what has been comparatively a much easier task—the actual writing of his book. In point of style and literary execution the volume has, no doubt, suffered from the rapidity with which it has been written ; but the facts and arguments are not affected by this circumstance; and it is on these, rather than on graces of style, that the author relies. His aim has been to prove, by evidence which is above suspicion and incontrovertible, that the Government of Turkey has been going on steadily, systematically, and on principle_from bad to worse from the Crimean War till now; that there is absolutely no security to the non-Mussulman subjects of the Empire for life, or honour, or religious freedom, or property ; that this is inevitable and of course while the Government of the Porte continues practically independient; that the Turkish Government is at this moment on the verge of dissolution a catastrophe from which the enforcement, by the Great Powers, of a scheme of real reform giving practical autonomy to the disturbed provinces, offers the only escape ; that a sincere resolution on the part of any two of the Great Powers to coerce Turkey would insure the obedience of the Porte, while the policy which seems to have prevailed necessitates war