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Our New Protectorate

Nature volume 20, pages 453455 | Download Citation



WHATEVER other interests may have suffered through the late convulsions in the East, those of science, and especially of geography, have at all events been largely benefited. The cession of Cyprus to England and the Anglo-Turkish Convention, which brings a large part of Western Asia within the British political system, could not fail to direct general attention to those regions, thus giving occasion to a number of more or less comprehensive treatises on their physical conditions, natural resources, ethnical, social, and political relations. Of these works, those whose titles are here given, while differing widely in their scope and treatment, are each in its way very favourable specimens. Of the two, that of Mr. McCoan is perhaps on the whole the most satisfactory, as from its purpose and nature it is likely to prove of the greatest permanent interest. Within the compass of two moderately-sized octavo volumes it deals with an immense variety of topics. Yet such is its admirable arrangement, and so thoroughly master is the writer of his subject, that there is nowhere any crowding or confusion, and the result is a most convenient and reliable handbook of “Our New Protectorate.” Nothing is omitted that comes fairly within the scope of such a treatise, and a twenty years' personal experience of an intelligent observer of men and things will be sufficient guarantee of the accuracy of his statements, if not always of the justness of his conclusions. In the first volume separate chapters are devoted to each of the five great divisions of Asiatic Turkey, whose orography, hydrography, climate, natural products, present economical conditions, trade routes, political divisions, are treated in detail. These are followed by more comprehensive chapters on the history, races, religions, resources, and government of this eastern section of the empire. The second volume is occupied chiefly with questions of an economical and social character—public works, public instruction, trade centres, agriculture, slavery, polygamy, the Ulema, the capitulations, abuses, necessary reforms.

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