Page:The Sclavonic Provinces of the Ottoman Empire.djvu/9

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The other, Miss Mackenzie, has been cut off in her honourable career by death. I have no hesitation in saying that the book I have chosen is, as far as I know, the very best that can be obtained upon the interior condition of part of Turkey. They devoted themselves morning, noon, and night to see with their own eyes, and hear with their own ears, and consider with their own minds and hearts the condition of the country. That was the purpose for which they went there. Another reason why I take their book is that it has not been produced amid the somewhat heated conditions of the last six or twelve months. It was published nine or ten years ago; but the state of things which it described was a state of things which undoubtedly has not mended. It has decidedly, and that I think by general confession, grown worse, and not better, in the most essential points, within that time.

So much, then, for the book to which I am about to refer; but still it is necessary that I should say a few words to assist you in understanding the very peculiar and unexampled condition of the Turkish government, and the Turkish race in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire. I am going to limit myself to a very small portion of the Turkish Empire. The whole dominion has a population of 40,000,000, and not only so, but it is composed of a great multitude of countries differing very much in their political relations to Turkey, and all of them, I am afraid, having only this in common—that wherever they are directly under the Government of the Porte, they are under an incredibly bad government. The best-conditioned of them by far are those who, although they pay tribute to the Porte, and maintain a certain mildly-developed connection with it, yet in the main have the management of their own affairs. To-night we have to deal with a very small portion indeed of the Turkish Empire. These ladies have described principally the northern part of Macedonia, the country lying immediately round the southern and western parts of Servia, and also Montenegro. Now, the Turkish Government is a government without any parallel, so far as I know, in the world. It is a government established by conquest, and in that respect it is exceedingly like a great many other governments that have been established by conquest. For example, the Norman Government was established in England by conquest, and was maintained for a certain time by force, and for a time there was a great inequality between a man who was a Norman by birth in England, and the condition of a man who was a Saxon, or a Briton, or a Dane by birth; but all these differences have long ago worn off, and we do not know whether a man is a Briton, a Jute, a Dane, or a Saxon, or a Roman, or a Celt; we have all happily settled down into one homogeneous whole. The case of Turkey is exactly the reverse. There has been no settling down, no amalgamation. It is with