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Art. I. Journey through Asia Minor, Armenia, and Koordistan, in

the Years 1813 and 1814; with Remarks on the Marches of Alex. ander, and Retreat of the Ten Thousand. By John Macdonald

Kindeir. 8vo. pp. 603. Map. price 189. London. 1818. OUR

UR most kindling recollections and our deepest regrets

connect themselves with the shores of the Mediterranean. The most interesting events in the history of the world, were transacted there; and whatever of knowledge, power, and happiness Europe now enjoys, may be traced back to these romantic coasts. Commerce, Science, Art, Liberty, in the brighter periods of their story, lavished their blessings on these privileged realms; but the desolations of War, the intolerance of Fanaticism, and the improvident selfishness of uncontrolled power, have changed this brilliant scene, and given up the fairest regions of the globe, to want and misery. The materials of which former strength and felicity were made up, still exist; the various and fertilizing climate, the rich and productive soil, the mental, moral, and physical force of man, still are there; but the withering arm of oppression is stretched forth upon the land, the civil and religious rights of man are inexorably crushed, and the will of the master is the only law.

This description strictly applies to by far the greater portion of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, but to none more strongly than to those which are the immediate subjects of our present consideration, the Asiatic provinces of the Turkish Empire. These fine countries lie in the most advantageous position conceivable for all the objects of national security and prosperity. In a commercial point of view, their situation is unrivalled, since by commanding the navigation of the Euxine, the Bosphorus, the Egean, and the Mediterranean, and

by occupying the intermediate space between Europe and the East, they possess advantages in many respects unattainable by any other VOL. X. N.S.


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state; while for the purposes of internal traffic, the numerous water-ways which intersect the surface, afford the greatest facilities. Considered in a military light, these provinces appear to possess every possible resource: large plains for extensive evolutions, mountain-tracts, passes, and great rivers for defensive warfare, are found in the most advantageous positions. With respect to its general aspect,

Asia Minor is, perhaps, one of the finest countries in the world; it is blessed with a healthy and delightful climate, and the earth is fruitful and always covered with vegetation. It has, however, been gradually declining since the fall of the Roman Empire, and is consequently at present but thinly peopled and badly cultivated; vast tracts of land lying either waste or covered with morasses and impervious forests.'

But there is another, and a very different class of considerations which, in every Christian mind at least, connect themselves with these countries. We refer to those recollections which suggest feelings of the deepest grief for the moral and religious degradation of the wretched inhabitants of these realms. Once they were blessed with the presence of Gospel light, and the word of God “ mightily grew and prevailed." The great Apostle of the Gentiles was a native of one of the provinces of this extensive tract, and it was the privileged scene of his missionary labours. But the glory is departed; the “ seven “ churches” of Asia Minor have left nothing but their name and their site; their candlesticks are removed from their place; and nothing now exists, where religion once flourished, but the fierce intolerance of Islam, and the hollow and corrupt profession of the Greek Church.

It will not be necessary for us to detain our readers by a minute description of the manner in which these provinces are now governed. The Turkish sway is everywhere the same; and though the Osmanlis are a poble race of men, yet the radical vices of their government, and the excessive ignorance, both moral and intellectual, in which they are content to live, have reduced them to nearly the lowest possible state of political degradation. The consolidation of their empire, seems to have never formed any part of the policy of the Turks; and long as they have possessed their present territory, they have never made the slightest attempt to conciliate the original inhabitants, nor to obliterate the galling distinction between the conquerors and the vanquished. The only policy is that of oppression in its least mitigated form. The governors plunder from the people

, the fruits of their industry; and the Grand Seignior exacts from them in their turn, the produce of their extortion. The Feudal system which prevailed in Europe in its earlier times, was, no doubt, fraught with innumerable evils, but it had one feature

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which tended greatly to abate the severity of its aspect towards the people; it was permanent in its institutions and its administrators. There was a close, and in many instances, an almost paternal relation between the chief and his vassals. Their connexion was hereditary, and amounted to such a species of clanship, as alleviated the oppressions of arbitrary power, and disguised from the inferior the real character of his servitude. But in Turkey, every thing is transient; the life and rank of every individual are dependent on the caprice of the Sultan, and he, in his turn, holds his empire at the will of his guards. The Ottoman dominion is divided into military governments, a plan admirably contrived to prevent all harmony between the governors and the people, especially as a large portion of the latter, are of a different race and religion from their oppressors. With a further view of keeping the Pashas in subservience, they are never permitted to retain their Pashaliks during a long term : at the end of a certain period they are either removed or disgraced. The consequences of this wretched policy may be

traced in every province of the Turkish Empire. The tyranny, ! the exactions, the privations, the cruelties, exercised upon the

miserable population, exceed calculation and description ; but their effects are too broadly visible in the distracted and depopulated condition of the provinces traversed by Mr. Kinneir. At the same time, the excess of the evil sometimes operates its cure : the Pasha, anxious to secure himself in the possession of power, or, in some instances, actuated by milder dispositions and more enlightened views, conciliates the people, promotes their interest, stimulates their industry, and by these means, and by a skilful mixture of bribery and defiance in his transactions with the Porte, maintains his ground for life. At this very. period, there are more than one

of these independent governors in the remoter provinces of the Turkish Empire.

Early in 1813, Mr. Kinneir quitted England on an enterprise which we much regret that he was prevented from completing. It was bis intention to visit all the countries through which an European army might attempt the invasion of India, and in pursuance of this plan, to traverse the north-eastern provinces of Persia, and the immense plains which stretch beyond the Oxus towards the limits of the Russian Empire. The accomplishment of such a plan would have put us in possession of much valuable information respecting regions but little known. The Author's severe and continued illness, and subsequently his recal to Madras, prevented bim from carrying his design into full execution. As it is, however, he has done much; he has traversed ground before nearly unknown, displaying under circumstances of severest trial the utmost self-possession and energy. The results of his observations, he has communicated

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