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AN HISTORICAL STUDY
J. A. R. MARRIOTT
FELLOW OF WORCESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD; M.P. FOR THE CITY OF OXFORD
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
So what ?
'THE Eastern Question has by degrees assumed such large proportions that no one can be surprised at the space it occupies in all public discussions whether of the tongue or of the pen.' So Lord Stratford de Redcliffe wrote to The Times on September 9, 1876. His words testified to a notorious fact. The fact has not become less notorious during the forty years since the words were written nor have the proportions assumed by the Eastern Question become less ample. In view of these facts it is the more surprising that English Historical Literature should still lack any systematic and continuous account of the origin and development of the Eastern Question.
Monographs exist in plenty on special aspects of the problem, and many general Histories of Europe contain useful chapters on the subject, but I do not know of any book in English which attempts the task which in the present work I have set before myself.
The main lines of this book were laid down many years ago; the subject has formed part of my academic teaching; for this purpose my material has been under constant revision, and some of it has been utilized for articles recently contributed to the Edinburgh Review, the Fortnightly Review, and the Nineteenth Century and After. To the proprietors and editors of these Reviews I am indebted for permission to reproduce portions of my articles, but none of them are reprinted in extenso. Elsewhere, in the course of my protracted journey, I have come across traces of my own footsteps, indicating the route of previous historical excursions. In such cases I have not been careful to avoid them, and here and there I have incorporated whole para
graphs from earlier works, for I was long ago impressed by the warning that a man may say a thing once as he would have it said, but he cannot say it twice.
To each chapter I have suffixed a list of authorities which will I trust be found useful by students, by teachers, and by the 'general reader' who may desire further information on special topics which in a work like the present must needs be somewhat summarily dismissed. To stimulate such curiosity and to encourage more detailed research are among the main objects which I have had in view. But my primary purpose has been to provide for those who are in any degree charged with the responsibility for the solution of a most complex political problem an adequate basis of historical knowledge. A knowledge of the past is not in itself sufficient to solve the problems of the present; but no solution is likely to be effective or enduring which is not based upon such knowledge. Least of all in the case of a problem which, like that of the Near East, includes numerous factors which are intelligible only in the light of past events, many of them remote, and most of them obscure.
Especially obscure are the facts of the political geography of the Balkans. My numerous maps are intended to elucidate them, and if they are found to fulfil their purpose at all adequately it is mainly owing to the kind help of my friend and colleague Mr. C. Grant Robertson, M.A., C.V.O., of All Souls College, and to the extraordinary patience and care bestowed upon their preparation by the Assistant Secretary to the Delegates of the Press. But every student of historical geography will acknowledge the difficulty of the task. Among the maps will be found one on Balkan Ethnography which no one should consult without taking heed to Sir Charles Eliot's warning: 'every Ethnographic map of the Balkan Peninsula gives a different view of the arrangement of the populations.' In truth precision is unattainable, and the map must be accepted only as a rough indication of the distribution of races.