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it were, in the footsteps of military operations, and the geographer is obliged at the same time to trace the course of events.
Just as science in the pursuit of its investigations clings to the Russian standards, and just as we possess today a more accurate knowledge of the conquered provinces of Central Asia-hitherto buried in the darkness of centuries—than we do of many parts of European Turkey, so does civilisation assuredly follow the victorious flight of the Black Eagle. Russia fulfils, as the ethnographer must allow, her true mission of civilisation ; for, after her own fashion, she adapts European ideas to Oriental minds; in short, Russia gives to Asia culture and civilisation. But every disinterested man must admit that the extension of human knowledge—this opening of new spheres to the development of civilisation-is the greatest gain which mankind has always derived from such warlike expeditions, whether they were undertaken by Sesostris, Alexander of Macedon, or other conquerors.
At the period when the advance of the Russians into Inner Asia was some few years ago almost unnoticed, I devoted a series of articles to that subject in Streffleur's Oesterreichische militärische Zeitschrift, which received some attention in non-military circles. The Under-Secretary of State for India, Mr. Grant Duff, addressed in 1869 his constituents at Elgin in a speech which touched upon India and the progress of civilisation there. On this occasion he took the opportunity, when alluding to the opinion of an Austrian military author, who had
stated that Russia advanced into Central Asia for the purpose of spreading European civilisation, to represent this as entirely erroneous.
As I have the honour of being that author mentioned by Mr. Grant Duff, I cannot help here remarking that he could not have deigned to make as accurate a perusal of the book-just then published as was desirable ; because he would scarcely have substituted an opinion to which I am not aware of having in any way given utterance.
In my work, which could not but be unpleasant to the official circles in Great Britain, I have stated that European civilisation would advance together with Russian progress into the interior of Asia ; but it never occurred to me to represent the spreading of European civilisation as the motive or aim of Russian policy. For these I have pointed out very different things. As these are perfectly distinct matters, I cannot help regretting that Mr. Grant Duff is not better informed about my views.
These articles, in a different shape and in a great measure rewritten and enlarged, form the basis of this present book. In the last three or four years the condition of affairs has vastly changed. At that time the subject did not meet with the consideration it deserved. Even in England—a country the commercial interests of which must be so materially affected by these affairs people had just begun to take up this very important matter in earnest.
Lord Lawrence, the late Viceroy of India, and Mr. Edward B. Eastwick, so deeply versed in Asiatic affairs,
have made known their opinions on the Central Asian Question, but it cannot be asserted that they have always been diligently bent on treating the subject with great profundity. The English press has from time to time ventilated the Asiatic question, but, unfortunately, hardly with a better comprehension of it than is found in the official world.
Amongst the Austrian newspapers the Wanderer, which is very carefully edited, deserves special mention, on account of the attention and the knowledge displayed in treating this subject. Its editor, the intelligent Herr Carl von Vicenti—an author of uncommon abilitypossesses, through long residence in the distant East, a thorough knowledge of those countries, and has also acquired a profound and scientific acquaintance with their languages.
In Germany the question cannot be said to have as yet obtained a great amount of consideration, at least among general readers. The subject is only taken up and carefully studied by the Prussian État-Major-Général, which allows hardly any field of knowledge to escape its wonderful activity. The Allgemeine Zeitung and the Kölnische Zeitung stand foremost amongst the German press. These newspapers occasionally publish articles on the proceedings of the Russians in Central Asia from the pens of well-informed writers. In such instances these articles, with few exceptions, emanate from a man who, perhaps more than any other individual, is zealously engaged in drawing the attention of Europe to events in Asia. This writer is Professor Arminius Vámbéry, of Pesth -the learned Hungarian traveller in Irán and Turkestán. Since his return from those countries, in which he travelled as a Mussulman Dervish, it has been his constant care to spread, as far as possible, knowledge of everything connected with the Central Asian lowlands. Even if unwilling to share his views on every point, yet no reasonable man-whatever his opinion may otherwise be--would refuse to recognise his ceaseless exertions, to which is chiefly due that there are at this day people who have drawn this apparently remote question within the circle of their investigations. If Vámbéry had done nothing more than this, he has indeed done enough!
In the last few weeks the Central Asian Question' has suddenly become a burning question, which for a moment called forth even apprehensions of war. It engaged the attention of all the newspapers. No more doubt exists that it must be sooner or later settled. This lies in the nature of the things themselves, as well as in the process of development through which Russia has hitherto passed. We become best convinced of this by casting a glance at the steady growth of that Empire.
An English statesman once declared, and not unjustly, that England was rather an Asiatic than a European Great Power; with how much greater truth, then, may this be said of Russia—that colossal empire which is reproachfully termed “the Northern '—the very territories of which will soon stretch nearly over all the zones of the earth, and will cover an expanse equal to half the moon's
superficial area. This vast empire has been formed within the last few centuries, and, since its first formation, not a decade has elapsed without its having continually, though often unobserved, successfully laboured at its expansion.
Under Ivan IV., who reigned from 1533 to 1584 consequently more than half a century-Russia subdued the Tartar Khanates of the South, with the exception of the Crimea. Kasan was conquered by Ivan, after a bloody battle, in 1552; it had, however, been from time to time subject to the Czars ever since 1487. Astrachan, in the north, fell in 1554, and the Bashkirs were subjugated in 1556, and at the same time a firm footing was gained in the Kabarda on the Kuban. The Cossacks ? Yermak and Timofeyev opened, in the last years of Ivan's reign, through the discovery of Siberia, a new continent to their fatherland, and laid the foundation of Russia's Asiatic power. In 1587 Tobolsk was founded. In the eighteenth century, in 1727, Russia obtained, through a treaty with Persia, those provinces which were four years previously conquered by Peter the Great, namely, Daghestán, Shirván, Ghilán, and Mazanderán; that is to say, the whole west coast of the Caspian Sea; but in 1734 they had to be restored. The last two of these provinces are the only territories which this Empire once possessed, lost, and has not regained. In 1813 the Persians were obliged to restore Daghestán and Shirván; the important province of Der
1 The Author appears here to be in error. For a certain Ermak Timotheev, Ataman (leader) of the Cossacks of the Don, was the conqueror of Siberia. Vide T. Toll, Nastolny Slovar (The Table Encyclopædia), vol. ii. p. 146.— TRANSLATOR.