Michael Sean Strickland

Books I’ve Read


410 — Burnaby, F. G. (1876). A ride to Khiva. Travels and adventures in Central Asia. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 2002. 19 January 2004, Philadelphia.

« It is easy to make a good case if the counsel for the plaintiff is the only one heard. The Kokandians and Khivans have not had the opportunity of putting forward their side of the question, so, as is naturally to be supposed, the Russian generals have invariably carried the day. Indeed, we cannot wonder at the Tzar’s officers in Turkistan being so eager to continue in their line of conquest. Taken for the most part from poor but well-born families, having no inheritance but the sword, no prospect save promotion, they thirst for war as the only means at hand for rapidly rising in the service. A life in Central Asia in time of peace is looked down upon with contempt. With everything to be gained by war and nothing by peace, we need not be surprised should every little pretext be sought for to provoke reprisals on the part of the native population. Europe then hears of the cruelties committed by the brutal fanatics in Central Asia, of Russian magnanimity, and of Mohammedan intolerance » (p. 96).

« Exeter Hall is quieted by the idea of a crusade against the Mussulmans. The lust for conquest is cloaked in a garb called Christianity. The sword and the Bible go forth together. Thousands of natives are mown down by that evangelical weapon, the breechloader; and one day we read in our morning paper that a territory larger than France and England together has been added to the Tzar’s dominions » (pp. 96–97).

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