It is the privilege and solace of age to go back upon the past and recount what has been, as the future closes up and little remains to be achieved or attempted.
The writer of the following pages has availed himself of this privilege in giving so large a place to narratives of personal experience.
No one can live thirty-five years in so strange a country as the Turkish empire is, and come into contact with its government, institutions, religions, peoples, and industries without having many experiences which illustrate the peculiarities of the land. These personal narratives are of interest to the reader only so far as they are thus illustrative. It must not be supposed that they are intended to indicate the ordinary course of duty. They are selected out of many years of a quiet life. They are the aluminium extracted from a large mass of common clay. No other one has had so long a residence in Turkey without a more varied experience - but also without the time to record it. It is life coming in contact with life, it is new forces coming into contact with the old, that bring out the real nature of existing things and enable us to judge of them.
The origin, character, growth, and extent of the Ottoman empire are briefly delineated. The social life, educational institutions, laws, religion, evangelistic efforts, reforms, military character, and many other topics, are referred to or illustrated incidentally, The prescribed size and design of the book allowed these subjects to be merely sketched, not treated of in full.