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73 “Dread­ ful ­ Scenes of Carn­ age on Both Sides” The Strang­ ford Files and the East­ ern Cri­ sis of 1821–1822 Theo­ phi­ lus C. Prou­ sis Lord Strang­ ford, an ex­ pe­ ri­ enced dip­ lo­ matic of­ fi­ cial with pre­ vi­ ous post­ ings to Por­ tu­ gal, Bra­ zil, and Swe­ den, ­ served as ­ Britain’s am­ bas­ sa­ dor to the Sub­ lime Porte from 1821 to 1824, an es­ pe­ cially tur­ bu­ lent time in­ Ottoman-European en­ coun­ ters. As the Ot­ to­ man Em­ pire coped with a se­ ries of chal­ lenges, Strang­ ford sent hun­ dreds of re­ ports to the Lon­ don­ Foreign Of­ fice. His cor­ re­ spon­ dence de­ tailed the state of the ­ sultan’s realm at a tense but ­ pivotal mo­ ment in the East­ ern Ques­ tion, that pre­ car­ i­ ous web of Eu­ ro­ pean power, ri­ valry, and in­ trigue in the re­ mark­ ably re­ sil­ ient Ot­ to­ man Em­ pire, which still pos­ sessed stra­ te­ gic lands and vital wa­ ter­ ways in the Le­ vant, or east­ ern Med­ i­ ter­ ra­ nean. Re­ bel­ lion broke out in the Da­ nu­ bian prin­ ci­ pal­ ities, the Pel­ o­ pon­ nese, and other ­ Greekinhabited re­ gions of the Ot­ to­ man Em­ pire. War ­ between Rus­ sia and Tur­ key ­ loomed, ­ largely over Ot­ to­ man ac­ tions that ab­ ro­ gated ­ RussianOttoman trea­ ties. Ot­ to­ man re­ stric­ tions dis­ rupted Eu­ ro­ pean trade. Pol­ i­ tics ­ clashed with re­ li­ gion. Sec­ tar­ ian abuse and vi­ o­ lence deep­ ened the 74 Theophilus C. Prousis­ Greek-Ottoman di­ vide. Ad­ min­ is­ tra­ tive dis­ or­ der height­ ened pub­ lic un­ cer­ tainty, govern­ ment fac­ tions con­ tested the ­ sultan’s rule, and bor­ der dis­ putes ­ sparked hos­ til­ ity ­ between Tur­ key and Per­ sia. The vir­ tu­ ally un­ tapped Strang­ ford treas­ ure trove, lo­ cated in the Na­ tional ­ Archives, Kew, UK, pro­ vides an in­ val­ u­ able re­ source on Ot­ to­ man do­ mes­ tic and ­ foreign af­ fairs, Eu­ ro­ pean inter­ ests in the Near East, and Greek stir­ rings for na­ tional in­ de­ pen­ dence. The Strang­ ford files, much like the Dash­ kov ­ papers in Rus­ sian ­ archives, hold po­ ten­ tial ­ riches Portrait of Percy Clinton Sidney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford, 1820–24. (reprinted with permission from the Trustees of the British Museum) “Dreadful Scenes of Carnage on Both Sides” 75 for schol­ ars work­ ing in Ot­ to­ man, Med­ i­ ter­ ra­ nean, bor­ der­ lands, and es­ pe­ cially East­ ern Ques­ tion his­ tory.1­ Against the back­ drop of an in­ ten­ sify­ ing cri­ sis in the Near East, Strang­ ford chron­ i­ cled a vol­ a­ tile sit­ u­ a­ tion from Con­ stan­ tin­ o­ ple, the epi­ cen­ ter of the up­ hea­ val. The messy re­ al­ ities at the core of this un­ fold­ ing cat­ a­ clysm fea­ tured the es­ ca­ lat­ ing cycle of­ Greek-Ottoman fight­ ing and re­ pri­ sal; the Ot­ to­ man mas­ sa­ cre of Greek res­ i­ dents on Chios; the dis­ cord among Greek ­ rebels; the de­ bates among Ot­ to­ man of­ fi­ cials about mil­ i­ tary and ad­ min­ is­ tra­ tive re­ form; and the­ dogged ef­ forts of Eu­ ro­ pean en­ voys like Strang­ ford to pac­ ify the Greek up­ ris­ ing and re­ duce ­ Russian-Ottoman ten­ sion.2­ Britain’s am­ bas­ sa­ dor­ probed all these ram­ ifi­ ca­ tions, along with the pre­ dict­ able mat­ ter of Brit­ ish trade in the trou­ bled Le­ vant. His com­ mu­ ni­ qués also re­ counted his per­ sis­ tent at­ tempts to per­ suade the Porte to evac­ u­ ate Ot­ to­ man­ troops from the Da­ nu­ bian prin­ ci­ pal­ ities, to ap­ point new hos­ po­ dars or govern­ ors, and to re­ move Ot­ to­ man im­ ped­ i­ ments ­ against Black Sea and Med­ i­ ter­ ra­ nean ­ shipping.­ Strangford’s de­ scrip­ tion of these top­ ics sharp­ ens our view of the com­ plex na­ ture of the East­ ern Ques­ tion in the early nine­ teenth cen­ tury, when the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780299298036
Related ISBN
9780299298043
MARC Record
OCLC
883373257
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-19
Language
English
Open Access
No
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