The Idylls of Theocritus. With Introduction and Notes by R. J. Cholmeley. New edition. Pp. 449. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1919. 18s. 6d. net
Albert C. Clark
Journal of Hellenic Studies
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... much pains over this record, and appears to have digested the State Papers of the period with success. It is a careful and detailed account of the activities of one of our Ambassadors-a man of good brains and considerable energy-who was in the difficult position of being in almost equal shares the servant of the King and the Levant Company. The story of his tribulations in his contact with the corrupt and dilatory Turkish officials makes interesting reading. There are not so many details of seventeenth-century Turkish life and manners as could have been hoped, but this deficiency may be supplied by a reading of Mr. G. E. Hubbard's The Day of the Crescent, published by the Cambridge University Press last year; the two books taken together enable the reader to reconstruct Turkish life in that century as far as an outsider could ever appreciate it. As a point of exceptional interest attention may be.drawn to the fact that our Ambassadors in Turkey appear to have exercised arbitrary authority over all British subjects; thus, if an Englishman conducted himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace or the interests of the 'Nation,' as the Community was called, the Ambassador would sometimes go so far as to expel the delinquent from the Turkish dominions. Sir John Finch is of some importance in the history of our relations with Turkey at any rate up to the War, and in spite of the humiliating reception with which he met from Ahmed Kuprili on his arrival, he appears soon to have succeeded in gaining the Grand Vizier's goodwill, and it was he who obtained for us the English capitulations as they existed up to 1914. After Kuprili's death, under the administration of the terrible Kara Mustapha extortion became more rampant still, and Finch had to fight hard for the interest of his nation, using bribes for Turkish officials and the practice (of which Mr. Abbott does not say much) of ' battulation '; this was a kind of boycott under which the Ambassador prohibited all Englishmen from trading with a particular Turk, or even sometimes with a whole class of Turks. There is room for another volume to show how the old grants made by Kuprili to Finch were later interpreted to allow far greater privileges than they were at first intended to confer. In the time of the later Stuarts, and even of the early Hanoverian Kings, no extra-territoriality was allowed to Englishmen, except in cases of lawsuits among themselves, and evidence appears that where a Turk was concerned the Englishman as a matter of course submitted to Turkish jurisdiction; owing, however, to the customary carelessness of the Turks, we were gradually allowed to wrest the capitulations into a sense vastly beyond their original meaning, and in the end we claimed for our subjects almost complete immunity from Turkish jurisdiction; usage, however, is so thoroughly recognised in Turkey as having fully the same force as law, that by virtue of this well-understood principle we were entitled to claim for Sir John Finch's capitulations the liberal interpretation which long custom conferred upon them.