In the time of the 'Great Powers', Stratford Canning served as British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during several long missions throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. Drafted into diplomacy by his older cousin and mentor, the statesman George Canning, Stratford arrived in the Ottoman capital at the age of 22 in January 1809, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. He concluded his final mission there in October 1858, more than two years after the end of the Crimean War. His name became synonymous across Europe with the so-called Eastern Question, the imperial contest between the Powers for leverage in the Levant. Canning was a prominent figure in major diplomatic episoes of the period, including the crucial peace-treaty reached by the Ottomans and Russians in late May 1812, only weeks before Napoleon's invasion of Russia; the war of Greek independence in the 1820s and the negotiation of an independent Greek state in 1832; and the preliminaries of the Crimean War in 1853. He witnessed and documented dramatic moments of Ottoman politics, such as the Vaka-i Hayriye or 'Auspicious Event'- the elimination of the ancient elite palace guards, the Janissaries, by Sultan Mahmud II in June 1826. For decades Canning supported the Ottoman reform movement, and he played a role in developments preceding Sultan Abdulmecit's abolition of capital punishment for apostasy from Islam in March 1844. In The Voice of England in the East, Steven Richmond reconstructs the imperial objectives and diplomatic pratices of the period; and depicts the characters, customs and scenes of Konstantniyye, Ottoman Constantinople. Based upon Canning's personal archive, British and Ottoman diplomatic records, newspaper accounts, correspondence and memoirs, the result is an original study of East-West relations and a novel portrait of empire at the dawn of the industrial era.
SUPERB. A witty, well-researched and fluent account of the British Empire's most famous and influential diplomat- told with the zest and panache of a thriller. Times, diplomacy and reputations have changed, but Stratford Canning, Britain's imperious envoy to the Ottoman Empire, changed the course of history. Steven Richmond has given us a brilliant portrait of this ambitous but frustrated statesman, lonely, hard- working and often maligned- the only diplomat honoured with a statue in Westminster Abbey. This timely book, appearing when Turkey is again a significant regional power, will appeal not only to students of history and diplomacy but to all those wanting to know more about Britain's imperial heyday. This compelling insight into the politics and strategy of the time paints a vivid picture of daily life, thought and intrigue in that most mysterious of cities, Constantinople. Michael Binyon, The Times THIS IS A WONDERFUL BOOK. Steven Richmond's biography of Stratford Canning is the definitive study of the long-time British ambassador at Constantinople, whom Tennyson eulogized as the 'Voice of England in the East'. The book is meticulously researched and given additional depth by Richmond's background in Russian studies and his years of teaching and research in Istanbul. This is that rare scholarly work of history which, like those of Sir Steven Runciman, reads like a novel. It is beautifully written with a superb sense of place and persona, bringing Canning and others to life in the capital of the Ottoman Empire when it was, as Richmond describes "the diplomatic city par excellence." Professor John Freely, Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey; author of Strolling Through Istanbul STEVEN RICHMOND TELLS THE REMARKABLE STORY OF SRATFORD CANNING, a man sent to Istanbul almost by accident but who became, often reluctantly, a central figure in the 'Eastern Question'. Richmond levels an impartial eye on is subject, noting Canning's virtues and vices. This well-researched and well-written study picks a sure-footed path through the voluminous correspondence of the Eastern Question. The author masterfully analyses what he aptly terms 'The Stratford Legend' and narrates a valuable case study of nineteenth-century British diplomacy in the East. Benjamin C. Fortna, Professor of the History of the Middle East, SOAS, The University of London.
Series: Library of Ottoman Studies
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 30th January 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.7
Edition Number: 1