TRANSCAUCASIA AND ARARAT. BEING NOTES OF A VACATION TOUR IN THE AUTUMN OF 1876. LONDON, 1896
In this chapter I shall attempt to give a sort of general sketch of the Russian territories lying to the south of the Caucasus, the richest, and, for the present at least, geographically the most important of all the Asiatic dominions of the Czar. It is, like the rest of this book, a record of first impressions only, but of impressions formed, as I venture to believe, without any pre-existing bias, and to a considerable extent tested by comparison with the conclusions which other travellers have reached. And even for first impressions there is this much to be said, that the risk of errors of observation and of hasty generalisation has some compensation in the freshness with which things present themselves to a new-comer. Occasionally he is struck by aspects of society or politics which are really true and important, but which one who has lived long in a country finds so familiar that they have ceased to stimulate his curiosity, and would perhaps be omitted from his descriptions. This may supply some justification for the apparent presumption of a traveller who admits that he had to see, and now has to write, more hastily than he could have wished. What I have got to say of particular parts of the country, such as Tiflis, the capital, and Armenia, is reserved for later chapters.
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