The Case of Captain Burton

by Richard Francis Burton

First and only edition, 1872. Printed as a "blue book" for use within the Foreign Office.
However the selection of material was made by Burton himself. The Foreign Office in turn compiled their own selection of correspondence, which was much more comprehensive and not subject to Burton's selection.

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THE recall from my post at Damascus on the l6th august, 1871, may, by many, be considered to imply that it resulted from something that went wrong, or that I have incurred official displeasure ; at least, it might be so understood. by those whose duties did not oblige them to read my despatches. With the view, therefore, of retaining the confidence and good opinion of my Chiefs, I have put together such papers and despatches as will give an account of my stewardship in Syria, and the state of that country during my time (1869-70-71). They are for the use of the Foreign Office only.

My appointment was conferred upon me by the Earl of Derby, then Lord Stanley, in November, 1868. I was absent in South America on sick leave, after a severe illness. As soon as the news of my appointment reached me I hurried back, and on arriving was desired by Lord Clarendon, who was most considerate about the unhealthy season, to arrive at Damascus in October. This I did, and took charge on 3rd October, 1869.

During my absence on sick leave, a few persons who disliked the appointment, and certain missionaries who feared that I was anti-missionary, and have since handsomely acknowledged their mistake, took measures to work upon Lord Clarendon on the plea that I was too fond of Mahometans, that I had performed a pilgrimage to Mecca, and that their fanaticism would lead to troubles and dangers. On becoming aware that I had lived in the East, and with Moslems, for many years after my pilgrimage, Lord Clarendon, with 'that good taste and justice which always characterized him, refused to change my appointment until that fanaticism was proved. I had the pleasure of reporting to him a particularly friendly reception.