These essays, written for the Fortnightly Review in the summer and autumn of 1881, were intended as first sketches only of a maturer work which the author hoped, before giving finally to the public, to complete at leisure, and develop in a form worthy of critical acceptance, and of the great subject he had chosen. Events, however, have marched faster than he at all anticipated, and it has become a matter of importance with him that the idea they were designed to illustrate should be given immediate and full publicity. The French, by their invasion of Tunis, have precipitated the Mohammedan movement in North Africa; Egypt has roused herself for a great effort of national and religious reform; and on all sides Islam is seen to be convulsed by political portents of ever-growing intensity. He believes that his countrymen will in a very few months have to make their final choice in India, whether they will lead or be led by the wave of religious energy which is sweeping eastwards, and he conceives it of consequence that at least they should know the main issues of the problem before them. To shut their eyes to the great facts of contemporary history, because that history has no immediate connection with their daily life, is a course unworthy of a great nation; and in England, where the opinion of the people guides the conduct of affairs, can hardly fail to bring disaster. It should be remembered that the modern British Empire, an agglomeration of races ruled by public opinion in a remote island, is an experiment new in the history of the world, and needs justification in exceptional enlightenment; and it must be remembered, too, that no empire ever yet was governed without a living policy. The author, therefore, has resolved to publish his work, crude as it is, without more delay, in the hope that it may be instrumental in guiding the national choice. He is, nevertheless, fully aware of its defects both in accuracy and completeness, and he can only hope that they may be pardoned him in view of the general truth of the picture he has drawn.