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intricate and long-debated question, to hear what a Rouman has to say of the condition of his country, and of the rights and wishes of his countrymen. Early in the present month of June there was printed at Geneva the pamphlet named at foot. Its anonymous character robs it of no weight with us, because we happen to have ascertained its authorship, and to know that this has been concealed from no unworthy motives. We know it to be from the pen of a man of honour and intelligence, of sincere patriotism, and of moderate views, and who is, moreover, a member of one of those great Boyard families, to whose errors and crimes his present publication shows that he is neither blind nor lenient. He is neither a practised writer, nor a politician of much practical experience, but it will be seen that he possesses straightforward good sense, and a fluent and pungent pen; and his readers may rest assured, however much they may differ from his views or dissent from his conclusions, that his facts are perfectly trustworthy, that his opportunities of observation have been of the very best possible, and that he is incapable of seeking to further, by misstatement or exaggeration, the cause he ardently advocates, and of whose justice he is profoundly convinced. The editor of the pamphlet, which is, in fact, a small volume, says no more than the truth, when he remarks, in his brief preface, that were it possible to publish the name of the author, the public would understand how well he is qualified to know, and pertinently to judge, the matters of which he treats.
As we can afford but a very limited space to the subject now before us, it would appear the most natural course to enter at once upon the political question. Nevertheless we think it advisable to devote a few pages to certain chapters of the pamphlet, which are rather retrospective and narrative than argumentative and this we do, first, because they contain statements and revelations which are particularly curious as proceeding from a Rouman pen; and, secondly, with the view of grounding upon some of
them a question to which a satisfactory reply may perhaps be derived from other portions of the work. The first chapter rapidly throws together some salient points of the history of the Principalities, from the cessation of the rule of the Fanariots in 1821 to the commencement of the late war. From 1731, the first year of the Fanariot sway, a national government has been unknown in MoldoWallachia. True, that in 1822 the hospodaral crowns were taken from the Greeks; but, instead of being handed to the Roumans, to be by them decerned, in conformity with treaties, to the most worthy, they were given by the Porte to Boyards of its selection. The year 1828 arrived, and these were replaced by two Russian generals; for Russia had declared war upon Turkey, and was in military occupation of the provinces, over which the treaty of Adrianople gave her a right of protectorate. From that date until 1854, the aspirants to the hospodar's dignity were to be sought in the antechambers of the Russian generals and consuls. General Kisseleff was charged to organise the administration of Moldo-Wallachia, and it seems generally admitted, even by the most anti-Russian, that he did this with great talent, and displayed both energy and integrity during his five years' government of the Principalities. "Even at the present day," says the writer now before us, "and whatever the sufferings that Russian policy has inflicted on the Roumans, these are far from confounding in one common sentiment of hatred the name of that great administrator, and the execrated names of Messrs Rückmann, Datchkoff, &c., &c. By acting in a manner as conformable to the prosperity of the country as to the true interests of Russian policy, did M. de Kisseleff carry out the views of his government? I believe that he did not, and in proof of this I need but refer to the sort of disgrace in which he found himself during the whole reign of the Emperor Nicholas." In 1834 the Boyard Alexander Ghica (the present Caimacan) succeeded Kisseleff in the government of Wallachia, and Michael Stourza (a name odious and infamous in Rouman ears)
obtained that of Moldavia. Ghica was weak, incapable, and surrounded by robbers; the corruption and rapacity of Stourza are to this day proverbial in the Principalities. "In such hands, the administrative machine created by Kisseleff, and which had worked so well under him, gave but negative results. It must also be said that the Russian consuls, with an object easy to understand, did their utmost to impede its action. The idea of Russia has always been to take advantage of the superiority of Kisseleff's administration over that of his indigenous successors, to convince Europe of Rouman incapacity for self-government; whilst at the same time it contributed to render the Roumans sufficiently unhappy to make them regret Russian domination." Ghica seems to have been weak and obstinate rather than himself positively bad, but he allowed his relatives to plunder the country. After eight years' rule the General Assembly of Wallachia drew up an address depicting the state of that principality -robbery and injustice exercised in the face of day, the people wretched beyond description, and a revolution in perspective. Russia had waited only for this. She ordered her ambassador at Constantinople to demand Ghica's dismissal. The Turks, always well pleased at changes of hospodars, which are a source of bribes and bakshish, made no objection, and Ghica was removed from his post, the firman of dismissal declaring him faithless and dishonest, and passing the severest censure on the man whom, a few years later, the Porte again placed at the head of his native province. It is scarcely to be wondered at if, during his second term of power, he has given even better grounds for such censure than during his first. Bibesco succeeded Ghica as hospodar, and exceeded him in misgovernment. He was devoted to Russia, to which power he owed his nomination. Relying on the support of Russian bayonets in case of need, he did not fear to drive the Wallachians to extremity by his tyranny and exactions. But he erred in his calculation. In June 1848 the country rose against him, and, before the Russians could come, he was com
pelled to take refuge on Austrian territory. In Moldavia, Stourza was more fortunate. An attempted movement there was promptly and violently suppressed. Stourza's immense wealth, amassed by extortion and iniquity, had made him powerful friends at St Petersburg and Constantinople. At Bucharest a provisional government was installed, to cries of "Down with the Russian protectorate!" and "Vive le Sultan !" The insurrection was not against Turkey, but against that secret Russian influence to which the Wallachians were sufficiently clear-sighted to trace all their sufferings. At first, Turkey recognised the provisional government, and invited the foreign consuls to do the same, which all did except the Russian agent, who left Bucharest. You promised to protect us, and it is against you only that we now need protection," were the last words he heard before his departure. A Constituent Assembly was to be convoked, the country was regaining its tranquillity; but the new government, unpractical and over-confident, wasted its time, and lost its opportunity. The finances remained in the state in which Bibesco had left them; thousands of Wallachian volunteers returned to their homes; twenty thousand Turks were allowed to cross the Danube and encamp at the gates of Bucharest; Fuad Pasha, the Turkish commissioner with this force, was prodigal of promises and friendly demonstrations. One day he invited the provisional government and all the chief men of Bucharest to his tent, to receive an important communication. They had hardly entered the camp when they were surrounded by troops and artillery. The Turks poured into the city, and passed the night in plunder, bloodshed, and outrage. We will let the Rouman writer speak.
"A great number (foule) of old men, women, and children, were killed. A week previously, an order of the triumvirate had sent away, to a distance of thirty leagues, the whole garrison of the city, consisting of a regiment of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and a battery of artillery. There remained in the capital but two hundred firemen (pompiers). Ten thousand Turks
bravely attacked this handful of men. The Wallachians defended themselves with the courage of despair and of indignation, and fought till they were all killed. Omer Pasha, who commanded the Turkish army, slept that night on the field of battle. It was not until the next day that he ordered the occupation of the barracks of St George, in front of which the fighting had taken place. His troops there found a solitary Wallachian sentinel. He was on guard over the colours, and as no relief had come, he had remained there twelve hours. After seeing all his comrades fall, he had the whole night to escape in; but this noble soldier would not abandon his post before the enemy. Such heroism and self-devotion should have found favour in the eyes of the conquerors. The Wallachian sentinel was dragged into the middle of the court, and there shot."
We well remember to have heard this anecdote from various persons, two years ago at Bucharest, and to have visited the spot where the two hundred gallant firemen made their brilliant and desperate defence. The Roumans have a high opinion of their own military capacity, and there is no reason, that we are aware of, for believing it to be ill-founded. What is certain is, that on various occasions during the late Austrian occupation, brawls and skirmishes occurred between parties of Roumans and Austrians, and that the former, except when, as at Buses, in June 1856, the odds against them were overwhelming, usually had the advantage. It is probable that, well officered, the Moldo-Wallachs would make excellent troops. The author of the Letters is evidently thoroughly convinced of this, and his opinion, as that of a man well acquainted with his countrymen, and who has himself seen hard fighting in a foreign land, merits due weight. Supposing," he says, in his Chapter on the Future of the Principalities, "that in 1848 and 1853 the Roumans, instead of relying on a suzerain impotent to protect them, had been able to rely upon themselves, the Russian army would have lost thirty thousand men before reaching Bucharest; perhaps even it would have thought
twice before crossing the Pruth. The more Turkey feels herself feeble internally, the more ought she to fortify her frontiers. When an army has been decimated, it no longer awaits the enemy in the field; it seeks the shelter of intrenchments. Where could be found a better obstacle to the encroachments of Slavonic power than five millions of Latins, contented with their lot, and sincerely attached to Turkey? And it is Turkey herself, and it is Austria, who wish to sever this dyke, thrown by Providence before the flood of Slavonianism!"
Whilst allowing a due margin for the patriotic partiality of which a Rouman writer may find it difficult, even whilst earnestly seeking the truth, entirely to divest himself, it must, we think, be admitted that a well-drilled, well-commanded army of fifty thousand Moldo-Wallachians would form a highly valuable advanced guard for Turkey against her dangerous northern neighbour. And Moldo-Wallachia, which has nearly as large a population as the Sardinian States, and immense resources in its rich soil (as yet but very partially cultivated), would, under a good government, and if delivered from exactions, have no difficulty in maintaining such a force. But to return to the pamphlet: "To the sound of the musketry," says the writer, "the Ottoman commissioner proclaimed the dissolution of the provisional government, and, desiring M. Constantine Cantacuzene to step forward, he proclaimed him Caimacan of Wallachia, in the same tone that Caligula doubtless adopted when he named his horse consul." Cantacuzene, notorious for his cupidity and unscrupulousness, had but a short reign. A few months later Stirbey replaced him, and Gregory Ghica was appointed to the hospodarship of Moldavia. These nominations were agreed upon by Russia and the Porte. Stirbey is a brother of the ex-hospodar Bibesco. They are men of low extraction. Bibesco owed his fortune and position to his wife, who was of wealthy and noble family; his brother changed his name for that of a boyard who adopted him, and left him his fortune. Stirbey was
A Plea for the Principalities.
a pet candidate of the Russian am-
Persons who have not been in the east of Europe, and who have not acquired, by reading and inquiry, a correct notion of the abuses and corruption there too general, will perhaps tax the author of these "Letters" with exaggeration in some of the strange details he gives of what has occurred, and still occurs, in his own country. The charge would be un
From our own recollection, and on incontestable evidence, we could add, to the many flagrant instances he mentions-to the shameless iniquities he chronicles-numerous traits and incidents well vouched for in the countries where they occurred, which place in the strongest light the scandalous evil-doings of the men who, by intrigue and bribery, and in virtue of foreign influences, have in turn been placed over the luckless Principalities. One hospodar, not content with the enormous sums his position enabled him to appropriate, went so far as to be a sleeping partner with a notorious band of brigands. This might be difficult to prove, but it is not doubted in the province he governed; and even that such a suspicion should attach to him, suffices to show the reputation he had won. The same man, when leaving the country, appropriated, on his way from his capital to the frontier, the parish funds of every place he passed through. A somewhat similar trait "Dismissed, and is recorded in the book before us of an ex-hospodar. flying from the legitimate resentment of the Moldavians, he provided himself, before departing for a foreign country, with a bundle of blank patents of nobility, which he sold on the road to persons who had not yet heard of his disgrace." Stirbey was a traitor par excellence. He began by disobeying the orders of the Sultan, which enjoined him to retire on the approach of the Russians. Dismissed,
nevertheless, by the Russians, he went to Vienna, and returned with the Austrian army, during whose occupation of the Principalities he gave Austria most unequivocal proofs of his devotion.
Nearly two hundred murders of inoffensive inhabitants, committed by Austrian soldiers, remained unpunished. Far from demanding justice, he dismissed the Minister of the Interior for having communicated to a foreign consul the official list of these assassinations." This reminds us of a stinging retort made (if we mistake not) by the same minister whom Stirbey thus dismissed, to Coronini, commanding in chief the Austrian army of occupation. The minister,
having complained to the general of some cruel outrages (at that time of almost daily occurrence) perpetrated by soldiers on peasants, Coronini is said to have replied, that if he were to shoot his brave fellows whenever a sabre-cut or bayonet-thrust was given to a peasant, he should lose some of his best soldiers. True, General," was the response; "there are so many assassins in your army, that if you were to shoot every one of them, you might find yourself without any army at all."
After sketching the hospodars, certainly in no tender tints or subdued colouring, the writer passes to the boyards, in speaking of whom he abates nothing of his severity. His incisive style qualifies him well for the task he has undertaken. There is no lack of spirit and pungency in his pages, and his satirical verve frequently flashes out. He writes with the bitterness of a disappointed man, who loves his country, and considers that it has been ill-used, gulled, and sacrificed. He does not put on gloves, as the French say, to handle those political men, whether natives or foreigners, whom he believes to have betrayed or behaved ill to Moldo-Wallachia. And if he does not sweepingly condemn classes, neither does he shrink from exhibit ing the vices even of that to which he belongs. The great boyards, with their privileges, their prodigality, their egotism, their contempt and neglect of their unfortunate peasants, who are consigned to the tender mercies of Greek and Jew farmers or middlemen, receive at his hands no better treatment than they deserve. We may as well ascertain the exact value of the word boyard, which, although familiar, is not very intelligible to many European ears.
"The Boyarie is a personal, not an hereditary nobility. It is conferred by the prince (hospodar), with one of the twelve titles pertaining to it. It is divided into the great and little boyarie. To attain the first, it is necessary to pass through the second. The privileges conferred by the great boyarie are-to furnish candidates for the hospodaral throne; to elect the prince, the metropolitan archbishop, the bishops,
the deputies of the great boyarie, and the sub-prefects; to send twenty deputies to the ordinary general assembly, and fifty to the extraordinary assemblies, and to assist, moreover, as eligible, at the elections for the districts made by the little boyards and the sons of boyards; to be exempt from arrest, except by decree of the prince; to be tried by their peers; eligibility to the offices of minister and of member of the high court of justice. The little boyards have the right to share, as deputies for districts, in the deliberations of the chamber, in the election of the prince, archbishops, bishops, and deputies, and, as proprietors, in those of the sub-prefects. They are eligible to public office as high as that of director of a ministry. Both classes of boyards are exempt from all taxation, from military service, and from corporal or other degrading punishment."
It will be admitted that this is a handsome list of privileges and exemptions. That from taxation is shared by some other classes, not noble, who have either inherited or purchased it. It is to be bought at various prices, according to circumstances. The crying injustice of such exemptions need not be dwelt upon, nor the corruption and bribery to which it of course gives rise. In Wallachia, whose population is 2,500,000, little more than 1,700,000 persons pay taxes; and the exempt are the wealthiest classes. One forms but a poor idea of an aristocracy and middle class which thus throws the whole burthen of the taxation on those comparatively needy.
But this is but one of many abuses. From various parts of the present pamphlet we glean abundant evidence of the egotism and corruptness of the higher orders of MoldoWallachians. The author defines the boyarie as a bureaucratie privilégiée. The institution is equivalent to the Russian tchinn, and this is one reason why it was preserved in Kisseleff's organic regulations. Also," because it has always been, in the hands of government, the current coin of corruption." The prince, we learn, can convert his groom, in the course of five or six years, into a great boyard.