صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

deplorable reputation, and the good graces of some consul or member of the Commission. Who will be your prince?' it was lately asked of a Wallachian. He who shall have the largest amount of money and vices to place at the disposal of the foreigner,' was the immediate reply. Where is to be sought a remedy for all these rivalries, hatreds, and scandals, unless it be in a prince who has always lived far away from them, who has no engagement with our parties and our corrupters-in a man educated to reign; and who, on arriving at supreme power, should not offer the spectacle and the example of the vices and follies of a parvenu?"

It is evident that the Roumans would have no confidence in a prince chosen from amongst themselves; they fear lest the old game should be played again, lest gold and foreign influence should again impose upon them, this time for life, some Stirbey or Stourza, some Bibesco or Alexander Ghica, from whom they could rid themselves only by a revolution. Their choice, were they allowed to make it, would probably fall upon a prince of the house of Savoy. But what would Austria, and Austria's friends, say to that? And since we have referred to the royal family of Sardinia, we will say a few words of a document, very favourable to Rouman aspirations, and proceeding from a source that will be universally admitted to be entitled to high consideration. We speak of a despatch which first obtained publicity a few days ago in a foreign newspaper a despatch addressed by Count Camillo Cavour, on the 4th September 1856, to the Sardinian chargéd'affaires in London, to be by him communicated to Lord Clarendon. In it the distinguished Piedmontese statesman strongly advocates the union of the Principalities, and advances, in support of the project, arguments, of which some, it must be admitted, are both novel and forcible. Referring first to the opposition of Turkey to that project, he remarks that the English Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who, in the bosom of the Paris Conference, had shown a

*

favourable disposition towards the proposed union, seemed, according to what he (Cavour) learned from Sir James Hudson, to have changed his mind, and to be disposed to espouse the views of the Porte. He considers that this modification of opinion may have the most serious and grievous consequences, and he desires to convince the English Cabinet of the fallacy of the arguments advanced by the Porte. He then proceeds to examine the question of the union under two points of view-that of the interests of the Principalities themselves, and that of the interests of Turkey. Without giving an analysis of the whole despatch, which is of considerable length, we will cite some of its principal and most striking points. Count Cavour remarks that the desire of union in the two Principalities is of no recent growth; that for long past they have lost no opportunity of testifying it; and that Turkey herself, when endowing Moldo-Wallachia twenty-five years ago with the Organic Regulations, recognised the principle, in Article 425, in the following terms: "The origin, the religion, the manners, and the common language of the inhabitants of the two Principalities, as well as their common wants, are sufficient elements of a closer union, which hitherto has been prevented and delayed only by circumstances; but the advantages that will arise from the union of the two populations cannot be put in doubt. Thus, the commencement of that union is established in this Règlement by an administrative conformity in the government of the two countries." This is clear enough; but Turkey would perhaps explain its discordance with her present policy by recalling the fact that the Règlement was drawn up by Russian hands, and promulgated during a Russian occupation. "Austria," says Count Cavour, "has long had her eyes turned in the direction of the Lower Danube. Let it be remembered that she has already contrived to render herself mistress of three millions of Roumans inhabiting Transylvania, the Banat, and Bukovina. Is

* The Indépendance Belge of the 22d May 1858.

1858.]

it credible that two little states,
rendered more feeble by separation,
will be able to resist the ambitious
and encroaching policy of Austria?
The influence of the Vienna Cabinet
will produce in the Principalities, at
Bucharest especially, effects analo-
gous to that which we see produced
in the secondary states of Italy.
Separation can but aggravate the
state of the Principalities, by causing
a profound irritation, and wounding
all the instincts of the population.
It will render necessary a despotic
and violent government, which, to
maintain itself, will be obliged con-
tinually to have recourse to the in-
tervention of Turkish, and even of
Austrian forces." Viewing the ques-
tion under the second aspect-the
interests of Turkey-Count Cavour,
whilst admitting that these ought to
be seriously considered by Europe,
believes that the Porte perhaps
exaggerates to itself its rights over
Moldo-Wallachia, which are strictly
limited to a suzeraineté. He denies
that the union would be in any re-
spect prejudicial to the just rights
and interests of Turkey. With refer-
ence to a comparison, instituted in
the circular of the Turkish Minister
of Foreign Affairs, between the Prin-
cipalities and the kingdom of Greece,
he expresses himself as follows, for-
cibly and eloquently :—

"The terms of the parallel are not
identical. An essential difference
exists between the two countries.
Greece can never forget the glorious
times of Athens, of Sparta, of Thebes,
as she also will ever bear in mind
the Empire of the East, and the
magnificent residence of the Palæ-
ologi and the Patriarchs. Greece is
everywhere side by side with Turkey
in Europe; everywhere, hard by the
mosque, the church of Christ arises.
By constituting the kingdom of
Greece, a centre was created for
Greek nationality, whilst at the same
time there was left all around the
majority of the Hellenic race under
the domination of Turkey. From
this there naturally resulted an
irresistible tendency, on the part of
those populations, to unite themselves
with their emancipated brethren.
It is in vain to struggle against the
The Hellenes of
force of things.
VOL LXXXIV.—NO. DXIII.

Epirus, of Albania, of the islands of
the Archipelago, will always desire
to form part of the Greek kingdom;
as, upon the other hand, that king-
dom will always be animated by an
irresistible desire to absorb the ele-
ments that are homogeneous with
it, and that have remained under
the sceptre of the Sultan.

"The Principalities, on the con-
trary, constitute a race apart, which
has pushed offshoots into no pro-
vince, but which, at the same time,
has not suffered itself to be absorbed
by the powerful races that surround
it. The Turks have not established
themselves as conquerors amongst
the descendants of Trajan's soldiers.
No mosque rears its head on Rou-
Any attempt at assimila-
man soil.
tion between the Roumans and the
Turks, the Greeks and the Slavo-
nians, would be fruitless. We have
these four populations belonging to
four races entirely distinct by essen-
tially diverse ethnographic characters.
The Porte, then, has no reason to
fear that the Roumans will seek to
combine with the Servians and Bul-
garians. There is less sympathy be-
tween the Rouman and the Slavo-
nian than between the Rouman and
the Turk. On the other hand, the
Roumans form an obstacle to the
tendencies to draw together (rap-
prochement) which animate the dif-
ferent branches of the great Slavo-
Rouman nationality
nian family.
is a counterpoise useful to Turkey,
useful to Europe, and inimical to the
dangerous development of Panslavo-
nianism. If we look at the map, we
see that the Slavonian race extends
from the Uralian mountains and the
northern seas to the Adriatic, with-
out other interruption than the ter-
ritories occupied by the Roumans.
If, as is incontestable, Panslavonian-
ism is a danger, not only for Turkey,
but for the whole of the West, is it
not of the highest interest to consti-
tute, in the centre of the Slavonian
countries, a nationality which sym-
pathises exclusively with the West,
and which may form a real obstacle
to the reunion of populations having
so great a tendency to form a unity
that would perhaps crush the rest of
the civilised world?"

Count Cavour proceeds to argue

G

that the constitution of the Rouman nationality would be useful, not menacing, to Turkey. Antipathy of race will always keep the Roumans aloof from Russia. Their detestation of Austria is well known. To that power they might at some future day be dangerous, should they aspire to regain the Rouman districts which form part of its empire. "The foreign courts, rivals of Turkey, will be formidable in the Principalities only so long as they shall have to do with feeble governments, in antagonism with the national spirit, forced by their false position to seek support, moral or material, financial or military, from those of their neighbours who possess such vast means of corruption and influence. The men, accustomed to make a traffic of the favours of the Porte, may lose somewhat of their illicit gains by the constitution of a single and strong power in the Principalities. The Porte can but gain by it." The Sardinian minister concludes with a general consideration. "If," he says, "as we are assured, and as, notwithstanding the denials of Turkey, everything induces us to believe, the union is the ardent wish of the Principalities, can the Western Powers reject it? Can they incur, in the eyes of the civilised world and of history, the responsibility of having sacrificed the real interests, the legitimate aspirations, of five millions of Christians, to the exaggerated scruples and unfounded fears of the Turkish cabinet?" We need not remind the reader that Piedmont has, from the time the question was first raised, shown herself a stanch supporter of Rouman demands. This is not surprising. The champion of Italian nationality, she is an ex officio partisan of that of Roumania. Besides the hatred towards Austria, which influences all her foreign policy, leading her always to adopt that view of a question which may be damaging or disagreeable to that power, she, as the representative and hope of Italian independence, naturally sympathises with a kindred race, eagerly seeking, in the far east of Europe, a portion of that liberty which she in the west has already won, and, we trust, for ever secured.

Before laying down our pen we will give a few lines to the European Commission in the Principalities, touched upon in the sixth chapter of the pamphlet before us, where the character, attitude, and line of conduct of each one of the Commissioners are sketched, not, as regards most of them, in very favourable colours. The subject tempts to satirical delineation, but the present writer has not thought proper to avail himself of it to anything like the full extent which his turn for sarcasm would certainly have rendered it easy for him to do. The Commissioners found in the Principalities the warmest and most hospitable reception. If, politically, some of them were looked upon with far greater favour than others (whose governments were known, or believed to be, unfavourable to the wishes of the Moldo-Wallachians), personally all were treated alike. The friends were welcomed as friends; the enemies were received as if their hosts were in hopes of converting them into friends. The French Commissioner-thanks to the attitude of France at that time with regard to the question of the union-was the favourite and preponderant, and might, says the author of the "Letters," have made himself master of the situation. The Sardinian, as an Italian, and as representative of the chivalrous and popular Victor Emmanuel, received many marks of warm sympathy. The Russian, Basili, was a Greek, and therefore, although representing a power most favourable to the union (and also on account of a pedantic and unpleasing manner), he was neither liked nor trusted. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes is a maxim which the Fanariots passed a century in engraving on the hearts of the Roumans." Of the English Commissioner this writer speaks in the highest terms as an amiable and accomplished gentleman; but he entirely disapproves the line of conduct which, as a diplomatist and politician, he followed in the Principalities. Of the Austrian and the Turkish he does not tell us much, except, in a note, an anecdote of the former, M. Lehman de Palmrod, which, whether true or

not, é ben trovato. "On the point of being ennobled, M. Lehman had to make choice of a more aristocratic name. After long reflection, this diplomatist borrowed from Lord Palmerston the first syllable of his name, and from M. de Nesselrode the last of his, and, soldering them together, made himself a name of favourable augury. I cannot venture to affirm that these ambitious syllables have kept all the promise they contained." If the pamphlet is chary of details about the Commission, we find, in a newspaper published at Brussels, and exclusively devoted to the affairs of the Principalities, some curious gossip on the subject. This is contained in a letter from Bucharest, which, when it returned in print to that capital, made a great sensation there by reason of the boldness and accuracy of its statements. The Commission was an enormous expense to the Principalities. It was deemed proper to provide its members and their suites with houses, also with carriages and horses, and, in the first instance, with food, lights, and everything they required. The houses were hired by the government at exorbitant rents, and were richly furnished at the cost of the country. Everything was supplied in the most lavish and prodigal manner. Blame is not cast on the Commissioners; it was quite natural that, on their first arrival in a strange capital, where the hotels are not of the best, and to whose ways they were unaccustomed, they should accept a temporary hospitality, which, moreover, was warmly pressed upon them. After a short time, most of them declined to be any longer a burthen on the country, and retained only the quarters that had been prepared for them. Not all, however, were equally considerate; but the chief origin of the expense incurred was the immense amount of jobbery and robbery connected with the supplies furnished to them. Some of the items quoted in the Etoile du Danube are curious, by reason of their barefaced extravagance. The best and dearest hotel in Europe would have supplied its best dinners at an infinitely lower rate than that set down for the re

pasts of the Commission during the first three weeks of its stay in Bucharest. In twenty-six days, the table of a single commissioner cost upwards of £300. Of wax lights, 200 lb. per night were charged for. There was an item of 117,000 francs for small expenses, such as lights, cabs, lamps, kitchen utensils, &c. At the time of the installation of Ghica as caimacan, in 1856, the Turkish envoy, Kiamil Bey, sent to invest him with the dignity, passed a week at Bucharest, and of course was kept at free quarters, as a guest. The honest people charged with purveying for him, found means to make him consume strawberries to the value of 7000 Wallachian piastres (nearly £100)! But SaafetEffendi, the Turkish commissioner in 1857, had no reason to be jealous of the delicacies supplied to his countryman. In the accounts of the commission figures an item of 1200 francs for "perfumes for the use of SaafetEffendi." The Turk must have needed a deal of sweetening. The Wallachians, making a variation on a well-known proverb, said that " a European commission is equal to half a military occupation." people of the Principalities, accustomed to be robbed by their rulers, and by officials and contractors of all kinds, would think little of the cost of the Commission, if they thought there was a chance of its labours and report leading Europe to comply with their wishes. But of this they now have little hope. "The international Commission," says the author of the "Letters," "cost the Principalities 3 millions of piastres (about £45,000 sterling); that is to say, the tenth part of their annual budget. The Roumans love to cherish the hope that the result of its labours will be proportionate to this total, or, in popular terms, that it will give them their money's worth!"

The

We must conclude; not, however, without extracting the last page of the pamphlet, which embodies the author's views as to what may not improbably be the result of treating with neglect, if not with contempt, the almost unanimously expressed wishes of the Moldo-Wallachians.

"Our best policy now," he says,

* L'Etoile du Danube, of Saturday, 25th July 1857.

:

[ocr errors]

"is, in my opinion, to wait and not to despair; but there are not wanting persons who counsel us to another course, and I have the more fear of seeing it prevail, because all Europe seems to conspire in its favour. There is a party which holds to us the following language: The Western Powers have lulled you with fallacious promises recognise at last that they pitilessly deliver you to Austrian brutality, and to the stupidity of the Turk. It is time to look northwards. Whatever harm Russia may have done to you, Austria and Turkey will do you more. Besides, the policy of the Czar is completely changed; do you not see Alexander II. preparing reforms with one hand, whilst he heals, with the other, wounds which he did not make? Your position admits neither of delay nor of hesitation; you need the alliance of one of the three great empires that surround you, in order that you may not serve as a plaything to the ambition of all. Does there remain to you any other support than that of the Czar? Russia is for the union under a foreign prince. With Russia you may hope everything, even complete independence.'

"To decide between these two policies, the Principalities wait till Europe shall have marked out for them their line of conduct.

"One day, perhaps, the advanced guard of the Russian army which shall march upon Constantinople,

will be composed of Roumans! Upon that day, millions of Rayahs will rise as one man, and twenty-four hours will suffice to drive the last Turk into Asia.

"Lords Palmerston, Redcliffe, and Derby, Count Buol, and you, Messrs Aali and Fuad, vous l'aurez voulu !"

We have not attempted, in this paper, to go fully into the complicated political question of the Principalities. We should perhaps have been willing to do so, at the risk of filling a much larger portion of the Magazine than is usually allotted to a single article, had we hoped to command readers for so long an essay on a subject that does not appear to excite much interest in England. Under this disadvantage, all we have sought to do, has been to bring into relief some of the most prominent points of the question; and without making ourselves partisans, or even expressing our opinion, to put forward that of an intelligent and highly-educated native of the country whose grievances are now under discussion in Paris-of a writer whose veracity may be relied upon even by those who do not share his views. Such data as he supplies will be found extremely useful by any persons who may wish to make up their minds on a subject, which the thrilling interest of Indian affairs has deprived of that share of attention which, we incline to think, it will one day be proved that its importance merited.

« السابقةمتابعة »