But even if this were not the case, surely her soundest policy would be to support and strengthen in every way the Turkish Government, since their interests are identical, viz. the preservation of order among the Slavish nations of the world.
After leaving Brod, the banks of the river become flat and uninteresting; that on the Bosnian side is to a certain extent covered with low brushwood. After passing the Drina, which forms the boundary between Bosnia and Servia, it becomes still less interesting; the only objects of attraction being the numerous mills with which the river is studded. On the morning of the 29th we moored off the wharf at Semlin, but just too late to enable me to cross over to Belgrade by the morning's steamer. During the day, which I was compelled to pass in the town, I received much attention from General Phillipovich, who commanded the garrison, to whom I tender my sincere thanks. In the evening I crossed over to Belgrade (the white city), the capital of the principality of Servia.
ITS SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND FINANCIAL CONDITION.
The erroneous notions prevalent throughout Europe relative to the internal condition of Servia, are mainly traceable to two causes. The first of these is the wilful misrepresentation of facts by governments to their subjects, while the other, and a far more universal one, is the indifference inherent in flourishing countries for such as are less successful, or which have not been brought into prominence by contemporaneous events. We English are operated upon by the last of these influences. We are contented to accept the meagre accounts which have as yet reached us, and which give a very one-sided impression, as is but natural, the whole of the materials having been collected at Belgrade. I am not aware that anyone has during the past few years written upon the subject; and having been at some pains to obtain the means of forming a just estimate of the character and condition of the Servian people, I must fain confess to very different ideas concerning them to those which I had previously entertained, based upon the perusal of Ranke and Von Engel, or the lighter pages of Cyprien Robert and Paton.
The retrograde movement, but too apparent, gives cause for serious regret, not only to those who are politically interested in the well-being of the country, but to all who desire to see an advanced state of civilisation and a high moral standard amongst a people who pride themselves on the universality of Christianity within their limits.
The present population is about one million, and is said to be increasing at the rate of ten per cent., but so crudely compiled are the statistics, that doubts may be entertained of the accuracy of this statement. Of this million of souls, 200,000 at the lowest estimate are foreigners; the greater portion being Austrian subjects, and the children of those Servians who on three separate occasions migrated to the northern banks of the Danube. What has induced them to return to their ancestral shores, whether it be Austrian oppression, or an unlooked-for patriotism, it is hard to say; but whatever the motives, they have not proved of sufficient strength to awaken the dormant apathy inherited with their Slavish blood. Save those who have settled at Belgrade, and who drive a most lucrative and usurious trade, they have sunk back contentedly to a level with the rest of their compatriots.
The scanty population is only one of the many signs of the decadence of a country for whose future such high hopes were entertained, and whose name is even now blazoned forth as a watchword to the Christians of Turkey. In reality, a comparison with most Turkish provinces, and more especially with those in which the Mussulman element predominates, will tell very favourably for the latter. Roumelia, for example, with a smaller area, contains a larger population, produces more than double the revenue, while land is four times as valuable, the surest test of the prosperity of a country. This last is easily accounted for by the lamentable indolence of the masses, who are contented to live in the most abject poverty, neglecting even to take advantage of a naturally fertile soil. Yet must it not be supposed that indifference to its possession prompts this contempt for the cultivation of land. There is probably no province so much enclosed, and where the mania for litigation in connection therewith is so rife as Servia. An insurmountable obstacle is thus thrown in the way of foreign enterprise, by the narrow-mindedness of the people.
The same want of energy has had the most baneful effect upon commerce, the very existence of which is merely nominal. Even at Belgrade the common necessaries of life are daily imported from the Austrian banks of the Danube. No one is more alive to the deplorable state of affairs than the reigning Prince, whose long residence in the capitals of Europe has familiarised him with their bustling scenes of thriving activity. Well will it be for Servia and himself, if he shall turn the experience which he has acquired to some practical account. Any doubts which he may previously have entertained regarding the misery of the country, and the moral degradation of his subjects, were removed effectually by all that he witnessed in a recent expedition into the interior—miserable hovels, uncultivated fields, magnificent forests wantonly destroyed, were the sights which met him at every turn. At length some restrictions have been placed on the wilful abuse of the greatest source of wealth which the country possesses. Nor are they premature, for the reckless destruction of the forests, combined with a failure of the acorns during the past year, produced serious distress. Already has the export trade of pigs diminished by one-third of the average of former years. This is immediately owing to the necessity of feeding them on Indian corn, a process which proves too expensive for their poverty-stricken owners, and which in this respect places the pig and its proprietor upon an equality. The latter live almost entirely upon maize and sliegovich, a kind of rakee made out of plums, and extremely fiery.
The mode of treatment of their women, an infallible sign of civilisation or the reverse, was brought prominently to the Prince's notice by the following circumstance:—Having, in company with the Princess, visited the cottage of a thriving pig-owner, he observed the presence of three daughters of the house. These young ladies showed unmistakeable signs of approaching old-maidism, and the parental philosophy settled the question of their future pretty conclusively. 'Why,' said he, in reply to a question put by the Prince touching the solitary condition of the damsels, 'should I allow them to marry, when each of them is worth more than three fat pigs to me.' Manners must have changed very much for the worse since the days of Ami Boue, or it is difficult to conceive upon what he founds his assertion that labour is not imposed upon Servian women. Indeed it would be surprising were it not so, when they are subjected by the laws of the land to the indignity of the bastinado, from which even men, save soldiers, are exempted in Mahometan Turkey.
The absence of that blind subjection to a bigoted priesthood which distinguishes the other Christian populations, would seem to indicate a certain independence of spirit, but unhappily the accompanying symptoms are not so encouraging. With contempt for its ministers, has come disregard for the ordinances of the Church, the services of which are but scantily attended. Yet notwithstanding the irreligion which is spreading fast throughout the land, little tolerance is shown for adherents to other than the Greek Church. For example, Catholics are compelled to close their shops on the Greek feasts, of which there are not a few, under penalty of a fine. In the same liberal spirit the mob are permitted to break the windows of such houses as are not illuminated on these occasions.
An ignorant and narrow-minded man is generally also vain. The same law is equally applicable to nations. A fancied superiority over the Christians of the other Turkish provinces cannot escape the notice of the most casual observer. That Servia has acquired some fame for military exploits is true, and far be it from me to detract from the praise due to her efforts to achieve and maintain her independence. The successes of their fathers, however, over the small irregular Turkish levies to which they were opposed, do not warrant the present population in indulging in the vapid boastings too often heard, of their ability to drive the Turks to Constantinople, were they permitted so to do. In a word, they forget that they owe their present position, not to their own prowess, but to foreign intervention; without which the province would probably have shared the fate of Bosnia, Albania, Epirus, and the Pashaliks of Rutschuk and Widdin, all which were as independent as themselves, but were reconquered by the Turks, no European power having extended to them the safeguard of a guarantee.
Whether the protection accorded to Servia has worked beneficially is for my readers to judge. The abstract question of the advantages thus conferred admits of debate, and for my own part I believe the present miserable state of the province to be mainly owing to the European guarantee. She was not sufficiently enlightened to profit by the advantages presented to her, and the honourable self-reliance which was the result of a successful resistance to the Turkish arms has given place to a feeling of indolent security. Nor is this the worst. A principal feature in a country under guarantee is the total want of responsibility in those vested with administrative power. Upon this the Servian rulers presume to a preeminent degree, and indulge in many acts of presumption which would be impossible were they not fully alive to the fact that the conflicting interests of the guaranteeing powers, added to their own insignificance (which perhaps they overlook), exempt them from any fear of chastisement.
The principle of supporting the independence of a province forming a component geographical part of an empire, must have but one result, that of weakening the mother state, without, as experience has shown, ameliorating the condition of the province. Independently, therefore, of the drain upon the Turkish finances, for the maintenance of troops from time to time on the Servian frontier, to counteract revolutionary propaganda, her influence throughout her Slavish provinces is much weakened. Although in a position as anomalous as it must be unpalatable, the Ottoman Government deserves credit for abstaining so entirely from any species of interference in the internal affairs of the country; for be it remembered that the province is still tributary to the Porte. The hattischeriff of 1834, by which, on the evacuation of the country, the Sultan retained the right of garrisoning the fortresses, has never been strictly adhered to, and may at some future period lead to complications. Belgrade is secure from any efforts which may be made against it, but the other forts are hardly worthy of the name, and were only used as a place of refuge in case of attack. The Servians now complain of the infringement of the hattischeriff, and M. Garaschanin has but lately returned from Constantinople, whither he was sent on a special mission in connection with this subject. He endeavoured to procure an order for the withdrawal of all Mussulmans from the villages which they now occupy in the vicinity of the forts. This demand would appear just in the letter of the law, but for the neglect on the part of the Servian Government of one of the conditions, which was, that before resigning their property, the Mussulmans should receive an equivalent in money. The payment of this has been evaded, and the Porte consequently declines to interfere in the matter; should the Sultan hereafter accede to the demand, it would be no great sacrifice, as he would still retain Belgrade. Situated as that fortress is, at the confluence of the Danube and the Save, surrounded with strong and well-ordered fortifications, and commanding every quarter of the town, its occupation in the event of hostilities would at once determine the fate of the province.
The city may be fairly said to represent the sum of civilisation in the country. In addition to 2,000 Austrian subjects, the population is of a very polyglot character, who, however much they may have added to the importance, have deprived the town of its national appearance.
Before alluding to the financial or military resources, it will be well to pass in brief review the events of the past few years, of which no chronicle exists. These, if devoid of any special interest, tend considerably to our enlightenment regarding the much vexed question of a south Slavonic kingdom, and at the same time of Russia's prospects of aggrandisement south of the Danube. The neutral attitude preserved by Servia during the war in 1854-55, must have been a grievous disappointment to the Emperor Nicholas. Had she risen consentaneously with the irruption of the Hellenic bands into Thessaly and Epirus, the revolt might have become general, and would have been fraught with consequences most perplexing to the Sultan's allies. This neutrality may be attributed to the position assumed by Austria throughout that struggle, combined with the independence of Russian influence manifested by the then reigning family of Servia. No sooner was peace declared, than Russia applied herself to the task of producing a state of feeling more favourable to herself in the Slavonic provinces. While adhering to her traditional policy of fomenting discord, and exciting petty disturbances with the view of disorganising and impeding the consolidation of Turkey, she redoubled her efforts to promote her own influence by alienating the Greek Christians from their spiritual allegiance to the Archimandrite, and transferring it to the Czar. Nor to attain this end did she scruple to resort to presents, bribes, and even more unworthy means. That her efforts have not met with more signal success than has as yet attended them, is due to the indifference displayed by the people on these subjects.
One measure which was deemed most important was the substitution in Servia of the Obrenovitch family for that of Kara George. This occurred in 1858; and during the lifetime of Milneh, Russian influence was ever in the ascendant. The familiar roughness of tone and manner assumed by that Prince towards his uncultivated people procured for him great weight; while his astute cunning, his hatred of Turkey, and his Russian bias, would have given a most valuable ally to that power, had she procured his restoration before her armies crossed the Pruth. Fortunately no opportunity presented itself for him to promote actively the cause of his imperial master; and the two years which he survived his return to power are marked only by occasional ill-judged and bloodthirsty emeutes, as prejudicial to his people as they were ineffectual in overthrowing Turkish supremacy.
The eastern policy of France, during the Italian war, was subjected to many powerful conflicting influences. The chances of creating a diversion in the rear of Austria, owing to the unsettled state of the Turkish provinces, was probably thought of. Why the idea was abandoned is not for us here to enquire; but it may be in part attributed to the display of force which Turkey for once put forth at the right moment. Be this as it may, no disturbance took place until the winter of 1859, when, upon the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, fresh rumours of an insurrectionary nature were heard. These are well known to have been encouraged and circulated by the Servian Government, which calculated upon foreign support, at any rate that of Russia. But Russia has no wish to precipitate a crisis. The disastrous results of Prince Gortschakoff's mission have, at any rate, taught her the impolicy of plucking at the fruit before it is ripe. Her own internal reorganisation, moreover, occupies her sufficiently, and renders any active interference for the moment impracticable. Even were it otherwise, were Russia able and willing to renew the struggle in behalf of her co-religionists, the report of Prince Dolgorouki as to the amount of assistance likely to be derived from them, would hardly tend to encourage her in her disinterested undertaking. This envoy arrived at Belgrade in the latter part of 1859, while Prince Gortschakoff's charges were issued shortly after his return, and were doubtless based upon his reports. (Yet it is more than probable that the primary object of his mission was to enquire into and to regulate the revolutionary movements, which at that moment had acquired a certain degree of importance.) The Bulgarian emissaries told him frankly that no rising could be looked for in those provinces, unless Russia took the initiative. They reminded him that in 1842, when Baron Lieven visited Belgrade, the Bulgarians were induced by the promises of Prince Michael Obrenovitch to rise en masse. These promises were never fulfilled, and the insurrection was put down with great barbarities by the neighbouring Albanian levies. This single fact is tolerably conclusive as to the unreality of a south Slavonic insurrection, of which so much has been said, and to promote which so much trouble has been taken. Even were the discontent tenfold as deep-rooted as it now is, the Turkish Government might rely on the Mussulman population and the Arnauts to suppress any rising of the Christians. The chief danger to Turkey lies in the truculent nature of those whom she would be compelled to let loose upon the insurgents, and who would commit excesses which might be made an excuse for foreign intervention. The attainment of this ignoble end has been and still is the policy pursued by more than one power. Prince Milosch played admirably into their hands, not foreseeing that in the general bouleversement which would be the result, the independence of Servia might be disregarded. The invasion of the Bosnian frontier by bands of Servian ruffians was a measure well calculated to arouse the fury of the Mussulmans; and if such has not been the case, it may be attributed to the rapid dispersion of the miscreants. Little credit, indeed, accrued to Servia in these hostile demonstrations, for while the bands were composed of the lowest characters, and could only be brought together by payment, they quickly retreated across the frontier at the first show of resistance. It is significant that these bands were in nearly all cases led by Montenegrins, a fact which indicates the decline of that spirit of military adventure to which the Haiduks of old (robbers) could at least lay some claim. Discreditable as these proceedings were, worse ensued.
On the 5th of August a murderous attack was made upon a party of Mussulmans in the close vicinity of Belgrade, upon which occasion eight were killed and seventeen wounded. No fire-arms were used, probably to avoid alarming the garrison. The absence on that night from the capital of both Prince Milosch and his son, furnishes just grounds for suspecting them of complicity in the affair, while the presence of Sleftcha (notoriously a creature of Russia), and Tenko, among the murderers, clearly shows where and with what views the crime was devised. On the same night, five Mussulmans who were sleeping in a vineyard at Kladova, on the Bulgarian frontier, were murdered by Servians, while an attack was made upon a third party. The prospects of a country whose princes connive at, and whose ministers commit murder, cannot be very brilliant. Whether other atrocities might have met with the sanction of Milosch it is impossible to say, for death cut him off in the latter part of September, 1860, full of years and crimes. Not the least of these was the death of Kara George, who was treacherously murdered at his instigation. But let us pass from so unattractive a retrospect to a consideration of the character and policy of the living prince who now holds the reins of government.
The appointment of Prince Michael to the vacant throne of Servia was the first step towards the substitution of hereditary for elective succession. One of the first measures of the new prince was to induce the Skuptschina, or National Assembly, to legalise for the future that which had been an infraction of the law. The sixteen years which intervened between 1842, when Michael was ejected, and 1858, when Prince Milosch was reinstated, were passed by the former in the various capitals of Europe. The high Vienna notions which he imbibed during that period have deprived him of the sympathy and affection of his semi-civilised subjects, as much as the uncultivated mind of his father deprived him of their respect. Nor does the lack of sympathy appear to be one-sided. And, in truth, that mind must be possessed of no ordinary amount of philanthropy which can apply itself to the improvement of a people at once so ignorant and vain, and who evince withal so little desire for enlightenment.
At the time of his accession the Russian element, as has been shown, was strong in the Ministry. Sleftcha and the Metropolitan were her principal agents. It was to be expected, therefore, that he would adhere to the family principles, and sell himself body and soul to his great benefactor. But it frequently happens that persons who have risen to unexpected eminence turn upon those by whom they have been raised. This would appear to be somewhat the case with Prince Michael, who certainly does not show the same devotion to Russia as did his father. It may be that he has not noted in the foreign policy of that power the disinterestedness which she so loudly professes. If such be his views, who can controvert them? To the character of the man, combined with his peculiarly irresponsible condition (owing to the guarantee), may be ascribed his present line of conduct. Ambitious, obstinate, and devoted to intrigue, his character is no more that of a mere puppet than it is of one likely to attain to any great eminence. At first, it must be acknowledged that he played into the hands of Russia most unreservedly. No endeavours were spared to stir up discontent and rebellion in the surrounding provinces. Little credit is due to the sagacity of those by whom these machinations were contrived. For example, petitions were sent to all the foreign consulates purporting to come from the Christian subjects of Turkey on the frontiers of Bosnia and Bulgaria, and setting forth the miserable condition to which they had been reduced by Mussulman oppression. The sympathy which might have been felt for the sufferers was somewhat shaken by attendant circumstances, which threw doubts on the authenticity of the letters. It appears that these arrived from the two frontiers by the same post, while, on comparison, they were found to be almost identical in form and wording.
Great results were also anticipated from the Emigration movement, to which the early part of 1861 was devoted. Russia, while endeavouring to promote the emigration of Bulgarians to the Crimea, did not discourage the efforts of Servia to induce them to cross her frontier with the view of settling. Several thousands did so, and these came principally from the Pachaliks of Widdin and Nish. Amongst these were many criminals and outlaws, who were admitted by the Servians, in violation of their charter. Considerable excitement prevailed, and subscriptions were set on foot for their benefit, but the movement appears to have died a natural death, as nothing is now heard of it. The emigres cannot have been too well satisfied with the position in which they found themselves, since the greater number soon returned whence they came, in spite of Mussulman oppression.
Since the failure of this scheme, the Prince has applied all his energies to the acquisition of independent power. He first endeavoured to effect it by means of a deputation to the Sublime Porte. Failing in this, he resorted to the internal means at his disposal, and has gained his point. The principal objects which he had in view, and which he has succeeded in carrying out, were the declaration of hereditary succession, and the abrogation of the Ustag or Constitution, by which his power was limited. The Senate, as the deliberative body may be termed, originally consisted of 17 members. They were in the first instance nominated by the then reigning prince, but could not be removed by him, while vacancies were filled up by election among themselves. The whole of these rules he has now set aside, and, albeit he has given a colouring of justice to his proceedings by restoring the original number of members, and some other customs which had fallen into abeyance, he has virtually stripped them of all power. With great astuteness he induced the Skuptschina to deprive the Senate of legislative functions, and immediately afterwards to relinquish them itself, thus placing absolute power in his hands. This grossly illegal action has met with some faint resistance, but the Prince will without doubt carry out his wishes. He has only to fear internal discontent, as he is entirely independent by virtue of the guarantee, not only of the European powers, but even of Turkey. It is true that this very policy cost him his throne in 1838, but with years he has gained prudence, and he is now pursuing it with far greater caution. The Servians, too, having sunk immeasurably in the social scale, are less likely to stand upon their rights, or to give him the same trouble as heretofore.
Up to the present time all these schemes have weighed but little in the scale against the one absorbing ambition of his life. In a word, Michael is a hot Panslavist. Of this he makes no secret, and he has probably shared hitherto, in common with all Servians, very exaggerated notions of the importance which Servia would assume were the dismemberment of Turkey to take place. Their self-conceived superiority over the other Christians of European Turkey, induces the Servians to regard the northern provinces in the same light as do the Greeks the southern. The ambition of Michael, however, is not satisfied with the prospect of dominion over the undeveloped countries south of the Danube. His conversation, character, and previous history all point to one conclusion—that he aspires to sway the destinies of the Slavish provinces of Austria, and maybe of Hungary itself. His marriage with an Hungarian lady of the name, and it is to be presumed of the stock of the great Hunyadi family, would appear to give some consistency to these dreams. The chief drawbacks to its fulfilment are the unreality of the agitation among the Slavish populations, the power of Turkey to crush any insurrection unaided from without, and the honour and interest of Great Britain, which are staked on the preservation of the Ottoman empire from foreign aggressions. Although he may indulge in such day dreams, it is impossible but that a man of Prince Michael's calibre must be alive to all the opposing elements which will defer the accomplishment of them to a remote period. Notwithstanding natural prejudices, which in his case, however, are not very strong, it is probable that he now sees the inutility, and understands how visionary are the ambitious projects which he once entertained touching Servia. Such, at least, is the opinion of those who have the best opportunities of forming a correct judgement in the matter. Whatever may be his own intellect, whatever his ability to conceive and execute, Servia is too degraded to carry him through. To be the nucleus of a large kingdom, certain elements are necessary, in which she is strikingly deficient. Among these may be placed tried and flourishing institutions, unity of sentiment and purpose amidst all classes, and a due appreciation of the advantages of education and commerce; while last, but perhaps the most important of all, is civil and religious liberty of the highest order. In all of these, I repeat, Servia is eminently wanting.
A very slight glimpse also at her financial and military resources will show how far she is fitted to take even a leading part in any emeute which circumstances may hereafter bring about. The total revenue of the country has up to this time amounted to 200,000l. sterling. This has been raised by a tax of $5 levied on about 40,000 males. Nearly the whole sum is expended in paying and equipping the army, and in the salary of officials. Dissatisfied with the small amount of revenue, the Prince undertook, during the past year, to reorganise the taxation. An impost upon property was projected in lieu of the capitation tax, but having, unfortunately, started without any very well-defined basis, the system broke down, actually producing a smaller revenue than was yielded by the original method. Equally abortive, as might have been anticipated, was the scheme for raising a militia of 50,000 men. Presupposing, for the sake of argument, a strong military spirit to be rife among the people, the financial condition of the country would render the idea untenable, since it is with difficulty that the 1,800 soldiers who constitute the regular army can be maintained. Granting even the willingness to serve, and the ability of the government to pay them, the population of the country would not, according to ordinary statistics, furnish so large a force. The greatest number that could be calculated on in the event of war would be about 40,000 men, and these only in a war in which the national sympathy might be deeply enlisted. How many of this number would remain in arms, would probably depend on the amount of plunder to be obtained, and the nature of the resistance which they might encounter.
The material of the existing force is about on an equality with that of most continental armies. A portion of the troops are armed with rifles, and the remainder with unbrowned muskets. One battery of artillery forms the aggregate of that arm of the service. There are 70 guns at the arsenal at Kragiewatz, but they are all old and unfit for field service. A French Colonel has lately been imported to fill the combined offices of War-Minister and Commander-in-Chief. This, and, indeed, the whole of the recent internal policy, leaves very little doubt of the source whence emanate these high-flown ideas. It cannot be better expressed than as a politique d'ostentation, which is, if we may compare small things with great, eminently French. The oscillation of French and Russian influence, and the amicable manner in which their delegates relinquish the field to each other alternately, implies the existence of a mutual understanding between them. Whether this accord extends to a wider sphere and more momentous questions, time alone will show. Meanwhile, the Prince continues to indulge in dreams of a Panslavish kingdom, and of the crumbs which may fall to his own share, while he neglects the true interests of his country, with which his own are so intimately blended. Let him apply himself to the developement of her internal resources, to the promotion of education and civilisation among the people, and, above all, let him root out that spirit of indolence which has taken such firm hold upon all classes. It is his policy to do all this, that Servia may be in a position to assume that leading place among the Slavonic races which she arrogates to herself, should unforeseen circumstances call upon her to do so. With her he must stand or fall; therefore, setting aside more patriotic motives, self-interest renders it imperative on him to apply himself zealously to her regeneration.
With regard to his foreign policy, he cannot do better than act up to the conviction which he has himself more than once expressed, that 'the interests of Servia are identical with those of Turkey.' For, should the disruption of the Ottoman empire take place—the probability of which is at any rate no greater than in the time of our grandfathers—it will not be effected by internal revolution, but by foreign intervention; and credulous must he be who can believe in the disinterestedness of those who would lend themselves to such a measure. Thus, in the partition which would ensue, Servia might find even her former independence overlooked.
Let me add, that if I have alluded in strong terms to the condition of the people, I have done it in all sincerity, regretting that Servia should thus cast away the sympathy which, were she bent on self-advancement, would pour in upon her from every side. If, again, I may appear presumptuous in dictating the duties which devolve upon her Prince, I am prompted to it by the supineness which he has as yet evinced in promoting the desire for civilisation. Let him delay no longer, for, should events so dispose themselves that Servia should be weighed in the balance, she will, unless an amendment takes place, be indeed found miserably wanting.
In conclusion, I would venture to call attention to the fact that the preceding pages were written before events had assumed the aspect which they now wear. Actual hostilities had not then commenced against Montenegro; the Turkish Government had not then contracted the loan which has opened up new prospects for the finances of the country.
That Omer Pacha has not already brought the war to a close is to be regretted, but let those who criticise the slowness of his movements weigh well all the disadvantages against which he has to contend.
It would be useless to enumerate these again, as they are alluded to more than once in the course of this volume. Suffice it to say, then, that if Cettigne be taken and Montenegro occupied before the end of the present year, Omer Pacha will have placed another feather in his cap, and will have materially increased the debt of gratitude to which he is already entitled.
The following is an extract of a letter from the young Prince of Montenegro, addressed to the Consuls of the Great Powers. The sentiments which it expresses are creditable enough, and, did his acts corroborate his words, he would be well entitled to the sympathy which he demands.
Cettigne, le 30 juillet 1861.
Monsieur le Consul,
A l'occasion de la recente et grave mesure prise par la Turquie envers le Montenegro, je crois devoir rompre le silence et faire connaitre succinctement a MM. les Consuls des Grandes Puissances qu'elle a ete tenue depuis un an par le Montenegro vis-a-vis de l'empire ottoman.
Depuis mon avenement j'ai employe tout mon pouvoir a maintenir la tranquillite. Sur les frontieres je n'ai rien neglige pour eloigner tout motif de collision, pour calmer les animosites seculaires qui separent les deux peuples, en un mot, pour donner a la Turquie les preuves les plus irrefragables de meilleur voisinage.
Dans une occasion toute recente je me suis rendu avec empressement au desir exprime par les Grandes Puissances de me voir contribuer autant qu'il etait dans mon pouvoir au soulagement des malheureux enfermes dans la forteresse de Niksich. J'ai ete heureux de pouvoir en pareilles circonstances donner une preuve de deference aux Grandes Puissances, et de pouvoir repondre, comme il convenait a un souverain et un peuple chretien, a l'appel fait a ses sentiments d'humanite. Je ne me suis point arrete devant la consideration d'un interet personnel.
LONDON PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO. NEW-STREET SQUARE