four people by the river bank


THE vast plain stretching out between Giourjévo and Bukha- rest is intersected, at intervals, by ravines of considerable depth, which become in the rainy season so many dangerous quagmires. '` With our heavy carriages, we more than once ran the risk of remaining stuck in these miry bogs, the road through which merely consists of branches of trees thrown across. An evil day would [128] it be for the equipage whose horses left it sunk in this black, soft mud ; it would be long ere any one could come to its assistance. On these wretched roads, how- ever, travellers are as rare as the villages themselves, if it may be allowed so to call a miserable assemblage of huts, built of clay, and covering a sort of kennel, in which an entire family is found burrowing.

man playing bagpipes

On the occasion of our journey, however, these miserable hamlets were enlivened by sounds of mirth ; the celebration of the festival had awakened all the fiddles of the Tsigans ; the sourish-sweet liquor, which the Wallachian peasant is accustomed to call wine, had cheered up the hearts of all these robust villagers and dark maidens for the dance ; and given fresh vigour to the nasal voices of the old women, to chaunt out their traditional songs, which perhaps Dacian or Roman ears had heard in the days of Decebalus and Trajan.

gypsy (tsigan) family

The twenty leagues we had to travel were performed quickly enough. So long as one is on the smooth surface of the meadow land, the travelling is as rapid as it is easy. The lean and famished horses, holding by nothing but old ropes, whirl the traveller along with extreme swiftness. The postillions, perched on their high wooden saddles, sling round their shoulders the rope, which serves as a bridle, and, howling and gesticulating like madmen, urge to an unceasing gallop this herd of half-wild horses [129] harnessed to a single carriage. From time to time the grotesque equipage plunges through the tall grass of the meadows; and the horses, profiting by the occasion, seize a few dried-up blades, and devour them as they run. On reaching the end of a stage, the team is soon freed from its harness, which, as we mentioned, consists of two traces and a girth, into which the animal passes his head of his own accord, and withdraws it in the same manner. When this is done, the drivers, to express their satisfaction, and by way of refreshing their steeds, as they say, violently tug the ears and the forelocks of each horse, and then leave them panting, to repair their vigour upon the seared grass of the plain.

On our arrival at Bukharest, the evening was already far advanced, and we experienced all the annoyance of having to seek lodgings in an immense city, through dark and tortuous streets, accompanied by guides to whom it was impossible to make ourselves understood. The club of the nobles, established in the theatre, had been pointed out to us as the only place where we could find a lodging, but we were nearly being refused all accom- modation by the host ; and it was only by dint of the most urgent entreaties, and after waiting out the per- formance, that we were enabled to take possession of two rooms, so close to the theatre, that we had only to open a door to find ourselves upon the stage. It [130] would, however, be ungracious to complain of this side- scene hospitality, as, notwithstanding the strange cha- racter of our apartments, we soon received visits in them from the most distinguished personages.

Scarcely were we installed, when an officer, dispatched by His highness the Prince Regent, came to place himself at our disposal. At the same instant, a per- manent guard was set over our equipages, standing out in the middle of a large court-yard, to protect them from the rapacity of the Tsigans. These wandering beggars, ever on the track of strangers, had already round means, in the confusion of our arrival, to appro- priate a few articles of no great value.

We should advise the weary traveller who comes into Bukharest to let his first visit be to the capital Turkish baths, of which we were now about to test the quality. These establishments, which are situated in the quarter of the town watered by the Dombovitza, unite all the salutary effects of vapour and shampooing, with every refinement by which the Eastern people have learnt to administer to the physical wants of existence. If the prophet was wise enough to exalt a maxim of health to the sanctity of a religious duty, the true believers, on their side. have been sensual enough to render it one of those pleasures such as they love them, and to which they abandon their whole being with such exquisite [131] delight. There is nothing can compare with the gentle languor that creeps over the wearied limbs, when after leaving that wann atmosphere of vapour. and under- going a course of vigorous shampooing and aromatic frictions, you find yourself stretched out upon a soft couch, wrapped in sheets of the most delicate and yielding texture, while the pipe breathes forth its aromatic per- fumes around you, and from time to time iced water, tinted with preserved roses, imparts its fragrant cool- ness to your lips ; and yet this perfect beatitude of all the senses may be purchased in Bukharest at the most moderate price. It is to be hoped that the usages of Vienna and Paris, which daily tend to spread themselves more and more in this capital, will not interfere with the only two things which do honour to the Turks, and which alone, in Eastern civilization, are to be envied by Europe, namely, the bath, and the coffee-house.

The few visits we paid and received during the first day already began to give us a general notion of Buk- harest and its inhabitants. We were treated with such marked politeness, that from the first Lour the whole of our time was engaged during oar stay, and would have been so, had our sojourn extended even beyond the tine we were enabled to devote to their pressing hospitality.

The reigning prince had keen gracious enough to appoint an hour for our reception in the evening; in [132] the meanwhile, like thorough foreigners, we proceeded to pass in review the fashionable world of this capital, which was taking the air at its accustomed place, and in its ordinary every-day equipages ; for in this city every one keeps his own carriage. This much frequented promenade is little worthy the popularity it enjoys, for it is nothing more than a great dusty street, full of ruts. When you have reached the extremity of the street and of the city, you are not the less exposed to a good shaking on an ill-kept road, where an avenue of trees of three years' growth give hopes of a cool shade for the Wallachians of the next century, but leave the pro- menaders of the present day- a prey to the slant rays of the sun. A flat, marshy country is the sole prospect which greets the eye around this walk. Nevertheless, the string of carriages along the road is long and close, and here, every evening, are punctually to be found the elite of this motley people, which is daily changing its manners no less than its costume. In the same coach in which you see women doing their best to imitate, in their dress and manners, the elegance and coquetry of the Viennese, you may also observe the black coat which represents young Wallachia facing the noble and venerable countenance of' some white-bearded Boyard with the monumental dome-shaped cap imported by the Greeks of Phanar. On the box of these carriages, sits gravely [133] at one time a coachman in the Russian costume, muffled up in his long kaftan ; at another, a Turk with a large turban, or an Arnout with floating white skirts. This rapid procession, in short, whirling through the dust, — the plumes, the turbans and veils, passing and crossing each other about you, form quite an extraordinary spec- tacle, which, by its novelty, fixes the attention.

Meanwhile, we had betaken ourselves to the palace of the Hospodar. Several officers were waiting the prince's return from the drive, and we found among them a French- man, Viscount Grammont Louvigny, of whose extreme politeness we had already had proofs. The apartment into which we were ushered possessed no other ornament than a portrait of the Russian general, Kisseleff, a popular portrait, if ever there were one, as that of a good and brave man, whose revered features are to be met with on the most humble, as well as the proudest walls in the country. In a short time, the Hospodar was announced, and the gracious and cordial reception with which we were favoured, gave us an opportunity of judging of this prince's various acquirements. A flowing and intelligent conversation on all the different topics then occupying the attention of society in the western world, proved to us that in this capital, only to he reached through deserts, the most refined thought, and the onward march of the times, find sound and rational [134] interpreters. Could we venture to sketch, in a few touches, the character and personal appearance of the Hospodar of Wallachia, we should say, that Prince Ghika, who reigns under the name of Alexander the Second, with the manners and address of a nobleman, possesses a mild and grave countenance, which at once inspires confidence. His conversation is precise, yet fluent, and -betokens a highly cultivated mind. The prince, who appears to have arrived at the middle age, has remained single : he sets an example of social virtues, no less than of zeal for the public good. The reigning Princes of Wallachia have adopted the civilian dress of' Europe, and the uniform of the Russian Em- pire. They make use habitually of the French language, which they speak with remarkable fluency.

It was not till subsequently that we had the honour of being presented to the two brothers of the Hospodar. Prince Michael Ghika, the eldest of the family, is invested with the office of Minister of the Interior, under the title of Grand Vornik, and he has been raised to the dignity of Bano, which is the first rank in the state after the Hospodar. Prince Constantine Ghika, the youngest of the three brothers, is at the head of military affairs, and, as Grand Spathar, commands the little army of Wallachia.

According to Turkish usage, we were offered pipes [135] and coffee, and we did not take leave of the prince till a lengthened interview had given us more than one opportunity of remarking how solid and various was the information, how elevated the views of this sovereign, ruling over a country whose institutions are as yet to be established.

On our return from the palace, we found those of our travelling companions whom we had left on the Danube. They had just arrived, worn out with fatigue, and we lost no time in pointing out to them the lodgings which, with the greatest difficulty, we had discovered in a neigh- bouring quarter. I give their own account of what had detained them, and what they had seen at Giouljévo after we had taken our departure, clearing the post-house of all its horses.

" When," said they, " we saw ourselves obliged to remain at Giourjévo, having neither horses nor carriages to take us to Bukharest, our first step was to secure at the post-house a sufficiency of the national carriages to convey our persons and the lumbering apparatus which was left in our charge. Nothing can be more simple or more novel than the Wallachian carriages, called in the country caroussi. They consist of a kind of small trough made of wooden bars, placed upon four wheels, more or less circular, and two wooden axles, without a nail, or a single particle of ironwork. This receptacle, [136] abundantly supplied with hay, too often in a state of fermentation, can accommodate one traveller — seldom two. The sufferer, crouching down upon his haunches, with nothing to lean upon or support him, cleaves the air, clutching the sides of this brutal equipage as a raw horseman clings to the mane of a runaway horse. These carriages can only be compared to the telègues of Russia, to which, however, they are far inferior. This mode of transport, which combines all the inconveniences a tra- veller endeavours to avoid, is, nevertheless, the only one fit for use to be had in Wallachia. We were to start at midnight, when the returned post horses would have sufficiently rested. We had, therefore, time enough to inspect the town, and enjoy the spectacle of the rejoicings, the noise of which filled the air.

" Giourjévo was a Turkish fortress, until the treaty of 1829 transferred it to Wallachia. At that epoch the generous in- tervention of Russia raised from their degraded condition the principalities which had been crushed by extortionate levies. Barbarism re-crossed the Danube; but, ere leaving Giourjévo, the Mussulman dismantled its ramparts, and consequently this town is a mixture of ruins and new buildings. The symmetrical plan of the modern con- structions carries its right lines without deviation through the irregular mass of the old eastern buildings. This is why unfinished streets, and plots of ground encumbered [137] with old building materials, will long continue to disfigure the regular design of the modern Giourjévo. The quarter of the town contiguous to the Danube is of recent con- struction. Several pretty houses, and a church dedicated to St. Peter, consecrated that very day, gave it altogether a European aspect. Further on, is found a circular space, in the centre of which stands a tower. This place re- presents Giourjévo. Here all the shops and cafés are collected with their groups of smokers, seated in a circle before the door : here, too, we find two or three hotels, with fallacious sign boards, in which the only supper a traveller can get is a sorbet, and the only bed a billiard table. This piece of furniture, which is as ill fitted for one use as the other, is common in Wallachia.

" Meanwhile the town was deserted, the whole popu- lation having betaken themselves to an immense plain with neither verdure nor shade. Here whole families and villages of Wallachians arrived in troops, with numerous bands of Bohemians. The almost innumerable crowd of traders, dancers, musicians, and curious spec- tators attracted by the festival, which was to last several days, continued thus to swell unceasingly. On reaching the ground where the festival is held, the teams are unharnessed, a bivouac is formed, and a movable city, in which all the various races to be found in Wallachia [138] are mingled together, continues incessantly extending its dimensions. The Wallachians encamped beneath large awnings of white cloth, flanked by their lumbering cars, near which the buffaloes or oxen by which they are drawn were seen ruminating ; while the tribes of Tsigans were recognisable by the sombre hue of their tents, striped with black.

" On all sides arose volumes of smoke from the fires, over which was being prepared the simple food of these people, who appeared so eager for the pleasures of the festival ; while beneath all the tents, men and women were dressing to make a figure in the dance. The stout daughters of Wallachia were distinguishable by their velvet caps, glittering with long chaplets of sequins or paras, the sum total of their dowries. Sometimes, the cap which was the most heavily laden with ducats, and the best calculated to attract suitors, oppressed with its weight a repulsive or sickly-looking head ; while more than one gentle and refined countenance, on the other hand, was only adorned by a scanty garland of paras. This is an epitome of the history of dowries in all the civilised nations of the world. The young Tsigan girls are remarkable for a peculiar kind of beauty, which still exhibits the characteristics of the race from which these wandering tribes are asserted by some authors to have descended ; the supple and lithe figures, and delicate [139] hands and feet of the women on the borders of the Ganges, reappear among them.

"It would be difficult to convey an idea of the bustle and noise going on among the lively crowd assembled at this fair. An apparently endless plain, over which hung a thick cloud of dust, was covered throughout its extent with tents, booths, cars, and cattle. In the midst of this confused assembly, with no police regulations, yet without disorder, the traders set up their stalls, at which woven fabrics, cloths, skins, and provisions in abundance may be bought. Should there occur any unoccupied space in the midst of this moving crowd, it is immediately taken possession of by the dancers, who form themselves into a large ring, and commence turning, now to the right, now to the left, in a slow, marked measure, which ever and anon becomes more animated. In this dance the men and women hold each other by the hand, the Tsigan minstrels standing in the middle, and appa- rently taking a great deal of trouble, and exerting themselves violently, to execute their unending tunes. When the dancer has become tired of this diversion, he may leave it as soon as he chooses ; and any by-stander desirous of taking part in the dance may introduce himself among the party without ceremony ; accord- ingly, this interminable ball is kept up through a great portion of the night, the Wallachiians appearing passion- [140] ately fond of it. Whatever may be their enthusiasm, however, for this kind of exercise, they practise it with a dignity and decency of deportment truly remarkable. Even the Tsigan girls join in it with a modest and reserved demeanour. It was not unfrequent to see fifty or sixty dancers, dressed in a variety of picturesque costumes, linked together in one circle ; and an infinity of these circles were to be found throughout the extent of the plain, turning backwards and forwards round the screeching orchestras of the Bohemians. We took much pleasure in contemplating these simple diversions, which seem impressed with something of an antique severity. After wandering a considerable time among the crowd, we became accustomed, at last, to this atmosphere of din, confused cries, and sounds of bells and musical instruments ; but the arrangements for our departure summoned us away, and we returned to the steam-boat agent, who is also the apothecary of the place. We were but too fortunate in confiding ourselves to his courtesy ; and as we were enabled to communicate with him by means of the Italian language, this good-natured per- sonage began by prophesying that we should not leave Bukharest on that day : he knew well, he said, the apathy and ill-will of the captain of the post towards strangers. Meanwhile, as we were threatened with getting no dinner, for want of convenient quarters, our [141] protector conducted us to the purveyor of the Quarantine, where we made a frugal repast, somewhat in the Turkish fashion ; after which the honest apothecary, who had had our luggage safely stowed away, offered us the same hospitality, of which a few bundles of hay furnished forth the whole preparation.

" The power of obtaining post horses is only granted in Wallachia, as is the practice in Russia, to the bearer of a permit previously obtained from the superior autho- rities in the town ; and it is necessary to put down the price of the whole journey from one town to another, before this document, called a podorojnaia, and which has to be presented to the captain of the port at each intermediate stage, can be obtained. This being done, the traveller has nothing more to disburse than the gratuity with which he rewards the postillions. To obtain this passport on such a day was no easy matter, for the festival engrossed everything and everybody. The commandant of the place was entirely absorbed in the solemn duties of his office ; and his deputies, by way of contrast with the rejoicings of the day, displayed a degree of ill-humour which rendered them unapproachable. Another incon- venience was, that the Wallachian civilisation, in replacing Turkish manners, had not yet driven out of the erst Mahomedan city an annoying and sometimes dangerous bequest ; at nightfall, bands of wandering dogs take [142] possession of every quarter in Giuurjeyo, and render it difficult to pass through_ them, especially for strangers. In spite of every obstacle, however, we were thoroughly in order when, at midnight, the post-master in person arrived, with his numerous caroussi, to the door of the apothecary.

" Our baggage was already laden, when we found our- selves obliged to give up going, thanks to the obstinacy of the post-master, who refused to take any baggage. It was not till the next day, as had been predicted to us, that we were enabled to start, which we did, placing ourselves pell-mell with our luggage into two great peasant cars, and taking with us no other provisions than two loaves of black bread.

" When we had passed the gates of the city, we found ourselves in a meadow, or rather a large marsh, in which great herds of oxen, horses, buffaloes, and sheep were grazing ; we scarcely knew whither we were taken ; all that we could tell with certainty was, that we were proceeding to the northward, but no other sign or indication was there by which we could identify the road leading to the capital. The roads across these wilds are as uncertain as the caprice of man. The space is broad, ruts abound in every direction, and the peasant elects, according to his fancy, between the turf and the bare earth. Our first halt was near a well, in the depths of [143] a small valley. In Wallachia, wells are common, and invariably constructed in the same manner ; the trunk of a tree, hollowed out, lines the interior, and prevents the outward walls from falling in ; the great number and large dimensions of these natural cylinders, con- verted to this purpose, afford an idea of the magnificence of the vegetation in the mountains whence they are brought. The water is brought up by means of a lever, and the bucket employed is a block of oak, scooped out.

" By degrees, after leaving Giourjévo, the country becomes less barren, and a few tufts of young trees begin to cover the soil. For so many years the unfor- tunate Wallachian peasants, hunted like wild beasts, had seen their harvests pillaged, and their fields devastated by the Turks, that it is easy to imagine how much they dreaded the neighbourhood of their oppressors. They had, therefore, left a desert of six leagues between the Danube and their first farms, as a space abandoned to the inroads of the depredators — an accursed region, overrun every year by savage bands issuing from Giourjévo, to ruin every new settlement, and drive the panic-stricken husbandmen towards the mountains.

" We had to cross two or three muddy rivers, and at each of these passages we blessed the post-master for his capricious refusal, for if we had taken those low and frail equipages, our baggage must infallibly have been [144] swamped, and ourselves perhaps upset in these dan- gerous fords. More than once we met with large holes into which the horses sunk, dragging after them our massive carts. In these difficult conjunctures, the cries of our conductors became positive howlings. Some- times the horses, for a moment, stood still, powerless, and the postillion voiceless ; then, after incredible efforts, the heavy machine, dragged out at last from the abyss, issued heavily out of the river, leaving behind a long trace of blackish water and liquid mud.

" After having passed through several poor hamlets, whose wretched huts denoted the most abject misery, we came to a town where we again beheld with pleasure well constructed houses. A fine monastery, the entrance to which is surmounted by a tower, faces a tavern of un- usual dimensions. The walls of both these edifices have been decorated by an itinerant Raphael, who has repre- sented a most extraordinary variety of subjects, and in such numbers as certainly to show a prodigious fecundity. This daring artist has attempted to reproduce, on these whitened walls, the whole scale of creation ; he has first pourtrayed the principal species of the animal kingdom, not omitting even the kangaroo of Australia, who certainly could not have expected this honour; then coming to the human species, to the genus homo, he has delighted in representing the master-piece of creation in his most magnificent [145] attitudes. Here, were fine gentlemen and ladies; superb pashas, with black-pointed beards ; imposing boyards, with their gigantic kalpaks ; then Wallachian soldiers in full costume, and the whole crowned with foliage, sur- rounded with garlands, and bordered with fantastic trees.

A large see-saw, which threatened to hurl each of the players into the air, as, in their turn, they balanced themselves on its summit, was erected under the walls of the convent. The Wallachians are said to have a remarkable predilection for this kind of exercise. In the great saloon of the tavern, which is also covered with brilliant frescoes by the hand of the Wallachian Rembrandt, a gipsy was accompanying on the violin a youth who was singing a slow, solemn air, in a voice as true as it was clear. Judging from the expression of the music, and the emotion of his numerous audience, this chaunt, which consisted of two simple and touching movements, must have been one of those melancholy ballads in which all primitive people have told their traditions, and related their victories or their misfor- tunes. The Wallachians, those descendants of Rome so long despised, must have preserved some of those melodies, which are the consolation of bondage, the last., echoes of a happier destiny. Such, at least, were our impressions on hearing this simple air, sang by the poor Tsigan lad.


" On quitting this town, the name of which is Dérestié, we crossed a bridge of boats, and night soon overtook us ; we did not reach the gates of Bukharest till late in the evening, for our horses, jaded by a journey of twenty leagues, slackened their pace, and our conductors, now quite hoarse, had given up their noisy driving. Conducted, at first, into a khan, or caravanserai, of the most repulsive aspect, it was only by the aid of the Jews, a serviceable people, if ever there were one, that we were enabled to discover traces of the expedition which had arrived on the previous day. At last, after much trouble, and thanks to the thoughtfulness of our fore- runners, as well as the attention of a captain who had been sent by the Hospodar, we found ourselves at midnight established in the house of an Italian, where each could enjoy the delights of a bed consisting of planks laid across tressels."

The 13th of July found us all together in the capital of Wallachia, where our only difficulty was to choose among the many ways of spending every moment of our time usefully and agreeably. The first care in Bukharest is to secure an equipage : the great extent of the town renders this precaution necessary ; and what renders it still more imperious, fashion requires it ; for no person of any rank in society can be seen on foot in the streets. This custom, and that of the cloak, [147] which is worn on all occasions, as a protection against the dust, are anything but convenient to a stranger, anxious to see and observe everything. We soon set out, each on our own way, through this large city, whose populous streets are lined with numerous shops, in which activity is the substitute for wealth. One entire quarter is occupied by fur warehouses and tailors' work- shops. The streets, of unequal width, are irregularly built and ill paved, many not having pavement at all. The houses, for the most part, are little better than barns of rotten timber, among which are seen edifices of the most pretentious style of architecture. Unfortunately, the materials used for building in this country are of too fragile a nature to resist the climate ; and the finest houses in Bukharest are, in consequence, woefully dilapidated in their exterior, notwithstanding their luxurious display of flowery ornaments. What strikes one most in this town, is the variety of costumes and countenances — a fresh type occurring every moment, amidst this large population. The people here go about the town in a much more brisk and busy way than would be expected in the lower orders, who have retained their oriental character. The artisans, porters and work- ing men of Bukharest do not seem to be afraid of work ; but that which gives peculiar animation to this place, is the immense number of Jews who inhabit it : active, [148] insinuating, and never discouraged, they disseminate life and movement about them ; for they spare neither trouble nor fatigue, in the hope of obtaining the smallest recom- pense. Thus, the moment you perceive the broad- brimmed hat, and black rusty gown of a Jew, you may reckon upon commanding, if you please, the services of a clever, intelligent, indefatigable servant, ready to submit to everything — contempt or anger. You may, without fear, ask anything of this man : he will answer you in German, in Italian — perhaps in as many as four lan- guages ; and for a few piastres — putting aside all other business — his industry, his ingenuity, his silence, his patience, his eloquence, his virtues, his vices, his soul and his body — all are yours. And if for a momentary service, on some slight occasion, you have once employed an Israelite, do not imagine it an easy thing to get rid of him : he is henceforth yours, or rather, you are his : he will never leave you ; he will follow you at twenty paces distance in the street, and at the distance of twenty paces will divine what you want. He will take his seat on the threshold of the house you have just entered, and on coining out, you will meet his wily, respectful glance, soliciting some command. He sleeps on your staircase — under your carriage ; becomes the servant of your own people ; greets your dog in the streets ; and is never absent for an instant : though you [149] may have repelled him with roughness twenty times, he still persists and perseveres in his attentions. After thus rebuffing him, you may find yourself some day, at some particular moment, for some passing whim, in want of a Jew. Scarcely have you formed the wish, than he appears, as though starting up from the earth, bending with his accustomed humility, in that peculiar attitude of the Jews, which is neither erect nor bowed down, with submissive air and attentive ears. This moment is the triumph of the Jew : he has purchased it at the cost of forty-eight hours of incessant watching, fatigue and humiliation. Scarcely have you spoken, when your wishes are obeyed — obeyed with punctuality, acuteness, and respect; and when, after all this trouble and self- denial, the poor bearded and tattered sprite fingers his cherished recompense — that coin which he has dogged, which he has invoked, whose humble varlet he has been for two days — you see, by his grateful expression, that he commends you to the gracious protection of Abraham and Isaac, and that he is ready to undergo the same trouble and fatigue for a similar reward.

A number of interesting visits which we all paid together took up the whole of this day. We saw the Museum of Bukharest, which is specially devoted to natural history, and takes up a space daily growing in extent, as the collections, which have not long been commenced, [150] increase in importance. The public library is established in the same building, and is composed of about seven thousand volumes. This scanty nucleus awaits further additions, by which the departments of science and history, the latter especially, will require to be better represented. On taking leave of these interesting establishments, already so prosperous, when it is considered how recent has been the regeneration of the principality, I felt great pleasure in presenting the mineralogical collection with a specimen of our Siberian platina, which, I trust, will remain as a memento of the kind reception we met with on the occasion of our visit. We were conducted thence to the college. The appearance of the spacious and commodious buildings, and of the young students dressed in a pretty uniform, at once gave a favourable impression of this institution.

In a state of such limited extent as Wallachia, public charges, henceforward to be conferred on the most capable, will become the object of a competition, which must have a good effect on the education of youth.

The wise intentions of Prince Alexander Ghika will tend to endow the country with a nursery of enlightened young men, destined to vie with the youth of other European countries. If we reflect from what a state these unfortunate Turkish provinces have emerged — what they have done, and what they are yet destined to achieve, [151] it is impossible to withhold our acknowledgments from the man who has laid the noble seeds of civilisation in these principalities — General Kisseleff — one of those crea- tive geniuses so rarely met with, whose far-sighted benevolence is able to penetrate into the future. Nor can we avoid also acknowledging, that the plans of the General have been bequeathed to worthy successors, and that the rising generation of Wallachia appears well pre- pared to put them into practice.

On this head let me be allowed to remark how painful it has been to us to see travellers, after being received, as was the case with us, with that warmth of hospitality and devotion to the pleasure and comfort of the foreign visitor, writing, on their return, accounts so harsh in their criticism, and so forgetful of the mild and polished manners of their hosts. These travellers who, like us, visited every part of Bukharest, appear far too eager to note the sores, as yet imperfectly healed, which the present condition of society has inherited from the ancient order of things. If, in the freedom of conversations too soon allowed to become confidential, our pre- decessors were able to discover the existence of these evils, what good purpose is attained by disclosing them to Europe, who will not call the principalities to account for their listless attitude during the long period of moral torpor, which they have happily shaken oil', but for the [152] manner in which they have employed the years since their restoration to that better state, whose re-invigorating effects they have already experienced ? Now, in this point of view, it is perfectly true to state, that no European community has been more active in working out its way towards the right goal, through all the obstacles with which its path has been encumbered. In proof of this, examples might be cited of more than one important reform adopted and incorporated into their habits of life. After all, our somewhat critical narrators, who have paid for the hospitality of Bukharest in the coin of their witty sarcasms, will not deny, so well are they acquainted with history, that there are nations whose moral and political regeneration date only fifty years back, and who are scarcely better endowed with principles.

Having come to the end of this digression, let us return to our visits. Dr. Mayer, a German physician, an intelli- gent person, and a man of the world, showed us over the military hospital which is under his direction. This establishment, contained in a building not originally con- structed for a hospital, leaves much to be desired as regards situation and salubrity. The supply of air in the wards was deficient. The number of sick was con- siderable, febrile affections being common in the country, and raging at particular seasons of the year, although considerably mitigated by the sanitary regulations to which [153] the soldiery are subjected. The large hospital of Panteleïmon, situated in one of the approaches to the city, appeared to us much better adapted to its purposes. This establishment, instituted by a number of philan- thropic subscribers, presents a suite of spacious apart- ments, in which light and air, the life and hope of the sick man, find free admission. The only objection to be made is, that the large space occupied by the admini- strative staff is lost to the patients, and takes up a room which might be employed for the relief of a few more unfortunate people. The bedsteads used at Pan- teleïmon are of iron, while those of the military hospital are of wood. While visiting the latter place, we beheld the frightful ravages of a horrible disease, not to be men- tioned, originating, for the most part, in the unbridled vices of capital cities. On our return from these excur- sions, we met the reigning prince, who stopped his carriage, and invited the entire party to come on the following evening to his residence, situated, at that season of the year, some distance from the city.

The morning of the 15th of July was devoted to visiting the General Assembly, the name given to the chamber of representatives of Wallachia. Prince Michael Ghika and Prince Cantacuzène were kind enough to be our introducers. The hall in which the deliberations are held, is a building connected with the metropolitan [154] church, standing on a hill which commands the city of Bukharest, and forms a most picturesque site. This church, like all the others in the capital, is surrounded by spacious cloisters, the entrance to which is by two solid gateways, surmounted by towers, an arrangement which formerly enabled them to carry on a protracted defence. The metropolitan church is not an important monument; it is surmounted by three belfries, the domes of which, as well as the roofing of the church, are in metal ; and the whole group of buildings is covered with a coat of dazzling whitewash. In the front of the edifice, which is at one of its narrowest ends, stands a peristyle, the interior of which is adorned with a profusion of paintings of the most varied description. The nave of the church is narrow, and thickly covered with gilding and images ; the screen which shuts off the sanctuary is decked with the richest ornaments. The light struggles into the vaulted interior through narrow elongated windows.


In a building forming part of the cloisters stands the Hall of Assembly ; access to which is through a small ante-room. Within this hall, remarkable for its simplicity, like that in which the Diet of Hungary assemble, are held the deliberations of the Boyards ; it is long and narrow, and at one end stands, sur- mounted by a canopy, an arm-chair, occupied by the Metropolitan, who is the constitutional president of the [155] Assembly. The forty-three members composing the As- sembly were almost all present ; among them might be seen one or two old Boyards, retaining the ample and majestic costume worn by them under the Turkish rule ; they still keep to their beards and voluminous kalpaks. The military chiefs take part in the deliberations, dressed in their uniforms, and wearing their swords. The mem- bers speak from the places where they are seated in front of a table covered with green cloth, and the ministers are not separated from the rest of the As- sembly. The order of the day was a debate on the subject of certain modifications in the organic law, or constitution of the country, having regard more par- ticularly to ordinances enacted during the interval between the sessions of the Legislative Assembly. M. Stirbey, the Minister of Justice, sustained almost alone, yet without apparent fatigue, the whole weight of the debate. However warm the arguments might grow during this Parliamentary discussion, none of the orators were observed to outstep the forms of a polite conver- sation. That portion of the hall which is appropriated to the public contained but few spectators ; these generally remain standing, but as soon as we entered, several Boyards were courteous enough to have seats placed for us. It is only within a short time that the delibe- rations of the Assembly have been made public ; and [156] even up to the present day, the public journals have not yet obtained permission to report the debates. On quitting the hall, we were accompanied by one of the members, Colonel Philipesko, who belongs to one of the most ancient families in the country. This officer, who received an excellent education in France, com- mands the 1st Regiment of Wallachian troops, and presents to his native city the remarkable example of solid acquirements allied with perfect elegance and grace of manners. It was in company with this good-natured guide that we visited the various portions of the edifice and its admirable site. From this height, Bukharest is seen to stretch out towards a distant horizon ; in fact, this city, interspersed as it is with a number of gardens, covers an immense area ; and, with its many-coloured roofs, lofty towers rising from more than sixty churches, and verdant tufts mingling with the mass of buildings, presents a most picturesque appearance. In the evening we obeyed the invitation of the Hospodar, and had the honour of being received at his residence of Scouffa, which is situated a few versts from Bukharest, on the banks of the Dombovitza. The house is small, and of the humblest description ; but the gardens, which stretch out into a small vale, through which the river flows, render this summer residence far preferable even to the house occupied by the prince in the city. Bukharest [157] no longer possesses any palace for the Wallachian princes. In 1812, that which then existed, and which was very vast, was burnt down. The Hospodar now resides in a large and splendid mansion, his own property. The interview we had with him passed off, like the first, in the most interesting conversation, in which the correct and practical judgment, and unchanging benevolence of the prince, appeared in the most favourable light. As on the first occasion, also, the Hospodar was surrounded by his family, the princesses, his sisters-in-law, and a large number of officers. The elegant uniform of the latter only served as a foil to the simple attire of the prince, who wore a black dress coat, and a waistcoat with large lapels folded back. This fashion is said to be peculiar to himself ; and, indeed, we saw it adopted by no other person. At night every one proceeded to the city, which was soon reached, and the little court visited the theatre, of which, had we chosen, we might have done the honours ; for the theatre was, as it were, the ante-chamber of our apartment. A few scenes of Semiramide, and a very lively German comedy, were the performances of the evening.

The next day the garrison of Bukharest was reviewed by Prince Constantine Ghika. The manoeuvres, executed by these troops with great precision, are all upon the Russian model. We were invited by the Spathar to be [158] present at this review, and were stationed by his side, when an unfortunate occurrence interrupted the pro- ceedings for a while, and caused much anxiety among the spectators. The prince, who had remained too near the fire of the troops, was struck in the face by a car- tridge. The wound which it occasioned — a slight one, Heaven be thanked I — and a burn which might become serious, were immediately dressed by our companion, Ur. Léveillé ; whereupon the Spathar mounted his horse, and proceeded with the review.

A dinner, to which the Hospodar graciously invited us, brought us in company with the élite of society at Bukharest ; the réunion took place beneath the fine trees at Scouffa, in a broad space inaccessible to the rays of the sun. During the repast, which was preceded by the schale, a slight collation taken also in Russia previous to sitting down to dinner, two bands of music, concealed behind the foliage, played alternately the national airs of Wallachia, and the singular melodies of the Tsigans. The orchestra of the Tsigans, composed, as it is, of discordant instruments, nevertheless produces effects which could never be obtained by means of the regular and correct harmonies to which European ears are accustomed; as regards the measure, it is unequal, hopping, halting, and breaks out into unexpected changes. After dinner, Wallachian dances were executed, and we [159] were so charmed with the severe precision and perfect ensemble of the dancers, that the prince was kind enough to prolong these diversions in our favour, and to procure us copies of the airs, so full of originality and simple grace, which we here insert, and which accompany this Roman dance, Hora Roumaniaska, as it is called by the people of Wallachia. While the dancers were performing wonders, the Bohemians continued with unflagging spirit their interminable melodies. Two mandolines, two violins, pan pipes, and a sort of muffled bass, constituted the whole instrumental resources of these skilful execu- tants, whose fine brown faces, animated with their musical ardour, produced a charming picture. When we had long enjoyed these rustic diversions, we betook ourselves to the vast and splendid drawing-rooms of M. Philipesko, where an elegant ball had assembled all the élite of the dancing folk of Bukharest. I know of no city in Europe in which it is possible to find more agreeable society, or in which there is a better tone, united with the most charming gaiety. This delightful ball was kept up till far in the night, and it was a pleasant sight to see the master of the house, the Aga Philipesko, in his ample Boyard dress, his fine head fringed with a long, silky- white beard, surrounded by a swarm of young and pretty women, whose gauze and ribbons, long tresses, and charming faces, were so well matched with the gentle [160] physiognomy of the stately old man. It was a faithful emblem of the situation of their country, which has unhesitatingly adopted the pleasures and unrestricted manners of the western world. In vain would the austere boyards oppose this invasion of modern fashions and frivolities ; the present generation must have their spacious drawing-rooms, in which the waltz and the mazourka may freely develop their whirling mazes ; they must have costumes which will not fetter the graceful movements of the mazourka, nor embarrass the dancer in threading the labyrinth of the French quadrille. And is it not in reason that this youthful race, called upon to take share in the civilisation which is invading the east, should adopt whatever seems to befit it, from all the elegancies and refinements, no less than the gloomy political ideas now settling upon their country ? Soon enough will come the cares of public life — the anxieties of business, of industry, and speculation ! Wallachia has been long enough enchained, to be allowed a short time for breath, ere it enter upon the stern career of a nation bent upon governing itself. To a nation thus awakening, it may be permitted to say, sometimes : " To-morrow we will think of serious business."

Such was our existence at Bukharest; pleasures, visits, hospitable meetings, interesting excursions, and clear and lively observations on all that struck our minds or [161] attracted our eyes. In all quarters, it was a struggle who should render us the most valuable services : the most illustrious and honourable inhabitants of this good city placed themselves at our disposal, to increase our traveller's budget ; and it would have been scarcely possible to have employed five fleeting days more profitably than we did. As soon as we had set our own personal notes in order, and collected those furnished us by several enlightened persons (at the head of whom we were kindly allowed to place the Hospodar, and his minister, M. Stirbey), we threw a last parting and grateful glance at this city, which has already become worthy to be numbered among the most interesting capitals. For the last time, we strolled through its tortuous streets, once more halting before the churches, with their twisted columns and elegant friezes, resplen- dent with coloured medallions and holy images ; we hastily paid another visit to the old quarters of the city, and to the public drive of the fashionable world ; we breathed the fragrant air of the cafés, where the smokers assemble, and the journals of every nation gratify the curiosity of a public, greedy of the political news of the world ; and having done all this, we bethought ourselves of our departure.

With respect to the statistics of Bukharest, we are enabled to give here the amount of population, according to the last census :-- [162]
Inhabitants of both sexes.
Boyards 2,598
Persons composing the households of Boyards5,757
Inhabitants of various classes46,604
Lay Priests256
Their families and households1,058
Jews, their families and households [This figure represents almost the total number of Jews established in Wallachia ; but very few are found in the rural districts, as they do not practice agriculture.2,583

In this number are omitted ten or twelve thousand individuals, who have no permanent domicile in the city, and only come there from time to time, for their business or pleasure.

There are in the city of Bukharest :
Printing Establishments3
Journals-The National Museum, and The Wallachian Courier2
Society for Literary Publications1
School of Arts and Trades, for Soldiers1

The ordinary food of the people consists of porridge, made of the meal of Indian wheat, or millet-a sort [163] of polenta : meat or salt fish are almost unknown to them. Their principal spirituous beverage is a brandy distilled from plums.

The city of Bukharest is divided into five districts, each taking its name from one of the five colours — yellow, red, green, blue and black. The Aga is the head of the police, and under his orders are five com- missioners, one for each district ; these superintend a greater or less number of sub-commissioners, according to the extent of the district.

After expressing our gratitude to the good and amiable Prince, from whom we parted with very sincere feelings of regret, and after taking leave of his family, and all who had shown us so much kindness, we quitted Bukharest on the 17th of July.

Our caravan was augmented by two carriages, which we had bought in the country : they were light covered car- riages, and, as the sequel will show, solid enough for anything.

Forty horses were procured for us, and placed along our route ; and the generous attention of the Prince wont so far as to send estaffettes, to make sure of our being properly supplied : we were accordingly carried along with extreme speed. We first of all traversed a marshy and gloomy tract, and at twelve we forded the Yalomnitza, whose swollen waters rolled rapidly along. The relays [164] were waiting for us in the open fields. At these isolated stations, a clay hut is the ordinary shelter of the captain of the post. Our lengthy caravan proceeded in this way rapidly over these melancholy steppes, until a succession of heavy showers inundated the whole surrounding country, and rendered our progress slower and more laborious. An escort of gendarmes (dorobantz), whom we encountered at one of the stations, galloped by the side of our carriages, and when the roads became bad, kept them up with their hands ; showing themselves zealously attentive, whenever any difficulties occurred. Meanwhile, we kept advancing towards the north, and approaching still nearer and nearer a fine chain of mountains, on the summits of which were accumulated heavy black vapours. More than one gang of Tsigans, overtaken by the storm, had pitched their dark tents upon the plain, and were preparing to receive the squall which was threatening to burst upon us. Beneath these smoky retreats might be seen half-clad women and girls, with one or two naked children crouching near them ; poor little deformities, with distended bellies and ema- ciated limbs. The prairie soon became a deep marsh : horses, escort and carriages were wading through water ; and now and then, when a ditch presented itself, we had either to make a circuit, or leap it by dint of blows and vociferations. It was a singular sight to [165] see these four coaches ploughing their way beneath a leaden sky, through inundated meadows, and at every unexpected hole, at every jolt against some obstacle beneath the water, threatening to roll over and remain buried in the mud. During these moments, every one was animated. with fresh zeal. The attentive dorobantz lent a timely assistance to each endangered carriage ; and the postillions addressed their foaming steeds no longer with vociferations, but in the mildest language, and using words of encouragement in an almost fraternal tone ; for indeed these unfortunate animals quite exceeded their strength during this long and difficult journey. At length we reached Bouzéo, in the midst of roaring thunder and a dense torrent of rain, through which we could scarcely descry the green belfries and white walls of the vast abbey, the fitting residence of a bishop who is one of the wealthiest prelates of Wallachia. Our escort had fortunately obtained a reinforcement ; and their assistance was at once put into requisition in crossing a torrent, the bed of which was not yet quite filled up by the rain. As we approached the Bouzéo, however, which flows between very steep banks, it was much feared that my carriage would be left behind : it had, in the first instance, crossed the torrent in safety, but on reaching the other side, a slippery steep presented itself, which it required half-an-hour of struggles and [166] vociférations, and more than twenty horses, to ascend. We had previously been shut up in a sort of ark, but afterwards made our way out by the carriage door, on the backs of the horses, which we used as stepping- stones, to escape a frightful bed of mud two feet deep.

At Rimnik we were to find beds. A Wallachian gentleman, M. Nikolesko, informed of our arrival, was ordering preparations for our reception, at the very time that we were inundated with the waters of heaven, and almost buried in the muddy depths of the plain. Un- fortunately, as we approached the Rimnik, which we had to cross before we could gain this much desired shelter, we found the river so turbulent, that not one of our guides would venture across it during so dark a night ; accord- ingly, we had to resign ourselves to spend the night in our carriages, and in the hovel of a peasant, who could only offer us a quantity of straw, which no horse having any pretensions to English blood would have had for his litter. Towards three in the morning, the sky had in some measure cleared, the river had become fordable, and it was not long before we reached Rimnik.

This mischance prevented our profiting by the hos- pitable preparations sp kindly made for our reception. Arriving at so inconvenient an hour, we felt the greatest scruple to disturh the household of M. Nikolesko, and [167] took fresh horses to proceed without delay to the Mol- davian frontier.

The residence of the noble Boyard appeared vast and sumptuous. It is built in the Italian style, with open galleries. Rimnik itself is a considerable town, and possesses a castle built of bricks, in the Turkish style. It was here that Souvoroff engaged with Mustapha Pasha, and carried off a victory which won him the title of Count of Rimnik. On the 18th, at daybreak, the weather liad become fine ; the plains wore an appearance of freshness charming to the eye, and a grateful sun warmed our benumbed limbs. We soon forgot the fatigues of this detestable night, and arrived at Fokschani, where the president of the district, M. George Razo, received us with the most pressing marks of politeness.

Foksehani forms the last limit of the Wallachian ter- ritory. A small stream in the midst of this city, the Milkove, over which there is a wooden bridge, marks the common boundary of the two principalities. The situation is favourable to trade ; and this little town appears to be in no want of traders, more especially Jews. The Hotel de France, kept by a Frenchman, accom- modated a portion of our party ; while the president of the district honoured me with the hospitality of his own house in the Wallachian quarter of the town. The Ispravnik, or chief of the police, united with this superior [168] functionary in offering us his services. The district of which Fokschani forms a part, is called Poutna, and contains twenty-five thousand families. A French mis- sionary is established on this frontier ; he professes the Roman Catholic faith, to which twenty churches are devoted in Wallachia, and sixty in Moldavia. This morose priest, on once more meeting with Frenchmen, instead of giving himself up to the very natural pleasure of hearing about his distant country, preferred enter- taining his compatriots with endless complaints of the men and things of the country in which he had been established for several years. With such feelings, life, in these distant and solitary regions, must be sad indeed.

A favourable opportunity appeared now to present, itself for classifying the documents with which our amiable hosts at Bukharest had enriched us ; and before quitting Wallachia, we arranged them in the order which appeared most fitting to give our readers an idea of the country we had just travelled through. Six days spent in the territories of this principality were, doubtless, not sufficient to have allowed us to collect, from our own observations, information sufficiently complete on this country ; nevertheless, we purpose, in the following simple statements, to put to use, in the first instance, the fruits of a special course of reading carried on during the leisure hours left us by our journey down [169] the Danube ; and next, the result of our conversations with a number of well-informed persons, with whom it was our good fortune to meet at Bukharest.

If we devote a few pages to the history of the ancient Wallachian people, it is not that we have any intention to enter more seriously than our subject will allow into the question of their origin. But, when we con- sider the distinguishing traits of these people — the empire which the memory of their ancient condition still exercises over them — keeping in view those Roman traditions handed down from a period not less than eighteen centuries back, it would be almost cruel to dispute their glorious origin, traceable to the Dacians and the Romans. Moreover, we have no inclination to call into question the genuineness of those Dacians sculptured in marble on Trajan's column, and bearing so strong a resemblance to the Wallachians of the present day. Let us, therefore, leave the question of their origin, and come at once to the history of the principality. The following is, in a few words, what we have been able to collect from books on the ancient history of this country.

Towards the beginning of our era, the regions now divided under the names of Wallachia, Moldavia, and I Transylvania, formed the kingdom of those terrible Dacians so frequently mentioned in the odes of Horace, [170] and who were descended from the Scythians, or Sarmatians. They were for a long time so formidable, that when led by Decebalus, one of their kings, Rome was alarmed, and Domitian accepted the terms of a disgraceful peace. Trajan, to revenge this defeat, twice led his victorious legions to the shores of the Danube ; and to this epoch belong the curious vestiges previously spoken of, as well as the bridge so daringly conceived, the remains of which are seen not far from Skela. So soon as Dacia was subjected, Roman colonies took possession of the terri- tory so long plunged in barbarism, and it was governed by one of the Roman proctors.

This state of things continued up to the third century, at which time an invasion of Goths and Huns fell upon Dacia ; but the Roman Empire was already tottering to its fall, and Aurelian contented himself with recalling his colonists, to whom he assigned other lands in Meesia. Wrested from the grasp of Rome, these countries shortly fell a prey to the Huns (they were driven back after the death of Attila into Scythia), to the Gepidi, who treated with the Romans ; the Lombards, who, under Justinian, marched to the conquest of Italy ; and of the Avari, or White Huns, who, according to some historians, dared to threaten Byzantium, and were destroyed by Heraclius.

From the seventh to the ninth century, we find ancient Dacia occupied by the Slavonians and the [171] Bulgarians, who had crossed the Danube to take pos- session of these fertile lands, and if we may rely on certain writers, it is exactly to the period of the Sla- vonian invasion, that we are to refer the origin of the name Wallach, which is given to these people. The Slavonians, they assert, were accustomed to designate the Romans by the generic name Vlacci, or Vlassi ; what can be less astonishing, than that they should apply the same name to a people long subject to the government of Rome. On the other hand, the lovers of etymology have discovered an etymon for the word Vlacci, like most of those discovered by them. They suppose that the first Roman colonies were established in Dacia, under the command of a certain Flaccus, and that, accordingly, the whole country was called Flaccia, and the inhabitants Flacci, whence the Vlacci of the Slavonians, and our modern Wallachia. The wisest course, in our opinion, in these questions as to names and origin, is to refer to the inhabitants of the soil, whose local traditions are frequently surer guides than the researches of historians. Accordingly, if we consult the inhabitants themselves of Wallachia as to the origin of their name, they will tell us that the name Wallach, a modern appellation, is only known to history since the twelfth century, and was applied to them by foreigners alone, it being almost unknown to the people of the [172] principality. These people call themselves Roumann, Roman ; they call their native country, Wallachia, Tsara Roumaneska, Roman land. Moreover, the Wallachian arms consist of the Roman eagle, to which a cross has been added ; and if, in the last place, we look at the masculine and robust physiognomy of the population, bearing an incredible resemblance to the Transteverini of the present day, if we search into their language, their games, their festivals, we shall find undoubted traces of the glorious origin to which the Wallachians lay claim. And this origin it would be ungracious to dispute ; where, besides, would be the evil if this people should still feel within itself a little of that noble pride which has sustained and consoled it through its reverses? The people of Wallachia, of the present day, we will admit, therefore, according to all appearances, are the representatives of the Dacians and the Romans, and the Slavonians, who came into the country as con- querors, constitute the nobility of the land.

Some of these Slavonians, however, taking along with them a certain number of the ancient inhabitants of Dacia, had formed a separate settlement between the river Olt and the Danube, in order to withdraw them- selves from the calamities by which these unfortunate regions were so frequently visited. This union of people constituted themselves into a national body, and they [173] elected a chief, on whom they conferred the title of Ban. Such is the origin of the Banat, that portion of Wallachia which stretches along the Upper Danube, and of which Craiova is the capital.

Up to the thirteenth century, the successive invasions of the Scythians, and of the Tatars of Tchinguis-Khan, had driven away almost the entire ancient population of Dacia. Wallachia and Moldavia, then almost depo- pulated, placed themselves under the protection of Hun- gary. About this time, under the reign of Louis I., appeared Raddoulo-Negro, or Rodolph the Black, the first voïevode of Wallachia proper. Expelled from the Hungarian provinces by the irruption of the Tatar hordes under Batou-Khan, this chief returned with his dismayed companions to seek a refuge amid the solitudes of their native land.

The provinces then breathed awhile, and once more assumed a stable form under their voïevodes. Gradually reduced to discipline, and skilled in the art of war, the Wallachians became sufficiently powerful to resist all attempts upon their independence on the part of the Hungarian sovereigns ; and more than this, they sent an invading army against the Turks, their neighbours, whose territories had been left without defence on the Danubian side. Bajazet checked this enterprise in time, and exacted a tribute from Wallachia.


For the space of nearly a century, the Wallacliians now singly, now with the assistance of the Hungarians, attempted in vain to shake off the rude yoke of Turkey, whose hand only fell with a heavier weight upon their country. At length, towards 1520, Mahomed II., having expelled the sovereign of Wallachia, imposed a new voïevode upon the principality, bearing the title of pasha, and concluded a treaty with it, the principal articles of which still remain inherent in the constitution of the country. During the period which succeeded this treaty, the influence of Turkey over Wallachia continued to extend itself more and more; and in 1544, a portion of the Wallachian territory was ceded to the Ottoman Empire, and fortresses were erected on the borders of the Danube, at Ibrad, Giourjevo, and Tourno, which were occupied by Turkish garrisons.

Such was the state of things when, in 1593, a voïevode called Michael, resolved to shake off the Ottoman yoke. Supported by alliances formed with skilful policy, he held in check the power of the Turks, whom he had driven from their fortresses, with such effect, that Mahomed III., after sustaining a long contest, at the head of a formidable army, was forced to abandon his pretensions. After the death of Michael, however, the dissensions which arose in the councils of the clergy and nobles, caused Wallachia to fall. once more under the authority of the [175] Sultans, who, as in former times, took away all freedom in the election of the voïevodes, and exacted a tribute.

In the meantime, Bukharest, towards the end of the seventeenth century, had become the seat of government in Wallachia, and Bessarab, who reigned in 1710, had assumed an attitude sufficiently imposing to induce the surrounding powerful nations to seek an alliance with him. Intelligences with Austria, and with Peter the Great, conducted with too timid a hand, and acts of fatal irresolution, which cost him his head, signalised the reign of this prince. Shortly after the termination of his reign, the Sublime Porte united the two principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia under one government ; abolished definitively the right of electing voïevodes, and sent them a sovereign of its own choosing, from among the Greek families of Constantinople, whose long habits of submission rendered them fitting instruments to carry out its sovereign wishes.

Nicolas Mavrocordato was the first voïevode who governed the two principalities. Under his successor, Constantine, whose rule commenced in 1740, the country enjoyed a few years of peace and stability. At the end of the century, war having broken out between the Porte and Russia, our army occupied the principalities and the places of strength on the Danube during four years, [176] at the end of which the celebrated treaty of perpetual peace was concluded at the camp of Koutchouk-Kainardji, July 10-22, 1774. This treaty, confirmed by subse- quent conventions, stipulated in its 26th Article, that the principalities be restored to the Porte, which should resume possession of the fortresses ; but, in consenting to this restitution, the Empress guaranteed to the inha- bitants of Wallachia and Moldavia, the free exercise of their religion, the liberty of transporting their persons and their property to other lands, and an exemption from all taxes during a certain number of years. She obtained for the sovereigns of the principalities the favour of having Christian chargés d'affaires at the court of the Sultan, and reserved to the ministers and the consul of Russia the right of acting as representatives at the Sublime Porte, in the affairs of the principalities. In 1784, the Sultan Abdulhamid re-enacted, by a special rescript, all the clauses favourable to the principalities, renounced the right of establishing his subjects on their territories, and reduced the amount to be thenceforward exacted, whether in the shape of tribute money, or presents.

In a short time, however, the Ottoman cabinet paid but little regard to its solemn engagements, and when the French Revolution broke out, a fresh occupation by Russia and Austria was found necessary, the result of [177] which was the Treaty of Yassy, by which the condition of the principalities was fixed in accordance with the treaties of 1774 and 1784, before quoted.

At the beginning of the present century, the Ottoman government appearing to lean towards an alliance with the Emperor Napoleon, this symptom required a fresh occu- pation of the principalities. From 1806 to 1812, the Russians retained possession of the territory, and the treaty of Bukharest, which fixes' the boundary of the empire at the Pruth, confirmed all the former guarantees secured to the principalities, alleviated their burdens, and limited to seven years the reign of each Hospodar. At this period, Wallachia was governed by Prince Caradja. Threatened by the Porte, this prince suddenly adopted the resolution of secretly quitting his states. He executed this project in 1818, leaving the cares of administration during his absence in the hands of the Boyards. The latter turned to the Sultan, and requested that the govern- ment of the principalities should henceforward lie with the divan, thus hoping to put an end to the calamities attending the administration of the Greek princes : but the Sultan gave no heed to the petition of the Boyards, and sent Prince Alexander Soutzo to Wallachia. The death of this prince, in 1821, was followed by some attempts at insurrection : moreover, on all sides, symp- toms of commotion were manifested, whose distant echo [178] awakened, in the most remote provinces, ideas of eman- cipation. Spain, Italy and Egypt, were the scenes of im- portant events ; and the eyes of Europe were fixed upon them. It was at this period that these countries were occupied for the last time, and the long and bloody war which brought the Ottoman empire to the brink of its ruin, terminated in the treaty of Adrianople. The eman- cipation of the principalities dates from this treaty. While an organic law was being prepared for Wallachia and Moldavia, General Kisseleff, invested with the command of the troops in the two provinces, received the title of plenipotentiary president ; and thus, in the hands of this illustrious chieftain (known, hitherto, as a skilful soldier) were vested all the necessary powers for directing the reform of this country according to the stipulations of the treaties of Ak-Kermann and Adrianople. The task was of immense difficulty, embracing in its scope all the important questions of social order, and presenting obstacles of every description. The genius of Kisseleff, urged by an unchangeable love of good, and strengthened by a firm will and indefatigable activity, brought this important reform to a successful issue, and substituted law and order to a monstrous despotism, which, for more than two centuries, had crushed these unfortunate people. Entering the principalities at the close of a ruinous war, the military legislator had, in the first instance, to [179] contend against the most cruel calamities — the plague, famine, every form of human misery, and, worse than all, the moral prostration of the people. But his strong will overcame every obstacle ; it was powerful enough to effect a thorough reform, and to lay the foundation of future stability. To General Kisseleff, this country, previously so ill-governed, owes the whole of its present administration. He created its army, regulated its finances, established civil laws which it had never before possessed: he taught it at the same time order and obedience, and thus his name has become familiar in the mouths of the people ; and he holds that place in the gratitude of the nation to which he is entitled. When, at last, his mission was accomplished, and the new Hospodars, recognised by the empire, entered upon their functions under the protection of a constitution prudently devised, General Kisseleff quitted the countries whose salvation he had effected, and in which he will for ever be respected.

Thus, then, by virtue of the last beneficial revolution which it has undergone, Wallachia is governed by a Hospodar elected for life by an extraordinary assembly of Boyards, with the investiture of the Porte, and the approval of Russia. The nationality of the country is res- pected; and no point of its territories can be occupied by a Turkish garrison. The General Assembly, which exercises [180] the legislative power conjointly with the Prince, is com- posed of forty-three members, including the president. The latter. office is always filled by the Metropolitan of Bukharest ; the remaining forty-two members are elected by a College of Boyards, who vote secretly. Ministers cannot be elected as deputies.

The following is an enumeration of offices and dignities in Wallachia ; by the effect of circumstances common to all small states, the titles conferred on these offices are the more vain and pompous, as the wealth and extent of the principalities are limited.

The first rank in the state, after that of Hospodar, is that of Bono. This ancient title belonged to the sovereigns of that part of Wallachia which is called the Banat ; and Craiova was the residence of the bano. This dignity now gives to its possessor the right of a seat in the council, or divan, as it is called, while in his government he is represented by a deputy, who is called caïmacan.

Four vorniks, chosen from the nobility, are members of the divan by birth, and, together with the bano and the metropolitan, exercise the judicial functions.

Two logothetes are also added to the council ; their office is to signify the sentences pronounced by the court and ratified by the prince.

The spathar is a member of the divan, and commands the whole of the armed forces.


The vestiar is the grand treasurer, and as such holds a seat in the divan.

The postelnik performs the office of secretary to the prince.

The divan effendi is secretary to the divan.

The public offices of the second order are : The cloziar, whose office is merely honorary ; the aya, charged with the direction of the general and municipal police of Bukharest; and the commisso, or prince's equerry.

Among the offices held by the inferior nobility, are the caminar; the harnache, who sees to the execution of criminal sentences, and superintends the rIsigan gold- gatherers; the paharnik, or cup-bearer; the stolnik, or steward.

Four ministers and a secretary of state mariage the affairs of the principality. The different offices are: — home affairs, justice, public worship, and finance. A court of controul, a quarantine committee, and a prison commission, complete the administration.

The spathar, as before stated, commands the soldiery. There are three regiments under his orders, each of which consists of two battalions ; the whole military force of the principality being thus about five thousand men. Ten staff officers are attached to the person of the reigning prince.


Wallachia, which contains 22 cities, 15 towns, and 3,560 villages, presented, according to the census in 1837, a total of 339,322 houses. The territory is divided into seventeen districts, twelve on this side of the Alouta, and five beyond. Each of these districts is governed by two ispravniks, chosen from among the Boyards. A judge has recently been appointed to each district, and also a samessi — a superintendent of taxes, invested with a controllership over the administration of the ispravniks. The latter functionary is unremovable, while the rest are revocable annually. This arrangement, retained from the Turkish system, should be promptly abolished, if it be desired to establish the public administration on a just and proper basis.

The districts are themselves subdivided into plaças, each plaça having a separate collector of taxes.

The chief town of a district is governed by a municipal council, under the direction of a president or mayor, assisted by three members. The civil registers, which had no existence previous to the presidentship of General Kisseleff, are kept by the clergy, and are in duplicate. One of the registers is kept at the parish church ; the other is sent to the record-office of the district tribunal.

The administration of justice has especially benefitted by the new order of things in Wallachia. The law, it is true, still exhibits traces of its former despotic forms ; [183] but it must be acknowledged, nevertheless, that marked ameliorations have been introduced in the dispensation of justice. The General Assembly are too firmly convinced of the necessity for a homogeneous code of laws, not to apply all its endeavours to harmonise the habits and requirements of the country with the legislation of Euro- pean countries, where the law is strong because it is wise. The assembly will feel also that there can be no proper administration of justice without a judicial body, whose integrity should be universally acknowledged ; and no one is in a better position to guide his colleagues in the direction of salutary reforms, than the skilful minister at the head of this important department at the time of our visit, Vornik Jean Stirbey.

Justice is administered in the name of the prince, its forms being laid down by the Wallachian code promul- gated in 1818. This code is based upon the Roman law and the common law of the principality. The French commercial and criminal codes (with the exception of a few modifications, to suit the political and geographical situation of the country), were at this time being sub- mitted to the General Assembly for their adoption. A portion of the former has been adopted ; the remainder, with the criminal code, were deferred to the ensuing session. As regards the customs of the country, they are, with one or two differences, the same as in Moldavia. [184]

There are in Wallachia three degrees of jurisdiction : — firstly, the tribunal of the district, or of the first resort ; secondly, the court of appeal, or of the second resort ; thirdly, the supreme divan, or of the third resort.

The tribunal of the district takes cognizance of all civil and commercial affairs ; with respect to criminal matters, their functions are limited to preliminary investigations.

The supreme court takes cognizance of judgments delivered by the courts of appeal, both in Greater and Lesser Wallachia.

The institution of the jury does not exist.

Up to the present time, judges are appointed for three years ; at the end of this period, they may be continued in their offices, if their services have given satisfaction. But, according to the constitutional law, dating from 1830, all magistrates chosen by the prince will be irremovable after ten years office, except in cases of forfeiture, voluntary resignation, or appointment to administrative duties.

All public functionaries, every noble or deputy, may be judicially proceeded against by any complainant, without [185] other formalities than are required for the proceeding against a private individual.

Actions at law are very frequent in Wallachia, the most common cause of litigation being encroachments on the boundaries of land ; a singular circumstance in a country where there is so much wild and uncultivated land open to the husbandman. A great number of contests arise in consequence of the preference accorded by the law, in the sale of lands and houses, to the relations of the seller, or to those holding property adjoining that which is for sale. It is to be desired that the provisions of the law with respect to the latter case should be abolished from the Wallachian code ; the General Assembly will probably have to consider their repeal on an early occasion.

Advocates are not constituted into a distinct order, and are without any council of discipline. When a defendant has not made choice of any counsel, and no advocate undertakes the defence, counsel is appointed by the court.

Pleadings in defence are unrestricted, and the proceedings are public, unless any publie scandal attaching to the cause, or the honour of families, should necessitate the contrary. There is no law prohibiting the public journals from reporting judicial proceedings ; but up to the present time, they have never availed themselves of the privilege.


The laws punish murder with death ; but capital punishment has fallen into disuse. Since the provisional administration of General Kisseleff, sentence of death has always been commuted to perpetual labour in the salt-works.

The prince possesses the right of pardon, in accordance with the recommendations addressed by the tribunals to the department of justice ; in these cases, a commutation of punishment only can be granted. When, by his con- duct, a prisoner has given evidence of moral amelioration, the vornik (superintendent) of the prisons addresses a report to the department of justice, which is transmitted to the prince, and the prince may grant a remission of a portion of the punishment incurred.

Robberies and larcenies 457
Robberies by house-breaking, or on the highway 24
Murders 56
Attempts at murder 26
Robberies and larcenies 331
Robberies by house-breaking, or on the highway 23
Murders 66
Attempts at murder 8

It should be observed that instances of premeditated murder very rarely occur ; with but few exceptions this crime is committed in drunkenness ; wine, in Wallachia, being very abundant and cheap, as it is free from any tax except a very moderate excise due on entering towns under municipal government.

The age of majority among the Wallachians is fixed at twenty-five, but the minor can be emancipated : lstly, by marriage ; 2ndly, by the consent of his parents on attaining his eighteenth year ; 3rdly, by order of the tribunal of the first resort, at the request of the guardian, the parents, or of the minor himself, at the age of twenty-one, when deprived of his father and mother. This order is submitted to the minister of justice, and subject to the sanction of the prince. A minor, thus emancipated, cannot however contract any loan, make over real, or dispose of personal property, he has only free use of his revenue.

Divorce is permitted in certain cases laid down by the law ; it carries with it the voidance of the religious con- tract, and the parties divorced may enter into a second marriage. Divorce may be sought on the ground of incompatibility of temper ; but in this case, the parties are bound down to a trial of seven years ; at the end of which period, when all religious and moral means have been exhausted, there is no further obstacle to the divorce.


The department of public worship embraces all eccle- siastical affairs, as well as the management of public instruction. Three bishops, those of Rimnik, Argech, and Bouzéo, have charge over as many dioceses, under the dependence of the metropolitan of Bukharest. Il,eli- gion, which is here of the schismatic Greek creed, does not, properly speaking, hold any great empire over the minds of the Wallachian people, but they observe its outward forais, and particularly the austerities of fasting, with scrupulous exactitude. The people are seen to attend divine service with every sign of respect, and the great number of churches existing in Wallachia, bear witness to the ardent zeal with which outward worship is honoured. The municipality contains no less than 3,753 churches, of which 1,361 are built of stone. To these must be added 202 monasteries, of which 133 are dependent on churches. These establishments, to all appearance, furnish relief to the poor of the com-" munes, as it is rare to see a Wallachian beggar, the Tsigans being almost the only people who practise this ignoble and importunate avocation. The Wallachians are naturally inclined to superstition ; they yield ready credence to witchcraft and spells, without, however, allowing their belief, which, with them, is a kind of poetical tradition, to disturb their peace of mind.


The statistics of public education for the year 1847, are as follow :-

Establishments supported by Government.
Bukharest. School of St. Sava.Introductory Classes...456
Complementary studies...29
Schools in connection with St. Sava {Amza...92
Introductory Classes {St. George (the New)...114
Total ...953
Private schools, 22 in number704
Three boarding schools for boys49
Two do. do. for girls39
Total of pupils in Bukharest...1,715
Craiova. School supported by Government :-
Elementary Classes...146
Private schools at Craiiova.Holy Apostles...65
Boarding schools for boys18
Districts. 26 schools, 12 of which supported by Government1,724
General total of pupils3,782

Independently of these establishments, the pope (chief of the parish) or the precentor of each village is bound, in return for some slight recompense, to teach reading and writing to the children of the peasantry, so that in [190] a few years there will be but few who cannot at least read and write.

The administration of the finances of the principality is entrusted, as before mentioned, to the agents, who collect the taxes in each canton, and pay them into the treasury. The fixed revenues of the state are thus composed :-

Poll-tax on labourers8,210,670
Poll-tax on masils (nobles of inferior degree)121,645
Poll-tax on Tsigans147,860
Produce of patents438,970
Farming of salt-world2,500,000
Farming of customs1,405,050
Estimate of duty on brandy, spirits of wine, tobacco entering towns; duties on the exportation of corn and cattle, not included in the customs' duties farmed out ; duties on diplomas, &c., casual revenue

This amount of taxes is paid by 296,286 families. The peasantry are subject to an annual tax of thirty piastres a head, which is paid into the treasury through the collector : they have, moreover, to pay one-tenth of this sum to the communal treasury established in each village.


The expenditure of the state is as follows :-

Annual tribute paid to the Porte1,400,000
Civil list1,600,000
Administration of home affairs1,857,480
Dorobantz, or gendarmes179,240
Postal establishments1,107,418
Roads and bridges200,000
Paving of Bukharest48,000
Wood for firing80,000
Poor and indigent100,000
Public instruction350,000

The last three items of expenditure are not paid out of the treasury, but are at the charge of the central treasury of the metropolitan diocese, which is supplied from the ecclesiastical revenue.

The surplus of the revenue over the expenditure, forms a reserved fund, after having met the extraordinary expenses.


The monies current in Wallachia and Moldavia are the Russian silver rouble, the golden ducat, the Austrian zwanziger, and the Turkish piastre, aspre, and para.

The piastre, which is the monetary unit of the prin- cipalities, does not represent absolutely the same value as the Turkish piastre : it has not yet suffered the same depreciation, although its value has greatly fallen within the last twenty years.

Towards 1822, the piastre was worth in Wallachia as much as from seventy-five to eighty centimes ; but it has lost considerably since, and its average value in 1837 may be deduced from the following calculation. Let us first state, that this coin has two different current values; that recognised by the government, and that adopted by trade and private individuals.

In the Government treasury :
fr. c.
The silver ruble, worth exactly 4 fr. French,is exchanged for 10 piastres and a half, which brings the piastre to0, 38 ,,
The Austrian golden ducat, which is worth 11 fr. 85 c., is worth 31i piastres ; the value of the piastre, according to this, is0, 37, 42
The Austrian zwanziger, equivalent to 86 c., passes in Wallachia for q1 piastres, which brings the piastre to0, 38, 23
The average value of the piastre, as regards the public treasury, therefore is0, 37, 82

In private transactions:

fr. c.
The silver ruble is exchanged for 12 piastres, bringing the piastre to0, 33, 33
The golden ducat is valued at from 35 to 36 piastres, which for one piastre is0, 33, 86
Or0, 32, 92
The Austrian zwanziger, representing 2 1/2 piastres, brings the piastre to0, 34, 80
Average value of the piastre in trade0, 33, 86
Mean between the official and trade value of the piastre0, 35, 84

This unit, already very small, is subdivided again into 40 paras and 120 aspres.

The import trade of Wallachia consists principally of foreign manufactures ; oil, soap, and coffee, are prin- cipally brought from Turkey. The principality exports grain, hemp, skins, cattle, timber, honey, wax, some small quantities of wine, salt, wool, and a little silk, the production of which is beginning to develop itself'.

The total average amount of imports for the period from 1831 to 1835, amounted to about 31,848,076; the average of the exports for the same period amounted to 49,159,585.

The industrial arts, it must be confessed, are as yet at zero ; scarcely till now, did Wallachia possess a few [194] manufactories of hats, and handkerchiefs of printed stuff, far behind the wants of the country.

It is easy to understand, however, that the deficiency of hands, and the little progress in industry and agricul- ture unfortunately resulting therefrom, is to be attributed to the languishing state of the country during so many years of destructive war, and the continual apprehension of incursions from the Turks. To the saine cause must be assigned the absence of all trade, for the unfortunate inhabitants could only sell to the Turks, who fixed an arbitrary price on their purchases. The administration of affairs, as we have said, was indeed deplorable. All has altered since the last reform ; and there is now the hope of a more prosperous future for the commercial and industrial enterprise which is now dawning.

Within the last four years, 631 manufactories have been established, namely :-

1 Wax taper manufactory.22 Handkerchief manufactories.
32 Candle manufactories.15 Manufactories of woollen cording.
184 Tan yards.180 Distilleries.
28 Soap manufactories.4 Glass-works.
69 Potteries.1 China manufactory.
91 Linen manufactories.
4 Hat manufactories.____

'There are in Wallachia 2,299 water-mills, 6 windmills, and 9 mills moved by horses.


Up to the present time, salt has been the only mineral product profitably worked in Wallachia. We have already stated the amount derived from the salt- works. There is, however, every ground for believing that Wallachia possesses mineral riches in sufficient abundance, and that, with a continuance of peace, and a more intelligent application of capital, they may be worked by safer and more productive means than hitherto. We are enabled to enumerate, according to information which we believe to be correct, the different mineral substances which are known to exist in the Wallachian soil.

Gold. — The streams which bring down gold are those from the Oltez to the Yalomnitza, inclusively ; but this metal is to be found more abundantly in the first of these rivers, from the village of Binzeni, to a distance of five leagues from that place ; within this space are found the richest sands in Wallachia ; they are of a blackish red colour, mixed with clay and particles of quartz and jasper, and are remarkable for the quantity of garnets to be found in them. Fragments of gold of considerable size have sometimes been found beneath large rocks in the middle of the river, at the season when the waters subside. Auriferous sands are also met with near the village of Oesti, on the Argechi, two leagues from Kourté ; a league and a quarter from the village of Ioupanesti, on the river Chouptane ; near the [196] village of Magaleo-Maloulou'i, in the river Valea Kacelor; and lastly, on the river Yalomnitza, near the village of Bronesti, two leagues and a half from Firgovist.

Copper. — In the district, of Mehédintzi, in Lesser Wallachia, carbonate of copper is found on the river Bourba, at a league from the burgh of Baja de Arama. This ore was formerly worked in these regions, as is shown by the traces of furnaces, the excavations in the mountains, and coppery scoria scattered here and there over the soil.

Copper pyrites is found at Baja de Arama, and lately it has begun to be worked ; but until the furnaces are completed, no exact data can be given as to the per centage yielded by the ore ; according to the analysis made of several specimens collected from the remains of former works, lying on the surface, it is to be pre- sumed that the ore is a very rich one.

There is another bed of copper ore three quarters of a league from the same spot.

Native Mercury. — Mercury has been discovered near the town of Pelesti, in the district of Argech ; it was disseminated in globules in a horizontal stratum of sand and clay. It presented itself over only a small tract, and excavations have been made in the vicinity, but without success.

Coal.--Several points in Wallachia present beds of [197] coal; the best is in the district of Bouzéo, in the canton of Peskovoulouï, four leagues from Bouzéo, to the left of the river Saratzeni, between the villages of Berka and Jossina.

This coal burns with a flame, and emits a sulphureous and bituminous smell. The combustion of 100 parts leaves a residue of eighteen, which is of a dark red colour. This coal lies in twelve layers of about a metre in thickness, in an argilaceous soil, and all these layers occur within a depth of 200 metres.

Lignite. — This combustible is found in several spots, and principally in Lesser Wallachia, in the district of Voutza Plaîou, canton of Montagne, near the village of Armachesti, on the river Tzernichoara ; it occurs in large agglomerations, covered by only a slight layer of earth. It contains sixteen per cent. of earthy matter, burns with a flame, and leaves a dark red ash. It would not be difficult to work it, and one man could extract nearly three tons in a day.

Rock Salt.__This mineral forms, as we have already stated, the chief mineral wealth of Wallachia. It is found at the distance of a league from Rimini( ; and in Greater Wallachia, near the village of Slanik, district of Saboueni, and also near the village of Fellega, district of Prahova, canton of Kempina. The bed occurs at a depth of from six to fifty-five metres below the surface, and presents a thickness of forty-eight metres. These [198] mines annually yield thirty-eight millions of kilogrammes, and produce in value one-fourth of the revenues of the principality. The salt of Slanik, which has a crystalline appearance, is reckoned the best in Wallachia.

Liquid Bitumen. — Several localities produce this sub- stance. The richest deposit is in the district of Sakouïni, near the village of Pukouretza; it produces annually about twenty-two thousand five hundred kilogrammes. The richest wells may yield as much as eighty kilogrammes a day, and the least rich from five to fifteen. The working of this mineral deposit requires but little trouble.

Native sulphur. — It is met with in the district of Donibovitza, canton of Dialoulouï, near the village of Schiatingo ; it lies in a bed of green clay, occurring in the form of yellow globules.

Garnets. — These. are found in the district of Argechi, on the mountain of Tchokan ; they are generally incrusted in micaceous schist. Scattered on the sides of the mountain, and carried away by the waters, they are found in the gravel on the banks of some of the rivers, as before stated.

Sueciuum, or Yellow Amber. — This is found in the canton of Despré-Bouzéo, near the villages of Koltza and Boilor, in the canton of Koviskova. Its extreme fragility renders it little susceptible of useful application.

Besides these mineral deposits there are abundance of mineral waters in Wallachia; the principal springs are : [199]
Bobotzi, district of Dombovitza...a Sulphurous spring.
Sfintzesti, id...Sulphurous.
Another in the same village...Sulphurous.
De Braze, district of Prahova...Sulphurous.
Pontchoussa, district of Dombovitza...Sulphurous.
Rozia, near the monastery...Sulphuro-saline.
Monastery of Glogova...Sulphurous.

We have only now to add, in conclusion of our series of observations and data, a few remarks on the physical constitution of the interesting country under our notice.

Bathed throughout the extent of its western and southern frontiers by the Danube, Wallachia is bounded on the north by the Karpathian mountains, which separate it from Transylvania. Its extent from east to west is one hundred leagues ; its breadth, in the direction of the meridian, is about fifty leagues. Half of this space, which expands towards its eastern portion, presents a succession of plains, watered by streams of considerable magnitude : the other half, namely, the northern, rises up towards the high mountains in an amphitheatre of hills, amidst which, a great abundance of water, and a most fertile vegetation, contribute to form the most agreeable sites.

Wallachia is not traversed by any navigable river. The swelling of the waters of the Bouzéo, the Rimnik, [200] and other torrents, often, as we ourselves experienced, suddenly inundate the plains through which they flow, but this uncertain and irregular force could never be applied to the necessities of trade. Streams of clear water flow down from the mountains of Wal- lachia, but they are not all equally salubrious, if we may judge so from the goitres by which the inhabitants of certain districts are disfigured. We have already observed, that in the open portion of the country, epidemic fevers are frequent; they are rarely, however, of a pernicious character.

The climate of Wallachia is of the most tem- perate kind ; the winters are severe during only two months ; and spring makes its appearance early, too early frequently, for it is accompanied with terrible inundations. The south-easterly winds, which bring with them the vapours of the Black Sea, prevail during the month of June, and the atmosphere is frequently disturbed by periodical storms. It was under such circumstances that we found ourselves in the midst of the vast steppes, which become utterly impassable, when the waters have remained long upon the land.

To the inexhaustible kindness of Prince Alexander Ghika we owe the following data, the accuracy of which cannot be doubted, the professors of the college in which the observations were made, being of acknowledged skill.

DURING THE YEARS 1834, 1835, AND 1836.
Jan.1st fortnight, -18° onceJunefrom +14° to +22°
Gen. Temp.from -10°to -15°July..." +17° to +23°
2nd fortnight" -1 ° to -3°Aug...." +20° to +13°
Feb.1st fortnight" -1° to -7°Sep...." +17° to +10°
2nd fortnight" + 1° to +13°Oct.... " +14° to +1°
Mar........." + 5° to +14°Nov...." +8° to +0°
April........" +4° to +17°Dec...." +1° to -9°
May........" +4° to +21°

Barometer. — The height of the mercury varied through- out the year from 28 inches, 4 lines, French measure, to 21 inches, 11 lines. Once, in March, it stood at 29 inches ; in September, at 29 and 3 lines ; and in October at 29 inches.

The year presents :
IN WINTER....Days.IN SPRING....Days.
Fog4Hoar Frost2
Moist3Violent Winds8
Hoar Frost1Fine45
IN SUMMER....Days.IN AUTUMN....Days.
Violent Winds11Violent Winds5

It has been observed that meteors, especially in the level country; are not so common or so destructive as in other parts of Europe situated in the same latitudes. Every year the soil of Wallachia receives two or three shocks of earthquake, of greater or less violence, and every ten years really disastrous effects unfortunately occur from this visitation. The earthquake of 1802, [203] which overthrew the monastery of Koltza, is still remembered, as well as that of 1829, which violently shook the majority of buildings in Bukharest.

Since this was written, a more violent shock than any yet remembered with sorrow in the country, very nearly destroyed Bukharest. On the evening of the 23rd of January, 1838, the city shook, the most solid monuments tottered, several houses fell to ruins ; all were damaged, and several individuals lost their lives. On this fearful occasion, when everything around was rocking or overthrown, surrounded by the wounded and dying, Prince Ghika, by dint of coolness, humanity, and courage, succeeded in restoring a feeling of security and hope among the despairing inhabitants.

The population of Wallachia, for so long a space uncertain and fluctuating, is daily growing more fixed and stable. This is the case with all communities in progress of civilization ; their development awaits only the occurrence of favorable circumstances. We have already stated that the various castes compo- sing the population, are divided into three classes : the Boyards, the Wallachian husbandmen, and the Tsigans. We need not repeat what we have before observed relative to the characteristics of each of these distinct classes ; we will only add a few additional traits, which will complete our sketch of these people, [204] so various in character, yet destined to live under the same laws.

The Boyards, whose name is traced by some to a Sclavonian word, signifying warrior, while others derive it from the Latin bos, an ox, referring the origin of this title to the time of the ancient Roman colonies, — the Boyards, we say, are the possessors of the territory; but they are far from deriving as much revenue as they might by a wise management from so rich a country, where the land requires but slight cultivation to be rendered productive. Exclusive masters of all public offices, exempt from all the burthens of the state, these proud noblemen, care- less of the future, and great partizans of the past, have hitherto given themselves up to a life of sterile luxury. This luxury has undermined the fortunes of the whole class ; it has perpetuated debt in establishments, which, by a wiser administration, should have laid the foundations of a solid wealth, that would have flowed through the entire mass of inhabitants.

The Boyards of the present day — more enlightened as to their true interests — are beginning sufficiently to take part in public affairs, to excite the hope that they will one day see the question of domestic economy in its right light, so nearly connected as it is with all wise management of public affairs. The superior [205] education given to the young nobility, is the guarantee of a better state of things in future ; but up to this time the lives of the privileged class have remained impressed with that improvident fatalism which oriental customs, and an order of things so long precarious, had instilled into their habits. Nothing can he more elegant than their personal state and retinue, which is always somewhat theatrical ; but if we remove from the presence of the chief of the house, and throw a glance at his tribe of tattered and idle retainers, at his equipages, too numerous to be elegant, at his vast and dilapidated mansion, we are struck with the melancholy and wretchedness lying beneath this appear- ance of luxury. The refined manners of the master, the gracious air and talents of the women of his family, the facility and correctness with which the languages of Central Europe are spoken by them ; the taste, the tact, the very frivolity of the conversation — everything combines to show that this society is equal to the most distinguished in Europe ; but, beyond the door of the drawing room, a filthy and repulsive crowd of idle servants and gipsies scattered about the ante- rooms, and sleeping on the very staircases, remind you that you are in Wallachia, and that all this civilization has not shaken off the muddy crust which envelops it, and deprives it of all its lustre.


The very appearance of the Wallachian peasant interests one in his favour ; nor is this pre-possession ill-founded, when we reflect on the long series of misfortunes which have afflicted this pastoral people for so many centuries. There is much to be done for the improvement of the manners of this robust race of peasants, who seem to have been expressly created for the labours of the field. Like Virgil's husbandmen, they would be happy did they but know the benefits which Heaven has showered upon this beautiful Roman land, the object of their pride, but which can continue noble and truly Roman, only on condition of being rendered fertile and productive. Magna parens frugum. The Danube only awaits the grain of the Wallachian plains to pour fresh stores into the granaries of the Black Sea, and the Wal- lachians would produce much, and cheaply, could they rid themselves of their habits of idleness and in- temperance, and their love of holidays, too frequent in the religious observances of the rustic population. To eradicate these deplorable habits, is the noblest task which an enlightened government can propose to itself.

We now come to the Gipsies, or Tsigans, as their Wallachian hosts call them — those wandering tribes known by as many names as there are countries in [207] Europe ; everywhere rejected, yet everywhere tolerated. Idlers and shameless thieves, haughty beggars, wrapt in ostentatious rags; these unfortunate wretches exhibit, nevertheless, beneath the filth and brutish degradation of vice, the noblest and most refined physiognomies which the beautiful Caucasian type can present. The Tsigans of Wallachia, where they are very numerous, seemed to us to corroborate the opinion that they have been driven into Europe from the beautiful climate of India. There is a vast difference between the outward features of this race, and those which characterise the Gitanas of Spain, in whom the admixture of Moorish blood is manifest.

However the case may be, this exiled people are enabled to subsist in Wallachia more readily than in any other country, as it presents them the means of reconciling their natural indolence with the conditions necessary to ensure them the protection of the law. A portion of the Tsigan population live by labour ; to these is assigned the task of washing the auriferous sands borne down by the current of certain rivers, and it is with the produce of their patient toil at this employment, that they are enabled to pay the poll- tax. In the second class are found masons, blacksmiths, cooks, and locksmiths ; occupations which the Wallachian population disdain to follow ; but the greater portion [208] are consigned to servitude, and swell with their useless and mischievous numbers, the household of the Boyards. Lastly, the third class of this people, without a name, from having received so many, live in a state of vagabondage and mendicancy. Half clad, and exposed to the inclemency of the seasons, men and women encamp in the open air with a troop of hideous children, in whom it would be difficult to anticipate the handsome youths of both sexes, whom we see so graceful in form, and with so proud a deportment as soon as their precocious maturity is developed.

An article in the organic law of the principality ordains, however, that a fund shall be established for redeeming the Tsigans from vagrancy, and obliging then to build houses and dwell in them. This measure is beginning to be put in force.

We cannot more appropriately conclude these observa- tions, than by a table of the census of the Wallachian population, drawn up at the end of 1837. It will show into what categories the various classes we have passed in review may be subdivided, and the proportions they bear to each other.

Niamours and Postelnitzi, or inferior nobility4,195
Priests of the Greek Church, almost all married6,820
Deacons ditto2,710
Persons connected with church establishments2,920
Gipsies, servants of private individuals14,158
Widows and infirm persons13,127
Exempted for services rendered1,078
Exempted by enlisting3,436
Foreign subjects, the greater portion Catholics,
Protestants, and Jews3,729
The Jews are few in number ; except in Bukharest,
few or none are found in the districts.________
Total non tax-paying families53,117
Bulgarian emigrants5,179
Mazils, (a species of privileged class)3,258
Merchants and traders1,810
Gipsies belonging to the state (gold-gatherers)5,635
Total population in families349,403
At the rate of five to each family, the total popula
tion would be1,747,015
Add to this — monks2,648
Persons without fixed domicile1,519
Grand total of the population1,751,182

The agricultural resources of Wallachia would be im- mense, were there a sufficient population, and had its political education reached that point which it will one day attain, when it will have learned that the true sources of prosperity are labour and perseverance. As a portion of the agricultural statistics, it will perhaps not be without interest to give the result of the recent census of domestic animals, taken in l 837. It forms a starting point which, in a few years, probably, will be left far behind.

Stallions and mares105,533
Tsigan sheep, with fine wool93,332
Common sheep704,840
Tsigan ewes924,976
Common ewes360,096

The Wallachians bring up a race of magnificent and intelligent dogs, to assist them in tending their flocks ; but the valuable qualities of these animals scarcely counterbalance the inconveniences which the unlimited [211] propagation of the canine race produces in the cities. Without mentioning the martyrdom of hearing, at the approach of night, the doleful howlings and angry growl- ings of the pack of dogs which invade the streets perfectly unmolested, there is real danger in finding one's-self alone, and without the defence of a good cudgel, exposed to become the object of a chase, from which, even with the nimbleness of a stag, it would be impossible to escape in safety. The safest plan, if you are armed with a cudgel, is, on the first demonstration of hostile intentions, to deal a good sounding blow on the nearest orator of the band. The remainder continue barking, but do not approach near enough to bite.

To bring this long enumeration to a close, with a fact having reference also to noxious animals, we will remind the reader that Wallachia is often invaded by clouds of grass-hoppers, laying waste in a few hours the richest lands. When the principality is afflicted with this visitation, the agricultural population is thrown into a state of despair, and premiums are offered by the government for the destruction of these devouring insects. During our stay at Bukharest, while I was in the closet of the minister of the interior, he communicated a report to us, announcing the capture, in one district, of two thousand eight hundred and thirty-one bushels of these destructive creatures.


We have now reached the extent of the notes collected by us during our few days' travel. Should they prove interesting, it will be due to the entirely new documents with which we were kindly furnished. Perhaps these latter observations may hereafter prove useful to the student, who, seeking in the records of the past the history of a happy and rich nation, will be astonished to find in so modest a beginning, the origin of an extended and influential prosperity. Such, at least, is the wish which none can refrain from entertaining, who have seen Wallachia, and observed the perfect fitness of its soil for all undertakings calculated to reward human labour.

After a few hours' repose at Fokschany, we crossed the little bridge which separated us from the Moldavian territory.

riders on horseback

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