chapter 3-From Bucharest etc.



horse drawn carriage


MELANCHOLY as was the spec- tacle presented by the inundated plains of Wallachia, the valleys of Moldavia, bounded in the distance by rounded hills, presented neither more level roads or firmer ground. Hardly had we passed the frontier, than the rain redoubled in violence, so that on arriving at the shores of the Serail, which runs a few [214] versts beyond Fokschany, we found a torrent very difficult to cross.

horses feeding

The Sereth rises in the mountains which bound Moldavia on the west, and descends to mingle its waters with those of the Barlat, which, in its turn, falls into the Danube, between Brahiloff and Galatz. At the same spot, the great branches of the German stream, the mouths of the Pruth, the lakes of Kagoul and of Yalpoutch, convert the whole country, as far as the Black Sea, into one immense marsh, intersected by a hundred rivers. These parallel streams invariably run from the north, and are finally lost in that labyrinth of waters, prairies, and sands, which make the navigation of the lower Danube, from Galatz to the sea, so difficult.

But to return to the Sereth. Its shores were inundated to such an extent that the approach to the bridge of boats was flooded to a great height, while the waters still continued rising rapidly. A train of about a hundred cars, heavily laden, and drawn by oxen, had already renounced the passage, and we had to make short work of it. During the crossing, which took us some time, on so narrow and unsteady a bridge, a number of half-naked men pressed on either side of our vehicles, acting as a support to them. Having at length reached terra firma, we were greeted by a [215] detachment of Moldavian gendarmerie, armed with lances, and headed by an officer ; this little troop divided for the purpose of escorting us, and at each relay we found a fresh detachment. We owed this considerate attention to the recommendation which the estafettes of the Hospodar of Wallachia had, with great expedition, conveyed to the capital of Moldavia.

The day dragged on slowly, nothing happening to enliven its gloomy monotony, and the carriages moving with little speed. Our guides, in order to avoid the beaten roads, whose slippery surface would have proved an insurmountable obstacle, led us across the plains, where we could only make our way by trampling down the beautiful wild plants, whose stems, thick and tufted, grew to the height of a man. When the first excitement is over, nothing is more disheartening than a journey of this sort, in such unfavourable weather. The rain, like a thick cloud, prevented our enjoying any view of the country ; our entire horizon being limited to about fifty steps round us. Unutterable dreariness ! Nothing to divert the sight, but an eternal strip of green, intersected by ruts, to which the rain gave the appearance of miniature canals ; and nothing to charm the ear, weary of silence, but the perpetual splashing of the horses' feet in the liquid mud. The post-houses were exactly like those in Wallachia : an enclosure [216] of brushwood, in the midst of which was erected a hut of a sugar-loaf form, a species of oven, always heated in rainy weather, the only issue for the smoke being through the door. In the enclosure were fifty or sixty horses, huddled closely together, motionless, with drooping ears, and receiving with true philosophy the rain, which fell in streams upon their shining backs. Our road followed, though at a distance, the course of the river Barnet, of which I have spoken already, flowing from the north in a direct line to unite itself to the Danube. Between the Barnet and the first western mountains, a vast plain extends in a series of green strips; and across it any path may be chosen, according to one's fancy. As we came near any village, we occasionally met with well cultivated fields ; but it was impossible to see or study anything properly amidst the deluge of rain, which threw its own gloomy tinge over everything. Our station that night was Birlaton, chief town of the district, and apparently purposing to become a city, if we judge from the large plan on which its streets are laid out, complete in everything but houses and inhabitants. Birlatou may be pictured as a huge bog of clay, in which our horses sunk up to their stomachs ! Our arrival at the portico of the Ispravnitzia, the residence of the chief of the district, was a regular disembarkation. The orders concerning us having [217] reached during the absence of that functionary, it was one of the subordinates, who, with a graciousness worthy of the master, did the honours of the house ; a hospitality of which we stood much in need, after being so long deprived of both rest and sleep. To say the best of it, however, the establishment of the Ispravnik contained no other beds than two long canopies ; but it would have ill become travellers in such a country to show themselves fastidious, and the floor of a room in which the greatest cleanliness shone, was soon converted by us into a very endurable bed.

On the 19th of July the sky cleared up, the roads became less impracticable, and we performed the various stages with great speed. Everywhere in Moldavia we met with young and active postillions, full of vigour and intrepidity. These horsemen, who vie with each other in swiftness, are dressed in linen, with a belt and cap of two contrasted colours. With one arm uplifted, body bent forward, and flowing hair, they never cease to send forth piercing cries, which they pique themselves in prolonging to the extent of their powerful lungs. There are three of them ; and no sooner does one voice cease, than the other takes it up, each of the three voices relieving the other in turn. These wild cries, fully equivalent to the cracking of the whip, cease only at the post-house. Up hill or down hill, over plain or through [218] ravine, they clear all at the same speed, and we had immense trouble to get them to stop one of our carriages, when, having seen some birds at a convenient distance, we were prompted with a murderous intent. Moldavia is not wanting in birds of prey. These tyrants of the air hover incessantly in search of victims over the plains overgrown with high grass. In the neighbourhood of a few scattered clumps of trees we met with a bird which is called the rollier : it is in form like a small jay, and its plumage is entirely of a superb blue, reflecting many brilliant colours. This bird is extremely wild, and is not easily approached : its capture would have cost us too much time. What consoled us, however, for not having the bird was, that we already possessed its plumage, having procured it in Wallachia.

The country through which we now travelled was incomparably more beautiful than any we had seen passing through Wallachia. Moldavia does not present the same barren and naked aspect as the plains of Giourjévo. The country is not without variety ; and though trees are only rarely met with, the ground is so clad with verdure, so abundantly watered by springs, and, above all, so well adapted for every kind of produce, that it is a matter of regret a spot so favoured by nature, should not be fertilized by the labour of man.


When it is considered how many countries in Europe there are in which the agriculturist has to contend against the encroachments of mountain, rock, and marsh, to secure a soil which can only be rendered fruitful by painful toil and persevering industry, it becomes a source of deep regret that such vast regions, prepared by nature for the work of the ploughshare only, should remain barren for want of hands. From Pesth the Danube waters, one may say, nothing but a succession of abandoned plains. The stream, in the first place, whose frequent inundations overwhelm this devastated land, then war, more terrible still, and more insensible, and lastly, oppression, more odious than war itself, have brought ruin to these coun- tries. Hence is it, that such excellent germs of pros- perity have been hitherto miserably blighted. As you traverse these deserts, where neither ploughed land nor crops are seen, you are tempted to pity the people who dwell on such a soil, and to wonder from what source they draw their subsistence. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Wallachia and of Moldavia find their harvest amply sufficient for the supply of all their wants, and frequently beyond them ; for the population is so scanty that many of the lands must remain waste. When this country shall have labourers to make it bear, and men to consume its produce, then, only, will cultiva- tion spread itself' and fertilize this vast territory, which [220] for so many centuries has not felt the ploughshare. From this source would arise many other branches of industry. In the present day, when the legal regulations of the principalities hold out protection to all modes of existence, and to all producers, some good colonies of agriculturists would prove an essential benefit to Moldavia. The new system of organization, which confers the same rights on emigrants as on natives, except those of a political nature, which can be purchased on certain conditions only, appeared to us well calculated to encourage enterprises tending to further the future welfare and prosperity of these lands. The chief obstacle to the agricultural progress of this country will be found, most decidedly, in the wretched condition of the roads, and in the difficulty of remedying this evil. Considering that leagues are travelled over without a sign of the smallest pebble, the construction of roads, solid and firm in all seasons, is no easy matter. So long as dry weather continues, nothing checks the communications, which are as rapid as they are active. The plain is wide, and open for all to choose a pathway. The caroussi, carried away by the swiftness of their horses, cross it in a direct line, whilst the heavy waggons with their oxen file off in long trains upon a more secure and already beaten road : let but a few showers, however, fall upon it, the boggy earth, so deep and rich, becomes [221] suddenly liquified, and the greatest lightness and celerity are necessary to get over the surface. No equipage of a moderate weight can have a chance of moving but at an extremely slow pace.

We were, meanwhile, approaching the capital Moldavia. We not only cleared the last two stages with wonderful speed, but the harnessing of our horses was now performed with marvellous expedition — thanks to a courier who went in estafette before us, and whose authority seemed to command about him a very unusual degree of activity. Our eyes now feasted at last on a lofty mountain, whose sandy soil abounded with beautiful trees ; and as we were ascending with much toil, a storm burst impetuously over us. From the summit of this mountain Yassy could be discovered in the plain beneath, as yet unveiled by the gathering clouds, and lit up by a sunbeam. The aspect of this town from afar is very agreeable, situated as it is in the plain, and surrounded by verdant hillocks. Yassy occupies a large space, with its white houses in the midst of gardens, its shining spires and high buildings with green roofs. The storm was still raging furiously during our slow and perilous descent, and throughout our last stage, until we entered Yassy, which we found in a state of inundation. An escort of twelve horsemen awaited us at the gate of the capital, and we made our entry by a long street [222] rudely paved with thick planks. The water in this street was a foot deep ; but the shops are, with a view to this, prudently raised above the ground by steps or a raised footway. The doors and windows were thronged with an inquisitive crowd, principally Jews. These worthy merchants thought themselves bound respectfully to salute our equipages, streaming with rain and mud. It was a question whether we owed this general politeness to our escort, bearing witness to the honourable attentions of the Hospodar ; or whether these good Israelites, seeing the extent of our party, hailed in us a fortunate arrival, from which some profit might be drawn.

After crossing many streets, which in truth were so many running streams, we arrived at length at the hotel of St. Petersburg, where we met with every proof of the most obliging consideration. Several officers received us ; a guard of gendarmes was placed at our disposal, to keep watch over our carriages. Added to this, a visit from the Aga himself, in his rich oriental cos- tume, offering us his services, proved that at Yassy, as at Bukharest, we were protected by the most hospitable kindness. The sumptuous style of the hotel we now occupied was more than needful for its purposes ; but with all the grandeur and splendid arrangement of the rooms, and the paintings which so profusely caver their [223] walls, it offers none of the requisites for repairing the fatigues and disorder of a long journey. In these fine saloons, we had no other bed than a billiard table, which fell to the lot of four of our party ; the rest had to put up with couches scantily furnished with straw. No accessory comforts alleviated the hardships of this truly Spartan encampment. On beholding the handsome uniforms of many of our numerous circle occupying this saloon, it might have passed for part of a palace; and one would certainly never have suspected that its occupants were vainly pining for the necessaries which the humblest traveller meets with in the most miserable village inn. Nevertheless, we were soon doing the honours of this splendid misery to the highest individuals of the town of Yassy. While still in the thorough disorder of a recent arrival, we were visited by the Prince Soutzo, logothetes of the Interior, whose talents and distinguished manners are justly appreciated in Moldavia. During the few moments I was able to converse with this high functionary, I gathered from him so much information on the condition of the country, that I would not allow him to go, until he had promised to forward to me authentic documents of the actual position of affairs in Moldavia, compared with the previous order of things terminated by the treaty of Adrianople. These valuable notes were effectually [224] sent to me, with a punctuality and liberality deserving my sincere gratitude. The extract which I have inserted further on was curtailed with regret, to meet the proportions of our chapters ; nevertheless it presents an exact summary of the regulations of this principality under its two different phases : — the tyranny of the subaltern agents of the Porte, and the emancipation beneath the protesting shield of enlightened laws and governors.

Early on the morrow, July 20th, we paid a visit to the Hospodar, or Sovereign of Moldavia. Prince Stourdza, who owes his eminent position to election, is the first who was called to exercise sovereignty by virtue of the new organisation, and to put into practice the laws of government so happily originated by Gen. Count Kisselefl: The dwelling of the Hospodar is not an imposing building. The ancient palace, destroyed in 1827 by a dreadful fire, which burnt down two-thirds of the town, covers with its ruins a long hill which commands Yassy. In the absence of any architectural beauties, the sovereign surrounds himself with military display, and the palace is guarded by numerous sentinels. We met with the kindest reception from the prince ; and pipes having been introduced, the indispensable pre- liminary of every interview which the Hospodar intends to prolong, a conversation ensued, in which Prince [225] Stourdza exhibited a considerable command of language, and an uncommon degree of instruction. The present condition of the regenerated }principalities, the working of the regulative government, as the present form of administration is called, the remarkable progress already observable in the public welfare, and the exertions yet to bo made in order to attain the desired state of pros- perity, were the topics touched upon in our conference, which proved extremely instructive to us as strangers. The prince manifested, more than once, sentiments of the deepest devotion to his people., whom he sees, with sincere sorrow, still subjected to an annual tribute exacted from the principality by Turkey. If the Porte; he said, should ever consent to liberate Moldavia from this heavy burden, he would he prepared to sacrifice his. own fortune in order to expedite the advancement of this wretched people, whose sufferings have been so prolonged. Assuredly, such intentions are as honorable as they are rare, and presage a better future for this people. The Hospodar devotes himself with activity and perseverance to public business, and although his health is not always adequate to the noble task he has undertaken, he still perseveres with courage iii fulfilling the arduous mission which the election of his fellow- countrymen has imposed upon him. The personal appear-- once of the prince nmanil ssts the effects of his physical [226] sufferings, kept under by the determination of his cha- racter; scarcely forty years of age, he yet bears in his countenance the traces of his heavy cares. The Hospodar is married to a Greek princess of Constantinople, and is the father of two sons, who are being educated at Berlin.

We intended to stay so short a time at Yassy, that we scarcely had the opportunity of receiving all the visits we were honoured with.

Prince Stourdza, however, was kind enough to come in person to our own hotel ; and during our sojourn, we were overwhelmed with every mark of kindness and atten- tion ; to such an extent, that our meals were more than once enlivened by the Hungarian band of the mining corps. The frugality of our fare was in accordance with the rules of the most rigorous diet, for it might not be that the luxury of our entertainments should war with the simplicity of the furniture.

We were close to the Russian frontier, and we knew that in crossing it, we could not escape quarantine. Fourteen days is the prescribed period : as, however, a fate one cannot avoid should be borne with good grace, we unanimously resolved to enter the lazaretto within the shortest possible time. The twenty-first was at once fixed for the accomplishment of this indispensable and philanthropic incarceration. We had, therefore, only a [227] few hours to dispose of, to gain an idea of the Moldavian capital. Yassy, as before said, covers a considerable space with its streets and houses, abounding in gardens to a greater extent even than Bukharest. The general appearance of this city is pleasing ; the modern constructions recommend themselves by their tasteful style and clean exterior, not exhibited by any of the more ancient buildings. Some of the streets are wide and long, and in certain quarters a pavement has been sub- stituted for the expensive and uncomfortable boarding with which the public road was formerly covered. Here, as in Wallachia, the scarcity of material renders it almost impossible to build monuments of any importance ; and yet Yassy possesses several remarkable churches, and some houses belonging to rich Boyards, which present, the appearance of complete mansions, in perfect order. The external aspect of this city offers much fewer traces of the oriental style than that of Bukharest. True, the fire in 1829, by destroying the ancient edifices, made way for modern architecture, which in its forms has adopted the style prevalent in the neighbouring cities of New Russia. This capital had scarcely risen from its ashes, when, in 1829, it was desolated by contagious disease. Two years after, the cholera, that horrible rival of the plague, fell upon Yassy , decimating its population ; and yet it was under these Drying circumstances, amidst [228] death and destruction, that the seeds of political and social regeneration were emplanted in the Moldavian soil. But when such obstacles have been overcome, to what glory is not the conqueror entitled ! and when we see this flourishing town, with its streets daily growing more numerous, filled with intelligent and busy traders, we cannot fail to feel gratitude and respect for the author of so many benefits.

The principal street in this city is inhabited by a tribe of merchants, money-changers, brokers, and business people of all sorts — all children of Israel. These indefatigable traders are at Yassy, what they are every- where else, insensible to insult, and ardent in the pursuit of gain. In the ancient portion of the street a gallery, supported by slight wooden pillars, serves to shelter the shops ; here we see the Jews, seated at the threshold of their doors, eyeing wistfully the passing customer, and chinking a handful of rubles, to announce their vocation of money changers. Stuffs, woollen goods, and German and English hardware, furnish the shelves of these shops ; and, strange to say, a French library and reading-room have somehow strayed beneath this colonnade, so entirely usurped b the olumercc of Israel. Yassy is not rich iii eiiurches, lihe Bukharest; whether it be owing to the fact that the boyards of ancient times had fewer ill deeds to atone liar than those of Wallachia, or from [229] a deficiency of faith, the capital of Moldavia does not reckon a large number of religious edifices ; however, among those it does possess, there is one of remarkable elegance, and altogether too curious a monument to be passed over by the traveller. According to the custom of the country, it is surrounded by a spacious monastery, formerly fortified, and dedicated to three saints — St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Gregory the Theosophist. The church is constructed of fine stone, and surmounted by two slender turrets ; the entire face of the edifice is studded with arabesques, sculp- tured in relief upon each layer of stones, and admirably varied. Its narrow windows scarcely allow a few feeble gleams of light to penetrate into the interior, where they struggle for mastery with the sacred lamps burning night and day beneath the arches of its three naves. The gloomy walls of the sanctuary are covered with frescoes, remarkably primitive in style. This rich chapel, which was founded by the Voïevode Basil, about the year 1622, was once entirely gilt in the interior ; but in the time of the Tatar and barbarian incursions, it was three times subjected to fire and pillage ; added to which, in 1802, an earthquake reduced it almost entirely to ruins. The church of the three saints, Tresphetitili, as it is called in Yassy, formerly possessed a valuable treasure, some relics of which are still extant. One of the most curious of [230] these is, without gainsay, the collection of pictures em- broidered by the Princess 'I'heodosia, the wife of Basil, the pious founder of the church. Among these works, executed with wonderful perfection, is a portrait, the size of life, of the princess herself, the skilful artist who has thrown so life-like an air over these pictures wrought in gold, silk and velvet. Next to her is her son, the first- born of her twenty-seven children. The Boyard costume which appears in this naïf performance is much more akin to the Hungarian dress than the oriental. Within the rieil basilica of this church, the portrait of the voïevode was formerly preserved, but was removed by an unknown hand twenty years ago; if, however, this portrait of Prince Basil, owing to its intrinsic value, fell a victim to an. impious thief, there fortunately still remains intact a fresco, upon which the features of the voïevode may be contemplated in the midst of one of his most triumphant acts of devotion — when, his church being finished, he holds up the whole building in his left hand, presenting it to its three patrons, who are showering down their blessings from the arch of Heaven. Nor is this all; the temple once completed, Basil, in the ardour of his Christian zeal, resolved to sanctify it a second time. For a long period, the relies of San Venei anda had been in the profane possession of Lite Turks ; bat Basil found the means of rescuing [231] them from the hands of the infidels, and these venerated remains were brought in triumph into Christian land ; the Sultan himself condescending to escort them to the confines of the empire. Such, at least, is the pious legend illustrated by a painting in two compartments, hanging above the remarkably splendid shrine in which the relics are exposed to the faithful.

What more can be said of Yassy, where we passed so few and such fleeting hours ! It did not befal us, as in Bukharest, to be present at any of those private reunions, in which the true character of a society may be seized in the freedom of general intercourse. As far as we could judge from the persons who honoured us with visits, knowledge and education are not despised among them. The college, attended by young people of good family, is daily progressing. There are three printing establishments in Yassy, employing eleven presses, three of which are applied to the printing of Russian, French, and modern Greek. Within the last few years, a society of natural philosophy and medical science has been established, and its labours have already pro- duced a favourable effect on the intellectual advancement of the public. And, as though it had been generally con- certed to show us every mark of kindness and attention, this learned society, taking into consideration the scientific object of our expedition, did us the honour to present my [232] companions and myself with diplomas of foreign associates. A zoological collection, as yet not much advanced, is the object of the enlightened attention of the Government; and it is proposed to add to it a menagerie, so that there is every hope that Yassy will in a few years furnish its contingent to the great scientific association of Europe, and devote itself in turn to those noble studies which find in the countries of the East a subject of daily growing interest.

But we had soon taken leave of this city ; and after having crossed several steep hills, we perceived the sinuous course of the Pruth, and the twofold village of Skoulani — one Moldavian, the other Russian — divided into two by the stream, which now separates the prin- cipality from the territories of the empire. In this very spot, a few years since, was enacted a scene as touching as it was solemn : an entire people escorted General Kisseleff, amidst their blessings, back to the confines of Moldavia, of which he had been the guardian and saviour. When the temporary president left the Moldavian shore, he was followed by farewell benedictions, mingled with tears ; nor could he, as he gazed for the last time on the country whose welfare he had ensured, refrain from weeping. Precious tears were those ! springing from tw honest and devoted heart; — touching adieu of the soldier and the legislator, to the country of his [233] adoption, which he had served with his arm and with his counsels !

The authorities directing the quarantine had been apprised beforehand of our approach, and had prepared lodgings for us in the most melancholy of lazarettos. The sanitary establishment of Skoulani occupies a large space, on a low and damp tract, the level of which barely rises above that of the waters of the Pruth, flowing at no great distance from its walls, At the least rise in the waters, the quarantine is inundated ; and this had occurred a very few days before our arrival. Nine small buildings of clay, covered with cane, compose this lazaretto ; they are ranged round a spacious court- yard, in which a few cherry trees have been planted, Each house has a separate enclosure ; and the entrance is secured by a gate, made of planks : here the carriages are left in the open air, the horses remaining also without shelter. The houses consist only of one floor, which is damp and sandy ; they are divided into two or three small apartments, and are under the inspection of a keeper, an old soldier. We were quartered in three of these dens ; and each resigned himself, as best he could, to this hermit-like discipline.

Nothing is more favourable than this life of solitude, or rather of tedium, to labours which require some concentration of mind. Accordingly, it was impossible [234] any of us could be better disposed for study ; and we began to collect together our notes. The result of these labours, it appeared to me, would be most fittingly intro- duced at the time when we were leaving Moldavia, and entering the territory of the empire. Let us give a glance, therefore, at the country we have left behind; at its history, its condition — past, present, and (what shall prevent it?) to come.

The early history of Moldavia is linked in the closest manner with that of Wallachia, of which a few words were said in the foregoing chapter. Scythian, Sarmatian, Dacian, Roman, Barbarian, and lastly, Slavonian, by turns, Moldavia long shared the fate of the neighbouring province. For a long time forming but one body, they (lid not become twin sisters until the twelfth century. It will be remembered that a number of Tatar hordes, obedient to no law save pillage and devastation, had descended upon these countries, whose inhabitants had emigrated in thousands to Hungary, leaving the soil in the hands of the depredators. Two large colonies were formed by the fugitives, at Fagaratch, and at Mamaroch. The first was composed of the people who afterwards formed Wallachia ; the second consisted of emigrants from the eastern portion of the country, who subsequently became Moldavians. When the torrent of Tatars, sweeping over the principalities, had converted them into [235] a wilderness, they withdrew, and left the wasted fields at the disposal of their former possessors. These, however, would never have contemplated returning to their lost country, had not a fresh invasion, directed this time upon Hungary, driven them from their settlements. Batou-Khan and his Tatars, having fallen upon this kingdom, the dismayed colonists bethought them of their native land — the mountains of their forefathers ; and thither they bent their steps. While Rodolf the Black led back the settlers of Fagaratch into Wallachia, Bogdan, chief of the settlement at Mamaroch, directed his march to the country adjoining the Pruth ; and both taking the title of voïevode, which they submitted to the suzerainty of Hungary — following a policy commonly adopted by the oppressed — founded the two states, which since then have almost always remained separate one from the other.

About this period, Moldavia received its name from the river which flows through it — the Moldau : subse- quently, it was also designated by the name of Bogdania, in memory of Bogdan, its founder ; and even to this day it is thus called by the Turks.

For a long time the principalities struggled — now against Hungary, whose suzerainty weighed heavily sometimes on certain adventurous voïevodes ; now against the Porte, whose increasing pretensions roused their indignation. But when, in. 1320, the celebrated [236] battle of Mohacs delivered Hungary to the Mussulman yoke, Moldavia, enveloped in the same disaster, became tributary to the Sultan, and was forced into a treaty similar to that by which Wallachia was bound.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Moldavia, freed for a while from the dominion of the Porte,, fell beneath the oppressive hand of Sigismund of Tran- sylvania. This prince, then powerful and formidable, appointed voïevodes, and levied tributes. But Moldavia was soon forced to bend once more beneath the yoke of the Sultan, who punished her imprudent rebellion by exactions more extortionate than before. From this date commenced, for both the principalities, an era of indolence, uncertainty and discouragement. Although the voïevodes continued to be named by the boyards with a vain form of election, it was in reality by the Divan of Constantinople that these princes, the obedient vassals of the Porte, were chosen, and frequently, at its caprice, deprived of power and of life. This state of things long continued to prevail, and it was not till a comparatively recent period that a voïevode of Wallachia, Bessarab, a man of enterprise, but wanting in courage and perseverance, formed a league with Austria in the first instance, and subsequently with Russia, with the object of making war on the Turks. Bessarab, exposed to the vengeance of the Sultan, was on the point of [237] being drawn into a snare by a voievode of Moldavia whom the Divan had sent to Yassy on a mission of death, when it fell out that this voievode himself, by name Demetrius Cantimir, followed the example of Bessarab, and even exceeded it ; for, less irresolute than that prince, he delivered up the capital of Moldavia to Peter the Great. This might, perhaps, have proved a decisive blow to the Ottoman power, but the Russians were obliged to desist from their designs. Bessarab, by a fresh act of treason, suddenly yielded submission to the Sultan, and, as we had occasion to mention else- where, forfeited his life to his ill-timed wavering. The other voievode had found time to fly from the fate which awaited him, and had sought a refuge in Russia.

From this time, Moldavia shared in every respect the destiny of the neighbouring principality. In common with Wallachia, and to a greater extent perhaps, she was exposed to the oppression of Turkey, and to the ill- usage of its pashas. Subsequently, to the end of the last century, however, the protection of Russia effected by degrees some amendment of this deplorable state of things. Each new treaty signed by our Empire with the Porte ensured some fresh guarantee favourable to the condition of the principalities.

The progress was slow, it is true ; for it was dependent on political events, and impeded by misadventures of [238] every kind which several times threw the question back to its original conditions. But notwithstanding so many calamities, despite the fatal insurrection of Ypsilanti, who had taken up arms in the very church of the Tres- phetitili, which we have described — an insurrection the consequences of which were incalculably fatal to Mol- davia — there was yet a sensible amelioration up to the Treaty of Adrianople, which gave a decided impulse to the present and future improvement of these countries.

What Moldavia was previous to this epoch, and what she is in the present day under her new legitimate government — such is the interesting picture which the useful documents I have mentioned enable me to trace.

Long before the campaign of 1822, Moldavia was still subject to a system of rule in which nothing was regular, nothing stable, and which exhibited the reckless- ness and rapacity ever accompanying an ill-established government. The unavoidable ascendancy of the suzerain power, and the influence of the neighbouring pashas manifested themselves through the vain forms of a Christian administration. Moldavia was bound to supply the capital of the Ottoman Empire with timber for building purposes, live stock and corn, at prices little better than arbitrary. It was the master himself who stated beforehand at what price these contributions [239] should be supplied, and having once fixed the price according to its gracious pleasure and rapacity, the Porte let loose its commissaries, who forcibly purchased all the merchandise subject to the tariff.

The maintenance of order in the interior was confided to the Turkish guards (bechlis) stationed in all the towns, to the great injury of the unfortunate people whom they were supposed to protect. The fortresses occupied by the Ottoman garrisons on the left bank of the Danube, exercised their influence exclusively over a more or less extended a circle, and overwhelmed the inhabitants with their extortions. The internal government was animated by no principles of protection and guardianship ; a tem- porary Hospodar, foreign to the manners and usages of the country, ruled it according to his gracious pleasure. The necessity of propitiating, by numerous presents, the good-will of the Porte, and of its pashas, and the uncertain tenure of their power, imposed upon these princes the necessity of taking every possible advantage of their ephemeral authority. It is astonishing, that even under the degrading influence of such a position, they should from time to time have founded the few durable institutions which honour the memory of some among them. But with the exception of these rare benefits, their absolute authority was only tempered by the participation of the bovards in public affairs, an impotent counterpoise, for these almost always, for the [240] sake of a share in the disorderly largesses of the prince, made themselves the docile tools of his will.

The form of the government was as follows : — A vestiar, or minister of finances, united the financial department with the administration of the interior; a postelnich was charged with the relations with the consuls, the pashas and the Porte ; two governors, placed over each district, exercised the administrative, judicial and executive functions. Law suits were decided in appeal byr the Assembly of liovards, frequently presided over by the prince, but observing no forms of proceeding. M-orcover, there was nothing to prevent each suit being continually renewed with every successive Hospodar. The expeditious mode adopted in settling all affairs, whether administrative or judicial, was fettered by no special rules or formalities ; and, properly speaking, there existed neither archives, records, nor exchequer. Vexatious im- posts abounded under a thousand pretexts. The total amount of the poll tax was first assessed to each district, according to its population ; and afterwards the governors of each district could subdivide it in what proportion they chose among the communes.

A second direct impost, under the name of rassours, sup- plied the emoluments of the servants of the government. The inhabitants were, moreover, subjected to indirect taxes, under the designatoin of rassoumats ; these were taxes on bee hives. sheep, pigs, tobacco and vineyards Carriage, [241] weights and measures and distilleries were also subject to special taxes ; and besides this, as though in mockery of the groaning tax-payers, several localities were subject to certain exceptional dues, confirmed if not justified by time. The following tables will give an idea of the financial position of the country at this disastrous period.

For the Year 1827, before the entering of the Russian troops.

Piastres. Asp.   Piastres. Asp
Impost on villagers. 984,386 60  Part of impost paid
On mazils and  yearly to the rassour
rouptaches. 73,741 "  fund. 25,000 "
On shops and taverns.112,000 "  Revenue of Botochani
On patents. 51,592 "  received by the
On tavern-keepers. 18,190 "  princess.56,800 "
Roupts of the vestiary 38,036 "  Arrears of revenue,
Foreigners' Patents. 13,074 "  called gragedika, from


 the year 1827,
Estimated revenue of  discovered and paid after
salt mines 212,060 "  the entry of the
Revenue of the district  Russian troops.40,25727
of Botochani, received  Salaries paid by the
by the princess 56,800 "  rassour fund. 1,079,51881
Rassours 741,829 87  For the Post 300,739 "
Estimated revenue from  Money given by
the post establish-  command of the prince,
ments 300,739 "  according to orders
Duty on sheep, 87,905  signed by him, viz.,
Do. on hives  surplus appropriated
and pigs...87,470  by the prince, or
Do. on vines. 300,000758,110  according to his orders 1,863,26339
Customs .... 208,950
Duty on
distillery .... 73,785



Piast. Asp.
Impost paid quarterly 12 "
Rassours 4 60
Tax for the maintenance of post houses 4"
Oragedika and rassoumats 7 90
Expended for penalties called tribotés 3"
Forced labour, estimated value of 40"



The collection of taxes so complicated gave rise, it may be easily believed, to a multitude of abuses ; as the produce of the imposts was paid into the prince's treasury, who rendered account of it to no one. Moreover, the peasant was subject to loans in kind, to requisitions for the postal relays and for the prince's stables — and lastly, to every exaction it pleased the inferior agent to inflict.

The condition of the tax-payer, of which this enumeration, in some respects imperfect, may furnish an idea, was aggravated by the exemptions and immunities granted to several classes of inhabitants, and by privileges accumulated upon influential Boyard families. These unjust immunities rose to a total amount, sufficiently imposing to render a tabular statement of them interesting, now that such a state of things is a mere matter of history.

The classes enjoying exemption from taxes under the dynasty of the Greek Princes were numerous. It was sufficient that a member of any family was employed in one of the following branches of the public service, [243] to free the entire family. Each district accordingly contained an ample number of the exempt of all classes. No impost could be levied on the families of persons connected in whatever way with —

The Ispravnitzv of the District ; The Postal service ;
The Vestiary ;The Frontier Guard ;
The Captainries ;The Timber Purveyors ;
The Service of the Hetmans ; The Charcoal Burners ;
The Mounted Police ;The Postillions.
The Service of the Salt-Works ;

The district of Yassy, and the administration of the city, carried the privilege of immunities still further. Beside the classes above specified, exemption was extended to :

Persons in the service of the Exchequer ;Persons in the Public Health Department ;
Persons in the service of the Divan ;Carters in the service of the Court ;
The Guards of the Pruth ;Labourers, ditto ;
The Firemen ;Custom-house Officers ;
The Water Carriers ;Cabinet Makers ;
The Inspectors of Fountains ;Masons.
The Couriers ;

The result of this short-sighted and iniquitous dis- tinction, granted for trifling services, was, that the hard-working classes of the people were cruelly oppressed, while in the sixteen districts the number of exempted families amounted to 7,985 ; making, if we take five [244] as the average number in each family, 39,925 invidualsplaced among the privileged class, at the expense of the labourer. Nor was this all.

Independently of these privilges, already so exorbitant,it had become customary that a Boyard shouldpossess the right of exempting from taxes a numberof individuals proportionate to the rank he held. Theseunhappy privileged individuals were called socotelniks,and were distributed in the following proportions:

Number of
Exempt due
to each class.
Number of


Grand Logothetes 80            Serdars 14
Vornicks 80            Stolniks 12
Hetmans 80            Medelnitzers 9
Vestiars 80            Clouteheres 8
Postelniks 80            Souldiers 6
Agas 40            Pilars 5
Spattars 40            Chatrars 3
Banos 25            Giknitzers 4
Comisses 22            2nd Spattars 8
Caminars 20            3rd Vestiars 8
Paharniks 16           


Socotelniks were also granted to the Metropolitan, to the Bishops, and to some other persons of distinction.

Thus overwhelmed with dues and exactions, harassedon all sides, exposed at one and the same time tothe oppression of the Turks, to the ravages of theplague, to the requisitions of the government, and to [245] the tyranny of the land-owners, the Moldavian peasant was deprived even of hope — the last consolation of the wretched. Property — that safeguard of nations — was uncertain in its tenure, and frequently changed hands, while the facility of protracting law suits perpetuated private hostilities among the citizens. ' The instability of the government, and the uncertainty of the future, prevented all useful and durable enterprise. The public mind remained dark and degraded, industry was stifled, trade obstructed ; and thus, while all its neigh- bours were marching forward, this unfortunate land of Moldavia continued fixed in its misery and bondage.

At length the Treaty of Adrianople put an end to all these evils. The fundamental stipulations of this fortunate truce, the results of which were to prove of such immense importance to Moldavia, extended equally to Wallachia, and were — the election of native Hospodars, appointed for life ; the evacuation of the fortresses, till then occupied by the Turks, on the left bank of the Danube ; the restoration to its legitimate possessors of the land included within the circle of the aforesaid fortresses ; the abolition of supplies at arbitrary prices ; the prohibition against any Mahomedan establishing himself on the Moldavian territory ; the institution of a quarantine on the Danube ; the establishment of an armed force ; and lastly, the adoption of an organic [246] code, based upon the principle of an independent administration of internal affairs.

This organic code, voted by the assembly of the Boyards, became the depôt in which the guarantees of Moldavian nationality were organised, and received their required extension. The ever to be revered adminis- tration of Kisseleff, the guardian genius of the princi- palities, soon rendered its application possible ; and the governments continue in the present day to march forward according to the wise traditions he has left.

We will sketch, in a few words, the mechanism and effects of this new government.

The constitutional system which the treaties conferred uu the principalities, may be summed up thus :

The administrative and judicial functions are separate. The administrative department is confided to a council composed of the logothetes, chief of the department of the interior ; of the vestiar, or chief of the department of finances ; and of the postelnik, or secretary of state at the head of foreign affairs.

The direction of judicial affairs is in the hands of the logothetes of the department of justice.

The hetman is chief of the army.

The office of logothetes of the interior embraces all that belongs to the administration, properly so called : the police, municipalities, measures to ensure a proper [247] supply of food, the superintendence of quarantines, the maintenance of roads, and the registration of civil acts, are within his province.

In the province of the vestiar are classed the collection of taxes, the management of public accounts, the public farms, and the development of commerce generally.

The postelnik corresponds with the consular agents, manages all that refers to the interests of foreign subjects, and draws up all the acts emanating from the prince or the council.

The council assemble on certain days to transact the affairs of government.

The logothetes of the department of justice superin- tends judicial affairs. He is the organ through which the prince communicates with the tribunals, and vice versa ; he submits to the prince his observations on the defects of certain forms, as well as all judgments delivered in last resort, which have to be approved by the signature of the sovereign.

These fundamental arrangements have given rise to a number of important institutions, of which we shall enumerate the chief.

The districts, formerly to the number of sixteen, were reduced to thirteen by a recent and more judicious sub- division. Each district is governed by an officer, called an ispravnik, who receives from the members of the [248] council orders relative to the respective departments of each. A receiver of taxes resides in the district, repre- senting the interests of the public treasury; and a tribunal of first resort is established. Each district is divided into several arrondissements, generally five or six; and a subordinate functionary presides over each, under the title of superintendent.

The police service of the interior is performed by a corps of gendarmes, organised since the introduction of the constitution, under the name of stougitors. They are 1,200 in number ; 266 are employed in the city of Massy, and in the service of different administrations, and 934 are distributed over the districts, under the orders of the ispravniks and the superintendents ; they .are maintained chiefly at the expense of the communes.

The police of the city of Yassy has been organised on a more regular footing; a commissary watches over each of the four sections of the city, and has three subordinate officers under his orders. Thanks to the revenue of the municipality, a brigade of 100 firemen has been formed, and this useful establishment has given continued proofs of courage and discipline.

Since the organisation of the stougitors, the depreda- tions by armed robbers, an evil of which we have before spoken, have ceased to afflict the rural districts. The noajority of these brigands were foreigners — generally the most frequent, the number of prisoners never exceeded 200 ; nor, on the other hand, did it ever fall below 100. Thanks to the new system of things, the number is reduced to from 30 to 60. The allowance for the main- tenance of this prison is 30,000 piastres per annum.

Remainder of convicted persons
from preceding year7560 168 182 84 48
Malefalcfactors arrested during the







Condemned to capital punishment.... 1 105.. ..
,, the salt mines 124 112 133 5619.. 18
,, public works 76 93 101 70.... 57
,, transportation .. 23 62 27..7
,, imprisonment in mo-4597....6
,, simple imprisonment......6......
Liberated on bail 195 164 180 227......
Acquitted ......108....106

Another prison at the mines, and two houses of detention before trial, at Yassy, complete the prison orga- nisation ; the whole number of penal establishments in Moldavia amounting to 17.

One of the finest institutions with which the new form of government has endowed Moldavia, is, without gainsay, that of the municipalities. Their number was at first limited to six principal towns ; but others soon demanded a similar benefit. At present, Yassy, Galatz, Fokschany, Birlatou, Botochani, Bakeou and Tirgou- Fourmosse are in the enjoyment of this institution. The municipal councils are elected yearly, by the principal inhabitants of each town. The revenues of the com- munes consist chiefly of an entrance duty on fermented and spirituous liquors, and tobacco. These revenues, of which we subjoin a comparative statement, afford a very efficacious support to the progressive movement and ameliorations which had become necessary to the town. The paving and lighting of the streets ; the preventive measures against fire ; the construction of several stone bridges ; are all improvements which could never have been introduced, but for the municipal revenues.

YEAR 1833. YEAR 1834. YEAR 1835. YEAR 1836. YEAR 1837.
Revenue. Expenditure. Revenue. Expenditure. Revenue. Expenditure. Revenue, Expenditure. Revenue. Expenditure.
piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres. piastres.
Botochani 53,351 48,447 56,622 39,219 65,131 46,525 80,319 42,316 120,001 47,432
Romano 28,172 19,689 31,554 20,587 28,428 28,424 17,463 18,827 26,406 23,384
Fokschani 37,147 38,521 44,967 42,186 55,624 45,999 54,224 36,595 68,927 32,739
Galatz 84,535 59,570 97,861 81,679 73,906 48,402 90,526 53,061 113,037 59,686
Birlatou 23,333 13,733 30,844 22,065 33,501 25,604 27,957 14,943 31,959 21,174
Yassy 202,914 241,148 206,364 235,208 306,925 374,769 353,219 284,558 456,024 424,423

It may be again mentioned here, that the piastre, the monetary unit of Moldavia, is equivalent, at the average rate of exchange, to 0 fr. 36,74 c. French. We have given at length, in the preceding chapter, the calculations on which this evaluation is based.


Moldavia being hitherto a purely agricultural country, the public welfare must necessarily depend chiefly on the abundance and good quality of the harvests. The dearth which prevailed during the period from 1831 to 1835, by demonstrating the necessity for some system of regulations with respect to the supply of food, turned the attention of the government to agricultural produce ; so that, by a fortunate compensation, this visitation powerfully contributed to develop the cultivation of corn. Abundance soon succeeded, and prices fell to a tenth of their former-rate ; but that which will in future insure a proper supply of food to the consumers, and preserve them from the enormous prices to which corn rose in times of dearth, is the establishment of reserved stores. Each commune possesses its store of grain, to which every villager is bound to contribute, immediately after the harvest, five bushels of Indian corn, which are to remain untouched for a space of three years. At the expiration of this term, the peasant is allowed to withdraw the deposit made by him four years before ; and in this manner the stores always contain a quantity equal to the deposits of three years. By such wise precautions, the public is ensured against a sudden scarcity, and against an exorbitant increase in the price of food.

We insert here a comparative view of the amount of grain sown in the principality, at two different periods, [253] in order to show the benefits resulting from the new government. We have added some of the notions prevailing in Moldavia, as to the relative amount of produce to be obtained in agriculture.

1832. 1833. OBSERVATIONS,
Wheat and Rye . 137,634 343,156 This table has been formed from a
Barley and Oats . 90,368 145,346 statement using the Moldavian measure
Maize 120,299 155,794called kilo. The figures have been
Millet 3,869 5,885 converted into the French decimal system,
Buckwheat 4,956 19,472 taking the Moldavian kilo as equal to
Potatoes 31,762 66,665Russian tchetverts, or 5 12 hectolitres.

Taking the average produce of the various qualities of soil in Moldavia, the harvests of these two years may be estimated as follows : —

1832. 1833.
hectol. hectol.
Wheat and Rye . 1,238,706 3,088,404
Barley and Oats . 903,680 1,453,460
Maize 4,811,960 6,231,760
Millet 154,760 235,400
Buckwheat 173,460 681,520
Potatoes 317,620 666,650
The following average rates of produce have been taken :
Wheat and Rye. 9 for 1
Barley and Oats 10 — 1
Maize 40 — 1
Millet 40 — 1
Buckwheat .. .. 35 — 1
Potatoes 100 — 1

The establishment of a quarantine on the Danube, is another remarkable benefit of this new order of things. Many a time has the scourge of contagion met with a salutary check from this vigilant institution. Quarantine is fixed at Galatz ; it is under the protection of the militia, and consists of a sanitary committee, composed of the inspector-general of the lazarettos of both prin- cipalities, of the chief of the department of the interior, of the hetman, and of the principal physician.

The public medical service, which is under the inspection of the board of health, comprises one head physician, four doctors, who have each a division of Yassy for their practice, another placed at the hospital of St. Spiridon, and several surgeons ; besides these, there are doctors employed by government in the principal district towns, who, in their respective range of inspection, leave no part of the country unvisited.

The making and mending of the public roads is at the expense of the communes, a fixed sum being assigned for this purpose of about 75,000 piastres ; this sum, it may well be conceived, is but very insuffi- cient for the keeping up of regular roads, the soil of Moldavia being of such a nature as to require a very expensive system. The sum allotted, therefore, only suffices for the repair of the roads within a short distance of towns and villages ; and even this, in the rainy season, it is in vain to attempt.


The annual sum of 125,000 piastres is granted for the paving of the town of Yassy ; but this sum proving insufficient to renew the pavement, proprietors of houses situated in the streets are called upon to contribute, during seven years, in proportion to the space occu- pied by their houses in the street intended to be paved.

Before the introduction of this regulative system, which tends to give new life to these countries, the principal establishments of public service, deprived by the unhappy state of the times of any permanent or adequate resources, were given up to mere chance ; their poverty rendered them inefficient. This regulative organisation assigned to each branch of public adminis- tration a fixed and certain revenue. These endow- ments are designated Benevolent Funds ; they are four in number, and each is directed by three or four Boyards, selected by the prince, to whom the title of curator is given.

The meeting of the curators, presided over by the metropolitan, forms the council of Benevolent Funds. The first is that for the schools : it has four curators, and its revenues amount to 400,000 piastres ; it is directed to public instruction. I here insert a table of the comparative condition of this department.

DAY SCHOLARS AT THE SCHOOLS OFIn 1832. In 1834. In 1838.
Yassy 225 515 472
Fokschani 33 68 93
Birlatou60 100 66
Galatz 44 61 85
Houche 45 58 80
Romano 32121 37
Botochani 7662103



Bursers to the College 255064
Boarders ..2450
Institution for young girls...7072
Town schools ....66




The second Benevolent Fund, is that for the hospital established in the monastery of Saint Spiridon. This institution has a special revenue. It is governed by three curators, and can receive 200 patients.

The Fund for almsgiving is directed by the metropolitan curator. It is endowed by the vestiary with a revenue of 72,000 piastres.

Lastly, the fund for the waterworks is applied to the repair of the aqueducts and fountains ; at present it has no curator, for the repairs are done by agreement, at [257] the cost of 50,000 piastres, which constitute the revenue of this fund.

The assembly of curators forms, as I have said before, the central committee, whose object is to control the revenue and outlay of each of these funds, to propose measures for general improvement and economy. and to maintain the observance of the statutes which regulate the management of these funds for the public service. The head of the department of the Interior acts as the medium of communication between the central committee. whether with the prince, or the General Assembly.

The mode of taxation, and the rate of tax, have varied essentially since the introduction of the new system. All the ancient dues, loans in kind, and statute labour, were simultaneously abolished, and replaced by the single tax of 30 piastres upon every family, and. by a patent duty upon every merchant and artisan, of from 60 to 240 piastres. For the proper collection of this tax, the new regulation provides that a census of the classes liable to the tax, be drawn out every seven years, and that during that period all increase diminution in the inhabitants of a commune shall be to the advantage or charge of that commune. The first census look place during 1831, and the oral occurred in 1837. The sum assessed to each commune being fixed unalterably, according to the number of its families, noted down [258] on the census sheet, the tax is levied by the commune itself, each family being rated according to the number of cattle possessed by them. Every commune has, in addition, a common fund, to which each family is obliged to subscribe one-tenth of the poll-tax, or three piastres er annum ; by means of this contribution, is made up.

The revenue and expenses of the state, mentioned further on, will occupy a special table. The accounts are conducted in the following manner : the vestiar, at the close of every month, presents to the council of administration a summary of the general state of his receipts and outlay ; this is forwarded to the controller for examination, who, adding thereto his observations, when required, submits it to the council ; after which, the result of this examination is handed up to the general assembly, and becomes subject to a final revision.

The rights and reciprocal duties of proprietors and of cultivators have been regulated by a law ; the aim of this law was, in the first place, to fix the relations between landlords and peasants on a just foundation of reciprocity, and also to give the villager, till then bound to remain on the same glebe, the right of [259] transferring his dwelling from one place to another, according as his own interests demanded. This pri- vilege of transporting his household goods to the place of his own choice, was doubtless a great benefit conferred on the Moldavians. The villager is entitled by law to a space of 10 pragins, or 360 square toises, for his house and vegetable garden ; a faltosh and-a-half, or 4,320 square toises of arable land ; 40 pragins, or 1,440 square toises of meadow, and 20 pragins, or 720 square toises of pasture land ; each peasant receives, moreover, for each yoke of oxen employed by him 60 pragins, or 2,160 toises of meadow, and the same of pasturage, in addition to the allowances above stated*. In return for all these advantages, and this extent of land, the peasant is required to give up to his land- lord twelve days labour, and to perform carriage, for from eight to sixteen hours, or in two turns, at an interval of from one to eight hours. Each peasant gives, moreover, annually four days labour, but this time on his own land ; and consequently he is himself profited by the work. Such are the principal provisions of this protecting law; and many peasants would be contented with a similar lot in countries which are held to be in *Supposing a Moldavian to be equal to a Russian toise, or about two metres, a peasant possessing one :olio of oxen would be entitled to an extent of land equal to 450 hectares. [260] a more advanced condition. By a further provision of this law, however, it frequently happens that the landlord makes additions or retrenchments in these conditions, with the consent of the farmer, and these agreements have the force of law.

Before speaking of the army and the judicial organi- sation, it is essential that we should give an idea of one of the fundamental institutions established by the con- stitution, namely, the ordinary Assembly General.

This assembly is composed of :
The metropolitan, who is the president;
Of two bishops, the diocesans of Romano and of Houche ;

Of sixteen Bavards, chosen from the several degrees of rank, from the l.ogothetes to the haw), inclusively. These magistrates must be natives of the country, at least thirty years of age, and domiciled in the city of Yassy : these qualifications are required of Boyards in the capital, to become electors or eligible.

There are also thirteen members from the districts, elected by the landed proprietors of each district ; these must be Boyards or sons of Boyards, at least thirty years of age, but in the districts it is not required that the electors should be more than twenty-five years of age.

The metropolitan and the two bishops are, by their own [261] right, members of the Assembly ; the sixteen Boyards of Yassy are appointed by the electors of the capital ; the sixteen Boyards from the districts, by the electors of each district. The Assembly thus constituted lasts for five years; it is convoked on the 1st of December in each year, to examine the accounts. of the vestiary and of the two benevolent funds ; to appoint the holders of public farms ; and to participate in the enactment of such public measures as exceed the limits of an administrative ordinance. The legal duration of the session is limited to two months, but it is generally prolonged beyond this period. The prince, by a message addressed to the Assembly, proclaims the opening or close of the session.

The establishment of a disciplined army dates also from the enactment of the constitution. The army is supplied by recruits and volunteers ; it is commanded by the hetman, assisted by a general staff, and consists of one regiment, half infantry and half cavalry. According to the present state of the army, this regiment is com- posed of a battalion and a squadron ; a superior officer marches at the head ; the battalion is commanded by a major, and the squadron by a captain. The army costs the state a yearly suns of 650,000 piastres, and this excludes the prince's staff, the maintenance of which absorbs 80,000 piastres. A portion of the troops aye [262] garrisoned in Yassy, but the greater part are stationed along the sanitary cordon of the Danube, and at the principal points of the Moldavian frontier. A detach- ment is posted over the salt mines, in which the convicts work.

The administration of justice is organised on an entirely iiew footing. Tribunals of the first resort have been es- tablished in all the chief towns of the district ; two courts of appeal and a criminal court are held at Yassy, and a commercial tribunal at Galatz ; lastly, under the desig- nation of princely divan, a supreme court pronounces judgment in final appeal. The district tribunals take cognizance of all civil, commercial and criminal affairs ; their competence does not extend beyond cases involving a value of 1,500 piastres, and an appeal is open on furnishing security to the amount of 20 per cent. The competence of the appeal courts, and of the tribunal of commerce, is limited to a value of 20,000 piastres ; and their judgments may be appealed from, on fur- nishing security. It is equally requisite to furnish security, whatever the importance of the case may be, whenever the judgment of the court of appeal confirms that of the inferior tribunal. From the princely divan, or supreme court, there is no appeal ; its decrees are confirmed by the prince, who either presides in person, or is represented by a substitute.


Together with this new system of judicial administra- tion, the constitution has prescribed forms of proceeding, of which there had previously been no notion. By these means, as rational as they are productive of expedition, it has been possible to introduce some order and lucidity into the endless accumulation of suits which, under the neglect of former governments, threatened to become eternal.

Such were the principal reforms introduced in 1832 ; they embrace, it will be observed, the entire system of relations between the government and its subjects; and they have proved to Moldavia the commencement of a new and prosperous era.

It was in the course of the year 1834, that the provisional government appointed by Russia was suc- ceeded by that of a native prince. A period of two years had sufficed to General Kisseleff to make the inhabitants of the country understand and feel the happy results of the reform over which he presided ; and to develope, in all their effects, the principles of law and order which have been substituted for the arbitrary power and abuses of the old government. Thus could this man, fortunate as he was wise, behold, ere his departure, the benedictions of the two principalities fall upon his labours, and the public weal firmly established and de- fended by the guarantees with which he had been careful [264] to surround it ; and on finally departing, he left noble, indeed, was the parting token — the vestiary, the public coffers, and the municipalities, in the most flourishing condition. The army, whose existence dated only three years back, by its discipline and orderly appearance, seemed to call into question the recency of its organisation ; the quarantine, conducted and protected with zeal and honesty, could already claim to be ranked with the most ancient establishments of the kind. Com- merce, delivered from all obstructions, had taken an extension until then unknown ; and the capital, which began to be employed in various useful enterprises, imparted a sensible progressive movement to the wealth of the country. It is certainly true that several elements of prosperity which the new form of administration con- ferred on Moldavia did not bear their fruits till a later period ; but time alone can determine the value of new institutions.

Those principles of order and prosperity which had been implanted by General Kisseleff, his successor had to put into practice by degrees, as the growing resources of the new government came to his assistance ; and effectually every year a certain degree of progress is shown, in the reports of the government to the Assembly of Bovards, to have been effected.

Agriculture, the produce of which has been so abundant, [265] that, in spite of a most active exportation, there has frequently occurred a surplus, is beginning to give place to other branches of industry, which will give an impetus to the commerce of' the interior, now threatened with stagnation.

The year 1837, signalised by an incredible degree of activity, witnessed the most extensive cultivation of land, the improvement of the breed of cattle, the introduction of merino sheep ; and lastly, an essay, though as yet but a timid one, at establishing several small manufactories, such as paper-mills, potteries, &c.

The following account of the value of imports and exports, although it must be looked upon as extremely incomplete, will, however, bear witness to the progress in the industry and activity of the country.

Exports. Imports.
piast. piast.
In 1832 ... 11,862,430 13,612,947
1833 ... 12,262,356 18,307,732
1834 ... 12,386,104 14,515,1 17
1835 ... 13,271,497 11,812,518
1836 ... 18,953,772 14,217,393
1837 ... 17,353,611 10,878,021

The progressive increase in the revenue, from the farming out of the customs, and from the export duties on cattle and corn, bears a natural relation with the progress of commerce. The districts situated near Galatz principally export corn, tallow, skins, wax and wines ; those adjoining the Austrian frontier trade in cattle, and [266] carry on several distilleries of brandy, the residue from which is used to fatten the cattle, which they export. It may be stated, without exaggeration, that from fifty to sixty thousand head of cattle are sent out of Moldavia annually. In short, the produce of this fertile soil, compared with the rate of purchase of land, may be estimated, in the present state of things, at seven or eight per cent.

We cannot conclude these statements more appro- priately, than by a table of the comparative revenue and expenditure of the principality at certain given periods ; and finally, of the septennial census, taken according to the law, and upon which the new resources of the country will be based.

OF 1834.OF 1839.
Poll- tax on villagers
" " persons without fixed domicile
" " mazils, and roupteches
" " patented foreigners 5,239,2756,161,985
" " Jew tavern keepers and others
" " patented merchants, and artisans
" " Tsigans of the State
Farming of Salt-works 850.000 765,000
" " Customs 466,990 898,128
" " Export duty on cattle 322,717 567,000
Tax on foreigners 60,000 20,000
Contributions of monasteries, per mein. 450,000 .. ..
" " metropolitan diocese and bishoprics 60,000 60,000
Passport duty 12,00012,000
Duty on Tallow 10,5007,843


of 1831. of 1838.
Tribute to the Porte ..740,000
Civil list of the Prince 800,0001,200,000
Salaries of public servants and functionaries 1,962,0682,132,236
Salary of agent at Constantinople 60,00080,000
Rent of houses 50,00060,000
Lighting and firing for offices 60,00060,000
Maintenance of stougitors in the service of public departments and tribunals . 538,700327,370
Maintenance of army 650,000730,000
" " quarantine 100,000120,000
" " postal establishments 412,000442,000
Postal expenses for public service 85,00075,000
Indemnity to socotelniks and pensions 1,000,0001,1100,000
Repair of public roads 25,00075,000
Maintenance of schools 200,000200,000
" " the seminary 60,00060,000
Pavement of Passy 125,000125,000
Maintenance of medical service 80,000100,000
" " prisoners 50,00030,000
" " fountains and water-works 50,00050,000
Indemnity to the Hospital of St. Spiridon 21,00021,000
Contribution to the alms fund 72,00072,000
Extraordinary expenses 80,000100,000
Expenses of census ..150,000


7,949,606 (*)
(*) — One-tenth of the salaries of public servants is also devoted to the schools, which brings the amount allowed for public instruction to 400,000 piastres.

A census, taken conformably with the law at the end of the year 1837, will give us a notion of the variation of the population of Moldavia during the last six years. This calculation, however, is insufficient to give the exact amount of the population of the [268] principality, as it scarcely includes more than the families who are subject to the tax. It is to be remarked, that in Moldavia, as in Wallachia, an important portion of the population, under various pretexts, still enjoy an exemption from taxation, often productive of sad results. We have already mentioned to what an extent, under the preceding system, the abused extension of these immunities is opposed to the prosperity of the provinces. How much is it to be regretted, that such a wise reform should have stopped short in so good a path, and that equal taxation — the only equality possible at such a time — was not proclaimed in these beautiful provinces ! Here is, however, a list of the privileged- :

Boyards ;
Public Servants of all ranks ;
The Clergy, and all employed in the service of Churches ;
Persons in the employ of the Boyards ;
Strangers whose sojourn is not authorised.

Some other classes enjoy, besides, the privilege of con- ferring, in certain cases, the right of exemption. For example — all proprietors on whose estates less than two hundred families are maintained, have the right to exempt from taxes two families out of every ten ; if the property contains a greater number of inhabitants, the exemption then applies to only one-tenth of the families.


The stougitors — the gendarmes of the country — cause three families to participate in the exemption. Every soldier on active duty exempts by right one family. Finally, infirm persons and invalids are excused from all contribution.

Hence it follows that the classes on whom devolves the weight of the taxes, is limited to these :

1st. Patented merchants and artisans, taxed from 60 to 240 piastres a year ;

2nd. The collateral descendants of privileged families, designated mazils, rouptaches, and rouptes of the vestiary, paying an annual tax of 30 piastres ;

3rd. The inhabitants of villages, taxed at 30 piastres a-year, besides an assessment of one-tenth, payable to the commune ;

4th. Persons without a fixed habitation contributing a poll-tax of 10 piastres ;

5th. Foreigners dwelling in the country rated annually at 15 piastres ;

6th. Jews carrying on the trade of tavern-keepers in the villages, 60 piastres ;

7th. Finally, the Tsigans of the state, paying 38 piastres a-year.

Having stated these facts, we now give the result of the general census of families liable to taxes, as taken in 1838 : —

Name of the district. Chief Towns. Population liable to contribution.
Dorohoi Michaïleni12,946
Botochani Botochani 18,073
Souczava Falticheni 11,082
Niamtzo Piatre 15,018
Romano Romano 12,933
Bakéo Bakéo 23,230
Poutna Fokschani 21,746
Tecoutz Tecoutz 14,211
Covourloni Galatz 10,312
Toutova Birlatou 13,881
Vasloui Vasloui 13,768
Fattchi Houche 10,628
Yassy Yassy 22,693
Total of taxed families
If we adopt the calculation in use in Moldavia, which makes five the average number of each family, the entire population will be represented by 1 ,002,605
As all data are wanting, however, by which a notion could be formed as to the number of individuals — of course, very considerable — which the present state of the law exempts from contributing to the public expenses, we shall not attempt any estimate ; especially as, up to the present day, the official documents have presented no numerical statement of any importance, as to these privileged classes.
It may be deduced, however, from this very incomplete information, that Moldavia, since 1832, has witnessed a very considerable in- crease in the number of its tax-payers ; at that period the census stated the number of families at 165,685 — making 828,425
This exhibits an increase of 174,180

Since the establishment of civil registers, the number of births and deaths in the principalities may be ascertained. The following table shows that each year there is a notable excess in favour of the births. This surplus presents an average of 9,769 births per annum, with the exception of the year 1833, signalised by the passage of the cholera. There can be no doubt that the better condition of the people, owing to the new state of things, is the cause of this increase of population.

Boys. Girls. Total. Men. Women. Total.
1832 12,809 11,096 23,965 11,012 7,238 6,121 13,359
1833 12,122 10,293 22,415 7,784 11,893 10,768 22,661
1834 12,725 11,530 24,255 9,035 9,045 8,270 17,315
1835 13,024 10,712 23,736 7,260 7,497 6,324 13,821
1836 13,782 11,722 25,504 7,367 6,860 6,016 12,906
1837 12,601 11,341 23,942 8,909 6,089 5,543 11,632

It does not result from any observations made by us, that the physical constitution of Moldavia presents any [272] remarkable difference from that of the neighbouring prin- cipality : the same chain of mountains forms the western boundary of the two countries ; and if, indeed, it has been noted that the winters are more severe at Yassy than at Bukharest, this difference is explained by the respective latitudes of the two capitals. Moldavia has experienced more frequently those shocks of earthquake which occasionally visit these regions.

The Moldavians are robust, temperate, hard-working, and inured to the most opposite extremes of temperature. Their features differ from those of the Wallachian people : their countenances are less open ; and the habit they have preserved, of wearing their beards and hair long, gives an almost savage expression to their physiognomy, to such a degree, that at a distance they might be taken for those primitive statues of the Sarmatians to be seen in museums of antiquity, mementos of the triumphs of Rome over the barbarian. Among the Wallachians, on the contrary, we meet with a larger development of stature, and a greater amount of beauty. As though more deeply impressed with the nomadic habits of their ancestors, the Moldavians more frequently perform long journeys on foot than their neighbours. Assembled together in large caravans, they traverse immense dis- tances, and carry, as far as the streams to the east of Russia, the commodities with which the towns scattered over the vast plains in that direction are supplied. The [273] Moldavians travel across these steppes, following the slow and measured pace of their oxen, and are sometimes an entire month without approaching a dwelling. At night the caravan halts, and its numerous cars are formed into a square, their white oxen pasturing around, under the guard of their courageous dogs. A fire is soon lighted in the middle of the square, and the drivers prepare their simple repast ; after which, each disposes himself to sleep, wrapped in a coarse covering of felt. These indefatigable pedestrians are not the less excellent horse- men ; and towards the north of the principality there exists a fine breed of horses, of a larger build than the Wallachian steeds, and much in request for cavalry remounts.


We can only speak here of that portion of the popula- tion in both countries seen by ourselves ; but, according to the best informed and most credible travellers, it is among the mountains of both principalities that the most marked characteristics of the people are exhibited. The highlands abound in magnificent sites, the vegetation is rich, and the incidental features of the country call to mind the picturesque beauties of the Swiss Alps. Such descriptions made us regret that we had not leisure to explore these countries as far as the mountains, so well are they worthy of an attentive study ; but when Moldavia is traversed, as was the case with us, in three days, and [274] in the midst of torrents of rain, but little inducement is offered to extend one's acquaintance with the country under so mournful an aspect.

That unruly race, the Tsigans, are found in great numbers in Moldavia, and here, as in Wallachia, they are employed as servants. They exercise, moreover, the avocations of cooks, blacksmiths and minstrels — three very opposite employments — in which they have no rivalry to fear from the inhabitants of the country. But were ever such cooks seen ? Their appearance was quite enough to content us, and we made no further experience of their qualities. The religion of this people, which is entirely external, consists chiefly, as we have already stated, in the observance of the duties enjoined by the church. These duties, among which the foremost is abstinence, are entirely in accordance with the natural temperance of the Moldavians. Their ordinary food is a sort of porridge, cooked sometimes in an oven, at others in an iron kettle, and called by them mamalinga. To mix milk with this preparation, chiefly consisting of Indian wheat, is considered a step towards luxurious indulgence. Even the wealthiest peasants rarely touch meat ; and it is only at the end of a long fast that they regale themselves in this way.

Before concluding these notes, we have only to say a word on the language of the people in the two prin- [275] cipalities, which is, with few exceptions, the same for both. This language which, in the midst of the corruptions introduced by emigration, exhibits traces of its Latin and Slavonian origin, had neither a grammar nor any alphabet of its own until 1735, an epoch rendered so remarkable by the enlightened attempts of Prince Constantine Mavrocordato. The Wallachian tongue is that spoken by the people : the Boyards have for a long time past made use of the modern Greek, which was introduced by the Hospodars from Constantinople, and formed the language of the court. At the present day the French language is very generally studied, and it would be difficult to find a family of any distinction in which both French and Italian were not spoken. A few words, transcribed from a good vocabulary, will give a notion how much the Wallachian language has borrowed from the Latin, that great well-spring from which so many nations have drawn : on the census sheet, the tax is levied by the commune itself, each family being rated according to the number of cattle possessed by them. Every commune has, in addition, a common fund, to which each family is obliged to subscribe one-tenth of the poll-tax, or three piastres per annum ; by means of this contribution, the expenses of collecting the tax are defrayed, and any deficit caused by the absence or death of contributors, is made up.

Beautiful Formos         Laugh Ris.
Begin Incep Light Luminar.
Bench Scamm Ox. Boo.
Black Negro Parent Parinte.
Day Dzio Table Massa.
Finger Degete Tears Lacrimæ.
Fisherman Pescator Where Unde.
Game Venat White Alb.
Glass Vitric With Cum.
Good Bounn Word Verba.

Besides these words, which we have taken at random, there are a great number presenting a complete similitude with the Italian. It must be noted, however, that these resemblances, discoverable in the written language, would be difficult to seize as the language is spoken. The vicious pronunciation of the people, their hoarse and guttural utterance — arising from their habit of living in the open air render it difficult for any but skilled ears identify the words.

It was in collecting and arranging these notes that we employed the tedious hours spent in the quaran- ti iie. They are the result of reading, of our own recol- lections, and more especially of information communicated in the kindest manner. It is not given here as even an incomplete view of all that is suggested by the subject, which would easily furnish matter for a volume ; but as a simple record of our impressions during a journey, unfor- tunately but too short. It will be seen that our eagerness to learn everything was admirably favoured by the kind- ness and influential position of our hosts.

But it is time that we should now, once for all, cross the frontier, and return to Skoulain, a village which, by virtue of the treaty signed at Bukharest, May 16 — 28, 1802, between Russia and the Porte, became the territory of the former. This treaty, as is already known, added to the empire the long province bounded on the east [277] by the Dniester, and on the west by the Pruth, by which streams, running almost parallel, it is enclosed. On the newly adopted line of boundary, each nation has established a quarantine, to supervise and purify all arrivals from the right bank of the Danube. The Moldavian lazaretto is established at Galatz, not far from the mouth of the Pruth ; the Prussians have placed their post of observation on the left bank of the same stream, at the point nearest Moldavia, and on a route, the communications by which, between that principality and Bessarabia, might, perhaps, with propriety, be left more untrammelled.

Heaven forbid that we should endeavour to depict in these pages the misery and weariness of that mournful captivity, which is called perf+hrming quarantine ! The only consolation in such eireumstauces, is the con- sciousness of obedience to the law, that inestimable virtue, without which no society would be possible. Shut up at night in our cells, we became the prey of millions of enemies, harassing our slumbers, and by their sharp bites rendering us more sensible to the hardness of our pallets. Daylight came slowly on, as we waited with impatience the moment when, by special favour of the director of the lazaretto, we might take a bath in the river. Surrounded with keepers, and confined to a limited space, we were allowed, at a certain hour, [278] to indulge in this healthy exercise. The waters of the Pruth are said to possess wholesome properties, both for bathing and drinking ; but we preferred using them for the former purpose rather than the latter, as we found, on tasting them, a strong brackish flavour, which rendered their use as a beverage anything but pleasant.

A watch is kept night and day over the wooden enclosure of the lazaretto ; and the challenges of the sentries during the night, echoe and die away mournfully in the distance, in a manner by no means calculated to enliven the meditations of the captive. The deplorable heat which we experienced in the principalities, continued to oppress us at Skoulain. The burning heat of the morning was followed every evening by a violent storm, converting the yards, and even the interiors of the houses, into muddy and melancholy pools, which the next day's sun with difficulty dried up. During one of these storms, accompained with the incessant rumbling of thunder, we were informed that the lightning had struck a party of Cossacks, on their way to relieve guard : their long lances, had apparently served as conductors to the destructive fluid ; out of five men one only was killed, the other four remaining paralyzed in parts of their limbs.

It must not be forgotten that we were on the soil of the empire, and that, even distant as is this frontier [279] from the capital, the kind commands which were to ensure us protection and support, had long since reached thither. Accordingly we experienced every indulgence on the part of the employés, compatible with the extreme rigour of the regulations. The permission to bathe, so much prized by us, was entirely owing to the attentions of the director, and of Dr. Ellisen, the medical officer of the lazaretto. I had also obtained, as a favour, that those of our wretched companions in quarantine — almost all Jews or Armenians — whose consent could be obtained, should sit as models to Raffet, at a suitable distance, and under the eye of the keepers. At length our captivity was drawing to a close. Early in August, an envoy from Count Woronzoff, governor-general of New- Russia, came from Odessa to meet us, and expressed the kindest intentions on the part of the Count, the sincerity of which a long correspondence did not permit us to doubt. This young man, one of the official secretaries of the governor-general of Odessa, placed himself at our disposal as a guide, for the remainder of the journey. On the 22nd of July (August 3rd), we were summoned to the receiving room of the establish- ment, to take the usual oath on departure. We swore, in the joy of our hearts, that we had infringed none of the sanitary regulations, and that the plague, from which we were free on entering, had not attacked us [280] in the interval. Our solemn asseverations were made, and sealed with a kiss on the New Testament, lying on the same table with a khoran for the Turks, and an Old Testament for the Jews.

The next day we crossed that fearful threshold, at which he who enters must leave behind him all the weakness and impatience of his nature. Four large horses, harnessed a-breast, whirled off our carriages with their joyous burthen, over the soil of Bessarabia. On leaving the village of Skoulain, the broad streets of which stamp it as Russian, we began to traverse a naked and barren region, intersected with valleys, lying between ranges of rounded hillocks, stretched in a parallel line with the Pruth. This kind of country continues for about five leagues ; in the bosom of the valleys are generally found small pools, supplied by the rain-water, but as far as the eye can stretch, not a tree, not a human being, nor an habitation of any sort, can be discovered. Our postillions were the only specimens we could see of the new inhabitants of this country ; how great, however, was the difference between their physiognomy and that of the Moldavians Their high caps remind one, in form, of the top of a pilgrim's staff; and a coarse shirt, a belt, and loose pantaloons, stuffed into short boots of raw leather, complete their light and simple costume. Their type [281] of countenance is not so strongly marked as in the inhabitants of Moldavia, from whom they are, moreover, distinguished by whiter skins, a broad face, and light hair and beards. The drivers, as is the custom throughout the empire, are seated in front of the carriages — an arrangement which nearly cost some of us our lives. One of these men, being unskilled, and having lost all control over the eight young and spirited animals he was driving, threw up the reins in despair ; the horses, finding themselves no longer held in, swept over the plain, to the great peril of the travellers, and of those who several times attempted to stop them.

After a few hours, the country assumed another aspect ; there were no more monotonous plains, but a well dis- tributed country, covered with fine trees, and surrounded by a horizon of distant mountains of the most beautiful forms. A fearful storm overtook us in the forest, where we were fortunate enough to meet with a post-house connected with the village of Bachmout. We took refuge in this wretched dwelling, from which we saw the light- ning descend several times at a short distance from us, and still nearer to a number of oxen who were patiently weathering the storm. When the torrent of rain had ceased, we resumed our journey, and had soon taken leave of this picturesque country, but too quickly traversed. It was succeeded by a plain, or rather a vast pool of black [282] mud, stretching endlessly round us in every direction. Night fell, wrapping us in profound darkness, and still the same prospect presented itself; towards ten o'clock, an escort of Cossacks, armed with long lances, with a lantern at the end of each, told us that we were approaching Kicheneff.

To emerge from this pitchy darkness, from this sea of mud, and suddenly find ourselves in an apartment bril- liantly lighted up, overwhelmed with pressing atten- tions and politeness, with the near prospect of a supper, formed one of those contrasts common enough in the life of a traveller, but which lose none of their charm by being frequently repeated. In the absence of the governor of Kicheneff, one of his relations and the chief of the police performed the honours of his vast and beautiful mansion. Couches were offered us, which with our quarantine reminiscences still fresh within us, felt like the finest down, and we were enabled to enjoy an interval of repose, well earned by the fatigue of the day. Our guide, the young envoy of Count Woronzoff, however, had the barbarity to rouse us from slumbers so delightful, at three in the morning, and kept us up for two hours waiting the arrival of horses. This time we set off to halt no more till we reached Odessa, that first and anxiously looked for point in our long voyage.

The same persons who had received us with so much [283] politeness in the evening, insisted on escorting us on horseback, or in droschkies, to a certain distance from the town. All that we saw of Kicheneff was the enor- mous space it covers ; like Rome, it is built on a number of hills. The reason it occupies so wide a space, is the breadth of the streets, and the number of gardens sur- rounding the houses. There are still a great number of old and ill-constructed buildings, and primitive looking huts, but the new quarters are covered with elegant dwelling-houses, and public edifices of elaborate architec- ture. The brilliancy of the colours with which the monuments are painted, especially the domes and roofs, which are of a light green tint, present a singular appearance to the eye of a foreigner, and give a peculiar character to our cities, the novelty of which appeared much to strike my fellow-travellers. The public places in Kicheneff are immense; they are adorned with turf, and set round with posts ; at the time of our passage, a considerable plantation of trees was going on, over a space intended for a public promenade.

A few vineyards may be seen on the hill sides in the neighbourhood of the town, but soon afterwards the country again becomes wild and uncultivated, and the more desolate from the effects of continued rain. In the low, swampy plains, we encountered numberless birds, the usual inhabitants of marshes, flights of lapwings, moor hens, and thoughtful looking cranes, stalking over [284] the marshes with melancholy gravity. On entering the steppe, we were leaving behind us immeasurable spaces covered with fine large plants, all in flower. The deep mire unfortunately protected them from the assaults of Dr. Léveillé, who, gazing on them from the back of the Wallachian carriage, was suffering the tortures of a botanical Tantalus. At last we beheld Bender. Not far from this place of strength we had passed over the desert soil where, on some unknown spot, Potemkin, one of the glories of our history, breathed his last. Having set out sick from Yassy, to proceed to Kherson, the prince was obliged to leave his carriage, for, like the Roman Emperor, he wished to die standing ; and here amid these steppes died the death of a soldier, the man whose name alone was worth armies.

We did not enter Bender, a place which will long preserve the meffiory of Charles XII., that terrible vanquished enemy of Russia. From the post-house, we could command a view of this town, spreading out its regular lines of houses in the midst of a broad plain without a tree or garden, and hedged round by a number of wooden windmills, spreading out their six sails to the wind. The citadel, which stands apart from Bender, is of considerable extent, and encloses within its modern works the ruins of the ancient Turkish fortress ; it is garrisoned by six hundred artillerymen. This place has lost a great deal of its importance since it has come to [285] be so for within the bounds of the territory Asa fron- tier town of the Turks, it was doubtless of great value to them in the midst of this open country, and near the river, which it commands.

The Dniester, as it flows before Bender, is of moderate width, but it runs between very steep banks, which render the passage of the river by a ferry, under the bastions of the fort, extremely difficult. To ascend the left bank, we required the aid of an encampment of Moldavian waggoners, established in the neighbourhood, and six pair of oxen, obtained from them, were a powerful assistance to us.

Tiraspol, with its citadel, and a large encampment of artillery beneath its walls, passed rapidly before our eyes ; then came Koutcherhan, where a colony of German agriculturists is established ; this is the first of eight agricultural communities whit+ have established themselves on the soil of Bessarabia, implanting upon it, together with their methods of culture, their gentle manners and patient habits, and even the very names of the towns of their native land. Thus, towards evening, we passed through Strasburg and Mannheim, where the sound of the German language reminded us of other countries — not more fertile, certainly, but more thickly inhabited, since the growth of the population is such as to render emigration necessary. These German people appeared contented with their tot; for the land, [286] in these virgin steppes, repays with usury the labour bestowed upon it. Bessarabia is making rapid strides in the path of industrial production. Already rich in grain — not only beyond its own wants, but beyond any amount of importation anticipated — this province has sought in manufactures a new channel for its resources. The government fosters this tendency by special immu- nities : thus, the distillation and sale of brandy and spirits, which throughout all the provinces of the empire are the exclusive privilege of the government, are in Bessarabia permitted to the producer for a limited period. The manufacture of beet-root sugar has also recently arisen in this country; and such is the richness of the soil, that this root, so devouring elsewhere, is unable to exhaust its resources. Its vigour is not, however, abused ; for the space is so large, that it is long before a second crop is called for from land which has already yielded produce. The fuel employed is a mixture in use throughout Southern Russia, consisting of chopped straw and cow-dung stirred up together, and dried into cakes, which in the summer time are seen covering the walls. Almost all the houses are covered with this singular coating, which is removed in the winter time.

Besides the German colonies, we came across several Moldavian caravans encamped for the night, according to their accustomed stratagetic arrangements. The benighted pedestrian who should approach these nomadic establish- [287] ments would deserve our pity, for he would be in great danger of being devoured by the fierce dogs performing patrol round these square battalions of cars.

Night had long fallen, and interminable delays detained us at the end of each stage. Notwithstanding that two estafettes had been dispatched, nothing was prepared ; there were no horses ; and Jewish rapacity, never neglecting an opportunity of levying contributions on the traveller, overwhelmed us with the offer of services, which, when paid for, were never realised. Accordingly, it was not till we had spent the night in the midst of a plain, where we were several times imbedded in the mud, that we approached the capital of New Russia. Before we could perceive the town, we felt on our faces, heated with travelling, the smarting effects of the sea breeze. At last, as the first beams of the morning sun appeared, we took possession of a magnificent hotel, bearing the name of Richelieu ; a name of which, from the extreme thoughtfulness of its hospitality, it is not unworthy.

man standing


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