UPON the death of Michael the Brave the principalities fell inure and more under the influence of foreigners. The Greeks had long occupied prominent positions in the Roumanian hierarchy, a c mmon form of religion holding the two races together. But they now began to take a more active part in the political life of the people. Radou Mihnea, one of the early successors of Michael, was the first prince who favoured the Greek element at the expense of the native aristocracy. Educated on Mount Athos, this ruler arrived in Wallachia with a whole army of Greek adventurers, whose speedy advancement soon raised the anger of the boyards. A bloody revolution was the result, in which the latter prevailed. Mean-while, the Turks had become harder masters than ever. They made and unmade princes, or transferred them from one principality to the other with such frequency that in seventeen years there were six reigns in Wallachia and ten in Moldavia. These transactions were conducted by the Greeks of Constantinople, who had constituted themselves the Turks' men of business, and were adepts at the sale
MISERV OP THE PEOPLE.
of such profitable property as the Wallachian and Moldavian crowns. Fresh revolts of the boyards followed, and the poorer inhabitants were almost ruined by the exactions of their rulers. In Moldavia the ravages of the Poles were an additional grievance, and the servile prince consented to pay a tribute to the King of Poland as well as to the Sultan. The peasants had therefore to provide the funds to satisfy two simultaneous demands. No wonder that, in the words of a Venetian diplomatist, the "land sweated blood." Yet so eager was the competition for the Moldavian throne, that we find one candidate going as far as England, in order to obtain the good offices of King James I. with the Sultan. As soon as a prince was elected, he at once realised the truth of the saying that every appointment causes twenty disappointments. Office at Court had become the grreat object of the nobles, and as the number of offices was limited, all those who found themselves excluded naturally joined the opposition, and intrigued against the ruler whom they had just helped to the throne. The one cry which united all the a boyards in the early years of the seventeenth century was that of "Roumania for the Roumanians." Against the Greeks they were solid; otherwise, each man fought and intrigued for his own hand; no one cared one jot for the welfare of the people. But their efforts to keep out the foreigner failed, and the Sultan showed his disregard for the national sentiment by sending an Italian to govern Moldavia in 1619. The independence of the Roumanian nation had, indeed, almost disappeared. The one oasis in
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUNAMNIA.
this desert of corruption is the vigorous administration of Matthew Bassarab and Basil "the Wolf" in their respective principalities.
These two remarkable princes were contemporaries. Bassarab ruled over Wallachia from 1633 to 1654, Basil governed Moldavia from 1634 to 1653. Both owed their elevation to the throne to a wave of indignation against the growing influence of the Greeks; both represented the national party at the outset, but both found that they could not dispense with the aid of the foreigners, who held the key of the situation at Constantinople. To keep on good terms with the Sultan, it was necessary to pacify his Greek advisers; to pacify the latter, it was necessary to be gracious to their fellow-countrymen in Roumania. While Bassarab temporised between the two parties, Basil, once on the throne, threw in his lot with the Greeks, to the disgust of the natives.
The reigns of these two princes are noteworthy as the era of law reform and general culture in Roumania. The first systematic attempt to give the principalities a code of law was due to them. Hitherto custom had taken the place of written paragraphs, and judicial proceedings had been rough and ready. There are, indeed, traces of an institution found there at a very early date analogous to our trial by jury; but the prince had been regarded as the chief arbiter between litigants, and he could decide as he chose. Now, however, a change was introduced. The criminal code of Basil, savage as it is, constituted a great advance upon any previous method of jurisprudence. Draco himself was hardly more severe
than the Moldavian lawgiver. The leading principle of his judicial system was "an eye fof an eye and a tooth for a tooth." The man, who set a house on fire, was burnt alive; the serf, who was guilty of rape, met with the same horrible fate; the children of a poisoner were degraded, to show the ruler's detestation of that very common form of murder; the Roumanian, who had two wives, was put naked on a donkey's back, and whipped through the streets; the seducer was sentenced to have boiling lead poured down his throat. Theft was pardoned, however, if it was committed, to avert starvation, or if the thief had stolen from the public enemy. One curious trait in this legislation is the resolute attempt to suppress sorcery and put down quacks of all kinds, whose evidence is not accepted. The torture of the innocent, in order to gain information, is expressly forbidden. But there is no conception of equality before the law. The boyard and his children might not be hung or impaled, or sent to work in the salt mines or the galleys. In Moldavia beheading was considered to be the appropriate end of a noble criminal, while banishment was the punishment of his lesser misdemeanours. The serf met with little consideration in the eyes of the law; to harbour him, if he fled from his lord and master, was a crime; to ill-treat him was no offence. Bassarab drew up a similar code for the sister principality, and incorporated with it a number of civil ordinances for the distribution of property after death, the appointment of guardians, and several other enactments, borrowed from the Roman law.
THE PHAMARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
To him belongs the credit of establishing the first printing-press at Bucharest. The first book printed in the Roumanian language on Roumanian soil was his collection of canon law, which appeared in 1640. Hitherto, while the Roumanian had been the vernacular, Slav had been the language of literature. But henceforth books were issued in a tongue which the people could understand. Basil soon followed the example of his rival, and the printing-press of the monastery at Jassy produced a volume of sermons in 1643. Beginning with legal and religious treatises, the printers soon widened the area of their Iabours, and Roumanian began to be the language not only of the peasants and nobles, but of the printed books, which the more cultivated of them began to read. Basil founded a school at Jassy, where instruction was given in the mother-tongue, and the growth of Greek culture and the spread of the Greek idiom could not stifle it.
Unfortunately, Bassarab and Basil did not seek to rival one another in the arts of peace alone. From the first, they were deadly enemies. Bassarab sought the aid of the Emperor at Vienna; Basil denounced his foe to the Sultan at Constantinople, and invaded his territory. Defeated by the Wallachian prince, and coldly treated by the Turks, he applied to the Poles for support, and again attacked Bassarab. But this second venture was more disastrous than the first. Not only was he routed in battle, but driven from the throne by a rising of his subjects, who were weary of his anti-national policy. The year after his flight, his rival died, and with their removal from the
scene, the principalities relapsed into their previous unfortunate condition. The fratricidal conflict of these two rulers, harmful though it proved, was more than counterbalanced by the great advances in culture and legality, which Roumania had made under their auspices.
Their work was continued after an interval of a quarter of a century by Scherban Cantacuzene, who ascended the Wallachian throne in 1679. This enlightened ruler, whose restoration of the cathedral of Courtea d'Ardges has been already mentioned, diminished the burdens of the peasantry, fostered the growth of education, and brought out a Roumanian version of the Bible. Forced against his will to assist the Turks in their famous siege of Vienna in 1683, he turned against them at a critical moment, and when ordered to bombard the city, loaded his cannon with halls of hay. After the defeat of the Ottoman besiegers, he contemplated proclaiming the independence of Wallachia, and entered into negotiations with the Emperor Leopold, who offered him his protection. At one moment, it looked as if a general rising of the Christian subjects of Turkey might have ensued, and Scherban dreamed of leading a new crusade against the Sultan and transplanting his own throne from the banks of the Danube to the shores of the Bosphorus. But his worst foes were those of his own household. His brothers and nephew opposed his schemes, and he was poisoned at their instigation. Wallachia was too small a state to liberate herself unaided, and with Moldavia was rarely at one. Those who desired to emancipate her from the Turk looked
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
abroad for aid. Vienna was the place, from which many of them had expected help; but they now saw in the rising power of the "Colossus of the North" an alternative means of safety. The star of Russia had appeared in the firmament, and they sought guidance from its light.
The Russians, whose close connection with the history of Roumania now begins, had for some time been on friendly terms with its rulers. As far back as the end of the fifteenth century a prince of Moldavia had married his daughter to a son of the Czar. But the personal relations thus formed had had no political influence until a much later date. In 1674, however, the two principalities made overtures to Russia through the mediation of a monk, who was sen to implore the Czar to throw his protection over the Danubian Christians. The offer was favourably received. Alexis, who then sat on the Russian throne, suggested that a number of Roumanian notables should be sent to arrange terms, and promised that, as soon as the "sovereigns" of Moldavia and Wallachia had taken the oath of allegiance to him, he would "grant them subsidies and defend them against the enemies of the Cross." Nothing, however, came of this proposal at the time, but in 1688 the Prince of Wallachia, wearied with the exactions of the Turks, again applied to Russia for aid. Peter the Great, who was then Czar, made the same response; but it was not till 1711 that the Russians and Roumanians formed an alliance for the first time. At this period Constantine Brancovano was prince of Wallachia and Demetrius Cantemir of
PETER THE GREAT.
Moldavia. The former promised to provide Peter with thirty thousand soldiers and ample provisions, for which he received a large sum of money from Russia; the latter concluded a secret treaty with the Czar, by which the Russians bound themselves to defray the expenses of maintaining a standing army in Moldavia, guaranteed the safety of the Moldavian throne, and undertook neither to marry nor acquire land in the principality. The object of Peter the Great was clear. Devoted to naval affairs, he was resolved to be master of the Black Sea, and convert it, if possible, into a Russian lake. To attain this object, he was glad to avail himself of those religious ties which were a bond of union between the Christian subjects of the Porte and himself. Long before, a Venetian diplomatist had said that "the Sultan feared the Muscovite ruler, because he belonged to the same faith as the peoples of Bulgaria, Servia, and Bosnia, who would always he ready to take up arms on his side and submit to his authority, in order to throw off the Turkish yoke." Peter himself laid stress upon the religious character of his enterprise. He started as if for a crusade. His banner bore the ancient device "By this sign thou shalt conquer"; his soldiers set out "in the name of the Saviour and Christianity." Had his expedition proved successful, one or both of the principalities would have become part of the Russian Empire, and his boundary might have stretched to the Danube.
The treaty, humiliating though it may seem, was generally popular in Moldavia. The nobles told Cantemir that he had "done well"; the people
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA
echoed their sentiments. When the great Czar arrived at Jassy, all the principal inhabitants went out to welcome him as a deliverer; the cathedral bells were rung in his honour; the clergy rejoiced at the advent of a Christian Emperor. There was, it is true, a national party still left, which suspected the motives of the liberator, and it was noticed that when the Russian guests lay down to rest with their generous hosts after the state banquet, the gold-laced boots of the boyards, their costly pistols, and their rich ornaments were not forthcoming in the morning. But the enthusiasm of Peter's reception did not compensate him for the inefficiency of his Moldavian allies. Cantemir himself, who wrote a history of the Ottoman Empire, and was a man of great learning, lamented the riotous habits of his subjects, who "spent their pay in the taverns, and preferred plunder and pillage to military service." Brancovano, less zealous than Cantemir, suspended relations with Russia, and Peter, instead of securing a brilliant victory, only escaped capture through the corruption of the Turkish commander. So ended the first campaign of the Russians in Roumania. Cantemir withdrew to Russia with many of his bopzrds, where he received a grant of lands and became a prince of the Empire; Brancovano died a violent death. The Sultan, convinced of his complicity with Peter, and unappeased by his subsequent conduct, ordered his arrest. The emissary entrusted with this command, forced his way into the prince's audience chamber with his Janissaries, threw a black shawl over Brancovano's shoulders, and proclaimed
THE GREEK GOVERNORS.
his deposition. Not a hand was raised in the prince's defence. Carried off to Constantinople, he was beheaded in the presence of the Sultan. One member of his family was spared, and the name still exists in Roumania. But his vast possessions, including the crown of the principality, were confiscated by the Turks; the son of the man who had revealed his intrigues with Russia to the Porte was appointed as his successor on the Wallachian throne. But Stephen Cantacuzene, as he was called, did not long enjoy the dubious honour. He shared, two years later, the fate of Brancovano, and, both thrones being vacant, the Sultan resolved to appoint no more native rulers. In the Greeks of Constantinople, who from the "Phanar," or district of the city where they resided, had obtained the name of "Phanariotes," he thought that he would find more pliable instruments of his policy. Nicholas Mavrocordato, whose father had risen from the position of a common labourer to the office of dragoman to the Porte, was accordingly appointed governor of Wallachia in 1716.
The rule of the Phanariote governors of Moldavia and Wallachia, which lasted from 1716 to 1822, was, with some notable exceptions, distinguished by the corruption and maladministration which mark the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Greek rulers of the two Danubian principalities had to pay heavily for their appointment, and took good care to make their unfortunate subjects make up to them more than they had expended. At their accession they were expected to hand over some sixty thousand pounds sterling to the Sultan, whose interest it natu
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
rally was to appoint fresh governors at as frequent intervals as possible. Thus in a period of 106 years there were no fewer than thirty-three different governors of Moldavia, and thirty-five of Wallachia. Having, on an average, only about three years in which to recoup themselves for their initial expenditure, the Phanariote rulers increased the burdens of the natives as much as they could. No sooner had one governor retired than another came to squeeze the unhappy people, and thus there was no limit to the extortions to which the Roumanians had to submit. Besides, the ceremonial which was kept up was most expensive; and for that, of course, the poor provincials had to pay. An English writer, who was Consul at Bucharest towards the end of the Phanariote period, has given a graphic account of their accession to the throne. A berat, or patent, signed by the Sultan, was a necessary preliminary, and that, of course, was a costly item. Then, while the newly-appointed governor was engaged in the tedious formalities which were essential to his departure from Constantinople- swearing allegiance to the Sultan and assuming the kukka, or military crest, and the grand robe of office- a messenger was despatched before him to prepare his subjects for his arrival. As an interval of about two months generally elapsed before the governor arrived at Bucharest or Jassy, this courier acted as his deputy, not without profit to himself. When at last the great man appeared, he did not come alone. Swarms of needy retainers were in his train, ready to fill all the fat offices which awaited them in the promised land. For every new Hospodar,
as the governors were called, at once changed all the officials, thinking that the spoils belonged to the new-comer. It can well be understood how badly a country was managed whose civil servants were foreigners, and foreigners, too, who were turned out of their places just when they had begun to grasp the details, of administration. While in power, the governor had to expend money judiciously at Constantinople, in order to counteract intrigues against himself. We have from the pen of one of their Court physicians early in the present century a graphic account of their mode of life. Bucharest and Jassy became centres of Asiatic luxury. The Hospodar out-ottomaned the Ottomans in his determination to avoid even the slightest form of exertion. His bread was cut up into small pieces, so that his noble fingers need not be compelled to break it, his cupbearer held his goblet of crystal ready at his elbow, his afternoon sleep was ensured by the complete cessation of all business in the city. No bell might ring, no noise of men's voices be heard before his palace while he slept, and it is even said that some of these rulers were lifted by their footmen, so as to save them the trouble of walking from table to bed. Their consorts were as extravagant and extortionate as themselves. The dresses of one princess cost her nearly £2,300, which meant more in the last century than now. Another of these amiable ladies, unable to afford a costume which would "kill" all rivals, persuaded her husband to banish a nobleman's wife who was better dressed than herself. When the princely exchequer was full, and the princess so resplendent with clothes
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
and jewels that she feared no comparison, she invited the disgraced lady to Court and gratified her spite by the spectacle of her enemy's discomfiture.
The Roumanian nobles were contaminated by the example of their Phanariote governors. Naturally fond of luxury and display, they beggared themselves in the foolish attempt to keep up appearances. The main idea of the men was to obtain favour by toadying to the authorities; the chief desire of the women to make good matches. Divorce became frequent; the sons and daughters of noble families saw in a rich marriage the only chance of restoring their fallen fortunes, and the natural result was infidelity or indifference. Even now divorce statistics are high in Roumania as compared with many other countries. As for the clergy, they too became the victims of extortion, and were at last compelled to extort money from their flocks. Society was rotten to the core. The condition of the people was deplorable. Upon them the whole burden of supporting this system of government ultimately fell. If they ventured to murmur, they were put in prison, and the result was that many of them, driven desperate by these exactions, became brigands and took to the mountains. If caught, they were condemned to a lingering death in the salt mines; if fortunate enough to evade the soldiers of the governor, they often acquired great wealth at the expense of their country. Sometimes, however, the scandals of the administration were so notorious that the Sultan felt bound to interfere. In that case, the Hospodar had a very short shrift, for his enemies at Constantinople took care that he should not escape.
Thus one of these governors was strangled, and others exiled. Finally, to complete the misery of the people, the currency was debased and huge monopolies interrupted the ordinary course of commerce.
Bad as the Phanariotes were according to the unanimous testimony of their contemporaries, they were not all black. Nicholas Mavrocordato, for example, the first of them who ruled in Wallachia, showed himself the friend of the peasants by abolishing the bands of retainers which the boyards kept at their beck and call. This blow at the feudal system was followed by the establishment of law and order throughout the principality. Another Wallachian governor, Constantine Mavrocordato, further weakened the power of the native nobles by transferring their serfs to the new Greek aristocracy which had grown up under the protection of the Phanariote rulers. The change was of doubtful advantage to the peasantry, but it was a source of great strength to the Government. Other governors left their mark on the principalities by erecting fine public buildings and founding large charitable institutions, and occasionally the alien ruler proved a better patriot than the native nobility, the "sleeping dogs," as the people called them.
The chief political events of the Phanariote period were the Russo-Turkish wars, by which the two principalities were deeply affected. The abortive campaign of Peter the Great in 1711 had only served to stimulate the desire of his successors for the development of their Empire. But it was not till 1736 that the Russians made a second attempt to acquire
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
the two principalities. Before declaring war, the Empress Anne, who then ruled the Russian dominions, demanded from the Porte the recognition of Moldavia and Wallachia as independent principalities under a Russian protectorate. This would have been the first step towards a Russian advance into the Balkan Peninsula, for, from their geographical position, the principalities effectually barred the way to any attempt at bringing the Bulgarian and Servian population under Russian influence. Naturally, the Porte refused to accept these terms. The war was less disastrous to the Empress than to her Austrian allies. The Russian Field-Marshal Munich entered Moldavia in 1739, and met with such success that Gregory Ghika, the Hospodar, retired with his courtiers, leaving a deputy in his place. Accompanied by the two sons of the former native prince, Cantemir, Münich entered Jassy in state, and received the keys of the Moldavian capital from the head of the Church. But the Field-Marshal was no diplomatist. He treated the country as that of an enemy; he came, not as a liberator, but as a conqueror. In fact, he made the same mistake in Moldavia which in our own time General Kaulbars made in Bulgaria. When the Metropolitan offered him the cross, he declined to kiss it; when the prelate began to pray, he burst out laughing. His conditions, which included a nice annuity for himself, and free quarters for his men, could not have been more oppressive if he had been dealing with Turks instead of co-religionists--and yet their common religion was the favourite plea of the Russians for their intervention. "The people saw,"
CATHERINE II. AND ROUMANIA.
quaintly writes the old Moldavian chronicler, "what a costly honour it was to receive Münich as a guest; sweet wine became vinegar, laughter tears, joy terror, and riches poverty." The eyes of the people were opened; they saw that a Muscovite "liberator" might be as harsh as a Greek governor, and from that moment dates the rise of a strong anti-Russian party in the principalities. The peace of Belgrade in 1739 restored Moldavia to the Turkish Empire, and, as far as their Roumanian projects were concerned, the Russians were no better off at the close of this second war than at the end of the first.
The third attempt was much more successful. Catherine II. began, soon after her accession, the task of preparing the Roumanian people for a Russian occupation. Her secret agents fomented the discontent of the peasantry and played upon the feelings of the native nobles, who saw themselves being gradually displaced by the scum of the Phanar. The declaration of war in 1768 found the Turks at a disadvantage, and a great Russian victory on the river Dniester placed the principalities in the power of the victors. Moldavia hastened to proffer its homage to the Russian commander, Galitzin. In the cathedral of Jassy the congregation took the oath of allegiance to "the too compassionate Empress Catherine," and swore to "consider the enemies of the Russian army as those of Moldavia, and to behave in all things as the good and faithful slaves of Her Majesty." Nothing short of complete annexation was intended. Wallachia next acknowledged the authority of the great Empress. Gregory Ghika, the Wallachian Hospodar, turned
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
traitor, and was received at the Russian Court with the utmost honours. Epistles, drawn up by the clergy in the most servile terms, were despatched to Catherine by both principalities, and from 1770 to 1774, they experienced a Russian occupation.
Catherine had promised the native deputations that their countries should enjoy their ancient customs and have complete management of their internal affairs. Moldavia desired to be governed by twelve boyards, elected for three years. Wallachia professed to wish for complete incorporation with the Russian Empire. But the people groaned under the necessity of providing quarters and provisions for the Russian army during the war, and discovered that their protectors were as difficult to satisfy as the Turks. The Empress was not able to annex the principalities definitely to her dominions. Austria had become restive at the great expansion of Russia and the jealousy between the two great Powers had already begun to show itself in their dealings with the Christians of Turkey. It was solely in order to pacify Austrian fears that Russia, by the famous treaty of Kutchuk-Kaïnardji in 1774, restored Moldavia and Wallachia to the Sultan on conditions which were very favourable to the inhabitants. The Sultan pledged himself to grant an amnesty to all who had taken sides against him in the late war; to allow full religious liberty; to restore the lands of the monasteries; to levy no taxes for two years, in consideration of the ravages of the contending armies; to, impose moderate and regular taxes at the close of that period; and to receive two Greek Christians as the accredited agents of the
LOSS OF BUCOVINA.
principalities at Constantinople. Most important of all, a pregnant clause of the treaty granted the Russian Ambassador there the right of "speaking in behalf of the principalities as circumstances may require." This informal Russian protectorate was fatal in the long run to the suzerainty of the Sultan.
But if Austria had been the means of saving the Roumanians from a permanent Russian annexation, she soon showed that she had designs of her own upon their territory. She obtained from the Sultan in 1777 the cession of Bucovina, which then formed the north-eastern part of Moldavia and contained Suceava, the ancient capital of the principality, and the venerable convent of Putna, where the remains of the'princes were laid. Gregory Ghika, who had been placed by Russian influence on the throne after the war, refused to sign the deed, which deprived him of the most fertile part of his country. His action was interpreted by the Sultan as a further proof of his sympathies with Russia. The order for his "removal" was issued, and he fell beneath the yataghans of some Turkish emissaries in his own capital.
Catherine II. had not abandoned her schemes for the extension of Russian influence in the principalities. In 1782 she obtained from the Porte permission to have Russian consuls at both Bucharest and Jassy, who naturally became the centres of Russian intrigues in their respective spheres. The cost of their maintenance was defrayed by the Moldavian and Wallachian treasuries, and they used their influence to undermine the authority of the Sultan. Their appointment, however unpalatable to the Turks, was
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
the logical outcome of the treaty of Kaïnardji. But Catherine soon took a further step in the pursuit of her grand idea. She met Joseph H. of Austria, and arranged with him a scheme for the partition of the Ottoman Empire—the first of many such proposals, which have seen the light. According to this plan, as neither of the two great Powers would consent to give up the two Danubian principalities unreservedly to the other, they were to be united under Prince Potemkin, the favourite minister of Catherine, as an independent state, which would undoubtedly have been speedily converted into a Russian province. Russia not only invaded the Crimea, then part of the Turkish dominions, but advanced on the Caucasus, and the Sultan replied by declaring war in 1787; a few months later Austria joined in the attack upon the Turks. The Prussian minister Herzberg strongly advised the Sultan to separate his two enemies by handing over the principalities to Russia. "What advantage," he said, "do you Turks gain from the possession of those provinces, whose only use is to enrich a few wretched Greeks and to nourish a few Tartar hordes?" But the Turks thought otherwise, and ordered Nicholas Mavroghéni, who was at that time governor of Wallachia, to raise an army against their enemies. Mavroghéni summoned the boyards, and bade them take up arms for the cause of their suzerain. The nobles refused to obey the orders of the Greek viceroy, who did not know a single word of their own language. Mavroghéni, indignant at their conduct, told his groom to lead all the horses in his stables into the courtyard. When the steeds were
ready, he again called upon his nobles to mount. Not one of them showed signs of obedience, and the Greek, resolved to show his scorn for these great officials of state, who remained idle at his call, conferred upon his horses the high-sounding titles, of which the boyards were unworthy. "Degenerate descendants of Mirtschea, Vlad, and Michael the Brave," he cried, "I banish you from my presence; henceforth my horses shall hold your offices and enjoy your honours." Some of the nobles were so moved by his reproaches that they mounted and followed him, while the rest slunk away and sought an ignominious exile. But Mavroghéni's efforts were futile. The Russians entered the principalities and took up their quarters at the two capitals, and the Greek governor, who had served the Sultan with such rare fidelity, was rewarded by his ungrateful master with degradation and death. His head was cut off, as if he had been a traitor, and his successors were thus effectually discouraged from following his example. But the death of Joseph II. and the outbreak of the French Revolution diverted the attention of Austrian statesmen from the East. Austria made peace with Turkey, and in 1792 Russia concluded the treaty of Jassy with the Porte, by which the former treaty of Kaïnardji was confirmed. The principalities remained in the hands of the Sultan, on condition that the exactions of his Phanariote governors should be checked, while Russia retained her right of intervention. The position of Moldavia and Wallachia after this war, from which so much had been expected by the enemies of Turkey, was almost precisely the same as it had been eighteen years earlier.
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
The promised reforms of the Phanariote system of government remained a dead letter. A Turkish edict of 1784 had prohibited the removal of the governors except for felony ; but this too was disregarded. All the evils of the system continued undiminished. Plague and famine afflicted the land, which had once been the granary of the Turkish Empire. Brigand chiefs, like the notorious Pasvanoglu, of whom we shall hear again in the history of Bulgaria, made repeated inroads into the principalities. The Turkish soldiers, who were sent to suppress him, fraternised with his robber-band; Wallachia cried aloud to be defended from her defenders. The Greek governor and the boyards fled at the mere rumour of the terrible brigand's approach, as if a new horde of barbarians were upon them. Such was the condition of the present kingdom of Roumania a century ago.
But in 1802 the dawn of a new era began. The fear of Bonaparte had thrown the Sultan into the arms of Russia. The Czar obtained a provision to the effect that henceforth the governors of Moldavia and Wallachia should be appointed for seven years, and should not be removed during their term of office except for good reason, and even then only with the permission of the Russian ambassador at Constantinople. Thus the vague right of intervention, which Russia had obtained by the treaties of Kaïnardji and Jassy, was converted into a definite understanding. Another event of much benefit to the Roumanians was the appointment of a British consul at Bucharest, while Russia secured the nomination of two puppets of hers to the Moldavian and Wallachian thrones. These
TREATY OF BUCHAREST.
rulers not only pursued an anti-Turkish policy in their own dominions, but privately supported the Serbs, who had just risen under Black George against the Turks. Their consequent deposition by the Sultan in 1806, three years before their term of office had expired, was regarded by Russia and England as so serious a breach of faith, that a bombardment of Constantinople was threatened. The princes were restored, but the Czar, anxious for an excuse for intervention, demanded further securities for the Roumanian people, against the raids of the brigands under Pasvanoglu. Russian troops entered the principalities and war began. But, as long as she feared Napoleon, Russia could make no headway against the Sultan. It was not until the peace of Tilsit in 1807 had relieved her from the necessity of opposing him, that she could devote her undivided attention to the Danubian principalities. The French Emperor was now willing to see her annex Bessarabia, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Bulgaria as far as the Balkans. But, even though liberated for the moment from the fear of Napoleon, the "Colossus of the North" made little progress in Roumania. The treaty of Bucharest in 1812 at last ended this protracted struggle. The delta of the Danube, and the part of Moldavia between the rivers Dniester and Pruth were ceded to the Czar, and the latter instead of the former stream was now the boundary of the Russian and Turkish Empires. The whole of Bessarabia thus passed into the hands of Russia. So disgusted was the Sultan with the conduct of his plenipotentiaries, that he ordered them to be beheaded. The Roumanians, on their part, had
THE PHARNARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
gained nothing by the war. Their country had suffered terribly from the presence of the hostile armies, and the inhabitants had sought refuge with all their worldly possessions in the churches in order to escape pillage. The requisitions of the army of occupation were a heavy tax upon the peasants, and the five years during which they had to support their "liberators," were long remembered in the land. To crown all, just as Austria had dismembered Moldavia by taking Bucovina in 1777, so Russia disintegrated the principalities by annexing Bessarabia. A contemporary historian has left us a pitiful account of the heartrending scenes, which took place on the banks of the Truth, when the moment arrived for the formal cession of the well-loved land. For weeks beforehand, the people went to and fro, bidding farewell to the friends and relatives, from whom they were soon to be separated. From that moment the Truth became in the language of the peasants, the "accursed river." Thus the century of Russo-Turkish wars from 1711 to 1812, through which they had passed, had been fatal to the Roumanians; instead of recovering their independence, they had lost one part of their ancient territory to Austria, and another to Russia; in the place of Greek and Turkish exactions, they had had Russian armies to maintain. They had learnt one political maxim from these five Russian interventions, that their safety lay in the mutual jealousies of the two great Christian Powers on either side of them.
The Phanariote rule continued for ten years more. But the Greek War of Independence, which broke out in 1821, was destined to give the final blow to
the system. The movement in favour of a free
Greece was strongly supported in Moldavia by
Alexander Ypsilanti, son of a former governor of
Wallachia, who set up the standard of revolt at Jassy, and was followed by the reigning Hospodar of Moldavia, Michael Soutzo. But the Roumanians had no desire to throw off the Turkish yoke merely to strengthen the influence of the Greeks, whose oppression they had borne so impatiently for more than a century. They refused to take up arms for the Greek cause, more particularly as they saw that Russia was indisposed to assist it openly. They knew that, if it proved successful, they would not be benefited, while, if it were unsuccessful and they were found to have assisted it, the Turks would take a terrible revenge upon them. In Wallachia, a revolution broke out under the leadership of Toudor Vladimirescou, a noble of popular sympathies, whose primary object was to deliver the peasants from the grinding tyranny of the aristocracy, but whose efforts were ultimately directed against the Greeks. Thus the whole Roumanian people was in a ferment; while one principality was agitated by the rising of Ypsilanti on behalf of Greece, the other was stirred to its foundations by the bold attacks of Vladimirescou against Greek supremacy. A collision between the two revolutionary leaders was inevitable. Ypsilanti, to rid himself of so dangerous a rival, ordered one of his underlings to seize the nationalist chief and bring him before him. A mock trial followed, and the brave Roumanian was murdered by Ypsilanti's cut-throats. The national movement subsided, and
THE PHANARIOTES IN ROUMANIA.
Roumania was given over to the struggles of the Greeks against the Turks. Ypsilanti retired before the advance of the Turkish army, the Greek flotilla was destroyed on the Danube, the Greek leader was routed; fleeing across the Carpathians, he was arrested by order of the Austrian Government, and died in prison, bequeathing to his brother Demetrius the duty of avenging him upon the Turks.
But the rising of Vladimirescou had not been altogether in vain. The loyalty of the Roumanians, contrasting as it did so forcibly with the faithlessness of the Phanariote governors, had at last opened the eyes of the Sultan to the real state of things in the two principalities. His interest, no less than theirs, demanded a change, and the most indolent of Turkish officials recognised that it was unsafe to
THE LAST OF THE PHANARIOTES.
entrust two important governorships to men whose natural sympathies must inevitably be with the Greek insurgents. It has always been the plan of the Turks to maintain their influence by the mutual jealousies of the rival Christian nationalities under their sway. The demands of the Roumanians for governors of their own race were therefore heard at last; and, unwilling to have a discontented Roumania as well as a rebellious Greece, the Porte yielded in 1822. The Phanariote rule was formally ended, and two native boyards, Jonitza Stourza and Gregory Ghika were appointed respectively Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia. For the first time for years the nomination was secured without bribery, and the best men were chosen. The national spirit had revived, and with it the desire for liberty had manifested itself among the people.