THE Turkish supremacy in Bulgaria, which lasted from the end of the fourteenth century down to our own time, is the gloomiest epoch in the national annals. One after the other every Christian state in the Balkan Peninsula, with the sole exception of Montenegro, fell beneath the power of the Ottoman invaders, whose armies reached the gates of Vienna. Freedom vanished, literature languished, and even the memories of Bulgaria's glorious past under Czars of her own were obliterated as far as possible by her Turkish masters. The very character of her once warlike sons changed under the steady influence of an alien domination. Without intellectual or practical leaders, the Bulgarian people bowed down for nearly five centuries beneath the yoke of the Sultans. At last there came a time when Western Europe had almost forgotten the existence of a nation which had once taken a prominent rank among the great Powers.

The conquerors lost no time in organising the 194 195 THE TURKISH RULE. government of the country after their own fashion. The whole of the Balkan Peninsula, with the exception of Bosnia, was called Rumili, a corruption of the Byzantine form Romania, and placed under the authority of an official known as a Beglerbeg. Bulgaria was included in his province, and he fixed his residence at Sofia, which seemed marked out by its central position as the capital of the Peninsula. Rumili was further subdivided into twenty-six sand-jaks, or districts, several of which were included in Bulgaria. The officials were not always Turks, for the apostasy of the noble Bulgarian families was usually rewarded with place and power. At the close of the sixteenth century we find a Bulgarian occupying the proud position of Grand Vizier, and Bulgarian Mussulmans exist to-day, under the name of Pomaks, in several parts of the country, especially in the north-east corner, as well as in Macedonia. The Turkish practice of carrying off the flower of the Bulgarian youth every five years to serve; in the corps of Janissaries was not only a terrible grievance to the people, but introduced a dangerous Slav element into the Turkish army. The position of the Christians in the conquered provinces was indeed miserable, especially after the Turkish rule had begun to decline. During the best days of the Ottoman Empire large sums of money were spent on roads, trade flourished, the rights of citizens were respected, and the churches of the Christian communities remained unviolated.But the decay of the Turkish power affected the whole Empire. The people of Ragusa, the "South Slavonic Athens," as it 196 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. was called, had always been specially favoured by the rulers of Bulgaria, and the Turks continued their privileges. But gradually commerce fell off, foreign trades were hampered by absurd regulations; the highways were neglected, the khans and caravanserais allowed to fall into ruins. The Christian rayahs were forbidden to build churches or possess bells; their dress was to be of one cut, their daughters were seized to grace the harems of their masters. Taxes became enormous, tax-collectors extortionate. Every Christian above the age of fourteen had to pay a poll-tax or haratch of a ducat, a tax for every head of cattle and the tithe of the products of the field. In addition to this, he was forced to labour, as in the old days, on the land of his feudal lord, who was often one of his own countrymen converted to Islam. These, regular payments were augmented by the irregular extortions of corrupt officials, who, having gained their posts by bribes, had to recoup themselves for their outlay at the expense of their subjects. One fortunate class of Christians escaped all these annoyances. We have already alluded to the vojnik, warriors who placed their swords at the disposal of the Turks on condition of exemption from taxation and feudal burdens. Whole village communities, forming a privileged caste, were thus to be found side by side with the downtrodden Christians, who did not care to fight the battles of the Ottoman. The traveller could tell the vojnik by his parti-coloured garments, his martial gait, and his prosperous appearance. He received, it is true, no pay; but that was an advantage, for it could not fall into arrear, while his posi- 197 THE CHURCH. tive gains were very great. But his privileges gradually ceased, though the name survived down to the present century.

The Church had always been an important factor in the life of the Balkan states. But under the Turkish domination it ceased to be a national institution in Bulgaria. For while the country became politically a part of the Ottoman Empire, its church passed into the hands of the Greeks. As early as 1394 the see of Trnovo was subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople, arid Greek bishops and Bibles entered Bulgaria, displacing the native priest-hood and the vernacular scriptures. In Bulgaria, as in Roumania, the Phanariotes obtained a fatal influence; but while in the latter country they gained political power, in the former their sphere was ecclesiastical. The lowest as well as the highest offices in the Church were bought and sold, and the purchasers were often men of the lowest class. We even hear of barbers becoming bishops and coffee-sellers priests. No fewer than 140 patriarchs are mentioned in 390 years, and it is therefore clear that the Phanariotes, who had paid highly for their brief period of office, must have lost no time in recovering their expenses. "The art of extortion," says a Prussian diplomatist of the last century, "has been reduced by them to a system," so that between Greek ecclesiastics and Turkish governors the lot of the poor Bulgarian peasant was hard to bear. When the last independent Slavonic churches of Ipek and Ochrida were sacrificed to Phanariote zeal, the sole remaining obstacle to their scheme for making the Greek Ian- 198 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. guage and liturgy supreme throughout the Peninsula was removed. In the early days of Turkish rule books in the vernacular were still printed at Sofia. But the Phanariotes made short work of them. By their orders the old library of the patriarchs of Trnovo was committed to the flames. Ancient Bulgarian manuscripts, which had survived the ravages of war, were wantonly destroyed. No wonder that records of the Turkish period are scarce, for the Greek clergy ended what the Turks began. The Cyrillic character itself was forgotten, the language of the people proscribed. The Bulgarians learnt off their prayers in a tongue which they could not understand. Greek schools, the Greek alphabet, and Greek books were the dominant features of the Bulgarian's intellectual life at the dawn of the present century. A man considered it a disgrace to be called a Bulgarian. "No," he would reply, "I am a Greek." The spiritual tyranny of the Phanariotcs was even worse than the political tyranny of the Turks. For the Turks were not bigots, the Phanariotes were.

Slowly a national movement against both these forms of oppression began. For long years the Bulgarians lay helpless and hopeless beneath the power of their twin masters. At the very outset, it is true, there were faint attempts to drive out the Turks. Thus the sons of the last two Czars of Vidin and Trnovo, Sracimir and Šišman, raised the standard of revolt in 1405, and the Hungarians, who had in the old days laid claim to the Bulgarian crown, twice endeavoured to conquer the country. But these efforts were futile, and the decisive defeat of the heroic John Hunyad 199 THE BRIGANDS. and the death of the Hungarian King Vladislav on the fatal field of Varna in 1444 put an end to the aspirations of Bulgaria for more than a century. Once again, in 1595, we hear of an abortive rising instigated by a Ragusan agent. This man, who had lived many years among the people, strongly urged the Prince of Transylvania, at that time engaged in war with the Turks in Roumania, to call the Bulgarians to arms. He told the Prince that they were discontented owing to the increased extortions of the officials and the brutality of the troops. They were only waiting the arrival of Christian allies to rise as one man. The Prince was quite ready for the enterprise, and the Ragusan stirred up disturbances in Varna and other places. But the insurrection failed, and we read of no further organised revolts until the present century.

In the dearth of national leaders the patriotic movement fell into the hands of the brigand chiefs. These popular heroes of the Balkans appear in Servia under the name of Haiduks, in Bulgaria under that of Haidutin, and in Greece under that of Klefts. Like Robin Hood in our own ballads, they are represented as the protectors of the poor and the weak, the friends of Christians, and the ruthless scourge of the Mohammedan oppressor. Thousands of legends and songs are connected with their exploits; their ranks were recruited from all those who had insults to avenge or nothing but their lives to lose. If a Bulgarian once joined them his only chance of safety was to stick loyally to his fellows, for he had put himself beyond the pale. The hand of every Turk was 200 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. against him and his hand was against every Turk. The villagers, groaning beneath the exactions of their lords, welcomed the Haidutin as a deliverer. Women were sacred in the eyes of these chivalrous cut-throats, for they firmly believed that whoever touched a helpless damsel would die in a Turkish gaol. They even included the fair sex in their ranks. We hear of Bulgarian Amazons, who stormed Turkish caravans, sabre in hand, with the skill and courage of men. A hundred years ago one of the most desperate of these bands was commanded by a woman, who performed such prodigies of valour that she actually passed for a man. When caught no mercy was shown to them; after death their heads adorned the town-walls, their bodies being impaled alive before the gates. In winter the lack of cover on the Balkans drove them to seek an honest livelihood, and they would bury their arms ready for the next summer beneath the trees. To this day the bark of many an ancient oak bears the secret sign by which they Marked the spot.

The Haidutin despised mere thieves as "poultry- stealers," and regarded himself as a patriot and a benefactor of his race. In the regard which they showed for their own countrymen they differed from the notorious Krdžaligen, who devasted Bulgaria between 1792 and 1804. The Turks were powerless against these desperadoes. The soldiers sent to subdue them as often as not sided with them, and at the end of every fresh campaign in the Peninsula numbers of discharged troopers flocked to the mountain camps. One of their chiefs, known as "the cunning leader," became quite a hero of romance. But most of them 201 "TOOTH-MONEY." were bloodthirsty ruffians, who spared neither woman nor child, and made no distinction between Turk and Bulgarian. Their most celebrated patron, Osman Pasvanoglu, who established himself as Pasha of Vidin in defiance of the Porte, levied taxes and coined money on his own account. He had a large army at his disposal, which enabled him to laugh at the regular forces of the Sultan. Repeated sieges of Vidin proved a complete failure, and the Pasha meditated a descent on Constantinople in return. Upon the suppression of the Krdžaligen, the survivors augmented his following. But he died shortly afterwards, and they entered the service of the Government, quartering themselves on the villages and demanding "tooth money" or Dyšchak for the wear and tear of their teeth on the hard bread of the peasants. Terrible was the destruction which they had caused. A Frenchman, who travelled through Bulgaria at this period disguised as a Tartar, has left a grim description of the condition of the country. A stillness, as of the grave, reigned over the deserted fields, corpses and smouldering cottages marked the spot where the brigands had been, the peasants had either fled or had fallen a prey to the wild beasts and still wilder men who roamed the land.

The hopes of the Bulgarians had been temporarily raised by the Austrian victories over the Turks at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century. But after the disastrous Peace of Belgrade in 1739 it was to Russia rather than Austria that they looked for aid. At Tilsit Napoleon actually drew up a scheme of partition, by which Bulgaria 202 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. and the two Danubian Principalities were to be assigned to the Russians. The latter actually overran the country in 1810, and captured Plevna and other strong places. But Napoleon's march to Moscow forced them, to retire. One advantage accrued to the natives from this Russo-Turkish war: the cession of Bessarabia to Russia at the Peace of Bucharest provided the victims of Turkish oppression with a place of refuge, where they were kindly treated by a paternal governor. But even there, as afterwards in their own country, they soon learnt that Russian protection might be as onerous as Turkish tyranny. But when the Russians marched through Bulgaria in 1829 they found a warmer welcome than before. Many brigands enlisted with them just as they had joined the Greeks during the Greek War of Independence, and a certain Mamarcov attempted to unfold the banner of Bulgarian freedom on the ruins of Trnovo. His countrymen were ready to respond to his appeal; but the Russians arrested him and the peace of Adrianople put an end to the movement. A few years later he organised a conspiracy on his own account which was betrayed to the Turks, and he died in exile, meditating on the ingratitude of the Russian Government. It is remarkable that an Englishman, who was travelling through Bulgaria during this Russian occupation, had prophesied to the natives that England would sympathise with them in their struggle to be free and that an independent Bulgaria would be a wall between Russia and Turkey. The result of the Crimean War diminished their hopes of Russian aid, and they began to look to those Western 203 MIDHAT'S ADMINISTRATION. Powers, who had shown disgust at the "Bulgarian atrocities" of 1841, and had wrung from the Sultan the famous promise of civil and religious equality in 1856. Both Abdul Medjid and his predecessor Mahmoud II. were really anxious to improve the condition of their Bulgarian subjects; the former had taken the unusual step of personally visiting his Balkan lands; the latter established provincial councils, on which Christians sat. But the best and ablest of all Turkish governors was Midhat Pasha, whose four years' administration of the newly-created vilayet, or province of the Danube, which included Bulgaria and had its centre at Rustchuk, did more for the material improvement of the country than any number of paper reforms. In spite of the havoc caused by the migration of a horde of Tartars from the Crimea and nearly half a million Circassians from the Caucasus, Bulgaria became under Midhat a model to the rest of the Turkish Empire. If he had remained there longer, he might have made it what Bosnia is to-day.

Men of letters are apt to exaggerate the influence of literature upon politics; but there is no reason to doubt that the literary revival in Bulgaria was a very powerful factor in bringing about the national independence. It began with the publication of Paysij's "Bulgarian History" in 1762-a work with no pretensions to scientific accuracy, but which aroused the dormant patriotism of the people where a coldly critical and impartial narrative would have failed. Paysij's pupil, Sofranij,who has given us a graphic picture of his own times, laboured hard to interest the masses, who 204 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. had been, by virtue of their ignorance, far less tainted than their superiors with cosmopolitan ideas, in the glorious past of their country. These isolated efforts were followed early in the present century by the Bulgarian colony at Bucharest, whose aim was the establishment of a national literature and system of education. An enthusiastic admirer of Bulgaria, a Russian named Venelin, whose devotion to learning under the greatest hardships is most affecting, gave expression to their ideas in his "Old and New Bulgarians," which indirectly led to the foundation of the first Bulgarian school in the principality. It was at Gabrovo in 1835 that this important event took place, and the founder, Apriloff, had been inspired by the perusal of Venelin's book. Keen as the Bulgarians have always shown themselves to be for instruction, they eagerly embraced the opportunity of learning the elements in their own language. Other schools quickly followed, and in the brief space of ten years fifty-three were founded. The Turks, governed at that time by a reforming Sultan, did not interfere, and the Greeks, though viewing this new policy with dislike, were not actively hostile. Yet it is to the influence of these institutions that we may trace the growth of national feeling and the desire for political and spiritual independence. The national schools of Bulgaria and Robert College, the American foundation at Constantinople, were the nurseries of many a Bulgarian patriot and not a few Bulgarian statesmen. For the first time the native writers extended their sphere beyond the dry bones of theological or scholastic controversy. Collections 205 THE STRUGGLE WITH THE PHANARIOTES. of popular songs were made; Karaveloff, the uncle of the well-known politician, wrote novels and plays, while another politician, Dragan Zankoff, issued a German and a Bulgarian grammar. To "teach school," in Bulgaria no less than the United States, was the most usual training of the men who afterwards rose to power.

To rid themselves of the Phanariote bishops and revive the National Church, became the chief aim of the patriots. A regular Culturkampf raged for nearly twenty years, in which the Turkish officials were far less adverse than the Greek clergy to the Bulgarian demands. An eminent Turkish statesman even went so far as to express the opinion that to separate the Greek and Bulgarian Christians was the true policy of the Porte. The newspapers and periodicals, the earliest of which dates from 1844 and was published at Smyrna, greatly encouraged the agitation. The Greeks exhausted every device to frustrate the aims of their fellow-Christians. When the 'Porte insisted at last upon the appointment of a Bulgarian as bishop, the Greek Patriarch nominated him in partibus infidelium. After a tedious struggle, a Bulgarian Exarchate was created by a firman of 1870. Two years later the first Exarch, to be resident at Constantinople, was elected by the Bulgarians and confirmed by the Sultan. The Greek Patriarch promptly excommunicated him and all his followers, but the power of the Phanariote clergy was broken for ever. Such was the state of Bulgaria when the whole Eastern question was reopened by the outbreak of the insurrection in the Herzegovina in 1875. Thanks 206 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. to the reforms of Midhat, the concessions of the Porte in ecclesiastical questions, and the stubborn character of the Bulgarian race, the country was in a superior condition to that of most parts of the Turkish Empire at the period just previous to its liberation. Indeed, the Russian officers, who visited Bulgaria during the war of 1877, thought that the "little brothers," whom they had come to free, were materially better off under the Turkish yoke than many of their own moujiks under the benevolent despotism of the Czar. An impartial eye-witness has declared that to exchange their lot for that of the Bulgarians "would have been no, bad bargain for the Russian peasants." But the cruelty and stupidity of the Turkish soldiers destroyed at one fell blow any goad that Midhat had done, and outraged Europe regarded the Bulgarians as Christian martyrs.

The peasants of the Balkan slopes, less political in their tastes than the Greeks or Serbs, and less warlike than the Roumanians or Montenegrins, had been little affected by the struggles of their neighbours for freedom. A central revolutionary, committee had existed for some years at Bucharest with sub-committees in Bulgaria. But the execution of Vassili Levsky, the most active of these revolutionists in 1873, had damped the ardour of the exiles. "Apostles," as they were called, of whom Stambuloff was the most energetic, continued to make futile efforts to raise their countrymen against the Turks, without, however, arousing any general enthusiasm. But the universal ferment of the Slavonic elements in the Turkish Empire during 1875 extended to the usually stolid 207 THE BULGARIAN ATROCITIES. and unemotional peasants of Bulgaria. In the spring of the following year, a slight rebellion took place under the leadership of schoolmasters and priests, some of whom had imbibed with their Russian education the Panslavist ideas then in vogue at St. Petersburg. At first the rising attracted little notice, and even the British Ambassador at Constantinople


treated it lightly. But the cruelty with which it was suppressed aroused the indignation of Europe. The massacres of Batak have even now, after the lapse of twenty years, remained impressed upon the mind of every one who is old enough to remember them. The energy of am English newspaper correspondent first gave to the world the tale of horror; an official inquiry, conducted on the spot by Mr. Baring, fully confirmed the story of the journalist. The village of Batak, which lies in the mountains about eight 208 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. hours' journey from Tatar Bazardjik, had been preparing for some days past to join in the insurrection, when a force of Bashi-Bazouks under the command of Achmet Agha of Dospat, and his colleague Mohammed Agha of Dorkovo, arrived at the place. After a desultory struggle the villagers surrendered, Achmet giving his word of honour that "not a hair of their head should be touched." On the 9th of May the massacre began. The defenceless inhabitants, who had surrendered their arms, were butchered like sheep. Some took refuge in the church, only to find that the sanctuary was turned into a shambles. The roof was torn off by the Turkish soldiers, who flung burning pieces of wood and rags dipped in petroleum down upon the poor wretches within. One old woman was the only survivor whom Mr. Baring could discover, and when he visited the spot more than two months later, the stench of the still unburied corpses was overpowering. Skulls with grey hair still attached to them, dark tresses which had once adorned the head of a maiden, the mutilated trunks of men, the rotting limbs of children—such was the sight which met the eyes of the British Commissioner and his Turkish companion. Torture had been applied to those who escaped death in order that they might reveal where their treasures were hidden. "To Achmet Agha and his men," wrote Mr. Baring, "belongs the distinction of having committed perhaps the most heinous crime that has stained the history of the present century." The Turkish Government showed its sense of propriety and at the same time set a precedent, which has recently been followed in the 209 MR. GLADSTONE'S PAMPHLET. case of the massacres at Sassun, by decorating the butcher of Ratak. The Ottoman High Commissioner sent to inquire into the outrages formed, however, a truer estimate of what had been done. Addressing one of the authors of the massacre he asked him how much Russia had paid him for a deed which, as he phrased it, would be "the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire."

Batak was not an isolated example of Turkish ferocity. Mr. Baring estimated the total number of Christians slaughtered in Bulgaria during the month of May at about 12,000. At Batak 5,000 persons out of a population of 7,000 had fallen; at a small hamlet near Yamboli, all the male inhabitants were shot without trial; M. Zankoff, the subsequent minister, only owed his escape on this occasion to the timely intervention of the station-master. The indignation, of the civilised world at the news of these horrors knew no bounds. Mr. Gladstone by both pen and voice contributed to swell the torrent which threatened to sweep the whole system of Turkish administration in Bulgaria away. His famous pamphlet on the "Bulgarian Atrocities" speedily went through many editions; and Lord Derby telegraphed on behalf of the British 210 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. liberation became the object of practical statesmen no less than philanthropists. Russia, above all, had been provided with an excellent handle against the Sultan, and could go to war with the cause of the Balkan Christians as a watchword.

In the war itself the Bulgarians played a much less important part than the Roumanians. Bulgaria, disorganised by nearly five centuries of Turkish rule, which had sapped the martial spirit of the people, could do little but provide a theatre for the war. It was upon Bulgarian soil that the chief struggle took place, and the siege of Plevna and the occupation of the Shipka Pass attracted the eyes of the whole world to this remote corner of the map of Europe. To the best of their abilities the peasants helped the Russian forces; wherever the Czar's legions went the natives welcomed them, not because they wished to exchange the Turkish for the Muscovite domination, but because they regarded them as instruments for the liberation of the country. Their local knowledge was placed at the disposal of the invaders, Bulgarian guides directed the Russian army through the mazes of the mountains, Bulgarian boys carried water to the Russian soldiers in battle at the risk of their lives. Volunteer corps were formed to fight by the side of the Russian and Roumanian regulars, five thousand Bulgarians accompanied General Gourko in his operations in the Balkans, and won the praise of their allies by their gallant defence of the Shipka Pass, and their conspicuous bravery at Eski Zagora, where four-fifths of the Bulgarian combatants were left dead upon the field. But lack of military training, the terror inspired Government, that "any renewal of the outrages would be more fatal to the Porte than the loss of a battle." His words were literally true. For all unconsciously the wretched victims of Batak had done more for their country by their pitiful death than if they had perished sword in hand on the field. For from this moment Bulgaria, hitherto well-nigh forgotten by Western Europe, became a household word, and its 15 211 THE TREATY OF SAN STEFANO. by the massacres of the previous year, and the fear of reprisals in case the war went against their liberators, hindered them from displaying those high military qualities which eight years later won them renown at Slivnitza. One grievous blot marred their struggle for freedom. On the approach of the Russians the maddened peasantry gave way to its thirst for revenge. Mindful of the atrocities to which their countrymen had been subjected by the Bashi-Bazouks, the Bulgarians descended from the mountains whither they had fled, and slew the Turks without mercy.

The Treaty of San Stefano, which the conquerors endeavoured to impose upon the conquered, would have created a "Big Bulgaria" almost beyond the dreams of the most fervent patriots. In a single moment, from the position of a Turkish province the country would have risen to the rank of an independent state with boundaries almost as extended as those of the Empire under Simeon or Samuel. The Bulgaria of the San Stefano Treaty would have cut the European territories of Turkey in two, and thus effectually dismembered the Ottoman Empire. In addition to a coast line on the Black Sea extending a little farther north, and considerably farther south than that which she at present possesses, Bulgaria would have had a frontage on the Ægean. But it was in Macedonia, the "land for which Samuel and Basil had once striven so stoutly," that she would have acquired the greatest accession of territory. The lakes of Ochrida and Prespa, ancient homes of her Czars, would have once more owned her sway; the Vardar and the Struma would have been from source to mouth 212 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. Bulgarian streams. No wonder that Bulgarian eyes still look with longing upon the "promised land." Prince Alexander told a friend of the writer, who had remarked that Sofia was not sufficiently central to be the capital of Bulgaria, that the annexation of Macedonia would make it the heart of the country. Prince Ferdinand is known to cherish similar aspirations, and nowhere was the Macedonian agitation of last year more popular than in Sofia. The Bulgarians can never forget that a large part of the Macedonian population speaks the same language and belongs to the same race as themselves. But Greece and Servia would have been indignant at the loss of a country which contains many of their own fellow-countrymen as well. Over this big Bulgaria a Christian government was to be appointed, and a complete union was decreed between North Bulgaria and the part south of the Balkans, to which the diplomatic title of "Eastern Roumelia" had been given. But the Western Powers, and more especially England, anticipated that the new and autonomous state thus created by the Czar would become a mere appanage of the Russian Crown. It must be confessed that such a prospect seemed at that time only too probable; for no one suspected the sturdy independence of the emancipated Bulgarians, or expected the subsequent treatment by which their liberators alienated their affections. The history of Roumania, indeed, might have proved that any diplomatic attempt to sever North and South Bulgaria from one another would be as futile as the similar scheme for the separation of the two. 213 THE TREATY OF BERLIN. Danubian principalities twenty years earlier. But the dominant sentiment was the fear that Bulgaria would be a Russian outpost, a convenient resting-place on the way from St. Petersburg to Constantinople. So the Treaty of San Stefano was torn up, and that of Berlin substituted in its place.

By this memorable instrument, upon which the international position of the country still depends, Bulgaria was created an "autonomous and tributary principality under the suzerainty of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan"; its limits were defined to be the Balkans on the south, Eastern Roumelia being thus excluded from it, the Danube on the north, the Black Sea from just south of Mangalia to near Cape Emineh on the east, and Servia on the west, from the point where the river Timok joins the Danube to the place where the two principalities and Macedonia meet. Thus not only were the Bulgarians in Eastern Roumelia and Macedonia separated from their kinsmen in the new principality, but the Bulgarian-speaking district of Pirot was handed over to Servia. Here were the germs of future troubles, and the wording of the famous article which regulated the election of the Prince, has since caused great inconvenience. The article provided that the Prince should be "freely elected by the population, and confirmed. by the Sublime Porte, with the assent of the Powers. No member of the reigning dynasties of the great European Powers may be elected Prince." The words "with the assent of the Powers" have been interpreted to mean that if one of the signatory Powers object, no valid election can be made. Thus, 214 BULGARIA UNDER THE TURKS. after a reign of nine years as Prince de facto, the present ruler of Bulgaria has only just become Prince de jure. The Treaty then went on to proclaim complete civil and religious liberty in the new principality, provided for the payment of an annual tribute to the Porte, and made Bulgaria responsible for a portion of the Ottoman debt. Temporary arrangements were drawn up for the administration of the country under an Imperial Russian Commissary aided by a similar Turkish official and the consuls of the other Powers for nine months, the period which was fixed for the occupation of both Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia by a Russian army of fifty thousand men. As for the latter district it was to "remain under the direct political and military authority" of the Sultan, and to be administered by "a Christian Governor- General, nominated by the Sublime Porte with the assent of the Powers for a term of five years." But facts were soon to prove stronger than the artificial arrangements of diplomacy.

Thus, after nearly five centuries of Turkish bondage, Bulgaria was once more free. For the third time in her long history she was a practically independent state. More fortunate than Servia and Montenegro, she had not had to fight for her freedom but owed it to the swords, and perhaps no less to the pens, of foreigners. It remained for her to emancipate herself from the tutelage of Russia and bid her brothers beyond the Balkans join her in one united Bulgarian principality.