V.

THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE.

(1804-1860.)

AT the beginning of the present century, the Turkish Pasha who governed Servia was Hadji Mustapha, a kind and humane ruler, who enjoyed great popularity with his Christian subjects. Under his beneficent sway the land had peace, trade flourished, and justice was fairly administered to all alike. The grateful people called the governor the "Mother of the Serbs," and it seemed as if his province would be the last to raise the standard of revolt. But the reforms of Selim III., by arousing the anger of the Janissaries against both the Sultan and the Serbs, brought about the insurrection, which ultimately led to the independence of Servia.

The arrogance and insubordination of the Janissaries had long been a danger to the Turkish Empire, and nowhere were they more insubordinate than in Belgrade. Their leaders, or dahi, like the Deys of the Barbary states, openly defied the Turkish Pashas who were their nominal superiors; their exactions were more oppressive than the contributions levied 309 310 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. by the officials of the Sultan. With a stroke of his pen Selim banished the Janissaries from Servia, confiscated their property, and restored peace and prosperity to the natives. But the Janissaries were only temporarily checked. In conjunction with the notorious brigand-chief, Pasvanoglu of Vidin, they descended upon Servia, and it was with difficulty that Hadji Mustapha and the Serbs repulsed their attack. But the Porte could not reconcile itself to the permanent exile of men who, however unruly, were at any rate true believers. With strange vacillation the Sultan permitted their return. They were not long in resuming their former malpractices, and when Hadji Mustapha enforced the law and protected the peaceful inhabitants, they shut him up in the upper fortress of the city and put him to death. By way of apology they explained to the Porte that "Hadji Mustapha had been untrue to the Turks and a friend of the Christians." Their four chiefs then divided Servia between them, and the new Pasha had to content himself with the mere shadow of power. In vain the people complained to the Sultan. In vain the Sultan threatened the evil-doers with his vengeance. The Janissaries resolved to prevent him from levying a force of Serbs, as Hadji Mustapha had done, and massacred every one whom the people` regarded as a leader. Early in 1804 this horrible crime was committed. Every village in Servia flowed with blood, and those who escaped the common butchery fled to the impenetrable forests of Choumadia, a mountainous district situated between the streams of the Western and Lower Morava.

311 BLACK GEORGE.

Filled with the desire for vengeance, the survivors met to choose a leader. There was at this time in Servia a certain George Petrović, better known by his Turkish name of Kara, or "Black," George, from his dark raven locks. Kara George is the hero of modern Servian history, just as Stephen Dušan was of the ancient Serb Empire. The son of a peasant, he had taken part in the abortive rising of 1787, and was forced to flee for his life with his old father and his belongings. When they came to the river Save the father refused to go on, and his son, rather than allow him to be seized and tortured to death by the Turks, drew his pistol and shot him dead on the spot. For a while he served as a volunteer in the Austrian army, and when the war was over joined the brigands in the mountains. But under the peaceful sway of Hadji Mustapha he became a breeder of swine—then, as now, the staple industry of his country. He grew rich and respected, though few loved him, for he was silent and morose; and, when he was angry, his temper was terrible. But in battle he towered above his followers, his eyes sparkled, and his foes fled before his maimed right hand. He knew his own weaknesses, and, when his fellow-countrymen asked him to be their leader, he reminded them of his violent character. But they refused to listen to his arguments, and he consented to be their chief. "I am a simple man," he told them; "if you disobey me, I shall not try to enforce my authority by speeches, I shall kill the disobedient." His only brother, whom he dearly loved, was one of the first to incur this punishment. Such was the man to whom modern 312 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. Servia owes her independence. To the end he pursued the simplicity of life which had marked his earlier career. At the summit of his power he wore a peasant's garb and pursued a peasant's avocations. He spoilt one of his foreign orders by wearing it when he was mending a cask; and when he exercised princely power, he allowed his daughter to carry up water-cans from the well like a village maiden. He was a great man, though he was innocent of the alphabet and could not sign his own name at the bottom of a State paper.

He soon gathered around him a considerable force. Nobles, like Jacob Nenadović and Milenko, brigands, and even priests came to his assistance. "Every tree," says a patriotic ballad, "became a soldier." At first the Janissaries despised their enemy; a single Mussulman, they boasted, could put fifty Serbs to flight. But Kara George, the "Commandant of Servia," as he styled himself, carried all before him. Belgrade was invested by his army, and the Turkish Government, no friend to the Janissaries, ordered the Pasha of Bosnia to join the Serbs with his forces. Kara George welcomed his unexpected ally with open arms; Belgrade surrendered, and the heads of the four dahi adorned the insurgents' camp. The tyranny of the Janissaries was broken, and the object for which Kara George had fought was attained. The Sultan hoped that the Serbs would now return to their old allegiance.

But their successes had inspired the Serb leaders with the idea of emancipating their country from Turkish interference in their internal affairs, no less 313 WAR WITH TURKEY. than from the irregular rule of the Janissaries. As yet they had no desire for complete separation; they only desired local self-government while preserving the external union with Constantinople. Shrewd enough to see that they could not yet stand alone, they sent a deputation to Russia to ask the aid of a country which had lately procured such solid advantages for the Danubian principalities. The Czar promised to support the claims of the Serbs at Constantinople, and the three envoys returned home proud of their powerful patron. But the Napoleonic wars engrossed his attention, and the sole result of his promises was to excite hopes in Servia, which he could not help to fulfil. The Serbs demanded that the fortresses in their land should henceforth be garrisoned by native instead of Turkish troops. The Sultan refused and told off the Pasha of Nisch to disarm the rebels. The Pasha failed in the attempt, the Sultan sent three armies to subdue the Serbs; war between Servia and Turkey had fairly begun. The struggle was severe, for the Sultan's best solders were in the field. But under the leadership of Kara George and his able colleagues, Milenko, Mladen, and Jacob Nenadović, the Serbs held their own against the Turkish armies. The strategical knowledge which many of them had picked up in the Austrian ranks now stood them in good stead. The character of the country made it easy to defend, and thus compensated for their great numerical inferiority. On the 4th of August, 1806, a great victory at Mischar proved decisive for the Servian cause. The flower of the Bosnian chivalry fell, the Seraskier lost many of his solders in the waters 314 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. of the Drin, Kara George, the "Supreme Chief," as he was now styled, remained master of the day. The Pasha of Skodra, upon the news of his colleague's defeat, proposed a truce, and a Servian embassy was sent to Constantinople to arrange terms. At first the Sultan, terrified at the prospect of an alliance between Servia and Russia, was ready to make almost any concession. He promised the Serbs a government of their own, the possession of all the Turkish fortresses in Servia except Belgrade, where an Ottoman garrison of one hundred and fifty men was still to remain; and, in lieu of all former taxes, the payment of six hundred thousand gulden a year, in order to provide compensation for the dispossessed Turkish landowners, whose lands would now revert to the natives. But just at this moment there came a turn in the great Napoleonic drama. Believing that Russia would soon be once more at war with the French Emperor and thus have no leisure for Balkan politics, Selim III, revoked his concessions and recommenced hostilities. Kara George lost no time in accepting the challenge. Belgrade once again capitulated to him, but he could not check the fury of his followers against its Turkish inhabitants. For two days the massacre continued; on the third few survived to tell the tale. It was the revenge of the people for centuries of oppression.

The revolution had overthrown all the existing institutions which the Turks had created, and the first business of Kara George, now that he had freed his country, was to provide it with a government. With the aid of a Hungarian Serb, named Philippović, a Senate, 315 THE NEW GOVERNMENT. composed of twelve members corresponding to the twelve nahie, or districts, of Servia, was established in the capital and entrusted with the tasks of levying taxes for the maintenance of the standing army, organising tribunals and promoting education. Feeling sorely their own literary deficiencies, the leaders of the revolution not only erected elementary schools in every county-town, but started a high school at Belgrade, where history was taught. By the side of the Senate there was an Assembly, or Skupschtina, to which the local chieftains came with their retinues every year to decide questions of peace or war and the punishment of great criminals. Kara George exercised, as "Supreme Chief," the executive power, and when the Senate displeased him ordered his soldiers to stick the muzzles of their muskets in at the windows of the hall where it met. "It is easy," he said, "to make laws in a warm chamber; but who will lead against the Turks in the field?"

The dangers which threatened Turkey from every side in 1809 induced Kara George to attack his old enemies. Russia, at peace with Napoleon, had declared war on the new Sultan, Montenegro was in ferment, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Serbs implored the help of their emancipated brothers. Kara George, with Montenegrin aid, had begun a campaign in the West, and was marching across Novibazar, when the news of a Turkish invasion of Servia on the East recalled him to the defence of his country. But the jealousies of the rival chiefs paralysed his efforts. In his despair he implored the aid of Napoleon, but without success. The Czar was more willing to assist 316 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. him, and Russian and Servian troops stemmed the tide of invasion. Kara George emerged from the war more powerful than ever, Servia could breathe again, even though the Sultan still declined to recog- nise her hard-won independence.

But with the disappearance of danger from outside internal dissensions recommenced. Already there were in Servia a Russian and an Austrian party. Kara George had meditated putting the country under the protection of Austria; his own pre-eminence excited the envy of the great military chiefs, who wished to have the Czar as their sovereign. For a time the Russian faction was predominant, but the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812, by which Russia, menaced by Napoleon, sacrificed the Christians of the Balkans, left Servia to her own resources. Turkey at once proclaimed a "holy war" against her revolted subjects; Kara George issued a fiery address in which he prayed God "to put courage into the hearts of Servia's sons." But this time his own heart failed him. He, the hero of a hundred fights with the Turks, lay inactive in the mountains, while the Ottoman armies invaded the land, and, when the critical moment came, he buried his money and retired into Austria. Servia, deprived of her trusted chief, lay at the mercy of the foe. Most of the principal men followed Kara George; after a nine years' successful struggle for independence, the Servian nation had suddenly collapsed.

Among the Serbs who had refused to leave their native land, was a certain Milosh Obrenović, an influential man, who had taken a prominent part in the 317 MILOSH. war. The founder of the present reigning House of Servia, like his great rival Kara George, began life as a humble farm-servant. His father, a peasant named Tescho, had married the widow of one Obren, from whom Milosh derived his patronymic. From his

MILOSH OBRENOVIĆ.

half-brother Milan, who was the son of this Obren, Milosh inherited a considerable fortune; and the flight of all the native leaders left him the most influential man in the country. Seeing that resistance was hopeless for the present, he left his hiding-place in the 318 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. mountains and came to terms with the conquerors. Soliman, the new Pasha of Belgrade, received him with every respect and appointed him headman, or oberknez, of the three districts where he had influence. His conduct has naturally given rise to very different views of his character. Some regard him as an astute statesman, who saw that the only way to save his country was to worm himself into the confidence of its conquerors, and so moderate the violence of their anger. Others consider him to have been a traitor, who cared for nothing but his own personal advantage. A true hero would hardly have acted like Milosh, for he would have desired that his actions should be above suspicion. But the goodness or badness of his motives, however much they may affect our estimate of his character, does not detract from the importance of his work.

At first he appeared to be a zealous supporter of Turkish rule. When Hadschi Prodan, a patriotic Serb, rose against the conquerors in 1814, he promptly suppressed the revolt, but endeavoured to save the rebels from the results of their acts. But the cruelty of Soliinan made him fear for his own safety; his head, he said, was no longer secure. Under a pretext he quitted Belgrade and took to the mountains, where he soon gathered around him a band of malcontents. At Takovo on Palm Sunday, 1815, he was hailed by his comrades as "Supreme Chief" of the Serbs. From every side men flocked to his banner; a guerilla warfare, such as the Serbs love, made terrible havoc with the Turkish troops; even the strong fortress of Passarovic fell into his hands. The dread of Rus 319 MURDER OF BLACK GEORGE. sian intervention, which the final conclusion of the Napoleonic struggle in 1815 rendered possible, inclined. the Sultan to make terms with the Serbs, who had sent their envoys to seek the aid of the Congress of Vienna. In place of the former Senate, there was established a Court composed, as before, of representatives of the twelve nahie; the old Skupschtina was allowed to raise the amount of tribute paid to the Turkish Pasha, who continued to occupy Belgrade; tribunals, presided over by the head-man, assisted by a Mussulman in cases where the litigants belonged to the two races, administered justice in each district; and, last but not least, the Serbs received permission to carry arms. They had thus regained under Milosh a semi-independence; internal disputes at once began.

The news of the Turkish defeats reached Kara George in his exile in Bessarabia. The old leader received pressing letters bidding him return, and in 1817 he secretly recrossed the frontier of his native land. To Milosh his return was anything but welcome, for there was no room for two "Supreme Chiefs" in the Servian councils. The two men had never been friends, and Milosh now resolved to rid himself of his rival for ever. He accordingly told the Turkish Pasha of Kara George's arrival, and of the seditious plans which he was forming. The Pasha bade him procure the murder of the rebel; and Milosh, nothing loth, ordered Vuica, a brigand chief, to send either Black George's head or his own. The order was promptly obeyed. As Kara George slept he was stealthily assassinated, and his head sent to the exultant Pasha. Such was the ignominious end of 320 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. Servia's national hero. From that moment began the feud, which is not even yet extinct, between the descendants of Kara George and the house of Obrenović The history of Servia during the greater part of the present century is one long duel between these rival families.

Milosh was now without a competitor; for he had also secured the execution of the Archbishop of Belgrade and a prominent noble, who had menaced his supremacy. In November, 1817, the head-men of all the districts, together with the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the country, named him Prince or Servia, and declared the title hereditary in his family. The dignity lasted until it was exchanged in 1882 for the title of King. For a long time the Porte refused to recognise him in his new capacity ; and, when he sent a deputation to Constantinople, his envoys were imprisoned. But Russia, which had been the first to acknowledge him as a lawful Prince, demanded, in the Convention of Akermann in 1826, the evacuation of Servia by the Turks, and a definite settlement of the relations between the Sultan and the Serbs. When the Porte hesitated to carry out its engagements, the Russian army laid siege to Varna. The attitude of Milosh, who, without actively assisting Russia in the war of 1828, kept the Bosnian and Albanian forces froth attacking the Russian troops in the flank, was rewarded by the Czar. In the peace of Adrianople, it was stipulated that Servia should be completely independent of the Porte on payment of an annual tribute, but that the frontier fortresses should be held by Turkish garrisons. A 321 DESPOTISM OF MILOSH. year later, on the last day of November, 1830, the Sultan formally recognised Milosh as hereditary Prince. Milosh had reached the summit of his power; from that moment his influence began to wane.

The Serbs soon found that the government of their own fellow-countryman was not much milder than that of the Turkish Pasha. He collected the taxes with no less stringency; he treated the chiefs with no more respect. The peasants asked themselves whether their desperate struggles with the Turks had profited them much, and whether they had not made all their sacrifices simply for the glorification of one man. Milosh acted as an autocrat. He ceased to assemble the Skupschtina, and, in spite of the code which he had introduced for the use of his country, made his own will the highest law. He took what he chose from his subjects at a price fixed by himself, and once ordered a whole suburb of Belgrade to be set on fire, because he wished to build a new custom-house. He handled the people like serfs, and forced them to gather in his hay without payment, like a feudal lord. He enclosed the commons, on which the peasants fed their swine, and aimed at obtaining a monopoly of the Staple trade of Servia. The pig has always been an important factor in Servian politics, and this last act of the Prince was most unpopular. Even his own son admitted that Milosh committed great mistakes in his domestic policy. "Am I not the master? can I not do what I will with mine own?" was the father's reply. Simple and genial as he was in his 22 322 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. summer home at Passarovic or in his winter residence at Kruševac, in the midst of his family, the "peasant- prince" was a tyrant to his people. His refusal to assist the Serbs of Bosnia, who implored his help, was a further ground of complaint. One rising after another broke out, a conspiracy against the Prince's life was discovered, and at last he thought it prudent to grant his people a constitution.

On the 15th of February, 1835, he opened the Skupschtina with a speech, in which he promised all the latest inventions of Western politics—the rights of man, ministerial responsibility, and the subordination of the sovereign to the law. A Council of State was called into existence, the Prince reserved for himself the right of supervision alone; by a single stroke of the pen semi-civilised Servia was converted from an Oriental despotism into a constitutional monarchy. The scheme looked beautiful on paper, but events proved that the nation was not ripe for so elaborate a system of government. The constitution of 1835 was unworkable, and Milosh treated it as a dead letter and returned to his old despotic ways. His monopolies of salt and other necessaries were worse than ever, and his subjects felt his exactions all the more because he spent abroad the money which he raised from them. His increasing power had alarmed not only the Sultan, but the Czar, who up to the Treaty of Adrianople had been his friend. The former feared that other Christian races in his Empire might follow the example of the Serbs; the latter was pursuing the time-honoured policy of Russia in the Balkan Peninsula, which 323 MILOSH YIELDS. consists in allowing the various states to acquire sufficient power to make them independent of Turkey but not sufficient to enable them to stand alone without Russian aid. In order to cripple the strength of Milosh, Russia played the same game as in Bulgaria in 1879, and tried to divide the authority in Servia between Prince and people. The discontented nobles, under Ephrem, the Prince's brother, readily fell in with this scheme. The Czar sent Prince Dolgorouki to Servia with instructions to urge upon Milosh the necessity of a really efficient constitution. Milosh was supported against Russia by the influence of Great Britain, which had lately sent Colonel Hodges as Consul to Belgrade—the first instance of British interest in Servian affairs. The British Government thought that Servia might become a valuable market for Birmingham and Manchester goods, and accordingly desired the maintenance of the commercial autocracy of Milosh. But the Prince reflected that England was, after all, a long way off, and that Servia had no seaboard where British bluejackets could land, if he required their aid. So he yielded to the persuasions of Russia, and by a decree of the 24th of December, 1838, there was established a Senate or Council of seventeen ministers, who were irremovable and enjoyed full legislative powers. Four ministers for different departments were appointed by the Prince, but it was to the new Council that they had to make their reports. The power of Milosh was gone; he had scarcely a friend among his ministers and on the Council; his enemies at once used against him the lever which the 234 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. new constitution had placed in their hands. In vain his adherents, under his brother Jovan, took up arms against the Council. Milosh found himself deserted, he was told that he must resign in favour of his eldest son Milan. On the 13th of June, 1839, he signed his abdication, and without saying a word, amid the tears of his retinue, he, the second founder of modern Servia, crossed the Save. But his career was not over; twenty years later he was to return and for a brief space once more rule his native land.

Milan Obrenović II., who succeeded his father, died a month later, and his health was so feeble that during that brief period a Regency governed in his stead. Upon his death there broke out disputes as to the succession, which are even now not entirely settled. But the Senate promptly proclaimed Milan's younger brother Prince under the title of Michael Obrenović III., and the Sultan, as suzerain, ratified the decision of the Senate. But, in order to impose a check upon the Prince, the Porte placed Petroniević and Vouičić, two powerful nobles who had acted as Regents for his brother, at his side. Thus, at the very outset of his reign, Michael had two dangerous rivals near his throne, who were certain sooner or later to plot against him. The people were discontented, for, as one of them said, "in the time of Milosh we had only one ditch to fill with money, but now we must fill seventeen, one for each of the senators." They demanded the removal of the seat of government from Belgrade to Kruševac, where it would be more independent, the trial of the 325 ALEXANDER KARAGEORGEVIĆ. Regents and the recall of Milosh. The Regents fell, and Michael, installed at Kruševac, gained a free hand for his contemplated reforms. But he allowed himself to be carried too far by the zeal of his Minister of Education, an Austrian Serb, who desired to raise Servia all at once to the level of a civilised Western state. The improvement of the education of the clergy, the introduction of written pleadings in courts of law, the collection of statistics, the establishment of an opera and a theatre in Belgrade were excellent things in their way, but they cost money, and it became necessary to increase the taxes in order to obtain it. The peasants, who had been the strongest supporters of the Obrenović family, grumbled and shook their heads over these new-fangled "German" ideas. The return of Petroniević and Vouičić from exile provided the opposition with chiefs, and an open revolt broke out against the Prince. Michael saw himself abandoned by his people as his father had been, Vouičić had seduced his subjects from their allegiance, and there was nothing left for him but to resign. At the end of August, 1842, he withdrew into Austrian territory, and Vouičić formed a triumvirate for the government of the country. But the people demanded a Prince, and the unanimous choice of the seventeen provinces of Servia fell upon the son of the national hero, Kara George, Alexander Karageorgević. Born amid the dangers of the War of Independence in 1806, Black George's son had received an allowance from Milosh, and had served as an officer in Michael's guard. Pleasant and unassuming in manner, he had won 326 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. the general esteem of his fellow-countrymen, and the great name which he bore made him the only possible successor to an Obrenović on the throne of Servia. The Sultan at once ratified his election, but the Czar Nicholas I., who regarded himself as the "Protector of Servia," insisted upon a new election being held. The fears of Russia that a Karageorgević would prove too independent were, however, idle, for Alexander lacked the spirit of his sire. But, in order to pacify the Czar, the form of another election was gone through, and Alexander once more chosen as Prince, the appointment, however, being only for life. With this concession, and the exile of the two revolutionary chiefs, Vouičić and Petroniević, the Russian autocrat professed himself contented, and for the next few years Servia enjoyed profound peace. Abroad, the Prince abandoned the "great Servian idea" of Milosh, who had dreamed of emancipating all the Serbs outside the principality from the Turkish yoke; at home, he devoted himself to those fiscal and economic reforms which were sorely needed. During his reign the principality made great material progress. Roads opened up the internal commerce of the country, two new codes were promulgated, and great public works undertaken. For a brief space Servia seemed to have reached that happy condition of having no history, to which few states, least of all in the Balkan Peninsula, ever attain.

But the outbreak of the revolution in Hungary in 1848 at once aroused the sympathy of the Serbs of the principality. The Prince preserved official neutrality, but he could not prevent his subjects from 327 THE CRIMEAN WAR. volunteering against the Magyars, who showed such slight regard for the claims of other nationalities. The situation was rendered more difficult by the fact, that Milosh and his son Michael openly assisted the Serb revolutionists in Hungary, and thus gained popularity as champions of the Servian race. But a much more awkward problem confronted Karageorgević when Russia entered upon the Crimean War. The Czar, who had been greatly annoyed by the appointment of the Liberal and anti-Russian statesman, Elia Garashanine, as Servian Minister for Foreign Affairs, demanded his dismissal within twenty-four hours. The Prince was on the horns of a dilemma; if he refused to dismiss his minister, he would offend the Czar; if he obeyed the Czar, he would wound the pride of his subjects. He yielded, only to find that Russia was resolved to ask further concessions. But Austria stepped in, and induced Servia to remain strictly neutral in the war of 1854. Nothing loth—for they had no love for their imperious Russian "Protector"—the Serbs confined themselves to preparing an armed resistance to any army, whether Austrian or Russian, which might invade their country. Small as their numbers were, they would have proved most valuable allies to the Czar, and their abstention from all active participation in the war completely altered his plan of campaign. Turkey and the Western Powers remembered this policy of "masterly inactivity" with gratitude at the end of the war. The Treaty of Paris of 1856 provided that Servia should remain under the suzerainty of the Sultan, but that its "rights and privi 328 THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. leges should henceforth be placed under the collective guarantee of the Powers," who promised that it should "preserve its independent and national administration, as well as its religious, legislative, and commercial liberty." The Porte retained its right of occupying the frontier fortresses, and continued to receive an annual tribute, but it was specially laid down in the treaty that "no armed intervention could take place in Servia without the previous consent of the Powers." Thus the claim of the Czar to be the "Protector of Servia" was set aside in favour of the joint protection of the European Governments.

But, successful as had been his policy during the Crimean War, Karageorgević soon became very unpopular. His enemies accused him of servility to Austria, and regretted the expulsion of the Obrenović family. The Senate was composed of his opponents, and he accordingly petitioned the Sultan to rescind the existing constitution and substitute for it one much less Liberal. The Senators at once came forward as the friends of the people and sent a counterpetition to the Porte, asking for a great extension of the national privileges. In the eyes of the masses they appeared as true patriots, while the Prince seemed a reactionary of the worst type. A conspiracy against his life led to the arrest and imprisonment of several popular members of the Senate, and the discontent of the nation increased. Some desired the recall of Milosh and his son; others the election of Garashanine; others, again, wished to have Karageorgević's nephew as their Prince. But all were agreed that Alexander must go, and demanded the summoning

THE OLDEST CHURCH IN SERVIA.

THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE. of a National Assembly. The Assembly met in December, 1858, and at once demanded the Prince's resignation. Alexander fled to the fortress at Belgrade, and next day old Prince Milosh was restored to the throne. Twenty years after he had quitted his. country as an exile, the aged leader returned amidst the acclamations of his fickle people.

Milosh did not long survive his restoration. But before he died he raised the Servian nation to a position which it had never occupied under the feeble rule of his predecessor. Alike to Austria and to the Sultan he quickly demonstrated his determination to allow no foreign interference in the internal affairs of his country. He promptly removed the Turkish guards from the streets of his capital, and demanded the strict execution of the article of the Treaty of Paris which limited the Turkish right of occupation to the frontier-fortresses. When the Porte sent an evasive reply and hesitated to recognise the hereditary claim of the Obrenović family to the throne, he drew up a solemn declaration before the National Assembly, in which he proclaimed the acceptance of both these principles by the Servian people, with or without the consent of the Sultan. In order to ensure the succession beyond all dispute, the Assembly decided that, in default of heirs, the Prince might adopt a Serb of noble birth and belonging to the Greek faith as his successor, and that during a minority a Regency, composed of three ministers, should carry on the government of the country. A month later, in September, 1860, Milosh died. It was well for him that his reign was not extended, 331 DEATH OF MILOSH. for his former experience had not disabused him of his autocratic ideas. He belonged to a past generation, and had learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing during his long exile. His contemporaries, especially the peasants, might look with gratitude upon the great services which he had rendered to his country in days gone by, and pardon his errors of judgment and his despotic ways. But the rising generation, which knew not the Milosh of the struggle for Independence, was rapidly growing restive under his patriarchal rule. No matter was too small, no detail too trivial for his consideration, and he was greedy of power to the last. With his death the heroic age of modern Servia closed; for, with all his faults, Milosh was a hero, not of the ideal sort, but such as are the makers of half-civilised Oriental States. Panegyrists have tried to excuse his complicity in the murder of his great rival, Kara George, which will ever be a stain on his character, and there are as many different interpretations of his conduct in 1813 as there are writers on the period. But, judged according to the standard of Oriental rulers in that age, Milosh was not much their inferior in character and greatly their superior in ability. His name and that of Kara George will ever be remembered in connection with Servia's emancipation from the Turk.