MOLDAVIA AND WALLACHIA.
System of Turkish government towards the tributary subjects.- Powers and immunities of the clergy.- Offices of emolument conferred on the rayahs.- Peculiar advantages of the Greeks.- Cause,- and consequences of this distinction.- Exceptions to the usual mode of Turkish government.- Dacia.- Geography of Moldavia and Wallachia;- their departments and dioceses;- seasons, air, and soil;- husbandry and natural productions;- appearance of the country.- Constitution and moral qualities of the inhabitants.- Civil distinctions.- Constitution and government.- Vaivoda or prince;- ceremony of inauguration;- court, officers of state, and body-guards.- Divan or council;- its departments.- Boyars or nobility.- Powers of the divan.- Classes and privileges of the boyars.- Turkish magistrates.- Officers civil and military.- Laws and police.- Revenue and taxes.- Capital cities.- Public establishments.- Manners of the Greeks and the boyars.- Deposed princes.- Foreign relations.System of Turkish government towards the tributary subjects.
297 While the Turkish power was in a state of progressive aggrandizement, it was the constant policy of the government to expel 298 the nobles and great landed proprietors from those countries which they had incorporated with their empire, and to make a new division of the lands according to the arrangements of their peculiar civil and military system. Under the equal pressure of this new despotism, every idea of nobility and all traces of distinction were effaced from the memory of the inhabitants; and, after a few generations, the posterity of the ancient families could no longer be recognized among the mass of conquered subjects. These were reduced to one common level of servitude: their talents were exerted only to procure the necessary means of subsistence, and were confined to the labours of agriculture, the exercise of the mechanical arts, and the dealings of commerce. The abolition of civil or honourable distinctions, of all which was derived from former institutions or which could tend to perpetuate the memory of past independence, was inevitable, since their existence was incompatible with the safety of the new government1.
1"The families are so fallen from their former splendour that they look more like husbandmen than nobles." Cantemir, p. 186, note 28. "Hic mihi in mentem venit, quam Jevis et infirma res sit, quæ vulgo perhibetur, nobilitas. Nam cum de puellis quibusdam, quæ liberaliore (?)erant forma, scire vellem, num quo essent genere, audiebam eas a summis ejus gentis satrapis originem ducere, aut etiam regium esse genus, jam bubulco aut opilioni desponsas. Sic in regno Turcarum jacet nobilitas. Vidi item postea aliis locis Cantacuzenorum et Palæologorum imperatorii generis reliquias, contemptius inter Turcas degentes quam vixit Dionysius Corinthi." (Busbeq. Epist. i, p.23.)Powers and immunities of the clergy.
299 The power of the clergy, great as was their authority over the minds of their followers, and odious as it must have appeared to zealots professing adverse doctrines, excited, however, neither jealousy nor animosity. The influence of the clergy, who were detached from the ordinary concerns of life and who had no community of interests with their fellow subjects, presented to a government, whose policy consisted in oppression, a powerful instrument for securing the obedience of the conquered people and for producing general habits of patience and submission. The Ottomans treated with the clergy in their corporate capacity as with a civil power, representative not merely of a sect, but of a nation, over which they had until then exerted only a spiritual authority. Their privileges were confirmed, and their powers augmented; they were invested with 300 temporal authority, were appointed the political overseers of their flock, and were the only authorized and acknowledged organ of the people2.
2"Les Turcs traitèrent avec le patriarche Gennadius comme avec une puissance; ils l'admirent dans leur conseil, et en lui rendant sa dignité ils s'assurèrent de l'obéissance du peuple entier qu'ils venoient de conquérir." (Chevalier, voyage de la Propontide et du Pont Euxin; t. i, p. 117.) "The influence of the patriarch with the porte is very extensive, as far as his own nation is concerned. His memorials are never denied, and he can, in fact, command the death, the exile, imprisonment for life, deposition from offices, or pecuniary fine, of any Greek he may be inclined to punish with rigour, or who has treated his authority with contempt." (Dallaway, p. 101.) The Armenian patriarch and the khakham bashi or chief rabbin of the Jews, are in like manner the temporal and spiritual heads of their respective communities.Offices of emolument conferred on the rayahs.
The pride or the indolence of the Turks, which made them disdain, or rendered them averse from attending to, the details of business, encouraged a mercenary emulation among the rayahs, to whom they confided the administration of several lucrative, though subaltern, departments. The rayahs thus became the bankers, the merchants, the contractors, the agents, of the porte, of the pashas, and of the farmers of the different branches of the revenue. They retaliated 301 upon their countrymen the humiliations which their employers forced them to endure, and they practised every refinement of tyranny stimulated by avarice3. Custom and precedent, which in Turkey soon acquire the force of law, have established the Jews in the offices of collecting the customs and of purchasing whatever is required for the use of the seraglio, while they have conferred on the Armenians the direction of the mint: these, however, are the highest civil employments to which either of them can attain.
3"Les Grecs ont leurs plus grands ennemis parmi eux. Ce sont ces codja-bachis, Grecs d'origine, prosternés aux pieds des Turcs, qui vexent avec plus de dureté ceux qu'ils devroient chérir et consoler. Par leur insolence, par leur fierté, et par la bessesse qui les caractérisent éminemment, ils ont établi une ligne de démarcation entre eux et la nation Grecque. Espèce dégénérée, ils out tous les vices des esclaves, et ne se dédommagent des humiliations que les Turcs leur prodiguent qu'en exerçant le monopole, la délation, et le brigandage le plus révoltant. Dans les temples ils occupent la place voisine de l'autel, ils y deploient l'orgueil du Pharisien, contens d'une triste prérogative achetée au prix du bonheur de leurs compatriotes." "Sous le sabre du Turc, le Grec est esclave; mais sous la puissance de son compatriote, il est spolié et cent fois plus malheureux." (Pouqueville, voyages en Morée, &c. t. i, p. 106, 359.)Peculiar advantages of the Greeks.
It has been supposed, that the Turks, in order to console the Greek descendants of the imperial family for the loss of empire, 302 had bestowed on them the government of the two principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia; an error which appears to have no other foundation than the assumption of the illustrious name of Cantacuzenus by two persons of obscure family, born in Wallachia, who were raised to the administration of that principality in the seventeenth century4. It appears, on the contrary, that the first prince of Wallachia of Greek extraction, was Nicholas Mavrocordato, son of Alexander the chief interpreter of the Ottoman court who had been appointed minister plenipotentiary of the porte at the congress of Carlovitz in 1699, with the title of bey and mahremi esrar, or he to whom secrets are revealed5. Since that period the Greeks, by their superior talent for intrigue, and perhaps their greater genius for managing state affairs, have retained among themselves the succession to both principalities, which may now be considered in some degree as a national inheritance. To the Greeks, alone among the rayahs, is reserved 303 the nomination to posts of honour; if honour in their situation be not inconsistent with public employment.
4See Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 371, note 25.
5See Osservazioni storiche, naturali, e politiche, intorno la Valachia e Moldavia, p. 21.Cause,
If an inquiry be made into the origin of this distinction between the privileges conferred on the Greeks and the other tributary subjects of the grand signor, it will perhaps diminish, or efface the little honour which it may seem to bestow. The office of dragoman of the porte, or court-interpreter, was held originally by renegadoes, or apostate Christians, as we find, that Ibrahim, by birth a Pole, was interpreter during the embassy of Busbequius; and Spon mentions another, whose Polish name was Albertus Bobovius, who communicated to Rycaut the materials from which he composed his state of the Ottoman empire. But during the siege of Candia, the Greek physician of the grand vizir Kioprili had so endeared himself to the Turks by his important services that he was appointed dragoman of the porte.
The Ottoman troops, reduced to a state of exhaustion and despondency by the length of the siege and the new obstacles which the garrison continually opposed, began to murmur, that the strength of the nation was wasted against an impregnable city. The 304 vizir, though impelled by the positive threats of the sultan, was frustrated in his efforts by the discontent of the soldiery, and could with difficulty restrain them from an open mutiny. In this dilemma, his embarrassment was aggravated by the intelligence, that the French were coming to the relief of Candia with a fleet and army. The artifices of Panayot, his physician, not only delivered the vizir from his embarrassed situation, but induced the Venetian commander to surrender the city. "I have projected," says the artful Greek, "to invite Morosini the governor to a private parley, and to admonish him as a friend not to trust to the French fleet, because their designs are worse than those of the Turks. I shall easily gain credit, as well by my known profession of the Christian religion as by my feigned zeal for the welfare of Christendom, and hope to inspire him with the purpose of surrendering the city." The success of his project established the credit of Panayot in the Turkish court, "which was so great," says Cantemir, "that no Christian before him ever did, and, it is believed, that none after him ever will, enjoy the like." At his death, which happened during the expedition against 305 Kaminiec, he requested and obtained, that his body might be sent for burial to Constantinople, an honour usually granted to the sultans alone. His death was lamented, and his services were publicly acknowledged by the vizir; and his merit is imputed to his nation and successors6.
6See Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 258, note 6.
Alexander Mavrocordato succeeded, by similar arts, to the same honours as Panayot. By his influence his son Nicholas was promoted, first to the principality of Moldavia and afterwards to that of Wallachia; when, in the true spirit of an enfranchized slave, he merited by his tyranny and the vexations of his government a comparison with Nero.and consequences of this distinction.
The post of court-interpreter and the appointment to the two principalities excited the ambition of the Greeks; and many, forsaking the paths of vulgar industry, sent their children to study physic and foreign languages in the universities of Italy. The flame spread, and a spirit of intrigue was communicated to the Greeks: those who were possessed of wealth and talents assisted their claim to precedency by forged genealogies, 306 and prepared their way to power fraud or violence, unrestrained by the common precepts or principles of morality7. The offices in the different departments of government were insufficient to employ, and inadequate to satisfy, the crowd of claimants who presented themselves. The foiled competitors, who obtained at least by their defeat the means of undermining their absent rivals, alternately protruded each other from power; the ministers of the porte encouraged the ambitious pretensions of all parties, and multiplied their own emoluments by a rapid mutation of offices. The Turkish government, impartial in its choice, measured merit only by the golden standard, and reconciled its implied promises of support with its wishes to advance a rival, by the interposition of the knife or the bowstring, the gibbet or poison. Hence arose a Greek nobility and gentry, attached to the distinguished houses by interest or consanguinity, 307 and continually occupied in plots and cabals. These men have forsaken their workshops and warehouses, and pass their lives in soliciting, or in abusing, authority; or in wasting in tremulous luxury and ostentation the fruits of rapine and extortion.
7Gika, prince of Wallachia, was deprived of his dignity by the indirect practices of his son Gregory, who resided at Constantinople as his father's capu kiahya, or agent at the Ottoman porte. "He told the vizir, that his father was old and sometimes had not the use of his senses; by which means he got him turned out, and was appointed prince of Wallachia in his room." (See Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 278, note 5.)Exceptions to the usual mode of Turkish government.
The order of government, which the Turks substituted in the place of the institutions which they abolished throughout their new conquests, has been already explained. Their system, which appears to have been adopted because the chief wants of the state were thereby provided for without any diminution of the public treasure, and with great satisfaction to the military themselves, was however relinquished in some few instances, and chiefly in the constitution of government established in the tributary provinces of Egypt, Wallachia, and Moldavia. Selim rather capitulated with the Mamelukes than conquered them: he left the internal government of Egypt to the beys, and endeavoured to balance their power by the authority of the pasha, his vicegerent. Wallachia submitted to the force of the Ottoman arms in the year 1418. Moldavia surrendered its liberties to Soliman the First in 1529. The Turks, considering both 308 principalities as fiefs of the empire, exacted from them only the payment of tribute, without interfering in the interior government. They however established, under cover of the paramount authority of the sultan, a system of pillage, which has gradually carried to a greater excess, and is practised with more impunity, than could be done over the subjects of the Ottoman porte in those provinces which are incorporated with the empire. But previously to the description of the government and present state of a country which is now become of the highest importance in the politics of Europe, it will be necessary to take a rapid survey of its past history, to point out its geographical position, and to describe the nature and quality of the soil, climate, and inhabitants.Dacia.
Dacia was annexed to the Roman empire in the reign of Trajan, after an obstinate contention during five years with the fierceness and strength of the Barbarians, and the unconquerable patriotism of their king Decebalus. The labours of this warfare are still recorded on the column which Trajan erected in his forum at Rome, as a monument of his Dacian victories.
309 The province of Dacia comprehended the countries situated beyond the Danube, and distinguished in modern geography by the names of Bessarabia, Moldavia, Wallachia, Transilvania, and the bannat of Temeswar. In the year 270 the emperor Aurelian relinquished the sovereignty of the Transdanubian provinces, and withdrew the Roman troops and colonists to his new province of hither Dacia8. Such of the inhabitants as chose to remain became incorporated with the Goths, and served as the medium of intercourse between their brethren on the other side of the river, and these new settlers. The policy of Aurelian was justified by the event, and the extensive province, which the Romans had been unable to defend, opposed, during a long period, a firm barrier, after it became independent, against the incursions of the savages of the north.
8New Dacia was a dismemberment of the province of Mœsia, and was subdivided into Dacia Ripensis, on the banks of the Danube, Dacia Mediterranea, the territory of Nissa, and Dacia Prævalitana, which extended towards Albania. (See Peyssonnel, observations historiques et géographiques, &c. p. 3.)
Dacia continued in the possession of the Barbarians, who alternately yielded to, or incorporated themselves with, successive hordes of more powerful invaders. During 310 the declension of the Roman empire, the inhabitants of Dacia subsisted in peace or war by pasturage and pillage. They issued occasionally from their woody retreats, crossed the Danube in their light boats made out a single tree, and marked their inroads into Bulgaria and Thrace with blood and ruin, even to the suburbs of Constantinople.
When the dominions of the Gothic king were invaded by the Huns, whom, from their greater fierceness, the Goths themselves denominated Barbarians, the Visigoths under Athanaric occupied in their retreat the country which lies between the mountains, the Pruth, and the Danube, and were preparing to defend it by the construction of strong lines; but the dismayed Goths, distrusting their own valour and their means of resistance, implored the protection of the emperor Valens, and obtained permission to cross the Danube: they were received as guests and settlers in the Roman empire, which they afterwards so powerfully contributed to subvert.
In the treaty of peace which Attila, king of the Huns, dictated to the Romans, his sovereignty over those countries was confirmed, and for the convenience of his Dacian 311 subjects it was stipulated, that a safe and plentiful market should be established on the southern bank of the Danube. After the death of Attila and the extinction of his empire, Dacia became the seat of a new but transitory power, erected under Ardaric, king of the Gepidæ: it was destroyed by the victory of the Lombards and their confederates, and was succeeded by the empire of the Chagans, which subsisted with splendour above two hundred and thirty years. Batou, grandson of Jenghiz Khan, although he carried his arms into these provinces, appears not to have disturbed the general government, which was that of petty princes under the protection of the kings of Hungary.
In the reign of Ladislaus the First, Radulus, or Radulphus, surnamed the Swarthy, erected into a principality the country situated between the Siret and the Alt, which is now called Wallachia Proper. The bannat of Crajova, or Lower Wallachia, continued dependent on the kings of Hungary, and was given to the knights of Jerusalem, who, under the title of bans or viceroys, governed the country, and afforded protection to pilgrims passing from Germany to the Holy Land. Bogdan, or Theodosius, assumed the government of Moldavia. Both principalities were 312 originally held as fiefs of the kingdom of Hungary; but when they had afterwards increased in strength, and formed alliances with the kings of Poland, they asserted their independence.
According to Cantemir, Stephen, prince of Moldavia, alarmed at the conquests of the Turks over the Hungarians, the Tartars and the Wallachians, and fearing to rely either on the Poles or the Germans, advised with his last breath the surrender of his country to the Ottoman power in the name of a fief, if the inhabitants could obtain peace on honourable terms, together with the preservation of their civil and ecclesiastical laws. Soliman accepted their homage; for the Turks aimed at nothing more than to subject an enemy to the payment of a small sum of money under whatever name, which, having once obtained, they soon found means of reducing to a real tribute. He left them the privilege of electing their own governors on every vacancy, subject to the approbation of the porte, a privilege which both principalities appear to have enjoyed and abused, until the beginning of the eighteenth century9. Since 313 that period the boyars are no longer consulted in the choice of their governors, and the scene of intrigue is transferred from Yassy and Bukarest to the porte, and the Fanal of Constantinople10.
9See Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 202, note 67. Demetrius Cantemir himself, on the death of his father Constantine, in 1693, was chosen his successor by the unanimous voice of the Moldavian boyars, but the election was not at that time confirmed by the porte. On the rebellion of Cantemir and his flight into Russia, the porte withdrew the privilege, and has continued, since that time, to appoint the princes both to Moldavia and Wallachia without consulting the boyars. "They formerly contended for their privileges," says Cantemir, "but now the tyranny of the Turks forces them to submit not only their timber, but their heads, to the axe." General Baür (mémoires historiques et géographiques sur la Valachie, chap. iii, p. 264. Paris 1781) says, that the election of Constantine Mavrocordato to the Principality, in 1730, is the last instance of the exercise of this great prerogative by the boyars of Wallachia.
10The Fanal is a district of Constantinople in which is the metropolitan church, and where the principal Greek families reside. It is situated on the side of the harbour.Geography of Moldavia and Wallachia;
Temeswar and Transilvania are now annexed to the dominions of the house of Austria, and Moldavia and Wallachia to those of the porte. These two principalities (which lie between 43°.55'. and 48°.35'. north latitude, and 23°. and 29°. 35'. east longitude) are divided from Poland by the Dniester, and the small tract of country called Bukovina, which has been ceded to the house of 314 Austria11. The Carpathian mountains separate them from Transilvania and from the bannat as far as Mehadia12, the Danube from Bulgaria, and the Pruth from the desert of Bessarabia. The course of the Milkow, which descends from the Carpathians and falls into the Siret, and the latter river from the point of confluence till it reaches the Danube between Ibraïl and Galatz, fix the respective boundaries of the principalities.
11The cession of this territory, which after much discussion was made to the Court of Vienna in the year 1776, has opened a passage to the Austrian troops into the heart of both the principalities.
12"Ces montagnes sont comptées parmi les plus hautes et les plus grandes de la terre- leur largeur varie de dix à quinze lieues.- C'est la barrière la plus forte que la nature ait pu donner contre toute insulte de ce côté-là. Il y a peu de passages, et ils sont très difficiles; de sorte qu'un petit nombre d'hommes peut aisément les défendre contre des forces infiniment supérieures." (Baür, chap. ii, p. 217.)
The inhabitants distinguish that part of ancient Dacia which is tributary to the 0ttoman porte by the name of Zara Rumenesca, or the Roman empire. The Turkish name is Iflak, a corrupt pronunciation of Wallachia, though Moldavia is frequently called Bogdan, a word derived, according to D'Herbelot, from the Sclavonian name of the Christian princes of Mœsia. By way of 315 distinction, Moldavia is also called Cara Iflak, and Wallachia Ak Iflak13.
13The Turkish name of Moldavia has given rise to a mistake which originated with Leunclavius (who appears to have been but imperfectly acquainted with the Turkish language), and which has been propagated by succeeding travellers. "Moldavia," he says, "is called by the Turks Carabogdania, which signifies the land of black wheat, because the country abounds with wheat that is black." I am so little versed in agricultural affairs as to be ignorant even of the existence of black wheat (unless it be bo(?)ck-wheat, which however is not much cultivated in either principality), but I may venture to affirm, that the name of Cara Bogdan by no means warrants the assertion, that black wheat abounds in Moldavia. To inquire into the reason of the term black being applied to this division of the country would be an useless labour; and I have indeed pointed out Leunclavius's error, chiefly because it gives me an opportunity of introducing an observation, which seems to suggest matter of inquiry as to the earlier history of the Turkish nation. Bogdan, the name of a man, signifies, in the Sclavonic language, "the gift of God," and is synonimous with the Greek Theodosius, or the Italian Diodati. But the Turkish name for wheat is bogday, which equally implies "the gift of God;" and as it is not derived from words radically Turkish, it supports the conjecture, that the knowledge of this useful grain was communicated to the Turks by the Sclavonic nations who inhabited the country on the north the Caucasus, whither the Turks, at a very remote period, appear to have retired, and to have lived so secluded from intercourse with other people as either to have forgotten the use of bread and the very name of wheat, or at least to have been so long deprived of it that, on its being restored to them, they adopted for it a new name, not expressive of its qualities, but of their own gratitude. It has also occurred to me (though I found no hypothesis on what is perhaps only an accidental resemblance), that the Tuscan word augur bears great affinity to the Turkish (?)oughour, "auspicious, of good omen;" and I think it not improbable, that the Turks cultivated augury and divination, like the Druids, the Epirots, and other people inhabiting deep and romantic forests.
316 Both provinces are intersected by the numberless torrents which descend from the Carpathian mountains, and augment the stream of the Danube. Their fountains determine the natural limits between Austrian and Turkish Dacia; those which flow to the south belonging to Wallachia, and the northern streams to Transilvania.
From the snowy summit of the Carpathian ridge, the mountain, covered with lofty woods, gradually declines, and extends its skirts over the country, forming the sublimest and most romantic scenery, terminating in hills covered with vineyards, and opening into bays and vallies of the greatest fertility and beauty. Great part of the remaining space of country towards the Danube, from the mouth of the Siret to the fortress of Orsova, is a level and marshy plain, from twelve to twenty leagues broad.
The southern frontier of Moldavia is comprised between the mouths of the Siret and the Pruth, and possesses the advantage of a port accessible to merchant ships of the greatest burthen.
Both provinces abound in rich pastures 317 and extensive forests, and are watered with innumerable streams and rivers; many of which are, or might be made, navigable14.
14"Les principales rivières de la Valachie, comme le Siret, la Jalowitza, l'Argis et l'Olta, sont navigables; mais elles ne portent que des bateaux plats. Le Danube, dont le courant a de 18 à 60 pieds de profondeur jusqu' aux environs de Hirsowa, en porte de toute espèce." Baür, chap. ii, p 214.their departments and dioceses;
The political division of Wallachia is into seventeen circles, and that of Moldavia into twenty. The hierarchal division of Wallachia is into three dioceses, over which the metropolitan or archbishop of Bukarest and two bishops exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Moldavia has an archbishop and three bishops. The convents and churches are oppressively numerous: they almost cover the face of the country, and every where occupy the best situations.seasons, air, and soil;
The winter is long and uncommonly severe, particularly in Moldavia, which is exposed to the first fury of the north-east wind, rendered more keen by its passage over an immense and snowy tract of level and open country. The water in the deepest wells has sometimes been known to freeze, and Danube to be covered with ice of prodigious thickness. The spring begins in April. In June the south-west wind occasions 318 periodical returns of rain, thunder and lightning, at nearly the same hour, for a short continuance. In this month the south wind, by increasing the melting of the snow on the mountains, sometimes occasions inundations. In July and August the heats are excessive, but the nights are cold. The rainy season returns in September, and the most delightful and temperate weather succeeds, and continues to the middle of November. About this time the north-east wind first announces the winter, and sometimes introduces it by a heavy fall of snow.
The city of Bukarest was almost destroyed by an earthquake in the year 1802, but such calamities are rarely felt in either principality. The air in general is pure and wholesome, and the soil is proper for the production of every species of grain and pulse.husbandry and natural productions;
They commonly plough with six oxen and make a very deep furrow. They never employ manure; but after a crop of corn leave the land fallow for a season, and then sow it, either with wheat, or barley, or Indian corn. In virgin land, of which from the neglect of culture there is much in both provinces, they plant cabbages the first year, which 319 grow to a prodigious size, or cucumbers which succeed equally well. By these means they extract and temper the salts with which such lands abound, and besides destroy the weeds and herbs, whose growth is checked by the spreading leaves of both plants which prevent their coming to seed15.
15See Osservazioni, &c. p 53. Carra, histoire de la Moldavie et de la Valachie, p. 152. Paris 178I. Baür, chap. ii, p. 218.
The cultivation of the vine is general on the slopes of hills which afford a suitable exposition. The wine, though made without art, is pleasant and wholesome16. It is exported in great quantities to Russia and Transilvania. Its strength and spirit are increased by a process, common among the rich proprietors, and practised also in Russia. At the first approach of a severe cold, the wine butts are exposed to the severity of the weather in the open air: in a few nights, the 320 body of wine is encircled with a thick crust of ice; this is perforated by means of a hot iron, and the wine, thus deprived of its aqueous parts, is drawn off clear, strong and capable of being preserved for a long time17. The wines somewhat resemble the light Provence wine, called cassis, they may be drunk even to ebriety without injury to the general health. The wheat in both principalities is excellent: its quality is between the hard red wheat and the white and mealy. The season of harvest is in the month of June. Immediately after being gathered in, the corn is trodden out by horses and cattle, and is laid up in pits. Barley is the common food of horses, as well in Wallachia and Moldavia as throughout the Turkish dominions. Oats and rye are rarely sown. Indian corn is much cultivated on account of its nutritious quality and abundant produce: it also requires less labour, and, being sown in the spring, is less exposed to accident and less liable to disappoint the hopes of the 321 farmer. The meal of Indian corn is made into a thick pottage, called mamalika, and is the basis of the people's food in both principalities. Flax and hemp are sown only in sufficient quantities to supply the wants of the inhabitants.
16" Le vin n'est pas seulement bon, mais il est abondant. Il y en a qui le dispute en bonté avec celui de Hongrie." Baür, chap. ii, p. 219. "Les vine d'Odobezd en Moldavie et de Pietra en Valachie sont les meilleurs. Cet article principalement est susceptible d'amélioration; car le vigneron ne sait pas ce que c'est que de sarcler la vigne ni de lui donner deux ou trois façons, comme en Bourgogne; il se contente de remuer la terre une fois l'an autour du cep, et laisse ensuite croître l'herbe de tous côtés." Carra, p. 163.
17Ovid (de tristibus, l. iii, el. x, ver. 23, 24) notices, though with a little poetical licence, a similar practice at Tomi in Bulgaria, the place of his banishment."Udaque consistunt formam servantia testæ Vina; nec hausta meri, sed data frusta bibunt."
The mountains and the plains are covered or diversified with woods and forests of the most useful trees. The oak is frequently seen of two or three feet in diameter, and furnishes timber solid and compact: the pines and firs are common on the mountains18. There are besides beeches, maples, elms, and ashes of different kinds, limes, poplars, walnut and white mulberry trees, of which last kind there are many plantations for the purpose of feeding silk worms. The woods formed of these majestic trees are peopled with innumerable races of singing birds. The note of the nightingale is sweeter and more frequent in the forests of Wallachia than in any other part of Europe, and its melody heightens the charm which is experienced 322 in travelling through that country in the beautiful evenings of the summer season. The fruit trees which are the most common, are the apple, one of which appears natural to the climate; it bears, without culture, a fruit called domniasca, which is perhaps the finest in Europe, both for size, odour, and flavour: the pear, the plum, the cherry, the peach, the apricot, the service, the walnut, and the hazel nut, come to great perfection with little culture. The climate is however unfavourable to the growth both of the olive and the fig-tree. The wood strawberry is every where to be met with, and the air is perfumed with wild flowers and aromatic herbs. Asparagus is the natural produce of the soil, the mushrooms are plentiful and of excellent quality; the cucumbers, the melons, and water-melons form a chief article of food to the common people; the cabbage spreads to an enormous size, and the Jerusalem artichoke, yer elmasi, thrives and is propagated with little labour or attention. The chief source of wealth in both principalities, is, however, their abundant and nutritive pasturages. The sheep and goats in Wallachia are estimated at four millions: these are driven at different seasons of the year, from 323 the banks of the Danube to the summit of the Carpathian mountains: the flesh is excellent, and the annual exportation of wool into Germany amounts to several thousand bales. The oxen, and principally those of Moldavia, are large and fleshy: a great number are sold into Silesia and other foreign countries19. The buffalo thrives in Wallachia, though it must be carefully tended, as it suffers equally from the excessive heat of summer and the cold of winter. This animal is of the highest utility as well from its prodigious strength, as from the abundance and nutritious quality of its milk. There are various breeds of horses: the best races, which are those of Moldavia, are bought up in great numbers for the service of the Austrian and Prussian cavalry: they are well shaped, are remarkable for the soundness of their hoofs, and possess both spirit and docility. The carriage and draft horses are small but active, and capable of resisting fatigue. They live in the open air in all seasons, and 324 in the winter when the ground is covered with snow, are frequently attacked by the wolves, who come in great numbers, and when pressed by hunger are destructive, not only to the herds and flocks, but to the traveller and the inhabitant20. Domestic fowls, and game of all kinds are in great plenty. Water birds are numerous on the lakes ail the Danube, which also abound with various kinds of fish. Deer and wild goats are frequent on the mountains, and the hares are in such numbers in the plains that the peasants in Wallachia and Moldavia are said to hunt down upwards of half a million with their dogs, when the fall of snow through the winter is considerable. The honey and wax are of the finest quality, and are among the richest productions of the country: the climate seems indeed peculiarly favourable to the noble insect which produces them21. 325 The mineral productions are natural tar, salt, and nitre. The salt is of the purest crystal and the mines are considered to be inexhaustible22: the prince of Moldavia is obliged to send every year to Constantinople a contribution of twenty thousand okes, or twenty-five tons of nitre. The riches contained in the bowels of the earth and the vast range of the Carpathian mountains are however unexplored, though there are several indications of their containing metallic substances23.
18"Le chêne sur-tout est d'une grandeur et d'une bonté particulieres.- Il y a dans les montagnes une espèce de sapin plus noble que le sapin ordinaire; son écorce est blanchâtre, l'arbre fort haut, fort droit et presque sans nœuds; il donne des mâts excellens, et il est très propre à faire des bâtimens de mer." Baür, chap. ii, p. 221.
19"On compte près de trente mille bêres à cornes qui sortent de la Valachie pour la Bosnie, d'où elles passent à Constantinople; et vingt mille bêtes à cornes avec cinq ou six mille chevaux de la Moldavie qui passent par la Pologne pour la Silésie, la Moravie et le Brandeburgh." Carra, p. 164.
20In the studs there is generally a stallion to ten mares who serves them as guardian and conductor. When a stud is attacked by the wolves, the stallions assemble, and collect together the mares and foals by their loud and repeated neighings: the mares form a circle round the foals, with their heads turned towards the centre: the stallions arrange themselves on different points, and repel the wolves with their heels if they are bold enough to attack them, and generally defend themselves so vigorously that the wolves are forced to retreat. (See Osservazioni, &c. p. 79.)
21Carra (p. 166), and the author of the osservazioni (p. 89), mention, among the productions of Moldavia, a kind of green wax which is very scarce; it is deposited by bees, smaller than the common ones, on certain plants, from which it is collected, though but in small quantities. It is made into tapers which diffuse an exquisite perfume when they are lighted.
22In the year 1755, the quantity of salt taken out of the mines of Wallachia was 25 million okes, or about 28,000 tons. The mine in Moldavia yields annually 10 million okes of salt. (See Baür, chap. iv, p. 324. Carra, p. 168.)
23See Carra, p. 155. Baür, chap. ii, p. 224. Peyssonnel, observations historiques, &c. p. 111.appearance of the country.
The attention of the traveller is wholly absorbed in contemplating the beauty of the varying landscape, and the fertility of the soil, which is improved by a rich, though inadequate, cultivation. De Tott compares Moldavia to the province of Burgundy. I have traversed both principalities in every direction, and retrace with vivid pleasure the 326 impressions left by their grand and romantic scenery; the torrents rushing down the precipices and winding through the vallies, the delightful fragrance of the lime flower, and the herbs crushed by the browzing flock, the solitary hut of the shepherd on the brow of the mountain, the mountain itself rising far above the clouds, covered over its whole surface, except in the snowy regions, with a deep bed of vegetable earth, and every where adorned with lofty and majestic forest trees, or with rich and lively verdure:- all this assemblage of beauty, which once gratified my sight, still interests me in the picture which memory retains24.
24"J'ai vu presque toutes les contrées de l'Europe: en vénté je n'en connois aucune où la distribution des plaines, des collines et des montagnes soit aussi admirable pour l'agriculture et la perspective, qu'en Moldavie et en Valachie." Carra, p. 154. "La plus grande partie des montagnes ressemble aux plus beaux jardins; les ruisseaux qui s'en précipitent avec un doux et agréable murmure, roulent dans les plaines une eau claire et saine, et arrosent en les traversant les vallons les plus agréables: on les diroit formés exprès pour offrir aux yeux la plus belle vue qu'on(?) puisse imaginer." Baür, chap. ii, p. 220.
The locusts, the curse to which countries are most exposed where nature has been most prodigal of her gifts, sometimes infest and spread desolation over this delightful region. They even pass the lofty ridge of the Carpathian 327 mountains, and light upon Transilvania, where a provident government has called out its regiments to disperse and destroy them with the report of cannon and the smoke of gunpowder.Constitution and moral qualities of the inhabitants.
The Dacians were the most warlike of men. I treasure up such facts, because they serve to strengthen the conviction which I have received from surveying the manners of many people, that of all the evils which can possibly befall a state, the worst is subjection to a foreign power. The modern inhabitants, instead of the rude and hardy virtues which distinguished their barbarian ancestors, instead of the dignified manliness which constituted the Roman character, retain only a stubbornness in refusing what they know will be wrested from them, an obstinacy in withholding what they dare not defend: they seem to think it folly to yield until they have been beaten, though they do not even dream of making resistance25.
25Tacitus (Germania, c. 1) says, that the Dacians were separated from the warlike Germans by the mutual dread of invading each other:- nor did they entirely lose their character for bravery until they fell under the unheard-of ignominy of being tyrannized over by a foreign slave. Chalcondylas (l. ii, p. 24), relates, with due commendation, their successful resistance and harassing pursuit of Sultan Bajazet, when he invaded Wallachia: he says of them, "Dacorum gens bello præstantissima est, nec tamen admodem bonis gubernatur legibus. Vicos plerunque incolunt, sequentes pascua." Cantemir (p. 125, 188, 325), and Montalbanus (ap. Elzevir. p. 90), speak of them as free-booters and pirates, both by land and sea, and as uniting their forces, under the command of their own princes, with those of the Turks in their military expeditions. Marsigli (t. i, p. 101), says, that each principality was bound to furnish a corps of cavalry, though he was told by the Turks themselves, that they considered them to be useful only in relieving their own troops from unpleasant services. "Quos, velut ad hebetandas hostium vires et furorem, in prælia primos impellunt- vile istorum damnum reputantibus Turcis." (Montalbanus, p. 21). And yet they must have been of great utility, as irregular cavalry, in Turkish warfare. "Tartarorum more incedunt, ac præliantur, vacuos binos aut tres equos singuli trahentes, quos uno alterove fesso mutuant; in excursionibus idcirco veloces famam adventu ipso prævenientes. Tartarorum item ex consuetudine armantur.- Feroces, adversusque omnia sæva firmati sunt: pace infidi, bello non spernendi." (p. 90.) The emperor of Austria has many Wallach regiments in his armies, and they are found to possess all the requisite military qualities.
328 The peasants call themselves rumun, or Roman, by which they are distinguished, as a term of reproach, from the boyars or nobles. Their language is a corruption of the Latin, somewhat resembling the Italian, but considerably more debased by barbarian mixture26.
26See Chalcondylas, l. ii, p. 24. "Cette langue dérive grande partie du latin, comme par exemple les mots pouiné panis, mouiné mane, apa aqua, vinn vinum, venouto ventus, &c. en partie du sclavon ou russe, comme slouga serviteur, prapadito perdu. Il s'y est introduit d'ailleurs un certain nombre de mots Turcs et Tartares, qui tous ensemble forment un langage barbare et corrompu, qui n'offre nulle énergie, nul goût, et nulle idée abstraite." Carra, p. 195.
329 The appearance of the modern inhabitants in their summer dress is precisely the same as that of the ancient, which is represented on Trajan's column. A savage figure dressed in a shirt of coarse linen girt round the waist, and a pair of long drawers; a hatchet hanging at the girdle, a sheep skin thrown over the left shoulder and fastened on the breast, and sandals of undressed leather on the feet. Their hardy exterior is strikingly contrasted with their real imbecility; for they are humbled by slavery even into the belief, that they are weak. The few Turks who travel through their country, the Greeks who pillage rather than govern it, the Germans and Russians who generally occupy it at the first opening of the campaign, all employ the same coercive measures. An Austrian corporal distributes blows, before he condescends to explain in what manner he must be obeyed. The necessary consequence of such mode of proceeding is, that the traveller in these countries can seldom procure for himself any convenience or accommodation beyond the common necessaries, and these be must frequently think a luxury. Every one flies at his approach if he be attended 330 by the officers of the prince, and if no one remains to be beaten, he can with difficulty obtain the common comforts of fire and straw, to dress his food or to make his bed. De Tott describes such treatment as necessary, and indeed few people in authority have recourse to any other. I however hazarded an experiment. I travelled with a French gentleman from Constantinople to Vienna. On leaving Bukarest the prince had insisted on our taking an escort of three soldiers of his body guard, and our arrival in the villages on the road consequently spread the usual alarm, and excited the usual distrust, but nothing was more easy than to re-establish confidence; a few paras given to the children, or if none were there, a few paras to the peasant with orders to buy without limitation a small quantity of the best wine in the village, and a little present on his return, as it convinced the villagers, that we meant to extort nothing, procured us abundance. I never experienced more ready service, and though the extraordinary expense was too trifling to be noticed, we never left a house without being attended by the whole family, and sometimes by all the men 331 in the village, who voluntarily supported our carriage across the rugged or miry passages at the entrance of it.
The predominant religion in both principalities is that of the Greek church. The inhabitants are indeed attached to its rites and ceremonies, and tremble at its denunciations; but it does not appear, perhaps because their spiritual, tyrannize over them no less than their temporal, superiors, that they feel for their religion the same ardour of affection which I have observed among the Greeks in Turkey. Religion, indeed, when administered, not by an equal or a fellow sufferer, but by a master, has not the mild and beneficent character which endears it to its votaries. The ringing of bells, or beating with two wooden hammers on a long piece of wood suspended in the belfries, is the most troublesome expression of their devotion. On the morning of a great holiday the clatter is inconceivable in the city of Bukarest, where indeed there are more churches and convents than would suffice for all the parishes in both principalities. The chief amusement of the people on their holidays is dancing. The Wallach dance is an expression of languor: the air is simple and 332 monotonous, and the gesture a careless voluptuousness: the dancing couple hold each other by the hands, which they lift above their heads: the step is a motion alternately backwards and forwards, corresponding with the expression of compliance and refusal, repeated, without variation, through a courtship of three quarters of an hour27.
27See Voyage à Constantinople, p. 117.
The inhabitants of the mountains are afflicted with the same glandular accretion which is observed in the Alps: its appearance is disgusting, and is so far from being considered as a beauty by the natives that the dress of the women is purposely calculated to conceal the neck and the throat. In its excess it causes all that is human, as well in the mind, as the body, of those who are afflicted with it, to disappear.- They are perfect idiots. I remember the uneasy sensation which I experienced, when after a long and fatiguing journey we reached our resting place in a village among the mountains. The inhabitants of a dark cottage were dislodged to make room for us, and I had ordered the chamber which we were to occupy to be cleared and swept; but on approaching the fire I observed a person sitting among 333 the embers on the hearth. I was peevish, if not angry with the peasant, who immediately drew from the chimney corner by the nape of the neck- a naked mummy, for so it appeared to me: the body wasted to supply the enormous excrescence on the neck, the spindle shanks shrunk up, the long arms hanging down the sides, and showing no sign of life except a vacant and frightful stare. I confess I felt horror. I was stung with remorse at depriving the poor creature of the only comforts which it seemed capable of enjoying; but my humanity yielded to stronger and more selfish feelings, and I could not resolve to eat and to sleep in such company.
In the plains the natives seldom attain to the age of seventy years, they are even old at sixty; but this is owing to other causes than the climate, for chronical diseases are unknown, and bilious and intermittent fevers, though frequent, are seldom fatal28.
28"La quantité de marais et d'eaux stagnantes dans les vallons et les prairies, l'épaisseur et la profondeur des forêts, l'humidité naturelle de tant de terres incultes, qui se trouvent sans cease couvertes de l'herbe desséchée et pourrie de l'année précédente, sont les causes secondes du vice qui règne dans l'atmosphère de ces climats." Carra, p. 151.Civil distinctions.
334 The number of inhabitants in both principalities is calculated to amount to a million of souls29; a population very inadequate to a territory of such extent, so fertile and so rich in the variety of its productions. If the inhabitants enjoyed the blessings of regular government, if their industry was unshackled, and the fruits of their labour were secured to them, their numbers would speedily and necessarily increase from the great facility of obtaining a comfortable subsistence. They possess the unalienable riches of nature, which, far from being exhausted, would multiply even beyond the demands of an increasing population30.
29See Osservazioni, &c. p. 209. Carra (p. 155) reckons only 500,000 inhabitants in both principalities, but this estimate is inconsistent with his own calculation of 170,000 persons who pay the taxes and contributions.
30"Il est affligeant qu'un pays si beau, d'un sol si fertile, sous un ciel si heureux, soit si peu peuplé; je suis persuadé qu'il pourroit nourrir cinq ou six fois plus d'habitans qu'il n'en contient actuellement." Baür, chap. ii, p. 231. "Il y a tout au plus un quarantieme du pays défriché et mis en terres labourables." Carra, p. 161.
The subjects of the country, exclusively of the privileged classes of boyars and ecclesiastics, are the rumuns (Moldavian and Wallachian peasantry and burghers), and the still more abject class of chinganehs or 335 gypsies: these people are distinguished by the peculiar Ethiopian cast of features and complexion which marks their race in every country in Europe. In the Ottoman empire the chinganehs do not form a distinct sect: they adopt the religion of the country in which they are tolerated, though they are said to preserve, and to incorporate with it, the traditional superstitions of their ancestors. In Romelia they are Mussulmans and consequently free. In Moldavia and Wallachia they are Christians of the Greek communion; for the most part domestic slaves, the coachmen, cooks, confectioners, bakers, and menial servants, of the nobility; bandied about according to the caprice of their brutal masters, and beaten wantonly and unmercifully: themselves are the lowest of mankind: a propensity to irregular desires indicates itself from their tender years; they are of a spiteful and malignant disposition, slovenly in their habits, and universally thieves. Those of the chinganehs who are free, breed cattle and horses, manufacture spoons, or other household utensils, of wood, and carry on a small traffic in articles of common use and little value. Offences of a serious nature, such as the stealing of cattle, high-way robberies, 336 and assassinations are generally traced to the chinganehs31.
31Peyssonnel (observations historiques, &c. p. 111) says, that in Moldavia the chinganehs are bought and sold at very low prices, though not to strangers, as the landed proprietors are unwilling to suffer them to quit the country.
The rumuns are indeed burthened and oppressed with imposts and taxes, but they are protected in their persons, by the law, from the capricious ill-usage of private individuals. The municipal magistrates and the officers of government are alone empowered to inflict corporal punishment. The rumuns cultivate the lands of the boyars and other proprietors, and pay a tenth part of the produce to the land-holder, who besides reserves to himself several valuable privileges, and among others, the exclusive right of selling wine and brandy on his own estate. If they are dissatisfied with their master, they quit their habitations, and pass over to the estate of another with their families and moveables. But the exactions of a rapacious government cannot be warded off or eluded. "As I traversed Moldavia," says De Tott, "I beheld them gathering the eleventh capitation for the year, although it was then but the month of October32." Under such oppressions, 337 where every one is forced to contribute in proportion to his profits, they naturally avoid labour, of which they cannot hope to reap the fruits; they exert no ingenuity, and apply themselves to no new branches of industry; they scarcely even retain the practice of those arts which are most essentially necessary: the mechanical arts are left to foreigners from the neighbouring states, who are protected from injustice by the influence of their own governments: the natives become indolent, because they cannot ameliorate their condition by exertion, as they become treacherous, because treachery is constantly employed to discover, and to extort, their scanty savings. Their features are contracted by care and anxiety; their bodies are debilitated by idleness and deficiency of nutriment; and drunkenness, as it lightens the immediate pressure of misery, completes in them the debasement of the distinguishing faculties of rational nature.
32Memoirs, v. ii, p. 29.Constitution and government.
The form of government established in both principalities is that of a limited monarchy. The prince represents the sovereign, and the divan, which is composed of the principal boyars, the senate. The power of the prince is, however, controllable only in 338 his financial operations, in fixing the rate of contributions, or determining the mode of raising them: these must be conducted with the advice and consent of the council; and if they are unanimous, they overrule the opinion of the prince.Vaivoda or prince;
The prince, though restrained in the power of levying arbitrary exactions, is invested in every other respect with regal, though precarious, authority. He assumes the state and magnificence of a sovereign. The porte confers on him the title of vaivoda, a Sclavonic name originally signifying the general of an army, but given by the kings of Poland to the governors of provinces. The republic of Venice first used the title of serene highness in addressing the vaivodas, though their position he very different from that of the independent princes of Germany and Italy. The dress of ceremony of the princes of Moldavia and Wallachia differs from that of the Turkish governors only in the covering of the head. They formerly wore in their caps the sorgudj, or plume of heron's feathers set in a crest of diamonds, in imitation of the Ottoman sultans; but at the present day, though they adorn with these insignia their portraits which are suspended 339 in the churches, they are careful not to offend the scrupulous eyes of the Mussulmans.
The prince holds a court every day, where he sits for a short time surrounded by his officers, to administer justice and to decide controversies between his subjects. His commands are received with the most obsequious deference: he has full power of life and death over all, and inflicts whatever punishment he pleases on the guilty or the disobedient33. No complaints are received at the Ottoman porte against this authorized agent of government, even for the murder of an innocent person, whatever may have been his rank in society. The staff of authority is always placed beside the throne, and if the prince be of a choleric and impetuous disposition, it excites no surprise to see him yield to the emotions of anger, and distribute blows, with his own hand, on the heads or shoulders of his principal courtiers or ministers of state34. He 340 appoints to the administration of the royal domains according to his own pleasure, and disposes of the revenues of the lands and villages for his own purposes.
33Carra relates (p. 160), that a young nobleman was thrown into prison and loaded with irons, and very narrowly escaped punishment of the bastinado, because his dress was made in a better taste than that of Gregory Gika, the prince of Moldavia.
34See Osservazioni, &c. p. 161. I was at Yassy when punishment was inflicted on the sassab bashi, a boyar of the first class who had contracted to supply the city with animal food, against whom complaints had been carried before the prince, on account of the unwholesome quality of the provisions which he furnished. I was not indeed present at this exhibition of executive discipline, but the story was related in the company of persons who acknowledged the circumstances of it to be conformable to the usages of the court. The boyar was led into the great hall of the palace, and immediately threw himself at the feet of the prince, as he advanced towards him holding in his hand his sceptre or staff of authority. The prince, however, continued for some time to distribute his blows at random on the body of the culprit, retreating all the while in order to prevent the boyar, who kept crawling after him, from kissing his feet, and obtaining forgiveness before he had sufficiently expiated his offence. I went purposely to the shambles on the next day, and had ocular proof that his Highness's admonitions had produced a very salutary effect.ceremony of inauguration;
The princes of Moldavia and Wallachia receive their investiture at the porte with the pomp and ceremonies usually observed on creating pashas and vizirs. The kukka, or military crest, is placed on their heads by the muhzur aga, an officer of the janizaries attached to the service of the grand vizir, and the robe of honour is put on them by the vizir himself. They are honoured with the standards and military music, and make 341 their oaths of allegiance and fidelity in the presence of the sultan, to whom they are introduced with the ceremonies usual at a public audience.
From the seraglio they go in solemn and ostentatious procession to the patriarchal church, where prayers and ceremonies are performed, similar to those which were formerly observed at the inauguration of the Greek emperors. They are accompanied to their principalities by the Turkish officers appointed to install them. They make their public entry into the capital of their new sovereignty with a great display of magnificence, attended by the metropolitan and dignified ecclesiastics, the members of the divan, and the chief boyars. They assume, from the ceremonies which are practised, the title of "God's Anointed;" but this vain pageant, this painted bubble, raised by intrigue, by purchase, or by favour, dependent on a breath, removable at the will of a tyrant, and reducible to its original nothingness, is conducted to a mimic throne by the Turkish officer, who witnesses and ridicules the vanity of the slave whom his hand raises to authority and invests with dignity35.
35See Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 189, note 33.court,
342 The court of the prince is composed of persons in office and the provincial nobility, but more especially of the flock of harpies, who, forsaking the shores of the Bosphorus under the auspices of the new fangled sovereign, light on the tables, and sate their ravenous appetites with the substance, of wretches more hopeless of relief, and no less worn by hunger and misery, than Phineus himself. It is difficult to recognize the abject rayah in the Greek sillily basking in the blaze of Oriental pomp, and indulging in all the pride and insolence of authority and office. A splendid equipage, a train of servants, power to oppress, and the means of extortion develop all the vices of character which penury and servile dependence had before concealed. The Greek, who at Constantinople excites pity or contempt, raises disgust and abhorrence at Bukarest and Yassy36. It will naturally be imagined, that a court thus vitiated in its constituent parts cannot exhibit an assemblage of elegance and urbanity. Great indeed must be the apathy 343 of the European spectator who can witness, without experiencing correspondent emotions, the ridiculous combination of all that is grotesque in ceremony with all that is vulgar in manners, of all that is fulsome in adulation with all that is contemptible in vanity and hateful in overbearing self-sufficiency37. Idleness and vanity have introduced and established the custom, in the capitals of each principality, of passing the morning in attendance at the prince's levee. The Greeks, and the boyars, whether in, or out of office, crowd the court, and fill up the vacancy of 344 their lives by conversation void of interest, and the awkward display of self-importance; and so contagious is the example that even the foreign merchants hurry from their avocations to present themselves at the palace of the prince, lest perhaps their servants should disdain to wear a livery which is not every day exposed in the avenues of the court.
36"Un Grec à cheval, les étriers hauts et les genoux en triangle, branlant la tête comme un magot de plâtre, s'imagine être le personage le plus imposant et le plus respectable." Carra, p. 160.
37I cannot refrain from transcribing Carra's description of a ball at court, which, though apparently a caricature, I know to be perfectly accurate. "Ils se foment en rond, hommes et femmes, main à main, les pieds bien en-dedans, les longues culottes rouges des hommes pendantes sur le cou-de-pied et les talons, comme à des pigeons pattus; les dames couvertes des épaules jusqu' à la ceinture d'une pelisse dont le poil est en-dehors, tendant horriblement le ventre et rentrant les fesses; dans cette posture, vous voyez leur bras se remuer méthodiquement, comme si on les tiroit de derriere l'épaule par un fil d'archal; leurs pieds aller et venir en même tems de l'avant en arriere, de l'arriere en avant; le dos rond, le col roide, l'œil stupide, se tourner en cadence de droite à gauche, de gauche à droite; et avancer ainsi gauchement et nonchalammant, comme un mulet fatigué qui tourne en broyant la navette.- On imagine bien que la musique est (?)aussi monotone et aussi misérable que la danse, ce sont les cyganis qui sont chargés de leur, chatouiller les oreilles." (Hist. de la Mold. et de la Valach. p. 157.)officers of state,
The chief officer of the court is the postelnik, or marshal: he is usually a Greek, and is the chief medium of communication with the prince, as well on subjects of business as for the distribution of favours. He carries the mace before the prince in public ceremonies, and remains standing on the side of the throne. The commisso, or master of the horse, is also a Greek: his most important function is on the festival of Saint George, when, in imitation of the customs of the Ottoman court, the horses are led out to grass: the commisso closes the procession; mounted on the horse with which the prince on the day of his public audience had been honoured from the sultan's stables, and which, as well in the stables as in all public ceremonies, occupies, in right of its former master, the place of honour. The grammaticos, or Greek 345 secretary, corresponds with the prince's residents at the porte on public business, and employs a great number of subaltern clerks in writing official and complimentary letters to the public agents in the principality and the neighbouring province. The portar-bashi officiates as master of the ceremonies to all Turks of distinction: he introduces them to the prince's audience, and carefully attends to the performance of all the honours and services which they are qualified to expect or require. These, as also the chief boyars and other great officers, wear their beards38.
38This enumeration of the officers of the prince's household will, I am persuaded, be thought sufficient; and it will not be required from one who was only a traveller through the country, to describe the high and sounding titles, and the important functions, of a numerous train of officers, who live in idleness and luxury, and are privileged to plunder the inhabitants, because they occasionally present to the prince his pipe, his coffee, or his wine, and purchase slippers and night-caps for his Highness and his serene family. "Nos souverains" (says Baür, p. 298) "en prenant le caffé, ou étant à leur toilette, n'ont plus guere besoin de grands seigneurs pour se faire allumer la pipe, ou se faire présenter les bottes." "Quand le prince va à l'église ou à la promenade pour se faire voir à ses sujets, il est ordinairement suivi par tous les officiers dont je viens de parler. Après la procession des récolets du grand couvent de Milan, je ne connois rien de plus imposant ni de plus majestueux que cette marche du hospodar." Carra, p. 181.and bodyguards.
346 The prince's body guard consists of delhis, and tufenkgis (musqueteers). These men are chiefly Albanians of the Greek communion, who, like their Mahometan countrymen, enlist as mercenaries in any service which offers a proportionate reward: they interfere in all the intestine dissensions of the empire, and they unite with the bands of robbers who infest the Turkish provinces. The Albanians, whose ancestors embraced the religion of Mahomet only to avoid the greater evil of a general proscription, are negligent in their observance of its practices, and unsteady in their belief. Professed Mahometans have even related to me the miracles of Christian saints in behalf of the independence of their country when it was invaded by the Turks, though Mahometan Albanians disdain to accept of service under a Christian. Those who are engaged in the service of the princes are fellows of determined courage, expert in the use of their fire-arms, and marked with scars gained in war or robbery: they seem indeed scarcely to make any distinction between these different professions, but, as both are dangerous, so they esteem them almost equally honourable. Some 347 Christian Albanians, who served as an escort to a Greek prince with whom I once travelled through a part of Turkey, boasted of their achievements in plundering the caravans, and pointed out to me the spot where they had lain in ambuscade in one of the defiles of the Hœmus, balkan. Prince Ipsilanti, to reward the fidelity of a Sclavonian who had served him as a gardener, raised a company of Sclavonians, on his being appointed to the principality of Wallachia in 1802, and these men do duty in his palace at Bukarest, and officiate as his body-guard. Their insolence surpasses even that of the Turkish soldiery. I saw a party of these lawless ruffians returning in triumph from having avenged the honour of their corps by the infliction of a degrading punishment on a boyar. One of their company had pursued a girl into the house of her master, but had been forced to abandon the pursuit, and after some rough treatment, which his behaviour necessitated, had been thrust out of the house by the servants of the family. The crime was expiated, under the authorization of the prince himself, by the boyar publicity undergoing, in the court-yard of his own house and in the presence of the populace, 348 the punishment of the bastinado on the soles of his feet.Divan or council;
The president of the divan in each principality is the archbishop or metropolitan, who is considered as the head and oracle the law, from the ascendancy of his sacred character over the minds of an uncultivated and superstitious people. The other members of the divan are the great public functionaries, whose titles of (?)dvornik-mare, logo-theti-mare, spathari or hetman, vestiar-mare, &c. correspond with those of chief justice, chancellor, generalissimo, and treasurer. Many of these officers are men of the first class of nobility, and natives of the country, especially the treasurer, in whose situation an intimate acquaintance with the financial resources and the most efficacious methods of extortion is essentially necessary. The inferior members of the divan have no voice either in deliberating, or in deciding, on any measure: they merely affix their signatures to all public acts.its departments.
The divan is the high court of judicature. It receives appeals from the inferior tribunals and its sentence, if confirmed by the prince in the extraordinary sitting which is held twice in every week, is final. The criminal 349 tribunal is composed of noblemen of the second class, who must have passed through the inferior offices of the divan. All criminal proceedings are examined every Saturday by the prince himself, who is attended on this occasion by the armasc, or governor of the public prisons. The usual punishments for slight offences are whipping, or public labour for a length of time proportioned to the nature of the crime: in instances of greater enormities the guilty person is punished with the loss of his ears, and is sentenced to work in the salt mines for the remainder of his life. The punishment of death, though not wholly abolished, is rarely inflicted; but when the circumstances of the case seem to necessitate so dreadful an example, the law has expressly ordained, that the governor of the public prisons, even after the sentence of death against the criminal has been delivered to him in writing, shall present himself before the prince three several times, and at each time shall repeat the solemn inquiry, whether the prince persists in his determination of shedding human blood. This wise and salutary regulation is ascribed to Prince Alexander Ipsilanti, and it is just, that his name descend to posterity 350 among those of the benefactors of mankind; if his successors suffer it to fall into disuse or to degenerate into a form of office, they will acquire the hatred of all good men, and their memory will deserve to be held in execration39.
39See Carra, p. 186. Osservazioni, &c. p. 148.Boyars or nobility.
The boyars, who compose the divan and who arrogantly assume the rank and honours of hereditary grandees of the country, are in reality only rich proprietors and unfeeling tax-gatherers. The boyars of the most ancient families indeed assert, that they are the descendants of the Slavi, and are of a distinct race from the people, who have sprung from the alliances of the Romans with the original Dacians40; but the chief distinction among the nobles is their wealth and 351 possessions. The great majority of the Moldavian and Wallachian nobility owe their creation to the sultan's vaivodas, for even these ephemeral beings, these fleeting shadows of royalty, are presumed to confer by their breath a permanency of dignity; and the man on whom they have once conferred any office, retains, after his removal, the title, the honours, and even the privileges of nobility41.
40Luitprand, bishop of Cremona, was sent on an embassy to Constantinople, in the year 968, to ask in marriage a daughter of the emperor Romanus for the son of Otho. The reigning emperor Nicephorus Phocas, in a conversation at table, refused the title of Romans to the subjects of Otho, whom he called Lombards and Barbarians. "We Lombards," replied the prelate, "can offer no greater insult to a man than to call him a Roman, a name which amongst us denotes whatever is base, cowardly, sordid, depraved, and knavish."- Such indeed would have been the general opinion of mankind, if the earlier history of the Romans had not outlived the republic.
41The widows of the boyars receive pensions from the public treasury according to the rank and quality of their deceased husbands. General Baür (chap. iii, p. 300) much approves of this institution, which he considers to be an encouragement to matrimony; but a wise government would perhaps better consult the interest of the community by checking the propagation of such a worthless nobility.Powers of the divan.
The collective powers of the nobles, considered as a corporate body represented by the divan or great council, are specious and nugatory. The divan appears to intermeddle in the management of public affairs, but it possesses no real authority; for every thing is in fact conducted by the prince and his ministers. The divan is more especially authorized to superintend and control the receipts and expenditures of the public treasure; and the signatures of its members are necessary to give authenticity to the annual statement of the accounts: yet 352 their signatures are a mere formality, which in fact serves no other purpose than to prevent the boyars from making representations to the porte against the prince's government, as it virtually annuls any accusation on their part of his having harassed the country by oppressive taxes, or levied contributions without their concurrence.Classes and privileges of the boyars.
The Greeks, who share among themselves the magistracies and other public employments of wealth and dignity, are all removed from office when their patron is deposed, and are obliged to quit the province, unless they can obtain the consent of his successor to their remaining behind, in which case they engage themselves by a solemn oath not to interfere with, nor obstruct, the operations of his government, nor to carry on plots nor intrigues against his person and authority. If they have married women of the country possessed of landed estates, and have continued peaceable and undisturbed through three successive reigns, they are reputed to have become naturalized, and rank among the boyars or nobility. The nobility, as well as the secular and monastic clergy, are exempt, except in the event of extraordinary demands, from all imposts, taxes, and contributions whatever 353 The boyars, in their individual capacity, tremble before the authority of the prince: they cross themselves when they enter the palace, in order to avert the dangers which beset them: on approaching the presence chamber they compose their features and attitude into the expression of servile respect: few among them are permitted to kiss the prince's hand, and many esteem it an honour to be allowed to touch his robe, or his feet.Turkish magistrates.
There are no Turkish garrisons in the interior of either principality. They are, however, surrounded by fortresses, both on the Danube and the Dniester, which are commanded and garrisoned by Turks, who also exercise a civil jurisdiction over the surrounding territory to a certain extent42.
42Chotin is situated on the Dniester, at the foot of the mountain which stands on the right side of the river over against Kaminiec. It was formerly considered as the bulwark of the Turkish empire against the Russians and Poles, though De Tott, who examined its fortifications, was of opinion, that it could not hold out three days against a regular attack. The pashalik of Chotin is separated from Moldavia by the Pruth.- Bender, in Bessarabia, is famous in modern history for being the chief residence of Charles the Twelfth after his defeat at the battle of Pultowa. The Roman military road terminated at Bender, or Tigine. Since the Dniester has become the frontier of the Turkish and Russian empires, the Russians have built the town and fortress of Tyraspol on the side of the river opposite to Bender.- Akkierman, which is also called Bielgorod, is at the mouth of the Dniester. The Russians have built and fortified a town on the opposite shore, to which they have given the name of Ovidiopol, from a supposition (founded on a misnomer of the Moldavians who call a lake near Akkierman Lacul Ovidului, and reasoning too futile to require confutation), that it was the place of the banishment and death of the Roman poet. Kilia is situated at about three leagues from the Black Sea, on the left bank of one of the five mouths of the Danube, which, as well as the right branch, is navigable for vessels of great burthen.- Ismaël, in Bessarabia, is situated on the north side of the Danube: it was here, that the merciless Suwarow massacred, without distinction of age or sex, the garrison and the inhabitants, after carrying the place by storm in 1790.- Ibraïl is situated in Wallachia in the angle formed by the Siret and the Danube.- Girgiova is also in Wallachia, opposite to Ruschiuk. The Austrian troops who had taken possession of this fortress during the last war, were surprised and driven from it by the Turks, who crossed the Danube, and attacked them in the night.
354 The jurisdiction of the princes of Moldavia and Wallachia does not extend to the waters of the Danube, so that there is, of necessity, a Turkish magistrate constantly residing at Galatz, in order to determine disputes or litigations which may arise between the natives and the Mussulman traders, as well as to punish offences committed beyond the territories of the prince. It is not permitted to Mussulmans to make a fixed residence in either principality. Those whom commercial or state affairs occasionally bring into the 355 country, are lodged in the khans or hotels expressly built for their accommodation in Yassy and Bukarest, which are maintained at the expense of government.
The divan effendi, or Turkish secretary, is the only Mussulman in the service of the prince. His business is to write official despatches to the Ottoman porte, to read and translate the firmans or orders of government, and to give judgment (jointly, if required, with a cadi despatched for the purpose from one of the neighbouring fortresses) in all disputes, in which the interests of Mussulmans are involved. The divan effendi, though ostensibly an agent of the prince, and receiving a large salary for his services, is however to be considered rather as an officer of the porte, who is authorized to inspect the conduct of the prince. His influence is consequently great, and his presence, by overawing the prince, assures the observance of that submission and respect for the turban, which is the first and most durable impression on the minds of the Greeks.Officers civil and military.
The commander in chief of the national force is named hetman in Moldavia, and spathari in Wallachia. The militia in each 356 principality is estimated at six thousand men, infantry and cavalry. Once a year each man receives a sufficient quantity of cloth for a vest or outward garment: their horses, arms, and accoutrements, are provided at their own expense. The advantage which they derive from their profession is an exemption from taxation; but nothing can be imagined more vile and contemptible than such a soldiery. They are commanded by captains appointed by the hetman or spathari, and are dispersed in the capitals and in different posts in both provinces43.
43"Le grand-hatman est le général de la cavalerie, laquelle peut bien se monter, avec les fifres, les tambours, les capitaines, les lieutenants, les officiers et bas-officiers, au nombre de vingtsept à vingt-huit hommes habillés de bleu. L'aga, lieutenant général de police, a toujours avec lui un régiment de dix soldats habillés de verd, qui joints à la garde du prince, laquelle est de vingt hommes habillés de bleu, et dix-huit habillés de rouge, forment, y compris la cavalerie, un corps d'armée de soixante et seize hommes armés de mousquetons la plupart sans platine, et de couteaux la plupart sans manche." Carra, p. 180, 181.
The reduction and the degradation of the militia were begun and completed by the Greek princes Nicholas and Constantine Mavrocordato. It is uncertain, whether, in this instance, they acted in compliance with the wishes and policy of the porte, or with 357 the view of appropriating the funds, levied for the purposes of national defence, to the support of their individual authority. The natural effect of the measure has been the absolute annihilation of the liberty and independence of the nation and its government. The country was delivered over, without fear of revolt or even of contradiction, to the extortions of the porte; and the Turkish inhabitants of the southern bank of the Danube committed depredations with impunity on the Wallachian territory, and exacted contributions of money from the vaivodas and their lieutenants.
As military governor of the capital the hetman is honoured with the neubeth or Moldavian music44. He holds a court, and has a prison in his own house; he is empowered to inflict corporal chastisement or pecuniary fine: his office is consequently lucrative, and his authority extensive, and being next in dignity to that of the prince, is usually conferred on a Greek, a relation or favourite of the reigning prince.
44The princes, as well as the Turkish pashas, have a band of Turkish musicians, who play military music every afternoon in the court-yard of the palace.
358 The logothetis are the heads of the office of chancery: they keep the public registers, issue all diplomas, and have an immediate jurisdiction over the numerous convents and the recluse of both sexes. The chief logotheti is keeper of the great seal. The arms of Moldavia are the head of an ox. Those of Wallachia, a raven standing on a hill, holding a cross in its beak, between the sun and moon.
The dvorniks, or chief judges, are men versed in the practices of the divan and courts of law, and acquainted with the laws and usages of the country. They name the judges of the departments.
The vestiari, or grand treasurer, is removable from office as well as the other ministers of state; but the third treasurer, who principally conducts the business, and whose situation requires experience and local knowledge, is considered as permanently possessed of his office.
The armasc, or governor of the public prisons, exercises an immediate jurisdiction over the chinganehs or gypsies.Laws and police.
The, laws of Moldavia and Wallachia are professedly those of the code of Justinian, 359 but they are neither studied, understood, nor followed. All suits are determined according to precedent and established usage, which are unwritten and arbitrary. The judges constantly refer to the practices of the court and uncertain traditions, so that all decisions are ultimately left at the mercy of the reigning prince. Hence confusion and disorder naturally arise; for as the sentence of a prince is not binding on his successor, contestations are interminable, and are continually reproduced. Suitors present their petitions to the prince in public or in private, according to the rank of the petitioner, the mature of the ease, or the character of the prince. These memorials are read by the third chancellor, docketed, and referred to the appropriate tribunal, or to a prelate, if the case properly falls under the cognizance of an ecclesiastical judge. If the parties acquiesce in the sentence, it is definitive; otherwise appeal is left open to the divan, and thence again to the prince in council.
The aga, general of infantry, is also lieutenant of police: his inspection extends over the capital, its suburbs, and the neighbouring district. He is the intendant general of 360 commerce, makes inquisition into the state of the public markets, examines the weights and measures, and the quality of the provisions exposed to sale. He punishes fraud in the dealers; and being always attended by his officers, inflicts the bastinado summarily, and in the public streets. He also exercises a severe and vexatious jurisdiction over the miserable women who purchase from him and his minions the privilege of living in the avowed profession of infamy.
The ispravnics are governors and civil magistrates, two of whom reside in the principal city of every district, their duty is also to levy the taxes and the contributions in kind which are furnished by both provinces for the use of the city of Constantinople45.
45"Ces ispraveniks, ainsi que tous les officiers publics et ceux de la cour, n'ont d'autres appointemens que la permission de piller et escroquer par-tout où ils peuvent. C'est ici où brille l'esprit des Grecs modernes." Carra, p. 183.Revenue and taxes.
The chief sources of revenue are the capitation tax and the territorial impost, the salt-mines, the custom duties, and the taxes on pasturage46, bees, wine, and tobacco. 361 The capitation in Moldavia is collected every month, and in Wallachia every three months. The inhabitants are taxed, not individually, but by communities or villages: they fix among themselves the rate of each man's contribution, and pay it by the hands of the head-borough, porcalabo, a word which seems to be derived from the latin parochus, as it denotes the exercise of the same functions. When a community is taxed beyond its means, the inhabitants represent their grievances to the ispravnic of the district, and if their complaint be disregarded, they have no alternative but in abandoning their village, and dispersing themselves in different parts of the country.
46"Les pâturages de la Valachie sont si bons et si célèbres, que les voisins même y font passer tous les ans plusieurs milliers de chevaux, et des troupeaux nombreux de bœufs et de moutons, qui s'y engraissent." Baür, chap. ii, p. 219.
The custom of farming the taxes is universal: the contractors advance a certain portion of the purchase money, and engage to complete their payments by instalments. As the defenceless peasantry are alone liable to taxation, the farmers, or contractors, are under no restrictions as to the means to be employed in collecting the taxes, but are empowered to exercise every expedient which fraud or violence may dictate, in order to 362 extort the last mite from the oppressed subject47.
47The produce of the farms of the different taxes in Wallachia (in the year 1782) and in Moldavia (in the year 1785) was as follows,
The chief expenses are the charges of the national government, the payment of the tribute, and the annual presents to the sultan and the ministers of the porte. The surplus which remains to the prince, is said to amount to a million of piastres; but it is liable to incalculable deductions for the expenses of maintaining his agents at the porte, and the secret services which the ambition of rival candidates makes essentially necessary.Capital cities.
363 The capital city of the principality of Wallachia is Bukarest, and that of Moldavia is Yassy. Bukarest is situated on the Dumbovitza, a small river, not navigable except for floats and rafts; and Yassy is situated on the Vaslui, which runs into the Pruth. Both cities resemble extensive villages, rather than the seats of government. In each the churches and convents are the most conspicuous feature; and the palaces of the boyars, surrounded with their spacious courts and gardens, form a painful contrast with the habitations of the people which indicate the utmost misery. The walls of the religious houses are covered with grotesque representations of saints and the histories of their miracles. The churches are heavy and inelegant buildings, bedecked, in their inside, with pictures, which, though perhaps they may inspire devotion, more certainly tend to vitiate the taste and judgment. In the cathedral church a throne is erected for the prince, and another, somewhat lower and less elegant, for the princess. The monasteries and convents, surrounded with solid and lofty walls, serve as retreats to the inhabitants in times of danger, and secure the more valuable property of the merchant from plunder and from 364 fire. The houses of the principal boyars are built for the most part of brick, plastered and white-washed. It was formerly the custom to cover the roofs of the houses with shingles, but the use of tiles is now become more general. The principal rooms are heated, as in Russia, Poland, and Germany with stoves. The bazar, or general market, consists of several streets covered with a shed: the shops are numerous, and are generally well supplied with merchandize and wares of every kind. There are also shops in several of the principal streets, but the most numerous, and the most frequented, are taverns and cellars, in which the common people are familiarized with the practice of every kind of debauchery, and with the inordinate use of wine and ardent spirits48.
48The metropolitans, the bishops, and the abbots of the principal monasteries, as well as the boyars of the first class, have each a wine-cellar in the capital exempt from all taxes.
On entering the cities of Bukarest and Yassy the traveller observes the singular and extravagant custom of flooring the streets with thick beams of the finest oak, which form a kind of wooden bridge. Nothing can more strikingly depict the improvidence of despotism! With the most constant care it 365 would be difficult to remedy the effect of continual decay, which makes the passage of the streets inconvenient to those who go in carriages, and even dangerous to those who walk on foot. The waste of so much tine timber, which must be replaced throughout the whole city every five or six years, cannot be justified by any necessity. The inhabitants have indeed been taught to believe and to repeat, that it is impracticable to lay a solid pavement on a boggy soil; but it will hardly be admitted, that the peculiar nature of the soil opposes the same obstacles, which exist in no other part of Europe, in two cities so distant from each other as Bukarest and Yassy. It is only the shortsightedness of despotism, which impoverishes posterity to gratify the present selfishness, and whose works are adapted only to its own brevity of duration, which could reconcile itself to the practice of expedients so destructive of the wealth and prosperity of the country. Another consequence, which naturally results from this prodigal application of palliatives to an evil which might so easily be removed, is, that the air of both capitals is necessarily polluted with the vapours of the filth and stagnant waters which collect 366 under the flooring of the streets. Hence both Bukarest and Yassy are rendered unwholesome, and the inhabitants are constantly afflicted with intermittent, bilious, and putrid fevers. None but the common people stir out on foot: an equipage is indeed an article of necessity, as much as of luxury; but the motion experienced in going in a carriage (wherever the streets, as it continually happens, are out of repair) requires the passenger to be constantly on his guard; for the horses occasionally plunge as deep as their chests into a bog of filthy water, in almost every street of the city, except that which leads to the prince's palace; and it is as much with a view to prevent inconvenience or danger from this circumstance as from etiquette, that men of a certain rank, and the foreign consuls, are preceded by servants, carrying before their carriages a kind of torch, maschallah, peculiar to those countries, which burns several hours in the hardest shower of rain without being extinguished.
Yassy is surrounded by hills of the greatest beauty, which afford the finest situations for country seats, but which, in most instances, are occupied by monasteries.
367 In matters of religion the government of both principalities, in imitation of, or in obedience to, the Turkish maxims, exercises toleration. The catholics are numerous, and are distinguished from the other inhabitants by the greater regularity of their conduct. The catholics were formerly under the protection of the kings of Poland, but as it was stipulated in the treaty of Yassy, that foreigners should not possess landed property, their religion was placed under the common protection of the national government. All other sects and religions are equally tolerated: the Lutherans have a church in Bukarest, and the Jews a great number of synagogues in both provinces.Public establishments.
In Yassy, as well as in Bukarest, there are physicians who are maintained at the expense of the public, to whom every inhabitant is authorized to apply for advice or assistance: there are also public hospitals, but into these the lowest state of misery can scarcely induce the diseased to solicit an admission:- such institutions cannot indeed be expected to produce beneficial effects in a state of society which is so depraved.
Education is in the hands of the priests, but the whole of their knowledge is comprised in 368 absurd and superstitious opinions, and the morality which they inculcate is fitted rather to encourage slavery than to improve the condition of mankind.
The princes are compelled, for the convenience of the officers and messengers of the Turkish government, to keep up a numerous establishment of post horses. The post houses in both principalities are usually at the distance of four hours, or leagues, from each other. The mode of travelling post is in a light cart drawn by four horses: it is indeed expeditious, but fatiguing and unpleasant, as the traveller is inevitably bespattered with mud, or covered with dust; and the post carriages, which are slightly constructed, and only held together with wooden pegs, continually break down, and are easily overturned. The expense of travelling post is but ten aspers an hour for each horse, or about two shillings of our money for a stage of twelve miles with four horses. The roads, in certain seasons of the year, are so bad that I entered Bukarest with thirteen horses harnessed to the same carriage which, through the greatest part of Germany, had required only two. The cabinet couriers, whom the princes despatch to Constantinople, are called 369 calarasch: others, who are employed only in the principalities, are called lipcan.Manners of the Greeks and boyars.
The education of the boyars is little superior in point of real utility to that of the common people. The children are instructed by priests in the houses of their parents, and are surrounded by chinganehs, who corrupt them by abject servility and a base compliance with all their caprices. Formed by such tutors, they pass into a world of hypocrisy and vice, without one just principle to regulate their conduct, without one generous purpose, or one honourable sentiment. They adopt indiscriminately the vices, without inheriting the vivacity, of the Greeks, or veiling them with that delicacy which the Greeks have not wholly relinquished. They confound whatever is most degrading in luxury with the fair fruit of civilization, and in their rude adoption of European manners, they plunge into promiscuous debauchery, and indulge to excess in an unprincipled passion of gaming49. Like the Poles and Hungarians 370 the boyars inherit a taste for magnificent dresses and splendid equipages: they love balls and public entertainments, but their assemblies are rude and tumultuous. Their tables are open to every person of their acquaintance, but are inelegantly served. In the cities they are forbidden to form connexions of intimacy, or even to keep up intercourse, with strangers; but I have occasionally lodged for a night in their country seats, and was always received and treated by them with a plain but decent hospitality.
49"Les grands, les courtisans et les gens riches sont lâches et rampans devant leurs supérieurs, insupportablement fiers avec leurs inférieurs: l'argent leur fait tout faire; ils sont intriguans, cabaleurs, sang-sues impitoyables du peuple, oppresseurs du foiblel, séveres envers leurs sujets, et tyrans dans leurs maisons." Baür, chap. ii, p. 234. "Ce qu'il y a de singulier chez les despotes de Moldavie et de Valachie, c'est que toutes leurs richesses, argent, bijoux, hardes et ameublemens sont toujours, dans des malles ou coffres de voyage, comme s'ils devoient partir à chaque instant." Carra, p. 124.
The Greeks adopt a more than Asiatic luxury: they sleep after dinner on their sophas, whilst a female servant fans away the flies and refreshes the air which they breathe: they exact from their attendants the respect and homage which they have seen paid to the Turkish grandees; but feeling within themselves no consciousness of personal worth or importance, they cannot command with Turkish dignity, and the petulance of vanity betrays itself in harsh expressions, and insulting behaviour, to their inferiors.Deposed princes.
371 On the death or deposition of a prince the divan assembles, and immediately assumes the administration of public affairs. All the creatures or dependents of the prince are removed from office, and other persons are appointed, who are continued in authority until the arrival of his successor. The caimacam, or lieutenant of the newly created prince announces the nomination of his master, but does not interfere in the affairs of government, further than in superintending the collection of the prince's revenues. The fallen sovereign is immediately forsaken by his courtiers, is always treated with neglect, and sometimes with insult and abuse. He returns privately, and without pomp, to Constantinople, where he retires to his seat in the Fanal or on the shores of the Bosphorus. With the usual modesty of rayahs the princes resume their former habits of submission, and the exterior of humility. They are followed only by a single servant; but at home they are surrounded by a princely and titled household: they allot to particular officers distinct portions of service, and pass the day in planning new schemes of ambition, or in receiving the secret homage of their clients and vassals.Foreign relations.
372 By virtue of a clause in the sixteenth article of the treaty of peace, concluded at Kainargik on the twenty-first of July 1774, the court of Russia obtained a right of interference in the internal administration of government in both principalities, and the Russian ambassadors at the porte were authorized to superintend, and to control by their representations, even the arrangements of the Turkish cabinet respecting Moldavia and Wallachia. The same treaty granted to Russia, in the same manner as to other favoured nations, the privilege of appointing consuls or commercial agents in any port or city throughout the sultan's dominions. The Ottoman porte resisted, however, for a long time, the assumption, that this privilege extended to the inland provinces situated beyond the Danube, After long discussions the two imperial courts of Vienna and St. Petersburg finally established their pretensions, and in the year 1781 obtained from the porte a formal acknowledgment of their right to appoint resident ministers in the capitals of Moldavia and Wallachia. The princes themselves had secretly fomented the opposition made by the porte, and had thrown obstacles in the way of the negociation, from an 373 apprehension, that they themselves would be restricted in the exercise of their prerogative over their subjects by their conduct being thus submitted to the inspection and censure of foreigners. When the concession could, however, be no longer withheld, they endeavoured to console themselves for the diminution of authority by the incense which was thus offered to their vanity, in assimilating them, by these new and extraordinary appointments, to the sovereigns of the independent states of Europe. They consequently received the imperial consuls with all the forms and ceremonies usually observed by the Ottomans at the public audience of foreign ambassadors50.
50Germany and Russia were the only countries that availed themselves of this privilege (which is common to all the European powers who have treaties with the Ottoman porte), until the French national convention appointed as their representative a Greek of the name of Stamati, who had previously figured at the bar of the assembly, in the procession of the deputies of the human race which was headed by Anacharsis Cloots. Citizen Stamati was however personally objectionable, and the Ottoman ministers refused to ratify the privileges conferred on an enfranchized rayah. A native Frenchman was therefore named consul at Bukarest in 1795, and the appointment has been regularly continued. The English ambassador at Constantinople also names an agent for the express purpose of forwarding the overland despatches of the East India company.
374 The house of Austria, the chief object of whose government is the welfare and prosperity of its subjects, prescribed to its agents, as their principal duty, the care of improving and extending the national commerce. Various grants and privileges were obtained from the porte, and equitable regulations were established to protect the persons and property of the Austrian subjects, both merchants and graziers, in each principality.
The commerce of Russia with the states of Turkey, though by no means inconsiderable, was, however, an object of inferior importance to a government occupied in schemes of conquest and aggrandizement. It has been indeed unequivocally expressed, on several occasions, that the possession of both provinces entered into the views of the court of St. Petersburg. On the breaking out of the war between Russia and the porte in the year 1711, Demetrius Cantemir was named to the principality of Moldavia, from the reliance of the Turkish cabinet on his military talents and his tried fidelity. Cantemir, however, had scarcely taken possession of his government when he sent a trusty messenger to the czar with an offer of himself and his principality, "esteeming it better 375 to suffer with Christ, than to wait for the deceitful treasures of Egypt." Such is the specious colouring with which the historian endeavours to gloss over his own rebellion, but it may perhaps be doubted whether he was not actuated as much by ambitious impulse as by christian zeal; for he had carefully stipulated in his treaty with the czar, that the sovereignty of Moldavia, which was to be restored to its antient extent, should be made hereditary in his family, under the auspices of the Russian monarchs. This Christian subjects listened no less than their prince to the suggestions of prudence, and preferred the dominion of the porte to that of the Russians, whose inhumanity they had frequently experienced. The ill success of the war thwarted the ambitious views of the Russian monarch, and Cantemir himself was saved from the resentment of the Turks only by the honourable pertinacity of Peter, who refused to surrender him, and by the artifice of the czarina, who concealed him in her own carriage and asserted, that he had quitted the camp51.
51See Voltaire, hist. de Charles XII, liv. 5. Cantemir's Ottoman history, p. 452. Life of Demetrius Cantemir, prince Of Moldavia.
376 In the year 1770, when Moldavia was occupied by the Russian troops under Field Marshal Count Romanzoff, her imperial Majesty, by her public letters which were read six times in all the churches, declared, that the principality should remain eternally under her protection, and be no more subjected to the Turkish yoke52. Circumstances, however, compelled her to desist from her pretensions, and Bessarabia, Moldavia, an Wallachia were restored to the Ottoman porte by the treaty of Kainargik. So vague clauses were however inserted in order to guaranty the ancient privileges of the inhabitants, and to authorize the mediation of the Russian government in their behalf. These clauses were ratified, the rights and duties of the subjects were more fully explained, and the guarantee of Russia acknowledged, by a khatt'y sherif, or proclamation signed by the sultan, dated in the year 1784. The treaty of Yassy stipulated a further abridgement of the sovereignty of the porte over the princes and the tributary inhabitants; but the Turks, who submitted with reluctance 377 to the humiliation, have eluded a strict compliance with their engagements, and by their continual infractions of the treaty have furnished the Russians with endless subjects of complaint and remonstrance. The last act of Russia's interference was in the year 1802, when Prince Ipsilanti was promoted to the government of Wallachia, and Prince Murusi to that of Moldavia, with the express condition, which was obtained through the negociations of the Russian minister at the Porte, that neither of them should be removed from office, if they were not proved guilty of an offence which the Russian minister should deem sufficient to justify their deposition. It must however be confessed, that such a state of things has by no means contributed to the advantage either of the governors or the people. The porte is insulted by the ostensible limitations of its sovereign authority, but is not restrained in the actual oppression of the inhabitants. It is vain indeed to expect, that the interference of a foreign power between a prince and his subjects can ever be productive of beneficial effects: but it may be questioned, whether it ever entered into the contemplation of the 378 Russian cabinet to ameliorate the condition of the inhabitants of Moldavia and Wallachia, since no instance can be produced of any exertion of influence on the part of the Russian consuls to alleviate the sufferings of the people, to check and restrain the tyranny of the Greeks, or to promote any plan for the permanent good of the miserable inhabitants.
52See Osservazioni, &c. p. 193, note.
The present eventful crisis involves fate of the world. On the decision of the question which is now at issue respecting Moldavia and Wallachia depends the existence of the Ottoman empire. These provinces cannot long remain under a divided sovereignty, nor can they raise themselves to independency on the powerful empires which surround them on every side. If they be restored to the Ottoman porte, they must still owe their preservation to foreign influence, on account of the weakness of the Turkish government. Under the dominion of Austria they would oppose an insurmountable barrier to the further progress of Russia. If they remain annexed to the Russian empire, the Danube will roll in vain between the Turks and their inveterate enemies: the 379 dissolution of the Ottoman power will inevitably follow; an event which cannot be contemplated in its consequences without the most serious apprehensions.
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