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106

CZERNI GEORGES.

hicle consisted of a few rails fastened to a frame on four wheels, in which some hay, covered by a blanket, formed a seat not very uncomfortable. As we drove along, our attention was attracted by some birds flying over our heads. They proved to be a heron and a covey of plovers ; birds loving desolation, and therefore Belgrade. At the same time we met a flock of sheep with short pointed horns, preceded by three rams, one of which was tied to a goat, who headed the party, dragging his prisoner with all the energy of an officer carrying a criminal to justice. The culprit moved sluggishly along, lagging as much as his rope would allow, and uttering a doleful sound like the crying of a child.

We reached our destination before the evening closed in. Our appearance in such a vehicle, in travelling costume, and covered with dirt, may be supposed to have indicated any thing but dignity; yet we heard a little child, unaccustomed in this Ultima Thule of civilization to see any but Hungarian peasants, exclaim in a note of surprise and fear, as he gazed on us, Edelmann, Edelmann! or, Nobleman, Nobleman !

In the early part of the present century Servia was governed by Czerni Georges, a native who had served in the Austrian army. En

MILOSCH OBRENOVICH.

107

raged at the atrocities which the Turks practised on his countrymen, he resolved to free them from their state of thraldom, and assembled a small body of men, by means of whom he kept up a species of irregular warfare with the infidels. At length, his followers increasing, he openly rebelled against the sultan, and expelled his troops from the country. In return, he was acknowledged as their prince by the Servians. Though he refused the title, maintaining the utmost simplicity of dress and habits, yet he was virtually their head, and acted as a sovereign who had the good of his country at heart. He disciplined a large body of troops according to the European system, dispensed justice with equity, and endeavoured to secure the independence of the province. The Porte was not indifferent to the conduct of her vassal, but more address and power than she possessed were requisite to regain and maintain possession of Servia. She, therefore, with much wisdom, decided to resign it quietly into the hands of a governor of its own, exacting from him a tribute and suffering him to have the entire management of the internal policy, while she garrisoned the forts and controlled the external relations. In the mean time, Czerni Georges died, or fell,

108

PROSPECTS OF SERVIA.

as some say, by the hand of Milosch Obrenovich, a cattle driver. This man first distinguished himself in 1807 as a bold insurgent in the insurrection headed by the above-named patriot, to whom he was greatly inferior in point of ability. When the Porte resolved to recognize its rebellious province as a separate principality, Milosch was the most influential person in the country, having gradually risen into power; and policy dictated that he should be nominated its ruler, under the title of Prince of Servia. This was accordingly done; and in 1827 the dignity was guaranteed to him and his heirs by Turkey and Russia ; but his views are said to be now too liberal to please either of those courts. He is nearly sixty years of age, and has two sons and two daughters: the names of the sons are Milan and Michael.

In its liberation from the direct control of Turkey, a new era has dawned on Servia. Milosch is desirous of conferring on his people the benefits of a constitution, and last year he met for the first tinie the unfledged representative of a national assembly; but he has to contend with unnumbered difficulties; the want of efficient civil officers and of money, pride, prejudice, and the natural hatred of innovation. Still,

FREEDOM OF SLAVES.

109

something has been already effected. His attention has been turned to a simplification of the laws, and the mode of taxation; he has fixed the legal demand on each member of the principality; released the serfs from thraldom; and declared every Servian free. How would the spirits have rejoiced of the ancient Servi* and Slavi, men whose names are identified with servitude and slavery in every language of Europe, could they have anticipated the day which, under the benign influence of Christian princes, should proclaim liberty to the Serf and freedom to the Slave !

• The Servi inhabited Servia, and the Sclavi, or Slavi, the adjoining province of Sclavonia. The Sclavonians, now subject to Austria, have already been liberated from the slavery under which their forefathers groaned. Though the government of this empire does not merit the epithet benign when compared with that of England, yet it does so when contrasted with the iron rule of the ancient conquerors of Sclavonia. See pages 86 and 87.

CHAPTER IV.

VOYAGE ON THE DANUBE.

FROM SEMLIN TO

ORSCHOVA.

Leave Semlin.-Morning view of Belgrade.-Course of Da

nube.Semendria.-Triangular fort.-Island of Ostrova. -Palanka.—Eagles.—Moldova.—Difficulties of navigation

Complaints of passengers. — Description of village.Peasants.-Anecdote.-Copper mines.- Leave steamer.Embark on small boat.-Sailors.-Kolumbatz-Scenery.Storm.-Watch-towers.-Sentinels. Their huts.—Shoes. -Provision bags. Boat strikes. — Berzasta.—Beautiful scenery.- Projected road. — Ridge of rocks.- Geological phænomena.—Perilous navigation.—Sailors' characteristic expressions.—Three lines of rocks.—The Graben.-Projected canal.-Exquisite view.-Island of Poretz.—Turkish and Banatian boats.—Succession of lakes.—Plawischewitz. -Inefficiency of Sailors.-- Hospitality of Mr. Vasarkelgi. -Re-embark on boat.—Roman road.—Tablets and inscriptions.- Casarn. --New road. - View of river.- Costume of Wallachian girls. — Fissure in rock. – Vedranische Hölle.-- Beautiful scenery --Arrival at Orschova.-Situation and surrounding country.-Carpathian mountains.Quarantine building.-Delay of baggage-boats.--Excursion to Mehadia. -Cart.-Coachmen.- The Czerna.- Aque

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