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ment, but nothing was done during the the Bulgarian massacres. England winter to interfere with them. They sought to save Turkey in the autumn of were allowed to go on and gain as many 1876, and again at the Conference. adherents as they could. The Turkish Even Sir Henry Elliot used all his influpopulation however was greatly excited, ence in the summer to put an end to and made every preparation for civil these atrocities ; but all this friendly war. This reacted upon the Christians, counsel was wasted, and, to this day, and led many who had before opposed the Turks cannot understand how they all such attempts, to sympathize with lost the friendship and protection of the the preparations made by the commit- Western Powers. tees; but still the mass of the people The result astonished the Bulgarians remained hostile to the movement. almost as much as it did the Turks.
In the early spring of 1876 the Gov. There are many who seem to suppose ernor of Philippopolis telegraphed to that these people deliberately had themConstantinople that there would soon selves massacred in order to secure the be trouble in his province, but that he sympathy of Europe. Nothing could would guarantee the peace if he could be farther from the truth. They dehave a reinforcement of one battalion of tested the Turkish rule, as do all the cavalry. This demand was repeated Christian subjects of the Porte, but they several times, but no attention was paid had no hope of escaping from it. The to it. It would have been easy to pre- insignificant insurrection in the province vent an outbreak, but, for some reason, of Philippopolis was the work of the it was rather encouraged than otherwise. Bucharest Committee, and was led by an There has been much speculation as to enthusiastic young Bulgarian who called the motives which led the Turkish Gov- himself Benkovski, a native of Koprivernment to take this course, and those shtitza. No doubt he, and the boys who see the hand of Russia in every- and peasants who followed him, imagthing attribute it to the influence of ined that they could rouse the nation General Ignatieff ; but the probability is and drive out the Turks, or at least that the Turks foresaw that a war with maintain themselves until war was deServia was inevitable, and feared that, clared by Servia ; but the people genwhen it broke out, it would be followed erally had no sympathy with the rebelby a rebellion in Roumelia, which would lion, and no faith in the possibility of cut the Turkish line of communication defending themselves against the Turks. with the frontier. It was thought better While the massacres were going on, to encourage a weak insurrection before the Bulgarians made no appeal to Euthe war, and then put it down in such a rope, and had no idea that Europe had way as to strike terror into the hearts of any interest in them. A single man in the people and prevent any possibility Philippopolis found means to communiof trouble afterwards.
cate the facts secretly to a friend in If this was the plan, it was a success, Constantinople, who gave them to the but there was a recoil upon which the correspondents of the Times and the Turks had not counted. They had Daily News, and at the same time comtaken every precaution against publicity municated them to Sir Henry Elliot. which was possible ; all communication From the commencement of the maswith the province was cut off ; but it sacres in May until the arrival of Mr. was not long before the whole civilized Baring and Mr. Schuyler in Philippopoworld was excited by the story of the lis in July, the feeling of the people was Bulgarian massacres, and Turkey was of utter hopelessness and helplessness. irrevocably condemned. For her it was
In September, when it became known a fatal blunder for which nothing could that their sufferings had excited intense atone. She lost the protection of Eng- sympathy in England, then, for the first land. She was condemned by Europe. time, they began to hope that all this She was left to contend alone with Rus- blood had not been shed in vain—tha sia. She was dismembered by the Con- there was a possibility of securing some gress of Berlin, because public opinion degree of self-government. In January, would not tolerate a Government which 1877, they would have accepted the plan had deliberately planned and executed of the Conference with grateful enthusi
asm. It was not until the Russian There has been no unity of opinion or armies had crossed the Danube that of action among the Russian civil and they began to hope for deliverance from military authorities. The most contraTurkish rule. Then large numbers dictory advice has been given by differjoined the Russian army as volunteers, ent men, and by the same men at differand General Skobeloff testifies that he ent times. Not unfrequently the Bulhad no better or braver soldiers. But garians have been blamed and even punthe horrors of that summer effaced all ished for doing exactly what they had been recollection of the massacres of the pre- advised to do. Russian influence has vious year. There was a reign of terror been diminishing rather than increasing in Roumelia, after General Gourko's since the signature of the Treaty of Berlin. raid across the Balkans, which rivalled The rivalries and jealousies of the leadthe most terrible scenes of the Greek ing generals have done much to produce Revolution.
this state of things. Still they have geneThere is no doubt but that Suleiman rally sympathized with the aspirations of Pacha deliberately undertook to exter- the Bulgarians. They have encouraged minate the Christian population and ex- them to resist the return of the Turks ecute the oft-repeated threat, that when to Roumelia, and have done what they the Turks left Roumelia they would could to hasten and perfect the organileave nothing but a desert behind them. zation of a Bulgarian army. The agitaHow far he acted under orders from tion in Bulgaria is genuine, spontaneous, Constantinople is a disputed question, and, at least, excusable. The Bulgaribut he claims to have done nothing with- ans have been determined for months out the express approval of the Sultan. to resist the return of the Turkish troops
When the war over and the to the Balkans. They regard this occuTreaty of St. Stephanos had been pation as an attempt to separate Bulgaria signed, the Bulgarians believed that and Eastern Roumelia by force, and, their freedom from Turkish rule had moreover, they foresee the evils which been secured. They were not altogether must result from the permanent encampsatisfied, because a part of their territory ment of a large, hostile army in the had been given to Roumania, and an- midst of the quiet Christian villages of other part to Servia, but they accepted the Balkans. It is no sympathy with their freedom as cheaply bought at this Russia, no desire to resist the will of price. They had no fear of the Con- Europe, no wish to threaten Constantigress of Berlin, and took no pains to be nople, that moves the Bulgarians to resist represented there, for they had no idea the execution of the Treaty of Berlin. that the Powers who had agreed to the They feel as any other people would feel protocol of Constantinople could have whose fate had been decided without any desire to restore the Turkish rule in consulting their interests or their wishes, Bulgaria. When the treaty was pub- who had been emancipated from a hated lished, their surprise was almost as great despotism and were about to be placed as their disappointment. They saw at under it again by force, who had realizonce that these decisions were due to ed the hope of a united nationality and the influence of Austria and England; found themselves divided again to gratiand it was universally believed that these fy the ambitious dreams of a kingdom Powers intended to overwhelm the Bul- like Austria. The Turks can never regarian population of Roumelia by the gain possession of the Balkans except importation, not only of the former by war, and no one can blame the BulTurkish population, who had fled at the garians for defending their country. On approach of the Russian armies, but also the part of the Turks the desire to do of the whole Mussulman population this is simply a matter of pride. They from beyond the Balkans.
have no possible advantage to gain from Then commenced an agitation, which it. They have not the means to build has continued ever since, and which has great fortresses and maintain a powerful given rise to many regrettable events. army in the midst of a hostile population No Russian influence was needed to fan in the isolated passes of the Balkans. the flame, and, in fact, there has been Such an occupation would be of little no uniform Russian policy in Bulgaria. value with Shumla, Sofia, and the north
ern slopes of the Balkan in the hands of favorable circumstances. Many books an enemy. It would be the worst pos- have been written by residents in differsible position to occupy for the defence ent parts of the country, but in many of Constantinople. The chief result of cases they have drawn the most false such an occupation would be to change and absurd conclusions from their local the Bulgarians from the most peaceable experience. In one case at least the auand unwarlike people in European Tur- thor of a popular book has mistaken the key into a nation of soldiers. This is as language and nationality of the people undesirable for Turkey as for Bulgaria. among whom he lived. The most hon
The European Commission, which est, impartial, and satisfactory book is has been elaborating a Constitution for that of Mrs. Blunt, the wife of H.B.M. Eastern Roumelia, has no doubt done Consul at Salonica, “Twenty Years' its best to give the people as good a gov- Residence among the People of Turernment as the Treaty of Berlin would key ;'' but “a Consul's wife and daughallow, but it complains that the Bulgari- ter" is not always in a position to form ans are ungrateful. It is true that they a just estimate of the character of peohave not manifested much sympathy for ple whose language she does not underthe Commission, and would probably stand, and of whom she sees but little. have prevented its meeting at Philippop- There are special reasons why it is olis if it had not been protected by difficult to form a general estimate of the Russian bayonets, but their hostility has character of the Bulgarians. It must be resulted simply from their desire to be remembered that they have been under united to Bulgaria. They had no other the bondage of the Turks for five hunmeans of protesting against the Treaty dred years, and under that of the Patriof Berlin. They may have acted un- arch for a hundred years. Forty years wisely, but no Englishman would think ago their condition was worse than that of denying their right to protest, or of of the serfs of Russia, and it was almost blaming them for not gratefully accepting an insult to call a man a Bulgarian. a government imposed upon them by The awakening of national life from this force.
sleep of centuries has been one of the Beyond the Balkans, in Tirnova, the most remarkable events in the history of ancient capital, an assembly met on Europe, and the intellectual developFebruary 22nd to adopt a Constitution ment of the people has gone on with unand choose a prince. This assembly precedented rapidity, but it had exerted and its work have been so fully de- only a limited influence upon the peasscribed by the correspondents of London antry when the disturbances commenced papers that nothing more needs to be in 1876. The progress of education and said of it. Mr. Palgrave, H.B.M. Con- enlightenment had been confined to the sul-General, who has been in Tirnova towns and larger villages, where the peoduring the session, reports most favora- ple enjoyed a certain degree of liberty, bly of the intelligence, liberality, and and had learned how to secure protecgood sense of the members, whose chief tion for their lives, honor, and property fault has been their inexperience. by a judicious use of backsheesh.
Much has been written since the mas- There are certain national charactersacres of 1876 in regard to the character istics which may be mentioned as comof the Bulgarian people. There has been mon to all Bulgarians, but in many resome indiscriminate praise and much un- spects there is a very marked difference qualified abuse. But few of these writ- between the peasants and the townsers have had such personal knowledge people. As a whole, the Bulgarians are of the people as, could qualify them to more decidedly Europeans than any express an opinion. Newspaper corre- other nationality in the Turkish Empire. spondents have visited the country dur. They are not unlike the Germans, As ing the war, and many, perhaps most of a race they are both industrious and them, have expressed their opinions hon- frugal—far more so than any other race estly on this subject ; but these opinions in Turkey. The latter of these virtues are of little value, because they were is often carried to an unpleasant exnecessarily based upon very imperfect treme, but the former is seen to advanknowledge of the people, under very un- tage ir all classes. The Bulgarian stu
dent, for example, applies himself to his with very little opposition. In the exbooks with a devotion and patient per- clusively Bulgarian villages, where the severance which more than compensate character of the people is best seen, the for any lack of brilliancy. He gener- tone of morality is high. Crime is alally attains the highest rank in scholar- most unknown. Poverty and drunkenship by means of hard work rather than ness are rare, and the family life is pure from any natural love of learning ; but and civilized, though patriarchal in its this last will be developed with the character. The Bulgarians are essentigrowth of the nation. Thus far schools ally Democratic in their ideas, although have been established chiefly from patri- there is no inclination towards a Repubotic motives—from a feeling that it was lican form of Government as in Greece. only by education that the people could It is rather the idea of social equality be elevated to the rank of a civilized na- and equal rights. They not only have tion.
no aristocracy, but there are no servile Another national trait is obstinacy, expressions or elaborate titles in the Bulwhich is perhaps nothing more than an garian language. These expressions excess of the virtue of perseverance, or have only been used in their relations possibly a development of conservatism. with the Turks, and this intercourse has The Bulgarian is slow to accept new always been carried on in the Turkish ideas, but when he has once adopted language. Such titles and expressions them no amount of persuasion, persecu- are therefore associated in their minds tion, or suffering will move him to aban- with the hated despotism of their Modon them. This spirit of obstinacy has hammedan oppressors, and can never be given the Bulgarians the reputation of applied to Bulgarians. This spirit has being quarrelsome, and in one sense been manifested in the assembly at Tirthey are so : they are disputatious; but, nova in such a manner as to astonish the as a general rule, not passionate or re- Russians, and it has attracted the attenvengeful. This spirit naturally leads to tion of the Commission at Philippopolis. an excessive development of individual- Three years ago a certain class of writers ity, which is at present a source of weak- represented the Bulgarians as no better ness in the nation, but which will prob- than sheep. The same writers now deably disappear, in some measure, as the nounce them as wolves, always ready to necessities of national life develop par- devour meek and innocent Turks. The ties, and as certain men come to be rec- truth is simply this—the Bulgarian peasognized as leaders.
ant has been for five hundred years in The Bulgarians are eminently religious, hopeless bondage. He has suffered and are virtuous in their family rela- from the Turks such indignities as have tions ; but their religion is, of course, never been inflicted upon the Christians tainted with the superstition which is of Asia Minor. It has been no unusual always developed by ignorance, and thing for him to find himself suddenly their morality is perverted by the lack deprived of his property by an edict of of honesty and truthfulness which is al- which he had never heard. It has been ways found in a subject race. Still, in no rare occurrence for a Turk to mount all these particulars, they compare very upon his back and compel him to carry favorably with the other Christian races him to the next town. His daughters in Turkey. In all the Eastern Churches were often carried off by force to Turkthere is a lack of spiritual life, which re- ish harems; and when a Moslem Bey sults from the fact that the ecclesiastical entered his village, he ate up his provisorganizations are rather political than ions, ravished his wife or daughters, and religious in their character. This is often took his life. For all this there especially true of the Greek and Bulga- was no redress. The Turkish police rian Churches, but there is a very strong were his worst enemies. Within five feeling among the Bulgarians that hence- years they have inflicted the most horriforth the Church must devote itself to ble tortures upon peasants who had not spiritual affairs, and abstain from all in- the means to pay their taxes. It is no terference with politics. The American doubt true that in 1876, when these outmissionaries in Bulgaria have been well rages were carried on upon a larger received by the people, and have met scale, the Bulgarians, in their hopelessness, submitted to their fate very much sible to foresee what will be the political like sheep. It is also true that since the affinities of the Bulgarians in the future. war these ignorant peasants have often Just now the European Powers seem to revenged themselves upon the Turks, be vying with each other in the effort to and have resisted their return to Eastern force the Bulgarians to look to Russia as Roumelia. If this is not very Chris- their only friend and possible ally. In tian, it is at least very human. These the spring of 1875, before the outbreak Bulgarian peasants are in fact neither in Herzegovina, I made a tour in Bulsheep nor wolves. They are simply garia, and made a special effort to ascermen, possessing the good and the bad tain the feeling of the people in regard to qualities of their race, debased by igno- the different European Powers. I rance and oppression, brought too sud- found an unexpected unanimity of opindenly from bondage to comparative free- ion. The only Power universally feared dom, but naturally quiet, industrious, and hated was Austria. In regard to frugal, and capable of a higher civiliza- Russia there were various shades of tion than any race in Turkey.
opinion ; but there was a general feeling It was unfortunate for the Bulgarians that Bulgaria had much to hope from that the great crisis in their history came her hostility to Turkey, and much to when it did. They were not ready for fear from her ambition to extend her terit. Ten years longer under Turkish ritory. She would no doubt improve rule, especially if this could have been the first opportunity to deliver them modified as was proposed by the Con- from the Turks, but she might annex ference of Constantinople, would have them to herself afterwards. They would consolidated the nation, reconciled the rather take their chance, and wait for Greeks to the idea of union with the Turkey to fall to pieces, than be swalBulgarians, given time for the extension lowed up in Russia ; for it was the realof the public schools from the towns ity of a Bulgarian nation, and not the to the villages, and for a more general dream of Panslavism, in which they were elevation of the people. It would have interested. In regard to England, the given the people recognized and trusted question was always asked, how it was leaders. There are now many well-ed- that a free Christian State could be the ucated, clever young men in the coun- ally and defender of Moslem despotism ? try, but they are not generally known, They would prefer the friendship of and they have not the age and experi- England to that of any other Power, but ence which are necessary to command they saw no hope of ever securing it. full respect and confidence.
After the massacres, and at the time of men who have local influence, but there the Conference, there was a complete is not one who is recognized as a leader change of feeling. The people were of the nation. The plan agreed upon filled with hope that, at last, they might by the Conference of Constantinople count upon the friendship and protecwas exactly adapted to the actual con- tion of England ; but the Congress at dition of the nation. It would, no Berlin and the alliance with Austria have doubt, have resulted in the ultimate dis- brought back the old feeling that Engmemberment of the Ottoman Empire, lish diplomacy is an inscrutable mystery. but this change would have come gradu- They manifested very little interest in ally, and possibly without any war. Italy or Germany, but France was alAfter the war this scheme was impracti- ways spoken of with enthusiasm. This cable. Then the Bulgaria of the St. feeling in regard to France seemed to reStephanos Treaty, with some modifica- sult in part from the vigor with which tions perhaps, was the best solution pos- French Consuls defended the rights of sible, but it was replaced at Berlin by the Christians, but still more from the an arrangement which was very nearly conduct of France in the Italian war of the worst possible for every one con- 1859. The influence of this war upon cerned, except Russia and Austria. For the Christian nationalities in Turkey has them it has the advantage of securing not been noticed by European writers ; continued anarchy and confusion in Eu- but, in fact, it marked the beginning of ropean Turkey.
Up to that time the ChrisUnder this Berlin Treaty it is impos- tians of Turkey had no idea of national
a new era.