OMER PACHA AND THE CHRISTIAN REBELS.
WITH A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF SERVIA, ITS SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND FINANCIAL CONDITION.
BY LIEUT. G. ARBUTHNOT, R.H.A., F.R.G.S.
LONDON: LONGMAN, GREEN, LONGMAN, ROBERTS, & GREEN. 1862.
PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO. NEW-STREET SQUARE
The wanderings of an unknown in an unknown land may not be a subject of universal interest, and as such require a few words of apology, or possibly of defence.
To convey an accurate idea of a country the inhabitants of which differ from ourselves in creed, origin, and in all their habits of life, it would be necessary to have passed a lifetime amongst them. It may therefore be deemed presumptuous in me to attempt so comprehensive a task, upon the meagre experience of a few short months. And such it would be, did I entertain such aspirations. The impossibility, however, of identifying myself with a people, with whose very language I have but a slight acquaintance, would banish such a thought. My object is rather to describe briefly and simply everything that presented itself to my own notice; upon the evidence of which, coupled with the observations of the few who have devoted any attention to the condition of these countries, I have founded my views and opinions. Far be it from me to assume that they have more claim to be regarded as correct, than the opinions of others who may differ from me. Above all, if any of my remarks on the subject of the Greek and Latin religions should appear somewhat severe, I would have it clearly understood, that nowhere is allusion intentionally made to these churches, save in the relation which they bear to the Illyric Provinces of European Turkey.
Object of Travels—Start—Mad Woman—Italian Patriot—Zara—Sebenico—Falls of Kerka—Dalmatian Boatmen—French Policy and Austrian Prospects— Spalatro—Palace of Diocletian—Lissa—Naval Action—Gravosa—Ragusa—Dalmatian Hotel—Change of Plans Pages 1—15
Military Road to Metcovich—Country Boat—Stagno—Port of Klek—Disputed Frontier—Narentine Pirates—Valley of the Narenta—Trading Vessels—Turkish Frontier—Facilities for Trade granted by Austria—Narenta—Fort Opus—Hungarian Corporal—Metcovich—Irish Adventurer—Gabella—Pogitel— Dalmatian Engineer—Telegraphic Communication—Arrival at Mostar—Omer Pacha—Object of Campaign 16—32
Herzegovina—Boundaries—Extent—Physical Features— Mountains—Mineral Products—Story of Hadji Ali Pacha—Forests—Austrian Timber Company—Saw-Mill— Rivers—Towns—Villages—Population—Greek Catholics— Church Dignitaries—Roman Catholics—Monks—Franciscan College—Moral Depravity—Fine Field for Missionary Labour 33—49
Introduction of Christianity—Origin of Slavonic Element—First Appearance of the Patarenes in Bosnia—Their Origin—Tenets—Elect a Primate—Disappearance—Dookhoboitzi, or Combatants in Spirit—Turkish Conquest—Bosnian Apostasy—Religious Fanaticism—Euchlemeh—Commission under Kiamil Pacha—Servian Emissaries—National Customs—Adopted Brotherhood—Mahommedan Women—Elopements—Early Marriages 50—64
Agricultural Products—Cereals—Misapplication of Soil—Tobacco—Current Prices—Vine Disease—Natural Capabilities of Land—Price of Labour—Dalmatian Scutors—Other Products—Manufactures—Commerce—Relations with Bosnia—Able Administration of Omer Pacha—Austria takes alarm—Trade Statistics—Imports—Exports—Frontier Duties—Mal-administration—Intended Reforms 65—75
Government—Mudirliks—Mulisarif—Cadi of Mostar—Medjlis— Its Constitution and Functions—Criminal and Commercial Tribunals—Revenue and Taxes—Virgu—Monayene-askereh— Customs—Tithes—Excise—Total Revenue—Police 76—83
Omer Pacha—Survey of Montenegro—Mostar—Bazaars— Mosques—Schools—Old Tower—Escape of Prisoners—Roman Bridge—Capture by Venetians—Turkish Officers—Pacha's Palace—European Consulates—Clock-Tower—Emperor's Day—Warlike Preparations—Christian Volunteers—Orders to March 84—93
Bosnia—Turkish Invasion—Tuartko II. and Ostoya Christich—Cruel Death of Stephen Thomasovich—His Tomb—Queen Cattarina—Duchy of Santo Saba becomes a Roman Province—Despotism of Bosnian Kapetans—Janissaries—Fall of Sultan Selim and Bairaktar—Mahmoud—Jelaludin Pacha—Expedition against Montenegro—Death of Jelaludin—Ali Pacha—Revolted Provinces reconquered— Successes of Ibrahim Pacha—Destruction of Janissaries— Regular Troops organised—Hadji Mustapha—Abdurahim— Proclamation—Fall of Serayevo—Fresh rising—Serayevo taken by Rebels—Scodra Pacha—Peace of Adrianople—Hussein Kapetan—Outbreak of Rebellion—Cruelty of Grand Vizier—Ali Aga of Stolatz—Kara Mahmoud—Serayevo taken—War with Montenegro—Amnesty granted 94—117
Hussein Pacha—Tahir Pacha—Polish and Hungarian Rebellions—Extends to Southern Slaves—Congress convened—Montenegrins overrun Herzegovina—Arrival of Omer Pacha—Elements of Discord—Rising in Bulgaria put down by Spahis—Refugees—Ali Rizvan Begovitch—Fall of Mostar, and Capture of Ali—His suspicious Death—Cavass Bashee—Anecdote of Lame Christian—Omer Pacha invades Montenegro—Successes—Austria interferes—Mission of General Leiningen—Battle of Grahovo—Change of Frontier—Faults of new Boundary 118—127
Insurrection of Villagers—Attack Krustach—Three Villages burnt—Christian Version—Account given by Dervisch Pacha—Deputation headed by Pop Boydan—Repeated Outrages by Rebels—Ali Pacha of Scutari—His want of Ability—Greek Chapels sacked—Growth of Rebellion—Omer Pacha restored to Favour—Despatched to the Herzegovina—Proclamation—Difficulties to be encountered—Proposed Interview between Omer Pacha and Prince of Montenegro—Evaded by the Prince—Omer Pacha returns to Mostar—Preparations for Campaign 128—140
Leave Mostar for the Frontier—Mammoth Tombstones—Stolatz— Castle and Town—Christian Shopkeeper—Valley of the Stolatz—Disappearance of River—Temporary Camp—My Dalmatian Servant—Turkish Army Doctors—Numerical Force of the Turks—Health of the Army—Bieliki—Decapitation of Prisoners—Christian Cruelty 141—164
Tzernagora—Collusion between Montenegrins and Rebels—Turks abandon System of Forbearance—Chances of Success—Russian Influence—Private Machination—M. Hecquard—European Intervention—Luca Vukalovich—Commencement of Hostilities—Dervisch Pacha—Advance on Gasko—Baniani— Bashi Bazouks—Activity of Omer Pacha—Campaigning in Turkey—Line of March—Pass of Koryta—The Halt—National Dance—'La Donna Amabile'—Tchernitza—Hakki Bey—Osman Pacha—Man with Big Head—Old Tower— Elephantiasis—Gasko—Camp Life—Moslem Devotions—Character of Turkish Troops—System of Drill—Peculation—Turkish Army—Letters—Scarcity of Provisions—Return of Villagers 155—173
Expedition to Niksich—Character of Scenery—Engineer Officers—Want of Maps—Affghan Dervish—Krustach—Wallack Colonel—Bivouac—Bashi Bazouks—Pass of Dougah—Plain of Niksich—Town and Frontier—Albanian Mudir—Turkish Women—Defects of Government by Mudir and Medjlis 174—189
Return to Gasko—Thunderstorm—Attacked by Rebels—Enemy repulsed—Retrograde Movement—Eventful Night—Turkish Soldiers murdered—Montenegrin Envoy—Coal-Pit—Entrenched Camp assaulted—Return of Omer Pacha to Mostar—Distinctive Character of Mahometan Religion—Naval Reorganisation— Military Uniforms—Return to Mostar—Dervisch Bey—Zaloum— Express Courier—Giovanni—Nevresign—Fortified Barrack— Mostar—Magazine—Barracks—Wooden Block-houses—European Commission—Tour of the Grand Vizier—Enquiry into Christian Grievances—Real Causes of Complaint—Forcible Abduction of Christian Girls—Prince Gortschakoff's Charges—The Meredits—Instincts of Race 190—214
Excursion to Blato—Radobolya—Roman Road—Lichnitza— Subterraneous Passage—Duck-shooting—Roman Tombs—Coins and Curiosities—Boona—Old Bridge—Mulberry Trees—Blagai—Source of Boona River—Kiosk—Castle—Plain of Mostar—Legends—Silver Ore—Mineral Products of Bosnia—Landslip—Marbles—Rapids—Valley of the Drechnitza 215—226
Wealthy Christians—German Encyclopaedia—Feats of Skill—Legend of Petral—Chamois-hunting—Valley of Druga—Excavations—Country Carts—Plain of Duvno—Mahmoud Effendi—Old Tombs—Duvno—Fortress—Bosnian Frontier—Vidosa—Parish Priest—National Music—Livno— Franciscan Convent—Priestly Incivility—Illness—Quack Medicines—Hungarian Doctor—Military Ambulance—Bosna Serai—Osman Pacha—Popularity—Roads and Bridges—Mussulman Rising in Turkish Croatia—Energy of Osman Pacha 227—242
Svornik—Banialuka—New Road—Sport—Hot Springs—Ekshesoo— Mineral Waters—Celebrated Springs—Goitre—The Bosna—Trout Fishing—Tzenitza—Zaptiehs—Maglai—Khans—Frozen Roads—Brod—The Save—Austrian Sentry—Steamer on the Save—Gradiska—Cenovatz—La lingua di tre Regni—Culpa River—Sissek—Croatian Hotel—Carlstadt Silk—Railway to Trieste—Moravian Iron—Concentration of Austrian Troops—Probable Policy—Watermills—Semlin—Belgrade 243—258
Its Social, Political, and Financial Condition 261—285
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
A MOONLIGHT BIVOUAC Frontispiece.
OFFICIAL SEAL OF OMER PACHA On Title-page.
SIGNATURE OF AUTHOR IN TURKISH CHARACTERS page vi
MAP OF MONTENEGRO To face page 1
MAP OF SLAVONIC PROVINCES OF EUROPEAN TURKEY " 288
Object of Travels—Start—Mad Woman—Italian Patriot—Zara—Sebenico—Falls of Kerka—Dalmatian Boatmen—French Policy and Austrian Prospects—Spalatro—Palace of Diocletian—Lissa—Naval Action—Gravosa—Ragusa—Dalmatian Hotel—Change of Plans.
'Omer Pacha will proceed with the army of Roumelia to quell the disturbance in Herzegovina.' Such, I believe, was the announcement which confirmed me in the idea of visiting the Slavonic provinces of European Turkey. Had any doubts existed in my mind of the importance attached by the Ottoman government to the pacification of these remote districts, the recall to favour of Omer Pacha, and the despatch of so large a force under his command, would have sufficed to remove them. As it was, the mere desire to keep myself au courant of the events of the day, together with the interest which all must feel in the condition of a country for whom England has sacrificed so much blood and treasure, had made me aware that some extraordinary manifestation of feeling must have occurred to arouse that apathetic power to so energetic a measure. Of the nature of this manifestation, little or no reliable information could be obtained; and so vague a knowledge prevails touching the condition of these provinces, that I at once perceived that personal observation alone could put me in possession of it. The opinions of such as did profess to have devoted any attention to the subject, were most conflicting. Whilst some pronounced the point at issue to be merely one between the Turkish government and a few rebellious brigands, others took a far more gloomy view of the matter, believing that the first shot fired would prove the signal for a general rising of the Christian subjects of the Porte, which, in its turn, was to lead to the destruction of Turkish suzerainty in Europe, and to the consummation of the great Panslavish scheme. To satisfy myself on these points, then, was the main object of my travels,—to impart to others the information which I thus obtained, is the intention of this volume.
On August 31, 1861, I left Trieste in the Austrian Lloyd's steamer, bound for Corfu, and touching en route at the ports on the Dalmatian coast. Having failed in all my endeavours to ascertain the exact whereabouts of the Turkish head-quarters, I had secured my passage to Ragusa, reckoning on obtaining the necessary information from the Ottoman Consul at that town; and in this I was not disappointed.
It is not my intention to enlarge upon this portion of my travels, which would indeed be of little interest; still less to tread in the steps of Sir Gardner Wilkinson, whose valuable work on Dalmatia has rendered such a course unnecessary; but rather to enter, with log-like simplicity, the dates of arrival and departure at the various ports, and such-like interesting details of sea life. If, however, my landsman-like propensities should evince themselves by a lurking inclination to 'hug the shore,' I apologise beforehand.
My fellow-passengers were in no way remarkable, but harmless enough, even including an unfortunate mad woman, whose mania it was to recount unceasingly the ill-treatment to which she had been exposed. At times, her indignation against her imaginary tormentors knew no bounds; at others, she would grow touchingly plaintive on the subject of her wrongs. That she was a nuisance, I am fain to confess; but the treatment she experienced at the hands of her Dalmatian countrymen was inconsiderate in the extreme. One who professed himself an advocate for sudden shocks, put his theory into practice by stealing quietly behind his patient, and cutting short her lugubrious perorations with a deluge of salt water. This was repeated several times, but no arguments would induce her to allow her wet clothes to be removed, so it would not be surprising if this gentleman had succeeded in 'stopping her tongue' beyond his expectations. The only other lady was young and rather pretty, but dismally sentimental. She doated on roses, was enamoured of camelias, and loved the moon and the stars, and in fact everything in this world or out of it. In vain I tried to persuade her that her cough betrayed pulmonary symptoms, and that night air in the Adriatic was injurious to the complexion.
The man-kind on board included an Austrian officer of engineers, a French Consul, and a Dalmatian professor. Besides the above, there was an Italian patriot, whose devotion to the 'Kingmaker' displayed itself in a somewhat eccentric fashion. With much mystery, he showed me a portrait of Garibaldi, secreted in a watchkey seal, while his waistcoat buttons and shirt studs contained heads of those generals who served in the campaign of the Two Sicilies. It was rather a novel kind of hero-worship, though, I fear, likely to be little appreciated by him who inspired the thought.
September 1.—Landed at Zara at 6.30 A.M., and passed a few hours in wandering over the town and ramparts. These last are by no means formidable, and convey very little idea of the importance which was attached to the city in the time of the Venetian Republic. The garrison is small, and, as is the case throughout Dalmatia, the soldiers are of Italian origin. The Duomo is worthy of a visit; while the antiquarian may find many objects of interest indicative of the several phases of Zarantine history. Here, in a partially obliterated inscription, he may trace mementos of Imperial Rome; there, the Campanile of Santa Maria tells of the dominion of Croatian kings; while the winged lion ever reminds him of the glory of the Great Republic, its triumphs, its losses, and its fall. On leaving we were loudly cheered by the inhabitants, who had collected in large numbers on the shore. A few hours' run brought us abreast of Fort St. Nicholas, and ten minutes later we dropped anchor in the harbour of Sebenico. Here the delight of the people at our arrival was somewhat overwhelming. It vented itself in an inordinate amount of hugging and kissing, to say nothing of the most promiscuous hand-shaking, for a share of which I myself came in. My first step was to negotiate with four natives to row me to the Falls of Kerka, about three hours distant. This I had succeeded in doing, when, having unfortunately let them know that I was English, they demanded seven florins in place of four, as had been originally agreed. Resolving not to give way to so gross an imposition, I was returning in quest of another boat, when I met a troop of some six or seven girls, young, more than averagely good-looking, and charmingly dressed in their national costume. I presume that my T.G. appearance must have amused them; for they fairly laughed,—not a simpering titter, but a good honest laugh. To them I stated my case, and received a proper amount of sympathy. One offered to row me herself, while another said something about 'twenty florins and a life,'—which, whatever it may have meant, brought a blush to the cheek of the pretty little volunteer. At this juncture the boatmen arrived, and on my assurance that I was perfectly satisfied with the company to which they had driven me, which my looks, I suppose, did not belie, they came to terms. Leaving the bay at its NW. extremity, where the Kerka flows into it, we proceeded about four miles up that river. At this point it opens out into the Lake of Scardona, which is of considerable size, and affords a good anchorage. There is an outlet for the river to the N., close to which is situated the little town of Scardona. The banks of the river here begin to lose their rocky and precipitous appearance, assuming a more marshy character, which renders it unhealthy in the summer. The Falls are approached by a long straight reach, at the end of which they form a kind of semicircle, the entire breadth being about 250 feet. In winter, or after heavy rains, the effect must be very grand; but at the time of my visit they were, in consequence of the great drought, unusually small. Below the falls is a mill worked by a Levantine, who appears to drive a flourishing trade, grinding corn for Sebenico, Zara, and many other places on the coast.
The Dalmatian boatmen are a very primitive set in everything save money matters. One asked, Are the English Christians? while another asserted most positively, that he had taken an Englishman to see the Falls in the year 1870. Their style of rowing resembles that in vogue among the Maltese and Italians, excepting that they make their passenger sit in the hows of the boat. This, at any rate, has the advantage of keeping him to windward of themselves, which is often very desirable. Another point of difference is, that they wear shoes or slippers,—the latter being, in some instances, really tasteful and pretty.
The moon was high ere we reached the ship, where I found all the passengers assembled upon deck. One after another they disappeared below, until I was left alone. I know no spot so conducive to reflection as the deserted deck of a ship at anchor on a lovely night, and in a genial latitude. In this instance, however, my thoughts assumed more of a speculative than retrospective character, large as was the field for the indulgence of the latter. The shades of emperors and doges faded away, giving place to the more terrestrial forms of living sovereigns; and the wild shouts of the Moslem conquerors resolved themselves into the 'Vive l'Empereur' of an army doing battle for an idea. Let Austria look to herself, that, when the hour of struggle shall arrive, as arrive it will, she be not found sleeping. Should Napoleon once more espouse the Italian cause, should he hurl his armies upon the Quadrilateral, who can doubt but that a diversion of a more or less important character will be attempted in the rear of the empire? But even though he should let slip the notable occasion presented to him by a rising among the Italian subjects of Austria, the evil day will only be postponed. I believe that, not content with the humiliation of that power at Villafranca, he will take advantage of any opportunity which disorder in the neighbouring Turkish provinces may offer him to aim a blow at her on her Dalmatian frontier, as a means to the gigantic end of crippling her, and with her ultimately the entire German Confederation. It is a great scheme, and doubtless one of many in that fertile brain. If Austria should resolve to defend her Venetian territory, as it may be presumed she will, she should spare no labour to strengthen her fortresses in the Adriatic. On the Dalmatian coast, Zara, Lissa, Pola, and Cattaro are all capable of making a very respectable defence in the event of their being attacked; while, to quote the words of Rear-Admiral Count Bernhard von Wuellersdorf and Urban, 'An Austrian squadron at Cattaro would be very dangerous to any hostile squadron on the Italian coast, as its cruisers would cut off all transports of coal, provisions, &c. &c.,—in a word, render the communication of the hostile squadron with the Mediterranean very difficult.... Lissa is the keystone of the Adriatic. This island, the importance of which in former times was never denied, commands the straits which lead from the southern to the northern half of the Adriatic.... The naval force at Lissa ought to be a local one, consisting of light fast gun-boats to cruise in the narrow waters, to which might be added some plated ships to keep open communications, on the one hand, between Lissa and the mainland, and on the other hand acting with the gun-boats to bar the passage to hostile vessels.' The publication of the article from which the above is extracted in the 'Oesterreichische Militar Zeitschrift,' proves sufficiently that the Austrian government is aware of the necessity which exists for taking precautionary measures; and the lesson which they learnt in 1859 ought to have induced them to adopt a more energetic policy in their military and naval affairs.
The defences of Sebenico consist of three small forts: St. Nicholas, containing seventeen mounted guns, is at the entrance of the bay, while San Giovanni and Santa Anna, situated on rising ground, command the town, harbour, and land approaches. The precise number of guns which they contain, I was unable to learn. The very meagre character of the information which I am in a position to impart on these subjects requires, I am aware, some apology. The difficulty of obtaining it during the short stay of a steamer must be my excuse. May it be accepted!
September 2.—Steamed into the port of Spalatro at 10.30 A.M. There is both an outer and inner harbour, the latter affording a good anchorage to vessels of any burden; yet, notwithstanding this, we were compelled, for the first time since leaving Trieste, to lie off at some distance from the quay. The origin of Spalatro dates from the building of the palace of Diocletian in 303, A.D. This glorious pile, however much it may offend against the rules of architecture, is well entitled to rank among the noblest monuments of imperial Rome. Its mammoth proportions, the novelty of conception evinced in many parts, together with its extraordinary state of preservation, render it alike unique, while the circumstances connected with its building impart to it an unusual interest. Wearied with the affairs of state, Diocletian retired to Salona, where he passed the remaining nine years of his life in profound seclusion. Of the use to which he applied his wealth during that period, a record still exists in the golden gate and the Corinthian columns which decorate that regal abode; while we learn what were his pursuits from his own memorable reply to Maximian, when urged by him to reassume the purple. 'Utinam Salonis olera nostris manibus insita invisere posses, de resumando imperio non judicares;' or, as it has been somewhat freely translated by Gibbon—'If I could show you the cabbages I have planted with my own hands at Salona, you would no longer urge me to relinquish the enjoyment of happiness for the pursuit of power.'[A]
Nor has nature been less bountiful than man to this most favoured spot. The description given by Adams conveys a very accurate impression of the character of the surrounding country. 'The soil is dry and fertile, the air pure and wholesome, and, though extremely hot during the summer months, the country seldom feels those sultry and noxious winds to which the coasts of Istria and some parts of Italy are exposed. The views from the palace are no less beautiful than the soil and climate are inviting. Towards the W. lies the fertile shore that stretches along the Adriatic, in which a number of small islands are scattered in such a manner as to give this part of the sea the appearance of a great lake. On the N. side lies the bay, which led to the ancient city of Salona, and the country beyond it appearing in sight forms a proper contrast to that more extensive prospect of water, which the Adriatic presents both to the S. and the E. Towards the N. the view is terminated by high and irregular mountains situated at a proper distance, and in many places covered with villages, woods, and vineyards.'[B] Like most other relics of antiquity, the time-honoured walls of Spalatro have been witnesses of those varied emotions to which the human heart is subject. Thither Glycerius the prelate retired, when driven by Julius Nepos from the imperial throne. There, too, in a spirit of true Christian charity, he heaped coals of fire on the head of his enemy, by affording him a sanctuary when dethroned in his turn by Orestes, the father of Augustulus. Again, a little while, and within the same walls, where he had deemed himself secure, Julius Nepos fell a victim to the assassin's knife, and subsequently we find the houseless Salonites sheltering themselves within its subterraneous passages, when driven from their homes by the fury of the invading Avars. The memory of all these is passed away, but the stones still remain an undying testimony of a happy king.
Having passed some hours in the town and palace, I adjourned to one of the few small cafes in the principal street. While sipping my chocolate, I was accosted by an elderly priest, who most civilly enquired whether he could help me in any way during my stay at Spalatro. He proved to be a person of much intelligence, and, notwithstanding that his knowledge of English extended only to a few conversational words, he had read Sir Gardner Wilkinson's work on Dalmatia, and, as his remarks showed, not without profiting thereby. At 4.30 the same afternoon we arrived at Lissa, the military port of Austria in this part of the Adriatic. It is interesting to English travellers, its waters having been the scene of a naval action in which an English squadron, commanded by Captain Hoste, defeated a French squadron carrying nearly double as many guns. During the great war the island belonged to England, and indeed a portion of it is called to this day the Citta Inglese. It at one time acquired a certain importance in a mercantile point of view, sardines being the staple article of commerce.
The same night we touched at Curzola, and at 4 A.M. on September 3 anchored at Gravosa, the port of debarcation for Ragusa. Taking leave of my friends on board, I landed at about 5 A.M., and, having committed my luggage, a small bullock trunk, saddle-bags, and a saddle, to the shoulders of a sturdy facchino, and myself to a very rickety and diminutive cart, I proceeded on my way to Ragusa. The drive, about a mile and a half in distance, abounds with pretty views, while the town of Ragusa itself is as picturesque in its interior detail as it is interesting from its early history. The grass-grown streets, the half-ruined palaces, and the far niente manners of the people, give little indication of the high position which the Republic once achieved. Yet, despite all these emblems of decay, there are no signs of abject poverty, but rather a spirit of frugal contentment is everywhere apparent.
Arriving at an hour when, in the more fastidious capitals of Europe, housemaids and milkmen hold undisputed sway, I found groups of the wealthier citizens collected under the trees which surround the cafe, making their morning meal, and discussing the local news the while. Later in the day ices and beer were in great demand, and in the evening the beauty and fashion of Ragusa congregated to hear the beautiful band of the regiment 'Marmola.' The hotel, if it deserve the name, is scarce fifty yards distant; it possesses a cuisine which contrasts favourably with the accommodation which the house affords.
The table d'hote dinner is served in a kind of vaulted kitchen, the walls of which are hung round with scenes illustrative of the Italian campaign. The series, which comprises desperate cavalry charges, death wounds of general officers, and infantry advancing amidst perfect bouquets of shot and shell, closes appropriately with the pacific meeting of the two Emperors at Villafranca.
Here, then, I proposed to take up my quarters, making it the starting-point for expeditions to the Val d'Ombla, the beautiful Bocche di Cattaro, and Cettigne, the capital of Montenegro; but it was destined otherwise, and night found me on board a country fishing-boat, the bearer of despatches to Omer Pacha at Mostar, or wherever he might happen to be.
[Footnote A: Gibbon, chap. xiii.]
[Footnote B: Adams' 'Ruins of Spalatro,' p. 6.]
Military Road to Metcovich—Country Boat—Stagno—Port of Klek—Disputed Frontier—Narentine Pirates—Valley of the Narenta—Trading Vessels—Turkish Frontier—Facilities for Trade granted by Austria—Narenta—Fort Opus—Hungarian Corporal—Metcovich—Irish Adventurer—Gabella—Pogitel—Dalmatian Engineer—Telegraphic Communication—Arrival at Mostar—Omer Pacha—Object of Campaign.
The change in my plans, and my precipitate departure from Ragusa, were the results of information which I there received. From M. Persich, the Ottoman Consul, whom I take this opportunity of thanking for his courtesy and kindness, I learned that the Turkish Generalissimo might be expected to leave Mostar for the frontier at any moment, and that the disturbed state of the country would render it perilous, if not impossible, to follow him thither. This determined me to push on at once, postponing my visit to Montenegro to a more fitting season. To make some necessary purchases, and to engage a servant, was the work of a few hours, and, being supplied by the Captano of the Circolo with the necessary vises and letters of recommendation to the subordinate officials through whose districts I should have to pass, it only remained to decide upon the mode of travelling which I should adopt, and to secure the requisite conveyance. My first point was Metcovich, a small town on the right bank of the Narenta, and close to the frontier lines of Dalmatia and Herzegovina. Three modes of performing the journey were reported practicable,—viz. on horseback, by water, or by carriage. The first of these I at once discarded, as both slow and tedious; the choice consequently lay between the remaining two methods: with regard to economy of time I decided upon the latter. But here a difficulty arose. The man who possessed a monopoly of carriages, for some reason best known to himself, demurred at my proceeding, declaring the road to be impassable. He farther brought a Turkish courier to back his statement, who at any rate deserved credit, on the tell-a-good-one-and-stick-to-it principle, for his hard swearing. I subsequently ascertained that it was untrue; and had I known a little more of the country, I should not have been so easily deterred, seeing that the road in question is by far the best which exists in that part of Europe. It was constructed by the French during their occupation of Dalmatia in the time of Napoleon, and has been since kept in good order by the Austrian government. Being thus thwarted in my plans, I made a virtue of necessity, engaged a country boat, and got under weigh on the evening of the day on which I had landed at Gravosa. The night was clear and starry; and as my boat glided along before a light breeze under the romantic cliffs of the Dalmatian coast, I ceased to regret the jolting which I should have experienced had I carried out my first intention. Running along the shore for some ten hours in a north-westerly direction, we reached Stagno, a town of small importance, situated at the neck of a tongue of land in the district of Slano, and which connects the promontory of Sabioncello with the mainland; ten minutes' walk across the isthmus brought us again to the sea. The luggage deposited in a boat of somewhat smaller dimensions, and better adapted for river navigation, we once more proceeded on our journey.
A little to the north of Stagno is the entrance to the port of Klek, a striking instance of right constituted by might. The port, which, from its entrance, belongs indisputably to Turkey, together with the land on the southern side, is closed by Austria, in violation of every principle of national law and justice.
Previous to 1852, many small vessels used to enter it for trading purposes, and it was not until Omer Pacha in that year attempted to establish it as an open port that Austria interfered, and stationed a war-steamer at its mouth.
In 1860 the restriction was so far removed that Turkish vessels have since been allowed to enter with provisions for the troops.
To the isolated condition of these provinces, coupled with the ignorance which prevails at Constantinople relative to the affairs of the interior, must be attributed the indifference which the Porte has as yet manifested regarding the preservation of its just rights. The importance to be attached to the possession by Turkey of an open port upon the coast cannot be overrated, since through it she would receive her imports direct from the producing countries, while her own products could be exported without being subjected to the rules and caprices of a foreign state. Nor are the Turkish officials in these quarters at all blind to the injury that accrues to Turkey, from the line of policy which Austria is now pursuing; but while they see and deplore the mildness with which their government permits its rights to be thus violated, they neglect to take any steps which might induce it to appeal to the arbitration of Europe. Were this done, there could be little doubt of the result; for, since the land on one side of the harbour, without question, belongs to Turkey, it would appear only just that she should have control over the half of the channel. But even were this to be accorded (which is most improbable, since it would prove dangerous to the trade of Trieste), the point at issue would still be far from settled. Any concessions will be unavailing so long as the present line of demarcation between the two countries shall exist; for while Turkey draws the line of limit from a point near the entrance of the harbour to the village of Dobrogna, Austria maintains the boundary to run from that village to a point farther within the port, by which arrangement she includes a small bluff or headland, which commands the entire harbour. She asserts her right to this frontier, upon the grounds of its having been the line drawn by the French during their occupation of Dalmatia. The Turks deny the truth of this, and state that the lines occupied by the French can still be traced from the remains of huts built for the protection of their sentries. Moreover, since the Austrians have also stated that the French, when in Dalmatia, did not respect the rights of the Sultan, but occupied Suttorina and Klek, the argument that they assume the frontier left them by the French is hardly entitled to much consideration. That Austria is very unlikely to open Klek of her own free will, I have already said; nor can she be blamed for the determination, since she must be well aware that, in the event of her doing so, English goods at a moderate price would find a far readier market than her own high-priced and indifferent manufactures. In a word, she would lose the monopoly of trade which she at present possesses in these provinces. But, on the other hand, were Turkey animated by a spirit of reprisal, she might throw such obstacles in the path of her more powerful neighbour as would almost compel her to abandon the system of ultra-protection.
The military road from Cattaro to Ragusa and Spalatro encroaches upon Turkish territory, and the telegraphic wire which connects Cattaro with Trieste passes over both Suttorina and Klek. The Austrian government would find it very inconvenient were the Porte to dispute the right of passage at these points. Should Turkey ever be in a position to force the adoption of the frontier, as defined by herself, the value of Klek in a military point of view will be immeasurably increased; for, while the port itself would be protected by her guns, the approach to it is perfectly secure, although flanked on either side by Austrian territory. The waters of the harbour open out into the bay of Sabioncello from seven to eight miles in width, so that a vessel in mid-channel might run the gauntlet with impunity.
Towards evening we entered the Narenta, the principal river of Dalmatia and Herzegovina, by one of the numerous mouths which combine to form its delta. Its ancient name was the 'Naro,' and it is also called by Constantine Porphyrogenitus 'Orontium.' Later it acquired an unenviable notoriety, as being the haunt of the 'Narentine Pirates,' who issued thence to make forays upon the coast, and plundered or levied tribute on the trading vessels of the Adriatic. At one time they became so powerful as to be able to carry on a regular system of warfare, and even gain victories over the Venetian Republic, and it was not till 997 A.D. that they were reduced to submission by the Doge Pietro Orseolo II., and compelled to desist from piracy.
The valley of the Narenta is but thinly populated, a circumstance easily accounted for by the noxious vapours which exhale from the alluvial and reed-covered banks of the stream.
The lowlands, moreover, which lie around the river's bed are subject to frequent and rapid inundations. Excepting one party of villagers, who appeared to be making merry around a large fire close to the bank, I saw no signs of human habitation.
The croaking of many frogs, and the whirr of the wild fowl, as they rose from their marshy bed at our approach, were the only signs of life to be perceived, though higher up we met a few rowing boats, and one of the small coasting vessels used for the transport of merchandise. These boats are generally from twenty to thirty tons burden, and are employed for the conveyance of ordinary goods from Trieste, whence the imports of Dalmatia, Bosnia, and the Herzegovina are for the most part derived. Their rates of freight are light, averaging from 10d. to 1s. per cwt., chargeable on the bulk. The more valuable or fragile articles are brought to Macarsca, a port on the Dalmatian coast, near the mouth of the Narenta, in steamers belonging to the Austrian Lloyd's Company, whence they are despatched by boat to Metcovich. The expense attendant on this route prevents its being universally adopted. Insurance can be effected as far as Metcovich at 1s. 4d. to 3s. 4d. per cwt. on the value declared, according to the season of the year.
Metcovich may be regarded as the Ultima Thule of civilisation in this direction. Once across the frontier, and one may take leave of all one's preconceived ideas regarding prosperity or comfort. Everything appears at a standstill, whether it be river navigation or traffic on the land. The apathy of the Turkish government presents a striking contrast to the policy of Austria, who clearly sees the value to be attached to the trade of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and who, while throwing every obstacle in the way of competition, evinces unwonted energy to secure the monopoly which she now possesses. During the past few years she has granted many facilities for the growth of commercial relations between Herzegovina and her own provinces. Thus, for instance, the transit dues on the majority of imports and exports have been removed, a few articles only paying a nominal duty on passing into Turkey. Wool, skins, hides, wax, honey, fruits, and vegetables, are allowed into Dalmatia free of duty. A grant of 1,200,000 florins has, moreover, been recently made for the regulation of the channel of the Narenta, with the view of rendering it navigable by small steamers, which will doubtless prove a most profitable outlay. It is to be hoped that the Turkish government will take steps to continue the line to Mostar, which is quite practicable, and could be effected at a small expense.
The Narenta takes its rise at the foot of the small hill called Bolai, a spur of the Velesh range of mountains. Its route is very circuitous, the entire distance from the source to its mouth being about one hundred and thirty miles, while its average width is computed at about one hundred and forty yards. It is subject to rapid rises between the months of September and May, caused by rains in the mountains and the melting snow, and a rise of twelve feet in three or four hours is by no means uncommon. As a source of communication it might be invaluable to the province, but in its present state it is perfectly useless, since the hardness of its waters renders it unfit for irrigation. It has many tributary streams, amongst the most important of which are the Boona, Bregava, Rama, Radopolie, Trebitza, and Cruppa.
On its right bank, and some miles above the mouth, is a small town, which rejoices in the imposing name of Fort Opus, albeit it possesses neither walls, fortifications, nor other means of defence. As the night was already far advanced when we arrived, I resolved to stay there a few hours before continuing the row to Metcovich, which I should otherwise have reached before daylight, and have been compelled to lie off the town during the damp hours of morning. Neither sentry nor health officer appeared to interdict our landing; and having found a miserable outhouse, which served as a cabaret, I was preparing to snatch a few hours' sleep as best I might, when an Hungarian corporal, employed in the finance department, came to the rescue, and undertook to find me a bed. Of its quality I will abstain from speaking; but such as it was, it was freely given, and it took much persuasion to induce the honest fellow to accept any remuneration. His post can hardly be a pleasant one, for malaria and fever cause such mortality, that the station is regarded much in the same light as is the gold coast of Africa by our own government servants. As a set-off against these disadvantages, my friend was in receipt of 2d. per day additional pay. May he pass unscathed through the ordeal!
By 2 A.M. I had again started, and reached Metcovich at 5 A.M. on September 5. Here M. Grabrich, the principal merchant of the place, put me in the way of procuring horses to take me to Mostar, about nine hours distant. My destination becoming known, I was beset with applications for my good offices with Omer Pacha. Some of these were petitions for contracts for supplying the army, though the greater number were demands for arrears of payment due for the supply of meal, and the transport of horned cattle and other provisions to the frontier. One of the complainants, a Greek, had a grievance of a different and much more hopeless nature. He had cashed a bill for a small amount offered him by an Irish adventurer. This, as well as several others, proved to be forgeries, and the money was irretrievably lost. Although travelling under an assumed name, and with a false passport, I subsequently discovered the identity of the delinquent with an individual, whom doubtless many who were with Garibaldi during the campaign of the Two Sicilies will call to mind. He was then only remarkable for his Calabrian costume and excessive amount of swagger. When at Niksich I learned that he had escaped through that town into Montenegro, and he has not, I believe, since been traced.
No punishment can be too severe for a scoundrel who thus brings English credit into disrepute, and disgraces a name which, although little known in these regions, is deservedly respected.
From Metcovich the traveller may proceed to Mostar by either bank of the river. I was recommended to take the road on the northern side, which I did, and ten minutes' ride brought us to the frontier, where a custom-house official insisted upon unloading the baggage so recently arranged. In vain I remonstrated, and brandished my despatches with their enormous red seals in his face. His curiosity was not to be so easily overcome. When he had at length satisfied himself, he permitted us to depart with a blessing, which I acknowledge was far from reciprocated. The first place of any importance which we passed is Gabella. It stands on an eminence overhanging a bend of the river, by whose waters three of its sides are washed. In former days it was defended by two forts, whose guns swept the river in either direction, and commanded the approach upon the opposite bank. In A.D. 1694 it was taken by Cornaro, and remained in the hands of the Venetians until A.D. 1716, when they evacuated it, blowing up the greater part of its defences.
Immediately above the town, the Narenta traverses the plain of Gabella, which is one of the largest and most productive in the country.
The plains of Herzegovina are in reality nothing more than valleys or basins, some of which are so hemmed in by hills, that the streams flowing through them can only escape by percolation, or through subterranean channels. This last phenomenon frequently occurs, and no better example can be given of it than the Trebinitza, which loses itself in the ground two or three times. After the last of these disappearances nothing is known for certain of its course, although a large river which springs from the rocks in the Val d'Ombla, and empties itself into the Adriatic near Ragusa, is conjectured to be the same.
Gabella, as well as Popovo, Blato, and other plains, is inundated in the winter, and remains in that state during three or four months.
They are traversed by means of punts, and excellent wild-duck shooting may be had by those who do not fear the exposure inseparable from that sport.
From this point the river entirely changes its aspect, losing the sluggish character which distinguishes it during its passage through the Austrian territory. Indeed, throughout its whole course, from its rise until it opens out into the plain of Gabella, its bed is rocky, and the current rapid and even dangerous, from the number of boulders which rise above the surface, or lie hid a little below the water line. It here receives the waters of the Trebisat or Trebitza, and the Bregava, the former flowing from the NW., the latter from the district of Stolatz in the SE. A few miles higher up is a narrow valley formed by two ranges of hills, whose rocky declivities slope down to, or in some places overhang, the river's bed. From one spot where the hills project, there is a pretty view of the town of Pogitel on the left bank. A large mosque, with a dome and minaret and a clock-tower, are the principal objects which catch the eye; but, being pressed for time, I was unable to cross the river, and cannot therefore from my own observation enter into any accurate details. The position is, however, exactly described by Sir Gardner Wilkinson as follows: 'It stands in a semicircular recess, like an immense shell, in the side of the hill, and at the two projecting extremities the walls run down from the summit to the river, the upper part being enclosed by a semicircular wall, terminated at each end by a tower.'
Half way between Metcovich and Mostar is a little village, which boasts an humble species of Khan.
Here I found the engineer in charge of the telegraph, a Dalmatian by birth. His head-quarters are at Bosna Serai, but he was then making a tour for the purposes of inspection and repair.
The telegraphic communication throughout the Ottoman Empire is now more general than its internal condition would warrant us in supposing. Indeed, in travelling through the country, one cannot fail to be struck by the strange reversal of the general order of things. Thus, for instance, both telegraph and railways have preceded the construction of ordinary roads.
And therein lies one of the principal causes of the hopelessness of Turkish civilisation; that it has been prematurely forced upon her, and that, in order to keep a position among the European nations, she is driven to adopt the highest triumphs of European intelligence without passing through the intermediate stages by which they have been acquired. The rapidly remunerative nature of a telegraphic service is obviously sufficient reason for its being thus early established; but its duties devolve entirely, not upon Turks, but upon the foreign employes of the government. It is, moreover, little used by the Mussulman population, and consequently tends but little to the enlightenment of the masses. On the subject of roads, I shall have occasion to speak hereafter, and must therefore beg the indulgent reader to accompany me along the bridle-path which takes us to the capital of Herzegovina.
Descending from the hills our progress became more rapid; yet, despite this, it was some hours after sunset before we entered the suburbs. As usual in a Turkish town, dogs and gravestones were to be found in abundance, the latter with their turbanned heads looking spectral and grim in the cold moonlight. Saving an occasional group of Mussulmans sitting silent and pompous in the dusty road, the city appeared perfectly deserted; and, as my now jaded ponies scrambled over the ill-paved streets, I began to speculate on the probability of passing the night al fresco. As may be conceived, then, it was with considerable satisfaction that I found myself, chibouque in hand, awaiting the arrival of the Pacha, who, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, had expressed his intention of seeing me immediately. No one can have a greater horror than myself of that mania which possesses some travellers for detailing conversations with Eastern dignitaries, which, for the most part, consist of ordinary civilities, imperfectly translated by an half-educated dragoman.
In the present instance, however, I deem no apology necessary for dwelling upon this first or subsequent conversations; since anything from the lips of such a man at so critical a moment must, to say the least, be of interest, even though it should be without any actual political importance. Having discussed the relative attitudes of the European powers with regard to Turkey, and spoken most unreservedly on the subject of French and Russian intrigues, he expressed great interest in the opinions formed by the public of the different countries on the Herzegovinian and Montenegrin question. The principal topic of conversation, however, was the campaign then about to be opened against the Herzegovinian rebels, and the preparations which he had made for carrying it out.
While fully alive to the difficulties attending his task, resulting from political complications, and the physical features of the country, he ever spoke with confidence of the ultimate success of the Turkish armies and the general pacification of the country. If any man be competent to bring about this desirable consummation it is himself; for he possesses, to an eminent degree, that caution which is indispensable to the successful conduct of an offensive war in a mountainous country, and which is so much at variance with the haphazard arrangements usually found among Turkish generals.
In using the words offensive war, I mean to imply operations carried on from a regular base, and in accordance with the generally accepted rules of warfare, in contra-distinction to the guerilla fighting as practised by the insurgent mountaineers. In its more literal sense, Omer Pacha's mission can hardly be deemed offensive; his object is, not to overrun territory, nor even to seek a combat with the enemy, but rather to place the country in such a state of defence as will render it secure from the incursions of those brigands who, having thrown off the Turkish rule, have sought a refuge in the fastnesses of Montenegro, whence, in conjunction with the lawless bands of that province, they make forays across the frontier, carrying fire and sword in their wake, respecting neither age nor sex,—rebels to their sovereign, and a disgrace to Christianity.
Herzegovina—Boundaries—Extent—Physical Features—Mountains—Mineral Products—Story of Hadji Ali Pacha—Forests—Austrian Timber Company—Saw-Mill—Rivers—Towns—Villages—Population—Greek Catholics—Church Dignitaries—Roman Catholics—Monks—Franciscan College—Moral Depravity—Fine Field for Missionary Labour.
Herzegovina[C] or Bosnia Inferior, formerly the duchy of Santo Saba, is bounded on the N. by Bosnia, on the E. by Servia, on the W. by Dalmatia, and on the S. by Montenegro and the Adriatic.
Its greatest length, from Duvno in the NW., to Priepolie in the S., is about a hundred and twenty miles, and its greatest breadth from Konitza, on the Bosnian frontier, to the port of Klek, is about seventy-two miles.[D] It contains an approximate area of 8,400 square miles, with a population, of about thirty-five souls to the square mile.[D] A glance at any map, imperfect in detail as those yet published have been, will convey a tolerable idea of the nature of the country.
The ranges of mountains which intersect the greater part of the province are a portion of the Dinaric Alps. Along the Dalmatian and Montenegrin frontiers these are barren and intensely wild, and in many places, from the deep fissures and honeycomb formation of the rocks, impassable to aught save the chamois, the goat, or the indigenous mountaineer.
Proceeding inland, the country assumes a more habitable aspect: plains and pasture-lands capable of high cultivation are found at intervals, while even the mountains assume a more fertile appearance, and have a better depth of soil, which is well adapted for the cultivation of the olive and the vine. Dense forests, too, of average growth cover the mountain sides as we approach the Bosnian frontier, which, although inferior to those of Bosnia itself, would prove most remunerative to the government were they properly worked. But, unfortunately, the principle of isolation which the Porte has adopted with regard to these remote provinces, together with the want of enterprise among its inhabitants, the result of four hundred years of indolence on the one hand and oppression on the other, renders it problematical whether their ample resources will ever be developed. Should Turkey, however, arise from her lethargy, should genuine civilisation spread its branches over the land, we may then confidently anticipate a glorious future for her south-Slavonic provinces, doubting not that they will some day become 'the noblest jewel in their monarch's diadem.'
To convey an accurate idea of a province so little known as the Herzegovina, it will be best to enumerate the various physical features by which it is distinguished. Thus the highest and most important mountains are Dormitor in the district of Drobniak, on the Montenegrin frontier, and Velesh, which forms a rugged background to the plain of Mostar, the highest point being 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. Besides these, there are many others of nearly equal altitude, viz. Flam, Hergud, Prievolie, Vrau, Hako, Fartar, Belen, Stermoshnik, Bielevoda, Chabolie, Vrabcha, and Zavola. The perfect sea of rock which the southern part of the province presents to the eye is of grey limestone, varied however by a slatey stratum. Of the mineral products of the mountains little accurate knowledge prevails; gold, silver, and lead are said to exist, but I could not hear of their having ever been found to any extent. A firman was granted some years ago to one Hadji Ali Pacha, ceding to him for fifteen years the privilege of exploring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and working any mines which he might there discover. His application for this firman does not, however, in any way prove the existence of these minerals throughout the country generally, since it has proved to have been a mere cloak for diverting suspicion from many previous dishonest actions of which he had been guilty. His story is worthy of narration, as being no bad instance of the career of a Turkish parvenu, whose only qualifications were a little education and a large amount of effrontery.
Hadji Ali Pacha commenced his career as a clerk in the pay of the great Mehemet Ali Pacha, Viceroy of Egypt, but, having deserted to the Turks, he was employed by them in the capacity of Uzbashee or Captain. Fearful of falling into the hands of the Egyptians, he fled from his post, and, having made his way to Constantinople, contrived, by scheming and bribery, not only to efface the memory of the past, but to secure the appointment of Kaimakan or Lieut.-Colonel, with which grade he was sent to Travnik in command of a regiment. Tahir Pacha, the Governor of Bosnia, had about this time been informed of the existence of some gold mines near Travnik, and ordered Hadji Ali to obtain samples for transmission to the Porte. This he did, taking care to retain all the valuable specimens, and forwarding those of inferior quality, which, on their arrival at Constantinople, were declared worthless. No sooner was this decision arrived at, than Hadji Ali imported the necessary machinery and an Austrian mechanic, to separate the gold from the ores, and in this way amassed immense wealth. Rumours having got abroad of what was going on, and the suspicions of Tahir being aroused, the unfortunate Austrian was put secretly out of the way, and, as a blind, the unprincipled ruffian procured the firman to which allusion has been made. It need hardly be said that he never availed himself of the privileges which it conferred upon him. Some time after these transactions, he applied for leave to visit Austria, on the plea of ill-health, but doubtless with the view of changing the gold. This was refused, and he was obliged to employ a Jew, who carried it to Vienna, and disposed of it there. In 1850, when Omer Pacha came to restore order in Bosnia, which had then revolted, Hadji Ali was sent with two battalions to the relief of another detachment; upon this occasion he communicated with the enemy, who cut off his rear-guard, and otherwise roughly handled the Turkish troops. Upon this, Omer Pacha put him in chains, and would have shot him, as he richly deserved, had he not known that his enemies at Constantinople would not fail to distort the true features of the case. He therefore sent him to Constantinople, where he was shortly afterwards released, and employed his gold to such good purpose, that he was actually sent down as Civil Governor to Travnik, which he had so recently left a prisoner convicted of robbery and treason. He was, however, soon dismissed for misconduct, and entered once more into private speculations. In 1857 he purchased the tithes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and employed such ruffians to collect them as to make perfect martyrs of the people, some of whom were even killed by his agents. Exasperated beyond endurance, the people of Possavina rose en masse, and although the movement was put down without difficulty, it doubtless paved the way for the discord and rebellion which has been attended with such calamitous results. This is precisely one of those cases which has brought such odium on the Turkish government, and which may so easily be avoided for the future, always providing that the Porte be sincere in its oft-repeated protestations of a desire for genuine reform. Ali Pacha was at Mostar in the beginning of 1858, when the movement began, but was afraid to venture into the revolted districts to collect his tithes. The Governor, therefore, made him Commandant of the Herzegovinian irregulars, in which post he vindicated the character which he had obtained for cruelty and despotism. Subsequently he was appointed Kaimakan of Trebigne, but the European Consuls interfered, and he has now decamped, owing a large sum to government, the remnant of his contract for the tithes.
The sides of some of the mountains are covered, as I have before said, with dense forests of great value. There the oak, ash, elm, beech, walnut, red and white pine, and the red and yellow maple, grow in rich profusion, awaiting only the hand of man to shape them into 'the tall mast' and the 'stately ship.' But man, in these benighted lands, is blind to the sources of wealth with which his country teems, and to nature it is left in the lapse of years to 'consume the offspring she has herself produced.' The difficulty of transporting the timber to a market has been always alleged by the natives as their reason for neglecting to turn the forests to account; but this is a paltry excuse, for with abundance of rivers to float it to the coast, and a neighbour so anxious to monopolise the trade of the country as Austria has shown herself, little doubt can be entertained of the possibility of its advantageous disposal. As far back as 1849 an Austrian Company, foreseeing the benefits which would accrue from the employment of capital in these parts, obtained a concession of the pine forests for twenty years. Saw-mills were built near Mostar, and roads and shoots were constructed. About 5,000 logs had been cut and exported, when the works were stopped by Omer Pacha on his arrival to suppress rebellion in the country in 1850. This arbitrary measure on his part has been much reprehended, and does without doubt require explanation.
It should, however, be remembered that the contract, which was likely to prove most remunerative to the Company, and of but little advantage to the Turkish government, had been granted by Ali Pacha of Stolatz, the last Civil Governor, to whom a tithe of the products was being paid. He had in the meanwhile thrown off his allegiance, and consequently the only blame which can attach to Omer Pacha is a want of judgement, caused by over-zeal for the interests of his government. The case was afterwards litigated, and the Porte was mulcted 200,000 florins as an indemnity for their breach of the contract. This was liquidated from Ali Pacha's property, and the firman has been renewed for fourteen years since 1859. The Austrian government has, however, forbidden the Company to avail themselves of it, as its members are engaged in legal proceedings. The only saw-mill which I met with in the country was one at Boona, worked by an Hungarian, who is apparently doing a lucrative business.
The rivers in the country are of no great size or importance, but might in most cases be turned to account for the transport of timber or for irrigation. The waters of some of the large rivers, it is true, are injurious to vegetation from their hardness, but this does not apply to all. After the Narenta, the following are the most important:—the Trebenitza, Pria, Taro and Moratcha, Yanitza, Boona, Boonitza, Bregava, Kruppa, Trebisat or Trebitza, Drechnitza, Grabovitza, Biela, Kaladjin-Polok, and the Drina. It might be expected from its vicinity to Bulgaria, where such fine lakes are found, that the same would be the case in Herzegovina; but it is not so: Blato, which is marked as a lake in all maps, is only such in winter, as with early spring the waters disappear.
The only towns in the province worthy of mention, besides Mostar, are Fochia and Taschlijeh. They each contain about 10,000 inhabitants. The other towns are nothing more than large villages, with a bazaar. They are the seats of the district governments, such as Stolatz, Trebigne, Konitza, Niksich, Duvno, Chainitza, and others. The houses in these are not conspicuous for cleanliness, while those in the smaller villages are still less desirable as residences. They generally consist of some scores of huts, built of rough stones, without windows or chimneys, and roofed with boards, which are again covered with straw. They seldom contain more than one room, which the family occupies, in conjunction with the poultry and domestic animals. The furniture of these luxurious abodes consists of a hand-loom, two or three iron pots, a few earthen vessels, and some wooden spoons. The bedding is a coarse woollen blanket, which serves as a cloak in rainy or wet weather, and as a mattress and coverlet for the whole family, without distinction of sex.
The population of the Herzegovina amounts to about 182,000, divided as follows:—
Catholics 52,000 Greek Church 70,000 Mussulmans 60,000
Originally these were all of the same stock; and their present divisions, while constituting an element of safety for Turkey, are most prejudicial to the well-being of the country. The Greek faith predominates in the southern and eastern parts of the province. Its adherents are distinguished for their activity and cunning,—qualities which have rendered them far wealthier than their brethren of the Catholic communion. The possession of comparative wealth, and the consciousness of the moral support granted them by Russia, has made them presumptuous and over-bearing, hating alike all sects and creeds which differ from their own. Their ignorance is only equalled by the fanaticism which often results therefrom; and so bitter is their detestation of the Roman Catholics, that more than one instance has been known of its leading to foul acts of murder. Unoffending peasants have been taken in the revolted districts, and ordered to kneel and make the sign of the cross, to prove the truth of their assertions that they were not Mussulmans. The wretched creatures confidently did so in accordance with the Roman Catholic form, and their lives were unceremoniously forfeited to the bigotry and ferocity of their unrelenting judges. Nor are either tolerance or humanity in any way advocated by the priests, who are generally as illiterate and narrow-minded as their flocks, and whose influence, which is very great, is generally employed for evil. The priesthood are divided into Archimandrite, Igumens (chiefs of monasteries), Monks, and Priests, all of whom are natives of the province, where their whole lives have been passed. Of late years, however, many have been sent to receive their education in Russia. Some of these have now returned, but have not given signs of any desire to ameliorate the spiritual condition of the people. The Church has always been governed by a Vladika or Metropolitan, named from Constantinople. Like most other appointments from that capital, this was generally paid for, and its possessor consequently did not hesitate to employ every means in his power to reimburse himself. This, and the fact that he was never a native of the country, rendered him most unpopular; so that while the priests (little as they may deserve it) are regarded with reverence by the people, the Vladika was respected by neither the one nor the other. At present the office is vacant, none having been appointed since the demise of the last who occupied the episcopal chair. That event occurred in the commencement of 1861, and his attempts at extortion were so frequent and undisguised, that his death must have been felt as a great relief by the people. Petitions were sent at that time to Constantinople, praying for the appointment of a Slavish Metropolitan; but, independently of the difficulty of finding anyone of sufficient education among the Bosnian clergy, political considerations have induced the Porte to prevent the Patriarch complying with the demand; for, however bad in other respects they may have been, the Metropolitans have always remembered that their allegiance was due to the Patriarch of Constantinople, and not to the schismatic branch of the Greek Church, over which the Czar exercises both temporal and spiritual sway. Were a Slavish Metropolitan appointed, Russian influence would be dangerously augmented, and the task of transferring the allegiance of the people from their proper ecclesiastical head to the Russian Emperor, as has been attempted in Bulgaria, would here become easy of accomplishment.
In the N. and W. the Romish faith finds the greatest number of supporters, who look to Austria as their guiding star in all matters connected with religion. In their ranks are comprised the agriculturalists and artisans of the province, few being engaged in commerce. As regards education or enlightenment they are no farther advanced than their Greek compatriots: few can read or write their own language, and the knowledge of any other tongue is most exceptional. Learning, in its broader sense, is indeed confined exclusively to the convents, and, until very recently, no attempt of any kind was made by the priests to promote a desire for education or advancement among the people, their whole thoughts being bent on self-aggrandisement, and the acquisition of personal wealth. Careful enquiry has established the fact that no less than 60,000l. is annually paid in fees, penances, and gifts to the Church by the Roman Catholic section of the population; and we may fairly infer that the Greek priests extort an equally large sum. Of late schools have been established in different parts of the province, but the subjects of education are too confined to work any salutary change in the rising generation. Nor is it probably intended that such should be the case.
The Roman Catholics cordially return the hatred of the Greeks, marriages with whom are forbidden by the Catholic clergy. They are also inimical to the Mussulman population, by whom they are regarded as serfs. But this hostility is nurtured in secret, rarely displaying itself in overt acts of aggression. Four hundred years of oppression have completely broken their spirit, and they only ask to be allowed to enjoy in peace a fair portion of the fruits of their labour.
The Church is governed by two bishops. One, resident at Mostar, bears the title of Bishop of Azotto, and Vicar-Apostolic of the Herzegovina. The other, called the Bishop of Trebigne, lives at Ragusa, which is also included in his see. He has, however, a Vicar resident in the district of Stolatz. As in Bosnia, the monks are all of the Franciscan order. Considerable attention is paid to their education, and they are in every way immeasurably superior to the parochial clergy. In connection with that brotherhood a college has been for some years established, about twelve miles distant from Mostar. The subjects of education there are Latin, Italian, Slavish, Church History, and Theology. From this college the students proceed to Rome, where they are admitted into the Franciscan order.
In the above remarks, I have endeavoured to show that the Christianity which exists in these provinces is merely nominal, since it is devoid of all those gentle and humanising principles which should distinguish it from Islamism, whose tenets have been ever propagated by conquest and the sword. The vices which more especially accompany and mar the beauty of true Christian civilisation here hold unrestrained dominion, and both Greeks and Catholics present a painful combination of western cunning and intrigue and oriental apathy, while they are devoid of that spirit of devotion and dignified resignation to the will of Providence which preeminently characterise the religion of Mahomet. Living on the confines of the two hemispheres, they have inherited the sins of each, without the virtues of either the one or the other. Nearly all adults are addicted to drunkenness, while the use of foul and indelicate language is almost universal,—men, women, and children employing it in common conversation. So long as such a state of things shall prevail, it is clearly impossible that any material improvement can be brought about; and until the people show some inclination to improve their own condition, the sympathy or consideration of others is uncalled-for and misplaced. The perpetual Russian whine about eight millions of Christians being held in galling subjection by four millions of Turks is a miserable deception, which, although it may serve as a pretext for their own repeated acts of interference, cannot mislead those who have seen anything of these countries, or who have been brought into contact with their Christian inhabitants. The most effective course, probably, which either the bitterest enemy or the warmest friend of the Ottoman government could pursue, would be to disseminate the seeds of true Christianity throughout the length and breadth of the land. And I say this advisedly; for on the future conduct of the Porte would depend whether such a course might lead to the establishment of Turkish supremacy, or to its irretrievable overthrow. That an enlightened nation, 'at unity in itself,' could cast off the yoke of an oppressive and tottering despotism can easily be imagined, while, on the other hand, a throne based upon principles of justice and progression would acquire fresh stability with each step made by its subjects in the path of civilisation. It is, indeed, strange that so fine a field for British missionary labour has been so long uncared-for and untried. Nowhere is there more ample scope for exertion of this nature than in the European provinces of Turkey; for while the Christian population could not but contrast the simple purity of the missionary life with the vicious habits and grasping avarice of their own clergy, the Mussulmans would see Christianity in a very different light from that in which they have been accustomed to regard it. Nor would any obstacles be thrown in the way by the Turkish government; nay, instances have even occurred of Protestant missionaries receiving encouragement and support: for, whatever may be said to the contrary, no nation is more tolerant of the exercise of other religions than these same much-abused Moslems. Whatever is to be done, however, should be done at once, for never was it more urgently needed. The American struggle seems to have paralysed the missionary labours of that nation, which had heretofore displayed much energy in proclaiming the glad tidings of great joy in these benighted lands. For England, then, it would appear, is reserved the noble task of rescuing these unfortunates from a state of moral darkness, as profound as that which envelopes the savage tribes of central Africa, or the remotest islands of the Pacific. That we have remained so long indifferent to the urgent appeals of the talented and earnest, though somewhat prejudiced, advocate of Slavonic institutions, Count Valerian Krasinski, is a matter of surprise and deep regret; for surely no country can be more replete with interest to Protestant England than that which may be regarded as the cradle of Protestantism, and whose fastnesses afforded a refuge during four centuries of persecution to the 'early reformers of the Church, the men who supplied that link in the chain which connected the simplicity of primitive doctrines with the present time.'
The affinity which exists between the Church of England in the early days of the Reformation and the Pragmatic section which glory in Huss and Jerome, is too close to be easily overlooked. Nor need Bosnia (taken collectively) succumb in interest to any Slavonic province, whether it be regarded as the stronghold of freedom of religious opinion, or as the scene of one of the greatest and most important triumphs of Islamism.
[Footnote C: Or the territory governed by a Herzog or Duke.]
[Footnote D: This includes Austrian subjects, who are not included in the statistics.]
Introduction of Christianity—Origin of Slavonic Element—First Appearance of the Patarenes in Bosnia—Their Origin—Tenets—Elect a Primate—Disappearance—Dookhoboitzi, or Combatants in Spirit—Turkish Conquest—Bosnian Apostasy—Religious Fanaticism—Euchlemeh—Commission under Kiamil Pacha—Servian Emissaries—National Customs—Adopted Brotherhood—Mahommedan Women—Elopements—Early Marriages.
Authorities differ as to the time when Christianity was first introduced into Bosnia. Some say that it was preached by the apostle St. James, while others affirm that it was unknown until the year 853 A.D., when St. Cyril and Methodius translated the Scriptures into the Slavonic tongue; others again say that it dates back as far as the seventh century, when the Emperor Heraclius called the Slavonic nations of the Chorvats or Croats, and the Serbs or Servians, from their settlement on the N. of the Carpathian Mountains, to the fertile regions S. of the Danube. The warlike summons was gladly obeyed by those valiant men, who had unflinchingly maintained their independence, whilst their Slavish brethren, inhabiting the country between the Volga and the Don, had submitted to the iron yoke of the all-conquering Avars. These last were in their time expelled by the Croats and Serbs, and thus was Slavism established from the Danube to the Mediterranean. But these important results were not achieved without great sacrifice; and, wearied of war and bloodshed, the successful Slavonians devoted themselves to agriculture and industry, neglecting those pursuits which had procured for them a permanent footing in the Greek empire. Taking advantage of this defenceless state, resulting from their pacific disposition, Constans II. made war upon the country of Slavonia, in order to open a communication between the capital on the one side, and Philippi and Thessalonica on the other. Justinian II. (685-95 and 708-10) also made a successful expedition against the Slavonians, and transplanted a great number of prisoners, whom he took into Asia Minor. The Greek empire having become reinvigorated for some time under the Slavonian dynasty, Constantine Copronymus (741-75) advanced in his conquest of Slavonia as far as Berea, to the S. of Thessalonica, which is evident from an inspection of the frontiers of the empire, made by order of the Empress Irene in 783. The Emperor Michael III. (842-67) sent an army against the Slavonians of the Peloponnesus, which conquered them all with the exception of the Melugi and Eseritoe, who inhabited Lacedaemonia and Elis, and they were all finally subjugated by the Emperor Basilicus I., or the Macedonian (867-86), after which the Christian religion and Greek civilisation completely Hellenised them, as their brethren on the Baltic were Germanised.[E] That the Latin faith subsequently obtained a permanent footing in these provinces, is due to the influence of the Kings of Hungary, who took the Bosnian Bans under their special protection; and thus it happened that the Bosnian nobles almost universally adopted the religion of their benefactors,—not so much from conviction, it is surmised, as from an appreciation of the many feudal privileges which it conferred, since they afterwards renounced Christianity entirely, rather than relinquish the rights which they had begun to regard as hereditary. The remote position of these countries, however, and the antagonism of the Eastern and Western Churches, combined to retard the development of the Papal doctrines, while a still more important counterpoise presented itself, in the appearance of the sect of Patarenes, towards the close of the twelfth century. The sect was founded by an Armenian doctor, named Basil, who was burnt for his opinions by the Emperor Alexius Comnenus, and whose followers, being banished, retired into Bulgaria, where they made many converts, and took the name of Bogomili—'chosen of God,' or 'implorers of God's mercy.' They thence spread their tenets into France by means of pilgrims and traders, who were on their return to that country, and by degrees laid the seeds of doctrines subsequently taken up by Peter Bruysius, and afterwards by Henry and by Peter Valdo, the founder of the Waldenses, and by others in other places. Availing themselves of the various Caliphs' tolerance of all Christian sects, they carried their opinions with their commerce into Africa, Spain, and finally into Languedoc, a neighbouring province, to Moorish Iberia, where Raymond, Count of Toulouse, gave them shelter and protection.[F]
The same opinions were held by the Paulicians of Spain, who, having received much encouragement from the Kings of Arragon and Castile, also disseminated their doctrines throughout France, in the southern provinces of which they met with great success. There they received the name of Albigenses, from the town of Albiga or Alby. They afterwards spread into Italy, where they received the name of 'Patarenes,' as some suppose from the 'sufferings' which they endured, though other fanciful reasons are assigned for the bestowal of the name. The tenets of these early reformers 'have been transmitted through various sects under the different denominations of Vallenses, Paulicians, Patarenes, Cathari (Puritans), Bogomili, Albigenses, Waldenses, Lollards, Bohemian Brethren or Hussites, Lutherans, Calvinists, and other Protestants to the present day.' No very lucid account of their articles of faith has been handed down to our times, and some suppose that they entertained the Manichaean doctrines of the existence of the two principles, and of the creation of the spiritual world by the good, and of matter by the evil One. Krasinski appears to favour this supposition; but it is far more probable that, with the name indiscriminately bestowed as a term of opprobrium upon all who differed from the canons of the Romish Church, they have received the credit of supporting the doctrines of the Manichaeans. This much, however, is certain,—that they denied the sovereignty of the Pope, the power of the priests, the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and the existence of purgatory;[G] while they rejected all images, relics, and the worship of the saints. Whether the advent of the sect into Bosnia was from the Bulgarian or Italian side is unknown; but, be this as it may, it is beyond a doubt that they were most favourably received (in 1197) by Kulin, who was at that time Ban of the province. His wisdom was so great, and his reign so prosperous, that long after his death it was a proverbial saying in Bosnia, upon the occurrence of a fruitful year, 'the times of Kulin are come back.' Both he himself, his wife, and Daniel, Bishop of Bosnia, embraced the new doctrines, which consequently gained ground rapidly in the country.
In obedience to a summons from Pope Innocent III., Kulin repaired to Rome to give an account of his conduct and faith. Having succeeded in diverting suspicions about his orthodoxy, he returned to Bosnia, where he gave out that the Pope was well satisfied with his profession of faith,—a slight equivocation, which will hardly bear an enquiry,—and thus induced many more to join the Patarenes. Hearing of this, the Pope requested the King of Hungary to compel Kulin to eject them from the country, at the same time ordering Bernard, Archbishop of Spalatro, publicly to excommunicate Daniel, the refractory Bishop.
'Never was heard such a terrible curse. But what gave rise To no little surprise Was, that nobody seemed one penny the worse;'
though possibly the believer in the validity of Papal bulls, bans, and so forth, may plead in excuse that the curse was never actually pronounced. The King also contented himself with a friendly caution to the Ban, who thenceforward demeaned himself with more circumspection. On the death of Kulin, Andrew, King of Hungary, gave the Banate of Bosnia to Zibislau, under whom the doctrines of the Patarenes continued to flourish. The fears of Pope Honorius II. being aroused, he sent Acconcio, his Legate, into Bosnia to suppress them. So far from effecting this, he saw their numbers daily and hourly increase, until in 1222 they elected a Primate of their own, who resided on the confines of Bulgaria, Croatia, and Dalmatia, and governed by his Vicars the filial congregation of Italy and France.[H] They destroyed the cathedral of Crescevo, and Bosnia became entirely subject to their influence. From that time, until the latter part of the fourteenth century, they contrived to keep a footing in the country, although subjected to much persecution by successive Popes and the Kings of Hungary, and oftentimes reduced to the greatest straits. Occasional glimpses of sunshine buoyed up their hopes, and the following anecdote, quoted by Sir Gardner Wilkinson, is illustrative of the sanguine view which they were accustomed to take of the ways of Providence. 'Many of the Patarenes had taken refuge, during the various persecutions, in the mountains of Bosnia; and on the eve of St. Catherine (November 24) in 1367, a fire was seen raging over the whole of the country they occupied, destroying everything there, and leaving the mountains entirely denuded of wood. The Roman Catholics considered this event to be a manifest judgement of heaven against the wicked heretics; but the Patarenes looked on it as a proof of divine favour, the land being thereby cleared for them and adapted for cultivation.' In 1392 the sect flourished under Tuartko (then King of Bosnia), and, further, made great progress during the first half of the following century. Their cause was openly espoused by Cosaccia, Duke of Santo Saba, or Herzegovina, and by John Paulovich Voivode of Montenegro. So far all went well; but Stephen, King of Bosnia, having in 1459 ordered all Patarenes to leave his kingdom or abjure their doctrines, their cause received a severe shock, and 40,000 were obliged to take refuge in the Herzegovina, where they were welcomed by Stephen Cosaccia. From that time no farther direct trace remains of this important and widely-spreading sect; though Krasinski speaks of the existence of a sect in Russia called 'Dookhoboitzi,' or combatants in spirit, whose doctrines have great affinity to those professed by the Patarenes, and whom he believes to have been transplanted from Bosnia to Russia, their present country.
But this triumph of Papal oppression was not destined to be of long duration. Already was the tide of Mussulman conquest threatening to overrun Germany; and Bosnia, after suffering severely from the wars between Hungary and the Turks, was conquered, and annexed by the latter in 1465. The religious constancy of the Bosnian nobles was now sorely tried, for they found themselves compelled to choose between their religion and poverty, or recantation and wealth. Their decision was soon made, and the greater portion renounced Christianity and embraced Islamism, rather than relinquish those feudal privileges, for the attainment of which they had originally deserted their national creed. Their example was ere long followed by many of the inhabitants of the towns, and thus an impassable gulf was placed between them and the great body of the people, who remained faithful to Christianity, and regarded the renegades with mistrust and abhorrence. These for the moment were benefited greatly by their apostasy, receiving permission to retain not only their own estates, but also to hold in fief those belonging to such as had refused to deny Christ. With the bitterness characteristic of renegades, they now became the most inveterate enemies of those whose faith they had abjured, oppressing them by every means within their power. The savage tyranny which they exercised would doubtless have driven very many to emigration, had a place of refuge presented itself; but in the existing condition of the surrounding countries such a course would have in no way profited them, but would rather have aggravated their misery. A few, indeed, succeeded in escaping into Hungary, but the mass submitted to their fate, and were reduced to poverty and insignificance.
The rancorous ill-treatment which they experienced at the hands of their fanatical oppressors, was without doubt increased by the fact that these found themselves a small and isolated band, all-powerful upon the immediate spot they occupied, but surrounded by states which were implacable enemies to their religion; while the remote position of these provinces, and the difficulty of communication, have combined to render the people, even now, less tolerant than the more legitimate devotees of Mahometanism. That idea of superiority over other peoples and religions, which the Mussulman faith inculcates, was eagerly embraced by them at the time of their first perversion, and conspired to make them zealots in their newly-adopted creed. The feeling was inherited, and even augmented, with each succeeding generation, until it has become the prominent feature of the race. To such an extent has this been indulged, that the Bosniac Mussulmans of the present day not only despise all other religions, but look upon the Mahommedans of other parts of the empire as very little superior to the Christians. The apathy and indifference to progress which has inevitably ensued upon the adoption of Islamism, has made its effects strikingly apparent in these provinces; and although entirely deprived of all those Seignorial rights which their ancestors possessed, the Mussulman population appear perfectly satisfied with the lazy independence procured for them by the produce and rents of the land, of which they are the sole proprietors. The Christians, on the other hand, are invariably the tenants, as it is beneath the dignity of a Mussulman to turn his hand to any kind of manual labour, i.e. so long as he can find a Christian to do it.
The Euchlemeh, or arrangement for the tenure of land, has long existed in this part of the empire, and has worked well whenever it has not been abused. The original terms of the contract provided that the proprietor should give the land and the seed for sowing it, receiving in return one-third of the produce in kind. The commission of which Kiamil Pacha was President in 1853, endeavoured, whilst regulating the taxation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to ameliorate the condition of the tenant as regards the rental of land. They decreed that he should be supplied with animals, implements, seeds, and also a house in which to live, while yielding to the proprietor in return from 25 to 50 per cent. of the products, according to the more or less prolific nature of land in the different parts of the provinces. These terms were cheerfully accepted by the agriculturalists, by whom they were considered just. The internal state of the Ottoman empire, unfortunately, renders it impossible that these conditions should in all cases be adhered to, and without doubt the tenants are often compelled to pay from 10 to 20 per cent. more than the legal rent. These instances, however, are less frequent than they were a few years ago, and very much less frequent than the depreciators of Turkey would have us to believe. The most scrupulous observance of the terms of the Euchlemeh will be enforced by the Ottoman government if it be alive to its own interests, and the more so that the infraction of it has been, and will always be, turned to account by those who would fain see rebellion and discord prevailing in the Turkish provinces, rather than unity and peace.
In 1860 no fewer than nine Servian emissaries were caught in the Herzegovina, who were endeavouring to fan the discontent and ill-feeling already existing amongst the agricultural classes. That province has indeed been for a long time employed by the advocates of Panslavism, or by the enemies of Turkey in general, as a focus of agitation, where plans are hatched and schemes devised, the object of which is to disorganise and impede the consolidation of the empire. The conduct of Servia, as well as of greater and more important nations, has been most reprehensible, and with it the forbearance of Turkey, notwithstanding the corruptness of her government and the fanaticism of the Mussulman population, has contrasted most favourably. Little wonder, then, that ill-blood should have existed between these rival factions, and that the party possessing power should have been prompted to use it for the oppression of those whom they have had too much reason to regard as their implacable foes. Yet, in spite of these opposing elements, many points of striking resemblance still remain inspired by, and indicative of, their former consanguinity of origin and identity of creed. The most important of these, perhaps, is their retention of the Slavonic tongue, which is employed to the exclusion of Turkish, almost as universally by the Mussulmans as by the Christians. Some of their customs, too, prove that a little spark of nationality yet exists, which their adoption of Islamism has failed to eradicate. Thus, for example, the principle of adopted brotherhood is eminently Slavonic in its origin. The tie is contracted in the following manner:—Two persons prick their fingers, the blood from each wound being sucked by the other. This engagement is considered very binding, and, curiously enough, it is sometimes entered into by Christians and Mussulmans mutually. Again, a man cuts the hair of a child, and thus constitutes himself the 'Coom,' or, to a certain degree, assumes the position of a godfather. It not unfrequently happens that a Mussulman adopts a Christian child, and vice versa.
In their domestic arrangements they vie in discomfort and want of cleanliness, notwithstanding the post-prandial ablutions common to all Easterns.
The Mussulman females, up to the time of their marriage, show themselves unreservedly, and generally appear in public unveiled; while in one respect, at any rate, they have the advantage of many more civilised Christians than those of Turkey,—that they are permitted, in the matter of a husband, to choose for themselves, and are wooed in all due form. Parents there, as elsewhere, are apt to consider themselves the best judges of the position and income requisite to insure the happiness of their daughters, and where such decision is at variance with the young lady's views, elopement is resorted to. Of the amount of resistance encountered by the bridegrooms on these occasions, I regret that I am not in a position to hazard an opinion. Polygamy is almost unknown, a second wife being seldom taken during the lifetime of the first. Since it is to the expense attendant upon this luxury that such abstinence is probably to be attributed, it really reflects great credit upon the Bosnian Benedicts that the meal-sack has been so seldom brought into play,—that ancient and most expeditious Court of Probate and Divorce in matrimonial cases. After marriage, the women conceal themselves more strictly than in most other parts of Turkey. Perhaps in this the husbands act upon the homoeopathic principle, that prevention is better than cure; for divorces are unheard of, and are considered most disgraceful. Marriages are contracted at a much earlier age by the Christian than by the Mahommedan women, and it is no uncommon thing to find wives of from twelve to fourteen years of age. This abominable custom is encouraged by the Roman Catholic clergy, whose revenues are thereby increased.
[Footnote E: Krasinski.]
[Footnote F: See Sir G. Wilkinson's 'Dalmatia,' Napier's 'Florentine History,' and Sismondi's 'Literature du Midi de l'Europe.']
[Footnote G: Sismondi.]
[Footnote H: Gibbon.]
Agricultural Products—Cereals—Misapplication of Soil—Tobacco—Current Prices—Vine Disease—Natural Capabilities of Land—Price of Labour—Dalmatian Scutors—Other Products—Manufactures—Commerce—Relations with Bosnia—Able Administration of Omer Pacha—Austria takes Alarm—Trade Statistics—Imports—Exports—Frontier Duties—Mal-administration—Intended Reforms.
The agricultural products of the Herzegovina are wheat, barley, rice, linseed, millet, tobacco, and grapes. Of the cereals, Indian corn is most cultivated, and forms the staple article of consumption, as is also the case in Servia and the Danubian principalities. The little wheat that is grown is found in the northern and eastern parts of the province, where the soil is better adapted for it; but nowhere is it either abundant or of good quality. The best which is sold in the towns is imported from Bosnia. Barley is more extensively grown, and horses are fed upon it here and throughout Turkey generally. Linseed is only grown in small quantities in the northern parts, while the district of Gliubinski is almost entirely devoted to the culture of rice. As the quantities produced barely suffice for home consumption, no exportation of cereals can be expected to take place. This circumstance, together with its rugged appearance, naturally procures for the province the character of being sterile and unproductive, and such it doubtless is when compared with Bulgaria, Roumelia, or the fruitful plains of Wallachia; but it has certain resources peculiar to itself, which, if properly developed, would materially change the aspect of the country, and obtain for it a more desirable reputation. It is eminently adapted for the cultivation of those articles of Eastern necessity and Western luxury, tobacco and the vine. Numerous patches of land, now either fallow or sown with grain, for which they are neither suited by their size or the nature of their soil, might be turned to good account for the growth of tobacco; and such would doubtless be the case were there an outlet for its exportation, which at present, unfortunately, does not exist. Only a sufficiency, therefore, is grown to meet the local demands, and to supply the contiguous Turkish provinces. Three qualities are produced, the prices of which have been for some time fluctuating. Previous to the Christian outbreak the best of these, grown in the district of Trebigne, sold for about 11d. per pound, while the cheapest was to be procured at 3d. per pound.