RUMANIA: HER HISTORY AND POLITICS
1 _Introduction_ The problem of the origin and formation of the Rumanian nation has always provided matter for keen disputation among historians, and the theories which have been advanced are widely divergent. Some of these discussions have been undertaken solely for political reasons, and in such cases existing data prove conveniently adaptable. This elastic treatment of the historical data is facilitated by the fact that a long and important period affecting the formation and the development of the Rumanian nation (270-1220) has bequeathed practically no contemporary evidence. By linking up, however, what is known antecedent to that period with the precise data available regarding the following it, and by checking the inferred results with what little evidence exists respecting the obscure epoch of Rumanian history, it has been possible to reconstruct, almost to a certainty, the evolution of the Rumanians during the Middle Ages. A discussion of the varying theories would be out of proportion, and out of place, in this essay. Nor is it possible to give to any extent a detailed description of the epic struggle which the Rumanians carried on for centuries against the Turks. I shall have to deal, therefore, on broad lines, with the historical facts–laying greater stress only upon the three fundamental epochs of Rumanian history: the formation of the Rumanian nation; its initial casting into a national polity (foundation of the Rumanian principalities); and its final evolution into the actual unitary State; and shall then pass on to consider the more recent internal and external development of Rumania, and her present attitude. 2 _Formation of the Rumanian Nation_ About the fifth century B.C., when the population of the Balkan-Carpathian region consisted of various tribes belonging to the Indo-European family, the northern portion of the Balkan peninsula was conquered by the Thracians and the Illyrians. The Thracians spread north and south, and a branch of their race, the Dacians, crossed the Danube. The latter established themselves on both sides of the Carpathian ranges, in the region which now comprises the provinces of Oltenia (Rumania), and Banat and Transylvania (Hungary). The Dacian Empire expanded till its boundaries touched upon those of the Roman Empire. The Roman province of Moesia (between the Danube and the Balkans) fell before its armies, and the campaign that ensued was so successful that the Dacians were able to compel Rome to an alliance. Two expeditions undertaken against Dacia by the Emperor Trajan (98-117) released Rome from these ignominious obligations, and brought Dacia under Roman rule (A.D. 106). Before his second expedition Trajan erected a stone bridge over the Danube, the remains of which can still be seen at Turnu-Severin, a short distance below the point where the Danube enters Rumanian territory. Trajan celebrated his victory by erecting at Adam Klissi (in the province of Dobrogea) the recently discovered _Tropaeum Traiani_, and in Rome the celebrated ‘Trajan’s Column’, depicting in marble reliefs various episodes of the Dacian wars. The new Roman province was limited to the regions originally inhabited by the Dacians, and a strong garrison, estimated by historians at 25,000 men, was left to guard it. Numerous colonists from all parts of the Roman Empire were brought here as settlers, and what remained of the Dacian population completely amalgamated with them. The new province quickly developed under the impulse of Roman civilization, of which numerous inscriptions and other archaeological remains are evidence. It became one of the most flourishing dependencies of the Roman Empire, and was spoken of as _Dacia Felix_. About a century and a half later hordes of barbarian invaders, coming from the north and east, swept over the country. Under the strain of those incursions the Roman legions withdrew by degrees into Moesia, and in A.D. 271 Dacia was finally evacuated. But the colonists remained, retiring into the Carpathians, where they lived forgotten of history. The most powerful of these invaders were the Goths (271-375), who, coming from the shores of the Baltic, had shortly before settled north of the Black Sea. Unaccustomed to mountain life, they did not penetrate beyond the plains between the Carpathians and the Dnjester. They had consequently but little intercourse with the Daco-Roman population, and the total absence in the Rumanian language and in Rumanian place-names of words of Gothic origin indicates that their stay had no influence upon country or population. Material evidence of their occupation is afforded, however, by a number of articles made of gold found in 1837 at Petroasa (Moldavia), and now in the National Museum at Bucarest. After the Goths came the Huns (375-453), under Attila, the Avars (566-799), both of Mongolian race, and the Gepidae (453-566), of Gothic race–all savage, bloodthirsty raiders, passing and repassing over the Rumanian regions, pillaging and burning everywhere. To avoid destruction the Daco-Roman population withdrew more and more into the inaccessible wooded regions of the mountains, and as a result were in no wise influenced by contact with the invaders. But with the coming of the Slavs, who settled in the Balkan peninsula about the beginning of the seventh century, certain fundamental changes took place in the ethnical conditions prevailing on the Danube. The Rumanians were separated from the Romans, following the occupation by the Slavs of the Roman provinces between the Adriatic and the Black Sea. Such part of the population as was not annihilated during the raids of the Avars was taken into captivity, or compelled to retire southwards towards modern Macedonia and northwards towards the Dacian regions. Parts of the Rumanian country became dependent upon the new state founded between the Balkans and the Danube in 679 by the Bulgarians, a people of Turanian origin, who formerly inhabited the regions north of the Black Sea between the Volga and the mouth of the Danube. After the conversion of the Bulgarians to Christianity (864) the Slovenian language was introduced into their Church, and afterwards also into the Church of the already politically dependent Rumanian provinces. This finally severed the Daco-Rumanians from the Latin world. The former remained for a long time under Slav influence, the extent of which is shown by the large number of words of Slav origin contained in the Rumanian language, especially in geographical and agricultural terminology. [Footnote 1: The Rumanians north and south of the Danube embraced the Christian faith after its introduction into the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great (325), with Latin as religious language and their church organization under the rule of Rome. A Christian basilica, dating from that period, has been discovered by the Rumanian; archaeologist, Tocilescu, at Adam Klissi (Dobrogea).] The coming of the Hungarians (a people of Mongolian race) about the end of the ninth century put an end to the Bulgarian domination in Dacia. While a few of the existing Rumanian duchies were subdued by Stephen the Saint, the first King of Hungary (995-1038), the ‘land of the Vlakhs’ (_Terra Blacorum_), in the south-eastern part of Transylvania, enjoyed under the Hungarian kings a certain degree of national autonomy. The Hungarian chronicles speak of the Vlakhs as ‘former colonists of the Romans’. The ethnological influence of the Hungarians upon the Rumanian population has been practically nil. They found the Rumanian nation firmly established, race and language, and the latter remained pure of Magyarisms, even in Transylvania. Indeed, it is easy to prove–and it is only what might be expected, seeing that the Rumanians had attained a higher state of civilization than the Hungarian invaders–that the Hungarians were largely influenced by the Daco-Romans. They adopted Latin as their official language, they copied many of the institutions and customs of the Rumanians, and recruited a large number of their nobles from among the Rumanian nobility, which was already established on a feudal basis when the Hungarians arrived. A great number of the Rumanian nobles and freemen were, however, inimical to the new masters, and migrated to the regions across the mountains. This the Hungarians used as a pretext for bringing parts of Rumania under their domination, and they were only prevented from further extending it by the coming of the Tartars (1241), the last people of Mongolian origin to harry these regions. The Hungarians maintained themselves, however, in the parts which they had already occupied, until the latter were united into the principality of the ‘Rumanian land’. To sum up: ‘The Rumanians are living to-day where fifteen centuries ago their ancestors were living. The possession of the regions on the Lower Danube passed from one nation to another, but none endangered the Rumanian nation as a national entity. „The water passes, the stones remain”; the hordes of the migration period, detached from their native soil, disappeared as mist before the sun. But the Roman element bent their heads while the storm passed over them, clinging to the old places until the advent of happier days, when they were able to stand up and stretch their limbs.' [Footnote 1: Traugott Tamm, _Ueber den Ursprung der Rumaenen,_, Bonn, 1891.] 3 _The Foundation and Development of the Rumanian Principalities_ The first attempt to organize itself into a political entity was made by the Rumanian nation in the thirteenth century, when, under the impulse of the disaffected nobles coming from Hungary, the two principalities of ‘Muntenia’ (Mountain Land), commonly known as Wallachia and ‘Moldavia’, came into being. The existence of Rumanians on both sides of the Carpathians long before Wallachia was founded is corroborated by contemporary chroniclers. We find evidence of it in as distant a source as the _History of the Mongols,_ of the Persian chronicler, Rashid Al-Din, who, describing the invasion of the Tartars, says: ‘In the middle of spring (1240) the princes (Mongols or Tartars) crossed the mountains in order to enter the country of the Bulares (Bulgarians) and of the Bashguirds (Hungarians). Orda, who was marching to the right, passed through the country of the Haute (Olt), where Bazarambam met him with an army, but was beaten. Boudgek crossed the mountains to enter the Kara-Ulak, and defeated the Ulak (Vlakh) people.' Kara-Ulak means Black Wallachia; Bazarambam is certainly the corrupted name of the Ban Bassarab, who ruled as vassal of Hungary over the province of Oltenia, and whose dynasty founded the principality of Muntenia. The early history of this principality was marked by efforts to free it from Hungarian domination, a natural development of the desire for emancipation which impelled the Rumanians to migrate from the subdued provinces in Hungary. [Footnote 1: Xenopol, _Histoire des Roumains,_ Paris, 1896, i, 168.] The foundation of Moldavia dates from after the retreat of the Tartars, who had occupied the country for a century (1241-1345). They were driven out by an expedition under Hungarian leadership, with the aid of Rumanians from the province of Maramuresh. It was the latter who then founded the principality of Moldavia under the suzerainty of Hungary, the chroniclers mentioning as its first ruler the Voivod Dragosh. [Footnote 1: The legend as to the foundation of Moldavia tells us that Dragosh, when hunting one day in the mountains, was pursuing a bison through the dense forest. Towards sunset, just when a successful shot from his bow had struck and killed the animal, he emerged at a point from which the whole panorama of Moldavia was unfolded before his astonished eyes. Deeply moved by the beauty of this fair country, he resolved to found a state there. It is in commemoration of this event that Moldavia bears the head of a wild bison on her banner.] The rudimentary political formations which already existed before the foundation of the principalities were swept away by the invasion of the Tartars, who destroyed all trace of constituted authority in the plains below the Carpathians. In consequence the immigrants from Transylvania did not encounter any resistance, and were even able to impose obedience upon the native population, though coming rather as refugees than as conquerors. These new-comers were mostly nobles (boyards). Their emigration deprived the masses of the Rumanian population of Transylvania of all moral and political support–especially as a part of the nobility had already been won over by their Hungarian masters–and with time the masses fell into servitude. On the other hand the immigrating nobles strengthened and secured the predominance of their class in the states which were to be founded. In both cases the situation of the peasantry became worse, and we have, curiously enough, the same social fact brought about by apparently contrary causes. Though the Rumanians seem to have contributed but little, up to the nineteenth century, to the advance of civilization, their part in European history is nevertheless a glorious one, and if less apparent, perhaps of more fundamental importance. By shedding their blood in the struggle against the Ottoman invasion, they, together with the other peoples of Oriental Europe, procured that security which alone made possible the development of western civilization. Their merit, like that of all with whom they fought, ‘is not to have vanquished time and again the followers of Mohammed, who always ended by gaining the upper hand, but rather to have resisted with unparalleled energy, perseverance, and bravery the terrible Ottoman invaders, making them pay for each step advanced such a heavy price, that their resources were drained, they were unable to carry on the fight, and thus their power came to an end’. [Footnote 1: Xenopol, op. cit., i. 266.] From the phalanx of Christian warriors stand out the names of a few who were the bravest of a time when bravery was common; but while it is at least due that more tribute than a mere mention of their names should be paid to the patriot princes who fought in life-long conflict against Turkish domination, space does not permit me to give more than the briefest summary of the wars which for centuries troubled the country. It was in 1389, when Mircea the Old was Prince of Wallachia, that the united Balkan nations attempted for the first time to check Ottoman invasion. The battle of Kosovo, however, was lost, and Mircea had to consent to pay tribute to the Turks. For a short space after the battle of Rovine (1398), where Mircea defeated an invading Turkish army, the country had peace, until Turkish victories under the Sultan Mohammed resulted, in 1411, in further submissions to tribute. It is worthy of mention that it was on the basis of tribute that the relations between Turkey and Rumania rested until 1877, the Rumanian provinces becoming at no time what Hungary was for a century and a half, namely, a Turkish province. In a battle arising following his frustration–by means not unconnected with his name–of a Turkish plot against his person, Vlad the Impaler (1458-62) completely defeated the Turks under Mohammed II; but an unfortunate feud against Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, put an end to the reign of Vlad–a fierce but just prince. A period of the most lamentable decadence followed, during which Turkish domination prevailed more and more in the country. During an interval of twenty-five years (1521-46) no less than eleven princes succeeded one another on the throne of Muntenia, whilst of the nineteen princes who ruled during the last three-quarters of the sixteenth century, only two died a natural death while still reigning. In Moldavia also internal struggles were weakening the country. Not powerful enough to do away with one another, the various aspirants to the throne contented themselves with occupying and ruling over parts of the province. Between 1443-7 there were no less than three princes reigning simultaneously, whilst one of them, Peter III, lost and regained the throne three times. For forty-seven years (1457-1504) Stephen the Great fought for the independence of Moldavia. At Racova, in 1475, he annihilated an Ottoman army in a victory considered the greatest ever secured by the Cross against Islam. The Shah of Persia, Uzun Hasan, who was also fighting the Turks, offered him an alliance, urging him at the same time to induce all the Christian princes to unite with the Persians against the common foe. These princes, as well as Pope Sixtus IV, gave him great praise; but when Stephen asked from them assistance in men and money, not only did he receive none, but Vladislav, King of Hungary, conspired with his brother Albert, King of Poland, to conquer and divide Moldavia between them. A Polish army entered the country, but was utterly destroyed by Stephen in the forest of Kosmin. Having had the opportunity of judging at its right value the friendship of the Christian princes, on his death-bed Stephen advised his son Bogdan to make voluntary submission to the Turks. Thus Moldavia, like Wallachia, came under Turkish suzerainty. For many years after Stephen’s death the Turks exploited the Rumanian countries shamelessly, the very candidates for the throne having to pay great sums for Turkish support. The country groaned under the resultant taxation and the promiscuousness of the tribute exacted till, in 1572, John the Terrible ascended the Moldavian throne. This prince refused to pay tribute, and repeatedly defeated the Turks. An army of 100,000 men advanced against John; but his cavalry, composed of nobles not over-loyal to a prince having the peasant cause so much at heart, deserted to the enemy, with the result that, after a gallant and prolonged resistance, he suffered defeat. Michael the Brave, Prince of Muntenia (1593-1601), was the last of the Vlakhs to stand up against Turkish aggression. This prince not only succeeded in crushing a Turkish army sent against him, but he invaded Transylvania, whose prince had leanings towards Turkey, pushed further into Moldavia, and succeeded in bringing the three Rumanian countries under his rule. Michael is described in the documents of the time as ‘Prince of the whole land of Hungro-Wallachia, of Transylvania, and of Moldavia’. He ruled for eight years. ‘It was not the Turkish sword which put an end to the exploits of Michael the Brave. The Magyars of Transylvania betrayed him; the German emperor condemned him; and a Greek in Austria’s service, General Basta, had him sabred: as though it were fated that all the enemies of the Rumanian race, the Magyar, the German, and the Greek, should unite to dip their hands in the blood of the Latin hero.' The union of the Rumanian lands which he realized did not last long; but it gave form and substance to the idea which was from that day onward to be the ideal of the Rumanian nation. [Footnote 1: Alfred Rumbaud, Introduction to Xenopol, op, cit., i. xix.] The fundamental cause of all the sufferings of the Rumanian principalities was the hybrid ‘hereditary-elective’ system of succession to the throne, which prevailed also in most of the neighbouring countries. All members of the princely family were eligible for the succession; but the right of selecting among them lay with an assembly composed of the higher nobility and clergy. All was well if a prince left only one successor. But if there were several, even if illegitimate children, claiming the right to rule, then each endeavoured to gain over the nobility with promises, sometimes, moreover, seeking the support of neighbouring countries. This system rendered easier and hastened the establishment of Turkish domination; and corruption and intrigues, in which the Sultan’s harem had a share, became capital factors in the choice and election of the ruler. Economically and intellectually all this was disastrous. The Rumanians were an agricultural people. The numerous class of small freeholders (moshneni and razeshi), not being able to pay the exorbitant taxes, often had their lands confiscated by the princes. Often, too, not being able to support themselves, they sold their property and their very selves to the big landowners. Nor did the nobles fare better. Formerly free, quasi-feudal warriors, seeking fortune in reward for services rendered to their prince, they were often subjected to coercive treatment on his part now that the throne depended upon the goodwill of influential personages at Constantinople. Various civil offices were created at court, either necessitated by the extension of the relations of the country or intended to satisfy some favourite of the prince. Sources of social position and great material benefit, these offices were coveted greedily by the boyards, and those who obtained none could only hope to cheat fortune by doing their best to undermine the position of the prince. 4 _The Phanariote Rule_ These offices very presently fell to the lot of the Phanariotes (Greek merchants and bankers inhabiting the quarter of Phanar), who had in some way or another assisted the princes to their thrones, these being now practically put up to auction in Constantinople. As a natural consequence of such a state of affairs the thoughts of the Rumanian princes turned to Russia as a possible supporter against Ottoman oppression. A formal alliance was entered into in 1711 with Tsar Peter the Great, but a joint military action against the Turks failed, the Tsar returned to Russia, and the Porte threatened to transform Moldavia, in order to secure her against incipient Russian influence, into a Turkish province with a pasha as administrator. The nobles were preparing to leave the country, and the people to retire into the mountains, as their ancestors had done in times of danger. It is not to be wondered at that, under the menace of losing their autonomy, the Rumanians ‘welcomed the nomination of the dragoman of the Porte, Nicholas Mavrocordato, though he was a Greek. The people greeted with joy the accession of the first Phanariote to the throne of the principality of Moldavia' (1711). [Footnote 1: Xenopol, op. cit., ii. 138] Knowledge of foreign languages had enabled the Phanariotes to obtain important diplomatic positions at Constantinople, and they ended by acquiring the thrones of the Rumanian principalities as a recompense for their services. But they had to pay for it, and to make matters more profitable the Turks devised the ingenious method of transferring the princes from one province to another, each transference being considered as a new nomination. From 1730 to 1741 the two reigning princes interchanged thrones in this way three times. They acquired the throne by gold, and they could only keep it by gold. All depended upon how much they wore able to squeeze out of the country. The princes soon became past masters in the art of spoliation. They put taxes upon chimneys, and the starving peasants pulled their cottages down and went to live in mountain caves; they taxed the animals, and the peasants preferred to kill the few beasts they possessed. But this often proved no remedy, for we are told that the Prince Constantin Mavrocordato, having prescribed a tax on domestic animals at a time when an epidemic had broken out amongst them, ordered the tax to be levied on the carcasses. ‘The Administrative regime during the Phanariote period was, in general, little else than organized brigandage,’ says Xenopol. In fact the Phanariote rule was instinct with corruption, luxury, and intrigue. Though individually some of them may not deserve blame, yet considering what the Phanariotes took out of the country, what they introduced into it, and to what extent they prevented its development, their era was the most calamitous in Rumanian history. [Footnote 1: Ibid, op. cit., ii. 308] The war of 1768 between Russia and Turkey gave the former power a vague protectorate over the Rumanian provinces (Treaty of Kutchuk Kainardji). In 1774 Austria acquired from the Turks, by false promises, the northern part of Moldavia, the pleasant land of Bucovina. During the new conflict between Turkey and Russia, the Russian armies occupied and battened upon the Rumanian provinces for six years. Though they had again to abandon their intention of making the Danube the southern boundary of their empire–to which Napoleon had agreed by the secret treaty with Tsar Alexander (Erfurt, September 27, 1808)–they obtained from Turkey the cession of Bessarabia (Treaty of Bucarest, May 28, 1812), together with that part of Moldavia lying between the Dnjester and the Pruth, the Russians afterwards giving to the whole region the name of Bessarabia. 5 _Modern Period to 1866_ In 1821 the Greek revolution, striving to create an independent Greece, broke out on Rumanian ground, supported by the princes of Moldavia and Muntenia. Of this support the Rumanians strongly disapproved, for, if successful, the movement would have strengthened the obnoxious Greek domination; If unsuccessful, the Turks were sure to take a terrible revenge for the assistance given by the Rumanian countries. The movement, which was started about the same time by the ennobled peasant, Tudor Vladimirescu, for the emancipation of the lower classes, soon acquired, therefore, an anti-Greek tendency. Vladimirescu was assassinated at the instigation of the Greeks; the latter were completely checked by the Turks, who, grown suspicious after the Greek rising and confronted with the energetic attitude of the Rumanian nobility, consented in 1822 to the nomination of two native boyards, Jonitza Sturdza and Gregory Ghica, recommended by their countrymen, as princes of Moldavia and Wallachia. The iniquitous system of ‘the throne to the highest bidder’ had come to an end. The period which marks the decline of Greek influence in the Rumanian principalities also marks the growth of Russian influence; the first meant economic exploitation, the second was a serious menace to the very existence of the Rumanian nation. But if Russia seemed a possible future danger, Turkey with its Phanariote following was a certain and immediate menace. When, therefore, at the outbreak of the conflict with Turkey in 1828 the Russians once more passed the Pruth, the country welcomed them. Indeed, the Rumanian boyards, who after the rising of 1821 and the Turkish occupation had taken refuge in Transylvania, had even more than once invited Russian intervention. Hopes and fears alike were realized. By the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) the rights of Turkey as suzerain were limited to the exaction of a monetary tribute and the right of investiture of the princes, one important innovation being that these last were to be elected by national assemblies for life. But, on the other hand, a Russian protectorate was established, and the provinces remained in Russian military occupation up to 1834, pending the payment of the war indemnity by Turkey. The ultimate aim of Russia may be open to discussion. Her immediate aim was to make Russian influence paramount in the principalities; this being the only possible explanation of the anomalous fact that, pending the payment of the war indemnity, Russia herself was occupying the provinces whose autonomy she had but now forcibly retrieved from Turkey. The _Reglement Organique_, the new constitutional law given to the principalities by their Russian governor, Count Kisseleff, truly reflected the tendency. From the administrative point of view it was meant to make for progress; from the political point of view it was meant to bind the two principalities to the will of the Tsar. The personal charm of Count Kisseleff seemed to have established as it were an unbreakable link between Russians and Rumanians. But when he left the country in 1834 ‘the liking for Russia passed away to be replaced finally by the two sentiments which always most swayed the Rumanian heart: love for their country, and affection towards France’. [Footnote 1: Sec P. Eliade, _Histoire de l’Esprit Public en Roumanie_, i, p. 167 et seq.] French culture had been introduced into the principalities by the Phanariote princes who, as dragomans of the Porte, had to know the language, and usually employed French secretaries for themselves and French tutors for their children. With the Russian occupation a fresh impetus was given to French culture, which was pre-eminent in Russia at the time; and the Russian officials, not speaking the language of the country, generally employed French in their relations with the Rumanian authorities, French being already widely spoken in Rumania. The contact with French civilization, at an epoch when the Rumanians were striving to free themselves from Turkish, Greek, and Russian political influence, roused in them the sleeping Latin spirit, and the younger generation, in constantly increasing numbers, flocked to Paris in search of new forms of civilization and political life. At this turning-point in their history the Rumanians felt themselves drawn towards France, no less by racial affinity than by the liberal ideas to which that country had so passionately given herself during several decades. By the Treaty of Adrianople the Black Sea was opened to the commercial vessels of all nations. This made for the rapid economic development of the principalities by providing an outlet for their agricultural produce, the chief source of their wealth. It also brought them nearer to western Europe, which began to be interested in a nation whose spirit centuries of sufferings had failed to break. Political, literary, and economic events thus prepared the ground for the Rumanian Renascence, and when in 1848 the great revolution broke out, it spread at once over the Rumanian countries, where the dawn of freedom had been struggling to break since 1821. The Rumanians of Transylvania rose against the tyranny of the Magyars; those of Moldavia and Muntenia against the oppressive influence of Russia. The movement under the gallant, but inexperienced, leadership of a few patriots, who, significantly enough, had almost all been educated in France, was, however, soon checked in the principalities by the joint action of Russian and Turkish forces which remained in occupation of the country. Many privileges were lost (Convention of Balta Liman, May 1, 1849); but the revolution had quickened the national sentiment of the younger generation in all classes of society, and the expatriated leaders, dispersed throughout the great capitals of Europe, strenuously set to work to publish abroad the righteous cause of their country. In this they received the enthusiastic and invaluable assistance of Edgar Quinet, Michelet, Saint-Marc Girardin, and others. This propaganda had the fortune to be contemporaneous and in agreement with the political events leading to the Crimean War, which was entered upon to check the designs of Russia. A logical consequence was the idea, raised at the Paris Congress of 1856, of the union of the Rumanian principalities as a barrier to Russian expansion. This idea found a powerful supporter in Napoleon III, ever a staunch upholder of the principle of nationality. But at the Congress the unexpected happened. Russia favoured the idea of union, ‘to swallow the two principalities at a gulp,’ as a contemporary diplomatist maliciously suggested; while Austria opposed it strongly. So, inconceivably enough, did Turkey, whose attitude, as the French ambassador at Constantinople, Thouvenel, put it, ‘was less influenced by the opposition of Austria than by the approval of Russia’. Great Britain also threw in her weight with the powers which opposed the idea of union, following her traditional policy of preserving the European equilibrium. The treaty of March 30, 1856, re-incorporated with Moldavia the southern part of Bessarabia, including the delta of the Danube, abolished the Russian protectorate, but confirmed the suzerainty of Turkey–not unnaturally, since the integrity of the Ottoman Empire had been the prime motive of the war. By prohibiting Turkey, however, from entering Rumanian territory, save with the consent of the great powers, it was recognized indirectly that the suzerainty was merely a nominal one. Article 23 of the treaty, by providing that the administration of the principalities was to be on a national basis, implicitly pointed to the idea of union, as the organization of one principality independently of the other would not have been national. But as the main argument of Turkey and Austria was that the Rumanians themselves did not desire the union, it was decided to convene in both principalities special assemblies (divans _ad hoc_) representing all classes of the population, whose wishes were to be embodied, by a European commission, in a report for consideration by the Congress. [Footnote 1: A. Xenopol, _Unionistii si Separatistii_ (Paper read before the Rumanian Academy), 1909.] To understand the argument of the two powers concerned and the decision to which it led, it must be borne in mind that the principalities were in the occupation of an Austrian army, which had replaced the Russian armies withdrawn in 1854, and that the elections for the assemblies were to be presided over by Turkish commissaries. Indeed, the latter, in collaboration with the Austrian consuls, so successfully doctored the election lists, that the idea of union might once more have fallen through, had it not been for the invaluable assistance which Napoleon III gave the Rumanian countries. As Turkish policy was relying mainly on England’s support, Napoleon brought about a personal meeting with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, at Osborne (August 1857), the result of which was a compromise: Napoleon agreed to defer for the time being the idea of an effective union of the two principalities, England undertaking, on the other hand, to make the Porte cancel the previous elections, and proceed to new ones after revision of the electoral lists. The corrupt Austrian and Turkish influence on the old elections was best demonstrated by the fact that only three of the total of eighty-four old members succeeded in securing re-election. The assemblies met and proclaimed as imperatively necessary to the future welfare of the provinces, their union, ‘for no frontier divides us, and everything tends to bring us closer, and nothing to separate us, save the ill-will of those who desire to see us disunited and weak’; further, a foreign hereditary dynasty, because ‘the accession to the throne of princes chosen from amongst us has been a constant pretext for foreign interference, and the throne has been the cause of unending feud among the great families of this country’. Moreover, if the union of the two principalities was to be accomplished under a native prince, it is obvious that the competition would have become doubly keen; not to speak of the jealousies likely to be arousal between Moldavians and Muntenians. [Footnote 1: The edifying correspondence between the Porte and its commissary Vorgorides regarding the arrangements for the Rumanian elections fell into the hands of Rumanian politicians, and caused a great sensation when it appeared in _L’Etoile du Danube_, published in Brussels by Rumanian _emigres_.] Such were the indisputable wishes of the Rumanians, based on knowledge of men and facts, and arising out of the desire to see their country well started on the high road of progress. But Europe had called for the expression of these wishes only to get the question shelved for the moment, as in 1856 everybody was anxious for a peace which should at all costs be speedy. Consequently, when a second Congress met in Paris, in May 1858, three months of discussion and the sincere efforts of France only resulted in a hybrid structure entitled the ‘United Principalities’. These were to have a common legislation, a common army, and a central committee composed of representatives of both assemblies for the discussion of common affairs; but were to continue to form two separate states, with independent legislative and executive institutions, each having to elect a prince of Rumanian descent for life. Disappointed in their hopes and reasonable expectations, the Rumanians adopted the principle of ‘help yourself and God will help you’, and proceeded to the election of their rulers. Several candidates competed in Moldavia. To avoid a split vote the name of an outsider was put forward the day before the election, and on January 17, 1859, Colonel Alexander Ioan Cuza was unanimously elected. In Wallachia the outlook was very uncertain when the assembly met, amid great popular excitement, on February 5. The few patriots who had realized that the powers, seeking only their own interests, were consciously and of set purpose hampering the emancipation of a long-suffering nation, put forth and urged the election of Cuza, and the assembly unanimously adopted this spirited suggestion. By this master-stroke the Rumanians had quietly accomplished the reform which was an indispensable condition towards assuring a better future. The political moment was propitious. Italy’s military preparation prevented Austria from intervening, and, as usual when confronted with an accomplished fact, the great powers and Turkey finished by officially recognizing the action of the principalities in December 1861. The central commission was at once abolished, the two assemblies and cabinets merged into one, and Bucarest became the capital of the new state ‘Rumania’. If the unsympathetic attitude of the powers had any good result, it was to bring home for the moment to the Rumanians the necessity for national unity. When the danger passed, however, the wisdom which it had evoked followed suit. Cuza cherished the hope of realizing various ideal reforms. Confronted with strong opposition, he did not hesitate to override the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly (May 2, 1864) and arrogating to himself the right, till the formation of a new Chamber, to issue decrees which had all the force of law. He thus gave a dangerous example to the budding constitutional polity; political passions were let loose, and a plot organized by the Opposition led to the forced abdication of Cuza on February 23, 1866. The prince left the country for ever a few days later. No disturbance whatever took place, not one drop of blood was shed. A series of laws, mostly adapted from French models, was introduced by Cuza. Under the Education Act of 1864 all degrees of education were free, and elementary education compulsory. A large number of special and technical schools were founded, as well as two universities, one at Jassy (1860) and one at Bucarest (1864). After the _coup d’etat_ of 1864 universal suffrage was introduced, largely as an attempt to ‘swamp’ the fractious political parties with the peasant vote; while at the same time a ‘senate’ was created as a ‘moderating assembly’ which, composed as it was of members by right and members nominated by the prince, by its very nature increased the influence of the crown. The chief reforms concerned the rural question. Firstly, Cuza and his minister, Cogalniceanu, secularized and converted to the state the domains of the monasteries, which during the long period of Greek influence had acquired one-fifth of the total area of the land, and were completely in the hands of the Greek clergy (Law of December 13, 1863). More important still, as affecting fundamentally the social structure of the country, was the Rural Law (promulgated on August 26, 1864), which had been the cause of the conflict between Cuza and the various political factions, the Liberals clamouring for more thorough reforms, the Conservatives denouncing Cuza’s project as revolutionary. As the peasant question is the most important problem left for Rumania to solve, and as I believe that, in a broad sense, it has a considerable bearing upon the present political situation in that country, it may not be out of place here to devote a little space to its consideration. Originally the peasant lived in the village community as a free land-owner. He paid a certain due (one-tenth of his produce and three days’ labour yearly) to his leader (_cneaz_) as recompense for his leadership in peace and war. The latter, moreover, solely enjoyed the privilege of carrying on the occupations of miller and innkeeper, and the peasant was compelled to mill with him. When after the foundation of the principalities the upper class was established on a feudal basis, the peasantry were subjected to constantly increasing burdens. Impoverished and having in many cases lost their land, the peasants were also deprived at the end of the sixteenth century of their freedom of movement. By that time the cneaz, from being the leader of the community, had become the actual lord of the village, and his wealth was estimated by the number of villages he possessed. The peasant owners paid their dues to him in labour and in kind. Those peasants who owned no land were his serfs, passing with the land from master to master. Under the Turkish domination the Rumanian provinces became the granary of the Ottoman Empire. The value of land rose quickly, as did also the taxes. To meet these taxes–from the payment of which the boyards (the descendants of the cneazi) were exempt–the peasant owners had frequently to sacrifice their lands; while, greedy after the increased benefits, the boyards used all possible means to acquire more land for themselves. With the increase of their lands they needed more labour, and they obtained permission from the ruler not only to exact increased labour dues from the peasantry, but also to determine the amount of work that should be done in a day. This was effected in such a way that the peasants had, in fact, to serve three and four times the number of days due. The power to acquire more land from the freeholders, and to increase the amount of labour due by the peasants, was characteristic of the legislation of the eighteenth century. By a decree of Prince Moruzi, in 1805, the lords were for the first time empowered to reserve to their own use part of the estate, namely, one-fourth of the meadow land, and this privilege was extended in 1828 to the use of one-third of the arable land. The remaining two-thirds were reserved for the peasants, every young married couple being entitled to a certain amount of land, in proportion to the number of traction animals they owned. When the Treaty of Adrianople of 1829 opened the western markets to Rumanian corn, in which markets far higher prices were obtainable than from the Turks, Rumanian agriculture received an extraordinary impetus. Henceforth the efforts of the boyards were directed towards lessening the amount of land to which the peasants were entitled. By the _Reglement Organique_ they succeeded in reducing such land to half its previous area, at the same time maintaining and exacting from the peasant his dues in full. It is in the same Act that there appears for the first time the fraudulent title ‘lords of the land’, though the boyards had no exclusive right of property; they had the use of one-third of the estate, and a right to a due in labour and in kind from the peasant holders, present or prospective, of the other two-thirds. With a view to ensuring, on the one hand, greater economic freedom to the land-owners, and, on the other, security for the peasants from the enslaving domination of the upper class, the rural law of 1864 proclaimed the peasant-tenants full proprietors of their holdings, and the land-owners full proprietors of the remainder of the estate. The original intention of creating common land was not carried out in the Bill. The peasant’s holding in arable land being small, he not infrequently ploughed his pasture, and, as a consequence, had either to give up keeping beasts, or pay a high price to the land-owners for pasturage. Dues in labour and in kind were abolished, the land-owners receiving an indemnity which was to be refunded to the state by the peasants in instalments within a period of fifteen years. This reform is characteristic of much of the legislation of Cuza: despotically pursuing the realization of some ideal reform, without adequate study of and adaptation to social circumstances, his laws provided no practical solution of the problem with which they dealt. In this case, for example, the reform benefited the upper class solely, although generally considered a boon to the peasantry. Of ancient right two-thirds of the estate were reserved for the peasants; but the new law gave them possession of no more than the strip they were holding, which barely sufficed to provide them with the mere necessaries of life. The remainder up to two-thirds of the estate went as a gift, with full proprietorship; to the boyard. For the exemption of their dues in kind and in labour, the peasants had to pay an indemnity, whereas the right of their sons to receive at their marriage a piece of land in proportion to the number of traction animals they possessed was lost without compensation. Consequently, the younger peasants had to sell their labour, contracting for periods of a year and upwards, and became a much easier prey to the spoliation of the upper class than when they had at least a strip of land on which to build a hut, and from which to procure their daily bread; the more so as the country had no industry which could compete with agriculture in the labour market. An investigation undertaken by the Home Office showed that out of 1,265 labour contracts for 1906, chosen at random, only 39.7 per cent, were concluded at customary wages; the others were lower in varying degrees, 13.2 per cent. of the cases showing wages upwards of 75 per cent. below the usual rates. Under these conditions of poverty and economic serfdom the peasantry was not able to participate in the enormous development of Rumanian agriculture, which had resulted from increased political security and the establishment of an extensive network of railways. While the boyards found an increasing attraction in politics, a new class of middlemen came into existence, renting the land from the boyards for periods varying generally from three to five years. Owing to the resultant competition, rents increased considerably, while conservative methods of cultivation kept production stationary. Whereas the big cultivator obtained higher prices to balance the increased cost of production, the peasant, who produced for his own consumption, could only face such increase by a corresponding decrease in the amount of food consumed. To show how much alive the rural question is, it is enough to state that peasant risings occurred in 1888, 1889, 1894, 1900, and 1907; that new distributions of land took place in 1881 and 1889; that land was promised to the peasants as well at the time of the campaign of 1877 as at that of 1913; and that more or less happily conceived measures concerning rural questions have been passed in almost every parliamentary session. The general tendency of such legislation partook of the ‘free contract’ nature, though owing to the social condition of the peasantry the acts in question had to embody protective measures providing for a maximum rent for arable and pasture land, and a minimum wage for the peasant labourer. Solutions have been suggested in profusion. That a solution is possible no one can doubt. One writer, basing his arguments on official statistics which show that the days of employment in 1905 averaged only ninety-one for each peasant, claims that only the introduction of circulating capital and the creation of new branches of activity can bring about a change. The suggested remedy may be open to discussion; but our author is undoubtedly right when, asking himself why this solution has not yet been attempted, he says: ‘Our country is governed at present by an agrarian class…. Her whole power rests in her ownership of the land, our only wealth. The introduction of circulating capital would result in the disintegration of that wealth, in the loss of its unique quality, and, as a consequence, in the social decline of its possessors.' This is the fundamental evil which prevents any solution of the rural question. A small class of politicians, with the complicity of a large army of covetous and unscrupulous officials, live in oriental indolence out of the sufferings of four-fifths of the Rumanian nation. Though elementary education is compulsory, more than 60 per cent. of the population are still illiterate, mainly on account of the inadequacy of the educational budget. Justice is a myth for the peasant. Of political rights he is, in fact, absolutely deprived. The large majority, and by far the sanest part of the Rumanian nation, are thus fraudulently kept outside the political and social life of the country. It is not surmising too much, therefore, to say that the opportunity of emancipating the Transylvanians would not have been wilfully neglected, had that part of the Rumanian nation in which the old spirit still survives had any choice in the determination of their own fate. [Footnote 1: St. Antim, _Cbestiunea Social[)a] [^i]n Rom[^a]nia,_ 1908, p. 214.] 6 _Contemporary Period: Internal Development_ In order to obviate internal disturbances or external interference, the leaders of the movement which had dethroned Prince Cuza caused parliament to proclaim, on the day of Cuza’s abdication, Count Philip of Flanders– the father of King Albert of Belgium–Prince of Rumania. The offer was, however, not accepted, as neither France nor Russia favoured the proposal. Meanwhile a conference had met again in Paris at the instance of Turkey and vetoed the election of a foreign prince. But events of deeper importance were ripening in Europe, and the Rumanian politicians rightly surmised that the powers would not enforce their protests if a candidate were found who was likely to secure the support of Napoleon III, then ‘schoolmaster’ of European diplomacy. This candidate was found in the person of Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, second son of the head of the elder branch of the Hohenzollerns (Catholic and non-reigning). Prince Carol was cousin to the King of Prussia, and related through his grandmother to the Bonaparte family. He could consequently count upon the support of France and Prussia, while the political situation fortunately secured him from the opposition of Russia, whose relations with Prussia were at the time friendly, and also from that of Austria, whom Bismarck proposed to ‘keep busy for some time to come’. The latter must have viewed with no little satisfaction the prospect of a Hohenzollern occupying the throne of Rumania at this juncture; and Prince Carol, allowing himself to be influenced by the Iron Chancellor’s advice, answered the call of the Rumanian nation, which had proclaimed him as ‘Carol I, Hereditary Prince of Rumania’. Travelling secretly with a small retinue, the prince second class, his suite first, Prince Carol descended the Danube on an Austrian steamer, and landed on May 8 at Turnu-Severin, the very place where, nearly eighteen centuries before, the Emperor Trajan had alighted and founded the Rumanian nation. By independent and energetic action, by a conscious neglect of the will of the powers, which only a young constitutional polity would have dared, by an active and unselfish patriotism, Rumania had at last chosen and secured as her ruler the foreign prince who alone had a chance of putting a stop to intrigues from within and from without. And the Rumanians had been extremely fortunate in their hasty and not quite independent choice. A prince of Latin origin would probably have been more warmly welcomed to the hearts of the Rumanian people; but after so many years of political disorder, corrupt administration, and arbitrary rule, a prince possessed of the German spirit of discipline and order was best fitted to command respect and impose obedience and sobriety of principle upon the Rumanian politicians. Prince Carol’s task was no easy one. The journal compiled by the provisional government, which held the reins for the period elapsing between the abdication of Cuza and the accession of Prince Carol, depicts in the darkest colours the economic situation to which the faults, the waste, the negligence, and short-sightedness of the previous regime had reduced the country, ‘the government being in the humiliating position of having brought disastrous and intolerable hardship alike upon its creditors, its servants, its pensioners, and its soldiers’. Reforms were badly needed, and the treasury had nothing in hand but debts. To increase the income of the state was difficult, for the country was poor and not economically independent. Under the Paris Convention of 1858, Rumania remained bound, to her detriment, by the commercial treaties of her suzerain, Turkey, the powers not being willing to lose the privileges they enjoyed under the Turkish capitulations. Moreover, she was specially excluded from the arrangement of 1860, which allowed Turkey to increase her import taxes. The inheritance of ultra-liberal measures from the previous regime made it difficult to cope with the unruly spirit of the nation. Any attempt at change in this direction would have savoured of despotism to the people, who, having at last won the right to speak aloud, believed that to clamour against anything that meant ‘rule’ was the only real and full assertion of liberty. And the dissatisfied were always certain of finding a sympathetic ear and an open purse in the Chancellories of Vienna and St. Petersburg. [Footnote 1: D.A. Sturdza, _Treizeci de ani de Domnie ai Regelui Carol,_ 1900, i.82.] Prince Carol, not being sufficiently well acquainted with the conditions of the country nor possessing as yet much influence with the governing class, had not been in a position to influence at their inception the provisions of the extremely liberal constitution passed only a few weeks after his accession to the throne. The new constitution, which resembled that of Belgium more nearly than any other, was framed by a constituent assembly elected on universal suffrage, and, except for slight modifications introduced in 1879 and 1884, is in vigour to-day. It entrusts the executive to the king and his ministers, the latter alone being responsible for the acts of the government. The legislative power is vested in the king and two assemblies–a senate and a chamber–the initiative resting with any one of the three. The budget and the yearly bills fixing the strength of the army, however, must first be passed by the Chamber. The agreement of the two Chambers and the sanction of the king are necessary before any bill becomes law. The king convenes, adjourns, and dissolves parliament. He promulgates the laws and is invested with the right of absolute veto. The constitution proclaims the inviolability of domicile, the liberty of the press and of assembly, and absolute liberty of creed and religion, in so far as its forms of celebration do not come into conflict with public order and decency. It recognizes no distinction of class and privilege; all the citizens share equally rights and duties within the law. Education is free in the state schools, and elementary education compulsory wherever state schools exist. Individual liberty and property are guaranteed; but only Rumanian citizens can acquire rural property. Military service is compulsory, entailing two years in the infantry, three years in the cavalry and artillery, one year in all arms for those having completed their studies as far as the university stage. Capital punishment does not exist, except for military offences in time of war. [Footnote 1: There are at present nine departments: Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, War, Education and Religion, Domains and Agriculture, Public Works, Justice, and Industry and Commerce. The President of the Cabinet is Prime Minister, with or without portfolio.] [Footnote 2: All citizens of full age paying taxes, with various exemptions, are electors, voting according to districts and census. In the case of the illiterate country inhabitants, with an income from land of less than L12 a year, fifty of them choose one delegate having one vote in the parliamentary election. The professorial council of the two universities of Jassy and Bucarest send one member each to the Senate, the heir to the throne and the eight bishops being members by right.] The state religion is Greek Orthodox. Up to 1864 the Rumanian Church was subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In that year it was proclaimed independent, national, and autocephalous, though this change was not recognized by the Patriarchate till 1885, while the secularization of the property of the monasteries put an end _de facto_ to the influence of the Greek clergy. Religious questions of a dogmatic nature are settled by the Holy Synod of Bucarest, composed of the two metropolitans of Bucarest and Jassy and the eight bishops; the Minister for Education, with whom the administrative part of the Church rests, having only a deliberative vote. The maintenance of the Church and of the clergy is included in the general budget of the country, the ministers being state officials (Law of 1893). Religion has never played an important part in Rumanian national life, and was generally limited to merely external practices. This may be attributed largely to the fact that as the Slavonic language had been used in the Church since the ninth century and then was superseded by Greek up to the nineteenth century, the clergy was foreign, and was neither in a position nor did it endeavour to acquire a spiritual influence over the Rumanian peasant. There is no record whatever in Rumanian history of any religious feuds or dissensions. The religious passivity remained unstirred even during the domination of the Turks, who contented themselves with treating the unbelievers with contempt, and squeezing as much money as possible out of them. Cuza having made no provision for the clergy when he converted the wealth of the monasteries to the state, they were left for thirty years in complete destitution, and remained as a consequence outside the general intellectual development of the country. Though the situation has much improved since the Law of 1893, which incorporated the priests with the other officials of the Government, the clergy, recruited largely from among the rural population, are still greatly inferior to the Rumanian priests of Bucovina and Transylvania. Most of them take up Holy orders as a profession: ‘I have known several country parsons who were thorough atheists.' [Footnote 1: R. Rosetti, _Pentru ce s-au r[)a]sculat [t’][)a]ranii_, 1907, p. 600] However difficult his task, Prince Carol never deviated from the strictly constitutional path: his opponents were free to condemn the prince’s opinions; he never gave them the chance of questioning his integrity. Prince Carol relied upon the position in which his origin and family alliances placed him in his relations with foreign rulers to secure him the respect of his new subjects. Such considerations impressed the Rumanians. Nor could they fail to be aware of ‘the differences between the previously elected princes and the present dynasty, and the improved position which the country owed to the latter’. [Footnote 1: Augenzeuge, _Aus dem Leben Koenig Karls von Rum[)a]nien, 1894-1900,_ iii. 177.] To inculcate the Rumanians with the spirit of discipline the prince took in hand with energy and pursued untiringly, in spite of all obstacles, the organization of the army. A reliable and well-organized armed force was the best security against internal trouble-mongers, and the best argument in international relations, as subsequent events amply proved. The Rumanian political parties were at the outset personal parties, supporting one or other of the candidates to the throne. When Greek influence, emanating from Constantinople, began to make itself felt, in the seventeenth century, a national party arose for the purpose of opposing it. This party counted upon the support of one of the neighbouring powers, and its various groups were known accordingly as the Austrian, the Russian, &c., parties. With the election of Cuza the external danger diminished, and the politicians divided upon principles of internal reform. Cuza not being in agreement with either party, they united to depose him, keeping truce during the period preceding the accession of Prince Carol, when grave external dangers wore threatening, and presiding in a coalition ministry at the introduction of the new constitution of 1866. But this done, the truce was broken. Political strife again awoke with all the more vigour for having been temporarily suppressed. The reforms which it became needful to introduce gave opportunity for the development of strong divergence of views between the political parties. The Liberals–the Red Party, as they were called at the time–(led by C.A. Rosetti and Ioan Bratianu, both strong Mazzinists, both having taken an important part in the revolutionary movements of 1848 and in that which led to the deposition of Cuza) were advocating reforms hardly practicable even in an established democracy; the Conservatives (led by Lascar Catargiu) were striving to stem the flood of ideal liberal measures on which all sense of reality was being carried away. In little more than a year there were four different Cabinets, not to mention numerous changes in individual ministers. ‘Between the two extreme tendencies Prince Carol had to strive constantly to preserve unity of direction, he himself being the only stable element in that ever unstable country.’ It was not without many untoward incidents that he succeeded. His person was the subject of more than one unscrupulous attack by politicians in opposition, who did not hesitate to exploit the German origin and the German sympathies of the prince in order to inflame the masses. These internal conflicts entered upon an acute phase at the time of the Franco-German conflict of 1870. Whilst, to satisfy public opinion, the Foreign Secretary of the time, M.P.P. Carp, had to declare in parliament, that ‘wherever the colours of France are waving, there are our interests and sympathies’, the prince wrote to the King of Prussia assuring him that ‘his sympathies will always be where the black and white banner is waving’. In these so strained circumstances a section of the population of Bucarest allowed itself to be drawn into anti-German street riots. Disheartened and despairing of ever being able to do anything for that ‘beautiful country’, whose people ‘neither know how to govern themselves nor will allow themselves to be governed’, the prince decided to abdicate. [Footnote 1: A few years ago a group of politicians, mainly of the old Conservative party, detached themselves and became the Conservative-Democratic party under the leadership of M. Take Ionescu.] So strong was the feeling in parliament roused by the prince’s decision that one of his most inveterate opponents now declared that it would be an act of high treason for the prince to desert the country at such a crisis. We have an inkling of what might have resulted in the letter written by the Emperor of Austria to Prince Carol at the time, assuring him that ‘my Government will eagerly seize any opportunity which presents itself to prove by deeds the interest it takes in a country connected by so many bonds to my empire’. Nothing but the efforts of Lascar Catargiu and the sound patriotism of a few statesmen saved the country from what would have been a real misfortune. The people were well aware of this, and cheers lasting several minutes greeted that portion of the message from the throne which conveyed to the new parliament the decision of the prince to continue reigning. The situation was considerably strengthened during a period of five years’ Conservative rule. Prince Carol’s high principles and the dignified example of his private life secured for him the increasing respect of politicians of all colours; while his statesmanlike qualities, his patience and perseverance, soon procured him an unlimited influence in the affairs of the state. This was made the more possible from the fact that, on account of the political ignorance of the masses, and of the varied influence exercised on the electorate by the highly centralized administration, no Rumanian Government ever fails to obtain a majority at an election. Any statesman can undertake to form a Cabinet if the king assents to a dissolution of parliament. Between the German system, where the emperor chooses the ministers independently of parliament, and the English system, where the members of the executive are indicated by the electorate through the medium of parliament, independently of the Crown, the Rumanian system takes a middle path. Neither the crown, nor the electorate, nor parliament possesses exclusive power in this direction. The Government is not, generally speaking, defeated either by the electorate or by parliament. It is the Crown which has the final decision in the changes of regime, and upon the king falls the delicate task of interpreting the significance of political or popular movements. The system–which comes nearest to that of Spain–undoubtedly has its advantages in a young and turbulent polity, by enabling its most stable element, the king, to ensure a continuous and harmonious policy. But it also makes the results dangerously dependent on the quality of that same element. Under the leadership of King Carol it was an undoubted success; the progress made by the country from an economic, financial, and military point of view during the last half-century is really enormous. Its position was furthermore strengthened by the proclamation of its independence, by the final settlement of the dynastic question, and by its elevation on May 10, 1881, to the rank of kingdom, when upon the head of the first King of Rumania was placed a crown of steel made from one of the guns captured before Plevna from an enemy centuries old. [Footnote 1: In the absence of direct descendants and according to the constitution, Prince Ferdinand (born 1865), second son of King Carol’s elder brother, was named Heir Apparent to the Rumanian throne. He married in 1892 Princess Marie of Coburg, and following the death of King Carol in 1914, he acceded to the throne as Ferdinand I.] From the point of view of internal politics progress has been less satisfactory. The various reforms once achieved, the differences of principle between the political parties degenerated into mere opportunism, the Opposition opposing, the Government disposing. The parties, and especially the various groups within the parties, are generally known by the names of their leaders, these denominations not implying any definite political principle or Government programme. It is, moreover, far from edifying that the personal element should so frequently distort political discussion. ‘The introduction of modern forms of state organization has not been followed by the democratization of all social institutions…. The masses of the people have remained all but completely outside political life. Not only are we yet far from government of the people by the people, but our liberties, though deeply graven on the facade of our constitution, have not permeated everyday life nor even stirred in the consciousness of the people.' [Footnote 1: C. Stere, _Social-democratizm sau Poporanizm_, Jassy.] It is strange that King Carol, who had the welfare of the people sincerely at heart, should not have used his influence to bring about a solution of the rural question; but this may perhaps be explained by the fact that, from Cuza’s experience, he anticipated opposition from all political factions. It would almost seem as if, by a tacit understanding, and anxious to establish Rumania’s international position, King Carol gave his ministers a free hand in the rural question, reserving for himself an equally free hand in foreign affairs. This seems borne out by the fact that, in the four volumes in which an ‘eyewitness’, making use of the king’s private correspondence and personal notes, has minutely described the first fifteen years of the reign, the peasant question is entirely ignored. [Footnote 1: The ‘eyewitness’ was Dr. Schaeffer, formerly tutor to Prince Carol.] Addressing himself, in 1871, to the Rumanian representative at the Porte, the Austrian ambassador, von Prokesch-Osten, remarked: ‘If Prince Carol manages to pull through without outside help, and make Rumania governable, it will be the greatest _tour de force_ I have ever witnessed in my diplomatic career of more than half a century. It will be nothing less than a conjuring trick.’ King Carol succeeded; and only those acquainted with Rumanian affairs can appreciate the truth of the ambassador’s words. _7_ _Contemporary Period: Foreign Affairs_ Up to 1866 Rumanian foreign politics may be said to have been non-existent. The offensive or defensive alliances against the Turks concluded by the Rumanian rulers with neighbouring princes during the Middle Ages were not made in pursuance of any definite policy, but merely to meet the moment’s need. With the establishment of Turkish suzerainty Rumania became a pawn in the foreign politics of the neighbouring empires, and we find her repeatedly included in their projects of acquisition, partition, or compensation (as, for instance, when she was put forward as eventual compensation to Poland for the territories lost by that country in the first partition). Rumania may be considered fortunate in not having lost more than Bucovina to Austria (1775), Bessarabia to Russia (1812), and, temporarily, to Austria the region between the Danube and the Aluta, called Oltenia (lost by the Treaty of Passarowitz, 1718; recovered by the Treaty of Belgrade, 1739). [Footnote 1: See Albert Sorel, _The Eastern Question in the Eighteenth Century_ (Engl. ed.), 1898, pp. 141, 147 &c.] While her geographical position made of Rumania the cynosure of many covetous eyes, it at the same time saved her from individual attack by exciting countervailing jealousies. Moreover, the powers came at last to consider her a necessary rampart to the Ottoman Empire, whose dissolution all desired but none dared attempt. Austria and Russia, looking to the future, were continually competing for paramount influence in Rumania, though it is not possible to determine where their policy of acquisition ended and that of influence began. The position of the principalities became more secure after the Paris Congress of 1858, which placed them under the collective guarantee of the great powers; but this fact, and the maintenance of Turkish suzerainty, coupled with their own weakness, debarred them from any independence in their foreign relations. A sudden change took place with the accession of Prince Carol; a Hohenzollern prince related to the King of Prussia and to Napoleon III could not be treated like one of the native boyards. The situation called for the more delicacy of treatment by the powers in view of the possibility of his being able to better those internal conditions which made Rumania ‘uninteresting’ as a factor in international politics. In fact, the prince’s personality assured for Rumania a status which she could otherwise have attained only with time, by a political, economic, and military consolidation of her home affairs; and the prince does not fail to remark in his notes that the attentions lavished upon him by other sovereigns were meant rather for the Hohenzollern prince than for the Prince of Rumania. Many years later even, after the war of 1878, while the Russians were still south of the Danube with their lines of communication running through Rumania, Bratianu begged of the prince to give up a projected journey on account of the difficulties which might at any moment arise, and said: ‘Only the presence of your Royal Highness keeps them [the Russians] at a respectful distance.’ It was but natural under these circumstances that the conduct of foreign affairs should have devolved almost exclusively on the prince. The ascendancy which his high personal character, his political and diplomatic skill, his military capacity procured for him over the Rumanian statesmen made this situation a lasting one; indeed it became almost a tradition. Rumania’s foreign policy since 1866 may be said, therefore, to have been King Carol’s policy. Whether one agrees with it or not, no one can deny with any sincerity that it was inspired by the interests of the country, as the monarch saw them. Rebuking Bismarck’s unfair attitude towards Rumania in a question concerning German investors, Prince Carol writes to his father in 1875: ‘I have to put Rumania’s interests above those of Germany. My path is plainly mapped out, and I must follow It unflinchingly, whatever the weather.’ Prince Carol was a thorough German, and as such naturally favoured the expansion of German influence among his new subjects. But if he desired Rumania to follow in the wake of German foreign policy, it was because of his unshaken faith in the future of his native country, because he considered that Rumania had nothing to fear from Germany, whilst it was all in the interest of that country to see Rumania strong and firmly established. At the same time, acting on the advice of Bismarck, he did not fail to work toward a better understanding with Russia, ‘who might become as well a reliable friend as a dangerous enemy to the Rumanian state’. The sympathy shown him by Napoleon III was not always shared by the French statesmen, and the unfriendly attitude of the French ambassador in Constantinople caused Prince Carol to remark that ‘M. de Moustier is considered a better Turk than the Grand Turk himself’. Under the circumstances a possible alliance between France and Russia, giving the latter a free hand in the Near East, would have proved a grave danger to Rumania; ‘it was, consequently, a skilful, if imperious act, to enter voluntarily, and without detriment to the existing friendly relations with France, within the Russian sphere of influence, and not to wait till compelled to do so.’ [Footnote 1: See _Revue des Deux Mondes_, June 15, 1866, article by Eugene Forcade.] The campaigns of 1866 and 1870 having finally established Prussia’s supremacy in the German world, Bismarck modified his attitude towards Austria. In an interview with the Austrian Foreign Secretary, Count Beust (Gastein, October 1871), he broached for the first time the question of an alliance and, touching upon the eventual dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, ‘obligingly remarked that one could not conceive of a great power not making of its faculty for expansion a vital question’. Quite in keeping with that change were the counsels henceforth tendered to Prince Carol. Early that year Bismarck wrote of his sorrow at having been forced to the conclusion that Rumania had nothing to expect from Russia, while Prince Anthony, Prince Carol’s father and faithful adviser, wrote soon after the above interview (November 1871), that ‘under certain circumstances it would seem a sound policy for Rumania to rely upon the support of Austria’. Persevering in this crescendo of suggestion, Austria’s new foreign secretary, Count Andrassy, drifted at length to the point by plainly declaring not long afterwards that ‘Rumania is not so unimportant that one should deprecate an alliance with her’. [Footnote 2: Gabriel Hanotaux, _La Guerre des Balkans et l’Europe_ (Beust, Memoires), Paris, 1914, p. 297.] Prince Carol had accepted the throne with the firm intention of shaking off the Turkish suzerainty at the first opportunity, and not unnaturally he counted upon Germany’s support to that end. He and his country were bitterly disappointed, therefore, when Bismarck appealed directly to the Porte for the settlement of a difference between the Rumanian Government and a German company entrusted with the construction of the Rumanian railways; the more so as the Paris Convention had expressly forbidden any Turkish interference in Rumania’s internal affairs. It thus became increasingly evident that Rumania could not break away from Russia, the coming power in the East. The eyes of Russia were steadfastly fixed on Constantinople: by joining her, Rumania had the best chance of gaining her independence; by not doing so, she ran the risk of being trodden upon by Russia on her way to Byzantium. But though resolved to co-operate with Russia in any eventual action in the Balkans, Prince Carol skilfully avoided delivering himself blindfold into her hands by deliberately cutting himself away from the other guaranteeing powers. To the conference which met in Constantinople at the end of 1876 to settle Balkan affairs he addressed the demand that ‘should war break out between one of the guaranteeing powers and Turkey, Rumania’s line of conduct should be dictated, and her neutrality and rights guaranteed, by the other powers’. This _demarche_ failed. The powers had accepted the invitation to the conference as one accepts an invitation to visit a dying man. Nobody had any illusions on the possibility of averting war, least of all the two powers principally interested. In November 1876 Ali Bey and M. de Nelidov arrived simultaneously and secretly in Bucarest to sound Rumania as to an arrangement with their respective countries, Turkey and Russia. In opposition to his father and Count Andrassy, who counselled neutrality and the withdrawal of the Rumanian army into the mountains, and in sympathy with Bismarck’s advice, Prince Carol concluded a Convention with Russia on April 16, 1877. Rumania promised to the Russian army ‘free passage through Rumanian territory and the treatment due to a friendly army’; whilst Russia undertook to respect Rumania’s political rights, as well as ‘to maintain and defend her actual integrity’. ‘It is pretty certain’, wrote Prince Carol to his father, ‘that this will not be to the liking of most of the great powers; but as they neither can nor will offer us anything, we cannot do otherwise than pass them by. A successful Russian campaign will free us from the nominal dependency upon Turkey, and Europe will never allow Russia to take her place.’ On April 23 the Russian armies passed the Pruth. An offer of active participation by the Rumanian forces in the forthcoming campaign was rejected by the Tsar, who haughtily declared that ‘Russia had no need for the cooperation of the Rumanian army’, and that ‘it was only under the auspices of the Russian forces that the foundation of Rumania’s future destinies could be laid’. Rumania was to keep quiet and accept in the end what Russia would deign to give her, or, to be more correct, take from her. After a few successful encounters, however, the Tsar’s soldiers met with serious defeats before Plevna, and persistent appeals were now urged for the participation of the Rumanian army in the military operations. The moment had come for Rumania to bargain for her interests. But Prince Carol refused to make capital out of the serious position of the Russians; he led his army across the Danube and, at the express desire of the Tsar, took over the supreme command of the united forces before Plevna. After a glorious but terrible struggle Plevna, followed at short intervals by other strongholds, fell, the peace preliminaries were signed, and Prince Carol returned to Bucarest at the head of his victorious army. Notwithstanding the flattering words in which the Tsar spoke of the Rumanian share in the success of the campaign, Russia did not admit Rumania to the Peace Conference. By the Treaty of San Stefano (March 3,1878) Rumania’s independence was recognized; Russia obtained from Turkey the Dobrudja and the delta of the Danube, reserving for herself the right to exchange these territories against the three southern districts of Bessarabia, restored to Rumania by the Treaty of Paris, 1856. This stipulation was by no means a surprise to Rumania, Russia’s intention to recover Bessarabia was well known to the Government, who hoped, however, that the demand would not be pressed after the effective assistance rendered by the Rumanian army. ‘If this be not a ground for the extension of our territory, it is surely none for its diminution,’ remarked Cogalniceanu at the Berlin Congress. Moreover, besides the promises of the Tsar, there was the Convention of the previous year, which, in exchange for nothing more than free passage for the Russian armies, guaranteed Rumania’s integrity. But upon this stipulation Gorchakov put the jesuitical construction that, the Convention being concluded in view of a war to be waged against Turkey, it was only against Turkey that Russia undertook to guarantee Rumania’s integrity; as to herself, she was not in the least bound by that arrangement. And should Rumania dare to protest against, or oppose the action of the Russian Government, ‘the Tsar will order that Rumania be occupied and the Rumanian army disarmed’. ‘The army which fought at Plevna’, replied Prince Carol through his minister, ‘may well be destroyed, but never disarmed.’ There was one last hope left to Rumania: that the Congress which met in Berlin in June 1878 for the purpose of revising the Treaty of San Stefano, would prevent such an injustice. But Bismarck was anxious that no ‘sentiment de dignite blessee’ should rankle in Russia’s future policy; the French representative, Waddington, was ‘above all a practical man’; Corti, the Italian delegate, was ‘nearly rude’ to the Rumanian delegates; while Lord Beaconsfield, England’s envoy, receiving the Rumanian delegates privately, had nothing to say but that ‘in politics the best services are often rewarded with ingratitude’. Russia strongly opposed even the idea that the Rumanian delegates should be allowed to put their case before the Congress, and consent was obtained only with difficulty after Lord Salisbury had ironically remarked that ‘having heard the representatives of Greece, which was claiming foreign provinces, it would be but fair to listen also to the representatives of a country which was only seeking to retain what was its own’. Shortly before, Lord Salisbury, speaking in London to the Rumanian special envoy, Callimaki Catargiu, had assured him of England’s sympathy and of her effective assistance in case either of war or of a Congress. ‘But to be quite candid he must add that there are questions of more concern to England, and should she be able to come to an understanding with Russia with regard to them, she would not wage war for the sake of Rumania.’ Indeed, an understanding came about, and an indiscretion enabled the _Globe_ to make its tenor public early in June 1878. ‘The Government of her Britannic Majesty’, it said, ‘considers that it will feel itself bound to express its deep regret should Russia persist in demanding the retrocession of Bessarabia…. England’s interest in this question is not such, however, as to justify her taking upon herself alone the responsibility of opposing the intended exchange.’ So Bessarabia was lost, Rumania receiving instead Dobrudja with the delta of the Danube. But as the newly created state of Bulgaria was at the time little else than a detached Russian province, Russia, alone amongst the powers, opposed and succeeded in preventing the demarcation to the new Rumanian province of a strategically sound frontier. Finally, to the exasperation of the Rumanians, the Congress made the recognition of Rumania’s independence contingent upon the abolition of Article 7 of the Constitution–which denied to non-Christians the right of becoming Rumanian citizens–and the emancipation of the Rumanian Jews. [Footnote 1: Rumania only partially gave way to this intrusion of the powers into her internal affairs. The prohibition was abolished; but only individual naturalization was made possible, and that by special Act of Parliament. Only a very small proportion of the Jewish population has since been naturalized. The Jewish question in Rumania is undoubtedly a very serious one; but the matter is too controversial to be dealt with in a few lines without risking misrepresentation or doing an injustice to one or other of the parties. For which reason it has not been included in this essay.] It was only after innumerable difficulties and hardships that, at the beginning of 1880, Rumania secured recognition of an independence which she owed to nobody but herself. Whilst Russia was opposing Rumania at every opportunity in the European conferences and commissions, she was at pains to show herself more amenable in _tete-a-tete_, and approached Rumania with favourable proposals. ‘Rather Russia as foe than guardian,’ wrote Prince Carol to his father; and these words indicate an important turning-point in Rumania’s foreign policy. In wresting Bessarabia from Rumania merely as a sop to her own pride, and to make an end of all that was enacted by the Treaty of Paris, 1856, Russia made a serious political blunder. By insisting that Austria should share in the partition of Poland, Frederick the Great had skilfully prevented her from remaining the one country towards which the Poles would naturally have turned for deliverance. Such an opportunity was lost by Russia through her short-sighted policy in Bessarabia–that of remaining the natural ally of Rumania against Rumania’s natural foe, Austria-Hungary. Rumania had neither historical, geographical, nor any important ethnographical points of contact with the region south of the Danube; the aims of a future policy could only have embraced neighbouring tracts of foreign territory inhabited by Rumanians. Whereas up to the date of the Berlin Congress such tracts were confined to Austria-Hungary, by that Congress a similar sphere of attraction for Rumanian aspirations was created in Russia. The interests of a peaceful development demanded that Rumania should maintain friendly relations with both the powers striving for domination in the Near East; it was a vital necessity for her, however, to be able to rely upon the effective support of at least one of them in a case of emergency. Russia’s conduct had aroused a deep feeling of bitterness and mistrust in Rumania, and every lessening of her influence was a step in Austria’s favour. Secondary considerations tended to intensify this: on the one hand lay the fact that through Russia’s interposition Rumania had no defendable frontier against Bulgaria; on the other hand was the greatly strengthened position created for Austria by her alliance with Germany, in whose future Prince Carol had the utmost confidence. [Footnote 1: It is probable that this confederation had much to do with the readiness with which Bismarck supported the demands of his good friend, Gorchakov.] Germany’s attitude towards Rumania had been curiously hostile during these events; but when Prince Carol’s father spoke of this to the German Emperor, the latter showed genuine astonishment: Bismarck had obviously not taken the emperor completely into his confidence. When, a few days later, Sturdza had an interview with Bismarck at the latter’s invitation, the German Chancellor discovered once more that Rumania had nothing to expect from Russia. Indeed, Rumania’s position between Russia and the new Slav state south of the Danube might prove dangerous, were she not to seek protection and assistance from her two ‘natural friends’, France and Germany. And, with his usual liberality when baiting his policy with false hopes, Bismarck went on to say that ‘Turkey is falling to pieces; nobody can resuscitate her; Rumania has an important role to fulfil, but for this she must be wise, cautious, and strong’. This new attitude was the natural counterpart of the change which was at that time making itself felt in Russo-German relations. While a Franco-Russian alliance was propounded by Gorchakov in an interview with a French journalist, Bismarck and Andrassy signed in Gastein the treaty which allied Austria to Germany (September 1879). As Rumania’s interests were identical with those of Austria–wrote Count Andrassy privately to Prince Carol a few months later–namely, to prevent the fusion of the northern and the southern Slavs, she had only to express her willingness to become at a given moment the third party in the compact. In 1883 King Carol accepted a secret treaty of defensive alliance from Austria. In return for promises relating to future political partitions in the Balkans, the monarch pledged himself to oppose all developments likely to speed the democratic evolution, of Rumania. Though the treaty was never submitted to parliament for ratification, and notwithstanding a tariff war and a serious difference with Austria on the question of control of the Danube navigation, Rumania was, till the Balkan wars, a faithful ‘sleeping partner’ of the Triple Alliance. All through that externally quiet period a marked discrepancy existed and developed between that line of policy and the trend of public opinion. The interest of the Rumanians within the kingdom centred increasingly on their brethren in Transylvania, the solution of whose hard case inspired most of the popular national movements. Not on account of the political despotism of the Magyars, for that of the Russians was in no way behind it. But whilst the Rumanians of Bessarabia were, with few exceptions, illiterate peasants, in Transylvania there was a solidly established and spirited middle class, whose protests kept pace with the oppressive measures. Many of them–and of necessity the more turbulent–migrated to Rumania, and there kept alive the ‘Transylvanian Question’. That the country’s foreign policy has nevertheless constantly supported the Central Powers is due, to some extent, to the fact that the generation most deeply impressed by the events of 1878 came gradually to the leadership of the country; to a greater extent to the increasing influence of German education, and the economic and financial supremacy which the benevolent passivity of England and France enabled Germany to acquire; but above all to the personal influence of King Carol. Germany, he considered, was at the beginning of her development and needed, above all, peace; as Rumania was in the same position the wisest policy was to follow Germany, neglecting impracticable national ideals. King Carol outlined his views clearly in an interview which he had in Vienna with the Emperor Franz Joseph in 1883: ‘No nation consents to be bereaved of its political aspirations, and those of the Rumanians are constantly kept at fever heat by Magyar oppression. But this was no real obstacle to a friendly understanding between the two neighbouring states.’ [Footnote 1: Many prominent statesmen like Sturdza, Maiorescu, Carp, &c. were educated in Germany, whereas the school established by the German community (_Evangelische Knaben und Realschule_), and which it under the direct control of the German Ministry of Education, is attended by more pupils than any other school in Bucarest.] Such was the position when the Balkan peoples rose in 1912 to sever the last ties which bound them to the decadent Turkish Empire. King Carol, who had, sword in hand, won the independence of his country, could have no objection to such a desire for emancipation. Nor to the Balkan League itself, unfortunately so ephemeral; for by the first year of his reign he had already approached the Greek Government with proposals toward such a league, and toward freeing the Balkans from the undesirable interference of the powers. It is true that Rumania, like all the other states, had not foreseen the radical changes which were to take place, and which considerably affected her position in the Near East. But she was safe as long as the situation was one of stable equilibrium and the league remained in existence. ‘Rumania will only be menaced by a real danger when a Great Bulgaria comes into existence,’ remarked Prince Carol to Bismarck in 1880, and Bulgaria had done nothing since to allay Rumanian suspicions. On the contrary, the proviso of the Berlin Convention that all fortifications along the Rumania frontier should be razed to the ground had not been carried out by the Bulgarian Government. Bulgarian official publications regarded the Dobrudja as a ‘Bulgaria Irredenta’, and at the outset of the first Balkan war a certain section of the Bulgarian press speculated upon the Bulgarian character of the Dobrudja. [Footnote 1: See Augenzeuge, op. cit., i. 178] The Balkan League having proclaimed, however, that their action did not involve any territorial changes, and the maintenance of the _status quo_ having been insisted upon by the European Concert, Rumania declared that she would remain neutral. All this jugglery of mutual assurances broke down with the unexpected rout of the Turks; the formula ‘the Balkans to the Balkan peoples’ made its appearance, upon which Bulgaria was at once notified that Rumania would insist upon the question of the Dobrudja frontier being included in any fundamental alteration of the Berlin Convention. The Bulgarian Premier, M. Danev, concurred in this point of view, but his conduct of the subsequent London negotiations was so ‘diplomatic’ that their only result was to strain the patience of the Rumanian Government and public opinion to breaking point. Nevertheless, the Rumanian Government agreed that the point in dispute should be submitted to a conference of the representatives of the great powers in St. Petersburg, and later accepted the decision of that conference, though the country considered it highly unsatisfactory. The formation of the Balkan League, and especially the collapse of Turkey, had meant a serious blow to the Central Powers’ policy of peaceful penetration. Moreover, ‘for a century men have been labouring to solve the Eastern. Question. On the day when it shall be considered solved, Europe will inevitably witness the propounding of the Austrian Question.' To prevent this and to keep open a route to the East Austro-German diplomacy set to work, and having engineered the creation of Albania succeeded in barring Serbia’s way to the Adriatic; Serbia was thus forced to seek an outlet in the south, where her interests were doomed to clash with Bulgarian aspirations. The atmosphere grew threatening. In anticipation of a conflict with Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia sought an alliance with Rumania. The offer was declined; but, in accordance with the policy which Bucarest had already made quite clear to Sofia, the Rumanian army was ordered to enter Bulgaria immediately that country attacked her former allies. The Rumanians advanced unopposed to within a few miles of Sofia, and in order to save the capital Bulgaria declared her willingness to comply with their claims. Rumania having refused, however, to conclude a separate peace, Bulgaria had to give way, and the Balkan premiers met in conference at Bucarest to discuss terms. The circumstances were not auspicious. The way in which Bulgaria had conducted previous negotiations, and especially the attack upon her former allies, had exasperated the Rumanians and the Balkan peoples, and the pressure of public opinion hindered from the outset a fair consideration of the Bulgarian point of view. Moreover, cholera was making great ravages in the ranks of the various armies, and, what threatened to be even more destructive, several great powers were looking for a crack in the door to put their tails through, as the Rumanian saying runs. So anxious were the Balkan statesmen to avoid any such interference that they agreed between themselves to a short time limit: on a certain day, and by a certain hour, peace was to be concluded, or hostilities were to start afresh. The treaty was signed on August 10, 1913, Rumania obtaining the line Turtukai-Dobrich-Balchik, this being the line already demanded by her at the time of the London negotiations. The demand was put forth originally as a security against the avowed ambitions of Bulgaria; it was a strategical necessity, but at the same time a political mistake from the point of view of future relations. The Treaty of Bucarest, imperfect arrangement as it was, had nevertheless a great historical significance. ‘Without complicating the discussion of our interests, which we are best in a position to understand, by the consideration of other foreign, interests,’ remarked the President of the Conference, ‘we shall have established for the first time by ourselves peace and harmony amongst our peoples.’ Dynastic interests and impatient ambitions, however, completely subverted this momentous step towards a satisfactory solution of the Eastern Question. [Footnote 1: Albert Sorel, op, cit., p. 266.] The natural counter-effect of the diplomatic activity of the Central Powers was a change in Rumanian policy. Rumania considered the maintenance of the Balkan equilibrium a vital question, and as she had entered upon a closer union with Germany against a Bulgaria subjected to Russian influence, so she now turned to Russia as a guard against a Bulgaria under German influence. This breaking away from the ‘traditional’ policy of adjutancy-in-waiting to the Central Powers was indicated by the visit of Prince Ferdinand–now King of Rumania–to St. Petersburg, and the even more significant visit which Tsar Nicholas afterwards paid to the late King Carol at Constanza. Time has been too short, however, for those new relations so to shape themselves as to exercise a notable influence upon Rumania’s present attitude. 8 _Rumania and the Present War_ _(a) The Rumanians outside the Kingdom_ The axis on which Rumanian foreign policy ought naturally to revolve is the circumstance that almost half the Rumanian nation lives outside Rumanian territory. As the available official statistics generally show political bias it is not possible to give precise figures; but roughly speaking there are about one million Rumanians in Bessarabia, a quarter of a million in Bucovina, three and a half millions in Hungary, while something above half a million form scattered colonies in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia. All these live in more or less close proximity to the Rumanian frontiers. That these Rumanian elements have maintained their nationality is due to purely intrinsic causes. We have seen that the independence of Rumania in her foreign relations had only recently been established, since when the king, the factor most influential in foreign politics, had discouraged nationalist tendencies, lest the country’s internal development might be compromised by friction with neighbouring states. The Government exerted its influence against any active expression of the national feeling, and the few ‘nationalists’ and the ‘League for the cultural unity of all Rumanians’ had been, as a consequence, driven to seek a justification for their existence in antisemitic agitation. The above circumstances had little influence upon the situation in Bucovina. This province forms an integral part of the Habsburg monarchy, with which it was incorporated as early as 1775. The political situation of the Rumanian principalities at the time, and the absence of a national cultural movement, left the detached population exposed to Germanization, and later to the Slav influence of the rapidly expanding Ruthene element. That language and national characteristics have, nevertheless, not been lost is due to the fact that the Rumanian population of Bucovina is peasant almost to a man–a class little amenable to changes of civilization. This also applies largely to Bessarabia, which, first lost in 1812, was incorporated with Rumania in 1856, and finally detached in 1878. The few Rumanians belonging to the landed class were won over by the new masters. But while the Rumanian population was denied any cultural and literary activities of its own, the reactionary attitude of the Russian Government towards education has enabled the Rumanian peasants to preserve their customs and their language. At the same time their resultant ignorance has kept them outside the sphere of intellectual influence of the mother country. The Rumanians who live in scattered colonies south of the Danube are the descendants of those who took refuge in these regions during the ninth and tenth centuries from the invasions of the Huns. Generally known as Kutzo-Vlakhs, or, among themselves, as Aromuni, they are–as even Weigand, who undoubtedly has Bulgarophil leanings, recognizes–the most intelligent and best educated of the inhabitants of Macedonia. In 1905 the Rumanian Government secured from the Porte official recognition of their separate cultural and religious organizations on a national basis. Exposed as they are to Greek influence, it will be difficult to prevent their final assimilation with that people. The interest taken in them of late by the Rumanian Government arose out of the necessity to secure them against pan-Hellenic propaganda, and to preserve one of the factors entitling Rumania to participate in the settlement of Balkan affairs. I have sketched elsewhere the early history of the Rumanians of Transylvania, the cradle of the Rumanian nation. As already mentioned, part of the Rumanian nobility of Hungary went over to the Magyars, the remainder migrating over the mountains. Debarred from the support of the noble class, the Rumanian peasantry lost its state of autonomy, which changed into one of serfdom to the soil upon which they toiled. Desperate risings in 1324, 1437, 1514, 1600, and 1784 tended to case the Hungarian oppression, which up to the nineteenth century strove primarily after a political and religious hegemony. But the Magyars having failed in 1848 in their attempt to free themselves from Austrian domination (defeated with the assistance of a Russian army at Villagos, 1849), mainly on account of the fidelity of the other nationalities to the Austrian Crown, they henceforth directed their efforts towards strengthening their own position by forcible assimilation of those nationalities. This they were able to do, however, only after Koeniggraetz, when a weakened Austria had to give way to Hungarian demands. In 1867 the Dual Monarchy was established, and Transylvania, which up to then formed a separate duchy enjoying full political rights, was incorporated with the new Hungarian kingdom. The Magyars were handicapped in their imperialist ambitions by their numerical inferiority. As the next best means to their end, therefore, they resorted to political and national oppression, class despotism, and a complete disregard of the principles of liberty and humanity. Hungarian was made compulsory in the administration, even in districts where the bulk of the population did not understand that language. In villages completely inhabited by Rumanians so-called ‘State’ schools were founded, in which only Hungarian was to be spoken, and all children upwards of three years of age had to attend them. The electoral regulations were drawn up in such a manner that the Rumanians of Transylvania, though ten times more numerous than the Magyars, sent a far smaller number than do the latter to the National Assembly. To quash all protest a special press law was introduced for Transylvania. But the Rumanian journalists being usually acquitted by the juries a new regulation prescribed that press offences should be tried only at Kluj (Klausenburg)–the sole Transylvanian town with a predominating Hungarian population–a measure which was in fundamental contradiction to the principles of justice. In 1892 the Rumanian grievances were embodied in a memorandum which was to have been presented to the emperor by a deputation. An audience was, however, refused, and at the instance of the Hungarian Government the members of the deputation were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for having plotted against the unity of the Magyar state. [Footnote 1: The Rumanians inhabit mainly the province of Transylvania, Banat, Crishiana, and Maramuresh. They represent 46.2 per cent. of the total population of these provinces, the Magyars 32.5 per cent., the Germans 11.5 per cent., and the Serbs 4.5 per cent. These figured are taken from official Hungarian statistics, and it may therefore be assumed that the Rumanian percentage represents a minimum.] [Footnote 2: Over a period of 22 years (1886-1908) 850 journalists were charged, 367 of whom were Rumanians; the sentences totalling 216 years of imprisonment, the fines amounting to Fcs. 138,000.] Notwithstanding these disabilities the Rumanians of Transylvania enjoyed a long period of comparative social and economic liberty at a time when Turkish and Phanariote domination was hampering all progress in Rumania. Office under the Government growing increasingly difficult to obtain, the Rumanians in Transylvania turned largely to commercial and the open professions, and, as a result, a powerful middle class now exists. In their clergy, both of the Orthodox and the Uniate Church–which last, while conducting its ritual in the vernacular, recognizes papal supremacy– the Rumanians have always found strong moral support, while the national struggle tends to unite the various classes. The Rumanians of Hungary form by far the sanest element in the Rumanian nation. From the Rumanians within the kingdom they have received little beside sympathy. The important part played by the country at the Peace of Bucarest, and her detachment from Austria-Hungary, must necessarily have stimulated the national consciousness of the Transylvanians; while at the same time all hope for betterment from within must have ceased at the death of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, an avowed friend of the long-suffering nationalities. It is, therefore, no mere matter of conjecture that the passive attitude of the Rumanian Government at the beginning of the present conflict must have been a bitter disappointment to them. _(b) Rumania’s Attitude_ The tragic development of the crisis in the summer of 1914 threw Rumania into a vortex of unexpected hopes and fears. Aspirations till then considered little else than Utopian became tangible possibilities, while, as suddenly, dangers deemed far off loomed large and near. Not only was such a situation quite unforeseen, nor had any plan of action been preconceived to meet it, but it was in Rumania’s case a situation unique from the number of conflicting considerations and influences at work within it. Still under the waning influence of the thirty years quasi-alliance with Austria, Rumania was not yet acclimatized to her new relations with Russia. Notwithstanding the inborn sympathy with and admiration for France, the Rumanians could not be blind to Germany’s military power. The enthusiasm that would have sided with France for France’s sake was faced by the influence of German finance. Sympathy with Serbia existed side by side with suspicion of Bulgaria. Popular sentiment clashed with the views of the king; and the bright vision of the ‘principle of nationality’ was darkened by the shadow of Russia as despot of the Near East. One fact in the situation stood out from the rest, namely, the unexpected opportunity of redeeming that half of the Rumanian nation which was still under foreign rule; the more so as one of the parties in the conflict had given the ‘principle of nationality’ a prominent place in its programme. But the fact that both Austria-Hungary and Russia had a large Rumanian population among their subjects rendered a purely national policy impossible, and Rumania could do nothing but weigh which issue offered her the greater advantage. Three ways lay open: complete neutrality, active participation on the side of the Central Powers, or common cause with the Triple Entente. Complete neutrality was advocated by a few who had the country’s material security most at heart, and also, as a _pis aller_, by those who realized that their opinion that Rumania should make common cause with the Central Powers had no prospect of being acted upon. That King Carol favoured the idea of a joint action with Germany is likely enough, for such a policy was in keeping with his faith in the power of the German Empire. Moreover, he undoubtedly viewed with satisfaction the possibility of regaining Bessarabia, the loss of which must have been bitterly felt by the victor of Plevna. Such a policy would have met with the approval of many Rumanian statesmen, notably of M. Sturdza, sometime leader of the Liberal party and Prime Minister; of M. Carp, sometime leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister; of M. Maiorescu, ex-Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, who presided at the Bucarest Conference of 1913; of M. Marghiloman, till recently leader of the Conservative party, to name only the more important. M. Sturdza, the old statesman who had been one of King Carol’s chief coadjutors in the making of modern Rumania, and who had severed for many years his connexion with active politics, again took up his pen to raise a word of warning. M. Carp, the political aristocrat who had retired from public life a few years previously, and had professed a lifelong contempt for the ‘Press and all its works’, himself started a daily paper (_Moldova_) which, he intended should expound his views. Well-known writers like M. Radu Rosetti wrote espousing the cause favoured by the king, though not for the king’s reasons: Carol had faith in Germany, the Rumanians mistrusted Russia. They saw no advantage in the dismemberment of Austria, the most powerful check to Russia’s plans in the Near East. They dreaded the idea of seeing Russia on the Bosphorus, as rendering illusory Rumania’s splendid position at the mouth of the Danube. For not only is a cheap waterway absolutely necessary for the bulky products forming the chief exports of Rumania; but these very products, corn, petroleum, and timber, also form the chief exports of Russia, who, by a stroke of the pen, may rule Rumania out of competition, should she fail to appreciate the political leadership of Petrograd. Paris and Rome were, no doubt, beloved sisters; but Sofia, Moscow, and Budapest were next-door neighbours to be reckoned with. [Footnote 1: See R. Rosetti, _Russian Politics at Work in the Rumanian Countries_, facts compiled from French official documents, Bucarest, 1914.] Those who held views opposed to those, confident in the righteousness of the Allies’ cause and in their final victory, advocated immediate intervention, and to that end made the most of the two sentiments which animated public opinion: interest in the fate of the Transylvanians, and sympathy with France. They contended that though a purely national policy was not possible, the difference between Transylvania and Bessarabia in area and in number and quality of the population was such that no hesitation was admissible. The possession of Transylvania was assured if the Allies were successful; whereas Russia would soon recover if defeated, and would regain Bessarabia by force of arms, or have it once more presented to her by a Congress anxious to soothe her ‘sentiment de dignite blessee’. A Rumania enlarged in size and population had a better chance of successfully withstanding any eventual pressure from the north, and it was clear that any attempt against her independence would be bound to develop into a European question. Rumania could not forget what she owed to France; and if circumstances had made the Transylvanian question one ‘a laquelle on pense toujours et dont on ne parle jamais’, the greater was the duty, now that a favourable opportunity had arisen, to help the brethren across the mountains. It was also a duty to fight for right and civilization, proclaimed M. Take Ionescu, the exponent of progressive ideas in Rumanian politics; and he, together with the prominent Conservative statesman, M. Filipescu, who loathes the idea of the Rumanians being dominated by the inferior Magyars, are the leaders of the interventionist movement. It was due to M. Filipescu’s activity, especially, that M. Marghiloman was forced by his own party to resign his position as leader on account of his Austrophil sentiments–an event unparalleled in Rumanian politics. These were the two main currents of opinion which met in conflict at the Crown Council–a committee _ad hoc_ consisting of the Cabinet and the leaders of the Opposition–summoned by the king early in August 1914, when Rumania’s neutrality was decided upon. The great influence which the Crown can always wield under the Rumanian political system was rendered the more potent in the present case by the fact that the Premier, M. Bratianu, is above all a practical man, and the Liberal Cabinet over which he presides one of the most colourless the country ever had: a Cabinet weak to the point of being incapable of realizing its own weakness and the imperative necessity at this fateful moment of placing the helm in the hands of a national ministry. M. Bratianu considered that Rumania was too exposed, and had suffered too much in the past for the sake of other countries, to enter now upon such an adventure without ample guarantees. There would always be time for her to come in. This policy of opportunism he was able to justify by powerful argument. The supply of war material for the Rumanian army had been completely in the hands of German and Austrian arsenals, and especially in those of Krupp. For obvious reasons Rumania could no longer rely upon that source; indeed, Germany was actually detaining contracts for war and sanitary material placed with her before the outbreak of the war. There was the further consideration that, owing to the nature of Rumania’s foreign policy in the past, no due attention had been given to the defence of the Carpathians, nor to those branches of the service dealing with mountain warfare. On the other hand, a continuous line of fortifications running from Galatz to Focshani formed, together with the lower reaches of the Danube, a strong barrier against attack from the north. Rumania’s geographical position is such that a successful offensive from Hungary could soon penetrate to the capital, and by cutting the country in two could completely paralyse its organization. Such arguments acquired a magnified importance in the light of the failure of the negotiations with Bulgaria, and found many a willing ear in a country governed by a heavily involved landed class, and depending almost exclusively in its banking organization upon German and Austrian capital. From the point of view of practical politics only the issue of the conflict will determine the wisdom or otherwise of Rumania’s attitude. But, though it is perhaps out of place to enlarge upon it here, it is impossible not to speak of the moral aspect of the course adopted. By giving heed to the unspoken appeal from Transylvania the Rumanian national spirit would have been quickened, and the people braced to a wholesome sacrifice. Many were the wistful glances cast towards the Carpathians by the subject Rumanians, as they were being led away to fight for their oppressors; but, wilfully unmindful, the leaders of the Rumanian state buried their noses in their ledgers, oblivious of the fact that in these times of internationalism a will in common, with aspirations in common, is the very life-blood of nationality. That sentiment ought not to enter into politics is an argument untenable in a country which has yet to see its national aspirations fulfilled, and which makes of these aspirations definite claims. No Rumanian statesman can contend that possession of Transylvania is necessary to the existence of the Rumanian state. What they can maintain is that deliverance from Magyar oppression is vital to the existence of the Transylvanians. The right to advance such a claim grows out of their very duty of watching over the safety of the subject Rumanians. ‘When there are squabbles in the household of my brother-in-law,’ said the late Ioan Bratianu when speaking on the Transylvanian question, ‘it is no affair of mine; but when he raises a knife against his wife, it is not merely my right to intervene, it is my duty.’ It is difficult to account for the obliquity of vision shown by so many Rumanian politicians. ‘The whole policy of such a state [having a large compatriot population living in close proximity under foreign domination] must be primarily influenced by anxiety as to the fate of their brothers, and by the duty of emancipating them,’ affirms one of the most ardent of Rumanian nationalist orators; and he goes on to assure us that ‘if Rumania waits, it is not from hesitation as to her duty, but simply in order that she may discharge it more completely’. Meantime, while Rumania waits, regiments composed almost completely of Transylvanians have been repeatedly and of set purpose placed in the forefront of the battle, and as often annihilated. Such could never be the simple-hearted Rumanian peasant’s conception of his duty, and here, as in so many other cases in the present conflict, the nation at large must not be judged by the policy of the few who hold the reins. [Footnote 1: _Quarterly Review_, London, April, 1915, pp. 449-50.] Rumania’s claims to Transylvania are not of an historical nature. They are founded upon the numerical superiority of the subject Rumanians in Transylvania, that is upon the ‘principle of nationality’, and are morally strengthened by the treatment the Transylvanians suffer at the hands of the Magyars. By its passivity, however, the Rumanian Government has sacrificed the prime factor of the ‘principle of nationality’ to the attainment of an object in itself subordinate to that factor; that is, it has sacrificed the ‘people’ in order to make more sure of the ‘land’. In this way the Rumanian Government has entered upon a policy of acquisition; a policy which Rumania is too weak to pursue save under the patronage of one or a group of great powers; a policy unfortunate inasmuch as it will deprive her of freedom of action in her external politics. Her policy will, in its consequences, certainly react to the detriment of the position acquired by the country two years ago, when independent action made her arbiter not only among the smaller Balkan States, but also among those and her late suzerain, Turkey. Such, indeed, must inevitably be the fate of Balkan politics in general. Passing from Turkish domination to nominal Turkish suzerainty, and thence to independence within the sphere of influence of a power or group of powers, this gradual emancipation of the states of south-eastern Europe found its highest expression in the Balkan League. The war against Turkey was in effect a rebellion against the political tutelage of the powers. But this emancipation was short-lived. By their greed the Balkan States again opened up a way to the intrusion of foreign diplomacy, and even, as we now see, of foreign troops. The first Balkan war marked the zenith of Balkan political emancipation; the second Balkan war was the first act in the tragic _debacle_ out of which the present situation developed. The interval between August 1913 (Peace of Bucarest) and August 1914 was merely an armistice during which Bulgaria and Turkey recovered their breath, and German and Austrian diplomacy had time to find a pretext for war on its own account. ‘Exhausted but not vanquished we have had to furl our glorious standards in order to await better days,’ said Ferdinand of Bulgaria to his soldiers after the conclusion of the Peace of Bucarest; and Budapest, Vienna, and Berlin have no doubt done their best to keep this spirit of revenge alive and to prevent a renascence of the Balkan Alliance. They have succeeded. They have done more: they have succeeded in causing the ‘principle of nationality’–that idea which involves the disruption of Austria–to be stifled by the very people whom it was meant to save. For whilst the German peoples are united in this conflict, the majority of the southern Slavs, in fighting the German battles, are fighting to perpetuate the political servitude of the subject races of Austria-Hungary. However suspicious Rumania may be of Russia, however bitter the quarrels between Bulgars, Greeks, and Serbs, it is not, nor can it ever be natural, that peoples who have groaned under Turkish despotism for centuries should, after only one year of complete liberation, join hands with an old and dreaded enemy not only against their fellow sufferers, but even against those who came ‘to die that they may live’. These are the Dead Sea fruits of dynastic policy. Called to the thrones of the small states of the Near East for the purpose of creating order and peace, the German dynasties have overstepped their function and abused the power entrusted to them. As long as, in normal times, political activities were confined to the diplomatic arena there was no peril of rousing the masses out of their ignorant indolence; but, when times are abnormal, it is a different and a dangerous thing to march these peoples against their most intimate feelings. When, as the outcome of the present false situation, sooner or later the dynastic power breaks, it will then be for the powers who are now fighting for better principles not to impose their own views upon the peoples, or to place their own princes upon the vacant thrones. Rather must they see that the small nations of the Near East are given a chance to develop in peace and according to their proper ideals; that they be not again subjected to the disintegrating influence of European diplomacy; and that, above all, to the nations in common, irrespective of their present attitude, there should be a just application of the ‘principle of nationality’.