Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.

[Footnote 163:  This is not the Gregory Ghika already referred to.  Members of the different families were distinguished by the affix I. II.  III. &c.]

[Footnote 164:  Who this ‘Sir Francis’ was, we have not been able to ascertain.]

VII.

Shortly after this time, the Hellenic regeneration, or the Hetaerie as it was called, commenced in the south-east of Europe.  This movement, which liberated Greece from the Ottoman yoke, brought much misery but ultimate gain to Roumania.  In 1821 there reigned in Wallachia Alexander Soutzo III., and in Moldavia Michael Soutzo III., two Phanariotes who, true to their traditions, had pressed upon the people with their exactions until they were ripe for a revolt.  This took place in Wallachia under Theodor (or, as he is sometimes called, Tudor) Vladimiresco, an ex-officer in the Russian army (indeed, Russia is said to have fomented the Greek revolt everywhere); whilst in Moldavia a Greek called Alexander Ypsilanti joined with the reigning hospodar to drive the Turks out of that principality.  Vladimiresco soon succeeded in establishing himself in Bucarest, where he ruled supreme for a short time, and whence he sent representations to the Porte complaining of the conduct of the Phanariotes, requiring their recall and the reinstatement of the native hospodars, as well as a restitution of the rights of the people under the old ‘capitulations.’  The reply to this was the entrance into Wallachia of a considerable army under the Pasha of Silistria, whereupon Vladimiresco withdrew towards the mountains and stationed himself at Pitesti.  Ypsilanti, meanwhile, had also approached Bucarest with his forces, but was unable to come to an understanding with his companion in revolt.  When he heard of the withdrawal of Vladimiresco and the march of the Turkish Pasha, he believed, or professed to believe, that the former was about to betray him, and the scene of Basta and Michael was acted over again.  Ypsilanti sent one of his lieutenants with a strong escort who decoyed Vladimiresco out of his tent by vain promises, carried him off by force, and then murdered him with great barbarity.

After the assassination of his rival, Ypsilanti, who claimed to represent the movement for Greek regeneration, found himself face to face with a well-organised Turkish army, whilst his own, consisting of enthusiastic Greeks and volunteers from various countries, was inferior in numbers and comparatively undisciplined.  Holding discretion to be the better part of valour, he retired before the enemy, who, however, brought him to bay and offered him battle at Dragosani on the river Oltu.  Here enthusiasm and devotion to their cause inspired the ’sacred battalion,’ as the Greeks called themselves, with unwonted courage, and at first the Turks were unable to resist their impetuous charge with the bayonet.  Ypsilanti was, however, no general, and, failing to profit by the bravery of his troops, the advantage was lost; the Turks rallied, a rout ensued, and Ypsilanti fled, leaving his lieutenants to resist for a time and then to die gloriously in defence of their liberties.  He escaped across the Carpathians into Austria, was seized by order of the Government, imprisoned in the fortress of Munkacs, and some writers say he was afterwards executed.

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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