Roumania Past and Present eBook

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

VIII.

Two important results for Roumania resulted from the Greek rising.  The first was the termination of the Phanariote rule and the restoration of the native princes, Gregory Ghika being appointed Prince of Wallachia, and John Stourdza of Moldavia.  The reason of this change was that the Greek hospodars had made common cause with the insurgents; and we cannot do better than close this eventful period in the history of the country than by summarising the Phanariote rule in the words of Consul Wilkinson, who says:  ’From the period at which this system was introduced to the beginning of the present century, being a space of ninety years, Wallachia alone has passed through the hands of forty different princes independently of the time when it was occupied by the Russians from 1770 to 1774, by the Austrians and Russians from 1789 to 1792, and by the Russians again from 1806 to 1812.’  ’Few of them died of natural death, and the Turkish scimetar was perhaps frequently employed with justice amongst them.  In a political point of view, the short reigns of most of these princes offer nothing of importance or interest to deserve a place in history.’[165] From this brief judgment of one who lived at the time of their extinction, our readers will see that we have not dealt uncharitably with the regime of the Phanariotes.

Another of the results of the Greek insurrection was the inevitable Russo-Turkish war.  Then followed the occupation of the country by the Russians; what Carlyle might have called the hand-shaking of incompatible tyrannies; and eventually the Peace of Adrianople, to which city the Russian arms had penetrated (1829).  The stipulations of that treaty may be summed up in a few words.  A large indemnity to Russia, with continued occupation until it should be liquidated, and a Muscovite protectorate of the Principalities; the suzerainty and an annual tribute for the Porte, and complete autonomy with the appointment of life-long hospodars for the Principalities.  By a subsequent ukase known as the ‘Reglement Organique,’ the Court of St. Petersburg further expressed its wishes in regard to the internal government of the Principalities; and this document having been confirmed by the Porte after great procrastination, the Russian forces were withdrawn from the Principalities in 1834, and two princes of the houses of Stourdza and Ghika were again appointed hospodars.

[Footnote 165:  P. 44.]

IX.

We have said that two phases in the history of this period are interesting to the historian—­the gradual encroachments of Russia on the one hand, and on the other the patriotic efforts of the nationalists to secure independence.  With the Greek rising of 1821-2, and the prospect of complete liberty, a new spirit was awakened, which took the form first of a national intellectual regeneration, and then of

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