Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
this ruthless strife could have none, and might with justice have exclaimed, ‘A plague on both your houses!’ What cared they, on the one hand (and this was the popular sentiment), for the hypocritical crusade undertaken for purposes of aggrandisement; or, on the other, what sympathy could they have with the moribund State which had ever been to them as the daughters of the horseleech, and whose atrocities were identical with those that were perpetrated in the days when Huns and Vandals devastated their own fair plains?  If Roumania in her then condition (now it would be different) had opposed the passage of the Russian forces, they would have entered her territory as enemies, the war would have been carried on once more within her borders, and, beggared and prostrate, she might at best have reckoned upon retaining her political independence through the intervention of the European Powers; though, looking at the fact that these had recognised Russia as their executioner in Turkey, it is very questionable whether they would have interfered for the protection of Roumania, and whether she would not have fallen to Russia along with Bessarabia.  On the other hand, if she had actively sided with either Power, her national independence and the happiness of her people would have been staked upon the result.  She chose the wise, and indeed the only course, namely, that of allowing her powerful neighbour to pass through her dominions, stipulating that, so far as Russia could help it, she should be spared the desolation and horrors of war within her frontiers.  But what course did the Porte adopt?  Not recognising the force majeure which had driven Roumania to this decision, she was suicidal enough to declare her an enemy, and to threaten to depose the Prince, thus giving to her bitterest foe an ally who, at a critical period, in self-defence, turned the scale against her, and caused her to lose some of her fairest provinces.  For the Roumanians well knew, after the declared enmity of the Porte, that the defeat of the Russians and their withdrawal into their own territories would at once have been followed by all the incidents of Turkish rule, of which for centuries they had had such a bitter experience.

Amongst the valuable services which Prince Charles had rendered to his adopted country before the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war was the organisation of a national army on the German model.  Under Prince Couza the whole standing army of the two Principalities was at first 8,400 men, but he raised it to 25,000 strong, and officered it on the French system.  When Prince Charles received the investiture at the hands of the Sultan in 1867, the army was limited to 30,000 men of all ranks; but he substituted German for French officers, and sent young Roumanians to Germany to study military tactics.  In 1874 the standing army numbered 18,542 men of all arms, and the territorial forces 43,744, making a total of 62,286 men and 14,353 horses; these were armed with 52 steel Krupp guns, besides about 200 of an inferior description; 25,000 Peabody rifles, and 20,000 Prussian needle-guns, raised in 1875 to 100,000 rifles of the best description.[174] The sanitary services and the military hospitals had been organised by General Dr. Davila, a French physician, of whom we have frequently spoken elsewhere, and who still occupies the post of Director of Hospitals, &c., and of the Medical School at Bucarest.[175]

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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