Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
excellent debater, he is not a good linguist.  In Roumania they say, ’Rosetti thinks and Bratiano speaks,’ but Bratiano thinks as well as speaks.  So completely at one are the two statesmen that many of the uninformed poorer classes who have not seen them believe them to be one person, whom they call ‘Bratiano-Rosetti,’ and whilst we were in Bucarest we saw a caricature (an art in which the Roumanians take great delight) where the two statesmen were depicted as the Siamese twins.

[Illustration:  M. BRATIANO.]

The aim and policy of M. Bratiano are well expressed in one of his despatches on the question of the Danube, which were made public by that diplomatic phenomenon M. Callimaki-Catargi.  ‘Our attitude,’ he says, ’like the whole policy of the ministry to which I belong, has always been, and ever should be, defensive, not offensive.’[198]

Amongst the other leaders of political thought in Roumania is Prince Demeter Ghika, President of the Senate, a fine burly good-natured gentleman of the old school; Prince Jon Ghika, at present the Roumanian Ambassador in London, a patriot and a savant, whose sons were educated in England; M. Statesco, the Foreign Minister, a young and promising statesman; M. Stourdza, the director of the National Credit Association; and there are doubtless many others of whom we do not like to speak without a nearer acquaintance, or better information than we possess.  One of these is M. Cogalniceanu, a deputy, who has written a good history of Roumania, was a minister under Prince Couza, and we believe the author of the celebrated Act of 1864 which created the peasant proprietary of the country.[199]

[Footnote 197:  There are daily papers in Bucarest for readers of every nationality resident there, the Romanal, Independance Roumaine, Bukarester Tagblatt, &c., all of which are free to say whatever they please—­and they say it!]

[Footnote 198:  Despatch, February 1, 1880.]

[Footnote 199:  Of the leaders of intellectual thought and industries in Roumania we have already spoken elsewhere.]


From men to measures is a natural transition in politics.  Although we have endeavoured to show, and do not hesitate to repeat here, that some of the great principles laid down in the Constitution of Roumania are only beginning to be carried out in practice, it is but just to add that the vigour and energy with which the party of progress has of late years developed the resources of the country is a matter of surprise and admiration even to foreigners resident there who are acquainted with our Western methods.  The present regime began, as we have already said, in 1875, and since that time the foreign policy of the party in power first liberated the nation from the last vestige of foreign despotism; then firmly established it as a European kingdom.  That they occasionally make mistakes no one can deny.  For

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