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But the progress of that development, and the certain possession of a station among European nations, unfortunately depended less either upon its relations with other civilised countries, or upon its own capacity for development, as upon the overwhelming power of an Oriental race, which was at that moment increasing wonderfully in strength, and was rapidly advancing towards the south of Europe.
Introduced by Cantacuzenus himself, the Osmanlis had already obtained a footing in Thrace, and it had become imperative upon the Servians to unite in resisting a power which, with the Arabs, had wrested nearly half the world from the Christian faith ; when their great ruler Stephan, died, before he had completed the empire of which he had laid the foundation, and ere he had strengthened his power by the bulwark of national institutions.
To the compact despotism of the Osmanlis, the Servians had thus to oppose the total disunion that occurred upon the death of their head, into powerful classes under distinct woiwodes or barons palatine. The son of Stephan soon lost the Roumelian districts acquired by his predecessors, nor could the ancient Servian countries long resist the Turkish power. In the time of Bajazet, Stephan Lasarewitsh had fought with the sultan, to whom he had given his sister to wife, in the great battles of Nicopolis and Angora. The Turks claimed the whole country upon the death of the prince, on the ground of relationship, and in 1438 the first mosque arose at Kruschewaz, and Turkish garrisons were placed in the fortresses of Golubaz and Smederewo (Semendria) on the Danube; and in Nowobrdo (Nova-berda), the most ancient of the Servian towns, in the immediate vicinity of the richest mines.
George Brankowitsh, allying himself to the renowned John Hunyad, revived for a time the fallen fortunes of his country, and obtained an advantageous peace. The fatal battle of Varna, in 1444, in which the Hungarian and Polish forces were defeated by the Turks, however, completed a downfall which was also hastened by church dissensions. The Servians preferred giving themselves over to the Turks, to accepting the Latin rites. They invited the Osmanlis into their fortresses, that they might not see their strongholds given over to the Romish church. But in so doing they little anticipated the fate that awaited them. The fanatical moslems preached the doctrine that no faith ought to be kept with infidels, and the prince and chief nobles of the country (at least all such as did not embrace Muhammedanism.) were put to death. The country was divided among the Spahis, who received tithes and taxes; and among
the janissaries-a warrior caste, whose privileges resulted from their religionto support and serve whom was the lot of the rayahs, as the Servians now became--and who were compelled to till the land and to pay the taxes. At the same time the patriarchate was united with that of Constantinople, and Greek bishops were placed over the Servian church.
Thus subjected, the Servian no longer existed as an independent being. No Servian dared to ride into a town on horseback; he was only to appear on foot; and to any Turk who might demand it, he was bound to render personal service. When meeting a Turk on the road, it was his duty to halt, and make way for him ; and if he happened to carry small arms in defence against robbers, he was obliged to conceal them. To suffer injuries was his duty; to resent them was deemed a crime.
The consequence was that the Servians soon learnt to live as much as possible apart from the Turks, and the physical features of the country
lent itself to this arrangement.
The Turks, as elsewhere in the present day, lived in the towns and the fortresses, while the Servians retired to the villages. Many of the Servians at the same time fled from oppression to the mountains and forests, where they lay in ambush for such Turks as they knew would be passing the road, especially those sent with treasure to Constantinople. Hence they were termed heyducs or robbers, and these heyducs afterwards played a prominent part in re-establishing the nationality of the country.
For with the progress of time a number of circumstances combined to relieve the prostrate Servians from their thraldom, although they have never been able to regain their total independence, still less their pristine national distinction. Among the first of these causes operating in their favour, was the dissension that existed among the Osmanlis themselves. The spahis, living constantly in the country had an interest distinct from that of the pashas, who resided there only for a short time, and the janissaries, strong by the united body which they formed throughout the empire, were opposed to both.
In 1788, the Emperor Joseph took the Servian patriachate under his protection, and united with Russia to overthrow the dominion of the Turks in Europe. The Servians assisted materially in the war that followed especially at the siege of Belgrade, in 1789, but national jealousies stood in the way of the interests of Christendom, and England and France insisted upon Servia and its fortresses being restored to the sultan.
The spirit of national independence had, however, once more been aroused and could not be suppressed by diplomatic protocols, and circumstances soon occurred to heighten the horror and detestation in which their moslem masters were held, to the very highest degree. Of all the janissaries in the empire, none were more opposed to the reforms of Sultan Selim than those at Belgrade. When Abu Bekir was commissioned Pasha of Servia with orders to expel the janissaries, Passwan Oglu (apparently a Turkoman by his name) Pasha of Widdin made common cause with the warrior caste, and rose in rebellion against his master. HajiMustafa,* successor to Abu Bekir, was obliged to call the Servians to arms to resist the rebel Turkoman, and supported by the Turks the Servians were again victorious. But the Sublime Porte became afraid of these very successes, the more bigoted moslems only saw in them, Christian subjects raised to importance at the expense of the faithful. Their policy underwent a complete change. Passwan was taken into high favour, and the janissaries were ordered to re-enter Servia. One of the first things they did was to seize Belgrade, and murder the pasha,
their own Dahis like the Deys of Algiers, drive the spahis from the country, usurp property and land, and then commence an indiscriminate slaughter of every person of any consideration in the country. Horror prevailed throughout the country, and the belief gained ground that it was intended to extirpate the entire population.
There are degrees, however, even in the subjugation of a people. The peasants and shepherds who had fled to the mountains were there joined by the heyducs, and they resolved to unite and rather than wait till they should have to suffer death, chained by the hangmen of the Dahis, to
* Mrs. Kerr, in her translation of Ranke, has unfortunately preserved the German orthography of Oriental names, which can only lead the English reader inta error. Thus for rayah, subject, she writes raja ; for haji, pilgrim, hadschi, &c.
seek it boldly as freemen. At the first shot that was fired, the whole country rose. George Petrowitsch better known by his Turkish name of Kara George, the “black” George, who had been at once a heyduc and had also carried on a peaceful calling, was appointed chief. Encouraged by their first successes, the Servians assailed their enemies in their fortresses. Everywhere success attended their efforts. From the Save to the Danube, the whole country was covered by the patriots. The pasha of Bosnia and the Osmanlis who were opposed to the janissaries, made common cause with them, and the Dahis were defeated and expelled the country.
The Servians, who had now thrice come off victorious in conflict with the Turks, were not likely to return to their former condition. They looked to those who had led them on to victory as their chiefs, and not to the pashas who still held the fortresses. They sought the aid of Russia to obtain redress for their grievances, and this was readily granted to them. Kara George recommenced systematic hostilities. Hafiz, pasha of Nish, was deputed by the sultan to disarm the rayab, but he was driven back at the
onset. The same brilliant success attended Kara George's opposition, after the capture of Semendria, to Ibrahim Pasha and his forty thousand Bosnians. Schabaz and Belgrade fell into the hands of the Servians, the Turks were driven out of the country, and the natives, free and armed, proceeded to the establishment of a regular government.
Unfortunately, grounds for continuous dissension presented themselves here. The tendency towards military despotism, as represented by Kara George, was counterbalanced by the formation of a senate. Russia mixed itself
with the internal affairs of the state, and while Kara George was opposed to the Greek supremacy, a large body of the senate sided with the Russian.
Upon the rise of Napoleon, the position of Servia fluctuated with that of the surrounding countries. Held in check, while the Turk was in close alliance with the Emperor of the French, the treaty of Tilsit once more threw them into more intimate relations with the Russians than with the Turks. At the recommencement of hostilities in 1809, Servia was openly supported by Russia. The usual success attended Kara George, which was, however, lost to the Servians by internal dissensions. Reinforced by 3000 Russians, the Turks were again defeated in 1810, and the soil was once more wrested from the dominion of Islamism, and, after many internal troubles, and the occupation of Belgrade by a Russian regiment, Kara George ultimately became the supreme head of the state.
It is impossible to follow out the intrigues and dissensions, the difficulties and strifes in which the anomalous position of Servia, destitute of that one foundation of all national existence in Europe—the acknowledgment of their being a distinct political state-was placed. Notwithstanding the stipulations made by the Russians at the treaty of Bucharest in 1812, the Turks recommenced hostilities in 1813. Kara George no longer proved himself the same man as a sovereign that he had been as a mountain chief ; with his defection and the death of Weliko, the Servian cause was once more lost, and Semendria and Belgrade were again occupied by the Turks.
Although Kara George had taken refuge in Austria, the Osmanlis still found themselves under the necessity of requesting the assistance of the
yet unsubdued chieftains of the country, and for these purposes they opened negotiations with the only remaining gospodar--Milosch Obrenowitsh—who accepted the difficult task of pacifying the country. The oppression and cruelty of the Turks soon, however, brought about a new insurrection, the pasha disregarded his promises made to the gospodar, and the latter fled from Belgrade to place himself at the head of his wronged and deceived countrymen. During the greater part of 1815 an internal warfare was carried on with various success, but chiefly in favour of the Servians under Milosch. At length Kurshid Pasha having been succeeded by Marash-li Pasha, who professed to be more conciliatory in his disposition, peace was established, and the Turks were allowed to garrison the fortresses. Milosch, ambitious of being, after the Turk, sole head of the state, effected the destruction of his rival Moler, who had been appointed president of the national assembly. Bishop Niktschitsh was another victim to internal dissensions, and the once heroic and dreaded Kara George, having ventured to return to his country, also met with an ignominious death.
Nor was Milosch's government established without even more bloodshed and rebellion, but at length, upon the successful revolt of Greece, the rule of the Servian prince becoming acceptable to Sultan Mahmud, his dignities were made hereditary in his family, and the only struggle that remained was between the absolute power of the prince and the liberty of the subject, and which was ultimately decided in favour of the latter, and Milosch was obliged to abdicate in favour of his son Milan. The seat of government was now removed to Belgrade, where the Turkish pasha dwelt, and two senators were included with the prince in the government. Michael, who succeeded to Milan, having refused to grant the demands of the people, Wutschitsch, one of his associates in power, assumed the sole direction of affairs, while Alexander, son of Kara George, was nominally chosen as prince. When, through the interference of the European powers in 1840, the Osmanlis were again strengthened by the defeat of the Egyptians, the self-confidence of the Porte materially increased, and infused itself even into its treatment of Servia, where Kiamil pasha officially countenanced the election of the new prince and his prime minister, in opposition to the fallen Obrenowitsch's who were supported by Russian influence. Austria, however, having united its influence with Russia, in settling the Servian question, a middle course was ultimately taken to preserve peace. Georgewitsch remained in power, but Wutschitsch was deposed, and Kiamil Pasha was replaced by Hafiz, the defeated of Nizib. By these last arrangements, also, the sultan no longer exacts the capitation tax, the spahis no longer enjoy a distribution of the village lands amongst themselves, and the Turks are restricted to the fortresses, and although it cannot be asserted that the present position of Servian affairs is such as to inspire much confidence, still the progress of the spirit of the west towards the east is far too powerful, and its secret, or open advance, too universal, to admit of its ever being deprived of the ascendency which it has now acquired. It is this which constitutes the deep interest excited, amidst all its local intricacies, by the Servian emancipation, and which must insure to Mr. Ranke's able work a just and well-deserved popularity, for it will be a sad disgrace to this country if we are ever the last in acknowledging the claims of Christian nations subjected to the yoke of the infidel, to the attention and active sympathy of the enlightened and powerful governments of Christendom.
The season of 1847 is over ; the ship is safe in port, and, after receiving not a few hostile shots, is declared to have proved victorious. If the beginning of the season was not in every respect so very brilliant, if it did force a little crop of opposition to vegetate somewhat luxuriantly, no matter,--all has been withered by a breath from Jenny Lind. The town ceases to waver between contending parties, the northern gale nips off all the off-shoots of discord, and the opera remains the opera.
The season of 1847 will be termed, by future antiquaries, the season of Jenny Lind; and all those various articles which are now named after the Swedish nightingale, will fetch high prices, and be treasured up as relics of an important epoch. And really—(we are not paid for the puff),—the “ Jenny Lind” scent is a very good sort of commodity. Poured upon handkerchiefs, and placed in drawers, its results are not unpleasing, and one may, while imbibing the perfume, meditate on the fragrance which surrounds the name of the great vocalist.
And mind, -do not be misled, gentle reader, and fancy that these vile symbols are to be a substitute for thy Lind, and that she will not reappear; that, deprived of the bright reality, thou wilt have to raise thyself into a state of imaginary bliss, by sniffing the “ Jenny Lind” perfume, or quaffing the “* Jenny Lind” ginger-beer, or letting the * Jenny Lind” lozenge melt mournfully on thy tongue-thou mayst, indeed, an’ thou wilt, so employ the interval between this time and next February,—but Jenny Lind will return; yea, of a surety, she will come back. That Amina, who looked so deliciously peasant-like, whose joys made thy heart leap within thee, and whose sorrows summoned the tears to thine eyes ; that Maria, whose “Rataplan" caused thee to tremble with somewhat of a military ardour, not all-too fierce, but merry and exhilirating, as though thou wert flirting with Bellona ; that Susanna, who stepped into existence but a few days ago, and whose “ Deh vieni"
(song, so often wrongfully omitted)—is still reposing peacefully within thy heart of hearts,—these same Amina, Maria, and Susanna, we say, are not to become matters of dim history, whereof men shall talk, as of something dreamed after an unusually light supper, which was just to be partaken once in a mundane existence, and never to be so much as smelt again,—but she is actually, veritably, and bona fide, to return in 1848.
We hasten to state this fact in our usually concise manner, because there has been a gloomy, murky, soul-darkening rumour, that the word “farewell,” which has been very innocently prefixed to the closing night of the season, signified that it was the “ Lind's” farewell to the Britishers. Not a bit of it-it is the mere shake-hands with a friend at the hall-door after the formal leave-taking in the drawing-room, the glass of sherry that follows the nominal last bumper, the printer's name and address after the “finis.” The closing night of the season was the stop official - this is the stop actual.
Gardoni-that sweetest of tenors—has also left a name, which will