Изображения страниц

people, when compared with themselves, nothing better than a mongrel race of Rouss and Tartars. Does not this show that the desire for a union of all the Slavonian races, under the much-vaunted Panslavism, is not quite so universal as its friends would have us believe. In fact, the difference between the Russian idiom and the Servian is quite as marked and decided as the Italian and the Spanish, and as little prospect of an amalgamation of the respective people. During our conversation I heard accounts almost fabulous of the bravery of their hero Tzerni George and his Haiduc chiefs, and stories related as marvellous as those told of the Scottish hero Wallace, or the Swiss William Tell. That this chief is popular, and his memory highly reverenced by the people, may be inferred from the circumstance that his portrait adorns nearly every house and han in the country; at the same time, there is scarcely a syllable breathed in favour of Milosh. When relating to our party the romantic anecdote we heard of the Servian hero at Belgrade, a rough-looking shepherd, enveloped in a fur wrapper, growled out that it was all a fable, giving another version, not so favourable to the hero. Such an assertion created a general émeute against him, and had it not been for the strong arm of the gigantic kapitan, he would have been condemned to a compulsory immersion in the Jesenitza, that runs past the door. The tale he told of the stern warrior was, that he had condemned his father to be

shot, because proof existed that he secretly conveyed

[ocr errors]

intelligence to the Turks of the plans of his son, and the
rebel leaders of the insurgents.
I also heard several interesting details of the tragic
death of the unfortunate chief whose house I visited at
Azania, between this town and Semendria on the
Danube, where he was assassinated by the agents of
During the invasion of Russia, by the Emperor Napo-
leon, that power, dreading the misfortunes which
threatened her, sought to win over to her alliance the
Ottoman Porte, at this time intriguing with France.
To this end she determined to put down the revolt in
Servia, now in arms against the authority of the Sultan,
hoping at the same time to add to the resources of the
Turkish empire, and attach it by gratitude to her own
interest. She, therefore, dispatched into Servia a clever
agent, M. Nedoba, whose intrigues in favour of the
Ottoman Government completely lulled to sleep the
natural prudence and foresight of the Servians, who
were deluded into the belief, that by allowing the for-
tresses and strong places to be occupied by Turkish
garrisons, their independence would be secured, with the
exception of paying an annual tribute to the Porte.
Tzerni George, who was at this time all-powerful,
rejected the proposal with scorn; he had hitherto beaten
the Mussulman in every encounter, even without the
assistance of artillery; but now how much better able
was he to meet the invasion, with one hundred and
fifty pieces at his command. He had also a splendid
army of well-tried patriots, every fortress and strong-

hold in the country in his possession; add to this, he was deservedly popular, and regarded with that superstitious veneration which ensures success, since they firmly believed him to be invincible, an instrument in the hand of Heaven to deliver the true Church out of the power of the infidels. The population of Servia at this time happened to be double its usual number, owing to the emigration of the Servian-Slavons from Hungary and Austria, while the army of Tzerni George was increased by military deserters from the ranks of the same countries. Such being the position of Servia, we cannot doubt that the intended invasion of the Turks would have been repulsed. At the critical moment, when the devastating hordes of Mahometan Arnouts and Bosnians, supported by an army of thirty thousand men, were ready to cross the frontier, the Russian envoyé protested, in the name of the Tzar, against the military preparations of Tzerni George. In vain the hero pleaded his cause; in vain he represented to the Senate and the Russian envoy the certainty of success, and the crime of allowing an army of fanatic soldiers and freebooters to take military possession of the country. It was of no avail; the Senate, which yielded implicit assent to the statements of the envoy, and reposed the fullest confidence in the friendship and support of the greatest monarch in the world, issued orders to the various Hospodars to disband their followers. Tzerni George and a few devoted adherents, notwithstanding they were outlawed by the Senate, and menaced by the envoy, Nedoba, with the advance of a Russian army to support the Turkish cause, still held out; but indecision and apprehension of the consequences of a rupture with the mighty Tzar, had entered the ranks of the patriot army for the first time; and as in all similar cases, the timid and the cautious gradually forsook the standard of the liberator, till at length he found his numbers so reduced as to be incapable of action. At length beaten at every point, and pursued with the vengeance of the Senate and the all-powerful Russian envoy, our hero sought safety in flight and entered Austria. Now commenced a series of the most atrocious and revolting cruelties recorded in the history of this or any other country. The insatiate vengeance of the fanatic soldiers of the Crescent was let loose upon the devoted inhabitants; whole towns and villages were burned to the ground, and the wretched people slaughtered without mercy. Children were baptized in boiling water as a mockery of the sacred rite by the infidels, and every refinement of cruelty practised that the imagination of a Nero could have conceived. We are sorry to record that these atrocities were but a retaliation of similar barbarities which had been perpetrated by these schismatics during the horrible insurrection of 1804, when every Osmanli, throughout the principality, was either massacred, or forcibly baptized. This disastrous invasion, accomplished through the instrumentality of the tortuous policy of the Court of St. Petersburg, cost the Servians the loss of their gallant leader, and with him the deprivation of their freedom, The rapacious Spahis again found themselves in possession of their lost fiefs; and now armed with the authority of law, their tyranny knew no bounds. The unfortunate rayah was driven to his labours by the terror of the knout; wretched patriots were impaled without distinction, without mercy. A gentleman of high rank in Belgrade assured me (and it was confirmed by my friends here), that he counted not less than three hundred Servian chiefs on the stake at the same time on the Atmeidan of Belgrade. Every promise made by the Russian envoy was falsified by the results that followed ; he might have relied on the humanity of the Osmanli leader, Kurschid Pacha—on the good faith of the Ottoman Porte, or he might have exceeded his commands. Be this as it may, the whole odium of the invasion, and its deplorable consequences, fell on the Russian Government, and its instrument, Nedoba, who secretly conveyed himself away from a country where his name will ever remain coupled with the most disastrous epochs in the history of Servia. Every promise made by the Russian envoy was falsified by the results that followed. Too late the Servians saw their error, and the pit which had been dug for them by the treachery of pretended friends; and although eight and thirty years have passed over, this unhappy transaction lives in the memory of the people. These interesting particulars were related to us by the starachin of the district, with that quiet, but expressive oratory, so characteristic of a Servian, he was listened to with calm and deep attention by all present; and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »