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having entered the field with these opinions, so defined, disqualified me for the office of a candid historian, my readers must judge. I am conscious of no bias but that which my painful and costly experience of Turkish customs and character has enforced me to, and I have endeavoured in my narration to avoid all discoloration of the events; as to the sympathies with which I followed them, I imagine no really unprejudiced person could expect that they would not be on the side which was substantially right, and which had every claim to the sympathy of right-minded men.
As events are hurrying on, my story may be useless as a lesson before even it is printed-at least, it is to be hoped that the civilized world will never be called on
ain to adjudicate between the Rayah and his master; but even so, it may be worth while to see how completely the old despotism is responsible for its own downfall, and how little any outside agency had to do with a revolt which might have been developed at any moment into insurrection, by any circumstance that gave the Rayahs a hope, even momentary; and how many opportunities to allay it were thrown away.
The condition of the Christian Herzegovinian was the most intolerable of all the subjects of Turkey, for the poverty of the country gave little solace for his slavery, and the nearness of Montenegro and Dalmatia made the contrast between his condition and that of his near kinsmen the greater. Certainly in no country in which I have ever been was the state of life of the people so wretched as his, and the still not entirely tamed mountain spirit made the endurance of oppression more vexatious, and the eagerness to seize any opportunity or real encouragement to rise much more keen.
The visit of the Emperor of Austria to the Dalmatian coasts (which are the coasts also of Herzegovina), and the marked interest thus for the first time shown in the Slav population of this section, stimulated the ferment continually going on there, and led the Catholic Herzegovinians to anticipate an Austrian intervention. The insurrection in its early stages was mainly amongst the Catholic population between Popovo and Gabella, not less oppressed than the Orthodox, but more controlled by the clergy (who have a lively apprehension of any movement which has its basis in Servian, Russian, or Montenegrin intrigues), but at the same time, far less individual and warlike by reason of this control. The insurrection spread because the whole country was ripe for it, and because the military conduct of the Turks was inefficient and unintelligent, and perversely directed, as far as it went, to provoke rather than subdue or allay the insubordination. Under governments which give no basis or motive for loyalty, insurrection is chronic even if latent; and under the rule of the Turks, there is never peace, only a truce between conqueror and conquered, in which no law has ever intervened to limit the right of the victor over his victim. It is only the law of force in its first and uncrystallized or uncodified state-an extended brigandage, a long time feared by all Europe, and since respected as a fait accompli, with the respect men pay to the work of four centuries, even when, as in this case, that work is in itself utterly evil. This truce is liable at all times to be broken by any individual Mussulman on his own responsibility,-a condition which naturally involves the corresponding one of a readiness of the Rayah to revolt at all times.
Every incident therefore which gives a hope of successful revolt, or which increases the normal injustice of the oppreśsion, is at once followed by revolt. Those who have read
the interesting book of Mr. Evans on Bosnia and Herzegovina at the moment of the outbreak will know what was the ordinary condition of those provinces. The latter has never been long quiet—the interval of peace since 1862 is probably the longest which has obtained since the conquest, and this was probably due to the fact that in the repression of that year the Austrian Government took an active part, and so efficiently that the impression remained that nothing was to be done until Austria was favourably disposed. Montenegro even owed the only considerable defeat of the century past to the merciless blockade which Austria established along her whole frontier, cutting off entirely supplies of ammunition, so that in the last battles between the Turks and Montenegrins the latter had only five cartridges per man, powder was worth its weight in silver, and a single percussion cap cost tenpence ! and the men ceased fighting because they saw that to go into battle with only their handjars against rifled muskets and artillery, was an useless sacrifice of life. The Herzegovinian allies had been conquered by Austrian troops acting with the Turks—there was no sign of encouragement from any side, and Servia, in spite of pledges given long before, had taken concessions from the Porte, and was hopelessly tranquil.
Turkey had therefore been victorious under circumstances which made her victory precarious; she owed it to Austrian assistance, and achieved it, even at that, with forces demoralized to a great extent by several bloody disasters, which only the utter recklessness of human life, which characterized Omar Pasha's strategy, enabled them to retrieve; and if the Montenegrins had been able to obtain, even at the last moment, supplies of ammunition, they would have turned the event of the war completely, for the Turks had secured no position of vital importance, and had accomplished only a small part of the work to be done to really conquer Montenegro.
The Cretan insurrection had since that time given the Ottoman empire a blow from which, in its decaying condition, it had never been able to recover. The expenditure of that war-over 50,000 men and £10,000,000 !—was too much for its diminishing vitality to recuperate, while the Mussul. man populations had become equally demoralized by the disastrous drain on their able-bodied men. Towards the end of the Cretan insurrection the soldiers who were being embarked for Crete were so infected with the dread of this service that desertions were very numerous and disaffection general, and the supreme effort which the Porte has since made to meet the Servian revolt and create a religious enthusiasm has not restored the old morale of the Mussulman population, or effaced the great discouragement which the Cretan insurrection produced. And whatever may have been the case with the Turkish troops before Alexinatz, and against the Servians, I have no kind of hesitation in saying that in Herzegovina and before the Montenegrin lines they showed anything but good morale-such, in fact, as could only be found with decaying military power, their best battalions
Omar Pasha in his reports pretended to have reached Cettinje, but in fact his army was never in sight of that place, and the positions to be taken before reaching it were so strong that his army, enfeebled as it was, would possibly have been unable to reach it even against the discouraged resistance of the Montenegrin force. Omar himself said at Constanti. nople to a friend of mine, that if the Prince had sent 5,000 fresh men against his army when it had reached Rieka he could not have offered an effectual resistance, and would have been obliged to abandon his conquest.
? See Blue book on Cretan insurrection, despatches of Consul at Beyrout.
not being comparable to those which came to Crete in 1867, while the mismanagement and demoralization in the higher ranks were still more striking. I feel confident, looking at the matter with impressions not materially modified since then, that the Cretan insurrection made the Herzegovinian revolt practicable and successful, and that from the two the independent existence of the Ottoman empire is henceforward impossible, even if Russia should not succeed in breaking it down completely. The Slavs have been progressing in political knowledge as well as moral force, in spite of oppression, and the Mussulmans have followed the ụsual course of nations which govern without regard to justice or political economy, and destroy the sources of their own power, growing weaker and less coherent with each generation, according to the law
“ Which makes the crime its own blindfold redresser." I have purposely avoided any mention of the agitation in Bosnia, not only because I saw nothing of it, but because it was evidently a reflection from that in the Herzegovina, and had never any great force or coherence. In Croatia, however, it presented the peculiarity that it showed the pugnacity and irrepressibility of the Catholics, as in Herzegovina it did that of the Orthodox Christians.