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the misfortunes of the country are traced to the unhappy union which has given the sister province the opportunity of benefiting at the expense of Moldavia. The advanced Moldavians who, from "a unitednationality" point of view, were in favour of the union before they tried it, are now either afraid to adhere to their old views, or have changed their minds. A few still say the experiment has not been fairly tried, and lay all the blame on Prince Couza, who, by the way, being a Moldavian himself, is hated, for that reason among others, in Wallachia. It is only due to the Wallachians to state that they return the animosity of the northern province with interest. When women engage in the discussion and come to be personal, the Wallachians call the Moldavians the descendants of Jews, and the Moldavians retort upon the others by calling them a nation of gypsies. It is indeed the fact that some of the noblest families in Wallachia are descended from this race, of which they are more ashamed than our own Carews; while the Jewish element, not visible in Wallachia, is most prominently developed in Moldavia. It may safely be predicted that when Couza dies, but possibly before, there will be a separation of the provinces. The Moldavians are perfectly determined that the union shall not continue; their real ardent aspiration is for a foreign prince to rule over them. They have tried a long series of their own boyards, and have found one more incompetent than the other. According to their own admission, they must look abroad for the virtues and the talents which none of their countrymen possess, but which they fondly hope may be found among the scions of some royal house; nor will they believe that the throne of Moldavia, such as it is, would be a position which an English country gentleman, with a tolerable rent-roll, would decline, to say nothing of a Prince of the Blood. Some years ago the Duc de
Morny was actually offered this very throne, but even he was not to be tempted from the Bourse and the Bois de Boulogne. In fact, he replied that he would rather be a "concierge dans le Rue de Bac qu'un roi en Moldavie." To any young adventurer of an ambitious and filibustering turn of mind, and possessing a certain talent for intrigue, Moldavia opens a most attractive field. The first step would be an influential matrimonial alliance; as the women are generally heiresses, wealth might be combined with beauty; then a short social career of popularity; then the ascendency of the strong will and contriving brain over the fops and imbeciles around him; then a conspiracy; then a popular rising, and a divorce of Wallachia, followed, if it suited him, by the divorce of his own partner, who, being entitled by the laws of her Church to three successive husbands during her lifetime, would probably be delighted at the prospect of a change. The only difficult part of the programme would be to get the Moldavians to take heart of grace, and rebel. They are dying to do it now, but Couza's wretched little army, though it was held in check by 250 Poles, is enough to overawe them. Meantime it is a notable instance of union not making strength; and the probable result of all these dissensions among themselves will be the annexation of both provinces to one or other or both of the two great neighbouring Powers, who are only waiting to swallow them up. It will be better for the countries themselves that this should be their fate. However bad may be the government of Russia or Austria, however inconvenient such an acquisition of territory may be in the European equilibrium" point of view, there can be no doubt that it is the only chance which exists of developing the material resources of these fertile countries, and imparting to their institutions some kind of stability. At present no speculator dares venture on contracting with
a government composed of rogues, from the Prince on the throne to the lowest clerk. The Moldavians themselves, moreover, are absolutely useless. The whole industry of the country is in the hands of other races, who develop its resources in spite of the native population. If the Jewish community, for instance, were suddenly to disappear, there would be utter collapse. The whole financial interests of the country are in their hands. In Jassy, as in every little country town, the population is dependent upon Israelites for its most trivial necessaries; they perform every function for society, except those which they leave to the gypsies. These latter confine themselves almost exclusively to four walks in life; they are invariably either musicians, postilions, cooks, or blacksmiths. Until within the last eight years, they were on a footing of serfdom almost identical with that of the American negro, but they may now become emancipated on payment of ten ducats a-head.
The remaining foreigners, of whom there is a great variety a great variety sprinkled all over the country, do whatever these two predominating races leave undone; so that, in the end, the Moldavians contribute absolutely nothing towards the commercial, social, or political wellbeing of the community. Excepting the peasants, they are of no sort of use; they simply cumber the ground, and keep better men off it. Such good ground as it is too! It follows that there is no Moldavian middle class. A Moldavian is either a boyard, an employé, or a peasant; never, by any chance, anything else. The pea sants have a certain amount of land allotted to each, in return for which they give a proportion of service to the proprietor. In Wallachia they may transfer themselves to other estates upon giving a year's notice; but in Moldavia they are fixed to the soil. In Wallachia the landlords are nearly all absentee; in Moldavia they live on their properties, which is so far in their favour. Even if the
Moldavians were capable of governing themselves, it would be difficult to devise a form of government suitable to their institutions. As there is no primogeniture, and the title of Boyard is not hereditary, the class possesses all the drawbacks of an aristocracy without any of the advantages. It gives no stability to society, while it furnishes the frivolous element. There is no sympathy between the proprietor and his peasant, and no middle-class connecting-link. The consequence is, that Prince Couza has been able to perpetrate a coup d'état, and take a popular vote with perfect safety, the secret of his tactics having been to enlist the peasantry against the proprietors, by allowing them to hold their lands at a money instead of a service tenure. It will be more convenient, however, to consider the policy of Prince Couza in connection with Wallachia, though the effects of the centralisation of the government meet one at every turn in Moldavia. The change incidental to passing from being an independent country into a province must always be disagreeable; but still the evils might have been mitigated, had Prince Couza, by any one act of administration, shown any consideration for his own province had he, for instance, encouraged the extension of the Lemberg and Czernowitz Railroad, or even promoted the construction of good carriage-roads in the province. At present there are scarcely fifty miles of metalled road in all Moldavia, and they existed before the union. In fact, the result of this measure, from which so much was anticipated, has been simply that the plunder which two rulers formerly divided between them is now appropriated by one man, whose power of mischief is on twice the scale it used to be. There is no end to the capabilities of Moldavia, if capital and enterprise, supported by good government, were only forthcoming. The mineral resources of the Carpathians are totally undeveloped, but that they exist on a very large scale is not in doubt.
The soil is prolific and fertile, and capable of producing corn, in proportion to its area, beyond any other in Europe. The nature of the country lends itself expressly to the construction of railroads : there are no engineering difficulties, labour is abundant; and as forming a highway for the corn produce of Galicia, and an immense backcountry to the Black Sea, there can be no doubt whatever that it would pay. At a very little expense the two large rivers which flow through Moldavia to the Danube might be made navigable; and there is no reason why steamers should not bring Moldavian produce down the Sereth and the Pruth from the innermost recesses of the country. How easy, by a very small expenditure of tact and honesty, to compensate to the Moldavians for all they have lost by the union! One would imagine that no more agreeable or grateful task could be found, than to have the power of producing such vast and certain results. Not only would it consolidate the throne of the ruler, but it would give him a personal satisfaction which he will never derive from the consciousness that he is stealing the public funds; and yet the nature of the chief ruler is so degraded, that he can derive no higher gratification from the exercise of that power which he has proved absolute, than when using it for purposes of pillage.
It must be admitted that he has bad material to work with; his own ministers and employés being as unscrupulous and dishonest as himself, he would have to import virtue from foreign countries to enable him to carry out his plans, if he had any, for the welfare of the country. It is probable that the political immorality existing in these Principalities is to be traced to a great extent to the peculiar social conditions which exist in them. By the rule of the national Greek Church, divorces may be obtained three times during a lifetime, both parties consenting; and in the event of one of the marriages having been contracted between people within
the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, a fourth is permitted— something on the principle of starring a life at pool in billiards. In the whole society of Jassy there was only one woman who had not been divorced, but she had only been married a few weeks. It naturally follows in a limited society that the divorced couples are perpetually meeting each other; and as they do not, in the first instance, part on the ground of incompatibility of temper or any domestic difference, but generally simply from love of change—or, in other words, change of love-they remain perfectly good friends afterwards; and a woman introduces you first to her present husband as mon mari, and then to her late husband as mon ex-mari; so that it is quite possible to find yourself dancing in a set of lancers with seven people, every one of whom has been married at some time in his or her life with each of the others. In this respect the system seemed productive of sociability and good-fellowship rather than otherwise; and a great deal of the pleasure of society in these parts arises from the intimate footing upon which the members are with each other; for it is evident that, if all the papas and mammas have been husbands and wives, all the children are, more or less, brothers and sisters. There are certain inconveniences attending this great confusion of relationships; but one advantage to the stranger is, that he finds himself in a large family instead of in a stiff society, where some time must elapse before he feels himself at home.
The Moldavians themselves are accustomed to defend the system on the score of morality. They maintain that the great facilities which exist for divorces lessen the temptations to infidelity; but this is a theory which can scarcely be said to be borne out by the results. Where the marriage tie is so easily dissolved, even while it exists it is apt to lose much of its sacred character; and however much may theoretically be urged in favour of
loosening the bonds of matrimony, the experiment, as tried in the Principalities, is not encouraging. It is needless to point out the unhappiness to which such a state of things may often give rise-where, for instance, the marriage has lasted for an unusually long period, and one of the parties is opposed to its dissolution, but is forced into consenting to it by the other-or where the children are separated from the parent most attached to them. It
is true that, the society being small, they can nearly always meet; but that does not compensate for the rupture of the home ties. The fact is, that home ties, as we understand them, necessarily cannot exist, and that it would not do for a young person in these countries to be troubled with too much depth of feeling. There is a good deal of passion and of caprice; but where the men cannot claim the respect of the women, it is evident that the only kind of affection worth anything that which is based upon esteem is unknown. Both men and women, consequently, very easily get over their love-affairs, and domestic troubles do not exist, because there is nothing domestic in the country-not even annoyance. Everything is canvassed in the small society, and the chief topics of conversation are the changes and chances of that matrimonial life which is so singularly composed. The family is society at large. Everybody's private affairs are common property, and the most delicate questions of existence are referred by both parties to the world. There is a charming confidence existing between society and the individuals who compose it, and who confide in it, enlist its sympathies, and, in cases of differences, endeavour to gain its suffrages. Thus, before a divorce takes place, the pros and cons form the principal topic of conversation at every evening reunion. The husband has his friends, the wife hers; for although it is not necessary to quarrel before this description of separation, still the proposition has to come first from one;
and if there is an objection on the part of the other, society considers the question; nor are there any domestic details too minute for discussion en plein comité. Where art and literature are ignored, where newspapers are unread, and the only subject of discussion is local politics, which is soon exhausted, if it were not for the everrecurring incidents which society furnishes by the very nature of its composition, it would be indeed dull; but there is a freshness and a piquancy about these topics which never lose their flavour. The old ladies, running through the circumstances attendant upon all their own divorces, bring the benefit of the accumulated experiences of four marriages to bear for the benefit of the young friend who is making, under their advice and instruction, her second matrimonial venture. To a stranger it seemed odd to sit and discuss with the individual most interested, whether she ought to change her husband now or put off that function, and to hear advice given after dinner openly upon the subject; then, perhaps, to see the couple in the same room, though, if things had come to this stage, they were each devoted in a different direction, generally with the view of preparing something beforehand; for it is considered the height of absurdity and imprudence to allow a divorce to come upon you suddenly, and to find yourself stranded without either a husband in esse or in posse.
In giving this description of society as it exists in these countries, I do not mean to pass any unkind criticism upon it. Unless one is prepared for it, there is something rather startling when one remembers that one is still in Europe; but every country has its peculiar conventional standard, and ours is not perhaps so perfect that we can afford to carp too much at our neighbour's. Their religion sanctions the principle, or, as we should call it, the want of principle, upon which society exists, and their conbut sciences do not reproach them;
it does seem that the more it is examined the less can be said in its favour. Whatever be the cause, there can be no doubt that, as a race, the Moldo-Wallachians do not occupy a high position in European estimation, and one cannot help thinking that their religious and social views have something to do with it. It has been so much the habit of travellers to accept their hospitality and then to abuse them, that it is with hesitation one ventures to give impressions more or less unfavourable to the general existing state of things; but their amiable qualities cannot blind one to what appears to us evils in their society; nor can their warm hospitality and lavish generosity prevent one from stating opinions elsewhere, which it was useless to attempt to dissemble even while in their society. It is the earnest desire to see a new era dawn upon the country that leads one to condemn the old; nor do the inhabitants express themselves satisfied with their political or social condition, nor with the position they occupy in the eyes of Europe. The peculiar relations in which the sexes stand towards each other render chivalry on the part of the men an impossibility. The sentiment is totally unknown among them, and there is, consequently, no basis for that sense of honour which should pervade every other relation in life. No man who does not know what is due to a woman can form the faintest conception of what is due to another man; for it is so much easier to fulfil the generous and noble instincts of one's nature in the former than in the latter case, that we may take it for granted that those who fail in the simplest will fail in the most difficult duties of life.
The most melancholy consideration growing out of this state of things is that connected with the rising generation. How is it possible for children troubled with doubt from infancy as to who are their nearest relations, trained in an atmosphere of deceit, and brought
up amid discussions derogatory to their parents in particular, and to the sexes in general, to acquire a sense of honour? If possible, the standard will get lower and lower with each new generation, and the only way to raise it would be by sending the children to be educated in countries where virtue, public and private, is considered essential to the respect of the community, and where vices are visited with its condemnation. Such a thing as being expelled from society is unknown in the Principalities, simply because it would be impossible for a man to commit any crime bad enough for such a fate. There is no reason why all this should not be changed. The moral capabilities of the race may be as high as those of any other, if they only had the chance of developing them; but they labour under the disadvantage of being, in this remote corner of Europe, the perpetual subject of intrigue to the great Powers who protect them, and who have from the first set an example of political immorality in every transaction connected with the destiny of these provinces. Whether they have contaminated the Powers, or the Powers have contaminated them, is difficult to determine; but the atmosphere seems charged with intrigue-social, political, national, and diplomatic. Before these countries can be regenerated, they must get rid of a protectorate which demoralises them, of a Prince who plunders them, and of a religion which degrades them. Whether they would be in a better plight separated from each other, ruled over by princes of foreign extraction, and unprotected by any one, which is their ambition; or incorporated into the two neighbouring Powers, which is their dread, it is difficult to determine. So far as they are themselves concerned, no change could be for the worse; and so far as the peace and tranquillity of Europe are concerned, almost any change would be for the better.