Project Gutenberg's The Birth of Yugoslavia, Volume 1, by Henry Baerlein

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Title: The Birth of Yugoslavia, Volume 1

Author: Henry Baerlein

Release Date: August 26, 2007 [EBook #22414]

Language: English

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First Published 1922
[All Rights Reserved]

Leonard Parsons Ltd.

Portions of this book which deal with Yugoslav-Albanian affairs have appeared in the Fortnightly Review and, expanded from there, in a volume entitled A Difficult Frontier.


The original Serbo-Croat names of the Dalmatian towns and islands have been commonly supplanted on the German-made maps by later Italian names. But as the older ones are those which are at present used in daily speech by the vast majority of the inhabitants, we shall not be accused of pedanticism or of political bias if we prefer them to the later versions. We therefore in this book do not speak of Fiume but of Rieka, not of Cattaro but of Kotor, and so forth. In other parts a greater laxity is permissible, since no false impression is conveyed by using the non-Slav version. Thus we have preferred the more habitual Belgrade to the more correct Beograd, and the Italian Scutari to the Albanian Shqodra. The Yugoslavs themselves are too deferential towards the foreign nomenclature of their towns. Thus if one of them is talking to you of Novi Sad he will almost invariably add, until it grows rather wearisome, the German and the Magyar forms: Neu Satz and Uj Videk.

These names and those of persons have been generally spelt in accordance with Croat orthography—that is to say, with the Latin alphabet modified in order to reproduce all the sounds of the Serbo-Croatian language. This script, with its diacritic marks, was scientifically evolved at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The chief points about it that we have to remember are that c is pronounced as if written ts, ć as if written tch, č is pronounced ch, š is pronounced sh, and j is pronounced y. So the Montenegrin towns Cetinje, Podgorica and[8] Nikšić are pronounced as if written Tsetinye, Podgoritsa and Nikshitch, while Pančevo is pronounced Panchevo. It will be seen that this matter is not very complicated. But we have not in every case employed the Croat script. We have not spoken in this book of Jugoslavia but of Yugoslavia, since that has come to be the more familiar form.

The full list of Croat letters, in so far as they differ from the English alphabet, is as follows:

c,whoseEnglishvalue ists.
č,"""ch, as in church.
ž,"""s, as in measure.
dž,"""j, as in James.
gj (or dj),"""j,    "       "
j,"""y, as in you.
lj,"""li, as in million.
nj,"""ni, as in opinion.


On a mild February afternoon I was waiting for the train at a wayside station in north-western Banat. So unimportant was that station that it was connected neither by telegraph nor telephone with any other station, and thus there was no means of knowing how long I would have to wait. The movements of the train in those parts could never, so I gathered, be foretold, and on that afternoon it was uncertain whether a strike had prevented it from leaving New-Arad, the starting-point. Occasionally the rather elegant stationmaster, and occasionally the porter with the round, disarming face, raised their voices in prophecy, but they were increasingly unable—so far, at least, as I was concerned—to modify the feelings of dullness that were caused by the circumstances and by the dreary nature of the surroundings: a plain with several uninteresting little lakes upon it. There was time enough for meditation—I was wondering if I would ever understand the people of the Balkans. One hour and then another slipped away, and the lakes began to be illuminated by the setting sun. A handful of prospective travellers and their friends were also waiting, and as one of them produced a violin we all began to dance the Serbian Kolo, which is performed by an indefinite number of people who have to be hand-in-hand, irrespective of sex, forming in this way a straight line or a circle or a serpent-like series of curves. They go through certain simple evolutions, into which more or less energy and sprightliness are introduced. The stationmaster looked on approvingly and then decided to join us, and after a little time he was followed by the porter. Our violinist was in excellent form, so that we continued dancing until some of us were as crimson as the sun, and presently, while I was resting, what with the beauty of the scene[10] and the exhilaration of the dance, I found myself thinking that, after all, I might within a reasonable time understand these people. Then a new arrival, a middle-aged, benevolent-looking woman with a basket on her arm, came past me.

"Dobro veče," said I. ["Good-evening."]

"Živio," said she. ["May you live long."]

Nevertheless, I hope in this book to give a description of how the Yugoslavs, brothers and neighbours and tragically separated from one another for so many centuries, made various efforts to unite, at least in some degree. But for about fifteen centuries the greater number of Yugoslavs were unable to liberate themselves from their alien rulers; not until the end of the Great War were these dominations overthrown, and the kindred peoples, the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, put at last before the realization of their dreams—the dreams, that is to say, of some of their poets and statesmen and bishops and philologists, as well as of certain foreigners. But listen to this, by the censorious literateur who contributes the "Musings without Method" to Maga: "We do not envy the ingenious gentlemen," says he, "who invented the two new States Czecho-Slovakia and Jugo-Slavia. Their composite names prove their composite characters. That they will last long beneath the fanciful masks which have been put upon them we do not believe." Even so might some uninstructed person in Yugoslavia or South Slavia proceed to wash his hands of that ingenious man who invented Maga's home, North Britain. I see that our friend in the following number of Maga (March 1920) says that foreign affairs are "a province far beyond his powers or understanding." But he is talking of Mr. Lloyd George.

Our account of mediæval times will be brief, only so much in fact as is needed for a comprehension of the present. In approaching our own day, the story will become more and more detailed. If it be objected that the details, in so far as they detract from the conduct of Yugoslavia's neighbours, might with advantage have been painted with the hazy, quiet colours that you give to the excursions and alarms of long ago, one may reply that this book is intended to depict the world in which the Yugoslavs[11] have, after all these centuries, joined one another and the frame of mind which consequently glows in them.

One cannot on this earth expect that a new State, however belated and however inevitable, will be formed without a considerable amount of friction, both external and internal. Perhaps, owing to the number of not over-friendly States with which they are encompassed, the Yugoslavs will manage to waive some of their internal differences, and to show that they are capable, despite the confident assertions of some of their neighbours and the croakings of some of themselves, of establishing a State that will weather for many a year the storms which even the League of Nations may not be competent to banish from South-Eastern Europe. A certain number of people, who seem to expect us to take them seriously, assert that an English writer is disqualified from passing adverse comment on Italy's imperialistic aims because the British Empire has received, as a result of the War, some Turkish provinces and German colonies. It is said that, in view of these notorious facts, the Italian Nationalists and their friends cannot bear to be criticized by the pens of British authors and journalists. The fallacy in logic known as the argumentum ad hominem becomes a pale thing in comparison with this new argumentum ad terram. If a passionless historian of the Eskimos had given his attention to the Adriatic, I believe he would have come to my conclusions. But then it might be said of him that as for half the year his land is swathed in darkness, it would be unseemly for him to discuss a country which is basking in the sun.

Another consummation—though this will to-day find, especially in Serbia, a great many opponents, whose attitude, following the deplorable events of the Great War, can cause us no surprise—is the adhesion, after certain years, of Bulgaria to the Yugoslav State. I wrote these words a few months ago; they are already out of date. The general opinion in Serbia is voiced by a Serbian war-widow, who, writing in Politika, one of the newspapers of Belgrade, replied to Stamboulüsky, the Bulgarian peasant Premier, who was always uncompromisingly opposed to the fratricidal war with Serbia.[12] He had been saying that the Serbs and other Yugoslavs prefer to postpone the reconciliation until "the grass grows over the graves of their women and children whom our officials destroyed"; and this war-widow answered that it was not necessary for the grass to grow, but that they should condemn the culprits by a regular court, as prescribed in the treaty. "Fulfil the undertaking you have assumed, for only so shall we know that you will fulfil other undertakings in the future." If it had not been for the Great Powers, especially Russia and Austria, the union of Serbia and Bulgaria might have occurred long ago. Wise persons, such as Prince Michael of Serbia and the British travellers, Miss Irby (Bosnia's lifelong benefactress) and her relative, Miss Muir Mackenzie, had this aim in view during the sixties of last century. So had a number of other excellent folk, who recognized that the two people were naturally drawn to one another. "The hatred between the two people is a fact which is as saddening in the thought for the future as in the record of the past, but it is a fact to ignore which is simply a mark of incompetence. The two nations are antipathetic ..." says Mr. A. H. E. Taylor in his The Future of the Southern Slavs, a painstaking if rather clumsy book (London, 1917), in which we are shown that the writer is well acquainted with general history. But in the opinion of an erudite Serb, to whom I showed this passage, Mr. Taylor knows nothing of Serb and Bulgar under the Turks. There is no single document nor anything else that speaks of hatred between them. On the contrary, they were always on friendly terms. The antagonisms of the Middle Ages, as Mr. Taylor surely knows, were the work of rulers who paid no attention to the national will; there was at that time no national consciousness, and just as a Serbian would wage war with a Bulgarian prince, so would he do battle with a Croat or with another Serbian ruler. Mr. Taylor talks of "the almost constant state of warfare between Serbs and Bulgars...," but he does not mention that there were many cases during the late war in which the men showed friendliness to one another. He may argue that if a soldier calls out "Brother" to his foe and subsequently slays him there is not much to be said for his friendliness,[13] but surely that is to draw no distinction between what is the soldier's pleasure and his business. "Nothing," observes Mr. Taylor very truly, "nothing in the Balkan Peninsula is so desirable as the laying aside of the feud." He may take it that this feud has been aroused and maintained among the intelligentsia and for political reasons, with Macedonia in the forefront. I think he would not be so severe on those who are "ignorant apparently that the mutual animosity has its roots deep down in the history and historical consciousness of Serb and Bulgar" if he remembered that the Bulgars wanted Michael for their prince, and if he had been present at the siege of Adrianople, where the Serbian and Bulgarian soldiers, in their eagerness to fraternize, took to speaking their respective languages incorrectly, the Serb dropping his cases and the Bulgar his article, in the hope that they would thus make themselves more easily understood. It seems to me not only more advisable but more rational to ponder upon such incidents than upon the idle controversies as to which army was the most deserving; and I do not think it is evidence of any widespread Bulgarian animosity because a certain official decided to charge the Serbian Government a fee for conveying back to Serbia the corpses of their soldiers.

With regard to the two languages, the differences between them will matter no more than does the difference between Serbo-Croatian and Slovene. The Serb-Croat-Slovene State has been astonishingly little incommoded by the fact that the Slovene language is quite distinct, the two tongues being only in a moderate degree mutually intelligible. The Slovenes have never been exposed to the influence either of Byzantium or of the Turks, so that their language is free from the orientalisms which abound in the southern dialects. But it is curious to note[1] that many of the Slovene archaisms of form and structure, such as the persistence of the "v" for "u" and the final -l of the past participle, which have disappeared from Serbo-Croat, have been preserved in the dialects of Macedonia. The Bulgarian language, the south-eastern Serbian dialects, as well as Roumanian and Albanian, have certain grammatical peculiarities,[14] through being influenced by the language of the Romanized Thraco-Illyrian peoples with whom they merged. Even Montenegro was to some degree influenced by this process, having lost one or two cases, such as the locative. In Serbia one uses seven cases, the Montenegrin generally contents himself with about five, and in some dialects they are all discarded.... The amount of Turanian, Petcheneg and other undesirable blood in the Bulgars does not—let the two or three eccentric Bulgars say what they will—prevent them being far more Yugoslav than anything else. Professor Cvijić, the famous Rector of Belgrade University, has made personal examinations in Bulgaria, and is of the opinion that a great part of that people, for instance, at Trnovo in the middle of Bulgaria, is physically and spiritually very near to the Serbs. The Mongol influence, he thinks, is so scattered that it is very difficult to see.

Unhappily, however, in the last thirty or forty years an enormous amount of hatred has been piled up between Serb and Bulgar; things have happened which we as outsiders can more easily forget than those and the orphans of those who have suffered. Atrocities have taken place; international commissions have recorded some of them and non-Balkan writers have produced a library of lurid and, almost always, strictly one-sided books about them. I suggest that these gentlemen would have been better employed in translating the passages wherein Homer depicts precisely the same atrocities. Whatever may seem good to Balkan controversialists, let us of the West rather try, for their sake and for ours, to bring these two people together. We have good foundations on which to build; every Bulgar will tell you that he is full of admiration of the Serbian army, and the Serbs will speak in a similar strain of the Bulgars. Also the Serbs will tell you that, no matter what else they may be able to do, they are, as compared with the Bulgars, quite incompetent in the diffusion of propaganda; while the Bulgars will explain to you that in propaganda the Serbs are immensely their superiors. (Balkan propaganda does not confine itself to using, with violence, the sword and the pen. In its higher flights it will, in a disputed district, bury ancient-looking[15] stones with suitable inscriptions. It will go beyond the simple changes in the termination of the surnames of those who come under its dominion; the name upon a tombstone will be made to end, according to circumstances, in "off" or "vitch," sometimes in the Roumanian "esco" or the Greek "opoulos." If this is known to the departed, one would like to learn how it affects them. A great deal of energy has been brought to bear in the production of official books which place on record the repugnant details of all the crimes that have ever been imagined by men or ghouls, which crimes, so say the books of nation A, have been committed by the incredible monsters of nation B. At times, from motives of economy, the same photographs have been used by both nations—an idea which in 1920 was adopted in Hungary, where an artist conceived a poster showing a child with uplifted finger saying to its mother in solemn warning: "Mother, remember me; vote for a Social Democrat." This poster was forbidden by the censor, and, a few days afterwards, appeared on all street corners as that of the Christian Socialist party. People of the Balkans found that Western Europeans were impressed by figures, so that they issued lists of schools whose pupils were more numerous than the total population of the villages in which they were situated. Frequently a village would be stated, on the sworn testimony of its most respected inmates, to be exclusively filled with persons say of nation A. Not for a moment would it be admitted that the population might perhaps be mixed. And very possibly, on going to investigate, the Western European would discover that the village was entirely uninhabited and had been so for many years.... We must also have some understanding of the old Balkan humour if we are not to resent, for example, that story which they tell of a Bulgarian Minister who happened to be sojourning last year in Yugoslavia at a time when a great memorial service was being held for ninety-nine priests whom the Bulgars had assassinated during their occupation of Serbia in the European War. This Minister cherishes the hope that his country and Yugoslavia will bury the hatchet. "How unfortunate," said he, "are these recriminations. I shall have pleasure in sending them[16] ninety-nine priests, whom they can kill, and then we can be good friends.")

Thus we have two points of mutual esteem. The vast majority of people in Belgrade and Sofia are not chauvinist; let them close their ears to the wild professors who, in their spare time, busy themselves with writing books and discoursing on politics, a task for which they are imperfectly fitted. One must naturally make allowances for these small countries which have been so sparsely furnished hitherto with men of education that the Government considered it must mobilize them all. Thus the professors found themselves enlisted in the service of the State. Unluckily—to give examples would be painful—it too often happened that the poor professor damaged irretrievably his reputation and held up the State to ribald laughter. Those who belong to an old, cultured nation are not always cognizant of the petty atmosphere, to say nothing of the petty salaries, which is to-day the common lot of Balkan professors. (A really eminent man, who, for twenty years has been a professor, not merely a teacher, at Belgrade University receives a very much smaller salary than that which the deputies have voted for themselves.) Occasionally these professors must be moved by feelings similar to those that were entertained by the Serbs of 1808, who, having thrown off the Turkish yoke which they were resolved never to bear again, "earnestly expressed, and more than once," according to Count Romanzoff,[2] "their own will which induced them to beg the Emperor Alexander to admit them to the number of his subjects." A resolute old man, a Balkan savant of my acquaintance—he told me he was a savant—said one day that before all else he was a patriot, meaning by this that if in the course of his researches he came across a fact which to his mind was injurious for the past, present or future of his native land he would unhesitatingly sweep that fact[17] into oblivion, and he seemed to be amazed that I should doubt the morality of such a procedure. Bristling with scorn, he refused to give me a definition of the word "patriotism," and I am sure that, if he knows his Thoreau, he does not for a moment believe that he is amongst those who "love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads." May the people of Serbia and Bulgaria rather listen to such men as Nicholai Velimirović, Bishop of Žiča,[3] who—to speak only of his sermons and lectures in our language—lives in the memory of so many in Great Britain and the United States on account of his wonderful eloquence, his sincerity, his profound patriotism, and the calm heights from which he surveys the future. For those who think with him, the Serbs, in uniting with the Croats, have already surmounted a more serious obstacle. They believe that for three reasons their union with the Bulgars is a more natural one: they practise the same religion, they use the same Cyrillic alphabet and their civilization, springing from Byzantium, has been identical. The two people are bound to each other by the great Serbian, Saint Sava, who strove to join them and who died at Trnovo in Bulgaria. Vladislav, the Serbian prince, asked for his body; Assen begged that the Bulgars might be allowed to keep it, but, when the Serbs insisted, a most remarkable procession set out from Trnovo, bearing to his homeland the remains of him whom the Bulgars called "our Saint." ... If, then, the two people will for a few years demand that the misguided professors shall confine themselves to their original functions—and, likewise, those students who sit at the professors' feet—one may hope that in a few years the miserable past will be buried and all the Yugoslavs united in one State. The time has vanished when Serbia[18] and Bulgaria stood, as it were in a ring, face to face with one another, paying far more attention to the disputes of the moment than to those great unifying forces which we have mentioned. But now Serbia is a part of Yugoslavia, which has to deal with a greater Italy, a greater Roumania and others. And the question as to whether a certain town or district is to be Serbian or Bulgarian sinks into the background.

Fortunately, in the Balkans—where one is nothing if not personal—you can express yourself concerning another gentleman with a degree of liberty that in Western Europe would be thought unpardonable. And so, if the Serbs and the Bulgars will in the main follow the tracks of their far-sighted leaders, they need not quite suppress their criticism of each other. No great animosity is aroused by such a statement as was made to me with regard to a dispossessed Macedonian prelate, who had told me that he had appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the hope that he would assist him to return to his diocese. I asked a member of another Balkan nationality whether he knew this ancient cleric of the extremely venerable aspect, and whether he knew what kind of political and religious propaganda had brought about his downfall. "I know all about that old ruffian," he replied. "He stole over fifty pigs and one hundred sheep, and about twenty-five cows and 200 lb. of fat." Anyhow, if his lordship had heard that these accusations had been repeated in many places, he would have been far less indignant than if they had been printed in some unread newspaper or obscure pamphlet.

Now if the local writers cease from indulging their national partisanship—and God knows they have no lack of material—then perhaps the time will come when foreign publicists and politicians, who keep one eye upon the Balkans, will be able to speak well about the particular country which they affect without speaking ill about the neighbouring countries, concerning which, it is possible, they know less. Of course, there are a number of real Balkan experts in various countries, judicious writers who will be gratefully mentioned in this book. And there are people, such as Mr. Harold E. Goad, the vehement pro-Italian writer, who are quite amusing. This gentleman[19] said in the Fortnightly Review (May 1922) that once he used to hold romantic views of Balkan politics, but now has ascertained that they are "usually plotted, move by move, in the coffee-shops of petty capitals. Intrigue, bribery and calumny, personal jealousy and racial prejudice are the ordinary means with which the game is played." How different from the rest of Europe, where intrigue, etc., are conspicuously absent; and the explanation seems to be that wine and beer are unlike coffee, which it may be quite impossible to drink without remembering the poison which so many furtive fingers have dropped into it. And it would be rank ingratitude if I omitted the Italian Admiral Millo, though he was injudicious. After he had been at his post for four months, with the resounding title of Governor of Dalmatia and of the Dalmatian Islands and of the islands of Curzola, he told me that he had found it most fascinating to motor through Dalmatia's rocky hinterland, where the natives had the dignified air of ancient Roman senators and even greeted you in Latin. This was rather a startling statement. "Oh yes," said the Admiral, with his aristocratic, bearded face wearing an expression of even keener intelligence than usual, "I can assure you," quoth he, "that the peasants say 'Ave.' I heard them quite distinctly." It was perhaps inconsiderate of those worthy Croats not to shout with greater clearness the word "Zdravo!" ["Good luck!"] in order to prevent the Admiral from riding off with a confused hearing of the second syllable. A certain excellent dispatch of his—of which more anon—makes him a writer on the Balkans. I know not whether he addressed to his Government a dispatch on the above discovery, thus intensifying the Italian resolve to cling to Dalmatia. In that case his knowledge was unfortunate, but otherwise it is surely as delightful as, up here among the tree-clad mountains, are the glow-worms that go darting through the night.[20]

Blagoveštenje Monastery,
Central Serbia.


[1] Cf. The Near East, October 6, 1921.

[2] Observations of Count Romanzoff,—Petrograd, March 16, 1808,—Concerning the negotiations for the division of Turkey, as to which he treated with the French Ambassador; being Document No. 263 of the Excerpts from the Paris Archives relating to the History of the first Serbian Insurrection. Collected (Belgrade, 1904) by the learned statesman and charming man, Dr. Michael Gavrilović, now the Minister of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes at the Court of St. James.

[3] This, the most ancient diocese in Serbia, takes its name from the monastery of Žiča, near Kraljevo, which was built by St. Sava between 1222 and 1228. He made it his archiepiscopal residence, and here the Serbian sovereigns were crowned. It is now partly in a ruined condition, the encircling wall having almost entirely vanished. For each coronation a new entrance was made through this structure and was afterwards walled up. Bishop Nicholai has now been transferred to the more difficult diocese of Ochrida and is, at the same time, Bishop of the Serbs in America.


Introduction: The Tragedy of a Frontier23
I.Glory and Disaster (Earliest Days to the Battle of Kossovo)26
II.Fighting the Darkness (Battle of Kossovo to the Appearance of Kara George)50
III.Building the Foundations: Napoleon and Strossmayer90
IV.The Shifting Sands of Macedonia (1876-1914)165
V.The European War (1914-1918)225




Kiepert, the famous geographer, was able, as the result of his diligent researches and explorations, to correct many errors in former ethnological maps; but in the map of the Balkan Peninsula, which he published in 1870, the country between Kustendil, Trn and Vranja is represented by a white space. And if the people who dwell in these wild, narrow valleys had been overlooked as thoroughly by subsequent Congresses and Frontier Commissions they would have been most grateful. They only asked—this well-built, stubborn race—that one should leave them to their own devices in their homes among the mountains where the lilac grows. They asked that one should leave them with their ancient superstitions, such as that of St. Petka, who inhabited a cavern high above the present road from Trn, while St. Therapon, so they say, lived by himself upon a neighbouring rock. Inside the cavern now the water drips continuously and is collected in large bowls; these are St. Petka's tears, which are particularly beneficial, say the natives, for afflicted eyes. But though this region is so poor that, towards the end of the Turkish régime and during the war of Bulgarian liberation and also in the winter of 1879-80, the people were compelled, through lack of flour, to use a sort of "white earth," bela zemja, yet this land was coveted, and now the maps no longer show an empty space but a variety of names and a frontier line. From the nomenclature we perceive that the region was visited of old by people who were not[24] Slavs—such were those who gave to a mountain the name of Ruj, to a village the name of Erul, and to a river the name of Jerma, which has been explained as being derived from the Lydian Hermos, the river of St. Therapon's birthplace. The names of Latin colouring may either be memorials of the Romanized Thracians or else may refer to the mediæval Catholics, whether Saxon miners or travelling merchants. But there does not seem in the veins of the present population to be much trace of these other settlers or wayfarers; at any rate, the Slavs do not differ appreciably among themselves, and the drawing of a frontier line has been a peculiar hardship.

One of the greatest misfortunes of the nineteenth century was the creation of separate Serbian and Bulgarian kingdoms, wherein there was so small an ethnological difference between these two branches of the Yugoslavs; and in those districts where a frontier runs one sees especially how criminal it was to make this separation. Balkan philologists to-day will tell you—and even those who are in other respects the most rabid Serbs or Bulgars—that there is really no such thing as a Serbian and a Bulgarian language, but only groups of Yugoslav dialects. And yet it pleased the Great Powers to prevent the union of the two Balkan brothers. In that region with which we are dealing the Berlin Congress attempted to draw, with very inadequate maps, a frontier line along the watershed; and the Commissioners who were sent to mark out this line, observing that many of the indicated points did not coincide with the watershed, thought it would be preferable to trace the frontier along the saddle, between the tributaries of the Morava on one side and of the Struma and the river of Trn on the other. As the region was, however, not uninhabited the farmers were frequently cut off, as at Topli Dol and Preseka, from the meadows and the forests which they had regarded always as their own. Bismarck, speaking with indifference of "the fragments of nations that inhabit the Balkan Peninsula," could see in the national yearning of the Yugoslavs only a yearning for lawlessness and tumult. So he laboured at his plan of dominating Europe with the mighty structure of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian conservative empires; and if he built it over[25] a stream of democracy, with results that are to-day apparent, who knows whether the statesmen of our day are not somewhere constructing a house which to our descendants will appear equally ridiculous? And anyhow, as we shall see, he was far from being the only offender at the Berlin Congress. If that particular strip of frontier had been drawn in the most unimpeachable fashion it would still have been iniquitous.

One may object that even if the people were divided by rough-and-ready methods, that was no reason why they should oppose each other, and indeed a number of frontier incidents which occurred between the time of the Congress and 1885 were not regarded, either by Serbs or by Bulgars, as being serious obstacles to a union. But Russia and Austria, revelling in the intrigues, continued to pull the two States now this way and now that, and all too frequently against each other. It can thus not be a matter of surprise if the rather inexperienced statesmen of those little countries fell into line with the two Great Powers and spent a good deal of their energies in assailing each other. So blind, alas! were these statesmen that all the tears of St. Petka would not have cured them, and now the two kindred people, so progressive in many ways, are—to speak of each people as a whole—further apart than when their shaggy forefathers came over the Carpathians. It has been the fate of the Yugoslavs—Slovenes, Croats, Serbs and Bulgars—to live for centuries beside each other and be kept always, by foreign masters, isolated from each other. At rare intervals, as we shall see in following their history, a person has arisen who has tried, with altruistic or with selfish motives, to make some sort of union of the Yugoslavs. And now we will go back to the time when Slavs first wandered westward to the Balkans.



Arrival of the Southern SlavsTheir unfortunate democratic waysTwo early StatesEcclesiastical rocksThe Slavs and their neighboursSimeon the BulgarWhat are the Bulgars?Stephen NemaniaThe Slovenes are submergedThe fate of the CroatsThe glory of DubrovnikA gallant republicThe glorious DušanEvil days and the people's heroThe "Good Christians" of BosniaKossovoGathering Darkness.


The Slavs who in the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries came down from the Carpathian Mountains were known, until the ninth century, as Slovenes (Sloventzi);[4] and if, as is natural, the Serbs and Croats wish to preserve their time-honoured names, they will perhaps agree to call their whole country by the still more ancient name of Slovenia, instead of the merely geographical and not wholly popular term Yugoslavia. Considering that this name (Slovenija) found favour in the eyes of their great Emperor Stephen Dušan, one would imagine that the Serbs might adopt it in preference to the cumbrous "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes," with its unlovely abbreviation into three letters of the alphabet. The Croats would be glad of this solution, and thus the Yugoslavs would, unlike their relatives the Russians, the Poles and the Czechs, have the satisfaction of living in a country called Slovenia, the land of the Slavs.... But, although this would be a happy solution, it seems much more probable that eventually the name Yugoslavia will be adopted. Everyone is agreed that one inclusive word,[27] answering to Britain and British, is necessary. "Evo naših!" ["Here are our men!"] were the words used by the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as their troops marched past them in Paris during the Allied celebration of July 1919. The Serbian Colonel of the Heiduk Velko regiment, which was stationed at Split in 1920, and of which the other officers were chiefly Croats, the men Moslem and Catholic, used in his public addresses to speak of "Our kingdom." There are various objections to the word Yugoslavia; in the first place, it was introduced by the Austrians, who did not wish to call their subjects Serbs and Croats; in the second place, the term is a literal translation from the German and is against the laws of the Serbo-Croatian language. Another, and more important objection, is that the Bulgars, though Yugoslavs, are not included in Yugoslavia; and perhaps the name will be officially adopted when the Bulgars join the other Southern Slavs.


These Southern Slavs did not display the same genius for organization as the Germanic peoples or the Magyars at the period of their respective migrations. In communities of brethren (or bratsva, from the word brat, a brother) they had not raised up a king; but as a compensation they possessed a lofty moral code, a religion inspired by the worship of nature and by the principle of the immortality of the soul. Occupying themselves with agriculture and the rearing of cattle, it was not until they came into contact, that is to say hostile contact, with their more organized neighbours that they were compelled to join together under the authority of a prince, a knez. The bad result of this profoundly democratic spirit was that the Slavs, not knowing how to keep united, fell under the yoke of other nations. From the interesting series of documents, Latin, Arabic, Byzantine and others, which have been collected in Monimenta Sclavenica by Miroslav Premrou, notary public at Caporetto, and published in 1919 at Ljubljana (Laibach), we can see that the Slovenes occupied a much greater extent of[28] territory than do their descendants of our day—"ab ortu Vistulæ ... per immensa spatia..." (cf. Jordanis de orig. Goth. c. 5)—to beyond the Tagliamento, and from the Piave (cf. Ibrahim Ibn-Jakub[5]) to the Adriatic, the Ægean and the Black Sea.

One of the earliest of the above-named Slovene princes was Samo, a Slovene by adoption, who struggled in Pannonia against the Avars in the first half of the seventh century; it happened also in the year 626 that other Slovenes, as well as the Avars, attacked Constantinople. Both of them withdrew, the former being defeated at sea and the latter failing under the city walls. The Avars, having thus shown that they were vulnerable, had to bear an attack on a grand scale made upon them by the Slovenes, this attack being more shrewdly organized than any other transaction in which the Slovenes had as yet engaged. And they still appeared to be reluctant to form even a loosely knit State; they roamed about the Balkans and the adjacent countries to the north-west, seeking for lands that were adapted to their patriarchal organization. Not until the ninth century did they set up what might be called Governments on the Adriatic littoral, where they had no hostility to fear from the last remaining Romans, who were refugees in certain towns and islands.


The two most important of these Slav States were, firstly, that one, the predecessor of our modern Croatia, which extended from the mouth of the Raša (Arša) in Istria to the mouth of the Cetina in central Dalmatia, and, secondly, to the south-east a principality, afterwards called Raška, in what is now western Serbia. In a little time the Slavs began to have relations with the towns of the Dalmatian coast and with the islands which were nominally under the sway of Byzantium, but in consequence of their remoteness and their exposed position had succeeded in becoming almost independent republics.



Now Christianity had been definitely introduced into Dalmatia in the fourth century, but it was not until several centuries later that it made any headway with the Slavs, of whom the Croats, in the ninth century, were baptized by Frank missionaries. The arrival of the Slavs, by the bye, had been sometimes looked upon with scanty favour by the Popes: in July of the year 600 we find Gregory I. saying in a letter to the Bishop of Salona that he was much disturbed at the news he had just received "de Sclavorum gente, quæ vobis valde imminet, affligor vehementer et conturbor." Similarly, the Council of Split branded the Slav missionaries as heretics and the Slav alphabet as the invention of the devil.[6] ... While the Croats were falling[7] under the dominion of the Franks, the holy brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodus, who had been born at Salonica in 863, were carrying the first Slav book from Constantinople to Moravia, whither they travelled at the invitation of the Prince of Moravia, Rastislav, St. Cyril going as an apostle and theologian, St. Methodus as a statesman and organizer. This famous book was a translation from the Greek, but it was written in Palæo-Slav characters, the Glagolitic that were to become so venerated that when the French kings were crowned at Reims their oath was sworn upon a Glagolitic copy of the Gospels;[8] and the spirit of that earliest book was also Slav: it expresses the political and cultural resistance of Prince Rastislav against the State of the Franks, that is, against the German nationality, of whom it was feared that with the Cross in front of them they would trample down for ever the political liberties of the young Slav peoples. German theologians were giving a more and more dogmatic character to Western [30]Christianity, whereas the Christianity of the East was at that time more liberal; it gathered to itself the Slavs of Raška and of the neighbouring regions, such as southern Dalmatia, while the influence which it exerted was so powerful that when the Croats, after vacillating between the two Churches, finally joined that of Rome, they took with them the old Slav liturgy that is used by them in many places on the mainland and the islands down to this day. Thus their Church became a national institution, and that in spite of all the long-continued efforts of the Vatican, as also of the Venetian Republic. The Roman Catholic hierarchy, by the way, is endeavouring to have this liturgy made lawful in the whole of Yugoslavia; the only opponent I met was a Jesuit at Zagreb who foresaw that the priests, being no longer obliged to learn Latin, might indeed omit to do so. Pope Pius X. was likewise an opponent of the Slav liturgy, because a Polish priest told him that it would lead to Pan-Slavism and hence to schism; but it is thought—among others by the patriotic Prince-Bishop Jeglić of Ljubljana—that the late Pope would have given his consent, had it not been for Austria, which recoiled from what would have probably strengthened the Slav element. One of the cherished policies of Austria was to utilize in every possible way the religious differences between the Southern Slavs.


But the two States formed beside the Adriatic and in Raška were not only separated from early days by their religion; they had quite different neighbours to deal with. In 887 the Croats imposed their will on the Venetians, against whom they had been for some time waging war—and not merely a defensive war—the Venetians having attacked the country in order to despoil it of timber and of people, whom they liked to sell in the markets of the Levant. In 887, however, after the defeat and death of their doge, Pietro Candiano, the Venetians were forced to pay—and paid without interruption down to the year 1000—an annual tribute to the Croats, who in return permitted them to sail freely on the Adriatic. Beside that sea the Croats founded new towns, such as Šibenik[31] (of which the Italian name is Sebenico), and carried on an amicable intercourse with the autonomous Byzantine towns: Iader, the picturesque modern capital which they came to call Zadar and the Venetians Zara; Tragurium, the delightful spot which is their Trogir and the Venetian Traù, and so forth. These friendly relations existed both before 882 and subsequently, when the towns agreed to pay the Croats an annual tribute, in return for which the local provosts were confirmed in office by the rulers of Croatia. We have plentiful evidence from the ruins of royal castles and of the many churches built by the Slavs in this period, as well as from the discoveries of arms and ornaments, that the people had attained to a condition of prosperity. At the beginning of the tenth century, so we are told by the learned emperor and historian Constantine Porphyrogenetos, the Croatian Prince Tomislav could raise 100,000 infantry and 60,000 cavalry; he had likewise eighty large vessels, each with a crew of forty men, at his disposal, and a hundred smaller ships with ten to twenty men in each of them.

As for the State of Raška, protected on the south and west by formidable mountains, and in the very centre of the Serbian tribes, it is there that the lore and customs of the people have survived in their purest form. Raška was the land in which the love of liberty was always kept alive and from there the expeditions used to sally forth whose aim, frustrated many times, it was to found a powerful Serbian State. The chieftain, Tshaslav Kronimirović, did, as a matter of fact, succeed in uniting his State with two others, one being in Bosnia and the other in Zeta, which is now Montenegrin. He even added three other provinces on the Adriatic coast; but after his death the State was dissolved and in the course of the conflicts which followed, the State of Zeta assumed the leadership. It had been necessary for these Serbian rulers of Raška and Zeta to resist the frequent assaults not only of the Byzantines but of the Bulgars.


"Frequent assaults" is probably a correct description of what the Serb of that period had to endure at the[32] hands of this particular opponent, the Bulgar. Having swarmed across the Peninsula, the Bulgar was now in the act of consolidating a great kingdom, for this was the magnificent epoch of the Bulgarian Tzar Simeon, whose word ran far and wide from the Adriatic. The Bulgarian map[9] which exhibits the Tzardom at the death of Simeon is painted in the same brown colour from opposite Corfu right across to the Black Sea and up as far as the mouths of the Danube, which signifies that in those parts (including, of course, Macedonia) the word of Simeon was supreme. But the Serbian provinces of Raška, Zeta, Bosnia and some adjoining lands are painted brown and white, being hatched with white diagonal lines; and this indicates very candidly that in the north-west Simeon was not omnipotent. We are indeed told in the letterpress that "on the other hand Simeon meanwhile took the opportunity to settle accounts with the Serbians because of their perfidious policy, and he subjected them in the year 924"; but doubtless this was a kind of subjection which in 925 would have to be repeated, and this would account for one of Simeon's faithful chroniclers having made that allusion to perfidious policy. Of the Tzar himself we are given an attractive picture: unlike his father, Boris, who patronized Slav literature for the reason that it made his State less permeable to Byzantine influence, Simeon had no political object in his encouragement of native literature.[10] He was himself a man of letters, having studied at Constantinople. He was acquainted with Aristotle and Demosthenes, he discussed theology with the most eminent doctors of the Church, and of positive science—or of what was then regarded as such—he possessed everything which had survived the great shipwreck of ancient thought. Not only did he found monasteries and schools, but he gathered writers round him; and, in order to stimulate them, he himself wrote original books and translations, thus ennobling, we are told, the literary vocation in the eyes of his rude and warlike race. He would probably have smiled if he had known that one of his writers had attributed to him the [33]subjection of the Serbs; but what one would like to learn is whether Macedonia, even then a kaleidoscope of races, was more or less completely under the shadow and the brilliance of his sword, more or less completely subjugated. Four centuries later the Serbs were to have a Macedonian empire which, like Simeon's, dissolved on the death of its founder. To these old empires the Serb and the Bulgar of our day are looking back, and it would be interesting to know if harassed Macedonia was calmly content to be first Bulgarian and then Serbian, or whether it was a calm of that Eastern kind which means that a ruler's assaults upon the people are infrequent.


And now, as the matter is in dispute, it is necessary to examine the origin of the Bulgarian people. A band of Turanian or Bulgarian warriors, probably not over 10,000 in number and led by one Asperouch or Isperich, had crossed the Danube in the year 679, had subdued the Slav tribes in those parts—for the newcomers reaped the advantage of being a well-disciplined people—and by the end of the eighth century had settled down in their tents of felt along the banks of the Danube. Then, after another hundred years, in the district bounded by Varna, Rustchuk and the Balkans, one may say that the original Turanians, a branch of the Huns, had been absorbed by the Slavs. "The forefathers of the Bulgars," says the great Slavist, Dr. Constantine Jireček of Prague, in his History of the Bulgars, "are not the handful of Bulgars who conquered in 679 a part of Mœsia along the Danube, but the Slavs who much earlier had settled in Mœsia, as well as in Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus and almost the whole Peninsula." With regard to the retention of the name there is an analogy in France, where the Gauls came under the subjection of German Franks, who ultimately disappeared, but left their name to the country. So, too, the Greeks in Turkey who call themselves Romei, the name of their former rulers, and their language Romeica, though they are not Romans and do not speak Latin. To such an extent have the original Bulgars been absorbed by the Yugoslavs that even the most ancient known form[34] of the Bulgarian language, dating from the ninth century, retains hardly any relics of the original Bulgarian tongue; and this tongue has in our time, with the exception of a word or two, been entirely lost: there is a celebrated old MS. in Moscow[11] which orientalists and historians have pondered over and which has now been explained by the Finnish professor Mikola and the Bulgarian professor Zlatarski to be a chronology of Bulgarian pagan princes, of whom the first are rather fabulous. Here and there, amid the old Slav, are strange words which are supposed to signify Turanian chronology, cycles of lunar years. And in a village between Šumen and Prjeslav there was found an inscription of the Bulgarian prince Omortag (?802-830), where in the Greek language, for the Bulgars had at that period no writing of their own, he says that he built something; and amid the Greek there is the word σιγορ-αλεμ, which occurs also in the above-mentioned document and is regarded as Turanian.... What we do know about this race is by no means so discreditable; it is true that they are reputed to have had no great esteem for the aged, and, according to a Chinese chronicle of the year 545, "the characters of their writing are like those of the barbarians." They held it to be glorious to die in battle, shameful to die of sickness. For the violation of a married woman, as well as for the hatching of plots and rebellion, the penalty was death, and if you seduced a girl you were compelled to pay a fine and also to marry her. Their sense of discipline, which served them so well in their contact with other people, was remarkably applied to their social life; thus a stepson was under an obligation to marry his father's widow, a nephew the widow of his uncle, and a younger brother the widow of an elder. It may be that the two much-quoted writers who claim that the modern Bulgars are of this race were moved more by their admiration of such customs than by scientific scrutiny. One of them, Christoff, who assumed the name of Tartaro-Bulgar to show that he believed in his theories, is usually thought nowadays to have been more of a poet than a devotee of erudition; if he had been still more of a poet, approaching, say, Pencho Slaveikoff, we would take less objection to his[35] waywardness. The other champion of that ancestry is Theodore Paneff, who showed himself a brilliant and courageous officer during the war of 1912-1913. The fact that he was himself of Armenian origin—he changed his name—would, of course, not invalidate his Bulgarian studies; but even as he spoke Bulgarian with a Russian accent, so is he looked upon as writing like certain Russians; and his other literary work, such as that on the psychology of crowds, is held to be of more value. At all events in 1916 when a number of Bulgarian deputies made a joyous progress to the capitals of their allies, under the leadership of the Vice-President of the Sobranje, Dr. Momchiloff, renowned at the time as a Germanophil, they were welcomed with great pomp at Buda-Pest and declared in ceremonial orations to be brothers of the Turanian Magyars; but Momchiloff deprecated this idea. "We are brothers," he said, "of the Russians, and see what we have done to them!" It was also during the War that Dr. Georgov, Professor of Philosophy and Rector of Sofia University, wrote a dissertation in a Buda-Pest newspaper,[12] which demonstrated very clearly to the Hungarians that the Bulgars are Slavs; the Professor points out that the Turanians had so rapidly been absorbed that Prince Omortag bestowed Slav names upon his sons, and this complete mingling of the radically different peoples was assisted, says the Professor, by the fact that those Bulgarian hordes in the days before they crossed the Danube were already partly mixed with Slavs, since they had been wandering for decades to the north of the Danube, around Bessarabia, in which country the Slavs were members of the same Slovene race as those whom they were afterwards to meet. So thoroughly were the original Bulgars submerged in the Slavs that when their sons set out from the district between Varna, Rustchuk and the Balkans, proceeding west and south, they met with no resistance from the unorganized Slavs of Mœsia and Thrace, owing to the circumstance that these latter did not feel that the new arrivals were strangers. In fact, says the Professor, there are in the present Bulgarian people far fewer and far fainter traces of the original Bulgars than there are [36]of the old Thracians, as also of the Greeks and of the different people who in the course of the great migrations probably left here and there some stragglers. Sir Charles Eliot says of the Bulgars that "though not originally Slavs they have been completely Slavized, and all the ties arising from language, religion and politics connect them with the Slavs and not with Turkey or even Hungary." Professor Cvijić, by the way, who in 1920 received the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his researches into Balkan ethnology, regards the author of Turkey in Europe as a greater authority in this field than himself.... It is not easy, away from Montenegro and a few remote valleys, to find communities on the Balkan mainland that are altogether free from alien blood; Turks have come and gone, Crusaders of all nationalities have passed this way, with their hangers-on, here was the road from Europe to Asia, and here amid the ruin of empires lay much that was worth gathering. No doubt the Serbs, whose land was not so much a thoroughfare, have in their veins some Illyrian and other, but on the whole much less non-Slav blood than the Bulgars; still, when we consider some subsequent invasions of Bulgaria, we must ascertain how far they spread. For example, the Kumani who arrived in the thirteenth century were, according to Leon Cahun,[13] Turks of the Kiptchak nation, speaking a pure Turkish dialect; they—that is to say, the Gagaous who are supposed to be their descendants—are now Christians, they speak modern Turkish and inhabit the shores of the Black Sea and the region of Adrianople; they have kept much to themselves and are recognizable by their dark faces, large teeth and hirsute appearance. There are people who assert that all Bulgars have a physical divergence from other Yugoslavs, but, except if they happened to come across one of these Gagaous or some such person, it appears more likely that they saw what they went out to see. Naturally, if not very logically, those who regard the Bulgars in a hostile fashion have often brandished the arguments of Messrs. Tartaro-Bulgar and Paneff; if they will be so good as to accept what I honestly believe is the truth with regard to this people,[37] they may have the pleasure of denouncing the Bulgar even more, seeing that his Yugoslav blood gives him less excuse for being what he has been. We shall have occasion, later on, to discuss his primitive as well as his more refined vices, endeavouring to ascertain how far they are not shared by his neighbours and whether he has any virtues peculiar to himself.


After this long excursion into troubled waters we will go back to the Serbian States of Raška and Zeta. In the year 1168 the former of these was under the rule of Stephen Nemania (1168-1196), who bore the title of "Grand Župan," which means chief of a province. He was on friendly terms with the "Ban," or governor, of Bosnia, and with his assistance he added Zeta to his possessions. It was in his beneficial reign that the Bogomile heresy was propagated in Serbia—later on to spread through Bosnia and thence, under the name of Albigensian heresy, to France. Nemania summoned an assembly to decide on a plan of action; they resolved that this heresy should be exterminated by force of arms, seeing that most of the population belonged to the Orthodox religion. But Nemania was tolerant towards the Catholic Church, which had a considerable following in the Serbian provinces of the Adriatic coast, and this attitude became him well, for although he was the son of Orthodox parents he was born in a western part of the country where there was no Orthodox priest, so that he was baptized according to the Catholic rite and only joined the Orthodox Church at a considerably later date. A suggestive incident occurred in the year 1189, when Frederick Barbarossa, on his way to Constantinople and Jerusalem, was met at Niš by the Grand Župan, who presented him with corn, wine, oxen and various other commodities, placed the Serbs under his protection, and concluded with him and with the Bulgars a military convention for the taking of Constantinople. When at last Nemania was tired of fighting and administration he withdrew to the splendid monastery of Studenica,[38] which he had built, and afterwards to the promontory of Mt. Athos, where his younger son, who called himself Sava and was to become the great St. Sava, had from his seventeenth year embraced the monastic life.


Meanwhile the Slavs of Croatia and those farther to the north and west, with whom was kept alive the old name of Slovene, had been at grips with various neighbours. It has been said of the Slovenes that, shepherds and peasants for the most part, they have practically no national history, seeing that when the realm of Samo, who was himself a Frank, came to an end, they were subjected to the Lombards, to the Bavarians and finally to Charlemagne and his successors. Unlike the Serbs and the Croats, they had no warlike aristocracy; in fact, the only two Slovene magnates who displayed any national zeal were two Counts of Celje (Cilli) of whom the first rose to be Ban of Croatia and the second, Count Ulrich, the last of his race, was in 1486 assassinated by Hungarians in Belgrade, thus causing his domains to fall to the Habsburgs.[14] But if the little, scattered Slovene people had to bend before the storm, if they withdrew from their outposts in the two Austrias, in northern Styria, in Tirol, in the plains of Frioul and in Venetia, they settled down, thirteen centuries ago, in a region which they still inhabit. This is bounded to the north approximately by the line extending from Villach—Celovec (Klagenfurt)—Spielfeld—Radgona (Radkersburg)—and the mouth of the river Mur, although there are noteworthy fragments at each end: about 65,000 on the[39] hills to the west of the Isonzo (of whom 40,000 have been since 1866 under Italy), and about 120,000, partly Catholics and partly Protestants, who live on the other bank of the Mur. Anyone who wished to follow the fortunes of the Slovenes through the Middle Ages would have chiefly to consult the chronicles of the Holy Roman Empire; he would find them in their old home at Gorica, but with a German Count placed over them, he would find them being gradually supplanted by the Germans in such towns as Maribor (Marburg) and Radgona, being thrust out to the villages and the countryside; nowhere except in the province of Carniola would he find a homogeneous Slovene population. It is an interesting fact[15] that in the fifteenth century theirs was the "domestic language" of the Habsburgs, even as in our time the Suabian-Viennese; but until the era of Napoleon they took practically no part in the world's affairs, and the part which they were wont to take was to fight other people's battles: for example, when the Venetians, in the midst of all their hectic merriment, were making the last stand, it was largely to the Schiavoni, that is Slovene, regiments that they entrusted their defence. We are told that there was no question of the loyalty and the fighting qualities of the Schiavoni and of their sturdy fellow-Slavs, the Morlaks of Dalmatia. It was not possible for the authorities to provide ships enough to bring over sufficient resources to maintain all those who were eager to fight.[16] In spite of all the centuries of political suppression the little Slovene people, which to-day only numbers 1,300,000, retained its identity with even more success than a certain frog in Ljubljana, their capital; for that wonderful creature, though preserving its shape in the middle of a black-and-white marble table at the Museum, has allowed itself to become black-and-white marble. We shall see how Napoleon awoke the Slovenes, how Metternich put them to sleep again, how they roused themselves in 1848 and what a rôle they have played in the most recent history.


The Croats were to be much more prominent in the[40] Middle Ages. They did not, it is true, always manage to hold their heads above water; but they can now look back with more gratification than regret on the interminable conflicts which they had to sustain against the Hungarians on the one hand, the Venetians on the other. The Hungarian monarch, anxious to have an outlet on the Adriatic, attempted to cajole the Croats into electing him as their king, on the score of his being the brother of the wife of a late Croatian ruler. He secured by force what his pleadings had not gained him, and subsequently the link between Croatia and Hungary was more than once broken and reunited within the space of a few years; at last it was arranged that there was to be a purely personal union under the vigorous King Kolomon, and so it continued, with varying interference on the part of the Hungarians, until the dynasty of Arpad became extinct in 1301. The functionary who represented the central power in Croatia—there being for part of this period a similar official for Slavonia, the adjoining province—had the title of Ban. He was at the head of the Croatian army, he pronounced sentences in the name of the king and had other functions, so that the office came to be regarded with profound respect by the Croats, and many of its holders tried to deserve this sentiment.... Among the duties assumed by King Kolomon was that of recovering from the Venetians those coastal towns and islands which had fallen to them, owing to the chaos in Croatia. For more than two hundred years—that is, until the middle of the fourteenth century—this warfare between the Hungaro-Croatian kings and Venice raged without interruption; apparently the Dalmatian towns and islands were most unwilling to come under the sway of Venice. We read everywhere of how they themselves put up a strenuous resistance. At Zadar, the capital, where Pope Alexander III. had in the year 1177 been welcomed by the people with rejoicings and Croatian songs, a chain was drawn across the harbour in 1202, for the people hoped in this way to keep out the Venetians, who, with a number of Frenchmen, were starting out on[41] the famous Fourth Crusade—that enterprise which ended, on the outward journey, underneath the walls of Constantinople. The Venetians forced their way into Zadar, plundered and devastated it; and in order to mollify the Pope, who was indignant at Crusaders having behaved in this fashion against a Christian town, they subscribed towards the building of the cathedral, but retained possession of the place—this time for over a hundred and fifty years. Yet the holding of Zadar did not imply that of other Dalmatian towns: during this period when Venice clung to the chief place there were a good many changes in the not-distant town of Šibenik, which was now under the Hungarians, now under Paul Subič, Prince of Bribir, now under the Ban Mladen ii., now an autonomous town under Venice.


The most renowned, as it is the most beautiful, of Dalmatian towns, Dubrovnik (Ragusa), was always more preoccupied with commerce and letters than with warfare. It managed to maintain itself in glory for a very long time, thanks to the astuteness of the citizens, who were ever willing to give handsome tribute to a potential foe. On occasion the Ragusans could be nobly firm, refusing to deliver a political refugee to the Turks, and so forth. In such tempestuous times the little State was forced to trim its sails; there was the gibe that they were prepared to pay lip service to anyone, and that the letters S.B. on the flag (for Sanctus Blasius, their patron saint) indicated the seven flags, sette bandiere, which they were ready to fly. But the Republic of Dubrovnik—a truly oligarchic republic, until the great earthquake of 1667 made it necessary to raise a few other families into the governing class—the republic can say, with truth, that when darkness was over the other Yugoslavs it kept a lamp alight. As yet the Serbian State was rising in prosperity and Dubrovnik made a treaty of commerce with Stephen (1196-1224), who had succeeded his father Nemania. During this reign St. Sava, the king's brother, came back to Serbia and organized the national Church, founding[42] also numerous monasteries and churches, as well as schools. Of the successors of Stephen we may mention Uroš, whose widow, a French princess, Helen of Anjou, is venerated in Serbia for her good deeds and has been canonized. King Milutine (1281-1321) made Serbia the most united and the leading State in Eastern Europe; under Dušan, who has been called the Serbian Charlemagne, success followed success, and under his sceptre he gathered most of the Serbian people, as well as many Greeks and Albanians. He had the idea—and it was not beyond his strength—to group together all the Serbian provinces.


It is facile for people of the twentieth century, and particularly so for non-Slavs, to say that this Serbian Empire of Dušan, Lord of the Serbs and Bulgars and Greeks, whom the Venetian Senate addressed as "Græcorum Imperator semper Augustus," resembled the earlier Bulgarian Empire of Simeon, who called himself Emperor of the Bulgars and the Vlachs, Despot of the Greeks, in that we would consider neither of them to be an empire; and that therefore, in celebrating their glories, with pointed reference to their Macedonian glories, the Serbs and the Bulgars are living in a fool's paradise. No doubt a great many persons dwelt in this Macedonia of Simeon and Dušan without being aware of the fact, for those who called themselves Bulgars or Serbs appear to have been chiefly the warriors, the nobles and the priests; a large part of the people were—as they are to-day—indifferent to such niceties. But there is latent in the Slav mind a longing for the absolute, which, except it be in some way corrected, inclines towards a moral anarchy, a social nihilism and indifference as to the destinies of the State. Looking merely at the consequence, it does not greatly seem to matter how this attitude is brought about.... One must admit that these two realms occupied in their world most prominent positions—positions to which they would not have attained if Simeon and Dušan had not been altogether exceptional men, for on their death there was[43] not anybody great enough to keep the great men of the State together. We have spoken of Simeon's peaceful labours—we might cultivate more than we do the literature of that age if it were less dedicated to religious topics, which anyhow at that time gave little scope for originality—his consummate ability as a soldier and statesman is revealed in the existence of his empire; we find in the Code of Dušan, before such a thing flourished in England, the institution of trial by jury, while Hermann Wendel[17] has pointed out that the peasants were protected from rapacious landowners much more effectively than in the Germany of that age.... We need not try to establish whether the simple Macedonian desired to be under Simeon or Dušan; but even if these two monarchs had, each of them, as far as was then possible, complete control of the country, one would scarcely urge that after all these centuries this is any reason why Macedonia should fall to Bulgaria or to Serbia. We shall have to see whether by subsequent merits or activities either of them has acquired the right to absorb these outlying Slavs who, be it noted, if in our day they are questioned as to their nationality, will often reply—and even to an enthusiastic, armed person from one of the interested States—the worried Macedonian Slavs, of whom a quarter or maybe a third do really not know what they are, will reply that they are members of the Orthodox Church.

Dušan perceived that an alliance with Venice would serve his ends; he did not cease trying to persuade the Venetians that such an arrangement was also in their interest. After having sent an army to Croatia, in the hope of liberating that people from the Hungarians, he conquered Albania, and in 1340 asked to be admitted as a citizen of the Most Serene Republic. In 1345 he informed the Senate that it was his intention to be crowned in imperio Constantinopolitaneo, and at the same time suggested an alliance pro acquisitione imperii Constantinopolitani. But Venice, while reiterating her protestations of friendship, declined his offers; for she could not bring herself to join her fortunes to those of an ally who might become a rival.


On the death of Dušan his dominions fell apart, so[44] that the conquering Turk, who now appeared, was only met with isolated resistance. At a battle on the river Maritza in 1371 the Christians were utterly routed and, among other chieftains, King Vukašin was slain. His territories had included Prizren in the north, Skoplje, where Dušan had been crowned, Ochrida and Prilep. It was Prilep, amid the bare mountains, which passed into the hands of Marko, the king's son, Marko Kraljević, and thereabouts are the remains of his churches and monasteries. But for the Serbs and the Bulgars Marko is associated with deeds of valour; he has become the protagonist of a grand cycle of heroic songs, wherein his wondrous exploits are recalled. Although he was, by force of circumstances, a Turkish vassal, and, fighting under them, he perished in Roumania in 1394, so that historically he may not have played a very helpful part, yet it is to him that numerous victories over the Turk are ascribed. He is said to have been engaged in combat against the three-headed Arab, to have waged solitary and triumphant warfare against battalions of Turks, to have passed swiftly on his faithful charger Šarac from one end of the country to another, to have defended the Cross against the Crescent, to have succoured the poor and the weak, to have conversed with the long-haired fairies, the "samovilas," of the forest lakes, who gave him their protection, and he is said to have assisted girls to marry by abolishing the Turkish restrictions. They say that he is still alive, and when he reappears, gloriously seated on Šarac, then will the people be free, at last, and united.[18] Through the long centuries of[45] Turkish oppression he—who personifies many of the traits in the national character, with Christian and with pagan attributes—he, in these legends, many of which have a high poetic value, was able to keep alive the hope of deliverance. From one end of the Balkans to the other, from Varna to Triest, the popular hero is Marko Kraljević. He is as much the personage of Bulgarian as of Serbian folk-songs, and this is well, seeing that he was a Serbian prince while many of his adoring subjects were Bulgars—the noble Albanian chronicler, Musachi, for instance, calls his father Re di Bulgaria. As Marko is dear to them in song the Bulgars have come to think that he was a Bulgar; thereupon the Serbs point out that he was the son of Vukašin, that Marko is an admittedly Serbian name, and that Kralj (King) and Kraljević are titles so unknown in Bulgaria that when the Sofia newspapers alluded to Louis Philippe, Ferdinand's grandfather, they spoke of him—him of all people—as Tzar Louis Philippe. Thereupon the Bulgars retort that, anyhow, Marko was cruel and perfidious and a braggart and a drunkard and a fighter against Christians, and a fighter remarkable for cowardice. But if we are going to look at the private character of all the world's national heroes, we shall be the losers more than they. Let Marko, who joins the Serb and the Bulgar in song, find them engaged, when he comes back, in drinking together and not in making him the subject of antiquarian and acrimonious debate.


While Serbia was listening to the Turkish cavalry, the Ban of Bosnia, Tvertko, raised that province to its greatest eminence. Being a collateral heir of the old house of Nemania, and having wide Serbian lands under his rule, he had himself proclaimed king on the tomb of St. Sava in 1377. He called his banat "the kingdom of Serbia," and allied himself to Prince Lazar, the most powerful of the Serbian rulers who were still independent. In Bosnia at this time the Bogomile heresy, after winning the people of Herzegovina, that wild and mournful province, attracted not only the peasants but the bans.[46] Just as Dušan and other Balkan princes had made of an autocephalous Church the surest foundation of their States, so did the Bans of Bosnia, beginning with Kulin at the close of the twelfth century, see in the Bogomile movement a national Church that would render their subjects more intractable to outside influences, to religious suggestions emanating from Rome, and to political ambitions that came from Hungary. The people, for their part, flocked to the ranks of the "good Christians," as the sect was called, on account of the Bogomile humility, the democratic organization of a Church that was in such contrast with the formalism of Byzantine ceremonial, and also on account of some pagan superstitions that were mingled with this Christianity and made to these simple, recently converted Christians a most potent appeal. It was in vain that the Popes preached a crusade against the Bogomiles, in vain that the Kings of Hungary descended on their heretical vassals; for the ban, in one way or another, would divert that wrath—sometimes, if no other choice presented itself, he became the temporary instrument of this wrath while standing at the people's back. From all the world, so say contemporary records, there was a constant stream of heretics to Bosnia, where now the Bogomiles were found in the most exalted positions. Ceaselessly the Popes persecuted them, and when at last in Sigismund of Hungary an ardent extirpator visited the land there came about a terrible result, which has made Bosnia so different from other Serbian territories.


Tvertko did his utmost to make of Bosnia the kernel of another great Slav State. The death of Lewis of Hungary freed him from his most redoubtable adversary; Dalmatia, Croatia and other lands were joining him—but then in 1389 came Kossovo, the fatal field of blackbirds, where a disloyal coalition of Serbian, Croatian, Albanian and Bulgarian chieftains went down in irretrievable disaster. Milos Obilić, who is now one of Serbia's popular heroes, had been suspected of lukewarmness; he answered his accusers by gaining access to the[47] Sultan's camp and slaying the Sultan. Not only did the Turks put him to death, but they decapitated their prisoner, Prince Lazar, and all the other chiefs.

The Slavs along the Adriatic were now also on the eve of dire misfortune: protracted wars of succession, in consequence of the death in 1382 of Lewis of Hungary, had ravaged that country and Croatia, so that in their enfeebled condition they could give no assistance to the towns and islands of Dalmatia which for so long had been struggling to elude the grip of Venice. But even so—and with many places handing themselves over voluntarily, in disgust at the almost incredible treason of their elected monarch, Ladislas of Naples, who, after long bargaining, sold his rights to Venice for a hundred thousand ducats, and with many places, in dread of the Turks, placing themselves under the protection of Venice—even so the Venetians had a great deal of trouble in occupying Dalmatia, and a hundred years elapsed before they had the whole of it. As for the two ports, Triest and Rieka (Fiume), they had passed through various episcopal or aristocratic hands. Triest had been in a position to set her face against falling to Venice, of whom she had had, from the tenth to the twelfth centuries, an adequate experience. Both Triest and Rieka were now to pass into the power of the Habsburgs.


For a few years after Kossovo the Serbs resisted; but their efforts, now at Belgrade, which was made the capital and fortified by Stephen the chivalrous son of Prince Lazar, now at Smederevo on the Danube, were spasmodic. Bands of Turks and also of Magyars were terrorizing the country; and the sagacious old despot George Branković was the last to offer opposition to the Turk at Smederevo. Meanwhile in Bosnia, the Bogomiles, driven to despair by persecution, had been calling to the Turk. Constantinople fell in 1453, Serbia laid down her arms in 1459, while in 1463 Muhammed ii. appeared before Jajce, Bosnia's capital, where one can still see the skeleton of Stephen Tomažević, the last king, who was executed by the Sultan's order. And now[48] in this land of heresy, which had become so hostile to the established Churches, hundreds of those who professed the Bogomile faith went over eagerly to Islam; they hoped that in this way they would triumph at the expense of their late persecutors. Those who had worldly possessions were the first to embrace Islam, in order to safeguard them. Those who had neither wealth nor much accumulated hatred remained Christians. One would expect that people who had adopted a religion under these impulses would be even more uncompromising than the usual convert, and indeed, as a general rule, the ex-Christian begs and aghas displayed until recent times not only a more than Turkish observance of the outward forms of Islam but a tyranny over the wretched raias, their slaves, that was much more than Turkish.

Fortune had turned her back upon the Southern Slavs. In the north the Slovenes were imprisoned in the Holy Roman Empire, while the Croats—save for the time when they were under Tvertko—had a succession of alien rulers, such as the aforementioned Ladislas, whom they naturally disliked.

After Kossovo some of the Serbian nobles had fled to Hungary, to Bosnia and to Montenegro. It was among the almost inaccessible, bleak rocks of Montenegro that a few thousand Serbs managed to retain their liberty. Various Serbian tribes or clans thus found a refuge, and owing to their isolation from each other they preserved their differences. They have, in fact, preserved them, as well as the tribal organization, down to the present day. And then there was Dubrovnik, the stalwart little republic. Now that she stood alone she needed all her acumen. Yet if she paid necessary tribute to the powerful, she would not give up helping the fallen. From this Catholic town in 1390, the following message was sent to the Serbian Prince Vuk Branković: "If—and God forbid that it should be so—Gospodin Vuk should not succeed in saving Serbia, and should be driven thence either by the Magyars or the Turks or anyone else, we will receive the Gospodin Vuk and the Gospodja Mara his wife, together with their children and their treasure, in all good faith in our city; and if Gospodin Vuk desire[49] to build a church of his own faith here for his use, he shall be at liberty to do so."[19]

Darkness lay over the world of the Southern Slav—under the Turk there was no history. Generation followed generation, but the day of Kossovo does not seem to the Serbs as though it were a distant day. Do not we who go about our business in the brilliance of the morning sometimes linger to recall the frightful setting of the sun? And every year the Serbian people sing the Mass for the repose of them who died at Kossovo.... When, after more than five hundred years, the Serbian soldiers in the Balkan War came back to this historic plain one saw them halting, without being ordered to do so, crossing themselves and presenting arms.


[4] From the word sloviti, to speak—meaning those who can speak to and comprehend one another.

[5] Premrou quotes from the account of this ambassador's journey in the year 965, which was published at Petrograd in 1898.

[6] Cf. Serbia, by L. F. Waring. London, 1917.

[7] The sources of the ancient history of Croatia have been collected by F. Rački in his Documenta historiæ Croaticæ periodum antiquam illustrantia, Zagreb, 1877. Cf. also his well-known and excellent essays in Rad. jugoslav. Akad.; the Poviest Hrvata de Vjekoslav Klaič, Zagreb, 1899-1911, and a short but very good account by F. Sišić in Pregled povijesti hrv. naroda, Zagreb, 1916. I am indebted for these references to Dr. Yovan Radonić, who is regarded as among the first of Croat historians.

[8] This book, dating from 1395, is in the town library of Reims.

[9] "The Bulgarians, in their historical, ethnographical and political frontiers." Text in four languages. Berlin, 1917.

[10] La Macedoine, by Simeon Radeff. Sofia, 1918.

[11] Obzor Chronografov, published by Professor Popov in 1863.

[12] Pester Lloyd, June 21, 1917.

[13] Introduction à l'Histoire de l'Asie. Paris, 1896.

[14] In a monograph on the 600th anniversary of the Church of St. Mary at Celje (Celje, 1910) there is reproduced a contemporary narrative of the funeral of Count Ulrich. After describing how the widow, the noble lady Catharine, had with dire wailing gone round the altar and offered sacrifice, being followed by all the congregation, it proceeds: "Da diss geschehen gieng wieder herfür ein geharnischter Mann, der Namb zu sich Schilt, Helmb, Wappen, legte sich auf die Erden, vnd striche gar lauth, ganz erbärmlich vnd gar Cläglich mit heller stimbe drei mahl nacheinander Graffen zu Cilli, vnd Nimmehr zerreiss die Panier, Zerbrach die Wappen da war Allererst ein Clagen, dass es nicht einen Menschen, sondern ein harten stain hete Erbarmen Mögen."

[15] Cf. A lecture delivered by Sir Arthur Evans before the Royal Geographical Society, January 10, 1916.

[16] Cf. La Fine della Serenissima, by Ricciotti Bratti. Milan, 1919.

[17] Südosteuropäische Fragen, by Hermann Wendel. Berlin, 1918.

[18] His equipment, as M. Charles Loiseau (in Le Balkan Slave et la Crise Autrichienne, Paris, 1898) remarks very truly, "n'est pas banal." One of his historians relates that he was furnished with a sword, a lance, javelins and arrows trimmed with falcons' feathers, sometimes also with a sabre and a small axe. He was garbed in a cloak of wolf's skin, using the same skin for his cap, round which was wound a dark piece of cloth. On his saddle was a scarf of silk. The reins of his horse were gilded, and he carried in his right hand a javelin of iron, gold and silver, weighing 150 lb. (?), and this he balanced on the left side with a large skin of wine. On his back was a magnificent cloak, and behind him there was a folded tent.

[19] Monumenta Serbica, edited by F. Miklosić.



The Venetians in Dalmatia—Methods of the Turk—The Slavs who migrated—The consolation of those who remained—Good living in Hungary—The Protestant influence—Dubrovnik, refuge of the arts—How she smoothed her way—Her commercial enterprise—Her northern kinsmen and the military frontiers—The oppressive overlords of the Yugoslavs—The great migration under the Patriarch—Activities of the Southern Slavs under the Habsburgs—The position of their Church—Serbs assist the Bulgarian Renascence—The German colonists in the Banat—The Southern Slav colonists and their religion—Bunjevci, Šokci and Krašovani.


One might argue that the Slav of Dalmatia had no gratitude, because when Serbia and Bosnia were utterly under the Turk, when the Slovenes of Carniola, Carinthia and Southern Styria suffered between 1463 and 1528 no less than ten Turkish invasions, when in the middle of that fifteenth century the crescent floated over all Croatia and only the fortified towns of the seacoast and the islands remained in the Christian hands of Venice, whom a fair number of these towns and islands had called in to protect them, surely one might argue that it was not seemly if the local population, Croats and Serbs, detested the Venetians. And on hearing that not long ago an orator in the Italian Parliament exclaimed, "I cani croati!"—a description that was greeted with a whirlwind of applause—you possibly might argue that the Speaker should have reprimanded him because ingratitude is not a quality associated with dogs.

As we gaze at the splendid structures, the palaces, the forts, the magnificent cathedral of Šibenik that was begun in 1443, the loggia of Trogir and Hvar, the loggia[51] of Zadar—"a perfect example," we are told, "of a public court of justice of the Venetian period"—the towers on the old town-walls of Korčula, as we gaze at all those elegant and useful and robust and picturesque buildings which bear the sign of the Lion of St. Mark, do not the complaints of the disgruntled population of that period tax our patience?

We may waive the fact that the Šibenik cathedral was left unfinished for centuries, being only completed by public subscription under the Austrians; we may overlook the fact that the Lion of St. Mark was sometimes placed on a building not erected by the Venetians. This we can see at the Frankopan Castle on Krk, and elsewhere. But it would be unjust if we held Venice up to blame on account of some exuberant citizens. There are many other buildings in Dalmatia which undoubtedly were built by the Venetians: palaces and forts and walls and loggia which are perfect examples of a Venetian court of justice.

Some one may ask why the Venetians built no churches that were half as beautiful as those—say, St. Grisógono at Zadar, the cathedrals of Zadar and Trogir, and so forth—which were constructed under the Croatian kings. Well, the possession of such churches would have been a source of pride to the Dalmatians (and have kept awake the national spirit more than did the forts and loggia), and the Venetians wanted to preserve the people from the sin of pride. There was also a feeling that the Dalmatian forests were a source of pride to the people. So the Venetians removed them. They were able to make use of the wood for their numerous vessels, for the foundations of their palaces, and as an article of export to Egypt and Syria.[20]

Then some one else may ask about the schools. One must confess that the Venetians built no schools. But, nay dear sir, contemplate the curious carving round the windows of that palace, and then there is that perfect example of a Venetian court of justice. Was it not unreasonable for some of the Dalmatians to be discontented it they and their countrymen were allowed no schools, seeing that one did not need a school in order to be[52] eligible for the army or commercial navy, which were the professions open to the natives of Dalmatia? With regard to those natives who really wanted to have a University diploma—well, the University of Padua was prepared to grant one without an examination; the "overseas subjects" could become doctors of medicine or of law on the simple production of a certificate from two doctors or two lawyers of their country, stating that the candidate was a capable person. Thereupon he was allowed to practise—in Dalmatia. And Venice herself was disposed to grant privileges, such as an exemption from all taxes, to those noblemen and burgesses and highly placed clergy who were well disposed to her. But as for schools, she could not ignore an anonymous work of the end of the sixteenth century, which was attributed to Fra Paolo Sarpi, the learned councillor of the Republic; he warned them in this book that "if you wish the Dalmatians to remain faithful to you, then keep them in ignorance," and again: "In proportion as Dalmatia is poor and a wilderness, so will her neighbours be less anxious to seize her."

With regard to roads—how could Venice be expected to build roads? They might have been of service to the population of the interior, but they would have caused a certain number of those people to devote themselves to trade, and thus would have prevented them from guarding the land against the Turk, which was the unquestioned duty of a man who lived in the interior.

When the Venetians retired from Dalmatia in 1797, after holding it for three to four hundred years, the country as a country was not flourishing. The total of exports and imports was such as would now satisfy a single large trader. But, of course, the land possessed those buildings with the Lion of St. Mark upon them—which were possibly put up with the idea of enhancing the prestige of the Republic—and it possessed the loggia.

In 1797 when the Austrians arrived they found in the prisons of Zadar that, out of two hundred convicts, fifty were beyond human punishment, and of these one had been dead for five years. The system was that the Government allotted to the prisoners for their subsistence a sum that was so inadequate that they were[53] obliged to borrow from the warders; and when the prisoner had served his sentence and was unable to repay the warder, this functionary kept him under lock and key. There in the same dungeon lay the untried and the convicts and the insane, for whom there was no separate habitation. It was impossible, said those who set them free, to describe the horrors of filth, the bare ground not being even covered with straw, the windows being permanently closed with blocks of wood, so that the poor inmates could never get a glimpse of the loggia, that perfect example of a Venetian court of justice. The hospital at Split was a damp cellar, and outside it was a ditch of stinking water. The foundling home, which was called Pietà, was a room so horrible that, out of six hundred and three new-born children who had been there in ten years, not one had gone out alive.

But were not these abuses general at that epoch? And can we demand that the Venetians of that time shall answer the reproaches which it pleases us to make? And what answer did they give to the reproaches of their subjects, illustrious Dalmatians, such as Tommaseo and Pietro Alessandro Paravia, who, although belonging to the Italophil party, passed the sternest judgment on the authorities? What excuse could there be in 1797, seeing that, the wars having concluded at the beginning of the eighteenth century, Venice was free to undertake a humanitarian and civilizing work? Venice was by no means in a disarming state of decrepitude. On her own lands she had brought her stock-raising, her agriculture and her industries to such a pitch of development that she had the experience, as well as the initiative and the means, to do something for the Dalmatians who, and especially in the interior, knew no other trade than that of arms. Terrible was the desolation of those days; over large areas there was no drinking-water; the land was merely used to pasture the herds of almost wild cattle; instead of the superb forests were hundreds of miles of naked rock; and nowhere had the Venetian families, to whom the Government had given great holdings, come to settle down among their peasants. Nothing at all had been done in the way of canalization or of drainage, so that the land was devastated[54] with malarial fever. In 1797 only 256,000 inhabitants remained; a hundred years later the number had doubled. It had much more than doubled if we take into account those who emigrated from a land which could no longer support the population of the early Middle Ages.

In 1797 the Venetian democrats begged Napoleon not to take Dalmatia from them, since the harbours and the population were indispensable to them. They made no allusion to the sentiments of affection which united these provinces to the Mother Country.

But are we unfair to the Venetians? Are we omitting the salient fact that, even if they were not model administrators, they at all events kept out the Turk, who would possibly have been more nefarious than themselves?... When troops were needed to fight the Turk these were for the most part provided, in the several long campaigns, by the Croats and Serbs of Dalmatia.

And what has been the fruit of all this? Let us take an Italian writer's observations on the people of the interior, the Morlaks.[21] In his book I Morlacchi (Rome, 1890), Signor Francesco Majnoni D'Intignano says that they are "endowed with courage and, like all courageous[55] people, with frankness. They say what they think and their sentiments are openly displayed. Thus, for example, they do not attempt to conceal their antipathy against the Italians. They are no longer mindful of the benefits which they received in the past nor of the fact that the Venetians freed them from the Turkish yoke; and this is so not only because of the lapse of years, but because under the Venetian rule they did not feel themselves independent; they saw in the Italian merely that astuteness which knows how to profit from other people's toil, and which has no thought of making any payment. In the Italian they have no faith, and so their 'Lazmansko Viro' (Italian fidelity) is equivalent to the Romans' expression 'Greek fidelity.' But all this does not prevent them, when they have occasion to offer hospitality to an Italian, from offering it with every courtesy."

It is hardly worth while inquiring whether the Venetians or the Turks wrought more evil against their Yugoslav subjects. But though the modern Italian claim to Dalmatia and the islands may appear to us—in so far as it is based on historical grounds—to have small weight, nevertheless we must not allow it to make us insensible to the Venetian's good qualities. It may not nowadays be reckoned as meritorious that, after her own interests had been safeguarded, she did not interfere with the privileges of the small class of nobles, the "magnifica communità nobile," but at any rate it could be said of her that she left intact the local privileges. One must also bear in mind that the majority of her subjects in those parts had, through one cause or another, a prejudice against innovations which could only be broken down very gradually.

Nor were the Turks altogether vicious. Those who came first into the Yugoslav lands were under a severe discipline, and, preserving the austere habits of a warlike race, they were not guilty—generally speaking—of excesses. As the first comers were not very numerous, they contented themselves with occupying the strategic points; and as the Yugoslavs were accustomed to the life of a State not being very prolonged, they were cheered by the thought that their subjugation to the Turk would fairly soon come to an end.[56]


After the Turk had made himself master of Bosnia and Herzegovina he enrolled among his janissaries 30,000 of the young men, and in other parts of Yugoslavia showed himself inclined at first to permit the people to follow their own traditions, their religion,[22] their language and their customs, so long as he was maintained in luxury and so long as a sufficient supply of young men was forthcoming. The abominable acts of cruelty, by which he is now remembered in the Balkans, appear to have started at a later period, when he had himself degenerated, when his lawless soldiery provoked the people, when the people rose and he suppressed them in a manner that would make them hesitate to rise again. But from the first he saw to it that there should be recruits; many a young Slav taken early from his home was transformed at Constantinople into a redoubtable janissary who fought against Europeans; these troops, who were not allowed to marry, gave an absolute obedience. They were perhaps the finest infantry in the world—for two hundred years they formed the strongest prop of the Turkish Empire. Paulus Jovius, the historian, says that in 1531 nearly the whole corps of janissaries spoke Slav. Other young men were received into the Government offices—the Porte, until the end of the seventeenth century, used the Serbian language for its international transactions; its treaties with the Holy Roman Empire, for example, were all made out in Serbian and Greek. Finally there were not wanting Southern Slavs who rose to high distinction in the Sultan's service, such as Mehemet Sokolović, who, after being thrice pasha of Bosnia, was elevated to the post of grand vizier; Achmet Pasha Herzegović (son of the last chief of Herzegovina), whose conversion was followed by an appointment as Bey of Anatolia; he became brother-in-law of Sultan Bajazet ii. and likewise grand vizier. There was Sinan Pasha, a Bosnian, who constructed in Čajnica, his native place, the handsome mosque that still exists, and there was the renowned[57] Osman Pasvantoölu Pasha, also of Bosnian origin, who appeared in 1794 outside the historic fortress called Baba Vida (Grandmother Vida), of the dusty, old rambling town of Vidin on the Danube. Having won his way into the fortress he was elected governor, and a year later he became Pasha. His independence was remarkable even at a period when Mahmud Bushatli Pasha flourished at Scutari and Ali Pasha at Jannina, so that Lamartine described Turkey in Europe as "une confédération d'anarchies." Pasvantoölu coined his own money, and, amongst other exploits, placed on the outside of a mosque his own monogram instead of the Caliph's emblem. Therefore the outraged Sultan sent against him three armies in succession, and each of them went back from Vidin vanquished. The pasha was a brave and energetic man of iron will, a great soldier and an expert architect. He built famous places of worship, whose gilded arabesques, whose fountains in the silent courts may bring us to meditate on one who died in 1807, three years after the first insurrection of his fellow-Yugoslav, Kara George. In Pasvantoölu's great library at Vidin there are one hundred and twelve books on scientific and literary matters. The Pasha was venerated and was regarded almost with dread for having managed to assemble so many volumes dealing with other than spiritual affairs.


But, apart from the Bogomiles, the number of those who of their own free will went over to the Turks was scanty. Far more numerous were those who abandoned their country and crossed the Danube to Hungary, to Transylvania, to Wallachia, to Bessarabia, thus returning with weary hearts to some of the places which, a thousand years before, had seen their shaggy ancestors come trooping westward. What they heard in the Banat, the part of southern Hungary they came to first, must have induced a large proportion of them to remain, for they were told by those who had migrated after Kossovo, in the days of old George Branković and of Stephen the son of Dušan, that this was a[58] good land and that the masters of it, the Hungarians, were much more easy to live under than the Turks. Not that it was necessary to live under them, because one could settle in the lands or in the towns which had been given by some arrangement to Stephen and to George Branković. These were lands so wide that all the Slav wanderers could make a home on them; they extended to the river Maroš and even beyond it. If they settled in one of those districts it would be under one of their own leaders and judges, not those of the Hungarians. There did not seem to be many Hungarians, and perhaps that was why they wanted other people in the country, especially now that the Turk was not far off. If anyone decided to live under the Hungarians, that also was much better than under the Turks; in this country of fine horses you were not prevented from going on horseback. Then it was much easier to speak to the Hungarians, because a great many words in their language, particularly the words which had to do with agriculture, seemed to be Slav. So alluring, in fact, was the state of things in the Banat, as these people painted it, that many of the immigrants, in their relief and happiness, wanted to hear no more. They scarcely listened while they were being told about the Slav settlers, in pretty large numbers, who had been there longer still, people who said that they had lived there always, even before the building of the Slav monasteries, and some of these were three or four hundred years old, as could be proved by rescripts of the Popes. Likewise those who had always lived there reported that some of their own race had been great men—one had been the Palatine of Hungary in the days when King Stephen ii. was a child, another was the Palatine Belouch, brother to Queen Helen; and were not the monasteries there to remind one of the leaders, the voivodas, who liked to raise such temples so that prayers could be said for the repose of their souls?

It was known that a people which professed the same religion as themselves—"a people of shepherds," as King Andrew II. called them in a decree dated 1222, the time of their first appearance in Hungary—it was known that these Roumanians from Wallachia were just advancing from Caras-Severin, the most easterly of the three[59] counties of the Banat, into Temes, which is the central one. But even if they came farther west it did not seem to matter; one had a kindly feeling for them, since there was a good deal of Slav in their language, and if they were averse from building monasteries, that was their own affair. They had, it was interesting to learn, invited a Serb, the same man who had erected Krushedol monastery in Syrmia, to build one at least as imposing for them at a place called Argesu, to the north of Bucharest.

Thus one cannot be surprised that hundreds and thousands of Serbs and Bulgars quitted their native lands—they were not known to the Turks as Serbs and Bulgars, but merely as raia of the province of Rumili—and crossed the Danube, the Serbs going chiefly to their own countryfolk in Banat and the lands to the west of it, while the Bulgars went partly to the Banat, where their descendants have won fame as market-gardeners, but chiefly to Roumania, settling in villages round Bucharest.


Those who preferred to take arms against the Turk had the choice either of leaving their country and entering the service of one which was at war with Turkey or else abiding in their own land, gathering in bodies of fifty to a hundred men, massacring as many Turks as possible, protecting and avenging their own people, sometimes being killed themselves, otherwise returning to the mountains every spring. The "heiduks," as they were called, had the people's unbounded devotion. Their achievements, perhaps a little touched with romance, were celebrated in the people's songs, and as it may be of interest to know what kind of song this people made in the period of uttermost depression, I give overleaf a couple that are concerned with heiduks; they are translations from a book of mine, The Shade of the Balkans, which is out of print.[60]


Go now and tell them,
Tell your companions
That, O Heiduk,
I have cut off your hands.
Cut away, cut away,
For I did curse them
When, O Buljuk Pasha,
They trembled on the gun.
Go now and tell them,
Tell your companions
That, O heiduk,
I have pricked out your eyes.
Prick away, prick away,
For I did curse them
When, O Buljuk Pasha,
They failed along the gun.
Go now and tell them,
Tell your companions
That, O heiduk,
I have hacked off your head.
Hack away, hack away,
For I did curse it
When, O Buljuk Pasha,
It compassed not your end.


O Mechmed,[23] my beloved son,
Have you come wounded back to me?
Where is your pipe and your heiduk garb?
—Ask me not, ask me not.
Ask me rather where are my comrades.
With six hundred I went to the mountains—
Six of them live and brought me hither,
Brought me though themselves were wounded.
A little time and I must die,—
Call everyone of those I love,
For I would take my leave of them.
When all were come young Mechmed said:
Mother, how long will you mourn for me?
—Till I step down to you in darkness.
Father, how long will you mourn for me?
—Till the raven's wing is white
And I see grapes on the willow-tree.
Sisters, how long will you mourn for me?
—Till we have babes to sing asleep.
How long will you mourn, my beloved?
—Till I go down among the flowers
And bring a nosegay back for him.


The Turk had thrown aside any toleration he started with. The Patriarchate of Peć, which they had for a time left intact, was now abolished and was not again permitted until 1557, when its re-establishment was due to the efforts of Mehemet Sokolović, the grand vizier from Bosnia, who raised to the Patriarchate his brother the monk Macarius. Every school in Serbia and Bulgaria was closed, so that no teaching could be given anywhere save in the monasteries; it is said to be a fact—I have it from Dr. Zmejanović, lately Bishop of Veršac—that when Kara George, the beloved and illiterate heiduk, made his first insurrection, there were, in addition to the monks, precisely eight individuals in Serbia—their names are recorded—who could read and write. Thus the absence of printing-presses was not greatly felt: in Bulgaria there was now no press at all, in Serbia a few prayer-books were roughly printed in the monasteries; but in the sixteenth century the monks, for the copying of these books, had reverted to the use of pen and ink.

There had been in the bygone days, in the empires of Simeon and Dušan, for example, a privileged class, commonly called an aristocracy, which as elsewhere had arisen from the people having been obliged to submit themselves to military discipline.... And it was in those dreary days when all the raia felt themselves as brothers[24] that the Serb and Bulgar planted that democracy which flourishes among them now. They saw what dangers threatened in the towns. Vuk Karajič, the reformer of the Serbian language, tells of certain merchants there who, by assuming Turkish apparel and customs, came to be no longer counted as Serbs. And more numerous by far were the townsfolk, nobles and merchants and others, who went to live among the countryfolk and intermarried with them, and produced a people which is better described not as a democracy, but as an aristocracy.


And always we hear that those in the Banat and those[62] in the still more fertile province of Bačka, to the west of it, or those who had gone even farther west, into the wine-growing hills of Baranja, had no reason to regret their enterprise. King Matthew Corvinus of Hungary writes to the Pope on the 12th of January 1483, informing him that 200,000 Serbs have come into the Banat and Bačka since 1479. He adds that he is favourably disposed towards them, as they are a fighting race of the first order, so that he can trust them to defend those provinces against the Turk.... Not only, therefore, did he bestow upon them exceptional privileges, but in 1471 he appointed Vuk, the grandson of George Branković, to be Serbian despot of southern Hungary. This newly organized dominion on the left bank of the Danube and the Save was much more important than those of Transylvania or of Szekeliek, which were held by Hungarian magnates and which, in the event of war, had to furnish, each of them, four hundred horsemen, whereas the Serbian despot undertook to furnish a thousand.

The earliest Serbian settlement in Baranja appears to have consisted of natives of the Morava valley who came in 1508 to a district near Ciklos. The king made over the castle of Ciklos to their leader, Stephen Stiljanović, called the Just, and when the Turks broke into Baranja they murdered him. History[25] relates that some years after this on the 14th of August the pasha, a man of Serbian origin, commanded that the corpse be exhumed; whereupon a ring on the dead man's finger proved that he was related to the pasha. According to the Turkish rules of that period it was illegal to celebrate the Mass except at night, and in the open air. Now every year on the night of the 14th of August a Mass is sung, with the congregation holding torches and candles, out on the side of a hill. Afterwards they dance, and so forth.

However, it was the Banat to which the Serbs chiefly rallied, and after the fall of the fortress of Belgrade in 1521 they came in such multitudes that large portions[63] of it had an exclusively Serbian character. And they were given the sole charge of defending it, while the Hungarians retired to the north. But Hungary herself went down at the terrific battle of Mohács—10,000 Serbs under their voivoda, Paul, fought in the Hungarian ranks—and after the fall of Buda-Pest the political organization of the Serbs, with a despot as their ruler, came to an end, being replaced by a religious organization, at the head of which was the restored Patriarchate of Peć. The diocese which the Patriarchs from their not very accessible monastery were supposed to administrate included all the Serbs between Monastir and Buda-Pest, and from the Adriatic to the Struma River. It was at this time that in the other Yugoslav lands, to the west and north, there came a breath of wind from the Reformation.


When the German reformers tried, by way of the Yugoslavs, to reach Rome, they found a printing-press at Urach, from which, between 1561 and 1564, a number of books in Glagolitic characters (and in Cyrillic, a special form thereof) were issued. The most cultivated of the Glagolitic clergy in Istria and the Croatian littoral, such as Antony Dalmatin, Primus Trubar the Slovene and George Jurišić, were enthusiastic in seconding the press and in seeking, as writers, to disseminate Protestantism in the Slav world. One of their most notable fellow-workers was Matthew Vlacić (Mathias Flacius Illyricus), professor at the Universities of Wittenberg, Jena, Strassbourg and Antwerp, a veritable encyclopædist of the Reformation, and, with Luther and Melanchthon, one of its leaders. A very distinguished man, who had already, about 1550, joined the Protestant Church, was Peter Paul Vergerius; before 1550 he had twice been Papal Nuncio in Germany, a bishop in Croatia and afterwards in Istria. The rank and file of the Glagolitic clergy received these books with joy, for the Roman hierarchy, which had small liking for this truly national Church, would have been glad to see it perish in ignorance, with no books and no culture. By the way, the lower[64] clergy remained what they had been—a national clergy. They availed themselves of these Glagolitic books from the Protestant press, but for that reason were not going to become Protestants. Theological subtleties were repugnant to them, and before and after the Council of Trent they married and lived a family life.


The intellectual life of the Yugoslavs would, but for Dubrovnik, have died out altogether. And even at Dubrovnik, of which the Southern Slav thinks always with pride and gratitude, there was a movement to turn away from the Slav world. This was certainly one of the periods, which reappear not seldom in the story of Dubrovnik, when it seemed that miracles of wisdom would be wanted for the steering of the ship of State. Venice and the Turkish Empire were as two tremendous waves that rose on either side. By a very clever show of yielding, the little Republic had for a time disarmed the Turks, and, later on, when the Venetians declared that all the commercial treaties existing between the Dalmatian towns and Turkey were void, it was necessary for Dubrovnik also to accommodate herself to this enactment and to restrict her trade to Spain and the African coast. It would under these circumstances be most imprudent, so urged some of the citizens of Dubrovnik, if they were officiously to advertise their relationship to the hapless Slavs, who were enslaved to the Republic's mighty neighbours. And in 1472 the Senate had directed that within its walls no speeches should henceforth be made in Slav. But as the Senate consisted of forty-five nobles, and these were obliged to be over forty years of age, one may say that they did not represent what was most virile in the State; at all events, this isolated tribute to expediency may for a time have been observed in that assemblage, in the world of letters it was disregarded. And this is the more wonderful when we remember that Dubrovnik had from Italy a language that was already formed, she had Italian models and printers and even their literary taste. But Šiško Menčetic and Džore Držić—both of them nobles, by the way—started at once to write verses[65] in Slav; not very sublime verses, as they were principally love-songs of the school that imitated Petrarch, but it is pleasing to recall that they were written in spite of the thunders of Elias Crijević, a contemporary renegade. Under the name of Elias di Cerva this gentleman travelled to Rome, where he made himself a disciple of Pomponius Lætus and once more modified his good Slav name into Ælius Lampridius Cerva, and received at the Quirinal Academy the crown of Latin poetry. Having thus qualified himself to be a schoolmaster, he went back to Dubrovnik and settled down to that profession. He was likewise very active as a publicist on the "barbaric" Slav language, which, as he was never tired of screaming, was a menace both to Latin and Italian. One is apt to call those persons reasonable, among other things, whose opinions coincide with one's own; but is there anybody willing to assert that because the Slav culture of that epoch was, like many another culture, inferior to the Italian; because the Italian towns were in the rays of artistic glory, whereas the Slav world was not; because on that account the Slavs were wise enough to profit from the Italian masters; is there anyone who, because some of the Slavs were and are unwise enough to be more Italian than the Italians, will assert that the Slav has no right to develop a national art, a national State?

It is superfluous to make a catalogue of those Ragusan writers who were more or less successful in purging their Slav language of Italianisms. Luckily they had at their doors the language of Herzegovina, which is unanimously considered by philologists to be the purest of the Serbo-Croat dialects. The most considerable of these writers was Gundulić, although he never could forget that his productions must be pious, and, beyond all other aims, present a moral. It was in Poland that he saw the liberator of the Southern Slavs, and what he sings in Osman, his chief work, is the overthrow of Sultan Osman ii. by Vladislav, heir to the Polish throne. As this poem of the seventeenth century, this flowering of the Slav spirit, might be looked upon as assailing "the[66] integrity of the Turkish Empire," it was only allowed to circulate in MS. until 1830. According to Dr. Murko,[26] Professor of Slav Language and Literature at the University of Leipzig, this work surpasses Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered; but it is commonly thought that there is more literary merit in Gundulić's Dubravka, a lovely, patriotic pastoral. The worthy Franciscan Kačić,[27] who followed him with a work—Familiar Conversations on the Slovene Nation—would perhaps be regarded by us as more remarkable for his originality; but this patriotic production, in verse and in prose, didactic, chronological, allegorical and epic, has made him immortal. Beginning with Teuta, the first king of the Slovene nation, who flourished, says the author, about the year 3732 B.C., he proceeds imperturbably and sometimes in moving numbers to relate the lives and virtues of all the other Slovene kings, be they Bosnian, Croat, Serbian, Bulgarian; it may well be that the secret of his vogue is, in the words of the critic Lucianović, that "he was less a minstrel of the past than of the future." On the fruitful island of Hvar (Lesina) there arose an exquisite lyric poet, Lucić, whose romantic drama Robinja (The Female Slave) is said to have great importance in the history of the modern theatre; but the most famous of Hvar's poets was Hektorović (1487-1572). "This nobleman with his democratic ideas," says the Russian savant Petrovski in speaking of his Ribanje (Fishing), "is the intimate friend of his fisher-folk, the singers of national songs, and with his remarkable realism he was three centuries before his time." When we finally note that at Zadar in the sixteenth century there was written Planine (The Mountains), in which Zoranić gave us the most patriotic work of mediæval Yugoslav literature, we may say at least that the Dalmatian Yugoslavs did not abandon hope.

By the way, these remarks on the Slav literature of Dalmatia may be thought otiose, for the national aspirations would not have been less fervent if they had been expressed in Italian. One is reminded by the well-known Italian writer, Giuseppe Prezzolini,[28] that until last century the ruling classes of Piedmont spoke French; Alfieri and Cavour had to "learn Italian," but who would on this account pretend that Piedmont is a French province? [67]There is really nothing strange in the fact that the Pan-Slavist newspaper L'Avenire, published at Dubrovnik from August 1848 until March 1849 by Dr. Casnačić, was written in Italian, or that those Irish who desire to be free from their hated oppressor have not completely given up the use of his language.


We have alluded to the caution of Dubrovnik, and one must confess that in her story are such parlous situations, out of which there was apparently no rescue, that in reading of them one is more and more astonished at her customary enterprise. How did she succeed, for instance, in contributing thirteen vessels to the fleet which Charles V. sent against Tunis in 1535 without disturbing in the slightest her good relations with the Sultan? All that she asked for was peace, and so she paid a large sum to the Sultan every year, as also to the pirates of Barbary, so that she could continue to navigate freely; in the fifteenth century she had three hundred ships that were seen in all parts of the Mediterranean and even in England. She had been wont to pay five hundred ducats a year to the Kings of Hungary, and now and then, when it was opportune, she sent this tribute to the Austrian Archdukes, the rightful heirs of Hungary. To the captain of the Gulf of Venice she dispatched every year a piece of plate, to the King of the Two Sicilies she presented a dozen falcons, with a very respectful letter, and the Pope, who was not forgotten, overlooked her annual tribute to the Turk and proclaimed her to be the outer defences of Christianity. (Let it not be forgotten that in 1451, four centuries before Wilberforce's anti-slavery campaign, the Republic by a vote of 75 out of a total of 78 forbade its citizens to traffic in slaves, and declared all slaves found on its territory to be free. "Such traffic," it said, "is base and contrary to all humanity ... namely, that the human form, made after the image and similitude of our Creator, should be turned to mercenary profit and sold as if it were brute beast.")

But of all the markets of the merchants of Dubrovnik, those which from the days of old they most frequented,[68] were the markets of the Balkans. To Bulgaria and Serbia, Albania and Bosnia, they brought the products of the West and of their own factories: the cloth and metal goods, the silver and gold ornaments, the weapons, axes, harness, glass, soap, perfumes, southern fruits, fish oil and herbs; and most of all they valued their monopoly of salt, a most remunerative privilege. As they could not obtain sufficient of it in their own immediate territory, the Senate made a regulation that each vessel which came back after a voyage of four years must bring a cargo of salt. This was Dubrovnik's chief source of revenue until the end of her independence in 1808, and efforts that were made by others to break down this monopoly led to bitter conflicts. With regard to the goods which they carried home with them from the Balkans, these comprised cattle and cheese, dried fish from the Lake of Scutari, hides of the wolf and fox and stag, wax, honey, wool and rough wood-wares, and unworked metals. Some of the Balkan mines, such as the silver mines of Novo Brdo in Serbia, they worked themselves, even as the Saxons whom we find thus engaged in various parts of these lands. Under the Turkish domination it must have been with joy that the caravans from Dubrovnik were welcomed, bringing news of the one Southern Slav State which remained free and prosperous. A good many of these wandering merchants took Serbian or Bulgarian wives.


If the men from Dubrovnik were able to bring happy tidings of their own Republic, such as the report, perhaps a little exaggerated, that the wealth of those who lived in the street of merchants, which runs parallel to the stately thoroughfare, the Stradone, amounted to a hundred million ducats, they were able to give very little news of the more distant Southern Slavs. The Serbs had not forgotten that brothers of theirs were living in the north-west. If in the days of the Turkish oppression they had been inclined to be oblivious of the Croats, yet they could not but remember that Dušan's sister had married the Croatian prince, Mladen III. There is no incident connected[69] with Dušan that is not treasured in the memory of the Serbs.


For a long time the Habsburgs had been planning to employ the Croats, who were excellent troops, as a bulwark against the Turks. And although Ferdinand of Habsburg, on being elected to the throne of Croatia on the 1st of January 1527, had sworn to respect the ancient rights and traditions of the realm, his heirs favoured more and more a policy of centralization; and in 1578, taking advantage of a serious agrarian conflict between nobles and peasants in Croatia, the Habsburgs instituted the Military Frontiers, the famous Vojna Krajina, one for Croatia proper, with Karlovac as capital, the other for the adjacent Slavonia, with the capital at Varazdin. Croatia's autonomy was ignored.

This method of guarding the frontiers had been employed by the Romans, who made over lands to non-commissioned officers and men on condition that their male descendants rendered military service. Those men who had no children received no lands. Alexander Severus, who introduced this arrangement, used to say that a man would fight better if at the same time he were defending his own hearth. Under Diocletian the "miles castellani" or "limitanei," as they were termed, had slaves and cattle allotted to them, so that the land's development should not be hindered through lack of labour or on account of the owners losing the physical capacity for work.

The Habsburgs were assisted in their scheme by various causes, one of which was the poverty of the soil in certain parts of Croatia, so that it came as a relief to many of the struggling inhabitants that for the future they would be provided for. The greatest misery was also prevalent at this time in consequence of the plague which desolated parts of Croatia and Istria. The distress was particularly acute in Istria, where between the years 1300 and 1600 the plague was rampant on thirty-nine occasions, the town of Triest being visited in ten different years between 1502 and 1558; and in the year 1600 the port of Pola was[70] reduced to four hundred inhabitants. Venice attempted to colonize the desert places with Italian farmers, but having failed on account of malaria and the lack of water, she called in a more vigorous element, the Slav from Dalmatia and Bosnia. Meanwhile the towns, in which were the descendants of those who had come from Italy in the days of the Roman Empire, fell more profoundly into decay. Those western towns looked on the Slav with disdain, they would not mingle with the rural population; but as these were much more active and were often strengthened by fresh immigrants, one thought that they would gradually swamp the more effete men of the towns. And, on the other hand, the townsmen weakened their position by continually breaking, on account of economic disputes, the ties between themselves and Venice. And as example of their frequent attitude towards Venice, we may take the words which the deputies of Triest used in 1518 in the presence of the Emperor Maximilian: "We would all of us prefer to die," they said, "rather than to fall under the domination of Venice." Such language may, of course have been a compliment; and yet it does not seem unlikely that the people of Triest had some knowledge of the ruin and death that were overtaking all the Dalmatian towns with the one exception of Dubrovnik, which was independent.

Allusion has been made to the Slavs who came from Bosnia; one may ask how it was that the Turks allowed them to depart. On such an extensive frontier it would not be difficult for people to escape; that they did so is made evident by all the solemn treaty clauses which declared that they should be forthwith delivered to their rightful owners. The Turks were quite as ready to bind themselves in this fashion. There is, for example, the treaty which settles what travelling expenses the Venetians are to pay to the emissary of the Pasha of Travnik on his way to Zadar, how much velvet, how many loaves of sugar and how many pots of theriac must be provided for each member of his entourage; and in the same treaty it is laid down that the Turks are to give up all those who have deserted to them, yea even if they have become Muhammedans. But the Turkish authorities never heard of any such people. And the Slavs were passing to and[71] fro from one Yugoslav land to another, always thinking that in the new land life must be more tolerable.


Now and then we hear of insurrections; thus the Serbs of the Banat revolted in 1594, allied themselves to Prince Batthory of Transylvania and offered him the Serbian crown. With an army of Serbs and Hungarians the Prince appeared on the Danube with the intention of aiding the Bulgars. He won a splendid victory over the Turk, but in gaining it he had exhausted himself, and the Turk took his usual revenge. In Croatia the absolutist policy of Leopold I. exasperated the people to such an extent that they forgot their quarrels with the Magyars in order to be able to defend their rights against the attacks of Vienna. The Hungarian-Croatian magnates, amongst whom were the Croats Peter Zrinsky, the Ban, and Christopher Frankopan, conspired to overthrow the Habsburgs. When the plot was discovered the conspirators were executed in 1671 at Wiener Neustadt. In the spring of 1919, when the bones of these two patriots were brought back to Croatia and buried after a series of imposing and most moving ceremonies, Austria was in such a state of hunger that she waived her good taste and received what she had exacted for the bones, namely, five hundred trucks of meat and potatoes. After the battle of Vienna in 1683 both Serbs and Bulgars rose, for it seemed to many hopeful people that the Turk was on the point of dissolution. There was an outbreak in the Bulgarian mountain village of Čiprovtsi, but this was suffocated with such ferocity that for more than a hundred years the Bulgar would not make another effort. The spirit of the Slav appeared to have gone out of him. Wars that were disastrous to Turkey brought the Russians to the Danube and the Austrians to within twelve leagues of Sofia, but the Bulgar stayed at home with his black memories. A better fortune attended the Serbs who flocked to the standard of George Branković, a descendant of the old despots, in the Banat. With the goodwill of Leopold I. they fought by the side of his own troops, and after these latter were withdrawn, in consequence of[72] the new campaign against Louis XIV., the Serbs continued to wage war with the Turks, and so successfully that Leopold became anxious lest Branković should found an independent Serbian State. He therefore caused him and the leaders of his army to be captured. Branković was brought, a prisoner, to Vienna. He survived in captivity at Eger for twenty-two years.[29]


In the year 1690 there happened the vast exodus of 30,000 Serbian families who migrated across the Danube and the Save under the leadership of the Patriarch of Peć, Arsenius Čarnoević. An oleograph of a picture illustrating this event is found in almost every Serbian house, be it private house or Government building. These refugees settled in Syrmia, Slavonia, the Banat and Bačka, and received from the Emperor certain rights, such as that of electing their voivoda (duke), of owning land, and so forth; their privileges were not always respected, but the Serbian immigrants remained faithful to Austria.... The land of Peć, from which the Patriarch fled, with the neighbouring Djakovica and Prizren, became Muhammedan Albanian territories.

[Mr. Brailsford[30] in 1903 found that in these parts the Albanian was overwhelmingly predominant, and that he refused to tolerate the claims of the Serbian minority. Saying that his race, descended from the Illyrians, was the most ancient in the Peninsula, he objected to this particular region being called Old Serbia simply because it was once upon a time conquered by Dušan. In 1903 the Serbs of the district of Prizren and Peć numbered 5000 householders against 20,000 to 25,000 Albanians. [73]As for the towns: "In Prizren," said an Albanian, "there are two European families, while the soil of Djakovica is still clean."[31] The life which these people led was one of misery—tribute in some form or other had to be given to an Albanian bravo, who made himself that family's protector, and, in spite of that, the holding of any property, house or land or chattels, seems to have depended on Albanian caprice, and the physical state of the Serbs was wretched, through lack of nourishment and disease. Various efforts had been made to render the land more endurable for those who were not Muhammedan Albanians; for example, a Christian gendarmerie was introduced, but as they were not allowed to carry arms they spent their useless days in the police stations. They filled the Albanians with scorn, and made them shout more vociferously their cry of "Albania for the Albanian tribes!" Under these conditions it says much for the stamina of the Serbs that they persisted in their old faith; a certain number—Mr. Brailsford came across some of them in the district of Gora, near Prizren—have been converted to Islam, but in secret observe their old religion.]

A Serbian historian, Mr. Tomić of the Belgrade National Library, has now discovered that these uncompromising Muhammedan Albanians are not—as previous Serbian and other historians have written—descended from Albanians who flowed into the country because of its evacuation by the Patriarch Arsenius and his flock. When the Austrian armies penetrated to this region in the winter of 1689-1690, the Imperialists were on good[74] terms both with the Serbian Orthodox people whom they found there and with the Albanian Catholics; but after the death of Piccolomini on the 8th of December (which was followed by that of the Catholic Archbishop), his successor, the Duke of Holstein, alienated the people, and when they would not obey his commands he set fire to their villages, this alienating them completely. The fortune of war then turned against the Austrians, who were compelled to retreat, and the Serbian Patriarch, with his treasury and a number of priests and monks, fled with them. They hoped that this exodus was to be of a temporary character, but in 1690 the Imperialists had to continue their retreat, taking with them across the Save and the Danube not only the Serbs who had, like Arsenius, sought refuge in Serbia, but a far more numerous body whose domicile had always been Serbia itself. What tells against the theory of the 30,000 families from Peć and Old Serbia is the fact that the Turkish troops followed so closely on the heels of the Austrians that the Patriarch and his clergy had great trouble in escaping themselves, and in addition to the Turk there was the difficulty of those mountain roads in the middle of winter. Thus it seems likely that most of the Serbian population of what is called Old Serbia remained there. The previous historians, who say that such a vast number followed the Patriarch and his priests, have based themselves, it appears, on the notes and chronicles of those priests. And the people, deprived of the guidance of their priests—who were then the spiritual and lay and military leaders—found it difficult to stand out against conversion. Half a century before this a great many Catholic and Orthodox Serbs of those parts had embraced Islam, in order to escape the financial and military burdens which were laid on Christian men; the women and girls would continue to profess Christianity. This phenomenon is described by many travellers, such as Gregory Massarechi, a Catholic missionary for Prizren and the neighbourhood, who says in his report of 1651 that in the village of Suha Reka on the left bank of the White Drin there used to be one hundred and fifty Christian houses, but that he only found thirty-six or thirty-seven Christian women, the men having all gone over to Islam. People were wont to[75] come secretly to him for confession and to communicate; he tells how these converted men would marry Christian women, but would leave them Christian all their lives, and only on his deathbed would a man ask his wife to be converted also.

The Prophet had also found his way into many households of Montenegro, where the clans, with neither civil nor military government, had been compelled, for their protection, to live in a patriarchal fashion: the people—that is, the chiefs of the clans—elected a bishop and gathered round him as the champion of their religion against Islam. Until the time of Danilo (1697-1737) there had been fourteen bishops. During his reign the problem of Turkish penetration was taken in hand. It was intolerable that Montenegrin families should stand well with the Sultan because one of their members had gone over to Islam. The small, untidy village of Virpazar, by the Lake of Scutari, has got a certain fame, because the chosen men who were to purge the country of this evil started out from there on Christmas Eve in 1703. Those who participated in the "Montenegrin Vespers" were not likely to forget the incidents of that impressive ceremony. The Bishop celebrated Mass, and from the consecrated tapers in his hand the people lit their own. Every man was armed. They knelt—their tapers hardly trembling—and they kissed the sacred image which the Bishop held. Then he blessed their weapons and they sallied forth, running round the lake and climbing up the rough, long road to Cetinje. Every house was visited in which there was a Moslem, and the choice was given of repudiation or of death. With such missionaries and with subjects such as these to work upon, you could not hope that the negotiations would be quite pacific. Many of the Moslem, young and old, were slaughtered, and when Mass was sung on Christmas morning in the rugged, little monastery of Cetinje, many of the chosen men assembled, weary but content, and gave whole-hearted thanks to God that Montenegro had been liberated from the scourge.

As for those who came under the influence of Islam in Old Serbia, they were left after 1737 even more to their own resources, as the zone which united them to the main[76] body of Serbs was depleted by another great exodus, under Patriarch Arsenius IV., Šakabenta. But, although these men of Serbian origin preserve sometimes this or that peculiarly Serbian custom, yet, as Mr. Tomić says:[32] "Living together with the Muhammedan Albanians, they have assumed the Albanian type and become the most savage foes of the Orthodox religion and of the people from which they are sprung. The popular saying," he adds, "is right which asserts that: 'A Christian become a Turk is worse than a real Turk.'" Of course, in order to make it appear that he was a real Albanian, there was always a tendency for an Albanized Serb to be preternaturally oppressive. And up to a short time ago it was very cold comfort for the Serbs to learn that many of these people are of Serbian ancestry. But, as we shall see further on, the old, mediæval friendship between the Serbian and Albanian rulers is extending to the people, and this—provided that a sinister external pressure can be warded off—will bear good fruit.

On behalf of the afore-mentioned 30,000 families the Patriarch negotiated with the Habsburgs and obtained very far-reaching rights, which permitted the Serbian people to form in Hungary a corpus separatum. A point which to Serbian eyes had extreme importance was the institution of a National Congress, to sit at Karlovci on the Danube in Syrmia, and, amongst other functions, to designate the Patriarch, whose seat was to be (and remains to this day) Karlovci, where a friendly white village on the rising ground, which anyhow would make it famous for the red wine and plum brandy, has received in its midst the marble palace of the Patriarch, a gorgeous church and various magnificent red and white buildings which look like so many Government offices but are, in fact, devoted to Church affairs, the training of theological students and so forth. Their Patriarchate at Karlovci appeared to the Serbs as the rock of their nationality outside Serbia. The Constitution granted to them did not make them precisely a State within a State, but at least it set up a political-religious unity—for the privileges included those of having a chief, the voivoda, and of[77] having a certain territory with autonomous internal organization and exemption from all taxes. Here the Serbs, forming a separate and distinct group, with their own religion, calendar and alphabet, and with their own aspirations, would be able to stretch out their hands—prudently, of course—to their scattered brothers. So the Serbs began to whisper to the Croats of the ancient days; the Croats heard them gladly, but they could not stop another voice from whispering as well. They had lived for so long with another religion, another civilization, their eyes had been turned in other directions, their hearts been filled with other hopes. And now it was as if the modern voice was being interrupted by the ancient voice. The Croats were inclined to ask the interrupter to be silent, but they found they could not live without him.


In the Banat and elsewhere under Habsburg rule the Serbs were filling their accustomed part and fighting, now against the Turk and now against Rakoczi's insurrection, during which, between 1703 and 1711, they are said to have lost about a hundred thousand men. Prince Eugene of Savoy, in whose campaigns they took a large share, described them as "his best scouts, his lightest cavalry, his most trusted garrisons." And they are rewarded—Joseph i., making use of very chosen phrases, insists on the merits of the Serbs and confirms their privileges. And until the Treaty of Pojarevac these privileges are maintained immune. This treaty came at the conclusion of the 1716-1718 war against the Turks; it put the Banat in the hands of Austria, who made it a Crown-land, with military government and autonomous administration. From this time onward the country, which had had an exclusively Serbian colouring, begins to receive an influx of strangers. The German governing class introduce Germans from the Rhine, from Saxony, from Würtemberg, Bavaria, Upper and Lower Austria and Tirol. Not only are these colonists settled in some of the most fertile parts, but Vienna also makes enormous grants of land in the Banat to lofty military personages[78] and to families of the aristocracy, and these in their turn assist the immigration of Germans.

But before the Habsburgs could continue in their efforts to assimilate, by one process or another, the Southern Slavs in the Empire, it was necessary to induce them to accept the Pragmatic Sanction, for Charles VI., the reigning Emperor, had lost his only son and wished to secure the succession to Maria Theresa. It is interesting to see that Croatia negotiated independently of Hungary, that she recognized the Pragmatic Sanction in 1713, whereas the Magyars did not do so until 1733. Consequently, if the Emperor had died between these two dates Croatia would have been separated completely from Hungary. Maria Theresa would have become Queen of Croatia, but the Magyars would not have been obliged to place themselves under her. The Croats on this occasion declared that the crown of Croatia was to pass to that member of the House of Habsburg who should reign not only in Austria but also in the other hereditary Austrian lands, for the Croats wanted publicly to show that any separation from the Slovenes of Carniola, Carinthia and Styria would be far less endurable for them than separation from Hungary. "It is neither by force nor yet the spirit of slavery," they said, "that we have been put under the domination of Hungary; we have submitted ourselves voluntarily, and not to the royalty but to the king of the Hungarians."

The Serb and Croat element in the Austrian army was at this time greater than the sum of all the others, and, owing to the privileges which their services acquired for them, they came to be regarded with extreme suspicion by the Magyars. It was under Magyar influence that Maria Theresa abolished the Croatian council, confided its functions to the Hungarian Government, and, on the same occasion, in 1779, proclaimed the town of Rieka (Fiume), with its surroundings, to be "separatum sacræ regni Hungariæ coronæ adnexum corpus." Rieka, like Triest, had been a free town under the Habsburgs, the reason being that they were the chief arteries of trade, so that a greater freedom was desirable. Like Triest, Rieka does not appear up to this date to have shown any hankering for Venice, and Maria Theresa's diploma which[79] renews the freedom is hardly evidence, as some people have asserted, that the town was throbbing with Italian sympathies.


More and more Germans were being brought into the Banat, and to make room for some between Temešvar and Arad the Roumanians, who had settled there, were transferred, in 1765, to the western county of Torontal. About half a century before this the Roumanian Bishop of Transylvania, with most of his clergy, passed from the Orthodox to the Greek Catholic Church; those of his flock who did not follow him attached themselves to the Serbian Church, and after a considerable time were given by Joseph II. in 1786 a Roumanian bishopric, at Sibiu. This bishopric was placed under the administration of the Serbian Patriarch at Karlovci "in dogmaticis et pure spiritualibus," which seems to show that the other privileges of the Serbian Church did not extend to the Roumanians. The Serbs had, from the beginning of the thirteenth century, been founding monasteries, and, although about twenty were secularized or affiliated to others by Maria Theresa, yet there remained eleven in the Banat and one, Hodosh, to the north of the Maroš; and as the Roumanians had no monasteries at all they were received as guests in some of these. And so things continued for about a hundred years.


While the Serbs were flourishing, ecclesiastically, in the Banat, the Bulgars had been painfully keeping alive, until 1767, their lonely Patriarchate at Ochrida. Time and again the Greek Patriarch at Constantinople had tried to suppress it, at first on account of cupidity and afterwards, say the Bulgars, for fear lest it should help to arouse the Bulgarian national spirit; but that spirit had fallen to such a depth that the second edition of a comparative lexicon of the Slav languages, which was issued, at the behest of the Empress Catharine in 1791, makes no mention of Bulgarian, and in 1814 the Slavist Dobrovsky[80] regarded Bulgarian as a form of Serbian. And yet, say the Bulgars, the national spirit survived so wonderfully by those far waters of Macedonia that even when the Greek language was introduced into the offices and the Church administration, and when Greeks had usurped the throne of St. Clement, they still found it possible to stand out for the independence of their Church, which handed on the memories of the Bulgarian past. We must be allowed to be sceptical—the town of Ochrida in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is said by contemporary writers to be now in Serbian, now in Bulgarian, now in Macedonian territory. And the very observant Patriarch Brkić of the eighteenth century tells us, in a calm, passionless description of the diocese, which he wrote in exile—he was the last Patriarch of Peć—that the inhabitants of a place called Rekalije, in the district of Djakovica, are not Albanians but Serbs and Bulgars who had been, a short time before, converted to Islam. It seems probable that the sharp divisions of Serb, Bulgar, and so on, did not then exist, and that the Greek Patriarch at Constantinople did himself not know what variety of reprehensible Slav it was that lived in those parts.... The last Patriarch of Ochrida, whose name was likewise Arsenius, spent the remainder of his life in exile at Mt. Athos, and there, in another monastery, was a pale, sickly monk, poring over crabbed MSS. This Païssu, a Bulgar, had entered, like his elder brother, the great Serbian monastery of Hilendar. We know from him that while the various Orthodox monks of Mt. Athos—Greeks, Bulgars, Russians, Serbs and Vlachs—were frequently at loggerheads, yet the others even more frequently combined to fall upon the Bulgars and to upbraid them because their history had not been glorious and because they had an insufficient number of saints. The Bulgar was nothing but a servant of the Greek; Bulgarian was no doubt written in a monastery here and there, but as for the spoken language, were not the townsfolk often ashamed of it? Did they not prefer to talk Greek? "I was filled with sadness," says Païssu, "on account of my race." There happened to be at Hilendar the monk Obradović, who was less enthusiastic about Glagolitic than about the songs sung by the peasant. With the fundamental[81] thought of working for the whole people, including the women, he clung to the idea of a literature in the popular, rather than in the old Church language. He was to set out, in pursuit of Western science, to France and Italy and England—he spent six months in London. The whole people was dear to him; he looked beyond their differences of religion, their other differences, and saw the brotherhood, in race and speech, of all the Southern Slav countries. He was to become one of the great inspirers of modern Serbia and her first Minister of Education.[33] He urged young Païssu to travel among his countrymen in search of manuscripts and legends. If only he could find the buried splendour of his people and call it into life again. And before he died—he suffered from continual headaches and an internal malady—he had finished, in 1762, his book, Slav-Bulgarian History of the Bulgarian People and Rulers and Saints. This naif, imperfect book, more lyric than scientific, but sincere and impassioned, has played a part in reminding the Bulgars of their story; it is the fountain-head of the Bulgarian Renascence.

In Serbia the gallant Captain Kotča also tried to begin for his country a Renascence. Russia and Austria declared war against the Turks in 1787. The Serbian volunteers, who included Kara George, crossed the Danube and fought with great courage. Yet the Austrians were beaten and Kotča was captured, by treachery, in the Banat; he was brought back to Serbia and impaled with sixty of his comrades. But in the treaty of 1791 the Turks undertook to give autonomy to the Serbs of the Pashalik of Belgrade, and to keep from their lands in future the janissaries who had wrought so much mischief.


Further down the Danube, though, there would be a janissary watching a frontiersman, a Graničar, on the[82] opposite bank, waiting to kill him—both of them Serbs, both standing on Serbian land.... The military frontier regiments were not only organized to defend, in a long line, Croatia, Slavonia, Bačka and the Banat from Turkish inroads, they had also to fight for the Habsburgs wherever a war was toward. Two centuries ago, at the time when the Serbian regiments were in a privileged position—the entire regiment, officers and men, consisting of Serbs, and their own arms being on the flag—it was their destiny to go to France, Italy and Spain, as afterwards to the battle of Leipzig and to Schleswig-Holstein. They may have grumbled a good deal on the way to all these battles, but once the fighting had begun they grumbled no more, thus resembling in two respects the French soldier. And this practice of going abroad on behalf of the Empire was continued till the frontier regiments, about fifty years ago, were broken up. Thus Joseph Eberle and George Huber were killed during the Italian campaign of 1848-1849. These men were German colonists, whose introduction had been so much encouraged in the eighteenth century. But, in order to separate Protestant Hungary from the Turks, so that the two should not unite against the Catholic Habsburgs, it was laid down by Prince Eugene that all the German colonists had to be Catholics. Some Protestants managed to settle in Lescovac, where they held secret services during the night; but in 1726 this was reported to the Prefect of Bela Crkva, whereupon he sent word that if they would not be converted they would each receive twenty-five strokes with a birch.... Of course, those who lived on the frontier lands were subject to the same conditions as their neighbours. German frontier regiments existed side by side with Serbian regiments, and the life of all those people can be studied in a book[34] written by the German frontier village of Franzfeld and published in 1893, a few months after Franzfeld had celebrated its centenary. There would, no doubt, be variations enough in the domestic arrangements of Franzfeld and those of Zrepaja, the neighbouring Serbian village, some miles away; but, as the inhabitants of Franzfeld have now been gathered into Yugoslavia, it is[83] not without interest if we see what sort of a life they have led. The tale of how these Lutherans from Würtemberg laid out and constructed and painted their village, with all the tremendously broad, tremendously straight roads running parallel and at right angles to each other, with the church—whose decorations are a few stars on the ceiling—the pastor's house and the lawyer's and the town hall and other important houses standing round a square of mulberry trees in the middle of the place—the tale of all this is told in as deliciously matter-of-fact a manner as Robinson Crusoe. The picturesque, as in that book, startles us now and then, with a vivid scene—until 1848, we are told, at the arrival of a staff-officer or of a general, every bell in the place had to be set ringing and gunpowder had to be fired off. One finds oneself revelling in the minuteness of the descriptions, one follows happily or sadly the fortunes of Ruppenthal and Kopp and Morgenstern. Everything is true, for the compilers of the book have felt, like Defoe, that "this supplying a story by invention is certainly a most scandalous crime." We are given all the names of those who at the beginning occupied the ninety-nine houses—the hundredth being used as an inn—with their place of origin, the numbers of their male and female dependants, and by what means they had hitherto earned their bread. Many houses have been added since that time. Among all the Germans, house No. 79 was occupied by George Siráky, a Hungarian who had been a peasant. Ten years afterwards another list is made and Siráky still disposes of the same twenty-four "yoke"[35] of plough-land, ten of meadow and one of garden, which he had originally been given, whereas some of the others had increased or diminished their holdings. Then we lose sight of him, and his name does not become one of those which reappears in succeeding generations. Of course, the colony was established on a military basis; an officer, usually a lieutenant, with one or more non-commissioned officers, was stationed there,[84] as the representative of a commandant who presided over several villages. The resident officer was supposed to maintain law and order, to see to it that the people sowed their land at the right season, and to inform the commandant of any delinquency, for the lieutenant was not allowed to punish anyone. As one or more of the able-bodied men belonging to a house might be absent for a long time on military service or in captivity, or else through sickness or wounds be unfit to work, and through lack of means the householder not be in a position to hire day-labourers, in that case his fellow-villagers, one after another, were obliged to assist him without payment. In order that all possible respect should be attached to the chief man and woman of a house—the house-father and house-mother—these were not liable to punishment for small offences, and if a considerable offence made it necessary to punish them, then they were first of all deposed from their position. Various public posts were filled by the house-fathers or other men, and for refusing to accept such a post a man was commonly arrested; but this punishment, as well as that of so many strokes with a cane (which seems to have been the most usual penalty), was abolished by 1850. The military frontier system came to an end in 1872, at which time the communal life, which had been found to be very irksome, was also gradually done away with. Franzfeld is now a prosperous and peaceful place; their horses are well known, they breed excellent cattle and pigs and sheep, and they say of themselves that out of one Franzfeld man you can make a couple of Jews and there will still remain a Franzfeld man. They tell how once or twice a Hungarian Jew has opened a shop in the village, selling his goods very cheaply for two or three months, at a lower price, in fact, than he paid for them, and then putting up the prices; but as soon as he does that he is boycotted. The aliens who have settled in Franzfeld—Hungarians, Slovaks and Roumanians—have come as servants, have married Franzfeld girls and are looked upon as Germans. The same German dialect is spoken as in Würtemberg; troops from that country marched through Franzfeld during the War. But Serbian, the villagers told me, is the international language of at any rate western Banat,[85] in spite of the Magyars who, as in other parts, made for the last few years of their domination extreme efforts on behalf of their unlovely language. They supplied Franzfeld with schoolmasters and mistresses who could speak no German and no Serbian, so that it was very difficult for both sides. And the authorities told the pastor that the chief truths of religion, they considered, should be taught in Hungarian. But the pastor did not agree with them and they let the matter drop. Franzfeld has seen wild days, particularly in 1848, and her one monument records a calamity of two of her sons who vanished down a well which they were sinking. Of itself the land is not very fertile, but the people have been so successful that they have founded a colony, Franzjosephsfeld, in Bosnia—they multiplied too greatly for their own soil to support them. They speak, many of them, five languages, and they will not be the least worthy of Yugoslav subjects. [Their interests are much more agricultural than political.] With regard to their multiplication, by the way, it is related in this centenary book, among much curious information, that when another Franzfelder comes into the world it is usual to present certain largesse to the midwife, namely, one gulden (this was written in Austrian times), a loaf of bread, a little jar of lard and a few kilograms of white flour. In the old military period this personage was also, like the doctor and the schoolmaster, "on the strength." The last of those who bore the rank of Company-Midwife was Gertrude Metz; she was pensioned after thirty-eight years, and continued for a few years in private practice.


The Magyars, being themselves of at least two religions, did not interfere in the religious matters of those whom they called "the nationalities" save to ask, with more or less firmness—it made a difference if they were dealing with Protestant Slovaks or with Protestant Germans—that the language of the ruling race should be employed. This comparative toleration was, of course, tempered by exceptions. Thus in the very Catholic city of Pečuj in Baranja the treatment applied to other[86] religions depended on the individual bishop. Bishop Nesselrode, for instance, chased them all away, and until 1790 they were seldom permitted within fourteen kilometres of the town.

The Austrians in the eighteenth century constrained a good many Southern Slavs to enter the Church of Rome. Austria has always been rich in faithful sons of the Church. Some years ago, for example, I happened in various parts of Dalmatia and Herzegovina to be from time to time the travelling companion of an elderly Viennese. He told me how he had lately impressed upon the mother of his illegitimate son that the boy must receive a thoroughly Catholic education, and in every place this gentleman made his patronage of an hotel dependent on the proprietor's religion, which he frequently knew before we got there. I saw him last at Mostar in distress, because the only good hotel was administered by an Israelite of whose religion he disapproved, and the weather, as it often is at Mostar, was so oppressingly hot that I suppose he had not energy enough to try to convert him....


Perhaps Austria would not have displayed such fervour in creating Bunjevci, Šokci and Krašovani if she had known that these Roman Catholic Slavs would remain, on the whole, very good Slavs. The Bunjevci, who live for the most part in Bačka and Baranja, came originally from the Buna district of Herzegovina. The total population of the town of Subotica is 90,000, and 73,000 of these are Bunjevci, whose peculiarity is that the old father stays in the town house, while his sons, with their wives and children, drive out on Monday morning over that rather featureless landscape to the farm, which may be at a considerable distance, and there they remain till the end of the week. They are a quiet, industrious people who have lived withdrawn, as it were, from the world since the twenty-five or thirty families escaped from the Turks; and as they brought with them only that number of surnames it is now customary to add a distinguishing name. Thus the Vojnić family has divided into branches, such as Vojnić-Heiduk, Vojnić-Kortmić, Vojnić-Purča.[87] The Bunjevci seem, although Catholics, to incline less to the Croats than to the Serbs, some of whose customs—those, for instance, of Christmas—they share. But in merry-making they are a great deal more subdued, save that, in drinking to some one's health, you are expected to empty three glasses. In the intervals of a Bunjevci dance at Subotica men would promenade the room arm-in-arm with men and girls with girls. The faces of all of them express entire goodness of heart and absence of guile; many of the girls, who looked like early portraits of Queen Victoria, were arrayed in the local costume, which permits great variety of colour so long as the lady wears, I am told, about fifteen petticoats. These worthy people used to have nothing but their Church, and are now extremely religious. The man who has most influence over them is Blaško Rajić, a priest and deputy, who was not always able to prevent a Hungarian Archbishop from sending a priest to his church, where he held services in Magyar. During one night, at all events, this church caused the Magyars much annoyance. It was at the beginning of the Great War—they had accused Rajić of making signals from the tower, which is very high; and in order to prove their accusation they sent a large body of soldiers, who surrounded the church, on a boisterous winter's night. Sure enough, the signals were seen to be flashing up there. The church was locked and a blast of the bugles had no effect—save that a few Bunjevci looked out of their windows—for the flashes did not cease. Then the captain commanded his men to give a mighty shout: "Put out those lights! Put out those lights!" But not the least notice was taken. There was nothing to do but to wait until Rajić, or whoever it was, should finish his nefarious business and come down. About an hour later, though, the wind became so piercing that a non-commissioned officer suggested that the captain should send for the big drum; the noise of that, said he, would surely reach that devil in the tower. But the big drum, when it came, had no success. The noise it made, reinforced by those of the bugles and the men's shouting, was such that some Bunjevci dressed themselves and ventured out into the cold, to see what really all the turmoil was about. To one of them the[88] freezing captain yelled that he knew perfectly the criminal had heard them, and that he went on with his accursed flashes since he recognized that this would be the last base act that he would ever do on earth. For the remainder of that night the captain and his men, not with the hope that they would be obeyed but merely to warm themselves a little, kept on shouting now and then, "Put out those lights!" And in the dawn the non-commissioned officer discovered that the signals had been moonlight on some broken glass that was being shaken by the wind.... One sees in the very well-arranged archives of the town of Sombor that the Bunjevci were accustomed, like the Germans, to ally themselves with the Magyars and thus give them a majority. Only in the last ten years at Subotica (and not at all at Sombor) did they ask for their rights; they had seemed conscious of the religious difference between themselves and the Serbs, unconscious that they were of the same race and language. The Magyars attempted to show in Paris that the Bunjevci are not Slavs, but the remains of the Kumani (who died out in those parts about five to six hundred years ago and were not Magyars). In the census of twenty years ago the Bunjevci were called Serbo-Croats, in accordance with a monograph, "Sabotca Varosh Története," in which Professor Ivanji, a Magyar, said they were simply Catholic Serbs. In the census of 1910 the Bunjevci are put under the heading "Égyebek," which means "miscellaneous."

This census juggling by the Magyars was one of their milder methods of administration. The term Serbo-Croat came to be avoided, and, so that foreigners should be misled, the Yugoslavs in Baranja were classified as Serbs, Croats, Illyrians, Šokci, Bunjevci, Dalmatians and so forth. The Šokci, who were also converted in the eighteenth century to the Roman Catholic Church, are mostly found to-day in Baranja. The name by which they are known is derived from the Serbo-Croatian word šaka, the palm of the hand, and refers to the fact that the Catholics cross themselves with the open hand, whereas the Orthodox join the tips of the thumb and first two fingers. The Šokci are considered a weaker people than the Bunjevci; the mothers—they say it is love—are[89] often so weak that they allow their children to do anything they like at home, and would not think of remonstrating with them if they wear their caps in church. Among the Šokci none is of a higher than the peasant class, for which reason their priests have usually been Magyars. He who ministers to the village of Szalánta, however, is a Croatian poet. The mayor of that village—I believe a typical specimen of the Šokci—was a ragged, humorous-looking person with a very bushy moustache. He was in remarkable contrast with the young Magyar schoolmaster, whose remuneration is largely in kind. This gentleman looked as if he would be well content if the parents of his children sent him not eggs, butter and chickens, but armfuls of flowers. A month before the Hungarian revolution in 1918 an order had come from Buda-Pest to the effect that the lowest class in a school was to receive instruction solely in its own language, but the Hungarian Republic ordered that no history was to be taught, since it praises kings.

As for the Krašovani, who inhabit five villages of the mining district of Resica in Caras-Severin, the eastern county of the Banat, they also were converted by Maria Theresa, in whose time they fled from Montenegro, Macedonia and the Bulgarian frontier. Gradually they have come to reckon themselves as Croats, owing to their priests who come from Croatia. They are all big men with luxuriant moustaches.

There is a district in southern Russia, near the Black Sea, which is called New Serbia. It is the fertile country that was chosen by 150,000 Southern Slavs when they preferred, in 1768, to go into exile rather than change their religion, like the Bunjevci, the Šokci and the Krašovani. They preserve some traces of their origin, but can no longer be considered Yugoslavs.

In speaking of these converts and their descendants we have alluded to the Buda-Pest policy of enforcing the Magyar language. This movement may be studied from the close of the eighteenth century in Croatia, where Latin had hitherto been the official language. In 1790 the Croats were again delivered by Leopold II. to the Magyars, who were bent upon executing their designs.


[20] Cf. La Question Yougo-Slav, by Vouk Primorac. Paris, 1918.

[21] When the Slav first arrived in these territories the Romans everywhere yielded to them, and while the more prosperous Romans settled on the coast, the others retired to the mountains. One of the sea-towns, by the way, to which the Romans fled was Split, where they could live in the ruins of Diocletian's enormous, decadent palace; and from extant lists of the mayors of that town we see that until the tenth century they all had Latin names, from then till the twelfth century we find partly Latin and partly Slav names, and during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries their names were nearly always Slav. Those Romans—of course not implying by that word that their forbears had come from Rome or even from Italy—those refugees who took to the mountains mingled with the Slavs and were also joined by wandering shepherds from Wallachia, owing to whom all this variegated population came to be called Black Vlachs, Mauro-Vlachs and in English Morlaks. The epithet "black" was attached to the Vlachs, so Jirećek thinks (cf. Bulletino di Archeologia Dalmata, Split, 1879), on account of the hordes of Black Tartars who until the beginning of the fourteenth century infested the plains of Moldavia. Gradually in this hinterland population the Roman and the Vlach died out, but the latter's name was retained. It had lost its ethnic meaning and among the Ragusan poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the word was used to signify a shepherd. The Venetians employed the word Morlacchi as a term of mockery, because it indicated people of the mountains, backward people. And this derogatory connotation has clung to it, so that to-day the Morlaks, who after all are Croats and Serbs, do not like to be called by that name.

[22] The Serbian Archbishopric of Peć, which Dušan at his coronation had raised to the Patriarchate, was for the time being left intact.

[23] This is a Pomak song. The Pomaks are the descendants of those who in the seventeenth century (perhaps also earlier) were forcibly converted to Islam. Their folk-songs, customs and language are Bulgarian. They speak the purest Bulgarian, save that the men count with Turkish numerals. (The women, who can count up to 100, use the Bulgarian language.) The Pomaks live for the most part in the Rhodope Mountains and in the Lovac district of northern Bulgaria. They are endowed, as a rule, with meagre intelligence, so that the educational endeavours of the Bulgarian Government had perforce to be abandoned, since very few of these reluctant pupils ever left the lowest class. The most exalted situation they aspire to is to serve as clerks to Muhammedan priests. Nevertheless, they despise the Turks and call their language the language of pigs.

[24] To-day in Serbia when the King addresses his people, when the deputies address the Parliament, the mayor his fellow-citizens, the priest his parishioners, the officer his men—all of them begin with the words "Moja bratčo!" ["My brothers!"]

[25] Cf. Baranja multja es jelenje, 2 vols., by Francis Varady. Pecuj, 1898.

[26] Die südslavischen Literaturen. Leipzig, 1908.

[27] Cf. Le Balkan Slave, by Charles Loiseau. Paris, 1898.

[28] La Dalmazia. Florence, 1915.

[29] There is in the museum at Eger in Czecho-Slovakia a small painting of Branković dated 1711. It depicts him standing pensively outside a tent, clad in a red and yellow Turkish costume and with a beard that reaches to his knees. On the other hand, it seems to be established that he was an ordinary inmate of the prison, whose site is now occupied by the Café Astoria; and one's faith in the accuracy of the Eger Museum is rather dimmed by the exhibition of a number of pictures, each of them purporting to give the authentic details of the assassination at Eger of the great Wallenstein, and every picture is quite different from the others.

[30] Macedonia. London, 1906.

[31] This was far too sweeping a statement. Only thirty or forty Orthodox at Prizren—teachers, merchants and others—used to dress in European raiment (with a fez), but from of old the Serbs had a teachers' institute and a seminary—the young men educated there frequently went to Montenegro. And in view of what happened a few years later, Miss Edith Durham must regret that in her book High Albania (London, 1909) she did not confine herself to recording of the men of Prizren that "of one thing the population is determined: that is, that never again shall the land be Serb"; but she adds, on her own account, that in this picturesque town and its neighbourhood the Serbs are engaged in a forlorn hope and that their claims are no better than those of the English on Normandy. Yet if, in her opinion, the Serbs have been rewarded beyond their deserts, she must acknowledge that they are not wholly undeserving—in the days of her cherished Albanians it was necessary for a Catholic inhabitant to furnish himself with a loaded revolver before guiding her through the streets of Djakovica.

[32] Cf. Les Albanais en Vieille-Serbie et dans le Sandjak de Novi-Bazar. Paris, 1913.

[33] He worked for a long time at the monastery of Hopovo, among the Syrmian hills, and there his collection of books, in the two rooms just as he left them, was naturally treasured. Half of them were stolen in the course of this last war by the Austrians.

[34] Geschichte der Franzfelder Gemeinde. Pančevo, 1893.

[35] This was originally as much land as a yoke of oxen could plough in a day. Until the introduction of the French metrical system this measurement was used in Austria. It still survives there, a "joch" or yoke being equivalent to 5754·6 square metres, or about 1·4 English acres. The Hungarian joch is three-quarters the size of this.



Slavs weep for the fall of Venice—They hear the voice of their brothers—Measures to keep them apart—By encouraging the Italianized party—And the Orthodox Church—And by fatherly legislation—In Serbia the people are fighting for freedom—The Montenegrin authorities are otherwise engaged—Napoleon favours the Southern Slavs—Russia and Britain oppose him on the Adriatic—Illyria, Napoleon's great work for the Southern Slavs—Napoleon's schemes are roughly interrupted—The Montenegrin Bishop incites against him—Disaster for Napoleon and the Southern Slavs—Austria's repressive policy—The work of Vuk Karažić—The methods of Serbia's Miloš—The Slav soul of Croatia—The Magyars and Croatia's port—The Sultan reigns in Bosnia—A sorry period for the Southern Slavs—Some who turn from politics grow prosperous—But the Croats strive for political liberties—The Austrians, the Magyars and the Croats—The Croats, struggling for freedom, incidentally help Austria—How Montenegro reformed herself—The Prince-Bishop gives a lead to the Southern Slavs—Austria pours out a German flood—The Croat peasants and their clergy—What the Czechs are doing to-day—Strossmayer—The Turk in Montenegro and Macedonia—The cheerless state of Serbia—the Slav voice in Macedonia—The Macedonian Slavs are undivided—Dawn of Italian unity—How Cavour would have treated the Slavs—Italian v. Slav: Tommaseo's advice—Austria leans on Germans and Italianists—The Southern Slav hopes are centred on Cetinje—For they know neither Nicholas of Montenegro nor Michael of Serbia—If Michael had lived!—The strange career of Rakovski—The Yugoslav name—Russia and Austria sow discord in the Balkans—The Macedonian Slavs under their Greek clergy—The affair of Kukuš—The Exarchate is established—1867: Austria delivers the Slavs to the Magyars—The "Krpitsa"—Rieka's history, as two people see it—And the Slovenes are coerced.


Early in 1797 the weak French garrisons which had been left in certain towns of Italy were massacred by the[91] Venetians, who displayed no mercy either to the wounded soldiers or the women who were with the troops. Napoleon would come back no more, thought the Venetians. But he heard of what had happened as he was engaged upon the clauses of the Treaty of Leoben. No sooner had that courier brought him the dispatches than the Venetian envoys were ushered into his presence. They had been entrusted by the Senate with the task of following the armies and congratulating Napoleon or the Archduke, according to which of them had won the last battle. These envoys may have taken a despondent view of what would be the fate of the Serene Republic; but when, a short time afterwards, the perfumed and dishevelled citizens, stamping on the masks of last night's ball, were weeping pitiably in their palaces, the Slovenes and the Morlaks, who had fought for them so well, were weeping in the streets. Sadly and solemnly at Zadar—la tanto disputata—the flag of Venice was lowered; at other parts of the Dalmatian coast the nobles scarcely had to say a word before the peasants had snatched arms to fight the French and their égalité. The Venetians had, after all, been there a long time, even if they had not risen to the heights of Dubrovnik, which, as we learn from a traveller in 1805, kept no secret police and no gendarmes, and where a capital sentence pronounced at the time was the first in twenty-five years. (The city went into mourning on account of this, and an executioner had to be imported from Turkey.) Such a moral height had not been reached by the Venetians; but they had been in Dalmatia, as people loved to repeat, for a long time, and they had been easy-going in the collection of taxes, they had supported the bishops and the holy Church, they had made the peasants feel that each one of them was helping to support Venice, the grand and ancient, and so the faithful people mourned when she was falling.


Yet they were not wholly deaf to the call of their own race. When the Austrians sent a general, the "Hungarian party," working against the civil government of Count Raymond von Thurn, managed to have the post given[92] to General Rukavina, a Croat from the Military Frontier. An eye-witness has left us an account of Rukavina's reception at Trogir. The general mounted a chair, and asked the people in the Slav language whether they would swear the oath of fidelity to His Majesty the Emperor and King, Francis II., and his descendants and legal successors. "Otchemo!" ["That is what we want!"] was the unanimous reply. After the swearing of the oath, the general suddenly began a vigorous speech: "Moi dragi Dalmatinci" ["My dear Dalmatians"], said he.... And afterwards, when two companies of Croat infantry were disembarked, the people collected round them were astonished to hear them speaking the same language as themselves and to learn that many of them had the same names as the Dalmatians.[36]

Incidents of this character were, for more reasons than one, most galling to von Thurn. In July the archbishop and municipality of Split petitioned that they might belong to Hungary. One presumes that these officials were moved less by the sympathetic ways of one Hungarian than by the knowledge that Croatia was under the Hungarian crown. Very powerless, indeed, like themselves, Croatia might be—at that moment reduced to the rank of a Hungarian county, with her Ban no longer able to convoke the Diet—nevertheless, a Croatia still existed. Then Count Raymond took hold of the matter; he sent reports on Rukavina to the Viennese authorities, and he and they seem to have cared little whether these reports contradicted one another. He exhibited his adversary as a man of unbounded violence, as a man of the most pusillanimous nature; General Rukavina was despicable, said these documents, he was an absolute nonentity; but no, shrieked von Thurn on the next day, this man Rukavina was imbued as no other with the abominable spirit of Machiavelli. To bring about the fall of the Hungarian party in Dalmatia, Count Raymond's police set themselves the task of laying by the heels such Hungarian agents as Count Miaslas Zanović, one of the four sons of Count Anthony, who for being implicated in a more than usually flagrant scandal had been expelled from Venice. And his[93] sons lived agitated lives, although it is untrue that the second one, Stephen, before dying in prison in Amsterdam, had governed Montenegro and is known to history as Stephen the Little. [That mysterious person was a contemporary, who appearing in Montenegro when the land was in a state of barbarism and destitution, gave it out that he was the Russian Tzar Peter III., who had been strangled to death in 1762. The Montenegrins accepted him; and from 1768 to 1773 he showed himself a most competent and zealous ruler, carrying out so many reforms that he was clearly not Peter III. It has not as yet been ascertained from where he came, but judging from his accent he was either a Dalmatian Serb or a native of the Military Confines. He was very taciturn; only one Montenegrin, a priest called Marković, is believed to have been privy to his secret. Marković had visited Russia ten years previously and had celebrated Mass in the presence of the Tzar. It was the priest who assured the mountaineers that Stephen really was the Tzar. During his reign he repulsed the Turks and organized the public security, so that a lost purse—the people said—could easily be recovered. The Republic of Venice tried on several occasions to poison this excellent ruler; he was ultimately killed by a barber who came up to Cetinje at the bidding of the Pasha of Scutari, and, being appointed court barber, cut Stephen's throat.] As for the Zanović, the elder brother, Count Premislas, was for a long time in a Finnish prison, on account of his conduct in gaming-houses; the two younger brothers, Hannibal and Miaslas, were in Budva in southern Dalmatia in 1797, distributing Venetian proclamations, after which they rearranged their minds and became Hungarian agents.


The more active of the pair was Miaslas, and by confounding his machinations and those of other Hungarian adherents von Thurn overthrew the Hungaro-Croatian party. Thenceforward his greatest care was diligently to suppress those aspirations of the people of Dalmatia for a union with their brothers. He had to[94] build the house with the materials that he found on the spot; the most obvious corner-stone was that numerically small body of nobles and merchants who had for so long associated with Venetian officials that they hated to confess that they were Slavs.


A minute number of this small body consisted of real Italians, people who very exceptionally had settled in Dalmatia; but among these rare families there was not any single one of that extensive class in Venice which had been presented by their Government with vast domains, with farms and forests in Dalmatia. Well, the Count of Thurn observed that this small body of Italianized Slavs would probably not help him very much, for the Italian culture and the education which they were so proud of were—it is not unjust to say—nearly always superficial and not such as to compensate for this party's lack of numbers. But yet, for what they were worth, he supported them. No doubt the project which the Archduke Charles evolved in 1880, to transplant German-Austrians to Dalmatia, would have been preferred by von Thurn. "These colonists," explained the Archduke, "by their culture and laboriousness, by their devotion to the House of Habsburg would give to the Dalmatians a most valuable example and would soon persuade them thoroughly to merge themselves among the mass of peoples faithful to the Emperor." But this plan could not be carried through, because the people of Dalmatia would have risen in revolt; moreover, the most fertile regions had been so neglected that too many of them were now marshes or through other causes uninhabitable. Thus von Thurn assisted the Italianized party; they would, at any rate, unlike the other Serbo-Croats of Dalmatia, not strive for union with anybody else. Before the French Revolution no one in Italy dreamed that it would be possible to bring about Italian unity, and the patriots of 1848 longed only for the liberation of their Peninsula; they spoke of Triest as "the port of the future Slavia" or as "a neutral zone, a transitional region between Slavia and Italy."[95]


It may be that when von Thurn also gratified a reasonable ambition of the Orthodox Church he was moved by the idea that the Roman Catholic Church of the Croats might thus to some extent be counteracted; he may, on the other hand, have been impelled by altruistic motives when he authorized the establishment of an Orthodox bishopric. Under Venice the Church had not been recognized; and after having several times almost succeeded in obtaining their bishop, a modus vivendi was at last reached in 1797, with the consent of the Senate and perhaps of Rome. Under this arrangement the Orthodox were free to profess their religion, but the Senate officially ignored their separation from the Roman Church; their priests had to obtain their rights from the Catholic bishops and allow the Catholic priests to cull certain of their legitimate revenues. And this, although the Orthodox formed one-half of the dioceses of Scardona and Šibenik, and two-thirds of that of Bocche di Cattaro. They were not more backward than the rest of the population. Von Thurn—who, they thought, knew nothing of the circumstances—was informed by them that the see of Dalmatia was vacant and that they had elected the Archmandrite Simeon Ivcović, a man universally esteemed for his prudence and wisdom. They begged von Thurn to confirm this election, and he did so.


But von Thurn seems to have relied largely on the gratitude which this neglected province would feel for the introduction of Austrian improvements. The happy-go-lucky Venetian methods were no longer to disfigure the country. Those people were logical indeed who did not care for a government which did not care for them. No such reproach should be levelled against the Austrian Government, if he could avoid it; for in Dalmatia it would now be by the side of its new subjects from their getting up in the morning until they lay them down at night. Henceforward there would be a set of reasonable[96] rules for everything, and if anyone remarked that this was too much in the spirit of the late Joseph ii. who made the Kingdom of Prussia his model—what more excellent model could one imagine? Those people who had hitherto been troubled in their minds because they did not know how many flower-pots they might instal outside their windows, to those people it would be a boon to have a new list of detailed and complete regulations as to every aspect of this matter. People who had until now been nervous lest they would be punished if they started lotteries at Zadar, all these people would be glad to know that lotteries were legal if each person who manipulated one paid for the upkeep of a hundred lanterns in the streets. People had been bastinadoed in the past, not knowing if they would be smitten hard or gently; but the Austrian Government was far too civilized to leave such matters in the hands of chance. With regard to those who persisted in public smoking, von Thurn probably borrowed the rules which Baron Codelli, the mayor of Ljubljana, was elaborating at this time. "In the streets of the town and the suburbs," says the Baron, "smoking has become of late a general practice. The pleasure of smoking tobacco, which its partisans can sufficiently enjoy in their abodes, by the river and in the fields, makes them forget what is seemly, and, moreover, they disregard the peril that may arise from conflagrations, especially when their pipes are not shut. Several fires, due to this pipe-smoking, which is contrary to the police regulations, have not sufficed to lead the culprits back to the respect and precaution which they should preserve for the goods and property of their fellow-citizens. To satisfy the general well-being and to satisfy the police with regard to fires, it is forbidden to smoke tobacco, and especially cigars, in the streets and squares of this town and the suburbs, with the penalty of losing the pipe if a police-agent catches anyone with it in his mouth, and in the case of a repeated offence the penalty will be more serious."


This system of tutelage may have had its irksome moments; the Turkish rule in Serbia was such that any[97] people with blood in their veins were bound to rebel. Sooner or later a race like the Serbs, who lived always with the songs of their old heroes and who gloried in their heiduks, were sure to dash themselves against this alien master. Kara George had seen that the Serbs in the Banat were prosperous, while in Serbia they were obliged to stand and watch the janissaries come back to the pashalik of Belgrade, though the Turks had sworn this should not be. Then the match was set to the fire—in January 1804 the Da-Hi, the chiefs of the janissaries, after having slain Mustapha Pasha, the enlightened Turkish Governor, who was known affectionately as "the mother of the Serbs," cut off the heads of a number of Serbian leaders; seventy-two of them on pikes were made into an awful avenue of trees. But even as the snowstorms beat against these Serbian heads, so Kara George and his companions from Šumadija, the heart of Serbia, flung themselves against the janissaries and vanquished them. This was what the Serbs had started out to do, and so for the moment Constantinople had been content to look on. However, when the Sultan was told that his unruly vassals had seized the whole of Šumadija and the departments of Valjevo and Pojarevac, he sent against them the Pasha of Bosnia, who demanded that they should lay down their arms. But now the Serbs had seen what some day they might struggle to—the liberation of their country. They had climbed a few steps up the stony path, they would not let themselves be lured back to the plain. Let Austria or some other one of the Great Powers guarantee their rights. The Pasha would not hear of it, and so these few undaunted men resolved to fight the Turkish Empire. An army came at once to stamp them out, and at Ivancovac they scattered it. From now they would fight on alone.[37] Their leader was the sort of man they wanted, a brave heiduk who was never weary, who had taken up one day a large rock and had flung it down a precipice, and who would do the same, they fancied, to a follower of his, if he saw fit.... The Serbs were left to fight alone, but[98] the Great Powers took an interest in their future. We find in a report from the French Ambassador in Petrograd to his Minister of Foreign Affairs (No. 261 in the "Excerpts from the Paris Archives relating to the history of the first Serbian Insurrection," collected [Belgrade, 1904] by Dr. Michael Gavrilović, now the Minister in London) that the treaty of alliance stipulated for Russia to have Moldavia, Bessarabia, Vallachia and Bulgaria; France to have Albania, part of Bosnia, Morea and Candia; Austria to have Croatia and part of Bosnia; while Serbia was to be independent and given to a prince of the House of Austria or to any other foreign prince who married a Russian Grand Duchess. According to another scheme which the Ambassador forwarded, Austria was to have Serbia in complete possession as an Austrian province, and Croatia to belong to Austria or France, as Napoleon might decide.... Serbia had to fight alone, and unluckily her ranks were anything but closed. The lack of education brought about some childish jealousies, such as that of Mladen Milanović, who was ordered by Kara George to go to the relief of the Heiduk Veliko at Negotin, where 18,000 Turks were besieging him. "He may help himself!" quoth Mladen. "His praise is sung to him at his table by ten singers, mine is not. Let him hold out by himself, the hero." Veliko sent word to say that at the New Year (when Kara George and his chieftains were wont to meet in consultation) he would inquire as to how the country was being governed. But before then he was dead—shot by the Turks, who recognized him while he was going the rounds; and after five days his troops, in despair, made their escape across a morass and scattered.


There was no use in looking to the Montenegrin mountains, for that rallying-point of all the Serbs was in the midst of very delicate business. One year before the rising of Kara George, in 1803, the Montenegrin warriors had profited from the fact that they were fighting nobody and they had made a few reforms in their own[99] country. The Bishop, Peter I., convoked an assembly at which the tribal chiefs approved of a Code and of the imposition of a tax, for State requirements. It was also decided to have a court of justice, the members of which should be elected by the people. Thus it will be seen that the patriarchal system still prevailed, and though the Bishop was regarded by the outside world—by the Turk whom with varying fortunes he was perpetually fighting, and by the Russian Tzar, whom he had visited at intervals from the time when Peter the Great called on the Montenegrins in 1711 to work with him in rescuing, if it was God's will, those Orthodox Christians who were oppressed by the yoke of the heathen—though the Bishop was regarded both by friend and foe as the sovereign of Montenegro, yet it was only round him that the tribal chiefs gathered as being the guardian of their religion, while the people, represented by their tribal chiefs, remained the real sovereign. If Kara George had risen one year earlier they would have flown immediately to help him—as, indeed, they did help him at a later period—they would have postponed, without a moment's hesitation, the establishing of Code and tax and court of justice. But in 1804 they found themselves in a most awkward situation. Since the death of the Tzar Paul the Russians had appeared to be indifferent to Montenegro, and for three years the annual subsidy of a thousand sequins had not been paid. This omission was made use of by the French Consul at Dubrovnik, who with the aid of a Dubrovnik priest, one Dolci, set himself to wean the Montenegrins from their Russian friendship. Fonton, Russia's Consul at Dubrovnik, demanded the sequestration and the scrutiny of Dolci's papers; the demand was rejected, and when force was tried Dolci leaped at the examiner's throat. It was proved that he was in the pay of France and the Montenegrins were obliged to disavow him. This exasperated the Bishop, who threatened to cut off Dolci's ears, but relented and only gave him a hundred blows with a stick and ordered him to be imprisoned in a monastery. The second half of Dolci's punishment was thought by many at the time to be unwise, as he might talk. And they were gladdened when they heard, soon afterwards, of his decease, though[100] whether they were right in praising their bishop for this consummation we do not know. At all events, the hapless Dolci had not lived in vain, for Russia now resumed her good relations with the mountaineers, and she inaugurated them by paying the three thousand sequins.

The Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 allotted Dalmatia to Napoleon. A few months afterwards his armies landed on the coast. Although the high command and certain regiments were French, a large part of the force consisted of Italians, Germans, Spaniards and Dutchmen. The scheme Napoleon entertained was to secure for himself the gates of the Balkans and Albania, incidentally to take the Ionian Islands in the rear, with the great purpose of securing the roads to Constantinople; thence to India.


The provinces of Dalmatia and Istria were placed under the government of Milan, in their towns were hoisted the Italian colours; but if to Napoleon these lands were chiefly stepping-stones to India, he did not long stay in ignorance regarding their inhabitants. His representative, Vincenzo Dandolo, was a Venetian who, on account of his democratic principles, had been expelled in 1799 and had sought refuge in France. We will therefore not repeat the epithets he uses when he writes about the late Venetian overseas régime. But Napoleon had no cause to be prejudiced in favour of the Yugoslavs. His origin was Italian. His daughter reigned in Italy. And if he had disapproved of Dandolo starting at Zadar in 1806 an official newspaper—the Regio dalmato: Kraljski dalmatin, written partly in Italian, partly in Serbo-Croat—he would very soon have stopped the paper and Dandolo's career. But, on the contrary, this paper (the first one to be written at all in Serbo-Croat) was followed by the planning of secondary schools at Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Makarska and the island of Hvar, twenty-nine elementary schools for boys and fourteen for girls, two academies at Zadar and Split, four seminaries for the education of priests and eight industrial schools. And in these the Serbo-Croatian language was to be largely employed.[101]

Kara George had no leisure in which to learn to read and write. Another Turkish army, formed in Bosnia, had to be encountered near Šabac in 1806. It was routed, and on this occasion the Serbian cavalry was led with great distinction by a priest, Luka Lazarević. Yet another Turkish army suffered the same fate.


It was not to be thought that France would be left tranquil on the Adriatic. Russia did not incommode her very greatly. After Kotor (Cattaro) had been delivered to the Muscovites by an Italian, the Marquis Ghislieri (who had concealed until that moment his antagonism to the French for having been removed by them from his Bologna home), the Russians made themselves obnoxious to a small extent upon the islands. They summoned the people of Hvar to recognize the Tzar as their overlord, and when the people declined to do so, the Russians bombarded them. For Dubrovnik this conflict between Russia and France was embarrassing; she wrote to Sankovski, the Russian Commissary, that if he exceeded his powers she would have recourse to the Tzar, "her beloved protector." But when in the summer of that year, 1806, she was besieged for twenty days, the French were in occupation of the town, while the Russians with their Montenegrin friends were trying to dislodge them. It is said that before the garrison was relieved, by the arrival of another French force, there had been so much damage done to the Republic's ancient walls and palaces and other buildings that the loss, to mention only the pecuniary loss, amounted to eighteen million francs. After the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 the British undertook, and more effectively, those operations in the Adriatic which the Russians now abandoned. They tried to burn at Triest the Russian vessels which had been ceded to France, and for a few years they had command of the Adriatic, keeping sometimes as many as twenty-two ships in those waters, while the French are said to have had at no time more than seven frigates.

The old Republic was dissolved; but many other questions weighed upon Napoleon. It was the Austrian Emperor[102] and not he whom many people in Dalmatia held to be their lawful monarch, for the Habsburg was the heir of the Croatian Kings. And so while England had the sea in her possession, Austria had the salt-lands of the isle of Pago, and the populace on the Quarnero Islands took the rudders off the boats which were to carry food to Zadar. The Austrians advanced on Split, with ordinary troops and volunteers. At Hvar the people kept Napoleon's birthday with apparent enthusiasm; on the next day they revolted and hoisted the Austrian flag. Then the peasants seized the town and for three days indulged in pillage, burning amongst other things the valuable libraries of those who favoured France.


With the Treaty of Schoenbrunn Napoleon secured possession of Carniola, the Austrian part of Istria, Croatia, the military frontiers from the Save to the sea, and also certain districts of Carinthia, Styria and Tirol. Now at last the Adriatic littoral, with large tracts of the interior, was united under one hand. We may note that Eugène Beauharnais in vain entreated that the frontier for the Slovenes should, on account of strategic necessities, be drawn to the east of the Isonzo, but Napoleon did not hesitate to make that river the boundary between the two countries, as it was between the two races. Mazzini in 1860 shared this opinion, which he had also maintained in 1831, in his book The Rights of Man, that Slavs and Italians should be divided by this river. And in 1860 Cavour expressed himself to the same effect in a letter to Laurent Valerio.

"Mes braves Croates," says Napoleon in his Memoirs; and for what he did in this Illyria, the forerunner of our Yugoslavia, they must be always thankful. Never had these people had such able administrators, such sympathetic governors. They governed it too much as if it were a part of France, but they were doing their utmost to understand the people and their customs. General Marmont acquired an excellent knowledge of the Serbo-[103]Croat language; he intended to introduce the national tongue into all the public offices. But this naturally could not be carried through without an intervening period, and unluckily Marmont so far excelled his compatriots as a linguist, that when the newspaper Télégraphe officiel des Provinces Illyriennes appeared at Ljubljana, the capital (under the brilliant editorship of Charles Nodier, who came out from France for that purpose), and it was announced that there would be French, German, Italian and Slav articles, the latter do not appear to have been published. Illyria was under the influence of its neighbours, Italian, German and Hungarian, with regard to the spoken and still more with regard to the written language. A fundamental necessity was that the country should have one common language. Under French influence Joachim Stulli brought out his Vocabulario italiano-illyrico-latino in 1810, and at Triest in 1812 Starčević published his new Illyrian grammar. There was visible in these works an aspiration that some day the Yugoslavs would be united in one country and with various dialects, and the proviso that for public affairs and for schools and literature the so-called "Što" dialect, the most widely spread and the most perfect, should be given preference. If Napoleon had not fallen, his Illyria would no doubt have gradually attracted to herself the other Yugoslav provinces that still were under the Austrian, Hungarian or Turk; and in this way one of the great thorns would have been taken out of Europe's side. There was an official, Marcel de Serres, on Napoleon's staff, who was exclusively concerned with Yugoslav affairs; and it is probable that with a closer knowledge of the people there would have been less insistence on the radical reforms which were sometimes ill-adapted to the country and were often hated vehemently by the persons whom they shook out of their age-long comatose condition. Napoleon would have modified the methods of recruiting had he known how much resentment his conscription was arousing. Venice had obtained most faithful soldiers; this was one of the few trades that she permitted, but she had never said they were obliged to serve. Napoleon's system caused great numbers of desertions, while the men who stayed had little discipline and looked for opportunities to join the enemy. Perhaps[104] in time the nobles would have been resigned to losing, if not all, at any rate a portion of their privileges; and the Catholic clergy would have moderated their strong views against the gaoler of Pius VII., the champion of liberal and emancipated France, the master of Dandolo, who wanted to reduce the number of bishoprics, oblige candidates for the priesthood to learn certain lay subjects and regulate the funds in the possession of the Orders, with the purpose of assisting the indigent clergy and benevolent institutions—much would have been forgiven by the clergy to the man who brought about national union.


The transactions of the British at Vis (Lissa) were such as to make the people of Illyria very discontented with Napoleon, not so much on account of his mischance at sea, as of the disagreeable effects thereof upon themselves. The British blockade had ruined the local merchant service, while the consequent state of a province which had necessarily to be revictualled by sea was compared with the flourishing fortunes of Vis. Before the British definitely occupied that island with its glorious harbour—2½ kilometres in length by 1 kilometre in breadth—they had to secure themselves by two naval engagements. In October 1810 the French-Italian attack was nearly successful, and in the following March came the great fight when Dubourdieu pitted himself against Commodore Hoste. Not counting a few smaller ships, the French had four frigates, each armed with 44 guns, and two corvettes of 32 guns. The British had the Amphion and the Cerberus, each armed with 60 guns, the Active with 44 and the Volage with 22. The Italians having slow ships, arrived late, but fought very well. What lost Dubourdieu his chances was the separation of his squadron, which allowed the British to engage them one after another. Dubourdieu on the Favorite, his captain and two lieutenants were killed; the captain of the Flore lost an arm; the captain of the Bellona had both legs amputated, and died on the next day; Pasqualijo, captain of the Corona, wished to surrender his sword to Hoste,[105] but as he had fought so nobly Hoste refused to take it. Pasqualijo was removed to Malta, and after a few months set at liberty. On the British side the losses were also severe. Most of the crew of the Amphion were either killed or wounded, Hoste being among the latter. Of 254 on board the Cerberus only 26 were untouched. It is said that the French and Italians had about 200 killed and 500 wounded. Dubourdieu's fault was merely an excess of intrepidity; the French have called a cruiser after him. Their opinion at the time, according to their historians,[38] was that the British were superior in officers and men and ships—constant cruising on the Adriatic had brought them near perfection. Among the incidents recorded is that of one of the Amphion's cadets who was doing police work at the fort; in despair at being out of the battle he swam to his ship. A fusillade from the Favorite put some shot in his leg. On reaching the Amphion he was bandaged and went to his post. His name was Farell or Farewell.... After this the British made themselves at home upon that mountainous, rich isle of palm-trees and vineyards that were praised of old by Agatharchides. Sir G. D. Robertson, the Governor, had two companies of the 35th Regiment, besides Swiss, Corsican and Calabrian contingents. There was great prosperity. Sometimes a hundred corsairs would be in the harbour, waiting for a favourable wind. On their return they would have splendid cargoes, and the goods which cost so little were sold at absurd prices. Rent was high, there were not shops enough for the tailors, carpenters, goldsmiths, pastry-cooks who landed there, chiefly from Italy; the people therefore pulled old boats on to the shore and lived in them. There one could buy the best Turkish tobacco, and cigars were advertised as "the finest cigars for gentlemen and ladies." Italian and Dalmatian smugglers flocked to Vis in search of goods, and even French officers could sometimes not resist wearing the cool garments from the East Indies. In two years the population increased from four to eleven thousand.

Illyria's enemies on land were also aided by the[106] British. In 1813, when the Austrians, under General Tomassich, penetrated into the Illyrian provinces, the Croat inhabitants threw in their lot with them. They and the British surrounded Zadar, which fell after a siege of six weeks. At Dubrovnik—whose merchantmen she had mostly captured or sunk—England assisted the population, nobles and commoners, in a revolt against the French. One object of the citizens was to restore the Republic, but in a democratic form.


However, in the first days of 1814 the Austrians arrived and the French, in their reduced condition, could hold out no longer. 1813 had been a fatal year for Napoleon. The Montenegrin Bishop had addressed a stirring appeal to the Bocchesi and others in September. "Slavs!" he wrote. "Glorious and illustrious population of the Bocche di Cattaro, of Dubrovnik and Dalmatia! Behold the moment to seize arms against the destroyer of Europe, the universal foe who has attacked your religion, ruined your churches.... He has put his taxes on the blood of your veins and even on the corpses of your parents! What injustices has he not committed?... Behold the hour of vengeance.... Croatia is delivered, and Carniola, Triest, Istria, Rieka and Zengg. What else do you wait for, O valiant Slavs of Dalmatia, of Dubrovnik and of Kotor? By land the army of the Emperor of Austria, by sea that of the King of England enter Dalmatia. They have taken Zadar and have arrived at Makarska." ... [The Austrians, as a matter of fact, entered Dalmatia a month after this proclamation was issued. The Bishop has allowed the prophet in him to prevail over the chronicler.] "I am there," he continues, "with my Montenegrins, ready to go where peril has to be faced. The glory of the traitor Bonaparte has remained at Moscow and Smolensk: no longer need we tremble before the Tyrant....

"Given at our Headquarters at Budva, 12/24 September 1813. Peter, Bishop."


1813 was a fatal year for Napoleon and for this first attempt to build a Yugoslavia. It was a fatal year for the first effort to construct again a Serbian State. Burning with the hope of liberation, no less than four Serbian armies had assembled and advanced victoriously against the Turk. One of the most outstanding episodes was the heroic death of Stephen Sindjelinić at Tšegar, near to Niš. As he was in a hopeless case, no reinforcements having come, he told his men that they must die, but as the Turks outnumbered them so more of these must perish than of Christians. He waited till the Turks pressed closely round him and then fired the magazine. In vengeance for this deed the Turks piled up a pyramid of Serbian soldiers' heads; they called it Tchele-Koula (Tower of Skulls), and for many years it was at Niš a veritable Turkish monument. King Milan built a wall around it; afterwards it was removed. And so the Serbs continued their long fight. It seemed to some of them that the authority of Kara George had grown excessive. They convoked a national assembly, which decided to set up a Ministry of six and a tribunal. Kara George was—in agreement with his Ministers—to nominate the prefects of the various departments. While the Serbs were settling these internal matters, Russia made her peace in 1812 with Turkey. As for Serbia, it was arranged that the new fortresses would be demolished and the towns be occupied by Turkish garrisons. Thus all that Serbia had won, and at the cost of so much blood, would now be stolen from her. Once again did Kara George and his companions take the field, but this time they were overpowered. Many fled to Hungary, among them Kara George, and were imprisoned. Others stayed in Serbia, and of these a great many were slaughtered by the Turks. They say that sixty were impaled on each side of the road which enters Belgrade, among them priests and monks, whose bodies were consumed by dogs.

But Illyria and Serbia lived as inspirations.

Nearly thirty years after the Austrians came back to Illyria they, at the request of the Sultan, forbade the[108] use of that name, except as one of their Emperor's string of titles. Turkish susceptibilities were not ruffled if he chose to call himself King of Illyria. Was he not also King of Jerusalem? There had been anxiety at Constantinople as to the effect which the name of Napoleon's province was producing on the Slavs of Bosnia. Considering the Austrian policy, this was not a glittering diplomatic triumph for the Turks. Had they approached the Austrians much earlier it is improbable that they would have been met with any very strenuous refusal. In their own phrase, a phrase that was used by Osman Pasha when he heard of the violent disputes between the Russians and Roumanians as to which of them had been the first to batter the defences down and take by storm the mighty Plevna—"Any pig," said he, "can walk in at an open door."


Another item of Austria's policy which it would not have been difficult to foretell was her refusal to countenance the union of Dalmatia and Croatia. Von Thurn's idea of favouring the harmless Italianized party was thought very admirable and was now once more put into action. This party was very much concerned to keep its head above water; the rising tide of nationalism and equality and of other pernicious French notions made as much appeal to them as they did to Metternich. What he stood out against, they also hated; for the national spirit, fostered by the union of the two Slav provinces, would swamp them. If Dalmatia, on the other hand, remained autonomous they would be much more likely to survive. So they became autonomists.

A fair number of those who for economical or social reasons gave themselves out as belonging to this little autonomous party were unable to speak Italian, being less cultivated than many of those who continued to be patriotic Serbo-Croats. But as Italian now became the language of the schools and offices, of the law-courts and of public life generally, these autonomous persons hastened to learn it.[109]


But now we hear the steps of other Southern Slavs whose mission is to call the people to their own language and to make the language worthy of the people. With the encumbrances that in the centuries had so disfigured it, the archaisms and the pseudo-classicisms, it would never come to pass that one great Serbian nation would be formed. And that is what Vuk Karažić, throughout his life, was aiming at. While Miloš Obrenović in Serbia took up the arms which Kara George had dropped, and used some others of his own, Vuk Karažić was tramping with his wooden leg round Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria, Syrmia and the Banat. He longs to find out where his country lies and, having found his people, to use their own language as the spoken and the written language of the nation. For this purpose he had to reform the Cyrillic alphabet, as it contained, like Russian and Bulgarian, letters that are not pronounced; and the Serbian produced by him is a purely phonetic language. He had, of course, his enemies, particularly in the clergy, who were the most important class. What he was doing with the Palæo-Slav displeased them hugely. Here was he trying to substitute what they called "a language of ox-herds" for that one which had not alone a venerable tradition but was the hall-mark of their superiority. A certain Dr. Hajić wrote a monograph in which he demonstrated most emphatically that it was the enviable happiness of the Serbian people to have no grammar. It was hinted by some other opponents of Vuk that he might well be an Austrian agent, who, in order to disturb the people, was now raising questions of a most contentious nature, which had previously not been thought of. But when the great philologist died in 1861 in Vienna he had long been recognized as one of the most ardent patriots. His three volumes of national songs excited the enthusiasm of Jacob Grimm, who rushed off to learn this new language, and with essays and letters to reveal it to Goethe. Translators, commentators, expounders and editors flocked from all sides, and Vuk was regarded as Serbia incarnate.[110]


One naturally judges a country of which one is ignorant by the little which one knows about the private life of its ruler. And it was fortunate for Serbia's reputation that Prince Miloš had a Vuk to throw a shadow over him. Kara George had been a hero, Miloš called himself a statesman. Anyhow, he walked in crooked paths, although the murders that he was accused of are now said to be not proven—with the exception of Archbishop Nikčić, one of his critics, and another prominent man whom he requested the Pasha to have strangled. Kara George—one finds in many books—was done away with when he came back to renew the fight against the Turks; most people say that Miloš, his arch-rival, had him murdered in his sleep. All that one knows for certain is that the assassin was a man in the employ of one of Miloš's prefects. As for Miloš sending the head to the Sultan, it is pointed out that as the Sultan's vassal he could not do otherwise. But the stories of his wife, the strong-minded Princess Liubica, are acknowledged to be true—how she would cry out to the warriors, if they seemed to waver, that they were but women, and how this induced them to attack again; how she would cook her husband's meals and wait on him; how when she discovered that any other lady had found favour in the Prince's sight she slew her, and retired into the mountains until her husband was appeased or had discovered a new lady. The court etiquette of that period was under the baneful influence of Turkey. Miloš used to live in Turkish houses—some of them are extant to this day—he gave audience as a Turkish pasha, seated amid cushions on the floor, his room was hung with captured Turkish flags, and on his head he wore a turban. It was often rumoured that when he had gained sufficient money he would not continue to forbid the working of the Serbian salt-mines, lest the profits of his own mines in Roumania should diminish; and it is not creditable that he should have made his subjects pay their contributions to the Turkish Tribute in the currency of Austria, while he would forward it in Turkish currency—of course less valuable—and keep the difference. He also tried to monopolize the swine trade, the most lucrative in the[111] country; he seized whatever he coveted—lands, mills and houses—and even burned down a part of Belgrade in order to build a new Custom-House, whose takings would flow into his pocket. "Am I not the chief," he said, "the Gospodar, and shall I not do what I like with my own?" But he was a real Prince. After the Peace of Adrianople in 1829 an edict was issued by the Sultan, which recognized Serbia as an independent principality, with Miloš as hereditary prince. He organized a standing army and built roads and schools and churches. He abolished, in 1833, the old Turkish system of land-tenure and introduced that peasant proprietorship which causes the Serbs, down to this day, to go into battle in defence of their own lands. In 1836 he offered the bishopric of Šabac to the famous Bulgarian monk, Neophyte Rilski, who wrote the first Bulgarian grammar and translated the New Testament, of which the first edition was burned by the Greek Church at Constantinople, while the second edition sold to the then enormous extent of 30,000 copies. The modest monk, who was born in 1793 and died in 1881, preferred the life of a student and teacher;[39] he therefore declined an offer which was so creditable to him who made it.... Yet in spite of Miloš's great services to his country he had his detractors. It was one of them, perhaps, who painted the portrait that one usually sees of him—an incongruous portrait, because the uniform is most correct—he is holding in his hand the Serbian military headgear, not a turban—but the face, with its serpent-like moustaches, high cheek-bones and black eyes, looks more like that of a Tartar than anything else. Those who did not care for Miloš said that it was barbarism not to let the laws be put in writing; but to this he never would consent. In 1835 he announced in the official Gazette (Novine Srpski) that he was the "only master";[112] he set about gaining for his country the interest of foreign Powers. England, which in 1837 sent Colonel Hodges as her agent to Belgrade, was for having Serbia placed under the protection of the Great Powers. Constitutional England was backing Miloš and his despotism, while, on the other hand, Russia and Turkey came out, to their own surprise, as champions of a constitution. They demanded that the power of Miloš should be limited by something which they euphemistically called "an organic regulation." Finally, there was imposed on him a Senate consisting of members appointed for life, but when this body asked him to account for the manner in which he had spent the public funds the Prince found that he could not allow himself to be so hampered and, in 1839, he abdicated. ("If," he once said, "if Charles X. of France had understood how to govern as I myself did in Serbia, he would never have lost his throne.") Vutčić, his arch-enemy, flung a stone after him into the Save. "You will not return," he cried, "until a stone can float on these waters!" "I shall die as Serbia's ruler!" shouted Miloš. (And when he ultimately did come back Vutčić was cast into prison, where he died mysteriously—Miloš refusing the Turks permission to examine the body.)


His democracy, in spite of his agrarian reforms, was very far from that of Vuk, and far from that of a young noble of Croatia, Ljudevit Gaj, who one evening in the drawing-room of Count Drašković—the same Count Drašković who wrote in German, for such was the spirit of the time, his Exhortation to Croatian Maidens that they should be truly Croatian—well, in this gentleman's house at Zagreb Ljudevit Gaj recites some verses he has written for a dowager. They are in Slav. The audience is inclined to be amused. Of course they know something of the language because, like Anastasius Grün in the Slovene country, they talk it to the servants. But among themselves in Croatia the upper classes prefer to use Latin. There is no doubt, as Count Louis Voinović, a[113] Yugoslav poet, has said, that this pursuit of Latin brought into the Slav world much that is indispensable in modern thought. It created among them an atmosphere of social courtesy, which, according to Saint Francis of Assisi, is the sister of Charity. It has humanized the Slav world and furnished it thus with formidable weapons. But, on the other hand, it cast a veil over the differences between the nations and caused people to be blind to their own national genius. The Croat nobility, with few exceptions, were at this time so much in harmony with the Magyar magnates, so anxious to prevent their peasants from hearing the Marseillaise, that they would, if need be, learn the Magyar language. But to use Slav in a drawing-room! This was a new idea. They smiled good-naturedly; but Gaj, with some other young men, some priests and some savants, founded a literary brotherhood that was to become famous under the name of "Danica." Famous also is an image he conceived. "The Southern Slavs," said he, in his programme of 1836, "are as a triangular lyre whose extremities are at Scutari, Villach and Varna." He said there was a time when the strings of this lyre resounded with harmonious sounds, but that the winds in their fury have torn them. Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia, Slavonia, Montenegro, Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria and Southern Hungary are these broken strings, which it is necessary to repair. Let the people in these lands, he said, forget their religious differences and remember that they are the children of one mother. Let them write the same language. Gaj thus aimed at bringing Vuk's reforms to bear upon the Latin characters with which the Serbo-Croat language is written in Croatia. Before his party was victorious it had to vanquish most determined opposition. Pamphlet was hurled against pamphlet, grammar against grammar, Gaj and his men had to overcome not only those who were the guardians of tradition, but all those who thought it natural and proper that in syntax there should be some difference between the Croat and the Serb. Yet now the philologists are out and the poets; their business takes them between the legs of the Great Powers, where they sometimes come to grief, but they are striking all those fetters from their nation. Peter Preradović is born in the Military Frontier[114] and he dies an Austrian General. At the beginning of his distinguished career he could speak nothing but German, and it was in emotional German poetry that he first expressed himself. But afterwards, carried away by the new winds that were cleansing the Croat language and sweeping from it the reproach of being a mere jargon for the servants, he became in his "Putnik" (The Traveller) and "Braca" (The Brothers) the greatest poet of the Croats. It is noteworthy that when this Austrian General writes a drama he takes for his hero the old legendary hero of the Serbs, Marko Kraljević. The Ban of Croatia, Ivan Mazuranić, is a Latin poet in his youth; but when this high official too comes under the stirring influence of Gaj he dedicates himself to his own people and composes in "The Death of Smail Aga"[40] a poem that among Serbian-speaking people has become so much the property of all that the poet has been lost in the shadow of his own work. Peasants who sing fragments of it as they toil in the fields, and the minstrel, the guslar, who chants it for them of an evening, believe that it is, like their folk-songs, the anonymous production of the Serbian people.


With the General and the Ban there is the Bishop, Joseph George Strossmayer, one of the greatest men of the nineteenth century. But before he became Bishop of Djakovo he saw the Government suppress those aspirations which he laboured for throughout his life. The Austrian Government had presented Gaj, in recognition of his literary work, with a diamond ring; but when they saw that his Illyrian programme persisted in aiming at the union of Croatia and Dalmatia, then at last they vetoed his Illyrianism and the word Illyria. His friends thereupon called themselves the "National party," which was in the Croatian Diet more numerous than the "Magyarones,"[115] who—many of them unprogressive landlords—stood for the most absolute union with Hungary. The National party demanded that Rieka, which was still "separatum sacræ regni Hungariæ adnexum corpus," should be united with the rest of Croatia; but the Magyars would naturally not let their one small port be taken from them. Those among the Magyars who consented to discuss the matter with the Croats said that if indeed they had purloined one Croat port (for they confessed that 350 kilometres separate Rieka from the nearest place in Hungary), yet the Croatians could afford to treat them with generosity, since they possessed at least two other ports, Bakar and Zengg, that were every bit as good. It was quite true that till Rieka was connected by the railway to the valleys of the Save, the Drave and the Danube, she had no advantage over Zengg and Bakar. None of these are natural ports: at Rieka there is no protecting island, Zengg and Bakar are available for small ships only, and behind all three there is a barrier of mountains. All of them, moreover, suffer from the visitations of the bora, which blows from the north sometimes for weeks on end. Having pointed out their own necessities and all these limitations, the Magyars stayed at Rieka. But they cast about them for some means by which the inconvenient Croats could be countered, and of course the simplest plan was to protect, as Austria was doing in Dalmatia, that small party of the Slavs on whom the presence of a few Italians at Rieka and their knowledge of this language and perhaps their education at some school in Italy had made such a profound impression that they wished no longer to be looked upon as Slavs—and some of them quite honestly thought that they were not Slavs. Of such was the Autonomist party, whose sole purpose was to flourish at Rieka in alliance with Hungarians and to keep Rieka a free Hungarian town. Perhaps the Magyars had no choice of methods, but it does not look magnanimous to plant yourself in some one else's house and then proceed to make conspiracies with a disgruntled child. They succoured the Autonomists in every way. For instance, the Croats had, as elsewhere on the coast, been so unjustly kept from having schools. The two or three schools in existence[116] were for those who turned their back on national ambitions and cultivated modern Italian, even as the nobles up at Zagreb had cultivated Latin. Now in 1838 the Croats of Rieka, who—it is needless to say—were much the more numerous part of the population, thought that Gaj's wonderful educational movement, which was spreading far and wide, should not find Rieka unresponsive. So they asked that the Croatian language should be taught, as well as the Italian, in the local schools. "This was the first attempt," says Mr. Edoardo Susmel,[41] who is, I gather, a schoolmaster or an ex-schoolmaster at Rieka. "But the people of Rieka," he says, "always with admirable tenacity resisted the brute force with which the Croats wanted to impose on the Italian city the rights of him who is strongest. The city arose as one man against this first attack and the schools remained Italian."

The conflict in the Croatian Diet between the National party and that of the Magyarones grew in violence. The latter, egged on from Buda-Pest, demanded in the most peremptory fashion that the Croat deputies should henceforward speak in Magyar instead of Latin. It was in the same year, 1843, that one of the deputies, Ivan Kukulejević, made the first speech in Croatian. Szemere, a Magyar, cried out furiously that Croatia was a land which had been conquered by force of arms, and the Hungarian Parliament went so far as to pass a law which made the teaching of Magyar obligatory in Croatian schools and for the Croatian delegates in the Hungarian Diet. The Croats replied by petitioning the Emperor to separate their country completely from Hungary. Ferdinand V. wavered between the two sides; in 1843 he annulled the decisions of the Hungarian Parliament, and in 1844 he laid it down that in six years the Croats would have to adopt Magyar as their official language. It seemed as if the questions between Magyar and Croat could be settled by no other method than by war.


There was not in the other Southern Slav lands much consolation for the National party. In Bosnia the French[117] Revolution and the Serbian wars of independence had an unfortunate effect, for in 1831 the Muhammedan Serbs of that province, under the leadership of Hussein Bey, the captain of Gradačac, began a holy war against the "giaour Sultan," because Mahmud thought it timely to promulgate a few reforms. Hussein assumed the title of "The Dragon of Bosnia"; and if it had not been for several other Moslem potentates who were not only inimical to the Sultan but to the Dragon and to each other, it would have taken the Sultan's army more than five years to assert itself. In 1839 the Sultan's representative at Gulhane had orders to reform the administration, and this time the chief of the indignant begs was Ali Pasha Rizvanbegović, a powerful personage in Herzegovina. The revolt was, after a good deal of bloodshed, suppressed by Omar Pasha, who was determined to break once and for all the arrogance of the Bosnian aristocracy. Hundreds of begs were executed, drowned in the Bosna or taken in chains to Constantinople. But all these transactions did nothing to improve the lot of the raia. They had been roundly told in 1832 by His Apostolic Majesty that any one of those Christians "who persist in venturing to raise the banner of revolt" would be sent back from the Imperial and Royal frontier. After all there was a courtesy which monarchs must maintain towards each other.


When the Croat National party looked at Serbia they saw a people torn in two by rival dynasties: Michael, the son of Miloš, had after a few years followed his father into exile, as he also could not grow accustomed to ruling with a Constitution. After him came Alexander, son of the assassinated Kara George. He was a cold, indifferent, slothful prince, and constantly the banished house of Obrenović was plotting to turn out this scion of the house of Kara George. But after sixteen years his people turned him out.... In the Banat the Serbs were going backward. For example, they were at the summit of their strength in Arad in the eighteenth century, and since then they had been unable to resist the German[118] wave. Time was when Arad had a Serbian princess, the wife of blinded Bela; and they were much esteemed when from 1703-1711 the Serbian cavalry and infantry had fought so strenuously for Austria against the rebels. Afterwards the Austrians believed they could get on without the Serbs; they started to destroy their privileges and to persuade them to give up their Church—it was in consequence of this that many of the Serbs in Arad went to Russia. A certain Colonel Peter Szejadinac objected to the Austrian policy and came to Arad for the purpose of procuring some alleviation for the Serbs, but he was broken on the wheel. In Temešvar the Serbs had also basked in glory. Until 1818 they had owned all but seventeen houses of the inner town; they had their own magistrature. Until 1860 they remained the wealthiest community, but here also there was an influx of Germans against which they could not stand.


However, owing to this endless struggle which the Serbs of Hungary were waging, they developed their activity and energy. The land was rich, particularly Bačka, and that province held the town of Novi Sad, which was not only prosperous but the home of learning. When Serbia was not in a position to devote herself to intellectual or to literary life, she was assisted always by the Serbs of Novi Sad. And thus in other parts of southern Hungary the Serb, by his continual efforts against other people, such as the industrious German, made to flower those aptitudes within himself which under Turkish domination had perforce been lying dormant.... It is no unusual thing in the Banat to find a Serbian farmer who is five or six times a millionaire in francs. And if, like a hearty one whom I found having lunch without a collar, they have no children, then they are even more anxious to build schools and churches and to support anything Serbian. This gentleman, who lived in his native place, had presented it with a very fine school, and then had gone there himself, to learn how to read and write.... The Serbs of southern Hungary took a most active part in the events of 1848. When they saw that a[119] conflict with the Magyars was inevitable, owing to the new Hungarian Constitution which created an enormous and free Hungary, but only free for the Magyars—a State founded on a mixture of democratic and feudal principles, reserving always the chief places for the magnates, lay and ecclesiastic, while rejecting the idea of universal suffrage—then the Serbs of southern Hungary assembled at Karlovci at the beginning of May and conferred upon Archbishop Rajacsich the title of Patriarch, at the same time electing Colonel Stephen Čuplikac the voivoda or chief of the Serbian Voivodina, which was to comprise Syrmia, Baranja, Bačka and a part of the Banat.


The Croats, whose last traces of independence had been wiped out by the Magyars, rallied round Colonel Joseph Jellačić. In the resounding and statesmanlike phrases of his proclamation on March 11, Jellačić had declared that a grand purpose was before them. "It is to attain," said he, "the renascence of our people! Alone I can do nothing, if among the sons of one same mother there is not peace and understanding and fraternity."

"We are," exclaimed Gaj at a sitting of the Diet—"we are one nation! There are no more Serbs nor Croats!" One has been too apt to consider that the Croats armed themselves merely in defence of their own wrongs; their leaders anyhow looked far beyond.

Two days after Jellačić had uttered these words the court of Vienna, aghast at the tempest that was blowing from everywhere, from Prague and Galicia and Hungary, from Lombardy and Venetia, and from their own easy-going capital, had destituted Metternich. On the next morning the Emperor made it known that he would grant his peoples all the liberties they wanted. He had not had time to ascertain whether this would gratify the Magyars. But as one of the Croatian liberties was the nomination of Jellačić as their Ban, the Emperor appointed him; Jellačić joined hands with the National party and proceeded to break all the chains that bound Croatia to Hungary. By his circular of April 19 he instructed the Croats to respect no other authority but his. Slavonia,[120] Dalmatia, the Military Frontiers and Rieka were, according to his plan, to be reunited to Croatia.


The Emperor's plans were far less definite. Between Croat and Magyar he was unable to make up his mind. What he wanted most of all was recruits for his Italian armies, seeing that Radetzky had been forced back by the insurgents, and Venice, under the presidency of Daniel Manin, had separated herself from Austria. When the Hungarians declared themselves willing to help with their army in putting a stop to the national movement in Italy, then the grateful Ferdinand bestowed on them a mandate to put a similar stop to the "Croat separatism"; he also suspended the Ban and declared him a traitor to the Fatherland. This did not unduly depress Jellačić, for in the month of June he was solemnly installed by the Patriarch Rajacsich in the cathedral of Zagreb. On this occasion the Mass was sung in old Slavonic by the Bishop of Zengg, and on leaving the cathedral another service was held in the Orthodox Church. "We desire by this solemn manifestation," said the Croats, "to make it clear to all the world that the brothers who belong to the Catholic and to the Orthodox religions have one heart and one soul."

Meanwhile the citizens of Vienna had revolted, and the Court, although the Magyars offered their hospitality, considered it prudent to take shelter at Innsbruck. It was to that town that the Croats sent in June a deputation which explained to the Emperor that Croatia had for centuries and under various dynasties been an autonomous country, and that the Magyars had not only, by their new laws, abolished this state of things but had also abolished the link that joined them to his empire, for they would henceforward have a personage, the Palatine, at Buda-Pest wielding executive power at such times as the Emperor was absent. The Croats showed the Emperor that he could thus not rule both at Vienna and Buda-Pest except if he could be in both places simultaneously; and Ferdinand acknowledged that this was correct and that the Magyars had their foibles, but that they were on[121] the point of sending him recruits. "We hoped," said the Croats, "that in a new world of liberty the Magyars would recognize the other races as their equals. We have been disillusioned, as you will be. And in July when Ferdinand announced, on the advice of Radetzky, that he would continue the operations in the Italian provinces until the bitter end, it became necessary for him to have these recruits. "We are prepared," said Kossuth, "to send a Hungarian army to Italy—in principle." But while they were debating whether this would not expose them to the Croats, they were called upon to put down a revolt in the Banat, where the Roumanian population was quiescent and the Serbs had risen to assert the rights of the non-Magyar peoples. There the Serbs advanced victoriously, as did the Austrian troops in Italy. This caused the Emperor to assume another tone when he addressed the Magyars. Let them send a deputation to Vienna, where the Croats would be represented also; and together they would come to an arrangement regulating their relations to each other. The Hungarians were obstinate, chose Kossuth to be their dictator and thus began the revolution.


Jellačić, on September 11, crossed the Drave with forty thousand Croats, annexed the territory between the Drave and the Mur, and advanced without opposition up to Lake Balaton. His commissary, General Joseph Brinjevac, occupied Rieka. They were confident that History would not misjudge them. "We demand," said Jellačić, in his declaration of war, "we demand equality of rights for all the peoples and for all the nationalities who live under the Hungarian crown." Before he left Zagreb he transformed the feudal Croatian Diet into an elective assembly. This new Parliament cancelled the institution of serfdom and proclaimed that one of their objects was to have the Habsburg monarchy a federation, on the model of Switzerland. One would suppose that it was clear to everyone that Jellačić was not fighting for the Habsburgs but for the subjected nationalities, and[122] that if the vacillating Austrians who had outlawed him on account of his nationalist views later on joined him in his attacks on the Magyars, this does not show that he was fighting Austria's battles. "The banner which the Croats have unfurled," said Cavour in a great parliamentary speech a month later, "is a Slav banner, and in no way, as some people suppose, the banner of reaction and of despotism.... His [Jellačić's] chief, if not his only, aim was the redemption of the Slav nationality." This page would doubtless be more dignified if, after the dead lion, it did not refer to Mr. Edoardo Susmel; but since the autumn of 1918 a large number of people at Rieka have pinned their faith to Susmel rather than Cavour—his book was handed to me in a most impressive manner by the mayor. Let us see, therefore, what he says of 1848. "When the Croats," says he, "on account of national reasons"—so far we are with him—"and on account of their loyalty to Austria, on account of the desire of Jellačić and by order of the Emperor attacked Hungary, which was at that time fighting for freedom, they also threw themselves upon Rieka.... For the first and solitary time Rieka fell into the hands of the Croats. It was, wrote the contemporary Giacich, an enemy invasion." Mr. Susmel sails merrily ahead, for he knows that Truth is mighty and that it is said to prevail; but in order to convince the most captious he calls on Mr. Giacich to testify. I know nothing about Mr. Giacich except that he was a contemporary—and yet it seems that one ought not to wish that Mr. Susmel had rather put his faith in Cavour, who was also a contemporary, since that gentleman was far less capable and never could have proved that when a Croat army comes into a Croat town it is engaged upon an enemy invasion.

The Magyars were not to be repressed so easily, and Ferdinand made promise after promise to the Croats and the Serbs if they would help to overcome this people. From Serbia itself came many volunteers to aid their brothers who were trying to throw off the Magyar yoke; they came with the connivance of Prince Alexander, in fact, he sent one of his generals to lead them. And a great many hasty Kossuth enthusiasts in Western Europe, knowing only that the Magyars, a chivalrous nation,[123] had been in arms against the despotic Habsburgs, and that the Serbs and Croats had a considerable share in subduing them, could not find invective virulent enough for this abominable brood of hell, whose one desire it was to be a tyrant's executioners. They were denounced as having not the least conception of independence; for a people of a disposition so abandoned there was not the faintest hope of any future; and the day would come when these outrageous little nations would be wiped away. Had not the noble Kossuth spoken like a prophet when he asked disdainfully where was Croatia, for he could not find it on the map?

In December the new Emperor, Francis Joseph, began to rule his variegated realm with justice. He confirmed the Serbian Patriarch and Voivoda, who had been chosen in the previous May, and he bestowed upon the Serbs of Syrmia and Bačka and the Banat a territory of their own, with their own organization and jurisdiction. Even a less extensive Serbian authority, namely, the Banat town of Velika Kikinda, with its ten dependent villages, raised its own taxes, had its own police and had the power of life and death. There was, indeed, a cloud which came across the Serbians' happiness when Čuplikac, the Voivoda, died suddenly. He was at Pančevo when he received from the Emperor the gracious edict and a box of cigars. No sooner had he mounted his horse, lit one of the cigars and uttered the word "Brother," than he fell down dead. As for the Croats, the Emperor made Jellačić governor of Dalmatia, which signified the union of that province to Croatia.


There was a poet on the throne of Montenegro, the greatest of Yugoslav poets, who now that the civil governor (to whom had been entrusted certain duties which it had been thought a bishop should not exercise)—now that this official was expelled, reigned over Montenegro as the first and last real Prince-Bishop. He was a magnificent person, even for a Montenegrin, since his height was no less than 6 feet 8 inches; and in his determination to establish order in the principality he had let nothing intervene.[124] As Russia, after a longish interval, resumed her subsidies and paid Peter II. an annual allowance of nine thousand ducats, together with arms, ammunition and wheat, the Prince-Bishop was relieved of the necessity of taxing his people. This made it easier for him to build up a strong central power that would not be dependent on the tribal chiefs, though it is doubtful if a despotism was more suitable for Montenegro's economic circumstances than the patriarchal form of government. Peter surrounded himself with a senate of twelve members, whose salaries he paid, a bodyguard of a few dozen and a police force of several hundred. These men, who lived to execute his wishes, were the instruments by which he set about improving Montenegro. The vendetta was to give way to the law court; there was something to be said, though, for the people who withstood this innovation, since the court's decision was the will of Peter. But no arguments protected anyone who clung to the old-fashioned ways of the vendetta or of brigandage or theft from being placed before a file of the Prince-Bishop's men. Tales are still recited in the primitive, bleak homes of Montenegro touching the great number of his subjects whom the poet put to death. But that was not the only penalty, for of the two European institutions with which he had embellished his capital one was a prison. The other was a printing-press, in which he had a childish joy. Once when he was entertaining King Augustus of Saxony he composed a poem for him while they were at supper; it was printed in the night; the happy author, next morning, not a little proud of this achievement, gave a copy to the King. He issued an official paper from this printing-press; its name was Grlica, which means "The Turtle-Dove."


Now Peter thought the moment had arrived for Jellačić to found at last an independent Yugoslav dominion. On December 20, 1848, he wrote to him: "An inscrutable destiny has placed you, O illustrious Ban, at the head of the Southern Slavs. You have pre[125]served their throne, their destiny for the Habsburgs.... A grand mission is yours; from it may arise a new formation of Europe. Its accomplishment would absolve the Slavs from the shame of having been the miserable slaves or the paid creatures of others. As for me, I am free, at the head, it is true, of a handful of men, despite the double malediction of tyranny and espionage." [Here he is referring to his neighbours, Austria and Turkey.] "But what does that matter when I look round me at millions of brothers who are in alien bondage? Occupy Dalmatia immediately and let us join each other. That which one does not conquer with heroic right is worth nothing. I am ready to come to your help with my Montenegrins." To these overtures Jellačić gave an evasive reply. It may be that he did not deem the moment opportune, it may be that, as some have said, he came under the atavistic influence of the military traditions of the Croats, whose long years of fighting for the Habsburgs had made them as devoted to that House as the Dalmatians had been for so long to Venice. The Habsburgs had exploited them, but the Croats felt that they were bound by all the blood which they had shed and by the military glory they had won in Austria's service. Had not Tomasić and Milutinović been the Generals—both Croats—who were sent to change Napoleon's Dalmatia into a province of the Habsburgs? And the list is endless. Jellačić was very probably deceived by Francis Joseph, who kept dangling before his eyes a vision of a "Greater Croatia." But, by an irony of history, this hope of union of the Southern Slavs was for the time flung very much into the background by the action of the Tzar, who rescued Austria when in 1849 she was again at variance with the Magyars. Kossuth had been furious at the Constitution promulgated in the spring of that year, which not only made obsolete most of Hungary's privileges, but introduced the principle of equality among the various nationalities. The Hungarians had been too much accustomed to the classing of races as first-class people and second-class people. When they had been reduced—the Russian methods being drastic—and when their thirteen Generals had been executed at Arad, Francis Joseph thanked the Croats[126] "for their ceaseless energy and for their numerous sacrifices in the interests of the State." But Jellačić did not move, and the Prince-Bishop wrote to Count Pozza, a friend of his at Dubrovnik. "I had hoped for an instant, my dear Count," he wrote, "but I am now convinced that Yugoslavism is, for the time being, merely an idle word. The Yugoslavs are unconscious of their own strength and sell themselves unconditionally to the strongest. It is a subject of profound grief for those who love them and for sensitive souls." Peter II. did not long survive. He may have wondered sometimes why the Croats did not call for him instead of Jellačić, since his methods of administration had been so successful in the principality. He may have meditated sometimes on the Russians, wondering how one nation could be both so highly meritorious and so bloodthirsty. He died, aged thirty-nine, a disappointed man. (His Turtle-Dove expired some time before.) And he was buried, as he wished, upon a lonely peak of Lovčen, that vast mountain over Kotor which, until the deed of his great-nephew's son, his namesake, was impregnable. Peter II. had always been a man apart—it was his opinion that his Church was being choked with formalism and with ceremonial, and though he was a Bishop he went to church infrequently. The poet in him was much more attracted to the Bogomile sect, which taught that God had two sons, of whom the elder was Satan and the younger Christ; and when the world was created, the elder, seeing how lovely it was, separated himself from his Father in order to rule the world; and afterwards God sent the younger son to punish him.... Peter had far greater merits as a poet than as a ruler. In fact, Pushkin is perhaps the only Slav poet who surpasses him, and his philosophy is more original than that of Tolstoi. There came to Montenegro one Ivanović, a Russian missionary, whom Peter appointed to be President of the Senate. Peter used to live chiefly in Venice, Rome or Naples, only coming to Montenegro as a guest, and it was during his residence in Naples that Ivanović introduced a number of reforms. According to the general opinion, Peter was the greatest Yugoslav that ever lived; as a ruler he was neither good nor bad.[127]


Now that the Austrians had escaped from all their perils, and Napoleon's coup d'état had removed the danger of another revolution in France, they took in hand the burying of the recent Constitution which had given so much umbrage to the Magyars and to the Croats no vast pleasure. In its place, in 1851, the policy of Bach, an absolutist and a German policy, was introduced. The Croats and the Serbs of southern Hungary were treated differently, the latter being given not the territory they had claimed but one much more extensive, so that they themselves were in a great minority.[42] The Croats found themselves, of course, no longer joined to the Dalmatians. Everywhere a flood of Germans, the "huzzars of Bach," was loosened on the population; German was erected to be the official language. But the Slovenes took advantage even of the German atmosphere. Their national consciousness, which Napoleon had awakened after centuries, was now aroused. They took small interest, as yet, in politics, but strove to make material progress, principally in agriculture, partly too in commerce, such as in the exploitation of their splendid forests. Like the Slavs of Istria, they had no educated class—except the clergy—which was strong enough and was sufficiently well organized to lead them. Consequently it was difficult to make much headway in the towns against the Germans here and the Italians there. But they were not discouraged; by means of organizations, political and economic, they fought this denationalizing effect of the towns. That they succeeded in arresting the tendency—for example at Gorica and Triest—is even more laudable in view of the serious educational handicap which for years they had to face, and which the Austrians continued to inflict upon them until 1914. The provincial administration of Carinthia, for instance, was in 1914 maintaining three Slovene schools and six hundred and twelve German schools, although the Slovenes formed one-third of the population. What the Austrians said was that[128] German was a world-language and that it was a fad to want to learn Slovene. Perhaps the Slovenes told them that Welsh is not a world-language. Anyhow, being not only a patriotic but a very practical race, they built their own schools in the villages, with the result that they have to-day a far smaller proportion of illiterates—17-1/2 per cent.—than either the Croats or the Serbs. It was well that they were patriotic and practical; they would otherwise have reaped a bitter harvest. The Slavs of Istria, Croatia and Dalmatia were in contact with no German territories and were for that reason left in the cold shades. The Slovenes, having Germans near them and among them, had to have a share in what the Germans were enjoying and they reaped sagaciously. One must admit that it was practical on Austria's part to favour the Italian language in Dalmatia, for it was from there that she supplied herself with functionaries for the provinces of Lombardy and Venice.


The Croat peasants were in a much worse condition than the Slovenes, and the nobles who might have assisted them in building schools had recently been ruined by the Austrian agrarian policy, for when in 1853 the Austrians put into execution what the Diet of Croatia had resolved to do in 1848 and freed the peasants from their serfdom, the indemnity they gave the landlords was in Austrian State papers, which the landlords had to take at the face value, though this was far above what they were worth. The owners of the so-called latifundia, mostly German or Hungarian noblemen, lost very little; for their wide domains were cultivated mostly by hired labour, not by peasants settled on the land. But these big landlords were not eager to build schools for peasants. It is said these should have been provided by the Church. The Croatian clergy in the villages would stand in a much better light if they had, irrespective of the higher clergy, made more vigorous attempts to bring down the illiteracy figures which to-day are said to be, for Croatia and Slavonia, 65 per cent. The higher clergy worked, with very few exceptions, hand in hand with Austria's[129] Government, which Government was, after the Concordat of 1855, the close ally of Rome. If it was the Government's desire to build no schools, the higher clergy for the most part acquiesced. It surely is a function of a Government to occupy itself with education and to turn away from the great landlords who are frightened that a peasantry more educated will be troublesome. But those who have to bear a good part of the criticism are the village clergy; it is human not to criticize them half so much for what they left undone as for some aspects of their private life. The usual old stories circulate to the effect that they refuse to exercise their office till the peasant who is asking them to baptize or to marry or to bury some one brings a suitable amount of produce, eggs or fowls or something else, in lieu of money; but what is a more serious matter is the question of women. Three-and-twenty priests in the diocese of Zagreb passed a resolution a year or two ago that they were in favour of a married clergy. A Yugoslav bishop told me that most, if not all, of these gentlemen had anticipated the Papal consent; but that in his diocese only 3 per cent. of the clergy lived in sin [hostile critics say he should have added the word "openly"], whereas in two other Yugoslav dioceses, which he named, such clergy might amount to 50 per cent. An examination of this question, which exists in other countries, would be unprofitable, were it not that in Croatia, with a Roman Catholic and Orthodox population living very often side by side, the circumstances are peculiar. The people do not take up any narrow attitude towards the Church of which they are not members: a Roman Catholic will go to an Orthodox and an Orthodox to a Roman Catholic church if they have none of their own. They intermarry; and since their sacred days, such as Christmas, are not celebrated at the same time the non-celebrating congregation cease to work, out of sympathy. Even with the alteration of the Orthodox calendar there will be days which one community will keep as workless days, so that it may go visiting the others and congratulating them. But this bland behaviour of the people is unfortunately not maintained when they discuss their priests. And in the Lika, where the population leads a rough, laborious life, they are not[130] satisfied to have an academical discussion. They hold that if a man is celibate he is not manly, and scenes have taken place which Hogarth might refuse to draw.


The twenty-three priests of the Zagreb diocese who were in favour of a married clergy and of several other reforms could not stand up against their ecclesiastical superiors. The movement has made no open progress and their leader has been constrained to abandon Holy Orders and become a timber merchant. Nevertheless the idea of a national Church has not vanished; a good deal depends for other countries on the degree of success which attends the newly established national Church in Czecho-Slovakia. It already possesses over half a million adherents out of a population of 13 millions. We may be going to witness the rise of a series of national Churches, a consummation which—a Roman Catholic might observe—will very likely be no more successful in bringing nearer the brotherhood of man than the wide-flung Catholic Church. The enthusiastic nationalism of such new Churches may, in fact, help to postpone that happy state of things. In any case, and whatever be the results, we shall do well not to ignore the beginnings of what may be a mighty Reformation.

Ever since 1848 the Czech clergy have been anxious to obtain reforms, not so much in dogma as in discipline. They assert that it is more in accordance with the democratic spirit of the age if a priest is selected not by some magnate but by his prospective parishioners; they desire to have their mother-tongue employed for the liturgy—in this respect they are in advance of most Catholic countries—and they wish to allow their priests to marry or not to marry, as each man prefers. This, one need hardly say, is the point which, almost to the exclusion of all others, is taken up by the hostile compatriots of the new believers. "It is nothing more nor less than this," said a portly Benedictine abbot to me one day in Prague, "there are priests who live in concubinage and they actually want to have it legalized!" But in Czecho-Slovakia, with her vivid memories of the Hussites[131] in the fifteenth century—magnificent new monuments to John Huss decorate the principal towns—in Czecho-Slovakia the old régime has not the same power as in Croatia. At first the new Church was sneered at, being called a Churchlet, then they called it a sect, and now they say it may persist for fifty years. While its critics occupy themselves so largely with the topic of clerical celibacy, the founders of the Church themselves are much more interested in other questions. They do not greatly concern themselves with their priests' apparel, holding that this need not trouble them more than a little, since they are striving for something more weighty—the freedom of conscience. In this, as they say, they are carrying on the doctrines of Huss, which were so bloodily repressed by the dominant party. Under Charles IV. the Roman Catholic Church possessed about one-third of all the land in Bohemia, while in Prague alone there were some three thousand priests. And if the doctrines of Huss had not sunk deeply into the minds of the Bohemians this new Church would have found her task very much more difficult. The first three bishops were ordained last year by the Serbian Bishop of Niš. It was at one time thought that the Orthodox religion would be adopted, but this was found to be impossible, and after a year of negotiations it was settled that the Serbian Church should be regarded as a sister Church.

The significance of Czecho-Slovakia's new Church is to be found in the national idea. So much is it a thing of the people and not of the priests that several schoolmasters have had to be ordained, the clergy being otherwise too scanty. In June 1919 a delegation from 3000 dissatisfied priests went to Rome. The Pope rejected what he called their foolish novelties. In January 1920 a secret meeting of 200 priests was held in Prague and 144 of them declared themselves for a new national Church. But few of them possessed the necessary resolution, such as was displayed by Dr. Farsky, a very intelligent and earnest young man who was Professor of Religion in the University and has now been appointed the Head of this new Church, as Bishop of Prague and Patriarch. His opponent, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague, has the reputation of being one of the[132] cleverest of Czech politicians, and it will be interesting to see how the position develops. Since the War the Roman Catholic Church has lost 25 per cent. of its members—during the War it was, in the opinion of many, though perhaps it had no option, very much the servant of the Habsburgs. And one imagines that the Archbishop is handicapped by the demands of his party that the State should unquestionably continue to pay the yearly interests of the large number of monasteries that were dissolved more than a century ago by Joseph II. "All England's troubles," said the Coadjutor-Archbishop to me, "emanate from the fact that she nowadays pays nothing to the Church for those monasteries that were suppressed by Henry VIII." It is doubtful whether the Czechs, exulting in their regained liberty, will for the most part take the side of Rome when the matter has been fully ventilated and discussed. "We are not monarchist at all," said the Abbot Zavoral, "we are true to the Republic, we are democratic. And discussion is democratic, but," said he, "it should not be unlimited."


To such a degree did the Austrian Government neglect its duties that, ten years ago, Croatia and Slavonia were short of at least one thousand school buildings and twelve hundred teachers. Bishop Strossmayer, coming from a family[43] which had settled at the sprawling town of Osiek, in Slavonia, did what he could. His Yugoslav Academy at Zagreb, the Zagreb University and the Society for studying the history of the Yugoslavs are but a few of the national institutions to which he devoted the princely revenues of Djakovo. From there this most remarkable man worked for the intellectual advancement of all the Southern Slavs; he subsidized the brothers Miladinoff who made the first collection of Bulgarian folk-songs (and who, on account of this forbidden subject, were both[133] subsequently strangled at Constantinople); he paid for the education of young students no matter from what Yugoslav country they came; when Rački, the well-known Croat historian, was persecuted by the Government and living in misery, Strossmayer begged him to come to Djakovo, and Rački was his closest friend for many years; he built a large gallery at Zagreb and filled it with pictures, sacred and profane, and was as ready to assist a young artist in Istria as in Macedonia. It may be that he caused a circular to be read in the Croatian churches which referred to the Orthodox as "lost sheep," but he never used a method other than by prayer and the example of his life to cause them to forsake their fold; to him the forcible conversions by the Turks were as abhorrent as a system that was used in Bačka, where a whole village near Sombor was ennobled—but not those who afterwards came to live there—for having joined the Roman Church. He was himself no blind follower of the Vatican; and when he went with a very princely retinue—in part the weakness of his humble origin—to Rome in order to explain why he was unable to subscribe to the dogma of Papal Infallibility, he ravished his audience with a marvellous Latin oration, for he spoke many modern languages but was most thoroughly at home in Latin. Often in conversation he passed from one language to another, in search of what would best express his meaning, and frequently he would have recourse to Latin. He became reconciled to the dogma and it was due to the hostility of Magyar potentates that he remained for more than fifty years the Bishop of Djakovo, was not promoted to Zagreb nor made a cardinal. His fervent and statesmanlike views can be seen in his correspondence[44] with Gladstone. His head, like Gladstone's, caused one not to notice that the rest of the body was unimpressive; they had the same brilliance of eye. This man who worked continuously for the Southern Slavs could not be always a persona grata to Francis Joseph. Two remarks of the Emperor's are handed down, but that one may be a legend which, with the preface that Strossmayer was the only man to whom the Emperor was ever rude, says that Francis Joseph accounted for some proceedings of the[134] bishop, as head of the National party in Croatia, by telling him that he must have been drunk—and, overtaken by remorse, making him an "Excellency" on the following day. Yet that story is certainly true which recounts how in 1881 the Emperor at Belovar said to him that he would sooner be an unimportant German Duke than Emperor of all the Slavs.


The Emperor of a great many Southern Slavs, the Sultan, had in his time been satisfied if he could squeeze out of the Montenegrins so much tribute as would every year pay for his slippers. He could send an army now and then to devastate Cetinje and destroy the monastery where the people's bishop lived, but in those mountains a large army ran the risk of being ambushed and a very large one would be starved. Besides, now that the European scientists and travellers were beginning to go up to Montenegro and were, among the few sights of Cetinje, always shown the shrivelled head of Kara Mahmud Pasha, who in 1796 had been defeated, it was not advisable, the Sultan thought, that any other Turkish head of prominence should have this fate.... In Macedonia it was very different; the population might have once been warlike, but had so successfully been governed that some German travellers of the sixteenth century, Hans Ternschwamm and Ritter Gerlach, had described them as a "conquered, down-trodden, imprisoned people" who did not dare to lift up their heads, a people who "without intermission must toil for the Turks." And if three hundred years of this life had not completely tamed them, the Sultan had every confidence that the Greek Patriarch would tell the Powers what they knew already, namely, that the Macedonian Christians only had to pay a tenth and sometimes only an eleventh part of certain crops and that in return they were protected by the Spahi from the ills which every humbler man is heir to, and that the Powers, who politically said they must respect the Sultan, must now morally respect him also. But in 1850 the Turkish Government made a change; in place of the old Spahi there was installed a landlord who[135] retained the name of Spahi but who had none of his predecessor's careless benevolence. The property had been hired out to him for life and his one object was to get from it as much as possible. He made demands not only for a tenth but for a fifth and even a third part, and not only of the maize and wheat but of every product of the soil. Cattle, bees, vegetables, fruit—of all of these he had to have his share; the peasant often cut his fruit trees down as he could not afford to pay the various taxes that were put on them. In the old days the Spahi had an arrangement with a whole village, and a system so impersonal was much less onerous than when demands were made from every household individually. The new sort of Spahi was not only an evil product of the time, but as the progress of industry in other countries was supplying the Turkish market with many new commodities, so in order to acquire these articles for himself he exacted more and more tribute from the helpless peasants. Progress in Macedonia was not merely retarded—lands which had been under cultivation were abandoned, and the peasant, having been despoiled of everything, perhaps having borrowed money at 9 or 10 per cent., was no longer able to get his living from the land on which so many generations of his ancestors had laboured. It was no longer possible for him to get the mess of maize and miserable bread, the strips of repulsive-looking flesh that were his luxury, the medicine for his underfed children who were moaning on the naked earth of his cabin, and at the same time to make the necessary contributions to the landlord or the landlord's agent, whom the villagers had to furnish with a riding horse, with gun and ammunition, with furs and with clothing appropriate to his position, with special gifts whenever he or they were marrying, and with all the pretty girls on whom his eye had rested. Therefore the čifčija would lose the last shadow of freedom, he would become a serf. His sowing and his reaping would now be for another, and as it did not profit him at all to make the land more fruitful, he was content with any prehistoric implement, with little wooden ploughs and with a total absence of manure. And yet this pitiable serf would often be in a position less deplorable than that of one who had a little freedom left and who was called a[136] free man, for the Turk would treat him no worse than the mule whose continual existence he desires. It does not seem surprising if these Christians wanted to be liberated from the Turk and did not greatly mind what uniform their rescuers would wear.


Meanwhile the Serbs of Hungary were saying that the state of things in Serbia was desperate. It seemed so to a number of young men who found the coldness of Prince Alexander and his anxiety to please the Austrians both very much out of harmony with the new Liberal ideas of Western Europe. They would have been horrified to see the plight of Macedonia, which after the Crimean War became, if possible, still worse, for during it the Porte took up the first loan; others followed, and in a surprisingly short time the Turk stood face to face with bankruptcy, so that in his dealings with the peasant he became still more extortionate. To be sure the Liberal young men who were publishing the Omladinac and all those Southern Slavs who listened to the voices which in Italy and Germany were craving union and freedom, all of them saw in their dreams the freedom of the Southern Slav, but Serbia and Montenegro were the only portions of his patrimony which had any kind of independence and the Serbia of Alexander was in a distressing state. The Prince had managed to stay neutral during the Crimean War, in spite of the solicitations very vehemently put by Austria and Russia and the Porte; this neutral attitude secured for Serbia at the peace the benefit of having all her rights henceforward guaranteed collectively by the Great Powers. Yet Alexander was so anxious not to rouse the animosity of Austria that he declined to summon the national assembly, the Skupština, in which the people's rising aspirations could be heard. And, although the family community, the "zadruga," was giving way to a more modern way of life—much to the misgiving of those persons who believed that strength lay rather in the union of thirty or forty people, under the authority of the head of the house, than in a more dispersed society which would encourage individual initiative—yet[137] Serbia was still a semi-Turkish and a quite despotic country, with all the civil service largely filled by Serbs from Hungary and many of the higher offices in the possession of the relatives of the Princess, for Alexander's wife, a lady from the neighbourhood of Valjevo, was as celebrated for her cleverness as for her beauty. It is regrettable that she did not prefer to take in hand the women's legal status, which is still too much like that of minors. When the princely pair had been expelled in 1858 and Miloš, to his infinite delight, called back from Bucharest, his place of exile, there was yet a great deal for the Omladina enthusiasts to do. Miloš at the age of seventy-eight was senile; he would sit for hours outside his old, white Turkish house at Čačak, while the passers-by knelt down to kiss his hand; in church he would become oblivious to his surroundings and would garrulously talk in a loud voice to friends around him.


Assuredly the Omladina Society had some knowledge of affairs in Macedonia, for Dimitri Miladinoff, the elder of the two brothers, had been at Karlovci, where he was offered the professorship of Greek at the Serbian school. Miladinoff had been born at Struga in Macedonia and educated at Jannina, where he noticed that a number of the names of forests, rivers, villages and ruins sounded odd in Greek—they seemed to have much more resemblance to the language spoken by the Slavs who lived beyond his home, the Bulgars. This awoke a flame in him. At Ochrida, where he was presently appointed as a teacher in the school, he gave his lessons in the customary Greek, nor did he undervalue the advantages the Macedonian Slavs could draw, particularly at the stage they were in, from the study of Greek literature and from the contemplation of the patriotic virtues of old Greece. But at the same time he began to give his pupils a Bulgarian translation of what they were learning; and one day in 1845 while he was in the middle of a lesson, taught in that strange manner, on Thucydides, the Russian archæologist Grigorović appeared and in amazement[138] cried, "But we are brothers!" It was to him a marvel that these people's mother-tongue was Slav. Miladinoff had a project to retain the Greek at college and to introduce Bulgarian in the elementary schools, but when in 1848 he spoke of this at Ochrida the notables had grown so hellenized that they considered an allusion to their Slav origin as most offensive. Far from giving up his plan, Miladinoff began a pilgrimage through Macedonia, pretending that his object was to gather funds for the construction at Constantinople of a Bulgar church. Everywhere he taught as he had done at Ochrida, and the elucidation, for example, of Demosthenes enabled him to plant his patriotic seeds. It was in the course of his travels that he (and afterwards his younger brother Constantine) collected the folk-songs that were published by the generosity of Strossmayer. He stayed for a time at Sarajevo and at Karlovci, where he was filled with emulation by the progress which the Serbs had made. On his return in 1857 to Macedonia the people of the town of Kukuš—near the future boundaries of Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece—invited him to be headmaster at their school. He was overjoyed that this town had the courage to have the Bulgarian language taught, and we have his reply. The Phanariote Greeks, he says, "will hurl their anathema against us! The Bulgarian script is contrary to God! It will not be the first time that they have proclaimed this! But those days are past! Already the rays of dawn...." This letter is written in Greek. "Oh, how I am ashamed," he says, "to express my sentiments in the Greek language!" But the literary form of Bulgarian is, as yet, undeveloped. One year after his arrival at Kukuš the population removed the Greek books from their cathedral and listened to the singing of the Mass in Slav by a Bulgarian monk from Mt. Athos. When he began to recite the Credo in the ordinary Bulgarian tongue, the congregation fell on their knees and burst into tears.


Another Macedonian traveller was the highly distinguished Frenchman, Ami Boué. His great book[139] La Turquie d'Europe, in four volumes of more than 500 pages each, appeared in Paris in 1840, and is a veritable encyclopædia with which no other publication of the same kind can be compared, either for the largeness of his scheme, the versatility of his interests or the profound knowledge of his subject. Well, he found that many Slavs of Macedonia, whom he calls Bulgars, had their hopes centred in Miloš, who was then the reigning Serbian Prince. The difference in their eyes between the two people was that the Serbs had gained their independence. It was not as great an independence as the Macedonians fancied, for in addition to the vexatious remains of Turkish suzerainty there was the Greek ecclesiastical rule. During the reigns of Kara George and Miloš the Greeks insisted on having their language used for the liturgy in all the Serbian towns, especially in Belgrade; after that period Greek and Slav were used for half the service each, and this practice was continued until 1858. Nevertheless for the unhappy Macedonians Serbia was a land of radiant liberty. And whether it was going to be a Serb or Bulgar who would rescue them—qu'importe? Ami Boué noted, as have many others, that the Macedonian Slav in his physical characteristics, in his language, in his outlook, in his native habits and in the expression of his sentiments is intermediate between the Serbs and Bulgars. And he says that as between the Serbs and Bulgars he does not recognize a greater difference than there is between the Istrians, the Dalmatians and the Croats, which is to say that there is none.

This point of view was quite familiar to the readers of the Omladinac. Svetozar Marković, a leader of both Radicals and Socialists in Serbia, was for a federated Balkan republic. Ljuben Karaveloff wrote articles in Serbian, whose object was to show that, in the liberation of the Southern Slavs, Serbia must take the lead. Rakovski, the most active of Bulgarian Radicals, maintained that, in default of union between the Southern Slavs, a selfish interference of the Great Powers in the Balkans and unceasing wars among the natives would be unavoidable. The ideas of Bogdanov regarding the Bulgarian and Serbian languages were current. "It is not a tower of Babel," says he, "but a temple of God. When we are[140] united there will be no curse yelled in a hundred voices but a harmonious prayer." And in another passage he declares that "there is less difference, for example, between Serbian and Bulgarian than between certain Italian dialects."


While they were speaking Italy had acted. It is more true to say that some Italians had acted. The defence of Venice and the five days at Milan are glorious episodes, but those volunteers who flocked to Garibaldi, notably from Piedmont, and of whose exploits we can never hear enough—in what proportion were they to the inhabitants of the Peninsula? The people as a whole exhibited indifference, which causes Garibaldi to complain most bitterly. And if it had not been for the genius of Cavour and his collaborators, for the diplomatic support of England, the alliance with Prussia and, above all, for the French army, the redemption of the country would have been delayed. No doubt the Church had an enormous influence upon the people, no doubt in the surviving mediæval States—the duchies and republics—whose government belonged to the privileged classes, there was little to awaken popular interest; no doubt great masses of the people were untouched by education and the spread of new ideas—if freedom is a new idea; no doubt the peasants in various parts of the country were in as deplorable a plight as the peasants of to-day, which has had as one effect the inexpansive manner, as Italian officers have testified, with which the redeemed peasants of the Trentino and elsewhere often welcomed their redeemers. And the Italian peasants of 1859 may be pardoned for imagining that this world never would be made so good as to include their own salvation. One can find sufficient excuses for what occurred in Italy. Will not the Italians excuse, rather than praise, the very, very small number of Yugoslavs who have stood out against Yugoslavia? When Italy had been united did no Italians choose rather to go into exile?[141]


Some Italians were so intoxicated with the success of Garibaldi's troops and the French army that they began to see dangerous visions. Once again, on December 28, 1860, they were warned by the great founder of their country. "Let us avoid," wrote Cavour,[45] "every expression which could permit one to suppose that the King's government aspires not merely to the possession of Venice, but also to that of Triest, with Istria and Dalmatia. I know well that in the towns of the littoral the population is fundamentally Italian by race and sentiments, but that the rest of the country belongs exclusively to the Slavs.... Every word which touches this question, however lightly it be uttered, would become a dangerous weapon in the hands of our enemies. They would know very well how to use them in order to raise up England against us, for that Power would also not look with favour on the Adriatic Sea becoming, as in the days of Venice, an Italian Sea." Cavour's opinion as to the towns was presumably based on such researches as were made in 1842 by Kandler. The city of Triest contained in that year 53,000 persons "who speak Italian" and 21,000 "who speak Slav"; but as Italian, an international language, was used by the numerous German, Armenian, Greek, Turkish and Levantine colonies, and was spoken in public by all the Slavs, the 53,000 would lose a considerable proportion who were not fundamentally Italian by race or sentiments. It may safely be stated, on the other hand, that none of the Italians and an infinitely small number of the exotic population would speak Slav, so that one may say that Triest contained 21,000 Slovenes. One need not attach overmuch importance to the fact that the town in 1866, among other manifestations of loyalty occasioned by the defeat of the Italian navy near Vis (Lissa), created the Austrian Admiral Tegetthoff an honorary citizen. Even if the 53,000 had all been Italians, Triest might have thought it expedient to act in this way.... Cavour may have accepted in very good faith the similar figures for the little ports of western Istria; in them there was no such miscellaneous population,[142] but a large number of those who spoke Italian did so because it was only at this period that the Bishop, Dr. George Dobrila, the great regenerator of the Istrian Yugoslavs, began to rouse his countrymen and to induce them not to discard their own language. "Wachen sie die Slaven" ("Awaken the Slavs"), said Francis Joseph before the war against Italy in 1866 when he was anxious for the southern provinces; and although the Emperor used various means to put the Slavs to sleep again, it may be noted that in 1861 Cavour would learn that in the Diet there were two Slavs against twenty-eight Italians, in the Parliament no single Slav; whereas if he had lived another fifty years he would have seen the same country returning nineteen Slav deputies to the Diet against twenty-five Italians, and three to the Parliament at Vienna against three Italians....


As for Dalmatia, where also the Italian-speaking population was not fundamentally Italian by race or sentiments, we may turn to the renowned Nicolo Tommaseo, whose authority the Italians do not dispute. "We must not abolish the Italian language," he said—and this was in the year 1861—"for it would be a dream of fools to wish or hope to be able to abolish it immediately in public life without causing offence and confusion and injury even for those who speak Illyrian; this would be a tyranny the more abominable as it would be powerless ... because the Illyrian tongue, as is the case more or less with all the Slav languages, spoken by nations which up to the present have not entirely participated in the abstractions of science and in the refinements of European art, is not as yet equipped with all that reserve of terms and locutions which is demanded in a highly developed social life, although that language possess in itself all the elements." This capacity which he recognized in the Slav languages and which came subsequently to the surface in Russian and Czech literature, would, he said, in two generations cause the Slav to be employed as the official language of Dalmatia. He stipulated for two generations "because,[143] in the first place, it is necessary that this language should be learned regularly in the schools from the lowest to the highest class, without for that reason ever banishing Italian; and secondly, it is requisite that men should become skilful in the use of this language and should render it adequate for the needs of social life."


For a moment after her Italian misfortunes Austria assumed a kindly mien towards her Slavs. In the manifesto of July 15, 1859, which made public the treaty of peace, the Emperor promised "immediate modifications in the laws and in the administration." Bach, the German reactionary, was succeeded by Goluchowski, and in April 1861 Ivan Mazuranić became the Croat Chancellor at Vienna, with educational, legal and religious affairs included in the sphere of his office. The incorporation with Dalmatia was not granted then, but was promised. A letter was, however, sent to Mamula, the governor of Dalmatia, ordering him to create a majority hostile to the Emperor's letter of December 5, 1860, in which he had invited the two provinces to send their delegate to a conference at which the union would be discussed. The shrill protests of the German party were successful; for the next few years the Slavs were being pushed into their pit and then helped half-way out again. Schmerling, the German, would evolve an electoral system by which the Parliament must always have a German majority; Francis Deak, the Hungarian, would make excellent proposals that too often suffered shipwreck through no fault of his, he would manage to pass liberal legislation which remained in after years upon the statute book and was exhibited by Magyars to appreciative foreigners. The general tendency of those years after the Italian disaster was unfavourable to the Slav. In southern Hungary the Serbian duchy was dissolved, despite their protests, after an existence of eleven years. But as Francis Joseph was no longer able to bestow caresses on the recreant Italians he transferred his love to the Dalmatian autonomists, who now began to call themselves the[144] Italian party. It is probable that he smiled on these 2½ per cent. of the province, not only because of his family traditions, his leaning towards Italian art and the hope against hope that he would once more some day rule in Italy, where he had his numerous well-wishers among the clergy and the rural population—it is possible that he was gracious to the autonomist Dalmatian party because they were a brake upon the national sentiments. Until 1866 the whole administration was conducted in the language of the 2½ per cent. In that year the Ministers of Justice and of the Interior decided to ask officials who thenceforward entered the Dalmatian service to have some sort of knowledge of the Illyrian language. In 1869 these Ministers permitted the Dalmatian communities to correspond in their own language with the tribunals and the administrative authorities; while in 1887 the administrative authorities and the tribunals were ordered to reply in Serbo-Croat to the local bodies who used that language. The autonomist party may not appeal to us and apparently it did not appeal to Nicolo Tommaseo. From wherever he is he must be looking on with interest at a controversy between two Italian writers who both published books on Dalmatia in 1915 and who bear witness—Mr. Cippico to the truth that Tommaseo was an autonomist and Mr. Prezzolini to the truth that he was not. "The theory of Tommaseo," says Mr. Cippico, "desires an autonomous Dalmatia between the mountains and the sea." "Go to!" says Mr. Prezzolini. "Have the kindness to read what the man writes. Here is a passage: 'Whatever one may say about it, it will not be Croatia, a poor country, lacking in civilization, but the opulent Slav provinces subject to Turkey and morally less in subjection than Croatia, which, when they and Dalmatia are united, will make her wealthy and the mother of civilization and wealth. Destiny therefore lays it down that Dalmatia in the days to come shall be the friend and not the subject of Italy.' Tommaseo showed in 1848 what he thought of such a subjection. 'In 1848,' he writes, 'I could have raised the whole of Dalmatia with the help of an Italian colonel who with his men had offered to dislodge the German governor of Zadar, but I refused; I refused, because I foresaw.' And just as he was opposed to the union with[145] Italy, so likewise was he opposed to autonomy. You spoke of mountains and the sea. Permit me to direct your attention to some lines of his:

'Nè più tre il monte e il mar, povero lembo
Di terra e poche iznude isole sparte,
O Patria mia, sarai; ma la rinata
Serbia (guerniera mano e mite spirto)
E quanti campi, all' italo sorriso
Nati, impaluda l'ottoman letargo,
Teco una vita ed un voler faranno....'

This one would translate as follows: 'Thou shalt no longer be, O my country, a poor stretch of land between the mountains and the sea, with some bare scattered islands; but Serbia reborn, that is now sicklied o'er with Turkish lethargy, shall make one life and one desire with thee and with all these fields that sprung into being under an Italian smile.' If you really think that this proves that Tommaseo contemplated a harmonious coexistence in Dalmatia of the two countries, Serbia and Italy, then I beg you to read the passage once again." This Mr. Antonio Cippico, by the way, is a native of Dalmatia with most Italian sympathies; another Cippico from Dalmatia, a cousin of his, has for years been a well-known littérateur in Belgrade, and according to him the great majority of the Cippico family are of his way of thinking.


While Tommaseo foresaw this union, his contemporaries of the Omladina strove for another one. Prince Michael Obrenović had, in 1860, again succeeded his father, and as it was not known if he had undergone a change in exile, the young patriots of the Omladina did not look upon him as the saviour of the Serbian people. There was again a poet on the throne of Montenegro, a youth of whom they heard romantic things. Not only had Prince Nicholas borne arms against the Turk, but he had sung in moving verse the glory of the Serbian heritage, the triumphant union of the Serbs that was to be. Since 1860 he had guided Montenegro's destinies—his uncle, the first purely temporal ruler, Danilo, having been[146] assassinated in the Bocche di Cattaro after a reign of warfare against the Turk, and his own subjects, who resented the deposition of the tribal chiefs, the imposition of terrific taxes, based on the number of cattle they possessed, and occasional seduction of their wives. The Omladina knew that Michael had been visiting the West, that he had frequented the masters of science and politics in London, Paris and Berlin; but he would probably forget their precepts and in any case he was much duller than the splendid youth whom they affectionately called Nikita.... Some historians have wondered why this young man did not alienate the affection of his people by the slaughter of the Kadić clan, whereof a member had assassinated Prince Danilo. But it was the Senate which punished the murderer by exiling him, with seven families of his kindred, to Turkey. Danilo had been aware of his intention, while the man was waiting—in obedience to Austria's orders—at Kotor. And the Prince, acting on a local custom, sent word that if Kadić did not return to Montenegro he would bestow Mrs. Kadić on some one else. After two weeks she became the wife of a neighbour. The story that Kadić was avenging her seduction is an Austrian invention, for Danilo seems never to have met her.

One day in 1862 the Turks, who still were in the Belgrade fortress, started, for some foolish reason, to bombard the town. Prince Michael in the subsequent negotiations showed that he had qualities one could not but respect. Still he was unsuccessful (until 1867) in obtaining the removal of the Turkish garrisons—Great Britain, fearing Russian influence, and Austria, hostile to the total independence of the Serbs, supported Turkey. And Michael governed with so firm a hand that there were many who believed that the material improvement he was introducing, schools of agriculture, schools of forestry and what not, could be just as well inaugurated by the far more sympathetic Prince Nikita. And when in 1866 Michael and Nikita made a grand convention for the union of the Serbs in Serbia and in Montenegro, and Nikita undertook to step aside, if necessary, so that all the independent Serbs might be united under Michael's sceptre, then indeed the Omladina talked of him with rapture. And Nikita made allusions to this "grand[147] refusal" all his life and with a face of honest pride. He never mentioned anything about clause 3, which was not published. By that clause Nikita was to be Prince Michael's heir, in case he had no son. There was not much likelihood that he would have one, for the Hungarian wife from whom he was divorced[46] had given him no children, and the girl with whom he was overpoweringly in love was a cousin, whom the Church, because of their relationship, prevented him from marrying. It was with this girl that the Prince was always said to have been walking in the park near Belgrade on June 10, 1868, when he was mysteriously murdered.[47] After Michael's death the Skupština, not acting in accordance with the secret clause, placed on the throne a grandson (?) of a brother of Prince Miloš, who was a minor and the nearest in the order of succession. By this time the Omladina had perceived that in the character of their romantic prince lay certain lamentable traits. The friendship, which he had inherited, with Russia he continued, and the Russian Court rewarded him in no half-hearted fashion. When the Italians proposed in 1866 that he and they should share the Bocche di Cattaro, he said the moment was not opportune; the Austrians for this [148]bestowed on him a pension which they paid until the outbreak of the World War. One could understand, of course, that Nikita did not wish to rouse the enmity of Austria; it must have hurt him to refrain from going to the Bocche, where the population was most Slav and had endured a great deal for the cause, but other men were hurt by his acceptance of the pension.


Michael in those few years had displayed such qualities that he might have united with his country Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Macedonia. His statesmanship, which made such a result seem very possible, may have induced some jealous partisans of the rival Karageorgević dynasty to murder him; the same reasons would have been sufficient for Austria. And Austria had given her formal consent to a diplomatic plan for the solution of the Bosnian question, whereby Michael was to administer the two distracted provinces as the Sultan's mandatory. The decapitation of the begs by Omar Pasha had by no means marked the dawn of a new era for the peasant. From 1856 till 1859 the country was in a condition of such anarchy, with pashas tyrannizing here and there, with villages obliged to take as their protector some marauding ruffian who had settled in their midst, with young men taking to the hills, that finally a conference was summoned, at Austria's instigation, in Constantinople, and of this the upshot was that the abuses practised hitherto by the great landlords were all sanctioned if they would inaugurate no new ones. The Franciscan monks, beloved by the people, had kept alive the people's hope that something would be done for them; they could not stop the people from attempting to obtain it by ill-organized revolts. From time to time there would be a concerted movement; thus Luka Vukalović in 1862 fired his own Herzegovina and also the Bocche di Cattaro, weapons and volunteers came from Montenegro, and Vukalović was recognized by Turkey as the military and civil head of an autonomous Herzegovina. But he was subsequently forced to fly to Serbia, while[149] the Turks had such success against the Montenegrins that the Great Powers had to intervene. And that was one of the most fruitful of the insurrections. When the news was spread that Michael would arrive there were great popular rejoicings. Christians and Muhammedans were busy, till the time of his assassination, preparing for his solemn entry.


Many of the Bulgars were as eager to associate themselves with Michael. In 1862, when Belgrade was bombarded by the Turks, Rakovski got together a Bulgarian legion which would fight in Serbia against the common foe; in 1867 the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee at Bucharest, where these leaders of the people had sought sanctuary, proposed the union of Bulgaria and Serbia under Michael. "Between the Serbs and the Bulgars," says the first article, "there shall be established a fraternal union calling itself the Yugoslav Kingdom." If this idea had been put forward by any one but Rakovski one might consider it a mere fantastic notion, but the Bulgars who elected this extraordinary man to be their chief were, as is the habit of the Bulgars, nothing if not practical.


Rakovski was born at the picturesque little town of Kotel in the eastern Balkans, and was educated at Constantinople, but his ebullient temperament did not allow him to pursue his studies to the end. He turned up at Braila in 1841 and, being hardly twenty years of age, was dreaming of a revolution of the Orient. With a group of insurgents he tried to cross the Danube and to rouse the Bulgars. A Roumanian patrol opens fire, on each side there are several killed and wounded. He is captured and condemned to death, but having a Greek passport he is rescued by the Greek Consul and put on board a boat which lands him at Marseilles. For eighteen months he lives in France—it is not known where—and is imbued with democratic doctrine. Passing through Constantinople[150] in 1843 he accepts a post as schoolmaster at Trnovo, but is immediately at loggerheads with the Greek bishop and departs. Returning to his birthplace he is irritated by the pride and harshness of the upper class, and he attempts to make the people rise against them. They charge him with being a disturber of the peace. "He has travelled through Europe," says their complaint to the Government, "and now in this town he bestrides a horse, brandishes his sword and overwhelms the Turks with insults, both their race and their religion." In consequence Rakovski and his father are arrested and dispatched to Constantinople, where they both of them remain in prison until 1847. After being liberated, he forms a secret society which is to take advantage of the approaching Russo-Turkish conflict. Its members are to have themselves enrolled among the Turks, with the double object of protecting the Bulgarian population from excesses on the part of the soldiery and also, at the propitious moment, to stir them up and so assist the Russians. He himself is appointed to the Turkish staff at Shumen, as first dragoman. His plot being discovered, he is arrested and sent to Constantinople; on the way he escapes, but he proceeds to Constantinople and organizes there a company of heiduks. Turkey's entrance into the European concert fills him with pessimism. The Bulgars at Constantinople believe that the civilizing influence of the West will not be in vain. He foresees a more evil despotism masked by the pseudo-liberal manœuvres of the Powers, and henceforward he joins those Bulgars who agitate from Roumania or from Serbia. He goes to the Banat, where he is not only made most welcome but is enabled to publish The Bulgarian News, which is political, and a literary supplement, The Swan of the Danube. The Turks are uneasy; they ask the Austrians to suppress these papers. The Austrians comply and expel the editor. He is persecuted by the Porte in Moldavia and flies to Russia, where he devotes himself seriously to a long poem in honour of the heiduks. The first part of this very long work, the Gorski Patnik, had appeared at Novi Sad. It brought him considerable fame—he was compared with Virgil—but modern readers find this poem tedious. He likewise wrote a dissertation which[151] established, by comparative philology, that the Bulgars are the most direct descendants of the Aryans, that their language is the nearest to Sanskrit, and that the other European languages, including Greek and Latin, are derived from it. Rakovski next appears in Belgrade, where he leads a life of splendour; he had carriages and wonderful horses, he was arrayed in a princely kind of uniform and was surrounded by a kind of guard. The source of his revenues, which always seemed to fluctuate, was never fathomed; but they may at this period have accrued from his literary labours, which—although the present generation smile—produced among the Bulgars a vast, patriotic pride. At Belgrade the visionary historian and whimsical philologist becomes a most sagacious politician. He is the first Bulgarian publicist to talk of a free press, and he refuses, unlike many others, to seek help from Russia only. "We must help ourselves," he cries. "As we are Orthodox, Russia will desire to keep us under the authority of the Greek Church; as we are Slavs, she will try to make the Western Powers suspicious of us." When there was a wave of emigration to Russia he frantically tried to stop it. "For you it will be suicide," he exclaimed, "for your children assassination and for Bulgaria ruin!" He painted Russia in appalling colours, and the would-be emigrants repented. His personal affairs oppressed him for a time in 1862, when he left Belgrade to the imprecations of his creditors. The Serbian statesmen, while appreciating his exalted patriotism, would have sooner had amongst them a more typical and stable Bulgar. Yet they declined the Porte's request for extradition. At the beginning of 1863 Rakovski is in Athens, magnificent once more and now accompanied by an aide-de-camp, a Montenegrin captain, whom he introduces as related to Nikita. He is forming an alliance of the Balkan States, which, according to his calculations, will exterminate the Turk in Europe. He promises himself to furnish 20,000 volunteers—to start with. In the previous year when he had planned to liberate Bulgaria with 12,000 volunteers, of whom a hundred were to be cavalry and another hundred gunners, he could gather only 500. And now again he is disillusioned and leaves Athens.[152]

It was during his stay there that he met the well-known Balkan travellers, Miss Irby and Miss Muir Mackenzie. They had been up and down the Peninsula in 1862 and 1863, making very exhaustive inquiries that were the basis of their book.[48] In 1917 Professor Ivan Shishmanoff discovered two letters of Miss Muir Mackenzie's in Sofia and published them in Sbornik. The first is dated May 12, and is in German. "Since we have been here we have made the acquaintance of Mr. Rakovski," she writes. "He has been so kind as to teach me Serbian, during Miss Irby's illness. We like him very much, and I know of no one among the Slavs with whose opinion we so entirely agree; because he does not think as a Serbian or yet a Montenegrin or a Croat or a Bulgar, but as a Slav.... I can't tell you how much I fear that their internal divisions will make impossible the realization of a Yugoslav country. One can't hope for much from the Greeks; they have exorbitant ambitions and neither private nor public integrity. Those are bad faults to find in an ally. And they speak openly of a Byzantine Empire! And reckon that all the Southern Slavs, Serbs as well as Bulgars, belong to them.... I hope that England will some day assure herself that there are other Christians in the East besides the Greeks."


Miss Muir Mackenzie's other letter, of June 23, is addressed to Rakovski from Bolsover Castle, Chesterfield. It is written in French. "We attach great importance," she says, "to the name Yugoslav. By means of crying that word in the ears of the Greeks one will succeed in making them understand that the Bulgars are Slavs. By means of crying it in the ears of the European diplomats one will succeed by making them comprehend that one cannot ignore a people of ten or twelve million souls. By means of crying 'We are Yugoslavs,' the Yugoslavs themselves will succeed in forgetting their little distinctions of environment and race, and in conducting themselves[153] as a nation worthy of the name. Let us therefore cry that word—we will make people speak of it sooner or later."

In June 1863 Rakovski was at Cetinje, but as he was requesting subsidies he did not find a very sympathetic audience in Nikita. Thence he passed to Bucharest, where he issued—for ten numbers—a Bulgaro-Roumanian newspaper; the Bulgars in Bucharest had grown too prosperous to be interested either in his journalistic or his military schemes, and he found the Bulgarian colonies in Russia equally obtuse. He was attacked by consumption while he was at work upon the Provisional Law for the National Bands in the Forests—a sort of written constitution for the heiduks, and in the intervals of his last sufferings he wrote a history of the heiduks from the days of the Turkish conquest. He died on October 20, 1867.

The statesmen who then governed the Great Powers may have deprecated Rakovski as much as he deprecated them. It must have been exasperating for those solid persons subsequently to acknowledge—if they did so—that this unbalanced agitator weighed them very well. But the Balkan countries were too weak; they had to suffer being thrown aside, pushed here and there, and trampled on; for when the Great Powers came down to the Balkans they could really not pay much attention to the little peoples of the country and at the same time keep their eyes upon each other. Afterwards the Balkan countries found that it was better for them when the Great Powers fought each other there than when they came to friendly understandings. It was profitable and diverting for Albania when the Austrians and the Italians glowered at each other in that silent land: it was terrible in 1878 for Bosnia and Herzegovina when the Great Powers were on such good terms with one another that they allowed one of themselves to make off with those two waifs of whom he was not even the wicked uncle.

Russia had been taking a keen interest in the Balkans after Austria's disaster in 1859 at Sadowa. It was then that Prince Gortchakoff and his colleagues in the Ministry were inspired by the doctrines of Katkoff, who in his Moscow Gazette exercised much authority over public[154] opinion and even over the Tzar. Panslavism, according to Debidour,[49] which a short time ago had been shivering in the background, lifted its head proudly and spoke of the new era which holy Russia was about to inaugurate, of the sacred mission that was incumbent on the Tzar. And the sanctity was greater in that it was not to be defined by merely mediæval but by modern language; the Tzar must not alone protect all those who practised his religion, he must be a patron saint who patronizes.


To this end committees, in Moscow and in Petrograd, deliberated; newspapers and pamphlets spread their views; agile agents propagated them throughout the Balkans, calling on the Bulgars and the Bosniaks to rise, promising aggrandizements to Serbia and Montenegro, spurring on the fiery Cretans to make their revolt of 1866. All promised well. There was to be a Balkan federation formed at the expense of Austria and the Porte: Serbia would receive the Voivodina and Bosnia, Montenegro would acquire Herzegovina, the Croats would at least annex Dalmatia, and the Slovenes and the Bulgars would come naturally into this united Yugoslavia, under Michael's sceptre. He was at the time not only in most cordial relations with the Bulgars, but in 1867 he began pourparlers to ally himself with Greece, and he made overtures to the new sovereign of Roumania, Charles of Hohenzollern. And after this plan also had been nullified by Michael's death, the Russians still continued with their task, but now they had to deal with a convalescent Austria. It came to pass that the Bulgars found themselves in Russia's sphere, the Serbs in that of Austria. The little countries were thus violently pulled apart, and naturally each of them began to stretch their hands out to the neighbouring Slavs who were in servitude, but yet they managed to keep hand in hand with one another. The young men, such as Karaveloff and Tzankoff, whom Prince Michael sent to Western Europe to be educated, the young Bulgarian priests who had studied in that branch of the Belgrade seminary which Prince Michael[155] opened for them, and all the Serbs and Bulgars who considered their two countries knew that, for political and economic reasons, they must not be kept apart. But there was always a Great Power to frustrate these designs. Yet even after they had been flung at each other in the fratricidal days of 1885, even after their attempt in 1905 to found a Customs union had been vetoed, even after some of their so-called intelligentsia had done what injury they could by harping on the limitations from which they naturally, like the older peoples, are not exempt—nevertheless, as it was seen in 1912, when the demonstrations of delight in Belgrade and in Sofia were touching, they are only too glad to fulfil their destiny. Since 1912 that misguided intelligentsia has been given a large store of fresh ammunition. They will go on firing and firing, while the people, including the real intelligentsia, will be better engaged.


The name of Tzankoff brings to mind a strange ecclesiastical movement. The reader may remember how the little Macedonian town of Kukuš carried from its church the books in Greek and how it welcomed the Bulgarian monk who sang the Mass in Slav. The bishops and the clergy of the Greek Church had not made themselves beloved in Macedonia, where the population was indisputably much more Slav. Greek villages were very scarce to the north of Lake Castoria; but after the suppression of the two Slav Patriarchates in the eighteenth century the only Christians who lead a dignified existence were the Greek clergy. Among the Slav upper class there was a good deal of Hellenization; to be a Greek was of much social value. But the people generally stayed intact, because the schools so thoughtfully provided by the Greeks were solely for the boys. The language spoken in the home would therefore still be Slav. And it is not likely that the people would have cherished their Greek clergy, even if they had been archangels, when once the national awakening had begun. But what we hear about this clergy is too seldom of a pleasing character. The children of the Macedonian[156] peasants might go into ecstasies on seeing one of these episcopal processions, with the bishop's glorious white horse and harness such as they had never dreamed of, with his footmen round about him and with all those other priests, the old ones and the young ones and the monks, and then the bishop's doctor and some other men in spectacles, and then the bishop's cook and a few more monks. But the Macedonian villagers who had to entertain all this rapacious brood and pay terrific fees for everything—250 piastres for a liturgy, 500 for a whole service, 500 for marriages among relatives up to the seventh degree, large contributions under the name of charity, and so forth—these had only rancour for the Church. Perhaps the saintliest among the Greeks declined to go to Macedonia. One hears of them so little and of people like Meletios so much. This savage person was appointed in 1859 to be Bishop of Ochrida, although the reputation he had left there—having previously been the coadjutor—was atrocious. Protests and entreaties were sent to Constantinople, but from 1860 until 1869 he stayed at Ochrida and carried on an implacable duel with his flock. He was frequently received with hisses, sometimes he was struck by stones, sometimes he was flung out of a church. But he was not the man to be intimidated—a large man, with broad shoulders, an arrogant expression and a bristling beard; they say he had the appearance of a janissary in clerical garb. He took into his service an Albanian bandit, through whom he terrorized the diocese. At one time he had the young wife of a man who was away in Roumania brought into his harem. The husband returned, asked for his wife and succeeded in obtaining her, but after two months he was assassinated, and the widow thought she might as well allow the bishop to console her. The outcry was enormous; no one doubted that it was Meletios who had given orders for the crime. A deputation of thirty went to lay this case and numerous other transgressions before the Patriarch at Constantinople. He would only receive five delegates, who read their document in a plenary sitting of the Holy Synod. After they had recited the afore-mentioned episode, one of the bishops who was present lost patience and, "Is it really worth our while to listen to such tales?" he asked.[157] "If Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman, why should not a simple bishop hold converse with a woman also?" "At last the moment has come!" said the delegates. They departed, and at the door they shook the dust from their feet. The Patriarch himself ran after them. "Come back, my children!" he cried. But they were deaf to his voice.

About forty years after the reign of Meletios there was still a Greek bishop at Ochrida, but—this was in 1912, after the first Balkan War—the town had also a Bulgarian and also a Serbian bishop. The Greek ecclesiastic did not profess to administer a very large flock—it consisted of about twelve families—but he explained that his presence was made necessary by the ancient Greek culture. He was there to watch over it. The local church of St. Clement and the monasteries of SS. Zaim and Naoum are dedicated to disciples of Cyril and Methodus, the two brothers who introduced Christianity to these parts. They may well have recruited their disciples among the Slavs, whose language they had learned before they set out. But whether the old stones which the Greek bishop was guarding in 1912 are Greek or Slav, he was better employed than most of his predecessors.


One of the first Macedonian villages to take an independent attitude had been Kukuš. When it heard that some French priests were operating at Salonica, and that if it were converted to Catholicism it would be given a national clergy and the protection of France, the temptation was so great that it succumbed. One of the Bulgarian democrats at Constantinople, Dragan Tzankoff, identified himself with this idea, not through religious motives but in order that the Porte should no longer fear that the independence of the Catholic Bulgarian nation would be a gain for Russia. This may sound rather far-fetched; he may have also used Catholicism merely as a threat by which to induce the Russians to assist in procuring the Exarchate. Tzankoff and various other people went to Rome, where Pius ix. blessed their[158] enterprise and consecrated one of them, the archimandrite Sokolski, as Bishop of the Bulgarian Uniate Church. Sokolski was a worthy, patriotic man, but not endowed with mental attributes such as this post demanded; they had, however, been unable to find anybody better qualified. He soon decamped to Russia, for he was down-hearted when the Church did not attract a greater number of disciples. His defection was a grave blow to the cause, chiefly on account of the laughter it excited. Bulgarian Catholicism had, however, a fair number of adherents at Constantinople and at Kukuš.... There was at the same time another movement, more discreetly undertaken, by American missionaries to convert the Bulgars to the Protestant religion. These Americans, drawn by the magic name of Greece, had come to Europe to assist that people in their fight for freedom. They had built them schools, had printed educational books in Greek, and had contributed in every way towards the people's moral progress; and no sooner was the country liberated than they were expelled. The Bulgars did not treat them in so cavalier a fashion, but neither did they adopt Protestantism as the State religion. Sir Henry Bulwer, the British Ambassador, recommended them rather to persevere with Catholicism; it seemed to him that this religion, with its authoritative organization, would be more adapted to removing the Bulgars from the influence of Russia. The Russian Ambassador, the disdainful Prince Lobanoff-Rostovski, was very much bored by all this trouble that the Bulgars were giving; the Greeks were furious. One day a Catholic Bulgar died in the French hospital at Pera, and a body of Greeks, accompanied by clergy, wished to have the corpse handed over to them for burial according to the Orthodox Greek rite. When they were refused admission they attempted to enter by force, raising loud cries and threatening to sack the whole place. In the end they were dispersed by a detachment of French sailors....


These religious disputes between Greek and Bulgar were agreeable to the Porte, which encouraged the Bulgars[159] to persevere with the Catholic plan. Russia continued to be very embarrassed, not wishing to make a permanent enemy either of the Greek Church or of the Bulgarian people. Finally the Bulgarian efforts to secure a national Church met with reward. The Turkish authorities—Fuad Pasha, the Grand Vizier, being an enlightened man—did not persist in the impracticable plan that this Church should be in communion with Rome. One of the consequences of the establishment of their autocephalous Church was that many of the Bulgarian Catholics at Constantinople and Kukuš abandoned that religion. The Vatican complained—and not unreasonably—that it had been fooled. The Russians are generally given much credit for this Bulgarian success, but although they participated in the negotiations—and their Ambassador, the resourceful Count Ignatieff,[50] would make it seem that they were gratified with the result—their situation was so delicate that they preferred to play for safety. When the news was brought to Serbia it gave rise to great rejoicings, for the Exarchate was the charter of liberty for the Macedonian Slavs. No one dreamed at this time that, on account of Macedonia, Serbs and Bulgars would be some day flying at each other's throat.


The Southern Slavs had recently been shown that if they waited in the hope that others would assist them to[160] improve their fortunes they would have to have a monumental patience. When Austria, after her defeat at the hand of the Prussians, was flung out of the German federation, she availed herself of the services of a German, Count Frederick Beust, to put her house in order. His negotiations with Hungary produced the compromise, the Ausgleich, of 1867. This Constitution, which made them independent of each other as regards internal matters, bade their Slavs prepare themselves to lose all shreds of independence. The Serbs of the Banat and Bačka, as well as the Roumanians of Transylvania and the Slovaks, were delivered to the Magyars without any guarantee that their language or their nationality would be respected. "Look!" said the Magyars in after years, when travellers came to see what they had done, "we have a language law, evolved by Deak, which lays down that everybody in the law courts has the right to use his mother-tongue." The traveller had been wondering what unusual people lived in Hungary, for he had seen a peasant choose precisely that time when a train was due to come and quarrel about something with the booking clerk. How was the traveller to learn that the non-Magyar peasant wished to buy a ticket for his native village, whose name had just been Magyarized, and that the clerk refused to sell a ticket except the peasant used a name he did not know? And when the peasant had walked home he might see in the village register that he who had been Saba was now Shebek and that his friend Ziva, who could speak no word of Magyar, was now Vitaljos; and that the children of poor Vitaljos, in order that they should not suffer from their father's handicap, were not confining their education to ordinary subjects, but were learning the Magyar language for seventeen hours every week. Well, how was your traveller to know that if a person used his own tongue in the law courts, which was very probably the tongue of everyone who lived there save a handful of officials, one of these officials who was accidentally in court would say he was acquainted with that person's language? The judge would take his word for it and he would start interpreting. When the Hungarians came to deal with the Croats they were careful to give them, for the world's[161] eye, a great deal of autonomy. Strossmayer, assisted by the historian Rački, had in April 1866 led a deputation to Buda-Pest when it was clear that extreme divergencies existed between the Croats and the Magyars. Among other Croatian demands was one that Rieka should no longer be the scene of Magyar intrigues. As yet the town's importance was not great: in 1869 she had only 17,884 inhabitants and the total of her exports and imports did not exceed 150,000 tons. But everybody knew that by the building of a direct line to Croatia and to the valleys of the Save, the Drave and the Danube there would come an era of prosperity. The Magyars had allied themselves with the Autonomist party, showing them what great advantages the town would reap if it were joined to Hungary. Would not Hungary, for instance, be able to manipulate the railway freights? There had been constant bickerings between the Croats and the Autonomist party, so that Strossmayer's deputation asked that the Magyars should refrain from giving to the latter their financial and moral support. But the Magyars had no such intention. "One should try to convince everyone," said Rački, "that in national politics the Magyars and ourselves stand at the Antipodes. We see in the Slav and Yugoslav solidarity the most powerful guarantee for our national future, whereas the Magyars see in it the tomb of their nationality. We consider the liberation of the East as a condition of a happier future, while the Magyars regard it as the beginning of their absolute ruin or at least as the end of their aspirations for the sole dominion. The idea of a Yugoslav State, arising in Croatia or in Bosnia or Serbia, would always find in Hungary a most determined foe." It was thus improbable that any satisfactory arrangement would be made, particularly as the Austrians, oblivious to all that Jellačić had done for them, were quite prepared to give their erstwhile enemies, the Magyars, a free hand. And what the Magyars did was to confer upon Croatia this autonomy for educational and legal and religious matters, while they reserved financial, railway, fiscal and commercial questions, military legislation and the laws relating to the roads and rivers in which both were interested—all these subjects they reserved for the[162] Parliament at Buda-Pest, in which, of course, the Croats formed an impotent minority. Francis Joseph on May 1, 1867, sent a message to Zagreb in which he stated that "the pourparlers with the Kingdom of Hungary, which to him was always dear and faithful, had led to the desired results." He trusted that the Croats would be represented at his coronation at Buda-Pest. Strossmayer was ordered to bring this about; he went instead to the Paris Exhibition. He and the National party prepared themselves for a severe struggle. But now Baron Levin Rauch, of infamous memory, was nominated as Ban. He at once altered the electoral laws, so that the National party came back with only fourteen deputies. If any one in Western Europe thought about the Croats it was with the traditional aversion for the way in which they had behaved to the most noble Kossuth. This was years before the time when Dr. Seton-Watson, as it may interest him to hear, defeated the Magyarophil candidate at an election in the town of Ogulin. The bright idea occurred to somebody to whisper it abroad that Dr. Seton-Watson would arrive that day in order to make notes of the election for the British Press. With Rauch's obedient majority a compromise, the Nagodba, was arranged with Hungary. The terms of this, subordinating Croatia economically and financially to Buda-Pest, are what one would expect; the chief novelty concerns Rieka, as to which port no agreement had been reached.


On the Croat text of the Nagodba, which had received the Emperor's sanction on November 8, a piece of paper, the famous "Krpitsa," was glued; and on this paper were the words Rieka knew of old—Corpus separatum sacræ coronæ Hungaricæ. They had been put forward by the Hungarian delegates and approved by the Emperor on November 17. This rather melodramatic affair would have been thought worthy of at any rate a few lines by most of us if we had written a whole book, nay two books, about Rieka. But our friend Mr. Edoardo Susmel glides, as gracefully as possible, over it. In his Fiume Italiana he is as peu communicatif as a carp. His other[163] book,[51] written in French, simply and beautifully says of this law of 1868 that it is "a precious heritage transmitted from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in which period there was condensed"—or shall we say made palpable?—"the spirit which is jealous of the municipal liberties." "Down to this day," says he, "Rieka is in complete possession of her charter. Rieka has to-day still got her great charter. This constitutional charter ..." and so on and so on. But these modern coryphées of Rieka and Dalmatia are so forgetful.


Mr. Susmel begins by saying that the origins of the Italianity of Rieka lose themselves in the story of Rome. He knows—none better—that the Romans came to these parts. They disappeared—but of course one can't put in every detail. Anyhow, they left an arch, a lot of coins, some vases, etc.; and a few of these are depicted in Mr. Susmel's book. What a relief it must have been to innumerable people as they turned his pages and discovered that he had forgotten to include the illustrations of our Roman Wall, of the Pont du Gard and of the glorious aqueduct that traverses Segovia! From the time of the "Krpitsa" onwards a regular colonization began. Italians were urged to come from their own country—but if Mr. Hilaire Belloc, who studied the question on the spot, is accurate in his diagnosis that Fiume is Italian "with that intensity of feeling bred by alien rule and the sudden victorious liberation therefrom" (Land and Water, May 29, 1919), it certainly does seem a little strange that the Italians should think in this way of the Magyars who invited them and were so good to them. They were told, no doubt, by the Magyars that the Croats would not hurt them, that the city council would always be Italian, that if the saucy Croats asked for schools—as indeed their numbers entitled them to do—well, they would receive no reply. ("Show me a single Croat school!" cried the Italian mayor triumphantly to me in 1919.) The Magyars spent vast sums on the harbour, making the other little harbours of Croatia[164] obsolete, and they were not going to lose their grip of the town for want of proper legislation. They were surprised that more "regnicoli" (Italians from Italy) did not respond; but the renegades made up for them. "Passionate and justified," said Mr. Hilaire Belloc in 1919,[52] is Italian feeling with respect to Fiume. But this writer, who says he travelled to the Adriatic with a view to ascertaining the real facts, did not altogether waste his time, since one of his two adjectives is quite correct. With regard to the renegades no questions were ever asked, if only one helped to keep Rieka from the Croats, if, for example, on a voting paper for the Croatian Diet one put the word "nessuno" (no one). Mr. Susmel, I see, says that the Diet's continued invitation to the town that it should send its deputies to Zagreb was a display of "incredible obstinacy."


The Ausgleich was of ill-omen to the Slav subjects of Hungary. It was not much more auspicious for the Slovenes, Istrians and Dalmatians. The Slavs seem to have been the Habsburgs' nightmare. Why the million and a quarter of Slovenes—people who do not approach the Basques, for instance, in pugnacity—should be the butt of everlasting coercion and repression may seem inexplicable. When the German-Austrians of Triest, even after the Italians in Italy had begun to claim the town, allied themselves with the Triest Italians "to fight," as they declared, "the common enemy," it can surely not have been these quiet Slovenes who had won for themselves by great industry a place in the town which is situated in their province. The "common enemy" to whom the German-Austrians referred must have been Russia. And so the Southern Slavs of the Balkans and of the Adriatic owed part of the bad treatment they received not to their own vices but to the organizing virtues which their larger brother was supposed to have.


[36] Memorie per la storia degli arvenimenti che seguirono in Dalmazia la caduta della Republica veneta, by G. Cattalinich, 1841.

[37] This is perpetuated by the initial letters of the saying "Samo sloga Srbina spasava" ("Only in the union of Serbs is salvation"), which are placed round the cross in Serbia's coat of arms.

[38] Cf. La Dalmatie de 1797-1815, by the Abbé Paul Pisani. Paris, 1893.

[39] His fame as a teacher was such that several towns entreated him to settle in their midst. In 1845 the inhabitants of Stara Zagora sent him this curious letter: "When Philip, King of Macedonia, invited Aristotle to be the tutor of his son, he wrote to him: 'I am happy, in the first place, because God has given me a son, and, secondly, because this son was born in your time....' And we also, we thank God, firstly, because it has been granted to us to found a school, and, secondly, because we know that under your direction it will be a real school. That is why we supplicate and pray that you will come to us and be our teacher."

[40] Smail Aga, Vice-Governor of Herzegovina, had earned for himself the greatest detestation of the Montenegrins, whom he harried, and of his own unhappy subjects. In August 1840 he was attacked by a small band of heroes, men of Montenegro and of Herzegovina. He and a large number of his men were killed. A translation of this celebrated poem was made by Mr. J. W. Wiles at Salonika, and printed there, under difficult circumstances, entirely by Serbian refugees.

[41] Cf. Fiume Italiana. Rome, 1919.

[42] According to the census of 1857 the figures were: Serbs, 452,500; Roumanians, 414,900; Germans, 394,100; Magyars, 256,100; Jews, 12,500; Gipsies, 600.

[43] Their German origin had become so completely obliterated that they no longer spoke anything but Croat. It is curious in this connection to note that Kossuth, the champion of Magyarism, was of Slav blood; that Rieger, the Czech leader, was of German blood; and that Conscience, chief of the Flemish movement, had a French father.

[44] Cf. Seton-Watson's The Southern Slav Question. London, 1911.

[45] Cf. Letters of Count Cavour, edited by Gl. Chiala, vol. iv. pp. 139-140.

[46] This lady, the Princess Julia, subsequently married the Duke of Aremberg. She died in February 1919 in Vienna at the age of eighty-eight. In the early sixties she came on a mission to England to enlist sympathy for Serbia's final struggle for independence. Much to her annoyance she found that it was necessary to ask through the Turkish Embassy for an audience with Queen Victoria. However, the Ambassador was a very affable person, who completely mollified the Princess. It was to her that Palmerston made one of his famous puns. Her dress caught in a door and he stepped forward with the words: "Princesse, la Porte est sur votre chemin pour vous empêcher d'avancer."

[47] As a matter of fact he was walking with a girl called Catharine, also a relative, a lame girl more remarkable for wit and wisdom than for physical beauty. She and Michael are celebrated in one of Serbia's most famous songs. There has been a great deal of speculation as to his assassins, some maintaining that they were Austrian agents, others holding that it was the work of the rival Karageorgevič dynasty. A certain Radovanovič who settled down in Karlovci—he was there at any rate till 1895—was most probably an Austrian instrument in this affair; he in his turn making use of Austrian police for the actual deed. He was wont to say that he knew who were the murderers; but since he was looked upon as a mere tool, his fellow-Serbs of Karlovci did not molest him. Yet he never frequented a Serbian café. He was a travelled, pretty well-educated man; with the Austrian officials he was on very friendly terms, and the source of his money was never discovered.

[48] The Turks, the Greeks and the Slavons: Travels in the Slavonic Provinces of Turkey-in-Europe. London, 1867. The second edition of this book appeared with a preface by Gladstone.

[49] Cf. his Histoire diplomatique de l'Europe.

[50] The promulgation was a surprise to him; it was also a defeat, as he had aimed at a direct understanding between Greeks and Bulgars and not at a solution which left the Porte as arbitrator between these two Christian races. However, he would not acknowledge that he had been beaten. "He thought it more intelligent to recognize the fait accompli and not to let his dissatisfaction be visible," says Prince George Troubetzkoi, the distinguished diplomat who explored the archives of the Russian Embassy at Constantinople. In reply to his telegram announcing the promulgation of the firman, Gortchakoff, the Prime Minister, cabled that "an adjustment of this awkward question and one that would not break the links between the Bulgarian community and the Œcumenical Patriarchate would be a great alleviation, whereof the credit would be mostly yours." The Russians repudiated the Exarchate publicly and they are not now, as are the Serbs, in communion with the Bulgars. For example, when the Bulgarian bishops in Macedonia, after the troubles following the first Balkan War, went to Russia in order to state their case, they were taken to a monastery and not allowed to participate in the religious offices.

[51] Le droit italique de Fiume. Bologna, 1919.

[52] In Land and Water, June 5, 1919.



What are the Macedonian Slavs?—The rift caused by religion—Versatility of these Macedonian Slavs—How foreigners have stirred up trouble—Austrian, Russian and Turkish manœuvres—The deplorable Milan—Nikita the comedian—The great Strossmayer—Religious disputes between Serbs and Roumanians—The burden of the Obrenović—A happy advent—Austro-Hungarian wrath—Their Montenegrin friend—Austria gives hostages to history—The dreams of an old realist—Very high politics—The riddle of Sarajevo—The miserable Macedonians—Ferocities of education—The storm is past.

A wealthy gentleman of Belgrade, one George Weiffert, who brews admirable beer, is said some years ago to have sworn an oath that if his wished-for ice, that was strangely lacking, should appear by Saint Sava's Day (January 27, New Style) he would adopt this old archbishop as the patron saint of his family. Another Teuton, of Hebraic origin, whom I met at Zaječa, had placed himself and his house under the protection of the Archangel Michael, whose festival is on November 21. The Roumanians of eastern Serbia seem, all of them, to have assumed this custom which the Serbs call the "slava," and those inhabitants, say of Pirot, who did not consider themselves Serbs at the time of their annexation would gradually fall into line with their neighbours and select a saint, if only because the annual "slava" celebration is a day of tremendous hospitality, when the peasant is glad to squander his savings in the entertainment even of persons unknown to him. And those who are in the habit of attending "slavas" naturally feel that they must have a "slava" of their own. It may also have happened in Macedonia that a traveller has been told by the very adaptable peasants how Saint Nicholas or Saint Alimpija is their house saint, a commitment which the holy one has[166] but lately had thrust upon him. One would therefore do well to look for some other test, and not to follow those people who roundly assert that the man who honours the "slava," and no other man, is a veritable Serb.


If, for example, one wishes to decide whether a given Macedonian Slav is a Serb or a Bulgar—many thousands have been called and have, quite happily, called themselves both—we must use a more scientific method. Some investigators, such as Vateff, have made measurements that are not without value; others, such as Djerić and Shishmanoff, have published good monographs on the Serbian and Bulgarian name. We have had some learned dissertations on the language of Macedonia, as to whether the Slav dialects approach more nearly the Serbian or the Bulgarian literary language. But this question remains unanswered, owing to the imperfect manner in which the grammatical and syntaxical peculiarities of the Macedonian dialects have, as yet, been examined. Some people have argued that as the Bulgarian peculiarity of the postponed article is also found in Macedonia it follows that the province really is Bulgarian. But as the postponed article is found in a wide zone, which extends from the Albanian shores to those of the Black Sea, this argument loses in strength, for how can Roumania be called Bulgarian? Very possibly before the Slavs arrived that zone was inhabited by another people who left this characteristic behind them, though they left no documents. It is a logical hypothesis. And Barbulescu, the Professor of Slav Philology in the University of Jassy, said in 1912 that "the Serbs have just as many reasons for asserting that the Macedonian is a Serbian language as the Bulgars have to deny it." As it was in the Middle Ages, so it is now; the mediæval language used to oscillate between the two, and it is sometimes impossible to tell whether an old Macedonian Slav document is Bulgarian or Serbian.... When we come to the ethnologists we find they have only written books which deal with certain parts of Macedonia. They have confessed that, generally speaking, it is impossible to say whether a man[167] is a Serb, a Bulgar or a Serbo-Bulgar. These Macedonians were for centuries at such a distance from the other Slavs and were so thoroughly neglected that they lost their national consciousness, an attribute which many thousands of them, in the days of the vast, loose empires of Dušan and Simeon, never possessed. Sir Charles Eliot, in his excellent book Turkey in Europe (London, 1900), says that it is not easy to distinguish Serb and Bulgar beyond the boundaries of their respective countries. He divides the Macedonian Slavs into pure Slavs, Slavized Bulgars and pure Slavs influenced by Slavized Bulgars: "all three categories," he says, "have been subjected to a strong and often continuous Greek influence, to say nothing of the Turks and the inconspicuous Vlachs," so that in his opinion it is rash to make sharp divisions among a people who have thus acted and reacted on one another. A large proportion of the Macedonians[53] have no knowledge[168] of the race to which their ancestors belonged; and one is brought to the conclusion that it is much wiser not to use for Macedonia the two words, Serb and Bulgar, but to say that these Slavs became either Exarchists (in which case they were commonly called Bulgars) or Patriarchists (who were called Serbs). Basil Kanchov, a Macedonian, who is the most accurate in giving the numbers of the Slav population of the old provinces of Turkey, divides them not into races but religions. It is, of course, a mistake to think that on the institution of the Exarchate it merely received the allegiance of those Macedonians whose origin was more or less Bulgarian. Thousands of Slavs who were, or believed themselves to be, of Serbian blood passed over to the schism with the sole object of obtaining for their Church a Slav liturgy. There was little reason for them to hesitate, since at that time the names of Serb and Bulgar implied no national differentiation, but were used to designate the brothers of two different provinces. We find then that the Macedonian Slavs, vaguely Serbs and vaguely Bulgars, passed pretty indiscriminately, and of course without the least apprehension of the future, into the Exarchist Church, or else remained under the Greek Patriarch. Exarchists and Patriarchists were found in the same family: thus at Tetovo the priest Missa Martinoff was an Exarchist and president of the Bulgarian community, while his brother Momir Martinović was a Patriarchist, and president of the Serbian community in the same town. Stavro, a well-known watchmaker at Skoplje, was a Patriarchist, whereas a brother of his, also at Skoplje, was an Exarchist priest. Ivko, a farmer at the village of Poboujie and his eight nearest relatives were Exarchists, his other relatives and all the rest of the village were Patriarchists. Many similar examples could be given.


One may observe by the sequence of events in one of the Macedonian towns, what was the dire effect of this dividing of the Slavs into two religious bodies. Ghevgeli, a town which before the War had about 6000 inhabitants,[169] will provide a fair illustration. In the middle of the nineteenth century the church service was in Greek and there was no school, but the Slavs were indifferent—and learning was regarded as a rather praiseworthy accomplishment for the priest. Now and then some one would travel to where the Serbian or the Bulgarian language could be heard in church and on his return to Ghevgeli be discontented with the Greek. This feeling was fanned by certain agitators from outside; and ultimately a Slav service was introduced, being celebrated in the same church as the Greek service and by the same priest. As he was unable to read a Slav language, the words were written for him with Greek letters. One should mention, by the way, that no Greeks were to be found at Ghevgeli—only Slavs with a few Turks and five or six Jews. A Slav school was also opened about 1860, with a teacher whose salary was paid by the parents; he used Slav church books and taught arithmetic and folk-songs. The Greek bishop started a school, but with no great success, and although it went on until 1913 it was patronized by fewer and fewer children.

The Slav service in the church became after a time Exarchist; as a sequel to which, to the dissatisfaction of many of the people, it was called "Bulgarian." The objectors had been to Serbia and sympathized with that country, and at Ghevgeli they were supported by about half the population. But the Bulgars were then more favourably viewed by the Turkish authorities.... A Bulgarian school was likewise opened a few years before the Serbian, which began in 1882. By this time the Slavs, largely owing to external pressure, were not content to have two separate schools; they were the keenest rivals, and the proprietor of the Serbian school, Risto Naumović, was killed for no other reason in 1883. His successor, one Bečirović, who is still alive, was threatened that he would be shot within twenty-four hours, but his valiant young son—who was then a pupil at the school—found the komitadji chieftain who had uttered this threat and slew him. So both the schools continued, together with a Turkish, a Greek, a Roumanian and a Catholic school. The Catholic friars were supported by Austria and France; the Roumanian establishment, which was visited by not[170] more than twenty children from the neighbourhood, was maintained by Roumania—the teacher being a native of Bucharest. In fact, there was a good deal of propaganda which between the Serbs and the Bulgars became violent.

What can be said for the Exarchists?... Some years ago the Albanians in the region of Monastir were asking to be inscribed on the books of the American Church, for they thought in that way to obtain the benefits of American citizenship. They made no pretence of having been impressed by other doctrines. A Church was in their eyes a sort of naturalization bureau. And when the Exarchists were rejoicing in their new-found strength and perceiving that this Church of theirs might be a corner-stone of a Great Bulgaria, they were so completely carried away that they bestowed an all-too-scant attention on the methods which they brought to bear. These methods of the enthusiastic Exarchists were altogether deplorable and succeeded in alienating not only the Patriarchist Slavs whom they freely murdered, but even in many cases the very Exarchists, who came to dislike the komitadji bands, whom they were required to shelter and to feed and to assist with a subscription to their funds. "Still more," says a Bulgarian proverb—"still more than if you have a boat on the sea or a Roumanian wife, are you certain to sleep ill if you have a property in Macedonia." As year after year went by and the komitadji men appeared to be doing very little beyond terrorizing the country, those who supported them began to frown. No guerilla leader presented a balance-sheet, and it was generally known that the famous Boris Sarafoff allowed himself, each year, a few months in Paris. This, he said, was due to him after his arduous time in the Macedonian mountains. More and more displeased were the Exarchist peasants—the Macedonian Slav is a very thrifty soul—and in the Great War one had the spectacle of men who called themselves Bulgars and concealed their sons, lest they be taken into the Bulgarian army. "If it pleases the Bulgars," they said, "let them come and liberate us."[171]


If the Exarchist leaders had gone about their business with more prudence—but how could one expect political sagacity among a people which had not only been for centuries under the shadow of the Horses' Tails, but which at the time when the Turk appeared was no whit his superior in civilization? Very possibly the Balkan Slavs would in those five hundred years have turned in disgust from Vlad the Impaler and other exponents of Byzantine culture, if it had not been for the Turk, who ignored his raia's potential moral progress and did not think of regulating his natural cruelty. If the Exarchist leaders had been born different, then Macedonia might easily have become—as now, one hopes, it will at last become—a Yugoslav bond of union, instead of an apple of discord. "I used to be a Bulgar and now I am a Serb,"[54] said a man with whom I was walking one day in Monastir, "and so long as I have work," he said, "I shall be perfectly contented." How many Macedonians ought to echo his words! At Resan I stayed at the house of an old gentleman called Lapchević and in Sofia I had previously met his brother, whose name was Lapchev and who was Minister of War. Until 1868 there was at Resan only a Greek school, so that the elder brother's education left him merely a Macedonian Slav, who could have become with equal facility a Serb or a Bulgar; the younger brother had the advantage of a Bulgarian school, but the disadvantage of having his Slav nationality narrowed down into that of Bulgaria. These two brothers should set an example, renounce the name of Serb and Bulgar, and call themselves simply Yugoslav. At Resan the Serbian authorities are certainly trying to smooth away these wretched divisions. No longer, as in 1890, does the little town support half a dozen schoolmasters who are nothing if not Serb or Bulgarian. Now the Serbs of Resan have[172] retained not only the priests who were in office during the Bulgarian occupation, but the male and female Bulgarian teachers. In the winter of 1869 Ljuben Karaveloff started his paper, the Svoboda, which was in opposition to those Bulgars who dreamed of their country being freed by Russia and placed under a Russian protectorate. Karaveloff's hopes were centred on an independent revolutionary movement, and the Bulgars, he urged, could best achieve their political, as distinct from their ecclesiastical, freedom by associating themselves with the other Balkan peoples and especially with the Serbs. "What is required," he said, "of the Balkan Christians is union and union and union."


If you stand, soon after daybreak, looking at the white façade of Sofia's enormous, Russian-built cathedral, you will perceive that whether accidentally or by some architectural tour de force, the upper part is a majestic face, the face of some old god, benevolent and quite implacable. The Bulgars never would deny that Russia liberated them and showered on them every kind of gift. But woe be it to them if in return they did not forward Russia's purposes. Hundreds of young Bulgars were received in Russia and gratuitously educated; the Church books which the Bulgars used, their ecclesiastical vestments and sacred utensils had usually come to them as gifts from Russia; both before and after the political emancipation Russia's literature was most assiduously studied. And a pious care was taken of the places around Plevna that were memorable for a feat of Russian arms; the people down to this day speak about "The Holy Places." All was well until the death of Alexander II. No, all was not well—for the Russians had, in their design to make the Bulgars their devoted Balkan agents, given them by the Treaty of San Stefano a vast territory which in gratitude they were expected to administer for Russia's greater glory. Yes, it may be said, but Russia was using the best available maps, and these indicated that Macedonia was Bulgarian.... Perhaps we have already shown sufficiently that the Macedonian Slavs are devoid of an[173] innate national sense, but that they have Bulgar or Serb sentiments which are, for the most part, imported, thrust upon them or created by the propagandists. Very rapidly the Macedonian Slavs transform themselves into Serbs or Bulgars; according to circumstances they will or will not be faithful to the nationality which they have chosen. And in their wavering they have thousands of precedents—towards 1400, for example, a Slav chieftain called Bogoja attacked the town of Arta, and in order to gain an easier victory announced, the chroniclers tell us, that he was of Serb, Albanian, Bulgar and Greek descent. One must therefore be a little dubious of maps which ascribe the Macedonian Slavs to any particular nationality. Much more than the rival maps, it was Kiepert's that was used by the Russians and others for determining the Bulgaria of San Stefano. "It is the best map that we know of," said Bismarck, and Kiepert's ethnographical statements were completely adopted by British scientists and diplomats at the time of the Berlin Congress. No doubt a well-equipped foreigner could obtain more exact ethnographical results in Macedonia than equally gifted Serb or Bulgar observers. But not one of the travellers whose observations Kiepert used for his map was acquainted with the Serb or the Bulgar language, nor had any one of them travelled for purposes of research; hence it is not surprising that none of them perceived that the Macedonian Slavs have no sense of nationality and that "Bulgar" is not used there as a national term. In former as well as in recent times the Macedonian Slavs have readily abandoned one name for the other, the temporary predominance of either depending solely on the conquests, political circumstances and various events, internal and external, which give rise to certain sentiments and instincts among this people, easily transforming them into Serb or Bulgar aspirations. It seems clear that Serbia's existence as an independent State for a good many decades before Bulgaria was freed would render the name of Serb more disagreeable to the Turk; it is therefore not astonishing that in Macedonia under the Turks one discarded the Serb name in favour of the Bulgar. Without dwelling upon the more or less valuable remarks which were made by priests and monks and Turkish geographers and French explorers and[174] German doctors from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries and from which we can at least deduce that the Slav inhabitants of southern Macedonia were not fanatically constant to the Bulgar name, it would appear that in the nineteenth century the earlier deliverance of Serbia and, above all, the foundation of the Exarchate caused the Bulgar name to become the more popular. The Serbs were looked upon by Turkey as a revolutionary element, while the Bulgars aimed at an independent Slav Church within the limits of the Turkish boundaries. It is unnecessary to add that after Bulgaria's deliverance and her annexation of Eastern Roumelia, and especially after the rebellious movements in Macedonia, which had the moral if not the official encouragement of the Principality, there was less eagerness on the part of the Slavs to let their Turkish masters think that they were Bulgars. But in the period preceding the publication of Kiepert's map the Bulgar name was the more fashionable with Macedonian peasants. And by giving practical effect to this map in the Treaty of San Stefano the Russians did a huge disservice to the Bulgars. In the first place, they aroused in this young people such an exhilaration that the subsequent annulling of the Treaty at the hands of the Great Powers would naturally leave a rankling disappointment. Also the relations between Serbs and Bulgars were not rendered easier by the chief Slav nation coming down so heavily upon the Bulgar side in what necessitated a most delicate and scientific handling. Three Russian ethnographical maps on Macedonia were issued by the Petrograd Slavyansko Obštčestvo, which worked for Pan-Slavism and assisted Slav students. These maps—one of them is described by Kntchev, the chauvinistic Bulgar, as "giving the Bulgars somewhat more territory than they in reality occupy"—were lamentably superficial. While remaining unnoticed in the rest of Europe they exercised an unfortunate influence on the Balkan educated classes, who believed that, according to tradition, the potent "elder brother" would be anxious to decide righteously the disputes between the small Balkan nations. These maps were, no doubt wrongly, looked upon as the plans of Russian policy, and on this account the Bulgars became still more unapproachable for an understanding or for[175] united work; it appeared to the Macedonian intelligentsia, whose hope was to see their country set free, that Bulgaria was the land which fortune and the Russians favoured. Except the foundation of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Macedonia and the creation of Bulgaria at San Stefano, perhaps nothing contributed so much to the estrangement of the Balkan nations as these maps; for it was long before one could be persuaded that this Slav society had produced the maps through ignorance and false information, so that, as Professor Cvijić remarks,[55] "the educated classes in Serbia were as culpable for the pernicious effects of these maps as were the Russian authors themselves." And Serbs and Bulgars had good reason to complain of the manner in which Russia treated them.


While Bulgaria came from the San Stefano peace dazzled with jewels that she was not to clasp, the Serbs continued walking in the shadows which had, from the time of Michael's death, been gradually falling round them. No practical result was obtained from a letter which the Serbian Government ordered their representative to read to the Greek Patriarch, pointing out that only such parishes should be held as unquestionably Bulgarian which had formerly been subject to the Patriarchate of Trnovo, even as those of the Peć Patriarchate were undoubtedly Serbian, while those of Ochrida were disputable, since that region had belonged in turn to both of them. Small advantage accrued to the Serbs from their fidelity to the Greek Patriarch: in Macedonia they came to be regarded by many Slavs as foes to the new national Church, while the only desire of the Greeks was to use them for their own purposes. "There are no Serbs in this parish," wrote a Bishop when the Patriarch commanded him to permit the Serbian priests now and then to celebrate a Slav service, "there are no Serbs but merely Greeks" (in which official terminology the Serbs were included) "and hellenized Vlachs." ... The Serbs about this time were most unfortunate in warfare. Prince Milan tried to secure, without coming to blows, from the[176] Sultan what he expected that his victorious armies would give him, namely, the administration of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the failure of the 1874 crops the peasants of Herzegovina and then of Bosnia were driven to desperation by the demands of the tax-gatherers. Miss Irby's eloquent description[56] tells us of the terrible state of these provinces during the years that preceded the outbreak. Taxes of one-eighth were demanded by the Governor, one-third or one-half by the Beg, taxes for exemption from military service, taxes for pigs, cattle and everything "you have or have not." One informant said, "I have seen men driven into pigsties and shut up there in cold and hunger till they paid; hung from the rafters with their heads downwards in the smoke, until they disclosed where their little stores were hidden. I have known them hung from trees and water poured down them in the freezing cold; I have known them chained barefoot and forced to run behind the Beg's carriage...." The provinces revolted and vengeance was wrecked upon them. More than a third of the population fled the country. Sir Arthur Evans[57] describes the refugees as a "squalid, half-naked swarm of women and children and old men, with faces literally eaten away with hunger and disease.... After seeing every moral mutilation," he goes on to say, "that centuries of tyranny could inflict ... who can go away without a feeling of despair for the present generation of refugee Bosnia?" The people of Montenegro and Serbia were profoundly stirred by the miseries of their brothers. But Milan vacillated, and when finally he took up arms it was without success, and five weeks after the peace signature Russia began the Turkish War, one of whose necessary antecedents was the recognition by Russia that the Austrians were not to be hampered in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (After the Treaty of Berlin had placed the two provinces under Austria's administration it is said that Andrássy, on his return from Berlin, remarked to Francis Joseph that the door of the Balkans was now open to His Majesty. But the [177]Russian delegate, Prince Gortchakoff, had prophesied to Andrássy that Bosnia-Herzegovina would prove the Empire's grave.) One effect produced by this incursion of the Austrian eagles was a serious divergence between the Croats and the Serbs. By historic and by ethnic rights the provinces, so the Serbs argued, should be theirs when once the Turk had ceased to rule. The Croats, laying special emphasis on the religious question, were for justifying Austria's occupation. The Catholic Slav clergy, unlike the Orthodox, ranged themselves with the great Catholic Power; while Croat politicians of the school of Starčević invoked other historic and ethnic sanctions in their endeavour to found, under the name of "Great Croatia," a State uniting all the Yugoslav lands of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Thus the Serbs and their Croatian brothers were acutely in conflict. Never, said the Serbs, would that "Trialism" come to pass, for the Magyars would veto the formation of a Yugoslav State within the Empire, having a population roughly equal in numbers to its own. We Yugoslavs have nothing to hope for, said the Serbs, except from ourselves, and, being divided, we are ruining our common interests.... From yet another quarter was a storm-wind blowing on the Serbs. The Russian volunteers and officers had taken back with them highly unfavourable impressions as to the capabilities of the Serbian army, which they accompanied in the luckless campaign of 1876; also, in the opinion of the Pan-Slavists the Serbs had been contaminated by European civilization, whereas the Bulgars seemed, in the words of Professor Miliukoff,[58] to be the sons of an untouched, virgin soil, free from politics and ready to work, with all possible zeal for the "inner truth" of Pan-Slavism, while begging its protector to concern herself with the "outer truth." The Bulgars were, for these reasons, to have the preference in the allotment of the spoils of the Turkish War; and, owing to the conflicting demands of Russia and Prince Milan, Serbia did not declare war against Turkey until several days after the fall of Plevna, so that she could not hope that the Russians would show any special tenderness towards her national aspirations. It is difficult to see what Serbia could have hoped to gain from the elder[178] brother, if she had been less dilatory; she gained from this intervention no vast gratitude from the younger brother. Men may still be found in Bulgarian frontier villages who were prominent there during the Serbian army's régime. Some of the officers seem to have told the people that they ought no longer to call themselves Bulgars, since they were Serbs; but the propaganda was very mild. Serbian schools were opened here and there, but if no pupils wished to attend them, the schoolmasters had a holiday; and the occupying troops limited themselves to collecting signatures on addresses of loyalty to Prince Milan. No one, probably, thought that the addresses and petitions were very serious—no one, that is to say, except a Dalmatian publicist called Spiridon Gopčević, who printed a large number of them in his handsome, illustrated book, Makedonien und Alt-Serbien (Vienna, 1889). With regard to Gopčević as a savant—he says that all the Macedonian Slavs are Serbs—and there are equally uncompromising Bulgarian authors—the celebrated Slavist Jagić says that he is sorry for the good paper which was used for Gopčević's book. Another of his wonderful discoveries was that the Macedonian Slavs are Croats. And one of his severest judges is a Croat, S. Jurinić. He gives, as if they were most valuable, these fatuous lists of signatures and informs us that some Bulgarian priests and agitators tried to prevent them being collected. A Turkish official did, it is true, show in too Oriental a fashion that he disapproved of these collectors—on July 16, 1878, he quartered one Cvetković-Božinče on the road between Skoplje and Kumanovo for having obtained 5000 signatures; and after quartering him, the Turk nailed the four parts of his body, each with a quarter of the petition tied to it, on to four posts at a place where four roads met. But many of the more reasonable Bulgars appear to have recognized that these activities of some Serbian officers and others need certainly not embroil the two people; while some other manifestations of joy, such as when they pulled out the beard of the priest of Pirot, and after nightfall, in celebration of this triumph, illuminated the town, those and similar transactions were treated as the folly of exuberant subalterns; and Tako Peyeff of Trn, the spokesman of the little,[179] far-away town and its representative at San Stefano, told me that although he refused to sign petitions, yet he said that if Prince Milan should visit Trn it was the duty of all men to salute him. Up to this time, then, there was no veritable friction—there was only the cloud gathering over Macedonia; and even when the Berlin Congress of 1879 adjudged certain towns to Serbia, as a recompense for the abandonment of any claims on Bosnia, this was rightly taken by most Bulgars as being far less the fault of Serbia than of Austria and the other Powers. It is strange, in fact, that this difficult passage in Serbia's history was marked by greater animus between Serb and Croat than between Serb and Bulgar—and the Serbs were standing in Bulgaria. Milan had not yet made his ill-omened remark that the road to Sarajevo went via Sofia.


One of the direst misfortunes that ever came upon Serbia was Milan, her fickle, headstrong, extravagant ruler. He was, perhaps, no Serb at all; it had been given out, when he came as a child from Roumania, that he was the grandson of the younger brother of Miloš, but this statement was not universally accepted—he lived under the suspicion of being an illegitimate son of the Roumanian Prince—and at his first appearance before the Skupština a certain Ranko Tajsić, a deputy, refused to rise. "I want that man's birth certificate!" he shouted. It is not surprising that Milan did his best to make, from that time onwards, Ranko's life a burden. If the Prince had been a more satisfactory monarch, his origin would have mattered little. Many of his attributes seem to his detractors to be peculiarly Roumanian, although it is true that extravagance is not unknown in Serbia, and this was the foible which his subjects, even when they learned the colossal amount of his debts, were most willing to overlook. It was only after his death that the secret treaty of alliance between himself and his paymasters, the Austro-Hungarian Government, became known; but the people, and especially the educated classes, were in opposition to his politics, and the conflict between him and the Radical party degenerated[180] into a revolt that was suppressed by the sword. The leaders of the party fled from Serbia: Pašić, who was for so many years to be Prime Minister, settled in Bulgaria where he practised his profession of railway engineer.... As a benignant-looking patriarch Nicholas Pašić was for a long time the solitary Serb with whom the well-informed public of the rest of Europe was familiar. And of course upon his countrymen, whose fortunes he directed through years of shadow and sunshine, his hold was tremendous. "May God bless our dear old brother Nikky," says the peasant as he tastes his morning glass of rakia. There is no brilliance but a profound knowledge of human nature in this humorous old Balkan gentleman. It is not by brilliant oratory that he sways the Skupština, for he merely thinks aloud; slowly and haltingly, while he caresses his beautiful white beard, the words come out in a very bass voice—it is a grave and confidential talk, although a merry gleam occasionally dances in his eyes. With such homeliness does he talk that he pays no strict regard to the complications of Serbian grammar—when he appointed a very able young official of the Ministry of Education to a diplomatic post some hostile critics in the Press asserted that he did so on account of his enormous admiration for a man who had produced eight books on grammar. As a specimen of Pašić's parliamentary methods we may quote from a speech that he made in answer to one by the aforementioned Tajsić, who was an illiterate but most eloquent peasant. For three hours Tajsić had railed against the secret fund, the 30 million dinars that were every year at the disposal of the Foreign Office. At last when Pašić gets up and very courteously smiles at the would-be reformer: "Well, well," says he, "as to what our friend has told us—the—how should I say?—well, it is not altogether wrong—in a way, the—what was his name?—when you examine the matter from all sides, there is—I forget the word—in a way, these non-public matters, you know—how should I say?—it is best—how should I say?——" "Are you satisfied with His Excellency's answer?" says Nikolić, the Speaker. And Tajsić puts it to himself that after all he is only a peasant and Pašić is an Excellency and he must know[181] better what one should do. This habit of stroking his beard used to be adopted by the Prime Minister when his personal finances were under discussion. Doubtless there were many who scented something scandalous in the fact that he possessed half the shares in the Bor copper mines, which had risen from 500 to 80,000 dinars apiece. He had bought them, as anybody else might have done. "Ah well," he was wont to say in that ultra-deep voice, "you see my wife brought them me." And a large contribution to his wealth was made by a farmer near Kragujevac; he persuaded Pašić to buy from him for 1000 piastres—a few pounds—a meadow on which to put his horses, and subsequently on that meadow there was found an excellent spring of mineral water. Once for a change another political leader, whose Christian name was also Nicholas, thought he would pull the beard of Pašić, and he did so very vehemently just outside Kolarac, which is a large restaurant in Belgrade. The Prime Minister was being followed by a couple of detectives, but he signed to them that they were not to interfere. "My darling old Nikky," said he, as he beamed at his assailant and grasped him tightly round the throat, "you and I are party leaders, so please don't let us quarrel. It creates an unfortunate impression, my friend." And it was some weeks before this man recovered, for Pašić was then about sixty years of age and still in the flower of his strength. But to return to the disastrous reign of Milan.


The discontented Serbs could now no longer, as in days gone by, look hopefully towards Cetinje. Rumours and something more than rumours were circulating as to Nikita's character. For many years that very shrewd person was going to gull the Western world which, meeting him on the Riviera, was enchanted by his picturesque costume. But if Queen Victoria and Mr. Gladstone had gone to ask the Montenegrins they would have found that he was hated, and not only in the Brda and the parts bordering on Herzegovina but even in old Montenegro. His adherents were chiefly to be found among the Njeguši,[182] his own clan, and in the family of his wife. Certain English devotees of Nikita have actually been to Cetinje, have, as they proudly tell us, been embraced by him and have enormously admired his alfresco audiences when he settled all manner of problems to the perfect satisfaction of these tourists. Some of them, with a decoration or so and with memories of dinners and shoots, have written books that are a song of praise; and if Nikita's subjects tell these gentlemen and others, including members of the British Parliament, who have not been to Cetinje—but who know just as much as the travelled ones about Montenegro—if they tell them that Nikita is a ruffian, the answer will probably be that he who says such things must have a grievance, and that those foreigners who have criticized him, Miss Edith Durham, Baron d'Estournelles de Constant and Mr. Nevinson, are altogether mistaken. I do not propose to make a long and dreary catalogue of his iniquities, but only to mention a few items.... It was in Montenegro a matter of common knowledge that the wheat which Russia sent in large quantities for his famine-threatened people was not given but was sold to them by Nikita, the proceeds being shared by himself and four or five privileged families, the Petrović, Vukotić, Martinović and Jabučani. A member of one of these families became so affluent that he built himself a house, and a gentleman who still survives, Tomo Oraovac by name, wrote on this in the year 1878 a rather humorous poem which he called "The Red House." Oraovac was at the time an official, the intendant of the Montenegrin army at Kotor, and he naturally had to resign his post. The Tzar sent a certain General Ritter to examine the charges and, as one result, a Russian decoration was conferred upon Oraovac; according to etiquette it was transmitted through Nikita, and that personage gave it to a friend of his, a Turk at Podgorica. Nikita is apt to disarm one by the quaintness of his ways. Later on, Oraovac, who was one of Montenegro's earliest schoolmasters, organized the intelligentsia for the purpose of obtaining a Constitution. Nikita was not yet ready to grant such a thing, and his representative who attended one of Oraovac's meetings at Podgorica inflicted upon him two grave wounds. The reformer was then expelled[183]—the powerful intervention of one of Nikita's cousins saved his life—his mother and both his brothers, more Montenegrino, were likewise expelled and his house was bestowed upon a certain Kruša, who lived in it for forty years. One must add, with respect to the Russian wheat, that Nikita did not sell it for cash—the wars of that period had left the land in such distress that no cash was available. And so the wheat was delivered in exchange for bonds that would some day become payable. When the wars of the seventies were over, an edict was issued, and from end to end of the country, so goes the story, men had to sell their sheep and cattle and horses, their sticks of furniture, their land itself, to meet their obligations. Meanwhile the Austrian frontiers had been closed. No selling was possible outside the land, and selling within it was only permitted to certain specified persons, agents of the Prince, and at fixed prices. The profits were enormous; the country was ruined, and from that time date the great emigrations to America, as was pointed out by Mr. Leiper the Serb-speaking Scot in his admirable contributions to the Morning Post.... Nikita loved to bestow things upon himself. A famous hero, Novak Voujošević, killed seventeen Turks in one day, and when he went, in consequence of an invitation, to Petrograd, the Tzar presented him with a sword on which were the Russian crown and the Montenegrin crown in diamonds. When the old warrior came back to Cetinje, Nikita said that such a weapon could not possibly be worn by a simple man; he therefore abstracted the diamonds and gave it him with false ones in their place. Nikita could not endure criticism, but those persons, including myself, who have charged him with inhuman treatment in the case of Vladimir Tomić, an intelligent young judge, were acting on faulty information. The tale was that Tomić, after being incarcerated, was soused with petrol and so badly burned that he lost his reason. As a matter of fact, this neurasthenic young man—whose imprisonment was due to his having wantonly insulted the whole Royal Family—poured the petrol on himself. Eventually, when Radović came into office, he was released and, a few years later, he died in his native village.... The Montenegrin records are crowded with the names of those[184] whom Nikita drove into exile for no other reason than that they had gone abroad for an education and would no longer be disposed to regard his methods as quite up to date. With the exception of the few favoured families Nikita was all against anyone acquiring riches; he deliberately put obstacles in the way of plum cultivation, and in such a state of poverty did he keep the Montenegrins that the Baron d'Estournelles de Constant, whose official connection with Montenegro dates back to 1878, addressed to Nikita an open letter with reference to the decreasing population, as to which the statistics had been destroyed. On account of the rigorous taxation a great many of the people were forced to migrate to America, from where they sent almost everything they earned to their unhappy relatives; these were compelled to pay up to 100 per cent. interest on the loans which they had been obliged to negotiate, so that they could not meet the taxes. And there would have been some consolation had those taxes been productive; but by far the larger part of them, as of the loans raised in Vienna (with the Boden Credit and the Länder Bank) and at Constantinople were devoted to the Court and its favourites, for rewards, journeys, decorations—every thing in fact, save the needs of the people. It suited Nikita very well to keep his people in dire poverty and ignorance. Such has been the poverty of the Montenegrins that it was no uncommon sight to see them cultivating so minute a polje that the wheat which it produced would give no more than half a loaf. And meanwhile they were not allowed to exploit the wealth of the forests. Figs, olives, grapes and plums could all have been cultivated with profit, and in the lower regions oranges and lemons and tobacco. But there was the deliberate policy to keep the population from enriching themselves. Occasionally their native wit gained for them a surreptitious triumph. Thus it happened that a poor peasant's son went up into the higher lands to tend the flocks of one who was more prosperous. By some means the boy discovered that the mountain torrent of his new abode dived underneath the rocks and subsequently reappeared and was the stream which ran past his old home. He turned this knowledge to effect by[185] killing a lamb and throwing it into the water. His parents, down below, retrieved the lamb. Various other animals went the same journey, until the farmer ascertained what the boy was doing; and then the day arrived when the poor peasant, watching by the stream, saw the body of his son being carried down towards him.

Very few schools were opened; for example the Vasojević, who are the most numerous tribe not only of Montenegro but of all the Serbian lands, had to content themselves with one school, built in 1882. In 1869 there was established a seminary with three classes, that was afterwards converted into a high-school of four classes; but both of these were frequently closed, the true reason being that the Russian subsidies given for the school were spent on the various needs of Nikita's Court. (By the way, at one time when Montenegro had this one high-school and one hospital the three sons of Nikita were in possession of ten palaces.) In 1869 the Russian Empress caused a girls' college to be opened at Cetinje. It was one of the best institutions in the whole Peninsula; many Serb and Yugoslav girls, in addition to the Montenegrins, gathered at Cetinje. This college was the centre from which education and modern ideas spread out to the remotest corners of Montenegro; in 1913 it was obliged to close—the Court had long been looking at it with a very jaundiced eye.... Russia, Serbia, Italy, France and even Turkey offered free education to a certain number of young Montenegrins. But only the sons of the favoured families were able to get passports to go abroad; there was scarcely anything Nikita feared as much as education.... And if one asks why no patriot could be found to kill this prince one is given two reasons, the first being that his semi-secret treaty with the Austrians provided that they should come into Montenegro if he were killed, and secondly, because of the old-time custom of vicarious punishment. In 1856, for instance, Nikita's father attacked the Počara Kuči, burned their houses, and is reputed to have slain more than 550 children, women and old men, including the septuagenarian grandfather of Tomo Oraovac, on the ground that these people had set up a kind of republic, independent both of Montenegro and of the Sultan and[186] declined to pay the former any taxes. These measures were taken against them in the summer when most of the men were with their herds in the mountains. Three children survived. The Great Powers protested, consuls were sent and ultimately the Počara Kuči, who had always helped the Montenegrins against the Turks, consented to pay taxes. It was for these reasons that Nikita was never assassinated.


While the Serbs of Serbia and Montenegro no longer placed any trust in their princes, they had good cause to give more and more of their confidence to Strossmayer, who remained for more than half a century at Djakovo and never, on account of Magyar opposition, became a prince of the Church. He saw that the Starčević policy with respect to Bosnia was a retrograde step, since it was causing the Serbs of that province, who until the occupation had been on good terms with the Catholic minority and the Serbs of Croatia—about 40 per cent. of the population—to stand very much aloof from the Croats. This state of things was naturally very pleasing to the Magyar imperialist Ban, Count Khuen-Héderváry, whereas Strossmayer's Yugoslav idea would have, owing to the intermingling of the two religions, a particularly favourable ground in Bosnia. It may be that Leo XIII.'s conception of drawing back the Slavs to Rome will remain a dream, but his and Strossmayer's policy of an alliance would have been a blessing to the Yugoslavs, and primarily in such provinces as Bosnia and Croatia. Negotiations were begun in 1882, between Strossmayer and the Serbian Government, with a view to establishing a Concordat. Serbia's Roman Catholic subjects—who, by the way, were not very numerous—would be placed under a patriotic priest depending not on Austria-Hungary but directly on Rome. And thus the fence between them and their Orthodox kindred would be gradually broken down. It would be foolish to assert that Strossmayer and his fellow-workers were able to make all the Yugoslavs dismiss their religious differences and remember their national affinities. Orthodox and Catholic Slav have[187] for so long been divided that their approach to one another must often be slow and is liable to be interrupted by the manœuvres of third parties. The Austrians were pretty successful, just before and during the Great War, in setting the Catholic and Orthodox Bosniak at each other's throat, and this antagonism will endure for a while in remote districts, such as in a certain village of the Sandjak where one found, in the summer of 1919, that the Catholic chief official and his wife were compelled to dismiss their Orthodox maid, since the villagers would not allow her to continue to serve in a Catholic house. But Strossmayer's statesmanship went a long way towards breaking down these barriers. "I have had to set my face against your mission," said von Khevenhüller, the Austro-Hungarian Minister, to Father Tondini when this Italian Barnabite, in whom Strossmayer had every confidence, came to Belgrade. "It is one of our principles, inherited from Schwarzenberg and Metternich," said the Minister, "that we should exercise a sort of control over the Serbian Catholics by having them under the jurisdiction of an Austrian Bishop." When Strossmayer visited Belgrade, for the purpose of conducting confirmations, he was driven at once, amid the booming of cannon, to the royal palace. And if the negotiations were allowed to drag it was obviously not due to any Orthodox fanaticism. Talking of fanaticism, one had instances in Bosnia and in Slavonia, not long ago, of Catholic priests who discarded Strossmayer and endeavoured to get their flock to use a different pronunciation from that of the Orthodox. It was because he strove to bring them together that the great bishop was so heartily disliked in Vienna and Pest. It had been decided in 1883 that, unless he made his political submission, he was to be interned at the Trappist monastery of Banjaluka. But if he were no longer in a position to spend the great resources of the bishopric—to say nothing of the removal of his personal influence—the Cause would have suffered enormously. Therefore he listened to the prayers of his friends and submitted. "Be glad," said he to Radić, the Croat patriot—"be glad that you are not a priest." His successful efforts to bring about the moral and intellectual awakening of the Yugoslavs were most unpopular in those two capitals.[188] But on the wide Slavonian lands and far beyond them one would find the sturdy farmers imitating his new methods—his own estate was so large that he paid 35,000 florins a year in taxes. The tall, thin prelate might be walking with you in his garden, telling you with simple eloquence—and in Latin, for choice—how much he regretted that Doellinger had not submitted, as did his adored Dupanloup, to the dogma of Papal Infallibility, when one of those painted carts would rattle round the corner and in two minutes this father of his people would be deep in a technical discussion with the peasant as to which of the episcopal stallions or bulls he should borrow for the improvement of his stock. When Strossmayer consecrated the cathedral which he had built at Djakovo he exclaimed that in the hour of his departure from this world his last prayer would be for the union of his people. "Almighty everlasting God," he cried, "have mercy upon my brave people and unite them!" As a very old man, verging on the nineties, with brilliant eyes peering out from under a great forehead and physically so fragile that in walking from one room to another he had to put his arm round my neck, he was still in every direction working to this end. Six months earlier, in June 1903, Khuen-Héderváry had been recalled and, after his twenty years of oppression, the young men of Croatia, Catholic and Orthodox, in harmony with the Slovenes, were forming the Serbo-Croat Coalition. This was a great step in the direction of the Yugoslavia which Strossmayer did not live to see.


Between Serbs and Roumanians of the Banat an ecclesiastical dispute was on the horizon. The Roumanian Orthodox body had suffered a severe loss through the Uniate Church, which captured many of the old Orthodox places of worship. Thus the famous little church of Huniadora, whose frescoes have been so glowingly described by Mr. Walter Crane, fell into their hands. This occurred in many cases at the wish of a small part of the congregation—and this part might consist of gipsies—whereupon the majority would be obliged to[189] build themselves another church. The Greek Catholic Uniate Church was apt to lose its national Roumanian colouring and admit the Magyar language, which was occasionally resented by the faithful. Thus, as the Bishop of Caransebes (now the Metropolitan of Roumania) told me, there came into a church at Tergul, near Moros-Varshahel, a woman with a basket of eggs. When she perceived that she could not understand the language that was being used she put down her basket and uttered a loud curse, "May thunder and lightning strike this church!" she cried. And after the service had begun in a church near Grosswardein the wife of a clergyman pulled the priest's beard, while other ladies tore off his robes. Nevertheless this Uniate Church continued to exist and it was natural that the Orthodox Roumanians should seek in some way to compensate themselves for their losses. They had, as we have mentioned above,[59] been given hospitality by the Serbian Church and given the use of a monastery for the education of their priests. They now suggested that it would be well if the Serbs handed over to them a number of the Banat monasteries, and when the Serbs declined they started a great lawsuit at Buda-Pest. Professor Iorga, the historian, told me that he thought his countrymen were justified in that these monasteries were originally neither Serbian nor Roumanian, but Roman Catholic, being erected, in pursuance of their propaganda, by the French dynasty which the Hungarians had over them in the fourteenth century. Their nomenclature, said the Professor, is neither Serb nor Roumanian, they had no privileges from Serb or Roumanian princes and he believed that they only passed to the Serbs after having been abandoned by the Catholics. A line on p. 145, vol. i., of the Monumenta Vaticana Hungariæ (Buda-Pest, 1887):

"Item Stephanus Sacerdos de Beesd solvit I fertonem"

appeared to lend colour to this view, for the name Beesd might have been slavized into Besdin and this might be the record of a payment made, between 1332 and 1337, to the Pope. It is only fair to say that the learned Magyar Jesuit who presides over the episcopal library at[190] Gjula Fehérvár (Alba Julia in Roumanian) did no more than say that these surmises were possible. He was, as a matter of fact, much more interested in the political situation and in another book, the oldest printed Bible in Roumanian (of 1582 and in Slav characters) which, as he pointed out with half a sigh, was published by one Magyar through the liberality of another. The charming Bishop of Caransebes, as he sat with me one Sunday morning in his rose garden, did not receive Professor Iorga's idea with approbation. The Professor, he thought, was too fond of originality and he himself preferred to claim some of the monasteries on equitable instead of on historical grounds. They were founded after all, he said, for the people of the Banat and of those a majority were now Roumanian. (But in Caras-Severin, the chief stronghold of his countrymen, there are no ancient monasteries with the exception of some ruins. The Roumanians are not ostentatiously religious; they do not take kindly to the building of churches and in their portion of the Banat one usually finds churches of wood, some of these being 150 years old.) But another librarian, this time a German at Veršac, poured cold water on Professor Iorga. Only one Roman Catholic religious house, he said, was founded by that French dynasty in the Banat and this was at Egres, near the Maroš, where the wife of Louis of Anjou built a church which remained Catholic and is now in ruins. The monastery of Besdin was founded in 1539 and a Serb-Slav psaltery which is kept there has, on p. 270, the following words: "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. So that all people shall know when a beginning was made to build the monastery of Besdin. It was begun in the year 7058 from the creation of the world, that is 1539 from the Birth of Christ ... Joseph Milutinović, archimandrate, built it, and his monks and the Christians helped him. Written by me: Leontic Bogojević, administrator and monk." Beesd and Besdin, said the librarian, are from the same root, signifying that which has no bottom, an abyss, and the marshes in the Banat are numerous. The Beesd of the above citation is, said the librarian, a place between the rivers Temes and Berzava; Catholics were there in the fourteenth century, but the founders were Slavs. The burly archimandrate of Besdin, whose constitution[191] had withstood twenty-seven years of marshes and mosquitoes, was extremely scornful of his adversaries' pretensions. "They wanted to prove that they built it! Not one stone, not a single stone! Then they argued that something was due to them as they had paid a part of the church taxes. We had invited them!" ... Most of the Serbs acknowledge that their monasteries in the Voivodina, as elsewhere, are not under present conditions as meritorious as in the Middle Ages when the people from twenty or thirty villages would meet there and listen to the blind guslar-player. Sometimes one of their few monks is a man of erudition, such as the well-known Bishop Nicholai Velimirović or Ruvarac the great historian, who in thirty years freed his monastery from debt and left large sums for charities. On the other hand we have the archimandrate Radić, who ruled several monasteries in succession; he never drove with less than four horses in his carriage and he drove so recklessly that between eight and sixteen horses were rendered worthless every year. The Radical party desired, after paying fixed salaries to the archimandrates and monks, to give two-thirds of the rest to clerical funds and one-third to schools. But the Austro-Hungarian Government had an understanding with the clerical party and prevented the public from exercising any control over these funds. The twenty-seven monasteries in the Voivodina, Syrmia and Croatia could have supported three Universities, so richly endowed are they with lands; the Roumanians did in fact with some of the revenues of their one monastery of Hodosh maintain the Arad seminary. There is no knowing what other monasteries the Roumanians would have secured if the Great War had not intervened, for the Pest judges knew every morning which of the two litigant countries their own country happened to prefer.

What the Serbs of the Banat had, in the political world, to contend against may be illustrated by some incidents of the career of Dr. Svetozar Miletić, who after having been a deputy for twenty-five years was charged with high treason for having sent volunteers into Serbia at the time of the Serbo-Turkish War; even if this was true it can scarcely be said to have constituted high treason against Hungary. The witnesses against him were two forgers,[192] released ad hoc from prison, his own witnesses were hundreds. He was condemned to six years' imprisonment, at the expiration of which he was in such a state that he had to be transferred to an asylum, where he died. The pitiful dodges of the dominating Magyar minority are by this time well enough known; it was their argument that certain villages, say ten miles from a town, had to give their votes in that town, while intervening villages of other nationalities were obliged to present themselves at a booth twenty miles in another direction, because if such methods had not been employed then the more ancient and more reputable Magyar culture would have been entirely swamped by the wicked non-Magyars. Thus the three million Slovaks in Hungary were represented at Buda-Pest by three deputies.[60] "Hungary," says the delicious Aubrey Herbert, M.P., in the Oxford Hungarian Review (June 1922), "Hungary was situated amongst reactionary neighbours, and any loosening of her hold upon the non-Magyar population threatened her very existence. The path of spectacular liberalism was closed to her...." The ballot was supposed to be secret in the towns, where the Magyars could hope to exercise an appropriate control; but even in the towns they thought it more advisable to take no risks. Some of the dead were permitted to vote; but only if they were faithful Magyar dead. And in Dr. Miletić's constituency no arrangements were made to ferry the living—on the large lake of Mutniatsa the boats were hidden and the voters were compelled to swim across.

Although a great many of his subjects charged Prince Milan with preferring his own and the dynasty's interests to those of the State, they should have taken into account that the Berlin Congress had left their country in a more than difficult economic and political situation. Not only were Serbia and Montenegro kept apart, but in the intervening territory, the Sandjak of Novi Bazar, permission was given to Austria-Hungary, of which she soon availed herself, to establish garrisons. Serbia was now almost encircled by the Austrians and there remained only two inconvenient routes for the exportation of her[193] products to other countries: down the Danube, with the very high tariffs imposed by the Berlin Congress, or by the line to Salonica, which was in the hands of Austrian capitalists and ran through Turkish territory. Therefore Serbia's independence, political and economic, existed at Austria's pleasure; and this must be remembered in extenuation of the secret Treaty[61] (June 23, 1881) whereby the Serbs bound themselves for ten years to abstain from any propaganda or other activity against the Habsburgs and to make no political treaties with other Powers without the knowledge and consent of Vienna. Nor were any foreign troops or volunteers to be allowed into Serbian territory. In return for this the Emperor undertook to recognize Prince Milan as King whensoever he might be pleased to assume that dignity (as he did on March 6, 1882), to protect his dynasty from the Karageorgević and to favour his acquisition of as much as possible of the valley of the Vardar. The grateful Prince affirmed this Treaty (on October 24, 1881) by a still more emphatic declaration by which he appears to have constituted himself a vassal of the Emperor. This infuriated the young politicians whose radical ideas, mostly imbibed at Paris and Geneva, were not balanced by the moral and social discipline which is the fruit of an advanced civilization. As a result Serbia was given over to chaos.... When Prince Alexander of Battenberg aquiesced in his Bulgars annexing eastern Roumelia it was said that he was violating the Berlin Treaty, but it is now known[62] that, in spite of the 1879 Treaty, this union had been foreseen and approved by Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary in 1881. Nevertheless Austria, which hoped to embroil and enfeeble the two Slav States, urged Milan to declare war against the Bulgars, and this he did the more willingly as he fancied that it would divert from him the enmity of so many of his subjects; but this war was such an unpopular enterprise that the King did not dare to mobilize fully, and with his available forces indifferently equipped and badly led, the upshot was that the Bulgars were victorious. While Austria had thus been the Serb's [194]evil genius, Russia, by withdrawing all her officers from Bulgaria, again acted in a manner which seemed scarcely to allow her and others, in 1915, to denounce the Bulgars for their ingratitude. (The Russians, as a subsequent Russian Minister at Sofia relates,[63] so completely mishandled the situation in the early days of Bulgaria's freedom that they had only themselves to blame for the invitation to Ferdinand of Coburg which was made with the express purpose of thwarting Russian aggression.)


The fratricidal Serbo-Bulgarian conflict of 1885 has been well commemorated by a monument at Vidin: a soldier of the victorious Bulgarian army is depicted, prostrate in sorrow.... Milan, after an effort to rule with a new liberal constitution, abdicated and delivered his country to a Regency. These statesmen, who were aware of the secret convention with Austria, obstructed the development of the country and had recourse to a coup d'état in order to prevent a Radical election. Alexander, the ill-fated son of Milan, by another coup d'état proclaimed himself of age, summoned a Radical Cabinet and restored to the people their political liberties. But the enthusiasm caused by these proceedings was not often to be roused again by Alexander. The midnight coups d'état, which rapidly succeeded one another, were a form of government congenial to this gloomy, silent, friendless youth who blinked at the world through his spectacles and was incapable of seeing anything except the narrowness and the intrigues that were a part of his surroundings. More and more he showed himself a despot; he persecuted and imprisoned hundreds of Radicals, who were the overwhelming majority of the population. Espionage was rampant, the finances were in a state of chaos and Serbia's prestige was at such an ebb that, what with the disasters of 1885 and the reign of Alexander, the Macedonian Slavs were naturally more inclined to proclaim themselves Bulgars. Alexander annulled the constitution, imposed that of 1888, annulled this one also, superseded all the judges of appeal as well as all the councillors[195] of state, married his mistress (an engineer's widow) and plotted, it was said, to nominate as heir to the throne his brother-in-law, a worthless young lieutenant. Meanwhile this officer and his brother were exasperating the people of Belgrade by commanding the orchestras in cafés to play the national anthem at their entrance, and occasionally, while they drank, firing their revolvers into the air. It was something more than personal exasperation which brought about Alexander's death. Those who participated in the murder were both partisans and opponents of the dynasty. Likewise the Austro-Hungarian Government was aware of the plan: Count Goluchowski promised the conspirators that Austria would not resort to armed interference, although two army corps were held in readiness to march into Serbia. Of course it would have suited Austria much better if the king, who seemed to be emancipating himself from the veiled tutelage accepted by his father, had been dethroned and kept by the Ballplatz as a restraint on the political waywardness of any successor. Some of those who entered the palace on the night of June 10, 1903, may have had their intentions changed by the panic which was caused owing to the lateness of the hour and the groping along unlighted passages—the electricity was out of order—but amid the band of executioners there may very well have been some who recognized that, for Serbia's future peace and welfare, it was infinitely preferable that he should not live. From practically the whole nation there came, when they heard of his death, a sigh of relief; he was killed by the detestation of his subjects. Yet there might have been, in the people's state of nerves, an outbreak against the actual murderers and this might have inaugurated a reign of terror if Pašić had not walked up and down in front of the palace, wearing a bowler hat and buttonholing everyone he saw. "Most unfortunate, most unfortunate," he said; "they were both drunk, and so they killed each other." Meanwhile, machine guns were being mounted at appropriate spots, but they were not required. And Austria published to the world a few abominable incidents that accompanied the deed and followed it; these were almost wholly untrue, yet they served to make not only Western Europe but even the[196] Sultan hold up their hands in horror. Abdul Hamid raised those hands that were dripping with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Armenians, and in exalted phrases, says Mr. Laffan,[64] lectured the Serbs on the undesirability of assassination.

A younger man than King Peter Karageorgević, who now succeeded, might have been appalled by the difficulties of the situation. Murder and the rearing of pigs were universally regarded as the purposes for which God had created the Serbs, and years were to elapse before the little country could persuade the world that it was not inhabited by beings who approached the lower animals—and then the world perceived that it was, to a great extent, inhabited by heroes. When King Peter ascended the throne the Royal Families of Europe congratulated each other that they were not related to him, and they sympathized with Nikita of Montenegro for having this personage as a son-in-law. The indebtedness of Serbia—she owed 450,000,000 francs, a sum which swallowed a quarter of the annual budget—the corruption of the public services, the lack of industrial development, the rudimentary state of agriculture and whatsoever else of evil which the Obrenović had done or left undone—everything was the fault of King Peter. A great many people were positive that Alexander had been slain by his myrmidons; for this foul deed he had been always plotting, from the time when he fought as a lieutenant in the French army of 1870-1871 (when he was wounded and decorated), during the Bosnian insurrection of 1876 (when he served the national cause) and while he was translating Mill's Treatise on Liberty. These liberal activities were held as the absolute proofs of the hypocrisy of Europe's outlaw. In a few years "old Uncle Pete," as his people affectionately came to call him, was revered by the men not only of friendly countries but even by those who were in arms against him.


He started by placing the government in the hands of the Radical party and by showing that his own position[197] would be strictly that of a constitutional monarch. Numerous reforms were undertaken with respect to the finances, the exploitation of the country's resources and the reorganizing of the army, which had been debilitated by intrigue and corruption. So many tasks had simultaneously to be accomplished that the greatest Serbophil may have despaired, since the national qualities do not, as yet, include much power of organization. Is it not astonishing, therefore, that in a few years so much was done?—the army, for example, becoming so closely identified with the people that high Obrenović officers felt that it was unpatriotic to perpetuate these dynastic divisions, and gradually they resolved to offer their swords to the State. More than one General whose abilities in the Great War gained him a high British decoration had once been conspicuous for his enmity to the Karageorgević. With regard to Serbia's international standing we have the fact that in 1899-1900 it was impossible to arrange a loan of 40 millions at Vienna even though the entire railway system was offered as a guarantee; in a few years various loans, with relatively easy terms, were contracted for amounts of 90, 110 and 150 millions. One saw the peasant, who a short time before had sold his harvest while it was still green (zeleno) to the local usurer (hence called the "Zelenac"), now demanding every day by telegram via Belgrade or Smederevo the market prices at Antwerp. In 1895 Serbia had sunk to such depths that a Dalmatian leader said openly to a German journalist that the Yugoslav idea could only be realized by Bulgaria; in 1910 the "Narodna Odbrana" (or Organization for National Defence), that was not, as the Austrians alleged, a nursery for murderers but a patriotic body—it no doubt reminded the people of their brothers in Macedonia, the Voivodina and Bosnia, but at the same time urged them to cultivate the land more rationally, to visit the doctor rather than some old woman, to dress, sleep and eat in accordance with hygiene, and to take steps against illiteracy—in 1910 the efforts of the "Narodna Odbrana" had had such success that an inquiry, in which the French participated, found that out of a hundred recruits from a backward region 61 per cent. could read and write, 99 per cent. had some knowledge of the battle of Kossovo[198] and the reign of Dušan, while 82 per cent. could enumerate the provinces inhabited by their unredeemed brothers. The rise of Serbia was due to the happy direction that was now given to the virile spirit of the people; standing back to back in their own land, they were soon able to arouse the despondent hearts of their countrymen who languished under various tyrannies outside the national frontiers.

Those who in Old Serbia acknowledged their Serbian nationality were the constant victims of Albanian intolerance. One massacre followed another—that people which, according to some of its present champions, is mild and noble and misunderstood, with a particular aptitude for silver-work and embroidery—Miss Edith Durham asks that this poor nation should not be robbed of its country, its one ewe-lamb, which they love intensely and which, to everyone's admiration, they defend with great heroism; one cannot expect her, the Secretary of the Anglo-Albanian Committee, to refer to the numerous lambs, etc., which the Albanians, armed with machine guns, carried off in 1919 from a Serbian monastery near Tetovo; and in 1903 the Albanians, waiving their mildness, appear to have been more conspicuous in attacking others than in defending themselves. The monks of the old Serbian patriarchate of Peć were obliged to have Moslem and Albanian attendants, and it does not strike one as heroic when the monks themselves were murdered, so that the great monastery of Dečani had perforce to be served by Russian monks from Mt. Athos. Far distant, indeed, was the day when those Albanians, who called themselves, after a river, the Fani, went to the assistance of Dušan. They had been brought to a temporary standstill by the swollen waters of the Drin—"but," exclaimed one of their chieftains, "for a hero every day is good." They crossed the river and Dušan gave them the name of Mirditi, by which they are still known, "mir dit" signifying in their language "good day." Not only were the Serbs compelled to don Albanian raiment—the Orthodox priest who ministers to Djakovica had, in 1903, to put aside his Serbian head-dress on leaving his quarter of the town; when making an official visit his head-dress was Greek and always in the surrounding country it was Albanian. Mr. Brailsford found, in June[199] 1903, that the Serb peasants were tenants at will, exposed to every caprice of their Albanian conquerors; both at Peć, he says, and at Djakovica there was no law and no court of justice. In 1903 at Mürzsteg, near Vienna, Francis Joseph and the Tzar concluded their Macedonian reform scheme, this rather futile arrangement paying, as one might suppose, not much deference to the Serbs. In Bosnia also and in southern Hungary the Serbs were in a humiliating position.

But the Serbs in the little kingdom strove manfully to put their own house in order and to encourage their brethren. What is known as the "Pig War" was waged, with astonishing success, against the Austrian Empire; by sending her live-stock and meat overland to Salonica, her cereals down the Danube, Serbia managed to break down the barriers behind which the Austrians had intended to control her economic life. The measures adopted by Stojanović, the Minister of Commerce, were confirmed by the Skupština and enthusiastically supported by the whole people, regardless of the accompanying privations or of any bribes held out by the Austrians. Thus when the Austrians reduced the fares on their well-equipped Save and Danube vessels, these were still boycotted in favour of the Serbian boats. One morning at Šabac a civil servant had embarked on the Austrian ship, while everybody else was crowding on to the much smaller, slower and less cleanly Serbian rival. The civil servant was being vigorously hissed, when he shouted across to his compatriots that as he was an official he had a free pass and he thought it a good plan to make the Austrians consume, simply for him, a certain amount of coal.... The young men of the intelligentsia were not idle. Žerjav for the Slovenes, Krisman for the Croats, Yovanović and Nešić for the Serbs, were eagerly at work to bring about the union of the Southern Slavs. They had some sympathizers in Bulgaria, but that country was too much oppressed by Ferdinand and the Germanic influence. Both Žerjav and Krisman were destined to become Ministers in the South Slav Parliament, which of course does not yet include Bulgaria. Nešić, who was the diplomat of the Serbian movement, became Consul at Priština, took part in the Balkan War, for instance at the[200] siege of Scutari, as an artillery officer, and after some years found himself inside the town as Yugoslav Envoy. He is now Minister at Tirana, a delicate post which could not be in better hands. Ljuba Yovanović was the idealist whose work was to arouse his fellow-countrymen by articles and poems. In the war against Bulgaria he was wounded and in hospital contracted cholera. On the day of his death he wrote to a brother of Nešić, now one of Belgrade's leading lawyers; he was utterly grieved, he said, that brother-Slavs should have shed each other's blood, but he was certain that the day of union would come.


The first external result of Serbia's efforts was seen in 1905, when forty young intellectuals of Croatia, Dalmatia and Istria met at Rieka and, while accepting the union of Croatia with Hungary, called on the Serbian political parties to join them. Twenty-six Serbian deputies met at Zadar, endorsed this policy and formed with the Croats the Serbo-Croat Coalition, to which the Slovenes also subscribed. Francis Kossuth, the Magyar Opposition leader, welcomed with eloquent phrases the idea of an alliance between his party and the new Coalition; but when he came into power he forsook this attitude and exhibited the ordinary Magyar ruthlessness—he himself introducing a bill to make the Magyar language obligatory on Croatia's railways, and if a prospective Croat passenger did not know what name the Magyars had given to his old home and could not ask for a ticket in the Magyar language, he was told to stop where he was until he had acquired the necessary knowledge. In general, the Magyars had no reason to be dissatisfied with the sort of knowledge that the world had of them. In 1907, when a funeral pall was spread over the liberties of the Croats, Serbs, Slovaks and Roumanians in Hungary, Mr. Roosevelt, who was making his famous tour, gave many bouquets to "immortal Hungary," the "virtuous," the "chivalrous." The Serbo-Croats tried, by every possible method, to hold out against Buda-Pest. A Ban—Baron Rauch—was appointed with the special purpose of breaking the Coalition;[201] and when the Serbo-Croats obtained fifty-seven seats out of eighty-eight, although one-half of the electorate consisted of employees dependent on the Government, an order was issued proroguing the new Diet.

In fact the Austro-Hungarian authorities had resolved to suppress any Yugoslav union. To the Dalmatians, who were in need of schools, roads and railways, they said, "Show us first that you are patriotic subjects of the House of Habsburg." Necessities, as Hermann Bahr has pointed out[65] were thus turned into rewards, which were to be the fruit of years of toil....


The association of the Montenegrin Royal Family and the Habsburgs, which was to culminate in the barefaced treachery of Lovčen, may be said to have begun in the year 1906, when the two heirs, Francis Ferdinand and Danilo, met at Dubrovnik. A statement was issued, after a few days, which declared that Russia was far away and that Montenegro required the support of a Power whose help would be effective. If it had not been for the disasters of the Russo-Japanese War, Nikita would have found it much more difficult to direct his country in this manner. The Black Mountain had always thought of Russia as all-powerful; her defeat, when they could bring themselves to realize it, was to them as if the foundations of the world were rocking; in their dazed condition they agreed that it was well to have recourse to Austria. (When the Russian Minister at Cetinje protested, some explanation was given.) The financial details of the Dubrovnik agreement are unknown, but from what one does know of Danilo it is fairly safe if we assume that the whole benefit did not accrue to the Montenegrin Government. Danilo may in other respects have been an incapable young man—the advice of his unmarried sister, Xenia, was always preferred to his; in fact, her father had such confidence in this masterful woman with the pallid face and large, black eyes—the "femme fatale," as her enemies have called her—that he never gave an audience but she was present, either openly or behind a[202] screen. Danilo's incapacity, however, seems to have stopped short, as we shall see, at the procuring of cash.

In that same year, 1906, Montenegro's first Skupština assembled. Many people wondered why the autocrat bestowed a Constitution and a Skupština upon his subjects. They for their part—at least the great majority whose knowledge of the world was gained by looking at it from their mountain fastnesses—could never for a moment doubt but that the Montenegrins were the grandest and the noblest of the Serbs. Hour after hour of peace they spent, disdaining to do any work more arduous than smoking cigarettes and drinking rakia, and talking, talking ... they would relate to one another what their ancestors had done by way of cutting Turkish noses, and unweariedly they would announce how their own blood was undiluted and heroic. If Greater Serbia was to be created it was surely they who—but Nikita, their keen-witted ruler, was not so certain. The Karageorgevič were no longer being treated by Europe as outlaws; by his constitutional methods King Peter had not only effected vast and needed improvements in his country, but was gradually winning for himself and it, if not a general esteem, at all events the first approach to that condition which for so long had been lacking. And Nikita was uneasy. He must also have a Constitution in his country and a Skupština. Very well he knew that with the inexperience of his people, with their furious local rivalries and with his power of veto, he would not be greatly hampered by this Skupština. It would be a semblance of modernity.

Nikita had no intention of allowing himself to be put in the shade by the Prime Minister. Whether it was Tomanović, a kindly man of straw, or General Martinović, an upright soldier, or anybody else—their function was to execute the royal orders. The differences which separate one political party from another in a Balkan State, and separate them very often into frantically hostile camps, are wont to be minute as to their principles, for it is largely a question as to whether you are a devotee of this or of that statesman. Two of the three parties which existed in Montenegro down to the Great War were both grouped round the Crown Prince Danilo, and apparently[203] the sole difference between them was that no member of the Miuškević Cabinet had been in prison. To a western European it would be surprising that the kindred Radović party should also be on terms of close friendship with Danilo, seeing that it consisted of Nikita's dissatisfied relatives (one of these was Radović's powerful father-in-law) who disliked the new statute which limited the Royal Family to Nikita and his children. Danilo protected this party for personal reasons. As for the third political party, that of General Martinović, its principal plank was its opposition to the other two parties. Mita Martinović himself was not much of a politician; he was a sturdy friend of Russia. Of his rivals, Lazar Miuškević, a bearded, rather stout, medium-sized man, has a pious opinion of his own abilities, and is, or was, very proud of his friendship with Danilo. He need not be taken seriously, for he has no knowledge of administration, no political courage and no popular support. [During the Great War he was for a time the Premier, and after the War, when the other five ex-Premiers ranged themselves against Nikita, he stayed in Switzerland, where he tried for many months to make up his mind.] Andrija Radović, a middle-aged man, whose tall, athletic form is crowned with the head of a grave poet, was erstwhile a favourite of Nikita's. Being related to the Royal Family, Nikita called him his fourth son, and when, after the fatuous bomb conspiracy (of which more anon), Radović was lured back from Paris and sentenced to four years' imprisonment, it was not because he was in any way guilty, but on the ground that he knew what was going to happen and should have handed on the information. The real reason was that any party which was even to a mild extent in favour of reforms did not meet with the approval of the Gospodar. In his opinion it was necessary to reduce Radović to obedience; and Nikita used to try, without success, to force the innocent prisoner to beg for pardon. Since he declined to do so, he remained incarcerated with a large cannon-ball chained to his left leg. While he was in prison he corresponded with Danilo, and on being liberated was received by Nikita—they wept in each other's arms.

Nikita fancied he was just the man to govern a progressive[204] modern State. When he had the famous old warrior Pero publicly flogged by a criminal for having refused to degrade himself by flogging that same criminal, Nikita might plead that he was acting in the interests of discipline. When he confined his critics in the old Turkish fortress on the small, malarial island of Grimojuri, with the water oozing into the cells, he might plead that this was precisely the same curriculum as fell to the lot, at San Juan de Ulloa, of those who incurred the displeasure of Porfirio Diaz, the Mexican President—and Diaz had been almost worshipped (till his fall) by many Europeans. When Nikita drove one afternoon with friends of his to Nikšić and approvingly looked on while they destroyed the building and the whole machinery of Montenegro's weekly newspaper, which had departed from the paths of adulation—well, I see that his apologist, a certain Mr. A. Devine,[66] says that "in 1908 political passions resulted in the extinction of the organ of the political Opposition, Narodna Misao ("The National Idea")."

In 1908 there fell the blow of Bosnia-Herzegovina's annexation to the Empire, thus placing definitely under foreign sway the central portion and ethnically among the purest of that Serbian people which was already divided into seven different administrations or States. Russia was still enfeebled by the Japanese War, and although she and Great Britain protested against the annexation, Count Aerenthal was able to gather this booty. It would, however, be an exaggeration to say that Russia—apart from the ultra-patriotic Press—was violently excited. As M. Nekludoff, the able diplomat, explains,[67] his country was annoyed not so much at the Bosnian annexation as because there was for it no quid pro quo, no free passage through the Dardanelles. Poor Serbia was advised by the Great Powers to accept the fait accompli. She constrained herself to do so, but both she and certain folk in Austria were under no illusions as to the inevitable—a month after the annexation a Viennese newspaper announced that a conflict with Serbia and Montenegro could not be avoided. "The [205]longer we postpone it," said the paper, "so much the more will it cost us."

One gets very weary of hearing the phrase "Divide et impera," which always occurs at least several times in the course of an exposition of Austrian policy. But we are bound to say that this principle governed her behaviour when she stage-managed in 1908 the Zagreb high-treason trial,[68] which was to drive a wedge between Serbs and Croats, in 1909 the Friedjung case, as also the Cetinje bomb affair which was to, and did in fact, alienate Nikita from his son-in-law, the Serbian King.


The Zagreb trial was conducted by a man who gave a good impersonation of Mr. Justice Shallow. "There is nothing to laugh at!" he cried, when a Serb doctor was asked whether he did not refuse to wear cravats because of the resemblance of that word to Croat. The whole farce resulted, not as one might have expected, in the collapse of the prosecution but in thirty-one convictions, varying in length from five to twelve years. The Croats, however, had thwarted Austria's schemes. They remained true to the Serbs, acted as their counsel without payment and helped to support the families of the poorer prisoners. At the Friedjung trial this professor, an eminent historian, produced a series of photographs of documents which were subsequently shown to have been fabricated at the Austro-Hungarian legation in Belgrade; he wished to prove that a political club in that town was guilty of a most extensive plot involving the Yugoslav territories of the House of Habsburg. Among those whom these proceedings and those at Zagreb brought into European prominence were the Pribičević brothers, a very zealous family of Croatian Serbs, that is to say Croats belonging to the Orthodox Church. [The chief of these four brothers was Svetozar, a statesman whose Serbo-Croat Coalition party was, with the advent of Yugoslavia in 1918, to form the nucleus of the Democratic party. He then became for many[206] months the all-powerful Minister of the Interior, a man with the appearance of a bull-dog in whose veins is electricity. The vehemence of his methods of centralization is supported and opposed by his countrymen with an almost equal vehemence.] ... But to return to the events of 1908 and 1909—the result of these two trials was lamentable from the Austrian point of view. More success attended her efforts in Cetinje, for Nikita was intensely roused against his son-in-law, and the European reputation of Serbia was again dragged down to the level of the day which saw the murder of Alexander and his Queen. An individual called Nastić whom, according to Professor Friedjung, one could only touch with a pair of tongs, accused the Serbian Royal Family of attempting to blow up their picturesque relative, under whose roof, by the way, Princess Helen of Serbia, his grand-daughter, happened to be staying. The bombs were carried in an ordinary portmanteau to Kotor, where they were discovered. Those who believed that Nikita, the arch-intriguer, was using this method for discrediting the Karageorgević dynasty, can point to the fact that he never wanted a public trial, and it seems probable that Nikita—who was aware that a group of his young, discontented subjects was planning against him a demonstration, but nothing more than that, even though there are in the Balkans a certain number of people who incline to the throwing of a bomb when their British equivalents would write to the Times—it seems probable that Nikita may not only have stolen their thunder but have put the lightning in their pockets and have then indignantly revealed it. But the whole affair is wrapped in darkness and awaits the exploring of Austria's archives. The probability is that Aerenthal was at his work to demonstrate that Belgrade was a nest of vipers, so that Europe would not hearken to their protest when the time came for the House of Habsburg to smother them.[69] ... This[207] same Austrian police-spy Nastić had procured for Nikita a certain "revolutionary statue" which that personage made over to the Imperial authorities, for use against the Serbs at the Zagreb treason trial. This atrocious deed against his brother Serbs destroyed for ever the last shreds of Nikita's reputation.


Nevertheless he dreamed that from the mighty castle which looks down on Prizren he would rule the Southern Slavs; his eyes were ever turned towards the famous legendary land of Old Serbia. One essential was that he should be a king, and in 1910 with the consent of the Powers he assumed this title. The spider-webs of which he was so fond began to join Cetinje and Sofia, Cetinje and the mountains of Albania, while the master-weaver mitigated in his usual fashion the monotony of life in his poor capital. The Petrović have such a way with them that—if you do not happen to be one of their subjects—you are in danger of being disarmed. Thus when they were basking in the goodwill of Austria and when Nikita himself, in the spring of 1911, had been splendidly received at Vienna, so that on his return to Cetinje he was welcomed by the whole diplomatic body, save for the Russian Minister, Count Giers, and General Potapoff, the Russian military attaché, who were exhibiting their Government's disapproval, this appeared to Nikita a favourable moment for—as the Persians would say—blackening the face of the Austrian representative.

It was said by many of his discontented subjects that the King of Montenegro's great solicitude for his own personal affairs caused him frequently to be quite dull in recognizing other people's merit. But that day when he received the Austrian Minister he was so very much delighted with him that he there and then gave him promotion from the second to the first class of the Order of[208] Danilo. He had some months before conferred upon this gentleman the second class, with diamonds of paste, and when the Austrian now told the King of his appreciation of the honour being so profound that he had ventured to replace the other diamonds with real ones—"I am enchanted," said the King, "to see that we have such a real friend in you, and I propose to grant you," said the King, as he produced another star composed of imitation diamonds, "to grant you this, the most exalted class. Your Excellency has deserved right well of our beloved Montenegro. Give me back now that inferior decoration, and to-morrow, with due ceremony at eleven o'clock to-morrow," said the King with his paternal smile, "we will bestow on you what you deserve so richly, and it gives me every satisfaction, I assure you," said His Majesty.

The Malissori of Albania were also listening to the old man's blandishments. If they would revolt against the Turks—they were exasperated at the time against the Young Turk rule—then their families would be sheltered in Montenegro and their land, after it had been liberated, would be given independence. With the potent help of Ferdinand of Bulgaria the Turk was to be overthrown. But nothing came of all these plans; the Malissori were abandoned to the mercy of Constantinople.

However, in 1912 that which had been thought impossible was brought about: Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro were allied against the Turk. "Onamo, onamo!..."

"Yonder, yonder!—Let me see Prizren,
For it is mine—I shall come to my home...."

but Nikita, who had written these famous words and who had taught them to his people for a generation, had no cavalry—in the Montenegrin mountains they would have been of no avail—and thus, while his warriors were still some hours from Prizren, they had the mortification of hearing that the Serbs had entered it. With passionate desire they turned to Scutari. Nikita told them of the old Slav princes who were buried there—and to the simple-minded Montenegrins that seemed a good enough reason why 20,000 of them, the flower of the army, should lay down their own lives on the dreary hills that barred them[209] from the town. It was hardly necessary for Nikita to allude to the wealth that would be theirs if they could gain possession of this outlet to the Adriatic. There in the plain at the end of the lake was the glittering white town, and if they could have seen themselves as clearly and their own inadequate resources, they would have refrained from the attempt. The minarets of Scutari, raised like so many warning fingers, failed to warn them. Their equipment was such that munitions and other supplies were frequently carried up to the lines by women—on the Bardonjolt no less than eighty of these were killed and wounded in one day. When the Serbs in October pushed through Albania to the Adriatic they offered to assist in the taking of Scutari, but Nikita shook his head. And it was not until some time after this that he accepted the co-operation of three batteries of Krupp guns, which had been meanwhile taken from the Turks at Kumanovo. But the Montenegrin army was not only handicapped by its lack of resources; the Crown Prince, who commanded a division, actually instigated a revolt among his own men. He had promised the Austrian Minister, Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, that the Montenegrin army would not enter Scutari, and the Government could only put a stop to Danilo's intrigues by invoking the aid of General Potapoff. The Turks were not wasting their time; they employed Austrian engineers to strengthen the fortifications, and thus the task had become far more difficult when finally the Montenegrin Court party availed itself of Serbian reinforcements. In more ways than one they were badly needed by the brave but ill-disciplined soldiers. "It is wonderful," they said to Major Temperley,[70] "their troops do not fire until an officer gives the word." Primitive men and a venal commander—according to Dr. Sekula Drljevič, who was Minister of Finance and Justice, Prince Danilo is alleged to have remembered, just before his country's entrance into the War, that money could be made on the Vienna Bourse by judicious selling and, after the declaration of war, by purchasing. The professional financier who on this occasion, thanks to his knowledge of the Montenegrin royal plans, is alleged to have realized, with his friends, the sum of 140 million francs, was no[210] less a person than Baron Rosenberg, whose subsequent operations in Paris at the beginning of the Great War and in Switzerland during the War received the close attention of the French authorities.[71] These financial methods of Danilo's did less material harm, at any rate to his own people than the system he employed as a motorist; it was necessary that he should obtain the latest models, and it suited him that the Government, not haggling over the price, should take over his discarded vehicles. Similar hostages to gossip were given by Mirko, his younger brother; one remembers the smiles of the diplomatic corps at Cetinje when this young man dispatched, at the cost of the Government, a telegram of about 500 words to Austria, concerning a horse which he wanted to buy. Mirko, who died during the Great War in an Austrian sanatorium, was not one of those rugged and valiant Montenegrin mountaineers whom Gladstone and Tennyson celebrated; once when his father ordered him to come back from Paris, where he was copiously spending his country's substance on an actress with whom he had decamped, leaving his wife and several young children at Naples, he dutifully returned and settled down in his palace, a large, comfortable house outside Podgorica. Since it was less amusing than in Paris he remained in bed for most of the twenty-four hours; he would often spend an hour before dinner in superintending the removal of pictures from one wall to another, and having dined he would immerse himself in State affairs, which took the form of speculating as to when he and his heirs—Danilo being childless—would be called to rule over the great Serbian kingdom of Serbia combined with Montenegro. As to the fate of the Karageorgević dynasty, this was wont to vary from night to night, in proportion to the amount of wine that Mirko had drunk.

These events occurred in 1913, and in the same year the Montenegrins entered Scutari. It was not brought about by force of arms, but by some arrangement with Essad Pasha, the illiterate and clever Albanian who succeeded to the command of the town after Hussein Riza Bey, the Turkish leader, had been assassinated on[211] the threshold of Essad's house, where he had been dining, by a couple of the Pasha's men, disguised as women. Scutari was not to stay for long in Montenegrin hands; an International Force arrived, under Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, and took it over. One need scarcely add that the national sentiment of the Albanians moved the Powers at this juncture as little as it moved the Albanians.


We have seen that Prince Danilo, before flinging himself against the infidel Turk, is alleged to have transacted a little business on the Bourse—a former Montenegrin Minister of Finance says that he may well have netted between 25 and 30 million crowns—and his royal father, though his methods often had a tinge of mediævalism, was not the man to rush, like some old knight, in succour of distress. When Serbia was attacked in 1914 he refrained from flying to her side. Montenegro "stood up spontaneously to defend the Serbian cause: she fought and she fell," says Mr. Devine. There is not the least doubt but that the vast majority of Montenegrins would have acted in this fashion. To some degree they had deteriorated under the example of Nikita—"A fish stinks from its head," says a Turkish proverb; but when their brother Serbs were in deadly peril all else was forgotten. And they were bewildered and suspicious when the Skupština was summoned, seeing that the Constitution laid it down that the declaring of war was a royal prerogative. As practically every man was thirsting for battle—after all they were Serbs and[212] incapable of committing high treason against their brethren—they marvelled at the King's delay. But to the politicians his manœuvre explained itself; they recognized that Nikita had some secret arrangement[72] with the Austrians and that he wanted to tell Francis Joseph that the War had been forced upon him. From that moment he was playing a double rôle; a Serbian officer was chief of the Montenegrin staff. "They have placed my army under Serbian command," he told the Austrians. "So faithful was I," he said to the Entente, "that I even took a Serbian commander."

In view of the persistent pro-Nikita propaganda which subsequently reared its foolish head in Great Britain, it is as well to note what were the sentiments of the Montenegrins towards their own country and their brother Serbs, and on the other hand how they regarded Nikita. Alone among the Allies the Montenegrin soldier received no decorations either in the Balkan wars or in the Great War, and yet he had formerly been so proud of such recognition that it had often been carved upon his tombstone, and when for one decoration there were two claimants a duel was frequently arranged in order to decide which was to be the recipient. But Nikita's régime of corruption and intrigue caused these marks of distinction to be conferred more and more upon police-agents and such like, so that in the Balkan War, when the heroes could no longer be counted, when more than five standard-bearers fell one after another in carrying the same standard and when it was proposed to decorate en bloc the Kuči brigade, the soldiers refused to accept what had been so profaned.


On June 28, 1914, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was murdered at Sarajevo.

In the course of July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Government (wherein far more influence was exerted by[213] Count Tisza, the wealthy and incorruptible, the vastly ambitious Magyar Prime Minister, than by the Foreign Minister, Count Berchtold, the courteous, somewhat frivolous man of the world who was doomed to execute reluctantly the orders of Berlin and be swept away by the resulting storm, while the brave and brutal Tisza, fighting for the glory of the Habsburgs and the greater glory of the Magyars, rode upon the storm for years)—the Austro-Hungarian Government in July 1914 dispatched to Sarajevo a commissioner for the purpose of investigating whether the Serbian authorities had anything to do with the Archduke's assassination. This official, Baron von Weisner, a very distinguished Professor of Political Economy who was a German Bohemian[73] with staunch German sympathies, reported in the same month that he was convinced that no accusation whatever could be levelled against Belgrade. (As a matter of fact the Serbian police, who had information that a plot was being hatched in Bosnia, gave warning to the Austrian authorities; but no notice was taken of this, not even when a similar warning was uttered on June 21 by the Serbian Minister at Vienna, nor were any special precautions laid down for the Archduke's safety. It was all rather mysterious.) "Byzantium, the everlasting and unconquerable Byzantium," says an Austrian publicist,[74] "had won another victory.... The Habsburg Empire," says he, "only wished to defend herself against those invisible and irrepressible intrigues." And after denouncing the Serbs for throwing a spark into the powder barrel on June 28, 1914, he accounts for their conduct by writing that "it is the tradition of nomad blood to tear down ancient, noble palaces, replacing them by nomad huts." What we know is that General Potiorek, the Governor of Bosnia, who had urged Francis Ferdinand and his wife to continue their programme after the failure of the first attempt at assassination before lunch, was never invited to explain anything—unfortunately for [214]Austria he was placed in command of the "punitive expedition" into Serbia. Other incidents on which a light may some day be thrown were the very unceremonious funeral arrangements for the murdered couple (though this may very likely have been due to the High Chamberlain's personal hatred of the Archduke), and the fact that an Imperial Commission was sent to Konopiště, the Archduke's Bohemian estate, to seize his papers. It was there that he had lately been confabulating with the German Emperor; and Count Berchtold had visited the place on the day after the Kaiser's departure to try to ascertain what had occurred.... It was also at Konopiště that Francis Ferdinand, who was threatened with hereditary madness, had shot a gamekeeper dead. Knowing that the Archduke was as good a shot as he was insignificant in horsemanship, this had excited great attention in the highest circles, coming as it did after other scenes of violence.... In contrast with all these semi-mysteries it is clear that Serbia had nothing whatever to gain by the Archduke's disappearance, and although Austria had time and again endeavoured to pick a quarrel with her she had managed to avoid a situation which, after the two recent wars, would be perilous in the extreme. The Serbian Press, which enjoyed a complete freedom, was naturally violent in tone when it observed that the Austro-Hungarian Government was doing little to control the demonstrations hostile to Serbia. Houses of prominent Serbs were looted and gutted at Sarajevo, while similar scenes took place—with the connivance of the authorities—in other large towns of the Monarchy. But the Belgrade populace, uninflamed by their Press, conducted themselves with great moderation. The stories circulated in Austria-Hungary of several Magyar journalists having been murdered were absolutely false. Just as false were the rumours of a demonstration against the Austrian Minister at the funeral of M. Hartwig, his Russian colleague, although Serbian public opinion ascribed the sudden death of this powerful friend of theirs to a cup of poisoned coffee at the Austrian Legation. Hartwig has been criticized for his encouragement of Serbia's idea of expansion and for having fostered anti-Austrian propaganda—of course it was a very wicked thing,[215] from the Austrian point of view, to think of the day when the Serbs might be joined to their unredeemed brethren; and as for the blessed word "propaganda," which covers everything from the mildest expression of opinion to assassination, there has been no responsible Austrian so reckless as to accuse the Serbs or M. Hartwig of having had recourse to methods that approached in wrong-doing their own notorious (and unsuccessful) forgeries.

Let us address three questions to those who carried on a calumnious campaign against Serbia:

(a) Why was the Sarajevo trial conducted behind a closed door? If the crime was instigated and perpetrated by Serbia, the Habsburg Monarchy, which at the time of the trial had already declared war on Serbia, had every interest in establishing with all publicity the guilt and the complicity of Serbian circles.

(b) Why were the evidence of the witnesses and the declarations of the authors of the assassination not published? It was only in 1918 that the Austrian Government, with the help of a professor of Berlin University, published a few facts taken from the proceedings of the trial. Although in this book[75] a great deal of material importance has been omitted—for example, the declarations of the witnesses as well as the last declarations of the accused, nevertheless that which we have before us constitutes one of the most terrible accusations against the Habsburg Monarchy. The young accused persons were not afraid to state, even behind closed doors in a barrack-room, some bitter truths concerning Austria-Hungary. One can have some idea of what they would have said in a public trial from the results of the famous trials of Zagreb and of Friedjung. All the accused persons, as well as their accomplices, declared that the decision to kill the Archduke was an act of their own personal[216] will and that nobody incited or ordered them to make the attempt, least of all any authority of the Kingdom of Serbia. The crime was the personal act of Bosnian patriots who believed that they were serving their oppressed people. "In Bosnia," said the Minister Burian—"in Bosnia, there is no policy, there is only administration."

(c) Why did the Sarajevo police and Austro-Hungarian official circles conduct themselves so strangely with respect to the bomb-thrower Čabrinović, a notorious anarchist and son of a Sarajevo police spy, who had on a former occasion been expelled by the police from Sarajevo? Later on, after the Belgrade police had been obliged, owing to the intervention of the Austrian Consulate, to allow him to stay in Belgrade, he returned to Sarajevo and was quite unmolested by the police, whose precautions a few years previously, at the time of the visit of Francis Joseph, had gone so far as to expel, as suspected persons, two members of the Bosnian Parliament.

The sole charge that could be laid, not against Serbia but against a Serbian subject, concerned the relations of the subordinate officer Tankosić with the authors of the crime. It was asserted that he knew of the plan and that he helped the assassins to procure money and weapons. The accused definitely said that he exercised no influence on their decision, which had been taken before conversation with him. But even supposing that he was an accomplice, it is evident that the whole Serbian nation and especially the Serbian Government is not identical with an officer who, on account of other troubles with the Ministry of War, had already been removed from the active service list.[76] When the Austrian ultimatum was transmitted to the Serbian Government, Tankosić was immediately arrested, so that his guilt and complicity might be enquired into and established. Serbia could not do more than that. But the whole Serbian people, in Serbia and out of Serbia, was declared guilty of the crime, and[217] immediate steps were taken to carry out the sentence. The unprecedented atrocities committed by the Austro-Hungarian army in Serbia were to be the expiation of an imaginary crime, and such proceedings, which recall the times of Attila, are shielded by the illustrious name of the aforementioned Professor Kohler, whose reputation it was to be the most democratic of German jurists. All his previous theories on crime, causality and responsibility became void; we see him adopt the monstrous theory according to which every act of private persons is the responsibility of the whole nation.

It remained for Nikita, a man of Serbian blood, a man whose verses had been laden with love for the Serbian nation, it remained for this shameless Prince to charge his brothers with the crime. So implacable was the old man's hatred of Serbia that when President Wilson arrived in Europe he immediately wrote[77] to him, in his indifferent French, for fear, he said, lest the intrigues conducted by the Serbs or their accomplices should precede him in capturing the President's sympathies. "In spite of their perfidy," said he, "I was the first to lend them a hand by being the first to declare war against Austria, although I was certain that the provocation originated on their side by the Sarajevo murders and their Black Hand.... Horrible thought that this country refuses to realize the crime it has committed, for which it is responsible to mankind no less than William!"

At last, on January 5, 1917, the Neue Freie Presse acknowledged that Austria provoked the war with the intention of crushing Serbia. It is a formal and categorical confession. And it obliges us to consider seriously the[218] thesis put forward by Jules Chopin in Le Complot de Sarajevo (Paris, 1918), according to which the plot was hatched at Konopiště between the German Kaiser and the man to whom the plot proved fatal. Monsieur Chopin, after a minute examination of the facts and of grave presumptions, believes that Serbia was to be held up to the world as having provoked the war that was to consolidate the Monarchy and satisfy the Archduke's paternal ambitions. The army manœuvres were to be in Bosnia, the Archduke was to make his ceremonial entry into Sarajevo on Vidov dan, the day when the Serbs solemnly celebrate the battle of Kossovo, and Čabrinović, son of the Sarajevo police-spy, was to be assisted through the Chinese Wall which then encircled Bosnia. But what did not enter into the royal calculations was the possibility that other Southern Slavs, acting on their own initiative, might strike a real blow.


This period of Yugoslav history (from 1876 until the European War) was at the beginning much concerned with Macedonia. And so it was towards the end. Very wretched was the lot of the Macedonian Slavs—occasionally the Exarchists and occasionally the Patriarchists were in the ascendant, but while in religious matters the Greeks clung by all possible means to their ancient, privileged position, so the Turks maintained in secular affairs the sorry plight of their Slav raia. The Macedonian Slavs, when the rest of Europe began to listen to their cries, were not the most sympathetic of mortals—the more enterprising of them had abandoned the country, while the moral sense of those who stayed was grievously affected by the course of conduct which the presence of the Turk compelled. Europe was touched by the anguish of these Christians and did not inquire too closely as to the proportion of the virtues, often called the Christian virtues, which they cultivated. And it was undoubtedly a fact that their treatment left a great deal to be desired. The peasant was obliged to pay direct imposts in cash. There were taxes on landed property, on cattle, on sheep and on fruit-trees, tithes on every species of harvest[219] and a poll-tax to which only Christians were liable, amounting to ten shillings per annum for every male. To complete the exactions with a touch of irony, there was also an education-tax and a heavy road-tax for the upkeep of the indescribable highways. These taxes were not collected by Government officials, but were farmed out to the highest bidder, and so flagrant were the abuses of this system that it was not unusual for the villagers to cut down their fruit-trees in order to avoid the tax upon them, for the tax-farmer, against whom an appeal would be worse than useless, was wont to appear with gendarmes and estimate, according to his fancy, the amount of any crop.[78] Another tax very frequently imposed upon the helpless peasant was the tribute to some Albanian chief, who in return undertook to protect the village. And if the village was outside the Albanian sphere of influence it was usually obliged to have its own resident brigands, who might or might not be Albanians. Generally speaking, those villages were the least to be envied which were on the borders of Albanian territory: cattle were lifted, crops of corn or hay were carried off before they could be garnered, young men and old men were kidnapped and held to ransom; sometimes, says Mr. Brailsford, they were fettered and driven to the fields at sunrise with the cattle and were forced to work there until evening. Most of the villages in Macedonia were owned by a Turkish bey to whom the peasant was obliged to give a clear half of the harvest, besides a certain amount of labour on the bey's private farm and in his mill, as well as hewing wood for him and transporting his produce to the market without payment. It is not surprising that the Macedonian Slavs, whose labour brought them such inadequate reward, sank into very slothful habits. Thus at Monastir in 1914-1915, when the population had the choice of taking flour from the Serbian Government or else the British Consul's bread, which came from India, most of them—to save themselves trouble—preferred the bread, though with the Serbian flour they could have baked themselves just twice as much.... When Europe took up the Macedonian problem towards the close of 1902 there had been a considerable revolt, followed by[220] an outburst of official ferocity and the flight of some thousands of peasants. The Sultan, in the hope of forestalling any Russian interference, promised various reforms. But Russia and Austria proceeded to discuss what each of them would do in Macedonia, and one resolve was that they also, being the two "interested" Powers, would institute a scheme of reform. The Western Powers for a time abdicated their responsibilities and left the miserable Macedonians to the supervision of the two countries which, as they themselves said, were the least disinterested. Now and then the other Powers made a suggestion, as when Lord Lansdowne, who was in favour of autonomy, made in January 1905 a number of proposals which would have assisted the solution of the problem. But Austria and Russia would only accept a part of his programme. Their own programme, drawn up at Mürzsteg in September 1903, was plainly of a transitional nature. It announced to the different Balkan peoples that the end of their serfdom was approaching, and thus it accentuated their latent rivalries and hostilities. Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian bands ravaged the country.

"The Serbo-Bulgarian conflict," said Dr. Milovanović, a Serbian Minister of Justice, "has its origin exclusively in the chauvinistic circles of both countries. Macedonia is the battlefield." He said, very rightly, that the population of Macedonia was equally near to Serb and to Bulgar; but unhappily, in his efforts to establish a modus vivendi, he proposed that Macedonia should be divided between the two countries. Surely it is far better that it should become the common possession of Serb and Bulgar, the link joining them to one another. After Dr. Milovanović came the Balkan wars, of which the second utterly destroyed for many a long day his hopes of an understanding, since the experiences of the invaded Bulgars were generally very different from those recorded by the careful schoolmaster, Stavri Popoff, in his monograph, The Self-Defence of the Village of Ciprovci against the Serbo-Roumanian Invasion of 1913 (Berkovica, 1915). This isolated village in the mountains was defended by thirty old reservists, who possessed 100 guns and 15,000 cartridges. So pleased is their historian with the manner in which they held their own—the rocks which surround[221] Ciprovci are so many natural fortresses—that he tells us not only the names of the thirty warriors but those of the other inhabitants who carried milk and bread to the outposts. On July 14, a Sunday, there was an exciting battle, in the course of which the Bulgars suffered no human casualties, but lost to the Serbs 900 sheep and a score of cattle, and this, says Popoff, "made the women weep very much." As soon as possible a telegram was sent to the War Office at Sofia, asking for reinforcements, after which "their spirits rose to such a height that they felt they could resist anything." On July 26 the Serbs were again repulsed, but once more a number of sheep and cattle were carried off. In conclusion the author thanks "all those who morally and materially have helped and will help the cause," including the mayors of the neighbourhood.

If the second Balkan War had not left memories more bitter than at Ciprovci then the reconciling labours of those who follow Dr. Milovanović would be less difficult. In our own day Mr. Leland Buxton, working also for this union which eventually must come, suggests in his Black Sheep of the Balkans[79] that Macedonia should be made autonomous. But this would do no more than perpetuate the wearisome and fierce intrigues of which exponents can be always found in Balkan countries. Macedonia must become the common possession; and what could be more desirable than that one of these countries should administer the province in such a way as to attract the other country? Marshal Mišić was of opinion that the officials whom the Serbs, after the Balkan War, placed in Macedonia were too often not the kind of men whom wisdom would have chosen; but there was as yet a general eagerness to avoid being sent to those unalluring parts. The officials left behind them such unhappy recollections that the Serbian army, advancing through Macedonia in 1918, was received, as a rule, with something less than delight. Fortunately the Yugoslav Government was able, after these events, to induce a far superior class of officials to serve in Macedonia, though I believe the scale of remuneration is no higher than in the old kingdom. Men are selected who, in addition[222] to other qualities, speak the Turkish or Albanian of the district. "You can count on our moral and material support, on all that we now give to Turkey," said Mr. Balfour in 1903 to M. Svetislav Simić, the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who came as special envoy to London "if," said Mr. Balfour, "you can come to an understanding with the Bulgars on the one side and the Croats on the other." In many Macedonian places one finds that priests and schoolmasters—I have said this before but it will bear repetition—who officiated under the Bulgars have been confirmed in their posts. How very different is this from the policy of a few years ago when, for example, at Kriva (or Egri) Palanka there was considerable propaganda with respect to the school. While Macedonia was part of the Sultan's dominions there was, on the whole, more willingness of Serbs and Bulgars to provide a school than of the local population to frequent it.


A report of February 1901 says that in Rankovci three pupils came to the teacher's house; in April of the same year the attendance has been reduced to one pupil, who after coming regularly for a month decided to keep away. In 1906 the peasants of that locality prevented a school from being opened. At Kriva Palanka until the Balkan War the teachers came from Kustendil—but how far they were patronized I do not know. The three teachers from Serbia who appeared in 1909 seem to have spent their time in promenading the village. Not until after the Balkan War did pupils resort to them. In 1916 the same school taught Bulgarian. In 1918 the Serbian language was resumed. These changes were unfortunate for the child and still more so for the teachers, who were continually being chased away or hanged. And now at last one finds the Serbs so much in advance of what they and the Bulgars used to practise. Their ex-Bulgarian schoolmasters are mostly of Macedonian origin, so that it is not difficult for these gentlemen to give their instruction in the kindred Serbian language, using, of course, the local dialect. And we can look back with a smile to the[223] not very distant days when a zealous Serbian schoolmaster in Macedonia was wont, instead of prayers, to make the children repeat after him three times, every morning and every afternoon, "Ja sam pravo Serbin" ("I am a true Serb"). Likewise the Bulgar was so certain of the superiority of his religion that he deprived the Pomaks of their Moslem names, giving them for Abdulla such a name as Anastasius. The Pomak, unable to remember his new name, was handed a sheet of paper with a record of the matter; but very few of these people can read.


Gone for ever are the days of the Turkish censor when Danov, who sold at Veles and Salonica the schoolbooks which at first he wrote himself, was obliged to leave the name of Pushkin out of an anthology because of its resemblance to pushka, a gun. And, with their more civilized methods towards each other, we may be sure that the days have gone when a Serb at Kumanovo could compel Moslem children, before uttering the above-mentioned slogan, to cross themselves; while no Serbian bishop will find himself confronted with such a problem as that which in 1913 nonplussed the Bishop of Skoplje—certain Moslems had been, against their will, converted by the Bulgars to Christianity and they now requested the Bishop to undo what had been done. These days of religious intolerance are as distant as those mediæval ones in Bohemia when Roman Catholic nobles, many of them foreigners, succeeded after the Battle of the White Mountain to the estates of the decapitated Protestants and conducted themselves after the fashion of one Huerta, an ennobled tailor of Spanish origin, who drove the peasants of his district to Mass with the help of savage dogs.... In view of the strides which have been made in so short a time we shall have in Macedonia an example for the other Yugoslav lands. No longer then will anyone complain like that old couple at Niš who, on the arrival of the Bulgarian army in the winter of 1915-1916, announced that they were Bulgars. "But what can you do with our daughter?" they asked, "for she says resolutely[224] that she is a Serb, since she has been to the Serbian school." Both the Serbian and the Bulgarian people have, in the last twenty or thirty years, been through the severest school. Now, after an appropriate interval—some authorities say five and some say a hundred years—they will be fellow-citizens in Yugoslavia. The last serious conflict between them, which we will consider in the next chapter, has been waged.


[53] Of the three millions, which is estimated to have been the population of Macedonia at the time of the Great War, almost two millions were Slav, and it is to these only that we refer in using the term "Macedonians" in this chapter. Among the other inhabitants of the variegated province are Greeks and Turks and Circassians, Albanians (Tosks and Ghegs), Jews whose ancestors came from Spain, gipsies and Kutzo-Vlachs. A French observer said some years ago that Macedonia was a school of brigandage and ethnology. He said it was the prey of the Albanians and the professors—that is, of unconscionable savages and of laborious agents of all kinds of foreign propaganda. Even the Kutzo-Vlachs, which in Greek signifies "Limping Roumanians," made their propaganda, or had it made for them. Gustav Weigand, a German professor who devoted himself very thoroughly to this people, used to wish us to believe that the Aromunes, as the Roumanians of the kingdom call their Macedonian relatives—another name to which they answer is Tsintsares—are free from all Greek blood. But this is not the case; they have become very hellenized, although it is true that there are some who call themselves Greek and who, besides having no such mixture in their veins, cannot speak a word of the Greek language. According to circumstances—and very much like the Serbo-Bulgarian Macedonians—this people, who number less than 100,000, have been accustomed to proclaim themselves now Greek and now Roumanian. They are a good example of the bad effects of propaganda, and this, added to the Turkish domination and the perpetual exodus of those who could manage to escape, has left in Macedonia a population that is generally more unsympathetic than any other in the Balkans. One may wonder, by the way, why the Roumanians should have put themselves to so much trouble with respect to these more or less hellenized kinsmen of theirs, not merely giving them direct support, but subsidizing Weigand's institution at Leipzig. A great reason was that King Charles, the friend of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, aimed at diverting the eyes of his statesmen from the unredeemed Roumanians in Transylvania.

[54] But Macedonia is not the only part of Yugoslavia where a man's nationality varies. One Rejuka, for example, came to Veršac in the Banat. He was a Czech, but as at that period (1850-1860) everything German predominated, he preferred to be a German and sent his son to German schools. Then the boy learned Magyar at college and, long before he was appointed mayor, had become a Magyar. Thus we have three nationalities in two generations.

[55] Remarks on the Ethnography of the Macedonian Slavs. London, 1906.

[56] Quoted in Miss Waring's excellent little book Serbia. London, 1917.

[57] This famous archæologist and publicist has been a leading authority on the eastern side of the Adriatic for more than forty years. We refer on p. 184, Vol. II., to what befell him in 1918-1919.

[58] Russkoje Bogatstvo, 1899.

[59] Cf. p. 79.

[60] Détruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie, by Dr. Edvard Beneš. Paris, 1916.

[61] Cf. "Secret Treaties," in the Times, March 17, 1920.

[62] Cf. Die politischen Geheimvertrage Osterreich-Ungarns, 1879-1914, by Dr. Alfred Pribram. Vienna and Leipzig, 1920.

[63] Cf. Diplomatic Reminiscences, by M. Nekludoff. London, 1920.

[64] Cf. The Guardians of the Gate. Oxford, 1918.

[65] Cf. Dalmatinische Reise. Berlin, 1909.

[66] Cf. Montenegro in History, Politics and War, by A. Devine. London, 1918.

[67] Cf. Diplomatic Reminiscences. London, 1920.

[68] A very detailed and interesting account is contained in Dr. Seton-Watson's The Southern Slav Question. London, 1911.

[69] "That Austria, as some have stated, should have planned the coup," says Miss Durham (in her Twenty Years of Balkan Tangle) "is very improbable." This lady tells us that the plot was a very genuine one, "as I learnt beyond all doubt from my own observations," etc. And, needless to say, she denounces the Serbs, who in her eyes are a very criminal people. It is a pity that Miss Durham did not confine herself to the excellent relief work she was doing the Balkans. Her description of the travels this involved is interesting. But even her account of relief work is biased by a prejudice in favour of the Albanians and against the Slavs, for when she has occasion to speak of the famous Miss Irby, whose thirty years of untiring benevolence were spent among the Serbs of Bosnia and not among the Albanians, it is without a word of commendation.

[70] Cf. History of Serbia, by H. W. V. Temperley. London, 1917.

[71] Cf. Le Monténégro Inconnu, by Louis Bresse. Paris, 1920.

[72] An illuminating document was found, after the Great War, in the Austrian archives. It is a lengthy report sent from Cetinje on November 1, 1911, by Baron Giesl, the Austrian Minister, to Count Aerenthal, the minister of Foreign Affairs. Giesl puts down very vividly a conversation he has had with Nikita, who suggested that the Minister should go forthwith to Vienna with the purpose of preparing for a secret treaty. "I will do all that Austria desires," the King is reported to have said; "for instance, I will place under her protection the kingdom of Montenegro.... For years I have aimed at this and, in spite of all that has happened [the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina], I was preparing my people for this and putting Austria in a sympathetic light." The King promised that his army (whose numbers, says Giesl, he multiplied by two in this conversation) should act in perfect harmony with Austria's troops—they would, if need arose, assist each other. Baron Giesl appears to have irritated Nikita by his lack of enthusiasm for the scheme. "With Austria-Hungary, the King had said, "I must be frank and honest." But the Minister characterized his efforts as the throwing of dust in Austria's eyes.

[73] The average German-Bohemian was, in July 1914, anxious that Austria should go to war. These people calculated that if Austria proved successful it would be advantageous to themselves, while if she were defeated they would merge themselves in the German Empire.

[74] L. von Südland's Die Südslavische Frage und der Weltkrieg. Vienna, 1918.

[75] The Trial of the Authors of the Sarajevo Crime. Presented according to the documents by Professor Pharos, with an Introduction by Professor Dr. Joseph Kohler. Berlin, 1918.

[76] Cf. the admirably clear account in Dr. Lazar Marković's Serbia and Europe, 1914-1920. London, 1921.

[77] Cf. Ex-King Nicholas of Montenegro and his Court (Collection of eighteen original documents in facsimile). Sarajevo, 1919. "This collection of documents," says the Times (April 15, 1920), "goes far to dethrone the last of the Petrovich dynasty from his once picturesque position in the sympathies of Western admirers. Criticism directed against him during the Balkan wars fell on deaf ears; and the censorship to a great extent prevented the man in the street from realizing during the late War that an Allied Monarch was suspected of 'not playing the game.'" Mr. Ronald M'Neill, M.P., who loved to dance in front of Nicholas, informs us (in the Nineteenth Century and After, for January 1921) that "so far as the present writer has been able, after diligent endeavour, to discover, there never was any evidence whatever for the Serbian legend that King Nicholas was at any time during the War untrue to the Allied cause."

[78] Cf. Macedonia, by H. N. Brailsford. London, 1906.

[79] London, 1920.



How the Austrians waged warThe Serbian PrincesThe tactics of the Montenegrin KingThe Magyars and their prisonersThe Southern Slavs in Austria-HungaryHow the War raged in the winter of 1914-1915The Treaty of London, April 1915How Bulgaria came into the WarAttempt to buy off the SerbsGreek transactionsFlight of the SerbsThe faithful CroatsHow the Serbs came to their Patriarch's townThe shadow over MontenegroThe broken Serbs at CorfuThe Southern Slavs in the United StatesCash and the Montenegrin Royal family-The burden of Austria's Southern Slav troopsThe faithful ItaliansSouthern Slavs in the Austrian navyAdvance of the Allies in MacedoniaHow the Magyars treated their Serbian subjectsThe Southern Slavs pay part of their debt to the Habsburg Monarchy: (a) in Syrmia; (b) in Slovenia.


"Machen Sie Ordnung!" ["Put matters in order"] was the phrase used by Austrian officers in Serbia when they wished a non-commissioned officer to see that such and such Serbian civilians should be hanged or shot. Occasionally an accident occurred, as when a priest near Višegrad came to an officer with the request that his plum trees should be spared, since he had nothing else. This officer intended to be kind and, not knowing or forgetting the sense in which those three words were being used, he said to a sergeant, "Machen Sie Ordnung!" and the next morning a prominent citizen of Split, Count Pavlović, whose post in the Austro-Hungarian army was that of a provost-marshal, saw the priest, his wife and his three little boys hanging from the plum trees. It was and is the fashion to assert that the Austrian army was incomparably less brutal than the Prussian, so that some readers will be disinclined to believe a conversation[226] which Count Pavlović, particularly as he is a Yugoslav, once had at Donja Tusla in Bosnia with a certain Captain Waldstein, who between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. had sentenced nineteen people to be hanged. These people, by the way, were all over twenty years of age, so that each case had to be tried; persons under that age could, as we have seen, also be hanged, but not as the result of a trial. Pavlović approached the captain—his rank, to be accurate, was captain-auditor—and asked him how he had lunched after such a morning's work. "I felt," was the reply, "as if I had drunk nineteen glasses of beer." An Austrian army surgeon, Dr. Wallisch, who during the occupation travelled professionally in Serbia and wrote a good deal about it in Viennese papers and Austrian papers in Belgrade, said that "everywhere in this Balkan and patriarchal environment you see educational mansions and spacious barracks.[80] Does not this, better than anything else, show the criminal, premeditated hostility of the Serbs against our Monarchy? They have the longing to learn, which devours the ambitious, and likewise the wish to realise by force of arms this fantastic ideal of an over-excited national sentiment." Yes indeed, this was the ideal of King Peter, in accordance with the device of the poet, Aksentie Teodosijević: "Towards liberty, in the first place through learning and culture, then with arms." Very few people would be inclined to believe that the invading Austrians could be so petty as to burn all the schoolbooks they came across, and still fewer would credit the fact that Yugoslav patients with gold-filled teeth ran any special risk in Austrian army hospitals. Ivo Stanišić of the Bocche di Cattaro had fought with the Montenegrins and, in consequence of Nikita's capitulation, had fallen into the Austrians' hands. He was warned by his friends not to go into hospital, where his twelve gold teeth, which he had acquired in the United States, might prove his undoing. He did, as a matter of fact, die there, and the overdose of morphia—witnessed by the well-known architect, Matejorski of Prague—may have been accidental, and the Austrians who took his teeth out may have thought it foolish to leave so much[227] gold in a corpse. Another Bocchesi who underwent the same treatment was one Risto Liješević. Perhaps the Austrians do not deny these incidents, and considering the trouble which they gave themselves to have a long series of open-air brutalities officially photographed and made the subject of picture postcards, one presumes that the dental operations were omitted on account of the bother of indoor photography. The postcards, of which I have a large collection, place on record the procedure used in the wholesale hanging and shooting of Bosnian and Serbian civilians, young and old, men and women. More trouble was taken over the photographs, which are sometimes minute and sometimes artistic in depicting a row of gallows on an eminence with gloomy clouds behind them, than was taken with the manufacture of these gallows, for in many cases they were no more than a seven-foot stake, to the top of which the victim's throat was firmly fastened, holding his or her feet a short distance from the ground. We have in the London Press and in the House of Lords a number of reactionary persons who do not cease regretting the disappearance of Austria-Hungary. The new States, such as Yugoslavia and Czecho-Slovakia, they argue, are very unsatisfactory, if only for the reason that they substitute a lower civilization for a higher. Austrian culture, in their opinion, is so different from that of the new States that you cannot compare them. And when they talk of the Habsburg dynasty it is after the fashion of old Francis Joseph who, in 1891, when the four hundredth anniversary of the great Czech teacher Comenius was being officially celebrated in all the schools of Prussia, commanded that nothing of the sort was to be done in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, because his attention had been drawn by Archbishop Schwarzenberg of Prague to a Latin letter in which the great man uttered some sharp words concerning the dynasty. One is prepared to overlook a great many things which happened in the stress of war, but the postcards which portray fashionably dressed women and girls strolling between the gallows as if at a garden party and merely using their parasols against the sun, do not appear to leave any attributes for a civilization lower than that which they exhibit. The Bosniaks and Serbs who were[228] thus done away with were frequently even less to blame than those ignorant peasants who, being told by their priests that Peter was their King, shouted "Long live King Peter!" as the Austrian troops marched through their villages, and were forthwith hanged for high treason. "Whenever," says Euripides, "I see the wicked fall into adversity I declare that the gods do exist." At Trnovo twenty-eight were executed, including two women and at Palé, near Sarajevo, twenty-six, the Austrians killing all the old folk and the children who remained when the Montenegrin and Serbian armies retreated. Those who were not murdered on the spot had a period of imprisonment during which they were fed on white bread; but all that they were asked, prior to their execution, was their name, their father's name and their domicile. Thousands were interned—at Doboj between twenty and thirty died every day of illness or of famine. The fate of the abandoned children in Bosnia was such that when Dr. Bilinski, the Governor (afterwards Minister of Finance in Poland) was told of it he had the decency to weep. His informant was Madame Ćuk of Zagreb, so well known to British travellers; this lady was at the head of an organization which removed as many children as possible from Bosnia to other parts of the Dual Monarchy. The diet of grass, cow's dung and a kind of bread, chiefly composed of clay and wood-shavings and the bark of trees, gave to nearly all the children a protruding stomach; they were so weak that they would fall out of the luggage-racks of the railway carriages, and with 500-600 children in three waggons it was necessary to deposit some of them in the racks. At a place called Sunia it was the ladies' custom to have cauldrons of maize and water, as well as bacon, waiting for the travellers, but very often this food brought on a colic, so unaccustomed were the children to fats.[81] If the Austrians intended to put their Bosnian house in order by finishing off the population—"Machen [229]Sie Ordnung"—they made considerable progress. They had hoped, before the War began, to send a punitive expedition into Serbia that would finish off that insolent, small country. Delirious was the enthusiasm of the Viennese at the declaration of War. Fate was giving them the whitest of bread before their execution.

The Austrian statesmen did not embark on the War without taking certain precautions. Count Berchtold, on July 28, submitted for the old Emperor's signature the war declaration, which explicitly stated that the Government was forced to protect its rights and interests by recourse to arms, the more so as the Serbian troops had already attacked the Imperial and Royal soldiers at Temes-Kubin on the Danube. After the Emperor had signed the declaration of war in this form, Count Berchtold struck out the reference to a fight at Temes-Kubin, and sent a letter to Francis Joseph explaining that he had taken it on himself to eliminate this sentence as the reports had not been confirmed. "It is clear," said the Arbeiter-Zeitung,[82] commenting on the Austrian Red-book which revealed this affair, "it is clear that the fight at Temes-Kubin never occurred, but was simply invented by Count Berchtold. That arch-scoundrel not only deceived the people, but also the Emperor. The destiny of the world depended upon whether an eighty-four-year-old man permitted himself to be deceived. For such a crime Berchtold must certainly be sent to prison, or, more justly, to the gallows."

If the punitive expedition into Serbia had been less disastrous, it would perhaps have been accompanied with less barbarity—though the Austrian army was handicapped, owing to the large number of aristocratic, and presumably more gentle, officers who found themselves unable to leave the War Office and similar institutions in Vienna. Yet the Austrians seem to have determined how to act before they came. A special branch of the army occupied itself with the stealing, packing and dispatching of cameras, engravings, ladies' garments, etc. etc.—numerous lists were accidentally left behind in Belgrade, and every sheet at the top left-hand corner was stamped[230] with the words "Sammlungs-Offizier" (i.e. Collection-officer). I do not know what knowledge and what skill are necessary before this rubber stamp is conferred upon a man. Did the Imperial and Royal authorities regard him as a non-combatant? The "Sammlungs-Offizier" might resent such a classification if in private life he had been a courageous burglar. And the Imperial and Royal army, according to certain "Instructions for the conduct of troops" which were found on a wounded officer of the 9th Army Corps, had resolved—irrespective of success or failure in the War—to massacre the Serbs without compunction: "Any person encountered in the open, and especially in a forest, must be regarded as a member of a 'band' that has concealed its weapons somewhere, which weapons we have not the time to look for. These people are to be executed if they appear even slightly suspicious"; and another paragraph says that "I will not allow persons armed, but wearing no uniform, whether encountered singly or in groups, to be taken prisoners. They must be executed without exception." The Austrians knew very well that the Serbs had not received their new uniforms, and that at least one-third of their army was obliged to take the field in ordinary peasant's dress.[83] The fact that the Austrian invasion of north-western Serbia came to such an ignominious end before September is no reason why so large a number of women, children and old men were, as is very well authenticated, cut to pieces, burned alive, despoiled of their eyes, their noses, disembowelled, and so forth. One expects a certain amount of licence from the baser elements of an invading army; but in Serbia—perhaps because this was a punitive expedition—it seems to have been the Imperial and Royal officers who egged on their men.... I have tried, from the Austrian records, to ascertain whether any comparable outrages can be laid at the door of the Serbs. And there is one incident which utterly disgraces some of their Montenegrin brothers: the men of Foča in Herzegovina joined the Montenegrin army when it penetrated to the neighbourhood of Sarajevo. When it was thrown back the Foča comrades—Yugoslavs, of course, and guilty of high treason against Austria—accompanied[231] them to Montenegro; and later on some Montenegrin officers denounced the people of Foča to the Austrians, with the result that fourteen of them were hanged.

On August 24, 1914, after twelve terrible days, the Austrians were dislodged from Šabac and flung across to the northern bank of the Save. More useful to the Serbs than their 6000 prisoners were the 50 cannons and over 30,000 rifles, for the Serbian troops had entered the War with such scanty equipment that many of the regiments with an effective strength of over 4000 men possessed only 2500 rifles. The armed soldiers went into action, while the unarmed waited in reserve, springing forward as their comrades fell, and taking up the weapons of the fallen to continue the fight. Here occurred an incident of which the hero was a boy. He had run away to the army and, to his vast delight, been made a standard-bearer. When an officer perceived that he was continuously exposing himself he told him to hide. "No one will see you," said the officer. "But," answered the boy, "the flag will see." And he was killed. Many of the dead or wounded Austrians were Southern Slavs who had not been able to surrender to their brothers; they were often found with all their cartridges intact, and with their rifles made incapable of shooting.


One of the first results of this victory was the invasion, by Serb and Montenegrin troops, of Bosnia. They succeeded in penetrating to within a few miles of Sarajevo, and there they were held up not only by the encircling forts but by the scarcity of their ammunition, for the Russian supplies had not yet come through. "Your Royal Highness," said a corporal one day to Prince George, the impetuous young man who had resigned his position as heir to the throne and was at this moment far more congenially occupied as the chief of an irregular band in the mountains, "we have no more ammunition," said the corporal. "Each man has a knife?" asked George. The corporal nodded. "Then let us go on." The Prince has a great wound across his breast, from one[232] side to the other. He is very much the descendant of Kara George; he dislikes making a secret of his opinions. King Peter, who was present at the inauguration of the Belgrade synagogue, always refrained from entering the Roman Catholic Church, since it was included in the buildings of the Austrian Legation. His elder son was not averse, when relations were strained, from taking an enthusiastic part in anti-Austrian demonstrations, so that the Austrians were delighted to spread a report that this ebullient youth had killed his orderly and must be set aside from the succession. The truth was that George happened to catch this orderly reading a private letter of his; in a sudden fit of rage he struck him a blow, even as Kara George would have done—unluckily the man rolled down some steps and from the resulting injuries he died. A good many Austrian and German writers have said that George is mad; he is certainly less fitted to govern Yugoslavia than is Alexander, his brother. One remembers George, so dark and lean and hawk-eyed, traversing the broad Danube at Belgrade in a most original fashion; as the blocks of ice swept along he made his horse leap from one of them to another. And one thinks of that more patient prince, Alexander, poring for hours over papers of State, gazing up a little wearily through his glasses, wondering for month after month whether the crisis between Government and Opposition in Yugoslavia will ever be solved. George will seek relaxation in driving a motor-car as if the Serbian roads were a racing track; Alexander's relaxation is to hear a new musical play, then to go home and repeat the whole score by heart on his piano.

All through the War Alexander, the Prince Regent—for King Peter felt himself, on account of his age and his rheumatism, unequal to anything save the personal encouragement of his soldiers in the trenches[84]—throughout the War Alexander was with his army. In his eloquent proclamations one sees the student; on the battlefield[233] he conquered his shyness. And now he is a truly democratic King, at whose table very often is some non-commissioned officer or private whose acquaintance he has made in the War. He asked the man to come and see him one day in Belgrade, so that the royal adjutants are always busy with this stream of warriors. The men are well aware that their own peasant costume, with the sandals, is admissible at Court—even at a ball you see some fine old peasant, who is perhaps a deputy (and who does not, like a certain Polish Minister of recent years, remove his white collar before entering the Chamber). You can see him in his thick brown homespun with black braiding, breeches very baggy at the seat and closely fitting round the legs; as he comes in he knocks the snow from off his sandals, and strides, perfectly at ease, across the Turkish carpets. With such a man the King loves greatly to go hunting; last winter in the Rudnik region the inhabitants were being plagued by wolves, so the King went down there with some officers and peasants. Though he is so short-sighted that he constantly wears glasses—if you met him casually you would suppose that this keen-faced young officer was probably a writer of military books—though he is short-sighted he is one of the best shots in Europe. On the Slovenian mountains he has brought down many chamois and, before he succeeded, at a summer resort in Serbia he was always first at target practice. Nor is he less skilled at cards, particularly bridge. He gathers round him the best players in the town. Such are his relaxations after the long round of audiences and hours of other work. During the day he will have very likely undertaken to pay the expenses from his own pocket of another Serbian student, at home or abroad. So many of them are his pensioners. And it may be said without flattery that in the pursuit of knowledge he affords them an example. His subjects number about 14 millions, but when in conversation I happened to allude to a remote border village, his subsequent remarks made me wonder whether he had just been reading an article about the chequered history of that little place. He is, in fact, like his late grandfather of Montenegro, the father of his people. But they have different ideas about the duties of a father; and while Nikita's laugh was pretty[234] grim, the deep whole-hearted laugh of Alexander takes you into the sincere recesses of the man.

During the Bosnian offensive there was launched an expedition over the Save into the goodly land of Syrmia, one of those Yugoslav provinces of which the Austro-Hungarian Empire was to be stripped. This expedition had a varying success, for the assault that was attempted in the neighbourhood of Mitrovica was not skilfully conducted; and the Serbian army, for the first time in the War, was worsted. Then troops in Bosnia, just before the grand attack on Sarajevo, were thrown into confusion by an order from the Montenegrin King who, without vouching any reason, called his army back. The Serbian troops had no other course than to retreat as well; and their enemies delivered, all the rest of September and throughout October, a tremendous thrust against the army that was shielding Valjevo. The Serbs, who were lamentably short of arms, munition, clothing and every sort of hospital equipment, did not care to think of the approach of winter. They hurled themselves against the Austrian swarms—and up to this period they had lost, in dead and seriously wounded, more than 130,000 men.


The co-operation between Serbs and Montenegrins for the Bosnian campaign was the occasion of some of Nikita's usual devious diplomacy. He summoned, as we have seen, a superfluous Skupština, whose resolutions would enable him to go to Francis Joseph, his secret ally, with a tale of force majeure. And he telegraphed to his grandson, the Serbian Prince-Regent: "My Montenegrins and myself are already on the frontiers, ready to die in the defence of our national independence." While his ill-equipped warriors pushed on to Budva, arrived before Kotor, seized Foča, Rogatica and other towns, pressing on until they stood before the forts of Sarajevo, the disreputable Royal Family, jealous as ever of Belgrade, were plunging deeper and always deeper into treachery. The Serbian officers, General Janković and Colonel (now General) Pešić, who, mainly at the instance of Russia, had been sent to reorganize the Montenegrin army, saw themselves[235] hampered at every turn by the Court clique at Cetinje. Janković, finding that orders were given without his knowledge, returned to Niš; and later on, after the fall of Lovčen, Nikita tried to foist upon Pešić the odium of a surrender which his own machinations had brought about.


As one might have expected, the withdrawal from Bosnia was followed by a repetition of the reign of terror in that beautiful land of woods and villages, where the Imperial and Royal authorities had been engaged for years in showing foreign journalists exactly what they wanted them to see. There had been some doubt as to whether Bosnia-Herzegovina came under the crown of Austria or that of Hungary. The Magyars had been gradually getting the upper hand in the administration, and now, in the autumn of 1914, it was they who undertook to deal with those subjected Bosniaks. Again we are furnished with evidence galore, not this time by picture postcards but by the cemeteries at Arad, the Hungarian (now it is a Roumanian) town on the Maroš. It was in the casemates of the Arad fortress, many of which had not been opened from the days of Maria Theresa, that thousands of poor Bosniak civilians were interned. In one of the cemeteries I counted 2103 black wooden crosses, in another between 600 and 700, in another about a thousand. These dead witnesses are more eloquent than the living. "On October 31, 1915," says an inscription on a cross in the largest cemetery, "there died, aged 95, Milija Arzić." She may have been a fearful danger to the Magyar State. Cross No. 716 says merely "Deaf and Dumb," so does No. 774. Jovan Krunić, No. 706, was 1½ year old. There are children even younger. The Magyars seem to have applied to Bosnia that label which the monkish mediæval map-makers applied to the remoter peoples: "Here dwell very evil men." If, however, the commandant, Lieut.-Colonel Hegedüs—a magyarized version of the German held, which means "hero"—and his subordinates, Sergeants Rosner and Herzfeld, would claim that they did their best, they have some excuse in the fact that although the 10,000 interned people began to arrive[236] in July, the first two doctors—who were also captives—did not appear until January 1915. In the absence of medical advice the sergeants may have thought it was an excellent plan, in November, to drive the prisoners into the Maroš for a bath and then to walk them up and down the bank until their clothes were dry; Hegedüs may have thought it was most sanitary to have dogs to eat the corpses' entrails and sometimes the whole corpse. Dr. Stephen Pop, a Roumanian lawyer in Arad (afterwards a Minister at Bucharest), displayed his humanity by drawing up a terrible indictment of the conditions. "You should be glad," said Tisza, the reactionary Premier, to him, "very glad that you can breathe the free air of Hungary." The casemates were provided with less than three centimetres of straw, which was not removed for months. Spotted fever, pneumonia and enteritis were the chief epidemics: those who were guilty of some offence, such as receiving a newspaper, would be put among the spotted fever cases. Sometimes the dead were left for two or three days with the living. Such was the state of the bastions and their underground passages that the Magyar soldiers came as rarely as they could manage. It was, said Hegedüs, a provisional arrangement to have about a thousand people in one of these passages or lunettes, with no lavatory. But it was not only the nonagenarians—several of whom were at Arad—that found their life was a very provisional affair. You could be killed in different ways: the dying were occasionally wrapped in a sheet and rocked against a wall. When they groaned the soldiers laughed, and said that this was "Cheering King Peter." In fact the Magyars behaved with rare generosity to their prisoners, we are told in the Oxford Hungarian Review (June 1922), by Mr. Aubrey Herbert, M.P., a gentleman who persists in writing of that which he does not know. A woman called Lenka (or Helen) Mihailović, who had kept the canteen in the fortress during fifteen years, was expelled in January 1916 for having helped to clothe some naked children. People used to give Rosner, the sergeant, a tip in order to be allowed to visit the canteen. Their ordinary food was the reverse of appetizing. Constantine, the son of Ilja Jovanović, a boy who used to be employed at the fortress (and who had not been permitted[237] by the Magyars to learn his own language), saw the children being fed, very often, on salt fish—no matter whether they were ill or not—and sometimes on the intestines of horses. The Serbian grave-diggers used to cook themselves a dish of grass, salt and water. They were too weak to work, and they had work enough: on February 1, 1915, for instance, twenty-nine people were buried. A certain captain (afterwards Major) Lachmann, an Austrian officer, arrived in Arad and heard the apprehensions that an epidemic might spread from the fortress. This had, in fact, been debated by the town council; and Lachmann was eventually responsible for a commission of inquiry. But Hegedüs, although he was degraded and condemned to prison, made a successful appeal, for his father-in-law was a field-marshal, one Pacor.

A few improvements were made in the casemates towards the end of 1917, as a Spanish commission was expected. But it never came. Some of the long galleries have, since the Armistice, been furnished with windows and electric light; but about four months after the Armistice I found them full of dead flies and heavy with an abominable stench. Amid the débris were many lamps, such as one uses in a mine. There was a proclamation, dated 1918, which tried to lure deserters back; it promised that no punishment would be inflicted on them if they should return, but that robbery or murder would meet with capital punishment, either by shooting or by strangling. The floor was littered with all kinds of paper, with scraps of furniture, a few chains and some prison books, which dated back for years. These gave details of all the punishments and were written in a very ornamental script, as though the clerks had taken a pleasure in their work. The Arad fortress had been partly used as a prison for a long time; but Misko Tatar, a Magyar, who stayed there sixteen years for having murdered his fiancée, his mother and his sister, as well as one Kocian, who remained for more than eighteen years—he had murdered the proprietor of a canteen, his wife and child in the Bocche—and Rujitatzka, a Croat, who together with another man had been accused of theft, had killed their escort and thrown his body into the Danube—none of these culprits could remember having heard of such[238] punishments as the Bosniak civilians had to bear. The iron ring from which people used to be suspended for a couple of hours could still be seen on a large tree. If the relatives or friends could pay a fine this penalty was discontinued. Another method was to fasten a man's right wrist to his left ankle and the left wrist to the right ankle. He would then be left for a week; every night a blanket was thrown over him. But there is something very strange in the composition of the Magyars. When the revolution broke out and the prisoners, after all the years of horror, were gaining their freedom, an acquaintance of mine, a certain Gavrić, whose job for three and a half years had been the comparatively pleasant one of cleaning boots, was on the point of leaving the prison. There he was met by the director's daughter. "And you an intelligent person!" she said. "Are you not ashamed of yourself?" The Hungarian newspapers wrote that Hegedüs was dead, which may or may not have been true; and in another paper, The Hungarian Nation, printed in English, in February 1920, the Rev. Dr. Nally said: "May we not still cling to the hope that chivalrous England will give a helping hand to the nation whose weakness is that she is too chivalrous?" One Englishman—whom the reader may or may not consider worth quoting—is with the Magyars. "No country," says Lord Newton,[85] "treated their prisoners of war so well as the Hungarian, and I know it, because looking after prisoners of war was my job." "My husband," says Lady Newton,[86] "had interested himself in their cause"—of "this delightful race," she terms them in the previous sentence—"and had been able to do their country some slight service, and for this they simply could not sufficiently show their gratitude towards ourselves. From the prince to the peasant the Hungarian is a grand seigneur, with all the instincts of a great gentleman and the manners of a king." May I mention that at the same time, I believe, as Lord and Lady Newton were being entertained, a poor Slovak was being differently treated. Having left his home in Hungary to serve in the Czecho-Slovak army, and having settled in Czecho-Slovakia, after the War he got word that his [239]mother was dying. He thereupon applied for and received a Hungarian visa, and on entering that territory he was arrested! A long time afterwards the Czecho-Slovak Legation at Buda-Pest was vainly trying to have him liberated.


From the beginning of the War the Imperial and Royal authorities had been exasperated by the Southern Slavs within the Empire. A few extracts from the archives which, after the end of the War, were found at Zagreb, will be of interest:


[In Serbo-Croat:] Telegram from the Commander of the Balkan Army, received in Zagreb, 3/10/1914

[In German:] His Excellency the Ban Baron
Skerlecz, Zgb
. [Zagreb].
sss. Tuzla, 387, 146, 2/10/05.

Res. No. 817/ok. Investigation by Lieut.-Field-Marshal Szurmay has demonstrated that our soldiers have been shot at from houses in Bežanija to the west of Semlin and that enemy troops have been given shelter. In accordance with the request of Lieut.-Field-Marshal Szurmay I urgently request that all male inhabitants over fifteen years of age shall be evacuated from this place and from all others in which similar incidents have occurred, that measures be taken without delay in the interior of Croatia, and a stern examination be carried out in association with the Zagreb military command as also with the Army group command of Petrovaradin, acting in conjunction with the Government Commissary Hideghethy. Guilty persons are to be handed over to the military court for legal treatment.

Identical copies to the Ban of Croatia, Slavonia and Government Commissary Baron Tallian and, for his information, to Lieut.-Field-Marshal Szurmay as well as to the Army group command of Petrovaradin.

Potiorek, Field-Marshal.


Imperial and Royal ArmyDirector of
Supplies and Transport

K. No. 114.
To the Royal Government Commissary
Brcko, on the 12th September 1914.

I have the honour to inform you that during these last days the railway near Mitrovica has been damaged by the artillery of the Serbian army, which would be almost incredible without signals made by the local population, and moreover that between Ruma and Indjija—that is to say in a part occupied by our troops—the permanent way has been injured, which in all probability was done by the people of that district.

These events and anyhow the general atmosphere in Syrmia make it necessary to take the most energetic steps, as indicated in the orders of the Imperial and Royal Prime Minister No. 6538/1914 and of the No. 913 of 1914.

Imperial and Royal 5th ArmyDirector of
Supplies and Transport

K. No. 114.


Imperial and Royal Military Command in Zagreb.

Press Bureau, No. 2590.
To the Higher Command of the Army.
Higher Command of the Balkan Front.
Royal Military Press Bureau.

Zagreb, November 2, 1914.
/Ceteris exmissis./

"Thousands of loyal officers and men have fallen victims to the treachery that has penetrated so deeply into the Fatherland and is directed against our enthusiastic, brave and heroically fighting army. It is evident from all the reports of the wounded that no one has been afraid of the enemy troops, but rather of treachery which comes upon them from the front, the left, the right, the rear, from trees and from houses." ...

"Through treachery the foe was and is still made[241] acquainted with every movement of troops, the enemy artillery is helped in every way through signals, so that it can direct upon us a fire that falls like lightning. Light signals, smoke signals, positions of church tower clocks, herds of cows, flocks of geese, imitations of the noises of animals, yellow and black flags, etc. etc., have indicated the strength and movements of troops." ...

Scheure, Lieut.-Field-Marshal.


Imperial and Royal Military Command in Zagreb.

Press Bureau, No. 3050.
The Spreading of Disquieting News
among the Population.

To His Excellency the Imperial and
Royal Secret Councillor Dr. Ivan
Baron Skerlecz
, Ban of the Kingdom of
Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia.
Zagreb, November 26, 1914.

[This document, signed by Lieut.-Field-Marshal Scheure, draws attention to a secret society in Zagreb which from the beginning of the War is said to have been circulating false reports, not only with reference to "the most incredible news of our troops being defeated," but also as to the attitude of neutral States and of our own tried and excellent commanders, who are said to "have practised treachery, followed by suicide." The Ban's attention is directed to the introduction of hostile newspapers, and he is asked to have the foreign consuls in Zagreb discreetly watched. He is also told that in Zagreb the bank officials are said to have discouraged the citizens from investing in war loans.]


Imperial and Royal Military Command in Zagreb.

Press Bureau, No. 3297.

[Another note to the Ban, dated December 10, 1914, on the same subject. It is recommended that the persons chiefly responsible for these false reports be apprehended and interned, either on the charge of espionage or on account of having agitated. The Government is asked[242] by the military command to have all such reports assembled, together with an appeal to loyal citizens, in an article which every newspaper should print twice, in successive numbers. At the same time all the newspapers should be told to print inspiring articles, and an article of this kind should be sent in for approval by the Government and the military command. The signature at the bottom of this note is undecipherable.]


Imperial and Royal Military Command in Zagreb.

Press Bureau, No. 841.
Zagreb, February 1915.

[This is a long and conscientious exposé by the military commandant of Zagreb of the political situation there and in Croatia generally. He mentions that when in June 1913 several men deserted from the 4th company of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, which belonged to the 8th Mountain Brigade, it was not thought to have any special significance. "When," says the writer, "I happened to express my astonishment that Croats should desert to Serbia, I received the following answer: 'The Croats are loyal, but the Emperor does not care for us; the Magyars do not understand us and we also do not wish to become Magyars. Therefore the Croats turn to the Serbs, who at least understand their language.' At that time," he continues, "I did not understand these words, but now that I have become more acquainted with this country, I see that they reveal everything. Alas, so many Croats have adopted this popular logic and seem to incline to the Serbs."

He explains that harmonious relations did not exist between the military command and the local government, since the former acted without taking into account the political position of any individual, while the latter acted in the reverse fashion.]


In the winter of 1914 the Serbian army had been obliged to withdraw, leaving Valjevo to the Austrians.[243] The retrograde movement had to continue; Belgrade was abandoned at the end of November, and the people from those northern and western parts of the country could not resign themselves to waiting for the enemy, after the manner in which he had behaved. Terror-stricken fugitives began to block the roads and to impede the movements of the army. Everywhere was panic. It is remarkable that the Serbian Government at Niš chose this time (November 24) for making to the National Skupština the first Declaration[87] that they proposed to carry on the War until "we have delivered and united all our brothers who are not yet free, Serbs, Croats and Slovenes." (Later on when old King Peter after many trials managed to reach Durazzo he was given a few hours' notice in which to leave that place; he was also thrust out of Brindisi by the Italians because he declined to repudiate this Declaration.) "Machen Sie Ordnung" would soon be heard. Even the army, unaccustomed to defeat, was losing its self-possession. Putnik, the revered old strategist, declared that he could do no more. No longer in his over-heated room, struggling with asthma, could the famous marshal evolve a plan. And then it happened that General Mišić, placed in command of the first army, determined, after studying the situation, to risk everything on a last throw. Mišić was a quiet, methodical little man, whose optimism was always based on knowledge—in the intervals between Serbia's former campaigns he had won distinction as Professor of Strategy. He now caused 1400 young students, the flower of the nation, to be appointed non-commissioned officers; he likewise produced a most brilliant scheme of operations, so that the whole army was fired with enthusiasm, and so irresistibly did they attack that by December 13 not a single armed Austrian remained in the country. Ernest Haeckel, the great professor, had said at Jena that the native superiority of the German nation conferred on them the right to occupy the Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia, excluding from these parts the weaker and inferior peoples who were living there. On December 15 King Peter made a triumphal entry into Belgrade—a[244] Hungarian flag which had floated from the Palace was employed as a carpet on the steps of the cathedral when the King proceeded thither with his generals to give thanks for the miraculous success of Serbia's army. Once more the famous little town, the "white town" that is throned so splendidly above the plain where two wide rivers meet, was in possession of the Serbs. Against this rampart many human waves have broken—Attila and his Huns encamped on the plain, the Ostrogoths appeared, Justinian built the city walls, then came the Avars and Charlemagne and the Franks, the Bulgars, the Byzantines, the Magyars. The white town, Beli Grad or Beograd, which we call Belgrade—Wizzenburch was the old German name—has a glorious past and surely a magnificent future.

When the Serbs came back to Belgrade in December 1914, the total of Austrian prisoners was more numerous than the Serbian combatants. But 35,000 of these prisoners, together with 250,000 Serbs of all ages and 106 Serbian and Allied doctors, were now to succumb to the plague of typhus, which the Austrian troops had carried from Galicia. Hospitals were hurried out from France and Great Britain; heroic work was done by women and by men; doctors operated day and night—in the hospitals the patients were so closely packed that it was impossible to step between them.

"In Skoplje," says Colonel Morrison, who in civil life is senior surgeon to the Queen's Hospital, Birmingham—"in Skoplje a British unit was installed in a large factory accommodating over 1000 medical and surgical patients. Besides their inherent unsuitability the premises were detestably insanitary and the floor space overcrowded to its utmost capacity. On the ground floor I saw 250 men lying on sacks of straw packed closely together, covered only by their ragged uniform under a blanket. Gangrenous limbs and septic compound fractures were common, the stench being overpowering; yet every window was closely shut." He tells how seven out of the members of the British staff went down with typhus. At Užice he found over 700 patients crammed into rooms containing about 500 beds; many were lying on the bare floor; others were on sacks of straw; others on[245] raised wooden platforms in series of six men side by side. Often one would see an elderly warrior, who had been wounded a week or two previously, being jolted along in an ox-cart with several civilians who were suffering from typhus—all trying to find a hospital that could take them in. And meanwhile it was necessary to reorganize the army: all the men between the ages of seventeen and fifty-five were called to the colours, including those whom the doctors had declared to be totally unfit for military service.


On April 26, 1915, the negotiations were concluded between France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy; the Treaty of London was signed and the Italians had become our Allies. By this Treaty we and France and Russia undertook to give them, if we were victorious, a very large increase of territory—over which, by the way, we none of us had any right of disposal.

["For Serbia and for Montenegro this is a war of defence and of liberation and not of conquest," said the Yugoslav Committee in London (May 1915)—which Committee, by the way, made its first headquarters in Rome, and only transferred itself to London and Paris in view of the frankly hostile attitude of Sonnino and his colleagues. It consisted of the prominent Croats and Slovenes who had managed to escape across the Austrian frontier. "Serbia and Montenegro," said the Committee, "fight to liberate our people from a foreign yoke and to unite them in one sole, free nation.... To perpetuate the separation of these territories in leaving them under the Austro-Hungarian domination or another foreign domination, would be in flagrant violation of our ethnographic, geographic and economic unity; our people would, without any doubt, oppose to it an energetic and justified resistance."] At other times during the nineteenth century the Great Powers made amongst themselves and without consulting the Small Powers certain arrangements which affected the latter, although, as Professor Westlake observes,[88] all the States, so far as[246] their sovereignty is concerned, stand equal before the law. But these arbitrary arrangements had always been made in the interest and for the security and well-being of the weaker State, as, for example, when the Congress of Berlin decided on the independence of Roumania and Serbia, in accordance with the will of the people. This beneficent action on the part of the Great Powers infringed none of the principles of international law, whereas the Treaty of London took away from the smaller Power nearly everything of value it possessed and stripped it of the possibility of future greatness; the spoil was presented by the Great Powers to one of themselves. We may concede, as Mr. C. A. H. Bartlett of the New York and United States Federal Bar points out in his closely reasoned monograph[89]—we may concede that belligerents can by way of anticipation allot enemy land among themselves, yet such a compact cannot properly be exercised by them so as to work injustice to another ally who was not a party to the division of territory. From the first it was well understood that the Treaty of London could only be imposed in direct defiance of the wishes of the populations most immediately concerned, so that the Italian Cabinet insisted that the whole transaction should be kept from the knowledge of the Serbian Government. As an illustration of the domineering and extortionate nature of Italy's demands (to which the Entente submitted) one may mention that part of the proposed boundary was traced over the high seas beyond the three-mile limit, which of course was a proposition entirely at variance with international law. We should not forget, says the Spectator,[90] the whole Italian record of idealism and liberal thought. And Mr. G. M. Trevelyan, an Italian exponent,[91] remarks that the terms of the Treaty [247]of London were unknown to the people who paraded the streets of Rome impatient for their country to enter the War, and threatening with death the Minister Giolitti who had hitherto succeeded in keeping them out of it. The grandiose bargain which the Government had made was unknown to them; but surely Mr. Trevelyan is paying meagre tribute to their idealism and liberal thought when he implies they would have been elated by a knowledge of the details of the Treaty. Ought not, rather, a people imbued with the afore-mentioned virtues to have threatened with death a Minister who should attempt to carry through so scandalous an instrument? "The broad reason why the Italians joined our side," says Mr. Trevelyan, "was because they were a Western, a Latin and a Liberal civilization." Mr. Bartlett, who ponders his words with legal precision, thinks that "Italy was not inspired by any very noble principles of right and justice when the War began, nor until long after it had swept over the greater portion of Europe ... nor was she spontaneously moved by any sentiment of human justice. She was cool, calculating and business-like. She weighed carefully in the balance the advantages and disadvantages she might derive from the pending struggle; she saw on which side the profit might lie, and with that commercial prudence for which her people are renowned she set her own price on the value of her aid to the Entente." But if the long hesitation was nothing more than governmental prudence, and if the nation as a whole was out of sympathy with such ideas, how came it that, after the plunge was taken, no less than 300 deputies left their cards on Signor Giolitti? The country was, through various causes, swept into the War; and in considering whether this was in harmony with or in opposition to the desires of the majority I think one should pay at least as much attention to the deputies who acted as to the crowd who shouted.... The country was swept into the War, and a Bologna newspaper (Resto del Carlino, March 21, 1915) has published a telegram from Sonnino to the Italian Ambassadors in Paris, London and Petrograd, which announced that Italy was joining in the World War for the purpose of destroying the strategical advantage enjoyed by Austria in the Adriatic.[248] But at the same time the Southern Slavs must be prevented from gaining a similar position, and so the coast must be neutralized from Kotor to the river Vojuša. Sonnino expressly gives Rieka to the Croats. It is not only this which lends great interest to the document, but the fact that Italy's entrance into the War was determined five weeks before the signing of the Treaty of London and two months before she actually declared war.


In the course of the year 1915 Ferdinand of Bulgaria, with his henchman Radoslavoff, was arranging to come into the War. Public opinion in that country was smarting under the drastic Treaty of Bucharest, which had been imposed by the victors of the second Balkan War. It was Roumania which had inflicted the shrewdest wound by taking the whole of the Dobrudja as a recompense for a military promenade, during which she lost a few men who deserted, and a few officers who were shot in the back. The Dobrudja is a land whose people cause it to resemble a mosaic—Greeks, Turks, Roumanians, Tartars, Bulgars, Armenians and gipsies are to be found—but the southern parts are undoubtedly Bulgarian. After the great outcry which the Bulgars had raised over the surrender of one town, Silistra, it can be imagined that the loss of the whole land came as an unendurable sentence. Quite apart from Bulgaria's Macedonian aspirations, it was felt in Belgrade that Ferdinand, by pointing to the Dobrudja, would be able to drive his kingdom into an alliance with the Central Powers, an alliance whose aim, as far as he was concerned, was to leave him Tzar of the Balkans. The photograph which he circulated of himself, seated in a splendid chair upon a promontory by the Black Sea, wearing the appropriate archaic robes, and with a look of profound meditation on his otherwise Machiavellian features, was exactly what he thought a Balkan Tzar should be.

The Serbs were in favour of delivering an attack upon the Bulgars before they had mobilized and concentrated their troops. This would not have warded off the Teutonic invasion, but the Serbs would have been able to[249] maintain contact with Salonica, thus facilitating the evacuation of their army. And who knows whether this diversion would not have induced the Greeks and the Roumanians to change their attitude? However, the proposal was vetoed by Serbia's great Allies, who thought that their diplomacy might work upon the Bulgars. Many worthy people said that it would be quite inconceivable for the Bulgarian army to oppose the Russian, seeing that this would be terrible ingratitude. But they forgot that if the Russians had been, not for purely altruistic motives, the kind patrons of the Bulgars, they had recently—when the Tzar Nicholas and the Tzarina came to the Constanza fêtes—made open cause with Bulgaria's opponents. They were also forgetting, rather inexcusably, that the Bulgars were averse to the idea of the Russians securing Constantinople. On the other hand, the old pro-Russian sentiments of the people still survived: the Russian Legation at Sofia received numerous applications to serve in the army; large contributions were made to the Russian Red Cross, and public prayers were offered for the success of the Russian arms. But the Muscovite Minister at Sofia was a man unfitted for the post, and Ferdinand's task was made easier. The Allied diplomats could argue, later on, that they failed by a narrow margin, since Radoslavoff only succeeded in gaining a majority by means of the help of the Turkish deputies; but if the Sobranje had been hostile to Ferdinand and Radoslavoff they would simply have dissolved it. As a pattern of morals Dr. Radoslavoff is not worth quotation—the offences for which during a previous Premiership he was convicted were rather flagrant—but his views on international politics are quite instructive. On November 14, 1912, he wrote to his friend Mavrodieff, the prefect of Sofia, a letter which was afterwards reproduced in facsimile. "It is clear," he said, "that Russian diplomacy is disloyal. It wants Constantinople.... But it is not only Russia which envies Bulgaria; the same thing is true for Austria-Hungary and Germany. The Balkan Union has surprised them, and they will seek a new basis in their future politics...." But then the second Balkan War and the Treaty of Bucharest enabled Ferdinand to commit his country to an alliance which various[250] of his statesmen and generals vehemently deprecated. "If the Germans should win," telegraphed Tocheff, the Minister at Vienna, in August 1915, "that would be still more dangerous for Bulgaria."

Ferdinand was sure that the Austro-Germans would succeed in conquering the Serbs. On October 6, after a treacherous artillery preparation, the two armies began to cross at various points the Danube, the Save and the Drin. Their losses in the hand-to-hand engagements may have reminded them of a phrase in the official explanation that was issued, after the rout of the previous December, by the Viennese authorities: "The retirement of our forces after their victorious offensive in Serbia has given birth to divers rumours for the most part entirely without foundation.... It was inevitable that we should have important losses in men and material." So it was on this occasion—at Belgrade, for example, thousands were killed as they struggled to the shore—in a broad street leading down to the harbour a brigade of Skoplje recruits plunged through the Austrians with their knives. But in the end, on October 10—and in spite of heroic work on the part of some French and British naval detachments—Belgrade fell. On October 12 the Bulgars attacked. "The European War is drawing to its close," said Ferdinand's proclamation. "The victorious armies of the Central Powers are in Serbia and are rapidly advancing." They advanced less rapidly than they had planned, thanks to the wonderful exploits of the Serbian army, which was heavily encumbered by the growing stream of fugitives. The Austro-Germans failed to encircle the Serbian troops—slowly and keeping in touch with those who were on the Bulgarian frontier, the Serbs retired to the south and west.


The Government and the diplomatic corps had been for some time at Niš, the second largest town, whose Turkish character is disappearing. But the population in the direst Turkish times were less exposed to epidemics than the thousands of unwilling residents who thronged the little, painted houses and the wide, cobbled streets in[251] 1915. It was at Niš that the negotiations were conducted with Bulgaria, and in July an aged gentleman from Budapest came with the offer of a separate peace. This gentleman, a stockbroker of Slav origin, was imbued with patriotic motives, for he was assured that Germany would win the War. It was an undertaking in those days for a man in his seventy-sixth year to travel, by way of Roumania and Bulgaria, to Niš; but as he had connections in Serbia he was resolved to see them, and he travelled at his own expense, although the German Consul-General at Buda-Pest, acting apparently for the Deutsche Bank, had spoken of 18 million crowns for distribution among the politicians at Niš and five millions for the old stockbroker himself. His suggestion was that Serbia should make certain small modifications in the Bucharest Treaty in favour of the Bulgars, that Albania should be hers up to and including Durazzo, that she should be joined to Montenegro, and that her debts to the Entente should be shouldered by Germany, which would likewise give a considerable loan, and requested merely the permission to send German troops down the Danube. "My dear boy," said a Minister, an old friend of his, "go back at once, or they'll lock you up in a mad-house." And when the poor old gentleman got back he found himself compelled to start a lawsuit against the Germans, since they were unwilling to pay his costs. The Consul-General at Pest disowned all knowledge of him, but the broker called in the police as witnesses; for they had summoned him, on more than one occasion, to explain why he was so much in the Consul's company. The German Government said also that he was a perfect stranger to them; but finally they settled with him for a sum which is believed to have been 35,000 crowns.


One reason why the Entente had dissuaded the Serbs from attacking Bulgaria was to prevent the casus fœderis with Greece being jeopardized. This treaty between Greece and Serbia would become operative by a Bulgarian aggression—and the fox-faced M. Gounaris when he was Prime Minister of Greece in August 1915 assured the[252] Allied Powers that Greece would never tolerate a Bulgarian attack upon Serbia. It was largely on the strength of this assurance that, when, a little later, the attitude of Bulgaria grew menacing and the Serbian General Staff suggested marching upon Sofia and nipping the Bulgarian mobilization in the bud, the then Russian Foreign Minister, M. Sazonov, supported in this by Sir Edward Grey, warned Serbia not to take the initiative. Serbia yielded to the demands of her great Allies, only to see herself abandoned by the Greeks. King Constantine and probably the greater part of his people were anxious to remain outside the war. And to free himself from the embarrassing Treaty with Serbia he declared that it would only have applied if Serbia had been attacked by the Bulgars. [We may say that it was doubtful whether the casus fœderis arose when Serbia was attacked by Austria; but it clearly and indubitably did arise when she was attacked by Bulgaria. When Venizelos spoke of the obligations of Greece towards Serbia, a certain Mr. Paxton Hibben, an American admirer of Constantine, said in his book, Constantine I. and the Greek People (New York, 1920), that Venizelos was making an appeal to the sentimentality of his countrymen!] So Constantine proclaimed that Greece was neutral—"Our gallant Serbian allies," he declared some five years later, when he returned from exile, "Our gallant Serbian allies"; and the Athenian mob—

August Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might, thy grand in soul?
Gone.[92] ...

—the Athenian mob cheered itself hoarse. One word from Constantine and they would have wrecked the Serbian Legation and the French and the British for the terrible bad taste of not exposing their flags. But Constantine, clutching his German Field-Marshal's baton (or perhaps it was the native baton given to the royal leader who in the Balkan War wiped out some of the ignominy with which the previous Turkish War had covered him), at any rate Constantine restrained himself. Why the devil couldn't these Serbs understand that they were his gallant allies! Let them wipe out the unhappy past.[253] Had they never heard of that magnificent French actress who, being asked about the paternity of her son, replied that she really did not know? "Alas!" she said, "I am so shortsighted." Well, it was true that in 1915 he had been neutral and unable to tolerate the presence of Serbian soldiers on his territory; if they found themselves obliged to leave their country and retreated by way of Greece he gave orders to have them disarmed. This was the attitude imposed upon a neutral. And thousands and thousands of them had unfortunately died in consequence while passing over the Albanian mountains. "Our alliance with Serbia," quoth the King while opening the Chamber in 1921—"our alliance with Serbia now drawn closer as the result of so many sacrifices and heroic struggles...." The son of the eagle, as his people call him, stopped a moment, but could hear no laughter. As for his policy in 1915, he had been perhaps a neutral lacking in benevolence. If he and his Ministers did not actually refuse to receive the non-combatant young Serbs they very certainly did not go out of their way to offer any shelter to these erstwhile little allies in distress, when the alternative to Greece was wild Albania. Twenty thousand Serbian children lost their lives upon those bleak and trackless mountains.[93] It was most unfortunate. And in the Cathedral of Athens, in the gorgeous presence of the clergy and the more responsible sections of the population, the King chuckled to himself as he was acclaimed with cries of "Christos aneste!" (Christ is risen!). After all, those 20,000 Serbian boys would not have lived for ever. These excellent Athenians were resolved that bygones should be bygones. It was perfectly true that British soldiers and French, entrapped and shot down by his command, were buried away yonder in Piræus cemetery. He felt like having a good laugh, but if you are a King you must be dignified....


Niš fell on November 4, 1915, King Peter's plate, according to the subsequent avowals of one Brust, a non-commissioned[254] officer, being distributed among the 145th Prussian Regiment, the Colonel annexing ten pieces and several privates receiving spoons and knives—and now the Serbs had to leave their country. On the other side of the Albanian mountains they might hope to find a land of exile. It is said that several of the Ministers contemplated suicide—the Minister of War had so far lost his head that, after reaching Salonica by way of Monastir, he refused to join his colleagues at Scutari—but the venerable Pašić did not lose his jovial humour. He may have laughed in order to encourage those who were despairing. On the other hand, he may have known that Serbia would rise, and rise to greater heights. He made no secret of the satisfaction which he felt when the Bulgars attacked, for this, he said, would settle once for all the Macedonian question. Whether the attitude of the Southern Slavs in Austria-Hungary appealed to him in equal measure is a little doubtful. It was hard for him, at his time of life, to envisage anything more than a Greater Serbia.


But the Croats, as is shown by other documents from the Zagreb archives, were faithful to their race. The extracts, by the way, reply to those foolish Italians who persisted for years in shouting that the Croats had been the fiercest foes of the Entente. That they were the foes of Italy is not surprising, for the provisions of the wretched Treaty of London, concluded behind the back of the British Parliament and without even the Cabinet being consulted, were by this time public property, and it was seen that the Italians had succeeded in persuading the Entente to promise them the reversion of a great slice of Yugoslav territory, very large portions of which were as completely Yugoslav as the island of Scedro (Torcola), whose population consists of one Slav woman called Yakaš, over eighty years of age. Save for their sentiments towards the Italians, it is clear that a large number of Croats were very warmly and very actively on the side of the Entente. I am sure that the unfortunate Italians of the Trentino who, like them, were enrolled in the Imperial and Royal army were as eager to desert, and no doubt if[255] they had been more numerous we should have had an Italian contingent fighting with the Russians, in association with the Czecho-Slovak and the Yugoslav brigades.


Imperial and Royal Military Command in
Chief of Staff.
Int. Dep.Army G.H.Q.
Commander on the S.E. Front.
F.P.O. 11.
5 op. by H.Q.F. P.O. 305.
5 A.E.C. F.P.O. 81.

Evid. O. Vienna.
To be dispatched in two envelopes, K.N. to be written on the one inside and N. alone without K. on the outer; seal!
Zagreb, July 10, 1915.

In spite of the ten months' war with Serbia, in spite of the notable executions of native citizens for assisting the enemy at the time of his incursion into Syrmia and Bosnia, there has latterly been an alarming increase in the number of cases of grossest insult to the person of H.M. the Emperor and King; outbreaks of deeply felt, only forcibly controlled hatred against everything friendly to the dynasty and the Monarchy, curses upon the exalted wearer of the Crown, glorification of King Peter and the Serb realm, expressed by men and women alike, are of daily occurrence....


In this document we return to the subject of desertions:

Royal Hungarian 42nd Infantry of the Line.
Op. No. 1312/6.
To the Imperial and Royal Corps
Command in Sadagora
Czernawka, August 12, 1915.

In the period from the 8/8 to the 9/8 two men of the 10th company have deserted (of whom one is probably wandering somewhere behind the front, as he is mentally deficient, having even gone away without a cap and being a Roman Catholic); likewise four men of the 12th company and all the men recently enrolled from the village of Dolnji Lapac, of the Greek Orthodox religion, have apparently deserted to the foe.[256]

The impressions which I had of these men—impressions based on a personal intercourse of several hours while they were being marched to the recruiting depot—was unfavourable. And this I immediately made known in writing to the regimental command, with a brief note on this point on the 6/8 to the 11th Corps command. Unhappily my impressions were correct; there are scoundrels in these ranks. I have for the present instituted a most thorough and severe examination, wherein I am already myself participating; for I am inflexibly determined, at the very smallest sign of a recurrence, to apply to these traitors the military judicial procedure and, if necessary, to have the men decimated, as I was unfortunately compelled to do with the Bosnian-Herzegovinian line regiment No. 4 last winter, which method had the most excellent results. That regiment has thenceforward been blameless.... I am so very well informed as to conditions in the south that I cannot be deceived, and I know that, in spite of all—including some misguided—measures, there are still a number of traitors, some of them occupying a high social position, moving about freely in Croatia-Slavonia instead of being strangled.

So that steps may be taken against the families of guilty persons, I enclose a list of the men who have deserted from the middle of June, this year. I beg that I may be supported to the uttermost, without the slightest wavering, and in a short time—so my experience tells me—we shall be in a most satisfactory position.

Liposcak, Lieut.-Field-Marshal.[94]

Imperial and Royal Corps Command,
Sadagora, 12/8, 1915. 9 p.m.
No. 2446, with three enclosures.


We then get an elaborate and indignant dissertation, dated November 1915 and signed by Lieut.-Colonel Olleschick. It is a study of the way in which the secret[257] police was hampered and its patriotic activities watered down; the Colonel also exposes the manner in which antipatriotic, or shall we say anti-Habsburg, citizens of Croatia-Slavonia are protected:

Imperial and Royal Military Command in Zagreb.
Chief of the General Staff.
K. No. 1681.

The Colonel expresses his unbounded approval of Maravić, the chief of this branch of the police, and of von Klobučarić, a police captain. The former, who is dead, was for many years at the head of the police at Zemlin, opposite Belgrade, and has left behind a reputation for fairness. The whereabouts of von Klobučarić are unknown, and it would be prudent if this ex-Austrian officer, ex-dentist's assistant and ex-policeman were to ensure their remaining so. The Ban is accused of having frustrated various designs of this couple. He is further accused of having placed at the head of the Koprivnica internment camp—where 6000 "politically untrustworthy" Serbs were assembled—the mayor, Kamenar, who himself had been dismissed for his political untrustworthiness; and when the military protested, they received no answer, while the mayor—so the wrathful writer hears—has been removed from his post at the internment camp and restored to his former office and dignity. The colonel asks how it is that in Croatia the crimes of "Majestätsbeleidigung" and high treason are seldom punished with more than three or four months' incarceration, while in other parts of the Empire they are visited with death or at least a sentence of several years. (The answer is that in Croatia the Government was obliged, on account of the language, to employ Croatian judges.) He mentions that Professor Arshinov, alleged to have come to Zagreb in order to carry on an anti-Habsburg and pro-Serbian propaganda, is indeed under arrest, but is being far too well treated at the hospital, where he receives his Serbian associates and even has convivial evenings with them. In fact the whole country, so the writer asserts, is saturated with Serbian sympathies and agitators. He says that in some villages every functionary, from the highest to the lowest, is a Serb; the gendarmerie, the tax-gatherers and the foresters[258] are frequently Serbs and he regards it as noteworthy that the hotels, inns and cafés are almost exclusively in Serbian hands; "and it is only too well known,"—so he rather strangely says—"that these are the places where suspicious characters are wont to hatch their secret plans under the influence of alcohol." He complains at length of the anti-Austrian activities of the Serbo-Croatian Coalition, and this proves that the party was not, as its critics have said, too subservient to the Habsburgs.


At the end of November the Serbian army, with the Government and thousands of refugees, arrived at the ancient towns of Prizren and Peć. It was at the rambling old patriarchal town of Peć that the Serbian soldiers had to do a thing which even their marvellous optimism could not endure—most of the field guns had now to be destroyed, after a few years of crowded and victorious life. An American correspondent, Mr. Fortier Jones, tells us[95] how a gunner asked to be photographed beside his beloved weapon, and how, when he wanted to leave his address, he suddenly realized that with the loss of this gun he would be a mere homeless wanderer. It was not surprising that these steel-built stoics, than whom all French and British witnesses agree there are no better fighters in the world, should have broken down at this ordeal. As for the chauffeurs, they were busy polishing their cars and cleaning their engines—presumably through force of habit—prior to the breaking up of all these touring-cars and lorries. Some were saturated with petrol and set on fire, others were exploded with hand grenades, but the most imaginative method was to drive the car up to that place, two or three miles from Peć, where the road to Andrievica turned into a horse-trail on the side of the precipice. Here the chauffeur would jump out, after having let in the clutch and pushed down the accelerator—and the car would leap into space, three or four hundred feet over a mountain torrent. From this point the via dolorosa stretched away precariously, at first a winding path of ice and then a track[259] across the snowdrifts of the barren uplands. The Serbian Government had offered to construct this very necessary road to Andrievica; the engineer, one Smodlaka, undertook to build it in three months, but Nikita's Minister replied that the Austrian prisoners, whom it was proposed to use, were mostly in the grip of spotted fever. This was not the case, and one of the results of there being no road was that nearly all the supplies from Russia for the Montenegrins were abandoned at Peć. Cold, starvation and exposure took a fearful toll among the straggling wanderers—between 1000 and 1500 were cut off and murdered by savage Albanians (whose considerate treatment of the Serbs is highly praised by their champion, Miss Edith Durham. Reviewing in the Daily Herald a book of Serbian tales that have precious little to do with Albania, she goes out of her way to laud, in those days of the terrible retreat, the kindliness of her protégés.) As we have mentioned, of the 36,000 boys who accompanied the army in order to escape the Austrians, only some 16,000 reached the Adriatic, where it was said that there was nothing human left of them except their eyes. They had lived on roots and bark of trees, they drank the water into which decomposed corpses had been thrown. Of the 50,000 Austrian prisoners—many of them Yugoslavs—about 44,000 died in the course of their eight weeks' retreat; none of them were heard to complain or seen committing any brutal act. Very many Englishwomen were included in this long procession; old King Peter walked a good deal of the way, the Archbishop of Belgrade brought the relics of Stephen the First-Crowned and was followed by priests with lighted tapers, and Marshal Putnik, whom exposure would have killed, was carried all the way inside a primitive sedan-chair.... "Whence do you come and what are you?" asked a Serbian woman[96] of the wounded and dying. "We are," they replied in prose that reminds one of Mestrović, "we are the smouldering torches with which our country is kept warm. In the heart of one's native land there is neither truth nor justice—we love our native land; this love is a barrier against human love; the heart of one's native land is great and selfish and it throbs—in this heart is the faith[260] of all our hearts, we love our native land. We watch over it and we defend it and we love, though the lettering upon our tomb be enveloped in ivy. Formidable is its victory, and we will march along, not asking whether anybody will return. We love our native land and even when the blood is thickening inside our throats and we are carrying our entrails in our hands." Though they were Serbs they had forgotten how to sing; it was some time later that the words, now famous, of "Tamo daleko" burst from the inspired lips of a simple soldier and were taken up by his companions: "There, far away, far away by the Morava, there is my village, there is my love...."

"They came exhausted into Scutari, one by one or in small groups," says Monsieur Boppe, the French Minister,[97] "some of them on horseback, some on foot; here and there one saw a trace of military order, but most of them had no weapons. They looked as if they could not march another mile, these moving skeletons, so painfully they crawled along, so haggard, so emaciated, with a colour so cadaverous and eyes so dull. This mournful band of brothers struggled into Scutari for days, beneath the rain and through the mud. No bitterness came from the lips of those who had undergone every privation; as if impelled by destiny, they passed along in silence; from time to time, indeed, one heard them say 'hleba' (bread)—that was the only word they had the strength to pronounce. For several days the majority of them had had nothing to eat, and in the cantonments where they were lodged outside the town their Government could only provide a meagre ration." A hundredweight of maize cost 300 francs in gold.... But what of the women who had remained in Belgrade? Miss Annie Christić, whose unflagging work for her people is so well known in this country, has told us how the Austro-Hungarians started paying out relief money to the families of State officials. They advertised their generosity on a large scale, but the amounts were very small, and many women were too proud to accept this dole from the enemy. They preferred to do any kind of work offered by the municipality of Belgrade. Thus one saw women in[261] furs or smart clothes—the remnants of former days—trundling wheelbarrows of stone for road repairs, or carrying heavy loads. Delicately nurtured girls could be seen working at the slaughterhouse among the entrails and offal for twelve hours on end. The wife of a professor scrubbed office floors for many months before her husband at the front could send her any money. Street-sweeping was a common occupation for women of all classes.

"We rescued the gallant Serbian army," said the Italians, in the course of a long and rhetorical placard which in 1919 they pasted up throughout Rieka and the Adriatic lands they occupied, and which was not more convincing than the caravan of Dalmatian mayors whom, after the War, they very proudly exhibited in Paris, a suave official from the Embassy acting as the showman. (The Italian authorities had taken in hand the election of these mayors—save Signor Ziliotto of Zadar, who was elected by his fellow-townsmen.) ... When the wretched Serbs who found themselves staggering through central Albania—among them large numbers of boys so young that they would not have been called up until 1919—when they hoped to reach the Adriatic at Valona, they were told that this route was barred to them. Having eluded the Austrians, the Germans and the Bulgars, they were left by the Italians to die of starvation and fatigue. It may well have seemed to them, as to Bedros Tourian, the Armenian poet, that "All the world is but God's mockery." When King Peter, worn out by the journey and his ailments, reached Valona by way of Durazzo, he was ordered by the commandant of that place to depart with his suite—which consisted of four persons—within twenty-four hours.... In the middle of December a French relief mission arrived on the Albanian coast, General de Mondésir reached Scutari and a large British mission under General Taylor landed at Durazzo. These did what was possible to save the remnants of the Serbian army. But, after a short time, a fresh series of obstacles arose. The King of Montenegro, very loyal to the Austrians, facilitated their advance across his country. Thus it was impracticable for the Serbs to concentrate and to embark from those few wooden huts which are called, in Italian, San Giovanni di Medua. Between the[262] bare cliffs and the sea the miserable men and boys and women were compelled to plod towards the south. One hundred and fifty thousand survivors were eventually carried by the Allies to Corfu.


These had been busy days for Nikita and his sons. A royal order was issued to the Montenegrin military and police authorities, commanding them to prevent the population from giving or selling any provisions to the Serbian army. "Ne bogami, svetoga mi Vassilija ne!" ["Goodness gracious, no! And by St. Basil, no!"] was the phrase which greeted the Serbs;[98] and when they remonstrated with the Montenegrins for demanding eleven Serbian dinars in silver for ten Montenegrin perpers—the exchange was at par, but the people were acting under orders—"If I had ten sons I would give them to King Peter," was the usual reply, "but money is money." Yet the Austrians were not as grateful as they might have been. Nikita was intending, after the annihilation of the Serbs, to conclude a separate peace with Austria and to rule, as an Austrian satrap, over an enlarged territory. But they ignored his aspirations; they did not take into account that he had been so kind to them at Lovčen and elsewhere. They swarmed over his country—this time he was not play-acting when he showed his indignation—and the deceived deceiver was forced to fly. On January 10, Lovčen had fallen. A characteristic telegram:

Kuča mi gori,
Kuči mi trebaju—

["My house is burning, I want the Kuči"] was sent by Nikita to his best fighting men, the Kuči, whom he had[263] left in reserve at Danilovgrad. When General Gajnić received this he marched all night with his brigade and reached Cetinje in the morning. Nikita met them and announced that, after all, he did not require them. He would conquer without them. And Lovčen fell.

That Adriatic Gibraltar, which rises gaunt and sheer to some 6000 feet, was entrusted by Nikita to his youngest son, Prince Peter, a young man of marvellous vanity. He used to deny, after the surrender of Lovčen, that he had consorted at Budva with Lieut.-Colonel Hupka, the former military attaché at Cetinje, whom the Austrians brought specially from the Italian front for this purpose. The well-known patriot, Dr. Machiedo of Zadar, who happened to be confined during the summer of 1915 by the Austrians in the fortress of Goražda, which lies above Kotor, read in the telephone book certain messages from Prince Peter, asking for an interview with Hupka—these messages were carried by a patrol to the lines and thence telephoned to Goražda. When the Prince at last acknowledged that he had been meeting Hupka—which he naturally had done at his father's command—he stated that it was with the object of preventing the bombardment of open towns by Austrian aeroplanes. Between him and Hupka the arrangements were made; many of the Austrians exchanged their military boots for the Serbian national sandals, so that they could more easily scale the rocks; and Peter sent verbal orders to his two outlying brigadiers that they must not resist. General Pejanović demanded, however, that this should be put in writing, and the document is extant. Thirteen Austrians lie buried in a little graveyard on the slopes of Lovčen, mostly men who missed their footing; and this was the price that Austria paid for the tremendous mountain that she had coveted for years; she had been willing, more than once, to let the Montenegrins, in exchange for it, have Scutari. The great picture of "The Storming of Lovčen," which Gabriel Jurkić, the Sarajevo artist, was commissioned by the Austrians to paint, was never painted; and when Nikita motored out from Cetinje to meet the men who were retiring from Lovčen he had the hardihood to rebuke them as traitors. "It is not we who are traitors," shouted a colonel, "it is you and your sons!"[264] "Oh! that I must hear such words!" groaned the King, "I want to die!" But he did not die; on the contrary, he went to Paris. His eldest son had announced, early in the campaign, that he was unwell, and he had gone to France by way of Athens. There he was very accurately told by Constantine in which month Mackensen and the Bulgars would descend upon Serbia. When the Prince arrived at Nice he mentioned this to his friend, Jovo Popović, the former Montenegrin Minister at Constantinople, and to Radović. They advised him to inform the Entente, in order to rehabilitate himself. But when he telegraphed to his father the reply was "Be quiet." Prince Danilo has never denied the allegations that while he was at Nice, Signor Carminatti, the Montenegrin Consul-General in Milan, conducted negotiations on his behalf at Lugano with a certain Herr Bernsdorf of the Deutsche Bank, with a view to a separate peace by Montenegro. The amount of the financial consideration is not known. And the business-like Prince, realizing that it would be impossible for him to return to his native land, secured himself against the future by selling, through a couple of confidential agents, his real estate to the Austrians. He likewise disposed of a good deal of forest which is alleged to have belonged not to him but to the State, and when his father heard of the resulting sum of a hundred million francs he was exceedingly annoyed that this robbery and trafficking with the enemy during the War had only replenished Danilo's and not his own exchequer. When his political opponents heard of these transactions he denied, over and over again, that they had taken place; but we have his autograph letter on the subject to Danilo. Before the King left Montenegro he found another opportunity for a grandiose attitude. He appeared at Podgorica where he made an eloquent speech, exhorting his people to march on the morrow against the hated Austrian and assuring them that their old King would fire the first shot, whereas he decamped in the night for Scutari, which is in the opposite direction. He and the Queen, Prince Peter and Miuškević, the Premier, fled the country; while Prince Mirko, the remainder of the Cabinet, the National Assembly and—above all—the army had instructions to remain behind. How much easier it would have been for[265] his army than for the Serbs to reach Corfu. But this terrible old man delivered 50,000 of the best Yugoslav soldiers to the enemy. On January 21 he sailed away. I do not know if anybody sang the National Anthem—"Onamo! Onamo!" ["Yonder! Yonder!"]—which in his youth Nikita had himself composed. And a few years later when the gallant Montenegrins could again lift up their voices and sing "Onamo!" how many of them thought of him who was skulking and of course intriguing yonder in France.

We have alluded to the treatment which in their distress the Serbs received from their Italian Allies; but in Albania the Italian army did render a certain amount of assistance—every day at eleven o'clock the Austrian aeroplanes would reach Durazzo, and the Italian soldiers, sentries and all, would rush helter-skelter from the plentiful food to which they were just sitting down. The Serbs, many of them, after their privations, looking like grey ghosts, were always in the neighbourhood of the Italian barracks and very glad they were to see those aeroplanes which permitted them to enter in and enjoy a bounteous meal. When the senior Italian officer complained to his Serbian colleague, "Surely," said the latter, "you have a sentry at the door. He can prevent anyone from going in." At some distance inland a Serbian major, a friend of mine, was resting on the side of the road; he had eaten nothing for four days. A spick-and-span Italian lieutenant of gendarmerie paused in front of him and was clearly interested. The major wondered whether he would have some food about him. But the lieutenant did not even offer him a cigarette. "Pardon me," he said with a friendly smile, "but will you allow me to take a photograph?" Large numbers of mules were brought over by the Italians and apparently it gave them pleasure to cut their throats. The officers purchased many Serbian horses—their owners were too destitute to bargain. But in fairness it must be said that some Italian ships worked with the French and British vessels in conveying the Serbs, soldiers and civilians, from the coast of Albania.

As for the Montenegrin King, he had attempted, before his departure, to put the whole blame on the[266] shoulders of Colonel Pešić. He sent—in order to make more certain the success of the Austrian army—a telegraphic command[99] to the Voivoda Djuro Petrović, the chief of the Herzegovinian detachment, in which he required him to destroy his cannons and machine guns and then (although the enemy was exerting no pressure upon him) to withdraw towards Nikšić. This order was issued in the name of Colonel Pešić, the signature being forged. In fact Nikita thought his Serbian Chief of Staff was quite a useful personage. But there exists a letter in which the Colonel wrote that, in order to avoid capitulation, a supreme effort would be necessary at certain positions which he indicated and anyhow the army should be withdrawn to Scutari and the defence of the town organized. Scutari, by the way, was the scene of another of Nikita's exploits: he caused the Bank of Montenegro to send money to the Austrian Consul there, the cash being delivered by Martinović, the Montenegrin Consul. It was used to incite the Albanians to take military action against the Serbs between Prizren and Djakovica. When this affair was exposed all the Montenegrins knew by what traitors they were governed. The fall of Montenegro had been brought about more swiftly by the Austrian submarines which in the Gulf of San Giovanni di Medua torpedoed practically every ship that carried food or munitions, while other boats were not molested. An investigation showed that the shipping news had been telegraphed to Prince Peter, and he in his turn handed it on to the Austrians. The Prince's egregious parent wanted to be in a position to say that, owing to the lack of food and munitions, he had been compelled to surrender. One of his final acts was to summon the Skupština, as he did not wish to be saddled with the responsibility of making peace. At a secret sitting on December 11, 1915,—when the retreating Serbs were in San Giovanni, Scutari and Podgorica,—the Government declared that they had no resources, that the Entente could not assist them and that they would wage war for so long as they had the means—in other words, that the war would cease. It was continued, however, by those Montenegrin troops[267] between Kolašin and Bielo Polje, who—even after the fall of Lovćen on January 10, and the flowing of the Austrian army towards Scutari—were ordered to make a counter-offensive, during which they had over 1500 dead and wounded. The reason for this was that Nikita wished to prevent his army from escaping to Scutari; he was afraid lest, if they escaped with the Serbs, they would dethrone him forthwith. Afterwards he gave an explanation that he had ordered the Chief of Staff, Yanko Vukotić, to rescue the army, which order he alleged he had wirelessed from Brindisi. Vukotić, together with Prince Mirko and the Ministers who stayed behind, declared in the Pester Lloyd that Nikita was lying. They added that he could have sent no wireless from Brindisi, because there was at that time no receiving station in Montenegro, the French one at Podgorica having been destroyed at the order of the British Minister, Count de Salis, the doyen of the diplomatic corps. The King, by the way, had endeavoured for some time to rid himself of the diplomats, who were inconvenient witnesses of what was in progress. On December 31 a telegram was sent by the Ministers of France, Great Britain, Italy and Russia, in which they said that "Apparently our presence is displeasing to the King and he is trying to disengage himself from us. He has begged us on several occasions to depart and last night he insisted, with the asseveration that in forty-eight hours it would be too late. We suspect that His Majesty is playing a very ambiguous game...." And on January 9 the French Minister telegraphed, among other things, that "My Russian and English colleagues are of opinion that the King is merely performing a comedy with us and that this comedy will end in a tragedy for the belligerents." Nikita, on his arrival in France, proposed to settle down at Lyons, but the French authorities did not care for him to be so close to Switzerland, which was one of his intriguing centres. So they placed at his disposal a château near Bordeaux and it was not until he had made repeated requests that they permitted him to come to Neuilly, a suburb of Paris. He replaced Miuškević as Premier by Radović, the former victim of the Bomb Trial, hoping by this move towards the Left to silence his critics. But in August 1916 Radović presented a memorandum[268] in favour of the formal union between Montenegro and Serbia, under King Peter's son and King Nicholas' grandson, Prince Alexander. The Montenegrin monarch was enraged at this and, after Radović had resigned, one after another all the Montenegrins of any standing withdrew from Nikita, who was openly working against the Serbs. He and the Princess Xenia conducted all the Government business, though he distributed among his tiny clique of adherents various empty titles. An aged friend of his, Eugene Popović, a native of Triest and a naturalized Italian, was made Premier, to give pleasure to Italy; a more active person was the War Minister, Hajduković, a former shipping contractor in Constantinople, where a long time ago he had been one of those young Montenegrins who, to the number of twenty, the Sultan used to educate—a process which, in the case of idle boys, was not very irksome. During the Great War Hajduković was invited by the Allies to quit Salonica, as they had certain suspicions against him. He had also, on behalf of his King, urged the Montenegrin volunteers who had managed to get to Salonica not to allow themselves to be commanded by Serbian or French officers, but to demand Montenegrin officers, of whom there was no adequate supply. These men had ultimately to be sent to Corsica and kept there till the end of the War. What Hajduković performed at Salonica, another royal agent, one Vuković, a bootmaker, attempted at Marseilles, where he continually went on board the vessels that were bringing Montenegrins and, to a smaller extent, other Yugoslavs from the United States and South America to the Salonica front. These travelled men were less easily influenced than those who obeyed Hajduković; but 300-400 did refuse to proceed. They were installed in a factory at Orange, where the Montenegrin Government fed them and paid them. Now and then they were encouraged by being told that if they had gone to the Front the Serbian officers would have flogged them.... And so the little Court at Neuilly occupied the years with many a congenial intrigue. Feelers were stretched out to this country, where an English edition of Radović's Montenegrin Bulletin, the pro-Yugoslav organ, was being published by my friend Vassilje Burić to the furious[269] indignation of the busybodies who supported the King and of the Italian Embassy. From these two sources and from Neuilly the Foreign Office was bombarded with protests, begging it in the name of justice, etc., to put a stop to this dire scandal. One day a charming Foreign Office clerk, an acquaintance of mine, had Burić to lunch at the Royal Automobile Club; in the course of the meal he suggested that, as Burić was not looking well, they two should have a little holiday in France. Burić said he would be very glad to go with him, but he thought it would be nice to stay in England. The charming official held out for the Continent, and with such obstinacy that Burić at last put his hand upon his arm and invited him to promise that they would both of them come back to England. Thereupon the host acknowledged that a perfect flood of letters had been pouring on the Foreign Office with respect to the Montenegrin Bulletin, and they were weary of receiving them.... Sometimes the Neuilly Court was plunged in gloom, as when old Tomo Oraovac's little book appeared with seventy-five awkward questions to Nikita. For three days the King shut himself up in his room, trying to decide as to whether he should issue an answer. He decided to do nothing. Now and then a French review or newspaper referred to him. "The official courtesies extended by the French Government to Nicholas i. and his family should not deceive the public," said the eminent publicist Monsieur Gauvain in the Revue de Paris (March 1917). M. Gauvain showed that the Petrović dynasty constituted the sole obstacle to a union of Montenegro with Serbia and the rest of the Yugoslav lands. As Nikita drove past the office of the Revue de Paris he may have been thinking, rather wistfully, of that brave afternoon at Nikšić.[100] ... Sometimes the old man was worried by his sons. Peter, for example, who had been the spoilt child and who had been given posts for which he was unfitted, now discovered in himself, during the autumn of 1918, a great desire to obtain a certain Madame Violette Brunet, the legal wife of Monsieur Brunet, who was in Nikita's service. The ardent lover, regardless of the ancient Montenegrin custom which inflicted stoning on the guilty married[270] woman, while the husband sometimes cut her nose off, wrote to his parents, asking them to arrange the matter, and when the ex-King raised objections, Peter blackmailed him by threatening to divulge to the world at large all the unsavoury details connected with Lovćen. "My dear son," wrote Nikita in November 1918,[101] "You write again asking me to send an emissary to represent myself and your mother in suing for the hand of the woman of your choice, failing this, you say you will make a scandal whereby the honour of both of us and of the whole family will suffer; to obviate this unpleasant possibility we may see our way to agree to your wish, but under the following conditions...."


Meanwhile the Serbs had, ever since the early days of 1916 when they began arriving in Corfu, been hard at work upon their army. Thousands landed at Corfu in such a state that only with continual care, with warmth and nourishing food could they be rescued. But on the little island of Vido where they were deposited the tents were few, the beds were fewer, wood was lacking, so that fires could not be made, and thousands died where they sank down, amid the olive groves and orange trees. The doctors nursed as many as they could in that one empty building; but for very long about a hundred corpses were each day piled in a little boat and taken out to sea. Usually they had died of pure exhaustion. Out of the 16,000 boys who had scrambled along with the army as far as Durazzo, about 2000 died on the sea and another 7000 on the Isle of Vido.

At Corfu the Serbs, with the other Yugoslavs, had also to set about securing the foundations of their State that was to be. The Russians, at the time of the negotiations which ended in the Treaty of London, had been looking forward to an Orthodox State, a Greater Serbia, bounded by the river Narenta. This, if it had been carried out, would have jettisoned, and probably for ever, the Croats and Slovenes. That was the incredibly stupid old Russian[271] policy of identifying Slav patriotism with the Orthodox Church, a policy held up to ridicule by Strossmayer. It was the Yugoslav Committee, working chiefly in London, assisted by English friends, working there and at Corfu, which caused the Serbs, the Croats and Slovenes to publish on July 20, 1917, the historic Corfu Declaration, which laid it down that the nation of the three names was resolved to free itself from every foreign yoke and to become a constitutional, democratic and Parliamentary Monarchy under the Karageorgević dynasty. It is said that those two excellent friends of the Southern Slavs, the brilliant Mr. Wickham Steed and Dr. Seton-Watson, than whom no publicist is more conscientious, had to face a determined opposition on the part of M. Pašić before it was agreed that the Roman Catholic religion should in the prospective State have equal rights with the Orthodox. One would be disposed to criticize the Serbian Premier on account of a narrow policy dictated by his excessive wish for self-preservation—he saw very well that these clauses of equality might undermine the long reign of the Radicals—but it must be acknowledged that if the Southern Slavs had limited themselves to a Greater Serbia, in which the Radical party had been supreme, they would not have wasted so much of their energy, after the War, in domestic political conflict. They would also, very probably, have gained more favourable terms from the Entente; and the union with the Croats and Slovenes might have been effected later. But against this is the opinion of those who argue that the separation would have become permanent. However, if the union of the Southern Slavs could not be postponed, we may believe that it would have been wise to call the new country, for a couple of years, Greater Serbia. No doubt the logical Italians would have pointed out to the rest of the Entente that their bugbears, the Croats and the Slovenes, were included in this State; but the Allies as a whole would have been more inclined to be indulgent towards a country whose name they honoured than towards the same country whose various new-fangled designations—Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; or Yugoslavia; or S.H.S.—they found so puzzling. The Transylvanians who, one supposes, will play the chief rôle in Greater Roumania have[272] as yet, much to the profit of all the Roumanians, permitted the retention of that name. This course was not adopted by the Southern Slavs, and Pašić giving way to Messrs. Steed and Seton-Watson, appointed M. Yovanović to London with the object of working on the lines of the Declaration of Corfu.


The building of the new State and its army was also being undertaken with great fervour in America, New Zealand and Australia. North America contained about 100,000 Orthodox Serbs, 200,000 Catholic Slovenes and 400,000 Catholic Croats; South America had some 50,000 Yugoslavs, chiefly Catholic Dalmatians; while the 8000-10,000 in Australasia were mostly of that origin. Two kinds of Southern Slav newspapers were being printed in North America, namely those which the Austrian Ambassador supported, and those which were national. The chief argument of the former species was the Treaty of London, which, as the editors pointed out, gave up a large part of Dalmatia to the Italians. Two of these editors, by the way, were imprisoned for other reasons by the authorities. They had constantly threatened the terrible punishment that Austria would inflict on those who had worked against the Fatherland—many of the Southern Slavs, like the Roumanians, Czechs, Ruthenians and Magyars, were employed in munition factories, and the Austrian Embassy, in concert with the German, hoped to see them on the land. After a time the Yugoslavs took an office in Washington and attacked this propaganda, their example being followed by the Czechs and the Poles. When the United States entered the War these Austrophil papers no longer wrote in favour of Austria, but confined themselves to animadversions against the Serbian leaders, suggesting likewise that Croatia and Slovenia should be independent.... The patriotic Yugoslav papers—three dailies in New York, three in Chicago, and over twenty weekly organs—were not subsidized by the Yugoslav Committee in London or by the Government in Corfu; and some of the editors did not display a very prosperous appearance. But the[273] poor Yugoslav workers contributed 20 million dollars to the first three Liberty loans, and when the National Council at Pittsburg in November 1916 united the different charitable, gymnastic and political associations, a call was made for volunteers. Between 25,000-30,000 men joined the United States army, a good many joined the Canadian contingents, and about 10,000 sailed for Salonica. The Yugoslavs in South America were in different circumstances: the Dalmatian temperament being nearer to the Spanish they found it easier to make their way; besides which, those who went to South America were on the average more advanced than those who preferred the North. In Chili, the Argentine and Bolivia the Yugoslavs are often very prosperous merchants and shipowners. They organized the Yugoslav National Defence and found all the funds for the Yugoslav organization in London. From New Zealand, where there is a Yugoslav paper called Zora (the Dawn), about 300 volunteers sailed to the Dardanelles, and others, when the Salonica base was established, joined their compatriots in that port.


While the distant Yugoslavs were, in one way or another, helping the cause, that family of criminals which reigned in Montenegro did not shrink from malversation of the funds of the Red Cross. A young Croat, Mr. Miličević, who before the War became a naturalized Montenegrin and in Neuilly served as Minister of Justice, has related how the Government continually borrowed (and did not repay) large sums of Red Cross money, and that if new clothes came from England for the refugees they would in Paris be replaced quite often for much older ones. How did the people fare? After the country had been occupied by the Austrians, most of the Allies consented that it should be revictualled on the same lines as Belgium. Even Austria offered no objections. One State only and one man were hostile to the scheme, and that man actually the King of Montenegro. "A poor and starving people," he argued, "is the most subservient. My interests will suffer if commodities are given to the[274] Montenegrins. Let them wait. And when the moment comes for my return, I will go back with large supplies and be most popular." Even when his Ministers had realized that there must be no more delay in asking for the King of Spain's good offices—since the Italians (presumably in concert with Nikita) fought against the plan—and when the letter to the King of Spain was drafted it produced another one from Nikita to his Ministers—written by Nikita, but signed by his aide-de-camp. "The King," he said, "considers that the letter to the King of Spain should stand over, so long as one cannot be sure that Italy will permit the transit of foodstuffs destined for the people." He desired no mediation between himself and the Italians. Perhaps the most audacious act of spoliation was the sale of the State stores at Gallipoli, just when the Allied offensive on the Salonica front was leading to the collapse of the enemy. Instead of forwarding the 25,000 greatcoats, the 20,000 kilos of leather, and great quantities of material, medical and other stores, to Montenegro and rendering first aid to the liberated population, the managers of the Royal Treasury deemed it wiser to transfer the value of all these stores into their own pockets, disposing of more than 2-1/2 million francs worth of goods to trusted figureheads for a few hundred thousand Italian lire. Fortunately the French naval authorities put a stop to this brigandage, and the honest guardians of the people only succeeded in diverting a few hundreds of thousands. You may suppose that there is no excuse for conduct of this kind; but the Royal Family could say, "Behold, the people do not want our gifts." The Montenegrins, for example, who were interned at Karlstein in Austria, where they were not overfed, sent a telegram on November 27, 1916, to ask at whose initiative the Red Cross parcels had been sent to them. This was (in German) the prepaid reply: "Montenegrin Committee, President, Professor Pugnet, supported by the Red Cross. (Signed) The Bakery." As Pugnet was Danilo's professor, all the interned, except six or seven, declined the parcels.[102] Among the half-dozen were some relatives[275] of Nikita, and some who explained that "We take the traitor's bread, for otherwise we should die; and after all it is the Entente which sends it. How unfortunate for us that they regard Nikita as our King." After the Armistice Nikita and his adherents complained bitterly that the Podgorica Assembly which deposed him was convened before these internees had come back from Austria!

Although the funds of the Montenegrin Red Cross were, as we have seen, not devoted to the needs of many of the Montenegrins, yet the Royal Family were very energetic in collecting cash. They caused a letter to be written to the French Red Cross, which had collected two millions for the Serbs, and in the letter they asked for a part of the two millions. A diplomatic answer was received. "You are only working," it said, "for Montenegro, whereas we are for all the Yugoslavs." This lack of success in financial matters was a new experience for the Royal House. When Russia sent the Montenegrin officers their pay during the War, an arrangement was made for it to come via Serbia in Serbian dinars. The King of Montenegro kept the dinars and paid his officers in paper money. Later on he sold such enormous quantities of dinars on the Paris Bourse that the Serbian Minister, Mr. Vesnić, had to protest. One remembers the haste with which Nikita left his country—both his people and his army he forgot, but not his gold. And for two years in France he struggled to get into his own hands this bullion which belonged to the State. Apparently he did at last receive it when he was at Pau in 1918. He was granted, for the expenses of his Court, a monthly allowance of 100,000 francs by Great Britain, the same by France, and 300,000 by Italy, which latter was not registered in the books. It would be interesting to know how much of this money was used for objects that Great Britain and France would never have countenanced. Virulent anti-Serbian newspapers were published in Switzerland—the Srpski List, the Naša Borba and the Nova Srbija. The tone of these papers was so pleasing to the Austrians that they bought up large numbers and distributed them throughout the Southern Slav lands they were occupying. We are, therefore, not astonished[276] that the British subsidy came to an end in the course of 1917; to be resumed, however, in 1918 and finally stopped in June 1919, much to the indignation of Nikita and his partisans, who pointed out that it had been decided in Paris in the beginning of the War that the little nations participating in it should be helped pecuniarily. France stopped her payment four months after England and said, in answer to a Montenegrin Note, that if Great Britain resumed payment they would follow her example. Pašić asked that the subsidies should be discontinued, thus reducing "this little country to such a state of despair," said Mr. Ronald M'Neill in the House of Commons in November 1919, "and to strip it so naked before the world that it will be compelled, having no other course to take, to accept union with Serbia, as the only way out of hopeless misery and bankruptcy." It is possible that Mr. M'Neill is referring to some subsidy other than that given to Nikita, but I have my doubts. In the same speech he alluded to American Relief work in Montenegro, saying that 70 per cent. of it was consumed by Serbian troops and the rest sold to profiteers. He confused the American Red Cross, which maintained four hospitals and distributed vast quantities of clothing and food among the inhabitants of Montenegro, and those American supplies which the Yugoslav Government purchased, mainly for the troops. But Mr. M'Neill, M.P., is very angry with the Serbs for spreading, as he says, reports discreditable to the King of Montenegro—if he knew a little more I think that he would say a good deal less—and Nikita must have deprecated the remark that no facilities at all had been given by the Great Powers to enable him and his Ministers to return to Montenegro. If every Serbian soldier were to be withdrawn the country would, with a tremendous majority, have been adverse to the ex-King and his family. This was recognized by Danilo when his father suggested that he should go out in the autumn of 1918. On December 5 he replied from Cap Martin saying that the appendicitis from which he had suffered since the War prevented him even from going into the garden. Mr. M'Neill and a few similar enthusiasts are not weary of repeating that the Serbs and the Montenegrins are quite distinct peoples. This, no doubt, is Mr.[277] M'Neill's opinion, and if he wishes to retain it he is welcome to do so. But I should like to refer his audiences in the House of Commons and elsewhere to the Patriarch Brkić of Peć, who wrote in the eighteenth century concerning some of the Turkish provinces. No one would pretend that Brkić was profoundly versed in philology or in ethnography, and I believe he studied the Slav languages not any more than does Mr. M'Neill. He was a Montenegrin whose education had been that of an ordinary pupil in a monastery. He spoke the Southern dialect, and in his eyes all those who had another accent were not veritable Serbs. Even in our time there are many Montenegrins whom it is quite difficult to convince that they are not the only true Serbs.


Meanwhile Austria's Yugoslav soldiers and sailors had been continuing their patriotic work. On February 2, 1918, a telegram was sent to the Army High Command at Baden (near Vienna). [This message is No. 974. It concerns itself with the Austrian navy, in whose ranks Sarkotić perceives agitation. The rest of the message consists chiefly of the drastic remedies which the writer would apply.]

There follows a document, numbered 106,116, and dated May 5, 1918, in which the disaffection of Slovene troops is described. Not only have anti-dynastic ones been raised, but a N.C.O. has torn off his two Austrian decorations and has stamped on them, while troops have worn their national colours in their caps, though this is only authorized when they are marching to a battlefield.

In a notice on the subject of Southern Slav and Italian propaganda in Dalmatia, the military command at Mostar denounces the Southern Slavs, officers and men:

Imperial and Royal Army: Higher Command.
Chief of the General Staff.
Op. No. 109,942.
Baden, August 5, 1918.

[After discussing various manifestations of disloyalty, the writer says that he has observed how there is a kind of link between the Slav officers, educated at the Academy,[278] and their men. He finds that Spalato is particularly given to these Southern Slav ideas, which he believes is to be accounted for from the fact that Dr. Trumbić, "the celebrated agitator," is mayor and deputy of that town.]

So much for the complaints with regard to Austria-Hungary's Southern Slav soldiers. Two military courts of justice sat at Zagreb through the War, the Imperial and Royal Court, and that of the Royal Hungarian No. 6 (Croatian-Slavonian) Honved Division. No statistics are to hand with reference to the various courts in Syrmia, and that one which earned such an evil reputation in the fortress of Peterwardein. The judgments of the two Zagreb courts, where Croat officers were able to make their influence felt, did not appear to the authorities of Vienna and Buda-Pest to be sufficiently drastic. No death sentences were pronounced, although these had been demanded; and on June 24, 1918, it was decided that any further trials for high treason or for offences against the military authorities should be held in Pressburg (Bratislava) and not in Zagreb. The following statistics, relating to the two Zagreb courts, were compiled from the official books which the Austrians did not remove. The figures shown opposite, which are certified by Captain Stožir, Provost-Marshal, show the increasing determination to risk everything rather than to fight for Austria.


Year. Total Number of Persons tried. Charged with Military Offences: Desertion, Self-inflicted Wounds, Insubordination and Disregard of Calling-up Orders. Offences against the State: High Treason, Espionage, Insults against the Emperor, Offences against Public Order. Number of Persons charged with Offences under Rubric 4. Number of those convicted under Rubric 4. Number of those who committed Offences under Rubric 4 and were acquitted.
1914 442 233 52 53 3 11
1915 2,730 1,688 66 78 3 6
1916 4,790 2,737 336 375 7 7
1917 11,275 7,782 397 414 2 3
191825,095 19,838 559 568 1 4
1914 632 154 257 730 46 116
1915 3,000 779 1,471 1,875 48 179
1916 3,480 926 1,223 1,261 22 89
1917 6,101 3,248 727 839 17 89

It may be of interest to give some details of one of the regiments whose composition was chiefly Slav. My informant, Dr. Ivo Yelavić, served as telephone officer on the staff of the 37th Dalmatian Regiment. At different times—at the fall of Gorica, in December 1916 at Sanmarco, and in June 1917 at Tolmein, three battalions went over to the enemy; 170 officers (of whom 169 were reserve officers) gave themselves up during the War. Some of them were Serbs, most were Croats. With respect to the fall of Gorica, this was not—despite the clamour that they made about it—due to the Italians, but to two officers, Tolja and Salvi, who took over with them all the plans of the underground forts and maps made to the scale of one step to a millimetre. Among the accomplishments which the officers of this regiment taught their men was how to surrender to the foe. Efforts were made to [280]bring about a different state of things: German and Magyar regiments were placed behind it, with machine guns; the regiment itself was filled up with Magyars. On some occasions the 37th desisted from going over in order not to bring persecution upon their homes. In 1914, opposite the Montenegrins at Goražda, all the plans were worked out, but at the last moment Dr. Count Gozze (of Dubrovnik) said he had just thought of what would happen to their families, and they refrained. After the battalion had gone over in 1916 General Seidler told them he would do his best to have the regiment dissolved and the men divided among other regiments, but that not all the officers would go. This was an ominous hint that he intended to decimate them, after the fashion of Field-Marshal Liposcak. A fortnight later, in the presence of Field-Marshal Boroević, General Wurm and General Seidler, they were highly praised; and when they, in company with a Magyar regiment, took Hill No. 166, it was announced that this had been achieved by the "fame-covered regiment," which was done to throw dust in the eyes of the Italians and the Entente. Various other methods were used to escape service at the front. A Slav doctor, whose hospital at Konjica could hold 400 patients, used to have 4000-5000 on the books; those whom he was unable to keep he gave convalescent leave. In this way he saved a great many of the Dalmatian intelligentsia. He and another Dalmatian doctor would send the men backwards and forwards, now to one hospital, now to another. One ordinary method for avoiding the front was to bribe the company commander and the N.C.O. who made out the lists. Yet sometimes there was no help for it. When, for instance, in September 1914 they were at Banjaluka, the enemy advanced to Palé, very near Sarajevo. My informant has a vivid recollection of the way in which a Viennese captain, the leader of the contingent, trembled. In a Bosnian valley they met a woman with five small children, one of whom was at her breast. The captain told my acquaintance (who was then a N.C.O.) to stay behind with some men and shoot her, but not to let him hear anything. He said that the General at Sarajevo had commanded that everything Serb that goes on two legs must be cut down. Yelavić refused to carry out this[281] order, whereupon the captain told Dr. Gozze, whom he greatly disliked, that he must do it. Gozze stayed behind, fired a few shots in the air and informed the captain that everything was over.

What the Austrian command really thought of the 37th Regiment, and of others, may be seen from a report dated December 2, 1916, and signed by the Archduke Frederick:

"... Certain events that have occurred can be explained only as the consequences of the weak attitude of the authorities towards the traitorous propaganda. On July 21, five soldiers of the 23rd Regiment deserted near Pogger, and gave the Italian Command important information regarding movements of troops and the course of the fighting near Gorica. Quite recently a lieutenant, two reserve officers, two N.C.O.'s and two soldiers deserted from the 37th Regiment, as did three soldiers from the 23rd Regiment. Since April, 244 desertions have taken place from the two regiments. Inquiry shows that these desertions occur regularly and immediately after the return of the soldiers from leave. Unless effective counter-measures are adopted it will be impossible to utilize these Dalmatian regiments."

It was not always an easy operation to surrender, even after one had reached the Italian lines. A friend of mine went over with another officer and eight men. In the first-line trenches they could see no one and felt uncertain what to do. However, they proceeded, and from the second-line trench their whispered calls were answered. They were made to pass in single file, holding up their hands, and with all the available weapons held in readiness against them. My friend, at his request, was conducted to the colonel, and the first thing that he did was to make a formal complaint against the way in which this army, of which he considered himself an ally, manned its front-line trenches.

The Yugoslavs who managed to escape to Russia volunteered for service and, after being organized by General Zivković at Odessa, formed the two Divisions which, as is well known, did remarkable work in the Dobrudja. One only has to hear what the Bulgars say about them. In the battles round Constanza, during the[282] campaign of 1916, one of these Divisions was so frequently engaged in the most arduous positions and had such enormous losses that it was regarded as having been wiped out. When the Roumanian troops retreated these Yugoslavs found themselves encircled by the Bulgarian and German armies; they hacked a way out with their bayonets. The higher officers had come from Serbia, the rest of them had previously been enrolled in Austria's army. Thirty-two officers out of 500 were killed, while 300 were wounded; and of the 42,000 men 1939 were killed and more than 8000 were wounded. Nevertheless the morale remained excellent and there was no lack of new volunteers. "Verily," as the Serbian proverb says, "it does not snow to kill the beasts, but in order that they may leave their traces."


Now let us see what Austria's Italian subjects achieved in the War, basing ourselves less upon the post-war declarations of some Istrian, Trentino and Dalmatian Italians than upon the official Austrian reports that were sent about these gentlemen to the Government during the War. For example:

Imperial and Royal Army: Supreme Command.
Pr. z. 3903.
Dalmatia: Treatment of the Croatian
and Italian Factors.
To the Imperial and Royal Minister of
the Interior, Vienna.

Knin, June 25, 1915.

I permit myself to notify:

[Herein the Statthalter, Graf Attems, praises his Government for not having favoured one party more than another at Zadar. He proceeds to testify to the admirable conduct of Dr. Ziliotto, the well-known mayor (who subsequently toiled with such zeal for Italy). He says that under this gentleman Zadar was a very model of a place, never allowing an occasion to pass by when it was possible to show that, in grief and in gladness, the sentiments[283] of the glorious House of Habsburg were its own. Thus on the "all-highest" birthday of the Emperor did the doctor and his townsfolk revel in loyalty, while at the outbreak of the Great War they accompanied the departing troops to the quay and provided patriotic music and refreshments. This worthy conduct was not in the least modified, says the Statthalter, when Italy entered the War.]

Further on in this book there are similar good-conduct testimonials from Split, where the chief Italian used to wander down with an Austrian official to the harbour and there witness the embarkation, in chains, of the Yugoslav intelligentsia who were being taken as hostages. Hundreds and hundreds of Yugoslavs were shot, hanged, imprisoned; we know the numbers (not difficult to count) of the Italians in Dalmatia who suffered in any way. We know the equally minute numbers who escaped to Italy and enrolled themselves in the Italian army. As for the population of the Italian irredentist provinces, one may read in the Secolo of August 11, 1916 how it became generally known that "with the exception of Cervignano and Monfalcone, our soldiers have been received, on the other side of the old frontier, with demonstrations quite the reverse of enthusiastic on the part of the agrarian population. The surprise and disillusion of our troops were very great, for they expected from our unredeemed brothers, who all speak our language, a joyous reception." This frigidity may, however, have been due to the influence of Austrian priests and gendarmes. What are we to say, though, when we come to the more enlightened classes? The Italians in Austria were represented by twelve deputies who were devoted to the Austrian Government and hostile to Italy, and by six national-liberals and one socialist who were animated with pro-Italian sentiments. In electing such deputies, however, the peasants may not have simply allowed the priests and the gendarmes to command them; it is also possible that they were moved by the fear that the Trentino would economically be ruined if it were to become Italian and had to compete with the agricultural products of the Kingdom. As a matter of fact it was the Trentino intelligentsia which looked forward to annexation, and not, as a class, the peasants. And, during the War, Italian deputies of various parties[284] overflowed with loyal Austrian sentiments; unlike the Yugoslav deputies, who refused in a body to vote the budget and the war credits, the Italian deputies never even ventured on a national pronouncement. Pittoni, chief of the Italian socialists at Triest, Faidutti (who was born in Italy) and Bugatto, the chiefs of the Italian Catholic party of Gradišca, uttered not a few words of hate against the Madre Patria. The Italians praise always, and with excellent reason, their three heroes: Battisti, Rismondo and Sauro. But the Yugoslavs, in the course of the late War, lost in the unredeemed provinces so many hundreds of thousands who were hanged in Bosnia, who were dragged away—centenarians and infants—to the prison camps, were spat upon and stoned and treated in the most barbaric fashion, that they look upon those Yugoslavs who, like Battisti, fled from Austria and afterwards were slain by Austrians, as rather to be envied, since at any rate they struck a blow. But anyhow the names of all these volunteers could not be celebrated, on account of their great number. "There is nothing in fact," wired Mr. Beaumont on December 31, 1919, from Milan for the blameless readers of the Daily Telegraph, "there is nothing that creates such terrible exasperation in Italy as the persistent repetition of this patent falsehood that the Yugoslavs—meaning thereby the Croats—fought for the common cause."

Poor Battisti—when his regiment was captured he feigned to be dead. His men, however, told the Austrians that it was he, and this they did because they said that he and his Irredentist party were to blame for the War. These facts are now fairly well known, thanks to the Czech doctor who was on the spot and tried to save him by assuring the Austrians that it was not Battisti. The soldiers insisted, and in the end the Austrians executed him.


The several transactions or attempted transactions which took place at various periods of the War between the Yugoslav members of the Austro-Hungarian navy, associated with other Yugoslavs, on the one hand and the[285] Italian authorities on the other, were frustrated time and again by the astounding conduct of the Italians. Had they made anything like a proper use of the invaluable information that was showered upon them or if they had requested the other Allied navies in the Mediterranean to act on their behalf many Allied ships in the Mediterranean would not have been torpedoed—since the submarine activity centred at Kotor, one of the stations which could have been seized—the Austrian front in Albania must have collapsed and the entire war would have ended sooner.

In October 1917 the Austrian torpedo boat No. 11 was seized by the Slav members of her crew and brought into Ancona, but their offers of service were refused. The ringleaders showed, by refusing to accept large sums of money, that their purpose was purely patriotic. The Italians, however, simply interned them.

A much more serious affair was that of February 1, 1918, on which day it had been arranged that the Slav sailors at Pola and Kotor should mutiny. At the former place it did not succeed, at Kotor it was so far successful that the mutineers, after imprisoning Admiral Njegovan and many other officers whom they suspected of not being in sympathy with them, took command of the ships and left unanswered an ultimatum addressed to them by the High Naval Command. There was a prospect of the whole fleet shaking off the Austro-Hungarian authority. The chief revolutionary leader was Ante Sesan, a Croat ensign, twenty-six years of age, from near Dubrovnik and the son of a well-known sea captain on the coast. "We drew up," he says, "a proclamation representing our case to the Yugoslavs, Czechs and Poles from the national point of view, and to the Germans and Magyars from the socialist point of view. The Germans threw in their lot with us, but the Magyars went against us. From our ship we continually sent wireless messages asking for help from the Entente fleet, and at first from Italy which was nearest and could help most quickly. The messages were continually jammed by sailors at the Ercegnovo station loyal to Austria-Hungary, but nevertheless it was known in Italy that something was happening at Kotor. We told the High Command at Bok Kotor[286] (Bocche di Cattaro) that we no longer recognized their authority and asked that we might get into touch with our deputies, whom alone we recognized. The High Command consented. We wired for the following deputies to come to us: Trešić (Yugoslav), Stanjek (Czech), Karolyi (Magyar), Adler (German) and one Polish deputy, but our wires did not, for the most part, get through. Our object was to get help, but meanwhile our situation became more and more desperate. We knew that the Third Division was coming from Pola against us, and also the army in Herzegovina. We were prepared to take the battery of the Punta d'Ostro, the most important battery and the key to Bok Kotor, which was in the hands of sailors inimical to us. The news came from Gaa that the Magyars there had got the upper hand. We tried to bring them over to us, but in vain. They said, 'If you don't stop this, we shall join the Third Division and take action against you.' The Magyars from other boats sent the same message. The Council of Sailors then debated what was to be done, and it was suggested that Rasha (who was shot later) should go in a hydroplane to Italy to give information on the situation and ask for help, and that we in the meantime should lie low, and in the event of help coming, again raise a revolt. Rasha objected that he did not know Italian, and proposed that I should go. The Third Division meanwhile was already in the port Bok Kotor.

"At half-past eight in the morning we flew away in the hydroplane to Italy, I and two Poles. At ten we reached Mattinato, and I explained at the Carabineers' station why I had come and asked to be brought as soon as possible before the Commander of the District. Later I saw Captain Odo (of the Territorials) and told him all, and asked him to put me into communication with Brindisi, Taranto or Rome. He had us put under arrest. I was interviewed by two flying officers two days later, but they went off to Brindisi in my hydroplane without me.

"On February 17 I was taken under armed escort to Brindisi, where I was imprisoned in a cabin of the man-of-war Varese.... I told the commander of the ship that I was at his disposal with all my knowledge of the Austrian fleet. I asked him to put questions, because[287] I did not know how much he knew. It was all to no purpose. On February 21 the Admiral in command at Brindisi saw me. From what he said I understood that nothing had been done about Bok Kotor and, what was more, that not one hydroplane had been sent to investigate the situation there. I learned that I was to go to Rome. They clapped me into barracks.... I again asked the Italians to allow me to speak to the Serbian Minister, whom I considered the representative of the Yugoslav people, but the request was refused on the plea that it was a question of high politics. Meanwhile the Polish representative Zamorski was allowed to visit the Poles, but from February 3 to May 25 I was unable to get into communication with any of our people."

In May there was another outbreak at Kotor, but it was overpowered, and many Yugoslav sailors were shot or imprisoned. Sesan was also kept in his Italian prison, though occasionally he was brought out, questioned and then taken back again. Thus at Ferrara he informed Captain Ciano about the whole organization of the Austrian offensive and defensive forces, and especially about Pola and Split. Sesan begged to be allowed to take part in the action against the Austrian fleet, and, at Rome, where he came before Captain Soldati, of the Bureau of Information, he made the same request. With two motor launches he undertook to organize communication between Italy and the Slavs of Dalmatia, in this way to follow events in Austria and help the revolutionary movement. It would be possible to procure the secret wireless codes which the Austrian and German submarines used—but the Italians would do nothing, because they were not willing to recognize that the Yugoslavs were fighting against Austria.... Seeing that he would never move the Italians to take serious action against the Austrian fleet, Sesan asked to be sent to the Serbian army in Macedonia, so that at Salonica he could get into touch with the French and British fleet. In this also he failed, for he was interned from June till December with Yugoslav officers at Nocera Umbra. While there he was visited by Bissolati, from whom he learned that the Chief of the Admiralty was hostile to the Yugoslavs. And at Nocera Umbra he remained until December 6, when he[288] was liberated, owing to the efforts of Trumbić and other members of the Yugoslav Committee.

In the month of September a memorandum was drawn up by Trumbić, in which he proposed to English and American political and military circles the landing at Šibenik of a force of 50,000 men. This would have been assisted by the mutinous crews of the Austro-Hungarian Fleet, whose preparations had been completed in July (at this port 90 per cent. of the sailors of the fleet were Yugoslavs, and among them there was a strong national feeling; in fact, if their political leaders had not held them back, they would have endeavoured in July to blow up the naval fortifications and sail with the ships to Corfu). The expeditionary army, once at Šibenik, could have penetrated inland and, acting in consort with the many Yugoslav deserters and the insurgent population of Dalmatia and Bosnia, have accelerated the Austrian débâcle. In this memorandum Trumbić asked that the combined Anglo-American-French fleet should support the action, but that the Italians, whom the Yugoslavs distrusted, should take no part. He sneered at the cowardice of the Italians who, with a huge army, did not dare to start an offensive on a grand scale.

[In well-informed circles in Italy this memorandum was already known, but when it was read in the Italian Chamber in the spring of 1919 it made a considerable sensation.]

On October 3, Messrs. Frederick Štepanek, Rudolph Giunio, Valentine Zić (of Šibenik) and other authorized Czecho-Slovak and Yugoslav emissaries went in a sailing-boat from Vis to Italy, with a view to getting into connection with Dr. Beneš (afterwards the Czecho-Slovak Foreign Minister) and Dr. Trumbić, to inform them as to the situation in the Monarchy and to obtain instructions regarding the moment of the revolution in which their soldiers and sailors were to participate. On arrival in Rome on October 7, the delegates were interrogated by Major Trojani of the Bureau of Information and on the same day for three hours by the Inspector-General of Public Safety. From then till October 20, they were interned in the Macoa barracks at the Castro Pretoris, and although they made repeated attempts to see a[289] member of the Yugoslav Committee or Dr. Beneš, who was in Rome, they were told that this "delicate" question could only be solved by the Premier himself; and when brought before him Dr. Beneš had departed. The delegates had entreated that he and Trumbić should be informed of their arrival, but in spite of various assurances nothing whatever was done. It is suggested that the fleet would have been in Slav hands two or three weeks earlier, which would very probably have precipitated events on the Western front, if the Italians had not acted in this inexcusable fashion.


The collapse of Austria-Hungary was being hastened by the fine work of the Allies' Macedonian army. France and Great Britain had provided for the re-equipment of the Serbs. And of the variegated forces that were based on Salonica none did more magnificently than this resurrected army. A weather-beaten sergeant of the French Infanterie Coloniale told me that he had never seen an exploit such as that of Kaimatčalan, where the Serbs set themselves the task of climbing to the summit, which towers 8000 feet high, and from there dislodging the Bulgarian artillery. Over and over again the Serbs were thrown back, and with terrific losses, for the mountain-side was strewn with rocks not large enough to shelter more than a man or two. But as the Infanterie Coloniale is habitually chosen for the roughest work, so the Serbs asked for nothing better than to climb the wall that shut them out from their own country. The labyrinth of trenches on the mountain-top was taken and retaken many times, until the Bulgars—inadequately supported by their Allies—had to retreat; and this, after further ferocious fighting, enabled the Serbs and the French to liberate Monastir. The complicated story of Greek manœuvres need not detain us, nor need we ask whether Mr. Leland Buxton[103] is justified in saying that the majority of that people were pro-German, "but were subsequently compelled by the Allied blockade ... to declare themselves supporters of Venizelos, on whose[290] behalf, indeed, the British Admiralty and War Office had to carry on a sort of election campaign (by Eastern European methods) until the numerous waverers wisely decided that it was better to be a well-fed Venizelist than a hungry Royalist." Sufficient that after months of delaying, in the course of which the Russian troops had to be turned into labour battalions, Marshal Mišić—whose plan of campaign had fortunately been adopted—had the satisfaction of seeing his own countrymen and their Allies racing up at last through Macedonia and Serbia to the Danube and beyond it.... What did they find? Bridges hastily blown up, tunnels rendered impassable by two locomotives laden with dynamite being made to collide in the middle of them—but the Serbs went rushing on. The supply columns could not keep pace with the troops—during the first eight days of the offensive the men of the 2nd Army received but two days' rations—they continued their advance across the Vardar, though but little bread and practically no other food was obtainable. In three days they had covered sixty miles. There was only time for them to greet the women and old men—and even if they had then been told of the 130,000 horses, the 6,000,000 sheep and goats, the 2,000,000 pigs, 1,300,000 cattle and over 8,000,000 poultry which the enemy had taken; if they had learned that the losses sustained by Serbia—exclusive of her own expenses and of the war loans from her Allies—amounted to some 10,000,000,000 frs. on a pre-war valuation, what did all this matter in that joyous time?


At the beginning of the War the dominant Magyars of the Banat had as little uncertainty about the result as Count Julius Andrássy professed to have at a later period. "Victory must come to our troops," he said, "because they are better organized and more efficient, and because they are, above all, filled with unexampled enthusiasm, which makes heroes of them all." The enthusiasm which, for instance, caused the mob at Velika Kikinda to shout "Eljen a haboru!" ["Long live the War!"] while they fired revolvers in at the windows of[291] an unilluminated house because it was the house of a Serb, a son-in-law of the well-known banker, Marko Bogdan, without stopping to ascertain that he was at the front fighting against Serbia, might be dismissed as a folly on the part of the crowd if it were not so characteristic of the whole Magyar administration. The "subject nationalities" were to be enrolled in the Magyar host and treated, at the same time, with contumely. At Veršac Dr. Slavko Miletić,[104] son of the famous patriot, was suspected not only of cherishing Serbian sympathies, which was natural, but of committing a felony. The authorities believed that in his medical capacity he was exempting people from their military service, and not for the advantage of the Serbian cause so much as for that of his own pocket. Several detectives were therefore put to bed in one or two of the wards of the military hospital; and the upshot of it was that three other doctors—all of them Magyars—who had given way to these practices, committed suicide; the chief of the hospital poisoned himself, one of the staff shot himself, and the third culprit hanged himself in prison. Dr. Miletić had previously been kept for three and a half months under the shadow of a conviction for high treason: one Bonchocat, a Roumanian who did not understand the Serbian language, asserted that the doctor, at a meeting held two weeks before the Archduke's assassination, must have known that war was brewing, since—so said Bonchocat—he had not confined himself to Serbian ecclesiastical affairs, which was the object of the meeting, but had uttered the remark that if the Austrians had bayonets the Serbs had axes. Although Bonchocat was a man condemned to nine years' penal servitude for murder, and although the doctor only called on his own behalf two witnesses who were not Serbs, but the head of the frontier police and the head of the town police, he was nevertheless kept in suspense for three and a half months. Afterwards, owing to the lack of Magyar doctors, he was begged to be the State doctor for the town. Similarly the Orthodox priest, Radulović, of Pančevo, was transported to Arad[292] and interned there for no other reason than his nationality, whereas his son, a first lieutenant of the Hungarian Honved, was expected to be very loyal. When certain rumours came to the son's ears—he was then serving on the Russian front—he inquired, and was told that his father had merely been warned. Presently he learned the truth, and in consequence deserted to the Russians and became a member of the Yugoslav brigade. Thus it will be seen that the Magyar unwisdom was on a par with that which they had shown in days of peace. Unfortunately for their State the Magyar politicians were less honest than the Magyar peasants, so that the de-nationalizing process met with pretty firm resistance. What can be said for the honesty of a legal decision which laid it down that as two Serbian philanthropists, Barajevac and Sandulović, at Pančevo had not specially mentioned that the funds they had bequeathed for a school were to be for a Serbian school—(this the benefactors had assumed as a matter of course)—they must be used for a Magyar establishment? Save for the officials there were practically no Magyars in Pančevo. And when the War began the remainder of the fund was invested by the Magyars in their War Loan! It is curious, by the way, to see what methods were employed to make the Loan successful. Fathers were frequently told that if their subscription was adequate their sons at the front would duly be granted leave. The Slovak village of Kovačica in the Banat was compelled to put three million crowns into War Loan, the Magyar notary making a list of the amounts which every person had to pay under penalty of being sent to the front; if he was too old for this he was threatened with internment. Kovačica, a few years before the War, had shown the Magyar fitness for governing an alien people. The population consisted of 5200 Lutheran Slovaks and 200 miscellaneous persons—Jews, Magyars and Germans. Nevertheless it was ordered that the church services must be in the Magyar and not in the Slovak language. When the parishioners objected, the police, with sticks and guns, expelled them from the large, lofty church, and 83 of them were sentenced to various periods of imprisonment. Serbian barristers defended them gratuitously, but the judge had himself taken an active part in turning[293] the people out of the church; and presently the barristers were told that they had themselves been convicted—Dr. Dušan Bošcović for one year, on the ground that he had had the napkins at a banquet decorated with the Serbian colours; Dr. Branislav Stanojević for three years, because his visits to Belgrade, where his parents and his brother were living, stamped him, said the Magyar judge, as a traitor. The total number of Magyars at Kovačica was ten, and for a time they came to hear their language, which had thus been compulsorily introduced. Handbills were sent round to summon the Magyars from neighbouring villages, but gradually this congregation grew smaller and smaller. When two Magyars attended, then the pastor gave them a sermon; if only one was present he confined himself to prayers. The Magyars had seen to it, by the way, that there should not be much sympathy between the pastor and his bishop: of this diocese about three-quarters were Slovaks and one-quarter Germans and Magyars; but the Government vetoed the choice of Dr. Czalva, who was disqualified for being friendly to the Slovaks—his father and grandfather had both been bishops of that same diocese—and a certain Dr. Raffay was appointed, who spoke nothing but Magyar and some words of German.... However, by taking in this way a few examples of Magyar methods, one may be accused of having chosen merely those which illustrate one's theme. It would be hazardous to draw conclusions as to Magyar officers in general because a certain Lieutenant Chaby, who, during the War, found himself quartered on a Serbian family of the name of Stejvović at Priboj in the Sandjak, behaved differently from his predecessor, an Austrian colonel. This Austrian had been well satisfied, but the lieutenant's first night was so disturbed that he fined his hosts sixty crowns for giving him a bug-ridden bed. Nevertheless, if large numbers of Austrian colonels and Magyar lieutenants had acted in a similar fashion we should be justified in deducing that several characteristics, be they good or bad, are possessed by the average Magyar subaltern. And the catalogue of Magyar limitations in the Banat, both prior to and during the War, is so voluminous that one would have thought them to be not worth discussing; if one restricts oneself to a[294] few it is in order to avoid being tedious, and if they are ineffective among the resolute pro-Magyars of this country, then one must resign oneself to leaving these gentlemen unconvinced. They will argue that stupidity is universal, and that the Magyar authorities should not be called in question for their treatment of the priest of Crvna Crkva, a village with 1108 inhabitants—1048 Serbs, 34 Slovaks, 17 Germans and 9 Magyars. This intelligent man—he is a noted player of a complicated card game—was indicted for high treason, because on hearing that the Emperor William was alleged to have undertaken to slaughter every Serb, the priest remarked that the Emperor should have added, "if God wills it." But near the village of Zlatica there was, at the beginning of the War, one Adam Rada, who was charged with making signals to the Serbs across the Danube by means of lights, and this although the situation of Rada's mill made such a thing impossible. Before being executed he was led ceremoniously through the village, his coffin being carried in the procession. This coffin was so small that Rada's feet had to be cut off. The grave was guarded by a soldier, who kept the family away from it; Rada's servant was in the hands of the police—after having been thrashed in order to compel him to give hostile evidence, he was convicted to six years' imprisonment. But the lack of evidence does not appear to have weighed very strongly with the Magyar judges. "It is quite true," said one of them in 1915 in the town of Bela Crkva, during the trial of a young priest, Voyn Voynović, "that there are witnesses who say he did not utter certain words in 1913, and no witnesses who say that he did; but I am convinced that he uttered them." The ferocity of the punishments may be seen from the example of Alexa Petković of Pančevo, the father of nine, who was condemned to hard labour for nine years because his twelve-year-old son, during the War, is alleged to have said to him: "Father, don't accept German money; it won't have any value." At the same place, in 1914, the Serbian peasants were brought in from the village of Bortša; there was no proof that they were traitors, but they had been denounced and they were sentenced to be shot. With a military escort they were promenaded through the town, each one of them having to[295] hold a Hungarian flag. At the scene of execution the Hungarian élite, together with their wives and daughters, were assembled. And after the bodies had been thrown on to a cart they were flogged, for some unknown reason, by one Blajek, a detective, while the audience cried "Eljen!" ["Hurrah!"]. But the War brought to an end the bad old days of a tyrannous minority. It will be shown, in a year or two, when a proper census is taken, that the Magyars were always much more in a minority than they ever admitted. Instead of nine millions out of the eighteen millions—which was the pre-war population of Hungary—it will be found that the Magyars themselves numbered barely six millions, though in their efforts to obtain recruits they charged only one crown and afterwards nothing at all for a naturalization paper. The day has gone by when a father could be interned for being a Serb, while his son, an assistant notary, was reckoned a Magyar—only Magyars being eligible for that office. The day has gone when the Buda-Pest Government could order its officials while taking a census to swell the Magyars' numbers as much as possible: the officials at Subotica confessed on oath, after the War, that they had received orders to this effect. One of their practices was to put down as "uncertain" those Serbian children who were too young to speak. Even those who were most willing to be absorbed into magyardom were often indigested: one finds in the statistics cases of converted Jews who, being asked to state their religion and nationality, replied to the former question "Catholic" and to the latter "Jew."


If the practices of Buda-Pest had been less flagrant one would write of Hungary's decomposition with a certain sympathy. It is conceivable that in the British Empire there are anti-British elements whose aims would commonly be classed by the authorities as "mad ambitions," which is what Count Apponyi called the separatist tendencies of the Southern Slavs in Austria-Hungary. But—may the platitude be pardoned!—there is all the difference between[296] the spirit in which the alien rule of the one government was, and of the other is, administered. No doubt there are portions of the British Empire in which a plebiscite would have the same disintegrating result as it would have had in most of the regions that have been lopped from Hungary. We, with our Allies, declined to permit a plebiscite in Hungary's late territories, since we believed that the population had overwhelmingly displayed its wishes at the end of the War; and an Englishman may hope to escape the charge of hypocrisy if he does not permit the withholding of a plebiscite from certain of his fellow-subjects to prevent him from alluding with satisfaction to those who have been liberated from the sway of Buda-Pest.


Everywhere the dawn was breaking for the Habsburg's Southern Slavs. At Vukovar in Syrmia—to take an example—there was formed, as elsewhere, a National Council. Under Baron Joseph Rajacsich, a grandson of the Patriarch and—to all appearances—a brother of Falstaff, the Council maintained order until the coming of the Serbian army. An Austrian naval captain with a floating arsenal, four steamers and twenty-two drifters, was held up, as he proposed to sail towards Buda-Pest, by being told of a battery at Dalja, higher up the Danube. However, the Vukovar townsfolk, in view of a possible explosion, begged that the prisoner, who had wept at being stopped, should be sent on his way. The German harbour-master, a lieutenant, assured the Baron that he would assist him if he were allowed to keep his liberty. But he was tempted, in the middle of a night, to assist two German captains who were trying to get through, each with a string of drifters. Rajacsich, whose armed force consisted of forty Serbian ex-prisoners and fifty of his own workmen—he armed them with what he found on the drifters—had no means of stopping the German boats. But after telephoning in vain to the ex-harbour-master, he fired a shot into one of the boats, which fortunately found the kitchen, and made such a terrible noise among the pots and pans that the Germans considered it more prudent to remain. The[297] Baron succeeded in sending back to Belgrade altogether 39 steamers and 217 loaded drifters, which contained booty, even from the Ukraine, that was valued at about a milliard crowns; ... but the Austro-Hungarians managed to get away with a considerable amount of plunder. The people of Buda-Pest were surprised, on the morning of November 5, to find the Sophie, one of the most luxurious passenger steamers on the Danube, lying at their quay, with her decks groaning under such a pile of packing-cases and parcels and furniture and all kinds of objects heaped upon each other as almost to make the boat unrecognizable. A lieutenant with a dozen soldiers was sent to investigate, and the captain showed him an order from the Minister of War, commanding that the Sophie should take on board the Military Government in Serbia and transport it to Vienna. But the Buda-Pest authorities insisted on removing all the articles whose ownership the passengers were unable to prove; and it took a whole day to unload the enormous quantities of flour, leather, clothing, poultry, sugar, fats, etc. General Rhemen, the former military governor of Serbia, related that on October 5 he received the order to begin the military evacuation of Serbia. This was carried on day by day, and on October 28 it was completed. "We sent by the railway and by boats," said Colonel Kerchnaive to the Hungarian journalists, "4000 carloads of wheat, 10,000 fat oxen, 10,000 transport oxen, 10,000 pigs, 4000 sheep, 15 carloads of wine, 400 carloads of jam, enormous quantities of wood, of telephone material, of arms, munitions and 16 million crowns in silver." Such was the "military evacuation" of Serbia.... And at the beginning of the same month, when the whole Austro-Hungarian monarchy was in a state of collapse, Baron Hussarek stood up in the Reichsrath and said that "the task will arise for the Government carefully to prepare and inaugurate the difficult but hopeful work of reconstructing the monarchy on the basis of national autonomy." The imperturbable Prime Minister announced that "we shall have to go to work and set our house in order." But you will say that the Baron was a futile Mrs. Partington, an isolated antagonist of the inevitable, and only mentioned here for the sake of dramatic effect.[298] Not at all! So far from being laughed at everywhere as an absurd reactionary he was held in the highest Buda-Pest circles to be a perilous innovator. He actually spoke about conciliating the Austro-Hungarian Slavs: not so Count Tisza. "What is happening in Austria," exclaimed the grim Calvinist a few months before, "are strange, grotesque displays of the ridiculous symptoms of the presumptuous mentality of people of no importance."


One further example of Southern Slav activity may be given, as it will show us what was happening among the pious and industrious Slovenes. It would have been unnatural if the Clerical party had longed for Austria's downfall, and a large number of priests would still have been Austrophil[105] if Dr. Jeglić, the eminent Prince-Bishop of Ljubljana, had not summoned all the political parties and caused them to adopt a patriotic Yugoslav attitude. (His retirement was in consequence demanded; but the Pope, who asked him for an explanation of the whole movement, was quite satisfied. Nor would Vienna have been able to take any serious steps against the Bishop, seeing that most of the Slovenes were behind him.) But the small Slovene people could, until November 1, 1918, offer nothing more than a passive resistance to their masters. They did not dare to speak Slovene in public. "What is the easiest language in the world?" was being asked in Maribor on the 1st of November. It was the language which so many people had apparently learned in a single night. The people were Slovenes, the officials[299] were Austrian—though one or two of the officials were Slovenes and a minority of the people claimed to be Austrians, this being more marked in the town of Maribor (where the German-Austrians were as many as 35 per cent.) than in the surrounding district (where 95 per cent. are Yugoslav). Dr. Jeglić had prepared the forces that were going to break their bonds on that fateful day. At 7 a.m. Dr. Srečko Lajnšić—one of the rare Slovene officials—he had been denounced by two of his colleagues and imprisoned at the beginning of the War, for having, as they said, "laughed maliciously" at Great Britain resolving to fight—Dr. Lajnšić and his friend General Maister took over the administration in the name of the Yugoslav State. General Maister had been till then a Major, employed—as he was a political suspect—on dépôt work. And when the eight or nine Austrian colonels appeared on November 1 before Lajnšić, the genial official, and Maister, they were informed by the latter that he was a General—he looks like a swarthy Viking—and they were asked to surrender their swords. As they did not know how many men the General had behind him—as a matter of fact he had nine—they acted on his suggestion; one of them wept as he did so. At 11 a.m. Lajnšić deposed all the chief civil officials in that part of Styria, and the General persuaded the 47th Regiment to leave by train. They were influenced by a notice in the papers which said that 100,000 Frenchmen (invented by the General and Lajnšić) had just arrived at Ljubljana. After this the two companions carried on at Maribor; very little was known of them for a month at Ljubljana, Zagreb or Belgrade. But then they were confirmed in the posts they had assumed and Maister became a regular General. They were not intolerant; they expelled less than ten people, although so many of the German-Austrians had come, under the auspices of the Südmark Verein (a colonization society) or the Deutsche Schulverein (an educational body), to propagate Germanism. One of these colonists, a doctor, who had lived a dozen years in Maribor, could only say "Good morning" in Slovene; and German women in the market-place (themselves unable to speak proper German) used to insist on the Slovene peasants speaking a language of which they[300] knew scarcely a word. Lajnšić and Maister took no steps against the Bishop of Maribor who, three months after the Austrian collapse, celebrated a Mass in honour of the ex-Emperor. This Bishop, the son of Slovene peasants, had been educated near Vienna, had been a confessor of the House of Habsburg, and he found it difficult to regard himself as a Slovene. Gradually the voice of his own people spoke in him and then, after very long and honourable mental conflict, he developed into an excellent Yugoslav. He and Maister are, both of them, poets. Most of the General's pieces—which are all in Slovene—treat of love and nature. But he wrote at least one set of other verses, which the Austrians suppressed during the War. This is the nearest translation I can make of them:

Have pity, Christ, on Thy poor folk,
For now the fields are desolate
And misery and famine wait
On all, the chimneys give no smoke—
Our men have marched away from us.
Soon will the village bells have gone
From their dark places up on high,
And we who watch will never tie
Gay blossoms round them, and upon
Their path no laughter will resound.
Beloved bells, when thunder rolled
And lightning threatened us you swayed,
Our music-censers, and you prayed
That God Almighty would behold
The danger and be merciful.
O bells that sang of love and joy,
A foul destruction you will spread.
Once you moaned sweetly for the dead
And now 'tis you that will destroy,
And on their course the bullets moan.
But once again, O bells, we pray,
Let the tremendous music roll.
Sing us the secrets of your soul,
And then your last song of dismay
And wrath and sacrilegious death.


[80] Cf. "Le Progrès politique et économique sous le Régne de Pierre i.," by A. Mousset, in Yugoslavia, December 15, 1921.

[81] In all, 7130 boys and girls were removed from Bosnia-Herzegovina. And a year or two after the end of the war a good many of them were still with their foster-parents in other parts of Yugoslavia. They preferred to remain there, because of the lack of food in their own homes; the parents of many—especially in Herzegovina—had been hanged, and others had been for so long away from their parents that they had no keen desire to return to them.

[82] Quoted in the Times of September 24, 1919.

[83] Cf. Serbia's Part in the War, vol. i., by Crawfurd Price. London, 1918.

[84] He intervened, for example, near Lazarevac, where he observed, with tears in his eyes, that one of the finest regiments, the 10th Šumadija, was giving way to overwhelming numbers. He told them that he intended to stay where he was, and he invited any soldier who wished to remain with him to do so. Every man remained. "Très charmant," was the comment of the colonel, an eye-witness, who told me of this incident.

[85] Cf. Manchester Guardian, October 22, 1921.

[86] Cf. Nineteenth Century and After, January 1922.

[87] Cf. Dokumenti o postanku Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, 1914-1919, by Ferdo Šišić. Zagreb, 1920.

[88] Cf. International Law, Part I. p. 321.

[89] Italy and the Yugoslavs: A Question of International Law. Paris, 1919.

[90] July 17, 1920.

[91] I think that, in so far as concerns this article in the New Europe (July 8, 1920), it is fairer to describe Mr. Trevelyan as an Italian exponent rather than apologist. Although we cannot agree with various remarks of his, he makes it clear that he is out of sympathy with the Italian extremists. He deprecates also the views of those English publicists who are altogether on the side of the Yugoslavs. "The truth, perhaps," says he, "lies somewhere hid in the centre." And if that is not a very happy observation, it is at any rate much more moderate than the average views of those English writers whose spiritual home is in Italy.

[92] Byron, Childe Harold.

[93] About 36,000 boys—partly recruits and partly boys of more tender years—started over the mountains, and some 20,000 of them perished.

[94] This officer, aided by others, was charged with having organized an attempt to overthrow the Yugoslav National Council soon after its constitution in the autumn of 1918. The day of the counter-revolution was to be November 25, according to the Hrvatska Riječ of November 23. The General and others were arrested, but as he was able to prove his innocence he was liberated.

[95] With Serbia into Exile. New York, 1916.

[96] Cf. The Question, by Isidora Sekulić.

[97] Revue des Deux Mondes, January 1, 1917.

[98] In contrast with this attitude that was adopted at Nikita's command one must mention the transactions of a Podgorica merchant, M. Burič, and his partners, who sold 150,000 kilos of grain to the retreating army at cost price, that is, at one dinar per kilo when they could have obtained five. Two million kilos of hay they sold at 8 paras per kilo instead of at 50 or more. There were at this time only 20 tons of flour in all Montenegro. Undoubtedly the refusal of Burič and his friends to profit from the distress of their brother Serbs was much more typical of the Montenegrins than the conduct which Nikita drew forth from the weak side of their character.

[99] Cf. an article in the Gazette de Lausanne, November 29, 1917, by Danilo Gatalo, a former Montenegrin Minister of War.

[100] Cf. p. 204.

[101] Ex-King Nicholas and his Court (Collection of eighteen original documents in facsimile). Sarajevo, 1919.

[102] These almost incredible facts are vouched for by Dr. Sekula Drljević, ex-Minister of Justice and Finance, who was one of the internees at Karlstein.

[103] The Black Sheep of the Balkans. London, 1920.

[104] In 1919 this very popular physician became Minister of Public Health in a Coalition Cabinet, and in 1920 he became Minister of Posts and Telegraphs.

[105] A couple of months before the triumph of the Yugoslav idea one of these priests, Dr. Alexius Ušeničnik, Professor of Theology, published at Ljubljana a little book packed with ancient and modern quotations from Latin and French, Italian and German sources. He called it Um die Yugoslavija; Eine Apologie; and in the strongest terms he combated the reproach that the Slovene bishop, the clergy and the people were not loyal to the Habsburgs. Dr. Ušeničnik proved that the poor Slovenes were suffering an almost intolerable subjection at the hands of the Germans, but he persisted in demanding nothing more than freedom within the Habsburg Monarchy. "The Monarchy," said our unhappy author, "is in the midst of its development." And this priest, who was so deaf to the grand Yugoslav idea, quoted with approval the words of Gustave le Bon: "Ideas take a long time in possessing the people's soul."



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