« AnteriorContinuar »
government was concerned; nor did Russia, by its intervention, pay that respect to the Treaty of Paris which was to be expected from an honourable power.
It is impossible to understand the complications which exist in the internal policy of Servia; still less is it possible to arrive at any proximate estimate of a possible future, without some slight study -such as has never been attempted to be sketched-of its past history. It is quite certain that so long as the Porte shall maintain in its Christian provinces the exclusive privileges and prerogatives of the followers of Islam, the simplest and most rightful claims of the Christian population will remain unheeded-revolts will continually arise and outrages will be as incessantly renewed.
But the Sublime Porte has not only promised reforms, but is earnestly engaged in carrying such out, in respect to all its Christian populations. It cannot, unless it wishes to commit political suicide, consent to the perfect autonomy or independence of one principality or population more than another, or to the same being handed over to other powers, as Russia or Austria. But it can grant such an amount of independence in self-government as shall set them for ever free from Turkish misgovernment or oppression. This is all that ought to be required of her, aud Servia really possessed as much ere she rushed into disastrous warfare, under pretence of liberating her co-religionaries, but really to carry out a dream of Panslavic supremacy.
The spirit of modern times, which seeks the emancipation of the Christian tribes, operates, mainly, by political means. It does not aim at the annihilation of Islamism, either by conversion or force. Still, it seeks to restrainits pretensions within due limits, and it is fully justified in not only endeavouring to prevent the followers of the Christian religion from being trampled on simply because they are Christians, but also in securing to them such an amount of local government as shall at once remove them, and protect them, from Turkish despotism and the commital of outrages.
How difficult it is to assure such a state is sufficiently attested by the recent war, to which Servia, under its own prince, its own administration, and its securities guaranteed by the European Powers, must still commit itself, prompted by Russo-Panslavonic ambition to extend its own power over neighbouring Christian populations. It is quite true that Servia has long been regarded as the precursor of the minor states of the eastern corner of Europe, in the struggle for emancipation from Turkish thaldrom; but nothing could justify her, knowing from past history her utter incapability to combat Turkey single-handed, throwing herself into the hands of Russia to obtain the emancipation of other peoples. There is in all this only another manifestation of that
utter absence of all political, as well as social, morality which is the base of Oriental Christianity.
There is, indeed, in all barbarous or semi-civilised states a want of that high moral tone which is the soul of national honour. Human life is held lightly; the rights of property are not respected: and individual will and might prevail. This is painfully apparent throughout the history of Servia. The worst consequences of a long, barbarous subjugation is that even that amount of emancipation which lies in the local administration of their own affairs, and which will probably be conceded to them by the resistless force of public opinion, will only slowly conduce to an awakening to the consciousnesses of moral duties. The highest problems of moral and intellectual life which ennoble mankind have not yet penetrated into the Christian populations of Turkey. The divine principle of Christianity, though stifled in the fierce conflict for existence, obscured by rivalry with other churches and persuasions, and corrupted by an ignorant, bigoted, and, not unfrequently, a drunken and immoral priesthood, may still be said to be in existence. But the development of a more elevated tone of morality is not only wanting in laity, but in the ministers of religion and in the rulers themselves. It is not until Christianity-a vital religion, purified from fanaticism and superstition-becomes firmly established in the hearts of a people and the institutions of a country, that the duties and rights of man can be fully understood and truly observed. How far they have as yet progressed by elementary education, by moral, religious, and political education, and by the example given to them by their superiors, let any one personally acquainted with the internal condition of the Christian populations of Turkey-including even Roumania-say.
THE Accusing Spirit which flew up to Heaven's chancery with the oath, blushed as he gave it in, and the recording angel, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear up on the word and blotted it out for ever.
FROM Cairo on to Suez, if the traveller wished to go,
"I cannot be mistaken, wife; I'm sure I know that face!" Said a bishop, as at Cairo he up and down did pace. "My dear, you must remember, that sad dog, Swearing Bill? I thought before this he'd been hung; but here he's living still!
Bill Walters, Emma, don't you know, who ran away to seaA very horrid lad, indeed, sunk in iniquity;
Who never opened his bad lips, but out there came an oath, And if two struggled to come out, he found room for them both.
Still, when we are at Cairo we must do as Cairese do :"
"I'm glad to see you Bishop, and your good lady too,
There's lots that try to make me swear; but then I always say,
Have you taken tickets, Bishop, for the cars that start to-night? Oh that be blowed! your Lordship, but I can make it right; Here's twenty-four and thirty-six, and you're a lucky man! Another hour, you wouldn't get a seat in any van.
Now, when I call the numbers out, you mind and take your place, For after any vacant seat there's just a regular race,
And folks pretend they've paid for seats, although they know
Which makes me say, 'Oh that be blowed,' at once upon the spot!"
"Mr. Walters," said the Bishop, "I raise my hat to you!
"In the evening," said the Bishop, "I regret to say I hear, If I take ticket 36 my dear wife won't be near!
For she is number 24, and sadly she will sigh
To miss her lawful partner, and so, no doubt, shall I.”
Then up spoke Captain Chaffinbras, of the gallant Third Hussars,
"24!" cried Mr. Walters, who of all the vans had charge,
Mr. Walters recollected the gratitude he owed,
And when he came to 36 he gave a fearful grin,
Mad Walters, now forgetting the teaching of his Church-
J. T. W. B.
THE LEPER OF AOSTA.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF COUNT XAVIER DE MAISTRE BY C. MILLER.
THE Southern part of Aosta is now almost deserted, and, indeed, looks as if it had never been thickly populated. It contains cultivated fields and meadows, bounded on one side by the old ramparts, with which the Romans had surrounded it, and on the other by garden walls. This solitary spot is not, however, uninteresting to travellers. Close to the city gate are the remains of an old castle in which (according to popular tradition) Count Renè de Chalans, in the 15th century, being impelled by jealous fury, left his wife, Princess Marie de Bragance, to die of hunger; hence came the name of Bramafau, which means cri de la faim, given to this castle by the country people. About a hundred feet from the castle stands a square tower, leaning against the old wall, and built of the marble with which in times gone by the wall had been entirely faced. It was called the Tower of Fear, because the people believed it had long been haunted by ghosts. The old women of woman, robed in
Aosta perfectly remember having seen a tall white, come forth one dark night, bearing a lamp in her hand. About fifteen years ago this tower was put in a state of repair by order of the government, and had a wall built round it for the purpose of receiving a leper, who would thus be separated from society, yet would retain all the comforts of which his sad condition left him susceptible. The hospital of S. Maurice was responsible for his food, and along with a few pieces of furniture, a set of gardening tools was given him.
He lived alone here for a long time, seeing no one but the priest, who came occasionally to give him the consolations of religion, and the man who brought him a weekly supply of provisions from the hospital.
During the war of the Alps in 1797, a soldier who chanced to be at the city of Aosta was passing one day by the leper's garden, and finding the door open, had the curiosity to go in. He saw a man plainly dressed, leaning against a tree and plunged in the deepest meditation.
At the noise made by the officer in entering the recluse called out in a melancholy voice, without turning or looking, "Who is there? and what do you want of me?"
"Pardon me," answered the soldier, "I am a stranger, and