Puslapio vaizdai

It would seem idle to multiply dry particulars favor, of which he demanded payment in the of cases, all essentially similar, showing the wide- event of his recall. He was not recalled, and spread corruption and sinister ingenuity which his rapacity immediately increased in intensity. thwarts the administration of justice in Turkey, A British merchant remitted five hundred though this could be done without difficulty, as pounds in notes by post from one town to ansuch cases are of almost daily occurrence in the other. The letters containing them in halves Asiatic provinces of Turkey. It is indeed hard were never received. Investigations were instito see how any attempt at reform and superin- tuted, and the postmaster absconded. He has tendence could successfully cope with a system now been captured, however, through the active so rotten to its very core.

exertions of the British consulate, and the merThe third important branch of provincial rule chant may thus hope to recover his money, a in the Turkish territory of western Asia, which part of which the postmaster probably devoted presents an equally lamentable spectacle of cor- to purchasing impunity and undisturbed possesruption, is the financial and fiscal department. sion of the remainder. Its practice is less often prominently before the There exists a perfect understanding among public than those of the police and judicial de- Turkish pashas and effendis with regard to the partments; but, on the other hand, it is too per- levying of this species of blackmail from suborsistently addicted to malversation of office to dinate functionaries. A late governor-general escape detection. Designedly bewildering com- of an Asiatic province had received one thouplications of accounts, showing illusory balances sand pounds from a person who had been apin favor of those who keep them, supply the pointed a judge through his good offices with the means of peculation. Receipts in coin and pay- Porte; this large amount corroborating what has ments in notes leave large profits. Collusive been stated above concerning the value of the sales of crown lands enrich their negotiators. illicit gains that accrue from the exercise of judiThe farming of the tithes of agricultural produce cial functions. It happened that the governoroffers an abundant harvest of gain to its many general was recalled very soon after the appointmanipulators, whether the season be favorable to ment of the judge. On the arrival of his sucthe crops or otherwise. The collection of ar- cessor an arrangement was entered into by which rears of taxes is productive of gratuities to all half the sum paid to the late governor was those who are connected with it, great and small. handed by him to the new one on condition of The administration of property belonging to his not attempting to replace the judge by anpious foundations furnishes a fertile field for other remunerating candidate for magisterial wholesale robbery. Finally, the appointment of honors and profits. governors and lieutenant-governors of districts The devices employed for realizing large by the governors-general of provinces is almost amounts are sometimes singularly ingenious; invariably accompanied by money payments by and, if such a degree of intelligence and energy the former to the latter, and to other functiona- as one sees every day displayed in inventing ries facilitating their nominations. Instances of means of peculation were directed toward the bribery and corruption are so common in the laudable end of good government, the Turkish Asiatic provinces of the Ottoman Empire that, domination in western Asia might last and prosin adducing a few of them as proofs of their ex- per, a result quite incompatible with the constant istence, the only difficulty lies in their selection, perversion of skill to iniquitous purposes.

For as it is not attempted now to treat the subject of instance, the Turkish authorities spend their reforms in Asiatic Turkey in an exhaustive, but time in having the walls of half-ruined houses rather in a suggestive manner. The following repaired or pulled down at the expense of their cases may serve to establish the fact of such mal- Government, in order to prevent their falling on practices existing, if demonstration be required. the inhabitants, whom at the same time they as

Complaints were lately sent to a governor- sess for the payment of the necessary outlay, general by the population of a district against which had been charged to the Treasury. They the extreme rapacity of a new governor. A announce that the volume of water in one stream commissioner was intrusted with the duties of a is to be diverted to a second, which is insufficient formal inquiry into the case. The governor sum- to supply the mills built on it and the gardens irmoned all the complainants before him, and in rigated by it; the owners of milis and gardens the presence of the commissioner he admitted on the first stream pay liberally to prevent the the receipt of every bribe which they mentioned. cutting of a channel between the two streams, He then made out a debtor and creditor ac- which would cut off the water so necessary to count of all that he had received in the dis- their property; the second stream is then dammed trict and of all that he had paid to obtain his up at the distance of a few miles, and the millers appointment, resulting in a balance in his own and gardeners having an interest in it disburse all they can to have the water of the other stream of the inexpediency of making any change of added to it, in the belief that the supply is failing persons when the perfect security offered by the from natural causes; the dam is at once cleared original speculator had been already amply tested. away, and there is great rejoicing when the wa- He openly boasted of his good fortune in having ter is seen to have increased in volume. This been able to purchase nearly six thousand pounds' swindle is, of course, understood when it is seen worth of tithes for the customary payment of that the two streams have not been united, as two thousand pounds with only fifteen hundred was supposed; but the authorities have in the pounds in addition distributed among those dismean time been paid by both parties, and neither posing of them. Such is the manner in which of them has the courage to make any complaint. the provincial revenues of Asiatic Turkey are colSuch juggling tricks are not uncommon in the lected; for this latter instance is far from being Asiatic provinces, and no shame is felt in playing a solitary one, and it may indeed be taken as a them off on the people. The sheep-tax is col- sample of the universal practice. Those public lected by the emissaries of the provincial gov- revenues would doubtless be greatly augmented ernment, one for each group of villages or no- in amount if a better system of collection with a madic tribes. These collectors pay generally rigid superintendence were introduced with pracabout fifteen pounds to the Turkish authorities tical success. for their respective appointments. They then go The question now arises whether practical out to drive a lucrative trade, and make a small success in the introduction of reforms into the fortune by not counting the flocks of those who police, judicial, and financial establishments of pay for exemption from the tax. The farming Asiatic Turkey be possible. Proposals can alof the tithes is the greatest and most profitable ways be made, more or less advantageous in of the many fields for malversation of office theory, and they may also be accepted. But the which are open to the Turkish provincial admin- Turks are very skillful in defeating the applicaistration in Asia. A sufficient bribe can always tion of measures which they had accepted in secure the privilege of assessment at thirty per principle, and they have a ready excuse for their cent. of the value of the crop, and even after col- non-application in the dearth of financial relection new arrangements can be made by which sources to meet the unavoidable expense attendthe amount stipulated as payable to the Treasury ing the due realization of reforms. In making is greatly reduced. One of these contractors this excuse for inaction they may nurse a latent owed fifteen hundred pounds as the price of a hope of obtaining thereby another loan, which collection which had yielded him about five thou- would furnish an opening for picking and stealsand pounds, and, by the disbursement of gratui- ing; but, however this may be, it should be ties in the proper quarters, he had his debt regis- borne in mind that the Ottoman Turks are an tered as eight hundred pounds. Another of them essentially Oriental people, and, as such, they owes upward of fifty thousand pounds to the respect power alone, yielding to force, not to Treasury for tithe contracts, which had been paid persuasion. Gentleness and humanity are, to for only in part during a long series of years; them, suggestive of weakness and fear. Whatand he is allowed to continue his speculations in ever is done for them must be done peremptorily, the same way with very considerable profit to if it is expected to succeed. They are a cynical himself, while his accumulating debt remains race, ruling a conquered country on principles of unclaimed through regular payments of bribes self-interest, irrespective of right or wrong. A amounting to about five thousand pounds a year, late very intelligent and equally unreserved Grand although he is wealthy enough to pay up all the Vizier made no concealment of the fact, being in arrears he owes if pressed. In another example the habit of saying that the Turkish domination of the same kind the tithes of a circle of villages of the Ottoman Empire is for the benefit not of had been farmed for many years by a speculator the governed, but of the governing, classes. In who paid generally about two thousand pounds its Asiatic provinces it is in fact an organized for them, a little more or a little less in propor- system of peculation. The public business of tion to the abundance or deficiency of the crops. the infernal regions themselves, as an American Last season having been unusually productive traveler quaintly observes, could hardly be adthere, the Turkish authorities availed themselves ministered on such principles. The Turkish rule of the opportunity of deriving an advantage from in western Asia is past redemption, irreclaimably this circumstance. They had the tithes exposed vicious. No reproductive faculty exists in the for sale piecemeal, each village separately, and character of the Turks. If eir domination the aggregate amount offered for them was nearly not corrupt, it is nothing. The rotten, withering six thousand pounds; but they were not sold. branches of the tree once lopped off, it must die. The previous farmer of them was summoned, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, than whom no one and a bargain was struck with him on the plea knows the Turks better, said of them in one of


his speeches, “Their corruption eats into the very ber of one of the provincial councils, all of which foundations of society, and a combination of vio- have had for many years the illusory semblance lence, fraud, and intrigue obstructs the march of of being composed of mixed elements; but he is progress, and poisons the very atmosphere in nevertheless contemptuously ordered to sign their which they prevail.” On the other hand, Lord decrees, even when the purport of those decrees Palmerston once said in the House of Commons is prejudicial to the legitimate interests of the that there was not an instance in all history of non-Mussulman classes of the population. The another country having advanced so much in its Turk is thus the lord of creation, and the Chrispolitical and social condition during twenty years tian and Jew are his retainers. His Mussulman as the Ottoman Empire had ! These are two faith is a religion of pride, requiring no aliment, great authorities on the subject, and they are in out living on itself, and that pride must be abased open contradiction with each other; inquirers before any reform growing out of the Christian can judge which of them is the more likely to be doctrine of equality can be successfully introin the right.

duced. Like the haughty exclusiveness of the If only stubborn facts are taken into con- Jewish polity of old, the insolent usurpation of sideration, no lack of proof will be found that, superiority by Islamism must ultimately cause its however plausible it may appear to be at Con- own downfall; but the time may not yet have stantinople, the old theory of Turkish regenera- come for such a sweeping change in the Turkish tion has been completely refuted by subsequent domination in western Asia, and the means of events and indications in Asiatic Turkey. No producing it, though they have certainly now possible doubt of this can remain in the mind of been called into existence, may not have reached any one who has been resident there for a suffi- that degree of maturity which is necessary for its cient length of time to form a safe opinion. The completion, if violent convulsions are to be avoided Turks of Asia have not improved in any way in effecting it. for centuries, their national tendencies being con- Notwithstanding the danger, however, that fined to that spirit of conquest which led them amicable relations might suffer by our insistance, victoriously from the Altai Mountains and the and that serious disturbances might be produced plains of Khorassan to the shores of the Bos- in the country by compliance with it, still the porus. New powers or capacities can not be only advisable course for England to follow with easily created in them, and the influence of their regard to Asiatic Turkey, if the Anglo-Turkish domination, which has always been fatal to civili- Convention is to become more than a dead letzation, must continue, like an incubus, to crush ter, must be to merge her chivalrous courtesy down every element of progress that exists in the into a stern declaration that her counsels will be country. They are not colonists, they are not enforced in the event of their being disregarded. traders, they are not administrators: the special The Porte, having seen the deplorable excesses faculties and habits requisite for all those voca- of the Turks in the late war glossed over and tions are entirely wanting in them. They have palliated in England, may have conceived, by learned nothing since they invaded the Byzantine dint of impunity, the erroneous notion that EngEmpire, and they have unlearned nothing. Ol- land will assume no other tone, whatever ultitenitza, Silistria, and Kars, Alexinatz, Shipka, and mate answer may be given to her advice; and, Plevna prove that they are still the same intrepid if the negotiations regarding the application of warriors they were then; but they are also now reforms to the Asiatic provinces are not carried the same cruel and bloodthirsty despoilers of the on by England in a manner proving that no more subjugated population, and respect for justice trifling with the subject will be allowed, it will and truth is as far as ever from exercising any soon become evident that only one alternative influence on their conduct. They can but op- will remain open to her, namely, the repudiation press and impoverish, torture and plunder, being of the responsibilities assumed by her in the equally incapable of living and thriving by honest Anglo-Turkish Convention. Those responsibiliindustry themselves, and of allowing others to ties having been very properly made conditional prosper by it. The prejudices of caste are even on the application of reforms, such a conclusion more deeply rooted in them now than they were of the question would be perfectly justifiable in of old, for the sympathy and protection afforded itself; and it would be less unsatisfactory than of late to the Christians of Turkey by the Euro- to go on receiving vacuous assurances of the fulpean powers have only exacerbated their hatred fillment of a condition with is opposed by too of them. Not a Mussulman beggar meets a non- many obstacles to admit the probability, or even Mussulman householder in the towns of Asiatic the possibility, of its being fully realized under Turkey without taking “le haut du pavé," and the Turkish domination in western Asia. making him walk in the gutter. It is true that a Christian or Jewish householder may be a mem

Fraser's Magazine.


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public spirit as well as quattrini from his distant I.

wanderings, and sought to let in light and air to

the cooped-up dwellings by knocking down a THE HOMES OF THE PLASTER-IMAGE

few bits of the useless walls: Italians, however,

are the most conservative, least revolutionary of IT T is a well-known fact that while emigration is races, and the fact that a thing has always been,

almost unknown to the thriving peasantry of is with them an excellent reason why it should Tuscany, the neighboring province of Lucca fur- always continue to be. Besides, all the more nishes a very large proportion of the wandering thriving inhabitants-chiefly returned emigrants Italians who go to seek their fortunes beyond the —have spread themselves outside the village, and seas. These are nearly all figurinaj, those plas- the hillside toward the high-road is dotted with ter-image men who with their trays of brittle tiny farms and a few gayly-painted houses. But distortions of famous statues are to be met with apart from quattrini, the nomadic tendencies of everywhere throughout the world. Few peas- Ghivizzano have one result which is comical ant families of the Lucchesi valleys are without enough to the casual visitor. Halting for breath some Gianni or Pietro who, forsaking the parental outside the gateway of this Old World Italian corn- or hemp-patch, has trudged away to at- village, it was startling to be suddenly accosted tack the world's oyster by means of sulphur- by a voice from an upper window with a “Good molds and wax and plaster. But the Italian race evening, ma'am,” in very tolerable English. Casever being essentially home-loving, these Luc- truccio's ghost would have been far less surprising. chesi seldom settle abroad. Sooner or later they Then, as we presently dived into a vaulted find their way back to their native place, lay out passage in the thickness of the wall, which runs their savings in a scrap of ground, tell wondrous nearly all round Ghivizzano, the same voicetales of travel and golden possibilities, and keep close at hand now—said: “Very bad road, that up the family tradition by packing off all super- way, ma'am; you caan't get on,” in an accent Auous sons to seek their fortune in the same way. which told that the speaker had not studied the Here at the Bagni di Lucca we are in the very English language among the “upper ten." He midst of this land of figurinaj, and all the sur- was quite young, but had come back from Amerrounding villages nestling in chestnut-glades or ica lamed for life, and had settled down in his crowning hilltops are pointed out to us as the native place. He was beginning to tell us his homes of returned emigrants. All are interest- adventures, when a brisk, withered old man with ing, but Ghivizzano is certainly the most pictu- a face like a dried herring—before soakingresque. A few miles from the Bagni, just where pounced upon us in a friendly way, and volunthe noble valley of the Serchio widens out into a teered to take us up to the church. He too sunny, vine-tangled district, sloping upward over spoke English, though less fluently than the a chain of chestnut-covered hills to the bold other, and gladly relapsed into his native tongue spurs and peaks of the central Apennines, Ghi- on finding that we understood it rather better vizzano crowns the summit of one of the afore- than we understood his English. He was very said hills. Encircled with high walls and crested voluble, and willing as Othello to recount his by a tall campanile and a ruined tower dating experiences. Of course he had been a figurifrom the days of that potent lady the Countess naio, and had only recently retired from his wanMatilda, it still shows an imposing front to the dering business. He was the owner of a couple world, and must have been a splendid place for of houses and several fields, but his income defense in the fighting days of Castruccio-Cas- seemed to be small — it certainly allowed no tracani, whose birthplace it was.

margin for soap—and he did not disdain to supAnd now as then, though windows have here plement it by filling the office of clock-winder to and there been opened in the grim old walls, there the commune for the magnificent weekly salary is but one gate to Ghivizzano; it is still a cas- of ten centimes. tello-as these walled villages are called—and A perfect labyrinth of narrow lanes is crammed generation after generation of its inhabitants con- into the tiny circuit of Ghivizzano's walls. First tentedly tramp round two thirds of its circuit, after of all—undeterred by the cripple's warning-we their day's labor in the fields, to reach that solitary plunged into the dark vaulted passage, popularplace of ingress. It seems strange that no success- ly known as Castruccio's dungeons, but which ful figurinaio should have brought back some probably served as a covered way of communi

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cation between different points of the fortifica- The Ghivizzano church is singularly poor and tions. The so-called dungeons are now tenanted bare, and, unlike the generality of churches in by captives who greeted us with friendly grunts this part of Italy, has absolutely nothing to show as we passed their doors. Now stumbling over in the way of architecture, pictures, or Robbiafallen masonry, now climbing steep steps, diving ware. But there is plenty to be seen outside its under this blackened archway and that, we soon doors. Built on the very summit of the hill, its found ourselves back in the main street, not far arched loggia rests on a rocky ledge which drops from our starting-point. We were struck by the sheer down into a steep and leafy chestnut-glade. well-to-do air of the solid, well-built, low-browed Farther on, you overlook the cluster of red-brown houses. Picturesquely dingy, they are neither roofs to a great stretch of the Serchio Valley. ruinous nor poverty-stricken. Their darkness The bold cliffs and wooded gorges of Gallicano and dirt are but the natural outcome of the uni- crowd close to the farther bank of the river, and, versal indifference of the Italian lower classes to save one luminous peak, shut out the giants of the state of their dwellings. For them a house the Carrara range. But on this side of the windis simply the shelter wherein they sleep and willing, glistening river a great velvety patch of forest probably die. All else, their pleasures as their stretches away as far as Ponte all' Ania; little labors, are carried on out of doors.

towns and villages are scattered about on the Some of these Ghivizzano houses have outer hillsides; the fields and vineyards are arabesqued stairs ending in a loggia, forming most pictorial with woodland strips, and miles away, perched backgrounds to the groups of inhabitants. They on a bold height, and backed by the loftiest of are by no means overrun by visitors, so we were the guardian mountains, you can see the walls stared at with friendly interest, and a small crowd and towers of Barga, once a nest of warriors, was gathering at our heels. The grown people whose struggles for liberty I hope to relate in looked well fed, the children fat and healthy. some future paper. And all this is bathed in the By the raised well in one corner of a tiny tri- fleeting sweetness of the after-glow, when every angular piazza, two pretty girls were standing tint shows forth in softest intensity before fading with copper water-vessels poised on their heads. into night. Hard by, at the head of some stone steps, a But I am not long left to peaceful contemblack-eyed baby was dancing on his mother's plation of evening effects. A rough-looking lad lap, crowing and clapping his hands, while his calmly seats himself beside me on the low parapretty sister, a plump little maiden of some three pet, and stares at me pertinaciously but not imyears old, eating her supper lower down, four- pertinently. I see more boys flocking round, so ished her wooden spoon, and smiled at us through I get up and peep in at the door of the dim little a tangle of fair curls. As we looked at the pretty church. About a score of women and children picture, we were startled by a dreary moan. An are droning out their evening prayer in a melanold beggar-woman was kneeling behind us with choly chant. One or two tiny lights twinkle on outstretched hand. The poor creature was evi- a side-altar. Curiosity soon overcame devotion dently daft, for, though we gave her something, on the part of the younger members of the conshe knelt to us again a few minutes later. It gregation, and, having returned to my wall, I was was a painful sight.

presently interviewed by a group of little girls, But now we have mounted a long, wide flight who, whispering and giggling, stood a few paces of steps, most suggestive of old-time processions from me, and took stock of everything about me. and martial shows, have reached the grassy plat- To the victim this soon became monotonous; so, form in front of the church, and our guide, the singling out one of the mites, an odd little creafigurinaio, is holding forth to us on the chief ture with a waist almost reaching to her knees, I events of his life. He knows England well, he asked her what her name was. This astounding says, has been all over it, but seems to have request filled her with dismay, and put her comcloser acquaintance with its jails than with any panions to flight. Her giggles ceased; she covother of its institutions. He admits that he did ered her face with her hands; she wriggled this not confine his energies to the sale of plaster way and that, as though I were holding her in figures, but is mysterious as to his other avoca- some fearsome spell. But my companion, the tions. New York he speaks of in the friendliest big boy, came to her aid; he was perfectly ready manner; he has been to San Francisco, but his to answer questions. The child was his sister, dearest reminiscences are the glories of the city and, after he had administered a few encouraging which he is pleased to pronounce Sencenati. It pokes and nudges, the queer thing at last gasped was there, it seems, that he made a good deal of out that her name was Penelope, and that she was money, but he added, with a droll twinkle in his eight years of age. Having made this statement, puckery old eyes, that the greater part of it was she instantly scampered away to the other end spent before he reached home.

of the loggia, and was soon giggling as before.


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