Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

In Bo

equal

selves by distinctions of race. hemia the population is nearly ly divided between Germans and Slavs, who speak different languages, have separate schools, and contend violently for political preponderance. In Moravia and Silesia, where the Slav element is stronger, the same conflict goes on. In Galicia the contest is between Poles and Ruthenians, between the Roman Catholic and the Greek Churches. In Hungary proper the Magyars have political predominance, but the population of German descent and language is more numerous than the Magyars: in Transylvania, further eastward, the Magyars are politically overriding the Slav races; in Croatia to the southward a similar struggle is going on. Throughout every province of the Austro-Hungarian empire we see the same intermixture of races, religions, and languages-the more numerous and better united sections are striving for political ascendency: the weaker sections contend against them by demanding autonomy. And, as all these various antipathies and jealousies are represented in the Parliament of the empire, the peaceful consolidation of the empire into a large national State is interrupted by resistance under the watchword of separate nationalities. Religious differences between Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and the Greek Church in the Eastern provinces, accentuate the incoherence. Each separate group takes for its symbol, the standard round which people rally, a language-German, Polish, Tcheque, Ruthenian, and so on. They are all being energetically maintained and jealously preserved in speech and writing in the schools and the assemblies. Moreover, three different Churches, at least, are rallying their adherents and driving in the wedge of religious dissension. All these groups go back to the early traditions and history of the

races, they sharpen up old grievances, and oppose each other vigorously in the Imperial Chamber of Representatives. They are, in fact, endeavoring to construct an earlier formation of civil society, and to reverse the order of political amalgamation of small States into large ones which has been operating for centuries in Western Europe. In Western Europe the principle of nationalities has been a method not of disintegration, but of concentration. It has led within the last fifty years to the establishment of two States of first-class magnitude, Germany and Italy, and Louis Napoleon, who had proclaimed the idea of national unification, was ruined by his own policy, for the Germans destroyed his dynasty, and Italy gave him no help. But in Austro-Hungary, on the contrary, the movement is not toward centralization-it is centrifugal and separatist; and if it continues to increase in force it may threaten with dissolution an ancient and powerful Empire.

Since we entered, in our survey, the Austrian territories, we have found ourselves within the jurisdiction of an empire in the true sense of that word, which I take to mean the dominion of one superior sovereignty over many subordinate races, tribes, or petty States that obey its authority. I may be permitted to regard the German Emperor as the military head of а constitutional federation, which is a different thing. Now I think it may be said that from Austria eastward across South-Eastern Europe and Asia, from Vienna to Pekin, the general form of government is not national but imperial. Every government is holding together a number of different groups, all jealous of each other, all of whom would fall apart and probably fight among themselves, if they were not kept under by one ruler over them. It may be affirmed, broadly, that the

structure of modern Europe, as represented by the massing of the populations into great homogeneous nations within fixed limits, has now been completely left behind in the West, and that from the shores of the Adriatic Sea right across Asia to the Pacific Ocean, the real sub-divisions of the people, the bonds that unite and separate them into different groups, are denoted by Race and Religion, sometimes by one, sometimes by the other, occasionally by both.

Our first step over the boundaries of the Austro-Hungarian empire, proceeding south-east beyond the Danube and the Carpathian mountains, brings us into

the various principalities and provinces that were once under the dominion of the Ottoman Empire, though almost all of them are now independent of it. Nearly all of them lie in the region south of the Danube, which is usually known as the Balkan Peninsula. Here the complexities of race and religion are abundantly manifest, and these archaic divisions of political society surround us everywhere. This region has indeed been parcelled out, within our own time, into territories of diverse States, but this is quite a modern formation, and the idea of such political citizenship has been very recently introduced.

If, now, it is asked why, in this corner of South-Eastern Europe, this medley of internal distinctions, which was the prevailing characteristic of the ancient world, has been so long preserved, the answer is that all this country, the Balkan Peninsula, was under the direct government of the Ottoman empire up to about seventy years ago, and that most of the provinces were only liberated from the Turkish yoke in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The effect of the long dominion of the Turks over this country had been to perpetuate the state of things which existed when

they first conquered it. Their policy, the policy of all Asiatic empires, was not to consolidate, or to obliterate differences produced by race and religion, but to maintain them in order to rule more securely. And here I may quote from a book recently published under the title of Turkey in Europe, which is unique of its kind, for in no other work can we find so complete and particular a history of the Balkan lands, or so accurate a description of the grouping of the people, taken from personal knowledge and local investigation. The author, who calls himself Odysseus, reminds us that the Ottoman Sultans acquired these territories when they were in the confusion and dismemberment which followed the decay and fall of the Byzantine empire; and he explains that the Turks, who have been always inferior in number to the aggregate of their Christian subjects, could hardly have kept up their dominion if at any time the Christians had united against them. As the Christians were not converted, religious unification, which in Asia was the basis of Mahomedan power, was here impossible, so the Turks divided that they might rule. "The Turks have thoroughly learned," he says, "and daily put into practice with admirable skill, the lesson of divide et impera, and hence they have always done, and still do, all in their power to prevent the obliteration of racial, linguistic, and religious differences." They have perpetuated and preserved, as if in a museum, the strange medley that was existing when these lands were first conquered by Turkish Sultans nearly five hundred years ago. Their idea of government has always been simply to take tribute and secure their paramount supremacy. The result has been that the confusion, intermixture, and rivalry of race and religion is far more intricate than even in the Austro

Hungarian empire, where the central government has tried to reconcile and amalgamate. In Turkey, Odysseus tells us, "not only is there a medley of races, but the races inhabit, not different districts, but the same district. Of three villages,within ten miles of one another, one will be Turkish, one Greek, one Bulgarian-or perhaps one Albanian, one Bulgarian, and one Servian, each with their own language, dress, and religion, and eight races and languages may be found in one large town."

What has been the upshot and consequence of this Turkish system? It has been to make the Balkan Peninsula a battlefield, during the last four centuries, of two great militant creeds, Christianity and Islam, collecting the population into two religious camps; while inside these two main religious divisions there are manifold sub-divisions of race. Men of the same creed are in different groups of race; nor are the race-groups always of the same creed, for one section may have become fanatic Mahomedans, while the rest have adhered to Christianity. The intermixture is the more complicated because one cannot attempt to distinguish a race by physical characteristics, by their personal appearance or features as marking descent from one stock. The practices of polygamy, slavery, of the purchase of women, and their capture in the interminable wars, have produced incessant crossing of breeds. It is not often understood or remembered that in former times a tribe or band of foreign invaders, when they had to cross the sea or to make long expeditions, very rarely brought women with them. So when they settled on the conquered lands they must have intermarried, forcibly or otherwise, with the subject race. If they massacred the men, the women were part of their booty. Neither is the test of language a sure

[ocr errors]

one, though it is the best we have, and is becoming more and more the criterion of race; for a kind of struggle for existence goes on among the languages, they spread or contract under various influences, mainly political. The folk may change their language as they may change their creed; and, what is more remarkable, they may even change their race. According to the book I have just quoted, the Ottoman Government classes all its subject population into religious communities. Whatever be a man's

race or language, if he professes Islam, he is called a Mahomedan; if he is of the orthodox Greek Church at Constantinople, he is Greek or Rûmi, for Stambul was the capital of the Roman empire; or else he is Katholik, Armenian, or Jew, according to his creed, not according to his birthplace or his blood. So the official designations are religious, while the popular usage is various, sometimes following race, sometimes creed, and it is still constantly shifting, as I shall presently try to explain.

And here it may be interesting to mention a peculiarity of the growth and constitution of the Eastern or Greek Church, in contrast with the Western Church of Rome. The Roman Church has always claimed universality-it has ignored and attempted to trample down all political and national divisions; it demands of all Roman Catholics, whoever they may be, submission to the supreme spiritual dictation of the Roman pontiff, and those who accept any other authority are outside the pale. From the beginning the Roman Catholic Church has made incessant war upon every kind of heresy or dissent, transforming the old rites and worships where they could not be exterminated. It proclaims independence of the State, it has no local centres or national branches. The Pope at Rome claims

So

spiritual authority over all Roman Catholics everywhere. But the historical fact that the Eastern or Greek Church was always under the control of the Byzantine empire at Constantinople, has kept this Church much more closely allied to the Temporal Power; and the result has been that throughout its development it has remained closely connected with the State. that wherever a fresh State has been formed, the Greek Church has become national, and the spiritual authority, adapting itself to political changes, has become a separate institution. The most signal example of this is to be seen in Russia, where the Greek Church, being cut off from Constantinople, had its own independent Patriarch up to the time of Peter the Great; and very lately, when Bulgaria became a State, it set up its own head of the Church, or Exarch. When Bosnia and Herzegovina were ruled by the Turkish Sultan, the chief of the Greek Church in that country was the Patriarch at Constantinople. Now that these provinces have passed under the administration of Austria, the ecclesiastical authority has also been transferred from the Patriarch to local Metropolitans. Each new State shows a tendency to establish what I may call spiritual Home Rule. We know that in Western Europe the establishment of National Churches came in by one great religious upheaval that is called the Reformation. In Eastern Europe the movement has proceeded gradually, keeping pace with the rise and recognition of separate governments, and the result has been the multiplication of internal ecclesiastical divisions.

I have said that the Ottoman Empire recognizes only religious denomnations in the classification of the people. Apparently this was the general usage in former times. A Greek meant a member of the orthodox Greek

Church, who might or might not be an inhabitant of Greece, nor would he necessarily have spoken the Greek tongue. If a Christian changed his religion, as a matter of course he changed his name and his designation; he was placed in another group. But the pressure of political independence has been latterly bringing into prominence the idea of Race. Odysseus, from whose book I quote again, gives us the very curious fact that even race is not immutable, it changes like religion, with the political movement; it has become a question of political expediency. When a separate State has been organized, as in Bulgaria, or when a league for shaking off the Turkish yoke is being organized, as in Macedonia, the plan of the leaders is to induce the people to drop minor distinctions of origin and to unite for the purposes of political combination, under some larger national name, to call themselves Hellenes in Greece, Bulgarians in Bulgaria, and Macedonians in the Turkish province of Macedonia. Moreover, when a new State has been thus formed, like Greece, Servia, Bulgaria, on the principle of Race, the patriotic party begins to discover that many Greeks or Bulgarians are outside the territory, and they set up a claim to enlarge their boundaries in order to bring these people inside. So that the questions of Races and Churches are used to keep up continual intrigues, dissensions, and a lively agitation throughout these countries. For since religion is always a powerful uniting force, there is a constant effort to bring the people to congregate under the established Church of their new state, to renounce their obedience to any spiritual head outside its limits. We have, therefore, the curious spectacle of a frequent shifting of denominations of Race and Creed for the purpose of political consolidation. fact we are witnessing in the Balkan

In

Peninsula a struggle among the petty States to strengthen themselves by capturing each other's population.

So

I think I may have said enough to prove, briefly and superficially, the importance, in Central and South-Eastern Europe, of the ideas of Race and Religion, the necessity of understanding their strength and operation. soon as we cross into Asia we find these ideas universally paramount. It will perhaps be remembered that Henry Maine pointed out long ago, in his book on Ancient Law, that during a large part of what we call modern history no such conception was entertained as that of territorial sovereignty, as indicated by such a title as the King of France. "Sovereignty," he said, "was not associated with dominion over a portion or sub-division of the earth." Now I do not believe that a territorial title is assumed at this moment by any of the great Asiatic sovereigns in Asia. Here in Europe we talk of the Sultan of Turkey, the Shah of Persia, or the Emperor of China; but these are not the styles or designations which are actually used by these potentates; they are each known, on their coins, and in their public proclamations, by a string of lofty titles, generally religious, like our "Defender of the Faith," which make no reference to their territories. Such were the titles of the Moghul emperors of India, and I may here observe that the term Emperor of India, now borne by the English King, is entirely of British manufacture. The truth is that Asiatic kingdoms have no settled territorial boundaries, they are always changing, just as our Indian frontiers are constantly moving forward; and wherever in Asia there exists a demarcated line of frontier, it has been fixed by the intervention of European governments interested in maintaining order. In Mahomedan lands the basis of a ruler's authority, VOL. LXXVII. 473

ECLECTIC.

in theory at least, is religious, and all through western Asia there is the closest connection between the State and the dominant creed of Islam; for a Mahomedan sovereign's authority is ecclesiastical, so to speak, as well as civil; he is bound, in the words of our Litany, not only to execute justice, but to "maintain truth"; and the theory of two separate jurisdictions, spiritual and temporal, is practically unknown, though of course in dealing with religious questions the ruler must be supported by the chief expounders of the law of Islam. To borrow a phrase from Hobbes, "the religion of the Mahomedans is a part of their policy," as it is also the fundamental bond of their whole society.

We have seen that in South-Eastern Europe there is an intricate intermixture of the distinctions of race and religion, with a tendency of race to win the mastery. This is because the people of those countries were conquered by Islam, but only partially converted, and the Turkish Sultans, as I have already said, encouraged discord among their Christian subjects. But in Western Asia the faith of Islam not only conquered but converted much more completely; it almost extirpated other faiths in Asia Minor and Persia, leaving in Asia Minor only a few obscure sects, like the Nestorians, in a region that had been wholly Christian, and leaving in Persia only some scattered relics of the great Zoroastrian religion, still represented in two or three towns by those whom we call Parsees. In these lands, therefore, religion has generally mastered race, for the laws that regulate the whole personal condition and property of the people are determined by their religion, with a certain variety of local customs. Nevertheless, beneath the overspreading religious denomination there are a large number of tribal groups, all of whom are known by tribal

« AnteriorContinuar »