George Arbuthnot.

Herzegovina Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels online

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[Illustration: Official Seal of Omer Pacha]




The wanderings of an unknown in an unknown land may not be a subject of
universal interest, and as such require a few words of apology, or
possibly of defence.

To convey an accurate idea of a country the inhabitants of which differ
from ourselves in creed, origin, and in all their habits of life, it
would be necessary to have passed a lifetime amongst them. It may
therefore be deemed presumptuous in me to attempt so comprehensive a
task, upon the meagre experience of a few short months. And such it
would be, did I entertain such aspirations. The impossibility, however,
of identifying myself with a people, with whose very language I have but
a slight acquaintance, would banish such a thought. My object is rather
to describe briefly and simply everything that presented itself to my
own notice; upon the evidence of which, coupled with the observations of
the few who have devoted any attention to the condition of these
countries, I have founded my views and opinions. Far be it from me to
assume that they have more claim to be regarded as correct, than the
opinions of others who may differ from me. Above all, if any of my
remarks on the subject of the Greek and Latin religions should appear
somewhat severe, I would have it clearly understood, that nowhere is
allusion intentionally made to these churches, save in the relation
which they bear to the Illyric Provinces of European Turkey.

[Illustration: Signature of Author in Turkish Characters]



Object of Travels - Start - Mad Woman - Italian
Patriot - Zara - Sebenico - Falls of Kerka - Dalmatian
Boatmen - French Policy and Austrian Prospects -
Spalatro - Palace of Diocletian - Lissa - Naval
Action - Gravosa - Ragusa - Dalmatian Hotel - Change of Plans Pages 1 - 15


Military Road to Metcovich - Country Boat - Stagno - Port of
Klek - Disputed Frontier - Narentine Pirates - Valley of the
Narenta - Trading Vessels - Turkish Frontier - Facilities for
Trade granted by Austria - Narenta - Fort Opus - Hungarian
Corporal - Metcovich - Irish Adventurer - Gabella - Pogitel -
Dalmatian Engineer - Telegraphic Communication - Arrival at
Mostar - Omer Pacha - Object of Campaign 16 - 32


Herzegovina - Boundaries - Extent - Physical Features -
Mountains - Mineral Products - Story of Hadji Ali
Pacha - Forests - Austrian Timber Company - Saw-Mill -
Rivers - Towns - Villages - Population - Greek Catholics -
Church Dignitaries - Roman Catholics - Monks - Franciscan
College - Moral Depravity - Fine Field for Missionary Labour 33 - 49


Introduction of Christianity - Origin of Slavonic
Element - First Appearance of the Patarenes in Bosnia - Their
Origin - Tenets - Elect a Primate - Disappearance - Dookhoboitzi,
or Combatants in Spirit - Turkish Conquest - Bosnian
Apostasy - Religious Fanaticism - Euchlemeh - Commission under
Kiamil Pacha - Servian Emissaries - National Customs - Adopted
Brotherhood - Mahommedan Women - Elopements - Early Marriages 50 - 64


Agricultural Products - Cereals - Misapplication of
Soil - Tobacco - Current Prices - Vine Disease - Natural
Capabilities of Land - Price of Labour - Dalmatian
_Scutors_ - Other Products - Manufactures - Commerce - Relations
with Bosnia - Able Administration of Omer Pacha - Austria
takes alarm - Trade Statistics - Imports - Exports - Frontier
Duties - Mal-administration - Intended Reforms 65 - 75


Government - Mudirliks - Mulisarif - Cadi of Mostar - Medjlis -
Its Constitution and Functions - Criminal and Commercial
Tribunals - Revenue and Taxes - Virgu - Monayene-askereh -
Customs - Tithes - Excise - Total Revenue - Police 76 - 83


Omer Pacha - Survey of Montenegro - Mostar - Bazaars -
Mosques - Schools - Old Tower - Escape of Prisoners - Roman
Bridge - Capture by Venetians - Turkish Officers - Pacha's
Palace - European Consulates - Clock-Tower - Emperor's
Day - Warlike Preparations - Christian Volunteers - Orders
to March 84 - 93


Bosnia - Turkish Invasion - Tuartko II. and Ostoya
Christich - Cruel Death of Stephen Thomasovich - His
Tomb - Queen Cattarina - Duchy of Santo Saba becomes a Roman
Province - Despotism of Bosnian Kapetans - Janissaries - Fall
of Sultan Selim and Bairaktar - Mahmoud - Jelaludin
Pacha - Expedition against Montenegro - Death of
Jelaludin - Ali Pacha - Revolted Provinces reconquered -
Successes of Ibrahim Pacha - Destruction of Janissaries -
Regular Troops organised - Hadji Mustapha - Abdurahim -
Proclamation - Fall of Serayevo - Fresh rising - Serayevo
taken by Rebels - Scodra Pacha - Peace of Adrianople - Hussein
Kapetan - Outbreak of Rebellion - Cruelty of Grand Vizier - Ali
Aga of Stolatz - Kara Mahmoud - Serayevo taken - War with
Montenegro - Amnesty granted 94 - 117


Hussein Pacha - Tahir Pacha - Polish and Hungarian
Rebellions - Extends to Southern Slaves - Congress
convened - Montenegrins overrun Herzegovina - Arrival of Omer
Pacha - Elements of Discord - Rising in Bulgaria put down by
Spahis - Refugees - Ali Rizvan Begovitch - Fall of Mostar, and
Capture of Ali - His suspicious Death - Cavass
Bashee - Anecdote of Lame Christian - Omer Pacha invades
Montenegro - Successes - Austria interferes - Mission of
General Leiningen - Battle of Grahovo - Change of
Frontier - Faults of new Boundary 118 - 127


Insurrection of Villagers - Attack Krustach - Three Villages
burnt - Christian Version - Account given by Dervisch
Pacha - Deputation headed by Pop Boydan - Repeated Outrages by
Rebels - Ali Pacha of Scutari - His want of Ability - Greek
Chapels sacked - Growth of Rebellion - Omer Pacha restored to
Favour - Despatched to the Herzegovina - Proclamation - Difficulties
to be encountered - Proposed Interview between Omer Pacha and
Prince of Montenegro - Evaded by the Prince - Omer Pacha
returns to Mostar - Preparations for Campaign 128 - 140


Leave Mostar for the Frontier - Mammoth Tombstones - Stolatz -
Castle and Town - Christian Shopkeeper - Valley of the
Stolatz - Disappearance of River - Temporary Camp - My
Dalmatian Servant - Turkish Army Doctors - Numerical Force of
the Turks - Health of the Army - Bieliki - Decapitation of
Prisoners - Christian Cruelty 141 - 164


Tzernagora - Collusion between Montenegrins and Rebels - Turks
abandon System of Forbearance - Chances of Success - Russian
Influence - Private Machination - M. Hecquard - European
Intervention - Luca Vukalovich - Commencement of
Hostilities - Dervisch Pacha - Advance on Gasko - Baniani -
Bashi Bazouks - Activity of Omer Pacha - Campaigning in
Turkey - Line of March - Pass of Koryta - The Halt - National
Dance - 'La Donna _Amabile_' - Tchernitza - Hakki
Bey - Osman Pacha - Man with Big Head - Old Tower -
Elephantiasis - Gasko - Camp Life - Moslem Devotions - Character
of Turkish Troops - System of Drill - Peculation - Turkish
Army - Letters - Scarcity of Provisions - Return of Villagers 155 - 173


Expedition to Niksich - Character of Scenery - Engineer
Officers - Want of Maps - Affghan Dervish - Krustach - Wallack
Colonel - Bivouac - Bashi Bazouks - Pass of Dougah - Plain of
Niksich - Town and Frontier - Albanian Mudir - Turkish
Women - Defects of Government by Mudir and Medjlis 174 - 189


Return to Gasko - Thunderstorm - Attacked by Rebels - Enemy
repulsed - Retrograde Movement - Eventful Night - Turkish
Soldiers murdered - Montenegrin Envoy - Coal-Pit - Entrenched
Camp assaulted - Return of Omer Pacha to Mostar - Distinctive
Character of Mahometan Religion - Naval Reorganisation -
Military Uniforms - Return to Mostar - Dervisch Bey - Zaloum -
Express Courier - Giovanni - Nevresign - Fortified Barrack -
Mostar - Magazine - Barracks - Wooden Block-houses - European
Commission - Tour of the Grand Vizier - Enquiry into Christian
Grievances - Real Causes of Complaint - Forcible Abduction of
Christian Girls - Prince Gortschakoff's Charges - The
Meredits - Instincts of Race 190 - 214


Excursion to Blato - Radobolya - Roman Road - Lichnitza -
Subterraneous Passage - Duck-shooting - Roman
Tombs - Coins and Curiosities - Boona - Old Bridge - Mulberry
Trees - Blagai - Source of Boona River - Kiosk - Castle - Plain
of Mostar - Legends - Silver Ore - Mineral Products of
Bosnia - Landslip - Marbles - Rapids - Valley of the Drechnitza 215 - 226


Wealthy Christians - German Encyclopædia - Feats of
Skill - Legend of Petral - Chamois-hunting - Valley of
Druga - Excavations - Country Carts - Plain of Duvno - Mahmoud
Effendi - Old Tombs - Duvno - Fortress - Bosnian
Frontier - Vidosa - Parish Priest - National Music - Livno -
Franciscan Convent - Priestly Incivility - Illness - Quack
Medicines - Hungarian Doctor - Military Ambulance - Bosna
Serai - Osman Pacha - Popularity - Roads and Bridges - Mussulman
Rising in Turkish Croatia - Energy of Osman Pacha 227 - 242


Svornik - Banialuka - New Road - Sport - Hot Springs - Ekshesoo -
Mineral Waters - Celebrated Springs - Goitre - The Bosna - Trout
Fishing - Tzenitza - Zaptiehs - Maglai - Khans - Frozen
Roads - Brod - The Save - Austrian Sentry - Steamer on the
Save - Gradiska - Cenovatz - La lingua di tré Regni - Cūlpa
River - Sissek - Croatian Hotel - Carlstadt Silk - Railway to
Trieste - Moravian Iron - Concentration of Austrian
Troops - Probable Policy - Watermills - Semlin - Belgrade 243 - 258


Its Social, Political, and Financial Condition 261 - 285


APPENDIX 287 - 288





MAP OF MONTENEGRO _To face page_ 1


[Illustration: Map of Montenegro.]



Object of Travels - Start - Mad Woman - Italian
Patriot - Zara - Sebenico - Falls of Kerka - Dalmatian Boatmen - French
Policy and Austrian Prospects - Spalatro - Palace of
Diocletian - Lissa - Naval Action - Gravosa - Ragusa - Dalmatian
Hotel - Change of Plans.

_'Omer Pacha will proceed with the army of Roumelia to quell the
disturbance in Herzegovina.'_ Such, I believe, was the announcement
which confirmed me in the idea of visiting the Slavonic provinces of
European Turkey. Had any doubts existed in my mind of the importance
attached by the Ottoman government to the pacification of these remote
districts, the recall to favour of Omer Pacha, and the despatch of so
large a force under his command, would have sufficed to remove them. As
it was, the mere desire to keep myself _au courant_ of the events of the
day, together with the interest which all must feel in the condition of
a country for whom England has sacrificed so much blood and treasure,
had made me aware that some extraordinary manifestation of feeling must
have occurred to arouse that apathetic power to so energetic a measure.
Of the nature of this manifestation, little or no reliable information
could be obtained; and so vague a knowledge prevails touching the
condition of these provinces, that I at once perceived that personal
observation alone could put me in possession of it. The opinions of such
as did profess to have devoted any attention to the subject, were most
conflicting. Whilst some pronounced the point at issue to be merely one
between the Turkish government and a few rebellious brigands, others
took a far more gloomy view of the matter, believing that the first shot
fired would prove the signal for a general rising of the Christian
subjects of the Porte, which, in its turn, was to lead to the
destruction of Turkish suzerainty in Europe, and to the consummation of
the great Panslavish scheme. To satisfy myself on these points, then,
was the main object of my travels, - to impart to others the information
which I thus obtained, is the intention of this volume.

On August 31, 1861, I left Trieste in the Austrian Lloyd's steamer,
bound for Corfu, and touching _en route_ at the ports on the Dalmatian
coast. Having failed in all my endeavours to ascertain the exact
whereabouts of the Turkish head-quarters, I had secured my passage to
Ragusa, reckoning on obtaining the necessary information from the
Ottoman Consul at that town; and in this I was not disappointed.

It is not my intention to enlarge upon this portion of my travels, which
would indeed be of little interest; still less to tread in the steps of
Sir Gardner Wilkinson, whose valuable work on Dalmatia has rendered such
a course unnecessary; but rather to enter, with log-like simplicity, the
dates of arrival and departure at the various ports, and such-like
interesting details of sea life. If, however, my landsman-like
propensities should evince themselves by a lurking inclination to 'hug
the shore,' I apologise beforehand.

My fellow-passengers were in no way remarkable, but harmless enough,
even including an unfortunate mad woman, whose mania it was to recount
unceasingly the ill-treatment to which she had been exposed. At times,
her indignation against her imaginary tormentors knew no bounds; at
others, she would grow touchingly plaintive on the subject of her
wrongs. That she was a nuisance, I am fain to confess; but the treatment
she experienced at the hands of her Dalmatian countrymen was
inconsiderate in the extreme. One who professed himself an advocate for
sudden shocks, put his theory into practice by stealing quietly behind
his patient, and cutting short her lugubrious perorations with a deluge
of salt water. This was repeated several times, but no arguments would
induce her to allow her wet clothes to be removed, so it would not be
surprising if this gentleman had succeeded in 'stopping her tongue'
beyond his expectations. The only other lady was young and rather
pretty, but dismally sentimental. She doated on roses, was enamoured of
camelias, and loved the moon and the stars, and in fact everything in
this world or out of it. In vain I tried to persuade her that her cough
betrayed pulmonary symptoms, and that night air in the Adriatic was
injurious to the complexion.

The man-kind on board included an Austrian officer of engineers, a
French Consul, and a Dalmatian professor. Besides the above, there was
an Italian patriot, whose devotion to the 'Kingmaker' displayed itself
in a somewhat eccentric fashion. With much mystery, he showed me a
portrait of Garibaldi, secreted in a watchkey seal, while his waistcoat
buttons and shirt studs contained heads of those generals who served in
the campaign of the Two Sicilies. It was rather a novel kind of
hero-worship, though, I fear, likely to be little appreciated by him who
inspired the thought.

_September 1._ - Landed at Zara at 6.30 A.M., and passed a few
hours in wandering over the town and ramparts. These last are by no
means formidable, and convey very little idea of the importance which
was attached to the city in the time of the Venetian Republic. The
garrison is small, and, as is the case throughout Dalmatia, the soldiers
are of Italian origin. The Duomo is worthy of a visit; while the
antiquarian may find many objects of interest indicative of the several
phases of Zarantine history. Here, in a partially obliterated
inscription, he may trace mementos of Imperial Rome; there, the
Campanile of Santa Maria tells of the dominion of Croatian kings; while
the winged lion ever reminds him of the glory of the Great Republic, its
triumphs, its losses, and its fall. On leaving we were loudly cheered by
the inhabitants, who had collected in large numbers on the shore. A few
hours' run brought us abreast of Fort St. Nicholas, and ten minutes
later we dropped anchor in the harbour of Sebenico. Here the delight of
the people at our arrival was somewhat overwhelming. It vented itself in
an inordinate amount of hugging and kissing, to say nothing of the most
promiscuous hand-shaking, for a share of which I myself came in. My
first step was to negotiate with four natives to row me to the Falls of
Kerka, about three hours distant. This I had succeeded in doing, when,
having unfortunately let them know that I was English, they demanded
seven florins in place of four, as had been originally agreed. Resolving
not to give way to so gross an imposition, I was returning in quest of
another boat, when I met a troop of some six or seven girls, young,
more than averagely good-looking, and charmingly dressed in their
national costume. I presume that my T.G. appearance must have amused
them; for they fairly laughed, - not a simpering titter, but a good
honest laugh. To them I stated my case, and received a proper amount of
sympathy. One offered to row me herself, while another said something
about 'twenty florins and a life,' - which, whatever it may have meant,
brought a blush to the cheek of the pretty little volunteer. At this
juncture the boatmen arrived, and on my assurance that I was perfectly
satisfied with the company to which they had driven me, which my looks,
I suppose, did not belie, they came to terms. Leaving the bay at its NW.
extremity, where the Kerka flows into it, we proceeded about four miles
up that river. At this point it opens out into the Lake of Scardona,
which is of considerable size, and affords a good anchorage. There is an
outlet for the river to the N., close to which is situated the little
town of Scardona. The banks of the river here begin to lose their rocky
and precipitous appearance, assuming a more marshy character, which
renders it unhealthy in the summer. The Falls are approached by a long
straight reach, at the end of which they form a kind of semicircle, the
entire breadth being about 250 feet. In winter, or after heavy rains,
the effect must be very grand; but at the time of my visit they were, in
consequence of the great drought, unusually small. Below the falls is a
mill worked by a Levantine, who appears to drive a flourishing trade,
grinding corn for Sebenico, Zara, and many other places on the coast.

The Dalmatian boatmen are a very primitive set in everything save money
matters. One asked, Are the English Christians? while another asserted
most positively, that he had taken an Englishman to see the Falls in the
year _1870_. Their style of rowing resembles that in vogue among the
Maltese and Italians, excepting that they make their passenger sit in
the hows of the boat. This, at any rate, has the advantage of keeping
him to windward of themselves, which is often very desirable. Another
point of difference is, that they wear shoes or slippers, - the latter
being, in some instances, really tasteful and pretty.

The moon was high ere we reached the ship, where I found all the
passengers assembled upon deck. One after another they disappeared
below, until I was left alone. I know no spot so conducive to reflection
as the deserted deck of a ship at anchor on a lovely night, and in a
genial latitude. In this instance, however, my thoughts assumed more of
a speculative than retrospective character, large as was the field for
the indulgence of the latter. The shades of emperors and doges faded
away, giving place to the more terrestrial forms of living sovereigns;
and the wild shouts of the Moslem conquerors resolved themselves into
the 'Vive l'Empereur' of an army doing battle for an idea. Let Austria
look to herself, that, when the hour of struggle shall arrive, as arrive
it will, she be not found sleeping. Should Napoleon once more espouse
the Italian cause, should he hurl his armies upon the Quadrilateral, who
can doubt but that a diversion of a more or less important character
will be attempted in the rear of the empire? But even though he should
let slip the notable occasion presented to him by a rising among the
Italian subjects of Austria, the evil day will only be postponed. I
believe that, not content with the humiliation of that power at
Villafranca, he will take advantage of any opportunity which disorder in
the neighbouring Turkish provinces may offer him to aim a blow at her on
her Dalmatian frontier, as a means to the gigantic end of crippling her,
and with her ultimately the entire German Confederation. It is a great
scheme, and doubtless one of many in that fertile brain. If Austria
should resolve to defend her Venetian territory, as it may be presumed
she will, she should spare no labour to strengthen her fortresses in the
Adriatic. On the Dalmatian coast, Zara, Lissa, Pola, and Cattaro are all
capable of making a very respectable defence in the event of their being
attacked; while, to quote the words of Rear-Admiral Count Bernhard von
Wüllersdorf and Urban, 'An Austrian squadron at Cattaro would be very
dangerous to any hostile squadron on the Italian coast, as its cruisers
would cut off all transports of coal, provisions, &c. &c., - in a word,
render the communication of the hostile squadron with the Mediterranean
very difficult.... Lissa is the keystone of the Adriatic. This island,
the importance of which in former times was never denied, commands the
straits which lead from the southern to the northern half of the
Adriatic.... The naval force at Lissa ought to be a local one,
consisting of light fast gun-boats to cruise in the narrow waters, to
which might be added some plated ships to keep open communications, on
the one hand, between Lissa and the mainland, and on the other hand
acting with the gun-boats to bar the passage to hostile vessels.' The
publication of the article from which the above is extracted in the
'Oesterreichische Militar Zeitschrift,' proves sufficiently that the
Austrian government is aware of the necessity which exists for taking
precautionary measures; and the lesson which they learnt in 1859 ought
to have induced them to adopt a more energetic policy in their military
and naval affairs.

The defences of Sebenico consist of three small forts: St. Nicholas,
containing seventeen mounted guns, is at the entrance of the bay, while
San Giovanni and Santa Anna, situated on rising ground, command the
town, harbour, and land approaches. The precise number of guns which
they contain, I was unable to learn. The very meagre character of the
information which I am in a position to impart on these subjects
requires, I am aware, some apology. The difficulty of obtaining it
during the short stay of a steamer must be my excuse. May it be

_September 2._ - Steamed into the port of Spalatro at 10.30 A.M.
There is both an outer and inner harbour, the latter affording a good
anchorage to vessels of any burden; yet, notwithstanding this, we were
compelled, for the first time since leaving Trieste, to lie off at some
distance from the quay. The origin of Spalatro dates from the building
of the palace of Diocletian in 303, A.D. This glorious pile,
however much it may offend against the rules of architecture, is well
entitled to rank among the noblest monuments of imperial Rome. Its
mammoth proportions, the novelty of conception evinced in many parts,
together with its extraordinary state of preservation, render it alike
unique, while the circumstances connected with its building impart to it
an unusual interest. Wearied with the affairs of state, Diocletian
retired to Salona, where he passed the remaining nine years of his life
in profound seclusion. Of the use to which he applied his wealth during
that period, a record still exists in the golden gate and the Corinthian
columns which decorate that regal abode; while we learn what were his
pursuits from his own memorable reply to Maximian, when urged by him to
reassume the purple. 'Utinam Salonis olera nostris manibus insita
invisere posses, de resumando imperio non judicares;' or, as it has been
somewhat freely translated by Gibbon - 'If I could show you the cabbages
I have planted with my own hands at Salona, you would no longer urge me
to relinquish the enjoyment of happiness for the pursuit of power.'[A]

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Online LibraryGeorge ArbuthnotHerzegovina Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels → online text (page 1 of 17)