Mr. Maynard to Mr. Evarts.
Constantinople , October 21, 1878. (Received November 29.)
Sir: I have received a pamphlet copy of a memorial addressed by Bulgarians to the representatives of the powers at Constantinople, printed, as will be seen, at Philippopolis (Plovdio).
Unconsciously and by degrees I have come to take much interest in these people. Those who have lived among them and know them well speak of them as sober, chaste, clean, peaceful, industrious and skillful in their industry. While not exempt from the infirmities incident to centuries of subjection, they constantly look forward to a better condition, dissatisfied with their present ignoble fortunes. Stimulated by the example and encouraged by the assistance of the American missionaries they established schools and made a considerable progress in education and scholarship. A few years ago they accomplished their ecclesiastical independence and aspired to political autonomy. For the last three years their lot has been especially hard, and for two years past their sufferings have attracted great attention, made known largely and unwittingly by Mr. Schuyler. Illustrious in her sorrows and the blood of her children, Bulgaria has been a spectacle for the civilized world.
By the treaty of San Stefano Bulgaria was made an autonomous province, tributary to the Sublime Porte, with boundaries extending from the Danube to the Ægean, and including nearly all the territory of which the chief population was Bulgarian, excepting the fertile peninsular tract between the Danube and the Black Sea, called the Dobrudja, which, for political reasons of her own, Russia took to herself. The congress at Berlin changed all this, and in fact did little else, by limiting Bulgaria between the Danube and the fertile Dobrudja on the north, the Black Sea on the east, the Balkans on the south, and Servia on the west, a long narrow tract of country, and altogether the least fertile, inhabited by this agricultural people, by forming a still more limited province south of the Balkans, and separated from Bulgaria proper by a cordon of Turkish military posts, and placed under greater political restrictions, which province they call Eastern Roumelia; and by leaving the remaining territory inhabited by this race, together with Macedonia and what may be left of Epirus and Thessaly after rectifying the Greek frontier, to the direct administration of the Sublime Porte.
The grief and indignation of the Bulgarians are excessive. Nothing of all their sad experiences has so stirred their intellectual life. The inclosed memorial is but one of similar publications addressed to their own countrymen and to Europe. In Philippopolis they have established a paper conducted by themselves with ability and vigor, very spicy withal, protesting energetically against the disruption of what they cherish as their country, and denouncing the responsible authors of their dire calamity. Hitherto others have mainly spoken for them; now they are speaking, and right manfully, for themselves, and the unity of Bulgaria is their watchword.
The Russian army still occupies all that region, with headquarters at Adrianople, with no intention of leaving very soon. Their presence is an undoubted protection to the population, but it is not an unmixed blessing. The friends of the Bulgarians are pained to learn that among the rural villagers of simple habits and pure domestic lives a shocking [Page 914] amount of drunkenness and licentiousness has been introduced by the soldiery. Besides, many of the Bulgarian youth have been withdrawn from productive industry, organized and armed as a military force. Their number has been stated as high as 50,000, an exaggeration, I have no doubt 5 probably from one-tenth to one-fifth of that number would be nearer the truth.
The insurrection in the Rhodope Mountains, which I mentioned in a recent dispatch, appears to have collapsed, and the English leaders to have come to Constantinople.
I have, & c.,