Mr. Maynard to Mr. Evarts.
Constantinople , July 12, 1879. (Received August 19.)
Sir: The affairs of the two Bulgarian provinces have received little consideration of late in these dispatches, partly because exact information has been difficult to obtain, and partly because, when obtained, it was not specially important.
That part of Bulgaria south of the Balkans, organized by the Treaty of Berlin into the dependent province of Eastern Roumelia, has been the scene of most of the events which during the last three years, have attracted so much attention and sympathy in Europe and America. It was here that Mr. Schuyler made observations in July, 1876, with such startling effect.
By Article XVII of the Treaty of Berlin, the governor-general of Eastern Roumelia is to be nominated by the Sublime Porte, with assent of the signatory powers, for a term of live years, and by Article XVIII a scheme of government was to be arranged by a European commission, in concert with the Ottoman Porte. This organic law or constitution, as we should call it, has, I understand, been completed, but I have not seen it. The first nomination for governor-general was of His Excellency Rustem Pasha, for several years past the governor-general of the Lebanon, in Syria. This not being acceptable to the Bulgarians, it was recalled and given to His Excellency Aleko Pasha Vogorides, or Prince Vogorides, as he is now designated. He is, in part at least, of Bulgarian descent, and appears to have been very well received by the Bulgarian portion of his subjects. He has been criticised a good deal for wearing the Bulgarian cap rather than the Turkish fez, and for displaying the Bulgarian and not the Turkish flag, when the constitution was publicly read. These and similar criticisms demonstrated on the one hand a readiness to find fault, and on the other that in the weightier matters there is little to censure.
An English nobleman, the Marquis of Bath, has recently spent some time at Philippopolis, the capital of this newly-erected province, and was most favorably impressed. An article ascribed to his pen was reproduced in the city last evening, and it is inclosed, being at once instructive and authentic, more than anything I have met with.
The first article of the Berlin Treaty constituted the territory between the Balkans and the Danube an autonomous and tributary principality under the suzerainty of his imperial majesty the Sultan, and gave it the name of Bulgaria, providing for it a Christian government and a national militia.
The third article provides that the Prince of Bulgaria shall be freely elected by the population, and confirmed by the Sublime Porte, with the assent of the powers, the only restriction upon the unlimited power of choice being that the prince chosen should not be a member of the reigning dynasties of the great European powers. The assembly of notables of Bulgaria, also convoked by virtue of that treaty, elected a young German prince, Alexander of Battenberg, a favorite if not a protégé of the Czar, and provided for him a salary of 600,000 francs (say, $120,000) a year.
Before assuming authority the prince visited the courts of the several great powers. * * * A Russian imperial yacht met the prince at Brindisi, and a week ago anchored off Seraglio Point. This was early [Page 985] in the afternoon. The prince immediately waited upon the Sultan at the palace of Yeldez, and, after a very brief call, returned on board and proceeded up the Bosphorus to the Russian embassy. The entire stoppage did not exceed two hours. For want of time, it was alleged, the imperial firman had not been prepared, and could not therefore be delivered in person, but would be forwarded as soon as completed. The prince dined at the Russian embassy, and the same night continued his voyage for Varna, the chief port of the principality.
The resident Bulgarians had prepared a demonstration, but this was promptly suppressed by the Ottoman authorities. A deputation of Bulgarian students approached the prince while at the Russian embassy, with a floral tribute and an address of welcome, to which he replied in very gratifying terms. Both the address and the reply, I may remark, were in the English language, with which the prince is familiar, though he does not speak either the Bulgarian or the Russian. He assumes an arduous and unenviable task.
I have, &c.,