Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Blaine.
Bucharest, March 26, 1881. (Received April 15.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, by a unanimous vote of both chambers to-day, Roumania has been proclaimed a kingdom, and the prince has taken the title of King.
In my dispatch No. 46, dated March 12, I spoke of the probability of this act taking place soon. The government contemplated it for the 22d of May. Some deputies wished it sooner, but the mourning for the late Emperor of Russia, followed by Passion week, made this a matter of difficulty. The manner of its occurrence to-day was wholly unexpected.[Page 980]
Yesterday, Mr. Maioresco and other Conservatives made a violent attack upon the government, à propos of the recent arrest of some Nihilists at Jassy, and accused the Liberal party of being always connected with revolutions and of protecting Nihilism and Socialism. Feelings were so excited by this discussion that the Liberals held a party meeting in the evening and informed the prime minister that they considered the immediate proclamation of the kingdom necessary as a clear proof to all the world that they sincerely wished for a constitutional monarchy, and had no sympathy with revolutionists. In case the ministry were unwilling, they threatened to pass the measure in spite of them. After some hesitation, Mr. Bratiano agreed to the proposition and went to the prince at midnight to obtain his approval.
This morning early a council of ministers was held, in widen the president of the Senate and the president of the Chamber of Deputies took part, and the mode of procedure was determined upon.
When the Chamber met at noon General D. Leca moved that—
In view of existing circumstances and conformably to the persistent and constantly manifested desire of the nation, in order to confirm stability and internal order, and at the same time to give a guarantee that the Roumanian monarchy, being in the same condition as other states of Europe, can inspire greater confidence, the Chamber of Deputies, in virtue of the national right of sovereignty, prociames his royal highness Prince Charles I, as King of Roumania.
Mr. Carp, one of the most distinguished men of the opposition, warmly approved this motion, and a bill was then brought in establishing Roumania as a kingdom, giving its sovereign the title of King, and to the heir to the throne that of prince royal. After enthusiastic speeches by prominent men on both sides of the house, the bill was passed unanimously, 99 being present out of a total of 140 members.
Meantime, after the first acclamation, the president of the Chamber of Deputies sent a telegram to the president of the Senate informing him of what had happened. The Senate at once broke out into loud and hearty applause, and adjourned until the bill from the Chamber should be brought in. On resuming its sitting, after short speeches from Mr. George Cautacuzeno, Mr. Lascar Catargi, the leader of the Conservatives, and Mr. Vasili Alecsandri, the Roumanian poet, the law was passed by the unanimous vote of all present, 40 out of 68. Together with several of the diplomatic body, I was present at this meeting.
The Senate and the Chamber then walked to the palace, where, after reading the report of the council of ministers (a translation of which I inclose marked 1), the bill was signed by the prince and countersigned by the ministers.
In reply to the felicitations of the Senators and Deputies the King made a short speech (a translation of which I inclose, marked 2). Their majesties then appeared on the balcony of the palace and acknowledged the acclamations of the crowd. The buildings are covered with flags, the principal streets are illuminated and thronged with people, and the greatest enthusiasm reigns.
The universal feeling here is that by this act greater stability has been given to the independence and the institutions of the country. As a principality, Roumania has always been more or less subject to the encroachments of its neighbors. By this it is hoped that its independence will be more marked, and therefore respected. In the eyes of the world a kingdom is always of more consequence than a principality, and Roumania, in point of population, is larger than Sweden, Portugal, Holland, Denmark, Norway, or Greece, all kingdoms, and about equal to Belgium, while in size it is the twelfth state in Europe.[Page 981]
It is thought, too, that the establishment of the kingdom will be a guarantee to Europe that the country will profess no opinions subversive of the institutions of its neighbors, Internally this act will doubtless do much to strengthen the dynasty. There are several persons in the country, sons and descendants of former princes. One of them, Gregory Sturdza, son of the last prince of Moldavia before the union, has been openly agitating and posing as a pretender to the crown. While many families thought their members had rights to be princes, no one can have the pretension to be King.
Most remarkable in this connection is the adherence of Mr. Rosetti, president of the Chamber of Deputies, who has always been a Liberal of the most pronounced type, who was in exile for several years in consequence of his connection with the insurrection of 1848 against Russian domination, and who has sympathized with if not taken part in the revolutions of other countries. The leaders of the Liberal party have certainly done great things for the country. They procured the union of the principalities after the Crimean war, they obtained the independence of the country, and they now have the credit of the proclamation of the kingdom, which last would more naturally have been expected from the Conservatives. Against such advantages the Conservatives find it difficult to struggle.
I sent to you to-day a telegram informing you of the proclamation, of which I inclose a copy, marked 3.
I am, &c.,