Home » History » Ottoman Bulgaria in the First Tanzimat Period -The Revolts in Nish (1841) and Vidin (1850)*

Ottoman Bulgaria in the First Tanzimat Period -The Revolts in Nish (1841) and Vidin (1850)*

Ottoman policy in the first Tanzimat (reform) period (1839-1856) had as one of its stated aims the amelioration of certain conditions to reduce the discontent on the part of non-Muslim subjects of the Empire. The steady increase throughout the entire Tanzimat period (1839-1876) in the intensity of separatist nationalist cultural and political activity among the Bulgarians is a significant indication of inadequacies in the policy and its execution. Through an examination of the circumstances of the two major peasant revolts in Bulgaria in the first Tanzimat period (1839-1856), the problems facing the Bulgarian peasantry and the Ottoman attempts to deal with these problems will be presented. The nature of Russian and Serbian involvement in these revolts will also be considered, since whatever the actual extent of these involvements may have been, in Ottoman assessments of the situation they received very considerable importance.

The first of these revolts came shortly after the proclamation of the edict of Gulhane (1839) which formally marked the initiation of the Tanzimat policy. This decree was issued shortly after the death of Sultan Mahmud 11 (1808-1839), whose efforts at re-establishment of the control of the central government throughout the Empire constituted a major turning point in the history of Ottoman administration. Putting these developments in perspective will also help explain the nature of the dilemma facing the Ottoman administration and render more intelligible the course which they adopted. In the sphere of provincial administration, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the central government had faced serious problems created by officials who had firmly established themselves in a provincial post and wielded nearly independent authority. Mahmud II expended considerable efforts to smash the power of local strong men and in some parts of the Empire, including northwestern Bulgaria, he was successful. To prevent the reemergence of such threats Mahmud decreed that provincial offices might be held only for one year.1 The older entrenched official, was, with his failings, quite familiar with the area he ruled. The nature of Mahmud’s remedy indicated that the central government had no effective means of maintaining steady control over provincial officials. But the remedy brought a new ill; as was to become clear in Bulgaria throughout the Tanzimat period, the rapidly rotated officials (at times more frequently than once a year) brought no knowledge of local conditions with them to the job and did not remain at the post long enough either to acquire such knowledge or a feeling of identification with the interests of the area in question. This would have made matters difficult enough in a period
(*ln Ottoman usage during the period of the Tanzimat, the district of Nish was included in the area designated “Bulgarian”. Since the focus here is on Ottoman policy, Ottoman usage has been followed, rather than contempary usage.)

when Ottoman administration was simply following traditional patterns; but in the age of the Tanzimat when drastic changes in the old ways, such as improving the status of non-Muslims, were being attempted, this failing of the new administrators proved extremely harmful.

In the area of provincial taxation the Ottoman government faced an analogous problem of conflicting interests of central control and the interests of the provinces. When the taxes of a district were sold to a tax farmer for a year under the system known as iltizam, the tax farmer would tend to ‘mine’ the area during his year with little regard for the economic consequences. An alternative system, the malikane, which provided for the sale of the taxes of a district for a longer period and which might have afforded some incentive for a community of economic interest between the tax farmer and the subjects, was introduced at the end of the seventeenth century but by the late eighteenth was riddled with abuses. In this area also then, the Ottomans had failed to develop a means of exerting steady control over officials in the provinces and were resorting to the rotation of the iltizam to break the entrenched interests of the malikane. Bulgaria in the Tanzimat period was under iltizam except for a few brief episodes of direct collection by the central government.2 Again, as in the case of administration, the absence of any community of interest between official and subject was to have most harmful consequences.

In addition to these developments which affected the entire Empire, certain developments in the Balkan region must be kept in mind in understanding the situation in Bulgaria at the beginning of the Tanzimat period. The Kirjali period, ca. 1795-1810, one of widespread banditry and small-scale local warfare, saw a considerable weakening of Ottoman authority in Bulgaria.3 The maintenance by Pazvanoglu of a nearly autonomous province in the Vidin area during the same period further contributed to the weakening of the authority of the central government. The penetration of Russian armies deep into the Balkans in the period of the Napoleonic wars and in 1828-1829 and the continued presence of Russian forces in the Principalities in the 1830′s had an effect on Bulgarian desires for liberation. Finally, perhaps the most significant were the advances towards autonomy and independence of Serbia, Greece, and the Principalities in the first three decades of the nineteenth century.

While the non-Muslim subjects welcomed many of these developments, the Ottoman aga class, the local landholders who had long been a major component of the Ottoman provincial administration and army, could not but have viewed matters otherwise. Moreover, after these developments, in addition to these changes effected by Christian subjects and foreign powers which caused the Muslim ruling class some concern, during the 1830′s came changes which the Ottoman central government began to introduce in administration. These changes which if fully implemented would sharply reduce or even eliminate the income and power of the aga class, the gradual abolition of sipahilik (a system of land grants in exchange for military service, to be discussed in detail below) and the edict of Giilhane in 1839 with its promises of rights and security of life, honour and property for non-Muslims, which posed a threat not only to the legal position of superiority Muslims enjoyed but also to the tacitly granted fringe benefits of the latter to make free with persons and property of non-Muslims.

The period of the Tanzimat was one of change not only in administrative practice but also, to some extent, of attitudes among Ottoman officials. These changes, generally subsumed under the catch-all heading of ‘Westernization’ were more pronounced among those officials who had served in the capital and so had had more contact with Westerners than among provincial officials. Such a difference would have been of considerable significance at any point in the history of a state but was for the Ottomans in this period of change of especial importance.4

the nish rising – 1841

The rising in Nish was not an isolated occurrence; in the early part of the century this area of the Ottoman Empire had seen the Serbian revolt and in the more immediate vicinity there had been small risings in Berkovitsa (1835), Pirot (1836) and again Berkovitsa (1836). 5 These episodic revolts had certain common elements: dissatisfaction arising from rates of taxation and depredations of the local Turks, hopes of aid from Serbia (in the main, unfulfilled), some attempts at negotiation with Serbia for aid (in the main, fruitless), a desperate, militarily foolhardy rising by peasants having no military experience and almost no firearms against armed Turkish regular and irregular forces, military repression and flight by many peasants into Serbia.

While several of these facets were common to many revolts, there appear to have been several aspects of the situation in Nish which were peculiarly a product of the Tanzimat period. A Bulgarian historian, Romanski, who in his study of the Nish revolt assigned prime responsibility for its outbreak to oppression and depredations of the local Turkish element, considered these actions to be the outgrowth of a conservative revolutionary tendency, conservative Muslim provincial opposition to the new reformist policies of the central government. He summarized this point as follows: ‘In that conflict between the traditional law of the Ottoman Empire, which recognized the Muslims as the ruling element, and the new liberal governmental act according to which the Christians were legally made the equals of the Muslims, is hidden the reason for all the disorders which occurred in various parts of Turkey, as consequences of the application of the new reforms’.6

In the opinion of a contemporary observer, Blanqui, whom the French government had sent to survey the Nish area immediately after the suppression of the revolt, there was a definite connection between the Tanzimat and the revolt but in another sphere. He inclined to the view that the main causes of the revolt were to be sought in problems of taxation and the failure of reform; in the new reformed scheme of things multiple taxes and collection by multezims (tax farmers) was to be replaced by a single tax collected directly by the government through new officials, muhasils.1 The implementation of this reform suffered greatly from the fact that when the new officials were created, the older category was not abolished.8

The collection of taxes by the muhasils moreover now produced new abuses. There occurred cooperation between the muhasils and the officials

they were supposedly supplanting, which resulted in even greater exactions on the peasants. The multezims had in the past acquired, along with their authorization to collect taxes, wide de facto powers over the taxable population. The creation of muhasils, aimed at breaking down this concentration of power, thus failed to achieve this.9 Malpractices occurred at each stage of the taxation process. At the time of assessment, the property of smallholders was assessed at 3-4 times its value, whereas that of the wealthier was assessed at a low value.10 In general, the mode of assessment appears to have been by oral declaration for property of all sorts.
The edict of Giilhane had attempted to correct the situation in which the peasants were obliged to pay a multiplicity of taxes by creating one single tax which would comprise all of the former ones and preclude misunderstandings and abuses. But this attempt also failed of its aim when the new tax was either levied in addition to the old taxes or was levied several times in the same year, an abuse which the illiterate peasants who had no records were unable to oppose.11 The core of the problem remained, only now it was over new officials, muhasils, that the central government lacked adequate control.
At some point, apparently towards the end of 1840, the governor of Nish, Sabri Mustafa Pasha, began to carry out the assessment for the new tax.12 The Bulgarians claimed that the taxation exceeded their means and so asked the Ottoman authorities for an extension. This the Ottomans granted but, in accord with earlier practice, they also provided incentive to pay off the arrears quickly by quartering troops on the peasants until payment was made. Friction developed between the unwilling hosts and the unwanted guests. Sabri Mustafa and other Turkish officials had already [harassed | thej villagers with repeated requests for food, drink, and women. A special envoy of the Porte, Arif Hikmet, the kadiasker (military judge) of Rumili was at this time on a tour of inspection in the area. Sabri Mustafa represented the highest instance of Ottoman regular authority in the area, but his conduct left it clear that complaints to him about raping and raiding by local Turks would not get a sympathetic hearing. When the villagers turned to Arif Hikmet, he gave them a none too satisfactory response: wait for word from Istanbul and in the meantime obey the local authorities. To a Russian diplomat, Baron Lieven, who was crossing Bulgaria at this time, the Bulgarians submitted petitions in hopes that he would be able to obtain some redress in Istanbul. Also they sent many petitions to Belgrade. But all of these pacific moves produced no improvement. At this point a meeting attended by 'over 600 families' of villagers in the area took a decision to revolt.
Accounts differ in details as to the proximate cause of the revolt and the nature of the sources and their hopelessly inadequate dating preclude any exact reconstruction, but the nature of the provoking incidents is rather similar. Sabri Mustafa, in the course of levying taxes, helped himself to food and drink, but was refused a woman, in response to which he appears to have sent a band of Turks to retaliate against the village. Another account refers to a raid by Turks against Bulgarians in a church where the Turks raped a number of women and girls; that the deed

they were supposedly supplanting, which resulted in even greater exactions on the peasants. The multezims had in the past acquired, along with their authorization to collect taxes, wide de facto powers over the taxable population. The creation of muhasils, aimed at breaking down this concentration of power, thus failed to achieve this.9 Malpractices occurred at each stage of the taxation process. At the time of assessment, the property of smallholders was assessed at 3-4 times its value, whereas that of the wealthier was assessed at a low value.10 In general, the mode of assessment appears to have been by oral declaration for property of all sorts.
The edict of Giilhane had attempted to correct the situation in which the peasants were obliged to pay a multiplicity of taxes by creating one single tax which would comprise all of the former ones and preclude misunderstandings and abuses. But this attempt also failed of its aim when the new tax was either levied in addition to the old taxes or was levied several times in the same year, an abuse which the illiterate peasants who had no records were unable to oppose.11 The core of the problem remained, only now it was over new officials, muhasils, that the central government lacked adequate control.
At some point, apparently towards the end of 1840, the governor of Nish, Sabri Mustafa Pasha, began to carry out the assessment for the new tax.12 The Bulgarians claimed that the taxation exceeded their means and so asked the Ottoman authorities for an extension. This the Ottomans granted but, in accord with earlier practice, they also provided incentive to pay off the arrears quickly by quartering troops on the peasants until payment was made. Friction developed between the unwilling hosts and the unwanted guests. Sabri Mustafa and other Turkish officials had already [harassed | thej villagers with repeated requests for food, drink, and women. A special envoy of the Porte, Arif Hikmet, the kadiasker (military judge) of Rumili was at this time on a tour of inspection in the area. Sabri Mustafa represented the highest instance of Ottoman regular authority in the area, but his conduct left it clear that complaints to him about raping and raiding by local Turks would not get a sympathetic hearing. When the villagers turned to Arif Hikmet, he gave them a none too satisfactory response: wait for word from Istanbul and in the meantime obey the local authorities. To a Russian diplomat, Baron Lieven, who was crossing Bulgaria at this time, the Bulgarians submitted petitions in hopes that he would be able to obtain some redress in Istanbul. Also they sent many petitions to Belgrade. But all of these pacific moves produced no improvement. At this point a meeting attended by 'over 600 families' of villagers in the area took a decision to revolt.
Accounts differ in details as to the proximate cause of the revolt and the nature of the sources and their hopelessly inadequate dating preclude any exact reconstruction, but the nature of the provoking incidents is rather similar. Sabri Mustafa, in the course of levying taxes, helped himself to food and drink, but was refused a woman, in response to which he appears to have sent a band of Turks to retaliate against the village. Another account refers to a raid by Turks against Bulgarians in a church where the Turks raped a number of women and girls; that the deed remained unpunished moved the villagers to action. Yet another account refers to attempts by Bulgarians to oust some of the more obstreperous of the soldiers quartered on them, to which Sabri Mustafa responded by calling in Albanian irregulars who overfulfilled their pacification quota.13

On 6 April rebels began to gather at one village and word and movement soon spread, with some villagers joining the rebels and others fleeing to the hills. Given the great inequality in firepower, the military operations which lasted only a few weeks were largely a mop-up operation from the outset and require no lengthy discussion.14 Only one aspect should be noted, that in the absence of sufficient regular troops, Sabri Mustafa had called some 2000 Albanian irregulars who caused great havoc, greatly complicating the pacification process. This was obviously no surprise to the Ottomans who were clearly aware of the tendency of the Albanians to pillage and accordingly had extracted from the Albanians a promise not to do so before operations were begun.15 Subsequent estimates of the damage done by this force differ so greatly that the veracity of all is suspect. Yakup Pasha, inspecting the area for the Porte at the end of June, found 20-25 burned villages, whereas Kodinetz, who, as will be seen below, was inspecting for the Tsar, and Radoikevich, reporting to the prince of Serbia, mention 225 burned villages. The terror generated by this act sent 9,460 Bulgarians in flight to Serbia. The Porte, slow to hear of the course of events,16 eventually responded by sending Yakup Pasha, mitsir (army marshal) of Edirne, and Tevfik Bey, an official of the Adliye (Ministry of Justice), to pacify the area, to bring the Albanians under control, and as far as possible, to arrange for the return of persons and property carried off by the Albanians, and finally, after achieving some success in these endeavours, to convince the Bulgarian fugitives in Serbia to return to their homes.17 There were some misunderstandings over the terms of the amnesty, tax exemption, and the question of aid for reconstruction.

Eventually, with the exception of a few who had been most prominent in the revolt, all the Bulgarians, trusting in the amnesty, returned, and the status quo ante was restored. The restoration was perhaps somewhat more complete than had been intended. Sabri Mustafa, as the chief culprit, had been removed, but his successsor, Ismet Pasha, inauspiciously nicknamed Deli (madman) left much to be desired.18 Once Yakup Pasha, who had been somewhat of a moderating influence, left, the old troubles began again, with the result that Bulgarians again began to flee to Serbia. The upshot of all this was apparently little change in the situation of the peasantry. Certainly the local balance of power remained unchanged, which left the stage set for subsequent similar events.

An understanding of the Ottoman view of the origins of this revolt is unnecessary for a consideration of the Ottoman responses to the revolt. After the revolt was suppressed, the central government ordered Sabri Mustafa to report on the situation, and he devoted most of his attention to chronicling the movements of certain individuals before the revolt and to elaborating on Serbia's role as an instigator.19 This view of the origins of the revolt and the importance of Serbia was to be advanced again at the time of the Vidin revolt and so should be examined carefully against the background of Serbian policy at the time. From the mid-1830's on, involvement in revolt in Bulgaria and direct conflict with the Ottomans was not at all in the Obrenovich political style. Early on in his reign, Milosh appears to have decided that it was more advisable to maintain pacific relations with the Ottomans than to adopt a more aggressive stance which might make him very dependent on Russia and so leave him in a dangerously weak position should Russian interests change or Russian policy suffer a significant reverse in the Balkans.20

During the mid-1830's when a series of risings occurred in Ottoman lands near Serbia in Nish, Pirot, and Berkovitsa, Milosh pursued a balanced policy. He refused the rebels arms and promises of military support. Through various channels, particularly his foreign minister, Petronevich, who travelled frequently to the scene of the difficulties, Milosh communicated his intention neither to support nor tolerate revolution on his borders. He moved to prevent filibustering expeditions from Serbia in support of risings. Also to minimize Ottoman suspicions and resentment, when he intervened in the implementation of reforms in these districts, he took pains to keep them from appearing to be excessive meddling.21 He took a hand in arranging the return of fugitives.22

Milosh was however, involved in keeping his neighbours aware that he could be a source of aid in administrative reform and in cultural matters. At the time of the Nish risings of the mid-1830's, Milosh first wrote to the governor.23 Also at the time of the rising in Pirot and Berkovitsa, Petronevich was active in having the grievances of the villagers made clear to the Ottoman authorities, and he worked for the implementation of reforms in administration and taxation and for the removal or punishment of Turkish malefactors.24 Milosh, while on a trip to Istanbul in 1835, visited a number of Bulgarian towns and attended special receptions.25 He was also involved with the emerging Bulgarian national cultural revival in various ways: meeting with prominent Bulgarian laymen (gorbacis, local notables) and clerics (Neofit Bozveli [1785-1848] and the later Metropolitan Antim [1816-1888], both of whom were active in the development of the Bulgarian clergy and school system). Ecclesiastical books and Novine Srpske, the main Serbian newspaper, were sent to towns in Bulgaria. Some of the earliest Bulgarian books, including school texts, were printed in Serbia and several Serbs were involved in the early stages of the establishment of the Bulgarian schools.26

The preceding is not to suggest that Milosh did not have grand ideas about the future of Serbia, but he was acutely aware that his part of the world was dominated by the legitimist powers, Russia and Austria.27 It would then appear most reasonable to concur with the assessment of Milosh’s policy at this time as having been that eventual liberation could best be advanced not by revolution but by his acting as a force for reform and gradual improvement in Ottoman lands near Serbia.28

At the time of the Nish rising however, Milosh was no longer ruling, having abdicated in June 1839. His adolescent son, Mihailo, then became a focal point for conflicts between his regents appointed by the Sultan and members of the Obrenovich family. The nature of this government and the significant internal political developments in progress in Serbia at this time were potent restraints against any such dangerous undertakings as supporting revolution against the Ottoman suzerain. The opinion of the contemporary observer, Blanqui, that the Serbian government restrained its people from giving the rising any support is then a further confirmation of that view of Serbian policy which has been presented.29 To complement this picture of Serbian policy one must also consider the relationship of the rebels to Serbia. While there certainly were hopes of military aid, and quite probably also some hopes among the rebels that their area might come under Serbian rule as had six districts in 1833,30 what emerges most clearly from the petitions of the villagers is concern for reforms and improvement in their local situation rather than a desire for independence. Their interest in Serbia appears to have been connected in large measure with hopes of utilizing Serbia as a means of having their complaints reach Istanbul rather than as a means to ending Ottoman rule. In a petition to Mihailo, about a year before the revolt (May 1840), the villagers, having listed their grievances, added: Svetli tsar ne znae turtsi shto chinuju, i пета koj da kazhe. (The Sultan does not know what the Turks are doing and there is no one to tell [him]).31 Local officials were hostile to communication between the people of their district and the capital; when the rebels in Nish had tried to send a delegation to Istanbul to call the attention of the central government to abuses in local administration, the pasha of Nish sent after the delegation and had it brought back from Plovdiv to Nish, where the members were sentenced to death, jailed and finally released only when their coreligionists paid out large sums to the local authorities.32 A petition from some 1000 Christians in the area of Nish and Leskovats to the Prince of Serbia in April 1841 stated \ . . people are not revolting against the legitimate government of the Sultan rather they want that the benevolent terms of the Hatti Sherif of Giilhane be faithfully and exactly carried out.’33

These aspects of the activity of the rebels cast serious doubts on the Ottoman view of the role of Serbia sketched above and particularly of the view of Serbia as the prime instigator, and on any ideas that the rising was aimed at achieving independence. Since the statements to the effect that the revolt was not against the Sultan were made in petitions to the Prince of Serbia, it would be most difficult to argue that they were made solely for the purpose of mitigating any later punishment. On the contrary, Romanski’s view that the mainspring of the revolt was the desire to have the Tanzimat implemented gains in plausibility.34 There appears to have been in this revolt another element, encountered in other peasant revolts in other states and periods, the ‘benevolent emperor’ myth: if only the emperor/sultan/tsar/little father knew how the local officials or gentry were oppressing the peasantry, he would quickly set matters straight. This theme is too well known to require any elaboration here. The presence of this element however is not consonant with the image of a revolt motivated by a developed nationalist separatist consciousness.

There were several noteworthy aspects of the aftermath of the revolt. First the Ottoman responses to the revolt indicated clearly that the government understood that there was more to the matter than Serbian instigation and that mere suppression was not a solution to the problems of the area.

After military operations ended, the central government sent to the area special commissioners to help the villagers resettle and recover their families and possessions. To judge by the reports of European consuls and special envoys, these commissioners performed their task quite conscientiously. 3 5 To some extent this activity was clearly an outgrowth of the new ideas of the Tanzimat, but it seems quite probable that in this case the possible large losses of manpower and taxpayers through emigration by disaffected Bulgarians at this time when the frontiers of the Empire had receded, leaving them nearer the periphery rather than near the centre of the Empire, also affected Ottoman policy.36 (As will be seen below in the case of the Vidin revolt a decade later, this consideration was explicitly mentioned.)

The use of special commissioners, of itself beneficial, was nevertheless an indication of a major failing of the Ottoman administration in the area: indifference or unresponsiveness to needs of the local populace (and the consequent inability of the central government to rely on these officials to act in accord with these needs), a problem further complicated by the inability of the local populace to make their needs known to the capital.37 The recurrence of abuses under Ismet Pasha, once the special commissioners had left, pointed up the inadequacy of this means for coping with the problem. The use of special commissioners and investigations continued to be used in the Bulgarian provinces however, most notably Ali Riza to the Vidin area in 1850 and Kibirsli Mehmet in 1860.

Another noteworthy aspect of the aftermath of the revolt was the arrival in the area of European envoys, sent expressly to study the conditions in the area of the revolt, the causes of the revolt, the mode of suppression and its effect on the inhabitants. While these envoys represented the beginning of one kind of European involvement which later became quite prominent in this area after the ‘Bulgarian Horrors’ of 1876 and Ilinden in 1903, they also probably should be considered as a part of the more general European penetration into the Ottoman Empire which at this time was breaking down its earlier relative isolation, with the penetrations of Napoleonic and Russian armies, the missions of French and Prussian military instructors and stationing of more consuls and commercial representatives.

The French Prime Minister, Guizot, as one means of dealing with concern in France over the Nish revolt, sent on an inspection tour of the area the economist J. A. Blanqui, who set out on his mission late in the summer of 1841.38 (The book Blanqui subsequently wrote, although basically non-polemical in tone, can also be viewed as one of the early specimens of a genre which was to proliferate as the century progressed, the travel account of the Ottoman Empire which was largely concerned with the lot of the non-Turkish subjects. The growth of the genre emerges from a comparison of Blanqui’s book with accounts written after the Crimean War; when reading Blanqui one has the feeling he thought he was describing terra incognita to his readers,39 while many of those writing in the later period, while unquestionably feeling that they were writing about an ‘exotic’ area, seemed to assume some acquaintance with the area on the part of their readers, in many cases to the extent that they stated that they were trying to change some conception which they believed that their readers held.)

The increased European penetration was not without effect on the Bulgarians too, who, until the early part of the century, living deep inside the Empire, had looked almost solely to the Russians for deliverance. Now with the changed borders and the new European penetration, other countries began to appear to be potential sources of assistance, and appeals to Western Europe began at this time.40 Also, the Blanqui mission may be taken as a significant early step in a growing French involvement in Bulgarian affairs which in two decades was to expand to include educational work and support for a campaign to establish a Bulgarian Uniate church.

The other special envoy sent across Bulgaria after the revolt was Kodinetz, who was sent by the Russian government and so represented that foreign involvement which was ultimately of greatest significance for Bulgaria. The precise nature of the genesis of the Kodinetz mission is unclear (and given the restrictions on the Russian Foreign Ministry archives, will probably remain so). From such information as is available it appears that the Kodinetz mission was the accidental outgrowth of the planning for a very different move. Baron Lieven, a special Russian envoy to Belgrade and Istanbul, had passed through the Nish area shortly before the revolt, at which time he observed the situation of the non-Muslim subjects and received numerous petitions from them. On his return to St. Petersburg, there emerged from his conversations with the Tsar the idea that Russia and Austria, for the protection of the local Christians, should jointly station a consul who would refrain from any political action, rather counselling the local authorities to pursue a just course and the subjects to obey the authorities, and serving as a channel for the subjects to make their grievances known to higher authorities. Lieven further specified that the way to effect this without arousing the opposition of the western powers was to have it appear that the initiative had come from the Ottomans. Nesselrode, the Russian foreign minister, after having considered Lieven’s proposal (soon after the revolt apparently— the sources available do not permit a precise chronology) appears to have come to the conclusion that from the report of such a representative the Ottoman government would learn the truth about events in Nish which it would not learn from the pashas in the area who had their own interests to defend. Such a Russian report would establish for the Ottomans the value of a foreign observer. Because of diplomatic complications (the nature of which again cannot be ascertained) the scheme was not carried out and the Russian government contented itself with merely sending an envoy through the revolted area.41

Kodinetz had been serving as the Russian consul in Tabriz. He was instructed to proceed to Istanbul, obtain further instructions from the Russian Embassy there, then continue on through Wallachia, to Belgrade, where he was to get further information on Bulgarian conditions from the Russian representative. He was then to cross Bulgaria, following the route laid out for him by the embassy in Istanbul, making stops at Prishtina, Prizren, Leskovats and Nish. In Bulgaria, he was to spend only as much time as was absolutely necessary, to be most circumspect and to avoid arousing any false hopes on the part of the Bulgarians, while reassuring the Turkish officials as regards his mission.

The instruction to Kodinetz began with a lengthy justification of the mission, a statement of interest both for what it showed about Russian views on affairs in the Ottoman Empire, and because it reflected conflicting elements in Russian policy on the Eastern Question. The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed to have received reports that the Bulgarians, exasperated by the harassment of local authorities, had revolted; the Ottoman government, preoccupied with events in Syria, was unable to devote the necessary attention to these irregularities in the administration. The peasantry in Nish had risen in desperation, not, to be sure, against the legitimate authority of the Sultan, but only to call his attention to the adverse local conditions. The revolt had been suppressed, and this ‘success’ of the local authorities, if the Porte did not take the ncessary corrective action, would encourage the officials in question to oppress the Bulgarians still more. The concern of the Tsar was twofold: first, his humanitarian feelings for the Bulgarians, and second, his concern for the fate of the Ottoman monarchy, whose reforming policies were clearly being frustrated by local officials. As an expression of his ‘sincere friendship’ the Tsar was putting an agent (Kodinetz) at the disposal of the Ottoman government, an official who would give his ‘moral support’ to the restoration of good relations between Turkish officials and Bulgarian subjects, in which task the agent would be aided by the well-known trust of the Bulgarians in Russia. Following this justification came directions for the conduct of the mission. Finally at the end of the instructions, almost as an afterthought, appeared a brief statement that Europe was quite distressed at the turn affairs had taken and that Russia and Austria could not look on with equanimity at such events, which could provoke a reaction among those segments of their population living closest to the Ottoman lands.42

The Ottoman response to this unsolicited assistance was, quite naturally, to declare it undesirable, as it might encourage the Bulgarians to further resistance, and unnecessary, since the Porte had taken all required measures.4 3 The Russians argued that it was impossible to recall Kondinetz as he was already en route. Rifaat Pasha, the Ottoman Foreign Minister, seems to have been somewhat mollified by the argument of Sturmer, the Austrian ambassador in Istanbul, that if the Russians were seriously interested in fomenting revolution, they would send secret agents.44

Kodinetz set out from Odessa, arriving 26 July in Belgrade, where he remained for a few days to speak with various diplomats and officials, then proceeding via Alexinac to Nish, which he reached on 4 August. There he spoke with Yakup Pasha, but the Turkish ‘guard of honour’ limited his contacts with Bulgarians to two local Turcophil notables. He left Nish on 6 August without any further contact with the Bulgarians of the area; they succeeded in getting a petition to him only by sending after him a courier who caught up with him in Sehir Koy (Pirot). After an apparently uneventful trip, Kodinetz arrived in Istanbul on 18 August.45

The substance of the recommendations of Kodinetz (and Blanqui as well) contained nothing startling, given an analysis of the revolt which did not see in Serbia the main cause.46 The Russian statements about helping the Ottomans by means of such a move should not be dismissed as mere window-dressing. They were made in documents only for the eyes of several officials, not for a wider public and secondly it must be not forgotten that there was a school of thought among Russian diplomats which considered it more advantageous for Russia to have a weak neighbour to the south and so be assured of a quiet frontier rather than push for partition and territorial gains.47 But the Kodinetz mission marked, for Russian diplomacy, the beginning of a new kind of intervention in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire, next to be attempted in 1860.
In the years after this revolt, the Ottoman government made some attempts at administrative changes, but, as will be seen in the next section, these changes did not solve the fundamental problem of insecurity of the Bulgarians and in some ways they exacerbated conflicts between the Bulgarians and the Turks, all of which conditions left the stage set for another revolt which came slightly less than a decade later in an area not far from Nish, somewhat to the northeast, that of Vidin.
revolt in vidin—1850
The second revolt to be considered here, that in Vidin in 1850 was not only larger than the Nish revolt but also required larger and more diversified intervention by the central government. The Nish revolt had produced very little change; while the Vidin revolt produced some change, this was achieved only after repeated petitioning by the villagers and lengthy bureaucratic manoeuvering, a condition which did little to increase satisfaction with government policy. The main causes of the revolt appear to have been dissatisfaction in the areas of administration, taxation, and landholding. Again the question of outside agitation, Russian and Serbian, must be considered.
In the decade between the two revolts, the Ottoman government made several attempts at improving provincial administration: the assembly of provincial notables (1845), the ten ‘commissions of improvement’, inspection commissions sent to various provinces in Europe and Asia, and lastly, the creation of the provincial meclises, consultative bodies, attached to the vali (provincial governor), consisting of Muslim notables and officials, and of prominent non-Muslims, usually the local heads of the millets. None of these measures appear to have produced any significant changes.4 8
The Bulgarian peasantry, at the time of the revolt gave several indications of their dissatisfaction with the local officials. The vali of the nearby district of Silistra noted that the prime objects of the rebels’ attacks were, ‘village landlords, constables, tax collectors and county officials’.49 During a parley between the rebels and a delegation sent by the vali of Vidin, the rebels declared: ‘. . . our troubles are due to the tax farmers, village landlords, constables and suchlike.’50
The local officials in Vidin frequently had been disobedient to the innovation of the Tanzimat in local administration, the meclis. Their obedience to the meclis would not necessarily have produced an amelioration in the lot of the villagers however since the meclis appears to have been dominated by agas and Turkish officials who were capable of carrying on their business without consulting the Christian members.51
The peasantry felt that there was no one to whom they could turn with their grievances. If they appeared in court with a complaint, they might be accused of being rebels, or the official to whom they had protested might lock them up or have them beaten.52 A petition of the rebellious peasantry to the Prince of Serbia, reflects this in a fashion already encountered in the discussion of the Nish revolt, calling on him to familiarize himself with the conditions in which they lived, to inform the Sultan, and then send a Serbian official to whom they could describe their plight.53 During the revolt, the rebels told a delegation from the Vali of Vidin that they would not discuss matters with the Vidin officials, only with an official sent out from Istanbul.54
Aside from discontent arising from questions of taxation, some of the problems of the Bulgarians with the officials were connected with the new status of non-Muslims under the Tanzimat.5 5 Officials were not responsive to the complaints of the Bulgarians about the raids of the local Turks.56 The zaptive, local police, had been instituted as a replacement for earlier forms of police, delis and tiifenkcis. They were not found to be a very successful replacement. Sultan Abdul Mecid, on his return from his tour of Bulgaria, in 1846, informed the Meclis-i Ahkam (Supreme Judicial Council) that improvement was needed immediately. Little seems to have been done, for they remained such a source of complaints, that after the 1850 revolt, the organization was suppressed. Later the question was raised as to whether or not to reconstitute them, and it was thought best not to do so.57 The rayas were still vexed by such legal difficulties as their testimony not being accepted against Muslims. The facade of assent to the extant administration was partially maintained by having gorbacis (village headmen) and meclis members gather seals and signatures on documents which either were blank or whose contents were not disclosed to the signatories, the end product, a testimonial of approval, then being sent to Istanbul.58
Taxation was a major source of discontent because of both the weight of the tax burden and the diverse and confused nature of the obligations. First, there existed some confusion as to which taxes were being collected for the central government (and by whom) and which for the local agas. The available sources and studies amply reflect the confusion. The eminent Turkish historian, Inalcik, in his very solid study of this revolt based almost entirely on Ottoman archival material, lists six taxes for which the peasantry was liable, including ucret-i arazi, a land rent which amounted to a month or two of grain harvesting for the aga, and other taxes in the form of sums of money and quantities of grain and cheese. (From the descriptions given of these taxes it is not clear what their basis was or whether they were levied for the central government or local authorities.) Inalcik, after supplying this brief list, adds, without any further specifics, . . bununla da bitmezdV (and it did not end there).59 Some indication of what else was involved is given in a petition from a group of Bulgarians to the Tsar in September 1850. Some of the names of taxes in this long list exhibit a frivolous character, e.g. kismet parasi (fate money), a kind of tax on deaths, and toprak parasi (earth money), a tax on walking on the ground.60 Also there were taxes levied by the subagis, the subordinates of the agas.61
Rates of taxation also were a problem. The main taxes levied for the central government, the traditional 6§r (tithe) and harag (a special tax on non-Muslims), were being collected by tax farmers, apparently on too sliding a scale since one of the demands of the peasantry was that the amount of the tithe be fixed.62 (There are available isolated bits of information on tax rates but in the absence of sufficient data for generalization about incomes, prices and taxation levels, the value of the information is very limited.63) Also there occurred collaboration between tax collectors and local officials, including members of the meclis, to collect more than the stipulated amounts.64 In the Vidin area in 1849, the vali, Hussein Pasha, decided to increase taxes.65 Finally, there were also outright seizures of goods by various officials.66
In addition to the cash and commodity levies the Bulgarians were also under obligation to perform angarya, a labour obligation analogous to the western corvee. The exact status of this obligation at this time was confused. The edict of Giilhane had officially abolished angarya but had failed to create any mechanism for enforcement of the abolition or any revenue replacement, all of which helped perpetuate the exaction of angarya. In the Vidin area, conflict between villagers who refused to perform angarya after the proclamation of Giilhane and local officials reached such proportions that the matter was referred to Istanbul. Although the capital decided in favour of the villagers, the local meclis dominated by the agas rearranged taxation so that no real changes took place. The peasantry also complained of being forced to do unpaid labour on roads and bridges. One source refers to angarya reaching as much as 100 days a year. There were cases of taxes in kind being levied in lieu of corvee.67
The peasantry, burdened with these taxes at the production end, faced still others at the marketing end. They had requested earlier the abolition of the karagiimruk, the internal over-land customs duties, and in some other parts of Bulgaria, this and a few other taxes had been abolished by Abdul Mecid on his tour of Bulgaria in 1846. In the Vidin area, however, the karagumriik persisted.68 Although the commercial treaty with England (1838) had dealt the restrictive Ottoman monopoly system a severe blow, foreign trade still laboured under certain encumbrances. Bulgarians could not sell commodities to foreigners without first obtaining a zabit-i belde, a permit for such sale, obtained from the Ottoman officials.69
The issue of land tenure was a major factor in the outbreak of the revolt not only because of the usual land hunger of the peasantry but because in this period the forms of landholding were changing, a circumstance which gave rise to greater expectations. These changes were linked with the Tanzimat at several points.
One of the major goals of the Tanzimat was the strengthening of the Ottoman state and accordingly the period was one of numerous attempts to strengthen the army through reforms. The most essential reform to be carried out was a shift from the older territorially based army, whose members were supported by revenues from lands the central government assigned them, to the new centralized one. Before the destruction of the Janissaries in 1826, there appear to have been some attempts, in 1791-2 and 1816-7, to rechannel revenues from the lands of the sipahis, the territorially based military men, to the central government for new military formations. Sultan Mahmud II, after eliminating the Janissaries, who had been the major locus of political power of the old military establishment and of opposition to change, was able to make considerable progress building up the new central army, and this in turn intensified the financial pressure for rechannelling the revenues.70
Since the military system being abolished was one which had included a soldiery who had held lands in the provinces where they had played a role in local administration, tax collection, etc., some historians have applied the term ‘feudal’ to the older order and accordingly viewed developments such as this reform as part of the collapse of the feudal order. The use of the term ‘feudal’ for the Ottoman system seems inappropriate and so throughout the following description the term and others closely linked with it, e.g., fief, will be avoided and other English terms, not regularly used in the literature on feudalism, or the Turkish or Bulgarian terms will be used.71
The elimination of the sipahilik land holdings, as described by S. Dimitrov, a specialist in the agrarian history of Bulgaria in the 19th century, took place in three stages:
(a) In 1832 the central government deprived the sipahis of actual control of the tax collection on their lands, although, since the government effected this control by means of annual leases, the sipahis retained de jure tenure. This phase reached its completion in 1838-40.
(b) In the course of the next two years the central government attempted to assess the yields of these holdings, a task complicated by the fact that the sipahis had been levying additional taxes beyond those specified in the original titles to their holdings. The juridical tie between the sipahi and his holding persisted through this phase.
(c) In the final phase, after 1842, sipahis signed a legal instrument, the bedel-i timar, by which they renounced the holding in exchange for a pension from the government.72
When the government began the process of converting sipahiliks into land to be administered directly by the state (taxation was still carried out largely by tax farmers who differed from the sipahi in several respects, including the fact that they had no legal title to the land), one response of the sipahi class was to try to convert, by means of new title deeds, as much as they could of their holdings from miriye (state land, which would be affected by the reform) to mulk (private property), which would not.73 This meant that an institutional change was taking place in the unit of agricultural production, from the sipahilik, a holding worked by peasants to provide, at least in theory a fixed revenue for the maintenance of soldiers for the government, to the giftlik, an estate worked for the private gain of its holder, the giftlikgiJ4 For the peasantry this change created yet another problem since when the giftlikgis were establishing their giftliks they incorporated some of the village common lands as well as their own holdings.75
While this appears to have been the general shape of the changes there are many problems in their study and many areas needing further clarification. Dimitrov, at the outset, states that the text of the decree abolishing sipahilik, the procedure used, the year in which this was decreed, and exactly which holdings were reclaimed, are all unknown.76 He further indicates that it is not precisely clear when the reform was completed in which areas: in Plovdiv, for example, it appears that about 1840 the pensioning off process was completed.77 The abolition of the sipahilik may not have been pushed through to completion in north-western Bulgaria, which was a border area, and one in which Turks did not live in the villages. The government was accordingly most concerned to keep the sipahis there as a needed line of defense and thought it could best secure their presence there by leaving the material incentive.78 Inalcik depicts a much more limited policy than the one sketched by Dimitrov, stating simply that the government, after the proclamation of the Tanzimat, wished to end the sale of villages on miriye land to local agas (who in the course of time had acquired de facto mulk control) and wanted the villagers to rent directly from the state.79 Another area of this reform which requires much more clarification is the distribution by nationality of the ownership of the giftliks*0
By way of conclusion on this question, it should be remembered that the giftlik was not a new institution, that the local agas had held mulk lands before this reform, that the abolition of sipahilik was a change which the Ottoman government made, apparently without having laid down guide lines as to what sort of agrarian order should supplant it, and accordingly the continuous struggle between overlord and peasant for land seems to have become intensified when this change opened up the possibility of laying claim to state land.
From these developments then, one can begin to see a significant relationship between Tanzimat policies and conditions in Bulgaria: that aspect of the Tanzimat which was concerned with creating a stronger centralized state with more effective organs of state power such as the army, opened the way for an intensification of the struggle between aga and peasant for land. Not only did such legal and economic changes begin to take place, but also their beginnings had a psychological effect, changing the perceptions of the peasantry of the order of things; the abolition of sipahilik created in the minds of some of the peasantry the idea that they were now the real owners of the land.81
There was yet a third way in which the Tanzimat, through halfway measures, may have contributed to the exacerbation of the land conflicts. In this period, new Tanzimat legislation extended hereditary rights over miriye land (which formerly, in theory, always reverted to the state at the death of the holder). This extension, which Inalcik characterizes as an application of’liberal’ ideas, was effected without taking into consideration that such ‘liberalization’ would merely allow the strong to grow stronger at the expense of the weak.82 The Tanzimat, then, appeared to have aroused expectations on the land question, which it did not seem able to fulfill, since not only had the agas been given new stimulus (the threat of confiscation) to extend their holdings, but the traditional bias in the §eria against the sale of land to non-Muslims was further reinforced by the especial reluctance of the government to allow the sale of land to non-Muslims in a sensitive border area such as northwestern Bulgaria.83
The nature of the system of landholding which emerged in the Vidin area during the 1840′swas influenced by political considerations as well as military ones. After the disestablishment of sipahilik, the Ottoman central government clearly lacked the administrative cadres to oust and replace all of the agas who had held land in this area, but since it was a border area and one in which the Muslim population was substantially outnumbered by the non-Muslims, it was imperative to retain some control over the land. So, although sipahilik was abolished the land appears, in large measure, to have come under the control of the agas again almost immediately, but this time as private property. According to Inalcik, much of the land in the Vidin area was miriye and assigned to muhafizlar (guards, in this case, border guards presumably). According to Gandev, a Bulgarian historian of the Ottoman period, since the Ottoman government had to secure the position of the sipahis after the abolition of sipahilik, once the finance ministry had repossessed the sipahilik lands, it made them over to the agas again with ‘documents of private ownership’ (chastnosobstvenishki dokumenti) in which the villages the agas held were designated, aga kdyleri (aga villages, or in Bulgarian gospodarski sela).%4 The new system of landholding acquired the designation gospodarlik. (The name, a compound of the Slavic gospodar, ‘lord, master’ and the Turkish abstract noun forming suffix lik, is itself an indication of the local, peculiar character of the system.)
Elsewhere in Bulgaria, after the sipahilik reform, some Bulgarians became small freeholders.85 In northwestern Bulgaria, however, the peasants living in the gospodarski selajaga kdyleri, villages which still belonged to the local agas, continued to work the land under various types of agreements, kesimcilik, ispolitsa, etc.86 These forms of rent and share-cropping were not new; nor was the discontent with them, The latter was rather heightened because the vague promises of the Tanzimat had appeared to hold out some relief.
The initiative for evolutionary activity at this time came clearly from several individuals—not functioning as a group or in a co-ordinated way— not as a result of a spontaneous mass movement of disaffected peasantry. The rapidity with which large numbers joined a movement which from the outset clearly had so little chance of military success was however a significant indication of the extent of discontent among the peasantry. The revolt had an early preliminary phase in 1849 when a certain Nikola Sr’ndak, who had been active in the Nish revolt of 1841, organized a band in Serbia for the purpose of beginning a rising in Bulgaria, but was arrested by the Serbian authorities before being able to cross the border into Bulgaria. Also in the spring of 1849 in the village of Boynitsa (Kule district) a certain Puyo, also active in the Nish revolt, organized a small group to agitate for a revolt against the agas, as a result of which a small revolt did take place in Boynitsa and there were scattered acts of violence against Turks elsewhere in the district, all of which activity the Turks suppressed with little difficulty.
The planning of the 1850 revolt began in 1849 when a group in Belogradchik began to plan a larger revolt against the Turks. The rebels inquired about aid from Serbia and were told that at the most Serbia would only provide guns and powder secretly. The final plan for the larger revolt was elaborated in a meeting held in a monastery near the village of Rakovitsa (the exact date of which is unclear) which was attended by villagers from the districts of Belogradchik, Vidin and Lom. According to the plan the revolt was to begin 1 June (old style) with separate operations against the towns of Lom, Belogradchik and Vidin and the cutting of certain major roads to disrupt Turkish communications, military movements and provisioning. As with the Nish revolt the military operations are of little interest, the heavily outgunned Bulgarians being almost totally defeated in about ten days. In this case, like that of the Nish revolt, the suppression was effected with the aid of irregulars since the regular forces immediately available were insufficient, and again, the use of irregulars created problems in the pacification process.87
Most of the factors which produced the Vidin revolt had been present for some time and not surprisingly there is again the question of Turkish suspicions of Russian and Serbian influence bringing the revolt about at this time. Accordingly, before dealing with the pacification and aftermath of the revolt, a consideration of the role of these two countries is in order.
To be sure, there had been some contacts between Bulgarians and Russians. Among papers belonging to some rebels later captured in Nish, were petitions addressed to the Tsar and to the Russian consul in Belgrade. According to the inquest made shortly after the revolt by Ali Riza, a special commissioner sent to deal with the revolt, two Russians had cfossed the Danube from Wallachia in Bulgaria in order to gather information and agitate. Also the Ottoman commissioner in Bucharest stated in a report to his government that the Russians had been planning this revolt for two years. Inalcik, who inclines to the view that Russian incitement played a significant role, argues that Russia was in a strong position vis-a-vis the Ottomans, in general, having herself escaped the revolutionary wave of 1848 and played a role in suppressing revolution elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and in particular having an occupation force in Wallachia, just across the Danube from Ottoman Bulgaria. (At one point during the revolt, the Russians moved three battalions into Calafat, just across from Vidin, causing considerable alarm among the Turks of the area.)88
A rather circumstancial account of one stage of the Russian involvement, however, indicates a very cautious policy. The Russian army in Wallachia sent a secret agent into Bulgaria to an encampment of Bulgarian rebels to ascertain the nature of their grievances. He returned with two Bulgarians, charged by the rebels with presenting their case to the Tsar, and carrying five petitions which they were empowered to submit to the Russian commander-in-chief. The Russian officer who received them did not formally accept the petitions, but rather, fearing that the Bulgarians would show them to the foreign consuls in Bucharest, giving rise to charges of Russian aid to revolt, took the petitions and sealed them. The Bulgarians were obliged to spend seven days in quarantine, during which time the Russian officer sent to his commander-in-chief in Bucharest for further instructions89 The Russian general in Bucharest did make representations to the Ottoman commissioner there about the situation in Bulgaria.90 The Bulgarian envoys, while in Bucharest, met with other foreign consuls, as had been done in 1841, and said that if worst came to worst, they would emigrate to the Principalities. But the envoys got short shrift from the European consuls, no word of aid for the revolt, no support for the idea of annexation of their district by Serbia, only injunctions that the rebels seek the mercy of their suzerain, the Sultan.91 (This blank drawn in Bucharest probably provided some of the stimulus for the later dispatch of a delegation to Istanbul to speak to the central government and to the foreign diplomats there.)
The case for a significant Russian involvement in this revolt suffers from a number of serious weaknesses. In Marinov’s detailed account of the genesis of the revolt, reconstructed from the recollections of participants, there is no mention of any Russian participation in the planning, a fact which participants certainly would have remembered and would have had no reason to suppress. The information Inalcik found on contacts with the Russians is extremely vague and, since precise dates are lacking, it cannot be said with any certainty that contacts such as petitions helped foster the revolt rather than being appeals made in mid-course for aid. Inalcik himself expresses some doubts about some of the evidence for Russian incitement.92 In sum then it would seem more reasonable to consider Russia more as a focus for Bulgarian hopes than as an instigator of revolt. The Kodinetz mission may well have helped foster this attitude among the Bulgarians; during the period of this revolt there were several petitions to the Tsar.93
The role of Serbia is more difficult to ascertain. The very existence of an autonomous Serbia was somewhat of an incitement to the Bulgarians, and the Ottomans were well aware of this. Ali Ritza Pasha in a report to, Istanbul referred to 4he rebellious action which the Bulgarians dared intending to achieve supposed independence like that of the Serbs’94 In an area with such poor communication, rumours would of course be all the harder to verify or suppress, and the prima facie plausibility and, from the rebels’ point of view, desirability of Serbian involvement, would only further contribute to the confusion.95 The rebels may have been interested in having such rumours spread both to intimidate the Turks, and to encourage other Bulgarians to join the revolt. The Turks, however, were also spreading rumours in the area about a Serbian involvement.96
One question which must be dealt with is that of Serbian incitement. In a recent examination of the Serbian involvement which utilizes Serbian archival materials, S. Dimitrov asserts that in the accounts of two nineteenth century Bulgarians, Marinov and G. Dimitrov, both of whom, writing about thirty years after the revolt, travelled around in the area of revolt, gathering information from surviving participants, there is no mention of any Serbian initiative.97 This assertion is very difficult to square with G. Dimitrov’s opening sentence which mentions, ‘Serbian agents who travelled about (,kr’stovali) in the Vidin district, and preached among the Bulgarian population that now was the time to get rid of Turkish rule by a revolt which would be supported by Serbia . . Л G. Dimitrov continues to say that the Bulgarians, deceived in the past by the Serbs, listened to the urgings of Danil of Zajcar and Savva of Kniazhevets, that Serbia could not stand by ‘cold-bloodedly’.98 S. Dimitrov, however, is correct in so far as the absence of any mention of the presence of Serbian agents at the meetings in which the rising was planned.
But the matter had not escaped the notice of the Ottomans. In the report of Ali Riza Pasha, a Serbian agent is mentioned as inciting people in the villages around Vidin, for some time before the revolt.99 S. Dimitrov asserts, on the basis of material from Marinov, that it was the Bulgarians who requested arms from the Serbs.100 The Austrian representative in Belgrade, Radosavlievich, also reported on 16 June that the rebels had requested aid from Serbia, which had been refused.101 The question of Serbian incitement was the subject of correspondence in June 1850, between the Serbian Foreign Office and the Ottoman authorities in Vidin, The Ottomans claimed the Serbs had incited and aided the rebels, and had offered them refuge. The Serbs claimed that Ottoman maladministration caused the revolt and offered, as a pledge of good faith, that the Ottomans should list those Bulgarian rebels they believed to be in Serbia, and the Serbs would then turn over those on the list whom they could find.102 On balance it would appear likely that while some Serbs as individuals may have been active in fomenting revolt, it does not appear likely that the Serbian government was directly involved.
The Ottomans were much inclined to suspect a Serbian involvement and even some of the Bulgarian rebels had held the view that while the Obrenoviches had been on excessively good terms with the pashas in the nearby Ottoman districts, now that the son of Karageorgevich, the military hero (iunak’t), was in control, the likelihood of armed assistance from Serbia was greater.103 But again almost all available evidence indicates official Serbian restraint. After the outbreak of the revolt, Serbia forbade the sale of guns and powder to the rebels although they did eventually obtain|there|some|surreptitiously.104 The Serbian government announced officially that it was closing the border; although in response to a petition from 121 villages of the Vidin area who declared that they intended to fight on and asked the Serbs to grant asylum to children, the Serbs declared they would grant this to children who came to the border.10 5 The Austrian representative in Belgrade, Radosavlievich, did not share the opinion that Serbia was backing the revolution. According to the information he had, the Serbian government was opposed to the revolution, and any Serbs who might be involved in the revolt would be members of the Obrenovich party.106 Naturally there was considerable sympathy among the Serbs for the rebels and, as Dimitrov indicates at several points in his article, there were numerous unofficial, low-level, local contacts between Bulgarian rebels and Serbs—but none of this comes near to constituting direct Serbian military support for the revolt.
In addition to the specific indications of Serbian restraint, the general lines of and certain influences on Serbian foreign policy tended away from such involvements. A most significant statement that must be kept in mind in this connection is the Nacertanije (lit. sketch, design, here perhaps ‘policy paper’) drawn up by GaraSanin, the Serbian Foreign Minister, in 1844, which was the first overall plan for Serbian policy with respect to the Ottomans.107 The Nacertanije laid down guide lines for dealing with neighbouring Slavic areas which were under foreign rule, and although in the long run, it aimed at unification of the South Slavs, in the short run it advocated caution and support of the more inocuous sorts for other Slavs. The Nacertanije had been drawn up under the influence of the ideas of Prince Adam Czartoryski, a major figure of the Polish emigration in Paris, and his agent in Belgrade, Zakh.108 After the Western powers split over the Eastern crisis of 1840-1, Czartoryski had concluded that the Porte was the best hope for checking Russia and, ‘. . . that the main Polish effort should tend towards the preservation of the Ottoman Porte in order to find therein the point of departure for an independent policy.’109 Since the Ottoman Empire appeared to be in serious political difficulties, the next best alternative for checking Russia seemed to Czartoryski to be the creation of a new power on the Danube and for this his choice fell on Serbia.110 Accordingly, while Serbia was preparing for greater things, the Polish emigration would not urge on Serbia any action which would weaken the Porte, since this would redound largely to the advantage of Russia. Quite the contrary, the Polish view of Serbian policy called for retaining Ottoman suzerainty as a means of warding off Russian domination, while avoiding any concessions to the Ottomans which might reduce that measure of independence already gained.111 The mix in the scheme, present caution and future glory, was in consonance with the past of Serbian diplomacy. The movement of Polish agents in Serbia had not escaped the notice of the Ottomans.112
The existence of such a trend of thought among the Serbs is confirmed by another highly placed observer, Cunibert, who had served Prince Milosh as his physician, and who stated that the Serbs appreciated the advantages of their position in the Ottoman Empire, and that
The ideas which are imputed to the Serbs of a restoration of the Serbian monarchy, of Panslav propaganda, of an insurrection of South Slavs to regain their [status as a-M.P.] nation and their independence are only the chimeras of a few dreamers or bugbears clearly invented by a certain power to cause anxiety not only to the Porte but also to a neighbouring state which includes many subjects of Slavic origin.
The Serbs, although newcomers to managing the affairs of a state, realized that independence could be only a Utopia, and that in any reorganization of the Ottoman lands, they would come under some other monarchy and retain only some of the privileges they enjoyed at this time. Cunibert added: ‘Under these conditions, they will prefer to remain vassals of the Sublime Porte.’113
From all of this it would appear that whatever the ultimate designs of Serbian policy, both its own traditions and the Polish influence would turn it from large scale immediate action against the Ottoman state. An examination of the section of the Nacertanije dealing with relations with Bulgaria reinforces this impression. GaraSanin contended that Bulgaria  as the country closest to Istanbul, was of exceptional importance to the Ottomans, who garrisoned it heavily, kept the Bulgarians almost totally disarmed, and pursued policies which had left the Bulgarians extremely docile. In this docile condition, the Bulgarians did not believe they could affect their own liberation and had to depend on Russia.114 Bulgaria was of value to Russia for its proximity to Istanbul, but Russia was aware that other powers were cognizant of its interest in the liberation of Bulgaria and for this reason, knew it could best pry Bulgaria away from the Ottomans by indirect methods, e.g., using other states such as Serbia to accomplish this rather than by direct intervention of its own. Garasanin pointed out that while Milosh’s government had unwittingly, willingly played the Russian’s game, the government of Alexander Karageorgevich would not.115
The main line of GaraSanin’s projected policy towards Russia was that Serbia would co-operate in Balkan affairs with Russia, and that such co-operation would be very desirable, but would come about only if Russia agreed to respect Serbian independence fully. He did not consider such co-operation very likely; accordingly Serbia must not allow Russia to be the only power to act in Bulgaria. Serbia must make its presence and willingness to assist known in Bulgaria lest Bulgaria bind herself over exclusively to Russia. The ways Garasanin listed in which Serbia was to begin to develop this awareness among the Bulgarians were all of a most pacific nature: aid to the Bulgarian educational effort, especially by opening Serbian schools to Bulgarian students, training Bulgarian students in theology to begin to establish a Bulgarian clergy where at present there was only a Greek clergy, the printing of ecclesiastical and other books in Bulgarian (a programme which Garasanin notes the Russians had begun some time before), and finally sending ‘reliable and capable people’ through Bulgaria to call the attention of the Bulgarians to Serbian concern for them and willingness to work for their liberation.116
It would seem most reasonable to consider the relationship of Serbia to this revolt as much the same as her relationship to the Nish revolt. For the Bulgarians, Serbia was a focal point primarily for hopes of military aid, of possible asylum, and of assistance in later negotiations with the Ottomans and only to a limited degree of hopes that Serbian rule might be extended to the Vidin area. The Serbian government, still interested in spreading its influence among the Bulgarians, also continued its policy of trying to keep in the good graces of the Ottoman government so as to be able later to help the Bulgarians by mediation. It was then in this area that the Serbs most completely fulfilled the Bulgarian expectations; during the pacification process, the Serbian government transmitted to the Ottomans (and particularly to the general Omer Pasha) the substance of the Bulgarian grievances as stated in petitions to the Serbian government.117
With the origins and course of the revolt thus delineated, it is now possible to turn to a consideration of the pacification process. In Istanbul on June 22, a special council meeting to decide how to deal with the revolt, considered several courses of action, the first being to call in troops from nearby areas. The council also sent instructions to officials in the area of the revolt urging greater vigilance on them. Ali Riza Pasha was sent out from the capital to put down the revolt, without force if possible, by tedabir-i maneviye (moral, spiritual measures), but if this failed, then to use kiivve-i nizamiye (regular army forces) to investigate the causes of the revolt and ascertain the position of Serbia. The central government was aware that if ba§ibozuks (irregulars) were used, and the revolt spread, its difficulties would increase. In Vidin, unfortunately, the local notables (vucuh) had assembled ba§ibozuk units which had already gone into action, and so in a sense, as Inalcik put it, the revolt had already been crushed in a manner not in accord with the wishes of the central government.118
There were obstacles in the path of pacification. The local authorities had tried to negotiate with the rebels in their camp. The peasants, having risen partially because of the abuses committed by these officials, were little inclined to parley with them and insisted on having officials come from Istanbul, to whom they could state their grievances, hopefully with a better chance of redress.119
Many Bulgarians had fled to the Serbian border; the Ottomans posted guards in the villages to prevent looting.120 Two Imperial decrees (buyruldu-i sami) and a proclamation (beyanname) of the Grand Vizier failed to persuade the Bulgarians to return.121 Serbia did not admit any sizable number of Bulgarians, but she did assume the role of mediator for the Bulgarians on her border with Omer Pasha, as a result of which the Turkish army agreed not to move against the fugitive rebel camp.122 Omer Pasha, originally sent to help pacify Bosnia, then ordered to the Vidin area as an Ottoman official, could not immediately and totally endorse the Serbian view, that the main cause of the revolt was maladministration, not Serbian agitation, but he appeared to move rapidly towards the Serbian view. (It should be remembered that he was originally a Croat who had gone over to the Ottoman service.12 3) The mass of the rebels waiting on the border wanted to be pardoned and to return to their homes.124 Omer wanted them to disperse and Simid, the Serbian Minister of Justice, who was involved in the negotiations, took a similar line, telling the rebels that Omer had promised an amnesty and that no violence would be done to the rebels for what had taken place. Accordingly on 7-8 July, the rebels broke camp and went home.125
In the Vidin area, the rebels and the authorities had been holding talks while the revolt was in progress. Once Ali Riza had arrived in Rushchuk at the end of June, he mobilized regular forces to deal with the ba$ibozuks.126 Once in Vidin, he took over the negotiations with the rebels, who had made it clear that they did not want to discuss matters with the vali, who they felt arranged everything for the convenience of the agas.127. In his proclamation to the rebels, Ali Riza stated that had there been any malpractice by the miiltezims and other officials, the Bulgarians should have protested to the vali or the mutesarif. In the event, which he considered unlikely, that there latter officials had refused to hear the complaints of the Bulgarians, they should have sent a delegation to Istanbul. He characterized the revolt as the result of instigation by a few ‘superficial’ persons. Finally, he urged the Bulgarians to ignore talk about deliverance from Russia or through revolutionary action, and instead, stop all revolutionary activity, and within three days send a delegation to him or else he would begin military operations against them.128
Ali Riza’s perception of the realities of the situation was more sophisticated than this appeal would suggest. In a report to Istanbul on July 3 he stated that the Vidin revolt was pacified and security re-established: ‘according to information from all quarters, the revolt of the rayas was provoked by the persecutions of lesser officials, and the multezims, but I must investigate and verify this.’ (The Bulgarian translation here reads awkwardly.) Also according to the other rumours, the ba§ibozuks who were used in putting down the revolt, were over zealous.and as a result, many people were killed. Something to this effect was said in the report of the vali. The truth of this matter must be established as to how far the brute force utilized went, just how the first gun was fired, and how many people were killed and wounded. He continues his report with figures: 15 Turks and 720 Bulgarians killed, mention of a Serbian agent who had been inciting people before the revolt, and of possible further revolutionary agitation in the districts of Edirne, Tirnovo, Nish and Sofia.129 Ali Riza’s awareness that the revolt was caused by more than a few instigators may be surmised from a promise he made the rebels, that until he received further orders from the capital, the local Turks would not be permitted to travel around in the Bulgarian villages.130 A further indication of Ottoman awareness of the source of the trouble was the circular issued several days later to officials of the Vidin district: ‘From now on no objectionable conduct and evil deeds by officials and other persons are permitted.’i31
At the same time that Ali Riza issued this promise he was also trying at least to avoid conflict with the Turkish propertied class, if not actively safeguard its interests; he ordered,’. . . let care be taken not to ignore the legitimate rights of the agas and others who as landlords of any field or partners in any sown plot are obliged to go around to the villages to collect the share which was due to them. This cannot be hindered.’132 Clearly the latter order largely nullified the former promise. This conflict of new intentions with long-standing traditional prerogatives illustrates a major problem in the path of the execution of the Tanzimat: how to make the necessary concessions to ‘raya power’ without eliminating Ottoman rule. This rule had been based on Muslim supremacy and, if in districts where the Muslims were in the minority this supremacy were ended, a new basis for Ottoman rule would have to be created. All of this being far more than one investigator could accomplish, Ali Riza temporized.
He granted the request of the peasantry to send a delegation to Istanbul. The delegation carried statements describing the failures in application of the Tanzimat policies and asked that the Vali of Vidin, Mehmed Zia, be removed and Ali Riza named in his place.13 3 (Marinov’s account mentions a delegation which left for Istanbul on 20 July o.s. [1 August n.s.] after the Bulgarian envoys to Bucharest had returned; although his account does not mention Ali Riza’s granting permission for this delegation and states only that it went to present the desires of the people [lower taxes an end to arbitrary acts of officials, and the abolition of gospodarlik land holding of the agas] to the Sultan, presumably it is the same delegation.134)
The delegation met with the Meclis-i Vala (Supreme Council) on August 15. The substitution was made, and in Ali Riza’s place as investigator, Nail Bey, a member of the Meclis-i Vala, was appointed. He left the capital on August 25, arriving in Vidin in early November, while the delegation set out for home on October 2.13 5
The special commission of the Meclis-i Vala, charged with dealing with the situation in Vidin, was aware that oppression played a major role in causing the revolt, but, \ . . at the end of the discussion which took place in the commission, first it was decided that without fail the gospodarlik holdings were to be abolished, but after this, nothing definite could be said as to which way the new order would be arranged.’136 Depriving the agas of all property would be awkward, in that it would raise the problem of establishing a new administration to insure the regular exploitation of the land. The committee considered two possible solutions to the gospodar-lik question: (a) The state would administer the land directly and the peasants would work it freely (‘toprak . . . serbestge i§lenebilecektV). The taxes and prestations for which the peasantry had been liable under the gospodarlik regime would be declared illegal and would be abolished. Of the remaining revenues, one half would be allotted to the agas and the other would be paid to the Treasury to cover the costs of the new administration which replaced the agas. (b) The peasants were to pay out the value of the land which would be given to the agas, and with the issuing to the peasants of tapus (deeds), the peasants would then become land holders. The second solution was clearly much more in line with the desires of the peasantry, but was rejected by the government as being completely against the grain of state policy.137
That Ali Riza, confronted with such a complex issue, temporized is understandable; that the Meclis-i Vala also temporized must be viewed as a serious mistake. Just what the central government promised the delegates is a crucial point which is unfortunately rather obscure. According to one account (Dimitrov), the delegates returned from Istanbul with no written statement of changes promised by the central government, whereas according to another account (Marinov), the delegates returned with an imperial berat (patent) containing three articles, that the dazhdie (tax) be reduced as much as possible, that officials cease their arbitrary acts and that gospodarlik holdings were abolished.138
The Bulgarian delegation when it returned to Vidin, informed Ali Riza that the Sultan had exempted them from the ‘vergi and other taxes’, and had granted them the gospodarlik lands. Ali Riza found this hard to believe, insisted that they must have misunderstood and requested that they not spread their version through the villages.139 The news did spread, angering the agas and moving the Bulgarians to resist the claims of the agas and tax collectors, and to tear up their huccets (title deeds) which had been issued by Muslim courts. 140 All the while that Ali Riza and the peasants were negotiating, the latter were still the object of sporadic raiding, and accordingly many were fleeing their villages for the hills. When word of this reached the capital, an investigation was ordered.141 The arrival in early November of Nail Bey, Ali Riza’s replacement as special investigator,who was much more partial to the cause of the agas,142 tipped the balance much more in their favour. Moreover, after the dispute with the delegation which had been to Istanbul, and faced with the increasing disorder in Vidin, Ali Riza also came out more strongly in favour of the position of the agas and blamed the delegates for having caused so much unrest. As disturbances continued and no further clarification arrived from Istanbul, some Bulgarians, including those who had been to Istanbul, were arrested in the latter part of January 1851.143
While the issue was being considered in the capital, a group of rebels at Izvor declared in January 1851 that, if their demands on the land question were not met in a month, they would revolt.144 Ali Riza and Nail were aware of the gravity of the situation, the latter reporting that Bulgaria was about to be lost. The influence of new ideas is visible in the statement in their joint memorandum to the effect that if the peasants were given land with a tapu, this would bind them to the country, and give rise to patriotism (muhabbet-i vataniye). Ali wrote to the central government that if the peasants owned the land, they would be less likely to put their families on a wagon and move to Serbia whenever there were difficulties in Bulgaria, as they had done in the past.145
The long delay on the part of the government in making a final choice between two possible solutions to the land question was partially due to the fact that the area in question was on the border. Finally the government decided to grant tapus to the peasants because it had become clear on the basis of new information from the area that \ . . it was extremely necessary that the rayas (of the three above mentioned districts, Lom Belogradchik and Vidin, M.P.) not be left with the status of tenants and foreigners’146 The government, as has been noted, was interested in reasserting its control in this outlying area, and the process it established for the land transfer reflected this concern. The agas’ land for which the peasants were to pay an equivalent sum {bedel) was not simply to be then turned over to the peasants. Rather, first these lands were to be declared mahlul (ownerless) and so automatically revert to the state which would then sell them to the peasants. To reduce the chances of land being bought by ‘foreigners and instigators’ (fasadgiler), preference was to be given at the time of sale to villagers. The irade announcing the sale of these gospo-darlik lands to the peasants was proclaimed in Vidin in February 1851.147 The decree encountered resistance from both sides. The peasantry, asserting that the lands were miriye, i.e., state lands, which they could work without any payment beyond the taxes normally due the state, rejected any talk of redemption payments for the land, which the agas of course favoured.148 Disturbances in the area reached such proportions that the central government recalled Nail Bey, sending in his place §ekib Efendi, who had been ambassador to Vienna, and who was much more impartial. As a result of the latter’s investigations into the causes of the revolt, and the excesses committed in suppressing it, arrests were made, including even the kadi (judge) of Belogradchik. §ekib declared the Bulgarians who had been arrested and sent to Istanbul were innocent, adding that even if they were guilty of some offense, their being held prisoner only aroused the Bulgarians further. These investigations having shown that Ali Riza was involved in arranging to have the Bulgarians arrested, he too was recalled, and Zarif Mustafa Pasha was sent in his place.149 The championing by the new vali of the cause of the agas who were reluctant to have their land come under the ownership of the peasants, highlights the other side of the resistance to the irade of February
1851.
Zarif Mustafa Pasha was probably an unfortunate choice for such a sensitive post, and his appointment illustrates a recurring failing in the Ottoman administration in this period. He had been governor in Aleppo, but for his mishandling of affairs, ‘. . . zu einer Furifikation nach Con-stantinopel berufen wurde,’150 (Just what the Purifikation consisted of is not clear, but it apparently failed to instil in Zarif Mustafa the full spirit of the Tanzimat.) He followed up his proclamation of concern for the Tanzimat by calling for the torture of several suspects in a robbery.151 His approach to rule was the old autocratic one, entailing beating the Bulgarians, all of which served only to encourage the ‘old Ottoman’ party, among the Turks.152 On the essential land question, he told $ekib Efendi that he did not understand the matter of selling gospodarlik land to the rayas.153 Zarif Mustafa then went so far as to intrigue against the more liberal Sekib, who was then recalled to Istanbul to answer trumped-up charges. It was fortunate, but also characteristic of the political situation, that §ekib, once back in the capital, succeeded in making his view prevail. This, and complaints from various quarters, led to the recall of Zarif Mustafa.15 4 Zarif Mustafa was replaced as Vali of Vidin in January
1852, by the commander of the fort of Belgrade, Vasif Pasha, who at the outbreak of the revolt, had been the Vali of Nish.155
For a final evaluation of this episode an issue-by-issue survey may prove useful. The first aspect to consider is the pacification process. While there were aspects which left much to be desired, most notably the activity of the locally organized ba§ibozuks,156 a certain restraint had been exercised both in sending guards to prevent looting of villages in the absence of their inhabitants,157 and in sending a special commissioner, Ali Riza to investigate, who parleyed with the rebels, rather than merely moving against them with force. Considerations other than a newer attitude towards the Bulgarians may have been operative in the more deliberate proceeding of the central government dealing with a revolt against the local authorities. Inalcik suggests that the dispatch of Ali Riza and army units was also a move by the central government to reassert its control against the rule of the local agas.158
A conciliatory motif had been present from the beginning; in 1849 during a period of unrest, the Vali of Vidin asked the central government what measures should be taken if it proved impossible to pacify the peasants ‘with words’.159 Ali Riza’s instruction, as already noted, called for attempts to use suasion before military force. The government was aware of the problem of possible Muslim retaliation and urged Ali Riza to try to check it.160 The approach of Ottoman officials to the rebels was far more sophisticated than mere repression.161
On the crucial land question, the solution which emerged in the period immediately preceding the Crimean War was a rather unsatisfactory compromise. The government had taken title to lands from the agas in exchange for a fixed income of equivalent value for them; the peasants were to acquire title through long term redemption payments (otkup) to the Treasury. The peasants in the early 1850′s raised the objection that through the years of working state holdings, it had become unclear precisely which lands belonged to which agas. The peasants hoped, by this claim, to have a fixed tax established, which would be an easier burden on them, and also partially to settle their accounts with the agas who at first had been reluctant to come to terms with the peasants, and had argued about the ownership and boundaries of the plots.162 The otkup payments continued to cause resentment, and the application of this system of ending gospodarlik to other areas spread the discontent as well.163 The dispute continued until the Bulgarians began to emigrate to Russia from Vidin in 1861 alarming the government to the extent that it decided not to press for further payment on |the| aga (lands. The|Turkish| landholders received Treasury bonds from which they received an income and which they could also sell or mortgage.164 The Ottoman government still did not turn over all the lands to the Bulgarians. Holdings of varying sizes were kept for the agas, but a more detailed record than had been previously kept was now drawn up for these.165 The financial drain from the abolition of gospodarlik persisted well into the 1860′s.166
This resolution of the land controversy, despite the complications attendant on its achievement, with its final recognition of raya land holding would appear to be, in theory at least, a victory for the newer ideas of the Tanzimat. But it must be remembered what great pressure was needed to produce even this limited change, a massive revolt and the realization by the Meclis-i Vala that the Vidin area was the lynch-pin for Bulgaria, and that it might be about to be lost to the Empire. Inalcik points out that at first the council had not realized the importance of abolishing the gospodarlik system for pacifying and retaining control of the area, but as the evidence, reports of officials and Bulgarian delegates, came in the members of the Council were brought to this conclusion.167 In matters of taxation, the peasants not only wanted their taxes reduced, but also wanted the exact amounts stipulated and the collection by suba§is ended and replaced by direct payment to the vali.168 It is of course nearly impossible to make any significant statement about increases or decreases in levels of taxation because in addition to the difficulties alluded to above in discussing the tax question, there is the question of the additional burden of the otkup payments the size of which is unknown and therefore whose quantitative effect cannot as yet be gauged. Thus the fate of the promise of lower taxation which the delegates supposedly brought back from Istanbul remains unclear. In the matter of precise delimitation of taxes, the degree of progress is more readily apparent. The special commission appointed by the Meclis-i Vala to deal with the Vidin revolt abolished one tax but refused to abolish a second. Also it refused to establish exact quantities for the agar (tithes) fearing this would be a step on the road to autonomy for the area.169
The question of who would collect the taxes was difficult to answer, but clearly required solution, in view of the extent to which resentment had focused on the tax collecting personnel. The suba§is while collecting the taxes, had been in the habit of helping themselves to extras, some of which, with the passage of time, became somewhat institutionalized and legitimated.170 In 1852, Bulgarian delegates returning from Istanbul brought back a ferman (decree of the Sultan) which provided for a new mechanism: in each of the three kazas of Lom, Belogradchik, and Sahra, there was to be a chief headman {kaza gorbasi or bash knez). The suba§is (segmens) were forbidden to go into the villages to collect the taxes, as were the agasjgospodars. The bash knez was to turn over all the taxes (dan’k and gospodarlik) to the Treasury. On any questions relating to the villages, the mtidtir of the kaza was to communicate with the bash knez. When the miidur sent a suba§i to bring any such communication to the bash knez, the suba§i was to pay for anything he took for himself or for his horse. The agas, no longer able to go to the villages, were to have their incomes fixed by a commission over which the vali would preside. The peasants would pay the Treasury, and it would distribute funds for the agas.171
There were several other grievances of the peasantry which were closely connected with the proclaimed principles of the Tanzimat. The Bulgarians claimed that the local Turks oppressed in particular those Bulgarians who pressed for application of the Tanzimat.172 The casual seizure of property of Bulgarians by their self-invited Turkish guests was in contradiction with the principle of security of property. The testimony of a raya in court was not accepted against that of a Muslim.173 The only reform in judicial procedure which appears to have been made was an order in a ferman to the vali in Vidin that kadis (Muslim judges) when deciding a case between two Bulgarians, were to judge, ‘in accord with the local customs’.174
Certain aspects of the local administration clearly required reform. As noted in examining the origins of both the 1841 revolt and this one, there had been a strong feeling on the part of the peasantry that they had no one to whom they could state their grievances. The Bulgarians in Sahra had written to the central government: ‘. . . nous nous sommes souvent plaints aux pachas et aux Voivodes et souvent nous les avons supplies de vouloir nous soulager et nous gouverner suivant le tanzimat, mais au lieu d’ecouter nos plaintes et nous consoler voici ce qu’ils ont fait: ils nous ont frappes persecutes emprisonnes et plusieurs d’entre nons (sic) ont meme perdu la vie.’175 Shortly before the revolt the French government had suggested to the Ottomans that a Serb should be attached to the staff of the valis in this area.176 As has been noted the area had a provincial assembly which had included Christian members, but which effectively had been dominated by the Muslim agas. The central government decided to supplant this tasra meclisi (district assembly) with a new Meclis-i Kebir (great assembly), whose members would be chosen, ‘from those who were not inclined towards the old ways.’ The irade creating the new body, proclaimed in November 1850, asserted that it would help bring the region out of the control of the ‘gospodar and miiltezim groups’ and under the ‘regular and just rule of the Sublime Sultanate’.177 This reform reflected, of course, two aspects of the Tanzimat, concern for improving the lot of non-Muslims and strengthening the control of the central government. Early in 1851, the government sent the provincial assembly special instructions in connection with the revolt.178
To reduce the power of the provincial landholders further, the vali’s powers were extended in 1852.179 The hope had been, at least in part, that the vali would be more sympathetic to reform than the provincial assembly members who had vested local interests. This might have succeeded had the valis been selected carefully. The appointment of Zarif Mustafa raises grave doubts as to whether any care in selection was exercised. Zarif Mustafa, despite his disheartening performance in his previous post, also an area with a sizeable non-Muslim population, was sent to this delicate one. A contemporary reported that. . Zarif Mustafa Pasha, a favourite of the palace, has declared himself against the reforms, and represented §ekib Efendi as a dangerous reformer and as having been bribed by the Bulgarians to create a province similar to Serbia.480
Changes were decreed also in village administration. Among the concessions Ali Riza promised the rebels was greater freedom in selecting their knezes (village headman). The villages, thanks to the Tanzimat, had a mini-autonomy: a kdy meclisi (village assembly) of 3-5 men empowered to settle certain local problems, and help in apportioning and collecting some taxes.181 The knezes of a district then elected their chief, the bashknez; the Ottoman government was suspicious of these officials, fearing that inspired by the Serbian example, they might get ideas of grandeur.182 There is some controversy over the fate of this office. According to one source based on recollections of contemporaries, it was abolished in 1851, and not reestablished until 1860, when Kibrisli Mehmet Pasha made an inspection of the area. But another Bulgarian in his memoirs states that a ferman brought back by the Bulgarians from Istanbul in 1852, provided that in each of the three kazas there was to be a bash knez/kaza gorbacVsi who was to have, in addition to the tax collection function mentioned above, the duty of going around to the villages of his kaza to settle disputes among the peasants.183 The role of the gorbaci is one which requires more detailed study.184 The history of these offices is another case of the Ottomans shuttling back and forth between the poles of greater non-Muslim control of local administration, which gave rise to fears of possible secessionist movements, and of tighter control which when inspected, proved to be quite removed from the needs of the local population, at times, so much so as to provoke revolt.
No serious reform of the local police appears to have been attempted. The zaptiye (local police) had been found to be a source of trouble, and so after the revolution, rather than reconstitute it, it was decided to station nizamiye (regular army) troops in the area.185 These troops in time were presumably needed elsewhere, since, in the post-Crimean period, the zaptiye was again in operation, and again a source of trouble. There were other problems connected with the larger issue of law and order, which would have been settled had the egalitarian aspects of the Tanzimat been more fully applied. Some of the rebels’ demands which, if met, would have helped curb arbitrary acts on the part of the police, were that they be allowed to bear arms, as were the Turks, and that their testimony be accepted in court against that of the Muslims.186
In order to make the final characterization of this revolt as clear as possible it is useful to juxtapose differing conceptions of its origin and nature. The petitions and requests of the peasants discussed above have made their discontents clear and the leading students of the revolt are in basic accord: Inalcik seeing the roots of the revolt lying generally in problems of taxation and agrarian relations; Dimitrov, more specifically in the double tax burden, i.e., of the central government and the agas.187
It is also important to keep in mind the characteristics the revolt did not exhibit. It was by no stretch primarily a revolt for national independence. As in the case of the revolt in Nish, the petitions of the rebels, while stating their grievances against local officials, repeatedly protested their loyalty to the Sultan.188
Also, nowhere in Marinov’s lengthy account of the preparation of the revolt is there any indication that the rebels were thinking in these terms. The next closest thing, annexation by Serbia, is mentioned only at a late stage—when the envoys went to Bucharest—and then only as one of several items, clearly neither the prime nor the exclusive rationale of the mission.
The revolt was also clearly not the result of foreign machinations or support, however much some parties on both sides of the several borders might have wished or thought that this was the case.
Accordingly the revolt must be seen primarily as one stemming from discontent with the Ottoman administration. The Tanzimat for Ottoman Bulgaria in the pre-Crimean period was a slowly moving development which had largely failed to make good on its promises to non-Muslims of equality, security of person and property, and it does not appear that there occurred any rise in the standard of living which might have cushioned the effect of these failures. The Bulgarian national movement in politics, education and ecclesiastical affairs in this period was in its formative stage. For the period of the Vidin revolt Inalcik’s judgment seems quite sound that for the peasantry questions of taxation and agrarian relations were far more important than those of national revival.189 In the post-Crimean period, when the various sections of the Bulgarian national movement were to be better organized, possessed of greater self-awareness, and receiving greater support and stimulation from abroad, the expectations of more Bulgarians were to rise considerably. Were the Ottomans then to be unable to accelerate the pace of reform in their Empire, their difficulties would become far more acute. Irechek, who served for many years as a diplomat in the Balkans in the latter nineteenth century, and who wrote one of the best known histories of Bulgaria observed: ‘Reformed Turkey did not have enough strength and staying power (posledovatelnost) to eliminate everywhere the old institutions.”190
In view of the fact that the Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself in toto sufficiently to meet the expectations of the Bulgarians, one way of ameliorating conditions in the disaffected area would have been to grant formally some kind of autonomy, allowing the area itself to work out new solutions. §ekib Efendi was in fact a ‘close friend’ of Stefanaki Vogorides, a very influential Bulgarian in Istanbul, and had a project for a semi-autonomous kaimakamlik to consist of the kazas of Vidin, Belogradchik and Lom, to be administered by Alexander Dimitrievich, a favourite of Vogorides, and to have relations directly with Istanbul through its own kapikahya (steward) stationed in the capital.191 The understandable apprehensions on the part of the Ottoman government that autonomy for border provinces might well prove a way station to independence militated against the adoption of such a solution.
Yet another solution to the problems of the Bulgarian provinces might have been the creation of new reformed administrative structures within the imperial framework. The Danubian ‘model’ province of the 1860′s under the administration of Midhat Pasha was such an attempt to deal with the problems of the Nish, Vidin and adjacent areas. It was the last attempt of the. Ottomans to do so; its successes and failures are however another story.
NOTES
1. H. W. V. Temperley, England and the Near East: The Crimea, 2nd ed. (n.p., 1964), 8ff; R. H. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856-1876, (Princeton, 1963), pp. 25-27. Romanski, S., ‘Avstriiski Dokumenti po Nishkoto B’lgarsko V’stanie ot 1841 g.’, Sbornik za Narodni Umotvoreniia, Nauka i Knizhnina (Following standard practice this journal will hereafter be abbreviated ‘SbNU’), XXVI, 1910-1911, p. 20. Romanski’s reference (loc. cit.) to Visquesnel, p. 99 (A. Visquesnel, Voyage dans la Turquie d”Europe, I, (Paris, 1862).) is not quite correct. Visquesnel asserts that Mahmud II began to rotate officials frequently to break down inherited positions of power, (ibid., I, 99.) and that the standard term of office came to be one year (ibid., I, 100).
Some voices were raised against the frequent rotations. Sadik Rifaat Pasha (1807-51), having held many administrative posts and being familiar with many of the problems of the bureaucracy, objected to the numerous shifts of officials and groundless confiscations of their property since he thought it would impair the quality of the administration. (F. Sh. Shabanov, Gosudarstvenny Stroi i Pravovaia Sistema Turtsii v Period Tanzimata, (Baku, 1967), pp. 31-32.) All the posts which he had held however, were in the central administration or diplomatic service, (S. Mardin, The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought, (Princeton, 1962), p. 177) which would make for less familiarity with the problems of the provincial bureaucracy. Moreover, while he had definite ideas on the relation between the welfare of the people and the health of the state, his concern for the bureaucracy was not motivated solely by such exalted considerations, but also to a large extent by the interests of his class, (ibid., p. 180, pp. 182-185). On the attempts to eliminate local centres of power cf. Temperley, op. cit., pp. 9-12. On improving the functioning of the bureaucracy, ibid., pp. 27-28, p. 31.
2. Viquesnel, op. cit., I, p. 235; A. Du Velay, Essai sur VHistoire Financiere de la Turquie, (Paris, 1903), p. 48. For brief descriptions of the development and functioning of the iltizam and malikane cf. M.Z. Pakalin, Osmanli Tarih Deyimleri v Terimleri Sozlugu, II, (Istanbul, 1951), pp. 57-58, pp. 395-397.
3. Unfortunately there is no thorough study of this period. Brief descriptions can be found in: Istoriia na Blgariia, ed. B.A.N., 2nd ed., I, (Sofia, 1961), p. 322 ff; D. Kosev, Lektsii po Nova B’lgarskata Istoriia, (Sofia, 1951), pp. 9-14; Mufassal Osmanli Tarihi, ed. M. Sertoglu, R. Server, et. ai., V, (Istanbul, 1962) pp. 2772-2774. In this last account the alternate term for these bands, ‘dagli,’ is used. There is also a small monograph, V. Mutafchieva, Kirdzhalisko Vreme, (Sofia, 1962), (inaccessible), which appeared in a popular historical series.
4. One clear illustration of this is provided by Jerome Blanqui, an observer for the French government, sent to the Nish area shortly after the revolt. Blanqui recorded his impressions of meetings with Hussein Pasha, who formerly had been very close to Mahmud II, (most notably at the time of the destruction of the Janissaries in 1826) and was in 1841 governor in Vidin, and with Osman Bey, governor of Sofia, a rather traditional individual. Hussein exhibited a particular interest in Napeoleon, spoke generally rather favourably about the French, and mentioned that he was considering sending his only son to Paris or Vienna for schooling. Osman Bey however spoke only of local matters and when, after he had humiliated a Bulgaria^ petitioner, Blanqui told Osman that the French king, who was far more powerful, did not treat his subjects in that way, Osman refused to believe Blanqui. (J. A. Blanqui, Voyage en Bulgarie pendant Vannee 1841, Paris, 1845. Pp. 130-138, 186-188, 195-197.) According to a very anecdotal source, Hussein had taken various measures which economically benefited the Bulgarians and he proceeded harshly against local Turks who levied arbitrary exactions on the Bulgarians. (‘Tatary i Cherkezy v Turtsii,’ Slavianskii Sbornik, II, Chast III, (SPB, 1877.) pp. 55-56).
5. D. Marinov, ‘Politicheski Dvizheniia i V’zstaniia v Zapadna B’lgariia,’ SbNU, II, (1890), pp. 77-84; G. Dimitrov, Kniazhestvo B’lgariia, II, (Plovdiv, 1896), pp. 134-139; Romanski, loc. cit., p. 8, 9. Cf. also D. Djordjevic, Revolutions Nationales des Peuples Balkaniques, (Belgrade, 1965), pp. 62-64.
6. Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 14-16. Within the capital itself had occurred manifestations of conservative hostility to the reforming Sultan, Mahmud II. Cf. Temperley, op. cit.y pp. 21-23 and Davison, op. cit., p. 31. Romanskii mentions also in this connection that after the death of the ‘infidel’ sultan in 1839, Muhammad Ali of Egypt acquired the status, in the eyes of some conservative Muslims, as the defender of the old traditions, (loc. cit., 14). He gives no documentation for this view of the Egyptian modernizer. But the existence of such feeling is also attested to by §apolyo: ‘People everywhere were saying the Sultan Abdul Mecid had “gone European” (frenklejtigini), [But] in Egypt, Kavalali Mehmet Ali Pasha remained a Muslim. Recruits dismayed by the turn their own regime had taken, refused to go to fight against the Egyptians who were “preserving Islam.’ (Е. B. §apolyo, Mustafa Refit Pasa ve Tanzimat Devri Tarihi, (Istanbul, 1945(?)), p. 103.) As another instance of this tendency, Romanskii refers to the revolts of the Muslims in Bosnia (loc. cit., 14). Pavlovic, in his study of the reforms of Mahmud II in Bosnia, stated that after the proclamation of the Tanzimat the Muslim rulers there began to fear ‘. . . that all of Turkey would “go infidel” ‘ (‘da ce se sva Turska pcfcauriti ). (D.Pavlovid, Pokret и Bosni i Albaniji protivu reforama Mahmuda II, (Belgrade, 1913), p. 92). Pavlovic also asserted in a general way that the opposition to reform gained in intensity both because of the religious component in the opposition and from the fact that the reforms, dealing largely with the army, creating new regular forces, were a direct threat to local nobles whose authority was closely linked with their supposed rank in the pre-reform military and administration. (Pavlovic, op. cit., p. 2).
7. Blanqui, op. cit., 175-178; Romanski, loc. cit., 18.
8. This had been characteristic of earlier reform attempts in the Ottoman Empire, older malfunctioning administrative and other organs left to carry on beside the newly created ones. The destruction of the Janissaries by Mahmud II while reforming the army was the first break with this pattern of reform. Cf. S. J. Shaw, ‘Policies and Ideas of Nineteenth Century Ottoman Reformers’ (paper delivered to American Historical Association, p. 30 December 1964. Mimeograph).
9. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 18. For this and subsequent financial matters dealt with in the edict of Giilhane, v. copy of Turkish text and contemporary French translation in, Tanzimat, I, (Istanbul, 1940), appended between pp. 48 and 49.
10. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 22. In a statement of their grievances, the Bulgarians claimed that the assessors wrote down double the stated value of property. A German translation of this statement is given in Romanski, loc. cit., p. 142. One of the first attempts in the nineteenth century at registration of property for more equitable taxation came in 1838 when the government sent some officials to carry out a cadastral registry, for a start only in the provinces of Bursa and Gallipoli. It remained only a start since Re§it Pasha soon ordered that the administration revert to the old methods. (Tanzimat, I, pp. 731-732).
11. Blanqui, op. cit., p. 176; Romanski, loc cit., p. 18 and 142.
12. The documents do not permit precise dating. Cf. Report of Austrian consul in Belgrade, 13 May 1841, Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 140-141.
13. It must be stressed that this account of the circumstances of the revolt contains chronological imprecisions. The diplomatic papers Romanski provides simply do not contain enough dates and his introductory study clearly reflects this weakness. The few scraps of information Blanqui provides on the outbreak of the revolt unfortunately do not improve matters much. Cf. Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 25-33, 142-143, 149, 150; Blanqui, op. cit., pp. 177-178.
14. For details of the military operations, cf. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 32 ff. and Dimitrov, Kniazhestvo, II, pp. 144-146.
15. H. Inalcik, Tanzimat ve Bulgar Meselesi, (Ankara, 1943) p. 30; Romanski loc. cit., p. 36.
16. Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 41, 44-46, 95. Kodinetz’s report, ibid., p. 104, Radoikevich’s report, ibid., p. 152.
17. Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 49-56.
18.. Cf. Blanqui’s description of his interview with Ismet. (Blanqui, op. cit., pp. 170-171.); Romanski, loc. cit., p. 61.
19. A German translation of this report is provided in Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 92-93.
20. Cf. E. Haumont, La Formation de la Yougoslavie. Paris, 1930, p. 263.
21. Cf. three studies by V. Stojancevid, ‘Knez Milos prema Bugarskoj i Bugarima,’ Istoriski Glasnik, (1954), no. 4, pp. 65-87; ‘Politicki Pogledi Milosa Obrenovica na Pitanje Oslobodjenja Balkanskih Naroda,’ Istoriski Casopis, IX-X, (1959), pp. 345-360; ‘Narodnooslobodilacki Pokret u Niskom Kraju, 1833, i, 1834/35 g.\ Istoriski Casopis, V, (1954-1955), pp. 427-435. From these studies it is clear that Milosh was following a policy of restraint. In a recent study, the Bulgarian historian, S. Dimitrov, suggests 1830′s Milosh was most concerned to check the revolutionary aspirations which his agents had earlier set in motion in the area. (S. Dimitrov, ‘S’rbiia i V’stanicheski Dvizheniia v Zapadna B’lgariia ot 30te—4te godini па XIX vek, ‘Studia Balcanica, II, Prouchvaniia po Sluchai Vtoriia Mezhdunaroden Kongres po Balkanistika, (1970), p. 256 and 263).
22. Stojancevic, ‘Narodnooslobodilacki,’ p. 431; Dimitrov, ‘S’rbiia,’ pp. 258-261 and 263.
23. Stojancevid, ‘Narodnooslobodilacki,’ p. 431, 434; Dimitrov, ‘S’rbiia,’ pp. 255-256.
24. Dimitrov, ‘S’rbiia,’ pp. 257-258 and 260. Dimitrov suggests that from 1836 on Milosh became even more cautious and desisted even from his attempts as a mediator because of concern over the attitude of the great conservative powers whom the French, Polish and Italian revolutions had made very apprehensive about insurgencies and national movements. (Dimitrov, ‘S’rbiia,’ p. 263).
25. StojanCevid, ‘Politicki,’ p. 353, n. 36; ‘Prema Bugarskoj,’ p. 77.
26. Stojancevic, ‘PolitiCki,’ p. 353, nn. 36, 37, 38; ‘Prema Bugarskoj,’ pp. 80-82. A small collection of documents further illuminating this relationship can be found in G. Balaschev, ‘Dokumenti po Sr’bsko-B’lgarskite Otnosheniia prez 1830-1836,’ Izvestiia na Istoricheskoto Druzhestvo v Sofiia, I, (1905), pp. 21-31. These include letters describing the problems Neofit Hilendarski (Bozveli) was encountering in Belgrade while printing Bulgarian books for a group in Svishtov and his appeals to Milosh for assistance in this and in the rebuilding of a church in Svishtov. For a partial listing of Bulgarian works printed in Serbia at this time cf. I. Konev, B4garo-Sr bski Liter at urni Vzaimootnosheniia prez XIX Vek, (Sofia, 1964), p. 20.
27. Indeed one historian attempts to show that Milosh had in mind already the elements which later went into the program for expansion of Garashanin, the Nacertanije (discussed below). Cf. V. Vuckovid, ‘Knez Milos i Osnovna PolitiCka Misao Sadrzana u Garasaninovom ‘Nacertaniju,’ Jugoslovenska Revija za Medjunarodno Pravo, God. IV, 1 1, (1957), pp. 35-44; Stojancevic, ‘Politicki,’ p. 354.
28. Stojancevic, ‘Politicki,’ p. 349.
29. Haumont, op. cit., p. 276, The Austrian plenipotentiary in St. Petersburg in June 1841 communicated to his government the assessment of Mihailo’s character which Lieven, a Russian diploma, had supplied to his government: Mihailo had received many petitions about the difficulties of his coreligionists but ‘. . . cependant a eu la sagesse de leur [the petitioners—M.P.] declarer qu’il lui etait impossible de venir a leur secours.’ The Russian considered it fortunate that the young prince was docile and responsive to counsels of prudence ‘. . . si au contraire il etait d’un caractere aventureux, il lui aurait ete facile, en se mettant a la tete de 50000 Serviens, de reunir sous ses drapeaux les Montenegrins & les habitans de l’Herzegovine & d’en finir ainsi avec la domination ottomane en deca des Balkans.’ (Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 113-114); Blanqiu, op. cit., p. 178).
30. On the six districts cf. Stojancevic, ‘Narodnooslobodilacki,’ p. 427; Djordjevic, Revolutions, pp. 61-62. In the mid-1830′s, shortly after this development, there had been feeling in the Nish area in favour of annexation by Serbia. (Stojancevi<3, ‘Narodnooslobodilacki,’ p. 430).
31. M. Dj. Milieevic, Kraljevina Srbija, (Beograd, 1884), p. 48.
32. Dimitrov, Kniazhestvo, II, p. 143.
33. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 126. Also according to one account, after the battles of Nish and Ak Palanka (20 April) the rebels sent a monk, Kepa, to Belgrade to talk with the European consuls there, but they treated the emissary ‘with contempt’ and told him the Bulgarians had no right to put their claims before anyone but their sovereign. (Dimitrov, Kniazhestvo, II, p. 144). None of the diplomatic dispatches from Belgrade, supplied by Romanski mention this. They do mention the visit of a Bulgarian priest ‘Jorgi’ to Belgrade and his conversations with the Russian consul and the visit of delegates from Leskovats to Mihailo at Kragujevats while Lieven was there. (Romanski, loc. cit., p. 92 and 129).
34. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 33, pp. 42-43.
35. Cf. Kodinetz’s report, Romanski, loc. cit., p. 104. Sturmer, the Austrian ambassador in Istanbul was certain, at the time the commissioners were being sent out, that they would assign all the blame to the Christians. He continued in this disparaging tone after the first reports were in but later came around to a more positive evaluation of Yakup Pasha’s performance of his mission. (Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 91, 95, 98).
36. A brief survey of the emigration of Bulgarians during the first half of the nineteenth century northwards into the Principalities and Russian territory is given in the introduction to M. Pinson, Demographic Warfare—An Aspect of Ottoman and Russian Policies, 1854-1866 (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1970), pp. 7-20. The introduction is a summary of a larger study which is part of a work now under revision on population movements in the Black Sea area in the 19th century.
37. The lack of rapport between subjects and officials was not a new problem. Rebels in Nish in 1835 had requested, among other things, that they be allowed a representative on the staff of the pasha of Nish, a demand which the Turks had at first rejected, but later, at the urging of Petronevich, accepted. (Stojancevi<5, ‘Narodnooslobodilacki,’ p. 434).
38. Considerable information on the background of the Blanqui mission can be found in an account very much concerned with the machinations of the forces of imperialism. Cf. S. Damianov, Frantsiia i B’lgarskata Natsionalna Revoliutsiia (Sofia, 1968) pp. 54-66.
39. For specimens of Blanqii’s descriptions of ‘exotic’ parts, cf. his ‘Communication sur l’etat social des populations de la Turquie d’Europe’ Seances et travaux de VAcademie des sciences morales et politiques, I, (1842), pp. 70-71, 75-77.
40. Alexander Ekzarkh, who had served in the Ottoman diplomatic mission to Paris and who was Blanqui’s interpreter while the latter was in Bulgaria, wrote one of the first such appeals, Napis radi Bolgarov predstavlen na Visokata Porta. (Paris, 1843), which was published also in Greek and French. (K. Stoianov, ‘Politicheskite Kombinatsii prez XIX Vek na Smetkata na B’lgarite,’ Minalo, I, kn. 4, (1910), p. 360). The Ottomans were apparently informed of this; an irade (order) of March 1843 referred to a ‘risale’ (treatise, pamphlet) composed in Paris at this time, and to several similar writings being printed in Bulgarian and Greek and being distributed to the non-Muslim subjects, the information on all of this having come in a memorandum from the Russian government to the Porte on the activity of Polish refugees. (Inalcik, op. cit., p. 42, n. 1).
The connection between Blanqui’s mission and larger aims of French policy was noticed by contemporary observers. Cf. report of Sturmer, Austrian ambassador in Istanbul, Romanski, loc. cit:, p. 105.
41. Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 64-65. Romanski unfortunately did not indicate the sources of this information. In a note Romanski added that Lieven supported his original idea with a reference to the consul stationed at Aitos in Eastern Bulgaria to protect the Bulgarians after the Russian army withdrew after the war of 1828-9. (Ibid., p. 64, n. 1).
42. Text of Kodinetz’s instructions in Romanski, loc. cit., pp. 120-123. Romanski’s commentary, ibid., pp. 65-68.
43. Ibid., pp. 68-69.
44. Ibid., p. 70.
45. Ibid., pp. 70-71 and 168.
46. Kodinetz’s recommendations, cf. Romanski, loc. cit., p. 104. For those of Blanqui cf. his ‘Communication,’ pp. 72-73, 88-104, and 357-358. Blanqui’s ideas on needed reforms are clear from those aspects of Ottoman conditions he criticizes and from those things which he praises Serbia for having achieved since gaining autonomy.
47. One early expression of the view that it was in Russia’s best interest to preserve, rather than partition her southern neighbour, was the memorandum Kochubey presented to Alexander I, in 1802, at a time when ideas of partition of Turkey (jointly with France) were current. (S. Goriainov Bosfor i Dardenelly, (SPB, 1907), pp. 38-39.) In 1829, a special ‘Committee on the Affairs of Turkey’ reported to Nicholas I that Russian interests would be better served by maintaining Turkey in Europe, than by partition, (G. Bolsover, ‘Nicholas I and the Partition of Turkey,’ Slavonic Review, XXVII, (1948-1949), p. 115).
Later in the 1840′s, at the same time that Nicholas was expressing interest in concerting measures with England in the event of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, he also expressed the desire to take joint measures to preserve it. (Bolsover, loc. cit., p. 132).
48. Davison provides a summary of the various reforms attempted, a critique of them, pointing out their failings, and concludes that on the basis of the reports of contemporaries little appears to have improved in provincial administration before the Crimean War. (Davison, op. cit., pp. 47-49).
49. Cited in Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 47-48. Also cf. S. Dimitrov, V’stanieto na Selianite v Severozapadna B’lgariia prez 1850 g. (Sofia, 1961), pp. 41-42. Dimitriov’s newer book on this subject, V’stameto ot 1850 g. v B’lgariia (Sofia, 1972) which is presumably a revised and expanded version of the earlier study, was unfortunately not available during the preparation of this article.
50. Cited in Inalcik, op. cit., p. 50. Italics in original. Another document containing the same complaint is excerpted by Inalcik, ibid., pp. 75-76.
51. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 76; N. Todorov, ed., Polozhenieto na B’lgarskiia Narodpod Tursko Robstvo, (Sofia, 1953) p. 221.
52. Todorov, Polozhenieto, p. 221; Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 19-20.
53. Cited in Inalcik, op. cit., p. 63. ……….
54. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 50-51.
55. Todorov, Polozhenieto, p. 221.
56. D. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto na Selianite v Sverozapadna B’lgariia prez 1850 g. i Negovite Prichini,’ Istoricheski Pregled (hereafter 7./V), VI, kn. 4-5, (1949-1950), p. 482.
57. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 43, 79-80.
58. Todorov, Polozhenieto, pp. 221-222. These were not an innovation. The archbishop of Sofia had told Blanqji, ‘Complaint is forbidden to us; we are happy when they do not force us to sign testimonials of thanks and felicitations for the wrong they do us.’ (Blanqui, Voyage, p. 190). These testimonials were generally used by local officials to impress the central government.
59. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 94. The other taxes listed include an annual delivery of wood (or a cash equivalent), two deliveries of grain (the significance of the names of these taxes is unclear) and a quantity of cheese as rent for pasture land and a cash payment per dontim of vineyard.
60. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 18-19.
61. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 480; Inalcik, op. cit., p. 93.
62. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 80.
63. There is a general study dealing with many classes of taxes levied in Bulgaria, B. Tsvetkova, Izv’nredni Danitsi i D’rzhavni Povinosti v B’lgarskite Zemi pod Turska Vlast, (Sofia, 1958), but it deals mainly with the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries with only brief excursions into the nineteenth.
64. Todorov, Polozhenieto, p. 222; Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 20.
65. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 89.
66. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 95, n. 3.
67. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 95-96. The source of the figure 100 days appears to be ultimately an English consular report about whose accuracy Inalcik is skeptical. (Ibid., pp. 36-37, n.l.) The peasants doing work on roads and bridges without receiving pay complained that the voivodas and subasis did. (Todorov, Polozhenieto, p. 223). Presumably money had been allocated for the job but never reached the construction force.
68. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 43.
69. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 36. Inalcik states that this permit could be purchased cheaply.
70. On the early attempts at rechanneling cf. R. Busch-Zantner, Agrarverfassung Gesellschaft und Siedlung in Osteuropa, (Leipzig, 1938) pp. 15-16 (Unfortunately the author gives no source for this information), and S. Dimitrov, ‘K’m V’prosa za Otmeniavaneto na Spakhiskata Sistema v Nashite Zemi,’ I.P., XII, kn. 6, (1956) pp. 40-41. His description of the effect of Pazvanoglu’s rule on landholding in northwestern Bulgaria is not fully consonant with the picture he presents in this article of the Ottoman government struggling against an entrenched landholding class. Pazvanoglu had himself seized much land and given large areas to others as giftliks in order to gain their support. After his death the Ottoman government confiscated these lands which thus became miriye (state land). (Dimitrov, Vstanieto, pp. 12-13). After describing this appropriation of land by the government, Dimitrov describes the sale of miriye villages; it is not clear however, whether the villages which revolted in 1850 were among those repossessed after Pazvanoglu’s death and, if so, to whom they had been sold. Some clarification of this is provided in ‘Otmeniavaneto’ where he mentions that after Pazvanoglu’s death, officials distributed lands with deeds (tapu) (Dimitrov, ‘Otmeniavaneto’ pp. 53-54). He then describes these villages as gospodarski, so presumably they were sold to agas and not farmed out to multezims. (Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 13). This lack of clarity is not a weakness peculiar to Dimitrov, but rather is a manifestation of one of the major problems of the agricultural history of the area, the lack of sequential data for any given area, which only makes more difficult the reconstruction of whatever policies were pursued in a period of considerable political turmoil. On the military reforms of Mahmud II, cf. A. Levy, The Military Policy of Sultan Mahmud II, 1808-1839, 2 vols. (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1968).
71. A full discussion of the inapplicability of the term feudal to the Ottoman system would of necessity be quite lengthy and falls outside the scope of this study. An attempt to characterize a feudal system on the basis of study of several different societies has been attempted; for some of the conclusions cf. R. Coulborn, ed., Feudalism in History, (Princeton, 1956) pp. 4-9 and 362. The Ottoman system differed in many significant ways from the system characterized there. Turkish historians too, have taken exception to the use of the term; their objections based on dissimilar structure seem sounder than those based on the allegedly higher obligations and greater freedom of the peasantry. Cf. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 85; M. F. Koprulu, ‘Le feodalisme turc-musulman au Moyen-Age,’ Belleten, V, 19, (1941), p. 339.
72. Dimitrov, ‘Otmeniavaneto,’ pp. 47-50.
73. Kh.Gandev, ‘Turski Izvori za Agrarnata Istoriia na B’lgariia prez V’zrazhdaneto,’ I.P., X, kn. 2, (1954), p. 122. Some of the land they held was already mulk. (ibid., p. 123). Also cf. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ pp. 475-6.
74. The issue of the rise of the giftlik is surrounded by controversy. One account of the rise of giftlik agriculture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (in areas south and west of Bulgaria), which views the giftlik as a colonizing device is T. Stoianovich, ‘Land Tenure and Related Sectors of the Balkan Economy, 1600-1800,’ Journal of Economic History, XIII, (1953), 398-411. There is also a lengthy discussion of this in Busch-Zantner, op. cit., pp. 80-137, some of which deals with the same period. This work suffers greatly from the author’s attempt to be all-inclusive, making many general statements, without giving any indication as to the area and period to which they are to apply. For a standard Marxist account of the shift in Bulgaria in this period, v. Zh. Natan, Stopanska Istoriia na Blgariia, (Sofia, 1957), pp. 127-132.
75. Gandev, ‘Turski Izvori,’ p. 123.
76. Dimitrov, ‘Otmeniavaneto,’ p. 37. His article is based on lists of holdings and certain other administrative papers which indicated generally a certain policy being carried out.
77. Dimitrov, ‘Otmeniavaneto,’ p. 50.
78. Gandev, ‘Turski Izvori,’ p. 123. These considerations are mentioned in a memorandum from 1851, to which Gandev vaguely refers, but does not identify. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 90, note 4, cites a passage containing the considerations from the beginning of 1851, but it is a joint memorandum from the official who was former inspector to the area for the central government, and at this point Vali in Vidin, and Nail Efendi, his replacement as inspector, not one to the Vali, as mentioned by Gandev. After this reform, the peasantry in southwestern Bulgaria were still referring to the local landholder as sipahi, and the taxes they were paying to the state as sipahilik. (Irechek, as cited in Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 476). It is not clear whether this reflects persistence of the institution or merely linguistic inertia.
79. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 91. This does not necessarily clash with Dimitrov’s scheme since the documents with which Inalcik worked pertained mainly to northwestern Bulgaria, precisely the area in which, according to Gandev, the policy was least actively pursued.
80. Natan, op. cit., p. 137, touched briefly on this question, but only cite Levintov’s one over-worked set of figures, which apply to a later period.
81. D. Kosev, Lektsiipo Nova Istoriia na B’lgariia, (Sofia, 1951), p. 109. This is not a popular work as can be seen from the appended extensive 37 page bibliography, but the author affords no documentation.
82. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 98. The liberalism referred to is presumably British. England at the time was undergoing structural political changes to make government more responsive to the needs of the population. The Ottoman Empire was not undergoing any such change: as noted above, the local balances of power remained unchanged. The central government throughout the Tanzimat period, however paternalistic some of its intentions may have been, was continually becoming more autocratic. This, then, was another case of the dangers of a semi-borrowing from the West.
83. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 90. D. Kosev also asserts this, but the document to which he refers does not support this. ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 479.
84. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 90; Gandev, ‘Turski Izvori,’ p. 123. There are of course many questions left unanswered about this change. Neither of the studies cited examines the process in any detail, Gandev’s work actually being only a summary of conclusions he claims to have drawn from many Turkish documents, but the article has no documentation whatever. The questions as to how the Ottoman government decided on this expedient and carried out the policy, when, in which districts, and what percentage of the arable was affected, all remain to be examined.
85. Natan, op. cit., pp. 137-8, cites the conclusions of several studies on this point, the most interesting in this connection being Gandev’s assertion: ‘In Bulgaria, from the 30′s of the XIX century until 1878, there was no serfdom, but rather free peasants with private land, albeit insufficient, which they could sell, buy, rent out under certain conditions, bequeath, divide up, etc.’ (Natan, op. cit., pp. 137-8 and 140).
86. These are listed in I. Sakazov, Bulgarische Wirtschaftsgeschichte, (Berlin and Leipzig, 1929), pp. 191-6, and in K. Irechek, Kniazhestvo В Igariia, Chast II (Plovdiv, 1899), pp. 180-181. In the case of those forms which entailed the aga’s receiving a fixed share of the crop, the extent of obligation is intelligible. However, when discussing this, isolated citations of rents paid for giftlik lands (cf. S. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 17), or of agrarian wages (cf. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 478), do not appear to be of great value. I have found neither enough contemporary data, or later studies dealing with commodity costs and wages, to warrant any further discussion of this issue. Similarly, when the tenant’s obligations were expressed in quantities of commodities, (cf. Dokumenti za B’lgarskata Istoriia (hereafter “D.B.I.”), P. Dorev, ed., Ill, (Sofia, 1940) p. 325, 7589), the absence of an adequate number of studies of productivity renders them almost meaningless.
87. From the Bulgarian side the most important source for the history of the revolt is the article by D. Marinov (cf. supra, note 5) which is based largely on recollections of participants in or contemporaries of the events. The nature of the.source explains the lack of precise chronology. The unique value of this source lies in its extensive listing of the persons and villages involved. Cf. Marinov, loc cit., pp. 86-104. For the Turkish side the most valuable account is the monograph of Inalcik, based largely on Ottoman documents and so is of importance not only for its extensive material on Ottoman policy but also because it provides much chronological information, lacking in other sources. For this account of the revolt cf. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 45-47. Of the modern Bulgarian accounts, that of S. Dimitrov, based on Marinov and other published and unpublished materials, gives the fullest account of the Bulgarian side. Dimitrov is completing a substantially revised and expanded edition of this earlier work. For his account of the revolt, cf. V’stanieto, pp. 41-62. Two other works which might have cast considerable light on these developments, a history of Vidin (D. Tsukhlev, Istoriia na Grada Vidin i Negovata Oblast (Sofia, 1932) and Marinov’s history of Lom (mss. in Lom Museum) were unfortunately inaccessible.
The activities of Sr’ndak are somewhat of a puzzle, since in March 1849 he was agitating for revolt and claiming that the Karageorgeviches and the Russians supported this. A Yugoslav historian, Ekme£i6, notes that it is not clear if Sr’ndak enjoyed support from the Russians or the Obrenoviches. (M. Ekme&c, ‘Marginalije o Srpsko-Bugarskim Vezama, 1844-1851′, Godisnjak Drustva Istoricara Bosne i Hercegovine, XVI, (1965) p. 140.
The question of a Serbian promise to provide arms and powder secretly is also a disputed issue. Dimitrov (‘Serbia’, p. 51) bases himself on Marinov (loc. cit., p. 89) but EkmeCic considers any such involvement on the part of ‘official Serbia’ unlikely. (Ekmecid, loc. cit., pp. 140-141. His incompletely printed note 149 presumably refers to this passage in Dimitrov). The cautiousness of ‘official Serbia’ was indicated already in 1849 when Garasanin issued orders to officials in the border areas to be especially vigilant since there were parties on both sides of the border interested in fomenting unrest in Bulgaria. (EkmeCic, loc. cit., p. 141).
88. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 69-71.
89. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 63, 67-9. The entire episode is undocumented except for an enigmatic note at the end, ‘Belogradchik National Museum.’
90. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 69. This is drawn from a document, D.B.I., III, pp. 314-315. It is not clear either from the document or Dimitrov, that the protest was a response to the arrival of the Bulgarian envoys.
91. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 69; Marinov, loc. cit., pp. 102-103.
92. Inalcik, after mentioning the report from Bucharest of Russian involvement, continues: although at present we cannot give a final judgement of this matter [the two year preparation. M.P.], from the documents it is an obvious fact that Russia, as it had before, was ‘sending agents everywhere to incite and stir up Bulgaria.’ And he further reinforces his qualification by stating that even though Russian influence was usually present in Balkan revolts, there were other ‘deeper’ causes, such as, in this case, the existence of the gospodarlik system. (Inalcik, op. cit., p. 70 note 3).
93. Cf. Kosev, Lektsii, 111, Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 68, and for the text of one petition, V. Todorov, Polozhenieto, pp. 221-224.
94. ‘Bulgarlarin Sirplular gibi guya serbestiyet tahsil etmek zu’mile mtitecasir olduklari hareket-i isyaniyeleri.’ Inalcik, op. cit., p. 67, note 2. Italics in the original.
95. Cf. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 43, 50.
96. D.B.I., III, p. 314.
97. S. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia i krest’ianskoe vosstanie 1850 g. v Bolgarii,’ Etudes Balkaniques, I, (1964), pp. 50-51. The works in question are those of D. Marinov and G. Dimitrov, which have been referred to above.
98. G. Dimitrov does not make it precisely clear when these agents were circulating in Vidin, but his next sentence begins, ‘At the end of 1849 . . .’ Kniazhestvo, II, pp. 150-151.
99. Report of 3 July 1850 in V. Todorov-Khindalov, V’zstaniia i Narodni Dvizheniia v Predosvoboditelnata B’lgariia spored Novootkriti Turski Ofitsialni Dokumenti, (Sofia, 1929), pp. 61-62.
The Serbs, at this point, were setting up an ‘agency’ to maintain connections with Bulgaria, but according to Ekmedic, this agency was more concerned with the area of present day Macedonia than Bulgaria, in 1850 the posts in Vidin, Ruse and Plovdiv being only in the process of being filled. Ekmedic notes that one result of the rising was that Serbia placed agents in the Vidin area where formerly she had none. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., pp. 138, 140, 146).
100. S. Dimitrov, “Serbiia,” p. 51.
101. R. Stoianova, ‘Dokumenti za Selskoto Antifeodalno V’stanie v Severozapadna B’lgariia prez 1850 g.’, Izvestiia na Institut za Istoriia, XI, (1962), p. 213).
102. This correspondence is excerpted and discussed in Dimitrov, ‘Serbia,’ pp. 54-57. Several of the rebels whom the Ottomans listed, were in fact in Serbia, and the Serbian government encountered logistic and procedural difficulties in delivering them. (Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 63-64). For the declaration of the Serbian government to the Ottoman government, that she had instructed her border guards not to allow refugees to cross the Serbian border, cf. D.B.I., III, p. 316. 103. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 88.
104. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 95; Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 52-53.
105. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 55, 57-58. The exact date of the petition is not clear, the 4th or 9th of June, in either case, in the early days of the revolt. ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 57-58, note 32. D.B.I., III, p. 312.
106. Stoianova, loc. cit., p. 216. In this connection, iti should :belnotedl that I Inalcik refers in his^ description* of” the role of Serbia, to a statement from Stanev, to the effect that the Obrenovich faction wanted to make use of Bulgarian hayduts. (Inalcik, op. cit., p. 60, note 3). The statement is listed as being on p. 347 of Stanev (presumably 317, and refers to the period after 1858, not this period. (N. Stanev, Blgariia pod Igo) (Sofia, 1928). Ekmecic is of the view that ‘official Serbia’ feared a large Bulgarian rising not only because it would interfere with diplomatic schemes but also because on the home front it would strengthen the Obrenovich and pro-Russian factions. (Ekme6ic, loc. cit., p. 140).
107. Stojanfevic, ‘Prema Bugarskoj’, p. 65; Ekmecic, loc. cit., p. 104.
108. For the text of the Nacertanije, see D. Stranjakovici, ‘Nacertanije Ilije Garasanina,’ Glasnik Istoriskog Drustva, IV, (1931), pp. 406-418, or idem. ‘Како je postalo Garasaninovo ‘nacertanije,’ Spomenik Srpske Kraljevske Akademije, XCI, (1939), pp. 75-97. The second mentioned article gives in parallel the texts of a memorandum by Zakh and the Nacertanije. For further discussion of this influence on Garasanin, cf. V. Cubrilovic, Istorija Politicke Misli и Srbiji XIX veka, (Belgrade, 1958), pp. 163-177, 164-165, dealing particularly with foreign policy. Ekmedic notes that the Nacertanije had domestic roots as well as those in the Polish emigration and that it was the Polish influence which accounted for the Pan-Balkan aspects of the project. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., pp. 104, 109).
109. M. Handelsmann, Czartoryski, Nicholas I et la Question du Proche Orient, (Paris, 1934), pp. 14, 29.
110. Ibid., p. 30. For further information on the origins of the idea of a Danubian bulwark against Russia, cf. Ekmecic, loc. cit., p. 105. The Polish emigration tried also, unsuccessfully, to get French support for the idea of South Slav unity. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., pp. 129-130).
111. Handelsmann, op. cit., p. 32. Ekmecid, having made extensive use of French archival material, suggests that the Polish influence was a restraining one on Serbia. In grossly simplified form his argument is that the Polish emigration was closely tied to Paris and that French policy after 1848 rather indiscriminately assumed any national movement in the Balkans to be in the Russian interest and therefore automatically opposed to the interests of France. (That Serbian policy in the late 1840′s was by no means a mere extension of Russian policy is clear from Garasanin’s moves against Russian agents). The French accordingly would not give support to any such movements. Moreover, French diplomats in the Balkans, for the most part, did not take South Slav political movement very seriously. This trend in French policy was further reinforced by the developing rapprochement with the Ottomans—to reach its culmination at the time of the Crimean War—and by the fact that after 1848 the Ottomans were increasingly concerned with finding Western support against any possible Russian move in the Balkans. Via the Polish emigration, the Serbian government was tied into this chain of factors militating against openly anti-Ottoman policies or revolts. Attempts to have the tail wag the dog, i.e., of the Serbs and Poles to have the French move the Ottomans to implement reforms, produced no real changes, even though the French on their own urged the Ottomans in this direction in order to deprive the Russians of an opening. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., pp. 119-129). • /
112. Cf. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 60, note 4. He misread ” ^Я^-^as ‘Lenvir;’ it is obviously ‘Lenoir.’ Cf. Handlsmann, op. cit., pp. 31-32; Ekme6ic, loc. cit., p. 104.
113. B. Cunibert, Essai Historique sur les Revolutions et VIndependance de la Serbie depuis 1804 jusqua 1850, (Leipzig, 1855), II, pp. 481-2. Vuckovic cites a similar passage in Cunibert, dealing with this kind of realism on Milosh’s part, i.e. although he was aware of his great influence on Ottoman Christians, nevertheless he did not indulge in greater south Slav schemes. Vuckovid adds the caution that Cunibert, a friend of Milosh, would not speak openly about Milosh’s political plans, at a time when Milosh needed the Sultan’s consent to return to the throne. (Vuckovic, loc. cit., p. 41, note 25).
114. Stranjakovic, ‘Na6ertanije’, p. 410. Ekmecic advances the intriguing idea that this image of the passive Bulgarians was one which had grown out of West European and Polish romantic writing (he provides examples) rather than out of the Serbs’ actual experience of the Bulgarians. (EkemCic, loc. cit., pp. 110-111).
115. Stranjakovic, ‘Nacertanije,’ p. 410 and 413.
116. Stranjakovic, ‘Nacertanije,’ p. 413. Garasanin began to implement the policy of printing Bulgarian books after 1844. D. Stranjakovic, Srbija-Pijemont Juzhnih Slovena, (Belgrade, 1932), p. 15, and Konev, B’lgaro-Sr’bski, p. 20. On the early stages of the involvement of the Polish emigration in the Bulgarian national revival cf. EkmeCic loc. cit., pp. 108-109. On other aspects of Serbian aid to Bulgarian cultural development in the 1840′s, cf. ibid., pp. 117, 119.
117. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia’, pp. 58-67. This transmission belt for complaints from the peasantry filled what was clearly a real need. In a petition to the Tsar in 1850, the Bulgarians had complained Sbedni narod ostaet bezglasen,’ (poor people remain without a voice), and closely paralleling the complaint from Nish, (cited above at note 37). ‘Sultan ne vedet shto tvorit pashy, pashy zhe shto tovrit voevody, takzhe i voevodi shto delaiut subashi i proch.’ (The Sultan does not know what the pashas are doing, and the pashas what the voevodes are doing, likewise the voevodes what the subashis are doing, and so on down the line.) (Cited in Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 482).
118. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 51-53.
One cannot but wonder if those issuing orders so worded had specific courses of action in mind and were compelled to formulate instructions in this way by bureaucratic tradition or if such formulations were a cover for a lack of more precise thinking. When one has read papers written by Ottomans in their language and in French, one cannot but be struck by the difference between the more specific, crisper formulations in French and the more vague, turgid, cliche-ridden formulations in Ottoman. One might begin to move towards the view that political reform in the mid-nineteenth century was to some extent retarded by the absence of the linguistic reform which did not come until the twentieth century.
119. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 50-51.
120. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 102.
121. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 56.
122. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia’, p. 63.
123. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 62-64; Temperley, op. cit., pp. 215-216; Ekmecic loc. cit., p. 122. The presence of an Ottoman army in Bosnia was yet,another factor, making Garasanin apprehensive about involvements in Bulgaria. (Ibid., p. 144).
124. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 57.
125. Dimitrov, ‘Serbiia,’ pp. 62-63, 66.
126. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 56.
127. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 74.
128. Text in Todorov-Khindalov, V’zstaniia, pp. 59-60. In his report, Ali gave as his date of arrival in Vidin the first of Ramazan, for which Todorov-Khindalov gives 28 June (presumably o.s., i.e., 11 July).
129. Text of Ali’s report in Todorov-Khindalov, V’zstaniia, pp. 61-62. What appears to be the same document, although dated 4 Ramazan, is reproduced in D.B.I., III, pp. 315-316. (The disparity in the Christian dates is again older and newer style).
130. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 76.
131. Text in D.B.I., III, p. 317. It is dated 13 Ramazan (23 July) and although no indication is given as to who issued the order, it was presumably Ali Riza or the vali. The rest of the order contains vague injunctions about filling the heart with goodness and the like.
132. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 76-77.
133. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 76-80.
134. Marinov, loc. cit., pp. 102-103.
135. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 80-82.
136. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 102.
137. ‘. . . being completely in opposition to the usage current until now . . .’ Cited in Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 102-103. These discussions took place between August 1850 and January 1851.
138. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 83; Marinov, loc. cit., p. 103. Marinov’s version is somewhat suspect. Based on the recollections of the peasants, it conforms all too closely to what they wanted to hear, being a precise answer to the three demands the envoys took with them. Moreover, such a berat would indicate that the Ottoman government had taken a clear decision on the gospodarlik question. However, as will be seen, from the account of Inalcik, based on archival material, there was considerable indecision, if not confusion, on the part of the central government on this question. Marinov’s informants may well have been recalling what they heard, i.e. the delegates’ oral account of what the government promised, precisely the version of the state of affairs Ali Riza could not believe and which he asked the delegates not to spread. Marinov’s version is also hard to reconcile with the persistence of conflict in the Vidin area over the gospodarlik issue long after the return of the delegates. His explanation of the continued conflict is a brief statement that there was some back-sliding and reneging on the part of the Turks (loc. cit., p. 104), but this is inadequate to explain the complicated negotiations and manoeuvrings described in other accounts.
In the absence of any certain evidence on this issue, the documents sent to, and issued by the special commission of the Meclis-i Vala investigating this matter assume an even greater importance. Inalcik cites from and discusses these documents, (Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 101-105). In view of his having worked with these and other documents inaccessible to Bulgarian scholars, their apparent failure to consult, or at least to acknowledge, his very solid monograph, is remarkable.
139. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 84. On the conversation between Ali and the delegates, cf. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 490. Inalcik, who worked in the Ottoman archives, apparently also found no document which would help clarify this. He does cite excerpts from several documents from which he concludes that gospodarlik land was not given as mulk of rayas. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 105, note 1.
140. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 84; Inalcik, op. cit., p. 105.
141. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 83.
142. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 82.
143. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 84-85.
144. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 103. The date given, January 1850, is obviously an error for January 1851.
145. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 104.
146. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 104. Italics in original.
147. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 105.
148. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 86.
149. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 87-88.
150. Dokumenti za B’lgarskata Istoriia P. Nikov, ed., VI, (Sofia, 1951) p. 22. The document reads ‘Aleggo’ but obviously should be ‘Aleppo,’ cf. V, Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos k’m B’lgarskata Istoriia—Vidinsko V’stanie,’ Godishnik na Narodnata Biblioteka v Sofia (1924-1925), p. 177.
151. Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 88; D.B.I., VI., p. 25.
152. Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos,’ p. 177.
153. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 106.
154. I. Tsanov, ‘Iz Zapiskite mi,’ B’lgarski Pregled, VI, 1, (Sept. 1899), pp. 92-93; Inalcik, op. cit., p. 106, note 4.
155. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 106, note 4. Inalcik ends his study at this point, noting that since no definitive solution to the land question had been reached, the grounds for dissatisfaction were not eliminated. As an exit line, he mentions that a few years later, the Crimean War broke out. When the Bulgarians tried to get Russian aid for a revolt, they were suppressed, but’. . . the hearth of the revolution in that corner (of Bulgaria— M.P.) could never be extinguished.’ Inalcik, op. cit., p. 107.
156. For a listing of the bands and their raids, cf. Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos,’ pp. 155-156.
157. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 102.
158. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 76-77. Kosev suggests that the central government was interested in a quick pacification, for fear a prolonged one might lead to foreign intervention, but he gives no documentation for this. (‘V’stanieto’, p. 490). This was a recurring motif; the Ottomans had had the same fear about the Bosnian rising in 1848. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., p. 122).
159. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 484.
160. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 52-53. Not enough restraint was exercised to satisfy the British, who stressed the need for using the regular army in suppressing the revolt. They tried to impress on the Ottomans that severe reprisals only afforded the Russians an opening, and that if they wanted British support, they must punish the criminals. (Inalcik, op. cit., p. 72; Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos,’ pp. 157-158).
161. One member of a rebel band who had fled to Serbia, apparently partially because of his political activity and partially because of his debts, having given ‘the necessary guarantee’ to the Ottoman government, was allowed to return and the central government went so far as to instruct the governor of Nish that the man should not ‘suffer,’ so that little by little he could pay off his debts. (Order to Mutesarif (governor) of Nish). It is not clear who sent the order. There is mention that Omer Pasha had arrested the man, and sent him with others to Istanbul. This procedure may also have been the idea of Omer Pasha. (Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos,’ p. 171).
162. Gandev, ‘Turski,’ p. 123.
163. Hahn in 1858, in Nish, observed conflict between sipahis and peasants, in full swing, the agas trying to convert as much of their old holdings as possible into giftlik land, and the peasantry advancing its claims to land, and supporting this by refusing to pay taxes. (J. G. von Hahn, ‘Reise von Belgrad nach Salonik,’ Denkschrift der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil. -Hist. Classe, XI, (Vienna, 1861), p. 13).
164. Gandev, ‘Turski,’ pp. 123-124.
165. Gandev, ‘Turski,’ p. 124. The retention of aga holdings presumably was a response to the continuing failure to find any alternative new means of assuring Ottoman control of the area.
166. As late as 1864, 21.5% of the expenses of the kaza of Tatarpazardjik went for sipahi pensions. (Dimitrov, ‘Otmeniavaneto,’ p. 50).
167. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 101.
168. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 102; Stoianova, ‘Dokumenti,’ p. 223.
169. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 80-81.
170. For a partial listing, cf. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 93, 95, note 3. Note the recurrent phrase, ‘ber adet-i kadim’ (in accord with old usage).
171. Tsanov, ‘Zapiskite,’ pp. 93-94.
172. Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 481.
173. Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 36-37. This was based on the observations of a French officer, Aupick, who travelled through the area in 1848. The restrictions on Muslim visits to villages was presumably aimed partially at solving this problem.
174. Tsanov, ‘Zapiskite,’ p. 94.
175. Todorov-Khindalov, ‘Prinos,’ p. 169. The Bulgarians claimed that when they complained to the ‘Ketip’ (presumably ‘katib,’ clerk), he not only did not listen, but imprisoned ten, who died in jail. (Kosev, ‘V’stanieto,’ p. 482).
176. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 43, note 2.
177. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 77.
178. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 77, and note 6.
179. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 77.
180. Tsanov, loc. cit., p. 92. In the present state of knowledge about Ottoman administrative personnel it is nearly impossible to ascertain the names of those who held which posts in Bulgaria, not to mention their educational background or administrative experience before assuming a post in Bulgaria. There is little evidence that any particular care was exercised in selecting the officials for the pre-Crimean period. (For one of the few indications cf. D.B.I., III, p. 295, No. 546). For the post-Crimean period, including the years of the ‘model’ Danubian province the only relevant available statistic is that of 69 men who finished the new Miilkiye (civil service academy) which opened in 1858 and graduated its first students in 1860, 12 served in some capacity for some period in the Bulgarian provinces before 1876. (Figures from the second volume of the history of the Miilkiye, which provides brief biographical sketches of the alumni). (M. A. (pankaya, Miilkiye Tarihi ve Miilkiyeliler, II, n.p. n.d., pp. 5-26). We have submitted to the Association International d’ Etudes du Sud-Est Europeen a proposal for international academic co-operation on the preparation of a governmental organizational register and biographic dictionary for the Balkan area, 1800-1878; such a work would greatly facilitate the resolution of such questions.
181. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 78.
182. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 79.
183. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 66; Tsanov, loc. cit., p. 94.
184. S. Bobchev in his La societe bulgare sous la domination ottomane: les tchorbadjis bulgares comme institution sociale et administrative., (Sofia, 1935), and ‘Notes comparees sur les corbacis chez les peuples balkaniques et en particulier chez les Bulgares,’ Revue Internationale des Etudes Balkaniques,(IH^ann^e II,,no.6,,(Belgrade, 1938), (which are nearly the same work), gives an extremely generalized, positive evaluation of their role as intermediaries, a kind of insulation between the Turkish administration and the other Bulgarians, and as pillars of the national renaissance. He claims their later bad press is due to G. Rakovski and other revolutionary publicists. (‘Notes comparees,’ p. 435). Communist historiography has generally followed the revolutionary line, denouncing the gorbacis as class enemies of the people (incipient bourgeoisie) and collaborationists. In between the extremes and generalizations of the two sides is ample room for a real study.
185. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 80.
186. Marinov, loc. cit., p. 102; Inalcik, op. cit., p. 37.
187. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 101; Dimitrov, V’stanieto, pp. 16-17. EkmeCic too is of the opinion that questions of land and taxation were the essential causes of the revolt. (loc. cit., p. 142).
188. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 100. Inalcik cites excerpts from a letter of one member of a rebel committee who wrote that he was doing what he did not just for his village but ‘. . . in order to save our entire nation’ (umum milletimizi kurtarmak igin) and that as the Austrian Serbs had a voivodeship separate from the Hungarians, so he hoped for such a condition in the near future for his people. Inalcik adds: ‘From these lines one understands that the goal of the committee was the independence of all Bulgaria.’ (italics in original) (Inalcik, op. cit., p. 66). On the next page he qualifies this by talking in terms of an independent administration like the Serbian (ibid., p. 67). Indeed, while there may have been a few ultra-romantics who thought as did the writer of the above cited letter, the evidence for the existence of a significant current of thought along these lines is very scant. Moreover, as has been seen, the Serbs, who in Inalcik’s discussion were the source of such ideas, were themselves pursuing a very cautious policy towards the Ottomans, even though they were much farther along the road to independence than were the Bulgarians.
Ekmecic is of the view that the petition in French, protesting to the Sultan about the acts of his officials which the Bulgarian delegates had taken to Istanbul (cf. supra, note 175) was actually Belgrade’s handiwork. He considers this to have been a common mode of formulation by Belgrade and a tactic too subtle for the Vidin peasants to have come up with on their own. He has archival material indicating that Garasanin advised the Bulgarians who came to him to proceed in this manner. (Ekemci6, loc. cit., p. 142). By way of concluding his discussion of this point he notes, somewhat reprovingly, that Dimitrov was of the opinion that the petition was drafted by an educated person in Vidin. (Ekmecic, loc. cit., p. 142, note 158) which is not exactly the case since Dimitrov speculated that it was the work either of an educated person or a foreigner. (Dimitrov, V’stanieto, p. 79). The idea of putting the lion’s share of the blame for conditions on lower officials was in any case not new as has been seen.
Ekmecic asserts that there was some sentiment in the revolt for annexation to Serbia— but he does not elaborate on this at all (loc. cit., p. 141). He also states that for ‘official Serbia’ in 1848-49 the question of a union with Bulgaria inside the Ottoman framework was a very serious one (loc. cit., p. 131) but clearly the thrust of most of his article is to show why the Serbian government did not or could not utilize the 1850 revolt to achieve this.
189. Inalcik, op. cit., p. 101. Ekmecic shares this scheme of priorities, arguing that where the people were struggling for ‘naked bread’, cultural strivings assumed a decidedly secondary importance and that the concern of the people of the rebellious area was not for a nation or a state, but for social changes in the direction of greater freedom. (Ekmeeic, loc. cit., pp. 119, 146).
190. K. Irechek, Kniazhestvo B’lgariia, Chast 3. (Plovdiv, 1899), p. 556.
191. Tsanov, ‘Zapiskite,’ p. 90. The Austrian consul in Ruse also reported in mid-April 1851 that rumours were current that the idea of an ‘independent’ (selbstandigen) prince for Bulgaria had emerged in Phanariot circles in the capital and that Vogorides had won some sympathy for the idea in Tirnovo, Gabrovo and Svishtov; there was as  yet no reaction from the Turks. (Dokumenti za B’lgarskata Istoriia, VI, P. Nikov and S. Romanski, eds., (Sofia, 1951), p. 9). The idea of some small Bulgarian area enjoying a kind of semi-autonomy was not new, nor was this the last time it would crop up in the mid-nineteenth century; most of the schemes involved the Vogorides family. In the summer of 1831 during a period of substantial Bulgarian migration to Russia, when it appeared the Porte might be more receptive to new arrangements, a group of Bulgarian emigrants in Wallachia tried to take advantage of the situation, and, through Vogorides, to prevail on the Porte to establish an autonomous Bulgarian principality in the Dobruja, of which, presumably, Vogorides would become prince. But at an early stage he withdrew from the affair and nothing came of the scheme. (I. Seliminski, ‘Opiti za V’zvr’shtane Obratno Bezhantsite B’lgari iz Turtsiia,’ Biblioteka Seliminski, Kn. XI, (Sofia, 1930) pp. 106-109). In the spring of 1861, Bulgarians in southern Bessarabia, unhappy with Rumanian rule appealed to the Porte to constitute the area in which they lived a separate principality under direct administration of the Porte. (Turkish Foreign Ministry Archive, Armoire No. 1, Carton 30, Dossier 26, ‘Plaintes des colonies bulgares de la Bessarabie contre les Autorites Moldaves.’ The petition is enclosed in a dispatch from Ali Pasha to Prince Cuza, No. 5201/26, 3 July 1861. On this matter also cf. I. Titorov, B’lgarite v Besarabia, (Sofia, 1903), p. 166 and Arkhiv na G. S. Rakovski, III, N. Traikov, ed., (Sofia, 1966) pp. 479-480).

Tags: 1850, Bulgaria, Nish, Ottoman, the First Tanzimat Period, The Revolts, Vidin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>