incursions, often resulting in permanent settlements, added to the troubles of the Christian population. The reforms embodied in the Hatt-i-Sherif of Gulhané (1839) and in the Hatt-i-humayun (1856), in both of which the perfect equality of races and religions was proclaimed, remained a dead letter; the first “Law of the Vilayets” (1864), reforming the local administration, brought no relief, while depriving the Christian communities of certain rights which they had hitherto possessed.
In 1876 a conference of the powers at Constantinople proposed
the reorganization of the Bulgarian provinces of Turkey in two
vilayets under Christian governors-general aided by
popular assemblies. The “western” vilayet, of
Treaties of San Stefano and Berlin. which Sofia was to be the capital, included northern, central and western Macedonia, extending south as far as Castoria. The projet de règlement elaborated by the conference was rejected by the Turkish parliament convoked under the constitution proclaimed on the 23rd of December 1876; the constitution, which was little more than a device for eluding European intervention, was shortly afterwards suspended. Under the treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) the whole of Macedonia, except Salonica and the Chalcidic peninsula, was included in the newly formed principality of Bulgaria; this arrangement was reversed by the Treaty of Berlin (July 13) which left Macedonia under Turkish administration but provided (Art. xxiii.) for the introduction of reforms analogous to those of the Cretan Organic Statute of 1868. These reforms were to be drawn up by special commissions, on which the native element should be largely represented, and the opinion of the European commission for eastern Rumelia was to be taken before their promulgation. The Porte, however, prepared a project of its own, and the commission, taking this as a basis, drew up the elaborate “Law of the Vilayets” (Aug. 23, 1880). The law never received the sultan’s sanction, and European diplomacy proved unequal to the task of securing its adoption.
The Berlin Treaty, by its artificial division of the Bulgarian race, created the difficult and perplexing “Macedonian Question.” The population handed back to Turkish rule never acquiesced in its fate; its discontent was aggravated The Macedonian Question. by the deplorable misgovernment which characterized the reign of Abdul Hamid II., and its efforts to assert itself, stimulated by the sympathy of the enfranchised portion of the race, provoked rival movements on the part of the other Christian nationalities, each receiving encouragement and material aid from the adjacent and kindred states. Some insignificant risings took place in Macedonia after the signature of the Berlin Treaty, but in the interval between 1878 and 1893 the population remained comparatively tranquil, awaiting the fulfilment of the promised reforms.
In 1893, however, a number of secret revolutionary societies (druzhestva) were set on foot in Macedonia, and in 1894 similar bodies were organized as legal corporations in Bulgaria. The fall of Stamboloff in that year and the Bulgarian Conspiracies. reconciliation of Bulgaria with Russia encouraged the revolutionaries in the mistaken belief that Russia would take steps to revive the provisions of the San Stefano treaty. In 1895 the “Supreme Macedo-Adrianopolitan Committee” (Vrkhoven Makedoni-Odrinski Komitet) was formed at Sofia and forthwith despatched armed bands into northern Macedonia; the town of Melnik was occupied for a short time by the revolutionaries under Boris Sarafoff, but the enterprise ended in failure. Dispirited by this result, the “Vrkhovists,” as the revolutionaries in Bulgaria were generally styled, refrained from any serious effort for the next five years; the movement was paralysed by dissensions among the chiefs, and rival parties were formed under Sarafoff and General Tzoncheff. Meanwhile the “Centralist” or local Macedonian societies were welded by two remarkable men, Damian Grueff and Gotzé Delcheff, into a formidable power known as the “Internal Organization,” founded in 1893, which maintained its own police, held its own tribunals, assessed and collected contributions, and otherwise exercised an imperium in imperio throughout the country, which was divided into rayons or districts, and subdivided into departments and communes, each with its special staff of functionaries. The Internal Organization, as a rule, avoided co-operation with the revolutionaries in Bulgaria; it aimed at the attainment of Macedonian autonomy, and at first endeavoured, but unsuccessfully, to enlist the sympathies of the Greeks and Servians for the programme of “Macedonia for the Macedonians.”
The principle of autonomy was suspected at Athens and Belgrade as calculated to ensure Bulgarian predominance and to delay or preclude the ultimate partition of the country. At Athens, especially, the progress of the Greek Action. Bulgarian movement was viewed with much alarm; it was feared that Macedonia would be lost to Hellenism, and in 1896 the Ethniké Hetaerea (see Greece and Crete) sent numerous bands into the southern districts of the country. The Hetaerea aimed at bringing about a war between Greece and Turkey, and the outbreak of trouble in Crete enabled it to accomplish its purpose. During the Greco-Turkish War (q.v.) Macedonia remained quiet, Bulgaria and Servia refraining from interference under pressure from Austria, Russia and the other great powers. The reverses of the Greeks were to the advantage of the Bulgarian movement, which continued to gain strength, but after the discovery of a hidden dépôt of arms at Vinitza in 1897 the Turkish authorities changed their attitude towards the Bulgarian element; extreme and often barbarous methods of repression were adopted, and arms were distributed among the Moslem population. The capture of an American missionary, Miss Stone, by a Bulgarian band under Sandansky in the autumn of 1901 proved a windfall to the revolutionaries, who expended her ransom of £T16,000 in the purchase of arms and ammunition.
In 1902 the Servians, after a prolonged conflict with the Greeks, succeeded with Russian aid in obtaining the nomination of Mgr. Firmilian, a Servian, to the archbishopric of Usküb. Contemporaneously with a series of Russo-Bulgarian Troubles in 1902: Intervention of the Powers. celebrations in the Shipka pass in September of that year, an effort was made to provoke a rising in the Monastir district by Colonel Yankoff, the lieutenant of General Tzoncheff; in November a number of bands entered the Razlog district under the general’s personal direction. These movements, which were not supported by the Internal Organization, ended in failure, and merciless repression followed. The state of the country now became such as to necessitate the intervention of the powers, and the Austrian and Russian governments, which had acted in concert since April 1897, drew up an elaborate scheme of reforms. The Porte, as usual, endeavoured to forestall foreign interference by producing a project of its own, which was promulgated in November 1902, and Hilmi Pasha was appointed Inspector General of the Rumelian vilayets and charged with its application. The two powers, however, persevered in their intention and on the 21st of February 1903 presented to the Porte an identic memorandum proposing a series of reforms in the administration, police and finance, including the employment of “foreign specialists” for the reorganization of the gendarmerie.
At the same time the Bulgarian government, under pressure from Russia, arrested the revolutionary leaders in the principality, suppressed the committees, and confiscated their funds. The Internal Organization, however, was beyond Bulgarian Insurrection in 1903. reach, and preparations for an insurrection went rapidly forward. In March a serious Albanian revolt complicated the situation. At the end of April a number of dynamite outrages took place at Salonica; public opinion in Europe turned against the revolutionaries and the Turks seized the opportunity to wreak a terrible vengeance on the Bulgarian population. On the 2nd of August, the feast of St Elias, a general insurrection broke out in the Monastir vilayet, followed by sporadic revolts in other districts. The insurgents achieved some temporary successes and occupied the towns of Krushevo, Klisura and Neveska, but by the end of September their resistance was overcome; more than 100 villages were burned by the troops and bashi-bazouks, 8400 houses were destroyed and 60,000 peasants remained homeless in the mountains at the approach of winter.