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sistently ignored. The material benefits to be expected from Austrian rule are undoubtedly great, as is shown by the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but equally great is the moral loss entailed in a regime which systematically aims at the obliteration of the national sentiment. In the estimation of the recipients themselves the blessings conferred by the Austrian occupation are more than neutralised by the blow which that occupation has dealt at their independent developement as a national entity. The result does not commend itself to the Albanians. It would perhaps serve the ends both of Austria and Italy better should they agree in building up an independent Albania. Instead, they agree to differ, and, while solemnly disclaiming all designs of conquest, they each act as if the conquest of Albania was the one thing nearest their hearts. Their action is for the present decorously veiled, and each Power tolerates the other's efforts so long as these do not lead to an open disturbance of the status quo, the maintenance of which, in the words of Signor Prinetti, Minister for Foreign Affairs, is 'the best guarantee of their mutual interests.' The same Minister, however, in the course of the same speech—made in the Chamber of Deputies on May 23—significantly alluded to the possibility of the status quo being disturbed, and in that event, he added, Italy, thanks to the Triple Alliance,' would be sure of finding no one to bar the way to 'her legitimate aspirations.' It is no easy thing to interpret diplomatic language with perfect accuracy. But the Italian Minister's words seem to point to the existence of some definite understanding between Italy and Austria as to an ultimate partition of the country in a mutually satisfactory manner.
The opposition between Austrian and Italian interests extends beyond the limits of Albania. The north-eastern coast of the Adriatic has for ages been an apple of discord between these two singular 'allies.' Their rivalry in those regions affords the astute Prince of Montenegro a constant opportunity of playing the perilous comedy once so adroitly performed by the kings of Navarre in Western Europe. But, happier than they, he enjoys the staunch support of a monarch more powerful than either of his immediate neighbours. Nevertheless, as the White Tsar—whose ' only 'friend' he had the distinction of being until Servia and Bulgaria joined the group—is a considerable way off, Prince Nicholas finds it advisable to cultivate cordial relations with Italy, as the less formidable of the two rivals, and to use her friendship as a shield against Austria, a Power whose proximity and pushfulness constitute much greater dangers to the peace of his Lilliputian dominions.
The political situation in Albania is so intimately connected with the general network of Balkan politics that the slightest disturbance of the latter is apt to affect it. So long as the Russo-Austrian entente of 1897, entered into with a view to preserving the status quo in the Balkan Peninsula, was in full force, Austria was allowed a free hand in Albania. But as soon as this contract virtually ceased to control the Near East policy of the two parties, Russia adopted the attitude of open opposition to Austrian interests in that province. Both unofficially, through the Panslavistic societies, and officially, through the Holy Synod of Russia, the Tsar's Government is—or until quite recently was—working with might and main towards the conversion of the Ghegs. In fact, so far from exhibiting any anxiety to conceal its aims, it carried them out by ite official representatives in the most obvious manner imaginable. The funds derived from the above-mentioned sources were distributed by the Russian Consul at Skutari, and the same functionary ostentatiously assisted at the restoration of old Orthodox churches or at the inauguration of new Slav schools. It is true that the slight amelioration in RussoAustrian relations, which has lately been brought about by their common antagonism to Germany, has tended to moderate the zeal of Russian representatives in Albania. But is it to be conceived that agents, who have for years been accustomed to devote themselves heart and soul to a cause, will relinquish it—except in outward appearance—at a moment's notice? Besides, the Russian campaign in Northern Albania forms part and parcel of the great Panslavistic movement which slowly tends to swallow up South-Eastern Europe. One of the immediate objects of this movement is the absorption of Macedonia, and no Power can be secure in the possession of Macedonia whose flank is left exposed to a free Albania. Hence the feverish activity of the Slavs in the latter province—an activity which is too much the result of vital interest to be permanently checked by the improvement of diplomatic or dynastic relations between the two Powers, whom the very nature of things forces into political rivalry.
Were further proof needed of Russia's determination to promote the Slav cause in Albania, it is supplied by an attempt lately made by that Power, in concert with Servia, to create two new Slav vice-consulships at Mitrovitza and Prisrend respectively. The project, however, had to be abandoned, temporarily at all events, owing to the attitude of the Albanians, who declared in unequivocal terms their intention to kill both the vice-consuls, if they came to take up their posts. In the face of these facts we find it hard to accept without reserve the assurances repeatedly given by Russian and Austrian statesmen of their mutual anxiety to abstain from all action calculated to disturb the equilibrium of the relative positions held by the two Powers in the Near East. The latest authoritative statement to that effect was made by the Emperor of Austria in his Address to the Delegations on May 7, and was subsequently echoed at greater length by his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Goluchowski, in the Budget Committee of the Austrian Delegation. Both Emperor and Minister agreed in emphasising the beneficial results of the St. Petersburg compact of 1897, one of which is the abandonment of 'the perilous 'system of the so-called Policy of Prestige in the Balkan 'Peninsula' and the initiation of a policy of perfect disinterestedness: 'formerly,' the Minister is reported to have said, 'distrust of the self-seeking aims of the other country • weighed heavily both upon Austria and Russia; but it was 'bound to disappear immediately it was authoritatively 'established that neither of them aspired to any territorial 'acquisition in the Near East.' This is an admirable text, viewed by itself; but it will hardly bear a scrutiny in the light of contemporary events. These tell a totally different tale. At the best the Minister's profession of faith may be taken as an illustration of Caesar's dictum,' Libenter homines 'id quod volunt credunt.'
In Southern Albania, or Epirus, we find, in contrast to the efforts of Italy, the Hellenic influence strong with the strength which long historic association can only impart, and which owes little or nothing to the artificial methods of a political propaganda. This influence is partly the outcome of religious sympathy—all the southern Christians being members of the Greek Church—and partly of community of speech. The Greek language is universally understood. In the larger towns, as Jannina, it is the mother tongue of all the citizens, irrespective of creed; and even in some of the country districts, where Albanian is the idiom in everyday use, Greek is employed in writing, or if, as it rarely happens, a Tosk wishes to use Albanian as a medium of communication, he employs the Greek characters. The training schools, due to the munificence of one individual alone (Zographos), within the last twenty years have furnished teachers to over two hundred Albanian villages, including altogether a population of some sixty thousand. In short, Greek holds among the Southern Albanians pretty nearly the position which English holds in the Highlands of Scotland and in Wales, and, not unlike the Scotch and the Welsh, the Tosks entertain a kind of sentimental affection for their vernacular, although for all literary, religious, and commercial purposes they find Greek a more practical, as well as more dignified, vehicle of thought. From community of religion and language to community of national sentiment it is but a short step, and, as might have been anticipated, the Christian Albanians of the south—the Epirots —nourish the same aspirations as the inhabitants of other districts similarly situated. They look upon themselves as inseparable members of the Hellenic race, and wish for nothing better than to be allowed to share in its fortunes— a sentiment fostered by the numerous Albanian colonies settled in the free kingdom, and, naturally enough, encouraged by all the inhabitants of that kingdom.
It was not to be expected that Greece should long remain an impassive spectator of the scramble for the possession of Albania. An Albanian League was formed at Athens, the Proclamation of which 'to the brethren in Albania' figures at the head of this article. The document is an eloquent, though necessarily somewhat biassed, appeal to their common origin, traditions, and struggles. It contains a programme for what is termed in it New Albania, and advocates the course of a rapprochement between the two ancient and autochthonous races of the Balkan Peninsula. It is, appropriately enough, signed by Sechos, Botzaris, and Tzavellas, names two of which at least are famous in modern Graeco-Albanian history, and calculated to arouse in the breasts of many Albanians memories of heroic and not very distant times when Greeks and Albanians shed their blood on many a common battlefield and for a common object. For some mystic reason, however, the pamphlet, though prettily printed and arrayed in a blue garment of unimpeachable purity, is written in an artificial vulgar idiom and spelling which to the Southern Albanian, who has even a smattering of Hellenic culture, will be distasteful if not bewildering; while to his brother of the north, who is not acquainted with the Greek language in any shape or form, it will be utterly meaningless. The idea advocated in this publication is not quite new. Ali Pasha, the notorious tyrant, and yet one of the three great men produced by modern Albania, at the beginning of the nineteenth century conceived the plan of erecting an independent Albano-Grecian State under his own rule. Had his reputation for perfidy been less wide-spread or less well founded, he would probably have succeeded in carrying out his scheme. He failed because none of those interested gave him credit for sincerity. The fact, however, that he made the proposal shows that it was a plausible one. At a later date, in 1846, the insurgent chief Guleka made similar overtures to the Greek Minister Coletti, inviting Greece to join in the struggle, or to assist the Albanian insurgents with arms and ammunition. The Minister's death brought the negotiations to a premature conclusion. Still later, during the Congress of Berlin, in 1878, the Albanian Committee of Prisrend, in a memoir to Lord Beaconsfield, refer to the possibility of 'doubling the defensive resources of 'Albania by an alliance with Greece, who sees in the Slavs * a dangerous enemy and is convinced that her interests are 'identical with ours.'
The proposal, briefly stated, is to form a joint AlbanoGrecian State on the model of Sweden and Norway or Austria-Hungary, or of Moldavia and Wallachia before those two principalities were incorporated into what is now the kingdom of Roumania. The two States together, it is urged, could easily check the progress of the Slavs and keep them out of Macedonia, as in olden times Philip of Macedon assisted by the Illyrians—the ancestors of the modern Albanians—succeeded in repelling the barbarians of the north. Greece would gain much from such an alliance. The Albanians are warriors born and bred. Their existence for centuries past has been a continuous fight—now against the Turks, now against the Slavs. When in want of foreign foes they keep themselves in training by their internal feuds. To Greece such allies would be invaluable. In return for this service the Albanians would profit by the Greek aptitude for a seafaring life. Their coast would be defended by the Greek fleet, and Greek enterprise would also develop the commercial possibilities of the country. Moreover, the civilisation of the Greeks would enable Albania to lay the foundations of a national education and of a political organisation. The idea, so far as it has been promulgated, seems to have met with a favourable reception among the • brethren.' There is a strong racial affinity between the Greeks and the Albanians. The national customs, dress, and folklore of the