At tiu b distance from the theatre of European events we necessarily often obtain a very indistinct, and not unfroquently an entirely distorted yiew of 1 what is transpiring among Continental [nations. Tho events of tho past four months m the Kingdom of Servia form a case m point. Everybody knows that King Milan and Queen Natalia have been divorced at tho instance of the former, that Kiug Milan has abdicated, anil that his son Alexander— a boy of fourtoen — reigns m hia stead, bat these indisputable facts are surrounded by an amount of fiction which renders it all but impossible to decide with certainty as to the causes which have led to these results, and the motives of those who have been tho principal agents. According to somo of the chroniclers of the doings of Courts and Princes, King Milan is little better than a lunatic, and we have been told all sorts of things about him, the latest story being that he was about to shave his head and join a monastic brotherhood of the severest kind, that to judge from a lengthy report of an intorviow between the ex King and a correspondent of the London " Times," wbich appears m a recant issue of that journal, the madness of his ex-Majesty, if ho be mad, has so much method m it as to be remarkably like sanity. He appears to have spoken entirely without reserve, and declared as to the motives of his divorce that the Queen and himself had lived very unhappily together. " She (he said) WBB a Panslavist, and, as regards me and my polioy, a veritable Hibilist, scheming to annihilate everything that I did." As to his reasons for abdication he deolarcd that he had serious reasons for this step, remarking " On ne jette pas une couronne conime on jette une vielle pantonfle.'' (One does not throw aside a orown as one throws aside an old s'ipper.) These then were m substance the reasons wbich he gave : — " First, I do not believe that constitutional government can succeed m Sorvia, and I do not feel that I have m mo the Btuff for a constitutional ruler. I saw that the Radicals were gaining the upper hand m the constituencies, and I endeavored to work with thorn, but I found ft impossible. There was no point of contact between me and these men. My alternatives were either to become an obedient instrument m the hands of the Radicals, who I know would have deposed me on the first convenient opportunity, or else to embody all the reforms which tho Radicals desired m a new Constitution, and then to leave this Constitution to be worked by the politicians who had olamoured for it. You mast remember that Radical agitations had not only weakened the Royal authority, bat they had rendered it well-nigh impossible to collect taxes. Living m the chroma expectation of great political changes, men who could well afford to pay taxes hogged their money, and officials who alao fnlfc thfl nnoartftinty of tbo situation were afraid to distrain upon them. There were thus complications within complications, and I deemed it best to give Sorvia m one grant all the liberties which a nation can demand. Bat Ido not believe m this now Constitution, and I am convinced that it can only produce fresh internal conflicts, which will eventually bring the nation to see that I was right mmy views. However, if the Constitution should, outlast tho minority of my son, he, bred m opinions different from mine, may bo able to play his part as a Constitutional Sovereign. Bat, once again, I doubt this. I maintain the opinion that Servia can only be governed m one way, and I must add that it was never open to me to carry out my ideas." History may, and ve,ry probably wilj, prove that King Milan waß entirely wrong m supposing that Servia is incapable of being governed by constitutional methods, bat his utterances above quoted certainly indicate anything bat failure of intellect on his ex- Majesty's part. And as to tho story anent his intention to assume tho cowl, here is an extraot from the " Times " correspondent's letter, whioh entirely disposes of that : — " Next his Majesty said that he intended to keep altogether aloof from the political affairs of Servia, and would not take op his residence m any city where he might be sußpeotod of carrying on political intrigues f He would prefer Paris, but that, as an important, political centre, was not open to him. He should like to visit London, but he bad never yet set foot m England, and not knowing our language be thought he would dorivo but little enjoyment from a tour m Groat Britain. His present purpose was to visit Constantinople and tho Holy^Landj and after thju to undertake desultory journeys right and left. It might be that later he would return to k<?J7Ja. and fix bis residence there, but this would depend on circumstances. Thore could bo no question of his over resuming the Orown, for his act of abdication had put it out of his power to do this, and m any case bo could not thiuk of dispossessing his own son. But if. it should plcasp his son to accept him as an advisor be might gom'o day or other settle m Sorvia m a privato capacity and give his son tho benoftt of his experience." The foregoing will, wo think, assist our readers to a more intelligent apprepjatjon of what has 1 boon and is transpiring m Servia than ia possible from a mere perusal of tho news by cable, and goes indeed to show that the intelligence thus reoeived is often m the highest degree misleading,
Permanent link to this item
KING MILAN., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2147, 13 June 1889
KING MILAN. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2147, 13 June 1889
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.