Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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MONTENEGRO, a principality formed of a group of mountains on the west of Turkey, between Herzegovina on the north, Albania on the east and south, and Dalmatia on the west; on the latter side it is only separated from the basin of Cattaro and from the Adriatic by a strip of Austrian territory one league wide. Its area is 3,550 English square miles. The country is composed of Tsernagora, old Montenegro, and the Berdas, mountainous districts annexed at different times, and the annexations effected in 1878, including Dulcigno. The land bristles with pointed cliffs, and is intersected by walls of rocks; there is no easy communication with the world outside, except by the way of Lake Scutari. The capital is Cettigne, situated in Tsernagora. The population, which was estimated at 25,000 in the seventeenth century, and at 100,000 in 1835, in 1879 has increased to 250,000.


—The principality of Montenegro dates from 1485, when the Turks succeeded in destroying the kingdom of Serbia. The last of the Serb princes of Zeta, Ivan Tchernojevitch, being unable to hold the country, went to Tsernagora with his most faithful companions, added intrenchments to the natural defenses, and established his residence at Cettigne together with the episcopal liege. Thirty years later, power fell to the bishop; a third prince, George, married a Venetian, who, soon, becoming disgusted with the rude and austere life of Montenegro, persuaded her husband to forsake the principality for a life in Venice.


—The history of this country is simply a succession of stubborn conflicts between an indomitable little people and the neighboring pashas. The Montenegrins were always glad to serve the Venetians and Austrians as auxiliaries against the Turks, and when, abandoned in the treaties, they were left to their own resources, they continued nevertheless in a state of persistent hostility. Completely defeated in 1623, they were obliged to pay the haratch; but at the commencement of the eighteenth century when Russia began her policy of aggrandizement, she found in these eternal enemies of Turkey natural allies by the community of origin and religion. During the campaign of the Pruth the Montenegrins massacred 30,000 Turks. Vengeance did not delay its appearance; sword and flame spread desolation through Montenegro, and of the population there remained but the remnant which had escaped to the highest summits of the mountains and toward Cattaro. On the withdrawal of the Turks, however, the desert which they had made was repeopled; the principality was reconstituted under the protection of Russia. At the congress of Paris, Prince Daniel demanded absolute independence, hereditary power, and an outlet for the country by the cession of a port on the Adriatic. England had these demands set aside. Turkey, emboldened by this act, launched an army on Montenegro, and sustained a sanguinary defeat at Grahova. An international commission was intrusted with the tracing of new boundaries; but Prince Daniel was assassinated in 1860; fortune changed; and the victorious porte had a military road constructed across the country, with blockhouses occupied by Turkish troops. On the representations, however, of various powers, the blockhouses were demolished, and the porte, while preserving its sovereignty, consented to the maintenance of the territorial and administrative statu quo of Montenegro. This country, therefore, is semi-sovereign. Its constitution underwent considerable changes in the middle of the present century. The bishops (rladikas) being vowed to celibacy, had to designate their successors by will; then every new prince, monk or layman, was obliged to go abroad to be consecrated by a Greek metropolitan. At the death of Peter II., in 1851, his successor, Daniel, declared that to remove these difficulties he resigned the spiritual power, and his resolution, submitted to the assembled people, was sanctioned almost unanimously. Peter II. undertook to give more power to the government by beginning a centralization which his successor completed. Families descended from a common ancestor continued to form a tribe, plemya, but instead of being submitted to the patriarchal government of an hereditary chief, each plemya received as chief a captain appointed by the prince, paid by the state and liable to be deposed at any time. In each village of a plemya was established, in like manner, a lieutenant, dependent on the captain. The plemyas were distributed into eleven districts, called nahias, four of which formed old Tsernagora, and seven the Berdas. At the head of each nahia was placed a senator, intrusted with its administration, and with dispensing justice, and subject to the prince in the same way as the captains and lieutenants.


—In 1855 Prince Daniel Promulgated a code, in which he succeeded very skillfully in reconciling the ancient customs of the country with the new duties which were imposed on it. This code, which forms a political constitution in ninety-three articles, as well as a collection of civil and criminal law, has effected immense progress. Besides the prince, there is a senate, composed of sixteen members, intrusted with deliberating on public affairs on which the prince asks its advice; passing judgment on offenses involving more than 100 francs fine, and deciding on appeals from judgments rendered by the captains of the plemyas. The president, vice president, and members are appointed by the prince; they receive a salary and are lodged at the expense of the state. The assemblies are held at Cettigne, in a long, thatched building, divided into two parts, one of which serves as a stable for the asses and mules which bring the senators from the villages, and the other as the hall for deliberation.


—Every inhabitant from seventeen to fifty years of age is obliged to render military service at the first call of the prince. It is calculated that in this way 25,000 men are in a condition to bear arms; but as only three-fourths of them can be put into the field, the prince designates the nahias which are to furnish their contingents, or fixes the number of men to be taken in each nahia. Each individual furnishes his own arms, and, taking as many cartridges as he finds, and as much provision as he can carry, sets out for the place of muster. There are no quartermasters' departments or camps; the men sleep without tents where they can; they eat if the women bring them provisions, or if they make raids. The senator of the nahia is the commander of its contingent; he has lieutenants under his orders who are chiefs of the villages, and each commands 100 men; under these are corporals who command ten men. There is a permanent and paid military body for the purpose of maintaining order, the perianiks. These soldiers are distributed in the nahias, under control of the senators and lieutenants. They are also connected with the guard of the house and person of the prince; for this purpose fifteen of them are always at Cettigne, and are changed every month.


—The industrial productions consist only in a powder mill established by Peter II., in woolen stuffs, and in cloth of gold or silver, which the women spin and weave. The rearing of cattle is the chief occupation of the inhabitants. There are few cows, but many sheep and goats which form an article of exportation, together with honey, sumac wood, trout and other fish, smoked or salted. Daniel had a great number of mulberry trees planted, and silkworm cocoons figure among the exported products. In the nahias, sheltered from the north winds on the side of Lake Scutari, fruits and vegetables are produced in abundance; also wine and tobacco. Arable lands, however, are rare; every space with productive earth is surrounded with a wall of dry stones and planted carefully with Indian corn, rye, barley, oats and vegetables. Potatoes, introduced in 1780, are produced abundantly, and sold in the market of Cattaro. In exchange for their products, the Montenegrins obtain from the neighboring countries necessary manufactured articles, which, owing to the simplicity of their manners, are few; they are chiefly tools, coffee, salt, lead and arms.


—Wars, and the new organization of the country, have increased the public expenses and necessitated additional taxation. The receipts are made up of the personal tax, customs duties, the products of the farming of spirituous liquors and sumac wood; the total amounts to about 120,000 francs, which does not entirely cover the expenditure. The prince has his civil list, obtained in part from the fisheries and the product of several farms. To these receipts, which amount to about 70,000 francs, is added an annual subvention of 8,000 ducats, which he receives of Russia, and which makes a total of about 166,000 francs. But custom imposes on him heavy expenditure; he has presents to make, assistance to give; he aids in filling the deficit in public receipts, and in case of famine he imports grain from abroad. The finances still retain the character of the ancient régime of the vladikas.


—BIBLIOGRAPHY. Andric, Geschichte des Fürstenthums Montenegro, Vienna, 1853; Delarue, Le Monténégro, Paris, 1862; Dental, Montenegro its Peopïe and their History, London, 1877; Dutschitch, Zena Gora, Belgrade, 1874: Gopcevic, Montén´gro et les Mont´grins, Paris, 1877; Kohl, Reise nach Montenegro, 2 vols, Dresden, 1851; Kovalevsky, Montenegro and the Slavonic Countries, London, 1872; Krasinski, Montenegro and the Slaxonians of Turkey, London, 1853; Sestak and Scherbs, Militärische Beschreibuny des Paschaliks Herzegovina und des Fürstenthums Cernagona, Vienna, 1862; Viscountees Strangford, The Eastern Shores of the Adriatic in 1863, with a Visit to Montenegro, London, 1864.*58


Notes for this chapter

The constitution of Montenegro was somewhat changed in 1879. The executive power rests with the reigning prince, while the legislative power is vested in a state council of eight members, one-half nominated by the prince and the other half elected by the male inhabitants, who are bearing or have borne arms. By the "administrative statute" of 1879, the country was divided into eighty district and four military commands.

—There are no official returns of the expenditure and revenue of Montenegro. The former is estimated, however, at 180,000 Austrian florins and the latter at 300,000 florins per annum. There is no public debt.

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