PRESENT ROUMANIAN LEADERS AND THEIR POLICY.
Her husband, his Excellency Constantin A. Rosetti, has also reaped the reward of his devotion to his country's welfare. He is of an old boyard family of Italian origin, and in his early youth he was not only a soldier in the national army, but his pen also gained for him a considerable reputation, for he composed and published many interesting Roumanian poems. At the age of about thirty-two years he married the English lady to whom he owes so much, and of his adventures in 1848 we have already twice spoken. Before he permanently took up his residence in Paris after his escape, we believe he spent some time in Constantinople. In Paris he was the companion of Michelet, Quinet, and other leading writers, and with them and his countrymen the brothers Bratiano and Golesco lie managed by his patriotic publications to keep the lamp of liberty burning in his own country. Here, too, he is said to have enjoyed the support of our own distinguished statesman, William Ewart Gladstone, who was subsequently made a Roumanian citizen by an Act of the legislature about the year 1861, and whom the Roumanians still regard with feelings of great respect and admiration. On the return of M. Rosetti to Roumania after the Crimean war he founded the 'Romanal' a daily paper which still occupies a high position amongst the journals of the capital, and which remains his property. He took a conspicuous part in the union of the Principalities under Prince Couza, and supported that prince whilst his proceedings were constitutional, but he was one of the most active agents in his deposition, and the only serious objection that has been taken to his acts and those of his colleagues on that occasion is that he employed the army to bring about the prince's overthrow. To this matter, however, we have already referred in our historical summary. In 1866 he was one of the provisional government, and was at first by no means favourably disposed towards the present king, who was, we believe, recommended to the Roumanians by the Emperor Napoleon III. In later times, however, he became one of his Majesty's most faithful advisers.
M. Rosetti is about sixty-seven years of age, full of life and energy. His career of hardship has somewhat bowed his physical frame, but it has in no way interfered with his cheerful and kindly disposition. In appearance he is an Italian, has very prominent but mild eyes, and a most thoughtful, somewhat careworn countenance. He is vif, hot and excitable, and not unfrequently lets his voice be heard if anything is going wrong in public affairs, and something is very often going wrong in Roumania. He speaks Roumanian, French, and German, and can write English (of which he is fond of interjecting an expressive word now and then when he is speaking in French) fairly well. Unfortunately for scandal-mongers, of whom there are a good many in the capital and elsewhere, M. Rosetti lives with great simplicity on the premises of the 'Romanul,' and upon, the profits of his paper and his salary; so they are unable to charge him with peculation, which they would certainly do if he gave them the slightest justification. He is a Radical, and an uncompromising enemy of coups d'état, and of despotism or unconstitutional proceedings in any form, a man of unflinching honesty and the leader of political thought in his country. In fact, he is a patriot, and his countrymen know and appreciate the fact.
They usually couple his name with that of M. Bratiano, who is President of the Council and Minister of Finance, and, so far as temperament is concerned, the very opposite of his colleague. M. Bratiano is a quiet, courteous gentleman, somewhat younger than M. Rosetti. His features are regular and handsome, his beard and hair iron-grey, and his voice even and melodious. He is full of pleasant humour, and has the bearing and manner of an English gentleman; but although an excellent debater, he is not a good linguist. In Roumania they say, 'Rosetti thinks and Bratiano speaks,' but Bratiano thinks as well as speaks. So completely at one are the two statesmen that many of the uninformed poorer classes who have not seen them believe them to be one person, whom they call 'Bratiano-Rosetti,' and whilst we were in Bucarest we saw a caricature (an art in which the Roumanians take great delight) where the two statesmen were depicted as the Siamese twins.
The aim and policy of M. Bratiano are well expressed in one of his despatches on the question of the Danube, which were made public by that diplomatic phenomenon M. Callimaki-Catargi. 'Our attitude,' he says, 'like the whole policy of the ministry to which I belong, has always been, and ever should be, defensive, not offensive.'
Amongst the other leaders of political thought in Roumania is Prince Demeter Ghika, President of the Senate, a fine burly good-natured gentleman of the old school; Prince Jon Ghika, at present the Roumanian Ambassador in London, a patriot and a savant, whose sons were educated in England; M. Statesco, the Foreign Minister, a young and promising statesman; M. Stourdza, the director of the National Credit Association; and there are doubtless many others of whom we do not like to speak without a nearer acquaintance, or better information than we possess. One of these is M. Cogalniceanu, a deputy, who has written a good history of Roumania, was a minister under Prince Couza, and we believe the author of the celebrated Act of 1864 which created the peasant proprietary of the country.