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MS137_AJ95_150_12
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KOUMANIA.
15
honourably under the flag, and bad returned to assist an aged father or a widowed mother—such a man could not be called a vagrant. But there are rescripts from more than one prefect and mayor to prove the contrary.
There was, however, one safeguard against the arbitrary enactment of this law. From the time when Roumania stood under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Government, there was a distinct class of citizens, mostly merchants who had immigrated, who were the protegds or subjects of some Western Power, and who enjoyed the powerful protection of their native Government. These persons differed from the Ray a. or natives, in the fact that they were exempt from Roumanian taxes and military service; but they paid their taxes to their own consuls, and received from them a kind of letters patent, and, when they travelled abroad, regular passports.
Such men could not very well be treated as vagrants; they were, thus, a great obstacle in the way of the Roumanian Government, which had to be very careful with these protiges lest they should complain to their consuls, who in their turn would report to their own Government, which would be compelled to interfere. So far the proteges enjoyed a partial immunity.
The reports of the consuls drew attention at times to the arbitrary action of the Roumanian Government, which, therefore, desired to get rid of such compromising documents at any cost.
Austria, especially, with 25,000 or more proteges, was in this respect a constant thorn in the side of Roumania. It is not exactly known what means were resorted to by the Roumanian Government, but Austria was induced to relinquish her protection, and to hand over her proteges to the tender mercies of Roumanian officials who threw themselves like a pack of bloodhounds upon these new victims. The protection of Austria being no longer afforded to them, the Jews of that country living in Ron mania could safely be deemed vagrants, as they could not produce any documentary proof of nationality.
It is easy to understand what followed the abandonment of
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