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Costache Negri

Costache Negri (1812-1876) A leading Moldovan writer and diplomat, Negri was the son of a boyar family, educated at home, and then in Vienna and France, and widely travelled. Negri was recognized as a leader of the reformist younger generation in the Romanian principalities, despite his modesty and unselfishness. His estate at Minjina became a primary center for Moldovan (and Muntenian) nationalists and reformers in the late 1840s (including Nicolae Balcescu, Ion Ionescu de la Brad, and Vasile Alecsandri).

The outbreak of revolution in France in 1848 found Negri in Paris, where he volunteered for action in the revolutionary guards and presented the new French government with the Romanian tri-color. He was prohibited to return to Moldova in March 1848, but joined a group of Moldovan exiles as they escaped to Brasov in Transylvania. There he participated in the shaping of the May 1848 declaration of principles issued by the Moldovan emigres and in their proclamation calling for the ouster of Prince Mihai Sturdza. Subsequently he went to Bucovina, where he coordinated the work and propaganda of the Moldovan exile revolutionary committee (Alexandru Cuza assisted him in this effort). The defeat of the Muntenian revolution ended any illusions that Moldovans had of change at home, Negri and the others were now forced by a cholera epidemic and increasing opposition of the Habsburg authorities to leave Bucovina and return to France.

With other Romanian exiles, Negri devoted his efforts toward the unionist cause in 1849, but was soon able to return to Moldova where the new prince appointed him to various judicial and administrative positions. With the internationalization of the Romanian question in 1855, Negri embarked on a diplomatic career that made him for the next decade Romania's premier diplomat. At the same time, he was consistently in the inner councils of the Romanian unionist movement that led to the double election of Prince Cuza in 1859 and the union of 1861. (Negri, himself, was often pressured to be a candidate for the throne, which he consistently refused; his personal integrity seems to have been virtually unparalleled in Romanian political life.) After Cuza's ouster in 1866, Negri withdrew from political life.
Paul E. Michelson


Gh. N. Munteanu-Barlad, Costache Negri Bucuresti, 1911

Pericle Martinescu, Costache Negri Bucuresti, 1966.

Paul Paltanea, Viata lui Costache Negri Iasi, 1985.

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