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backs, the Grand Ducal drones strut from the Emperor a sword of honor as about with stars and ribbons and all a fitting recognition of his gallantry. the finery symbolical of bravery and The gallantry, not of a soldier, but of virtue, accompanied at times by their a vulgar Don Juan, fair Aspasias. To most of these men, The wives and children of the solwho impregnate the Emperor's mind diers are also badly off, being treated with mischievous notions, the gratifi- as enemies might be. In theory, incation of their passions is the sole law deed, they are supposed, if in want, of their existence, and the acquisition to receive an allowance from their comof money for that indulgence the one mune; but, in fact, many of them purpose that regulates their activity. wander about from pillar to post begWe are neither puritanical nor hypo- ging alms. Other women who possess critical in Russia, and we can make a cow, or a little corn, are called upon great allowances for our Imperial fam- to pay taxes under pain of distraint, ily. But we object to a numerous while their husbands are dying in caste of mere blood-sucking parasites, trucks, grievously wounded, or "are some of whose lives are made up of buried in a hurry and presumably unpunished crimes, mean shifts, colos- dead.” The misery which this way of sal frauds, and outlandish vices. They doing the nation's business has brought form a sorry herd of masqueraders down upon our people is as yet only who, to assume their proper shapes, in its incipient stage. It may reach need but a sip from a Circe's wine cup. its culminating-point in a year from One of the most notorious of the band now. A word from the autocrat would is the Grand Duke Boris. This youth's stop the war, and put not an end but wild freaks in St. Petersburg broke the a term to its horrible consequences. records of the chronique scandaleuse of Humanity and religion prompt him to the reign, and would certainly not utter the word. Family love and even have been tolerated in the France of personal self-interest, properly underthe Regency. He was sent to the war stood, command him to pronounce it. partly to remove him out of harm's But he is deaf and blind and blandly way, and partly to hinder him from persevering. further compromising the family. But During the few weeks of relative he changed the stage only, not his own press freedom which preceded and folróle there. In the Far East he con- lowed the historic Zemsky Congress tinued the strange unedifying existence every procession, banquet, lecture, he had led on the banks of the Neva, meeting, address, and speech brought with this difference: that now his com- the ardent desire of the people for rades and partners, male and female, peace to the cognizance of the Tsar were drawn from the army. Kuropat- and his Grand Ducal following. But kin, who is said to have been assaulted that was the one topic which the by this promising young Prince, begged newspapers were absolutely forbidden for his recall. On the birth of the Heir to discuss. And it was also the subApparent he was accordingly sent to ject uppermost in the mind of the nathe capital "to congratulate the Tsar.” tion. The editors of the Zemsky organ: And while many a brave Russian sols received numerous articles and letters dier was dying by inches lying on containing arguments, appeals, and pehorse dung in a pandemonium on titions against the continuation of the wheels, the Grand Duke Boris, whose meaningless campaign, but they threw greatest feat was the invasion of Man
3"Our Life" is the name of the daily newschurian haunts of vice, was receiving paper which has received that epithet.
them into their waste-paper basket. any more than the blind who leads the Nothing touched his Majesty so closely, blind wishes to fall into the ditch. He officials said, as that delicate question recoils from any act the immediate respecting which his intolerance of di- consequence of which he knows to be vergent opinions was fanatical. To a a breach of the peace. But it is not dignitary who informed him that the often that this knowledge is possessed news of the formation of three Man- by a man who is unhappily effect. churian armies had caused heart-sink- blind. Unquestionably when he sees ing among the people, who interpreted the State ship making for a rock or the order as a sure sign that the war sandbank he does change his course. would be continued, his Majesty made He certainly forsook the Grand Ducal answer: "The war is my concern, not coterie more than once when they were theirs. I will have not three only, but playing for a war with England. For five or ten Manchurian armies mobilthe Tsar's aim is never war: hence it ized, if I think well of it.” Now that is not of malice that we accuse him, is not the spirit in which war should only of incompetency. To us his subbe discussed, even by a peace-worship- jects, however, this is merely a disper. It is unethical. A campaign car- tinction not a sensible difference. Yet ried on in spite of its manifest hope all that the moderate spirits among us lessness, a campaign which imposes ask is, that in the conduct of diplotremendous sacrifices and hardly promo matic negotiations and military operaises infinitesimal advantages, is a tions he should have specialists of his crime against humanity. And if autoc- own choice to guide him and should racy cannot subsist without such consent to be guided by them. That crimes, is it worth preserving?
seems, and indeed is, little. But to a Those are some of the reflections dreamer who thinks that he needs nomade by myself and many of my col- body but God, that is to say nobody leagues on the Tsar's method of shap- at all, it involves a very heavy sacriing our relations with foreign powers fice. A greater sacrifice will be dein peace and in war time. To that manded of Nicholas II. at home where, method we take objection on the disdaining to govern an organized naground that it is based on a mistaken tion, he is the lord of a vast multitude view of his rights and duties. He re- of passive subjects. For Russia is not gards himself not as the trustee of the an Empire State but an Imperial esnation but as the owner of so many tate and all its inhabitants are his million souls. Hence if he satisfies his serfs. That is the keystone of the auconscience that his motives are good, tocratic arch. From that mischievous however lamentable the results of his theory of autocracy as from a poisoned action, he has performed his duty; and source spring all our ills. whatever he may do or neglect besides His Majesty the Tsar lives in strict is no business of the people's. It is monogamy with one idea, and unhapfor him to command and for them to pily the union seems doomed to be obey. God being with him who is without male issue. No political against him? For him Russia is not a Schenk, Philippe or St. Seraphim will nation as France and England are, cause it to bring forth the wished for but only a vast multitude of subjects fruit. The contents of that idea are whose bond of union is their allegiance that the Autocrat of all the Russias is to the Tsar. Thus interpreting his by God's grace the keeper of the lives, part, Nicholas II. plays it passably. the property, and the consciences of He did not mean to lead us into war his own people and the arbiter of peace
or war in the whole world besides. To lawyers, schoolmasters, journalists, stuargue against such a fixed idea is part dents, peasants, merchants in a word, of the business of medical psychol- members of all sections of society, have ogists. To render it permanently been arrested, imprisoned, banished, harmless is the duty of those who are without ever being reproached with liable to suffer from it and they are any misdemeanor. Yet the law has the entire Russian people. Its victims never been repealed. It is only sysare lying in the fields of Manchuria tematically violated by the rulers in and on the heights of the Liao-tung the name and on behalf of the autocpeninsula.
racy. And now loud voices cry out We have seen how that fixed idea of that if autocracy cannot thrive withthe autocrat undermined the world's out that privilege of breaking the law peace. Upon everything that our peo- in order to trample on the people then ple is, has, and would be, its influence autocracy must go. has been still more pernicious. In The press is treated in a similar way. particular it has destroyed all notion Its liberty is circumscribed by rules of legality, without which no ordered which are voluminous and stringent. community can exist. A code of laws, Yet the journalist who exercises the civil and penal, we do possess, and it slender liberty which they leave him is is spread over a vast number of folios. in constant danger of punishment and But its value is chiefly historical. may be reduced to beggary, imHence, Prince Dolgorouki truly wrote: prisoned, or driven to Siberia. In the “La plus volumineuse des mauvaises provinces a newspaper has to be read plaisanteries est notre code des lois." and approved of by the censor before it And in verity it comes to us like the can be printed. But even after this sneer of some satanic autocrat, em- official has expressly allowed an artibodied in the phraseology of the cle to appear the author of it may be courts. It is pretty well known to dealt with as a criminal. And religmost people that everything is for- ious convictions are played with in like bidden to us, which is not expressly manner. A man holds, for instance, allowed, but what foreigners have more that our Russian Orthodoxy is Christ's difficulty in realizing is that nothing Church, but that it ought to be govwhich is even expressly permitted can erned by a patriarch instead of a Sybe done with the certainty that it will nod, he is kidnapped by the police, hurnot entail severe punishment.
ried off to a sort of oubliette, and there “Nobody shall be deprived of the treated as a dangerous madman. rights of his social standing nor shall Other people believe that Evangelical such rights be curtailed otherwise than Christianity is Christ's teaching. For by a tribunal for a crime.” That is this they are outraged, banished, and one of the many clauses of a law their children excluded from Governwhich foreigners might be tempted to ment and Zemsky schools. That is take for the preamble to our Magna being done at this very moment, after Charta. But during the present reign the publication of the Imperial ukase. and the last they have one and all been In Moscow young men who never rendered obsolete: for the members of broke a law are kept in prison for the administration and even the police months and years without a trial, until have been invested with extensive at last they agree to starve themselves privileges which abolish most of the to death; and on the eleventh or elementary rights of the individual. twelfth day they are set free, there beHence noblemen, landowners, doctors, ing no charge against them.
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI. 1390
Spies are employed by the thousand ing in good faith. At length on the to prey into men's secret thoughts 12-25 December the Emperor spoke out. about the autocracy. Letters are Will his ukase satisfy our people? opened in the postoffice and read-and Britons, Americans, Frenchmen, and deplorable mistakes are sometimes Germans ask the question-needlessly. made by the readers or their employers. Ukases and manifestoes are paper All books, journals, and newspapers which endureth all things. Ink and coming into the Empire have to be paper are among the plagues of our conned, and many of them mutilated country. Remove the evils that press by officials immeasurably less enlight- upon us, lighten the burdens that ened than the men whose reading they weigh us down, and our people will regulate. Education is systematically be satisfied and grateful. It is not discouraged among the people; individ- paper, nor parchment, nor ukases, nor uals who spread it as volunteers are rescripts that we ask for, justice is all arrested and punished as traitors. that we crave. And justice is denied The Tsar himself in his marginal by the ruler who himself demands genglosses discounts it emphatically. Let erosity. Hitherto our people have been there be darkness is his command. hardly dealt with, ground down as Taxes are levied upon the peasants harmful enemies, not treated as loyal .greater than they can bear, so that subjects. And now it is not that they most of them feel the pinch of poverty will not, but that they cannot, endure and nearly all live in squalor, while the any longer and live. They have but the Grand Ducal Over-Russians appro- choice of perishing in silence or of priate the funds destined for the army, striking back in virtue of the law of navy, and other public departments, self-defence. And the latter alternaand parade in the theatres or at balls tive commends itself to many. with their favorite ladies.
It is not hard to help them, but the Now this is a system of rank injus- act presupposes moral courage and tice which would disgrace the Middle political insight, either in the Emperor Ages. It is opposed to the teaching himself or in his factotum, if he had of the Church, of which our Tsar is one. And M. Witte's ukase gives proof the chief protector. It is inhuman in of neither. It is a show got up for the its tendencies, selfish in its aims, bar- delusion of a whole people on the lines barous in its methods. And it is emi on which shows are sometimes arnently harmful to the autocracy itself. ranged for our Russian monarchs.
It was intense hatred of that inig- The sham Crimean "villages" improuitous system which emboldened the vised by Potemkin for the Empress Zemstvo chiefs to meet together last Catherine are the favorite type, and November and to ask for representa- Witte's ukase is a magna charta for tive government. It was loathing for the million à la Potemkin, a dissolving that tissue of falsehood, corruption, view which will, I fear, do as little hypocrisy, and cruelty that roused the good to its authors as to its dupes. students of our Universities and high And the circumstances that the keepschools, the members of the liberal pro- ers of the peasants' souls and confessions-in a word, all thinking Rus- sciences, the land-chiefs, are not to be sia-to cry "Down with the Autocracy!” disbanded, suggests that, after all, even And speaking for myself and for those political rights may be but a mirage. whose views are the same as mine, Speaking plainly, the ukase together I cannot but respect their motives with its supplementary communiqué The people like the monarch were act. reads like a cruel and stupid joke. We
look in vain there for any one measure derer, eschewing arguments, makes a which promises to be fair, square, and bomb and takes the life of the Imperial thorough. They are nearly all qualified minister and the Tsar is immediately -I might truly say nullified-by ifs and cowed. He heartily disavows the lifeans. For that reason they tantalize work of his counsellor and his own, and irritate instead of pacifying. and promises to do better and differ
When the Tsar, yielding to the en- ently in future; forgetting that he is treaties of the Dowager Empress, also abandoning the principle of autoclately put the interests of the Holstein racy, proclaiming the futility of arGotthorpdynasty in the hands of M. gument and putting a premium on Witte political sagacity as well as com criminal violence. mon sense ought to have prompted Punishment followed the blunder him to lay down the condition that no with swift and sure foot. People ukase should be issued by way of an- thirsting for change noted for future swer to the demands of the Zemsky use the spring which moves the sovCongress. That was a matter of per- ereign. At banquets and assemblies sonal dignity and political prudence. they laid down the dangerous princi. An autocrat whose title-deeds were ple that killing is not necessarily murdrawn up in heaven cannot afford to der and warmly eulogized the assassins allow the mere masses to encroach of Plehve. And that, to my thinking, upon his privileges. Above all things is a calamity not for the dynasty only there must be no weakness, no blench but likewise for our much suffering ing, no signs of fear. That is part of people. Repeal, reform, abolish to the A B C of autocracy, and nobody your heart's content, but let not your ever learned the lesson better than action be or even seem to be the conNicholas 1. But his descendant sequence of fear! But the wine is Nicholas II. has committed the unpar- poured out and now we must drink it donable sin in an absolute monarch; to the very dregs. he has allowed himself to be over- if it was a blunder to promise remastered by the multitude; they piped forms because bombs can be manuand he actually danced. An obscure factured and thrown by fellows who criminal took the life of his Grand fearing nothing can dare everything, Vizier, and the mighty ruler, answera- it was a crime to bungle the matter so ble only to God, at once changed the hopelessly as has been done in the whole course of his Government in con- ukase of last December. If reform sequence. For a generation our best was worth undertaking at all-at such men had striven to influence the autoc- a terrible sacrifice—it was surely racy. Men of letters, journalists, worth doing well. But the document politicians, even courtiers and minis- penned by an ambitious official in a ters had tried their hands and failed. hurry to snatch the reins of power, Nicholas had but to stamp his foot or and clawed and mutilated by Grand hurl his ukase and not a head was Ducal harpies bent on upholding their seen any longer to tower above the low prerogative to prey upon the people, level of the masses. Silence reigned ought never to have seen the light of and resignation. But an obscure mur day. Not because of its gaps, which
are many, but on account of its sham • At present Russia is governed not by the
reforms, which constitute a wanton Romanoff but by the Holstein-Gotthorp dy
provocation. I do not complain that nasty. Elizabeth I. was the last of the Romanoffs and her nephew Peter III, the first of the there is no mention there of the legisHolstein-Gotthorps.
lative assembly which was decreed in