« PreviousContinue »
clause 3 of the original ukase and of the ukase of last December. No struck out at the last moment. At best body was a whit the better for it, for it inaugurated only a ceremony, and persecution went on as before. Would at worst-i.e., when the Grand Dukes it not have been wiser to continue the Vladimir and Sergius had done with old system in silence without intensifyit-its proper place was the opera ing its bitterness by arousing hopes bouffe. I do not complain that the and disappointing them? Liberty of whole question of education, which our conscience, forsooth! autocracy is more anxious to stifle than T he press is another skeleton in the to spread, has been burked. That is cupboard of autocracy, and officialdom far better than bungling it. In truth is resolved to hinder as long as possievery problem ought to have been thus ble any political Ezekiel from causing avoided which the Tsar could not or breath to enter into its dry bones would not deal with fully and Perchance its revelations would render thoroughly.
the existence of the bureaucracy unLiberty of conscience is one of the bearable. That fear is not groundless, "liberties” which, like the right of pub- But if the press skeleton is not to be lic meeting and of association, his removed from the cupboard, and reMajesty ought to have fought shy of to vived, why disturb it with such solemthe last, for he has manifestly no inten- nity? The Tsar promises to repealtion of granting it. The Stundists— the press laws? No, not the press Englishmen would perhaps call them laws; that is impossible. Perhaps the Evangelical Christians-are persecuted ministerial circulars and the orders in the most unchristian and sometimes daily telephoned to editors which are, inhuman way; and in this the ukase so to say, the barbed-wire entangle has made no change. Since it was is- ments around the Statute Law? No, sued our ministry of Public Instruction not even these. His Majesty will re-as appropriately presided over by a move only those restrictions which his general as the land forces in Man- bureaucrats may consider “superchuria were commanded by a “horse fluous." Superfluous restrictions! And marine"-has refused to the children of for this joke a special clause of the Stundists admission to any Govern- Imperial ukase was necessary! ment or Zemsky schools. They are But the Emperor is misinformed if he condemned to live and die in crass fancies it is still possible to deal thus ignorance, not by our Orthodox Church, with the people's means of enlightenstill less by our tolerant people, but ment-education and the press. I who by the autocracy. And now men say sincerely desire to see the autocracy that if the night of ignorance must be live, and thrive, believe that it would preserved in order that the star of au- be inadvisable, if it were feasible, to tocracy should continue to twinkle, continue to gag the newspaper and they will dispense with its light alto- book press. But it is now no longer gether. Eight Evangelical Christians feasible. Since the Tsar, intimidated have been ordered to quit the town of by the bomb of Sozonoffs appointed Sevastopol, and several more have Sviatopolk Mirzky to the Ministry of been expelled from the province of the Interior and allowed the press for Kieff since the publication of the ukase. a few weeks a greater degree of liberty Words, then, not deeds, ukases not re- than it has enjoyed for a whole genforms, are the watchwords. The mani. eration, he dropped the reins and it is festo of March 1903 dealt with liberty
o The man who actually threw the bomb of conscience in terms similar to those which killed Plehve.
very unlikely that he can seize them lease of existence without ruining Rusagain. I confess I am not sorry. The sia or ceasing to be itself. But by aumuzzling system gave us dead silence tocracy I meant not the oriental despofor a time, followed by cold blooded tism of Alexander III. and Nicholas lying for a season, and then disaster II., in which thousands of officials after disaster. Our people are nour- share, but the one-man rule of the first ished on mystery and falsehood which Romanoffs, which was absolute with. are becoming part of their very soul out being despotic. But the despotism tissues. On the day that Port Arthur of the Holstein-Gotthorp dynasty is a surrendered our official organs assured monster with thousands of hands, all the people that the Japanese had suf- grasping and all throttling. And of fered such tremendous defeats that this chaotic régime we shall soon see they had completely lost heart. And the last. then the terrible blow smote our peo. Some years ago, I remember, M. ple unparried. In a word, it is certain Pobedonostseff-the last ideologist of that no power should, and it seems prob- autocracy-explained the limitations of able that no power can, muzzle our that form of government at a sitting of press in the future as in the past. the Committee of Ministers. Sipyaghin, And it is devoutly to be hoped that who afterwards became Home Secreofficialdom will not put the matter to tary and was murdered, had presented the test. Time is a swift horse and to the Emperor the petition of a priwoe to the autocrat who clings not to vate person who desired to have a the mane.
decision of the Senate summarily A grain of humor in the Tsar might quashed. No precedent could be have saved the Tsardom. But his pleaded for interfering in a civil case character lacks that grain. While al- which had been definitely decided by lowing bureaucrats to hide the truth the highest court, but Sipyaghin held under a bushel at their discretion, to that the Tsar could do everything, and force our masses to think and pray that whatever he does is right and just. according to official circulars, to arrest Pobedonostseff, however, flatly denied men of every class and rank and punish that theory, and in an excellent speech them without trial or accusation, the very clearly explained what the limitaukase naïvely announces his Majesty's tions of autocracy are. He defined it intention to set law above administra- as a legal form of government not a destive caprice. "For law," he seriously potism. The Tsar, he said, is indeed adds, “is the most essential mainstay the source of law, but on condition of the throne in an autocratic State.” that he be also its guardian and see "God forbid !" is the response which that it is respected. That, unfortuthe friends of autocracy will fervently nately, is only the theory. utter. If law be in truth the strongest Still, I hoped that Nicholas II. would support of the throne, the outlook of see that the Tsardom need not be the absolutism in Russia is bleak indeed. embodiment of caprice, that one man For law has long been no more than a may be absolute without all good and vague tradition among us.
gifted men being banished or imSome months ago I was in hopes that prisoned. I thought that with comautocracy might acquire a further petent advisers-chosen by himself-to
• That is the signification of the provisional sharers of Imperial power. And the Tsar in preventive measures adopted after the mur his ukase has refused to repeal them. der of Alexander III. and down to this day. 7 Sipyaghin's proposal was thrown out by They abolish all laws and make the governors the Committee of Ministers.
stand by him in critical moments, with all, or rather to all but the Emperor. out the mischievous meddling of His Majesty ignored it. He recently greedy Grand Dukes and their rapa said to one of his ministers who had cious followers, and with the press to spoken to him of a legislative chamkeep him in touch with the nation, his ber: "I will not entertain the idea. Beautocracy might live on to train our sides, it is a matter which concerns people and gradually fit them for a not myself only, but my family, and larger share in the government.
they will never consent.” Has he no But to-day I am less hopeful. The fear that they will hamper or harm ukase has compromised absolutism, es- him irremediably? If, as the proverb tranged the people, and damaged a says, “The lesser saints are the ruin cause which had long ceased to arouse of God," what rôle may not human enthusiasm. It shows Nicholas II, in demons play when their superior is the light of a man who has no sense only a Tsar? of public duty, no political instincts, Nicholas II. may still hope something no psychological tact. He trifles with from fate, but he has much to fear words and phrases while his people are from time and men, to whose warnings writhing and bleeding. He is unable to he has hitherto been blind and deaf. rid himself of the idea that Russia is At the beginning of his reign, if, inhis estate, his vochina. Other countries stead of stamping angrily with his may be governed badly or well, but at foot and punishing the loyal men of least they are ruled for the nation: ours Tver for their frankness, he had heark. is managed only for the dynasty. For ened to their voices he would have be. Russia is an estate, not a State. It be- come a popular idol at a small cost. longs to the Holstein-Gotthorp family He might then have delighted his sub-is in reality their private property. jects with toys of mere glittering Hence the Tsar refuses to listen to the quartz; to-day they demand costly dia. advice of his "serfs,” even when they monds, and no longer as a favor but as would have the Augean stables of the a right. But he perceives no difference Grand Dukery cleansed and disin- between now and then. And in his fected. His Imperial uncles, cousins, own character there is none. For the and nephews are dearer to him than Nicholas of to-day is the Nicholas of the Fatherland, their interests touch ten years ago; a mild nerve-shattered him more closely than the fate of youth, incapable of clear, hard thinkpeople. It was Grand Dukes Vladimir ing, or of pitting his will against that and Sergius who gave its final shape of the masses, who walks through life to the ukase. It is the Grand Dukes with the settled smile of a somnambuwho clog every wheel in the State list moving serenely over dizzy cliffs machinery, taking much and giving for a while. A few weeks ago he sent little, obtaining honors in exchange for for Count Ignatieff and consulted him honor. Probably no such greedy and on the problems which were then upunscrupulous hangers-on of royalty permost in his mind. The conversahave ever been known to history. tion was opened thus: “I want your They fear no law, they despise every views, Count, as to the form of Governminister, they live on the fat of the ment which I had best give to Manland, and are ready to ruin the nation churia.” “It is a difficult problem, for the pettiest of interests. Before your Majesty; but we shall be able to Russia could again reconcile herself see more clearly by the time the provto autocracy the claws of those harpies ince will have been formally anmust be cut. That seemed evident to nexed." "Oh, that will be very soon now. You may assume that it is ours ters whom he forbids to speak or act; already. Go on." Another question substitutes for them favorites to whom which his Majesty put to the Count in turn he offers a deaf ear, and is now was: “What course ought, in your opin- trying almost alone to force our whole ion, to be taken respecting our conces- nation to bleed to death for himself sions in Corea ?” The Count's reply and a parasitic brood of human bloodwas framed on the same lines as his suckers. But hither our people will answer to the first query. The ques- probably refuse to follow him. They tion was not pressing, and the Japa- already deny his right to send them nese were still in Corea. But Nicholas thither. insisted that they were going out again Yet he still insists with the serenity very soon. In a word, as he was, he of the somnambulist and the smile of is, and, unhappily for us, will continue the seer. Whether ruler and ruled will to be. Our people have a saying that yet try issues is now immaterial, bethe tomb alone can straighten a hunch- cause autocracy, as the Holstein-Gotback.
thorp dynasty understands it, is at its To the acts of such a prince we need last gasp. Whatever else may survive not look for signs of those unsuspected the coming storm that monstrosity gifts which God sometimes bestows on must surely go, and one fervently a man in secret, and circumstance hopes that the autocrat will not cling brings to light in a day or an hour. more closely to it than he has clung As in the past, so in the present, he to the mane of fleeting time. Fata makes laws which he will not respect; volentes ducunt, nolentes trahunt. he convokes councils whose advice he
The Author of "The Tsar" declines to follow; he appoints minis
in the Quarterly Review. The National Review.
THE CHURCHES AND THE CHILD.
The time has arrived for a frank con- over the Education Act, and the pressideration of the whole question of the ent débâcle in France, it may be well, relations of the Churches to education. perhaps, for the Church to consider Living facts only, apart from all past whether she could, without sacrificing traditions and practices not essential any essential principle, adopt an eduto the real issue, are relevant to the cational policy that would meet the inquiry. I shall deal chiefly with the needs of Great Britain, Ireland, and claims of the Roman Catholic Church; the United States. for that Church has taken up the most Those who have watched the trend extreme position in regard to educa- of events in these countries must action. Any argument that tells against knowledge a growing dissatisfaction on her position applies with equal, if not the part of the people with the present greater force, to the other Churches. interference of the Churches in secular The Catholic Church has often shown education. England is in an uproar herself capable of adapting her meth- against the last Education Act, which ods to the conditions of the age, when has already become so unworkable in these conditions can be moulded to Wales that the Government which inhelp her in her spiritual mission. In troduced the law is said to be about to view of the disturbance in England amend it. The Liberal Party, when it gets into power, is unlikely to stop the assertion of the claim led to a short at mere amendment. In Ireland, greater moral evil than a possible dana strong party, including many prac- ger to the faith and morals of the child. tical Catholics, is dissatisfied with The danger to the faith and morals of the clerical management of primary the child under a State system of schools, and is unwilling to give the secular education in the United KingChurch any large share in the control dom and the United States is extremely of the proposed university for Catho problematical; indeed, in the minds of lics. In the United States, many lead- many Catholics, it is non-existent, espeing Catholics have openly opposed the cially if the Church makes use of other Church-school system; and still larger means readily at her command to numbers, consider it an intolerable secure the religious teaching of her burthen on the Catholic middle class children. On the other hand, an atand poor. In English-speaking coun- tempt to enforce the claim of the tries generally, the Catholic Church Church to control secular education is seems to be in opposition to the State certain to provoke grave breaches of on the school question, and without Christian peace. the support of many of its own bestThe claim of the Church to the conchurch attendants. Unless the ques- trol of secular education seems to be tion at issue is an essential one, this based, not so much on the facts and is an unusual position for the Catholic conditions of the day, as on the desire Church, which does not usually fill the to preserve historical continuity. In rôle of a Quixote tilting against wind- medieval times, the Church controlled mills.
all education, secular as well as reIn discussing the relations of the ligious. It was an age when the Church to education, a distinction clergy were almost the only educated must be made between religious and men; therefore on them naturally fell secular education. Few will deny the the duty of teaching. As a rule, right of the Church to educate the medieval education was confined to the child in its religious belief. The fight teaching of polite letters, in so far as of the Roman Catholic Church to main these were necessary for the culture tain this right, in the face of persecu- of the gentleman of the day. The old tion and suffering, is one of the no- monasteries were filled with men blest and most striking events in his capable of imparting this learning. tory. A fight for conscience' sake, al. They gave the little the age demanded; though often bitterly opposed at the and everybody was pleased. After the moment, has always commanded the Reformation, there was little change. respect of the world. But the right In Roman Catholic countries, educato control the religious education of the tion still continued in the hands of child differs widely from the right to the clergy. The Reformed Churches control its secular education, which adopted and continued the old tradican only be urged, even by the Church, tions. In England, America, and on the ground of extrinsic considera Scotland, the university was dominated tions endangering the child's faith or by the local form of religion. In Iremorals. A Church conscious of the land, an attempt was made to force reality of her divine mission could a Protestant university on a Catholic never relinquish her right to religious people. Each church had its secondary education; but, according to her own schools. With the growth of industrial theory, the Church might waive her life, a new view of education grew up. claim to control secular education, if It was no longer regarded as a luxury