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the Polish aristocracy was in some degree due, choff and Schrötter, deputies of Kharkov-prebetween 1856 and 1860, to the desire of bringing sented to the Emperor, on October 16 (28), 1859, about, by an act of humanity and justice, such a an address full of respectful loyalty, asking for a fusion of national sentiments as to give hope for grant of land to the emancipated serfs, with a the recovery of Polish self-government. The pecuniary indemnification for the land-owners ; Emperor, on his part, wished to make friends for reforms in communal self-government and in with the Polish peasantry by planting the stand- the administration of justice; as well as for freeard of emancipation, if ever that had to be done, dom of the press. These “unjust and ill-becomwith his own hand. Two opposite currents thus ing pretensions” were severely reprimanded, and met for the same favorable solution. Neverthe- M. Unkovski at once deposed from his functions. less, even the palpable Court interest was not The literal truth is, that, in regard to the consufficient to induce the Government to pursue a vocation of such an assembly—as Mr. Wallace clear and persistent policy from the very begin- fully shows—the nobility were “cunningly dening. As a proof of the strength of the conserv- ceived by Government.” The Emperor had pubative and reactionary sentiment at first prevail- licly promised that, before the emancipation proing in the councils of the Crown, I need only ject became law, deputies from the provincial point to the circular of the Superior Committee committees should be summoned to St. Petersof April 17 (29), 1858, which prescribed, as a burg, where they might offer objections and probasis of “emancipation,” the continuance of pose amendments. But, when the deputies arcompulsory labor!
rived, they were not allowed to form a public While the Polish nobility in the country bor- assembly, but were told that they had to answer dering upon Germany were among the most in writing a list of printed questions. Those who willing for progress, it was different in the old wished to discuss details were invited individually Russian part of the empire. The opposition to attend meetings of the Commission, where there was partly traceable to the avarice of the they found one or two members ready to engage “slaveholder"; partly it arose from political with them in a little dialectical fencing in a rather aspirations of a better nature. The more liberal ironical style. On making a complaint, by petiviews had the upper hand in the nobiliary assem- tion, to the Emperor—whom they believed, or at blies of the northernmost as well as the southern- least professed to believe, to have been imposed most provinces, so far as it was possible to get at upon by the Administration—they got no direct the truth under a Government which did not, and answer from the Emperor's Cabinet, but a formal does not, permit a free utterance in the press or reprimand through the police ! Trying to bring by means of public meetings. The horror of on the question at the Provincial Assemblies, they publicity among the committees themselves was were again foiled by a decree issued before the so great that, with the exception of a few depart- opening of those assemblies, forbidding them to ments—such as Tver, Orel, and Nizhni—the sit- touch upon the emancipation question at all. tings were everywhere held in secret. Mystery A perfect comedy had been played-a practicharacterized all the proceedings. The greatest cal joke in politics. This did not contribute to reluctance was exhibited by the land-owners of the popularity of Alexander II. among the eduthe center-of Muscovy proper. In sớme pro- cated classes. vincial assemblies, where parliamentary aspirations were strongest, they refused to discuss the imperial project unless permission were given to THE ukase proclaiming the abolition of serfbring in amendments. Even the idea of the con- dom was dated March 3—or rather February 19, vocation of all the nobiliary county assemblies of 1861. As in all other things, Russia is in her Russia, as a united Assembly of Notables, was calendar several centuries behind the remainder broached by some of the malcontents. This of Europe. proposition was looked upon by the Czar as the On that occasion, all the uneasy suspiciousgerm of States-General, and therefore sternly re- ness of the despotic régime again came out glarjected.
ingly—one might say, under comic colors. SureWhen the deputies of the nineteen provinces ly, on a day when a so-called “Liberator” conwhich had first finished their labors arrived at fers freedom upon his people, we could expect St. Petersburg, they were—in the words of Prince that he not only trusts that people, but that he Dolgorukoff—received with a haughty contempt would even hope for expressions of gratitude quite peculiar to Russian bureaucracy. The per- from it. But what were the facts ? mission of meeting was altogether denied them. The thing was done in a manner as if some Five of the deputies-namely, M. Unkovski, mar- terrible conspiracy were on the point of breakshal of the nobility of Tver; MM. Dubrovin and ing out, or as if Government itself had comWassilieff, deputies of Yaroslav; MM. Khrust- mitted some hideous deed, for which it feared a
revenge. First, instead of making the ukase of
Vague conspiratory movements were observed February 19th known at once, Alexander II. among the peasantry—not of the threatening naonly did so on March 5th ; that is, March 17th ture of those which had marked the seventeenth of our reckoning. He was under great appre- and eighteenth centuries, but still movements not hension lest, in the intermediate Carnival-time, to be treated too lightly. A Government standthe people would proceed to excesses if the tenor ing on the narrow basis of that irresponsible rule of his ukase became known at once. On the which found its expression in France in the royal day when the manifesto was read in the churches saying, “ L'état, c'est moi !" can not afford to of St. Petersburg, the Palace was surrounded despise the first signs of an incipient rebellion. with troops. During the whole night the Em- Its coward conscience is terrified by a snowball peror's adjutants had to be next to his room; gaining in bulk as it falls. Autocracy always some keeping watch, while others were allowed fears the coming crash of the avalanche. to sleep until their turn came.
In those eastern provinces of the empire where Ignatieff, the Governor-General, having heard the insurrectionary spirit had repeatedly shown a heap of snow falling from a roof, thought he itself before, the emancipated land-slaves were had heard a cannon-shot from some rebel quar- the most unruly. A few weeks after the decree ter, and duly gave the alarm. So the “Liber- of Alexander II., they rose under Anthony Peator,” the “Friend of the People,” trembled in troff, who explained to them the “true law” and his shoes before that very people.
the true liberty. Forming a mutinous troop The mass of the population in the capital about ten thousand strong, they marched forth listened in silence to the reading of the long- under the banner of revolt, though not with the winded emancipation manifesto which the Arch- courage of their forefathers who died with Razin bishop of Moscow had drawn up in a heavy, and Pugatcheff. has always been the policy. pretentious style. “That population,” Ogareff of the peasant leaders in Russia to make an imsaid in 1862, "is mainly composed of soldiers pression upon their ignorant and superstitious and functionaries. Of real popular classes there followers by using the monarch's name, if not is little at St. Petersburg." We can measure by by giving themselves out as the real dynastic what has happened since—from the days of the claimant. Anthony Petroff, too, convinced his trial of Vera Sassulitch to the establishment of adherents that the manifesto read to them was a House-Porters’ Army of twelve thousand men, not the one which the Czar had signed. And for the purpose of watching all the streets—what when the envoy of the latter came in the shape a change has been wrought during the last seven- of Count Apraxin, as general at the head of teen years in the attitude of the St. Petersburgers. troops, the would-be insurgents, with that mix
In the provinces, the Czar's manifesto also ture of obtuseness and cunning which characled to strange scenes. Some of the nobles sought terizes the peasants of many countries, professed to retard its promulgation before the serfs. There to believe that Apraxin was a pseudo-envoy. were priests who quaked, with ashy-pale faces, The end'was the usual one. Being asked to when they read the document after mass. Some disperse and to deliver over Anthony Petroff to of them were apprehensive of the wrath of their the authorities, the rebels refused to do either. land-owners. Others feared a peasant revolt. In Thereupon a massacre followed. Petroff, howmany cases the Government officials, who ought ever, surrendered himself of his own free will, to have been present at the ceremony, reported holding the emancipation statute above his head, themselves sick, or hid themselves—also from and declaring that the “true liberty," as decreed fear of a peasant riot. All this does not fit in by the Czar, had not been promulgated. He with the customary idea of a people singing soon got his own true liberty by being courtpsalms of joy on the occasion of their deliver- martialed and shot, while General Apraxin was ance from a galling yoke.
rewarded by Alexander the Liberator with an exThe forty-three folio pages of the statute were pression of thanks and a decoration-even as too much for the illiterate millions. The peas- General Kaufmann has received similar imperial ants only understood that there were still some favors for his infamous atrocities in Turkistan, hard years of a transitionary condition before “Anthony Petroff” — so Ogareff wrote in them, and that the Emancipation Act did not 1862 *—"was the first martyr of peasant freebring with it such an ownership in land as they dom; and the affair of Besdna was the first in thought they had a right to expect. A cry went which the benevolent Emancipator-Czar showed forth among the masses, of deception having himself an executioner without intellect. Then been practiced at their cost. They said the “true the water, or the taste for blood, came to his law” had not been promulgated; and the “ true mouth. General Dreniakin telegraphed to him law” they would have. Meanwhile they would refuse to pay rents or perform socage duty.
*“ Essai sur la Situation Russe," London, 1862,
from Pensa his good wishes as a faithful subject the serfs. Now he was able to issue his conon the occasion of Easter, asking at the same scription ukases without the slightest regard for time for the right of punishing the peasants with-the nobility. The aggressive policy of conquest out trying them in accordance with legal proce- had obtained an additional power.
The true dures. The Emperor thanked him by telegram, character of autocratic philanthropy appeared in and gave him the right of sentencing and pun- its proper colors. ishing the peasants as he thought best. There- A Polish exile, Count Zamoyiski, was right in upon the General began court-martialing and describing the Czar's measure, while it was being knouting the peasants, until the executioner him- elaborated, as an experiment by which the Rusself became weary. He reported at last that or- sian Government sought to augment its military der was restored. With one or two exceptions, resources and strength. In the same way an the Adjutant-Generals of his Majesty introduced English consul, Mr. Michell, some years later, the ‘Statute of Liberty' in the same manner. In ably showed in a report that the objects of the many departments there was killing ; every- Emancipation Act were fiscal and recruitingwhere there was knouting. The irritation be- that is to say, designed to increase facilities for came all the greater because the peasants had raising men and money for purposes of war. not in reality risen ; they only wanted an explana- Under the serfage system the autocrats experition of that freedom which was but another form enced difficulties which not unfrequently crippled of slavery.”
their warlike designs. The proprietor of the Such is the account of a Russian writer, who soil, from his position, naturally resisted the conotherwise speaks in comparatively mild and mod- scription; and, when it reached certain limits, erate terms of the character and Government of often resisted effectively. Moreover, the serf Alexander II. To cap. his harsh measures, the being altogether exempt from fiscal obligations, Czar took the opportunity of a journey to the the whole burden of taxation fell upon the landCrimea to assemble, on his way, the elders of owners; and the Government, in want of money, some villages, and to declare to them that he had often to struggle with that class to reach their would not confer upon them any other liberties pockets. The emancipation entirely changed this than those mentioned in the statute. A copy of state of things, as it was designed to do. The this imperial and imperious speech he ordered landlord had no longer any interest in opposing the Home Secretary to send into all the depart- the conscription, and the imperial taxation was ments for publication.
henceforth borne in part by the emancipated
A “landed freeman ” the Russian peasant, In the midst of these sanguinary dealings since 1861, is often called in Western Europe. with the peasants, the massacres at Warsaw But on looking more closely at the state of things took place. There, an unarmed crowd of men established by the Act of Manumission, a great and women were ruthlessly shot and sabered deal of the alleged landholding and personal down, for no other cause than a peaceful demon- freedom vanishes into thin air. No better destration in the interest of their own nationality, scription could be given than the one contained and in spite of their offering no resistance what- in a valuable letter recently addressed to the ever. It was a butchery without a fight. The “Newcastle Chronicle” by Mr. George Rule, cruel deed was ordained because the Polish land- than whom there are few men more conversant owners had met of their own free will to discuss with the real aims of Russian autocratic policy. the question of grants of land for their own Referring to the Consular Report of Mr. Michell, peasants ! This proposal had awakened the Mr. George Rule says: jealousy, the suspicion, the apprehensions of the Autocrat. Any attempt at a reconciliation be- The original design of the Emperor and his Mintween the Polish nobles and the peasantry had isters was to give him (the serf) his homestead only, to be drowned in blood. So the streets of War- and to leave him otherwise to take his chance in the saw ran with gore at the very moment when the labor market. But this was deemed unsatisfactory emancipation of the serfs in Russia was carried both by peasant and landlord ; and naturally so. On out amid scences of butchery.
the one hand, it despoiled the serf of the land he conPeasant emancipation had scarcely been de- landlord of the service-rent, which he might not be
sidered his own; and, on the other, deprived the creed when Alexander II. supplemented it by a
able to replace with corresponding advantage. It reorganization of the army on the principle of a
consequently fell through ; and another arrangement larger conscription. Before the slave's yoke was
was adopted. The serf was now to have his home. taken from the neck of the laborer, the Czar had stead and allotment at a low-fixed rental, but freed to depend, for the getting together of his troops, from his old position of bondage to the owner of the upon the landed proprietors, the possessors of soil. He might, indeed, by mutual agreement with the proprietor, continue to pay his rent in service; Government from state funds paid to the proprietors. and contracts for such purpose might be made to last This purchase-money the peasantry are compelled to three years at a time. This system of service-rent refund at payments equal to six per cent. over fortyis still extensively in operation. ... Usages of cen. nine years. The position may be thus simply illusturies are not to be got rid of in a day, either by trated : I occupy a farm for which I pay a rent; the ukase or enactment."
landlord has the power to compel me to purchase it
at an arbitrary valuation, and to pay on such valuaPractically—as Mr. Michell shows—the Rus- tion six per cent. over forty-nine years before I am sian peasantry are as firmly as ever fixed to the freed from payment. A rare bargain for the landsoil. Emigration from a rural commune may lord, but not much to my advantage. It is true that be said to be virtually prohibited ; and immigra- I may get rid of the bargain, and quit my farm, by tion is almost impossible. It is the policy of paying on the nail sixteen and two-thirds years' rent Government, for fiscal and military reasons, to to the landlord; or I may pay the whole valuation prevent the peasant from quitting the land on at once, or by installments hasten the time of enwhich he is at present settled. On this Mr. franchisement, in which case I should have an abateGeorge Rule remarks :
ment of six per cent. of the value. There would be
no benefit to me in this ; on the contrary, it would The emancipated serfs were formed into village be a burden for life. The benefit would be to my communities. The members of each community grandchildren. But what might not happen in half were made collectively and individually responsible a century! ... It must be admitted that, save in to the landlords, on the one hand, for the rent of the these conditions of bondage, which I have attempted whole communal land allotted; and, on the other, to indicate, the peasantry have great freedom in the where the allotments were purchased, they were in a communities. But it really is no better than the similar manner responsible to the Government for freedom of domestic animals kept within narrow and the repayment of the redemption money. It be- rigid limits for purposes of production. Wherefore, came, therefore, the interest of the community to then, the cant about the benevolence which prompted keep the number of the responsible members up to the act of emancipation ? the mark. Consequently, the conditions of separation imposed by the Government, though severe and To do away with increasing difficulties of conbinding, were such as their individual interests for- scription and finance; to become better able to bade them to resist. A member may free himself carry on designs of aggression; and to traverse, from his commune by payment down of sixteen and by favors shown to the masses, a constitutional two-thirds times his yearly rental ; that is to say, he movement among the more enlightened section can purchase his freedom at a heavy price. Or, sub- of the nation—these were the aims and results ject to the approval of the commune, he may be re- of the famed Emancipation Ukase. placed by a substitute, willing to take upon himself the responsibilities of the allotment; such substitute,
IX. I should suppose, it would be difficult to find. It will easily be seen that these conditions are prohibi.
Not only peasant outbreaks followed that tory of separation, and it will as easily be observed ukase, but fire-raising, too—which had been frethat they must have been so framed to prevent what quent between 1860 and 1862—began afresh, would have ensued, viz., a general relinquishment of both in the agricultural districts and in various the claims of his emancipated inheritance-the es
towns. This systematic incendiarism is known tates they were compelled to purchase at more than under the name of the Conspiracies of the “ Red their worth. Let it be noted that they can be com- Cock”*--a Russian as well as German exprespelled to purchase, for in this the hardship and the sion for arson. root of their continued slavery lie. The compulsory In some instances the serf, dissatisfied with power is not in the hands of the Government, but in what was being done for him, revenged himself those of the landlords. They can compel the com- upon a hard taskmaster. The conflagrations in mune either to buy or rent the lands they occupy. the towns were attributed by Government to a “In reality," says Mr. Michell, “it is not the peas, “party of disorder.” It was supposed that the ant who can select between the system of perpetual originators of these ever-recurring fires intended tenancy and that of freehold. His former master has the arbitrary power of compelling him to remain
working upon the popular imagination, and that, attached to the soil which he cultivated before his emancipation by becoming its purchaser, and it is
* In the heathen Germanic creed there is a "brightevident that the power has been and still is exten
red cock, hight Fialar," that crows on the Tree of Sorsively used”; and he shows from statistics that pur- down on a bed of flames. The bird, by its song, heralds
row when the whole world, at the End of Times, falls chasers by compulsion stand to voluntary purchasers in the great fiery catastrophe. Another cock crows be as two to one, and that two-thirds of the ex-serfs oc- neath the earth, a soot-red cock, in the Halls of Hel, cupy lands thus mortgaged to the state. To under while a third cock, Gullinkambi (Golden-Comb), wakens stand this, it must be known that the purchase of the heroes that are with Odin, the Leader of the Hosts, the communal lands was effected by the Imperial to tell them of the coming conflagration of the Universe. “ mere
if a chance offered itself, they would perhaps ings on the horizon, which Government thought make use of the confusion created for a revolu- might portend a coming storm. tionary outbreak. Whole bands of members of The spies and informers of the Czar inclined the Red-Cock League were believed to exist all to the opinion that “The Great Russian” was over the Empire, with regular branch affiliations. edited by a secret society of students. A war In May, 1862, St. Petersburg was repeatedly the against students was therefore initiated—even as prey of fires of threatening extent. A state of in these present days a war against women is siege had at last to be proclaimed in order to being waged by the Russian authorities. In cope with this conspiracy of arson; but for a Germany and France, the students have played considerable time the authorities were utterly un- a large part, from 1815 to 1848, in the struggles able to meet the mysterious danger with any de- for national union and freedom. It is a notegree of efficiency.
worthy sign that the Russian youth, too, should Whatever may be thought of the moral ques- have come forward in a similar way, in the libtion involved in these Confederacies of Fire- eral or democratic interest. raisers, they certainly quickened the resolution of The students refusing to bear with new uniGovernment to go beyond the original narrow versity regulations framed for purposes of what scope of the emancipation programme. Mean- they called "government espionage,” many contime the signs of a sullen political unrest com- flicts took place in various university towns. pelled the Czar to introduce a few administrative Some of the students were killed, or severely reforms; but no sooner had this been done than wounded ; a great many others banished to disit was found to give no real satisfaction. Dis- tant provinces. There they soon acted as propcontent grew apace. Severe repressive measures agandists among populations hitherto sluggish followed upon concessions granted with a reluc- and servilely obedient. Many of the students tant hand. . The fetters put upon public instruc- belonging to that lesser nobility which in Russia tion were somewhat relaxed; but then tumul- is eager for progress, the Government police, tuous demonstrations in favor of fuller rights with the malignant craftiness which has been its arose in the academies and universities. And, as peculiar mark since the days of Boris Godunoff, Government at once proceeded to the old harsh stirred up the people by the shamefully false police measures, riots increased, whereupon im- statement that these young men were prisonments and proscriptions were resorted to, lordlings who rose in revolt because the Czar as under Nicholas.
had abolished serfdom !” General Bistrom Even Turkey had long ago published finan- hounded on his soldiers against the students cial statements concerning the income and out- by equally mendacious means. He told them lay of her state exchequer, though yet without that these young fellows all wanted to become any parliamentary control. Was Russia to lag officials in order to rob the people.” The wiliest behind Turkey? The outcry against official cor- tricks of a corrupt, despotic, and at the same ruption and mismanagement during the Crimean time demagogic régime were thus flourishing war, and the demand for some insight into the once more under Alexander the Humane. finances of the state, becoming daily louder, The spirit of liberalism among the students Alexander II. had to consent to a publication of of the universities gained even those of the the budget. The measure was of little real use, Church Academy in the capital. The latter, being a mere promise to the ear. As soon as being the offspring of the so-called White Clergy the press spoke out with some degree of firm- (that is, of the married priesthood, who are conness, the censorship was again rendered more sidered the flower of the Orthodox Church), stringent. Is it to be wondered at that a secret were declared guilty of rebelliousness, by the press was founded under the circumstances ? Holy Synod, for having refused to attend the
A paper came out under the same title as the lectures of an unpopular, inefficient, and reacone which of late has been revived by the Revo- tionary professor of Greek literature. Many of lutionary Committee, namely, “Land and Lib- them were banished from the capital. These erty.” Another journal was called “ The Great measures laid the foundation of an estrangement Russian.” It only reached three numbers, but between not a few members of the White Clergy these were largely propagated by an apparently and the Crown. extensive secret organization. “ The Great Rus- Some of the professors also, owing to the sian,” beginning with a moderate opposition, be- temporary closing of their universities in conse
a came bolder with that miraculous rapidity which quence of tumults, began to join the ranks of marks the transition from a Russian winter to a the malcontents, and bethought themselves of flowery spring. It raised the question as to giving public lectures which every one could atwhether the dynasty was to be maintained or tend, without being inscribed at the university. not. These were some of the sheet-light flash- One of the best friends of the students, a literary