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of the “Third Section " are still in every one's and to which type of transgressors she most recollection. In referring to the knouting ap- nearly comes up." plied to Bogoljuboff, Vera Sassulitch's counsel This was a clear hint to any intelligent jury; gave the following description :
and the jury of Aulic Councilors were intelligent
men. Going over all the details of the case, the The sufferer whose human dignity is to be in- Judge made a great many more remarks in the sulted knows not why he is to be punished. He
same spirit. The audience, who had frequently thinks indignation will lend him strength to resist cheered the eloquence of counsel to such an exthose who throw themselves upon him. But he is tent that the President of the Tribunal had to grasped by the iron grip of jailers' hands; he is dragged down ; and, in the midst of the regular When the foreman brought in the verdict: “No;
warn them, were on the tiptoe of expectation. counting of the strokes by the leader of the execution, a deep groan is heard—a groan not arising from she is not guilty !" the Hall of Justice—for justice mere physical pain, but from the soul's grief of a
had for once been done-rang with enthusiastic down-trodden, outraged man. At last, silence reigned applause. Vera Sassulitch was borne away in again. The sacred act was accomplished !
In the streets, however-and here we come It was the brooding over such disgrace and once more upon all the dark and terrible ways affront to which a political prisoner had been of autocracy—there ensued a fearful scene. An subjected in the very capital, by an official whose attack was made upon the coach in which Vera department is under the Czar's direct control, Sassulitch was to be carried home-apparently that pressed the weapon of revenge into the with the object of getting her once more into hands of a tender woman-not so much for her police clutches. There was a clash of swords own past miseries as for those of a still suffering and a confused tumult. Gendarmes and police fellow man.
broke in upon the mass of people, who wished to Trepoff had been attacked by Vera Sassu- protect her. Shots were fired. A nobleman and litch in his own cabinet, in the very midst of his relation of Vera, Grigori Sidorazki, lay dead in minions. The jury which tried her was composed the street. A lady also, Miss Anna Rafailnowna, almost exclusively of Aulic Councilors and such- a medical student, writhed on the ground, woundlike titled dignitaries. Prince Gortchakoff sated. The victim of so much prolonged persecuamong the audience; so did the pick and flower tion had herself mysteriously disappeared. Afterof the upper classes of St. Petersburg. Who ward, an order for her rearrest, marked “No. could doubt, in presence of the open avowal of 16," and dated from the Secret Department of the accused, that the verdict would be “Guilty”? the Town, came to light-evidently through in
Strange to say, even among the officially fault- formation given by an affiliate of the Revolutionless remarks of the Public Prosecutor there were ary Committee within the police administration some curious admissions. “I, for my part,” Mr. itself. This occult connection of sundry officials Kessel said, "fully believe the statements made with the leaders of the democratic or Nihilist by Vera Sassulitch. I believe that facts ap- conspiracy explains why Government should so peared to her in the light in which they have often have been hampered in its efforts to supbeen placed here; and I am ready to accept
press that organization. feelings of Vera Sassulitch as facts. The The verdict of "not guilty,” in the case of Court, however, is bound to measure these feel- Vera Sassulitch, has been followed by several ings, as soon as they are converted into deeds, similar ones—a strong proof of the sympathy by the standard of the law.” Through the sum- felt among the town populations, at least, with ming up of the Judge there ran a strong vein of the aims of the revolutionists. Franz von Holtinterpretations favorable to the accused. “An zendorff, a well-known legal authority in Geraccused person,” he remarked, “could certainly many, wrote on the case above detailed : “Far not be looked upon as an infallible commentator more significant than the verdict of the jury is on the event with which he or she was connected. the fact that that verdict, in spite of its contrast At the same time it had to be noted that crimi- to the existing law, has received the approval, as nals were to be divided into two groups—those it appears, of the whole Russian press, of the who are led by selfish impulses, and who, there- whole of the upper classes, and even of the circles fore, in the majority of cases, try to mask the of Russian legists. I have had personal occasion truth by lying statements; and those who com- to convince myself that prominent officials of the mit an act from no motive of personal profit, and Russian Empire gave their applause to that verwho entertain no wish to hide anything of the dict.” Again, Dr. Holtzendorff said: deed they have done. You, gentlemen of the jury, are in a position to judge how far the state- In Russia, the feelings of right and justice, which ments of Vera Sassulitch merit your confidence, are systematically and artificially kept down and re
pressed, and which have no outlet in public life, con- same time to me! In you there reposes the one and centrate themselves with their full weight in the all of my political hopes, of my political rights !" verdict of a jury. That which the press had no liberty of saying during long years is given vent to Noble words, but vain hope! First of all, it is in the debates of a court of justice. An accusation not correct to say that Vera Sassulitch had been is raised on account of a deed which, though punish- judged by a jury under a political charge. For able as a crime in itself, has been produced and political crimes, or accusations, no jury has ever nurtured by a system of administrative arbitrariness existed under Alexander II. Vera Sassulitch and gross ill-treatment that stands morally deep be- was charged with what government chose to low the deed in question—a system of corruption consider a common crime; hence only she was which can not be attacked legally, nay, which enjoys brought before a jury. For political offenders, all the honors the state can award. And who can help it if an injustice committed day after day, in cal offenders, packed tribunals have always been
or what government chooses to regard as politithe name of the state, without any expiation, weighs more heavily upon the public conscience than the assigned. Happily, government overreached itact of a single person who, boldly risking his or her self in the case of Vera Sassulitch, feeling too own life, rises with a feeling of the deepest indigna- secure in the loyalty of its own Aulic Councilors. tion against so rotten a system of government ? It
Secondly, no sooner had the trial resulted in is but too natural, this wrathful utterance of the a verdict of “not guilty," than Count Pahlen, the popular voice, when it declares that a high official, Minister of Justice, who thought the jury were, of who, trusting in the practical approval of the impe- course, quite a safe one, was dismissed. Thirdly, rial favor, ordains corporal punishment according to a ukase went forth, withdrawing from the coghis arbitrary caprice against defenseless prisoners, is nizance of juries even cases of “common crime,” guilty of a greater offense than he who feels driven, when such crime was directed against one of the by a passionate notion of justice, to constitute him- Czar's officials. Fourthly, fresh regulations were self, of his own free will, an avenger of the public framed for a change of the jury system, as well conscience. . . . If, in a state afflicted with political sickness, the institution of the jury had fallen so deep fense. Fifthly, in the teeth of the verdict given
as for the discipline of lawyers acting for the deas to work with the mechanical certainty of a mili- in favor of Vera Sassulitch, a fresh trial was ortary court, and to heed nothing but the points of view of jurisprudence, without being touched by the dered, to be held in a country town, at Novgorod, current of moral aspirations, thus merely registering,
as soon as she could be recaptured. Finally, with Byzantine obedience, the paragraphs of a code Alexander the Liberal, seeing that all ordinary of law; such a phenomenon-keeping, as it would, procedures were of no avail, instituted a state of the Government in a dangerous error as regards siege and drum-head law for political offenders public life--would be far more reprehensible than over a large portion of his empire. that verdict of “not guilty" by which a whole sys- These are the desperate doings of a despotism tem of government was practically condemned. maddened by an ever-active host of enemies. It
is usually the beginning of the end. The Russian Government system Herr von Holtzendorff, who personally belongs to a very
VIII. moderate political party, brands as "a system of IF any more proofs were wanted of the “bearbitrary police ordinances, and of the virtual nevolent” character of the government of Alexsovereignty of the Adjutants-General of the Czar ander II., they might be found in the increase, -a system of administrative deportations, of des- year by year, of the deportations to Siberia. They potic arrestations, of press-gagging—a swash- are reckoned to be now four or five times more buckler's government.” Another German writer numerous than under the galling system of Nichoof some distinction, Dr. Henry Jaques, observes: las. Political banishments have enormously aug
mented under his successor. So has the number Where an absolutist monarch rules in arbitrary of the prescribed loose and vagabond class of manner, without any limits to his power, the jury be- ordinary criminals, or suspects, who are frequently comes the only representative organ of a people ut. whisked off to Siberia—for the sake of clearing terly bereft of all political rights. In such a case, a jury is indeed entitled to speak, before all, the lan- often become mixed up with the political exiles
society," as it is called—when the criminals guage of the people, the language of its aspirations toward freedom, which must be heard before
This is the very in an indistinguishable mass.
everything else, if the nation is to acquire its true rights
. refinement of torture, applied by the agents of a Even as, in the Iliad, the orphaned Andromache brutal despotism against men generously strivsays to the parting Hector—“Thou art now father, ing for a reform of the state and of society. brother, and dear mother to me!"- -so the Russian The arbitrary deportations are decreed by the people may say to its jury: “You are now legisla- "Third Section," or Secret Police, which is under tors, judges, and the source of mercy at one and the the Emperor's personal direction. Formerly, this
dreaded office had the power of administering the present time, as I am well inforned, more than corporal punishment, in secret, to persons of the six hundred persons of the privileged classes are under upper classes, male or female. At the Sassulitch arrest, to be deported to Siberia without trial. In one trial, the counsel for the defense made a dark of the temporary governor-generalships in the south allusion to this practice, which created a deep of the empire (Odessa) sixty privileged persons have impression in court. It was a reference to a
been already sent to Siberia without trial, and two whipping-machine once in use, and of which hundred persons of this class are under arrest to be some of those present—ladies as well as gentle category to be escorted that a practical difficulty is
judged. So great is the number of persons of this men—may have had personal experience. A said to have arisen in connection with their deportacorrespondent has given the following description. A noble, or privileged person, who has not tion: The suspected person, who could not be been judicially sentenced, when sent to Siberia by brought to trial, but whom it was intended to
“administrative process” (as it is called-i. e., by castigate, would be invited to call at the office the orders of the Third Section, or Secret Police), of the Secret Police. After a few moments' con- must be escorted by two gendarmes, it being against versation with the dread functionary, the floor the laws to manacle a privileged person who is unwould suddenly sink beneath the visitor's feet, condemned. It appears that there are not genand he would find himself suspended by the darmes enough thus to escort the number of persons waist, all that part of the body below it being to be deported, and the Ministry of Secret Police under the floor, and concealed from view. Then has, I understand, proposed to get rid of this diffiinvisible hands and equally invisible rods would culty by sending the privileged persons fettered like rapidly perform their duty—the trap-door would ordinary criminals. . . . The Third Section, or Se.
cret Police, which is in its proceedings essentially rise again—and the visitor would be bowed out
extra leges, claims to act independently of any other with great courtesy, and go home, carrying with him substantial marks to remind him of his in- lays hold of suspected persons, whether justly or un
department of the empire. This institution, which terview.
justly suspected, and consigns them to Siberia at its Though this more than Oriental custom has pleasure, savors more of Asiatic lawlessness than of been abolished, enough remains of barbarity to enlightened European rule, such as it must be the explain why successive chiefs of the hated police desire of all in authority to see established throughHermandad— Trepoff, Mesentzoff, and Drentelen out the empire. ... I have myself met with respect-should have been the mark of the bullet of able, honorable men who have been arrested and im. popular revenge. A Russian writer says: prisoned, in some cases for a few weeks, in other
cases during months, followed by years of exile in Sie A history of the secret doings, of all the horrors beria, without any charge being brought against them ; and crimes perpetrated by this disgraceful institu- and it is the possibility of this recurring to them, or tion, would fill up many volumes, before the con. to others, that constitutes a Reign of Terror. tents of which the ost sensational novels would appear tame and shallow. There is scarcely any dent of the “ Daily News.” Clearly it is a very
The above description is from the corresponsphere of public or private life which is exempted from the irresponsible control of this Inquisition of pleasant position to be a “privileged person " in the nineteenth century. The verdict of a court has Russia. It marks its occupant, by preference, no value whatever for the Third Section. Not only as a possible candidate for exile to Siberia; the acquitted political offenders are as a rule transported, more cultivated classes being essentially those administratively, to some distant town of the em
which constitute the active element of political pire, but even the judges themselves, when they are dissatisfaction. considered to have passed too lenient a verdict, are Of the treatment of political exiles in Siberia, liable to be forced into resigning their office, and to as it has been carried on for a long time past, I be then exiled in company with the very prisoners have before me a thrilling description from the who had stood before them!
pen of Mr. Robert Lemke, a German writer, who
has visited the various penal establishments of Lest this description should appear to be Russia, with an official legitimation. He had overdrawn, I may quote from the letter of the been to Tobolsk, after which he had to make a St. Petersburg correspondent of an English jour- long, dreary journey in a wretched car, until a nal, which is certainly not unfavorable to the high mountain arose before him. In its torn government of Alexander II. The letter was and craggy flank the mountain showed a colossal written after the recent proclamation of a state opening similar to the mouth of a burned-out of siege. And the writer says:
crater. Fetid vapors, which almost took away As proofs and instances, not so much of martial his breath, ascended from it. law as of the repressive measures adopted (in many
Pressing the handkerchief upon his lips, Mr. cases by ordinary administrative agency without the Lemke entered the opening of the rock, when he machinery of martial law), I may mention that at found a large watch-house, with a picket of Cos
sacks. Having shown his papers of legitima- “ This I see,” answered the visitor; "but tion, he was conducted by a guide through a what are the man's antecedents ? To what famlong, very dark, and narrow corridor, which, ily does he belong ?” judging from its sloping descent, led down into He is a count," replied the guide; "a wellsome unknown depth. In spite of his good fur, known conspirator. More, I regret to say, I can the visitor felt extremely cold. After a walk of not tell you about Number 114!” some ten minutes through the dense obscurity, The visitor felt as if he were stifled in the the ground becoming more and more soft, a grave - like atmosphere — as if his chest were vague shimmer of light became observable. pressed in by a demoniacal nightmare. He has“We are in the mine," said the guide, pointing tily asked his guide to return with him to the with a significant gesture to the high iron cross- upper world. Meeting there the commander of bars which closed the cavern before them. the military establishment, he was obligingly
The massive bars were covered with a thick asked by that officerrust. A watchman appeared, who unlocked the “Well, what impression did our penal estabheavy iron gate. Entering a room of consider- lishment make upon you?” able extent, but which was scarcely a man's Mr. Lemke stiffly bowing in silence, the offiheight, and which was dimly lit by an oil-lamp, cer seemed to take this as a kind of satisfied asthe visitor asked, “ Where are we?” “In the sent, and went on : sleeping-room of the condemned ! Formerly it “Very industrious people, the men below; was a productive gallery of the mine; now it are they not ?" serves as a shelter.”
“But with what feelings,” Mr. Lemke anThe visitor shuddered. This subterranean swered, “must these unfortunates look forward sepulchre, lit by neither sun nor moon, was called to the day of rest after the week's toil !” a sleeping-room. Alcove-like cells were hewed “Rest!" said the officer ; "convicts must alinto the rock; here, on a couch of damp, half- ways labor. There is no rest for them. They rotten straw, covered with a sackcloth, the un- are condemned to perpetual forced labor; and fortunate sufferers were to repose from the day's he who once enters the mine never leaves it!" work. Over each cell a cramp-iron was fixed, · But this is barbarous !” wherewith to lock up the prisoners like ferocious The officer shrugged his shoulders, and said: dogs. No door, no window anywhere.
“The exiled work daily for twelve hours; on Conducted through another passage, where a Sundays too. They must never pause. But, no; few lanterns were placed, and whose end was I am mistaken. Twice a year, though, rest is peralso barred by an iron gate, Mr. Lemke came to mitted to them—at Easter-time, and on the birtha large vault, partly lit. This was the mine. A day of his Majesty the Emperor." deafening noise of pickaxes and hammers. There he saw some hundreds of wretched figures, with
IX. shaggy beards, sickly faces, reddened eyelids; CAN we wonder, when we see the ultra-Bulclad in tatters, some of them barefoot, others in garian atrocities practiced in Russia, that “ Tersandals, fettered with heavy foot-chains. No ror for Terror !" should at last have become the song, no whistling. Now and then they shyly parole of the men of the Revolutionary Comlooked at the visitor and his companion. The mittee? water dripped from the stones; the tatters of the I will not go over the harrowing details of the convicts were thoroughly wet. One of them, a events of the last seven or eight months; they tall man, of suffering mien, labored hard with are still fresh in every one's remembrance. The gasping breath, but the strokes of his pickaxe only measures that could stay this destructive were not heavy and firm enough to loosen the contest was systematically withheld by the Czar, rock.
who will not permit the slightest display of pop“Why are you here?” Mr. Lemke asked. ular sentiments within the lawful domain of rep
The convict looked confused, with an air al- resentative government. Many years ago a dismost of consternation, and silently continued his tinguished French writer described the Russian work.
system as “a tyranny tempered by the dagger." “ It is forbidden to the prisoners," said the Alexander, too, himself is fully aware of this inspector, “ to speak of the cause of their banish- tragic concatenation of events. He is even ment!"
known to have often, in the very beginning of Entombed alive; forbidden to say why! his reign, expressed a feeling of fear lest his own
“ But who is the convict?" Mr. Lemke asked end should be a violent one, like that of so many the guide, with low voice.
of his predecessors. The attempts of Karakasoff " It is Number 114!" the guide replied, la- and Berezowski have lately been repeated by conically
Solovieff. While strongly condemning the deed VOL. VII.-23
of the latter, even the Conservative “Standard” crossed—if the word “legality” applies at all to felt called upon, by the dangers of the situation Russian institutions. He is invested with unat large, to make the following comments, which limited powers, in the place of the disheartened possess a lasting interest :
tyrant. The very grand dukes are under his or
ders. Arrests among officers of the army have It would be well if this painful incident could be disposed of by a homily upon individual wickedness been the immediate consequence of General Gurand individual perverseness. Unhappily, it is but ko's satrap rule. In several cases, compromistoo certain that not only the deed itself, but the ing letters and prints were discovered, and expeculiar circumstances attending it, are closely re-ecutions both of officers, like Lieutenant Dubrolated with the existing condition of a considerable vin, and of privates, have followed. The gallows section of Russian society. We are obliged to add are in permanent activity. But perhaps the most that this condition is closely connected, in turn, with significant feature—and a promising one too—is the form of government and the methods of admin- the order issued, under court-martial law, that in istration that prevail in that country. . . . In spite all the barracks a list of the soldiers' arms is to of the emancipation of the serfs from the condition be drawn up, and to be handed over to the poof territorial slavery, the Russian people have made lice! This is the strongest sign of a suspicion little visible progress in the acquisition of political against the army itself; and on the army the freedom. The Czar is still an absolute sovereign ;
whole power of czardom reposes. his ministers still remain responsible to no will but
When we hear of the arrest of a Senator, of his, and their agents have to answer only to their
a Director of the Imperial Bank, of Professors, superiors for the manner in which they exercise authority. ... The sanguine youth of the nation, ea
of the son of the Chancellor of the dreaded ger for a career, and burning for activity, finds itself “Third Section,” of the wife of the procurator debarred from any course of distinction save that of of a military court, of the nephew of the Chief arms, or that official existence which too often places of the Secret Police, and many other such cases, men in Russia in antagonism to their own country- we are driven to the conclusion that, in spite of men. ... The old method of government-of po its furious acts of repression, the autocratic syslice supervision, of private espionage, of imprison- tem has become untenable—that it must sooner ment, of exile, of political silence—has been tried, or later fall. Like the Roman Emperor, Alexand the result is discontent and extensive conspiracy. ander II. might be glad if revolt had but a single We fear that even the confession of sensualistic athe- neck. But is it possible for him to imagine that ism by Solovieff will not prevent his memory from there exists but one party of malcontents? Do being cherished by thousands of his countrymen. not the very arrests just mentioned belie such an They will forget everything, save his desire to en
assertion? dow them with more freedom. Whatever his faults,
Conspirators are laid hold of by the Czar's they will consider that he perished in their cause, and what they will be most disposed to blame will be sbirri together with men who would not think the unsteadiness of his hand and the uncertainty of
of armed resistance. Despotism is frightened, his aim.
in fact, by the very shadows on the wall. Even
the Slavophil and Panslavist parties — still the The “Times” also, while pleading for Solo- ready instruments of aggressive policy - have vieff's execution, acknowledged the fact of the both become imbued with constitutional ideas sway of czardom being rotten to the core, in the that look like sacrilege in the eyes of the Popefollowing words: “It can not be disputed that Czar. The revolutionists of Land and Liberwhole classes in Russia are penetrated almost to ty” (Zemlja i Wolja); the Socialist Jacobins desperation with a sense of social oppression and who follow the doctrines of “ The Tocsin " wrong. . . . A social condition like this is the (“Nabat"); the Nihilists, properly speaking; natural soil in which the brooding temperament and the moderate constitutionalists, are all alike which seeks a remedy in assassination is nour- the enemies of the present form of government. ished.”
In some districts the peasantry have risen; and, When all the safety-valves are closed, nature remarkable to say, the first troop of Cossacks takes its revenge, and ever and anon occasions that was led against the insurgents refused to the inevitable outburst. Russia is at present fight them. These are portents whose gravity under a state of siege from St. Petersburg to can not be mistaken. Moscow and Warsaw, from Kiev to Kharkov Ten years ago, when the Napoleonic empire and Odessa. An army of porters, about fifteen still stood erect, I said, in an article on “The thousand strong, must watch the streets of the Condition of France,” in the "Fortnightly Recapital day and night; and policemen are set to view": watch the watchers. Under General Gurko, the crosser of the Balkans, who is now Vice-Em- A mighty change is undoubtedly hovering in the peror, the last lines of legality have also been air. There may be short and sharp shocks and coun