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FROM THE LIBERALS OF MOSCOW TO GENERAL LORIS MELIKOFF, CHIEF OF THE
SUPREME EXECUTIVE COMMISSION. The unfortunate condition of Russia at the heavy penalties, in the shape of the interdiction present time is due to the fact that there has of street sales and the deprivation of the right arisen in Russian society a party which acts to print advertisements, which fall upon the with great irrationality, and is carrying on a periodical press with crushing force. Quescontest with the Government in a manner tions of first-class importance are wholly rewith which right-thinking people, no matter moved by censorial prohibition from the field what their position or degree of education, of newspaper discussion, and that at the very cannot sympathize. This contest, which is se- time when they most occupy public attention. ditious in its character, manifests itself in a Within the past year the prohibition has been series of acts of violence directed against the extended even to educational subjects, such as ruling authorities. The question is, How can the classical system of instruction and the laws the evil be remedied ?
regulating universities. In order to answer this question it is nec- Measures as important as university reform essary first to uncover the real causes of the are considered secretly and kept concealed evil. The object of the present letter is to from the people. Then there are other subshow
jects which the periodical press is directed to First. That the principal reason for the discuss "with especial caution and circummorbid form which the contest with the Gov- spection,"— a phrase which, in the language ernment has taken is the absence in Russia of the censors, has almost the force of a comof any opportunity for the free development plete prohibition. Newspapers are not even of public opinion and the free exercise of pub- allowed to publish facts, if such facts comprolic activity.
mise or reflect in any way upon governmental Second. That the evil cannot be eradicated organs. All remember the recent case of the by any sort of repressive measures.
newspaper “Golos," which was severely punThird. That the present condition of the ished for merely publishing the facts with repeople, many of whose most urgent needs®are gard to the illegal imprisonment of certain wholly unsatisfied, constitutes ample cause for dissenting prelates. † The press must, therefore, dissatisfaction, and that this dissatisfaction, either be silent or hypocritical, or must express having no means of free expression, necessa- itself in the language of allegory - a language rily manifests itself in morbid forms.
which demoralizes literature and which often Fourth. That the causes which underlie this unnecessarily excites public opinion. If the wide-spread discontent cannot be removed by newspapers discuss governmental measures governmental action alone, but require the within the narrow limits to which they are friendly coöperation of all the vital forces of confined, their readers seek for hidden meansociety.
ing and unexpressed opinion between the
lines. If, on the other hand, a newspaper praises I.
the Government, it is not believed, because the The unnatural form which the contest with commendation is regarded as hypocritical. the Government has taken is due to the ab- Perfect freedom of speech is the privilege of sence of all means for the free and orderly ex- the representatives of extreme opinions only, pression of public discontent. Dissatisfaction and we find it on the one side, for example, in cannot be expressed through the press, since the “Moscow Gazette” and kindred organs, the press is closely restricted in its comments and on the other, in the underground" press. upon governmental action, and such restric- Another reason for the development of “untion is enforced by warnings, suspensions, and derground" activity may be found in the en
It may seem strange to the American reader that + A correspondent of the “Golos” at Suzdal, in the the Russian Government should prohibit the discuss province of Vladimir, discovered that in the prison sion of such questions as “Scientific vs. Classical connected with the monastery at that place there were Education "; but it must be remembered that scien- confined two bishops and an archbishop of the dissenttific training, to use the language of the Russian cen- ing sect known as the" Starovertsi," or Old Believers. sors,"excites the mind,”— that is, leads the student One of the bishops had been in solitary confinement to think, question, and experiment, while the study in this monasterial prison 17 years, the other 22 years, of the dead languages does not have that pernicious and the archbishop 26 years. The “Golos,” in comtendency to so great an extent. The classical system menting editorially upon its correspondent's letter, of instruction is therefore favored by the Government, suggested that these prelates had probably been put and the advocacy of any other system is forbidden. in prison for some sectarian obstinacy and had then Herbert Spencer's “ Education,” and “ The Culture de- been entirely forgotten. For publishing this letter manded by Modern Life,” by the late E. L. Youmans, and commenting upon it, the "
“Golos was deprived have been withdrawn from all the Russian public libra. for a month of the right to print advertisements. — ries and placed on the Index Expurgatorius.-G. K. G. K.
forced silence of public assemblies. The cases tion, which are least of all susceptible to buof the provincial assemblies of Pultava, Cher- reaucratic methods of treatment. nigof, and other provinces in 1879 show that The result of the state of things above set the voices of the representatives of the people forth is the creation of an impression that the are stifled even when they are responding in Government does not wish to listen to the accordance with their best judgment to the voice of the people; that it will not tolerate call of the Government.* The latter withholds criticism, however just, of its mistakes and its confidence more and more from the pro- failures; that it despises the opinions of comvincial assemblies and bestows it more and petent advisers, and that it has in view peculiar more upon bureaucratic institutions — submit- objects not related in any way to the necessiting, for example, to the Provincial Councils ties of the people. There is undoubtedly at for Peasant Affairs [a body of chinovniks † ap- the present time a wide spread belief in the pointed by the Crown cases and questions existence of an antagonism between the people which it formerly referred to the zemstvos (rep- and the organs of government. Upon this resentative bodies elected by the people). The point cultivated society is in remarkable acGovernment creates cantonal and provincial cord with the common people. The peasant delegates, and at the same time has so little reveres the Tsar as he reveres God, but he confidence in these representatives of the peo- has no confidence in the chinovniks, who, as ple that it puts them under the supervision and he naïvely expresses it, “get around the control of a presiding officer not by themselves Tsar.” In like manner the educated classes chosen; and having imposed upon them such of society, while they preserve their deep vena presiding officer, in the person of a Marshal eration for their monarch, discern, in a bureauof the Nobility, the Government strives to turn cratic mechanism, isolated from the people, the latter into a mere chinovnik. Many of these the root of the existing evils. There is in this marshals serve only in order to obtain rank or respect a complete lack of faith in the Govfor the sake of an administrative career. ernment, and faith can never be restored
The Government often treats with contempt. while the Administration manifests neither aduous neglect statements and petitions from equate knowledge nor moral force nor consources fully competent to make them, and formity to any ideal. The weakness of the listens unwillingly to the representatives even Government is apparent to society, and it is of the most legitimate interests. There may an added cause of irritation, because there is be found in the reports of any provincial ad- nothing which provokes and humiliates people ministration records of innumerable petitions more than to feel that they are in subjection sent by the assembly to the Government, which to persons who can inspire neither respect nor not only have never been granted, but have trust. It makes no difference, under such cirnever even been answered. The voice of the cumstances, what means official power may press is treated with equal if not greater con- take to establish its authority; its efforts will tempt. The newspapers and magazines have result only in exasperation. It does not help had occasion of late to discuss almost every matters when the organs of the Government question which relates to the administration say, as they are inclined to say, that an attack of the internal affairs of the empire, and with upon them is an attack upon the Imperial regard to such questions have expressed defi- power. The sophistry of such a method of nite opinions based upon precise scientific data, dealing with the question is apparent even to but very little respect has been paid to their the simplest intelligence, and it only intensiconclusions. A recent illustration of this fact fies the existing resentment. is furnished by the railroad tax. When, in the The forcible repression of discontent is inlatter part of 1878, it was first proposed, the jurious in another way. The impossibility of organs of the press almost without exception speaking out frankly compels people to keep pointed out and pertinaciously insisted upon their ideas to themselves, to cherish and nurse its inadequacy and its burdensome character. them in secret, and to regard complacently The tax was nevertheless imposed, only to jus- even illegal methods of putting them into practify the predictions
which had been made with tice. Thus is created one of the most imporregard to it. The Government in general pays tant of the conditions upon which the spread of too little attention to the investigation of sub- sedition depends; namely, the weakening of jects which require exact scientific research. the loyalty of those who, under other circumThis is particularly the case with regard to stances, would regard sedition with abhorrence. questions of economic and financial legisla- There are in organized society self-reliant
* The reference is to the attempt of the provincial The permanent executive bureau which attends to assemblies to obtain reforms by means of petitions to the official business of a provincial assembly and keeps the Crown.-G. K.
its records.-G. K. tA chinovnik is any officer of the civil service.-G. K.
opinions which strive for free expression, and cation of the rule that “ he who is not for us an accumulated fund of energy which seeks a is against us”— a rule which, when applied by field for activity. The more rigorously these the Government, is particularly dangerous, impulses are repressed in their legal form, the because it declares persons to be enemies of sooner they will take on a form which is not the country who are in reality peaceable and legal; the more apparent will become the lack useful citizens, but who simply do not agree in of harmony between the strivings of society all respects with the Administration. and the working methods of the ruling power; Everybody is well aware of the shadow and the more general and emphatic, and con- which has recently been cast, without any serisequently the more infectious, will become the ous reason, upon some of the best elements illegal protest
. When society has no means of our society. A crusade has been declared of making known and discussing peaceably against the educated class, and in this moveand publicly its wants and its necessities, the ment the Government itself is not altogether more energetic members of that society will guiltless. It seems to be forgotten that the throw themselves passionately into secret ac- educated class upon which a brand is thus set tivity, and lose gradually the habit of trying is a product of Russian history; that the Govto obtain their ends by reasonable methods. ernment itself, since the time of Peter the The characteristics which at first mark only Great, has been creating this unfortunate class, the more hot-headed members of society will and that now, whatever may be its character, at last become common to people of a very it embodies all the self-conscious intellectual different class, simply because the latter have faculties of the Russian people. Those who no field in which to cultivate better qualities. seek to crush these intellectual faculties rely
upon the support of excited passion, forgetting
that passion is a double-edged blade, which, At the present time, there is a prevalent when it has been raised and turned in one opinion that the existing evils can be eradi- direction, cannot be restrained if, under the cated only by repressive measures. Many peo- influence of an unforeseen impulse, it takes anple believe that, before anything else is thought other. Education,—the self-conscious thinking of, attention should be concentrated upon power,— on the other hand, is the best possimethods of repression, and that, when such ble support of order. It must be remembered, methods shall have attained the results ex- furthermore, that by encouraging passion, inpected from them, it will be time enough to stead of intelligent reflection, administrative proceed with the further development of Rus- license strikes down the sense of lawfulness sian social life. But the evils cannot be reme- which in Russia is imperfectly developed at died by repressive measures ; and that is not best. License also brings the organs of auall — repressive measures not only do not cure thority into collision with one another, and the evils which exist, but they create new evils, such collisions are extremely injurious to the because they are inevitably accompanied by processes of healthy national life. Nothing administrative license. * It might be possible, but the supremacy of law can regulate and under given conditions, for people to recon- discipline and bring into agreement with one cile themselves to the uncontrolled exercise another the organs of administrative authority. of power by the higher authorities; but license But aside from all this, repression cannot kill above creates license below. Every official — human thought. Convincing proof of this fact ispravnik, stanavoi, uriadnik or gendarmet - is furnished by the last reign (1825 to 1855) as has his own idea of saving the country, and well as by more recent years. The idea of popupon the strength of it he sets himself above ular representation, for example, has recently all laws and institutions. The Government taken enormous strides forward and has made thus tears down with one hand what it builds its way even into the wilderness of the provup with the other, and finally undermines all inces, notwithstanding the fact that public disrespect for authority, by establishing the con- cussion or consideration of that idea has been viction in the minds of the people that author- absolutely forbidden. In the absence of a free ity does not propose to be bound by any fixed press there arises another medium of intercomand definite rules of procedure. License, fur-munication in the shape of the oral transmisthermore, threatens an extraordinary widen- sion of ideas from mouth to mouth. Examples ing of the circle of persons to be proceeded of the wide extension in this way of religious against. It opens the way for a general appli- heresies are too well known to need reference,
The Russian word proisvol, which I have here word“ license” is intended to have this signification translated “ license,” has no precise equivalent in wherever it occurs in the present paper.- G. K. English. It means action upon personal impulse - + These words cannot be translated into English. action which is not controlled by law, nor by any stan. An ispravnik is a sort of local governor; stanavois and dard of duty or obligation external to the actor. The uriadniks are officers of the local rural police.
and precisely the same thing takes place in in literature and in society an ideal of nathe sphere of politics. When the human mind tional life which demanded realization. That is subjected to oppression, it becomes pecul- ideal was founded upon the inviolability of iarly acute and receptive, catching quickly at personal rights, freedom of thought, freedom the slightest hint and attaching significance of speech, and a system of government by to things which under other circumstances it which these things should be guaranteed. The would pass without attention. It is this which reforms of the first half of the present reign gives so much weight to the utterances of the gave completeness and permanence to this "underground” press. Everybody knows how ideal and threw upon it the light of approval quickly the newspaper “Kolokol” and other from above. At the same time, those reforms similar publications lost their influence when created social conditions which were so entireRussian periodicals were given even compara- ly new that the necessity for new national intive freedom of speech.*
stitutions to correspond with them became a In the present unfortunate state of affairs necessity no longer theoretical but practical. repression is incapable of attaining even the The old mechanism of government proved to immediate results which are expected from it, be incapable of directing the new and complex because it cannot find objects upon which to forces which were in operation. Only by the exert itself. There can be no war unless there free and independent efforts of society itself is an enemy in the field. In a situation like could they be regulated and controlled. The the present one, opposition to the Government striving of the people for an opportunity to does not manifest itself exclusively through act— to take part in the control of the nationthe actions of a few known individuals; it al life - has therefore become a phenomenon hovers in the air, and lurks in the hearts of a which the ruling power must take into account. multitude of people. Severe measures may Unfortunately, however, it is a phenomenon crush a few of the Government's prominent which the Administration regards with hosopponents, but in their places discontent sets tility. At the very moment when society is forth new champions.
aroused both by the nature of its own reflecFinally, repression, by keeping the country tions and by the circumstances of the time and in a state of constant alarm with warnings of seeks to participate in the life of the State, the impending danger and with extraordinary and Administration throws obstacles in its way. If ever-changing methods of prevention, diverts the ruling mechanism in its present form exattention from the real necessities of the time cludes from direct participation in the gov. and baffles all attempts to anticipate the future. ernment a majority of those who have the The country lives only from day to day, when first right and the strongest desire to take part it ought to proceed at once and with vigor to in it, then that mechanism stands in need of its work. Whether, therefore, we regard re- reformation. Instead, however, of reforming pression as a necessary and normal feature it, the Government is striving to crush and of national life or merely as a temporary ex- strangle the very institutions intended to bring pedient useful in periods of agitation, we find about such reformation.t that it is powerless to attain the results that The Russian people are becoming more and are expected from it.
more impressed with the conviction that an
empire so extensive and a social life so comIII.
plicated as ours cannot be managed exclusively The most marked feature of the present by chinovniks. The provincial assemblies are situation in Russia is extreme dissatisfaction educating year after year a larger and larger in urgent need of free expression. Educated number of men who are capable of taking part society as a whole, irrespective of rank, posi- in political life, and yet these assemblies are tion, or opinions, is intensely dissatisfied, and constantly and systematically repressed. Their out of that dissatisfaction arises the existing legislation is subjected to the censorship of the agitation.
provincial governors; their right to impose First. The first and most important of soci- taxes for their own needs is restricted; they ety's unsatisfied demands is the demand for an assemble under presiding officers whose disopportunity to act. This demand even a con- ciplinary power is increased; their right to stantly growing bureaucracy has been unable manage their own schools is denied; their to silence. It has been encouraged and stim- recommendations and petitions are wholly ulated by the intellectual movement which unheeded ; jurisdiction over all important began in the last century and which has con- questions is taken away from them and given tinued in this; and as early as the beginning of to administrative bureaus, and the provincial the present reign there had already taken form governors are allowed to pass judgment upon
The “ Kolokol,” or “ Bell,” was a radical journal + The zemstvos, or provisional and cantonal assempublished fortnightly in London by Herzen.-G. K. blies.-G. K.
the character of officials duly elected by popu- political crime, where the features which dislar vote. As a consequence of all this, there is tinguish the permissible from the forbidden great danger that the provincial assemblies, are so changeable and so difficult of definiwhich should be the independent organs of tion, and where, consequently, personal liberty local self-government, will be transformed into should be surrounded by the greatest possible mere subordinate bureaus of the local admin- safeguards, there exists a state of things which istration. This system of forcible repression is in violation of all the Russian people's ideas cannot crush the desire of the people for inde- of judicial procedure, and in flagrant violation pendent political activity, but it is quite enough of the most elementary principles of justice. to produce chronic dissatisfaction and to put A robber or a murderer cannot be searched the Administration in the attitude of serving nor arrested without a warrant from an official the interests of a bureaucracy rather than the who must answer for his acts upon complaint interests of the people.
of the sufferer; but in cases involving political Second. Another demand of society which crime an entirely different order of things preat the present time is even less satisfied than vails. For the past ten years the police, upon the desire for political activity is the demand trivial suspicion or upon a false accusation, for personal security. The indispensable con- have been allowed to break into houses, force ditions upon which the very existence of mod- their way into the sphere of private lise, read ern society depends are free courts, freedom private letters, throw the accused into prison, from arrest and search without proper precau- keep them there for months, and finally subtions and safeguards, responsibility of officials ject them to an inquisitorial examination withfor illegal detention and imprisonment, and out even informing them definitely of the the due observance of all the legal formalities nature of the charges made against them. Many of public and controversial trial in cases in- persons arrested in this way by mistake, or volving the infliction of punishment. In ad- under misapprehension, have lived through ministrative limitations of judicial procedure, this experience and have afterward returned whatever be their nature, society cannot ac- to their homes. In the eyes of certain people quiesce. Administrative interference always and of the Government these sufferers are not creates license; it shows that the ruling power men justified by the courts and reëstablished is not willing to submit to the laws which it in their rights in the face of the world; they has itself ordained, and that it seeks an op- are dangerous members of society marked portunity to attack both the freedom of the with the brand of disloyalty. In the eyes of courts and the rights of the persons with whom other people they are innocent martyrs, or it is dealing. Such administrative interference, even heroes. It often happens that the lives whatever may be its motives, cannot justify of such persons are wrecked forever. The itself in the eyes of the people, and only serves dead secrecy of political trials, in contrast with to weaken the authority of the ruling power. the publicity of ordinary jurisprudence; the
The importance of the first stage of judicial unlimited exercise of power by the secret proseprocedure in Russia is destroyed by the lack cutors, in contrast with the strictly enforced of independent examining magistrates. The legality of every step in ordinary judicial prolaw providing that judges shall not be removed cedure, are undermining in society the sense from office is deprived of all its virtue by the of lawfulness, and adding fuel to the fire of practice of transferring them to distant posts exasperation which burns in the hearts not or promoting them without reason. How lit- only of the persons who have the misfortune tle faith there is in the existing method of se- to be prosecuted for political offenses, but of lecting judges, and how carelessly vacancies a much wider circle of people. In the absence are filled by appointment, is shown by the fact of any legislation defining political crime and that not long ago in Moscow people went to limiting the power of the institutions which court as they would go to the theater, to be deal with it, not a single person belonging to amused by the ignorance and clownishness the educated class can regard himself as safe of an associate judge, who had been appointed from political prosecution, and consequently by the Minister of Justice instead of another not one can escape from the ever-present, hucandidate recommended by the court itself. miliating, and exasperating consciousness that People who take a superficial view of life are he is entirely without rights. amused by such things; the more serious mem- Still more out of harmony with the views bers of society are deeply pained by them; of the people is the system of administrative but in both classes there is a consequent loss exile and banishment without examination or of respect for the Government. Great numbers trial, which has been practiced upon a more of cases are removed entirely from the juris- extensive scale within the past five years than diction even of such imperfect courts as we ever before. While the spirit of the law and have. In the almost unlimited province of the first principles of justice forbid the in