« AnteriorContinuar »
fliction of punishment without previous trial, be regarded as accidental. Take, for example, hundreds and perhaps thousands of persons the series of steps by which we have come, annually are subjected to the severest punish- from the order of things established by the new ment that can be inflicted upon an educated court laws, to the present method of conductman; namely, banishment from home and ing political trials. In the beginning the courts friends, and that by a mere administrative or- acted independently, and had exclusive juris. der based upon nothing. Persons exiled in this diction; then the officers of the Third Section way have no means of knowing how long their were appointed assistants of the courts; then punishment will continue. They are deprived the balance of power was transferred from the even of the consolation which every common courts to the Third Section; and finally, all criminal has in knowing definitely the length authority and responsibility were concentrated of time he is to suffer. Moreover, the friends of in the hands of the gendarmes. These and a political exile have no means of knowing the other similar facts show what attitude the Govnature of the offense with which he is charged; ernment took toward reform. They compelled often he himself does not know; but they both society to stand forth in defense of the instihave a right to suppose that the accusation tutions which it held dear, and thus in the cannot be proved, since if it could be the ac- very beginning created an abnormal situation. cused would be duly indicted and tried by a The Government and the people, instead of court. At the time when the law relating to coöperating fraternally in the work of reform, administrative exile was promulgated, it was took an attitude of hostility toward each other. explained as an unusual measure of clemency, For this the people are often blamed, and to intended to lighten the punishment of young a certain extent they are perhaps blameworthy; and misguided offenders by substituting ban- but those who condemn the people forget that ishment to distant provinces for the much se- in a country where the Government is all-powverer penalties which would be inflicted by the erful the Government should show most selfcourts if the accused should be brought to possession. formal trial. When, however, the Moscow As- Fourth. That which happened to representasembly of Nobles asked that every person tive institutions and to the courts happened sentenced to exile should be given the right to also to the press, and perhaps even in a worse demand a judicial investigation of his case, no form. The law of 1865 gave to our press cerattention whatever was paid to its petition. tain rights by abolishing in specified cases
Third. There is in the present condition of preliminary censorial supervision, and by givthe courts and of local self-government another ing to the courts jurisdiction of cases where cause of irritation, arising out of the grievously the freedom of the press was abused; but that illogical and inconsistent policy of the Gov- law was soon made a dead letter by a whole ernment itself. In the early part of the present series of restrictive measures. The existing reign the political ideal of the Russian people system of censorial supervision which rests was approved not only by the highest author- upon administrative discretion has one capital ities of the State, but by the supreme ruler of defect, and that is its failure to furnish any rule the empire. At the very first step, however, definitely fixing beforehand the cases in which toward the realization of that ideal, the Ad- and the extent to which an offending publicaministration manifested a lack of confidence tion shall be proscribed. Of this defect the in the forces of society. Immediately after the censors themselves complain, since they somepromulgation of such laws, for example, as times receive at the same time one reprimand the act providing for the organization of can- for allowing the publication of books and artitonal and provincial assemblies (Zemskoe Pol- cles manifestly innocent and another for not ozhenia) and the act reforming the courts allowing the publication of books and articles Sulebni Ustavil, there began a series of with- which are as manifestly mischievous. Society drawals and restrictions. All the limitations is irritated by still another injustice. It often of the powers of the provincial assemblies happens that even the withdrawal of a queswhich have before been enumerated; the tion by censorial prohibition from the field peculiar method of dealing with political of- of literary discussion does not prevent the fenses; the system of administrative exile; writers on one side [the Government side) the denial in certain cases of the right of trial from setting forth their opinions and sharply by jury, and the relegation of political offenses attacking their adversaries, while the latter, to specially organized courts, — all these were silenced by the prohibition, cannot reply even in the nature of withdrawals or restrictions to the extent of explaining more clearly their of rights and privileges once granted. These own position. An illustration of this is furnished recisions began almost as soon as the new laws by the question of classical instruction in our went into operation, and they were made in schools. Restrictions of the press and limitaa delicately graded series, which can hardly tions of free speech in general might have some raison d'être in a country where the governing ternal affairs, can be removed only by measures power felt itself to be weak in comparison in which society shall take part. The Govwith the people; but it is well known that in ernment cannot accomplish the desired result Russia the power of the Government is enor- alone. A mere cursory glance at the state of mous. Limitations of the right of free speech the country is enough to convince one that it merely weaken that power. If the Govern- is time to call into action all Russia's healthy ment fears publicity, then it must have some- powers. The demands of the empire are conthing to conceal from the people; - such is the stantly increasing. The imperial budget has inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the more than doubled in the last twenty years, present condition of the press.
and would have been still larger than it is if The need of free speech is never so deeply the satisfaction of important imperial needs felt as in periods of discontent; and even apart had not been postponed. The last war necesfrom discontent, that need in Russian society is sitated an extraordinary expenditure, a large extremely urgent. The Russian people are pass- part of which has not even yet been permaing through an important crisis in their history nently covered. It is absolutely impossible for
a crisis which is economic, social, and politi- the country, under the present revenue system, cal. Nothing but the free interchange of ideas to sustain even for a few years the enormous can lessen the difficulties and embarrassments and constantly increasing burden of imperial of this transition period. When in dealing with taxation. Although new issues of paper money such difficulties and embarrassments the Gov. and the temporary stimulation of business ernment adopts a course which society does which followed the war have enabled the not approve, the press is the only medium Government during the past two years to through which the consequent alarm and ex- strike a balance without a deficit, that favorcitement can be tranquilized. By refusing to able result cannot be counted upon in future, listen to frankly expressed opinions, the Gov- nor even in the current fiscal year. It is plain ernment not only gives another proof of its to every one, and was long ago admitted by the want of confidence in its own power, but de- Government, that Russia's internal revenue prives itself of an important means of knowing system stands in need of a reform — not a rewith whom it has to deal. There may exist form confined to the working-over of certain in the social organism needs and forces of old taxes and the invention of a few new ones, which the Government is entirely ignorant but a systematic and fundamental reform of and by which it is liable at any moment to be our whole system, with capital changes in the taken unawares. Of this the present state of distribution of the burdens of taxation among things is a proof. The Administration up to the several classes of the people. Even this this very hour has not been able to find out is not enough. No possible reform in the definitely who the enemies of social order are, revenue system will be of any avail unless and it is doubtful whether it even knows their there is an increase in the people's wealth working methods, because by withdrawing the and producing power. All persons who have light of publicity it has enshrouded such meth- had an opportunity to observe closely the doods in an atmosphere of secrecy and obscur- mestic life of our provinces agree in declaring ity. In the absence of free speech the enemies that the people are constantly growing poorer of the Government must remain unknown instead of richer. At this very moment a third even to society itself. The unsatisfied demand of the empire is suffering from insufficient food, of the people for freedom of speech is one of and in some places there is actual famine. In the chief sources of the existing discontent. southern Russia the grain beetle threatens Every educated man, by virtue of a law of renewed desolation,* and in a whole series his intellectual being, seeks to exchange ideas of provinces diphtheria and other epidemic with others — to convince or be convinced. diseases are raging unchecked.t Conflict is the natural state of an idea, and it Our manufacturing industries, in the opinion cannot be suppressed without a suppression of competent judges, are beginning to decline, of thought itself. Limiting the freedom of dis- and there is a prospect in the near future of cussion does not weaken the energy of thought, another crisis. In foreign trade the competiit intensifies and concentrates it; and if there is tion of the United States closes to us every no opportunity for an intellectual conflict, there year more and more of our markets. Everyarises a conflict which is social and political where in all departments of economic life
there is a morbid feeling of shaken confidence which saps the productive power of the coun
The The discontent which pervades Russian
image caused by the grain beetle in
exceeded 15,000,000 roubles.-G. K. society, and which is the result of the mistaken
+ Forty thousand persons had died of diphtheria in policy of the Government in dealing with in- the two provinces of Kharkoff and Pultava.-G. K.
try. This feeling is not a mere transitory im- sibly deal with the innumerable questions and pression; it is a well-founded consciousness of problems which, in the absence of popular the fact that our ruling mechanism does not self-government, necessarily devolve upon it. answer to the mutability and the increasing Whole classes of wants and demands either complexity of a great empire's demands. Now, remain entirely unsatisfied, are inadequately as in “the good old times," the central Gov- appeased by methods which take no account ernment jealously excludes the people from of local interests, or are met by a series of unparticipation in the national life and takes up- systematic and mutually contradictory meason itself the difficult task of thinking and act- ures. Each of these ways of dealing with such ing for them. This task was hard enough even wants and demands undermines respect for when the life of the people went on in the authority and inspires painful distrust. long-established patriarchal way to which both The only way to extricate the country from society and the Government were accustomed, its present position is to summon an indebut that order of things has undergone in re- pendent parliament (Sobrania) consisting of cent years more vital changes than perhaps representatives of the zemstvos; to give that ever came to a similar system in any country parliament a share in the control of the nain the course of a single generation. The tional life, and to securely guarantee personal emancipation of the serfs has completely and rights, freedom of thought, and freedom of radically transformed the whole economic life speech. Such freedom will call into action of the agricultural peasants and the landed the best capabilities of the people, will rouse proprietors as well as their relations to each the slumbering life of the nation, and will deother. Artificial methods of swift intercom- velop the abundant productive resources of munication and transportation have altered the country. Liberty will do more than the the time-honored routes and methods of trade severest repressive measures to crush anarchand production, have created new industries istic parties hostile to the State. Free disand destroyed old ones, and have put the for- cussion will show the error of their theories, tunes of whole provinces in the hands of the and the substitution of vigorous healthful acrailroad authorities. Banks and financial insti- tivity for epidemic discontent in the life of the tutions of various kinds have sprung up in great people will deprive them of the field in which numbers and have bound widely separated re- they carry on their propaganda. gions together with meshes of mutual obliga- The Russians are as fit for free institutions tion and indebtedness. These changes, com- as the Bulgarians are, and they feel deep plicated and supplemented by others like them, humiliation at being kept so long under guardhave created everywhere a thousand questions ianship. The desire for such institutions, aland necessities which previously did not exist, though forced into concealment, and half and have so interwoven the interests of sepa- stified by repressive measures, finds expression, rate localities that delay or error in the settle- nevertheless, in the zemstvos, in the assemment of a question at one point has a direct blies of the nobles, and in the press. The grantinfluence upon the fortunes of other places often ing of such institutions, and the calling tovery remote. Every local necessity or calamity, gether of a representative body to preside over whether it be a drought, the grain beetle, the them, will give to the nation renewed strength, disorganization of a railroad, an epidemic dis- and renewed faith in the Government and in ease, pleuro-pneumonia among cattle, or in- its own future. When the people of Russia dustrial stagnation, exerts, without losing its made themselves ready for the recent war, it local significance, a wide-spread influence was with an instinctive feeling that in the upon the well-being of the empire as a whole. great work of freeing kindred nations there
In an economic life thus complicated, one was the promise of freedom for themselves. central administration, even though it possess Are such expectations, hopes, and promises superhuman wisdom and energy, cannot pos- never to be realized ?
The above temperate, patriotic, and courageous address was laid before the Tsar, and he acted upon it; but, unfortunately, his action came too late. On the 12th of March, 1881, he signed a proclamation announcing to the people his intention to summon a national assembly and to grant a constitutional form of government. On the very next day, before this proclamation had been made public, he was assassinated.
THE PRESIDENT-ELECT AT SPRINGFIELD.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A HISTORY.*
BY JOHN G. NICOLAY AND JOHN HAY, PRIVATE SECRETARIES TO THE PRESIDENT.
THE MONTGOMERY CONFEDERACY. despite its constant avowals of a desire to pro
mote union, was originated and managed by JOLLOWING the succes- the little clique of Virginia conspirators whose
sive ordinances of secession every act, if not preconceived, at least resulted
members adopted no con- bama, on the 4th day of February, 1861, to certed method, but went according to individ- form a Southern Confederacy. The Washingual convenience or caprice; some making the ton caucus, it will be remembered, suggested briefest announcement of their withdrawal, the 15th of the month. But such had been the others delivering addresses of considerable success, or, rather, the want of opposition to length. These parting declarations contain the movement, that it was probably considered nothing of historical interest. They are a advisable to hasten the programme, and inmere repetition of what they had said many stead of only having preliminary secession times over in debate : complaints of Northern complete by the 4th of March, to finish the aggression and allegations of Northern hostil- whole structure of an independent government ity; they failed to make any statement or ac- before the inauguration of President Lincoln. knowledgment of the aggressions and hostility Thus far Mr. Buchanan had not offered the on the part of the South against the North. slightest impediment to the insurrection; it The ceremony of withdrawal, therefore, was might reasonably be inferred that this inaction formal and perfunctory; pre-announced and on his part would continue to the end of his recognized as a foregone conclusion, it attracted term. Mr. Lincoln would be powerless until little attention from Congress or the public. officially invested with the executive duties, Only two cases were exceptional,- that of Mr. and thus the formal organization of a Southern Bouligny, a representative from Louisiana, Confederacy could proceed at convenient leiwho, as already mentioned, remained loyal to sure and in perfect immunity from disturbance. the Union and retained his seat in the House; The meeting at Montgomery had its immeand that of Senator Wigfall of Texas, who, diate origin in the resolutions of a committee radically and outspokenly disloyal, yet kept of the Mississippi Legislature, adopted Januhis seat in the Senate, not only through the ary 29th ; and it is another evidence of the remainder of Mr. Buchanan's term, but even secret and swift concert of secession leaders, during the special session assembled, accord- that in six days thereafter the delegates of ing to custom, to confirm the nominations South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, made by President Lincoln immediately after Louisiana, and Florida were assembled for his inauguration.
conference. The delegates from Texas joined One of the remarkable coincidences of the them later on. An organization was effected secession conspiracy is, that on the same day by choosing Howell Cobb chairman, and the which witnessed the meeting of a peace con- body called itself a Provisional Congress, vention in Washington city to deceive and con- though it was merely a revolutionary council, fuse further the public opinion of the North invested with no direct representation of the with discussion of an impossible compromise, people, but appointed by the secession conthe delegates of the seceded States convened ventions. Its reactionary spirit was shown in at Montgomery, Alabama, to consolidate re- returning to the antiquated and centralizing bellion and prepare for armed resistance. It mode of voting by States. This same rule unis not impossible that this waswa piece of strat- der the old Congress of the Confederation had egy, purposely designed by the secession lead- produced nothing but delay and impotence, ers; for the Washington peace conference, and earned deserved contempt; and these
* Copyright by J. G. Nicolay and John Hay, 1886-7. All rights reserved.
identical delegates, after incorporating the rule Georgia Vice-President of the new Confedin their provisional scheme of government, eracy. The body then set itself more seriously immediately rejected it when framing their at work to prepare a permanent constitution permanent one. We may infer that they em- which should go into effect a year later. This ployed it at the moment, because it was ad- labor it completed and adopted on the 11th mirably suited to the use of cliques and the of March. In this permanent constitution, as purposes of intrigue. Very little more than in the provisional one, they adhered closely half the delegates of four States could carry a to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of measure, and the minority of total member- the United States, making few changes other ship could exercise full power of legislation. A than those which the pretensions and designs project of government was perfected on Feb- of the rebellion made essential. ruary 8th, and the name of the “Confederate “The new constitution professed to be estabStates of America ” was adopted.
lished by each State acting in its sovereign This first project was provisional only, to and independent character,' instead of simply serve for one year; and the Provisional Con- by we the people.' It provided that in newly gress retained the legislative power for the acquired territory the institution of negro same period. The temporary continuance of slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate certain United States laws and officials was States, shall be recognized and protected by provided for. On the following day (February Congress and by the Territorial Government'; gth) it elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi also for the right of transit and sojourn for President and Alexander H. Stephens of slaves and other property,' and the right to