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sians have appeared in revolt, as they have often done, it CHAP. was ever in obedience to the impulse of loyalty : they combated the Czar in the name of another Czar, not knowing which was the right one, as the Scotch Highlanders did the Hanoverian family in the name of the Stuarts. The principle of cohesion is much stronger in Russia than it is in the British dominions, infinitely more so than in the United States of America. England and France may be subjugated, or broken into separate states, before the integrity of Russia is threatened; and many rival republics will be contending for the superiority on the Transatlantic plains, while the Muscovites are still slumbering in conscious strength and patient expectation under the sceptre of the Czar.
The cause of this remarkable, and, to the other states of Europe, most formidable unity of feeling in the Russian Reason of dominions is to be found, in the first place, as that of all Their Asigreat national peculiarities is, in the original character atic habits and disposition of the race. The Russians are not, it is gious feeltrue, encamped on the plains of Scythia as the Turks have been for four centuries on those of the Byzantine Empire ; they have taken root in the soil, they constitute its entire inhabitants, and are now devotedly attached to it by the possession of its surface and the labours of agriculture. But they are not on that account less Oriental in their ideas, feelings, and habits ; on the contrary, it is that very circumstance, joined to their agricultural pursuits, which renders them so formidable. They unite the devotion and singleness of purpose of Asia to the industry and material resources of Europe. It is incorrect to say that the Russians, like the inhabitants of England or France, are generally loyal, and only occasionally seized with the disturbing passions of revolution or religion. They are loyal at all times, and in all places, and under all circumstances. They can never be brought to combat the Czar but in the name of the Czar. Devotion to the throne is so interwoven with the inmost feel
who usman Character and reli
CHAP. ings of their hearts that it has become part and parcel of
their very being ; it is as universal as the belief in God 1815.
or a future state is in other countries. No disturbing or rival passions interfere with the unity of this feeling, which is sublime from its universality, and respectable from its disinterestedness. The Czar is at once their temporal sovereign, their supreme chief, whose will is law in all temporal affairs, and the head of their church, under the ægis of whose protection they alone hope for entrance into paradise in the world to come. The Patriarch of Constantinople is, properly speaking, the head of the Greek Church, but he is a foreigner, and at a distance ;
the real ecclesiastical authority resides in the Czar, who Histoire de appoints all the bishops; and his brows are surrounded, Russie, v. 89, 90." in their eyes, at once with the diadem of the sultan
and the tiara of the pontiff.1
This unity of feeling—the result of the combination, in 20. Unity of the same people, of the Asiatic principle of passive obediinterest in the empire. ence in temporal, and the Roman Catholic one of unity of
belief in religious concerns—has been much enhanced in Russia by the entire identity of materialinterests over every part of the empire. Other nations are partly agricultural, partly manufacturing, partly commercial; and experience has proved that not the least serious causes of internal division are to be traced to the varied and conflicting interests of these different classes of society. But in Russia no such cause of division exists. The empire is, speaking in general terms, wholly agricultural. Its seaports are only emporiums for the sale of its rude produce; its merchants, its grain and hemp factors; its manufacturers, the clothers of its rural population ; its nobles, the persons enriched by their labours. So inconsiderable is the urban population-only a twelfth of the rural—that it can secure no sort of influence in the state ; and such as it is, its most lucrative professions are chiefly in the hands of foreigners. St Petersburg itself has, including the garrison, which is never less than 60,000 men, only 470,000 inhabitants ;
but for the court, it would soon sink below 100,000; CHAP. Moscow 349,000,-neither greater than Manchester or
1815. Glasgow at this moment.* If this extremely small proportion of the urban to the rural population is prejudicial to the national wealth, by depriving the state of the great lives of industry which in other states are the nurseries of capital, it is eminently favourable to the unity of feeling which pervades the empire. The Russians have the two strongest bonds of cohesion which can exist in a state-identity of religious belief, and unity of temporal interests. The Empress Catherine took some steps towards
21. introducing schools into her vast dominions ; and great General inestablishments for the young of both sexes excite the of the admiration of travellers both at St Petersburg and Mos- $ cow. But she did so, only that her vanity might be enlightengratified by the praise of the philosophers of western Europe ; for she at the same time wrote to one of her favourites that if they were general through the empire, neither he nor she would long remain where they then were.t Catherine was right; the unbounded authority of the Czar, both as the temporal sovereign of the state and the head of the church, is based on the general ignorance which prevails. Before the light of knowledge the vast fabric would insensibly melt away, but with it would disappear at the same time the internal solidity and external strength of the empire. The Emperor Alexander
* Population in 1840 ofSt Petersburg, . 470,202 | Riga,
59,960 Moscow, . . 349,068 Cronstadt,
54,747 Warsaw, . . . 140,474 | Wilna, .
54,499 Odessa, . . . 60,055 Toula, . . 54,735 Astrakan, 45,938 Kiev,
47,424 Kazan, . .
44,304 Woronije, . . . 43,800 -TEGOBORSKI, i. 122, 123. + " Mon cher Prince,-Ne vous plaignez pas de ce que les Russes n'ont pas le désir de s'instruire. Si j'institue des écoles, ce n'est pas pour nous ; c'est pour l'Europe, où il faut maintenir notre rang dans l'opinion : mais du jour où nos paysans voudraient s'éclairer, ni vous ni moi nous ne resterions à nos places.”—CATHERINE, Impératrice, au Gouverneur de Moscou, 8 June 1772; DI CUSTINE, La Russie en 1839, ii. 115.
CHAP. did much to establish schools in his dominions ; but as
they were all either in the hands of the sovereign or the Church, they did little to enlighten the general mind, save in the military art, in which they kept it on a level with, if not superior to, any country of Europe. The schools, other than the government ones, which are mere military academies, being entirely in the hands of the clergy, who are themselves, with some bright exceptions, the most uninformed of the community, little is to be expected for the training of the general mind from the spread of education, as it is at present constituted.
There is no nation in the world more profoundly imThe clergy. pressed with religious feelings than the Russians, and yet
there is none to which the Gospel has less been preached. The Bible is to them a sealed book, for not one in a hundred can read; preaching is unknown, for it would not be understood ; form is all in all. Repeated genuflexions at passing the image of a saint, invariable crossing themselves before eating, and attendance at church to witness a few ceremonies around the altar on Sunday, form, in general, the whole of their devotional practices. In truth, the vast majority of the people are in so backward a state as to civilisation, that they could neither understand doctrines nor apprehend precepts apart from the influence of the senses. Like all rude nations, they are deeply impressed with religious feelings; but it is the religion which enters by the eye rather than the ear, and is nourished by visible objects, not abstract ideas. Paintings of Scriptural subjects are to be seen in all directions, and are the objects of the most superstitious devotion to the entire people ; for they think that the prohibition in the Commandments is only against graven, not painted images ; and that, provided only the surface is flat, it is lawful to fall down and worship it. The clergy are a very numerous body in the empire—they amounted, in 1829, to 243,000; and being allowed to marry, their children are still more numerous, and having nearly all
received the elements of education, they constitute the CHAP. chief class from whom the numerous civil employés of government are drawn.* They are little elevated, either 18 in instruction, station, or circumstances, above the peasants by whom they are surrounded, whose virtues and vices they in general share ; but among the higher prelates, appointed by the emperor, are to be found men, as in the Custine's
Russia, iii. elevated diplomatic circles, second to none in the world 276, 279. in piety and zeal, and learning.
Titles and estates are hereditary in Russia, but not rank-a curious distinction, little understood in western Rank in
Russia : the Europe, where they are invariably united, but highly Tchinn: characteristic of its social system, and important in its social and political effects on the inhabitants. It is this distinction which has crushed the feudal system in that country, and placed society on an entirely different basishalf European, half Asiatic—from any of the other states founded by the conquerors who overthrew the Roman Empire. Peter the Great was the author of the system which is called the Tchinn, and by its establishment he effected a greater revolution in the destinies of the empire than by the destruction of the Strelitzes. The whole people were by this strange but vigorous lawgiver divided into fourteen classes, corresponding to the grades in the army, and something analogous to the centuries into which, for the purposes of taxation and election, the Romans, in the days of the Republic, were divided. Each of these classes has certain privileges peculiar to itself, which are not
* The clergy are thus divided, which shows how vast a preponderance the Greek Church enjoys-viz. Greek Church,
223,000 United Greeks, .
7,000 Roman Catholics, .
6,000 Mahommedan, .
243,000 The whole are married, or capable of being so, except the Roman Catholic priests. The entire persons belonging to the clergy and their families, forming the clergy class, amounted, in 1829, to 900,000, and are now above a million of souls.-MALTE BRUN, vi. 414.