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The nary, like the army in Russia, is maintained by a Chap.
compulsory levy, which amounts in time of peace to 33,000 men. The fleet consists of thirty ships of the 1815, line and twenty-two frigates in the Baltic, and of sixteen Russian sail of the line and twelve frigates in the Black Sea,nav7' carrying in all 6000 guns. These large forces give the Czar, in a manner, the command of those two inland seas, which cannot be regarded in any other light but as vast Russian lakes. But as the sailors who man them are accustomed only to navigate a sea shut up with ice during half the year, or to plough the comparatively placid waters of the Euxine, they could never contend in the open sea with those who have been trained in the storms of the German Ocean, or braved the perils of the Atlantic. Still, as the Russian sailors, like their soldiers, are individually brave, and stand to their guns, as well as point them, as steadily as any Englishman, they may eventually prove formidable even to the colossal maritime strength of England; the more especially when it is recollected that Cronstadt is within a fortnight's sail of the mouth of the Thames; that the fleet is constantly kept manned and afloat in summer, by the compulsory levy; that thirty thousand soldiers are habitually put on board those in the Baltic, to accustom the crews to their conveyance to distant quarters; and that the interests of Great Britain x Ma,t0 and Russia in the East so frequently come into collision, that several times during the last thirty years they have »• 375,376j been on the eve of a rupture, once with k ranee and Russia ii. 176. united against England.1
The revenue of Russia, though not considerable compared with that of France or England, is perfectly Revenue of adequate to the maintenance of its vast establishments, RuMia" from the high value of money and low rate of pay of nearly all the public functionaries, civil and military, in the empire. It amounts to 460,000,000 paper rubles, or 500,000,000 francs (£20,000,000), and is raised chiefly by, 1st, A capitation-tax of four francs (3s. 6d.) on every
Chap, male inhabitant, that of serfs being paid by their masters;
2d, A tax on the capital of merchants, ascertained by 1815, their own disclosure, checked by judicial authority; 3d, The revenues of the Crown domains, with the obrok paid by the emancipated serfs, who are very numerous; 4th, The customhouse duties by sea and land, which, on articles of foreign manufacture, are for the most part very heavy; 5 th, The stamp-duties, which on sales of heritable property amount to an ad valorem duty of 5 per cent; 6th, A duty on spirituous liquors and salt; 7th, The imperial duties on the mines of gold and platina, which are daily becoming more productive, from the great quantities of these valuable metals, now amounting to £3,000,000 annually, which are worked out in the Ural and Atlas mountains. It cannot be said that any of these taxes are peculiarly oppressive, or such as weigh on the industry or capital of the nation; but they produce, when taken together, a sum which is very large in a country where the value of money is so high, and the standard of comfort so low, that the common soldiers are ischnitzier deemed *° adequately remunerated by a pay which, ii.27«, 28o! after the deductions for rations and other necessaries are vi. 406, Jos', made, leaves them scarcely a halfpenny a-day to them.1*
48 As the distances in Russia are so prodigious that it Poiitum* of takes at least a year and a half to gather up its mighty pal armies, strength, the principal armies are permanently disposed in positions where they may be comparatively near the probable scene of military operations, and best favour the
* The Emperor Nicholas, since his accession to the throne, has laboured assiduously to diminish the public expenses and check the frauds continually practised in the distribution of the national revenue. In his own household and guards ho has effected a reduction, with no diminution of splendour, of no less than 67,500,000 paper rubles. The expenses of the kitchen and cellar were reduced at once from 600 paper rubles to 200 a-day. By similar economics in every department he was enabled to carry on the coBtly war in Turkey and Russia, in 1827 and 1828, without any sensible increase to the public debt In 1880 it amounted in all to 1,300,000,000 francs, or £52,000,000. —Schnitzleb, Hitt. Int., ii. 184-186.
designs of the diplomatic body. The first army, 112,000 Chap. strong, is composed of three corps, and stationed in Poland YI11' and the adjacent frontiers of Russia: it is intended to 1815, overawe the discontented in the former country, and hang like a thunder-cloud on the rear of Austria and Prussia. The second army, also 112,000 strong, is cantoned in the southern provinces of the empire, between Odessa and the Danube: it is destined to intimidate the Turks, and give weight to the ceaseless diplomatic encroachments of Russia at Constantinople. The third, which musters 120,000 combatants, is stationed as a reserve at Moscow, Smolensko, and in the central provinces of the empire: it is intended to reinforce either of the great armies on the frontier which may require to be supported, and is advanced nearer to the scene of active operations the moment that hostilities commence. In addition to this, there are never less than 60,000 men, including the guards, at St Petersburg, and 40,000 on the Caucasus, or in the province of Georgia to the south of it. These immense forces may all be rendered disposable without weakening any garrison or military station in the interior. They , Hi3t of arc, however, so far separated from each other that it f"vro|e:,6c: requires a long time to concentrate them on any one point, schniuicr, or produce the imposing array of 160,000 warriors, whom int. deia Alexander, in 1815, reviewed on the plains of Vertus in3,T'e'"' Champagne.1
Montesquieu long ago said that honour is the principle of a monarchy, and virtue of a republic. Both are true, General in a certain sense, of society generally, though not of '"rumu" every individual of which it is composed; for though few are willing to practise these virtues themselves, yet all are ready to exact them of their neighbours. Public opinion inclines to the right side, because it is founded on our judgment of others; private acts often to the wrong, because they are prompted by our own inclinations. If we are to form our opinion from the example of Russia, we should be forced to conclude that the prin
VOL. II. L
Chap, ciple of despotism is Corruption. This arises from the selfish desire of gain in individuals being unchecked by
181S- the opinion of those who, as they do not participate in, are not biassed by it; and from the immensity of the empire, and the innumerable number of functionaries employed, rendering all the vigilance of the emperor and of the higher officers of state inadequate to check the general abuses which prevail. Doubtless there are many men in the highest situations, both civil and military, in Russia, who are as pure and honourable as any in the world; but they are the exceptions, not the rule. Generally speaking, and as a national characteristic, the functionaries in Russia are corrupt. The taking of bribes is general; justice is too often venal; the chiefs of the police, on the most moderate salaries, soon accumulate large fortunes; and even elevated functionaries are often not proof against the seductions of a handsome woman, or a magnificent Cashmere shawl for their wives or daughters.* The Emperor Alexander, in a moment of irritation at some great dilapidations which he had discovered in the naval stores, HirtSre'6''sa^' "^ ^ey knew where to hide them, they would int.de ia steal my ships of the line: if they could draw my teeth
Russia, i. . i i • i It ii.
415, ii. 182. without wakening me, they would extract them during the night."1
No words can convey an idea of the extent to which so. this system of pillage, both on the public and on indiviaba°8TMotu duals, prevails on the part of those intrusted with power J2l pre" in Russia; those practically acquainted with the administration of affairs in Great Britain may approach to a
* On the accession of the Emperor Nicholas in 1826, it was discovered that in sixteen governments of Russia out of no less than 2749 ukases, or decrees of the Senate, passed, 1821 had remained unexecuted; in the single government of Kourok 600 lay buried and unknown in the public archives. In the same year there were 2,850,000 causes in dependence in the different tribunals of the empire, and 127,000 persons under arrest. The Senate decides annually 40,000 causes on an average; in 1825 the number was 60,000 ; which sufficiently proves that the vast majority must have been decided in absence, or without any consideration.—Schhitzler, Iiistoire Int. de Jo Eu$sie, ii. 171, 175, 176.
conception of its magnitude, from the strenuous efforts Chap. constantly making to introduce the same system into the YIXI* British dominions, when the vigilant eye of Parliament 1815and Government is for any considerable time averted. It is the great cause of the unexpected reverses or trifling successes which have so often attended the Russian arms on the first breaking out of fresh hostilities. So universal and systematic had been the fraud of the whole functionaries connected with the armies, that they are often found, when they take the field, to be little more-than half the strength which was represented on paper, and on which the cabinet" relied in commencing the campaign. When Nicholas declared war against Turkey in 1827, he relied on Wittgenstein's army in the south being, as the returns showed, 120,000 strong; but it was never able to bring 60,000 sabres and bayonets into the field: and when the army approached the Danube, he found, to his utter dismay, JJ0^*" that the wood for the bridges, which were represented as int ae ia already thrown over the Danube, was not even cut in the m, isV forests of Bessarabia.1
Sometimes, indeed, the enormous abuses that are going on are revealed to the emperor, and then the stroke of striking justice falls like a thunderbolt from heaven on the head of this corof the culprit; but these examples are so rare in compa- roptl011, rison with the enormous number of dilapidations which are going on in every direction, that they produce no lasting impression. Like the terrible railway accidents which frequently occur in England, or steamboat explosions in America, they produce general consternation for a few days, but are soon forgotten. Occasionally, too, the malversation is found to involve such elevated functionaries, that the tracing of guilt or its punishment are alike impossible. At a review in April 1826, soon after his accession to the throne, four men, dressed as peasants, with great difficulty succeeded in penetrating to the Emperor Nicholas, near his magnificent palace of TsarckoSelo, and revealed to him an enormous system of dilapi