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" the teind to hell” was to the fairies; and as, in their case, the victim was “ fat and fair of flesh,” so the conscript must be
young, strong, and healthy, and, in short, one of the most able and useful members of his family. Every domestic tie is severed, even in time of peace, for him who becomes a Russian soldier. His home is lost; his wife is a widow; his children are orphans; his parents are childless as much as if he were dead; and he himself is twice as much a slave as he was before. The Emperor is become his master; and when he is enlisted, he knows not where or what his service will bewhether by sea or by land—whether that of a soldier or of a sailor. The generality, it is true, of the recruits soon become reconciled to their lot, for their disposition is easy, and, being fatalists, they consider that they are only fulfilling their destiny. Nevertheless, the diseases which they counterfeit, * and still more, the mutilations which they often inflict upon themselves, in the hope of being thus incapacitated for the service, prove their dread of being forced into it.
Should any inducements be successful in exciting the people to revolt, the first result of the overthrow of the present order of things would undoubtedly be a reign of terror, in the massacres and other acts of violence which must be expected from a population in the depths of ignorance, suddenly freed, not only from their fetters, but from the ordinary restraints of law and subordination. Their worst passions would naturally be roused against their late masters, whom they would be taught to regard as their enemies and oppressors.
A man's foes would truly be those of his own household ; for the domestic. servants suffer naturally more than the peasants from the authority of a good master and the tyranny of a bad one. They would consider that they had the most injuries to avenge, and their vengeance would be the most terrible. The consequences which might be looked for if the slaves rose against their masters, and the soldiers against their officers, may be judged of
* This is a very common plan with the conscripts: they pretend to be subject to fits, and counterfeit other attacks, the existence of which is not easily disproved; and men have been known to chop off their fingers with an axe, and even to inflict upon themselves still more dreadful mutilations, in order to escape the conscription.
by the revolt of the military colonies which took place soon after the accession of the present Emperor, and which was repressed entirely by his personal intrepidity in proceeding immediately to the spot, appearing unguarded amongst the rioters, and asserting his authority at the risk of his life. On that occasion no atrocity was omitted, and the unhappy officers who had incurred the fury of their men were not merely murdered, but tortured with the utmost barbarity.
After the murders and acts of violence which must be expected, the next result to be apprehended from a revolution in Russia would be a fearful and general famine ; for utter improvidence is one leading characteristic of the peasant, and, if he found himself suddenly relieved from the obligation of working for his master, he probably would have little forethought for himself,
At any rate, during the period of the convulsion, the land of the master would be uncultivated, and half the country would be unproductive; the other half being, to say the least, very generally neglected. This evil would, of course, be remedied by time; the proprietors would, as in other countries, employ hired labourers for the cultivation of their land; and the peasant would learn that, whether slave or freeman, he must equally earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Before, however, the period of re-action came, multitudes must have perished from the neglect of husbandry, and from the consequent deficiency of crops, even if it were but for one season. Russia has no external resources, she depends entirely upon
herself to supply food for her population, and, if that supply were to fail, the population must perish for want.
On the whole, odious and bad as the present Government and system of things in Russia is, and iron as is the despotism which prevails, the country, it must be allowed, is morally unfitted for liberal institutions. Were this doubtful, the character of the different conspiracies which have been brought to light would be sufficient to prove the fact. These have always either commenced or been intended to commence by murder and bloodshed ; and it has never appeared that those engaged in revolutionary projects had any rational or feasible system of Government to propose, if they had succeeded in overthrowing the ruling powers. Were it practicable, therefore, to bring about a revolution, it would be doing certain evil without any assurance of future good ;—the prospect on the one hand of advantage being very remote and doubtful, and the evils on the other hand to be incurred most imminent and dreadful. This view of things will not justify, but it may serve to explain, the uniform and inexorable severity of the Emperor Nicholas to political offenders, while to ordinary criminals he often shows an undue degree of indulgence and leniency. He has laid it down as a fixed and fundamental principle, to allow of no political changes, and to suffer no political agitation, in his dominions ; and for the maintenance of this principle he is utterly regardless of the amount of individual suffering he may inflict. Polish convicts especially are often treated with the grossest and most wanton cruelty. I was told by a person on whose authority I could rely, that a party of Polish Roman Catholic priests, condemned to Siberia, had been compelled to travel for some distance on foot, chained together, and with their arms fixed to bars and stretched out as though on a cross. Such tyranny however is probably not to be attributed to the Emperor himself. It is the result of the ancient and undying antipathy which exists between the Russian and the Pole, and which is on both sides inconceivably bitter and inveterate. Ambitious and despotio as the Emperor Nicholas is, when any calamity occurs he is always foremost in aiding the sufferers. He is very affectionate in his own family, and it is evident that he has no personal fear of his subjects. He constantly shows himself without guard or escort; and when he is at Petersburg he appears daily in the streets wrapped in his cloak and seated in a small onehorse sledge, or in a low open carriage and pair, with no servant or attendant but the coachman. No sovereign therefore can seem to exhibit a more entire confidence than Nicholas does in the personal attachment of his people. His real strength lies in the devotion of the peasantry and in the fear of the nobles, and he trusts in his own prestige, which never yet has failed him.
DETAILS OF RUSSIAN HUSBANDRY
LETTER FROM MR. SABOUROFF, OF TAMBOFF.
Mr. SABOUROFF is a landed gentleman whose estate lies in the Government of Tamboff. I had the advantage of becoming intimately acquainted with him during the winter of 1837-8, and in the course of conversation I took frequent opportunities of gaining information, which he was always extremely kind in imparting, on the state of husbandry in Russia, and on the system of management generally pursued; these being points to which he devoted much of his time and attention. One day he said to me, after we had been talking on the subject :-“You appear to take a considerable interest in these matters, and if you like I will put on paper a few remarks, which may give you a general idea of our mode of managing our estates, and of our system of agriculture." I thanked Mr. Sabouroff for this kind offer, which I gladly accepted, and the day that I quitted Tamboff, on taking leave of me, he presented me with the promised paper, in the form of a letter, of which the following is a translation. Being from the pen of a Russian country gentleman, it may be relied on as giving an authentic account of the position and revenues of the landed proprietor, and of the condition and occupations of the peasant.
LETTER FROM MR. SABOUROFF.
Tamboff, February 14th (O.S.), 1858. You have paid me the compliment of applying to me for some information on the subject of our rural economy, and it