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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

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.

very

DETAILS OF RUSSIAN HUSBANDRY

AND

RURAL ECONOMY,

IN A

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 is with the greatest pleasure that I sit down to furnish you with it to the best of my ability. As a resident landed proprietor, I am not unacquainted with the subject on which I now enter, first bespeaking your indulgence for a composition which is not written in my native tongue.*

I think the end in view will be best answered by a summary description of an estate of moderate size, with all the details of its cultivation and general management. Knowing one, you will know all, for in our system of husbandry there is little variety. From habit and circumstances we follow a general routine, the exceptions to which are rare, and attributable rather to the fancies of individual proprietors than to any

other cause. We value our estates by the number of souls upon them, taking into account the male serfs only. This is an ancient custom, derived from the old times, when our revenues depended upon the number of hands at our disposal. At present the case is changed; the land is the source of our profits, while our serfs are often a dead weight upon us,—the more so, that they stand by no means on the footing of the Roman slaves, but they are possessed of rights, some established by law, and more by custom. The law places at their disposal three of the working days of every week, and Sundays and holidays in addition. Their master is obliged to supply them with food and the other necessaries of life; and if the serf becomes a beggar, the master is liable to a fine.

The custom of the country is to allot to the peasants the half of the land which belongs to the owner of the estate ; to defend them, against all aggression and ill-treatment at the hands of strangers; and strictly to respect their property. The exceptions to this conduct are rare, and, when they occur, are quoted with indignation and pointed to with contempt; so that on this point public opinion supplies the place of law. We have even, from a regard to their feelings, adopted for our peasants the very appellation, viz. that of Christians, which they have given themselves.

* The letter was written in French, but this apology was very unnecessary, Mr. Sabouroff being as much at home in that language as in the rural economy of his native country.

With these means and this order of things our peasant is by no means in a bad condition. His habits and desires are, owing to his want of civilization, simple in the extreme. But were his wishes enlarged, he could easily gratify them; land, and the time to cultivate it, being at his disposal. Our peasant works hard, sleeps but little, is satisfied with the coarsest food, and is by no means an habitual drunkard, though he now and then breaks the monotony of his existence by a fit of brutal intoxication. But even in this state his natural good humour shows itself. The quarrels which these occasional revels produce, though noisy enough, never lead to blood-shedding. Of this, indeed, the Russian peasant has a horror, and murders are extremely rare. Let him be oppressed, and he will contrive to revenge himself by a short but biting sarcasm.

He is deeply imbued with a reverence for religion, and is not so much superstitious as thoroughly ignorant. He kisses the hand of his parish priest, but he laughs at his failings, and is quite able to make the distinction between the individual and the office. Of this I can give you a very characteristic anecdote. Passing one day near a large group of peasants who were assembled in the middle of the village, I asked them what was going forward.

“We are only putting the Father (as they call the priest) into a cellar.” “ Into a cellar,” I replied ; “what are you doing that for ?"

Oh,” said they, “ he is a sad drunkard, and is in a state of intoxication all the week. So we always take care, every Saturday, to put him in a safe place, that he may be fit to officiate at church next day; and on Monday he is at liberty to begin drinking again."

I could not help applauding this very sensible arrangement, which was related to me with all the gravity in the world.

But to return to our system of husbandry, of which I think I have explained the character of the principal elements, viz. the tillers of the soil, who are by no means the mere machines which they are commonly supposed to be. To govern them, a little order in the arrangements, a certain degree of tact, and, above all, impartial justice, are the chief requisites.

A village of two hundred souls (i. e. male peasants of all

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