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nothing about the clean shirt)—is about made by the nobility to emancipate or one of the most interesting specimens of improve their condition.
This painful peasant humanity the present world af- impression is natural to an individual liv. fords.
ing in an age so entirely opposed to that * There is no gaiété de cæur or hilarity of feudalism, and where the last poetry about
Russian ; and unless they are of that system is now fast fading from tipsy, or otherwise much excited, they view; but if there be one country more are a tranquil, not to say a stupid people.'|than another in which the introduction of What! no gaiélé de cæur about the Fran- liberal principles, so misnamed, is to be çais de Nord ? No hilarity about him deprecated, that country is Russia. Our whose voice may be heard singing from author himself owns that 'those who talk the roof of every house, or laughing in most of the imperative duty of kindness the most contagious tones from the ice to them are most deficient in the perlabours of the canal below;— whose na- formance of it. In considering the act tional sports are the gayest in the world; of enfranchisement, every other continwhose very choice of colours bespeaks gent influence must be taken into acthe tone of his mind; whose joke is al. count; and we have little doubt, if Captain ways ready, always new, always good ; Jesse had spent a few years in the coun. who looks as happy as if all the world try, he would have come to our conclu. were his equals-and rather more so, we sion-that, while the estimation of liberty should fancy! Certainly, as respects a in the breast of a Russian noble remains true judgment of the real sturdy Russian such as it now is—while the enfranchised peasant--and we do not like the author, classes next above the serf are in bondage see anything objectionable in the appli- to a system infinitely more degrading cation of this term to them- our 'Captain than the feudal tenure--while the laws bold' is as far removed from the right with which, by an extension of civil rights, mark as if he had never stirred from his he would come into collision, are so difcountry quarters. His chief opportuni- ferent in practice from what they are in ties for observation appear, as he con- theory—the peasant is subjected to the fesses, to have been derived from the lesser evil of the two in being left to work mixed population of Odessa, and from out his own civilisation in his own way, the wretched road-side beggars of the and within the prescribed bounds of his Steppes. Unacquainted with the Russian tether. Nor is this by any means so conlanguage, their inner life was of course a fined as a posting Half-pay' may have sealed book to hiin; and because they supposed. Seen under average fair cirbow low with their bodies like a noble- cumstances, the serf is the most active man of the old English school, and dis- tradesman in the empire ; while the fact persed on the emperor's birthday without of his being little disposed to spend his a cheer, like the Scotch at George IV.'s gains upon himself is some proof that he visit, he interprets these as so many signs is but little anxious about their security. of crushing slavery. Nay, even their If neither the fire of his patriotism nor national food -- their kvass and black the activity of his speculation has been bread--are in his eyes only specimens of damped by his servitude, and if with inbrutal fare, and symbols of utter degrada- creasing prosperity the serf does not tion. Though Captain Jesse did not stumble on the rock of improvidence, we relish either, they may not be the worse fancy we can hardly be far wrong in for that. There are many articles besides drawing the inference that serfage, such kvass and chleba on which tastes are as it is in Russia, does not necessarily found to differ. Some persons detest debase the moral man. But we cannot olives; others positively loathe the best do better than quote the Captain himTenby oysters (the Russians prefer the self :latter a little tainted); some strange peo • Some of Count Chérémétieft's serfs are merple do not like real turtle-soup, and some, chants, and very wealthy. The riches of a serf stranger still, do; and one respectable are generally obtained by procuring his master's individual we could mention has even an permission to leave his estate, and follow soine antipathy to roast mutton! The truth is, trade in a town where he can, without interthat strictly national dainties rarely find ruption, turn a small capital and his natural favour with foreign palates, until after shrewdness to account. This boon is well paid
for if he is successful. In the country, in cases repeated experiment. To return to our serfs—the Captain's with the provisions made by the law for the
where the landlord's cupidity does not interfere feelings are wounded by the little efforts serf's benefit, they sometimes' accumulate large
sums; for they spend but little upon themselves, power were ever more crying than those and an increase of wealth does not make that al, which urged the free Livonian peasant to teration in their habits which might be expected. violence. This is only another proof The custom is to allow the serf three days of the week to cultivate the portion of land assigned to
that, till the upper classes be more enhim by his master, for whom he works the other lightened, the simple fact of enfranchise three; and in this case, also, he sometimes ment is not accompanied by that benefit reaches a state of comparative affluence. .. which the word suggests, and that the Many of Count Chérémérieff's serfs could of peasant, though nominally made free, course, if permiited, purchase their freedom; only exchanges in point of fact one masbut this nobleman has no idea of allowing them ter for many ; to say nothing of the annicontrary, it is a subject of self-gratulation with hilation of that feeling on the part of the many to possess rich serfs, and it is affirmed that serf which may be compared to what the Chéréinérieff is so proud of his that no sum Highland clansman had for his chief, and would tempt him to give them their liberty - a which forms one of the few elements yet worthy descendant, truly, of his ancestor in the to be respected in the Russian nation. It is days of Catherine! With this man there is no to be hoped that the legislature will proplea of necessity, but it gratifies his vanity, for it has an effect when he invites foreigners to to his ceed with much caution before they subcountry-seat. On these occasions the Count is ject the yet healthy peasant to that moral received by one of his rich serfs, in a mean hut, pestilence which everywhere marks the built in the usual style of a Russian log-house, progress of a spurious civilisation in the and fitted up with the rudest furniture; the ta. other classes of the empire ; it is the ble is covered with the coarsest linen, and a black easiest thing in the world to rail at the loaf, with some salt and a wooden bowl of borsch, feudal bond—but ugly as the word are placed upon it. The party merely taste this look, the thing, in Russia as she still is,
may humble refreshment, wben the door leading to another house at the back is opened, and the implies at least as much of protection as noble proprietor and his friends are then ushered of oppression. into an apartment handsomely furnished: the We have much less quarrel with Capt. table here is loaded with plate, glass, fruit, and Jesse's views about some other orders of a profusion of viands, in the arrangement of Russian society--for example, the sowhich little taste is displayed; and champagne, called middle classes, whom, in the vain quass, and volka are served, one as freely as the idea of suddenly reclaiming those awful by such an entertainment given by a Russian moral steppes which lie between the serf serf, fancying perhaps that, under the circum- and his lord, the State has fostered into stances, the man is as well pleased to be a slave being. From a variety of causes—but as free; and, in some cases, they are likely to be from none more than the absence of a right. In all probability the serf who has thus law of primogeniture among the nobility, feasted his master and his friends can scarcely and the consequent depreciation of every read, knows nothing of figures, counts with beads, walk of life except the military—it fol. and has a beard of enormous length: he makes, lows that posts of honour and responsihowever, large sums of money, for he is shrewd, cunning, and saving. His moments of extrava- bility, involving some of the most comgance are when, as in this case, he receives his plicated machinery of this vast empire, lord, or at one of his own children's weddings.'- fall to a body of men in whom ideas of vol. ii., p. 282.
honour are neither entailed by descent, We must frankly own that we do not implanted by education, nor encouraged share the author's feelings on this occa- by example. These individuals are in sion: we see infinitely more to deprecate, general termed Chinovniks, or the betiand more to commiserate, in that false iled ; there being no class in Russia on system, arising from an opposite extreme whom-for want of something better-a of civilisation, which compels the free- more liberal shower of orders and medals man to enslave himself. We deeply la- descends. The evils which these Chinment, with Captain Jesse, the reckless-ovniks entnil upon the country receive a ness and tyranny of the nobles in too double impulse from the nature of the many instances; but what will he say to laws themselves, which, though frequentthe late disturbances in Livonia, where ly excellent in the abstract, can be with the oppressed were freedmen, and their wonderful ease perverted to serve the oppressors enlightened German barons ! turn of all but the innocent. Emanating All public accounts of the real nature of probably from the military ideas which this insurrection were carefully suppress. pervade everything, a drill-sergeant sys. ed or qualified by the Russian govern- tem of minutiæ, an absurd multiplication ment, but we know through private of forms is insisted upon, which too often sources that no abuses of the feudal operates as if it had been expressly de
signed to encumber truth and screen office with my “carte-de-si jour.” Before this error; and in a State where the form of document, however, could be forwarded to the justice is in itself so new, and its admi- police-master, it was requisite that it should be nistration so absolute, it is doubly revolt-I write Kuss, I had to look about the office for
accompanied by a petition, and, as I could not ing to find it already clogged by abuses
one of the numerous scriveners who make a which the most venerable age could not livelihood by inditing these official “ billetsjustify, and thwarted by a venality which doux." This was of course drawn out upon a the most violent party-spirit could not stamp; and having given in the two papers I
In the suspicious temper of the departed, with an intimation that I might call government, which starts by presupposing again to-morrow.” Three hours were consumed
in this preliminary step. The next morning, at man honest, half-a-dozen base.born the appointed hour, I was again at the office; hirelings, intended, beside their avowed and after having had the satisfaction of seeing vocation, to act as spies on each other the hand of the cuckoo-clock describe two cirand all around them, are thrust into a de- cles, an understrapper announced to me the partment which cannot honestly occupy agreeable intelligence that I might follow him.
an one functionary, and there Keeping close to his heels, we threaded, or rakept on wretched stipends, the sum total ther pushed, our way through a crowd of petiof which would not maintain more than nion confronted me with a man in a green coat
tioners, all of the lower orders, until my compaone of the party. Nor need it be sup- with brass buttons—the civil uniform. This posed that these worthies sit with their was only a Chinovnik (ż. e. an under-clerk); hands before them—why should they ? though, judging by his important manner, he The crown makes its own paper; pens might have been Count Benkendorf himself. and ink, such as they are, are cheap;
I now observed that a third document had been sand is plentiful; and all things in Russia appended to the two I left the day before ; this
being, as usual, on a stamp, I paid for it; and, being valued according to their numerical in the official catechism that followed, the genamount, it follows that the greater the ileman in green was so pre-occupied, that he number of stamped sheets on which a forgot to give me my change. The official decision can be spread out, the more just jackal now took me to at least ten different perand satisfactory, arithmetically speaking, sons, who signed and counter-signed each pamust that decision be. But the pay of per; and, after wheeling in and out of almost his paltry office is not what the Russian every room but the one I wished to get into,
the principal one, I was brought back to my subaltern even affects to regard as the absent friend with the brass buttons; here I mainstay of his existence : where he re- had to pay for another stamped paper, and have ceives one rouble from the government the " change taken out of me"
again: my silent he reckons on ten from the public, who submission to this roguery procured me a low know that their slender hope of justice, bow, with a request to leave the papers with or better chance of evasion, depends on left ihe office I was informed that this delay
the gift'they bring. But Captain Jesse was to give the police time to inquire whether has given us so lively a picture of the there were any claims against me in the town true Chinovnik that we cannot do better for debt. The following day I was once more than introduce it :
at my post; but this time it was evident that "I was now recommended to bestir myself the legal (though not the illegal) forms and deabout my passport, which, from its being for
mands had been complied with. My papers the interior, would take some time as well as lay duly arranged upon the table, but the man trouble to procure. In applying for it I had an
in green paid no attention to me; and though opportunity of observing one of the numerous many applicants were successful, the crowd methods adopted by the government of raising diminish. I soon saw how matters stood ; and
around him appeared to increase rather than the wind through the medium of stamped pa, feeling certain that, unless I followed the exam. pers. All business in the public offices and courts of justice is carried on in writing, and no desired to “call again to-morrow," I put my
ple of those who had retired, I should again be communication is received by the head of a de hand into my pocket, a sign manual which this partment unless the document bas the imperial eagle upon it. The price of the lowest stamped purveyor of signatures perfectly understood, and paper on which official business is transacted is
we effected an amicable exchange. Handing about seven pence of our money; and when
me the papers, he pocketed the silver with the the extent to which the system of “ bureaucra
most perfect sang froid," telling me, as he tie” is carried is carefully considered, it will be dropped the fifty-iwo-copeck pieces into his evident that the sums raised in this manner him in boots.” '—vol. ii., p. 2.
, that the "imperial salary would not keep must form an important item in the revenue. The vexatious delays I had experienced in procuring my Crimean passport were few in com
He adds, shortly after, the person in the parison with what I encountered on this occa- present instance had accumulated a fortune sion: The first step it was necessary to take in that his net salary for one hundred years so intricate an affair was to go to the police.'never would have amounted to.'
If such was the annoyance and exertion issue. The first announcement of hostilities experienced by a passing traveller in obtain- is in the shape of a sequestration of all the ing a mere every-day formula, some idea may real property of the individual denounced be gathered of the miseries suffered by those for in such matters the Crown is understood whose whole existence is at the mercy of never to lose a kopeck-which done, its myrthese creatures. Many indeed are the un- midons are let loose to investigate the facts. fortunate individuals who have been stripped Now is the time to improve their opportuof the very fortune it was their object to nities, and to probe how much the victim will save, in the vain attempt to pay their way endure before he makes up his mind to comup the ladder of Russian justice, at every promise the matter upon such terms as their round of which a higher fee, in proportion to consciences may fix. Their business, as we the rank of the official, is exacted. Such said, is to investigate the facts and report on also is the awful majority of those who turn the case ; and in Russia this can be no otheraside after lucre, and take bribes, and per-wise accomplished than by quartering themvert judgments'--such the bond of iniqui- selves in the house of the accused in the ty between them--that many a wrongheaded very heart of his family. At first a mask of exception has been known to throw up his courtesy and civility is worn; nay, even a sole means of maintenance, rather than re- friendly compassion for the hardship of the main to witness practices of which he can in case is assumed—as the best plan, if there be no other shape manifest his detestation. anything to conceal, to throw the party off
But though the general aspect of judicial his guard. Even while the smooth deceit is administration be thus bad, there is no one kept up, it is not the most agreeable thing in portion so bad as that immediately connected the world to have a couple or more of coarsewith the affairs of the Crown. For in pro- minded and coarse-bodied fellows stationed portion to the loyalty assumed does the spirit at your board, mixing with your friends, and of dishonesty prosper. Hence the extensive intruding on your privacy whenever they and peculiar department of procedure ori- may think proper. But this does not last ginating in the immensity of the Imperial long. If the individual in question be so obdomains, and the numerous monopolies in stinate as not to criminate himself by fair which the Crown is engaged, may be con- means, foul are quickly resorted to. If casidered the very school and pattern of all jolery will not catch him, provocation may. other abuses. In every government of the The veil of courtesy, therefore, is discarded empire will be found individuals of good for a demeanour of the utmost insolence. birth and standing, who, either as administra. The control over the house is assumed-the tors of estates, superintendents of factories, or substance is wasted—the orders counterin some other relation of dependence or part- manded—the retinue insulted—the family nership, are induced to enter into immediate itself is expelled from one apartment after anconnection with the Crown. Nevertheless, other, to make room for the caprices, or even the instances of those who have suffered in the vices, of their persecutors; while, with this unequal league are so numerous that the the double trial of annoyance for the present caution, • Beware of having anything to do and anxiety for the future, the wretched with the Crown,' now amounts to a current host, who knows that both are equally at proverb, and is among the first counsels a their mercy, has only the prospect of enduprudent father will give his son upon enter- rance ad libitum, or the alternative of a ing life.
For a time such alliances may bribe, which, if not up to the measure of prosper; but sooner or later, a word of of- their extortion, will serve as the most direct fence, a just reprimand, or an indignant rep- evidence of his guilt. rehension to any one of the myriads of sub Meanwhile all the farce of business is caralterns who tread on each other's heels in the rying forward by those whose interest it is to z-al to scan the conduct of others, is too spin out the investigation, and with it the ensurely followed by some new application of joyment of comfortable board and lodging, as the same old trickery-a scheme which can long as possibly may be contrived. To give hardly ever fail to succeed where ostenta- some idea of the pace at which they proceed, tious loyalty is the usual veil for the grossest we need only say that a couple of these memalignity, and where suspicion exposes its nial despots will spend more than six months object to as much inconvenience as elsewhere in making merely an inventory of the stock conviction. An information once laid, how- in trade or farming implements, with descripever hitherto unimpeachable the party, the tions of the various buildings and fixtures. Russian law, which supposes all men to be It is true the length and breadth, the height guilty till they prove themselves innocent, and thickness of every wall and roof are obliges the accused at any cost to await the measured, and compared with the equally
conscientious official bequest of the last spies the realm, has well nigh debased the quality who equally persecuted the last occupant. itself to the level of those who thus abuse it. And here, if á tile be wanting, or a morsel By an edict of his present majesty--who, in of cement be displaced—and Russian cement his policy towards this class, is with his eyes is not so tenacious as Roman-each is regu- wide open following up that mistake of which larly entered as a matter of complaint. Every Peter the Great could not foresee the resultimplement, down to the billet-wood in the the éclat of a personal nobility has been conyard, is formally counted, examined, and re- ferred upon the higher steps of his official ported. A chopping-block is large in cir- hierarchy-a more extended and less discumference, rough at the edges, and to all criminate distribution of orders has been inappearance solid,' (very much like our good troduced-thus strengthening every incitefriend the Conversations Lexicon'): a sta- ment to paltry ambition and show of petty ble bench is described as so many feet, so dignity, without any increase of those means many inches long and broad, with four legs which might maintain either. That a meaand no ears ;' and milk-tubs as little ma- sure tending thus directly to give them ideas chines with ears and no legs.' Some little to which their fortunes bear no relation—to pitchers with long ears of our acquaintance, foster a miserable pride, the very antithesis not specified in this catalogue, would have of an honest independence, and moreover known better.
calculated to excite the most dangerous unNot to take a leaf out of their book by kindness between these parvenus and the old lengthening our story, such cases are some- nobility of the land—that such a measure times known to drag on through seven years ! should have been the deliberate act of a mo--a sure proof that the defendant rests on his narch whose interest and professed aim it is own innocence, and will adopt no short cut to consolidate the middle ranks of his empire, to release ; during which time he has to must seem perfectly incomprehensible. But dance an expensive attendance at St. Peters- though the higher Russians are fond of talkburg--is referred from court to court--ban- ing of their growing middle class, and boast died from one great man to another-knows of the enactments made in its favour, as if that his family are in distress, and has no mo- they were some compensation for those still ney to send them—that a child is dead, and wanting-the autocratical devices attach to dares not quit his post of vexation to console this estate none of the qualities which else. the mother-lies down every night on his where constitute its greatest power and pride weary pillow with the dispiriting conviction --of which indeed the utter exemption from that his cause is not advanced one iota, and all the parade of outer rank is not the least. that the longer the issue is protracted, the Nor is this evil redeemed by any benefit, less will it compensate for his detention ; till, present or future, to the serf. As Captain embittered in mind, aged with care, and brok- Jesse remarks, "The new nobility have en in fortune, he receives an acquittal which gained by the common routine of army procomprises neither indemnification for the motion the same titles and immunities as are wrong, nor punishment for the wrong-doer. possessed by the old, and the State knows no Not seldom the whole matter terminates with difference between them. These men are a formal declaration—for Russian justice does certain to stand by the system that has made not hesitate to convict herself-signed by the them, and oppose every question of reform highest court in the empire, that there were regarding the tenure of land, emancipation no grounds whatsoever from beginning to of the serfs
, or any other modification of their end for the accusation.
newly-acquired privileges which the others We have no occasion to asseverate the might be willing to advance.' (Vol. ii., P. truth of this case: we have drawn the picture 224.) from lite; and those who know Russia will Regarding orders, Voltaire says, “It is a recognize every line. Such instances as badge they carry about them, that commands these, which are seen repeating themselves the veneration of the populace--a mark of with more or less aggravation throughout the honour, which costs the sovereign nothing, empire, enable the spectator to account in and which flatters the vanity of subjects
, some degree for the deadly and growing ha- without adding to their power. This would tred with which this misnamed middle class be all very well, if Russia were a patient is regarded; while the sacred name of loy- which required to be lulled into torpor,
inalty being taken in vain by a set of rogues stead of braced into energy.
As it is, we who spend their lives and mend their fortunes should be inclined to suggest the difficulty of in uttering base moral counterfeits, infinitely flattering the vanity of a nation without unmore destructive to the interests of the com- dermining a better feeling, and that a badge munity than any adulteration of the coin of which commands the veneration of the popil.