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"I appoint to you," he said to his disciples on the improvement produced by Christianity. And the eve of his passion, a kingdom as my Father when we compare the state of the pagan world, hath appointed unto me, that you may eat and with its slavery, its cruelty, its licentiousness, its drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on injustice, its fraud, and its hopeless, unimproving thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." corruption, with that of the countries in which
Now, enlightened by the events, we know Christianity in its purer form exists, we may well that the kingdom of God foretold by Jesus was call the latter the kingdom of God.
SIB ERI A.*
“T THERE are at this moment millions of Poles Now, there is very little consolation in thinking
being tortured to death in the quicksilver- that we both are equally bad; but how are you mines of Siberia solely because they are Roman to realize our difficulties if you are not reminded Catholics.”
of your own? Such is one of the startling assertions with When you accuse us, for instance, of our which all attempts to create an entente cordiale "atrocious convict system,” how are we to avoid between Russia and England are so often rudely reminding you that you exiled your convicts to repulsed. It is more dignified, of course, to let the antipodes as late as 1853, and that your constories of that kind pass unnoticed. One scarce- vict establishments at Norfolk Island and Macly admits that anybody earnestly craving for truth quarrie Harbor were not supposed to be exactly can accept every absurdity. But it is no easy what philanthropists could wish for? Indeed, task for English people to find out what is the Russians have been often told stories of horror real state of things in Russia, our language being of the chain-gang and the lash at the antipodes not an easy one to learn,t and we publish so sel- which rival even the worst your libelers have indom any refutation in our self-defense in any vented about our quicksilver-mines. foreign tongue. I think my countrymen are England made a point of disbelieving the wrong in never caring for what is said of them reality of our good feelings because of our shortabroad, the moment they perceive that ill-faith comings. Are we to apply the same system in has anything to do with this or with that calumny. judging you ? When we honestly sought your There is too much pride in our systematic con- alliance in supporting the Eastern Christians, you tempt for injustice. I see no humiliation in try- not only refused your help but strengthened as ing to explain the very little I know.
much as you could the Turkish resistance. Your I wish I could be eloquent and persuasive. Government brought upon us a war which cost But I can only be true and outspoken. Nor is us not only millions of money, but many, many there any great merit in reporting what has al- lives, whose loss will always be present to our ready become a commonplace. That, surely, re- memory, in spite of the lapse of time, and in quires little civic or moral courage! But there spite of all the advantages which a successful is a reason which often prevents Russians from war could gain. Your Government has done us protesting, with which I heartily sympathize. As a great deal of harm; and that it did not go a rule, the more you have to defend yourself the further was simply because it felt convinced that more you come to the ungenerous “Tu quoque !" no sacrifice, no danger could stop us the moment
we thought it our duty to resist its concealed or * A chapter from “Russia and England, from 1876 open attacks. And in order to calm some gento 1880; a Protest and an Appeal.” By a Russian au- erous, straightforward Englishmen, your officials thor. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
tried to estrange them from us by inventing + On this point Prince Bismarck is an authority. In Busch's remarkable book “ Bismarck und seine Leute," elsewhere; and the ridiculous story about the
“Russian atrocities” in southern Bulgaria and the German Chancellor expresses himself as follows: “I can not conceive why Greek should be learned at all. If millions of Poles exiled on account of their reit is contended that the study of Greek is excellent men- ligion to Siberia is one of the snares set for Engtal discipline, to learn Russian would be still more so, and lish credulity. at the same time practically useful. Twenty-eight de- The fact is this : Since this century comclensions and the innumerable niceties by which the de- menced there have been (taking the most exagficiencies of conjugations are made up for are something to exercise the memory. And then, how are the words gerated numbers) about five hundred thousand changed! Frequently nothing but a single letter of the persons exiled to Siberia, or less than ten thouoriginal root remains."
sand a year, but the majority of these were not Poles but Russians; nor were the Poles exiled on would prefer being still more foolish to introaccount of their religion, unless ordered to be ducing the slavery of English convict prisons rebels by their religion, as has sometimes been into Siberia. To accuse and find fault is always the case; but even then they were exiled for an easy thing. To accuse with indisputable good their rebellion, not for their religion. Imaginary ground is more difficult, but to understand engeography is, I dare say, well studied in England, tirely those we judge is almost beyond our power. but the real one is decidedly not. Allow me, So, as you see, it is only natural to distrust our therefore, to remind you of what Siberia really judgment if its object is to torture those who is. Siberia is the northern half of the continent depend upon it. But is it such a cruel thing, so of Asia, exceeding in size the whole of Europe, revolting to English humanity, when a man has and, as such, not easily described in a single for- committed even a crime to give him a new start mula. In the extreme north it is almost unin- in life in a new and more fertile country? habitable, and it is not thither that we send our Mr. Barry, in his “Russia in 1870,” declares criminals, for obvious reasons. It is too far off, that in many districts the climate of Siberia has and, if we sent them into these dreary expanses the mildness of that of Italy, lying, as it does, in of snow and ice, we should have to feed them the same latitude as Venice. The soil is a rich, at a ruinous expense. As you see, I do not want deep black loam, capable of yielding prodigious to idealize the measures taken by our Govern- harvests. Fruit grows wild in any quantity. ment. But, sending our criminals to Siberia, as Game is in abundance, and food is exceedingly we do, in order to get rid of them cheaply, it cheap. “I can think of no country in the world,” would defeat our object to send them into the con- he concludes by asserting, " which offers the fines of the Arctic Circle. When you say Siberia, same advantages to a young man with a small you imagine only the desolate north. Siberia, to capital as Siberia. Whenever I travel in Siberia exiles, with few exceptions, in reality means the I always think-Why is it that our countrymen fertile south-so fertile, indeed, that when set at are sent away to the antipodes in search of a liberty the exiles very often prefer to remain on colony? Here they would be nearer home; they its rich and cultivated soil
. A university is go- can get better land, cheaper than in many of our ing to be established at Tomsk, which will ena- colonies ! They could live more cheaply, get ble their children to profit by all the results of cheaper labor, and enjoy many advantages of culture and civilization. Only the worst crimi- civilization which they would want in the colonals, murderers, and desperate enemies of the nies." state are sent to the mines and there employed That is not Russian-that is English tesin hard labor. But they form a small minority. timony. Another Englishman who employed In nine cases out of ten, exile to Siberia means many workmen in Russia recently remarked : enforced emigration to a fertile and scantily peo- “Many of our hands come from Siberia, but pled country. Transportation with us does not they never remain very long. After two or three necessarily imply penal servitude. In many cases years they begin to pine for home, and when we simply convey the convicts across the Ural they leave they give no reason except-It is range, and then turn them loose to help them- very good, but not like Siberia !'" selves. Once in Siberia they are free to go where Many Englishmen seem to think that Siberia they please, as long as they do not return to is a large torture-chamber—a gigantic quickEuropean Russia.
silver-mine—where we send innocent persons to As the Governor-General of Western Siberia be slowly murdered. It is, on the contrary, a reports only the other day, the English convict huge emigration field, whither we send criminals system differed from the Russian chiefly in se- with the double object of getting rid of them verity. The English convict was compelled to and of supplying a sparsely peopled province work on penalty of the lash or gallows; the Rus- with colonists. It may not be a good way of sian convict-I quote General Koznakoff's exact dealing with criminals, according to your view, words, as I have good reasons for trusting his but at least the charge of too great leniency is word—is pitchforked into Siberia, and permitted quite the reverse of what we are usually blamed to do whatever he likes short of actual crime. for. To some the sentence ordering them to go Many weighty voices are heard against “the too to Siberia inflicts no disgrace. In their case it is great liberty accorded to convicts." But foolish simply equivalent to a compulsory passage to kind-heartedness, however absurd such an asser- one of your colonies. tion may appear to you, is one of our national The number sent to Siberia, according to the features. We often bear in mind what our great latest official report, averages since 1860 about Empress, Catharine II., used to say, “ Better twenty thousand per annum-not a very large pardon ten criminals than punish one innocent.” proportion out of a population of eighty-four milWe feel these words, and act accordingly, and I lions. In England and Wales, with little more
than one quarter of the population, you have Coast,” by Captain Wiggins, the adventurous twelve thousand criminal convictions every year. explorer of the Arctic regions, whose enterprise The evils of which General Koznakoff complains in opening up a trade route by sea to Siberia has are precisely those which would never arise if the attracted much attention in Russia. As the tesfacts corresponded to the English notion. So timony of an independent witness, I make the little limitation is placed upon the liberty of our following extract:* “Captain Wiggins has had convicts that numbers escape. In Tobolsk, in many opportunities during his visits of thoroughly January, 1876, out of 51,122 exiles only 34,293 studying the system of exile from other parts of could be found. In Tomsk nearly five thousand the Russian Empire, which is such a prominent were missing out of thirty thousand. The great subject in connection with Siberia, and, like othmischief of our system of pitchforking convicts ers who have personally investigated it, he has into Siberia, and telling them to do what they arrived at conclusions very different from those please, is that very few of them take to honest popularly entertained. The captain declares that labor. The country is so rich that they can live not one third of these time-service exiles elect to without hard work, and they become idle, good- make the return journey to their former homes ; for-nothing vagabonds. It is an easy way of they find that life is easier and pleasanter in the getting rid of convicts, but it is not good for land to which they have been forcibly sent, and Siberia. M. Koznakoff, the Governor-General, they end by becoming free settlers in the country declares that millions are spent in governing them of their adoption. Desperate criminals only are without there being the slightest return for the sent to labor in the quicksilver-mines, and for expenditure in the shape of private or public these there is a specially severe discipline proworks. Since 1870 about four thousand persons vided, and horrors, without doubt, exist.'” a year have been exiled for “offenses against The explorer goes on to say, for many years the administration,” some of whom, of course, past the desire of the Russian Government has are political offenders. But no mistake could be been to forward, by all means in their power, the greater than to suppose that all these political settlement of this portion of their territory, and offenders were sent to the quicksilver-mines. they have learned that it is good policy to take For the most part they are left free to do as they the utmost possible care of the lives of the exiles, please in certain districts, subject to police sur- and to place them in the best possible positions veillance. As to the quicksilver-mines, they are for self-maintenance at the earliest opportunity. solely reserved for murderers and political crimi- With the exception of the robbers and cutthroats nals of the worst kind-people many of whom in specially condemned to the mines, the exiles are England you would have hanged off-hand. But, spread about in the towns and agricultural disas we have abolished capital punishment, we tricts soon after their arrival, and, as a rule, they must do something with our murderers, etc., so are left to shift for themselves. The supervision we send them to the mines.
over them is slight, but tolerably effectual. The Of course, there may be great abuses in our exiles, when quitting for any length of time the establishments—I wish I could deny that—just district to which they are assigned, must report as there were in New South Wales and Van Die- their project to the head man, and they are then, men's Land before you discontinued transporta- at liberty to go where they please, up or down tion. I admit injustice and mistakes on the part the great river systems of the country, but they of our authorities-authorities are not infallible. must not attempt to pass westward toward EuBut you would be wise in not accepting implicitly ropean Russia. A great number of the Russian every libel told against us by Polish rebels. A few exiles and immigrants employ themselves in the months ago a friend sent me a report of the most mines, and Captain Wiggins's experience of the dreadful cruelties which a Fenian prisoner said people convinces him that they are “a happy, he had suffered in your convict-prisons. Believe rollicking, joyous community-well clad, well me, our Poles, when instigated by their father fed, and well cared for.” During the summer confessors, are not behind your Fenians in the months they are able to earn sufficient money to compilation of a catalogue of horrors. If merely provide for the wants of their respective houseRussophobes attacked us I would not make even holds; in the long winter, and the commencethe shortest reply. But the minds of some of ment of the cold season, when they visit the town our friends are evidently put out of ease with to make their purchases, is generally a time of these horrible legends, and I do not like to high festivity among them. Captain Wiggins strengthen our enemies' hands by refraining declares that some exiles are now settled in the from stating the truth.
north by the Russian Government, which, in this If it is complained that “I idealize even Sibe
From an article published on November 21, 1878, ria," I may quote from an article embodying the by the “ Newcastle Chronicle," the organ, I am told, of results of “Recent Exploration of the Siberian one of the most prejudiced of English Russophobes.
particular kind of banishment, undertakes certain rule, the Russian convicts go from a bad climate to a responsibilities with regard to the maintenance better, and are in such good company that the disof the convicts. Supplies of rye-meal are, in the grace of transportation gets much modified. Only summer season, forwarded to the farthest north- the third class-criminals of the deepest dye-work ern limits where the head men are appointed. in the mines. These mines are, however, not all These officials dispense the stores, during the underground; they may consist of gold-washeries, or winter, on a sort of credit system, to such exiles the exile may be set to the almost pleasurable excite(or even families of the native tribes) as may need ment of searching for gems. At one time the worst it, and in the succeeding summer the indebted offensive politicians—were not only compelled to
class of convicts-usually murderers and particularly parties must liquidate the cost price of the food work underground, but they had to live there, and, they have received in furs, skins, or dried fish.
horrible thought were buried there also. No wonCaptain Wiggins, unlike most writers on Rus- der that Siberia got a bad name. But not over one sian questions, has visited Siberia and seen the fourth of the Siberian miners are convicts, and a recountry with his own eyes. It was, therefore, cent explorer is even of opinion that the latter are in but natural that his evidence should be favorable. better circumstances physically, and lead quite as More surprising and unexpected is the testimony comfortable and more moral lives than the correas to the falsity of the prevailing prejudices which sponding class of free men in America, England, or appeared in November, 1879, in the Conservative Australia. Society in the large towns is pleasant “Standard,” entitled “The Future of Siberia.” and polished. Banishment to Siberia has been overIt really is encouraging to find such truthful re- done, and thus the mischief is righting itself by the marks as the following in the columns of a Min- natural law of compensation. It has long ceased to
be a disgrace; it is rapidly ceasing to be a punish.
ment. Siberia, to the mind of Europe, is associated with No country in the world, except, perhaps, the nothing but horror. One connects it with the crack valleys of the Amazon and the Mississippi, has such of Bashkir Cossack's whip, with the groans of a perfect system of water communication as Siberia. wretched exiles dying—or, worse still, living—in the The rich meadows near the mouth of the Yenisei, mines of Nertchinsk, and with cold and misery. In even though far within the Arctic Circle, astonished reality these ideas, though firmly imbedded in the the Norwegian walrus-hunters who accompanied ProEnglish mind, are altogether erroneous if they are to fessor Nordenskjöld. “What a land God has given be accepted as true of Siberia at large or of the state the Russians !" was the half-admiring, half-envious of matters in that country at present. The truth is, exclamation of a peasant seaman who owned a little Siberia is a country of such extent that no general patch among the uplands in the Scandinavian Norddescription can apply to all of it, and even when the land. Yet these few pastures are uncropped and accounts which have reached Europe have been true, unscythed. The river has good coal-beds and fine which in the vast number of cases they were not, forests, and, south of the forest region, level, stonethey related only to the northern part of the terri- less plains, covered for hundreds of leagues with the tory. Siberia is an infinitely richer and finer coun- richest “ black earth " soil, only wanting the plow of try than Canada or the northern part of America the farmer to yield abundant harvests. Still farther generally. Though the Polish exiles and others of a south the river flows through a region where the vine literary turn have, not unnaturally, given it a bad grows in the open air. Altogether, it is believed name, they have allowed their own sufferings to that, by the expenditure of about one hundred thoucolor their narrative. In Siberia the Russian peasant sand pounds, the Yenisei could be made navigable, can get the “ black earth" soil, and he escapes, under though its tributary, the Angora, on the Lake Baikal certain conditions, the military service. Doubtless the -an inland sea not much smaller than Lake Supe"unfortunates," who are sent on an average at the rate rior—and the Obi could be connected with the Yenof thirteen thousand per annum to the penal colonies isei, and the Yenisei with the Lena. of Siberia, are not pampered to any alarming extent. Leaving out of account the numerous other SibeBut that they are nowadays treated with the severity rian rivers, all more or less navigable, a country could they were in the times of Peter, Catharine, Paul, and be thus thrown open equal to the combined territo even Nicholas, is entirely untrue. Indeed, since the ries of all the rivers which flow into the Black Sea, accession of the present Czar, who in early life vis- the Sea of Marmora, and the Mediterranean. Yet ited the penal settlements, the bureaucrats' com- from these rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean, so plaint is, that so mild has the punishment of expatri- cheap is produce in their valleys, one of which con ation become that Siberia is losing its terrors. It tains over two millions of people, that Captain Wigis, indeed, the locality into which the Russian jails gins ballasted his ship with black-lead of fine quality. are annually emptied, and an offender is sent to The valleys are full of the most magnificent timber, that country who would in any other be simply sen- larch, spruce, etc., which is so little in demand that tenced to a few years' imprisonment. In the vast at the town of Yeniseisk a ship's mast thirty-six number of cases exile to Siberia is a very different inches in diameter at the base, eighteen inches in matter from what banishment to Tasmania or New diameter at the top, and sixty feet long, can be South Wales used to be. In the first place, as a bought for a sovereign, and any number supplied in a
few days; beef costs two and a half pence per pound, the words of Mr. Seebohm, “a colossal fortune and game of all kinds may be got in such abundance awaits the adventurer who is backed by sufficient as to render mere living cheap enough. So abundant capital, and a properly organized staff, to carry on a are corn and hay on the great steppes between Tomsk trade between this country and Siberia, via the Kara and Tjumen that horses are hired for one halfpenny Sea." To-day a fresh market for the disposal of our per mile. A ton of salt, which costs in England fifo manufactures is as much required as it was three teen shillings, is sold on the Yenisei for fifteen centuries ago. Here in “frozen Siberia"-miscalled pounds; and wheat, which commands fifteen or six. -is a field richer than Central Africa, and about as teen pounds a ton in London, may be got in any little cultivated as Corea, waiting his energy and his quantity for twenty-five shillings per ton. To use knowledge.
A SWISS NOVELIST:
tourists who annually flock to the “play- ture, and settling, in great part, near the Univerground of Europe,” know more of its people sity of Zurich, they exercised a marked influence than can be learned in the conventional tour and upon the younger Swiss generation. The result in the salons of monster hotels ? Does one per- was the production of much mediocre and inson in ten concern himself to inquire into the adequate literary work; but a few stars arose, Constitution and politics of this country? Has and among them one of the first magnitude, it ever occurred to one person in twenty to find namely, Gottfried Keller. Keller was born in out whether Switzerland boasts a contemporary Zurich, July 19, 1819. His father, a master carliterature? A few may recollect the fierce war penter, died while he was an infant, leaving his waged between Bodmer and Breitinger and the widow and child in straitened means. After pedantic German Gottsched concerning the re- passing through the prescribed school routine, spective merits of English and French literature Keller turned to landscape-painting, then his which called forth the critical powers of Lessing. foremost bent, and for this end went to Munich, The names of Zimmermann, Lavater, the Gess- where art flourished under the eccentric patronners, Pestalozzi, Sulzer, Orelli, may linger in their age of King Ludwig. Not achieving anything memories, but who among them has read Jere- really good, with a wisdom as excellent as it is mias Gotthelf? Better still, who has read Gott- rare, he abandoned art, returned to Zurich (1842), fried Keller? We venture to say not one in a and occupied himself with literary studies. In hundred of those who have traversed the length 1846 he published a small volume of lyrics, and breadth of Keller's green Fatherland, have thoughtful and earnest in character, but rising to climbed its most inaccessible peaks, and “done" no heights of lyrical passion, and appealing more all its regulation sights. It is true that Switzer- to the phantasy than to the emotions. The volland is not rich in native literature; it has in- ume met with a fair success, and Keller continspired far more than it has produced. It pos- ued to study. After a while he perceived that sesses now, however, a writer of such undoubted under this autodidactic method he did not adoriginality that he deserves to be known beyond vance sufficiently. He therefore went, in 1848, the narrow limits of his native land. In Ger- to the University of Heidelberg, passing on to many Keller's fame has been steadily on the in- Berlin in 1850, where his first prose work was crease, and, indeed, she would gladly claim him published. In 1861 he was chosen Staatsschreifor her own. But, although Keller has been in- ber (secretary) to the Canton of Zurich, and a directly influenced by German writers, his most member of the Great Council—i. e., a member marked characteristic consists in his being a of that body to whom in the larger cantons the Switzer of the Swiss. It will be our endeavor in people delegates its sovereignty. From this post this paper to give some idea of this remarkable Keller only retired three years ago, to devote writer—no easy task, since Keller is peculiarly himself solely to literature, for which his official intangible, his excellences needing to be felt, be- duties had left little time. He does not himself ing often too subtile for words.
think that this occupation with bureaucratic miIn the early part of this century literature re- nutiæ did him harm, and it is again characteristic vived in Switzerland from a prolonged lethargy. of his perfect mental salubrity that he should This revival is partly attributable to the influx of have preferred for many years to fill a small post Germans driven from home by political troubles. in his native city to living upon the produce of These Germans brought with them much solid his imaginative gifts. He says that it taught him