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inclination to excite civil war, the aide-de-camp, general Golenby acting on the prejudices of the istcheff'; Koutousoff, military gopeople in favour of the regular vernor of St. Petersburgh; the order of succession. The throne aides-de-camps, generals Benckenof Nicholas seemed to be as firmly dorff
, Lewascheff, and Patassoff. rooted as if he had been always At the same time, he set about destined to it from his birth; a sup. remedying the abuses, which, alpressed revolt only gave it, as it though they neither produced nor always does, additional security; justified the treasons of the conhis character was respectable and spirators, might have been used popular; his activity in business by them to excite popular disconwas exemplary; even to the dis, tent, and conceal their real moaffected military, the intrepidity, tives. Negligenee in the executhe coolness, and the energy of his tion of the laws, and corruption conduet, amid the tumults and in the administration of justice, dangers of the 25th of December, were widely diffused. It appearwere powerful recommendations. ed, from a report of the minister
His first care was, to acknow, of justice, that sixteen different ledge the services of those who governments of the empire had had been faithful to him ; they neglected to carry into execution were liberally rewarded with pro- no fewer than 2,749 ukases, ad, motions and titles of honour: a dressed to them by the directing pension was given to the rela- senate from the year 1822 to 1824, tions of general Miloradovich, who of which 660 were for the governhad fallen in his defence. The ment of Kursk alone. The compunishment of the traitors was the mittee of the ministry immediately next object. It was a good sign ordered the sixteen governments of the government, that, far from to be severely reprimanded, to be indulging, from the fears and pro- enjoined to carry these ukases into vocation of the moment, in indis, execution within the term of a criminate executions and proscrip- year, and to be ordered to account tions, it proceeded with great for the delay. But, the resolution calmness and moderation, regularly of the committee being laid before to ascertain the guilt of the differ- the emperor, his majesty allowed ent criminals by an investigation only three months for the executo which it afterwards gave every tion of ukases, and added, that it publicity. There was policy in should be intimated to the civil this, as well as justice; it was de governor of Kursk, that, if he sirable to reach the conspiracy should be guilty of such irregularthroughout its minutest ramificaities in future, he would be protions, and not to cut off, by an secuted before the criminal court, over-hasty zeal to punish, any Nothing could show more clearly probable sources of important the helplessness of the despotic information. A special commis head of an extensive empire, than sion of inquiry was appointed in that so many ordinances of AlexJanuary for the trial of the rebels. ander for the good of his subjects, It consisted of the grand duke or the interests of his authority, Michael, the minister at War, gea should have been lying disobeyed neral Tatistcheff, president; the and disregarded in the custody of privy Councillor, prince Gallitzin; the very officers to whom their
of the a
execution had been intrusted, with but she persisted in continuing out either he or his ministers hav- her journey, contrary to the reing any knowledge of the fact. monstrances of her physician, and Instructions were likewise issued, her suite.' Her situation became enjoining the civil governors of the so alarming, that an express was empire to demand of all judicial sent to the empress 'mother, who tribunals within their respective had already arrived at Kalouga, provinces the most prompt decisioni acquainting her with the danger, of causes pending before them, and requesting her to come to Bes whether civil' or criminal,' and es- leff, a' town between Kalouga and pecially of criminal prosecutions Orel
, the empress being unable to affecting the life of the accused. proceed further. The former im The governor of Smolensko, against mediately set out; but before she whom loud complaints of negli- could arrive at Beleff, the empress gence were made, was reprimanded had expired on the 16th of May." for the dilatoriness which existed Insurrections have been producin the proceedings of the courts of ed in our West-Indian colonies, by that province; and the attornies the negroes being imbued with a ments were specially charged to creed their emancipation, and that watch the strict execution of they were deprived of its benefits the imperial will, and to report by their owners suppressing the to the minister of justice every fact. A similar belief 'had gone instance which might occur of nég- abroad among the serfs and pea Nigence in a judge. An abstract sanits of Russia, although it dis
reports to be communi- played itself as yet only cated
d'every month 'to the emperor murs and petitions. Alexander himself.
. had abolished the personal serviThe empress Elizabeth had been tude of the peasants of the crown, with the emperor when he died, and, with the consent of the great and she did not long survive him. er part of the land-owners, had A chronic disease had, for many extended the benefit of the meae years, been undermining her health, sure to the peasantry of the Gerand the physicians had advised'a man provinces of the empire, journey into the south of the em- Livonia, Esthonia, and Courland. pire, in the hope of effecting a But the same freedom 'could not cure which was deemed impossi- be used with the less enlightened ble in the climate of St. Peterse proprietors of old Russia: to have burgh. The change of air seemed emancipated their serfs would have to produce a favourable effect, but been to injure too many interests; it was fatally counteracted by the or rather, to wound too many preillness and death of Alexander, judices, which the emperor found over whom she watched to the it necessary to respect. He was last with exemplary solicitude and compelled, therefore, to rest satisassiduity. From that moment fied with preparing the way for she felt that death was approach- such a measure, and, as one im
Having set out portant step, he had prohibited the from Taganrog to join the empress proprietors from making a traffic of mother at Kalouga, her disease their serfs, whom they had hitherevidently increased at every stage; to been in the habit of selling like VOL. LXVIII.
of these te
cattle : they might be sold with tions to their sovereign; but expec-
of the peasantry upon both plan were Alexander Muraviev, a points, ascribing them to the captain on hall-pay, captain Nikita machinations of seditious and evil- Muraviev, and colonel prince disposed persons, but threatening, Trubetsky. These original conif they were acted on, to punish spirators were soon joined by others, with the whole rigour of the law. almost all officers of disbanded regi.. All further petitioning on such mat- ments; and they proceeded to ors ters was prohibited; and it was or ganize the first secret association, dered, that the authors of such petis under the name of “The Union of tions should be delivered over to the Safety, or, the true and faithful tribunals, and severely punished, as Sons of the Country.". This sodisturbers of the public tranquillity. ciety included three classes, that It was a harsh measure to punish sub- of brethren, that of men, and that jects for addressing peaceable petix of boyars. From the last class,
superior to the other two," were neral Orlov," who was employed chosen every month the elders and along with Céunt Mamonov, and directors, namely the president, the counsellor of State, Nicolas the superintendent, and the secre- Turguenev, in the formation of tary. The admission of members another society, which was to bear was aceompanied with solemn ce the title of the Russian Knights. remonies. The candidates took an Major-general Michel Orlov, and oath to preserve secresy in every Alexander Muraviev, tried to efthing that should be confided to feet a junction of their respective them, even when their opinions societies, but they could not agree should not agree with those of the upon the terms of the union. The society; they bound themselves to plan failed, and an association, of proceed towards the object of their which the general had conceived union, and to submit to the deci, an idea, namely, to prevent the sion of the supreme council of erection of a kingdom in Poland, boyars, although the boyars were was not formed. The original soto remain unknown to all the in- ciety 'made no progress. Some of dividuals of the inferior classes. its members, particularly one PesAt this time, the society consisted tel, left Petersburg; others disco of Alexander, Nikita, Serg, and vered inconsistency in its views, Matthew Muraviev, Prince Serg and inconveniencies in its laws. Trubetsky, Novikov (formerly Others again, and especially those director of the office of governor
who had simply consented to fra?" general of little Russia), Michael ternize with the Union of Safety, Lounine, and three other members, required that the society should who subsequently abandoned it at limit itself to acting slowly on the different periods, and broke off all public mind, that it should cliange connexion with their more ardent its statutes, which had for their colleagues. Its object, from the basis the principle of blind obedi! beginning, was a change in the ence, and the employment of vioexisting institutions of the empire. lent means, and that it should Such were the unanimous declara- adopt, in place of them, regulations tions of Alexander, Serg, Matthew, to be drawn principally from the and Nikita Muraviev, as well as code of the German Tugend-Bund, Pestel. Prince Trubetsky affirm or association of virtue. The pried that, aware of the weakness and mitive members of the society optemerity of their enterprise, they piosed the alteration for a long discussed at their meetings the time; and it was during the delimeans of promoting the good of berations upon this subject that; their country, and of furthering in 1817, the assassination of the the accomplishments of every use, emperor Alexander
first ful design. Their principal object broached, and that too upon supwas to increase the force of their positions which almost implied society by the acquisition of new frenzy in those who entertained members, whose talents and moral them. One of the members had qualities were to be supported upon received a letter from Troubetsky, good testiinony, as a qualification announcing that the emperor had for their admission. In the mean the intention of restoring to Potime they secured the accession of land all the provinces conquered M. Yakuchkine, and major-ge. by Russia, and that, foreseeing on
the part of the Russians, discon- for its object philanthropy and tent and opposition, he intended to beneficence, public and private. retire to Warsaw with his court, The second had for its object, inand leave the country; a prey to tellectual and moral education, the anarchy. This intelligence, of establishment of schools, particuwhich the conspirators themselves larly on the Lancasterian system, acknowledged the absurdity, pro and, in general, co-operation in the duced upon them an effect scarcely instruction of youth. To the credible. They cried out that members of this section was conan attempt upon the life of the fided the inspection of all schools. emperor had become an object of The third had for its objects to urgent necessity. Prince Theodore watch over the proceedings of the Schakousky proposed not to delay tribunals. Its members bound the execution of it longer than the themselves not to refuse any judiday on which his regiment was cial appointment that should be to mount guard. They even wished offered, to fulfil their duties with to draw lots who should be the as- zeal and exactness, to encourage sassin, when, excited by the agita- persons of integrity employed about tion of his companions, and in- the tribunals, and to denounce to famed by their discourses, Yakouch- the government those who betrayed kine offered his arm for regicide. their trust. The members of the -Even in his madness he seemed to fourth class were to devote themifeel the enormity of the crime selves to political economy, to enwhich he meditated. Fate," courage industry, to consolidate said he, “has marked me for its public credit, and to oppose monovictim. Having become a criminal, polies. The interior organization I shall no longer be able to live of the society was as follows: I shall strike the blow first, and Its founders were to form the centhen kill myself.” The proposal, tral union. 1 From this union was however, was at that time carried drawn the central council, comno further; because they were con- posed of a president and four assesvinced that the crime would be sors. When the members of the useless, and Yakouchkine, who central union joined this council, seems to have been really mad, the assembly took the name of the broke off all connexion with the Central Direction. The central society.
council exercised the executive, and 24* The association having hitherto the central direction the legislative, enjoyed so little prosperity changed power. The direction had, be
its name into that of " The Union sides, the power of nominating a of the Public Weal,” and adopted temporary chamber of legislation *a new constitution, and new regu- to examine, explain, and complete, lations. By the first part of these the laws of the union without regulations the members declared changing their object. Thus the that they entertained no intentions whole authority of the society, and of injuring government, and that the power of directing it towards they pursued their labours in secret any object, was wielded by its only to avoid the perverted con- founders, members of the original
structions of malevolence and ha- tassociation. It belonged to them stredoq The members were divided to receive new members by estabinto four classes. The first had lishing each a direction. These