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reviewing that essay even in this country portions, correspondi township; and he h families composing t by a periodical re-dis vast deal of curious traces of this ancien the land tenures, not race, though, as we vation does not nece: be accepted, it prov not at all peculiar t which has been asci guide to the future one of the earliest : in the night of the least civilised condi freedom advanced t only now exist in c perty, and freedom rested on the evid say that these vil Russia, because

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Mr. Wallace appears to have studied the system of firsge communities chiefly in the province of Norgorod, where it misils But Herr Eckardt states that there are many pre 1280 i Nrihern Russia, such as Archangel, Olonez, to

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The opinion that the Russian Mir is a real element of selfvernment by the people is, we believe, equally unfounded. i no country in the world is the entire administration so ntralised and so bureaucratic as in Russia. M. Schédoerroti speaks of 188,000 civil officers of the State, who ive to interpret and apply to every conceivable relation of e, some 50,000 rules and ordinances, emanating from the preme power of the Czar. In spite of the increased preonderance of the rural population, the government centres ntirely in the towns, which are the seat of official life and ower. The peasantry, says Eckardt, are a 'rudis indigestaque moles,' whose leaden weight arrests all progress in the ife of the nation. As long as the autocratic power exists, ays Mr. Wallace, 'n kind of administration can be exempted from Imperial control.'

It has been asserted that the distribution of land amongst the peasantry and the authority of the village communities are permanent barriers against the revolutionary doctrines which threaten the existence of some other States. In France, we have no doubt that the great subdivision of land is such a barrier, because every man holds his field or his vineyard in fec-simple, and would die to defend his property. The conservative instinct of the country holds in check the revolutionary passions of the great towns. But in Russia, where no property really exists, but merely temporary possession, Herr Eckardt says positively “the spread of revolutionary ideas in

all classes of the Russian nation is an officially recognised • fact, which cannot be contested ;' and we ourselves have cognisance of a despatch issued by the Minister of the Interior to the Governor of a great province, in which he deplores the frightful extension of the secret revolutionary societies, which permeate the country. Far from believing the social state of Russia based upon these village communities to be more secure than that of the countries where the full rights of private property are recognised and protected by law, there is great reason to believe that this vast Empire contains within it illregulated forces and desires, which may lead to violent changes and convulsions. Mr. Wallace has drawn as pleasing a picture as he can of the country and the people amongst whom he has spent some agrecable years. His book has been so generally read that it would be superfluous to load our own pages by quoting the scenes he describes with so much spirit and, we have no doubt, truth. But there is another side to the question, and by way of showing what it is, we shall cite a part of a letter from a Russian country gentleman, published in 1865 VOL. CSLY. NO CCXCVIII.

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the individual. The introduction and legislation of the system in its present form appears to be coeval with the establishment of serfdom in the sixteenth century. Before that time, the Russian peasant belonging to a village where land was pre-occupied, could migrate to other lands; afterwards, those peasants only became adscripti glebæ who held a certain portion of land, the Tjäglo, measured by 12-15 tchetwerts. But the peasants holding under the church, the monasteries, and the princes, held their land strictly as a private possession, analogous to copyhold. During the period of serfdom, the power of the nobles and landowners increased, but as they were responsible for the dues and service of the peasants under them, it became their interest that as population increased and migration was impossible, no peasant on whom the poll-tax was levied, should be without portion of land, and for this purpose the periodical distribution of the village lands was encouraged. The fisc can only take cognisance of a landless peasantry through some person or association, whom the law can touch, and they are therefore compelled to put themselves in dependence on some with whom it can deal as answerable for their forthcoming. When in Russia the lord ceased to be responsible for his serfs and they became free men, as regards him, this dependence and liability was transferred to the Mir or village community, to which each peasant was bound by the obligation to hold land under it and at its pleasure. Since the abolition of serfdom, the peasant is free to seek work elsewhere ; the Sclavonic races are migratory, and it is not uncommon to meet men in humble life who have visited remote parts of the Empire. But go where they may, the power of the Mir is over them, and cannot be shaken off. It is the guarantee of their liability to the State. It is admitted that the power of the Mir over the peasantry has been greatly increased by the act of emancipation.

Mr. Wallace appears to have studied the system of village communities chiefly in the province of Novgorod, where it prevails. But Herr Eckardt states that there are many provinces in Northern Russia, such as Archangel, Olonez, Wologda, Wjatka, and Perm, where neither serfdom nor the concomitant tenure of land were general. In the Northern Dwina private property in land existed from of old, and the system of village communities was first established there by a government circular in the year 1829-a fact which throws light on the nature and utility of the institution for

fiscal purposes.

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The opinion that the Russian Mir is a real element of selfgovernment by the people is, we believe, equally unfounded. In no country in the world is the entire administration so centralised and so bureaucratic as in Russia. M. SchédoFerroti speaks of 188,000 civil officers of the State, who have to interpret and apply to every conceivable relation of life, some 50,000 rules and ordinances, emanating from the supreme power of the Czar. In spite of the increased preponderance of the rural population, the government centres entirely in the towns, which are the seat of official life and power. The peasantry, says Eckardt, are a 'rudis indigestaque moles,' whose leaden weight arrests all progress in the life of the nation. As long as the autocratic power exists,

• says Mr. Wallace, 'no kind of administration can be exempted ' from Imperial control.'

It has been asserted that the distribution of land amongst the peasantry and the authority of the village communities are permanent barriers against the revolutionary doctrines which threaten the existence of some other States. In France, we have no doubt that the great subdivision of land is such a barrier, because every man holds his field or his vineyard in fec-simple, and would die to defend his property. servative instinct of the country holds in check the revolutionary passions of the great towns. But in Russia, where no property really exists, but merely temporary possession, Herr Eckardt says positively “the spread of revolutionary ideas in • all classes of the Russian nation is an officially recognised

fact, which cannot be contested ;' and we ourselves have cognisance of a despatch issued by the Minister of the Interior to the Governor of a great province, in which he deplores the frightful extension of the secret revolutionary societies, which permeate the country. Far from believing the social state of Russia based upon these village communities to be more secure than that of the countries where the full rights of private property are recognised and protected by law, there is great reason to believe that this vast Empire contains within it illregulated forces and desires, which may lead to violent changes and convulsions. Mr. Wallace has drawn as pleasing a picture as he can of the country and the people amongst whom he has spent some agrecable years. His book has been so gencrally read that it would be superfluous to load our own pages by quoting the scenes he describes with so much spirit and, we have no doubt, truth. But there is another side to the question, and by way of showing what it is, we shall cite a part of a letter from a Russian country gentleman, published in 1865

VOL. CXLV. NO CCXCVIII.

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by the Moscow Gazette,' which was then, and is still, one of the most zealous champions of the national party and of reform.

'I have been spending,' said this writer,' this last summer in an estate lying to the south-east of Moscow, which I have long known, and with which my own interests are connected. What, then, did I see before my eyes ? Universal depression and apathy, reckless living for the present hour, idleness, drunkenness, and thieving. Everything that occurred, whether great or small, to myself or to others, had its source or origin in one of these vices, whose hateful names I have just written down. Apathy was shown in the cessation of all activity, in the extinction of all enterprise. Upon the accomplishment of the great work of emancipation, most of us were deceived by hopes of the advantages attendant on free labour. We planned improvements, we purchased ploughs and agricultural implements. Money enough was spent, but the thing would not go. The low prices of grain, the excessive rate of wages, above all the impossibility of getting free labourers at any price at all, rendered cultivation by day labourers impossible. Soon afterwards wages fell, and the price of grain rose. But husbandry did not pay. Why? because of the dissolute and disorderly conduct of the men. No farmer can be certain that his labourers will pot all have gone off the next morning, without feeding the horses and cattle, and without lighting the stoves-gone off, not from any dispute, but just because there is a holiday in the next village, and Wanka says to Fedka, “ Come along, old fellow, there is a drop to be had there-let "us be off.” The whole pack of them will come back, may be, in three or four days; but in the meantime the stock have died, and the work of the farm has been stopped. ... On Mondays nobody works at all, either for himself or anyone else. Every saint's day is kept for at least three days. If you hire men by time, you cannot reckon on more than fifteen days work in a month; if by piece-work, it is even worse. What are they all about ? Drinking up the money in the brandy-shop; for if you give a man a rouble beforehand, be sure you will never see him again. The sottishness of our peasants has now passed from holidays to working days. They get drunk not only in honour of the saints, but on every possible opportunity.' (Eckardt, p. 234.)

To this it must be added that the migratory habits of the male population, leaving the women at home, are the cause of great abuses, and that the worst forms of disease, the result of debauchery, appear by some recent reports to have infected whole provinces of the Empire. Efficient medical advice and remedies are, for the most part, quite unattainable.

Those who vaunt the Russian system on the ground that it excludes competition and presents the most complete picture of protected labour, should remember that no country can withdraw itself from competition in the markets of the world, and that Russia herself is competing and must compete in her chief products with countries, younger but more advanced

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