The Slave Trade
Henry Charles Carey

Chapter XVII.
How Freedom Grows in Russia.



Among the nations of the world whose policy looks to carrying out the views of Adam Smith, in bringing the artisan as near as possible to the food and the wool, Russia stands distinguished.  The information we have in reference to the movements of that country is limited;  but all of it tends to prove that with the growth of population and wealth, and with the increased diversification of labour, land is acquiring value, and man is advancing rapidly toward freedom.  “The industry of Russia,” says a recent American journal—

“Has been built up, as alone the industry of a nation can be, under a system of protection, from time to time modified as experience has dictated;  but never destroyed by specious abstractions or the dogmas of mere doctrinaires.  Fifty years ago manufactures were unknown there, and the caravans trading to the interior and supplying the wants of distant tribes in Asia went laden with the products of British and other foreign workshops.  When the present emperor mounted the throne, in 1825, the country could not produce the cloth required to uniform its own soldiers;  further back, in 1800, the exportation of coloured cloth was prohibited under severe penalties;  but through the influence of adequate protection, as early as 1834, Russian cloth was taken by the caravans to Kiachta;  and at this day the markets of all Central Asia are supplied by the fabrics of Russian looms, which in Affghanistan and China are crowding British cloths entirely out of sale — notwithstanding the latter have the advantage in transportation — while in Tartary and Russia itself British woollens are now scarcely heard of.  In 1812 there were in Russia 136 cloth factories;  in 1824, 324;  in 1812 there were 129 cotton factories;  in 1824, 484.  From 1812 to 1839 the whole number of manufacturing establishments in the empire more than trebled, and since then they have increased in a much greater ratio, though from the absence of official statistics we are not able to give the figures.  Of the total amount of manufactured articles consumed in 1843, but one-sixth were imported.  And along with this vast aggrandizement of manufacturing industry and commerce, there has been a steady increase of both imports and exports, as well as of revenue from customs.  The increase in imports has consisted of articles of luxury and raw materials for manufacture.  And, as if to leave nothing wanting in the demonstration, the increase of exports has constantly included more and more of the products of agriculture.  Thus in this empire we see what we must always see under an adequate and judicious system of protection, that a proper tariff not only improves, refines, and diversifies the labour of a country, but enlarges its commerce, increases the prosperity of its agricultural population, renders the people better and better able to contribute to the support of the Government, and raises the nation to a position of independence and real equality among the powers of the globe.  All this is indubitably proved by the example of Russia, for there protection has been steady and adequate, and the consequences are what we have described.” — New York Tribune.

The reader may advantageously compare the following sketch, from the same source, of the present position of Russia, so recently a scene of barbarism, with that already laid before him, of her neighbour Turkey, whose policy commands to so great an extent the admiration of those economists who advocate the system which looks to converting the whole world outside of England into one vast farm, and all its people, men, women, and children, into field labourers, dependent on one great workshop in which to make all their exchanges:—

“Russia, we are told, is triumphant in the Great Exhibition.  Her natural products excite interest and admiration for their variety and excellence; her works of art provoke astonishment for their richness and beauty.  Her jewellers and gold-workers carry off the palm from even those of Paris.  Her satins and brocades compete with the richest contributions of Lyons.  She exhibits tables of malachite and caskets of ebony, whose curious richness indicates at once the lavish expenditure of a barbaric court, and the refinement and taste of civilization.  Nor do we deem it of much account that her part of the exhibition is not exclusively the work of native artisans.  Her satins are none the less genuine product of the country because the loveliest were woven by emigrants from the Croix Rousse or the Guillotiére, seduced by high wages from their sunnier home in order to build up the industry of the Great Empire and train the grandsons of Mongol savages in the exquisite mysteries of French taste and dexterity.  It matters not that the exhibition offers infinitely more than a fair illustration of the average capacity of Russian labour.  It is none the less true that a people who half a century ago were without manufactures of any but the rudest kind, are now able by some means to furnish forth an unsurpassed display, though all the world is there to compete with them.

“We are no lover of Russian power, and have no wish to exaggerate the degree of perfection to which Russian industry has attained.  We do not doubt that any cotton factory in the environs of Moscow might be found imperfect when contrasted with one of Manchester or Lowell.  We are confident that the artisans of a New-England village very far surpass those of a Russian one in most qualities of intelligence and manhood.  Indeed, it is absurd to make the comparison;  it is absurd to do what travellers insist on doing — that is, to judge every nation by the highest standard, and pronounce each a failure which does not exhibit the intellect of France, the solidity and power of England, or the enterprise, liberty, and order of the United States.  All that should be asked is, whether a people has surpassed its own previous condition and is in the way of improvement and progress. And that, in respect of industry, at least, Russia is in that way, her show at the Exhibition may safely be taken as a brilliant and conclusive proof.”

Russia is powerful, and is becoming more so daily.  Why is it so?  It is because her people are daily more and more learning the advantages of diversification of labour and combination of exertion, and more and more improving in their physical and intellectual condition — the necessary preliminaries to an improvement of their political condition.  Turkey is weak; and why is it so?  Because among her people the habit of association is daily passing away as the few remaining manufactures disappear, and as the travelling pedler supersedes the resident shopkeeper.

It is said, however, that Russian policy is unfavorable to commerce;  but is not its real tendency that of producing a great internal commerce upon which alone a great foreign one can be built?  That it does produce the effect of enabling her people to combine their exertions for their common benefit is most certain; and equally so that it tends to give her that direct intercourse with the world which is essential to the existence of freedom.  The slave trades with the world through his master, who fixes the price of the labour he has to sell and the food and clothing he has to buy, and this is exactly the system that Great Britain desires to establish for the farmers of the world — she being the only buyer of raw products, and the only seller of manufactured ones.

So long as Russia exports only food and hemp, she can trade with Brazil for sugar, and with Carolina for cotton, only through the medium of British ships, British ports, British merchants, and British looms, for she can need no raw cotton;  but with the extension of manufactures she needs cotton, which she can draw directly from the planter, paying him in iron, by aid of which he may have machinery.  In illustration of this, we have the fact that so recently as in 1846, out of a total consumption of cotton amounting to 310,656 cwts., no less than 122,082 cwts. had passed through British spindles;  whereas in 1850, out of a total consumption more than one-half greater, and amounting to 487,612 cwts., only 64,505 cwts. had passed through the hands of the spinners of Manchester.

The export of raw cotton to Russia has since largely increased, but the precise extent of increase cannot be ascertained, although some estimate may be formed from the growth of the consumption of one of the principal dyeing materials, indigo;  the export of which from England to Russia is thus given in the London Economist:—

        1849. 1850. 1851. 1852.
Chests, 3225  4105  4953  5175

We have here an increase in three years of almost sixty percent, proving a steady increase in the power to obtain clothing and to maintain commerce internal and external, directly the reverse of what has been observed in Turkey, Ireland, India, and other countries in which the British system prevails; and the reason of this is that that system looks to destroying the power of association.  It would have all the people of India engage themselves in raising cotton, and all those of Brazil and Cuba in raising sugar, while those of Germany and Russia should raise food and wool;  and we know well that when all are farmers, or all planters, the power of association scarcely exists; the consequence of which is seen in the exceeding weakness of all the communities of the world in which the plough and the loom, the hammer and the harrow, are prevented from coming together.  It is an unnatural one.  Men everywhere seek to combine their exertions with those of their fellow-men;  an object sought to be attained by the introduction of that diversification of employment advocated throughout his work by the author of The Wealth of Nations.  How naturally the habit of association arises, and how beneficial are its effects, may be seen from a few extracts now offered to the reader, from an interesting article in a recent English journal. In Russia, says its author—

“There does not prevail that marked distinction between the modes of life of the dwellers in town and country which is found in other countries;  and the general freedom of trade, which in other nations is still an object of exertion, has existed in Russia since a long by-gone period.  A strong manufacturing and industrial tendency prevails in a large portion of Russia, which, based upon the communal system, has led to the formation of what we may term ‘national association factories.'”

In corroboration of this view of the general freedom of internal trade, we are told that, widely different from the system of western Europe,

“There exists no such thing as a trade guild, or company, nor any restraint of a similar nature.  Any member of a commune can at pleasure abandon the occupation he may be engaged in, and take up another;  all that he has to do in effecting the change is to quit the commune in which his old trade is carried on, and repair to another, where his new one is followed.”

The tendency of manufacturing industry is

“For the most part entirely communal; the inhabitants of one village, for example, are all shoemakers, in another smiths, in a third tanners only, and so on.  A natural division of labor thus prevails exactly as in a factory.  The members of the commune mutually assist one another with capital or labor;  purchases are usually made in common, and sales also invariably, but they always send their manufactures in a general mass to the towns and market-places, where they have a common warehouse for their disposal.”

In common with all countries that are as yet unable fully to carry out the idea of Adam Smith, of compressing a large quantity of food and wool into a piece of cloth, and thus fitting it for cheap transportation to distant markets, and which are, therefore, largely dependent on those distant markets for the sale of raw produce, the cultivation of the soil in Russia is not—

“In general, very remunerative, and also can only be engaged in for a few months in the year, which is, perhaps, the reason why the peasant in Russia evinces so great an inclination for manufactures and other branches of industry, the character of which generally depends on the nature of raw products found in the districts where they are followed.”

Without diversification of employment much labour would be wasted, and the people would find themselves unable to purchase clothing or machinery of cultivation.  Throughout the empire the labourer appears to follow in the direction indicated by nature, working up the materials on the land on which they are produced, and thus economizing transportation.  Thus—

“In the government of Yaroslaf the whole inhabitants of one place are potters.  Upward of two thousand inhabitants in another place are rope-makers and harness-makers.  The population of the district of Uglitich in 1835 sent three millions of yards of linen cloth to the markets of Rybeeck and Moscow.  The peasants on one estate are all candle-makers, on a second they are all manufacturers of felt hats, and on a third they are solely occupied in smiths’ work, chiefly the making of axes.  In the district of Pashechoe there are about seventy tanneries, which give occupation to a large number of families;  they have no paid workmen, but perform all the operations among themselves, preparing leather to the value of about twenty-five thousand roubles a year, and which is disposed of on their account in Rybeeck.  In the districts where the forest-trees mostly consist of lindens, the inhabitants are principally engaged in the manufacture of matting, which, according to its greater or less degree of fineness, is employed either for sacking or sail cloth, or merely as packing mats.  The linden-tree grows only on moist soils, rich in black humus, or vegetable mould;  but will not grow at all in sandy soils, which renders it comparatively scarce in some parts of Russia, while in others it grows abundantly.  The mats are prepared from the inner bark, and as the linden is ready for stripping at only fifteen years of age, and indeed is best at that age, these trees form a rich source of profit for those who dwell in the districts where they grow.”

We have here a system of combined exertion that tends greatly to account for the rapid progress of Russia in population, wealth, and power.

The men who thus associate for local purposes acquire information, and with it the desire for more;  and thus we find them passing freely, as interest may direct them, from one part of the empire to another — a state of things very different from that produced in England by the law of settlement, under which men have everywhere been forbidden to change their locality, and everywhere been liable to be seized and sent back to their original parishes, lest they might at some time or other become chargeable upon the new one in which they had desired to find employment, for which they had sought in vain at home.  “The Russian” says our author—

“Has a great disposition for wandering about beyond his native place, but not for travelling abroad.  The love of home seems to be merged, to a great extent, in love of country.  A Russian feels himself at home everywhere within Russia; and, in a political sense, this rambling disposition of the people, and the close intercourse between the inhabitants of the various provinces to which it leads, contributes to knit a closer bond of union between the people, and to arouse and maintain a national policy and a patriotic love of country.  Although he may quit his native place, the Russian never wholly severs the connection with it; and, as we have before mentioned, being fitted by natural talent to turn his hand to any species of work, he in general never limits himself in his wanderings to any particular occupation, but tries at several;  but chooses whatever may seem to him the most advantageous.  When they pursue any definite extensive trade, such as that of a carpenter, mason, or the like, in large towns, they associate together, and form a sort of trades’ association, and the cleverest assume the position of a sort of contractor for the labour required.  Thus, if a nobleman should want to build a house, or even a palace, in St. Petersburgh, he applies to such a contractor, (prodratshnik,) lays before him the elevation and plans, and makes a contract with him to do the work required for a specified sum.  The contractor then makes an agreement with his comrades respecting the assistance they are to give, and the share they are to receive of the profit; after which he usually sets off to his native place, either alone or with some of his comrades, to obtain the requisite capital to carry on the work with.  The inhabitants, who also have their share of the gains, readily make up the necessary sum, and every thing is done in trust and confidence;  it is, indeed, very rare to hear of frauds in these matters.  The carpenters (plotniki) form a peculiar class of the workmen we have described.  As most of the houses in Russia, and especially in the country parts, are built of wood, the number and importance of the carpenters, as a class, are very great in comparison with other countries.  Almost every peasant, whatever other trade he may follow, is also something of a carpenter, and knows how to shape and put together the timbers for a dwelling.  The plotniki in the villages are never any thing more than these general carpenters, and never acquire any regular knowledge of their business.  The real Russian plotniki seldom carries any other tools with him than an axe and a chisel, and with these he wanders through all parts of the empire, seeking, and everywhere finding, work.”

The picture here presented is certainly widely different from that presented by Great Britain and Ireland.  A Russian appears to be at home everywhere in Russia.  He wanders where he will, everywhere seeking and finding work;  whereas an Irishman appears hardly to be at home anywhere within the limits of the United Kingdom.  In England, and still more in Scotland, he is not acknowledged as a fellow-citizen.  He is only an Irishman — one of those half-savage Celts intended by nature to supply the demand of England for cheap labour;  that is, for that labour which is to be rewarded by the scantiest supplies of food and clothing.  The difference in the moral effect of the two systems is thus very great.  The one tends to bring about that combination of exertion which everywhere produces a kindly habit of feeling, whereas the other tends everywhere to the production of dissatisfaction and gloom;  and it is so because that under it there is necessarily a constant increase of the feeling that every man is to live by the taxation of his neighbour, buying cheaply what that neighbour has to sell, and selling dearly what that neighbour has to buy.  The existence of this state of things is obvious to all familiar with the current literature of England, which abounds in exhibitions of the tendency of the system to render man a tyrant to his wife, his daughter, his horse, and even his dog.  A recent English traveller in Russia presents a different state of feeling as there existing.  “The Russian coachman,” he says—

“Seldom uses his whip, and generally only knocks with it upon the footboard of the sledge, by way of a gentle admonition to his steed, with whom, meanwhile, he keeps up a running colloquy, seldom giving him harder words than ‘My brother — my friend — my little pigeon — my sweetheart.’  ‘Come, my pretty pigeon, make use of your legs,’ he will say.  ‘What, now! art blind?  Come, be brisk!  Take care of that stone, there.  Don’t see it? — There, that’s right! Bravo! hop, hop, hop!  Steady boy, steady!  What art turning thy head for?  Look out boldly before thee!—Hurra! Yukh! Yukh!’

“I could not,” he continues, “help contrasting this with the offensive language we constantly hear in England from carters and boys employed in driving horses.  You are continually shocked by the oaths used.  They seem to think the horses will not go unless they swear at them;  and boys consider it manly to imitate this example, and learn to swear too, and break God’s commandments by taking his holy name in vain.  And this while making use of a fine, noble animal he has given for our service and not for abuse.  There is much unnecessary cruelty in the treatment of these dumb creatures, for they are often beaten when doing their best, or from not understanding what their masters want them to do.”

Of the truth of this, as regards England, the journals of that country often furnish most revolting evidence; but the mere fact that there exists there a society for preventing cruelty to animals, would seem to show that its services had been much needed.

The manner in which the system of diversified labour is gradually extending personal freedom among the people of Russia, and preparing them eventually for the enjoyment of the highest degree of political freedom, is shown in the following passage.  “The landholders,” says the author before referred to—

“Having serfs, gave them permission to engage in manufactures, and to seek for work for themselves where they liked, on the mere condition of paying their lord a personal tax, (obrok).  Each person is rated according to his personal capabilities, talents, and capacities, at a certain capital;  and according to what he estimates himself capable of gaining, he is taxed at a fixed sum as interest of that capital.  Actors and singers are generally serfs, and they are obliged to pay obrok, for the exercise of their art, as much as the lowest handicraftsman.  In recent times, the manufacturing system of Western Europe has been introduced into Russia, and the natives have been encouraged to establish all sorts of manufactures on these models;  and it remains to be seen whether the new system will have the anticipated effect of contributing to the formation of a middle class, which hitherto has been the chief want in Russia as a political state.”

That such must be the effect cannot be doubted.  The middle class has everywhere grown with the growth of towns and other places of local exchange, and men have become free precisely as they have been able to unite together for the increase of the productiveness of their labour.  In every part of the movement which thus tends to the emancipation of the serf, the government is seen to be actively co-operating, and it is scarcely possible to read an account of what is there being done without a feeling of great respect for the emperor, “so often,” says a recent writer, “denounced as a deadly foe to freedom — the true father of his country, earnestly striving to develop and mature the rights of his subjects.”[1]

For male serfs, says the same author, at all times until recently, military service was the only avenue to freedom.  It required, however, twenty years’ service, and by the close of that time the soldier became so accustomed to that mode of life that he rarely left it.  A few years since, however, the term was shortened to eight years, and thousands of men are now annually restored to civil life, free men, who but a few years previously had been slaves, liable to be bought and sold with the land.

Formerly the lord had the same unlimited power of disposing of his serfs that is now possessed by the people of our Southern States.  The serf was a mere chattel, an article of traffic and merchandise;  and husbands and wives, parents and children, were constantly liable to be separated from each other.  By an ukase of 1827, however, they were declared an integral and inseparable portion of the soil.  “The immediate consequence of this decree,” says Mr. Jerrmann,[2]

“Was the cessation, at least in its most repulsive form, of the degrading traffic in human flesh, by sale, barter, or gift.  Thenceforward no serf could be transferred to another owner, except by the sale of the land to which he belonged.  To secure to itself the refusal of the land and the human beings appertaining to it, and at the same time to avert from the landholder the ruin consequent on dealings with usurers, the government established an imperial loan-bank, which made advances on mortgage of lands to the extent of two-thirds of their value.  The borrowers had to pay back each year three percent of the loan, besides three percent interest.  If they failed to do this, the Crown returned them the instalments already paid, gave them the remaining third of the value of the property, and took possession of the land and its population.  This was the first stage of freedom for the serfs.  They became Crown peasants, held their dwellings and bit of land as an hereditary fief from the Crown, and paid annually for the same a sum total of five rubles, (about four shillings for each male person;) a rent for which, assuredly, in the whole of Germany, the very poorest farm is not to be had;  to say nothing of the consideration that in case of bad harvests, destruction by hail, disease, &c., the Crown is bound to supply the strict necessities of its peasant, and to find them in daily bread, in the indispensable stock of cattle and seed-corn, to repair their habitations, and so forth.

“By this arrangement, and in a short time, a considerable portion of the lands of the Russian nobility became the property of the state, and with it a large number of serfs became Crown peasants.  This was the first and most important step toward opening the road to freedom to that majority of the Russian population which consists of slaves.”

We have here the stage of preparation for that division of the land which has, in all countries of the world, attended the growth of wealth and population, and which is essential to further growth not only in wealth but in freedom.  Consolidation of the land has everywhere been the accompaniment of slavery, and so must it always be.

At the next step, we find the emperor bestowing upon the serf, as preparatory to entire freedom, certain civil rights.  An ukase

“Permitted them to enter into contracts.  Thereby was accorded to them not only the right of possessing property, but the infinitely higher blessing of a legal recognition of their moral worth as men.  Hitherto the serf was recognised by the state only as a sort of beast in human form.  He could hold no property, give no legal evidence, take no oath.  No matter how eloquent his speech, he was dumb before the law.  He might have treasures in his dwelling, the law knew him only as a pauper.  His word and honor were valueless compared to those of the vilest freeman.  In short, morally he could not be said to exist.  The Emperor Nicholas gave to the serfs, that vast majority of his subjects, the first sensation of moral worth, the first throb of self-respect, the first perception of the rights and dignity and duty of man!  What professed friend of the people can boast to have done more, or yet so much, for so many millions of men?” — Ibid, p. 24.

“Having given the serfs power to hold property, the emperor now,” says our author, “taught them to prize the said property above all in the interest of their freedom.”  The serf

“Could, not buy his own freedom, but he became free by the purchase of the patch of soil to which he was linked.  To such purchase the right of contract cleared his road.  The lazy Russian, who worked with an ill-will toward his master, doing as little as he could for the latter’s profit, toiled day and night for his own advantage.  Idleness was replaced by the diligent improvement of his farm, brutal drunkenness by frugality and sobriety;  the earth, previously neglected, requited the unwonted care with its richest treasures.  By the magic of industry, wretched hovels were transformed into comfortable dwellings, wildernesses into blooming fields, desolate steppes and deep morasses into productive land; whole communities, lately sunk in poverty, exhibited unmistakable signs of competency and well-doing.  The serfs, now allowed to enter into contracts, lent the lord of the soil the money of which he often stood in need, on the same conditions as the Crown, receiving in security the land they occupied, their own bodies, and the bodies of their wives and children.  The nobleman preferred the serfs’ loan to the government’s loan, because, when pay-day came for the annual interest and instalment, the Crown, if he was not prepared to pay, took possession of his estate, having funds wherewith to pay him the residue of its value.  The parish of serfs, which had lent money to its owner, lacked these funds.  Pay-day came, the debtor did not pay, but neither could the serfs produce the one-third of the value of the land which they must disburse to him in order to be free.  Thus they lost their capital and did not gain their liberty.  But Nicholas lived! the father of his subjects.

“Between the anxious debtor and the still more anxious creditor now interposed an imperial ukase, which in such cases opened to the parishes of serfs the imperial treasury.  Mark this; for it is worthy, to be noted;  the Russian imperial treasury was opened to the serfs, that they might purchase their freedom!

“The Government might simply have released the creditors from their embarrassment by paying the debtor the one-third still due to him, and then land and tenants belonged to the state; — one parish the more of Crown peasants.  Nicholas did not adopt that course.  He lent the serfs the money they needed to buy themselves from their master, and for this loan (a third only of the value) they mortgaged themselves and their lands to the Crown, paid annually three percent interest and three percent of the capital, and would thus in about thirty years be free, and proprietors of their land!  That they would be able to pay off this third was evident, since, to obtain its amount they had still the same resources which enabled them to save up the two-thirds already paid.  Supposing, however, the very worst, — that through inevitable misfortunes, such as pestilence, disease of cattle, &c., they were prevented satisfying the rightful claims of the Crown, in that case the Crown paid them back the two-thirds value which they had previously disbursed to their former owner, and they became a parish of Crown peasants, whose lot, compared to their earlier one, was still enviable.  But not once in a hundred times do such cases occur, while, by the above plan, whole parishes gradually acquire their freedom, not by a sudden and violent change, which could not fail to have some evil consequences, but in course of time, after a probation of labour and frugality, and after thus attaining to the knowledge that without these two great factors of true freedom, no real liberty can possibly be durable.” — Ibid.

The free peasants as yet constitute small class, but they live

“As free and happy men, upon their own land;  are active, frugal, and, without exception, well off.  This they must be, for considerable means are necessary for the purchase of their freedom;  and, once free, and in possession of a farm of their own, their energy and industry, manifested even in a state of slavery, are redoubled by the enjoyment of personal liberty, and their earnings naturally increase in a like measure.

“The second class, the crown peasants, are far better off (setting aside, of course, the consciousness of freedom) than the peasants of Germany.  They must furnish their quota of recruits, but that is their only material burden.  Besides that, they annually pay to the Crown a sum of five rubles (about four shillings) for each male person of the household.  Supposing the family to include eight working men, which is no small number for a farm, the yearly tribute paid amounts to thirty-two shillings.  And what a farm that must be which employs eight men all the year round!  In what country of civilized Europe has the peasant so light a burden to bear?  How much heavier those which press upon the English farmer, the French, the German, and above all the Austrian, who often gives up three-fourths of his harvest in taxes.  If the Crown peasant be so fortunate as to be settled in the neighbourhood of a large town, his prosperity soon exceeds that even of the Altenburg husbandmen, said to be the richest in all Germany.  On the other hand, he can never purchase his freedom;  hitherto, at least, no law of the Crown has granted him this privilege.” — Ibid, 156.

That this, however, is the tendency of every movement, must be admitted by all who have studied the facts already given, and who read the following account of the commencement of local self-government:—

“But what would our ardent anti-Russians say, if I took them into the interior of the empire, gave them an insight into the organization of parishes, and showed them, to their infinite astonishment, what they never yet dreamed of, that the whole of that organization is based upon republican principles, that there every thing has its origin in election by the people, and that that was already the case at a period when the great mass of German democrats did not so much as know the meaning of popular franchise.  Certainly the Russian serfs do not know at the present day what it means;  but without knowing the name of the thing, without having ever heard a word of Lafayette’s ill-omened ‘trône monarchique, environné d’institutions républicaines,’ they choose their own elders, their administrators, their dispensers of justice and finance, and never dream that they, slaves, enjoy and benefit by privileges by which some of the most civilized nations have proved themselves incapable of profiting.

“Space does not here permit a more extensive sketch of what the Emperor Nicholas has done, and still is daily doing, for the true freedom of his subjects;  but what I have here brought forward must surely suffice to place him, in the eyes of every unprejudiced person, in the light of a real lover of his people.  That his care has created a paradise that no highly criminal abuse of power, no shameful neglect prevails in the departments of justice and police — it is hoped no reflecting reader will infer from this exposition of facts.  But the still-existing abuses alter nothing in my view of the emperor’s character, of his assiduous efforts to raise his nation out of the deep slough in which it still is partly sunk, of his efficacious endeavours to elevate his people to a knowledge and use of their rights as men — alter nothing in my profound persuasion that Czar Nicholas I. is the true father of his country.” — Ibid, 27.

We are told that the policy, of Russia is adverse to the progress of civilization, while that of England is favourable to it, and that we should aid the latter in opposing the former.  How is this to be proved?  Shall we look to Ireland for the proof?  If we do, we shall meet there nothing but famine, pestilence, and depopulation.  Or to Scotland, where men, whose ancestors had occupied the same spot for centuries are being hunted down that they may be transported to the shores of the St. Lawrence, there to perish, as they so recently have done, of cold and of hunger?  Or to India, whose whole class of small proprietors and manufacturers has disappeared under the blighting influence of her system, and whose commerce diminishes, now from year to year?  Or to Portugal, the weakest and most wretched of the communities of Europe?  Or to China, poisoned with smuggled opium, that costs the nation annually little less than forty millions of dollars, without which the Indian government could not be maintained?  Look where we may, we see a growing tendency toward slavery wherever the British system is permitted to obtain;  whereas freedom grows in the ratio in which that system is repudiated.

That such must necessarily be the case will be seen by every reader who will for a moment reflect on the difference between the effect of the Russian system on the condition of Russian women, and that of the British system on the condition of those of India.  In the former there is everywhere arising a demand for women to be employed in the lighter labour of conversion, and thus do they tend from day to day to become more self-supporting, and less dependent on the will of husbands, brothers, or sons.  In the other the demand for their labour has passed away, and their condition declines, and so it must continue to do while Manchester shall be determined upon closing the domestic demand for cotton and driving the whole population to the production of sugar, rice, and cotton, for export to England.

The system of Russia is attractive of population, and French, German, and American mechanics of every description find demand for their services.  That of England is repulsive, as is seen by the forced export of men from England, Scotland, Ireland, and India, now followed by whole cargoes of women[3] sent out by aid of public contributions, presenting a spectacle almost as humiliating to the pride of the sex as can be found in the slave bazaar of Constantinople.


 

1 Pictures from St. Petersburg, by E. Jerrmann, 22.

2 Pictures from St. Petersburg, 23.

3 The cargo of a ship that has recently sailed is stated to have consisted of more than a thousand females.