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crime and who desired merely to worship God according to their conscience. Above all it erred in preventing and punishing those marriages which, though legally irregular, were the best possible means of diminishing fanaticism, by leading back the fanatics to healthy social life. Fortunately these errors have now been abandoned. Since the accession of the present Emperor a policy of clemency and conciliation has been adopted, and has proved much more efficacious than the former system of persecution. The Dissenters have not returned to the official fold, but they have lost much of their old fanaticism and exclusiveness.

In respect of numbers the Sectarians compose a very formidable body. Of Old Ritualists and Priestless People there are, it is said, no less than seven millions; and the Protestant and Fantastical sects comprise probably about three millions more. If these numbers be correct, the Sectarians constitute about an eighth of the whole population of the Empire. They count in their ranks none of the nobles-none of the so-called enlightened class

but they include in their number the third and wealthiest part of the merchant class, the majority of the Don Cossacks, and all the Cossacks of the Ural.

Under these circumstances it is important to know how far the Sectarians are politically disaffected. Some people imagine that in the event of an insurrection or a foreign invasion they might rise against the Government, whilst others believe that this supposed danger is purely imaginary. For my own part I agree with the latter opinion, which is strongly supported by the history of

many important events, such as the French invasion in 1812, the Crimean War, and the last Polish insurrection. The great majority of the Schismatics and heretics are, I believe, loyal subjects of the Tsar. The more violent sects, which are alone capable of active hostility against the authorities, are weak in numbers, and regard all outsiders with such profound mistrust, that they are wholly impervious to inflammatory influences from without. Even if all the sects were capable of active hostility, they would not be nearly so formidable as their numbers seem to indicate, for they are hostile to each other, and are wholly incapable of combining for a common purpose.

Though Sectarianism is thus by no means a serious political danger, it has nevertheless a considerable political significance. It proves satisfactorily that the Russian people is by no means so docile and pliable as is commonly supposed, and that it is capable of showing a stubborn, passive resistance to authority when it believes great interests to be at stake. The dogged energy which it has displayed in asserting for centuries its religious liberty may perhaps some day be employed in the arena of secular politics.*

Regarding the Raskól some able articles have been published recently by Mr. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, in the "Revue des Deux Mondes." English readers who desire to know more on the subject should consult the Appendix to "Select Sermons by Philaret, late Metropolitan of Moscow," London, Masters, 1870. This latter work, published anonymously, is from the pen of a very distinguished Russian lady, and may be recommended to all who take an interest in the Russian Church. The spirit of "ceremonialism" which produced the Raskól, and unfortunately still exists, has been well described and boldly denounced by Mr. Beliústin-himself a parish priest, but less enamoured of routine and more courageous than his fellows.

CHAPTER XXI.

THE PASTORAL TRIBES OF THE STEPPE.

Reasons for undertaking this Journey-Appearance of the Villages-Characteristic Incident-Peasant Mendacity-Explanation of the PhenomenonI awake in Asia-Bashkir Aoul-Dîner à la Tartare-Koomuiss-A Bashkir Troubadour-Honest Mehemet Zián-Actual Economic Condition of the Bashkirs throws Light on a well-known Philosophical Theory-Why a Pastoral Race adopts Agriculture-The Genuine Steppe-The Kirghis— Letter from Genghis Khan-The Kalmuks-Nogai Tartars-Struggle between Nomadic Hordes and Agricultural Colonists.

AFTER living some time with the Molokáni in the southern part of the province of Samara, I struck eastward with the intention of visiting the Bashkirs, a Tartar tribe which still preserved-so at least I was assuredits old nomadic habits. My reasons for undertaking this journey were twofold. In the first place I was desirous of seeing with my own eyes some remnants of those terrible nomadic tribes which had at one time conquered Russia and long threatened to over-run Europe those Tartar Hordes which gained, by their irresistible force and relentless cruelty, the reputation of

Besides this, I had long

being "the scourge of God." wished to study the conditions of pastoral life, and congratulated myself on having found a convenient opportunity of doing so.

As I proceeded eastwards I noticed a change in the appearance of the villages. The ordinary wooden houses, with their high sloping roofs, gradually gave place to

flat-roofed huts, built of a peculiar kind of unburnt bricks, composed of mud and straw. I noticed, too, that the population became less and less dense, and the amount of fallow-land proportionately greater. The peasants were evidently richer than those near the Volga, but they complained as the Russian peasant always does that they had not land enough. In answer to my inquiries why they did not use the thousands of acres that were lying fallow around them, they explained that they had already raised crops on that land for several successive years, and that consequently they must now allow it to "rest."

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In one of the villages through which I passed I met with a very characteristic little incident. The village was called Samovólnaya Ivánofka, that is to say, Ivánofka the Self-willed" or "the Non-authorised." Whilst our horses were being changed my travelling companion, in the course of conversation with a group of peasants, inquired about the origin of this extraordinary name, and discovered a curious bit of local history. The founders of the village had settled on the land without the permission of the owner, and obstinately resisted all attempts at eviction. Again and again troops had been sent to drive them away, but as soon as the troops retired these "selfwilled" people returned and resumed possession, till at last the proprietor, who lived in St. Petersburg or some other distant place, became weary of the contest and allowed them to remain. The various incidents were related with much circumstantial detail, so that

the narration lasted perhaps half an hour. All this time I listened attentively, and when the story was finished I took out my note-book in order to jot down the facts, and asked in what year the affair had happened. No answer was given to my question. The peasants merely looked at each other in a significant way and kept silence. Thinking that my question had not been understood, I asked it a second. time, repeating a part of what had been related. To my astonishment and utter discomfiture they all declared that they had never related anything of the sort! In despair I appealed to my friend and asked him whether my ears had deceived me—whether I was labouring under some strange hallucination. Without giving me any reply he simply smiled and turned away.

When we had left the village and were driving along in our tarantass the mystery was satisfactorily cleared up. My friend explained to me that I had not at all misunderstood what had been related, but that my abrupt question and the sight of my note-book had suddenly aroused the peasants' suspicions, and cut short their communicativeness. "They evidently suspected," he continued, "that you were a Tchinóvnik, and that you wished to use to their detriment the knowledge you had acquired. They thought it safer, therefore, at once to deny it all. You don't yet

understand the Russian muzhik!"

In this last remark I was obliged to concur, but since that time I have come to know the muzhik better,

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