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work a fair day's wages, and to make only such contracts as are likely in the existing conditions to be voluntarily fulfilled. To make imprudent contracts and trust to the omnipotence of the law for their fulfilment is a policy which in all parts of the world is likely to lead to bankruptcy. Even in England, which is often cited by proprietors of this type as a happy land in which the law is respected and breaches of contract rigorously punished, any farmer who should be mad enough to adopt the principle of paying for field labour two or three years in advance-as I have known some Russian proprietors do would very soon be compelled to give up farming, and to choose some other vocation more suited to his unpractical mind.

That the fault does not lie entirely on the side of the peasants is not a conclusion derived merely from à priori reasoning, but a truth fully proved by experience. In all parts of the country I have found that the above complaints are rarely, if ever, made by active, energetic, intelligent agriculturists who live on their estates all the year round: the complainers are chiefly men who seem to imagine that the management of an estate may be left to subordinates, and that farming is an occupation resembling those comfortable places in the public service of which the occupant requires to appear merely on ceremonial occasions. Of the numerous direct testimonies which I might quote on this subject, I restrict myself to that of Prince Wassiltchikof, of whom I have already spoken. He expressly declares that during the space of eight years he had never

serious cause for dissatisfaction with the labourers he employed, and that he never once had recourse to the authorities.

As a great deal is said and written about the "incorrigible laziness" of the Russian peasantry, I may make here a few remarks on the subject. The muzhik is certainly very slow in his movements-slower even than the English rustic-but the proprietors have little right to reproach him with his indolence. To them he might reply with a very strong argument of the tu quoque kind, and to all the other classes the argument might likewise be addressed. The St. Petersburg official, for example, who writes philippics about peasant laziness, considers that for himself attendance at his office for three or four hours-a large part of which is devoted to the unproductive labour of smoking cigarettes-is a very fair day's work. The truth is that in Russia the struggle for life is not nearly so intense as in countries. more densely populated, and society is so constituted that all can live without very strenuous exertion. The Russians seem, therefore, to the traveller who comes from the West, an indolent, apathetic race. But here, as elsewhere, everything depends on the standard of comparison. If the traveller comes from the Eastespecially if he has been living for some time among pastoral races the Russians will appear to him a most energetic and laborious people. Their character in this respect corresponds to their geographical position: they stand midway between the laborious, painstaking, industrial population of Western Europe and the indolent,

undisciplined, spasmodically-energetic pastoral tribes of the Steppe. They are capable of effecting much by vigorous, intermittent effort-witness the peasant at harvest-time, or the St. Petersburg official when some big legislative project has to be presented to the Emperor within a given time-but they have not yet learned regular laborious habits. They might move the world if it could be done by a jerk, but they are still deficient in that calm perseverance and dogged tenacity which characterise the Teutonic race.

To return from this digression, it must be admitted that in the southern section of the Black-Earth Zone the proprietors have peculiar difficulties to contend with. The country, as we have seen, is thinly peopled, and the deficiency in agricultural labourers is only partially supplied by the annual summer migrations from the north. For the preparation of the land and the sowing of the grain the ordinary population suffices; but for the harvest the services of the nomadic reapers are always required, and when the harvest is plentiful the price of labour rises to such an extent that the proprietor has sometimes reason to regret the exceptional bounty of Nature. I know at least of one case where an unusually abundant harvest ruined many farmers. This happened in the province of Samára in the year 1868. The harvest was so abundant that the reaping cost about twenty-five shillings per acre, and the grain was afterwards spoiled by continuous rains, so that the reaping expenses became a dead loss. Even when no casualty happens the reaping expenses often eat up nearly all

the profits. To ensure themselves against these fluctuations in the price of labour, many proprietors send agents to the north in early spring to hire reapers at a moderate price for the harvest-time. These agents have no difficulty in hiring peasants at the fairs, or in making contracts with the rural authorities for the services of the peasants who are in arrear with the payment of their taxes; but their efforts have often in the long run little practical result. The labourers hired do not appear at the time stipulated, or they work merely for a few days, and decamp in a body as soon as they hear that high prices are being given by a neighbouring proprietor, or in some other district. Recourse to the authorities is well-nigh useless, for before any steps can be taken for compelling the peasants to fulfil their contracts the harvest-time is past, and there is of course no possibility of obtaining damages from the defaulters. Those who look to the Government for the cure of all evils think that this might be remedied by the introduction of a more complicated system of passports; but the active, intelligent proprietors seek a more rational and more effectual cure. And these latter, it seems, are on the way to solving the problem. By sowing partly late and partly early wheat, and by the introduction of reaping-machines, they have already made themselves much less dependent on the nomadic reapers. Meanwhile the population is rapidly increasing, so that in all probability before many years the difficulty of obtaining labourers will spontaneously disappear.

Perhaps I may be allowed now, in conclusion, to

express a general opinion regarding the economic results of the Emancipation so far as the proprietors are concerned.

The proprietors of the Northern Agricultural Zone incurred serious loss by the abolition of serfage, and have nearly all abandoned agriculture as an unprofitable occupation. A few of them are now beginning anew on a more rational system. Instead of cultivating as much as possible without taking into consideration the labour expended, they restrict themselves to a comparatively small area, and endeavour to cultivate it well. Some declare that they find the result satisfactory, but I believe the profits are too small to induce many proprietors to make the attempt, and it seems to me much more probable that the arable land in this part of the country will gradually pass into the hands of the peasantry, who can often extract a fair revenue from it when the proprietor can only farm it at a loss. Already the process has begun, and it would doubtless go on much more quickly if the purchase of small lots could be effected with fewer formalities and less expense.

The proprietors of the two southern regions, on the contrary, have suffered, I believe, no pecuniary loss by the Emancipation, if the economic changes which have occurred since that event be taken into consideration. Many of them, certainly, receive now much larger revenues than they received in the time of serfage. Those of them who have succeeded in making the requisite alterations find that farming with free labour gives a fair return for the capital expended, whilst those

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