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part of the dues be added to the taxes properly so called, it forms a large sum-a sum too heavy to be borne by peasants who live by agriculture alone. So long as it has to be paid yearly these peasants have no possibility of improving their condition. Nay, more, their condition is evidently becoming worse, for the official statistics show that the number of cattle in these regions is decreasing, and we know that decrease of cattle means less manure and less abundant harvests.

There is thus a certain amount of truth in the assertion that inordinate taxation is one of the chief obstacles with which the peasant has to contendespecially in the Northern Agricultural Zone-but is there not some more general cause at work affecting all regions alike? some peculiarity in the actual economic position of the peasants, which places a formidable obstacle in the way of progress? I believe there is, and I shall now endeavour to explain it.

In the time of serfage the peasant families, as I have already remarked, were generally very large. They remained undivided, partly from the influence of patriarchal conceptions, but chiefly because the proprietors, perceiving the economic advantage of large families, prevented them from breaking up into independent units. As soon as the proprietor's authority was removed the process of disintegration began and spread rapidly. Every one wished to be independent, and in a very short time nearly every able-bodied married peasant had a house of his own. The influence of this on the Communal self-government I have already pointed out;

its influence on the economic position of the peasantry was still more injurious. The building and keeping up of two or three houses instead of one necessarily entailed a large amount of extra expenditure. It must be remembered, too, that many a disaster which may be successfully resisted by a large family inevitably ruins a small one. But this is not the worst. To understand fully the injurious influence of this breaking up of families, we must consider the fact in conjunction with the Emancipation Law.

The Emancipation Law did not confer on the peasants as much land as they require, and consequently the peasant who has merely his legal portion has neither enough of work nor enough of revenue. If the family were large this difficulty would be easily overcome. One member, with the help of his wife and sisters-in-law, and with the additional assistance of a hired labourer during the harvest-time, might cultivate the whole of the family land, whilst the other members sought occupation elsewhere, and sent or brought home money to pay the taxes and meet the necessary pecuniary outlay. When each able-bodied man is head of an independent household this form of domestic economy is of course impossible. Each head of a household is obliged either to remain at home or to entrust the cultivation of his share of the land to his wife. In the former case he has a great deal of idle time on his hands, unless he can rent land at a moderate price in the immediate vicinity; and in the latter case the harvests are pretty sure to be meagre, for a woman can

rarely cultivate as well as a man, even when she has no domestic duties to attend to. In many localities the necessity of obtaining arable land in the immediate vicinity of the villages compels the peasants to pay what may fairly be termed "rack-rents.'

How these evils are to be radically cured I do not profess to know, but I believe that much might be effected by a careful revision of the financial system in general and of the land-dues in particular. In addition to this it would be well to organise an extensive system of emigration, by which a portion of the peasantry would be transferred from the barren soil of the north and west to the rich fertile land of the eastern provinces.

Such are my conclusions regarding the present economic position of the emancipated serfs. They are the result of long and patient inquiry, but I must warn the reader against regarding them as anything more than the personal opinions of an unbiassed investigator.

One word as to the future. I think that there is far less ground for despondency than is commonly supposed. Russia is at present undergoing a great economic revolution, and is suffering from those evils which necessarily attend a period of transition. From the bold and, on the whole, successful way in which she solved the difficult problem of serf emancipation, we may confidently assume that she will in due time successfully overcome the agrarian difficulties that still lie before her.*

* Part of this chapter, translated from the MS. by E. N. Bezak, appeared in the lêstnik Evrópy, August, 1876.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

THE NEW LAW COURTS.

Judicial Procedure in the Olden Time-Defects and Abuses-Radical ReformThe New System-Justices of the Peace and Monthly Sessions-The Regular Tribunals-Court of Revision-Modification of the Original Plan-How does the System work?-Rapid Acclimatisation-The Bench-The Bar-The Jury-Acquittal of Criminals who confess their Crimes-Peasants, Merchants, and Nobles as Jurymen-Independence and Political Significance of the New Courts.

AFTER the serf question, the subject which demanded most urgently the attention of reformers was the judicial organisation, which had sunk to a depth of inefficiency and corruption difficult to describe.

In early times the dispensation of justice in Russia, as in other states of a primitive type, had a thoroughly popular character. The State was still in its infancy, and the duty of defending the person, the property, and the rights of individuals lay, of necessity, chiefly on the individuals themselves. Self-help formed the basis of the judicial procedure, and the State merely assisted the individual to protect his rights and to avenge himself on those who voluntarily infringed them.

By the rapid development of the autocratic power all this was changed. Autocracy endeavoured to drive and regulate the social machine by its own unaided force, and regarded with suspicion and jealousy all spontaneous action in the people. The dispensation of justice was accordingly appropriated by the central

authority, absorbed into the Administration, and withdrawn from public control. Themis retired from the market-place, shut herself up in a dark room from which the contending parties and the public gaze were rigorously excluded, surrounded herself with secretaries and scribes who put the rights and claims of the litigants into whatever form they thought proper, weighed according to her own judgment the arguments presented to her by her own servants, and came forth from her seclusion merely to present a ready-made decision or to punish the accused whom she considered guilty.

This change, though perhaps to some extent necessary, was attended with very bad consequences. Freed from the control of the contending parties and of the public, the courts acted as uncontrolled human nature generally does. Injustice, extortion, bribery, and corruption assumed gigantic proportions, and against these evils the Government found no better remedy than a system of complicated formalities and ingenious checks. The judicial functionaries were hedged in by a multitude of regulations, so numerous and complicated that it seemed impossible for even the most unjust judge to swerve from the path of uprightness. Explicit, minute rules were laid down for investigating facts and weighing evidence; every scrap of evidence and every legal ground on which the decision was based were committed to writing; every act in the complicated process of coming to a decision was made the subject of a formal document, and duly entered in various registers; every

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