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regretted.

Self-government is no doubt an excellent thing in itself, and is especially necessary in Russia, but it is not a miracle-working panacea, and it rarely bears good fruit when planted suddenly among a people who have long been unaccustomed to it. The experiments hitherto made in Russia have not been very encouraging-especially in the universities, which are in many respects analogous to the courts. Any one who knows what may be called the histoire intime of the universities during the last few years may reasonably doubt whether the efficiency of the local courts would necessarily be increased by conferring on them a larger measure of independence and autonomy. Their independence could not possibly have any political value so long as the Government can use the "administrative procedure" already described.* When the educated classes have acquired a little more genuine independence in other spheres of activity, and when a healthy, powerful, allcontrolling public opinion has been created, it will be time enough, as it seems to me, to free the local tribunals from the control of the central authorities.

Vide supra, Vol. I., p. 402.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

TERRITORIAL EXPANSION AND THE EASTERN QUESTION.

Rapid Growth of Russia-Expansive Tendency of Agricultural Peoples-The Russo-Slavonians-The Northern Forest and the Steppe-ColonisationThe Part of the Government in the Process of Expansion-Expansion towards the West-Growth of the Empire represented in a Tabular Form-Assimilation of Annexed Peoples-Russian View of English Policy-Subsidiary Incentives to Expansion-Protective Tariff-Analysis of the Expansive Tendency and Probable Expansion in the Future-Russian Advance towards India - Aggressive Tendencies towards Constantinople; the Religious, Ethno-sentimental, and Political Factors-The Recent Movement in Russia -The Policy of the Russian Government-Conclusion.

THE rapid growth of Russia is one of the most remarkable facts of modern history. An insignificant tribe, or collection of tribes, which, a thousand years ago, occupied a small district near the sources of the Dnieper and Western Dvina, has grown into a great nation with a territory stretching from the Baltic to the Northern Pacific, and from the Polar Ocean to the frontiers of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and China. We have here a fact well deserving of investigation, and as the process is still going on with unabated rapidity and is commonly supposed to threaten our national interests, the investigation ought to have for us more than a mere scientific interest. What is the secret of this expansive power? Is it a mere barbarous lust of territorial aggrandisement, or is it some more reasonable motive? And what is the nature of the process? Is annexation followed by assimilation, or do the new acquisitions retain their old character? Is the Empire in its present extent a

homogeneous whole, or merely a conglomeration of heterogeneous units held together by the outward bond of centralised administration? If we could find satisfactory answers to these questions, we might determine how far Russia is strengthened or weakened by her annexations of territory, and might form some plausible conjectures as to how, when, and where the process of expansion is to stop.

By glancing at the history of Russia from the economic point of view we may easily detect one prominent cause of expansion.

An agricultural people, employing merely the primitive methods of agriculture, has always a strong tendency to widen its borders. The natural increase of population demands a constantly-increasing production of grain, whilst the primitive methods of cultivation exhaust the soil and steadily diminish its productivity. With regard to this stage of economic development, the modest assertion of Malthus, that the supply of food does not increase so rapidly as the population, often falls far short of the truth. As the population increases, the supply of food may decrease not only relatively but absolutely. When a people finds itself in this critical position it must adopt one of two alternatives: either it must prevent the increase of population, or it must increase the production of food. In the former case it may legalise the custom of "exposing" infants, as was done in ancient Greece; or it may regularly sell a large portion of the young women and children, as was done until very recently in Circassia; or the surplus population

may emigrate to foreign lands, as the Scandinavians did in the ninth century, and as we ourselves are doing in a more peaceable fashion at the present day. The other alternative may be effected either by extending the area of cultivation or by improving the system of agriculture.

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The Russo-Slavonians, being an agricultural people, experienced this difficulty, but for them it was not serious. A convenient way of escape was plainly indicated by their peculiar geographical position. They were not hemmed in by lofty mountains or stormy To the south and east-at their very doors, as it were-lay a boundless expanse of thinly-populated virgin soil, awaiting the labour of the husbandman and ready to repay it most liberally. The peasantry, therefore, instead of exposing their infants, selling their daughters, or sweeping the seas as Vikings, simply spread out towards the east and south. This was at once the most natural and the wisest course, for of all the expedients for preserving the equilibrium between population and food-production, increasing the area of cultivation is, under the circumstances just described, the easiest and most effective. Theoretically the same result might have been obtained by improving the method of agriculture, but practically this was impossible. Intensive culture is not likely to be adopted so long as expansion is easy. High farming is a thing to be proud of when there is a scarcity of land, but it would be absurd to attempt it where there is abundance of virgin soil in the vicinity.

The process of expansion, thus produced by purely economic causes, was accelerated by influences of another kind, especially during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The increase in the number of officials, the augmentation of the taxes, the merciless exactions of the Voyevods and their subordinates, the transformation of the peasants and "free wandering people" into serfs, the ecclesiastical reforms and consequent persecution of the schismatics, the frequent conscriptions and violent reforms of Peter the Great, these and other kinds of oppression made thousands flee from their homes and seek a refuge in the free territory, where there were no officials, no tax-gatherers, and no proprietors. But the State, with its army of tax-gatherers and officials, followed close on the heels of the fugitives, and those who wished to preserve their liberty had to advance still further. Notwithstanding the efforts of the authorities to retain the population in the localities actually occupied, the wave of colonisation moved steadily onwards.

The vast territory which lay open to the colonists consisted of two contiguous regions, separated from each other by no mountains or rivers, but widely differing from each other in many respects. The one, comprising all the northern part of Eastern Europe and of Asia, even unto Kamtchatka, may be roughly described as a land of forests, intersected by many rivers, and containing numerous lakes and marshes; the other, stretching southwards to the Black Sea, and eastwards far away into Central Asia, is for the most part what Russians call "the steppe," and Americans would call the prairies.

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