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same time to raise the moral level of Russian society by increasing its self-respect." The latter half of this reasoning, which must seem to the practical Englishman extremely far-fetched, is very characteristic of the Russians of the present generation.

The war in Servia began, and the uneven struggle was watched in Russia with breathless anxiety. The Servians began by advancing, but had soon to retreat. Then came the news that a Russian had fallen. Nicholas Kiréef-formerly an officer of the Guards, and well known in the society of Moscow and St. Petersburghad fallen mortally wounded whilst gallantly leading on his men at Zaitchar, and his body, it was said, had been brutally mutilated by the Turks. This naturally produced a profound impression on those who had been personally acquainted with Kiréef, but, strange to say, the impression it produced on the lower classes, who had never before heard of him, was much stronger. The incidents of his death were embellished by the popular imagination, and awoke anew a host of old memories and old passions that had long been lying dormant. Other Russians fell, and the enthusiasm increased. Meanwhile the Turks had committed their "grand mistake." When all eyes were fixed on the Morava and the Timok, a cry was heard from the background, and all who had any human feeling in them stood aghast at the awful spectacle presented by the Bulgarian villages in the peaceful valley of the Maritsa.

The Russian peasant is profoundly ignorant of the intricate details of the Eastern Question. Of ordinary

Rayah grievances, such as inordinate taxation, judicial corruption, prohibitions against the ringing of churchbells, and exclusion from military service, he knows nothing, and if he did know the facts his indignation would not be violently aroused. As to exclusion from military service, he would regard that as a valuable privilege, and as to mal-administration in its milder forms, judicial corruption, and inordinately heavy taxes, his natural horror of such things has been somewhat deadened by personal acquaintance with them. Thus the tale of ordinary Turkish misrule would fail to move him. But tales of a death-struggle with the Moslemtales of massacres, slave-dealing, and ruthless destruction of villages among an Orthodox population by hordes of savage Mahometans-these have upon him a very different effect. The old spirit which won the steppe, inch by inch, from the nomadic hordes, is not yet quite extinct, and the stories of the few who returned to their homes from the slave-markets of the Crimea have not yet been quite forgotten. muzhik hastily picked up his rescue when he heard the cry: "The Tartars are upon us! Our people are being killed," so the muzhik of our own day is ready to lend a hand when the cry comes from the Orthodox brethren beyond the Danube.

And as in old times the

hatchet and ran to the

The educated classes have not this personal, traditional recollection, so to speak, of Tartar barbarities, this Orthodox hatred of the pillaging Bussurmanye,* but

Bussurmanye is a word which the Russian peasant uses when speaking with hatred or contempt of the Mahometans. I say "pillaging Bussurmanye," because the muzhik, as I have already remarked, has no hatred for the tamed Tartar.

they have a very large fund of humanitarian sentiment, which had, after the "Bulgarian atrocities," the same effect. Strange as it may seem to those who cling to the old traditional conception of the Russian noble, I must say that I know no body of men who are more sensitive to humanitarian conceptions than the Russian educated classes. Their humanitarianism does not perhaps stand very well the wear and tear of everyday life, and is apt after a time to evaporate to a certain extent, but while it lasts it is very strong, and can drive them to make considerable sacrifices. Then, in addition to this force, there were the ethno-sentimental considerations. These were, and are, no doubt, very undefined, but they were none the less powerful on that account. An idea for which men are to fight and die is none the worse for being a little vague.

The consequence of all this was that several thousand volunteers-probably about 4,000, though on this point I have no accurate information-went to Servia, and the donations rose to about three millions of roubles, or, roughly speaking, £400,000.*

We must now consider, in conclusion, the action of the Government. Let us pass therefore from the stormy atmosphere of the Agora, charged with all manner of

* Of this sum the Moscow committee expended, up to November 6th, 583,542 roubles. Here are the principal items:

For destitute Bosnian and Herzegovinian families and for assistance

to Montenegro

Russian Volunteers in Servia

Sick and Wounded in Servia

For charitable purposes in Bulgaria

Bulgarian and Bosnian refugees in Servia







inflammable elements, to the cool air of the Councilchamber from excited orators who indulge in wild talk about "the last penny and the last drop of blood," to calm, responsible statesmen who have to devise ways and means, and to think of such prosaic things as budgets, taxes, national credit, and diplomatic complications. Though the statesmen may be deeply imbued with the popular sentiments, and quite ready to give material expression to all the legitimate-perhaps even a few of the illegitimate-national aspirations, they have to think of possible consequences, of which patriotic and religious fervour scorns to take notice. Having to sum up the debtor as well as the creditor side of the account, they have to take into consideration the undesirable, as well as the desirable, items in the long list of future contingencies.

Whether the idea of Russia gaining possession of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles really belongs, as Prince Gortchakoff would have us believe, to the region of "Political Mythology," we need not at present consider; certain it is that for the present this idea is not seriously entertained. Alexander II. is not only naturally a pacific man, but he is endowed with such a large amount of sober common sense, and is at the same time so deeply conscious of the enormous responsibility of his position, that he is one of the last men in the world to embark on any grand, fantastic schemes. He has already done great work in his time-work that must for ever give his name a very prominent place in European history. Though his efforts have been attended with a

large measure of success, he must have shattered illusions enough to warn him against grand, uncertain projects. He is reported to have said that there will be no more grand reforms in Russia during his reign; and this prediction, whether made by him or invented by others, will in all probability be fulfilled.


Even if Alexander II. were ambitious and imbued with Panslavistic ideas, he would scarcely have chosen the present moment for raising the Eastern Question. The country has just been subjected to a series of gigantic reforms, and is still in a state of transition. Though the finances are sound, the people are heavily taxed, and the revenue is not elastic enough to bear easily the strain of a long and expensive war. army has just been reorganised on entirely new principles, and its efficiency has not yet been tested. The other Powers which are interested in the Eastern Question are in no way fettered by existing complications, and would not remain passive spectators if any ambitious schemes of conquest were attempted. Even a struggle with Turkey alone is not at all desirable. Though in such a struggle Russia would no doubt be ultimately successful, success would not be obtained without great dangers and great sacrifices. The southern ports would be at once blockaded, and the fortifications defending the line of the Danube, which are far stronger than is commonly supposed, would prove an almost insurmountable barrier to an invading army. If the invading army attempted

I have very good reasons for confidently asserting that this fact is well known to the higher military authorities in Russia.

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