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to pay for a proper outfit. However, drunken- necessary papers certifying his friend's death, ness and debauchery bring on consumption, and marries Vera a fortnight later. They live happishe dies shortly after the marriage of Alexander ly, and carry on a most friendly correspondence and Vera.
with Alexander. Before proceeding any further the author takes Some time after her second marriage, Vera great pains to assure us that Vera, Alexander, discards dressmaking, and begins to study mediand Kirsanoff are persons of the most irreproach- cine under the auspices of Kirsanoff, who has able and elevated character, and that their hearts now become a professor of it. We are told that only beat with generous impulses. To illustrate she showed a special predilection for the study this he goes on to cause Kirsanoff to fall in love of anatomy, and the author warmly recommends with Vera, who, “having now developed into a this kind of occupation to his lady readers. full-grown woman," returns Kirsanoff's affection, Two years later Alexander returns from the and has no hesitation in telling her husband all United States and settles down at St. Petersburg about it. The latter is not in the least offended under the assumed name of Charles Belmont. by the news. Far from it! No, after devoting He is now a naturalized American subject, and half an hour to considering the matter, he goes the agent of a great New York tallow company. to see his friend Kirsanoff, informs him of what Making the acquaintance of a friend of Vera's, Vera had told him, and ends by inviting him to named Katia, he converts her to Nihilism, and come and live with them, so as to make matters confides to her his true history, which, however, quite nice and comfortable. We are not to feel in no wise shocks her, for she readily consents to surprised at this proposal, for Alexander is one become his wife. A few days before their marof those people who consider that “a man of in- riage they go together to see Kirsanoff and Vera, tellect should not allow himself to be subject to and the meeting is described as being of a most jealousy. It is a false, unnatural, and altogether affectionate nature. Soon afterward the soi-diabominable sentiment, a mere phenomenon of Sant Charles Belmont takes his wife to live in the present order of things, according to which the same house with the Kirsanoffs, with whom I ought to allow nobody to wear my linen or to they continue on terms of the warmest friendsmoke my pipe. It is the unfortunate result of ship. According to the author, they now become a person's considering his helpmate in the light the center of a choice and intellectual circle of of private ownership.” And again, à propos of friends. The entertainments which take place at the same subject, " can contraband be considered their house are minutely described. as a good thing? Isn't it much better to do Having frequently commended the elevated things openly and aboveboard ? In trying to characters of Vera, Alexander, and Kirsanoff, M. hide matters we are forced to make use of false- Tschernyschewsky toward the end of his book behoods and all kinds of deceptions, and then, and comes afraid that we should despair of ever attainthen only, we become bad.”
ing a similar degree of excellence. Accordingly, However, Kirsanoff declines Alexander's in- he assures us that his three friends are the most vitation on the ground that, although a ménage ordinary Nihilists in the world, and that with à trois would be quite in accordance with Nihil- very little trouble we may become like them. In ist notions, yet that people in general were still order to prove the truth of his assertion, he is too old-fashioned and conservative in their preju- good enough to introduce us, before leaving him, dices to approve of such a proceeding. Vera to a most superior kind of Nihilist, the quintesalso declines the proposed arrangement. But we sence of the new doctrine personified, whose must not do her the injustice of attributing her name is Rakhmetoff. refusal to any false feelings of womanly shame. Rakhmetoff, we are told, belongs to an old She distinctly states that "if a husband continues boyard family and is very wealthy. At the age to live with his wife, there can be no cause for of sixteen he is obliged to leave home because scandal, no matter what her relations with any he has fallen in love with a woman to whom his other man may be.” She merely refuses be- father was attached, so he comes to St. Peterscause, being under obligations to Alexander for burg to study at the university. He soon makes having rendered her independent of the authori- the acquaintance of some students, who provide ty of her parents, his continued presence would him with Nihilist literature. Thanks partly to become irksome to her. Accordingly, Alexander the books and chiefly to his friendship and indisappears, and is reported to have committed timate communion with M. Tschernyschewsky suicide by drowning. On the following day, himself, Rakhmetoff rapidly attains a degree of however, Vera and Kirsanoff receive a letter Nihilistic excellence which it is useless for us to from him, informing them that under cover of strive to equal. He now reads but very few this report he had secretly embarked for the books, and only deigns to associate with men United States. Kirsanoff, having obtained the who are known to exercise influence on their
fellow creatures. After the perusal of three or erous to misfortune and misery when they are four pages of Macaulay's works he throws them brought before his eyes as he is cold and indifdown in disgust, calling them a mere bundle of ferent to them at a distance. He is honest with old rags. Nor are Stuart Mill, Adam Smith, and the honest, but readily falls into the ways of other writers on political economy better treated thieves when he finds himself in their company. by this extraordinary youth. We are somewhat Credulous and full of phantasies, which rapidly relieved, however, to learn that Thackeray's flame up and are just as quickly extinguished, “ Vanity Fair" finds favor in his sight.
all the qualities necessary for steadfastness of At the age of eighteen he deems that it is purpose are entirely wanting in him. The ab“necessary " that he should cultivate his phys- stract principles of right and wrong but feebly ical strength, for what reason we are not in- influence his actions. On the other hand, he is formed. Accordingly, he declines all food ex- all the more ready to pursue the shadows of cepting raw beefsteaks and apples, “though he principles, and to cling to any theories which the eats oranges when at St. Petersburg because the wind of the day may have blown across his path. lower classes of that city also eat them.”
The more glittering, the more plausible, the more Leaving the university before he had com- unsubstantial they are, the more likely are they pleted his studies, he travels through the country to carry him away. Without philosophical proas a common laborer, working at the anvil, at fundity, he nevertheless possesses considerable road-making, wood-cutting, and all other work ingenuity; hence he is too ready to be seduced calculated to develop the muscles; his favorite by specious arguments, and to accept the logical occupation being to tow barges up the river. conclusions of premises which he has never duly His strength soon becomes so great that he is examined. able to stop a runaway horse and carriage by Another fact must also be remarked. The merely seizing hold of the axletree of the latter. Russians have no political history. Until quite His amusements are of an eccentric nature. recently they were subject to an autocracy which One morning he is found lying on a bed com- repressed any expression whatever of opinion posed of inch-long nails pointed upward, and concerning the Government. All power was covered with blood. In reply to inquiries, he concentrated in the hands of the Czar, and adonly vouchsafes to state that it is necessary that ministered by an immense bureaucracy. The he should know whether he could support pain. public discussion of political and administrative A little later he leaves Russia, telling his friends questions was forbidden or jealously restricted. that he had done all he can to propagate the new Political education under such a condition of doctrines there, and that now it is necessary that things was impossible. Political character is the he should make himself acquainted with the va- outcome of political strife in the forum and in the rious customs and social organizations of other press. It is the political life of a nation which countries. After this we hear no more of him alone can furnish the individual with political
M. Tschernyschewsky concludes by regret- character; and there is no such life in Russia. ting that there are but very few people as high- Until the present generation there was no reguminded as Rakhmetoff, and says that he has lar organization of classes in Russia; everybody known but eight persons who could be compared was equally subject to the will and pleasure of to him, and that two of these were women. the Czar.
Having, therefore, no political experience, the
Russian people were ill prepared for the reforms To Western Europeans it is almost utterly which ushered in the comparatively liberal era of incomprehensible how thousands of human be- the present Emperor's reign. In quick succesings can entertain such notions as have now been sion serfdom was abolished, trial by jury and the quoted, and, above all, how they can have been English system of judicial proceedings introduced, adopted to such an extent as to form a menace provincial, district, and municipal assemblies into the Government.
stituted, and liberty of the press granted in MosIn order to understand, in any measure, their cow and St. Petersburg. ready acceptance in Russia, we must take the In addition to all these things the construccharacter of the people into consideration. tion of an immense network of railways opened
Their most prominent features are superfi- up communication with foreign countries, and ciality and sensuality. The Russian is the obe- admitted the influx of the political ideas of Westdient servant of his senses, and is entirely gov- ern Europe. The abolition of serfdom introerned by the impressions which his eyes and ears duced the principles of liberty and legal equalconvey to him. He does everything on the im- ity; the new provincial, district, and municipal pulse of the moment : he laughs with the merry, assemblies introduced those of self-government; weeps with the sad, becomes as kindly and gen- while the liberty of the press carried with it the
novel right of protest, in the name of the nation, bers at the St. Petersburg University rose almost against the evils and oppressions of the Govern- immediately to twelve hundred, and at Moscow ment. The more enlightened classes suddenly to fifteen hundred. became aware of the immense power of the peo- M. Golownine, known for his liberal opinple, which had hitherto lain dormant. But un- ions, succeeded the obnoxious Admiral Poutjafortunately, in consequence of political inexperi- tine as Minister of Education, and at once reence, they were unable to give it a proper direc- laxed all the severe regulations and discipline by tion.
which the students had previously been con. Again, the ill-considered educational changes trolled. Latin and Greek were declared to be recently introduced by the Government have had no longer necessary for university and Governportentous effects. A Russian youth, more than ment examinations; and in their stead the study any other, requires to have his studies regulated of realism and abstract science was introduced. for him. Although remarkable for intelligence Professorships of Natural History and Philosoand quickness of perception, he is unfitted for phy, which until then had been badly taught by serious work by want of perseverance and by his insufficiently instructed ,priests, were instituted. proneness to exaggeration. Thus, for instance, In imitation of the German universities, student a Russian boy, on having the astronomical chart associations and clubs, reading-rooms, and even explained to him, will perhaps ask why such and debating unions, were not only allowed, but even such animals had been selected for the definition encouraged by the Government. The discusof the various constellations. Unless an ener- sion of politics, until then strictly forbidden, was getic hand brings him back to his studies, the now openly carried on, and the consequence was precocious youth, who is scarcely able to de- that the students began to devote much more of scribe three constellations correctly, will surprise their time to the events of the day, and to critihis parents and teachers with a new astronomi- cism of the acts of the Government, than to cal chart of his own making, entirely different their studies. They gradually became accusin its arrangement from that in his atlas. In- tomed to consider themselves as "the coming stead of repressing this conceit, he is praised for race” destined to regenerate Russia, and entihis cleverness, and the teachers who venture to tled to treat with contempt the conservative nodoubt his genius are accused of being crotchety tions of their parents and superiors. and narrow-minded. Naturally the lad who im- The Government, however, soon began to agines that he has commenced by bettering the open its eyes to the fact that all these favors and existing astronomical chart is disinclined to ap- privileges had been dispensed both too suddenly ply himself to the dull routine of mathematical and too lavishly, and that the young men were study; conscious of his own genius, he considers making a bad use of the independence which that intuition will enable him to dispense with they had obtained. Some very serious disturbfurther investigation. And so it is with other ances, in which students were implicated, and departments of study. At the age of thirteen Karasoff's attempt on the Czar's life brought he will have already worked out a constitution matters to a climax; and in 1866 M. Golownine for Russia ; at fourteen he will have written an was obliged to resign. essay on the physiological and anatomical failings Count Tolstoy, by whom he was succeeded, of the human body, while at fifteen he will have and who still remains in office, has the reputation invented a new religion. What we should pun- of being the best-hated man in Russia. We are ish as conceit in England is praised as genius in assured that he has done more to render the Russia.
Government unpopular than any official now livThe knowledge of Latin and Greek, which ing; and the following letter which he received formerly constituted a sine qua non of all uni- last year from the Central Committee of the Niversity and Government - service examinations, hilists goes far to prove the truth of the asserhad served to a certain extent to compel proper tion : " Your excellency has nothing to fear from application on the part of the Russian youth; us. We fully acknowledge the value of the serfor their study demands downright hard work vices which you have rendered and still continue and perseverance. In 1862, however, Alexander to render to our cause. We promise that your II., desirous of maintaining the reputation of life shall always be very precious to us." liberal-mindedness which the abolition of serf- His first act on entering office was to rule dom had earned for him, caused great reforms that Latin and Greek should again take an indisto be made in the Department of Public In- pensable place in the university and civil-service struction. The law limiting to three hundred examinations. The effect of this order can hardthe number of students at each of the seven uni- ly be imagined. Most of the students at Russian versities was repealed, and the colleges and gym- colleges and universities are the sons of small nasiums thrown open to all classes. The num- government officials, of priests, and of trades
people ; and it may safely be asserted that at an order that, whenever any one of the professors least four out of five of them are so poor that should be prevented by sickness from teaching, they are allowed to pursue their studies free of his colleagues should all take it in turn to leccost. Their only prospect in life was, and still ture in his stead, no matter what their specialty is, to pass the necessary examinations, and then might be. The result was, that on one occasion to be admitted to the lower grades of the Civil a priest who taught logic was called upon to lecService. For it must be borne in mind that in ture on obstetrics, while at another time the Russia the Government service is the only career celebrated accoucheur Richter was obliged to which allows any scope for ambition. In other hold forth on theology. Another pious old gencountries, commerce and industries of all kinds tleman, curator of the Kazan University, ordered offer a vast field of enterprise to young men that detached portions of human bodies, which But, in Russia, trade and manufacture are but had been used for the study of anatomy, should little developed, and agriculture, which remains be afterward solemnly interred with funeral rites. in the hands of the liberated serfs, constitutes The curators strongly disapprove of all intimacy almost the sole industry of the country at large. between the students and their professors, and Nor do the learned professions offer any great attach much more importance to the political advantages, for the white clergy (as the priests ideas of the latter than to their capacities for are called, to distinguish them from the black teaching. An excellent regulation ordains that clergy, or monks) are utterly despised in Russia, professors of universities and Government coland in fact only treated a little better than the leges should be called upon to retire after twentycommon peasant; the army is almost entirely five years' service on a full-pay pension. They reserved to the nobility, and trial by jury and may, however, be reëlected for a further term of freedom of discussion in courts of justice are of ten years, in which case they draw both their too recent introduction and too little appreciated salary and their pension. This regulation has to afford much scope to the advocate ; while a always been held out as a great inducement to literary career is even less remunerative in Russia men of talent and learning; and formerly the than elsewhere.
various “chairs ” were creditably filled. Now, Despairing of being able to pass the neces- however, the curator has the power of vetoing sary examinations in consequence of their igno- their reëlection; and this, together with the rance of classics, many of the students thought strict supervision to which they are subjected, it best to leave the universities and colleges at has latterly caused a scarcity of competent proonce. Without means of existence, without po- fessors. sition, and without any prospect in life, they be- The administration of the educational departcame ready converts to Nihilism, the ranks of ment has been accused, with some justice, of which were constantly augmented, not only by being more anxious to propitiate the Government students who had failed to pass, but also by of the time being than for the welfare of the those who, having succeeded, were nevertheless youth committed to its charge. And this may unable to obtain admittance to the Civil Service. in a certain measure account for the otherwise For, since the number of the students at the va- inexplicable changes which are of so frequent rious universities had so largely increased, the occurrence. Government was no longer able to provide situa- On one day privileges are withdrawn, on the tions for all the young men who had creditably next others are granted; now certain studies are passed their examinations.
specially favored, a few months subsequently enCount Tolstoy rendered himself further un- tirely different ones will have the preponderance. popular to the students by repealing and abol. This continual uncertainty and change have a ishing many of the privileges which had been most discouraging and irritating effect on the granted by his predecessor in office. Most of students. Naturally disinclined to serious study, the former obnoxious regulations were restored. these interruptions both confirm and excuse their Professors and students were again forced to natural indisposition to serious work, and it is wear uniforms and subjected to military disci- not to be wondered at if they discuss among pline, and the hated curators were reappointed. themselves the injustice with which they are These curators are officials who represent the treated. Subjected to a system of espionage, Imperial Government at every university, and are there is a risk that any unfavorable expression of for the most part retired generals and colonels. opinion concerning Count Tolstoy's administraStudents, professors, and even the senate and tion may reach his ears, in which case it will the rector, are all alike subject to their orders probably be looked upon as treason; and, inand frequently to their eccentricities.
deed, apart from any evidence of disaffection, Herzen tells us of a Prince Galyzin, who, students are frequently expelled and even exiled, when curator of the Moscow University, issued on the merest suspicion and without any hearing.
Thus, for instance, a student at the St. Peters- He belonged to a rich boyard family, favoraburg University, named Organoff, was suddenly bly known both at court and in the army. One seized by night in 1876, and detained for over of his nearest relations is at the present moment two years in a distant town by the police, merely an aide-de-camp-general of the Czar, while anbecause he had had the misfortune to incur the other cousin occupied until quite recently the post displeasure of his superiors, nor was he ever able of Governor-General of Eastern Siberia. to obtain any hearing, or even explanation of Born in 1814, Michael Bakunin, in accordance the severe treatment to which he had been sub- with the traditions of his family, was destined for jected.
a military career in the Imperial Guard. At the The Government, on the other hand, consider age of twenty he entered the School of Gunnery themselves justified in adopting very severe and at St. Petersburg, where, however, he already even harsh measures in dealing with these insti- began to show signs of discontent and insubortutions, which they regard as the very hot-bed of dination. The consequence was that, although discontent. This has especially been the case he passed an excellent examination, he was resince the trial of Netchaieff and Solowjew brought fused admittance into the Guards, and appointed to light the fact that at least three quarters of to a line regiment quartered in some out-of-thethe Nihilist party are composed of graduates, way part of the country. In order to fully apstudents, and young men and women who, for preciate the hardship which this treatment enone reason or another, have been unable to com- tailed, we must explain that while the Guards plete their academical career. The history of are stationed at St. Petersburg and Moscow, the the ex-student Solowjew, who attempted to as- officers of line regiments have the prospect of sassinate the Czar on the 2d of April last, is spending their whole lives in some small Russian merely that of most Nihilists. He was the son village or provincial town, Thoroughly disgusted, of a poor village apothecary on one of the estates Bakunin now became a complete misanthrope, of the late Grand Duchess Helena. After spend- and neglected his military duties to such an exing several years at the St. Petersburg Gymna- tent that he was obliged to leave the army. sium, he matriculated at the university, the Grand Thus he found himself, at the age of twentyDuchess very kindly defraying all the expenses two, without any occupation or prospect in life. of his education; but, for some reason or other, Taking up his abode in Moscow, he joined Alexhe was obliged to leave without having completed ander Herzen and several other well-known Rushis studies, and consequently experienced great sians in forming a club for the discussion and difficulties and delays in obtaining a situation as study of Hegel's social philosophy, which was village schoolmaster at Toropez. While there then in vogue. He soon became the acknowlhe became a convert to Nihilism, and was dis- edged chief of his circle, and surpassed all his missed in 1875 for having been in communica- friends in enthusiasm for this new German phition with suspected persons. In imitation of M. losophy; in fact, he began to consider that it Tschernyschewsky's Rakhmetoff, he now devoted was his special mission to propagate its teaching his time to wandering about the country disguised in Russia. In 1841 he went to Berlin in order as a common laborer, occasionally working at to pursue his philosophical studies at their very the anvil and propagating revolutionary doctrines source. Hegel himself was already dead, but his among the people. In 1876 he married a young tenets still enjoyed the utmost consideration. woman of the name of Catherine Tschelichteff Bakunin lived here for a time with the celemerely in order to render her independent of her. brated novelist, Ivan Tourgeneff ; but he soon parents' authority. They separated soon after frightened all his Russian friends by the wild the marriage, and Solowjew continued his wan- fanaticism with which he sought to adapt Hegel's derings under an assumed name till 1878, when theories to every-day life. In 1843 we find him he came to St. Petersburg and took up his abode at Dresden, writing the most rabid articles for a there. He remained busily occupied in distribut- socialistic review, under the pseudonym of Jules ing Nihilist proclamations, pamphlets, and books, Elizard. A year later he went to Paris, informuntil April, when he made his attempt to assassi- ing his friends that there was nothing more to nate the Czar. It may be added as characteristic learn in Germany. of this Nihilist, who was hanged a few weeks Paris was then regarded as the spot whence later, that he spent the night preceding his crime the social reorganization of the world would in a house of ill fame.
originate; and Proudhon and Louis Blanc were Before proceeding further we would now draw then at their height of influence. The Russian the reader's attention to the history of Michael Government, however, which had begun to look Bakunin, the founder of the doctrines of Nihilism, upon Bakunin with suspicion, now thought fit to some of whose speeches we have quoted in the request his return to Russia, and refused to reearly part of this article.
new his passports. Disregarding his recall, he