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Now in truth's placid fire the monster dies,
See the blythe peasant rais'd to man's estate*, With growing thought, and new-born pride elate,
The Emperor has materially ameliorated the condition of the peasants. He lately expressed himself on this subject in the following terms, in a letter to a nobleman who had solicited the hereditary possession of an estate :
“ The Russian peasants are in general no better than slaves; " and I need not enlarge upon the degradation and wretched“ ness of such a condition. I have made a vow not to augment " the number of them, and have therefore adopted the reso" lution of -never transferring them away as property to any " man. The estate shall be granted to you and yours, at a “ long lease and quit-rent, which will prove equally advan
tageous to you; and the only difference will be, that the peasants cannot be sold or alienated like brute beasts. Such are my reasons, and I am persuaded they will meet with your approbation."
The peasants of Russia, excepting those of Finland, Carelia, the Ukraine, and a few other districts, are all serfs or slaves. About a sixth part of them belong to the crown, inhabiting the Imperial demesnes, or the church lands, now annexed to the crown, and are under the jurisdiction and protection of the Imperial officers or bailiffs. The peasants belonging to indi. viduals are private property, and may be sold or hireď out to labour. Previous to the present auspicious reign, their con. dition was wretched in the extreme, particularly in Livonia and Esthonia-without property, or the means of obtaining it, subject to corporal punishment on the caprice of their mastertheir wives and children liable to be taken from them, in
With willing labour tills the grateful soil,
constant incertitude as to their own disposal, and fed with infinitely less consideration than the more valued horse ;—but the authority and the example of the Emperor have reversed this odious scene.
The power of inflicting punishment is transferred from the Lord to the Magistrate ; marriages are unincumbered by the difficulties which formerly attended them, and are re, spected. The barbarous practice of removing the boor from the spot which he had cultivated, and which he considered as the reward of his labour, into perhaps a forest or a morąss, to break up new land, which, the moment it became productive, he was again obliged to quit, has received the Sovereign's most decided reprobation. The peasants are now allowed to settle in any part of the empire, to enrol themselves amongst the burghers or merchants according to their respective capitals ; and, in short, they now receive the strongest incitement to industry by the assurance that they will enjoy the fruits of their labour. The amount of soccage work has become better defined and regulated, and the peasants are allowed sufficient leisuro for the culture of their own fields. Many of them, under this amended system, have become camparatively afluent ; and thousands, by their little savings, have purchased their emancipation; while gaiety, contentment, and loyalty, keep pace with the other improvements of their condition.
Amongst numerous instances of the public advantage resulting from this benevolent policy of the Emperor, is the follow, ing :-A gentleman of the government of Woronese having purchased from Prince Truboskoi an estate of 6000 peasants, sold to them their freedom, at such small sums as reimbursed him. The first use which the peasants made of their liberty,
Sweet liberty descends to nerve his arms*,
was to write to his Imperial Majestý, thanking him for the edict which authorized these transactions; asking permission to build a church, and proposing, of themselves, to make a canal fifteen: versts in length, which would facilitate an intercourse of the greatest importance to commercial industry.
When the Russian peasant becomes eligible to a more liberal line of government, we are satisfied that his benevolent master will extend it to him. His mind, however, must be gradually formed for the reception of social and civil freedom ; in its present debasement they could not flourish. Liberty must be proportioned to the capacity of those who are to enjoy it; and it should be the constant aim of every wise council to find out, by cautious experiments and candid consideration, this happy medium, and without imposing unnecessary restraints, not to indulge in a too liberal dispensation; for, as Mr. Burke observes, “ Liberty is a good to be improved, and not an evil to be lessened."
Liberty ! whose hand benign
Dyer's Ruins of Rome. Catharine the II, judiciously observed :-L'Agriculture ne pourra jamais prosperer là, où l'agricolture ne possede rien en propre."
While from a mass, so late but breathing eartlı, Love and allegiance burst at once to birth.
See, social commerce swell with new-born pride, Shake off its languor,---court the ardent tide* ;
* On the accession of his Majesty, several politic arrangements were made for the revival of commerce, which had sunk into the most unprofitable inactivity. The American Company was nearly annihilated, when his Majesty purchased a thousand shares of their stock ; several of the nobles followed bis exe ample, and thus infused such energy and spirit into the undertaking, that within a period of two years, its funds became so flourishing, as to be worth 156 rubles per share.
The establishments of this company extend from Cook's River on the north-west coast of America, to Norfolk Sound. At Prince Williani's Sound they have a dock, in which a vessel of 250 tons has been built by an English shipwright, who is now employed in building other vessels. These establishments are, however, wholly dependant on foreign supply for every article of consumption except wood, neither the coast nor the Aleutian islands producing corn, hemp, iron, &c. The necessary stores have hitherto been derived through Jakutsk and Ochotzk (a thousand miles asunder), and the vast distance, the risk and difficulty attending the carriage of them, in which 4000 horses and 350 drivers are annually employed, raise the price of the articles, even at Ochotzk, 560 per cent. The present expedi. tion is an experiment of the advantage of sending these articles from Cronstadt. To a nation possessing a less enterprizing spirit than the Russians, the difficulties which have atiended their comnierce on the American coast, inust have been fatal to it; it has, however, surmounted them, and now promises amply to reconipense their perseverance and industry.
The navigation of the Mediterranean opened new sources of wealth to the Russians; and the Einperor, by the establishment of commercial schools at Odessa, Nicclayef, &c. and the most
Already see th' impetuous sails unfurl'd*,
equitable regulations, has taken effectual means to render the advantage permanent and extensive. The exports of Peters. burgh, which in 1742 did not amount to two millions and a half of rubles, in 1802 exceeded thirty millions.
* The allusion here is to the expedition lately sent out by his Imperial Majesty on a voyage of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, and the embassy of M. de Resanoff, to the Emperor of Japan.
This expedition, which has been appointed with great care, and the utmost munificence, comprises two British-built ships of 470 and 430 tons, formerly the Leander and Thames, now called the Nadeshda (the Hope), and the Neva, and purchased here by the Russian agent M. Rasumof. M. Von Krusenstern, who hus the command of this little squadron, is a man in every respect qualified for the trust reposed in him : he has visited Japan and China, and served several years in the British navy; we may say of him in the words of Luca
Quâ nullam meliùs, pelago turbante, carinæ
Semper venturis componere carbasa ventis. Captain Liskanski commands the Neva.—The scientific men attached to this expedition, are- -M. Tilesius and Dr. Langsdorf, as naturalists; Dr. Epenberg and Dr. Labaud, surgeous, &c.; Drs. Horner and Churchman, astronomers.
M. Krusenstern arrived in the harbour of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Kamtschatka, on the 14th of July, in five mouths and a half from the coast of Brazil. On one of thc Marquesa islands he found an Englishman and a Frenchman, who had been wrecked in an American vessel near that island five years before, and who had adopted the manners, dress, (or rather