THE JEWS IN RUSSIA

THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   " Something is wrong, there needeth change.  But what or where ? "   Song of Rahbi Ben Ezra.   In the olden times of the Grand Duchy of Moscow there was no  Jewish question to disturb the peace of mind of Russian statesmen :  the peaceful Jews were then kept out of the country more success-  fully than the martial Tartars, more resolutely than the plague.  Every Jew found there was seized and expelled/ no reason, however  weighty, being accepted as sufficient to justify the pollution of the  land by the presence of a member of the race that crucified the  Saviour. And thus the native population were left to their own  devices — the stream of Russian civilisation kept exceptionally pure  from Jewish admixture — until the policy of annexation was first  fairly inaugurated, when Russia ravenously swallowed, along with  the luscious morsels that belonged to her neighbours, the trichines  that foiind such a congenial soil in her body politic and are now  bidding fair to bring about a collapse of the entire system. The  struggles of Russia now to throw off, now to assimilate and neutra-  lise this dangerous element, are instructive if not edifying.   Little Russia was the first territory annexed, and with it were  taken over the Jews who for generations had been wont to look  upon that country as their fatherland. But if the Little Russians,  who had been induced to unite by tempting promises, were treated  with scant ceremony, the Jews could scarcely complain of receiving  still less, and in 1727 the High Privy Council promulgated an order  signed by the Empress Catherine I., to expel the " scurvy Jews,^ male  and female, who are living in Ukraine (Little Russia) and in Russian  cities generally, and never again to allow them under any pretext  to re-enter the country, and to take due care that in future the land  be vigilantly guarded and kept free from them." But as the  frontier, even in those days, was extensive, its guardians venal, and  the Jews persevering and ingenious, many of the latter succeeded in  maintaining their foothold without sacrificing their religion. Peter  II., the gentleness of whose character reflected itself in the irreso-   (1) Cf. Complete Code of Laws, No. 662, year 1676. In a treaty concluded with  Poland in 1678 it was expressly stipulated that "the merchants and tradesmen of both  sides will be free to travel without hindi-ance into each other's country * except the  Jews:''— Ibid., No. F30.   (2) There is no adjective in the original, but the word for Jews is an opprobrious one  implying still more than is expressed'by the ejjithet I have added. The same word is  still employed by such conservative organs of the Russian press as the semi-official  NuvoLje Vitmya and Grashdanin.     2037701:     4 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   lution of his policy, relaxed the severity of this law to the extent of  allowing Jews to visit South Russia for the purpose of attending  the fairs there ; a privilege which he thoughtfully saddled with the  condition " that they should not take out of the country gold or  silver money, nor even copper coins." " As to living in Little  Russia," this curious ukase concludes, " it is strictly forbidden, nor  shall any one dare to harbour scurvy Jews ; in all these respects it  is decreed that the ukase of the year 1727 shall remain in force."^   The Empress Anna, in the beginning of her reign, gave permis-  sion to Jews to visit Russia for purposes of commerce, but shortly  before her death, repenting of that and other sins, reverted to the  old policy of exclusion, which, however, was again for a time  suspended during the Russo-Turkish war. In 1742, the Empress  Elizabeth framed still more stringent laws against the Jews than  any of her predecessors, and piously appealed to heaven for her  warrant. " Except irremediable harm to our faithful subjects nothing  can ever come of the pi'esence in the land of such inveterate haters  of thie name of Christ the Saviour.'^   Catherine II., whose policy was as little guided by her philosophy  as were the metaphysics of many venturesome old schoolmen by  their religious faitb, began by following in the steps of her predeces-  sors, and in the manifesto she issued during the earlier part of her  reign inviting foreigners to come and settle in Russia, in considera-  tion of special privileges offered them, Jews were expressly mentioned  as disqualified. But the annexation of certain Polish governments,  inhabited by large numbers of Jews, which she soon afterwards  effected, compelled her to modify a policy that was based upon  changing interest rather than fixed principle ; and in the year 1769  she permitted the Jews to make Russia their home, on condition  that they settled exclusively in the south, in the government of  New Russia. This decree'^ was the foundation-stone of the famous  Pale of Settlement, which remains to the present day the main griev-  ance of the Jews — the fruitful source of all their sufferings. All  followers of the Mosaic law who inhabited the Polish provinces at  the time of their annexation were allowed to remain where they  were, and to enjoy the same rights as Russians ; but it was not open  to them to circulate in Russia proper, and towards the close of the  Empress's reign they were condemned to pay double taxes.*   But all these attempts of Russia to kick against the pricks proved  ineffectual. The Jews obeyed the laws of nature rather than those  of shortsighted men, with results that alarmed the statesmen who were   (1) Complete Code of Laws, No. 5324.   (2) Ibid., No. 8673.   (3) Complete Coll. of Laws, No. 13383.   (4) Ibid , No. 17224.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 5   responsible for having made the two incompatible. An Imperial  Commission was then created (1802), by the Emperor Alexander  surnamed the Blessed, to study the question, and two years later a  law was passed which appears to have been an honest endeavour to  carry out two opposi:e lines of policy, on the principle of doing  incompatible things by halves. One half of the measures are intended  to protect the Christians against the heartless exploitation of the  Jews, who are thus treated as born enemies of their Orthodox fellow  subjects, while the other half is meant to bring about the brotherly  union and ultimate amalgamation of the two avowedly hostile races.  Yery sordid motives were put before them to induce them to become  Christians, care being meanwhile taken to keep them well within  their Pale of Settlement, which was considerably narrowed, no Jew  being allowed to live within fifty versts of the frontiers. It was  obviously legislation of the half-hearted kind — an attempt (to use a  popular Russian expression) to give the wolves a feed and keep the  sheep whole, and like all such efforts it deservedly failed.   The Emperor Nicholas began his reign by issuing various ukases  in the same spirit — forbidding the Jews to circulate in Kussia,  narrowing the Pale still more by excluding from it the cities of  Kieff, Nicolaieff, Sebastopol, and even certain of the streets of Yilna,  and generally carrying out a policy of mild repression. On its  becoming obvious in 183o that most of these measures were but  mere waste paper, the whole structure of previous legislation was  pulled down and a bill passed " to enable Jews to live comfortably  as tillers of the soil or artisans, and to keep them from idleness and  illegal occupations." They are permitted by this law to attend fairs  in the great centres of Russia — Nisehny Novgorod, Irbitsk, KharkofE,  &c. — and special privileges are promised to those who turn their  attention to the cultivation of the soil, an occupation which had  proved so fatal to Russian Christians. The legislator was evidently  desirous on the one hand of removing all distinctions between Jews  and Christians, and on the other of localising the religion of the  former as he would an infectious disease. Evidence of the former  disposition is to be found in the clauses which throw open schools,  gymnasies, universities, and other educational establishments to the  members of the proscribed faith, and proof of the latter in the  express declaration that in country districts the Jews were, as there-  tofore, to remain aloof from their Christian fellow-subjects, their  communes to be separated from those of Orthodox Christians ; and  even in the cities the same barriers and distinctions to be rigorously  maintained. Worse than all, as soon as it became evident that the  proscribed people thoroughly appreciated the offer of education, by  sending their children to Christian schools, where they became the  most successful pupils and students, the Emperor issued another     f> THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   ukase (in 1844) to the Minister of Public Instruction, declaring it  necessary to open Jewish schools for Jewish children, and ordering  him to appoint a commission of rabbis to draft a scheme and to see  that a special tax be levied on the Jews for the support of these  denominational establishments.   The late Czar Alexander II. was desirous of contributing as far  as was possible, by means of legislation, to the assimilation of the  Jewish element by the Christian population, but before taking any  steps towards the accomplishment of this desire, he ordered the  Minister of the Interior to have detailed reports drawn up by the  governors and governors-general of the districts inhabited by Jews  concerning the working of the laws already in force and the defects  remarked in their conception or administration. The Governors of  the provinces of Vitebsk, ^Mohileff, and Minsk gave it as their  opinion that the Jews of their districts were suffering incalculable  harm from the action of the law depriving them of the rights of  ordinary Russian subjects without relieving them of any of the  corresponding obligations. Moreover, the towns, they added, in  which Jews were authorised to live were so congested that thej' could  get but little work to do ; and " when they do receive orders for  work, they are compelled to have recourse to fraud. This explains  why they so often become noxious members of society, instead of  conferring upon the community and upon themselves those benefits  which, imder more favourable conditions, one would naturally expect  from them." The Governor of Poltava informed the Minister that  the Jews of the south of Russia differed to a very considerable extent  in language, dress, and mode of life from their co-religionists in  other parts of the empire, and that the difference was entirely to  their advantage. As a result of this, " they have almost wholly  assimilated themselves with the native population ; wherefore I  would respectfully suggest that all the restrictions now in force  against them be forthwith abolished." The remaining governors  were of the same opinion, and the Minister of the Interior came to  the conclusion that the accumulation of skilled Jewish artisans and  workmen in the cities of the Pale of Settlement, and the competition  resulting between themselves on the one hand and between them and  the Christians on the other, " have an exceedingly injurious effect  on both sides."   Nothing could be more candid than this avowal, nothing more  well meaning than the intentions it called into being ; but between  intentions and their realisation lies an abyss — at times an impassable  one. " Before the sun rises." says a Little Russian proverb, " the  dew may eat one's eyes out." Half-hearted measures of relief were  gradually doled out, certain restrictions abolished wholly or in part,  and the administration of the exi.'^tiuir laws became less severe, a     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 7   difference which was, in itself, as long as it lasted, almost as welcome  as a repeal of the exclusive legislation complained of. For men, not  measures, really rule or ruin the nation ; no other country possessing  such a ponderous, voluminous collection of laws as the Empire of  the Tsars, no other people so utterly lacking the conception of law,  as of established rules to be respected and obeyed ; and what can be  more demoralising to a nation than the possession of laws, the trans-  gression of which is the rule, the observance the rare exception ?   Had the Emperor Alexander II. lived a year or two longer, it is  highly probable that there would now no longer be a Jewish ques-  tion in Eussia ; for the emancipation of that people was one of the  points of the constitution which he had consented to grant. His son  and successor is credited with a strong personal dislike to all followers  of the Mosaic law, and is resolved, men say, to grind them down to  the intellectual (they are already far below the economic) level of  his Orthodox subjects. As this would be a heinous crime, it may  possibly be a foul-mouthed calvminy; but it is not a dispassionate  survey of the main acts of his reign that would bring one to doubt  the truth of the assertion. The chief measure now in force against  the Jews is — and has been since the days of Catherine II. — the  prohibition to leave the Pale of Settlement. Xo doubt this district  is immense in extent, comprising the governments of Tilna, Yolhynia,  Grodno, Kovno, Minsk, Podolsk, Yekaterinoslav, Poltava, Tsher-  nigoff and, under certain restrictions, portions of Kieff, Vitebsk, and  Mohileff.^ But for the Jews, who are not tillers of the soil, who are  compelled to belong to merchant guilds or trade corporations that  exist only in cities and towns, and are debarred from engaging in  many pursuits open to Christians, the immensity of this territory  shrinks to an incredible extent. And lest the Pale, even thus nar-  rowly circumscribed, should seem too vast a hunting-ground for the  " scurfy Jew," his Majesty enacted, two years ago, that "' imtil further  orders," no Jew will be permitted to leave the "\-illages or hamlets in  which they were living up to the 15th May, 1882. And as during  those six years hundreds, nay thousands, of famiKes changed their  place of residence to other villages and towns, the execution of this  law has reduced a large number of Jews to misery and ruin ; for not  only do those suffer who are compelled to leave villages where they  have their houses and their capital, but the community to which  they are compelled to return, and in which competition has already  reduced wages to the starvation line. So that the arena is in reality  very circumscribed in which Jew meets Jew in the bitter struggle  for life, and defeating his adversary inflicts incurable wounds upon  himself.   (1 Cf. La-w conreminpr Pa,spp<^rt? and RiinaTraTP. vol. xir., division i., chap. i..  art. 16.     8 THE JEWS IN KUSSIA.   There are one or two narrow and winding paths that lead out of  this human penfold, but those who take them have often cause  bitterly to regret their enterprise or unrest. Jews Avho have traded  for not less than five years as members of the first merchant guild ^  within the Pale have the right to apply for admission to the same  guild outside of it. But the exercise of this right bristles with difii-  culties. Thus, to say nothing of the petitions which he must send  to the guilds, the police, the governors, and others, the merchant's  fii'st real embarrassment is caused by the law which prohibits him  from hiring Christian servants, coupled with the circumstance that  he has no hope of finding any in Hussia proper, where Jews are few  and belong exclusively to the privileged classes from which the  ranks of domestic servants are never recruited. The law^ which  obtained under former Emperors allowed the merchant in this case  to petition the Prefect of the Police of St. Petersburg or the Gover-  nor-general of Moscow — if his destination were either of these cities —  for permission to take with him from the Pale a certain number of  clerks and domestic servants, setting forth in the petition the reasons  that determined him to fix the particular number asked for. It then  depended on the decision of these dignitaries how many might  accompany him, and from their decision there was no appeal. If he  chose some other city for his abode, he was allowed but one clerk  and four domestic servants, all of whom must be of irreproachable  character and free, not only from the accusation, but even from the  suspicion of crime. It is as easy to imagine the innumerable and  serious embarrassments that this law is calculated to raise up in the  everyday life of the Jewish merchant — the loss of time, of money,  of health — as it is difficult to divine the good purpose which the  legislator had in view in framing it. That law is still in force ; but,  apprehensive that the permission it accords is far too extensive, his  present Majesty's advisers have decreed that in case the merchant  should dismiss or otherwise lose his servants, it shall not be open to  him to send to the Pale for others to replace them, but he must shift  as best he can.^ Moreover, if from any cause whatever he cease to  belong to the first guild before the lapse of ten years, he forfeits his  right to reside in Russia and must return to the Pale. The circum-  stance that he availed himself during his stay of his legal right to  purchase bouse property or land in Russia proper, is not deemed   (1) In Russia there are two merchant ffuilds (there were three till a few years ago) :  the members of the first pay much higher fees than those of the second, and both pay  larger fees and taxes than the petty traders. One must be a man of considerable means  to belong to the first merchant guild in St. Petersburg or Moscow. In the latter city  there are but four hundred members of the first guild all told, many of whom are  foreigners.   (2) Vol. xiv., div. i., chap. i.. art. 16.   i'i) Deci.sion of Mini.ster of Interior and Minister of linancrs, givcji on 17—2!) April,  1S8.T.     THE JKW8 IN RUSSIA. 9   sufficiently grave to cause an exception to be made in Lis favour.  Landlord or householder, it matters not, the law compels him to  leave everything and return to the Pale, and logic and humanity  are utterly powerless to help him.^   In Russia every Jew is compelled to belong to one of the estab-  lished classes into which the tax-paying community is divided, and  unless he have been received into one of the learned professions, he  must be at all times ready to prove by documents, that require to be  renewed every year, that he is a skilled artisan, a merchant of one  of the two guilds, a petty trader, or an agriculturist. This means,  besides endless worry and frequent insults from secretaries and petty  puffed-up officials, the payment of considerable annual fees and — what  is sometimes more irksome and oppressive — permanent residence in  the city or town in which his guild or corporation has its head-  quarters.^ If sheer want and the evident hopelessness of relieving  it in a given town compel a Jew to disregard this law and wander  about from place to place, as many have done and still are forced to  do, he is arrested and treated or maltreated as that most miserable of  human wretches, a Russian hrodyag?   But, independently of those general taxes paid by Jews for the  support of institutions from the benefits of which they are in most  cases expressly excluded, they are also subjected to a special system  of taxation, from which Christians are exempt, and which, though  destined in theory for the special needs of the Jewish community,  are nevertheless employed in part to replenish the imperial coffers.'*  Thus the so-called " Box tax " ^ is one of the most comprehensive  tributes ever levied upon a community, its oppressiveness being  intensified by the odious method practised of farming it out to  greedy speculators. For every animal, fowl, and bird killed for  food according to Jewish rites (Kosher) a fixed sum has to be paid.  And on every pound of that same meat, and on every one of those  identical fowls, an additional sum is levied when they are sold.  Jews who have taken their degrees in universities, or have succeeded  in gaining admission to a learned profession, may, on satisfying  their butcher that they are doctors or masters, purchase a certain  quantity' of animal food free of this duty : viz., two pounds and a  half of meat a day, if the privileged person is single, and four  pounds and a half if married ; he may also, if a bachelor, purchase   (1) Cf. Complete Collection of Laws, No. 41779 and 48175.   (2) Complete Collection of Laws, vol. xiv. div. i., chap, i., arts. 1 and 2.   (3) This terrible word brodyag does not convey much to the ordinary English reader.  Those who are curious to know something of the indescribable tortures inflicted on this  army of unpitied wretches will find some facts relating to thp subject in The Fortnightly  Review, July, 1890, in the article on " Russian Prisons." Cf. Complete Collection of  Laws, vol. ix., art. 953.   (4) Complete Collection of Laws, vol. v., art. 281 ; Supplement, chap, i., art. 1.   (5) So called because the proceeds were kept in a box employed solely for this purpose.     10 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   on the same advantageous conditions one fowl or bird daily, and two  if he be a family man.^ In addition to this there is a candle tax.  the proceeds of which are employed to support those denominational  schools with which the Jews would most gladly dispense, if they  were allowed to avail themselves of the ordinary educational estab-  lishments, to which they have quite as much right as their Christian  fellow-subjects. Over and above these oppressive tributes, all Jews  have to pay a certain percentage — from which Christians are, of  course, exempt — on the rent they receive for their houses, shops,  stores, granaries ; on the gross income they receive from the sale of  wine in public-houses and inns ; they are likewise subject to a  special annual tax on distilleries and breweries, glass works, copper  and iron works, tar, pitch, and tallow works, and for the permission  to set up as cattle-breeders. In addition to this, all money left by  deceased Jews p ays a fixed percentage to the same common fund ;  and finally a fine is paid for the authorisation to wear Hebrew  apparel. " All Jews who desire to wear a skull cap " (I am  quoting textually from the Statute book), "are hereby subjected to  a permanent tax of neither more nor less {sic !) than five silver  roubles a year each." ^ This is not an extract from obsolete laws  framed during the Middle Ages, but a clause of a law drawn up in  the last quarter of the sober nineteenth century, and strictly  enforced to-day. That the legislator was in grim earnest about the  matter is evident from the following provision concerning the wear-  ing of other articles of Jewish dress : " In fixing the amount of  taxes to be levied for the ri^ht of wearing' Hebrew dress, male and  female, the governor of the district is hereb}^ enjoined to take heed  that it be considerably augmented in comparison with the other  objects subject to the Box Tax." ^   It is difiicult to convey anything like an adequate idea of the  vexation, disputes, and bad blood caused by the spirit in which this  law is administered. But it is scarcely needful to descant upon the  spirit, when the letter itself contains so much to bear out the charge  of deliberate injustice which has been frequently advanced against  it. Take, for instance, the provision made for the not uncommon  case in which the animal or fowl is slaughtered in one place and sold  in another. " Whereas the Box-Tax is levied according to weight  on the sale of the objects liable to it, be it ordained that if a Jew,  having slaughtered an animal within the boundaries of one tax  farm, desire to carry it to another for the purpose of selling it, he  is liable to pay the tax in the first tax-farming district for the  slaughter alone ; but the tax farmer of the second district possesses   (1) Supplement tc ai'ticle 281 of fifth vol. of Laws.   (2) I hid., art 10, observ. 4.   (3) Supplement, chap, iii., art. 14.     THE JEWS IN KUSSIA. 11   the right to exact payment both of the tax for slaughter and also of  the tax for sale." ' This is but a sample. The voluminousness and  minuteness — to say nothing of the vexatiousness — of the laws against  the Jewish millions who have appreciably contributed economically  and intellectually to the prosperity of the Empire, would drive  anyone but a Talmudist or a Benedictine to despair.   But besides merchants of the first guild, university graduates of  the highest standard, and doctors and masters, are also privileged to  pass beyond the Pale of Settlement. Skilled artisans can .likewise  seek admission to the corporations, or " Tsekhs," of their respective  calling in any part of the empire This clause enfranchises, to all  appearance, a numerous class of men, which might perhaps be made  to include the best portion of the Hebrew people. These appear-  ances, which would probably be trustworthy enough if observed in  any other part of Europe, are rightly deceptive in Russia, and  Englishmen who come in contact with the wan, worn, wizen-faced  Russian Jews — like so many Lazaruses risen too late from the  dead to live longer than a few short hours — who played such a  tragic part in the sweating scandals that came to light in London  some time ago, will readily understand that the children of creatures  of this stamj) — and the majority of Russian Jews are such — have as  much chance of becoming astronomers as of qualifying for what the  law in Russia understands by " skilled artisans." It is less difficult,  however, for the daughters of the classes who possess a fairly suffi-  cient income to become midwives — a profession which also confers  upon those who practise it the right of passing beyond the Pale."  But his present Majesty's Government, noticing that many young  Jewesses succeeded in passing the examinations required for the  certificate of midwife, instead of withdrawing the privilege accorded  by law to this profession, as would be natural under the circum-  stances, acted somewhat like the scrupulous Quaker of apocryphal  celebrity who, when the pirate caught hold of one of the ship's  ropes in order to board the vessel, exclaimed: "Thou wantest this  rope, friend ? " (and speedily cutting it) " take it ; may it stand thee  in good stead " ; they confirmed the privilege, but explained that  from December, 1885, it would not extend from midwives to the  children of such Jewesses, who would be compelled to live in the  Pale.^ Another instructive instance of the way in which laws  favourable to the Jews can be made oppressive without being for-  mally abolished occurred two years ago in Kieff. A certain M.  Goldenberg, who had obtained his degree at the University, and is  therefore qualified to live in Russia proper, own houses, and   (1) Ibid., Supplement, art. 15.   (2) Coll. of Laws, vol. xiv., sect, i., chap. iii.   (3) Decision of the Department of the Police on the 30th December, ISSl.     12 THE JEWS IX RU^SIA.   land, &c., resolved to hand over to his wife a house that belonged  to him in the Sophia Street. The deed of transfer was duly drawn  up, but the authorities refused to register it. M. Goldenberg  appealed to the law courts, relying upon the express terms of the  law (Art. 100, vol. x., parts 1 and 5), which enacts that the hus-  band communicates all his civil rights and privileges to his wife.  But the law courts decided that every statute concerning the Jews  must be interpreted in a restrictive sense, and consequently they  upheld the refusal of the authorities to A^alidate the act of transfer,  dismissing the suit with costs, on the ground that, though M. Golden-  berg himself possesses civil rights, he does not communicate them  to his wife.   The most arduous way of obtaining the right of free circulation  throughout the empire would naturally seem that which leads  through the universities, or one of the higher educational establish-  ments, for the children of men who can never tell in the morning  whether they and their families may not have to go to bed sujpperless  at night. And yet so painfully vivid was the consciousness of the  horrors from which they would thus escape^ so powerful the aversion  to go back to vegetate and rot in the hateful Pale, that hundreds of  young men entered the universities, valorously battled for years  with want, sickness, and discouragement, many of them like Heyne, the  German classical scholar who first raised philology to the dignity of a  science, of ten exchanging their dinner for tallow-candles, which burned  during whole nights in their garrets and cellars, lighting them on  to knowledge and to fame. And the Government, seeing that know-  ledge is power, and that it is not good that power should be placed in  the hand of " vile Jews," resolved to close up this issue out of  misery, ignorance, and the Pale. When the present Czar succeeded  to the throne the educational law, in so far as it affected the right  of Jews to have their children taught in the ordinary schools of the  empire, was formulated as follows: " Jewish children may be admitted  into and educated in the State educational establishments, private  schools, and boarding schools of the districts in which they reside,  no difference whatever being made between them and other chil-  dren." ^ This law was in force down to the 19th June, 1885, when  his Majesty ordered the admission of Jews to the Technological  Institute^ of Kharkoff to be limited to 10 per cent, of the total  number of students. Nine months later his Majesty was " graciously  pleased," says the official document, " to forbid absolutely the admis-  sion of any Jew to the Veterinary Institute of Kharkoff." On the  17th December, 188(), the present Minister of Public Instruction —  an Armenian by birth — promulgated a law the preamble of which   (1) Coll. of Laws, vol. ix., book i., chap, iv., art. 9GG.   (2} Thero are but two Teohnologioal lustituteH iu all Russia.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 13   declared that whereas very many young Jews, eager to partake of  the benefits of higher classical, technical, and professional education,  were annually presenting themselves for admission to the univer-  sities, &c., passing the examinations and prosecuting their studies  in the various establishments of the empire, it was found desirable  to put a stop to such an unsatisfactory state of things, to which  end it was enacted that in future the number of Jewish students in  Russian universities should not exceed 10 per cent, of the entire  number of students in the universities within the Pale, 5 per cent,  in other provincial universities, and 3 per cent, in those of Moscow  and St. Petersburg ; and on the 8th July, 1887, the same measure  was applied to all gymnasies or grammar schools without exception.  The immediate results of this curious legislation were painful in  the extreme ; thousands of young men who, by dint of years of hard,  steady work and stoic self-denial on their part and on the part of  their parents, had at last come within sight of the promised land,  were rudely awakened from their day-dreams and jeeringly told to  return to their " vile " people to live and die, pariahs among helots.  I shall never forget the harrowing scenes I witnessed, the tears, the  entreaties, the wailing and despair immediately after the passing of  that drastic law : parents begging their Christian friends — ay, and  entreating their Christian enemies — to intercede with the minister  to except their only child from the operation of the A.ct ; young boys  putting on the ill-fitting masks of dissimulation and endeavouring  by flattery administered to the sons of high officials — their own  schoolfellows — to obtain permission to finish the studies already  brilliantly begvm or well-nigh ended ; orthodox priests, grave Rus-  sian officials, and even well-known statesmen gibing and jeering at  the checkmated Jew. One of the bitterest and possibly best deserved  reproaches which Christian writers administer to Julian the Emperor  was the insidiousness of his persecution of the Christians, as mani-  fested in the order he issued prohibiting them from attending lectures  in the schools. Julian couched that order in language as elegant  and brilliant as that of Lucian, and defended it with arguments  worthy of Aristotle — invulnerable to anything more logical than an  appeal to a highly-developed sentiment of humanity. The legis-  lators of Holy Russia succeeded in closely copying Julian's insidiousness  without imitating his wit or appreciating his logic. My readers do  not, I feel confident, need to be told whether the grave legislators  of a vast empire engaged in the practical solution of a most delicate  question — fate of millions of their subjects — are justified in giving  to laws adverse to these millions the odious form of a sneer at their  religious tenets. It had been usual in Russia at all times to profess  and occasionally to practise respect for the Jewish observance of the  Sabbath. Jewish boys were not compelled to attend school on Satur-     H THE JEWS IX RUSSIA.   days, nor witnesses— if they objected — to take an oath in courts of  justice on tliat day. But since the present Czar ascended the throne  all that has been changed. Thus, among the laws concerniug the  education of Jews we read : " The learned Committee of the Ministry  of Public Instruction, having deliberated upon the question whether  Jewish pujjils of grammar schools should be excused from written  examinations on Saturdays, .... decided that once they enter  public educational establishments Jews are bound to submit to the  rules thereof, and the very act of entrance into these schooh is of itself  a proof that they and thnr parents have outgrown that exclusiveness  uhich stickles for the strict observance of the Sabbath.'' ^ This jest is  the deliberate work of the most learned body of men in the most  enlightened department of the Government of Russia — work for  which they are paid out of the hard-earned wuges of the Jew, at  whose religious convictions and moral courage they thus poke fun !   The circumstance that Jewish children seek for education in  schools founded for children belonging to all religious persuasions  being thus authoritatively construed as a proof that they and their  parents laugh in their sleeves at one of the fundamental tenets of  their faith, the only course open to parents who objected to the  practical consequences of this interpretation was to found schools of  their own — a costly solution, it is true, but the only feasible one.  Several communities unhesitatingly adopted it and set about availing  themselves of the law which conferred this right upon them.^ But  the Government, informed of their intention, forthwith repealed  that law, and declared by a decree of the Minister of Public Instruc-  tion that it was no longer advisable to authorise the opening of such  schools, inasmuch as the ordinary educational establishments that  exist for children of all religious persuasions outside the Pale would  also satisfactorily meet the requirements of the Jews.^ The logical  outcome of these two legislative acts is therefore that, on the one  hand, Jewish parents desirous of having their children instructed  must send them to Christian schools, if there happen to be a vacancy  there ; and on the other hand, their doing so is regarded by the  Government as a sort of mild apostasy, in consequence of which they  will be no longer treated as strictly orthodox Jews.   Thus foiled and checkmated on every side, small wonder that  some of the most ambitious or least steadfast among them brought  themselves to purchase such instruction as grammar schools could  give them by the formal rejection of all the specially Talmudic doc-  trines, and the adoption of the faith of tlie sect of Karaim, who in  Russia enjoy privileges that are denied the Talmudists. Thus a   (1) Circular of the Ministry of Public Instruction. No. Io038.   (2) Collection of Laws, vol. ix., sect, i., art. 969, and observations.   (3) Ministeiial Circular, No. 7, of the year 1888.     THE JEWS IN IIUSSIA. 15   number of young men in the Crimea, after mucli inner struggling  and hesitation, resolved to stifle their scruples and take this doubtful  course ; but they had first to petition the Minister of the Interior  (an Atheist, as it chanced) for permission to take the fateful step.  They were soon made aware, however, that they were asking for  the moon ; the heavens and the earth may pass away, but no  Russian Jew can ever abjure his faith in order to become a  member of the Karaim sect — for a law of Catherine II. forbids  it. There was now only one other way to obtain the coveted  boon, namely by stealth, and this case has also been thoughtfully  provided for by the wise legislator, who decreed that those  Jewish parents who, on sending their children to school, neglect to  make declaration that they are Jews, will be subjected to exactly  the same punishment as if they were convicted of — forgery.^ This  sounds somewhat harsh to Englishmen ; it may also seem strange to  logicians and legislators of every nation ; but the Jews feel that  they have reason to be thankful for the leniency that refrained in  such cases from treating them as incendiaries or regicides.   The Hebrew people in Russia are characterised by an insatiable  thirst for such education as can be had in that country ; it would  seem to partake of the nature of a passion that grows with their  growth, gaining strength from the very opposition it encounters.^  The Government, on the other hand, is firmly resolved to starve it  out and to thrust the Jews back to ignorance, blind obedience, and  the Piile. And this is perfectly natural ; if it seems immoral, it is  only to those English Russophiles with whom fanaticism is the sole  substitute for knowledge, and who damage the cause they would  further by judging such acts by a European standard of morality —  a mistake which no Russian statesman will ever commit. The  reasons that make a dispassionate observer look upon the present  persecution of five or six million Jews as natural are not far to seek :  they are all comprised in the one principle of self-preservation  applied by a people which is standing on a much lower moral and  intellectual lev^el than the bulk of Europeans.   An autocracy may at times be quite as good and wise a govern-  ment as a republic or a constitutional monarchy, and no honest  student of history, whatever political opinions he may profess, can  withhold his admiration from men like Oliver Cromwell, or even  Dr. Francia. But the autocracy of Russia, in which tens of thou-  sands of irresponsible tsarlets devour, like human locusts, all the   (1) Collection of Laws, vol. ix., art. 9G8.   (2) According to the statistics collected by the Ministry of Public Instruction before  the introduction of the measures forbidding Jews to educate their children (1885-6),  the percentage of Russian children in the higher educational establishments of the  empire was twenty -two in ten thousand, whereas the percentage of .Jewish ohiklron  amounted to forty-eight in ten thousand.     16 THE JEWS IN KUSSIA.   material and moral resources of the people, is a foul stain on modern  Europe, whicli only crime can perpetuate and human blood wash  away. The logical correlative of such rulers is an ignorant, broken-  spirited, shiftless people ; and the rulers are resolved to keep the  bulk of Russians ignorant, broken- spirited, and shiftless, on the prin-  ciple that he who wishes for eggs must put up with the cackling of  hens — qui vult fiitem vult media. This is the key to that series of  oppressive laws enacted during the past five years, the undisguised  object of which is to deprive the masses not only of what is usually  termed education, but of all kind of instruction whatever. The  results obtained up to the present moment are magnificent or disas-  trous, according to the angle of vision from which we view them ;  the bulk of the Russian people are disgustingly servile, incredibly  superstitious, hopelessly shiftless and improvident, the natural prey  of every passing quack or impostor, and the power of the Tsar is  proportionately strengthened.^ The semi-official journal of the capital  describes the Russians as " a people run wild, savags, supine. The  judges and crown lawyers of the empire," it adds, " can testify that  the umnber of icords in use among the Rusnian peaaantrij dues not exceed  fro)n one to two hundred. Even the Kirgheez nomads, with their won-  derful memory, foresight, imagination, and shiftiness, stand on a far  higher lerei than our Russian peasantrg." '^ Over against these   (1) To ^nve a case in point, the Kucoye fninyit, do.scribing how the Jews of the  district of Starokonstantinovsk return to hamlets and villages in which they are fi r-  bidden to reside, ahnost as fast as they are driven out, adds : " The Russian peasantry,  instead of assisting the police to expel them, do just the reverse — harbour and screen  them from justice, and when interrogated deny that the Jews in question live there,  and assert that they have only come on a -vasit. A Jew has only to buy a yla$s of vodka  and promine a trifle bmidex, and for this Kussian i easants tcill, a/most without exception, lie  vhen qitentioned in a court of justice - ay, lie in the most effronting way conceivable, even  though, as is often the caxr, they are giving evidence upon oath.'" — Xovoge Vremya, 4th April,  1890. None of the conflicting conclusions which can be drawn from this imanswerable  and lamentable fact are of good omen for the speedy settlement of the Jewish question  in Russia.   (2) Grashdanln, 19th January, 1890. Cf. also Xovosti, '20th January, 1890. An  English Rus^ophile organ which might possibly render some services to its Tsar by  courageoTis lionesty which it can never etfcct by mere coarse flattery, a tort et a travers,  recently alhiding to a former paper of this series, the statements of which it completely  garbles, scriou.sly puts forward the following argument : If the Russian people are such  ignorant, sliiftlcss loons as they ai-e represented to be, they are sorely in need of an  autocratic governm-nt that will protect them against their own instincts ; if they are  enlightened, moral, well-behaved, autocracy is likewise the best government for them,  for they would othei-wiso have long ago cried out against its existence. " If the books  are in accordance with the teachings of the Koran," said the fanatic Caliph, of the  Alexandrian library, "they are needless, and must be buraed: If opposed to the Koran,  they are heretical, and must be destroyed forth witli." The accusation brought against  the Russian Govonmient, and demonstrated by unanswerable facts, is that they are  deliberately demoralizing the %vi'etched people in order to perpetuate the chaotic misrule  on which they are thriving. AVHiat woidd any liouest, unprejudiced Englishman say to  the following candid avowal of the Government's programme, made by the aristocratic  organ subsidized by the Government: " Tlie l\us>ian peasant possesses ^»rrt< ^0Mrr,« o/     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 17   " country louts " stand the Jews with wits sharpened by necessity  and appetites whetted by gnawing hunger — " like ravenous wolves  beside appetising sheep," as an official organ once described them.  And the Russian Government is engaged in solving the problem  how to keep them together in a state of semi-starvation without a  catastrophe. Blinding the wolves is the latest solution that seems  to have suggested itself, and, on the principle of self-preservation,  why, it may be asked, shovild Russian statesmen not give it a trial ?   Naturally, much more is hereby implied than deprivation of  mere lay instruction. The Talmudic religion, whatever else may be  said about it, is in itself a course of mental training capable of ren-  dering the mental powers as supple and sharp as would a course of  mathematics or of German metaphysics. And as long as a Jew is  allowed to remain a Jew he will continue to be infinitely better  equipped for the battle of life than the best of his Russian competi-  tors. Hence the natural desire of the more far-seeing ainong Russian  politicians to extirpate Judaism, root and branch ; hence the feverish  efforts now being made to realise that scheme by employing every  known form of injustice and violence that stops short of death.   Every sordid motive that a legislator well versed in this lower  I ranch of hi«s profession could suggest is put before the Jew to induce  him to abandon the faith of his forefathers, without replacing it by  anything better. Privileges denied his brethren, money and its  various equivalents, even the hope of unlawful plunder, have been  deliberately relied upon by these champions of Chi^istianity to tempt  the Hebrew to please his Emperor by denying his God. Imagine one  of those lean, cadaverous caricatures of humanity who crowd the cities  of the Pale, and whose existence under the actual circumstances is a  stronger argument against Russian Christianity than any that could  be drawn from the writings of Strauss or Huxley ; and suppose that  accident or design puts it in his power to defraud a wealthy co-  religionist, by abuse of confidence, fraud, or downright robbery. He  succumbs to the temptation, beggars his brother, and immediately  becomes a member of the Orthodox Church, as a sort of corollary.  His victim prosecutes him and summons a cloud of credible, respect-  able witnesses who can prove the charge to the satisfaction of the  most sceijtical. He, on his side, suborns two or three abandoned  Christian wretches, whose life is one coarse libel on Christianity.  The case comes on for trial, and the Russian courts, guided by  Article 330 of the Tenth Volume of Laws, will refuse to allow the   endurance and roiinrkdble patience. And thcHC, in sum, are the qnaUtics of the Russian  ivhich should form the basis of the relations of persons in authority to the peasants ; and it  must be admitted that the authorities have to deal with a soil very favoxirable if it is  only ploughed and harrowed ii/telliyently.'" — GrasJtdan'nt, 2nd January, 1890. If this be  not Maccliiavellisra, its defence in :tn Eiijilit-h periodical is disinterested love of the  yiiod, the beautiful, and the true.     18 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   Jewish witnesses to depose against the defendant, because they are  naturally supposed to bear a grudge against an apostate ; and the  light-heart(d perjury of the Orthodox Christians (which costs, as we  have seen, but a small measure of vodka) sets the seal of legality on  crimes that would send their author into penal servitude in England.  Of course, there is one way out of the difficulty : the plaintiff may  go to work and bribe his witnesses to commit perjury too, i.e., to  embrace Christianity, which they hate, and then their testimony will  be received with credence and respect. For when a Jew finds the  truth, supposing that truth to be the " orthodox " faith, he is caressed  and made much of for the time being ; the law requires " that he be  baptised only in a city church, and on a Sunday or festival, and  with all possible pomp and ceremony." ^ If he be married he must  either divorce his wife or compel her too to subordinate her reli-  gious convictions to her conjugal affection ; and if she refuses to  become a Christian, neither herself nor her Christian husband will be  permitted to leave the Pale.^ Finally, in order to contribute to the  sacredness of the family, which, Russians complain, is lacking  among the Jews, the new laws give a Jewish boy or girl the right  and the encouragement to abandon the faith of his fathers without  consulting his parents.^ The difficulties thrown in the way of open-  ing synagogues and prayer-houses are as numerous and as prohibi-  tive as those which have been so effectually opposed to opening of  schools, and the Ilabbis of those that already exist are harassed  and persecuted till they resign or go over to the enemy. In one  place the ministry refuses to confirm the election of a respected  Rabbi, conducted in strict accordance with all the laws and regula-  tions, simply because, penetrated with a deep sense of his moral  responsibility, he refuses to prostitute a religious office to the desires  of political Chauvinists, and they unceremoniously put in his place  an upstart who was not disliked only by those who did not know  him. The Jews of Yekaterinburg, who had lived there for genera-  tions, summoned up courage once to ask permission to have, not a  synagogue, but merely a house of prayer.^ The Government, in   (1) Supplement to article 76 (section 5).   (2) Complete Coll. of Laws, vol. x., part i., art. 81.   (3) Ibid., section 3.   (4) The abject fear which the Jews have of displeasing the authorities exceeds belief.  Take, for instance, a man in the position of Baron Ginsburo:, of St. Petersburg, a  millionaire and a baron of the Russian empire, who might well venture to undertake  much that is forbidden to his poorer brethren ; and yet he is mortally afraid of  saying, or doing, or leaving unsaid and imdone anything that might possibly offend  even a petty Russian official. He dares not speak even in favour of the Russian  Government, lest that should seem an attempt on his part to patronize ; and he would  as soon cut his tongue out as say a word against it. A few years ago he caused all the  Russinn laws concerning the Jews to bo printed in one volume at his expense ; but  when the work was done he reflected that his motives might be misinterpreted, so he  withdrew it from circulation ; and no entreaties on the part of his own intimate friends     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 19   reply, very quickly discovered a loug-forgotten ukase, which abso-  lutely forbids Jews to reside in that city, or in any part of the Ural,  and they are now about to be dragged thousands of miles to the  Pale, which many of them have never seen before. In the village  of Kakhovka the Hebrew community was lately summoned to appear  before the new police superintendent, who at once informed them  that he had orders to close up and seal their prayer- house, and to  bring them up to trial for having four years ago opened one, " and  for having frequently prayed therein," without being authorised to  do so by the Government.   These are some of the measures which have driven thousands of  Jews to apostatise ; and one reads very frequently in the Russian  newspapers of " sixty young Jews who, desirous of entering the  university, have abjured the Law of Moses" ; of forty others who  became Christians because their business called them outs^ide of the  Pale, and scores of others who for equally valid reasons are intro-  duced every month into the true fold, where they are as much in  their place as eagles in a barnyard. Any one of the measures,  employed against the Jews would be enough to " convert " three-  fourths of the Christians of Russia to Shamanism or Bouddism in a  week ; and the circumstance that about six million persecuted and  miserable wretches remain steadfastly faithful to a religion that  causes their life to be changed into a fiery furnace without the angel  to keep it cool, is the nearest approach to a grandiose miracle that  has been vouchsafed to this unbelieviuof wneration. The Orthodox  Church cannot be congratulated on these wedding guests whom it  is daily picking up in the highways and byways, and bidding, or  rather driving, into the spiritual banqueting hall. Not only is one  prepared for the discovery that they are not provided with the indis-  pensable wedding garment, but one cannot affect surprise to learn  that such raiment as they have is swarming with disease germs  which will do dire execution on the assembled guests. I have con-  versed with numbers of " converted " Jews of all classes of society,  and I can affirm that, with few exceptions, not only have they not  the faintest glimmer of faith in Christianity, but they hate the very  pame, despise its priests, sneer at its ceremonies, and loathe them-  selves for perjuring their souls by receiving its sacraments and  praising the name of its founder. And they bring up their sons and  daughters in the same sentiments. I know a respectable family in  Moscow, the father of which was " converted " like thousands of his  co-religionists, and I can answer for it that not one of his sons or  daughters had a shred of belief in God or devil, their religious faith   could persuade him to g-ive away one of the thousands of copies that were lying on the  shelves of his library. In Odessa, where the governor is Judophobe and something  more, a Jew will soon be afraid to sneeze in tlic street.     20 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   being summed up in the one conviction that the Orthodox Church is  deserving of the intense hatred of every honest man and woman, and  that no opportunity should ever be missed of contributing to  its ruin.   Some of these "converts" repent of what they have done, secretly  do penance for their sin, and return to the synagogue. But their  sighs and tears are as unavailing as those of their forefathers who,  sitting down by the waters of Babylon, wept as they remem-  bered kSion ; no Rabbi would dare give them help or advice, much  less admission to the community ; he would forfeit his position if he  did. One of these poor wretches, Fichtenstein by name, a venerable  old man of sixty, was induced in a moment of weakness to " embrace  Christianity," for which he afterwards did penance, literally in sack-  cloth and ashes. He visited the synagogue as often as he could,  where his fervent, tearful prayers attracted the attention of the con-  gregation. The authorities set a watch on his movements, acquired  the conviction that he did really pray in the Jewish place of worship,  and had him straightway arrested and sent for trial. The example of  these men, it is complained, does not tend to raise the moral level  of the Russian Church ; " they scatter the seeds of infidelity and  insubordination — religious, political, and social — broadcast through-  out the country," say the astonished spiritual and civil authorities,  " and the harm thus done is incalculable." Harm it may be ; incal-  culable, however, it certainly is not. The Jews may all of them in  time be brought to " embrace Russian Christianity," as the Moorish  chieftain Almanzor embi-aced his Christian enemies ; and in both  cases the embrace is pestilential, deadly.   But the written laws against the Jews, severe as they undoubtedly  are, can give no idea of the actual amount and kind of suffering  inflicted on this unfortunate people by those who administer them,  and from whose interpretation and conduct there lies no appeal.  Not only must one take into consideration the kind of whip with  which they are beaten, but likewise the arm that wields it ; and in  this case it is the sinewy, bloody arm that knouted so many Chris-  tians to death. For some officials the Jews exist as a fertile source  of revenue — a godsend to be grateful for — the bribes they are com-  pelled annually to pay exceeding by a large amount the total of  their double annual taxes. This state of things reminds one of our  own Henry III pledging all the Jews of his kingdom to his brother  for the loan of a considerable sum of money, authorising him in  return to keep them in his power until they paid the debt to the  last farthing. Russia's solution of the Jewish problem has not  advanced beyond that stage yet. Here is what one of the most  trustworthy and impartial newspapers of Russia has to say on the  subjcfi : —     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 21   "The resh'ictions laid ujion the Jews serve in reality as an unfailing aud  inexhaustible source of income to the authorities charged with their execution ;  all those Jews whose riglits are more or le^s doubtful manage to get them  changed into undoubted rights by the payment of uninterrupted blackmail ;  huttues and domiciliary visits, which assume the most improbable forms, also  wind up with a money tribute. Thus on a dark night, when profound silence  reigns everywhere — usually a Friday night is ctiosen, when every Jew is at  home — suddenly the Jewish quarter of the city is surrounded by a cordon, and  a great multitude of people, men, women, and children, old men — nay, oftt"in  even the sick — .ire arrtsted and packed off to the police station ; here, for lack of  room, thev are kept all night in the courtyard in the open air, no matter how  severe the cold may be, no matter how incleu:ient the weather. Tliese are  facts." 1   And facts, I may add, that are related not of last century, nor last  year, but last winter.   This hunting of Jews who are living where they have no right  to r'^side, whose passports have expired, who have transacted some  business which their faith disqualifies them from transacting, or  who are working hard to keep body and soul together in a position  which they are not allowed to occupy, has now become an everj^day  occurrence, that no longer excites surprise and seldom even evokes  compassion. The newspapers chronicle these things with as perfect  indifference as a hiixter's change of residence. "The authorities  have ordered the assistant notaries who belong to the Hebrew per-  suasion to be immediately dismissed from their situations in Kovno,"  says the Warsaw Courier, and people read and pass on phlegmati-  cally to the next item of intelligence. " M. Akimoff, the President  of the Divisional Court," says another paper, " has informed all  notaries that they must dismiss their clerks who are members of  the Jewish communion, and fill up their places with Russians.""  And people yawn and read on.   The suffering inflicted by this wholesale proscription of the Jews  is intensified a hundred-fold by the wantonly savage manner in which  it is carried out, the victims being treated in many cases exactly  as if, instead of human beings, they were brute beasts, who might  be chased without impropriety in the fields and highways, and tied  up in an outhouse, when caught, till they could be conveniently  whipped or physicked. The following incident will illustrate my  meaning : A considerable number of Jews repair every year from  various parts of Russia to the Liman in Odessa, to test the medicinal  virtue of the waters, which are strongly recommended by Russian  doctors in cases of rheumatism, gout, scrofula, skin diseases, paraly-  sis, &c. Numerous petitions, stamped with revenue stamps, certifi-  cates, and documents of all kinds have to be drawn up, presented,  and verified before a Jew can receive his double passport and per-  mission to pass a few weeks at the waters of the Liman. And when   (1) TJie IFeck (Ncdaylya), 7th Septeniber, 1890.   (2) Odesm Xew/i, Octoljer, 1886.     22 THE JEWS IX RUSSIA.   he has passed through this wearisome and expensive ordeal and has  begun the cure, he is not even then free from persecution. He or  she may, at any time of the day or night, be pounced upon by the  police, snatched up, ladies as well as men, and ignominiously sub-  jected to a medical examination and pronounced impostors who are  at the waters under false pretences, having none of the disorders  which the latter are supposed to cure. K^o farther back than the  month of July, the Jewish ladies and gentlemen who were using the  waters of the Andreieff Liman in Odessa, were thus unceremoniously  arrested one day — night is usuallj^ the favourite time for arrests,  domiciliary visits, &c., in Russia — and marched off to the city  doctor, who was commanded to examine them thoroughly, and to  find out whether they were really suffering from the diseases for  which they were being treated, or had merely come for their pleasure !  It is no easy matter even for a physician to decide in the twinkling of  an eye, so to say, whether a man has or has not rheumatism, gout,  tic, scrofula, &c., &c. The Odessa doctor, however, knew exactly  what was required of him, and ju-^tified the confidence with which  he was honoured : he declared that two-thirds of the entire number  of Jews were in good health and had no need of the Liman waters.  Even, if this were demonstrably true, the services of these persons  might be desirable or even indispensable to their invalid relatives^  and on this ground their presence might have been tolerated ; but  the authorities sent them home at once.^   It is no light matter for the Jews, who, after all, are mere human  beings, to make a stand against a powerful government which is  mobilizing its numerous army of ofiicials, employing all its pecuniary  resources, and all the ingenuity of human hate to crush them out of  existence. Still they cannot — on the whole — be accused of not  doing their best to dispute every inch of ground, of not struggling for  some few of the rights of men, when possible, on a strictly legal  basis. No losing game — with stakes so high — was ever j^et played  with such unfaltering spirit. No fox hotly pursued by eager hounds  and joyful huntsmen ever employed more profound cunning, more  suppleness, more talent for adapting, on the spur of the moment, all  the rapidly changing circumstances of time, place, and persons to  the main end in view, than the Jews. The tragi-comic element that  results from this pitting of intellect against brute force, the adven-  tures, curious escapes, the plots and counterplots, would, if properly  treated, make a most entertaining volume — but entertaining as were  the jokes and puns and witty remarks made at the gladiator fights  in Rome, and which drew their point from their contrast to the  human being grimly fighting on the threshold of eternity, to prolong  for a few minutes the brutal pleasure of a jaded rabble.   (1) Noioije Vrnni/a, '23rd July. 1890.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 23   The laws that regulate the military service of the Jews are  characterised by their Draconian severity. jNlost of the alleviations  and privileges accorded to Christians, and which tend so visibly to  promote good feeling between the men and their superiors, are inex-  orably denied them, and the hardships insepai-able from life in the  barracks, with its long winter night-watches and exhausting summer  manffiuvres, are needlessly made unendurable to the soldier who  keeps holy the Sabbath. A Jew can never become an officer as a  Christian can — nay, as even a Mohammedan can, who is not disquali-  fied from the highest position in the military hierarchy, filling offices  of trust and responsibility. This is a remarkable — it seems an unjust  — restriction ; but the Jew, hardened by use and want, is prepared  for it. But why go still further and allow every soldier who calls  himself a Christian, a Mohammedan, or a Buddhist to lord it over  him, and not only hector and bully, but assault him with absolute  impunity, sometimes with direct approbation ? The paralysing fear  of encountering these untold miseries of soldier life, from which the  only escape is suicide, accounts for the deep-rooted aversion which  many Jews manifest to don the livery of the Czar, and the desperate  attempts they make to escape from serving in the army. Hundreds  of mothers secretly leave their native places before the birth of their  children, which, when the children are boys, they refuse to register,  thus placing their innocent offspring, almost from the moment of its  birth, in a position bristling with still greater difficulties, with more  terrible hardships than the one they so greatly dread. ^   It is impossible for a Jew to do anything in a simple, straight-  forward manner. He could not even if he would ; he sets to work  to carry out the most commonplace and lawful business transaction  just as if his negotiations were but a blind to mask some hidden  design, the nature of which you have no means of guessing — it may  be to rob you, it may be to murder you. All his dealings are fenced  and hedged round with so many provisos and conditions and con-  tingent obligations, that a very experienced lawyer would have no  light task if he were set to unravel the web. The following is a  very typical instance of the trouble taken by Jews to wrest to their  own benefit one of the laws framed for their ruin. Intending to  conclude a business arrangement, whatever its nature may be, the  validity of which may hereafter be called in question by the other  party to the contract, a Jew first makes a pretence of lending him  some costly furniture or delivering valuable goods — which he himself   ( 1 ) " My attention was drawn to the strange fact of the virtual cessation of male  births among the Jews, as if by common accord all Jewish women had resolved to put  an end to the tribe of Israel. From private sources, however, I learned that things  were pretty much as they had always been, . . . but that the far-seeing, provident  parents refused to register their births, in order to free them from the necessity, many  years thence, of serving in the army." — The J'ilna Messenger, lltli December, 1887.     24 THE JEWS IX RUSSIA.   never bad to give or lend — and then sues him for the value. The  case comes on for trial (the Russian law courts are literally clogged  with such fictitious lawsuits, which prevent the hearing of really  important actions) ; both parties are heard with all the conscious  seriousness and dignified leisure which beseems a Russian judge.  The defendant seems to make a determined stand, but loses his case  and is condemned to pay the sum demanded. Now this is exactly  the sum that would represent the plaintiff's loss, //' at any future  time the defendant should call in question the validity of the con-  tract which they hare not yet concluded. He would then claim a writ  of execution to recover the sum adjudged him by the court. ^   Formerly a Jew could lend money on landed securities. Now  this is absolutely forbidden ; so, before advancing the sum demanded,  he requires the borrower to give him a note of hand for the capital  and the interest combined, he next sues him for the amount, and  when judgment is given in his favour, advances the sum of money  required. Or, suppose a merchant or petty trader has business in  some town or city which his quality of Jew precludes him from  visiting. If he petitions the authorities to allow him to go there and  spend a week or a fortnight, he is insulted for his puins. Instead  of this, however, two of his friends or dependents quarrel and  summon him to give evidence before the local magistrate, which he  does ; but one of the parties appeals to the higher court, which sits  in the city he is so desirous of visiting, and he is again called upon  to give evidence, this time on oath. This also he does, if it is a  criminal prosecution, as it probably would be, at the cost of the  crown. One of the litigants is perhaps condemned, but the pro-  secutor thereupon generously forgives him, and all parties are  satisfied. The law courts of the west of Russia are positively  brought to a standstill by the overwhelming number of fictitious  actions of this kind entered by Jews, who thus compel the imperial  judges to spend their time and labour and the resources of the State  in assisting the Jewish community to evade the very laws which  they are sworn to administer.' A more ludicrous sight was never  witnessed in the law courts of modern times. '' Lately the local  authorities," a KiefE journal announces,   " set about verifying tho right of the Jews in Shmevinka to reside there.  Many of them were living in little huts of their own. Betore the verification  took place, however, many of the resident Hebrews deemed it advisable to flee.  There are several hundred Jewish houses there, the majority of which were  erected, like the palaces of the faii-y tales, by night. The work was done in the     (1) Novoye Vrcmya, 24th December, 1889. These artifices are rendered possible by  the important circumstance that in Russia law is not costly, and a nian can and gener-  ally does conduct Lis own case, even if he is unable to read or write,   (2) Novoye Vremya, 24tli Dcrpnibor, 18S9.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 25   daytime in bits and scraps, at some distance from the city, and when ready the  complete house woukl be drawn by twenty or thirty pairs of oxen, and set up  in the place destined for it. For convenience' sake these houses were made to  move about on wheels." i   The poverty of the greater part of the six million Jews who are  caged up in the few plague-stricken towns and villages of the Pale  surpasses that which excited such a cry of horror in London when  the sweating system and its results were dragged into the light of  day. The late Minister of Finances, Reutern, declared candidly in  a memoir to the Emperor, that " the poverty in which the Jews live  is extreme, and the extraordinary demoralisation of the Hebrew  race iu Russia is mainly the outcome of the extremely unfavourable  conditions in which they are placed for gaining a livelihood."^ The  amount of taxes which they owe is enormous.^ It was shown by the  census that whereas the average proportion of Christians to the total  number of houses owned by Christians in the governments of the  Pale, is between 410 and 510 persons to one house, the average  number of Jews is 1,229.* In most parts of the Pale, they are  cooped up like insects or animals rather than men. In Berditscheff,  the official statistician tells us   " the Jews are huddled together more like salted herrings than human beings ;  tens of thousands of them are devoid of any constant means of subsistence,  living from hand to mouth ; several families are often crowded into one or two  rooms of a dilapidated hut, so that at night there is absolutely no space what-  ever between the sleepers. . . . The lodgers turn these rooms into workshops  in the daytime, refining wax therein, making tallow candles, tanning leather,  &c. ; here whole families live, work, sleep and eat together, in that fetid atmo-  sphere, with their tools and materials lying around on all sides." ^   The Moscow Gazette, describing the state of the Jews in Berdits-  cheff says :   " The streets of the Jewish quarter of the town are not more than four feet  wide ; on either side of them the tumble-down old houses seem ready to fall to  pieces ; children are lying before the houses on the street in a state of almost  complete nudity, wallowing in the slough, and among them numbers of  slovenly women— the mothers of the children — also stretched out sideways and  lengthways on the street, sleeping under the rays of the burning sun."   The statistician, M. Bobrovski, writing on the condition of the  Jews in the government of Grodno, says :   " By far the greater part of the Jewish population are poor and are always  engrossed \>y the one care: how to get their daily bread. Burdened with  numerous families, the crowded state in which they live surpasses anything  one can conceive as possible. Frequently one hut consisting of three or at     (1) Cf. also Aoro;/e Vremya, 10th January, 1890.   (2) Cf. Complete Collection of Laws, vol. xl., 42264.   (3) Novoye Vremya, 10th .January, 1890.   (4) Shooravski Statist., Dcscrip/ion of the Government of Kieff, vol. i., p. 241  [b] /hid.     26 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   most four rooms lodges as many as twelve families, wliose lives are an unbroken  series of privations and pains. Whole families sometimes live on three-quarters  of a pound of bread, one salt herring, and a few onions." ^   " In the Government of Kovno," — and in every government  inhabited by the Jews — " there are families who never break their  fast till night, and then only if the father and bread-winner had  found work to do and has received his wasre." ^   This, no doubt, is very unsavoury reading, and I inflict as little  of it upon my readers as will barely suffice to enable them to form  an opinion upon the Jewish question in Russia. Russian Judo-  phobes — many members of the Government included — positively take  a pleasure in these disgusting things. And yet what the object of  all this persecution is — beyond the one I have already suggested —  no man can tell. It is not the Jewish religion that is so unrelentingly  pursued, for it is admitted even by the Orthodox Church to be supe-  rior to Mohammedanism, which enjoys toleration in Russia. Neither  is it the Jewish race, for once a Jew adopts Christianity as his  " faith," he is placed on a level with born Christians. It cannot be  the supposed economical influence for evil exerted by the Jews, for  the same evils complained of, only in much larger dimensions, are to  be found in those parts of the Empire in which a Jew never sets  foot. And yet, objectless as this persecution evidently is from any  reasonable point of view, not only is it warmly advocated by a por-  tion of the press, but a fiendish delight is taken in contemplating  the results. The following is a short extract from a description of  Vilna, published in the Vibia Messenger, a Government organ, and  quoted with relish by the Novoye Vremi/a : —   "All the narratives of travellers about Asiatic and African cities dwindle  down to the level of the commonplace in conqiarison with the sights that meet  your eye here ; even the glorious city of Berditscheff, the very name of which  is become proverbial as a synonym for dirt and rottenness, is as nothing when  confronted with this pearl. . . . Glance at the Jewish Synagogue. The dirt  in the courtyard is indescribable, the noise and tumult like Tinto that which  accompanied the confusion of tongues. But the atmosphere ! You should  breathe it, to be able to conceive what it is like. Beside the women's wing of tho  synagogue are the baths in which the sons and daughters of Israel cleanse their  sinful flesh. You can judge of the internal tidiness and cleanliness of these  baths by the high dunghill carefully heaped up beside the steps of the  entrance." •*   But the rest of this foul essay is, at least in parts, too filthy to be  given in English. Imagine the Nawab of Bengal sneering at Mr.  Holwcll and his twenty-two companions for the mephitic atmosphere  of the lilack Hole of Calcutta, and you have a parallel to the good  taste and humanity of Russian Judophobes.   (1) Description of the Government of Grodno, vol. i., p. 8-58 and fol.   (2) Afanassieff, Drsryiptio)? of the Gorrrnmnit rf Kovnn. pp. 082, .583.  (••5) Xoxoye Vrrnn/n. 20th Aujrusr, 1888.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 27   It would be asking for a miracle to expect that men condemned,  as are the Russian Jews, to rot away in forced idleness, in Augean  filth, breathing air poisoned by the smell of untanned leather, and  charged with the noisome exhalations of the dead and dying, to be  clean, or even to be merely dirty in the ordinary acceptation of the  word. What a harrowing picture of their life docs not the following  scene conjure up — one of the most pathetic of the tragi-coraic incidents  to which 1 alluded above ? In the middle of the town of Berditscheff  there is a large channel or sink in which is thrown all kinds of foul  unnamcable filth. One day it occurred to a police superintendent  that he might have it cleaned out gratis, and he hit upon the follow-  ing happy expedient : Strolling along the edge of this putrid cess-  pool, he suddenly stood still and then bent anxiously over the brink,  stirring up the filth with his stick, A crowd of Jews soon gathered  round him, and inquired what was wrong. He replied that he had  dropped a valuable ring worth £25 into the cloaca, and he promised  a reward to the finder. '' In about fifteen minutes," says the journal,  " all this putrescent garbage was taken out in handkerchiefs, buckets,  pots, rags, &c., and brought /ionic by the Jews, who scrutinised it in  their courtyards, each one hopeful of finding the ring. And in this  way," it concludes, " the superintendent succeeded in cleansing that  canal." What extraordinary notions the Russian police must have  of the meaning of the word sanitation !   The majority of the other charges brought against the Jews are  in equal good taste. In fairness to both parties, however, it must  be admitted that from one fault — or perhaps the word crime would  more accurately connote it — it would be difiicult to exculpate them ;  and this partly explains, if it does not justify, the indignation of the  Russian Government. I allude to a lack of ardour, amounting at  times to a positive aversion on their part, to risk their lives in the  service of the Tsar, in return for the rights and protection which  they enjoj' in Russia. And this, in spite of the solemn oath which  they all have to take, " in all things to serve and obey his Imperial  Ma jest}', not sparing in his service my life-blood, but shedding it,  ay, to the last drop," ^ in defence of throne and beloved fatherland.  This may be perjury and high treason combined, but, whatever its  name and degree, many Jews ^ are guilty of it. And if that be a  satisfactory answer to the charge of undue harshness brought against  the Russian Government, there is an end to the matter. At the  same time one fails to understand why the Government, which  taunts the Jews with being cowards, takes more pains to draw or  drive them into the Russian army than if they were so many   (1) Supplement to art. 1061 (1886).   (2) The percentag-e of Jews who neglect to present themselves for military service, or  afterwards desert, is lar^-cr than thiit f>f the Christians but the difference is not  fonsidcrablc.     28 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.   Hectors and Achilles. Lest a Jew follow what is supposed to be the  bent of his inclination and shirk his " sacred duty to his Little  Father the Tsar and his dear Fatherlanfi," his personal appearance  must be minutely described in bis passport in much greater detail  than if he were a Christian. Thus every pimple, mole, malforma-  tion, and other mark by which he may be identified is to be clearly  mentioned ! ^ If the medical commission declare him unfit for  service, and the authorities entertain a well-founded or absurd  suspicion that he himself deliberately contributed to bring about this  unfitness, he is received into the army in spite of his physical defects,  and told off for special service." If, when called upon, a Jew fails  to present himself to the military commission whose business it is to  accept or reject him, he is not imprisoned, for this would be no  punishment to a man whose life is a crownless martyrdom, but  heavily fined. This may be a just and certain method of engrafting  that love of Fatherland and Little Father which neither their feel-  ings nor their reason have been able to evoke, but it seems needlessly  harsh to inflict upon the hard-working old parents of the defaulter  a fine of £50 besides ; and this is exactly what the law does.^ But  many young men are orphans at this age, or their parents are lite-  rally beggars, so that, not possessing a copper coin, they have no  fear of the penalties. Such youths ingeniously turn the law to  account, and compel it to yield them and their relations a slight  profit. They run away from the parish or city in which the commis-  sion holds its sittings, and are declared fugitives. For all such  deserters — if only they be Jews — a reward of fifty roubles is always  liberally paid. A friend of the runaway is informed by the delin-  quent himself of his whereabouts, he comnumicatcs the information  to the authorities and receives the reward, which he gives in part or  in its entirety to the oifendcr.   In this manner many of the Russian laws against the Jewish  population either defeat their own purpose or inflict considerable  loss upon the Christian subjects of the Tsar. Thus there are numer-  ous districts in Ilussia — fertile stretches of land which are in sore  need of workmen to till the soil or reap its fruits. It often happens  that the corn rots on the ground for want of hands to cut it. The  landowners have been for years crying out for some measure calcu-  lated to restore what the emancipation of the serfs deprived them of  — cheap labour ; and the Government did enact a law a few years  ago, which has created a class of agricultural labourers who sell  themselves for several years, and even descend to the heirs of their  master, should he die before the expiration of their term. But this   (1) Military Law of 188G. Explanation of Article 8.   (2) Explanation of Article 40.   f.1) Article .').50 of the Military I^aw.     THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 29   measure has not brought the looked- for relief to Russian landowners,  who are often driven to despair at the sight of their riches melting  away like snow for want of labourers, while the miserable Jews are  perishing of sheer starvation, almost devouring each other, like  Ugolino's offspring in the tower of the Gualandi, because there is no  work for them to do in the Pale. These hungry wretches are then  accused by sleek, over-fed ministers in their warm drawing-rooms,  of a disposition to outreach the Russian peasant whenever they have  a chance. The accusation, it is to be feared, is not wholly ground-  less, for Jews belong to the genus animal no less than to the species  man, and the instinct of self-preservation is as strongly developed  within them when their rival is a Russian as if he were only a vile  Jew, like themselves. Men of mild, amiable disposition, tossed about  in an open boat on the ocean for a week or ten days, and tortured by  the pangs of hunger and thirst, have even been known to harbour  wicked thoughts of cannibalism, which the children of Israel in  Russia have not yet been known to entertain.   I am personally acquainted with a rich Jew in a flourishing pro-  vincial city who is compelled to pay in bribes to the authorities a  sum that would support half the Jews of Berditscheff. He raises  the necessary amount b}'' imposing an illegal supplementary tax on  all kosher food sold by him to his co-religionists. His arrangements  with the police enable him not only to do this with impunity, but  likewise to have all his competitors removed from the city " adminis-  tratively," that is, by an order issued by the police, without rhyme  or reason. These " administrative " orders are much more demoral-  ising than the lettres de cachet of the French monarchy, because  much more easily obtained. If a Christian have an obliging friend  in the police administration, he can treat many Jews of the lower  classes just as if they were serfs. I knew a respectable young girl  of very honest parents privileged to live in one of the capital cities.  A Christian " fell in love " with her, and under pretext of giving  her lessons and preparing her for admission to one of the high  schools, seduced her, solemnly promising marriage. I heard her  once ask him to marry her, and I also heard him reply that he would  have her sent out of the city in twenty-four hours for her presump-  tion. And he did. A cousin of his is serving in the police depart-  ment, and he had no difficulty to obtain an order for her banishment  " as a disorderly Jewess." "But how could you bring yourself to  do such a damnable act ? " I asked. " Oh, she is only a Jewess," he  answered. " AVhat else is she good for. Besides, everybody does  the same." ^   (1) At present a Jew can be sent out of the city on the ground that he has been  impolite in the street or in a crowd. And this law has been made by a Governor whose  politeness is shown by kicks and cuffs and blasphemous oaths, as the whole south of  Russia is well aware.     30 THE JEWS IX KUSSIA.   Yes ; everybody does the same, and the lives of six million joeople  whose instinct.^, aptitudes, and moral sense place them on a much  higher level than their Christian fellow subjects, are thus made  literall}^ unendurable. Scoffed at, terrorised, and robbed by every  petty oificial with that certain impunity which invites to crime ;  insulted, beaten, and kept in constant fear of violence by a vile  rabble whom they dare not irritate by even a slight success in busi-  ness or trade, held up to the scorn and indignation of all Russia by  the Governmental press as the authors of every calamity avoidable  and unavoidable ; ^ education and instruction denied them, the learned  professions and higher branch of the profession of arms closed to  them ; trade and commerce rendered very difficult by intolerable  taxes and endless restrictions, and«'Ao//// impossible u-if/ionf hrihenj and  fraud ; their personal liberty now at last completely taken away  from them ; their religion proscribed, and their very souls killed by  the perjury with which they are forced to blacken it, Russian Jews  may well defy their persecutors to frame any further laws calculated  to make their position worse than it is.   Surel}^ Jlnglish journalists and politicians carried distrust too far  when they doubted the solemn assurances of the Russian Government  that no more stringent laws were in contemplation at present, just  as the American coroner's jury, finding a paper with the words,  " I have killed myself," on the corpse of an inveterate liar, brought  in a verdict that he was not dead at all. Still, it is to be regretted  that the monster meeting which the Lord Mayor of London was to  have convened was not held, as it might have led to some beneficial  results ; not, of course, by passing impotent resolutions of indigna-  tion, which would have had as much effect on the Russian Govern-  ment as dewdrops on a goose's back, but by respectfully petitioning  his Im'-»erial Majesty — as a daily paper lately suggested — to commute  in his clemency the present unbearable sufferings to which the law  condemns six millions of men and women for worshipping God as  Christ did — for painless death by electricity or poison.   E. B. La MX.     (1) Cf . Novoije Vremya, which published a long article at the time of the accident to  the Tsar's train at Borki to .show that the danger of sudden death had been brought  about by the Jews, while his e.scape was miracidous and actually foretold by one of the  minor Hebrew pi'ophets, who, when read aright, mentions him by name. TJiis same  enlightened organ, the most extensively circulated in Ru.ssia, also countenanced the  fable that the Jews periodically miu-dcr a Christian child, whose blood they require for  their ceremonies.         ^1 i^ iFrf

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  1. THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.

    ” Something is wrong, there needeth change.
    But what or where ? ”

    Song of Rahbi Ben Ezra.

    In the olden times of the Grand Duchy of Moscow there was no
    Jewish question to disturb the peace of mind of Russian statesmen :
    the peaceful Jews were then kept out of the country more success-
    fully than the martial Tartars, more resolutely than the plague.
    Every Jew found there was seized and expelled/ no reason, however
    weighty, being accepted as sufficient to justify the pollution of the
    land by the presence of a member of the race that crucified the
    Saviour. And thus the native population were left to their own
    devices — the stream of Russian civilisation kept exceptionally pure
    from Jewish admixture — until the policy of annexation was first
    fairly inaugurated, when Russia ravenously swallowed, along with
    the luscious morsels that belonged to her neighbours, the trichines
    that foiind such a congenial soil in her body politic and are now
    bidding fair to bring about a collapse of the entire system. The
    struggles of Russia now to throw off, now to assimilate and neutra-
    lise this dangerous element, are instructive if not edifying.

    Little Russia was the first territory annexed, and with it were
    taken over the Jews who for generations had been wont to look
    upon that country as their fatherland. But if the Little Russians,
    who had been induced to unite by tempting promises, were treated
    with scant ceremony, the Jews could scarcely complain of receiving
    still less, and in 1727 the High Privy Council promulgated an order
    signed by the Empress Catherine I., to expel the ” scurvy Jews,^ male
    and female, who are living in Ukraine (Little Russia) and in Russian
    cities generally, and never again to allow them under any pretext
    to re-enter the country, and to take due care that in future the land
    be vigilantly guarded and kept free from them.” But as the
    frontier, even in those days, was extensive, its guardians venal, and
    the Jews persevering and ingenious, many of the latter succeeded in
    maintaining their foothold without sacrificing their religion. Peter
    II., the gentleness of whose character reflected itself in the irreso-

    (1) Cf. Complete Code of Laws, No. 662, year 1676. In a treaty concluded with
    Poland in 1678 it was expressly stipulated that “the merchants and tradesmen of both
    sides will be free to travel without hindi-ance into each other’s country * except the
    Jews:”— Ibid., No. F30.

    (2) There is no adjective in the original, but the word for Jews is an opprobrious one
    implying still more than is expressed’by the ejjithet I have added. The same word is
    still employed by such conservative organs of the Russian press as the semi-official
    NuvoLje Vitmya and Grashdanin.

    2037701:

    4 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.

    lution of his policy, relaxed the severity of this law to the extent of
    allowing Jews to visit South Russia for the purpose of attending
    the fairs there ; a privilege which he thoughtfully saddled with the
    condition ” that they should not take out of the country gold or
    silver money, nor even copper coins.” ” As to living in Little
    Russia,” this curious ukase concludes, ” it is strictly forbidden, nor
    shall any one dare to harbour scurvy Jews ; in all these respects it
    is decreed that the ukase of the year 1727 shall remain in force.”^

    The Empress Anna, in the beginning of her reign, gave permis-
    sion to Jews to visit Russia for purposes of commerce, but shortly
    before her death, repenting of that and other sins, reverted to the
    old policy of exclusion, which, however, was again for a time
    suspended during the Russo-Turkish war. In 1742, the Empress
    Elizabeth framed still more stringent laws against the Jews than
    any of her predecessors, and piously appealed to heaven for her
    warrant. ” Except irremediable harm to our faithful subjects nothing
    can ever come of the pi’esence in the land of such inveterate haters
    of thie name of Christ the Saviour.’^

    Catherine II., whose policy was as little guided by her philosophy
    as were the metaphysics of many venturesome old schoolmen by
    their religious faitb, began by following in the steps of her predeces-
    sors, and in the manifesto she issued during the earlier part of her
    reign inviting foreigners to come and settle in Russia, in considera-
    tion of special privileges offered them, Jews were expressly mentioned
    as disqualified. But the annexation of certain Polish governments,
    inhabited by large numbers of Jews, which she soon afterwards
    effected, compelled her to modify a policy that was based upon
    changing interest rather than fixed principle ; and in the year 1769
    she permitted the Jews to make Russia their home, on condition
    that they settled exclusively in the south, in the government of
    New Russia. This decree’^ was the foundation-stone of the famous
    Pale of Settlement, which remains to the present day the main griev-
    ance of the Jews — the fruitful source of all their sufferings. All
    followers of the Mosaic law who inhabited the Polish provinces at
    the time of their annexation were allowed to remain where they
    were, and to enjoy the same rights as Russians ; but it was not open
    to them to circulate in Russia proper, and towards the close of the
    Empress’s reign they were condemned to pay double taxes.*

    But all these attempts of Russia to kick against the pricks proved
    ineffectual. The Jews obeyed the laws of nature rather than those
    of shortsighted men, with results that alarmed the statesmen who were

    (1) Complete Code of Laws, No. 5324.

    (2) Ibid., No. 8673.

    (3) Complete Coll. of Laws, No. 13383.

    (4) Ibid , No. 17224.

    THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 5

    responsible for having made the two incompatible. An Imperial
    Commission was then created (1802), by the Emperor Alexander
    surnamed the Blessed, to study the question, and two years later a
    law was passed which appears to have been an honest endeavour to
    carry out two opposi:e lines of policy, on the principle of doing
    incompatible things by halves. One half of the measures are intended
    to protect the Christians against the heartless exploitation of the
    Jews, who are thus treated as born enemies of their Orthodox fellow
    subjects, while the other half is meant to bring about the brotherly
    union and ultimate amalgamation of the two avowedly hostile races.
    Yery sordid motives were put before them to induce them to become
    Christians, care being meanwhile taken to keep them well within
    their Pale of Settlement, which was considerably narrowed, no Jew
    being allowed to live within fifty versts of the frontiers. It was
    obviously legislation of the half-hearted kind — an attempt (to use a
    popular Russian expression) to give the wolves a feed and keep the
    sheep whole, and like all such efforts it deservedly failed.

    The Emperor Nicholas began his reign by issuing various ukases
    in the same spirit — forbidding the Jews to circulate in Kussia,
    narrowing the Pale still more by excluding from it the cities of
    Kieff, Nicolaieff, Sebastopol, and even certain of the streets of Yilna,
    and generally carrying out a policy of mild repression. On its
    becoming obvious in 183o that most of these measures were but
    mere waste paper, the whole structure of previous legislation was
    pulled down and a bill passed ” to enable Jews to live comfortably
    as tillers of the soil or artisans, and to keep them from idleness and
    illegal occupations.” They are permitted by this law to attend fairs
    in the great centres of Russia — Nisehny Novgorod, Irbitsk, KharkofE,
    &c. — and special privileges are promised to those who turn their
    attention to the cultivation of the soil, an occupation which had
    proved so fatal to Russian Christians. The legislator was evidently
    desirous on the one hand of removing all distinctions between Jews
    and Christians, and on the other of localising the religion of the
    former as he would an infectious disease. Evidence of the former
    disposition is to be found in the clauses which throw open schools,
    gymnasies, universities, and other educational establishments to the
    members of the proscribed faith, and proof of the latter in the
    express declaration that in country districts the Jews were, as there-
    tofore, to remain aloof from their Christian fellow-subjects, their
    communes to be separated from those of Orthodox Christians ; and
    even in the cities the same barriers and distinctions to be rigorously
    maintained. Worse than all, as soon as it became evident that the
    proscribed people thoroughly appreciated the offer of education, by
    sending their children to Christian schools, where they became the
    most successful pupils and students, the Emperor issued another

    f> THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.

    ukase (in 1844) to the Minister of Public Instruction, declaring it
    necessary to open Jewish schools for Jewish children, and ordering
    him to appoint a commission of rabbis to draft a scheme and to see
    that a special tax be levied on the Jews for the support of these
    denominational establishments.

    The late Czar Alexander II. was desirous of contributing as far
    as was possible, by means of legislation, to the assimilation of the
    Jewish element by the Christian population, but before taking any
    steps towards the accomplishment of this desire, he ordered the
    Minister of the Interior to have detailed reports drawn up by the
    governors and governors-general of the districts inhabited by Jews
    concerning the working of the laws already in force and the defects
    remarked in their conception or administration. The Governors of
    the provinces of Vitebsk, ^Mohileff, and Minsk gave it as their
    opinion that the Jews of their districts were suffering incalculable
    harm from the action of the law depriving them of the rights of
    ordinary Russian subjects without relieving them of any of the
    corresponding obligations. Moreover, the towns, they added, in
    which Jews were authorised to live were so congested that thej’ could
    get but little work to do ; and ” when they do receive orders for
    work, they are compelled to have recourse to fraud. This explains
    why they so often become noxious members of society, instead of
    conferring upon the community and upon themselves those benefits
    which, imder more favourable conditions, one would naturally expect
    from them.” The Governor of Poltava informed the Minister that
    the Jews of the south of Russia differed to a very considerable extent
    in language, dress, and mode of life from their co-religionists in
    other parts of the empire, and that the difference was entirely to
    their advantage. As a result of this, ” they have almost wholly
    assimilated themselves with the native population ; wherefore I
    would respectfully suggest that all the restrictions now in force
    against them be forthwith abolished.” The remaining governors
    were of the same opinion, and the Minister of the Interior came to
    the conclusion that the accumulation of skilled Jewish artisans and
    workmen in the cities of the Pale of Settlement, and the competition
    resulting between themselves on the one hand and between them and
    the Christians on the other, ” have an exceedingly injurious effect
    on both sides.”

    Nothing could be more candid than this avowal, nothing more
    well meaning than the intentions it called into being ; but between
    intentions and their realisation lies an abyss — at times an impassable
    one. ” Before the sun rises.” says a Little Russian proverb, ” the
    dew may eat one’s eyes out.” Half-hearted measures of relief were
    gradually doled out, certain restrictions abolished wholly or in part,
    and the administration of the exi.’^tiuir laws became less severe, a

    THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 7

    difference which was, in itself, as long as it lasted, almost as welcome
    as a repeal of the exclusive legislation complained of. For men, not
    measures, really rule or ruin the nation ; no other country possessing
    such a ponderous, voluminous collection of laws as the Empire of
    the Tsars, no other people so utterly lacking the conception of law,
    as of established rules to be respected and obeyed ; and what can be
    more demoralising to a nation than the possession of laws, the trans-
    gression of which is the rule, the observance the rare exception ?

    Had the Emperor Alexander II. lived a year or two longer, it is
    highly probable that there would now no longer be a Jewish ques-
    tion in Eussia ; for the emancipation of that people was one of the
    points of the constitution which he had consented to grant. His son
    and successor is credited with a strong personal dislike to all followers
    of the Mosaic law, and is resolved, men say, to grind them down to
    the intellectual (they are already far below the economic) level of
    his Orthodox subjects. As this would be a heinous crime, it may
    possibly be a foul-mouthed calvminy; but it is not a dispassionate
    survey of the main acts of his reign that would bring one to doubt
    the truth of the assertion. The chief measure now in force against
    the Jews is — and has been since the days of Catherine II. — the
    prohibition to leave the Pale of Settlement. Xo doubt this district
    is immense in extent, comprising the governments of Tilna, Yolhynia,
    Grodno, Kovno, Minsk, Podolsk, Yekaterinoslav, Poltava, Tsher-
    nigoff and, under certain restrictions, portions of Kieff, Vitebsk, and
    Mohileff.^ But for the Jews, who are not tillers of the soil, who are
    compelled to belong to merchant guilds or trade corporations that
    exist only in cities and towns, and are debarred from engaging in
    many pursuits open to Christians, the immensity of this territory
    shrinks to an incredible extent. And lest the Pale, even thus nar-
    rowly circumscribed, should seem too vast a hunting-ground for the
    ” scurfy Jew,” his Majesty enacted, two years ago, that “‘ imtil further
    orders,” no Jew will be permitted to leave the “\-illages or hamlets in
    which they were living up to the 15th May, 1882. And as during
    those six years hundreds, nay thousands, of famiKes changed their
    place of residence to other villages and towns, the execution of this
    law has reduced a large number of Jews to misery and ruin ; for not
    only do those suffer who are compelled to leave villages where they
    have their houses and their capital, but the community to which
    they are compelled to return, and in which competition has already
    reduced wages to the starvation line. So that the arena is in reality
    very circumscribed in which Jew meets Jew in the bitter struggle
    for life, and defeating his adversary inflicts incurable wounds upon
    himself.

    (1 Cf. La-w conreminpr Pa,sppian peasant possesses ^»rrty the one care: how to get their daily bread. Burdened with
    numerous families, the crowded state in which they live surpasses anything
    one can conceive as possible. Frequently one hut consisting of three or at

    (1) Cf. also Aoro;/e Vremya, 10th January, 1890.

    (2) Cf. Complete Collection of Laws, vol. xl., 42264.

    (3) Novoye Vremya, 10th .January, 1890.

    (4) Shooravski Statist., Dcscrip/ion of the Government of Kieff, vol. i., p. 241
    [b] /hid.

    26 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.

    most four rooms lodges as many as twelve families, wliose lives are an unbroken
    series of privations and pains. Whole families sometimes live on three-quarters
    of a pound of bread, one salt herring, and a few onions.” ^

    ” In the Government of Kovno,” — and in every government
    inhabited by the Jews — ” there are families who never break their
    fast till night, and then only if the father and bread-winner had
    found work to do and has received his wasre.” ^

    This, no doubt, is very unsavoury reading, and I inflict as little
    of it upon my readers as will barely suffice to enable them to form
    an opinion upon the Jewish question in Russia. Russian Judo-
    phobes — many members of the Government included — positively take
    a pleasure in these disgusting things. And yet what the object of
    all this persecution is — beyond the one I have already suggested —
    no man can tell. It is not the Jewish religion that is so unrelentingly
    pursued, for it is admitted even by the Orthodox Church to be supe-
    rior to Mohammedanism, which enjoys toleration in Russia. Neither
    is it the Jewish race, for once a Jew adopts Christianity as his
    ” faith,” he is placed on a level with born Christians. It cannot be
    the supposed economical influence for evil exerted by the Jews, for
    the same evils complained of, only in much larger dimensions, are to
    be found in those parts of the Empire in which a Jew never sets
    foot. And yet, objectless as this persecution evidently is from any
    reasonable point of view, not only is it warmly advocated by a por-
    tion of the press, but a fiendish delight is taken in contemplating
    the results. The following is a short extract from a description of
    Vilna, published in the Vibia Messenger, a Government organ, and
    quoted with relish by the Novoye Vremi/a : —

    “All the narratives of travellers about Asiatic and African cities dwindle
    down to the level of the commonplace in conqiarison with the sights that meet
    your eye here ; even the glorious city of Berditscheff, the very name of which
    is become proverbial as a synonym for dirt and rottenness, is as nothing when
    confronted with this pearl. . . . Glance at the Jewish Synagogue. The dirt
    in the courtyard is indescribable, the noise and tumult like Tinto that which
    accompanied the confusion of tongues. But the atmosphere ! You should
    breathe it, to be able to conceive what it is like. Beside the women’s wing of tho
    synagogue are the baths in which the sons and daughters of Israel cleanse their
    sinful flesh. You can judge of the internal tidiness and cleanliness of these
    baths by the high dunghill carefully heaped up beside the steps of the
    entrance.” •*

    But the rest of this foul essay is, at least in parts, too filthy to be
    given in English. Imagine the Nawab of Bengal sneering at Mr.
    Holwcll and his twenty-two companions for the mephitic atmosphere
    of the lilack Hole of Calcutta, and you have a parallel to the good
    taste and humanity of Russian Judophobes.

    (1) Description of the Government of Grodno, vol. i., p. 8-58 and fol.

    (2) Afanassieff, Drsryiptio)? of the Gorrrnmnit rf Kovnn. pp. 082, .583.
    (••5) Xoxoye Vrrnn/n. 20th Aujrusr, 1888.

    THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 27

    It would be asking for a miracle to expect that men condemned,
    as are the Russian Jews, to rot away in forced idleness, in Augean
    filth, breathing air poisoned by the smell of untanned leather, and
    charged with the noisome exhalations of the dead and dying, to be
    clean, or even to be merely dirty in the ordinary acceptation of the
    word. What a harrowing picture of their life docs not the following
    scene conjure up — one of the most pathetic of the tragi-coraic incidents
    to which 1 alluded above ? In the middle of the town of Berditscheff
    there is a large channel or sink in which is thrown all kinds of foul
    unnamcable filth. One day it occurred to a police superintendent
    that he might have it cleaned out gratis, and he hit upon the follow-
    ing happy expedient : Strolling along the edge of this putrid cess-
    pool, he suddenly stood still and then bent anxiously over the brink,
    stirring up the filth with his stick, A crowd of Jews soon gathered
    round him, and inquired what was wrong. He replied that he had
    dropped a valuable ring worth £25 into the cloaca, and he promised
    a reward to the finder. ” In about fifteen minutes,” says the journal,
    ” all this putrescent garbage was taken out in handkerchiefs, buckets,
    pots, rags, &c., and brought /ionic by the Jews, who scrutinised it in
    their courtyards, each one hopeful of finding the ring. And in this
    way,” it concludes, ” the superintendent succeeded in cleansing that
    canal.” What extraordinary notions the Russian police must have
    of the meaning of the word sanitation !

    The majority of the other charges brought against the Jews are
    in equal good taste. In fairness to both parties, however, it must
    be admitted that from one fault — or perhaps the word crime would
    more accurately connote it — it would be difiicult to exculpate them ;
    and this partly explains, if it does not justify, the indignation of the
    Russian Government. I allude to a lack of ardour, amounting at
    times to a positive aversion on their part, to risk their lives in the
    service of the Tsar, in return for the rights and protection which
    they enjoj’ in Russia. And this, in spite of the solemn oath which
    they all have to take, ” in all things to serve and obey his Imperial
    Ma jest}’, not sparing in his service my life-blood, but shedding it,
    ay, to the last drop,” ^ in defence of throne and beloved fatherland.
    This may be perjury and high treason combined, but, whatever its
    name and degree, many Jews ^ are guilty of it. And if that be a
    satisfactory answer to the charge of undue harshness brought against
    the Russian Government, there is an end to the matter. At the
    same time one fails to understand why the Government, which
    taunts the Jews with being cowards, takes more pains to draw or
    drive them into the Russian army than if they were so many

    (1) Supplement to art. 1061 (1886).

    (2) The percentag-e of Jews who neglect to present themselves for military service, or
    afterwards desert, is lar^-cr than thiit f>f the Christians but the difference is not
    fonsidcrablc.

    28 THE JEWS IN RUSSIA.

    Hectors and Achilles. Lest a Jew follow what is supposed to be the
    bent of his inclination and shirk his ” sacred duty to his Little
    Father the Tsar and his dear Fatherlanfi,” his personal appearance
    must be minutely described in bis passport in much greater detail
    than if he were a Christian. Thus every pimple, mole, malforma-
    tion, and other mark by which he may be identified is to be clearly
    mentioned ! ^ If the medical commission declare him unfit for
    service, and the authorities entertain a well-founded or absurd
    suspicion that he himself deliberately contributed to bring about this
    unfitness, he is received into the army in spite of his physical defects,
    and told off for special service.” If, when called upon, a Jew fails
    to present himself to the military commission whose business it is to
    accept or reject him, he is not imprisoned, for this would be no
    punishment to a man whose life is a crownless martyrdom, but
    heavily fined. This may be a just and certain method of engrafting
    that love of Fatherland and Little Father which neither their feel-
    ings nor their reason have been able to evoke, but it seems needlessly
    harsh to inflict upon the hard-working old parents of the defaulter
    a fine of £50 besides ; and this is exactly what the law does.^ But
    many young men are orphans at this age, or their parents are lite-
    rally beggars, so that, not possessing a copper coin, they have no
    fear of the penalties. Such youths ingeniously turn the law to
    account, and compel it to yield them and their relations a slight
    profit. They run away from the parish or city in which the commis-
    sion holds its sittings, and are declared fugitives. For all such
    deserters — if only they be Jews — a reward of fifty roubles is always
    liberally paid. A friend of the runaway is informed by the delin-
    quent himself of his whereabouts, he comnumicatcs the information
    to the authorities and receives the reward, which he gives in part or
    in its entirety to the oifendcr.

    In this manner many of the Russian laws against the Jewish
    population either defeat their own purpose or inflict considerable
    loss upon the Christian subjects of the Tsar. Thus there are numer-
    ous districts in Ilussia — fertile stretches of land which are in sore
    need of workmen to till the soil or reap its fruits. It often happens
    that the corn rots on the ground for want of hands to cut it. The
    landowners have been for years crying out for some measure calcu-
    lated to restore what the emancipation of the serfs deprived them of
    — cheap labour ; and the Government did enact a law a few years
    ago, which has created a class of agricultural labourers who sell
    themselves for several years, and even descend to the heirs of their
    master, should he die before the expiration of their term. But this

    (1) Military Law of 188G. Explanation of Article 8.

    (2) Explanation of Article 40.

    f.1) Article .’).50 of the Military I^aw.

    THE JEWS IN RUSSIA. 29

    measure has not brought the looked- for relief to Russian landowners,
    who are often driven to despair at the sight of their riches melting
    away like snow for want of labourers, while the miserable Jews are
    perishing of sheer starvation, almost devouring each other, like
    Ugolino’s offspring in the tower of the Gualandi, because there is no
    work for them to do in the Pale. These hungry wretches are then
    accused by sleek, over-fed ministers in their warm drawing-rooms,
    of a disposition to outreach the Russian peasant whenever they have
    a chance. The accusation, it is to be feared, is not wholly ground-
    less, for Jews belong to the genus animal no less than to the species
    man, and the instinct of self-preservation is as strongly developed
    within them when their rival is a Russian as if he were only a vile
    Jew, like themselves. Men of mild, amiable disposition, tossed about
    in an open boat on the ocean for a week or ten days, and tortured by
    the pangs of hunger and thirst, have even been known to harbour
    wicked thoughts of cannibalism, which the children of Israel in
    Russia have not yet been known to entertain.

    I am personally acquainted with a rich Jew in a flourishing pro-
    vincial city who is compelled to pay in bribes to the authorities a
    sum that would support half the Jews of Berditscheff. He raises
    the necessary amount b}” imposing an illegal supplementary tax on
    all kosher food sold by him to his co-religionists. His arrangements
    with the police enable him not only to do this with impunity, but
    likewise to have all his competitors removed from the city ” adminis-
    tratively,” that is, by an order issued by the police, without rhyme
    or reason. These ” administrative ” orders are much more demoral-
    ising than the lettres de cachet of the French monarchy, because
    much more easily obtained. If a Christian have an obliging friend
    in the police administration, he can treat many Jews of the lower
    classes just as if they were serfs. I knew a respectable young girl
    of very honest parents privileged to live in one of the capital cities.
    A Christian ” fell in love ” with her, and under pretext of giving
    her lessons and preparing her for admission to one of the high
    schools, seduced her, solemnly promising marriage. I heard her
    once ask him to marry her, and I also heard him reply that he would
    have her sent out of the city in twenty-four hours for her presump-
    tion. And he did. A cousin of his is serving in the police depart-
    ment, and he had no difficulty to obtain an order for her banishment
    ” as a disorderly Jewess.” “But how could you bring yourself to
    do such a damnable act ? ” I asked. ” Oh, she is only a Jewess,” he
    answered. ” AVhat else is she good for. Besides, everybody does
    the same.” ^

    (1) At present a Jew can be sent out of the city on the ground that he has been
    impolite in the street or in a crowd. And this law has been made by a Governor whose
    politeness is shown by kicks and cuffs and blasphemous oaths, as the whole south of
    Russia is well aware.

    30 THE JEWS IX KUSSIA.

    Yes ; everybody does the same, and the lives of six million joeople
    whose instinct.^, aptitudes, and moral sense place them on a much
    higher level than their Christian fellow subjects, are thus made
    literall}^ unendurable. Scoffed at, terrorised, and robbed by every
    petty oificial with that certain impunity which invites to crime ;
    insulted, beaten, and kept in constant fear of violence by a vile
    rabble whom they dare not irritate by even a slight success in busi-
    ness or trade, held up to the scorn and indignation of all Russia by
    the Governmental press as the authors of every calamity avoidable
    and unavoidable ; ^ education and instruction denied them, the learned
    professions and higher branch of the profession of arms closed to
    them ; trade and commerce rendered very difficult by intolerable
    taxes and endless restrictions, and«’Ao//// impossible u-if/ionf hrihenj and
    fraud ; their personal liberty now at last completely taken away
    from them ; their religion proscribed, and their very souls killed by
    the perjury with which they are forced to blacken it, Russian Jews
    may well defy their persecutors to frame any further laws calculated
    to make their position worse than it is.

    Surel}^ Jlnglish journalists and politicians carried distrust too far
    when they doubted the solemn assurances of the Russian Government
    that no more stringent laws were in contemplation at present, just
    as the American coroner’s jury, finding a paper with the words,
    ” I have killed myself,” on the corpse of an inveterate liar, brought
    in a verdict that he was not dead at all. Still, it is to be regretted
    that the monster meeting which the Lord Mayor of London was to
    have convened was not held, as it might have led to some beneficial
    results ; not, of course, by passing impotent resolutions of indigna-
    tion, which would have had as much effect on the Russian Govern-
    ment as dewdrops on a goose’s back, but by respectfully petitioning
    his Im’-»erial Majesty — as a daily paper lately suggested — to commute
    in his clemency the present unbearable sufferings to which the law
    condemns six millions of men and women for worshipping God as
    Christ did — for painless death by electricity or poison.

    E. B. La MX.

    (1) Cf . Novoije Vremya, which published a long article at the time of the accident to
    the Tsar’s train at Borki to .show that the danger of sudden death had been brought
    about by the Jews, while his e.scape was miracidous and actually foretold by one of the
    minor Hebrew pi’ophets, who, when read aright, mentions him by name. TJiis same
    enlightened organ, the most extensively circulated in Ru.ssia, also countenanced the
    fable that the Jews periodically miu-dcr a Christian child, whose blood they require for
    their ceremonies.

    ^1 i^ iFrf


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