The Nihilists and the Czar.
Russia, for a civilised country, is perhaps the most unfortunate in the world, and believers in the Nemesis that follows crime and those, even to the third and fourthgeneration, who aieguilty of it, will be inclined to believe that the terrible Nihilism, now haunting the Czar like a vampire for his life, is a visitation of the Almighty upon the House of Romanoff, of which the Emperor Alexander is the representative. There are few roval families who have their history so taiutr.i as has that of the Czar of Russia, for, from the time of Ivan the Terrible, in 1570, who murdered his eldest sou with a blow on the head from an iron staff, and was the cowardly instigator of the Novgorod massacre, up to the time of Nicholas, the last Czar whose Polish crimes are familiar to all men of historical reading, the whole line of Russia’s sovereigns-has been marked with ignomony, and outrages of a kind that shock all the feelings of civilised men have characterised their reign. In a future article we may, perhaps, substantiate our statements by a few passages from the lives of the House of Romanoff, but meanwhile we have, said enough to apologise for any man kjelicvintg in a Nemesis of Russian royalty. In a recent article we summarised the doing of the Nihilists, andgavea faint out line of the terrible state of the country, and the terror the new order has inspired. No one can sympathise with the Nihilists in their mode of achieving their aims—to rid the country of a system of Government which has become intolerable, and to make their fellow countrymen acquainted with a freedom to which they have ever been strangers. Patriotism is at all times to be admired and respected, but patriotism that has its outcome in assassination by an unknown and concealed hand is ever to be condemned. But few people will accord to Russian Imperialism that sympathy in its trials that a more generous and humane ruling power would merit and receive in like difficulties. So that when the news reaches us, —as it has too frequently of late—that another attempt has been made upon the life of the Czar, the execration that naturally arises is neither so loud nor so deep, were the subject of the outrages any other than the descendant of the Romanoffs and the representative of Russian tyranny. Our cablegrams gives an instance of how steadily the Czar’s life is being sought by the new order of men who seek to regenerate the country. It is only one more example of their determination to uproot the last vestige of the Romanoffs’ power, and we are inclined to believe, from the course Nihilism follows to extend its influence and power that, despite the efforts of Imperialism to crush it, it wil eat its way like a cancer into the very soul of the Czar’s dynasty, and in time work its ruin. The Czar may vow the extermination of Nihilism and work his best, hut he knows not its extent, and he cannot touch its hidden power—for it works by an influence ho cannot control, because it is beyond his power before he knows of its existence. Steadily it proceeds, slowly and silently but not the less surely ; and though its final triumph may not be an event of to-morrow nor perhaps of this generation, we feel that it is the agency that is to drive from power in Russia the last Romanoff who will ever reign. Whether a better order of things will succeed can only be surmised on when the purposes and character of Nihilism are better and mors fully known.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 34, 13 December 1879
The Nihilists and the Czar. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 34, 13 December 1879
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