THE OUTRAGE ON THE OZAR
The news which was cabled on Saturday last ' that another attempt: had; pern. made upon the lifo of the Csar will take no one. by snrpri.-o, as that unfortunate monarch is known to be surrounded by enemies, banded together m secret organisations, to guard against whose machinations requires the services of a legion of detectives, aided by m system of espionage, marvellous m its complete* ness, and m the intricacy of its, ramifications. Indeed the present Ozar, like hif father and his father's father before him, has lived ever since he came to the throne m the midst of enemies^ooncealed and implacable, whose' constant aim is to compass hiß death, aiid day and night the utmost vigilance has to be observed to defeat their aims. His outgoings and his coming-in are vigilantly guarded, he cannot journey anywhere without the most elaborate precautions to secure his safety, nay, even m his own palace an argus-eyed watch must incessantly be kept. Even, the royal cuisine is a source of anxiety lest his food be poisoned, and it ib said that his death was once very nearly accomplished through some deleterious chemical surreptitiously introduced into his bath. What wonder that he always carries fire-arms m his waking hours,, and that he sleeps guarded, not only by huma.n watchers, but, by. an etfoTmous mastiff who lies stretched across the threshold of the Imperial; bedchamber I Yet, despite all these precautions, his life is m daily jeopardy, andrit ,may almost be regarded as certain that one day or other it will, be brought to Is violent end. Only a few weeks ago not only the Czar but almost the entire Imperial family were upon 1 the very brink of perishing together m that, so-called " accident " ,on the . railway near Gatschina, which, it was afterwards discovered was deliberately and wilfully caused by Nihilist plotters, and this, as but another of the many narrow escapes which the Czar has had, must naturally bring to his mind and to the minds of his family with an ominous significance the warning of the proverb that " the pitcher whioh goes often to the well is sure to be broken at last." That this constant anxiety has its natural effect is evidenced by the nervous apprehension which led the Czar the other day to shoot dead an equerry whom he fancied he had detected m a hostile movement, and m the intelligence cabled after the Gatschina acoident, that the Imperial physicians feared for the mental equilibrium of the Czarina unless she at once resorted to change of scene. And how well founded that anxiety is the news just to hand abundantly shows. That the hand which threw the dynamite bomb was that of an officer of the Imperial Guards brings out the startling fact that the Czar has deadly enemies even among the aristocracy, and among those who are sworn to defend his crown and perspn ; indeed, as a matter of fact* the Nihilistic movement is by no meajtf restricted to the lower strata of society, but, on the contrary, has its strongest supporters among the educated classes. For it is not the Czar as a matt who is hated, but tho Czar as a Czar, as the embodiment of *t despotic personal government which crushes the aspirations of the people for that freedom, ano] liberty which are the dearest privilege of conßtitutionally-governed countries^ 1% is because those who long for the rig^t of free speech, for jußt administrstion, for the due recognition of the rights of all class.es despair °f obtaining any of these thing's under the C«sariflm of Imperial autocracy, because they see that ngne pf them will be granted a| fte hands of the Csar, that they resort to the desperate expedient of dynamite, m the hope, no aC^ f! te °< *W* from terror what is refused to the olaims of justice, or of giving an opportunity for raising the standard of a revolution aimed at pulling down the existing and setting up a more popular form of Government. And though the means taken are to be deplored, the end sought is one with which it is impossible not to sympathise ; and it is infinitely to be regretted that the House of Romanoff, has not the wisdom to accede to the aspirations of the people by voluntarily surrendiaglsomefhing of the attributes and privileges of Imperialism, and conceding those popular rights which are so earnestly longed for and so justly ' demanded. So long as it persists m a haughty refusal to do this, so long will there be secret societies and revolutionary plots, culminating- in the assassination of Czar after Czar. It is an historical fact that the great majority of the rulers of Russia have come to violent deaths, and Alexander 111. will prove no exception to the rule unless he take warning m time. This last escape (if it be an escape) is the narrowest, perhaps, that he has yet experienced, and we shall not be surprised to learn even now that he has been mortally injured, for as m the Gatschina case, so m this, doubtless the newsfirstsent was judiciously toned down. If not, and we know the worst already, then it is to be hoped that the Czar will take the only means whioh can secure him against a recurrence of attempts on his life until one of these prove successful, by adopting such an attitude towards his people and their demands for reform as will make them anxious that his life may be prolonged m order to the carrying out of a wise «nq liberal policy, '
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