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The death of Ooaat Demttrius Tolstoi, whom Stopniafc long & g0 named " the eoonrge of Russia," remover from the contemporaneous history its moat remark, able anachronism. The simple fact that auch a mai h*B lived, end during tfra last ten yeara ha 3 exercised a dominant infl-ience over tho policy of tbe Government and tho dostinieß of the people, reveal as fully as a volume c%uld the deplorable ooniitloa of Basela and the magnitude ef the revolution that must eomo d*y be brought about. Here wai a ruling statesman who deliberately strove, to dehumanise a nation, to uneduoate it, to abolish its literature and abuse its intelligence j to say to a people who were like " an infant orying m tbe night — an infest oryltg for the light," that they should have no light, but must remain for ever m darknaas. The war of tho Russian Government against education began fn the reign of Alexander 1 , and was vigorously praased by the reactionary Nioholaa, who pot every college under military oontrol. Alexander 11, showed a more liberal spiiit, and not only extended the eo-ipo of learning, but greatly increased the number of sohools of all kinds throughout tho Empire. In 1866, however, au attempt to take his lie was made by a student, aad it was discovered thit disaffection was widespread and still more widely spreading throughout tbe universities, wheranpon the Czar revived the worat repressive measures of the former reigns. Institutions of learning were suppressed and their faculties exiled, and In the aohools that remained open the policeman was substituted for the teaober »rd the bayonot for the ferrate. The fitting agent ohosen to execute tbl« system was Count Dametriua Tolstoi, and hi* hand fell heavy everywhere, from the prlmar? village sohool to the highest univer. slfcy. « The lets people know," he Bald," the more easily are they governed." AooordIngly, the study of history, save In Greek and Romnn ola«Blot>, waa prohibited, and from the classic text-books all passages re* latlng to popular rights and freedom were expunged. The study of geography, save tbat of Russia Itself, was forbidden ; " It* tendencies are dangerous," wrote Count Tolflbol ; *' It suggests oonfl'oting conclusions and gives rise to ÜBeleis reasoning." The study of Russian literature was also interdicted on like grounds : and, Indeed, all brunches of learning save Greek and Latin were either proscribed or hopelessly discouraged. And tho study of Latin and Greek was ootifined almoßt exclusively to tho driest possible grammatical exeroUes. Inet;ad of reading Homer they read the lexicon ; instead of reading Oioero they committed to memory pages of unrelated worda and phrases. Tbe number of schools was correspondingly reduced, nntil m Moscow, for example, where there were 100,000 ohlldren bat wain the ages of five and thirteen, there wai schoolroom aooommodatlon for only 7000. [a an empire with over 100,000,000 inhabitants the annual appropriations for public Instruction— and all instruction muat be public— arc only 10,000,000 dols. or i en cento por ospita ? This la the old atory of Bcrewlng down tho snfety valve to prevont the eio»pe of stoara. The Bystem waa relaxed a trifle m the first years of Alexander Ill's reigo, bat is now as severe as ever. The Government aims to withhold all education from the people so far as poaslblo, eapooially everything approximating to llbeial eduoatlon, Whorevor eduoallon muat be sranted it Is confined atrlotly to the ariatooratio olaaies. And when the privilege of learning something Is conceded care Is taken to make the Instruction aa barren and as profitlesi as possible. —" New York Tribune."

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Bibliographic details

A CRUSADE AGAINST KNOWLEDGE, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2213, 30 August 1889

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A CRUSADE AGAINST KNOWLEDGE Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2213, 30 August 1889