The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 1890 WHAT AILS THE CZAR?
Alexander the Third, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias is by no means a man to be envied, despite the magnificence of his throne and the enormous extent of his Empire. For his life is in jeopardy every hour, and it hardly seems possible that he will escape the general doom of his house, death by violence. His father Alexander 11. ran the gauntlet of a number of attempts upon his life, and was finally a victim to the tireless activity of his. enemies. The first of these occurred on the 16th April, 1866, eleven years after his accession, when he was fired at while entering his f carriage at St. Petersburg, and was ' saved by a workman named Dimitri Karakosow, who turned aside the pistol of the would-be assassin, and was afterwards ennobled for his timely intervention. The second attempt was at Paris, on June 6, 1867, and was made by one Berezowski, a Pole, who fired into the carriage in which were seated the Ozar, his two sons, and the Emperor Napoleon. Both sovereigns escaped unhurt, but the horse of one of the equerries was wounded. On this occasion the Czar's escape was; however, doubtless, due to the fact .that the second barrel of the pistol burst just as Berezowski was about to fire another shot. These two historical attempts upon the life of the late Emperor were followed by many attempts at assassination by means of mines, two of these, viz., the blowing up of a train by Hartmann, on the Moscow railway on December, 17,1879, and of the floor of the dining-room of the Winter Palace on Feb. 5, 1880, being very nearly successful. Finally Alexander 11. perished through handbombs thrown at his carriage on March 13, 1881, while it is said that had he escaped these he would have been destroyed by an under-ground mine on his way home. His son, the present Ozar, Alexander 111., is also in his turn the object of the ceaseless plots of Nihilistic revolutionaries, and from time to time we hear of the frustration of attempts to compass his destruction. Many of the reports which are thus circulated are officially contradicted, but it is generally believed that on two or three occasions the Emperor has had exceedingly narrow escapes; once it is said from perishing in a poisoned bath, and at another time from destruction by dynamite. And, despite the inspired denials, there now seems to be reason to believe that the true answer to the question at the head of this article " What ails the Czar ?" is that he is even now suffering from the effects of poison administered in his food. For we notice that a dispatch to the " San Francisco Chronicle," dated Paris, December 30th, said:—"A private letter from St. Petersburg says that the recent so-called 'relapse' of the Czar Avas not the return of the influenza, from which he had completely recovered. The symptoms of his latest illness were .different and much mnvp \twugo.-^»>^—mi <=* -™j7j3cvTx;rrvij in good health, was suddenly taken with violent pains in the stomach after leaving the dinner table. His attendants were greatly alarmed. Physicians were summoned and administered remedies for ppison. Tlie Court story is that a deadly drug was found wixqcl with the food of which His Majesty had partaken. The Nihilists, who have been very active of late, confirm this report, and boast that the poison was administered by one of their number. The Emperor's condition was critical for a short time. Powerful antidotes and skilful treatment saved him, but he is still very weak. Every effort was made to hush up the affair, The
physicians "were not allowed to issue bulletin?, as they did honrly during his first illness. The report given out was that fchpre had been a slight relapse." There is an ah' oi vraisemblance about this reported attempt to prison, and it is exceedingly probable that it is reajly the case that k\% would-be assassins have this time very neatly succeeded, while in view of the widespread ramifications of Nihilism and the unwearied persistence of the enemies of autocracy it is difficult to imagine but that the pitcher that goes so often to the well must be shattered at last. .