Memoirs of a Revolutionist

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1899

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(1842 - 1921) ~ Russian Father of Anarcho-Communism : As anarchism's most important philosophers he was in great demand as a writer and contributed to the journals edited by Benjamin Tucker (Liberty), Albert Parsons (Alarm) and Johann Most (Freiheit). Tucker praised Kropotkin's publication as "the most scholarly anarchist journal in existence." (From : Spartacus Educational Bio.)
• "The fatherland does not exist.... What fatherland can the international banker and the rag-picker have in common?" (From : "The Conquest of Bread," by Peter Kropotkin, 1906.)
• "...let us remember that if exasperation often drives men to revolt, it is always hope, the hope of victory, which makes revolutions." (From : "The Spirit of Revolution," by Peter Kropotkin, fi....)
• "...outside of anarchism there is no such thing as revolution." (From : "Revolutionary Government," by Peter Kropotkin, 18....)

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This document contains 68 sections, with 162,546 words or 940,889 characters.


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Note This book would not probably have been written for some time to come, but for the kind invitation and the most friendly encouragement of the editor and the publishers of "The Atlantic Monthly" to write it for serial publication in their magazine. I feel it a most pleasant duty to express here my very best thanks for the hospitality that was offered to me, and for the friendly pressure that was exercised to induce me to undertake this work. It was published in "The Atlantic Monthly" (September, 1898, to September, 1899), under the title, "The Autobiography of a Revolutionist." Preparing it now for publication in book form, I have added considerably to the original text in the parts dealing with my youth and my stay in Siberia, and especially in the Sixth Part, in which I have told the story of my life in Western Europe. P. KROPÓTKIN. BROMLEY... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The autobiographies which we owe to great minds have in former times generally been of one of three types: 'So far I went astray, thus I found the true Path' (St Augustine); or, 'So bad was I, but who dares to consider himself better!" (Rousseau); or, 'This is the way a genius has slowly been evolved from within and by favorable surroundings'(Goethe). In these forms of self-representation the author is thus mainly pre-occupied with himself. In the nineteenth century the a autobiographies of men of mark are more often shaped on lines such as these: 'So full of talent and attractive was I; such appreciation and admiration I won!' (Johanne Louise Heiberg, 'A Life lived once more in Reminiscence'); or, 'I was full of talent and worthy of being loved, but yet I was unappreciated, and these were the hard struggles I went through before I won the crown of fame' (Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Tale of a Life'). The main Pre-occupation of the writer, in these two classes... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Moscow is a city of slow historical growth, and down to the present time its different parts have wonderfully well retained the features which have been stamped upon them in the slow course of history. The Trans-Moskva River district, with its broad, sleepy streets and its monotonous gray-painted, low-roofed houses, of which the entrance-gates remain securely bolted day and night, has always been the secluded abode of the merchant class, and the stronghold of the outwardly austere, formalistic, and despotic Nonconformists of the "Old Faith." The citadel, or Kreml, is still the stronghold of church and state; and the immense space in front of it, covered with thousands of shops and warehouses, has been for centuries a crowded beehive of commerce, and still remains the heart of a great internal trade which spreads over the whole surface of the vast empire. The Tverskáya and the Smiths' Bridge have been for hundreds of years the chief centers for the fashionable sho... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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A high, spacious bedroom, the corner room of our house, with a white bed upon which our mother is lying, our baby chairs and tables standing close by, and the neatly served tables covered with sweets and jellies in pretty glass jars, --- a room into which we children are ushered at a strange hour, --- this is the first half-distinct reminiscence of my life. Our mother was dying of consumption; she was only thirty-five years old. Before parting with us forever, she had wished to have us by her side, to caress us, to feel happy for a moment in our joys, and she had arranged this little treat by the side of her bed, which she could leave no more. I remember her pale thin face, her large, dark brown eyes. She looked at us with love, and invited us to eat, to climb upon her bed; then all of a sudden she burst into tears and began to cough, and we were told to go. Some time after, we children --- that is, my brother Alexander and myself --- were removed fro... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Our father was very proud of the origin of his family, and would point with solemnity to a piece of parchment which hung on a wall of his study. It was decorated with our arms, --- the arms of the principality of Smolénsk covered with the ermine mantle and the crown of the Monomáchs, --- and there was written on it, and certified by the Heraldry Department, that our family originated with a grandson of Rostisláv Mstislávich the Bold (a name familiar in Russian history as that of a Grand Prince of Kíeff), and that our ancestors had been Grand Princes of Smolénsk. "It cost me three hundred rubles to obtain that parchment," our father used to say. Like most people of his generation, he was not much versed in Russian history, and valued the parchment more for its cost than for its historical associations. As a matter of fact, our family is of very ancient origin indeed; but, like most descendants of Rurik who may... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Two years after the death of our mother our father married again. He had already cast his eyes upon a nice looking young person, who belonged to a wealthy family, when the fates decided another way. One morning, while he was still in his dressing-gown, the servants rushed madly into his room, announcing the arrival of General Timofeeff, the commander of the sixth army corps, to which our father belonged. This favorite of Nicholas I. was a terrible man. He would order a soldier to be flogged almost to death for a mistake made during a parade, or he would degrade an officer and send him as a private to Siberia because he had met him in the street with the hooks of his high, stiff collar unfastened. With Nicholas General Timofeeff's word was all-powerful. The general, who had never before been in our house, came to propose to our father to marry his wife's niece, Mademoiselle Elisabeth Karandino, one of several daughters of an admiral of the Black Sea fleet, -a young lad... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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When I was in my eighth year, the next step in my career was taken, in a quite unforeseen way. I do not know exactly on what occasion it happened, but probably it was on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Nicholas I.'s accession, when great festivities were arranged for at Moscow. The imperial family were coming to the old capital, and the Moscow nobility intended to celebrate this event by a fancy-dress ball, in which children were to play an important part. It was agreed that the whole motley crowd of nationalities of which the population of the Russian Empire is composed should be represented at this ball to greet the monarch. Great preparations went on in our house, as well as in all the houses of our neighborhood. Some sort of remarkable Russian costume was made for our stepmother. Our father, being a military man, had to appear, of course, in his uniform; but those of our relatives who were not in the military service were as busy with their Russian, Greek, Caucasian, a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Wealth was measured in those times by the number of "souls" that a landed proprietor owned. So many "souls" meant so many male serfs: women did not count. My father, who owned nearly twelve hundred souls, in three different provinces, and who had, in addition to his peasants' holdings, large tracts of land which were cultivated by these peasants, was accounted a rich man. He lived up to his reputation, which meant that his house was open to any number of visitors, and that he kept a very large household. We were a family of eight, occasionally of ten or twelve; but fifty servants at Moscow, and half as many more in the country, were considered not one too many. Four coachmen to attend a dozen horses, three cooks for the masters and two more for the servants, a dozen men to wait upon us at dinner-time (one man, plate in hand, standing behind each person seated at the table), and girls innumerable in the maid-servants' room, how could any one do with less than this... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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To maintain such numbers of servants as were kept in our house would have been simply ruinous, if all provisions had to be bought at Moscow; but in those times of serfdom things were managed very simply. When winter came, father sat at his table and wrote the following: -- "To the manager of my estate, Nikóskoye, situated in the government of Kalúga, district of Meschóvsk, on the river Siréna, from the Prince Alexéi Petróvich Kropótkin Colonel and Commander of various orders. "On receipt of this, and as soon as winter communication is established, thou art ordered to send to my house, situated in the city of Moscow, twenty-five peasant-sledges, drawn by two horses each, one horse from each house, and one sledge and one man from each second house, and to load them with [so many] quarters of oats, [so many] of wheat, and [so many] of rye, as also with all the poultry and geese and ducks, well frozen, which... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In the autumn of 1852 my brother Alexander was sent to the corps of cadets, and from that time we saw each other only during the holidays and occasionally on Sundays. The corps of cadets was five miles from our house, and although we had a dozen horses, it always happened that when the time came to send a sledge to the corps there was no horse free for that purpose. My eldest brother, Nicholas, came home very seldom. The relative freedom which Alexander found at school, and especially the influence of two of his teachers in literature, developed his intellect rapidly, and later on I shall have ample occasion to speak of the beneficial influence that he exercised upon my own development. It is a great privilege to have had a loving, intelligent elder brother. In the meantime I remained at home. I had to wait till my turn to enter the corps of pages should come, and that did not happen until I was nearly fifteen years of age. M. Poulain was dismissed, and a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I well remember the Crimean war. At Moscow it affected people but little. Of course, in every house lint and bandages for the wounded were made at evening parties: not much of it, however, reached the Russian armies, immense quantities being stolen and sold to the armies of the enemy. My sister Hèléne and other young ladies sang patriotic songs, but the general tone of life in society was hardly influenced by the great struggle that was going on. In the country, on the contrary, the war caused terrible gloominess. The levies of recruits followed one another rapidly, and we continually heard the peasant women singing their funereal songs. The Russian people look upon war as a calamity which is being sent upon them by Providence, and they accepted this war with a solemnity that contrasted strangely with the levity I saw elsewhere under similar circumstances. Young though I was, I realized that feeling of solemn resignation which pervaded our villages. (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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It was in August, 1857, when I was nearly fifteen, that my turn came to enter the corps of pages, and I was taken to St. Petersburg. When I left home I was still a child; but human character is usually settled in a definite way at an earlier age than is generally supposed, and it is evident to me that under my childish appearance I was then very much what I was to be later on. My tastes, my inclinations, were already determined. The first impulse to my intellectual development was given, as I have said, by my Russian teacher. It is an excellent habit in Russian families --- a habit now, unhappily, on the decline --- to have in the house a student who aids the boys and the girls with their lessons, even when they are at a gymnasium. For a better assimilation of what they learn at school, and for a widening of their conceptions about what they learn, his aid is invaluable. Moreover, he introduces an intellectual element into the family, and becomes an elder br... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The long-cherished ambition of my father was thus realized. There was a vacancy in the corps of pages which I could fill before I had got beyond the age to which admission was limited, and I was taken to St. Petersburg and entered the school. Only a hundred and fifty boys --- mostly children of the nobility belonging to the court --- received education in this privileged corps, which combined the character of a military school endowed with special rights and of a court institution attached to the imperial household. After a stay of four or five years in the corps of pages, those who had passed the final examinations were received as officers in any regiment of the guard or of the army they chose, irrespective of the number of vacancies in that regiment; and each year the first sixteen pupils of the highest form were nominated pages de chambre; that is, they were personally attached to the several members of the imperial family, --- the emperor, the empress, the g... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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All over Russia people were talking of education. As soon as peace had been concluded at Paris, and the severity of censorship had been slightly relaxed, educational matters began to be eagerly discussed. The ignorance of the masses of the people, the obstacles that had hitherto been put in the way of those who wanted to learn, the absence of schools in the country, the obsolete methods of teaching, and the remedies for these evils became favorite themes of discussion in educated circles, in the press, and even in the drawing-rooms of the aristocracy. The first high schools for girls had been opened in 1857, on an excellent plan and with a splendid teaching staff. As by magic a number of men and women came to the front, who have not only devoted their lives to education, but have proved to be remarkable practical pedagogists: their writings would occupy a place of honor in every civilized literature, if they were known abroad. The... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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My brother Alexander was at that time at Moscow, in a corps of cadets, and we maintained a lively correspondence. As long as I stayed at home this was impossible, because our father considered it his prerogative to read all letters addressed to our house, and he would soon have put an end to any but a commonplace correspondence. Now we were free to discuss in our letters whatever we liked. The only difficulty was to get money for stamps; but we soon learned to write in such fine characters that we could convey an incredible amount of matter in each letter. Alexander, whose handwriting was beautiful, contrived to get four printed pages on one single page of note-paper, and his microscopic lines were as legible as the best small type print. It is a pity that these letters, which he kept as precious relics, have disappeared. The state police, during one of their raids, robbed him even of these treasures. Our first letters were mostly about the little details of my n... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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That same year I made my start as an investigator of popular life. This work brought me one step nearer to our peasants, making me see them under a new light; later, it also helped me a great deal in Siberia. Every year, in July, on the day of "The Holy Virgin of Kazan," which was the fête of our church, a pretty large fair was held in Nikólskoye. Tradesmen came from all the neighboring towns, and many thousands of peasants flocked from thirty miles round to our village, which for a couple of days had a most animated aspect. A remarkable description of the village fairs of South Russia had been published that year by the Slavophile Aksákoff, and my brother, who was then at the height of his politico-economical enthusiasm, advised me to make a statistical description of our fair, and to determine the returns of goods brought in and sold. I followed his advice, and to my great amazement I really succeeded: my estimate of returns, so fa... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Stormy times came now in the life of our corps. When Girardot was dismissed, his place was taken by one of our officers, Captain B . He was rather good-natured than otherwise, but he had got it into his head that he was not treated by us with due reverence corresponding to the high position which he now occupied, and he tried to enforce upon us more respect and awe towards himself. He began by quarreling over all sorts of petty things with the upper form, and what was still worse in our opinion he attempted to destroy our "liberties," the origin of which was lost in "the darkness of time," and which, insignificant in themselves, were perhaps on that very account only the dearer to us. The result of it was that for several days the school was in an open revolt, which ended in wholesale punishment, and in the exclusion from the corps of two of our favorite pages de chambre. Then the same captain began to intrude into the classrooms, where we u... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The school years of a Russian youth are so different from the corresponding period in west European schools, that I must dwell further on my school life. Russian boys, as a rule, while they are yet at a lyceum or in a military school, take an interest in a wide circle of social, political, and philosophical matters. It is true that the corps of pages was, of all schools, the least congenial place for such a development; but in those years of general revival, broader ideas penetrated even there, and carried some of us away, without, however, preventing us from taking a very lively part in "benefit nights" and all sorts of frolics. While I was in the fourth form I became interested in history, and with the aid of notes made during the lessons, and helping myself with reading, I wrote quite a course of early medieval history for my own use. Next year, the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and the imperial power attracted my special attention, an... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Every summer we went out camping at Peterhof, with the other military schools of the St Petersburg district. On the whole, our life there was very pleasant, and certainly it was excellent for our health: we slept in spacious tents, bathed in the sea, and spent a great deal of time during the six weeks in open-air exercise. In military schools the main purpose of camp life was evidently military drill, which we all disliked very much, but the dullness of which was occasionally relieved by making us take part in maneuvers. One night, as we were going to bed, Alexander II aroused the whole camp by having the alert sounded. In a few minutes all the camp was alive, -- several thousand boys gathering round their colors, and the guns of the artillery school booming in the stillness of the night. All military Peterhof came galloping to the camp, but owing to some misunderstanding the Emperor remained on foot. Orderlies hurried in all directions to get a horse for hi... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The years 1857-61 were years of rich growth in the intellectual forces of Russia. Al that had been whispered for the last decade, in the secrecy of friendly meetings, by the generation represented in Russian literature by Turguéneff, Tolstóy, Hérzen, Bakúnin, Ogaryóff, Kavélin, Dostoévsky, Grigoróvich, Ostróvsky, and Nekrásoff, began now to leak out in the press. Censorship was still very rigorous; but what could not be said openly in political articles was smuggled in under the form of novels, humorous sketches, or veiled comments on west European events, and every one read between the lines and understood. Having no acquaintances at St Petersburg apart from the school and a narrow circle of relatives, I stood outside the radical movement of those years, -- miles, in fact, away from it. And yet, this was, perhaps, the main feature of the movement, -- that it had the power to penetrate int... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In June, 1861, I was nominated sergeant of the corps of pages. Some of our officers, I must say, did not like the idea of it, saying that there would be no "discipline" with me acting as a sergeant; but it could not be helped; it was usually the first pupil of the upper form who was nominated sergeant, and I had been at the top of our form for several years in succession. This appointment was considered very enviable, not only because the sergeant occupied a privileged position in the school and was treated like an officer, but especially because he was also the page de chambre of the Emperor for the time being; and to be personally known to the Emperor was of course considered as a stepping-stone to further distinctions. The most important point to me was however, that it freed me from all the drudgery of the inner service of the school, which fell on the pages de chambre, and that I should have for my studies a separate room, where I could isolate myself from the bust... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In the middle of May, 1862, a few weeks before our promotion, I was told one day by the captain to make up the final list of the regiments which each of us intended to join. We had the choice of all the regiments of the Guard, which we could enter with the first officer's grade, and of the Army with the third grade of lieutenant. I took a list of our form and went the rounds of my comrades. Every one knew well the regiment he was going to join, most of them already wearing in the garden the officer's cap of that regiment. "Her Majesty's Cuirassiers," "The Body Guard Preobrazhénsky," " The Horse Guards," were the replies which I inscribed. "But you, Kropótkin? The artillery? The Cossacks?" I was asked on all sides. I could not stand these questions, and at last, asking a comrade to complete the list, I went to my room to think once more over my final decision. That I should not enter a regiment of the Guard, and give my life t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The five years that I spent in Siberia were for me a genuine education in life and human character. I was brought into contact with men of all descriptions: the best and the worst; those who stood at the top of society and those who vegetated at the very bottom, --- the tramps and the so-called incorrigible criminals. I had ample opportunities to watch the ways and habits of the peasants in their daily life and still more opportunities to appreciate how little the state administration could give to them, even if it was animated by the very best intentions. Finally, my extensive journeys, during which I traveled over fifty thousand miles in carts, on board steamers, in boats, but chiefly on horseback, had a wonderful effect in strengthening my health. They also taught me how little man really needs as soon as he comes out of the enchanted circle of conventional civilization. With a few pounds of bread and a few ounces of tea in a leather bag, a kettle and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In January, 1863, Poland rose against Russian rule. Insurrectionary bands were formed, and a war began which lasted for full eighteen months. The London refugees had implored the Polish revolutionary committees to postpone the movement. They foresaw that it would be crushed, and would put an end to the reform period in Russia. But it could not be helped. The repression of the nationalist manifestations which took place at Warsaw in 1861, and the cruel, quite unprovoked executions which followed, exasperated the Poles. The die was cast. Never before had the Polish cause so many sympathizers in Russia as at that time. I do not speak of the revolutionists; but even among the more moderate elements of Russian society it was thought, and was openly said, that it would be a benefit for Russia to have in Poland a friendly neighbor instead of a hostile subject. Poland will never lose her national character, it is too strongly developed; she has, and will hav... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Seeing that there was nothing more to be done at Chitá in the way of reforms, I gladly accepted the offer to visit the Amúr that same summer of 1863. The immense domain on the left (northern) bank of the Amúr, and along the Pacific coast as far south as the bay of Peter the Great (Vladivóstok), had been annexed to Russia by Count Muravióff, almost against the will of the St. Petersburg authorities and certainly without much help from them. When he conceived the bold plan of taking possession of the great river whose southern position and fertile lands had for the last two hundred years always attracted the Siberians; and when, on the eve of the opening of Japan to Europe, he decided to take for Russia a strong position on the Pacific coast, and to join bands with; the United States, he had almost everybody against him at St. Petersburg: the ministry of war, which had no men to dispose of; the ministry of finance, which bad no... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I did not stay long at St. Petersburg, but returned to Irkútsk the same winter. My brother was going to join me there in a few months: he was accepted as an officer of the Irkútsk Cossacks. Traveling across Siberia in the winter is supposed to be a terrible experience; but, all things considered, it is on the whole more comfortable than at any other season of the year. The snow-covered roads are excellent, and although the cold is intense, one can stand it well enough. Lying full length in the sledge, as every one does in Siberia, wrapped in fur blankets, fur inside and fur outside, one does not suffer much from the cold, even when the temperature is forty or sixty degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. Traveling in courier fashion, that is, rapidly changing horses at each station and stopping only once a day for one hour to take a meal, - I reached Irkútsk nineteen days after leaving St. Petersburg. Two hundred miles a day is the normal speed i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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All this summer I traveled on the Amúr. I went as far as its mouth, or rather its estuary, -- Nikoláevsk, -- to join the governor-general, whom I accompanied in a steamer up the Usurí and after that, in the autumn, I made a still more interesting journey up the Sungarí, to the very heart of Manchuria, as far as Ghirín (or Kirín, according to the southern pronunciation). Many rivers in Asia are made by the junction of two equally important streams, so that it is difficult for the geographer to say which of the two is the main one, and which is a tributary. The Ingodá and the Onón join to make the Shílka; the Shílka and the Argúñ join to make the Amúr; and the Amúr joins the Sungarí to form that mighty stream which flows northeastward and enters the Pacific in the inhospitable latitudes of the Tartar strait. Up to the year 1864, the great river of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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As there was nothing more to be done in the direction of reform, I tried to do what seemed to be possible under the existing circumstances, -- only to become convinced of the absolute uselessness of such efforts. In my new capacity of attaché to the governor-general for Cossack affairs, I made, for instance, a most thorough investigation of the economical conditions of the Usurí Cossacks, whose crops used to be lost every year, so that the government had every winter to feed them in order to save them from famine. When I returned from Usurí with my report, I received congratulations on all sides, I was promoted, I got special rewards. All the measures I recommended were accepted, and special grants of money were given for aiding the emigration of some and for supplying cattle to others, as I had suggested. But the practical realization of the measures went into the hands of some old drunkard, who would squander the money and pitilessly flog the unf... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I was far away, in the Vitím mountains, when the Polish exiles, who were employed in excavating a new road in the cliffs round Lake Baikál, made a desperate attempt to break their chains, and to force their way to China across Mongolia. Troops were sent out against them, and a Russian officer - whom I will call Pótaloff - was killed by the insurgents. I heard of it on my return to Irkútsk, where some fifty Poles were to be tried by court-martial. The sittings of courts-martial being open in Russia, I followed this, taking detailed notes of the proceedings, which I sent to a St Petersburg paper, and which were published in full, to the great dissatisfaction of the governor-general. Eleven thousand Poles, men and women, had been transported to East Siberia alone, in consequence of the insurrection of 1863. They were chiefly students, artists, ex-officers, noobles, and especially skilled artisans from the intelligent and highly deve... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Early in the autumn of 1867 my brother and I, with his family, were settled at St. Petersburg. I entered the university, and sat on the benches among young men, almost boys, much younger than myself. What I so longed for five years before was accomplished,-I could study; and, acting upon the idea that a thorough training in mathematics is the only solid basis for all subsequent work and thought, I joined the physico-mathematical faculty in its mathematical section. My brother entered the military academy for jurisprudence, whilst I entirely gave up military service, to the great dissatisfaction of my father, who hated the very sight of a civilian dress. We both had now to rely entirely upon ourselves. Study at the university and scientific work absorbed all my time for the next five years. A student of the mathematical faculty has, of course, very much to do, but my previous studies in higher mathematics permitted me to devote part of my time to geography; and, m... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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At the same time I worked a great deal for the Russian Geographical Society in my capacity of secretary to its section of physical geography. Great interest was taken then in the exploration of Turkestan and the Pamírs. Syévertsoff had just returned after several years of travel. A great zoologist, a gifted geographer, and one of the most intelligent men I ever came across, he, like so many Russians, disliked writing. When he had made an oral communication at a meeting of the society, he could not be induced to write anything beyond revising the reports of his communication, so that all that has been published over his signature is very far from doing full justice to the real value of the observations and the generalizations he had made. This reluctance to put down in writing the results of thought and observation is unfortunately not uncommon in Russia. The remarks on the orography of Turkestan, on the geographical distribution of plants and animal... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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It often happens that men pull in a certain political, social, or familiar harness simply because they never have time to ask themselves whether the position they stand in and the work they accomplish are right; whether their occupations really suit their inner desires and capacities, and give them the satisfaction which every one has the right to expect from his work. Active men are especially liable to find themselves in such a position. Every day brings with it a fresh batch of work, and a man throws himself into his bed late at night without having completed what he had expected to do; then in the morning he hurries to the unfinished task of the previous day. Life goes, and there is no time left to think, no time to consider the direction that one's life is taking. So it was with me. But now, during my journey in Finland, I had leisure. When I was crossing in a Finnish two-wheeled karria some plain which offered no interest to the geologist, or when I... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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St. Petersburg had changed greatly from what it was when I left it in 1862. "Oh, yes, you knew the St. Petersburg of Chernyshévsky," the poet Máikoff remarked to me once. True, I knew the St. Petersburg of which Chernyshévsky was the favorite. But how shall I describe the city which I found on my return? Perhaps as the St. Petersburg of the cafés chantants,of the music halls, if the words "all St. Petersburg" ought really to mean the upper circles of society which took their keynote from the court. At the court, and in its circles, liberal ideas were in sorely bad repute. All prominent men of the sixties, even such moderates as Count Nicholas Muravióff and Nicholas Milútin, were treated as suspects. Only Dmítri Milútin, the minister of war, was kept by Alexander II. at his post, because the reform which he had to accomplish in the army required many years for its realization. All other active men of t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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When we were leaving Siberia, we often talked, my brother and I, of the intellectual life which we should find at St. Petersburg, and of the interesting acquaintances we should make in the literary circles. We made such acquaintances, indeed, both among the radicals and among the moderate Slavophiles; but I must confess that they were rather disappointing. We found plenty of excellent men, - Russia is full of excellent men, - but they did not quite correspond to our ideal of political writers. The best writers - Chernyshévsky, Mikháiloff, Lavróff - were in exile, or were kept in the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul, like Písareff. Others, taking a gloomy view of the situation, had changed their ideas, and were now leaning toward a sort of paternal absolutism; while the greater number, though holding still to their beliefs, had become so cautious in expressing them that their prudence was almost equal to desertion. At the height... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The only bright point which I saw in the life of St. Petersburg was the movement which was going on among the youth of both sexes. Various currents joined to produce the mighty agitation which soon took an underground and revolutionary character, and engrossed the attention of Russia for the next fifteen years. I shall speak of it in a subsequent chapter; but I must mention in this place the movement which was carried on, quite openly, by our women for obtaining access to higher education. St. Petersburg was at that time its main center. Every afternoon the young wife of my brother, on her return from the women's pedagogical courses which she followed, had something new to tell us about the animation which prevailed there. Schemes were laid for opening a medical academy and universities for women; debates upon schools or upon different methods of education were organized in connection with the courses, and hundreds of women took a passionate interest in these... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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For the last few years the health of my father had been going from bad to worse, and when my brother Alexander and I came to see him, in the spring of 1871, we were told by the doctors that with the first frosts of autumn he would be gone. He had continued to live in the old style, in the Stáraya Konúshennaya, but around him everything in this aristocratic quarter had changed. The rich serf-owners, who once were so prominent there, had gone. After having spent in a reckless way the redemption money which they had received at the emancipation of the serfs, and after having mortgaged and remortgaged their estates in the new land banks which preyed upon their helplessness, they had withdrawn at last to the country or to provincial town, there to sink into oblivion. Their houses had been taken by "the intruders," --- rich merchants, railway builders, and the like, --- while in nearly every one of the old families which remained in the Old Equerries' Quarter a you... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The next year, early in the spring, I made my first journey to Western Europe. In crossing the Russian frontier, I experienced what every Russian feels on leaving his mother country. So long as the train runs on Russian ground, through the thinly populated northwestern provinces, one has the feeling of crossing a desert. Hundreds of miles are covered with low growths which hardly deserve the name of forests. Here and there the eye discovers a small, miserably poor village buried in the snow, or an impracticable, muddy, narrow, and winding village road. Then everything -- scenery and surroundings -- changes all of a sudden, as soon as the train enters Prussia, with its clean looking villages and farms, its gardens, and its paved roads; and the sense of contrast grows stronger and stronger as one penetrates further into Germany. Even dull Berlin seemed animated, after our Russian towns. And the contrast of climate ! Two days before, I had left St. Petersburg thickl... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I went first to Neuchâtel, an then spent a week or so among the watchmakers in the Jura Mountains. I thus made my first acquaintance with that famous Jura Federation which for the next few years played an important part in the development of socialism, introducing into it the no-government, or anarchist, tendency. In 1872 the Jura Federation was becoming a rebel against the authority or the general council of the International Workingmen's Association. The association was essentially a workingmen's movement, the workers understanding it as such and not as a political party. In east Belgium, for instance, they had introduced into the statues a clause in virtue of which no one could be a member of a section unless employed in a manual trade; even formen were excluded. The workers were, moreover, federalist in principle. Each nation, each separate region, and even each local section had to be left free to develop on its own lines. But the midd... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Bakúnin was at that time at Locarno. I did not see him, and now regret it very much, because he was dead when I returned four years later to Switzerland. It was he who had helped the Jura friends to clear up their ideas and to formulate their aspirations; he who had inspired them with his powerful, burning, irresistible revolutionary enthusiasm. As soon as he saw that a small newspaper, which Guillaume began to edit in the Jura hills (at Locle) was sounding a new note of independent thought in the socialist movement, he came to Locle, talked for whole days and whole nights also to his new friends about the historical necessity of a new move in the direction of anarchy; he wrote for that paper a series of profound and brilliant articles on the historical progress of mankind towards freedom; he infused enthusiasm into his new friends, and he created that center of propaganda, from which anarchism spread later on to other parts of Europe. After he had moved t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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During my journey I had bought a number of books and collections of socialist newspapers. In Russia, such books were "unconditionally prohibited" by censorship; and some of the collections of newspapers and reports of international congresses could not be bought for any amount of money, even in Belgium. "Shall I part with them, while my brother and my friends would be so glad to have them at St. Petersburg? " I asked myself; and I decided that by all means I must get them into Russia. I returned to St. Petersburg via Vienna and Warsaw. Thousands of Jews live by smuggling on the Polish frontier, and I thought that if I could succeed in discovering only one of them, my books would be carried in safety across the border. However, to alight at a small railway station near the frontier, while every other passenger went on, and to hunt there for smugglers, would hardly have been reasonable; so I took a side branch of the railway and went to Cracow. "The capital of old... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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A formidable movement was developing in the meantime among the educated youth of Russia. Serfdom was abolished. But quite a network of habits and customs of domestic slavery, of utter disregard of human individuality, of despotism on the part of the fathers, and of hypocritical submission on that of the wives, the sons, and the daughters, had developed during the two hundred and fifty years that serfdom had existed. Everywhere in Europe, at the beginning of this century, there was a great deal of domestic despotism,--the writings of Thackeray and Dickens bear ample testimony to it; but nowhere else had that tyranny attained such a luxurious development as in Russia. All Russian life, in the family, in the relations between commander and subordinate, military chief and soldier, employer and employee, bore the stamp of it. Quite a world of customs and manners of thinking, of prejudices and moral cowardice, of habits bred by a lazy existence, had grown up. Eve... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I hastened to share with my friends my impressions of the International Workingmen's Association and my books. At the university I had no friends, properly speaking; I was older than most of my companions, and among young people a difference of a few years is always an obstacle to complete comradeship. It must also be said that since the new rules of admission to the university had been introduced in 1861, the best of the young men--the most developed and the most independent in thought--were sifted out of the gymnasia, and did not gain admittance to the university. Consequently, the majority of my comrades were good boys, laborious, but taking no interest in anything besides the examinations. I was friendly with only one of them: let me call him Dmitri Kelnitz. He was born in South Russia, and although his name was German, he hardly spoke German, and his face was South Russian rather than Teutonic. He was very intelligent, had read a great deal, and had s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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When I joined the Circle of Tchaykóvsky, I found its members hotly discussing the direction to be given to their activity. Some were in favor of continuing to carry on radical and socialistic propaganda among the educated youth; but others thought that the sole aim of this work should be to prepare men who would be capable of arousing the great inert laboring masses, and that their chief activity ought to be among the peasants and workmen in the towns. In all the circles and groups which were formed at that time by the hundred, at St. Petersburg and in the provinces, the same discussions went on; and everywhere the second program prevailed over the first. If our youth had merely taken to socialism in the abstract, they might have felt satisfied with a simple declaration of socialist principles, including as a distant aim "the communistic possession of the instruments of production," and in the meantime they might have carried on some sort... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The two years that I worked with the Circle of Tchaykóvsky, before I was arrested, left a deep impression upon all my subsequent life and thought. During these two years it was life under high pressure,--that exuberance of life when one feels at every moment the full throbbing of all the fibers of the inner self, and when life is really worth living. I was in a family of men and women so closely united by their common object, and so broadly and delicately humane in their mutual relations, that I cannot now recall a single moment of even temporary friction marring the life of our circle. Those who have had any experience of political agitation will appreciate the value of this statement. Before abandoning entirely my scientific career, I considered myself bound to complete the report of my journey to Finland for the Geographical Society, as well as some other work that I had in hand for the same society; and my new friends were the first to... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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During the two years of which I am now speaking many arrests were made, both at St. Petersburg and in the provinces. Not a month passed without our losing some one, or learning that members of this or that provincial group had disappeared. Toward the end of 1873 the arrests became more and more frequent. In November one of our main settlements in a suburb of St. Petersburg was raided by the police. We lost Peróvskaya and three other friends, and all our relations with the workers in this suburb had to be suspended. We founded a new settlement, further away from the town, but it had soon to be abandoned. The police became very vigilant, and the appearance of a student in the workmen's quarters was noticed at once; spies circulated among the workers, who were watched closely. Dmítri Kelnitz, Serghéi, and myself, in our sheepskins and with our peasant looks, passed unnoticed, and continued to visit the haunted ground. But Dmítri and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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This was, then, the terrible fortress where so much of the true strength of Russia had perished during the last two centuries, and the very name of which is uttered in St. Petersburg in a hushed voice. Here Peter I. tortured his son Alexis and killed him with his own hand; here the Princess Tarakánova was kept in a cell which filled with water during an inundation,--- the rats climbing upon her to save themselves from drowning; here the terrible Minich tortured his enemies, and Catherine II. buried alive those who objected to her having murdered her husband. And from the times of Peter I. for a hundred and seventy years, the annals of this mass of stone which rises from the Nevá in front of the Winter Palace were annals of murder and torture, of men buried alive, condemned to a slow death, or driven to insanity in the loneliness of the dark and damp dungeons. Here the Decembrists, who were the first to unfurl in Russia t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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So I could work! I could hardly express now the immensity of relief I then felt at being enabled to resume writing. I would have consented to live on nothing but bread and water, in the dampest of cellars, if only permitted to work. I was, however, the only prisoner to whom writing materials were allowed. Several of my comrades spent three years and more in confinement before the famous trial of "the hundred and ninety-three " took place, and all they had was a slate. Of course, even the slate was welcome in that dreary loneliness, and they used it to write exercises in the languages they were learning, or to work out mathematical problems; but what was jotted down on the slate could last only a few hours. My prison life now took on a more regular character. There was something immediate to live for. At nine in the morning I had already made the first three hundred pacings across my cell, and was waiting for my pencils and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The worst was the silence, as of the grave, which reigned about me. In vain I knocked on the walls and struck the floor with my foot, listening for the faintest sound in reply. None was to be heard. One month passed, then two, three, fifteen months, but there was no reply to my knocks. We were only six then, scattered among thirty-six casemates, --- all my arrested comrades being kept in the Litóvskiy Zámok prison. When the noncommissioned officer entered my cell to take me out for a walk, and I asked him, "What kind of weather have we? Does it rain ?" he cast a furtive side glance at me, and without saying a word promptly retired behind the door, where a sentry and another noncommissioned officer kept watch upon him. The only living being from whom I could hear even a few words was the governor, who came to my cell every morning to say "good-morning" and ask whether I wanted to buy tobacco or paper. I tried to engage him in conversation... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The countless arrests which were made in the summer of 1874, and the serious turn which was given by the police to the prosecution of our circle, produced a deep change in the opinions of Russian youth. Up to that time the prevailing idea had been to pick out among the workers, and eventually the peasants, a number of men who should be prepared to become socialistic agitators. But the factories were now flooded with spies, and it was evident that, do what they might, both propagandists and workers would very soon be arrested and hidden forever in Siberia. Then began a great movement "to the people" in a new form, when several hundred young men and women, disregarding all precautions hitherto taken, rushed to the country, and, traveling through the towns and villages, incited the masses to revolution, almost openly distributing pamphlets, songs, and proclamations. In our circles this summer received the name of "the mad summer." The gendarmes l... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Two years had passed. Several of my comrades had died, several had become insane, but nothing was heard yet of our case coming before a court. My health gave way before the end of the second year. The oak stool now seemed heavy in my hand, and the five miles became an endless distance. As there were about sixty of us in the fortress, and the winter days were short, we were taken out for a walk in the yard for twenty minutes only every third day. I did my best to maintain my energy, but the "arctic wintering" without an interruption in the summer got the better of me. I had brought back from my Siberian journeys slight symptoms of scurvy; now, in the darkness and dampness of the casemate, they developed more distinctly; that scourge of the prisons had got hold of me. In March or April, 1876, we were at last told that the Third Section had completed the preliminary inquest. The "case" had been transmitted to the judicial authorities, and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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A storm raged in the North Sea, as we approached the coasts of England. But I met the storm with delight. I enjoyed the struggle of our steamer against the furiously rolling waves, and sat for hours on the stem, the foam of the waves dashing into my face. After the two years that I had spent in a gloomy casemate, every fiber of my inner self seemed to be throbbing and eager to enjoy the full intensity of life. My intention was not to stay abroad more than a few weeks or months: just enough time to allow the hue and cry caused by my escape to subside, and also to restore my health a little. I landed under the name of Levashóff, the name which I had used in leaving Russia; and avoiding London, where the spies of the Russian embassy would soon have been at my heels, I went first to Edinburgh. It has so happened, however, that I have never returned to Russia. I was soon taken up by the wave of the anarchist movement, which was just then rising in... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The Jura Federation has played an important part in the modern development of socialism. It always happens that after a political party has set before itself a purpose, and has proclaimed that nothing short of the complete attainment of that aim will satisfy it, it divides into two factions. One of them remains what it was, while the other, although it professes not to have changed a word of its previous intentions, accepts some sort of compromise, and gradually, from compromise to compromise, is driven farther from its primitive program, and becomes a party of modest makeshift reform. Such a division had occurred within the International Workingmen's Association. Nothing less than an expropriation of the present owners of land and capital, and a transmission of all that is necessary for the production of wealth to the producers themselves, was the avowed aim of the association at the outset. The workers of all nations were called upon to form their own... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Quite a number of remarkable men, of different nationalities, nearly all of whom bad been personal friends of Bakúnin, belonged at that time to the Jura Federation. The editor of our chief paper, the Bulletin of the federation, was James Guillaume, a teacher by profession, who belonged to one of the aristocratic families of Neuchâtel. Small, thin, with the stiff appearance and resoluteness of Robespierre, and with a truly golden heart which opened only in the intimacy of friendship, he was a born leader by his phenomenal powers of work and his stern activity. For eight years he fought against all sorts of obstacles to maintain the paper in existence, taking the most active part in every detail of the federation, till he had to leave Switzerland, where he could find no work whatever, and settled in France, where his name will be quoted some day with the utmost respect in the history of education. Adhémar Schwitzguébel, also a Swiss, was... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Of all the towns of Switzerland that I know, La Chauxde-Fonds is perhaps the least attractive. It lies on a high plateau entirely devoid of any vegetation, open to bitterly cold winds in the winter, when the snow lies as deep as at Moscow, and melts and falls again as often as at St. Petersburg. But it was important to spread our ideas in that center, and to give more life to the local propaganda Pindy, Spichiger, Albarracin, the Blanquists Ferré and Jallot were there, and from time to time I could pay visits to Guillaume at Neuchâtel, and to Schwitzguébel in the valley of St. Imier A life full of work that I liked began now for me. We held many meetings, ourselves distributing our announcements in the cafés and the workshops. Once a week we held our section meetings, at which the most animated dis cussions took place, and we went also to preach anarchism at the gatherings convoked by the political parties. I traveled a good deal,... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Two congresses were held in the autumn of 1877 in Belgium: one of the International Workingmen's Association at Verviers, and the other an international socialist congress at Ghent. The latter was especially important, as it was known that an attempt would be made by the German social democrats to bring all the labor movement of Europe under one organization, subject to a central committee, which would be the old general council of the International under a new name. It was therefore necessary to preserve the autonomy of the labor organizations in the Latin countries, and we did our best to be well represented at this congress. I went under the name of Levashóff; two Germans, the compositor Werner and the engineer Rinke, walked nearly all the distance from Basel to Belgium; and although we were only nine anarchists at Ghent, we succeeded in checking the centralization scheme. Twenty-two years have passed since; a number of international socialist congress... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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During this stay at Paris I made my first acquaintance with Turguéneff. He had expressed to our common friend P. L. Lavróff the desire to see me, and, as a true Russian, to celebrate my escape by a small friendly dinner. It was with a feeling almost of worship that I crossed the threshold of his room. If by his "Sportsman's Notebook" he rendered to Russia the immense service of throwing odium upon serfdom (I did not know at that time that he took a leading part in Hérzen's powerful "Bell"), he has rendered no less service through his later novels. He has shown what the Russian woman is, what treasuries of mind and heart she possesses; what she may be as an inspirer of men; and he has taught us how men who have a real claim to superiority look upon women, how they love. Upon me, and upon thousands of my contemporaries, this part of his teaching made an indelible impression, far more powerful than the best articles upon women's rights. His appe... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In the meantime affairs in Russia took quite a new turn. The war which Russia began against Turkey in 1877 had ended in general disappointment. There was in the country, before the war broke out, a great deal of enthusiasm in favor of the Slavonians. Many believed, also, that a war of liberation in the Balkans would result in a move in the progressive direction in Russia itself. But the liberation of the Slavonian populations was only partly accomplished. The tremendous sacrifices which had been made by the Russians were rendered ineffectual by the blunders of the higher military authorities. Hundreds of thousands of men had been slaughtered in battles which were only half victories, and the concessions wrested from Turkey were brought to naught at the Berlin congress. It was also widely known that the embezzlement of state money went on during this war on almost as large a scale as during the Crimean war. It was amid the general dissatisfa... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In Russia the struggle for freedom was taking on a and more acute character. Several political trials had been brought before high courts, -- the trial of "the hundred and ninety-three," of "the fifty," of "the Dolgúshin circle," and so on, -- and in all of them the same thing was apparent. The youth had gone to the peasants and the factory workers, preaching socialism to them; socialist pamphlets, printed abroad, had been distributed; appeals had been made to revolt -- in some vague, indeterminate way -- against the oppressive economical conditions. In short, nothing was done that does not occur in socialist agitations in every other country of the world. No traces of conspiracy against the Czar, or even of preparations for revolutionary action, were found; in fact, there were none. The great majority of our youth were at that time hostile to such action. Nay, looking now over that movement of the years 1870-78, I can say in full confidence that most of them woul... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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A wild panic seized the court circles at St. Petersburg. Alexander III., who, notwithstanding his colossal stature and force, was not a very courageous man, refused to move to the Winter Palace, and retired to the palace of his grandfather, Paul I., at Gatchina. I know that old building, planned as a Vauban fortress, surrounded by moats and protected by watchtowers, from the tops of which secret staircases lead to the Emperor's study. I have seen the trap-doors in the study, for suddenly throwing an enemy on the sharp rocks in the water underneath, and the secret staircase leading to underground prisons and to an underground passage which opens on a lake. All the palaces of Paul I. had been built on a similar plan. In the meantime, an underground gallery, supplied with automatic electric appliances to protect it from being undermined by the revolutionists, was dug round the Anichkoff palace, in which Alexander III. resided when he was heir apparent. A secret lea... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In October or November, 1881, as soon as my wife passed her examination, we removed from Thonon to London, where we stayed nearly twelve months. Few years separate us from that time, and yet I can say that the intellectual life of London and of all England was quite different then from what it became a little later. Every one knows that in the forties England stood almost at the head of the socialist movement in Europe; but during the years of reaction that followed, the great movement, which had deeply affected the working classes, and in which all that is now put forward as scientific or anarchist socialism had already been said, came to a standstill. It was forgotten, in England as well as on the Continent, and what the French writers describe as "the third awakening of the proletarians" had not yet begun in Britain. The labors of the agricultural commission of 1871, the propaganda among the agricultural laborers, and the previous efforts of the Chri... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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We settled once more in Thonon, taking lodgings with our former hostess, Madame Sansaux. A brother of my wife, who was dying of consumption, and had come to Switzerland, joined us. I never saw such numbers of Russian spies as during the two months that I remained at Thonon. To begin with, as soon as we had engaged lodgings, a suspicious character, who gave himself out for an Englishman, took the other part of the house. Flocks, literally flocks of Russian spies besieged the house, seeking admission under all possible pretexts, or simply tramping in pairs, trios, and quartets in front of the house. I can imagine what wonderful reports they wrote. A spy must report. If he should merely say that he has stood for a week in the street without noticing anything mysterious, he would soon be put on the half-pay list or dismissed. It was then the golden age of the Russian secret police. Ignátieff's policy had borne fruit. There were two or thr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The anarchist movement had undergone a considerable development in France during the years 1881 and 1882. It was generally believed that the French mind was hostile to communism, and within the International Workingmen's Association "collectivism" was preached instead. It meant then the possession of the instruments of production in common, each separate group having to settle for itself whether the consumption of produce should be on individualistic or communistic lines. In reality, however., the French mind was hostile only to the monastic communism, to the phalanstère of the old schools. When the Jura Federation, at its congress of 1880, boldly declared itself anarchist-communist, - that is, in favor of free communism-anarchism won wide sympathy in France. Our paper began to spread in that, country, letters were exchanged in great numbers with French workers, and an anarchist movement of importance rapidly developed at Paris and in some of the provinc... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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The trial was over, but I remained for another couple of months in the Lyons prison. Most of my comrades had lodged an appeal against the decision of the police court, and we had to wait for its results. With four more comrades, I refused to take any part in that appeal to a higher court, and continued to work in my pistole. A great friend of mine-Martin, a clothier from Vienne-took another pistole by the side of the one which I occupied, and as we were already condemned, we were allowed to take our walks together; and when we had something to say to each other between the walks, we used to correspond by means of taps on the wall, just as in Russia. During my sojourn at Lyons I began to realize the awfully demoralizing influence of the prisons upon the prisoners, which brought me later to condemn unconditionally the whole institution. The Lyons prison is a "modern" structure, built in the shape of a star, on the cellular system. (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Every revolutionist meets a number of spies and "agents provocateurs" in his way, and I have had my fair share of them. All governments spend considerable sums of money in maintaining this kind of reptile. However, they are mainly dangerous to young people only. One who has had some experience of life and men soon discovers that there is about these creatures something which puts him on his guard. They are recruited from the scum of society, among men of the lowest moral standard, and if one is watchful of the moral character of the men he meets with, he soon notices something in the manners of these "pillars of society" which shocks him, and then he asks himself the question: "What has brought this man to me? What in the world can he have in common with us?" In most cases this simple question is sufficient to put one on his guard. When I first came to Geneva, the agent of the Russian government who had been commissioned to spy upon the refugees was well-k... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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Demands for our release were continually raised, both in the press and in the Chamber of Deputies,-the more so as about the same time that we were condemned Louise Michel was condemned, too, for robbery! Louise Michel-who always gives literally her last shawl or cloak to the woman who is in need of it, and who never could be compelled, during her imprisonment, to have better food than her fellow prisoners, because she always gave them what was sent to her--was condemned, together with another comrade, Pouget, to nine years' imprisonment for highway robbery! That sounded too bad even for the middle-class opportunists. She marched one day at the head of a procession of the unemployed, and, entering a baker's shop, took a few loaves from it and distributed them to the hungry column: this was her robbery. The release of the anarchists thus became a war-cry against the government, and in the autumn of 1885 all my comrades save three were set at liberty by a d... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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In 1886 the socialist movement in England was in full swing. Large bodies of workers had openly joined it in all the principal towns, as well as a number of middle-class people, chiefly young, who helped it in different ways. An acute industrial crisis prevailed that year in most trades, and every morning, and often all the day long, I heard groups of workers going about in the streets singing "We've got no work to do," or some hymn, and begging for bread. People flocked at night into Trafalgar Square, to sleep there in the open air, in the wind and in the rain, between two newspapers; and one day in February a crowd, after having listened to the speeches of Burns, Hyndman, and Champion, rushed into Piccadilly and broke a few windows in the great shops. Far more important, however, than this outbreak of discontent was the spirit which prevailed among the poorer portion of the working population in the outskirts of London. It was such that if the leaders o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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I took a lively part in this movement, and with a few English comrades I started, in addition to the three socialist papers already in existence, an anarchist-communist monthly, "Freedom," which continues to live up to tile present hour. At the same time I resumed my work on anarchism where I had had to interrupt it at the time of my arrest. The critical part of it was published by Elisée Recius, during my Clairvaux imprisonment, under the title, "Paroles d'un Révolte." Now I began to work out the constructive part of an anarchist-communist society,so far as it could be forecast,-in a series of articles published at Paris in "La Révolte." "Our boy," prosecuted for anti-militarist propaganda, had been compelled to change its title-page, and now appeared under a feminine name. Later on these articles were published in a more elaborate form in a book, "La Conquête du Pain." These researches caused me to study... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Chronology

1899 :
Memoirs of a Revolutionist -- Publication.

January 21, 2017 ; 5:02:03 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 26, 2019 ; 5:45:48 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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