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to counteract the evil effects of the ori- and at prices fixed by the government. ginal dram - shops. It aims to provide a It is the law of South Carolina carried purer grade of whiskey to the masses, and out consistently from the root—the purto break the power of the dram-shops, chase of the grain and its distillationwhich have been so managed in the past instead of being begun in the middle, as as to make them pawn-shops as well as by Governor Tillman. For the public public-houses—even to the degree that it convenience, let us say (of course, not to was possible for a muzhik to lose there increase the sale of the liquor'), licenses not only his superfluities and his tools, are issued to tavern and restaurant keepers but even his right to a share of village and grocers to sell the government liquor, land-even his profit on his own labor. the licensees being selected for trustworIt was in 1895 that M. Witte began the thiness and good repute, and they havbuilding of the government monopoly ing to sign an agreement that their lischeme by introducing it in the prov- censes are revokable at the government's inces of Samara, Ufa, Perm, and Oren- pleasure. In connection with the scheme, burg. Eighteen months later, in July, temperance committees are formed in each 1896, it was extended to Bessarabia, Vol- province under the leadership of the Govhynia, Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, Podolia, Pol- ernor, and in the principal towns under tava, the Taurida, the Black Sea, and Kher- the Marshal of Nobility, to prevent drunkson provinces.
enness and establish attractive tea-shops, to In these places the excise on vodka is wean the people from their taste for liquor abolished, and the government has estab- -tea, by-the-way, being the commodity lished central liquor-depots in each prov- which it is said the government means ince, from which supplies are distributed next to monopolize. in sealed bottles and vessels to retail shops Wines, beer, and all other intoxicating set up by the government in the towus beverages, as well as the gorernment's and country districts. The little local vodka, may be sold by licenses under the distilleries, once so numerous and pros- same terms as the licenses for vodka-sellperous, are closed, and the drink is sup- ing are given out. plied to the state (by distilleries operated The government's official announceunder government control) in quantities ments, after two years of experimenting
with the new law, are to the effect that it mer price of the liquor by charging for is working very satisfactorily. M. Witte the use of glasses, corkscrews, and whatmade a tour of ten provinces in eastern ever the poor peasants need in connecand southern Russia where it is in opera- tion with this liquor, and by exacting tion, and was confirmed in his plan to ex- high prices for the relishes sold at the tend the scheme all over Russia. It is bars. These evils, being understood, declared that the better qualities of the to be dealt with by law. liquor and the decrease of drunkenness The muzhik, who possesses self or popuhave produced a reform whose good is lar government in its purest and simplest already apparent. The unofficial news- form in the management of his villagepapers of the empire do not altogether which is all the world to him-has always share this admiring and hopeful view of shown remarkable skill and moderation the new system. They declare that the in the use of this right. He has seen his government got a profit of fifty per cent. own and bis village rights shorn and inon the capital invested in the new enter- vaded from time to time in ways and to prise, and argue that this came of increased an extent which must have seemed monsales of the liquor, in addition to increased strous; but then, as always, he has proved excise rates, so that it is clear that there himself the patient, amiable, simple, and is the opposite of a reform in the drink- docile creature that he is. He believed, ing habits of the people. Where the new for instance, from the beginnings of his system has been longest in operation it is nationality that, though he was a chattel asserted that the temperance committees have failed to appropriate sufficient money to make the tea-shops attractive, and they are a failure. A serious loss to the unfortunate small farmer has come from the closing of the local distilleries—abandoned because of the advantages secured by the large ones under government control. The little distillerjes afforded convenient markets for the sale of farm products, and produced a waste that was utilized to feed cattle and enrich the land. A considerable decline in cattle-breeding has followed the new system, and very small agricultural communities have suffered other losses which to them are very severe.
The nguzhik is still being bled by the liquorsellers. Even the gorerument admits that under the new system the licensees, though obliged to sell vodka cheaper than under the old plan, still manage to get more from him than the for
A MUZHIK FAMILY.
spreading education among the
Of course this is true, and it is the hostility of the government to the spread of enlightenment by schooling, by travel, and by the introduction and multiplication of serious literature, that renders impossible a valuation of Russia's future based upon European comparisons. For myself, I cannot foresee the consequence of a long continuation of present Russian methods in Europe, because I cannot begin by conceiving their durability; and yet the Russians tell me that these must be maintained, that the self-interest of those who govern Russia demands the maintenance of present conditions, that with enlightenment must come rebellion, unrest, reforms in the direction of a constitutional government- and with this latter alone must come the breaking up of this huge feudal landlord's estate.
His government of his villages suggests the capacity the Russian peasant possesses, sadly
rude and undeveloped as it is. of the nobles, yet the land was his irrev. His “artels” prove that this capacity is ocably. But when serfdom was abol- strong enough for him to gorern himished the land was partitioned, and the self, which we are taught is a mightier villagers got only a portion, which is now thing than the taking of a city. They seen to be generally less than is actually show that he can make bimself indusnecessary for the support of the inhab- trious, bonest, thrifty, foresighted, reitants, whose numbers have greatly in- sponsible (nearly everything, in fact, that creased. New abuses have crept in, ow- he is not--until such combination gives ing to the muzhik's simplicity, his lack of him the chance to redeem himself). The ambition, and the vices of drink, gaming, artelshik is a muzhik revolutionized-a laziness, and aboriginal disregard for the beast of burden in man's guise transformmorrow, so that the nihilist writers de- ed into a full-fledged man, or woman, for clare his present state as a freeman a the women make good artelshiks also. worse and more bopeless one than his They are developed out of the familiarity former serfdom. And the calmest men with and training in co-operative man—even in official life-admit that the agement wbich the peasants get in the condition of agriculture is desperately little communes or village governments. bad. With a characteristic rebound into To a certain extent the artels follow the despondency that is a Slav trait, the jour- same line. They are an institution penals which have recovered from their ju- culiar to Russia, and of great interest to bilation over the proposed reform of the all mankind. In a Foreign Office report drinking habits of the people now de- of Great Britain they have recently been clare that there is no hope for reform most carefully studied and explained-a by the government, and that the muzhik task which the Russians have never uncan only be turned from drunkenness by dertaken for themselves. It seems that multiplying the primary schools and an artel is simply a company or associa
tion of peasants for the prosecution of a certain kind of labor or trade in a certain place, or for the performance of a single task. The custom of forming these companies has obtained there since the fourteenth century, though it grew out of a habit of certain Cossacks formed four centuries earlier. These Cossacks were fighters and brigands, who continued their warlike organizations in peaceful times for the division of their labor and of the spoils of hunting and fishing, and for the sale of their war booty and plunder. They carried their trade up the Dnieper, and so taught the boatmen of that river the advantage of forming the artels, which they still maintain. The system is to-day applied to the work of hunting, fishing, farming, mining, banking, customhouse, post-office, and railway work, and there are artels of laborers, mechanics, porters, factory - hands of many sorts, pilots, bargemen, stevedores, herders of every sort of cattle, musicians, beggars, and even horsethieves. It is impossible to say how many artelshiks, or even artels, there are, because no statistics upon the subject have yet been published. It is certain, however, that in the higher
fields of labor the institution is vigorously extending, though in the simpler relations of unskilled labor the practice of hiring individual muscle in the ordinary way is elbowing out the simpler artels of laborers.
Until recently the government has practically closed its eyes to the existence of the artels (except as it has employed them in certain works), regarding them with disfavor as being socialistic institutions, and yet refraining from opposing them because they confine their energy to the industrial purposes for which they are formed, and because they undeniably tend to the improvement of the muzhik, his work, and his value to the state. The Zemstvos, or provincial assemblage, has exercised whatever little governmental influence over them has been necessary, and there have not been until lately any laws concerning or affecting them. Even now these new statutes merely record
A PEASANT GIRL IN NURSE'S DRESS.
the cases of such elders or head men as are obliged to negotiate for the work of the members. Such a mau may not be able to do his share of the labor, and may be entitled to more than an equal share of the profits. All the members are responsible for the work and conduct of each member. In choosing their fellow-members the artelshiks give the preference to relatives or members of their own village or district communities, though in some artels, like those of the fishermen, the mere possession of the necessary tools is sufficient. Age, character, and personal fitness for the work to be engaged in are, however, the usual qualifications, and women are only admitted to the agricultural artels, or those which are wholly composed of women, like the ones that cultivate tobacco in one of the provinces, and the great grain-handling artel which loads the ships at Archangel. An entrance fee has to be paid by each newly made member. This varies from 12 cents in the simple agricultural artels to $500 in the exchange artels—the chief ones of Russia. There are thirty of these exchange artels in St. Petersburg alone, some dating from 1714. They have three thousand members. Their business is of two kinds: loading and unloading merchandise from ships, railway cars, or wagons, and
the work of clerks and messengers and extend to minor artels the rules gov- in the banks, business houses, and railerning the more important ones, the way stations. They are preferred as bauk change artels." Nothing more has been messengers and carriers of money, and necessary.
The institution is so very are obliged to deposit money for securiold, time has so perfected the simple ty for their honesty. If they steal or regulations and customs governing these lose money, and the amount of security bands of workmen, and the peasants are they have given is not sufficient, the artel themselves so familiar with the system, to which they belong is held responsible and so well suited by character and tem for the loss. It is the same if an artelperament to submit themselves to it, that shik damages or loses any article intrustno interference by legislation has been ed to him. needed.
Each artelshik is appointed by the elder When we come to describe these bands of his guild, with whom alone negotiation and their methods and operations we shall for his service must be carried on; but see that once again, as in the case of the self- when there is not work enough for all the government of the villages, this absolute artelshiks in any guild, a member will monarchy offers the strongest contrast to get work for himself as an independent its own main system of government by individual. It of course also happevs that tolerating the purest form of socialistic there is sometimes more work than an co-operation among its people.
artel can perform. Then it goes into the In an artel each member bas ay equal open market and hires labor, often paying share in the duties and work, and receives more for it than its own menibers are rean equal share of the profits, except in ceiving. But it is a fact that the artels
A PROSPEROUS PEASANT.