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not Millbank or any other English prison, arrived from Odessa in Vladivostok the as the scene of labor. I have no hesi- day before my departure. It was the Votancy to say that personally I prefer pris- ronzoff, a magnificent Clyde built ship, on life in Siberia to Sing Sing; and to set with airy and roomy quarters. She was the stamp of my approval upon the pris- the finest-looking ship I saw in the Far on, following the kindly invitations of East, and yet I was assured that she was the chief of police, I was about to traus- not an exception, but rather the type of fer my baggage from the hotel of the rich the magnificent twin-screw steamers which Chinaman to the jail. However, though compose the Russian volunteer fleet. As the prison tempted me by its superior she sailed into the harbor it was evident comfort, better food, and bath-tubs, I had that she had experienced a tempestuous to give up the project. Interesting things voyage. There was a flag flying from the were to be seen in the town and upon the peak, which we at first thought to be a great river every minute of the day, so I signal of distress. It turned out, howremained with Tai Phoon-Tai, only visit- ever, to be a request for water, as the suping the prison for my tub every day. As ply on board was almost exhausted. Her upon my first visit, I was always allowed arrival had been very much delayed by to walk about the place and visit all the the head-seas of a northeast monsoon, and prisoners, and I saw nothing to change to escape from the track of a typhoon she my opinion of the cleanliness and the bu- had given Hong-kong a wide berth; the mane condition under which they lived. only stop for water and provisions in the
Just in the nick of time to complete whole voyage from Russia to Siberia bad. the series of scenes of convict life in Si- been in Singapore. Water bad run short, beria which I had witnessed, a prison-slip in consequence, and the convicts had been
placed upon a minimum allowance. It and the absence of fear that seemed to be was indeed a sight to see them lapping entertained of the possibility of an outup the water, now that it was for the break. With the exception of three men, first time served out to them in unstinted who, as punishment for misconduct durquantities. Thanks to Admiral A-, ing the voyage, were chained to the deck, and the use of his steam-launch, I went the convicts were free to move about, it alongside and boarded the prison-ship appeared, pretty much as they pleased. well before she came to anchor. Though The guard of soldiers certainly did not in from a voyage of nearly fifty days, number twenty men, who went about genand after experiencing severe weather erally unarmed; and the sailors of the ship, continuously for the past two weeks, I who were not armed at all, seemed to be found the vessel and the convict quarters on the best of terms with the convicts, as clean and as sweet as are the steerage with whom they sat and talked, and even compartments on our own Atlantic steam- played cards. The convicts, judging from ers at the end of a voyage of less than their faces, seemed all to belong to one a week. Of course I would have these and the same class of confirmed and adjectives to be understood in a relative hardened criminals, but ethnically it was sense only.
the most varied assortment of types of the There were 110 “politicals" on board. races of the human family that I rememThere were about 1100 convicts, and judg- ber to have seen. Among them the real ing from their appearance, the great ma- Muscovites of the muzhik class, with their jority of them were criminals of the lowest meek long beard and lamblike eyes, were and most degraded category. I could not in an infinitely small minority, but every conceal my surprise at the smallness of other race of the conglomerate empire was the guard that stood watch over them, strongly represented. There were Germans
from the Baltic Provinces, and the blond there, and to illustrate it by their presence. Finns with their bleached yellow hair, In company with the captain and the who certainly more resembled the Ger- officer of police who had come from Rusman type of the days of Tacitus than do sia in charge of the con voy, I visited the Prussians of to-day, who look, partic- every nook and corner of the ship; ularly the East Prussians, quite Slavish, and though the voyage bad been made as they should from their origin. There under the adverse circumstances of bad were Chinamen and Tartars, and many weather and shortness of the water-supvarieties of Mohammedans, and Persians, ply, still everything was shipshape and and Turcomans, and Polish Jews, Ruthe- remarkably clean, as a ship must be to nians, Great Russians and Little Russians, pass through the tropics unscathed by Georgians, and the men from the Caucasus. disease. The sleeping-bunks were someAs I looked upon this spectacle, in other what cramped and crowded, but they were respects so sad, I could not help being no worse in this respect than a very great amazed at the facility which the Russian majority of sea-going vessels which carry civilization seenis to possess in oblitera- steerage passengers in every part of the ting national traits and characteristics, world. The police officer gave me a reand attracting to it the loyalty and de- cital of the incidents of the uneventful votion of the most alien races-a gift which voyage-of how the convicts, brought toit has in common with the civilization gether from every province of the empire, of the United States. These men were, had embarked at Odessa, where the bishop one and all, Russians, or claimed to be, though by blood and education they were as alien to her civilization I. I remembered the instances furnished by our own history, and more nunerously by Russian history of the last generation, of how quickly the two countries absorb men of power and convert them to their own uses. Ali Khan, the wild leader of turbulent central Asian hordes. and the determined enemy of Russia, after the last battle bad been fought takes service with his conqueror, and begins a new and had in person given the members of the serviceable career as General Alikhanoff; convoy his blessing, and had sprinkled and in a somewhat similar way—though the ship from stem to stern with holy the comparison may seem in vidious, which water. For fifteen days after setting sail it is not meant to be—we send not seldom the prisoners all wear fetters and ankle naturalized citizens of recent date to for- bracelets connected by a chain, gangs of eign courts to represent our civilization ten men being generally chained together. On the sixteenth day, however, the armor. These hopes and the bappy anticipations er comes out on the deck and knocks off which they evidently entertained were, the maracles and removes the chains, so in my opinion, well founded; for many they are free men now as long as their the life that was beginning, though cerconduct is good. They were all very do- tain to be attended with not a few bardcile and submissive, and seemed well fed ships and many discomforts, and for some and content. A kind of cabbage soup perhaps with considerable suffering, was that was served out to them in great bowls certainly not the life of deadening hopeseemed to me, after my experiences in the less routine of penal servitude under the interior, very savory, and, upon the invi- cellular system now almost universal -tation of the police officer, I broke my that system which eats out men's hearts, morning fast with them.
and breaks dowu their spirit, and ruins Hardly had the convicts hastily bolted them mentally and physically and in evtheir breakfasts before I saw them crowd- ery way. Here in Siberia the outlook ing to the port side of the ship, climbing for the convict is very different. Each into the shrouds, gesticulating wildly in and every one of these men who looked the direction of the shore, and asking all so eagerly towards the shore, however manner of questions of the officials as degraded the category of criminals to to the new land, the portals of which now which he belongs may be, or what bis lay open before them. In no other quar- previous career of servitude to the brutal ter of the globe, and under the operation instincts may have been, was here as
sured of a chance
humau, and that, once having fallen, it is difficult to rise and fall no more; but I am convinced that the reformative effect of the
system is most of no other of the penal systems I have happy; that it results in returning to soseen in operation in various parts of the ciety a greater number of men worthy to world, can you see men approach the be admitted into it than any other system place where they are destined to serve of penal punishment that is practised. out their sentence of pavishment with The people and the press of Siberia are such eagerness and with such an expres- unanimous in their support of Count sion of hopefulness as I vow sa w depicted Dubofskoi's memorial to the throne. upon the faces of these men. They had which aims at the concentration of all rather the appearance of convicts who the convicts, of the criminal class at least, were about to be liberated than of men into stations, depois, and colonies on the for whom the endless and interminable island of Sakhalin. That the press of the days of prison life were only beginning country should be so outspoken in ils opposition to the continuance of the present hardened criminals obtain, almost immesystem is certainly a healthful sign, and I diately upon their arrival in Siberia, a believe that the foreign critics, in leaving ticket of leave, and then show too often this long-controverted question in the how unchangeable is the bent of their hands of the Siberians, who are most di- crimival character by the immediate comrectly concerned, and who are perfectly mission of some horrible crime. acquainted with its many phases, will do The details of the memorial of the Govwell, and perhaps then time might be ernor-General and the plan which he profound to ferret out and expose abuses poses have not been published as yet, but which flourish nearer home.
I am credibly informed that he asks that While all classes in Siberia unite in all men who have been tried and convicted asking for the abolition of the convict of a felony or other criminal offence in system as now in force, they are equally Russia be first confined to the island of unanimous in denying the existence of Sakhalin for a probation period of three the inhuman abuses wbich in the past years, and only then, if he should make have been imputed to it. In their opin- good use of his liberty, be permitted to jon, however, a continuance of the sys- pass over the sea into the promised land tem would prove a great menace au of Siberia. The Governor-General points actual danger to the security and peace out clearly that as the voluntary emigraof the industrious settlements, which are tion of the free laborer is rapidly increasspringing up and entering upon a flour. ing, and that as the construction of the ishing and prosperous existence all railroad upon which so many thousands through the country, upon the line of of workmen have been engaged will the Trans-Siberian and upon the banks shortly be completed, and many thouof the Amur, as well as all through the sands of men be in want of work, the Primorsk, or Maritime Province. This disastrous effects upon the labor market, danger, they point out, arises from the which at first view appear serious, will, ease with which often inveterate and in fact, prove infinitely small in compari