« PreviousContinue »
the freedom of the subject; it is the denial of the priva rights of the individual. Accept Prohibition as anythi more than a temporary war measure, and the first brea has been made in that liberty of conscience which it h required so many centuries of struggle to win. TI American view appears to be that a bare majority is have the right of dictating to the private individual the matter of his tastes and habits. Such a view utterly at variance with British traditions. If it spread in Canada, if it gains a permanent foothold, it can on be because Americans there outnumber the British-bor From the regulation of habits and tastes, it is only step to the regulation of speech and thought. Th. tyranny that would ensue from the Pussy-footing Canada is too horrible to contemplate.*
Direct legislation is equally out of harmony wit British institutions. Indeed, it must in the end resul in their complete overthrow. Responsible governmen would be destroyed; for the real leaders would no longe be the prominent men in Parliament, but the agitator and nameless conspirators who engineer referendums Here, again, the people of Canada must make a definite choice. They cannot mould themselves at one and the same time on the pattern of British Democracy and or the pattern of American Democracy.
To complete the picture of the conflict and confusion of political ideas in Canada to-day, it is enough to add that the very Platform advocating the Referendum and Prohibition, which taken together strike at the roots of personal freedom and secure the tyranny of the bare majority, nevertheless advocates the removal of the press censorship and the restoration of the right of speech, and includes proportional representation among its items. Here, again, a choice must be made. The
, object of proportional representation is the adequate representation of minorities, the safeguarding of minority rights. The object of the Referendum is to ride roughshod over minorities of any kind, and to reduce them to impotence and silence. How can the two be reconciled ?
A critical study of the Farmers' National Political
* Since this was written British Columbia has set an example to the rest of the Continent by rejecting Prohibition with a majority of two to one.
Platform thus reveals many divergent influences at work, many hands bringing from all directions pieces of lumber that may or may not fit into a lasting edifice. At first sight, the political struggle might appear as a plain case of West against East, a solid West battling for freedom from the economic strangle-hold of the East, and a solid East grimly resolved to preserve its vested interests. Closer examination shows that the West, while united on the negative side of the Fiscal question (namely, the destruction of the Tariff), is by no means united on the constructive side of the Fiscal question (new taxation) and still less on other matters of vital importance. Reciprocity with the United States appeals with special force to former citizens of that country. To conciliate the British element, the sop of Free Trade with Great Britain is thrown to it. But lest the American should take offence, the preamble of the whole document includes a strongly anti-imperialist pronouncement. The Labour-Socialist element has its finger in the pie, preparing the way for the full triumph of its own special tenets, but careful not to intrude itself too obviously upon the notice of the wary farmer; and the organisation of labour is almost purely American. As Mr Peterson says: Canadian labour organisations are international, which merely means that United States bodies dominate the situation.
Whether Canadian labour may or may not strike is determined south of the line.'
The farmers' movement, which, in the sphere of economic co-operation, was purely agrarian in management and inspiration, appears to have lost much of its agrarian character in the political sphere. It has been skilfully diverted by hands working in the dark for purposes which have little in common with agrarianism, and cannot be called truly national. For to such an eclectic hodge-podge as the programme of the Council of Agriculture the epithet of national can scarcely be applied. Canada grew during the war to the full stature of a nation. She has nothing to learn from her neighbours south of the line. She must emancipate herself from the tutelage of American ideas; but can only do so with the help of a large influx of British-born population. Art. 6.—THE MEANING OF RUSSIAN LITERATUR 1. Profils et types de la littérature russe. By E. Com
Paris : Fischbacher, 1896. 2. The Collected Works of V. G. Byelinsky [In Russi.
Second edition. Four vols. St Petersburg, 1900. 3. Collected Works of A. M. Skabichevsky : Crit
Essays, etc. [In Russian). Third edition. Two v
St Petersburg, 1903. 4. History of Modern Russian Literature, 1848–1908.
A. M. Skabichevsky. [In Russian.] Seventh editi
St Petersburg, 1909. 5. History of Russian Literature. By A. N. Pypin.
Russian.] Third edition. Four vols. St Petersburg, 19 6. Sketches for the History of Modern Russian Literatu By P. Kogan. [In Russian). Moscow, 1910-12.
[ 7. Russian Literature. By Prince P. A. Kropotk
Duckworth, 1916. THE English student of Russian life and character fir himself confronted by what appears at the outset baffling enigma to which Russian history in itself de not supply a satisfactory clue. The science, the art, t music of Russia yield each something to his search, b it is only in the literature of the Russian people that finds the master-key to the mind and heart of the nati It is hardly too much to say that in no other langua is the literature so expressive, so intimate and searchi in its psychology, so true an index to the mentali whence it proceeds. In the words of Byelinsky,
Our social life finds its chief expression in our literatu Art with us is still a weak and tender shoot which has n had time to spread its roots, much less to develop into a fi and goodly-smelling flower. That does not mean that the is no art, but only that art in Russia is something of t nature of the Eleusinian mysteries, the exclusive possessi of a small, select class.'
Of Russian literature, on the contrary, it may be sai that at birth it sprang direct from the peasantry of th land, and after centuries of suppression and diversio from its original channel, it has returned in moder times to the source of its earliest inspiration, there t be strengthened, enriched, and revived beyond a
measure. To explain how Russia, with millions of her population steeped in ignorance, has come to possess a literature such as this, it is not enough to give a list of men of letters, or to describe their personalities and works. We must trace the growth of national thought and aspiration from the earliest dawn of Slavonic civilisation, before the fatal supremacy of the Mongol Khans, when nomadic tribes were in process of becoming communal settlers, when along the banks of the great
watercourses prosperous cities spread themselves, and 3 the boats or sledges of traders plied to and fro laden with merchandise.
To those far-off times, the eighth and ninth centuries of the Christian era, belong the epic songs of Russia, the bylinys, or metrical tales of “What was." They tell of the golden age of Kiev, under the rule of Prince Vladimir, whose conversion to Christianity was consummated by his marriage with a Byzantine princess. In the Kievan epic cycle, beroes endowed with superhuman strength perform doughty deeds in the cause of Christianity, but their attributes are those of the Pagan demi-gods. The Greek Church gradually introduced changes of nomenclature, and saints in place of the ancient heroes; it could not so easily estrange the people from polytheism. The bylinys are full of rich and fanciful imagery, and picture the semi-barbaric splendour of the Kievan Court in language that often rises to a high level of poetic beauty. The knights vie with one another and deem it not unseemly to boast of their deeds and their possessions. Vladimir and his spouse, the fair princess Apraxin, bear a certain resemblance to King Arthur and Guinevere; but Vladimir is
; outshone by the heroes who surrounded him, by Mikula, by the protean Volga, and the mighty Ilya of Muroum. A large number of the bylinys, after descending for bundreds of years from father to son by oral tradition, have been collected in latter days by Slavophils, and are DOW recognised as a priceless national inheritance. Several have been rendered into English prose, and deserve to be read by every student of Russian literature.
In speaking of what is usually regarded as the earliest written epic of medieval Russia it should be said that there is a wide divergence of opinion among
Russian critics as to the period at which it was ce posed, but .The chant of the band of Igor' is commo supposed to date from the 12th century. It descri a defeat of the Kievans under their prince Igor, in expedition against the Polovtsi, a hostile tribe in South of Russia. There are many allusions to ancient Slavonic deities—to the Sun-god Dajbog, Strib the God of Ocean, and Volos, guardian of the flocks a herds. The forces of nature league themselves with t enemy, and a witch-maiden, in the form of a hovers over the Slavs to compass their destructie Finally Prince Igor returns in safety to Kiev and t city is filled with rejoicing.
Among the few remaining secular works that surviv the stormy period of the Middle Ages, is a code of law the Russkaya Pravda, dating from the 11th and 12 centuries. It records the scale of payment for labou the legal procedure of the time with regard to t] management of estates, and kindred matters. Apa from these exceptions, almost all the manuscripts of tl period are religious in character, the monasteries beir the sole repositories of learning, while the princes petty states warred continually one against another, an hordes of Mongols and Tartars devastated the land.
But the fierceness of the conflict between Christia and Mongol absorbed the whole vitality of the Gree Church. There was practically no general education Even in historic records like the Chronicle of Nestor every event is viewed from a theological standpoin From Cyril and Methodius onwards Russian literatur consisted of Scriptural paraphrases, selections from th Holy Fathers, and collections of prayers and homilies.
At length, towards the close of the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-84), a printing-press was set up in Moscow and among the earliest secular works to issue from it was a famous book known as the “Domostroi, or Book of the House." It was written by a monk named Sylvester, who was tutor to Ivan, and it contained precepts and maxims of conduct for the members of a family of the upper class. The husband was enjoined to treat his wife kindly, but at the same time he was free to inflict bodily chastisement on her, and she for her part must not show resentment or even ill-humour at