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CHAP instant action, constantly overhang in Poland eastern
Europe ; and every state within reach of their hostility is too happy to avert it by submission. When the storm broke on Hungary in 1849, it at once extinguished the conflagration which had set Europe in flames.*
The secret of this astonishing influence of Russia in Their unity European politics, is not merely her physical resources of purpose.
and rapid growth, great as it will immediately appear both are, but the unity of purpose by which the whole nation is animated. Like that of individuals in private life, this is the great secret of national success ; it is not so much superiority in means, as their persevering direction to one object, which is the spring to which in both it is mainly to be ascribed. The ceaseless direction of Roman energy to foreign conquest gave Rome the empire of the world ; that of the French to the thirst for glory and principle of honour, conferred on them the lead in continental Europe; that of the English to foreign commerce and domestic industry, placed in their hands the sceptre of the waves. Not less persevering than any of these nations, and exclusively directed to one object, rivalling the ancient masters of the world in the thirst for dominion, and the modern English in the vigour with which it is sought, the whole Russians, from the emperor on the throne to the serf in the cottage, are inspired with the belief that their mission is to conquer the world, and their destiny to effect it. Commerce is in little esteem among them ; its most lucrative branches are in the hands of the Germans, who overspread its towns as the Jews do those of Poland. Agriculture, abandoned to the serfs, is regarded only as the means of raising a rude subsistence for the cultivators, and realising a fixed revenue for the proprietor. Literature is in its infancy, law considered as an inferior line ; but war is cultivated with the utmost assiduity, and vast schools, where all subjects connected with it are taught in the most approved manner and with the latest improve
* The Russian army which invaded Hungary in 1849 was 161,800 strong.GEORGEY's Memoirs of the War in Hungary, ii. 149.
the whole 1918h in the the thirst for
ments, are constantly attended by two hundred thousand CHAP. of the best young men in the empire. The ablest among them are selected for the diplomatic service, and hence the great talent by which that profession in Russia is ever distinguished; but the whole remainder are turned into the army, where they find themselves at the head of ignorant but bold and hardy men, not less inflamed than themselves with the thirst for foreign conquest-not less impressed with the idea that to them is destined the sceptre of the world.
The physical circumstances of Russia are such as to justify, in a great degree, these anticipations. Its popu- Statistics of lation in Europe consisted in 1850 of 62,088,000 souls, the empire: and in Asia of 4,638,000 more; in all, 67,247,000, and tion. including the army, 68,000,000. It is now (1853) not less than 70,000,000. Of this immense mass no less than 60,500,000 are the inhabitants of the country, and engaged in cultivation, and only 5,388,000 the indwellers in towns, and engaged in their industrial pursuits, the remainder being nomads, or in the army. This enormous proportion of the cultivators to the other classes of society-twelve to one-at once indicates the rude and infantine state of civilisation of the immense majority of the inhabitants, and demonstrates in the clearest manner the utter groundlessness of those apprehensions regarding the increasing difficulty of raising subsistence for the increasing numbers of mankind in the later stages of society, which in the early part of this century took such general hold of the minds of men. For while, in the immense and fertile plains of Russia, twelve cultivators only raise food for themselves and their families and one inhabitant of towns, and perhaps an equal number of consumers in foreign states—that is, six cultivators feed themselves and one other member of society—in Great Britain, by the census of 1841, the number of persons engaged in the cultivation of the soil was to the remaining classes of society as one to seven nearly; and yet the nation was self-supporting. In other words, the power
CHAP, of labour in raising food was above forty times greater, in
- proportion to the population in the old and densely1815,
peopled, than the young and thinly-peopled state.* The same truth has been exemplified in America, where, by the census of 1841, the cultivators over the whole Union
are to the other classes of society as four, and beyond Population
epper's the Alleghany Mountains as eight to one; facts which de la Russie demonstrate that so far from population, as Mr Malthus en 1838, 72; Tegoborski, supposes, pressing in the later stages of society on subsisi. 130, 132, 193. tence, subsistence is daily acquiring a greater and more
decisive ascendancy over population.1
The rapidity with which this immense body of men increases in numbers is as important in a political point of view as it is formidable to the rest of Europe. The annual present addition to the population has been from
* By the census of 1840, the proportion of cultivators to all other classes in the United States of America stood thus :
Agricultural, . . . . 3,717,756
All other classes, . . . 1,078,660
Agricultural, . . . . 2,092,255
All other classes, . . . 287,751 Or about 8 to 1 in the basin of the Mississippi, the garden of the world. On the other hand, in Great Britain, by the census of 1831 and 1841, the families respectively engaged in agriculture and other pursuits stood thus :
Great Britain and Ireland. Agricultural, . . . 961,134
3,343,974 All other pursuits, . . 2,453,041 23,482,115 Or 7 to 1 in the latter period only. And yet, down to this period, the nation was, to all practical purposes, self-supporting, the importation of wheat having been for forty years back not only trifling but declining, and in some years nothing at all. Average of wheat imported yearly :
- Vide PORTER's Progress of the Nation, 3d edition, 139, 140 ; History of Europe, chap. xc. 34 ; and American Census, 1840.
rea use of
1840 to 1850, as one to one hundred, and that notwith- CHAP.
which im VIII. standing the fearful ravages of the cholera, which in 1847 caused a decrease of 296,000.* This average 18 increase will cause a duplication of the population in Great rapiseventy years, being as nearly as possible the rate of or increase in the British empire for thirty years prior to the lussuar 1846 ; since that time the prodigious drain of the emigration, which has now reached the enormous amount of 365,000 a-year, has occasioned an annual decline, probably only temporary, of from 200,000 to 250,000. It is greater than that of any other state in Europe, Prussia ; alone excepted, which is increasing at such a rate as to double in fifty-two years ; but far from equalling that of the United States of America, which for two centuries has Tegob; regularly doubled its inhabitants every twenty-four years, 93; Koepaided, it is true, by a vast immigration from Europe, which sur la Popu
u lation de has latterly risen to the enormous amount of 500,000 Russie. a-year.1 But the formidable nature of this increase, which, if it
17. remains unchecked, will bring Russia, in seventy years, Great room to have 140,000,000 of inhabitants, or about half of the increase in whole population of Europe at this time, which is esti- ta mated at 280,000,000, arises from the vast and almost boundless room which exists in its immense possessions for future augmentation. Such is the extent of its territory, that, great as its population is, it is at the rate less than 30 the square mile for Russia in Europe, while in Great Britain it is at the rate of 220, and in France of 171. If Russia in Europe were peopled at the rate of
Population. 1840, . 50,231,000 1841,
50,626,000 1842, 50,940,000 1843,
Excess of births over deaths.
52,754,000 1845, 53,509,000 1846,
54,092,000 1847, . 54,630,000 -TEGOBORSKI, i. 88. VOL. II.
1.1 538,000 . 296,000 decrease (cholera) .5
CHAP. Great Britain and Ireland, it would contain 500,000,000
souls-a number by no means impossible, if the vast extent of waste land in the Highlands of Scotland, and the mountains of Cumberland and Wales, not less sterile than the fir forests of the north of Russia, is taken into account.* Its entire superficies is 2,120,000 square geo
graphical miles, while that of Great Britain and Ireland 1 Schnitzlei Russie, Po
ler, is 120,340 ; that of France, 207,252 ; that of Austria, logne, et 257,830 ; that of Prussia, 107,958; facts which, even Finland, 238; Tego- more than its present number of inhabitants, demonstrate borski, i. 98, 99“ the prodigious capabilities which it contains, and the
destinies to which it is ultimately called.1
What renders a people, advancing at such a rate, and 18. Unity of possessed of such resources, in a peculiar manner formidfeeling in
able, is the unity of purpose and feeling by which the whole of the immense mass is animated. It is a common opinion in western Europe that a people inhabiting so vast and varied a territory cannot by possibility remain united, and that Russia broken up, as it must ere long be, into a number of separate dominions, will cease to be formidable to the other powers of Europe. There never was a greater mistake. To reason thus is to fall into the usual error of supposing that all mankind are placed in the same circumstances, and actuated by the same desires. There have been many insurrections and revolts in Russia, but none which ever pointed in the most remote degree either to a change in the form of government, or to a separation of one part of the country from the other. It is in its Polish conquests alone that this passion has been felt. Even when the Rus
Population in 1851. Proportion to sq. mile geog. British Isles, . . . 27,435,315
220 France, . . . . 35,680,000
171 Prussia, . . .
150 Austria, .
148 Russia in Europe,. . 62,000,000
30 -TEGOBORSKI, i. 99. The population of Great Britain and Ireland, however, was only 27,435,315 by the census of 1851, but that was in consequence of the Irish famine, 1846, and ernigration ever since, so that the rate for it must be taken at what it was in 1845.