18 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 1

We are loth to say anything that may influence opinion

against Russia at this juncture, but it is impossible to keep silence over the shocking episode reported in the St. Peters- burg correspondence of the Temps, and reproduced in last Saturday's Times. Briefly stated, it amounts to this, that a lady student who had been wounded in the breast by a Cossack's sword and taken to hospital on January 22nd, was, while still suffering from her wound, removed by a police agent and brought back twenty-four hours later in a state of collapse, her back and shoulders black and blue with weals, having in the interval been twice flogged with birch rods in order to extract information as to her revolutionist friends. It is further alleged that this is not an isolated case, but that for several days birch rods did duty at most of the police offices of the Russian capital. M. Comely, one of the ablest French publicists, makes this ghastly story the subject of some scathing comments in the Siecle. If, as he points out, the Czar's prestige is allowed to benefit from victories which

• he has not gained, why is he not to be held responsible for crimes which he has not perpetrated, but which have been nominally perpetrated for his defence ?