19 AUGUST 1905, Page 1


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The Standard of Wednesday published a most interesting account of a secret meeting held in Moscow and a neighbour- ing village by two hundred peasant delegates from all parts of Russia. The correspondent was himself present, and marked the " jumpy " condition of the delegates' nerves when- ever they fancied policemen or dragoons were near. They even debated in the dark to avoid attention. The great majority were actual peasants, but their views scarcely differed from those of the "intellectuals," except upon three points. They wished to retain the Czar, though with more limited powers ; they expressed extreme hostility to the priests ; and they wanted the lands of the State domain, of the Church, and of the landlords to be taken away, in the first two cases without compensation, and in the last with compensation "limited" by ability to pay. They were also in favour of the substitution of a defensive Militia, cantoned in the districts from which the men were drawn, for the Regular Army. Twenty years ago a great Russian leader of Liberals told the present writer that this was the aspiration of every peasant, and that it was by no means certain that the soldiery would object. The peasant delegates, it may be noted, resolved on a free Parliament elected by universal suffrage without distinction of sex. Of the means for securing these vast changes nothing appears to have been said, or, at least, nothing is reported.