Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/8

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
 
 
 

PREFATORY NOTE FOR RUSSIAN READERS

 

As this book will probably be read, not only by Englishmen, but also by Russians, I should like, in a few introductory remarks, to remove a misunderstanding which is likely to arise in the minds of some Russian readers concerning the motives which have prompted its publication.

The contents of this book may produce upon a certain class of my countrymen the unpleasant impression that, by publishing it abroad and in a foreign language, I am seeking, as it were, to discredit the Russian Government in the eyes of foreigners,—a thing which, in the opinion of these readers, a man who was really attached to his country would never do.

In answer to this, I can only say that I have been exiled from my country for being a friend and co-worker of Leo Tolstoy, and for attempting to disclose the truth concerning certain abuses by the Russian Government, as well to help its innocently-persecuted victims, as for the sake of those representatives of the Government itself, who know not what they do. Since then, living here in exile, I am experiencing the pain inevitably caused by compulsory separation from those of my countrymen who are nearest to my heart, and from the people to whose interests the last fifteen years of my life have been devoted. Finding myself in this position, I am naturally not able—notwithstanding all my desire to admit my mistakes and failures—in sincerity to convict myself of indifference to my country.

But neither can I identify with my country that governmental system which is causing it to suffer so severely.

And, indeed, why should I conceal from myself and others the fact, acknowledged by all except the deluded or prejudiced

ix