Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/111

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successful: he could not save Shibunin, who was shot. But this event, according to his own words, did not pass without its due effect upon Tolstoy:

"I vaguely felt, even then," he recently wrote in a letter, "that capital punishment, this premeditated murder, is in direct contradiction to that Christian law which we, so to speak, confess, and destroys every possibility of a rational life as well as any morality, because it is evident that if one person or a committee of men can decide that it is necessary to kill one or more persons, there is no reason why one or more such persons should not find equal necessity for killing other people."

Further analysing the vindication by science or by the Church of capital punishment, he concludes:

"Yes, this case had a great and beneficial influence on me. On that occasion, for the first time, I felt two things: that violence pre-supposes murder or threats of it for its accomplishment, and that therefore all violence is inevitably connected with murder; secondly, that a State organisation is inconceivable without murder, and consequently cannot accord with Christianity."

At the same period of life, some of Tolstoy's