No. 427.
Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Evarts.

No. 107.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 104 of the 15th instant, I have the honor to inform you that of the fourteen persons tried by court-martial at Kioff on the 12th instant, two, a man and a young woman, have been condemned to be shot, eight, including two young women, have been sentenced to fourteen years and ten months hard labor in the mines, two to four years and some months hard labor, and two have been acquitted.

The fires continue in Eastern Russia. The city of Arenburg has suffered from a fourth fire, and is nearly destroyed. Collections have been made for the sufferers and stringent orders have been issued by the minister of the interior to the governors of the cities.

The plague of grasshoppers has appeared in the Caucasus. In the village of Elizabethpol the streets were so blocked up with them that circulation was seriously impeded. They have destroyed the vines and the fruit trees, and infested the houses. The wells and springs are so infected by them that the water is offensive and unhealthy.

The police have ordered that each inhabitant should kill two poods (36 pounds to a pood) of them, but such is the superstition of the people that it is with the greatest difficulty that the order is enforced. In some neighborhoods the people regard the grasshopper as powerful and malignant spirits, and, instead of destroying, seek to propitiate them by crossing themselves and burning tapers before them, as they do before the sacred pictures of the Saviour and the Virgin.

Orders have been given to check migration from one province to another. The peasants in North Central Russia have such difficulty in procuring the means of subsistence on account of the poverty of the soil and the heavy taxation, that they are emigrating in large numbers to the richer provinces of the black-earth zone in Central Russia. The authorities [Page 921] have forbidden this emigration, upon the ground that the northern villages will be depopulated, and propose to permit a certain fixed percentage to emigrate and no more.

A new device of the secret societies is giving the police much trouble. They find from time to time in the streets small pieces of tin, of the size and shape of a clover leaf. They are satisfied that these are signals understood by the initiated, but thus far have been unable to ascertain their meaning. General Gourko, commanding St. Petersburg, has thought it necessary to add one hundred and fifty soldiers to the police force of the city.

I have, &c.,