Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 5, 1905
Ambassador McCormick to the Secretary of State
St. Petersburg, March 4, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith, for the information of the Department, English translations of the manifesto and of the rescript issued by His Majesty the Emperor on yesterday.
I have, etc.,
With God’s mercy, we, Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, etc., declare to all our faithful subjects:
God, in His unfathomable wisdom, has seen fit to visit upon our country severe trials.
The bloody war in the Far East, for the honor and dignity of Russia and for the domination of the waters of the Pacific Ocean, so vitally necessary to the strengthening, for centuries to come, of the peaceful progress not only of our own, but of her Christian nations as well, has demanded of the Russian people great exertions of their strength and claimed many sacrifices dear to our heart.
At the same time as the valiant sons of Russia, fighting with unrestrained bravery, lay down their lives self-sacrificingly for the faith, Tsar, and country, in our country itself disturbances have arisen, to the joy of our enemies and to our immense and heartfelt affliction.
Blinded by the arrogance of the evil-minded leaders of the rebellious movement, audaciously making attempts against the foundation of the Russian State, sanctified by the Orthodox Church and confirmed by the laws, thinking, by breaking the natural tie with the past, to destroy the existing state organization and in its stead erect a new administration of the country on a basis unnatural to our country.
The wicked attempt on the life of a grand duke, who warmly loved the capital city, untimely perishing by a cruel death among the holy monuments of the Moscow Kremlin, deeply offends the patriotic feeling of everyone to whom the honor of the Russian name and the good fame of our country is dear.
Accepting with humility all these trials sent down by the justice of God, we draw strength and consolation from the firm hope in the mercy of God, shown for centuries to the Russian power, and in our knowledge of the sincere devotion of our people to the throne.
By the prayers of the whole Orthodox Church, under the banner of the autocratic imperial power and in indissoluble union with her (the Church), the Russian land has not seldom lived through great wars and disturbances, always issuing from the troubles and difficulties with new insuperable force.
But the internal discord of the present time and the vacillations of thought, facilitating the spread of revolt and rioting, oblige us to remind the governmental institutions and authorities of all departments and degrees of their duty and the mandate of their oath and to call for redoubled vigilance to preserve the law, order, and safety with stern realization of their moral and official responsibility to the throne and to the country.
Unceasingly thinking of the popular welfare and firmly believing that the Lord, testing our patience, will bless our army with success, we call upon all right-thinking people, of all classes and conditions, each in his calling and in his place, to join in friendly cooperation with us in word and deed in the holy and great cause of overcoming the stubborn external foe, in the extirpation from our land of revolts and in sober-minded opposition to the internal disorders, bearing in mind that only with a calm and courageous state of mind can the whole population of the country achieve successful realization of our plans, directed toward the renewal of the spiritual life of the people, the strengthening of their well-being, and to the improvements of the governmental order.
Let all Russian people stand fast around our throne, true to the will of the native country, working honestly and conscientiously for the affairs or the state in harmony with us.
And may God grant to the Russian power: To the shepherds, sanctity; to the leaders, justice and right; to the nation, peace and calm; to the laws, strength and faith; prosperity to the greater strengthening of the true autocracy for the good of all our faithful subjects.
Signed on the original in His Imperial Majesty’s own hand:
To the Minister of the Interior, Alexander Gregorovich, greeting:
True to the custom of the Russian people, since time immemorial, to lay at the foot of the throne the testimony of their feelings in seasons of joy and sorrow through which the dear fatherland passes, from all parts of the Russian land assemblies of the nobility and of the zemstvos, commercial and municipal associations, and peasant communes have addressed to me manifold congratulations on the occasion of the auspicious event, the birth of my son and heir, coupled with assurances of their readiness to sacrifice all they possess to the prosecution of the war to a successful end and to devote all their efforts to cooperating with me in the betterment of the machinery of government.
In the name of Her Majesty and myself I charge you to transmit to the associations and assemblies addressing to me these congratulatory messages our hearty gratitude for the expression of their loyal feelings, which in the difficult period through which we are living were the more comforting in that the readiness expressed in these addresses, at my call to come and cooperate in the successful realization of the reforms announced by me, fully meets my sincere wish to attain, by the joint work of the government and the ripened forces of the body politic, the realization of my plans directed toward the welfare of the people. Continuing, as their successor, the imperial work of my crowned ancestors—that of gathering and organizing the lands of Russia—I have now conceived the design, with God’s help, of inviting the most worthy men possessing the confidence of the people, and chosen from their numbers, to take part in the elaboration and discussion of legislatve proposals.
Taking into consideration the special conditions of our broad fatherland, the variety of races comprised in its population, and the incomplete development in some of its parts of civic qualities, the Russian Emperors in their wisdom have always granted needed reforms in accordance with the maturity of their requirements, only in a certain sequence and with caution, thereby guarding the inviolability of the strong historical tie with the past as a guarantee of the durability and stability of such reforms in the future.
And now, undertaking this reform, convinced that the knowledge of local needs, experience in life, and prudent, frank advice of those selected as the best representatives of the people will secure fruitful legislative work to the true advantage of the people, foreseeing at the same time all the complexity and difficulty of carrying out this reform while preserving firmly and inviolably the basic laws of the Empire, I consider it well to create, under your presidency, knowing well your many years of administrative experience and valueing the calm confidence of your character, a special consultative assembly to consider means for the realization of this my will.
May God bless this felicitous undertaking of mine and help you to bring it to completion successfully and to the weal of the people intrusted to me by God.
I remain your inalterably well-disposed