Ambassador Meyer to the Secretary of State.

No. 23.]

Sir: I beg leave to report that an imperial ukase has been issued granting relief to the peasants through the remission of the arrears, amounting to 75,000,000 rubles, due to the imperial government on account of the loans accorded to the peasants in bad harvest years from 1857 to the birth of the Tsarevitch.

I have, etc.,

G. v. L. Meyer.


[From the St. Petersburg Journal, April 21 (May 4), 1905.]

Ukase of His Majesty the Emperor to the Directing Senate.

In our unceasing solicitude toward the numerous rural population of the Empire we have instructed the minister of finance, in our manifesto issued on the date of the baptism of the heir to our throne, to cooperate with the minister of the interior in seeking out the best [Page 766] means of according to the rural population of the Empire new facilities (in addition to those granted them in the said manifesto) for the payment of the debts contracted for the furnishing of food to the peasants and the seeding of the fields, and to submit their views to us on the subject in the customary manner.

To-day having examined the projects which have been submitted to us for this purpose, we hereby give the following orders:

To grant to the rural population the following facilities in the repayment of the debts which they have contracted for their alimentation and the seeding of the fields:
To strike off entirely from the accounts: (a) The payments in arrears to the general alimentation fund for the whole Empire on account of the alimentary tax which existed up to 1866; (b) the debts on advances made for alimentation and for the seeding of the fields and due to the general alimentation fund for the period from 1867 to November 14, 1894; (c) the debts on advances made for alimentation and seeding by the treasury of the Empire and which were allowed immediately in pursuance to special imperial orders; and (d) the debts on advances made for the alimentation of the workmen in the following works and mining establishments: Province of Viatka—the Poklevsky-Kozel works (declared bankrupt), the Kholounitsky and the Klimbovsky works (district of Slobodsk), and the Zaliaznine works (district of Glazovo); province of Nijni-Novgorod—the works within the circuit of Ileff (district of Ardatoff), belonging to the Shipoff Brothers; province of Tamboff—the Voznessensk works (district of Temnikovo); and the province of Riazan (district of Pronsk), to the provincial fund of this province.
To strike front the accounts one-half of the debt contracted on the general aggregate of the alimentation debts owed by the rural population to the crown on account of advances made at the time of the crop failures in 1891 and 1892, as well as of the amounts due to the general alimentation fund and to the alimentation funds of the provinces on account of advances made for alimentation and seeding from November 14, 1894, up to the birthday of the heir to our throne, which debts have remained unpaid up to this date in the provinces of Arkhangel, Astrakhan, Bakou, Bessarabia, Vilna, Vitebsk, Vologda, Vladimir, Voronège, Viatka, Catherinoslaff, Elisabethpol, Kalouga, Kieff, Kovno, Kostroma, Koursk, Minsk, Mohileff, Moskow, Olonetz, Orenbourg, Orel, Penza, Perm, Podolsk, Poltava, Riazan, St. Petersburg, Smolensk, Stavropol, Tauride, Tamboff, Tver, Tiflis, Toula, Kharkoff, Kherson, Tchernigoff, and Yaroslaff, as well as in the territories of the Dagheztan and of the Cossack troops of the Don and the Kuban, and (b) two-thirds in the provinces of Kazan, Nijni-Novgorod, Novgorod, Pskoff, Samara, Saratoff, Simbirsk, and Oufa, as well as the territory of the Terek.
Independently of what is set forth in section 2 of the foregoing Article I—that is, of the partial remission of the alimentation debts of the rural population—a total remission is made in the localities enumerated in said paragraph for families whose members have been called from the reserve to the ranks of the active army or to the navy, of the entire amount of the debts contracted by these families toward the crown, the general alimentation fund, and alimentation fund of the province up to the birthday of the heir to our throne.
The amount of the annual installments to be paid in the reimbursement of the sum remaining due from the people after the partial remission of the alimentation debt in accordance with Article I shall be fixed by the district assemblies or by the institutions taking their place, regard being had to the agricultural economic situation of the rural class, and in such a manner that those who have to make redemption payments shall not have to effect a reimbursement exceeding 25 per cent of all the taxes which they have to pay to the government and to the zemstvo.
The payments made by the peasants in conformity with the foregoing article (II) for the purpose of taking up the remainder of their alimentation debt shall be applied primarily to the extinction of the aggregate of the amounts due to the alimentation fund of the province up to the time of the remission of the debt according to the provisions of the aforementioned Article I, after which the remainder of the proceeds from these payments shall be applied to the general alimentation fund of the Empire.
All the accounts existing between the crown and the general alimentation fund of the Empire are hereby suspended, and from this fund shall be reimbursed to the local alimentation funds the part of the alimentation fund of which remission has been made to the people by virtue of the imperial manifesto of November 14, 1894, and which has not been reimbursed to these funds up to the present on account of advances made from them for alimentation and for seeding the fields in consequence of the crop failures of 1891 and 1892.

The directing Senate will take the necessary measures to execute the foregoing.