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What to Do?   By: (1828-1910)

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WHAT TO DO? THOUGHTS EVOKED BY THE CENSUS OF MOSCOW

BY COUNT LYOF N. TOLSTOI

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN BY ISABEL F. HAPGOOD

NEW YORK THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO. 13 ASTOR PLACE 1887

COPYRIGHT, 1887, BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY RAND AVERY COMPANY, BOSTON.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

Books which are prohibited by the Russian Censor are not always inaccessible. An enterprising publishing house in Geneva makes a specialty of supplying the natural craving of man for forbidden fruit, under which heading some of Count L. N. Tolstoi's essays belong. These essays circulate in Russia in manuscript; and it is from one of these manuscripts, which fell into the hands of the Geneva firm, that the first half of the present translation has been made. It is thus that the Censor's omissions have been noted, even in cases where such omissions are in no way indicated in the twelfth volume of Count Tolstoi's collected works, published in Moscow. As an interesting detail in this connection, I may mention that this twelfth volume contains all that the censor allows of "My Religion," amounting to a very much abridged scrap of Chapter X. in the last named volume as known to the public outside of Russia. The last half of the present book has not been published by the Geneva house, and omissions cannot be marked.

ISABEL F. HAPGOOD

BOSTON, Sept. 1, 1887

ARTICLE ON THE CENSUS IN MOSCOW. [1882.]

The object of a census is scientific. A census is a sociological investigation. And the object of the science of sociology is the happiness of the people. This science and its methods differ sharply from all other sciences.

Its peculiarity lies in this, that sociological investigations are not conducted by learned men in their cabinets, observatories and laboratories, but by two thousand people from the community. A second peculiarity is this, that the investigations of other sciences are not conducted on living people, but here living people are the subjects. A third peculiarity is, that the aim of every other science is simply knowledge, while here it is the good of the people. One man may investigate a nebula, but for the investigation of Moscow, two thousand persons are necessary. The object of the study of nebulae is merely that we may know about nebulae; the object of the study of inhabitants is that sociological laws may be deduced, and that, on the foundation of these laws, a better life for the people may be established. It makes no difference to the nebula whether it is studied or not, and it has waited long, and is ready to wait a great while longer; but it is not a matter of indifference to the inhabitants of Moscow, especially to those unfortunates who constitute the most interesting subjects of the science of sociology.

The census taker enters a night lodging house; in the basement he finds a man dying of hunger, and he politely inquires his profession, his name, his native place, the character of his occupation, and after a little hesitation as to whether he is to be entered in the list as alive, he writes him in and goes his way.

And thus will the two thousand young men proceed. This is not as it should be.

Science does its work, and the community, summoned in the persons of these two thousand young men to aid science, must do its work. A statistician drawing his deductions from figures may feel indifferent towards people, but we census takers, who see these people and who have no scientific prepossessions, cannot conduct ourselves towards them in an inhuman manner. Science fulfils its task, and its work is for its objects and in the distant future, both useful and necessary to us. For men of science, we can calmly say, that in 1882 there were so many beggars, so many prostitutes, and so many uncared for children. Science may say this with composure and with pride, because it knows that the confirmation of this fact conduces to the elucidation of the laws of sociology, and that the elucidation of the laws of sociology leads to a better constitution of society... Continue reading book >>




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