Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Exile, in the ancient Greek states, arose as a means of evading the penalties of homicide implied by the blood feud. Voluntary withdrawal of the offender was legally recognised, and (in the case of wilful murder) involved formal outlawry and confiscation of property. By Solon's laws, political indifference during civil conflict was similarly punished at Athens. [Ostracism.] Under the Roman Republic, though there was no formal penalty of exile, the "interdiction of fire and water" (and of certain civil rights which they symbolised) within certain limits of Rome, was practically its equivalent (Cicero). Under the emperors it was replaced by "deportation to an island" (usually a very small one, such as Patmos or those near Elba), which involved loss of property and citizenship, but not of freedom. A milder form of exile, "relegation," did not involve these consequences, and either confined the person to certain places', or excluded him from them. Thus Ovid was "relegated" to Tomi. The punishment, as implied in outlawry, has existed under Continental governments, but its most important application at present is in Russia. Here it is a means at once of getting troublesome persons well out of the way, and of colonising remote, wild, and unprotected parts of the empire. So for three centuries the system has flourished and extended with every circumstance of barbarity, corruption, and stupidity. But to-day - thanks partly to the recent tragic events in Kara and Yakutsk, and peirtly to the investigations of George Kennan, which supplemented and substantially confirmed the statements of native writers like Maximoff and Yadrintseff, and of the revolutionists Stepniak, Krapotkin, and Volkhovsky - it is generally condemned as bad alike for the exiles themselves and the communities amid which they are settled. Since 1823, whence the statistics date, about 800,000 exiles have crossed the Urals; and during the last fifteen years the annual average has increased to about 17,000. These.include all manner of offenders, from the mere vagrant who has lost his passport and the peasant who has offended the village authorities, to the hardened ruffian who would get short shrift were capital punishment in vogue. Of the whole number, little more than half have received even the semblance of a trial, and many of these only after long preliminary detention. The others have been sent on simple "administrative order," a method which became common in the case of political suspects in Alexander II.'s later years. The journey to Siberia, though much lightened, is still a terrible ordeal, especially for the sick, and for the women and children who are allowed to accompany the prisoners into exile. Twenty years ago the gangs of fettered convicts with their military escort had to tramp the whole distance from Moscow - 4,700 to 5,200 miles - a march occupying from two to three and a half years. Now, however, there is rail and water communication as far east as Tomsk, and the journey on foot is reduced by one-half. About 330 miles is made per month, there being a halt for rest every third day. Each prisoner receives five cents a day for food. Most of the forwarding prisons and etapes are regularly and scandalously overcrowded, so that typhus, scurvy, typhoid, and syphilis work havoc, and the sick and death rates are almost incredibly high. There is seldom separate accommodation for the sick, and everywhere the degradation of the few gentle and innocent by the many strong and brutal goes on in the foul cameras where they are promiscuously herded together. The journey ended, the body of exiles resolves itself into two main classes: the imprisoned or hard-labour convicts, numbering about one-third of the whole number, and those merely banished to a certain area with more or less close surveillance. The first class are sent mainly to the Czar's mines in Trans-Baikalia or Nerchins or to the island of Saghalien, on the Pacific coast; in the last year or two a good deal of convict labour has also been used in the construction of the Siberian railway. The second class, which includes most of the political and religious offenders, are scattered all over the country, and many of them break away at once and join the floating criminal population which swarms along the great roads of Siberia, and which is credited with two-thirds of all the crimes that are committed there. The lot of the "politicals" is never a happy one. They are forbidden to teach, to trade, and "generally to exercise any public activity," and as the Government allowance is only about twelve shillings per month, a bare subsistence is difficult. Many are now sent to the wild Mongolian frontier and to the sub-arctic Yakut country, where they have to live in the filthy yourts of the natives. What this means is indicated by the fact that, of 79 politicals in Yakutsk in 1882, Kennan found that six had committed suicide before 1885. Still this may be preferable to the terrors of prison life at Kara or Saghalien. Three special commissions have condemned the exile system, and Mr. Galkin Wrasskoy, the chief of the prison administration, presented a plan for its radical alteration to the Imperial council in 1888. It was rejected, probably on financial grounds; but it is almost certain that a rational prison system would be cheaper in the long run. [Kara, Kennan, Saghalien, Siberia, Volkhovskt.]