[ The Siberian 'Katorga' in Imperial Russia. ] English translation (by Peter Kropotkin?) from the French, of Émile Andreoli's account of his captivity following the January Uprising, titled ''Siberian Convicts' Life'. Containing unpublished material.

Émile Andreoli (1835-1900), Franco-Italian writer and inventor, sent to Siberia following his participant in the Polish 'January Uprising', 1863-1864 [ Peter Kropotkin, Russia; Russian Katorga ]
Publication details: 
Without details or date. [London, 1880s? Certainly after 1869.]
SKU: 16492

99pp., 8vo. Each page typed on a separate piece of paper ruled with red marginal borders. The manuscript housed in a contemporary thumb-indexed ledger, with each leaf tipped-in onto the recto of a leaf of the ledger. The manuscript in good condition, lightly-aged and worn; the ledger heavily worn and shaken, and lacking covers. Andreoli's name is not given anwhere in this item. Title-page with typed title 'Siberian Convicts' Life'. Above the title, in manuscript is '? Convict-Life', and typed beneath the title is a six-line epigram from Goethe. The background of the present item is as follows. A serialisation from Andreoli's Siberian diaries (described as 'la première série', but all published) appeared in Paris in 1868, under his name and the title 'De Pologne en Sibérie. Journal de Captivité. 1864-1867'. Divided into 43 chapters, and ironically dedicated to Tsar Alexander, it appeared over four issues of the 'Revue Moderne' (25 August, 10 and 25 September, and 10 October). The present English translation, in 19 chapters, is in some ways based on that selection (it borrows the chapter summaries, for example), but it includes material not present in the 'Revue Moderne' version, and was clearly made with an eye to English readers ('la dernière de no sous-préfecture' in the French version is rendered as 'the meanest of the English cities' in the translation), and with reference to the original French manuscript. The present version is heavily revised in black ink manuscript, in a hand strikingly similar to Kropotkin's, with additional pencil notes in French in another hand, presumably that of Andreoli. (In his 'In Russian and French Prisons' (1887), Kropotkin refers to 'M. Andreoli's paper on Polish Exiles in 1863-1867, which appeared in the Revue Moderne, [...] I hope to publish soon an episode of Polish exile of which I was an eye-witness, and which, I am afraid, will rather confirm M. Andreoli's revelations'.) . The translator's ink emendations include minor additions, and also proof markings, and the volume was clearly intended for publication (in Kropotkin's 'Freedom' newspaper?). There is however no indication that the English translation appeared in any form, and as a consequence the passages only present in the English translation are entirely unpublished. The 19 chapters in the English translation roughly correspond to material in Chapters 14 to 35 of 'Revue Moderne' version. As the chapter summaries given at the end of this description indicate, the author is shrewd, intelligent and observant, mixing first-person narrative with historical and biographical information, his experience presenting a strange mixture of horror and gentility. (He is not entirely trustworthy: the story of 'Vera Paolovna', from Chernyshevsky's 'What is to be done', is given as fact.) The present translation opens dramatically with Andreoli's arrival in Siberia, omitting the material in the first thirteen chapters of 'Revue Moderne' version, which describes how he left his employment teaching in Paris, and travelled to Poland with the Italian patriot Francesco Nullo (1826-1863), in order to support the Poles in their resistance against the Russians. Following Nullo's death Andreoli and eight Italian fighters were captured and condemned to death, the sentence being remitted to 'twelve years hard labour in the mines'. Chapter 1 of the present item opens with the following, which is not present in the 'Revue Moderne' version. 'Halt! vociferated the officer, standing up in his carriage and stopping all the clumsy carts in which for so many days we had been keeping our equilibrium with difficulty on account of the violent motion and bad roads. It is quite unusual to stop anywhere but in the villages, at the post-station, or at the prison. All through the long days and nights during which we have been travelling from Moscow at a mad pace, the officers had never ordered a halt on the road. | "Gentlemen", he said, "you have just passed the frontier; you are in Siberia. Then, lighting a cigar, he waved his hand, shouting at the drivers to move forward. Strogaities! and away we went. | How a small trifle may affect one! These four words of the officer: you are in Siberia, wrung our hearts and made us pensive. We well knew, however, that we were on our way here, and what is worse, that we are convicts, condemned to work in the mines. What a brute of an officer!' The last paragraph of the last chapter of the present item is again not present in the 'Revue Moderne' version. After describing various alleged Russian war atrocities Andreoli writes: 'I relate these horrible incidents, but I must point out that the story of the breaking of the ropes used for hanging is a re-edition [last word deleted] of the hanging of the Decemberists, Pestel, Ryleieff, &c. Without wishing to palliate the cruelty of the conquerors, it is only fair to point out the tendency which exists to surround the death of the defeated with a certain amount of legendary glory, and to reproduce exaggerations, and details which are either inaccurate or untrue.' A long passage, present in the last chapter of the present version, is not present in the French version, and it begins with an interpolation by the pencil annotator: 'Those men cannot imagine that we are sent for good to Siberia. They all believe that within a few weeks we shall be called back, and what will happen to them if we say that some of us have been wounded or flogged?' What follows is not in the French version: 'It is very fortunate that meat is not expensive, for our purses are so very light that we could not buy much were it not very cheap. Beef is sold at two and a half kopeks per pound. With cabbage and potatoes this can be made into good soup, giving us strength to go further on our journey.' A passage of ten lines follows, again not present in the French version, with a marginal note in pencil, asking for it to be placed 'plus haut'. The nineteen chapters have the following summaries: 1, 'In Siberia; the "party" on the way to Tobolsk; the Prison and the Director; the Chapel; Prikaz; the Expedition; new clothing.' 2, 'Three of our companions are put in irons; we set off with the convicts; soldiers; the station; our rooms; Richard and his pipe. Sluchai; Tobolsk; Books on Tobolsk.' 3, 'Viera; the Brodiaga doctor.' 4, 'Statistics of prisoners; the ancient governors; Gagarine Fedor Ivanovitch Semionoff.' 5, 'The banished bell; the Knout; the Gagarine family; Gagarin's [sic] wife; Siberian population; flooded Etapes; the Niestchastnie.' 6, 'An English Member of Parliament; convicts; some extracts from the Russian Code; convicts and their grades; how they are treated; the wheelbarrow; the miechok (sack); the Minister's car; the cadene;' 7, 'The brand; cotton and needles; the grajdanski rob us; hours of waiting at the ostrog gates; bad weather; dangerous roads.; 8, 'His Excellency Goulkievitch; Goulkievitch stories; the firemen; the Tartar merchants. Leaving Tara.' 9, 'The Tartars; poverty; graves and graveyards; the executioner; the starosta; the provisions; tobacco and pipes; how Siberians smoke; horses.' 10, 'The ostrog; officers wives. Moscow Alms. Elections.' 11, 'Slang; thieves and gambling; blacklegs; Usury in the prison; game of parasites.' 12, 'The robbers artels; their police; their discipline; Epstein's pin; convict songs and superstitions; dances.' 13, 'Calendar; "Stupid Siberia" and "Real Siberia"; forged passports; escapes of prisoners; Brodiagas; General Koukoutchin (cuckoo) Mouravief and the Brodiagas; an old offender; Zavalichine.' 14, 'The Vesnioski; the soldiers and the candles; the popes; musical seance nocturnal attack.' 15, 'A severe officer; his family; Siberian flora; souvenir of France; the steppes; the robber robbed; hatred of peasants against the officers; thieves' quarrels.' 16, 'Rain; sickness; Political news; death of prisoners; hospitals.' 17, 'Ermak; the conquest; comfort and poverty; a village; station and half-station; cigarette paper; convict's uniform; Raskluiki Skoptsi; Raskol; wealth of the Skoptsi; Petter III, renovator of the sect.' 18, 'Misery; disputes; Russian honour; celebrated duels; Dolgorouki Zass; Pouchkine; Lermontoff, a Russian Herodias.' 19, 'Tara; cheap meat; martyrs Frankowski, Ronarski, Surakowski, Kolysko, Padlewski, condemned to death.'