The Memoirs of Count Witte

The Memoirs of Count Witte

The Memoirs of Count Witte

The Memoirs of Count Witte

Excerpt

Not without hesitancy have I resolved to write a few lines as a foreword to the memoirs of my late husband. I cannot be impartial in my estimate of this work, to which Count Witte attributed so much importance; and the biased judgment of his wife can hardly be of any interest to the reader. I confess, however, that I have not been able to resist the temptation to take advantage of this occasion to convey to the American public the gratitude which the late Count Witte felt toward the Government, press, and people of the United States for the sympathy they had shown him at the time of the Portsmouth Conference. America's recent declaration of its resolve to defend Russia's incontestable interests at the critical period of its temporary weakness has shown that this sympathetic attitude toward him at that time was not an accident.

I should like to explain to the reader the significance which my husband attributed to his work. I also wish to say a word about the motives which urged him to present his thoughts and reminiscences in the form of a book not destined to be published while he and his contemporaries were alive. Count Witte was neither a courtier flattering the monarch, nor a demagogue flattering the mob. Although a nobleman, he did not defend the privileges of the nobility; and while aiming in his political activities mainly at improving the condition of the peasantry in accordance with the dictates of justice, as a statesman he remained alien to that theoretical "populism" with which the majority of the Russian intellectuals was infatuated. He was not a Liberal, for he did not sympathize with the striving of the Liberals to reorganize the . . .

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