Leo Tolstoy.

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By Orrick Johns


By Dorothy Richardson


By Coulson T. Cade


By Friedrich Naumann

By Konrad Bercovici


By William English Walling

By James Oppenheim

By A. Hyatt Verrill

By Alexander Kornilov

By Alexandre Benois


By William H. Davies
With a Preface by Bernard Shaw



(First Volume 1895-1899)






The ultimate meaning of the Russian Revolu-
tion which took place in March, 1917, can be best
understood through the pages of the Journal of
Leo Tolstoi which is here printed. The spiritual
qualities which make up the mind and personality
.of Tolstoi are the spiritual qualities which make
up the new era among men which is being waged
so painfully and so uncompromisingly at the pres-
ent moment on the soil of Russia. One holds the
key to the other, for no land but Russia could have
produced a Tolstoi, and in no land but Russia
could Tolstoi have been so embraced and so ab-

They are both flesh of each other's flesh, and
I place them equally in greatness against each
other. Great and wonderful as is the Russian peo-
ple, so Tolstoi was as great and wonderful as the
Russian people. I say this knowing well the pain
and impatience both felt for each other in the long
eighty-two years of Tolstoi's life here, but it was
the pain and the impatience of great love and in-
finite understanding, of feeling and knowing each
other's pulse-beats, and not the misunderstanding
of strangers. It was the wise father doubting


the impatient methods of his children; it was the
ardent children desiring and struggling to accom-
plish the wishes of the father and being lost in
the maelstrom of an insistent reality.

The youth went faster than the father, and yet
so infinite and universal were the words of the
latter that when the last summings-up are made
both stand together in total harmony and agree-
ment. Tolstoi at thirty took no part in the great
educational agrarian movement of the latter Fif-
ties, and even had a fine scorn for their expo-
nents which did not leave him in his later years
witness the phrase against Herzen and Cher-
nishevsky, " raised to great men," he said, " and
who ought to be grateful to the government and
the censorship, without which they would have
been the most unnoticed of sketch-writers." And
yet it was Herzen and Chernishevsky and Do-
brolubov, these " sketch-writers," who kept up the
fire of agrarian reform and who practically forced
the issue upon Alexander II. Tolstoi ignored the
whole revolutionary movement of that time; even
more than ignored it; threw himself seemingly
into the opposite camp, leading the life of a gay
feted hero returned from the Crimean War. But
his Morning of a Landed Proprietor shows that
he was thinking deeply even at that time of the
social problems around him, only he was thinking
more slowly than the rest. He was just waking



up to the fact that the peasant conditions needed
improvement, at the time when all around him
the youth had passed to the idea that it was not
an improvement that they needed, but an absolute
change in the fundamental ideas of property. It
took him forty years to say, that you might as
well ask him how to make use of the ownership,
or the labour or the rent of a bonded slave as to
ask him for advice as to the problem of owning
of land. Here was no reformer speaking, but
one who was united with the revolutionary thought
around him.

But when the men of the Sixties were making
that answer for themselves, and had won the first
great step toward the change the abolition of
serfdom Tolstoi was away altogether from his
native land writing that great epoch of the War
of 1812 War and Peace. It was because this
great soul was undogmatic, and reached out into
the world not by mass thinking, but marvellously
enough entirely by himself, laying his roots far
and deep, that he seemed so slow moving. Yet
it was the direction and the end that counted, and
the end finds him, like the race between the tor-
toise and the hare that he is still ahead.

Even Russia will have far and long to travel to
come to that kingdom of God on earth, to that
conception of the manifestation of the will of God
on earth, which is the spiritual ideal of Tolstoi,



and toward which, express it in any materialistic
or naturalistic terms it may, the Russian nation
has with one mind been working with such mar-
vellous self-consciousness.

Again, after the emancipation of the serfs, Tol-
stoi seemed to fail the New Russia, interesting him-
self only at this moment with the education of the
youth and the need of reform ever the need
of reform, when already for over a decade the
cry of Russia was for new forms entirely, new
land arrangements, new relations between man
and man, and man and his property. The time
had come, they said, for the Will of the People
to be made manifest.

But before Tolstoi could decide on that, he had
to decide on a more fundamental problem of what
his relation was to God, as well as what his rela-
tion was to man. In other words, what were the
true spiritual relations between man and man, not
only the economic, political and social ones. And
it is this attempt to solve the real fundamental
meaning to all relationship, the very reason for
the youth's outbursts against the economic, politi-
cal and social injustices that existed, that kept him
moving forward so slowly. For he moved whole
worlds at a step.

The only reason for life, he said, is the uni-
versal desire for well being, which in man, whose
reason has awakened, is expanded into a desire



for universal welfare; in other words, for love.
For he knows that he is not a separate being, but
a part of a whole, and therefore it is meaningless
to think that he can obtain anything for himself
alone. It is only in struggling and attaining for
the Whole that he can find his true life.

The Russian youth agreed with him entirely.
To their logic, the struggle for universal welfare
led to terrorism; to Tolstoi, to the absolute non-
resistance to evil by violence. The youth said
the will of God is being thwarted by a band of
oppressors. If we do away with the oppressors
we can get together in mutual love. Tolstoi said
that he who thinks he can violate the will of God
for an immediate good is only short-sighted.
Never at any moment can the will of God be
thwarted and the good attained.

For a while the Russian Government rather ap-
proved of the Tolstoyan attitude of non-resistance
to evil. The one who used the greatest amount
of violence and evil of all, was pleased to meet
the philosophy which advised non-resistance to it.
But Tolstoi grew and travelled in his long years
and he had to change his conclusions, so that his
logic led him to that most self-conscious and diffi-
cult of all revolutionary movements, passive-
resistance. Take no part in violence, he said;
therefore, pay no taxes that support a govern-
ment which violates, and do not serve in the army



which is an act of violence in itself. It was then
that Tolstoi was looked upon with askance by
the Russian authorities and formerly anathema-
tised from the church. It was to his followers
that the more drastic punishment of imprisonment
and exile was meted out.

Toward the latter years of his life, his great
human heart could not remain quite closed to the
violence around him, and religious thinker that
he was, he had to stop his meditations to cry out
against the Kishineff massacres of the Jews and
against the raising of the scaffolds and the tying of
the " Stolypine's neck-ties," that most telling nick-
name of the Russian people for the noose, which
was tied even for school children on the cross-
roads of Russia after the bitter failure of the
revolution of 1905.

It was only in What Is Art? that the Russian
people and Tolstoi were unanimously at one.
Art is to serve the people, to be of the people, to
be something understandable by all people.
There were to be no dogmas for art, no German
metaphysics for art. It was merely the means
of expressing to his neighbour the mysteries that
went on in the soul of the artist. There was no
quarrel here between his fellow countrymen and
the great thinker. Everything was to be for the
people ; the spiritual manifestations of life as well
as the material.


How to make clear that for all this seeming
lack of harmony, there existed the greatest bond
of all between this teacher and his children.
Thousands in Russia took his life as an example
and left the vainglories of the city with all its
false standards and went to live among the peo-
ple. They went not only to serve them but to be
one of them, to live by the sweat of their brow
as the masses did, because it was the only moral
thing to do, and because the greatest happiness
lay in the spiritual values of life, and because, as
Tolstoi himself says, " It is good with them, but
with us it is shameful."

I remember so well the deep-set eyes and the
long shaggy eyebrows of that all-knowing seer, as
he sat on the veranda of his home in Yasanaya
Polyana one May afternoon in 1906, and told us
that he was a religious thinker and not a political
one but that to his mind the revolution in Russia
would take fifty years to develop. And with that
fine scorn for parliamentarism which would have
rejoiced the heart of any syndicalist, he added that
that which we were witnessing now, the assembling
of the first Duma, was only the first scene of the
first act of a five act drama and it was high comedy !

The second scene followed soon and turned out
to be bitter tragedy, and before it was quite over
Tolstoi wandered off on that last pilgrimage
which ended in the little railway station of Osto-



pova. He succumbed at last to that " temptation "
he speaks of so freely in his Journal, to leave his
home conditions, negate himself entirely, and find
himself again, merged and at one with the Whole.
And the Great Deliverer came and offered him
even a greater fusion with all, giving him that
" other post," the " new appointment " he so
ardently prayed for in life. When that happened
he became at once clear and lucid even to those
nearest him who had criticised him the most.
The Russian youth was disconsolate. Our spirit-
ual guide is gone, they cried. Who will hold up
the candle for us now? What black night is there
in the world, and how to grope our way in it
alone !

How lonely it was without that spiritual guide !

The first act of the March Revolution was to
redecorate the grave of Tolstoi in the forest of
Zakaz, to make the sacred pilgrimage to his rest-
ing place and tell the father of the good news
the will of God is being established, reason is
awakened in man. Love toward neighbour; nay,
the greatest of all, love toward enemies, is being ac-

It is with a feeling of reverence that I bring
this gift of the inner soul of Tolstoi to the Eng-
lish-speaking public. The very formlessness of
the phrases of this Journal helps toward a sin-
cerity of thought which shows itself pure by its



nakedness. Tolstoi himself knew the value of
these documents, for one man was to him as an-
other, and the sincere gropings of a man's reason
toward the understanding of the meaning of life
was of value even if they were his own, and espe-
cially if they were of one who had lived much and
thought much as he did. " It is especially dis-
agreeable to me," he writes, " when people who
have lived little and thought little do not believe
me, and, not understanding me, argue with me
about moral problems. It would be the same for
which a veterinary surgeon would be hurt if people
who were not familiar with his art would argue
with him." And Tolstoi knew that he knew his
art, he knew consciously, since the spiritual awak-
ening that came to him in the Eighties, the great
mission to which he dedicated his life to find a
moral justification of living and it is therefore
that he laid special stress in the disposal of these
documents for the public after his death. The
volume here printed is only four years of over
sixty years of Journal which he kept since his
early twenties. They are published first, because
it is only with the Journal beginning 1890 that
his editor and friend, V. G. Chertkov, has the
copied manuscripts in their entirety from that
date up to Tolstoi's death in 1910.

Over and over again in his life, Tolstoi at-
tempted to make special and legal provision for



his journals and notebooks, as he calls them, that
they be given and spread free to the public, and
he designated his friend and follower, who has
edited and published this volume in Russian, as
the practical inheritor and executor of these manu-
scripts. He was to publish them in their en-
tirety, except for certain revisions so that there
should be preserved, as Tolstoi expressed it, that
which ought to be preserved and there should be
thrown out that which ought to be thrown out.

" I know," he wrote to Chertkov, February 8,
1900, " that no one bears such an esteem, respect
and love for my spiritual life and its expression
as you do. I always said it and now I write it in
my notes which express my wishes after my death,
asking you especially, and only you, to undertake
the revision of my papers."

This Chertkov has done exceedingly well in
the original Russian edition, giving in double
brackets the number of the words he left out,
which seemed to him necessary on account of their
too intimate character. These places I have
merely indicated by three points. Unfortunately
the Russian volume was printed under the old
regime and deletions had to be made on account
of the censor, which, because of the difficulty of
communication during the war, it was impossible
to fill in. These places are also designated in
this volume by three points, but in the Russian



edition they are given in double parenthesis,
also enclosing the number of the words left
out. So that a record of all omissions have been

The problem of disposing of these documents
after his death according to his principles against
copyrights, occupied Tolstoi for many years.
The Russian law nullified any such disposal of
property, for legally the inheritor had to be a fixed
person " and works to be disposed of free to all "
meant nothing. He therefore wrote many wills,
defining and modifying his position in all possible
ways so that his ideas might be carried out, and
in such a form that they could not be frustrated
by any one.

His plans were threefold:

1. That all his works written after 1881 as
well as all his writings written before that year
(the year that marks his spiritual regeneration)
but not published until later or not published at all
up to his death, should be no one's property, but
be given free to the public for printing and trans-

2. That all his manuscripts and documents
(among that number the journals, first drafts of
books, letters, etc.,) which would remain after
his death should be given over to V. G. Chertkov,
who was to revise them and arrange them in suit-
able form for publication.



3. That the estate of Yasnaya Polyana should
be given over to the peasants.

Tolstoi's first idea was that Chertkov should
be one of the legal inheritors, together with the
Countess Tolstoi, his wife. But Chertkov re-
fused for various personal reasons, he says, but
mainly because he thought that the arrangement
for the transfer of property could be best facili-
tated and could be more delicately managed if
some one member of the Tolstoi family was desig-
nated instead of an outsider. Tolstoi, therefore,
designated as his legal inheritor his youngest
daughter Alexandra, who stood in close sympathy
with him in his spiritual ideas, and, in case of her
death before his own, his eldest daughter Titiana.
He hoped that his daughters, together with the
Countess Tolstoi, would fulfil his requests con-
cerning the disposal of his posthumous documents
and the gift of the estate according to his wishes.

After Tolstoi's death the estate was given to
the peasants by means of the sale of most of the
posthumous documents which enabled his daugh-
ter Alexandra to buy back the estate from the
family and give it to the peasants as directed by
Tolstoi, but in the matter of the journals it was
more difficult to arrange from the fact that the
Countess Tolstoi placed all these journals and
notebooks in the Moscow Historical Museum on
the ground that they were a gift of Tolstoi to



her during his lifetime and that therefore she
had a right to dispose of them as she thought best.
The matter would have taken only a legal proc-
ess in the court to disentangle, a thing which the
Countess Alexandra Tolstoi did not wish to un-
dertake as being against the spirit of her father
to use legal force to come to an agreement.

Chertkov, therefore, was forced to use only
such copies of the original journals and note-
books which he happened to have in his posses-
sion. The present volume is made from a copy
done by the hands of the Prince and Princess
Obolensky, the son-in-law and daughter of Tol-
stoi, who also stood very near to Tolstoi spirit-
ually, were conscientious in their fulfilment of
such tasks for him, and who knew his handwrit-
ing very well. The original documents are still
in the Moscow Historical Museum, but Chertkov
has promised to publish the volumes and journals
which he has from the years 1900 to 1910, and
has already brought out a second volume of this
series, which dates from Tolstoi's early years in
the twenties.

Whatever value this volume has as a historical
and exact transcript of Tolstoi's original jottings-
down as they came to him, it has much more value
as a transcript of the thoughts of a great Rus-
sian which have so permeated his people that they
are now being rewritten on the pages of Russian



history. It is because the blood of his brother
calls to him from under the ground, that the Rus-
sian has undertaken to advance one step nearer to
the fulfilment of the great law to live together
in harmony, to serve his brother and to do the
one work which is the one work for all, to love.
The hundred-years readiness for sacrifice for the
common good, the willingness to go to exile and
death of four generations of men and women, the
red flag now flying over the Winter Palace in Pet-
rograd with the letters of gold, " Proletarians of
all Nation Unite," the insistent call to the peoples
of the world to overthrow all oppressors and live
together in mutual harmony, the trumpet calls of a
democracy whose tones are so strange and new,
that we across the borders seem not hear or under-
stand them, all have their spiritual counterpart in
the pages of this book. It is Russia that speaks

I must give my thanks to Mr. Alexander Goure-
vich who so carefully compared the original text
and English translation, and to Mr. Joseph
Peroshnikoff who patiently revised the notes and
assisted in the compilation of the index.


New York, May, 1917.



Introduction Rose Strunsky, v
Journal, 3

1895, October, 3

" November, 4
December, 8

1896, January, 19

" February, 21

" March, 29

" May, 31

11 June, 56

" July, 61

" September, 70

" October, 74

" November, 87

" December, 99

1897, January, 113
" February, 117
" March, 134

" April, 137
" May, 139
" July, 140


" August, 144
" September, 148
" October, 150

1897, November, 163
" December, 177

1898, January, 193
" February, 199
" March, 213

" April, 219
" May, 226
" June, 232

" July, 243

" August, 246
November, 256

1899, January, 269
" February, 269

June, 270

11 July, 276

September, 277
" October, 283
November, 291
December, 292

Explanatory Notes to Text, by V. G. Chertkov, 299
A short Sketch of the Life of Tolstoi at the End of the

Nineties, by C. Shokor-Trotsky, 387
Index, 409



October-December 1895


/ continue 1 October 28. Yasnaya Polyana.

Have been thinking:

Have been thinking one thing: that this life
which we see around us is a movement of matter
according to fixed, well-known laws ; but that in us
we feel the presence of an altogether different law,
having nothing in common with the others and re-
quiring from us the fulfilment of its demands. It
can be said that we see and recognise all the other
laws only because we have in us this law. If we
did not recognise this law, we would not recognise
the others.

This law is different from all the rest, principally
in this, that those other laws are outside of us and
forces us to obey them ; but this law is in us and
more than in us; it is our very selves and there-
fore it does not force us when we obey it, but on
the contrary frees us, because in following it we
become ourselves. And for this reason we are

1 These superior figures refer to the editor's notes which begin
on page 299.


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1895

drawn to fulfil this law and we sooner or later
will inevitably fulfil it. In this then consists the
freedom of the will. This freedom consists in
this, that we should recognise that which is
namely that this inner law is ourselves.

This inner law is what we call reason, conscience,
love, the good, God. These words have different
meanings, but all from different angles mean one
and the same thing. In our understanding of this
inner law, the son of God, consists indeed the es-
sence of the Christian doctrine.

The world can be looked upon in this way: a
world exists governed by certain, well-known laws,
and within this world are beings subject to the
same laws, but who at the same time bear in them-
selves another law not in accord with the former
laws of the world, a higher law, and this law must
inevitably triumph within these beings and defeat
the lower law. And in this struggle and in
the gradual victory of the higher law over the
lower, in this only is life for man and the whole
Oct. 29. Yasnaya Polyana. If I live. 2

Nov. 5. Y. P.

I have skipped 6 days. It seems to me, I
thought little during this time: I wrote a little,
chopped wood and was indisposed but lived
through much. I lived through much, because in


NOVEMBER] The Journal of Leo Tolstoi

fulfilling a promise to S. 3 , I read through all my
journals for the past seven years.

It seems to me, I am approaching a simple and
clear expression of that by which I live. How
good that I didn't finish the Catechism ! 4 I think
I shall write it differently and better, if the Father
wishes it. I understand why it is impossible to
say it quickly. If it could be said all at once, by
what then would we live in the realm of thought?
It will never be given me to go farther than this

I just took a walk and understood clearly why
I can't make Resurrection go better : it was begun
falsely. I understood this in thinking over again
the story: Who is Right? 5 (about children). I
understood that one must begin with the life of
the peasants, that they are the subject, they are
positive, but that the other thing is shadow, the
other thing is negative. And I understood the
same thing about Resurrection. One must begin
with her. 6 I want to begin immediately.

During this time there were letters : from Ken-
worthy, 7 a beautiful one from Shkarvan, 8 and from
a Dukhobor in Tiflis. 9

Have written to no one for a long time. Gen-
eral indisposition and no energy. The stage man-
ager and the decorator 10 were here, students from
Kharkov against whom I think I did not sin, Ivan
Ivanovich Bochkarev, 11 Kolasha. 12 . . .


The Journal of Leo Tolstoi [1895
Nov. 6. Y. P. If I live.

November 7. Y. P.

I wrote a little these two days on the new Resur-
rection. My conscience hurts when I remember
how trivially I began it. So far, I rejoice when I
think of the work as I am beginning it.

I chopped a little. I went to Ovsiannikovo,

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