The Czar Wished to Make Russia a Republic.

Streator, Ill., Nov. 1 -- The Rev. Ambrose Vretta, pastor of the Russian Greek Catholic Church of Chicago, was in Streator to-day to hold services, and on hearing of the death of the Czar said:

"It is a mistake to think that this grand man was not beloved by the majority of his subjects. Alexander III was a most zealous and, take him all in all, just ruler of the Russian people. The initial steps in many reforms were inaugurated during his reign, the most important of which is the compulsory national public school system. The Czar was greatly blamed for not giving his people a constitutional government; but they are not ready for that yet. It would be a most foolish thing to hand a constitution to a band of roving Tartars.

"A foreign reporter was once admitted to an audience with the Czar and bluntly asked him why he did not grant his people a constitution. The Czar replied: ‘They would not know what to do with it. If the dearest wish of my heart could be achieved, I would make a republic out of Russia to-day instead of an absolute monarchy. But my people are as children. We are young in our national strength and it is the youth and strength of an uncouth giant. My people must be educated before they can govern themselves.’

"So we truthfully called the Czar our little father. He loved us and we loved him."

The Morning Call [San Francisco], Friday Morning, November 2, 1894, p. 4.

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 2, No. 3, November 1994