The French historian Michelet wrote with intuition marred by exaggeration and acerbity: "A barbarous force, a law-hating world, Russia sucks and absorbs all the poison of Europe and then gives it off in greater quantity and deadlier intensity. When we admit Russia, we admit the cholera, dissolution, death. That is the meaning of Russian propaganda.
His whole aim was to hide it from you, and to fasten, as best such efforts of his could fasten, in your minds this one miserable refrain "They glorified the cause of murder and assassination." But this is no new trick. It is the old story of the maligners of our people. They call the Irish a turbulent, riotous, crime-loving, law-hating race.
Both these elements, the law-loving and the law-hating, as they advanced pari-passu farther and farther from the staid world which they had known, noticed the development of a strange phenomenon: that law, which they had left behind them, waned in importance with each passing day. The standards of the old home changed, even as customs changed.
This being the eve of the great uprising, it was not unlikely that a secret host lay here awake and ready for the foul observance of the coming holiday; here, at least, chafed an eager, vicious, law-hating community of mendicants and outcasts. He had little time to speculate on the attitude of the denizens of this unwholesome place.