21 MARCH 1987, Page 9

One hundred years ago

THE Russian Government, after a mo- ment's hesitation, admits that a desper- ate attempt was made on Sunday last to assassinate the Czar, and there is no sound reason to doubt that the authors of the crime were Nihilists of the old type . . . According to the best non- - official accounts, the criminals were two students, the first of whom, carrying a bomb filled with melinite, but shaped like a large missal, threw it down before the Imperial carriage, and was only arrested while pulling the tape which released the hammer intended to ignite the explosives; while his accomplice, who carried another bomb in a bag, was stopped and thrown down by the surg- ing crowd. . . . From the extreme agita- tion caused by the attempt, we should fancy it had been near success, and the anxiety of the Government to minimise the chances enjoyed by the assassins, though it is savagely blamed, is hardly blameworthy.

The Spectator, 19 March 1887