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desperate but respectful

Father Gapon writes a petition to the tsar Nicholas II which moves crowds of workers in St Petersburg to tears when they hear it read out. It begins:

'Sire, We, the workers and inhabitants of St Petersburg, of various estates, our wives, our children, and our aged, helpless parents, come to Thee, O Sire, to seek justice and protection. We are impoverished; we are oppressed, overburdened with excessive toil, contemptuously treated ... We are suffocating in despotism and lawlessness. O Sire, we have no strenth left, and our endurance is at an end. We have reached that frightful moment when death is better than the prolongation of our unbearable sufferings...'

Quoted Orlando Figes A People's Tragedy, Pimlico 1996, page 175

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