‘While the rigid Censorship exercised by the Russian bureaucracy would make the publication of such facts as are herein described impossible in the place where they occurred, the jealous care with which individual freedom of thought, speech and action, the most cherished heritage of the English people, is guarded, encourages the author to hope, that his work will be something to awaken the sympathy of the greatest of the nations for the tribulation of a people, striving, with a faith and courage of which little is known, and at a cost which has not yet been counted, to obtain that liberty of the individual which every Englishman regards as his birthright’ (Introduction).
This typescript novel, dated London 1913, is dedicated ‘To the sacred memory of my dearest Mother, the unfortunate victim of the Russian Revolution …’ and was published the following year, with a few changes, as The Iron Passport. It appears to be the author’s only book. Two other of his stories, as mentioned on the title-page here, ‘A Duel of Brains’ and ‘The Promotion of Petroff’, appeared in the World Wide Magazine in 1908.
But who was Maxime Shottland? A short report in The New York Times from June 1908 calls him ‘a young Russian author who has passed most of his life in England and America’ and who was about to open a theatre in Paris ‘where an English or American author is able to produce pieces debarred by the prudery of London or New York’. Online newspaper archives refer to a Baron Maxime de Sheyder Shottland in various court cases: to defend the honour of the granddaughter of Franz Joseph of Austria who had been insulted by a hotel manager (New York, 1911), a run-in with a bailiff (London, 1915), a bankruptcy order (London, 1916) … after which he suddenly disappears without trace.