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None of these people have the least knowledge of the calender : they reckon their time by snows, and not by the apparent motion of the sun : as it snows regularly, and for a long time every winter, they say, “I am so many snows old,” just as we say, I am so many years.
And here I must relate the accounts given by the Swedish officer Strahlemberg, who was taken prisoner in the battle of Pultowa, and lived fifteen years in Siberia, and made the entire tour of that country. He says, that there are still some remains of an ancient people, whose skin is spotted or variegated with different colours, and that he himself had seen some of them; and the fact has been confirmed to me by Russians born at Tobolsky. The variety of the human species seems to be greatly diminished, as we find very few of these extraordinary people, and they have probably been exterminated by some other race : for instance, there are very few Albinos, or White Moors ; one of them was presented to the academy of sciences at Paris, which I saw. It is the same with respect to several other species of animals which are rare.
As to the Borandians, of whom mention is made 80 frequently in the learned history of the king's garden, my memoirs say, that this race of people is entirely unknown to the Russians.
All the southern part of these countries is peopled by numerous hordes of Tartars. The ancient Turks came from this part of Tartary to conquer these extensive countries, of which they are at present in possession. The Calmucs and Monguls are the very Scythians who, under Madies, made themselves masters of Upper Asia, and conquered Cyaxares, king of the Medes. They are the men whom Gengis Khan and his sons led afterwards as far as Germany, and was termed the Mogul empire under Tamerlane. These people afford a lively instance of the vicissitudes which have happened to all nations ; some of their hordes, so far from being formidable now, are become vassals to Russia.
Among these is a nation of Calmucs, dwelling between Siberia and the Caspian Sea, where, in the year 1720, there was discovered a subterraneous house of stone, with urns, lamps, ear-rings, an equestrian statue of an oriental prince, with a diadem on his head, two women seated on thrones, and a roll of manuscripts, which were sent by Pe. ter the Great to the academy of inscriptions at Paris, and proved to be written in the Thibet language : all these are striking proofs, that the liberal arts formerly resided in this now barbarous country, and are lasting evidences of the truth of what Peter the Great was wont several times to say, viz. that the arts had made the tour of the globe.
The last province is Kamtshatka, the most eastern part of the continent. The inhabitants were absolutely void of all religion when they were first discovered, the north part of this country like-,
wise affords fine furs, with which the inhabitants clothed themselves in winter, though they went naked all the summer season. The first discoverers were surprised to find in the southern parts men with long beards, while in the northern parts, from the country of the Samojedes, as far as the mouth of the river Amur, they have no more beards than the An cans. Thus, in the empire of Russia, there is a greater number of different species, more singularities, and a greater diversity of manners and customs, than in any country in the known world.
The first discovery of this country was made by a Cossack officer, who went by land from Siberia to Kamtsbatka in 1701, by order of Peter the Great, who, notwithstanding his misfortune at Narva, still continued to extend his care from one extremity of the continent to the other. Afterwards, in 1725, sometime before death surprised him, in the midst of his great exploits, he sent Captain Bering, a Dane, with express orders to find out, if possible, a passage by the sea of Kantshatka, to the coast of America. Bering did not succeed in his first attempt ; but the empress Anne sent him out again in 1733. M.Spengenberg, captain of a ship, his associate in this voyage, set out the first from Kamtshatka, but could not put to sea till the year 1739, so much time was taken up in getting to the port where they were to embark, in building and fitting out the ships, and providing the necessaries. Spengenberg sailed as far as the North part of Japan, through a strait, formed by a long chain of islands, and returned without having discovered the passage.
In 1741, Bering cruised all over this sea, in company with De Lisle de la Croyere, the astronomer, of the same family of L'Isle, which has produced such excellent geographers : another captain likewise went upon the same discovery. They both made the coast of America, to the northward of California. Thus the north-east passage, so long sought after, was at length discovered, but there was no refreshments to be met with in those barren coasts. Their fresh water failed them, and part of the crew perished with the scurvy. They saw the northern bank of California for above a hundred miles, and saw some leathern canoes, with just such a sort of people in them as the Canadians. All their endeavours, however, proved fruitless : Bering ended his life in an island, to which he gave his name. The other captain, happening to be closer in with the Californian coast, sent ten of his people on shore, who never returned. The captain, after waiting for them in vain, found himself obliged to return back to Kamtshatka, and De Lisle died as he was going on shore. Such are the disasters that have generally attended every new attempt upon the northern seas.
But what advantages may yet arise from these powerful and dangerous discoveries, time alone can prove.
all Europe. The estate of a gentleman in Russia and Poland is computed, not by his increase in money, but by the number of his slaves.
The following is a list, taken in 1747, of all the males who paid the capitation or poll tax :
We have now described all the different provinces that compose the Russian dominions, from Finland to the sea of Japan. The largest part of this empire have been all united at different times, as has been the case in all other kingdoms in the world. The Scythians, Huns, Massagetes, Sla'vians, Cimbrians, Getes, and Sarmatians, are now subjects of the czar. The Russians, properly so called, are the ancient Roxolani or Slavi.
Upon reflection, we shall find that most states were formed in the same manner. The French are an assemblage of Goths, of Danes called Normands, of northern Germans, called Burgundians; of Franks, Allmans, and some Romans, mixed with the ancient Celtæ. In Rome and Italy there are several families descended from the people of the North, but none that we know of from the ancient Romans. The supreme pontiff is frequently the offspring of a Lombard, a Goth, a Teuton, or a Cimbrian. The Spaniards are a race of Arabs, Carthaginians, Jews, Tyrians, Visigoths, and Vandals, incorporated with the ancient inhabitants of the country. When nations are thus intermixed, it is a long time before they are civilised, or even before their language is formed. Some, indeed, receive these sooner, others later. Polity and the liberal arts are so difficult to establish, and the new raised structure is so often destroyed by revolutions, that we may wonder all nations are not so barbarous as Tartars.
Merchants or tradesmen
16500 Peasants incorporated with the merchants and handicrafts
1950 Peasants called Odonoskis, who contribute to maintain the militia
430220 Others who do not contribute thereto 26080 Workmen of different trades, whose parents are not known
1000 Others who are not incorporated with the companies of tradesmen
4700 Peasants immediately dependent on the crown about
555000 Persons employed in the mines belong
ing to the crown, partly Christians,
partly Mahometans and Pagans 64000 Other peasants belonging to the crown,
who work in the mines and in private manufactories
24200 New convents to the Greek church
57000 Tartars and Ostiaks (peasants)
241000 Mourses, Tartars, Mordauts, and others,
whether Pagans or Christians, employ-
7800 Tartars subject to contribution, called Tepterie, Bobilitz, &c.
28900 Bondmen to several merchants, and other
priviliged persons, who, though not land-holders, are allowed to have slaves
9100 Peasants in the lands set apart for the support of the crown
418000 Peasants on the lands belonging to her
majesty, independently of the rights of the crown
60500 Peasants on the lands confiscated to the
13600 Bondmen belonging to gentlemen 3550000 Bondmen belonging to the assembly of
the clergy, and who defray other expenses
37500 Bondmen belonging to bishops
116400 Bondmen belonging to convents, whose
numbers were reduced by Peter the Great
721500 Bondmen belonging to cathedral and parish churches
23700 Peasants employed as labourers in the
docks of the admiralty, or in other public works, about
4000 Labourers in the mines and in private manufactures
16000 Peasants on the lands assigned to the principal manufactures
14500 Labourers in the mines belonging to the crown
Continuation of the description of Russia, popula
tion, finances, armies, customs, religion : state of Russia before Peter the Great.
The more civilized a country is, the better it is peopled. Thus China and India are more populous than any other empires, because, after a multitude of revolutions, which changed the face of sublunary affairs, these two nations made the earliest establishments in civil society: the antiquity of their government, which has subsisted upwards of four thousand years, supposes, as we have already observed, many essays and efforts in preceding ages. The Russians came very late; but the arts having been introduced amongst them in their full perfection, it has happened that they have made more progress in fifty years, than any other nation had done before them in five hundred. The country is far from being populous in proportion to its extent; but, such as it is, it has as great a number of inhabitants as any other state in Christendom. From the capitation lists, and the register of merchants, artificers, and male peasants, I might safely assert, that Russia, at present, contains at least twenty-four millions of male inhabitants : of these twenty-four millions, the greater part are villains or bondmen, as in Poland, several provinces of Germany, and formerly throughout
Bastards brought up by the clergy
40 this state to their courts, have been greatly misSectaries called Raskolniky
taken. The archives of the empire are the only
things to be consulted. Total 6646390
It is very probable, that Russia has been better peopled than it is at present; before the small
pox, that came from the extremities of Arabia, and Here we have a round number of six millions the great pox that came from America, had spread six hundred forty-six thousand three hundred and over these climates, where they have now taken ninety male persons, who pay the poll-tax. In this root. The world owes these two dreadful scourges, number are included boys and old men, but girls which have depopulated it more than all its wars, and women are not reckoned, nor boys born be- the one to Mahomet, and the other to Christopher tween the making of one register of the lands and Columbus. The plague, which is a native of Africa, another. Now, if we only reckon triple the num- seldom approached the countries of the North : ber of heads subject to be taxed, including women
besides, the people of those countries, from Sarand girls, we shall find near twenty millions of matia to the Tartars, who dwell beyond the great souls.
wall, having overspread the world by their irrupTo this number we may add the military list, tions, this ancient nursery of the human species which amounts to three hundred and fifty thou- must have been surprisingly diminished. sand men : besides, neither the nobility nor clergy,
In this vast extent of country, there are said to who are computed at two hundred thousand, are
be about seventy-four thousand monks, and five subject to this capitation.
thousand nuns, notwithstanding the care taken by Foreigners, of whatever country or profession,
Peter the Great to reduce their number ; a care are likewise exempt: as also the inhabitants of worthy the legislator of an empire where the human the conquered countries, namely, Livonia, Es- race is so remarkably deficient. These thirteen thonia, Ingria, Carelia, and a part of Finland, the thousand persons, thus immured and lost to the Ukraine, and the Don Cossacks, the Calmucks, state, have, as the reader may have observed, and other Tartars, Samojedes, the Laplanders, seventy-two thousand bondmen to till their lands, the Ostiaks, and all the idolatrous people of Si
which is evidently too great a number: there canberia, a country of greater extent than China. not be a stronger proof how difficult it is to eradicate By the same calculation, it is impossible that
abuses of a long standiug. the total of the inhabitants of Russia should
I find, by a list of the revenues of the empire in amount to less than twenty-four millions. At 1735, that reckoning the tribute paid by the Tarthis rate, there are eight persons to every square
tars, with all taxes and duties in money, the sum mile. The English ambassador, whom I have
total amounted to thirteen millions of rubles, which mentioned before, allows only five; but he cer
makes sixty-five millions of French livres, exclutainly was not furnished with such faithful me
sive of tributes in kind. The moderate sum was moirs as those with which I have been favoured.
at that time sufficient to maintain three hundred Russia therefore is exactly five times less popu
and thirty-nine thousand five hundred, as well sea lous than Spain, but contains near four times the
as land forces : but both the revenues and troops number of inhabitants; it is almost as populous
are augmented since that time. as France or Germany ; but, if we consider its
The customs, diets, and manners of the Rusvast extent, the number of souls is thirty times sians, ever bore a greater affinity to those of Asia less.
than to those of Europe: such was the old custom There is one important remark to be made in of receiving tributes in kind, of defraying the exregard to this enumeration, namely, that out of six penses of ambassadors on their journies, and durmillion six hundred and forty thousand people li- ing their residence in the country, and of never able to the poll-tax, there are about nine hundred appearing at church, or in the royal presence with thousand that belong to the Russian clergy, with- a sword ; an oriental custom, directly the reverse out reckoning either the ecclesiastics of the con- of that ridiculous and barbarous one amongst us, quered countries, of the Ukraine, or of Siberia. of addressing ourselves to God, to our king, to our
Therefore, out of seven persons liable to the friends, and to our women, with an offensive weapoll-tax, the clergy have one; but, nevertheless, pon, which hangs down to the bottom of the leg. they are far from possessing the seventh part of the
robe worn on public days, had a more whole revenues of the state, as is the case in many
noble air than the short habits of the western naother kingdoms, where they have at least a seventh tions of Europe. A vest lined and turned up with of all estates ; for their peasants pay a capitation fur, with a long scimar, adorned with jewels for to the sovereign ; and the other taxes of the crown festival days; and those high turbans, which add of Russia, in which the clergy have no share, are to the stature, were much more striking to the eye very considerable.
than our perukes and close coats, and more suitThis valuation is very different from that of all able to cold climates ; but this ancient dress of all other writers on the affairs of Russia ; so that fo
nations seems to be not so well contrived for war, reign ministers, who have transmitted memoirs of nor so convenient for working people. Most of
their other customs were rustic ; but we must not dered by that of great duke. Czar Michael Theimagine that their manners were as barbarous as odorowitz, when he received the Holstein embassy, some writers would have us believe. Albert Krants took to himself the following titles : “Great knez, relates a story of an Italian ambassador, whom and great lord, conservator of all the Russias, the czar ordered to have his hat nailed to his head, prince of Wolodomer, Moscow, Novogorod, &c. for not pulling it off while he was making his tzar of Casan, tzar of Astracan,and tzar of Siberia.” speech to him. Others attribute this adventure Tzar was, therefore, a tide belonging to these to a Tartar, and others again to a French ambas- eastern princes; and therefore, it is more probasador.
ble to have been derived from the tshas of Persia, Olearius pretends, that the czar Michael Theodo- than from the Roman Cæsars, whom the Siberian rowitz, banished the marquis of Exideuil, ambassa- tzars, on the banks of the Oby, can hardly be supdor from Henry IV. of France, into Siberia ; but posed to have ever heard. it is certain, that this monarch sent no ambassador No title, however pompous, is of any conseto Moscow, and that there never was a marquis of quence, if those who bear it are not great and Exideuil in France. In the same manner do travel- powerful of themselves. The word emperor, lers speak about the country of Borandia, and of which originally signified no more than general of the trade they have carried on with the people of the army, became the title of the sovereign of the Nova Zembla, which is scarcely inhabited at all, Roman republic: it is now given to the supreme and the long conversations they have had with governor of all the Russias, more justly than to any some of the Samojedes, as if they understood their other potentate, if we consider the power and exlanguage. Were the enormous compilations of tent of his dominions. voyages to be cleared of every thing that is not true nor useful in them, both the works and the public would be gainers by it.
The Russian government resembled that of the Turks, in respect to the standing forces, or guards,
The established religion of this country has, called Strelitzes, who, like the janissaries, some- ever since the eleventh century, been that of the times disposed of the crown, and frequently dis- Greek church, so called in opposition to the Latin; turbed the state as much as they defended it. though there were always a greater number of Their number was about forty thousand. Those Mahometan and Pagan provinces, than of those who were dispersed in the provinces, subsisted by
inhabited by christians. Siberia, as far as China, rapine and plunder ; those in Moscow lived like was in a state of idolatry; and, in some of the citizens, followed trades, did no duty, and carried provinces, they were utter stangers to all kind of their insolence to the greatest excess : in short,
religion. there was no other way to preserve peace and good Perry, the engineer, and baron Strahlemberg, order in the kingdom, but by breaking them; a
who both resided so many years in Russia, tell us, very necessary, and at the same time a very dan- that they found more sincerity and probity among gerous step.
the Pagans than the other inhabitants ; not that The public revenue does not exceed five mil- paganism made them more virtuous, but their manlions of rubles, or about twenty-five millions of
ner of living, which was that of the primitive ages, French livres. This was sufficient when czar
as they are called, freed them from all the tumulPeter came to the crown to maintain the ancient tuous passions; and, in consequence, they were mediocrity, but was not a third part of what was ne
known for their integrity. cessary to go certain lengths, and to render himself Christianity did not get footing in Russia and and people considerable in Europe: but at the
the other countries of the North till very late. It same time many of their taxes were paid in kind, is said that a princess, named Olha, first introaccording to the Turkish custom, which is less
duced it, about the end of the tenth century, as burthensome to the people than that of paying tri
Clotilda, niece to an Arian prince, did among the butes in money.
Franks; the wife of Miceslaus, duke of Poland, among the Poles; and the sister of the emperor Henry II. among the Hungarians. Women are
naturally easily persuaded by the ministers of As to the title of czar, it may possibly come from religion, and as easily persuade the other part of the tzars, or tchars of the kingdom of Casan. mankind. When John, or Ivan Basilides, completed the con- It is further added, that this princess Olha quest of this kingdom in the sixteenth century, caused herself to be baptized at Constantinople, which had been begun by his grandfather, who by the name of Helena ; and that, as soon as she afterwards lost it, he assumed this title, which his embraced Christianity, the emperor John Zimissuccessors have retained ever since. Before John ces fell in love with her. It is most likely that Basilides, the sovereign of Russia, took the title of she was a widow; however, she refused the emWelike Knez, i. e. great prince, great lord, great peror. The example of the princess Olha, or chief, which the Christian nations afterwards ren- Olga, as she is called, did not at first make many
OF THE TITLE OF CZAR.
proselytes. Her son,* who reigned a long time, was not of the same way of thinking as his mother ; but her grandson, Wolodomer, who was born of a concubine, having murdered his brother and mounted the throne, sued for the alliance of Basiles, emperor of Constantinople, but could obtain it only on condition of receiving baptism :/ and this event, which happened in the year 987, is the epocha when the Greek church was first established in Russia. Photius, the patriarch, so famous for his immense erudition, his disputes with the church of Rome, and for his misfortunes, sent a person to baptize Wolodomer, in order to add this part of the world to the patriarchal see.
Wolodimer, or Wolodomar, therefore completed the work which his grandmother had begun. A Greek was made the first metropolitan,or patriarch of Russia; and from this time the Russians adopted an alphabet, taken partly from the Greek. This would have been of advantage to them, had they not still retained the principles of their own language, which is the Sclavonian in every thing, but a few terms relating to their liturgy and church government. One of the Greek patriarchs, named Jeremiah, having a suit depending before the divan, came to Moscow to solicit it; where, after some time, he resigned his authority over the Russian churches, and consecrated patriarch, the archbishop of Novogorod, named Job. This was in the year 1538, from which time the Russian church became as independent as its empire. The patriarch of Russia has ever since been consecrated by the Russian bishops, and not by the patriarch of Constantinople. He ranked in the Greek church next to the patriarch of Jerusalem, but he was in fact the only free and powerful patriarch; and, consequently, the only real one. Those of Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, are mercenary chiefs of a church, enslaved by the Turks; and even the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch are no longer considered as such, having no more credit or influence in Turkey, than the rabins of the Jewish synagogues settled there.
It was from a person who was a patriarch of all the Russias, that Peter the Great was descended in a right line. These new prelates soon wanted to share the sovereign authority with the czars. They thought it not enough that their prince walked bare-headed once a year before the patriarch, leading his horse by the bridle. These external marks of respect only served to increase their thirst for rule; a passion which proved the source of great troubles in Russia, as well as in other countries.
Nicon, a person whom the monks look upon as a saint, and who was patriarch in the reign of Alexis, the father of Peter the Great, wanted to
raise his dignity above that of the throne; for he not only assumed the privilege of sitting by the side of the czar in the senate, but pretended that neither war nor peace could be made without his consent. His authority was so great, that, being supported by his immense wealth, and by his intrigues with the clergy and the people, he kept his master in a kind of subjection. He had the boldness to excommunicate some senators who opposed his excessive insolence; till at last, Alexis, finding himself not powerful enough to depose him by his own authority, was obliged to convene a synod of all the bishops. There the patriarch was accused of having received money from the Poles; and being convicted, was deposed, and confined for the remainder of his days in a monastery, after which the prelates chose another patriarch in his stead.
From the first infancy of Christianity in Russia, there have been several sects there, as well as in other countries; for sects are as frequently the fruits of ignorance as of pretended knowledge: but Russia is the only Christian state of any considerable extent, in which religion has not excited civil wars, though it has felt some occasional tumults.
The Raskolnikys, who consist at present of about two thousand males, and who are mentioned in the foregoing list,* are the most ancient sect of any in the country. It was established in the twelfth century, by some enthusiasts, who had a superficial knowledge of the New Testament: they made use then, and still do, of the old pretence of all sectaries, that of following the letter, and accused all other Christians of remissness. They would not permit a priest, who had drank brandy, to confer baptism; they affirmed, in the words of our Saviour, that there is neither a first nor a last, among the faithful; and held that one of the elect might kill himself for the love of his Saviour. According to them, it is a great sin to repeat the halleluja three times; and, therefore repeat it only twice. The benediction is to be given only with three fingers. In other respects, no society can be more regular, or strict in its morals. They live like the quakers, and, like them, do not admit any other Christians into their assemblies, which is the reason that these have accused them of all the abominations of which the heathens accused the primitive Galileans: these latter, the gnostics, and with which the Roman catholics have charged the protestants. They have been frequently accused of cutting the throat of an infant, and drinking its blood; and of mixing together in their private ceremonies, without distinction of kindred, age, or even of sex. They have been persecuted at times, and then they shut themselves up in their hamlets, set fire to their houses and thrown themselves into the flames. Peter took the only method of re
* His name was Sawastowslaw.
† This anecdote is taken from a private MS. intitled “ The Ecclesiastical Government of Russia,” which is likewise deposited in the public library.
See pago 12.