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REPUBLIC OF LETTERS;
MRS. A. H. NICHOLAS.
GEORGE DEAR BORN, PUBLISHER.
THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE,
PETER THE GREAT.
GEORGE DEARBORN, PUBLISHER.
tersburgh in 1733, and who had been at Madrid,
says, in his manuscript relation, that in Spain, Description of Russia.
which is the least populous state in Europe, there
may be reckoned forty persons to every square The empire of Russia is the largest in the whole mile, and in Russia not above five. We shall see globe, extending from west to east upwards of two in the second chapter, whether this minister was thousand common leagues of France, * and about mistaken. Marshal Vauban, the greatest of eneight hundred in its greatest breadth from north gineers, and the best of citizens, computes, that, to south. It borders upon Poland and the Frozen in France, every square mile contains two hunSea, and joins to Sweden and China. Its length dred inhabitants. These calculations are never from the Island of Dago, in the westernmost part very exact, but they serve to show the amazing
of Livonia, to its most eastern limits, takes in disproportion in the population of two different I near one hundred and seventy degrees, so that countries.
when it is noon in the western parts of the em I shall observe here, that from Petersburgh to pire, it is nearly midnight in the eastern. Its Pekin, there is hardly one mountain to be met breadth from north to south is three thousand six with in the route which the caravans might take hundred wersts, which make eight hundred and through independant Tartary, and that from Pefifty of our common French leagues.
tersburgh to the north of France, by the road of The limits of this country were so little known | Dantzic, Hamburgh, and Amsterdam, there is not in the last century, that, in 1689, when it was re even a hill of any eminence to be seen. This obported, that the Chinese and the Russians were servation leaves room to doubt of the truth of that at war, and that in order to terminate their differ theory, which makes the mountains to have been ences, the emperor Camhi on the one hand, and formed by the rolling of the waves of the sea, and the czars Ivan or John, and Peter, on the other, supposes all that is at present dry land, to have had sent their ministers to meet an embassy with been for a long time covered with water: but how in three hundred leagues of Pekin, on the fron comes it to pass, that the waves, which, according tiers of the two empires. This account was at to the supposition, formed the Alps, the Pyrenees, first treated as a fiction.
and Mount Taurus, did not likewise form some The country now comprehended under the eminence or bill from Normandy to China, which name of Russia, or the Russias, is of a greater ex is a winding space of above three thousand tent than all the rest of Europe, or than ever the leagues ? Geography, thus considered, may furRonan empire was, or that of Darius subdued by nish lights to natural philosophy, or at least give Alexander; for it contains upwards of one million, room for rational doubts. one hundred thousand square leagues. Neither Formerly we called Russia by the name of Musthe Roman empire, nor that of Alexander, con covy, from the city of Moscow, the capital of that tained more than five hundred and fifty thousand empire, and the residence of the grand dukes; but each ; and there is not a kingdom in Europe the at present the ancient name of Russia prevails. twelfth part so extensive as the Roman empire ; It is not my business in this place to inquire, but to make Russia as populous, as plentiful, and why the countries from Smolensko, to the other as well stored with towns as our southern coun side of Moscow, were called White Russia, or tries, would require whole ages, and a race of why Hubner gives it the name of Black, nor for monarchs such as Peter the Great.
what reason the government of Kiow should be The English ambassador, who resided at Pe named Red Russia,
It is very likely that Madies the Scythian, who * A French league contains three English miles. made an irruption into Asia, near seven hundred