صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Among the most eminent, of these travellers was Dr. Pallas ; whose relation of his progress and remarks, on a former journey, has been read with avidity throughout Europe. The present volumes may be considered as a kind of second part, or appendix to that publication, and are valuable as enlarging our acquaintance with regions, concerning which our informa tion was far from being satisfactory.

The contents of this performance, however, are researches and dissertations, interesting to mineralogists and geologists, but to few others. The art of heraldry as practised among the nations of Caucasus, or accounts of barrows and eminences erected in barbarous ages, cannot boast of much entertainment; and topographical descriptions, however accurate, will be thought rather dry, especially when attended by the unavoidable inconvenience of a crowd of barbarous names, perpetually repeated, which our organs of speech are not sufficiently flexible to pronounce.

Among the truly remarkable objects included in the first of these volumes, which comprehends particularly Southern Russia, the Steppes of the deserts, in the course of the river Volga, occupy a principal place. In these, the most beautiful meadows, bedecked with delightful verdure, are con. trasted by arid wastes, whose surface presents no other diversity, than hillocks of barren sand.

The Steppe of Astrakan is the most remarkable, by its picturesque appearance, and by the fertile properties of its soil. The tulip, the gilly. flower, the astragalus, the ranunculus, and many other flowers, adorn it with their brilliant colours, The most excellent asparagus in the world, grows here, spontaneously. Around Astrakan, this natural fertility is augmented by cultivation. Notwithstanding the severity of the winter and cold, which covers the wide Volga with ice,-in lat. 46o., the heats of summer are excessive. Hence, the vine, and the mulberry-tree prosper ; likewise fruits transplanted from southern climates. In many districts of this Steppe, the carth yields abundant harvests. The other Steppes comprise a multitude of sandy plains, of which it might be conjectured, that they were originally covered by the sea. Few sources of fresh water are here; but, wherever waters rise, they are attended by the most exube. rant vegetation

The shallows of the Volga, harbour few reptiles of dangerous, or fatal powers; but ionumerable swarms of insects are the torment of the place. In these extensive marshes, countless tufts of reeds afford cover to pheasants, cocolis, bustards, and many other aquatic birds, whose flesh is wholesome and nutritive. • The city and neighbourhood of Astrakan, is peopled by tribes extremely different in origin, manners, and religion. Christians, Mahometans, and Pagans, with their different languages, are confusedly intermingled. In this Stefpe are lately settled, colonies of Armenians, Georgians, and Persians, who quietly engage in useful arts, especially in the management of silk worms. A great number of manufactcries are established in Astrakan 5 which city is the centre of a very flourishing and extensive éommerce. The peace of the district is never troubled, but by the Kirguises, a nation, whose marauding incursions, alarm even the banks of the Volga, and oblige the Russian government to check them by a chain of military posts.

One of the most abundant sources of riches, in these countries, is the

[ocr errors]

Pallas's Travels.

1049 fishery on the Volga, and in the Caspian sea, adjacent to where the Volga discharges itself : but on this the author has not eplarged.

Dr. P. describes in an interesting manner, the Russian possessions adjacent to Caucasus ; which contain many baths of sulphureous, waters, and many salt-springs. The mountain itself, whose heights are scarcely accessible even to its inhabitants, is surrounded by exquisitely beautiful meadows, and, most charming forests. After expatiating on the superb picture, composed by the different heights of Caucasus, as seen from the fort of Georgiesk, the Professor communicates a variety of valuable observations, on the nations which inhabit them ; and on the different colonies resident among them. Not far from Caucasus is the Circassian nation, whose women are so celea brated for their beauty, that their annual exportation forms a considerable branch of traffic,

year
after

year. The second volume comprises the Crimea. The climate of this penin. sula is extremely variable. Sometimes spring appears early in February : sometimes winter, which begins at the close of October, prolongs its reign to the month of April. The severest cold commonly occurs in February The Tatars affirm that since the Russians have occupied this country, the winters are longer and more rigorous than they were before. Dr. Pallas accounts for this, by supposing, that the extensive falling of the forests, and the orchards which bordered the valleys, whether by the Russians, or by the Tatars themselves, may have laid the country opeş to the severity of the Easterly and Northerly winds : to this may be added the injuries suffered by the cultivated lands, and the decrease in the number of villages, occasioned by the emigration of many Tatars from under the Russian government. Hence arises a curious geological enquiry ; how far the labours of man, affect the temperature of the country in which he resides? Our author is of opinion, founded on numerous observations, that a country destitute of inhabitants, and of agriculture, is sensibly colder than another under the same degree of latitude, wherein the villages are numerous, and the earth is diligently cultivated. The summers are as variable as the winters. The difference of tenperature is sometimes, twelve to twenty degrees of Reaumur, in the same day. And sometimes the summers of several consecutive years are so extremely dry, that the springs no longer flow, and the streams of the rivulets are exhausted. To prevent the

consequences which might ensue from this deficiency, the waters of the rivers are distributed over the country by means of well constructed canals. The thermometer of Reaumur in such season sstands, in the shade, at 299., 30, or 31on, but a gentle sea breeze during the day, and a cooling wind from the mountains during the night, moderate the effects of this excessive heat.

The soil of Taurida is generally marshy. In the plains it presents a bottom of sandy clay, in some places ; in others, it is light, and dry. It is extremely fertile wherever water can be obtained. With this advantage, the vine, and wheat, succeed perfectly, in the most stony districts. The prodigious quantity of snails, which cover the ground in some places is very remarkable, and though these vermin are considered as a plague, yet they furnish these lands with a kind of fattening manure, which greatly augments their fertility.

The professor has treated largely on the culture of the vine. It grows abundantly in the mountains'; and almost in a wild state. It was introduced

[ocr errors]

by the Greeks ; and perfected by the Genoese. He enumerates the different species of grape, cultivated by the inhabitants, and points out obstacles which impede the prosperity of the trade in wines.

All kinds of grain succeed in the Crimea, fax, also, and tobacco. Thio peninsula exports grain, salt, skins, and wool. The quantity of soda, and of butter, is capable of being increased. The whole value exported, does not exceed four or five thousand rubles. The principal articles of import are cotton, raw and manufactured, silk, wine from the Archipelago, brandy, leaf tobacco, from Turkey, and fruits of all kinds, fresh and dry.

The domestic animals are oxen, large-tailed sheep, goats, buffaloes, and camels. Many horses are bred in the plains ; the mares are excellent, but the stallions are inferior. The Tatar horses, bred in the mour

ountains, are small, but strong and surefooted ; qualities which greatly enhance their value ; they selĩ from thirty rubles up to sixty. A peculiar race of dogs for coursing, mostly with hanging ears, and tails, is highly valued ; many rich Tatars have several kennels of them.

Wild animals are not abundant in the Crimea, except the grey hare, which is very numerous, and of whose skins 20,000 are annually exported. The stag is uncommonly numerous. Rats and mice are numerous ; but not a squirrel is found in the country ; nuts and walnuts are plentiful. Birds of

prey are not in any great number, nor of many different species ; but domestic poultry are prolific. Few dangerous reptiles. The lizard and frog are common. The rivers do not abound in fish : but the black sea, and the sea of Asof, would with due diligence, afford excellent fisheries.

The inhabitants of the Crimea, formerly more than half a million, are reduced to 120,000, including all ages. These may be divided, says Dr. Pallas, into three classes.

1. The Noguais, with those Tatars of the Cuban, who were taken in the Turkish fortress of Amapa, in number 450 ; first committed to the care of the nobility, but at present, subjects of the crown. These occupy distinct villages, and are enriched by agriculture, and breeding of cattle, Their features, and the shape of their heads, prove their descent from the Mongol Tatars.

2. The Tatars which inhabit the plains, or Steppes of the Crimea, to the Northern districts of the mountains. Less intermixed than the former, they preserve much resemblance to the Mongols. Those who reside near the mountains, and appear to have been more intermixed with the Turks, retain but slight traces of the Mongol features. Like the others, they breed cattle, and cultivate the earth ; but they do not engage in horticulture.

3. Tatars resident in the Southern yallies of the mountains ; a race greatly mixed, and thought to be derived from the various remnants of people, which at the epoch of the Mongol conquests, sought refuge in the Crimea. This class has its peculiar physiognomy; a stronger beard, and lighter hair, than the other Tatars, who do not consider them as genuine descendants from their national stock, but give them the scornful name of Tat, meaning, renegado. This race inhabits valleys so delightful, that the professor does not scruple to call them the Eden of the Crimea. It furnishes expert gardeners, and if they would surmount their natural indolence, they would make excellent vine dressers, They might also breed silk Poetique Anglaise-Itineraire de l'Empire Français. 1054 worms, with great success. At present, they, and their goats, do little niore than commit depredations on the forests, which cover the mountains.

The physiognomy of the true Tatars approaches nearly to that of the Turks and Europeans. Active and well-proportioned, though slender men, are found among them. Few are inclined to fatness. Most of the children and youths, are well featured and delicate. The most disgraceful practices are deplorably prevalent among them. The women are not without attractions, though few graceful figures are found among

them. There are still vestiges of a wall built by the Greeks, and of the towers, round and square, with which it was flanked, extending almost all round the Chersonesus. Many other ancient edifices are described by our author ; who has given plates of the most remarkable.

Art. XXIII. Poetique Anglaise ; par M. Hennet, 3 vols. 8vo. 18 fr.

Paris. 1806.

"HESE three volumes form together a respectable introduction to

The first explains the general rules, which are peculiar, or at least of especial importance to English poetry. The author discusses the structure of the verse, the force of the idiomatic forms, and the spirit and prosody of the language in general. He reviews, in a judicious and entertaining manner, the various species of poetry, and exemplifies his remarks by well chosen extracts from our best authors, literally translated into French.

The second volume is, in fact, a collection of essays on the lives and writings of various English poets. Rejecting the dry detail of the biographer, the author assumes the rank of a critic, and enlivens his remarks on their respective talents, and most successful efforts, with a number of anecdotes. It was not to be expected that M. Hennet should so far differ from his countrymen, as to form such an estimate of poetical merit in this country as we could fully approve.

The third volume consists of a selection from the English poets, accompanied with a translation by the editor. As a general character, we may pronounce them tolerably executed.

Art. XXIV. Itineraire de l'Empire Français ; Itinerary of the French

Empire,' or indispensable Guide to Travellers, Strangers, &c. &c.; adorned with a large and handsome Map of the Roads. 8vo. Price 4 fr. 50c. Paris. 1806.

THIS publication must necessarily be of considerable utility to course much snialler in France, than in a country where commerce flourishes, and consequently where travelling is general and frequent.

It contains, under different heads, directions for travelling in the 106 departments, and a comparison of foreign coins and measures with the French; a list of public carriages, with the hours of their departure and arrival, and the time employed on the journey; an account of the fares, and the principal inns ; statement of the posts and relays on the different post roads; and a description of views, cities, towns, and situations, remark able for natural productions, curiosities of nature or art, commercial and literary establishments.

GERMAN LITERATURE.

[ocr errors]

Art. XXV. Deutsche Finunzgeschichte des mittel alters, &c. History of

Finance in Germany during the middle Ages, by C. D. Huellemann,
Professor of History at Frankfort on the Oder. xii. and 354 p. 850.
Berlin. Frochlich. 1805.
"HE discussion of the subject treated in this work, divides itselfinto three

parts; as the revenue of kings arose partly from theis own possessions, partly from their royalties, and partly from the contributions of their subjects. At the same time the author'shews how the original patrimony of the kings, was in course of time transferred to the inferior land proprietors. The mines and salt-works, as also the mint, are cited as royalties. The contributions of the people are divided into those in kind, and those in money, the former considered according as the court, the defence of the state, or the establishment and support of public institutions, required them; - the latter, as they were furnished from lands, goods, or by capitation ; as ordinary and extraordinary contributions, for the support of the tribunals of justice, or for the carrying on of war, or from the return of commerce.

In noticing the last, the origin, routes and progress of German commerce are mentioned, and the subject of imposts considered. The most ancient routes of German commerce are stated to have been from Lorch (near Ens) to Bardenwyck, from Venice here down the Rhine to Wyck da Duurstede, from thence by way of Frankfort to the Saale and Elbe, finally from Silesia to Sluys and the mouths of the Seine.

Art. XXVI. Ueber den Einfluss des Handels und der Handels-Systeme auf

National Glueck und Unglueck. On the Influence of Commerce and Commercial Systems upon National Prosperity. By G. F. Niemeyer.

8vo. pp. viii. and 260. Bremen. Seyffert, 1805. “

"HE history of the present time, says M. Niemeyer, “is pregnant commerce and the different commercial systems produce upon the fate of nations. I have taken a survey of the nations of the earth, from the New Zealander to the Batavian, who now laments over the ruins of his subverted commerce; and have considered in what degree commerce, and the systems according to which it is conducted, may influence their prosperity."

The first chapter contains a sensible introduction. Chap. 2. First period of commerce, when its first rudiments begin to be developed in the ru dest state of mankind. Chap. 3. Second period of commerce, when a right of property is introduced Chap. 4. Third period of commerce, when a traffic by barter with foreign nations commerces. Chap: 5.

« السابقةمتابعة »