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University of California. 


T R A V E L. S 





i^C. 8fC. S^C. 













^iS iRo^al 5)igJ)ne0i8i tf)e Prince Eegent. 

PniNTED FOR J.. J. Stockdale, No. 41, Pall-Mall. 

. X815. 



mumm mn 


Printed by Cox and Bavlis, Great Queen Street, 

L j ncoln's- 1 nn-Fields. 







From the unparalleled zeal, which Your Royal Highness has 
displayed, in the common cause of nations, I am emboldened to hazard, under 
Your high sanction, the publication of the following cursory observations, 
made on the spot, relative to regions, as yet, but imperfectly known ; at the 
same time, persuading myself that, such an effort, however imperfect, to add 
to the means of human happiness and improvement, will be regarded, at least, 
with indulgence, if not with approbation. 

The Supreme Disposer of Events having been pleased, by the present 
splendid achievements, to disclose to Your Royal Highness, a fresh source of 
proud exultation in the wisdom of Your Councils, and the undaunted valour 
of Your Combatants, in the glorious cause of national honour, inde- 
pendence, and humanity, in which they are engaged: that Your Royal 
Highness may long be spared to reign over a free and loyal people, -at 
once to witness and enjoy the happy fruits of such unexampled magnanimity, 
perseverance and patriotism, is, and ever will be, the most ardent wish and 
prayer of 

Your Royal Highness's 

Most devoted. 

Most obedient, 

and very humble servant, 


London, July I, 1815. 

01 /^ 


:• ''?1-"'?^ C 

CONTENTS. -^^^^ 


PREFACE. ---------- i 


Introductory Remarks along the Southern Coast of the Baltic, 

to Dantzick 17 


Introductory Observations, from Dantzick to Memel. - - 49 


Voyage from Memel to Cronstadt — Gulf of Finland — Cronstadt. 
Russian Fleet — Voyage from Cronstadt to St. Petersburg. 
St. Petersburg — Admiralty — Casan Church — Shops — Sta- 
tue of Peter the Great — Hermitage — Exchange — Museum 
— Academy of Arts, Citadel, &c. - - _ -79 


River Neva — Divisions of the City — Police — Carriages — Baths 

— Environs — Climate— Coins, Commerce, &c. - - - 138 



Journey from St. Petersburg to Jagelbitzi— Russian Villages- 
Mode of Travelling— Appearance of the People and 
Country — Novogorod — Lake Ilmen — Bronnitzi — Jagelbit- 
zi, &c - 180 


Journey from Jagelbitzi to Moscow — Valday Hills — Zimogorie 
— Vislmei— Volotshok — Tojock — Tweer — Volga — Agri- 
culture — Klin — Approacb to Moscow. - - - - ^4 


Appearance of Moscow — Churches— Religious Impressions — 
Houses — Nunneries -— Divisions of the City — Kremlin — 
Khitaigorod — Bielgorod — Semlainogorod — Sloboda — Re- 
flections on the Fall of Moscow. - - - - - 242 


Divisixjns of the Russian Empire— *Its Productions — Internal 
Commerce — Junction of the Rivers — Trade with Persia — 
China — Commercial Suggestions, &c. — Character of the 
Russians — Influence of Climate, and Soil, on his moral and 
phy^cal Constitution— Effects of Slavery, Religious Super- 
Stition, &c^ " -•-.--*'- 288 



Departure from Moscow to Smolensko — Road to Mojaisk — Bo- 
rodino—State of the Country — Miseries of War — latzke 
— Wiasma — Pneva — Smolensko, &c. . - - - 329 


Journey from Smolensko to Grodno — State of Posting — Koritnia 
— Krasnoi — Pass the Boundary of ancient Russia — Lithua- 
nia — Doubrovna — Orcha— Dnieper — Jewsj their Habits 
and Character — BorisofF— Minsk — Mir — Novogorodec — 
Appearance of the Country — Agriculture — Grodno — Rus- 
sian Frontiers. -- - 370 


Departure from Grodno to Warsaw — Aspect of the Country — 
Change of Dress and Manners — Marshes — Plains of Sand 
— Polish Towns — Rivers — Approach to Warsaw — Descrip- 
tion of the City, &c. - 417 


Journey through Poland, from Warsaw to Berlin — Reflections 
on the Fate of Poland — Its Agriculture — Lowiez—Posen — 
Enter Prussia — Approach to Berlin — Conclusion. - - 438 

APPENDIX. - . . - - - - - - 457 

During the unavoidable absence of the Author^ the following Errata inadvertently 
crept into one or two sheets. 

Page Line 

26 — 4 for horses, read houses. 
29 — lijbr three, read two. 
52 — 18 for Dersehau, read Derschaw. 
59 -— 1 2 /or birth place, read residence. 
83 — 18 for Farrenheit, read Fahrenheit. 


Plate Page 

I View of Copenhagen from the Gardens of the Fredericksberg 

Palace. - --18 

II Map of the North West of Europe. - - - - - 23 

III View of Hamburg, with Davoust's Bridge, from the South. - 25 

IV North View of Stralsund (capital of Swedish Pomerania.) - 37 

V Sketch of the Monastery of Oliva from the North. - - - 50 

VI East View of the Town of Frauensberg. - - - - 59 

VII North East View of Tilsit on the Merael. - - - - 67 

VIII Map of the North West of Russia. 79 

IX Sketch of the Russian Boatmen at Cronstadt. - - - 91 

X Sketch of the Casan Church, in St. Petersburg. - - - 99 

XI Sketch of the Hermitage, or Winter Palace, in St. Petersburg. 107 

XII Sketch of the Skeleton of a Mammoth. ----- 125 

XIII Sketch of the Flying Mountains. 160 

XIV Sketch of Igiora, a Russian Village. ----- 148 

XV East View of Bronnitzi, on the Mista. ----- 206 

XVI Sketch of Females in the Government of Novogorod. - - 221 

XVII View of a Russian Village near Klin. . _ - - - 238 

XVIII. . .View in the Khitaigorod division in Moscow. - - - - 256 

XIX North View of the Kremlin. ------- 273 

XX View of Borodino from the East. ------ 3^ 

XXI East View of Smolensko. - - 366 

XXII, . . .East View of Borisoff. - - - - - - - - 384 

XXIII. . .Sketch of Lithuanian Jewesses. ----- -378 

XXIV. ..Russian and Polish Implements of Agriculture. - - -444. 





to mn^il^ 
If we enquire into the history of European nations, 
even as far back as Charlemagne, never shall we 
find, perhaps, an aera of more universal interest than 
the present, both to those nations in general, and 
to Great Britain in particular. 

The constitution of governments, like 
the constitution of man, must have its periods of 
vigour, and decline; it must rise and fall, flourish 
and decay ; and, although it abound in physical^ it 
may fail in moral strength, and thus perish. 

B From 


Ifitrf^nitn Tliese times are past — -the sad picture 
is no more—^a new light bursts in — the spell is 
broken, and that being, whom it pleased the 
Almighty ruler of nations to send as a scourge 
to > i mankind, is hurled into his original den of 
darkness. How changed is the scene, a new 
order of ithings succeeds — -the rights of thrones and 
fiations are respected, and peace is restored to a 
suffering world! No blood-stained star shoots its 
troubled ray o'er the horizon, and sheds its horrid 
gleam on ruined cities and desolated lands — all is 
calm^ tranquil and serene. 

To enquire even slightly into the causes, 
remote or proximate, of so grand and universal is 
change, is a task of no small labour : it is not our 



business here however, — it is not the business of the 

traveller — his only aim is to pourtray the principal 

features in the character and country of those who 

have been most instrumental in its agency, and, 

to add to that interest, which we must all feel 

in the fate of those who have so largely contributed 

to put an end to the sufferings of mankind. 

^i if 

When we look to our own country, 
what just cause of pride and dignity do we behold ! 
Never did her eagle-wing soar higher — never did she 
beam in brighter splendour ! Amid the ruin and 
wreck of demoralized nations she has stood out the 
firm and generous pilot — when others slept and were 
worn with their woe she ever watched at the oft giddy 
helm ; her greatness grew with the madness of the 



gale ; her swiftness hung on the wings of the storm ; 
her proud pendants floated aloft o'er the majesty of 
the Heavens ; her course was steady ; her track was 
secure, and she still pointed to that beacon, where 
peace and salvation shewed their liallowed, but 
expiring flame. 

But it is not to Great Britain alone that 
we are to look in the glorious struggle. The nations 
of the North have poured down their legions : to these 
we are to turn our eyes. The flames of Moscow 
have burst a new light on man ; the falHng towers of 
the Kremhn have chimed the tyrant's parting knell, 
and proclaimed aloud, that Europe is free ! And 
never did his towering genius soar to such a flight as 
when first these ill-fated towers caught its glance; 



never did his blood-stained pinions dart on a more 
hapless victim. If the memory of fiiture ages had 
but this alone of his mighty conquests to dwell on — 
if the giant strides of his vast career had ceased to 
be remembered, and been swept down the common 
stream of time, this alone would remain on its banks, 
an imperishable monument of lawless ambition. 

The traveller, however, must not confine 
himself to political views — it is not for the diplomatist 
or statesman he writes ; for, although he has traced 
war's ruthless paths, and trodden on the yet smoking 
ruins of a bleeding country, yet its theatre is too 
vast to present more than a mere outline. He is 
well aware that his province is a very peculiar one, 
his views of man and country must be rapid and 

hurried ; 


hurried ; the impressions made on his seises, b}' 
these views, must necessarily be rapid also ; although 
perhaps vivid in colouring, they must be light and 
delicate ; they must present all those lights and 
shades which were passing across the mind of the 
author when writing, and which, by a correspondent 
transition, must throw their tints over that of the 
reader, and thus keep his attention constantly 
excited. He knows that it is out of the nature 
of his pages to be heavy and prolix ; they must 
not be impressed with the stamp of lucubration, 
they must not be tinged with the gloom of the 
closet He must bid adieu both to theory and to 
contemplation, and, as he mingles with new scenes, 
his mind expands and illumines, his pages catch the 
kindred spark ; they grow, as it were, with the 



subject, and the sacred light of truth marks them 
with its unerring stamp. His works are not to be 
judged by the standard of schoolmen. His facts 
are collected under many disadvantages. He has 
" to look that he may learn, " not " to learn that 
he may look." He must draw his information from 
uncertain sources ; the answers he may receive to 
his questions may be as different and incongruous 
as the people from whom he asks them. He has 
no alternative : he must adopt the one, explode the 
other, or draw conclusions from both. He must 
think for himself and himself solely. Opinions and 
characters of man and country must be taken on 
the spot, and according to the exact stamp of the 
moment. They must not go before the moment, 
because it shews a reference to other authorities, 

c and 


and thu^ weakens that spirit of originality, which 
ought to be the very essence of his pages: they 
must not come behind the moment, or it will be 
loading the memory uselessly. 

Each individual spot, which the traveller 
traces, has its peculiar character ; the very nature 
and disposition of the rocks and mountains, the 
shape of the lakes, the surface of the soil, the 
numerous errors of the maps, as well as the 
manners of the people, ought to be particular 
objects of his remarks. 

Amidst all that vast mass of observa- 
tion which these northern regions stretch out to him, 
none can be more interesting than the influence of 



climate on the physicaly and its corresponding in- 
fluence on the moral constitution of their natives. 

In a poHtical point of view, never 
perhaps was there a period in which the affairs of 
the North, and particularly Russia, could be of 
more interest than the present. Every Briton must 
feel a conscious glow of pride in looking at the 
glorious alliance of Russia with his country ; long 
have they been joined in the bands of a holy and 
sacred war, and long may they be kindred in the 
spirit of peace ! 

There is no sera, in the history of nations, 
more interesting to enquire into, nor more difficult 
to delineate, than that which intervenes between 

c 2 * their 


their ruin and their restoration ; between their 
subjugation and that new existence, which they 
derive from a recovery of their rights, &c. At this 
critical period, their character, with that of its 
people, undergoes various changes ; it assimilates 
with the nature of the existing revolution. Their 
moral existence becomes tied down by their political 
creed, and vibrates with its fluctuations. AH is in 
a state of uncertainty, and there is no fixed standard, 
by which to judge of its identity as a nation. 

Most particularly has this been the 
case, at least in many respects, in those countries 

in which the author has travelled, and most pre- 
cisely has this been the period at which his obser- 
vations were made. The time when he travelled 



was indeed critical and embarassing both to the 
countries and to himself. Scarcely had they begun 
to heal from their wounds, scarcely had the storm 
of war ceased to thunder through them, and scarcely 
had that pivot rested, on which their fale had been 
so long vacillating. 

To these points therefore he lays 
principal claims for the interest of the following 
pages. Let it not be supposed, however, that their 
character will be merely political : his chief object 
is to develope the principal and prominent features 
of that vast line of country along which he travelled ; 
to point out their present state, and notice those 
objects most worthy the attention of their rational 
visitor. He treads lightly and rapidly. His views, 



characters and impressions were taken on the spot, 
«.t the moment, and under many disadvantages. 
His labours and privations were many, his paths 
were dark, dreary and intricate ; but the bright star 
of enthusiasm, Hke the clue of Ariadne, has carried 
him along, and if even one gleam of its sacred light 
can dawn on him who turns over these pages, their 
Istbour will be forgotten, and the author rewarded. 





<§pc. ^c, <§rc. 

IL kdi. 


Sfc. Sfc. Sfc. 


Oantzick, June, 1814. 

When a traveller first sets out from his native land, and 
afterwards publishes his tour, it generally happens that the 
pages of his book, keep pace with the stages of his journey, 
and that, whether in idleness or amusement, in dullness or 
instruction, both correspond and sympathize with each other. 
This may be very well, when he arrives at a certain distance 
from home, and visits countries which cease to be familiar ; 
but to devote his pages to the oft trodden tracks of his own 
country, and those immediately around it, is too often an 

D useless 


useless evaporation of their interest, and an idle fatigue to 
their reader. 

After a short, and not unpleasant residence in Denmark, 
having made the necessary arrangements for our journey to 
the Russian empire, we took leave, and not without regret, 
of our Danish friends. It is not the object of the following 
pages to attempt illustrating a nation so well known as 
Denmark, nor a metropolis so splendid, and whose features 
have been so often pourtrayed, as Copenhagen, — where 
elegance of taste — social virtues, and the most liberal 
institutions of charity, equally claim the attention, respect, 
and admiration of every stranger. 

Yet we cannot but behold, in this little nation, a striking 
instance of the mutability of events. The Danes were the 
greatest people of the North, after the destruction of the 
Roman Empire, and continued, for a length of time, to 
plunder, destroy, and even to give laws to, countries, now 
the first in the world. When it had risen to the plenitude of 
its power, and its flag rode triumphant from the Baltic, to 
the Mediterranean seas^, a combination of commercial towns 



under the name of the Hanseatic League, opposed its daring- 
outrages, and overcame what all the powers of Europe 
could not effect : from that time Denmark gradually dimi- 
nished in power, wealth and territory ; and, from having 
once stretched, from the banks of the Rhine, to the North 
Cape, it is now confined to the peninsula of Jutland and 
the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, with the islands of 
Zealand, Fiinen, Laaland, Falstaff, &c. scarcely a shadow 
of its former greatness, but still valuable, in point of local 
situation, to commerce. 

As the power of nations now depends both on the number 
and bravery of its people, it might be an advantageous 
exchange to Denmark and Great Britain, were the island of 
Zealand delivered to the latter power for the Electorate of 
Hanover. Zealand, under the protection of Great Britain, 
would soon become the mart of the northern commerce, 
as it was in the beginning of the sixteenth century, when 
the commercial power of the Hanse towns was diminished. 
The Sound dues, collected at Elsineur, might be raised to a 
sum, sufficient to defray the expenditure of the colony. The 

D 2 value 


value of Zealand, at present, is at its lowest ebb. The whole 
island, from agricultural neglect, does not produce any thing 
in sufficient quantity for exportation. One half of the island 
is covered with excellent wood, and little more than one- 
fourth of its surface is cultivated. At present the average 
purchase of land is, from seven pounds to fifteen pounds an 
English acre. Its situation, strengthened by the power of 
« Great Britain, would become the key to the Baltic commerce; 
and, if in friendly alliance with Russia, would be connected 
with that of the Caspian and Black Seas, independently 
of the Mediterranean communication. Thus the British 
might claim the exclusive privilege of navigating the Baltic. 
Denmark, on the contrary, would acquire extent of domi- 
nion and population, and might fix the royal residence in 
Hanover. Her commerce would be increased, from the 
facility of trading with Copenhagen, besides the internal 
trade, by means of the Elbe and theWeser ; and her interest 
would be best secured in maintaining a strict alliance with 
Great Britain. Were the northern nations to shut their ports 
against Great Britain, they must soon find that they alone 



would be the sufferers. Their chief exports, though highly 
useful to Britain, is what they have the least use for, and 
which can be equally procured from the British colonies in 
America; therefore the profits are on their side, and it 
becomes their interest to maintain a commercial intercourse 
with Britain. 

We cannot shut our eyes to the increasing advantages, 
and the prodigious wealth which the North of Europe is 
annually opening to our view. While war has ravaged and 
left the fairest portion of Europe almost a desert, and a race 
of men returning to barbarism ; the once bleak and unknown 
wilds of Scandinavia are now becoming the land of freedom, 
of riches, and of the arts and sciences. 

The winter had been unusually severe, but, towards the 
end of May, it had disappeared — spring now burst out in all 
its brightest bloom — the woods assumed a new form — the 
meadows sported their varied charms — and, on all sides, were 
seen the delicate and endearing plant " forget me not," 
covering the rude soil with its virgin leaf, and spreading a 
beauteous carpet over the face of nature. 



It is impossible for the traveller, in these regions, not 
to notice those singular fluctuations of season which seem 
to separate the spring and winter from each other. The 
leafless tree may be seen to-day in all its withered form — 
to-morrow, cloathed in all its richest foliage. The birth of 
vegetative life seems as sudden as its decay : that beauteous 
and lingering approach, by which the joys of spring are so 
truly felt in England, is here quite unknown. The lakes and 
rivers, and even the sea, are covered with ice half the year, 
and " nature reigns in all the varieties of sublime disorder.*' 

From the vast mass of frozen land which the winds, 
coming from the east and north, have to travel over, and from 
the sudden and irregular heats which the sun, now and then, 
throws out, there is a constant interruption to that regu- 
larity of course which, in tropical regions, is marked by so 
distinctive features. 

From Copenhagen, we proceeded, through Holstein, to 

Hamburg ; thence, along Pomerania, and the shores of the 

Baltic, to Dantzick. In traversing this large track of 

^ country, although its general outline is somewhat familiar 



.l£ i^nvc'it.ud^lj JSaM 18 /ronv 2fi Zaruiori' 



to our countrymen, more particularly from the commercial 
relationship subsisting between the ports of the Baltic and 
those of Great Britain, yet it would be depriving these pages 
of a large portion of interest, if we passed over, unnoticed, 
those broad and striking features which must arrest the 
attention of every intelligent and thinking traveller, — and 
those more particularly which are connected with the late 
unhappy and desolating invasion to which it has been so long 
a prey. 

Among these there are none which more particularly 
claim notice, and which more immediatly strike the eye of the 
stranger, than the fortified towns and cities. It is here that 
the iron hand of invasion has laid its coldest and most cruel 
grasp ; these are the spots which give colour and character 
to its sad and melancholy picture. Among these, the first 
which is worthy of notice, and the first we arrived at, was 

Nothing can be more destructive to a commercial town 
like Hamburg, than to maintain a military rank. Late 
events have proved how ineffective such means of defence are, 



when unsupported by a proportionate force. Tn the modern 
art of war, fortified towns, only expose a concentrated point 
of Hves, to suffer the utmost effect of destruction. 

This city fell a sacrifice to the treachery of the Danes, 
and the inactivity of the Swedes ; but not before it had 
made a most gallant resistance. The French army, under 
Davoust, kept possession of the town for eleven months, and, 
after a loss of twenty-two thousand men, made an honour- 
able capitulation. The French will ever be execrated for the 
cruelties they have committed. To prevent the approach of 
the Russian soldiers, not only the villas of the rich and the 
villages of the industrious, but even the humble cot of the 
peasant, and the aged avenues of trees, formerly the admi- 
ration of travellers, have all been erased from the earth, 
and exhibit a shocking scene of ruin and desolation. 

As a city, Hamburg has neither claims to beauty nor 
regularity. The streets are narrow, and, in general, inter- 
sected by canals of stagnant water. The houses are lofty, 
clumsy, and irregularly built. The lower floor is converted 
finto warehouses, and, before a person can reach the apartment 




destined to receive visitors, he must wade through innumerable 
bales of merchandize. The principal, and most commanding, 
buildings, are its churches : from the remarkable height of the 
spires, and the extreme flatness of the surrounding country, 
they are seen at great distances. 

The city, with a certain extent of territory, is formed 
into a little republic, governed by the citizens, under its own 
laws, and, with Lubeck and Bremen, retains the rank and 
privileges of the Hanseatic league.* The senate and college 
of burghers regulate the laws of the city; levy taxes and 

E preside 

* In the thirteenth century, when this part of Europe became a prey 
to the daring outrages of northern bandittis ; Hamburg, in conjunction with 
many other towns, formed a treaty of mutual commerce and defence, which 
was afterwards known by the name of the Hanseatic league; and the towns 
which composed it were called the Hanse-towns. This association extended 
from the North Seas, to the Mediterranean, including not less than eighty-five 
cities. From their number and monopoly of trade, they excited the jealousy 
of the other powers, which soon dissolved the union. The only cities which 
now retain the rank and privileges of the league, are Hamburg, Bremen 
and Lubeck. 


preside at the courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction. The 
taxes are levied, in proportion to the exigency of the times. 
The militia and the pensions of the senators, &c. are paid 
from the public revenue — all horses are taxed, and every 
place of public amusement pays one-eighth of its receipts, 
particularly the theatre. 

One of the principal branches of exportation, from 
Hamburg, was the manufactured linens of Silesia, Brunswick, 
Westphalia, &c. also the refining of sugar ; but which last, 
during the usurpation of Napoleon Buonaparte decreased, 
and was partly removed to- Gottenburg. The bank of 
Hamburg is conducted on a singular and excellent plan, 
which affords the greatest facility to the commerce of the 
place. Each individual deposits a quantity of silver specie, 
which is transferred from one to another, without being- 
removed from the bank. The present state of commerce 
exhibits a lively scene of ships and bales of goods, but a de- 
jected gloominess in the aspect of every agent and merchant. 
Speculators have too rashly intruded their merchandize into 
the Continent, through the means of Hamburg, before the 



country has had time to recover from its former oppression, 
to sudden freedom ; in consequence — all colonial goods are 
sold at a loss of nearly forty per cent. The rigid laws of 
Napoleon against the use of coffee, turned the attention of 
the people towards procuring a substitute. Parched rye 
has been used by the common people, and, from custom and 
its cheapness, it is not likely to be immediately disused. 

From the nature of its republican government, and the 
general influx of foreign merchants, but perhaps, more 
particularly at this time, from the recent effects of its invasion, 
it presents a varied group of strangers, and ciccasions a 
difficulty in fixing the decided character of the place. Here 
no sovereign is acknowledged : neither precedency nor pre- 
rogative above that of a citizen. Title and rank are avoided, 
in consequence of which an intrusive familiarity is allowed to 
prevail. ^a'^sc viby loioo 

The amusements and recreations of the town consist 
in theatric exhibitions, dancing, and tobacco smoking. The 
theatre is tolerably large, and the proscenium is lighted up,^ 
and not allowed, Hke the Danish and Swedish thqatres, to 

E 2 remain 


remain in utter darkness. Tlie performers are mediocre, and 
appear to study the mechanical part of the drama, more than 
its pathos or sentiment. The German language, though harsh 
to an English ear, is yet considered more agreeable and 
better adapted to the stage than the Danish. The evening 
we visited the theatre, we met General Benningsen, a 
Russian, who has performed a most conspicuous part during 
the present campaign. He commands a division of the 
Russian army, quartered in the city and neighbourhood. 
The appearance of the Russian soldiers must excite a lively 
interest. It is surprising to observe the rapid improvements 
that remote country seems to have made towards the for- 
mation and maturity of its military character. The infantry 
9re:>mo{st gracefully dressed, and admirably drilled. Their 
discipline is taught in a manner most severe. No punishment 
nor cruelty seem to be spared in the education of a Russian 
soldier. The officers, at first sight, dazzle the beholder with 
thie exuberance of finery, and the dangling orders of merit, 
&c.; however, on longer acquaintance they appear the mere 
outward puppets; 
niiiupi Attached 


Attached to the division here, are several regiments of 
Cossacks and Baskirs ; a race of men worthy of presenting 
terror in their very looks — they are the most irregular of 
soldiers, and, in appearance, the most shocking ruffians which 
the imagination can picture. They are mounted on small 
active horses, which are trained to go through extraordinary 
degrees of fatigue — the Cossack and his horse may almost 
be said to he one animal, divided, and endowed with different 
powers. The Baskirs use the bow and arrow — the Cossacks the 
pike, sword and pistol. ./,ij .. 

From Hamburg to Har burg, across the Elbe, extends the 
famous wooden bridge, erected by Davoust, for the retreat of 
his army, in the event of its necessity. This extraordinary 
work of a few weeks, extends nearly three miles in length. 
The whole is built, over a morass, on large piles of wood, with 
a neat platform and side railings laid over them. The bridge 
is about ten feet high and twenty-four wide, and finished 
upon an exact level. If we consider its simplicity, elegance, 
strength and extent, it will appear as one of the great curi- 


osities of the present day, and a monument of French inge- 
nuity and labour. The whole of the wood was forcibly 
taken from the merchants ; however its advantages are such, 
that they are now resolved to keep it in repair. 

The number of inhabitants, in Hamburg, before the 
invasion, were estimated at nearly a third more than its 
present population. The suburbs, which were destroyed, 
between the city and Altona, contained not less than ten 
thousand individuals ; all of whom were barbarously banished 
from the reeking ruins of their houses, and sought a tem- 
porary shelter, during the inclement months of winter, 
from those friends, whose distance alone from the scene of 
havoc, preserved them from a similar fate. The French, as 
enemies, took from them their little property, with a degree 
of national politeness ; the Russians, as friends, severe in 
every thing, in a manner which marks the character of an 
unrefined people. The Cossacks gallop through the gardens, 
and every where mutilate the shrubs, while the halls and 
passages of every house in the environs of the town, are 



strewed with the servants of the officers, reposing like so 
many filthy pigs. In short, the exchange from enemies to 
friends is felt equally oppressive. 

The distance, from Hamburg to Lubeck, is about forty- 
five miles ; the intermediate country is flat, and uninteresting. 
The road is probably one of the worst in Europe ; and, though 
our landaulet was one of the easiest hung carriages, yet, from 
the number of loose stones, and inequalities, together with 
the insujQTerably bad driving of the postillions, it was almost 
impossible to bear the fatigue. 

Lubeck is built at the confluence of three small rivers, 
about twelve miles from the sea. This city is of considerable 
antiquity, and exhibits the houses, built in that style of 
architecture peculiar to the fifteenth century, with the gable 
end towards the street, and of the most irregular order. The en- 
tries to the houses are so large as to admit their carriages. From 
a distance, the town has a singular appearance, owing to the 
number of its lofty spires, grouped together in so small a space. 
The ramparts, like those of Hamburg, are built after the old 
Dutch fashion, extremely broad, with rows of trees planted 



on them, forming a cool and agreeable shade. Formerly 
it took the lead of the Hanseatic league, and, at one time, 
engrossed the entire trade of the Baltic. Its commerce is 
now but trifling; and, from the easy communication, by the 
canal, from Kiel to Tonningen, it is still more diminished. 
How the Hamburg and Lubeck merchants could neglect the 
advantages of opening an inland navigation between their 
towns is a most extraordinary circumstance, and betrays an 
obvious want, both of enterprize and of industry. The labour 
of such a work must indeed be trifling, when compared with 
the immense advantages resulting. By means of it, a tedious, 
difficult, and often dangerous navigation, would be avoided, 
and vessels, sailing from the British and Dutch ports, instead 
of taking the long and circuitous voyage by the German 
Ocean, through the Sleeve, Categat and Sound, into the Baltic, 
and thus encountering all the dangers of these narrow and 
obstructed passage^, would enter the Baltic, from the Elbe, 
by a passage of about fifty miles instead of nearly five hundred. 
It is to be hoped that, now, this immense benefit to commerce 
will not be lost sight of, and that, what is already begun at 



Ifubeck, may be carried through. The country is peculiarly 
fitted, from its flatness and plenty of water, to facilitate the 

A small canal is formed, from Lubeck to the Elbe, by 
a southerly direction, passing by Moellen, and supplied with 
water from the lake of Ratzburg ; but, from the narrowness 
of the cut, its circuitous passage, and the boats being dragged 
by men, the expences and delays are considerably increased. 

From Lubeck we entered the principality of Mecklen- 
burg in Lower Saxony. The government of this country is 
divided between the House of Mecklenburg Schwerin, wTfich 
is the eldest branch, and the House of Mecklenburg Strelitz. 
The Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin resides, during the 
summer months, at Dobberan, a small village esteemed from 
the excellence of its baths, and the fashionable resort of 
Company. — The second daughter of the Duke ivas married to 
Prince Christian of Norway, but is now separated from him, 
on account of the infidelity of her character. 

The Duke's subjects complain of the severity of the taxes, 
but which it is said will be abolished, and a new system of 

f taxation 


taxation will be laid on incomes, arising from hereditarf 
property. When Napoleon planned his conquest of Russia^ 
this little territory was compelled to contribute nineteen hunder^ 
men to his mad ambition. Before the grand army reached 
Porogoburh, only thirty of the Mecklenburghers survived, 
Wismar and Rostock are the only towns which derive any 
immediate advantages from commercial navigation. The 
former, with its lordship, at one time, was subject to the 
crown of Sweden, but is now restored to the duchy. Rostock 
i^ the capital ; it is surrounded by an earthen mound and 
ditch, and contains some elegant churches and a college. 
In the college, is a small library of German books, and a 
trifling museum of birds, among which were excellent 
specimens of the otis tarduy and the tetrao uragallus. — 
Before the war there were from two to three hundred students ; 
at present they do not exceed the fourth of that number. 
The French kept possession of the town for six years ; their 
decrees against the introduction of English merchandize 
were fully executed. The largest churches were con- 
verted into custom-houses, and, at the gates of the town, 



English manufactured goods were publicly burnt. The 
churches, which the French converted into custom-houses, 
are at present used by the Swedish soldiers, as barracks, and 
those sacred melodies, which once breathed through its vault- 
ed aisles, are now changed for the horrible blasphemies of 

The whole of the duchy of Mecklenburg appears to be 
well cultivated ; and, though composed of a soil not par-- 
ticularly rich, yet produces luxuriant crops of grain. 

We entered Swedish Pomerania at Damgarten ; before 
we could pass the boundary line, we were obliged to pay a 
small tax on leaving the one country, and a similar compliment 
on entering the other. This is one of the many modes, by 
which, the revenue of these states is kept up. The country, 
towards Stralsund, is remarkably flat, and, in general, covered 
with fine, loose, drifted sand, yet, occasionally, relieved by 
small plantations of oak and fir. The roads can only be con- 
sidered as tracks ; and, from the quantity of loose sand, the 
average rate of posting does not exceed three miles an hour, 
besides the loss of time, a traveller has to expect, in procuring 

F 2 horses 


horses at the different stages. The posting is under the 
regulation of the government, and the postillions wear the 
respective livery of their countries. That of Sweden is blue, 
with yellow facings. They always ride the near wheel horse ; 
the leaders are yoked, at an extraordinary distance, before the 
others, and are guided by only one rein from the near leader. 
The tresses are made of ropes. Instead of using breechings 
to back the carriage, a leather strap is fixed around the neck of 
the horse, and fastened to the pole. From this barbarous 
custom the necks of the horses acquire a hollow form ; or, 
what is termed among jockies, ewe-neck. Each postillion has 
the appendages of a horn and tobacco-pipe suspended from his 
neck. The first he uses to announce the arrival and depar- 
ture of a traveller. The other is constantly fixed to his mouth ; 
except when he shares his enjoyment between it, and his 

Stralsund is separated from the island of Rugen, by a 
narrow channel ; and is the capital of Swedish Pomerania, 
in the circle of Upper Saxony. It is strongly fortified both by 
nature and art, and is said to be among the strongest for- 
* A dram. 


tifications along the coast of the Baltic. The town is 
surrounded, on the one side, by an arm of the sea, and, on 
the opposite, by two small lakes, which have been joined. 
The centre of the town is considerably elevated. The large 
square spires of the churches add to its picturesque appearance. 
Its finest church is, at present, converted into a military store- 
house ; its religious ornaments are allowed to be shamefully 

This province has been long subject to Sweden. In 1812, 
when that power concluded a peace with Great Britain, 
Bernadotte incurred the displeasure of Napoleon, who, in 
consequence, seized this country. 

The amusements of the town are very circumscribed. 
There are public gardens without the walls, where the company 
regale themselves with coffee and tobacco-smoking. 

The trade of Stralsund is less than that of Rostock. It 
exports a considerable quantity of grain, and the numerous 
flocks of geese, reared on the commons, constitute a branch of 
its trade. They are hammed, and are esteemed an exquisite 
treat, through many parts of Germany. 



Before we entered Prussian Pomerania, we could not avoid 
remarking the rigour, with which the Swedish laws are 
enforced. The hideous deformity of the Buonapartean cod^ 
of police has crept in, and reigns throughout. Though now 
in a period of profound peace, and at a moment, when all 
military barriers should be levelled with the fallen usurper, in 
this country alone, it is retained. Passports, though now 
granted to travellers, as a matter of form, are here considered 
of the utmost utility. Nothing can appear more contemptible, 
than the appearance of a wretched town, encompassed by a 
ditch, with scarcely a gun to defend it, refusing admittance to 
the traveller, without the formal ceremony of obtaining the 
permission of a maitre de police, an animal whose soul is 
centred in a tobacco-pipe, and whose honour and integrity is 
the pretium argenti. 

The small town of Anclam, on the river Pene, divides 
Prussian, from Swedish, Pomerania. The country, towards 
Stettin, continues flat, with alternate morasses and plains of 
loose sand, and extensive plantations of excellent oak and 
iir trees. 



Stettin, the capital of Prussian Pomerania, is built on the 
west bank of the Oder, and is surrounded by strong fortifi- 
cations. The houses are old and irregularly built. On the 
north side of the town is an agreable parade, in which is seen 
an excellent statue of Frederick the Great of Prussia. He is 
represented in his military dress, with huge boots and a cocked 
hat, &c. The execution is admirable, but the caricature of 
the dress, renders the whole truly ludicrous. The surrounding 
country is extremely flat and marshy, through which the Oder 
is seen in its dull and winding course. The environs, like those 
of Hamburg, exhibit one general scene of ruin, and the poor 
families are now living under temporary sheds. Some fine 
avenues of trees, leading from the north gate, which were cut 
down by the French, are replanted. 

^* Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn 
" Your fate unmerited ; once more rejoice 
" That yet a remnant of your race survives." 

The French had possession of this town for six years ; and, 
though they exercised the most severe. tyranny, yet they have a 
party in their favour, equal to the opposite. 



From Altham, the road passed over a plain of fine, loose 
sand, scarcely giving life to a blade of grass ; yet, in many 
places, covered by a profusion of fir trees, though of a sickly 
and slender appearance. Excepting on the marsh, between 
Stettin and Altham, the whole country, from Anclam, is a 
continuation of forest trees. This is a proof, that trees, parti- 
cularly fir, (the species here, it the common Scotch fir) oak 
and lime, will grow in sand, though as loose and fine as that 
found on the sea shore. 

The tracks are very irregular, and only of a sufficient 
breadth to admit the wheels of a carriage. The ride, through 
these forests, partakes of all those fancies, which the flightsof 
an unbridled imagination conjure up ; and a mind, given to 
romance, may here enjoy delightful reveries. 

The little town of Gullnow shews the ruins of a brick wall 
partly standing — the gate had mouldered away with the wall, 
but was substituted by an old veteran, whose hoary head and 
mangled looks bespoke the hardships of many campaigns. 
Passing the barriers of the town we drove through a street 



of execrable pavement, and wretched houses ; and, crossing 
at a right angle, passed through another equally bad. 

From Gullnow we proceeded, in a northerly direction, 
towards Colberg ; passing the small towns of Naugard, Grif- 
fenberg and Triptow ; each of them similar to the other, in 
decay and wretchedness. Triptow excited some degree of 
interest, as being lately the residence of the gallant General 
Blucher. The distance from Stettin to Colberg is about one 
hundred miles. This extent of country does not excite any 
interest, beyond its general state of cultivation. Considerable 
quantities of rye, barley and potatoes are reared ; also an 
excellent breed of horned cattle, but, singular to say, all of 
one colour, a yellowish red. Hogs and sheep are less nu- 

The manners of the common people are more sprightly 
than those in Swedish Pomerania, though they still partake 
of that cold indifference, so conspicuous among the different 
classes of these northern countries. 

Colberg is situated on a river, named Persante, about 
a mile from the sea. It is surrounded by strong and regular 


most common imposition is a charge for one horse above the 
usual allowance. 

As we approached Dantzick we could not but behold with 
pleasure the beauty of the surrounding scenery. On the north 
side, a broad and sheltered bay, stretched towards the mouth 
of the Vistula, while a beautiful avenue of trees, about four 
miles in length, conducted us to the suburbs. This was the 
scene of several skirmishes between the French and Russian 
armies; scarcely a tree seems to have escaped the shots of 
the troops. Their wounds have been carefully cleaned, and 
covered over with pitch and bandages of coarse linen. 

The first object which arrests the stranger's attention, on 
entering the town, is the prodigious thickness and height of 
the ramparts. The situation of the town is flat, and, from the 
height of the ramparts, only the numerous spires of the 
churches can be seen. The streets, though badly paved, are 
regular ; and cross each other at right angles. Many of them 
are agreably shaded by rows of trees. The houses are large, 
and built with the gajjle ends towards the street ; before the 



doors, a clumsy kind of railing is contrived, to keep off 
carriages, representing huge monsters, such as crocodiles, 
serpents, &c. supported on globes of stone. The cathedral is 
a building of great size, but heavy and irregularly constructed. 
It is built in the form of the cross, and has not less than 
fourteen roofs and nine lofty spires. In the church are several 
good paintings, though it is said the French carried off the most 

Several bomb-shells fell on the cathedral, during the siege, 
but regularly passed through the roof and sunk in the floor, 
without further injury. The church has suffered many in- 
stances of a similar kind of violence. Every spot, where shots 
have passed through the roof, is carefully painted, and the date 
marked over it. 

The exchange stands in the centre of the town. In it is 
seen an excellent statue erected to the memory of Augustus III, 
of Poland. Around the walls are several hunting paintings; 
and, to give effect to the game, huge antlers are stuck on the 
head of each representative ! Formerly there was an university 
in this city, but which is now gone to decay. The sciences 



are certainly not encouraged here. There are only two small 

booksellers shops, containing a paltry collection of pamphlets, 

and not a map of the country. The public amusements are, a 

German theatre, assembly rooms, and public gardens. The 

environs and walks around the city are extremely pleasing. 

On the west, the ground rises to a gentle ridge, covered with 

trees and skirted with neat villas. The east is bounded by the 

two branches of the Vistula. This space is extremely flat, and 

about tv^elve miles square. To prevent the advance of the 

Russian army, during the late siege, the French opened the 

eastern embankments of the river, and inundated the whole of 

it. From the spire of the cathedral, we could easily discern 

the vast extent of this lake. The water had somewhat subsided, 

and we could discover the steeples of churches, chimnies of 

houses, and tops of trees, peeping above its surface. It is said 

the French opened the sluices, without apprizing the inhabitants 

of their intention, who would have been swept away, had not 

part of the Russian army saved them by boats. 

The history of Dantzick has been long memorable as a 
commercial and fortified city. It originally belonged to Poland ; 



but, in the subsequent division of that unfortunate kingdom, 
it was annexed to Prussia, and forms a town in West Prussia. 
At the formation of the Hanseatic League, it was the first in 
riches, commerce and strength. In 1793, when the last divi- 
sion of Poland was planned and executed by Catherine, the 
King of Prussia obtained this city and Thorn. It has since 
remained to that power, as the great depot of naval, military, 
and commercial stores. 

At one time, the population of Dantzick, with its Hanseatic 
territory, amounted to upwards of an hundred thousand 
persons. At present it scarcely contains half that number. 
The French kept possession of the town during five years. 
The history of the last years of the situation of Dantzick, 
will be long remembered in the annals of its sufferings. From 
the memorable discomfiture of Napoleon in Russia, Dantzick 
was declared in a state of defence ; and General Rapp, at the 
head of thirty thousand French soldiers, shut himself within 
the walls. 

The town was surrounded by a division of the Russian 
army, who closely invested the fortifications, and prevented all 



egress. In consequence of this hardship the inhabitants 
suffered every privation. The cruelties of the French, within 
the walls, and the destructive necessity of the Russians in the 
suburbs, without, completed the scene of wretchedness and 
horror. Provisions became so scarce, that horses, dogs and 
cats were the only subsistence of the common people. It was 
the object of the French to diminish the population as much as 
possible; and, though the poor and helpless part of the inha- 
bitants were not turned out, as at Hamburg, yet, if sickness 
attacked them, assistance was refused, and death relieved the 
miserable object from its sufferings. 

The inhabitants were taxed most oppressively. Those 
who were not base enough to sell the honour of their families, 
were most oppressed. Can any action express the infamy of 
French principles more than this ? The account of their vices 
here is shocking. While it stamps a disgrace on their moral 
character, it plainly appears to have left a strong infection on 
that of the people. 

( 49 ) 


Memel, July, 1814. 

In the neighbourhood of Dantzick, we visited the monastery 
of Oliva. Its situation combined all which the most agreable 
scenery could produce ; and its structure, the rudeness of the 
age in which it was established. The one, contrasted with 
the other, appeared as the venerable relic of piety, which had 
braved the shocks of past ages, and yet afforded protection to 
its pious devotees. 

The sight of these religious edifices always carries us back 
to distant ages. In these asylums, the seducing pleasures of 
the world were renounced ; the germ of knowledge was fostered, 
until time ripened it to perfection, and spread its genial in- 
fluence around. Hither flocked the aged and unhappy. Here 
they sought that comfort and consolation, which their sorrows 

H demanded. 


demanded^ while the sick and poor crouded round, to crave 
the boon of charity from the pious fathers. 

The lapse of ages has sunk in oblivion the history of each 
individual action, and only the bolder features, like the strong 
lights and shades of the landscape, can now be discovered. 

The monastery of Oliva was founded, as early as the 
twelfth century. It was richly endowed with many privileges 
and immunities, by the sovereigns of Poland. In the intestine 
revolutions of the country, it was seven times demolished ; yet, 
like a spot too hallowed to be lost in ruins, was as constantly 
restored. In the sixteenth century, the inhabitants of Dantzick, 
in a fit of phrenzy, carried the torch of destruction and razed 
it to the ground. The King of Poland, for this irreligious act, 
compelled them to rebuild it on the plan ot its former 

The present disturbances in the country have again 
affected this monastery. Before the invasion of the French, 
it contained seventy fathers. Of that number only fourteen 
are survivors, and but five of these now reside in the es- 
tablishment. It was shamefully despoiled of its paintings, 
J. and 


and the riches of its altar, by the French. During the 
siege of Dautzick, the Russians converted it into a barrack 
for their soldiers, and left it in a sad and mutilated state. 
The cloisters communicate with the cells, in which the 
monks reside. We visited one of the brothers, who shewed 
that the gloomy walls of a monastery, or the austerity of its 
laws, had not made many ravages on his person. Instead of 
the lank care-worn devotee, we beheld the plump, chearful 
father of gaiety and satisfaction. 

It was now the beginning of July, and the weather had 
become so oppressively hot, during our stay at Dantzick, that 
we proposed to travel during the night, in order to avoid the 
excessive heat of the day. The evening we took our depart- 
ure, proved dark and rainy, in consequence of which the 
postillion lost his way, and upset the landaulet in a deep swamp. 
The accident was trifling, and a small village being near to 
the spot, our German servant went in quest of assistance. 

The few poor families who inhabited the villages were 
Poles, and unacquainted with the German language. — Frederick 

H 2 not 


oot being able to make himself understood, or to rouse them 
from their couches, returned in rather an indignant manner, 
and exclaimed " that they could not speak a word of German, 
and did not deserve to live !" As a last resource, the postillion 
rang the church bell, which soon collected a number of un- 
couth, ragged Poles, who, in a short time, extricated the 
carriage, and conveyed us to the road. Nothing could be more 
miserable than the appearance of these poor men. They were 
wrapped up in sheep-skin jackets. Several of them were af- 
flicted with that offensive disease the plica polonica, or matted 
hair. The hair hangs over their necks in thick and clotted 
lumps. The disorder is supposed to proceed from a viscous 
humour, exuding, from the head, into the tubes of the hair, 
which dilates to such an extent as to admit small globules 
of blood. 

From Dantzick, we proceeded, through a flat country, 
along the West bank of the Vistula, and reached the small 
town of Dersehau, chiefly inhabited by Poles. The wretched 
appearance of these people excited no other feeling than disgust 



and pity. They carry on a considerable inland trade, by means 
of the Vistula ; large rafts of wood and barges of grain are 
constantly seen floating down the river. 

The grain boats are navigated down the river, from the 
interior of Poland, &c. and are often from one to three months 
on the voyage. These boats are very clumsily put together; 
and, when the cargo is sold, they are broken up, and sold for 
fire-wood. A strange custom seems to prevail among the 
boatmen, in using no precaution whatever in covering the grain 
from the inclemency of the weather. The grain is raised up, 
with sloping sides ; and, from the moisture of the air soon 
assumes a green roof of vegetation, which answers the purpose 
of a tarpaulin. As these boats float along the stream, numerous 
flocks of birds regularly accompany them, and may be seen 
perched on several parts of the cargo, without the least mo- 

At this stage we crossed the Vistula by a ferry. The river 
here is about one thousand four hundred feet in breadth, and 
sixteen deep. Its stream is dull and muddy, — the banks low, 
marshy, and covered with sedges and brush willow. From the 



ferry, the road crosses the marsh to Marienburg, a small town 
of ancient respectability sjtuated on the Nogatt, but more pro- 
perly, the east branch of the mouth of the Vistula. 

Over the river, an excellent floating bridge of boats 
conducts the traveller to the town. Marienburg possesses no 
other interest than the remains of an old castle and church, 
once the residence of the knights of the Teutonic order; 
besides some remains of Roman antiquities. 

From Marienburg to Elbing, the country is a continued 
flat, insipid morass. The road passes along the south side of 
the Nogatt, which is confined within its proper bed, by im- 
mense embankments. From the soft, clayey state of the roads, 
and the want of stones or wood to form a foundation, they 
become deeply rutted, and very unequal in the surface, re- 
sembling a regular series of ridges. The uneasy motion given 
to the carriage, in passing over these ridges, occasions a sen- 
sation similar to that of a boat at sea, and is apt to create a 
disagreable sickness. 

The appearance of Elbing, from a distance, is by no means 
inviting. The high embankments of the river, and the exten- 


sive raorasses, exclude all views of the town. On entering 
the town the traveller is pleased to find the regularity of the 
streets and neatness of the houses. The town is unfortified, 
but appears to have been once encompassed by a slight brick 

Elbing exhibits a convincing proof of the destruction which 
fortifications produce, in a commercial town. Here were no 
means of defence or shelter for the French troops, and the in- 
habitants only suffered the temporary severities of the armies 
passing. Had Hamburg and Stettin been similarly exposed, 
they probably would not have undergone the hundredth part of 
their sufferings. 

From Elbing to Dantzick there is a regular communi- 
cation, by means of a canal, which joins the Nogatt to the 
town of Elbing. By the river Vistula an extensive com- 
merce is carried on with the interior of Poland. Numerous 
barges of grain and earthen -ware are brought here from as far 
as Cracow. From the number and extent of the granaries at 
Elbing it must be evident that the corn trade is very consider- 
able, though not nearly equal to that of Dantzick. These 



granaries are built on a small island, on the west side of the 
town. No fires are permitted to burn in them. Retail trade is 
conducted on a small scale, at extravagant prices. Every article 
of the mechanical arts is chiefly brought from Berlin. 

The warehouses here, as in Dantzick, are guarded, during 
the night, by a number of ferocious dogs, and to prevent their 
prowling beyond a certain distance, keepers are stationed at 
certain places with whips. 

Wood is here, as in the former towns, the common fuel. 
From the number of men and horses engaged in carrying it to 
the town, it appears to be a part of their summer employment, 
or home trade. The horses are small and slender, yet active. 
The waggons, to which four of these horses are generally 
yoked, consist of four small wooden wheels, with an extraor- 
dinarily narrow body, nearly twenty feet long, and not more 
than twenty inches wide. The sides are formed of two thin 
boards, which are taken off at pleasure. The driver, similar to 
the postillions, rides on the near wheel horse, and guides the 
others with a long whip, without any reins. 



The local costumes here, among the lower orders, differ 
only in the head dress. They, not ungracefully, fold a black 
kerchief round the head, tied, in front, into a knot. Their ap- 
pearance and manners are rather pleasing ; they shew more 
delicacy and modesty, than the intrusive immorality of those 
at Dantzick, and less indelicacy than those at Stettin or 

The surrounding country is extremely beautiful on the 
western side of the town. Nothing can be more agreable than 
the gentle inequalities of its surface, the richness of its verdure, 
and straggling plaiftations. An excellent new road is forming 
from the town towards Frauensberg ; about four miles of it is 

The nature of the soil immediately changes, at Dantzick, 
from what it had hitherto been. From that city to Frauensberg, 
it abruptly becomes, from loose sand, a blackish loam, mixed 
with clay, — hard and cloddy. The crops are rye, barley, some 
wheat, and a small quantity of potatoes, which i^ the only 
green crop we have remarked. They are planted in narrow 
ridges, similar to the mode practised in Ireland. The tops do 

I not 


not grow to any height, or luxuriance, and the roots are gene- 
rally small, but keep uncommonly well throughout the summer. 
The other crops vary in luxuriance according to the soil. 
We have hitherto remarked none equal to what is seen in 

The mode of farming is extremely simple, and the im- 
plements of agriculture are rudely contrived. A plough, with 
too heavy wheels, and the forked coulter, fixed to the axletree, 
in a perpendicular manner, is used to cross-plough the fallow 
land. It has no stilts, and is drawn by four horses. The 
ploughman rides on the near wheel horse. 

In July, grass fields are manured, ploughed down, and 
allowed to remain until the rye is sown in October ; by this 
means the valuable advantages of grazing are lost. In conse- 
quence of this practice, but few black cattle are observed 
throughout this part of the country. 

At the wretched village of Truntz, the first stage from 
Elbing, we left the territory of West Prussia, and entered that 
of East Prussia, in Prussia Proper. The second stage brought 
us to the beautiful town of Frauensberg, on the shores of 



Frische Haffe. The town is partly built under a sandy ridge, 
which stretches in a parallel line with the bay. On the summit 
of this rising ground is seen the Romish cathedral, a large, 
and not inelegant Gothic structure. This cathedral belongs to 
the diocese of the bishop, who presides over the monastery of 
Oliva. Besides two residing bishops, it contains fifteen canons. 
During our visit at Frauensberg we had the pleasure of forming 
an acquaintance with the Bishop Marcellus de Szuyski. This 
reverend prelate gave us much valuable information as to 
the present state of the cemntry ; he also shewed us the costly 
robes of the priests, and riches of the church. 

Frauensberg is celebrated, as having been the birth-place 
and residence of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer. He 
lived in the sixteenth century, and died, as one of the canons 
of the cathedral, in the seventy-third year of his age. Nicolaus 
Copernicus flourished after the discoveries of the Pythagorean 
and Ptolemaic systems were produced. 

The word system, as is well known, in astronomy, means 
an hypothesis of a certain arrangement of the different parts of 

I 2 the 


the universe, in order to account for the appearances of the 
heavenly bodies, their motions, changes, &c. 

Claudius Ptolemy, the Egyptian astronomer, supposed 
the earth immovably fixed in the centre of the universe, and 
that the sun, and planets, revolved round it. In this early 
age, it was believed that all the stars were fixed in one concave 
sphere, at an equal distance from the earth ; and that the 
primum mobile, the imaginary sphere which gave motion to all 
the rest, was the celestial paradise. 

Tycho Brahe, a noble Dane, flourished about the same 
time with Copernicus. He partly corrected the Ptolemaic hy- 
pothesis ; he supposed the earth had no motion ; that the sun 
and moon revolved around it in twenty-four hours, and that 
the other planets revolved round the sun as a centre. 

The system of Copernicus, or the revival of that of Pytha- 
goras, is founded on demonstrative proofs, and accounts for all 
the phenomena of the heavenly bodies, in a natural manner. 
According to this system, the sun is placed in the centre and the 
planets and comets are supposed to revolve round it, at different 
periods of time, and in orbits, at different distances from it. 



In the church a plain slab, with the figure of a globe on it, 
marks the spot where the ashes of this celebrated astronomer 
repose. His observatory forms one of the angles of the wall, 
which surrounds the church. At present it is occupied by a fat 
jolly canon, who, instead of imitating the heavenly pursuits of 
his predecessor, employs his time in a trifling display of shell 

In our hotel we could not but feel interested in the fate of 
a young female, tbe only daughter of our landlord, a man of 
a surly and morose disposition : she had lately lost her mother, 
her sister and brother, — the icy hand of death seemed to have 
marked her as its next victim — she was in a rapid decline, and 
had even fixed the time of her dissolution. 

It was not without feelings of regret that we quitted the 
scene of Copernicus's discoveries, the kindness of father 
Szuyski, and the unhappy state of poor Antoinette ! 

Leaving Frauensberg we travelled along the southern shore 
of the Frische Haffe, towards Konigsberg. The intermediate 
country is flat, of a dark rich soil, and remarkably well culti- 
vated. At the different stages, we found triumphal arches 



erected in expectation of the Emperor Alexander's arrival, on 
his return to St. Petersburg. At every stage, where it was 
supposed the Emperor might pass, were collected from sixty to 
one hundred horses, ready harnessed and grazing on the sides 
of the road. At some of the stages the horses had been in 
waiting for several days. . 

Before we entered Konigsberg, our luggage was carefully 
inspected by the Custom -House officers. This ceremony every 
traveller must submit to, otherwise he is sent under a military 
escort to the Post Office. 

The situation or appearance of Konigsberg is by no means 
inviting. The scite of the town is somewhat lower than the 
surrounding country, which is flat and cheerless ; it is encom- 
passed by an earthen rampart, possessing neither strength nor 
beauty. The Pregel divides the town into several parts, and 
falls into the eastern extremity of the Frische Haflfe, whereon 
is situated Pillau: the harbour of Konigsberg is about thirty 
miles from the town. It is evident that the sea has retired 
from its original station. The former port of the town was 
only two miles from it. From this spot, to the HafFe, a 



distance of fifteen miles, is now dry land. This change has 
probably been occasioned by the large quantities of sand and 
mud brought down by the Pregel at different floods ; and, there 
being no tides in the Frische Haffe to wash it away ; it would 
remain and accumulate. 

The streets of the city are irregularly planned and badly 
paved. The principal buildings are the churches and palace of 
the former kings, in front of which is seen a statue of Frederick 
William the Elector, who crowned himself in I7OI as the first 
king of Prussia. 

The religion of the inhabitants is nearly divided between 
the Lutherans and Roman Catholics, and the morals of the 
people are similar to those of other fortified towns which have 
been a prey to invasion. The theatre had been repeatedly burnt 
down, and money was immediately subscribed to rebuild it ; 
but if a church were destroyed, it remained in ruins. 

On the banks of the river, towards the centre of the city, 
public gardens are laid out and opened every evening for the 
amusement of the inhabitants. They are occasionaliy illumi- 
nated ; and, with the addition af a concert and fireworks, 



gambling and tobacco-smoking, the company seem to be high- 
ly delighted with its recreations. 

A portion of the French prisoners, from Russia, are 
now passing through this place, on their return to*France. 
Nothing can exceed the wretchedness of their appearance both 
in dress and looks — many of them have only the covering of 
a tattered blanket, and scarcely any possess the comforts of 
either hat, shoe or stocking. The description of their return, 
during the winter, from Russia, is a frighful picture of the 
horrors they suffered from the severity of the climate. Many 
of these men are without fingers and toes ; and many exhibit 
large blotches on their faces. The King of Naples reached 
Konigsberg, with a part of his division ; but the inhabitants, 
expressing their dislike to the French interest, he immediately 
sought his safety in flight, and went to Elbing. 

Konigsberg is the capital of Prussia-proper, and was the 
residence of the sovereigns, until the seat of government was 
removed to Berlin. 

About the thirteenth century, a war broke out between the 
German Knights of the Teutonic Order and the Prussians. 



They subdued, and peopled the country with Germans. A 
part of the country was ceded to Casimir IV. of Poland, for 
his assistance, and the other part, they retained, as vassals 
to Poland. The sovereignty of the Teutonic Knights conti- 
nued to the sixteenth century, when Albert, Margrave of Bran- 
denburg, was created Duke of East Prussia. In the seven- 
teenth century the Elector, Frederick William of Brandenburg, 
released the country from its vassalage to Poland, and crowned 
himself at Konigsberg. In the succession of the kings, the 
Elector, Frederick William the Great, was father of Frederick 
I. j who was the father of Frederick William I. ; who was 
the father of Frederick II. (or the Great) ; who was uncle 
to Frederick William II. the father of the present king, 
Frederick William III. 

In consequence of the arrival of the Emperor's avant 
courier, we were detained two days, at Konigsberg, before 
horses could be procured. The posting horses, in Prussia, are 
under the management of the Post Office, and belong to the 
King. Each postillion receives a hat, jacket, belt, whip and 
horn. The livery is dark blue, turned up with orange colour. 

K On 


fen the road, private carriages, &c. must give Way t'6 the 
^(6stilh*on, when he sbunds his horn. Oh entering the to#ns, 
they do not fail to announce, hy the loudest sounds, the arrival 
6if travellers. 

'Cainfiier, the first stage from Konigsberg, is a small pic- 
ftifl^ue village, ^ti/BoSomed alofiohg trees. The Post-house is 
kept by a countess, who gleans a scanty pittance from the hire 
of her horses. 

The next stage is Lkblau, situated on the chores of the 
Curische HafFe, and the canal called !Fredericks Graben, 
which connects the Niemen with the Pregel ; thus affording 
kn easy and direct communication from Konigsberg to the 
Bladk Sea, hy the Niemen and the Dri!e()er, which rivers 
have been joined together at Pinsk. This interesting inland 
navigation is only performed during the summer months, when 
the produce of the Baltic is exchanged, for that of the Black 

Proceeding through a flat, but beautiful, country, well 
cultivated, and diversified with trees and shrubberies, we 
reached Tilsit. The houses, along this part of the country, 



are rudely built of wood, neither so large nor so comfortable 
as those in West Prussia, fhe inhabitants are chiefly Jews, 
who reside in the ^country, and cultiyatje the land. Theip 
figures are tall and thin, with a huge unshapely beard; over 
their persons, is wrapped a long loose black cloak, and, on 
their heads, a black velvet cap, over which is worn a large one 
of fur. 

Tilsit stands on the West bank of the Memel ; it consists 
of two streets, running parallel with the river, badly paved, 
with a collection of mean brick, and wooden houses. 

On the south side of the town is a small lake, surrounded 
by a few straggling buildings, called the Liberty. The river is 
crossed by j^ .floating bridge of boats, which is removed, in 
winter, to allow the passage of the ice. The Memel is a noble 
river, it discharges itself into the Curische Haffe, by two 
branches which are navigable for small vessels. This river, 
about forty miles above Tilsit, takes the name of the Niemen, 
by which it is better known. 

We now beheld the spot, where, in 1807, the Treaty of 
Peace was concluded, between the Emperor of Russia, the 

K 2 King 


King of Prussia, and Napoleon Buonaparte, on a floating raft 
expressly contrived for the occasion. The grandeur and ^clat 
evinced on this occasion, were indeed worthy a meeting of 
nionarchs. What a day of exultation to the autocrat of France ! 
what a day of insult to Russia ! Never did the destiny of 
Napoleon know a prouder day. Never was the war- winged 
genius of modern Gaul more pre-eminent than at that moment ; 
and never did the power of France seem to rest on a surer 
hasis. But how are the mighty fallen I This once favoured 
child of war, who so shortly before humbled the greatness of 
this northern empire, once more attempted its complete over- 
throw. He who thought the world too narrow for his bound- 
less ambition, has fallen, at one blow, to insignificance and 
Elba ! and now drags on a career, seemingly as pitiable, as it 
was once unbounded. 

From Tilsit to Memel is fourteen Prussian miles. The 
road, after crossing the river, keeps a north-westerly direction, 
passing through a flat country, extensively beautified by tracts 
of cultivation, meadow lands, and numerous plantations of 
willows. On the meadows are raised prodigious quantities of 



hay, which, with the grain, forms a part of the exported 
produce of the country. 

Around Tilsit is seen the most productive land in this 
country. The soil throughout is dry soft sand, which occa- 
sionally varies into a mixture of clay-loam. The crops of 
barley and oats grow most luxuriantly, though the barley is as 
late in ripening as the oats. The produce is far beyond the 
consumption of the country ; an immense quantity of grain is 
therefore annually expurted. The cottages, though neither 
large nor substantially built, are yet comfortable ; and, in 
general, surrounded with willow trees, which, in these flat 
plains, give an extremely pleasing air of shelter. 

The second stage from Tilsit is remarkably fascinating, and 
must gratify every admirer of rural nature. The road is flat, 
smooth, and shaded on each side by aged willows, trained to 
grow in an outward direction ; on each side, the extensive plains 
appear as a soft lawn, covered with the richest verdure, on 
which securely graze its numerous flocks ; while the humble 
cottages, under the shades of trees, afford a general scene of 
calmness and retirement. Here the parade of wealth does not 



intrude itself, neither does the humble hut retire to givjB room 
to the stately palace. 

However favourable the soil, in this country, is to agri- 
culture, yet little attention is bestowed on it. If properly 
tilled, it is capable of producing the heaviest crops. The 
farmers generally take one or two crops from the land and 
afterwards allow it to remain two or three ye^rs to rest. Ma- 
nure they rarely use. It is not an unusual practice, among the 
small farmers, to allow the dung, in the cattle yard, to accu- 
mulate to such a quantity, as to occasion a difficulty in living 
beside it, during -the hot months of summer. Instead of 
removing the dung, and applying it as manure to the fields, 
many allow it to remain, and remove their dweUing houses 
from it ! 

This country was formerly considered under the same 
laws as Russia, with reference to the peasantry. They were 
slaves to the noble, and farmed his lands ; but, within these 
few years, the government of Prussia has abolished these laws, 
and given an enlargement of freedom to the people. Whether 
it is productive of immediate gpod, is difficult to decide. 



As slaves, under the nobles, the land was portioned out to 
them, and overeeers were appointed to inspect their daily 
labour, and attention to their stock. When they carried the 
produce of their farms to the market, they were obliged to sell 
it to the best advantage, and to preserve its value. By these 
means they were kept from idleness and dissipation. 

Those who have procured their freedoms, either rent their 
farms annually, or, by industry, become enabled to purchase 
the perpetuity of them. At present the/ree farmers are careless 
in the improvements of the land — sell its produce at a trifling 
price, and, in the knowledge of being under no restraint, 
squander it away in drunkenness. 

Those who are slaves receive a certain portion of land, 
and cows. For this they are necessitated to give three days' 
labour in the week, to their master, and the rest is at their 
own disposal. When any of their cows die, the master sup- 
plies the loss. In consequence of this grant they are less at- 
tentive to their live stock. 

The cattle are herded together in flocks : each farmer sends 
his stock to the general pasture, where a common herdsman is 



*eiii ployed to watch the whole. In these flocks, horned cattle, 
horses, sheep, and swine, are promiscuously mixed, and graze 
together. These grazing commons are very extensive ; and 
they are, in many places, covered with forests. It is not an 
unusual thing, in West Prussia, while passing through these 
forests, to find little spots cleared of the wood, and settled into 
farms. The appearance of these woods and farms is extremely 
agreable. When the traveller has passed through many dreary 
miles of a forest, he suddenly enters, when most unexpected, a 
circular spot, shaded from every storm, by the natural form of 
the forest ; while the open space is filled with crops of rye and 
barley, shooting their slender forms into the unruffled air. In 
the centre of the farm stands the humble dwelling of the poor 
secluded peasant, who dreads no enemy, unless it be the brutal 
inhabitant of the forest, or the oppression of his lord. 

However agreable the journey from Tilsit to Memel might 
appear, yet the instant the latter town is approached all softness 
of ideas is overturned, every object of picturesque beauty 
yanishes; and nothing is beheld but a wretched town, sur- 

MEMETi. 73 

ix)vintled on the one side, by a wilderness of loose sand, and, 
on the other, by the sea. 

Memel is the last of the Prussian towns on the coast of 
the Baltic. It is situated on the east shore of the Curische 
Haffe, within three leagues of the Russian frontier. The 
town is old, clumsily built, and contains about six thousand 
inhabitants. The streets are irregularly formed, and, like the 
rest of the Prussian towns, are badly paved. The manner of 
paving the streets in these towns, consists in laying three rows 
of large unshapely stones, parallel with the houses. These 
rows are about four feet asunder from each other — the inter- 
mediate space is filled up with smaller stones carelessly thrown 
in. The middle row of large stones is placed in the centre 
of the street, which generally affords the best footpath ; but, 
from the frequent interruption of carts and horsemen, a pas- 
senger must be constantly on the watch. The stones acquire 
so fine a polish that, were the horses shod, they could not, 
without considerable difficnlty, pass over them. Shoes are 
seldom put on the horses feet here ; besides, they are so small 
and light, that they get over these pavements with uncommon 

i> facility. 


facility. I have frequently seen parties of the peasants, wheii 
intoxicated, mounted on their little hbrfees, \vithout stirrups, 
frot and gallop along the street with extreme alacrity. 

Memel formerly belonged to the Hanseatic LeaguCj and 
seems to have been partly fortified. The ramparts, though 
repaired about a year agd, are, at present, in an useless state 
of defence. The town does not appear to have been regularly 
fortified, nor could it be done but at an enormous expense. 
Between the town and the sea, on the north side, the distance 
is equal to three English miles. This space is a level plain of 
dry, loose, sand, without any vegetable decoration. All the 
houses, extending from the town, in a parallel direction with 
the harbour, are built on loose sand, and the streets consist of 
nothing else. 

Memel is the great depot of timber brought down the 
Niemen. The harbour is formed by the entrance of the 
Curische Haffe, which is only a quarter of a mile broad, and 
tiot more than thirteen feet deep. In consequence of this, large 
vessels take in part of their cargo about a mile out at sea. 
Around the suburbs are erected a number of windmills, which 


mem?:l. 75 

are us^ as $aw-raills to cut up the tin>ber, before it, ^ 

The quantity of timber exported from Mewel was calcu- 
lated at three hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterli^ig per 
annum * 5 but this has coi^siderably decreased, partly from the 
effects of the l^t;§ yv.^r, and ai§o, it js said, from the dical- 
nution of the forests in Poland. 

Immense rafts of wood are annually brought down the 
Niemen from Poland and Lithuania. On these rafts small 
temporary covers are raised, under which the voyageurs repose. 
They also bring along with them, carts, horses, poultry, &c. 
When the cargo of wood is disposed of, they return, by land, 
with their horses. A raft often consists of more planks than 
are sufficient to load the largest vessel, which sails from Memel. 
These rafts appear, on the water, like a floating island, on 
which are men, women, children and cattle, with all the im- 
plements of their household and travelling machines. 

The greater part of this country is peopled by the de- 
scendants of the ancient Lithuanians, though considerably 

li 2 inter- 

* Oddy's European C<wnraerce ; a very important work. 


intermixed with the colonies of various nations, which Peter 
the Great of Russia introduced. The Jews, in particular, 
almost seem to have fixed the land of the New Judea here ! 

The Lithuanians are a coarse, clumsy, and stupid class of 
people ; their ideas, manners, dress, and actions are those of the 
dullest, heaviest, and most inanimate description. The women 
seem to perform all the laborious part of the work. They na- 
vigate and row their little boats down the rivers with the pro- 
duce of the country, particularly green vegetables and poultry. 
While these poor women are toiling under the hardships of the 
day, the men idly loiter about the public houses swallowing 
vast quantities of raw brandy. The quantity of this pernicious 
liquor, drank by these people, is almost incredible. Every 
house on the road sells spirits, and regularly at each, the pos- 
tillions and peasants stop, and take their schnaps. Even the 
women carry with them a private bottle, and, as they meet in 
the streets, or on the road, they first salute, by kissing each 
other's cheek, and then apply the bottle to each other's 
mouths, and finish by another salute of kisses. 


M E M E L. TT 

The women ride on horseback, after the manner of men, 
with their petticoats tied round the knee. Nothing can be 
more ludicrous than to see a woman thus mounted meeting 
another on foot. They stop, salute, and present the bottle to 
each other, with all the grimaces of a complete caricature. 

The boys dress in a manner similar to old men. A group 
of these may be seen, with their backs to an observer, and 
scarcely known from old, decrepid men. Their hair is al- 
lowed to hang over their shoulders, they wear a broad flapping 
hat, also a jacket with a broad skirt ; coarse stockings and 
sandals, made of the bark of trees, complete their dress. 
These boys may be seen bartering, at a common stall, for the 
smallest trifle, with all the careful coldness, and distrust, of 
penurious old age. They want that life and thoughtless 
gaiety which prevail in youths of other countries. The boys 
in Sweden are almost similar to them in disposition and 

It is highly worthy of admiration to observe the marked 
diflference between the appearances of the people of these 
countries. In West Prussia, the women are particularly fair, 



and even pretty. From Elbing to Memel, every stage exhibits 
coarser features, both in men and women : there seems to be 
a progressive increase of ugUness ; and, from Konigsberg t^ 
Memel, this ratio still further holds good. : 

A f ^^/^'..J^^/M^'/J/^/x/^/yj/^WU S S I A .. 

( 79 ) 


St. Petersburg, July, 1814. 
Ok reaching Memel, we learned that our passports, from St. 
Petersburg, had not arrived, and that we might probably 
remain several weeks in the expectation of them. No stranger 
is admitted into the Russian territory, without a passport 
being regularly procured from the metropolitan Police. It is 
necessary that a traveller should write to St. Petersburg for a 
passport, several weeks before he reaches the Russian frontier, 
otherwise he is placed in a very aukward situation. During 
the war, it required several months before they could be 
obtained ; and they were, it is said, sent to the Emperor, 
when he was in France, for his signature. 

Our passports from Hamburg were made out to Memel 
and St. Petersburg. The Russian Consul at Memel particularly 



assured us, that they were a sufficient protection to our entering 
St. Petersburg, if we went by sea, and that they did not require 
his signature. To avoid this detention, as well as the disagre- 
able sensation of continuing in a place void of every attraction, 
and without society ; we resolved on taking the advantage of a 
small Prussian galliot on the eve of sailing to Cronstadt. Before 
we sailed, another cause of regret occurred ; we were expressly 
assured that we could not take our English carriage with us, 
by sea, without its being seized by the officers of the Custom- 
House : in consequence of this information we were obliged 
to leave it behind. 

The Christina being a small galliot scarcely of an hundred 
tons burthen, could not accommodate so many passengers in 
the cabin ; besides, it only contained one sleeping place for the 
captain. A second cabin for the sailors was situated on the 
deck, in which the apparatus of cookery was placed. The 
vessel carried no cargo ; and, as a substitute for a cabin, the 
hold was allotted to us, as our apartment. We had the ad- 
vantage of four small hammocks slung from the beams, but 
which were unprovided with either beds, or blankets. The 



cross beams of the deck formed the ceiling, not more than six 
inches above us, while the sand-ballast, and coiled cable 
formed the floor. The motion of the vessel rocked us from 
side to side, and the bubbling noise of the passing wave, 
lulled us to sleep. Even on the plainest couch, a mind at ease 
will sink to rest, and forget the inconveniences of the moment. 
When morning dawned, we were awoke with recruited spirits, 
by the cackling noise of some fowls, which roosted in the same 

There were neither tables nor chairs on board, — in short 
these are often unnecessary luxuries at sea, as, not unfrequent- 
Jy, the floor of the cabin, or deck, proves the most comfortable ; 
as a substitute for a table a large box was used. Ease and 
freedom were here triumphant ; there was no ceremony as 
to precedency ; no formality as to places ; no delicacy nor 
fastidiousness. Necessity compelled us to relish what, under 
other situations, might have been felt as a punishment — so tru€ 
it is, that self-punishment and privations are comparatively 
easy to those really severe, when inflicted by others. 

M The 


The tedious operation of breakfast being over, that of 
dinner soon followed. The kitchen of the Christina was 
enriched with only one pot ; it was the general cauldron of the 
captain's feasts, and the sailors* mess. Its hungry cavity 
daily received the salted ribs of Lithuanian pork, or the less 
savoury junks of Courland beef. The presiding Comus of 
this Pandemonium was one of those abortive imps, which re- 
quired only to be seen, in order to derange the internal 
economy of the stomach. Apollo had not smiled at his birth, 
nor had the Graces hailed his entrance with any approbation — 
deformity claimed him as her own, arid the extremes of filth, 
and littleness of mind formed his character. 

The voyage along the gulf of Finland, though pleasant 

in summer, must, in stormy weather, prove both intricate and 

dangerous. The gulf is extremely narrow, and, along its 

course, are scattered several small islands and rocks, rendering 

the navigation often hazardous. On many of these islands are 

erected light-houses, which tend greatly towards assisting the 

course of the mariner. 



The water of the gulf is extremely light and clear, of 
a sparkling appearance, and perfectly sweet and fresh to the 
taste. The Baltie is less salt than the ocean, and which, from 
the Sound, increases in freshness towards the extremities of the 
gulfs of Finland and Bothnia. 

The Baltic sea being of so small an extent, compared to 
the ocean, and having no tides, and constantly supplied with 
so vast a number of large rivers, may be the principal cause of 
its freshness. In short, the Baltic may almost be called a large 
lake. During the intensity of the frost, in January 1814, the 
greatest part of it was frozen over, and some merchants 
actually crossed in sledges, from the Russian to the Swedish 
coast. The guides could not be prevailed upon to remain ; in 
the meantime the thaw had taken place, and they found a 
watery grave under the ice. 

The water of the Baltic is extremely cold to the touch ; 
when the temperature of the air (in July) was equal to 73° of 
Farrenheit, the thermometer, when plunged a few feet under 
the surface of the water, fell below 50°. This great degree of 
cold in the water, when the temperature of the air is so elevated, 

M 2 might 


might be attributed to those immense masses of ice, which, 
on its breaking up, become specifically heavier than the water, 
and sink to the bottom ; and thus, by constantly expelling a 
stream of cold, prevent the immediate influence of the sun's 

Our voyage continued prosperous ; and, although our 
progress was slow and somewhat fatiguing, yet, from the fine- 
ness of the weather, we had some compensation. The winds 
were light and fresh — the sea calm and serene. Its blue face 
stretched around to immeasurable distance and left us scarce 
an object to relieve the wandering eye, unless perhaps when a 
distant sail would shew its sunny tints — or when a grey rock 
would point its shady brow on the passing wave. 

In rolling along these wide and watery wastes, where 
ocean and sky blend in the far stretched horizon, and 
where eternity seems to hold its visionary realms, we naturally 
look around us ; we ask where those mighty waters come 
from ? from what vast abyss have they rolled ? what is their 
use ? In these enquiries we are naturally led back to the ages 
of chaos — to those times, when nature first threw creation out 



of her hands, and gave new forms to the wreck of matter. 
We hear, that, by these waters, the earth was once deluged 
and again may be dissolved. 

On this subject I cannot avoid inserting the following- 
elegant hypothesis of a valuable friend. *' Here o'er the level 
and wide stretched ocean do the springs of the earth find their 
everlasting source. Here do we see the grand centre of their 
circulation, the bed from which they arise, the bed to which 
they return. Here is to be seen that vast reservoir in which, 
for ages past, and ages to come, have been crumbling the 
fragments of perishable matter, yielding back their primary 
elements to give new forms to other beings. Here we see 
illustrated the doctrine of the Metempsychosis ; we see the 
death of organic, giving birth to inorganic matter, and vice 
versd : the fabric of the one reared on the ruins of the other ; 
and thus the wheel of eternity constantly going round. Above 
all, here may we not contemplate that vast and unfathomable 
abyss, in which this perishable globe will one day leave its 
mouldering relics.*'* 


* See Dr. T. C. Speer--^ Tract, inaug. de Aquae Natura. Edin. 1812. 


The fatigues of our voyage were now to terminate ; and, 
at last we were to tread on the terra Jirma of Russia. On the 
evening of the eighth day of our voyage, we approached the 
shores of Cronstadt, the grand harbour and naval depot of the 
Imperial Capital. From the low situation of the town, and 
its want of steeples, we were unable to obtain a distinct view 
until within a league of it. At seven o'clock in the evening, 
we anchored within half a league of the pier, but, from some 
delay in the examination of our passports, we were unable to 
reach the docks until midnight. 

Before we were allowed a pilot, the police officers, from 
the fl^^t, c^e on board to inspect our passports. This was 
the first instance of a Russian character we had seen, and 
which, could not, indeed, impress a stranger with a favourable 
opinion,, either as to sobriety, intellect, or moral principle. 

The Christina being safely moored at the outside of the 
great dock, the captain permitted his little scullion to escort 
us on shore. With the utmost difficulty of navigation, we 
wandered through endless canals formed by vessels moored in 
the docks. The moon shone in full splendour, and the nume- 


rous masts and shrouds of the ships, and the shades they flung 
around, presented the picture of a vast floating forest. We 
reached the end, and, signs being of much more use to us 
than words, by these we were conducted to our hotel — a 
house exteriorly boasting of much magnitude, but interiorly 
one vast mass of filth, irregularity, and vermin — where the 
whole five senses, particularly that assigned to the most pro- 
minent feature of the face, were constantly engaged in the 
most distressing species of warfare. The house is kept by an 
Anglo-Russ. However meritorious his individual attentions 
may be, and however valuable those properties, which he has 
inherited from his mother country, yet, when adulterated with 
such raw materials as the creatures around him, they lose 
their virtues ; and the traveller must neither expect comfort, 
cleanliness, nor satisfaction. 

Here we lay, or rather languished, for one night; and 
the rudeness of our couch was indeed but a sorry recompense 
for the fatigues of our voyage. Next morning we took a walk 
through the town. Imperial arsenal, round the dock yards, &c. 
and were enabled to form a hasty sketch of it. 



The present appearance of Cronstadt must astonish every 
heholder. He will see the most extensive ranges of elegant 
buildings, intended as storehouses and barracks, it being a 
strong naval station, and the grand marine depot. These 
barracks are capable of containing a force equal at least to six 
times the population of the town, which latter is about six 
thousand. In front of the storehouses great canals are cut, 
and dry docks formed for clearing and repairing the Imperial 
fleet. Connected wdth these and projecting into the sea, long 
stone piers are raised, forming a kind of square. These form 
the wet docks, where all merchant ships, &c. are moored, 
and but ill-protected from the swell of the gulf. The fortress 
is strongly defended, but absurdly flanked with redoubts out at 
sea, which could easily be taken by gun-boats, and turned upon 

Outside of the docks is moored the Russian fleet, which 
returned a few days ago from England. These ships are in a 
line extending from the dock in a southerly direction and occu- 
pying a space of five or six leagues. There are twenty sail of 



the line in excellent condition ; they evidently shew the effect 
of an English polish. 

It is a singular circumstance that the three commanding 
Admirals of the Russian fleet are foreigners — two of them 
are Englishmen, the other an American ; many of the captains 
are also Scotch and Irish. It must be an awkward situation 
for these gentlemen, in the event of a war with England. In 
the late war, they resigned their commissions, and were 
ordered to reside at Moscow. At its termination, they were 
restored to their former rank. 

The Russian navy rhust ever be liable to great disadvan- 
tages, in the event of a war with any foreign powers. Their 
northern situation excludes them, during six months of the 
year, from getting out, or returning to the Baltic ports, in 
consequence of ice. Even if they were stationed in the Black 
Sea, they would be at too great a distance from the capital, in 
a remote situation, and liable to all the obstacles of the Turks, 
and the passage of the Dardanelles. 

Russia can never support a great naval power ; her coast 
is too limited, and she possesses no colonies, nor the means of 

N forming 


forming expert sailors. It is only from her internal commerce 
that she can acquire strength and riches. 

From the irregularities and delays of the Custom-House, 
our vessel, though only in ballast, could not be cleared out 
for two days. Our portmanteaus and packages were all noted, 
and our passports carefully examined. The useless and frivolous 
ceremonies attendant on the last operation, afforded great 
vexations and delays. We were told that our Hamburg pass- 
ports were of no use, as they were not signed by the Russian 
consul at Memel, though we were there particularly assured 
that his signature was of no importance ! From hour to hour 
we were detained, and, in some fruitless attempts to wait on 
the admiral of the police, we received the first instance of 
Russian politeness, by being denied any explanation. In the 
meantime our passports arrived from the capital ; and, as a 
packet-boat was under way for St. Petersburg, we got on 
board. These boats are large and open, and provided with 
light awnings, to protect the passengers from the sun's rays. 
They are rowed by twelve stout fellows ; but, if the wind is 
favourable, they are managed by two clumsy lug-sails They 



carry about thirty passengers, and the voyage is usually 
performed, in, from three to eight hours. We could not avoid 
being struck with the comeliness of our boatmen, and still 
more by the peculiarities of their costume, manners, &c. 
They are all natives of the south-western provinces of the 
empire, and regularly at that period, when the ice breaks up, 
flock to Cronstadt, like birds of passage, and remain there 
until winter, when they return back to their own country. 
They are a small class of men with broad open countenances, 
bespeaking great good humour and aftability ; but, like all 
untutored people, are easily provoked and revengeful. Their 
dress consists of a coarse shirt, without a collar, and open 
down the right side of the breast where it is secured by 
a button — over a pair of loose trowsers, is worn thie shirt, 
which is fastened, round the waist, by a rope ; on the head they 
wear a low crowned hat, with a broad brim, turned up at each 
side ; the hair of the head is cut strait across the forehead, 
in a line with the eye-brows, from which it hangs perpendicu- 
larly down, so as to cover the ears, whence it is cut square 
across the neck, from ear to ear. 

N 2 While 


While engaged at their labour they generally sing and 

seem to forget it. Their voices and their oars go together; 

the one in keeping tune, the other in keeping time. The 

clapping of their hands forms an interlude, and thus, of a 

hardship, they make a pleasure. Their execution in music is 

very respectable, and their melodies are, I think, very sweet : 

they strongly reminded me of those I have heard in the 

Highlands of Scotland, and brought me back to those happy 

scenes, where the hardy Scot, 

Free as the winds that play on his mountains, 

And wild as the streamlet that flows from his fountains, 

ranges along his desart path — unknown to luxuries, unknown 
to cares. 

" Caledonia ! thou land of the mountain and rock. 

Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind ; 
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, arid the oak, 

Of the roe-buck, the hart, and the hind. 
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens, 

Though bleak thy dun islands appear, 
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans, 

That roam on those mountains so drear." 

Ettrkk Shepherd. 


Having left Cronstadt, at a late hour in the evening, 
we were unable to judge of the surrounding landscape ; but, 
early on the following morning, the proud towers of the 
Russian capital burst on our astonished sight ; their domes, 
glittering in the rising sun, and throwing their rich tints on 
the placid bosom of the Neva : nor pen, nor pencil, nor 
tongue, can give adequate effect to the glorious coup d'oeiL It 
was more like the bright vision of an eastern night — more 
like the light which gilds the poet's dream, than the cold 
morning realities of common life. 

Every where around us lay palaces, temples, and monu- 
ments, and we beheld a city, as if reared by magic and 
designed by the gods. No ugly nor deformed heap obtruded 
itself on the eye — no mean nor disfigured speck violated its 
fine stretched film — ^all was grandeur, majesty and arrange- 

Here we could not but contemplate the distant glories 
of this young and vigorous capital — the struggles she has 
suffered for the deliverance of Europe, and the sera she has 
made in the history of the world. We could not behold, with- 


out reverence and wonder, the grand reservoir, whence have 
ilovved those vast and mighty streams, which have swept away 
the tyrant's desolating legions. We could not but gaze on 
those glorious banners, under which the brave and good 
Alexander reared his mighty hosts and sent them abroad to 
give peace to mankind. 

It is totally oiit of the reach of language to give adequate 
effect to the splendid outline of picture which here first strikes 
the stranger. We generally associate the painting with the 
time taken in its execution, and we conceive they correspond 
with each other. Not so here — opr principles of association 
will be totally deranged, and our astonishment will be greate^ 
than ever. If we consider the rapidity with which this city 
has been raised ; the harlequin trai^sportation by which the 
reeds of a morass, were changed for the spires of a capital ; — 
if, with this, we consider its population, its buildings and its 
extertt, we are really confounded and lost in admiration. But, 
whien we learn that this spectacle of human labour and inge- 
nuity was accomplished by the genius and industry of one in- 
dividual, it requires indeed very peculiar powers to appreciate 



the vastness and qualities of that nature which the Almighty 
has given us. 

The first and grandest object which will strike the tra- 
veller's notice, on entering the Russian capital, is the majestic 
and deep flowing Neva. By its divisions and ramifications, 
several islands are formed, on which stand portions of the 
city ; these are connected with each other by means of floating 
bridges of boats. The river is one- third of a mile in breadth, 
deep, rapid and clear as crystal. Its mouth is obstructed by 
fishing nets and stakes placed in the water to decoy the fish 
into them. The banks, below the town, are flat and marshy, 
but, in many places, relieved by trees and wooden huts. The 
circumjacent country is so flat that only partial views of it can 
be taken at once. 

Scarcely had we landed in the capital before we were 
summoned to the Police, to enroll our names, professions, &c. 
and to receive a ticket of residence ; also to return the pass- 
ports which had been forwarded to us at Cronstadt. So ex- 
tremely requisite is it, to be provided with these certificates, 



that any foreigner, attempting to enter the capital without it, 
is liable to considerable inconveniences. 

An English merchant happened to arrive at the same 
hotel, at the time we did ; and, not being aware of the impro- 
priety of trespassing against the laws of the police, accepted 
the offer of a courier's conveyance from Memel, then returning 
to St. Petersburg from the court of London. On their arrival 
he soon found his error, and, being unable to present the 
necessary certificates of his admission into the country, was, 
without any ceremony, conveyed to a loathsome cell, and 
confined, until his friends heard of his situation, and relieved 

In a general survey of this city, every thing surpasses and 
dazzles the attention. The streets are long and spacious, 
neatly paved and kept remarkably clean. In some of them 
gravelled walks are laid out along the centre, shaded by rows 
of poplars, which form a safe and agreable promenade, from 
the carriages passing along on each side. Others are intersect- 
ed by broad canals, and massy bridges of granite, giving life 



and activity to numerous bargemen, and bearing, on their 
loaded bosoms, the treasures and labour of the country. The 
houses are large exteriorly, and splendid in appearance ; they 
are in general plaistered with stucco, in imitation of stone, 
or painted either yellow or white, with roofs covered with 
sheets of iron or tin, and, not unfrequently, painted green ; 
while the fronts exhibit numerous ranges of windows, bal- 
conies, endless colonnades, virandas, and porticos. The nume- 
rous and fantastic-shaped domes and spires of the churches, 
covered either with gold or silver gilding, everywhere reflect 
their metallic lustre, and dazzle the eye, while the ear is as 
constantly assailed by the jingling of their bells. 

The Admiralty stands in the centre of the town, on the 
south side of the Neva. It exhibits a light square building of 
immense extent ; on every side forming a front of nearly six 
hundred feet in length, but of no height, and that consider- 
ably concealed by a heavy earthen mound, thrown up around it; 
In the centre of the south front, the principal entrance passes 
under a magnificent arched gateway, supporting a splendid 
square basement of Doric pillars, surmounted by a rich gilt 

o cupola, 


cupola, and slender spire, the top of which is crowned by a 
vessel under full sail, emblematic of the building. Along the 
outside of the earthen mound and ditch, delightful gravelled 
walks are laid out, shaded by double rows of clipped poplars, 
while the borders are beautifully relieved by low green painted 
railings, and sweet scented flowers. The extreme care with 
which these walks are kept, reflects the greatest credit on the 
police, and forms one of the most delightful lounges imagin- 
able. Every morning, the inferior oflicers of the police are 
regularly seen cleaning and sweeping these walks, and trimming 
the flowers. It is a matter of surprise to witness those delicate 
plants, in the crowded streets of a metropolis, growing, with- 
out once meeting with the slightest injury, beyond what the 
changes of the weather produce ; not a tree' is scratched, nor 
a plant trampled upon. 

From the Admiralty, the principal streets diverge, as from 
a general centre; so that from each, its gilded spire forms the 
terminating view. Among the streets leading from the Admi- 
iialty^ that, called the Perspective, is the longest and most 
elegant in the city. A gravelled walk, shaded by trees, extends 



along its centre, occasionally interrupted by the massive 
granite bridges over the canals. About three miles from the 
Admiralty this beautiful street terminates at the monastery of 
St. Alexander Nevsky. In it are seen some superb palaces and 
churches, also the market or place allotted for shops in 

The principal church to be seen here, is the Casan, the 
St. PauFs of Russia. It was founded as a rival to that at 
Rome, and named after the government of Casan, the iirst 
province in the Russian empire, which embraced Christianity. 
The building, though not completely finished, exhibits an out- 
line sufficient to denote its extent and proportions. The body 
of the church is built in the form of a cross ; while the front 
represents a part of a great circle, formed by a quadruple row 
of grooved pillars, supporting a massive square capital. In this 
circle there are one hundred pillars, each forty feet in height, 
built of brick, and plaistered to imitate stone. The eifect of 
this part of the building is certainly grand ; but the body 
ot the church is too small in proportion, and is concealed 
by their superior height ; the dome is neither of sufficient 

o 2 height 


height nor size. It is covered with block tin, and crowned 
with a cross' of exquisite workmanship, supported on a large, 
gold, gilded ball. The inside of the church surpasses its exte- 
rior, both in beauty and proportion. The roof is arched, richly 
ornamented with flowers in relief, and supported by fifty-eight 
magnificent pillars of polished granite. Each of these pillars 
consists of one solid stone forty fe^t in height, and four feet in 
diameter, surmounted by a rich capital of brass, and supported 
by a massive pedestal of the same metal. Nothing can exceed 
the beauty and elegance of these pillars ; they have a polish 
and reflection equal to the finest crystal. The expense and 
labour of transporting them from Finland, must have been 
immense ; and, while they reflect the greatest credit on the 
perseverance and labour of the people, it also is an instance 
of the rapid fciiprovement which the government seems to 
aim at. But what are these pillars, compared to the rock 
on >vhich the statue of Peter the Great is placed ! 

The altar and religious decorations equally correspond in 
magnificence : the altar differs from that of the Catholic 
church, in being concealed behind folding doors of silver, in 



the sanctum sanctorum, where no woman has permission to 
enter, and, between the aUar and the folding doors, only the 
priests are permitted to pass. On each side of the doors are 
paintings of the Holy Family, and particular saints ; before 
each of them are placed large silver candlesticks, with a 
circular plate on the top, on which are placed numerous wax 
tapers. Only the faces, hands and feet of the paintings of the 
saints are to be seen, the other parts are covered by a rich, 
gold drapery, thickly studded with pearls and costly gems. 
Above the altar is a large painting, representing the last 
supper of our Saviour ; here Judas is drawn with one finger at 
his mouth, denoting treachery, while, in the other hand, he 
holds a bag of money ! Around the walls of the church are 
displayed the various flags taken from the enemy, the keys of 
captured cities, &c. 

On account of the great riches contained in this church, 
persons of tried fidelity are constantly kept in it as a watch 
against any sacrilegious attempts ; even the priests are not 
permitted greater freedoms than others, and probably from 
a good motive. Among the warlike trophies hung up in the 



thurcli was a splendid baton of one of Napoleon's marslmlsj 
tak^n during the late campaign. Its value was too tempting tQ 
be resisted, and it was stolen by one of the officiating priests— 
a model of the original supplies its place. . 

In this church the body of KutousolF, the late commander- 
in-chief of the Russian army, is interred. This veteran wis 
the saviour of his country from the invasion of Napoleon. He 
was unanimously called to the chief -command 6f the army by 
the nobles, though it is said, against the private wishes of the 
Emperor; but who shewed sufficient wisdom and judgment 'm 
appfroving of their choice. His tomb consists of a plain iron 
railing, in the west angle of the nave of the church ; over it is 
formed a warlike trophy of French flags and the eagle of Na-r 
polebn; a device very appropriate to his character. 

Such is a short description of the Casan church, which is, 
to St. Petersburg, what St, Paul's is to London ; but as infe- 
rior, in magnitude, chasteness of design and execution, as the 
cell of the Mevelctintes to the temple of Diana at Ephesus. 

Splendid as this church is in appearance, and imposing in 
the effect which it must always have on the beholder j yet when 



we contrast with its grandeur, the fiHhy figures of those who 
bow at its akars, we feel more emancipated from that pure 
and holy spirit of devotion, which otherwise, its shrines are 
well calculated to create, and which seems to hover around its 
consecrated aisles*^« '"■^" 

Beyond the Casan church, is the place, allotted for the 
merchant's shops and the fruit market. They are allowed in 
no other part of the city, and are so mechanicall v arranged, 
that a customer has the advantage of selecting any particular 
article of manufacture, &c. from several shops, dealing in the 
same trade, and placed under one view. A range of building, 
occupying nearly half a mile square, is entirely filled with these 
shops. They form two stories, with covered piazzas in front, 
where the company parade and view the various manufactures 
of foreign nations. All articles of one description are placed 
in shops adjoining to each other. In the first range are seen 
the booksellers, which occupy twelve shops ; next to these are 
the stationers. In these shops are innumerable volumes of 
books, almost all in the Russian language, and entirely of 



religious tracts, and German romances. Next to the book- 
sellers* shops are the ranges of haberdashers, dealers in silks, 
dealers in hardware, boot and shoe-makers, dealers in leather, 
hat-makers, fur shops, &c., and lastly the apothecaries shops, 
which are the most numerous, and the most disgusting. These 
venders of medicinal herbs and drugs, exhibit the lowest and 
most melancholy picture, which the whole and manyfold tribe 
of Galen presents ; they seem really the last and most pitiable 
link in the chain ; their very physiognomy and the superjacent 
filth under which it struggles to peep out, cannot but remind 
one of the synopsis of a materia tnedica. It presents the most 
varied group of character, and must often operate on a stranger, 
as much as his drugs ; indeed, it is impossible for the stomach 
of any other animal than a Russian not to be somewhat put 
out of its usual arrangement ; even the lower regions must 
sympathize, and the whole inward man become dreadfully 

Every shop has a boy stationed at the door, whose con- 
stant attention is directed to allure passengers to enter and 



view the goods. No jealousy seems to subsist betw^een them, 
and the extreme attention and civility with which they exhibit 
the goods, are no less pleasing, than praiseworthy. 

Adjoining to the retail shops, is that of the fruit market. 
Here the finest display of different kinds of fruits and flowers is 
exhibited. Melons, peaches, nectarines, ananas, grapes, ap- 
ples, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries, with 
a variety of heath and woodland berries, are in the utmost 
abundance, besides various kinds of foreign fruits. These 
fruits are all forced, excepting the class of berries ; and, in so 
northern a climate, we cannot but applaud the success df ■ the 
Russian horticulturist. 

The numerous private orchards, kitchen gardens, and hot- 
houses, which are daily established by the nobility and gardeners, 
have contributed much to the great abundance of vegetab.es 

The only fruit which seems to succeed indifferently is the 
common gooseberry. The red variety is the sole kind which 
is seen, and it is of a small and sickly form. The beauty, 
fragrance and regularity of this market must excite the admi- 
ration of every stranger. 

p Beyond 


Beyond the fruit market is that for poultry, singing-birds, 
rabbits, &c. also mushrooms and cucumbers. All the varieties 
of the fungus tribe are indiscriminately sold, and the quantity 
of cucumbers raised is almost incredible. The common people 
are constantly seei;^ eating them raw, qj: ^j^^serve them in dry 
salt. The proportion of cucumbers raised in this country, is 
almost equal to that of potatoes. 

The theatre is situated near to tjae market. Its exterior is 
perhaps the most inelegant of any public building in the city. 
The interior of the house is large, neatly decorated, and well 
lighted up. The stage, scenery and dresses are equally well 
arranged, and the performers by no means deficient in the 
histrionic art. The Russian language, when heard from the 
stage, sounds remarkably soft and pleasing ; at a little dis- 
tance it has a strong similarity to the English language, par- 
ticularly in the theatres. At present a popular melo-drama is 
performed, which is intended to represent the return of the 
victorious Russian army from the late campaign. The appear- 
ance of the various tribes which compose the army, their diffe- 


•J ^-arr^— f"^ ' 


rent dresses and mode of attack, &c. is an excellent epitome of 
this extraordinary large nation. 

The part of the house, allotted to the company, consists of 
the boxes and pit. The first is the private property of indivi- 
duals, and the last the reservoir of the very refuse of el^ance. 
The pit is an open space, without seats, and where every degree 
of rank and rude contact is suffered. If a stranger happens 
once to get wedged in, he will soon lament his unfortunate 
destiny. All his senses will be engaged in the most distressing 
state of hostility ; the zephyrs of garlic and onions will be 
constantly hovering around his nose ; myriads of vermin will 
be wafted on their balmy wings to his racking touch, and 
no longer will the sesquipedalia verba of the drama charm 
his ear. 

At the west side of the Admiralty is situated the Hermit- 
age, or winter palace of the Emperor. This huge edifice of 
stuccoed brick forms a square, on each side representing a 
front, lost in a confusion of pillars and statues of every order. 
Nothing is so difficult as an attempt to describe these public 
buildings ; no regularity of architectural rules is observed — 

p 2 the 


the exuberance of all is combined, to form one confused mass. 
Here the Emperor occasionally resides ; and here the late Catha- 
rine gave free scope to the unbridled licentiousness of her reign. 
Part of the palace forms the Royal Gallery of Painting ; in the 
collection are several excellen toriginal paintings by Teniers, 
Leduc, Wouwerman, da Vinci, Rembrandt, &c. &c. with 
the celebrated collections of Crozat and Houghton. 

The paintings are arranged in separate rooms, with the 
name and age in which the artist lived, affixed to each frame. 
This collection is very extensive, and well calculated to dazzle 
the eye of a passing stranger ; but the artist will be compelled 
to behold innumerable subjects executed in a very inferior 

Part of the gallery is appropriated to mineralogy. The 
collection is tolerably large, but indifferently arranged. It 
consists of polished specimens of agate, jasper, crystallized 
sulphur, and some specimens of native metals, particularly 
large masses of malachite, or the carbonate of copper. 

Within the palace are artificial gardens, denominated the 
winter and summer gardens. The first is roofed with glass, 



laid out in gravel walks, and planted with orange trees, and 
several parterres of flowers, and filled with birds of various 
countries. The summer garden is exposed to the air, and 
placed on the top of the palace. At one corner of the palace 
is the riding school, a covered room four hundred and fifty 
feet long, by one hundred and twenty in breadth, but very low 
in the roof, and by no means equal to the one at Copenhagen,^ 
which is probably the largest and best proportioned manege 
in the north of Europe. 

In front of the palace is the largest square in the city; 
one of its sides is formed by a magnificent building, erected by 
the late Catharine for her favourites, but which is now changed 
to a private club-house by the English and German merchants,, 
and on each side terminated by the public hotels. 

To the west of the Hermitage, and fronting the river, is 
the palace of the Grand Duke, partly built of hewn granite 
and Siberian red marble, and is probably one of the chastest 
buildings in St. Petersburg. In the vicinity of this palace are 
Jaid out extensive gardens, in every corner of which are exhi« 
bited statues, which are condemned to be buried six months in 



the year, under snow. Between the garden and the river, is 
one of the finest and most superb iron -railings, perhaps to be 
found in any part of Europe. It is supported between thirty 
or forty massive columns of granite, upwards of twenty feet 
in height, surmounted by large urns. Between the granite 
columns the iron spears are placed, of the same height, and 
gilded with gold at the top. 

An anecdote is related of an Englishman, who, having 
heard of the grandeur of this railing, undertook a journey to 
St. Petersburg for the express purpose of seeing it. The in- 
stant he arrived he proceeded to the summer gardens, and 
having satisfied his curiosity, immediately bent his course back 
to England, without even examining the beauty of the city ! 

At the south end of these gardens stands the palace of 
the late Emperor, wherein he was strangled. This colossal 
and clumsy edifice, was one of the many eccentric labours of 
that unfortunate monarch. To avoid inhabiting the same 
palace which his royal mother had occupied, and, as a secure 
asylum against the too just suspicions which he entertained of 
the attachment of his nobles, he raised this building in the 



short space of three years. For the completion of this palace, 
he appropriated the marble, which the Empress Catharine had 
ordered to be used in the building of the great Church of St. 
Isaac, and, by way of insult to her memory, he ordered this 
beautiful church to be finished with bricks, in a most disfigured 
manner, which gave rise to the following epigram. 

De deux regnes void I'iraage allegorique ; 

La base est d'un beau marbre, et le sommet de briquet* 

From this palace he hurled out mandates, which menaced 
the very existence of his empire. Here his eccentricities rose 
to their highest pitch, and here he met with that fate, which 
must always endanger the madness of despotism. 

It is said the death of Paul might have been prevented, 
had h^ not forgotten to pull a bell wire which communicated 
under ground, with the room where his body guards were 
assembled. Whenever he used to give this signal, every one 
flew to the palace with the utmost speed, whether dressed or not, 


* This church is an emblem of two differins: reigns ; 
The marble marks sense,— rthe brick, want of brains ! 


and whoever first arrived was richly rewarded, while the last 
was as certain of destruction ! 

Returning to the west quarter of the Admiralty, a 
similar square to that in front of the Hermitage is laid out, 
and which contains the humbled and disfigured church of St, 
Isaac, as a striking example of the cultivated taste of Catharine, 
and the rudeness of her successor. The interior of the 
church is partly finished with marble, but altogether gloomy • 
and somewhat neglected. 

In the same square is the prodigious rock, on which is 
placed the elegant equestrian statue of Peter the Great. This 
great rock of granite was drawn from the neighbourhood of 
thecapital, on cannon balls, placed in a grooved railway, which 
corresponds with an opposite grooved space, fixed to the basis 
of the rock. It was moved forwards by means of ropes, 
pullies and windlasses, drawn both by men and horses. A 
drummer was stationed on the rock to give a signal to the 
w^orkmen. Its size, when brought to St. Petersburg, was 
between forty and fifty feet in length, upwards of twenty in 
breadth, and as much in height. 



When the artist, Falconet, had finished his statue of 
Peter the Great, though as admirable a specimen of the art, 
as ever graced the followers of a Phidias or Praxiteles, yet, 
from the giant rudeness of its pedestal it could not but be ren- 
dered too minute in the general outline ; he therefore, in order 
to assimilate their dimensions, mutilated the rock, and thus 
gave an imaginary measure of bulk to the figure. The attitude 
of the statue represents the monarch, as having gained the 
summit of a precipice, and restraining the violence of his 
horse, which is seen rearing on its hind legs, with a fnuU and 
flowing tail, touching the writhing body of a serpent, on which 
the horse tramples. The head of the figure is crowned with 
laurel, and a loose flowing robe is thrown over its body. The 
left hand holds the reins, while the other is stretched out in 
the act of giving benediction to his subjects. On the rock the 
following short, but expressive inscription, is fixed in golden 
letters, both in the Latin and Russian language, 

Connected with this square is the elegant street, ki^own 
by the name of the English -line, from its being, at one period, 

Q the 


the principal residence of the English merchants ; its extent is 
upwards of a mile, and separated from the river by a broad 
street and massive pier of hewn granite, through which are 
cut flights of steps in order to descend to the numerous boats 
and barges. 

This short description gives an account of the principal 
features of the city on the south side of the river, which con- 
tains the most elegant buildings, and is the residence of the 
Court, the nobles and gentry, with a population of one hundred 
and eighty thousand persons. In the quarters of the Admiralty 
all the finest buildings are situated. As we approach towards 
the barriers of the town, much open space is seen, partly 
covered with wooden hovels and marshes, while the streets are 
laid with planks of wood. 

On the north side of the river is situated the opposite di- 
vision of the city, which is built partly on two islands formed 
by the different branches of the Neva. The most conspicuous 
of these buildings are the Citadel, the Academy of Arts, the 
Military Institution, the Exchange, Custom-house, &c. 



The Exchange and Custom-house are situated on the 
west end of the lower island called the quarter of Vassili 
Ostroff, at the separation of the branches of the river, and im- 
mediately fronts the citadel, which is situated on the opposite 
corner of the upper island, named the St. Petersburg quarter. 
A new Exchange was erected a few years ago, but, from some 
singular motive, has never been opened; the merchants, in 
consequence, continue to meet in the open air, in front of the 
old house. The new Exchange consists of an oblong square, 
surrounded with a broad piazza, supported on numerous 
pillars. In front of the building are placed two extraordinary 
monumental pillars, with largo fibres emblematic of ships, 
but more like some nondescript monster. Nothing can be more 
ludicrous. Behind the Exchange is the Custom-house, ware- 
houses, quay and docks ; this range of buildings is probably 
more contemptible than those in any of the trading towns 
along the barren shores of Sweden. 

Every vessel, bound to the capital, must be cleared at 
Cronstadt, before it is permitted to enter the Neva. From 
the inactive and irregular manner, in which every department 

Q 2 of 


of public business seems to be conducted in this country, it is 
impossible not to feel chagrined at the vexatious delays and 
losses sustained by it. A redundancy of persons is employed 
in every official situation, and a disregard to method or system 
is pursued by every one. While one obeys, another seems 
afraid to command. This must, in part, arise from the 
despotic nature of the government ; it is only by comparison 
that we judge of the excellencies or defects of governments, 
and the nearer they approach to simplicity, and the more 
unrestricted they are, the more they ought to be admired. 

The galliot, which brought us to Cronstadt, though only 
in ballast, was detained there two days before it could be 
cleared out for the capital. With the vessel, was detained our 
luggage, without our being permitted to take any part of it. 
On her arrival at St. Petersburg, not less than ten days were 
consumed in the necessary arrangements of granting a license 
for their being landed, and even this indulgence was accom-- 
plished by the irresistible power of money ! 

No laws are stricter, than those of the Customs of this 
country, against the importation of prohibited goods, yet no 




where is a law more evaded. To encourage the manufac- 
tory of Russian woollen cloths, those of other countries are 
rigidly prohibited ; yet not a noble or foreign merchant is seen 
without his dress being the work of an English loom ! 

If a ship is consigned, and not acknowledged by its agent, 
within a given time, she is liable to be confiscated. The agent 
must specify the goods, and pay the duties accordingly, without 
seeing them. If the cargo is more than what is specified, the 
surplus is detained — if less, the money is kept, and the goods 
are returned. 

In consequence of this measure, there is abundance of law 
disputes, but no justice. Any person who chuses, becomes a 
lawyer, and the client who pays the highest is certain of gaining 
the cause. A case may be decided immediately, or may be 
protracted ad infinitum. Every merchant becomes, in rotation, 
a magistrate, in which capacity they act as judges in the courts 
of civil law. From a singular law of Peter the Great, every 
judge is answerable for his decision. Their term of acting is 
three years, they therefore postpone every case from time to 
time until the period of their jurisdiction is finished, when they 



resign the office to the succeeding magistrate, who carries on 
the same method. In this respect a client might never get 
redressed. However there is a substitute, in an inferior sort 
of illegal court, which is allowed to practice by paying an 
annual sum to the government. This court consists of a 
president and a numerous set of pleaders, self-educated, and 
self-enrolled. A case must be paid for by previous agreement, 
and the most generous client is generally the most successful. 
The fees are equally divided among the members of the court. 
Over the heads of each member is written the word Siberia ! 
and thus, like the sword hanging over Damocles — they are kept 
in constant terror. 

Near the Exchange is an old clumsy building containing 
the Royal Museum, and which is open to the public by paying 
a small fee to the attendant. The only person who conducted 
us through the Museum, was an illiterate Russian boor, who, 
the one day shews the cabinet of curiosities, while the other he 
is perhaps employed in sweeping the streets. The Museum is 
divided into several apartments ; the first is a circular room, 
gloomy and neglected, this contains the library. The collec- 


tion was tolerably large, and chiefly written in the French and 
German languages, with a few in English, but scarcely any in 
the language of the country. The Russian language is a 
dialect of the ancient Sclavonian, and is perhaps spoken over 
a greater extent of country than any modern tongue. Its 
alphabet consists of forty-one characters, not unlike, in their 
form, to those of the Greek. It is spoken by the natives with 
extreme quickness, and has a soft and hissing sound. The 
language in common use among the nobles is French, and it is 
a notorious fact that many cannot write their own. Russian 
literature must ever be cramped until their language is altered. 
Independently of many other reasons, their authors have too 
much verbiage in the very structure of their sentences and 
words ; and even in the characters of their alphabet there is a 
kind of barbarism which is truly revolting. Hence the few 
books it has will not be read by foreigners, and, if men of real 
genius are to be found, and wish to comnmnicate their ideas, 
they must adopt a garment less rude and more fashionable to 
dress them up, and send them into the worW. French or 
German is the medium generally adopted ; thus the natives are 



prevented from receiving that instruction vi^hich they might 
afterwards communicate and improve upon. But this is only 
one source among many others of the poverty of Russian lite- 
rature ; to enumerate them would be to go through a melancholy 
catalogue of moral infirmities. 

The second apartment contains some exquisite models of 
wooden bridges, invented and executed by a common Russian 
slave, to be thrown across the river. This beautiful model was 
finished about forty years ago; but from the great expense 
attending the erection of it, the attempt has been abandoned. 
The model is nearly one hundred feet in length, and consists of 
a single arch. The breadth of the river, over which the arch 
was intended to be thrown, is one thousand feet. The model 
is roofed at the top, and covered at the sides. The road passes 
under the top arch, or appears to be suspended from it. 
Another model is formed on pontoons, and which has been ap- 
proved of, in preference to the other. 

The adjoining apartments are allotted to the classes of 
insects and quadrupeds. The former are mechanically grouped 
together, to form figures in imitation of flowers, &c. without 



attention to any zoological arrangement ; equally unclassic is 
that of the quadruped class. Elephants and badgers, tigers 
and the Greenland bear, wolves and eagles, &c. &c. are all 
indiscriminately blended together ; while the stuffed skin of a 
giant and anatomical preparations are exhibited in the most 
indelicate manner, and yet there were many Russian ladies 
visiting all parts of this gross exhibition ! 

Among the rarest productions of the class Mammalia, 
was an excellent specimen of the hairy and spinous duck-billed 
animal denominated Ornithorinchus, presenting new and strange 
conformations, contrary to all former rules. This animal has 
been lately discovered in New Holland ; it exhibits the perfect 
resemblance of the beak of a duck engrafted on the head of a 
quadruped, with the webbed feet of the duck. It is an animal 
about fourteen inches long, and about four pounds weight. 
We also saw several of the Mustela Erminea, principally 
caught in the wilds of Russia, from whose skin the valuable 
ermine fur is procured. As might be expected, the white bear 
(Ursus Mariiimus) occupied conspicuous stations in the exhi- 

R bitioD. 


bition. The Tetrao 2'etrix, or black grouse, and the Falco- 
Meluncetus, or black eagle, were also very common. 
Wr ylThe last apartment contains a wax-figure oF Peter the 
Great, dressed in one of his court-dresses, a light blue silk 
trimmed with silver lace. On each side of the figure is his 
common dress, which appears to have been often patched, 
In another room are his turning machines, models of ships, &c. 
also his favourite horse and dogs. In short every relic of this 
extraordinary monarch seems to be preserved with a degree of 
religious veneration. 

In one of the apartments of this Museum is the entire 
skeleton of some extraordinary large animal, said to have been 
dug out of the banks of a river in Siberia^ This skeleton is 
larger than that of the elephant, and the principal character 
between them is the shape and position of the tusks. Those of 
the elephant form a straight perpendicular outward curve, with 
its trunk or proboscis inserted between them. In this skeleton, 
the tuskk. present an elevated circular shape, and so closely 
united at the roots, that no trunk could pass between them. 



This skeleton is asserted to belong to that of an animal 
called a Mammoth, If such an animal ever existed as a 
distinct genus, and only found in the northern latitudes, we 
may safely conclude the climates of these countries to be the 
same at this moment that they were at the end of the general 
Deluge, consequently they could not find sustenance suifici^a^ 
for their size. Some great revolution might have brought their 
bones, &c. to these regions : but may not the; mammoth be an 
amphibious animal ? In the sacred writings mention is made 
of an animal, which partly partakes of the character of the 
elephant, and that of an amphibious animal. Job, chap xL, 
verse 15. " Behold now heliemmoth which I made with thee, 
h^ eateth grass ?is 3Xi oxJ^ Verse 23. ^' Behold he drinketh 
up a river, and hasteth not :" — 

Many teeth and bones of animals have been found in a 
fossil state, both in Siberia, and on the banks of the Ohio, in 
North America, also in Peru and the Brazils. Those 
discovered in America belong to the Great Mastadon de- 
scribed by Professor Cuvier. Those found in Siberia 

R 2 have 


have been called by the Russians mammoth's teeth, or 
mammout bones, and mammon's horns, which they supposed 
to have belonged to an animal, which they describe as being 
of a monstrous size, and living in caverns under the ground. 
To whatever class of animals these bones belonged, they are 
certainly at present unknownl The French academicians, on 
comparing some of these with the bones of the real elephants, 
concluded that they belonged to the same species of animal- 
Mr. Pennant also assents to the opinion of those who think 
they once belonged to the elephant. ** It is," says this elegant 
Writer, " more than probable that this animal yet exists in 
some of those remote parts of the vast new continent unpene- 
trated yet by Europeans. Providence maintains and continues 
every created species, and we have as much assurance, that no 
race of animals will any more cease, while the earth remaineth, 
than seed time and harvest, cold and heat, sumnner and winter, 
day and night** However the mere anatomical structure of the 
animal is sufficient to mark its difference from the elephant. 
Dr. Hunter discovered on a more accurate examination, 




that they are very different from those of the elephant, and 
belong to another animal. The tusks of the true elephant 
have a slight lateral bend, but these have a larger twist or 
spiral curve. Those teeth which have also been found in North 
America, evidently belong to a carnivorous animal, whereas 
those of the elephant are flat and belong to graminivorous 
animals. In the present specimen there were no perfect teeth. 
The thigh bone is also of a very disproportionate size to that 
of the elephant, besides some other anatomical variations.* , 


» Phil. Trans, vol. Iviii art. 5. 


2%e following scale is an accurate measurement of the Skeleton, 

Feet in length. 

From the mouth to the root of the tail 21 

Length of the tusks , . . 10 

From the top of the shoulder to the hoof 12 

Width of the thorax 5 

pelvis 4 

Diameter of the hoof, 14 inches. 

Thigh 4 

Legs 3 

Spine including the joints of the tail, composed of forty-three 
vertehrse — ribs not perfect. 

M. Cuvier, in his admirable osteological descriptions of 
several of the larger species of quadrupeds, mentions that 
two species of elephants are at present known as inhabitants 
of the earth. The one which is confined to Africa, is named 
the African elephant ; the other which is a native of Asia, is 
named the Asiatic elephant. Only one fossil species has 
hitherto been discovered. It is the mammoth of the Russians. 
The following discovery is given by Professor Cuvier, from a 



report in the supplement to the Journal du Nord, No. XXX, 
by M. Adams. 

*' In the year 1799, a Tungusian fisherman observed a 
strange shapeless mass, projecting from an ice bank, near the 
mouth of a river, in the north of Siberia, the nature of which 
he did not understand, and which was so high in the bank as 
to be beyond his reach. He next year observed the same 
object, which was then rather more disengaged from among 
the ice, but was still unable to conceive what it was. Towards 
the end of the following summer, 1801, he could distinctly 
see that it was the frozen carcase of an enormous animal, the 
entire flank of which and one of its tusks had become dis- 
engaged from the ice. In consequence of the ice beginning to 
melt earlier and to a greater degree than usual in 1803, the 
fifth year of this discovery, the enormous carcase became entirely 
disengaged, and fell down from the ice-crag on a sand bank, 
forming part of the coast of the Arctic ocean. In the month 
of March of that year, the Tungusian carried away the two 
;tvsi;.s, which he sold for the value of fifty rubles. — Two years 
afterwards, or in 1806, M. Adams went to examine this 



animal, which still remained on the sand bank where it had 
fallen from the ice, but its body was then greatly mutilated. The 
Jukuts of the neighbourhood had taken away considerable 
quantities of its flesh to feed their dogs ; and the wild animals, 
particularly the white bears, had also feasted on the carcase ; 
yet the skeleton remained quite entire, except that one of the 
fore-legs was gone. The entire spine, the pelvis, one shoulder- 
blade, and three legs, were still held together by their liga- 
ments, and by some remains of the skin ; and the other 
shoulder-blade was found at a short distance. The head 
remained, covered by the dried skin, and the pupil of the 
eyes was still distinguishable. The brain also remained within 
the skull, but a good deal shrunk and dried up ; and one of the 
ears was in excellent preservation, still retaining a tuft of 
strong bristly hair. The upper lip was a good deal eaten away, 
and the under lip was entirely gone, so that the teeth were 
distinctly seen. The animal was a male, and had a long mane 
on its neck. The skin was extremely thick and heavy, and as 
much of it remained as required the exertions of ten men to 
carry away, which they did with considerable difficulty. 



More than thirty pounds weight of the hair and bristles of 
this animal were gathered from the wet sand bank, having 
been trampled into the mud by the white bears, while devour- 
ing the carcase. Some of the hair was presented to our 
Museum of Natural History, by M. Targe, censor in the 
Lyceum of Charlemagne. It consists of three distinct kinds. 
One of these is stiff black bristles, a foot or more in length, 
another is thinner bristles, or coarse flexible hair, of a reddish 
brown wool, which grow among the roots of the long hair. 
These afford an undeniable proof that this animal had belonged 
to a race of elephants inhabiting a cold region, with which we 
are now unacquainted, and by no means fitted to dwell in th« 
torrid zone. It is also evident that this enormous animal 
must have been frozen up by the ice at the moment of its 
death.'* " It is worthy of remark," adds the accurate trans- 
lator of M. Cuvier, " that although fossil bones of the elephant 
were described as such in the middle of the sixteenth century 
by Aldrovandus, it was not until two centuries afterwards that 
his opinion was credited. In the intermediate time they were 

s described 


described as lusus naturae — bones of giants — skeletons of fallen 
angels — remains of marine animals or of colossal baboons."* 
It is not improbable but tbis animal bad been conveyed 
down the stream, on some piece of floating ice, and deposited 
at the place where it was discovered. We have seen a similar 
fact noticed by some late travellers who had ascended the 
Missouri river in North America,^ — that frequent instances 
had occurred where the buffaloes were carried down the stream 
on shoals of floating ice, and the bodies of several of them 
found embedded in the ice banks. This supposition might 
tend to explain why the mammoth's skeleton was found on the 
banks of a river in so northern a latitude. But from what 
part of the continent such an animal had taken its departure, 
must remain in impenetrable darkness, until further discoveries 
tend to elucidate the certainty of its existence. Those bones 
of elephants and other animals still in existence, which have 
been found in Siberia, might with more probahility be account- 
ed for, by the circumstances of their wandering from their 

* Cuvier, Theory of the Earth. 


own country in the summer months, and being overtaken by 
the storms of a more northern dimate, and carried down the 
streams of those rivers which flow from the confines of China 
to the Arctic Sea. The river Yenessa receives a tributary 
stream from the lake Baikal, in Chinese Tartary, and dis- 
embogues itself into the Frozen Ocean at about eighty degrees 
of east longitude. The lake Baikal is supplied by other rivers 
which flow from the south, and through a country inhabited by 
elephants. It is not improbable then, that the bones of these 
animals have been thus conveyed from their native country to 
these remote places. Perhaps if a careful search was made at 
the mouths of the Oby, the Yenessa, and the Lena, more 
reuiains of such animals might be discovered than on the plains 
between those rivers — particularly bones of elephants, and 
such large animals as are peculiar to these south-eastern 

We cannot close this interesting enquiry, without turning 
our attention to the fact that such animals once existed. The 
bones of the mammoth are not the only instances of the 
remains of a singular race of animals being discovered. Those 

s 2 of 


of the great mastadon found in an imperfect state in the New 
Continent prove them to belong to a distinct genus ; also the 
singular skeleton found at Buenos Ayres, called the megathe' 
rium, which evidently belongs to the carnivorous species, with 
cloven feet (didactylus) and long claws. This extraordinary 
skeleton is preserved in the Royal Museum at Madrid, and of 
which M. Cuvier has given a very accurate drawing. 

The Academy of Arts is situated on the north side of the 
isiver, in the Vassili-OstrofF. This is an immense quadrangular 
hrick building, forming in the centre, a large open circle, in 
which the students amuse themselves after the hours of study. 
The students of this excellent institution are clothed, educated 
and maintained, at the expense of the government. The 
younger students seemed to have acquired considerable profi- 
ciency, but those of the higher classes seemed to be stationary 
at the same standard of improvement. There are scarcely any 
original paintings in the Academy. Its principal subjects are 
the copies of native artists, which entirely relate to the 
exploits of their own heroes, &c. 



In the Architectural Hall are several elegant models of 
the public buildings in the city, also one of the great rock, on 
which the statue of Peter the Great is placed, and the manner 
in which it was moved. Likewise several excellent models of 
various Greek and Roman edifices. The collection of statues 
is rather defective both in arrangement and chasteness. It is 
singular that every object, both of art and nature, are named 
in the Russian language, which seems to convey an ignorance 
of the Latin language. — Here, as is the Museum, a drunkei^ 
servant was the shewman ! 

Although the exhibitions of this Academy may impress 
us with an high idea of the rapid strides which this country 
has made towards refinement; yet they cannot but equally 
impress us with an idea, that the standard at which they aim, 
is borrowed from those of other nations. In short, they are 
merely copyists, and though abounding in talent and industry^ 
they are deficient in genius. Their exhibitions indeed, when 
compared with those of other nations, are, for the most part, 
paltry and puerile, decked out more as baubles to catch the eye, 
than as solid specimens of art. There is a want of classic 



arrangement about them, which evidently indicates a want of 
science. > 

The Citadel stands on the north side of the river, imme- 
diately opposite to the Exchange. This was the first part of 
the town which Peter the Great built, being then only design- 
ed as a place of arms in the Swedish war ; but after the battle 
of Pultowa in 17^9, when Charles XII. of Sweden was 
entirely defeated, he determined to render it the foundation of 
his infant capital. The citadel is walled in, adjoining the 
river, by a massive front of granite, and strengthened with 
five regular bastions. On the opposite sides it is defended by 
an earthen mound, and broad ditch, filled from the river, over 
which is thrown an extensive wooden bridge. The citadel 
does not appear to be a place of much strength, and is useless 
as a jneans of defending the city. Within the walls are several 
small houses for the accommodation of soldiers, and officers 
under the employment of the crown, also dungeons for the 
confinement of state-prisoners. In the centre stands the 
church of St. Peter, in which the ashes of Peter the Great 



This is the only church in the city which has a regular 
spire; it is about two hundred and fifty feet in height, and 
richly gilt. Its interior decorations were removed, in conse- 
quence of some alterations, now taking place in the building. 
The tomb of Peter the Great is placed near the altar.* It is 
formed of a plain greenish marble sarcophagus, without any 
ornaments whatever, but a gold plate at one end, with his 
name and title engraved on it. On the opposite side of the 
altar are similar tombs, with the bodies of his wife Catharine, 
the beautiful Livonian, Anne, Peter III. ,'; &c. . 

The gold and silver sent from the mines of Siberia are 
here coined ; and the machine for stamping the coins is said to 
have been the invention of Catharine II. but which has yielded 
to the superior power of the paper stamp. 

Here is also shewn the boat which Peter the Great used to 
amuse himself with when a boy, at Moscow, and which led to 
the formation of a navy. 


* This great Prince was born at Moscow 12th of June 1672, and died 
at St. Petersburg in 1723. 


Without the walls of the citadel, is the hut in which 
Peter the Great resided, when laying the foundation of his 
capital. It is ahout thirty feet in length and constructed in the 
rudest manner. To preserve this memorable house, a brick 
building is raised over it upon arches, through which the 
original house can be seen, yet protected from the severity of 
the climate. From this hut the most extensive, as well as the 
most beautiful views of the river and town are visible, par- 
trcularly on the north side, the fortress, the Academy of Arts 
and Sciences, with an extensive range of buildings and 
ships, while the two floating bridges stretch to the opposite 
side, where the eye beholds with equal pleasure the Palace, 
Admiralty, Church of St. Isaac, and the statue of Peter 
the Great, also numerous gilded domes glittering in the 

What is here mentioned includes a general description 
of the most prominent features of this beautiful city. Many 
elegant churches, and other public buildings on a scale of 
great magnificence, everywhere invite the attention and admi- 


ration of the stranger, and on which the eye agreeably reposes ; 
added to these, several excellent institutions of charity, which 
reflect the greatest praise on the government, and on many 
amiable individuals. 

( 138 ) 


St. Petersburg, August, 1814. 
In the general description of a city, objects which are the 
most conspicuous become the leading features in a traveller's 
remarks, and though perhaps not more interesting than many 
minor ones, yet as their uses are more or less assimilated with 
the public interest, it is a matter of information to bring them 
before the reader, and to contrast them with those improve- 
ments and revolutions to which such places are subject ; in this 
respect, those observations become a dry detail, and can only 
amuse, in proportion to the interest excited. 

Among the many grand objects, which here arrest the at- 
tention, is that of the Neva. If we consider its breadth, the ra- 
pidity of its course, and its extreme transparency, it will almost 
stand unrivalled. This noble river is discharged from the south- 


west corner of the great lake Ladoga ; and, after forming a cir- 
cular course of nearly fifty miles, it joins the eastern extremity of 
the gulf of Finland below the city of St. Petersburg. The lake 
Ladoga, which gives origin to this beautiful river, is the largest 
in the North of Europe ; its shape is nearly that of an oval, 
and its entire circumference, including the irregularities of its 
shores, comprises nearly three hundred miles. From several 
appearances, it is not unlikely but that it once formed part of 
the Gulf of Finland. In a direct line, between the gulf and the 
lake, the distance is only twenty miles, and the intermediate 
space low and marshy. From the exit of the Neva to its 
junction with the gulf, its course is over a rugged bed of 
red granite, which is the cause of its transparency ; no tributary 
streams add to its bulk. The river is nearly of one breadth, 
except that part of it which flows through the city, and which 
divides into two branches, called the great and the little Neva. 
Its depth varies from twenty-four to twelve feet. Its stream 
runs about three feet and a half per second, or nearly 
two miles and a half an hour ; but is considerably regulated 
by the state of the winds. If a strong easterly wind takes 
place, the current is considerably affected, the river imme- 

T 2 tl lately 


diately begins to rise, and, not unfrequently, inundates many 
parts of the city. To avoid this occurrence, the banks of the 
river are Hned with walls of granite, which are elevated several 
feet above the level of the street. Again, a strong westerly 
wind tends to lower the stream considerably below its usual 
standard, and often prevents loaded vessels from passing over 
the bar. A singular aperient quality attends the use of this water, 
which proves very unpleasant and often dangerous to strangers. 
The two bridges thrown across the river are formed by a 
series of flat boats or pontoons, anchored at both ends parallel 
to each other, at regular distances, and covered by a broad 
platform, with side railings and footpath. Many of the boats 
are fitted up as places of residence for various workmen 
Barges and small boats can easily pass between the pontoons, 
but trading vessels are only permitted to pass during certain 
hours of the night, when a drawbridge is opened for that 
purpose. During the breaking up of the ice, in the spring, 
the bridges are removed, to avoid their being damaged by it. 
Over the smaller branches of the river, around the suburbs, 
neat wooden bridges, on arches, in imitation of stone, are 
used. The ice preserved from the river is as clear and trans- 


parent as the finest crystal, and is considered among the 
greatest luxuries, during the hot months of summer. Innu- 
merable pleasure boats, gondolas, and common wherries, are 
constantly gliding along the stream, in every direction, some 
with music, and others with coloured awnings — while huge 
rafts with pyramids of fire-wood and hay slowly move onwards 
to their respective stations. In winter, when the river is 
frozen over, the bodies of individuals who are robbed and mur- 
dered, are frequently thrust under the ice, to prevent detection. 
The environs of St. Petersburg are extremely beautiful. 
. The villas and gardens are laid out in the neatest manner, and 
in the most shewy and fantastical forms. The general land- 
scape is undoubtedly pleasing, as far as mere foreground is 
brought into view, which, in this instance, is all that can be 
seen. There are neither hills nor distant views, to relieve the 
studied regularity of lengthened avenues and formal walks. 

" Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother, 
And half the platform just reflects the other." 

It is a remarkable circumstance that in this part of the 

couritry, birch, poplar, and some fir, are the only trees 



which have yet been reared. So severe is the climate that only 
the hardiest plants of the forest have succeeded in braving its 
rigour. In a country so uniformly flat, and by no means 
romantic, these grounds are said to be very beautiful. On the 
whole it shews perhaps the effect of too much study and design. 
The views are merely those of neat villas, trees, water, and its 
lively scenery of boats. Nature is not seen sporting in her 
fanciful freedom, but every where tied down, with painted 
railings and other ornaments, as shewy as the dangling orders 
of rank suspended round the necks from the common soldier, 
up to the prince. 

The variety of railings, both in their form and mode of 
painting, is as fanciful and grotesque as the productions of rude, 
uncultivated genius must always be. All the public railings, 
lamps, lamp-posts, mile-posts, &c. are painted in black and white 
squares similar to a harlequin's dress. This peculiar arrange- 
ment was the fancy of the Emperor Paul. The order of the 
present day is yellow, and the harlequinade dress of Paul, is 
now yielding to a dead sombre yellow. 



These mechanical and uniform dresses every where meet 
and fatigue the eye. A few weeks ago a fruiterer employed 
a celebrated artist to paint the figure of Pomona on his door. 
The enraptured votary of the goddess daily watched the 
magic touches of the pencil, and as the last finishing stroke 
was given, an imperial order blazoned through the city, that 
all doors and windows, &c. were to be painted yellow. There 
was no resistance, the beautiful figure of Pomona was effaced, 
and the poor painter was left to mourn in silence over her 

The suburbs present a singular contrast of wooden houses 
built in a very straggling manner, and which must require 
' future ages to complete. From every appearance the buildings 
of the town seem at present to be carried on with less activity, 
and on a scale less magnificent than formerly. The town is 
divided into eleven quarters, as follows, 

1. Admiralty quarter. 

2. Do. do. 

3. Do. do. 

4. Do. do. 

5. Foundry 


5. Foundry quarter. 

6. Moscow quarter. 

7- Rojestvensky quarter. 

8. Carriages quarter. 

9. Vassili OstrofF quarter. 

10. Petersburg quarter. 

11. Wiburg quarter. 

Each of these quarters is under the management of a 
certain portion of the pohce, who regulate their respective 
districts ; in the cleaning and repairing of the streets ; the 
regulation of the public vehicles, &c. 

The streets of the metropolis are beautifully paved with 
small round stones, in angular squares, but which is the 
repeated labour of every summer. From the severity of the 
frost in winter, the pavement of the streets is often displaced ; 
none of the streets has the advantage of a footpath. The 
postillions drive as close to the walls as they chuse. Another 
disadvantage is the want of water-pipes to convey the rain 
from the houses ; but which is thrown from the roofs of the 
houses by waterspouts into the middle of the street. The 



streets are elegantly lighted up at night, with large square 
lamps, each having four wicks and reflectors. During the 
night the streets are paraded by guards^ mounted on horseback, 
and in the day by police officers, armed with a long pole with 
an axe fastened to its point. These men constantly reside in 
small wooden houses, placed in different parts of the streets. 

The orderly behaviour of the people, and quietness of the 
town at all hours, is astonishing. So carefully is this de- 
partment managed that no one would run the risk of getting 
into a quarrel. Frequent instances of intoxication are seen 
among the lower orders, but even in that state they are neither 
noisy nor quarrelsome. This must partly arise from consti- 
tution, or partly the effects of despotism. 

The houses, though extremely large and shewy, are not 
very lofty, nor are the spires and domes of the churches con- 
spicuous in height. In the town are forty-four churches 
appropriated to the religion of the empire, and those of other 
sects, which are tolerated without any restrictions. 

These churches are all more or less singularly constructed, 
and adorned with gildings and different colours. Many of 
them are surmounted with several domes and huge crosses. 

u The 


The hotels are situated in the square opposite to- the 
Admiralty and Palace : the rooms are but partly furnished, 
and that in a very inferior manner; neither carpets, curtains, 
nor bed-hangings are used, because these would form too 
many depots for vermin to lodge their stores. From this 
circumstance, carpets are scarcely used in any house, but, by 
way of compensation, the floor of every room is beautifully 
inlaid with various coloured woods. Besides the regular hotels 
there are many restaurateurs, pastry-cooks, and innumerable 
petty drinking - houses. Many houses, though splendidly 
finished in the exterior, are yet infested in the under story 
with these low haunts of debauchery. 

In the southern suburbs is the elegant monastery of St. 
Alexander Nevsky, where the Archbishop of St. Petersburg 
resides. The monastery consists of an extensive range of 
buildings, including, besides the great church, many minor 
religious edifices. The whole is surrounded by a ditch ; in 
the church is the tomb of its Saint, made entirely of silver. 
This saint was a distinguished military hero, who overcame the 
Swedes in a pitched battle near the spot where the monastery 
now stands, and, in commemoration of it, erected a -small 



religious edifice. When Peter the Great founded St. Peters- 
burg, in order to overcome the religious superstition of the 
people, and to induce them to settle in the infant capital, he 
removed the ashes of this saint from Moscow, and solemnly 
interred them here. The procession consisted of one thousand 
priests, who walked the whole way barefoot. In this church 
the body of Suwarrow is interred; a small plate of brass 
marks the spot ; however to the memory of his sanguinary 
career, a statue is erected in the city. Here Potemkin im- 
mured himself, in order to excite the attention of Catharine ; and 
how well this religious mask succeeded, his future character 
too well explains. This monastery is the residence of the most 
distinguished prelates, and who are styled popes. Their dress 
consists of a loose black cloak, and a round black cap : neither 
the beard, nor the hair of the head are cut ; and no one can be 
admitted as a member until the age of thirty. 

St. Petersburg is supposed to contain about two hundred 
thousand inhabitants, exclusive of the military. This would 
appear a small proportion in comparison to the size of the city; 
but when the width of the streets is considered, the size 'of 

u 2 the 


the houses, and extent of ground which the churches occupy, 
&c. it will be found a large proportion. 

The entire arrangement of the city, keeping the streets in 
repair, laying out new plans, &c. are under the laws of the 
Crown. For this purpose nearly forty thousand men are em- 
ployed, who act as scavengers, watchmen, police-officers, and 
Imperial guards. 

The extent of the city is nearly six miles in length and 
almost the same in breadth, including the irregularities of the 
suburbs ; but if the solid connected buildings are measured, 
its extent might be almost reduced to one half. The city has 
been lately enclosed by a canal, and the principal entrances 
over this barrier are through magnificent gateways, and where 
guard is stationed to examine every passenger. 

The nobility, merchants, and foreigners, are divided into 
three classes called gilds. The first class are allowed the use 
of four or more horses to their carriages; the second class 
can only use two horses, and the third must use an hired 
carriage. For these distinctions a proportionate tax is levied, 
which is voluntary — however those who pay a tax for the third 



class, if discovered by the police officers, using their own 
carriage and horses, are subjected to a slight fine. 

Every person who has an income sufficient to enable him 
to keep a horse or carriage, considers it as a necessary ap- 
pendage to his comforts. To be seen walking on foot is looked 
upon as an instance of extreme vulgarity. In short many 
would rather sacrifice their domestic comforts, than not retain 
this extraordinary fashion. Scarcely any attempt riding on 
horseback, which is too laborious an exercise for their general 
indolence. As an excuse for their not using this healthful 
exercise, they have a fixed observation — .that in winter it is too 
cold to ride on horseback, and in summer, toio hot ! 

The town has little or no confusion from trade; the 
shipping being almost confined to Cronstadt, or in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Exchange ; and the markets being stationed in 
one distinct spot, few carts are seen in the streets ; however, 
they are constantly crowded by a strange variety of vehicles, 
under the name of coaches, droskies, kibitka, and sledges, 
with the horses attached to each in a different manner and 



The droskie is the most common as well as the most 
useful carriage in the town. It is a singularly formed machine, 
not more than two feet high, with four small wheels, covered 
with broad leather wings, and which, between the wheels forms 
a kind of open stirrup for the rider's feet. The rider either sits 
across, as on a saddle j or if in company with another person, 
they sit back to back, and are drawn sideways. The driver 
has a small seat fixed between the fore wheels, nearly on a level 
with the horse's knees. If there are two horses yoked to the 
droskie, one is placed in the shafts, with his head tightly braced 
up to an arched hoop — ^while the other is merely used as an 
out-rider for show. The horse in the shafts trots, while the 
other canters ; the first is managed by the servant, the other 
guided by the master. There is a considerable degree of 
elegance in the appearance of the actions of the horses, but 
when constantly practised it becomes formal and tiresome. 
These droskies are the most numerous vehicles in the streets ; 
they are driven astonishingly quick, and at a certain distance 
have an appearance somewhat like a grasshopper. On a dusty 




road, they are certainly the most disagreeable machines in 
which a person could travel. 

The coaches are either made to open like a landau, or, 
more generally, resemble in shape and clumsiness the London 
hackney coaches. The number of horses attached to these 
carriages depends on the rank of the proprietor, and are 
yoked according to different tastes. In some instances four 
horses are yoked abreast to the carriage, with two leaders 
placed at an extraordinary distance in front of the others — in 
many instances not less than twenty feet. Sometimes six horses 
are yoked abreast, with one leader in front. The traces of the 
leaders are fixed to the point of the pole, and the boy, who 
always rides the o^ leader, at every moment is seen looking 
back to the coachman, to be directed. This signal from the 
coachman is given by various nods of the head, and thus a 
telegraphic communication is kept up. The coachman on the 
box throws the reins over his head, and holds a corner in 
each hand, widely extended ; at his wrist is hung a short whip, 
which is scarcely ever used. The horses are accustomed to 
increase their speed from the sound of his voice, and not by 



the lash of his whip. In this respect the Russians are a most 
humane people, and extremely kind to their horses. The 
harness and reins are sometimes made of coarse leather, but 
more generally of ropes. n 

The tails and manes of the horses are worn extremely long 
and bushy, particularly the manes, which are generally false, 
and carried to such a ridiculous length, as to sweep the streets, 
and become a burthen to the suffering animal. These false 
manes are considered as extreme marks of beauty. With 
black manes the deception can scarcely be perceived, but in 
lighter colours, the addition of every hair is immediately 

The horses are certainly animals of great beauty, and are 
kept in a state of fatness which is rarely seen in other countries. 
They are generally of a short round form, and extremely 
animated. To warn the people from being rode over in the 
streets, the postillions constantly call out padee. in those 
places where the hackney carriages are stationed, ranges of 
mangers are erected from which the horses are fed, that the 
streets should not be covered with hay or straw ; there is also 



attached to each station a pump of water — besides a circular 
building, used in the severity of winter, to contain a fire. 

Nothing arrests the attention of a stranger more, on his 
entering the Russian capital, than the appearance of the 
common people, their habitudes and manners of occupation. 
Their features, dress, language and implements of mechanical 
uses, are peculiar to themselves ; or, perhaps a mixture 
between those of Asia and Europe, without any improvement 
on either. It is not within the reach of the passing traveller 
to attempt to describe every variation of peculiar appearances, 
it is only the bolder features of the general scene, like the 
stronger lights and shades of the landscape, which can be 
observed, while subordinate minutiae are blended and lost in 
the general mass. 

Every thing appears in the extremes of finery and rags. 
In the costume of the common people there is little or 
no variety, they are all clad alike. A long swaddling 
cloak, either made of sheep -skin pr coarse cloth, is wrapped 
round their bodies. In hot weather it is sometimes changed for 
a coarse shirt and loose trowsers, over which the shirt usually 

V hangs, 


hangs, and is fastened round the waist by a sash. The legs 
are bound round with pieces of sail-cloth, (instead of stock- 
ings), and shoes made of the bark of trees. The hair of the 
head is cut across, from one temple to the other, in a line with 
the eye-brows ; from the temples it hangs perpendicularly 
down, so as to cover the ears, from which it is cropped 
directly across the neck. The hair is often combed and 
daily covered with grease. The lower part of the face is con- 
cealed by an hideous and filthy beard. The hat is also cha- 
racteristic. Their countenances are open, and full of good 
humour ; but not one, when carefully examined, can be called 
handsome. They are coarse, yet have something in the general 
expression which is pleasing. In their manners they are ex- 
tremely animated, and considerably polished. They talk with 
rapidity, action and grace. In the town they are evidently 
addicted to drunkenness, gambling and indolence. The shop- 
keepers are generally seen playing at draughts, and the servants 
at chuck-farthing. 

The only difference of costume remarkable among the 
common people is that worn by the nurses of children. Their 



dress is singularly fantastic, but extremely clean. They wear 
a'distinguishing badge on their heads, in the shape of a large 
yellow painted cap, and very wide shirt sleeves, fastened at the 
elbow. These women are in general procured from the coun- 
try, and the extreme attention and kindness which they devote 
to their infant charge, is a laudable instance of affection. They 
are properly exempted from all religious fasts. 

The habits of life in the common people are as simpk as 
their modes of dress. They are contented to sleep on the floor 
of the room, the bare stones of the street, or between the 
wheels of a carriage. Their food partly consists of a slice of 
coarse bread, with a little salt and thick oil poured over it, 
with a kind of sour beer, called squash, made from oatmeal 
and rye-bread soured, and coloured with a red berry ; besides 
vast quantities of raw cucumbers, onions, garlic, green beans 
and carrots. From the quantity of garlic which they eat, its 
offensive smell every where pervades. 

Of all the traits in a Russian's character, that of his 
religion is the most prominent. To this all his actions are 
devoted, and he becomes the mechanical slave of his devotions. 

X 2 In 


In front of every church, and in many places in the streets, a 
painting of the Virgin is exhibited, which no one passes with- 
out uncovering his head, profoundly bowing, and crossing 
himself. In almost every room, a picture of the Virgin is 
hung up. The moment a Russ enters the door, he performs 
his duty to the picture, before he addresses himself to any one. 
If he is accused of any misdemeanor, he asserts his innocence 
by repeated crossings and invocations to his favourite saint. 
If he receives any donation, he is expressively thankful, bows, 
crosses himself, and even kisses the ground. They are ex- 
ti^mely good humoured, but rather indolent, except when 
excited by gain. Altogether the common Russ is a prepossess- 
ing character, chearful and obedient. 

No class of people seems to pay more attention to personal 
cleanliness than the Russians taken collectively ; yet, per- 
haps, there are none who live more filthily clad, taken indi' 
vidually. In various parts of the city public baths are esta- 
blished, and constantly frequented by all ranks, but particularly 
by the lowest. Their religion, in some measure, enforces the 
use of the bath ; but, as they take little or no bodily exercise, 



they find the use of the bath act as a powerful remedy in 
carrying off the superabundant humours, occasioned by the 
quantity and nature of their food, independently of the enjoy- 
ment thev find in it. 

In the public baths, the most curious specimens of the 
indifference of manners or delicacy are seen. No sight can be 
more disgusting than that exhibited in those places. Scores of 
individuals mingle together in an heated apartment, and after 
being sweated, switched and half boiled, rush into the open 
air like so many frantic satyrs^ and plunge into the coldest 

In these heated apartments a range of steps extend from the 
floor to the roof, which at the top is covered with bricks, and 
heated from a flue underneath. The heat is in proportion to 
the ascent of the steps ; pipes are fixed in different parts of the 
room, conveying hot water, which* is occasionally thrown over 
the heated bricks, and rises up in the form of hot steam. 

In this heated room as many individuals enter as chuse. 
Each person is accommodated with a small wooden pailful of 
hot waticr, and a bunch of the soft twigs of the birch tree, 



with which he switches his body, at the same time pouring 
\yarm water over his head, which is increased in temperature, 
in proportion to the excess of perspiration. When the body 
has arrived at the highest state of heat, they suddenly rush 
into the open air, and scour themselves with soap and cold 
water. The operation of bathing occupies nearly an hour. 
The heat, at which these baths are laken, would be insup- 
portable to a person not in the habit of using it. Here it is 
used summer and winter ; and many of them rush out of the 
hot bath in winter, and roll in the snow. They look upon the 
bath as a sovereign remedy for all their diseases and complaints, 
but particularly in cases of indigestion. Adjoining to the bath 
appropriated to the men, is a similar one for the women, who, 
in hordes, perform the same ceremony. 

From the attention which the Russians pay to the use of 
the bath, a stranger might be induced to believe that they are 
the most cleanly people in the world ; whereas the very reverse 
is the case. However often they may wash and scour their 
persons, yet they never perform the same attention to their 
dress, which, being made of sheep-skins, contracts every sort 



of filth and vermin ; and no sooner does a Russian quit the 
bath, than he is seen commencing hostilities against his mani- 
fold associates. 

Every stranger must be pleased vt^ith the environs of the 
metropolis. The principal merchants generally reside in the 
summer months in neat villas, at some distance from the city, 
which are ornamented with beautiful gardens, and innume- 
rable pots of flowers. The most common of these flowers are 
the holly-hock, and carnation ; roses do not seem to flourish 
in this country. In the botanic garden, many exotics are to 
be seen, growing most luxuriantly. Attached to each of the 
country villas is a flag-stafl*, upon which a small flag is dis- 
played at those hours when the landlord is at home. 

The most beautiful part of the environs is situated in the 
quarter of St. Petersburg, where the Palace of Kamennoy- 
Ostrow, the country residence of the Emperor, is. The house 
is low and irregularly built, but the scenery around it is ex- 
tremely beautiful. It stands on the east end of a small island, 
surrounded on each side, by different branches of the river. 
Here is displayed all that studied neatness- of Dutch scenery, 



where neat villas, weeping birches, gravelled walks, and painted 
railings, water and pleasure boats are seen. These islands are 
so low, that a strong gale of wind, from the west, is almost 
sufficient to raise the water to such an height, as partly to 
inundate them. 

The amusement, in the summer months, in this part of 
the country, is chiefly derived from a singular conical frame 
of wood, raised to a height of thirty or forty feet, with a 
grooved railway, leading, froai its summit, to a considerable 
distance along the plain. This is called the flying inountain. 
The company ascend by a flight of steps, and each individual, 
being seated on a low carriage, supported on four small 
wheels, is precipitnted down the railway, with a velocity suf- 
ficient to produce giddiness. The force of the descent carries 
it along a level distance, equal to an hundred yards. At the 
termination of the level line, another elevated frame is erected 
similar to the other, which, on ascending, produces a retro- 
grade effect. To vary the motion, the railway along the plain 
is sometimes made of a series of ridges, so that the velocity 
acquired in descending from the one, carries it up the other, 



and thus a sort of perpetuum mobile is kept up. When the 
Neva is frozen over, these flying mountains are erected on the 
ice, and receive an increase of velocity, in proportion to the 
decrease of friction. 

During our residence at St. Petersburg, it wore the 
aspect of gaiety and joy. The return of the Emperor Alex- 
ander and his guards, after an absence of eighteen months, 
and the successful termination of the most dreadful contest 
which ever threatened the repose of the empire. This happy 
event produced a lively sensation of interest among all ranks. 
The city and environs were splendidly illuminated during three 
successive nights; good order prevailed everywhere, but it 
was not that spontaneous and generous burst of warmth which 
we see in England. No huzzas rang the air, neither fiin nor 
frolic enlivened the crowd — all was a general blaze from the 
houses and pavement, while crowds, in mechanical order, 
paraded along the streets, who coldly and calculatingly gazed 
at the flaming pile. 

The rejoicings were extended to the country palace of 
PeterofF, the once favourite residence of Peter the Great, and 

Y his 


his Empress Catharine. This irregular pile of building is 
situated on the southern shores of the Gulf, about twenty miles 
from the City. Extensive gardens, pleasure grounds, and water 
works, surround the palace on all sides. Here we witnessed 
a magnificent display of rejoicings, in honour of the Dowager 
Empress's birth-day. In the morning the Emperor reviewed 
the guards ; and, in the evening, there was a public masque- 
rade, &c. The whole extent of the gardens was brilliantly 
illumined with fanciful displays of lights^ and the water- works 
were exhibited to the greatest advantage. The Imperial fleet 
were moored opposite to the palace, and exhibited, each, a 
flaming meteor. There were no variations of colour in the 
lamps ; all was one dazzling white. The number of glasses 
employed to contain the tallow and wicks was astonishing. In 
a magnificent circle of arches, in front of the water- works, 
were placed twenty- two thousand glasses, and yet this was 
but a trifling spot compared to the whole. The motley mix- 
ture of the mob was truly astonishing. It was a gala day, 
and moreover a favourite saint's day. In consequence every 



one, high and low, rich and poor, good or bad, were indis- 
criminately admitted and promiscuously blended together. 

The day was extremely hot, and the road a bed of fine dust ; 
the string of carriages of every form, and of every descrip- 
tion ; the various dresses of the company, the concentration of 
every nation as it were, seemed to be passing along to one 
common centre. Booths and marquees were every where 
erected for the accommodation of the company, but so nume- 
rous were the visiters that scarcely could the tents of the 
Imperial army have sheltered them all. Every one carried 
provisions for the day ; and parties of every rank were seen 
dressing and brushing off the dust in the exposed fields. 
Never was a scene so truly ludicrous ; every one seemed to 
challenge the other in mirth, forwardness, and impudence. 
Royalty and slavery were blended together ; — the common 
bearded Russ, in all his filthy coverings, paraded through 
the royal apartments, and breathed the odour of royalty ! 
It may be proper to accustom the eye of the common people 
to occasional views of elegance and the effect of refined civiH- 
zation ; but it does not appear to filumine his mind more than 

y 2 the 


the rays of a passing meteor, which dazzles the eye for a 
moment, and is for ever lost. 

After a short but pleasant residence in St. Petersburg, 
we turned our attention towards prosecuting our journey 
through the interior of the country. Though it was not 
without considerable difficulties that we procured passports on 
our entering the country, yet we had to encounter more in 
getting permission to leave the capital. Every stranger, before 
he is permitted to leave the city, is obliged to insert his name 
and character, during three successive weeks, in the public news- 
papers, stating his intention of leaving the country, and that he 
has not contracted any debts. After this notification the traveller 
applies at the police-office for the passports, which are made 
out exactly to the route he is to travel, and for which he is under 
the necessity of undergoing many vexatious delays. Along 
with the passports, an order for horses is also granted ; and in 
it the number of horses to be used is also mentioned. The 
charge for this order is in proportion to the number of horses 
the traveller wishes to employ. This order comes under one of 
the distinctions of the Gil(k, and the traveller can only use the 



number of horses, in proportion to his rank. But even the 
rigid strictness of the Russian police is not proof against the 
influence of money; and, like the courts of law, agents are to 
be procured who contrive to settle the business. 

Three English gentlemen arrived in the capital at the 
time we did, and, being anxious to prosecute their journey, 
applied to one of those agents, who readily procured passes 
and an order (of the first distinction) for horses ; with a 
charge of fifteen guineas ; seven of which was to procure a 
pasport for their servant, because he was a Dane ! This very 
servant was refused admittance into the capital ; but a small 
donation at Cronstadt readily effected the purpose. Nothing 
can be more odious than the despotic power of the police and 
its officers. Every valet de place is more or less a spy on the 
actions of his employer, and even in private families the 
most marked cautiousness and reserve is used before their 

During our residence in St. Petersburg we luckily met 
with a young Prussian, whom we took into our service. He 
had been a student at the university at Berlin, when the 



French invasion compelled him to fly from the conscript laws 
of Napoleon. He wandered to Moscow, and found a benefi- 
cent master in a British Merchant, until the destruction of 
that ill-fated city compelled them both to seek an asylum 
elsewhere, from ruin and poverty. From his long residence 
in the country, he had acquired a knowledge of its language, 
with a purity scarcely inferior to the natives ; added to this 
he was sober, obedient, and one in whom a considerable 
degree of confidence could be placed. A circumstance highly 
useful, in a country where so powerful and inquisitorial an 
engine is placed under the management of a despotic govern- 
ment. This person we engaged to travel with us as an inter- 
preter, and he was granted a passport as far as the Russian 

From the circumstance of our being obliged to leave our 
travelling carriage at Memel, we procured a new Russian open 
travelling coach, heavy and clumsily built, yet very commo- 
dious, and with the advantage of a dormeuse. Though newly 
built, it detained us a whole week in repairing the accidents 
which every trial of its strength occasioned. It was not unlike 



the character of every thing here, highly varnished and shewy 
externally, but flimsy and imperfectly constructed. 

The weather, during the latter end of July and August, 
continued extremely hot and sultry, with occasional heavy 
showers of rain, accompanied with thunder. At times, the 
temperature of the air underwent sudden and remarkable 
changes. On the 19th of August, at mid-day, Fahrenheit's ther- 
mometer stood at seventy-nine degrees ; the air was calm, and 
the sky cloudless. Suddenly, dark clouds overshadowed the 
town, and the wind blew strongly from the east ; at five o'clock 
in the afternoon, the mercury in the thermometer fell to fifty- 
five degrees. At midnight (of 20th), to thirty-five degrees ; 
and early in the morning a slight tinge of frost was seen on 
the ground. The days are generally oppressively hot and 
sultry, and produce a sensible degree of languor and debility, 
while the nights are damp and chilHng. The shortest day, in 
St. Petersburg, is five hours and a half long, and the longest 
eighteen hours and a half. 

Although the climate of Russia is so extremely severe to 
the constitution of man in general, and apparently so congenial 



to that of the Russ in particular, yet it does not appear to 
produce in him that hardihood, which its influence might be 
supposed to occasion. The only manner in which we can 
judge of the effects of climate externally on the bodies of man, 
is by their wearing apparel. Judging by this, we shall see 
that the Russ is most acutely and sensibly alive to the varia- 
tions of the weather, and is constantly changing his dress. 
When it is hot, every one is thinly clad, with very few excep- 
tions ; when the sky becomes clouded, or there are signs of 
wind, every one assumes his winter mantle. Thus the range 
of his sensibility is not confined to the mere effects of heat and 
cold ; it is not only thermometric, but, in short, he is a ba- 
rometer, a hygrometer, and an anemometer, all combined in 
one living machine. 

Reasoning, however, in this way, as indeed in many other 
processes of reasoning, the effect may be often taken for the 
cause, and both become so entangled with each other, as 
to be scarcely separable. The increased sensibility of the 
Russ to the effects of his skies, may be the result of that 
cliangeful covering to which he accustoms his body, and which, 



by their means, acquires a delicacy of tact, which enables him 
to detect every change of weather. This is, perhaps, the solu- 
tion of the problem ; to suppose, for a moment, that the deli- 
cacy of touch arises from an increased perfection of their 
nervous system, would be giving a credit which a Russian 
constitution is, indeed, far from deserving, and which every 
particle of their character tends to negative. The fact, how- 
ever, is a singular one, and every stranger will notice it ; the 
effects of cold and heat are much more felt by the natives than 
by others ; their extremes produce an equal degree of debility 
on them. A foreigner, from a temperate climate coming here, 
will feel the cold more severely the second, than the first year. 
This may arise from two causes, first, from that debility which 
its excitement has caused the first year ; and, secondly, from 
his adoption of some articles of their cloathing, and also the 
temperature of their heated rooms. 

There is no feature in the Russian character perhaps more 
admirable, or more striking to a stranger, than their military 
system. A finer form, than that of the Russian soldier, can- 
not be seen ; his figure is commanding, his gait erect, his 

z evolu- 


evolutions like a machine, quick and accurate; his uniform 
simple and graceful, elegant and clean. Taken in a body no 
line can present a finer appearance than these men ; their 
motions and manoeuvres are as simultaneous, as if one arm 
and one leg moved all ; nothing is seen out of place ; all is 
harmony, and the most disciplined arrangement. In short, 
the Russian soldier may stand as a pattern in dress, obedience, 
and dexterity in the use of his arms, to all those of Europe, 

Their present uniform consists of a long dark green 
coat, with red cuffs and collar, and long white loose trowsers, 
made with gaiters at the feet. The cap is worn extremely low, 
with a very flat broad crown ; its sides are ornamented with 
white cord and tassels. The belts are black, and support both 
a bayonet and sword, as well as the cartouche box. The hair 
and beard are both cut off, except that on the upper lip. The 
moment a Russian becomes a soldier, his beard is cut off; 
and, to prevent recruits from deserting, one side of their head 
is closely shaven. Around the waist of every soldier is a belt 
tightly worn, while the breasts of the coat are thickly padded. 
This increases the manliness of the figure, at the expense of 



the ease and health of the individual. Many of the officers 
are so tightly twisted round the waist, as to appear something 
similar to a wasp. The purity of this fine military system is 
dreadfully contaminated by the introduction of a set of 
common horse-soldiers, who are employed in the low branches 
of the service, carrying dispatches, aiding in the police, ob- 
serving the motions of strangers, &c. &c. in short no work is 
either too dirty or mean for them ; and, like jackals, their 
duties are confined to dregs and offal. Their appearance is 
ragged, ruflfianly, and disgusting — their horses like skeletons ; 
and, thus armed with their long pike, they present somewhat 
the appearance of Toledo's champion, with faces equally rueful, 
hxxt without any of that generous pathos in it, which so graced 
our ill-starred knight. 

In a work of this nature, little can be said in regard to 
the state of commerce and exchange of this country, both of 
which are constantly fluctuating and depend on existing cir- 
cumstances. Never perhaps was there a period in which the 
exchange of St. Petersburg was at so low a rate, and its 

z 2 market 


market more overstocked with merchandize of every descrip- 
tion, exported from the British ports. Such has been the 
spirit of imprudent speculators, since the sudden return of 
peace, that many individuals must suffer great losses. 

The northern commerce of this country is chiefly confined 
to that of the metropolis, and its harbour at Cronstadt, and 
the ports of Narva, Revel, Riga, &c. The goods are con- 
veyed from Cronstadt up to St. Petersburg by means of 
galliots and large open boats. Large vessels are prevented 
from sailing up to the city, in consequence of a bar of sand, 
which stretches across the mouth of the river, and the depth 
of the water over it often depends on the state of the winds. 
A westerly wind opposing the current of the river, increases 
the depth of the water, and an easterly wind the reverse. 
Ships of war, built at the dock-yards at St. Petersburg, are 
floated over the bar, by means of large flat-bottomed barges, 
palled camels. 

The produce of the country is generally what is exported 
from St. Petersburg. It consists, particularly, of hemp, flax, 




tallow, oil, wood, iron, &c. &c. These productions are 
conveyed down the rivers in summer, and in winter on 
sledge-roads. Regular warehouses are erected for each 
class of goods, to which the barges are floated, and the 
cargoes unloaded. Certain persons, called brackers, are ap- 
pointed to inspect the goods; and when they are sold, his 
name is affixed to them, to prevent an inferior quality being 
delivered. These inspectors are paid by the purchaser, in pro- 
portion to the quantity of goods bought. 

The rate of exchange fluctuates according to the state of the 
markets : a rouble at present is equal to one shilling sterling. 
The Russian coins are divided into gold, silver and copper. 

Lmperials of 10 roubles. 

Half imperials of. . 5 roubles. 

Roubles of. 100 copecks. 

Half roubles of. . 50 copecks. 
Quarter roubles of 25 copecks, 
15 Copeck pieces, 
10 Copeck pieces, 
5 Copeck pieces. 


Gold coins are 


Silver coins are < 


Copper coins are 

^ 5 Copeck pieces, 
2 Copeck pieces, 
1 Copeck piece, 

Denuschka or half copeck piece, 
Polusbka or quarter copeck piece. 
Foreign coins are taken by the merchants, but the most 
useful are Dutch ducats. The notes issued by the Imperial 
bank are on white, red, and blue paper. 

The blue paper is valued at , . 5 roubles. 

The red 10 roubles. 

The white 25, 50 to 100 roubles. 

Besides the Imperial bank there are other banks called the 
Aid and Loan banks, which are intended to assist the nobility 
and towns, in paying debts, and the improvement of their 
estates, and for which they mortgage their slaves, until the 
loan is redeemed. 

Before the foundation of St. Petersburg was laid, the 
whole external commerce of the empire was carried on at 
Archangel. It now not only embraces that of the White and 
Baltic, but even the Caspian and Black Seas. From the 



number and extent of its lakes and rivers, its internal pro- 
ductions are conveyed with the greatest facility to the most 
distant parts ; and since many of these rivers have been joined 
by means of canals, the communication daily becomes more 
extensive, and the wealth of the country increased. A country 
which embraces such an extent of surface as that of Russia, 
must necessarily present a variety of climates, and soil capable 
of producing almost all the fruits of the world. From its 
northern tracts are drawn the most useful minerals ; and 
though its climate is as yet somewhat unfavourable to the con- 
stitution of man, yet, as the forests are cleared away, and the 
marshes drained, it may become the abode of a numerous people. 
Independent of the great quantity of iron which is annually 
exported from these northern regions, its forests also present 
various animals, producing the most delicate and valuable 
furs, while the seas are stored with fish of the most useful 
kind. The quantity of iron produced from these mines about 
twenty years ago was equal to eighty thousand tons per annum, 
but which has since gradually diminished from the impolicy of 
too rapidly destroying the forests, and consequently of fuel in 



the smelting of the ore ; and also the decrease of its importa- 
tion into Great Britain. Where the iron ore does not parti- 
cularly abound, the manufactured wood of the extensive forests 
becomes an object of exportation, and which is sent down the 
rivers in the summer months in large floats ; these floats or 
barges are rudely constructed with the largest fir planks, hav- 
ing the roots attached to the trunk, which forms the crooks of 
the vessel. The sides of the vessel are perpendicular, and about 
four feet deep, the bottom is perfectly flat, and their length 
about one hundred and fifty feet. Many of them are capable of 
carrying between three hundred to four hundred tons ; the 
rudder is formed of a long tree ; instead of using a pump to 
draw the water collected by leakage, a large wooden scoop, 
suspended from a cross-beam, is used to throw it out. 

From the southern provinces of the empire are exported 
numerous flocks of cattle, fruits and wines. The most pro- 
ductive of these is the large quantity of tallow which is 
extracted from the black cattle. To such a length is this 
branch ^of commerce carried on, that every part of the animal 
is sacrificed for its fat ; even the peasantry debar themselves 



from the enjoyment of tallow candles, and use as a substitute 
pine wood split into thin pieces. In 1803 the exportation of 
tallow from Russia was nearly equal to two millions pounds 
sterling ; " a quantity and sum almost incredible, when we 
consider the produce of an ox: for other useful purposes."* 

It fs not sufficient to enter on the nature of the internal 
commei*ce of this country, at present ; it will appear with 
more interest and propriety, after a more intimate acquaintance 
with the interior of the country, has been gained. This is a 
subject of such vast importance, that too careful an enquiry 
cannot be thought unnecessary ; particularly on those points 
which may extend the commercial relation, between Great 
Britain and Russia. 

Such is a short and rapid sketch of the Russian capital^ 
a city which, in extent, ranks with most others in Europe ; 
in grandeur of outline perhaps superior to all, and in beauty 
of structure excelled by none. By none will the traveller be 
more dazzled at first sight, by none will he have his interest, 

2 A his 

* Oddy's European Commerce. 


his curiosity, and his admiration more excited. Its gilded domes 
and sculptured turrets, its huge colossal piles, the majesty and 
arrangement by which they are grouped, will present him with a 
picture, which, otherwise, he may have in vain sought for, 
except in the productions of his own fancy. This however is 
the distant view; he has not examined the picture closely, 
the charm is not to last long; the spell must soon be broken ; 
the cup from which he has taken such bewitching draughts 
must be dashed from his lip, and his admiration will too 
often be turned into disgust. He will see everything, as 
it were, in outline ; nothing filled up ; nothing perfect ; 
nothing to please ; everything to astonish. He will see 
those lines harsh and strong; he will see their interspaces, 
void of that body, void of that softened colouring, on which 
the eye can rest ; glitter and glare will render its film giddy ; 
he will be dazzled, he will be overpowered, but he will not be 
pleased. He will here see a miniature of that picture which this 
vast empire presents ; he will here see a mixture of splendid bar- 
barism and mighty rudeness ; while on the one hand he sees 
endless ranges of superb palaces, on the other he sees crowding 



around him, those more like brutes than human beings. 
Again, while he sees mean equipages moving along, he will see 
them crowded with the glittering courtier. He will see splen- 
dour in all its filth, and filth in all its splendour ; he will see 
them in all the form and varieties of mixture ; he will see them 
forming the alternate layers of the national character, stra- 
tum super stratum, the one ending where the other begins, 
and both so entangled with each other, that it is scarcely 
possible to see one at a time. 

12 A i2 

( 180 ) 


Zimogorie, Aug^ust, 1814. 
Taking leave of this illustrious capital we were now to enter 
on those wild and desert plains, which separate it from its ancient 
rival and sister, Moscow ; and, as its towers faded from our 
sight, we could not but contemplate in our mind's eye, the 
glorious banners of war waving round them. We could not 
but feel interested in the fate of those young bulwarks, which, 
although yet in their cradle, have, like the infant Hercules, 
strangled the serpent, and given peace to a suffering world. 

In taking a retrospect of this capital, it is impossible not 
to feel astonished at its youth, and its perfection. In the 
short space of little more than a century, have been reared 
those splendid fabrics, which must dazzle and delight every 



In the same short space have the manners, and customs of 
a vast nation been reduced to a new standard. Civilization has 
not required time for its growth — its seeds have shot up apace. 
Here, everything dazzles and bewilders the eye ; on acquain- 
tance they appear the same, and shew the effect of study. 
If we approach closer the secret spring is perceived, and 
little more remains than the mere outline of a vast and 
superficial system, uncreated, unconsolidated, and labouring 
under all the defects of a government, which, from its vigour, 
has become so unrestrained, and from its despotism, so ca- 

From the structure of its government has arisen, in a 
great measure, the moral structure of its inhabitants. The 
ties of society are, here, not so connected, as in those towns 
whose character is purely commercial. The chain seems to be 
broken in different, and distinct pieces. The military character 
proudly predominates, and, although it does not carry along 
with it, any of the finer traits of chivalry or enthusiasm, still 
rank is the grand characteristic and ultimatum. To this all 
aspire, in their respective degrees, and, for this, all other 



considerations are neglected. Tlie commercial part of society- 
is small; and perfectly distinct. The sources of wealth chiefly 
arise from the sale of native produce, and its exportation. 
This sale is, comparatively speaking, confined to the hands of 
a few. "Their agricultural resources, unless in the immediate 
vicinity of the capital, towns and villages, are very slender, 
and, were it not for the privations, which their religion 
inculcates, would scarcely suffice for their existence. 

As in all countries regulated by military character, where 
rank bears so extensive a sway, and where the government is 
purely despotic, the system of farming is discouraged, and 
held in a degraded view. Every one, particularly the nobles, 
must, more or less, mingle in the politics of the court. He 
must, more or less, entwine himself in the fate, on which it 

hangs, and, when once they cease to bask in the sunshine of 


its favour, they are probably exiled to their native lands. 

Taking leave of St. Petersburg, the road conducted us 
through the southern suburbs of the city, and passed along a 
country, flat, covered with straggling plantations of birch, 
and partly cultivated. The first stage is greatly relieved by the 



shewy palace of Tsarsko-Selo, occupying a large space of 
ground, and surrounded by extensive, and well laid out gardens, 
and pleasure grounds. The palace of Tsarsko-Selo, like most 
of the other public buildings in this country, exhibits a strange 
combination of architectural orders. Towards the north it 
fronts the road, which, suddenly turning at a right angle, 
passes by aij arched gateway under the west wing. This 
is one of the Emperor's country palaces, which, in summer? 
is often the scene of gaiety and festivity. 

However much the palaces in Russia may offend the eye 
of a fastidious architect, from the disorderly arrangements of 
their design ; yet, in a country so remote and uncultivated, 
the effect is certainly pleasing, and produces one of the most 
agreeable features in the general sombre cast of the landscape. 
Gothicism in building is more allowable in unimproved 
countries, than in the neighbourhood of cities ; however much 
it may detract from the received opinion of the Grecian school, 
yet, until the standard of beauty is fixed, opinions must ever 
vary. A traveller cannot avoid remarking, that a Russian 
palace is an ornament to the country. 



We changed horses at Tossna, the second stage from St. 
Petersburg. Nothing can present a greater contrast than the 
appearances of the villages from the capital. The one is all 
splendour, and shew — the others look as so many heaps of 
rotten wood, .the abodes of filth and vermin. These houses 
are entirely built of wood. The unshapen trunks of trees are 
laid one above another and dove-tailed at the corners, 
while a quantity of dry moss is placed between the seams. 
The gables front the road, and are ornamented by a light 
gallery, and pent-roof The only window used, is a small 
square hole, which is opened and shut like the gun-port of a 
ship ; and, through which, the bearded head of a Russian is 
often seen thrust out, as if fixed in the pillory. Every house is 
exactly like another ; they are built in pairs, and ranged on 
each side of the high road, which forms the only street. 
From the scarcity of stones, not only are the houses built 
solely of wood, but even the court-yards and roads are floored 
with it. In front of every house is seen a deep draw-well ; 
the bucket is lowered by a rope, fixed to the end of a long 
cross beam, having a balancing weight at the opposite end — 


TOSSxNA. 185 

this beam acts as a lever, supported by an upright post. The 
lower floor of the house is generally converted into a store 
room, and, in the upper apartment, the inhabitants reside-. 
The interior of the houses are dark, gloomy, unventilated, 
and full of every species of nuisance. Instead of chairs, long 
benches are fixed to the wall, which, in many houses, answer 
both as a seat and a bed. The stoves occupy the greater part 
of the room, and in cold weather afford the greatest luxury 
to the women in lolling over them. Wrapped in his sheep- 
skins, the Russ does not seek the comforts of any other bed, 
than what the floor affords him, and, in the summer months, 
all places, whether in the house, or under his cart, are alike 
to him. 

All the utensils are made either of wood, or clay, in shape 
not unlike those dug from the ruins of Herculaneum. One 
large earthen pot is used to cook the food for the whole family, 
and, out of which, all eat at once. Their favourite food is a 
kind of hodge-podge, made of groats and poultry, highly 
seasoned with garlick, with balls of minced meat and eggs. 
The common bread is made of rye ; it is soft, black and sour. 

2 B During 


During the fasts, they chiefly live on mushrooms, bread, 
vegetables, and oil. 

In every room is the picture of some favourite saint, called 
a Bogh ; before which every person bows and crosses himself, 
with all the stiffened formality of an automaton. We have 
fre)quently seen instances of violent disputes, in the streets, 
when one of the party would immediately run into the house, 
perhaps for some weapon of revenge, or to vent his rage upon 
his own family ; but, the instant he enters the room door, the 
rage of his countenance, for a moment, subsides, and, hurry- 
ing, over his obeisances to the picture, he, as suddenly, gives 
a loose to his passions. These pictures are generally of a small 
size, about eight inches square. Only the face and hands are 
to be seen, the rest is covered with a drapery of tin ; or some, 
are coarsely daubed upon wood. Before the picture is gene- 
rally seen a lamp, which is lighted on particular occasions, 
and a vessel of holy water. Every one, before he retires to 
rest, in the evening, and after he rises in the morning, never 
omits to prostrate himself before the object of his religious 


TOSSNA. 187 

Tossna exhibits an irregular heap of miserable huts, with 
a tolerably shewy church in the centre ; it has a square 
steeple, and a dome surmounted by three large globes. It is 
a singular contrast to observe the elegance of the churches in 
those villages, and the truly deplorable state of the dwelling- 
houses. Every labour and expense seems to be sacrificed in 
adorning the church, in preference to domestic comforts. 
Tossna is laid down in the Russian maps as a bourg, or bo- 
rough, and contains about three hundred inhabitants. The 
people are all clad in sheep-skins, and are noisy and quarrel- 

The country around is generally flat, and covered with 
birch, mountain ash and poplar. The soil is sand and clay, 
without stones, and but little cultivated. A small brook runs 
by the town, which supplies the inhabitants with water. The 
high road, leading through the town, together with the 
greater part of the last stage, is floored with planks of wood. 
This is one of the principal ways by which the roads, in this 
part of the country, are made ; but only in those places where 
there are no stones, and the surface of the country soft and 

2 B 2 marshy. 


marshy. To keep these roads in repair is the constant employ- 
ment of the neighbouring peasants, the extent and neatness of 
whose labour deserve the highest praise. The plantations, on 
each side of the road, to a certain extent, are entirely appro- 
priated to its use, and which the inhabitants are prohibited 
from using as fire-wood. The manner of forming these roads 
is extremely simple, yet very complete and even durable, when 
finished. The planks used are generally those of trees of a 
small growth, from four to six inches in diameter. These are 
cut about twelve feet long, and laid parallel to each other, 
while their ends are supported upon a row placed parallel with 
the side of the road, and fastened down by sods or pegs. 
However level and hard these flcjored roads may be, yet the 
unequal and jolting motion given to a carriage, is perhaps the 
most fatiguing exercise, which a traveller ever suffered. It is 
impossible to endure the pain which is occasioned, without 
having a broad belt tied round the waist. The Russian tra- 
velling carriages are seldom hung upon springs, but are fur- 
nished with several leather bags of feathers, upon which the 
traveller reposes at full length. These common stage convey- 


ances consist of a slight open cart, with four low wheels, 
called a kihitki ; they are entirely made of wood, without any 
iron, and seem to be the most peculiar to the country. The 
body consists of a boat shape, and the axletrees generally 
extend two to three feet beyond the breadth of it, and which 
form the nave of the wheel, consequently occasion an 
extraordinary degree of friction. Tbis contrivance is used to 
prevent the vehicle from being entirely upset. 

The Russian couriers are obliged to travel with those 
carts, in preference to their own carriage, in the event of its 
breaking down, and thus retard their progress. From the 
extreme fatigue which this occasions, they seldom survive for 
any length of time. 

The speed at which these postillions drive is astonishing, 
as well as their uncouth manner of managing the horses, and 
holding the reins. The horses, however many are used, are 
always yoked abreast ; the outriders draw from a cross beam, 
which is fastened to that of the carriage, something similar to 
the yard-arm of the studding sail of a ship. The reins, as 
well as the harness, are entirely made of ropes. The postil- 


lion seldom uses a whip ; the cheering sound of music is the 
onlv lash he uses, to encourage his horses to proceed. The 
reins are thrown over his back, and held in each hand, while 
his arms are widely extended. At the point of the pole a large 
bell is fastened ; the jingling noise of which is to announce the 
approach of the traveller. The bell is used, similar to the 
horn in Prussia, to warn travellers to give place to the 
postillions of the crown. As soon as a traveller reaches 
the stage, he is immediately driven to the post-house, where 
he is surrounded by multitudes of idlers, every one requesting 
to be employed, yet as constantly refusing. The poderosnoi 
or imperial order for horses, must be presented to the post- 
master, and who must be bribed to encourage his activity. He 
procures the horses from the peasant, and hires them to the 
traveller, at an advanced price ; but the peasant always drives 
his own horses. Every one of the postillions appears with his 
bell slung to his girdle, and which he takes off, when engaged^ 
and fastens to the pole. The instant he is mounted on the 
box, and got clear of the village, he halloos to his horses, 
and sets off at full gallop. His gaiety never forsakes him, and 



he continues to sing his national airs, without interruption, 
during the stage. Whenever they meet on the road, they take 
off their hats, with a degree of studied formaUty, but never 
turn their eyes to each other. Whenever they pass a church 
they ahght and rapidly cross themselves ; even before they 
mount the carriage, they regularly perform their manual exer- 
cise of crossings, and uttering a prayer. Those who furnish 
the post-horses, are called yamshics, and are exempt from the 
payment of the poll-tax, and also from being enlisted as sol- 
diers. The rate of posting is so small, that they regularly 
quarrel among themselves, who shall be employed. Their 
noise and disputes are always carried to such a height, that 
the only means of commanding obedience, is by the cudgel. 
A regular number of horses must always be in readiness, to 
convey the government couriers, who are compelled to travel 
at a certain rate, . equal to ten miles an hour. 

The rate of posting in Russia is fixed at so much a werst, 
for each horse ; but is higher for horses leaving a town or 
borough, than from the villages. The regulated price is rather 



less than two-pence a werst* for each horse. The hire of the 
horses from St. Petersburg, for the first stage of thirty-three 
wersts, was twenty-eight roubles, the value of a rouble being 
at present about one shilling sterling. The next stage (being 
from a village) of twenty- five wersts, only cost five roubles. 
No travelling can be more expeditious, or cheaper than in 

The road from Tossna led us through a country ex- 
tremely flat, and uncultivated. The whole road is laid with 
planks, and partly covered with sand. On all sides, as far as 
the eye could reach, forests of fir, birch and poplars were 
extended ; they were however of a very slender and stunted 
growth, from the barren coldness of the soil. Before we 
reached Pomerania we passed two small paltry villages, more 
wretched than any we had hitherto seen. 

Pomerania, the next stage at which we arrived, resembles 
Tossna in every respect ; the inhabitants are clad alike, but 


* One hundred and five wersts is equal to a degree of sixty-nine miles 
and a half— or seven wersts to five miles. 


somewhat of smaller stature. No degrees of rank are here 
seen, all is one dull, insipid level. 

A few wersts from Tossna, we left the government of 
St. Petersburg, and entered that of Novogorod. Our next stage 
from Pomerania, was to Tischoudovo ; the road was exactly 
similar to the former, with two intervening wretched villages 
of a few huts ; also a plain brick house said to be one of the 
Emperor's hunting seats. Tischoudovo consists of a long 
straggling range of wooden huts, with a neat gothic wooden 
church, painted with red and yellow streaks, and green domes. 
Its population is about one thousand persons. 

Between the last two stages, very little of the country is 
cultivated, excepting small patches stolen from the confines of 
the forests. The only crops are rye and barley, extremely 
light and scanty. The corn, when cut, is dragged to the 
barn on sledges. The plough is of a simple construction. It 
consists of one perpendicular handle, which forms its body, 
and, to which a forked coulter is fixed at right angles ; also 
two wooden shafts, between which the horse is yoked. From 
the light sandy nature of the soil, only one horse is used to a 

2 c plough, 


plough, and tlie furrow turned up, is not more than three 
inches deep. From the forked form of the coulter, the furrows 
are considerably pulverised. This form of plough is certainly 
well adapted to a loose friable soil. In the neighbourhood of 
Tischoudovo, the surface becomes marshy, and is generally 
covered with brush willows, and sickly fir trees. 

The women alone seem to perform the field work, such as 
cutting down, and threshing the grain. When working in the 
fields, they only wear a loose shift, fastened round the waist by 
a girdle, and fancifully embroidered round the skirts and neck, 
with red threads. The sleeves are very wide and secured at 
the elbows. The hair of the head is bound up, by a laced 
bandeau. In features they seem to be even coarser formed 
than the men, and, in their manners, extremely masculine. 
In cold weather they are clad, like the men, in sheep-skins ; 
and, were it not for the bristly chin of the latter, a stranger 
would be considerably at a loss to distinguish the one from 
the other. 

At Tischoudovo the road forms a slight angle, and proceeds 
directly south towards Spaskaia-Poliste. The intermediate 



country is hard and dry, and the road is made of loose stones, 
instead of being floored ; however little cultivation is seen, and 
the stunted appearance of the trees continue. This village 
contains about two hundred and fifty inhabitants, and is re- 
markable only for its similarity to its former companions, both 
in meanness and filth. 

Along the road, we passed one or two large droves of horn- 
ed cattle, proceeding to St. Petersburg. We learned that they 
were brought from the provinces, south of Moscow. These cattle 
are all of a whitish colour, large, well made, and about seven 
hundred weight. Their journey to St. Petersburg generally 
occupies three months ; they travel about eight to sixteen 
miles during the night, and are allowed to pasture and rest, 
during the day, on the sides of the road. The flocks are at- 
tended by one or two men, who convey their cooking utensils, 
baggage, &c. in a waggon, drawn by two oxen ; and, while 
their numerous flocks, undisturbed, repose under the shade of 
the delicate birch, they stretch themselves on the bare ground, 
and pass their time in a true Scythian state. Here are also 
seen a few sheep, but of an inferior breed, and covered with 

2 c 2 hair 


hair somewhat like that of a goat. This country is not favour- 
able for the pasture of sheep, owing to the coarseness of the 
grass, and quantity of wood. Little or no attention seems to 
be used in the rearing of any other domestic animal, besides 
the horse. To him alone the Russ devotes his whole attention, 
and, from him he derives his livelihood. 

Podberezie, the next stage, is marked in the maps as a 
bourg, and contains about two hundred inhabitants. The 
houses are built somewhat different from those of the former 
villages. Some are built in a square form, covered with lime, 
and surrounded by a rudely constructed piazza. The country 
becomes gently elevated, and commands a most extensive view 
towards the south-west, over an immeasurably flat country, 
partly covered with forests and morasses. Around Podberezie 
more attention to agriculture is seen, with an appearance of a 
few windmills. 

At these different stages, the traveller will regularly find 
the most violent disputes among the common people, about 
who shall get the preference of hiring their horses. The horses 
are, in general, hired by the keeper of the post-house, who, in 



return, hires them to the traveller, at an advanced price, while 
the proprietor of the horses makes a noisy demand to be paid 
also for his trouble. They rave at a furious rate ; but an 
opposite appearance of anger, or perhaps a threatened chastise- 
ment, soon puts them to flight. 

In the country there is only one class of people. In most 
countries famihes of rank are nearly alike, from a similitude 
of education, and a general intercourse vt^ith society ; but the 
order of every refinement, in this remote country, seems to be 
perverted. A strong shade of national similarity is observed in - 
the different ranks. The polish of education cannot altogether 
conceal the varying lineaments of a once rude people. If 
it were not that vanity was more predominant than taste, 
the appearance of all would be lost in one undistinguished 

The continual recurrence of offensive oppression renders 
the common people averse to all improvements of agriculture, 
and they lead an existence but ill calculated, either to enlarge 
the solidity of the community, or to improve their moral cha- 
racter. The refinements of taste, the fire of youth, or the 



soft emotions of love, are all laid aside, and the animal senses 
brought into action. Minds, capable of such degradation, 
exist only in proportion, as the sources of their indulgencies 
gratify their appetites ; but, no sooner do its streams cease to 
flow, than they assert their contempt of obedience. Hence 
that texture of mind, which obliterates the finer feelings 
of sentiment, and the admiration of virtue. 

In a general survey of the surface of this part of the 
country, nature seems to have left an aspect extremely liarren, 
and cheerless. The warbling of birds is not heard ; nor are 
th^ gambols of children seen. Their wretched dwellings agree 
with the character of the country. No garden smiles around 
their habitations ; and only partial patches, stolen from the 
forests, are seen, bearing a scanty crop. Such is the appear- 
ance of a country, in which the peasant resides ; his time is 
consumed in the gloomy retrospect, that he has lived only for 
the moment, and drags on a sluggish existence. No shady 
groves, nor cooling grottos, invite his careless steps ; no angel 
woman soothes the anguish of his toils, for woman, lovely and 
adored in every country, is here considered as an animal of 
' ■ '^ drudgery ; 


drudgery ; and the delicacy and softness of their sex are lost, in 
servile submission. 

Approaching, from the last stage, we caught the first 
view of the scattered remains of the ancient city of Novo- 
gorod. The view of the country, towards the south-west, 
continues most extensive and flat, with partial plantations of 
trees, and- some cottages. The soil is more sandy and arid, 
than formerly, and the roads paved with stones, but which 
seems to be avoided by the postillions, who travel, at large, 
over the extensive plains. 

Novogorod stands on a rising bank, on the west side of 
the Volchova river, while the ancient cathedral of Saint Sophia, 
and some wooden huts, are situated on the opposite bank. 
The river is crossed by a long and clumsy wooden bridge, at 
the east end of which is the market-place, lined, on every 
side, with small square houses, surrounded by piazzas, under 
which are ranges of shops, on a similar plan with those in the 
capital, but much inferior in point of elegance. The streets 
cross each other at right angles, and are tolerably well paved ; 
the houses exhibit both age and decay. The number of churches 



is astonishing ; and, though many of them are in a state of decay, 
yet none are seen in complete ruin ; the religion of the country 
does not allow a church ever to be destroyed. The cathedral 
of St. Sophia is one of the most ancient in the country. It 
was built in the eleventh century, by Uladimir Duke of Novo- 
gorod ; in it, are interred the bodies of several distinguished 
princes of the country. The cathedral of St. Sophia, was 
among the first buildings, in this country, after the introduc- 
tion of Christianity. It represents a square clumsy structure, 
with a gilded cupola ; and four domes covered with tin. The 
cathedral is surrounded by the remains of the wall of the old 
fortress, which also includes the ruins of the palace of the an- 
cient dukes. 

The interior of the cathedral exhibits a most extraordi- 
nary display of religious paintings, and carvings in relief. The 
gate, which opens to the grand entrance, is particularly de- 
serving of notice ; it is composed entirely of brass, orna- 
mented with numerous figures, representing the Passion of our 
Saviour. The roof is supported by twelve massive, round 
pillars, covered with numerous scriptural paintings, of the 



mo&t uncouth performance. However clumsy these daubs 
may appear, yet some of them are said to be very old, and to 
have been the first rude attempts after the revival of painting 
in Italy. 

Nothing perhaps can more call the mind back to distant 
ages, than the scattered relics of an ancient city. Here once 
stood the proud capital of these northern regions, giving life, 
activity, and laws to its surrounding tribes ; and, like an old 
and faithful parent, watching over, and sheltering, their 
rising interests. Now all its former splendour is lost in its 
general ruin ; one uninterrupted scene of general decay en- 
compasses it ; and nothing but the wrecks of fallen greatness are 
visible on every side ; and churches and temples are now lost in 
the mazes of the forest. This is one of the most ancient 
cities in Russia, and was called Great Novogorod, to distin- 
guish it from Nishnei Novogorod, and Novogorod Severskoi. 
It is said to have been built as early as the fifth century. 
In the ninth century it became the metropolis of the north, 
under Ruric, the first great duke of Russia, and continued to 
flourish, more as an independent republic, than the capital of 

2d a mo- 


a monarchy, until the fifteenth century, when the government 
was removed to Moscow, and the prowess of Ivan Vassili- 
vitch I. secured his dominions from intestine hroils, and the 
daring attempts of the unsettled Tartars. Novogorod was 
then the great mart of trade between Russia and the 
Hanse Towns. Its population and wealth became so pow- 
erful, as to give rise to the proverb, quis contra Deos et 
Magnam Novogardiam ? At the period of its greatest 
splendour, it is said to heve contained four hundred thousand 
inhabitants ; whereas its present population does not exceed 
seven thousand. When Peter the Great established St. Peters- 
burg, as the capital of the empire, he transferred the whole 
commerce of the Baltic, which had continued to flow to this 
city, to his new metropolis. The present appearance of this 
ancient city, ill accords with its former magnificence. Mag- 
nificent ruins appear on every side, standing as melancholy 
monuments of its former greatness. Even the surrounding 
country appears to have acquired a degree of barreness, which 
no cqltivation could overcome. The little trade which it now 
carries on, is done by means of the Volchova, towards Peters- 


burg and the Mista, to the junction of the Volga ; but occasional 
rapids, on this river, render it somewhat expensive, and diffi- 
cult. We were rather surprised to find that the most active 
persons in trade, were Italians, who seem to be here, what 
Jews are in other countries. 

The Lake Ilmen lies low, and is of a triangular form. Its 
circumference is about ninety miles ; it is supplied by three 
small rivers from the south, while it discharges itself by the 
Volchova, which runs to the Lake Ladoga, and the Mista 
which joins the Tvertza, which in turn falls into the Volga. 
By the junction of these rivers, there is a communication from 
the Gulf of Finland to the Caspian Sea. 

From St. Petersburg to Novogorod, the distance is equal 
to one hundred and twenty-seven miles, with a population of 
only two thousand five hundred persons. On each side of 
the road extend forests and marshes, which have scarcely 
been trodden by the foot of man. On the west side of the 
road these wilds extend, without interruption, to the great 
Toad, leading towards Lithuania. On the north-east it ex- 
tends much farther, and through a space only known to the 

2 D 2 animals 


animals of the forest. In short, the government of Novogorod 
scarcely contains more than two individuals to four square miles, 
or one person to one thousand two hundred and eighty English 
acres ! No other part of the country is inhabited, than along 
the line of the great roads ; between the principal cities no 
individual houses are ever seen, but at the different stages, 
where they are built together, and only round those spots, is 
the ground cultivated, while the intervening space is a neg- 
lected waste. 

In viewing this wide, and almost unpeopled country, we 
are naturally led to enquire, whence do those mighty armies 
come, which have been so often, and so successively wielded by 
this country ? The question is solved, the moment we throw 
our eye over the map of the Russian Empire. Here we see 
an extent of country, stretching from the banks of the Nie- 
men to the shores of Kamtschatka ; from the bleak and 
frozen country of the Samoide, to the vernal plains of the 
Tauridian Peninsula ; a space even double that of modern 
Europe. Yet the whole of this vast, and unbounded empire, 

scarcely contains fifty millions of people ! 



If agriculture is properly encouraged, the population will 
be increased in proportion. Were this country to acquire a 
population, equal to one-fourth of what England contains, to a 
square mile, it would amount to nearly one hundred and fifty 
millions of people. 

From Novogorod the road is flat, and laid with wood. 
It soon enters a fine forest of larger trees than we had hitherto 
passed, and crosses a branch of the Volchovo, about one 
hundred yards in breadth. This is, on the whole, a pleasant 
and picturesque stage. The road w^inds, in an irregular man- 
ner, through fine natural avenues of fir, weeping birch, pop- 
lars, and mountain ash, without an object to relieve the 
woodland scene. At length it reaches the banks of the Mista, 
and commands a charming view of the river and church of 
Bronnitzi, situated on the top of a conical mount. The banks 
of the river are steep and clayey, and the east part of the 
road, loose sand. The river is about three hundred feet wide, 
but shallow. Bronnitzi stands on the south side of the river, 
over which is a remarkably neat bridge on pontoons. The 
town is of an irregular form. The houses are partly made of 



wood, and some of brick, stuccoed and white-washed. There 
are two fine churches, surmounted with many domes ; one of 
them is situated on a singular steep conical mount, called 
' Bronnitzkaya-Gora. Concerning this hill various stories are 
related. On its summit are two springs, generally covered 
with aquatic plants. The peasants ascribe medicinal virtues 
to its water. The whole hill is embellished with variegated 
flowers, and some dwarf-elms ; except on the north side, 
which is not covered by any vegetation. The prospect, from 
this eminence, over the surrounding country, as well as the 
lake Ilmen, is very extensive. On festival days it becomes the 
favourite resort of the country-people. This mount is com- 
posed of a loamy soil, except at its base, where the remains of 
some large blocks of granite are scattered. The height of 
the mount is nearly two hundred feet ; and some German wri- 
ters have supposed it to originate from human labour : * but 
the very circumstance of the springs on its summit must rather 


* Pallas's Travels through the Russian Empire in 1771, (in German), 
Vol. L 


be a proof to the contrary. Bronnitzi contains about one 
thousand inhabitants ; the people are more given to imposi- 
tion and quarrels, than at Novogorod. The inn is wretch- 
edly bad. 

From Bronnitzi the road takes a south-easterly direction, 
and passes over extensive morasses and brushwood. About 
the middle of the stage, the wood becomes large and luxuriant. 
The first part of the road is planked, and, towards Zaiffova, 
paved with stones. Here, for the first time, from St. Peters- 
burg, we saw the country swelled into gentle hill and dale. 
The soil alters from a sandy loam, to red clay, which is tole- 
rably well farmed, and to a considerable extent. Along the 
road are two or three mean villages, nearer in resemblance to 
the wigwam of the Americans, than those of the Russians. 
Zaififovo scarcely deserves to be mentioned ; it has neither 
church, nor any object of distinction, beyond the meanest 

The implements of agriculture here are similar to those 
we had already seen j except the harrow, which is entirely 
made from the lateral branches of the fir tree, with its twigs 



serving as teeth — an evident sign that no improvement has 
taken place, since the earliest attention to agriculture was 

We next approached the town of Krestzi, containing 
about two thousand inhabitants. The road is loose, heavy 
sand, partly planked or paved with stones. In some places 
it is irregular, and becomes a broad track, similar to the sandy 
plains in Swedish Pomerania. The road crosses a small river, 
issuing from the lake Ilmen, on which is erected a small saw- 
mill, used in sawing the fir wood, which is here of consi- 
derable extent, on the west side of the road. On this stage 
were two small villages, almost in a state of ruin ; they were 
surrounded by little gardens, well stocked with cabbage. This 
was the first instance of any attention to horticulture we had 
seen. A singular custom prevails here, among the labouring 
people ; while engaged at their labour at a distance from home, 
they do not seek the shelter of their huts, but are contented to 
stretch themselves, on the bare ground, round a blazing fire, 
and pass the night in a true Scythian manner. A traveller is 
astonished at the frequency, and number of these flaming piles ; 



they are generally placed at the side of the road ; and, on 
approaching them, his astonishment is increased at beholding 
the savage appearance of men, wrapped up in sheep-skins, 
with their faces covered with the most frightful beards, and 
dimly seen through the rolling volumes of smoke. The people 
here are little removed from the grossest barbarism, and may 
almost be said to lead a wandering life. The entire face of the 
country is covered with natural forests, the abode of wild 
animals, and the scene of occasional robberies. While tra^ 
veiling this stage, in the evening, a large wolf sullenly stalked 
by the carriage. 

Krestzi is a considerable town situated on the banks of 
a small river. It is throughout built of wood, except at its 
south end, where a few brick houses appear neatly finished ; 
also a very pretty painted church. The houses are filled with 
virmin and insects ; particularly the cock-roach. 

We again proceeded through a sandy country, and reached 
the bourg of Rachino, about half the size of the former town, 
but very irregularly built, and somewhat in a state of decay. 
A small village relieves the dreariness of the stage ; yet this 

2 E part 


part of the country seems more populous than the rest. The 
women appear alone to cut down the grain, while the men are 
ploughing, harrowing ^nd sowing, or perfectly idle. The 
women, while working in the fields, are dressed in long loose 
shifts, fastened at the elbow by wide sleeves. The skirts are 
• fancifully embroidered with red thread ; on the head is worn 
a silver laced bandeau, or a kerchief rolled round it ; the hair 
is plaited behind, and allowed to hang down the back ; after 
marriage it is tied up, and distinguishes the virgin from the 
matron. Others wear a blue woollen shift, trimmed down the 
front with a row of buttons. 

The road, from the last stage, becomes more irregular, 
consisting of numerous broad tracks over deep, loose, sand, 
with sudden declivities and ascents. In winter this stage must 
be both fatiguing and dangerous. Few objects are seen, but 
an irregular appearance in the surface of the country; which 
looses its former flatness, and undulates into considerable hills 
and valleys, covered with wood, or washed by spreading rivu- 
lets. Towards the south-east the country becomes somewhat 
bold and picturesque ; the hills assume an irregular form, covered 



with wood, or broken up by falling streams of water. Culti- 
vation is less practised, the soil changes to a greyish clay, 
considerably covered with loose stones. 

During the last stage we observed several ancient sepul- 
chral tumuli. A short distance from Rachino we passed four, 
grouped together, of considerable height, and covered with 

The bourg of Jagelbitzi consists of two long streets, 
crossing each other at right angles, with a population of five 
hundred persons. The ground, on which the houses are built, 
is deeply rutted by the water, which in winter flows from the 
Valday hills ; over these cuts wooden bridges are placed. At 
the south-end of the town is a tolerably large and shewy 
church, with a square steeple, between two domes painted 
green and red. The church yard, unlike the careful attentions 
usually paid to those sacred spots, is converted into a paddock 
for cattle. 

The people here seem to have a peculiar character of 
knavery, and are more lawless than those nearer to the me- 

2 B 2 The 


The person who drove our servants found an opportunity 
of picking their poctets ; but he was luckily detected by a 
traveller passing at the moment. When challenged with the 
theft, he fell on his knees before the church, crossed himself 
repeatedly, and invoked the vengeance of all the saints, if he 
was guilty. However, on offering a reward of five roubles for 
the restoration of the stolen property, or, in case of a refusal, 
threatening an application to the police, he was induced to 
confess that he had seen a pocket-book on the road, which he 
would endeavour to find. One of our servants accompanied 
him, and found that the careful Russ had secured the stolen 
property in a hole in the wall of his hut. He had not examin- 
ed the contents of the book, and, when it was opened before 
him, and presented to his sight a considerable number of 
Russian notes, it drew from him an exclamation of astonish- 
ment, and as many oaths and prayers, that he had given us a 
wrong book ! Nothing can excel the arch-roguery of a 
Russian. On the same stage another stole the cushion from 
the box of the carriage, and sold it to a third, from whom 



we were obliged to purchase it, on his assertion that it was the 
work of his own hands. 

We could not but shudder at a most extraordinary instance 
of immorality, which is still allowed to take place among many 
of these ignorant and wretched people. A father marries his 
son, when almost a boy, to a girl considerably older ; the son 
is immediately sent to some distant town, to acquire a livelihood, 
while the parent cohabits with his daughter-in-law, and often 
presents his son, on his return, with a numerous family. It is 
to be hoped, that proper measures will be taken by the legisla- 
ture to abolish these incestuous marriages. 

( 214 ) 


Moscow, September, 1814. 
On leaving Jagelbitzi the heights of Valday opened to our 
view, extending across the road in a west and east direction. 
The road soon began to ascend the hill, and to wind in a zig-zag 
manner, for thirteen miles. The track is partly paved with 
stones, or covered with sand. The Valday mountains, so 
called by the Russians, from its being the only rising ground 
between St. Petersburg and Moscow, is about one thousand 
feet in height, and not more than sixteen miles wide at its 
base, and about fifty miles in length. This rising ground 
appears picturesique, and affords an agreeable relief to the eye, 
after passing along the insipid flatness of the country from 
St. Petersburg. It rises in so gradual a manner, and being 
considerably broken in its surface, that its heights appear 



somewhat diminished. It cannot be seen from any great 
distance. The surface is partly covered with loose stones of 
granite, a few fir trees, and much brush wood : also ex- 
tensive tracks of cultivation. Grain is reared on the very 
summit of these heights. The soil is a reddish clay, mixed 
with sand. Along the side of the road are seen a few 
miserable wooden huts. The people partake of that lawless 
character, which the aspect of the country is so well cal- 
culated to impress. No features of mineralogy present them- 
selves, except a slight appearance of stratification towards 
the south-end of the hill. On the summit of the hill we 
were astonished to find several tumuli, picturesquely covered 
with the green fir trees, which considerably added to the 
irregularity of the scenery. From its summit the prospect 
was not so extensive as might be expected. Before us, at 
the foot of the hill, appeared the little town of Zimogorie, 
situated on the banks of a small lake. On entering the 
town we found two long streets, formed of wooden houses, 
built on the declivity of a rising ground, and almost joining to 
the lake. Each of the streets is terminated by a church. The 



one is a large brick building, with several gilded domes, the 
other a clumsy wooden structure. A few of the houses are 
built of brick, stuccoed and painted of various colours. The 
inn is kept by an Italian, and we had the pleasure of being- 
serenaded with the music of several instruments. A slight 
difference is remarkable, between the people here, and those 
on the other side of the hill. Light hair and light beards seem 
to be the prevailing colour, and a countenance somewhat 
sharper. The hair is cut in the same manner ; only that, on 
the top of the head, it is cut very short, forming a kind of 
circular bald pate. The women are better looking, and pos- 
sess a peculiar softness of manner. The lake Valday, which 
extends along the south side of the town, is about fifteen miles 
in length, and from one to three in breadth, with several 
islands scattered over its surface, and some fine peninsulas of 
wood. On one of its islands is a large and shewy convent, 
with many glittering domes and turrets, rising above the dark 
green foliage of the surrounding forest. So retired from the 
bustling scenes of life is this religious asylum, that the pious 
enthusiast must find in it a retreat equal to his wishes. Alto- 


gether, Zimogorie will present objects sufficiently interesting to 
detain the traveller one or two days. 

The road from Zimogorie to Jedrovo is even worse;, than 
that over the Valday hills. It passes over a rugged and barren 
country, covered with loose stones, and deeply rutted. This 
fatiguing stage is surrounded, on each side, by young wood, 
and several narrow lakes. Slight attempts at cultivation are 
distinguished, but the crops are very scanty. The stalks of 
corn no where appeared above ten inches in length : corn 
stacks are, in consequence, thatched with the twigs of the 
birch tree. Before we entered Jedrovo we passed a small, but 
picturesque winding lake, near to which we observed several 
tumuli, not so large as, but more perfect than, those we had 
hitherto seen. Here we also observed numerous flocks of wood 
pigeons, uncommonly tame. These, with the common black 
and grey raven, were the only birds we had ever noticed. 
This little town consists of one long street, of mean wooden 
hovels, more like heaps of rotten wood, than the dwellings of 
men. The street terminates in a square, in which a large and 
clumsy church is built. This was the first place where we 

2 r found 


found no kind df inn, or public house. However we met with 
a tolerable substitute, from the stores of a Russian traveller, 
who was on his return to St. Petersburg, from Saratoff on the 
banks of the Volga, about six hundred miles south-east of 
Moscow. He was accompanied by his family, and, like every 
native of the country, moved along with his whole household 
furniture. Every Russian is so well acquainted with the 
extreme barrenness of his country, and the filthiness of the 
inns, that they never undertake a journey without carrying 
along with them a regular stock of provisions, beds, and the 
apparatus of cookery. 

From the last town we proceeded through a broad, open, 
and unequal track of loose heavy sand, leading through ex- 
tensive forests of fir and birch. The last part of this stage is 
formed of wood. On each side are some fine fields, well laid 
out, and seemingly well cultivated. The crops were oats and 
buck-wheat. The bourg of Kotilovo is another very long 
range of mean wooden huts, terminated by a fine church, 
surrounded by trees. The inn is small, and well stocked with 
garlic, filth, cock-roaches, &c. &c. 

A few 


A few wersts from Kotilovo we passed the boundary line 
of the government of Novogorod, and entered that of Tweer. 
This was a long stage of thirty-six wersts, over a country, 
flat, sandy and uninteresting. The soil alternately varied from 
a light clay sand, to that of a dark black grey. The grass 
was £hort and scorched, and the trees small. 

The first place we arrived at was the district town of 
Vishnei-Volotshok. This is a considerable town, well built, 
and contains about twelve thousand inhabitants. The streets 
are regular, and many of the houses are built of brick, and 
stuccoed. A square is allotted to the shops, which are esta- 
blished on a plan similar to those in the capital. The town is 
ornamented with three fine churches, besides a variety of 
smaller religious edifices. From its population and appearance, 
it ranks as the first from St. Petersburg. 

This town is situated on the banks of the river Mista, 
which discharges itself from the lake Ilmen, and, after pass- 
ing, in a circular form, through the government of Novo- 
gorod, reaches Vishnei-Volotshok, where it assumes the name 
of the Tvertza, or rather from its being joined to that river by 

*2 F 2 means 


means of a considerable canal ; and which, on account of 
faciHtating the inland navigation of the country, renders it 
one of the most important places connected with the capital. 
The navigation of these rivers united, is upwards of fourteen 
hundred miles ; a communication is also carried on with Sibe- 
ria and China, by the junction of these noble rivers. How- 
ever we could not but observe, that the spirit of commerce 
seemed, at present, to be considerably abated. This may pro- 
bably arise from the effect of the late campaign. 

We continued our route to Widropouskoe, over a similar 
flat, and sandy country, but more covered with forests, from 
which small patches of cultivation were stolen. Near the 
little stream of Zna we passed, for the first time, a solitary 
farm house. Widropouskoe is a bourg of mean wooden huts, 
of the vilest description, yet ornamented with a shewy painted 

The men still hold that low insipid rank, where all is on 
one level ; and their dress the never varying sheep-skin. The 
women here are singularly dressed. A silk kerchief is bound 
round the head, with the ends hanging down the back ; while 



the body is covered with a green sarsnet petticoat and vest, 
formed into one, fastened under the arms, and supported by 
broad bracers, from behind, over the shoulders. The arms, 
as far as the elbow, are covered with a very wide sleeve, of 
white linen. A cord is drawn tight across the breasts, which 
it divides into a most disgusting form. Nothing binds the 
waist : all, from the shoulders, hangs loose. Some have their 
dress in front trimmed with rows of buttons, others wear a 
second sort of short petticoat fastened under the arms, and 
which hangs open, and wide, to the waist. The stockings are 
padded, and worn as rollers round the legs ; which occasions 
every woman to walk in a very waddling manner. 

It was not with regret that we left Widropouskoe, and 
proceeded to Torjock. Along this stage we were highly com- 
pensated, by the appearance of extensive fields of grain. The 
greater part of the country around Torjock is cultivated. 
The soil is a light friable loam ; the crops are barley, black 
oats, buck wheat and rye ; however the straw is short, not 
exceeding ten inches. There is more grain raised in this 
district, than in the whole way between it and St. Petersburg. 



>Neither hedges nor fences of any kind are seen. The cattle 
are herded in flocks, which are still very few, though in 
greater numbers than any where towards the north. Tliey 
are generally black, and of a small size. The sheep are of a 
greyish black colour, with very coarse wool, and natural short 

Between Widropouskoe and Torjock, we observed the 
effect of fire on one of those wooden villages. It belonged to 
the Count Suwaroff, and had accidentally caught fire. The 
houses being built entirely of wood, and no immediate supply 
of water, were burnt to the ground in a very few hours. Even 
the very planks which formed the road, were burnt. The loss 
was nearly that of two hundred houses. In cases of such 
losses, the peasants are exempted from so many days labour to 
their lord, and are partly assisted in r£building of their houses. 

It is a matter of astonishment, that every house in this 
country is not burnt down, or at least that repeated instances 
of conflagration should not more frequently occur; not only, 
because the cottages are built of wood, but from the common 
practice of using long shps of lighted deal, instead of candles, 



and which are carried through all parts of the house, with the 
sparks constantly falling from them. Tallow, or wax candles, 
are rarely used in the country ; except in the churches, where 
the piety of the individual is often in proportion to the number 
of wax tapers he fixes on the altar. 

Torjock is a district town, and stands upon a fine com- 
manding station, on both sides of the Tvertza, which are con- 
nected by a singular floating bridge, made of large planks, 
fastened parallel to each other. The river is about forty yards 
wide, and navigable by flat-bottomed boats. It has a direct 
communication with Vishnei-Volotshok, and the commerce of 
the Baltic, and also communicates with that of the Volga. 
Its principal trade consists in the exportation of grain, and 
the manufacture of leather into various articles of dress and 
other purposes ; particularly boots and shoes, port-feuilles, 
leather beds, &c. These are neatly stitched and embroidered 
with gold and silver threads, and are partly exported to Tur- 
key and Astracan. 

The dresses of the women at Torjock are particularly 
remarkable. They diflfer from their northern neighbours, in 



the gaudy display of Asiatic finery and flowing robes. The 
dress consists of a lofty Hessian cap, or coeffure, about two 
feet in height, which covers the back of the neck down to the 
shoulders, while a fringe of pearls hangs over the forehead. 
Over the head dress is thrown a large white muslin shawl, 
edged with broad gold lace, which hangs loosely over the 
shoulders and reaches to the ground. The petticoat is made 
of red or yellow sarsnet or damask silk, embroidered with 
broad gold lace. The sleeves ai e worn extremely wide, and of 
a different coloured silk. The shoes are stitched with silver 
thread, and worn close up to the ancles. This singular cos- 
tume is worn by all ranks of women, but finer in proportion to 
the wealth or rank of the individual. The children are habited 
in a similar manner, without the. head dress. Those who do 
not wear a shawl, have the hair of the head plaited into three 
plaits, down the back, and terminated by a knot of ribbons. 

The houses are partly built of brick, but the greater 
number of them are made of wood, and exhibit a very mean 
appearance. The churches are the most numerous and shewy 
buildings in the town. Every one is surmounted by several 



domes and spires, ludicrously painted and gilt. The singular 
variety of characters seen at Torjock, is in consequence of a 
celebrated spring, which is said to perform wonderful cures. 
To it flock the vulgar and superstitious tribes of the most dis- 
tant provinces, conceiving it a general panacea for their pains 
and infirmities. Here we see the various costumes of different 
(Countries, and here are heard their various tongues. All 
crowd to this hallowed water, as to a baptismal fount, where 
they could rid themselves of sin, and give a new birth unto 

We again proceeded on our journey, and found the road, 
jat first, hard and well made, with improvements in agriculture 
on each side, but which soon changed into a dreary waste of 
loose sand. Along this stage we passed the country residences 
of Generals Karamichoff and Gleboff. The first is a mean 
plain brick house, with a few trees round it, without the 
beauty of a garden, or even the advantage of a made road to the 
house. The other is a large shewy building, with many domes 
and pillars, and extensive avenues of trees, and distant forests. 
The scenery is extremely beautiful. A small river passes in 

2 G ^ front 


front of the house, which is crossed by a rude gothic bridge of 
three arches. Near the bridge are the cottages of the peasants. 
We continued to travel along the north side of the Tvvertza, 
until we reached the bourg of Mednoe, situated on the south 
side of the river, which is crossed by a wooden bridge on 
pontoons. This little town consists of a number of old mean 
wooden hovels, almost in a state of ruin. In the centre is a 
fine church and parsonage, with a large dome and spire 
painted pea green. The contrast between the church and 
houses is very remarkable. We were driven by a Cossack, 
who, being a freed man, had the privilege of hiring his own 
horses, independently of the rules of the post-house. Some of 
the Cossacks who had served in the late campaign, and chose 
to settle in this part of the country, received a small portion 
of land from the Emperor, on which they now reside. No 
travelling can exceed, in speed, that which is here performed. 
The roads, passing over extensive flat plains, scarcely present 
an obstacle to the wheel. The instant the postillion has got 
clear of the village, he gives the well known howl to his 
horses, which immediately set off at full gallop, and, after 


TWEER. 227 

running at this furious rate for a few wersts, he suddenly 
slackens their pace^ until they becouie somewhat refreshed, 
when again he starts at a similar speed, and a stage of twenty- 
six miles is generally performed in three hours ; they never halt 
on the stage, nor allow their horses any water. ^ 

A considerable trade in grain seems to be carried on at 
Mednoe, by means of the river ; though less attention is 
devoted to agriculture than about Torjock. 

It was not without considerable satisfaction that we reach- 
ed Tweer, and found a place where we could command some 
refreshments and repose, after so fatiguing a journey from the 
capital. However expeditious the Russian postillion may 
drive his horses, yet, from the inequality of the roads, and 
the continued dreariness of flat morasses and endless forests, 
with scarcely an object to arrest the attention, beyond that of the 
lowest stamp in the scale of human beings, the traveller must, 
more or less, catch the kindred gloom, and become the mere 
statistical writer. No Uving objects excite his mirth, nor wild- 
ness of scenery his sublimity. All is on one dull insipid level. 

2 G 2 At 


At every village we see the wrangling group of slieep-skin 
clad postillions, whose noise is increased hy the jingling of their 
bells ; while, along the flat and dreary stage, the never ending 
song, and howl of the postillion, with the tinkling of his bell, 
are the only sounds which break on the awfully predominating 

The town of Tweer is situated on the banks of the Volga, 
which is here joined by the Twertza. The appearance of Tweer 
is almost that ofthe capital in miniature. The houses are regu- 
lar, numerous and elegantly designed. Along the side of the 
river are the most finished buildings. The corners of the 
streets cross each other at right angles, and terminate in an 
octagon square. The houses are generally painted of various 
colours, and the spires and domes of the churches are richly gilt. 
The town owes its present improved appearance to a fire which 
consumed it in 17^3, and which was rebuilt under the auspices 
of the Empress Catharine. The public buildings were erected 
at the expense of the government, and large sums of money 
vyere distributed to the suflerers, to eissist them in restoring their 


TWEER. 229 

dwellings, on a scale of superior excellence. In consequence 
of this order Tweer soon became a large and splendid town, and 
may now rank, in beauty and size, superior to any of the pro- 
vincial towns. Public seminaries were instituted, in the reign 
of Catharine, for the education of the children of the province 
and those of the burghers ; but, from some defect in either 
their genius or industry, these establishments have greatly 
fallen into decay. 

Tweer was once the resident city of the Grand Dukes of 
Russia, but is now the capital of the government of the same 
name. It is advantageously situated, in respect to its commu- 
nication with other places. By means of the Volga it carries 
on an inland trade with the Caspian Sea and the intermediate 
countries, also by the junction of the rivers flowing through 
the extensive country of Siberia. The produce of those dis- 
tant and almost unknown regions are brought to the capital. 
At Tweer we were regaled with sterlets, a delicious fish caught 
in the Volga, They are preserved in wooden troughs, and 
prove a necessary part of food to the inhabitants, during ^;heir 
religious fasts. 



The Volga is one of the largest rivers in Europe, and 
carries on a commercial communication through a greater 
extent of country, than any other river. It rises from two 
small lakes, on the boundary line between the governments 
of Novogorod and Tweer, in latitude fifty-seven north, and 
longitude thirty- four east, and, after traversing, in an irregu- 
lar direction, to the forty-ninth degree of east longitude, it 
takes a southerly course, and falls into the Caspian Sea at 
Astracan, in latitude forty-six north, including a space of nearly 
one thousand nine hundred English miles. It is worthy of 
remark that the Volga, Dnieper, and Duna, three of the 
largest rivers in Europe, take their rise within a few miles of 
each other. 

This town is three hundred and seventy-six miles from St. 
Petersburg, and one hundred and twenty-two miles from Mos- 
cow ; and holds, as it were, the middle link in the chain of 
civilization. The streets exhibit that singular contrast of 
splendour and poverty, so conspicuous in the capital. It is 
singular that, only in the cities of any importance, the appear- 
ance of persons of wealth, rank or education is to be found ; 



TWEER. 231 

while the extensive plains of the country are entirely left to the 
possession of uncultivated boors. From the effects of a military 
education and a despotic government, it is considered as an 
instance of degradation, for any branch of a family of dis- 
tinction to engage either in farming or commerce. They are 
all educated for the army ; and, in that situation, alone, can 
they exist. In a moral point of view, this distinction of rank 
must more or less prove destructive to the state. It encou- 
rages a mode of education favourable to despotism, and destruc- 
tive of commercial, as well as moral improvements. Man, 
trained from infancy to follow the career of war, loses all at- 
tachments to individual spots, and, only living in the expec- 
tation of meeting the enemy, — the study of the arts is neg- 

The agriculture, in this part of the country, can scarcely 
be expected to equal that of more improved countries, as long 
as the present degraded state, in which it is held, continues. 
An individual proprietor may partially induce his tenants to 
alter their mode of farming, but, as he seldom resides on his 
estates, his orders are neglected, and he is led to believe, that 



the attempt is useless. Until the government itself gives the 
command, and enforces it as a law, that such means ought to 
he pursued, and that only the new invented and most approved 
implements in agriculture he used, the present system will 
never vary. Plans must he drawn up, and strictly followed. 
Officers of sufficient knowledge should he appointed to mark 
the improvements, and to instruct them, as well as to reward 
individual attentions. All the old machines in use should be 
abolished, and the native artizan should be instructed in the 
knowledge of making no others, but those of other countries. 
Schools should also be instituted, solely for practical farming ; 
and the young farmers ought to labour as servants, arid after- 
wards be dispersed, as inspectors and stewards. 

The soil is naturally either arid or wet, and would conse- 
quently require considerable attention and care to enrich it. 
The most irregular method pursued here, is the promiscuous 
assemblage of crops. Neither ditches nor fences mark the 
extent of a field, nor scarcely are the divisions of ridges used; 
this perhaps is of very little importance, particularly in dry 
situations. The crops of rye, barley, and buck wheat may be 

. . seen 


seen occupying alternate spaces, while their seeds are constant" 
ly mixing with each other. Hemp and flax, which are the 
greatest source of wealth to the proprietors of land, in this 
country, we scarcely observed along this line of our journey. 
The fields are ploughed in any direction the horses chuse to 
drag the plough, but, in most instances, the furrow is drawn 
in an oblique manner across the breadth of a ridge, while the 
next space is done in an opposite direction, and the whole field 
appears ploughed in a zig-zag manner. The furrow turned 
up is scarcely of sufficient depth to reach the moisture. After 
the seed is sown, a harrow is used, formed of the small 
branches of the fir tree, which pulverises the soil so much, 
that, with the shallow furrow, it soon becomes a bed of dry 
dust. By these means the roots have not sufficient hold, and 
the crops are consequently short and delicate. Manure is 
scarcely ever used, nor any green crops, such as turnips, po- 
tatoes, or even pulse. The common oats in use are the black 
kind. Were potatoes more generally cultivated, it might suc- 
ceed better than the grain, and prove a more substantial food 

2 H to 



to the inhabitants, during their long, and oft repeated religious 

The rearing of black cattle forms no part of their rural 
pursuits, beyond what is sufficient to supply them with milk. 
The markets of St. Petersburg and Cronstadt are annually 
supplied with cattle from the southern provinces of the em- 
pire, a distance of one thousand to fifteen hundred wersts ; 
and, in winter, the cattle are killed at an equal distance, and 
brought in a frozen state. The calves which are produced 
here are killed to supply the market in summer ; in consequence 
of which no increase of stock takes place. The great cause of 
the want of black cattle, along this line of country, does not 
arise from any want of pasturage, which, in summer, is abun- 
dant, but from the impossibility of supporting them during the 
long winter, when so little food is raised by means of farming. 
No part of the country is more advantageously situated than 
the preisent, to be benefitted by this circumstance. The great 
demands which the two capitals require, must present a ready 
market to the grazier, and those large sums which are annually 



paid to those from the neighbourhood of the Crimea, might 
be retained, and the circulation of money become more abun- 
dant. The first step towards the increase of black cattle, 
should be the gradual decrease of horses. It is well known 
that, from one hundred to two hundred horses are to be found 
almost at every stage. From this useful animal the peasant 
derives his present livelihood, and which consumes, during the 
winter, all the food raised by their scanty state of farming, 
and thus presents an insurmountable barrier to their keeping 
any other animals, but one or two milch cows. It has been 
already mentioned, that the immense quantity of tallow ex- 
ported from Russia, would be sufficient to shew to what an 
extent the rearing of cattle must be carried ; yet we are here 
deceived, and can only consider it as collected from the most 
fertile of the southern provinces. The introduction of sheep 
could not be attended with so much immediate benefit, owing 
to the immense extent of forests, which every where cover the 
face of the country; and the quality of the herbage is not 
exactly suited to the nature of the animal. Another defect, 

2 H 2 * which 


which ought to be abolished, is the distillery of spirits from 
corn. It is carried on to so extensive a degree, that, scarcely 
is there sufficient grain left for the manufacture of bread. 
This pernicious spirit is distilled chiefly from rye, and the 
quantity distilled in the different provinces is in proportion to 
the quantity of grain raised. 

The greater proportion of the peasants being slaves to 
the nobles, the land is portioned out to them, according to 
their ovi^n interests. Except the peasants on the estates be- 
longing to the Emperor, and some others, who have been 
emancipated, the rest still continue, as a part of the land, and 
are either disposable with, or without it. Those who are 
slaves generally give so many days labour to their master, in 
the cultivation of the soil ; and those crops, which the tra- 
veller passes along the road, are not to reward the industry of 
the peasant, but are reserved as a part of the income of the 
noble proprietor ; and, while the poor Russ beholds the waving 
corn, smiling under the labours of his hands, he knows it is 
sacred from his touch, and that he may starve in the midst of 




From the indifference, and even oppression, with which the 
nobles treat their slaves, arises one of the many causes which 
induces them to avoid residing, in the country, among them ; 
as their conduct would soon meet with that fate, which ty- 
ranny must ever dread. The peasants of the Crown are more 
independent than those of the nobles, and consequently more 
industrious ; their rents are fixed, but the others are compelled 
to pay in proportion to their improvements. Whether they 
act as farmers, mechanics, or postillions, they, in proportion, 
pay from the rate of the emoluments which they receive from 
their various occupations : even to that of begging ! With so 
slight inducements to industry, it is no wonder that we observe 
such a striking degree of idleness among the peasants, parti- 
cularly when they have no excitement to become industrious. 
Those few who, by trade, amass money, are a prey to the 
needy proprietor, who borrows, but forgets to repay ; and 
those who are freed-men, meet with a similar degree of taxation 
from the officers of the government. 

During our journey from St. Petersburg, the weather 
continued extremely hot, varying from sixty-one to seventy- 

^ two 


two degrees of Fahrenheit. The nights were regularly cold and 
foggy, which always increased towards sun-rise. 

Taking leave of Tweer we continued our journey towards 
Moscow. The first stage was through a flat country of light 
sandy loam. The crops are extensive, but not luxuriant. 
Extensive plantations of dwarf birch and elms cover the sur- 
face of the surrounding country, which, in the distance, be- 
comes gently diversified into hill and dale. 

Wosskresenskoe is marked as a borough. It contains 
about three hundred inhabitants, is built entirely of wood, and 
exhibits a very mean appearance. From this stage we pro- 
ceeded through a country still flat and uninteresting. Little 
or no part of the road is made, but passes, as a track, 
through loose sand. Before it reaches Zadivovo it crosses the 
Volga by a bridge of boats ; and, immediately after, enters 
the government of Moscow. 

In the evening we reached the district town of Klin. 
This stage is diversified by one or two small villages, and a 
paper- manufactory. Round Klin, the country is more allotted 
to pasture than to grain, and yet few cattle meet the eye. 



KLIN. 239 

Klin, though a district town, is yet one of the smallest of that 
class on the road. It consists of two streets of wooden 
houses, which cross each other at right angles, and form a 
square in the centre ; in which is now building a large brick 
church. In the square are a few brick houses, and a range 
of shops. The town stands on an elevated situation on the 
north side of a small river, which is crossed by a floating 
bridge of planks. 

In the neigbourhood of Klin were some excellent country 
seats, but they were destroyed by a party of the French army 
from Moscow. The people do not appear either so independent, 
or so well cloathed, as in the province of Twer. Their features 
are sharper, and of a darker complexion. The hats, worn by 
the men, are high crowned, with a broad slouching brim. 
The dresses of the women are not so rich as those at Torjock, 
but equally gaudy and cumbersome. The head is bound round 
by a broad gold lace, which is raised in the form of a helmet, 
and fastened behind by a silk kerchief, hanging loosely over 
the back. The shirt sleeves are extremely wide, and termi- 
nate at the wrist by a deep red frill, embroidered over the 



shoulders with a similar colour. The short loose petticoat 
secured under the arms, thickly plaited, and the rolled stock- 
ings, with the addition of cords, bound round the legs, 
complete their dress. 

At Klin we engaged one set of horses to take us to 
Moscow ; the distance is three stages, or eighty-one wersts, 
which was to be performed in twelve hours. The first stage was 
rather uneven ; the birch and fir trees were more healthy and 
larger, the crops also appeared more luxuriant. At Pecheki we 
observed one of those temporary palaces which Potemkin 
built for the accommodation of Catharine, when she undertook 
her celebrated journey towards the Crimea.* 

The road from Pecheki to Tschernaia-Griasse, the last 
stage, is almost a track through forests ; between it and 
Moscow, the road is flat, and passes through a waste of un- 
cultivated ground, spread over with birch. Nearer to the city 
it enters an immense flat common, without either a shrub or a 
hut to be seen, and which, in many places, is broken up into 


- * Segur's Life of Potemkin,. 


deep pits, from which a regular supply of sand is carried to 
the city. Nothing can be more barren and neglected than the 
appearance of this entry to the ancient capital. The soil is a 
stiff yellow clay ; but, near the city, it becomes fine yellow 
sand. Over this extensive plain every traveller chuses his own 
tradi, until he reaches the barrier gate of the city. The dis- 
tance from St. Petersburg to Moscow is seven hundred and 
twenty-eight wersts.* Only three small towns (Novogorod, 
Vishnei, Volotshok, and Tweer) occur in this long line. Mi- 
serable wooden villages occasionally fill up the dreariness of a 
flat, uncultivated country, mostly covered with forests and 
morasses ; through which the greater extent of the road 
passes in a straight line. 

* About five hundred and twenty miles. 

2 i 

( 242 ) 


Moscow, September, 1814. 

The toils and fatigues of a long journey were now to have 
some repose ; the long looked for object of our cares and wishes 
was approaching, and the spires of Moscow soon hailed our 
gladdened sight. When the weary pilgrim with tired limbs 
comes in view of the turrets of Medina, he stops at the distant 
fonts of the city, and his zeal and strength are awakened. In 
like manlier did we, at view of this holy city, feel refreshed 
and restored. We forgot our toils, our sufferings, and our 
cares ; and a full and fresh tide of enthusiasm carried us 

And here we must pause : before us stood the ancient and 
once proud seat of the mighty Czars; the once grand em- 
porium of the North, where the fates of kings and nations 


MOSCOW. . 243- 

were so proudly wielded ; where despotism had so long reared 
its crest ; where vice had so long held her court ; and where 
the tides of wealth and luxury were for ages rolling in as to a 
common centre. Here was to be seen every thing costly and 
magnificent ; the grand mart of European and Asiatic splen- 
dour, the pride and envy of the northern world. 

This is the spot we now gazed on ; what a change ! 
lowly and prostrate it now lies, its crumbling towers, falling 
into decay, its proud banners torn from their burning walls, 
and scattering their shivered fragments to the hollow winds-— 
its temples torn — its gates demolished — its houses ransacked — 
its streets laid waste. One sad and sorrowful picture of deso- 
lation is thrown around : wlierever the traveller turns his 
wearied eye it is still the same ; he will yet see the daemon of 
ruin stalking abroad in all the majesty of devastation, and 
treading on those mouldering piles, where perched the proud 
eagle of the north ; he will still see the sorrowing inhabitant 
sighing over the ruins of his roofless dwelling, and clinging to 
the yet warm ashes of those sacred shrines, where ^o lately be 
bad invoked his fathers and his saints. 

2 I 2 Here 


Here indeed was a melancholy picture ; on every side we 
turned our eye, fresh objects of dilapidated splendour pre- 
sented themselves ; fresh scenes of falling greatness were 
strewed around, and as we gazed on the crumbling heap, we 
needed not memory to give outline ; we needed not fancy to 
give colouring, — the picture was complete. 

And who can look on this sorrowing group without one 
sad, one solitary sigh ? Who can mulSle himself up in his 
cold-blooded philosophy, and look on with unconcern ? Can 
his eye be as unmoved as the ruin on which it is gazing ; cannot 
the wreck of fallen greatness shadow it with a cloud ; cannot 
the wail of his fellow-man dim it with a tear ? Happy, ye 
few, if such there be ! your feelings may be envied, but ye 
have them not of nature ! 

The appearance of the city from the point at which- we 
now were, is not equal to that from the opposite country ; 
however, the innumerable spires and domes glittering in the 
horizon powerfully arrest and astonish the beholder. The 
extensive plain surrounding this part of the suburbs occupies 
nearly ten thousand acres, uncovered either by trees or houses : 


MOSCOW. 245 

at a distance it is bounded by forests of birch. Here the 
army of Napoleon Buonaparte spread themselves, as a 
lawless band of ruffians, sharing the spoils of this devoted 
city. To this spot were conveyed every thing that could be 
snatched from the all-devouring flames ; and even the helpless 
mothers and infants came to beg a covering to their nakedness, 
but who, as might be expected, were refused at the point of the 
bayonet. About two miles from the gate we passed the palace 
of Peterskoff, embellished by Peter the Great, and which he 
used as his favourite residence when at Moscow. It is a huge 
gothic brick building, encompassed by a circular wall, with 
regular bastions. One great and vast feature of desolation 
surrounds it ; the vestiges of war arc strewed around its muti- 
lated walls. Here Napoleon fixed his head quarters, when he 
found the Kremlin no longer a place of security against the 
raging flames ; and here he became the dupe of his own 
credulity, and brought on himself that contempt and disgrace, 
which his unwarrantable pretensions so justly merited. From 
this palace he issued those empty decrees, which trumpeted: 
tbrth falsehood in all its unblushing colours, while his dastardly 



soul shrunk with fear and meanness from the dangers which 
surrounded him. 

Crossing the first barriers of the city, a small dry ditch, 
we entered the Sloboda or suburbs, and reached the gate of 
the second division, where we were received by the guard, who 
strictly examined our passports, and escorted us to the police, 
where we left them, and entered our names. Here money was 
as necessary to afford an entry into the town, without delay 
and vexation, as at the other capital. The entrance to the 
city exhibits a general scene of ruin, and appears, from those 
parts of the houses now standing, to have consisted of brick 
and wooden houses, huddled together without any order or 
neatness. At present nothing more excites the appearance of 
wretchedness and filth ; as we proceeded, the streets began to 
assume a more regular form, with the remains of large ancl 
splendid edifices divided from each other by mean hovels and 
gardens; churches of the most singular and gothic forms, 
with numerous gilded spires and domes, crowd on each other ; 
it is almost impossible by any description to convey a correct 
idea of this singular appearance. Alii that ingenuity and 


MOSCOW. 247 

religious enthusiasnii could suggest, have been here executed, 
exhibiting more the laboured effects of rude show and expense, 
than elegance or utility. At the termination of the street by 
which we entered the city, we ascended a gentle elevation, and 
approached a lofty and massive wall, which appeared as the 
bulwark of an interior city. This is partly supported by an 
earthen mound, with a broad open space, through which a 
muddy puddle runs, called the Neglina river. To the right of 
this wall another immediately appears, more massive, and on a 
situation more elevated, and crowded with gilded spires and 
domes. This is the bulwark of the Kremlin, and the central 
part of the city. 

-From the circumstance of having engaged only one set of 
horses to bring us from Klin, we found on our arrival, that the 
postillion, being a stranger, and the situations of the hotels 
somewhat changed, he had considerable difficulty to procure a 
place of accommodation. Every house of this description was 
crowded with persons, who had no other place of shelter to 
enter. After considerable delays we established ourselves at 
the H6tel de Londres, opposite to the Kremlin gate. In this 



house we were accommodated with a suite of unfurnished ^ 
rooms ; a table and a few chairs were procured, but neither 
beds, nor even bedsteads, could be got. These are useless 
luxuries where the people find a ready couch, either on the 
floor, or on the ground. Every Russian seems to travel with 
his household furniture, and from this circumstance, few, or 
no preparations are made, at the different stages, for their ' 
accommodations. From these advantages, the state of the 
country is somewhat an excuse to those who live in it ; but in 
a city so long celebrated for its luxury and splendour, the 
same apology cannot be offered. The destruction of the city 
may have made great alterations, but this custom does not 
seem to have been affected by it. 

Every thing here seems to be on a grander scale than at 
St. Petersburg, but more rude and irregular. The buildings 
assume a different form and complexion, and the people a 
slight difference of manners. Every degree of restraint seems 
to be less regarded ; manners more free and unrestricted, and 
a greater licence given to every department of life, more con- 
spicuous than in the other capital. 


MOSCOW. 249 

The city of Moscow is divided, like St. Petersburg, by a 
river, the Moskwa ; which, however, scarcely deserves any 
other name than that ^f a muddy brook. It rises in tlie 
government of Smolensko, eighty miles west of Moscow, and 
after a circuitous course of two hundred miles, and assuming 
other names, it joins the Volga at Nichney Novogorod. The 
river is not navigable ; but during the spring season, at the 
dissolving of the ice, flat barges are floated within the east- 
ern suburbs of the city. It is crossed by a small stone 
bridge of seven arches, at the south end of the Kremlin ; 
and by another made of wooden planks, at a short distance 
below the north end of the Kremlin : besides these two 
bridges, there is another, made of floating planks, in the 
suburbs, at which the barges are moored. The part of the 
river which flows along the east side of the Kremlin, is not 
fifty yards wide, and very shallow : here, during the hot days 
of summer, may be seen men, women and children, indis- 
criminately bathing together, in the most indelicate manner ; 
wliile idlers are stationed on the bridges and walks, to admire, 
and laugh at an exhibition, so public and gross. 

2 k The 


The finest and most commanding view of the city is 
to be taken from the Kremlin, which is the most elevated 
spot in Moscow. The view to the east is the most varied 
and the most beautiful : here the finest churches are 
seen, and the most regular buildings, while the surface 
of the ground is gently undulated. On the west side 
fewer churches are seen, but many magnificent palaces and 
gardens fill up an extensive space. The town is almost of a 
circular form, while the river forms the figure of the letter S 
on its southern boundary. From the Kremlin, a ridge of con- 
siderable height runs north and south-east, which gives the 
buildings on it a more elevated appearance than those on the 
west side of the river, which evidently appears to have origi- 
nally been a morass. Frequent open spaces occur in various 
parts of the city, where gardens are laid out, and even corn 
fields. In many places the houses are built in such a scattered 
manner, and surrounded with trees and bushes, as to exhibit an 
appearance from a distance, not unlike the grave-stones in a 
churchyard — in other places small lakes and ponds are seen ; 
from one of these, the Neglina river (as it is called) takes its 



origin, and used to fall into the Moskvva, at the south end of 
the Kremlin. The length of this river was nearly two miles ; 
it is now completely dried up, excepting at one place where a 
puddle is formed for a few ducks. Another stream, called the 
Yauza river, is somewhat larger than the Neglina, but equally 
useless. None of the streets are intersected by canals, and the 
range of shops being situated near the river, the merchandize 
is conveyed by means of it to and from the city. 

The most remarkable feature in the construction of 
Moscow is in its churches. It is said there were nearly one 
thousand six hundred churches in the city ; every one differs 
from another in size, form, and ornaments. Few of them are 
large. Some are built purely gothic,^ — others Asiatic ; — some 
European, — and others Tartarean. — In short, the most irregular 
combination of discordant architecture is every where exhi- 
bited. Many are mean paltry houses, others are really superb 
and magnificent. Still more numerous and fanciful are the 
spires and domes which ornament the churches, and which 
point out many place s of worship, that might otherwise be 
passed unknown. The number of spires and domes were cal- 

2 K 2 culated 


culated at between live and six thousand ; these are either, 
painted white, yellow, or green, or gilded with gold or silver, 
or covered with sheets of tin iron. Each spire or cupola is or- 
namented with lofty crosses, entwined with wires, in the form of 
a broad fringe. The crosses are divided by two transverse bars, 
the lower is always placed in an inclining manner. Over the 
crosses a huge figure of a spread eagle, the emblem of the- 
empire, is placed, and in many instances under the eagle is seen 
the Tartar crescent, marking the city to have been under their 
protection. The spires are much lower than those of other 
countries : some are not more than thirty feet high, and few 
above seventy to one hundred and thirty feet ; except the spire of 
St. Ivan in the Kremlin, which is nearly three hundred feet 
in height. The filagree work and numerous little pillars, 
and architectural excrescences on every spire, take consider- 
ably from their height, and give them a very heavy, yet rich 
appearance. This is one of the n>ost singular features in 
Moscow. A church may be seen with an insignificant body, 
not more than twelve feet high in the walls, yet supporting 
five to nine gilded or painted domes and spires. Every princi- 


pal spire has from one to three tier of bells, and frequently 
nine bells are seen in one of the divisions. The continual jingling 
of the bells of different churches is heard throughout the day^ 
and even the greater part of the night. The outside of the 
body of the churches is generally covered with large repre- 
sentations of the Virgin Mary, and of different saints. Over 
each door is seen an enormous painting of the Virgin Mary 
and the infant Jesus. Over the great entry of the cathedral 
of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in the Kremlin, is seen 
this, particular representation of an extraordinary size, the 
infant in the mother's lap is nearly five feet in height ! The 
paintings of other saints are yet more preposterous — before 
these the superstitious Russ is constantly seen offering up his 

The interior of the churches are richly ornamented vrith 
paintings and precious jewels. The roof is generally supported 
by massive pillars, covered with figures of saints, and historical 
representations from the sacred writings. These pillars divide 
the body of the church from the sanctuary or shrine. The 
screen and folding doors, which divide the sanctuary from the 



body of the church, is the part most ornamented. Nothing can 
exceed the brilliancy and riches of these shrines. The many 
donations from pious christians are generally exhibited here. 
The most precious jewels and stones are carefully placed around 
the different saints, and revered with a degree of religious en- 
thusiasm. In the centre of the skreen the folding doors are 
placed, which in many instances are entirely made of pure 
silver, independent of the valuable and precious ornaments, 
which on every spot add to its splendour. These doors are de- 
nominated the holy doom's, which, during the service, are 
thrown open by some concealed mechanism, and the high 
priest appears before the altar in his richest robes, and the 
consecrated elements of their religion. This part of the service 
is very imposing. The melodious tones of the concealed cho- 
risters gently swell through the vaulted aisles. The enthu- 
siasm of the moment is raised to the highest pitch, and the 
whole audience fall prostrate on their faces. On the north side 
of the holy doors the picture of the Virgin is always placed, 
and that of our Saviour on the south. The next is that of the 
Saint to whom the church is dedicated. Over the folding 



doors is seen suspended the dove, as a symbol of the Holy 
Ghost. Before the images of the Virgin and of Jesus, wax 
tapers are suspended, and in many churches kept constantly 
burning. Each painting is crowned with a glory, which, in 
many instances, is so richly ornamented with precious stones, 
as to dart forth the most sparkling rays, while the drapery 
glitters over with jewels. The most valuable pictures are 
generally very old, and coarsely painted ; only the face, hands, 
and toes are seen. The rest is alwavs formed of a ffold dra- 
pery, fringed with pearls, emeralds, rubies and diamonds. 
Every representation of the Virgin and the infant Jesus are 
painted of a dark brown colour, while some distinguished 
saints are painted with the most light and delicate colours. 
Although there are so many churches in Moscow, yet it is said 
that a magnificent new one is to be erected by the Emperor, 
in commemoration of the destruction of the French army on 
the plains of Russia. 

Such is a short description of the churches of Moscow, 
which certainly is its most characteristic feature, and parti- 
cularly so at the present moment, when contrasted with the 



ruinous appearance of the other parts of this vast city. Many 
of the churches were injured, some almost destroyed, but the 
greater number of them escaped the dreadful effects of the 
conflagration of the city. From being entirely built of brick, 
with little or no wooden work connected with them, thev could 
not be so easily destroyed, as the wooden houses, or those 
churches partly built of wood. The whole city appears as one 
group of spires, cupolas or domes. From being painted in 
light colours or gilded, their appearance is remarkably shewv. 
If the spires had been loftier, the effect would have been inex- 
pressibly grand. From the present state of the churches, the 
appearance of the town is but little altered. At a distance, 
Moscow must present nearly the same form that it did before 
the conflagration. But what a sad and melancholy difference 
is seen when passing along the streets; scarcely a house is 
seen that escaped the all-devouring flames, except a small por- 
tion of the buildings in the division of the Bielgorod. The 
walls of the houses are still standing, and in tolerable preser- 
vation ; from this the original form of the city might be 
imagined, but all that singular contrast of wooden huts and 



mean hovels are completely destroyed. The blank places are 
therefore the greater, and more numerous. The walls of the 
houses now remaining shew them to have been of a most 
extensive and superb form. Every other house seems to have 
been a stately palace in size and structure ; but now only 
broken walls, roofless houses, and gaping windows, remain in 
solitary and deserted grandeur. 

All the houses seem to have been stuccoed and washed 
with different colours ; the roofs were either of wood, or iron, 
or tin, and generally painted green. Almost every house is 
surrounded with endless tiers of pillars and piazzas. No view 
can be so truly diversified, nor more astonishing and wonder- 
ful than that of this city. To admire Moscow it should be 
viewed from a distance ; from thence the churches, with their 
numerous glittering domes and painted spires, seem to cloud 
the horizon. The appearance of the city from the Kremlin is 
truly fascinating. Hundreds, nay thousands of spires and 
cupolas, varying in size, form, and colours, and grouped in 
the most picturesque and irregular manner, strike the eye with 
admiration and delight : added to this, the solemn and constant 

2 L tones 


tones of the ponderous bells, echoing through the vaulted 
canopy of heaven, like the distant thunder ! 

What must not this great city have been before the infa- 
mous invasion of the French. Before that unhappy period, it 
was said to have contained upwards of three hundred thousand 
inhabitants, with the greater part of the Russian nobility, and 
the merchants of wealth, besides a promiscuous assemblage of 
foreigners from all quarters of the world. It was the scene of 
luxury and parade, but never of elegance, taste, nor literature. 
Vice took the sway, and virtue was lost in one general wreck 
of morals. The city was frequently stiled the Holy City ; 
from the number of its religious edifices, and the imposing 
appearance of the priests and mode of worship, it might not 
unjustly be looked upon as such. But here the extremes of 
religion were contrasted by the extremes of vice. Here it is 
held too common, and becomes only a mechanical duty, which 
is no sooner over, than all restraint is removed. Profligacy 
of manners, and a promiscuous hostility to all the refinements 
of virtuous delicacy, too often deadens the religious feelings, 
though the routine of its duty is mechanically performed. 



The depravity of manners, and the vices of Moscow, could 
scarcely he credited, were it not presented before the very eyes 
of all! 

It is impossible not to contemplate even the ewtemal cha- 
racter of this city, and its hallowed temples, without a certain 
degree of reverence and religious feeling — there is a kind of 
scenic grandeur around it highly imposing j and on no other 
human constitution, perhaps, has this more eftect than on the 
Russ. A stranger would here say that the Russ, arid his reli- 
gion, were formed for each other, but he would be puzzled to 
say which was formed first ; both are simultaneous ; both har- 
monize with each other ; and in forming an estimate of Rus- 
sian character (either as it iss, of as it has been), this is the 
most faithful and important guide we can have. 

When the human mind becomes, from various causes, lo 
gross and unenlightened, ad to t<itally do away with religious 
toleration, it becomes necessary to appeal to the common 
senses ; " outward^ and visible signs " must be exhibited, in 
order that " inward and spiritual grace " may be formed. The 
Russ must have his eyes and his ears excited ; his saints and 

2 L 2 crosses 


crosses must be gaudy and gilded ; his bells must ever jingle ; 
his incense must burn around him ; — this is the manufactory 
of his enthusiasm ; these are the ingredients of his adoration ; 
and without these he cannot ** walk in the holy way^'' 

Hence it is, perhaps, that this city has afforded so per- 
fect an illustration of that connection, which subsists between 
extremes of religious zeal and extremes of vice — between fana- 
ticism and profligacy. 

As all the principal buildings, &c. werjE destroyed by the 
late fire, it cannot be expected that any description of what 
they were can be faithfully given. The houses appear to have 
been extremely large, and generally terminated at each corner 
with large wings, or circular colonnades ; pillars of every 
description, and statues, every where appear to have added to 
the general effect. Painted railings, playful fonts, and cool- 
ing grottos, on each side invited the attention of the stranger ; 
while numerous and really superb china vases contained the 
most delicate exotics and fragrant shrubs : but now all these 
are strewed around in silent neglect, and their mutilated and 
withered forms bespeak the confusion and horrors of an invasion. 



From the regularity of the divisions of the city, and 
that of the streets, the whole town might be superficially seen 
in one or two days, but it would require a residence of many 
weeks, to form a correct judgment of the whole. Every day 
opens new and pleasing scenes ; the singularity of its churches 
gives an endless variety and beauty to the general scene. It is 
perhaps one of the most extraordinary cities in the world, 
and must impress the mind of every stranger, with lasting 
remembrances of its singular features. 

The scite of the town is by no means a level. The ground 
on which the Kremlin stands is nearly one hundred feet above 
the level of the river. Another ridge, equally high, crosses 
it at right angles. Towards the suburbs, the buildings are 
widely scattered, the surface of the ground more flattened, 
and divided into extensive fields of growing corn, tracts of 
wood, convents, monasteries and palaces. The view up the 
river is remarkably beautiful, and perhaps one of the finest 
seen from any part of the city. Its banks are richly cloathed 
with the delicate birch, while numerous gilded cupolas, in 



ewry avenue, contrast their gay and glittering formS) with 
tlic green foliage of the forest. 

In this charming landscape is situated the nunnery of 
Devitchney. We visited this religious establishment the 
ovening of our arrival ; an aged nun invited us to prayers 
the following morning. Here we saw the sisterhood assembled 
in the chapel. Their devotion was calm and solemn, but 
whether sincere or not, a less fastidious observer might have 
construed certain looks and signs, as evident tokens of love of 
life, beyond the coM embrace of the altar ; and piety and virtue 
might have blushed to own many of the fair recluses of De- 
vitchney aotong their votaries. The service being finished, 
the lady Abbess honoured us with her conversation ; and we 
had the pleasure to breakfast with our former acquaintance. 
Here we were treated in a cell, after the manner of anchorites, 
with milk and fruit. The nunnery contains at present upwards 
of an hundred nuns. Its rules are neither strict nor parti- 
cular. It admits wives, widows, and unmarried femalies, who 
only are permitted to take the veil. They^ reside in cells 



ranged under the wall which surrounds the buildings ; their 
dress is entirely black, with a long train. The nuns who 
have taken the veil are distinguished from the rest, by wearing 
on the head a high conical velvet helmet. The building of 
the nunnery is that of a large and shewy gothic structure, 
without much design or neatness. It consists of a large 
square wall with regular towers, encompassing the churches 
and other buildings. The gateway through the wall is 
remarkably fine. There are two churches covered with 
numerous gilt cupolas, in the centre of the square, be* 
sides an elegant minaret — the spots selected for the interment 
of the dead, are placed immediately opposite to the windows 
of the nuns* apartments. From the circumstance of our pre- 
senting a small donation of money to the establishment, our 
names were written on a slip of paper, and placed before a 
distinguished saint, and a certain number of wax tapers were 
ordered to be lighted in respect to the gift. 

The interior of the churches was completely destroyed by 
the French, who converted them into hospitals for the sick 
and wounded of their army. One of them is nearly restored 



to its former splendour, while the other remains in a state of 
ruin. We could not avoid remarking, with what detestation the 
nuns mentioned the name of Frenchman ! 

There are several other nunneries and monasteries in the 
environs of the city — none of them appear to be so rigid in 
their laws, as those of Catholic countries. In the chapels of 
those nunneries, the service is always performed by one of the 
priests, and the chanting by the nuns, which has a very im- 
pressive and delightful effect. ' Instrumental music is not per- 
mitted in the Greek church of this country, but which is 
admirably substituted by the finest singers. 

Moscow is regularly divided by walls and ditches, into 
five divisions, viz. the Kremlin — the Khitaigorod — the Biel- 
gorod — the Semlainogorod — and Sloboda. From the regula- 
rity of these divisions, it is impossible for a stranger to find 
any difficulty in traversing all parts of the city. 

The Kremlin, which is nearly the central part of the city, 
stands on an elevated ridge of ground, on the west side of the 
Moskwa. It is the citadel or fortress of the town, and easily 
commands all parts of it. This was the first part of Moscow 


MOSCOW. 265 

that was built in the twelfth century, more from accident than 
any design in its noble founder, to lay it as the foundation of a 
future capital. The beauty of its situation and the surrounding 
country, induced the future sovereigns of the country to 
strengthen its situation, and fix in it the royal residence. 
From that time the infant city gradually increased in sizei 
and swelled around, until Peter the Great removed the seat of 
government to St. Petersburg, and after that period it became 
more the residence of discontented nobles, and those who did 
not chuse to be eclipsed by the superior splendour of the 
Court. From the singularity of so many parts of the town 
being walled in, one within another, it bears marks of those 
ages of feudal despotism, when every chief lived within his 
fortified castle, while his numerous dependants sheltered them- 
selves under its bulwarks. As the retinue and followers aug- 
mented, the buildings increased to such extent, as in time to 
require a similar bulwark, and thus became an enclosed city. 
Without these walls, new suburbs would be raised, which 
would increase in extent to the former, and ultimately require 
a similar fortification, and so on. This appears to have been 

2 M the 


the cause of the present outline of Moscow (the Kremlin 
forming as it were the kernel of the nut) ; and, probably had 
not St. Petersburg been reared, what is now the exterior 
boundary of the Sloboda or suburbs, might have been raised 
to a wall, and new suburbs, and a larger circumference taken 
in. The extent of the wall which surrounds the Kremlin is 
about a mile and a half — that which encompasses the third 
division, or Bielgorod, is about five miles, while that of the 
Sloboda is nearly twenty-five miles. Only the Kremlin and 
Khitaigorod are walled in — the third division or Bielgorod 
appears to have been surrounded by an earthern rampart, but 
which has been partly levelled. The external boundary of 
the suburbs is a narrow dry ditch, about three feet deep. 

Of these different fortified parts of the city, that of the 
Kremlin is the most conspicuous, and the most singular. 
Here the ingenuity of the artist has been displayed to its 
utmost extent, and the riches of the state deposited. Within 
the once sacred walls of this spot, the mighty monarchs of 
the empire held their court ; and here the most dignified 
ministers of the church shared the pomp and splendour of the 



Imperial court. The most promine^nt buildings in the Kremlin 
are the churches, the imperial and. patriarchal palaces, and 
the arsenal: The great cathedral does not equal the expectar 
tion of a stranger ; it exhibits an oblong square, lost in the 
disproportion of the height of the walls ; the roof is sur- 
mounted by numerous large gilded cupolas, each of which 
supports a magnificent cross, richly ornamented, with curious 
devices. The interior of the church is extremely rich in 
gildings and colours, hut heavy and badly arranged. Oppo- 
site the cathedral is seen the cathedral of the Assumption of 
the Virgin Mary. It is larger than the other, but similar in 
design. In it are seen suspended from the roof nine massive 
chandeliers of silver, and some very beautiful paintings. 
Among the most valuable of these paintings is a head of the 
Virgin, richly studded over with jewels and precious stones, 
and kept in a gold box, near the altar — this venerated picture 
is shewn to every stranger by one of the officiating priests, 
and who regularly demands a donation for the miracles 
which it wrought. In this church are seen the tombs or stone 
coffins of the patriarchs, covered with black velvet. In this 

2 M 2 cathedral 


cathedral the Czars are generally crowned ; and interred in the 
other. Between these churches, and nearly in the centre of 
the Kremlin, stands the spire of St. Ivan, the highest building 
in Moscow. The body of this church was completely des- 
troyed by Napoleon's order, but again nearly rebuilt on its 
former plan. The spire is built of a circular form, and about 
300 feet high. The top terminates by a large conical shaped 
cupola richly gilt, and surmounted by a huge plain cross. 
The present cross is a substitute for the former one, which 
being made of pure silver, was seized by Buonaparte. From 
the height of the building, and its ruinous state, it was thought 
a dangerous attempt to take it down. Napoleon offered a 
reward to any one who had sufficient courage to accomplish 
it. A native Russ it is said performed the sacrilegious deed, 
and the silver cross became the property of the invader, but 
which was recovered before his flight from the city. From 
the vile manner in which it was taken down, the present gilt 
one has been substituted. The spire is divided into three 
apartments which contain the bells ; in the lower division are 
eight large bells, nine in the second, and thirteen in the third. 



The largest of these bells fell to the ground at the destruction of 
the church, but fortunately without any injury. This is the 
largest bell in Moscow, except what is called the great bell, now 
buried under the ruins of the church. From the upper division 
of this spire the most commanding view of the city is taken. 
The whole town, suburbs and surrounding country are dis^ 
tinctly seen spreading around in every direction, like a vast map, 
studded with the most grotesque buildings, wliile the Moskwa 
in all its windings, appears as a flat, muddy stream, mean- 
dering and struggling through the endless avenues of the 
city. Perhaps no sight can equal the diversity and grandeur 
of this. No smoky atmosphere clouds the transparency of 
the azure canopy of heaven — all is bright and resplendent. 

Near to the belfry of St. Ivan is seen the top of the 
great bell, which was cast in the reign of the Empress Anne. 
Many descriptions have been given of this extraordinary bell ; 
only its top can now be seen, the pit in which it lay being 
completely filled up with the ruins of the church. The next 
bell, in point of size, to this, fell from the belfry of St. Ivan 
during the burning of the city : it received no injury. Its 



size is fourteen feet in length, twelve feet in diameter at 
its mouth, and about twenty inches thick. Its outside is richly 
relieved by historical representations in bas-relief. 

This bell was presented by Boris Godono as a mark of his 
piety, and which was accordingly measured by the magnitude 
of the offering. It has always been considered a profound act 
of religion to present a church with bells ; the tongue or 
clapper of the bells are slung by means of leather bands, and 
are moved by ropes, so as to strike the sides of the bell. 

Besides these chiarches, there are the convent of Ischu- 
dof, and the church of the Holy Trinity, and some small 
chapels. The church of the Holy Trinity forms the principal 
gateway, or entry to the Kremlin from the Semlainogorod 
division of the city. In this church the body of a distin- 
guished saint is placed ; and in respect to his remains, every 
individual passing under the portal is compelled to uncover his 
head. Besides the churches, convents and monasteries, the 
Kremlin contains the palaces of the czars and of the pa- 
triarchs, with the arsenal and some other modern buildings. 
None of them are particularly grand. Within the walls of 

' the 


the Kremlin there are no less than one hundred and eight 
spires and cupolas : of these forty-five are richly gilded, the 
rest are painted either green, red, or white. 

The house in which Napoleon lodged is the most modern 
and elegant building in the Kremlin. The view from it is 
most extensive. In front of the house are ranged the guns 
taken from the French army during their retreat from Moscow. 
They are placed on the ground parallel to each other, with 
tickets affixed to each division, marking the time and place 
where they were taken. The first line comprehends sixty 
beautiful pieces of light artillery, with Napoleon's initials on 
each ; the other divisions contain the guns of all the kingdoms 
and states of Europe, of various dimensions. Atogether there 
are eight hundred guns, the glorious trophy of the Russian 
conquest ! Among these guns are seen some that have long 
been the object of the traveller's notice, as part of the curi- 
osities of the Kremhn, but which do not (more than the bells) 
deserve those vain eulogiuras, which have been so repeatedly 
applied to them. 



It is impossible to give any particular description of tlie 
palaces or riches of the Kremlin ; it is only the bare walls, 
ruinous and deserted, that now invite the stranger's curiosity. 
When all hopes were banished from the ambitious and discon- 
tented mind of the French ruler, and when he found that he 
could no longer maintain his usurpation of the seat of the 
Czars, he determined on destroying what he had not tlie 
courage nor strength to defend. The beautiful church of St. 
Ivan fell as the first sacrifice to his revenge. The walls of the 
Kremlin were next mined : the explosion took place, but from 
its immense thickness, only a part of it was destroyed. The 
north-west angle with two fine spires was completely destroyed, 
occupying nearly one hundred yards in extent. On the east 
side, next to the river, are two considerable breaches. Tlie 
rest of the wall is perfectly entire. Many parts of the wall are 
nearly forty feet in thickness, and in general from twenty to 
thirty feet in height. The top of the wall is divided into a 
number of gothic loop-holes, and at regular distances bygothic 
spires. There are six gates by which the Kremlin is entered, 



tliough only two of them are used. A new and elegant pro- 
menade was lately finished between the east wall and the river, 
which adds greatly to the beauty of the Kremlin, from what 
is represented in old drawings. The Kremlin has long been 
considered, by those who have not beheld it, as a spot of un- 
common magnificence and extent. It certainly does not 
answer that high description which the traveller is led to 
expect. The buildings are numerous, but they are heavily 
constructed, and grouped together without order or design — 
everything is sacrified to mere shew of gildings and useless 

The annexed drawing of the Kremlin is copied from a 
print of Guerard de la Barthe, done in the year 1799. At that 
time the present pier was not buiit along the side of the river; 
and which contained a row of trees. From the rigid strictness 
of the police, we were not permitted to take any drawings of 
the city ; in consequence of it, I have given this copy with the 
P addition of the pier, and parts of the wall destroyed by the 

French, It is also to be regretted, from this circumstance, 
that so few views of Moscow are given. The other drawing, 

2 N of 


of the churches, was taken from the window of our hotel, 
and on its accuracy the reader may rely. 

Around the north side of the Kremlin is placed the 
Khitaigorod, or second division of the city. From the singu- 
larity of its huildings, it has been called the Chinese town, or 
Tartars' town; from the circumstance of being either bujlt 
during the usurpation of the Tartars, or from the number of 
Chinese merchants, who settled in the vicinity of the Exchange. 
It contains numerous churches, besides the range of merchants' 
shops, with the ruins of the university, several public build- 
ings, and the printing-house, which last has been again re- 
paired. The size of this division is nearly double that of the 
Kremlin, and is divided into regular streets, with the houses 
closely built together. The Khitaigorod, like the Kremlin, is 
encompassed by a massive wall and dry ditch, and entered by 
five gates. The most singular features here are the tradesmen's 
shops and market place. The Exchange fronts the Kremlin, 
and is calculated to contain six thousand shops, which are 
ranged on a plan similar to those at St. Petersburg, but on a 
smaller scale. During the packing of the city, this part suf- 


feied the most, and which has been the only part of the 
buildings repaired — and these are but temporary erections. 
The conflagration of the Exchange and shops is described to 
have presented a spectacle of the most frightful description. 
The shops are ranged under covered piazzas, and lighted from 
the roof. From the number of these shops, a stranger might 
imagine the space which they occupy to be very extensive; 
the reverse is the case : instead of seeing rooms of houses, 
containing the various articles of merchandize, we here be- 
hold paltry stalls, or centry-boxes, suflSciently large to hold 
the shopman, with his goods arranged around him in little 
covered boxes. 

Every thing here is coarse and rudely fashioned ; except 
the various attempts at imitation, — ^ingenuity and taste seem to 
be stationary, and have not changed for ages past. The street 
appropriated to the rag-shops and tailors is the most extraor- 
dinary sight in this department of trade ; the street is covered 
with women, dressed in tattered silks, squatted on the bare 
ground, sewing, mending, cutting-up, or selling. The sellers 
have the rags and old garments fastened around their bodies ; 

2 N 2 while 


while ribbons and thread are suspended from a pad fixed on 
the head. All tl>e various costumes of the nation, and from 
the east and south, are here displayed ;— tattered garments of 
gold lace, ragged cloaks of velvet, and petticoats of coloured 
silks., hang around the filthy bodies of these women. In 
short, the court dresses of the Sultan — the finery of the 
seraglio — the rich robes of the priests — the uniform of the 
warriors — the sheep-skin tunics of the Kalmucks — the thick 
furs of the Baskirs, &c. — all are here exposed to sale. The 
manner of working and idling, sleeping and gambling, are 
wonderfully contrasted ; — one man may be seen, with several 
tiers of boots fastened around his body, playing at chuck- 
farthing with another laced up in furs and silks ; — again, ano- 
ther, like a portable kitchen (with tea and coffee-pots slung 
from his neck, over a charcoal grate, with cups, sugar, &c. 
stuck into a leather belt fastened round his waist), is atten- 
tively engaged at chess ; — or, profoundly crossing themselves, 
before some gilded picture of a saint. Idleness and sloth, 
knavery and superstition, are the offensive appearances of this 
singular place. 



This division contains the greatest number of gothic 
churches, and between the cupola and cross of many of them 
is seen the Tartar's crescent. One of the most singular 
churches in Moscow is situated in this division^ exactly oppo- 
site to the north gate of the Kremlin ; it is named the church 
of the Holy Trinity, or the church of Jerusalem ; it was built 
in the reign of Ivan Vassilievitch II, in the fifteenth century. 
The wall of the church is scarcely twenty feet in height, while 
the roof supports a massive steeple, and ten domes, variously 
painted, gilded, or covered with small pieces of green tiles. 
Each of the cupolas differ in size and design : some of them 
are shaped like an inverted balloon ; others of a globular form — 
some are painted green ; others doubly gilded. The interior of 
this church corresponds in irregularity with its exterior ar- 
rangement. Though situated near to the scene of the greatest 
havoc and destruction, yet it does not appear to have been in 
the smallest degree injured. The printing-house, also situated 
in this division, hi^s been repaired. 

The Bielgorod , or third division of the city, entirely sur- 
rounds the two former divisions. The only building of impor- 


tance is the Foundling Hospital, which stands close to the 
banks of the river, at a short distance below the wooden 
bridge, as represented in the drawing of the Kremlin ; it was 
intended to have been built of a quadrangular shape, but 
owing to the increased number of foundlings, and consequent 
expenses, only two of its sides have been finished. The pre- 
sent building seems to have entirely escaped the destruction 
which the rest of the city suffered. It was converted into an 
hospital for the wounded soldiers, and the children were dis- 
lodged ; at present very few of them have returned, and, from 
late events, the institution has been prevented from admitting 
an equal number of children, or attending to those already, 
under its protection, with that strict regard to their health 
and education, which it had formerly done. Before the inva- 
sion of Moscow the hospital contained nearly four thousand 
infants ; they were divided into different classes, according to 
their ages, and received an education scarcely inferior to the 
students of the academies in St. Petersburg. A most singular 
custom is allowed to prevail in this hospital, and indeed in 
many parts of the country, that of rearing the infants from 



the lacteal food of animals, instead of that from its natural 
parent. When the increase of children became so numerous, 
it was found impossible to procure a sufficient number of 
nurses ; as a substitute goats were used, and the infant was 
placed under the animal to draw its nourishment. 

Since the institution of this useful hospital, there has not 
been known a single instance of child-murder in the country. 
Whetifer it tends towards encouraging infidelity and vice, has 
been a subject of dispute ; but which of the two evils is the 
worst, that of immorality, or murder? In few countries 
is this last crime carried to a greater extent than in Eng- 
land, and no where perhaps are the morals of the people 
more correct. Would a similar institution in England 
not remedy the evil complained of? The present morals 
of England are nearly as perfect as ever they can arrive at ; 
nor is it likely that the principles of the people of Britain will 
ever become so immoral as that of their neighbours on the 

In this division are situated the public baths, which are 
formed on the same plan with those already described in St. 



Petersburg, but less commodious and clean ; the same indis- 
criminate mixture of all ranks of people are here seen, and 
both sexes seem to bathe, though in different apartments, yet 
without any delicacy or restraint. Nothing can be more odious 
than these public exhibitions ; independent of the warm baths, 
the open river is one of the most frequented places by all 
elasses — here men, women and children, promiscuously blend 
together in the muddy stream. 

The remaining divisions, viz, the Semlainogorod an4 
Sloboda, encompass the others by a vast circle. The build- 
ings are very irregularly constructed, and often divided by 
broad fields and gardens, filled with trees, which give a deli- 
cate and refreshing appearance to the light coloured and 
painted walls of the churches. In these divisions many dis- 
tinguished convents and nunneries are seen, and many mean 
hovels. Here the greater bulk of the common people reside, 
and their dwellings are generally in character with their rank. 

Through all the streets a great part of the rubbish and 
ruins of the houses are cleared away, but extensive tracks of 
desolation yet cover many places. A few of the houses are 
- i^j_»i ^ partly 


partly repaired, and many new wooden ones are put up. In 
twenty years the greater number of the houses may be restored 
to a habitable state, and the town (from the preservation of 
the churches and spires) may appear as beautiful as formerly ; 
but the splendour and magnificence of Moscow is perhaps for 
ever gone ! From the annexed drawing the reader will observe 
the present state of the churches, &c. which was taken on the 
spot, from the window of the hotel in which we lodged, with- 
out the least alteration. In this view the body of the houses 
are concealed, and only in particular parts are they distin- 
guished as ruins. Nothing can be more astonishing than the 
general effect of the conflagration. From the local situation 
of the houses they must have been individually set on fire, as 
there are many instances of houses now standing, without 
having received the least injury, though all around them re- 
main a mass of ruins ; even the trees in the gardens, &c. 
have recovered their foliage. At the destruction of the city, 
most * of the principal inhabitants fled to the country and 
neighbouring towns, while the greater bulk of the common 
people remained, and many foreign merchants. It is com- 

2 o puted 


puted that the present population of the city amounts to one 
hundred and fifty thousand. 

The amusements of the city are at present very limited, 
tlie theatres being completely destroyed, also the public walks. 
A wild savage exhibition of wolves and bears, are every after- 
noon presented to the people, in different parts around the 
exterior circle of the suburbs. The teeth of these animals are 
drawn out, and they are made to fight against each other— 
occasionally a poor horse is fastiened by a rope, and a certain 
number of bears let loose upon him. 

Such was the extent and situation of Moscow when Napo- 
leon Buonaparte first beheld it, and such is its present state. 
What a melancholy contrast between former splendour, and 
present ruin ! Can future ages forget the infamy of such a 
deed? Can the historian plead for a conduct so base? — 
Impossible ! The names of Buonaparte and horror, will ever 
be translated by each other. 

Whether the destruction of Moscow was the effect of 
unbounded patriotism, or matter of policy, is a speculation 
that will long interest the politician. It certainly filled the 



minds of every individual with horror and revenge ; but from 
the previous unshaken loyahy, and unabated courage of the 
Russians^ it was scarcely a necessary act to stimulate them to 
further feelings of revenge against a foe, who had already 
given too many insults. The city might have been saved, arid 
the same fate would have pursued the followers of Napoleon. 
If the provisions and store-houses had been destroyed, the 
French could not have remained longer than they did. It 
was entirely from the want of provisions that the retreat of 
the French army became necessary. Very few of the churches 
were destroyed ; from the nature of their structure they could 
not be burnt, though considerably injured — these alone were 
sufficient to have contained one hundred thousand men. Be- 
sides, many of the public buildings and palaces were entirely 
built of brick, and many of the rooms arched with theisame. 
Of these, only the roofs and windows were destroyed^ — and 
which could have been easily renewed from the neighbouring 
forests. It was the original intention of the Russians, only 
to destroy the magazines of provision, in the event of the 
enemy gaining possession of the city. — The stores were in 

2 o 2 consequence 


consequence kept unremoved, until too late ; and when the 
order was given to set them on fire, the frenzy of the moment 
carried the flaming torch to every house, and which cool 
judgment now condemns. The Exchange and store-houses 
were set on fire the morning of the day on which the French 
army entered. It partly communicated with the contiguous 
buildings, and all those houses and hovels constructed of 
wood, soon fell a sacrifice to the flames. 

During the evening a violent storm arose, which continued 
during three days, and occasioned a rapid expansion of the 
fire— still these wooden houses were the only part of the city 
that suflTered, with some occasional streets, where the houses 
were closely built together — but all those palaces and magnifi- 
cent buildings, which stood in isolated situations, surrounded 
by gardens, so characteristic of Moscow, were all individually 
set on fire. It is reported by the present inhabitants, who 
remained in the city during its occupation by the French, that 
every afternoon at a certain hour, the flames burst out with 
increased vigour; and at those times, numerous reports of 
pistols were heard, which is asserted to have been used ia 



firing phosphorous balls into the houses, and thus setting them 
on fire. One part of the Bielgorod entirely escaped the flames, 
and is the only spot in the city that appears in its original 
state — ^otherwise every house, and every street, exhibits one 
continued ruin. All the walls remain, and many of them 
without much injury — but every house is roofless, and without 
either windows or doors. Many superb houses are completely 
demolished, particularly the theatres. None of the houses 
are as yet completely repaired, though a considerable number 
of wooden houses are building. It is improbable that Moscow 
will ever be rebuilt on a scale equal to its former magnificence. 
The sister capital is too favourite a rival, and it is a matter of 
policy in the government not to increase Moscow, in order to 

draw its wealthy inhabitants to St. Petersburg. Another obsta- 
cle against the immediate restoration of Moscow, is the increased 
extravagance of the nobles, and the immense expenses and sa^ 
crifices they have lately undergone, in expelling the French from 
their territory, and assisting in the security of a general peace ; 
this has greatly limited their incomes, which depending on the 
production of the soil, varies, according to the necessities of 



the times — added to this, a strange antipathy to repair a house 
once destroyed, or even to live in a palace where a relation has 
died. This is one of the causes, that many superb palaces are 
seen deserted by its noble owner, and filled with tradesmen. 
It is now impossible for many of the nobility to raise, such 
superb palaces, as what their forefathers have done. In those 
feudal times, the nobles scarcely ever quitted their own country, 
and the means of adding to the public and private debts of the 
nation were less ; and the rage of building palaces and churches 
were more in fashion then, than at present. The inhabitants 
were certainly lulled into a belief, before the battle of Borodino, 
that the French could not enter the city, and it was not until 
after that eventful day, that the destruction of Moscow was 
decided upon. Dismay and confusion became general, the 
aged and the weak immediately sought their safety in flight, 
leaving behind them the greater part of their wealth ; had not 
this false security been allowed to prevail, the properties of in- 
dividuals might have been removed, and the store-houses alone 
destroyed. If this had been the case, the French army could 
not have remained longer than they did,* and the city might 



have been saved ; except that Napoleon, in a fit of disappointed 
ambition at the failure and disgrace of his plans, might have 
ordered the city to be blown up, as he did the Kremlin. 

However, if we put aside our feelings of terror, we must 
say, that the deed itself boasts of such bold and frightful 
heroism, and furnishes such a noble instance of the pure and 
wild passion of patriotism, that future ages will mark it as one 
of those acts, ** which can never be wearied out by time/' 

Unhappy and ill-fated city ! may thy sufferings and thy 
sorrows plead not in vain, at the altar of Him, who looks down 
from on high ; — may thy vices and thy crimes be no more re- 
membered — may they perish with thy ruins and mingle with 
thy dust — may thy flames ne'er cease to throw their lights 
around, till distant nations catch the spark, break their bonds, 
and be free — and, as the winds, the hollow winds of night, 
sigh along the grass that shadows thy tombs, may they wander 
up to heaven, and breathe thine orisons I 

( 288 ) 


Moscow, September, 1814. 
It is a much easier task to describe the boundaries and 
divisions of a country, than to investigate the origin and 
progress of its history. The latter is the province of the 
historian — the former that of the traveller. The extent of this 
immense empire, including the islands of the Eastern Ocean, 
is upwards of seven thousand miles in length, and its greatest 
breadth two thousand three hundred and sixty-three miles. 

The Russian empire is generally divided into Russia in 
Europe, and Russia in Asia. This division is marked by the 
chain of theUralian mountains, which extend from the fiftieth 
degree of north latitude, near the confines of the Kirguisian 
Desert, and stretch, in a north-western division, to the Arctic 
Ocean, opposite the island of Nova Zembla. The Asiatic 



division contains the greatest extent of surface ; and the 
European the larger number of inhabitants. These great di- 
visions are again divided into the southern, middle, and 
northern tracts, and they again are subdivided into fifty 
governments. In such a vast extent of country, and, hither- 
to, so little civilized in its most remote provinces, it must 
necessarily present a varied race of people, as rude and 
uncultivated as the wilderness in which they wander. The 
mixed race of Fins, Poles, Muscovites, Tartars, Cossacks, 
Tchouwashes, Votiaks, Ostiaks, Voguls, Kalmucs, Baskirs, 
Tunguisians, Samoides, Kamtschadales, &c. in part tend to 
fill up the population. 

When we investigate those principles on which the fabric 
of society is reared, those principles which form the basis of 
political economy, by which governments are structured 
and nations connected, we are naturally led to consider the 
feelings which actuated them towards each other, and, con- 
sequently, to trace the effects resulting from them. 

It is not more than two hundred years ago, that Russia^ 
began to emerge from a state of abject barbarism, towards 

2 p the 


the first step of rude civilization. Except on the western 
frontiers, where the people had become somewhat civilized from 
frequent wars and predatory excursions, the greater bulk of 
the people continued enveloped in all the darkness of ignorance 
and barbarism : but the seeds of Christianity began to grow 
apace, and, from the more general intercourse with other 
nations, and the introduction of the arts, this great and 
almost unwieldy empire begins to assume a more character- 
istic form, and may yet become the mediator of Europe in 
physical, though noi altogether in moral strength. 

Nothing has tended more towards the improvement and 
civilization of this country, than the wars in which she has 
been engaged with the neighbouring nations. The late cam- 
paign was the means of sending thousands of the natives 
into the fairest portion of Europe. Here they beheld every- 
thing new, everything superior to their own, and the height of 
civilization. Their attention was excited ; they could not but 
behold, and admire the superior excellency of France, compared 
to their own rudely formed country. Its effects have not been 
altogether lost : many individuals have already given specimens 



of their imitative talent ; and the country at large may yet 
derive a benefit from its late misfortunes. 

It is not the object of the present pages to delineate 
the political history of this great country ; what is here de- 
tailed, relates in a niDre cursory manner to the natural pro- 
ductions and advantages of the country at large, and in its 
I'elation with others. 

The vegetable productions at St. Petersburg, and a slight 
observation on those in the intermediate country between the 
capitals, have been already mentioned. In the neighbourhood 
of Moscow, vegetables are raised in greater abundance than 
at St. Petersburg, and the fruits possess a richer and more 
delicate flavour. Both the climate and soil, in this middle 
tract, are more favourable to vegetation than in the more 
northern latitudes of the country. Melons, peaches, pine- 
apples, &c. are very plentiful, besides apples and pears of a 
most delicate flavour. All the variieties of woodland berries, 
are very common. The gooseberry alone seems to reach the 
least perfection. The most delicate fruits are all reared under 
glass. Hot-houses are remarkably numerous and extensive. 

2 P'2 It 


It is not unusual to see them, of several hundred feet in 
length. Dwarf cherry-trees, &c. are planted in pots, and 
in the season of bearing fruit, they are placed on the tables of 
the nobles, and the company regale themselves with fruit 
from the tree. The potatoes are in general round and small, 
and do not appear to be cultivated with so much assiduity as- 
some other vegetables, particularly cucumbers and garlick. 
These seem to be the chief food of the poor people. The 
heaps of cucumbers and garlick exposed to sale in different 
parts of the street, are almost incredible, and far exceeds the 
quantity of potatoes or turnips. A peculiar small yellow 
turnip with a smooth shining rind is very common ; also a 
small apple, which when ripe, becomes semi-transparent; 
but which, when removed to another climate, loses this 
peculiar character. 

Among the many singular customs of this country, that 
of blessing the apple, before it is allowed to be eaten, is a 
regular religious ceremony. As soon as the apples are known 
to be ripe, the high priest solemnly blesses the fruit in the 
most public manner, and not until after this ceremony can it 



be eaten. Cabbages and medicinal herbs are in considerable 
quantities; particularly the latter, which form the chief 
ingredients of the druggists' shops. 

Vegetation in general is very rapid in this part of the 
country ; but the soil does not appear of a rich nature, and 
the crops, in consequence, do not seem luxurious. The 
market is suppHed with astonishing quantities of poultry. 
The common fowl, ducks, geese, and turkies, with wild 
water-fowls, and snipes, &c. are very numerous and remarka- 
bly cheap. The woods abound with several species, of tetrao, 
or grouse ; they are larger than those found in the highlands 
of Scotland, with a plumage more variegated and beautiful ; 
but their flesh is tough, dry, and without flavour. This may 
arise from the nature of their food. Although many parts of 
the country is covered with a short heath, yet those birds 
seem entirely to frequent the forests. A peculiar species of 
snipe is also found here, nearly as large as a woodcock, and 
accounted a great delicacy. Beef or mutton is less used at 
table than poultry. In this respect it is of little importance 
what sort of food the table is covered with, as every dish is inva- 


riably cooked in a manner to destroy the natural taste of the 
food : — the whole, more or less, floats in oil. 

The black cattle are supplied from the neighbouring pro- 
vinces south of Moscow. They are of the same breed which 
is forwarded to St. Petersburg, and are generally sold at two 
hundred rubles each. The sheep are of a small, yet beautiful 
form ; not unlike the figure of the fallow-deer. They have 
short tails, and hair instead of wool, and are remarkably 
large in the loins. In the southern provinces the fine lamb's 
fur is obtained by cutting the young from the side of the dam. 
Hogs are not numerous, though the ham cured here is superior 
to that of any other country. 

Horses are in great numbers ; they are uncommonly hardy 
and tractable. They brave, without the slightest pain, the 
severity of the winter climate, which would be almost death 
to an Enghsh horse. The common horse of the country is a 
picture of ugliness — a short bony animal, with a hollow neck 
and large head. The larger horses are the result of a breed 
introduced by Peter the Great ; they partake much of our 
Suffolk breed, but are more fiery and active, No trait in the 


HORSES. 295 

Russian character is so amiable as his humane treatment of 
his horse. Here, this noble animal seems to meet with that 
kindness and attention which his usefulness deserves. In no 
country perhaps in the world, is more attention paid to the 
breed of horses, than in England, and where they may be 
said to stand unrivalled j yet it is a melancholy fact, that in no 
country does this useful animal receive sufch cruel and unmer- 
ciful treatment. The humane Russ knows not the use of a 
horse- whip. The soft sound of music is the only lash he 
uses to propel his horse forward : with him he is domes- 
ticated ; and the animal, by instinct, knows him to be his 
friend, and instead of avoiding, courts his acquaintance I 

What relates to the natural history of this extensive coun- 
try, will be found described with great care by many authors, 
and to whose works the reader is referred, also for an account 
of its geological history. In this last respect, so little cha- 
racteristic of mineralogy has come within the observation of 
the present remarks, that no apology is requisite for the slight 
manner in which it has been treated. A country so uniformly 
flat and marshy offers but few features in geology ; and, to 



enlarge on what is not particularly prominent, nor what 
cannot be brought to the advantages of man, is only an idle 
waste of time. Agriculture is the sole object which ought to 
interest the legislature of this country. By it will the wealth 
and population of the country be increased, and from its 
sources can the country be enabled to maintain an increase of 
population. Many obstacles, at present, prevent the general 
cultivation of the soil, but the natural advantages which this 
country possesses will yet overcome them all. 

The facility of transporting the Various productions of the 
soil, from one place to another, is so general throughout this 
country, that the farmers and merchants must always com- 
mand an independence, unknown to the inhabitants of those 
inland countries, deprived of the different ramifications of 
rivers. Russia at present is more of a military, than a com- 
mercial character, and her warlike attitude is certainly very 
imposing ; but it is possible that her population may yet 
become unwieldy from its bulk ; and without the aid of 
commerce and wealth, must, sooner or later, tend to demolish 
the fabric of her government. 



No part of Europe is, naturally, better adapted for com- 
merce than Russia. By means of the extensive rivers, which 
flow through all parts of the empire, the productions of the 
north can be exchanged for those of the south, with the 
greatest facility. The Baltic has now a direct communication 
with the Caspian and Black Seas ; and even the connection 
with those to the Northern Ocean has been found practicable. 
If the Island of Zealand were under the power of Great 
Britain, and in friendly alliance with Russia, the general pro- 
ductions of Turkey, Persia, Syria, &c. might easily be brought 
there, by vessels adapted to the navigation of these rivers, and 
thence exported to England. The shortness of the voyage, 
compared to the circuitous and dangerous navigation round by 
the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean, indepen- 
dently of the security against dangers by storms and enemies, 
is a matter of the greatest importance to the commercialist. 
How much more valuable would this communication be, were 
the fortress of Gibraltar to fall under the power of any other 
nation, and the passage of the Straits become an object of 
<Hspute. A vessel, properly constructed, ijiight sail from any 

2 Q port 


port in Great Britain up the Baltic to Memel, thence ascend the 
Niemen to its source, and, by a canal which now joins that river 
to the Dnieper, at Pinsk, pass down its stream to the Black Sea. 
The whole of this voyage may be performed without an obstacle.* 
From London along this course, by the canal of Tonningen, 
the computed distance is about two thousand three hundred 
miles ; and, under favourable circumstances, the voyage may 
be performed in from two to three months. The other voyage, 
by the Mediterranean, is nearly four thousand miles, and 
liable to all the dangers of storms, and those enemies which 
line both sides of the Mediterranean coast. Besides the junc- 
tion of these rivers, we have already noticed the junction of 
the Volga, at Vishney Volotshok, to the Neva, forming an 
uninterrupted communication between St. Petersburg and the 
Caspian Sea, also from Riga to Odessa, by the junction of the 
Duna to the Dnieper, by the Beresinski canal. The Caspian 
and Black Seas will also be united, when the canal of Kamu- 
shinski, which joins the Don to the Volga, is completed. 

To a commercial nation, like Great Britain, it is a matter 
of the greatest importance to cultivate the friendship of Russia; 

* The cataracts, near the junction of the Samara, being now almost removed. 


both may mutually depend on each other. Their local situa- 
tions greatly preclude them from any grievous aggression ; 
yet, in a war, this northern empire would be the greatest 
sufferer. The advantages of Russia to Britain is almost like 
those of America ; and, if Great Britain were under the 
necessity of waging war with the one, the other could supply 
the British markets with the necessary commodities of these 
countries ; but if Russia and America were to form a warlike 
league against Great Britain, the prosperity of our commerce 
would receive one of its most severe checks : — even were such 
an event to take place, still the immense and almost unknown 
riches of New Holland might be brought into more general 
use, and a substitute could be drawn from that country, equal 
to the loss of what is now mentioned. 

The principal wealth of Russia depends on the natural 
productions of the country, and her riches are regulated by 
her internal commerce. Between the northern and southern 
divisions of the empire, is situated the largest, and the most 
valuable, extent of territory. In this middle division, the 
greater bulk of the population is to be found ; the soil is 

2 Q 2 better 


better cultivated, and its returns are more certain. In this 
tract also, both the productions of the other two divisions are 
to be found, exclusive of the large quantities of grain, hemp, 
and flax, which form its staple commodity. Hemp and flax 
evidently, at present, appear to be the principal source of 
wealth to the proprietors ; being more easily transported than 
grain, and better adapted to the climate, it becomes an object 
of attention and profit. 

The great annual fair held at Makaroff, four hundred 
miles east of Moscow, regulates the prices of manufactured 
goods throughout the empire, and to which the interest and 
speculation of all the merchants are directed. This fair is the 
grand depot of trade between Europe and Asia. It is held 
towards the end of July and beginning of August. The silks 
and teas of China, the productions of Persia, &c. are ex- 
changed for those of Russia and the west of Europe. The 
merchants of the east generally exchange their goods for 
woollen cloths, and it is a singular fact, that British manu- 
factured cloth alone is the most valued, while those of the 
Russian loom are generally refused. This year considerable 



discontent prevailed among the Chinese and Persian mer- 
chants, from the want of British fine woollen cloth : in con- 
sequence they sold their tea, silks, &c. for cash, and thus 
tended to drain the Russian people of their specie. However 
severe the Russian laws are against the introduction of English 
manufactured cloths, yet we find its use to be almost general 
in the country, and so highly valued by the eastern merchants, 
as to be an object of considerable demand. This is one, among 
the many proofs, how necessary it is for Great Britain to hold 
an amicable commercial alliance with Russia ; and, if possible, 
to overcome the scruples of that country against the introduc- 
tion of British manufactured goods. This is a point of great 
importance to our manufactures. It also proves with what 
facility we may acquire the rich productions of Asia, regard- 
less of the monopoly of the India Company. Tea, silks, &c. 
are annually brought, by the caravans, from Persia and China, 
to Makaroff, which is situated on the banks of the Volga ; 
whence there is a direct communication by water to St. Peters- 
burg and the ports of Britain. In short, through Russia, 
the commerce of the eastern nations could be carried on, 



without the protracted and circuitous navigation of the At- 
lantic and Southern Oceans. From London to Pekii> in 
China, by the Cape of Good Hope, the voyage is upwards of 
fourteen thousand miles ; — through Russia, the distance is 
about eight thousand miles : besides, the goods are brought 
by the natives the greatest part of the journey, free from 
all risks and dangers. 

The Angora river takes its rise near to the north-western 
corner of the great lake Baikal, not unfrequently called the 
sea of Baikal, from its size, being nearly three hundred and 
fifty miles in length, and about fifty in breadth. Irkutsk, the 
capital of a Russian government of the same name, stands near 
the source of the Angora, and the lake Baikal. This is a large 
comnjercial town, said to contain nearly ten thousand individu- 
als, and is the see of a bishop. It is the first great stage for the 
caravans, passing into Russia, from China. From this town there 
is a communication by water, to the Arctic Ocean, by means 
of the Angora, which joins the Yenessa. From the mouth of 
the Yenessa, through the straits of Waigate, to the longitude 
of Archangel, is not more than one thousand miles. From 



the lake Baikal to the mouth of the Yenessa is under two thou- 
sand miles. British ships trade regularly, in the summer months, 
with Archangel, and it is well known that the season is suffi- 
ciently favourable to extend the navigation to the eightieth 
degree of east longitude, to which the natives of Irkutsk might 
forward their merchandize. The river Oby, with the junction 
of the Irtish, &c. at the same time offers an easy conveyance 
for the productions of the extensive districts of Tartary, 
through the same course. The communication and advantages 
of these rivers are pointed out, exclusive of the overland trade 
by the numerous caravans. Thus we find that the Yenessa, 
the Oby, the Volga, the Don, and the Dnieper, all have an 
uninterrupted communication with the Arctic Ocean, and the 
Caspian and Baltic Seas ; and, by means of canals, &c. are more 
or less calculated to convey the various commodities of the coun- 
tries through which they flow. The land carriage, between Mos- 
cow and China, is also facilitated by the lateral branches of these 
rivers, and established towns ; particularly Casan, Tobolsk, 
Tomsk, Enisesk, and Irkutsk, which connects the great road 
from China to Europe, and is daily frequented by travellers. 




Nothing tends to cramp the spirit and regular standard of 
commerce, so much as private monopolies; and, were the 
present suggestions more enquired into, and, in any manner, 
found practicable, it might be unnecessary for the other 
commercialists of Britain to urge a termination to the char- 
ter of the India Company, as a commercial intercourse 
might be opened, through the medium of Russia, with our 
East-India possessions, and those rich and productive nations. 
It is evident, that the expenses of fitting out large vessels 
for the India trade could be avoided ; also, the heavy in- 
surances attending it. Besides, the exchange or barter of 
manufactured goods could be more easily accomplished ; as, 
here, the productions of various countries, and numerous 
individuals of all nations, meet at one spot, and at one time. 
The manufacturing towns of England might establish agents 
in various parts of Russia, export their own manufactured 
goods, and receive, in return, those valuable productions of 
the East. If private jealousy, on the part of Russia, should 
prevent the establishment of such agents, it might be better 
secured in giving Russia a leading interest in the trade ; by 



which means the specie of Britain would circulate through 
her dominions, and add to her wealth, independently of her 
resources from her own productions. The commercial rela- 
tion between the two countries would be reciprocal ; and the 
merchants of Russia would be dependent on the British 
markets. In the present state of things, the Russian nobles 
and landholders depend on their merchants, for the sale of 
their agricultural produce and their government ; on both, 
for the revenue. When Russia, therefore, becomes acquainted 
with the advantages resulting from a commercial relationship 
with Great Britain, every class would firmly unite to maintain 
it; for the prosperity of Russia must, in a great measure, 
depend on that of the commerce of Great Britain. 

Woollen cloths are in great request among the Tartars, 
Persians, and throughout the north of China. In all those 
countries, though at certain seasons of the year extremely hot, 
yet their nights and winter months are generally very cold, 
and the inhabitants require a warm, yet light dressing, and 
which only the productions of the British, or French looms, 
will answer. The woollen cloth of Russia is of too coarse 

2 £ and 


and heavy a texture for those regions, and consequently does 
not meet with general demand. In this respect Russia cannot 
easily overcome the British manufacture. We have seen that 
the breed of sheep, throughout the country, produce a wool 
extremely coarse, and unfit for general use : nor is it likely that 
an improved breed can be introduced. The present state of 
cultivation of the country prevents their increase, as well as 
the immense forests, and a long and severe winter. 

The list of exports from Russia includes nearly two hun- 
dred different articles, in which are comprehended many of the 
productions of the East; and Great Britain alone seems to be 
tlie chief market. 

" It appears that nine hundred and ninety-two ships cleared 
out from St. Petersburg in 1814, whose valuable cargoes were 
brought to Great Britain, with the exception of a small part 
carried to Ireland and some other quarters. The quantity of 
iron was 567,733 poods, of 361bs. English, each ; of hemp 
1,261,765 poods ; of flax, 405,723 poods; of tallow, 1,693,209 
poods; of potash, 269,089 poods ; of diaper linen, 7^2,777 
yards English ; of sail-cloth, 34,833 pieces, 38 yards each ; 




of ravenducks, 7'^9^^7 pieces. Of these commodities Ireland 
imported direct to 

Poods of Iron. Hemp. Tallow. Potash. 

Dublin . . . , 7,560. . . . 11,750. . . . 11,323. . . . 1,033 

Londonderry 7j245 6,744. . 

Newry ....1,115.... 3,794.. 

Belfast 3,150 10,920. . 

Cork 1,480. . . . 7,222. . 

Limerick . . . 5,040 1,575. . 

Total . . 25,590. . . . 42,005. . 

8,219. ... 246 

9,548. ... 960 

o,91o. ... ■ 


. 39,844 2,239 

These suggestions are the result of many inquiries from 
different merchants in Moscow, who have been in the habit of 
trading with the eastern merchants, and who have performed 
the journey. We, who live in so insulated a manner, and 
hold but little communication with these countries, are apt to 
look upon any attempt to mingle with them, as a task of a 
difficult and insurmountable description. There is no country 
where an individual could travel with greater safety, and facility, 
than in Russia ; difficulties of travelling to Casan and Tobolsk 

• 2 R 2 are 


are only imaginary ; the roads are open, and the stages regu- 
larly established. 

The attentive observer cannot shut his eyes to the ad- 
vantages, which this country must derive from her commercial 
relation with those countries. There are few subjects which 
have created greater perplexities and wealth, than the various 
systems on which our commerce is conducted ; and the sugges- 
tion of any mode whereby such embarrassments could be ob- 
viated, and any advantages gained, must surely be highly 
important, and well worthy the attention of our commercial 
legislature. Even in a moral point of view, these advantages 
would extend into those remote provinces of Russia. A spirit 
of cultivation and commerce would take place, and those 
parts of the country, at present almost barren, might become 
improved, the inhabitants more numerous, and their fortunes 
enlarged. Even in this land of proscription, there must be 
many individuals, who, in the exercise of commerce, might 
ameliorate the pains of captivity, forget his absence from his 
native land, and his separation from his dearest relatives. 
While we congratulate ourselves on our elevated station in 

civilize d 


civilized society, we ought to look with an eye of pity oii 
the sufferings of our fellow-creatures. 

Several great roads lead from Moscow, towards the east, 
south and west. That towards the east passes by MakarofF to 
Casan, and towards Persia and China. The other, by Kaluga, 
stretches towards the Crimea and Constantinople. This -is 
accounted the best road in the empire, and which passes 
through the finest provinces. The other great road is by 
Sniolensko, to Warsaw. This was the route of the memo- 
rable track of Napoleon, and which we are to pass over, 
and detail in the order of travelling. It is accounted the 
least frequented path ; couriers, &c. generally pass by Riga. 

Before a traveller can arrive at Moscow, he must ne- 
cessarily pass through a great part of the empire ; and 
become more or less habituated to Russian manners and 
characters. He observes his fellow man fettered by despo- 
tism, humbled by slavery, and blinded by superstition. 

Probably, from the disastrous effects of the late war, 
the character of the inhabitants may be considerably altered, 
particularly in this part of the country. In Moscow, the 



nobles and persons of wealth, and their dependants, are gone ; 
also two-thirds of its population. The shops are only tempo- 
rary sheds —I- the streets exhibit a gloomy range of ruined 
houses ; and an air of deserted melancholy, every where per- 
vades the city. This alone is sufficient to change the character 
of Moscow from what it originally w^as. When the Earl of 
Carlisle came here, as ambassador, it was the most mag- 
nificent and splendid city in the world : at present it is the 

The manners and characters of the Muscovites are con- 
siderably different from those at St. Petersburg. Here they 
are more careless and less ceremonious ; and, not being under 
the controul of the court, indulge in a ruder and more ex- 
pensive magnificence. 

Everything bears the mark of age, gothicism and rude- 
ness ; change of manners no more occurs, than change of 
dress ; in this respect they seem not to differ : they are all 
clad alike — one uniform costume is seen, only differing in 
quality from those of the country — the one is a sheep-skin 
tunic, fastened round the waist by a girdle ; the other of cloth, 



plaited behind like a woman's petticoat. The hair of the head 
is cut according to one shape, while the lower part of the 
face is hideously disfigured by a goatish beard. The women 
retain all the display of Asiatic finery and gaudy robes ; in their 
countenances they are inanimate statues and highly daubed with 
paint ; in their figures unshapely, appearing as those " wish 
to be, who love their lords." 

The capital and the country present a strange character 
of the nobles, and peasants or slaves. The last is what par- 
ticularly arrests the attention, and are the most characteristic. 
The common Russ, laying aside his filthy appearance, is often 
a prepossessing creature. He is good-humoured, lively, and 
submissive; seldom complains of any hardship, and quietly 
bears every treatment. He is however cunning and imposing, 
addicted to thieving and knavery, falsehood and deceit. 
Many of the Russians are seen in the streets, disgustingly 
intoxicated ; though many of them never taste spirits. As an 
instance of this, we often could not prevail on the postillions 
to take a glass of brandy, though travelling all night. This 
is a class of people who profess religious sentiments, somewhat 



different from the established church ; in regard to drink they 
are strictly prohibited. The offensive fumes of tobacco rarely 
annoy the sense of smell ; how different from that obnoxious 
and detestable practice in Holstein, Hamburg, and Prussia. 
The Russians are prevented from smoking tobacco, lest they 
should carry it to their churches, and soil the images of their 
saints — as a substitute, they take snuff, but not generally. 

A Russian's character is soon known, and by proper 
means, may be used to advantage. Prevent him from impo- 
sition, and excite not his attention by too open a display of 
wealth ; treat him with occasional flattery, and particularly 
allow him the freedom of speech, and he becomes obliging 
and indefatigable. Like untutored savages, their passions are 
strong and uncurbed ; they will grossly abuse each other, 
vent their rage in the most shocking and indelicate expressions, 
spit in each other's faces, but never fight ; in this respect they 
have a tender regard to their feelings, and are finished cowards, 
yet they make admirable soldiers, and do not hesitate to march 
to the field of battle, or put a foeman to death. They quietly 
submit to be beaten or caned without resistance, and which 



they daily receive from those who have power. Money here 
is scarce, and of high value, and hath a charm over the 
Russ, more than over any other nation. For a trifle his 
services may be commanded j and, for that trifle, he is most 
grateful. A postillion who drives six horses for thirty miles, 
is content to receive forty copecks, equal to six-pence. If a 
rouble is given, about one shilling in value, he is most ani- 
matedly thankful. He bows to the ground, which he kisses, 
crosses himself and repeats a prayer. For so small a sum, 
what other nation would be so thankful ? A Prussian is never 
grateful; the more he receives, the more avaricious he be- 
comes. If he is offered a dram, he takes it most greedily, 
but never expresses the least sign of thanks. How diflferent 
is the poor Russ. I would sooner deal with one hundred 
Russian postillions, than with one Prussian, Saxon, or even 

Here, if a beggar accosts one, it is done in a suppliant 
manner ; if they receive the smallest donation, they prostrate 
themselves before the charitable donor, and mutter a prayer ; 

2 s but 


but the extent of their gratitude is always in proportion to 
the value of the offering. All the postillions regularljr cross 
themselves, and offer up a short prayer^ before they mount 
the box ; and regularly, as they pass a church, they take off 
their hats and cross themselves. If it is a church of impor- 
tance, they alight and perform their duty to the Virgin. 

When not actively employed, they immediately fall adeep^ 
and the instant they are awaked, they are ready to act. Beds 
they never use, the pavement of the street, the floor of the 
stable, or between the wheels of a carriage are all alike to 
them. If a postillion has occasion to wait for travellers^ 
during any part of the night, he quits his horses and lieA 
down on the bare stones under the carriage, with his hat 
placed under his head as a pillow, and thus sleeps like a dog. 
All hours are alike to him ; the rising of the sun neither 
awakens his indifferent soul to animation nor to delight ; nor 
its setting, the softened melancholy of a departing day. The 
varying seasons of the year equally pass on, unnoticed, beyond 
the effects of its temperature. When it is hot he basks in the 



sun, almost destitute <)f clothes: in winter he enjoys the 
warmth of his sheep-skins, and the tide of his existence 
passes on, as that of a living machine, 

.They Jive both simply and frugally. A Russian is seldom 
observed to take a regular meal. They are paasionately fond 
of garlick, onions and cucumbers, whicli they eat raw, 
similar to apples. The first thing he does in the morning* is 
to put a root of garlick into his mouth, which he considers 
as an excellent stomachic. The market-place is covered with 
garlick, and their food highly seasoned with it ; and when 
they are met in the streets, the smell of garlick is most 
offensive. They rarely keep provisions in their houses. Every 
street has a number of breadstalls, where it is exposed to 
^ale ; attached to the stalls is a grate of charcoal, over which 
is boiled different beverages ; such as milk seasoned with 
herbs, mead beer, a kind of punch, and sour quass. To 
such a spot the Russ retires when the calls of hunger invite. 
There he purchases bread which is covered with a little salt 
and linseed oil, and receives a ladle full of the beverage. In 
this manner he takes his daily food, which occupies the 

2 s 2 smallest 


smallest space of time. Every morning the workmen, coach- 
men, and in short all the common people, stop at the first of 
these portable eating places, and appease their hunger : little 
satisfies them. In the one hand he holds his brown bread, 
and in the other the ladle of sour beer. During the day they 
are always seen gnawing a raw onion, or cucumber. In their 
living, they differ little from the brute. Whenever they are 
hungry, they resort to a bread or vegetable stall, where they 
immediately settle their hunger ; whenever they are wearied, 
they lie down on the bare ground and fall asleep. 

At all times, it is an unpleasant, as well as ia disgusting 
subject, to describe the effects of Jnattention to cleanliness; 
here the stranger will remark It ■iiivkribus degrees: — the 
striking contrast between splendour and filth, &c. will, every 
hour, present itself before his eyes; but, from every intelli- 
gence which our military friends have given us of the de- 
graded state of filth, &c. in Portugal and Spain, the Russians 
must be, comparatively speaking, void of such nuisances. 
Were it not from the structure of their houses and dress, the 
Russians might be as cleanly as their neighbours. A Prussian 



or German peasant's house, in the country, is as offensive to 
the external senses as they are here, independent of the fumes 
of tobacco. 

To prevent the uneasy sensation of the attacks of vermin, 
which crowd in their wool dress, the common people are in 
the habit of rubbing their bodies over with a quantity of 
greasy ointment. The ointment is put into a bag, and each 
performs the operation of unction to the other-; by this means 
their skin becomes impervious to the bite of these animals. 
I' ; -'Though they are partial to music, yet they are seldoni 
seen to partake in the amusement of dancing ; this appears to 
arise rather from indolence, than from any aversion to so 
graceful an exercise. 

Though labouring under every degree of servitude, the 
Russian frequently displays the most unbounded generosity. 
Many instances are known, where the noble proprietor, being 
compelled to oifer his estates to be sold to pay his gambling 
debts, that his slaves have purchased it, and restored it to 
him; this has been repeated in the same family twice, and on 
a third ignoble failure, the poor peasants purchased it again, 

and, , 


and, with a degree of generosity scarcely paralleled, presented 
it to a young noble of a highly distinguished, but poor family. 

What is here mentioned entirely relates to the common 
peasant or slave. Those who are tree, and are more inde- 
pendent, by commerce, become avaricious and less generous. 
'^ The common peasant is a faulty character, in many respects ; 
feut this may be attributed to his station in life, his ignorance 
i)f learning and religious superstition; otherwise he h ihe 
most amiable character in the community. Those who are 
jengaged in traffic, generally araaiss mooey They dislike all 
foreigners, and consider it meritorious to cheat them. In 
^hort, cheating is not more considered here as dishonest, than 
honesty and honour, in England, is considered as. a common 
thing. Every piece of goods, to be bought, must be bargained 
for, and can always be purchased at one half the sum the 
j$eller demands. I have frequently known them ask an hun- 
dred rouble^, and afterwards give it below fifty. It is a rule 
always to offer less than the half of their demands, and they 
will even rather run into the street after the customer, than 
lose his offer. 



The Russians cannot be said to possess any inventive 
genius ; but their imitative powers stand almost unrivalled. 
The most perfect copies have been executed, both in paintings 
and in jevrels, and vrhich is often carried to such an extent as 
to elude every possibility of detection. 

It is impossible to contemplate the Russ, without remark- 

•^ . . . 

ing the astonishing influence of climate and soil on both his 

physical and moral constitution. Not only do they give it its 
character, but they seem even to create it : they seem to be 
the mould in which it is stamped. 

Although the moral constitution of a people must always 
arise from its government, laws, and religion, yet we often 
find that this is but a secondary process, and that, if we trace 
the springs of their constitution to their original source, we 
discover them to arise often, though indirectly, from the ope- 
ration of climate and soil. Of this we have the most perfect 
example in Russia. The Russ is almost the very being of 
climate and soil, both in his moral and in his physical charac- 
ter, and thence his government, laws, and religion, borro\r, 
in a great measure, their original traits. 



Here the moralist will have a fine study. He knows that, 
although the external senses are the original stock, from which 
the faculties of the mind, whether active or passive, arise ; 
yet, that our intelligence indeed would be very gross if it were 
confined to them. Here he will see this strongly illustrated. 
And first, of climate, he knows that the growth and produce of 
mind is greatly under its influence. Although he may highly 
extol the doctrines of its immateriality, still he knows that its 
nature is often mechanical — that it has its periods of contrac- 
tion and relaxation — that these periods must follow each other; 
and that, like the sun-flower, on which night's breezes blow, 
it must, at times, sink within itself and retire to rest. He 
knows that, in proportion as we exercise our external, we 
diminish the delicacy of our internal senses. Here he will see 
the latter almost subordinate ; he will see them, as it were, 
cramped up for want of temperature, and without one genial 
ray to expand them. The poor Russ must live, for the sake 
of living. With him the business of living, is the business of 
life. His winds and snows render his means of subsistence 
scanty ; for these alone he wishes to provide ; for these alone 



his external senses are sufficient; these alone he uses. His 
mind, from relaxation, droops, decays and dies, and one sad 
night of darkness overshadows its tomb. 

No less interesting is the picture which the nvoralist has 
to contemplate, on the effects resulting from the influence of 
^oil. He knows how strongly the faculties of the mind may 
be influenced by it, and that, even the qualities of the one, 
may have a correspondent relationship with those of the other. 
Of these faculties there are none more strongly marked, none 
more beautiful than that of imagination. The tints of ima- 
gination must often be borrowed from landscape, and the tints 
of landscape must be borrowed from the soil, that is the face 
of the country. 

What an abundant influence then must these have on 
moral character ! From no source does the picture of man 
derive such lights and shades ; from no source do his plea- . 
sures or pains more abundantly flow. Hence he often dates 
his brightest joys, or his darkest sorrows. He knows that it 
is not in flats or plains that this gift abounds in man. It can- 
not grow among their low-born weeds ; it is along the tower- 

2 T ing 


ing cliiF, and the cloud-capt hill ; it is with the native of the 
mountain or valley, he is to find it. Here, o'er these wide and 
far stretched plains, as level and as countless as the sands of 
the desert, no object will he see by which this gift can be 
created or revived. No mountain throws its giant form over 
the wide land ; no rock flings its rude surface o'er the desert 
waste^ — all is flat, lifeless and insipid. 

Here are no objects to bind the poor Russ to his native 
soil. His imagination cannot be created, or if created, it 
cannot be revived. His memory cannot recal those past images 
on which his younger days have often rolled ; and thus he is 
deprived of the largest sources, on which his happiness or 
his misery depends. His cheerless course knows not their 
extremes. His stream of life is dull, coarse, and unjoyous — 
the sink of agony does not lower its tide — the swell of rapture 
does not rufile its wave. For him, no more does the light 
of heaven throw around its morning dawn — no more does 
the sun of science gleam on his mind — all around him is 
dark and dreary. Wrapped in his furs, his ignorance, and 
his snows, he treads along his sad and weary path. The 



mere creature of his senses, he looks abroad from his den 
to gratify them. For these alone he thinks he was born ; 
he blesses his altar, eats, drinks and sleeps ; and thus goes 
on his life's insipid round. 

It would indeed seem here, that in the chains of animated 
nature, the links assigned to man and brute are not separated 
by distinct spaces, but that they gradually run into each other. 
If so, it is here then, the solitary Russ holds his link, assum- 
ing the character of either, and mingling the actions of both. 
Indeed, Russia is not the only country in which we are taught, 
that the gift of reason may be so debased, as completely to lose 
its true qualities, and thus, no longer, present those barriers 
by which the class mammalia is otherwise partitioned. We see 
that the constitution of animated nature has been wisely 
formed, in adaptation to the various necessities of its various 
countries, and that the grand end in view is to preserve and 
continue the species. In like manner then as the polypus, 
which connects the animal and vegetable tribes, a theorist 
would here suppose that he saw a class of beings holding an in- 
termediate rank between the human and the brute creation ; he 

2 T 2 would 


would find that there is an interchange of qualities which 
assimilate them together. Where reason is deficient, cunning 
will abound ; where intellect fails, instinct will predominate. 

There are no qualities more truly characteristic of the 
brute than cunning — if it is found in the well organized sys- 
tems of society in refined nations, it is the result of what has 
been acquir'cd, not of what is natural, and the individuals in 
whom it exists are always, more or less, degenerate. Another 
quality, most illustrative of animal character, is sloth. The 
operations of reason and intellect are too active and too subtle 
to allow such gross particles to insinuate themselves between 
them. They are only to be found in the parts of our consti- 
tution purely physical. Perhaps there are no properties more 
immediately manifest in the pommon Russ than these two, 
and their operations seem to follow each other successively. 
By his cunning, he gratifies his senses ; by his sloth, he puts 
them to rest ; be wakes from his torpor, and his cunning is 
again exercised. His periods, between waking and sleeping, 
are none. He has no mental operations to throw their veil 
between them. To him is unknown that elegant dusky film, 



which, like the grey twilight overshadows our morning hours, 
and drops on our eyelids its visionary seal. When his nature 
is refreshed he instantly awakes ; his vigilance is on the alert, 
he looks abroad from his den, and thus begins the business of 
the day. 

To attempt inquiry into the nature, causes and extent of 
this animal character, is not the business of these pages. It 
is the province of the moralist. How far climate and soil have 
their operation, we have already hinted, and how far this 
operation has been promoted, by the effects of government, 
laws and religion, is only for the political economist to in- 

If however we narrow these inquiries, and take a 
closer view, we may perhaps gain some light ; and here, we 
cannot but notice a fact, no less curious than illustrative of it, 
viz. that the lacteal food of goats is sometimes substituted 
for that of the natural parent ; that the infant is placed under 
the animal, to draw that nourishment, which from a mother, 
is the greatest source of delight. This is a most singular 
circumstance, indeed almost a melancholy one, and scarcely to 



be found in the history of any other modern nation. To give 
it its full range of influence I shall not attempt. The physio- 
logist has here a fine field of speculation ; but at present we must 
turn aside from such, although we cannot shut our eyes to it. 

We need not however have recourse to so solitary a cir- 
cumstance, in illustration of that character so truly possessed 
by the natives of this country. Many and various are the 
sources which contribute to it. If we look to those which are 
not natural but acquired^ we shall find there is none more 
abundant than that of slavery. Of this the poor Russ is the 
most perfect creature. He is a slave to his appetites, to his 
religion, and to his government. From his cradle to his grave, 
is one incessant series of thraldom and pressure. The current 
of his life resembles a kennel, struggling between two dung- 
hills ; it rolls along its muddy stream in sloth and fatness ; its 
banks are steep, filthy and dark ; by these alone its waters are 
directed ; by these their ebb and flow must be regulated ; and, 
beyond these, they never can wander. 

He cannot think for himself, his rulers save him the 
trouble ; by their fiat he is ruled, by their frowns he is moved, 



and, on their will, hangs his destiny. If the Almighty has in- 
fused into him a rational principle, be can scarcely exercise it. 
It is, by his cunning, not by his reason, that his wishes and 
his wants are provided. The despotism, under which he 
moves, presses and clogs everything around him ; it narrows 
his views ; it gives him bis prejudices, and the clanking of its 
manacles ever dins in bis ears : he has no stimulus for exertion; 
no reward for improvement. Bound down to one dark and 
lowly path, it is here he delves his weary way, and here alone 
he must tread, where his father has trodden before him. 

No less enslaved is the poor Russ, by the rites of his 
rehgion. This the traveller cannot but immediately remark ; of 
this he will be constantly put in mind ; this is the general veil 
which he will see wrapped around almost every object, and 
under which alone he can get a real insight into its true colours. 
It is with his idols and his saints that the Russ holds commu- 
nion ; with these he is domesticated; to these he addresses 
himself in all his troubles. These are the objects of his con- 
stant solicitude, and hereon hangs the interest of his concerns, 
whether spiritual or temporal. To them his morning hours are 



devoted ; with them his vespers are passed, and, without their 
invocation, the business of the day cannot go on. Not more 
idly play the sunbeams around his drifting snows, than does 
the light of reform over his benighted soul. All is dark and 
dreary ; his spirit of devotion is cold and cheerless ; it cannot 
stray beyond himself ; it cannot touch his fellow-man, and, if 
once the warmth of humanity can draw towards him its cheering 
ray, the spell of his soul, like the Demophoon of old, will 
shiver at the spark, and blot it out for ever. 

( 329 ) 


Smolensko, September, 1814. 
We were now to bid adieu to the ancient seat of the Czars, 
and gaze no longer on its hallowed ruins. The last chime of 
its bells was to ring on our ear, the last glitter of its domes 
was to fade on our sight, and, as their tints stole away into 
the horizon, our minds mingled with their dying hue, and 
left us at peace with a jarring world. 

And now lay before us the dark and dreadful part of our 
journey, the most interesting, but the most melancholy. Hither- 
to its picture was calm and serene ; whatever dark spots it had 
belonged to the canvas, not to the pencil, and we gazed on a 
country, on which God and man had bestowed many choice 
gifts. Far different now were the scenes before us. On all 
sides lay vast and dreary wilds, their only tracks the bloodstains 

2 u of 


of war, their only companions the sad remnants of its desola- 
tion. No longer was the cheering warmth of humanization to 
be felt ; all was dark and dreary ; one wretched map of misery 
*' threw its listless length around." Wherever we rolled our 
wearied eye, still it was the same ; nothing to catch, on which 
it could sweetly gaze, nothing discernible, on which it could 
fondly linger ; and wherever our fellow creature gave colour 
to the scene, it added interest, but it added melancholy. The 
tear of the widow was to awake our sympathy ; the cry of the 
orphan was to din in our ears, and send its echo to the listen- 
ing waste, their husbands, their fathers, and their friends no 
more ! their altars insulted, their homes polluted, and their 
wretched, houseless, figures stalking abroad, like the genii of 
famine and despair, and clinging to the yet reeking embers of 
their roofless dwellings. 

Let not the enthusiast roam here. Far different are those 
scenes, where the bright fancies of his boyhood plumed their 
eagle wing, and took their gay and glittering flights. The cup 
from which he has taken his draught will be dashed from his 
lips ; the dream, from which he is awakened, will add to its 

bitterness y 


bitterness; the spell will Be broken, and he will turn away 
with disgust. No more, for him, will the lovely features of 
nature smile ; hideous and distorted they will ^' rack his 
gaze.'* He will see his fellow-creatures in all the varieties of 
wretchedness and despair, stealing away, from the scanty boon 
of nature, wherewith to support their miserable existence. 

The road from Moscow passed out at the West-gate, 
after crossing the Moskwa by a long wooden bridge. It then 
enters on a flat plain, partly diversified with clumps of trees 
and numerous ruins of wooden huts, &c. and it continues flat 
until it reaches Perkouchekovo, our first stage. This place 
presents a miserable group of wooden hovels, about thirty in 
number, and scattered on each side of the road. A large 
green painted church, partly demolished, stands in the mid- 
dle : it is a fine bourg or borough and belongs to the Emperor. 

This was the first stage which the French army reached 
on their retreat, and, while we were changing horses, we 
could not but shudder at the sad relics of their devastation. 
Paltry and simple as it was, it could not escape their all-devour- 
ing firebrand. Scarcely a vestige of its once neat form survi- 

2 u 2 ved, 


ved, except the church. The wrjetched inhabitants fled, partly 
to another village, and partly to their woods and wilds. A few 
• have returned, and are still fondly lingering over the ruins of 
their once beloved homes, with scarce a rag to cover their 
wretched forms, and hardly a roof to shelter them from the 
pitiless blast. Mothers and orphans crowd together, mingling 
their gighs and their sorrows ; clinging to the shelter of a few 
hurdles, and hanging over each other in famine and despair. 
Here they are to face the howling winds and winter snows, 
until tired nature puts an end to the measure of their sorrows. 
Unhappy country, is it not enough that the depravities of thy 
ancient mother have called down Heaven's vengeance on her 
bleeding form ? Is the scourge of war to crimson, with its 
blood-stained lash, those peaceful vales, where thy simple 
oflfspring draw their little store, and where, like the lowly 
flower, which droops its head to the blast, their humility, and 
their innocence should have sheltered them from desolation ? 

From the last stage, our road continued tolerably good 
and flat ; partly made with planks and partly a track through 
an extensive plain, level and fit for pasturage, and brought u» 



to a wretched village, or rather a heap of rubbish, which, 
like the former, is free and belongs to the Emperor. A similar 
mass of devastation presents itself The inhabitants received 
fifty roubles for each house from the Emperor, in the former 
they received an hundred roubles for each house, being in pro- 
portion to the extent of the destruction committed, and to their 
indigence. The inhabitants of this place are mostly Poles ; 
they are robust and with fair complexions. The men wear 
a large slouching hat, and sheep-skin jackets; the women are 
clad in rags ; in short, misery and wretchedness seem to abound 
here. This village is called Koubinskoe, and contains about 
sixty persons. 

We continued to proceed through a flat and insipid coun- 
try, without any object which could interest the attention, and 
soon reached the village of Chelkovo, similarly wretched and 
ruinous with the last, and containing a few temporary sheds 
on each side of the road. It shared the fate of the others; 
but this, it is said, was owing to the Cossacks, more than the 
French. A small quantity of grain seems to be raised around 
this part of the country. The soil^ from Moscow, is yellow 



sand and clay, cold and sterile. The pasturage is scanty and 
bad, and the crops light. The common flail of Scotland is 
used here ; the women thresh out the grain on a platform, 
in the field. The common plough of Russia is still in use; 
but the rudely formed harrow of the northern provinces is 
somewhat improved. This country is more barren, both as to 
nature and art, than that lying between the capitals. 

The road continued flat, cheerless and insipid, irregularly 
formed and often deeply rutted. We passed by the ruins of 
three villages, which were laid waste ; two of them are entirely 
swept away from the face of the earth, and now bushes of 
nettles mark the spot on which they stood. This, in many places, 
was the only mark by which we could observe where houses 
had formerly been. It is asserted that the Russians destroyed 
these villages during the advance of the French Army. We 
soon gained a view of the town of Mojaiske, pleasantly si- 
tuated on the south-west side of a gentle declivity. Mojaiske 
is a small town of about one thousand inhabitants. The build- 
dings are partly of brick and wood ; a fine Gothic church 
stands on a high and rugged bank, surrounded by a deep 



natural ditch, over which a communication is made, by 
arches. There are also two smaller churches, besides a mo- 
nastery at a short distance from the town. The ground on 
which the town stands, is high and deeply rutted, by a small 
brook, which flows into the Moskwa, on the north side of 
the environs. The irregularities of the ground, give the town 
a very romantic appearance, and occasion an endless task, to 
the inhabitants, in toiling from one ridge to another. This is 
a district town ; but it appears to have little or no trade. After 
the battle of Borodino, Buonaparte retired to this place and 
halted four days. The churches were converted into hospitals 
for the wounded soldiery, while the town became a prey to 
the firebrand. Many of the houses are again repaired,, 
though several poor families still reside under the shelter of a 
few branches of trees, stuck into the ground, and knotted toge- 
ther at the top. The people appear to be extremely simple,! 
quiet and inoffensive. A considerable quantity of barley and 
black oats are cultivated in the neighbourhood. The soil conti- 
nues a hard stiff clay. Very few cattle are visible ; the horses 
are small but active. Here, for the first time, we observed the 



common black rook, the corvtis frugilegus. A singular plough 
is used here — it has neither stilts, nor beam — the horse is 
yoked between the shafts, which are joined by a cross bar, and 
used as a handle — from this the coulter descends in an inward 
curved manner. 

Leaving Mojaiske, we entered on a rising and extensive 
plain, partly covered with brushwood and dwarf oak. About 
ten miles from the town we reached the monastery of Bolgin, 
situated on the plains of Borodino, where the memoj-able battle 
between the Russian and French armies was fought, on the 
7th September 1812. As we came in view of the village we 
could not but gaze, with horror, at the scene before us : one 
complete mass of destruction and desolation presented itself. 
Wretched mothers and naked orphans immediately surrounded 
us, and their extreme eagerness in jntreating, and their un- 
bounded gratitude in receiving the smallest donation, too plainly 
bespoke their distresses, and could not fail to excite sympathy in 
the coldest heart. Nothing but the sad remnants of its desolation 
now remain ; the whole is almost a desert. The ruins of the mo- 
nastery and village are situated on a gently rising ground, on 



the west side of a small river, wfiich is crossed by a tempo- 
rary floating bridge of planks. Not a single house of the vil- 
lage is capable of sheltering the wretched inhabitants from the 
inclemency of the weather. The walls of the monastery and 
roof are still standing, though otherwise in a state of ruins ; the 
popes have left it. The surface of the ground, on the south 
side of the river, is flat, but gradually rises up to a plantation 
of fir, in front of which is the breast work of the French bat- 
tery, on which it is said nearly one thousand pieces of artillery 
were placed, during the action. On the opposite side of the 
river, and on each side of the road, is seen the spot on which 
the Russian cannons were placed. The monastery stood al- 
most in a line, between them, and was taken and retaken three 
times successively. No spot could have been better selected 
for the operations of a battle. The country is, in general, flat 
and cultivated : the river, which waters the valley, is not above 
ten yards wide ; its banks are steep and partly covered with 
brushwood. It flows into the Moskwa. Here we learned 
that the Russian army lost thirty-five thousand men, and that 
of the French, somewhat more. The bodies of the killed were 

2 X burnt 


burnt on different parts of the fields — layers of trees and bodies 
were piled alternately above each other, to a considerable height, 
and thus consumed. The Russian Commander in Chief, Kou- 
tousoff, had made such excellent preparations to oppose the 
enemy, tliat the army of Napoleon was foiled at every at- 
tempt, and, after three days continued fighting, both armies 
retired from the combat. The Russians waited for a supply of 
men, while Napoleon took the advantage and pushed an 
advanced guard on to Moscow. The victory was claimed by 
both parties. On the first and second day the French were com- 
pletely beaten; and, after the third, the Russians were only 
prevented from renewing the attack, from the want of men. 
Nothing can be a more convincing proof of the ardour with 
which they fought, than the number of the enemy which was 


* Xhe day after we had passed the plains of Borodino, we had the honour 
of procuring the acquaintance of a Russian nobleman, who was travelling from 
Smolensk© to Moscow. He had fought on the plains of Borodino, where his 
father fell. He gave us some interesting particulars on the fate of the day of 



From the great magnitude and importance of the battle of 
BorodinOj and its forming so remarkable an sera, not only in 
the annals of this campaign in particular, but in the history 
of modern warfare— there needs no apology for giving, to its 
account, more detail than what, otherwise, the nature of 
these pages might admit of, we shall therefore extract a sum- 
mary of it from the pages of a French officer,* who was pre- 
sent on that occasion 

'^ Worn out with fatigue, we felt the want of sleep. 
There were many among us, so enamoured of glory, and so 
flushed with the hope of the morrow's success, that they were 
absolutely incapable of repose. As they passed the wakeful 
hours, and the silence and darkness of midnight stole upon 
them, while the fires, now almost extinct, of the sleeping 

2x2 soldiers, 

Borodino. From him we understood that the Russians occupied the field so 
admirably, that Napoleon could not bring up the whole of his army to the 
attack. The height, on which the French battery was placed, perfectly corres- 
ponds with that stated in Napoleon's bulletin. 

* La Baume. 


soldijers, threw their last rays of light over the heaps of arms 
piled around, they gave themselves up to profound meditation. 
They reflected on the wonderful events of our strange expedi- 
tion; they mused on the result of a battle, which was to 
decide the fate of two powerful empires ; they compared the 
silence of the night with the tumult of the morrow ; they 
fancied that death was now hovering over their crowded ranks, 
but that the darkness of the night prevented them from distin- 
guishing who would be the unhappy victims. They then 
thought of their parents, their country, — ^and the uncertainty 
whether they should ever see those beloved objects again, 
plunged them into the deepest melancholy.- — Before day-break, 
the beat of the 5rum was heard, the officers cried to arms, the 
men eagerly rushed to their different stations, and all, in order 
for battle, awaited the signal for action. Such were the 
feelings of the army, when a radiant sun, bursting from the 
thickest fog, shone for the last time on many of us. — At 
six o'clock the firing of a cannon, from our principal bat- 
tery, announced that we were engaged. The thirteenth 
division marched upon the village of Borodino, to which 



the Russians had already set fire. Orders had been given 
that they should confine themselves to the occupation of this 
position ; but, carried away by the enthusiasm, natural to 
Frenchmen, they crossed the river Kologha, and took posses- 
sion of one of the bridges, which connected the village with 
the eminence. — While the thirteenth division possessed itself 
of Borodino, the fourteenth, crossing the Kologha under the 
eminence, lodged itself in a ravine, near the principal re- 
doubt, whence the enemy poured a horrible fire. This po- 
sition being carried, our artillery crowned the heights, and 
seized the advantage which, for more than two hours, the 
Russians had had over us. The guns, to the destructive 
fire of which we had been exposed during the attack, were 
now turned against the enemy, and the battle was lost to 
the Russians, when they imagined that it was but just 
begun. Part of their artillery was taken, aud the rest 
withdrawn to the rear. In this extremity. Prince Koutousoff 
saw that every thing was lost. Yet determined to make one 
effort more, and to maintain the reputation which he had 
acquired, by the service of half a century, he renewed the 



combat, and attacked, with all his forces, the strong posi- 
tions he had just lost.. Three hundred pieces of cannon, 
now arranged on these heights, spread devastation and 
death among his ranks, and his disheartened soldiery pe- 
rished at the feet of those ramparts, which they had them- 
selves raised, and which they regarded as the bulwark of 
Moscow, their venerable and sacred city. The thirtieth 
regiment, French, attacked, on every side, was unable to 
keep the redoubt, which it had carried, not being supported 
by the thiird division, scarcely yet drawn up in order of 
battle. The enemy, encouraged by the success he had just 
obtained, brought forward his reserve, with the hope of 
striking a decisive blow. It was partly composed of the 
Imperial guard. With all his forces concentrated, he attack- 
ed our centre, on which our right had wheeled. For a mo- 
ment we feared that our lines would have been broken, and 
that we should have lost the redoubt we had gained the 
preceding evening ; but General Friand, coming up with 
twenty- four pieces of cannon, arrested their progress, mow- 
ing down ranks at a time. Both parties continued two 



hours exposed to a fire of grape shot, neither daring to 
advance nor wilHng to recede. The Viceroy of Italy seized 
this decisive moment, and flying to the right, ordered a 
simuUaneous attack of the grand redoubt by the first, third, 
and fourteenth divisions. Having arranged all these in or- 
der of battle, they advanced with cool intrepidity. The troops 
approached even the intrenchments of the enemy, when 
a sudden discharge of grape shot, from the whole of their 
artillery, spread destruction and consternation through our 
ranks. Our troops were staggered at this fatal reception. 
At the same instant a division of cuirassiers, from the centre 
of the army, rushed on the redoubt, and offered, to our 
astonished sight, a grand and sublime spectacle. The whole 
eminence, which over-hung us, appeared, in an instant, a 
mass of moving iron ; the glitter of the arras, and the rays 
of the sun reflected from the helmets and cuirasses of the 
dragoons, mingled with the flames of the cannon which on 
every side, vomited forth death, gave, to the redoubt, the 
appearance of a volcano in the midst of an army. The ene- 
my's infantry, placed near this point, behind a ravine, kept 



up so destructive a fire on our cuirassiers that they were 
immediately forced to retire. Our infantry took their place, 
and, turning the redoubt to the right and left, recommenced 
a furious combat with the Russians, whose efforts rivalled 
our own. The Viceroy advanced, with Broussier's division, 
followed by the thirteenth and thirtieth regiments. They ad- 
vanced on the redoubt, and entering it by the breast-work, 
massacred, on their pieces, the cannoneers which served them. 
Prince Koutousoff, who had witnessed this attack, ordered 
the cuirassiers of the guard to advance and endeavour to retake 
the position. The shock between their cuirassiers and ours 
was terrible ; and one may judge of the fury with which they 
fought, when the enemy, in quitting the field, left it com- 
pletely covered with dead. — The interior of the redoubt pre- 
sented a horrid picture. The dead were heaped on one ano- 
ther; the feeble cries of the wounded were scarcely heard 
amid the surrounding tumult. Arms, of every description, 
were scattered over the field of battle. The parapets, half 
demolished, had their embrasures entirely destroyed. Their 
places were distinguished only by the dismounted cannon. All 



the Russian soldiers, in the redoubt, chose rather to perish than 
to yield. — On our left, our attention was directed to a grand 
movement of cavalry, directed by the enemy, on that point. 
Being unable to penetrate the square formed by the brigade 
of General Delzons, the enemy advanced to the extremity of 
our left and commenced a brisk attack on the Bavarian light 
cavalry, which were, for a moment, thrown into disorder. — j 
During this memorable period, the Emperor remained constant- 
ly in the rear of the centre, and made, on the extremity of his 
right, several grand manoeuvres with the Westphalians and 
the Poles, to support the Duke of Elchingen* in his repeated 
and desperate attempts to turn the position of the enemy. 
On this point, the Russians obstinately withstood all our 
efforts, and repulsed, with considerable loss, the Westpha- 
lians and the Poles. Although we bad taken two redoubts, 
the enemy had still a third, situated on another eminence, 
and separated by a ravine. The fourth corps which, since ten 
o'clock, had intrepidly sustained the attacks of the enemy, 

2 Y was 



was not the only one which had losses to deplore. Although 
the battle was not yet concluded there was not a corps which 
had not to mourn the death of one or more of its chiefs. Ad?* 
vanced as Was the day, the fate of many an unfortunate 
being was yet to be decided. The cannon roared with unaba- 
ted fury, and continued to overwhelm new victims. In the 
evening, the firing was so briskly maintained, that the legion 
of the Vistula was forced to kneel down, behind the grand 
redoubt. The enemy, at length, became more quiet, whilie 
the silence gave us reason to believe that the Russians were 
preparing to retreat on the road to Mojaiske. — The weather, 
which had been very fine during the day, became, towards 
evening, cold and damp. The whole army bivouacked on th& 
ground it had gained. — The next day (September 8th) we re- 
turned to the field of battle. What had been predicted the 
preceding evening had actually taken place. The enemy, 
seeing the intrepidity with which we carried his redoubts, des- 
paired of maintaining his position, and resolved to evacuate it 
during the night. As we passed over the ground which they 
had occupied, we were enabled to judge of the immense loss 



ihe Russians had sustained. In the space of a quarter of 
a league, ahnost every spot was covered with the killed or 
wounded ; on many places the bursting of the shells had 
promiscuously heaped together, men and horses. The fire 
of our howitzers had been so destructive that mountains of 
4ead bodies were scattered over the plain, and the few places, 
not encumbered with the slain, were covered with broken 
iauces, muskets, helmets, and cuirasses, or with grape-shot 
and bullets, as numerous as hailstones after a violent storm. 
JBut the most horrid spectacle was the interior of the ravines ; 
almost all the wounded, who were able to drag themselves 
along, had taken refuge there to avoid the shot. These 
miserable wretches, heaped one upon another, and almost 
suffocated with blood, uttering the most dreadful groans, and 
invoking death with piercing cries, eagerly besought us to put 
•an end to their torments." 

On this occasion we cannot withhold the greatest praise 
due to Koutousoff, the indefatigable and heroic defender of 
Russia — a warrior who had saved his country from bondage, 
and struck at the root of the tree, no longer of liberty, but of 

2 Y 2 despotism, 


despotism, and who destroyed the devoted legions of Napo- 
leon, which, for twenty years, had foiled almost all its oppo- 
nents, and crushed the independence of most European states. 
As early as 3769 he distinguished himself in the service of his 
country. At the storming of Otchakoff, under the command 
of Prince Potemkin, he received a ball, which passed through 
both his temples. The preservation of his life must have been 
almost miraculous, and the cure prevented his active service 
for a long time; but even before it was completed, he joined 
the banners of Russia, and, under the great Suwarrow, com- 
manded the rear guard at the bloody storm of Ishmael. 

No General among the nations of the continent since the 
overwhelming superiority of the French, had so evident a 
claim to such a distinction as the old hero who was selected 
for that occasion. Such a deed, effected by the unbounded 
perseverance and valour of a native host, unassisted by any 
active allies, and under the guidance of a native general, 
whose fortunate success has proved equal to his military 
capacity, calls on all for admiration, gratitude, and every 
mark of acknowledgement. Here Napoleon met an army, 

• \f ^ on 


Jon: equal terms ; neither his briberies nor intrigues could in- 
sure him success, because they were equally spurned, and 
treated with that contempt which they deserved. It should 
not be forgotten, though a kind of negative merit, that the 
battle of Austerlitz, and the subsequent slavery of the con- 
tinent, was principally owing to the entire neglect of Prince 
Koutousoff's advice, though he had the nominal command — 
in consequence of which he refused to sign the general re- 
port. The retreat to Moscow is acknowledged to be, at least, 
equal to that, which immortalized the name of Moreau; and 
every disposition the host of Russia acted upon, proved 
/him to have been a consummate master of the art of war. 
Before him, the genius of Napoleon shrunk and was foiled ; 
before his warriors the long glory of the French army with- 
ered, and the laurels, which they had so long been accus- 
tomed to boast, have only served to glorify those, which 
the host of Russia has won. No praise can be too great 
for this departed hero, — no mark of distinction can exceed 
his deserts I 



We proceeded from Borodino, through a rugged road, and 
soon passed the boundary stones, between the government of 
Moscow and Smolensko, and changed horses at the little 
village of Gridneva, consisting of a few ruined huts and 
about fifty inhabitants. Hence, to latzke, the country is 
somewhat undulated ; the road becomes more irregular, partly 
a track, and partly made by bunches of birch twigs. 

latzke is a considerable town, and seems to have been a 
place of great beauty. It stands on the banks of a small river in a 
flat country, beautifully surrounded by woodland scenery. Here 
are several plantations of birch and extensive fields of pastu- 
rage ; indeed the whole scene, although flat, is beautiful. A 
luxuriance of culture prevails every where ; at a distance it 
appears like a fine large English village. The town consisted 
of several good houses, churches and wooden huts ; but now, 
nothing besides a sad skeleton remains. All was the prey of 
the firebrand. Its population was formerly rated at three 
thousand men. The inhabitants are of somewhat a superioi* 
class to those of the other villages, more lively and animated. 


lATZKE. 351 

l^ew men are to be seen, but wretched mothers and orphans 
are wandering about, in all directions, or issuing from the 
most miserable huts. Two hours before the arrival of the 
French army, the bridge was destroyed by the natives ; and it 
took a day's labour, on the part of the former, to repair it, 
in order to get complete possession of the town. All the 
goods and properties of the inhabitants had been previously 
removed. The French halted four days, and on their retreat, 
finished the destruction of the town. 

Leaving latzke, we proceeded through an open flat coun- 
try somewhat cultivated, and exposing the sad relics of three 
villages, until we arrived at a wretched mean village called 
Teplouka, consisting of about a dozen miserable ruined hovels. 
Here we changed horses as well as our dress, and breakfasted ; 
but were obliged to do so in the open fields near a small brook. 
There was no shelter, except that afforded by one solitary 
dwelling, which had been erected since the invasion, and was 
inhabited by a few sick women. The scene of our shaving, 
&c. in the open field, was a high source of amusement to 
these poor creatures. Our breakfast consisted of our Moscow 



ham unbroiled, and bread; this, with some excellent milk, 
which they provided, regaled us heartily. Their kitchen 
utensils are all of earthen ware, and filthy beyond description. 

The soil from latzke consists of a white hard clay. The 
natives are dark in their complexion, with black beards. The 
women are generally dressed in coarse woollen frocks, with 
short sleeves, ornamented on the shoulders with red embroid* 
ery ; the head is bound round by a napkin. This part of the 
country belongs to Prince Gallitzin. Every house in the 
villages has a deep draw-well in front, into which the strag- 
gling French soldiers were often tumbled, by the irritated 
inhabitants. In this manner, we were assured by the postiU 
lions, nearly two thousand were destroyed during the retreat 
from Moscow to Smolensko. What a horrid death ! and how 
much must this rack the soul of him, who gave occasion to it ! 

After a pleasant day's journey, through a country agree- 
ably diversified with woodland scenery, we arrived at the 
beautiful town of Wiasma, situated in a low vale, and on the 
sides of two gentle hills, facing each other. Here we had thcu 
unpleasant intelligence that we could not procure horses for 


WIASMA. 353 

some time ; but from the Interesting picture * which the town 
presented, we did not much regret a delay which might ena- 
ble us to glean what was either amusing or instructive. It 
was Sunday ; the day was warm and delightful, and all the 
gay dresses and fineries of the lower orders w^ere sported 
around, and all were busily arranged or employed at their 
stalls and shops. The higher ranks were strutting about, in 
all the gaudy colours of their national costume ; the men 
wrapped up in cloth great coats ; the women, with vast 
embroidered petticoats. In this article of dress their whole 
taste and attention seemed to be concentrated — each woman 
resembled a ivalking petticoat ; over it is worn a short vest of 
black velvet, which is fastened under the arms, and tightly 
secured about the neck, from which it hangs loosely down. 
The neck and arms are covered with a loose white shirt, ter- 
minated at the wrist by a deep frill of red thread. On the 
head is worn a gold laced helmet with a silk napkin tied over 
it, and hanging down the back ; the hair is plaited into three 
plaits. All the women are dressed alike, only that the colours 
vary in each. Nothing can equal the glare and gaudiness of 

2 z the 


the petticoat : the highest ambition and care of the women 
seems to consist in shewing it to advantage; but, to such an 
extent is this carried, that this otherwise bewitching piece of 
apparel, which naturally excites the most delicate and magic 
associations, here loses all its charms. Their whole costume 
is rude, shewy, and inelegant in th6 extreme ; totally devoid of 
those graces, which give to woman her proud pre-eminence, or 
her soft endearments ! 

The town of Wiasma is built in an irregular and strag- 
gling manner. Almost every house is surrounded with a gar- 
den, so that the whole presents the appearance of a town in 
a forest. It is a singular circumstance, that, though the 
houses were generally consumed, the trees around them seem- 
ed to have sustained but little injury. There are twenty fine 
Gothic churches and about sixty spires and domes. The 
churches are particularly shewy, the roofs are painted pea- 
green colour, and the body white or red. The streets are 
regular, and the houses appear to be generally built of brick, 
and in a neat manner. The market place forms a large 
square, in the centre of the town, through which the Dnie- 

WIASMA. 355 

per river flows, dividing the town into equal parts. The 
whole town presents to the traveller a most interesting and 
picturesque group ; and if he could forget its devastation, it 
must naturally cheer him after his fatigue. 

But alas ! the cold grasp of devastation has torn away 
every thing, and this beautiful town, once the prototype at 
Moscow in brilliancy, is now its prototype in ruins. Here the 
French Autocrat fixed his infernal seal — on his approach to 
Moscow, finding the town totally deserted, he set fire to part 
of it, and finished his work on his return. — It is now little 
more than a mass of ruins, except a few houses which have 
been repaired. Most of the churches escaped the flames, on 
account of their size and strength. The population, before 
the French entered it, was about twelve thousand inhabi- 
tants ; it is now about two thousand, and a great part of 
these are lodged in temporary hovels. 

It is easy to conceive that, in this country, the mere name 
of Frenchman is held in the utmost execration and horror. We 
felt it ourselves in a most unpleasant degree ; being mistaken 
for such we were laughed and hooted at in the streets, with 

2 z 2 vile 


vile epithets of Franksowsie ! The women laughed in out 
very faces, others sneered and desired us to look at what we 
had done! Apples were thrown at some of our party, and 
at last we deemed it prudent io retire from the impending 
storm, and left the town, quietly, at midnight. Such a strong 
impression have the French left on these unhappy beings, 
that they know no distinction between them and other nations. 
Every stranger is considered a Frenchman, and never will that 
name escape from their lips, or their memory, without just 
and savage indignation. 

The good effects of the subscription raised in England, 
for the relief of the suffering Russians, have been here felt. — 
Already money and cloaths have been distributed to several, 
and small charitable donations, in the name of England, have 
been granted to the lowest orders, and their warm expressions 
of gratitude plainly denote what they feel for her bounty. 

We now bade adieu to these melancholy scenes, and pur- 
sued our journey, over a rising ground planted with, birch, 
and soon arrived at the miserable village of Semlevo, consist- 
ing of a few ruined huts, and about forty inhabitants, alike the 



victims of ruin and desolation. Here we made no delay, but 
passed on, through a most agreeable and well planted country, 
until we arrived at a solitary stage-house, situated in a large 
yalley, where we changed horses. From this, the road lies 
through a picturesque, open, and pleasant country, affording 
extensive plains of pasturage and cultivation, and presenting 
a pleasing aspect of hill and dale and woodlands. The road is 
hard and smooth, and is Ifned, on each side, by the graceful 
birch, which however too often shews the sad vestiges of war 
in its mutilated trunk. 

The surrounding country here, and from the last stage, 
somewhat resembles the southern counties of England. It is 
generally relieved by large inequalities, and prodigious plains 
of pasturage, shaded with birch and fir. The soil is one con- 
tinued light coloured clay, hard and dry ; neither marshes nor 
springs ; and but little grain reared. Notwithstanding the 
large masses of grazing ground, we only observed one small 
herd of black cattle and a few sheep. Among the latter we 
remarked some with long tails and better wool : this seems to 
be the first attempt at an improvement of the breed ; at least 



it was the first we had remarked. We were assured that, be- 
fore the invasion, there had been a considerable quantity of 
black cattle ; but, during that event, they had all been con- 
sumed by the armies. 

Here we passed the monastery of Bolgin, a large and 
massy edifice, surrounded by a high wall, and near a small 
lake. On both sides of the road were strewed numerous 
earthen mounds, the silent tombs of many a gallant soul, and 
plainly indicating that it had been the scene of an action. 
The road winds along an immense morass, on the south 
covered with brushwood, while, on the north, it becomes 
considerably elevated and neatly divided into fields. This 
ridge is about one hundred and fifty feet high, and is the 
greatest elevation we observed since we left Moscow, notwith- 
standing the beauty and apparent cultivation of this country, we 
could not but behold, with horror, the sad traces, which war 
had scattered over it — near the monastery they are quite fresh. 
This fine monastery, we understood, had been occupied and 
plundered, but not destroyed, by the French. Along this 
stage remained the marks of several decoy fires, which the 



natives had kindled; and, whenever a party of French strag- 
glers observed and approached their cheering warmth, they fell 
upon them and committed them to the flames. For this cruelty 
the Cossacks were ordered to punish the peasantry. A French 
party were encamped here for eight weeks, and committed 
every species of barbarity, to which their insatiate lust could 
prompt them. 

The whole of this country belongs to Prince Sacolnisky, 
who resides in the neighbourhood. Near this place, is the 
source of the Dnieper,* which is here merely a deep ditch. 
After crossing it, we came within sight of Dorogobouge, 
which, from its elevated situation and churches, has, at a 
distance, rather an imposing appearance ; but, when entered, 
is found to consist merely of a wretched collection of hovels 
partly built of brick or wood. The Dnieper divides the town ; 
the population of which is reckoned at four thousand souls. 
The inhabitants are lively and comely, with fair complexions 
and dark beards. Here the French remained six weeks, but 
did not completely destroy the town. 

* The Boristhenes of the ancients. 


On leaving Dorogobouge the road led over a large flat 
common, partlj along the banks of the Dnieper. It soon im- 
proved and shewed marks of cultivation, particularly in corn, 
barley, and buckwheat. A mean, solitary hovel was observed, 
named Mikailouka, too worthless to merit description. The 
circumjacent scenery is very extensive, generally flat and cover- 
ed with forests of small growth. We passed several tumuli, 
where were interred the remains of Poles, who had fallen in 
battle, many ages ago, in the early wars between them and 
the Russians. The country gradually improves in cultivation ; 
but the mode of farming is the same : neither fences nor 
ditches mark the boundaries of fields, all is one confused mass, 
blended together — one ridge of grain here — another ridge of 
hemp there. The land is not ploughed more than three inches 
deep ; the soil is most excellent, and is capable of the highest 
state of cultivation. A considerable quantity of hemp is 
raised here. It grows strong, from three to four feet high. 
The forests are very extensive but the trees are remarkably 
small — most of them, near the sides of the road, have suffer- 

PNEVA. 361 

ed from the desolating axe, and many only shew their ashes 
strewed around. The greater part of those, cut down by the 
French, are replanted, and are used as sign marks, in winter, 
where the country is covered with snow. — These si^n trees 
are planted on each side of the roads, at regular distances. 

From the last stage we entered on a road of loose heavy 
sand, through one uninterrupted forest of birch, without a 
glimpse of the surrounding country until we again reached 
the banks of the Dnieper. — Here we saw the remains of a 
plantation, where the French army had halted for some time. 
Nothing can be more sad than the spectacle it presents — the 
relics of horses' bones, &c. old shoes, broken china, accoutre- 
ments, books, remain untouched ! The space of wood cut 
down, is about ten acres — the trees all appeared to have been 
cut down breast high, and burnt on the spot. The name of 
this spot is Caronoviksy — close to it, we crossed the Dnieper, 
which is here about four yards wide, with steep clay banks, 
and came in sight of the little village of Pneva, standing on a 
fine flat plain on the north side of the river. This plain is 

3 A covered 



covered with earthen mounds, the tomhs of those wlio fell in 
battle, during the passage of this river. 

Here indeed was a spectacle at which forlorn nature seems 
to yearn ; the memory of the horrid scenes which this spot 
witnessed makes the mind shudder. Before us lay those 
plains, on which a brave and injured people opposed a cruel 
and ruthless invader, and shed ther sacred blood for their 
nearest and dearest ties; now alas ! what a scene ! — all is tran- 
quil, melancholy and still — every where around are the marks 
of burning ruin and devastation. Through these, in soft 
meanders, steals the gentle Dnieper, calm, serene and un- 
conscious of that storm which so lately tossed its waves, — un- 
tinged by that blood, which so lately stained its waters. Its 
banks, strewed with the yet crumbling remnants of slaughter, 
— no kindred spirit breathes its requiem to the departed souls ; 
but where the raven's croak sends around its hollow wail, or 
where the moaning wind sighs along the tombs. What a 
dreadful picture of mortality! Here once stood, in proud 
array, the banners of kings, princes and armies ; and scarce- 

PNEYA. 363 

ly has tliat day gone by — here were stretched the giant forces 
of mighty empires, struggUng for conquest, and scarcely has 
the tomb covered their yet warm ashes — still as the grave, 
where these ashes lie, and cold as the sepulchre which will 
hand them down to posterity. Scarcely have a few months 
elapsed since Buonaparte and his desolating legions crowded 
around this spot, obliged to retrace their blood-stained steps 
from Moscow, a prey to poverty, hunger, wretchedness and 
cold ! Here, surrounded, on all sides by interminable forests 
and wilds — sheltered by the sky's bare canopy— pillowed on 
the drifting snows, and rocked by the scowling winds, they 
passed their wretched nights ; and, as their watch-fires gleam- 
ed along the sky, the crackling flames gave, to the savage 
picture, the true light of horror and desolation. It seems as 
if this destroying daemon resolved to leave the whole country 
an everlasting monument of vengeance; he drew, from every 
quarter, as Burke says in the case of Hyder Ali, '^ whatever 
a savage ferocity could add to his new rudiments in the art of 
destruction, and, compounding all the materials of fury, 
havoc and desolation into one black cloud, he poured down 

3 A 2 the 



the whole of its contents. — Then ensued a scene of woe, the 
like of which no eye had seen, no head conceived, and which 
no tongue can tell. A storm of universal fire blasted every 
field, consumed every house, destroyed every temple.'' 

We now turned away from these melancholy scenes, 
and pursued our journey. — The road from Pneva, towards 
Smolensko, is generally hard, but uneven ; it crosses over a 
small river, by a floating bridge of planks. The country gra- 
dually becomes hilly, and partly covered with wood and culti- 
vation. Indeed, altogether, it presents the finest aspect of 
landscape we had seen in Russia. No longer were we travers- 
ing wearisome flats, immense commons, boundless forests 
and extensive marshes — hills, varying in shape and cultivation, 
arrest the traveller's eye, many covered with woods and shew- 
ing all the warmth of industry. Continuing our track by 
this road, which led us along the north bank of the Dnieper, 
we soon came in sight of the turrets of Smolensko. The view 
was striking and picturesque : an irregular ridge of hills, about 
three hundred feet high, rises up, on each side of the Dnieper ; 
on the south side it forms an isolated height, whereon is seen in 



the centre, the great churcli, and, along the brow of the 
hill, the walls of the town. The walls, at regular distances, 
are divided by towers, and, between them, are smaller ones. 
Opposite to the town, and on the north side of the river, is a 
similar hill, surmounted by a large white church with a green 
roof. On approaching the town, the road agreeably winds 
along the banks of the river, and passes between two pyrami- 
dal pillars, marking the extent of the suburbs. After passing 
through the suburbs, we crossed a temporary wooden bridge, 
and entered the city by the north gate. 

Smolensko is a regularly fortified town, and capital of the 
government of the same name. Its distance from Moscow is three 
hundred and seventy-eight wersts, or two hundred and seventy 
English miles. The walls are partly built with stone and finished 
with brick. Their circumference is about three miles, their height 
from twenty to forty feet, and their thickness about fifteen feet. 
They are surmounted by round towers, placed at the angles, 
between which are others of a small square form. The wall is 
defended at different corners, by large earthen bastions, which 
support a few guns. The north side of the wall runs parallel 



with the river about half a mile, when it suddenly turns at 
each side of the hill, and joins at its summit. The top of the 
wall is divided by loop-holes. The gates by which the city is 
entered, are through the round towers. The north gate is 
neatly ornamented with a small dome, painted of a purple 
colour, covered by gilded stars and surmounted by large crosses. 
The city is divided by one long street, which ascending from 
the north gate, and passing the great church, extends to the 
top of the hill and joins the south gate. On each side the 
ground sinks into dee^p ravines, covered with fruit trees and 
mean hovels. The upper junction of the ridges is flat, and is 
laid out into a large square, surrounded with avenues of trees, 
and formerly adorned with large and elegant brick houses. 
Across the ravines, which intersect the buildings, wooden 
bridges are thrown in several places, from one precipice to 
another, while intricate walks wind here and there, and the 
roof of a wooden cottage occasionally peeps through. Th6 
ridges are adorned with large and shewy churches, the streets 
seem to hang on the edge of precipices. In fine, nothing can 
present a more singular and eccentric appearance, than the 



structure of this town. The alternate rising and sinking of 
the walls, from the inequality of the ground ; the grotesque 
towers and their rude gothicism ; the steeples, mingHng with 
the branches of the trees, and the trees concealing the view 
of the houses ; the numher of gardens, orchards and groves, — 
altogether form the most picturesque and irregular group which 
can be conceived. 

This singular town, previous to the invasion, is said to 
have contained five or six thousand inhabitants ; at present 
scarcely half that numher is here. The French had possession 
of it for three months, and, on their departure, set it on fire 
and consumed all the principal houses, particularly those 
towards the south gate ; however there are many places which 
appear to have escaped. The principal square, consisting of 
elegant brick houses, suffered most. It presents one mass of 
ruin, and is covered with the remains of the French ordnance, 
carriages, tumbrils, &c. Most of the churches escaped en- 
tirely, or with very little injury — they were chiefljf converted 
into barracks and even stables, which wounded the religious 
feelings of the Russians to a most extraordinary degree. 



How little did Napoleon seem to know the means of interesting 
the people in his favour. Had he respected their religion and 
their altars, he might have escaped part of that vengeance 
which his unrighteous conduct so justly deserved. The towns 
and walls are destroyed in many parts. Never did the hand of 
destruction press more heavily, than on this ill-fated city. 
Every thing hears the mark of the French devastation. The 
inhabitants have mostly fled, and nothing but a melancholy and 
horrid picture of ruin is distinguishable. In walking through 
the otwn, the stranger must wade through crumbling masses 
of ruin, and, at every, step^ he treads on its mouldering 

The people are simple, quiet and stupid : they are very 
plain and coarse in appearance, particularly the women ; they 
all dress in the plainest manner, and seem to profess that 
humility which results from auction. The remembrance of 
their past and present fate, naturally throws a melancholy 
tinge over them, which, in a more intellectual people, must 
naturally create great interest. Not so here, however ; their 
general course of life is too dull, too filthy and too moderate, 



to admit of those fine extremes, from which the pleasures or 
pains of memory hare their source. Their joys arise from 
their senses, not from their intelligence, consequently they 
are gross — their sorrow is dull, and consequently does not 
always excite that sympathy the offspring of extreme sensi- 

3 B 

( sro ) 

C H A P. X. 

Grodno, October, 1814. 
After a short delay we proceeded on our journey and took 
leave of Smolensko ; a city, whose sorrows and sufferings 
will be long remembered, and whose fate, like that of Mos- 
cow, must ever darken the page of history. The road led us 
through a country extremely beautiful, well cultivated, and 
diversified witlt plantations, somewhat resembling EngHsh 
park scenery : — only one house is seen, the residence of a 
nobleman ; and it was the only house we had observed, since 
we left Moscow, which was built entirely in the country. Both 
sides of the road are beautifully lined with birch, until it reaches 
the solitary station-house at Koritnia, where we found some 
little difficulty in procuring horses. From Wiasma, the horses 
gradually diminish in size, strength and activity, and which 



became more observable as we advanced from Smolensko. 
We neither travelled so expeditiously, nor could we procure 
horses • so easily along this road, as between St. Petersburg 
and Moscow ; however, considering the ruined state of the 
country, we had seldom occasion to wait more than four 
hours at any stage. The mode of driving is the same as on 
the great north road — -the horses are all yoked abreast. From 
the weight of our Russian carriage it constantly required six 
horses, which, in this part of the country, were so weak as 
to be scarcely able to drag it up the slightest ascent. The 
rate of posting is the same from Moscow to Smolensko, as 
from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Here we passed a consider- 
able detachment of French prisoners, on their return to 
France. There were about seven hundred of them — regular 
relays of carts and horses were stationed at the different 
stages, and they were conveyed at the rate of seventy miles 
a day. Nothing could exceed the miserable appearance of 
these men — they were the pictures of wretchedness and filth ; 
yet they still retained their gaiety of spirits, and some remains 

3 B 2 of 


of tattered lace. Many of them also shewed their gallantry, 
in being accompanied by some poor Russian females. 

From Koritnia we proceeded to Krasnoi, through the 
avenue of birch; but the country suddenly loses that hilly 
irregularity, which so abounds in the vicinity of Smolenska. 
Even the character of the people somewhat changes, and the 
true Russian character begins to lose itself, in that of a dif- 
ferent one, less interesting and more artificial. 

Krasnoi is a district town, and contains about eight hun- 
dred inhabitants. It has two churches ; is situated in a south- 
west direction from Smolensk©, and within a few miles of the 
boundary between the governments of Smolensko and Mo- 
gilew. This spot has acquired celebrity from Napoleon having 
here deserted his panic-struck legions, and taken to flight on 
horseback. A few miles from Krasnoi, we entered the 
government of Mogilew, and reached the village of Liadi^ 
inhabited by a colony of Jews. The general aspect of the 
country is very pleasing ; extensive flat, open, dry ground ; 
neither marshes nor forests ; the only trees are the graceful 



birch, which continues to line each side of the road. From 
the extreme flat and open state of the country, these avenues 
seem to stretch as far as the eye can reach. In the warm 
months of summer no road can be more agreeable to travellers 
than the present. The wheels of the carriage pass over a 
smooth turf, without the least noise, while the delicate 
branches of the birch produce the most delightful shade. The 
sides of the road are thus planted to point out their track in 
winter, when these flat countries are covered with snow. In 
those parts of Sweden, where there are no trees, stakes are 
fixed along the side of the road, to designate its track. 

The commencement of ancient Lithuania is passed at 
Liadi. Lithuania was, formerly, an independent country, 
between Russia and Poland, governed by its own dukes. It 
extended three hundred miles in length, and two hundred and 
fifty in breadth, and is watered by the Dnieper, Dwina, Nie- 
men, &c. In 1401 it was joined to the kingdom of Poland ; 
in 1772 Russia compelled the Poles to cede to her those parts 
bordering on the Russian frontier ; and, in the last unhappy 
division of Poland, in 1793, she extended her dominion over 



the whole of Lithuania. At one time Smolensko was the 
frontier town of Poland, at present Warsaw is almost that of 
the Russian Empire ! 

Here we lost the Russian character — the lively and bois- 
terous mirth of the poor Russ became changed for the cold, 
calculating silence of the other — even their countenances and 
costume were altered ; the classic form of the hat and cloak, 
the cut of the hair, &c. were no longer seen, and every fea- 
ture of tlTeir character indicated a change of tribe. We could 
not avoid remarking, even at Koritnia, this transition, in a 
manner most unpleasant to us ; in short, we perceived we had 
got amongst a people, whose ruling practice was knavery, and 
with whom, money was the sine qua non of obedience. 
Wherever we find these two traits strongly prevail, and keep 
pace with each other, we generally conclude, (and that, too, 
from principles of association not very remote), that we have 
got in contact with some near relatives of the very ancient and 
prolific family of the Israelites^ whose branches have shot out 
so far and wide, and whose root will ever flourish, as long as 
commerce continues. This we found to be the real case; 



Jews were the principal inhabitants of this part of the coun- 
try ; indeed much more so than might have been expected, so 
near the frontiers of ancient Russia, a country in which a 
Jew has never attempted to enter. But here the t/ews have 
fixed themselves in all the original purity of their sin, and with 
all those characteristic traits, for which their tribe is so noto- 

From Liadi we travelled over a flat, open country, the 
road excellent, and the avenue of birch trees still shading it. 
We changed horses at Koziani, a solitary hut, kept by a Jew, 
and proceeded to Doubrovna, by a most delightful road, finely 
shaded with birch, and a well cultivated country. Doubrovna 
is a bourg of considerable size ; it has two large, open, round 
spaces — the one mostly built with brick houses, tlte other with 
wooden huts ; they are connected by cross streets of wooden 
hovels. One of these squares is fronted with piazzas i The 
Dnieper divides the principal part of the town from a long 
irregular village of mean huts. The population is about two 
thousand five hundred inhabitants. It has two Greek churches, 
a Catholic chapel, and a synagogue. The inhabitants are 



partly Jews. The common Lithuanians are poor miserable 
abject creatures, and are servants to the Jews. The Jews are 
all dressed alike, in long tunics of black silk, with a broad 
silken sash tied round the waist ; on the head they wear a 
small velvet cap, and over it a huge one of fur ; they neither 
shave nor cut their hair ; in their figures they are lank and squa- 
lid ; they all speak the German language, but are deplorably 
ignorant. Although it was little more than twenty months 
since the French army retreated from Moscow, and partly 
destroyed their town, yet they did not know the month in 
which it took place. How different from the Russ, who never 
passed a spot or a well, where any event had taken place, 
without minutely detailing it. However the Jews informed us 
of the dreadful distresses which their invaders had suffered, 
on their return, and the miserable plight in which they ap- 
peared ; they only burnt seventeen houses here. 

From Smolensko to Orcha is about seventy English miles : 
the road from Doubrovna, to the latter, resembles the former 
stages, and is shaded by rows of birch ; it is however more 
sandy. Before entering Orcha, the Dnieper is crossed by a 


ORCHA. 377 

ferry. The ri\'er here is about sixty yards wide ; but its stream 
is dull and quiet. The town of Orcha is pleasantly situated 
on the west bank of the river, on a gently rising ground ; it 
is large and straggling, with eight churches, partly built of 
brick and of wood. The greater part of the town has been 
burnt : its population is about two thousand, and consists 
mostly of Jews : a more despicable, artificial, mercenary set 
of wretches cannot be seen ; they are without character, with- 
out patriotism, and without manners. No more are heard 
those generous bursts of execration against their invaders, 
which constantly issued from the lips of the poorest Russ. 
The women are yet more disgusting than the men ; they are 
clad in a most ridiculous and gaudy dress of silken rags; on 
their head is a large white napkin rolled round, with three 
tails hanging over their shoulders ; and, under this head dress, 
a kind of flapping cover of pearls, with dangling steel orna- 
ments, hangs over the ears and forehead. The body is covered 
with a loose silk vest, and a large petticoat of the same; the 
arms are hid in long, loose, shirt-sleeves, terminated with a 
deep worked frill. The shoes are made without leather at the 

3 c heels, 


heels, and every one appears slip-shod. Over their dress they 
wear a large silk gown, (and in some instances even two), the 
sleeves of which hang down the back ; a fur cloak is suspended 
from the neck. All this superfluity of dress is huddled on, in 
the most careless manner, and the hands seem constantly em- 
ployed in detaining it on the body. They take peculiar pride 
in their head dress of pearls ; the more valuable denotes the 
distinction of wealth. In other respects, their dress seems 
a bundle of dirt and rags : there never was a more perfect 
antidote to love and the graces, than a Lithuanian Jewess. 
They command the men, and reign without controul. 
The mistress of the house reads her prayers every morning ; 
but at the same time walks through the rooms, and in the 
midst of her devotion, observes, checks and roundly scolds at 
the faults committed. 

The native Lithuanians generally wear a white flapping 
hat, and a white woollen shirt; their legs are wrapped up 
in pieces of sail-cloth, tied with leather strings — the shoes 
are clumsy, and made of the bark of the birch tree. They 
are a small class of men, with light hair, fair complexions 


> * * » ' • » > 


and little or no beard — they are abject, gross, indolent and 
disgusting, both in appearance and in their habits. 

At Orcha, the French, on their advance, fought a short 
battle, and crossed the river, by two bridges, below the town. 
In this affair the Russians only lost thirty-five men. With the 
greatest difficulty and vexation we contrived to procure horses 
from the imposing Jews, after seven hours delay. We conti- 
nued our journey from Orcha, by a very pleasant country, on 
a fine road beautifully ornamented with birch trees, until we 
reached a small bourg called Kokanovo, chiefly possessed by 
Jews. — The next stage was Tolotzin, straggling in a zig-zag 
manner over a rising ground. The houses are partly built of 
brick and wood ; but extremely mean : the inn is kept by a 
Polish nobleman. The country here is generally flat, with a 
small quantity of irregular plantations of fir and birch — the 
soil is whitish clay and sand. It is tolerably cultivated, but has 
neither green crops, nor fences. 

Leaving Tolotzin, the road becomes hilly, and the beauti- 
ful avenue of birches, which had continued from Smolensko, 
nearly one hundred miles, here terminates, and the country a»- 

3 c 2 sumes 


sumes a cold, flat, uninteresting, appearance. We reached 
Kroupki early in the morning, after having rode through an 
immense gloomy forest of fir and birch. Kroupki is a small 
bourg, built on a flat space between extensive forests, and near 
to a small lake. The houses are entirely of wood, with a po- 
pulation of about three hundred Jews. We were detained the 
whole day before the Jews would give us horses; They disre- 
garded the Russian order for horses, and nothing could equal 
their knavery and extortion. In most countries Jews are 
perfectly alike ; but in none perhaps do they excel more, in 
knavery, than here. Every traveller must bargain for what 
horses he requires, and is sure of being imposed upon : — there 
is no appeal, and he must he at the mercy of these impostors. 
The instant he arrives, he is assured that there are no horses 
to be procured — shortly after he is asked what price he would 
give for them, and a price is demanded in proportion to the 
haste of the traveller to proceed. At night they invariably 
deny having horses, in order that the traveller might be de- 
tained, and pay lodging money, or more likely, be robbed. 
Indeed, throughout Russia, and Lithuania in particular, the 


KROUPKr. 381 

carriage and luggage must be carefully watched ; if lost 
sight of, even for a moment, something is stolen. From 
Moscow to this place, there is not a single house in which a 
traveller could pass the night. ^ — The different stages are merely 
places to procure horses, and their hovels are full of filth and 
vermin. Provisions must be taken in the carriage, as no- 
thing but milk can be got. Bread, butter and salt are very 
scarce and very bad — the butter is always sour and rancid. 
The traveller cannot halt, day or night, for any length of 
time, beyond that required for examining places worthy of re- 
mark. Along this route we found our Russian carriage of llie 
greatest use to us ; in it we could both sleep and write, and 
had sufficient room to carry a stock of provision. At Moscow 
we had procured some excellent cured ham, and which we 
found the most convenient to carry j however, as we mingled 
with the Jews, its appearance always excited the utmost dis- 
gust and overcame their feelings. Plates, and spoons, &c. 
were always removed from the polluted touch of the vile ham. 
If either were used by the Christians, it was instantly scour- 
ed, or even broken, and a charge made for it. They never 



eat from a plate at which a Christian has eaten ; we of course 
could only get the coarsest and the meanest — a separate fire- 
place even is allotted for the Christian's use, and here we were 
obliged to kindle our fire and cook our meals. Though the 
ham excited so much horror, yet the chocolate often attracted 
their notice. One of the Jews requested a cup-full, which 
one of our servants readily gave him, but secretly slipped into 
it a piece of the pork — the Jew gladly swallowed the draught ; 
but, discovering the poison, he was perfectly inconsolable. 

From Kroupki we entered the government of Minsk, 
and, travelling through a large forest of fir trees, we reached 
the little village of Lochenitzi. This part of the country is 
diversified and somewhat hilly ; the road is generally an unequal 
tract. Lochenitzi is a singular instance of a most irregular 
and scattered town ; there are upwards of an hundred wooden 
huts, not more than fourteen feet broad, by twenty in length 
and seven in height, and which cover about one hundred acres. 
It is called a hourg, which is a degree above a village ; it has 
neither church nor inn, nor any Jews. The inhabitants are 
mean and dejected. The interior of their houses is a sad 



specimen of filth and sickliness. The soil is a mixture of clay, 
black loam, dry and marshy, with some peat- moss. It pro- 
duces oats, barley, and two kinds of grass-seeds used in the 
feeding of birds. A singular method is used in drying and 
preserving the crop, A couple of wooden posts, about twenty 
feet in height and as wide asunder, are fixed into the ground ; 
between them a certain number of cross-bars are fastened, 
similar to the steps of a ladder. Between these divisions, the 
sheaves are securely fixed, with the grain downwards ; the 
sheaf above always covering the one below, and thus securing 
each other from the rain. The appearance of these frames 
from a distance, and the scattered state of the houses, presents 
a most singular picture. This method of drying the grain is 
both simple and efiicacious, and might be adopted with some 
advantage on the west coast of Sutherland, in Scotland, where 
the climate is so changeable. Their agricultural implements 
are as rude as the structure of their houses. The cart consists 
of four small wooden wheels, each made of a single piece of 
wood — ^the sides, the bark of a tree bent round — and the shafts 
a couple of fir-branches. The plough and harrow are also 



made from the branches of the fir-tree, without either iron 
or ropes. The fir-tree is almost as useful to the Lithuanian, 
as the camel to the Arab. 

Leaving Lochenitzi, we pursued our ride through the 
forest of fir, and reached Borisoff in the afternoon. 

Nothing can be more distressing to behold, than the 
dreary and desolate tracks through which the French army 
retreated. The avenues of birches which lined this part of the 
road, are entirely burnt down, and every tree scorched, not 
only on the road side, but in the very depths of the forest. It 
would appear that a fire had been placed at the root of each tree, 
as every one seems half burnt through, or rather scooped out. 

This town is built in an irregular manner, though less so 
than the former. In the centre of an open square stands a 
heavy wooden church ; the population is about two thousand 
and partly Jews. It is a district town, and is the residence of 
a governor and a troop of Cossacks. During this stage, we 
passed several detachments of Cossacks and Baskirs ; their 
wild appearance in these solitary and gloomy forests was indeed 
ierrific. Though the road was only an irregular track, yet, at 



every corner, these troopers were scampering through the 
forest, Uke so many huntsmen in the chase. This was the stage 
the French army passed on the day before the battle of the 
Berezina. What hardships they must have undergone, in those 
dreary scenes, and surrounded by the horrors of a Russian 
winter, mav be conceived, but cannot be described. We ob- 
served the ruined vestiges of their route ; fire and destruction 
marked its progress, and the genius of desolation hovered 
everywhere around. Here they passed their dreadful nights, 
a prey to hunger, misery and cold — their only canopy the leaf- 
less tree — their only lullaby the drifting snow, which rocked 
them to their wretched sleep ! 

The celebrated dreadful battle of the Berezina was fought 
about nine miles above the town of BorisofF. The French had 
collected stores and magazines at Minsk and in Poland ; but 
which the rapid advance of Admiral Tschikakoff, from Volhynia, 
cut off. The river was frozen over, the ice too thick for the 
passage of boats, and not sufficiently strong to bear the artil- 
lery, &c. Napoleon was confused ; he made many false ma- 
noeuvres, and crossed the river at a place where no one could 

3 D have 


have believed it possible. In this dreadful scene of confusion, 
it is here reported that twenty-two thousand men were drowned 
in forcing the passage of the river, and the whole baggage of 
the French army was taken. As soon as Napoleon passed the 
bridge, leaving his devoted victims, he pulled off his hat and 
exclaimed " the field is won ! " and putting spurs to his horse 
escaped by flight to Wilna. Had General Wittgenstein arrived 
at BorisofF, from the Dwina, at the time Admiral TschikakofF 
did, it is not improbable that Napoleon Buonaparte and the rem- 
nant of his army would have been taken. Admiral Tschika- 
kofF deserves great praise for the expeditious manner in which 
he conducted his troops from the Turkish frontiers ; but as a 
sailor, we could not expect that perfection of military tactics, 
sufficient to cope with the genius of Napoleon. This battle 
completed the destruction of the French army. Only six 
months before, upwards of four hundred thousand chosen 
soldiers crossed the Niemen, to subvert the independence of 
Russia. They entered her territories, unprovoked, with fire 
and sword, and plundered and destroyed wherever they came. 
Of that number only twenty-four thousand re-crossed the 



Berezina. Multitudes of prisoners have expiated their rash- 
ness, in a climate, very different from their own ; and still 
greater multitudes have fallen by the sword, lances and bayo- 
nets of the Russians, or by hunger, cold and fatigue, and 
every privation man could undergo — but the towering pride of 
France has been quelled, and her ruler has received a punish- 
ment—though not adequate to his presumption ! 

Before we left BorisofF, we procured a guard of Cossacks 
from the Governor, as a security in passing through these 
immense forests, and which, at this time, were crowded with 
the«e irregular warriors. We could not but admire the lofty 
mien of these men, their uncommon politeness, and mild 
disposition. We could glean no information from them, as 
their language was unintelligible to our interpreter. They 
were dressed in all manners of uniform, and were armed with 
the pike and pistol. Their horses are extremely small, but 
very fat atid round shaped — their gait is a quick trot. The 
whole of their baggage, &c. is carried on the saddle, over 
which the rider sits, in a very elevated manner. By means 
of this, the head of the horse is completely out of the range 

3 D 2 of 


of his fire-arms. From BorisofF, the road crosses a country- 
little cultivated, very moist, covered with forests and most 
drea|:y. This part of the road was excessively bad. We 
reached a miserable collection of wooden hovels scarcely de- 
serving name or mention, and some other stages equally 
wretched and forlorn — indeed there cannot be, perhaps, in any 
country, more miserable specimens of architecture than the 
Lithuanian villages present. The huts are about twelve feet 
square, the walls formed of the unshapen trunks of trees, 
laid parallel, one above another, with the ends projecting 
over, and forming a most clumsy angle. The roof is covered 
with large shapeless boards ; the window is a small hole in 
the wall, — it answers a double purpose of giving ingress to the 
light and egress to the smoke. No less miserable are the 
wretched inmates of these hovels, both in person and manners. 
They are hard-boned, and sallow complexioned. The men 
wear coarse white woollen frocks, and a hat of the same, 
without a brim. The hair of the head is not cut ; it hangs 
loose and is generally of a flaxen colour. 


MINSK. 389 

The difference between a Russian and a Lithuanian vil- 
lage, in their structure, is very remarkable. The former is 
built in a neat manner, and regularly along each side of the 
road. The latter consists of a straggling heap of huts, with- 
out order or arrangement, and separated from each by large 
spaces of ground. 

Along this immense forest we still continued our journey 
over a dark and gloomy road. The fir trees are about sixty feet 
in height, but very slender. The country between Orcha and 
Minsk is one immense forest, and, unless in some open spaces, 
round the towns and villages, is perfectly compact and thick. 
It bore frequent marks of fire and the bivouacs of armies. We 
noticed several wooden platforms attached to the trunks of 
the trees, about thirty feet from the ground, which are used 
to place beehives upon, in order to collect honey and wax, 
during the summer months. 

The approach to Minsk is by a sandy road ; the view 
it presents is shewy and grotesque, from the number of clumsy 
churches it contains. The town is entered by a wooden bridge, 
over a small river, and along an avenue of trees and shrubberies. 



This street rises to a considerable elevation, and terminates in 
a large open square of grass and mean wooden huts ; from 
«this another street goes off at right angles, containing large 
houses, and joining with a second square. Here the prin- 
cipal buildings are both of brick and wood. From this square 
several streets branch off, and enter a crowd of wooden hovels 
irregularly huddled together, and covering a large space of 

Minsk is rather a fine town for Lithuania ; but is very dirty 
and very irregular. The buildings in thesquare are largechurches 
very heavily constructed, without any elegance. Their gable 
ends front the street, and are terminated at each corner by a 
square spire, with a low dome between them. This kind of 
church is peculiar to Lithuania. The religion is partly Catholic, 
and partly Jewish. The populationds about seven thousand, of 
which about three thousand are Jews. Of the lower classes, 
the Jews are the most filthy and the most annoying ; it is impos- 
sible to avoid the pestilential intrusion of these grovelling 
reptiles. The moment a traveller arrives, he becomes haunted 
by them — he cannot stir without being watched. Every Jew 


[YiAdiXy' MINSK. 391 

employs a vagabond to ply in the streets and solicit the custom 
of the stranger ; his house is ready on all occasions, for an 
hotel, or any thing else, no matter how base ! 

On entering the town, we had great difficulty in finding 
an hotel to breakfast in, every house being crowded by the 
military. Jews innumerable flocked around and invited 
us : one of them begged us to enter his house, with the 
utmost obsequiousness ; but at the door, demanded sixteen 
roubles for the use of a room. Fortunately we found a Ger- 
man, less imposing, and here we were lodged in a common 
billiard room, and slept on the long benches, amidst all the 
noise, filth, and vociferation of gambling Jews and Lithu- 
anians. The people are rude, unpolished, vulgar and noisy. 
As an instance of their rudeness, we were often asked to 
mark the game for the player, they not being able to appre- 
ciate that good breeding and politeness, which is due to 
strangers, in civilised countries ; and as an instance of their 

unparalleled and acknowledged dishonesty, the billiard balls 

ame was 
playing ; 

were not allowed to lie on the table unless when the game was 


playing ; and in every room a spy is placed, to watch lest any 
moveable article should be taken away. In all public rooms 
and companies, also, are busy, prying, inquisitous characters, 
seeking for some words which may drop from a stranger 
as to the government, laws, &c. ; — ^in short, men who appear 
to be employed as informers, and report at the police 
office what they collect. Such is the dreadful effect of 
that powerful engine of despotism, which this vast empire 
wields, and which forms so prominent a feature in its 

In so small a town it presented rather a lively spectacle in 
its equipages, dresses, &c. ; but the most interesting part to 
us was the exhibition of four or five thousand Cossacks, Bas- 
kirs, &c. fully equipped. They were stationed here to receive 
the Emperor Alexander, who was on his way from St. Peters- 
burg to the Congress at Vienna. As in Russia proper, a 
vast deal of shew, parade and costliness is exhibited ; but it 
has all that boldness and barbarity about it, so peculiar to 
rude, unpolished and powerful nations. The ladies sit in. 
open carriages, without any head-dress, although the weather 


MINSK. 393 

is now so cold, that the common people are all wrapped up in 
their sheep-skins. There are many nobles here, both Lithu- 
anian and Polish. They are a remarkably fine made class of 
men, and their dress is extremely graceful. They wear a 
long silken or cloth tunic, with loose sleeves — a broad silken 
sash is knotted round the waist, the head is closely shaven, 
and on it a Hessian cap is worn. It is said that Charles II. 
attempted to introduce this dress into England. The common 
Lithuanians exhibit the most abject and palsied appearance — 
man can scarcely present a more degraded picture. Their looks 
are squalid and haggard, their gait heavy and lifeless ; their 
dress can scarcely merit description, for it scarcely deserves 
the name of dress ; it is more like an irregular bundle of rags. 
The horses somewhat resemble the men in poverty and wretch- 
edness, they seem half starved, are unshod, and without 
strength : six of them could scarcely drag our carriage. 

The effects of the French invasion, on this town, were 
not so conspicuous, as in the others through which we have 
passed. On their retreat, being obliged to change their 
route towards Wilna, they did not reach Minsk, and it thus 

3 E escaped 


escaped their flames. The capture of the French magazines, 
by the arrival of Admiral Tschikakoff, may be said to have 
sealed the fate of the tyrant ; and hence his retreat became a 
perfect and wretched flight. The only trace of invasion, now 
presented, is in the poverty of the people, who were plun- 
dered by the soldiery on their advance to Moscow. The houses 
were not touched. After the battle of Berezina, it became a 
depot for French prisoners, and held about twenty thousand, 
who mostly died. 

From this neighbourhood vast quantities of ship-masts 
are sent down the Niemen ; from the diflferent sources of the 
river, the land carriage is about thirty miles. A large quan- 
tity of hemp, flax and grain, is also sent from this country. 
At present the prices have fallen considerably ; what formerly 
sold for thirty roubles, is now sold for three. 

We were detained two days at Minsk for horses ; the 
post-house could grant none, as every thing was in hurry and 
bustle, on account of the arrival of the Emperor. What also 
contributed to our detention was, it being the Jew's Sabbath, 
and his unwillingness to do any business on that day: at 


MINSK. 395 

length we overcame his religious scruples, and for thirty-eight 
roubles we procured six horses for the next two stages. The 
Jew would not receive the money into his hand, hut held up 
the flap of his cloak for it ! 

The road leaves Minsk, over a large and beautiful com- 
mon, which forms a kind of open circular space about th^ 
town, while, beyond it, one uninterrupted circle of forest 
binds the view. In one part of this common is seen a magnifi- 
cent burying ground of the Jews. The country, for the first 
stage, continued partly open, but in general covered with 
distant forests ; the road was excessively bad. We baited the 
horses at a solitary station-house, about seventeen miles from 
Minsk, and travelled the next stage during the night. We 
had not proceeded far, when one of the Jews fell asleep, the 
horses strayed to one side of the road, and the carriage was 
overturned into a ditch ; fortunately no injury occurred to our 
persons excepting a slight contusion which one of the servants 
received on the knee ; but our carriage was severely damag;ed, 
^ed all our light baggage was tossed out. We procured a 
torch, and after a careful search recovered ^U our books, 

3 E 2 &c. 


&c. A scene like this in a dark, cold, rainy night, in the 
midst of Lithuania and the inhospitable Jews, was by no 
means agreeable. Early in the morning we reached the small 
village of Koidanovo, containing about eight hundred inha- 
bitants, and built in a tolerably neat manner. Here we were 
driven into a large stable, similar to the different stages 
throughout Holstein and part of Prussia. At every stage we 
began to remark a change of manner, strongly indicating a 
change of people. All traces whatever of the Russians we 
had long lost sight of, and that of the Poles began now to 
mingle with the Lithuanians. We were detained at this 
place several hours to repair the damages our carriage had 
received, and met with several traits of the Jewish character. 
For the next stage they demanded as many roubles as what 
we had agreed to give for the former ones : this is a common 
piece of imposition with the Jews ; a charge was also made 
for the time the carriage had occupied the stable, and a still 
more extraordinary demand was made for a few blows which 
one of our servants had given the Jew at the time he over- 
turned the carriage ! The greatest confusion and vociferation 
' prevailed. 


prevailed. The Jews had just quitted their morning prayers, 
and entered the stable in a body. One half spoke the Hebrew 
tongue, another the Lithuanian dialect, and German, French, 
and English, added to the noise. The glimmering rays of the 
carriage lamp were feebly thrown over this motley group, and 
never did a scene of such confusion prevail. At length the 
dispute was settled by money, the only power the Jews would 
submit to. 

The road from this is heavy, boggy, and mostly through 
one continued forest. Komeli is the next stage; it is a soli- 
tary station-house, situated in a picturesque opening of the 
forest ; the landlord is a civil Pole. Leaving Komeli we 
proceeded to Novo Svergino, through a beautiful avenue of 
trees, and surrounded by a deep forest, the greater part of 
which seemed to have suffered from the enemy's fire. The 
trees are still alive, though much scorched at the trunks. The 
road is flat and sandy ; and, in many places, passes small 
lakes and little hamlets. Novo Svergino is a small bourg, 
consisting of one long irregular street of wooden houses, and 
about five hundred inhabitants, mostly Catholics. The coun- 
• try^ 


try, to the east, is an extensive morass, which is divided by a 
small branch of the Niemen ; it is the property of a Polish 

This part contains the finest fir wood we have hitherto 
seen, and the best improvements in agriculture. The fields 
are extremely large ; the crops are rye, wheat, oats and buck 
wheat. The soil varies, from a fine light to a black heavy 
loam, yet the crops do not appear luxuriant, and very few 
black cattle are to be seen. The people are very plain, coarse 
looking, and shabby in their attire ; the women are dressed in 
coarse woollen coats like the men, with a napkin tied round 
the head; over it is fastened a white band of linen, which 
hangs down the back, with three ends. The people are chiefly 
Catholics, and the road too often presents the spectacle of a 
small wooden figure, dressed up in rags, to represent our 

In the countenance and costume of the people, in several 
parts of this district, we could not but remark a great simi- 
larity with the lower orders of the Irish; — ^the cast of the 
countenance and complexion are exactly alike — the ragged 



coat, and flapping high crowned hat, with a cord tied round 
it for a band, are also similar. This resemblance, however, 
is only external ; the moment the mouth is opened the simile 
is lost ; and, instead of hearing from it the varied expressions 
of wit, genius, and passion, so peculiar to the one, nothing 
but the language of wretchedness is delivered by the other ;— 
for the hospitality and soul-speaking welcome of the one, we 
discern the vile, cringing approach, of the other ; — for thought- 
less, hurried generosity, is exchanged cold, calculating cun- 
ning ; — for wit and imagination, craft and dullness. — Ages 
must roll over their night-shaded history, time must improve 
in the tardiness of its course, governments must be changed, 
and soil must alter, until that day and hour arrive, when the 
bards of Sclavonia shall be enlightened with the spirit of a 
Sterne, or its temples consecrated with the genius of a Burke ! 
But never will that day arrive, never will human nature, here, 
shine out ; — like where, at north, the grey denuded steep 
points its chill brow to shade the Polar wave, ever will it be 
lifeless, dreary, and still, in these inhospitable, melancholy 
regions. Not more impotently does that weak winter sun, 



which h'ghts them to their lot, throw down its unwarming 
beam, — not more idly does the summer's wave play around the 
base of Zembla's isle, than does the light of soul around these 
benighted beings. But to proceed with our journey. 

On taking leave of Novoe-Svergino, we had, as usual, to 
proceed through some fine forests of fir. The country, how- 
ever, soon opened, and appeared to be extensively cultivated. 
The fields are very large. We were now on the borders of the 
government of Minsk, and were about to enter that of Lithu- 
ania. From Novoe-Svergino the road goes south to Nevisge, 
one stage, and thence north again to Mir. These two stages 
form fifty-four wersts ; but, by crossing from Novoe-Svergino 
to the latter, along the base of the angle, a very short cut is 
made, by a bye-road, which is excellent. The country around 
is flat and well cultivated. The town of Mir stands on a gentle 
eminence, on the west side of a small river. It consists of a 
collection of wooden houses, with a large brick church in the 
centre of an open square ; the population is about one thou- 
sand persons. Close to the town are the ruins of a palace of 
the Duke Radgiwiloff. Along this part of the country we 



could not avoid remarking the extreme speed with which the 
horses are driven. The postillions are generally boys ; they 
are clad in a loose frock coat, without shoes or stockings, and 
constantly ride without a saddle. Leaving Mir, we entered 
on an excellent road, and passed through a fine extensive grain 
country ; on all sides, as far as the eye could reach, there were 
neither trees nor waste land ; every acre seems to be under the 
influence of the plough ; the soil is a light black loam, but 
the crops do not appear plentiful. Single oxen are yoked in 
small wains, and driven by women, who also assist at the 
plough and harrow, &c. Large flocks of horned cattle and 
horses were herded together ; but we observed neither sheep 
nor hogs. It is worthy of remark that, along the country, 
from Moscow, the harvest was completely finished ; here it is 
generally finished by the middle of September, when the rye is 

Pursuing our road we came to a small bourg, named 
Korelitzi, consisting of mean wooden houses, thatched, very 
small and comfortless, and resembling their inmates. The 
streets are execrably paved, and filthy. It is impossible for 

3 p ' any 


any one to walk through the streets of the Lithuanian towns, 
without wading above the andes in dirt. Here was stationed 
a large depot of Russian artillery and Cossacks. At sunset 
we left this village, and had not proceeded more than seven 
wersts, when, on descending a steep hill, we felt one of the 
carriage wheels giving way, in consequence of the damage it 
had received the night before, and the rapid manner in which 
we had been driven during the day. Shortly after we had 
procured a light, and examined the extent of the damage, a 
band of Lithuanian Jews arrived, and offered their assistance. 
The wheel was taken off, and the carriage dragged to a soli- 
tary house named Polanna, in a lonely, wild and sequestered 
vale ; here our perplexities were increased, for no sooner had 
the Jews and their associates got possession of the wheel, 
than it was stolen ; — neither threats nor reward could induce 
them to restore it. Hitherto we had travelled by night, as 
well as by day, among hordes of Cossacks, through endless 
forests and marshes, over hill and dale, and never met with 
an obstacle which could retard our progress ; but such a check 
given to our speed made us feel the inconvenience of being in 



the wilds of Lithuania, among Jews, whom we knew both by 
report and experience would rob us, and who had been accus- 
tomed to attack and plunder the wretched French soldiers. 
In Russia we had often been warned of thfe dangers of travel- 
ling ; advice which we disregarded ; the reports of dangers we 
treated with ridicule, and never found ourselves, in the least 
frequented parts of that country, in any manner insulted by 
the people. In this dilemma we entered the house. Instead 
of finding in it the few men who had come to our assistance, 
we discovered the hall of a common drinking house, full of 
Jews and Lithuanians. It was not the lively face of the Russ 
we beheld; but the haggard and vicious look of intoxicated 
miscreants, dimly exhibited by the light of a torch. Noise 
and tumult now ensued, and every means was attempted to 
perplex us ; numbers collected around, while drink stimulated 
and encouraged their rudeness. We were twelve miles from 
Novogrodec, the next stage, and, as we learned, the greater 
part through a forest. The women of the house were parti- 
cularly anxious to know whether we would proceed, or remain 
until morning ; as we decided they whispered the men, and 

3 F 2 treated 


treated them with drams. We resolved to drag the mutilated 
vehicle, on a long pole, to Novogrodec ; but which plan we 
relinquished, in consequence of our friendly interpreter over- 
hearing that they had sent off a band to the forest, to waylay 
our approach. We had no alternative but to remain until 
morning. The carriage was secured, and having armed our- 
selves, we set at defiance the repeated insults levelled at us, 
and guarded our property until six o'clock the following morn- 
ing. The night was clear, yet excessively cold ; each minute 
seemed lengthened by the wish for its departure, and never 
did morning dawn with more delight. As the night advanced, 
our antagonists passed from the quarrelsome state of intoxica- 
tion, into the most harmless stupidity of complete drunkenness. 
We now dispatched our servant to Korelitzi, for the assistance 
of the police, and had, during the night, agreed to all the 
exorbitant demands of the Jews, who demanded sixty-three 
roubles for the horses standing in the stable, and ten more for 
the use of the posts which supported the carriage I When 
the police officer arrived every one had disappeared, and the 
Jew was most submissively contented to receive seven roubles, 



and to permit us to retain the plank which suppoi^ted the car- 

After a day's labour we reached Novogrodec ; the country 
is partly cultivated, and its surface is finely undulated into 
gentle swells and plains : the prospects are boundless. Novo- 
grodec is a district town. It stands on a high ridge of 
ground, and is seen from a considerable distance. As in all 
the towns in Lithuania, it has a large square, from which a 
number of dirty lanes branch off. In the centre of the town 
are a few mean brick houses, also the remains of an old castle, 
or citadel. The people are coarse, mean, and dirty, and 
consist chiefly of Jews ; the women however are more attentive 
to their dress, and have the most pleasing countenances of any 
of the Lithuanian females we had seen. There is little or no 
trade carried on beyond the traflic of the Jews. 

The scene of our entering Novogrodec, with the carriage 
supported on a plank, and with only three wheels, was a 
source of infinite amusement to the inhabitants. As usual we 
were surrounded with Jews. After a delay of two days, 
we luckily met with a German, who sold us a wheel ; and 



though two inches lower than the other, we were contented to 
take it. Here we were most severely examined by the officers of 
the police, as to the nature of our journey, what reason we 
had to carry maps, &c. with us, and what were our pro- 
fessions. Every foreigner who travels through Russia is 
considered as a merchant; and why we should pass through 
this part of the country, which offered no commercial interest, 
was more an object of astonishment. The idea of a foreigner 
travelling for amusement and information, was, to them, an 
inexplicable circumstance. We concealed our papers, satisfied 
their doubts, and were permitted to proceed. We engaged a 
Tartar to drive us, with one set of horses, to Grodno, a distance 
of one hundred and forty-eight wersts. 

From Novogrodec we entered an extensive forest of very 
old rotten fir trees. The road is merely an irregular track of 
jdeep ruts and wet sand, full of decayed trunks and stumps of 
trees. Twenty miles from Novogrodec, the forest terminated 
on the banks of the Niemen, which we crossed on a floating 
raft. The river is here about eighty yards wide, deep, and 
rapid. From the river we passed over a most extefisive and 



dangerous morass: it was impossible to travel without the 
utmost caution, and not more than two miles an hour. This 
stage was thirty miles long, and is probably as intricate and 
dangerous as any which could be passed. The horses became 
hourly entangled in marshy springs, and every moment the 
carriage was likely to be overturned, in consequence of our 
new hind wheel being considerably lower than the other. We 
lost a whole day on this dreadful stage, and towards evening 
reached Belitza, a small bourg of a few mean wooden houses, 
built round a large open square, in the centre of which stands 
a neat wooden church. The population is about five hundred, 
partly Jews and Lithuanians. The Jews in this place are 
better looking than formerly, but still Jews. The natives are 
extremely wretched, poor, and covered with rags. The dress 
is a short frock coat, and cloth cap without a brim — loose 
trowsers tied round the ancle, and without shoes or stockings. 
The women wear a coarse woollen frock, tied round the waist, 
and buttoned up the front — long sleeves and deep frills. 

The soil here is a fine loose loam. The plough is extreme- 
ly simple and seems to be generally used in Lithuania. It is 



made entirely of one branch of a fir tree ; the beam is formed 
of the trunk, and the root forms the coulter ; while the 
lateral branches serve for the stilts or handles. A sketch of 
this plough will be found among the implements of agriculture, 
at the end of the work. A considerable quantity of hemp is 

Having refreshed our horses at Belitza, our Tartar insisted 
on proceeding another stage, which he asserted was along an 
excellent hard road. We accordingly proceeded a few wersts, 
over a hard, dry, and well cultivated country ; but, towards 
evening, found ourselves on the borders of another morass. 
The weather of late had been cold and rainy, and so soon as 
the 12th of September, we perceived the approaching signs of 
that early winter, to which these cheerless regions are, for so 
long a period, subject. The evenings became frosty, and the 
nights extremely cold. We continued with caution to proceed 
through this wild, dreary track, but soon lost the regular road, 
and in passing over a slight wooden bridge, it gave way, and 
entangled us in a most horrid morass, with a ditch on each side. 
The night became dark, and the clouds heavy and lowering. 


. BELITZA. 409 

Our situation was truly perilous ; but, at length we succeeded 
in extricating the carriage, and by carrying a lighted torch 
before the horses, we immediately reached a Jew's hut, but who 
singularly refused us admittance. We continued our progress, 
on a tolerable track, and, in half an hour, regained the road 
we had lost, and reached a station-house, kept by a Pole. 
Here we found a small party of Polish officers, returning from 
Russia, and who had served in Napoleon's army. From them 
we received a variety of extraordinary anecdotes, relating to 
the campaign ; the hardships they underwent, and the cruel- 
ties committed by both parties. To relate such tales, is only 
exposing the weakness of man, and can now be of no service — 
war will ever be followed by its train of evils, and individuals 
will speak of them, in proportion to the sufferings they have 
met with. Among the prisoners was a Polish count, who 
had been a colonel in the French service; — he had marched 
from Seville, in Spain, to Paris, and onwards to join the 
grand army, which be met at Smolensko, on their flight, — 
there he was taken by the Russians, and sent to Orel, about 
two hundred miles south of Moscow. 

3g At 


At this miserable station we were all lodged in the stable. 
The stables in this country, are the largest, and the most commo- 
dious part of the house. They are built parallel with the road, 
and are about one hundred feet in length, and forty feet in 
width. Each end is provided with large folding doors, and 
the carriages are always drove in at one door, and out at the 
©ther. In this place, travellers usually sleep in their carriage, 
while the postillions, servants, &c., with their horses, are 
scattered on each side. From the stable a narrow passage 
leads to a small dwelling house ; but, from the filth and 
stench in them, no stranger would dare to enter. In this 
stable we prepared to pass the night. Our servants spread 
some clean straw under the carriage, and stretched them- 
selves between the wheels. On one side lay our drivers and 
their horses — before us lay four Baskirs, and their large 
dogs ; and, in our front, were some Russians, and their 
horses ; besides, the Polish and French prisoners. Never 
was a more motley group seen. We kept a lamp burning on 
the top of the carriage. Our sleep, as may be expected, was 
not of the most tranquil kind ; we were soon disturbed, by a 



dreadful bellowing, with the howling of dogs, and confusion, 
of tongues. The cause we found to proceed from our Tar- 
tar, who, in a most piteous manner, was complaining of the 
Hberty which an old sow and her young ones were taking 
with his sheep-skin cloak, and with whom he was disputing 
possession — this however, after some violent diiferences of 
opinion, was settled — peace was restored ; the Tartar con- 
tinued his snore — the sow continued her grunt — all was lost in 
sleep — the feeble lamp-light flung its cheering ray around, 
and, not until morning's dawn had summoned us from our 
couch, did we bid adieu to the sow, and our lively compa- 

We proceeded on a narrow road, until we reached 
loloudoke, a collection of mean huts. Along this stage 
are two roads, the travelhng, and the post-road ; both are 
bad, particularly the latter. At this stage the road to Wilna 
branches off to the north. Here we dismissed our Tartar, 
whom we found the worst driver that ever managed the 
reins. Towards Tstouchino, the road became more open 
and regular, and the country better cultivated, with a hard 

3 G 2 clay 


clay soil, and few trees. In passing along these tracts, and 
for the last few stages, we could not avoid remarking the 
calm and undisturbed state of the country, without any of 
those marks of devastation and burning, which we had be- 
fore so often witnessed. The retreat of the French army 
having been cut off at Borisoff, the road hence, by Minsk, to 
Grodno and the country round, was untouched, and the 
only marks of spoilation, which it now shews on one or two 
spots, resulted from the early effects of the campaign. 

The country through which we now travelled was open 
and cultivated, but extremely sour and sombre, without a 
tree to relieve the wearied sameness. The weather was 
gloomy, lowering and cold : the sun, enveloped in misty va- 
pours, threw around an unwarming light; the bleak winds 
waved over the immense fields of withered grass, and sighed 
along the endless plain ; all denoted the early approach of 
winter. Next day the towers of Grodno came into view, and 
compensated us. Tt stands on a rising ground ; the surround- 
ing prospect is most extensive, and includes a view of the 
distant forests of Poland. We descended into a deep broad 


GRODNO. 413 

valley, ascended again, and soon reached the barriers of the 
town. Having now attained the frontiers of the Russian 
empire, we deemed it most prudent to conceal both our 
drawings and papers, as we had hitherto met with several 
strict examinations, and were compelled to write the account 
of each stage in the carriage, when on the road : by these 
means all suspicions were lulled. 

Grodno is situated on the east side of the Niemen, five 
hundred and eighty-two wersts east of Smolensko, or six 
hundred and eighty-seven English miles from Moscow. It is 
irregularly built, and exhibits a number of large churches 
and square towers. In the form of the churches, it some- 
what resembles a town in Russia ; they have each two spires, 
and niches in the walls, with figures. The religion is that 
of the Roman church. The centre of the town is built with 
brick, and the suburbs of wood ; the streets are badly paved, 
and excessively dirty. In various parts of the town are the 
ruins of some magnificent palaces and gateways, and other 
remains of fallen splendour, which evince the ancient gran- 
deur of this spot. Here the Diets of Poland formerly assem- 


bled, with the representatives from Lithuania, — and here 
Stanislaus, the last King of Poland, resigned his crown, and 
dragged on a wretched life in a foreign land. 

Next to Wilna, Grodno is the largest town in Lithua- 
nia : the population is about eight thousand persons, but 
seems to consist of a mixture of different nations, who have 
settled here. Their employment consisted in manufacturing 
linen, cotton and silk ; but, from late events, they have been 
reduced to idleness and poverty. We were detained three 
days, in the examination of our passports, and before a new 
order could be given us for horses to Warsaw ; and here we 
were compelled to part with our faithful Prussian, who had 
acted as our interpreter; but, as we were to enter into Prus- 
sian Poland, where the German language was generally 
spoken, we felt the less loss : however we could not part from 
an individual, though in so humble a station of life and one . 
who had gained so much of our esteem, without the deepest 


At the time we were at Grodno, large detachments of 
Cossacks, Baskirs, and other Russian troops, were quartered 


GRODNO. 415 

in the town, so that it presented a most varied picture. They 
were stationed partly as out-picquets to the grand army, 
which were marching about in every direction, to form a cor- 
don of observation round the present frontier of Russia, to 
watch the ingress and egress of all strangers, and to be con- 
stantly hovering about in case of alarm. 

Having now completed the extent of our investigations 
through a part of the Russian empire, and being on the eve 
of entering a new kingdom, we could not but contemplate 
the vastness and immensity of this unwieldy empire, to sup- 
port whose overgrown size, the natives of the most distant, 
and untrodden regions, are called in. Hither flock the savage 
tribes, which prowl along the dens of the Caucasus, or the 
banks of the Oby — the wandering Samoide, and the houseless 
Tartar, here find a home and employment. The vastest 
bounds of the vastest empire in the world, pour along their 
contents, like a sweeping torrent — all tend to one point, all 
flock to one centre, and, under the wide waving banners of 
their mighty mother, all are enlisted, all are to serve. 



Russia, as a whole, must be, more or less, weak from its 
expansion ; it is too immense to be healthy. It wants the 
vigour of concentration — there is a kind of morbid bulk 
about it, which impairs its proper functions, and may one 
day put it out of breath. This is a remark, which must 
strike every traveller in this country ; he will see it evinced in 
various features, and in many circumstances. 

( 417 ) 

4-^.: ' ■:\rci'*f^ 


J, Warsaw, October, 181 J;. 

We felt, on crossing the boundary line of Russia, and en- 
tering into, another nation, all that gratification to which the 
certainty of escape from bondage and despotism often excites. 
Before we could leave Grodno, we had the most frivolous and 
vexatious delays to contend with ; the passports we had 
obtained at St. Petersburg could carry us no further, and we 
were obliged to obtain a governor's order to permit us to 
proceed to Warsaw. The delays and difficulties were endless. 
We had scarcely left the barrier gate when this order was 
inspected, our baggage ransacked, and the utmost trouble 
given to us. No less than three times were these endless 
and vexatious cereiponies practised in the space of three miles ; 
and it was not until after repeated trials of our patience, our 

3 H temper, 


temper, and our pockets, that we could disentangle ourselves 
from their snares, and bid the Russian frontiers adieu ! 

The Niemen, which we crossed on leaving Grodno, is 
deep and rapid, and about one hundred yards in width ; its 
banks are steep, and broken with clay and gravel ruts : its 
scenery, to the east, presents a pleasing landscape of forests 
and cultivated fields. The river is crossed by a floating bridge 
of planks. Numerous canoes, scooped out of a single trunk of 
a tree, are seen on the river, similar to those of the American 
Indians ; these are only large enough to contain one person, 
who sits in the bottom of the boat and catches fish. Three 
miles from the Niemen we crossed a small stream, which is 
the boundary line between the Russian Empire and the duchy 
of Warsaw. A wooden bridge is thrown over this stream, 
one end of which is painted with black and white squares, 
denoting the Russian distinction ; thfe other is red and white, 
that of Prussia. At the one end is stationed a Cossack sentry ;. 
at the other, a Polish police officer. We found no difficulty 
on entering the Polish side, as they seem, at present, not to 
know to which kingdom they belong, and perfectly indifllerent 




about either; however, of the two, they are decidedly in 
favour of the Prussian yoke. 

This first stage was over a rugged country, by a common 
track ; the soil is covered with loose stones ; the grass is 
strong and coarse. Large quantities of horse- raddish and 
wild celery (apium graveolens) grow most luxuriantly over 
the fields. On many of the fir trees were fixed hollow trunks 
of trees, as beehives. We changed horses at Kusniza, a small 
village, and proceeded through a wild rough country, to a 
mean village, on the borders of an immense morass. This 
swamp is crossed on hurdles, which form the road. To this 
morass an extent of dry, loose, drifted sand succeeded, and 
which was again bounded by a second morass, more extensive 
than the former, and more spongy, yet covered with dwarf 
bushes and reeds. This was about five miles in breadth, and 
stretched on both sides as far as the eye could reach. The 
adjoining country consisted of sand and light loam, with 
their crops of buck wheat. A rudely formed harrow is used, 
which is dragged by a rope, fastened round the neck of the 
horse. Here we changed horses at a solitary farm-house, 

3 H 2 pleasantly 


pleasantly situated on a dry rising ground ; but bounded in 
front by another of those singular and extensive marshes. 
This was the first stage in Poland which used the Prussian 
emblem ; the postillions were dressed in Prussian livery, and 
the lively sound of the bugle echoing through the forests, was 
now substituted for the constant jingling of the Russian bell. 
The Russian wersts only extend to Grodno, from which the 
Prussian miles commence, and the rate of posting rises to 
four-pence and a half for each horse. The Prussian mile 
here is equal to four and a half English miles. 

From Justrembne we rode through a large forest of fir 
trees, forming a dark and solemn avenue, and soon approached 
a fine lake, which we crossed at a narrow point by a wooden 
bridge. The scenery, though flat^ is really picturesque and 
beautiful. To Augustow, the next stage, we proceeded by a 
very heavy road of loose sand, and crossed the end of a small 
lake, by a long wooden bridge. Augustow is a small town, 
of tolerable wooden houses, built round a large square,- in 
the centre of which is a military guard-house. The streets 
are long, narrow, and full of mud ; the population is about 



twelve hundred persons, who are all Poles, fair, but not 
robust : beards are not worn. The dress is generally a long 
cloth surtout, with a broad leather belt fastened round the waist. 
We remarked a fine breed of large dogs, and large flocks of 
hogs, but of a most ugly form : few horned cattle are reared, 
and no sheep. The horses are small and spiritless. From 
this town, the road continues over loose sand ; the country is 
open, level, and well cultivated. We passed through a small 
forest, and three neat villages, adorned with little gardens, and 
reached the town of Baggreda, pleasantly situated on the side 
of a lake, which it straggles along. From this town we tra- 
velled through a bleak sandy country, by a good road, but 
gradually entered on a better improved country. The habita- 
tions were now constructed of wicker-work, plaistered and 
thatched. We observed some large barns and farm yards, 
and an evident improvement towards comfort, beyond any 
thing in Lithuania. The houses were furnished with chairs 
and beds, &c. The inhabitants continue plain and simple, 
and without any peculiar character. There are very few Jews, 
and the German language is scarcely understood. 



We now passed through a pleasant country, and woods 
of fir, oak and elm ; the former were nearly an hundred feet 
in height : the country was covered with flocks of cattle, of 
a small hreed. Young rye was green above ground, the 
sowers were still busily employed, and every field presented an 
animated appearance. We now crossed the Narva, and en- 
tered the town of LomEa, situated on an eminence, and 
presenting a picturesque view. From Lomza a road leads to 
Konigsberg, and another to Bialystok. The Narva is a tole- 
rably sized river, which has its source from three branches 
rising to the north in East Prussia, and from the east in 
Lithuania. These branches join at Ostrolensk, and after- 
wards fall into the Bug, one of the great and parallel branches 
of the Vistula. By means of the Narva, great quantities ot 
wood are annually floated down to the Vistula, and hence 
conveyed to Dantzick. The Bug is more adapted to the con- 
veyance of grain. 

Napoleon passed this place about the first week of De- 
cember, on his flight from Borisoff". He was accompanied by 
two ofiicers and a Mameluke. He asked the landlord if he 



knew him, and appeared gloomy and reserved. The Russians, 
it is asserted, did not reach this place until three weeks after 
he had passed it ; nor did the people know of the complete 
overthrow of the French army. 

. The road from Lomza led us through a bed of fine, 
deep, loose sand, blown by the wind into various ridges, 
which continued to Ostrolenka. This little town stands on 
the, banks of the Narva, which here widens into a kind of 
lake. Here we passed a camp of the Russian army, on its 
inarch to Warsaw ; their blazing fires extended far around, 
and illumined the dreary night. The road and sand continued 
parallel with the river, until it reached Rozana, which is very 
prettily situated on a rising ground, and inhabited by Jews. 
The shoes of the people are made with the hair on the skin, 
worn outwards. From this village, we hastened our route 
towards Pultusk, a mean, dirty town, with three large 
churches and a monastery : it is the residence of a bishop. 
The road continued good, and the extent of the forests in 
every direction was astonishing. Elm, oak, poplar, and fir, 
are the prevailing trees. The Narva meandered along the 



skirts of the forest, and, at several angles, exhibited pictu- 
resque scenery^ 

Leaving Wierzbica, we crossed the Bug, by a fine lofty 
wooden bridge, and entered again on a dreary sandy plain, 
which continued to Nieport. It is impossible to convey a just 
description of these sandy plains and morasses, which alter- 
nately cover the face of the country, from Grodno to Warsaw, 
a distance of two hundred miles. They seem regularly to 
succeed each other, and present an appearance, as if the 
country had, at one time, been completely under water. 
The sand banks are always considerably elevated above the 
marshes ; and their extent varies from five to fifteen miles in 
every direction. The rate of travelling over them is about 
two miles an hour. 

We reached Nieport towards evening, and being within 
one stage of Warsaw, we deemed it prudent to delay passing 
through the intervening country, until next morning, incon- 
sequence of the numerous troops of Russian soldiers quartered 
in the vicinity. Here we met some German and Dutch mer- 
chants, and had the pleasure of receiving the first intelligence 


WARSAW. 425 

of foreign news since we quitted St. Petersburg. After a slight 
supper, we all betook ourselves to our respective carriages, to 
pass the night. We had not the shelter of a stable ; and, from 
the increased length and coldness of the nights, we felt all 
the chilling effects of being obliged to sleep in an open Russian 

At the dawn of day we departed, and passed over an 
extensive and most beautiful plain, covered with cultivated 
fields and Russian soldiers. From a distance, we discovered 
the spires of the Polish capital. We soon gained the suburbs, 
called the Praga, crossed the Vistula, satisfied the police offi- 
cers, and entered the city. ' 

The approach to Warsaw, from the north, affords the 
most pleasing view of the city. It stands on a rising ground, 
on the south-west side of the Vistula; which, on ascending, 
extends into a level plain, towards the south. The houses are 
old, clumsy, and irregularly built. Many large palaces in a 
state of neglect, and gothic churches without spires, fill up; 
together with occasional spaces, occupied by mean hovels and 
gardens. Passing through the town, the stranger is both 

3 I pleased 


pleased and distressed, at the contrast of huge piles of build- 
ing mouldering into decay, and paltry hoVels filled with Jews. 
The streets are narrow, badly paved, and without any regular 
footpath ; on each side is a broad kennel to carry off the rain. 
The houses are either of wood, as in the suburbs, or of brick, 
stuccoed to imitate stone. The principal houses are those of 
the nobles ; but most of them are abandoned by their once 
opulent and noble possessors, and now converted into hotels 
and shops. These houses are built extremely plain, and with- 
out any ornaments ; they are only conspicuous from their im- 
mense size. In the town there are forty churches, sixteen of 
which are monasteries, or nunneries. The cathedral stands 
in the centre of the city : it consists of a lofty body, without 
either spire or dome ; its interior is neatly decorated with 
private altars, and the seat of the late king. The other 
churches and convents are more heavy and clumsy. All the 
churches are built with the gable end to the street, and some 
of them terminated at each corner with a lower square 
tower. In the whole city, there are only five or six small 
spires, the highest not more than two hundred feet. The 


WARSAW. 427 

largest, and best built church in Warsaw, is that of the 
Lutherans. It is of a circular form, surmounted with a 
large dome. The late king, though a Catholic, gave from 
his private fortune three hundred thousand florins towards 
building this church. From the gallery, at the top of the 
dome, we commanded a boundless prospect of the surrounding 
country. Nothing can be conceived more flat than the sur- 
face of the country ; the distant plains and forests seem lo 
extend beyond the reach of the eye, and lose themselves in 
ether. The windings and sandy banks of the Vistula are 
seen, far from the east, majestically rolling on its course 
towards the Baltic, while its floating bridge undulates with 
everv wave. On the north side of the river are the moulder- 
ing ruins of the Praga, pointing to the unhappy Pole the 
horrors of the Russian massacre of 1794. On the opposite 
side of the river is the other part of the suburbs, called the 
Kraka — where, in former times, during the elective monarchy, 
the kings were chosen ; and which was often the scene of con- 
tention and wars. In the reign of the late king the new consti- 
tution of Poland was formed, and the monarchy became 

3 I 2 - hereditary 


hereditary in his family. This has the worst and meanest 
buildings attached to the city, but it makes the most pictu- 
resque appearance. These wooden huts are built in a most 

irregular and straggling manner, each surrounded with or- 
chards full of fine fruit trees. Through this part of the 
suburbs the road passes to the summer palace of the late 
king, situated about a league from the city. Viewing the 
scite of the town from the top of this church, the houses 
appear low and large. The scites are not extensive, but the 
number of gardens spreads its boundary beyond what the 
population should allow. Excepting two tolerable streets, 
crossed at right angles by other two, with the houses closely 
built together, aH the other parts of the town are divided into 
gardens, which vary in size, from a few roods, to four or five 
acres. They are all thickly planted with fruit trees, which 
gives the town the appearance of being placed in the midst of 
a luxuriant forest. In this respect, Warsaw appears even more 
singular and picturesque than Moscow. Such is a bird's eye 
view from the Lutheran church. In walking along the streets, 
an air of former grandeur every where arrests the attention, 


WARSAW. 429 

but now sadly divested of its former glory. In the principal 
street is the college, a large and not inelegant structure, at 
present shut up. The ancient palace of the Dukes of Saxony 
is now converted into a public school, where the students are 
well instructed in the various branches of literature, particu- 
larly the classics. 

The palace is a large square building, close to the river ; 
the public rooms are few, but superbly furnished and painted : 
the whole was done under the immediate directions of the late 
king. In one small room were placed the portraits of his 
Majesty George III. of Great Britan, the kings of France, 
Germany, and Prussia, who were contemporary with Stanislaus. 
In the centre of this royal group is his own portrait. We next 
visited the summer palace of Stanislaus, situated on the banks 
of the river, about three miles from the city. The road passes 
through the suburbs of Kraka, and enters a beautiful avenue, 
divided by nine rows of trees, which terminate in a large 
circular octagon, from which branch off eight other avenues, 
each, at a short distance, crossed by others, and forming a 
kind of labyrinth. One of them passes a deep cut, made 



through a ridge of clay, on the top of which are erected 
elegant barracks for soldiers. Below this bank, in a seques- 
tered vale, and on the edge of a small lake, near to the Vistula, 
is the elegant and beautiful summer palace of the late king. 
All which the exquisite refinement of education, and a 
chastened genius could invent, have been executed — no ob- 
trusive gothic irregularity offends .the eye, no voluptuous inde- 
licacy hurts the feelings ; neither magnitude nor vain shew 
disgust the taste — all is elegance, simplicity, and perfection. 
The house is small, and of an oblong form, between two 
narrow lakes, which wash its very foundation ; from which it 
is sometimes called la Maison de Bain. The rooms are beau- 
tifully painted and gilded — the pannels and doors are formed of 
elegant glass mirrors, and the floors inlaid with Mosaic work. 

About one hundred yards from the palace, in a retired 
grove, is situated the theatre, built partly from the model of 
Vespasian's amphitheatre. The stage is divided from the 
audience by a stream of water, and was intended to represent 
the ruins of the temple of the Sun at Palmyra ; the whole is 
beautifully covered with the dark foliage of the surrounding 


WARSAW. 431 

trees. The part allotted to the spectators consists of a 
circular series of steps, the last row of which supported a 
range of statues. The whole is uncovered, and the perform- 
ance was usually exhihited in the afternoon. To behold a 
theatric exhibition in so retired and calm a spot, and under the 
cooling shade of trees, must have afforded an exquisite treat to 
the lovers of the Drama. In an adjoining thicket was placed 
the concert-hall, where Pan and his Sylvan train might have 
responsed to soft sounds of music. Such was this beautiful 
spot, planned and executed by the good Stanislaus, who, with 
short-sighted hope, promised himself a quiet and sequestered 
abode, in which the evening of his life might have passed, 
and the pressure and turbulence of the government have been 
softened. This amiable prince beauti6ed the environs of his 
capital from his private fortune ; and, while he expended it in 
adorning the public grandeur of the capital, his ungrateful 
nobles wrangled, and allowed their glorious independence to be 
subdued, the sceptre of the realm to be broken, and the 
monarch to abdicate the throne, and end his days in a foreign 
land. Blush, ye jarring and oppressed Poles, to submit to a 



miserable existence under a foreign yoke, rather than shake 
off the odious bondage and trample on the invaders of your 
country's liberty! What can ye expect from your eastern 
friends ? Can the Russ teach ye the art of being free and 
independent ? Can he improve the soil of your country, or 
the cultivation of your minds ? Or, can ye forget his mer- 
ciless cruelty in the siege of 1794 ? On the bank, opposite to 
the barracks, the king had planned the erection of a magni- 
ficent church, in honour of the new constitution of Poland ; 
but it remains for another virtuous, and more warlike Sta- 
nislaus, in honour of a glorious restoration of ancient Poland, 
freed from vassalage and the subjugation of foreign powers. 

Every traveller must be pleased with Warsaw. The ap- 
pearance of the people is sprightly and gay — their complexions 
are ftiir, and, in their figure, not unlike the English. The 
gentlemen are particularly foppish in their dress — the ladies 
are soft, comely, and of a small figure ; they dress very plain, 
except that a plume of feathers is generally worn on the head. 
Black dresses seem to be the most prevalent among them, 
probably it is a mourning for the fate of Poland. The streets 


WARSAW. 433 

are crowded with pedestrians, lively and gay, but seemingly 
without any object in view. There is not much appearance of 
wretchedness in the streets ; the filthy sheep-skins of the 
Russians are not seen, nor the indolence of sleeping on the 
ground. An air of activity prevails among the lowest orders, 
and their fine fair countenances are not disfigured by an 
hideous goatish beard. The shops are scattered every where, 
and the streets crowded with stalls of fruit and coarse sugar- 
candy. The quantity, size, and richness of flavour of the apples, 
pears, and plums sold here, are astonishing. The pears are 
remarkably large, and possess an. exquisite flavour. Although 
such a vast quantity of fruit is cultivated, yet they do not 
convert it either into cider or perry. Poultry of all kinds is 
also brought to the market in great abundance. The public 
carriages are open phaetons, of a low form, with one or two 
horses ; the linings are generally painted of a red colour, and 
which is easily kept clean. These vehicles only carry two 
persons but, unlike the Muscovites, the healthful exercise of 
walking is preferred to the indolence of a carriage. The horses 
are large and beautiful ; those of a piebald cast are very 

3 k common. 


common, and much admired. Large collars, of a red or green 
colour, is the prevailing fashion of the harness, which is 
covered with small brass rings, which serve as tinkling bells. 
The hotels are numerous, and generally kept in some of the 
old palaces. At the entry to each hotel a porter is stationed, 
dressed in a rich suit of livery, with a large cocked hat and 
silver headed cane. He receives the names of visitors, and 
conducts travellers to their apartments, &c. As in Russia, 
there are no beds, but sofas. There are both stoves and fire- 
places, but no fire-grates. Wood is the only fuel, which 
they have in great abundance. Provisions of all kinds are plen- 
. tiful ; the bread is particularly fine, and very white. 

The theatre is the only public place of amusement. The 
house is large and elegantly fitted up, and the performers 
lively and interesting. The pit is an open space, without seats. 
The drama generally consists of translations from the German, 
with scarcely any native productions. The only writer of 
comedies whom we know is Bohomolec, who lived in the last 
century. Poland can boast of no literary pretensions. Its 
language is a dialect of the ancient Sclavonian ; the alphabet 

-'i ^^ consists 

WARSAW. 11 3J^ 435 

consists of the common Roman characters, with the addition 
of nine duplicates, or accents, which are placed over certain 
letters, and which indicate a difference of sound. Learning 
has not flourished ; nor could the calm pursuits of literature 
have taken place, in a country so constantly the scene of wars 
and oppression. Yet individual genius has sprung up, and 
Martin Cromer, the historian of his country, and particularly 
Copernicus,* the astronomer, will live as long as science 
exists. The Polish language is spoken uncommonly fast, and 
with a hissing sound. The Russians and Poles partly under- 
stand each other. French is more generally spoken than Ger- 
man; ?i]\ the valets de place are Frenchmen. 

The town is not fortified : round the suburbs are earthen 
ramparts, a few feet in height, is thrown up, but without any ' 
means of defence. The religion of the people is that of the 
Roman church. The oftensive shew of crosses and crucifixes 

3 K 2 every 

* In the former part of this work we had occasion to notice the celebrity 
of this philosopher. He was born at Thorn in 147?, and died in 1343, at 


every where obtrudes itself; these crosses are about thirty feet 
in height, and the figure as large as life : some of them are 
covered vrith rags, and adorned with wreaths of flowers; 
others represent a skeleton. Nothing can be more shocking 
than this display of religious torture. The common people 
are extremely ignorant, and many of the priests are little 
better. One of the convents, which we visited, contained 
several fathers : they were habited in long loose white woollen 
cloaks, with a small black velvet cap on their heads. Few of 
them could speak any language but their own ; and their time 
was taken up in grinding a small organ, in order to teach a 
canary bird to imitate its sounds. 

The present population of Warsaw is estimated at fifty 
*■ thousand individuals., of whom twenty thousand are Jews, and 
who seem to manage all the trade of the city. In short, the 
whole retail trade of Lithuania and Poland is carried on by 
the Jews ; their number, throughout the country, is calculated 
at above two millions, which is probably the greatest collection 
of JewH in any part of the world, It is a singular circumstance 


WARSAW. 437 

that they are not allowed any place of public worship in 

The Vistula is, here, a noble river ; it is .nearly one 
quarter of a mile in breadth, deep and rapid. It takes its rise 
on the northern frontiers of Hungary, about one hundred and 
fifty miles to the south of Cracow, which it passes, and cou" 
tinues, as the boundary line, between the Duchy of Warsaw 
and Hungary, as far as Sendomirz ; whence it takes a north- 
westerly course, and, after a passage of one hundred and 
twenty miles, passes Warsaw, and continues by Plock, Thorn, 
Culm, Graudenz and Marienwerder, to Dantzick, where it 
falls into the Baltic Sea ; completing a course of nearly seven 
hundred miles. From Cracow it is navigable by long flat 
barges. From Warsaw to Dantzick the voyage is most agree- 
able, and usually performed in from two to three days. 

( 438 ) 


Berlin, October, 1814. 
In quitting the capital of Poland, we could not but think of 
its present and its former state. We could not forget its once 
proud independence, when, with a population of fifteen mil- 
lions, of people, it supported its own sovereigns, and com- 
manded the respect of other nations. We could not biit 
lament to see so fine a country so devastated by its conquest ; 
so tortured by its tyrannies ; and so helpless to its interests. 
Distorted into every shape in which the agonies of tyranny 
could writhe them, its governments have assumed every form 
which the chimeras of despotism, or the madness of ambition, 
could invent. The fate of Poland must ever excite sympathy. 
With all the materials of freedom, independence, and glory, 
she has sunk to nothing ; — her name is scarcely known among 

nations ; 


nations ; and those very materials, which once constituted her 
pride, now constitute her misery. In the manufactory of her 
misfortunes they have been melted down, and refined into the 
implements of the basest born slavery. Long torn from her 
parent stock of nobles ; stripped of her rights, her virtues, 
and her freedom ; dismantled, dismembered, trodden, and laid 
waste, she now, like the withered branch of the sapless tree, 
which bends but to break, bows down her head, shelters her- 
self by her humility, and submits to invasion. Swept by its 
streams, and blasted by its storms, lowly and prostrate she 
now lies, drooping to her parent earth ; and never will she 
again take her rank amid the nations of that earth ; never will 
the bright star of liberty again shed its light over her plains, 
or sound its lay in the halls of her barons, until the kindred 
spirit of a Stanislaus, a Poniatowsky, or a Kosciusko shall 
again appear, — shall again break her chains and awaken into 
life the genius of her freedom. With these she has fallen — 
with them her bright sun has set ; and long, over their tombs, 
may its last rays play^ till her sufferings be buried in the night 
of time. 



Poland must now submit to a northern potentate : she 
must increase the bounds of the boundless dominions of Russia. 
If the banks of the Vistula are to be included within these 
bounds, then the eastern provinces of Prussia may yet feel the 
inconvenience of its isolated situation, and her rich and com- 
mercial ports, from Dantzick to Memel, become a prey to the 
power of Russia, 

The road from Warsaw led us through a very flat open 
country, with a fine sandy loam, well cultivated, but without 
any division of fields. The ridges are very narrow, not more 
than four feet wide, by which a vast deal of ground is lost, 
by the frequency of the furrows. The stubble appears strong, 
and the young crops of rye healthy and vigorous. The 
ploughs are, in general, drawn by one pair of oxen, also the 
wains j but the harrows are drawn by horses. The mode of 
yoking and driving the last is somewhat singular, and exactly 
corresponds with the mode of posting, A pair of horses is 
yoked to the harrows, one of which the workman rides, and 
drives three others, yoked abreast, in front. In this part of 
the country water appears to be extremely scarce, and the 


BLONIE. 441 

cattle seem to suffer from it. The horses are small and active, 
and are readily procured at the different stages. Blonie, the 
first stage at which we changed horses, is a mean town of 
wooden houses, with a large square, and about six hundred 
people ; they are quiet and simple, without any particular cha- 
racter arising from their vicinity to the capital, and whose 
lives afford that humble, tranquil stream, which admits neither 
of interest nor description. Proceeding hence, we soon 
reached a prettily situated town, on a rising bank, over a 
small river, forming a tributary stream to the Vistula, and 
which we crossed by a long wooden bridge. This town, like 
the last, presents, on a closer view, a paltry mean appear- 
ance. It possesses a plain brick church, and the ruins of an 
old chdteau. This last stage is composed of the richest black 
loam which can be seen ; it has all the appearance of black, 
greasy peat moss. The stubble here is very strong. Along 
this part of the country are several detached farm-houses, and 
the grain, throughout, is packed into large barns ; not 
stacked, as in other countries. 

3 L The 


The road continued loose and sandy, and became agree- 
ably shaded by shrubs, and fine trees of oak and fir, until it 
reached Lowiez, a considerable town of four thousand inhabi- 
tants. The streets are clean, the houses large and well built ; 
and it contains five churches. At the time we entered there 
was a fair, and the town appeared crowded. We could not 
procure lodging, and were obliged to proceed, about midnight, 
and had scarcely passed the environs of the town, when we 
were suddenly attacked by two footpads, one of whom leapt 
up behind the carriage, the other attacked the door ; they 
appeared unarmed and perfectly intoxicated, and we had just 
time to prevent our German servant from firing on them. The 
postillions blew their horn, and went off at quicker speed. 
The robber still persisted in opening the side door, when we 
suddenly vociferated, und voce, such a dreadful yell in his face, 
that he fearfully shrunk back, and we escaped. An hour 
afterwards we lost the road, but soon recovered it, and, appre- 
hending still further mischief, placed ourselves on the boxes, 
both before and behind the carriage, and. kept a regular watck 


PNIEW. • 443 

Scarcely had we commenced our observations, when three men 
on horseback came up, and reconnoitred us. They rode round 
the carriage, disappeared, and returned again and again, evi- 
dently with intentions not of an amicable nature. Having 
made their reconnoissances, and finding there were five of us, 
besides the postillions, well armed, and placed in a most impo- 
sing attitude, they at last seemed irresolute, and galloped off 
across the country. Robberies in this country, we every day 
learned, were very common, from the vast number of French 
prisoners returning home, and other disbanded soldiers ; toge- 
ther with Jews, who, having no profession, live by plunder. 
Only a few nights before, three German merchants were at- 
tacked, in this neighbourhood, and murdered ; their bodies 
were found the following day. 

From Lowiez the stage is rather bad, through an open 
country, partly of loose sand and blackish moss. We passed a 
neat chdteau^ the residence of a Polish nobleman. The grounds 
are neatly laid out and planted. The next stage Was Pniew, 
a small miserable village of wooden huts, straggling along the 
road, and containing not more than one hundred inhabitants. 

3 L 2 In 


In this district agriculture is carried on with greater spirit than 
in any former part of Poland. The soil is a fine light loain 
and gradually increases in fertility as it recedes from the capital, 
and the crops appeared to have been very heavy. The plough 
is in universal use; it differs from that of Lithuania. The 
handles are long and upright, the beam short, but supported 
on an axle between two clumsy wheels : it is altogether a very 
clumsy machine, though accounted the most perfect in the 
country. Each plough is drawn by four oxen, which are 
managed by the ploughman alone. Near Kutno we observed 
twenty-four ploughs in one field, similarly yoked and managed. 
It is surprising to remark the docility of the oxen, and the 
easy manner in which they are guided. It is not an uncommon 
sight, in many parts of England, to observe ploughs as clumsily 
constructed, and heavier than the Polish plough, drawn by 
three, or five large horses, with a man to drive them, inde- 
pendently of the ploughman, and besides do not turn up 
deeper, nor more regular furrows, than the Polish plough ; and 
it might even be questioned, if they perform as much labour, 
in a certain space of time. 



In no country have we seen a richer soil, and more 
susceptible of agriculture, than in Poland. Every acre, from 
Warsaw, is capable of great improvement, and the country at 
large might become the granary of the north of Europe. The 
Prussian division evidently bears marks of general improve- 
ment; the small farms are more protected, and its inhabitants 
saved from plunder. Farming, in Poland, is very different 
from that in Russia. Though the common people are equally 
slaves, and considered as disposable property, yet they are not 
obliged to give their labour, in every instance, to the proprietor, 
who seldom interests himself in the cultivation of his own 
estates ; but either to an agent, or one who leases a farm. In 
this case, the extent and value of a farm do not altogether 
depend on the nature of the soil, but on the number of villages 
or inhabitants residing on it ; as, from their assistance, the 
farmer expects to derive the chief source of his profits. A 
farm therefore of any importance, in Poland, must consist of 
between one and two thousand acres, while probably the 
greater part of it is covered with wood. When we find the 
farms of such an extent, how very extensive must the estates 



of the nobles be ! These differ in proportion to their local 
situation. In the more remote parts of the country, some in- 
dividuals, particularly the Czartoryski family, possess as much 
territory as nearly equal in size to the fourth of Scotland. 

We now see a part of those sources, whence the immense 
granaries at Dantzick and Elbing are supplied, and the advan- 
tages of the Vistula, and its numerous branches, in the facility 
of transporting the productions of the country. 

The frequent allusions to the state of agriculture of these 
countries, may be considered as an useless waste of time ; but 
whatever tends to illustrate the practical resources of a country, 
and the means by which its population may be supported and 
improved, is more worthy the attention of the intelligent and 
rational mind, than an exuberance of lighter, and perhaps 
more entertaining, imaginary remarks. When the earth ac- 
quires an increased load of inhabitants, means must be pro- 
vided for their existence ; and it is only from the soil, and the 
labour of our hands, that those means are to be attained, on 
which the subsistence of man must altogether depend. 



The surface of the country, now before us, varied a little ; 
its flatness gave way to gentle undulations and straggling 
clumps of trees and copses. On the whole,, the landscape 
became rather agreeable. The villages were surrounded with 
small windmills,^ and neat orchards, with distant forests. 
Nothing can exceed the beauty of these forests, particularly 
the one round Sonipolno. Its breadth is about twelve miles, 
and its length very great ; the trees are either fir or oak, and 
of great size ; the ground is smooth, level, and covered with 
the finest turf, and the postillion chuses his own track. The 
ride through these forests is delightful : neither noise nor 
motion is felt from the carriage, and the dark shade of the 
trees affords a pleasing sensation of tranquillity. It is not 
however safe to pass them, particularly at night, as we 
were often obliged to do. They abound with robbers, wolves, 
and fallen trees. We did not however meet with any 
interruption, beyond the sight of some foxes, and the distant 
bowl of wolves. It was not the season of attack from the 
latter, which, in the severe months of winter, become a dan- 
gerous enemy to travellers. The woods in Poland are infestedt 



with wolves, and it is not an unusual circumstance for horses 
and cattle to be carried off by them. An anecdote is related 
of a traveller passing through these forests, and being attacked 
by a number of wolves, his servant exclaimed, " protect my 
wife and children,'' and instantly leaped into the midst of 
of them, while his master escaped ! In the middle of the 
forest, we reached a small open space, in which were a few 
huts of some Jews, employed as carriers, and a receptacle for 
robbers. Leaving the forest we came in sight of a fine lake, 
which gives origin to the Notec river, which forms the north 
branch of the Oder. On the opposite bank of the lake is 
situated the little town of Kleczew; we entered it under a 
fine arched gateway, whereon we observed fixed, for the first 
time, the Prussian eagle. The town is small and irregular ; 
consisting of one long dirty street of wooden houses, but 
containing nothing of either interest or amusement to detain 
travellers : we therefore drove on. The country continued 
cultivated, and young crops of rye gave to the face of the 
soil a most cheering appearance. The people present a poor, 
miserable, dejected aspect, without any peculiar costume, 



except that of rags and matted hair. Stupidity and ignorance 
abound here. The houses are mean, low and dirty, generally 
raised on a wooden frame, filled up with straw and clay, and 
clumsily thatched with long bundles of straw. Most of the 
houses have gardens attached to them, containing beans, peas, 
cucunibers, gourds, &c. hops are occasionally seen, and appear 
to thrive well. A most singular mode of salutation is prac- 
tised among the common people throughout Poland. When- 
ever any gift is presented to them, or acts of attention, they 
bend their bodies forward, and touch the lower part of the 
leg of the person to whom they are paying their obedience. 
Whenever we had occasion to present any of them with small 
donations, we regularly received this salutation. The Russ 
kisses the ground — the Pole is contented to touch his bene- 
factor's leg ! 

i We now reached the town of Posen, situated on th« west 
bank of the Warta, the centre branch of the Oder. This 
river is only navigable by flat open boats. It is crossed by a 
small wooden bridge, and the road passes between the cathe- 
dral and the bishop's house. The town is large, and contains 

3 m about 


about fifteen thousand inhabitants. The houses are regularly 
built and stuccoed, but many streets exhibit a ruinous state. 
The churches are numerous and elegant. It is the see of a 
bishop, and one of the most ancient in Poland : it has also an 
university, public library, theatre, and public gardens. The 
streets being close and compact, the town does not occupy 
much space. The suburbs are clean, and agreeably laid out in 
avenues of poplars and straggling cottages. The inns are 
extremely dirty, and open to all intruders. The university is 
situated within . a short distance of the town ; it has greatly 
degenerated, but still contains twelve professors. The jail is 
full of highwaymen, many of whom we observed at the 
windows, and who appeared to have moved in a superior class 
of society. From every information we could learn, it was 
evident that travelling in this country is very dangerous. We 
continued to trace the flight of Napoleon in this town, from, 
which he proceeded to Glogau and Dresden. One of the 
public walks is called after him, and in general we found his 
name more respected here, and in many parts of the country^ 
than at Warsaw. We were detained several hours at Posen^ 



before we could get our passports signed by tbe police. One 
of tbe secretaries at length waited on us, and said he knew 
we were Englishmen, and expected to be well paid before he 
would return the passports : — to this species of extortion we 
were obliged to submit, and could not but feel disgusted at so 
much mean venality in these demi-official characters. 

From Posen three public roads branch of, to Breslau, 
Crossen, and Franckfort on the Oder. The last we pursued, 
and passed through an open flat country, partly cultivated, or in 
general covered with fine dry sand, which retards the speed of 
travelling to the rate of three miles an hour. The sand is 
often drifted into ridges, thirty to forty feet in height— in some 
places the roots of the stunted oaks and fir trees were left 
quite exposed. The German language is now generally 
spoken, though mixed with the Polish. We reached the 
town of Meseritz, situated on the Obra, a small stream which 
falls into the Warta. The town contains about six thousand 
inhabitants, who carry on a small trade in the manufactory of 
fine woollen cloths; the importation of which, into Russia, is 
strictly prohibited. This was the last stage in Poland; and 

3 M 2 liere 


here we underwent the usual examination and search. Every 

package was opened, and every corner of the carriage 

examined. During this vexatious ceremony, the poUce 

officer was constantly reminding us of his fees, but which 

were gradually lowered from four, to one dollar, as he found 

we had no contraband goods ! From Meseritz to Franckfort 

on the Oder, is three stages. The road and country seem to 

contend in the extremes of good and bad — picturesque and 

barren — ^hill and dale— cultivation and extensive waste. It 

commences through a rich country, passes a small forest of 

oak, and enters on a flat extensive moor : to this succeeds a 

rural village, embosomed in orchards, with abundant crops of 

fruit. During the first stage a gate is placed across the road, 

which marks the division of Prussian Poland from Prussia 

Proper — no ceremony is used in passing this frontier. As 

soon as we crossed this distinction, we began to find ourselves 

in Prussia ; the fumes of tobacco-smoke assailed us in every 

direction, insolence and extortion frqm the postillions, and 

German indifference, marked the character of the country. 



The peasantry of Prussia enjoy privileges, different from 
those which have been already described. — Those who occupy 
farms, from the crown, pay only a small rent, and they are 
also assisted in the building of their houses. For this indul- 
gence their sons must be trained up for the use of the army, 
and in case of emergencies they are placed on active service ; 
they must also provide a certain quantity of provision for the 
army, when passing through that part of the country which 
they inhabit. In the time of peace, these people are undis- 
turbed, become rich, and happy. In war, they are liable to 
lose their children, and be burthened by the troops. 

Franckfort is a beautiful inland town. It stands on the 
west side of the Oder, and is called Franckfort on the Oder, 
to distinguish it from Franckfort on the Maine. It was for- 
merly one of the principal cities in Brandenburg, It has 
some remarkably fine Gothic churches. It once contained 
an university, but which has been lately removed to Breslau, 
and the buildings converted into a military magazine. A con- 
siderable manufactory of fine woollen cloths and hats is carri- 
ed on, and great annual fairs are held here. 



The Oder is about one hundred yards broad, and is navi- 
gated by long open barges. This river is far inferior to the 
Vistula, though its course is nearly as extensive ; it rises 
close to Ollmutz in Moravia, near the source of the Vistula, 
passes through the centre of Silesia, and falls into the Frische 
Ha^ at Stettin. 

From Franckfort on the Oder to Berlin, is three stages. 
The intermediate country is flat, barren, and covered vj^ith 
loose sand — however the road is one of the finest in the king- 
dom, and made at a great expense — on it, are several toll- 
gates, and each carriage pays one dollar. Munchberg is the 
only place of any importance on this road : it is a small town 
with one thousand two hundred inhabitants. The approach to 
Berlin is inconceivably beautiful — numerous avenues of pop- 
lars extend from all parts of the suburbs, and the crowd of 
passengers and carriages, announce the importance of a 
capital. At this elegant city we safely arrived, after a most 
persevenng, and laborious journey, from St. Petersburg, in- 
cluding a distance of nearly one thousand nine hundred miles. 


BERLIN. 455 

And here we met with that repose which our fatigues de- 

From Warsaw we had intended to proceed on the great 
south road to Cracow, and onwards to Vienna ; but from the 
scarcity of horses, &c. and in consequence of the meeting of 
the Congress at Vienna, we were induced to alter our route, by 
Berlin ; and thence we intend to proceed through Saxony, &c. 
The other route, by Cracow, would undoubtedly have proved 
more interesting than the present, but a traveller cannot, at 
all times, command his road, particularly through countries 
where he is obliged to travel according to the caprice of the 
police, as occurred to us at Grodno; from which we were 
sent round by the Prussian frontier, instead of the regular, 
and shorter road, by Bialystock, to Warsaw. This was pro- 
bably done, that we should either avoid, or not behold, the 
Russian troops, stationed along that part of the country. 

At the conclusion of these pages, it would be unneces- 
sary to enter on any description of Berlin, a capital, so ex- 
tensive and magnificent, and already so well known. Here, 
the traveller, who has suffered fatigues and privations, 



through the dreary forests of Russia, and the marshes of 
Poland, will find the most luxurious banquet, and the most 
captivating society. 

We have now, in the progress of this work, contrasted 
the appearance, manners, and character, of five capitals, 
with a vast extent of country between them ; and a variety of 
hitman beings, more or less elevated or degraded, in the 
scale of human nature. 

In such a retrospect, the contemplative mind, and feeling 
heart, may find a rich source of lasting, and pleasing reflec- 
tion ; and inasmuch as it enlarges the sphere of our think- 
ing faculties, and may lead us to survey that indescribable 
grandeur and beauty, which all the aspects of the physical 
and moral creation exhibit, so it must tend to place in a still 
more exalted point of view, that great power in nature, from 
whom all knowledge and good are derived. 


The Mowing Table exhibits a h'st of the Stages connected with 
this work. The names of each Stage—the distances between them in wersts, 
Danish, and German milesr-with their respective population, and the rate 
of posting, — are carefully annexed. 



I Copenhagen 


2 Roskilde 


3 Ringstead 


4 Slagelse 


5 Corsoer • , 


6 Great Belt 

7 Odensee 


8 Middlefarth 


9 Little Belt 


10 Kolding 


1 1 Hadersleben 

12 Appenrade 

13 Flensburg 

14 Schleswiff 


15 Eckenfhorde 


16 Kiel 


17 Newmunster ..... 

18 Brorastadt 

19 Ultzburg 

o • • • • • 

— . 
















20 Hamburg 

2i Schonberff 

22 Lubeck 





23 Greifsmuhlin .... 

24 Wismar 


25 Nebuga 

26 Rostock 

27 Damgarten . 

28 Stralsund . . . 

29 Griefswalde 

30 Anclam 

31 Uckermunde 

32 Falkenwalde 

33 Stettin 

34 GuUnow . . . 

35 Naugard ... 

36 Griffensberg . 

37 Triptow . . . , 

38 Colberg 











39 Corlin 

40 Coslin 

41 Pankenin 

42 Schlawe 

43 Stolpe 

44 Lupow 

45 Langbose . ..,,., 

46 Goddentow 

47 Newstadt 

48 Gleicartz 

49 Dantzick 

50 Derschau 

5 1 Marienberg 

52 Elbing 

53 Truntz 

54 Frauensberg 

55 Braunsberg 

56 Hoppenburch .... 

57 Brandenberg .... 

58 Konigsberg . ..... 

59 Caimer 

60 Lablau 

61 Mehleuchen 

62 Schilluppisscheken 

63 Tilsit 

64 Szameickehmen . . 

65 Heidekrug 

66 Prokuls 

67 Memel 









































From Memel, by the 
Gulf of Finland to St. 
Petersburg, two hun- 
dred and six Leagues. 

68 St. Petersburg ... . 

69 Igiora 

70 Tossna 

71 Pomerania 

72 Tischoudovo. . . . 

73 Spakia-PoKste. . . 

74 Podberezie .... 

75 Novogorod .... 

76 Bronnitzi 

77 Zaiffovo 

78 Krestzi 

79 Rachino 

80 Jagelbitzi 

81 Zimogorie 

82 Jedrovo ...... 

83 Kotilovo 

84 Vishnei -Volotshok 

85 Widropouskoe . . . 

86 Torjock 

87 Mednoe 

88 Tweer 

89 Wosskresenskoe . . 

90 Zadivovo 

91 Klin 

92 Pecheki 



, 500 


















































93 Tschernaia-Griasse 

94 Moscow 

' Moscow 

95 Perkouchekovo . . 

96 Koubinskoe .... 

97 Chelkova . . .-. . 

98 Mojaiske 

99 Gridneva 

100 Jaztke 

101 Teplouka 

102 Wiasma 

103 Semlevo 

104 Giachekovo .... 

105 Dorogobouge . . . 

106 Mikailovka .... 

107 Pneva 

108 Bredikino 

109 Smolensko .... 

110 Koritnia 

111 Krasnoi 

112 Liadi , 

113 Koziani 

114 Doubrovna .... 

115 Orcha 

116 Kokanovo 

117 Tolitzine 

118 Maliavka 

119 Kroupki 

120 Lochenitzi .... 

121 Borisoff i 





















































Smolevitzi . . . 
Touchnovka . . 


Gritcliina . . . . 
Koidanovo . . . 




Korelitzi . . . . 
Novogrodec . . 


Joloudoke . . . 
Tstouchino . . . 
Kamenke . . . . 





Justrembne . . . 
Augustow . . . 
Raggreda .... 


Szcrucin .... 
Stawisk ..... 


Miastkow .... 
Ostrolenka . . . 
Rozaiiii .... 
























































150 Pultusk . . 

151 Wierzbica 

152 Nieport . . 

153 Warsaw . 
154: Blonie . . 

155 Sochaczew 

156 Lowiez . . 

157 Pniew . . . 

158 Kutno . . . 

159 Glasnow . 

160 Klodawa . 

161 Babiak . . 

162 Sorapolno . 
463 Kleczew . 
164 Slupea . , 




































Kostrz^n . 
Posen . . 
Bylin . . 
Pinne . . 
Schillen . 
Berlin . . . 



















Total, in English Miles 3,437 

From Copenhagen to Hamburg, the average rate of posting is about 4(/. an 
English mile, for each horse. From Hamburg to Merael about 4|rf. an English mile, 
for each horse. From St. Petersburg to Grodno, including fees to the post-master, 
&c. is about 3d. a werst, for each horse. Throughout Prussia, and Saxony, from 
9c?. to 10c?. an English mile, for each horse. 

A Danish mile is equal to 4| English miles. 

A German mile is equal to nearly 4f English miles. 

7 Russian wersts is equal to 5 English miles. 


Printed by Cox and Baylis, 
Great Queen Street, Lincola's-Inn Fields, 

cL I J J 

"^ °° 'hedatet ""V^^ last d ' » 

^-~— --^^Z^ ^"b/e« ^ ^;;^°d to date d 



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