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rian, but it is more easy to decypher inscriptions on mouldering monuments, than to trace with equity, the character of a nation, against which he imagines that he has well founded causes of complaint. Not content with telling what he has seen, he chooses to entertain us, with the exhibition of phantoms raised by his own ill humour. In consequence, the picture he has drawn of the moral taste of Russia, is only a disgusting aggregate of unfounded and often contradictory assertions, and of scandalous anecdotes which prove nothing, but which ought to have been suppressed, from motives of regard for the persons, who confided them to his discretion. The " Travels of Dr. Clarke in Russia," is a libel which deserves to be ranked in the same class with the Memoirs of Gorani, those of Masson, the travels of Acerbi and the letters of Fievee on England. They constitute a production unworthy of a man of letters.—Yet more unworthy of the learned critics who have undertaken its defence, is the applause they have lavished upon it.;
Dr. Clarke, in thus impudently calumniating the Russian nation, is guilty of falsehood the more reprehensible, as it is the effect of deliberation. He is not ignorant that he may, with impunity assert that of a whole people, which it would be dangerous to say of an individual. In all countries the law is open against those who defame private characters—but to what tribunal can the Russian nation appeal against the contumelies of Dr. Clarke? Under actual circumstances, it is not in Great Britain itself, that they can look for impartial judges. In that island, is indeed to be found, a literary areopagus justly famed for the talents which its members have hitherto displayed, in the discharge of the important duties they have assumed, of detecting impostures, and enlightening public opinion.—It was to be expected that far from sanctioning the exaggerations of Dr. Clarke, offensive as they equally are to truth and to decency, these judges would have loaded him with their indignant censure;—but no! they have already pronounced sentence in favour of the calumniator, and in so doing, have violated and discredited the very principles which they had promulgated (in the review of Acerbi's Sweden,) as a moral code for all travellers. It will be seen in the course of these observations, that the Edinburgh Reviewers have been wanting in caution, (to use no harsher term), when they assure their readers, that Dr. Clarke has generally avoided the vice of most travellers—that of publishing what may injure individuals."*
Edinburgh Review, No. 32, p. 362.
To account for such partiality in censors generally so severe and scrupulous, it might perhaps be necessary to ascertain, which political sect in England claims the charitable Doctor as a partisan;—for this would not be the first occasion, on which these gentlemen have been suspected, of making their literary principles subservient to their political opinions. How eagerly do they avail themselves of the testimony of Dr. Clarke to confirm their belief " of the barbarism of Russia, and its unfitness to support a great and useful part in European affairs!" How triumphantly do they exclaim, " Such are the deeds of the people from whose interference in the concerns of civilized nations, so mighty a check has been more than once looked for, to the progress of French injustice and oppression!" Would it not seem, on reading these passages, that Dr. Clarke had advanced nothing without proof?
It is very possible that, as the Edinburgh Reviewers assert, the power of Russia and the importance of her alliance have been exaggerated in England;—but will they deny that the alliance was natural; and that Great Britain derived from it great advantages in her political combinations? When they say that too much importance, was attached to that alliance, in Lord Lauderdale's negotiations at Paris, we regret that they have not thought fit to explain, what concessions France would have made to Britain, on condition that the latter power should abandon the interests of Russia.—It is not given to us to comprehend how a solid and honourable peace, could have been the Consequence of such an abandonment. Admitting, however, that Britain did make some sacrifices in favour of Russia on that occasion, yet, assuredly, it will not be contested, that in all the alliances contracted between the two nations -since the year 1799, (when Russia first took an active part in the general affairs of Europe,) she manifested all possible good faith, in the execution of the important measures, which she had concerted with Great Britain. If events did not correspond with expectation, to whom is the fault ascribable? Will the world attribute to Russia the loss of the battle of Marengo in 1800?—the capitulation of Ulm in 1805?—the disaster of Jena in 1806? With every alliance torrents of Russian blood were shed in Italy, in Switzerland, in Holland, and in Germany. Until the treaty of Tilsit terminated our connexion with England, who is so ignorant as not to know, that nearly 100,000 Russians were lost to their country, whilst their English allies were employed in conquering Egypt and Buenos Ayres?
We indulge the hope that posterity will judge with less partiality, of the causes, which have plaeed Europe in her actual situation. When the calumnies of Dr. Clarke shall be buried in oblivion, after having passed through merited contempt, more equity will be manifested, in appreciating the political conduct of Russia, from the accession of its present sovereign to the date of the peace of Tilsit. During this interval at least, of which alone, it is here material to speak, we insist that the proceedings of our government were constantly no less dignified, liberal and disinterested than those of Great Britain.— We have allowed ourselves this digression, because it appears to have been one of the principal objects of the Edinburgh Reviewers, in their notice of Dr. Clarke's Travels, to justify their political opinions at the expense of Russia.—We will now proceed to point out some of the passages in Dr. Clarke's book, in which he has betrayed the most open disregard for truth.
In March, 1800, Dr. Clarke arrived at St. Petersburgh.— His abode in the capital of Russia must have been of short duration, if we measure it by the chapter, which he has appropriated to the subject. He left St. Petersburgh on the 3d of April, and arrived at Moscow on the 8th of the same month— having consequently travelled, in less than six days, a distance of 500 English miles. He set out from Moscow the 30th day, after sojourning there nearly eight weeks. On the 7th of June we find him at Voronesh—a distance of 444 English miles (516 versus) from Moscow. Leaving Voronesh the 12th of the same month, Dr. Clarke arrived at Tsherkask, the capital of the Don Cossacks, on the 21st.—These two cities are 411 English miles (or 616 versts) distant from each other. He remained among the Don Cossacks twelve days,—viz: from his entrance into their territory at the village of Kasanskaja, to his arrival at the fortress of Rostof on the 27th of the same month. If we deduct two days spent at Kasanskaja, four at Tsherkask, and three at Oxai, we find that this savant went through the whole territory in question in three days;—a distance of 280 English miles. No more than eleven days were necessary for our expeditious traveller to traverse the country of the Cossacks of the Black Sea (Tshernomorskie Cosaki), and to arrive in the Crimea—for he sailed from Taganrock on July 3d, and was at Yenishale on the 14th of that month. The distance which he overran, after landing on the Asiatic shore, until he reached the extremity of the Peninsula of Taman, is 363 English miles (544 versts), by the route he took. Two of the eleven days he stayed at Ekaterinoder, the capital of the Cossacks of the Black Sea.
Of the whole time Dr. Clarke spent in the Russian dominions, nearly one half was passed in the Crimea. He arrived there the 14th July, and left it by the Isthmus of Perekose about the 12th October.—Two of these three months he lived in the house of Dr. Pallas,—part of the time from choice, bu: more of it, in consequence of a serious indisposition.
By comparing the above dates we learn, that Dr. Clarke was about seven months and a half in Russia,—from the 15th March* to the 30th Octoberf 1800. If we deduct two months at Moscow, as many at Professor Pallas's, and about three -weeks at various other places, it will appear that the Doctor was no more than two months in travelling over a space of 2500 English miles.\—We leave it to our readers to estimate the degree of correctness, with which he can have made observations, on the moral character of the Russian nation.
We have no hesitation in admitting, that there are some truths in the book before us. We will not deny that in the physical aspect of our country, many things must make a disagreeable impression on the mind of an Englishman. The roads do not resemble the turnpike-ways of England;—the inns are bad:—the habitations of the Russian peasants are not to be compared with the cottages of English husbandmen. Nay more; the details of administration necessarilv bear, in many instances, marks of the imperfections resulting from an unlimited form of government. If our author had been content to notice only defects of this description, without confounding the personal character of the sovereign, with the habitual spirit of the government,—without establishing upon solitary facts, general opinions injurious to the Russian nation, his book would have been received with applause even in Russia. For in all countries there are useful truths, which are to be learned only from strangers. But he has undertaken to speak of the manners of the people, and to appreciate the national character, without having given himself time to become acquainted even with their leading features.—He has presumed to explain the most secret motives of conduct, in those with whom he chanced to meet, on the suspicious testimony of such beings, as a valet de place, or on the suggestions of his own malice.—Is it then to be wondered at, that he has laid himself open to the double reproach, of having fallen into gross errors and continual contradictions?
* We take this for the date of his arrival at St. Petersburgh. f The day he embarked at Odessa.
i All the distances above stated, are taken from the tables in the appendix to Dr. Clarke's travels; they very nearly correspond with those marked in the carte generate de I'Empire published at St. Petersburgh in 1799. The | meteorological table, (also in the appendix,) served to ascertain the time he resided at different places.
In the preface, (p. ix.) the Russian government is accused of fostering, from a principle of policy, the ignorance of the rest of Europe, relatively to the state of the southern provinces of its empire—and of sedulously concealing the only tolerably correct charts, which exist, of the coasts of the Black Sea, and of the course of the rivers which fall into it. As this accusation is frequently repeated, we shall notice it here, in order, as we think, to refute it, to the satisfaction of the candid reader.—When Dr. Clarke made his appearance in Russia, officers belonging to the staff of the army were occupied in Finland, in Poland, in the Crimea, and in several other portions of the empire, with making detailed draughts of these respective countries. The object of that undertaking was, to rectify the errors in the general map of the empire, or rather to prepare one which should be more correct. This map or atlas, composed of more than one hundred sheets, was published at St. Petersburg in 1806, at the expense of government, and is for sale on very moderate terms* at the depot imperial des cartes. We will not take upon us to compare it with that of Sweden by Mr. Hermellin,f but we can assure our readers, that it completely destroys Dr. Clarke's assertion, respecting the want of geographical charts. In the one to which we allude, the learned gentleman will not find the soundings of the coasts of the Crimea laid down; but he will meet with topographical details of the parts of the Russian monarchy, which have hitherto been least observed, sufficient to satisfy every man who travels for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of the country, and not, like the doctor at Achtiar, to search for the vulnerable points of the empire.:):
The empress Catherine II. is often subjected to the censure of Dr. Clarke. "There is nothing," says he, " in which the late Catherine employed so much artifice, as in keeping secret the history of her own people, and the wretched state of her empire." That this empress received with complacency, the flattery of the philosophers of her time, (many of whom enjoyed pensions from her bounty,) is an undoubted truth;—
* Seventy-five roubles in sheets, and 105 or 110 roubles (paper money), mounted on rollers, 8cc. t Mentioned by Dr. Clarke.
\ Several charts of the Black Sea have been published at St. Petersburg!), some of which have the names expressed in Roman charac ters. In 1804 there appeared " A chart of the Black Sea und the sea of Azoph," in Russian and French, carefully draughted for the use of mariners;—It is copied in the famous " Chart of the Mediterranean" published in France, by Lapie, in 1808.
Vol. III. L