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his person, or withdrawing to his estate, in consequence of dissipation and debt, betakes himself to a mode of life little superior to that of brutes. You will then find him, throughout the day, with his neck bare, his beard lengthened, his body wrapped in a sheep's hide, eating raw turnips, and drinking quass, sleeping one half of the day, and growling at his wife and family the other. The same feelings, the same wants, wishes and gratifications, then characterize the nobleman and the peasant; and the same system of tyranny, which extends from the throne downwards, through all the bearings and ramifications of society, even to the cottage of the lowest boor, has entirely extinguished every spark of liberality in the breasts of a people who are all slaves. They are all, high and low, rich and poor, alike servile to superiors; haughty and cruel to their dependants; ignorant, superstitious, cunnings brutal, barbarous, dirty, mean. The Emperor canes the first of his grandees; princes and nobles cane their slaves; and the slaves their wives and daughters. Ere the sun dawns in Russia, flagellation begins; and, throughout its vast empire, cudgels are going, in every department of population, from morning until night."
Here we find the empire of Russia transformed by the magical pen of Dr. Clarke into a vast house of correction, where flagellation proceeds with a regularity comparable only to the effects of machinery at Birmingham or at Manchester! Upon what authority worthy of credit has this author founded so monstrous an edifice of calumny? Among the various passages in which he has so liberally poured forth the grossest abuse upon our nation, we meet indeed with some citations from Olearius and from Meyenberg, (page 80) and some letters in verse of one Tuberville, (page 83) who was secretary to the first ambassador sent from England to Russia, about the middle of the sixteenth century; but since he refuses to admit the authority of Puffendorf, (certainly as respectable as the names he has brought before us) who wrote a hundred and fifty years later, and whose opinion differs from the Doctor's, ought he not to produce in support of his assertions, some more recent testimony?
The question between them is nothing less than whether or not the Russian nation is as barbarous in modern times, as it was in the reign of the Tzar Ivan Vassilievitsh. The manuscript of Mr. Heber and the Voyage de deux Franpais, (which Dr. Clarke cites so frequently,) will not bear him out in the present instance. Nay, when he cites them as witnesses upon other occasions, they are far from being always of his opinion. For example, the " Voyageurs Francais" (p. 49,) concede at least to the Russians the merit of being hospitable, and Mr. Heber, though his statement is in several respects very defective, represents the condition of the peasantry in very different colours from those used by Or. Clarke. Let us be allowed to express our greats atisfaction at finding the respectable name of Lord Whitworth brought forward in the book before us, only to corroborate remarks purely scientific. The testimony of that nobleman, well acquainted as he is with Russia,and so distinguished by his learning and virtues, would indeed have been of the greatest weight. We have sufficient grounds therefore for believing, that the disgusting account given of Russian manners and Russian character, is the result solely of the writer's own observations;—but here again new difficulties present themselves to every impartial mind. A few general reflections will not be superfluous, before we proceed to confront Dr. Clarke with himself.
The existence of a society in which, with the exception of one man, all should be condemned to a state of perpetual suffering, is absolutely impossible. We can imagine no tie which could bind together beings destined only to endure pain and misery. Nature herself has fixed the point of suffering beyond which endurance stops, and the absolute power of the roost capricious government which fancy can create, must halt at that point, or else change its organ, if not its principle. We admit that humanity has rarely cause to rejoice at revolutions effected in this manner, but we believe notwithstanding, that at every such change, some improvement is necessarily made in the condition of the governed, with respect to their civil existence. If there were any truth in the description given by Dr. Clarke, we should see Russia become a prey of continual seditions from one extremity of the empire to the other, and exhibit to the world, the same spectacle of carnage so often repeated at Constantinople. So far however is this from being the case, that the country enjoyed the most profound tranquillity in its interior, at the very time, when from the nature of its external relations, the government was obliged to resort to extraordinary efforts, and to station the whole of its armed force on the frontiers:—when too the chances of war had been unfavourable to our arms, and a formidable enemy had already advanced to the threshhold as it were of the empire.
The population* of Russia, instead of diminishing, continues to increase considerably, in spite of the prodigious consumption of men, necessarily occasioned by the maintenance of a military establishment, second in magnitude only to that of France. The generality of its inhabitants, who are represented as groaning beneath the most oppressive tyranny, arrive at an age rarely attained in other countries.—We have laid these considerations before our readers, and leave the proper inferences to be drawn by themselves.—The Russians are all, "high and low, rich andpoor, alike servile to superiors, haughty and cruel to dependants, ignorant, superstitious, cunning, brutal, barbarous, dirty, mean"!! It is a pity that the English dictionary could furnish Dr. Clarke with no more epithets to swell this Catalogue of vices;—but these are repeated on every occasion, and when his language can afford him no term to vary his abuse, he has recourse to comparing them with some abject animal.
Such were his opinions before he arrived at Moscow; soon after which, the festival of Easter gives rise to the following passage. " Thus was Easter proclaimed; and riot and debauchery instantly broke loose. The inn in which we lodged became a Pandemonium. Drinking, dancing and singing, continued through the night and day. But in the midst of all these excesses, quarrels hardly ever took place. The wild, rude riot of a
'The registers of birtha and deaths transmitted to government from all the Irishoprics of the Russian empire, for the years 1801 and 1802, give the following result.
In these tables are included only those who profess the Greek religion. Vide the periodical journal published by Mr H. Storch, entitled "i-aRussie sous Alexandre V Tom. 3. Livraison 7. page 162.
Vol. HI. M
Russian populace is full of humanity. Few disputes are heard; no blows are given; no lives endangered but by drinking. No meetings take place of any kind, without repeating the expressions of peace and joy? &c. &c. We have been taught to believe that the character of a nation can never be studied with more advantage, than amidst those great festivals, which religion and immemorial custom have consecrated. Now we see the Russian populace so habitually barbarous and cruel, (as the Doctor says) lay aside their ferocity, at the very moment when they abandon themselves to all the excesses of debauchcry, after a Lent of seven weeks duration, which, as he tells us himself, is observed with scrupulous and excessive rigor, (p. 40.) According to this ingenious gentleman therefore, the Russians manifest some virtues, only in those moments of exhilaration, in which all other nations, even the most highly civilized, forget for a time the good qualities habitual to them. Our poor countrymen however, will be made to pay dear for this naivete of the Doctor.—Accordingly they are made to resume more than once, in the sequel, all the disgusting attributes, which he had before remarked in their character.
The mode of living of the Russian noble, on his estate, differs little, we are told, from that of the lowest peasants. We can forgive Dr. Clarke's speaking of the latter. He has seen some of their faces at the post-houses on the road—nay, he had once an opportunity of seeing one of them eat his dinner at Poschol. This is sufficient for a traveller of his perspicacity. But when he enters into details of the manner in which a Russian nobleman, banished from court, passes his time, we confess our astonishment—for he visited none of this description, as far as we know, during his fugitive residence in the country—unless the venerable sage of the Crimea sat for the picture; a supposition we will, on no account, admit. To us it is consequeutly evident, that this is one of the frequent instances, when the writer's imagination furnished colouring to his audacious falsehoods. The nobles often become objects of Dr. Clarke's animadversions during his abode at Moscow. We shall treat this topic more at large in another place.
Some inhabitants of Moscow are stated to have informed Dr. Clarke that the Russian sovereigns, not daring to take up a lodging within the walls, when they visit that city, reside at the palace of Petrofky, at the distance of four versts from it. Our readers shall judge, if such a piece of information, can really have been communicated to him, by an inhabitant of Moscow. At the epoch of the coronation of the Russian emperors, their entrance into that capital is always attended with the greatest pomp. Until the preparations for this object are completed, (which never requires more than four or five days), it is customary for them, to stop at the palace of Petrof ky. The whole remainder of the time appropriated to the ceremony, and the fetes which accompany it, is spent by them at the palace of Kreml in the heart of Moscow, with neither more nor less security than in any other town of the empire. Possibly some wags of Moscow may have amused themselves with the credulity of the Doctor, and have assumed in his eyes the "little haughty" air of republicans, ascribed to them by the empress Catharine; (p. 32.)—but when we consider the multitude of voluntary and intentional errors, which occur in his book, we think it probable that it is rather Dr. Clarke himself who wishes to impose upon his readers.
Our traveller's entrance into Moscow, is ominous of the account he intends to give of the place.—He sees criminals, condemned to hard labour in the streets, throw snow-balls at the peasants who are passing in their sledges, and is struck with a new trait in the national character, because the officer who superintended these malefactors, was amused with their tricks. He is obliged to go before the commandant in order to exhibit his passport (padorojnaja*) which he had bought, to use his expression, of the Emperor at St. Petersburgh.—How many sins do we see here accumulated upon the heads of the poor Russian nation!—But what we must consider as above all unfortunate for our fellow-countrymen of Moscow, is, that Dr. Clarke should not have looked into Reichard's " Guide des Voyageurs," before he bent his steps towards the " Hotel of Constantinople." In that work he would have found a direction to some inns, inferior indeed to the good hotels in. some other parts of Europe, but in which he might have procured something more than the mere necessaries of life, and (we make bold to assure him) better society.—All who have the slightest knowledge of Moscow, will agree with us, that no where but in that obscure and dirty tavern, could he have fallen
* All persons who intend to travel post in Russia, are obliged to pay, on. receiving the podorojnaja, or order for horses, one copSek (a half-penny), for each horse and each verst they intend to go;—this is what Dr. Clarke calls baying a passport of the Emperor. The fund produced by this small tax is appropriated to repairing the roads. Travellers pay three copecks more per mile for every horse at each post;—so that, if they take four horses, it costs them 140 copecks, paper money, (about 80 cents, at par,) for every ten miles English. This charge is reduced 25 per cent. in the provinces where forage is cheap.—In garrison towns, all travellers were obliged to present themselves before the commandant;—this formality has been suppres. sed by the reigning Emperor.