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ART. II.-The Present State of Russia, in a letter to a Friend at London; written by an eminent Person residing at the Great Tzar's Court of Mosco, for the space of nine years; [Dr. Collins]. Illustrated with many Copper Plates.

O utinam ars mores animumque depingere posset,
Pulchrior in terris nulla tabella foret.

London, 1671.-12mo.

The change in the times, between the date of the publication of this little volume and the present year, is scarcely shewn in any thing more conspicuously than in the outward form and appearance of this book. Had the materials of this work been imported from Russia by a learned physician of the year 1826, his notes and memoranda would have been put into the hands of a fashionable publisher, and by him into those of a professional arranger and digester of chapters, indices, and prefaces. The paper-manufacturer and printer would then have been required to perform their parts; engravers and artists would have been set to work; and just as the winter was commencing, the result of their labours would have been ushered into the world, amidst a well-maintained fire of puffs and advertisements, in the shape of a huge bulk of hotpressed paper, brilliant type, and luculent pictures, price six guineas. In the year 1671, Doctor Collins, or his friends, supplied to a bookseller in the Poultry the contents of this work, who, as in the present day, procured a crafty person to write the preface and divide it into chapters; but here his art ended. The book is not so large as one of the volumes of a consumptive novel, containing but one hundred and forty one pages, printed in the homeliest manner; adorned by a few rude engravings, and sold, probably, at the price of two shillings and sixpence. If the real information usually contained in these two forms were to be compared, we rather imagine the balance would not be found so decidedly in favour of the luxurious quarto, as might at first be imagined. In the present instance, we can answer for the little 12mo, comprising a fund of amusing matter, infinitely more copious than many very large and fine works, and that upon not very dissimilar subjects. Our readers shall have the means of judging of the truth of this remark.

The preface, written, we suppose, by the chapter-maker, opens with an assurance, that the author of this subsequent relation was "a gentleman of large parts, and had an esteem, proportionably, amongst those to whom he was willing to impart his sentiments of things, and those were many, not only in his native country, England, but in France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Flanders, Russia, &c. In which last place, he con

tinued nine years, in an honourable employ, under that great emperor. His genius led him to be curious and inquisitive, mostly after those things that were difficult to be attained to; and, perhaps, he found the means of gathering these few papers together as hard and uneasy as any thing that he endeavoured after in all his travels." He had, it seems, the honour of being a favourite to the Czar Alexis Michaelovitch, who was contemporary with our Charles II.; and, "it may be," says the preface," has made a farther discovery of the Russ affairs than any stranger has been capacitated to do, before or since." The matter of this volume was collected in Moscow, and designed, on his return, to form a part of a more extensive work, under the title of Ivan Vasilovitch. Unfortunately, however, "an acute and unkind disease put a period to that and his life." So much for the preface.

The first chapter relates to "the Russians' nature in general, their contempt of learning, their clergy, liturgy, churches, ceremonies in devotion, hours of prayer, the priests' names, habit, wives, baptism, the unnatural death of apostates."

The author commences by speaking of himself and his design.

"As for the situation of Russia, it is so well known, that it would be a needless labour for me to set it down; my design at present is to survey the religion and manners of the inhabitants. And, to this purpose, I have made a slender essay, the truth whereof, I hope, will excuse the plainness of the dress; the stuff is coarse, and the thread not fine, but the matter I conceive will be both pleasant and profitable. Having had, therefore, fair opportunities, and good intelligence, I am the more willing to give you an account of this empire. Indeed, hitherto, no man of parts or abilities has been suffered to travel the country; for the people are very jealous, and suspect those who ask them any questions concerning their policy, or religion, they being wholly devoted to their own ignorance, and education, (which is altogether illiterate, and rude, both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs,) look upon learning as a monster, fear it no less than a ship of wildfire; and thus they verify the old saying, Ars nullum habet inimicum præter ignorantem."

He then gives an account of the introduction of Christianity among the Russians, and of the manners of their priests.

"This nation received the Christian faith, about six hundred years since, from a certain priest of Chioff, who is said to cure one of the dukes of Musco by prayer, upon which miracle he aud all his people were baptized. They borrow their liturgy from the Greek church, which is written in the Sclavonian language, and used in their devotion with as much knowledge, as the Latin amongst the Papists. They follow the Greeks, though lamely, in the architecture of their churches,

VOL. XIV. PART I.

D

whose chief ornaments are images, adorned with rich stones and pearls, wherein they admit no sculpture but only painting; for they look upon the Romish statue-worship as idolatry. They kneel not in their devotions, but lie prostrate; and upon some great vigils they stay all night in their churches, at certain times prostrating and crossing themselves, and knocking their heads against the ground. At certain intervals they discourse of business, and most commonly the emperor dispatches the affairs in the time of their service, where he is attended with all his nobility; and if he miss any, he makes inquiry after them. At Whitsuntide they fall prostrate upon sycamore branches (our maple, which they call sycamore with us, but falsely,) wherewith their churches are strewed, upon a fond persuasion that the Holy Ghost descends upon these leaves, as manna upon oak leaves. They have no instrumental music, for the last Patriarch abrogated it, because the Papists used it. In their prayers, three hours after sun. rising, they call Obedny; at the sun-set Vecherney; about one o'clock in the morning, Zaoutrinys. Miserere mei Domine (which they call Hospody pemele, they repeat an hundred times; and that priest is counted the best fellow that can mumble most in a breath. You shall have five or six reading confusedly together, one a chapter, another a psalm, a third a prayer, &c.

"A parish-priest they call a pope; as pope Petro, pope Juan; a bishop Metropolite; a chief pope Protopope. The popes go most commonly in purple, some in green, others as they fancy, only distinguished with two flaps on both sides their breast, and a purple scull-cap to cover their shaven crowns. They never cut the hairs of their heads or beards; a thing not observed by any other clergy in the world. A pope must be a married man, and the husband but of one wife; grounded on that text, a bishop must be the husband of one wife.' Hereby it appears, the pope's priesthood is wrapped up in his wife's smock; for, when she dies, he must officiate no longer, which makes them indulge their wives more than ordinary for their office sake. They marry young, that they may come early into a livelihood; their wives are also distinguished from others by a flap on each side their breast. Their baptism differs not from the Romish, but only in dipping all over. He that takes up the Russian faith, be he lutheran or papist, must first renounce his former baptism, curse father and mother, and spit thrice over his shoulder. It was a custom to hire strangers to christen the Russians, but now they are grown wiser than to buy souls at that rate. It is observed by some old standers here, that of two hundred English, Scotch, and Dutch, who have renounced their religion, few, or none, have died a natural death."

Chapter II. relates to the ceremonies of marriage among the Russians, many of which are curious enough.

"The bridegroom has his whip in one boot, and a jewel, or some money, in the other; he bids the bride pull them off: if she happens upon the jewel, he counts her lucky, and bestows it upon her; but if

she lights upon the boot with the whip in it, she is reckoned amongst the unfortunate, and gets a bride-lash for her pains, which is but the earnest-penny of her future entertainment. The Russians' discipline to their wives is very rigid and severe, more inhumane in times past than at present. Yet, three or four years ago, a merchant beat his wife as long as he was able, with a whip two inches about, and then caused to put on a smock dipt in brandy three or four times distilled, which he set on fire, and so the poor creature perished miserably in the flames: certainly, this person was a monster, not a man, born of a tygress not a woman, and in no wise deserved the epithet of good or wise."

The marriage-articles of a modern Russian pair, it is to be hoped, contain very different provisoes from those formerly insisted on, when it was necessary to be more particularly cautious that the bride should be protected from whipping and kicking beyond her strength to bear, or from being served with meat too stinking for her delicate organs of sense.

"Some of these barbarians will tie up their wives by the hair of the head, and whip them stark naked. But this severity is not commonly used, unless it be for adultery or drunkenness and I perceive it begins to be left off, or at least the parents endeavour to prevent it, by their cautious contracting their daughters; for in their jointures they oblige their husbands to find them with clothes suitable to their quality, to feed them with good wholesome meat and drink, to use them kindly without whipping, striking, or kicking them; many more terms and tautologies they use, not unlike the common laws of England. Upon forfeiture they put this in execution, which is determined in one court, but not without bribery, as all other suits are. I wish the English had more of the former (I mean their expedition,) and less of the latter, viz. their corruption. Seldom a wedding passes without some witchcraft, (if people of quality marry,) chiefly acted, as it is thought, by nuns, whose prime devotion tends that way. I saw a fellow coming out of the bride-chamber, tearing his hair as though he had been mad; and being demanded the reason why he did so, he cried out "I am undone, I am bewitched." The remedy they use, is to address themselves to a white witch, who, for money, will unravel the charm, and untie the codpiece-point, which was this young man's case; it seems, some old woman had tied up his codpiece-point. The ecclesiastical law commands their abstinence from venery three days a week, viz. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. After coition, they must bathe before they enter the church. A man that marries a second wife is debarred the church, but not the church-porch; if a third, the communion. If a man thinks his wife barren, he will persuade her to turn nun, that he may try another; if she refuses, he will cudgel her into a monastery. If the empress had not brought a second Czaroidg, or Prince, born June 2nd, 1661, after four girls together, it is thought she would have been sent to her devotions. His imperial majesty intending to marry, had several young ladies brought before him; at last he

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liked one, (which they say is very beautiful still ;) but his chief confessor had a mind to persuade him to another, who had a younger sister: so when this fair lady was brought, they found his majesty's inclinations so strong for her, as they feared she would get the crown, and indeed so she did; it being a ceremony, upon his liking, to the crown upon her head: but the plot was so laid, that the women should tie up her hair so hard as to put her into a swoon, which they did, crying out she had the falling sickness. Upon this, her father was accused of treason for proposing his daughter, whipt, and sent with disgrace into Siberia, where he died. The maid remains still a virgin, and never had any fit since. The emperor being conscious of the wrong he had done her, allows her a very great pension. The king's father-in-law, Eliah the son of Daniel, dares not say the empress is his daughter, nor dare any of her kindred own themselves to be so; nor dare Juan Paoloidg Martischa say he is his uncle. None are suffered to see the Czaroidg; but, at fifteen years old, he is exposed to public view, though not seen by any before, but his chief tutor, and some family servants. Only relations may see young children among the Russians, for they will seldom permit any strangers to look upon them, for fear they should cast some ill aspect upon them.

"Their children are commonly strong and hardy; they give them suck not above a month or two, at most; after which, they feed them with a horn, or silver cup made horn-wise, with a dried cow's dug tied to the small end, through which they suck. At two years old, they observe their fasts, which are severe; they have four in a year; and in Lent, upon Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, they eat no fish, but feed on cabbage and cucumbers, and coarse rye bread, and drink quasse, which is liquor one degree below our small beer."

Chapter III. contains an account of the Patriarch.-There is nothing very remarkable in it, except the following trait of manners, which seems scarcely placed with propriety in a chapter on the venerable Patriarch of the Greek Church.

nour.

"Their greatest expression of joy, upon festivals, is drinking: and the greater the day is, the greater are their debauches. To see men, women, and popes, reeling in the streets, is counted no dishoAfter a very great entertainment, or poctivat, among the grand ladies, the lady of the feast sends her chief gentleman, the next day, with an 'how do you' to her guests, to inquire of their health, and if they got well home, or slept well. The lady answers, I thank thy lady for her good cheer, which made me so merry, (pian-drunk,) that indeed I know not how I got home;' a fine commendation, indeed, for her ladyship. The mother many times gives her child a love name, by which he is called, as Almaus my Diamond; the Diack of Prosolsky Precaus, is called Boris Ivanoidg; but his right name is Eliah Ivanoidg."

Chapter IV. treats of Russian burials and the ceremonies attending them. Their funerals resemble the Irish.

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