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have, at last, the great pleasure of seeing before us a book of travels, by a person, we will not say combining all the requisites of a traveller, or answering, in every particular, to what our fancy, might picture as most desirable in this character, but certainly uniting more of the qualifications essential to his difficult calling, than anyone whose labours have come under our-notice; and, above all (and it is here chiefly that we would fix our commendation) proceeding, in the compilation of his journal, and the digestion of his narrative, upon far sounder views of the nature of his duties, than any of those whom we have hithertoo dealt with. As it is buttoo probable that our praise will not be harmless to Dr. Clarke, and that some of the numerous little enemies who infest us will fall foul of him (as it is indeed of the nature of such animals to crawl from one adjoining body to another) we are anxious, in the outset, to state the limits of our praise, in justice to him, as well as to ourselves. We know that there is a certain description of persons over whose opinions we have an absolute, though rather a singular kind of controulpersons whom we can make say any thing we please; as we are quite sure that they will take the very opposite course to ours, and choose their own sentiments of all men and all things, by the exact rule of contraries to ours. Were a general and unqualified praise of Dr. Clarke, therefore, to appear in our pages, it is extremely probable he might be mistaken for a jacobin (as these acute personages are wont to term it)—or perhaps persecuted as a fashist—or, peradventure, described as favourable to Prench-firinciples— or as a Socinian, or a Semiftelagian– or any other terms equally appropriate and significant. o We think it necessary to premise, therefore, that there is not a word about English politicks in Dr. Clarke’s
work; and that we praise it, in the first place, because it contains precisely that which we have so often asserted, that almost all travels might contain, though it is not to be found in one in a hundred;—it gives us a plain report of what the author did, saw, and heard, and a fair transcript of the impressions which his observations made upon him. This, any man can give, who can travel at all, though its value, no doubt, will be materially affected by his talents and accomplishments, and according as he is acute or dull, learned or ignorant. Then we have, in the next place, to commend Dr. Clarke, not merely for the good sense which he has shown, in being plain and simple; in telling ordinary things in an ordinary manner; in avoiding declamation and trifling of all descriptions; in putting down what is useful to his reader, whether it happens to display his own powers or not; but also for the judgment which he has shown, in selecting, for the most part, the most interesting particulars of a very extensive store, and for the learning which he has displayed in observing and in commenting upon his facts. We do not, perhaps, find in his journal, either the traces of a very profound erudition, or of any uncommon political sagacity, or of extensive general information.--The pages are not studded with pieces of poetry “suggested by the occasion,” or interleaved with exquisite drawings. But the author has made along and laborious progress through countries little visited, or much misrepresented by other travellers. He has had the enterprise to encounter both hardships and dangers in the pursuit of useful and interestin
knowledge; he has plainly j sensibly related his adventures;–he has observed carefully, and often wisely; his learning on some subjects, as botany and antiquities, is minute and copious. On all the topicks which interest a traveller, his
information is sufficiently general and extensive for ordinary purposes; and we accordingly meet, in his volume, with a great body of matter extremely valuable for rectifying the errours of other writers; for increasing our knowledge of countries scarcely civilized, but yet aspiring to the first rank among European nations; and for introducing us to an acquaintance with tribes scarcely at all described by preceding travellers. We, therefore, heartily thank Dr. Clarke for his work; and cheerfully proceed to the task of making our readers more particularly acquainted with its merits and its contents. Dr. Clarke, we understand, performed, together with his friend, Mr. Cripps, a very extensive tour in the north of Europe, in the year 1799. Having travelled through part of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, they went into Lapland; and, after reaching a very high latitude in that wild and dreary region, they returned by the much more interesting and accessible, though not better known, provinces of Norway, to Stockholm, where they passed the greater part of the following winter. We are induced to mention this part of their tour, although no particular allusion is made to it in the work now before us, for the purpose of expressing our regret, that the narrative does not begin somewhat earlier. We should not have been displeased to have the whole history of this interesting journey from its outset; but, at any rate, the information, which Dr. Clarke could have given respecting the northern parts of Sweden, so seldom described, and even the Lapland provinces, though these are less worthy of attention; and, above all, the light which he might have thrown on the present state of Norway, of all the parts of Scandinavia the most interesting and the least known, excite in us no small regret at the total omission of this
part of his journals. It is pretty generally known, that our author's tour led him over the track now pointed out; and, that he is qualified to do the subject justice, we can assert from the execution of the present work. We venture to hope, that he may yet attend to our present solicitations. * * *
From Stockholm our travellers proceeded to St. Petersburgh, where they passed a part of the winter, in a manner more uncomfortable than those can easily imagine, who have only heard, at a distance, of the capricious, tyrannical, and, indeed, frantick-conduct of the emperour Paul. It has been for some time past customary, in this happy and prejudiced country, to regard all the evils arising from despotism as insignificant, compared with the abuses of liberty; or, at any rate, to imagine, that, compared with the tyranny of the multitude, there is little harm in the misrule of a single monarch— excepting always the French emperour, who is rather considered, and we do not say very unjustly, as a sort of demon, than a common, fleshly despot. Indeed, it is difficult for Englishmen to form a notion of things so foreign to their experience; and hence, the grievous mistake is more easily pardoned, which we are so frequently forced to hear repeated, that a single tyrant is better than many; that he cannot much annoy the peace of individuals; and that, upon the whole, there are worse evils than an absolute monarchy. A few days’ residence in Petersburgh, or indeed in any part of Russia, during the reign of our great, and then much admired ally, to whom the lords of the treasury were in this country inditing folio poems, as the saviour of Europe, would probably have brought such thoughtless persons to a right sense of what Englishmen enjoy, in possessing a trial by jury, a tolerably independent parliament, and a press substantially free; and in wearing, 376 as the result of those blessings, the manly character which keeps the worst of ministers in awe, and makes the sovereign himself tremble at the frowns of his people. Such a being as is portrayed in the folrowing extracts, could not grow up in our court. He must have been stifled, by our very forms and ceremonies, long before he could be
come known by his excesses; or if,
by any miracle, he should attain a sort of maturity, he would infallibly be forsaken by every one of the ministerial instruments through whom alone our monarchs are known to us, and crushed to atoms by his
very first contact with the people.
“In the mean time, every day brought with it some new example of the sovereign’s absurdities and tyranny, which seemed to originate in absolute insanity. The sledge of count Razumoffski was, by the emperour's order, broken into small ces, while he stood by and directed the work. The horses had been found with it in the streets, without their driver. It happened to be of a blue colour; and the count’s servants wore red liveries: upon which an ukase was immediately published, prohibiting, throughout the empire of all the Russias, the use of blue colour in ornamenting sledges, and red liveries. In consequence of this wise decree, our ambassadour, and many others, were compelled to alter their equipage. “Coming down the street, called the Perspective, he perceived a nobleman, who was taking his walk, and had stopped to look at some workmen who were planting trees by the emperour's order. “What are you doing?” said he, ‘Merely seeing the men work,” replied the nobleman. “Oh, is that your employment? Take off his pelisse, and give him a spade There, now work yourself!” “But the instances were few in which the gloom, spread over a great metropolis, by the madness and malevolence of a suspicious tyrant, was enlivened even by his ribaldry.” “If any family received vi. siters in an evening; if four people were seen walking together; if any one spoke too loud, or whistled, or sang, or looked too inquisitive, and examined any publick building with too much attention; they were in imminent danger. If they stood still in the streets, or frequented any partigular walk mare than anather, Q walked
too fast or too slow, they were fiable to be reprimanded and insulted by the police. officers. Mungo Park was hardly exposed to greater severity of exaction and of villany among the Moors in Africa, than Englishmen experienced at that time in Russia, and particularly in Petersburgh. They were compelled to wear a dress regulated by the police; and as every officer had a different notion of the mode of observing these regulations, they were constantly liable to be interrupted in the streets and publick places, and treated with impertinence. The dress consisted of a cocked hat, or, for want of one, a round hat pinned up with three corners; 9 long cue; a single-breasted coat and waistcoat; knee-buckles instead of strings; and buckles in the shoes. Orders were given to arrest any person seen in pantaloons. A servant was taken out of his sledge, and caned in the streets, for having too thick a neckcloth; and if it had been toothin, he would have met a similar punishment. After every precaution, the dress, when put on, never satisfied; either the hat was not straight on the head, the hair too short, or the coat was not cut square enough. A lady at court wore her hair rather lower in her neck thau was consistent with the decree, and she was ordered into close confinement, to be
fed on bread and water. A gentleman's
hair fell a little over his forehead, while dancing at a ball; a police officer attacked him with rudeness and with abuse; and told him, if he did not instantly cut his hair, he would find a soldier who could shave his head!” “To such excessive cruelty did his rage carry him against the author of an epigram, in which his reign had been contrasted with his mother's, that he ordered his tongue to be cut out; and sent him to one of those remote islands, in the Aleoutan tract, on the northwest coast of America, which are inhabited by savages.” p. 5. 10.
After enduring the miseries of this capital for some months, our travellers were advised, by the English minister, lord Whitworth, who apprehended even greater extremities, to remove towards Moscow; and they took this occasion of making the extensive and interesting tour, which forms the subject of the present publication. The volume now before us, contains the first part of it, beginning at their departure from St. Petersburgh, and ending with their arrival at Constantinople. The continuation of their route, scarcely less important, through Greece, the Islands, and Egypt, will occupy, we presume, another book. They quitted St. Petersburgh in the beginning of April, and travelled on sledges, by rapid journies, towards Moscow, by the common route of Novogorod. This part of the journey is sufficiently well known by the details of former travellers; and we, therefore, pass it hastily over, although the author, in describing it, has given some interesting particulars relating to the country and its inhabitants, to which we shall recur hereafter, when we come to his further remarks on the same subject. The true Russia9. capital, where we must go to see the people as they are, that is, in the most civilized state of which Russians are susceptible, is Moscow; and, often and well as it has been described before, Dr. Clarke’s is, in our mind, the most picturesque and lively representation that we have seen of that singular scene.
“We arrived at the season of the year in which this city is most interesting to strangers. Moscow is in every thing extraordinary; as well in disappointing ex
tation as in surpassing it; in causing wonder and derision, pleasure and regret. Let me conduct the reader back with me again to the gate by which we entered, and thence through the streets. Numerous spires, glittering with gold, amidst burnished domes and painted palaces, appear in the midst of an open plain, for several versts before you reach this gate. Having passed, you look about, and wonder what is become of the city, or where you are; and are ready to ask, once more: How far is it to Moscow They will tell you: * This is Moscow!” and you behold nothing but a wide and scattered suburb, huts, gardens, pigsties, brick walls, churches, dunghills, palaces, timberyards, warehouses, and a refuse, as it were, of materials sufficient to stock an empire with miserable towns and miserable villages. One might imagine all the states of Europe and Asia had sent a building, by way of representative, to Moscow: and under this impression, the eye is presented with deputies from all
Vol. Iv. 3 B
countries, holding congress: timber huts from regions beyond the ARcrick; plastered palaces from Swe DEN and DENMARK, not whitewashed since their arrival; painted walls from the Ty Ro1.5 mosques from Const ANT1 No PLE; Tartar temples from Buch ARIA; pagodas, pavilions, and virandas, from CHINA; cabarets from SPAIN; dungeons, prisons, and publick offices, from FRANCE; architectural ruins from Rome; terraces and trellisses from NAPLes; and warehouses from WAPPIN G. “Having heard accounts of its immense population, you wander through deserted streets. Passing suddenly towards the quarter where the shops are situated, you might walk upon the heads of thousands. The daily throng is there so immense, that, unable to force a pasSage through it, or assign any motive that might convene such a multitude, you ask the cause; and are told, that it is always the same. Nor is the costume less various than the aspect of the buildings; Greeks, Turks, Tartars, Cossacks, Chinese, Muscovites, English, French, Italians, Poles, Germans, all parade in the habits of their respective countries.
“We were in a Russian inn; a complete epitome of the city itself. The next room to ours was filled by ambassadours from Persia. In a chamber beyond the Persians, lodged a party of Kirgisians; a people yet unknown, and any one of whom might be exhibited in a cage, as some newly discovered species. They had bald heads, covered by conical, embroidered caps, and wore sheep’s hides, Beyond the Kirgisians lodged a midus of Bucharians, wild as the asses of Numidia. All these were ambassadours from their different districts, extremely jealous of each other, who had been to Petersburgh, to treat of commerce, peace, and war. The doors of all our chambers opened into one gloomy passage, so that sometimes we all encountered, and formed a curious masquerade. The Kirgisians and Bucharians were best at arm’s length; but the worthy old Persian, whose name was Orazai, often exchanged visits with us. He brought us presents, according to the custom of his country; and he was much pleased with an English pocket knife we had given him, with which he said he should shave his head. At his devotions, he stood silent for an hour together, on two small carpets, barefooted, with his face towards Mecca; holding, as he said, intellectual converse with Mahomet.”. ** Ambassadours of other more oriental hordes drove into the courtyard of the
inn, from Petersburgh. The emperour had presented each of them with a barouche. Never was any thing more ludicrous than their appearance. Out of respect to the sovereign, they had maintained a painful struggle to preserve their scat, sitting cross-legged, like Turks. The snow having melted, they had been jolted in this manner over the trunks of trees, which form a timber causeway between Petersburgh and Moscow; so that, when taken from their fine new carriages, they could hardly crawl, and made the most pitiable grimaces imaginable. A few days after coming to Moscow, they ordered all the carriages to be sold, for whatever sum any person would offer.” P. 47, 48, 49, and 51.
Dr. Clarke, according to his custom of introducing his general remarks, and indeed his facts, without any peculiar regard to arrangement, resents us with a variety of very interesting particulars relative to the Russians, in the part of his narrative that refers to Moscow. We do not at all object to this manner of writing. It results naturally from the form of a narrative which Dr. Clarke's travels have assumed; and certainly no part of his progress of fers a more appropriate occasion for pausing to dilate on the manners and character of the country, than that which conducted him through the great Muscovite capital. His account of one peculiarity in the talents of the Russians, their power of imitation, is singularly interesting. Much as this has been alluded to before, we have never yet seen it so fully illustrated. We make no apology to our readers for the following very curious extract.
“In whatever country we seek original genius, we must go to Russia for a talent of imitation. It is the acmé of Russian intellect; the principle of all their operations. They have nothing of their own; but it is not their fault if they have not every thing which others invent. Their surprising powers of imitation exceed all that has been hitherto known. The meanest Russian slave has been found adequate to the accomplishment of the most intricate and myost delicate works of mechanism; to copy, with his single hand,
what has demanded the joint labours of the best workmen in France or England. Though untutored, they are the best actors in the world.” “If they were instructed in the art of painting, they would become the finest portrait painters in the world. In proof of this, I saw one example. It was a miniature portrait of the emperour, executed by a poor slave, who had only once seen him, during a visit he made to Moscow. In all that concerned resemblance and minuteness of representation, it was the most astonishing work which, perhaps, ever appeared. The effect produced was like that of beholding the original through a diminishing lens. The Birmingham trinket manufactory, in which imitations of jewelry and precious metals are wrought with so much cheapness, is surpassed in Moscow; because the workmanship is equally good, and the things themselves are cheaper. But the great source of wonder is in the manner of their execution. At Birmingham, they are the workmanship of many persons; in Moscow, of one only; yet the difference between divided and undivided labour in this branch of trade, occasions none in the price of the articles. I saw, in Moscow, imitations of the Maltese and Venetian gold chains, which would deceive any person, unless he were himself a goldsmith. This is not the case with their cutlery, in which a multiplication of labour is so requisite. They fail, therefore, in hard ware; not because they are incapable of imitating the works they import, but because they cannot afford to sell them for the same price. Where a patent, as in the instance of Bramah's locks, has kept up the price of an article in England beyond the level it would otherwise find, the Russians have imitated such works with the greatest perfection, and sold the copy at a lower rate than the original, though equally valuable. This extraordinary talent for imitation has been shown also in the fine arts. A picture by Dietrici, in the style of Polemberg, was borrowed by one of the Russian nobility, from his friend. The nobleman who owned the picture had impressed his seal upon the back of it; and had inscribed verses and mottoes of his own composition. With so many marks, he thought his picture safe any where. But a copy so perfect was finished, both as to the painting and all the circumstances of colour in the can. vas, the seal, and the inscriptions, that, when put into the frame of the original, and returned to its owner, the fraud was not discovered. This circumstance was afterwards made known by the confession