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fail of this, to inquire about a multitude of things that cannot be known. He might well have asked whether he might hold his duty to comport with any such idle luxuries as eating and sleeping; or whether it might be allowed to any one of his five senses to enjoy a brief holyday, on condition that all the rest were basily employed. We are, fortunately, not put under an obligation to know, or even to guess, whether this imposition of twenty ordinary men's duty upon the faculties of one, was owing to a general principle of thrift in the autocratical authority; or whether the cost of conquering so many regions had reduced the treasury too low to afford the fitting out of a competent number of persons to survey them; or whether qualified men for such a service were too scarce; or whether the Imperial Director assumed that his agents must necessarily, by virtue of their appointment, have a width and power of faculty corresponding to the enormity of his empire.
After beholding the bulky code of instructions prepared for the traveller, by the accumulated suggestions of both knowledge and inquisitive ignorance, we cannot enough admire the calm philosophy with which he takes up and bears his fardel. He never for a moment questioned that every thing which invention could accumulate to enjoin upon him, became a part of his duty thenceforth. And his obedience has been exemplary: his book proves that he never forgot his business. It brings together a large quantity of matters of information ; a good portion of them adapted to general interest, very many of them of no use but to the Russian geographer, and some which can interest none but the very few persons who, through some lusus of destiny, have been inveigled into the study of the barbarian dialects of Tartary.
One thing that weighs heavily against the book, as it must against any work descriptive of the same regions, is the perfectly hideous nomenclature of places and tribes. Nothing surpassing it could have been accomplished, one thinks, by the most earnest labours, stimulated by the highest premiums, of an academy in stituted on purpose for the business, as Southey has it, of
ugliography. It is evident that the ancestors of these Caucasians, must have gone off from Babel with the worst refuse and drainings thrown off by all the languages, as they respectively grew into form and consistence.
We have already intimated, that a very considerable portion of the volume is of a nature to be entirely indigestible to most readers in England. More than a third part of it, we suspect, may come under this description. Perhaps, excepting reviewers, there is hardly one reader that will not, in spite of his best resolutions, have acquired, before he has got through a hundred pages of the book, the habit of catching signs of li. cense to pass over paragraphs, with little better than a guess at
what they contain ;---paragraphs headed, perhaps, by some absolutely ineffable name of a district of bog, or sand, or snow, occupied by a very few scores of people, and doomed, as we should hope, to be in better times deserted by whatever living thing can be grateful for the smiles of nature The paragraph perhaps will state, that the diminutive inhabiting tribe, or section of a tribe, with a denomination quite as insuperable as that of its habitat, has the same customs as another previously mentioned section of the same tribe. The reader involuntarily learns to perceive at a glance, that page after page contains nothing that can by any possibility turn to account in his little stock of knowledge, even were there the smallest chance, which there is not, that these minutiæ of a barbarous topography and statistics would stay in his memory.
If a portion of these details, so wholly devoid of interest, and causing the reader, if that he does read, down-right a waste of time, could not with propriety have been omitted in the translation, we think that at least he ought to have been somewhat spared in the pecuniary part of the account, and have obtained the book at a far less exorbitant price-unless indeed it is meant chiefly for statesmen, who can, to be sure, best afforı to pay a high price for knowledge or it is not the fault of those who pay them.
For whose benefit soever, among us, this mass of obscure topography is intended, it must be nearly useless to every one, without a good map on a large scale ; and no map at all is given. Whether there is one in the original work, or whether there is to be one accompanying the sequel, (for it is only of the first part that this volume is a translation,) we know not. But it is obvious that without such aid much of the distributive local description might as well have been printed in the inost barbarous of the dialects of the regions described.
There are several rather lengthened pieces of history, which cannot exactly be said to be out of place, that manifest, if accurate, a laudable industry in the examination of records, which will claim to be repeated in whatever shall profess to be a complete history of the Russian Empire, but which nevertheless must be inconceivably uninteresting to English readers. With the exception of any one among us, if such a one there be, who may be planning the hopeless task of such a history, it is impossible for us to dilate our intellectual being to the extent of taking an inquisitive concern in the innumerable petty movements and sanguinary quarrels of a multitude of barbarous chieftains, whose plundering inroads or stupid resentments have, at various points and times, provoked or invited the almost equally barbarous Russian commanders, to make those visits so excellently turned to permanent account by the Russian policy, which has conferred the favour of its imperial occupancy very impartially on friends and on foés.
We soon perceived, on inspecting this volume, that our task could not be that of attempting any regular abstract. Indeed, after these slight general notices, we shall content ourselves with transcribing a few passages from different parts of the book, which, notwithstanding the dreary quality of such considerable tracts of it, does nevertheless contain a good share of what is interesting. Of this nature are some of the passages descriptive of scenery and natural phenomena; but still more so is the account of the manners of the principal of the wild races of human beings, the Circassians, or, as we are required to write and call thein, Tscherkessians, the Ingusches, and the Mongols, a race which holds a scattered existence over a vast extent of northern Asia, from the neighbourhood of the Black Sea to the northern frontier of China, of which empire a portion of them are subjects, while the Calmucks, a tribe of the Mongols, are within the southern sweep of the Russian dominion.
Of the economy of this nation, in their civil, moral, and religious habits, the Author gives an extended and elaborate eshibition, made, he affirms, on the best authority. Their religion occupies a very conspicuous place in the representation. It is that of the Lamas; in other words, that of Buddha or Fo; which is the religion of Tibet and of China. Many parts of the frivolous and endless ritual, as observed by the Mongols, are recounted, and with all imaginable seriousness on the part of the philosophic describer. If the representation is accurate, it would appear that the worshippers of Buddha have not much to boast, on the score of liberty or rationality, over those of the Hindoo triad. The system is mainly composed of ridiculous trifles, and every concern of life almost is implicated with them. It is marvellous it should have been possible for a race so irregular and excursive, to become subjected to so punctilious and insatiable a ceremonial.
But there is nothing in which the human mind has manifested more ingenuity, than in relieving itself under the exactions of conscience, by contrivances for the abridgement and facilitation of duty. One of the most admirable things of this kind in the whole world, has been fallen upon by these over-tasked barbarians. The device in question may be denominated a praying machine, or a prayer-wheel, or a prayer-mill.
Among the most remarkable of the sacred utensils of the temples, is the Kürdä, a cylindrical vessel of wood or metal, either very small or of inimense size. In its centre is fixed an iron axle; but the interior of the cylinder, which is quite hollow, is filled with sacred writings, the leaves of which are all stuck one to another at the edge, throughout the whole length. This paper is rolled tightly round the axis of the cylinder, till the whole space is filled up. A close cover
top of it.
is fixed on at each end, and the whole Kürdä is very neatly finished, painted on the outside with allegorical representations, or Indian prayers, and varnished. This cylinder is fastened upright in a frame by the axis ; so that the latter, by means of a wheel attached to it below, may be set a-going with a string; and with a slight pull kept in a constant rotatory motion. When this cylinder is large, another, twice as small, and filled with writing, is fixed for ornament on the
The inscriptions on such prayer-wheels commonly consist of masses for souls, psalms, and the six great general litanies, in which the most moving petitions are presented for the welfare of all creatures. The text they sometimes repeat a hundred or even a thousand times, attributing from superstition a proportionably augmented effect to this repetition, and believing that by these frequent copies, combined with their thousands of revolutions, they will prove so much the more efficacious. You frequently see, as well on the habitations of the priests as on the whole roof of the temple, small Kürdä placed close to each other, in rows, by way of ornament; and not only over the gate, but likewise in the fields, frames set up expressly for these praying machines, which, instead of being moved by a string, are turned by means of four sails, (shaped and hollowed out like spoons) by the wind.
• Other similar Kürdä are fastened to sticks of moderate thickness; a leaden weight is then fastened to the cylinder by a string, which, when it is once set a-going, keeps it with the help of the stick, in constant motion. Such-like prayer-wheels, neatly wrought, are fastened upon short sticks to a small wooden pedestal, and stand upon the altars for the use of pious persons. While the prayer-wheel is thus turned round with one hand, the devotee takes the rosary in the other, and at the same time repeats penitential psalms.
• A fourth kind of these Kürdä is constructed on the same principle as those which are turned by wind; only it is somewhat smaller, and the frame is adapted to be hung up by a cord in the chimneys of the habitations or huts of the Mongols. When there is a good fire, they are likewise set in motion by the smoke and the current of air, and continue to turn round as long as the fire is kept up.
! A fifth kind of Kürdä is erected on a small stream of water, upon a foundation like that of a mill, over which a small house is built to protect it from the weather. By means of the wheel attached to it, and the current, the cylinder is in like manner kept in a constant circular motion, These water-Kürdä are commonly constructed on a large scale, and maintained at the joint expense of the inhabitants of a whole district. They have a reference to all aquatic animals, whether alive or dead, whose temporal and eternal happiness is the aim of the writings contained in them : in like manner as the object of the fire-Kürdä is the salvation of all animals suffering by fire."
The other parts of the apparatus of the superstition, are numerous and diversified. A very important and valued portion of it consists in the books. All the works of India and Tibet, says our Author, are not only translated in the Mongol language, but likewise cut in the neatest manner in wood, and
printed; so that these nations, after the example of several Chis nese Mongolian provinces, perform the whole of their religious
worship in their mother tongue.' The devoutest bibliographer could not manifest more reverence for his collections, than all these people seem to do for their sacred literary rubbish, no piece of which must be looked into without previously obtain*ing its blessing by touching it with folded" hands and bowed 'head. Near large collections of books a small altar is ex
pressly erected, at which offerings are made and incense burned ' for the works, At a public removal of them, particular cere
monies, accompanied with prayer and music, are observed.' All of them, ' with regard to the subject-inatter, are of Indian
origin, and you meet with no alterations in religious customs, and the service of the temples. Now and then, but very
rarely, explanations and illustrations of certain works are pro• duced by the patriarchs in Tibet.' They participate with the Chinese the glory of possessing the master-hook of the whole world, written at the immediate dictation of their super human prophet Schigimunih, by his disciples.
It is denominated by these people Gandshuhr, or Miraculous Pillar of Religion. It consists of 108 prodigious volumes, to which belong twelve more of mythology, called Jömm, and with the exposition entitled Dandshuhr, composes in the wliole 240 volumes
No part of their sacred writings is so highly valued as this. In all Mongolia and Tibet, no person can under a very severe penalty, procure or keep this work without a written permission from the Dalai Lama, or the Emperor of China. Hence all the Mongols within the Rus, sian frontiers complain of its rarity, because they have often endeayoured but in vain to obtain it at a very great expense.
It was not till two years since that the Burättes inhabiting the country south of the Baikal, succeeded in procuring this highly-pri-ed work from China. Agreeably even to the ancient precepts of their religion, these sacred writings must not be made generally known before their due time, which will be manifested of itself, because the publication of the Gandshuhr is designed only for those countries in which this faith is to become universal, and because many new appearances of ancient saints are connected with its adoption.' • At the reading of these books particular ceremonies must be observed; the rich only can yearly defray the heavy expenses attending it, on account of the great number of ecclesiastics required on the occasion, and that not without the consent and permission of a great Lama.' Priestcraft is flagrantly manifest in all possible ways
Turn wherever they will, these poor idolaters meet the priest. They are to dismount from their horses when they see him coming ; they are to bend down their heads before him; they must provide his sustenance unpaid ; they must send for him and reward him in capacity of physician, if they are sick. And then, he is not an animal, the plague of whose omni-voracity is alleviated by