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542. The Memel, Dwina and Neva. The Memel, or Nimen, a river of secondary consequence, forms a boundary between Russia and Prussia, and enters the Baltic. The Dwina, a larger stream, after a course of 500 miles, enters the Baltic at Riga. The Neva, a river of 40 miles in length, but broad and deep, issues from the lake Ladoga, penetrates St. Petersburg, the capital of the empire, and enters the gulf of Finland.
543. The Dwina, and other Northern Rivers. The Onega, a secondary river, runs north to the White Sea. The Dwina, a large river, running north west about 500 miles, enters the White Sea at Archangel. The Me. zen, after a like course of 350 miles, enters the same
The Petshora, whose sources are in the Uralian mountains, enters the Northern Ocean, after a course of 450 miles. The Cara, a river of 140 miles in length, forms the boundary between Asia and Europe, north of the Ural mountains.
544. Lakes. In the north western part of Russia is the lake Onega, which is 150 miles in-length and 30 in bredth. To the west is Ladoga, about 130 miles in length and 70 in bredth. These lakes communicate by means of a channel or river called Swir, and discharge their waters into the gulf of Finland by the Neva. To the west and north of the White Sea are many lakes, the largest of which is Imandra. To the south are the Peypus, 60 miles in length and 30 in bredth, from which is. sues the river Norva : the Ilmen, on which stands the city Novogrod; the White Lake or Bielo ; and the Seleger, one of the sources of the Volga.
545. Face of the Country and Climate. Russia consists for the most part of vast plains, some of which, being considerably elevated, are called stepps. One of these, north of the sea of Azoff, is 400 miles in length. As a great part of this vast empire lies in high northern latitudes, the climate is cold and the winters long. The Neva is usually froze from November to March ; and the northern border of Russia, above the Arctic Circle, has a night of several weeks in winter. But the southern
part of Russia, along the north shore of the Euxine and Azoff, enjoys a temperate climate, and
abounds with the rich fruits of more southern coun, tries.
546. Agriculture. The soil of so extensive an empire as Russia is very various ; some of the plains are dry and barren , the northern regions contain marshes; but Russia contains much excellent land, the best of which is said to be along the Volga. In the northern parts, the land is little cultivated, and the inhabitants live by hunting and fishing. But the middle and southern provinces are as well cultivated as other northern countries of Europe, and the productions are the same wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, pease, buckwheat, flax, hemp and hops. Maiz and olives grow in Taurida ; tobacco is also raised ; and madder, woad and saffron are spontaneous productions. The fruits are the same as in the northern states of America.
547. Animals. The animals of Russia are the same as in other northern countries. The sea bear inhabits the borders of the northern ocean ; as do the rane, wolf, lynx and elk, the northern regions of the empire ; while the camel may be seen in the south. The domestic animals are the same as in the United States. The sheep are not of the best kind, but are possessed in great numbers in the southern provinces. In Tauridạ, the more opulent Tartars are said to possess 50,000 each ; and the whole number of sheep on the peninsula is estimated at 7 millions.
548. Minerals. The chief minerals of Russia are found in the Asiatic division. About 60 miles from Moscow are iron mines, which are wrought, and iron and
copper found at Perm. In 1739, a gold mine was discovered in the mountains of Olonetz, but on experiment, proved to be not worth the expense of working. Some mineral springs have been found, the most valuable of which are near Sarepta, on the Volga, which are strongly impregnated with iron. In Buigova, a village in Olonetz, is a chalybeate spring, called St. Peter's Well, where the earth is so fully impregnated with iron, as to convert the roots of trees into a subtance like iron ore.
549. Population. The whole population of Russia is
estimated at 36 millions of souls. Of these, more than 30 millions are in Europe ; the Asiatic dominions of Russia, called Siberia, tho very extensive, being thinly peopled. Of the subjects of Russia, the most numerous part are the Russians proper, the Cossacs, and the Poles who have fallen to Russia' in the partition of Poland. To these may be added the Finns and Laplanders on the north west, and several Tartar nations in Siberia. Russia contains more than 50 different nations.
550. Language. The Russian language is of Slavonic origin, very rough, and of difficult pronunciation.The letters of the alphabet are thirty six, with some unusual sounds, peculiar to the nation. The Finns speak a distinct language, as do the Tartars. The Polish is a mere dialect of the Slavonic.
551. Religion. The religion of Russia is that of the Greek Church, which was introduced in the tenth century. The chief point of difference between the creed of this and the Latin church is, that the Greek church believe the Holy Ghost to proceed from the father only. The rites and ceremonies of this church are nearly as numerous as in the Roman ; but while they admit pictures of saintsinto their churches, they reject images with abhorrence. All other religions are tolerated in Russia.
552. Clergy. The Russian clergy consist of three metropolitans, 28 bishops, and numerous inferior orders. The church is governed by a national council, called the Holy Synod, composed of a president, two vice-presidents, and nine other members. Marriage is forbid to the archbishops and bishops, but allowed to the inferior clergy. In Russia are 479 convents for men, and 74 for women, containing about 70,000 persons. The cathedrals and parish churches are computed to be 18,350. The clergy enjoy several immunities, especially exemption from taxes.
552. Government. The government of Russia is an absolute monarchy. The emperor styles himself autocrator, or autocrat, which signifies one who governs solely by his own will. He must, by ancient custom, be of the Greek church. The empire is indivisible, and by a fundamental law of Peter the First, the reign
ing monarch has the right of naming his successor. The administration is committed to certain councils or persons appointed by the monarch, and Russia is divided into about 40 governments, of which 34 are in Europe, each intrusted to a viceroy or governor, whose authori. ty is supported by a military force.
554 Army and Navy. The Russian troops amount to 600,000 ; one fourth part of which are placed in garrisons to secure the dominions of the monarch in Asia and Europe. The Russian troops are among the best in Europe, being distinguished for disciplin and steady valor. The navy of Russia consists of about 36 ships of the line in the Baltic ; and twelve large ships, with many frigates, galleys, xebecs and gun boats in the Euxine. But the Russians are not distinguished for maritime enterprise.
555. Revenues and Political Importance. The revenues are estimated at 50 millions of rubles or dollars, but the prices of labor and commodities are much lower in Russia than in the United States ; and in supporting an army, 50 millions in Russia are equivalent to two or three hundred millions in America. In the present state of Europe, Russia seems to be the only government whose land forces are capable of resisting the enormous power of France. From the number of its hardy inhabitants, the extent of the empire, and its natural resources, Russia may be said to command the destinics both of Europe and Asia.
556. Customs and Manners. As the Russian empire contains many different nations, the manners are of course various. In the north west are the Laplanders and Finns, whose ugly persons and savage life have been described under the head of Denmark. The Slavonic Russians are of a middle size, with a fair complexion, patient of fatigue and hunger, brave and hospitable.Having recently emerged from barbarity, they retain many rude and savage customs. Husbands keep their wives in subjection, and formerly used the rod, if necessary. The Russians are fond of convivial entertainments, and addicted to intemperance. They use the warm or vapor bath, followed by plunging into cold wa
ter, which, stimulating the skin very highly, guards them from cold and disease.
557. Marriages and Funerals. A bride, on her wedding day, is crowned with a garland of wormwood ; and after the priest has tied the nuptial knot, his clerk or sexton throws upon her head a handful of hops, wishing she may be as fruitful as that vine. At funerals, the dead body is dressed, a priest is hired to pray for the soul, and to purify the body by a sprinkling of holy waterWhen carried to the grave, a ticket from the bishop, being a passport to heaven, is put between the fingers of the deceased, and after the burial, the company return to the house, and drown sorrow by intoxication for a number of days, during which a priest says prayers over the grave, to aid the deceased on his passage to an. other world.
558. Punishments. The punishmentof certain crimes is remarkably severe in Russia. Peter the Great used to suspend robbers on gibbets, by iron hooks fixed to their ribs, until they died by torture. The knout is a severe punishment, consisting in scourging the criminal with thongs. In the double knout, the criminal has his hands tied behind his back, and by means of a cord fixed to a pulley, his shoulders are dislocated ; after which the thong is applied to his back, until scarified. This punishment often proves fatal. The boring and cutting out the tung are also practiced in Russia. These inhuman punishments are the remains of barbarism, which time and civilization will probably abolish.Felons, after suffering the knout, are often sentenced to the mines, and men of distinction are banished to Siberia.
559. Travelling. The mode of travelling in winter is
upon sleds drawn by the rane. The sled is made of the bark of the linden tree, lined with felt, and fixed upon
This sled is drawn upon the snow by that fleet animal the rane, a species of deer; or in the internal parts of Russia, by horses. When the path is well trod, a coach is sometimes set upon a sled, and the passenger, wrapped in furs, travels by night and day. The empress sometimes travels thus, in an apartment