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647. Mountains. The vast Altaic chain runs along the southern border of Russian Asia, in the direction of · east and west, to the Yenesee ; then running a more -northerly direction, it takes the name of Sayansk ; but beyond the lake, Baikal, it runs a north easterly course, under the names of Yablonnoy, Nershinsk and Stanovoi, to Ockosk. From this chain proceed inferior ridges in .various directions. On the west is the Uralian chain, which divides Asia from Europe ; and between the Caspian and Euxine, the chain of Caucasus, about 400 miles in length, presents summits clothed with perpetual snow.
648. Rivers. The Oby, or Ob. The Ob has two main branches, the Shabekan and the Irtish, which have their sources in Tartary, and penetrating the Altaic mountains, they unite below Samarof. Before it reaches the ocean, it forms a large estuary, which discharges the waters into the Northern or Arctic Ocean. Its whole course is about 1900 miles. It abounds with fish, and is navigable almost to the lake Altyn, on the north of the Altaic mountains.
649. The Venesee. The Yenesee has its sources in the mountains of Altai and Sayansk, on the south of the great chain, and passing between two ridges, runs northerly, till it unites with another main branch called Angára, and afterwards Tunguska, which proceeds from the lake of Baikal. The river discharges its waters into the Arctic Ocean, after a course of 1750 miles. This river is also navigable, with some interruptions by rapids The Angara is said to be a mile in bredth at its egress from the Baikal, and the channel is full of rocks, over which a rapid current dashes the waters with a tremendous roaring, like that of the sea in a tempest. 3.650. The Lena. The third river in magnitude in Siberia is the Lena, which arises on the west of the Baikal, and receives, from the east of that lake, the Witim, another main branch, and Olekma, from the Yablonnoy mountains. Its course is north east and north, to the Arctic Ocean, and its length 1570 miles. It is very broad, and full of islands, its current gentle and bottom sandy, and furnishing extensive inland navigation. These
three rivers, the Ob, the Yenesee and Lena, are among the largest on the globe.
651. Inferior Rivers. The secondary rivers in Siberia, which deserve notice, are the Selinga, which receives many considerable streams, as the Orchon, Tula, and others, and flows into the Baikal. The Yaik, or Ural, whose sources are in the Uralian mountains, flows into the Caspian. The Terek flows into the Caspian on the west, and the Kuban runs westerly into the Euxine. The Tobal is a large branch of the Ob. The Onon, or Shilka, a branch of the Amur, of 500 miles in length, is in Asiatic Russia. These, and numerous other rivers, are too little known to be described...
652. Lakes. The principal lake in Siberia is the Bai. kal, which extends from the 51st to the 55th degree of north latitude, about 350 miles, but its bredth of about 35 miles does not correspond with its length. It receives the large river, Selinga, and discharges its water by the Angara, a main branch of the Yenessee. Its water is clear, fresh and transparent, abounding with fish, especially a species of herring, called omuli, and containing some islands. Like the great lakes in the United States, it is subject to sudden and violent storms. To this may be added the lakes Piazinsko, in the north; the Bagdo, a salt lake, north of the Caspian ; the Altan Nor, or Golden Lake, which is also salt; and the Altyn, on the north of the Altaic chain, which is about 40 miles in length. · 653. Forests and Steps. The northern border of Siberia is beyond the latitudes which produce timber, but the southern parts abound with forests. Among the singular features of Asiatic Russia, are the steps, so called, or extensive level plains, resembling the sandy deserts of Arabia. In general they are barren, or produce only thin grass and shrubby trees. Between the mouths of the Don and Volga is one of these steps, which has salt lakes, but no fresh water.' The step of Issim, north east of the Caspian, with that of the Kalmuks, is 700 miles in length. The step of Barabin, north west of Omsk, is 400 iniles in length and 300 in bredth ; and between the
Ob and Yenesee is a vast plain extending to the Arctic Ocean.
654. Trees and Plants. Between the Don and Volga on the west, and the Uralian mountains on the east, the land slopes to the south, the soil is good, and the climate mild. Here the sides of the hills are clothed with the cedar, cypress, savin, red juniper, beech and oak; the warmer intervals produce almonds, peaches, figs, dateplums, quinces, apricots, pears and vines, while the vales of Caucasus are embellished and perfumed with the syringa, the jasmin, the lilac and the rose. But most of Siberia lies sloping to the north from the Altaic moun. tains, exposed to uninterrupted blasts of north wird, and feels a rigorous cold. Here the oak dwindles to a dwarf. ish size, and the more hardy trees only, as the birch, poplar, aspen, alder, and all the varieties of the fir and pine, cover the vast expanse of Siberia.
655. Animals. Asiatic Russia enjoys the benefit of the rane, in common with Europe. The wild horse, the bison, the wild sheep, rock goat or ibex, and the elk, are found in the wilds of this country, with the large stag, the musk animal, and wild boar. Wolves, foxes, bears, martins, ermins and sables are numerous. The beaver, the seal, and the walrus, or sea horse, inhabit the shores of the rivers and the Northern Ocean ; and the manati, the fabulous mermaid, is seen in Beering's Strait. The horses of the Monguls are of singular beauty, and many of them are striped like the tiger, or spotted like the lepard.
656. Minerals. The mountains of Siberia are rich in metals and precious stones. On the east of the Uralian mountains are valuable gold mines, at Catherinburg. Silver, copper, lead and iron are found in various places, and on the Uralian mountains are 105 founderies. Rock salt is found near Ilek, and sulphur, alum, ammony, vitriol, niter and natron are in abundance. Various gems also are found in this country-beryl, chrysolite, red garnets, red and green jasper, with opal, and some others. In the Uralian mountains are also fine white marble, granit and porphyry.
657. Population and Tribes. The vast territory of Asiatic Russia contains not more than 3 or 4 millions of souls. These consist of different nations or tribes, among which are the Kalmuks, Samoids, Yakuts, Ko. riaks, Techuks and Kamchadals. Under the general name of Tartars are comprehended most of the inhabi. tants of Siberia, and independent Tartary on the south. Of these the principal nations are the Tunguses, Monguls and Mandshurs. The languages of these nations and tribes are different. The Sanoids resemble the Laplanders in figure and barbarism, but the Monguls, Tunguses and Mandshurs have some literature and books.
658. Manners and Customs. The manners of the subjects of Asiatic Russia are various, as the tribes and nations are different. In general, those nations are nomadic, that is, wandering, and subsisting upon their fiocks and herds of horses, camels, oxen, sheep and goats. The women tan lether, dig the culinary roots, prepare the winter provisions, and distil the koumis, or spirit of mare's milk. The men hunt and make war.. Marriages are early, and the bride brings a dower in cattle or sheep. They live in tents in summer, and remove from place to place for pasturage, with their cattle and horses, going to the northward in summer, and southward on the approach of winter, moving in proces. sions, followed by the girls, who amuse the company by singing. Their tents are made of skins, with a fire place in the middle, and they have sometimes little temples for religious purposes. Their arms are bows, lances and sabers, sometimes fire arms, and the rich wear coats of mail, made of interwoven rings.
659. Persons and Dress. The Monguls are short in stature, with a flat visage, small oblike eyes, tuick lips, short chin, and scanty beard Their ears are large and prominent, their hair black, and their complexion of a yellowish brown; but that of the females is clear, and of a healthy white and red. They have a surprizing quickness of sight and apprehension, are docile, hospitable, active, beneficent, voluptuous ; and the females are industrious. The head is shaved, except one lock on the
top, and a fiat yellow bonnet is worn. Their outer garment is of cloth, with wide sleeves, and a girdle which bears a saber, knife, and utensils for smoking. They wear wide trowsers, with a vest of light stuff, and linen is wound about the feet, over which are drawn buskins of lether. The females wear a gown without sleeves, with their hair flowing in tresses.
660. Kamchadals. The inhabitants of Kamchatka, on the north eastern corner of Asia, resemble the natives of the opposit coast of America. They are small, with little hollow eyes, high cheek bones, flat .nose, black hair, with a tawny complexion, and nearly beardless. They are mild and hospitable, living in huts called balagans, raised on poles for the purpose of drying their fish, which is almost their only food. The wear some cloths, but mostly skins. The men are occupied in catching fish and seals, and in winter, instead of the rane, they use large dogs to draw sleds upon the ice and snow. In the northern parts of Siberia, the people form huts partly under ground, for their winter residence, where they spend the cold season in filth and smoke.
661. Techuks. The Techuks are a tribe of about 1000 families, who live in small camps, by the side of a river. Their tents are square, consisting of four poles covered with skins of the rane, and before the tent are spears and arrows fixed in the snow or earth, to be used in case of attack. Their bed consists of branches of trees spread in the tent, and covered with skins. Their dress is a single skin fastened about the neck, and their mode of living is dirty and disgusting. Their features are coarse, but not like those of the Monguls.
662. Chief Towns. Astracan, at the mouth of the Volga, is the principal city in Asiatic Russia, but has been already described. The town next in consequence is Orenburg, on the Ural, which is the seat of a considerable trade. Tobolsk, on the Irtish, is the chief town of Siberia. It contains 15,000 inhabitants, and is the residence of the governor and archbishop. Kolyvan, on the Ob, is a town of some trade, and Tomsk contains about 8000 souls. Irkusk, on the Angara, near the Baikal, contains about 12,000 inhabitants. This is the chief