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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 mountains, exposed to uninterrupted blasts of north wind, and feels a rigorous cold. Here the oak dwindles to a dwarfish 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, wit” riol, 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. Postulation and Tribes. The vast territory ef 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, Koriaks, Techuks and Kamchadals. Under the general. name of Tartars are comprehended most of the inhabitants 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 flocks 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 processions, 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, thick lips, short chin, and scanty beard Their cars 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 flat 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. 66O. 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. 66 1. 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 R
mart of the Commerce between Russia and China, the sce of an archbishop, and seat of supreme jurisdiction over easte, a Siberia. Here the officers of government have introduced the fashions, customs and equipages of Europc. Yakusk, on the Lena, in a cold region, has some stone churches, and other good buildings, but the Yakuts are addicted to a wandering life.
663. Religion. The christian religion has made but little progress in these coid and inhospitable regions. In the south western parts, some of the Tartars are mahometans. Many of the tribes, near Tibet, are adherents to the superstition of Delai Lama. The more eastern inhabitants are Shamanians. Shamanism consists in the belief that matter is self-existent, and that the gods sprung from the general mass of matter and spirit ; that there is a spiritual world, and will be a general restitution of things. The Shamanians believe also in the transmigration of good souls to burchans or gods, while common souls immediately receive their final decree. Between men and gods are supposed to be the tengri, or spirits of the air, who direct sublunary affairs which are important to men, but beneath the notice of the gods. -
664. Government, Manufactitres and Commerce. Siberia is divided into two jurisdictions, that of Tobolsk on the west, and Irkusk on the east. Under these are several subordinate provinces, all subject to Russia, and small Russian colonies are established in various parts of this vast territory. The manufactures of salt, isinglass and cavear, near the Caspian, have been mentioned— Some felts, lether and pitch are made in Siberia; but the chief manufactures are of iron and copper, flear the Uralian mountains. The articles of commerce are chiefly furs of various sorts, which are carried to China, in exchange for tea, silk and nankeen. The Kurguscs exchange their horses, cattle and sheep, for Russian woollens, iron and furniture; and the Tartars in the east
ring cotton yarn, furs, stuffs, hides and rhubarb to the #. of the Caspian.
665. Situation and Ertent. China proper is situated between the 20th and 41st degrees of north latitude, and between the 190th and 123d degrees of east longitude. Its extent from north to south is about 1300 miles, and from east to west about 1000 miles, and its contents more than eight hundred millions of akers. On the east and south it is bounded by the ocean, on the west by Tibet, and on the north by the great wall which separates it from Tartary, or more properly Mandshuria.
666. History. The Chinese empire was little known to the ancients or moderns, till the 13th century, when Marco Polo, a Venetian, travelled into that country. The ancients mention the Sinae, an oriental people, but these were probably the natives of some country westward of China. China was first known to the moderns under the appellation of Cathay. The mahometan traveilers called it Sim, and the Persians Tchin. The Chinese claim for their nation a great antiquity, and deduce a regular history of their monarchy for about 4300 years, through 22 dynasties or distinct families of princes. About the middle of the 17th century, the Mandshurs conquered China, and their princes still retain the sovereignty. 657. Antiquities. China boasts of many coins, and some towers, temples and pagodas of considerable antiquity. But the principal work of art is the stupendous wall, forming the northern limit of the original empire, and erected as a barrier against the inroads of the Monguls. This wall is 25 feet high, and 15 feet wide at the top ; the foundation is of stone, but most of the wall is of bricks laid in mortar. It is carried over rivers upon arches, over valleys and mountains, some of them 5009 feet high, to an extent of 1500 miles, and at small distances of 3 or 400 yards, are towers of 40 feet high. Authors are not agreed when this astonishing work was erected, some dating it as far back as the 2d or 3d century before Christ, others as late as the 13th century af. ter Christ.