« PreviousContinue »
(own, having a citadel, and being surrounded with nn eanbe* mound and a moat. The entrance of the river is defended by the fortress of Dunamunde. The commerce of the town is very extensive, the number of vessels arriving annually being between 700 and 800, and the value of the exports, consisting principally of timber, flax, hemp and corn, beinsf computed at £f,0OO.00O, of which one half arc sent to Great Britain. The foreign trade it chiefly managed by fcnglish and Scotch merchants. The population is estimated at 36,000.
Archangel is a well known trading place on the Dwina, 24 miles from its entrance into the White sea, and 400s.niles Fff. E. of St. Petersburg. It is much frequented by the English, Dutch and Germans, and upwards of 100 foreign ships enter the^ port annually. The exports consist of train oil, tallow, tar, linseed, furs and coarse linen. The trade of this place received a tjreat shock on the foundation of St. Petersburg, the privileges conferred on the latter inducing the most opulent of the merchants to remove thither. The population in its flourishing state was 30,000; but at present only 7,000.
CroristaJt, the principal station of the Russian navy, it on the southeast side of an island in the gulf of Finland, 22 miles we«t of St. Petersburg. The harbor is very spacious, and the part appropriated to the navy is furnished with docks capable of containing 10 men of war. Here is a foundry for casting cannon, a ropewalk where cables of all sizes are manufactured, and great magazines of naval stores. Cronstadt is defended towards the *ea by fortifications projecting into the water, and towards the land by ramparts and bastions. The principal passage to St Petersburg lies between the town and a small island more than a mile distant,'on which there is a fort for the defence of the intermediate channel. All vessels trading to St. Petersburg are examined here, and the largest vessels can ascend no further. The population of the town is 40,000, of whom at least 10,000 are sailors.
Chcrson is situated in an extensive plain on the right bank of the Dnieper, about 60 r^iles from its mouth, where that river begins to form the marshy lake called Liman, which presents a spacious but shallow harbor. It was founded in 1778. by the empress Catherine, who intended to make it a place of extensive commerce and the principal station of the Russian navy in the Black sea. Within 10 years after its establishment it is said to have contained nearly 50.000 inhabitants, and many large .ships of war were launched from its docks. But the difficulty of navigating the Dnieper and other inconvenience* occasioned a removal of the naval establishment to Nicolajev, and owintr to the same cause, its commerce has also greatly declined. The population at present is le*.s than 20,000. .Yieolojn, the principal naval station of the Russians on the Black sen, is on the Bog, 30 miles from its mouth, and 45 N. W. of Chersnn. It was founded in 17'Jl, and from its advantageous situation bids fair to become one of the largest cities in the empire. The population at present is about 5,000 but is very rapidly increasing.
The other principal ports in the Black sea, and sea of Azoph, are Akerman, at the mouth of the Dniester on the west side, a place of considerable trade and containing 20,000 inhabitants; Otchakov, situated at the entrance of the estuary of the Dnieper, on the N. side, formerly a place of extensive trade with 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants, but which since the establishment of Odessa has regularly declined; and Taganrock, situated on a promontory which projects into the sea of Azoph not far from the mouth of the Don : it contains 10,000 inhabitants and has an extensive commerce with the countries on the Mediterranean.
The following are among the other principal towns in the interior. 1. Tver, situated in lat. 56° 50' and lon. 36° 14' at the confluence of the Tvertza with the Volga contains 20,000 inhab
itants, and carries on considerable trade. 2. Niznei Wovgorod,
situated at the confluence of the Oka and the Volga, is a thriving commercial town with 10,000 inhabitants, and has a fair which is frequented by crowds of merchants from different parts of Russia, Poland, Germany, Tartary and even Persia. The quantity of merchandize sold here is immense. 3. Tula, celebrated for its hard-ware manufactures, is on the Upa, a branch of the Oka, in lat. 53° 45' N. and lon. 37° 40' E. and contains 30,000 inhabitants. Here is the largest manufactory of fire-arms in Russia. 4. Smolensk, on the Dnieper, in lat. 54° 50' N. contains 12,000 inhabitants. 5. Wilna on the Wilia, a branch of the Niemen, in lat. 54° 44' N, and lon. 25° 17' E. contains a university and 20,000 inhabitants, of whom 5,000 are Jews. 6. Kiev, on the Dnieper, in lat. 50° 27' N. has a university and about 20,000 inhabitants. 7. Ismail, formerly belonging to Turkey, and memorable for its siege and capture by the Russians under Suwarrow in 1790, is on the N. side of the principal arm of the Danube, 33 miles from its entrance into the Black sea. Inland Communication.] Owing to the flatness of the country the rivers of Russia are generally navigable almost to their sources, and a water communication is thus formed from the coast to every part of the interior. Several of the largest rivers, though flowing in opposite directions, rise near the same spot, and by means of short canals connecting them, a complete inland navigation is opened between the seas on the opposite coasts of the empire. The Caspian sea is connected with the Frozen ocean by means of a canal from the Volga to the Dwina, and with the Baltic by the celebrated canal of Vishnei-Voloshok, which with several intermediate streams unites the Volga and the Neva. The Black sea communicates with the Baltic by two canals, one connecting the Dnieper with the Duna, and the other connecting the same river with the Niemen. There are various other canals opening less extensive communications. In
winter the snow affords an easy mode of conveyance, and mer
chandize is transported on sledges from Moscow to the coast of
the Pacific ocean at the remotest extremity of the empire. Population.] The whole Russian empire, including the king
dom of Poland, contains according to Hassel 45,515,797 inhabitants. The mass of this population is concentrated on a verjr small portion of the territory in the southern and western parts of European Russia, the northern provinces together with the whole of Asiatic Russia being very thinly inhabited. No kingdom in the world contains so many races of men, and so different in their origin, language, manners and religion.' It is estimated that there are more than 100 different nations who speak at least 40 different languages. 1. The Slavonians amount to 38,800,000, and are subdivided into Russians, Cossacks, Poles Lithuanians, &c. 2. The Finns, 2,370,000 in number, are divided into proper Finns, Esthonians, Livonians, Laplanders, ic. 3. Tartars, 1,850,000, divided into proper Tartars, Nogavs. Kirgises, &c. 4. Caucasians. 1,200,000. 5. Mongols. 300,000, divided into Mongols, Burials and Kuriles. 6. Aland than, 80,000. 7. Tribes inhabiting the polar regions, viz. Samoiede, Ostiacks, Kamtschadales, &c 300,000 8. Walachians and gipsies, in Moldavia and Bessarabia, 300,000.
Cossacks.] The Cossacks of the Don occupy an extensive territory on both sides of the river Don, and are governed by a military constitution. They are exempted from taxation, and enjoy great privileges when compared with the other members of the Russian empire. In return, each man is accounted ;i soldier, anil is bound to maintain two horses, for which the crown supplies oats and hay during only six months of the year. Their number amounts to 40,000 fighting men, who receive no pay in lime of peace, but in time of war, besides being furnished with every necessary, receive 12 dollars a year, and the usual military rations. Besides the Cos-acks of the Don there are others on the Volga, the Bog, and in Asiatic Russia, governed very much in the same manner.
Classes of Society] The Russian nation consists almost entirely of two classes, the nobility and the peasantry. The mid-tie class comprises, even in the large towns, hardly any other than foreign settlers or their descendants. The nobility lite in grrat style, and their persons and property are exempt from trfxatioo. The peasantry are in a very abject condition, being bought and sold along with the estate which they cultivate, and somcticm-4 even separately. Government has long felt the advantage that would result from emancipation, and in some of the provinces this has been partially effected.
Religion.] The established religion is that of the Greek church, with a free toleration however of all sect*, e»m Mahometans. The number* attached to the principal denominations, according to IJaseei, are as follows: Greek church 34.000,000; Catholics ami united Greeks 5.308.000; Lutheran* e,500,000; Mahometans 1,800.000; Jews 510,000. The nun> her of churches throughout the empire is nearly 20,000; ll».il «rf priests about 68,(K)0; and if to these be added the mi.nks, almost as numerous as m Catholic countries, the whole numlerof ccclcaiitstici in Russia may be compute,! at 400,000.
Education.] Education is still at a very low ebb in Russia, there being very few schools except those supported by government. Seminaries, great or small, have for a century past existed in the chief town*, but the villages and open country have been immersed in almost as great ignorance as the interior ot Afric 1. In 1802 an imperial ukase was issued establishing a systematic plan of education lor the whole empire, under the charge of the directing synod of the church. By this act were establish' ed six universities, viz. at St. Petersburg, Moscow, Wilna, Dorpat, (in Livonia) Charkov in the south, and Kaaan in the east. Each of the great governments of the empire has a gymnasium; each of the circles or lesser divisions a high school; while an elementary school is or ought to be established in each parish, or, where the population is small, in every two parishes. The parish schools, however, are not generally established, and when they are, are indifferently conducted. Besides these, there are special schools established at the expense of the government for instruction in navigation, the military art, painting, mining, theology, &c.
Governtnent.] The Russian government was till lately a perfectly absolute monatcliy. The title ot'the sovereign in "emperor and autocrat of all the Russias, and king of Poland.'' There are ministers for each of the great departments of government, viz. the army, the navy, the treasury, 8tc. and a senate whose powers are partly deliberative and partly executive. The presenl emperor has declared the Russian government to be a constitntiona! monarchy, and has given the senate the right of remonstrating against any ukase or edict contrary to law.
Revenue and Debt.] The national debt is about £35.000,000, exclusive of a large amount of paper money issued by the government, and which has depreciated to one third part of its nominal value. The interest of the debt at 7£ per cent, is £2,250,000. The whole revenue of Russia is estimated £15,000,000 sterling.
Army and Navy.] The army is the largest in Europe, consisting, according to the return of 1819, of 778,000 men, exclusive of militia and irregular troops of >anous descriptions. Of this number 613,000 were infantry, 118,000 cavalry, and 47,000 artillery. The irregulars, infantry and cavalry, were estimated at 405.0'>0. Owing to the financial embarassments, the extensive frontier which is to be protected, and various other causes, it is supposed that not more than from 200,000 to 300,«00 of this vast force could be marched out of the empire.
The navy in 1820 con-isted of 30 ships of the line, 20 frigates, 15 sloops, and 200 galleys. The men fit for the duly of the navy, who can be called forth in time of war, are between 30,000 anil 40,000. A part of the navy is stationed in the Baltic, a part in the Black sea, and a part in the Caspian.
Manufactures.] The Russian manufactures owe their origin to Peter I. and since his lime they have so greatly increased, that many articles are now made within the empire, which were formerly imported from foreign countries. The principal manufac
tures are,leather, in which Russia excels all other European'nations, linen, coarse woollens, soap, sail cloth, &c Moscow *nd Petersburg are the principal manufacturing towns; but as to hard-ware. .Tula, to the south of Moscow, is the Birmingham of Russia. The manufactories have greatly increased within a few years: in 1808 the number was 2,526, hut in 1815, 3,253, of which 1.348 were of leather, 295 of cotton goods, 184 of linen, 150 of soap, fcc.
Commerce.] Russia carries on an extensive commerce by laod with China, Persia, and Prussia; through the pons of the Mack sea with the countries on the Mediterranean, and through the Baltic wilh the northern and western nations of Europe The principal exports are hemp, flax, leather, tallow, potash, w»x. soap, timiter, pitch, tar, peltry and iron in hart. The imports aresugar, coffee, cotton and other colonial produce; sopertine woollens, cotton goods, silks, dye stuff-, wine and brandy. The valne of the exports in 1805 was about g72,OO0.O00. ami of the imports $55,000,000 Of the exports about three fifth" aif the |.reduce of agriculture; one fifth, the produce of animals; one tenth, of the forest; ami the remaining tenth of the mines and lisherie*.
Islands.] Nova Zembla is a very large island in the Arctic ocean, belonging to the Russian government of Archangel, from which it is separated by the straits of Waigatz. It extends from 89° to 76° N. lat. and is 500 miles long and 240 broad- The east coast has not yet been explored, being seldom accessible, o* account of the ice by which it is surrounded. No part of Ibis; dreary and inhospitable island has any permanent inhabitants . cot the south and west coasts are annually visited by hunters from Archangel who find here an abundance of bears, foxes, wild reiodeer, and other animals valuable principally for their skins. The whale fishery is also prosecuted along the coast.
Spitsbergen or East Greenland, lies in the Arctic ocean between 76° 30' aBd 80° T N. lat. and between 9° and perhaps 22° E. lost. It extends farther north than any other land yet discovered, and i» one of the most dreary and desolate regions imaginable. The principal objects which strike the eye are innumerable mountainous peaks, sharp summits or needles rising immediately out of the sea to an elevation of 3,000 or 4,000 feet, and covered with snow and ice of a dazzling brilliancy, while some of the adjoining mountains of less elevation are covered perpetually with a gloomy veil of black lichens, presenting a contrast altogether peculiar The climate of Spitzbergen is intensely cold and more disagreeable to the feelings than that ef any other country, the temperature, even in the warmest months not averaging more than 344; degrees. The island is uninhabited, but the coasts are tutted every year by the Russians and other nations engaged in the whale fishery.
The isles of Aland, lying at the entrance of tbe gulf of Bothnia, formerly belonged to .Sweden, but ware ceded to Russia a* 1809. They are about 80 in number. Aland, the largest, is 4© miles long, and contains 402 square miles and 11,260 inhabitants.