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XLIX. 1. Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini, a Florentine Artist : written by

himself 2. The History of the Saracens. By SIMON OCKLEY, B.D. 3. The History of Painting in Italy. By ABATE Luigi LANZI.

4. Core's House of Austria. Vols. I. and II. These are volumes in Bohn's Standard Library. The Memoirs of Cellini present one of the most natural and veracious pieces of autobiography ever written. It supplies much information respecting the arts, and the general history of the sixteenth century. Walpole has described it as 'more amusing than

any novel.' The present edition has been collated with the best Italian edition, and is enriched with notes by G. P. Carpani. Ockley's History of the Saracens is now nearly a century old; but its author was a man of talent, of thorough and honest research, and his reputation is still fresh with all students of Oriental history. Many notes from more recent authorities on Mohammedan history are added to this edition. The work of Lanzi is well known; it embraces the history of painting in Italy, from the revival of the fine arts to the end of the eighteenth century. Coxe's works are all well known and of standard value.

L. Thoughts on the Divine Permission of Moral Evil. By the Rev.

T. M. Ready, B.C.L. 8vo, pp. 32. 1845. Seeley. This is a difficult theme. Mr. Ready has not brought anything new to the treatment of it.

LI. Orphanhood. Large quarto, pp. 92. Nisbet; Fisher; Ward; London.

1847. This volume is published for the benefit of the ORPHAN WORKING SCHOOL an excellent charitable institution in the metropolis, instituted nearly a century since. The school has been conducted for many years past in the City-road; but its friends contemplate removing it to a more cligible building and locality, and hope to extend the charities of the institution to a larger number of the fatherless. The contributions to this volume are in prose and verse, from thirty-five distinguished divines or literary persons, and are accompanied with engravings and illustrations. It is a publication of much elegance and taste in its embellishments, and rich in the beautiful expression of sentiments that must be ever welcome to the benevolent heart.

LII. The Pictorial Bible. Parts 3—6. Royal 8vo. Knight, London.

This publication has already received our word of commendation. The successive parts will be found fully to realise the promise of the spirited publisher. Its multitude of illustrations throw a prompt and vivid light on the sacred text.

THE BRITISH

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

NOVEMBER 1, 1847.

Art. I. The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural Mountains.

By RODERICK IMPEY Murchison, Pres. of R. Gr. S., V.P.R.S. and Geol. S., &c. &c. ; EDOUARD DE VERNEUIL, V.P. Geol. Soc. France, &c.; and CounT ALEXANDER VON KEYSERLING. 2 vols. 4to. London and Paris. 1845. Of the three and a-third million square miles forming the continent of Europe, the vast empire of Russia occupies very nearly two millions, thus considerably more than all the other kingdoms united, and sixteen times the area of the British islands. From the Ural mountains in the east, it stretches to the Baltic in the west, and from the icy ocean on the north down to the shores of the Caspian and Euxine seas, and the declivities of the Carpathian mountains in the south. But neither the agricultural wealth nor picturesque beauty of the land are at all in proportion to its geographical extent. Whilst the arable ground in France and Britain covers four-fifths of the whole surface, in Russia it scarcely amounts to a sixth part; forty per cent of the land being still overshadowed by primeral forests; and forty-four per cent. altogether unfitted for cultivation. But this non-agricultural character does not arise from the presence of those mountain regions, which in more southern realms often impede the labours of the husbandman, whilst they add beauty and variety to the land in which he dwells. Almost the whole of this immense tract, except a small part in the extreme north of Finland, belongs to the great north-European plain, which, beginning in the lower valley of the Rhine, oppo

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NO. XII.

site our own shores, sweeps round the base of the Hartz and the Carpathians, into the valleys of the Danube, and to the coast of the Black Sea. On the north-west it is bounded by the Baltic, and that singular tract of lakes and morasses, like ancient chaos neither land nor water, but a confused mixture of both, which unites the gulf of Finland with the White Sea. On the east, so far as Europe is concerned, this plain is terminated by the narrow ridge of the Uralian mountains, but from their summit, the eye of the traveller* wanders over a still more immense Asiatic plain of similar character watered by the Obe, the Irtish, and the Lena, which, with its continuation in Europe, forms the shore of the Arctic ocean for more than 160 degrees of longitude.

This plain, though less immediately striking to the imagination than the Alps or Andes, is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable features in the physical history of the globe. Confining our views to the European portion alone, we find that from the chain of the Ural to the shores of the Baltic and North Sea, there is not a single connected mountain ridge, and scarce even an isolated hill, rising a thousand feet above the level of the ocean. Day after day the traveller gallops on over the interminable plains, broken only by the deep river ravines or the black pine forests, and at rare intervals by some mound of sand, thrown up into a hill by the winds at that remote epoch when the ocean yet spread its waters over the monotonous expanse. Even the very rivers that drain this region, betray, by their winding course, the uncertain nature of the declivities. The Volga, rising within two hundred miles of the Baltic, flows away to the Caspian, more than a thousand miles removed in a direct line, and twice that distance following the windings of the stream. Yet its sources are only 850 feet above the Baltic, and some eighty more above its mouth in the Caspian, to which its immense basin of 636,000 square miles--one fifth of the European continent-has thus a mean declivity of less than one foot in a mile. Notwithstanding the level surface of Russia, the difference of climate in a region extending from north to south, through more than twenty degrees of latitude, or from Nova Zembla as far south as France and Italy, produces considerable diversity of physical aspect. The most southern portions on the shores of the Caspian are barren, sandy, and saline plains, covered only by the most miserable vegetation, and partaking more of the character of northern Asia than of Europe. This is the abode of the Kirghis and Calmuck Tartars,

See the very interesting 'Peep into Siberia,' Plate vi, in vol. i. p. 425 of the work before us.

still retaining the wandering habits of their ancestors. Further west, towards the Black Sea, the region of the Don Cossacks is remarkable for a rich and fertile soil of black earth, which even in a state of nature produces the most luxuriant vegetation, and rewards the smallest degree of culture by almost inexhaustible crops of wheat. But in summer this apparently favoured land is burnt up by the hot sun, and in winter swept over by storms of wind and drifting snow, which cut down every tree to the earth, and often drive the shepherd and his flock irresistibly forward into the sea. In Volhynia and Gallicia these characteristics of the Asiatic steppes are replaced by the more European features of an undulating land, clothed with impenetrable forests of oak and beach, sparingly intermixed with cultivated fields; whilst still more to the west, in many parts of Poland and Prussia, the immense brown heaths and sandy plains again recal the steppes of the Caspian.

Further north, in the centre of the great Russian plain, the basins of the Dnieper, Volga, and Kama rivers, present a wide extent of cultivated ground, broken by vast forests of birch, fir, and pine trees—the rich soils required by the oak having chiefly been appropriated by the husbandman. This region forms the nucleus of the Russian Empire, the native seat of the great Sclavic family of nations, whence they have extended their dominion to the west and south. On the north it is bounded by a low ill-defined ridge, running from the Ural to the Baltic, covered in great part by dense pine forests, amidst which all cultivation has ceased. On its arctic slope the cold moist atmosphere soon also checks the growth of trees, and large moory regions or Tundras prevail, and beyond lat. 60° occupy the whole surface. This dreary region is inhabited by the Samoides, among whom heathen idolatry yet lingers within the domains of Christian Europe.*

As almost invariably happens, the external physical aspect of the country is closely related to its internal mineral structure. The uniform level of its plains is only the fitting expression for the vast extent and horizontality of the mineral formations of the Russian Empire, and the few traces of igneous or disturbing action which appear throughout its whole interior regions. Till very lately, the geological structure of this great kingdom was almost unknown—at least, to the geologists of Western Europe. Our countryman, Strangways, had, indeed, not only minutely described the country around the capital, but had even attempted a general outline of the whole kingdom. Geology, however, was then, in 1822, too little advanced, especially in the knowledge of the true order of the older formations, which compose a large portion of Russia, to enable him to succeed. For many years but few steps were taken in advance, the native geologists being mostly confined to the universities in the Baltic provinces or the mining districts in the Ural, whilst the immense intermediate region was wholly neglected; and the few strangers, who, like Humboldt and Rose, occasionally visited the empire of the Czar, but too faithfully imitated the native example, drove with all speed across the central regions, and buried themselves among the mines and mountains of the Ural.

* In 1840 the heathen or idol-worshippers in Europe were estimated by an intelligent geographer as amounting to 645,000; of whom 50,000 were in Turkey, the remainder in the Russian empire. The non-Christian population forms 8,000,000, in 250 millions of people. See Von Roon, Erd-Völker und Staatenkunde, vol. iii. Taf. xviii.

From this state of neglect these regions have been completely freed by the splendid work of Mr. (now, as the due reward of his important labours, Sir Roderick) Murchison and his worthy associates, M. De Verneuil and Count von Keyserling. The publication of the 'Silurian System' speedily enabled the Russian geologists to make the interesting discovery that many of the characteristic forms of the older formations of the British isles were also entombed in the rocks of their own land. On learning this fact, Mr. Murchison determined to test the principle of classification applied to these rocks in Britain on the wider field of the Russian Empire, and in the spring of 1840 set out on this enterprise. The whole of that and the following summer were spent in Russia, and the two succeeding ones partly in that country, partly in the neighbouring districts of Germany and Scandinavia. The results are communicated in the splendid volumes before us, which convey a far truer picture of the ancient history of Eastern Europe than a few years ago could have been obtained, not of it only, but even of our own more limited and more accessible islands. Such labours by one who, after serving his country as a soldier in the field, now adorns her by his discoveries in science, deserve all praise.

The great hollow chiefly filled by the Baltic Sea, and its continuation in the gulf of Finland, the great fresh-water lakes of Ladoga and Onega and the White Sea, forms the northern limit of the fossiliferous strata of Russia. Beyond this line, Scandinavia and Finland, with inconsiderable exceptions, consist only of gneiss and other crystalline rocks, devoid of fossils, and occasionally broken up by eruptions of granite or similar igneous masses.

On the southern shore of the gulf of Finland we immediately enter on deposits in which traces of life appear. From the east of Lake Ladoga, a zone of dull, light, grey soil extends by St. Petersburgh through Esthonia.

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