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mountains, on the south, to the cape of Faimura on the north, 28 degrees of latitude, is 1960 miles.
Boundarics. East by a part of Asia, and the seas of Kamchatka 1 and Ochotsk; north by the Arctic ocean; west the frontiers cor
respond with those between Asia and Europe. The southern limits require more explanation. The river Cuban, part of the Caucasian chain, and an ideal line, divide the Russian territory from Turkey
and Persia. The boundary then ascends along the north of the Casi pian, through the stepp, or desert of Issim, and the eastern shore
of the river Ob, to where it issues from the Altaian mountains, when it meets the vast empire of China ; and proceeds along that chain to the sources of the Onon, where it includes a considerable region, called Daouria, extending about 200 miles in breadth, to the south of the mountains called Yablonny; the limit between Russia and Chinese Tartary being partly an ideal line; and partly the river Argoon, which joined with the Onon, constitutes the great river Amur. Thence the boundary returns to the mountainous chain, and follows a branch of it to a promontory on the north of the mouth of the Amur, or Amoor.
Divisions.' See Russian Empire in Europe.
Religion. The Grecian system of the christian faith, which is embraced by the Russians, has made inconsiderable progress in their Asiatic possessions. Many of the Tartar tribes in the S. W. are Mahometans; and others follow the superstition of Dalai Lama, of which an account will be given in the description of the Chinese empire. But the more eastern Tartars are generally of the Shaman religion, a system chiefly founded on the self-existence of matter, a spiritual world, and the general restitution of all things.*
The archiepiscopal see of Tobolsk is the metropolitan of Russian Asia in the north, and that of Astrachan in the south. There is also the see of Irkutsk and Nershinsk, and perhaps a few others of recent foundation
At Karras, 530 miles S. W. of Astrachan, and 260 N. of Trifflis, is a missionary station, supported by a missionary society at Edinburgh. The Mahommedan religion prevails in this region, to a great extent. The missionaries have been patronized by the Russian government, and their labors have been successful. Mr. Brunton, one of the missionaries on this station, lately deceased, has translated the Scriptures into the Turkish language, which is understood by all the Tartars, who can read, from the banks of the Wolga, to shores of the Euxine, and is also spoken over many extensive and populous regions in the east. Types and paper have been sent to the amount of £600 sterling to this station, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, in aid of the benevolent object, and the New Testament has been already published, and is read with interest by some of the most learned Mahommedans. This station is not far distant from the Sonnas, in the Caucasian mountains, already noticed, and who in connection with this mis.
• Tooke's Russia, 1789, iv. 42.
sion, may be cf cssential service in spreading the knowledge of
, that of Tobolsk in the west, and Irkutsk in the east. The smaller provinces are Kolivan, Nershinsk, Yakutsk, and Ochotsk. In the S. W. is the government of Caucasus, with one or two other divisions, intermingling Europe and Asia. At a distance from the capital the government becomes proportionably lax, and tribute is the chief mark of subjection.
Population. See Table. The population of Siberia, according to Tooke, cannot be computed at above three millions and a half. Small Russian colonies have been established in several of the distant provinces and isles.
Manners and Customs. The manners and customs of Asiatic Russia vary with the tribes by whom that extensive region is peopled. The Tartars, properly so called, are the most numerous, not only remaining in their ancient kingdom of Siberia, but constituting many other tribes in the west. Next in importance are the Monguis, of whom one tribe, the Kalmuks, are found to the west of the Caspian ; while the others, called Burats, Tonguts, &c. are chiefly around the sea of Baikal. Yet farther to the east are the Mandshurs, or Tunguses. The manners of the Tartars, who are the same people with the Huns of antiquity, are minutely described by those authors who have delineated the fall of the Roman empire.
The Monguls are rather short in stature, with a hat visage, small oblique eyes, thick lips, and a short chin, with a scanty beard ; the bair black, and the complexion of a reddish or yellowish brown ; but that of the women is clear, and of a healthy white and red. They have surprising quickness of sight and apprehension, and are docile, hospitable, beneficent, active, and volup tuous. Such, with some slight shades of difference, are also the manners of the Tartars and Mandshurs.
The three distinct barbaric nations of Tartars, Monguls, and Tunguses, or Mandshurs, are by far the most interesting in these middle regions of Asia, as their ancestors have overturned the greatest empires, and repeatedly influenced the destiny of half the globe. Of these the Monguls are the chief people, and the account already given of their manners will suffice to impart an idea of the ethical condition of Asiatic Russia.
Language. The languages of all these original nations are radically different; and among the Tunguses, Monguls, and Tartars, there are some slight traces of literature ; and not a few manuscripts in their several languages. The history of the Tartars, by Abulgasi, is a favorable specimen of Tartaric composizion. The late emperor of China ordered many of the best Chinese works to be translated into the Mandshur language, which, having an alphabet, may be more easily acquired than the origi
In the Mongul language there are also many books, written in the various countries to which their wide conquests extended. Superior, even amid their barbarism, to the chief original nations
of Africa and America, the central races of Asia deserve an attention, which has been lavished upon inferior objects.
Cities and Towns. In Asiatic Russia, the principal city is Astrachan, at the mouth of the Volga, which is supposed to contain 70,000 inhabitants. This city was founded by the Monguls of Kipschak. In 1554 the Monguls were expelled. Astrachan is built on several small hills, that rise amid the meadows of the Volga. There are 25 Russian churches, and 2 convents. The Armenians, Lutherans, and Papists, have also their places of worship; and even the Hindoos have been permitted to erect a temple.
Azof, on the Asiatic side of the Don, is of small importance, except as a fortified post.
On passing the Uralian-chain, first occurs the city of Tobolsk, which contains only about 15,000 souls ; but is esteemed the capital of Siberia. Tobolsk is more distiuguished as the residence of the governor and archbishop, than for the importance of its
commerce. The upper town stands on a hill, on the east side of in the Irtish, and contains a stone fortress of some strength. Indian
goods are brought here by Kalmuck and Bucharian merchants, ons and provisions are cheap and plentiful.
Kolyvan is a town of some consequence, on the river Ob. In " the neighborhood there are silver mines of considerable produce.
To the north of Kolyvan is Tomsk, said to contain about 8000 souls.
On the river Angara, which issues from the sea of Baikal, stands ga Irkutsk, supposed to contain 12,000 inhabitants. It is the chief
mart of the commerce between Russia and China, the see of an archbishop, and the seat of supreme jurisdiction over eastern Siberia.* The numerous officers and magistrates have introduced
the customs and fashions of Petersburg, and European equipages i are not uncommon in this distant region.
On the wide and frozen Lena, slands Yakutsk, with some stone churches; but the houses are mostly of wood, and inhabited chief.' ly by Russians. The Lena is here about two leagues in width, (though about 700 miles from its mouth) but is greatly impeded with ice ; and there are only a few small barks, chiefly employed in supplying the town with provisions. Ochotsk, on the sea of the same name, may be rather regarded as a station than a town.
Manufactures. There are some manufactures, particularly in leather, at Astrachan ; and salt is prepared there, and in several other places in Asiatic Russia. Isinglass is chiefly manufactured on the shores of the Caspian, from the sounds or air bladder of the sturgeon, and the beluga. Kaviar is the salted roe of large fish. There is a considerable manufacture of nitre, about 40 miles north of Astrachan. The Tartars and Bashkirs make felts of a large size, some of which are exported. The Russian leather is chietly fabricated in the European provinces, being tanned with willow bark, and afterwards stained. Shagreen is prepared from the
• Lesseps, ii. 344.
hides of horses or asses, but only a particular part of the back is
Commerce. The chief commerce of this part of the Russian
Climate and Seasons. In Asiatic Russia the climate extends from the vine at the bottom of Caucasus, to the solitary lichen, on the rocks of the Arctic ocean. Through the greater part of Siberia, the most southern frontier being about 50°, while the northern ascends to 78°; the general climate may more justly be regarded as frigid than temperate ; being, in three quarters of the country, on a level with that of Norway and Lapland, unsoftened by the gales of the Atlantic. To the south of the sea of Baikal, the climate parallels that of Berlin and the north of Germany, so that the finest and most fertile regions in middle Asia belong to the Chinese.
Face of the Country. In a general view of Asiatic Russia, the northern and eastern parts present vast marshy plains, covered with almost perpetual snow, and pervaded by enormous rivers, which, under masses of ice, pursue their dreary way to the Arctic ocean. Even the central parts of Siberia seem destitute of trees, vegetation being checked by the severe cold of so wide a continent. Towards the south there are vast forests. The sublime scenes around the sea of Baikal are agreeably contrasted with the marks of human industry, the cultivated field and the garden.
Soil and Agriculture. Many parts of Siberia are totally incapable of agriculture; but in the southern and western districts the soil is of remarkable fertility. Toward the north of Kolyvan barley generally yields more than iwelve fold, and oats commonly twenty fold. Exclusive of winter wheat, most of the usual European grains prosper in southern Siberia. The best rhubarb abounds on the banks of the Ural, or Jaik, in the southern districts watered by the Yencsei, and in the mountains of Daouria.
But in no part of the Russian empire has agriculture made much progress, nor indeed is it possible, while the peasantry are slavesy and sold with the soil.
Tooke's View, iij. 591. + See Bell's animated description of this region.
Rivers. Some of the largest rivers of Asia belong to the Russian empire, nearly equalling in the length of their course any othkers on the globe. Of these the principal are the Oby, the Yenesei, the Lena, the Amur, and the Wolga, which have been already described.
Mountains. The Úralian and Alcaian mountains pass through this region, and have been already described.
Stepps. On the eastern side of the Wolga begins an extensive stepp, formerly called that of the Kalmuks, from tribes who used to roam there, till they withdrew from the Russian dominions in 1771. To the S. it is bounded by the Caspian Sea, and the lake Aral; while to the N. it may be regarded as connected with the stepp
of Issim; and on the .. may be considered as extending to the river Sarusa ; the greater part not belonging to the Russian dominions, but being abandoned to the wandering Kirguses. This vast desert extends about 700 miles from E. to W. and including Issim, nearly as far from N. to S. but on the N. of the Caspian the breadth does not exceed 220. A ridge of sandy hills stretches from near the termination of the Uralian chain towards the Caspian; the rest is a prodigious sandy level, with sca shells, and salt pools.
The stepp of Barabin, N. W. of Omsk, is about 400 miles in length, and 300 in breadth, containing a few salt lakes, but in general of a good black soil, interspersed with forests of birch. That of Issim aspires but rarely to the same quality: and in both are found many iombs, inclosing the remains of pastoral chiefs, Tartar or Mongul.
ISLANDS BELONGING TO ASIATIC RUSSIA.
The Kurilian isles extend from the southern promontory af Kamchatka towards the land of Jesso and Japan, being supposed to be about 20 in numher, of which the largest are Poro Muschis, and Mokanturu. Several of these islands are volcanic; and some contain forests of birch, alder, and pine. Most of them swarm with foxes of various colors. Even after the discoveries of La Perouse, it is difficult to distinguish what particular isles in the south of this chain are implied by the Russian appellations, and it would even appear that the Russian navigators had, with their usual confusion, described the same islands under different names. The inhabitants of the Kurilian isles seem to be of similar origin with the Kamchadals; and in the interior of some is a people called hairy Kurilians, from what circumstance is not explaineil.
THE Chinese empire, embracing the extensive conquests of the western countries, made the last century, may now be considered as extending from thusc parts of the Pacific Ocean called the Chi