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“Now came the holy Christmas festival. The peasants raised been given of most countries up to the present time, either a polo close by the old wall, and bound an anthrashed bundle of from the want of that scientific education so essential to him oats on it, that the birds of the air might also enjoy the Christmas, who undertakes the task of describing a foreign land and its and have plenty to eat at that time which was held in commemo inhabitants, or from the neglect of observing those minuto ration of the redemption brought to mankind.
“And the sun rose brightly that Christmas morning, and shone details which furnish the most important of ai facts, there is apon the oat-sheat, and upon all the chirping birds that flew yet plenty of scopo for the exercise of his power in this around the pole; and from the wall issued a faint twittering. direction. Whenever, therefore, a man possessed of the The swelling thoughts had at last found vent, and the low sound necessary requirements for accomplishing this work is found was a hymn of joy, as the bird flew forth from its hiding-place.
to devoto himself to the fearful hardships of a traveller's life, “The winter was an unusually severe one. The waters were --wandering among savage or semi-barbarous tribes,-con. frozen thickly over; the birds and the wild animals in the woods had great difficulty in obtaining
food. The little bird, that had so tending with the enervating effects of unfavourable climates, recently left its dark solitude, flew about the country roads, and and frequently having to do battle with the worst forms of when it found by chance a little corn dropped in the ruts, it would disease, he is deserving of the best thanks of his fellows. cat only a single grain itself, while it called all the starving Nor will he find society indisposed to give him a hearing, for sparrows to partake of it. It would also fly to the villages and
as he still may have something to tell not only full of interest towns, and look well about; and where kind hands had strewed but of the highest importance, men will listen to his story, crumbs of bread outside the windows for the birds, it would eat if not to hear of the marvellous, at least to learn something only one morsel itself, and give all the rest to the others.
** At the end of the winter the bird had found and given away of the useful. 60 many crumbs of bread, that the number put together would It is not too much to say that Mr. Atkinson, both from have weighed as much as the loaf upon which little Inger had the kind of knowledge with which his mind is stored, from trodden in order to save her fine shoes from being soiled; and his accurate powers of observation, and from the long training when she had found and given away the very last crumb, the gray he has undergone in his favourite pursuit, is possessed of all wings of the bird became white, and expanded wonderfully.
“' It is flying over the sea !' exclaimed the children, who saw the those qualifications so essential to the modern traveller. His white bird. Now it seemed to dip into the occan, now it rose into book, with some few exceptions, may be taken as a model the clear sunshino; it glit ered in the air ; it disappeared high, of what works of the kind ought to be, and presents a high above; and the children said that it had flown up to the striking contrast to the majority of recent books of travel.
In order to show the extent of the information possessed If there be any reader of the Register who was not by the author, and the arduous labour that he entailed upon already aware that Hans Christian Andersen is not only one himself in the completion of his task, so as not to allow any of the quaintest and freshest, but also one of the healthiest of the myriad forms of nature's workmanship to escape his and most touching of living writers, the story here quoted notice, it is but necessary to refer to the appendix at the end will undoubtedly convince him of the fact. There are of his volume, giving, as it does, a list of the animals and seventeen others as good in the book whence this is takon. plants that flourish in the districts over which his researches We hope, and do not doubt, that they will all find many extended. These comprise a hundred and fifty-three mamreaders.
mals, four hundred and thirty-one birds, and thirteen hundred
and twenty-three trees, shrubs, and flowers. Whatever, thereATKINSON'S TRAVELS IN THE REGIONS OF fore, Mr. Atkinson may have left undone, he has certainly THE AMOOR. *
supplied British science with most important information There must have been something intensely romantic in those respecting the natural history of those vast Asiatic lands which olden times when undiscovered lands invited the lover of have hitherto been looked upon more as a cold and cheerless adventure to cross foaming oceans and rolling seas, holding desert than as a country that could ever occupy any position in up before his mental vision the prospect of lighting upon the grand scheme of civilization. But he bas done much more wonders such as painters had called into existence on their than this. He has rambled over thousands of miles of country, canvas, fiction writers revelled in, and mythology described, including fertile valleys, snow-capped mountains, and sandy but which material eyes had never witnessed. There is at all plains,-has been an eye-witness of some of the grandest times a charm and a fascination in travel which is rather scenery in nature's magnificent panorama,-has mixed with increased than diminished by the contemplation of danger; tribes of human beings of whom nothing was known in this but in those days, when so much of the earth was unknown, country, save that the type of their race existed a score of no bounds could be set to the flights of imagination as to the centuries ago, and since that time has undergone no change,marvels that might be met with in distant climes. The very has minutely surveyed those vast acquisitions added so recently mystery with which everything relating to far-off lands was to the great Russian empire, and likely hereafter to have invested tended to strengthen the inclination to forego the both a commercial and a political interest for Englishmen,comforts of home and the ease of domestic life for the purpose and bas told the tale of his exploits in an easy and agrecablo of wandering over unexplored deserts or sailing across “old style that rivets the attention of the reader to his pages. ocean’s gray and solitary waste," ignorant of the region to
The vast tract of country over which Mr. Atkinson has which the pathway led. The chance of being the first to travelled, and his observations upon which are recorded in make known to mankind tho existence of a region whose the present volume and a previous one, entitled Oriental, marvels should outvie everything that had been portrayed in and Western Siberia, presents many points of the bighest fable, or of a race of men with some physical pec liarity interest alike for the student of science, the political philorendering them more or less perfect than the rest of mankind, sopher, and the lover of tales of adventure. Siberia has been was a temptation not easy to resist.
heretofore associated in the minds of Englishmen with a Now the age of prodigies has passed away, and the travel barten and desolate region, whose intense cold served but to ler is no longer induced to roam abroad with the hope of increase the hardships of those victims of Russian despotism discovering anything out of the ordinary course of nature. who were sent to wear out their lives in its mines. The Almost every spot of earth, too, has been more or less explored, nomadic tribes who wander over the great deserts and and he who rambles over the remotest portion of the world's steppes of Asia, though illustrating to the ethnologist a most vast domain will find a difficulty in selecting any nook or important fact in the unchanging character of their race, corner where he is not treading in the footsteps of some one
were yet so far removed from the regions of civilization, and else. The consequence is, that if he be desirous of having had so rarely come into contact with men capable of judging something to tell which others are ignorant of, his only chance accurately of their peculiarities, that it was dangerous to will be to bring an unusual amount of observation to bear form any theories respecting them. The progress that the upon his subject, so as to make himself acquainted with facts great northern empire has been making in this direction, the and circumstances that had been overlooked by his pre. paramount influence of Cossacks in every part of this extensive decessors. Luckily for him, the imperfect accounts that have region, and, above all, that splendid addition to the Russian
domains of the country to the north of the Amoor, giving to rions on the Confines of India and China este Is Thomas William Arkistos, I heard of as facts, but have not yet been sufficiently considered
• Travels in the Regions of the Upper and Lower dmoor and the Russian Acquisi. the Muscovite an increasing power in China, have been just
London: Hurst and Blackett. 1800.
in their important relations to the welfare of other states. Any and the Balkash, and" to whom all the sultans of the steppes work, therefore, which tends to add to the general stock of did homage." These great spirits, they say, were in the information upon these topics, and others of a kindred charac. habit of fighting terrible battles, and many of the ravines in ter, must be highly acceptable to English readers. Such a the rocks were made by strokes of their swords. A very book is Mr. Atkinson's. The greater part of the work consists curious tradition of the Kora is also connected with an of details of matters of fact that the author himself observed, ancient tomb of a similar character to those just described. - in only a very few cases has he related what he had simply This is stated to be about twenty-eight feet high, forty-two heard from others; and in those cases what he relates was feet in diameter, and of a circular shape, formed like a dome, well authenticated,-and the book thus furnishes a mass of and situated in the valley of the Kora. Around it, a circle, most useful information, all of which may be relied upon enclosing a space of about ten feet wide, has been made by as perfectly correct.
placing a number of largo blocks of quartz. The natives The whole of the earlier part of the volume is occupied approach this with feelings of great veneration, and leave with an account of the travels of the author amongst the behind them strips of their garments " as an offering to the Kirghis, describing accurately their habits and mode of living, souls of the departed.” The tradition, as communicated by their superstitions, their forms and customs, and their a Kirghis named Tarsun, and who believed himself to be a methods of dealing with each other and with such of the rest follower of Ghergiz, was to the effect that there had once of mankind as they may happen to come into contact with. resided several powerful genii in the valley of the Kora, who Mr. Atkinson cominences on the borders of the Siberian committed fearful depredations upon others of the order. frontier at Semipalàtinsk, but his movements from place to Their position was so impregnable that, notwithstanding placo are often so rapid, and always so eccentric, that to they robbed and plundered every one, none could successfully follow him in detail would either be to reproduce his volume attack them. At last the aid of Shaitan was called in, and a in these pages or to become tedious in the description of compact was entered into with him by the opposing forces latitudes and routes. Besides, a great similarity, both as to to assist in destroying these monsters. The result was that the people and the country itself, seems to prevail through another battle was fought, and, just as the genii were becomthe whole of the district Mr. Atkinson explored, so that, in ing victorious, fire, and flame, and lightning, and thunder, speaking below of some of his observations and experiences, and red-hot rocks were the weapons used against them. The there is no need that we should specify in each case the exact panic-stricken genii, recognising at once the hand of Sbaitan, locality referred to.
retired from the contest back into the valley. The opposing One fact which seems to have often forced itself on the legions followed them, led on by Shaitan, and buge rocks attention of Mr. Atkinson, in travelling through these regions, were hurled down, burying the genii beneath the fearful was, that a prior race had once inhabited the country, and ruins. The Kora was then sealed for ages,-the term Kora bad since disappeared, leaving behind them no trace of their meaning closed, -and no one dared to take up his abode doings except numerous tombs, tumuli, and earthworks, and there. At last, a very bold and reckless chief determined to these of such a character that nothing could be learned from invade the sanctity of this enchanted ground; he, therefore, them respecting those by whom they were erected. That pitched Inis yourts on the sacred spot, killed animals for a they were a great nation seems to be obvious, from the festival, and kept up a revel with his followers, all of whom extent of these vestiges; but when they flourished, at what were delighted at the courage of their master. Suddenly, period they passed away, and what,-if any,-existing race however, loud peals of thunder shook the rocks, and one of they were allied to, are problems which remain unsolved. the genii appeared, flashing his sword in terrible anger.
“One of these ancient works, on the Lopson near its outlets Addressing the sultan, in a voice that made every heart from the Kara-tan, is a parallelogram about 700 yards in length quail, he said, "Monster, thou hast dared to bring thy slaves and 300 in breadth. The earth walls are now about twelve feet hither and pollute this sacred spot, and for this thou shalt high, and have been considerably higher. Their thickness is die.” With this he flashed his sword, severed the rock, and about sixteen feet at the bottom, and nine feet at the top. This in a moment all were entombed. The women of the tribe, enclosure was entered by four gates, one being in the centre of each side, but the eastern end has been partly destroyed by the hearing of the terrible event, wept and grieved very much, river, which is gradually cutting down the bank. Half a mile to till at last a spirit, called the “ White Lady," interceded for the north and south are numerous mounds, and at about a mile them, and they were permitted to raise the tumulus. from the western end there is a large tumulus, about one hundred What may be the vestige of truth contained in this legend, and fifty feet in diameter and fifty feet high. The people who produced them were a very different race to the present occupiers One thing is perfectly clear, namely, that nothing is known at
or whether there is any, it is exceedingly difficult to say. of the country, and had made an extraordinary advance in the present day of the race of people who preceded the preagriculture and mining. In one of the small mountain ridges on my route I found a fine specimen of Malachite, and came upon the sent inhabitants of this vast country, and to whose career in remains of ancient mines most probably worked at a period long the far past these tombs and monuments point. Every before thoso of Siberia were discovered by the Chutes, who left scientific reader of Mr. Atkinson's work will regret that its many of their flint instruments in the depths of the Altai." enterprising author did not cause some of the tumuli to be
On various occasions he speaks of tumuli being scattered opened. If that had been done, a clue might perhaps have over a large plain, indicating the remains of a very ancient been obtained to what now remains wrapt in dark obscurity. cemetery, and looking like “ a vast city of the dead.” Some If, however, our author tells nothing regarding the past times the tombs are small and very numerous, at others inhabitants of this land, he gives a most interesting descripenormously large; in all pointing back to a most remote era. tion of those who at present range over its wide plains, One he describes as one hundred and twenty feet in and fight, in their simple and untutored way, the battle of diameter and thirty-seven feet high, with a shallow ditch, life upon its uncultivated steppes. They lead the same twelve feet wide and four feet deep, running round its base,” wandering life as their predecessors did of old ; they never and surrounded by innumerable others, distributed over an area cultivate the soil, but feed their herds upon the plain, and of four or five square miles. In most cases the Kirghis have change their place of residence as inclination, climate, or no tradition whatever regarding these ancient sepulchres and other circumstances may prompt them. Most of them appear monuments of the past, in others a legend of an absurd and to have a summer and a winter location, which they adopt whimsical character remains as their only history. Two according to the change of temperature. The chiefs of the large circular tombs were met with, of a corical shape, about various tribes are generally very rich in horses and cattle, fifty-five feet high, and open at the top. On the south side and they barter these away when occasion demands, and of each there were two apertures, one above the other,--the opportunity offers, for the products of civilization. One chief lower ones being about four feet, and the upper ones about two is spoken of as being possessed of nearly ten thousand horses, feet square. The walls were four feet in thickness, and con -whilst others of his tribe had from five thousand to seven sisted of stone obtained from the neighbouring rocks. In thousand each. Sometimes a chief would possess as many as the inside were two large graves and six smaller ones. These two hundred and fifty thousand sheep, besides camels and the natives look upon as the tombs of two mighty genij who horned cattle almost beyond number. Herds of fifty thou. once ruled over the whole of the country between Nor-Zaisan sand sheep, twenty thousand horned cattle, ten thousand
horses, and over a thonsand camels, are stated to be com over with some article of fur or skin, and manage to find monly met with on these vast plains, and yet, so wide is room for a great number of sleepers,-biped and quadruped, the range that the eye takes in, that these vast herds appear in a very small compass. Mr. Atkinson mentions one of to occupy a most insignificant space.
their residences, in which he had once the honour of being The Chief is held in great respect by all bis people, but he lodged for the night. Although only about twenty-five feet is generally a well-built and courageous man, great in battle, in diameter, and half filled by boxes, carpets, and other a terror to his enemy, and perhaps, after all, somewhat feared household articles, it was yet able to provide sleeping even by those who acknowledge his sway. His wives and accommodation for the chief, his two wives, four children, children, royal though they are, are pot exempted from their three young kids, and four young lambs. common share of toil. The sultana milks the cows, sheep, Their articles of diet and culinary preparations, as described and goats, night and morning, and the young princes and by Mr. Atkinson, certainly do not appear to present any very princesses are expected to assist. “The maiden feels no tempting fare to an Englishman. Thoy have a kind of cheese, degradation in milking her kine, nor in saddling her horse, called hyran, which forms a large portion of their food during and when mounted, with hawk on wrist, manages hor steed the winter, and is made by boiling the milk of different like an Amazon.” Idleness they do not tolerate. In all ranks, animals in a cauldron,-stirring and skimming it the while, however exe'ted, labour is practised and never considered till it becomes thick, and then cutting it into squares and degrading. Yet these nomadic chiefs take no little pride in drying it in the sun. The principal objection to this, and their genealogy, and trace back their descent from Genghiz it applies to everything else that they prepare, is that they Khan or Timour, with the same self-satisfied superiority as never wash any of the vessels used in its preparation, and, that with which the English nobleman boasts of his Norman as the milk pails are made of leather, the result may be ancestors. Some of them even go further, and claim descent easily guessed. The following is a description of brick tea, from the genii, as the ancients did from the gods. They as drunk by the Kirghis have no Herald's College to assist them in their genealogical “Brick tea is a solid mass, about eleven inches long, six inches researches, but they are not left altogether to their own learn. wide, and one and a half inches thick, and is made from the last ing in the matter. They boast their poets, and to the pro- and stalks being dried, they are made wet, mixed with bullock's
gatherings and the refuse of the tea crop. Instead of the leaves fession of a bard is added that of genealogist,
,-so that the blood, and pressed into a mould, when the mass becomes moro same person sings their war songs and traces his sultan's solid than a brick. When it is used, a man takes an axe and pedigree. Mr. Atkinson has given a glowing description of chops off some small pieces. These are bruised between two the effect produced by the singing of one of these unlettered stones, rubbed in the hands, and then thrown into the cauldron, shepherd-poets, than whom - Homer was never listened to A bowl of smitanka,' sour clotted cream, is added, with a little with more attention."
salt and a handful of millet meal; these ingredients are boiled
for half-an-hour, and then served up hot. Before handing it to "When he sang of the mountain-scenes around, the pastoral the guests, small portions are taken out of the cauldron with a habits of the people, their flocks and herds, the fuces of his spoon, and thrown to the four winds, as an offering to the hearers were calm, and they sat unmoved. But when he began gods." to recite the warlike deeds of their race, their eyes flashed with delight; as he proceeded, they were worked up into a passion,
For bread they use dried fruit,-other vegetables they have and some grasped their battle-axes, and sprang to their feet in a none. Mutton is produced at every dinner, but beef is never state of frenzy. Then followed a mournful strain, telling of the touched, unless absolute hunger drives to it. The most death of a chief, when all excitement ceased, and every ono delicate of all dishes that can be placed before either Kirghis listened with deep attention."
Tartar or Kalmuck is horseflesh, which they serve up boiled, The Kirghis appear to indulge in various kinds of amuse- broiled, or smoked. Opium smoking has recently become ments,--chiefly, of course, in amusements of an athletic prevalent amongst the more wealthy, the drug being procharacter. They are expert wrestlers, and their horse-racing cured from Tartar merchants. In their persons they are may fairly vie,-if not in the fashion of the spectators, at described as very dirty, altogether eschewing the use of least in the quality of the steeds, their rapidity of motion, water. Their wearing apparel in summer consists of two or and endurance-with Epsom or Newmarket. The wrestling three silk or cotton kalats, or dressing gowns.
“ These are is carried on in the presence of the Sultan, by a couple of made double, so that when one side is dirty the garment is men, whose only clothing consists in a small calico bandage turned, and a new side appears.” In the course of time this tied round their loins. They grapple each other's large and too becomes dirty, when it is turned again, and this process greasy limbs, display the skill and dexterity of proficients in goes on till the whole dress falls to pieces from rags and the art, and test the strength of one another to the utmost. filth. The children, up to eight years of age, in summer wear At last, one is thrown, the couple retire from the field, and no clothing. They "take a roll on the bank of a muddy two more enter the arena. When these contests take place pool, the scorching sun quickly bakes the coating they between different tribes, they are conducted with the savage thus obtain, and their dress is complete." In winter, fur determination that they shall prove fatal on one side or the coats are worn by both sexes and all ages, making it other. Indeed, they do not hesitate to attempt this with difficult to distinguish the men from the women, Their opponents of their own tribe; but usually the Sultan puts a étiquette with regard to females is directly the reverse of stop to the sport before it reaches this deadly climax. The that of civilized life. In handing round any article of focd man who can count the greatest number of opponents sacri. drink, no fomale is served till every male, young and old, ficed to his prowess, receives the highest honour during his has had his share ; and when a stranger inquires after the hife; after his death, tradition makes him a hero." With health of the family, ho commences with the head of the the Kirghis, the horse-races are won more by the physical household, then takes the sons, proceeds downwards through endurance than by the swiftness of the steeds, as the distance the camels, horses, oxen, sheep, goats, and dogs, and ends run is from thirty to forty English miles. The number of with the ladies. horses taking part on tho occasion when Mr. Atkinson hap In matters of marriage, as amongst some of the more pened to be a spectator was forty, each of which was mounted civilized nations, the young lady to be given away has no by a young Kirghis, whose jockeying was highly ereditable. voice in the selection of her partner for life. She is bought The eścitement occasioned was intense, the cheering on the and sold like the other property of her father; a certain prico part of the spectators, the shouts of the riders, the gay and is placed upon her, and she passes into the possession of any brilliant costumes, and the extent of the course, all tended to one who can pay it. Sometimes in the case of the daughters produce a most powerful effect. The race was sharply run, of a sultan, such an exorbitant sum is demanded that there the contest severe, and three horses ran past the winning is some difficulty in finding a purchaser. The first point spent at the same instant, several more being very close upon that has to be settled in a betrothal is the kalym or marriage them.
portion," which consists of a number of camels, horses, oxen, The domestic life of these people is such as must neces. and sheep." These are handed over to the father of the sarily belong to nomadic tribes. They reside in their yourts, lady, who holds them in trust for his daughter in case she which they erect or take down with great rapidity. At should be returned upon his hands, which sometimes night thøy roll themselves up in a carpet, or cover themselves | happens.
Several superstitious legends are related as being firmly “ The vast Asiatic plain lay stretched out around me, extending believed in by the Kirghis, but these are probably no more
more than two thousand miles in length, from the Caspian on the absurd than many of those held by much more civilized west, to the Barluch mountains on the east. Its breadth is about
one thousand two hundred miles, and over this enormous space peoples, and have doubtless had a similar origin. Demons are
the nomade tribes wander with their flocks and herds. It was & represented as guarding valuable treasures deposited by the scene never to be forgotten, causing me to stop my horse and look genii, in a vast cavern in one of the mountain gorges, from around in wonder at the desolate landscape to the southward. which issue clouds of steam, flashes of lightning, and great Herbago there was none; all appeared scorched up by the snn. noises. Gold has always been believed to be so guarded in At some ten miles' distance there was a broad tract of country all lands, therefore in this there is nothing remarkable, and covered with a substance of dazzling whiteness; beyond was a as to the supernatural noises and lights, let the modern lake, some twenty-five or thirty miles in length, and about fifteen
miles in breadth, the shores quite flat, with a belt of reeds, about spirit-rapping of England be accepted as their parallel. A two miles in width, extending round it. To the east, and at a huge cavern, terrible in its aspect, but awfully grand when great distance, the purple peaks of the Tarbagatai were visible; viewed as a specimen of natural scenery, into which a river but on the whole space within the range of my vision not a single was constantly carrying its rolling waters, and hurling them abode of man could be seen." down a dark abyss, is believed to constitute the portal lead. Large sand pillars gathered by the whirlwind and elerated ing into the regions of Tartarus, the abode of Shaitan. Mr. a hundred feet into mid air, twisting themselves into Atkinson entered this dismal place, much to the consternation various contortions, appearing to the spectator like mighty of theso untutored Asiatics, and admits the scene, though serpents just rising from the earth into life and motion; nothing but the natural was there, to have been awful the mirage on the steppes, deluding the traveller into the enough to shake the strongest nerves. What wonder that belief that cities and forests, and regiments of horsemen, and imagination should have conjured up dark spirits to preside beautiful lakes, were before him, luring him on only to over its terrible abyss.
perplex him by soon dissolving into the thin mist; terrific Throughout this work the religious devotions of the Kirghis sand storms, sweeping over the desert and burying all that are often referred to, yet not a word is mentioned of the come within their wide range,-horsemen, caravans, and nature of the religion they profess. Mr. Atkinson praises even whole herds of animals; earthquakes, shaking the hills Russia for having sent no priests with her Cossacks for the to their foundations, and rolling like subterranean thunder, till purpose of extending Christianity among the Asiatics, and man and beast stand still to gaze with awe at the trembling declares his own conviction that it is impossible to make mountains and falling rocks; winds, which carry before them converts amongst these people, but he breathes nowhere a whole forests of large cedars and pines, hurling down theyourts, syllable as to whether they have any form of public worship tearing their voilock coverings to shreds, sweeping children of their own, nor of the views they entertain regarding God away to perish in the snow, and rendering the strongest and another life. This is very much to be regretted; because man powerless to keep his feet before their blast ;-these are there can be no doubt whatever that a knowledge of the a few of the grand scenes in nature's panorama which Mr. religious sentiments of any race furnishes one of the best Atkinson has witnessed on the Asiatic steppes, and described keys to its general character. It is to be hoped that, when in the work before us. another edition of this book is called for, so palpable a The latter part of the book is devoted to a description, much deficiency will be supplied, by the author giving the world more minute in its details than the earlier portion, of the the benefit of that information upon this important topic countries lying immediately in the neighbourhood of the which he undoubtedly possesses.
Amoor, and which have so recently fallen into the possession The natural appearance of the country, and its productions, of Russia. Mr. Atkinson everywhere speaks most highly of organic and inorganic, are described in a masterly manner; the policy adopted by the government of St. Petersburg, and though, even with respect to these, the scientific reader obviously thinks it much to the advantage, both of the will feel that in many cases more minute details would countries immediately concerned, and of the world at large, have been desirable. Curious rocks are sometimes spoken of, that the Russian empire should be extended in this direction. a description of which would have been highly interesting to The Chinese find no favour in his eyes ; they are despotic, the geologist; but nothing is said of their structure, nor of cruel, and barbarous, and it would most certainly not be the nature of the materials which enter into their composition, regretted by Mr. Atkinson if the celestial empire were and no clue can, therefore, be gained as to the peculiar for added to-morrow to the domains of Alexander II. The mation to which they belong, nor to the period of their origin, Cossacks are everywhere the pioneers of Russia. They and the natural phenomena to which they owe their rise. advance into lands lying beyond her boundary; they barter The scenery of the country, according to Mr. Atkinson, is flour, powder, and lead, with the natives for furs; they settle magnificent in the extreme. Gigantic mountain masses, down in the districts, and create a kind of civilization, the whose elevated peaks point up toward heaven's azure rault, end of which is that Russia obtains possession of the country. have been severed into two, as though by the sudden force of 'Tis true this latter event is not generally brought about by some supernatural arm, creating a wide gorge between the bloodshed and force. It is the old tale of Russian diplomacy. dissevered parts, down which waters are hurled with fearful Ever since 1643, when the first party of Cossack hunters rapidity, the noise of their fall resounding like the thunder's pushed their way up the Amoor, Russia has had her eye echo. Huge pinnacles of rocks, standing out in bold relief to upon these tracts of land. Seven years later, Khabaroff the smooth and placid scenery around, and seeming to have passed up at the head of a body of Cossacks, and selected been carved by giant hands a thousand centuries ago; deep Albazin for a fortress. Here he settled and built the fort, thus ravines and mighty torrents, and dangerous precipices, and rendering himself secure against the attacks of the Chinese. awful chasms, and rugged masses of stone, on which the light. The result was that a town sprang up rapidly. However, ning's flash plays with flickering but terrific glare; storms and the Cossack inhabitants, and other daring and desperate tempests, and desolating hail, sweeping away all vegetation characters that frequently joined them, were not content to before its destructive power; gentle rivulets swelling into live peaceably in their own town, but must needs cross the floods, and falling avalanches, and black abysses, and noisy Amoor and plunder the Chinese. The result was as might cataracts, and snow-clad hills, and mighty winds hurling down have been expected; the Celestials, in 1657, summoned their whole forests in their onward dashing course ;-these form army, sent them to attack the fortress, and, after a siege of but a small portion of the grand spectacles that repeat them- two years, the Cossacks had to surrender through want of selves a score of times before the traveller's wondering gaze provisions, and Albazin was destroyed. In 1665, Cossack in these mysterious lands.
hunters were again in Albazin, restoring their old habitations; Amongst the whole, however, nothing can be more novel and five years later, Nekifir Tchernigovsky followed them and startling than one of those vast deserts that over and with an organized body of men, and restored the fortress. anon rise up in the pathway of the wanderer across these Again the Chinese attacked them, and, after a long series of regions, seemingly to lure him on to death by removing every struggles, in which the greatest bravery and courago were physical obstacle to his onward march. Here is a description displayed by an Englishman named Beaton, who was at the of one of them :
head of the Cossacks, and who more than once managed to
hold the fortress against forces ten times more numerous
Albazin, but that Russia should surrender all her settlements suggested methods of superseding coal-gas as a means of pro-
voltaic electricity between carbonaceous points, a light of suracknowledging her defeat, but that she always retains her passing brilliancy would be obtained. During these sixty years determination to conquer, and in the end does conquer. this brilliant light has been exhibited upon the lecture table to So it was in this case. In a hundred and thirty years the admiring eyes of myriads of spectators, and thousands of from the time she was so humbled by China she obtains inventive minds have been silently working, --some in the pure possession of the whole country to the north of the Amoor, ardour of scientific investigation, others in the feverish pursuit quite away to the sea, thus opening up a way for her trade, of the wealth which success would probably command, --in the by means of this magnificent river, into her vast possessions which emit this light might be chained down and compelled to
eager search for the means by which the beautiful sparks in Central Asia. Aš Mr. Atkinson remarks, "Were it now minister to human requirements. either necessary or politic, Mourayieff, with his Cossacks,
In order to the better understanding of what has hitherto been could pitch his celestial-born majesty, mandarins, pigtails, accomplished to render this magnificent light commonly avail. and all, into the Gulf of Petchelee." Nearly half Manjoura able, it will be well to illustrate the mode in which voltaic has already been added to the Russian empire, and no one electricity exerts its action. If a plate of zino and a plate of who understands the policy of that nation will expect her to copper be immersed, without touching each other, in a vessel
containing an acid solution, no peculiar effect will be observed ; stop at her present conquests. There is a valuable track of but if a strip of metal or a piece of wire be laid across their upper land on the southern side of the river, more especially that ends, or soldered to them, so as to effect a metallic connexion lying between the Upper Amoor and the Soungaria, which, between the two, an electrical action immediately commences, by the decision of a mere geographical question, may fall a current of electricity passing from the zinc plate through the into her possession, without any change in the treaty. The acid solution (which acts as a conductor to it) to the plate of geographical problem is whether the Soungaria, or the copper, and thence through the slip of metal or wire again to the Argoun, and the Keroulin, be the true source of the Amoor. Will continually pass, until, by the chemical action of the acid
zinc plate, thus forming "a circuit," through which the current Much may be said on both sides of the question, but it is one
upon the zinc, which is simultaneously occurring, either the acid the discussion of which would be out of place in this paper. is exhausted or the zinc is destroyed. This action, however, goes The value of these recently acquired possessions to Russia is on almost imperceptibly, giving no evidence of its existence thus pointed out by Mr. Atkinson:
beyond the gradual decomposition of the acid and the zino. “Russia has obtained a territory more valuable than all the When more than one pair of plates is used, the electric current
is proportionally increased in intensity. A combination of several supposed cotton districts of Africa, watered by hundreds of streams flowing into the great artery that passes through its entire length. pairs is what is termed a voltaic“ battery." The climate is good and well suited for Europeans; its animals
Thero are many ways in which the current of electricity thus belong to both the cold and warm regions, while its luxuriant generated may be rendered visually and operatively apparent. herbage and magnificent flora prove that the temperature is neither
For example, if the wire by which the zinc and copper plates are severe in winter nor excessively hot in summer. It is possible united be covered with silk, and coiled round a piece of soft iron,
the latter becomes a magnet so long as the current is passing. that some of these great plains may be suited for the culture of the cotton plant; if so, a supply of this valuable product will, ere
and will support a weight; or, if the wire be formed into a spiral long, be found at the Russian ports in the sea of Japan, and in the coil, and the bar of iron be introduced into it, the bar of iron will be Gulf of Tartary."
instantly drawn up, and suspended in the centre of the coil, at the
same time becoming, as before, temporarily magnetic. Again, if we According to Mr. Atkinson, the country is admirably cut the wire which unites the
plates and completes the circuit, and, adapted for colonists, who can clear large tracts of land with attaching a piece of charcoal to each of the cut ends, again bring but little trouble, and cultivate the soil greatly to their own them in contact by means of the charcoal, we shall thus again advantage. It is said to be rich in minerals, and the mountain complete the circuit, but the points of the pieces of charcoal will chain to the south of the Oussoure is believed, by some, to be speedily become white hot, and a vivid spark of brilliant light a second California. Indeed, gold mines are already being points gradually from each other to a distance proportionate to
The spark once produced, we may withdraw the worked in one of the southern affluents of the Soungaria. A the power of the battery, and, notwithstanding this separation, large island in the Amoor furnishes excellent wild grapes. the eloctricity will continue to flow on in a brilliant arc of the Rich pastures abound, where tens of thousands of cattle can purest light until the battery power is expended, or the increased foed; and the land is admirably adapted for agricultural distance between the points, from their wearing away or disin. tillage. Magnificent timber, suited for every purpose, -oak, tegrating, becomes too great for the electricity to overcome. It is elm, birch, and pine,—is distributed by nature over this points, which constitutes what is denominated the electric light."
this arc of light, continuously flowing between the two charcoal region with no sparing hand. The waters teem with fish of
When, from the distance between the two points becoming various kinds, and animals roam over the land, many of greater than the electricity can traverso, the light is extinguished, which are adapted for food, while others afford furs, for which it will not be sufficient to simply bring the points a little nearer there is always a ready sale. Its flora is magnificontly beau. to each other; they must again be brought into actual contact. tiful, and the whole of its scenery grand in the extrome. The Now, if the carbonaceous points suffered no change, and the quan. agriculturist, the miner, the sportsman, the grazier, and the tity of electricity generated by the battery continued to be precisely nian of commerce, may each find in it a land suited to his during which it was in action, there would have been no dificulty
uniform from the commencement to the termination of the period favourite pursuit.
whatever in the practical application of the light, and the only The wild races who now occupy the country, and who point for consideration would have been its relative cost as com. subsist by hunting and fishing, must, as Mr. Atkinson very pared with the cost of other means of artificial illumination. correctly points out, speedily disappear before, advancing This, however, is not the case. The charcoal points are disintocivilization, and there is consequently a field opened here for grated, and waste away; and the battery gradually but constantly the enterprising among all nations. Whether they may feel impeded the practical application of the electric light. The mode
deteriorates in power. These are the chief difficulties which have it as an objection to emigration to the regions of the Amoor in which the first has been overcome is ingenious in the highest that it would oblige them to reside under a Russian govern degree. ment, is a matter for their own consideration; it is clear that It has been already explained that if the conducting wire of a Mr. Atkinson does not see any objection here.
voltaic battery be formed into a spiral coil, a piece of iron introMr. Atkinson's volume is undoutedly a great and valuable duced into the coil would be drawn up and suspended in it so long addition to the literature of travel, and if it be extensively as the current was passing through the wire. The stronger the read, as there is little doubt it will be, it will render our current, of course the more powerfully would the piece of iron be countrymen much more fully acquainted than they have been the iron would of course Pall by virtue of its own gravity. The
drawn upwards, and vice versa ; while, when the current ceased, hitherto with the countries and peoples with wbich it deals. mode in which these facts havo been taken advantage of, for the