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running backwards and forwards with given to charity; and the author beds and mattresses, pillows and bed-lin- gives various examples of the exeren, shoobs and baggage. Many of the cise of those virtues. On the other beds and mattresses had no inviting ap- hand, deception is stated to be the pearance.
characteristic of all ranks, and seve. There is a still more curious acral anecdotes are told in proof of count of a Russian fête given in this. We have no doubt that this 1820, by General N , on occasion vice is as common as our author dea of his oldest son's birth-day. This clares it to be; but we much fear entertainment was prolonged for two, that there is no nation in which we three, or four days, according as the will not find many adepts at dissiguests shewed an inclination to rem mulation. Our author, however. main or to depart. About one hun- gives a curious example of the decepdred of them assembled, and the con- tions which were practised on the duct of the entertainment, and the Empress Catherine, in the course of difficulty of accommodating them, is her peregrinations through her dodescribed in the following terms by minions, and which, great as the disour author :
position may be, in every country, to
flatter princes, by presenting them, with a
in all cases, with the bright side of splendid dinner, card-parties, and a ball,
the picture, were in this case carried which was followed by a masquerade.
a greater length than we ever before Those of the nobility who had been pro
heard of. Her Majesty made a jourvident enough to bring beds with them, were pretty comfortably situated, al. ney to the Crimea in 1787, and her though many of them lay on the floor for progress was a continual triumph want of bed-steads. Some who had spem through a populous country, covered culated on the chance of finding beds, with villages, and flocks and berds, especially those of high rank, got such as and presenting the aspect of univerthe house could muster, and what con. sal plenty. Now, all this, our author tented thein. But some individuals of tells us, was absolutely got up for lower rank, who had made no provision, the occasion, in order to persuade although all the beds of the servants were her Majesty, over what a fertile counput in requisition, came but badly off; try she had the happiness to reign. they reposed on chairs, or on benches, or The roads over which she travelled on the floor, enveloped in shoobs, or un- were repaired on purpose ; and porder whatever kind of covering they could table villages, erected in the morning procure. I made a morning visit about for a mere passing show, and destroyeleven o'clock on the following day, to
ed in the evening, arose, the followone of the houses in which were lodged some of my male acquaintances, and
ing day, like creations on some new others whom I had treated as patients.
spot, where the Imperial cavalcade The scene. even after a number of years was to stop. Cattle were driven to travelling and residence in Russia, struck
the banks of the Volga, or to the line me forcibly. The hall and the drawing of roads where Catherine was to pass; room were literally a barracks-sofas, and peasants were obliged to quit divans, and chairs put together, covered their houses, and to inhabit for a day with beds and their fatigued or lazy the ephemeral cottages which were tenants formed the scenery of the first provided for them. Such are the deapartment; in the latter, was arranged a ceptions which are practised on Sosleeping-place, upon the floor, for half-a. vereigns. The whole world seems dozen noblemen, with beds, pillows, united in a tacit conspiracy to deshoobs, great-coats, &c. The possessors
ceive and to flatter them; and need of this den, wrapped up in splendid silk
we wonder, after this, that they comnight-gowns, some lying down, some mit errors In like manner when sitting up in bed, some drinking coffee
the Emperor Alexander visited Mosand tea, and smoking tobacco, amidst mephitic air, and surrounded by chamber
cow, many ruined houses were plasutensils, and other disagreeable truinpery,
tered and painted, and had a magformed a curious motley association.
nificent exterior appearance, while
they presented a complete interior By way of set-off to the defects of vacuity. It is astonishing to what the Russian character, we are assured an extent those deceptions are carried that they are hospitable, and much in Russia. Mr Lyall gives an account of an hospital for the sick and infirm, heartily, and then bent their way home, which was absolutely got rp for and wished for a repetition of the farce, show, and replenished with sick pa- as they had had an excellent day's provi. tients, in order to be looked at. Ge- sions, and so the hospital was left dreary neral Araktcheef, who is attached to and void. the person of the Emperor, was sent The prying curiosity of the Rusto inspect this hospital, and we have sians exceeds all bounds. They pry the following curious account of the into the affairs of others with an farce which took place :
eagerness which baffles all precauEarly in the morning of the day ap. tions, and a stranger is startled with pointed for General Araktcheef's arrival, the most impertinent and unexpected above a dozen of people, men and women, questions, as to his connections, his were employed in washing, and cleaning, family, property, his his revenues, and arranging the hospital ; the kitchen and his most sacred affairs. They stove was lighted, and the kitchen itself are indefatigable in petty inquiries stored with good provisions, under the of this nature, and generally persist care of an excellent cook. The beds were until they extort some illicit intellia made up, and black boards were placed
gence from the objects of their imagainst the walls over the heads of the
portunity; and, rather than suffer beds, upon which were written, with chalk, the names and age of the patients,
any disappointment, they will apply the technical and the Russian appellations
to servants, to lackies, coachmen, or of their diseases, the date of their admis
any one from whom they can procure sion, and the diet allowed them, as is al. any clandestine information. When ways the case in the public hospitals in a stranger resides in any Russian Russia. All was thus arranged, but there family, the master or mistress is acwere no sick, except three or four invalids quainted with all his motions, through in the village. In the transforming em. inquiries made at servants. In nopire of Russia, however, this was of no blemen's families, spies are employed consequence. The women who had washto watch the motions of the visitors, ed the hospital, and a number of patients, and to bring back accounts to their males and females, who were ordered to masters of all that they can spy out repair to it, in obedience to their lord's and retail of their conduct and concommand, disrobed and washed them
and washed them. versation. selves, put on the dresses provided for pa. In addition to those disagreeable tients, got into bed, and feigned sickness. After an elegant dinner, the host con
qualities of the Russians, Mr Lyall ducted General Araktcheef, and a num.
enumerates their want of uprightness ber of other visitors, to the hospital, where
and sincerity. These virtues, be they were received by a clerk in the lobby,
adds, are rare among them. He comwith its report-books in his hand, which
ments at considerable length on Dr he showed to his Excellence. No physi.
Clarke's high character of the Ruscian being stationed there at the time, sian women, who, he informs us, are the apothecary assumed his name and unduly exalted, as the men are unoffice; and, as the party paced the wards, der-rated by this traveller. Accord gave all necessary explanation respecting ing to his account, the wives of the the diseases of the patients : his assistant Russian merchants are lazy ; careless then brought in a basket full of medie of domestic duties, and of their chilcines, vials, powders, ointments, plasters, dren, whom they commit to servants; &c. which he distributed to each, adding, fond of indolence and sleep, and ocaccording to the circumstances of the case, “ This is a mixture for thy fever,”
casionally addicted to drinking. This “ These herbs are for thy cough,” &c. &c.
last vice, held so disgraceful in this A plateful of excellent soup, with a piece
country, is little thought of in Rusof black and white bread, and a bottle of
sia. When a Russian woman is inkaska, were now presented in succession,
toxicated, she betakes herself to her that General Araktcheef might be able to
bed, which is placed, in many cases, judge of the manner in which the sick
over the oven, and there, from the were fed. He was highly pleased, it is
influence of the liquor and the heat, said, with the institution, and took his
she falls fast asleep. The husband, departure. He had not been gone above when he returns home from his af. a few minutes, when all the patient-actors fairs, is no way shocked, but asks, started from their beds, threw off their in a laughing manner, if she is tipsy? robes, and being highly amused, laughed to which she replies, in a tone of complaint, “No, I have a head- their condition; they do not feel the ache;" and there is no more about full weight of their misery ; but as the matter. Chastity cannot, ac- they acquire knowledge, their eyes cording to our author, be reckoned will be opened to see their abject a prevailing virtue among the Rus- state, and the full rigour of their sian women, though there may, no bondage ;-and then will take place doubt, be some families among whom the mighty conflict between public are found purity and delicacy of cha- opinion and the despotic powers of racter. Nor is there much regard the state. Happy, if, in that awful paid to delicacy in the conversation crisis, the rulers of this country, proof the women ; on the contrary, there fiting by the fatal example of other is no reserve among them on points nations, shall quietly adapt their Goof female delicacy: they hold con- vernment to the improving spirit of versations with men, which, as our the age, and thus prevent that shock author assures us, exceed all belief. between power and opinion, under He relates some strange anecdotes in which the most stable institutions, confirmation of this censure, and they being moved from their basis, all the certainly evince a state of indelicacy ancient relations of the state may be, and grossness of which, in this coun- for a time, dissolved. It will be try, we can have little conception. happy for Russia, if, when that crisis
Mr Lyall gives an interesting ac- of her destiny arrives, she possesses count of the state of literature among wise and considerate rulers, who will the Russians, and of its gradual pro- have the prudence to yield to the ir. gress. The press is, no doubt, in a resistible storm of the national will, most fettered state, under the thrale by which tyranny will then be hurldom of a corrupt censorship; but the ed from the throne. In that case, a thirst for knowledge is increasing compromise may be effected; there throughout the empire ; and, under will be some chance for a peaceable all the restraints and precautions of and orderly reform of abuses, and despotism, it is still making its way, anarchy and misrule may be avoidand will, in time, pave the way for ed. At present, Russia is ruled by a greater state of political freedom. very different counsels ; and her EmThere are numerous Journals and peror seems engaged in the benevoNewspapers, of different descriptions, lent scheme of preserving, not only published in Petersburgh and other his own people in ignorance, and in parts; and numerous universities, aca. a happy destitution of all political demies, public and private schools, rights, but of forcing, at the point are actively at work in disseminating of the sword, chains and darkness instruction. Some of the Journals upon all other countries. are much read, especially those which The priests in Russia are in a very treat of the politics of the day. Some degraded state. The higher clergy of the noblemen, also, have estab are, some of them, men of talents lished Lancastrian-schools, for the and information ; but the lower clerinstruction of the peasantry. Over a gy are devoid both of learning and great part of this great empire, those morality. The soldiers are now all institutions are thus scattering the instructed to read; and such part of seeds of knowledge, which, in due them as have been in the more civi. time, will spring up into a plen- lized parts of Europe, have brought tiful harvest of political improve. back improved notions, and a taste ment. An enlightened people can- for the blessings of civil liberty. The not be long compressed within the merchants are chiefly intent on mabonds of slavery. The human mind king money, and they have little becomes more sensitive by improve time to think of any thing else. They ment,-it kindles, as it were, into a have no intelligence, and less honesty. higher temperature,-and, like the In the bargaining-shops at Moscow, heated atmosphere, acquires an ex- they ask always about four or five pansive force, which bursts through times the value for every article they all the restraints and barriers within have to dispose of; and they are not which it was before peaceably con- ashamed to practise cvery sort of fined. The Russians, at present, are fraud and dishonourable evasion in not sensible of the disadvantages of selling their goods. Their utmost ingenuity is exerted in giving dan bery is the great agent; and in all maged goods a fair appearance,- in other branches of the civil adminisdefrauding, in measure and in weight, tration, it is the avowed dependance in an imperceptible manner, in slip of the public officers for eking out ping bad goods among the better, their inadequate salaries. Our authat have been bought, and ordered thor's remarks on this subject are home.
strikingly just and considerate. All When a Russian is detected cheat- the emoluments, he informs us, of ing, he shows no mark of shame; the great functionaries of the crown, he laughs, adding, “ that he did not are inadequate to maintain their rank. intend it, or it was a mistake;" and They must accordingly resort to insometimes openly confessing it, says, direct means for supplying the defi" that it is his business to sell as ciency, and what they receive under high as he can, and that it is yours the name of presents, is not so much, to buy as cheap as you can." The according to Mr Lyall, a bribe to bargaining-shops present the most re- betray their duty, as a compensation fined scene of deception and roguery. for performing it; an illegal com“A set of sharpers," says our au- pensation, no doubt, altogether disthor, “whose very countenances are cretionary, and necessarily leading to indicative of their profession, assem the grossest exactions and abuses, ble there every day, and, with their and ultimately to a neglect of duty, flattery, lies, oaths, and villany, de- and to a betraying of all public trusts. ceive the public to an enormous The internal administration of the amount, while they fill their own empire must be in a state of great nepockets."
glect, for, according to our author, Such is the character given of the it does not appear that the salaries merchants, and, with regard to the of public officers have been much state of the peasantry, our author has, increased since the reign of Peter the as usual, a controversy with Dr Great, while, during that period, the Clarke, whose description of their rouble has been repeatedly lowered degraded condition he considers, in its value; so that the salaries of with reason, to be greatly exaggera public officers have rather been diated. According to his own account, minished than increased ; although the peasantry, being all slaves, are the expence of living has, in the mean entirely at the mercy of their mas- time, been greatly augmented. The ters; and they must just take such cause, then, of the universal bribery treatment as they choose to give which now pervades, like a plague, them. It happens, accordingly, that every branch of the public managesome are well treated, while others ment, is obvious; and it does not so suffer cruel bondage and oppression, much imply any moral degradation from the rigour or rapacity of their of the people, though it certainly does lords. Those who are dissipated or not tend to exalt them, as bad arextravagant, and are pressed for mo- rangements in the domestic adminis. ney, have immediate recourse to ex- tration of the country. In Russia, actions from their slaves, whose taxes bribery is the common mode of transthey augment, and whom they often acting public business; and until the plunder of all they possess and in wages of iniquity be paid, every thing this case there is no remedy. There stands still. “ It is a fact, (says our are no tribunals, in this land of sla- author,) that orators who are clothed very, for a refuge to the oppressed. in scarlet, and covered with embroidThe Russian noble has the peasantry, ery, who ride in their carriages and who are all slaves, completely at his four, and who live in the highest mercy, and on the accident of whose style, will condescend to receive a character their lot entirely depends. twenty-five rouble, or, as some say,
The selfish and interested disposi- even a ten rouble note, as a bribe ; tions of the Russians, which are so and in the most simple affairs, the conspicuous in the transactions of process is protracted till the fee be private life, give rise to the most in- paid. In the Senate, Justice may be famous venality and corruption in all truly said to be “ put up to auction, the departments of the public busi- and sold to the highest bidder." ness; even in courts of justice, bria Some leading men in Russia have, at different times, set themselves to appeared on this subject, and from correct this abuse. But it is so deeply the plain consideration that it was rooted in the whole system of public the interest of the French rather to business, that it will not be easily preserve than to destroy the city, eradicated. To such a reform, a ge- there is no doubt that its destruction neral improvement of morals would was an act of the Russian Govern. be a necessary prelude. In this coun- ment; it was an act, too, which was try, direct corruption, and, more es- praised at the time, in the most un. pecially, judicial bribery, is held in bounded strain, for magnanimity and such abhorrence, that it would not self-devotion ; and there is no doubt, be tolerated. It would bring who that if the authors of the conflagra. ever practised it into universal con- tion were those who suffered by it, tempt. In an enlightened commu. it was an act of self-devotion. But, nity, such as that of Britain, in which on the other hand, if this was not a high sense of honour and recti- the case, if the real instigators of tude is so generally diffused, so gross the conflagration were beyond the an abuse would be hooted down by reach of the flames,-if it neither universal consent. We have laws, brought peril to their persons or proto be sure, against bribery; but it perties, we cannot see that they is manners which afford the sure an- discovered any magnanimity in detidote to such an evil; while, on the voting others to destruction for their other hand, it takes root and flour- own safety. The burning of Moscow ishes in the congenial soil of Russian may have been, even in this case, a manners. It is here, then, that the necessary act; but it certainly evin. remedy must begin; but a reform in ced neither self-devotion nor magnathe manners of a people must be a nimity, and therefore does not dework of time, and must slowly arise serve all the high-flown eulogiums from the diffusion of knowledge, and which it has called forth. The auof political improvement.
thor's sketch of the military colonies We have some curious details of Russia contains some curious and about Moscow, and the rebuilding of interesting information ; but this arthe city, which appears to be going ticle has already extended so far, on at a great rate. There is also that we must defer any consideration some discussion of the question, of of it to our next Number. who were the authors of the confia. We cannot conclude without addgration in 1812? The Russians are ing, that the work is embellished anxious to fix the stain of this dread. with a number of coloured plates, ful act on the invading army. But which are highly finished, and beaufrom all the evidence that has ever tiful.