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her suddenly so to do? It was a strange feeling,' says Captain Crawfurd, that came over me as an Englishman, and an officer in the British navy, on finding myself at sea with sixand-twenty Russian line-of-battle-ships, with nearly 30,000 'men, better soldiers than they are sailors, and four months' provision on board; knowing as I did that for the protection of 'the coasts of my own country, of our ports, of our mercantile shipping in the Baltic, the North Sea and the Channel, we had but seven line of battle ships in a state of preparation, ' and those I believe not fully manned. I confess that confident " as I felt in the superior skill and activity of my countrymen, I almost trembled for the preservation of their ancient sove6 reignty of the seas.'
Leaving, for the present, the questions connected with the rapid advancement of the Russian Navy, to the consideration of our Rulers, we shall proceed to notice the last work on our list, that of Mr Spencer. His two volumes describe sundry wanderings besides those to which they owe their title; but our present remarks must be confined to that portion which relates to Circassia; a country which peculiar circumstances have invested with even more interest than its sublime scenery and natural attractions alone would suffice to give it.
Mr Spencer, after a steam voyage on the Danube, a visit to Constantinople, the Troad, Hellespont, &c., embarked for Odessa, where becoming known to Count Woronzoff, the enlightened Governor-general of Southern Russia, he was invited by that nobleman to accompany his party on a voyage to the east coast of the Black Sea. This was performed in a steamer, accompanied by a corvette and cutter; so that they proceeded in the greatest possible comfort, first to Anapa, then to Soujook Kalé, and Ghelenjeek-passed close to Pshiad and Djook-landed at Gagra, Pitsounda, Souhoomkalé, and Redout-Kalé, where their voyage southward terminated; for the weather becoming. boisterous, they left the coast and returned to the Crimea.
Here our author travelled about for some time; but his curiosity respecting Circassia being rather sharpened than allayed by what he had seen, he resolved to visit it once more, and by himself. Accordingly, posting through Bessarabia and Moldavia to Galatz, he once more took the steamer to Varna and Trebizond, where, assuming the character of a Frank doctor of Constantinople, he sailed for Circassia in a Turkish brigantine -escaped the Russian cruizers, and landed safely at Pshiad. As Mr Spencer gives no dates, we have no means of estimating the duration of his stay in Circassia, which, however, cannot, so far as we can judge, have been of many weeks. We only
gather, that in company with his native guards and friends, he made his way from Pshiad across the mountains to the Circassian camp at Aboon; from which he made an excursion with a reconnoitring party to the banks of the Kuban. But the volume closes without informing us when or how he quitted the country; although something is said about his travels through Mingrelia and Gouriel, and a hint is given that these may hereafter appear. If they should, we hope that the information they may contain may be more precise, not only as to time and place, but in point of fact and description; for Mr Spencer's style is so rambling and diffuse that his reader is at a loss to follow the narrative, and to maintain the necessary connexion of facts and incidents.
This work, however, contains an interesting confirmation of much which has reached, and continues to reach us, from other quarters-namely, that the Circassian clans, so far from being a ferocious and lawless banditti, in reality compose a brave and high-minded people, courteous and hospitable to friendly strangers, fierce and unsparing only to those who are their persevering and mortal opponents-enamoured of liberty and independence, and resolved to defend these with the last drop of their blood; that they are a numerous people,* inhabiting a well cultivated though romantic, mountainous and difficult country, abounding in produce both for the maintenance of its inhabitants and for exportation;-and that they are fond of trade, and most desirous to engage in it, and are particularly anxious to cultivate the good-will of England; to the Government of which they have forwarded a declaration of their independence, and their resolution to maintain it.
We know, on the other hand, from other and fully as authentic sources as this work, that Russia has, for many years past, been. using efforts to subdue these tribes, with others of the Caucasus; but with no better success than the establishment of a few insulated posts upon its shores, and on the low swampy banks of the Kuban river, which bounds the country on the north; and this at a frightful loss of her soldiers, and a vast ex
* We have reason, from other sources, to believe that the Circassians and Abassians together amount to about a million and a half of souls. The Caucassan tribes may be from three to four millions, and are stated, on good authority, to outnumber the population of the Russian trans-Caucassan provinces: whatever the actual numbers of either party may be, that they surpass them in every advantage of martial character is undoubted.
pense of treasure. So fatal is the service in this quarter, as well from disease as the sword, that the necessary reinforcements, in fact, amount to a renewal of the army once in every four or five years; and so persevering and murderous are the attacks of the Circassians, that the garrisons of the fortresses cannot be said to command even the ground within range of their guns; for, not only are foraging parties attacked, dispersed, and driven in with loss, but the very sentries on the walls are often shot at their posts by their unseen foes.
Wearied of ill success, and resolved to subdue the Circassians at any cost, the Emperor acceded to the proposition of the most sanguinary of his generals, the late Williameenoff, who proposed a war, confessedly of extermination, by insulating portions of the country, one after another, by lines of posts; and burning every habitation and massacring every inhabitant successively within the spaces so designated. But this notable scheme-worthy of a Suwarrow or a Potemkin-has met, as yet, with signal and merited defeat. In successive campaigns, the Russians, beaten and repulsed, have been forced to recross the Kuban with scarcely a remnant of their disheartened troops; and the insulated post at Aboon, with a mere temporary redoubt upon the shore at Pshiad, is all they have to show for their enormous sacrifice of men. The expedition of last autumn, in particular, after the pageant at Vosneseusk, and the visit of the Emperor to the shores of the devoted land, was intended to be overwhelming-but it was driven back like those that preceded it.
The question now comes-shall this gallant people be suffered to sink, another sacrifice to Russian ambition? Before the dying shriek of Poland has ceased to vibrate on the ear of Europe, shall another nation be swallowed up? An iniquitous act of aggression gives to Russia power over Turkey, and by an article of the treaty thus forced upon her by the conqueror, she, to purchase terms, cedes to him imaginary rights-rights which she does not pretend ever to have possessed, over states as independent of her, or of any other power, as the Affghans or the Oozbecks, who, equally with the Circassians acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the successor of the Caliphs. As well might Rome claim right to cede Austria to Russia, or Spain to France. The independence of Circassia is susceptible of proof-proof existing in the archives of Russia herself. She has no right over Circassia but that of the strong over the weak. Is such a claim to be allowed? For what purpose is it that Russia so desiderates the subjugation of Circassia, and is so lavish of her blood and treasure? It is, as we have said already, but as the means to an end. The Circassians once subdued, the Caucasus
is open, and Persia lies at her mercy. The tranquillity of the trans-Caucassans once secured, which as yet is not the case, the attack upon Turkey on the one hand, through Armenia, and of Persia on the other, becomes easy. Even now the Shah, urged on by the Russian tempter, burns to add Herât of Affghanistan to his already disturbed dominions. With an army disorganized and discontented, and an empty treasury, he can neither hold his new conquest, should he make it, nor control his original dominions, distracted by rebellions and disaffection. What must follow? Why, a Russian auxiliary force must occupy Herât, and another, probably, will proceed southward to reduce Fars and Kermân-and thus we shall see the frontier of Russia advanced at one stride 1200 miles nearer our Indian frontier! Let it not be thought that our cry is war. We hate that odious word. But so hating it, we may still consistently recommend precautionary measures, and the propriety of taking every prudent step to keep the Russian boundary where it now is-if possible, to reduce it virtually to the line of the Kuban and the north of the Caucasus.
It is on this matter that we must have a parting word with Captain Slade. Already have we alluded to his false views on this subject; and perhaps one of the most ill-considered and flippant passages of his work is the tirade which he bestows upon Circassian independence, and the shallow arguments by which he seeks to substantiate the right of Turkey over these clans, as over other parts of her empire. We can, however, now do no more than deny his conclusions-among other grounds, on the admission of Turkey herself. Russia has no right over Circassia, yet she denounces the Circassians as rebels, and proclaims a perpetual blockade of their coasts-a blockade which infringes on the rights of other nations, by shutting out their ships from the ports of a people willing to trade with them.
ART. V.-Life of William Wilberforce. By his Sons, ROBERT ISAAC WILBERFORCE, M.A., Vicar of East Farlough, late Fellow of Oriel College; and SAMUEL WILBERFORCE, M. A., Rector of Brighstone. 5 vols. 8vo. London: 1838.
T HESE volumes record the life of a man who, in an age fertile beyond most others in illustrious characters, reached, by paths till then unexplored, an eminence never before attained by any private member of the British Parliament. We believe we shall render an acceptable service to our readers, by placing them in possession of a general outline of this biography.
William Wilberforce was born at Hull on the 24th of August, 1759. His father, a merchant of that town, traced his descent from a family which had for many generations possessed a large estate at Wilberfoss, in the East Riding of the county of York. From that place was derived the name which the taste, or caprice of his later progenitors, modulated into the form in which it was borne by their celebrated descendant. His mother was nearly allied to many persons of consideration; amongst whom are numbered the present Bishops of Winchester and Chester, and the members of the great London banking-house, of which Lord Carrington was the head.
The father of William Wilberforce died before his son had completed his tenth year; and the ample patrimony which he then inherited was afterwards largely increased on the death of a paternal uncle, to whose guardianship his childhood was committed. By that kinsman he was placed at a school in the immediate neighbourhood of his own residence at Wimbledon, in Surry. The following are the characteristic terms in which, at the distance of many years, the pupil recorded his recollections of this first stage of his literary education:- Mr Chalmers, the master, ' himself a Scotchman, had an usher of the same nation, whose 'red beard, for he scarcely shaved once a-month, I shall never forget. They taught French, arithmetic, and Latin. With • Greek we did not much meddle. It was frequented chiefly by the sons of merchants, and they taught therefore every thing, ' and nothing. Here I continued some time as a parlour boarder. 'I was sent at first among the lodgers, and I can remember, even now, the nauseous food with which we were supplied, and ' which I could not eat without sickness.'
His early years were not, however, to pass away without some impressions more important, if not more abiding, than those which had been left on his sensitive nerves by the red beard of