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this distressing voyage ; and while landing the sick men from the Centurion at Juan Fernandez, no less than twelve died in the boats.
Notwithstanding the reduction effected in the strength of the squadron by sickness and bad weather, it cruised against the Spaniards with perfect success. The town of Payta was plundered ; a number of valuable prizes taken ; and, at last, Anson, lying near Manilla, engaged and captured the galleon of Acapulco, having on board an immense treasure in merchandise and specie. The Centurion lay some time at Tinian, one of the Ladrones, which is celebrated in the narrative of the voyage as a terrestrial paradise
At length, after an absence of three years and nine months, the Centurion returned alone to England, having circumnavigated the earth. Two of the armed ships, as has been already observed, never entered the South Sea. Two others, and a victualler, which effected the passage, were afterwards broken up as being no longer serviceable. The other victualler had been dismissed in the Atlantic ; and the Wager frigate, being parted from the commodore by a gale of wind on first entering the South Sea, was wrecked on the coast of Chili : and it is not compatible with the plan, nor does it lie within the limits, of this work, to recount the singular adventures of the crew, many of whom perished; while the remainder, after a long series of sufferings, crimes, and unparalleled exertions, returned to their native country.
DISCOVERIES OF THE RUSSIANS.
FIRST INTERCORSE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND SIBERIA. - THE
PROMYSHLEN). - TRADE CARRIED ON BY STROGONOFF,-ADVENTURES OF YERMAC. —HE DEFEATS KUTCHAM KHAN. BECOMES MASTER OF SIBERIA. -OFFERS HIS DOMINIONS TO THE CZAR. -- HIS PROPOSALS WELL RECEIVED. —YERMAC DEFEATED AXD SLAIN.-SIBERIA LOST. - RECOVERED BY THE RUSSIANS. -. THEY APPROACH THE AMUR. - EXPEDITION OF POJARKOF, - FIRST COLLISION WITH THE CHINESE. -HOSTILITIES BXTWEEN THE TWO EM PIRES. –TREATY OF NERCHINTSK. -- RUSSIAN EMBASSY TO PEKIN. — MISCONDUCT OF THE RUSSIANS, THEY ARE EXPELLED FROM CHINA. TREATY OF KIACHTA. INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED BY MICHAEL STADUCHIN. THE TSHUKTZKI DISCOVERED. REMARKABLE VOYAGE OF SIMOEN DESHNIEW. -HE PASSES FROM THE ICY SEA TO BEHRING'S STRAITS. SUFFERS SHIPWRECK. — ESTABLISHES A TRADE ON THE COAST. - FATE OF HIS COMPANIONS. « CONQUEST OF KAMTSCHATKA.–TARAS STADUCHIN. - EXPEDITION OF POPOW AGAINST THE TSHUKTZKI. -HE RECEIVES INTELLIGENCE RESPECTING AMERICA.
Russia in the beginning of the sixteenth century was little better than an inland kingdom; the small extent of sea-coast which it had upon the north offering at that time no means of intercourse with foreign nations. The arrival of Richard Chancelor at Archangel was looked upon in Russia as a wonderful event; and the commercial privileges accorded by the czar to the English seaman were intended as a reward for his having discovered a communication between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The solution of the question respecting a north-east passage would have been of the greatest importance to Russia, if that empire had been in a condition to carry on foreign commerce ; but the Russian empire, at present so powerful, was too feeble two centuries ago to support or feel an interest in ma
ritime expeditions. Even in the beginning of the seventeenth century, nothing was known of the northern coast of Siberia beyond the river Yenisei. The country was unquestionably often traversed by private hunters and adventurers ; but their local information was never drawn together or concentrated in such a way as to serve materially the interests of geography
In a country where population is thin and society ill organised, conquest is sure to follow discovery. The Russians seem to have had the same advantage over the wild tribes or nations dwelling to the east of them, which the Spaniards possessed over the natives of America. In 1558, the czar of Muscovy assumed the title of lord of Siberia; but this name did not then embrace so wide an extent of dominion as at present. The first Russian conquerors were private hunters and merchants, who usually reduced to subjection the feeble tribes with whom they traded for furs. As justice can hardly exist where there is no equality, the Russian adventurers never dreamed of right in their dealings with the Siberian savages ; their principles of action were uniformly as selfish as they were cruel. The Promyshleni, as these adventurers were called, are styled in a national proverb the harbingers of the Cossacks.
About the middle of the sixteenth century, a merchant of Archangel, named Anika Strogonoff, carried on a trade of barter with the inhabitants of the remote parts of Siberia, who brought every year to the above-mentioned town large quantities of the choicest furs: on their return they were accompanied by Russian agents, who traded with the natives. This traffic was carried on for several years, during which Strogonoff amassed a considerable fortune. The czar, perceiving the advantage that might accrue to the empire from extending this commerce, determined on enlarging the communication already opened with Siberia. He accordingly sent troops into that country, by the routes which had hitherto been followed by the Russian merchants. These troops do not seem to have penetrated farther than the western branch of the river Oby; and the chief result of the expedition was the extorting from some Tatar tribes an annual tribute of sables. Strogonoff in the mean time obtained from the czar large grants of land, on which he founded colonies; and one of these, not long afterwards, afforded refuge to the celebrated adventurer to whom Russia owes the subjection of Siberia.
The czar Ivan Basilievitz extended his dominions to the Caspian Sea, and established a commercial intercourse with Persia and Bucharia. His merchants, however, were frequently pillaged by the predatory tribes inhabiting the banks of the Don and the Volga. Troops were accordingly sent against these robbers, who were attacked and routed; part of them were slain, the rest escaped by flight. Among the latter were a corps of 6000 Cossacks under the command of Yermac Timovief. This daring adventurer, driven from his usual haunts, retired with his followers to Oral, one of the Russian settlements recently planted by Strogonoff ; and being hospitably entertained by the merchants, he behaved himself with a moderation which could hardly have been expected from his previous habits.
The restlessness of his genius, however, and the necessity of employing his retainers, made him cast his eyes about for a proper object of attack; and he at length resolved to fall upon Kutcham Khan, a powerful Tatar prince, whose principal residence was at Sibir, a small fortress on the river Irtish, not far from the present town of Tobolsk. His first attempt was unsuccessful ; but in 1579 he set out upon a second expedition : his followers amounted to 5000 men, adventurers inured to hardships and regardless of danger. They had been supplied by the Russians with ammunition and firearms; but before Yermac reached his enemies, a tedious march of eighteen months had reduced his army to 1500 active men. With this handful he did not hesitate to attack Kutcham Khan, whom he routed in successive engagements; and the Tatars were so struck with the gallant intrepidity and brilliant exploits of the Cossack, that they submitted to his authority without hesitation, and acquiesced in the payment of the usual tribute. Thus he was suddenly exalted from the station of a chief of banditti to the rank of a sovereign prince.
But Yermac soon became convinced of the precariousness of his situation; his followers were few, the Tatars were turbulent and rebellious, and it was absolutely necessary for him to relinquish his dominion or to call in foreign assistance. He chose the latter alternative, and offered his new acquisitions to the czar of Muscovy, upon condition of receiving immediate and effectual support. The application was accompanied with a present of the choicest and most valuable furs. His ambassador was received at Moscow with the strongest marks of satisfaction. The czar extolled the services of Yermac, pardoned all his former offences, and as a testimony of his former favour sent to him a fur robe that he had worn himself, which was the greatest mark of distinction that could be bestowed upon a subject. To these were added a sum of money, and a promise of a speedy and effectual assistance. When the promised reinforcements arrived, Yermac followed up his plans of aggrandisement with increased activity, and gained many bloody victories over the neighbouring princes. But at length Kutcham Khan contrived to fall upon him in the dead of night, when his Russian auxiliaries, fatigued with a long march, negligently reposed without suspicion of danger. The Russians were cut to pieces almost without opposition ; and Yermac, in his flight, perished in the river Irtish, On his death the Russians evacuated Siberia, but nevertheless he must be looked upon as the founder of their empire in that vast country. He discovered new and practicable routes through those uncultivated regions; he proved that the Tatars were an easy prey, and that a band of well-armed troops could easily master their scattered and unorganised population. Three hundred Russians were soon after sent into Siberia, who erected the fortresses of Tobolsk, Sungur, and Tara, and easily reco