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vered the whole territory which had acknowledged the authority of Yermac. This success was only the forerunner of still greater acquisitions: the Russians pushed their conquests far and wide. Wherever they appeared, the Tatars were either reduced or exterminated, new towns were built, and colonies were planted on all sides. Before a century had well elapsed, that vast tract of country, now called Siberia, which stretches from the confines of Europe to the Eastern Ocean, and from the Frozen Sea to the frontiers of China, was annexed to the Russian dominions. A greater extent of territory would, perhaps, have been added towards the south, if the power of China had not interposed. The great river Amur, which rises in the heart of Tatary, and, flowing eastward above thirty degrees in longitude, discharges itself in the sea in about 53° north latitude, was first heard of by the Russians about the year 1639. In that year a Russian or Cossack, named Kupilof, is said to have obtained a sight of the eastern sea-coast. Four years later, the Russians attempted to render tributary the Tatar nations inhabiting its banks. Wasilei Pojarkof, who commanded this expedition, departed from Jakutzk, a town lately built on the banks of the Lena, in July, 1643, with a force not exceeding 132 men. The Tatars, not suspecting hostile intentions, received the strangers with their accustomed hospitality; but on hearing their insolent demands, they ceased to supply them with provisions, and many of the Russians perished in consequence. Pojarkof nevertheless persevered in his undertaking, and followed the course of the Amur to the place where it enters the eastern sea; thence he went northward along the seacoast; and in the year 1646 returned to Jakutzk, by a route very different from that which he had pursued in going. In the report which he made of his expedition, he stated that the whole country near the Amur could certainly be reduced under the dominion of Russia, provided the government would employ 300 men for that purpose, and build three ostrogs, or forts. Hence it may be concluded that the midland regions of Asia were at that time as thinly peopled as its northern parts. In conformity with the advice of Pojarkof, the Russian government despatched, in 1651, a force of about 300 men, who, having taken the town of Albasin situated on the Amur, embarked in boats to descend the river. They had not proceeded far before they met with a fortified place belonging to the Dauri, a Tatar tribe. The Russians captured the place with little loss; and here it was that in their encroachments on Tatary they first came in contact with the Chinese. Some merchants of that nation were in the fort; and the day after it was taken, a Chinese officer, habited in a silken robe, came to pay his respects to the Russian commander; he made a long harangue, the purport of which seemed to be, that the Chinese desired to live in peace and amity with the Russians. The Chinese, however, also had their designs on the tribes inhabiting the Amur, and hostilities soon broke out between the rival empires. In the first conflicts the Chinese were worsted; but as they became better acquainted with the use of fire-arms they obtained a manifest superiority over the Russians, who opposed them with feeble forces. The great value of the trade with China, where the Siberian furs are held in extraordinary estimation, together with the difficulty of carrying on a war in so remote a quarter of their empire, disposed the Russians to accommodate differences with the Chinese. Negotiations were accordingly entered into, to fix the common boundary of the two empires, and to establish their commercial intercourse on a firm basis. The conferences were held under tents in an open plain near the town of Nerchintsk, where the treaty was signed and sealed by the plenipotentiaries of the two courts. By the first and second articles of this treaty, which first checked the progress of the Russian arms in those parts, the south-eastern boundaries of the Russian empire were formed by a ridge of mountains stretching north of the Amur, from the Sea of Ochotsk, to the source of a small river called Gorbitza; then by that river to its influx into the Amur; and lastly, by the Argun, from its junction with the Shilka up to its source. The Russians proposed the river Amur for a common boundary; and, had this point been conceded, the deep windings of that river would have brought them close upon the northern provinces of China. By the fifth article, reciprocity of trade was granted to the subjects of the two empires, who were provided with passports from their respective courts. By this treaty, which was signed on the 27th of August, 1689, the Russians lost the navigation of the river Amur ; the entrance to which, with a large territory on its northern banks, was ceded to the Chinese. The importance of this loss was not at that time understood, and has only been felt since the discovery of Kamtschatka and the islands between Asia and America, the produce of which might have easily been transported by means of that river to the interior and western parts of Siberia. Matters being thus accommodated with the Chinese, the trade carried on by the Russians with that people rapidly increased. Peter the Great, with a view of enlarging this advantageous commerce, sent, in 1692, Isbrand Ides, a Dutchman in his service, to Pekin, who requested and obtained that the liberty of trading to China, which by the late treaty had been granted to individuals, should be extended to caravans. In consequence of this arrangement, a caravanseray was allotted in Pekin for the reception of the Russians, and all their expenses during their continuance in that capital were defrayed by the emperor of China. Private merchants were allowed at the same time not only at Pekin, but also at the head quarters of the Mongols. A kind of annual fair was held in their camp by the Russian and Chinese merchants. This rendezvous soon became a scene of riot and confusion, and repeated complaints were transmitted to the Chinese emperor of the drunkenness and misconduct of the Russians. The disorderly conduct for which the Russians in Pekin had become notorious added weight to these complaints. Other circumstances contributed to increase the displeasure of the Chinese; and at length an order was issued, in 1722, for the total expulsion of the Russians from the Chinese and Mongol territories: these orders were rigorously executed, and all intercourse between the two nations immediately ceased. Affairs continued in this state till 1727, when Ragusinski was despatched as envoy to Pekin to adjust the existing differences between the two courts. He succeeded in his mission; and by the treaty of Kiachta, which he concluded, the boundary of the two nations was confirmed and continued. With respect to commerce, the most important regulations were as follows: — A caravan was allowed to go to Pekin every three years, on condition of its not consisting of more than 200 persons; during their residence in that capital their expenses were no longer to be defrayed by the emperor of China; notice was to be sent to the Chinese immediately on their arrival at the frontiers, where an officer was to meet and accompany them to Pekin. The Russians at the same time obtained permission to build a church in that city, and to send a few scholars to reside there for the purpose of learning the Chinese tongue, a valuable privilege, from which European learning has derived less advantage than might have been expected. This treaty, called the Treaty of Kiachta, was, on the 14th of June, 1728, concluded and ratified by count Ragusinski and three Chinese plenipotentiaries, upon the spot where Kiachta was afterwards built. The progress of the Russians in the north of Siberia was more gradual, and not marked by any events which serve as epochs in the history of conquest. Their first establishment on the Lena was formed in 1636. The rivers Jena, Indigirka, Alaseia, and Kolyma, were successively discovered. In 1644, a Cossack, named Michael Staduchin, built a fort on the last-named river. On his return to Jakutzk he brought back the report, that in the icy sea there was a large island, extending along the horizon from the river Jena to the Kolyma, part of which land might be seen in clear weather from the continent; and that the people who inhabited that part of the coast passed over the ice in the winter time to this land in one day with rein-deer. He also said that he had heard of a great river named Pogitsha, three or four days' sail to the east of the Kolyma. The first voyage eastward from this river was made in 1646 by a company of adventurers; they found a clear channel between the land and the ice, which was firmly grounded on the shelving coast. After two days' sail they anchored in a bay, where they met a people called Tshuktzki, with whom they entered into traffic. Neither party could understand the other, except by signs, and they were mutually suspicious. The mode in which they carried on their traffic resembles that which has been related from the time of Herodotus to the present day respecting some nations of the interior of Africa. The Russians placed their merchandise on the strand, and then retreated: the Tshuktzki then took what pleased them, and in return left sea-horse teeth, both whole and in carved pieces. From this place the Russians returned home. The sea-horse teeth obtained in this adventure were a sufficient inducement to prosecute discoveries to the north-east. In the year 1648 seven vessels departed from the Kolyma, under the command of the Cossack Semoen Deshniew. One of the chief objects of this expedition was to discover the river Anadir, which the Russians were informed flowed through a well-peopled country. Of the seven vessels fitted out for this expedition, four were soon after wrecked. The voyages of the other three are among the most remarkable which occur in the history of geography. It appears that they actually passed from the Kolyma through Behring's Straits to the mouth of the Anadir ; but the journal of the voyage is imperfect, and it is not manifest whether they circumnavigated the north-eastern portion of Siberia, or drew their vessels overland across that great promontory, the delineation of which is left imperfect in WOL. II. z

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