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may be tens of thousands of wealthy merchants, a community of merchants cannot be said to exist.

We rejoice to learn that the institution of some such body is now in contemplation ; and, looking at the utter worthlessness of the executive Government, the whole community, scarcely less than that portion of it which is engaged in traffic, is interested in the creation of a power, distinct from party, and of a representation of those interests through which we have a national existence, and through the actual degradation of which our national existence is threatened.








Obozvenie Rossiyskich Vadenii za Kawkazom, v staticheskom,

etnagraficheskom, topograficheskom i finansowom otnoszeniach. Proizvedennoye i izdannoye po vysochayshemu

soizvoleniu. St. Petersburg, 1836. A Survey of the Russian Possessions beyond the Caucasus, in

statistical, ethnographical, topographical, and financial respects. Composed and published by supreme au

thority. St. Petersburg, 1836. 4 vols. The immense progress which the power of Russia has made during the last fifty years has already attracted the attention of all Europe, and its probable consequences have been canvassed over and over again by many writers in this country, as well as on the continent. Yet we may say, without exaggeration, that the field on which Russia is advancing towards the completion of her gigantic schemes is but little known, although it has been described by travellers of different times and nations. The most important part of the above-mentioned field is certainly the Caucasian Isthmus, i. e. the tract of land comprehended between the Caspian and the Black Seas, the complete possession of which ensures to Russia a paramount influence over the affairs of Turkey and Persia; whilst the undisputed command she exercises over the Caspian establishes her ascendency over the adjacent regions of Central Asia.

The Caucasian Isthmus has been explored by several traVOL. VII.-N° XIV.

2 E

vellers. Chardin, who visited it in the seventeenth century, has left an interesting account of Georgia; in the eighteenth century it was visited and described by Herber, Guildenstett, Reinegs, Gmelin &c.; in our century by Marshall, Biberstein, Klaproth, Broniewski, Gamba, Belanger, &c.; but unfortunately the descriptions of these travellers are often contradictory, and generally very unsatisfactory. Klaproth, who has been hitherto regarded as the best authority, gives in his travels, as well as in his interesting little work Le Tableau de Caucase, very little information respecting the commercial and financial capabilities of the Transcaucasian possessions of Russia. Gamba, whose object was professedly to explore the commercial state of that country, in which he resided for some years as consul-general of France, is very unsatisfactory in many respects; he has even made some very incorrect statements *, which might be accounted for either by his ignorance of the language, or by the jealousy of the Russian authorities, who withheld from him official information; although, if we are to trust his relation, he had no reason to complain of those authorities.

The work which we have prefixed to our present article is the first of its kind. It is compiled with great care from official documents, and an attentive perusal of it induces us to think that the statements it contains are remarkably fair. The name of the author is not stated, but the description of some of the provinces was made by Mr. Legkobeetaff, who has been a long time employed in the Transcaucasian provinces, and who is the author of several well-written articles on those countries, inserted in the Encyclopedical Dictionary now in progress at St. Petersburg.

The avowed object of the work is to acquaint Russia with the importance of her Transcaucasian possessions, and it indicates pretty well the value which those provinces begin to have in the eyes of the Russian government. The introduction commences with the following words :

"The provinces which Russia possesses beyond the Caucasus constitute only a hundred and sixtieth part of her territorial extent ; and the number of the inhabitants of those provinces does not surpass the fiftieth part of the whole population of Russia. But this comparative smallness of extent and population must not deprive the Transcaucasian region of its just claim to the attention of Russians. That country is important from its geographical position, its climate, and the nature of its soil; it is important from its natural capabilities and political relations; it deserves to be studied from the diversity of languages, religions, manners and customs of its inhabitants; and it has been dearly bought by the many and long efforts of which it has been the object on the part of Russia."

* For instance, Gamba asserts that the province of Bacoo produces 12,000 poods of silk (a pood is equal to 36 English pounds), though there is no silk at all produced there. Balbi, in his Abrégé de Géographie, states, probably on the authority of Gamba, that the province of Bacoo is particularly remarkable for the great quantity of silk it produces.

We entirely agree with the Russian writer in the opinion which we have now quoted, as well as in the truth of the following statement; the importance of which, found as it is in a Russian work printed under the especial authorization of the Emperor, will not escape those who have followed us in our career of opposition to the ignorance or treachery which have placed the interests of this country at the feet of Russia :

" Let foreigners imagine that Russia makes acquisitions beyond the Caucasus to her own injury; the hollowness and fallacy of such a no. tion are so evident as hardly to deserve a refutation. Such an opinion is much too one-sided, even if not absolutely without foundation in fact; it is one-sided because short-sighted minds have not understood or wished not to appreciate the real advantages of that country. Russia, by establishing her dominion beyond the Caucasus, has gained a firm footing in Asia, and acquired by this a decisive political influence over the two adjacent powerful empires, Persia and Turkey."

Nothing can be more sound, more true, than this judgement, pronounced by an intelligent Russian, and ratified by the imprimatur of his emperor; and yet there are many in this enlightened country, ay, and among them men in high station, and with great pretensions both to statesmanship and enlightenment, whose short-sighted minds take of that question the very one-sided views which are most deservedly ridiculed by the Russian writer. Happy for us if, when their views become enlarged, it may still be possible to prevent Russia from accomplishing those gigantic projects which her farsighted policy has framed for the destruction of our political and commercial influence in Asia, and which she here does not scruple, in part at least, to avow.

Although the Transcaucasian provinces of Russia present a great variety of interesting subjects, we shall limit ourselves

for the present to the investigation of their importance to her in a commercial, financial, and political point of view.

We shall abstain from entering into a detailed description of the relations which existed between the Transcaucasian countries and Russia previously to the subjugation of the former by the latter. These relations begun in the sixteenth century, when the rulers of Georgia, being constantly oppressed by the Persians and Turks, sought protection from the Czars of Moscow, professing the same creed as themselves. It is rather a remarkable circumstance, that it was one of our own countrymen who was instrumental in establishing the political relation between Georgia and Muscovy*.

All the attempts, however, which were made by the Czars of Muscovy, to establish their power beyond the Caucasus, proved abortive until the time of Peter the Great, whose genius perceived the advantages which Russia might derive from extending her dominion in that direction, and planned the great scheme of establishing a regular intercourse with India by the most direct line overland. On pretext of avenging the massacre and plunder of some Russian merchants by the Lesghees, which happened in 1718, and of assisting the Persian Shah Tamasb against the Afghans, Peter, in 1722, entered the Persian provinces, situated on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, at the head of 100,000 men. He took Tarkoo, Bacoo, and Derbend, and concluded a treaty with the ostensible minister of the Shah, who ceded to Peter, for the promised assistance against his enemies, the provinces

* Jenkinson, who was sent by Queen Elizabeth to Russia : he relates himself the following circumstance:

“ And during my abode in Sheemeechi, there came unto me an Armenian, sent from the King of Georgia, who declared the lamentable estate of the same King; that being inclosed between these two cruel tyrants and mightee princes, the said great Turke and the Sophie, he had continuall warres with them : requiring for the love of Christ, and as I was a Christian, I would send him comfort by the said Ar. menian, and advice how he might send his ambassadour to the said Emperour of Russia, and whether I thought he would support him or not, and with many other wordes requiring me to declaire his necessitie to the said Emperour at my returne. Adding farther, that the same king would have written to me his minde, but that he doubted the safe passage of his messenger ; unto whom I did likewise answer by word of mouth, not only persuading him to send his ambassadour to Russia, not doubting that he should find him most honourable, and inclined to helpe him; but also I directed him his way how the said king may send by the country of Chircassie, through the favour of Tenezat, king of the same country, whose daughter the same king had latelly married.” -Vide Hackluyt, vol. i. p. 350.

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