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will be to give a sketch of my journey Siberia, the western being divided into from the Urals to the Pacific, dwelling four and the eastern into six provinces. . most on those parts which to English Again, each province is subdivided into readers are new.
districts, or uryests; over each uryest The summer traveller to Siberia may presides an ispravnik, over each province now proceed almost thither by steam. a governor, and over each viceroyalty a The usual overland route lies through general governor. The four provinces St. Petersburgh and Moscow to Nijin of Western Siberia are Tobolsk, Tomsk, Novgorod by rail, and thence by steamer Akmolinsk, and Semipalostinsk, each of on the Volga to Kama and Perm. A which has its capital, or government railway over the Urals has been recently town. Each uryest likewise has its opened from Perm to Ekaterineburg, on principal town. Smaller collections of reaching which the English traveller has houses are called silloi, or villages (in finished a journey of 2670 miles by rail each of which there is a church); and, and 975 by steamer. A drive of 200 still sinaller, derevni, or hamlets. The miles then suffices to bring him to Tiu- six provinces of Eastern Siberia are men, the first town of Western Siberia. Yeneseisk, Irkutsk, the Trans-Baikal, The mention of Siberia calls to mind
the Amoor, and that of the sea-coast. a country the dimensions of which it is The means of locomotion and comhard to realize. It measures about 4000 munication are much more ample than a miles long by 2600 wide. It contains a foreigner might suppose. There are no million square miles more than the railways, but there are many steamboats whole of Europe, is twice as big as Aus- on the rivers, and there are post-roads tralia, and nearly a hundred times as throughout the entire breadth of the large as England. The country is inter- country, the great high road to China sected by three of the great rivers of being the most important. Along the the world, the Obi, the Yenesei, and the principal roads there is both postal and Lena, not one of which is less than 2000 telegraphic communication. An ethnomiles long, and all of which run into the graphical map of Asiatic Russia shows it Northern Ocean. A fourth ocean river, to be inhabited by no less than thirty the Amur, forming a part of the south- nations or tribes, and also reveals the ern boundary of the country, rises in the fact that a very small portion of the eastern branches of the Altai chain, and country is inhabited by Russians-in runs a course also of 2000 miles. It fact, only a narrow strip of land on takes an easterly direction, and empties either side of the principal land and itself in the Gulf of Tartary.
water highways; and as the aborigines The line forming the western bound- do not generally follow agriculture, it ary of Siberia descends from the North- will be seen that that narrow strip repdern Ocean to the sixty-second parallel resents the greater part of the country of north latitude ; then, leaving moun- under cultivation. The same facts will tains a little to the left, it comes down indicate that, while the language of the in a tolerably straight line to a point towns and highways is Russian, a knowlmidway between the Sea of Aral and edge of other tongues is needful for exLake Balkash ; thence it turns eastward tensive intercourse with the natives. to and along the northern shore of the Thus much for Siberia in general. From lake, and going further east, joins the Tiumen steamers ply in summer on the Altai Mountains. All Russia lying to Tura, Tobol, Irtish, Obi, and Tom to the west and south of this line is in Tomsk, a distance of nearly 2000 miles. Europe or in Central Asia, all lying to I posted by horses from Tiumen to cast east of it is Siberia. The river Tobolsk, and embarked on the steamer Yenesei divides the country into east Beljetshenko on June 3d, the navigation and west ; the surface of the western having recently been opened, and spring portion being generally flat, while the weather being nearly established. eastern portion, more especially toward I had left England on April 30th, and the Pacific, is mountainous.
on reaching St. Petersburg, saw the last The political divisions of the country of the ice floating down the Neva. are first into two viceroyalties, called Spring advanced so rapidly that, on May respectively Eastern and Western 20th, on the banks of the Kama, we saw strawberry blossoms and violets, but as Samoyede the reindeer is everything. we descended the eastern slopes of the When alive the animal draws his sledge, Urals the weather changed, and there and when dead the skin is used for tent came occasionally snowstorms. From and clothing. When at Archangel in Tobolsk our course lay northward on 1878 I bought a Sainoyede sovik or tunic the Irtish, as far as the sixty-second and a wonderful pair of boots, and as parallel, where we returned to leafless their manner of dressing resembles in its trees and comparative winter. Alter- main features that of other northern nate snow and sunshine succeeded. On aborigines in Siberia, I may as well dethe Obi my minimum thermometer on scribe it particularly. In winter, then, June 8th fell during the night to 35° to be in the (Samoyede) fashion, one Fahr., but by 9 o'clock next morning it should proceed to dress himself (or herhad risen to 75o. After reaching self) as follows: first, a pair of short Tomsk fine weather set in, and con- trousers made of softened reindeer skin, tinued all across Asia. The heat was fitting tight and down to the knee ; then rarely oppressive, and when sleeping in stockings of pishki, the skin of young the carriage at night with an overcoat it fawns, with the hair next the wearer's was not inconveniently cold.
body ; next come the boots, called pouOn the Obi we passed through the méleepte, which means boots-stockings, territory of the Samoyedes and Ostjaks. perhaps, because mine are lined, reachIn driving from Tiumen to Tobolsk we ing almost to the thighs, the sole being had passed through a country inhabited made of old and hard reindeer hide, the by Siberian Tartars, to the north-west of hair pointing forward to diminish the which lies a district which coincides possibility of slipping on the ice or snow. pretty closely with the ridge of the Common boots have the hair only on the Northern Urals, inhabited by the outside. Mine are a gay“ lady's" pair, Voguls, who were estimated in 1876 at lined inside with the softest fur, and 5000 in number. Their country makes made of white reindeer skin without, them hillmen and foresters, for they live sewn with stripes of darker skin, and within the northern limit of the fir and ornamented in front with a few pieces of birch, in the country of the wolf, the colored cloth. The clothing of the bear, the sable, the glutton, the marten, lower limbs being completed, one has to the beaver, and the elk ; all which they work one's way from the bottom to the hunt, for they have no plains for the top of the sovik, which has an opening breeding of cattle, and no climate for to put the head through, and is furnished agriculture. Their villages are scattered with sleeves. The one I have has a high and small, consisting of from four to straight collar, but in some brought by eight cabins. They usually dress like Mr. Seebëhm from the Yenesei this colthe Russians, live by hunting, and are lar rises behind above the top of the said to use no salt. Obdorsk is their head. The costume is completed by a trading town. To this town, on the cap of reindeer hide, with strings on Arctic Circle, at the mouth of the Obi, either side ornamented with pieces of come also the Samoyedes and Ostjaks. cloth. The hair of the sovik is worn These latter, too, are both nomads, and outside in fine weather, and inside when live in tents. The Samoyedes inhabit a it rains ; but when prolonged exposure large tract of country between the Obi to cold is apprehended, a second garand the Yenesei, stretching along the ment, called a "goose, is worn with shore of the Frozen Ocean from the the hair outside, and a close-fitting hood, north-east corner of Europe all across the leaving exposed only a small portion of Tobolsk Government to the Yenesei, the face. The Ostjaks are said to have descending to the region of the Ostjaks, at the end of the sleeve a glove or mitten and on
some parts of their southern made of the hardest hide of the reindeer border to Tomsk. Their riches consist and suitable for heavy work, and also a of herds of reindeer, which they pasture slit under the wrist to allow of the finon the mosses of the vast bogs, or tun- gers being used for finer work. A girdle dras, from which the animals in winter is worn round the loins, over which the scrape the snow with their feet, and thus sovik laps a little, and thus forms a find their own sustenance. To the pocket for small articles. The only
route to which, be it remembered, is aborigines for the purposes of comvia the transverse slit through the wrist. merce. We heard some pleasant accounts of the The Ostjaks dress to some extent in honesty and docility of the Samoyedes garments of reindeer skin, and also subsist and Ostjaks. Their honesty may be for the most part on what they capture in exemplified. The merchants of To- hunting and fishing. In the use of the bolsk, when they go north in the bow their skill is so great that for shootsuminer to purchase fish, take with them ing squirrels they use a blunt arrow, and flour and salt, place it in their summer take care to hit the animal on the head, stations, and on their return leave un- that the skin may not be damaged. protected what remains of it for the fol- They do not generally cultivate the soil, lowing year. Should a Samoyede pass nor have they towns or villages of their by and require it he does not scruple to The Ostjaks, for the most part, take what he wants; but he leaves in its especially those on the Obi, have fewer place an I O U, in the form of a dupli- deer, and, being brought into contact cate stick duly notched to signify that with the Russians, are fast giving up he is a debtor, and then in the fishing their native dress and customs.
The season he comes to his creditor, com- religion of both Samoyedes and Ostjaks pares the duplicate stick he has kept is Shamanism, of which I shall have ocwith the one he left behind, and then casion to speak hereafter ; but many of discharges his obligation.
the Ostjaks have been baptized into the The difficulties of educating and Russian Church, and a school has been Christianizing these tribes are very great, opened for the two peoples on the Lower and the more so by their migratory Obi at Obdorsk. One of the most notehabits. Dr. Latham mentions eleven worthy things on the Obi was the extradialects in the Samoyede language, and ordinary price of provisions. The Ostrefers to the work of Professor Castren, jaks came to our steamer offering live who, about thirty years ago, studied ducks for five farthings each. Large closely the languages of the Finnish fish, called yass, cost 14d. a pair, and nations, and to whose labors we owe a great pike a farthing each.
Milk was dictionary of some of these languages, more expensive, and cost 23d, a bottle ; which was published after his death. In but we heard that in some of the distant 1824 a cominencement was made to villages a young calf could be bought for translate into Samoyede the Gospel of 6d. These prices should be borne in St. Matthew, but it was not continued mind in connection with the attempt that after 1826. The same Gospel was trans- is now being made to open up commerce lated some years ago into the language from Siberia by the rivers Obi and Yeneof the Ostjaks by the protohierea, or chief sei, and through the Kara Sea, to Engpriest, at Obdorsk, and was forwarded land. In the summer of 1874 Captain to the Russian Bible Society, but not Wiggins, of Sunderland, who had long published, and up to the present time contemplated the project, sailed through neither that nor any other part of the the Kara Sea, which had hitherto been New Testament exists, as far as I know, supposed to be blocked by ice, and, for the Samoyedes, Ostjaks, or Voguls. reaching the mouth of the Obi, demonIt is said, however, that in European strated to the world that the passage Russia a priest is sent yearly to a town could be made between England and in the far north of the Archangel pro- Siberia, with no unusual risks, in about vince, to baptize the children, and marry three weeks. In the next year Professor such among the Samoyedes as are pro- Nordenskjold followed in the wake of fessedly Christian. Also in 1877 the our countryman, and reached the YeneRussians opened a school at Obdorsk sei. for the native Samoyedes and Ostjaks. Now, these two rivers, the Obi and We may hope, therefore, that for them the Yenesei, rise in the empire of China, better days are coming, both by reason and drain an extent of country nearly as of what the Russians are doing, and large as the whole of Europe. The also possibly and indirectly by the country through which they flow may be efforts which certain Englishmen are divided into four regions. Furthest making to invade the lands of these south are the mountains of the Altai
range, which are rich in silver, copper, miles to Barnaul, and in so doing passed iron, and gold. Further north is a belt through a country singularly rich and 600 miles wide of rich black earth, to productive. Here are to be seen the which it is never thought of putting white-barked birch, the cedar nut tree, manure, and the scratching of the sur- the Scotch fir, flowering acacia, the face of which yields an abundant cereal alder, pine, willow, and white flowering crop. This land, which is comparable cheromeka-the last presenting a pretty to that of an English garden, in the object when in blossom, and yielding for neighborhood of Barnaul may be hired fruit a sinall bird cherry. Among the for 31d. an
The chief things shrubs we noticed wild currants, which, wanted in this district are capital and with the bird cherries, are eaten by the labor. The next belt northward is a Siberians. There were likewise raspberry forest region of numberless square miles, and strawberry plants. Among the where a hard larch tree, big enough for spring flowers we missed, or perhaps a ship's mast, may be had for a sov- overlooked, the pale primrose ; but there ereign, and in which region are abun- were violets and a whole parterre of dance of wild animals bearing fur, such as other Aowers, both old and new. The the squirrel, the sable, the Arctic fox, fields were blue with forget-me-nots, and the beaver and the bear, the wolf, elk, we noticed what was to me a new flower deer, etc. There are also abundance of something like a buttercup, but much game and extensive pastures for cattle. larger. Also east of Tomsk there was a A merchant told me that in Tiumen he large red lily, made much of in English sold ten thousand brace of grouse and gardens, but which here was growing capercailzie for the St. Petersburg market wild. There was likewise a large red at 9d. a brace all round, and that in flower growing in abundance, very much 1877 he bought up meat at Tobolsk for like the peony. less than £d. per English pound.
After visiting, at Barnaul, the The most northerly region is that of emperor's usine for the smelting of gold the tundras, intersected by rivers that and silver, we returned to Tomsk, and are so full of fish that the natives try to then prepared for a posting journey by avoid taking a heavy haul, so frequently horses of 1040 miles to Irkutsk, which are their nets broken by the abundance of was reached on the 6th of July. I need the draught. Large quantities of choice not dwell on this part of the journey, fish are caught in summer, and kept alive because several have described the great in ponds till the approach of winter, high road to China. After leaving Irwhen they are taken out and frozen, and kutsk and crossing Lake Baikal we made forwarded a distance of more than 2000 a second détour to the Chinese frontier at miles to St. Petersburg. The express Kiakhta, and then prepared to cross the carriage from Tiumen costs 18s. a cwt., hilly steppes of the trans-Baikal province notwithstanding which, if the sturgeon to the Arnur. The road lay through the sells for 245. a cwt., and the sterlet and town of Werchne Udinsk, and over the certain kinds of salmon for 30s., there Appletree Mountains to Chita, both remains an ample margin of profit for all towns being famous in Russian history parties concerned. Beside the “fresh" as abodes formerly of Decembrists, or fish thus sent to St. Petersburg, large certain political prisoners who were connumbers are dried, and sent to the great cerned in the insurrection at the openfair at Nijni Novgorod. It may very ing of the reign of the Emperor Nicholas. well be then that a profitable trade at no Farther on was reached Nertchinsk, distant date shall be opened up in Sibe- near to which are the mines said by rian products brought by steamer to the some to be of quicksilver, and in the English market.
furnes of which it is commonly reported On the roth of June, after a voyage prisoners are killed by inches, being of seven days, I reached Tomsk, which obliged to work therein without coming is a few miles eastward of the meridian to the surface. As my tour through of Calcutta, and 5200 miles from Lon- Siberia was of a philanthropic character, don, the journey having been accom- and I had every facility accorded me for plished in twenty-six travelling days. the visitation of prisons and public inFrom Tomsk I made a détour of 600 stitutions, I made a point of inquiring into the condition of these prisoners, one priest had, for punishment, a chain put result of which has been that I can get upon his wrists so heavy that he could no satisfactory evidence that there is not sleep, and they had to take it off. such a thing as a quicksilver mine in Also, formerly, but not in the time of Siberia at all. There are, however, sil- my informant, there was a man chained ver mines, which exist in the Altai to the wall. But these were exceptional Mountains, and others in the Borshcho- cases, and such things were not done to vochny range, near the town of Nert-' the political prisoners, many of whom chinsk, just mentioned. Of those in the had friends who could bring influence to Altai range nothing need be said, be- bear in their favor. There were somecause they are worked by free laborers. times cases in which criminal prisoners The mines at Nertchinsk are well known burst out into fits of ferocity, and were as penal establishments, and there can guilty of insubordination that called for be no doubt that the accounts of severi- special punishment. At Sivakoff men were ties practised there in former years have sometimes suspended for a time, he said caused the ears of many to tingle. I by the armpits, but none were chained have heard from independent sources to barrows or tools, as is sometimes the that convicts of twenty years' standing case. My informant himself, who had at Nertchinsk tell of one Rasguildieff, à insulted the general governor, and also cruel director, who used to go about joined others in a league to refuse to with four Cossacks behind him, armed work on Sunday (the cruel and unjust with the knout, to thrash those who did ukase to this effect was issued in 1866) not work, But this man has long since was first put on half provisions, then debeen removed. For the greater part of prived of meat, then of milk, then of tomy information respecting the mines of bacco, and then was not allowed to Nertchinsk I am indebted to a political lounge in the yard, but had to go straight exile, who was sent there with several from work to his ward. The priests had Russian and Polish aristocracy. This joined in this resistance to Sunday labor, account relates to the condition of things and there were both Protestants and as they were in 1866 and 1867, since Romanists among the league. Some of which date most of the mines have the priests, however, were the first to passed out of Government into private give in, and all at length followed ; so hands. The principal centre of the min- that they had afterward only a very few ing district is called Nertchinsky Zavod, days for holidays in the course of the and round about were formerly various year. mines, works, hospitals, and prisons, I asked as to the formation of the such as Kadaya, Akatuya, Klitchka, mines, and found that some of them had Alexandreffsky, Stretinsk, Sivakoff, and shafts and galleries. In one case, the perhaps some others. Kadaya was only shaft, on account of its construction, was two or three versts from the Chinese dangerous to descend. In some cases I frontier, Alexandreffsky was about six gathered that the granite was got, as it versts from the frontier, and thirty-five were, from the side of a hill, and that versts from headquarters. At most of the work of the prisoners consisted these places prisons were built--at Alex- largely of boring holes for blasting, andreffsky of stone, at Kadaya of wood, which, when ready, were charged with and at Akatuya partly of wood and part- powder by Cossacks or laborers, and in ly of stone. At Nertchinsky Zavod the the absence of the prisoners were fired. prison was very old, and empty. The From an engineering point of view, the commandant living there, he preferred to mines, so far as I could understand, were house the convicts at a convenient dis worked badly enough. This agreed with tance. At Alexandreffsky there were not what I heard in Siberia elsewhere. They less than 700 prisoners in three build- had no steam or horse power, and the ings ; also at Akatuya there were 110 mines subserved the purpose of providprisoners who had been priests, and 22 ing hard labor for malefactors rather than others sent to join them for extra pun- that of bringing gain to the Emperor. ishment; Akatuya, by reason of its iso- I inquired carefully about the duration lation and loneliness, being regarded as of labor, and found it was thirteen hours the worst of them all. At this place a