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found at Kara, in the gold mines. At continued to Stretinsk, on the Shilka, twelve o'clock they came out of the at which place I arrived on the 24th of mines to dinner, unless, that is, a man · July, being now as far east as Nanking, had arranged his hours otherwise, for it and having finished a drive of 3000 seems that, so long as they did not worry miles, accomplished in thirty-seven travthe Cossacks, or prevent their lounging elling days and nights, and by the hire and smoking, they might do their allot- of 1000 horses. From this point my inted number of hours when they pleased. terpreter returned to Russia, and I There was, moreover, no definite amount rowed seventy miles in a small boat of mineral required of every man daily, down the Shilka to Kara, where is a and hence he might work hard or easy, penal colony of 2000 convicts, conpretty much as he liked. This remind- demned to hard labor in the gold mines. ed me of what was told me in Siberia by Of this number about 800 were murdera Pole who had been at Nertchinsk, to ers, 400 were robbers, and 700 vagrants, the effect that, though condemned to the or" vagabonds." There were also a mines, he worked or not pretty much as few political prisoners, but only a few; he chose. As for the sulphur fumes though I was told that Kara is the place said to exist in the mines, my infor- to which such exiles, when condemned mant tells me he never perceived them, to hard labor, are usually sent. After and he met with those who had worked seeing all but two of the principal prisin all the mines of Nertchinsk, but that ons and penal colonies of Siberia, I came they never complained of them. This, to the conclusion that the number of then, appears to have been the condition political prisoners commonly said to be of affairs at Nertchinsk fourteen years deported thither is largely in excess of ago, and, from what I heard in Siberia the facts. I spent more than two days last year, things have since improved. at Kara, and had ample opportunity of An officer who had visited them five seeing the place well. I went to the years before told me that he found the mines and saw the men at their work, men working twelve hours a day, six on which is all done on the surface, and and six off, but that they looked sickly; which resembled the labor of navvies while another gentleman, who had re- when making a cutting, stones and earth cently visited the mines, and told me of having to be carted away and put into a the sorrowful stories of old convicts, machine to be washed. Their hours of said that he believed there were no enor- labor were from six in the morning to mities existing now, though of course he seven at night, with an hour or two's was far from saying that the lot of the rest for dinner; and this only in the convicts was an easy one.
summer season, for in winter the ground Nor is it my object to make it appear is frozen, and they have little or nothing so. Far otherwise. The period of an to do. Free laborers in the mines I exile's life spent at the mines before be- noticed continued to work after the coning set free to colonize cannot but be victs left, and I learned that the convicts hard. Whatever laxity of discipline may may sleep from nine to five in the sumprevail as compared with the prisons of mer, and in winter, if they choose, from other countries, the herding together of seven to seven. The food and clothing the worst of characters, the deprivation of the male convicts cost the Governof social, intellectual, and religious priv- ment ten guineas a year each, and the ileges, to speak of nothing else, must food per week given to a hard-labor conmake life in the mines, from the nature vict at Kara is nearly double in weight of things, a burden. But this is very that which is given to a convict in Engdifferent from killing men by inches in land. The number of indulgences also sulphur fumes, as is commonly supposed. accorded to a prisoner at Kara, such as It is no part of my calling to palliate the receiving visits from relatives, or money deficiencies of the Russian penal system. from friends, correspondence by letter, That system is now, however, in a tran- and remission of labor, is largely in exsition state, and money only is lacked to cess of similar privileges accorded to carry out to the full many reforms that convicts in England. Kara inherits a have been already commenced.
bad name from former days, and it was Leaving Nertchinsk, the journey was spoken of to me by officials as one of the severest of places for prisoners ; but tributaries covers an area of 766,000 after seeing it more thoroughly than any square miles, that part of the basin beother, I came to the conclusion that, longing to the lower part of the river beunder the superintendence of Colonel ing formed on the west by the Bureya Kononovitch, its present director, it is Mountain, and on the east by the seaone of the best managed of the penal coast range known as the Sikhota Alin. colonies of Siberia. From Kara, on the The course of the river is toward the Shilka, I took steamer for Khabarofka, north-east, and it has a current of three situate on the Lower Amur, at its junc- knots. The principal tributaries flowing tion with the Ussuri. The scenery of into the left bank are the Kur, Gorin, the Shilka is particularly beautiful, and and Amgun ; on the right bank, the compares by no means unfavorably with Dondon and the Khungar. But for the the Rhine ; 200 miles below Stretinsk it delays we should have accomplished the finishes a course of 650 miles, and then voyage from Khabarofka to Nikolaefsk uniting at Ust Strelka with the Argun it in four days. At our starting the river forms the Amur. From Ust Strelka to was 900 yards wide, but we had not its mouth the Amur has a course of 1780 travelled far before it grew broader, and miles, with a fall of 2000 feet ; but if the included many islands. At the conflu. Argun be regarded as the head waters ence of the Dondon the channel measures of the river, there must be allowed to the three miles in width, which is the greatAmur a length of 3066 miles, and a fall est breadth of the river in a single of 6000 feet. At Ust Strelka the river stream ; seventeen miles lower, the left is rico yards wide and ten feet deep. bank is marshy and dotted with lakes, At Albazin, 160 miles lower, it contracts and here the entire width of the river to 500 yards ; but the depth increases to attains its greatest, which from bank to. 20 feet.
Then running 400 miles to the bank is twelve miles. We came on the south-east, it passes Blagovestchensk, third day to a village called Michailwhich is a convenient point for distin- ofsky. Here we waited for twenty-four guishing between the Upper and Middle hours, which afforded me an opportunity Amur. The natives of the Upper Amur of visiting a Russian village. Cucumare, on the northern bank, the Manyargs, bers were just come in, and the people Orochons, and other branches of the were eating them like apples. In the Tunguse family ; while on the southern evening a soirée was extemporized, and bank are the Manchu Chinese, and the ship's company invited; and when, others falling under the name of Daori. next morning, two of us called to pay a
At Blagovestchensk the Amur receives complimentary visit, we were invited to one of its most important tributaries, the eat cucumbers and salt, nothing else beYeya, and at Anjun, somewhat lower, ing placed before us. We succeeded, the Amur increases to a mile in width. however, in purchasing here abundance At Pashkova it commences to flow of wild raspberries, and, in returning, at through the Bureya mountains amid the beginning of September, I hought at scenery that will bear comparison with Tambofsk melons and ripe black curmany parts of the Danube. From these rants; the latter good, but having less mountains the stream widens up to the taste than those cultivated in England. confluence of the Ussuri, which flows Other berries were offered for sale, of a into the right bank of the Amur at Kha- tart but juicy nature. It is in this disbarofka, which is 1123 miles from Ust trict principally, I believe, that the corn Strelka, and divides the Middle and of the Lower Amur is grown. They Lower Ainur. There are seventy-five have a summer of only four months and stations between Stretinsk and Khaba- a half, but with more energy and capital rofka, at which latter I arrived on the an immense quantity of rye, I was told, 8th of August, intending to proceed up might be cultivated. The total cereal the Ussuri. Instead of this, I had to produce of the district between Khabacontinue down the Lower Amur, a dis- rofka and Nikolaefsk amounted in the tance of 600 miles, to Nikolaefsk, and year preceding my visit to 3276 tons in so doing to pass, though not neces- (203,838 poods) of grain, and 811 tons sarily to stop at, fifty-two stations. The (50,450 poods) of potatoes. North of entire basin drained by the Amur and its Nikolaefsk the land is not cultivated.
The natives live by hunting and fishing, the first place covered with small charand the Russian subjects are supplied acters, about half an inch square or with corn by the Government.
less, and over which the larger characAt Michailofsky we changed our ters described by Mr. Ravenstein had steamer, and arrived on the next morn- been subsequently written. Beside the ing at a Gilyak village called Mukhal, monumental stone, which was mounted near which are some hot springs, said to on a pedestal and stood about five feet be beneficial in cases of rheumatism, high, there were lying near some flat syphilis, diarrhea, and goitre. The stones with transverse grooves cut across man who keeps them is allowed to have the centres, which are supposed to have a monopoly, and the Government gives been originally used, and perhaps are so him a grant of £50 a year. About mid used still, by the Gilyaks for sacrifices, day, not far from the mouth of the the grooves serving to pass off the blood. Amgun, we passed another Gilyak vil- Whether this be so or not I cannot say ; lage, called Tuir. The Amur here con- but they looked to me much more like tracts to a width of 900 yards, and from the capitals or bases of pillars, the a bold cliff on the right bank, perhaps a grooves having been made to keep them hundred feet high, a fine view is ob- in place. It is much to be wished that tained when looking up the stream. The the monuments might be subrnitted to river's banks spread to a width of five the examination of some competent miles, and well-wooded islands lie be- scholar. Toward evening we passed tween. To the south are dark forests another Gilyak habitation called the and mountain ridges, and at the back of “White Village,” where, in 1850, a the cliff is a table-land several miles Roman Catholic missionary named De wide.
la Brunière was killed ; and about nine On this hill, moreover, there are ob- o'clock at night we reached Nikolaefsk. jects of archæological interest in the The Amur at Nikolaefsk reaches in some form of Tatar monuments bearing in- places to a depth of fifteen feet, is a mile scriptions, from which it has been in- and three quarters wide, with a current ferred that there once stood on the spot of from four to five knots. The river a lama monastery. The monuments are enters the sea at a distance of twenty-six by some supposed to have been placed miles, the liman or gulf measuring nine there to inark how far in that direction miles at its widest. Rather more than a the Tatars extended their conquests. mile below the town there are sandbanks, One account dates them back to the time which render the navigation of the of Gengis Khan. The best account I river's mouth very difficult. There is have seen of them is in Mr. Ravenstein's also a sandbar, which prevents the enwork. He says that on the left-hand trance of ships drawing more than thirside of the principal monument are teen feet of water. the Sanscrit words Om-mani-badme- I stayed at Nikolaefsk from the 13th Khum ;" that in a second line on the to the 30th of August, but did not sucsame side are the same words written in ceed in finding a convenient opportunity Chinese and Nigurian ; and that the in- for crossing to the island of Sakhalien. scription on the right side contains the The climate of Nikolaefsk cannot, I same in Chinese, Thibetan, and Nigu- fear, be recommended to those in search rian. I myself could examine the monu- of a genial air. The breaking-up of the ments only for a few minutes (for the ice and the opening of the navigation boat would not stop), and whether the does not take place till between the 12th foregoing account be true or not, I of May and the ist of June, and the came to the conclusion that it is in- summer, when come, lasts only about adequate and far from exhaustive. There four months. During the eight months' certainly are on the stone some large winter keen winds prevail, bringing Chinese characters, perhaps two inches snow-storms of such violence and density long, and some of my Chinese fel- that I heard of a man losing himself in low-passengers were able partially to crossing the street from the club to his decipher them ; but the general appear- own house. The snow lies frequently ance of the stone reminded me of a pa- from four to five feet deep. limpsest manuscript which had been in The Russians have fourteen meteorological observatories in Siberia, the two half a cwt., and costs alive at Nikolaefsk on the Pacific being situated at Niko- from 225. to 303: , In Western Siberia, laefsk and Vladivostock. They register about Tomsk, a streep can be bought for thrice daily—at seven, one, and nine a couple of shillings. Quoting prices the readings of the barometer; the dry in a more general way. I may say that and wet bulb thermometers giving the in Nikolaefsk and Sophřisk, the price of humidity of the atmosphere, record the meat varies, according to the season, direction of the wind, and the amount of from 5d. to gd. an English pound. On cloud, rain, snow, etc. In their pub- the Ussuri it costs from 48. to 6d. Butlished statistics for 1877 (the last, I ter, not fresh, costs throughout the think, at the time of my visit), the tem- province (that is, the coast from Vladiperature at Nikolaefsk during the month vostock to Behring's Straits) from iod. of August reached no higher than 82.8 to 13 d. per lb. Black tea from 25. to Fahrenheit, and went down to 45.5, the 45. the Russian pound, and brick tea, mean temperature of the month being from iod. to is. 2d. The price of sugar 61.9. The highest temperature of the varies from 6d, to 8d. year was 88.2, which occurred in July ; The prices, at Nikolaefsk, of game the greatest cold was in February, when and fish were in striking contrast to the thermometer fell to 26.9 below zero; some of those I have mentioned. I the mean temperature for the year being bought in the streets a capercailzie only 30.2.
At Vladivostock, which is called a glookhar, or deaf bird) for rod., ten degrees to the south, the summer which was thought by no means cheap ; extends to six months and a half. The and a blackcock was offered for a simimaximum temperature in the month of lar price, or less. The price of fish August, already referred to, was 89.1, throughout the province is stated at which proved the highest of the year, from 9s. to 245. per cwt. The Amur and the minimum was 57.0, the mean abounds with fish, among which are the for the month being 68.7. in January salmon, the sturgeon, sterlet, dolphin, the degrees of cold registered were 10.8 trout, and others known by the names below zero ; and the mean temperature of sazan, karass, and a white fish called for the year was 41.5. During my stay siug. The Russians think very highly at Nikolaefsk the summer was unusually of the sterlet ; and the sturgeon also is cold. On several days it rained, and costly. At Viatskoi, near Khabarofka, when taking an evening stroll I did not we were offered a small sturgeon, three find an ulster coat too warm. On the feet long, for half-a-crown, but I was night of August 19 the thermometer reg- told that at Moscow it would cost a istered 45.5, and during the preceding sovereign. day did not rise above 50. In Eng. The price of salmon, however, was the land, at Blackheath, on the same days, most surprising.
most surprising. Up to the 20th of the thermometer registered 49.7 in the August salmon trout, weighing from ten night, and 70 on the preceding day. to twelve pounds, cost as much as 5d.
The season, too, for garden produce each, but they are then said to be dear. was about a fortnight late. On August On the 15th of August a large salmon, 19th we ate new potatoes. They cost the first fish of the season, and weighing 24d. a lb., but eight days later they cost perhaps fifteen pounds, was offered to but id, a lb. Cucumbers were ready on me for 77d. ; but this was considered the ioth of August, and on the 27th they quite " a fancy price." From the 1st were selling for 3s. per hundred. Eggs of September to the 17th, during which cost 55. per hundred, fresh butter 2s. 3d. period the large fish are caught, weighper pound, and beef from 7d. to 81d. ing from fifteen to twenty-five pounds, On August 27th we had our first spring they may be bought for ros. a hundred, cabbage, made into little pies and eaten or a penny each! About 500 tons of
The price of these cab- salmon are salted yearly at Nikolaefsk bages to a friend
was 5d. each, but for winter use, the Government having they were expected shortly to fall to yearly two contracts for sixteen tons, from 16s. to 20s. a hundred. I do not and others besides. For the most part, remember tasting mutton, but was in- however, the fish of the province is conformed that a good sheep weighs about sumed where it is caught, and it is only
quite recently that exportation in small imported cheap ones they bought them. quantities has commenced.
The foreign merchants complain that, The town of Nikolåafsk extends about though there is an abundance of timber a mile along the west bank of the river. in the district, it is not allowed to be In 1858 the inhabitants numbered 2552. exported. Neither do they export corn. They subsequently increased to about On the contrary, the first and second 5000, and when the town was the resi- qualities of white flour used along the dence of the governor of the province Amur are all imported from America, and the poi for the Siberian fleet, it was which may perhaps account for my hava place of some importance. Now, how- ing to pay for white bread 5d. per Ib. at evet;, its glory has departed. Grass Stretinsk, as against five farthings at stows and cows graze in the streets. Its Tobolsk. About 15,000 fifty-pound wooden pavements are rotten, many of bags (say 335 tons) of white flour are houses empty ;
and the rusty sold yearly in Nikolaefsk, the best costmachinery and bombshells in the arsenal ing from 4d. to 6d. per lb., the second and dockyard seem to have reached the from 3d. to 34d., and a third quality, time when nations are to learn war no grown at home, from itd. to 2}d. per lb. more: There are three hospitals in the The price of rye at
Nikolaefsk and town, one for civilians and two for the Sophiisk varies from itd. to 2d. per lb. soldiers. There are also two prisons, On the Ussuri it costs rather less, and both of which I visited ; one is for local north of Nikolaefsk 2d. per lb. is asked. offenders, the other serves as a depot Labor throughout the province is scarce. for convicts on their way to Sakhalien. Many, if not most, of the domestic serThe authorities complain that both the vants are convict women, and many of prisons are old, built of bad materials, the laborers also are convicts who have inconvenient, and wanting in proper served their time. A man's wages cost sanitary arrangements. Some idea of 35. a day, or, for a man and horse in the character of crimes committed in summer, 6s. a day ; but in winter 30s. a the province in 1871 may be, gathered month and hay for the horse. A night from the following subdivision of its 114 watchman at Nikolaefsk may get as criminals — namely, insubordination to much as 31. 105. (35 roubles) a month authorities, 13 ; breaking prison bounds without board, and a man servant 21. and running away, 4; vagrancy, 31; ios. (25 roubles) a month and his food. murder, 5 ; personal violence, 11; libel This would be considered good pay. and assault, 12 ; theft, 27; and highway There are barracks at Nikolaefsk, Govrobbery, 11. The chief causes of ernment buildings, and the admiral's offence are officially reported as gam- house ; also a Russian church and a Robling and drunkenness.
man chapel. On the two Sundays I was Nikolaefsk, from its position at the there I conducted what I was informed mouth of a river which is navigable so were the first English services held on far into Asia, will probably continue in the Amur. The police sent round notice its present commercial position, unless on the Saturdays that I was to hold the perchance railway communication were services, and on the first Sunday thirty made from Vladivostock to the Ussuri. persons were present, many of whom The population of the place is estimated were employés of German merchants. at 3500 or less ; and there came to it in Finding that I could not get by ship 7878 twelve merchant vessels, bringing to Japan or China, I determined to remanufactured goods to the value of 52,- trace my steps by the mail boat which 7811. (527,819 roubles); alcohol, 47051. leaves Nikolaefsk' every three weeks for (47,050 roubles); and wines, beer and Khabarofka. Accordingly, I left on the porter, 16041. (16,045 roubles). Mer- last day of August in the Onon, fitted chandise was brought overland also to with Belgian engines of 30 horse power, the value of 47,8431. (478,431 roubles). and manned by five machinists and eight Complaint is made that the imported sailors. We were five days making the manufactures are of the lowest quality, return journey to Khabarofka, and we to which a merchant made answer to stopped at more stations than in deme, that when he imported good articles scending, which afforded me opportunity the Russians admired them, but when he of seeing and hearing more of the inhab