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Randolph, who went as ambassador from Queen CHAP. ELIZABETH, was a person of the name of George Tulervile, and wrote “Certaine Letters in Verse,” Letters. to Dancie, Spenser, and Parker, “ describing the maners of the countrey and people.” He appears to have been a young man of fashion at that time. We have selected some of the most striking passages in these Letters, for a note! They are very little known, and worth the Reader's attention; not merely because they
(2) “ 1 left my native soile, full like a retchlesse man,
And unacquainted of the coast, among the Russes ran :
“ Such licour as they have, and as the countrey gives,
But chiefly two, one called Kuas, whereby the Mousike lives.
“ Their Idoles have their hearts, on God they never call,
Unlesse it be (Nichola Bough) that hangs against the wall.
Hakluyt's Voyages, pp. 384-5. He then proceeds to mention the dissolute lives of the women, and their manner of painting their cheeks: and, at the close of his Letter to Spenser, he says,
The people beastly bee.
“ They say the lion's paw gives judgement of the beast :
Ilid. p. 387.
prove that Russia, when they were written, appeared as it does at this day, but also as curious examples of early English poetry. The work in which they are contained is extremely rare, and bears an enormous price. Indeed we are authorised in maintaining, that any inquiry into the history of the people (whether directed to writers who describe the brightest or the most gloomy annals of Russia) will prove the state of society in the country to exist now as it always has been. The leading testimony (even of authors decidedly partial) is by no means favourable to the character of its inhabitants. So long ago as the middle of the last century, when the Baron de Manstein wrote his Memoirs' concerning the interesting æra that elapsed between the beginning of the reign of PBTER THE SECOND, and the marriage of the late Empress CATHERINE with the husband whose murder Voltaire found it impossible to methodize", the insecurity of property, the total want of public faith, the ignorance and the rudeness of the people, were notorious'. De Manstein studiously avoided all opprobrious reflections; attributing the depreciating accounts, usually given of the natives, to the little information strangers, unacquainted with the language, can procure*. It will therefore be curious to adduce the evidence, which may nevertheless be derived from his work, to validate the description we have
In his Letter to Parker, the Tahtar dress and manner are thus strik.
Their garments be not gay, nor handsome to the eye;
« These are the Russies robes. The richest use to ride
From place to place, his servant runnes, and followes by his side.
For when the Russie is pursued by cruel foe,
“The maners are so Turkie like, the men so full of guile,
The women wanton, temples stuft with idoles that defile
Ibid. pp. 387-389
(1) Memoirs of Russia by the Baron de Manstein, a German, who served in the Russian army. He afterwards became a general-officer in the Prussian service. These Memoirs contain a history of Russia from the year 1727 to the year 1744.
(2) See the Advertisement prefixed to this volume.
(3) “They were perfectly ignorant of all the rules of good breeding, even of the laws of nations, and of those prerogatives of foreign ministers which are established in the other Courts of Europe." Supplement to the Memoirs, &c. p. 416. Second Edit. Lond. 1773.
CHAP. given of the Russians; especially after the high
character given of the former by David Hume'. It was during the reign of the Empress Anne, that Valinsky, a minister of the Crown, together with his adherents, fell victims to the displeasure of one of her favourites. After relating their undeserved fate, and the confiscation of their property, De Manstein observes ? :
“ All the estates of these unfortunate persons were given to others, who did not possess them long. In this manner,” says he, “it is, that in Russia, not only money, but even lands, houses, and moveables, circulate quicker than in any other country in Europe. I have seen lands change masters at least thrice in the space of two years.” The same author, describing their barbarous finery and want of cleanliness half a century ago, actually delineated a portraiture of the nobles as they appear at the present days. “The richest coat would be sometimes worn together with the vilest uncombed wig; or you might see a beautiful piece of stuff spoiled by some botcher of a tailor; or, if there were nothing amiss in the dress, the equipage would be deficient. A man richly dressed would come to Court in a miserable coach, drawn by the wretchedest hacks.
(1) Hume vouches for his having been an eye-witness to most of the incidents he has related, and speaks of the author's candour, good sense, and impartiality.-See Advertisement to the Memoirs signed
(3) Ibid. p. 247.
The same want of taste reigned in the furniture CHAP. and appearance of their houses. On one side you might see gold and silver in heaps ; on the other, “ a shocking dirtiness.” And then he adds", “ It was enough for a dealer in the commodities of luxury and fashion to remain two or three years at Petersburg, to gain a competency for the rest of his life; even though he should have begun the world there with goods upon credit.” Instances of this kind, during the period of our residence in Russia, might be cited, as having happened both in Petersburg and in Moscow.
(4) Memoirs of Russia, p. 248.