صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني












[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


UNDER circumstances of peculiar anxiety, the author presents the first part of his travels to the publick. A sense of unearned praise, already bestowed by too eager anticipation, weighs heavy on his mind ; and some degree of apprehension attaches to the consciousness of having obeyed, a strong impulse of duty in the unfavourable representation made of the state of society in Russia. The moral picture afforded of its inhabitants may seem distorted by spleen, and traced under other impressions than those of general charity and Christiau benevolence: on which account the reader is doubly entreated to pardon defects, which experience, chastened by criticism, may subsequentiy amena; and to suspend the judgment, which more general acquaintance with the author may ultimately mitigate. The present publication is not the only one on which he will have to form an opinion. It is merely an introduction to his future notice. The plan under contemplation is to complete, in THREE separate PARTS, a series of travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa; so that each portion, consisting of one or more volumes, may constitute a survey of some particular region. Thus, for example, the work now published, relates to travels in Russia, Tartary, and Turkey; a second may include the observations collected in Greece, Syria, and Egypt; and, finally, a third ; those which presented themselves in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Lapland, and Finland. But, in order to accomplish so extensive an undertaking, some indulgence is required to the manner of its execution; some credit for better disposition towards his fellow-creatures, than the author's severe pennance in Russia may seem to have excited. It is not so generally known as it may be, that the passage of a small rivulet, which separates the two countries of Sweden and Russia, the mere crossing of a bridge conducts the traveller from all that adorns and dignifies the human mind, to whatsoever, most abject, has been found to degrade it. If the late empress and autocrat of all the Russias, Catherine the Second, could find a Volney, who would prostitute his venal pen to varnish the deformities of her reign and of her empire; if Potemkin did not want an apologist, and an advocate, even among the writers of this country;Great Britain will forgive the frankness of one among her sons, who has ventured, although harshly, to speak the truth. It is a language not wholly obscured in the more cantious descriptions of former writers. Tubervile, of England, Augustine, of Germany, Olearius, of Denmark, and, more recently, the Abbe de la Chappe, of France, together with the authors of many anonymous productions, represent the real character of the people, in colours, which peither the antidote of Alexis Mussin Pushkin, the drivelings of Voltaire nor all the hired deceptions of French philosophers and savans, have been able to wipe away.

[ocr errors]

A few words, by way of acknowledgment to those who have contributed to the accomplishment of the present undertaking, it is hoped will not be deemed superfluous. At the same time it is not necessary to repeat expressions which occur in the following pages. With the exception, therefore, of lord Whitworth, whose respectable name the author here begs leave to introduce, no repetition will be offered. To his kindness, while ambassadour at Petersburgh, the very existence of the present volume may be ascribed; and his character ought to stand recorded, in having afforded, as an English minister, the very rare example of liberal patronage to his travelling countrymen, during the whole of his embassy.

In the course of the subsequent narrative, the author has generally used a plural expression, even with reference to his own personal observations. This mode of writing was adopted, not solely with a view to devest his style of egotism, but in allusion to his friend, the cause and companion of his travels, John Marten Cripps, M. A. of Jesus College, Cambridge.

To his unceasing ardour, in prosecuting every enterprise, was added a mild. ness and suavity of manners, which endeared him to the inhabitants of whatever country he visited. The constancy and firmness he preserved through all the trials and privations of a long and arduous journey, as well as the support he rendered to the author in hours of painful and dangerous sickness, demand the warmest expressions of gratitude. The plants collected during the route, were the result of their mutual labour; but the whole of the meteorological statement in the appendix,* together with the account given of relays and distances, t are due to his patient observation and industry.

To the Rev. Reginald Heber, of Brazen-Nose College, Oxford, the author is indebted for the valuable manuscript journal, which afforded the extracts given in the notes. In addition to Mr. Heber's habitual accuracy may be mentioned the statistical information, which stamps a peculiar value on his observations. This has enriched the volume by communications the author himself was incompetent to supply.

To Aylmer Bourke Lambert, esq. Fellow of the Royal Antiquarian, and Linncan Societies, author of several botanical writings, and, among others, of a splendid work on the Genus Pinus, as well as possessor of the finest Herbarium in Europe, for his kindness in arranging the plants collected in the Crimca, and in preparing a list of them for the appendix. +

Notwithstanding the care bestowed on the accurracy of the text, it is highly probable that some errours have escaped the author's notice. Should this prove to be the case, it is hoped the publick will overlook defects in the style of a mere writer of travels, from which the more responsible pages of an Addison, a Steele, and a Gibbon, have not been found exempt. In the progress of transcribing a journal written in a foreign land, remote from scenes of literature, more attention was often given to the fidelity of the extract, than to the elegance, or even purity of the composition. And if the following sentiments of the celebrated Shaftsburys be correct, the reader will not wish to be detained from a perusal of the volume by any such considerations.

* See No. VII. of the Appendix.

Ibid. No. VI. # See appendix, No, V. Mr. Lambert is the present possessor of the celebrated Herbarium of Pallas, purchased by Mr. Cripps, during his residence with the professor, and brought to England in the Braakel, by captain George Clarke, of the royal nary, A. D. 1805.

$ Advice to an Author.

6.30 enchanted we are with the travelling memoirs of any casual adventurer, that, be his character or genius what it will, we have no sooner turned over a page or two, than we begin to interest ourselves highly in his affairs. No sooner has he taken shipping at the mouth of the T'hames or sent his baggage before him to Gravesend or Buoy, in the Nore, than straight our attention is earnestly taken up. If, in order to his more distant travels, he takes some part of Europe in his way, we can with patience hear of inns and ordinaries, passage-boats and ferries, foul and fair weather, with all the particulars of the author's diet, habit of body, his personal dangers and mischances, on land and sea. And thus, full of desire and hope, we accompany him, till he enters on his great scene of action, and begins by the description of some enormous fish or beast.

The unsettled state of English orthography, as far as it affects the introduction of Russian names, produces considerable embarrassment to the writer who whishes to follow a fixed rule. Upon this subject it not only happens that no two authors agree, but the same author is inconsistent. Jonas Hanway, whose writings are more accurate than those of any other English traveller who has visited Russia, may be considered as affording, perhaps, the best model in this respect, but he is not consistent.*

In the Russian alphabet there is no letter answering to our W; yet ve write Moscow and Woronetz. Where custom has long sanctioned an abuse of this kind, the established mode seems preferable to any deviation which may wear the appearance of pedantry. The author has, in this respect, been guided by the authority and example of Gibbon; who affirms, f that some words, notoriously corrupt, are fixed, and, as it were, naturalized in the vulgar toogue. The prophet Mohammed can no longer be stripped of the famous, though improper, appellation of Mahomet; the well known cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Cairo, would almost be lost in the strange descriptions of Haleb, Damashk, and Al Cahira.” But, it may be fairly asked, where is the line to be drawn? What are the Russian names, which we are to consider as fixed and naturalized in the vulgar tongue? Are we to write Woronetz, or Voronêje; Wolga or Volga; Koiw, or Kiof; Azow or Azof? Lord Whitworth wrote Chioff and Asoph, although both these names have the same original termination. It is the B [Vedy] redoubled in compound words, which occasions the principal difficulty, and which has been confounded with our W. Thus, as it is mentioned by Storch, from Levesque, the Russian word Vvèdèniè, signifying introduction, consists of the preposition vo orv [into] and védènie (to conduct.] The proper initial letter in English, therefore, for the word, would be v, whose power it alone possesses; and not W, which conveys a false idea of pronunciation. When this com

* The name of the same place is written Kieva in vol. I. p. 9. Khiera in p. 15. and Khiva in a note. Nagai Tartars, in p. 8. vol. I. are written Nagay Tartars in p. 11. Throughout his work the terminating vowel is sometimes i, and as often y; as Valdai, Poderosnoi and Yakutsky, Nasorowsky.

+ P. S. to Pref. ch. 39. Hist. of Decl. and Fall, &c. # Account of Russia, by Charles Lord Whitworth. Strawb. Hill, 1758, § Tableau de l'Empire de Russie, tom. I. p. 19.

f The reader will find this example mentioned in a note to p. 140; bui it might be improper to omit the insertion of it in a part of the volume expressly appropriated to verbal criticism.

« السابقةمتابعة »