| Penny Cyclopedia
|The penny cyclopædia of the Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge. 1833.|
This article comprehends not only a description of Georgia Proper, but of all the countries between the Black and the Caspian Seas of which Russia either holds or claims possession, and which form dependencies of the government of Georgia, or, as the Russians call it, Grusia. This tract extends from 38° 31' to 43° 30' N. lat., and from about 41° to 52° 12' R. long. It is enclosed on the north by the range of the Caucasus, which forms a part of the country; on the east it is washed by the Caspian, and on the west by the Black Sea; on the south it is bounded by Persia and Asiatic Turkey, having a line of frontier on that side of about 600 English miles. Its utmost breadth, from the Cape of Abcheron or Apsheron on the Caspian Sea, to the mouth of the river Chorokee, which falls into the Black Sea, is about 480 English miles; and its greatest length, from the bank of the Araxes to those of the Kooma, is about 500 English miles.
The countries on the eastern shores of the Black Sea were known to the early Greeks, as we infer from the history of the expedition of the Argonauts: and several Greek colonies, such as Dioscurias and others, were established here at an early epoch. The Romans became acquainted with the Caucasian region during their wars with Mithridates and with the kings of Armenia. In the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries of our era those regions became the theatre of frequent wars between the emperors of the East and the Sassanide kings of Persia. In the eighth and ninth centuries they were partly conquered by the generals of the khaliphs of Bagdad, whose dominion however was not of long duration. From the eleventh to the end of the twelfth century the kings of Georgia acquired great power, and exercised a paramount influence over all the Caucasian isthmus. But their power was overthrown by the invasion of the Moguls of Gengis Khan, who overran these countries about the beginning of the thirteenth century, and rendered them tributary. Towards the end of the fourteenth century they were again invaded by Tamerlane, when they suffered even more than under Gengis Khan. After the death of Tamerlane the kings of Georgia expelled the Mohammedans and resumed their power; but the unfortunate division of the country which Alexander I., king of Georgia, made among his three sons in 1424, plunged it again into a miserable condition. About the beginning of the sixteenth century the sovereigns of Kakhet, or Eastern Georgia, became vassals to the sophis of Persia, and from that time were reckoned among the valees, or lieutenants, of the Shah. Towards the end or the same century the sovereigns of Kartli and of Imiretia, as well as all the western part of the Caucasian isthmus, fell under the domination, or at least the influence, of the Ottoman Porte; and the country between the Black and the Caspian seas became from that time a constant field of battle between the Turks and the Persians.
From the sixteenth century the czars of Moscow endeavoured to establish their influence in the Caucasian regions. Their projects were favoured by their community of religion with the Georgians, who repeatedly requested their assistance against the oppression of their Mobammedan neighbours. But the unsuccessful expedition which the Moscovites undertook in the beginning of the seventeenth century against the highlanders of the Eastern Caucasus stopped their projects of conquest in that quarter till the time of Peter the Great. This monarch in person made an expedition in 1724 against the highlanders of Daghestan, and took Derbend. This expedition was followed by a treaty with Tamas Shah of Persia, who, being driven from his states by the Afghauns, ceded to Russia, on the promise of being restored to his throne, the provinces of Daghestan, Shirvan, Ghilan, Mazanderan, and Asterabad. Although the promised assistance was never given, the provinces were taken possession of by Russia, and held till the year 1735, when they ware restored by the empress Anne to the celebrated Nadir Shah.
The fortunes of Georgia were restored for a moment after the death of Nadir Shah, by Heraclius II., a Georgian prince, educated in the camps of that conqueror, whom he had accompanied on his expedition to India. After a long reign spent in constant wars with his neighbours, Heraclius adopted a measure which he thought would ensure the safety of his country, but which proved destructive to his dynasty. He declared himself in 1783 a vassal of Russia, which guaranteed to him and his successors not only the possession of his actual dominions, but even of those which he might thereafter conquer. Persia was at that time disturbed by internal wars and could not resent the desertion of her vassal, but in 1795 Aga Mohammed Khan led an army into Georgia and defeated Heraclius, who, being abandoned by the Russians, tried to oppose the invaders with an inferior force. Tiflis was taken by the Persians, who destroyed the town and led a great number of its inhabitants into captivity. Heraclius died in 1798, and was succeeded by his son George XIII., a weak-minded prince, whose reign was constantly disturbed by a civil war with his brothers. George died in 1800. After his death Georgia was declared a Russian province, and the members of the reigning family were carried to Russia. A few years afterwards several provinces situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea were taken by the Russians and their possession of them was confirmed by the treaty of Goolistan, concluded in 1813, between Russia and Persia. The sovereign of lmiretia, who bad become a vassal of Russia in the beginning of the present century, made in 1810 an unsuccessful attempt to shake off his yoke; but he was obliged to flee to Turkey, and his principality was converted into a province of Russia. Several other petty states fell successively under the same power, whose conquests were extended during her last wars with Persia and Turkey, and confirmed by the treaty of Turkmanchay in 1828, with the first, and that of Adrianople in 1829, with the second of the above-mentioned powers.
The mountain-ranges of the Caucasus and of Ararat are described under those respective heads.
The principal rivers which drain the Caucasian isthmus are the Koor, or ancient Cyrus, the Araxes, the Rion or Faz (the ancient Phasis), the Kooban, and the Terek, beside numerous smaller rivers and streams. Owing to the hilly nature of the country only two of these rivers are navigable, and that only for flat-bottomed vessels – the Koor, from its confluence with the Araxes to its outlet into the Caspian sea, for about 70 English miles; and the Rion, for about the same distance.
The country, though generally mountainous, contains some extensive plains. The southern latitude of these regions and the high mountains by which they are surrounded and intersected produce that variety of climate which adapt them to the production of various plants and animals proper both to warm and cold climates. Of wild animals there are the panther, the jackal, the tiger, the bear, the wolf, &c. Besides the domestic animals common to the northern countries, there’s great number of camels and asses. A great variety of birds is found in these regions, of which the moat remarkable is the pheasant, which is indigenous on the banks of the Rion, or Phasis, from which river it has derived its name. The slopes of the mountain are covered with large forests, which produce timber of the best description.
The vine, which is indigenous, grows abundantly in a wild state. The vineyards produce a great variety of grapes, and a large quantity of wine and brandy is made in the country. Silk is cultivated in several provinces, but this branch of industry is still in a very low state, owing to the unskillful preparation of that valuable commodity. The present annual exportation amounts to 15,500 poods. (A pood is about 36 lbs.) Cotton is grown in the southern provinces, but it is of very inferior quality, and the whole quantity exported is only 36,000 poods. It is however said that by an improved management the cotton might be brought to the greatest perfection, and its quantity increased to an unlimited amount. Madder grows spontaneously in several parts of the country, but cultivated chiefly in the provinces bordering on the Caspian. The inhabitants of the district of Derbend are almost exclusively occupied with the cultivation of it. In 1832 they produced 35,000 poods of madder roots, valued at 47.000 l. Rice grows almost everywhere except in the highland; and saffron is produced in great quantity in the eastern provinces.
There’s every reason to believe that great mineral wealth is concealed in the mountains, but hitherto nothing of any importance has been discovered. The present commerce of these countries by the Caspian Sea is carried on from the ports of Derbent, Baku, Shamakhi and Lenkoran, to Persia and to Astrakhan. The overland trade is with Russia and Persia, as well as with Asiatic Turkey. The commerce by the Black Sea is carried on from the mouth of the Rion with Odessa and other Russian ports, as well as with Constantinople; and there is a small traffic with the highlanders of the Caucasus.
The system of taxation is of the most absurd and oppressive character; it is rendered particularly vexatious by the numerous monopolies which exist in several places, and by the duties which are levied on goods passing from one province to another. These duties were established by the petty princes who formerly possessed the dominion of this country; but although the separate states are now united, the former customs and duties still remain.
The amount of the population is exceedingly doubtful. Of the several conflicting estimates the only one on which any reliance can be placed is the official returns of the population of some of the provinces entirely subject to Russia, and which we shall give under the special description of each.
The government of those countries is concentrated in the person of the governor-general, who resides at Tiflis, and who is at the same time commander of a considerable military force called the Caucasian corps. The governor-general determines all the civil and military affairs of these provinces, and directs the minor diplomatic relations with the neighbouring countries.
The ecclesiastical affairs of the Armenian church are directed by their patriarch, who resides in Echmiadzin; and those of the Georgian church by the Catholicos, or metropolitan of Georia. The religious concerns of the Mohammedans are directed by a mooshtend, who is acknowledged by the Russian government as the religion chief of the Mohammedan inhabitants of the country.
The country is politically divided into the following provinces: - Georgia Proper, the Armenian provinces, the provinces of Daghestan, Akhalzik, Imiretia, the provinces of Shirvan, Sheki, Talish, and Karabagh. Besides these provinces, which are incorporated in the Russian empire, the following states acknowledge her sovereignty or claim her protection, although they are governed by minor princes: - Mingrelia, Gooria or Gouriel, anti some petty states in the Daghestan. Many highland tribes are only nominal vassals of Russia, and instead of submitting to her commands, are constantly at war with her.
Georgia Proper consists of the former kingdom of Kakhet and Kartli, which were united under the domination of Heraclius II., in the eighteenth century. It contains, according to the official returns, together with the districts of Borchalin, Kasakh, Shamshadil, Bambaco-Shooraghel, and Elizabethpol, joined to it by the Russian government, and inhabited by Mohammedans and Armenians, a population of 225,395 males, inhabiting 61,201 houses, on a surface of 46,400 square versts. The principal town is Tiflis, the antient metropolis of Georgia, and at present the seat of government for all the Caucasian provinces of Russia. It is situated in 41° 40' N, lat., and 45° 16' E. long, and extends along both banks of the river Koor for about * English miles. In its external appearance it presents a striking diversity, produced by the mixture of Oriental and European civilization. The town is surrounded on the south and west by the ridge of barren rocks; and on the north, the Caucasus, with its snow-covered tops, is within sight. This contrast with the fertile valley in which Tiflis is situated amidst orchards and vineyards gives to the town a very picturesque and pleasant appearance. The population amounts to 26,000 souls, composed chiefly of Armenians, a much smaller number of Georgians, a few Mohammedans and German colonists settled in its immediate vicinity, beside the Russian troops, civil officers, and merchants. The inhabitants of Tiflis, Armenians as well as Georgians, bear a very bad character, and are said have all the vices which were produced by long oppression united with a greediness after gain. Such however is not the character of the Georgians of the country; and indeed a nation which that preserved its religion notwithstanding ages of persecution, and which has seized every opportunity of regaining its independence, has a just claim to some respect. The Georgians who inhabit the country have the reputation of being exceedingly attached their religion and country, honest, simple-hearted, laborious, and brave. These honourable qualities are tinged with an admixture of vanity, irascibility, and some other defects common to less civilized nations.
The language of Georgia bears a great resemblance to the Armenian. The Armenian historians that previous to the time of Alexander the Great, Georgia formed a part of Armenia, but was separated from it during the commotion, produced in Asia by the wars of that conqueror and his successors; and that since that time the language of Georgia has received an admixture of many foreign words.
Besides the Armenian, which constitutes its basis, the Georgian is full of Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and other foreign words. The idiom of the Pshavi and other Georgian highlanders, who have had less intercourse with foreigners, is more free from this admixture, and much nearer to the language of the Georgian sacred books, which were chiefly written in the fifth century of our Era.
Georgia was converted to Christianity by Armenian missionaries, who introduced into the churches of this country the worship in the Armenian tongue, which however was not understood by the people. In 410 a learned Armenian named Mesrop invented an alphabet for the Georgians, and soon afterwards the Bible and other religious books were translated into the Georgian 1anguage. A new kind of letters, used for ordinary writings, were invented about the 10th century, which are distinguished from the old characters by a greater simplicity; the difference between the two alphabets may be compared to that which exists between the Gothic and the present Latin letters. The new alphabet is called by the Georgians Mkhedroolee, or the Military one, and the old one Khootzoora, or the Ecclesiastical. Although fourteen centuries have passed since the Georgian language had an alphabet, it is not yet subject to definite rules. It has a dictionary, although a very incorrect one, and there are also some treaties on grammar and rhetoric, imitated from the Persian and Armenian, and in modern times from the Russian. But there is no real Georgian grammar, except some elementary works, written by foreigners, in order to facilitate the learning of the language. Such are the Georgio-ltalian dictionary, published at Rome in 1629, by Stephen Paulini and Nicephorus Irbacchi. A Georgian grammar was also published there by Mogius in 1760. In 1820 there appeared at St. Petersburg a Russo-Georgian grammar. A printing-office was established at Tiflis by king Archil in the middle of the 17th century, and some religious books were printed there. Under Vakhtany the Sixth, who published a code of laws, many works were also printed and their number was still increased under the reign of Heraclius the Second. The printing establishment was destroyed at the sacking of Tiflis by the Persians in 1795. The Russian government has now established a printing-office with Georgian, Persian, and Russian letters.
The population of Georgia is divided into the following classes: 1st. The Tavadis (literally heads), who constitute the higher nobility. 2nd. The Asnauris, or nobles. 3rd. The Mokalaks, or citizens (from Kalakh, a town). 4th. The Glekhs, or peasants. The Russian government in taking possession of Georgia gave to the Tavadis the title of princes, and to the Asnauria that of nobles. Both these classes have in Russia the same privileges as the nobles of that country, and have the same right to possess serfs.
Before the Russian dominion was established, the Tavadis were divided into three classes, distinguished by the sum of money paid for the murder of an individual belonging to their body. Thus the sum paid for the assassination of a Tavadi of the first class was double of what was paid for one of the second: and the penalty for the murder of Tavadi of the second class was double of that for one of the third class. The Asnauris were likewise divided into three classes, which stood in the same relation to each other as those or the Tavadis. There were instances of some Asnauris being subject to the Tavadis, to whom they were given into hereditary bondage by the sovereign.
The Mokalaks, or citizen, live in the towns, and chiefly in Tiflis. They are generally engaged in trade, and their whole body pays to the government a fixed sum which they assess upon themselves. The peasants are serfs in Georgia, and belong either to the crown, the church, or to the princes and nobles.
The other towns of Georgia are Signakh, the chief place or the district of that name, with about 3000 inhabitants; Telav, a well-built town in the Oriental style, with more than 3000 inhabitants; Doochet, a fortified place, with about 1300 inhabitants; Goree, a commercial town, with about 3500 inhabitants; and Elizabethpol, or Ganjah, formerly the capital of a Khanat, and the residence of a vassal prince. Elizabethpol is a large town, which contains even now, in its dilapidated state, 2000 houses, with above 6000 individuals, and several fine mosques and other public buildings. The town is fortified and has been frequently exposed to the calamities of siege and capture. All the towns enumerated are capitals of districts, which are called after them.
The administration of Georgia consists of three departments, executive, financial, and judicial, the heads of which with the addition or some inferior magistrates, form, under the presidency of the governor-general, the supreme council of Georgia. Civil cases are decided according to the code of Vakhtany, the sixth king of Georgia. When its provisions prove insufficient recourse is had to the Russian law, by which all criminal cases are decided.
There is at Tiflis a school supported by the government, one by the Armenians, and an ecclesiastical seminary for the education of the Georgian clergy.
Imiretia. – It has been already mentioned that Alexander I., king of Georgia, in 1424 divided his dominions among his three sons; he gave Imiretia to one of them. The various fortunes of this little country, which fell under the dependence of Turkey in 1576, present too little interest to require mention.
Imiretia is situated between 410 45' and 42° 40' N. lat., and between 42° 9' and 43° 39' B. long. On the north it borders on the main ridge of the Caucasus, and is separated on the east by a branch of it from Georgia Proper; on the south it borders on Akhalzik; and on the west on Mingrelia. Its area is calculated to be about 9200 square versts Being sheltered from the northern winds by the Caucasus, its climate is mild, and in many parts the trees blossom and produce fruit twice a year. The large forests with which the country is overgrown prevent the free circulation of air, and engender a kind of malaria. The soil is exceedingly fertile, and the climate favourable to the cultivation of all the products of warm countries. Its population, which amounts to 100.000, consists chiefly of Imiretians and a few Armenians. The Imiretians speak a dialect of the Georgian language, and are politically divided into the same classes as the Georgians. Their manners and customs are also the same. The lower classes are very laborious, and remarkable for their physical strength. Many of them go to Tillis to gain a livelihood by their labour. The government is vested in a Russian general, who commands the military force stationed in Imiretia, Mingrelia, Gooria, and Abkhazia, and who is dependent on the governor-general of Georgia He presides over the civil department, which is composed of three Russian and two native magistrates, called Divan Begs. This department decides on all civil cases, and superintends the administration of the finances. Criminal cues are decided by a military commission. Civil affairs are decided according to the code of Vakhtany, and whenever it is defective recourse is had to the Russian law. Criminal cases are judged exclusively according to the Russian law. Every district is governed by a Russian intendant, assisted by two native officers.
Imiretia is divided into four districts: Kootais, Vakee, Shoropan, and Rachee.
Kootais, on the Rion, the metropolis, and the only town of Imiretia, was formerly the residence of its kings, and is now the seat of the Russian government. It is the capital of the district of the same name, as well as of the whole country. The place is divided into the old and new town, the former of which is of great antiquity, and contains a church built in a splendid style of Byzantine architecture. The new town is constructed in the European manner, and its streets are planted with nut, fig, and other trees. The number of inhabitants, exclusive of the Russian garrison, is only 2000. In the neighborhood of Kootais is the monastery of Ghelat, which is surrounded by mountains containing sulphur springs, naphtha wells, and also a kind of black amber.
Akhalzik.-By the treaty of Adrianople Turkey ceded to Russia a part or the pashalik of Akhalzik which now forms the Russian province of that name. On the north it borders on Gooria, Imiretia, and Mingrelia; on the east, on Georgia; on the south, on the pashalik of Kars; on the south-west, on the part of Akhalzik which has remained under the Turkish domination. It is situated between 41° and 42 N. lat., and between 42° 39' and 44° l' E. long. Its area is more than 7000 square versts.
The country is generally hilly, but very fertile, and the climate is healthy. The mountains contain numerous mineral springs, many of which have medicinal properties. The population, which amounts to 7000 souls, consists of Armenians, Georgians, Greeks, Koords, Turks, Jews, and Gipsies. The country is divided into ten sandjacs, or districts, some of which are governed by Russians officers, and others by natives called sandjac-begs, who, instead of a salary, receive the revenue of certain estates, as was the case under the Turkish dominion. They all however depend upon the Russian governor residing at the town of Akhalzik.
The principal towns are: Akhalzik, the capital of the province, a fortress supposed to have been built by the celebrated queen Thamar. It contains 13,500 inhabitants. Akhalkalaki, also a fortress, has 1000, and Khertvis 600 inhabitants.
The Armenian provinces, are composed of the khanats of Erivan and Nakhichevan, ceded to Russia by Persia in 1828. [ERIVAN] They contain a surface of about 11,000 square versts, a great part of which is hilly, besides the mountain of Ararat. There are however many plains with a very fertile soil. The products of Erivan are the same as those of Georgia, but with the addition of a kind of cochineal, called by the natives red worm, and which, according to Mr. Hamel (a learned naturalist), are a kind of insect which has never yet been described. They are much larger than the American, and are found on the roots of a plant called by Baron Marshal Biberstein (‘Flora Tauro-Caucasica’) Poa pungens, and by the Academician Trinius Aeluropus laevis. Mr. Hamel maintains that this is as fit for dyeing purposes as the American cochineal. Though its use is now exceedingly limited, it may become a very important article of commerce. The population, according to the official returns of 1834, consisted of 22.336 families, containing 65,300 males, of whom 29,690 were Mohammedans, and the rest Armenians.
Beside the town of Erivan, the most remarkable places of the province are, the important fortress of Sardar Abad, and the convent of Echmiadzin, the residence of the Armenian patriarch.
The province of Nakhichevan, which forms the southern part of Russian Armenia, is divided into two districts: Nakhichevan, and Ordoobad. The former contains about 3000 square versts, inhabited by 6538 families, of whom 2678 are Armenians, and the rest Mohammedans. According to the official returns of 1832, the number of males was 16,095. The climate of the hilly part of this district is healthy, but in the plains it is exceedingly hot and unwholesome. It contains some valuable salt-mines. The town of Nakhichevan, situated in 38° 59' N. lat., was in ancient times one of the most important cities of the Armenian empire, and the Persian historians relate that it then contained 40,000 houses. It has been many times captured and sacked, yet when it was visited by Sir John Chardin, in the seventeenth century, it contained 2000 houses, beside numerous caravanserays, baths, and other public buildings. Extensive ruins attest the former grandeur of that city, which has now a population of only 1330 families, comprehending 2870 male individuals, although the circumference of the town is about four English miles. Not far from Nakhichevan is the fortress of Abbasabad, constructed on the left bank of the Araxes by some French engineers in the Persian service.
The district of Ordoobad contains about 1200 square versts, inhabited by a population or 3160 males, of whom 2157 are Mohammedans, and the rest Armenians. The district of Ordoobad being very fertile and enjoying a particularly healthy climate, has been named the “earthly paradise”. The chief place of the district is Ordoobad, which contains about 600 houses.
The Musssulman provinces: - A large tract of land extending along the shores of the Caspian Sea, and containing the present provinces of Baku, Derbend, Shirvan, Kooba, Sheki, with the peninsula of Apsheron and the island of Salyan, once formed a part of Albania, which belonged to the powerful monarchy of Armenia till the sixth century, when being conquered by the Sassanide monarch of Persia, Khosroo Nooshirvan, it assumed the name of Shirvan. For some time afterwards it had its independent sovereigns, who took the title of Shah, but were obliged, towards the end of the ninth century, to acknowledge the supremacy of the khaliphs.
The ruler of Shirvan long continued powerful, and had frequent wars with Persia. In the beginning of the fifteenth century, Emir Ibrahim of Shirvan conquered Azerbijan, took Tauris, and even Ispahan, the capital of Persia. But the terrible revolutions which agitated that country towards the end of the fifteenth century, brought it under the dominion of Persia, and Shirvan never recovered its independence. Divided among several rulers nominated by the Shah, it remained under the dominion of Persia until it was gradually invaded and finally subjugated by Russia.
Shirvan borders on the province of Kooba on the north; on the east, on that of Baku and the Caspian Sea; on the south, on a bay of the same sea, and the provinces of Talish and Karabagh; and on the west on the province of Sheki. The surface of the whole province, including the island of Salyan, is estimated at 14,500 square verst. It contains many plains, and. except in the mountainous part, is exceedingly fertile. The climate in the plains along the shores of the Caspian is very hot and unhealthy, but this high temperature, with the great fertility of the soil, renders it capable of producing many tropical plants.
The bulk of the population of Shirvan consists of the Tahtar, or, to speak more correctly, Turkish race, with me admixture of Arabs and Persians. It may be divided into several classes; as the begs and agas, or nobles, the clergy, the maafs, the maaf-nookers, and the peasants. All these distinctions originated under the former native governments, and are rather connived at than maintained by Russia. The begs are the landowners, to whom the peasants living on their lands are obliged to make certain payments in money, and others also in kind or in labour. The dignity of the beg was granted by the sovereign, and continued in the family more by custom than by law. The title of aga is given to those individuals who are descended from the families of the khans. The clergy enjoy great consideration among the natives being the expounders of the Koran, by which not only the religious but the civil concerns of the Mohammedans are regulated. The maafs are individuals, exempted from every tax and duty, generally only for a certain period. This immunity was acquired either by some services rendered to the khan or by purchase. The maaf-nookers were exempted from the payment of every kind taxes, but were under an obligation to serve the khan in the field, and to perform certain services, such as the carrying of despatches, collecting imposts, &c. The peasants are all free, and there are no serfs among the Mohammedans of the Caucasian provinces. The merchants, artisans and other inhabitants of towns pay no direct taxes to the government, but are obliged to provide military quarters, horses, or cattle for military transport, and to contribute to the maintenance of public buildings, &c. Besides the Mohammedans, who form the mass of the population, there are many Armenians, some Jews, and a few Gipsies. According to the official returns of 1831, the number of males belonging to the Mohammedan population was 62.934; Armenians, 6,375; Jews, 332; total males 69,641.
The prevalent language of Shirvan is what is there called Toorkee or Turkish, which is also used in Azerbijan.
The principal products of Shirvan are rice, silk, wine, some cotton, and tobacco. The climate, particularly of that part which is called the Island of Salyan, and which is in fact the Delta of the Koor, is so warm and fertile that it would produce in the greatest abundance many tropical plants, but its natural advantages have hitherto been turned to little account. This island has also rich fisheries, which bring in to the government, on an average, an annual revenue of about 28,000 l. The industry of Shirvan consists chiefly in the manufacture of silken stuffs, which are concentrated in the town of Old Shamakhee and some villages in its vicinity, and which occupy about 700 looms, each requiring the co-operation of four individuals. There are also some cotton manufacturers, as well as a few tanneries in the same place. The district of Laguish, which is situated in the mountains and in a very cold and barred region, is inhabited by population entirely distinct from that of the rest of Shirvan, who are exclusively employed in the fabrication of arms, copper vessels, and sundry metal wares, from which they derive considerable profit, as apparent from their condition being superior to that of the rest of the inhabitants of Shirvan. The commerce which is carried on with Persia by the Caspian Sea, and with Astrakhan and Tiflis overland, is not considerable.
The chief place of the province is the town of Old Shamakhee, winch was celebrated for its trade during the middle ages, when it was the chief mart and the centre of that commercial intercourse which we have already described. It continued to be an important city, notwithstanding the change of' the above-mentioned commercial route, as well as many political vicissitudes; and it was in the most flourishing condition at the beginning of the eighteenth century, when it was sacked (1717) in the most barbarous manner by the highlanders of Daghestan. Since that time Shamakhee has never recovered its antient splendour, and it is now inhabited, according to the official returns of 1831, by only 2233 families.
The khanat of Talish, being situated between 38° 31' and 39° 31' N. lat., is the most southern possession of Russia. On the north it borders on the steppe of Moghan, which makes part of Shirvan; on the east, on the Caspian Sea; and on the south and west it is enclosed by the Persian dominions. This province is entirely mountainous, with the exception of one great plain, which runs between the mountains and the sea, and contains about 3000 square versts. Its soil, with few exceptions, is a black loam capable of producing the most luxuriant vegetation. This richness of the soil, combined with a hot climate and abundance of water, renders it practicable to cultivate various tropical products on the plain of Talish; and many persons who have examined the country consider that the sugar-cane, cotton of the finest quality, indigo, and the orange-tree, &c., would succeed perfectly; while the slopes of the mountains are very favourable to the cultivation of the vine, as well as the almond, olive, and other trees which require a dry soil. At present the state of agriculture its very low, and the greatest part of the grounds are only used pastures.
The climate, which is now rather unhealthy on account the great number of marshy grounds, may be improved by draining these swamps, which contain an extraordinary quantity or snakes and other venomous reptiles. It is a great advantage to the khanat or Talish that it is situated along the sea coast, which offers great facilities to its commerce. It has two ports, or rather roadsteads: Lenkoran, which is so shallow that vessels can never approach the coast nearer than one mile, and are frequently obliged to anchor even at a greater distance; and Sara, which is the best port in the Caspian Sea. Sara is situated on the north-western side of a little island of the same name, and is about 24 English miles from the shore. Vessels drawing 14 feet water can come within 150 fathoms of the coast. It is the usual station of the Russian war flotilla.
The population of the khanat of Talish is of the same description as that of the province of Shirvan, and all that we have said respecting it is applicable to the inhabitants of Talish. The amount of the population seems not to have been exactly ascertained. There are some few wandering tribes, who live in a very wild state, and are much addicted to predatory habits. The industry of Talish is in a very low state, and limited to the production of some silk, rice, honey, &c. The manufactures supply a few silk and cotton stuffs. The chief and only town of the province is Lenkoran, in 38° 43' N. lat. and 48° 64' B. long. It is a wretched place, with about 500 houses.
The province or Karabagh, which is separated on the south by the Araxes from the Persian dominions, and enclosed on all other sides by the Russian provinces of Shirvan, Sheki, Elizabethpol, Nakhichevan, and Erivan, has an area of about 13,000 square versts. From its extensive forests it has received the name of Karabagh, which signifies, in the Turko-Tahtar language, ‘a black garden’. Many parts are covered with hills; the highest, called Saree Dara, is 5000 feet above the level of the Caspian. These hills are generally covered with wood or fine grass, and barren rocks are very rare. There is a great plain which contains about 2400 square versts, and a soil almost universally fertile; even the greatest part of the hills are covered with a black loam. The climate in the high parts is rather cold. The plains are hot and unhealthy. Besides the Koor and the Araxes, the province is drained by a great number or small rivers and mountain streams, which afford great facilities for irrigation. The products of Karabagh, owing to the hilly character of the country, are those of a moderate rather than a warm climate, and the forest-trees are of the same description as those of Europe, and supply timber of the best quality. The mineral products consist of a small quantity of naphtha, copper, and salt, collected from lakes.
The population or Karabagh, according to the official returns of 1832, consisted or 13,965 Mohammedan and 1491 Armenian families, besides some Nestorian Christians and Gipsies. This limited population may be ascribed to the frequent wars which have long desolated the province, and to the emigration to Persia of many Mohammedan families since its subjection to Russia, although many Armenians were induced by the Russian government, after the peace of Toorkmanchay, to emigrate from Persia to Karabagh.
All that has been said of the Mohammedan population of Shirvan and Talish is equally applicable to that of Karabagh, with the exception that, besides the two Mohammedan sects of the Shiites and Soonnees, there is a third, called Aliallaga. Its followers are distinguished, besides a particular veneration for Ali, by abstinence from tobacco and snuff, which is carried so far, that they shun the intercourse of those who make use of them; but they drink wine and distilled liquors.
The Armenians of Karabagh have a nobility, consisting of some families to whom Shah Abbas the Great granted the title of melihks or princes, which is enjoyed by their descendants. They have a numerous clergy, comprising two archbishops, many bishops, abbots, and several convents, besides the secular clergy. Both clergy and laity are very ignorant, and their religious observances are much relaxed. Anybody who is married to a virgin, and is able to read, may become a priest by remaining in a church, or a room attached to it, during forty days and nights, and reading the Scriptures. Having passed this probation, he is consecrated by the local bishop; but should the priest, after having lost his first wife, marry again, he loses his sacred character. The Armenians of Karabagh have intermingled with their religion many Mohammedan and even Pagan rites and customs. They are called to the church by a public crier, and enter it without uncovering their heads. At the baptism they give Mohammedan names to their children, and sacrifice several kinds of animals and birds to the saints at the entrance of churches. The Nestorians have emigrated into Karabagh from Persia since the treaty or Toorkmanchay.
The only town in Karabagh is Shooshee, situated on a high rocky mountain, about 4000 feet above the level of the Caspian. It is fortified by nature and a little by art: it contains about 1700 houses. The population is composed of 761 Armenian and 936 Mohammedan families. The Missionary Society of Basel has an establishment at Shooshee, composed of a few missionaries, who maintain gratuitously a school for the natives, where, besides the Christian religion, are taught the Armenian language, arithmetic, and geography, as well as the Greek and English languages. The missionaries have also a small printing-office, in which they print some religious tracts and school-books in Armenian. There are also two Armenian schools, one for boys, and another for girls; and 7 Mohammedan schools, besides one established by the Russian government.
The province of Sheki is situated between 40° 10' and 41° 16' N. lat., and 45° 56' and 48° 7' E. long. On the north it borders on a part of the Caucasian ridge called Salvat-dagh and Shak-dagh, by which it is separated from several independent tribes of the Lesghis; on the east on the province of Shirvan; on the south on that of Karabagh; and on the west on the territory of the sultan of Elisooy and the district of Elizabethpol. Its length from north to south is something more than 70 English miles, and its breadth in the northern part about the same; but it narrows towards the south. The surface is calculated at about 9000 square versts. The country is generally mountainous, but there are also some level tracts; the climate is temperate, except during the few summer months, when the heat becomes oppressive in the plains. The products consist of different kinds of grain, which are cultivated in the hilly part. Silk is produced in the plains: this latter branch of industry has of late made great progress, and may become very important by the improvements introduced into the preparation of the silk by an establishment for preparing it after the European manner, which was made by the government in 1829. Some cotton is also cultivated in the plains; but although circumstances are favourable to its growth, it is now produced to a very small amount, and of a rather inferior kind. Some silks of a good quality are manufactured by the women in several villages. Great flocks of sheep and cattle are reared in the province. The population of Sheki amounts, according to the official returns of 1833, in the town of Nookha, and 270 villages, or nomadic encampments, to 21,264 families, consisting of 55,773 males. This number comprehends 46,300 Mohammedans, 8938 Armenians, and 485 Jews. What has been said about the Mohammedan and Armenian populations or the other provinces is applicable to those of Sheki. The Jews are engaged in a petty retail trade. Nookha, the chief place of the province, contains about 6000 inhabitants. It is in a valley, enclosed on all sides by mountains, a circumstance which prevents a free circulation of air, and accounts for the unhealthiness of the place. Sheki, which is now a small village, must have been a considerable place, since it has given its name to the whole province. Fit-dagh, a little fortress situated on a mountain of the same name, has naturally a very strong position, and in former times served as a place of refuge to the khan, when he was defeated by his enemies.
Baku is on the shores of the Caspian Sea, between 48° 9' and 50° 12' E. long. A great part of this province is formed by the peninsula of Apsheron, which juts into the Caspian Sea. Its surface is calculated at about 2800 square versts; the soil is generally poor, and the climate, although hot, is not unhealthy. Among the natural productions of the province, the most remarkable is naphtha or petroleum, which is found in great quantity close to the shores of the Caspian. It is drawn from wells dug in the ground. There are two kinds of naphtha, the white and the black: it is exported to Persia, and partly consumed in the Caucasian provinces, where it is used for lighting the houses. There are many salt lakes on the peninsula of Apsheron, which furnish a great quantity of salt. The population, according to the official returns, amounts to 15,128 male individuals. They are generally Mohammedans, of the Shiite sect; all that has been said about the manner, and customs of the inhabitants of other Mohammedan provinces is equally applicable to them. They are however more industrious than the other Mohammedans, and are in a comparatively better condition. The active commerce which is carried on by Baku on the Caspian Sea greatly favours their industry. [BAKU.]
The province of Kooba borders on that of Baku on the south. It contains a surface of about 10,500 square versts. The western part of the province is hilly; but there are extensive plains of the most fertile soil along the shores of the Caspian. The climate is rather cold in the mountains, but warm in the plains. The country produces in abundance every kind of corn, with some rice, cotton, silk, and tobacco. Numerous flocks graze on the rich pastures. The population, according to the official returns of 1832, amounts to 46,094 males, who are Mohammedans. Kooba, the capital, and the only town of the province, contains about 650 wretched houses, built in an irregular manner.
Derbend has already been described. [DERBEND.]
All the above-mentioned provinces are governed by Russian military commanders.
Having described the Russian provinces which constitute the government of Georgia, we shall give a brief sketch of those countries which, having preserved their national rulers, acknowledge the supremacy of Russia, and are dependent on the governor-general of Georgia.
Mingrelia. – This principality, which extends along the banks of the Rion, or Phasis, was well known in antiquity under the name of Colchis. It became subject to the Romans; and after the capture of Constantinople by the Latins formed a province, or at least a dependency of the empire of Trebizond. The Turks took possession of it in the latter part of the fifteenth century, but left the government to the native princes, who continued vassals of the Porte till the treaty of Kaynargee in 1774, between Russia and Turkey, by which Mingrelia was declared independent. In 1804, George Dadian, prince of Mingrelia, acknowledged himself a vassal of Russia; and his son and successor Levan Dadian (Dadian is their family name), a Russian lieutenant general, is the present ruler of that country.
Mingrelia lies between 42° and 43° N.lat., and 41° 19' and 42° 19' E. long. On the north it borders on the Caucasian range, on the west on Abkhazia and the Black Sea, on the east on Imiretia, and on the south on Gooria. Its greatest breadth is 60, and its length about 75 English miles. Its surface is calculated at about 10,000 square versts. The soil, climate, and productions are the same as those of Imiretia. The population amounts to 90,000 .souls, and consists of Mingrelians and Souanets, with a few Abkhazians, Armenians, and Jews. The Mingrelians speak a dialect of the Georgian language, and profess the Greek religion. They have an archbishop and three bishops, subject to the spiritual supremacy of the Catholicos of Georgia. Their political divisions, and their manners and customs, are the same as those of Imiretia. The country is divided into three districts, called Sennakh, Legchoom, and Zoogdeet, and the territory of the Souanets, who are a highland tribe professing partly the Mohammedan religion, but their manners and customs are very little known. The little town of Sennakh is the chief place of the country, and the residence of the sovereign. Russia possesses on the coast the fortresses of Redout-Kale and Anaklia.
The principality of Gooria has long been governed by its own sovereigns, who are descendants of the Georgian dynasty, and have been vassals to the Ottoman Porte since the 16th century. In 1810 its ruler became vassal of Russia. I He left on his death a son, a minor, to whom the succession to the throne was confirmed by the Russian government, under the regency of his mother, the Princess Sophia, with a Council of the first nobles of the country. The Princess Sophia, not being satisfied with the Russian protection, opened negotiations with the Turks in order to get rid of it. Her intentions were discovered, and she obliged to flee with her son to the Turkish dominions. Since that time the government of the country has been intrusted to the abovementioned council of nobles, with Russian field-officer at its head, and dependent on the Russian commander in Imiretia.
Gooria lies between 41 0 40' and 42° 5' N. lat.; it is bounded on the north by Mingrelia, on the west by the Black Sea, on the east by Imiretia, and on the south by the Turkish possessions. It contains about 800 square versts. The country very hilly, and covered with large forests, containing excellent timber for ship-building. The soil is exceedingly fertile, the products are the same as those of Imiretia and Mingreila. The population, which consists of Georgians, and some Armenians, amounts to 36,700 souls. The population is divided into classes of princes, nobles, &c., as in Georgia.
The religion is Greek, and the church establishment consists of an archbishop and two bishops, under the spiritual superintendence of the Catholicos of Georgia. The country is divided into two districts, Ozoorget and Nagomar, each containing a little town of the same name. The most important place is the Russian fortress of Poti, at the mouth of the river Rion. It was taken by the Russians in 1809, but was restored to the Turks at the peace of Bucharest in 1812. It was again captured by the Russians, during the last war, and ceded to them by the treaty of Adrianople in 1829.
A general sketch or Daghestan has already been given. [DAGHESTAN.]
We shall here add a few particulars about the petty states which acknowledge the supremacy of Russia, and are considered as part of that empire.
The possessions of the Shamkhal of Tarkoo, which contain about 40,000 souls, extend along the Caspian Sea. The Shamkhal, although a vassal of Russia, governs his possessions with unlimited power. His dignity dates from the time when the Arabs conquered the country; and the name is Arabic, signifying ‘the Syrian prince’ (from Sham, Syria, and khlt, prince). The Shamkhals bad been for some time vassals of Persia, and had the title of Valee of Daghestan. They have several times acknowledged the supremacy of Russia, but it is only since 1786 that they have become permanently her vassals. Tarkoo, the capital of the Shamkhal's dominions, situated near the Caspian, contains a population of 8000 souls. Near it is the fortress Boornaya, which is garrisoned by Russian troops. The supremacy of the Shamkhal is nominally acknowledged by the Lesghian tribe of Acoosha, which is a kind of republic composed of about 10,000 families, who are much addicted to predatory habits, and are ready to enter the service of any body who will pay them. They never attack the Shamkhal, on whose pastures they are permitted to graze their flocks. Having revolted, they were defeated by the Russians in 1819, and since that time have remained tranquil.
The other vassal princes of Russia in those parts are the Ootsmey, or prince, of the Karakaydans, who rules over population of about 69,000 souls; and the Cadee of Tabaseran, having a population of about 50,000 souls.
Lesghistan, or the country of the Lesghis. – The Lesghis inhabit a country situated between Daghestan, Georgia, the Caucasus, and the provinces lately acquired from Persia. The whole surface of their country is calculated amount to 20,000 square versts. Klaproth is of opinion that the tribe of Avars, which is the most important among the Lesghis, are descended from the ancient Avars, who were a branch of the Huns. There is a great admixture among the Lesghis of Arabian blood, from the colonies which were settled there in the ninth century by the caliphs of Bagdad. Like all the Caucasian the Lesghis are of a savage character, and given to robbery. They are exceedingly brave, and capable of enduring the greatest hardships. They are most accomplished horsemen, but fight equally well on foot. They are always ready to sell their services to the highest bidder. The general price paid to an armed horseman is about 2 l. for one expedition, which never lasts longer than four months. Besides this pay, the horseman receives victuals and forage. The Lesghi, who at home never obeys any body, strictly conforms during the war to the orders of the chieftain under whom he has engaged to serve. Before the occupation of the Caucasian Isthmus by the Russians, the friendship of the Lesghis was sought by all the petty princes who were at war with their neighbours, and those who had secured aliance of these warlike highlanders were sure of success. By their depredations the Lesghis became the terror of the adjacent countries, and Georgia was particularly exposed to their inroads. It is generally towards the end of the month of May that the Lesghis leave their mountains and enter Georgia; they usually disperse in small parties, and conceal themselves in woods, caverns, or old ruins, watching a favourable opportunity to make captives. Having carried their prisoner to a place of safety, they send to inform the relations that they may redeem him on paying a sum equal to about 35 g. Should the prisoner be a man of consequence, the ransom is much higher. The life of every prisoner depends on the will of his captor, but as soon as he enters his house he must no longer be killed. The prisoner who has not the means of paying his ransom is obliged to serve his master for ten years.
The majority of the Lesghian tribes profess the Mohammedan religion of the sect of Soonnee: there are however many who seem to have no religion whatever, while some of them have preserved a few faint vestiges of Christianity. Hospitality and the law of retaliation are the only social ds among this people.
The khan of the Avars is the most powerful prince among the Lesghis. He rules over 270 villages, inhabited by a population of about 100,000 souls. In case of ed he can raise an army of 10,000 men. The kings of Georgia used to pay him an annual tribute of about 1000 l. He long maintained his independence against the Russians, and it was only in 1828 that he acknowledged himself their vassal. The other Lesghian tribes who acknowledge the supremacy of Russia are the Kazeekoomooks, whose population amounts to 20,000 souls, the Djaro-Belakanl, and the principality of the sultan of Elisooy. Several Lesghian, who have a republican form of government, have preserved their independence. The most remarkable or them is the little community of Koobichee, which consists of about 1000 families, who inhabit a large village and a few small ones situated in a strong position. They are known over the East by the name of Zerkers, or manufacturers of nail shirts. Some authors think that they are descendants of a European colony, but it has been proved by recent researches that their language is a dialect of that of the Lesghis, whom they resemble in many respects. They make arms of a very superior description, which, as well as their cloth, have a great reputation, not only in the adjacent countries, but also in Persia, and even beyond the Caspian Sea. It is indeed very remarkable to find in the midst of the savage tribes that inhabit these highlands an industrious and laborious population.
The Koobichees do not engage either in agriculture or rearing of cattle, but they exchange the objects necessary to them for the products of their industry. Their friendship is sought by all the Lesghian tribes, whom they furnish with arms; but the Koobichees are always on their guard and strictly watch the only two passes by which their country is accessible, and which they have fortified with lall cannons. They are never at war with their neighbours; they pay neither taxes nor tribute, and are governed by a council of twelve elders, chosen by themselves.
The Highland tribes of the Mitsdjegi, or Kistes, are divided into four branches – 1, the Kistes Proper; 2, the Ingooshes; 3, the Karaboolaks; 4, the Chechens.
1. The Kistes Proper are now a very small tribe, composed of about 1500 souls. They. are subject to the Russian dominion, and maintained in their allegiance by the military line which crosses their country.
2. The Ingooshes are the most peaceful tribe of this nation, and more inclined to agriculture and sedentary occupations. Their population is about 4,500 families, now entirely subject to the Russian government.
3. The Karaboolaks were formerly one of the most formidable tribes of the Caucasus, and had long oppressed all their neighbours, till at last they were almost exterminated by a league of the surrounding tribes, excited by the wrongs which they had suffered from them. Their feeble remains acknowledge the Russian dominion, although they never lose an opportunity of committing depredations on their masters whenever they can do it with impunity.
4. The Chechenzes are the most indomitable and predatory tribe of the Caucasus, and all the efforts of Russia to subdue them have hitherto been unsuccessful. The severe chastisement inflicted upon them by the Russian general Yermoloff, compelled them to remain quiet for some time, but in 1830 they again rose against the Russians and committed great ravages. In 1832 a new Russian expedition was undertaken against them, and many of their villages were burnt, and the inhabitants massacred. This severe measure spread terror among the Chechenzes, but could not prevent their occasional robberies, and the road which leads from Russia to Georgia through their country is so insecure that no travellers venture to pass it without a strong military escort. The amount of their population is very uncertain.
The Ossetes, who inhabit a large tract of the Caucasus, and constitute a population of about 33,000 families, are entirely distinct in language and physical constitution from the other Caucasian tribes. Klaproth thinks that they are descendants of a Median colony, settled there at a very remote epoch. A great part or this nation, occupying the southern slope or the Caucasus, was reduced to subjection by the monarchs of Georgia. They profess the Christian religion of the Greek church; and although they have preserved their own language they resemble in many respects the inhabitants of Georgia, of which their country now forms a district.
The Ossetes who inhabit the northern slope of the Caucasus have preserved their independence, although they are nominally subject to Russia. They were early converted to the Christian religion, which however they have abandoned; and, except some obscure traditions and superstitious observances, and a great veneration for the ruins of antient churches, they have scarcely any religion whatever.
The Russian government having been informed that the country of the Ossetes contained gold and silver mines, ordered (1752) a convent to be built in their country, and monks were established in order to convert the natives to the Christian religion. At the same time they sent a commission to explore the mountains, and to ascertain the existence of the mines.
The apostolical labours of the missionaries were limited to the baptism of several natives, each of whom received on that occasion twelve yards of common linen, some victuals, and a metallic cross. This reward was a sufficient inducement to many of the highlanders to be baptized, but their knowledge of the Christian religion consisted in making the sign of the cross, and in calling themselves Christians. When the expectation of gold and silver mines failed to be realized, the Russian government did not support with any great zeal the new missionary establishment, which was destroyed in 1769 by the natives, in consequence of a quarrel between a missionary priest and one of the native chiefs.
The Ossetes are a very laborious and sober nation. They are chiefly occupied in hunting and in rearing flocks, the produce of which they exchange for different objects of necessity. Besides these occupations they engage in predatory expeditions whenever a fair opportunity presents itself of doing so with impunity.
The Abases, or Abkhases, occupy Abasia Proper, which extends from Mingrelia along the shores of the Black Sea, a distance of nearly 70 English miles, and contains a population of about 50,000 souls, under the nominal dominion of a prince who acknowledges the supremacy of Russia. The Abasian population is not however confined to that little district. It is intermingled with the Circassians allover the country that extends along the coast of the Black Sea as far as the banks of the Kooban. Klaproth estimates their population, which is divided into ten tribes, at about 54,000 families. The ruins of many churches, which are still held in great veneration by the natives, prove that the Christian religion was once established in this country: the exercise or it however seems to have been dropped among the Abasians many centuries ago; and about seventy years back they were converted, through the instrumentality of the Turkish government, to the Mohammedan creed. Their Islamism is however very imperfect, and limited to some rites and observances prescribed by the Koran. Their country is fertile, and has many large forests, which contain excellent timber. The climate is considered healthy. The nation is divided into four classes – 1st, the princes; 2nd, the nobles; 3rd, the liberated serfs; 4th, the serfs. They resemble in many respects the Circassians, and are frequently confounded with them.
The great and little Kabardahs are inhabited by Circassians, who have submitted to Russians. Their population is composed of about 15,000 families.
General observations on the Caucasian Highlanders.
- The general characteristics of the Caucasian highlanders, although there are differences among them in origin, language, and many other respects, are a strong love of independence united with predatory habits. Robbery is considered the most honourable occupation of a free-born man, and the greatest reproach that a Circassian girl can make to a young man is, ‘You have not been able to steal even a cow.’ Their education and their early habits are calculated to inure them to the hardships of a life spent in constant danger. A Circassian prince never educates his son at home for fear of his being spoiled by the tender care of a mother. The son of a prince is entrusted to the care of some noble three days after his birth, and the father never sees him before his marriage. The boy remains all this time with his tutor, who teaches him the warlike exercises in which the Circassians excel. He undertakes with him the first warlike expeditions, and chooses for him a wife, after which the young prince returns to his family. Hospitality is a sacred duty among all these highlanders. Whenever a Caucasian has received a person into his house, he will protect him against all his enemies, even at the risk of his life. The law of retaliation is more strictly enforced among the Caucasians than among the Beduin Arabs: to avenge the death of a relation becomes a sacred obligation which descends from father to son, unless the quarrel is settled by a compensation accepted by the aggrieved party.
Although many Caucasian tribes have been converted to Mohammedanism, the most part of them may be called idolaters, as they frequently worship some inanimate objects. It is very remarkable that the prophet Elijah is a particular object of adoration among almost all the Caucasian tribes, both Mohammedan and Pagan. There are several caverns in different parts of the Caucasus consecrated to this prophet, where the inhabitants assemble on certain days to offer sacrifices to him. If a person is killed by thunder, the highlanders say that he was killed by the prophet Elijah, and consider it a great blessing for him. The burial of such a person is accompanied with the songs and dances of his relations, who rejoice in his death instead of mourning at the event. The attempts made by the Russian government to civilize the Caucasian highlanders have generally proved abortive. There are many instances of individuals belonging to those tribes, who being educated in Russia have risen to a high rank in her military service, but nevertheless have returned to their own country and abandoned European manners and customs for those of their ancestors.