Page images

Therest of the Country, to Ajiracan and the Frontiers of the UJbecques, is haunted by the Calmucis, and other Hordes, who remove with much' their Tents according to the Season and Convenience of Subsistence: The Czar makes them Presents every Year of Cloth, Money and some Arms; and in Return they are obliged to serve him in his Wars without Pay, which they sussiciently make up to themselves, by plundering Friends and Foes whereever they march ; the greatest Number which has of late appeared in Arms for the Czar, was about twelve Thoufand, who, coming eight Days after the Battle of Poltawa, were dismissed back again; only about two Thoufand were sent into Livonia. The Religion of the Tartars is either Mahometan or Heathen, in which they have been left undisturbed by the Czar and his Ancestors.

The Cojacks are distinguished into three Sorts, known by the Places where they first settled themselves; but are all of the fame Nation, C°I"ch' Language, Religion, and Form of Government. They were originally Polijh Peafants, formed into a Militia under their own Ossicers and Discipline, and placed in the fruitful Plains of the Ukraine, to secure the Frontiers of the Common-wealth against the Tartars; after some Years, they increased prodigiously in Number and Riches, and could no longer bear the Indignities of the Polijh Nobility, who affected to treat them as their Slaves on all Occa

Vot. II, N sions;

sions; this Ufage was the Rise of several bloody

Wars, with disserent Success.

In one of the first, the Cossacks being worsted, feCofach of veral of them, rather than submit to the tit Do*. Yoke, removed from the Ukraine to the unfrequented Banks of the Don, or Tanais, where they begun a new Plantation. In the Year 1637, another Detachment on the fame Occasion resolved to seek their Fortune as far as the Caspian Sea, but in their Passage were persuaded, by their old Countrymen on the Don, to stop short and j oin in an Attempt against Asoph, which they took the fame Year and kept till 1642, when the Turks approaching with a great Army, and the Muscovites refusing them timely Succours, they burnt the Place, and fixed the Seat of their little Common-wealth at Circasty, a Town on an Island in the Don: Some Time after they put themselves under the Protection of the Muscovites; and had lately thirty-nine Towns on that River, from Rybna to Asoph, most of them on the NorthEast Side: The Countryis generally without Trees, but fruitful to a Wonder in Grass, Flowers, sweet Herbs, wild AfparaguS; ifsc. They sow very little Corn, that being Only the Employment of their Slaves; nor do they'. eat much Bread-,. Roots, or Herbs; their chief Diet beingFisii,FIesh,andFruits; their Riches consist in Cattle, Horses, Dromedaries and Camels; in their Houses and Cloathes they are generally neater than the''Muscovites; the Religion is after the Greek, or Eastern Church; they have very

few sew Tradesmen, or Artificers; Arms are their Employment and Delight, which in Times of Peace they exercise by Parties against their constant Enemies, the Calmuck, Cuban, and Crim Tartars, and in Time of open War against the Turks on the Palus Meeotis. Their Government is a Sort of military Democracy; their chief Hetman, or Colonel over all, keeps his Residence at Cercajky: He is elected in a genera] Meeting of the Captains and civil Ossicer* of the Nation, but is confirmed by the Czar, aud. then his Employment lasts for Lise, which he often loses on an unfortunate Expedition, or other Tumult: Every Town is like a little Common-wealths and has its own Hetman, or Captain, chosen Yearly, who has the Care of all Business Civil and Military, and in the Field acts as Captain of his own Community: They are left in Possession of their old Laws and Customs, pay the Czar no Tribute, furnish no Recruits, and are only bound to appear in Arms at their own Charge when summoned: But on the contrary theirCaptains used to receive yearly Presents from his Treasury of Cloth,- Money and Corn: they have very great Privileges; one of the most considerable was the Freedom of any Peasant or Slave, who being once in the Country could not be reclaimed by his Master, or the Muscovite Government; and on this Account vast Numbers of Deserters sheltered themselves here in the present War^ of which the Czar being informed, Prince Dolgorukt was sent four Years ago with twelve hundred Men to search them out: he found some hundreds i but, not being on his G uard, was in his ReN 2 turn J turn attacked by the Coffacks, and cut to Pieces wish all his People; this occasioned a general Revolt, and employed the Czar about ten thoufand Men near two Years, in which Troubles many of their Towns were burnt, and no Quarter given to Man, Woman, or Child; besides several hundreds who were publiclcly executed at Veronitz: This has very much dispeopled the Country, and made the Name of Muscovy'odious to the rest. In their most flourishing Condition, they might be rekoned at fifteen thoufand Men sit to bear Arms.

The Cossacks of the Ukraine are much more numerous and considerable, their Dominions ibcUk'ainc. extending several hundred Miles between'

the River Borlsbenes, or Neiper, and the Don; in 1654, they, with their Hetman,.on ill Ufage, revolted from Poland, and put themselves under the Czar's Protection, giving him up Cbioss, Czernisjojs, and several other strong Towns, as Pledges of their Fidelity. This Country is extremely well peopled, and tilled; their Towns are many, all fortified with a dry Ditch, earthen Wall, and Palifadoes; the Villages are large, and neatly built with Wood ; they drive a great Trade in Hemp, Pot-ash, Wax, Corn and Cattle; they live in much Ease and Plenty, enjoying the fame Privileges as those on the Don, which, with their Riches, drew upon them the Envy of the Muscovite Nobility and Government, who by Degrees made several Incroachments on their Liberties; and from hence sprung an univerfal Discontent, and the Re

volt of Mazeppa to the King of Sweden; which being ill managed, the Residence Town of Bathurin was immediately taken and burnt, and above fix thoufand Persons put to the Sword without Distinction of Age or Sex.

The Zaparovian Cojsacks are just of the fame Temper and Manner of Lise with those on the Don; they are so called from the CossachoftU Falls in the River BoriJIhenes, about F°Js" r which they seated themselves chiefly for their greater Security and Convenience of their Incursions against the Turks and Tartars: When the Cojsacks of the Ukraine, discouraged by the severe Execution at Bathurin, set still, these openly declared for Mazeppa, and continued firm to him to the last; two or three Thoufand followed his Fortune to Bender, and are still with the King of Sweden; most of the rest were cut to Pieces, so that the Remains of that Name are at present very inconsiderable.

From these Accounts it is plain the Czar's Strength mustbe chiefly computed from his national Muscovites, from whence alone •w"/"*''«. his regular Forces are formed and maintained, if you except some sew Contributions from the Morduars and Czeremess Tartars, who by Degrees have been civilized and subjected. Thehish- _, est and molt probable Computation of *«.. their Numbers is, by

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »