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dressed who displays the greatest quantity of diamonds and spangles; though the female sex, in other respects, discover much more of what is termed taste in dress than the men.— However prone the Russian noblemen may be to indulge in various kinds of luxury, that of libraries, pictures, and collections of curiosities, is not among the number; indeed they are not generally fond of reading; and the author charges them with not knowing so much as the names of their most celebrated literati. In conversation one day with a man of great distinction at Petersburgh, and taking notice to him of the justly famous PALLAS, the travellers were asked by the gentleman who that person was?
The passion for gaming is said to be very prevalent in Russia. In many families at Petersburgh, reputed to be open to all stran gers, avisitor is soon disregarded if he announces that he is not in the habit of playing at cards. A traveller, accustomed to sensible conversation, will receive little attention if he dwells on any topic higher than yesterday's ball, or to-morrow's opera. When the Russians do not play, they sleep. Balls are not protracted far into the night, yet people of fashion rise late, and many of them retire to rest after dinner. The winter is spent entirely within doors, or in carriages and sledges. Many ladies might be mentioned, who, during ten years past, have not walked for three hours in the whole. The author says that he is not acquainted with any country in which the people take so little exercise; and this circumstance, added to the habit of sleeping and eating at all hours, produces grossness in the blood, and many consequent maladies.
Respecting Prince Potemkin, so much has been written, that we have very little chance of extracting from the present volumes any circumstance relating to him that would have the recommenda tion of novelty: his immense wealth, his luxury, and his pride, are well known. Though he treated the officers in the army with great haughtiness, the private soldiers were so much humoured and indulged by him, that all discipline among them was destroyed. This conduct, it is alleged, was preconcerted between the late Empress and him, in order to sow discord between the officers and the men, especially in the guards. Both the sovereign and Potemkin were sensible that, in Russia, revolutions are effected by the soldiers; and that such a spirit ought to be kept up among them, as would sacrifice the officers at a word. Of Potemkin's supposed views, some of which are said to have tended even to the exclusion of his present majesty from the throne, as well as of other particulars relating to that favourite, our travellers have communicated some circumstances which are interesting, but not suitable for our ex
tracts. He appeared. frequently absorbed in thought; and at those intervals he has been known to walk about the room for two successive hours, biting the nails of his fingers, while surrounded by twenty persons. Knowing that suspicions were entertained as to his personal courage, he, with the utmost composure, took several turns immediately under the cannon of Okzakow on which occasion, a Major General, attending him, had his thigh shot off, and uttered a piercing shriek. The prince, bluntly turning round to him, said, "Why do you scream?" This immediately silenced the wounded officer, who died on the next day.
As Potemkih had a thorough knowlege of his country, and of the character of its inhabitants, his behaviour towards a foreigner in the army, if only a subaltern, was totally dif ferent from that which Russian officers even of distinction experienced; the latter stood without doors, and did not touch the threshold, while a young French ensign sat down beside Potemkin, and was treated by him with the most captivating politeness. This important trait will furnish our readers with occasion for reflections.
We could dwell longer on the singularities of a man whom we always judged to be one of the most extraordinary characters of the age. It were much to be wished that some philosophic observer of human nature would collect and impartially weigh the particulars of Potemkin's life. Though his errors were considerable, the whole of his character, if strictly contrasted with several incontestible good qualities, would probably appear to have been much fairer than some writers, whether ill informed, or misled by the numerous enemies of that prince; are disposed to allow.
The details relating to the soldiery of the various countries, through which our travellers passed, appear to us not the least interesting portion of this work. As the Russian armies, in consequence of their recent successes in Italy, have engrossed a great share of the public attention at the present juncture, we may presume that the following observations will not be unacceptable to our readers.
The Russian soldier supports fatigue and endures hunger and thirst without ever murmuring. He is born a slave; and from the moment at which he is capable of reflection, he perceives that he has a master, whose will is a law to him. Familiarised as he is with this idea, which alone engrosses his attention, he submits to passive and absolute obedience. The order of the sovereign assembles thousands of warriors under the Imperial banners; those on whom the lot falls receive the farewell of their parents and friends, whom they do not expect ever to see again; and they cheerfully go to encounter death, They are placed before a battery, as, in time of peace, they APP. REV. VOL. XXIX. would
would mount guard; it is their post, to which the order of their commander fixes them, and they have no idea of abandoning it. To their intrepidity and resolution, religion adds its weight. Most of the Russian peasants believe in predestination; and with such a belief, what dangers will not a man encounter?
Frugality the soldier possesses from habit; being accustomed, from a child, to subsist on onions, (and even these he has not always,) bad bread, and vegetables that are frequently eaten raw. The military state produces no change in his mode of living. This abstemiousness does not extend to spirituous liquors, of which the inhabitant of the north reluctantly deprives himself, and which he steals wherever he finds any. The Russian soldier bears fatigue, cold, and heat, because his education has seasoned him to all: he passes from one extreme to the other without perceiving it; and thus whole regiments have not lost a single man during marches that would have proved the destruction of other troops. When a camp is destitute of provisions, a fast of two or three days is proclaimed, as having been ordered by the sovereign; and the army submit without murmurs, "because it is God's and the Tzar's will."
The mechanical obedience of the soldier causes him to stand immoveable before the enemy's fire, or to mount repeatedly to the assault of a battery or a breach, though death present itself to his eyes under various forms. The following anecdote will convey a farther idea of the nature of Russian obedience:
On the 22d of September 1777, there happened at Petersburgh a sudden inundation, of very considerable extent. The empress, seeing from her balcony that the water came within reach of the centinel placed before the palace, called out to him to retire within doors, which the soldier refused to do. The empress asked him whether he knew her; the man replied in the affirmative, and that, though he knew her majesty, no one but his corporal was able to relieve him. The waters increased, and reached the centinel's midleg. The empress sent several messages to him, but all to no purpose. It now became requisite to call the corporal, who was found asleep in the guardhouse, and he was obliged almost to swim to the relief of the honest private; who, by that time having only his head and shoulders above the water, would composedly have suffered him. self to be drowned, notwithstanding the formal and repeated orders of his sovereign.
To the motives already assigned, is to be added the hope of plunder, of which he never loses sight; and above all, the certainty of receiving his death from behind, if any thing should tempt him to fly from his duty. From the union of all these causes, proceeds the singular assemblage of those qualities which distinguish the Rus sian soldier. With such troops, no conquest is impossible.
* The four superior officers of every company, and the very nu merous inferior officers, form a third rank behind, and have no other occupation, during an engagement, than that of preventing the men from falling back, or putting the private to death, if he should be regardless of their orders.'
But, as human affairs are never perfect, the Russian armies are deficient in a very material point, having few or no officers who deserve that name. There are, however, among the General officers,
some men of merit.
The manner in which the General officers behave to the subalterns, and that in proportion as their degrees descend, either contributes to their abasement or is the consequence of it; they address them in terms of degrading familiarity, and call the soldiers brothers. This, indeed, is the best method of making the Russians do what is desired. An officer who treats them in a confidential way, and, in appearance, takes an interest in their well-being, is sure of leading them whithersoever he pleases.'
All travellers concur in the complaint, urged by the present author, that no good faith is to be expected in Russian tradesmen. When the purchaser of an article leaves it on the counter for a few moments, and withdraws his eyes in order to pay, it is instantly changed, and remonstrances produce no effect but a laugh, at the buyer's expence.
The Fifth Volume of this work does not equal the others in interest and variety, though it presents many important remarks, and details which may prove very useful to travellers. We have read with pleasure the observations on the character of Joseph II. That great but disappointed prince has still to receive, from an unbiassed posterity, the justice which most of his contemporaries were indisposed to grant to him. His most are dent, though sometimes overstrained, zeal for the prosperity of his country, and his great humanity, form very amiable features in the character of that monarch. His accomplishments, also, were considerable. He possessed a thorough knowlege of five languages, and spoke several more with less fluency. He was affable, obliging, and well informed. His activity was indefatigable. The officers in the different departments of government, accustomed to frequent visits, of which they were never apprized, were obliged to be on their guard against any faults that might have exposed them to blame. The Emperor often arrived first at the public offices; and hence every thing went on with strict regularity. This activity was not limited to the labours of administration in the capital: he frequently departed for the provinces, sometimes attended only by a valet-de-chambre, on horseback, or riding in an indifferent vehicle, like the most obscure individual. Yet few persons have experienced greater mortifications than Joseph II. The insurrection of Brabant had made a profound impression on his mind. All things united to abridge the days of this unfortunate prince, and his very last moments were embittered with grief and disappointment.-Of his brother and successor, Leopold, the world had formed great expectations,
founded on the character of that prince for every virtue which can render a nation happy. Leopold, however, was in his proper sphere in Florence: but the throne of the Cesars required a more enlarged mind than he possessed. Having gained well-deserved laurels in Tuscany, he enter tained the mistaken notion that the same laws, which had been well adapted to a diminutive peaceful state, would be equally suited to an extensive monarchy, surrounded by and almost ever at war with inveterate enemies. He was most obnoxious to the army; and his death is said to have been so joyful an event to the military, that the present emperor was obliged to punish several officers, for having evinced an improper satisfaction at his accession to the throne, It is understood, according to the work before us, that Leopold's days were terminated by the poison known under the name of Naples broth, which was administered to him by one of his mistresses. The author says that he has heard it affirmed by a physician, who was an eye-witness to the fact, that, two days after the emperor's demise, his hair dropt off, and his body was entirely covered with large spots; the sure indications of the manner in which he died. The writer entertains no doubt that the Jacobins were accessary to the death of both Gustavus of Sweden and Leopold.
Prince Kaunitz, one of the greatest statesmen of whom our age can boast, and who died in 1794, has also found a place in this volume. His mode of life was somewhat singular. At eight o'clock in the morning, his door was opened, he took chocolate, read his letters, dictated answers, and dispatched his ministerial business; all the while in bed. 'At two, he rose. At four o'clock, he went to his riding-house, adjoining his habitation in the suburbs, and, during an hour and a quarter, he exercised on horseback, after which he returned home to dress. At seven, he sat down to dinner. At half past eight, the foreign ministers assembled at his house till ten, when he retired. Nothing could alter this arrangement. When in 1790 the king and queen of Naples passed. some time at Vienna, the queen went to see him in the course of the morning; he received her in bed; and when, at two o'clock, she did not seem inclined to terminate the visit, he gave her to understand that two was the hour fixed for his rising, and that he should be glad to be alone. Towards the end of dinner, continuing at table, he would call for a small box containing brushes and sponges, and begin to clean his teeth; which operation lasted about twenty minutes, without regarding his company. The presence of one of the English princes was not able to prevent him from pursuing his custom; whence we may conclude that it was invariable.