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“A lean woman they account unwholesome; therefore, they, who are inclined to leanness, give themselves over to all manner of epicurism, on purpose to fatten themselves, and lie a-bed all day long, drinking Russian brandy, (which will fatten extremely;) then they sleep and afterwards drink again, like swine, designed to make bacon. These are their odd customs, which we may justly censure, as the satyrist did the debauched Romans in his time, saying, Dum vitant stulti vitia in contraria currunt. And, indeed, to say truth, their madness is so great, that all the hellebore in Anticyra cannot purge it away.”
Chapter XVI. gives an account of their judiciary proceedings, and a particular one of their manner of roasting, pinching, carbonadoing, and otherwise torturing their criminals.
“ The accused cannot be condemned, although a thousand witnesses come in against him, except he confesses the fact; and, to this end, they want not torments to extort confessions ; for, first, they put them upon the strappado; if this does not, they, secondly, whip them; and, herein, their hangmen are very exquisite : for it is said, at six or seven lashes, they are able to kill a man. Sometimes, the confederate will fee the enemy to execute such a piece of his office, to prevent farther mischief.
“They can strike to an hair's breadth, and, with a sharp kind of iron, pierce through the very ribs; they will slice down a man's back like a chine of pork; and, when that's done, they will salt the raw place, bind his hands and legs, and, putting a cowlstaff through them, hold him over the fire, and carbonadoe him. If he persists (for may be the party has nothing to confess), they let him loose, and the hangman sets his shoulders, and lets him rest twenty days, till he be almost well, and then repeats the former torments, and, perhaps, pull out a rib or two with a pair of hot pincers; if all this will not do (for some will outstand all these tortures), they will then shave the crown of his head, and drop cold water upon the bare place, which some, that have felt, acknowledge to be the quintessence of all torments; for every drop strikes like a dart to the very heart. All this is done where the hangman is not bribed, for he will then cut deep. I have seen some whose backs have been scarified like the bark of a tree, which afterwards were healed, but they could never wear out the scars and marks thereof.
“The punishment of coiners is to melt some of the coin, and pour it down their throat. Neque enim lex justior ulla est, quam necis artifices arte perire sua."
Chapters XVII. and XVIII. relate to Siberia, but do not say any thing worth extracting, of that vast unknown province, as the author terms it. 'Having fetched this compass,' the Doctor thinks fit to touch upon Tartary, which is the subject of Chap. XIX. The Tartarian rebuke of the Russians, for idolatry, is particularly good.
They break the noses of their children being new born; saying, it is a foolish thing to wear a nose, that stands in a man's sight. They are all Mahometans, and laugh at the Russians for worshipping a painted piece of board, and say, it is better to worship the sun, because he has a glorious body, does the world much good, and none can injure him as they may a wooden idol. “Your Gods (say they to the Russes), in a short time grow blind, (i. e. obliterate ;) and then you throw them into the river with a copeak or two, and a piece of olibanum tied up in a string, and so commit them to the Volgian stream, which runs into the Caspian sea, and we take them up, and broil a piece of horseflesh upon them. What is that for a God, which is no better than a gridiron, and cannot resist the hands of them that destroy it? Most rationally spoken. Moscovitæ non possunt respondere argumento."
Chapter XX. wanders to Poland. The diseases of the Poles, especially the horrid disorder termed Plica Polonica, is discussed in XXI., with divers other subjects.
Chapter XXII. turns back to the Court of Russia, and gives a further account of the Czar, and a sketch of his ministers, with anecdotes of them, which are continued through Chapters XXIII., XXIV., and XXV. The minister Vaslogki is said to have been a favourer of the English, and to have complained of our bills of mortality as being in the way of our trade. He takes a view of them that could hardly be expected from any one but the minister of an absolute monarch.
“He is the only patron the English have. Being solicited to admit of English goods, he produced the London bill of mortality, wherein very few died of the plague; notwithstanding (said he), how do we know but the goods may be brought out of some of the infected houses, and one spark of fire will kindle a whole sack of charcoal. It is a strange custom to publish your infirmities. Beggars, indeed, expose their ulcers to raise commiseration, and to get relief. But they who proclaim the pest, give a caveat against all commerce of them, as men set up lights to keep ships off their coasts."
The account of the Czar's country residence, and behaviour there, presents a curious picture.
Every year, towards the latter end of May, the Czar goes three miles out of Mosco, to an house of pleasure, called Obrasauksky: in English, Transfiguration, being dedicated to the Transfiguration in the Mount. And, according to that, Master, it is good for us to be here, let us make three tabernacles;' so, the emperor has most magnificent tents, his own is made of cloth of gold, lined with sables. His Czaritsa's with cloth of silver, lined with ermines. The princes, according to their degree. His and Czaritsa’s, with those of his eleven children, and five sisters, stand in a circle with the church tent in the middle, the most glorious show in its kind that ever I saw.
There are rails and guards set musquet shot from them, beyond which no man may pass without order ; for the Czar will have none of the vulgar people to be eye-witnesses of his pastimes. Indeed, the too near approaches of the common rabble make discoveries of princes' infirmities, not to say vanities; majesty is jealous of gazers. This made Montezume, King of Mexico, keep his subjects at such a distance, that they durst not behold him; familiarity breeds contempt; when princes expose themselves too much unto public view, they grow cheap, and are little regarded. Therefore, in a theatre, the stage is railed in, that the spectators may not crowd upon the scenes, which shew best at a distance. And so it fares with princes,—the more they are reserved, the more they are observed ; the more implored, the more adored; otherwise, they run a great hazard of being contemned, and reckoned no better than their subjects, seeing, an equal mortality and frailty of flesh attends all men. When the Czar goes into the country or fields, to take his pleasure, he gives strict charge that none should interrupt him with petitions. A captain of White Russia, and native of that country, being three years without pay, and finding no redress from Peter Solticove, lord of that province, came and pressed too near the Czar's coach; the Czar, perceiving no petition in his hand, suspected he might be an assassinate, and with his staff (once Czar Juan's), not unlike a dart, intending to push the fellow away, he struck him to the heart, and he died. The nobility rode up to the coach, and searching what arms the man had, found nothing but a wooden spoon, and a petition for three years' arrears, whereupon the Czar smote his breast, saying, I have killed an innocent person ; but Peter Solticove is guilty of his blood, whom God forgive; and immediately sending for him, after a severe check, he turned him out of his place, banished him from the court, and appointed Nashockin, that great minister of state, to take his office, and examine, and find out, the misdemeanours thereof. This happened in June last; and this action was but whispered, and that, too, with much peril of a man's tongue.”
Chapter XXVI. speaks of the trade of Russia, more especially with reference to England. The summer before the book was written, there appears to have prevailed a 'panic' in Moscow, accompanied by a very considerable “fluctuation of the currency."
“ The trade, last summer, was very low in Moscow, by reason of their late war; which had drained them of two-fifths, besides the raising of their customs, and taking their goods by force for copper money, which fell from an hundred to one, till at last it was called in, to the undoing of many men. Divers hanged themselves, others drank away the residue of their states, and died with drinking.
In the times of Charles II., the Dutch were our rivals in trade, and seem, in Russia, to have been much more venturous negotiators. The complaint of the author, that the Dutch succeeded in making the Russ believe that we were very poor and contemptible, as well as the Doctor's suggestion of a remedy, are equally amusing at this time of day.
“As I have nothing to say against the magnificence, splendour, clemency, and virtue of the Czar's own person, so I have no reason to recommend the Russes'integrity, for the generality of them are false, truce-breakers, subtile foxes, and ravenous wolves, much altered, since their traffic with the Hollander; by whom, they have much improved themselves in villainy and deceit.
“The Dutch, like locusts, swarm in Mosco, and eat bread out of the Englishmen's mouths; they are more in number, and richer, and spare no gifts to attain their ends; whereas, the English, depending on their old privileges, think it is enough to say with the Jews,' We have Abraham to our father, we are Englishmen, do us right, or we will complain :' but the Russians are of Solomon's opinion, that money answers all things.
“If we would outdo the Dutch trade, it must not be driven on by such as take up goods upon trust and time, as it has been these twenty years last past. At present, they come like locusts out of the bottomless pit, and so they do all the world over, where there is a sunshine of gain. In Russia, they are better accepted than the English, because they gratify the nobility with gifts, which they have if they lend any assistance.
“The Hollanders have another advantage, by rendering the English cheap and ridiculous by their lying pictures, and libelling pamphlets; this makes the Russians think us a ruined nation. They represent us by a lion, painted with three crowns reversed, and without a tail, and by many mastive dogs, whose ears are cropt, and tails cut off; with many such scandalous prints, being more ingenious in the use of their pencils than pens. These stories take much with barbarous people, when nobody is present to contradict them.
“It would not be impertinent, in my opinion, if some intelligent person in Moscua should represent the state of his Majesty of Great Britain's kingdoms, forces, and territories to the best advantage, and also his colonies in the West Indies, with all their revenues ; and drawing a map of the aforesaid places, present it to Afanasy Nashockin, to breed in him an opinion of his British Majesty's real greatness, which the Dutch have so much extenuated. Bogdan Matfoidg, the chamber favourite, should not be neglected neither. He fancies rarities, and therefore should be presented with some. For, as Nashockin maintains reason of state, so Bogdan must be the man to procure the Czar's personal affection towards his Majesty of Great Britain."
The two last chapters contain some scraps of natural history, chiefly relating to the Beluga, from the roe of which Caviare is made.- We shall conclude our extracts with an account of this fish.
Having elsewhere meni.ioned Caviare, I shall now give you a full account thereof. It is made at Astracan, of the roes of sturgeon
Narrative of the Concealment of Charles II. at Boscobel. 47
and belluga. The belluga is a large fish, about twelve or fifteen feet long, without scales, not unlike a sturgeon, but more luscious and large; his Aesh is whiter than veal, and more delicious than marrow. Of these two fishes, they take great numbers, only for their roes' sake, which they salt and press, and put up into casks; some they send unpressed, and a little corned with salt, being accounted a great dainty. Caviare is of two sorts; the first made of the sturgeon's spawn; this is black, and small grained, somewhat waxy, like potargo, and is called eekra by the Russians : the Turks make this. The second sort is made of the belluga’s row, in whose belly is found an hundred and fifty, and two hundred weight of spawn; it is a grain as large as a small pepper corn, of a darkish
grcy. The belluga lies in the bottom of the river, and swallows many large pebbles, of an incredible weight, to ballast himself against the stream of Volga, augmented by the snow's melting; when the waters are assuaged, he disgorges himself. His spawn is called arminska eckra, perhaps the Armenians were the first makers of caviare. This they cleanse from its strings, salt it, and lay it upon shelving boards to drain away the more oily part, and the more unctuous fatty substance; this being done, they put it into casks, and press
it very hard, till it becomes indurate.”
* Thus, reader,” to use the language of the closing sentence of the book, “ thou hast had a brief and pleasant narrative of Russia.”
This little book is one of those which is seldom met with, but which is not highly prized by the bibliographer, because its merits have still preserved too many copies to entitle it to the character of very rare'. At present, it does not much matter how soon the moths and the worms precipitate into dust such exemplars as remain of the Present State of Russia : for we believe that we have transferred to our pages all that is valuable of the labours of Dr. Collins.
Art. III.-1. The Whitgreaves Munuscript, (never before prin
ted,) of the concealment of Charles II. at Moseley and Boscobel
House, September, 1651. 2. Boscobel: or, The History of His Sacred Majesties most mi
raculous preservation after the battle of Worcester, 3 Sept. 1651. London. Printed for Henry Seile, Stationer to the King's most
excellent Majesty, 1660. 12mo. pp. 55. 3. Boscobel : or the compleat History of his Sacred Majesties
most miraculous preservation after the battle of Worcester, 3 Sept. 1651, introduced by an exact relation of that battle; and illus