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from phosphorus, he retains the old spelling, phos/>Aoric, phosphaX, &c.? We do not recollect having ever before seen the word produces used as a plural noun. The following sentence we do not precisely understand.—' Chemists, founded upon the exact results of analyses, as numerous as they are accurate, know,' &c. Some of these are minute faults, and would not have been noticed, but with the hope that Mr. Desmond, who appears to be a young man, will be disposed to profit by our suggestions, and revise with the utmost care his translation of a work, which needs only to be known as much as it deserves, to attain its proper rank among the philosophical treatises of the age.
Art. IX. A general, historical, and topographical Description of Mount Caucasus. With a Catalogue of Plants indigenous to the Country. Translated from the Works of Dr. Reineggs and Marshal Bieberstein, by Charles Wilkinson. With a Map and Plates. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 658. Price 15s. bds. C. Taylor. 1807.
'"THE mountains to which the name of Caucasus has been given, are of great extent: reaching probably from the Hindoo Co, the original Caucasus, beyond the Indus on the East, to the Caspian and Black Seas on the West. But the Western branch of this immense range is best known to us under this appellation, and chiefly those mountains which form the boundary between the Persian territories and those of Russia from N. lat. 40 to 45. These are situated on the neck of land which separates the Black Sea from the Caspian; and they are peopled by tribes of mankind, very different in origin, appearance, and manners. They combine the most dreary peaks with the most fertile plains, and regions of perpetual snow with-valleys suffocating by heat; they comprize among their inhabitants the Idolater and the Pagan, the Christian and the Mahometan; tribes which have sought refuge from their oppressors amidst the fastnesses of almost barren rocks, and races descending from conquerors, who were allured at the same time by the expectation of acquiring wealth, and the desire of propagating "the true faith" by the sword. Such a district lannotbutbe interesting: yet from the difficulty of access to it, and the hazards which attend the most cautious observer amid such barbarous tribes, we have but few descriptions of it, by writers intitled to confidence. We are chiefly indebted for what we know of the modern state of these countries, to German travellers under the patronage of Russia, a country which has derived considerable advantages from the information they communicated, and has found her account, as well political as commercial, in extending her influence and protection owr this formidable barrier to her dominions. We are, therefore, obliged to Mr. Wilkinson for . placing the information, contained in these volumes, within the acquisition of the British public. He has executed his undertaking apparently with strict fidelity, and has added to the original of M. Reineg^s, which forms the first volume, not only the Memoranda of Marshal Bieberstein, but notes and illustrations, in the second volume, that prove him to be well acquainted with geographical writers of repute, and considerably augment the general value of the work.
Dr. Reineggs appears to have been of a roving disposition, and an eccentric turn of mind. He was educated as a medical man; he rambled into the East, to Constantinople and to Smyrna, from whence he visited Georgia, where a happy cure of the son of Czar Heracleus gave hi n an importance, which enabled him to assume the character of a politician at Petersburgh, as well as that of a physician at Teflis. We have no reason to doubt h;s opportunity of remarking, or bis fidelity in recording his remarks. And as, after his decease, his papers were inspected by the superior Powers, and forwarccd to his Editor in a deranged state, they are intitled to much allowance for certain deficiencies which the critical eye will not tail to discern.
The difficulty of describing regions so extensive, their inhabitants, and their productions, within moderate limits, is not small; nor has it been diminished, as we conceive, by that strong attachment to system, which distinguishes German writers. The book, we confess, is somewhat dull; but those who seek for information, must sometimes be content to forego entertainment.
Dr. R. treats,iin the first place, on the geographical distinctions of the countries comprized under the name of the Caucasean region, their mountains and rivers. He is altogether of opinion, that the two seas, the Caspian and the Black Sea, formerly joined. The rivers run among these mountains with great rapidity. The mean height of the range is about 631 toises; that of the Kschoes mountain is 894 toises: others are still higher. These mountains are rich in ores, but the mines are not worked, lest the no ion of their riches should subject the inhabitants to oppression: they are fertile, and adorned with pleasant forests an I nourishing pastures; yet the peasant willingly suffers indigence in the midst of fertility, as the price at which he maintains his independence.
These mountains have, in truth, been the refuge of liberty; yet the settlers have been exposed to the hostile inroads of others, perhaps fugitives like themselves, who in their turn have been driven by fresh encroachers to the interior recesses, where the rocks proved their most effectual defence. Hence has arisen a perplexing variety of tribes and languages, derived, no doubt, from so many original families, whose descent is at present unknown.
The provinces into which Caucasus is divided, are the Kuban, Circassia, Daghestan, Lesguistban, Shirvan, Georgia, Immerttia, &c. The government, in some of these provinces, is more regular than in Others, and some tribes are less barbarous; but throughout the whole country, the want of some civilizing medicine is extremely obvious. Mahometanism, the established religion, performs its rites openly; Paganism, though prohibited, performs its rites secretly; Christianity, though tolerated, scarcely performs its rites at all. Baptism is omitted, because the priest is too distant; and the doors and windows of what should be Christian churches, are marked by piles of stones, which deny access to worshippers, were any inclined to worship. Such is the state of the mind in these countries. Yet the Body grows to maturity, assumes the most harmonious proportions of beauty, and -frequently exhibits, according to Dr. It., the most striking features of manly vigour and activity. He does not speak with equal satisfaction of the graces of the women ; and the celebrated beauties of Circassia, if his judgement did not deceive him, are far from justifying that reputation which they have long possessed in Europe.
Dr. It. gives, generally, a description of each tribe, its situation-, customs, and peculiarities. He notes where it was possible the, articles of their traffic, and he enters into the history»of the people, whenever supported by documents. A prominent incident is the conquest of a great part of 'this country by the Mahometans, at no distant period after the death of Mahomet; who, by his prophetic spirit, said his officers, while dying, foretold an insult to which his messengers had been subjected among this people, and charged his faithful followers to avenge it. Defeat did not dishearten the Arabs, and at length, after bloody battles, with the assistance of treachery they succeeded in establishing themselves. "They preached Mahommedanism with the naked sword; murdered the refractory, and circumcised the submissive." Several armies of 40,000 men each were engaged in this warfare, and colonists to the amount of 17,000 families settled on their conquests. It must be acknowledged, however, that the Arabs brought with them arts and letters. "They improved their possessions by good order and the introduction of rigid justice: schools for instruction were open to every one:" And theyiised their utmost endeavours to render the possession of these conquests as durable as possible, by#the happy tranquillity of their subjects. But only a part of these nations submitted to the fierce propagators of their faith: "the most considerable nations of Caucasus are yet free, though, in regard to their political constitution, united in mutual, determined, clear, unchangeable, and well known bands: which are maintained inviolable, without a prince ever having desired to act contrary to them or to annihilate any single tribe."
4 The natives of those provinces, and especially the inhabitants of the whole eastern Caucasus, are short, strong, lively, inquisitive, mistrustful, reserved, brave, very intelligent, and in instruction extraordinarily docile. They are well versed in the management of the gun; which, with die sabre, dagger, and a pistol, constitutes their whole armour. Bows and arrows theyJiave long since laid aside.'"
4 Some inhabit handsome villages, others not less respectable cities. They attend very much to the culture of the fields, the garden, the vine, aud silk; and some tribes are rich in cattle. They manufacture handsome carpets, and a kind of silken stuff wove with cotton, called darai; also taffeties, silk handkerchef6, and schalls fa coarse woollen stuff,) which they use for clothing.'
'The profits of. their trade place them in a comfortable situation, yet do not prevent them from being wild barbarians They certainly buy with ready money, prisoners, as slaves, for their service and trade; but they also go out with the JLesghaes menstealing, on convenient occasions; at least they stimulate them too often to take advantage of every opportunity. The traveller, on that account, can scarcely approach the neighbourhood, without being exposed to the danger of either being seized or sold. He is only secure when he has one of them who is well known as his companion ; or when he is recommended by letters to a prince; or when he can only name the prefect of a mosk at the place where he is going, and claims his acquaintance. Yet the robber does not let go his booty on the account; he accompanies h:s prisoner to the prince, or the pre'ect of the mosk. Now should the traveller be ackno-.\ ledged by the first as a friend, or by the last as a guest of the deity, the robber contents h'mseif with a small present, which the prince or the mosk must equally receive at the stranger's departure.'
'As soon as any one enjoys hospitality amongst these people, then he is secure and perfectly unmolested. But when he wishes to change and travel further, his las: landlord must accompany him, and consign him to the oldest or chief of the village or city where he proposes going, and receive from him the promise of hospitality. Then the life, property, and liberty of the traveller are in security.'
'Should it so happen, (though a similar case is not remembered,) that any one violated the hospitality, and robbed or assassinated the stranger; accordingto their universal custom, he would be murdered, and all his property destroyed. The duty of their religion obliges them to be hatjatpblet and those who are rather rich, esteem it no small honour, when stranger* enter their doors and confide in their protection. But as their religion also allows of men-stealing, it often occurs that they, in excursions beyond their frontiers, and in warlike disturbances, plunder those with more injurious harshness thau slaves whom a short time before they had kindly treated in their houses. When a slave that is sold or .kidnapped cannot ransom himself, and he has served ten years, they give him his liberty gratit. He is then permitted to settle amongst them; he can, if he pleases, marry a Mahommedan woman, and yet, if he is a Christian, preserve his religion; but the children must be educated as Mahommedans. But if the slave will not agree to that, and endeavours, in the impossibility of depositing the ransom, to gain his liberty sooner, they sell him to himself; that is to say, he is released or. the bail of another who is answejable, and is permitted, by collecting of alms, by free labour, and likewise by trade,. ( for which they often advance him the capital, ) to gain sufficient to deposit the price for which his master bought him; and then he can go where he pleases. But many of such kind of slaves have settled in Caucasus, and become very opulent.'
It is impossible for us to follow our author, through any considerable number of those tribes which deserve notice by the peculiarity of their manners. One of them, which considers itself as derived from an European origin, merits further inquiry into its history; but as they guard the passes of their country " incessantly," and allow no entrance either to stranger "or neighbour, we know not how this can be accomplished. "On their frontiers stands a large village, and one of their warehouses, where treaties with strangers, and aH other consultations are settled." It appears, that they are distinguished by their probity,* rectitude, and good order: they are honest, cleanly, polite, laborious, and very clever: moreover, they use, after the European manner, tables, bedsteads, chairs, and knives and forks. They are manufacturers, but neglect agriculture; they neither sow nor reap, they never commit depredations, nor go out to war: they never intermarry with other tribes: never explain the nature of their government; and such of them as follow the profession of merchants, are induced by attachment to their native land to return, and expatriate themselves no. more, but assist in the public affairs of the tribe. From what European nation, and at what time, could this tribe be descended? We recollect none to which we may with certainty refer it by affinity of character while, from all that appears externally, no nation whatever need blush to acknowledge the kindred.
From this secluded tribe we turn to another, of a different character. Such, we are told, is the fertility of Iberia, or Immeret, that
'It is impossible to imagine the quantity of apples, pears, prunes, apricots, cherries, figs, and almonds; whole mountains are covered with chesnuts, hills overgrown with olives, and plains full of granites and laurels. The almond and medlar stand in thick forests of quince and apple-trees laden with fruit. Pear, apple, and prune trees, often bear twice a year. When even the autumnal fruits do not attain to their proper maturity, yet their agreeable acidity is reviving, as I and my companion experienced, to our delight, on the 18th of November 1782. All other fruit-trees blow at least twice, and are engaging in autumn from their vernal attire.'
*, When, with this abundance, we consider the plentirul harvests of rice, millet, wheat, cotton, flax, and hemp; and add to it the silk, which every family grows for its own consumption, but by less labour would be raised in much greater quantity; can there well be foun i a more favoured land? And still hunger oppresses too often the natives, because the want of order consumes the store of provisions before the end of th*