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THEIR ORIGIN AND IMPROVEMENTS.

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hive population need that every square foot of soil should, if possible, be wrought to its highest capability of productiveness. We have seen how the drain-water is drawn off, or if need be, actually baled out from our low-lying fen-lands; but from our inland valleys, far more favourably situated, the waters are not conducted; they are too often left to feel their own way out, groping circuitously among all kinds of natural obstructions. And far worse than this, they are purposely retarded in their descent by human agency-by dams and weirs, by water-wheels and locks-so that for want of a systematic arterial arrangement and management of our water-courses, an individual may hold back our drainage to grind his corn, float his barge, or sometimes even to swell his lake or feed his fish-pond. There is no physical difficulty to prevent our clearing, enlarging, and deepening our rivers, so that they can discharge speedily and safely into the sea the heaviest rains that clouds can let fall, and the most rapidly oozing subterranean springs. Engineers can calculate, from the excess of downfall and spring water over that evaporated, how great a volume must be provided for in any season; and, knowing the fall of the river bed, they can determine the sectional area of channel able to emit the flood. But when we come to the actual performance of the work, we meet a host of rights and interests. conflicting upon the banks of our stream: mills mentioned in Domesday refuse to lose their water-power; navigation or canal companies will not have their head' in any way lowered; irrigators of meadows demand our non-interference with their drains and 'carriers;' towns obstinately oppose our alteration of their strangulating bridges and wharfings; and even a large portion of those whose lands we seek to benefit persist in declaring their satisfaction with the present state of things, miserable as it is, and their disbelief in the ultimate profitableness of the expenditure to be incurred. To reconcile opposing interests, therefore, there must be either compensation offered them for injuries and removals, or their river may be left to moisten their meadows, turn their mills, &c., by the drainage being formed independently, and carried by culverts underneath it; or, what is still better, the new works may often be contrived so as to augment the waterpower of some of the mills, and benefit all other interests concerned, a boon, coupled with a proportion of the labour and charge, thus falling to each. And, of course, all claims must be finally regulated and appeased by the authority of a special act of parliament. In the Vale of Pickering, in Yorkshire; in the Test and Anton valleys, in Hampshire; and in the valley of the river Nene, we have examples of such an improvement, either completed or in progress.

Why should not all the many districts of similar character abundant over central England, and scattered in every county, be likewise ameliorated? Why do not more of our maritime lowlands such as the marshes of Somerset-fulfil their duty to the inland tracts, by perfecting their river mouths?

ART. IV. (1.) Journal of a Residence in Circassia during the years 1837, 1838, and 1839. By JAMES S. BELL. 2 vols. 8vo. London : 1840.

(2.) A Year among the Circassians. By J. A. LONGWORTH. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1840.

(3.) Die Völker des Kaukasus, ('The Tribes of the Caucasus, and their Conflicts with the Russians for Freedom.') By T. BODENSTEDT. Second edition. 1849.

(4.) Der Kaukasus und das Land der Kosaken, ('The Caucasus and the Land of the Cossacks in the years 1843 to 1846.') By MORITZ WAGNER. Leipsic. Second edition. 1850.

(5.) Rapports sur un Voyage, (Reports of an Archæological Journey in Georgia.') By BROSSET. Paris: 1851.

(6.) Annuaire des Deux Mondes, ('Universal Annual for 1850, 1851, 1852.'") Paris.

(7.) L'Univers Pittoresque: Region Caucaséenne, ('The Caucasus, forming part of the World in Pictures.") By C. FAMIN. Paris: Didot, Frères.

AUTHORITY has determined that the Russian empire was founded in the year 862. The year 1862 has been designated as the time for celebrating the thousandth anniversary of that foundation. A thousand years since the territory extended only a small distance from the city of Moscow. Now the dominions of the Czar are said to cover 7,700,000 square miles. This amazing extension has been made at the cost of neighbouring states. From the first, plundered territory was incorporated. The incorporation has gone on on a grander scale since the accession of Peter the Great; and the eyes of the present generation have witnessed the aggrandizement of Russia out of what deserves no better name than stolen property. To say nothing of the East, Sweden, Turkey, and Poland have been compelled to make contributions to the Russian empire. Ambition, like jealousy, 'grows by what 'tis fed on;' and so the Emperor of all the Russias' is very desirous that the jubilee of 1862 should not only exhibit to the world a colossal power of unparalleled dimensions, but record huge accessions of territory gained by the reigning Czar. Indeed, as every animal

THE COUNTRY DESCRIBED.

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has its own propensity, and every phase of society its own characteristic, so is it the appetite of Russia to feast on dominion. unjustly acquired. The cravings of that taste for plunder have long directed the imperial eye to Constantinople, on which at the present moment it is intently and immovably fixed. Under the same unworthy impulse, the Russian eagle has endeavoured to seize with its talons the Caucasus.

The Caucasus is the strip of land which bridges over the space between the Caspian and the Black Sea. It is a mountainous region, rising by degrees from the plains of Europe, on the one side, and of Asia, on the other, to a central ridge of primitive rocks, the highest of which, Mount Elbruss, stands at the elevation of 17,350 feet above the level of the sea. As an alpine territory it possesses, in a degree second in Europe only to Switzerland, the characteristics of such districts. The cones, and even the ridges of the loftier summits, are covered with perpetual snow. The central chain, lined by two of less dimensions, sends off branches to nearly all the cardinal points, and is intersected by ravines through which a thousand torrents now flow and now rage, and form rivers of great magnitude, which pour their waters into one or other of the seas above mentioned. On the flanks of the mountains huge avalanches form themselves, which, in summer, either quietly feed the streams, or rush destructively on the lower lands. Extreme barrenness and luxuriant vegetation are constantly interchanged; the mountain sides and tops are burnt and bare; the clefts and valleys are covered with vegetation, and loaded with the rich fruits of the earth. Abounding in mineral treasures, the country poor, like all alpine regions where agriculture is the only resource for human wants. Why should so great a monarch as the Czar covet so unattractive a region? The Caucasus is, in some sense, a classical land, the annexation of which would be attended with éclat. A species of glory has been shed over the country by Grecian fable; there was Prometheus bound in chains, to expiate his crime of stealing fire from heaven; in its vicinity was the golden fleece, in search of which the Argonauts made a long and perilous voyage. The region is not unknown, also, in Grecian history. And even the sacred records point to the neighbourhood as the part near which Paradise itself once stood, and in which the human race was renewed after the deluge. Within those fastnesses, too, primeval tribes are said to have preserved their identity, unimpaired by the flux and reflux of the ever-moving tide of the earth's population. Certainly he who should subdue the Caucasus would win a laurel of unshared glory, for all the great conquerors of the world, from Alexander down to Napoleon, have left its inhabitants free, either not venturing to attack them, or

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failing in the attempt. To Russia, however, the possession of the Caucasus has special attractions. A glance at the map will show of what consequence to its empire the Caucasus is. It were enough to point to the fact that the Caucasus is its south-eastern boundary. With that boundary in hostile hands, the empire in general would not be safe, and the parts of it adjacent to the Caucasus would be liable to constant depredations. Then, through the Caucasus lies a road by which Russia could annoy, if not overcome, its rival, Persia; and if Russian ambition extends to the Ganges, how could it be so effectually promoted as by the subjugation of the Caucasus? Above all, the Caucasus lies in the way to Constantinople, from the great eastern division of the Russian dominions. The tenure of Constantinople would not be secure without the Caucasus, and without the Caucasus its seizure would be difficult and perilous. Besides, the prey has the additional recommendation of being intimately connected with a hated rival; for the Sultan, as well as the Czar, has endeavoured to make the Caucasus his own; and while the Caucasians abhor the latter, towards the former they look with a somewhat friendly eye. Those inhabitants are various in origin, name, language, religion, and affection. Amounting, in all, to about one million two hundred thousand souls, they present, perhaps, greater diversities than can be found within any equal space of country on the earth's surface. Of some seven or eight leading tribes into which they are divided, two only can, in our narrow limits, be even mentioned -the Circassians (280,000 souls) on the north west, and the Shetshens on the south east (110,000 souls). Necessitated by a regard to brevity, to avoid ethnographical distinctions, we shall speak of the natives under the general term of Caucasians, unless when our narrative compels a departure from the rule. These mountain tribes, which cannot exceed two millions of souls, are thinly scattered over the plains, steppes, hills, and vales of the district we have described. The bulk are Moslems; a minority profess a nominal Christianity, and outwardly belong to the Greek Church, being, for the most part, proselytes made by Russian influence. As mountaineers, the Caucasians are of simple habits, and lead a pastoral life. The care of cattle, however, may be regarded as the amusement rather than the occupation of the people; for war is at once their profession and their delight. Yet it is a false representation which sets them forth as a horde of barbarians. It is true they know little of city life; but if civilization consists in the culture of man's higher powers, the Caucasians are civilized, and that, too, beyond the measure of their Muscovite neighbours. Indeed, to very different types of humanity do the two belong. The Russian Sclave is every way

THE INHABITANTS, THEIR PASSIONS.

inferior to the Caucasian, whose very name has been chosen by science to denote the highest variety of the human species. What a contrast between the broad cheeks, brawny shoulders, and doltish aspect of the Muscovite when compared with the lofty and well-proportioned stature, the easy and noble gait, the eagle nose and piercing eye of the Caucasian! We specially allude to those of pure blood. Purity of blood is highly valued and strictly The population contains three sharply guarded in Caucasia. -the noble, the gentle, the common people. marked classes While all take part in the defence of their common country, with the first lie the functions of government. That government is patriarchal, and, as such, it is a species of despotism, instructed by public councils and qualified by public opinion. Exercised for little else than for purposes of war, the administration of the country borrows an almost inconceivable strength and intensity from the two ruling passions of the Caucasians, namely, the love of country and the love of freedom. Those sentiments are the great necessities of Caucasian nature. Fed by the impressions of thousands of years, nurtured by traditions which extend from an indefinitely remote past to the generation just gone by, and encouraged not only by an outward nature, whose very essence is liberty and power, but also by patriotic songs and the love of woman, the affection of the Caucasian for freedom, and for the freedom which he has had and enjoyed from the days of his earliest recollection, and which he knows that his fathers and his fathers' fathers had and enjoyed before him, is inwrought into every fibre of his heart, where it lives and moves, a great actu ating reality, or, rather, the motive power of the life, unquenchable except in death. This deep and intense love of country embraces every countryman, and never yields to any passion but one, namely, the passion for revenge. In no land has blood exacted blood more thirstily or more unsparingly than in Caucasia. There the most imperative of duties is to slay the slayer. At least, vengeance was the crowning virtue of social life; for of late the passion has been somewhat mitigated. This improvement is, in part, owing to the presence of a common foe, against whom all the force of highly-endowed souls and violent natures has been turned and directed; in hatred for Russia and Russians every other passion has been absorbed; in that focus all the rays of those fiery hearts have been and are concentrated. passion is universal, shared by women as well as men, by the young as well as the old. A few years ago, a Turkish vessel in the Black Sea, bound for Constantinople, with a cargo of Circassian girls for the slave-market, suffering under stress of weather, made signals of distress, hoping to receive succour from a Russian

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