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This distinguished manifestation of interest in the literary advancement of their females, will no doubt have a suitable effect on the gratitude of the natives. At all events it will evince to our countrymen, that an anxious desire exists to take advantage of every suggestion designed to ameliorate the moral condition of the people under our rule, in every shape which ingenuity or munificence can devise.
The Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Children, established by the Baptist Missionaries at Serampore, is the last to be noticed. Though destitute Christian children are the primary objects, Hindus and Musulmans are not excluded from this institution. The aggregate number of children in the schools, at the last report, was nearly 500. It is stated that upwards of 1,000 youths have been thus rescued from vice and ignorance, and are gradually rising to a certain degree of opulence and respectability.
Mr. Lushington, in some judicious "remarks" on the subject of education, admits that it is now established, beyond a doubt, that the natives, to a certain extent, avail themselves of the means of education with great eagerness, without being always deterred from the pursuit of knowledge by its being accessible only through the channel of some religious books; yet he observes that education should commence at the top, and proceed downwards, in order to produce extensive improvement; and that the last mentioned fact is no irrefragable evidence that prejudice against Christianity is abated. "Well meaning people (he remarks) are in far too great a hurry in their anticipation of benefit from the diffusion of instruction, and look for the production of fruit before the seed has had time to issue from the ground. The union of religion with education has occasioned these overweening expectations; it being fondly imagined that, because a pupil can read and explain some chapters in the New Testament, a most essential barrier of opposition has been broken through. But it is unwise to fancy that this transient view of Christianity, unassisted by any subsequent admonition or enforcement, implies a probable liberation from those trammels of superstition, which the habits, the connexions, and idolatrous practices of the Hindu all combine to rivet.
We cannot bring this long article to a close without requesting the reader to contrast the statements contained therein with those given (from reliance on delusive representations) by M. Sismondi, in the article before quoted.
The English (he says) are at the present day animated by a religious zeal, an ardour of proselytism, of which no example can be found in their own history, or in that of other nations. Hence their language is rarely exempt from that affectation of devotion which they denominate cant, and which sometimes excites distrust. This national impulse, however, is completely arrested by the interest which the East-India Company think they have in checking the progress of civilization and the development of intellect amongst their subjects. And again : Exclusively occupied in extorting from the country which they govern a tribute they may convey to England, they (the Company) will not permit the least part of the public revenue to be employed for the benefit of the people that pays it.
We shall recur to Mr. Lushington's work next month, when we propose to treat of the attempts at converting the Hindus, and to speak of missionary labours in India.
ON THE PROGRESS OF THE MECHANICAL ARTS IN RUSSIA BEFORE THE ERA OF PETER THE GREAT.
THE ancient state of Russia is known to most readers only through Voltaire's Histories of Charles XII. and Peter the Great; but the idea which must be formed of the state of industry and the mechanical arts in that country, previous to the reign of Peter, may be easily conjectured from the statement of the French author, who tells us, that at that period the Russians did not possess even a pin-manufactory; without hinting at the fact that the country was in a very flourishing condition previous to the Tartar invasion, and again during the reign of the Czar Alexi Michaelowitch, when, perhaps, it was inferior to few European nations of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; from which it fell in consequence of the protracted internal troubles and civil wars in which that ill-fated country was plunged, by the struggles between the crown and the nobility. Voltaire, whether through ignorance or from a disingenuous desire to suppress what he knew, has represented the Russians, previous to Peter, as a nation of barbarians, unacquainted with and averse to all the arts of civilization. The object of the present essay is to rectify those erroneous opinions by furnishing a concise historical sketch of the introduction and progress of the mechanical arts in Russia before the reign, of which so interesting an account has been given by Voltaire; and we have no doubt that we shall thereby oblige those readers at least who have no other object in the perusal of history than the search of truth. The facts here recorded have been collected by a Russian writer of eminence, who constantly quotes his authorities, which, although for the most part native, are not, on that account, less unimpeachable.
There is every probability that industry began among the modern European nations as soon as they had settled in the countries they now inhabit, and the narrower limits of their territorial possessions compelled them to have recourse to tillage for part, at least, of their sustenance; and there seems no ground to conclude that the nations of the Sclavonic or Sarmatian race were, in this respect, differently situated from those of Teutonic origin-nay, there is a positive testimony in the Arabic, Byzantine, and Norman writers of the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries, that Sclavonic traders brought tanned hides and linen for sale to the mouths of the Dnieper and Volga, and the shores of the Baltic; and, if we may trust the ancient native annalist, not only leather, but even hammered swords were manufactured in Russia as early as the reign of Wolodomir, A.D. 988.
It was from the Byzantine Greeks that the Russians received their religion, at the same time with a taste for commerce and the arts of civilization. The provinces near the Dnieper and Wolochow were the first to receive the impulse to both pursuits; yet as early as the tenth century we find mention made of stone buildings in the northern districts, and, in the eleventh, of splendid churches at Kiev and Novogorod, the walls of which are said to have been adorned with paintings. Unfortunately, however, these bright beginnings were darkened and checked, first, by an oppressive system of vassalage, and subsequently by the invasions of the Tartars.
But, even during this calamitous period, commerce and the arts were not entirely extinct; and we find that, in the thirteenth century, Russian merchants frequented Tauris with cotton goods, which they exchanged for salt, and that during the reign of Simeon the Proud (i. e. the beginning of the fourteenth century), Russian artists at Moscow were employed in painting the churches
and casting bells: such instances, however, were rare; but in proportion as the Tartar yoke was lightened, industry revived. Under Demitrij Donskij the connexions with western Europe were renewed, and carried on with greater facility than before, since silver and copper coin had been introduced by the Tartars, and now formed the circulating medium, instead of skins, which were previously used for that purpose.
In the beginning of the fifteenth century, a Servian monk, named Lazarus, constructed at Moscow the first clock ever made in the country, and which seems to have excited great astonishment. There was, at the same time, some very clever brass-founders in the Russian metropolis, one of whom received from the city of Pskow a present of forty-six roubles, for having taught one of its inhabitants to cast sheets of lead to cover one of their churches. Rubleff, Simeon the black, and Daniel, were then esteemed great painters. At that period, and till the time of John III., the arts were only employed in ornamenting places of worship. The manufactures of that period consisted in the making of leather, soap, potash, hemp and train-oil, caviar, salt, linen, and coarse woollen cloth. It was also about this period that the art of distilling was introduced into the country.
The reign of John III. at length produced a new era for Russia. By his expulsion of the Tartars and his marriage with the daughter of the Greek emperor, he became known to and repected by foreign nations; and crowds of alien artisans settled in a country where honour and wealth promised to crown the efforts of their industry. Aristotle, from Bologna, built temples, cast cannon, and manufactured gunpowder; and the Venetians, Friasin and Aloys, adorned the metropolis with numerous splendid buildings. Iron, silver, and copper were dug and wrought.
John the Terrible was still more anxious for the improvement of his country : he requested the emperor Charles V., and afterwards Ferdinand I., to send him scholars and artists; and, although these requests were not complied with, many men of talent emigrated to Russia, and augmented the national wealth and industry. The trade carried on with the English at Archangel was peculiarly conducive to the prosperity of the country; the English physicians, Standish and Jacob, greatly improved the medical knowledge of the native practitioners, and it is probable that James Frencham was the first who established a chemist's shop in Russia, and taught the natives to collect herbs, &c. Mining and the working of metals were also greatly extended and improved by the English, who enjoyed particular privileges in this respect.
Feodor withdrew some of the privileges granted to the English, and opened the ports of the White Sea to other nations; still, however, the influence of the English on the improvement of the country continued to be extensive. Under the reign of this Czar, the Italian Marco Cenoppi established silk and velvet manufactories in the country; frontier-guards were appointed to prevent the introduction of the plague, the ravages of which, under the preceding reigns, had contributed in a great measure to check the industry of the country; and the first book on medicine was published in the year 1588, which, although only a translation from the Polish, was a harbinger of improvement in the civilization of Russia.
Under the usurper Godunow, Russia suffered many misfortunes, but still commerce and the arts seem not to have retrograded; which is particularly proved by the erection of various public edifices at Moscow, and the casting of the great bell in the year 1601, which weighed 12,000 poods.. This monarch died too soon to bestow any lasting benefit on his country; and the civil and
foreign wars which ensued after his death (and in which Moscow was burned by the Poles, and the ancient and flourishing city of Novogorod sacked by the Swedes), again plunged the nation almost into the same state into which they had fallen at the period when they threw off the yoke of the Mongols.
Under these circumstances Michael ascended the throne. Whatever a monarch could do to restore and animate fallen industry amongst his subjects, was accomplished by this great monarch. He united different trades into companies, bestowed privileges on natives and foreigners, and even sent com missioners to Germany for the purpose of engaging miners; in short, we may date from his reign the establishment of manufactories in the empire. He also established mints for the coinage of money, and instituted medical colleges for the examination of young practitioners, and for prescribing rules for the treatment of diseases.
But Alexi performed more than all his predecessors. Michael, having to fulfil the difficult office of healing the wounds under which the country had been so long suffering, could not apply himself entirely to new establishments. But Alexi, having beaten the Poles, and being at peace with the Swedes, the improvement of the nation was his only care, and by his exertion the arts, manufactures and trades, were carried to an extent of perfection unprecedented in Russia.
Silk goods had formerly been an article of transit trade only-the Russian merchants purchasing it at Moscow or Astrakhan, and selling it afterwards to the English and Dutch; but, under this reign, silks and velvets were manufactured in great perfection at Moscow.
Various efforts were made by the Czar to improve the country wool by the introduction of foreign sheep, but with little or no effect; and a broad-cloth manufactory, established by an enterprizing merchant, also failed, owing to the predilection of the Russians at that time to the wear of camlets, which they purchased from the Greeks and Dutch.
On the other hand, manufactories of linen, plain, dyed and printed, flourished at Yarosslawl, Valdai, Kargopol, and on the banks of the Dwina and Volga, and, consequently, at the same places where we find them now; and an arshin of linen was bought at Moscow, at from two to six copeks. It was, however, coarse, except that produced at one manufactory established for the use of the imperial family.
The manufacture of leather had been brought to great perfection. Potash was made in Siberia; tar in the government of Archangel; excellent soap in Kostroma; and the melting of tallow was an extensive branch of industry. Salt was prepared in great quantities in the south of Russia, and windowglass and bottles began to be manufactured with success in the vicinity of the capital.
Muskets and other small arms were made near several of the mines; but particularly in the smiths' village near Toola, at the mouth of the Toolitsa, all the inhabitants of which were iron-workers and enjoyed great privileges. There were four iron mines in the vicinity of Moscow, near which-besides muskets, bar and sheet-iron-swords, and even guns were manufactured. Steel was made in different establishments, but was of an inferior quality; for which reason great quantities of this article were annually imported from Sweden. Cannon, mortars, and bells (some of the latter of a very large size) were cast at Moscow and elsewhere; and a German, of the name of Flacken, at the Moscow manufactory, obtained great celebrity even in foreign parts; there were also forged iron-guns of very excellent quality, although too expensive for general use.
Three copper-mines were at work at that period; and there were several powder-mills near Moscow, as well as two paper manufactories --the paper, however, was coarse, owing to a want of fine rags. There was one printing establishment, consisting of eight presses, at Moscow, where Bibles, the works of the Fathers, and Alexi's code were printed: another printing-office was at Kiev. The capital had two apothecary's shops, one in the Kremlin, and another in the city, the former of which, in particular, was kept in excellent condition. To furnish them with the necessary herbs, three botanical gardens were kept up about the city, and some of the boyards had to furnish such as could not be grown there, in lieu of tribute.
This reign was also distinguished for the establishment of regular conveyances of letters and newspapers between Moscow and Vilna, and between that city and Riga; and of quarantine officers on those parts of the frontiers which were most exposed to epidemical diseases.
It is true, that most of the trades and manufactories alluded to were conducted or carried on by foreigners; but the Russians, themselves, also took a great share in them: and the monarchs showed, at least, that they were as anxious about the improvement of their nation as Peter. The difference was that, prevented by circumstances, or less ardent and determined than this monarch, they proceeded less arbitrarily and rapidly; and it would, perhaps, have been happier for the Russian nation, had it been allowed to develope its powers from within, and not been forcibly hurried to a premature civilization. Y. Z.
FROM THE BOUSTAN OF SAADI.
Look not for piety in sordid minds,
Nor truth in those which weak self-fondness blinds.-
Say, wert thou scorned by others, man of pride,
Nor rush o'er prostrate crowds to grasp the prize:
For one of those now prone on earth may rise,
And trample thee, in turn, low sunk where now he lies.