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Travels in the Steppes of the Caspian Sea, the Crimea, the Caucasus, &c.   By:

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved.

TRAVELS

IN THE

STEPPES OF THE CASPIAN SEA,

THE CRIMEA, THE CAUCASUS, &c.

BY

XAVIER HOMMAIRE DE HELL,

CIVIL ENGINEER, MEMBER OF THE SOCIETE GEOLOGIQUE OF FRANCE, AND KNIGHT OF THE ORDER OF ST. VLADIMIR OF RUSSIA.

WITH ADDITIONS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES.

LONDON: CHAPMAN AND HALL, 186, STRAND. MDCCCXLVII.

C. WHITING, BEAUFORT HOUSE, STRAND.

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

When I left Constantinople for Odessa my principal object was to investigate the geology of the Crimea and of New Russia, and to arrive by positive observations at the solution of the great question of the rupture of the Bosphorus. Having once entered on this pursuit, I was soon led beyond the limits of the plan I had marked out for myself, and found it incumbent on me to examine all the vast regions that extend between the Danube and the Caspian Sea to the foot of the northern slope of the Caucasus. I spent, therefore, nearly five years in Southern Russia, traversing the country in all directions, exploring the course of rivers and streams on foot or on horseback, and visiting all the Russian coasts of the Black Sea, the Sea of Azof and the Caspian. Twice I was intrusted by the Russian government with important scientific and industrial missions; I enjoyed special protection and assistance during all my travels, and I am happy to be able to testify in this place my gratitude to Count Voronzof, and to all those who so amply seconded me in my laborious investigations.

Thus protected by the local authorities, I was enabled to collect the most authentic information respecting the state of men and things. Hence I was naturally led to superadd to my scientific pursuits considerations of all kinds connected with the history, statistics, and actual condition of the various races inhabiting Southern Russia. I was, moreover, strongly encouraged in my new task by the desire to make known in their true light all those southern regions of the empire which have played so important a part in the history of Russia since the days of Peter the Great.

My wife, who braved all hardships to accompany me in most of my journeys, has also been the partner of my literary labours in France. To her belongs all the descriptive part of this book of travels.

Our work is published under no man's patronage; we have kept ourselves independent of all extraneous influence; and in frankly pointing out what struck us as faulty in the social institutions of the Muscovite empire, we think we evince our gratitude for the hospitable treatment we received in Russia, better than some travellers of our day, whose pages are only filled with exaggerated and ridiculous flatteries.

XAVIER HOMMAIRE DE HELL.

DEFINITIONS.

Geographic miles are of 15 to a degree of the equator.

A Russian Verst (104 3/10 to a degree), is 1/7 of a geographical mile, 1/4 of a French league of 25 to a degree. It is equal to 3484.9 English feet, or nearly 2/3 of a statute mile. It is divided into 500 sazhenes , and each of these into 3 arshines .

A deciatine (superficial measure) is equivalent to 2 acres, 2 roods, 32 perches, English.

A pood is equal to 40 Russian or 36 English pounds.

100 tchetverts (corn measure) are equal to about 74 1/2 English quarters.

A vedro (liquid measure) contains 3 1/4 English gallons, or 12 1/4 Litres.

Since 1839 the paper ruble has been suppressed, and has given place to the silver ruble. But the former is always to be understood wherever the word ruble occurs in the following pages... Continue reading book >>




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