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Imprisonment and Expulsion of Mr. Pritchard. 193
"FRENCH ESTABLISHMENTS IN OCEANIA.
"A sentinel was attacked on the night of the second of March. In reprisal I have arrested one Pritchard, the sole agent and instigator of the revolts of the natives. His property shall answer for all damage which the insurgents may occasion to our establishments; and if French blood flow, every drop of that blood shall be visited on his head. "Papeete, March 3. (Signed) D'AUBIGNY."
The tyrannical and absurd regulations which were now made have been often laughed at; but it is fit that the public should know that some have had cause to weep through them. It was ordered that, after a certain hour, no light should be burned in any house. A Mr. Jackson, whose wife was far advanced in pregnancy, applied to be made an exception to the rule. Not only was he refused, but his demand attracted the attention of the French, who made it thenceforth a practice to come and thrust their heads through his window and jeer at his wife as she lay in bed. This disgusting conduct so alarmed the poor woman that she insisted, in spite of her delicate state, on leaving the island. Embarking, therefore, on board a little vessel bound for Valparaiso, she had a stormy passage to that place, and, overcome by fatigue, acting on her constitution already injured by the shock she had received, three days after her arrival died a victim to the brutality of the French conquerors of Tahiti.
When M. Bruat returned he did not, as has been stated, reprimand M. D'Aubigny. On the contrary, he approved of his conduct, and would have persisted in imitating him, had not the commander of the English steamer, the Cormorant, not having yet been made acquainted with the tone of his government, waited upon him and solemnly warned him of the consequences of his proceedings. Bruat then consented to liberate Mr. Pritchard on condition of his leaving the island. Our consul, therefore, was withdrawn from his damp dungeon, in a state of such weakness, produced by harsh treatment, that he could scarcely stand, and hurried on board the Cormorant, which was then ordered to be off. This is the plain unvarnished statement of the 'gross outrage, accompanied by gross indignity,' which has made the world ring for the last two months.
We cannot enlarge on the present prospect of the complete extermination of the French force in Tahiti by the enraged natives. We should rejoice from the bottom of our hearts if it were to take place, were we not certain that fresh forces would be poured into the island, and that the unfortunate population would ultimately succumb and be perhaps annihilated. Let us turn from the contemplation of these tragic scenes. Would that our eyes could repose on another picture! Would that we had to describe England assuming her proper position of protectress of the oppressed, and
VOL. XXXIV. NO. LXVII.
Stepping forward to intercede in behalf of this unhappy people who have always regarded her with something of the affection of children towards a parent! But this country must no longer pretend to revenge the wrongs of others when she cannot obtain redress for her own. It is useless to conceal the fact. We have been baffled and laughed at. An island converted by our missionaries, and which we have always assured of our friendship and goodwill, has been invaded and devastated by a French force; our consul, who protested against this outrageous conduct, has been assaulted, thrust into a dungeon, threatened with murder, and then banished; Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen, the Duke of Wellington have blustered; public opinion has made itself heard; and a French officer is to be scolded, like a spoilt child, by his smiling government, and an indemnity is promised for Mr Pritchard's fatted pigs which were slaughtered to grace the Apician table of Messrs. Bruat and d'Aubigny !
ART. IX.-1. Revelations of Russia; or, the Emperor Nicholas and his Empire in 1844. Colburn. 1844.
2. Notes of a Recent Traveller on the Armies and the Military Power of Russia. MS.
THE recently published work, of which the title stands above, is evidently the production of one who has seen much of every part of Russia, who has read much on the history of that country, and who speaks out the whole truth of his reading, observation, and experience, freely and unreservedly. It strongly claims, and no doubt will receive, the eager and deep attention of this country. Of the authenticity of the details, and of the general truth of the statements in these volumes, we entertain no shadow of doubt. They are in the main corroborated in a remarkable manner by the calm, painstaking, and observant Kohl, by the somewhat conceited and loquacious, yet shrewd and penetrating Custine, and by the manuscript journal of a recent traveller which has been placed at our disposal.
But the 'Revelations' are characterised by one cardinal fault;—the work is anonymous. Though it bears on its front the impress of sincerity and truth-though it affords in every page internal evidence of authenticity-yet it is to be feared that the mere fact of its being given to the world anonymously will detract from its usefulness and authority. There will not be wanting those who will loudly proclaim that it is the production of some expatriated Pole, or some discharged official, who vents his malice against a government in calumny and misrepresentation. There may be, and we dare say there are, cogent reasons for preserving an anonymous character, but, if it be not so-if the work be the production of an English
Civil Institutions modelled after the Military.
man, or a foreigner, not in the Russian service-the sooner the volumes are avowed by the able author the better. For though for the moment all likelihood of immediate collision between England and France has passed away, yet in the present temper of the French nation, and while the affairs of this great empire are in the hands of what Father Tom Maguire aptly calls the tinkering ministry,' he would be a bold man who would speculate largely on the long continuance of the general peace. Under these circumstances it behoves the people of England to consider well the military and naval strength of the great monarchies of the continent. On the character and composition of the Russian army, the 'Revelations of Russia' shed a flood of welcome light; but as the statements of an anonymous author, whatever be their intrinsic value, must always be received with a certain reserve and caution, we shall draw our materials for this paper first and chiefly from the MS. of an English traveller personally known to us; who, in addition to the advantages of sound education and much travel, possessed unusual opportunities for observation. The fruits of this gentleman's researches may hereafter be given to the public in a more extended shape. For the present we shall content ourselves with giving an abstract of the rough notes he has put into our hands on the Armies and the Military Power of Russia.'
The military power of Russia is no doubt the vital source of its strength. But of the real extent and efficiency of that power it is difficult to form an exact estimate. Neither the boastful exaggerations of the Russian boyars, nor the coarse and ill-disguised lies of official persons, are to be depended on. In a country where there is no freedom of the press, and where the indiscreet revelation of a fact may subject the loose-tongued official to the gentle correctives of dismissal, the knout, or Siberia, the best public instructors' are apt to be public deceivers, and private confidence cannot, and does not, exist. But even though there were facilities for reference and information, yet the constant changes introduced by a monarch, whose mania is military, set accuracy at defiance, and from their number and variety, indeed almost transcend human belief. Without some knowledge, however, of the Russian military system, it is impossible to know any thing of Russia. The whole civil institutions are modelled after, while they are subservient to, the military system. The highest civil power in Petersburg and Moscow is vested in the military governor, next under whom is the head of the police It is not, therefore, wonderful that the army is a career unfailingly sought after by the highest youth of Russia. In order to possess serfs, which is but another name for property, or to have station at court or in society, the young nobles of Russia are
absolutely obliged to serve the crown either in a civil or a military capacity. This regulation dates from the time of Peter the Great. Under him every officer was noble from his profession alone; there was no hereditary rank but by service. Much of the numerical force of Russia is nominal, and on paper only. In order, however, to give that weight to the power of the czar which he is always anxious to claim in the politics of the east and west, this paper army is pompously and periodically paraded in the columns of the Allgemeine Zeitung,' the Augsburg Gazette,' and the Frankfort Journal,' one and all in the pay of Russia. But it is not from such authorities that the British public can gain any accurate or impartial accounts. Though Russia extends over a surface embracing thirty-five degrees of latitude, though it comprises within it a territory of 9200 English miles in length, and 2000 in breadth, with a population amounting to 60,000,000, though the empire is divided into fifty-one governments, and is administered by eleven governor-generals, yet this organisation, however imposing and magnificent on paper, is really more showy than strong, more extended and diffused than compact or powerful. The sterile and thinly-peopled provinces of Archangel, Olonetz and Vologdo, furnish few recruits. The scattered tribes peopling the Siberias comprising the Kamschatkans, Aleutians, Ostiaks, Samoïedes, Ischonkets, Koniaks, Yakouts, and Tungusians form but an ill-compacted mass of men, differing in races, habits, and feelings; while the Manshurs, and remnants of the Mongols, whose names are barely known in Europe, add little to the population, and nothing at all to the military power of Russia. A tribute of furs and skins they undoubtedly pay, but the chief use of their country seems to be that it serves as a prison for convicts and exiles, 2000 of whom escape every year to the steppes or plains around, where they are left unmolested. Orenburg, a province larger than most European kingdoms, has within it a population of 1,000,000 souls; but in Iskontz, on the other hand, there are only four men to the square mile.
The distant provinces, therefore, furnish few recruits for the army, and even though the numbers were more considerable, it would be difficult to move such levies, not only from the want of means, but from the necessity of leaving a military force in their place. The desert tribes of the Ural, comprising the Baskirs and Kirghises, though fully as pastoral as the inhabitants of Meath or Tipperary, have none of O'Connell's peace preservers among them, and not even the head pacificator himself could keep the Abazeks, Kabardians, Lesgees, Cherkesses, Ossitans, Taschkents, Khists, Ingooshes, Charaboulacks, or even the Georgians in order without the presence of a large military force.
Soldiers few in comparison with the Extent of the Country. 197
In Georgia, in time of peace, travellers proceed with a large escort, and field pieces, to back them in their distant perigrinations. It is hence apparent that the army must be chiefly supplied from the central provinces of Russia proper. These, as well as Little Russia and the Ukraine, are well peopled and fertile, but Finland, on the other hand, does not furnish more than 20,000 men for the service.
The difficulty of obtaining levies is, therefore, undoubtedly great, but these difficulties are small in comparison to the wide expanse of duty and service which opens out before the eye of the Russian soldier the moment he enters on actual service. He may have to defend the forts and coast on the Black Sea- in order to watch every movement on the part of the Turks-to guard the frontiers on the side of Persia on the Oral-to repress the Circassians and other warlike tribes of the Caucasus-to keep in bounds the roving families on the borders of the Caspian-or to repress the just discontent of his brave, warlike, and oppressed Sclavonian brother in unhappy Poland. And for all these varied and vexatious duties, neither Siberia, nor New Russia, nor the Crimea, nor Georgia, nor the Caucasus, furnishes one soldier to the imperial government. The campaigns of 1812 and 1813-the Turkish war -and the insurrection of Poland-will abundantly prove our assertions, that the distant provinces are not an 'officina hominum.' When it is known, from authentic documents, that only 120,000 soldiers could be collected at one point, with which force the battle of Borodino or the Mosqua was fought, and of whom from 20,000 to 30,000 were men who had just been collected, clad in their sheepskins, from the lands of their masters, we shall be better able to form a just opinion of the military power of Russia.
The following may be taken as an accurate muster roll of the Russian army in 1812. There were:
❝30,653 under Steugell in Finland,
34,290... Wittgenstein in Livonia and Courland,
47,520 Baggowoth at Wilna and Witespk, Essen at Grodno, Minsk, and Mohilem,
9,928 ... R-titcheff on the Caucasus,
Bagration, including Platow and his Cossacks, 12,000 in Volhynia and Podolia,
the Grand Duke Constantine at St. Petersburg,
23,745... Paulucci in Georgia,
87,026 . Kutozow with the army of the Danube in Moldavia.