George leighton ditson. New and revised edition

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CIRCASSIA;

OR,


TOUR TO THE CAUCASUS.

BY

GEORGE LEIGHTON DITSON.

NEW AND REVISED EDITION.

NEW-YORK:

STRINGER & TOWNSEND, 222 BROADWAY.

1850.


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849,

BY GEORGE LEIGHTON DITSON,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

John F. Trow,

Printer and Stereotyper,

49, 51 and 53 Ann-st., N. Y.

TO

PRINCE WORONSOFF,



THE

WARRIOR, DIPLOMATIST, COURTIER,

AND THE

INTELLIGENT AND HUMANE RULER,


WITH THE GREATEST RESPECT,

This Work is Dedicated,

BY THE AUTHOR.

INTRODUCTION.

Concerning the intensely interesting portions of the world of
which the following pages treat, no work has ever been issued
from the American press. — This, then, may lay claim to
novelty.

As the Crimea — her oddly picturesque Tartar towns and


gorgeous tumuli; Circassia — the fastnesses of her invincible
heroes, the homes of her world-wide famed beauties, have been
visited by no other American traveller, it may sufficiently
apologize for the temerity of putting into print the journal of
my tour. To those, however, who dissent from this, I would
say, that by some of the most gifted of men I have been urged,

both at home and abroad, to offer this work to the public.

The first edition contained innumerable errors, arising from

various causes — arduous duties of a much less genial nature
than the labor of constructing it, claiming each unexhausted
hour ; while difficulties, in various forms, thrown in the way of
its mechanical execution, disturbed and interrupted its pro-
gress. The present has been revised, and I think in no way
can now be exceptionable to my readers ; but I can hardly ex-
pect its sale to be more rapid than that which in so short a
time has carried off its predecessor.

INTRODUCTION.

For the style, sentiment, &c., I have nothing to offer in
palliation ; though I am well aware that he who impugns es-
tablished laws, however absurd, conventional forms, social rules
which society holds dearer even than morality itself, — he who
does not follow the notions of the times, exposes himself to the
harshest criticism.

Its being dedicated to a foreigner, may appear strange


without an explanation. After having been abroad for ten
years, travelling through those places which most interested
me, except such as were included iu the plan of this my last
tour, I resolved to wander into the less known portions of the
East, where the European race originated; — regions which,
from my earliest recollections, had given to my heart its
strongest emotions. My Journal was one of informal notes of
a year's residence in Italy, journey through Austria, descent of
the Danube, and visits to the various nations and tribes dwell-
ing on its banks ; but, I decided to publish, si settlement pour
faire une novelleté, only that portion of it which related to the
region under the government of Prince Woronsoff: and as all
the favors, — and they were distinguished and innumerable, —

which I enjoyed there, from first to last, were either directly

from him, or through the influence of his benign and enlight-
ened administration, I could not do my own feelings justice

by any other method of expressing them.

The journal-style which I have adopted, is, in some respects,
objectionable — making the writer, by the use of a certain per-
sonal pronoun, often appear egotistical; mentioning, too, les
affaires,
which, divested of their attendant circumstances, may
appear sans force : yet, a record of the immediate impressions
on the tourist's mind, as scenes rise before him, and events

INTRODUCTION. vii

succeed each other, is, doubtless, bettter calculated to convey
a correct notion of conditions of society, countries, and govern-
ments, than could be communicated in any other way.

I had prepared a chapter on the coins found in the Crimea,


but waiting too long a Society's report, which I deemed would
be more ample and worthy of attention than my own, I was at
last obliged to omit it altogether. I will, however, here men-
tion one or two given to me in the Tauride.

One of Sauromates I., having on one side the crown, curule


chair, parazonium, and arms of this sovereign, surrounded by
a Greek inscription. On the reverse: the letters H. M. (the
signification of which is not known with certainty) in a crown
of laurel. Sauromates I., supposed to have reigned about the
year 15, — " clit V Asjnirgien contemporain de Tibere, fils dv
Kes7cupo?'is et de Gepepyris?1 — " mounted the throne of Bos-
phorus," says G-uthrie, " after the death of Polemon, whose
widow, Pythodoris, seems to have retired to his kingdom of
Pontus, where she was suffered to reign ; as we have two of her

coins that were struck when queen of the country, after the

death of the king, her husband." Mr. Pellerin has one oi
these, in brass, in his cabinet.

Another has on one side the head of Thothorses, encircled


with a diadem; before it are three points, and around it Greek
letters, signifying, " King Thothoses." On the reverse, are
the head of Dioclesian, crowned with laurel; and three points
behind the bust, with the date — 598 of the Bosporic, or 1055
of the Roman era. One of these in brass was in the king oi
France's cabinet.

One, bearing on one side the head of a woman, and on the


reverse a griffon, I could not ascertain the date of, though it is

Viii INTRODUCTION.

doubtless of the ancient Panticapea. Another, bearing on one
side the head of Pan and a cap, called of Dioscuri; and on
its reverse, a horn of plenty and the word Pan. This, I was
informed by the director of the Museum at Kertch, was from
the ancient Cherson, which he called the maritime town of
Dioscurias — differing from some able writers, who place it far
south of the Crimea, on the coast of Colchis.

I had another of the Sauromates. There were eight sover-


eigns of this name who ruled over the Crimea. The first one
I have mentioned above ; the last one, and the last sovereign
there, reigned A. D. 344. In an interesting note of Guthrie's,
he says : — " This name of a famous people (and which means
Northern Meads, or a subdivision of that nation, dwelling or
ranging between the Don, Volga, and Caucasus), one might
suspect was assumed by some of the Bosporic kings to indi-
cate their descent from the ancient lords of that country, long
prior to the Dynasty then filling the Bosporic throne."

The view I have taken of Russia's advance southward, I

am conscious will neither in Western Europe nor on this Con-

tinent, meet with much favor. All Englishmen will condemn
it instanter — condemn it, if from no other cause than that of
mere habit; for they daily proclaim the infamy of the czar as
he leads his armies towards India from the north, while the
vocabulary of laudatory words is exhausted on Britain's con-
quering hosts advancing on the same country from the south.
The Americans, however, though they may recognize in it
many of those shameless and cruel features which character-
ized our wars with the Bed Men, as we drove tribe after tribe
from their homes, lands, and the sacred graves of their fathers,
may see an analogous tendency in the Muscovite progress —

INTRODUCTION. IX

ultimately as beneficial — and be willing to assent to what all
my observations bear me out in asserting, that Russia is doing
much to civilize and Christianize the eastern world. That her
priests assist but little in this good work, I am willing to
admit, for they are said to be excessively dissolute; or that
religious motives actuate their master. It arises rather from
the commercial relationship which is established and being ex-
tended by Russia among the semi-civilized Orientals, .in order
to make up for her limited maritime resources: — elegant forms
of refined society and its genial influences, accompanying
her. For it is not too much to say, that the most learned, ac-
complished, scientific men are around her at every step ; that
schools, those sure fountains, or divine rivulets of liberty, vir-
tue and happiness, spring up along the way of her majestic
march ; and that wherever her banner floats, there is securely
planted the Cross of the Redeemer.

Leaving aside invidious comparisons between Greek, Ro-

man, Mahometan, and Protestant religions — each in their

results manifesting peculiar virtues — let us think for a mo-
ment what is to be the ultimate effect of schools, steam, com-
mercial intercourse, attention to agriculture, already felt since
Russia's eagle hovered over the Tartar plains and the Cauca-
sian hills. Let us then ask what was, and what has been for
ages, the condition of the Tauridian inhabitants and those of
that vast chain of mountains stretching from the Euxine to
the Caspian. Living under the influences of all that is ener-
vating and debasing in the worst forms of Mahometan, Hin-
doo, and Persian creeds, what intellectual light gleamed over
that deep, dead, heavy, murky sea of profound ignorance in
which they were sunk 1 What commercial enterprise, what

I*

X INTRODUCTION.



new invention, what new discovery, what in art or science, has
spread its wings in those regions, and, soaring, carried its
blessings to mankind ? The Tartar squats in his mud and felt
hut, or, much like our Indians, roams over the vast prairies or
steppes. The Caucasian shivers in his mountain chaumine, as
far from the influence of civilization as the benefits of educa-
tion are from his dreams.

My love of our own more noble, blessed, liberal institu-


tions, shall not deprive me of the virtuous right of doing jus-
tice to those who have inherited and are bound to maintain
other, though despotic ones, necessary on the confines of barba-
rism. Some German formed a plan for destroying the sover-
eigns of Europe. If in those crowned heads (begging their
pardon) there could be concentrated all the elements of des-
potism, tyranny, and cruelty, I would most earnestly pray for
such a consummation. But those elements are in the people^

and the hydra-headed monster cannot thus be crushed. Edu-

cation alone is the Hercules that can vanquish this accursed
beast, which ever rears itself from the Lernaean marsh of
ignorance.

While I here acknowledge my indebtedness to the able


works of Longworth, Hommaire de Hell, Guthrie, and others,
I, perhaps, should apologize for differing in opinion, in any
instance, from other travellers, though sometimes their own
countrymen, and sometimes my own observations, allow me
with impunity to do it. Mr. Spencer, who wrote two volumes
about Circassia, I am credibly informed, never visited the
country. A British reviewer says: — " If we had reason to
suspect his residence in Germany to have been of very small
duration, we have now a much stronger reason to suspect his

INTRODUCTION. xi

residence in Circassia to be a mere negative quantity." The
worthy Mr. Longworth, who spent a year in Circassia, in the
preface to his book says: — " Klaporth's account of a country
into which he never penetrated, is necessarily meagre and im-
perfect. Pallas labors under a similar disqualification. The
Chevalier Taitbout de Marigny touched at three places on the
coast, but did not travel into the interior." He then, after
mentioning Mr. Urquhart, Stewart, Bell, and Knight, says : —
" I speak advisedly when I say that no other Europeans have
ever visited Circassia, always excepting the army of the inva-
ders." The distinguished writer, M. Hommaire,* on disclaim-
ing the doctrine that the Cossacks and mountaineers could
be of one nation, says: — " In the first place, considerations
founded on religion and language, are not so lightly to be re-
jected as Clarke and Lesur assert." And, again : " Notwith-
standing the assertions of Dr. Clarke, it is not easy to trace

much resemblance between the Circassians and the Cossacks,"

&c. Judging, too, by what the mass of English travellers
have written about our own country, I should naturally be very
distrustful of every report they make respecting any other.

With the most profound gratitude, I now recall to mind


the various instances of hospitality shown to me during my
tour; and I beg of each individual whose courtesy was not
foreign to a foreigner, to accept the most sincere expressions
of regard which my heart is capable of offering. The Tartar
tent, the Circassian guest-house, the Turkish khane, the Rus-
sian palace, the Georgian mansion, were ever open to me, and
food and aid always proffered. My costume, though differing

* Since printing the first edition, I have heard, with much regret, of the


death of M. Hommaire.

xii INTRODUCTION.

from that of the people I was among, was not laughed at, nor
my habits ridiculed, nor was I abused for my religion ; yet I
was with those whom we call barbarians. On arriving in
America, I heard one of the respectable merchants exclaim, as
a foreigner with mustaches entered the coach : — " There is one
of the baboon species." Soon after I saw a Greek followed by
a crowd of boys. These circumstance reminded me of what
Sir Joshua Reynolds has said concerning the meeting of an
European and a Cherokee Indians: — " Whoever of these two
despises the other for his attention to the fashion of his coun-
try, whichever first feels himself provoked to laugh, is the bar-
barian." Again, I was deeply mortified to learn that the
so-styled Athenians had been on board of a Turkish vessel in
our harbor, mocked the Ottoman, and spit upon his food. I
thought of the benefit that might be derived by our missiona-
ries returning from the East and giving us lessons in that hos-

pitality for which the Circassians and Mahometans, generally,

are so distinguished.

G. L. D.


Boston, 20th March, 1850.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Introduction — Columbus — Companion du Voyage — Chateau d'lf — La


Riviera — Italy — A Wish — Last Night in Italy — The Valley of the
Polceyira — Frezzolini — A Poor Cantatrice — Leaving Genoa — View
of Genoa from the Suburbs — From the Mediterranean to the Euxine
— Venice — Vienna, 19

CHAPTER II.

Leaving the Danube — Russian Steamers — Arrival at Odessa — The Rus-
sian Drosky — Ladies' Dresses — Money Changers, Jews — The Opera
— Dr. "Webb — General Soffonoff — Lover's Stratagems — Russian Din-
ing — The State of a Pole — Incident with a Lover — Quarantine Sta-
tion — Story of the Plague — Sights in the Town — Albanian Costume
— Ladies' Hair-dresses and Costume — The Princes 0 Prepara-
tions for a Short Voyage — Choice of Route — Cherson — The Greek
Girl of Odessa — A Soldier's Funeral — Costume of Soldiers — Higher
and Lower Classes — Tea-drinking, &c., on Ship-board — The Admi-
ral's Cabin — Russian Ladies — Colonel Carganoff — Under Sail — Rus-
sian Navy — Strangers at Dinner — Native Music — Harbor of Savas-
topol — Proposed Route, 32

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER III.

The Crimea — Backsarai — Bibliotcca — Aqueduct — Caverns of Inkerman


— Origin of the Caverns — Russian Morals — Balaclava — Gipsies — Ag-
riculture — The Village — The Cliffs — Tartar Chief — Patarodgner —
Kibitka — Backsaria — Reflections — The Palace — Richelieu — Manu-

factures — A. D. 1475 — Elizabeth — Sarheb — Chalyn, A. D. 1777 —

Trapeze — Caraites — Tchonfout-Kale — A K-Metched — Semivar —
Sympherapol — Pallas — Motraye — Women, ... 84

CHAPTER IV.

Mountains — Flocks — Karassu-Bazar — Village — Theodosia — Dancing
Girl — Ruins of Caffa — Manufactures — Historical Events — Venetian
and Genoese — Cause of Quarrel — 15th Century, Mahomot II —
Kertsch — Tartar Camp — Historical — Fleas — Domestic Annoyances
— Museum — Scenery — Temple — Return — Tombs — The Tomb of Gold
Statues — The Toilet — Monuments — Curiosities — Kertsch — Early

History — Mithridates — Tartar Hunt, .... 119

CHAPTER V.

Eastern Coast — A Circassian — Passengers — Tea — The Engineer — Scotch


Liberality — Lieutenant Anrep — Fort Anapa — Female Slavery — On
the Rocks — Peculation — Cossack Officers — The People — Fortifica-
tions — Ghelendjek — General Albrant — Circassian Chief — The Coast
— Tuabsy — A Passage — Scenery — A Pole — Soocha — Gagra — South-
ern Service — Pitsunda — Byzantine Church — A Priest — Abhozian
Prince — Sakum-kalc — Don Cossack Officer — Trees and Fruits —
Archimchira — Redout-kale — Parting — A Giaour — River Khope — A
Georgian — A Supper — Our House — Shops — Archbishop Aprem —
New Acquaintance — The Phasis — Circassian Cap — Boating, 166

CONTENTS. XV

CHAPTER VI.

Scene on Shore — Illness — Homoeopathy — Falling Tree — Encampment —


On Shore — Evening — Dwellings — A Caucasian Family — Spinning
— Customs — Imeretian Venus — An Offer — Encampment in Imeretia
— A Hawk — A Lesghian — -A Picture — Fight on Shore — Swine, 216

CHAPTER VII.

A "Walk to Marane — A Russian Captain — A Gruzinsky — The Village

and its Accommodations — Scenery at Orpiri — Eunuchs — The People

— Our Host — Temperance — From Marane to Hoeny — Equestrians —
Prince Dadian — Caucasus — A Pleasant Visit — A Holiday — Our Pro-
gress — Suram Mountains — The Georgians — Trees — Gori — Streams
and Robbers — Mtskheta — A Novel Scene — An Accident — Georgian
Society — Georgian House — Tiflis — Germans — Hotels — Another
Georgian Soire'e — General Soffonoff — Princess Woronsoff — Prince
"Woronsoff — Smoking — Kotsohobey — -Ball at the Palace — Khanikoff
Ivanhoe — Mons. Marr — Calls — Our Soldiers — At the Palace — At
Princess Bebutofilt, 238

CHAPTER VIII.

Morals in High Life — Dangers in passing the Caucasus — Preparations —
Armenians — Ruins — Mtskheta — Method of Building — The Aragua —
A Caravan — Dusshut — Ananoor — Ptanaoor — Ocetian Chalets — Vil-
lages — The Passage — Steep Ascent — Kasbek — The Descent — Moun-
tains — The Terek and its Borders — A Tempest — A Rock — Ava-
lanches — A Convent — Kasbek — Larze — Difficulty with a Driver —
Cossack Outposts — Vladicawcass — General Nesteroff — Circassian
Village — An Interior — Reflections — Another Village — Circassian
Village — Ladies' Slippers, 286

xvi CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.

Another Mountain Trip — In Love Again — A Meeting — Customs —


Another Descent — Return to Tiflis — Georgians — Designs Frustrated
— Missionaries — Another Discovery — A New Guide — Domestic — A
Strange Bird — New Beauties — Russian Christmas — A Canal Ride —
Another Lady — A Captive perhaps — A Festa — A Lovely Child —
New Difficulties — Of Marriage — Punishment of Crimes — Armorers
— Amazons — Freedom of "Women — Customs — Girdle of Venus —
Gallantry — Mental Culture — Population — Territory — Languages —
The Great Chief — Mansoor — Gumzalbek — Shamihl — Expedition of

Salta — Nicholas' Letter — Leave Redout-kale — On the Euxinc — Ba-

tum — The Bey's Favorite — Beautiful Scenery — American Painters
— Messrs. Bliss and Powers — Samsoun — Sinope — Apollo's Mistress —
Diogenes — Bosphorus — J. P. Brown — Constantinople — People and
Customs — C. Edwards Lester — Returning Home — England and
America, 339

ciecassia;

OR

A TOUR TO THE CAUCASUS.

CHAPTER I.

Introduction — Columbus — Companion du Voyage — Chateau cPIf — La Ri-


viera — Italy — A Wish — Last Night in Italy — The Valley of the Polcc-
vira — Frezzolini — A poor Cantatrice — Leaving Genoa — View of Genoa
from the Suburbs — From the Mediterranean to the Euxine — Venice —
Vienna.

Genoa, September 23d, 1847.

For the seventh time, I had crossed the Atlantic. I had
visited the castles, moors, glens, and lochs, the " Wizard of
the North" had enchanted — stood an humble pilgrim at the
" Bard of Avon's grave," and by that of the eccentric Dean
of St. Patrick, in the gloomy aisle of Dublin's stately cathe-
dral; and in the hallowed "Poet's Corner," of Westminster
Abbey. I had wandered over the island tomb of Napoleon

20 CIRCASSIA; OR,

— by the foroign sepulchre of Sir John Moore, and rested
in the — though proud Pantheon — meagre mausoleum of
Rousseau and Voltaire. I had been at the home of Q-oethe
— sat on the banks of the Meles, where Homer was born
— bathed with the Hindoo in the sacred waters of the Ganges
— floated on the Thames and the Clyde, and heard my voice
ring along the rocks of the Rhine. I had lived, too, amid

those Indian Cyclades, in the New World, which awakened the

startling cry of " Land 0 F* when, to the eager gaze of the
long-toiling, disheartened crew of the Pinta, the dim outlines
of the wild and nameless woods rose on the western horizon.
But a new existence was dawning on me, — a new emotion was
yet to thrill my nerves. Approaching the birthplace* of the
" Great Discoverer" himself, — gazing on the classic shores of
Italy, an endless panorama of objects of unspeakable interest
unrolled before me ; — a gallery of portraits, stretching away
in the vista of ages, opened, and I experienced a novel and
strange sensation. When first floating into this princely har-
bor, how all the magnificence of the scenery which encircles it

* There are many persons — some in Genoa who have interested


themselves in the subject — who believe Columbus to have been bora in
Cogeleto, a little village on the sea-shore, about seventeen miles from the
former City; and a dwelling, now the Caffe di Colombo, is there shown
to visitors as the veritable one in which his mother bore and nursed him.
It is a small, three-story brick and stone, plastered building, quaint
enough, like that of Shakspeare's, to have enshrined the germ of a great
genius.

A TOUR TO THE CAUCASUS. 23

nades, visits to the opera, had that peculiar fascination which




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