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And yet here I observed ignorance and paganisin still prevailed, except in the Muscovite garrisons : All the country between the river Oby, and the river Janezay, is as entirely pagan, and the people as barbarous, as the remotest of the Tartars; nay, as any nation, for aught I know, in Afra or America. I also found, which I observed to the Muscovite governors, whom I had opportunity to converse with, that the pagans are not much the wiser, or the nearer Christianity, for being under the Muscovite government; which they acknowledged was enough, but, they said, it was none of their bu. finess; that if the czar expected to convert his Siberian, or Tonguese, or Tartar subjects, it should be done by sending clergymen among them, not fol. diers; and they added, with more fincerity than I expected, that they found it was not so much the concern of their monarch to make the people Christians, as it was to make them subjects.
From this river to the great river Oby, we crossed a wild uncultivated country ; I cannot say 'tis a barbarous foil; 'tis only barren of people, and wants good management; otherwise it is in itself a most pleasant, fruitful, and agreeable country. What inhabitants we found in it are all pagans, except such as are sent among them from Ruffia'; for this is the country, I mean on both sides the river Oby, whither the Muscovite criminals, that are not put to death, are banished, and from whence it is next to impossible they should ever come away.
I have nothing material to say of my particular affairs, till I came to Tobolski, the capital of Si
beria, where I continued some time on the following occasion :
We had been now almost seven months on our journey, and winter began to come on apace; whereupon my partner and I called a council about our particular affairs, in which we found it proper, considering that we were bound for England, and not for Moscow, to confider how to dispose of ourfelves. They told us of fledges and rein deer to carry us over the snow in the winter-time; and, indeed, they have such things, as it would be incredible to relate the particulars of, by which means the Rusjans travel more in the winter than they can in summer; because in these fledges they are able to run night and day : the snow being frozen, is one universal covering to nature, by which the the hills, the vales, the rivers, the lakes, are all smooth, and hard as a stone; and they run upon the surface, without any regard to what is underneath.
But I had no occasion to push at a winter journey of this kind; I was bound to England, not to Mofcow, and my route lay two ways : either I must go on as the caravan went, till I came to Jarislaw, and then go off west for Narva, and the gulph of Finland, and so either by sea or land to Dantzick, where I might possibly fell my China cargo to good advantage, or I must leave the caravan at a little town on the Dwina, from whence I had but fix days by water to Arch-Angel, and from thence might be sure of shipping, either to England, Holland, or Hamyurgh. Z 3
Now to go any of these journies in the winter would have been preposterous; for as to Dantzic, the Baltic would be frozen up, and I could not get passage; and to go by land in those countries, was far less safe than among the Mogul Tartars; likewise to Arch-Angel, in October all the ships would be gone from thence, and even the merchants, who dwell there in summer, retire south to Moscow in the winter, when the ships are gone; so that I should have nothing but extremity of cold to encounter, with a scarcity of provisions, and must lie there in an empty town all the winter : so that, upon the whole, I thought it much my better way to let the caravan go, and to make provision to winter where I was, viz. at Tobolski, in Siberia, in the latitude of fixty degrees, where I was sure of three things to wear out a cold winter with, viz. plenty of provisions, such as the country afforded, a warm house, with fuel enough, and excellent company; of all which I shall give a full account in its place.
I was now in a quite different climate from my beloved island, where I never felt cold, except when I had my ague; on the contrary, I had much to do to bear my clothes on my back, and never made any fire but without doors, and my necessity, in dressing my food, &c. Now I made me three good vests, with large robes or gowns over them, to hang down to the feet, and button close to the wrists, and all these lined with furs, to make them fufficiently
As to a warm house, I must confess, I greatly diflike our way in England, of making fires in every
room in the house, in open chimnies, which, when the fire was out, always kept the air in the room cold as the climate. But taking an apartment in a good house in the town, I ordered a chimney to be built like a furnace, in the centre of six several rooms, like a stove; the funnel to carry the smoke went up one way, the door to come at the fire went in another, and all the rooms were kept equally warm, but no fire seen; like as they heat the bagnios in England.
By this means we had always the same climate in all the rooms, and an equal heat was preserved; and how cold soever it was without, it was always warm within ; and yet we saw no fire, nor were ever incommoded with any smoke.
The most wonderful thing of all was, that it should be possible to meet with good company here, in a country so barbarous as that of the most northerly parts of Europe, near the frozen ocean, and within but a very few degrees of Nova Zembla.
But this being the country where the state crimi. nals of Muscovy, as I observed before, are all banished; this city was full of noblemen, princes, gentlemen, colonels, and, in short, all degrees of the nobility, gentry, foldiery, and courtiers of Muscovy. Here were the famous Prince Galilfken, or Galoffken, and his fon; the old general Robotisky, and several other persons of note, and some ladies.
By means of my Scots merchant, whom, never. theless, I parted with here, I made an acquaintance with several of these gentlemen, and some of them of the first rank; and from these, in the long winter nights, in which I staid here, I received several agree
able visits. It was talking one night with a certain prince, one of the banished ministers of state be, longing to the czar of Muscovy, that my
my particular case began. He had been telling me abundance of fine things, of the greatness, the magnificence, and dominions, and the absolute power of the emperor of the Russians. I interrupted him, and told him, I was a greater and more powerful prince than ever the zcar of Muscovy was, though my dominions were not so large, or my people so many, The Rusian grandee looked a little surprized, and fixing his eyes steadily upon me, began to wonder what I meant.
I told him his wonder would cease when I had explained myself. First, I told him, I had the absolute disposal of the lives and fortunes of all my subjects: That notwithstanding my abfolute
power, I had not one person disaffected to my government or to my person, in all my dominions. He shook his head at that, and said, There, indeed, I out-did the czar of Muscovy. I told him, that all the lands in my kingdom were my own, and all my subjects were not only my tenants, but tenants at will, that they would all fight for me to the last drop; and that never tyrant, for such I acknowledged myself to be, was ever so universally beloved, and yet so horribly feared, by his subjects.
After amusing them with these riddles in go. vernment for a while, I opened the case, and told them the story at large of my living in the island, and how I managed both myself and the people there that were under me, just as I have since minuted it down. They were exceedingly taken with the story,