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tations of religious thought and feeling, he will find a rich field of investigation in the countless religious sects; and if he is a collector of quaint old customs, he will not lack occupation.

One curious custom, which has very recently died out, I may here mention by way of illustration. As the Cossacks knew very little about land-surveying, and still less about land-registration, the precise boundary between two contiguous "yoorts "-as the communal land of a stanitsa was called-was often a matter of uncertainty and a fruitful source of disputes. When the boundary was once determined, the following original method of registering it was employed. All the boys of the two stanitsas were collected and driven in a body like sheep to the intervening frontier. The whole population then walked along the frontier that had been agreed upon, and at each landmark a number of boys were soundly whipped and allowed to run home! This was done in the hope that the victims would remember, as long as they lived, the spot where they had received their unmerited castigation. The device, I have been assured, was generally very effective, but it was not always quite successful. Whether from the castigation not being always sufficiently severe, or from some other defect in the method, it sometimes happened that disputes afterwards arose, and the whipped boys, now grown up to manhood, gave conflicting testimony. When such a case occurred the following expedient was adopted. One of the oldest inhabitants was chosen as arbiter, and made to swear on the Scriptures that he would act

honestly to the best of his knowledge; then, taking an Icon in his hand, he walked along what he believed to be the old frontier. Whether he made mistakes or not, his decision was accepted by both parties and regarded as final. This custom existed in some stanitsas down to the year 1850, when the boundaries were clearly determined by Government officials.

CHAPTER XXIV.

FOREIGN COLONISTS ON THE STEPPE.

The Steppe-Variety of Races, Languages, and Religions-The German Colonists -In what sense the Russians are an Imitative People-The MenonitesClimate and Arboriculture-Bulgarian Colonists-Tartar-speaking Greeks -Jewish Agriculturists-Russification-A Circassian Scotchman-Numerical Strength of the Foreign Element-Its Social and Political Importance. IN European Russia the struggle between agriculture and nomadic barbarism is now a thing of the past, and the fertile Steppe, which was for centuries a battle-ground of the Aryan and Turanian races, has been incorporated into the dominions of the Tsar. The nomadic races have been partly driven out and partly pacified and parked in "reserves," and the territory which they so long and so stubbornly defended is now studded with peaceful villages and tilled by laborious agriculturists.

In traversing this region the ordinary tourist will find little to interest him. He will see nothing which he can possibly dignify by the name of scenery, and he may journey on for many days without having any occasion to make an entry in his note-book. If he should happen, however, to be an ethnologist and linguist, he may find occupation, for he will here meet with fragments of very many different races and a variety of foreign tongues sufficient to test the polyglot acquirements of a Mezzofanti.

This ethnological variety is the result of a policy inaugurated by Catherine II. So long as the southern

frontier was pushed forward slowly, the acquired territory was regularly filled up by Russian peasants from the central provinces, who were anxious to obtain more land and more liberty than they enjoyed in their native villages; but during "the glorious age of Catherine " the frontier was pushed forward so rapidly that the old method of spontaneous emigration no longer sufficed to people the annexed territory. The Empress had recourse, therefore, to organised emigration from foreign countries. Her diplomatic agents in Western Europe were ordered to use all possible efforts to induce artisans and peasants to emigrate to Russia, and special agents were sent to various countries to supplement the efforts of the diplomatists. Thousands accepted the invitation, and were for the most part settled on the land which had been recently the pasture-ground of the nomadic Hordes. This policy was adopted by succeeding sovereigns, and has been continued in an intermittent fashion down to the present day; and the consequence of it has been that Southern Russia now contains a variety of races such as is to be found, perhaps, nowhere else in Europe. The official statistics of New Russia alonethat is to say, the provinces of Ekaterinosláf, Tauride, Kherson, and Bessarabia - enumerate the following nationalities: Great Russians, Little Russians, Poles, Servians, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Moldavians, Germans, English, Swedes, Swiss, French, Italians, Greeks, Armenians, Tartars, Mordwá, Jews, and Gypsies. The religions are almost equally numerous. The statistics speak of Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Gregorians,

Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Menonites, Separatists, Pietists, Karaïm Jews, Talmudists, Mahometans, and numerous Russian sects, such as the Molokáni and the Skoptsi or Eunuchs. America herself could scarcely show a more motley list in her statistics of population.

It is but fair to state that the above list, though literally correct, does not give a true idea of the actual population. The great body of the inhabitants are Russian and Orthodox, whilst several of the nationalities named are represented by a small number of soulssome of them, such as the French, being found exclusively in the towns. Still, the variety even in the rural population is very great. Once, in the space of three days and using only the most primitive means of conveyance, I visited colonies of Greeks, Germans, Servians, Bulgarians, Montenegrins, and Jews,

Of all the foreign colonists the Germans are by far the most numerous. The object of the Government in inviting them to settle in the country was that they should till the unoccupied land and thereby increase the national wealth, and that they should at the same time exercise a civilising influence on the Russian peasantry in their vicinity. In this latter respect they have totally failed to fulfil their mission. A Russian village, situated in the midst of German colonies, shows generally, so far as I could observe, no signs of German influence. Each nationality lives more majorum, and holds as little communication as possible with the other. The muzhik observes carefully-for he is very curious-the mode of life of his more advanced neighbours, but

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