Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE CIRCASSIAN TRIBES AND

of the Circassian damsels were regularly

sold and shipped to Constantinople for SCHAMYL.

purposes which modesty shrinks from O great is the number of books which describing—further contributed so much D have lately appeared on the subject of to thin the number of the Circassians, that those mountain tribes of the Caucasus who it seems rather matter of surprise that the have so long withstood the assaults of suc- population nearly approaches 1,000,000, cessive Russian generals and armies, and than that it does not far exceed that so perplexing the variety of opinions and estimate. commentaries propounded in these works, Though exhibiting more or less of the that while few persons possess patience same general traits-valiant but treacherand opportunity to peruse them, fewer rous, hospitable but greedy,. patriotic but still, unless habituated to deal with scat still more factious—the characteristics of tered and discordant literary materials, the western and eastern tribes have been would be enabled to arrive at any definite so much modified by position and circumimpressions, amid the “great obscure" stances, that very great differences exist of conflicting and inconsistent description. | between the two ; and these differences We have, therefore, considered that we were much wider until the overruling should perform no unacceptable service by genius of Schamyl suppressed, if it did not condensing the essence of some of the destroy, many of the ancient local distincmost accredited works which have come tions. The eastern tribes, toward the under our notice, and placing the result Caspian, are probably descendants of the before our readers, accompanied by such | Arabs, who eight hundred years ago concomments of our own as may appear | verted the country to Mohammedanism by calculated to render the narrative intelli- | fire and sword, almost extirpating the gible, and to dispel illusion and miscon- | original inhabitants. The descendants of ception respecting a people and a leader, the conquerors have, through the long vista whose deeds of daring and valor have of subsequent ages, been remarkable for the secured an imperishable renown.

intensity of their attachment to the doctrines A narrow strip of mountain land, run of Islamism. That attachment has been, ning obliquely and irregularly across the in fact, a fanaticism of the most fierce and country which intervenes between the sanguinary kind ; and most travelers conEuxine and Caspian, affords shelter, in cur in thinking that among the followers its inaccessible retreats, to several hardy of Mohammed there are no people who tribes of warriors and freebooters, who have would more willingly carry out the motto for ages been the terror of each other and of “Death to the infidel.” Within the of the neighboring districts. Between last half-century, the ancient Mohamtribes, families, and individuals, the doc medanism has, under successive “prophtrine of blood for blood was formerly car- ets,” become modified into a species of ried out in its most sanguinary meaning ; | mysticism, on which the dreams and superso that the death of a member of one tribe stitions of many oriental nations are inby the hand of a member of an adjoining grafted. The company of Murids, who one placed all the surviving members in a form a species of body-guard to the prophstate of war; murder retaliated by murder et, and claim the title of his privileged was not only the theory but the practice; and special disciples, have on divers ocand while maintaining a running flight of casions proved, by the eagerness with rapine and plunder with their neighbors which they have courted death in his to the north and south, the Circassian service, that their faith in his mission tribes were further engaged in perennial and inspiration is sincere ; but some few warfare among themselves.

writers have maintained (in opposition to It is no wonder if, under these circum- | the majority) that the great mass of the stances, combined with the general sterility mountaineers, including the priests of the of the mountain districts, (only partially old school, would willingly see an end of compensated by the exuberant fertility of the new system of asceticism and mystery. isolated spots,) population did not augment! The western Caucasians are a very rapidly. The hideous slave-trade, so long different people. For almost as many carried on between the Turks and the generations as their brethren toward the Circassiansa traffic in which the fairest | Caspian have been rigid Mohammedans, those of the western mountains were re- it soon occurred. For upward of seventy garded as “ fast and loose" in their notions years a war has been going on, sometimes of religion. At one time they were half- languishing, sometimes active, but always Christianized, in the sense that they had marked by the cruelty and intrepidity with lost all they had ever possessed of Moham which both parties conducted their operamedanism, and afterward became Moham tions. medanized to the extent of forgetting all! It would form a very dull chapter, that they had heard about Christianity. | filled with uncouth names, and narratives The close of the last century found of barbarous scenes of massacre, plunder, them nominal Mohammedans, with no and perfidy, to enter into a detail of the particular regard for any creed or religion hostilities which have been waged between whatever.

the Russians and the Circassian tribes for They differed, moreover, from the east- a period of nearly three quarters of a cenern tribes in the kind of feudalism which tury. The preachings of a celebrated prevailed among them, and which has been dervish in the first instance aroused to compared to that of western Europe in the decided action the piety and patriotism middle ages, though it more nearly re- of the mountaineers. To him succeeded sembled that which, until 1745, flourished other holy men, all pretending to inspiraamong the Highland clans of Scotland. tion, and all, no doubt, inspired more or The western Circassians were in fact less by an earnest fanaticism. divided into clans; and the clansman was Under the Russian general, Yermoloff, devotedly attached to his chief, sacrificing great advantages were gained against life, property, and family, at his bidding. the Circassians; his government lasted The clans were incessantly engaged in twenty-three years, and he had brought wars of pillage, retaliation, and revenge. the mountaineers so low that, but for his The villages or aouls were (as they are recall in 1826, it is highly probable that still) perched on the tops of the steepest they would have been compelled to sucand highest hills where existence was cumb. After this, Khasi Mollah, the possible, and from these Alpine heights Circassian leader and prophet, gained the stream of war rushed down, leaving many victories; but at length, in 1832, devastation in its track over the plains. was destroyed by Van Rosen, the Russian There is no record of a period when Cir- general. Khasi Mollah and all his imcassia enjoyed peace externally and in mediate followers were killed, with a ternally. Capital horsemen, (a rare ac- single exception. But that exception was complishment among mountaineers,) and a momentous one. It was SCHAMYL, possessing a strong and hardy breed of whose body was found pierced by two horses, they were forever engaged in bullet wounds, and by one wound from a expeditions against each other, or, in saber. When the victors retired, they combination, against the Lowland Cos- | left behind what they imagined to be the sacks, by whom they were dreaded more mutilated corpse of some obscure Circasthan ever was Highland riever by cozy sian. Schamyl, however, recovered ; Scottish grazing farmer.

how, the world has never known, for The sultan was, as our readers no doubt secrecy and mystery are part of this know, long the nominal sovereign of Cir- | remarkable man's character, and are percassia ; but his actual authority was little haps necessary to the maintenance of his greater than that which he may be sup position. posed to have wielded in Egypt during The Turkish empire was, at this period, Mohammed Ali's life. It was, in fact, nil. at its lowest stage of debasement, debility, The Circassians carried on their wars and humiliation. The sultan had, some among themselves and against their neigh-time before, resigned to Russia his nominal bors, without awaiting or receiving any sovereignty over the Caucasus. The Ciropinions from Constantinople. When the cassians objected to being thus made ove. Russians pushed their conquests as far as to an enemy whom they detested, and the banks of the Kuban, they found them- against whom they had fought gallantly selves in the neighborhood of the Circas- for so many years. They determined to sians. Between the designs and ambition have a sultan of their own. The celeof one side and the habits and predilections brated Mollah Mohammed consecrated of the other, collision was inevitable, and | Hameed Beg, as sultan and imaum.

But many disorders ensued. Dissensions side—a party of Russians were approachbroke out among the chiefs, a faction of ing—detection was inevitable—when his whom set fire to the castle in which disciples rushed out of the cave, and Hameed Beg and his followers had taken seizing a boat, rowed away in ostentatious up their quarters, and the only one who haste, calculating rightly that the Russians, escaped was again Schamyl, and again, supposing that Schamyl was on board, too, by some extraordinary chance which would pursue and direct their fire upon has never been explained.

| them. So it turned out. The pursuers Schamyl had before this been distin set out in chase after the boat; every guished among his fellow-warriors for one of the devoted Murids was killed, as daring, extraordinary even among the they had expected; while the prize swam Circassians — for austerity of devotion, quietly off and regained the mountains. gravity, and abstemiousness, wisdom in He was now reduced to such extremcouncil, and skill, not less than courage, ities as to be forced to treat seriously in the field. He was precisely the man for terms of submission. But the conto become marked and influential; to ditions offered by General Grabbe included "rule the whirlwind and direct the storm," the surrender of Schamyl's two sons as at a period when less robust spirits craved | hostages; and they were of course refused, some strong head and bold heart to lean the probable object of the Circassian chief on. Toward him most men looked, as being merely to gain time until he could the one on whom the mantle of inspiration | recruit his exhausted forces. Hostilities had fallen, and he succeeded to the titles having recommenced, Grabbe penetrated to of Hameed Beg. But he had to struggle the Circassian head-quarters, but had to before he could confirm his power. The beat a hasty retreat after sustaining a Russians, with subtile policy, attempted to heavy loss. Prince Woronzow, the precreate a diversion against the man whom sent governor, succeeded Grabbe in they regarded as their most formidable | 1845, and in the following year Schamyl enemy, by pretending to support a more effected his memorable invasion of the “ legitimate" competitor. Affairs were Russian territory-when, after doing the looking threatening ; but Schamyl proved enemy infinite damage in loss of life, himself equal to them. He confided cer- | property, and arms—ravaging the country tain commands to some of his most trust- in every direction, and obtaining a rich worthy Murids, who solved the difficulty booty-he retired with a meteoric rapidity in true Oriental fashion; and Schamyl's which left the imperial generals in a state enemy was soon removed by assassination. of extreme bewilderment as to how to This trouble over, the open struggle re- deal with an enemy who was nowhere but commenced; Schamyl fought bravely, I everywhere; scarcely to be seen, but skillfully, desperately, but he was driven most unmistakably and unpleasantly to to straits, and a convention was agreed be felt. From this time, however, the on, at which he swore fealty to the Czar fortunes of Schamyl have not been in the on condition that the Russians should ascendant. He has sometimes been reretire to a certain distance. Neither duced so low as to have appeared on the party observed, or intended to observe, brink of ruin. But his genius and recupethe promises. The moment Schamyl rative energy seem inexhaustible; and now found himself safe, he issued a fierce that he is likely to receive, directly and proclamation against the Muscovites and extensively, the aid which hitherto could their Czar, while the imperial army pushed only be conveyed to him surreptitiously forward strenuously in its ever-foiled at- and in insignificant fragments, he willtempt to subdue the country. In one of the past furnishes every reason to hopethe expeditions headed by the Russian be able to deal heavy and effectual blows general, Grabbe, the latter had very nearly against the arrogant power which has set accomplished a practical illustration of the itself up as the common enemy of his vulgar meaning attached to the pronuncia- country and of the peace of the world. tion of his name in our English vernacular. At the age of fifty-seven, with mental and The Circassian hero was all but caught, physical energies undiminished, he has but escaped through the devotion of some still, probably, many years of active exof his followers. Schamyl, and a few ertion before him, and an ample field for others, were hiding in a cave by a river í such exertion seems to be opening.

He has, so far, displayed great powers of resolute struggles against superior force. of governmental organization; and one Of the policy of the Russians it may in single instance of the influence of a master truth be said, setting aside the ruthless mind is the success of his efforts in sup- barbarity with which the war has been pressing the old local feuds and distinctions conducted, that their principal crime among the mountain tribes, and in inspiring consists in the antecedent crimes which even the somewhat skeptical inhabitants rendered the invasion necessary. It is of the western districts with much of the impossible for them to hold or consolidate religious enthusiasm of the eastern tribes. their unjustly-acquired territory in the Would his government be a theocracy? neighborhood, without obtaining possesPossibly, to some extent. To his dreams sion of the mountain country. The wrong and visions — to his periodical annual done to the latter is inextricably inter“ retreats” for consultation with his ce- woven with the fraud and violence comlestial inspirers—he owes much of his mitted against the former; and the Cirpredominant sway over the minds of his cassian war is only one link in a prolonged followers. In some of these particulars, concatenation of injustice. he seems to have closely imitated the example of Mohammed. No doubt, when left

(For the National Magazine.] to organize his system peaceably in his own way, and to mature his plans for the

THE DEAD BABY. future, he would see the expediency of

BY MRs. 9. C. GARDNER. laying aside some of the more transcen

Ay, beautiful one! dental portions of his pretensions; for Thou hast pass'd away like the morning flower, though by no means possessed of so fine | Like the rainbow's blush in the summer shower, an order of mind as the Emir Abd-el- | And thy smile of love and thy glance of light Kader, he is a man of keen intelligence,

Have paled like the stars on the brow of night

When their course is run. and of unquestionable patriotism. The

When the sunset glows, ancient system of raids and forays would

Thou wilt steal no more to thy gentle rest, also, beyond all doubt, be discontinued ; Or, nestling, cling to thy mother's breast, while, with respect to the “ export trade” | While the angels come in thy dreams to bless in women, it may be hoped and believed With heavenly music or light caress, that in “ Young Turkey” regenerated, and

Thy sweet repose. in Circassia under the rule of a man of

With the roseate day

Thou wilt spring no more, in thy blameless glee, wisdom and experience, that infamy would

For a frolic wild, to thy grandsire's knee, be at an end forever. Although part of Or with merry laugh, or with prattling word, his proclaimed creed has been to hold no | Rejoice when thy father's step is heard faith with infidels, it is evident that this

On his homeward way. applies only to his dealings with his

Yet thou, evermore, enemies the Muscovites; and the govern

A beautiful presence, art lingering near !

They will hear thy voice in the zephyr clear; ment of Circassia, organized wisely, and

They will see thy smile in the sunlight fair, recognized in its sovereign independence, | They will feel thy kiss in the ambient air would probably be as faithful and respect

For aye, as of yore. able as any other Oriental monarchy.

In the still, still night, It is well that the Circassians and their / When the ether-arch wears its softest hue,

And the stars shine out from their haunts of blue, able and prudent chief should receive a

. Will the mourners turn in their yearning love full meed of admiration for their long and From thy little grave to thy home above gallant resistance to a gigantic assailant.

In the Eden bright. Russian blood has flowed in torrents in

O friends, can ye weep? those wild and remote regions; and though Where the blight and the mildew may not conie, a rigid calculation of probabilities leaves

Is the fair young rose in its delicate bloom;

O'er the little form that is sleeping near, it scarcely possible to doubt that, but for

Doth the guardian love that was round it here, the total change which recent events have

Its vigils keep. created in the position of Russia, the

Ah, cherub immortal! mountaineers would, in the course of a | There is not a shade on thy sinless brow! few years more, be conquered by sheer | There is not an ill that can harm thee now! process of exhaustion, the wars in the

So early thou 'rt call'd to the' kind Father's side,

So safely thou 'rt housed where the blessed Caucasus would, under any circumstances,

abide, occupy a conspicuous page in the annals |

Beyond the grave's portal !

STITCH! STITCH! STITCH!

Three weeks after : “ Annie's learning

to be a scholar,” said Mrs. Linton ; “no AN ANTI-HOOD VIEW OF THE MATTER.

more demands for sewing.” That afterW HO has not wept over the Song of noon Annie came bounding into the house W the Shirt ? Who has not sympa

from school, sat upon her father's knee, thized with the tenant of the garret

opened her work-bag, which hung over

her arm, and putting a screwed-up paper In poverty, hunger, and dirt Sewing at once with a double thread

into his hand, said ; “ There's the mowA shroud as well as a shirt ! .

ing."

Her father undid the paper, and found until the very names, " needle-work" and

four half-crowns. “ Annie," questioned “ needle-women," become associated with

her father, “where did this come from?" poor half-starved creatures, doomed by

“From the sewing," answered Annie, their employers to sit in foul atmospheres,

laughing delightedly at his surprise, as she chained to their seam by the constantly

escaped from his knee, and ran out of the plied needle and thread, like galley-slaves

room, to delay a little longer the solution to the oar? And yet this continual ring

of the riddle. ing the changes on

“Wife," said John Linton, “it is imSeam, and gusset, and band,

possible that Annie could earn all this by Band, and gusset, and seam,

the sort of child's play girls call work ; is not such a scarecrow to all—is not al- and whom did she earn it from? I'm ways so fatal in its consequences; and, afraid there's something wrong." And, though it may be the exception which to tell the truth, Annie Linton was pracproves the rule, in an instance we are ticing a little disguise ; nor had she given about to mention, this stitch! stitch! stitch! | her father all the money she had earned. was preferred-nay, as enthusiastically The sum originally was twelve shillings. followed as any branch of high art-as This was all designed for her father alone; absorbingly as a passion for music, or a but a prior claim had come in the way. It love of painting.

was cold winter weather, and the children Annie Linton was the best sewer in of the school brought the forms, in a sort Mrs. Roy's school; and the mistress de- of square, round Mrs. Roy's fire. Annie, clared, on inspecting the first shirt she who was a favorite of the mistress, always made for her father, " that the Duke of occupied a warm corner close to her own Buccleuch himself might wear it!” This big chair. On the day in question, Mrs. was high praise for little Annie, who was Roy happening to be out of the roomonly eleven years of age ; and she never “I'll change seats with you, Jessie forgot it. Her work was the neatest and Wilson, if you're cold,” said Annie, adthe cleanest ever seen. Then she did it dressing a little girl, a very book-worm, so quickly, her mother could not keep who, clad in a threadbare printed cottonpace with her daily demand for “some-| gown, sat shivering over her lesson. thing to sew."

Jessie, thus invited, came a little nearer. “I wish Annie would take to her book," " You should put on a woolen frock, said Mrs. Linton to her husband. But it like mine, and warm yourself well at your was quite clear that Annie never would mother's fire before you come to school take to her book ; she had little reading and these winter-days,” said Annie, scrutinless spelling ; and yet she could “ mark" | izing the poverty-struck appearance of the (with cotton) all the letters of the alphabet, girl. as if she was a very miracle of learning. “Mother says," replied Jessie, “ that

“Something to sew !" eagerly demanded she'd rather do without a fire than my Annie.

schooling, and she can't pay for both." “ Will any mowing come of this sew- “Has your mother no fire at home this ing?" asked her father, with a very na- cold weather ?" asked Annie in amazetural attempt at a pun.

ment. “ Those who do not sew shall not reap,” “No,” said Jessie ; “I wish I dared said little Annie, cleverly taking up her bring her with me here—it's warmer than father's meaning and her work-bag at the at home. And I know mother is ill, though same time, as she whisked past him in fear she won't tell me.” of being too late for school.

| “Sit there,” said Annie, placing Jessie

« ZurückWeiter »