Page images

hations. The truth is, the Ilouse of Austria finds its interest in suffering them and the neighbouring nations to live in their own manner. The towns are blended with each other, there scarcely being any distinction of boundaries. Carolstadt is a place of some note, but Zagrab (already mentioned) is the capital of Croatia. All the sovereignty exercised over them by the Austrians seems to consist in the military arrangements for bringing them occasionally into the field. A viceroy presides over Croatia, jointly with Sclavonia, and

Hungarian DalmaTIA. This lies in the upper part of the Adriatic Sea, and consists of five districts, in which itre most remarkable places are the two following: Segna, which is a royal free town, fortified both by nature and art, and situated near the sca, in a bleak, mountainous, and barren soil. The bishop of this place is a suffragan to the archbishop of Spalatro. llere are twelve churches, and iwo convents, The governor resides in the old palace, called

the Royal Castle. 2. Ottoschate, a frontier fortification on the river Gatzka. That part of the fortress where the governor and the greatest part of the garrison reside is surrounded with a wall and some towers; but the rest of the buildings, which are mean, are erected on piles in the water: so that one neighbour cannot visit another without a boat.

Near Scgna dwell the Uscocs, a people, who, being galled by oppression, escaped out of Dalmatia; from whence they obtained the name of Uscocs, from the word Scoco, which signitics a deserter. They are also called springers, or leapers, from the agility with which they leap, rather than walk, along this rugged and mountainous country. Some of them live in scattered houses, and others in large villages. They are a rough, savage people, large-bodied, courageous, and given to rapine; but their visible employment is grazing. They use the Walachian language, and in their religious sentiments and mode of worship approach nearest to the Greek church; but some of them are Roman-catholics.

A part of Walachia belongs also to the emperor as well as to the Turks. It lies to the east of Transylvania, and its principal towns are Tregohitz, Bucharest, and Severin,



Breadth 780} between

16 and 34 East longitude,

46 and 57 North latitude. Containing 160,800 square miles, with 55 inhabitants to cach. BOUN'unnies.] BEFORE the late extraordinary partition of this

country, the kingdom of Poland, with the great duchy of Lithuania annexed (anciently calle:1 Sarmatia), was bounded on the North by Livonia, Muscovy, and the Baltic Sca; on the East by Muscovy; on the South by Hungary, Turkey, and Little Tartary; on the West by Germany; and, had the form of its government been as perfect as its situation was compact, it might have been one of the most

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ere sent from thence down the Vistula to Dantzic, and which are bought up by the Dutch and other nations. The pastures of Poland, especially in Podolia, are extremely rich. Here are mines of silver, copper, iron, salt, and coals; Lithuania abounds in iron, ochre, black agate, several species of copper and iron pyrites, and red and gray granite; false precious stones, and marine petrifactions. The interior parts of Poland contain forests, which furnish timber in such great quantities that it is employed in house-building, instead of bricks, stones, and tiles. Various kinds of fruits and herbs, and some grapes, are produced in Poland, and are excellent when they meet with culture: but the wine seldom or never comes to perfection. Poland produces various kinds of clay fit for pipes and eartheir-ware. The water of many springs is boiled into salt. The virtues of a spring in the palatinate of Cracow, which increases and decreases with the moon, are said to be wonderful for the preservation of life; and it is reported that the neighbouring inhabitants commonly live to 100, and some of them to 150 years of age. This spring is inflammable, and, by applying a torch to it, it Hames like the subtlest spirit of wine. The flame, however, dances on the surface without heating the water; and if neglected to be extinguished, which it may easily be, it communicates itself, by subterraneous conduits, to the roots of trees in a neighbouring wood, which it consumes; and about thirty-five years ago the flames are said to have lasted for three years before they could be entirely extinguished.

RIVERS.] 'The chief rivers of Poland are, the Vistula or Weysel, the Neister, Neiper or Boristhenes, the Bog, and the Dwina.

Lakes. The chief of the few lakes contained in Poland is Gopto, in the palatinate of Byzesty ; and Birals, or the White Lake, which is said to dye those who wash in it of a swarthy complexion. VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL? The vegetable productions of Po

PRODUCTIONS. land have been already mentioned under the article of soil, though some are peculiar to itself, particularly a kind of manna (if it can be called a vegetable), which in May and June the inhabitants sweep into sieves with the dew, and it serves for food, dressed various ways. A great quantity of yellow amber is frequently dug up in Lithuania, in pieces as large as a man's fist, supposed to be the production of the resinous pine.

The forests of Warsovia or Masovia contain great numbers of uri, or buffaloes, whose flesh the Poles powder, and esteem it an excellent dish. Horses, wolves, boars, the glutton, lynx, clks, and deer, all of them wild, are common in the Polish forests; and there is a species of wild horses and asses, and wild oxen, that the nobility of the Ukraine, As well as natives, are fond of. A kind of wolf, resembling a hart, with spots on his belly and legs, is found here, and affords the best fur in the country; but the elk, which is common in Poland, as well as in some other northern countries, is a very extraordinary animal. The flesh of the Polish elk forms the most delicious part of their greatest feasts. His body is of the deer make, but much thicker and longer; the legs high, the feet broad, like a wild goat's. Naturalists have observed, that, upon dissecting an elk, there were found in his head some "large fies, with its brain almost eaten away; and it is an observation sutliciently attested, that, in the large woods and wildernesses of the north, this pour animal is attacked, towards the winter chiefly, by a larger sort of flies, that, through its ears, attempt to take up their winter

[ocr errors]

the falling sickness, by which means it is frequently taken more easily than it would be otherwise.

Poland produces a crcature called bobac: it resembles a guinea-pig, but seems to be of the beaver kind. They are noted for digging holes in the ground, which they enter in October, and do not como out, ex. cept occasionally for food, till April: they have separate apartments for their provisions, lodgings, and their dead; they live together by ten of twelve in a herd, We do not perceive that Poland contains any species of birds peculiar to itself; only we are told that the quails there bave green legs, and their fesh is reckoned to be unwholesomo. Lithuania abounds in birds; among those of prey are the eagle and vulture. The remiz, or little species of titmouse, is frequently found in these parts; it is remarkable for the wondrous structure of its pendent nesi, formed in the shape of a long purse, with amazing art. POPULATION, INII ABITANTS, MANNERS, Some authors have CUSTOMS, AND DIVERSIONS,

supposed Poland and Lithuania to contain 14,000,000 of inhabitants : and when we consider that the Poles have no colonies, and sometimes have enjoyed peace for many years together, and that no tower than 2,000,000 of Jews are said to inhabit there, perhaps this calculation has not been exaggerated. But since the partition and dismemberment of that kiugdom, the number is only 9,000,000, of which 600,000 are Jews. The provinces taken by Russia are the largest; by Austria the most populous; and by Prussia the most commercial.

The Poles, in their persons, make a noble appearance; their complexion is fair, and their shapes are well proportioned. They are brave, honest, and hospitable; and their women sprightly, ye: modest, and submissive to their husbands. Their mode of salute is to incline their heads, and to strike their breasts with one of their hands, whilo they stretch the other towards the ground; but when a common person meets a superior, he bows his head near to the earth, and with his head touches the leg near to the heel of the person to whom he pays obeisance. Their diversions are warlike and manly: vaulting, dancing, and riding the great horses, hunting, skating, bull and bear baiting. They usually travel on horseback; a Polish gentleman will not travel a stone'sthrow without his horse; and they are so hardy, that they will sleep upon the ground, without any bed or covering, in frost and snow. The Poles never live above stairs, and their apartments are not united: the kitchen is on one side, the stable on another, the dwelling-house on the third, and the gate in the front. They content themselves with a few small beds; and if any lodge at their houses, they must carry their bedding with them. When they sit down to dinner or supper, they have their trumpets and other music playing, and a number of gentlemen to wait on them at table, all serving with the most profound respect; for the nobles who are poor frequently find themselves under the necessity of serving those that are rich: but their patron usually treats them with civility, and permits the eldest to cat with him at his table, with his cap ott; and every one of them has his peasant boy to wait or him, maintained by the master of the family. At an entertainment, the Poles lay neither knives, forks, nor spoons, but every guest brings them with him; and they no sooner sit down to table, than all the doors are sliu!, and not opened till the company return home. It is usual for a nobleman to give bis servants part of his meat, which he eats as he stands be. hind him, and to leg him drink out of the same cup with himself ; bug

[ocr errors]

This 'is the less extraordinary, if it be considered that the servants are esteemed his equals. Bumpers are 'much in fashion, both here and in Russia ; nor will they easily excuse any person from pledging them. It would exceed the bounds of this work to describe the grandeur and equipages of the Polish nobility; and the reader must figure to himself an idea of all that is fastidious, ceremonious, expensive, and showy in lite, to have any conception of their way of living. They carry the pompy of their attendance, when they appear abroad, even to ridicule: for it is not unusual to see the lady of a Polish grandee, besides a coach and six, with a great number of servants, attended by an old gentlemanusher, an old gentlewoman for her gouvernante, and a dwart of each sex to hold up her train; and if it be night, her coach is surrounded by a great number of flambeaux.

The Poles are divided into nobles, clergy, citizens or burghers, and peasants; the peasants are divided into two sorts--those of the crown, and those belonging to individuals. Though Poland has its princes, counts, and barons, yet the whole body of the nobility are naturally on a level, except the difference that arises from the public posts they enjoy. Hence all who are of noble birth call one another brothers. They do not value titles of honour, but think a gentleman of Poland is the tighest appellation they can enjoy. They have many considerable privileges ; and, indeed, the boasted Polish liberty was properly limited to them alone, partly by the indulgence of former kings, but more generally from ancient custom and prescription. Under their ancient constitution, before the last partition of the country, they had a power of life and death over their tenants and vassals; paid no taxes; were subject to none but the king; might choose whoin they would for their king; and none but they and the burgbers of some particular towns rould purchase lands. in short, they were almost entirely independent, enjoying many other privileges entirely incompatible with a well regulated state; but if they engage in trade, they forfeit their nobility. These great privileges make the Polish gentry powertul; many of them have large territories, with a despotic power over their tenants, whom they call their subjects, and transfer or assign over with the lands, cattle, and furniture. Until Casimir the Great, the lord could put his peasant to death with impunity; and, when the latter had no children, considered himself as the heir, and seized all his effects. In 1347, Casimiş prescribed a fine for the murder of a peasant; and enacted, that, in case of his decease without issue, his next heir should inherit. But these and other regulations proved ineffectual against the power and tyranny of the nobles, and were either abrogated or eluded. Some of them had estates from five to thirty leagues in extent, and were also hereditary sovereigns of cities, with which the king had no concern. One of their nobles sometimes possessed above 4000 towns and villages. Some of them could raise 8 or 10,000 men. The house of a nobleman was a secure asylum for persons who had committed any erime; for none might prea sumie to take them from thence by force. They had their horse and foot guards, which were upon duty day and nighi before their palaces and in their anti-chambers, and marched before them when they went abroad. They made an extraordinary figure when they came to the dict, some of them having 5000 guards and attendants; and their debates in the senate were often determined by the sword. When great men bad suits at law, the diet or other tribunals decided them; yet the ex. ecution of the sentence inust be left to the longest sword; for the justice

« PreviousContinue »