An American engineer of eminence, Mr. Spalding, has sub- mitted
to the Geographical Commission of Russia a remarkable report upon the Caspian and Black Seas. Mr. Spalding maintains that the Caspian is drying up, and will slowly become a desert, while the diminution of rainfall will destroy the surrounding territories. This, he says, has already occurred in historic times, whole countries having been desolated by the shrinkage of the Caspian. He recommends that a deep and broad cutting should be made from the Caspian westward, to a point where it would be five metres below the level of the Blsek sea, and a smaller cutting from that point to the Black Sea. The water of the latter, which is fifteen metres higher than that of the Caspian, would then cut a deep and broad channel for itself, and refill the Caspian to its old level, giving, in fifty years, straight ocean communication between the Mediterranean and Persia. The distance between the Black Sea and the Caspian is 160 miles. The period required for refilling might be reduc- - one-half by a cut connecting the Don and the Volga, so that the waters of both rivers, instead of those of the Volga only, might fall into the Caspian. Mr. Spalding calculates that the two cuttings might be finished in six years, but says nothing of the expense, which might, however, be reduced by the employ- ment of convicts and the penal regiments in the Army.