18 AUGUST 1855, Page 17

IT is said that when Garrick' was vehemently applandhig noble

and gentle .amateurs'at an exhibition of " private- theatricals," ho was so startled into•truth by the appearance of. an engaged " pro- fessional," that he exclaimed " Ha; hit here is an actor!" Some.' thing similar may be saidef he Crimea. If evidence of the great skill of the ReverendThomas Milner in geographical and histeriela compilation were wanted, itlyittild be 'furnished by this volume: The interest excited by the 'present Seat of war has attracted writ- era of • all kinds to the Crimea-as a subject. Scholars have taken - it as a theme for popular- lectures and sultan:14614., published them ; men praotioally acquainted with the 'East and with 'this. Crimea itself have enlivened' or attempted' to enliven topogra- phy and history" by personal . knowledge; ready writers " have taken "up the subject and exhitisted -it, in enoyele-• 'media fashion-gedgraphically, mythologically, classically, and historioally; travelling ',memoranda lying by in desks have been drawn- .forth and --printed, while' --foreign books of tra- vets have'. !-been translated with • an eye to the" Same po- pular interest., - In -some of these, probably, more matter or at -loot more partionlare may be -found than in Mr. Milner's volume : in an original book," where the writer has some special object 'in view, fuller information' on a-particular' Subject will be met with. In no bile volume, or indeed in all the volumes put- together that have fallen in our way, Will so comprehensive, so striking, or-so readable an aceofint of the Crimea be obtained, as in this book, or= an hicontitiL-which sifter all is the great test- that' eaves so distinatan impression- on the reader's mind. The physical: features of the 'conatryi whether permanent or-changing with the seasons ire' -vividly 'described; atid'their more' striking phenomena seleCited for 'pieturescine 'Rie,sentatien. The etir/r tales of mingled discovery and poetical niytli. are suffibletitiy_ alluded to, The tilling points in classical history are we brought out; the subordinate or oommonplaise'ePents 'are' graphi- cally generalised, or sunk altogether. A similar remark may be applied tollitt middle ages,-the early Russian- forays, the Tartar' conquests, the occupation or settlement by the Genoese and 'their expulsion, with the eatablislantent of the Turkish. feudal superior- ity by kfahomet.the Second. The chariotere of the Tartar. Iihans --some of whom were 'remarkable for civil accomplishments" or martial qualities-lire -delineated., antl. 'the wars in Which they were' engaged through', 'their Ottoman-honnexion described, ' policy; encroachmentlyi and invasions '91' Russia to get -possession of the Crimea, are narrated moic folly than any other portion of the subject, and from choicer sources than the majority of writers' on- the Same theme select; or at least Mr. Hiker makes better use of his materials. .11p,addition to the story of the oampiiipti; he giies biographical or aneodotioal notices of the commanders and officers, where .$here la anything remarkable about - them, tielir often the case, for they were mostly a 'collection of adventurtril3 from every part:of Europe. -Here it the .otireer antrchiiractr or Marshal Munich, an unscrupulous soldier; Whose Made Is indis:. solubly conneeted.with- the War against'the:Crinteit iii 1736-'38: "Marshal Miniieb, a Germanonade his first appearanosin the field imtlete, the renowned:Merlborough, and distinguished himself at the battle of Mel- - plaquet. Strange.edventures befell-him, On. a cold November morning 1740, four years after forcing the lines of Perekop, long before.dayliglit, he was the agent of a resolution in St. Petersburg; marching from the Winter to the Summer.Palcoe, where he seized the Regent Biron in his bed, and transferred the reins- of government to the Princess- Anne of Brunswick. • The next year, be wins in disgrace. The year following, 1742, a fresh ream, -..- lution baying given sh Empress, Elizabeth, ..to the throne, he-stood upon a scaffold in the capital, with Osterman Golefkin, and some 'Ahem, downed to die. Besidesipoldmally adhering te 'the fallen party5 be had imprisoned a, lover of the Empress.- But all sorts of offences were imputed to him, espe cially, as stated an the Imperial manifesto, that 'in the first campaign in the Crisis,he tamed many Russian Colonels, descended of ancient aud noble families, to carry musliets, to their utmost ignominy.' Munich was sen- tenced to be quartered, Osterman to be broken on the wheel, tied the rest to hSbeheaded. The culprits had to listen standing and bareheaded to an enu- meration of their crimes, whist' onitipied fire sheets- of paper. Proceedinp then commenced with Osterman; who, after,being unrobed, was informed' that the capital sentence passed upon the prisoners bad been commuted to perpetual banishment. Pray,' said he, in reply, 'giro me my cap and wig again.' So saying, he buttoned up, arranged his long beard, and re- signed himself to life, Munich, .neetly shaved, and trinity dreseed, as if at a review, heard of his reprieve in silence. He trod the well-worn road


boris, where twelve copecks a day,were allowed for his maintenance. But he managed to eke out a isubeietencle through twenty long 'years by Oiling teak and teaching arithmetic. 1-1-,-e-elled by Peter LII.„ one son and thirty-two grandchildren and great-grandchildren met hint as he approached..the sub- urbs of the capital. In a few months the master who recalled him was de- posed and strangled by the order of his wife. Munich managed to reconclhi himself to the Imperial murderess, Catherine II., Juid put into her -head scheme for driving- the Turks from Constantinople, which he had meditated in his Siberian exile. He died at the advanced age of eighty-five, in 1787; - the year previous to the commencement of the war.which prostrated--the Ottoman to the Russian empire,"

With war, and politics, and biographical notices, are mingled the lighter matters of court entertainments and princely extrava- gance. This is a Sample of the luxury of Potemkin,-a charaoter as remarkable for strength, weakness, and-variety or caprice; as poetic satire ever embalmed in enduring verse. • • 'It was the boast of Potemkin that he would better down the Ottoman empire in two campaigns: but he miscalculated. Signal triumphs *ere achieved by the armies of the Coalition; and never was hero of antiquity - more a popular idol than the 'conqueror of' Otelinkow on his periodic returns to the capital from the scene of war; Elated by-the successes of her troops; the Empress ironically observed to Whitwortb, the British Ambassador, aware of the hostile disposition of his Court, Sir,-since the King your master in-

• The Crimea, its Ancient and Modern History : the Khan', the Sultans, and the Czars. With Notices of Its Scenery and Population.' By the Rev. Thos. Milner, M.A., F.B.A.S. Put:410nd by Longman and Co. • tends to drive me out of St. Petersburg, I hope he will permit me to retire to Constantinople.' All Europe rang with the magnificence of the Governor of Taurida in his Tauridan palace, on the occasion of an entertainment

given by the subject to his sovereign. A dark presentiment overshadowed his mind, which proved to be correct, that he was about to leave the theatre of his grandeur for ever ; and he determined to do it with a festival of un-

equalled cost and splendour. The preparations extended over a month. Artists of all kinds were employed ; chops and warehouses were emptied to supply the paraphernalia ; hundreds of persons were daily assembled to re- hearse their respective parts; and each rehearsal was itself an imposing spectacle. The Imperial Family, the Court, the Foreign Ambassadors, the no- bility, and most parties of condition in the city, were invited to the final exe- cution; while for the populace without, high piles of clothes were provided, with lofty pyramids of eatables, and a competent stock of liquors, to be scrambled for upon the arrival of the Empress. Potemkin handed her from the coach. He wore a scarlet coat, over which hung a cloak of gold lace, severed with gems and jewels. His hat was so loaded with diamonds that he was obliged to have it carried by one of his aides-de-camp. Upon the en- trance of Catherine, the whole palace rang with music. Alexander and Con- stantine, the two Grand Dukes, with forty-six of the young nobility, uni- formly dressed, commenced a ballet. Seated upon a throne, grand procession,' paraded before the Czarina, consisting of representatives of the various na- tions under her sceptre, arrayed in characteristic costume. There were Cos- woks, Cheremisses, Voguls, Permians, Tatars, Bashkirs, Calmucks, and Cau- casians. Upon this occasion, 140,000 lamps and 20,000 wax tapers were lighted. At supper, the service at the Empress's table was of pure gold. She staid till midnight, and retired to the sound of a hymn in her praise, like a goddess. Potemkin, with nothing further in the way of honour to ex- pect, exhausted by dissipation, and haunted by a presentiment, had no re- source during his stay in the capital but to play with his diamonds like a child with peas or to wander in moody abstraction about his palace, biting his finger-nails."

The end-

" No change was ever more striking, or could well be more melancholy, than that which took place with reference to Potemkin a few months after his repetition of Belehezzar's feast. For sixteen years he had been almost omnipotent in the empire, ruling the Empress, delighting to make the mag- nates feel his power, and putting no restraint upon his passions, however costly or difficult the gratification. Generals trembled at his frown, and Major-Generals were happy to be his valets. In the city and the camp, his palace or tent was a court, a harem, a den for swindlers, and a temple for bacchanals. In winter, he had cherries at his table from a greenhouse at the rate of a rouble each. From Cherson, officers were despatched to Riga, a thou- sand miles, to wait the arrival of the spring ships to bring him oranges, or to Moscow to fetch starlet soup. Yet he was a man of grand conceptions and great sagacity, but utterly failing in details from negligence ; for, with abun- dance of champagne in his camp, he was often without a drop of water, and with piles of petit patties, he had not a morsel of bread. Worn out, though not more than fifty-two years of age, he attended the Congress of Jassy, but did not witness the conclusion of the treaty. One morning in the autumn of 1791, a carriage left the town, conveying the Governor-Gene- ral of the Crimea and Southern Russia, on his way to Nioolaief, to recruit himself. It was long before dawn. The air was keen, and the wind moaned end sobbed as it swept over the steppe. Scarcely had a few vents been ac- complished, when the carriage stopped, and its inmate was lifted out. At- tendants load him on the grass at the foot of a tree, and, without a covering for his head, he expired. The body was temporarily placed in a church at eherson. Catherine is said to have designed splendid funeral honours, but her sudden death prevented them. Paul, who succeeded, ordered the corpse to be thrown into the first hole that was met with; and it was buried, with- out ceremony, in the ditch of thirfortress. No person can now point to the spot and say, Here lies Potemkin."

Often as the Steppes have been painted and by original ob- servers, their characteristics have seldom been better hit off' than by Mr. Milner. He has also pictured some of their remarkable natural productions,—as the Steppe-witch.

"Gypeophila panikulata is a preeminent member of the worthless part of the vegetable kingdom. This is the steppe-witch' of popular speech, the theme of many a tale and ballad of childhood. The plant rises to the height of three feet, and ramifies considerably upwards, so as to form a thick round bush, bearing pretty little flowers. When sapless and withered in autumn, the main stalk is broken off close to the ground by the first high wind that rises, and the rounded top is carried rolling, hopping, and skipping over the plain, under the control of the breeze. Other small withered plants become attached to the mass, and it gradually forms a huge misshapen ball ; while several being driven together, adhere like enormous burs, and have some witchery in their appearance as they go dancing and bounding before the gale. Hundreds of these objects may frequently be seen scouring the Steppes at the same time, and may easily be mistaken at a distance for hunters and wild herds. Heavy rains put an end to the career of the witches ; or the Black Sea, into which they are blown, summarily arrests their course."

As a handbook of the history, Russian policy, and natural features and productions of the Crimea, this is the volume, as well for the matter as for the manner in which it is set forth. Here and there the art of the litterateur may be too visible in a species of artificial 'vivacity ; but this cannot be altogether avoided. If we have one trait of an artist we must take another.