The Russians on the Amur



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National Library of Australia

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), Tuesday 18 February 1862, page 2

The Russians on the Amur Русские на Амуре
The future of Russia is a momentous political problem. Vast as is already the Russian empire, the resolute policy of her Government tends to its extension, and is strongly seconded by the character of her people, who unite determination of purpose with a singular pliabilily of habit. The Imperial order to inscribe on all the direction posts along the southern road from St. Petersburg the words "To Constantinople" is now on old story; and there are not wanting those who imagine that Russian tendencies would it this moment be more accurately represented by printing on the direction posts eastward the significant phrase, "To Pekin". The treaty of November, 1860, transferred from Chine to Russia a vast amount of territory along the Amur river, and the entire coast of Machuria to the frontiers of Korea; and it is impossible to doubt that this treaty was simply a link in the magnificent and masterly chain of policy which has for two centurie carried Russian enterprise eastward. The Russians quite understand the value of the splendid harbours which they have gained from China; and they style one of the chief ports, Vladivostok — "Dominion of the East". Even this acquisition of territory is by no means the most important gain to Russia which the treaty secured. Free trade along that extensive frontier, and the right of Russian merchants to traverse China, are privileges for more valuable than any acquired of the expense of a difficult campaign by France and England. In reverting to these facts we are merely telling our readers what they knew before; but the progress of Russia in the East is a matter of sufficient importance to Englishmen to excuse some necessary iteration.

Будущее России — это политическая проблема исключительной важности.


Договор в ноябре 1860 года (Пекинский договор — drq.) передал от Китая России огромные территории вдоль реки Амур и все побережье Мачурии (Манчжурии — drq.) до границы Кореи; и нет сомнений, что этот договор является просто звеном в удивительной и совершенной цепочке политических задач, которые на протяжении двух столетий ведут русских на восток. Русские хорошо понимают ценность великолепных гаваней, которые они приобрели у Китая, и они именуют один из главных портов Владивостоком — «Владетелем Востока».

i The Russians who made their first settlement at the foot of. the Ural towards tho end of thc fifteenth century, had in fifty years from thai time overspread all Siberia. ' It was in 10SC , that a party of Cossacks, who had been sent fron

Tomskon a warlike expedition,reached theshoret of the Sea of .Okhotsk, and heard wague newt of the Amur River. Further intelligence of th« great water way ..and its. fertile shores reachec i the chief Siberian towns at intervals; and ir

1648, Poyarkoff started from Yakuts! at the head of an expedition lo explore it. He aroused the hostility of the natives by offensive conduct; and his party wore driven back partly by tho. unfriendly tribes, portly fafamine. Khabarof, in 1050, was more fortn nate, and, although , ho had to contend witt many misadventures, a mutiny among his fol lowers being the.worst, he and bis subordinan Nagiba traversed the whole course of the Amur The Government of Moscow hearing of - th< wide field opened by irregular enterprise, sen S topan of to. supersede Kbab-rof, and to mak< permanent settlements ; he failed ia his at tempts and after occupying the district for abou five years, was killed in an encounter with thi Chinese. For Bevoral years afterwards the Amui was abandoned by tbe Russians; but in 100! Nikitor Chernigovsky, a Polish exile in Siberia having turned robber, and killed the Yoivod o Ilimak, fled lo tho Amur district, and built a for oalled Albizin. Like the founders of Borne the lawless Pole offered asylum to men as law less as himself ; an d in tho course of yean Albczin became a recognised settlement, ant paid regular tribute. At the close of 1682 thi Russian settlements in the district bad multi plied to such an extent as to alarm the Ghinesi Government ; and a war commenced whicl lasted ft.r some years with various success, thi > Chinese,however,be<ng on the'whole victorious

A treaty of peace was signed in 1080, by wbicl Alb; zin and the Amur .were definitively codec ; to China. This treaty, whiob was conoludec . at, Nerchinsk, determined: . with extrem«

accuracy, the froniior-1 toe.. between. tho. twt empires; but it was impossible absolutely tc determine the actual sovereignty of the frontiei tribes. Tlio Russians were, however, entirely debarred tho navigation of the Amur, wbicl was tho great object of ,the Chinese Govern-ment. Chinese officials made an annual survey of the river in state barges, magnificent as ? Lord Mayor's show. Of courso there were marj] disputes about boundaries from time to time

but the treaty of Nerchinsk continued in forei until within tho laet few years.- In 1848 Coun Muravief sent an exploring party; down thc Amur; and. two. years afterwards posts.were established at the mouth of the river and along the coast. When Russia, was at war with thc Western Powers, Count Muravief led ar expedition down the Amur to, supply thc Pacific squadron with .provisions. This wat in .1854 ; and our readers- will recoiled the unsuccessful Attack on Petropavloosl which ensued, and the inexplicable suicide of Admiral Price. In 1855 three moro expeditions descended the Amur. Thc Allied fleets aohieved but slight success in thc naval campaign of this year in tho Sea o Okhotsk-the chief result being that ono of thc Ku rile islands was taken possession of in thc

name of the Allies. Mr. Bavenstein vouchef

for the truth of a singular incident of the war A battalion of 400 Russian infantry was son from Castries Bay to Kiakhto, and all but élever died of starvation on the way. They startec late in tho season and with insufficient provistans ; and the survivors subsisted on the iles! of their fallen comrades. Tho Russian Govern mont, unembarrassed by critical newspaper cor respondents, hushed up tho affair,-promoted an ensign who was among the survivors it order to silence him,-and has since made Major-General Busse, tho person chiefly tc blamo, Governor of the Amur Province.

;\S hon peace was concluded Count Muravief proceeded eagerly with his plans for the occupa-tion of the Amur. Regular stations and a postal sorvice were established, and tho Americans hastoned to take advantage of Russian enterprise Thrown back for a time by Count Puliitin'e failure to conclude a boundary treaty with Chins the Russian policy was again favoured by thc operations of the English and French. In 185? the indefatigable Maraviof obtained with little difficulty, by tho Treaty of Aigun, tho cession bf the left bank of tho river down to Usuri, and of both banks below. The Treaty of Tientsin, copcludcd by Count Putintin in tho Bama year, tacitly confirmed Count; Muravief'a troaty. The Amur Company, for- commercial purposes, was incorporated by imperial charter in tho same year ; and tho cnorgotio gonoral tc whom Russia-owes the organisation of thc provinco was very properly created Count of tho Amur. Tho affair of tho Takn forts em-boldened the Chinoso to assume a hostile posi-tion in tho year 1850 ; but tho occupation oi Peking by tho Allies was again favourablo to Russia, and facilitated tho troaty of 1800, whoso importance cannot easily bo ovor-estimatcd.

This is a briof summary of tho ovcntB which have made tho Amur a Russian river. This groat rivor, 1800 miles in longth, and draining a basin of 760,000 squaro miles, is by no moans a trifling acquisition. Mr. Ravenstein, who in the first part of this volumo denis with tho history of Russian enterprise on tho Amur, in tho second part givos us a vory full description of tho district, geographical, statistical, and commercial. It is a country whoso timber is inexhaustible-containing moplo, walnut, nah, olm, tho cork oak, and various coniferous trees. Tho exports of timbor is probibitod, but many square milos ol forest oro annually burnt down by, tho earolossnosa of buntsmon. Ryo is tho coroal most likely to sucaoad : barley, oats, and wheat aro only successful between tho Dzoya and Marunst. Tobacco, hemp, flax, and lin.sood will bocorao of voluo. Fish, and wild

animals bearing fur, aro at presont mest abun-dant, but will gradually becomo scarcer as tho country ia colonised. Thcro are thousands of

pqtiaro miles bf pasture land, where cattle may I . e. grazed, in myriads.Coal has been- disco-

vered ; iron is reported to exist ; and bera and there gold has been found. Questionless, the province ot the Amur is one which Count »Mursvief Amursky m ny well be proud lo have added to the empire of the Cz ir.

Mr. Ravcna'ein states in his preface that his .book bas not been written hastily, but is the roBult of the progressive labour of several years. This ' ¡B evidontly true. It is a thoroughly conscientious work, and furnishes very full in-formation on all points of interest. The illustrations aro extremely good : the maps are excellent, although avowedly deficient in somè minor details. Wo have Lllowod Mr. Raven-stein in his orthography of proper names-DB he has followed the Royal Ge^g' «i»hieal Society. .While all other tendencies of uuiions aro Haid to bo towards the West,' "Holy Russia" is moving eastward ; and Mr. Ravensteins contri-bution to the histor; of her policy of Oriontal I extension!.is the moBt valuable we have yet

I seen.-Press.

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), Tuesday 18 February 1862, page 2 THE RUSSIANS ON THE AMUR.


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