Title


NOTES.

NOTES.

I.

[319]

M. HuoT, the learned and zealous collaborator, whose name will frequently be found in this work, died at Versailles on the 19th of May, 1845, at the age of 55.

A few lines devoted to the memory of a modest savant, an indefatigable labourer in the field of science, and a good man, whom we all regret, may naturally find a place in the narrative of a journey, to the results of which M. Huot so industriously contributed. It is therefore as a testimonial of esteem and regret that I shall, in a few words, trace the simple yet teeming history of the life and labours of our collaborator.

Jean Jacques Huot was born in Paris in 1700. His family held an honourable position in the middle classes ; but a second marriage contracted by his mother, a widow when Huot was yet in infancy, placed him, as respects pecuniary means, in a more favourable position for the development of his intelligence. M. Lemonnier, his stepfather, held a high post in the financial department, and accordingly gave the child every means of acquiring knowledge. His first studies were completed under the guidance of able tutors ; and at the age of 16, Huot, possessed of a good classical education, and left to his own pursuits, spent whole days in the public libraries, and attended with ardour the public lectures on geology, mineralogy, natural history, chemistry and the Oriental languages : in a word, all that noble course [320] of instruction, the professors of which at that time were Fayas, Cuvier, Brongniart, de Sacy, Vanquelin, and so many others whose names are widely celebrated.

Under such masters, and with that consecutive spirit and courageous tenacity which already distinguished him as a young man, Huot stored his memory with those treasures of science and general information, which subsequently fitted him to undertake any study, to grapple with any subject. His family, however, who owed their affluent circumstances to the official position of M. Lemonnier, and who naturally saw no other career for Huot than government employment, soon cut short this course of study and mental development. The young student was sent to Metz, under the care of a high financial functionary, the pay-master of the Third Military Division ; and his mind, thirsting for knowledge, was prematurely weaned from its strong intellectual food, to confine itself within the narrow sphere of official routine.

Fortunately for the young employé, his chief, M. Weyer, the paymaster of the Third Division, was an enlightened and liberal man. He allowed Huot all the time he required, to pursue his beloved studies ; mineralogy and numismatics alternated with the labours of the desk, and in a short time M. Weyer even furnished his studious protégé with other instructors.

The continuance of this happy state of things was once more obstructed by the projects of M. Huot's family. He was summoned back to Paris, and placed in the office of the solicitor to the treasury, to learn law procedure, in which situation it was with difficulty he obtained a few stealthy opportunities of listening to those great instructors, whose lessons had formerly delighted him. In 1811, the end towards which M. Lemonnier had so solicitously striven, was finally attained. Huot, after being admitted as a supernumerary in [321] the mint department of the treasury, received the appointment of warehouse keeper, under the tobacco monopoly, for the arrondissement of Versailles. This office had been newly created, and the newly- promoted holder was not more than twenty-one years of age.

This was undoubtedly a favourable start in life, and the parents of M. Huot had shown, in their perseverance, a just sense of their son's interests ; but all that the youthful functionary appreciated in his new position, was the feeling of freedom. After the rigorous discharge of his official duties, science absorbed every instant of his time ; and often, more than once in a week, M. Huot performed the journey, at that time so tedious, from Versailles to the Jardin des Plantes, in order to take his seat at the lectures on mineralogy and geology.

In 1815, M. Huot married the daughter of Mr. Weyer, his worthy and intelligent patron at Metz. A few years afterwards, with the very legitimate object of increasing his means, he connected himself in pecuniary affairs with his newly-adopted family. Fortune was not favourable to their joint speculation, M. Huot lost all he possessed, and, moreover, involved several of his friends in the same disaster. It was at this time that he acted with a degree of honour which cannot be passed over in silence, and to which the historian of this humble life must allude.

After these reverses, M. Huot's lot became entirely changed. He had pursued the study of science from taste . necessity now obliged him to turn his knowledge to advantage. Those persons who had suffered from the losses by which his family was ruined, could advance no claim, but on the ground of M. Huot's moral responsibility, This responsibility he accepted ; he assumed it with that courageous and lasting impulse which characterised all his undertakings. Life now became an austere task, in which he was actuated by one sole motive—to purchase the ransom of his conscience. He succeeded [322] in accustoming his wife and his young family to this life of duty, abnegation and labour. Noble task, and rare example of rectitude ! To the last hour of his life he continued, without intermission or self regard, this weary toil, this rigid penance, which he had stoically imposed upon himself, as a punishment for once having desired to be less poor.

This episode of M. Huot's life, and which, in fact, became the history of his whole existence, sufficiently paints the man, and renders any additional traits unnecessary. We feel that the mind which could conceive and carry out such an undertaking, must be honest and virtuous, in the strictest sense of the words. In such a character, we are prepared to find tenacity, courage, abnegation, sense of duty ; in a word, all the virtues of the sage in Horace— " Justum ac tenacem propositi virum," &c.

His friends, his colleagues, his companions in travel, render a willing testimony to the qualities of his mind and the affability of his manners. Naturally modest, and habitually reserved in conversation, M. Huot possessed, nevertheless, a certain tranquil and gentle charm of manner, which secured ready and delighted listeners ; simple, and sometimes credulous, as are all students, and full of honest good-nature, he seldom betrayed emotion, save for the interests of his cherished studies. Endowed with a strong will, to which he too frequently exacted obedience from faculties jaded by intense application, calculating neither time, distance nor danger, when a scientific fact was to be ascertained, harsh towards himself, indulgent towards others, and strictly confining himself to the narrow limits which he had traced round his life of toil and abnegation, M. Huot has 'left behind him a memory justly respected. We shall presently enumerate the conscientious services which entitle him to the remembrance of science.

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A slave to the oppressive circumstances of which I have given a sketch, and continually absorbed by his duties, M. Huot devoted himself to useful labours, but had no leisure to work for the advancement of his personal fame. It was only by way of giving repose and relaxation to his mind, that he wrote the memoirs and notices with which he occasionally enriched the most esteemed collections, and in the same manner it was as a relief to the fatigue of his midnight labours, and to break the silence of his solitary meditations, that he delivered lectures on mineralogy and geology, at the Société des Sciences Naturelles of Seine et Oise, where he was favourably listened to.

The studies especially cultivated by M. Huot rendered it necessary that he should travel ; and he was enabled to make such savings of his time and means as allowed him to travel, hammer in hand, through the greater part of France, Switzerland and the Rhine provinces. When in 1837, by the kindness of an august personage, I was authorised to conduct a series of scientific observations in Southern Russia, I esteemed myself fortunate to have it in my power to avail myself of such a fellow labourer. In this productive campaign, he exhibited a zeal, courage and activity, which yielded to no trials.

The state of M. Huot's health experienced a serious change in 1838. He, nevertheless, continued to produce works bearing the stamp of maturity and experience. In 1842, the care he received from his family, and considerable relaxation from work, had restored him to health. It was at this time that the municipal administration of Versailles, recognising his ability, confided to him the care of the public library. In 1844, a voyage to Italy was deemed necessary, the affection of the lungs, from which M. Huot suffered, appearing to make fresh progress. The invalid returned somewhat relieved, from the effects of the excursion ; but the time granted him was not sufficient for his constitution, which was seriously impaired, to derive any permanent benefit from a warmer climate.

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Accordingly the year 1845 commenced with M. Huot under sad auspices. At the commencement of this year, the ministry of finance, under which he had exercised the same functions during thirty-four years, as tobacco warehouse keeper at Versailles, signified to him that he must elect between his post of librarian and his duties as employé of the treasury. If there be a case in which pluralism is allowable, it is certainly when purely administrative duties are united with an employment essentially of a scientific character. In M. Huot's position, especially with so heavy a self-imposed burthen upon his labours, almost upon his very life, this trifling accumulation of offices might have been tolerated. Such, however, was not the case : M. Huot applied for his retiring pension, and obtained it by a ministerial decree on the 14th of April, 1845. One month afterwards, on the 10th of May, at the very time he was about to resign his duties to the hands of his successor, he expired, after a few hours' suffering.

His obsequies were performed at Versailles, in the presence of an assemblage of eminent scientific men, of the municipal authorities, and of numerous friends, who had come from Paris to pay a last homage to the savant, the honest man and worthy citizen.

The published works of M. Huot are numerous ; I will give as complete a list of them as I have been able to collect.

1820—1823. Scientific articles in a daily paper: Contributions to the Journal de la Société de la Morale Chrétienne, of which he was one of the founders, together with Guizot, de Broglie, de Geraudo, &c. Historical Notices in the Musée des Protestons Célébres.

1821—1825. Paper on an alleged Human Fossil, discovered near Muret, in the Forest of Fontainebleau.

This paper, presented to the Academy of Sciences, was adopted by that learned society as the most lucid report on the subject, and the Academy voted in favour of its conclusions.

A Polemic Tract, on the same subject, against the authors of this [325] pretended discovery ; in which M. Huot proved, by the most convincing arguments, the error into which they had fallen.

Papers inserted in the ANNALES DES SCIENCES NATURELLES : Observation on the Geology of Grignon—On the Calcareous formation containing the remains of Plants, and on the Upper Strata in that locality.

Notice on the Life and Labours of Lamouroux.

Geological Notes on the presence of the remains of Vertebrated Animals in the different Strata of our Globe.

Notice on Lavoisier in La Galerie Francaise.

1826—1837. Continuation of the Précis de la Géographie Universelle, after the death of Malte-Brun. More than 6 vols. of 900 pages each.

Continuation of the Géographie Physique in the Encyclopmdia Méthodique.

The descriptive portion of the Abrégé de Géographie Physique,Historique, Politique, ancienne et moderne.

Nouvelle Géographie dos écoles, in conjunction with M. C. Guibal, late student of the Polytechnic School.

A great number of articles on Geography, Mineralogy, Geology, and Zoology, in L'Encyclopédie Moderne, L'Encyclopédie Nouvelle, L'Encyclopédie des gens du monde, and Le Dictionnaire Pittoresque d'Histoire Naturelle

1838—1845. Nouveau Cours Éméntaire de Géologie; two large volumes. The most complete and the most recent compendium of the principles of that science, Paris, 1839.

Nouveau Manuel de Géographie Physique, on introduction a Vétude de la Géologie.

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Geological description of the Banks of the Danube, and of the Crimea, in the Voyage duns la Russie Méridionale. Data for the Geological Map of that country.

Abrége de Géographie ; one volume, of 800 pages, printed in double columns.

Translation of Pomponious Mela, for the Collection des Classiques Latins.

Translation, revised and corrected, of a popular Geography, for the use of schools, by Dr. GOLDSMITH.

Manuel de Géologie.
Manuel de Palceontologie.

M. Huot was associate of a great number of learned societies. In 1842 he was presented, by H.M. The Emperor of all the Russias, with the Order of St. Ann.

A. DEMIDOFF.

Paris, May 1, 1846.

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II.

THERE are some men whom Providence seems to have marked out beforehand as fit instruments to advance the general weal of nations, and guide them in the path of regeneration and progress. These chosen spirits, lofty minds, seem not properly to belong to any special country; their deeds are an inheritance to all mankind, and their names are enrolled in history, as soaring above all the passions of the multitude, the blindness of party spirit, or the rivalry of races.

He who has received from Heaven one of these noble missions, and has fulfilled it for the happiness of mankind, will leave behind a name both honoured and blest; but the glory he will receive from posterity ought not to prevent his contemporaries rendering justice to his merits. To one, therefore, who has travelled over the principalities, and hailed, as it were, at its dawn, the era of civilisation and wise liberty, which has commenced for these interesting countries, it may be permitted to trace, in a few words, the biography of the eminent man who has regenerated people, laws and manners throughout that wide extent of country.

Lieutenant-General Paul de Kisseleff, now minister of the department of the imperial domains in Russia, was born in Moscow in 1788. Sprung from a family, the annals of whose nobility date from the eleventh century, Kisseleff, while yet a youth, girded on the sword of the Chevaliers Gardes. Ile first went into action during the bloody war which ended in the Treaty of Tilsitt; and up to 1815 he continued to attract attention as an excellent officer. He was a colonel before the walls of Paris, when the Emperor Alexander [328] having had occasion tai appreciate his brilliant qualities, attached him to his person as an aide-de-camp. This position gave him an opportunity of displaying a degree of capacity far from common ; entrusted by the Emperor with several delicate missions, at a time when European politics were thrown into a state of ferment, by the task of laying down the basis of a durable peace, he succeeded in distinguishing himself in these negotiations ; and on returning to his country he was promoted, at the age of twenty-nine, to the rank of Major-General, and appointed to the important post of Chief of the Staff of the Second Corps d'Armée. This high favour and extraordinary advancement were soon justified by the activity and talents of General Kisseleff, and shortly after his promotion, the second corps d'armée was already cited as a model of organisation and proficiency.

The premature death of the Emperor Alexander, was greatly lamented by an officer who owed to him his fortune; and the political events which accompanied the accession of the Emperor Nicholas proved a severe trial to General Kisseleff. He was enabled, however, without compromising his high character, to maintain himself in the path of prudence and loyalty ; and he won from the new sovereign that confidence, which talents of the highest order, and a rare tact, had earned for him from Alexander.

In 1828, Kisseleff fought in Turkey, and crossed the Danube under the enemy 's fire. This action obtained him the rank of Lieutenant-General. Shortly afterwards, before Schorumta, he carried, amidst the applause of the entire army, a position which had proved a check to the Russians ; and in the course of the same day a sword of honour, and an Imperial rescript, in the most flattering terms, rewarded one whose career of glory was so rapid, that Imperial favour with difficulty kept pace with it.

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The year 1829 had brought about great changes in the constitution of the body of officers at the head of the Russian army. Count Diebitsch had succeeded Marshal de Wittgenstein in the chief command. Kisseleff, whose functions as chief of the staff ceased with the assumption of the powers of Marshal, was appointed to command the troops destined to occupy Wallachia. To an officer of his rank, this was no very enviable post; but circumstances, ere long, threw open a field for all the prudence, ardour and activity of the general. The troops left in Wallachia were destined to cover the rear of the principal corps d'armée which was engaged in the east of Bulgaria. To this end, it was their duty to keep in check the garrisons of the fortresses of Giourjévo and Roustschouk, and at the same time to watch the movements of the Pacha of Widin ; although but little apprehensions were entertained of him, on account of his distance from the scene, and his recent defeat. Suddenly, intelligence was received, stating that an army of 100,000 men, under the command of this conquered pacha, was concentrated in Bulgaria, and preparing to fall upon Bukharest, in order to cut off communication with the Russians. From this moment, the feeble section of the army left in Wallachia was raised to extreme importance. In a few days General Kisseleff made himself master of the course of the Danube, kept the Turkish garrisons on the left bank in check, and carried war and alarm to the opposite shore. Moreover, learning that Mustapha, the Pacha of Scutari, had detached himself from Widin with 25,000 men, and threatened the flank of the Russian army, he took upon himself to act; and judging that the instructions he had received, of keeping on the defensive, could not apply to such extreme and unforeseen circumstances, he hastened in pursuit of Mustapha, and was on the point of coming up with him, when the preliminaries of the peace were arranged, and he received orders [330] to suspend his march. The general obeyed ; but, skilful in divining the artifices and temporising policy of the Divan, he continued to hold his positions. Effectively, the Turkish plenipotentiaries discovered a thousand pretexts for the purpose of prolonging the negotiations. Kisseleff executed a movement, took possession of Sophia and Frabova, and presented himself at the pass of the Balkhans, ready to cross the frontier. This resolute manoeuvre disconcerted the plans and expectations which still continued to be entertained after the capture of Adrianople, and a peace was signed in that city on the 14th of September 1829.

By the stipulations of this treaty, the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, together with the fortress of Silistria, were to be occupied by the Russian troops until the payment of the expenses of the war. General Kisseleff was invested with the command of the army of occupation, and the government of the principalities, under the title of president plenipotentiary. From this period commenced a new career for the illustrious warrior, the skilful minister—in a word, the good and just man who forms the subject of this notice—in which the superiority of his mind and the nobleness of his soul shone forth in all their lustre.

I have endeavoured in this book to describe, in a few words, what was the condition of the principalities previous to the beneficent administration of General Kisseleff. In this hasty sketch, it was shown that the two provinces had never tasted the sweets of a peaceful condition of affairs, nor felt the advantages of a regular government. Situated on the confines of Europe and of Asia, possessing of themselves but little consistency, their fate had continually been that of weak and fragile bodies, which, being hemmed in between two solid masses, are constantly in danger of being crushed. We have seen these unfortunate countries, during so many centuries, [331] as it were, the bed along which coursed the torrent of invasions, unceasingly exposed to devastation and oppression from the strongest, and suffering all the gradations of misery and demoralisation resulting from a state of slavery. General Kisseleff appeared, and from the commencement showed himself in the character of a redeemer. Vigorously did he address himself to the work ; and in the accom- plishment of his task—one of the finest which it was ever given a man to fulfil—he showed himself throughout equal to the importance of the occasion. His example and his all-powerful influence imparted from the first a most happy impulse. He had devoted himself with care. from the moment of his arrival, to acquiring a knowledge of the laws and customs of the country, its history, its vicissitudes and its primitive organisation, and in a short time he had become so perfectly acquainted with the men and things around him, that nothing escaped his penetrating and enlightened mind. Six months after the arrival of the general, an organic law, a labour worthy its author, sincerely framed to promote civilisation, was completed. Revised and discussed by an assembly extraordinary, it was promulgated on the 1st of May, in the year 1831 ; and from that day the principalities date the present era of justice and civil government.

Scarcely was this new state of affairs constituted, when the cholera swept, like a meteor, over these unfortunate provinces. All progress was suspended, and the general safety was for a long time the only law. General Kisseleff now appeared under a new aspect to the afflicted people. An active and paternal solicitude, and a personal devotedness, inspired by the sincerest charity, distinguished the chief and the regenerator of the country amongst all.

With the retreat of the scourge, calmness and security re-appeared, and Kisseleff could resume his course of salutary reforms. The civil records, justice, home affairs, education, the army and the civil [332] force, received in turn a powerful organisation. The national Legislative Assembly assembled under the ægis of the new institutions. Its first act was to present General Kisseleff with the title and rights of a citizen, with all the privileges enjoyed by the most noble families in the country. " Who can have a better right," said the president, to him, " than yourself, to be adopted a son of that land whence every evil vanished from the time you set foot upon it, where everything is the creation of your hand, and all that was dead and inert before, has revived beneath your breath ? " While the general assured them how much he was affected by the sentiments which had dictated this offer, he declared that he could not accept it, so long as he was in the country, and charged with the direction of affairs.

Towards the middle of the year 1832, all the new institutions were completely developed, and the principalities presented on all sides an instance of those happy metamorphoses which are commonly the work of time, and the gradual advance of civilisation. The founder of this state of things, desiring to judge, from his own observation, of the internal condition of the country, undertook about this time a tour to Wallachia. He passed through the identical places where, thirty months before, he had met only misery and distress. How happy was he to find everywhere the first indications of growing affluence, the blessed fruits of security. This visit became the source of fresh benefits to the country. The general was determined 10 see and learn everything; lie inspected the schools, the tribunals, the prisons, the hospitals, the quarantines; he collected useful information in every quarter, and directed further improvements. He took compassion on the condition of the convicts employed in the salt works ; and after proposing to the administrative council a reform in the penal regulations, he added, in his own hand, [333] the following words : " My colleagues will thus give me the means of performing an act of conscience and religion before my departure from this country, that I may leave it with a light heart, and free from a reproach, which I should never forgive myself."

The events of the year 1835 imposed fresh duties on General Kisseleff. Ibrahim Pacha threatened Constantinople, and the Porte implored the aid of Russia. Kisseleff was chosen to command the army, which was to proceed by land to the assistance of that capital, while the fleet of the Black Sea advanced under the direction of Count Orloff. He was then at Yassy ; and this mission, the success of which depended on the celerity with which it was executed, surprised him in the midst of the labours of the two assemblies. The general recommended the soldiers he left behind him to the care of the two governments. The Assembly of Bukharest wrote to him in the following words : we are informed of the fresh mark of esteem and confidence which has been afforded you by your sovereign, and we feel a pride in the honour which is thus conferred on you. Your soldiers are our brothers ; we shall always find a pleasure in all that contributes to your happiness and to your glory, because we are convinced that the destiny of our country is intimately bound up with yours. [n a few days the general had organised an army, and was ready to cross the Danube, when hostilities ceased between the Pacha of Egypt and the Porte.

The mission of the general in the principalities was not, however, yet at an end. The treaty concluded at St. Petersburg, in 1834, had stipulated the evacuation of the Russian troops, and the installation of the Ghospodars. Never had the solicitude of Kisseleff for the welfare of his trust, appeared more eager than during this latter period. All the heads of office received orders to submit to him circumstantial reports on every branch of the administration, in [334] order that, previous to his departure, he might advise with the assembly as to the measures to be taken for the final consolidation of the new system. He desired to be informed of the state of all the public coffers, and to ascertain the resources which he left behind him in each. He revised and checked, with his own hand, the receipts and expenditure of the treasury during his administration, and commanded the necessary measures to expedite the payment of arrears devoted by him to the extinction of the public debt. In a word, as a father, about to separate for ever from those whom he loves, endeavours to secure the interests of each and all, and to ward off future calamity, General Kisseleff quitted not these provinces of his adoption, this people to whom he had become a father, until he had ensured them, as far as is permitted to human foresight, the most precious of benefits, the protection of sound laws and individual liberty.

General Kisseleff took leave of the principalities in the month of April 1834. I have described by what a concourse of grateful and sorrowing people he was accompanied to the frontier, and how dearly his memory is cherished in all hearts.

On his return to his country, Kisseleff was appointed general of infantry ; and, worthily to crown so admirable a career, the emperor confided to him, in 1837, the department of the crown lands, an imuortant branch of administration, embracing in its vast attributes the government and administration of nearly twenty millions of individuals. Here, too, all had to be created ; for in Russia, in spite of the progress of all kinds which has marked this century, the condition of the serfs of the crown had, up to the period I allude to, remained stationary ; that is to say, that they continued to be the most oppressed and least protected class in the empire. The time, however, was now cone for this class to be included in [335] the reforms which the Emperor Nicholas has never ceased to carry out in every branch of the government of his vast empire. Numerous labours were immediately commenced, and towards 1840 a homogenous body of laws had been formed for the regulation of the affairs of this department. The condition of the serfs of the crown is at present notably improved ; and an era of well-being and civilisation is promised to this interesting class, which cannot but have a powerful influence on the future destinies of Russia.

Thus did General Kisseleff, when once more invested with high and important functions, again find the means of exercising at once his eminent administrative faculties and his enlightened love of humanity. It may be said that this glorious career has reached its apogée. The most distinguished honours have long been awarded him ; and for a long period also, the enlightened favour of his sovereign, the gratitude of nations, and the esteem of the good, have crowned all his desires, and recompensed one of the noblest political characters of which Russia can boast.




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