p. 64-65, walking towards St. Petersburgh: A sigh escaped me as I ejaculated a last farewell, till, startling at the expression of my weakness, I resumed my journey with slow and melancholy steps. It was ten o’clock (for I had now a watch), and I had reached six miles. The night was beautifully clear, though rather cold from the effects of a northern breeze; while the moon was near her full. I looked at the beautiful luminary, and actually asked myself whether I were, as had been asserted, under the baneful influence of that planet. Smiling that I received no reply, I then considered my projects and intentions, and the conduct I ought to follow; and, sitting down at a fountain on the Poulkousky hill, I read to myself a few lessons, which the time and the occasion seemed to inspire. “Go,” said I, “and wander with the illiterate and almost brutal savage—go and be the companion of the ferocious beast!—go and contemplate the human being in every element
and climate, whether civilized or savage—of what ever tribe, nation, or religion. Make due allowance for the rusticity of their manners; nor be tempted to cope with them in those taunts, insults, and rudenesses to which the nature of thy enter prize will subject thee. Contemn those incidental circumstances which but too often surprise man kind from their good intentions, and deprive the world of much useful and interesting information. Avoid all political and military topics, and remember that
The proper study of mankind is man.
p. 158, at the fortress city of Omsk, at the junction of the Irtish and Om rivers: The military college is a noble foundation upon the Lancasterian system, and was established immediately on his Imperial Majesty’s return from his visit to England. Wonderful proficiency has been attained by several of its pupils, now young men, and the general improvement reflects credit on all concerned in its management. The youth are instructed, besides reading, writing, and arithmetic, in drawing, mathematics, fortification, and algebra, and in some of the oriental languages. The barracks for the boys, their food, clothing, bedding, &c., are in excellent order; and every praise is due to the attention and benevolence of the commandant, Colonel Ivanoff, who is considered by them as a father. They are composed of the children of the military forming the army of Siberia. The school for the children of the Cossacks is on a similarly benevolent plan, although not quite so forward from the want of good masters.
p. 215-16, in Irtutsk: The merchants, on the other hand, have as strong a feeling against the receiving of the military in private, as the latter can have against recognizing them in public. It is a serious evil that the sons and daughters of the merchants have received no better education. Many of them can scarcely read or write, yet they are, in point of opportunity, on a par with those who move in the same sphere in European Russia, owing to the assistance rendered by the Swedes and French, and other exiles, many of whom possess first-rate talents. These expatriated instructors have tended to improve and civilize Siberia, in a ratio surpassing that of central Russia. But many years must elapse before that happy union of society, so conspicuous in England, can be brought about in this part; before the swaddling cloak, and long beard, will be laid aside with the same avidity with which they are now guarded. Yet I do not think it a matter of speculation, nay, I do not think it a difficult task, to instil a spirit of literary emulation into the minds of even the lower orders of the Russian community.
p. 314-15, Among the Tchutchis: I could scarcely believe that in so small a number of individuals there could exist so great and general a jealousy, but so it was, and many quarrels ensued. That my readers may the better form an opinion of what materials the people of this part of the world are composed, I will briefly say, that there is scarcely an act or circumstance, either of a public or private nature, which takes place at Irkutsk, Yakutsk, or Okotsk, which is not immediately and indirectly made known to, and commented upon by, these worthy critics of the north east of Asia; nor is it more than an act of justice or truth, to say, that I believe them to be more generally and better educated than any other equally numerous settlement in Siberia, being of the same class of Cossacks. I hardly know of an instance of the young lads not reading and writing tolerably well.