Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

ence.

Koutiyâ, which is a composition of honey, wheat, and raisins.* The priest first blesses and incenses this dish, of which every one immediately after partakes. During the succeeding six weeks, psalms are sung and prayers read every day in the chamber in which the departed terminated his existOn the third, the sixth, eleventh, and fortieth day after the interment, the priests and many of the relatives again repair to the church and celebrate a solemn service, among the ceremonies of which the Koutiyâ forms, once more, not the least conspicuous feature. It is laid out on a small table in the centre of the church, the priest blessing it, and incensing it, that the attendants may not only partake of it, but take it home. All these funeral ceremonies invariably terminate by singing requiem eternum, eternal rest to the departed. The music though tristful is, at times, beautiful, and quite appropriate to such solemn occasions.

Koutiya is generally prepared in a small dish or deep plate, filled with boiled wheat, round which honey is poured, and over it raisins are placed in the form of a cross. Wheat is used as an emblem of resurrection, in allusion to St. Paul's 1 Corinth. xv. 36-44. &c. Honey, &c. conformable to the sincere wishes of Requiem eternum to the departed friends.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER X.

Preliminary Notice.-The UNIVERSITY OF ST. PETERSBURGH.-Scientific Education.-General and Elementary System of Education. -Schools for the People. - Encouragement for the Cultivation of the Russian Language. The Imperial Russian ACADEMY OF LITERATURE. New Plan of elementary Education. Professor Greitsch's Lectures on the Russian Language. - Pedagogic Schools. -Sentiments of the reigning Emperor respecting Education. · His means of promoting it. - Enumeration of Public Places of Education existing in St. Petersburgh. ORIENTAL INSTITUTE.The LAND CADET CORPS, and the MARINE CADET CORPS. — Naval Academy, and other Establishments. - Domestic or Private Education. General Benkendorff. Imperial Message. · Doctor Ruhl. Recognition. The Communauté des Demoiselles Nobles. -The INSTITUTE OF ST. CATHERINE.-System of Female Education for the higher Classes of Society. - Imperial PUBLIC LIBRARY.Kriloff, the Fabulist. - Manuscript Letters of Sovereigns. - Specimen of Louis XIV.'s early Notions of Royal Authority. - THE PRESS. Encouragement to Authors.- Modern Russian Literature.- Death of Karamsin, the Historian.- Russian Poetry. Alexander Poushkine, the Russian Byron. — Fabulists, Soumarokoff, Khemnitzer, Dmitrieff, Ismaïloff, and B. Pouschkine. The Romantic School. Baratinsky. Joukovsky. Mademoiselle Zenaïde Volkonsky. DRAMATIC LITERATURE. Prince Chakhovsky. - Number of Books published in Russia, since the Introduction of the Art of Printing. - PERIODICAL Literature. List of Periodical Publications at St. Petersburgh and Moscow.

[ocr errors]

IN proportion as I proceed in my present undertaking, my apprehensions increase lest I should tire out the pa

tience of my readers by the accumulating descriptions of public establishments and buildings connected with my account of the city of St. Petersburgh. I look back to the subdivisions of this part of my work, which already amount to a considerable number, and which chiefly relate to those two points of investigation, with some feelings of doubt, whether the public will be found to agree with me, in attaching that interest to considerations of such a nature, which I cannot but think they deserve. These doubts are not a little increased by the prospect lying before me, of what must yet follow to complete a faithful picture of St. Petersburgh. Dry matters of fact, I am aware, are not always amusing, however necessary; and still less, perhaps, is the methodical arrangement which I have adopted on this occasion. Unenlivened, I admit, by either playfulness or solidity of style, such a lengthened account of the actual state of the Russian metropolis, may be considered tedious. But how is the English reader to judge for himself of the real state of the Russian capital, in all its various departments, and to form a correct idea of the present spirit, if not of the people at large, at least of those who lead, and will ultimately mould that nation, to which the eyes of Europe are at present directed? That this can only be effected by patiently examining the public institutions of the capital, by inquiring into the nature of the efforts made to improve them, by studying the character of the men who are at their head; in fine, by comparing what was with what is, and is likely to be the rank of the Russians in the scale of European nations, is a truism too manifest to require demonstration. To accomplish such objects, therefore, both minuteness of detail and methodical distribution of subjects are absolutely requisite; and to this merit alone I lay claim in my present performance, and in this spirit I shall crave permission to proceed. Conclusions I shall

not attempt to draw; but the materials for enabling my readers themselves to form them correctly, shall not be wanting,-accurate and full-as far as industry could procure them, in the short space of time during which I was absent from England—and not disfigured by prejudice either way. I shall now turn to the consideration of those Institutions which may be assumed to form a fair index of the state of education in the capital, and of that branch of knowledge which naturally flows from it,-literature. On the latter subject I can only offer the abstract opinions of others collected in the course of conversation, or derived from published statements, some of which have lately appeared, both here and abroad, being myself totally unacquainted with the language of the country.

The University of St. Petersburgh, first claims our attention. It is one of the many Institutions for the advancement of public education for which Russia stands indebted to her late excellent Sovereign, and which I am assured are especially fostered and patronised by his present Majesty. The University of St. Petersburgh, however, is not as complete in all those branches which generally constitute such establishments, as the other Russian Universities. Literature and jurisprudence may indeed be said to be at present the only divisions in full activity. Religious instruction is committed, as I before observed, to the Holy Synod, and medical education is obtained in an Institution specifically founded for that purpose, which I shall soon have occasion to notice. The spacious buildings, to which I have alluded in another part of this volume, called colleges, situated between the Palace of the Academy of Sciences and that of the Fine Arts, are now occupied by the students who attend the University. Monsieur de Gouroff, a French gentleman, whose literary merits have been appreciated both by the English while he resided in this country as an

emigrant, and by the enlightened classes of St. Petersburgh, and who Russianized his name by the termination it now bears, in order that he might escape being sent out of the country as a Frenchman during the political troubles in the North, is at present Rector of the University; but the general direction of the studies is confided to another officer, who is himself dependent on the Minister of public instruction. Public report speaks highly of some of the professors of the University as men of considerable merit and profound learning; among the names which I have heard mentioned in a creditable manner are those of professors Boutyrski and Tolmatcheff. Science is also intended to form a branch of education at this University. The more liberal feeling which is becoming manifest every day, on the latter subject, requires only some able, zealous, and active savans, to increase it and convert it to a wholesome purpose.

As the means of affording general education, however, to families resident in or near the capital, the University will continue to prove serviceable so long as there are men of eminence attached to it. On the subject of education, both public and private, much has been done since the time of Catherine in Russia, and of course in the capital. The general system appears to be very extensive, and modelled much after the manner of that of France and the Netherlands, and indeed of those countries in which public education is in the hands of Government, and not left, as in the case of England, to the exertion of private individuals or Corporations. Besides the six Universities, already mentioned as existing in Russia, with the Academies, Seminaries, and other establishments for the education of those who are destined for the church, to be met with in great numbers, and to which I have already alluded; there is a Gymnasium, and sometimes more than one, in the chief town of each Government; a principal, or high school, in each of the dis

« AnteriorContinua »