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Chapter 7

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

in Foreign Comments
and Descriptions

by Volodymyr Sichynsky

published by
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Inc.
New York,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p171  Chapter Eight

Ukraine in the Foreign Literature of the Nineteenth Century

At the close of the XVIIIth century the last vestiges of Ukrainian autonomy were completely suppressed by the Russian despotic regime. International treaties with and assurances given to Ukraine by various Russian Tsars had been broken in a fashion seldom found in the histories of other nations. With the liquidation of the independence of the Ukrainian economy, Ukraine was divided into Russian provinces and each of these became a mere administrative province of the Russian empire.

No small wonder then that to Ukraine now came hundreds and thousands of Russian "visitors," "specialists," and officials of all ranks and distinction to see that "promised land," which beckoned to them as a prospective area in which they could establish their future livelihoods. They began to write about Ukraine, its actual and potential natural resources, and rarely also about the national, political and cultural aspects of the people and thus they too carried to foreign literature certain information on Ukraine.

Among the Russian scientists and writers who left a considerable store of such writings was Vasily Zuyev, who traveled extensively throughout Ukraine at the request of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the years 1781‑1782. His attention was particularly drawn to the Eastern Ukrainian territories (Slobidska Ukraina). Traveling through the Province of Kharkiv, Zuyev noticed that the people were entirely different in their language, costume and habits from the Russians. He especially remarked that the houses of the Ukrainians were extremely spacious, made of wood, and painted with white lime, and that their interiors were immaculately clean.

 p172  The land in the Kharkiv area, Zuyev wrote, was exceedingly fertile: "Wherever you go you see lands covered with wheat, melon patches and orchards."

He commented that the Ukrainians, although possessing abundant resources, did not seem to be eager to acquire money and other material benefits, but limited themselves to selling the surpluses of their produce. He wrote that the Ukrainian markets, such as those in Kharkiv and Sumy, were known not only in Ukraine, but in other countries; merchants from Russia, Poland, Moldavia, Greece and Germany came to sell their wares: English textiles, silk apparel, velvet, woolen stuffs, and English and Silesian linen, all sorts of dishes and glassware, and liquor. The Ukrainian population, on the other hand, sold its own products to them: wheat, cattle, poultry, whiskey, fruit, honey, wax and rough cloth. The Ukrainians traded wine and salt for their whiskey, while other merchandise was acquired through the barter system, owing to the small value and trust they entertained for Russian money.

Another Russian writer, K. Shalikov (Putyeshestviye v Malorossiyu, or Travel in Little Russia, Moscow, 1803‑1804) gives his impression of Ukraine:

"After having seen Little Russia, my eyes could not enjoy enough the view of little white-painted houses, neatly dressed inhabitants, and the lovely appearance of beauti­ful women."

He was immensely impressed by the customs and the social life of the Ukrainian nobility (the former Kozak officers), and was astounded, as he wrote, to find the families of Ukrainian Orthodox priests as well-educated and well-mannered as those of the nobility.

Thus at a formal dance in Poltava he met the daughter of a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who was skilled in all the modern dances, something which was not common in Muscovy. And of the Ukrainian Orthodox priests, the Russian writer stated:

"Through their behavior the Ukrainian priests establish an example of the good life to others, and therefore enjoy especial esteem . . ."

 p173  Shalikov wrote of the Ukrainian women:

"In general women here are very pleasant, almost all of them have pensive and ardent eyes which vividly reflect their sensitiveness of soul and heart. Nature itself has bestowed upon their faces the sign of love and gentleness."

He also writes that the behavior of Ukrainian women is quite different from that of the Russian women, particularly as far as hospitality is concerned. Ukrainian women, he pointed out, are exceedingly friendly and hospitable, in sharp contrast to Russian women.

P. Sumarokov, another Russian traveler in Ukraine, in his book Leisure Moments of a Crimean Judge (Dosugi krymskago sudyi), Petersburg, 1803, when he first stepped on the Ukrainian land, stated as follows:

"Here are different faces, different customs, different dress, and a different system; and I hear a different language. Is the frontier of the empire here? Are we entering another state?"

The customs and the character of the Ukrainians were graphically described by V. Izmaylov, Travel into Southern Russia in Letters (Putyeshestviye v poludennouyu Rossiyu v pismakh, Moscow, 1800). He wrote that Ukrainian family life was marked by great love and mutual respect and confidence between husband and wife:

"The mutual love creates in their domestic life a higher harmony and order than authority and obedience in our life (Russian) . . . Girls here are not kept under rigid control: every one of them is beauti­ful, artful and attractive . . . They (the village girls) are slim and extremely graceful (for peasant girls) . . . All the villages and farm-houses are located in beauti­ful spots. Every house is clean and white-painted, surrounded by flowering orchards . . ."

In contrast to this, the author points out, the family life of the Russians is marked by despotism, moral looseness and the unkemptness of Russian women, who care nothing about their own appearance nor that of their houses.

Izmaylov writes:

 p174  "The Ukrainians love their country and its glory, because . . . its glory was also closely connected with their duty of patriotism."

This great difference in habits, culture and national characteristics was also strongly emphasized in the writings of another Russian traveler in Ukraine, A. Levshin. In his book Otryvki iz pisem o Malorossii (Excerpts from Letters About Little Russia) which appeared in 1816, he underscores the following traits of the Ukrainians; piety, and ardent love for their country and an ever-present readiness to defend it, a patriarchal family order, the innocence of youth and the purity of habits. The Ukrainian peasants, he wrote, have a highly developed sense of personal property, and therefore thefts are rare . . . He also says that the Ukrainian women are industrious and the men careless. He concludes his findings:

"I might also mention the hatred of Ukrainians towards the Great Russians . . . You can easily be convinced of that, since they always say: 'A good man, but a moskal (Russian).' Mothers frequently scold their child by calling him a 'moskal.' "

The hostility of the Ukrainians towards the Russians is also emphasized by Ivan Sbitnyev, who described his impressions of Kharkiv in the Vyestnik Evropy (The Herald of Europe) in 1830:

"The local population (Ukrainians) of the city of Okhtyrka in Slobozhan­shchyna entertain a hostile attitude towards the Russians so that even at congresses they refuse to understand the Russian language . . . Upon seeing travellers (Russians), the Ukrainian peasants leave their work and begin singing insulting and satirical songs at them, songs, which are accompanied by loud laughter and derision."

Another Russian traveler, I. Dolgorukiy (Diary of Travel in Kiev, 1817) (Dnevnik putyeshestviya v Kiev), after having crossed the Russian-Ukrainian ethnographic boundary at the city of Sivsk, commented at once:

"Here is a different language, different habits; the appearance of the lands and roads is different, too. The roads are girded by trees, which could not be found in Muscovy."

 p175  He also wrote that the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is quite different from the Russian Orthodox Church insofar as the rite is concerned; Ukrainian song and architecture differ as well.

On traversing the province of Chernihiv, Prince Dolgorukiy wrote:

"Keep in mind that in this country there are many churches in villages and towns built by Mazepa. From the same lips prayers are being said for the salvation of his soul, and he is being anathematized upon orders from Moscow."

Dolgorukiy mentions various schools in Ukraine, which continued the tradition of the cultural work of Kozak times, and which were now being maintained by cities and by private individuals, and not by the Russian government, as was the case with schools in Muscovy. In Chernihiv he saw a big artisan school and a gymnasium; in the city of Nizhyn he visited a "School of higher learning by the name of Bezborodko," a county gymnasium, a Greek school and a French school for girls; in Poltava, he visited the local gymnasium under the director­ship of Ivan Kotlyarevksy, the well-known Ukrainian poet.

"On departing from Ukraine, I would like to conclude my story about it with a final remark: As far as I can see, Ukraine is not a happy country, all its natural endowments notwithstanding. Its political sun does not warm it as a celestial light. It (Ukraine) is tortured, it suffers from various burdens and deeply senses the loss of liberty of the past centuries. Discontent is subdued, but almost general."

Mikhail Pogodin, (1800‑1875), professor of the Moscow University, a well-known Russian nationalist writer, a theoretician of the "official (Russian) nationality," and a spiritual father of political Russophilism (which later the Russian tsars tried to impress upon the Ukrainians in Austria) could not refuse to recognize the difference between the Ukrainians and the Russians. In 1842 he wrote:

 p176  "I like Little Russian villages. How attractive — the white houses in the shadow of beauti­ful trees, dispersed in the hills. From the first sight it is apparent that the inhabitant must be a friend of nature, and that he likes his house and does not leave it without reason. In Great Russia (Muscovy) things are different; one sees hardly any vegetation near the izba (house) and the inhabitant is seldom at home; he moves from place to place, and his house is only for sleeping."

Of still greater interest are the writings of those Western European travellers who visited Ukraine in the XIXth century. They left an enormous amount of writings in which they described Ukraine in its historical and cultural aspects.

One such Western European writer was Malte‑Brun, an excellent Danish geographer, who in his book Tableau de la Pologne, published in Paris in 1807, wrote:

"The Ukrainians (les Ukrainiens) are the descendants of Kievan Rus. The peasants in Ukraine are much more economical than those in Muscovy: they do not lay waste their forests in a barbarous manner. The houses of the Ukrainian peasants are beauti­ful and sturdy. No one wears ragged shoes as in Muscovy. They are well-built, and are more enlightened than the peasants, say, in Lithuania . . . The Ukrainians are very intelligent, and the spirit of freedom manifests itself even in their external manners . . ."

The Ukrainian ethnographic territory, according to Malte‑Brun, extended from the Carpathians, where the Ukrainians settled before the IXth century, through Galicia and to the east of the Dnieper River. He writes of Galicia:

"Red Rus was an independent state which the Polish King Boleslaw reduced to a vassal status in 1008."

He adds that in 1213 the "Galician Kingdom" (Royaume de Halicz ou de Galitzie) became absolutely independent." Further

"The Galician Prince Danylo created an independent state, and his name is a glory of Rus. The language in Galicia of two‑thirds (!) of the population is similar to the language spoken in Ukraine."

 p177  Hubert Vautrain, Frenchman, in his book L'Observateur en Pologne (Paris, 1807) wrote that the Ukrainians are "a Slavic race, which made the walls of Constantinople, Bilgorod and Trepisond tremble," and that in later times the Muscovite government imposed slavery upon this "glorious race, which had such a genius as Khmelnytsky."

Another Frenchman, Charles Louis Lesur (d. 1849), a publicist and member of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in his book Histoire des Kosaques (1812), characterizes the Ukrainians as follows:

"The Ukrainians are more magnanimous, more sincere, more polite and hospitable, more industrious than the Russians. They offer a living proof of the superiority which civil liberty gives to men over people born in slavery."


Lesur wrote

"that Hetman Khmelnytsky was an erudite man who could speak fluently the Turkish, Tatar, Ukrainian, Polish, and Latin languages. The Muscovite Tsar, the Polish King and the Turkish Sultan vied with one another in sending to the Hetman legates bearing gifts . . . Never did the Kozaks have a leader to be compared with Khmelnytsky. Intelligent, educated, far‑sighted, prudent in his counsels, and intrepid in battle, he was inured to great fatigue; insensible to privations, he was inexhaustible in his resources and not to be discouraged by his losses, active in victory, proud in defeat, sometimes blinded by fate but always great in firmness of character, pitiless with his enemies, but just and magnanimous toward his friends."


Of Hetman Mazepa Lesur wrote that "to great old age he carried eyes full of fire, a healthy spirit and a brilliant talent for conversation."

With reference to the alliance with the Swedes, Lesur commented:

"In thoroughly analyzing the situation of Charles XII, one cannot by‑pass the advantage which an alliance with Mazepa could afford him.


Lesur was impressed with the Kozak period of Ukrainian history not only because the Kozak State had a great influence  p178 upon the history of the neighboring states, but because it produced the two great personalities of Khmelnytsky and Mazepa. In his opinion the Kozak period of Ukrainian history had two important moments of great interest to universal history: the attempt of King Wladyslaw IV to become a real King of Poland with the assistance of the Kozaks, and the debacle of Charles XII. For the politically minded, he says, the history of the Kozaks provides an example of an unusual and original system, comparable with those of Sparta and Rome. Finally for statisticians the history of the Kozaks is important in that it provides material on how the Russian state was augmented through the annexation of the Kozaks and Ukraine.

On a broader scale, Lesur writes that the Ukrainians are "an old race whose origin stretches back to the darkness of centuries." After the Poltava tragedy, he writes, Peter I, Sheremetyev, Menshikov and other Muscovite dignitaries maltreated, abused and tortured the Ukrainian population, including women and children, and found a special satisfaction in this. Menshikov, in order to increase the suffering of those tortured, ordered gallows built at Perevolochna so that those being tortured could look out upon their country, Ukraine. The merciless tsar was thirsty for the blood of their entire nation (tsar avait soif du sang de toute leur nation). Lesur adds that the entire Muscovite nation was imbued with a thirst for blood.

A French doctor by the name of De La Frise, who spent some time in Russian captivity after being captured during the invasion of Russia by Napoleon, left his Memoirs of 1812, in which he described Ukrainian customs and the life of Ukrainian officer families in the province of Chernihiv, in which he had lived. Describing Ukrainian dances, De la Frise commented that "women executed a dance with such precision and grace that even on the Parisian stage they would earn applause." He also mentions that he was greeted at a reception by the well-known Ukrainian Kozak officer family of Zavadovsky in Lyalychy. The Zavadovsky palace, he wrote, possessed rare beauty (it was built by the architect G. Quarenghi in 1795), and contained some 100  p179 rooms. He noted the quantity of pineapple, at the reception of the Zavadovsky, a rarity not seen in France. They were grown in the special orangery of Mr. Zavadovsky. One of the salons had Gobelin tapestry, while the walls were covered with the paintings of famous masters. The palace church had been decorated by an Italian painter. In Zavadovsky's hothouses and orangeries De la Frise saw orange and pineapple trees,º which were a rarity in (Eastern) Europe in general.

A very good view of the so‑called "military settlements" made by the Russian government in Ukraine is found in the Memoirs of A. Pishchevich, a Serb by origin who served in the Russian administration and who was a witness and participant in these "military settlements" arranged by Count Arakcheyev. They were characterized by unusual brutality and inhumanity as far as the Ukrainian population was concerned. Unfortunately, some of the pages of his report were suppressed by the editors of the Kievskaya Starina in 1886 because of the official censor­ship, as they were "too critical" of the Russian government.

These remarks concern the "rule over the Ukrainian Kozaks" by Count Witte, an appointee of the tsarist government.

Pishchevich writes that the same Count Witte "carried his beauti­ful wife behind the staff of Prince Potemkin and sold her to this dignitary; later on he sold her to Count Potocki."

In 1817 the Russian government planned to bring Muscovite Uhlan regiments to the garrisons of the Ukrainian Kozaks on the River Boh, and to turn the Ukrainian Kozaks into Russian Uhlans. Pishchevich writes:

"Four Uhlan regiments were brought to Voznesensk. The Boh Kozaks at the beginning were determined not even to let them into their houses, but finally they were compelled to yield to superior force, for Count Witte brought in reserves of two infantry battalions and two batteries of artillery. In other Kozak garrisons battles raged and many Kozaks were killed, drowned in the Boh River, or beaten and sent to Siberia . . . In some localities the women, seeing the Muscovite Uhlans attacking their husbands, threw themselves with their infants at the feet of the  p180 believing that they could thus save their husbands from certain death, but to no avail . . . Witte himself retired to the Mykhaylivsky Post, where he called out all people and told them to swear fealty to the tsar. But they all refused. Then he singled out the oldest Kozak and demanded that he set an example for the others. But when this gray-haired old man stood firm and declared that he would not betray them and would not consent to that which would bring misery to his fellow citizens, Witte declared:

" 'So you will be an example to the others!'

"He then ordered the whole battalion of infantry to form a corridor of two lines and ordered the 70‑year‑old man to march through the corridor, so that every soldier would have the opportunity to use a knout on him. And in order that the old man should walk slowly, Witte ordered two soldiers to march backwards in front of him with fixed bayonets . . . The old man, seeing them before him, told the Count who was present at this execution, in a strong, even voice:

" 'I do not need them before me. I will take such a stride as you order and God Almighty will accept my soul . . .'

"The drums sounded and the trumpets blared, and the old man went to his death. He did not have to march far: very soon he was dead . . .

"One has to realize the base brutality: the old man was beaten to death before the eyes of all the inhabitants, among whom were his sons, grandsons and great-grandchildren . . ."

Referring to other instances of persecution of the Ukrainians by the Russians, Pishchevich writes the following incident:

"Among the insurgents there was found a Kozak official, a young and good looking man who took part in the campaign against the French and was decorated with medals and even a Cross of St. George. He too was beaten by the soldiers under the eyes of Count Witte. When the execution was over, the young man, barely alive, was covered with his uniform adorned by medals of the tar. He was conscious enough to tear off his medals and to throw them at Count Witte's feet:

 p181  " 'I do not need them, as they could not defend me before a disgraceful punishment!'

"This was considered 'another crime' and he was beaten again by the soldiers to death . . ."

This policy of the Russian government toward conquered Ukraine was officially termed the "pacification of rebels," and finally the defenseless people were subdued. Later the Russian government began drafting the Ukrainians for slave labor and treated them as cattle. They were used for the construction of military forts, canals and the like. They were not free to dispose of their land or to sell their products, and Russian officers and men raped Ukrainian women and went unpunished.

The Ukrainian Kozaks argued with the Russian emissary that the land was theirs forever, a fact which even Catherine II could not abrogate, but to no avail. The Kozaks had some hope that when the tsar came to Ukraine they would be able to tell him of the injustices done to them. But Count Witte hit upon an ingenious plan to deceive the tsar as to the "happiness" of the conquered Ukrainian people:

Along the road on which the tsar traveled, Witte ordered the erection of the so‑called "Potemkin villages," in which Ukrainian peasants were compelled to "smile" and sing to show the tsar that they were "happy," while at the very same time their families were being either held as hostages or were being sent to Siberia.

Further unrest on the River Boh and large-scale insurrections in the Kharkiv province compelled the tsar to suspend these "military settlements." In many places in Ukraine the tsar received deputations asking him to spare them this "happiness" of being ruled by Russian troops. But in 1819 these "military settlements" were resumed.

An Englishman, Adam Neale, a doctor of medicine, in his book Travels through some parts of Germany, Poland, Moldavia and Turkey, published in London in 1818, tells of his experiences in Poland and in Lviv (Lemberg), where he witnessed the arrival of the Russian troops. In Chapter XI he says of the city of Lviv:

 p182  "Here, as in most other cities in Poland, there is such a multitude of Jews, that their filthy habits mingled with those of the Russians, Poles, Armenians, and others, their fellow citizens, give a character to a population altogether as motley and villainous as is, perhaps, to be met with in any large city in Europe; the streets are dirty and badly paved, and the interior of the town is both ruinous and neglected.

[image ALT: zzz.]

28. A view from the banks of the Dniester River.
A colored lithograph from the book Travels, by Adam Neale, London, 1818.

"The Russian troops did, in fact, arrive on the appointed day and our curiosity was amply gratified by beholding the various semi-barbarous tribes of which their cavalry regiments were composed. Calmucks, Cossacks from the Don and Volga, Tartars from the banks of the Caspian, and Siberians from the frozen bounds of the Northern Ocean, mounted on animals so small and rough in appearance, that it was difficult to discriminate at first sight whether they were actually horses, or some unknown quadrupeds. The contemplation of these swarthy groupes, congratulated like the hordes of barbarians pouring down upon the empire of the West, excited in our minds some extraordinary reflections as to the ultimate consequences which might one day result from this irruption.

"One circumstance connected with the passage of this division is worth relating, as it illustrates what has been before stated, respecting the general corruption of morals in Poland. A lady of noble birth, whose château was situated a few leagues from Lemberg (Lviv), was living in the same hotel with ourselves, which was also the headquarters of the Russian troops. This woman's fortune, if we might form an opinion from her numerous retinue, horses, and carriage, must have been fully adequate to her rank. She had come to Lemberg to await the passage of the Russian troops, expressly for the same purpose that one of her Amazonian ancestors, Queen Thalestris, had thrown herself in the way of Alexander and the Macedonian army. The troops continued marching in for four days, during which time this licentious female dined daily at the table d'hôte, and adopted expeditions to accomplish the object of her journey, in which, I presume, she was not disappointed.

 p183  "The people at the inn spoke of this as belonging to the common course of passing events in Poland; thus confirming the truth of Wraxall's assertion, 'that it is not in fact gallantry but licentiousness which here reigns without controul.' Wraxall speaks especially of Warsaw, but the state of society is the same all over Poland."

Of a further journey, Neale writes:

"On leaving Lemberg, our first day's journey carried us through Davidow, Bobrka, and Strelitz (Strelysko), all miserable villages, and terminated in the evening at Kneichenitz, where we slept. The next we proceeded through Burstein (Burstyn) towards Halietz (Halych) which is a very ancient town situated on the banks of the Dniester, the Tyras or Danaster of the ancient classic writers. The ruins of the Castle of Halich are extensive, crowning the summit of a promontory which stretches boldly over the river and commands an extensive view of a very fertile valley . . . Halich . . . although formerly a regal abode of the Kings of  p184 Halitzia, and the residence of the Greek archbishop . . . The native historians represent Halych as having been formerly a city of great extent, containing 30 or 40,000 inhabitants; and it has also the reputation of having imposed a name on the adjoining territory; Halitzia was the original name of Galitzia; the H having been exchanged for the G for the sake of euphony. Halle in the Sclavonic tongue signifies salt: Halych therefore is the town or place of salt, Halitzia the territory of salt mines; an etymology which seems in this instance at least, very correct."​a

In Chapter XII Dr. Neale continued:

"The road followed the left bank of the river till we approached the town of Tschernowitz (Chernivtsi), where our carriages were ferried over on a double boat lashed together by transverse planks forming a platform, and we soon afterwards entered the last frontier town of the Austrian states. Chernivtsi, the capital of the Buckowine, is agreeably situated upon a hill on the southern bank of the Pruth . . . Contrary to custom, its streets are wide, clean, and well paved, and the houses are built of free-stone."

"This they say we slept at Olmacks (Tovmach?); next day we breakfasted at Obertyn and the same evening reached Snyatyn . . . It is now a poor village inhabited by Jews, and is situated near the bank of the Pruth . . .

[image ALT: zzz.]

29. Landscape of the Black Sea.
A colored lithograph from the book Travels, by Adam Neale, London, 1818.

Another English author who travelled through Ukraine and made some interesting comments about the country and its people was Lieutenant Thomas Lumsden, who, in 1822 in London, wrote A Journey from Merut in India to London, During the Years 1819 and 1820. On his way from India to London, Lumsden travelled through Persia, the Caucasus, and Ukraine. On August 7, 1820 he left Georgia and entered the Kuban area where he met for the first time the Ukrainian Kozaks who had been recently settled in this region. He writes about them as follows:

The count's carriage, with six horses leading, (four wheelers abreast, and two leaders before), then four provision carts, our kebitka, and about twenty horsemen, including myself and a party of Cossacks, galloping in all directions; in short we went off in  p185 style. The afternoon proved rainy; but I got pretty well on, having an admirable Cossack charger under me, and a fine Georgian cloak to protect my person. We reached good quarters at Elizabeth's Redoubt, by six.

"Tuesday, 8th. — We marched about seven, A.M. with a strong escort under the command of an officer, a party of Cossacks forming the advanced guard; then followed a party of soldiers, and a piece of artillery, with lighted match, and an ammunition waggon; the count's and other carriages in the same order as yesterday. All this caution was in consequence of the daring attacks of the Lesgays, a party of whom killed twelve Cossacks, and carried off their horses, &c. only four months ago, at a place within a few wersts of Constantine's Redoubt. When about half way, we came up with a large convoy of return waggons on their way to Mosdok. Here we halted and had a cold collation with the count and a little gentleman who was travelling with him. Count Vorontsov º is the nephew of the Russian nobleman of the same name, who was ambassador in England a few years ago. This gentleman has travelled all over Britain, and speaks English exceedingly well. I rode and walked with him all this day's march, and found him a pleasant well-informed man. We reached Constantine's Redoubt about ten o'clock, A.M.

"Wednesday, 9th. — We marched early in the morning, in the same order as yesterday. There was nothing like a village or cultivation to be seen in this desolate country, nor had we seen any since we crossed the Terek at Vladi Caucass. The Lesgays and other aborigines of the country never fail to murder a Russian traveller on the road, when an opportunity offers; and, having accomplished their object, they erect a small stone pillar on the spot, to commemorate the sacrifice of an oppressor of their country. . .

"Monday, 14th. — A little cultivation appeared in the surrounding country; and at sunrise we had a fine view of a range of snowy mountains in Circassia. We went this day ninety-four wersts, in common Russian post calls; fine roads, without tolls, and smart horses, three abreast in each cart. I think they moved  p186 at the rate of twelve miles an hour, on an average; but I had now no watch to time them . . ."

About Odessa which was a new city and had at that time about 30,000 people, Lumsden wrote:

"The city having been almost entirely built within the last fifteen years, the clean and heat appearance of the houses, has a pleasing effect, while a forest of masts, at the Mole, conveys some idea of the wealth and consequence of the place . . . After our peregrinations among barbarous nations, we thus found ourselves at last in a flourishing Christian city, on the borders of Europe. By the route which we had taken from the east, the changes observable in the manners and customs of the various nations, as well as their colours, had often been sudden; but the approach to these comparatively civilized regions was extremely gradual . . ."

The author finally arrived in Lviv (Lemberg) on September 18, and wrote:

"I observed the female sex employed in various occupations in Galicia, which I had never seen them attempt before. Men and women were working together in repairing the roads. A man or boy holds the plough, and a woman drives the cattle, which are usually a pair of horses in front of a pair of bullocks. I further observed two women thrashing grain with flails. I cannot say I admire the system of outdoor work for the ladies.

"We had been pestered by innumerable beggars since we entered this province. As we approached the city of Lemberg, we met many travellers of distinction; and the country became very romantic. The first view we had of the city was from the summit of a hill, when all at once we had a bird's eye view, embra­cing the whole of the spires, churches, and finest part of it in the foreground, with the less interesting objects behind . . . We drove to the Russian hotel, which is quite a palace, both in its external appearance and interior accommodations; and after giving orders for dinner, we sallied forth to pay a visit to one of the chief Jesuit priests, to whom we had brought a letter of introduction from his brother at Mosdok."

(p221 f.).º

 p187  One of the most interesting descriptions of travel in Ukraine in the XIXth century is found in Travels in Russia, Tartary and Turkey, by Edward Daniel Clarke, which was published in two volumes in 1816 in London.​b Clarke, an Englishman, travelled through Eastern Ukraine, the Kuban, the Slobozhan­shchyna, and the Crimea, visited such towns as Kherson, Nykolaiv and Odessa, and was able to make an extremely apt characterization of the Ukrainian people. Following the official Russian terminology, Clarke refers to the Ukrainians as "Malo-Russians" although he occasionally refers to the country as Ukraine.

Travelling through the Kuban and Slobozhan­shchyna, Clarke first met Ukrainians and recorded them in his book on page 47:

"We met frequent caravans of the Malo-Russians, who differ altogether from the inhabitants of the rest of Russia. Their features are those of the Polonese and Cossacks. They are a much more noble race, and stouter and better looking people than the Russians, and superior to them in everything that can exalt  p188 one set of men above another. They are cleaner, more industrious, more honest, more generous, more polite, more courageous, more hospitable, more truly pious, and of course, less superstitious.

(Vol. I, p278).???????????????????

"The first regular establishment of Malo-Russians which we saw, occurred after leaving Iestakovo. It was called Locova Sloboda. The houses were all whitewashed, like many of the cottages in Wales; and this operation is performed annually, with great care. Such distinguishing cleanliness appeared within their dwellings that a traveller might fancy himself transported, in the course of a few miles, from Russia to Holland. Their apartments, even the ceilings and the beams in the roofs, are regularly washed. Their tables and benches shine with washing and rubbing, and reminded us of the interior of cottages in Norway. Their courtyards, stables, and out‑houses, with everything belonging to them, bespoke industry and neatness. In the furniture of their little kitchens, instead of the darkness and smoky hue of the Russian houses, we observed everywhere brightness and cleanliness. Their utensils and domestic vessels were all scoured and well polished. They had poultry, and plenty of cattle. And their gardens were filled with fruit-trees, which gave an English character to their houses — the third nation with whose dwellings I have compared the cottages of Malo-Russia; that is to say, having a Welsh character, a Norwegian interior, and the gardens and out‑houses of the English peasantry. They had neat floors, and although the roof was thatched, its interior was wainscoted. There was nowhere any appearance of dirt or vermin.

"The inhabitants, in their features, resemble Cossacks, and both these people bear a similitude to the Poles; being, doubtless, all derived from one common stock. The dress of unmarried women is much the same among the Malo-Russians and the Don Cossacks. They both wear a kelt, or petticoat, of one piece of cloth fastened round the waist. Sometimes, particularly among more aged females, this petticoat consists of two pieces, like two aprons, the one fastened in front — the other behind. The necks of the girls are laden with large red beads, falling in several  p189 rows over the breast. The fingers both of men and women are set off with rings, containing glass gems. A simple bandeau, or gilded cap is sometimes seen on female heads and from behind hang rows of antique coins, or false pieces sold to them for that purpose, which imitate the ancient coin of their own and of other countries. But the resemblance of this people, in certain circumstances of dress and manners, to the Scottish Highlanders, is very remarkable. The cloth petticoat, before mentioned, is chequered like the Scottish plaid, and answers to the kelt which is still worn in Scotland.

"They have also, among their musical instruments, the bagpipe and the Jew's harp; the former, like that used in North Britain and in Finland, is common to the Cossack as well as the Malo-Russians. Another point of resemblance may be found in the love of spirituous liquors."


Describing the port of Pavlovsk on the Don and other settlements on the Sea of Azov, the author writes:

"The Governor provided us with a power­ful escort; and early in the morning we continued our journey. The roads have been all changed, since Gmelin and other travellers visited this part of Russia. We proceeded from Pavlovsk to Kozinsky Khutor, a village inhabited by Malo-Russians (Ukrainians) and Russians mingled together. The adjourn between the two people might be made without the smallest injury, from the striking contrast they exhibited of filth and cleanliness. In the stable of the post-house we found about twenty horses, kept with a degree of order and neatness which would have done credit to any nobleman's stud in Britain. The house of the poor superintendent villager was equally admirable; every thing appeared clean and decent; there was no litter; nor was any thing out of its place. It was quite a new thing to us, to hesitate whether we should clean our boots before walking into an apartment, on the floor of which I would rather dined than on the table of any Russian prince.


"The next place we came to was Dobrinka; and here for the first time we found an establishment of Cossacks; although but  p190 few appeared, and even these were mixed with Malo-Russians. The church was new; a large and handsome white building . . . Others of the same nature appeared in most of the neighbouring villages . . .


"At sunset all the cows belonging to the inhabitants came, in one large troop, lowing, into the village. No driver was necessary; for, as the herd entered, they separated into parties, and retired of their own accord to their respective owners in order to be milked. The Malo-Russians (Ukrainians), with their numerous families, were seated on the ground, in circles before their neat little habitations, eating their supper; and, all being merry together, offered a picture of contentment and peace not often found within Russian territories . . ."


In Chapter XIII dealing with the Don Cossacks, Clarke refers to the Circassians, that is, the Ukrainians, as follows:

"The Cossacks, and all the inhabitants of the Asiatic coasts of the Black Sea, call the Circassians Tscherkess, and Tscherkessi, a further confirmation of remarks made concerning the etymology of the word Tscherkask (Cherkasy), which might, perhaps, be more accurately written Tcherckaskoy, but I have adopted the orthography recommended by its best informed inhabitants. If it were necessary to make any addition to what has already been written, with regard to the relation they bear to the Cossacks and other inhabitants of the Ukraine, many curious circumstances might be alleged; such, for example, as the mode of accounting money, which is the same among the Malo-Russians and Circassians. There are now Malo-Russians living in the Caucasian Mountains. The Circassians, moreover, left their name in the appellation of a town built upon the Dnieper."


Clarke deals with the Kuban region, where many of the Zaporozhian Kozaks were resettled. His information, supplied by Russian official sources, is less accurate and less reliable:

"During the first thirty‑six versts (twenty-four miles) of this day's journey, we found Grecian or Malo-Russian inhabitants. Their number in this district does not exceed 700 (seven hundred) persons; yet a proof of their industry and of their superior importance,  p191 as tenants of the land, is offered in the fact of their affording to their landlord an average payment of no less a sum annually than 10,000 roubles. The boundary of their little territory is formed by the river Ae (Eya) towards the south, and the Sea of Azov to the north. The river Ae separates them from a very different and very extraordinary race of men, whose history and country we are now prepared to consider; namely, the Tchernomorski, or Cossacks of the Black Sea . . . The Tchernomorski are a brave, but rude and warlike people, possessing little of the refinement of civilized society, although much inward goodness of heart; and they are ready to show the greatest hospitality to strangers who solicit their aid. Their original appellation was Zaporozhtsi, seems to the most exact orthography given to me by Mr. Kovalevsky of Taganroh, a term alluding to their former situation "beyond the cataracts" of the Dnieper. From the banks of this river they were removed, by the late Empress Catherine to those of the Kuban, in order to repel the incursions of the Circassians and Tartars from the Turkish frontier. Their removal was originally planned by Potemkin, but did not take place until about nine years previous to our arrival in the country. Their society upon the Dnieper originally consisted of refugees and deserters from all nations, who had formed settlements in the marshes of that river. Storch affirms, that there was hardly a language in Europe but might be found in use among this singular people."

(Vol. II, p3 f.).

While the above-mentioned information was taken from Russian official sources and as such was highly colored, the impression which Clarke gained of the Kuban and the Black Sea Kozaks who brought their customs from the Zaporozhian Sich, was quite different.

"The houses of the inhabitants were neater than our best English cottages. Each owner had before his door a large area in which an avenue of the finest oaks conducted; also an adjoining garden, containing vines, water-melons, and cucumbers. Many plants found  p192 only in our greenhouses, are ordinary weeds of the plain . . .

(Vol. II, p19).

"In their new settlement, the Tchernomorski still display the mode of life common to them before their migration from the Dnieper. By this means the Circassians and even those of the Russians who live among them or near them, are instructed in many arts of domestic comfort and cleanliness. Celebrated as they justly are for their skill in horseman­ship, they acknowledge themselves inferior in this respect to the Circassians, whose light bodies, lightly accoutred, upon the fleetest horses in the world, outstrip them in the chase. It is not perhaps possible to behold a more striking figure than a Tchernomorski mounted and equipped for war. It is then only he may be said to exist, and in his native element; brandishing his long lance in the air, bending, turning, or halting suddenly when in full speed, with so much graceful attitude, and such natural dignity, that the horse and the rider seem to be as one animal."

(Vol. II, p20).

Writing about his journey from the Crimea through Perekop to Nikolaiv, the author continues:

"The roads were as usual excellent. Throughout all the South of Russia (Ukraine), excepting after heavy rain, the traveller may proceed with a degree of speed and facility unknown in any other country. A journey from Moscow to Tsaritzin, to Astrakhan, and thence, along the whole Caucasian line to the Straits of Taman, might be considered as a mere summer excursion, and for the most part easier and pleasanter than an expedition through any part of Germany. The horses of a superior quality are always ready; the turf over which the roads extend is excellent excepting during the rainy season. Much greater expedition may be used in the same country, during winter, by travelling upon sledges, as it is well known . . .

(Vol. II, p322).

The particular district said to be the most dangerous, in all the road from Moscow to Perecop, occurs between Kremenchukand Ekaterinoslav, upon the frontier of Poland . . .

"It was from this tribe that Potemkin selected those brave Cossacks, now known under the appellation of Tchernomorski, who inhabit Kuban."


 p193  "Being unacquainted with the topography of Borislav and having no map in which it is traced, it is not possible to give an accurate description of the different streams and lakes of water we passed, in order to reach that place. The inhabitants were even more ignorant than ourselves of the country. Before we arrived, we traversed an extensive tract of sand, apparently insulated; this we were told, was often inundated; and boats were then stationed to conduct travellers. Having crossed this sandy district, we passed the Dnieper by a ferry, and ascended its steep bank on the western side to the town. The conveyance of caravans, upon the sands, was effected with great difficulty; each waggon requiring no less a number of oxen than eight or twelve, and even these seemed hardly adequate to the immense labour of the draft. All the way from Perecop to Borislav, the line of caravans continued almost without intermission. The immense concourse of waggons; the bellowing of the oxen; the bawling and grotesque appearance of the drivers; the crowd of persons in the habits of many different nations, waiting a passage across the water, offered one of those singular scenes, to which, in other countries, there is nothing similar.

"Borislav, upon the western side of the Dnieper, is a miserable looking place, owing its support entirely on the passage of salt caravans from the Crimea. Its situation, upon so considerable a river, affording it an intercourse with Kiev and Cherson, might entitle it to higher consideration; but we could obtain no information worth repeating upon the existence of any such commerce. We observed the "Polish" (West Ukraine) costume very prevalent here; the men in every respect, resembling the Cossacks of the Don."


About the city of Kherson, and the coffin of Potemkin, Clarke writes:

Many inhabitants of Kherson, as well as English officers in the Russian service, who resided in the neighborhood, had seen the coffin; this was extremely ordinary, but the practice of showing it to strangers prevailed for some years after Potemkin's decease."

(Vol. II, p337).

 p194  The author's remarks about Nykolaiv — another city on the Dnieper, read:

"There is no town to compare with it in all the South of Russia (Ukraine); nor any in the empire, excepting Moscow and Petersburg . . . English officers, and English engineers, with other foreigners in the Russian service, residing here, have introduced habits of urbanity and cleanliness . . ."

(Vol. II, p350).

About Odessa the English author writes:

"The town of Odessa is situated close to the coast, which is here very lofty, and much exposed to winds. The air is reckoned pure, and remarkably wholesome. Corn is the principal article of exportation. The imports are — dried and conserved fruits from Constantinople, Greek wines, tobacco, and other Turkish merchandise. The villages in the neighborhood produce butter and cheese . . . Potatoes, seldom seen in other towns, are sold in the market, and they are even carried as presents to Constantinople . . .


A more general idea of Russia Clarke gives in the following:

"But more serious difficulties frequently follow a want of attention to these prejudices, in visiting the interior of Russia. When a "podorozhny" or order for post-horses, is made out, it will often be recommended to foreigners, and particularly to Englishmen, to annex some title to the simple statement of their names. Without this, they may be considered during their journey, as mere slaves, and will be liable to frequent insult, delay, and imposition. The precaution is of such importance, that experienced travellers have introduced the most ludicrous distinctions upon these occasions; and have represented themselves as Barons, Brigadiers, Inspectors, and Professors — in short, as any thing which may enable them to pass as freedmen. For example: Monsieur le Capitaine A. B. C., avec le Directeur D. E. F., et le President G. H. J., et leurs domestiques K. L. M. So necessary is a due regard to these particulars, that an officer of very high rank in the service assured us, previous to our leaving Moscow, that we should find ourselves frequently embarrassed in our route, because we would not abandon the pride of calling ourselves Commoners of England; and we had reason to regret  p195 the neglect with which we treated his advice, during the whole of our subsequent travels in the country . . ."

(Vol. I, p214).

"The contrast between a Russian and a Cossack, or between a Russian and a Tartar, has perhaps already been sufficiently delineated; but there is a third point of opposition in which a Russian may be viewed, even more amusing than either of these, namely, when he is contrasted with a Greek . . ."

(Vol. II, p382).

Clarke gave interesting statistics on the "annexation" to the Russian empire of various lands and their inhabitants, including the territories populated by the Ukrainians. They read as follows:

In 1770 Russia obtained Bessarabia with a population of 500,000 people.

In 1771 the Crimea was annexed to Russia with 460,000 people.

In 1793 Little Poland and the Ukraine were incorporated into the Russian empire with 6,500,000 people, and in 1794 "Western" Russia, including Lithuania and Podolia, were added to the empire, with 8,500,000 people.

When we add the territory of Eastern Ukraine (east of the Dnieper River) with at least 6,000,000 people, we might arrive at an approximate number of the Ukrainians who lived in Ukraine at the end of the XVIIIth century, namely 18,000,000 people.

Another important work pertaining to the Ukraine of the same period were the memoirs of J. G. Kohl, a noted German scientist, traveller and founder of anthropogeography. He traveled in Ukraine in 1837‑1838, and in 1838 and 1841 published a six‑volume work, entitled Reisen in Suedrussland, which includes the book, Die Ukraine Kleinrussland.

The author crossed Ukraine from Kharkiv to Odessa, and from Odessa to Peremyshl. His description of Ukraine is purely scientific and objective, and deals with all aspects of Ukrainian geography. As far as we know, Kohl's work has not been translated into the English language.

Touching on the history of Ukraine, J. G. Kohl writes:

"Dismemberment was once the greatest misgiving of the Ukrainian people (tribe) also in the political aspect. Only for  p196 a short while were they united and strong, namely, under Volodymyr who ruled in Kiev. Today one part of the Ukrainians is behind the Carpathians in the Hungarian state, another in the Austrian province of Galicia, and still another on the Don, incorporated into the Russian provinces. But the bulk of them remained on the Dnieper in basic Ukraine. If it would be possible to unite all these parts politically, then the Ukrainian people would be quite strong compared to the Russian people."

Kohl devoted much space to the description of Ukrainian anthropogeography and the customs and habits of the Ukrainians. Approaching the first Ukrainian village after crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border, Kohl remarks:

"All around, all nature was simply beauti­ful . . . Ukraine was full of welcome and beauty . . . Houses are wrapped in greenery and hidden in the valleys. High behind the village where the winds blew stood 50 to 100 wind-mills. Before the traveler who is riding through the high, barren and desert steppe, suddenly appears an unusual and picturesque scene when a Ukrainian village emerges from a ravine.

"The Ukrainians live in well-kept houses which smile at you. They are not satisfied with washing them every week, as is done in Holland, but they whitewash them every two weeks as well. Therefore, the houses look like newly-washed linen."

The same type of Ukrainian village was found by Kohl in other parts of Ukraine, particularly near Odessa, where he found beauti­ful houses with spacious, neatly kept rooms. He was thrilled by the sight of Ukrainian gardens, full of many kinds of flowers, as well as melons, pumpkins and cucumbers.

"On Sunday," writes Kohl, "girls gather in these gardens, pick flowers and make wreaths to put in their hair, like princesses. These slender Ukrainian girls like flowers so much that even during their working days they adorn their hair with them and look like the vestals of Flora. And as they like to sing, one can see in these villages something not seen elsewhere . . . women with flowers in their hair, singing like nightingales while they work in the fields . . .

 p197  "When we read descriptions of the Ukrainians by some writers (Clarke, Hofmann), we would believe that they are a people of Apollos. But a traveler who sees for the first time these lean and tired people, sun‑tanned and covered with black dust, might think that before him is a race of barbarians. But this impression soon disappears. For after a detailed observation and departure from casualness, an external appearance teaches us something else. A Ukrainian, who dresses carefully, takes care of his body, and donning a Cossack or guard uniform, looks far more refined and closer to perfection than a Muscovite: he is also more noble and handsome."

In discussing the relation­ship between the Ukrainians and the Russians, Kohl heavily underscores a variety of differences between those two peoples. He particularly underlines the cultural superiority of the Ukrainians to the Russians.

The aversion of the Ukrainians to the Muscovites, their oppressors, is so great that it could be called hatred. This hatred is increasing rather than decreasing. On the other hand, the Ukrainians were never friendlier with the Poles than after they were rid of their domination. The worst label that a Ukrainian pins on a Pole is 'senseless Pole,' while a Muscovite in the imagination of the Ukrainian is always 'cursed.' The Ukrainians have such widely-used proverbs as:

" 'He is a good man, but a Muscovite!'

" 'Be friendly with the Muscovite, but keep a stone under your coat!'

"Ukrainians are extremely bad Russian patriots. Love and adoration of the tsar, so proper to the Muscovites, are to the Ukrainians completely alien and incomprehensible. The Ukrainians obey the tsar because they are forced to, but they consider his authority alien and imposed . . . If you do not want to offend a Ukrainian, do not tell him about the conquest of Ukraine by Muscovy, for the Ukrainian is aware of the fact that his country concluded a treaty with Muscovy, only to be deceived by the latter."

One of the larger cities in Ukraine to be mentioned by Kohl is Kharkiv:

 p198  "Its trade," he writes, "was larger than the trade of Kiev, and its university rivals those in Vilno and Kazan; its fair (yarmarok) reaches the level of that in Nizhny-Novgorod thanks to commercial routes. In fourteen days there comes to Kharkiv more merchandise than to Riga in a year. Horses and textile products — wool, flax, hemp and silk — are the most widely sold products, followed by those of metal, as well as sugar, confiture, sweets, furs, tropical fruits and fish."

Passing through Poltava, Kohl makes references to the battle of Poltava and the tragic enslavement of the Ukrainian people. He also mentions the beginning of the Ukrainian literary and national rebirth, which had then taken its initial steps:

"One of the most outstanding and most original products of the current Ukrainian literature is the Eneida (Aeneid) of Kotlyarevksy. Unfortunately, its author died a few years ago in Poltava."

The author also gives very interesting items about Odessa, which, according to his information, had at least 16 different language groups. Songs heard in the streets were in both Russian and Italian, while the city theatre performed an Italian repertoire. He writes that in 1837 some 650 ships cast anchor in Odessa, of which number more than half were Italian, followed by English and Greek. Odessa's chief experts were wheat (to England and Italy), tallow (to England) and wool, while at the same time it imported manufactured goods and colonial products. The overall commercial turn-over of the port of Odessa equalled that of Riga, and of all Russian ports only Petersburg had a bigger turn-over. The trade of Odessa was extremely great and active, and at its markets there was not only a great quantity of the above-mentioned wares, but a great mass of food products which were of good quality and inexpensive. Meat stores were much neater than those in Vienna. Kohl writes that the meat trade was mostly in Ukrainian and Russian hands. He also says that the Ukrainians bitterly opposed the influx of Russians, and scornfully referred to them as "katsaps" from Muscovia.

 p199  From Odessa Kohl went through Bessarabia and Bukovyna to Galicia. He noticed that in "Galicia and Bukovyna live the same Ukrainians as the Kozaks and Ukrainians in Russia." Their language, naturally, differs very much from the Great Russian. "On the other hand, the Ukrainians of Podolia and Kiev understand those Ukrainians from Galicia as their own brothers." He also says that the Ukrainians of Galicia look somber and taciturn, and that "theft and murder are seldom committed among them." Kohl even quotes the criminal statistics of the Austrian courts to the effect that the eastern provinces of the empire are in no way as much infected by crime as those in the West.

As all Ukrainians, he commented that the Ukrainians of Galicia were cleaner than the Poles; on the other hand, the Poles were more industrious and careful.

Kohl also calls the attention of the reader to the importance of the trade route Kolomiya-Stanislaviv-Lviv between the two great empires Russia and Austria.

He writes with enchantment about the ethnographic characteristics of Galicia, in which he found much color­ful material for ethnography, particularly among the Ukrainian mountaineers in the Carpathian Mountains.

When Kohl arrived in Lviv in October, he was very much impressed and delighted with the view of the city which then had a population of 80,000. All the streets and tall buildings, he reports, were splendidly illuminated, something which indicated the prosperity and well-being of the city. This impression was reinforced when he passed through the gates of the city and saw spacious public squares, boulevards and parks, as well as a quantity of cafés, confectioneries, and wine-gardens. In his opinion, Lviv had more elegant cafés than Dresden or any other German city of the same size.

He also commented on the musical inclinations and aptitudes of the Ukrainians which he remarked, immediately after crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border.

"The Ukrainians," he wrote, "are perhaps the most song-loving people in the world; although they have not as yet given  p200 Europe a composer, they sing day and night, during games and at work . . ."

In conclusion, Kohl stated:

"There is not the slightest doubt that some day the gigantic body of the Russian empire will be broken, and Ukraine will again become a free and independent state. This time is approaching slowly but inevitably. The Ukrainians are a nation with their own language, culture and historical tradition. For the time being Ukraine is divided among its neighbors. But the material for the erection of the Ukrainian state is ready; if not today, then tomorrow a builder will appear who will erect from this material a great and independent Ukrainian state."

(Vol. III, p313 ff.).

Another German writer Baron F. Haxthausen in his Studien (Hanover, 1847, translated into English by Robert Fairie, London, 1856) draws striking contrasts between the Ukrainians and Russians in almost every field. Of the Ukrainians, he writes:

"The Little Russian is meditative; he loves to ponder over the antecedents of his nation, and revels in the recollection of the deeds of his ancestors. If you ask him what he is, he replies proudly and joyously, 'A Cosack' — the title of honor among his people."

(Vol. I, p353).

"The Little Russians are an imaginative and poetical people, and a number of popular songs, tales and legends have been preserved among them. The abundance of these is wonder­ful, and treasures of poetry and history may still be hidden and unknown here . . . The Little Russians have much talent for the fine arts; they have generally a clear, full voice and so correct an ear and memory, that without teaching, they learn to sing and play upon different instruments with great precision and ability. They have also a decided talent for drawing and painting and without any instruction they often perform what seems incredible in these arts. They are extremely pious and devotedly attached to their church."

(Vol. I, pp413 ff.).

General A. Marmont (1774‑1852), who became a marshal in the army of Napoleon and who was forced into exile after the  p201 Paris revolution of 1830, spent some time in Ukraine in 1834. His work, Voyage du Maréchal duc de Raguse en Hongrie . . . la Russie méridionale, which was published in 1837 in Paris, was translated into German and English (Marmont: Travels in Russia, London, 1840). He writes that the goal of his travel was above all "Southern Russia," that is, Ukraine, and he says:

"All know the wealth of Ukraine; it is the most fertile country in the world. The land is black and deep and is extremely productive. It constitutes a sort of plateau, covered with innumerable ravines and valleys, with many streams and ponds . . . The country is adorned by a multitude of trees; beauti­ful and attractive forests cut the uniformity of valleys. It is a wave-like surface which provides picturesque scenery for the eye . . ."

In Odessa, Nykolaiv and other cities the Russian administration generously feted the French Marshal and willingly showed him the "Potemkin villages," that is, those "military settlements," on the Boh River, from which the Ukrainian Kozaks had been forcibly deported, to be replaced by Russian Uhlans. As a military man, Marmont was especially interested in the military training of the Ukrainian Kozaks, who at that time were already integrated into the Russian Army. He writes of them:

"The Kozaks provide troops which have no equal elsewhere in Europe . . . Their value lies in special spheres as a result of their mode of life before entering the service."

Evidently he meant that these Ukrainian troops, due to their para-military organizational life, were adapted for special missions beyond the capacity of the regular Russian regiments.

Marmont recorded that on the island of Taman

"there lived the Black Sea (Chornomorski) Kozaks, who are part of the population of Kozaks taken from the Dnieper . . ." He "dined at the home of a colonel's widow, who was an excellent hostess . . . Her son, a Kozak officer, and some of his friends, showed their skill at riding, which was remarkable for its speed and dexterity . . . Continuous exercises of a mental and physical nature make them uniquely suitable for service in the light army (troops). The  p202 first war will certainly prove their superiority over the Don Cossacks."

Not far from Preobrazhenske on the Sea of Azov, he writes, there is a settlement of "Kozaks of the Sea of Azov who came 30,000 strong from the islands and the shore of the Danube. These were also Ukrainian Kozaks who, after the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich by Catherine II, went to Turkey and settled in the delta of the Danube. After a few years, a part of them returned to Ukraine.

Still another German writer, Johann Heinrich Blasius, a professor at the Collegium Carolinum in Brunswick, in his book, Reise durch Ukraine (1844) makes extensive comparisons between the way of life and the psychology of Muscovy and Ukraine. After crossing the Muscovite-Ukrainian frontier, the author immediately noticed the difference:

"We entered the town of Horodnytsya, in the province of Chernihiv . . . The city makes a pleasant impression . . . The buildings were very carefully built and had a neat appearance, while the rooms were nicely whitened . . ."

Of the Ukrainians, Blasius said:

"Their proud talk, different attire, characteristically sharp facial features, long mustaches and completely-shaven faces — indicate at once that they are a distinct people . . . The evident difference in the character of the inhabitants, their customs and mode of life, and their houses — all made a very definite impression upon us . . ."

In the Chernihiv province the author noticed that the population, "like all Ukrainians, considers the Muscovites their oppressors, persecutors and the enemies of their freedom . . ."

Furthermore, Blasius dwelt extensively upon the Ukrainian landscape and land, and is overwhelmed with the "beauty of the Ukrainian steppes." He wrote that Ukrainian villages are large and broad, and that the individual houses are built in such a way that they "look free" and that each has its own fruit orchard which serves as additional proof that they belong to a free people. He contrasted a Ukrainian village with its individual houses built  p203 differently, and a Muscovite village near Tula where all the houses were alike and built on one side of the road, and what was more, under one roof.

Referring to Ukrainian houses, Blasius commented:

"Ever since we left Northern Russia, we have not seen such neatly-kept houses as those of the Kozaks. The walls, which are of wooden planks in all Ukrainian houses, are covered with clay inside and outside and nicely whitened . . ."

Blasius added that in dress there also was a marked difference between the Ukrainians and the Russians.

"In the cut and make of dress the Ukrainians are much nearer the Western Slavs than the Great Russians . . . The Great Russian puts much emphasis on what he thinks is an expensive cloth, while he is not perturbed by his short-comings with respect to cleanliness; the Ukrainian, on the other hand, tries to keep clean, while his dress is modest and unassuming."

The basic difference between the Russian and Ukrainian types, he wrote, is that "the face of the Ukrainian is smooth shaven, with the exception of a black mustache;" therefore, the facial features are "more sharply marked and delineated." In addition, he added, "the Ukrainians have elongated faces with sharp features, sharply-drawn lips, sharp chin, and slim neck."

As for music, Blasius stated that in Russia he did not see any instruments, either in private homes or public institutions.

"In Ukraine," he writes, "every Sunday or during rest hours one can hear from almost every house the sound of violins or wind instruments, and there is no public festivity without music."

Blasius further said that the Ukrainians have a highly developed sense of beauty and an inclination to sentimental romanticism, while in contrast to them, the Great Russians have no such inclinations. He compared them in their poetic aptitudes, such as their love of song to the Serbs, and their fantasy to the romanticism of the Poles.

Similar impressions about the Ukrainians were recorded by another Western European writer, Al. Petzholdt. In his work,  p204 Travel (1855) he registered his impressions immediately upon arriving at Chernihiv in Ukraine:

"We have entered a different world, we have reached Ukraine. Everything here seems so different; the land, the people, their customs and houses, their tools, and the like. In Ukraine, beginning with the province of Chernihiv, we see an entirely different people — the Ukrainians or Little Russians, a section of the Slav family which differs altogether from other branches of that family; this difference is as great in their spiritual characteristics and inclinations, as in their language, mode of life, customs and habitations."

Petzholdt wrote with great enthusiasm of the beauty of the Ukrainian landscape, the beauti­ful Ukrainian orchards and villages and the love of the Ukrainians for cleanliness. He also has some comments on the attitude of the Ukrainians towards science:

"The Ukrainian in the field of science conducts himself decidedly with a greater devotion, skill and independence than the Great Russian. Where the Ukrainian considers science as the purpose of his life and frequently applies to it all his talents without any reservation, the Great Russian not infrequently sees in it a means through which he can attain some distinction . . . We found among the Ukrainians many people who were rich in the results of their own research and their own thinking, and yet they never tried to make much ado about it."

In the first half of the XIXth century there were a few outstanding Czech writers and social leaders who on one occasion or another touched the Ukrainian problem. Although most of them were under the influence of Russian "Slavophilism" and were against Ukrainian "separatism," nevertheless after studying the Ukrainian problem, they could not help sympathizing with the Ukrainians in their struggle for the attainment of their rights.

The well-known Czech historian, F. Palacky, wrote of the Ukrainians in 1830:

"The Ruthenian people have been different in their language from the Russians and the Poles for many centuries . . . In the  p205 south the Ruthenian people extend to Hungary; the whole of Eastern Galicia is Ruthenian, where the Ruthenians extend to Podolia, Volhynia, Ukraine, far behind the Dnieper to Poltava, and also to south Rus, to the Kuban River . . . The Kozaks are all Ruthenians, and not Russians . . . I am obliged to state that the Ruthenians are in no way 'an invented' people, but are indeed a truly separate (independent) people."

Another Czech, Jan Koubek, professor at a gymnasium in Lviv, in 1833 had this to say:

"The language of the Ruthenians, both the vernacular and the Church language, is an object of my principal endeavor, and is extremely pleasant for a Czech . . ."

Commenting on the problem of the Ukrainian language and the relation­ship of Ukraine to Russia, Karel Havlicek-Borovsky, a well-known Czech writer, wrote in 1843 in the Narodni Noviny:

"The Ruthenian language is very similar to the Czech, and therefore, is very easily mastered."

Some time later after a trip to Russia, he wrote an article entitled "The Slav and the Czech," and touched upon the Ukrainian problem in Russia:

"Malorus — Ukraine is a permanent curse invoked by its oppressors upon themselves. The oppressed freedom of Ukraine avenges itself upon them . . . As long as the wrong done to the Ukrainians is not undone, a true international peace is impossible."

Another Czech writer, Karel Vladislav Zapp, left a very interesting description of his journey through Galicia (Prague, 1844). He came to the conclusion that between "the Czech and Little Russian peoples there is a great affinity: in the situation of the country, language, the physical characteristics, some customs and proverbs." In the villages Zapp found that "the local Ruthenian speech sounds very well as spoken by the Ruthenian girls, and it is the Poles who through their gossip are trying to debase it." "Our man, i.e. a Czech, in Ukraine can learn to speak Ukrainian much faster than Polish because of the fact  p206 that Ukrainian language requires much less tongue-twisting than the Polish; besides, it sounds more pleasant."

After studying Ukrainian literature, Zapp was very much impressed with the literary heritage of the Ukrainians:

"The Dumy (historical epos) of the Ukrainians speak to one's soul . . . Some of the Christmas carols moved me very deeply . . ."

He writes that he never "could forget the impression" made upon him by a group of Ukrainian carolers on Christmas night.

He also had time to study Ukrainian architecture and art:

"The architectural style of the village churches," he wrote, "is original and extremely picturesque. It seldom happens that a church does not have at least one dome; more often there are three domes, the middle one of which is tallest and handsomest. Wooden bell towers stand near the church . . . These wooden churches are built by ordinary carpenters who also contribute to the wood-carved ornaments of the ikonostas . . . The peasant houses are clean and look more like Czech than Polish . . ."

In his description of a liturgy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the village of Monastyrysky, Zapp writes:

Who after witnessing this rite can remain unmoved? Oh, how I would like to retain forever that ecstatic feeling which filled my soul! . . . How close to me at that moment was this people, who have received scornful contempt from the world and never a good word, the people on whom fate has imposed such drastic, long-lasting sufferings. But yet I have met those meek people into whose hearts the hand of the Creator put the gift of pure humanity as the best guarantee of a happy life."

At the end of his experiences among the Ukrainians, Zapp recalls the following incident:

Having arrived in the city of Peremyshl, he gave his driver, a Ukrainian, a small tip, two cents to be exact, so that he might buy breakfast for himself. The driver bought for one cent a glass of whiskey, which together with a piece of bread which he had on his person, served as his breakfast. The other cent he gave to a beggar standing near the saloon.

 p207  "At that moment, I was ashamed! And the young driver added:

" 'If I forget about this old man, God might forget about me!' "

Another Czech historian, Frantisek Rieger (1818‑1903), a close collaborator of Palacky, also visited Galicia and spent some time among the Ukrainians. He was very outspoken as to the right of the Ukrainians to a fully independent political life and wrote:

"I recognize the Ukrainians as an independent people; I know Galicia personally, and I know their literary language . . . We ought to respect the aspirations of this people who, although persecuted, are entitled to independence!"

Sometimes there were among the Russians themselves individuals who were not afraid to tell their countrymen the truth about Ukraine. Among these was the journalist Ivan Aksakov, who upon returning from a journey through Ukraine in 1848, wrote:

"In Ukraine we are being greeted incomparably better than in Russia; almost everywhere the clergy and the people come out to meet us, carrying crosses and flags. In their houses the owners, and particularly their wives, prepare warm quarters and food for us in advance. We seem to be a curious sight for them, especially when we go to war. But this sentiment of theirs cools off very rapidly and they wait impatiently for the time when these bearded moskals (Muscovites) leave for good. Malorussia has seen the bearded Muscovite troops for some time, and it is certain that it feels a sense of insult and offense, as it has in the past. Our soldiers are completely indifferent to this feeling, and by their crude and cynical behavior insult Ukrainian women, ask constantly for more food, make fun of the khokhol (a contemptuous appellation used by the Muscovites for the Ukrainians) and the like . . ."

The Ukrainian song has always attracted travellers in Ukraine and made a deep impression even upon those who were specialists in the field.

For instance, the German poet Friedrich Bodenstedt, who in 1840‑1845 journeyed through Russia, Ukraine and Asia Minor,  p208 translated a collection of Ukrainian folk songs into German and published it under the title Die poetische Ukraine (Stuttgart, 1845). In his preface Bodenstedt wrote:

"The Ukrainian people, who endeavor to defend their land against the Poles and Russians, have survived a long and difficult struggle, and finally have become tired . . . But there are few peoples with such an attractive and poetic past as the Ukrainians; let us mention the heroic Zaporozhians and the organization of Ukrainian Kozaks; their leaders, from Ostap Dashkevych down to Khmelnytsky; then Vyhovsky, Doroshenko, Teterya, the turbulent Brukhovetsky with his rebels; Mazepa, famed the world over, whose life was as mysterious as his love for the daughter of Kochubey; the erudition of the Kiev clergy, which had such a beneficial influence upon Muscovy; the knightly characterize of the Ukrainian aristocracy — all these are elements of the poetry and charm of Ukrainian history . . ."

Commenting on Ukrainian song, Bodenstedt said:

Let sweet-smelling Ukrainian songs, like crying winds, blow upon German meadows and tell how the children of Ukraine once loved and fought . . . In no country has the tree of popular poetry produced such fruits, nowhere has the soul of the people expressed itself in folk song so vividly and truly as among the Ukrainians . . . What a deep draught of nostalgia, what deep and human feelings in those songs sung by a Kozak far from his native land . . . Truly, the people who can sing such songs and appreciate them can not stand on a low rung of civilization . . . Curiously enough, the Ukrainian folk poetry is sometimes very similar in its form to the poetry of the most enlightened peoples of Western Europe . . ."

A similar appreciation of Ukrainian songs is expressed by another translator of Ukrainian folk songs, namely, Talvj, a German lady Theresa Albertine Leontine von Jakobc (later married to an American) 1866:

"The liberation struggle against the enemies of Ukraine had created a vast multitude of beauti­ful and power­ful Ukrainian folk songs, which in their form and character and in the boldness of  p209 their poetic feeling are totally different from the Great Russian. The courageous swing of Ukrainian folk songs reminds one of the Scottish ballads. The Kozak never gives in to his fate, but always fights on and, therefore, the Ukrainian song was born to the accompaniment of whistling bullets and the clash of swords in the time of long battles that went on for centuries from the Carpathians to far beyond the Dnieper."

The world-celebrated French writer and romanticist, Honoré de Balzac, was in Ukraine during the years 1847‑1850. He lived in the village of Verkhivnia near Kiev, in the home of his beloved, Eva Hanska, whom he married in Berdychiv in 1840, a few months before his death.

In his letters to his family in France, Balzac wrote a great deal about the characteristics of Ukrainian life, particularly its economic aspects, and also about the climate, land and vegetation of Ukraine.

"In the kingdom of flowers and greenery," as Balzac refers to Ukraine, "there are many contrasts and marvels. One cannot imagine these spaces and the harvests on the land which is never fertilized, and yet which produces so much wheat every year."

He was very much impressed by the sight of Kiev:

"I saw the northern Rome, a city of Orthodoxy with some 300 churches, the wealth of the Lavra, St. Sophia . . . It is worthwhile to see them at least once . . . During the 15 to 20‑day fair people come to Kiev from all corners of Russia, and there is so much activity both commercial and social, that it is impossible for me to describe it . . . I saw at the fair in Kiev some wonder­ful tapestries . . . and 12 chairs of exquisite design."

He also noted the culinary skill of the Ukrainians. In a letter to a friend he writes:

"Perhaps one day I will be able to repay you this friendly service when you come to Ukraine, this territorial paradise, where I marked 77 ways of preparing bread, which fact itself suggests the idea that the people are able to manipulate even the simplest things. Is it the same in Lithuania? Do you prepare kasha in 77 different ways?"

 p210  The French writer was also a keen observer of feminine dress; he remarked:

"The young women attend balls in dresses of royal beauty, far more outstanding than one could see in Paris . . ."

He also gave interesting comments on the Russian administration, police and frontier guards, and mentioned his difficulties in connection with his desire to stay in Ukraine. As is now the case, the Russian authorities were reluctant to let any foreigner travel through the country for they always suspected some ulterior political motive.

When he received as a gift a box of candy from his sister in France, Balzac replied on April 9, 1849:

"Your box of candy was received yesterday, but everything in it was mixed up and spoiled because of rewrapping. There is no doubt that you had filled the empty spaces with newspapers, and everything printed was taken away by the custom officials. I see that you will never understand Russia nor her politics. To send printed matter to me here is to cause me much difficulty; one can even be expelled from here because of it!"

Another outstanding Frenchman, Prosper Mérimée, a writer and history, published a series of articles on The Kozaks of Ukraine and Their Late Hetmans (Moniteur Universel, Paris, 1854). In it he wrote:

"The passing of the Ukrainian Kozaks over (to Muscovy) was a terrific blow to Poland and vice-versa, the diminution of Poland precipitated their loss of independence." (June 22, 1854).

In another passage dealing with Khmelnytsky, Mérimée wrote:

"The elected representative of a small people, encircled by power­ful neighbors, he devoted his life to the struggle for independence. He was capable of splitting his enemies, as well as uniting all other friendly groups, he was unrestrained, brave, endowed in rich political tactics, prudent in his success, and resolute in time of defeat . . . Khmelnytsky was courageous, cunning and intrepid; he had an instinct for war . . . All his power was based on his convincing the Kozaks that he was closely connected with their own interests. But his ambition, to be sure, was  p211 the result of his patriotism, or his absolute devotion to this wonder­ful union, which we call the Zaporozhian army . . . He endeavored to create an aristocracy such as the Polish, but less cruel, and open to every brave and honest man, He had no idea of raising the peasantry to the rank of Kozaks, but yet he so cleverly juggled with it that even Germany, an alien to Slav customs, was greatly frightened." (June 22, 1854).

This review of comments and reports on Ukraine in the XIXth century may well be concluded by recalling an incident in the French Senate in 1869. The well-known French Senator, an influential politician and the editor of La Patrie, K. Delamarre, created a sensation when he introduced a petition on the Ukrainian question, which was subsequently published in pamphlet form under the title, "A 15‑Million Europe People, Forgotten in History." Some of his statements are as forceful today as they were then:

"There exists in Europe a people forgotten by historians — the Ruthenian people (le peuple Ruthène); twelve and a half million of them under the Russian tsar, and two and a half million under the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. This people is as numerous as the people of Spain, and three times as numerous as the Czechs, and equals in number all the subjects of the Crown of St. Stephen. This people has its own history, different from that of Poland, and far different from the history of Muscovy. It has its own traditions and language which is separate from the Muscovite and the Polish, and which has a distinct individuality and for which these people continue to fight. History should not forget that up to the time of Peter I this people, whom we call Ruthenians, was known as Rus or Ruthenians and their land was known as Rus or Ruthenia, and the people whom we today call Russian was known as Muscovites and their land was Muscovy. At the end of the past century all in France and in Europe knew well enough how to distinguish Rus from Muscovy."

* *

 p212  It was almost the last noble voice of Western Europe in the second half of the XIXth century on the Ukrainian problem, a last warning to Europe that there is a Ukraine which fights for its rightful place among the free peoples of the world. Subsequently, the world all but forgot the name Ukraine for some time.

But then came the XXth century, the first and second revolutions in Ukraine, and the subsequent revival of Ukraine as an independent Ukrainian Republic in the years 1917‑1920.

The existence of the short-lived independent Ukraine and its fight for freedom today, have accomplished a genuine revolution in the matter of recognition of the Ukrainians as a distinct people, and could serve as a basis for another and more substantial study.

[image ALT: A detailed map of Ukraine and bordering areas.]

 (p213)  30. Present day map of countries of the Black Sea basin.​d

[A larger version, in which the map details are fully readable, opens here (950 kB).]

Thayer's Notes:

a The Slavic root for salt is sl (the same Indo-European root as in the Romance and Germanic languages), as in Ukrainian сіль, Polish sól, Russian соль, etc. Now there were in fact salt mines very early on in the area, so the writer might better have referred to the ancient Greek form of the same root, as in ἅλς: but why would a place so far from Greece, and where Greek was not spoken, owe its name to that language?

Many other etymological possibilities have been suggested, with no consensus, and the derivation of Halych has to be chalked down as unknown. That the arms of the city bear a prominent jackdaw (галиця, галка) is probably irrelevant: canting arms are very often just folk etymology.

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b The work is online at Archive.Org in a later edition (1839), in a single volume, with added notes.

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c Correctly, Therese Albertine Luise von Jakob; her American husband of later years was the Biblical scholar Edward Robinson.

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d The reader will notice the map is signed vS., Volodymyr Sichynsky.

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Page updated: 27 Aug 22