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[The history of Kamtschatka, and the Kurilski Islands, with the countries adjacent] Krasheninnikov, Stepan Petrovich, 1713-1755 1764

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28 Grieve (James) History of Kamtsdhatka and the Kurilski Islands, with
the Countries adjacent, published at Petersbourg in the Russian Language by Order of
Her Imperial Majesty, and translated by J. Grieve, maps and views, 4to., calf, £2 10s
Olocester, 1764
Relates to the North-West Coast of America and the islands adjacent.   The Author has much to
f Sfek
s ^
- ■
III*!'      THE
O   F
WITH     T H 2
MAPS       AND
Publiflied at Peterjbourg in the Ruffian Language, by Order of her Imperial Majist*
And tranflated into   ENGLISH
By    J   AM  E   S     G   R   I   E   V   E,    M. D.
PRINTED     B Y     R.     RAIKES
F     0     If
M.DCC.LXIV.  #     #.    #     #     #
.^JSCS^^ Ruffian language in which the Ori-
# |    y   3* # ginal of the following Jheets was written.
3& Ml '*•* *"#dfe &nd unpolifhed: other nations
kLe^*#**^jjrf have with great care improved and re~
fined their languages by giving proper encouragement to ?nen of learning and genius, but in that
country literature has, on the contrary, been 'till very
lately rather difcouraged
Great indulgence fhould, therefore, be allowed the
Author of this- work : for though his manner is indi-
gefted, and his.flile inelegant, abou?tding in digreffions,
and fome uninterefting narrations, which obfcure and
confufe the more ejfential pajfages ; yet he has commu- j
nicated many very ufeful remarks, greatly contributing
to the improvement of the trade, geography, and natural hi/lory, of the country he defer ibes.
In order to render this piece more regular and
perfeel, it would have been necejfary to new model the
whole ; but the gentleman, who. undertook this Tranf-
laticn only for his amufe?nent, was frequently inters
rupted in the courfe of the work by the necejfary duty
of his profeffion, and prevented from revifeng it before
it went to the prefs by his fudden departure for Peter sbourg. Having been many years abfent from
England, and accujlomed to write and fpeak in fever al
different languages, he of courfe adopted their idioms,
and, confequently, corrupted the phrafeology of his
own. Thus much it is thought necejfary to fay in
juftice to the Tranflator: and it mufi be confejfed he
has great merit with his countrymen; as it Js entirely
owing to his labours, hafly and imp erfeB as they may
feem, that we have any knowledge of this remote, unknown, and very extraordinary country, fence fo few,
and it may be faid, fcarce any Englifhman is able to
read the Original. S§?
7his t
7his work is divided into four parts. The firfl,
which is entjrely Geographical, and in the Original
makes eleven chapters, is here abridged, and reduced
to four, as the Author had minutely deferibed a great
number of hills and rivers which did not ferve to
illuflrate the fubjiSl. But it is hoped that nothing is
omitted which may anfwer that end, or wMch might in
any way entertain the reader, or help to afcertain th&
fetuations, meafurts, dijlances, and boundaries.
Ihefecond part contains the Natural Hijlory. 7Ms-
part has alfo been greatly contrasted, from the defign
of off-ering to the reader nothing but what was really-
ufeful, curious, or entertaining \ and in order to make
it completely inflruSlive, many notes have been adjoined,
to explain fome articles, or reconcile them with the
accounts of former voyagers.
7he third part of this work has beeit mofl confe-
der ably abridged, as in treating of the manners, cuftomsy
and religion of this barbarous nation, it was loaded
with abfurd praElices, idle ceremonies, and unaccountable
fuperfiitions.    Sufficient examples of all thefe have been
retained. &
retained to fhew the precife fiate of an unpolifhed, credulous, and grofly ignorant people.
TJhe fourth contains the frfl difcovery, conqueft, and
planting of Ruffian colonies in the country of Kamtf-
chatka. This part is divided into eight chapters, giving
a relation of feveral expeditions both byfea and land made
into that country. It is alfo interfperfed with a great
many ufeful remarks relative to the geography, natural
hijlory, cuftoms, manners, and civil and military policy,
of the country. It likewife gives a particular account of
the forts built there by /^Ruffians, as well for the protection of their ftttlements, as to keep the natives in
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y& *^Lijk w arifes   from  accurate  accounts  of  the
£3)0()8f)5(53 variety of diftinclions and divifions diversifying the face of the habitable globe,
were we only to regard it fo far as it gratifies our
curiofity; but more noble purpofes may be ftill effected by fuch informations. All who are employed
in the management and fuperintendency of {rates and
nations ought certainly to have an exa^l knowledge
B of S*
I       777 £ RUSSIAN EDITOR'S   fg
of thofe countries over which they prefide, efpeciatly
with regard to their foil and climate; what parts are
proper for agriculture, or for pafture, and what are
defert; what rivers are navigable, or may be rendered,
fo; what communication there is already, or may be,
made, between them; what beafts, birds, fifties,
herbs, fruit-trees, and fhrubs are found therein, and
of what ufe they can be either in diet, medicine,
dying, building, or any other part of ceconomy; the
inhabited and uninhabited parts, cities, forts, havens, mines, traffic, and manufactures; the particular commodities proper for home consumption, or
for exportation; their imports from other countries;
the lituation and distances of places; their curioiities,
whether natural or artificial; the condition of the
public roads: they mould likewife be acquainted
with the customs and manners of the inhabitants,
their number and language, religion, antiquity, and
fettleraent; and alfo with the circumstances of the
nations bordering upon them. All which knowledge
may not only be ferviceable to the people themfelves,
but likewife to neighbouring nations that are connected with them, either by trade or other wife.
The natural curiofity of man is not even fatisfied svith
this: we frequently give ourfelves a great deal of
trouble in fearch of things that have no relation to
us, efpecially if we have hitherto learned nothing,
or at lead nothing circumftantial and certain concerning PREFACE.
cerning them. For thefe reafons I hope readers of every
denomination will favourably receive this defcription
of Kamtfchatka, designed both for ufe and entertainment. The author, if death had not prevented him,
would himfelf have explained the occasion that gave
him an opportunity of being informed of all thefe
particulars, and, as fuch an account may be expected, I fhall endeavour to do it for him in as few
words as poffible.
In the year 1733, her Imperial Majesty Anne ordered an expedition on foot to examine the coast of
the Northern or Frozen Ocean, likewife that to the
East about Kamtfchatka, and from thence to America
and "Japan; and alfo at the fame time to make out
a defcription of Siberia, and particularly of Kamtfchatka -, to obferve the situation of the places, their
natural history and inhabitants, and whatever elfe
might be necesTary to a full knowledge of thofe people. To this end three profesTors of the Imperial
Academy of Sciences were fent along with the fea-
officers. Thefe three gentlemen divided the task
amonst them; one undertook to make the astronomical and phyfical obfervations; the fecond to remark
whatever regarded natural history; the third to draw
up a defcription of the people and country. To
thefe members of the academy feveral other proper
affiftants were added : thefe were fix Ruffian students,
who had an opportunity to improve themielves while
B 2 they iv     THE   RUSSIAN EDITOR'S
they  were affifting the  profefiors,   and  in time be
qualified to fill   up   their vacancies.      The   author,
Stephen Krajheninicoff, one of the above-mentioned
fix, was born in. Mofcow, and had his first education
in the Latin fchool of the convent of our Lord, where
he learned the principles of rhetoric and philofophy,
and excelled most of his fchool-fellows, both in capacity and application to his rtudies.    Though he was
principally employed in the study of natural philofophy, yet he fhewed fuch inclination to geography
and civil history, that in the Year 1735 nQ was employed in thefe different enquiries at fuch places as the
profefiors themfelves did not vifit.    In the year 1736
the members of  the academy,   being at  Yakut ski,
were informed, that the fea-ofricers had made but a
fmall progrefs  in their  difcoveries,   and  that  they
would not be able to reach  Kamtfchatka in feveral
years;   the profesTors therefore having many ufeful
obfervations to make in Siberia, thought proper to
fend before them a perfon, on whom they could depend, to prepare for their reception at Kamtfchatka.
To this trust Mr. Krajheninicoff was appointed, and
at the fame time was furnifhed with proper instructions
and directions. Some accidents prevented the profesTors
from arriving at Kamtfchatka, excepting the profefTor
of astronomy ; the others were ordered by the fenate
to return  to St. Petersbourg, and in  their  way to
make further obfervations in Siberia.    Thus all enquiries P   R   E   F   A   C   E:
quires into the ltate of Kamtfchatka remained to be
made entirely by Mr. Krafheninicoff. The profesTors
furnifhed him with fuch affiftances as they themfelves
had, by order of the fenate. He travelled from one
end of Kamtfchatka to the other, accompanied by a
guard and proper interpreters, being allowed to examine all the writings in the different forts and offices.
The profesTors alfo, in the frequent accounts received
from him, found that his obfervations in natural history
and phyfics were just; and in any difficulties affifted
him with their advice by letters.
In the mean time, the Imperial Academy of Sciences, fenfible of the importance of pursuing their
refearches into the regions of Siberia, thought proper
to fend thitfier, in the year 1738, one of their adjuncts, George William Steller, who met the profesTors the following year in their return at Tenefeisky.
This learned and curious gentleman had a great inclination to go to Kamtfchatka by water. His defire
was complied with ; and the fame instructions were
given to him that were given to Mr. Krafheninicoff.
They fent likewife along with him a painter, to delineate whatever might be found curious in natural
hiftory. They continued together at Kamtfchatka
'till the year 1740, at which time Mr. Steller embarked in the voyage that was made in order to dip-
cover the coast of America ; and Mr. Krafheninicoff
was fent to Takutski, which as foon as the profefiors
were   f
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AND    OF    THE
COASTS and ISLANDS   adiacent to it
P    ART
CHAP.    I.
&)&*?¥$£ HOUGH the country called Kamtfchatka was long
3l ^t   known to the geographers of former times,  yet fo
31 s£   ^tt:^e were tney acqu^inted with its fituation, that
&^*>\3G(   they believed it to be joined to Yejfb j and this opinion was looked upon in thofe days as a very probable
conjecture:   but it has been fince found that between the two
countries there is a large fea, interfperfed with many iilands.    The
C Ruffians }<&
10        A  Geographical   Description  of
Ruffians could form their maps of Kamtfchatka only from conjecture 'tiff'it was brought under their iubje&ion j and then they
could not immediately, procure any accurate or fatisfactory knowledge of the- country, for'-.want o& perfons. properly qualified to
make the neceflary enquiries.
The two late expeditions have greatly contributed to complete
the geography of thefe parts; particularly the last, in which the
fea-officers delineated exactly all the eaftern coast- of Kamtfchatka
as far as the cape of <JCchukot/koii all the weft-em to the P-enfchinfka
gulph, and- from Ochotfkoy to- the river Amur : they described
the iflands lying between "Japan and Kamtfchatka, and alfo thofe
which are between Kamtfchatka and America. - At the fame
time the gentlemen of the Academy undertook to determine the-
fituation of Kamtfchatka by astronomical obfervations,, and to
remaijk every thing- worthy of: notice- in the- civil and natural
history of the country and places adjacent. In this chapter I
fhall only treat of the geography of this country.
That great peninsula, which makes the boundary of Afia to
the north-east, and stretches itfelf from north to fouth about
7° 30', is called Kamtfchatka. I place the beginning of this
peninsula at the rivers Pujl'aia, and Anapho, lying in the latitude
of 590 30'. The first, runs into the Penfchinfka fea, and the
other to the eaftward. At thefe places the isthmus is fo narrow,
that I am credibly .informed the fe,a may, in. fair. weather be {ten.
on both fides from the" hills in the middle. As the country runs
broader towards the north, I reckon this place the isthmus that
joins the peninsula to th£ main land. The government of Kamtf-
chatha extends no %t|ieiotJian to tips plajtej and all the country
north of this, boundary is called Zenofje', and is under the go-
Yernment of Anadir.
The fouthern part of this peninsula, which is called Lopatkay
lies in 51 ° 3' north latitude. The difference of longitude from
Peterfboyrg is by the best obfervations found to be at  Ochotfkoy?
1120 53.'
112° 53' ea$*longitude, and thence to Boffcheretfkoi or the Great
River 140 6' east. The figure of the peninsula of Kamtfchatka is
Ibmewhat elliptical, being broader towards the middle, and
growing narrower towards both ends. its broadeft place rs
between the mouth of the river T'eghil and the river Kamtfchatka.
Towards the fource they are joined by the river Elouki.
The Eiouki runs in the fame latitude with thofe rivers for,
415 verfts. They call the fea which feparates Kamtfchatka
from America the Eastern Ocean. On the western fide lies the
Penfchinfka fea, which begins near the fouthern point of the cape
of Kamtfchatka and the Kurilfki illands, and runs northward
between the weftern coast: of Kamtfchatka and the coaft of
Ochotfkoy more than 1000 verfts. The northern part is called the
bay of Penfchinfka from the river Penfchina which falls into it. The
hills make one continued ridge from north to fouth through the
peninfula, almoft equally dividing the country. From this ridge
feveral others extend towards the fea, between which are the
courfes of the rivers. Thefe ridges fometimes run a considerable
way into the fea, and are called Nofs, or capes. There are more
of thefe upon the eaftern than the weftern coaft. All the bays
between the capes are called, in general, feas j each having its
particular name, as the Olutorfky fea, Kamtfchatka fea, &c. We
fhall hereafter give our reafons for calling the whole peninsula by
the name of Kamtfchatka, though in fa£t it hath in none of the
different languages of the inhabitants any general appellation j but
every part of the country receives its name from its inhabitants,
or fomething remarkable obferved in it: and even the Ruffian
ColTacks understand Kamtfchatka to be only the country lying
near the river of that name j and to the other parts of'this peninfula they have given the following appellations:
Kurilfki Country is   the  fouthern part,   fo named from the
Kuriles that inhabit it.
\* z
Th 12        A Geographical  Description  of
The Coafi extends from the Bolfcheretfkoi or Great River to
the Teghil.
Awatfcha extends from the Bolfcheretfkoi to fort Awatfcha.
Bobrovoi or Beaver Sea is the district round Kamtfchatka.
Koreka, from the Koreki that inhabit it, extends from the;
north of the Kamtfchatka to the Teghil.
XJkoi is the eastern coaft from the river Vkoi.
Teghil is the western coaft from the river Teghil.
Kamtfchatka is plentifully furnifhed with rivers ; however they
are fo little that none of them are navigable by the fmalleft veffels,
except the river Kamtfchatka,, which will carry fmall veuels 200
verfts upwards from its mouth. Into this river it is reported that
fome Ruffians were brought by fea, long before its fubje&ioa to
Ruffia. It is at prefent called TheodotoJhine> from the chief of
thofe people thrown a-fhore, whofe name was Theodot. Next to
this, the meft considerable rivers are, the Bolfchaia-reka, or Great
River, Awatfcha and Teghil; upon which the Ruffians have fet-
tlements. Kamtfchatka is likewife very well furnifhed with lakes,
particularly about the river of that name, where they are fo numerous, that there is no paffage over land in the Summer-time.
Some of them are very large : the most considerable are, the lake
of Nerpitche, which is near the mouth of the Kamtfchatka; the
Kronotzkoy, out of which runs the river Krodakighe j and the
Kurilfkoy, out of which runs the river Ofernoi.
The river Kamtfchatka rifes in a marfhy ground, and firft runs
north-eaft; then inclines more to the east, and turning at once
towards the fouth-weft, falls into the ocean in 560 30' north
latitude. From its fource to its mouth, in a strait line, is 496
verfts i but the length of its courfe, according to the exacteft
computation, is acbout 525 verfts; during which it receives into
it many brooks and rivers. About two verfts from its mouth,
upon the right fide, are three deep bays. There are feveral forts
built along the banks of this river by the Ruffian CofTacks, to.
2. yVQl K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T    K   A.
awe and keep in Subjection the wild inhabitants. The Elouki
may be reckoned the chief of all the rivers that fall into the
Kamtfchatka on the left fide,, and its head meets that of the
The Teghil runs almost in the fame latitude with the Kamtfchatka j and the strait road from the one to the other is by the
river Elouki. Some little forts and fettlements of the natives are
fcattered here and there upon its banks.
The Bolfchaia-reka, or Great River, called by the natives
Keekjha, runs out of a lake 185 verfts to the east from its mouth,
and falls into the Penfchinfka fea in the latitude of 52° 45'. Its
mouth is reckoned to be $55 verfts to the fouth diftant from that
of the Teghil. It. is called Great upon this account, that of all
the rivers that fall into the Penfchinfka fea this is the only one
which they can navigate from its mouth nearly to its spring,
and this not without fome difficulty, on account of its rapidity
and the great number of islands. At the time of high water it is
fo deep at the mouth that large vefTels may enter ; for the water
has been obferved to rife at full and new moon very little lefs than
nine Paris feet or four Ruffian yards. It receives a multitude of
rivulets; the molt considerable of which is the Biflroy or Rapid
River, fo called from the fwiftnefs of its stream,, caufed by the
many fhoals and cataradts. You may go from the mouth of the
Great River to that of the Biflroy, and up within, 40 verfts of its
head;' and from thence over a carrying place to the river Kamtfchatka, that Springs out of the fame marih, and runs quite to the
Eaftern Ocean. And though this paffage must: be laborious and
tedious, upon account of the rapidity of the river, and the many
fhoals and cataracts, where every thing muit be carried by land,
and which would render it impossible to advance more than 10
verfts in a day (as I found in my way to Kamtfchatka in the
.year 1739, when the boats were carried over the marfh, about
two verfts from the head of the Rapid, to Kamtfchatka) -, yet,,
considering.. I*
S4        A Geographical  Description of
confidering that all forts of carriages in the Summer are worked
from one fettlement to another by men, the faid pafTage by water
would be a great help to the people of this country who are
obliged to carry 'Stores and baggage for the government: for,
instead of employing 10 or 15 men about a carriage of 20 pood,
the fame would be performed with lefs trouble in a fmall boat by
two 3 and to encreafe the facility of commerce, there would at
all times be a free road, which is the cafe now only in winter.
It may be hoped, however, that even without fuch a road this
difficulty will be removed, when the new colony fettled there fhall
have a Sufficient number of horfes for drawing thofe carriages.
From the Bolfcheretfkoi to the upper fort you may travel in carts
drawn by horfes; but, in Summer, this is practicable in no other
part of the country by reason of frequent obstructions from rivers,
marfhes, lakes, and high mountains.
The Baranew rivulet is particularly remarkable for the number of boiling springs which are found near it. It falls into the
Keekfa, on the fouth-eaft side, 44 verfts from Bolfcheretfkoi;
and upon the mouth of it ftands the fettlement Kalickin, or
Opachin, which is about 70 verfts distant from the boiling
The river Awatfcha rifes from under a mountain about 150
verfts from its mouth, and runs from weft to east 'till it falls
into the bay of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Eastern Ocean, almost in the fame latitude with the Keekfha. This river is very
near as large as the laft, and of more utility.
The bay of St. Peter and St. Paul, or Awachinfkaya bay, is
14 verfts in length, and as many in breadth, of a circular form,
and Surrounded on all fides by high rocky mountains. Its mouth,
confidering the Space of the bay, is very narrow, and fo deep
that Snips of all dimensions may enter it without any danger.
Upon its banks are built, by order of the navy, officers' apartments, barracks, magazines, &c.    On the  north fide of the
Awachinfkaya, KAMTSCHATKA
AwacHnfkaya bay, almoft oppofite the Kareemchin fort, are two^
high mountains, one of which Smokes almoft continually, and
fometimes burns.
The breadth of the cape of Kamtfchatka, between the mouth
of the Keekfha and the Awachinfkaya bay, measures from fea to
fea, by a Strait line, only 255 verfts; a distance much lefs than
that between the Teghil and the Kamtfchatka.
There are a multitude of rivulets which fall into the Eastern
Ocean between the mouth of the Awatfcha northward, and the
river Kamtfchatka, and from that again to the Anadir ; but being:
of fmall note, we fhall only remark any thing that may be curious-
relating to them; among which may be reckoned the mountain-.
Shupanovefkaya, fo called from Shupanova a stream near which it
stands. This mountain is a volcano, and has fmoked at the top-
in feveral places for many years, and fometimes rumbles, but does-
not flame. The Camel's Throat, a rivulet near this hill, is remarkable for the danger of its pasTage through a very narrow
valley, between high and steep mountains, from whence the mow-
is apt to tumble upon the Slightest accident, even, it is Said, from
a strong exertion of the voice; and, falling down in vast heaps,
fometimes buries paflengers under it; for which reason the natives
make it criminal to fpeak aloud as they pafs through the valley :.
in other refpects the road is very convenient. On the fouth fide-
of the river Shophead, or Shupanova, near the fea fhore, are a great
many pillars or rocks, which appear above water, and make its-
entrance very dangerous; a little beyond this to the fouth is a.
bay, called Nutrenoi, surrounded by rocky mountains, about four
verfts in length and breadth; and near it, about the head of a.
rivulet, called Shenmeek, are large wells of boiling water. Out of
a mountain near thefe fprings, in many places, proceeds a steam,,
and the bubbling of boiling water is heard, but no fprings have
made their way through yet, though there are considerable nfTureSv
Here and there, and the steam issues forth with the fame rapidity
' *a& i6
A Geographical  Description
as out of the Eolipile, and is fo hot that the hand cannot bear it.
After pasting through a very woody and mountainous country,
we come to the remarkable stream Krodakighe, or the Larch-
Tree River, which rufhes out of the great lake Kronotzkoy, in
fuch a cafcade that one may walk under it: this lake is in length
about 50 verfts, reckoned to be 40 in-breadth, and is near 50
from the fea. Around it are high mountains, two of which
about the fides of the upper mouth of the rivulet Krodakighe, rife above the reft. Multitudes of rivulets empty them-
felves into the lake Kronotzkoy, whofe Springs are near thofe rivers
which run into the Kamtfchatka.
From this place, nothing worth remarking occurs 'till we
come to the Kronotzkoy Nofs; and here begins the Beaver Sea,
which extends to the Shupinfkoy. The coast from the Kamtfchatka to the Kronotzkoy Nofs is every where fandy; and near
the bay, called Ukinfkaya, begin the habitations of the fettled
Koreki -, but the Kamtfchadales inhabit all the country to this
The river Nungeen, which falls into Nutren&i bay, is
called, by the CofTacks, Pankara, becaufe there was formerly
on the fouth fide of the bay a fmall Koreki fort of the fame
name j but the inhabitants having built a fmall fort on a high hill
on the northern fide of the bay, which they called Gengota,
abandoned it: this fort is furrounded with a wall of earth about
a fathom high, and a yard thick, having within it a double
pallifade, arid on. each fide are two bastions raifed. It has three
gates to the east, weft, and north. The Koreki purpofe to
leave their old fort, and to remove into the new one, which
they have built about the inward point of the above-mentioned
bay, and call it Ueackang-Atenum : this was the first place that
I found fortified by the natives j for the others were nothing more than habitations dug in the earth, furrounded
with huts, as with fo many towers without any outward fortifications ;
B^HBSm K   A   M   T   S   C
A   T   K   A.
ficationsj but, on the contrary, further to the north, there is
not one fettlement of thefe people which has not, besides its
natural Strength of fituation, a wall to cover it. The Koreki
in thofe places fay, that they thus provide for their defence
against the incursion of the Tchukotskoi: but as that people
have never1 invaded thefe places, fome other caufe must be fought
for this precaution of the Koreki; and we can account for it
only from their apprehensions of the CofTacks, who usually travel
this way.
Upon the north point of a bay which receives the Kitkitannu,
a rivulet, there is a fmall fort built on a high rock, and fortified by a wall'of earth about 10 feet in height.    Its gates are
on the east and fouth fides.    The inhabitants of it are under the
commander of the fmall   fort   Keemgu, whom the  CofTacks
call a Ruffian, he being of that extraction.     From this fort
there is a low cape that projects into  the fea j beyond this cape
there  is  a deep  bay of  about eight verfts in   breadth,   and
equally as broad at its mouth as in the middle j but all the reft
of the bays which I have feen are narrow at their mouths.    Into
this bay the river Karaga enters by two mouths, and almost meets
near its head with the Lefnaya river, to which they usually go from
the Karaga.    On the north fhore of the bay there stands, on a
high hill, the Small fort Keetalgeen, in which* every hut is in-
clofed with a palifade.    Betides this fmall fort on the river Karaga,  there are two  other  fettlements of the Koreki.    Over-
againft the mouth of the Karaga, 20 verfts .from the fhore, is
an ifland,  called Karaginfkoy, the lower end of which is opposite to Nungeen, and the upper end to Kute cape.    Koreki   inhabit this ifland j but thofe on the continent do not allow them
to  be  of the   fame race with themfelves ;   and  it  must  be
obferved, that the manners of the Karaginfkoy appear as  barbarous  to the  Koreki, as  thofe  of  the  Koreki do   to   more
D civii^ed •i8        A Geographical Description of
civilized nations. Their number is reckoned to be 100 men
or more, but not above 30 of them pay any tax, the re%; at
the time of its gathering, hiding themfelves in the mountains.
They go to this ifland in the Summer in their little boats; but
in the winter they have no communication with it.
There is little worth notice after you pafs the above-mentioned
iflanti, 'till you come to the Uyulen or Olutora river. Upon this.
river the Ruffians twice built the Olutorfkoy fort. The first was
built by a native of Jakutfki, called Athanafey Petrove, upon
the fouthern fhore, very little above the mouth of the Kalkina
mmlei which fails into the Olutora from the fouth 5 and the
fecond a great deal below that place under the direction of
Major Paulutfkoy, who was fent there on account of the rebellious Txhukotjkt&s but both of them were forfafcjen and bur$t
down by the Olutores. The last fortes about two days' voyage
irom the mouth of the Olutora.
The Atwaleck cape, which extends 8o;cJverfts into the fea,
begins near the river Elir, and points towards the Govyannoy
cape. The fea between thofe capes is called Olutorfkoy. The
Pockatska rHes in the fame plain with the river Glotova,
which runs from the north-east into the Olutora. From the
Kalkina, where was built the "first Olutorfkoy. fort, to the
river Pockatska, is five days' journey with rein-deer, reckoning
for each day between 30 and 40 verfts. Between the Katurka
and the land oppofite to Anadzny there projects kito the fea a
rocky cape, called Kateerfkoy in 640 15' north latitude. The
distance from the Petropaulauskaya haven to the mouth of the
Anadir, as obferved by the fea-officsrs, is 190 20' 3 and the
fea coast from the KurHs-kaya Lopatka to the Tchukotskoi cape,
north east, which lies in 670, is for- the most part mountainous,
especially in  thofe places where the   capes project into the
We now come to consider the rivers that fall into the Eaft
Sea from the mouth of the Awatfcha, towards the fouth, to the
Kurilskaya Lopatka,',   and  from  the  Kuridskaya Lopatka into
• the Penfchinska fea to the Teghil and the Puftaia rivers.
There are but few rivulets that interfect the country between
the mouth of the Awatfkha and the Lopatka. The ridge of
mountains, which divides Kamtfchatka, extends to the East Sea:
the declivity is Steep and craggy; and the gulphs ggd bays,
which are formed by thefe mountains, afford a fafe harbour for
vefTels of any burthen in the woril weather.
The Kurilfkaya Lopatka, which by the natives* is called Ka-
poore, is the fouthernmott point of the cape of Kamtfchatka, and
divides the eastern from the Penfchinska fea: it takes its name
frona its reiemblaace to a man's fhoulder-blade.    Mr. Stelferj
who has been upon the Lopatka, fays, that the place is not
more than1 i o fathoms above the ftirSce of the fea, and for that
reafcn is subject to great inundations, fo that for 20 verfts from
thence  no-body lives, except thofe   who   come there in  the
winter to catch foxes; and- when the ke<is carried thither with
the beavers on it, then the KurUes, who follow this ice  along
the  fhote,  affemble here  in great multitudes.    Within vt&ree
verfts from the Lopatka nothing grows except mofs j and  there-
are neitherJ#$vef s nor fpfings, only a few lakes and pools. The foil
consists of two layers, the lower is strong, and the upper fpongy ;
and its furface is full of hillocks, and ufelefs.    The first rivulet
falling into the Penfchinfka fea, is called the Utatwnpit; two-
verfts from the Utatumpit, the rivulet ^apgutfan runs into the
fea, upon which stands a fmall fort called Kochinskoy; and three
verfts from thence is  the  Pitpuy,   or Ozerndya,    which runs'
out of a considerable lake divided from the fea by a mountain.
The Ruffians caii l5ais river Kambala, or Flounder River, be-
caufe great numbers of flounders are caught in the mouth of it.
The 20       A Geographical  Description   of
The lake out of which it runs, and the mountains which lie
between it and the fea, are called by the fame name. Near the
Kambalinfkoy lake is built Kamabalinfkoy, a fmall Kurilfkoy fort.
From the Kurilfkoy lake, towards the ocean,'Strait to the Awatfcha,
is not above 19 German miles; but_the road is excessively difficult;
for you must pafs over eleven high mountains, and fbme of them
are fo steep that travellers are obliged to let themfelves down with
About this lake are feveral remarkable mountains; particularly
two, one on each fide of it, which emit fmoke, and have done fo
many years ; and which Mr. Steller fays he faw in his journey
from the Tavina to the Ozernaya river.
Though I went as far as the river Ozernaya in 1738, yet I did
not fee thofe mountains, and only obferved hot fprings in two
different places. Thefe fprings run within 20 verfts from its
mouth, fome of them into the river Pauflia, and others
into the river Ozernaya, both of them on the fouth fide
of it.
The river Apanach is reckoned the boundary of the province of
Kurilfkoy. It runs from under the mountain called Opalfkaya
Sopka, which is 85 verfts from the fea, and excels all the rest of
the mountains about the Penfchinfka fea both in height and fame 3
particularly on this account, that it can be feen by feamen from
both feas,'and ferves them for a land-mark.
The fhore from the Lopatka almost to the Kambalina is low.
From the Kambalina to the Ozernaya is fo mountainous and steep,
that one cannot go near the fea.
From the Ozernaya to the Opala it is likewife mountainous,
but more upon a level.
From the Opala to the Great River is an extensive plain, fo that
not one hill is to be obferved near the fea. After pasting a great
number of rivulets, all of which arife out of a range of mountains,
called Stanovoy ridge, we come to the river Geek, called by the
CofTacks Vorovfkaya, or Rogue's River, becaufe the Kamtfchadales
who live upon it were, frequently concerned in insurrections, and
ufed to kill the tax-gatherers treacherouily. From hence we
meet nothing worth notice 'till we come to a Kamtfchatkoi
fbrt^ealled Tackauta, in which travellers usually equip themfelves
for pasting the ridge. Here the common road lies near a rivulet,
from the head of which it pastes the Stanovoy ridge, 'till it
defcends to the heads of the river Keergena, which falls into the
From the Keergena we pafs up the river Kamtfchatka to the
Kamtfchatkoi fort. The country between the little fort Tack"
Cut a and the Stanovoy ridge is a defert of no verfts in extent,
and from the ridge to the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort is 65, the land
equally barren. jjjjj!
The above road is very difficult and dangerous, for a great part
p^fe^lies on the river, which, from the rapidity of its current, in
l^^^ places never freezes. Travellers are obliged, therefore, in
fomW parts tojkeep clofe to the fides with great care ; for if the
ice breaks nothing can fave them, the rocks on the banks in
feveral places being fo steep that it is impossible to get on fhore,
and the river runs fo fwiftly that you are immediately driven
under the ice. The ridge is pafTable only in calm and fair
weather, for which we are obliged to wait fometimes ten days
or more j at other times it is impoffible to find the way, and we
must inevitably fall down the precipices, and be loft. The pro-
pereft time to pafs is when no clouds are to be feen on the top of
the ridge, for even the least cloud is a fign of a great storm there.
To crofs over this ridge takes up a whole winter's day^w The
greater]; ganger is in pasting over the very top, which is called by
the CofTacks, Greben, or a comb. Its breadth is 30 fathoms; it is
'me a boat with the bottom upwards, theafcent on both fides being
very 22        A Geographical, Description  of
very steep. The paflage is troublefome even in the calmest weather,
for the road falling off leaves nothing but ice: the Kamtfchadales,
therefore, in order to pafs it in fafety, have under their
fnow-fhoes, two nails; yet thefe are of fmall fervice if the
wind overtakes them there, for they are frequently carried from
one fide to the other to the great hazard of their lives, or at least
of their limbs. Besides which, this pafTage is attended with the
danger of being fmothered in the fnow, the narrow path lying
between high, and almoft perpendicular, moffiitains, from which
the fnow falls in heaps upon the least motion. This is a danger,
indeed, unavoidable in every place where the road lies in narrow
and deep vallies.
In mounting the ridge all must walk, for the dogs can hardly
afcend it even with the light baggage j but in defcending it is
other wife, for then they only leave a single dog in the fledge :
the reft are taken out, it being impossible to manage them all in
fuch a road. Although this pafTage of the ridge be fo difficult,
yet, as it is the ufual road to Kamtfchatka, one may conclude
that any other pafTage from fea to fea must be still more
difficult and dangerous.
The coaft from the mouth of the Great River to the river Puf-
taia, as far as the Shahack, is ooze and foft mud, fo that many
vefiels have been thrown upon it without receiving any hurt.
From '^ke Shahack the fhore begins to be bolder, though not
rocky; but from the Tula-ban river it is mountainous, rocky, and
dangerous to feamen.
The late defcriptions of the fhore of the Penfchinska fea,
from the Lefnaya to the Penfchina and to the Ochotska, are
more particular than the former : for in the year 1741 a high
road was establifhed to Kamtfchatka with poft-houfes at proper
stations; yet, with regard to the distances of places, they are not
much more accurate 5 Since there were no astronomical obfervations KAMTSCHATKA.
vations made, norvjfehe distances measured: nor are there any
hopes of its being foon done, as travelling in thofe parts is very
dangerous; the wild Koreki opposing the Ruffian government,
and frequently committing murders ,upon fmall parties that pafs
that way ; and though fometimes they appear friendly, yet travellers are always obliged to be fo much upon their guard against
the deceit and cruelty of fuch a barbarous race, that they have no
time to make accurate furveys. Beyond the Puftaia is the
river Talouka ; 50 verfts from which is the river Penfchina, remarkable for giving name to the Penfchinfka fea. Thirty verfts from
the fea is built a fmall fort, called Acklanfkoy, from the river
Acklan-, which falls from the right-fide into the river Penfchina.
Here fome Ruffian CofTacks live for the dispatch of the post, and
to bring into Subjection the Koreki that refufe to pay taxes.
The first houfe was built there in the year 1679, Since which
certain foldiers were fent there to gather the taxes; but afterwards, on account of the great distance and danger of the place,
it was abandoned. Trjjs, Spot has been made remarkable by the
murder of two commi^aries, with a party of CofTacks, many years
ago, who conveyed the tribute from Kamtfchatka to the An-
adirfk fort.
From the river Talouka to the mouth of the Penfchina the fea
coast lies north-east; thence it turns fouth-weft as far as the
rivulet Gogulan ; after wfyich the coafj: turns to the east, 'till we
approach the river Ochotfka : the interval between which last and
the Penfchina is watered with feveral rivulets that run into the
Penfchinfka fea, for whofe names we refer to the map. The
Cuchtai river falls into the Ochotfka very near the fea : between
them is a considerable bay, in which. vefTels may anchor. The
river Cuchtai is particularly remarkable for its port, and for the
great quantities of Larch trees, and other forts of wood fit for
building vefTels for navigation, which grow on its banks, and which
are not found in fo great plenty along the river Ochotfka.   The
river 24
A Geographical  Description  of
river Ochotfka has three mouths-^the New mouth, the Old
mouth, and the Bulginfkaya out-let.
The New mouth is dry, except at the time of a great inundation ; and even then vefTels cannot enter it. The prefent
Ochotfkoy fort is built between the New and Old mouths, almoft
upon the beach; and the former, which is now called the old
fort, was fix verfts from the fea. This place is called Ochotfkoy
post, and commonly Lama; and has under its jurifdiction all
Kamtfchatka, and the coast of the Penfchinska fea to the frontiers
of China. For which reafon the tax-gatherers are all fent out
from hence j and the tax, when gathered, is immediately brought
from all other places hither, where it is first appraifed, and then
fent into Jakutzk. Formerly the Ochotskoy fort was poorly inhabited, and under the jurifdiction of Jakutski, but it is much
increafed Since the Ruffians have made this the port for their
pafTage by fea to Kamtfchatka.
This place is better built than any of the other forts, the houfes
being good and regular, particularly thofe belonging to the government, in which the officers of the Kamtfchatka expeditions
resided. In my time there was neither a church nor a fortification, but they were building both. Though the country
be as barren as Kamtfchatka, yet its inhabitants are better fur-
nifhed with every thing, becaufe goods and provisions brought
from Jakutski are fold here cheaper by one half. Though
plenty of corn is brought here, yet no frefh meat is to be got,
except wild fowl and venifon, and that feldom. Fifh in this place is
almost as plenty as in Kamtfchatka, except the Chaveecha, which
they bring hither from thence. The greatest want in this place
is that of good pasturage near them; therefore the inhabitants
cannot breed cattle. They have tried many times to keep them
"tipon the river Avi, but with great lofs, most of them dying for
want of Sustenance. Time will fhew whether the Jakutski
people, that are fettled along  the rivulets which fall into  the
Ochotskai K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
<khotshz, be more fuccefsful. The want of cattle, in feme
meafure, is made up by the deer, which the natives have in
greater plenty than in Kamtfchatka ; but thefe are more ufed for
carriage than food. They alfo travel with dogs, but not fo
commonly as in Kamtfchatka.
There were four tranfport-veffels built here: namely; the
Fortune, in which in the year 1737 I went t0 the Great River,
and which was loft foon after; the boat Hauriel, which was ufed
alfo in long fea voyages for fome time; the Galliot Ochotska j
and a fmall VesTel, which was not then launched. The pafTage
by fea ufed formerly to be only once a year ; namely, in the
autumn, when the tax-gathers went from Ochotfky to Kamtfchatka, and brought back the tax the next year : but now they
go  oftener.
The pafTage from the Ochotska to the Great River is directly
foutli-eatt. Between the fort Ochotskoy and the river Amur whofe
heads are in the RHuffian dominions, the following rivers run into
the fea : the first, is Urack, 24 verfts from the Ochotska. It is to
be obferved, that in the time of the Kamtfchatka expeditions the
provisions were ufed to be fent down this river upon flat-bottomed
boats to the Ochotska ; for which: reafon they built a dock ro
Verfts from its mouth, where the failors and the Ochotfkoy CofTacks
ufed to build veffels for the above expeditions, and fend the faid
provisions from the Iudomfkoy Kreft, or crofs, to that place over
land by horfes or deer in fleejges. But this way of carriage by
water was attended with great trouble, lofs of time and people ;
for the river is very rapid, rocky, and full -of cataracts, and not
always deep enough, except in the Spring, or after great rains : and
as thefe additional waters run foon off, they are obliged to watdh
every- opportunity of fending down the loaded vefTels; which if
they omit, they must often wait a long time.
There never was a fleet fo happy in this navBgafion as not to lofe
fome vefTels either by rocks or cataracts, many of which are fo
E dangerous, 26
A Geographical  Description of
dangerous, that a Siberian foldier, who ventured to be a pilot
there, was made a ferjeant for it. One mav judge of its great rapidity by this, that captain Walton went down the river from the
Urackfkoi dock to the mouth in 17 hours, notwithstanding the
many stops he met'with in pasting the cataracts, and relieving the
other vefTels which had struck on the fhoals.
Thirty verfts from the Urackfkoi dock, up the river Urack, is*
built a fmall cuftom-houfe; at which all pafTengers are fearched for
brandy, china, tobacco, and other contraband or fmuggled goods.
The river Urack falls into a bay called by its name,, which
extends along the fhore two verfts: its breadth is 200 fathoms^
From hence, 'till we come to the Ude, nothing of moment-
occurs -, on the nothern bank of this river ftands the fort UdefktyT
about feven days' voyage by water from its mouth, and we may
reckon 10 or 12 verfts for each clay's journey,, as is generally allowed. The buildings in it are a church of St. Nicholas, the
tax-office, and 1 o houfes of the inhabitants. This fort is under
the jurifdiction of Jakutfki, from whence the tax-gatherers are
The Tunguf, who pay their taxes in here, are reckoned fix:
nations; and their taxes amount every year to 85 fables and 12
foxes' fkins. Formerly only people that were in the fervice of
the government lived in this fort; but in the year 1735 a c°l°ny
of 10 families of boors were fettled there to-estabKfh agriculture.
But it is faid there are no hopes that corn will grow in thefe
places, the foil being quite improper for cultivation.
Near the Mamkinfkay Nofs, and opposite to a large bay which
abounds with whales and feals, lies Medvefhuy, or the Bear's
ifland : it is about 10 verfts in length, and fix in breadth, at about
a day's fail on the east. South of the Nofs lies the ifland Theo-
clifove, which ufed formerly to be reforted to in winter by the
hunters. This ifland abounds with rocks and woods, in which are
Tables and foxes.
The K.   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
The Shantanskoy ifland is larger than Theocliflove. Shantura is
three day's journey by land from, north to fouth; and the boats
are three days and a half in coasting it.
The former of thefe iflands abounds not only in wood, but alfo
in different forts of animals ; particularly foxes, fables, ermines,
and bears. The principal birds are fwans, ducks, and geefe.
Several forts, of fifh are found in the bay ; and different kinds of
berries in the fields. Half a day's Sailing fouth from the Shan-
tanskoy is an ifland, in length and breadth about 12 verfts, called
Hoodee Shantar (that is, unprofitable) ; fo named, becaufe there
grows no fort of wood upon it, though it has not been long in
this State, for formerly there was wood enough, and many fables
were caught there; but being burnt through the negligence of
the Gilijacks, who left their fires unextinguished, it is now
nothing but a bare mountain, and all the animals have left it.
South from the Hoodee Shantar, in half a day's time, they go in
boats to the Belochay ifland, which is. equal in fize to the former.
This ifland abounds in woods, stocked with many animals, especially fquirrels, from whence it took its name.
The reft of the coaft has nothing worth remarking, 'till we
come to the river Amur, or, as it is called, Sagaiin Ula, being the.
last great river which, comes within our notice.
i$This river rifes in the Ruffian territories, and, according
to the Chinefe maps, falls into the fea, at the point of a
large bay, in 520 50' north latitude. This bay lies between
the Dulangada Nofs and the Vafpunu Nofs. From the
Vafpunu Nofs is the nearest pafTage to a great and inhabited ifland, which extends from the north-east to the
fouth weft
coast from
capes and
the  channel is   30
verfts  over.    The
river   Ude   to    the  Amur,    excepting   the
promontories,    lies   almoft   directly   north   and
Having xft        A  Geographical   Description  of
Having deferibed all the coast and principal rivers on the continent, we fhall now proceed to tlefcribe the principal roads
through this country.
CHAP.      II.
Of  the   ROADS   in   KAMTSCHATKA.
ROM the Bolfcheretskoi to the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort
are  three principal roads:   the   first, along the    Penf-
chinfky fea -, the fecond,  by the Eastern  Sea; and the
third,   by  the Biflroy.
By the first they go up the river Ohkikomina to the ridge Ohh*+
kominfkoy, and over the ridge to the river Keerganick,. along which
almoft to the river Kamtfchatka, and from thence up the river to
the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort.
By the fecond they go from the Bolfcheretskoi up the Great
River to the Nachikin fort, and crofs a fmall ridge to the'raver
Awatfcha, to the haven of Petropauiaufkay, or of Peter and
Paul-, and from thence along the coast of the Eastern Sea north
to the river Shupamva, and up that river to its head; from
whence over the ridge to the river Poweecha, and down the
mouth of that river, which is over-againft the upper fort.
The third road lies from the Bolfcheretskoi up the-Great River
to the Opachin fort j from thence through plains to the Rapid
River, up to its head; and thettce, down the river Kamtfchatka, to
the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort.
They travel the two firdt roads chiefly in winter j the third, on
foot in Summer. The first and the last roads are meafured, but
the fecond is only meafured half way; and the particular distances
are here adjoined*
"First "JC   A   M   T
H   A   T   K   A.
First road from the Bolfcheretskoi fort, by the Penfcfjinfiy fea.
verfts    fathom*
From the Bolfcheretskoi office to the Zaeemka, or
the estate of Mr. Trapeznicoff,       •—        —
From thence to the river Utka,. —
From thence to the Kiechchiek, to the Aka-
■ heejhevo, ——— ■
From thence to the Nemtick
From thence to the Kole •
From thence to the Vorovfkaya ■
From thence to the Brewmka       ——        >	
From thence to the Kompucovoy -■ ■■-
From thence to the Krootohorova •   ■    •
From thence to theOhlukoniina, to the fettlement
of Tarein, - ■ —
From thence to the Ohlukominfkoy ridge
From thence to the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort
486 50
Second road from the Bolfcheretskoi fort, by the Eastern Sea.
From the Bolfcheretskoi fort to the fmall fort
From thence to Nachikin
From thence to the Awatfcha and the Para-
tunka — ' —
From the Paratunka to the Petropaulaufkaya
haven        — ■ "~
From thence to the rivulet Calahturka
From thence to the fort Nalacheva
In ali from Bolfcheretskoi to the fmall fort Nalacheva ■ m 3®
A Geographical   Description  of
From the river Nalacheva they in  fix days  arrive at the
upper fort.
Third road from the Bolfcheretskoi fort, by the Rapid River.
verfts   fathoms
From the Bolfcheretskoi fort, up along the Great
River, to the Opachin fmall fort —-—
From thence to the upper ford  —
From thence to the fettlement of Ahanichevo
From thence to the fettlement of Ganaline
From thence to the head of the Kamtfchatka
From thence to the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort
In all from the  Bolfcheretskoi  to   the   upper
Kamtfchatkoi fort ■■   ■   ■ ■■
In all the places expreffed in the tables the travellers take up
lodgings at night, except where the distance is only five or fix
verfts. Notwithstanding the great distance between the Ohluko-
minfkoy and the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort, in good weather they
travel it in three days, lying two nights in defert places.
There are other roads from the Bolfcheretskoi to the upper fort,
both from the Penfchinfka fea and from the Eastern; for every
river there that falls into either of thofe feas has a pafiage to
Kamtfchatka : but, as nobody except the Kamtfchadales, and
fometimes the CofTacks, in great necessity, travel them, it was not
thought material to defcribe them j nor can one well afcertain the
distances by their journeys.
They go from the Bolfcheretskoi to the lower Kamtfchatkoi
fort, either through the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort, or by the coast
of the Eastern Sea. From the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort the way
ss along the river Kamtfchatka, except where the river makes great
windings. K   A   M.
T   K   A
windings.    The distance from the upper to the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort is laid down in the following table.
From the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort to the river
From thence to the fmall fort Ma/hwrin
From thence to the fmall fort Nachikin
From thence to Golka <
From thence to the fmall fort Talecheva
From thence to the Ufhky —
From thence to the Krewky
From thence to the Kreftee «——•
From thence to the Gorboon —
From thence to the Harchin —
From thence to the Camenoy fmall fort
From thence to the Cavanackey
From thence to the Kamack        >
From thence to- the Hapick —
JEfrom thence to the Schockey
From thence to the Oboohoffs fettlement
From thence to the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort, to
the church of St. Nicholas, —
In all from the upper to the lower fort —
And from the Bolfcheretskoi —
2 5
The other road from the Bolfcheretskoi to the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort being meafured only to the Nalacheva fort, it
cannot exactly be known which is the nearest way j but one may
imagine that there is not much difference between thenv 3-
^Geographical  Description
The chief places on that road where they usually lodge at
night are the fmall forts of Opachin, Nachiekiek, and the Tarein;
the haven of Peter and Paul, which was formerly called the fmall
fort Auflin ; the Oflrovenaya river, Supanova, and the Chazma ;
upon all which rivers there are Kamtfchatkoi habitations.
From the Chazma to the river Kamtfchatka the road lies over
defolate mountains j and they come upon the river juft by the
village Oboohoffs, feven verfts and a half above the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort, lodging but one night in a defert place.
From the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort to the northern parts two
roads are made, the one is by the Elouki, to its head ; and from
thence over a ridge to the head of the river Teghil, along which
they go quite to the fea ; and from thence, not far off from the
fea, to the rivers Lefnaya and Podkargirnaya.
In a moderate way of travelling, when there is no hindrance
from bad weather, they go from the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort to
the lower Teghilfkoy fmall fort, called Shipin, in i o days.
dBy the fecond road they may travel in the fame manner to the
river Karaga in ten days, whofe head is near the river
Lefnaya. -
From the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort to the Teghil the common
road is by the river Elouki: first, over the ridge to Ohlukominfkoy
fort, and from thence north by the Penfchinsky fea ; and another
road is by the river Kreflovaya to the Harhoofova.
By the first road they may reach Teghil in 10 days; but they
very often lodge the tenth night on the road, not fo much on
account of the distance as the badnefs of the roads, and the
very mountainous places over the Utkolotskoy cape. The fecond
road requires 11 or 12 days.
The paffage along the Elouki to the Teghil is the longest of all,
for that requires above 14 days' journey.
From the Bolfcheretskoi fort fouthward to the Kurilskaya Lopatka the ufual paffage is nine days.    The distance from the
Bolfcheretskoi  ^ 33.
munumum  K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
Bdfcheretskoi fort to the Kurilskaya Lopatka is 210 verfts 300
fathoms, which Space may be eafily travelled, even in four days .j
but the CofTacks of thofe places have a custom of stopping at
any fmall fort, under pretence of fome bufinefs there, though
their most probable motive is to refrefh their dogs. At a
middling rate I have travelled in three days from the Kamtf-
\chatkoi to the Bolfcheretskoi, which is near 150 verfts.
verfts   fathoms
From the Bolfcheretskoi fort   to  the mouth of
the Great River    — — —
From the mouth, along the fea-fhore, to the
river Opala —— ■
From thence to the Kofhuhochiek —
From thence to the Tavina • •    •
From thence to the river Ozernaya —
From thence to the Kambalina —
From thence to the Lopatka —
In all -from the Bolfcheretskoi to the Kurilskaya
Lopatka ~——. ■"
CHAP.     III.
NDER the name of Kurilski islands are understood all
thofe iflands which extend from the Kurilskaya Lopatka,
or the fouthern end of Kamtfchatka, in a row fouth-west
quite to Japan. They derive their names from the inhabitants of
thofe iflands which lie nearest to Kamtfchatka, who are called by
F the <9 4/
3? Geographical  Description  of
the natives Kufln, and by the Ruffians Kuriles. The exact
number of thofe iflands cannot be afcertained; but, according to the
verbal accounts which were gathered from the Kuriles, and tH#*
natives of the fouthernmofl iflands, and from the Japanefe, who
were driven by diftrefs of weather upon the coast of Kfltn&fshatka,
they are reckoned to be twenty-two. Perhaps they do not Cake the
fmall ones into this number: for by the account of captain
Spanberg, who went as far as Japan, there appears to be a great
many more; but as the faid captain found it difficult to give them
Ruffian names, all of them that had any relation to the Kurilfkoy names,, except the two that lay nearest to Matma Ku-
natin, were allowed to keep their former appellations.
Schumtfchu is the nearest ifland to the Kurilskaya Lopatka,
and extends in length from the north-east to the fouth-weft
50 verfts, and in breadth" about 30. This ifland is full of
mountains, out of which, as alfo from the fnasill lakes and
marfhes, many little rivers run into the fea. In fome of them
are found different kinds of falmon, and feveral other ftfh, but
not in fuch plenty as to furnifh the inhabitants with provisions
for a winter. Upon the fouth-weft point, near the ftreight
that is between this and the fecond Kurilskoy ifland, are three
Kurilskoy fettlements, that contain only 44 inhabitants j fome
of whom pay the taxes in fables and foxes, but the majority
pay them in fea-beavers' fkins.
The inhabitants of this ifland, as well as thofe of the Kurilf-
kay a Lopatka, are not the right Kuriles, but are of the race of the
Kamtfchadales: for fome distentions having arifen between the
inhabitants of that nation, foon after the Ruffians entered the
country, a large party of them retired here and to the Lopatka;
where they became connected, by mutual inter-marriages, with
the people of the fecond ifland, whofe particular customs they!
have adopted, and from thence have   received the   name of
The K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
The channel between the Kurilskaya Lopatka and this ifland
is 15 verfts in breadth; over which they pafs  in  fmall  boats,
when the weather is fair, in three hours.    This paffage requires
not only fair weather, but likewife a flowing tide.    In  the  time
of the ebb,  the waves  spread for fome verfts,  are rapid and
white, and fo large that even in calm weather they rife two
jor three fathoms high.    Both the CofTacks and Kuriles have a
Superstitious awe and veneration for thefe waves ^ and when they
row over them, offer them a facrifice by throwing chips made
on purpofe, imploring a fafe paflagej -the pilots alfo  ufe conjurations the whole way.
The fecond Kurilskoy ifland, Paromufir, is twice as large as
the first. It lies north-east and fouth-wejft, and is feparated
from the first by a channel two verfts broad, where one veffej.
may lie in time of necessity, but not without danger, there
being no proper place for anchorage: and if a veffel parts
from her anchor, fhe will be in very great danger j for the
fhore here being steep and rocky, and the channel narrow, it
is next to impossible for her to efcape. There was a melancholy
example of this in the year 1741, when one of our veflels was
cast away here. This ifland is alfo mountainous, and has as
many lakes and rivulets as Schumtfchu; and on both of them, there
is no other timber than Slanetz and Efmck which are ufed by
the inhabitants for fuel, and they build their huts of different
kinds of wood which they find thrown on the fhore
by the waves from America and Japan -, among thefe are
fometimes found pieces of ranfarn wood, of which feveral large
one's were brought thence to me. The inhabitants of this
yiand   are  right   Kuriles^ who came  there 'from   the   ifland
" « All
Onneckoot ; but upon what account is not known. All
afiirm, th$t&etween the inhabitants of the two above-mentioned
iftands, and the most remote, commerce was formerly eftablifh-
F 2 e(i
-26        rA  Geographical   Description of
ed : thofe of the remote iflands brought to them all forts of
lackered wooden ware, fcymitars, filver rings which they wear in
their ears, and cotton stuffs; and from them in return, they
ufed to take chiefly, eagles' feathers, which are ufed in ornamenting their arrows: this feems very probable; for I had
from this ifland a lackered waiter, a bafon, a Japanefe
fcythe, and a filver ring -, alt which I have fent to the Im^
perial Chamber of curiofities. Thefe articles the Kuriles could
have from no other place than from Japan-.
The Kuriles of this ifland have their habitations near
the fouth-weft point, upon a lake five verfts in circumference,
out of which a fmall rivulet, called Petpu, runs into the fea.
Both thefe iflands are fubject to frequent and terrible earthquakes, and inundations: one of thefe calamities happened in the
year 1737, about the time of my coming to Kamtfchatka -, and
another in November, 1742. We fhatl relate the first circumstantially in its proper place j but as for the fecond, though
it was great, yet I have not been informed of the mifchief and
destruction it occasioned ; for it happened after my departure
from Kamtfchatka -, and Mr. Steller makes no mention of it in
his account.
The third Kurilskoy ifland is called Sirinki,. and lies fouth-
weft of Paromufir. The fourth ifland is called Onnecutan. This
ifland is lefs than Paro?mifir, and- lies from north-eaft to
fouth-weft, as that does, from which they row to it in one day.
It has many inhabitants of the fame origin with the Kuriles
of Paromufir ifland, as was faid before, out of which fome families go over to vifit the inhabitants of Paromufir, and voluntarily pay a tribute in beavers and foxes. The author
concludes from this, that the reft of thefe iflands would
not refufe to pay the tribute, if proper perfons were fent to
bring  them   under subjection; and give them assurances, by
kind reprefentations, of the clemency of her Imperial majesty,
with promifes that fhe would, protect and defend them from
their enemies.
Neither I nor Mr. Steller could have an oppportunity to inform ourfelves particularly of the reft of the Kurilski iflands-;
therefore we fhall give the accounts of them that were com«-
municated to me by Mr. Muller, which he had from the Ja-
panefe, who were fhipwrecked upon the coasts of Kamtfchatka.
Between Mr. Mutter's account and our's, there is fome difference ; for in his, Onnecutan: is called the sixth ifland. However this might happen only on account of his reckoning the
fmall iflands alfo, which the Kuriles do not. According to his
defcription, beyond the Paromufir, or the fecond Kurilskoy ifland,
there are three more iflands ; Sirinki is reckoned the third ; Uyat-
koopa, the fourth -, and the Kukumita, or Cucumiva, the fifth ;
the Sirinki and Kukumita are Smaller than Uyakoopa, which ifland
is remarkable for a high mountain. The faid iflands are placed
in a triangle; the Uyakoopa lying most north, and farthest Weft ^
and the Sirinki, with regard to the former, fouth-eaft, and in,
the fame longitude with Paromufir; and the Kukumita a little
farther fbuthward than the Uyakoopa. It feems that thefe iflands
in the General Ruffian map are expreffed under the names of
Diacon, St. lliah, and Galanta, which are placed in a triangle,,
though their situation is not exactly the fame as in the above
defcription. The Sixth Kurilskoy ifland, according to Mr. Muller^
is called Muska and Onnecutan. The feventh is Araumakutan,
is uninhabited, and there are fome burning mountains as in
Kamtfchatka. On the eighth ifland Sujaskutan, which is as large:
as the former, fome few people inhabit who are not taxed. From,
this ifland to the weft lies the ninth called Emarka > and thence oix
the fouth-weft fide is the tenth ifland Mafliachu, which is fmall
and uninhabited • and on the fouth-eaft fide from the Sujaskutanf
there is a fmall ifland Ehachu, which is reckoned the eleventh..
w II
*s3?        *d Geographical   Description vf
The tweflfth ifland Shockoeki lies on tfche fouth fide, and Co
idistantTfrom >the Sufaskutan, that they can hardly row to it in
half a day, even when the days are longest, in the lightest boat.
It is -feid, that the Japanefe carry ore from it in large vef-
;fffls; but what ore is not known. > The thirteenth ifland, and
J&e following to the feventeenth, are called Motogo, Shatovo,
Utitir, KituijL, and Sbimutir. The Utitir lies fomewhat to the
east, and the reft in one line fouth. The channels are croffed in
light boats, in lefs than half a day, but the paffage is excessively
.difficult, becaufe the tide runs very rapid in all of them j and,
when ifrhappens to be a fide wind, thefe fmall vefTels are driven into
the fea, and loft; and for this reafon the inhabitants of al' thefe
jHilands pafs and repafs thefe places early in the Spring in calm
weather. The Motogo, Shatovo, and the Utitir iflands have
nothing remarkable in them. On the ifland Kituy grow the
reeds of which they make their arrows. The Shimatir is larger
than the reft, and has many people on it, who refemble the Kuriles of the first three iflands in all refpects, but are not under
the Ruffian government, nor any other foreign power. The
navigators who were fent by Peter the Great, only faw this
ifland, beyond which no Ruffians ever were until the fecond
Kamtfchatkoi expedition.
The Cheerpuy is reckoned the eighteenth of the iflands. It lies
weft at the mouth of the channel. On this is a very high
mountain, but no inhabitants. Some people come there from
the other iflands to catch fowls and dig roots. The people of
Kituy have fometimes heard firing of cannon on this ifland, as
they relate, but on what account they know not. They likewife
report, that formerly a Japanefe veffel was loft upon it, whofe
people were taken by the inhabitants of the next ifland, and
•were fent to Japan to be redeemed.
The channel  which divides the ifland Shimutir from   the
nineteenth ifland Eturpu is fo broad, t&at one cannot fee one
ifland KAMTSCHATKA. 39
ifland from the other j but from thence to the twentieth ifland
Urupe,  and from that again to the twenty-first Kunatir, the^
channels are much narrower.
The twenty-fecond and the last iiland near Japan the Japanefe
ufed to call Matma, but how broad the channel is between that and
the former ifland Kunatir is not mentioned in Mr. Mullers
account; but one may judge that it is not very wide, efpecially to
the weft, for reafons to be given hereafter. The ifland Matma
is larger than any of the rest, and next to it in Size is the
The natives of the Eturpu and the Urupe iflands call themfelves
Keek-Kuriles. They have a particular language of their own, and
refemble the natives of the ifland Kunatir, but we do not know
whether their language is the fame or not j neither are we af-
fured whether the language of the Keek-Kuriles has any affinity
with that of the Kuriles of Kamtfchatka and the iflands near it.
This is to be obferved that the Japanefe fay they call the natives
of the last four iflands by the common name of Jefo j from which
we may conclude that the inhabitants of 'Matma are of the fame race
with the natives of the former iflands, and the language is the fame
onfall thefe four iflands.    Thus we may  correct the errors of
former geographers, who give the name of Jefo to a large country •
lying north-east of Japan, which now we find is made up of the
above-mentioned iflands.    In this there is nothing contrary to the
accounts that we meet with in the voyages of the Europeans, particularly of the Dutch, who in the year 1643 were fent to discover the land of Jefo.    Some of the inhabitants of the iflands
of Eturpu   and   Urupe  (which had  a  commerce   with   the
* natives of the iflands near Kamtfchatka, about 25 or 30 years
ago) were taken captives on the ifland Paromufir,   and  were
brought to Kamtfchatka ;  and this probably put an end to their
communication and traffick by fea.   However thefe captives were
ufeful j for the accounts received from the Japanefe were explained 40        A Geographical  Description of
plained and corrected by them, and fome new information obtained. According to them thofe Keek-Kurikson the iflands Eturpu
and Urupe are under no foreign Subjection ; but Matma, both by
the account of European travellers and of the Japanefe, has been
for many years Subject to Japan. They fay alfo, that upon thefe
iflands are a great number of the Kuriles and Kamtfchadales in
flaverv, who had been formerly carried off. It is worthy of ob-
fervation throughout all thefe iflands, that fuch as lie more
wefternly have no wood, but thofe that lie to the eastward have
it in. abundance, and confequently there is great plenty of game.
There is fafe anchoring in the mouths of the rivers for large fhips,
in the ifland Eturpu particularly. The Japan filk, cotton stuffs,
and all forts of iron houfhold furniture alfo, are brought to the
iflands Eturpu and Urupe by the natives of Kunatir, who
purchafe them from the inhabitants of Matma.
The inhabitants of Eturpu and Urupe make stuffs of nettles,
which they fell to the Japanefe : they likewife fell to them all
forts of furrs, which they have among themfelves, and which are
brought to them from the iflands near Kamtfchatka ; alfo dry fifh
and whale's fat, which is ufed in victuals by the natives of the
ifland Matma. By the accounts of travellers, thefe things are
carried even into Japan.
The ifland Matma lies from the fouth-weft to the north-east.
The Japanefe have a Strong guard upon its fouth-weft point,
perhaps with a view to defend the country from the Chinefe and
Koreans. Not far from thence, upon the fhore of the channel,
which divides the ifland Matma from Japan, ftands a Japanefe
city of the fame name with the ifland, where are kept all forts
of ammunition, mufkets, and guns for defence, and in which
where lately built new fortifications. Most of the Japanefe fet-
tlements upon Matma were made by people banifhed thrther.
The Japanefe, who were brought to Kamptfchatka, give us the
fame accounts of the channel between Matma and Japan, which.
We  find in the European voyages; namely, that this channel is
very narrow in Several places, and very dangerous, on account of
feveral rocky capes projecting into it from both fides.    At ebb
and flow the fea is fo rapid that if the least time is loft the vefTels*
will be either daihed against the capes, or carried into the fea.
The Dutch relate that they have found a fmall ifland eastward
of thefe, which they named the States' Ifland j   and farther towards the east, they faw a great land, which they named the
-   Company's Land, and imagined it to be part of the continent of
North-America.    We can give no fatisfactory information of
thefe things from any accounts received from the Japanefe, .but
the Company's Land feerfl®to be the fame with the land discovered
by De Gama, and it ought to be confidered rather as an ifland
than the main land j becaufe America, by all the obfervations*
made between Japan and New Spain, cannot extend fo far to
the west.    In thefe accounts collected by profeffor MuUer, we
have only to correct the general fituation of the Kurilfki iflands,
which do not extend to the fouth, as he was informed, but lie
in a row to the fouth-weft, as I have fhewn above, and as they
are laid down in the General Ruffian Map : for it is well known
by the new maps, and from the verbal acconnts of the Japanefe,
who have been there, that the channel Teffoy, which reaches
along the  Chinefe   coaft,  S. S. W. is only  15 verfts broad;
but, according to his account of the fituation of the Iflands, it
ought to be considerably wider to the fouth.    In lhort, if captain
Spanberg's defcription of the Kurilfki iflands to Japan could  be
reconciled with Mr. Mutter's, then the exact fituation of each
of them would be known, and their diftances from each other
afcertained • of which we can only now judge by conjecture.
Mr. Spanberg gfoes only two of the iflands which constitute
Jefo their proper names ; namely, Matma and Kunatir; but he'
diftinguifhes the iflands Eturpu and Urupe by the names of the
Green and the Orange iflands: and as thofe iflands, except Matma,
G are 42        A Geographical Description  of
are defcribed, and both their Size and Situation laid down, there
feems to be no doubt but that the cape Teffioy is the north-weft
point of the iiland Matma,- which was obferved by the Ruffians
only from the east fide mf Japan j and though in the above
accounts of Mr, Mutkr, it, being faid to lie from fouth-weft to'
north-east, may occasion fome doubt, yet we may reconcile it
in this manner • that the nearest point of Matma to Japan
extends towards China from the S. E. to the N. W. and to the
Kurilfki fide from the S..W. to the N. E. as it is expreSTed in
the Chinefe maps, 'in which are only wanting the divisions
between the iflands of Jefo. The channel between Japan and
the ifland Matma, according to the new maps, in fome places
is 20 verfts, and in others much lefs. The north part of the
ifland Japan, or Niphon, is a little above the 40th degree of
The accounts of the great plenty of wood on the iflands nearest to Japan are confirmed by Mr. Steller, who fays, that, in
general, the iflands lying farthest to the west from America are
the most fruitful, and abound with trees of various kinds, among
which are lemoji&, bamboe, Spanifh canes or reeds, and poifonous
herbs, whofe roots/are as yellow as faffron and as thick as rhubarb, and are well known to the inhabitants of the first Kurilfkoy
ifland, for they formerly bought them from the natives of thofe
iflands, and ufed) to poifon their arrows with the juice. Vines
alfo grow there j and I have tafted fome grapes which Lieutenant
Walton brought from thofe iflands in h&& return from Japan.
Upon the ifland Kunatir, there are great numbers of pine,
larch, and fir trees, but a fcarcity of good watefo I Wild
animals they have in abundance, pasflieularly bears, whofe
fkins the inhabitants ufe for their cloaths. The natives of this
ifland, by his account alfo, wear long Silk cloiths like the Chinefe,
have long beards, pay no regard to cleanlinefs, and feed on fifh
and whale's fat.    Their bedding is of wild goats' fkins, of which
there K   A    M   T    S    C   H
there are plenty. They acknowledge no fovereign, though they
live near Japan. The Japanefe come to them every year in
their fmall craft, and bring all forts of iron ware, brazen pots
wooden lackered waiters and bowls, leaf of tobacco, and filk-
and-cotton Stuffs, which they exchange with them for whales'
fat and the fkins of foxes; but they are not fo good as
thofe of Kamtfchatka. The natives of* the ifland of Kunatir
told the Ruffians to beware of thofe of the ifland of Matma
becaufe they had cannon, asking our people at the fame time,
whether they came from the North, and if they were thofe
who are famous for their armies, and able to wage war with
and conquer, every nation. The language of the ifland Kunatir
is almost the fame with that fpoken in the ifland Paromufir ;
from hence we may conclude, that the natives of Eturpu
and Urupe differ little in their language from the Kurilfki.
The inhabitants of thefe iflands are faid to call themfelves
Keek-KurHes; but the word Kuriles being corruptly
by the Coffacks for the word Kufhi, (which is a common
name for the natives of the Kurilfki iflands) it is more probable, that, if the natives of Eturpu and Uturpe do distinguifh
themfelves by the addition of the Word Keek, they are called
Keek-Kufhi, and not Keek-Kuriles.
Qi 44
A Geographical Description of
TH E following accounts of that part of America which
lies directly east from Kamtfchatka, are collected from
notes taken out of Mr. Steller's journal.
.— The main land of America, which is now known from 52
to 60 degrees of north latitude, extends from the fouth-weft
to the north-east fide, at almost an equal distance from the coast
of Kamtfchatka > namely, about 37° in longitude: for the
coaft of Kamtfchatka alfo lies in the fame direction, in a strait
line from the Kurilfkaya Lopatka to the Tchukotfkoi. Nofs, excluding the gulphs and capes j infomuch that it may be reafon-
ably concluded, that thefe lands were once joined, efpecially
at the Tchukotfkoi Nofs; for between it and the land,
which lies east over against it, it is not above two degrees and a half. Mr. Steller offers four reafons to prove the
fame. ift. The appearance of the coast which, both of Kamtfchatka and America, feems to be tore off. 2d. Many capes
project into the fea from 30 to 60 verfts. 3d. Many iflands are
in the fea which divides Kamtfchatka from America. 4th. The
fituation of the iflands, and the fmall breadth of that fea. But,
however, this is left to the judgment of the learned; it is enough
for us to relate facts. The fea that divides Kamtfchatka from
America is full of iflands, which extend from the fouth-weft
point of America to the channel of Anianova, one following another, as the Kurilfki iflands are to Japan. The iflands lie
in a row from 510 to 54° of latitude, to the east, and
begin a little above 50 from Kamtfchatka. Mr. Steller thinks,
that between the Kurilfki and American iflands is to be found
the K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
the company's land, but feveral doubt this; for, according to
his opinion, that land ought to be the bafe of the triangle of the
Kurilfki and the American iflands; this would be probable, if
the company's land fhould be rightly laid down in the maps.
America enjoys a much better climate than the coast of
the north-east fide of Afia, although equally near the fea, and
every where full of high mountains, which are continually covered with fnow; but they have greatjy the pre-eminence when
we compare their qualities with thofe of Afia. The mountains
of Afia' being every where rocky and ragged, they lofe then:
compactnefs and internal native heat; for which reafon they
have no valuable metals, nor any trees or herbs, and in
the vallies there grows only fmall fhrkbby wood and hardy
herbs. The American mountains are clofe and their surface not
covered with mofs, but with a fruitful earth, for which reafon
they are cloathed from the bottom to their tops With a thick
and fine wood. The herbs that grow at their feet are of that
kind that grow in dry places, but not in marfhes; and the fame
herbs grow in the vallies as on the very tops of the mountains,
becaufe there is every where an equal warmth and moisture.
But in Afia it is quite different, for the fame herb grows twice
as high in the plain as in the mountains.
In America at 60 ° the coast is covered with wood; but at
Kamtfchatka, whicti is only 510 of latitude, the fmall willows
,and poplars do not grow nearer the fea than 20 verfts, and birch
wood not nearer than 30, nor the pitch wood along the river
Kamtfchatka nearer than 50 from its mouth: and in Kamtfchatka, in 620, not one tree is to be found. In Mr. Steller's
opinion America extends from the before-mentioned latitude to
700 and farther, and is defended and covered from the weft by
the above wood; but on the coaft of Kamtfchatka, efpecially
upon the Penfchinfka fea, it is quite barren, being open to the
violent A  Geographical   Description  of
violent north winds, which blow here frequently ; and we firifl
that places lying farther north are more fruitful, as about the
Tchukotfkoi Nofs, where they are covered from thefe winds.
It is likewife obferved, that the fifh enter the rivers in America
'^earlier than in Kamtfchatka. Great plenty of fifh have been feen
there on the 20 th of July, at which time in Kamtfihatka they
only begin to appear. There are a fort of r^fberries of a
very extraordinary Size and fine taste; besides honeyfuckles, cranberries, blackberries, and bilberries in great plenty : as alfo
feals, fea-beavers, whales, dog-fifti, marmotta-minor, red and
black foxes which are not fo wild as "in other places, perhaps becaufe they are feldom hunted.
Among the known birds have been obferved magpies, crows,
fea-gulls, water-cranes, fwans, ducks, quails, plovers, Greenland
pigeons, and fowls called northern ducks; and among the unknown, ten kinds diftinguifhable from any fpecies of European
The natives there, who are as wild as the Koreki and the
Tchukotskoi, are plump, broad fhouldered, Strong boned, of a
middle Size, with Straight and black hair which hangs loole.
Their faces are fwarthyand flat, their nofes fomewhat pointed but
very broad, with black eyes, thick lips, fmall beards, and fhort necks.
Their fhirts, which come lower than the knee, are girded about
their bellies with leather fMngs; and their breeches and trowfers are
made of the fkins of feals dyed with alder, and are like thofe of
the Kamtfchatdales. To their girdles they hang iron knives in
cafes, like thofe worn by the Ruffian boors. Their hats are made
of grafs, as thofe of the Kamtfchat dales, without tops, in the
i&iapes of umbrellos, dyed with green and red colours, with
,|§lcons' feathers before, or with grafs that is combed out,Jfwhich
looks like the plumage that the Americans ufe about Brazil.
They feed on fifh, fea animals, and the fweet herb, which they
prepare as the Kamtfchat dales do ; besides they ufe the dry bark
of the poplar and pine trees, which is eaten as food, not only
here and in Kamtfchatka, but in all Siberia, and fome parts of
Ruffia, even as far as the province of Viatka, efpecially in times
of fcarcity; they ufe likewife fea-grafs laid up in heaps, which
looks like, and is as tough as, leather thongs. Wine and tobacco
they knowriot, which ferves as a real proof of their having had
hitherto no communication with the Europeans. They esteem
it a particular ornament to make holes on their faces in different
parts, in which they place various stones and bones; others
wear in their nostrils feathers about two inches long; fome
wear bones of the fame fort in their under lips, and others upon
the forehead. The people who live on the iflands near the Tchukotfkoi Nofs, and who have a communication with the Tfchuktf- \
chi, are certainly of the fame race, for among them it is always!
esteemed as an ornament to wear bones. The late major)
Paulutfkoy having had once a fkirmifh with the Tfchuktfchi,
found among the dead two men of this country, under whofe
nofes were placed two teeth of the fea-horfe, in holes made foa
that purpofe; for which, reafon the natives call thofe iflanders
Zoobatee, or large teethed; and, as the pfifoners reported, they
did not come there to affift them, but to fee their manner of
fighting with the Ruffians.
It may be concluded fronfcriMS, that the Tfchuktfchi and they
have the fame language, or, at least, that there is fuch a neaa
refemblance between their languages, as to enable them to con-
verfe together without an interpreter. The language of the
Tfchuktfchi is derived from that of the Koreki, and differ from it
in dialect only; the Koreki therefore can converfe with them
without difficulty. And Mr. Stetler's faying, that not one of
our interpreters could understand the American language, might
adife from the great difference in the dialect, or from the particular pronunciation, which is obferved, not only between the
wild III!
48        A Geographical  Description of
wild natives of Kamtfchatka, but alfo between the Europeans*
in different provinces. There is fcarce one fort in kamtfchatka
which does not differ in language from that of another j and thofe
forts of fome hundred verfts' distance hardly understand one another. The Americans and the Kamtfchadales agree in the following things : Firft, their features are alike. Secondly, the Americans prepare the fweet herb in the fame manner as the Kamtfchadales do, which-has never been obferved any where elfe.'
Thirdly, they both ufe wood in Striking fire. Fourthly, it has
been obferved, from many instances, that their hatchets are
made of Stone or bone j and Mr. Steller thinks, not without
reafon, that the Americans had formerly a communication with
the people of Kamtfchatka. Fifthly, their wearing apparel and_
hats are the fame. And, sixthly, they dye the fkins of beasts
with alder, as the Kamtfchat dales do : from whence it appears
probable, that they are of the fame race. Thefe particulars
may help to anfwer the question, Whence was America peopled ? for though we fhould grant, that America and Afia were
never joined, yet thefe two parts of the globe lie fo near each
other, that the impossibility of the inhabitants of Afia going over
to America, (efpecially as the number of iflands lying between
them made the paffage more easy)  cannot be maintained.
Their arms are the bow and arrow j but what fort of bows
we cannot tell, for our people faw none of them. Their arrows
indeed are longer than thofe of the Kamtfchadales, but refemble
intirely thofe ufed by the Tungufki and Tartars, which our
people found were dyed of a black colour, and fcraped fmooth.
The Americans ufe boats made of fkins, as the Koreki and
the Tfchuktfchi do. Their boats are 12 feet long and two broad,
the head and Stern fharp, and the bottom flat. The infide is
made of poles joined at both ends, which are kept extended by a
proper piece of wood j and the fkins fewed round feem to be
thofe of feals dyed of a cherry  colour:   the feat is round,
two KAMTSCHA-inA.        49
\ two yards from the Stern, and fewed about with guts, which,
with the help of leather thongs laced round the edges, can. be
drawn together and opened like a purfe. The American fitting
in this place stretches out his legs, and draws the fkin tight
about his body. Thefe boats will live in the most stormy fea,
though they are fo light that they may be carried with one
When the Americans fee any strangers they row towards them,
making a long fpeech ; but whether this be fome conjuration, or
a ceremony at receiving them, we cannot certainly fay; for both
the one and the other is in ufe among the Kuriles: but, before
they approach them, they paint their cheeks with a black pencil,
and stop their nostrils with grafs. They feem to receive Strangers
very kindly, converfe in a friendly manner, with their eyes fixed
upon them, treat them with great civility, and make them prefents
of whales' fat, and of thofe pencils with which they daub their
own cheeks, not doubting but fuch things are as acceptable to
others as to themfelves.
It is very fafe failing in thofe'parts in the Spring and Summer;
but in the autumn fo dangerous, that there is not a day on which
they dare venture out for fear of perifhing; the winds and Storms
being fo violent, that the Ruffians, who have ufed the fea for forty
years, declare they have never feen any thjng equal to them. The
following are looked upon here as signs of the land
near : When many different forts of fea-cabbage ajonear floating
on the fea; when they obferve that fort of grafs of which cloaks,
carpet^and little bags are made at KamtfcFat^afK>i: it grows
Only upon the fea fhore; and when fea^gullsand fea animals,
fuch as feals and the like, appear in great numbers; for though,
the feals have aji opening in their hearts, called the Foramen ovale, and a;pafTage called Ductus arteriofus botalli, which are both
open, and therefore can keep under water for a long time,  and
H may $o        A  Geographical   Description tf
may go far from the fhore without danger, as they can find proper food at a great dep$i; yet, notwithstanding all tb$s, they
feldom go o&t above ten miles to fea. But the most certain Sign
of the land being near, is, when they fee Kamtfchatkoi beavers,
which feed only upon lobsters and crabs, and, by the formation
of their hearts^ cannot continue under water above two
minutes. Wti]
We must yet mention fome iflands, which lie near to Kamtfchatka, though not in a strait line with thofe above defefjbed,
but north of them, particularly Bering's ifland, which isrnow fo
well known to the Kamtfchatkoi inhabitants, that many go thither for the' trade of fea beavers and other animals. This ifland
extends between 550 and 6o° of latitude from the fouth-eaft to
the north-weft. Its north-east end, which lies almost directly
opposite to the mouth of the river Kamtfchatka, is about two
degrees from the eastern fhore of Kamtfchatka, and its fouth-eafj
point is about three degrees from the Kronotfkoy Nofs. The
length of this ifland is 165 verfts, but its breadth is unequal,
being from the fouth-eaft point to the Steep and unpafiable cliff,
which lies fourteen verfts from the point, between three and four
verfts in breadth ; from this to the Seepucha bay about five
verfts; from the Seepucha bay to the Beaver cliff, fix verfts;
and thence to the fmall river Kitova, five verfts. Farther on it
grows broader and broader; and its greatest breadth is opposite
to the northern cape, where it is twenty-three verfts. One may
fay in general, that there is fo little proportion between the length
and breadth of this ifland, that our author doubts whether its
equal is to be found in any other part of the world; at least,
he has neither read nor heard of fuch; and he fays alfo, that
the iflands which he faw near America, and the whole range
of them towards the east, have nearly fuch proportions'.
This K
This ifland consists of one rocky ridge divided by many vallies
lying north and fouth ; and the mountains *are fo high that, in
fair weather, they may be perceived almost in the middle of the
pafTage between the ifland and Kamtfchatka.
The natives of Kamtfchatka were of opinion for many years,
that over-againft the mouth of the Kamtfchatka there ought to
be land; becaufe there was always the appearance of a fog or
mist there, let the horizon be ever fo bright. The highest mountains here are not higher than two verfts perpendicular ; the tops
are covered for the thicknefs of half a foot with a common yellow clay; but below are hard yellow rocks. The Stanovoy
ridge is hard and entire; and the mountains upon the fides are
feparated by vallies, through which ran fmall rivers on both fides
of the ifland. It is obfervable in thisifland, that the mouths of all
the rivers lie either to the fouth or to the north, and from their
fprings they either run fouth-eaft or north-weft.
There are no plains near the principal ridge, except the fea-
fhore, and even there are little mountains of half a verft, or a
verft, in circumference. Such hills are obferved near every rivulet,
With this difference, that the flatter the capes are towards the fea,
the larger are the plains behind. The very fame thing is alfo
obferved in the vallies •: if they lie between high mountains, they
are lefs, and the rivulets in them alfo Smaller ; btft in thofe vallies
which are between low mountains, it is otherwife. On the Stanovoy or principal ridge, wherever the mountains are Steep and full
of cliffs, there are always found lakes half a verft, or a verft,
from the fea-fhore, which run by fmall outlets into the fea.
The mountains confift of one hard hlue ftong.; but where they
are parallel with the fea, tHere tne^iapes are'made up of a strong
greyifh clean stone, fit for polifhing. This circumstance the
author esteems wol3$ry of obfervation, beeaufe he imagined''the
Stone might obtain this change from the fea-water.
1 52
A Geographical  Description of
In many places of the ifland the beach is fo narrow, that it is
hardly possible to pafs it at high water; and in two places there
is no paffage at all: one of thefe is near the fouth-eaft, and the
other near the north-weft point of the ifland.
It is  remarkable,  that  wherever there   is   a   bay  on   one
fide  of the  ifland,  on the other,   directly opposite to it, is a
cape ; and where the fhore on one fide is flat and Sandy,  on the
other it is rocky and torn.    Where the turning is fharp, either
to one fide or the other, there the fhore is cliffy and stony about
a verft or two from  the turning.    The  mountains nearer the
Stanovoy ridge are rather the Steepest. There are many cracks which
were occasioned at different times by earthquakes ; and it has been
obferved, that in the highest mountains fomething sticks out like
kernels, ending as cones ; which, though they feem to be of the
fame Substance with the mountain itfelf, yet are fomewhat fofter
and clearer, and have a particular figure.   Such kernels are found
on the mountains of Baykal, and on the ifland Olehon. Mr. Steller
received from Anadirfk Stones of a green colour fomewhat re-
fembling thefe kernels, and was informed that they were taken
from the top of the mountains; and that whenever they are broken
off, others grow in their places.   It is thou ght that thefe Stones are
formed by fome internal motion of the earth, particularly by its
preffure towards the center ; from whence thefe kernels may be
reckoned a fpecies of chryflal, or the purest Stony matter, which
is first prefled from the center in a liquid State, and afterwards
hardened by the external air.
On the north-east fide of the above-mentioned ifland is no haven,
even for the smallest vefiel, except one place which is in breadth
80 fathoms, where a veffel may anchor in calm weather. % There
are fhoals that lie off as far as four or five verfts from the fhore,
which are laid with stones as if done by design, and on which
you may walk at low water to the deep places without wetting
your feet.
North of  the haven is  a   large   bay,  in  which are  fuch
ftones and  pillars  as   are found  on the fhore.     The fouth-
weft fide of the ifland  is quite different;  for though the fhore is
rocky and more torn, yet in two places there is a paffage for flat-
bottomed boats, not only to that, but even into the lakes.    The
firft place is 50, and the fecond is 115, verfts from the fouth-
eaft point of the ifland.    This last is easily known from the fea,
for the land turns there from north to weft; and in the very cape
runs a river, which, though fmall, is the largest in that ifland, and.
the depth of it at high water is feven feet.    It runs out of a
great lake,   which is a verft and a half from its mouth ; and
as the  river is   deeper   when they  have paffed the bar,   the
failing to   the lake   in   fmall  vefTels   is    very easy  and   fafe*
The principal mark by which they can know this river is an
ifland {even verfts round, and it lies feven verfts fouth from the
mouth of it.    The fhore from thence to the weft, for five verfts,
is fandy and low,  and  there are no  rocks.    From  the high
mountains of this ifland are to be feen the following places:  in
the fouth,  two  iflands;  one of them in  circumference feven
verfts, as was faid before; and the other is in  the fouth-weft,
oppofite   to   the  very point  of Bering's ifland,   and   at   the
distance of 14 verfts.    It confifts of two high* and fplit rocks,
about three  verfts  in  circumference.    From   the very north-
weft point of Bering's ifland, in clear weather, are feen mountains covered with fnow ;  and the distance of them from thence
may be reckoned about  100 or 140 verfts.    Thefe mountains
were taken by the author for a cape of the main-land of America,
for the following reafons : first, becaufe the mountains,  as  he
judged by their distance, were higher than thofe of the ifland:
fecondly, becaufe within the fame distance on the east from the
ifland there were plainly obferved fuch other white mountains;.
from the height and direction of which, all were, of opinion that
it 54        -A Geographical  Description  of
it was the main land of America. From the fouth-eaft point of
Bering's ifland they faw lying fouth-eaft fome other iflands, but
not fo plainly; and their fituation was thought to be between
Bering's ifland and the continent. It has been obferved, that
above the mouth of the river Kamtfchatka, towards the weft and
fouth-weft, in clear weather, there is always a fog; and from
that, in fome measure, it was known that Bering's ifland was not
fax from the country of Kamtfchatka. To the north part of
Bering's ifland there is another, in length from 80 to 100
verfts. The channel betwixt thefe iflands, towards the northwest, is about 20 verfts, and towards the fouth-eaft, about
forty. Near the points of both are many rocks and pillars in
the fea.
The weather differs from that of Kamtfchatka only in being
more fevere and fharp;   for the ifland has no cover from any
point, and is narrow and without wood.   The wind is fo strong in
the low and narrow vallies that a man can hardly keep his feet,
and it was obferved to be highest in the months  of February and
April, when it blowed from the fouth-eaft and the north-weft;
when from the former, the weather was clear and tolerable, and,
when from the latter, it continued clear, but was very cold.  The
highest tides were in the beginning of February, when the wind
was north-west; and in the middle of May, from the great rains
arid 1&e melting of the fnow, another flood happened; yet both
thefe floods were moderate, compared to thofe which, undoubtedly, have been formerly in thofe ifl&nds; for thirty fathoms
higher than the fea-mark,  lie wood  and whole Skeletons  of
fea  animals,  whfch  have been left   by   the   fea;   and   it   is
probable that in the year 1737, the flood was  as great here
as   at   Kamtfchatka.    Earthquakes   happen    frequently.     The
greatest here,   which lasted  exactly fix rrmiutes,  was fek in
the beginning of February, when the wind was wefternly; a
great m
K   A
great noife, which preceded the fhock, was heard under ground,
attended with a whistling wind, which went from fouth to
The water here is remarkable for its lightnefs and purity; and
its (medicinal virtues have been experienced by the fick. Every
valley has its rivulet, and the number of them all is above
Sixty. By reafon of the great declivity of the vallies they are
very rapid; and, near the fea, divide themfelves into many
r* 5«-   -Ml
cy *& soil.
^fP^-PON the banks of the river Kamchatka is found
■£ U j plenty of roots and;beriles, which in fome meafure
S^JKjjjOsC fupply the want of corn. There is alfo wood Sufficient not only for building houfes, but even for fhip-building ;
and Mr. Steller is of opinion, tha>t near the head of this river,
both Summer and winter corn would grow as well as M any
other places in ihe fame latitude, the foil being deep and rich ;
and though fnow falls in very great quantities, yet it thaws early
enough, and the fpring is not fo rainy, nor have they fuch
damps, there as in many other places. Several tryalsoffum-
mer-corBr.have been actually made.both in the.upper and lower
Oflrog * of Kflintfchatlyb jj-jn which both barley and oats h®ik
fucceeded. •   At the monastery of our Lord of Jakutfki, they have
* Oftrog is a little town fortified with pallifades, where the RuJJian Co/Tacks, and
other inhabitants live.
I feveral 5«
The Natural History of
feveral years past fown feven or eight poods -j- of barley, which
yielded a crop not only Sufficient for groats and meal for their
own ufe, but even enough to fupply their neighbours, though
they are obliged to plough their land with men.
All garden Stuff thrives not alike; the most fucculent produce
only leaves and stalks. Cabbage and lettice never grow to any
head, and the peas continue in flower imtil late in the harvest
without yielding fo much as pods; but garden roots which'are
full of juice, fuch as turnips and radiflies, grow very well. Thefe
tryals, however, were only made upon the banks of the Great
River and Awatfcha. Such things as require a hot foil, grow
very well every where, but still best upon the Kamtfchatka. Upon
the Great River I never faw any turnips larger than three or
four inches'diameter; but upon the Kamtfchatka, I have feen
them four or five times as bjc. ,
The grafs grows here fo high, and is fo full of fap that one fcarcely
fees any tlun^Jike it i&jJ$3Lljtie empire of Ruffia ; near the river
and lakes, and in the opening of the woods, itNrjfestoabove
the height of a man, and fo fast thabit may forhetimeS fte mdwM
thrice in a Summer ; fo that feat:places can be; more pi©per for
breeding of cattle; and although the blades are thick and
high, and make but a coarfe fort of hay, yet the cattle are
large and fat, and give plenty of rrj^kiboth iuaimer and winter,
wh^oh I attribute^ to the i&ihnefsrof the foil and the fpring ndinsl
The grafs coritHpiues full ofi juice, even to the begiaifijng of
winter, which being condenfed by the cold prevents the gfcaTfs from
turning hard du$ing>that feafon. As the grafs is fo high and thick, a
great deal of hay may be made upon a small Ijbot; and the ejWtle
ean find food in the fields aitajfoe winder-. The places where
the grafs thus grows are never fo muich covered with fnow as the
bogs and fwamps, and for this reafon it is difficult to travel over
them in the winter.
t A pood is a Ruffian weight of 40 lb.
In other places lying upon the Eastern Ocean, either to the
N. or S. of Katfdfchaika, there is no land fit for culture; for
aft that is near the fhore is either fandy, Stony, or boggy, and
the hanks are fo narrow, that if the ground was good, yet there
is not enough for agriculture ; and thet^'^re but very littfe hopes
of the land about the Penjktiwfka fea anfwering better, efpecially
for winter-corn, it being all marfhy and boggy. At fome distance from theiea are found woody places which are dry and
high, and appear not improper for c$fti; but the fnow which
fells in the beginning of the harv£ft before the earth is frozen,
and lies generalljfjdeep upon thefe places 'till the middle of May,
both prevents the fowing of the fummer-com, and destroys the
winter-corrt j and, becaufe at the thawing of the earth the corn
would be blafted by the evening frosts, it is impoffifeie to fow any
before the middle oijMni^ after which time to Augufi are con-
tinual rains, fo that,fometimes the tun is not feen for fourteen days
together : this would caufe the corn to grow very high and full
of juice; but, for want of warm and dry weather, it would never
ilpen. Notwithstanding, Mr. Stelier thinks, that if the ground
was propeiriy prepared, oats and barley might ripen there; but
this is much to betfoubted, until, at least, further tryal can be
made; for I have myfelf feveral thftes fown barley upon the
Great River, and it grew well in thicknefs, height, and strength
of blade 'till the beginning of Augufi, when, just as the ear
Was putting forth, all of it was destroyed by thefroft,
All thefe barren places, not only near the Penfchinfka fea, but
even within the land, appear to be compofed of earth brought
from Other parts. Thiis one may difcover by the different strata,
and perceive how they have encreafed yearly on the^hanks^bT^^Ke
rivers, which are high, and on the cliffs that are bare. I have
feen hanging out of the earth, trees which are-not to be found in
that county, more^han feven feet deep under the furfece. Hence
it may be concluded, that all thefe barren, boggy places, where at
I 2 prefent 6q
The  Natural History  of
prefent are no woods, but only fhrubs, and Stunted fallows, and
birches, were formerly covered with water, which has decreafed
by degrees here, as it has upon the north-eastern coaft.    Below
the earth lies a bed of pure ice, extremely hard# and under that
a foft waterifh clay, with gravel;  this continues from the fea
up to the very mountains, and will fufficiently account for the
barrenness of thefe parts.    But,  though the land is not everywhere fit for agriculture, yet fome places upon the river Kamtfchatka  (which have been already mentioned) and along.i%he
Biflroy river, are fufficientjto furnifh with com, not only thesln--
habitants,  but alfo the  neighbouring parts.&.:It is  however to-
be feared, that the burning of the wood^ndn order to clear the
lands, may drive away the fabfe^ who  have a particular aver-
tion to fmoke:   this happened! upon the river Lena, formerly
the best hunting country, but now defeffei by thefe animals.
The fcarcity of wood-jbra great inconvenience, both the Ruffians
and natives being obliged to fetch it twenty <f* thirty verfts with
great trouble and lofs of time, for the necefiary lifes of boiling
their fajt andV curing their fifh : and it is very difficult to bring it
down in floats, becsuJfg&he crsje^eilt is rapid, aneb'fo fhatlow, that
they can bring only two little bundles on each fide of a  fmall
fifhing-boat; otherwife they would obstruct themfelves inotthe
management of their boat,  and thereby run the;:riik of being
driven upon the rocks/fand-banks, and trunks of trees, Where not
only their boat and. wood, but frequently the people themfejfcve9
are loft.    Sometimes the fcarcit^tof wood is fupplied by fuch as
is thrown up by the fea,-which the inhabitants gather upon the
fhore; but this wopdj^t^ias been foaked in the water, although
they are at great pains to dry it, never bains clear, but Smothers
away with.a continual fmoke veryjhurtlal to the eyes.
At the distance of 3© or 40 verfts from the fea, and near the
heads of the rivers, grow birch-trees, alder, and poplar; of
which the people build. theJedhsSafes and make their boaW.    But
this K   A.
this they bring down with great difficulty, ufing the method
above mentioned: for which reafon a very poor houfe will cost
here i oo rubles and more, and a fmall fifhing-boat five rubles*
In other places, where the hills are nearer the fhore, and the
water-carriage easier, wood for firing and building is much
Upon the Biftroy river, which falls into the Great River below
the Bolfcheretfkoi Oftrog, grows the best wood that is in thefe
parts ; even the birch-trees are fo large, that captain, Spanberg
built a floop with their wood, in which he made feveral distant
voyages to fea.
It is very remarkable, that when this vefTel was launched
fhe lay as deep in the water as a vefTel full loaded; and it
was believed, that fhe never would be fit to go to fea, but
that the fmalleft loading would fink her. But, when fhe was
laden, fhe drew very little more water, and few vefTels
failed better or lighter, or could go nearer the wind:
the reafon of which may be, that as this wood has not fo
much rofin, it fucked a greater quantity of water at firft^
but fo foon as its parts were once filled, it then fucked, very
little more.
There is great plenty of wood upon the eastern coast of Kamtfchatka 5 from the hills down to the very fhore grow very fine birch
and alder trees. Beyond the river Jonpanoba, and towards its
head, begin the woods which continue to the Kamtfchatka, Lopatka, and along the river Kamtfchatka to the mouth of the
river Elouki. Up the river, almoft to its head, grow likewife
pines, but not large enough for buildings. About the neck of
land which joins the peninfula of Kamtfchatka to the continent,,
the wood begins again to fail.
The changes of the weather and ah* are commonly in the following order : harvest and winter make up more than one half
of the year; and the spring and Summer  cannot  be reckoned,
above.: 62
The Natural History of
above four months: the trees commonly begin to bucLabout the
end of Jtine, and fome of them to lofe their leaves in the morigj:
(V  of^Augufl.
The winter is moderate and constant, fo that there are neither
fuch fevere frosts nor fudden thaws as in Jakutfki. The mercury in deJLJfle's thermometer was between 160 and 180 degrees.
From the fevere frosts that we had two years following in the
month of January, it fell to 205 degrees. The month of January is always their coldest month j and at that time the mercury
was between 171 and 200 degrees.
The Spring weather is pleafanter than the fummer; when,
although it fometimes rains, yet now and then there are fine clear
days. The fnow lies to the end of May, which with us is
reckoned the last fpring month.
The fummer is for the most part very difagreeable weather,
rainy and cold[*; the reafon of which is the continual damps
from the neighbouring mountains being covered with fnow that
never melts. It frequently happens, that for a week or two the
fun does not appear : and during all the time that I was there we
had never one whole week of fair weather, never one day fo clear
but the mornings were foggy; and there fell, as it were, a fmall
drizzling rain, which continued 'till twelve o' clock. From this
moist air and the neighbouring hills it is fo cold, that one can
never be without warm cloathing.   ^P
I never obferved either violent rains or loud thunder; for the
rains are fmall, and the thunder refembles fome rumbling noife
under the earth.    The lightning is alfo very weak.
In the Oflrog upon the Great River, where the air is warmer,
the mercury in the thermometer changed from 130 to 146
degrees; and by an extraordinary heat, that happened two different years in the month of July, it rofe 118 degrees.
* This is to be underilood of the country about the Great River and the Penfcbinjka
fea; in other places the fummer is tolerable, as will be mentioned hereafter.
The K   A
K   A.
The inconstancy of the summer weather not only occasions the
unfruitfulnefs of the land, but is likewife a great hindrance to
the people in preparing their fifh againft^the winter; fo that,
although there is vast plenty of fifh, they are not able to prepare
fo much as to prevent a fcarcity before the winter is over; nor
can they preferve one fifh out of ten which they hang up to
rlfcy, the continual wet breeding worms which confume it; fo
that the fifh which the dogs and bears catch themfelves and
lay up, fells very dear in the fpring.
In the more distant places from the fea, and efpecially about
the upper Kamtfchatka Ojlrog, the weather is very different; it
being fine and clear from the month of April to the middle of
June. The rains begin after the fummer folftice, and continue
to the end of Augufb. Deep fnows faljjn the winter ; but high
^jin^s^yc^n happen, and, when they do, are but of fhort conti-
Wiance : and although there does not, perhaps, fall more fnow
than upon the Great River, yet it is deeper, as it lies lighter.
The harvest weather is generally agreeable and clear, except at
the end of September, when Storms frequently happen. The rivers
are generally frozen over in the beginning of November; for their
iwift current prevents their freezing in moderate frosts. Upon
the Penfchinfka fea the winds are generally in the fpring fouth-
fouth-eaft and fouth-weft; in the fummer, weft; in the autumn,
north and north-eaft ; in the winter before the folftice, uncertain ;
but after that, to the month of March, the north-eaft and east
Winds prevail. From thefe winds the fpring and fummer, before
the foKtice, are generally thick and heavy; but the weather in
the months of September, October, February, and March, is more
agreeable, and is the time for trade and long journies. In November, December, and January, there is little clear good weather,
but heavy fnows and great drifts, which in Siberia they call
Pourgami. The east and fouth-eaft winds blow long and most violently, fometiaies for two days together, and with fuch vehemence,
that M
The Natural   History   of
•that a man cannot Stand upon his feet. Thefe winds, which
generally rage the three last-mentioned months, bring a great
quantity of ice upon the more of the Lopatka and Awachinfkaya
bay, with a multitude of fea-beavers: about this time, therefore,
is their beft feafon for catching thefe animals. The north winds,
either in fummer or winter, bring agreeable clear weather ; but
the fouth and fouth-weft winds in fummer are attended with
rain, and in winter with fnow. And although the cold is
great, yet the air is always heavy and thick, and at fea generally
attended with great fogs, as our people, who went upon the
American and Japan expedition, experienced : therefore failing in
fuch weather is as dangerous as living upon the land is difa-
greeable; and this agreement of the weather of Kamtfchatka
with what is found far out at fea is to be' aJsfcrjbuted not only to
neighbouring countries, but likewife to the great! and extensive
Southern Ocean. Hence the northern parts of Kamtfchatka, that
are fheltered from the fouth wind, are both more fertile and enjoy
a better climate ; and the nearer one comes to the Lopatka the
moister and thicker is the air in fummer, and the winds more
violent and of longer duration in winter. It frequently happens,
that about the Great River the weather is very calm and agreeable, while at the Lopatka the inhabitants cannot ftir out of their
huts; becaufe it is a narrow point of land, and expofed to ever|f
.wind, except in the*bay. All along the Penfchinfka fea, the more
northernly any place lies, the lefs rain have they in fummer and
wind in winter. The winds and weather about the mouth of
the Kamtfchatka river, and near to the upper Oflrog, are very
changeable. From the east and fouth-eaft they have as violent
Storms as about the Penfchinfka fea; but yet, compared with
this, the weather is more frequently fair than rainy. The difference between the eastern and weftern parts of Kamtfchatka is
plainly to be feen in travelling from the head of the Biflroy rivejQg
for towards the Penfctyjfka fea the air appears always thick and
hazy, the clouds heavy, and always dark ; while Kamtfchatka
appear^ like another world, where the land lies higher, and the
air is clear and ferene.
The show lies always deeper upon the Lopatka than upon the
northern fide of Kamtfchatka; fo that, if it be twelve feet in
depth about the Lopatka, upon the Awatfcha and the Great
River it is not fo deep by one third, and at the fame time lies
lighter and more equal, by reafon that the winds are not fo
high there. About Teghil and Karaga the fnow is feldom
deeper than a foot and a half : hence the reafon appears why the
Kamtfchadales do not keep rein-deer as well as the Koreki,
but depend upon the fifh for their nourifhment, which upon
the north-eaft and north-weft coaft from the Great River is
fo fcarce, that unlefs thefe barbarous creatures could digest every
thing they can get down, they would not be able to fupport life;
for, though throughout- the country of Kamtfchatka there would
be food enough for rein-deer, yet the depth of the fnow renders
it impoffible to maintain a number of them; arid what rein-deers
we had occasion for in the expedition were never kept here in the
winter, the depth of the fnow making it hard for them to dig
down to their food.
The force^of the fun reflected from the fnow in the fpring is
fo great, that the inhabitants are as tawny as Indians; nay, they
have their eyes fpoiled and blinded thereby : therefore the natives
generally wear covers pierced with fmall holes, or nets of black
hair, to lesTen the number of rays which would otherwife fall
Hpon their eyes. This is occasioned by the great winds, which
drive the fnow fo clofe together that it is almost as hard and folid
as ice, and will not allow the rays of the fun to penetrate, but
reflects them with greater force upon the very delicate and fenfible
nerves of the retina than they are able to bear. Mr. Steller
fays, that necessity forced him to find out a remedy for the pain
and inflammation of the eyes, which generally gave relief in fix
K hours'
r£)~M QftiR«jl/wLe> i
66 The  Natural   History  of
hours' time. It was the white of an egg, with fome camphirg
and fugar, which he rubbed 'till it foamed upon a pewter plate,
then tied it in a handkerchief, and bound it upon the forehead*
This he found to fucceed in every inflammation of the eyes.
It hails frequently both in fummer and harvest; but I never
faw the hail bigger than peafe. It Seldom lightens but at the
fummer folftice. The thunder is alfo but feldom heard, and then
feems to be at a great distance. We have njxinitance of any one
killed by thunder : the natives fay, indeed, that before the arrival
of the Ruffians they had a great thunder, and fome were killed
by it; but this is to be questioned, Since for fo long a time we
have had no instances of it. As to fQgs, it is impossible that
thejs^houklbe greater any where than at Kamtfchatka ; and it is
to be questioned whether deeper fnows fall any where between
55 and 52 degrees north latitude than here, from the melting of
which the rivers fwell fo much as to overflow their banks, and
the earth in the fpring is entirely covered with water. The cold
in winter is most intenfe about the Great River and the Awatfcha ;
but in the lower Kamtfchatkoi Oflrog it is much warmer than in
any other place of Siberia in the fame latitude.
The greatest inconveniency arifes from the violent winds and
storms, concerning which the following remarks may not be improper. Before a great wind, which generally comes from the
east, the air is always thick and dark; but, as I had not a thermometer, I cannot be certain if it is warmer then than at other
times. The east winds coming from the Lopatka, where are
burning mountains and warm fprings, I imagine that they
not only arife from the narrownefs of the land, but alfo from
fubterraneous fires and vapours.
With regard to other advantages or difad vantages of this country,
one may fay in general, that its grejiteft^ riches consist in plenty
of good furs and fifh, and its greatest inconveniences in the
want of iron and fait.    The first they are supplied with from
other K   A   M   T   S   C   H
other places, and the fecond by boiling fea water into fait; but
the troublefome distant carriage of the iron, and the boiling of
the fait, are attended with fuch expence and difficulty, that they
are both fold at a most intolerable price. One cannot buy a
common ax under two rubles, and a pound of fait costs four
CHAP.      II.
HERE are three burning mountains in Kamtfchatka,
the Awachinfky, the Tulbatchinfky, and the Kamtfchatka.
The Awachinfky mountain Stands upon the north fide of the
bay of Awatfcha, at a good distance indeed, but its bottom
reaches to the very bay; and all the high mountains, near one
half of their height, are made up, as it were, of rows of hills fet
one upon another, and the top they call the Shatfe, or tent,
which is always naked, but the lower parts are generally covered
with wood.
Thefe mountains for many years throw out a continual
fmoke, but flame only at times. The most terrible fire happened, as the Kamtfchadales fay, in the fummer of the
year 1737; but this lasted no longer than 24 hours, and concluded by throwing out a vast cloud of afhes, which covered the
adjacent parts the depth of a yerfhoke *.
* A verfhoke is the TV of the Rujfian arfbia, which contains 27 inches.
K2 68 Hi  Natural  History  of
After this, in Awatfcha and the iilands near the Kurilfkaya
Lopatka they felt a terrible earthquake and motion of the waters,
which was obferved in the following manner. The earthquake
began about three o'clock in^the. morning the 6th q£iO£r
tober, 1737, anc* contused about a quarter of an hour, and many
of the Kamtfchatkoi huts and tents were overturned. At the
fame time the fea was driven upon the fhore, and rofe about
20 feet; immediately after all the water was carried back
to a great distance from the fhore, and then it returned
again higher than before, and afterwards retired fo far that one
could not fee it from the fhore. At that time, in the pafTage
between the first and feconcl of the Kurilfki iflands, they obferved
clutters of rocks in the bottom of the fea that had never been feen
before, although they formerly had great earthquakes and extraordinary agitations of the fea. A quarter of an hour after this
the earthquake returned with most terrible, waves, and the fea
overflowed the fhore 200 feet high, which, as formerly, immediately retired. This rolling motion continued for a long time,
the fea frequently approaching the fhore and departing from it.
Before every earthquake a great, heavy, rumbling noife was heard
from this overflowing of the fea. The inhabitants were all
ruined, and many of them, miferably loft their lives. In feveral
places the meadows, little hills, and fields, were turned into felt-
water lakes. This was not fo violent upon the Penfchinfka fea
as upon the Eastern Ocean | and the people about the Great
River Suffered very little.
At this time we failed from Ochotfka to the mouth of the
Great River • and when we came on fhore the 14th of October,
the earthquake was Still perceptible, which was fometimes fo
strong that we could not Stand upon our feet; and this continued
to the Spring of the year 1738 : however, it was more upon the
Kurilfkaya Lopatka and the coast of the Eastern Ocean than in
thofe places that were more remote from the fea.
The Coflafks of the great river, who were then upon the
Kurilfki iflands, told me, that upon the beginning of the earthquake they ran with the natives up to the tops of the mountains,
and left all their goods, which were destroyed, as well as the
habitations of the Kuriles.
The Tulbatchinfky mountain Stands upon that neck of land
which lies between the rivers Kamtfchatka and Tulbatchiki
it has fmoked for many years. In the beginning of the
year 1739, for the first time, it threw out a ball of fire which fet
the woods on nreT After this fire-ball arofe a thick cloud, which
increasing gradually at last fell down and covered the fnow
■50 verfts round with afhes. I was going at this very time
from the upper to the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort, and was obliged
to wait a new fall of fnow, as we could not travel upon this footy
Nothing extraordinary happened upon this conflagration, except
fome fmall lhocks ofan_earthquake, which were felt both before
and after. The great fhock was about the middle of December,
which I felt when I went to the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort from
the Great River. We were then not far from the Hrepta, or
Ogulminfky ridge. When we Stopped about noon, the difmal
found in the woods that we heard at first feemed as an approaching Storm; but our kettles being thrown from the fire,
and we ourfelves rocked in our fledges, we were foon convinced
of our mistake. This earthquake had only three vibrations,
which fucceeded each other at about a minute's distance.
The mountain of Kamtfchatka is higher, not only than .the two
last mentioned, but than any other mountain in that part. Two
thirds of its height are made up of rows of hills, as I mentioned,
of the Awachinfky; the Shatfe, or top, making alone one third
of its height. The circuit round the bottom of the mountain
is near 300 verfts. The Shatfe, or top, is very Steep on every
fide, and has feveral deep openings lengthways:  the very fummit
turns 7°
The  Natural  History   of
turns gradually broadest from the falling in of the earth^nto the
mouth of the burning gulph. It is fo high, that in a clear day
it is to be feen from the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort, which is about
300 verfts; and onexannot fee other mountains, the Tulbatchinfky
for instance, although they are much nearer. Before a Storm the
Summit appears furrounded with three girdles ; the highest feems
in breadth about the fourth part of the height of the mountain,
from whence arifes a continual thick fmoke. The inhabitants fay,
that it throws out afhes twice or thrice yearly, and fometimes in
fuch quantities, that for 300 verfts around the earth is covered
with them the depth of a verfhoke. From the year 1727
to 1731 the inhabitants obferved that it burnt almoft ^without
interruption, but they were not under fuch apprehensions as in
the last conflagration in the year 1737. This terrible confla-
. gration begun the 25th of September, and lasted one week wMK
fuch violence, that to the people who were fifhing at fea near
the mountain it appeared one red-hot rock, and the flames,
which burst through feveral openings, fometimes fhewed like
rivers of fire with a fhocking noife. Within the mountain were
heard thunderings, crackling and blowing like the Strongest bellows, which fhook all the neighbouring country : the nights were
the most terrible. This conflagration ended as ufual, with
throwing out a vast quantity of cinders and afhes, of which however little fell upon the land, the whole cloud being almoft carried
by the wind to the fea. It throws out porous stones and glafs of
different colours, which are frequently found in the brook
Boukoffe, which rifes out of this mountain. The 23d of October
following at the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort happened fuch a violent
earthquake, that moft of the houfes and Stoves were thrown
down, the bells of the churches rang, and the new church,
which was built of thick balks of larch wood, was fo much
fhaken that the joinings of the balks were all loofened. Some
fhocks were felt at times until the fpring of the year 1738 ;
however K   A,
however the agitation of the waters was lefs than what had been
formerly obferved. The earthquakes arejaid to be more violent
near a inojinrainthat burns,- than near one that HaTTeft off
burning, or is not 'quite kindled.
Befides thefe mountains, I heard of two other gulphs
where fmoke arifes: one is called Joupanofky; the other,
Shevelitche; but there are feveral places farther north than the
river Kamtfchatka: fome of which emit Smoke, and fome
fire: and there are in the Kurilfki iflands, one upon the Paromufir, and another upon the Alaide; concerning which Mr.
Steller obferves, that it is only one hill which burns, not a whojg
ridge; all thefe mountains have outwardly the fame appearance,
and it is, therefore, probable that their contents are much the
fame; that from the external appearance, one may judge of their
internal contents, and of their aptnefs to take fire and burn ; and
that in all thefe which have fmoked or burned formerly, but
have been extinguifhed, lakes are always found ; whence he concludes, that as thefe were burnt down to the bottom, the waters,
rufhing through the opened paffages, filled the empty fpace ; and
hence an account may alfo be given of the caufe of the hot
There are two hills which have left off burning; the Apal-
fky, out of which sifes the river Apala; and the Bihutishin)
from which comes the riyer Biloutchtk.    At the bottom of this
hill is a lake, where vast numbers of herrings are caught in the
months of March, April, and May. 7<
$ke Natural   History  of
r ., ^M Of the   HOT   SPRINGS,;J|:    V'u
Found the following hot fprings: ift, Upon the river Ofernoi,
which runs out of the Kurilfkoy lake. 2d, Upon the river Paudche, which falls into the Ofernoi. 3d, Upon the
river Baano, which is reckoned a branch of the Great River.
4th, Near the fort Natchikute. 5th, Near the mouth of the
river Shematchinfki.    6th, Near the head of the fame.
Thefe waters, which are upon the river Ofernoi, run in little
fprings from the fouth bank ; fome fall directly into the river :
others keep their courfe parallel to the river, and, joining after
at fome distance, fall together into the Ofernoi. Thefe fprings are
not considerable, nor very hot, only railing the thermomefcgr
(Farenheit's) which in the open air was at 450 to 1450.
The fprings upon the Paudche are four verfts and.a half dif-
tant from the first, and rife out of the ground, upon the east
bank of the river in an open high hill which has a plain .at the
fummit of 350 fathoms* in length, and 300 in breadth. This
hill goes in a promontory towards the river, where it makes a
a Steep bank ; but on the otheriafide the defcent is eafy.
Several of thefe Springs throw out their waters, like artificial
water-works, about a foot, or a foot and a half, high, and with a
great noife. Some of them Stand in large pools like little lakes,
and fend out fmall streams, which, joining upon the plain, divide
it, as it were, into fo many islands, and at last fall in a considerable
stream into the Paudche. That little lake marked by the
letter J~ is remarkable for having an opening two fathoms deep.
* The Ruffian fathom is feven feet.
In the ifland are a great many openings, fome very fmall, and others
above a foot diameter; but from thefe large openings isTues no
water, though the fmall ones fend out fometimes water and
fometimes vapour with a very great force.
All thofe places from which formerly ifTued out water, may be
known by a various coloured clay which is found round them,'
for this clay is commonly thrown up by the waters. Sulphur
is alfo found there, efpecially about thofe openings which emit
vapours only.
Some fprings likewife flow from, that steep bank which we
mentioned, two fathoms or more higher than the river. It is
remarkable, that the Stones of which this bank, and perhaps all
the hill, is formed, are round, outwardly very dry, but within
fo foft that they may be rubbed between the fingers like clay :
hence it has been conjectured, that the various coloured clay, which
is found about the mouths of the springs, is nothing but thefe
Stones foftened by the moisture and heat. The clay in taste is
four and astringent; and if a piece of it, or a Stone, is broken,
there appears an efflorefcence of alum, like a mofs, with the colours blue, white, red, yellow, green, and black, which are fo
mixed as to refemble marble; and when the clay is not quite
dry, the colours are pretty bright.
Opposite to the promontory of the hill is an ifland in the river
Paudche, where there are likewife fprings of hot water, but
fmaller than thofe before mentioned.
A more distinct idea may be had of thefe hot fprings from
the fubjoined plan, in which each fpring is marked with a particular letter,  with the different degrees of heat.
m 74
The Natural History of
De I'Jfle's
The lake at the head of the stream f~ 80
A Table of the different degrees of heat which were found in
each fpring, by De 1'IfleV and Farenheit'^ thermometers.
The eye which is in the corner of that lake    65 134
The little lake into which the stream (~~ falls 115 • tflfc?
The Spring out of which the Stream 1 runsf  50 152
The mouth of that stream where it falls
into-the lake » -— 106
The mouth of the Stream E where it comes
.   out of the lake ——- —
The spring of the stream 2    ——        —
The little lake at the head of the stream 3
In the fame lake  at the mouth  of the
Stream 3        ■    ■   ■ ———        —
Where this stream joins; the Stream 2     —
At the head of the stream N -—
The mouth of this stream      ——        —
The head of the Stream K       ■ —
Where this stream joins the Stream N
Where both thefe streams fall into  the
Paudche —=— — —
De I'Ifle's thermometer Stood at this time, in the open air, at
=536°, and that of Farenheit's at %g9.
The fprings which are upon the river Pi'aana are not very
different from thofe of Paudche. They rife upon both fides of
the river; and as upon the fouth bank there is a high plain, and
upon the north a cliff of rocks, the springs on the fouth bank
fall into the river in little streams; but thofe upon the north fide
run along the cliff, except one which rifes about 80 fathoms
from the reft, and where the cliff is more distant from the river,
which has a qourfe of 40 fathoms,
Amongft K   A   M   T t S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
Amongft the Springs upon the fouth bank it is to be remarked,
that one place is full of openings of very different diameters, where
the water is thrown up two feet and a half with a great noife.
The thermometer, which in the open air Stood at 185 degrees,
rofeto 15 degrees.
The fprings of the Great River fall into it in one considerable
ftream, which runs hetween Stony hills in a narrow channel.
The banks are boggy, and the bottom Stony, covered with mofs.
From its fpring to the place where it falls into the Great River is
261 fathoms. At the fpring the mercury rofe in De I' Ifle's
thermometer to 23, and Farenheii's to 185, degrees; thence to
where it falls into the River it grew cooler gradually, fo
that at the mouth De I' Jfle's thermometer only rofe to 115, and
Farenheit's to 74, degrees ; in the open air the one Stood at ly 5,
and the other at 14, degrees.
The hot brook, that is near the river Shematche, and falls
into the fi^renTOcean, is much larger than any of the above-
mentioned. At its mouth it is three fathoms broad, and in fome
places near four feet deep, and its length is three verfts * and
88 fathoms. It runs between high stony hills with a strong
current: its bottom is a hard ftone covered with green mofs,
wjaich in still places fwims upon the furface. Near the banks
at its mouth, the heat is like that of fummer water; and towards
the head the grafs and plants upon the banks were green and fome
of them flowered in March. In going from this river to tlie/
kft hot fpring that lies? upon the river Shematche one must pafs a
great ridge of hills. Upon the east fide of this ridge, near the
Bfummit, is an even plain covered with round grey Stones, without
any plants grow^g upon it. Upon this plain in feveral places a
vapour afcends with great force, and" a noife refembling  the
* A Ruffian verft is 500 fathoms, or 3500 feet.
bubbling yd The Natural History of
bubbling of water is heard. Here I dug, expecting to find water \
but I foujiil a stratum of fuch hard Stone that we could not dig
through W. It is probable that the waters of the warm brook,
thai fails into the Eastern Ocean, have their origin from this
pla|e, for it is directly opposite to the rife of that brook: and
thellafl stream that falls into the river Shematche is likewife
thought to derive its fource from the fame place, as it rifes from
this ridge, upon the weft fide, in a deep hollow, furrounded with
fmoking hills. The very bottom itfelf is full of boiling fprings for
near a verft and a half; all which join at last in one stream.
In this bottom are two large wells, that deferve particular notice;
one is five, the other three fathoms' diameter ; the first one and a
half, the other one fathom deep. In thefe the water boils up
with white bubbles, and makes fuch a noife, that one perfon
cannot hear another in the common way of fgeaking; nay,
foarcely when he cries aloud. The vapour is fo thick, that one
cannot fee a man at feven fathoms' distance; and the boiling of
the water is only to be obferved by lying down Upon the ground.
The earth between thefe wells yields like a" bog, fo that
one is in continual fear of finking in. The water of
f thefe springs is diftinguifhed from all others by a black
matter^Jike Chinej^jnk, that fwims upon the top, which
; sticks fo to the fingers that one cannot without difficulty
/ wafh it off. They have, in common with other hot fprings, clay,
lime, alum, and fulphur, of various colours. In all the above-
mentioned fprings the water is thick, and Stinks like rotten eggs.
, The Kamtfchadales esteem all the burning mountains, and
places where hot fprings arife, as the habitations of fpirits, and
approach them with fear; but, as the latter are the most dangerous, they^aje under the greatest awe of them; and therefore
they never willingly difcover them to any Ruffian, left they
fhould be obliged to accompany him near them. It was by
chance that I heard of them after 1 had travelled 100 verfts from
the kamtschatka;
the place; but this natural phenomenon appeared fo curious that
I returned to examine it. The people of Shematchinfki village
were obliged to declare the true reafon why they had not formerly, difcovered them, and much against their will were forced
to fhew me the place, but would not go near it: and when they
iaw_jhatwe lay in the water,_drank it, andeat things boiled with
it, they expected to fee us perifh immediately ; but when they
perceived this did not happen, they told it in the village as an
uncommon wonder, and looked upon us as very extraordinary
people, J[ince even the devfts could not hurt us.
This is remarkable, that north from the mouth of the river
Kamtfchatka, and weft along the coaft of the river Ofernoi,
there are no hot Springs, although it abounds in Pyrites Sulphur,
iron ore, and Stones that yield alum and vitriol. Mr. Sfaller
obferves, that the appearance of the country of Kamtfchatka,
and the freo^ien^je^rjthcjuakes there, give reafon to think that
it is full of caverns replete with combustible matter, which
taking fire in the bowels of the earth produces earthquakes,
and makes thofe vast alterations of which we fee numerous
instances in rocky fhores being torn off both upon the Beaver
fea, and in the iflands which lie between Afia and America.
The combustible matter, he tells us, is kindled by the ruffling
of the fait water into thofe fubterraneous caverns, through their
apertures towards the fea; which hypothesis is ftrengthened by
his obfervation, that earthquakes are most frequent about the
equinoxes, when the waves of the fea are driven by the great
Storms with uncommon violence upon the fhores; and efpecially
about the fpring equinox, at which time the water always rifes
higher than at any other: and the inhabitants of Kamtfchatka
and the Kuriles know this fo well, that they always fear the
beginning of March and the end of September.
It is very extraordinary, that no iron has been difcovered here,
although fome ore is obferved mixed w<jth clay and earth, to
V 73
^Natural History of
which fulphur being added the fubterraneous fires may easily h§
accounted for; nor do we yet know of any fait Springs, although
the narrownefs of the isthmus of the peninsula of Kamtfchatka,
and fo many fubterraneous caverns under the rocky hills which
have communication with the fea, fhould give us^reafon to,
conclude that there must be fome.
After the hot fprings we ought to take notice q£ the rivers
which neyer freeze. Thefe are fo common in Kamtfchatka,
that there is fcarcely one river which has not fome very large
openings, even in the molt fevere frofts; and the plains under the hills are fo full of fprings that one cannot go dry any
where in the fummer. Thefe fprings, which joining make a
little rivulet, and fall into the Kleutchova Kamtfchatka, never
freeze, and yield fifh almost the whole winter, whjch gives an
advantage to the Kleutchova, as it furnifhes not only the Kamtfchadales, but all the people of the Oflrog of Nifhnjffiantalfky,
with frefhfifh, which is generally esteemed, on account of its fear-
city at that time, as a very great delicacy. This rr^y alfo account for the wholefomenefs of all thefe waters^ which the inhabitants drink after eating trje_fatteft fifh without:jhe legftharm,
although, in other places, cold water drunk upon fj$ fifh prg^
duces the bloody flux.
K   A.
CHAP.     IV.
LTHOUGH the peninfula of Kamtfchatka is hilly,
and the ground fuch as might naturally be fuppofed to
-produce metals and  minerals, efpecially iron and copper,
with which Siberia abounds; yet hitherto little  has been  difcovered.    This is no  proof that fuch ores are not in Kamtfchatka ;   for,   besides  that  the Kamtfchadales are entirely unexperienced,  the   Rc&ffians  who   live  here  have  as   yet given
themfelves no trouble in the fearch after metals; as they have fuch
fefrge quantities of iron and copper instruments brought to them,
that they have not only sufficient for themfelves,  but are alfo enabled to furnifh the Kamtfchadales and Kuriles with them at a
very considerable  profit.    It is alfo to be considered, that the
providing for their fubfiftance takes up  fo much of their time,
that they can fpare but little for any thing elfe ; and moreover,
the places proper for fuch tryals are very difficult of accefs: to
which it may be added, that the frequent Storms and general inclemency of the weather are great hindrances to fuch tryals; efpecially when every neceffary for the undertaking must be carried upon
men's backs, for in Ohe fummer they can carry nothing upon dogs.
It is reafonable to prefume that ore might be £ound in Kamtfchaflfir,
if it was worth while to fearch for it.    Copper ore has been
found about the Kurilfkoy lake, and the Ivovoy bay ; and a fandy
iron ore upon the banks of the feveral lakes and rivers ; whence it
h expected that there is #on ore in the hills from which thefe
lakes and rivers rife.    NativeJMphur is gathered about the rivers
KambaUnfikoy and Ofernoi, and the Kronotzkoy cape.    The fui-
phur $6 ¥he Natural History  of
phur which they bring from Olontofki, where it drops from the
rocks, is quite fine and pellucid j and in the Pyrites upon the
coaft it is to be found every where.
The following kinds of earth are common. Great quantities
of white chalk are found about the Kurilfky lake; tripoly and
oker about the Great River, and the villages of Nachikin and
Koutchinuhiff; and a purple-coloured earth about the hot fprings,
and fometqnes a hard ftony oker. Among the Stones in the
mountains are found, but rarely, fmall cherry-coloured chryf-
tals; and near the river Charious are found pieces of fluffe,
which is like a coarfe green glafs, of which the inhabitants formerly made knives, axes, lancets, and darts. It is called by the
Ruffian natives glafs, and by the Kamtfchadales, nanagy. This
fluffe is alfo found in the copper mines about Ecatherinenbourg,
where it is called a topaz. There is like vile here a fort of light
Stone, white like chalk, of which the inhabitants make plates, and
lamps wherein they burn their fifh oil; and every where upon
the fhore is found an iron-coloured hard Stone, porous as a fpunge,
and eafily turned by the fire.
The inhabitants find pellucid Stones near the fprings of the river, which they ufe instead of flints. Some of thefe Stones are
femi-pellucid, whitifh and^milky, and reckoned cornelians by
the Ruffians. Some fmall pellucid Stones of a yellowifh colour,
like corals, are found upon the banks of feveral rivers; and plenty
of hyacinths near Tomfkoy.
Hitherto theyj^ave difcoyeredno precious Stones here. The hilfe
are firmer than thofe in Siberia, and do not fall away like
them ; but when the earth falls off they find much lac^Jun<z;
and a foft kind of bolus, of a fattifh creamy taste, is found near
the Penfchinfka fea, Kurilfkoy lake, and the Olutorfkoy: this is
ufed as an excellent remedy in fluxes. I fent specimens of
most of the above things to the Mufeum of the Imperial
Academy of St. Peterfbourg.    I must not forget to mention
that amber is gathered here, near the Penfchinfka fea, upon the
river Teghil, and farther north.
CHAR     V,
Of    TREES     and     PLANTS.
TH E most ufeful wood is the larch *, and the white
poplar *f-, which ferves for building their houfes and
forts; and they are fit, not only for fuch boats as the
inhabitants ufe, but even for the building of fhips. The larch-
tree, indeed, only grows upon the river Kamtfchatka, and fuch
other rivers as fall into it: in other places they make ufe of the
white poplar. The pine-tree j| and the black poplar T are no
where to be found upon the Kamtfchatka; and the pitch-tree **
onlvjn one place, and there in fmall quantities. Although
there be many birch-trees -j-j-, yet they make little ufe of
them, unlefs in their fledges, having none near their houfes but
what are crooked and ufelefs; and it is very troublefome to bring
the better fort from the distance at which it grows.
They make great ufe of the birch _bark, which they
ftrip from the trees while yet green; and cutting it in fmall
pieces, like vermicelli, eat it with dried caviar. In the winter,
whenever you enter any of their villages, you find the women
employed in hacking this green bark with their bone or ftone
axes. They alfo ferment this bark with the juice or fap of
the birch, which; makes an  agreeable drink.    The birches of
* Larix.
t Populus alba.
,|| Pinus.
% Populus nigra.
** Picea.
ft Betula.
Kamtfchatka Ill
82 The  Natural   History   of
Kamtfchatka are much fuller of knots and hard excrefcences
than thofe of Europe; but of thefe knots they make very ufe&l
plates, spoons,, and cups. Mr. Steller obferved, that the white
poplar near the fea was quite porous and light, which he attributed to the fait water; that the afhes of this wood, laid out
in the open air, turned into a Stony fubftance heavy and hard,
which, the longer it lies, the harder and heavier it grows. This
Stone, when broken, fhews fome fpecks ofj£on in itekfubftance.
Sallows * and alders -j- are the common fire-wood in Kamtfchatka. The bark of the fallow is ufed for food, and that of
the alder in dying their leather j as fhall be related more at large
in another place. They have the tree tcheremough$ and the
hawthorn J of two fpecie«i one yielding a red, and the other
a black fruit; of thefe they lay up a great qwanti^y against winter:
they have likewife theiervice-tree ** in.great plenty, whofe fruit
is esteemed amongst their most delicate confections.
Their principal nourifhment is from the nute of the flantza,
whicfi grows every where, both in hilis and dales. This fhrufe,
or tree, is tally of dhe cedar kind, only it is much Jefe; and
instead of growing ftraight, it creeps along the ground. $& cones
atfd nuts are not half fo large as thofe of the cedar: the Kamtfchadales east them with the fhelfe; Thefe, as well as the tche-
remough and the hawthorn berries, are very aftriogent* especially
if eaten in any quantity. The greatest virfise of thefe nal$ is,
that they are a good remedy against the fcmrvy, as all ®ur feacaen
can witness-: for in the moft fevere fcurv^ydttts is, as one may
i fey, almost their only medicine; and from the tops of tfee flantza
and cedar was their common drink made, fometimes fermented,,
at other times drunk warm like tea; and orders were given by
* Saliccs.
t Alni.
H Padus foliis annuls. Linn.
% Oxyanthus fruftu rubro et nigro.
** Sorbus.
the commanding officer that the kettle with flantza and cedar tops
fhould never be taken from the fire. Red currants, rafberries,
and knefhni&a; are very rare there, or grow at fuch a distance
from their houfes that no one cares to go in fearch of them.
Tfie blackberries of the gimoloft * are of great ufe, being of an
agreeable taste, fometking like new-fermented beer. The bark
of this fhrub is ufeful in distilling brandy, giving Strength
and fharpnefs to the fpirit.
The juniper -f grows every where; but they do not ufe the
berries, as they lay up great Store of morofky ||, pianitza J, brufh-
ftitza **, klioukva «f-)-, and vodinitza || |J : and when they have
great plenty of thefe berries they not only ufe them as confects,
but distil brandy from them, except from klioukva and vodinitza,
which yield no fpirit. Mr. Steller writes, that the vodinitza is
no bad remedy for the fcurvy; and the inhabitants dye any old
cloaths with it that have loft their colour, to which it gives a
cherry-colour. Some boil it up with train-oil and alum, and dye
the beaver and coarfe fables vfMi it well enough to deceive the
unwary or ignorant. In many places they content themfelves
with roots and herbs, and make them fopply not only their
want of bread, but of fifh alfo. The principal of thfcife
is the faranne, which ferves instead of groats. It belongs to the
clafs of the lillies J J ; but as this fort is never feen any where but
in Ochotfkoy and Kamtfchatka, I fhall give a defcription of it. It
grows about half a foot high ; has a Stalk near the thicknefs of a
fwan's quill, red below and green above.    Its leaves grow in two
* Lonicera pedunculis biflorio, floribus
infundibuli formis, bacca folitaria, ob-
longa, angulofa.    Gmel. flor. Sib.
f Juniperus.
I ChamemorusRAii. Syn.  * ^
1 Vaccinium Spec. 2. Linn. Bilberry.
** Vaccinium Bilberry Spec. 3. Linn.
ft Vaccinium Red Crowberry Spec. 4.
I!|| Empetrum.
1X Lillium' flore atro rubcnte.
M 2
rows 84
The  Natural   History   of
ft I'i
rows upon the Stalk; the lower row having three leaves, and the
upper four, placed crofsways : the form of the leaves is oval.
Sometimes above the fecond row one leaf grows juft under the
flower. Upon the uppermost part of the Stalk grows one dark
cherry-coloured flower, rarely two, fomething lefs than that of
the common lilly ; and this is divided into fix equal parts. The
pointal in the center of the flower is triangular, at the top flat,
and in three different cells contains flat reddifh feeds. Round
the pointal are fix white Stamina with yellow heads. Its root,
which is properly the faranne, is about the bignefs of a root of
garlick, made up of many little cloves, whence it acquires
a round form. It bloffoms in June, at which time one can fee.
no other flower over the whole fields.
The natives of Kamtfchatka, and the wives of the Ruffian
CofTacks, dig up the roots in the harvest, or take them out
of the nefts of the field-mice, dry them in the fun, and
fell them for five or fix rubles the pood. The faranne
half boiled, and beat up with brambleberries, cranberries,
or fuch other of this kind, makes one of the most agreeable confections, being of a fharp fweetnefs; and if one had
enough for every day's ufe, the want of bread would be tolerably
well fupplied. Mr. Steller reckons five fpecies of this plant:
i ft. the kimtchiga, which grows near Teghil and Harioufkovoy,
in appearance like a large fugar-pea, and if boiled tastes much the
fame ; but neither he nor I ever faw this plant in bloffom :
2dly, the round faranne, which I have defcribed above:
3dly, ovfenka *, which grows every where in Siberia, being roots
of red lillies, whofe flowers are all turned up in curls; the bulb is
compofed of an infinite number of fmall cloves: 4thly, titichpa,
* Lilium radice tunicata, foliis fparfis, fioribus reflexis, corallis revolutis.    Gmel.
tor. Sib.
which grows upon the Great River; but neither he nor. I ever
faw this in the flower:   5thly,  matifta  fladka trava *, or   the
fweet plant,  is as ufeful in their  oeconomy  as  the  faranne;
for the Kamtfchadales ufe this not only as a confection in tarts
and broths, but in all their fuperftitious ceremonies this is abfo-
lutely neceSTary.    The Ruffians were no fooner fettled there, than
they found that brandy was to be  distilled from it;  and at
prefent this is  the  only brandy that is publickly   fold.    The
root of this herb is without yellowifh,   within, white ;   and
of a bitter,  fpicy tafte.    The Stem is flefhy,  of three off four
joints, and about a man's height.    Its flower is a reddifh green,,
with fhort white hairs, longest near the root.    The leaves upon
the Stem nearest the root are five or fix, and fometimes even ten :
they grow upon thick, round, flefhy, green, rough stalks, marked
with little red fpots.    Upon the main Stem, at every joint, arifes
one fuch  leaf,  but without a   Stalk.    The flowers are   fmalL
and  white,   like   fennel,   or  other herbs   of that fort;   and
con fist of five leaves, of which the innermost are largest, and the
outward fmalleit.    It has two qvaria upon every flower, upon
fhort fmall necks ;. and round them are five white ftamina with
green points, which rife higher than the flower.    The flowers,,
taken all together, refemble a plate ;  while the Stalks   which
fupport  the umbella are  longest without, and  in the middle
lhorteft:   Stalks,   arife   from  every   joint,   upon   which    are
This plant abounds every where in Kamtfchatka, and the inhabitants gather and prepare it in this manner: they cut off the
Stalks of the leaves which grow nearest the root, and with a fhelL
* Sphondylium foliolis pinnatifidis.    Linn, Cliff.
ferape #&
The   Natural   History  of
■ ■til
fcrape off the fkin; and then bind up teh Stalks together.
When it begins to fmell a little, then they ptet it in a bag to
fweeten; where it yields a Sweet dust, Which perhaps Sweats out
from the pith of the plant. This hefb-fugar, as they call it,
has fomething the taste of liquorice, and is not very pleafant.
A pood of the plant does not afford above a quarter of a pound
of this dust.
The women, when they gather this, must wear gloves; for the
juice is fo fharp Or caustic, than whenever it fans upon the flefh
it raifes fwellings and blisters. For this reafon, when in the
fpring the Ruffians eat it frefh, they only^nite it With their teethy
inking care not to touch it with their lips. 1 have feen instances
of fome that were unacquainted with this, who raihly chewed it
as they would do any other herb ; upon which, not only their
lips, but their chin, nofe, and cheeks, and alfo wherever the juice
of this plant had touched, was immediately fwelled up and full
of blisters; and although thefe burft, yet the fwelling continued
for a Whole week.
The manner of distilling fpirits from it is as follows:—
They lay fevefai bundles of this plant in a fmall vesTeJ,
upon which they pour hot water; and to make it ferment, they
put in fome berries of honey-fuckle or cranberries, and binding
the vefTel clote up fet it in a warm place, Wh&e they leave it
until the liquor ceafes to make a noife ; for during the time of
fermentation, it cracks and bounces fo much as to make the
vjesTel fhake. In the fame manner they prepare more wort in
a large vefTel, and add to this, which now generally ferments in
24 hours, as above. They throw both the fermented herbs and
liquor into the kettle, and cover it clofe with a wooden cover ; and
instead of a pipe they take the barrel of a gun. The first
running is as strong as brandy ; which, if they distil a fecond time,
produces a spirit fo Strong that it consumes even iron.    But it
is only the richer fort of people that ufe this brandy; and what
they fell is only the first running, which makes a yery good
Two pood of herbs generally render one vedro * of the first
jgjinipg, and the pood costs four rubles or more. The herbs
^bai.remain in t\\eStill $f$(ff drawing off all the fpirit, are made
ufe of as a yeft, instead of berries, to ferment oth$r infufions or
wort; and what tfoey cannot ufe thus the cattle eat very greedily,
and it fattens them much. It is femarka£>le that brandy distilled
from the pja#ts from wlj^cja the fkin has not been clean fcraped, it
caufes melancholy and perturbation of mind. Mr Steller made
the following remarks upon this brandy: iff, that it is very
pef^ng, an^ contains a good deal of a fharp acid, which coagulates the blood and makes it black : 2dly, that a fmall quantify
of if makes people drunk and qu$§e fen^defs, and caufes their, ^ces
to turn black : 3dly, that if a perfon drinks a few drams of it, he
is plagued, &e whofe night with difagreeafyle dreams, and next dajr
is uneafy and diftgij^d as if termed wjt.h the apprehension of
the greatest misfortune: and, what is very extraordinary, he has
feen fome people the day after they have been drunk with this
ipirijt, from one draught of cold WQ&f, become agaj# fo drunk
that they ,fi^uy not stand ufpn their feet. TJpey wet their naif
-with the jujgi, which they fqueeze out of this herb in the
foring, as a prefer^a^we agajnifc &ce, and find it to be thejr only
,flelie£ Many of the Kamtfchadales, who defi?e to have children
iwi&jnpt eat t&s hejbj green or dry, imaging that it gmpaifiP
the  generative faculties.
The   herb  kipri"|~,   which grows  in  all Europe and Afia,
has the third place in the food of the Kamtfchadales.    They
* Vedro is a Ruffian liquid meafure containing z$ pints,
t Epilobium.    Linn. Succ. Spec. i. French willows. m
Natural   Historv   of
i :  '.:■. .;■ n
boil it with their fifh, and ufe the leaves as tea ; but the greatest,
ufe is made*of its pith, which, after having fplit the Stalks, they;
fcrape out with fhells, and, tied up in bundles, dry it in the fun.
It is then very pleafant, and in taste refembles dried PerfiaA
cucumbers. The Kamtfchadales ufe it in feveral difhes, and
ferve it up green as a defert. The kipri boiled gives a thick fweet
wort, that makes the best quaffe * imaginable: it alfo affords
them a very strong vinegar, if to fix pounds of the kipri they add
a pound of the fweet herb of fphondilium, and ferment it in the
ufual way : they get a great deal more brandy, when they ufe
the infufion of the kipri, instead of water, to prepare the fweet
herb for distillation.
They cure the navels of their children with this herb, chewing
it, and laying it upon the part. They grind the roots and Stalks,
and ufe them instead of green tea, to which the flavour has fome
refemblance. The fame ufe the Kuriles make of another fhrub -f,
which has flowers like the strawberry, only yellow, and produces,
no berries. This is called Kurilfkoy tea, and has great virtue in
fluxes and gripes.
The wild garlick || is not only ufeful in the kitchen, but alfo
in medicine. Both the Ruffians and Kamtfchadales gather great
quantities, which they cut and dry in the fun for their winter
provifion ; at which time boiling it in water they ferment it
a little, and ufe it as an herb foup, which they c&Wfhami. They
esteem the wild garlick fo efficacious a remedy against the fcurvy,
that they think themfelves in no danger fo foon as it begins to
* Quaffe is a Ruffian drink made of rye- 1 Potentilla caulefru&icofa. Linn. Cliff",
malt, and flower, and very little fermented. || Allium/oliis radicalibus petiolatis fio-
Sometimes they add mint to it, and it makes ribus umbellatis. Gmel. flor. Sib. torn. i.
no difagreeable drink. p. 49.
ihew itfelf under the fnow : and I have heard an extraordinary
account of its virtues from the CofTacks that were employed with
captain Spanberg in building the floop Gabriel: they were fo ill
with the fcurvy, that fcarce any were able to work, or even to
Walk, fo long as the ground was covered with fnow; but as
foon as the high lands began to appear green, and the wild
garlick to fprout out, the Coflacks fed upon it greedily. Upon
their first eating it, they were covered over with fcabs in fuch a
manner, that the captain believed they were all infected with the
venereal difeafe. In about a fortnight, thefe fcabs fell off, and
they were perfectly recovered of the fcurvy.
We must reckon amongst the food of the Kamtfchadales the
ihelmina *, and the morkovai \, which is the ftalk of a plant
that is hollow and juicy, fuch as the angelica. The fhelmina is
a Species of the ulmaria. Its root is blackifh without, and whitfe
within: it fends out from one root two or three ftalks about
a man's height; which, near the root, are about a finger thick, but
above, fomewhat thinner. The leaves fhoot. out from long
branches which grow all over the ftalk. Their upper part is
green and fmooth ; and thei§ lower rough, with higb reddifh
veins. Where the branch fprings from the root there are two
leaves like thofe above defcribed, but fomewhat lefs. ^The ftalk
is triangular, reddifh, hard, and rough. At the top of the plant
is a flower refembling that of the fervice-tree. It has four oval
pistils, flattened in the fides, with downy edges; in each of whicl
are contained two longifh feeds. They are furrounded by ten
white stamina, rifing above the flower; the anthera being likewife
white. It flowers about the middle of July, and the feeds
are ripe about the middle of Augufi.    The root,  stalks,  and
* Ulmaria fru&ibus hifpidis.   Steller.
nitidis, petiolis ramiferis fimpHcibus.   L'inn.   Cliff, p. 101.
f Chaereoptrylum feminibns levibus oo The Natural  History  of
leaves of t|ps plant are very astringent: both the Ruffians and
Kamtfchadales eat it in the fpring. They preferve the root fot
winter, which they Stamp and boil for a gruel. It has fome re-
femblance in taste to the Piftacho nut.
The morkovai poufhki, or carrot bunches, are fo called becaufe they are like carrots in their leaf as well as in tafte. They
likewife eat this green in the fpring, but they oftener four it like
four crout, or make a liquor with \t£>
The kotkonia * grows upon the banks of the rivers of
Kamtfchatka in great plenty. Its root is about the thick-
nefs of one's finger, bitter and astringent, black without,
and white within. Sometimes five, but always more than two
Stalks arife from this root, about ten inches high, of the
thicknefs of a goofe-quill, and of a yellowifh-green colour. At
the top are three oval leaves fpread like a Star, from the middle
of which rifes a ftalk half an inch high, which fupports the
flower. The cup of the flower confifts of three oblong green
leaves, and the flower itfelf of as many white ones. In the
middle of the flower is the pistil, of fix fides, a yellow colour,
with a red top: it contains three cells, and is furrounded with
fix equal yellow-coloured Stamina; the anthera is alfo yellow.
When the pistil is ripe it is as big as a walnut, is foft, fleihy,
and of an agreeable tafte, like a pleafant apple. It flowers about
the middle of May. The Kamtfchadales eat the root of this
plant both frefh and dried, with caviar ; but the fruit muft be
eaten as foon as gathered, for it is fo delicate that it Spoils if
it be kept one night.
The ikoumef, or bistort, grows in plenty both on the hills and
in the  vallies.    The Kamtfchadales eat it frefh or dried, and
§j Tradefcantia frudlu molli eduli.
I Biftorta foliis ovatis oblongis acuminatis.   Linn, Cliff.
poundec K   A   M   T   S   C   H
K   A.
pounded with caviar.    It is far from being fo astringent as that in
Europe, is juicy, and taftes like a nut.
Utchichlcy -f is a plant that has leaves like hemp, but flowers
like the ragwort.    When the leaves are dried, and boiled with
fifh, they make the broth tafte as if the flefh of the wild goat
was boiled in it.
The root called here mitoui, and at Jakutfki fardan, they
fry   in  the  fat of fifh,   or feals,   and esteem   it   a  delicate
. Thefe are the principal plants which they make ufe of in
their kitchens; however there is a great number of others, and
alfo of plants thrown out by the fea, which the Kamtfchadales
eat both frefh and dry in the winter :   for, as Mr. Steller obferves,
they refufe nothing, but eat every thing they can get down,
even the driest plants and nastiest rotten mufhroons, although
one  would imagine the confeqUence dangerous,   as indeed  it
fometimes happens.     However,  he  tells us the  natives have
obtained fuch a knowledge of plants, and  of their ufe both
in food and medicine, that he is furprifed ; and that one fhall not
find fo much knowledge of this fort among any barbarous nation,
nor xven, perhaps, amongst the most civilized.    They give a
name to every one of their plants,  and know all their properties, and the different degrees of virtue which they derive from
the various foils and expofitions in which they grow;  and fo
accurate are  they in thefe distinctions, and alfo in the proper
time of gathering the feveral fruits and other produce,  that  it
is truly wonderful.    Hence the Kamtfchadales have this advantage above other people, that they can find food and medicine
every where; and,  by their knowledge and experience, are in
little danger from  the noxious plants.  |JJI
t Jacobca foliis cannabis.   Steller.
N 2
|r^H Iff
92 The   Natural   History   of
Amongst the  medicinal plants we must  mention  the following :   iit3 Kailoun, a plant which grows in all the fwampa
near the rivers.    The inhabitants ufe this as a cataplafm in all
boils to make them fuppurate ;   and taken in decoctions, they,
imagine  it produces fweat,   and drives away  every infectious
humour.    2dly, The tchaban *, which grows in plenty through
all Kamtfchatka,   they   ufe   in   decoctions   for   all   pains and
Swellings of the legs.    3dly, Katunatch -fr, or wild rofemary, is
not fo strong as in other parts.    The inhabitants have thought
it beneficial in the venereal difeafe,   but in this are deceived.
4thly,   The fea oak || is thrown out by the waves; and being-
boilep! with the fweet herb, a decoction of it is given in fluxes^
<fthly, The fea rafberry is given to women in labour, to promote
the birth. 6thly, There is yet another fea plant, called yachanga J,.
which the fea throws out near to the  Kurilfkaya Lopatka, re-,
fembling the whale's beard.    This the inhabitants ufe in cholic
pains, infufing it in. cold water.    7thly, The omeg**, or water
hemlock, grows upon all the rivers, and almoft all the fhore of
Kamtfchatka.    This plant is made ufe of against pains in  the
back in the following manner:—They  put  the patient into
a hut made exceedingly warm; and when, he begins to fweat
profufely,   they rub   his back with   the cicuta,   being careful
not to touch the loins, for, what is very extraordinary,  that
would occasion fudden death:  however from this practice they
generally obtain  great, relief.    8thly,  The zgate -f-f- must not
be omitted, whofe dreadful qualities are but too well known
in all this part of the world.    They anoint the points of their,
darts and arrows, with the juice which is fqueezed from  the.
* Dryas.    Linn.
f Andromeda foliis ovatis venofis.
\ Qijercus marina.   Curs. etLoB.
X Species fuci.
** Cicuta aquatica.
ft Anemonoides et ranunculus.
root of this plant, and the wounds which they give are incurable unlefs the poifon be fucked out. This is certainly the
only method, and, if this be neglected, the wound immediately
turns blue and Swells, and in two days the patient dies. The
very largest whales when they have received a flight wound fronx
fuch a poifoned weapon, cannot bear the fea for any considerable
time; but throwing themfelves upon the fhore, expire mofb
miferably, with terrible groans and bellowing.
The following are very ferviceable for cloathing, and other.
houfehold purpofes.
There grows upon the fea-fhore a whitifh high plant, re~
fembling wheat. I have feen it at Strelinimuife, the palace below St. Peterfbourg, upon fandy ground. Of this they make
mats, which ferve them as coverings and curtains; the best of
thefe are made of different colours, with the beards of the
whales fplit very fmall and dyed. They alfo make clokes of it,
Eke the old Ruffian milled clokes, fmooth within, and rough
without, which makes the rain run more eauTy off them.
The prettiest of this kind of work is their little bags and bafkets,
in which the women keep their- trinkets. Thefe are fo neat,
that one would take them to be made of fplit canes ; and they
are ornamented with the hair of whales' beards and horfe-hair,
dved of different colours. When this plant is green they make-
large bags of it to contain their fifh or different herbs and roots,
which they provide againft the winter : besides it Serves alfo to
thatch their houfes or huts. They mow it with a fcythe, made'
out of the fhoulder-blade of a whale ; which they whet fo well
by grinding it upon a Stone, that they bring it to a very good
In the marfhes there is found a plant refembling the cy-
peroides. This they drefs with a double-toothed comb of
bone, and ufe it to wrap their children in instead of fhirts or
fwaddling cloaths, to keep them clean, and fweet.    They alfo-
rolL gA . The  Natural   History   of
roll it about their legs, and it ferves for Stockings. The women wrap it round their bodies, from an opinion that the
warmth promotes fruitfulnefs. It ferves to light their fires,
being easily kindled. On great holidays they bind garlands of
it about the heads and necks of their idols; and when they
make any facrifice, or kill any wild beast, they offer fome of
this plant as an atonement, that the relations of the beast
which is killed may be appealed. Formerly they did the
fame by the heads of their enemies: after having adorned
them, with thefe garlands, they performed feveral forceries,
and then stuck them upon poles. The CofTacks call this plant
- Few plants are of more general ufe than the nettles; for
being without any kind of hemp, they would have no
materials to make nets of for fifhing, which is abfolutely ne-
ceffary for the support of life. They pull them up in the
months of Augufi or September, and binding them in bunches
lay them to dry in the fhade. When they drefs them, they
first fplit them with their teeth, then peel off the fkin, and
beat them. After this they comb them, then fpin them between their hands, and wind them up upon fpindles. The
thread of the first fpinning, they ufe for fewing, but to make
their, nets they double and twift ifi^ which, after all, never last
above one fummer. The truth is they are very ignorant and
unfl&ilful in this manufacture ; and moreover they neither Steep
their nettles, nor boil their yarn.
T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
lHE principal riches of Kamtfchatka consist in the great
number of wild beafts :  among which are foxes, fables,
stone foxes, hares, marmottas, ermins, weafels, wolves,.,
rein-deer wild and tame, and Stone rams.    Their fox fkins in
the   thicknefs, length, and beauty of their hair equal, if not.
excel,  all the foxes of Siberia ;  besides there are in  Kamtfchatka almoft all  the different fpecies  of foxes   which are to
be found in other places,  fuch as the red, fiery, blue-breafted,.
or   marked  with a black  cross,  the chefnut,   black chefnut,
and the like; and fometimes white foxes are found  there, but
thefe very feldom.    It is remarkable, that the more valuable
foxes  are the most cunning; fuch are the black chefnut, the
blue-breafted, and the fiery coloured;  fo that not only   the
Kamtfchadales, but even the Ruffians find it difficult to catch
them.    It happened while I was at Kamtfchatka, that the Cof-
facks tried for two winters to catch one black fox which  frequented the Great River, without being able to effect it. The most
ufual method of taking them is either by poifbn, traps, or bows.
The poifon is thrown in lumps in the frefh tracts; the traps are
fet upon the fides of hills, baited with a live animal; and for the
greater fecurity two or three, of the traps, are placed upon one hillock, that whatever way the foxes approach they may fall into
one of them ; and this is found neceffary, for thofe, which have
been once in danger from the stroke of this trap, proceed afterwards fo cautioufly,  that they eat the bait without being feifed ;
but, with all their cunning, it is difficult for them to efcape the
feverafc If
p6 %e   Natural   History  of
feveral traps, which feize them fometimes by the head, and fometimes by the foot.    The method of killing them with the bow
is thus:  the hunters must know exactly how high to place it;
when the bow is bent,  it is fastened to a Stake driven into the
earth near which the fox's tract is obferved, and then  a cord
drawn from the bow-string, is stretched very tight over his ordinary path;  and fo foon as this cord is touched with the foot of
the fox, the bow is discharged, and the arrow pierces the very
heart.    Thefe are the inventions of the Ruffian CofTacks;  for
formerly  the Kamtfchadales gave themfelves no trouble about
the foxes, not valuing their furrs much more than dogs' fkins.
They pretend they could have killed as many as they wanted
with Sticks, and that foxes were formerly fo numerous in Kamtfchatka, that when they fed their dogs, they were obliged to
drive them away from the trough : and though this may feem
improbable,  yet it is certain,  that even now they are in great
plenty near the forts, which at night they enter without any feem-
ing apprehenfion of danger from the dogs of the country, which
either cannot catch them, or, not being bred to it, do not mind
them.   It happened when I was there, that one of the inhabitants
catched feveral of them in the pit where they keep their fifh.-
The best time to hunt foxes is, when the earth is hard frozen,
before the fnow falls, as it is then difficult for them to dig out
fhe rats' nefts, whicmthey do when the earth is thawed, the rats
being their chief fupport.     The Kuriles, who live  upon the
Lopatka, catch foxes in a manner peculiar to themfelves.    They
have a net made of the hair of whales' beards,  compofed of feveral rings; this is spread upon the ground, and to a ring in the
middle they bind a magpye;   round the net is drawn a cord,
the ends of which  are  held by a  perfon concealed in a pit
near at hand,  who, when the fox fprings upon the bird, draws
the cord and gathers together the net, which furrounds the fox
.as the drag net does a fifh.
The K
The fables of Kamtfchatka excel all other fables of Siberia,
both in largenefs, thicknefs of hair, and brightnefs; but in point
of blacknefs they do not come up to thofe of Olekmine and Vi-
time: however their other properties are fo valuable, that the
Kamtfchatka fables have by much the preference; and in China,
where they know how to improve the colour, fetch fo great a
price that few of them are brought into Ruffia. The fables of
Teghil and Oukine are most esteemed, and are fometimes fold
for thirty rubles a pair. Mr. Steller fays, that the worst are
hunted about the Lopatka and Kurilfkoy feas. It often happens
that the worn [ kind of fables fhall have their tailfs fo black and
thick haired, that they will fell dearer than any other.
Before the conquest of Kamtfchatka there was fo great a
plenty of fatjjjShthat one hunter would kijl feven ty or eighty
in a year; and that not for the fake of the furr, but the flefh,
which they esteem very delicious. The inhabitants at that time
willingly agreed to pay their tribute in fables; and were glad
to receive a kni£e for eight, and an ax for eighteen. Some
merchants have gained in one year by furrs only more than
thirty jhoufand rubles.: fX^e fables are still in muchr greater
plenty here than in any other country, as is obferved by
every one who has been upon the fpot, and compared their
tracts upon the fnow wit^i what are feen either upon the rivers .Lena or Beloy, and,;tiy§ieven in the neighbourhood ofythe
forts. And if the peqgle of Kamtfchatka were as industrious in
hunting as thofe about the Lena, they could fell a great many
more tjian they; but fuch is their natural lazinefs, that they
never ,yil more-^agdwjiat they must pay in tribute, and what
will pay their debts. They look upon him as an extraordinary
good hunter that kills fix or feven fables in a winter \ and feveral
are not able to furnifh their tribute furrs, but must borrow either
from the Ruffian CofTacks, or fome more industrious hunter of
n. O their
Hi HI L ill ' 11
08 The Natural History of
their own country, to whom for payment they are boudcF to
work the whole enfuing fummer. Their baggage when they- go
to hunt confists of a net, a bow and arrows, a fire-Steel with
flint and tinder. When they find a fable concealed either in the
earth or under the root of fome tree, the*f: throw the net over
the place, in which he entangles himferf when he comes out.
With the bow and arrows they fhoot them wltefl?4tHey fly to the
trees; and the Steel and flint are to strike fire, by wfiferi they
fmoke them, and drive them out of then* holes. T*he best
hunters, to be nearer the game, go out with their whole f¥=
milies to the hills, where they build huts and live the whole
Although the Stone foxes, and hares, abound in Kamtfchatka,
yet hardly any one thinks it worth his trouble to hunt (hem,
their furrs being of fmall value; and when they fall into the
fox traps, they ufe their fkins as coverings in their Beds. L~1$B£
Kamtfchatka Stone foxes are little bet&fct than the hares of
Tourouchan, which are very bad, the hair easily falling off.
Steller relates, that fome ufed to few the taife of the Stone foxes
to the hare-fkins of Tourouchan, and impolEfr them upon the
ignorant as true Stone fox-fkins, the thickrtefs of the fkin and
furr making it difficult to difcover the cheat.
Marmottas * abound every where in Kamtfchatka. TBe
Koreki life their fkins for cloaths; and, indeed, they are reckoned
no ordinary drefs, being both light and wSrm. SteUt? compares
the furrs made of the backs of the marmottas to the fpotted
feathers of birds, efpecially if feen at a distance; and he alfo
fays, that this animal is found both upon thi continent and the
* Marmotta minor.    G m e l .
iflands of Amef$pa. When they eat, they fit upon their hind
legs'-dike a fquirfld, and hold their food, which is roots, berries,
and cedar nuts, withctheir fore feet.- They are pretty to look
at, and whistle fa©pnfingly loud. No body thinks it worth his
while to hunt ermines *, weafels \, or common marmottas j,
unlefs by chance they meet with them ; fo that one cannot
reckon ermines amongft the furrs of Kamtfchatka. ButJthere is
a creature of the weafel kind, called the glutton jj, whofe fuftr
is fo greatly efteemedi above all others, that when they would
deforibe a man most ^ahly Mtired, they fay that he is cloathed
with the furr of the glutton. The women of Kamtfchatka
drefs their hair with the white paws of this animal, and reckon
them a very great ornament. However, the Kamtfchadales kill
fo few of them, that they not only have not enough for exportation, but even import fome from Jakutfki at a very great
|Bafce. They put the greater value upon the furr of the glutton
(die whiter and 'yellower it is, although every where elfe this fortes
defpifed : nay, they esteem itdfo much, that they fay the heavenly
beings wear no other garments than of this furr ; nor ca%
they make their wives or miftreSTes a greater prefent than
of one of thefe fkins, which was formerly fold for thirty, and
even fiosty rubles^ and for the two paws which the women wear
in their hair, they fometimes give one, and fometimes two fea
beavers. The greafteft number of thefe gluttons is found near
Karaga, AnSrfka, and Kolima,    They have a Surprising dexte-
* Ermmeutn majus.   Gmel.
t Ermineum minor.    Ejufdem.
% Marmotta vulgaris. .Ejufdem.
;|) Muftella rufo-fufca,   medio dorli
nigro.   Linn.
nty •ioo
[The Natural   History  of
ihy in killing of deer, which they practife in this manner :—They
climb up fome tree, carrying with them a parcel of fuch mofs as*
the deer ufe to eat. This they let fall from the tree, and if the
deer comes to eat it, they throw themfelves down upohihis back ;
then fattening themfelves between the horns, they tear out his
eyes, and give him fo much pain, that the miferable animal, to
put an end to his torment, or if possible to free himfelf from the
caufe of it by destroying his enemy, strikes his head against the
trees, which generally kills him. No fooner is he brought down
than the glutton divides his flefh carefully, and hides it in the earth,
to fave it from being feized by any other creature ; and never
eats a bellyful before he has done this. In the fame manner,
upon the river Lena, they destroy horfes. They are easily
tamed, and are capable of learning feveral tricks. It has been
faid, but we never heard it afcertained, that they carry their
gluttony to fuch a degree as to be obliged to relieve themfelves
by fqueezing their over-fwoln bodies between two trees -:fb
unburthen their bellies of the insufferable load. Thofe that are
tamed are not fo voracious; but perhaps thefe animals are
not alike in all countries.
Bears and wolves are fo numerous here, that they fill the
woods and fields like cattle; the bears in fummer, and the
wolves in winter. The bears of Kamtfchatka are neither large
nor fierce, and never fall upon people, unlefs they find them
afleep; and then they feldom kill any one outright, but most
commonly tear the fcalp from the back part of the head;
and, when fiercer than ordinary, tear off fome of the flefhy
parts, but never eat them. The people who have been thus
wounded, are called Dranki, and are frequently to be met with.
It is remarked here, that the bears never hurt women;
but, in the fummer, go about  with them  like tame animals,
efpecially KAiMTSCHATKA.
efpecially when they gather berries. Sometimes, indeed, the
bears eat up the berries which the women have gathered, and
this is the only injury they do them.
| In-the feafon, when the fifh enter the mouths of the rivers
t$jvaft fhoals, great numbersrof bears come down from the hills,
and fettle in proper plac.es3.for catching them ; which they do
in fuch plenty, that they only eat and fuck the bones of, the
heads, neglecting the bodies; but when this plenty is past, they
.are glad to gnaw the bones which they formerly defpifed. They
frequently Steal fifh from the fifhing huts of the CofTacks, al-
thougrMfchere is always a woman left to watch them. To her
indeed they never do any hurt, fatisfying themfelves with what
fifh ^hey can find.
Before  the introduction of fire-arms, they ufed feveral  deuces  for killing the  bears.     Cutting  feveral billets of wood,
jiiey Stop up the mouth  of the  den with them, which the
bear draws in  that his  paffage may  not be fhut up.    This
they  continue   until  he  is fo straitened  in his   den  that   he
cannot turn himfelf;  then they  dig  down from above,  and
kill him  with  their Spears.     The  Koreki,  in order to  catch
the bears, feek out fome tree that is crooked above, upon which
they fatten a fnare, and behind it place fome proper bait;  which
the bear endeavouring to feize is held fast by the head or the
paw.    They place heavy logs of wood, in fuch a manner, that
they .will fall with the least touch and crufh them.    Another
method is to lay a board driven full of iron hooks in the bear's
; Jract, and near to that they place fomething that  easily  falls
down ; this frightening the bear by its fall,  he runs upon the
board with greater force; and finding first one fore paw wounded
and feized by the hooks, he endeavours to free himfelf by beating
the board with  the other ;   thus  both bging fixed,  he rests
on his hinder legs, which caufes the board to rife before his
eyes, 102
eyes, and perplexes hiija in fuch a manner that foe falls in a
fury and beats himfelf to deaths? The people about the rivers
Lena and llime have still a more odd way of catching thenm..
They place a noofe g$>on the bear's tract or entrance to his
den, fattened afcythe end to a large log of wood; when^t!
bear findsLirimfelf entangled, and that the log hinder* his walk^
ing eafMy, he iakes it up, and carrying it to fome precipice,
he throws it down with great force, which dragging Mm aft&r
it bruifes him very much: however, he continu^jthis 'till-in
the end he kills himfelf. This laft method is fomewhat Rke that
which the Ruffians ufe to prefbr-ve their honey &8m*the bears.
They hang fuch a log at the end of a long ftiring upon thofe
trees where the bees are hived ; and when the bea%£ie1imbing up
to get at the hive^nds himfelf interrupted by the log, he fhoves
it away; but returning it strikes him again, and obliges him to
tofs it with greater force, which makes it revert w?lh still greater
upon himfelf. He continues this fport fometimes until he is
ddlled, or falls from the tree.
The making bears drunk and killing them, or hunting them
with proper dogs, is fo common that I have no occafibn to fay
more about it.
One method is yet to be mentioned, which I have heard from
people of reputation; namely that one man will kfrl fuch bears
as a whole company would be afraid to attack, anUv.that without
any other instrument than a stilletto, fharp pointed at both ends,
fastened to a thong. The thong he wraps about his ri^ht arm
up to the elbow; and taking -the stilletto in this hand, and the
knife in his left, he advances upon the bear, who, as ufual,
standing upon his hinder legs, and opening his mouth, attacks
the hunter: but he, with great refolution and addrefs) ^hfufts
his hand into his throat; and placing there the stilletto, not only
prevents him from fhuttrrrg his mouth, but alfo gives him fuch
exquisite KAMTSC'HATKA
exquifite pain that the bear can mike no fuf&fer refiftance, and
allows the mister to lead him wherever he pleafes, or Stab him
with higt<knife, without any dan'ger.
The Kamtfchadales, however, look upon it as an affair of
fuch confequence to kill a bear, that whoever has this honour,
is obliged to feaft all his neighbours 3 at which entertainment
the bear's flefh is the principal difh ; and, as a trophy, the bones
df the head and thighs are hung round about their huts.
Of the bears' fkins they make? their beds and coverings, caps,
gloves, and collars Ibr their dogs. The flefh and fat. are their
most delicate food; and the fat, when melted, is thin, and might
be ver^well ufed with fallad. With the guts they cover their
face$ fH- fummer to keep off the fun : fometimes they ufe their
fkins as fhoe-foles, to prevent them from Aiding upon the ice;
and- w%h their fhoulder-blade bones, made fharp, they cut
From the month of June to the end of harvest the bears are
very fat; but in the fpring they are lean and dry. In the stomachs of thofe killed in the fpring nothing is found hut a frothy
flime : whence the inhabitaflts maintain the general opinion, that
the bear has no food throughout the whole winter, but supports
himfelf by fucking his paws.
Although, as has been related above, wolves abound in Kamtf
chatka, and their furrs are in great esteem for cloaths, yet few
are caught there. They differ in nothing from the wolves that
are found in other places. By their cunning and fiercenefs they
do more hurt to the inhabitants than their furrs bring profit^
for they kill not only the wild deer, but even herds of the tame,
notwithstanding the latter have always a watch. Their favourite morfels feem to be the tongues of the deer, or even
of the whalek that are thrown upon the fhore: they fometimes
fteatthe hares and foxes out of the traps and fnares.    White
wolves lii-
Tfee   Natural. History  of
wolves are very feldom feen here, and therefore they are much
more esteemed than the grey. Although the Kamtfchadales
are called univerfal eaters, yet they never eat the flefh of either
wolves or foxes. The deer and stone rams may be reckoned
among, the most ufeful of all the animals in Kamtfchatka, becaufe
their fkins are most ufed in cloathing. The inhabitants, however, kill but few in proportion to the great numbers that are in
this country. The deer live in mofTy places, and the wild rams
upon the highest mountains; fo that the hunters of the wild ranag,
leave their dwellings in the beginning of harvest, and taking all
their families with them go to the hills, where they are employed
in this chafe until the month of December. The wild rams
refemble goats, but their hair is like the deers'. They have tjffQ:
horns that are twitted round like the Ordinfky rams, but much
larger. The horns of thofe that are of full age weigh each of
them from 25 to 30 pounds. They run very fwiftly, throwing
their horns back upon their shoulders; fpring over rocks, and run
upon the narrow ledges of the most dangerous precipices. Cloatllsr
made of their fkins are very warm. The fat upon theltf haunches
is equal to that of the deer, and the flefh is a mofbdesBcious food.
Of the horns they make ladles, fpoons, and other fmall utenfils;
and the horn entire they carry upon the roacl at their girdles,
and aife it  for  a bottle.
There are three kinds of rats; the fifift of whichilis of a browh
colour, as large as the greatest houfe-rats in Europe: but their
cry is very different, refembling the fqueaking of pigs; otherwifes
they are very like our common rats. Of the fecond kind there
are but few, anct thefe in the houfes, where they .runabout
without* fear, and live upon any;' offals. The third .fort have
a disposition fomewhat like the drones among bees, laying up no
manner of provifion, but Stealing their food from the first kind,
which live ufithe fielcjs, woods, and high mountains, in great
numbers. KAMTSCHATKA. 105
numbers. The tegulchitch, or first kind, have nests very
roomy, neat, and fpread with grafs, divided into different
apartments; in fome of which they lay up the faranne quite
clean, in others rough; in others, again, feveral forts of roots,
which they gather in fummer with great labour, and lay up
against winter. In dry funny days they drag thefe out of their
nefts, and dry them. During the fummer they live upon berries, and what elfe they can find proper for their food; never
touching their winter provision fo long as they can find any food
in the fields. Among the feveral things found in their nefts,
I obferved the faranne, the anacampferus, bistort, goats-beard,
burnet, and cedar nuts.
Thefe rats change their habitations like the wandering tartars,
and fometimes for a certain number of years they all leave
Kamtfchatka, and go to fome other place. This retirement is
very alarming to the Kamtfchadales, who think it forebodes a
rainy feafon and a bad year for the chace : but when thefe creatures return, they confidently expect a fine one and good hunting ; fo that, as foon as they begin to' re-appear, exprefies are
fent to all parts to carry the good news. They always take
their departure in the fpring, first gathering together in vast
numbers. They direct their courfe due weft, crofting rivers,
lakes, and even arms of the fea; and when, after long fwim-
ming, they reach the fhore, they lie upon the banks, as if they
were dead, till at length they recover their strength, and then
fet out again upon their march. Their greatest danger in the
water is left fome ravenous fifh fhould Swallow them up : but
upon the land they have nothing to fear; and the Kamtfchadales,, who are fo greatly interested in their prefervation, when
they find them weak upon the banks of the rivers or lakes, they
give them any afliftance in their power. From the river Pengin
they go fouth ward, and about the middle of July they generally
reach Ochotfka and Judoma.    Sometimes their troop is fo nu-
P merous Oil
The Natural   History   of
rnerous that travellers must wait two hours before they pafs.
They return commonly to Kamtfchatka about the month of
October. It is furprifing that fuch fmall animals, in one fummer, can pafs over fuch an immenfe tract of land ; and one cannot but admire the order and regularity which they obferve in
their march, as well as the foreknowledge they have of the change
of wTeather.
• Some of the inhabitants afifured me, that when they go out of
their hefts they cover their provifions with poifonous herbs, to
destroy other rats that may come to rob their Store ; and that, if
all their winter provision is taken aWay, and nothing left that
they can eat, in the stead of their own stores, they strangle themfelves for vexation,, fqueezing their necks between the forked
branches of fhrubs: for which reafon the Kamtfchadales neve*
take away all their Store, and even pay for what they take by
putting in either dried caviar, or fomething that will ferve the
poor creatures for fuftenance. Although all thefe circumstances
are related by the most ferious of the Kamtfchadales, yet we
must not implicitly rely on their authority, before the facts
are better enquired into.
The dogs  of Kamtfchatka are extreamly  like the common
village dogs, and are white, black, fpotted white and black,  or
grey like the wolves;  brown or other colours being very rare.
They are esteemed Swifter and longer-lived than any other dogs;
and this may be attributed to their light simple food, which
is fifh.    In the fpring, every one lets his dogs run at liberty,
without taking any care about them ; for they can be ufed for
travelling only while the fnow is on the ground.    They then
feed upon what they can get in the fields,  where they dig for
the mice; and in the rivers they, as well as the bears, catch
fifh.  In the month of October the Kamtfchadales call them home,
and tie them up near their huts, 'till they lofe a good deal of
their fat, that they may be lighter for the road, and then one
heafs their continual howling night and dav.    In the winter
they are fed with opana and fifh-bones,   which  are  laid  up
for them in fummer.   The opana is thus prepared :—As much
water as they think their dogs want they, pour into a large trough,-
and then throw in  fome ladlefuls of four or rather rotten fifh,
whteh^fe prepared in pits for this purpofe, adding to  this fome
fifh-bones, and heating the whole with glowing stones until the
fifh and bones be boiled.    This opana is reckoned the best and
most agreeable food for the dogs,  and they feed them with it
only at night, wh?ch makes them fleep well; but never give
them any in the day when  they design  to travel, becaufe it
would make them heavy and lazy:  though they be never fo
hungry they will not touch bread ; but rather than that, eat their
own bridles, reins, or harnefs,  if they can get at them.    However fond they may be of their maftfer,  yet,  if he happens to
fall out of his fledge, and lofe his hold of it, they run away
without  regarding him; and he must walk on foot until the
pledge  be overturned,  or   catched   and  Stopped by  fomething
or other;   and therefore he ought to be careful never to lofe
his   hold,   but  rather  fubrmt   to   be dragged  upon  his belly
until the dogs tire.    Befides, upon any fteep defcent, efpecially
the banks of rivers, one half of them mutt be unyoked, otherwife
they are not to be managed ;   for thofe that appear quite tired
fhew an uncommon vigour in fuch places,  and the more dangerous the defcent is the more strength they exert.    They are
in like manner unruly if they find the fcent of the deer, or hear
the howling of other dogs in the villages near at hand.    But for
all this,  the dogs are,  and always will be,  abfolutely neceffary
in Kamtfchatka, even although there fhould be plenty of horfes;
for they could feldom be ufed in winter on account of the great
depth of fnow,  and the  frequency of hills and rivers;  and in
fummer, the bogs are fo frequent, that fome places are impaflable
even for men.    Befides dogs have this advantage over horfes; that
P 2 in io8
The Natural History of
in the greatest Storm, when a man cannot fee the path, nor even
keep his eyes open, they very feldom mifs their way; and if
they fhould, they go from one fide to the other, 'till by the
fmell they find it again : and when it is abfolutely impoffible to
travel at all, which often happens, then the dogs lying round
their matter defend him from, all danger. They alfo give certain Signs of an approaching ftorm ; for, when they stop, if
they fcrape the fnow with ;their feet, it is advifeable, without
lofs of time, to look out for fome village, or other place of
fafety. And, it is faid, the dogs here ferve instead of fheep,
becaufe their fkins are ufed for cloaths; particularly thofe
of the white dogs, with which all their\ different forts of garments are trimed.
The number of dogs they put to a fledge, how they break
them, and what weight they carry, fhall be mentioned hereafter, when we come to defcribe the manner of travelling with
Thofe which are bred up to hunt the deer and wild rams,,
fables, foxes, and the like, are fometimes fed with jackdaws,,
which,, it is obferved, make their fcent the Stronger for finding
out birds and wild beasts.
Befides dogs, they have here cows and horfes, but no other
domestic animals. There is no fit place to feed fheep on, either
upon the Eastern Ocean, or the fea of Pengine; for the wet
weather and the strong jniey grafs would foon rot and destroy
them. Near the upper Ofirog, and upon the river Kofireff, fheep
thrive; the weather being fairer^ and grafs lets watry ; but then
there must be a good provision of hay made for them against the
winter, the fnow being too deep for them to find their food in the
fields; for which reafon,, from the mouth of the river Ilga tc*
Jakutfki, very few fheep are kept.
Of the V I T I M S K Y   SABLES,   W  the Method of
hunting them.
LT HOUGH the fable-hunting of Vitimfky does not
properly belong to the defcription of Kamtfchatka, yet"
as in treating of the latter we have had occasion to mention the fable, I thought it might not be amiss to give an account of the various methods of this chace in different places.
The Kamtfchadales do not Stir out for a fortnight or more after
a piece of ill-luck, or having hunted one day without game f
but the Vitimfky hunters fpend almoft the whole year in continual toil, and are very happy, if, in that time, they catch ten
fables for each man in company. It is true indeed, that ten common Vitimfky fables are equal to forty of Kamtfchatka: but,
notwithstanding, if the inhabitants of Kamtfchatka would take
the fame pains as thofe of Vitimfky, they might exceed them-
ki the profits of hunting; for fables are as numerous in Kamtfchatka as fquirrels are upon the river Lena. The Vitimfky hunting is the more remarkable for being Subject to many rigorous
laws and fuperftitious obfervations, which the -hunters bind
themfelves to obferve.
Before Siberia was conquered by the Ruffians, it abounded'
with fables; but, at pre fent, wherever the Ruffians are fettled,;
none can be catched; for fables retire at a distance from alk
inhabited places, and five in defolate woods, and mountains.
The fable hunters go up by the river Vitime and the two rivers
Mama, which fall into that river, as far as to the lake Oronne,.
which is upon the right hand, as high and higher than the great
cataract, where the best hunting is>    The finest fables are caugha
upon. 1 10
The   Natural   History   of
upon the little river Kutomale, which falls into the river Vitime,
upon the right hand above the cataract and mouths of the lower
Mama and the brook Petrova. Lower than thefe places the
fables are considerably worfe; and all the hunters agree that
nearer the heads of the rivers the fables are better, and nearer the
mouths Still worfe.
«The fables live in holes, like other animals of their kind ; fuch
as martins, weafles, and ermines. The hunters alfo relate, that
they build themfelvfcs nefts upon the trees with rods and grafs;
that they fometimes lie in theif nefts and fometimes in their holes;
that in fummer as well as in winter they lie about twelve hours
in their holes or nefts, and in the other twelve they go about to
feek thejr food. In the fummer time, before the berries are ripe,
they feed yapon weafels, ernftinjef, or fquirrels, but chiefly upon
hares; and in the wants'? upon birds. When the berries ripen,
they eat cranberries and hurtleberries, but principally thofe of
the £§rvice-tree, which caufes them to itch and rub themfelves
agai$ft the trees, by which they \#ear off the hair from their
fides. Hence it happens, when the fervice-berries are very plentiful,  that the hunters lofe  thejtr  labour.
The fables bring forth their young in their holes or nefts,
about the end of March or the beginning of April; and have
from three to five at a time, which they give fuck to from
four to fix weeks.
They never hunt fables but in winter, for in the fpring they
cast their' hair ; which in the fummer is very fhort, and even in
the harvest does not come to perfection. Such fables are called
nedafhbili; that is, imperfect fables; and fell at a low price.
The fiible-hunters, both Ruffians and nhtives, begin to fet out
for hunting about the end of Augufi. Some Ruffians go
themfelves, and others hire people to hunt for them, giving
them proper cloaths and instruments for hunting, and provifions
for the time of their being out.    When they return from the
chace KAMTSCHATKA.       in
chace they give their matters all their game, and restore them
likewife all thatijfchey received, except their provisions.
A company, that agrees to hunt together, affembles from fix to
forty men, though formerly there were fometimes even fifty.
They provide a fmall boat for every three or four men, which
they cover over; and take with them fuch perfons as understand
the language of the people amongst whom they go to hunt, and
likewife the places propereft for hunting, Thefe perfons they
maintain at the publick charge, and give them befides an equal
fhare of the game. ^ig
In the above-mentioned boats every hunter lays 30 poods of
rye-flower, of wheat-flower one pood, of fait one pood, and of
groats a quarter of a pood. Every two men must have a net,
a dog, and feven pood of provisions for the dog, a bed and covering, a vefTel for preparing their bread, and a vefTel to hold
•leaven. They carry out very few fire-arms, as they only ufe
them in the harvest, while they Ike in  their huts.
The above-mentioned boats they draw against the stream of
the Viiime, and out of the Vitime up the river Mama, or as far
up as the lake Oronne, where they build huts for themfelves if
they find none ready. Here they all affemble, and live until the
river be frozen over. In the mean time they chufe for their
chief leader one who has been ofteneft upon thefe expeditions;
and to his orders they profefs an entire obedience. He divides
the company into feveral fmall parties, and names a leader to
each, except his own, which he himfelf directs : he alfo appoints
the places where each party must hunt. As foon as the feafon
begins, this division into fmall parties is unalterable, even although the whole company fhould confift only of eight or ten,
for they never all go towards the fame place. When their leaders
have given them their orders, every fmall company digs pits upon
that road which they must go. In thefe pits they lay up for
every two men three bags of flower against their return, when
they xi-2 The Natural History of
they fhall have confumed all their other provisions ; and whatever they have left in their huts, they are obliged to hide alfo
in pits, left the wild inhabitants fhould steal it.
As foon as the rivers are frozen over, and the feafon is proper
for the fable-hunting, the chief of the leaders calls all the
huntsmen into the hut, and, having prayed to God, gives orders
to every chief of each fmall company, and difpatches them the
fame road which was before assigned them. Then the leader
fets out one day before the reft to proyide lodging places for
When the chief leader difpatches the under leaders he gives
them feveral orders; one of which is, that each fhould build his
first lodging to the honour of fome church, which he names, and
the other lodging places to the honour of fuch faints whofe images
they have with them; and that the first fable they catch fhould
be laid aside in the quarter of the church, and at their return be
prefented to it. Thefe fables they call God's fables, or the
church's. The first fable that is caught in the quarter of each
faint is given to the perfon who brought the image of that faint
with him.
On their march they fupport themfelves with a wooden crutch
about four feet long; upon the end of which they put a cow's
horn, to keep it from being Split by the ice, and a little above
they bind it round with a with and thongs, to hinder it from
running too deep into the fnow. The upper pgyrt is broad like
a fpade, .and ferves to fhovel away the fnow, or to take it up
and put it into their kettles; for they must ufe fnow, as they have
frequently no water. The principal chief, having difpatched the
feveral fmall parties, fets out with his own. When they come
to their places of lodging they build little huts of trees, and bank
up the fnow round them. They hew feveral trees upon the
road, that they may the more easily find their way in the winter.    Near every quarter they prepare their trapripits,  each of
which K   A   M   T
C   H   A   T   I   A.
which is furrounded with ftiarp flakes, about fix or feven feet
high, and about four feet distant, and is covered over with boards
to prevent the fnow from falling in. The entrance through the
Stakes is narrow, and over it a board is hung fo nicely, that
by the least touch of the fables it turns and throws them into
the trap ; and they must abfolutely go rhis way to reach a piece
Gi ixfh or flefh with which the traps are baited. The hunters
ftay in one lodging until they have made a fufficient number
of thefe traps, every hunter being obliged to make twenty in
a day ; and fo many do they make at every lodging place where
they exped fables. When they have paffed ten of thefe quarters
the leader fends back the half of his company to bring up the
provisions that were left behind, and with the remainder he advances to build more huts and make more traps.
The people fent back for the provisions go with empty fledges
to the places where they were hoarded. Every man is obliged
to draw fix poods of flower, and half a pood of flefh or fish, and
to overtake the other hunters and their chief. Thefe carriers
must flop at all the lodging places to fee that their traps are in
order, and take out any fables they may find in them, and fkin
them, which none must pretend to do but the chief man of
the  company.
If the fables are frozen, they thaw them by laying them under
the cloaths with themfelves in bed. When the fkin is taken
off all prefent fit down and are filent, being careful that nothing
be hanging on the Stakes. The fkinned body of the fable is laid
upon dry sticks, which they afterwards light; and carrying them
three times round the body, they fmoke it, and then bury it in
the fnow or earth. And often, when they apprehend the
Tungufi may meet with them and take away their booty, they
put the fkins into pieces of wood hollowed, \ covering the ends
with fnow, which being wetted will foon freeze. Thefe
?they hide in the fnow near their huts,  and gather them up
Q» when ii4
The   Natural   History   of
■ :-p
when they return in a body. When thefe carrfemt-are come
back with the provisions then the other half are fent for more;
and thus they are employed in -hunting, the leader always going
before to build traps. When they find few fables in their traps they
hunt with nets, which they can only do when they find the frefh
track of a fable in the fnow. This*they follow until it brings
them to the hole where the fable has entered; or if they k^
it near other holes, they put fmoaking pieces of rotten wood to
them, which generally forces him to leave the earth. The
hunter at the fame time has Spread his net, into which the fable
commonly falls; and for precaution his dog is alfo near at hand :
thus the hunter fits and waits fometimes two or three days.
They know when the fable falls into the net by the found of
two very fmall bells that are fattened sto it. Upon -this the
hunter runs himfelf, and puts on the dog, which feizes the fable
and kills it: but they never put fmoaky pieces of wood into thofe
holes that have only one opening, becaufe the fable will fooner
be fmothered than come towards the fmoke; in which cafe
he is entirely loft.
When they trace the fable to the root of fome tree, they fatten
their net about the tree, that, if after digging him out he fhould
efcape their hands, he may be taken in it. If the track goes
towards fome tree where they can fee the fable, they fhoot
him with a blunt arrow : but if they cannot fee the fable upon
the tree among the branches, they cut it down, and placing their
net where the top of the tree is to fall, which they can judge,
Stand themfelves near the trunk; and the fable, jumping from
it as it falls, drops into, the net. Sometimes this does not happen,
and then they fearch every hollow part of the tree. A fable
that has once been in a net or trap is fcarcely to be deceived a fecond time.
When the chief leader and all the hunters are gathered together, then the leaders of the fmall parties report to the chief
how m
K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
how many fables.omtather beafts their party has killed, and if
any of their parties have done any thing contrary to his
orders and the common laws.: Thefe crimes they punifh
differently: fome they tie to a Stake, others they oblige to afk
pardon ofjtevery one of the company ; a thief they beat feverely,
and allow him no fhare of the booty; nay, they even take his
own baggage from him, and divide it among themfelves. They
remain in their head-quarters until the rivers are free of ice;
and after the hunting they employ their time in preparing the
fkins;. As foon as the ice is all gone off the rivers, they fet out,
in thofe little boats which they came in, on their return home,
where they give the fables to the feveral churches to which they
promifed them; and then, having paid their tax-furrs, they fell
the reft, dividing equally the money, or goods, which they
receive for them.
Of the   SEA   BEASTS.
'NDER the name of fea beafts are here understood fuch
animals as are called amphibious, which, although they
Jive for the most pact m the water, frequently come
upon the dry land, and upon, or near it, bring forth their young.
Water beafts may be divided into three claffes: j ft, Thofe which
livejin frefh water lakes, and rivers, as the otter. 2d, Thofe
which live in frefh or fait water, fuch a$ feals. 3d, Thofe which
are never found in frefh water, fuch as fea beavers, fea cats, and
Although otters be very common in Kamtfchatka, yet the
price is not low; ja"very indifferent fkin will cost a ruble.    They
Qj2 commonly Ji6
The Natural  History  of-
1 (1
1 \\
commonly hunt them with dogs when the fnow comes in drifts,"
and they wander at too great a distance from the river. They
ufe their fkins to make borders round their garments, but
principally to preferve the fable-fkins, which are obferved to be
preferved better, when wrapt in otter-fkins than any other way.
It is incredible to think what a number of feals there are *itb
the feas and lakes of that country, efpecially when the fifh come
up the rivers, which they follow in droves, not only to* the
mouth, but even far up the stream. So numerous are they that
all the iflands or fand-banks are quite covered with them,
infomuch that fmall boats are in great danger near thefe places.
When the feals obferve any boat approaching they throw
themfelves in great numbers into the water, which makes fuch
a motion in it as will overfet the canoes or fmall boats, if
they go at once into it. No animal has a more difagreeable
cry, and their noife is inceffant.
There are reckoned to be four forts of this animal; the very
largest of which is catched from 560 to 640 of north latitude.
This fort only differs from the others in its bulk, which exceeds*
that of a large ox. The fecond fpecies is about the fize
of a yearling bullock. Their fkin is of different colours,
fomething like the fkin of a tyger ; having feveral fpots of
equal largenefs on the back, with a white and yellowifh belly.
Their young ones are as white as fnow. The third is yet lefs
than the former. Its fkin is yellowifh, with large cherry-
coloured circles, which take up near the half of its furface.
The fourth kind is feen in the large lakes of Baikaal and
Oronne. Its fize is like thofe that are found near Archangel;
and their colour is whitifh.
They are very vivacious: I faw one, that was taken by a
hook in the mouth of the Great River, • throw itfelf upon
people with great fiercenefs, even after its fkull was broken
into pieces.    I obferved that he was no fooner brought on fhore
than he began to try to run again into the river ; and when he
found that this was impossible, he began to weep; and when
they beat and bruifed him, it only made him more fierce and
The feals never go farther from the fhore than 30
leagues; and are molt commonly to be found near the
mouths of great rivers or bays: they will follow the fifh
80 verfts up a river. They bring forth only one young
one, which they nourifh with two breasts. The Tungufi
give the feals' milk to their children for a medicine. The old
feals cry like one that strains in vomiting, and the young like
people groaning through pain. When the tide goes out they lie
upon the dry rocks, and in play pufh one another into the water ;
but when they begin to be angry they bite one another very
cruelly. They fleep very found: but, being awakened by the approach of any one, they^ are in very great fear; and haftening
towards the fea, to make the way fmoother, as is fuppofedy
they vomit  out water.
There are different ways of killing them: In the rivers
they fhoot them with fere wed-barrelled guns; but they must be
careful to hit the head, becaufe a hundred bullets will not do
them the least hurt in any other place, as they all lodge in the
fat that covers their body. They fearch for them upon fhore,
and furprifing them in their fleep kill them with clubs: or when-
they fleep, laying their fnout upon the ice, they drive a knife
quite through the fnout, which being fastened to a long thong
they drag the animal out.
The feals are not fo dear as one would imagine the many ufes
they put them to fhould render them; for, befides the ufe of
their fat and flefh, the fkins of the larger fort ferve for foles of fhoes;
The Koreki, Qlutores, and the Tchukotfkoi, alfo make boats or
baidares with them of different sizes, fome even fo large that
they will carry thirty men.    Thefe boats have this advantage over
thofe: iiS
^Natural His Tory of
thofe made of timber, in that they are much lighter and go
fwifter.    Of the feals' fat both Ruffians and Kamtfchadales make
candles; and befides the natives esteem it fuch a delicacy that
they can have no feaft without it.    The flefh they boil or dry
in the fun ; but if there are great quantities, they fmoke or bake
it in the following manner: They dig a large pit in proportion
to the quantity of flefh or fat, and pave the bottom with stones.
Then they fill it with wood and light it below, continuing to add
fuel until it be as hot as any oven.   After which they take outallf
the afhes, then lay at the bottom a layer of green poplar wood,:
upon this another of feals' flefh or fat, each feparately ; and thus
alternately wood and flefh until the pit be quite full.    They then
cover it with grafs and earth, to keep in the heat; and after fome
hours they uncover it, take out fthe fat and flefh,  and lay it up
for the winter.    Both flefh and fat thus prepared is much more
delicate than what is boiled \ befides, it keeps without fpoiling
for a whole   year.
When they have picked all the flefh from the heads of the
feals they  fhew them  all the refpect  that   they would   to   a
particular friend that visits them.    I  faw this ceremony  in the
year 1740 at the little fort of Krodakighe, which stands upon a
river of the fame name that falls into the Eastern Ocean.    It was
performed in the following manner: They brought in the fkull
or head of a feal, bound round with the fweet grafs, and placed
it upon the floor.    Then a Kamtfchadale entered with a bag
filled with the fweet herbs and others,, particularly a good deal of
birch bark, and placed it near the head;  upon which two other
Kamtfchadales rolled in a great ftone, and fet it opposite to the
entry of the hut, about which they laid feveral Stones; and two
others tore the fweet herb, and made it into fmall bunches.    The
great ftone was to signify the fea, the fmaller the waves, and the
bunches of the fweet herb the feals.    This being done, they took
three difhes of caviar mixed with kipre, hurtleberries, and.feals'
fat. This they fqueezed into balls, in the middle of which they
prefTed the fweet herbs which were made to reprefent the feals:
out of the birch bark they made little boats, which they filled
with thefe balls made as above, and covered them with
After fome time they took thefe boats and balls and toffed them
to and fro over the Stones as if over waves, that the other feals
might fee with what refpect the Kamtfchadales treated their
friends, and confequently might the more willingly fall into their
hands. After this they placed the feals made of the fweet herbs
near to the great ftone, or fea, and all went out of the hut; but
one old man, after he had fet upon the threfhold a fmall difh
with their broth which he had carried behind them, entered into-
all the assistants
crying aloud four times the word
They could not tell what this term meant; nor
could they give any other reafon for their fo crying out, but that
their fathers did fo. After this they again rolled the birch boats
upon the stones; and going again out of the hut cried, as before,
Kouneoufhite aloulaighe ; that is, May the wind blow towards the
fhore. For while this wind blows a great deal of ice is driven towards
the land, which is favourable for their killing the fea animals. Returning into their huts, they rolled their birch boats a third time
over the stones. They then put the fkulls of the feals into a
bag, and every fifher prefent put in alfo a little of the fweet
grafs, with his name and fome particular fentence ; that the feals
might know how they had entertained them, and what valuable
prefents they had made them.
Having, as they thought, by their entertainment and prefents,
fhewn all respects to their guests, they brought them out to the
ftair-head, where an old man put still fome more of their gruel
into the bag, desiring them to carry that to their friends that had
been drowned at fea. Then two Kamtfchadales who had been
principally employed in this entertainment, took the bowls that
were m&m
The   Natural   History  of
were filled with gruel and the feals made of grafs, and gave one
to each fifher. They then went all out of the hut, and cried
Uenir; a word they ufe in calling to one another when they
go to kill the feals or other fea animals. Then taking out the
feals made of grafs they threw them into the fire, praying them
to make them frequent visits; after which, returning into the
hut, they put out the fire, and eat the gruel that was in the
The fea horfe is but feldom feen about Kamtfchatka, and then
only in the most northernly places. The most are caught near
the cape of Tchukotfkoi, being both larger and more numerous
there than any where elfe. Their teeth are what we commonly
call fifh-bone, the price of which depends upon their largenefs or
weight: the dearest are thofe that are about twenty pounds;
but thefe are feldom met with, or even fuch as weigh ten or
twelve pounds, the common weight being five of fix pounds.
The fea lion * and cat, in their ufual structure, differ very little
from the fea horfe and fea calf, and are therefore to be reckoned
of the fame kind.
Some call the fea lions fea horfes, becaufe they have manes.
In their fhape they are like the fea calf; and their necks are bare,
excepting a fmall mane of hard curled hairs: the reft of their
body is covered with a chefnut-coloured hair. They haye
a middle-fized head, fhort ears, a fnout fhort and drawn up like
a pug dog's, great teeth, and webbed feet. They are found most
frequently, about rocky fhores or rocks in the fea, upon which
they climb very high, in great numbers. They roar in a
Strange, frightful manner, much louder than the fea calf; and
they are thus far of ufe to people at fea, that in foggy weather,
by their roaring, they warn them of rocks or iflands being near,
as few rocks or iflands in this part of the world are without thefe
* Leo marinus.    Steller.
Although in appearance and fize this animal feems to be very
dangerous, and marches with fuch a fierce mien that he looks like
a true lion, yet is he fuch a coward, that at the fight of a man
he hurries into the water; and when he is furprifed afleep, and
awakened either by a loud cry or blows with a club, he is in
fuch fear and confufion, that in running away he falls down,
all his joints quaking with terror; but, when he finds no possibility of efcaping, he will then attack his enemy with the greatest
fiercenefs, fhaking his head and roaring very terribly ; and then
the boldest must feek to fave himfelf from his rage. For this
reafon the Kamtfchadales feldom kill the fea lions at fea, unlefs
when they can furprife them fleeping there, but generally upon
land; and when they find them afleep on fhore they approach
them with great caution, going against the wind. ' But none
dare undertake this game, but fuch as can trust to their strength
or their heels. Stealing upon them, they strike a knife into their
breaft under their fore paw; the assistants in the mean time
tying a cord made of fea calf's fkin, which is fattened to the
knife, about a Stake. Then every one runs off as fast as he can,
and endeavours at a distance to wound him with arrows, or
knives, which they dart at him ; and at last, when his strength
is quite wafted, they difpatch him with clubs.
When they find them afleep at fea, they fhoot poifoned arrows
at them, and get off as faft as possible. The wounded animal,
unable to fuffer the pain arising from the fait water in the poifoned wound, runs himfelf afhore, where they kill him outright
with darts or arrows; or if the place is not fafe for fuch an
attack, they wait until he dies of his first wound, which follows
in 24 hours. This game is fo honourable among the natives,
that the man who has killed most of thefe beafts is esteemed the
greatest hero : for this reafon many engage in this dangerous
hunting, not only for the flefh, which is looked upon as very
delicate, but rather for the honour that attends it.    Two or
R three lira
The   Natural   History   of
three fea lions are a great load for their boats; and, as it is
esteemed difhonourable to leave any game which they have
caught, they fometimes fo overload their boats, that, though
they are very expert in the management of them, they and
their game go to the bottom together. In thefe vefTels they
go to the defert ifland Alaide, which lies out at fea about
thirty miles, and are fometimes carried four, five, and even
eight days without feeing any land, expofed to the cold of thefe
climates; and without any compafs, they return to thefe habitations by obferving the fun or moon.
Of the fkins of the fea lion the$ make cords, fhoe-foles, and
fhoes. The female has two, three, and fometimes four yourigj
ones. They couple in the months of Augufi or September; and'
are pregnant about ten months, as they generally bring forth
their young about the beginning of July. The male treats the
female with great tenderness, not like the fea cat, but by
fondnefs endeavours to gain her affection. Both male and
female feem to take very little care of their young, frequently
stifling them under their paws as they fuck; nor do they fhew
any concern at feeing them killed before their eyes. The young*
are not lively nor full of play, like most other young animals,
but are almost continually afleep. Towards the evening the
male and female fwim out to fea with their brood, but not far
from the fhore. The young climb npon the mother's back,
and rest themfelves; the maledn the mean time playing about
toffes the lazy puppies into the water, to oblige them to learn to
fwim. Some of them have been thrown into the fea, but instead
of fwimming away they hasten i again to land. They are
twice as large as the young of the fea cat. Although thefe
animals naturally run from a man, yet it has been obferved that
they are not always fo wild ; particularly when their young have
fcarcely learned to fwim.    Mr. Steller lived fix days in a high
place amongst whole herds of them,  and out of his hut faw
iL i K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
feveral of their actions.    The animals lay around him, feeming
to obferve his fire and what he was employed about; and never
ran away, although he  even  went amongst them, and feized
fome of their young for his defections, but remained quite at their
eafe.    They went about and quarrelled for their miftrefs without
being disturbed by his prefence; and one male fought three days
for a female, and was wounded in more than a hundred places.
The fea cats never take any part in their quarrels, but endeavoifr
to get out of the way as far as they can, giving place  to them ;
nay, they never hinder the puppies of the fea lion from playing
with them, taking atkcare not to hurt them in the least:  but
the fea cats fhun the  company of the  fea lions as much as
The old beafts are grey about the head, and certainly live to
a great age.    They Scratch their head and ears with their hinder
paw, as the fea cats do ; and thejr manner ,of standing,  going,
lying, and fwimming, is the fame.    The great ones-lew like an
ox, and the young bleat like fheep: the old ones fend forth
a stinking smell, but not fo much as the fea cat.    In winter and
fummer they do net always »live indifferently upon  all places,
but feem to have their stations proper for the feafon.    They are
never found further north than 560, although in great plenty
about  Kamtfchatka, and the  iflands of the  American   coaft.
Their food is fifh, feals,   fea beavers, or other water or  land
animals.    The old ones eat little in the months of June or July,
when they only lie and fleep, and thence become very lean.
The fea cat is about half the fize of the fea lion; in form
refembling the feal *, but thicker about the breast,  and thinner
R 2 ' towards
* Frederick Marten, in his voyage to * they have black, long, and fharp
Greenland, thus defcribes the fea dogs, ' claws; their tail is fhort; they bark
called Rubbs or Seals : ' Their teeth are ' like hoarfe dogs, but their young mew
* fharp like dog's teeth;  on their toes    •   like cats.    When they are frightened
by 1111
The  Naturae  History
towards the tail. They have a fnout longer than the fea lion^s,
and larger teeth ; with eyes like cows' eyes, fhort ears, naked and
black paws, and black hair mixed with grey, wjiich is fhort and
brittle.    Their young are of a bluifh black colour.
The fea cats are, caught in the fpring and in the month of
September, about the river Shupanova ; at which times they go
from the Kurilfkoy ifland to the American coast:   but the most
* by any noife, they hold up their nofes
* very high, and make a lone: neck like
' ourgreyliounds, and bark ; and when
* thus alarmed we ftrike them with half
* pikes, or long poles, upon their nofes,
' and knock them down half dead ; but
* for all that  they will  recover  them-
* felves and rife again.    Some of them
* will ftand on their  defence,, bite at,
* and run after us.    Sometimes they run
* from the ice to the water, and" leave a
* yellow dung behind them, which they
' fqairt out at their hunters. Their fat"
' is about three or four fingers thick,
* and covers the flefh juft under the fkin.
* They have great livers,   lungs,   and
* hearts. When they couple they are {0
s fierce, that we are obliged to kill
' them from our boats, no man daring
i to go near them. One of them near
' eight feet long was not killed, though
' we had cut off moft of his fat, and
* notwithftandine; all our blows would 1HI1
* bite and fnap at us.    I ran  another
* feveral times through the body with
* my fword, which he did not in  the
* leaft regard; he at Iaft got up, and •
' ran fwiftA than I could, and flung him-
' felf off from the ice into the fea, and
* went down to the bottom.*
From the fame author we have alfo the
following account of the fea horfe.   c It
is imagined that thefe animals, fays he,
feed both on herbs and fifh ; that they
eat herbs we conclude from the refent-
blance between their dung and that ©f
the horfes', and we fuppofe they eat
fifh from this circumftance, when we
threw the fkin and fat of a whale into
the fea, one of thefe creatures came and
drew it under water with him. They
are remarkable for their courage and
ftirength, and therrefolutioh with which
they defend each other is furprifing; for
when any were wounded by my people,
they made to the long boat, and with
their great teeth cut holes in it under
water, whilft others moft undauntedly
erefted half their body out of the water
and endeavoured to get into the boat.
In one of thefe engagements a fea horfe
took hold of otfr harpooneer with his
long tooth by the waiftband of his
b/eeches, and had not the waiftband
broke, would certainly have pulled,
him over-board.. At Muff's ifland we
killed feveral hundred of them, and
made a very good voyage. When
they are killed the feilors only brirsg
off the head, as nothing but the two
great teeth are of any value; thefe
alfo were formerly in greater eftimatioa
than they are at pre fent.*
1 fc   A   M   T
C   H   A   T   K   A".
are catched about the cape of Kronotzkoy, as between this and
the cape Shupinfkoy the fea is generally calm, and affords therfl
properer places to retire to. Almoft all the females that are
caught in the fpring are pregnant; and fuch as are near their
time of bringing forth1 their young are immediately opened, and
the young taken out, and fkinned. None of them are to be
feen from the beginning of June to the end of Augufi, when
they return from the fouth with their young. The natives
were formerly at a lofs to conceive where fueh great herds of
pregnant fat animals retired in the fpring, and why they returned
fb weak and lean in the fummer : they conjectured, that as they
thus regularly fwanr from the foath in the fpring, arid returned
in the fummer, their being fo lean was owing to their fatigue.
The females bring forth their young there, and being at reft
recover their former ftrength ; they nurfe their young Ones threte
months, 'till they are able to return with them to their
former habitations in the fummer. The females fuckle their
young with two teats, which are placed betweeri their hinder
paws; they have feldom more than one; and when* they bring
forth they gnaw off the navel string like a dog, and greedily e3t
the after-birth. The young fee when they are whelped, their
eyes being - as large as the eyes of an ox; and have thirty-two-
teeth, not reckoning their tufks, two of which are on each
fide, and begin to appear the fourth day after their birth.
Their colour at the first is a dark blue \ but in four oY
five day9 grey hairs begin to appear between therr hinder
legs, and at the end of one month their belly is black and
grey. The male is born larger and blacker, and even continues blacker than the female, which turns almoft of a blue
colour as fhe grows up, having only grey Spots between her fore
legs. The male and female differ fo much in the form antl
strength of their bodies, that one who does not carefully ex'-
amine them would take them for different fpecies of .animals I !|M,
The Natural History  of
mals; befides the females are mild and fearful.    The male has
from eight to fifteen, and even fometimes fifty females, whom
he guards with fuch jealoufy that he does not allow any other to
come near his miftreffes: and though many thoufands of them
lie upon the fame fhore, yet every family keeps apart;  that is,
the male, with his wives, young ones, and thofe of a year old,
which have not yet attached themfelves to any male ;   fo that
fometimes the family consists of 120.    They likewife fwim at
fea in fuch droves.    Such as are old, or have no miftreSTes, live
apart;  and the first that our people found upon Bering's ifland
were fuch old ones,  and all males,  extremely fat and Stinking.
Thefe fometimes lie afleep a whole month  without nourifh-
ment,    and   are  the   fiercest  of   all,   attacking  all  that pafs
them ;   and their  pride or obstinacy is  fuch   that   they will
rather die than quit their place.    When they fee a man coming  near them,   fome of them rufh  upon him, and qthers lie
ready to  fuftain the battle.     They bite the  Stones   that are
thrown at them, and rufh the more violently upon him who
throws them ; fb that though you strike out their teeth with
ftones, or put out their eyes,  yet even blind they w^l not quit
their place: nay, they dare not leave it, for every Step that any
one moves off he makes a new enemy, fo that though he could
fave himfelf from the attacks of men, his own brethren would
destroy him ; and if it happens that any one feems to retire the
least, then others draw near no prevent his running away ; and
if any one feems to fufpect the courage of another, or his defign to
run away, he falls upon him.    This fufpicion of one another is
fometimes carried fo far, that for a whole verft one fees nothing
but thefe bloody duels ;   and at fuch a time one may pafs them
without any manner of danger.    If two fall upon one, then feme
others come to fapport the weakeft; for they  do not allow of
unequal combat.     During thefe  battles the   others   that   are
fwimming in the fea raife their heads,  and look at the fuccefs
of the combatants; at length becoming likewife fierce, they come
out and increafe the number.
Mr. Steller made this experiment:—With his CofTacks he fell
upon one of thefe fea cats, and put out his eyes, and irritated four
or five more by throwing Stones at them. When thefe purfued
him he ran towards the blind one, who hearing the running of
his companions, and not knowing whom they purfued, attacked
them. Mr. Steller retired to a high place, where he obferved
the battle for fome hours. The blind one attacked without
distinction all the reft, even thofe who took his part; fo that
at last they all fell upon him, and allowed him no left either
upon the land or in the fea, out of which they dragged him to
the fhore, and beat him until he died.
When two of them only fight, the battle lasts frequently for
an hour.: fometimes they reft awhile, lying by one another ;
then both rife at once, and renew the engagement. They fight
with their heads erect, and turn them aside from one another's
Stroke. So' long as their Strength is equal they fight with their
fore paws ; but when one of them becomes weak the other
feizes him with his teeth, and throws him upon the ground.
When the lookers on fee this they come to the assistance of the
variquifhed. The wounds they make with their teeth are as deep
as thofe made with a fabre ; and in the month of July you will
hardly fee one of them that has not fome wound upon him.
After the end of the battle they throw themfelves into the water
to wafh their bodies. The occasions of their quarrels are thefe:
—The first and moft bloody is about their females, when one
endeavours to carry off the miftrefs of another, or the young
ones that are females; the females that are prefent follow the
conqueror. The fecond is about their places, when one comes
too near that of another, which they don't allow, either for want
of room, or becaufe they are jealous of their coming too near
their I!III
138 -$be  Natural   History   of
their miftresTes, The third is owing to their endeavouring to. do
justice, and end the quarrels of others.
The male is very fond of the young ones; on the other hand,
the females and young fear him extremely, and he treats them
most tyrannically. If you endeavour to catch a young one, the
male stands upon the defence, and the female is allowed to fave
herfelf and the young one by flight.; but if fhe drops the young one
out of her mouth, the male leaves his enemy, and feizing upon
her with his teeth beats her against the Stones 'till he leaves her
for dead. As foon as the recovers, fhe crawls to his feet, which
Hie licks and .wafhes with her tears that flow in abundance. In
the mean time, the male Stalks backwards and forwards, gnashing his teeth, and toffing his head like a bear; at laft^ when he
fees they have carried off the young one, he likewife begins to
weep; for they fhed tears, when they are much wounded or
injured, ajnd are not able to revenge the injury.
Another .reafon of the fea cats going in the fpring eastwards to
the Defert Iflands must be, that resting and fleeping without nou-
rjfhment for three months, they free themfelves from the fat
wjiich was troublefome to them, in the fame manner as the bears
who live the whole winter without nourishment; for in the
months of June, July, and Augufi, the old ones do nothing
but fleep upon the fhore, lying in one place like a ftone, now
and then looking at one another, and yawning and Stretching,
without meat or drink; but the young ones begin to walk in the
beginning of July. When this animal lies upon the fhore and
diverts himfelfj his lowing is like that of a cow*; when he fights,
he growls like a bear 5 when he has conquered his enemy, he
chirps like a cricket; but being vanquished or wounded, he
groans or mews like a cat; coming out of the water, he commonly (hakes himfelf, strokes his breaft with his hinder paws,
and fmooths the hair upon it.    The male lays his fnout to that
of K   A   M   T   S   C   II   A
K    A.
of the females, as if he was kiffitig her. When they fleep in the
fun, they hold up their paws, wagging them as the dogs do their
tails. They lie fometimes upon their backs, at other times like
a dog upon their bellies; fometimes contracting, at other times
extending themfelves. Their fleep is never fo found but that>
they awake at the approach of any perfon, how foftly foever he
goes, and are prefently upon their guard; befides their fmell and
hearing are furprifingly acute.
They fwim fb. fast that they can eafily make ten verfts in an;
hour;  and when they happen to be wounded at fea they feize
the boats of the fifhers with  their teeth,  and drag: them along
with fuch fwiftnefs that they appear  to fly and not  to fwim
upon the water.    By this'means the boat is frequently overturned
and the people drowned,  unlefs he who Steers  it be very fkilful,
and obferves the courfe of the .'animal.    As they have a foratrftfo
ovale, .they can keep long under water ;   but when they  grow
weak they come to the top to receive frefh air.    They often
fwim upon their back, and fo near the  furface of the water
that their hinder paws are frequently dry.    When they go from
the fhoee. into the water, or when they dive after having taken
breath, they turn themfelves like a wheel, as many other large
fea animals do.    They fatten their fore paws in the rocks,  and
thus draw up their body,  which they can move but flowly in
fuch places,  but upon a plain, one is in danger of being overtaken by them.    Upon Bering's ifland there are fuch numbers
of them that they cover the whole fhore; fo that travellers are
frequently obliged for Safety to leave the fands and level country,
and go over the hills and rocky places.    It is remarkable that
in this ifland the fea cits are found only upon the fouth coaft
which looks towards Kamtfchatka.    The reafon of this may be,
that this is the first land they  meet with going eaft from the
Kronotzkoy  Nofs.
S The »
130 The  NaTurial   History  of
The   manner  of   catching  them in   Beningfs,   ifland   war,
this: ^hey irftfiftruck out their eyes with, ftonesc, and thea killed
them by bealihg out their brains with  clubs:  butrlhis was ai
work of fo much labour, that thioee-nien we-ie*. harcdly abb: to kilt
one wah 300 staJokes;   and though fometimes the: fkuB was?
broken in pieces, and the- fcarajns came out,  and aM their teeth;
beaten out, yets they wouBobkeep. their place, StaBD^n^uporB their
hinder   paws,   endeavouring   to   defend   themfelves.     One of
them thus miferabiy treated was lsft to fee haw. long it would
Ike, which it did full two weeks wifellbut quitting its place.
They feldom come afhptre about KamtfchatMh  fb that  ths& '&&
habitants chace then* in boats, and throw darts on harpoons at
thenar which Stick in thfiir body;. tot thisLbarpoon is fixed one
end of a rope, and tbaotheriitfin the vsffel; and by tfiiBrsropeithey
draw- them towards the boat; but here they are to be particularly
cautious whenever they chace one, if he comes near, not to fuffer
him to fatten upon the. fide of the boat with his fore paws, and
overturn it; to prevent wkiehsfome of the fifhermen stand ready
with axes to cut off his paws.    Several of thefe animals die  of
old age, but the greatest part of the wounds they receive in the
quarrels that happen among them ; of which there are fometimes
fo many, that the fhore is covered with bones.
The fea beaJvers * have not the least refemblance of the other
beavers g but the people formerly gave them that name from their
d'owny hair, which refembles that of the beaver. They
are as large as the fea cats; their fhape refembles the feal,
and their head the bear; their fore feet are longer thar-
theiF hind feet; their teeth fmadh; their tail fhort and flat, ant
flSarp. towards the point; their hair is thick- and black as pitch,
111 K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
brat in  the old ones it $akais. grey.     The  young ones  have
their hair long,   brownifh, and Tery foft.     This  is  the moft
peaceable of all the fea anitlnals ; it never makes any  resistance,
but endeavours to fave itfelf by  flight.    The females are very
affectionate  to  their young,   and  carry fuch  as cannot fwfllj^
upon their belly between their fore feet;  for until the littfe ones
can fwim themfelves the.mother fwims upon her back. When the
fifhermen purfue them,  they never quit-their young* till the very
last extremity; and if they fhould happen to flifjJthem they prefently
return to where they hear them cry; fo  that  the fifhets endeavour to kill or catch the young, as the moft effectual method of
taking their dams.    They have three SiifFereftt ways of caeehifeg
them:   iff. By nets placed among the  fea cabbage*, whither
the beavers retire in the night time, or in ftortfis.    2dly, They
chace them in their boats,  when the weather is calrjl, and kill
jheim, in the fame manner they do fea Ifens or fea cats.    The
third methodros upon the ice, which in the fprkig is driven on
.the coaft by the eaft wind; and this laft is fo general, that when
die ice is driven fo strongly upon the fhore that the people can
pafs upon it with fnow fhoes, they consider it as an acquifition of
great treafiire, and all the inhabitants upon the coaft hunt and
kill  vaft  numbers,   as  they ftalk  along   the   itse  feekirig  an
opening to get into the water.    However,  fuch a  drift  of ice
upon the coaft does not happen every year, but when it does,
they call it-A good year; for the nauives, CofTacks, and merchants,
find a great advantage from this trade.    The Kuriles did not
esteem the fkiiis of beavers more than- thofe of feals or fea lions
before they faw the value that the Ruffians put upon them; and
even now they wiM willingly exchange a drefs made of beavers'
•* Fucus marinus.
for ■I 1
T " 'T!
7^  Natu^l History  of
for a "good one made of dogs' fkins, which they think are. warmer,
and a better defence against the water.
Befides thofe already defcribed, there are feveral other fea
animals here, the most remarkable of which is the manati, or
fea cow. This.animal never comes out upon the fhore, but
always lives in the;water ; its fkin is black and thick, like the
bark of an old oak, and fo hard that one can fcarcely cut it with
an ax ; its head in proportion to its body is fmall, and falls off
from the neck to the fnout, which is fo much bent tihat the
mouth feems to lie below ; towards the end the fnout is whijfeg,
and rough, with Wj&ite whifkers about nine inches long ; it has
no teeth, but only two flat wh&te bones, one above, the other
below ; its nostrils are near the end of its fnout, in length
and breadth about an inch and a half; they are double, and
wit&jn are rough and hair^; its eyes are black, placed almost
in the middle, and near in one line with the noftrite^ they
are no larger than fheep's eyes, which is certainly remarkable
in fuch a monftrous creature ; it has no eyebrows nor eye-
lafhes; and its ears are only a fmaltcopening g its neck is
not eafily difcovered, the head and body being fo nearly
joined ; however, there are fome vertebrae proper for turning
the head upon, which it actually does, particularly when it
feeds, hanging its head like a cow; its body is round like
that of a feal, being thickeft about the navel, and growing
fmaller towaBds(?tltgfehead and tail ;. the tail is thick, and bent
a little towards the end; it fomething refembles the beard of
the whale, and fomewhat the fins of a fifh ; its paws, which
are under its neck, are about 21 inches long, with them he
both fwims and goes> and by them he takes hold of the
rocks, to which he fometimes fattens himfelf fo Strongly, that
when he is dragged from, thence with hooks he will leave
the fkin of his paws behind \  it is obferved that thefe paws are
fometimes divided in two, like the hoof of a cow; but this
does not feem to be common, only accidental. The females
have two teats upon their breasts. The length of the manati
is about 28 feet, and its weight about 200 pood. Thefe animals
p-o in droves in calm weather near the mouths of rivers;
and though the dams oblige their young always to .fwim
before them, yet the reft of the herd cover^them upon all fides,
fo that they are constantly in the middle of the drove. In the
time of flood they come fo near the fhore, that one may Strike
them ^$th a club or fpear; nay, the author relates that he has
even stroked their backs himfelf with his hand. {When the^
are hurt they fwim off to fea,. but preTently return. They live
in families, one near another ; and a family confifts of a male,
female, fome half grown, and one fmall calf: hence it
appears that every niale has one female. They bring forth
their  young in the harvest,   and  never more  than  one at a
They appear to be extremely gluttonous, dating fo continually
without any regard to their own fafety, that they hardly ever
lift theit heads above the water ; fo that any one may go among
them in boats, and chufejwhich he pleafes to carry off. The
half of their body, that is their back and fides, is always above
water, upon which flocks of crows fettle, and pick the lice out
of their fkins. They do not feed upon every herb, but, fir ft,
upon fea cabbage *, which has a leaf refembling favoys;
fecondM upon cabbage -f refembling a club; thirdly, upon
cabbage |( refembling thongs; and, fourthly, upon a waved kind
of cabbage J: and wherever they have been, though but for one
day, heaps of roots- and stalks are thrown out upon the fhora&-
* Fucus Coifpus braffica fabaudica? folio cancellatus. t Fucus- clavx facie.
I Fucus fcuticae anticjuae Romane facie.       J Fucus longiffimus ad nervum. undulatus.
When' IP!
134 Tie   Natural   History   of
When they have eaten thetf -fill, they lie afleep upon their bacl$.
As foon as the ebb begias they retire to the fea, fea^ng left
upon the fhore. In the winter time they are frequently crufhed
$kf the ice against the rocks, and thrown out upon the beach,
This happens during a Storm, when the wind is upon the
fhop«. At this feafon they are fo lean that one may count all
their ribs and vertebra?. They are caught with great iron hooks,
fomething like the fluke of a finall anchor. This hook is carried
by a man in a boat with three or four rower$, who
when he comes among the herd strikes into one of t&em»
Thirty .men that are left upon the shore, and hold one
end of a rope which is fastened to the hook, draw the
manati towards the land ; and in the mean time tho^
that are in the boat Stab and cut it 'till it dies. I one$
few fome of the fifhers cut off the flefh from the cr^ata*^
while it was alive, who all the while struck the watejp with its
paws with fuch force that the fkin was torn off them; but at
last it expired. It is eafier to catch the old ones than the
ysung : for the last are more active, and the fkin being fofk&
the hook frequently loofes CD6s hold. When one of them Is
struck, and struggles to clear himfelf of the hook, thofe of the
herd that are nearest to him come to his afSftance: &Ki£N
overturn the boat by getting under it; others ky themfelves
upon the rope, as if they could hreak it; and others endeavour
to Strike out the hook with their tails, which fometimes
Succeeds. The love that is between the male and female is
extraordinary; for after the male has ufed all methods to afBfl:
and refeue the female, he follows her men dead to the very
fhore, and has been obferved fometimes even after two or
three days to remain by the dead body. This animal cannot
be faid to low, but rather brays hard,, which is particularly ob-
fervable when it is wounded.    It   cannot be faid how fharp
their fight* or hfarjfog is$& but both fenfes appear to be very
weak, p&JsKpsufironv their keeping their heads always under
There is foch a plenty of manati in Bferi#g!s ifland, that
it is Sufficient to maintain all the people of dKamtifkhatka®
Their flefh,, thougjb it takes a long time to boil, tastes well
and is fometJfefeig'. like beef. The fat of the young refembles
pork, and.;the lean ia like veal. This flefh is eafily boiled, and
isvells fo much that it takes up double the fpace when boiled
that it did raw: It is inaijpofsible to boil rffce iat .about the
head and tail; but the ribs and back are very delicate. Some
pretend that the flefh of this animal will not keep in fait; but
we foulhd the contrary, it appearing to us little inferior to
faked' beef*.
* That the Kamtfchatka manati is the
fame kind of animal with that found by
Captain Dampier in the rivers of South
jfnterica and at the Philippine Iflands, is
evident from that author's defcription
of it:
5 This creature is abotit the bignefs of
4 a horfe, and 10 or 12 feet long. The
« mouth of it is much like the mouth of
'. a cowi having great thick lips.    The
* eyes are no bigger than a fmall pea,'
* the ears are only two fmall holes on
' each (fide of the head. The neck is
' fliort and thigk,  bigger than the head.
* The biggeft part of this creature is at
' the Ihoulders, where it hath two large •
5 fins, one on each fide ofdtts belly.
« Under each of thefe fins the female
*' hath a fmall dug to fuckle her young.
* From the Ihoulders towards the tail it
* retains its-bigntefs   for about' a  foot,
* thencit groweth fmailer and fmalier to
j the very tail, which is flat,  and about
i 14 inches broacf,  and 20 inches  lonsv
' and in the middle  four or five inches'
* thick, but about the edges of it not
* above two inches' thick. From the
' head to the tail it is round and fmooth,-
i without any fin but thofe two before
' mentioned. I have heard that fome
' have weighed above i20olb. but I
' never faw any fo large.    The manati'
* delights to live in a brackifh water;--
* and they are commonly in  creeks or
' rivers near the fea.    'Tis for this rea- •
1 fon, poflibly, they are not feen in the 1
t South Seas, (that ever I could obferve)
* where the coaft  is generally   a  bold
* fhore, that is, high land' deep water '■
' clofe home by it, wifih a high fea or"
1 great fufges ; except in the bay   f Pa-
* nama, yet even there is no manati:
' whereas the Wifl? Indies, being as it
' were one1 great bay compoled'of many
s fmalier, are moftly low land land fhoal
e water, and afford proper pafture (as I
*" may i| Msl
I If
.1x6 The Natural History of
Befides the above-mentioned animals, Mr. Steller faw upon
the coaft of America a new and uncommon fea beast, which
he thus defcribes: Its length is about five feet; its heacNdike
a dog's; its ears fharp, and Standing up; and its eyes large;
upon its upper arid under lips it has hairs like a beard; its
make is thick and round ; thicker towards the head, thin and
fmall towards the tail;!the whole body is covered with thick
hair, grey upon the back, and reds, or forrel towards the belly;
the tail fin dkides itfelf into two, the uppermost of which is
longest. The author was extremely furprifed that he could
not difcover any feet or paws, as in other fea animals. Its appearance in general was fomething like the draught of that creature,
which Gefher gives under the name of fea monkey ; and the author thinks that the name of monkey is not improperly applied
to this animal for its remarkable activity and many tricks. It
fometimes fwam after their vefTel for two hours, looking first at
may.fay) for the manati. Sometimes'
we .find them in fait water, fometimes
in frefh, but never far at fea ; and thofe
that live in the fea at fuch places where
there is no river nor creek fit for them
to enter, yet do commonly come once
or twice in 24 hours to the mouth of
any frefh-water river that is near their
place of abode. They live on grafs
feven or eight <i&ehes long, and of a
narrow blade, which grows in the fea in
many place's, efpecially among iflands
near the main. This grafs groweth
likewife in creeks,; or in great rivers, near the fides of them, * tin" fuch
places where there is but little tide or
current. They never come alhore, nor
into fliallower water than where they
can fwim. Their flefh is white, both
the fat and the lean, and extraordinary
fweet and wholefome meat. The tail
of  a young  cow is much  efteemed;
' but if old, both head and tail are very
* tough. A calf that fucks is the moft
' delicate meat : privateers commonly
' roaft them ; as they do alfo great pieces
t out of the bellies of the old ones.
' The fkin of the manati is of great
' ufe to privateers;  for they cut them
' into ftraps,   which they make faft on
' the fide of their canoes, through which
' they put their oars in rowing inftead of
' tholes or pegs.    The fkin of the bull,
' or of the back of the cow, is too thiek -
' for this ufe ; but of it they make horfe-
' whips, cutting them two or three feet
' long : at the handle they leave the full
* fubftance of the fkin,  and from thence
5 cut it away  tapering,   but ■ very even,
* and fquare all the four fides.    While
* the -thongs are .green they twift them,
' and  hang them  to dry,   which  in  a
* week's time become as hard as wood.'
li K   A.
one thing and then at another with an appearance&of furprize;
and would come fo near the fhip, that he might be touched
with a pole; but would retire to a greater distance on obferving
any on board to Stir. He frequently raifed one third of his body
above the water, Standing erect: like a man, fometimes for half
an hour togethe^.'and then dartihg under the vefTel, appeared in
the farne. posture on the other lifide; and this he would repeat,
perhaps thirty times together. At other times he would bring
a great American fea herb, whfeh is flat and hollow below like
the bottom of a bottle, and fomething fharp above: this he
would tofs about and catch again with his mouth, playing a
thoufand apifh tricks with it. It has been obferved of all fea
beafts, that the more they play in fair weather the greater
ftorm is to be expected.
CHAP.     IX.
THERE are great numbers of whales both in this
ocean and in the Penfchinfka fea; they frequently
fwim within mufket-fhot of the fhore, and fometimes
will come clofe to the very fhore, -perhaps to rub off the fhell-
fifh that adhere to their bodies and give them no reft; as
plainly appears from their lying a long time with their backs
above" water, to allow the rooks and gulls to pick them off.
At fuch time as the fifh come out; of the fea into the frefh
waters, two or three whales are often found together at the
time of flood near the mouth of the rivers,
T The lit
138 The Natural   History  of
The whales here are from feven to fifteen fathoms long. We
can give no account of the djflerenfc-impedes of whales at Kamtfchatka, few of them. being caught here except in the northern
parts by the Koreki and Tchukotfkoi^ who feed upon their flefh.
In the year 1740 a whale was brought by the flood oihto the
mouth of the Bolfkoi river; but fome Coflapks obfetving it,
went out in boats, and dStt it all to pieces; fo "that next day
when I came, to my great difappoiottnent, I neither found flefh
nor bones; jfor thej^people, wHe* had cut off the flefh,. being
afraid of punishment for doing it without penafrifHon, had buried
the bones to conceal their crime. Steelier obferved -lhat more
whales were thrown on the eastern than on the weftern fhore,.
a^nd more in the harveff than in the fpring.
The different people have different ways of catching them :
the Kuriles by throwing their poifoned darts into them : the
Olutores catch them in nets, made of thongs of the fea horfe
fkin as broad as a man's hand, which they dry in the fmoke.
Thefe they fet in the mouths of the rivers, and the whale pursuing other fifh entangles himfelf in them. With thefe thongs
he is dragged to the fhore by the help of numbers who affemble
on thefe occasions, and always perform certain ceremonies. They
bring out of their common huts a wooden whale about two
feet long ; then building a new hut they place this image1
in it, using feveral ^conjurations. After this they tight a lamp,
and appointing fome people to look after it, give orders that it
be not allowed to go out from fpring to harvest, which is as
long as the fifhing feafon laf?&i They then cut the whale into
different portions, which, looking upon it as their moft delicate
provision, they prepare in the following manner:—They dry
the lean in the fun ; and the fkin, which they feparate from'-the
fM, they beat with hammers, and of it make foles to their
fhoes, which wears extremely well.    They fmoke the fat parts,
and R   A   M. T   S   «* H   A   T   K   A.
and cleanmgjbthe guts, they fill them with the oil wKlch
cans in cutting the fifh, or which they melt from the blubber,
having no other veflels to keep itlin.
The Tchukotfkoi Mil whales with a harpoon in the fame
manner as the Europeans do, and they catch fo many that
they never eat thofe whales that are thrown dead on fhore, as
fome of the neighbouring people do, but only extract: their fat
for burning. Although the Tchukotfkoi have large herds of
deer, which might be fufficient for their fuftenance, yet they
are the greateft whale fifhifs of any people in this part of the
globe, antf* look upon the fat of the whales as the greatest
delicacy; befides, having great fcarcity of wood, they ufe it for
burning. They make themfelves fhirts of the inteftines of the
Whales, like the Americans; and ufe them for veflels, like
the Olutores. ^fj
The kafatlsij  (falfely called'^ the> fwora&fifh)  which'' are  numerous in thefe feas, are very ufeful to the inhabitants, for thefe
fifh frequently either kill or drive the whaler on fhore.    Steller
had an opportunity of feeing an engagement between the kafatki
and whale,   both  at   fea   and   upon Bering&'iuznd.     When
the kafatki  attacks the? whaUfe he makes him roar fo that he
may be  heard fome  miles.     If   the   whale   makes   off,' the
kafatki follows   him  at fome  distance 'till great numbers   of
them gather together, and make a general attack.    It is never
obferved that fuch iW%2ies as are thrown on fhore have any part
eaten out of their bodies; fo that this war between the whales
and  the kafatki   must   proceed  only from a natural enmity.
The fifhers are fo much afraid  of thefe animals*7that they not
only never tferow any darts at them, but if possible avoid going
near them;  nay, they  even make offerings to them, begging
that they will not hurt them: for if irritated they fometimes
overturn their  boats.
T 2 Mr. fit
1 111;
140 The Natural History of
Mr. Steller writes that he was certainly io^brmed^ithat in the
bodies of whales thrown upon the coaft of Kamtfchatka, there
have been found harpoons marked with Latin letters; but by
what means he could be certain of Jthis, I know not; for the natives have no idea of letters; and before our arrival, none of our
CofTacks ever faw a Latin letter.
Many are the advantages which the Kamtfchadales derive from
this plenty of whales: of the fkin they make fhoe foles and straps;
they eat the flefh, as likewife the fat which they aljfo burn; they
few their boats with the beard, of which alfof they make nets for
foxes and fifh ; out of the lower jaw they form. a^lfort of fledge,
and make knife-handles, rings, and feveral fmall things of it. befides ; the inteftines ferve for barrels, and other vefTels ; out of the
nerves and blood-veffels they make ropes; and of the vertebra?,
feats. The moft delicate pieces of the whale are the tongue and
fins. I thought that the whale's fat with grout was not unplea-
fant, but I can't fay, that I was then a proper judge, for hunger
makes every thing agreeable.
They never go a fifhing for the kafatki^ut if this fifh is thrown
on fhore they ufe its fat like that of the whale. Mr. Steller fays,
that, in the year 1742, eight of them were thrown on fhore at
once, near the Lopatka; but the distance and the bad weather
prevented his going to examine them. He was- told, that the
largest never exceed four fathoms in length; that they have fmall
eyes, a wide mouth, and great fharp teeth, with which they
wound the whale ; but that they tear up the belly of the whale
with a fharp fin which is upon their backs, is a falfe report; for
though this fin is about five feet long, very fharp, and in the fea
stands quite upright, yet it is altogether foft, and confifts only of
fat: nay the animal itfelf is almoft all fat havinghardly any
mufcular flefh.
There K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
£/£here is likewife another creature in thefe feas refembling a
whale, but fmalier and flenderer: the Ruffians call it a wolf, and
the Kamtfchadales, chethak. Its fat is of Jiich a nature, that,
when fwallowed, it prefently paffes infenfibly. iThe natives
fometimes ufe it as a medicine in cafe of coftivenefs, but oftener
to play tricks with one another. They feed upon the flefh and
tongue, which have not the fame quality.
Notwithstanding the great plenty of whales upon this coaft, the
fcarcity of food is fometimes fo great, that whole villages die of
hunger. In the month of April, 1739,1 Taw a melancholy instance
of their being obliged, out of jfoecefslty, to eat fome poifonous
whale's fat, at a village upon the river Berofover, called Alaune,
where I obferved the people all look pale, as if they had been
Sick for a long time; when I afked the reafon, I was told,
that juft before my arrival one of the natives was killed by eating
of whale's fat; and as all the reft had eat of the fame, they dreaded
the fame fate. In about half an hour, a young healthy man began to groan and complain that his throat burnt; upon which
the old women, who are the physicians there, fattened him with
ropes to a ladder, and placed themfefves on both fides of him
jguth great clubs in their hands, with which they toflfed firebrands
put of the huts,, and the wife of the tick perfon coming behind
him, made feveral conjurations over his head, begging death to
fpare him: however he died the next day ; but the other inhabitants, as I heard, recovered with difficulty: after a long time.
This accident did not greatly furprife me ; I rather wondered that
fuch things did not happen oftener, efpecially from thofe whales
which are killed with poifoned darts. However the Kamtfchadales think fo little of the confequences, that they had rather rifle
their lives than be deprived of the pleasure of eating whale's fat.
After the whales, we must mention the fifh * mokoe, which
at Archangel is called akula.    It is about three fathoms long -y
"* Canis Carcharius Autoris.-
brings 342
'The Natural  History of
brings forth its young alive, like the whale; and when its
mouth is fhut has fome refemblance of a Sturgeon, but its
teeth are very different, being large and terrible. TEe Kamtfchadales eat the flefh of this fifh, and though it appears to
be tough and strong, they fay it is exceedingly well tasted. The
guts, and particularly the bladder, are in high esteem; fothat
when they catch this fifh, they never call it by its name, for fear,
as they imagine, they fhould provoke it to burst its bladder, and
render it ufelefs to them.. The teeth are fold under the name
of terpents' teeth. J|j»
Several fifties which are common to other feas are found here;
as pike, eels, lampreys, cod, and very fine foals in great plenty;
but the inhabitants make no account of thefe fifh, and never ufe
them unlets in great necessity, or to feed their dogs. Mr, Steller
obferved four different species of flat fifh.
There is a fifh called * vahnae, which is a Species of
the cod; is round and thick, with three fins upon its back;
and when taken out of the water is of a copper-colour, but pre-
fently changes to yellow: its flefh is white, hut foft, and of a
difagreeable tafte ; however the inhabitants eat more of it, than
of other fifh which are much better tatted; the reafon indeed is,
that they catch this fifh in the beginning of the fpring, when
they can catch no other; a great deal of which they dry. in the
fun uncleaned, designing it as provision for their dogs,
I faw the fifh which they call -f terpuk, but it being dry, I
-could not obferve thofe fine colours which Mr. Steller defcribes.
By his defcription its back is blackifh, its fides, are reddifh, and
chequered with fine Silver-coloured fpots; fome of which are
fquare, and others circular: in its fhape it refembles the perch.
* Onos vel Annus Antiquorum.
t Doecogrammos Stelleri.
They K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A   T   K   A.
They angle for this fifh near the Kurilfki iflands, and the haven*
of Awatfcha, with hooks made of bone or wood.
There are likewife feveral other kinds of fifties in thefe feas
which are not very common in other places; but as they make
no part o&dheir nourifhment, and are feldom caught, I fhall
take no notice of them, my defign being only to mention fuch
as ferve for food to. the inhabitants, in this country which'
produces no grain. The chief of thefe are falmon of different
kinds, which during the fummer come in fhoals from the
fea up the rivers. Of thefe they make what they call eukol,
which they ufe instead of bread ; and they boil up the fat,
which ferves for butter. They likewife make glue of them.
^Before I give a particular defcription of each fpecies apart,
1$ would communicate fome obfervations which regard the.
catching of thefe fifh, and which indeed are wonderful proofs
of the Divine Providence and the goodnefs of the Creator, who
has blest a place with fuch abundance of fifh where there is
neither  cattle, nor grain.
In Kamtfchatka the fifh conM from the fea in fuch numbers,
that they Stop the courfe of the rivers, and caufe them to overflow
the banks ; and when the waters fall there remains a furprifing
quantity of dead fifh upon the fhore, which produces an intolerable Stink. At this time the bears and dogs catch more fifh
with their paws than people do- at other places with their nets.
All the fifh that fwim up the rivers are of the falmon kind, and-
are commonly called red fifh \ but the feveral forts are fo distinct:
from each other, that Kamtfchatka alone is thought to produce
as many different fpecies as are to be found in all the world
befides. Not one fifh remains in Kamtfchatka longer than fix
months-(except gudgeons); for all that are not caught before the
end of December die, except in fome few  deep places where
there are warm fprings.    It is obferved of all the different fpeci^,
of 144 ^e  Natural   History  of
of falmon in Kamtfchatka, that they are brought"forth and die
in the fame river, come to their full growth in the fea, and
fpawn only once during their whole lives : for which purpofe they
fwim up the rivers, and having found a proper place in fmooth
water, they make a hole with the fins that are under ^heir
gills, and there depofit their roes.
In Siberia the red fifh live in clayey rivers ; they remain there
feveral years, and generate every year, having numbers of infects
proper for nourishment.    They winter in deep pools,  and in the
fpring fwim further up for the fake of propagating in the mouths:
of little rivulets that fall into the great rivers, where they are
commonly caught.     The young fry fwim down to "the fea,
where they continue 'till they come to their full growth, which
Mr. Steller thinks is in the third year.; and then they return in
order to propagate.   It is remarkable that thofe fifh which are bred
in a great river continue in the fea near to its mouth, feed upon
things brought down by the stream, and when the time of fpawning
approaches they will enter no river but that which produced them.
It is alfo very extraordinary,  that thofe fifh which come up the
rivers in the month of Augufi,  though they have time enough
to fpawn, yet as there remains but little time for their young to
return, take a year-old fifh of their own kind, which continually
follows the male and female; and when the old have covered the
roes they continue to afcend, the young one,  which is no bigger
than a herring, guarding them 'till the month of November, at
which time it returns with the other fifties.   It is very probable
that the fame thing happens in Europe, which may have given
occafion, through the difference of their ages, to account them
of different fpecks.
Each kind of fifh always afcends the rivers at the fame time.
In the month of Augufi fometimes two, three, nay even four
fpecies come up at once ; but each keeps feparate from the other.
The KAMTSCHATK'A.        14c
The different fpecies of thofe fifties which are here called red fifh
mall be mentioned in giving an account of the time when they
come out of the fea into the rivers; it being remarked that they
always obferve the fame order, the fame fpecies which comes
out first one year continuing to do fo the following. This the
Kamtfchadales find to be fo certain, that they call their months
by the name of the fifh which are then caught.
' Whe -largest and best of thefe fifh, and which come flrlt out of
the fea, are called chavitil. It refembles the common falmon,
though it is a great deal broader.; is about three feet and a half
long, and weighs a pood and a half; i#^ breadth is about the
fourth part of its length ; its nofe is fharp, the upper jaw being
longer than the lower; its tail is equal; the back is bluifh, with
fome fmall black fpots ; its fides are of a Silver colour, and its
belly white; its gills are long and fmall ; and its flefh is red
both  raw  and boiled.
They fwim up the rivers with fuch force that the water feems
to rife like a wall before them ; which the Kamtfchadales obferv-
ing get into tBeir boats, and throw out their nets. This fifh does
not come up in fuch large fhoals as the others, nor is fuch plenty
caught as to make eukol of it, except upon the river Kamtfchatka ; and even there it is fb rare that it is only ufed on feasts or
holydays, and after all it is fo fat that it prefently turns bitter.
The CofTacks, for the moft part, fait it, particularly the belly,
back, and head. The ribs are dry and hard, but the belfy is
truly a delicate food, at least no fifh there comes up to it \ and
what they dry in the fun, if not better than the Jakutfki
fturgeon, is at least not worfe.:
Of all the rivers that run into the Eastern Ocean this fifh
is only found in the river Kamtfchatka and the bay of
Awatfcha; and of thofe that fall into the Penfchinfka fea, only in
the Bolfchereffkoi river: befides, Mr. Steller fays, that none is to be
found further north than 540,  and it is certain that it is not
U to m
146 The  Natural  History  of
to be found near Ochotfka, where it is esteemed a valuable
The nets with which this fifh is caught are made of yafta
about the thicknefs of fugar ropes; and the fifhing begins about
the middle of May, and lasts fix weeks. The Kamtfchadales
esteem this fifh fo much, that the first they catch they bake and
eat with great rejoicings. This custom is very difagreeable to
the Ruffian inhabitants who hire the natives to fifti for them ;
for however impatient the matter may be to tafte the new fifh,
the fifhermen will have the first, looking upon it as a great fin
if they do not eat it themfelves, and with all due ceremonies.
The fecond kind is only called red fifh, in Ochotfka, narka.
It is about 21 inches long, and flattifh ; its flefh is extremely red;
its head very ft^all; the fnout fhort and fharp; the tongue
bluifh, with whitifh fides; its back bluifh, with black fpots %
its belly white; and its tail forked. Its breadth is about a fifth
part of its length; and it >has fcales large and round, easily
feparating from the fkin : it weighs about fifteen pounds. It is
found in every river that runs either into the Penffkinfka or
Eaftern Sea, coming up in great fhoals ; and it is caught about
the middle of June. The eukol that is made of it, though very
pleafant, prefently turns bitter; fo that for the most parttfhey
either fait this fifh, or boil it for its fat. There are two things
worth notice concerning it: the first of which is, that part go
before to the heads of the rivers, as if they were fent out to
examine them, where fome of them are caught before the fhoals
appear at the mouths. The fecond is, that this fifh is more
plenty in fuch rivers as run out of lakes than others: nor does
it live long in the former, but hastens dire&iy into the latter;
in the depths of which it lies 'till the beginning of Augufi, at
which time it comes nearer the fhore, and tries to get into thefe
rivers that communicate with, the lakes. Here the inhabitants-
tatch them by nets, dams, or other methods.
The third kind of tMs fifh is called keta or kaeko ; whilh is
fomewhat larger than the narka. The flefh is wftite; the head
ttattifh and longifh; the fnout is bent; the teeth, when it1 has
been fome time in the river, are like a dog's ; its tongue is fharp;
its tail a little forked; its back black and green ; its fides and
belly like other fifh; and&its fkin is without fpots. The eukol
that is made of this fifh they call their houfehold bread, being
much more plenty than any other; as the feafon of the fifhery,
which hegins in July and ends about the middle of October, is
drier and more proper for preparing it. This fifh is caught in
all the rivers both in the Penfchinfka and Eastern feas.
The gorbufhe, or crook back, follows or fometimes accompanies
the keli* This fifh is more plentiful than any other whatever;
it is about eighteen inches long, and ttattifh ; its flefh is white ;
its head fmall |. its fnout fharp, and considerably crooked ; its teeth
4inall; its back bluifh, with round black fpots; its fides and belly
like the other fort#; and the tail forked. Though this fifh is
not bad, yet the inhabitants have fudh plenty of what they esteem
better, that they ufe this only for their dogs.
The last of thefe kinds tbSt come on fhore is called wMte fifh.
This fifh both in bulk and appearance is very like the keta; they
differ in this indeed, that the keta has no fpots, and the white
36m has^ong black fpots upon its back. It excels in tafte all the
fifties that have white flefh ; and it agrees with the narka in this,
that it moft frequently haunts thofe rivers that run out of the
lakes, and is caught there in the fame manner. The young ones,
which accompany the old to take care of the roes and convoy the
young fry down, are esteemed by the inhabitants to be a different
ipeeies, and are called mil'ktchuch. So foon as the old ones have
Spawned, they take all care to provide for their own fafety, re-
iScing immediately to deep places where there are warm fprings;
and they are chiefly found in the fprings near the Bolfcheretfkoi river
U 2 and 248
The Matural   History  of
and the Opalfkoy lake : they are caught likewife during the whole
winter in thofe fprings that run into the Kamtfchatka from the
fouth * and near to where the old lower fort of Kamtfchatka
Stood they alfo abound, which is a great relief to the inhabitants.
I myfelf was at this fifhery in the end of February ; however I
found the fifh at that time dryer and not fo well tatted as in the
harvest. This fifh eats very well, either falted, dryed, or
fmoaked. It is caught frequently in the fame net with the keta
and narka; and thofe which they ufe for this fifhery are made
of yarn about half as thick as that with which they make the
nets for the chavitfi, and the mefhes are about an inch and
a half wide.
f- All thefe different fpecies of fifh change their colours, turn lean
and ugly, their fnout bends, their teeth grow^ and a fcurf appears
upon their fkins. The chavitfi, narka, and white fifh, change
their filver colour to a red ; the keta turns likewife red, Stained
with black stripes. Their fins and tails become reddifh and
blackifh ; in one word, they would never be taken for the fame
fifh that enter the rivers, if thefe changes were not certain.
The gorbufhe alone preferves its filver colour, and, whenever it
lofes that, it dies.
It is incredible with what eargernefs they go'up the rivers,
particularly the gorbufhe. When they come to any place where
the ftream is ftrong, and thofe that are weak find it impossible
by their own Strength to get up, they fatten their teeth upon
the tail of fome that are flronger, that they may be drawn up
by them; fo that feveral of thefe fifh are-found which have
their tails  bitten.
The true falmon may always be reckoned one of thofe fifh
that come in fhoals; and are found to go up the rivers Kom-
pakfue, Bircumkin, and Etchi. I never faw thefe fifh indeed,
but have heard a great deal of them.    Mr, Steller writes, that
when they return to the fea, it fometames happens that they are
driven by a Storm from the mouth of their native river, fo that
losing their way, the following year they afcend a strange river,
which is the occasion of their being found in more plenty in fome
rivers one year than another.
There are other kinds of red fifh which come up the river without any order, and live there the whole winter before they return. Mr. Steller fays, they stay fometimes four or five years.
The first of this Species is called, at Ochotfka, malma, and at
Kamtfchatka, goltfa. When they come out of the fea their colour is clear like filver; the upper part of the fnout is blunt, and
.fomewhat bent; the lower fharp, and bent towards the upper.
When they are ripped up, and the roes taken out, there appear
upon the fides round red fpots of different magnitudes, the belly
and lower fins-become likewife reddifh, except the bones which
continue white.
The largest fifh of this fpecies, which lives fometimes five or
fix years, comes from the fea into the river Kamtfchatka, out of
which it goes into the rivers that run into it, and by them to the
lakes, where it grows almoft as big as the chavitfi, though it
feldom weighs more than twenty pounds. They are found like-
wife very large in the Biflroy river; there their length is commonly twenty-eight inches,, and breadth ten ; they are of a dark
colour, have large teeth, and the lower jaw is crooked with a
knob: it feems indeed of a different fpecies. Thefe of three years
old, which have been one year out of the fea, have a long head,
are of a filver colour, with fmall fcales, and fmall red fpots; and
fuch as have been two years out of the fea are round and longifh,
with fmall heads, and their flefh, which is of a reddifh white, is
hard and well tatted. With regard to their fize ; the first year
they are long and fmall; the fecond, they grow more in breadth
than in length ; the third, the head grows considerably ; and the
fourth, fifth, and fixth years, their breadth and thicknefs increafes
greatly t
Iff i^o The Natural   History  of
greatly: this obfervation probably holds in all kinds of falfl&on
trouts. In the fourth year alfo, the lower part^lo %e fnout becomes hooked. This fpecies of fifh fwims along with the gorbufhe, and is caught with it in the fame net, which is ^oW^of
fmall yarn, the mefhes being about an inch wMe. Such active
in the rivers are Josnirifhed by the roes of other fiflf f and in the
fummer are found near the heads of fmall rivers, whiSh they
leave in the fprkg. Such as are caught at the beginning of
fummer are falted, but thofe caught later are frozen for the
Another fpecies of fifh is called muikifi, and is about the big-
siefs of the narka; its fcales are pretty large; its head is of a
middling fize; the apper part of its fnout is like that of the
goltia, with the lower part hooked ; it has teeth ifr^is ^ws and
on the fide of the tongue; its back is btatskifh, marked with
round, or femicircular black fpots; and upon each fide has a
large red Stripe, which goes qtfffee frotn the head to the tail:
this distinguishes it from all the other fpecies of this fifh:
it fwallows all jkinds of naftinbfs, and often catches the Meld
mice that happen to fwim upon the river; and is lb particularly fond of the nortleberry, that i£ftt fees any growing upon the
bank, it throws itfelf out, and feizes either the berry or the leaf
of the plant. It is a well tailed fifh, but is not caught in fuch
plenty as others are. They do not certainly know the time of
its entering the nivfers, bufciimagine it is before the ice is gone.
There is a third kind called launfha, which is about three feet
long ; the head makes a feventh part of the length ; the fnout
is fhort and sharp.; its jaws are furnifhed 1wth teeth ; its back
and fides blackim, -marked with yellow tfpots, fome of which
are rou&d and others oblong; its belly is white ; its lower fins
and tail blue ; and the flefh white and well tasted. In Ochotjm
it fwims in fhoals, but at Kamtfchatka it is more rare, and con-
fequently snore esteemed.
The fourih fpecies is the harius, which is well known in
Siberia and all Ruffia; btft thofe that are here have the back
fin longer than the others. Mr. Steller writes, that they c@me
up into the rivers upon the first going off of the ice; but I never
happened to fee this fifh in Kamtfchatka.
There is another fpecies of red fifh which refembles the golfta,
with this difference, that its head is larger, and the upper part of
the fnout a little hooked j its fides are marked with red fpots,
like the malma : it is feldom longer than 20 inches.
Among the fmall fifties which the Kamtfchadales feed upon
are three fpecies of fmelts ; one of which is called hagateh, the
fecond innaka, and the third uiki. The hagateh is our common
fmelt. The innaka differs from it a little, and is found in great
plenty about the lake Nerpech. Uiki is thrown fometimes upon
the fhore in vast heaps for 100 verfts together. They are
easily diftinguifhed from the other fpecies by a rough Stripe that
goes down the fide. They commonly fwim three together,
and are fo joined by the afore-mentioned rough Stripe, that when
you catch one the others cannot easily difengage themfelves.
The Kamtfchadales dry this fifh as food for their dogs; but in
cafe of fcarcity they ufe it themfelves, although the tafte is very
The last kind of fifh which we mail mention is the herrings <
thefe are found in great plenty in the Eastern Sea, but very feldom jn the bays wfy|ch lie upon the Penfd&infkdi    In my opinion;
they don't differ in the least from the herring which we have in
Europe; which Mr. Steller likewife confirms.    In the harvest
they are found in large lakes, where they breed and winter : in
the fpring they fwim towards the fea.    The greatest fifhery of
them is in the lake Viliutchin, which is only about fifty fathom
from the fea, and has communication with it by a fmall outlet.
When thefe herrings enter the lake, this pafTage is fhut up by
the fand being thrown into it,, and remains fo 'till the month of
March. I J
iif2 The  Natural   History  of
March, when it is wafhed away again by the high water arifing
from the melting of the fnow; which happens regularly every year.
The herrings come every day to the mouth of the outlet, as -$f
to inform themfelves whether the pafTage was yet open, and remain there from morning 'till evening, when they return to the
deeper part of the lake. The Kamtfchadales obferving this, break
holes in the ice near the mouth of the outlet, where they put
down their nets, and catch great quantities. This fifhery continues fo long as the ice remains upon the lake. They catch them
likewife with nets in the fummer, at the mouths of the rivers ;
when they boil out the fat, which is as white as butter, and more
delicate than that of any other fifh; and fend it from the lower
Kamtfchatkoy fort (where the greatest quantity is made) as a rare
prefent, to the other forts.
CHAP.     X.
Of     the      B   I    R- D   S.
XT" AMTSCHATKA abounds in 'birds, but the inl'
JL jL habitants make lefs ufe of them than of roots and fifties:
the reafon of this is, that they don't well know how to
catch them; and their fifhery is fo advantageous to them, that
to leave that and go a bird-catching would be as ridiculous
as for the hufbandman to leave his plough and go a
I fhall here divide the birds mto three claftes: the first, fea
fowls; the fecond, the frefh-water fowls; and the third, thofe
which frequent the woods and fields.
I c r.
Class I.    Of the SEA FOWLS.
The fea fowls are found in greater plenty about the coast of the
Eaftern Ocean, than that of the Penfchinfka fea; for the coast of
the Eaftern Ocean is more hilly and convenient for breeding.
The ipatka * is well known to all writers of natural, history,
by the name of anas arctica, commonly called in England
puffins. It is found upon the coast of Kamtfchatka,, and the
Kurilfki iflands, and even upon the Pe?ifchinfka bay, almost as.
far as Ochotfka. It is about the bignefs of, or rather fmalier.
than, a common duck; its head and neck are of a bluifh
black; the back is black; the belly and all below white; its
bill red, and broad towards the root, but fomewhat narrower
towards the point; upon each fide are three furrows; its legs •
are red, its feet webbed, and its nails fmall, crooked, and
black; its flefh is hard; its eggs are like hen's eggs ; it builds
its nest with grafs on the cliffs of the rocks. The Kamtfchadales.
and Kuriles wear the bills of thefe birds about their necks fattened to straps; and, according to their Superstition, their flia-
mans, or priests, must put them on with proper ceremony, to
procure them good fortune.-
Another fpecies of thefe birds is called meuchagatka -j~, and
in Ochotfka, igilma : this only differs from the former in being
all black, and having two yellowifh white tufts upon its head,
which lie all along; from its ears to its neck like locks of hair.
To the best of my remembrance this bird has never yet been
defcribed. Mr. Steller and I fent fome of thefe fpecies of birds
to the Imperial Mufeum. Among thofe fent by Mr. Steller
there was a third kind which is found upon the ifland Bondena,.
in Angermannia, and upon  the Caroline iflands; and is fome.r
* Alca roftri fulcis quatuor, oculorum regione temp.oribufque albis. Linn. F.
firec v. 42.
f Alca monochroa fuicis tribus, cerro duplici utrinque dependente. Anas arctica
cirrata.    Stell.
X what siii
The  Natural   History   of
what lefs than the other two; its colour is like that of the
ipatka, except that its bill and legs are black, and that there
are two white fprigs upon its forehead, which reach from the
eye to the bill.
The aru *, or kara, belongs to thk clafs. It is larger than; the head, neck, and back are black; the bill long,
strait, black, and fharp ; the -legs black with a cast of red; it
has three black toes, and is web-footed. Great numbers of
thefe are found upon the rocky iflands; and the inhabitants kill
them for the fake of their flefh, though tough and bad tatted;
but more fo for their fkins, of which, as well as thofe of other
fea fowls, they make themfelves garments. Their eggs are
reckoned a great delicacy.
There are two kinds of tchaiki, or cormorants, found upon
this coast, which are hardly obferved any where elfe. They are
about the bignefs of a goofe, have a strait reddifh bill about five
inches long, and fharp on the edges, and four nostrils, fuch as
other cormorants have, two being near the forehead as are found
in other birds which are thought to prognosticate Storms, and are
thence named Procellaria; their heads are of the middling fize;
their eyes black ; their tails eight inches long; and their legs are
covered with hair to the knees, but below them are bare; they
have three toes of a bluifh colour, and are web-footed; their
wings extend more than a fathom; they are fometimes fpeckled ;
they appear df&rhnear the more, but can't Stand Strait upon dry
ground, their feet being fo near the tail that they are not able to
balance their bodies : they fly flow even when hungry, but when
full of meat they cannot raife themfelves from the ground; and,
havMg eat too much, they eafe their Stomachs by throwing it
up; they have a wide throat, and fwallow fifh whole; their flefh
is very tough and Sinewy, therefore the natives feldom eat it, but
in great neceflity, killing them principally for the fake of their
* Lorn via Hoieri.
i KAMTSCHATKA.        i$$
bladders; which they ufe inftead of corks to their nets. The
way of catching them is Singular, being angled for as fifties
are, in the following manner: they faften a thick iron, or wooden
hook to a long rope or strap, baiting the hook with a whole fifh
the point of which comes out near the back fin, and then throw
ftfinto the fea ; this the cormorants obferving gather about it in
flocks, and quarrel among themfelves who fhall have the prize,
until the strongest obtainsSt and fwallows it; then being drawn
on fhore, they take out the hook and bait by putting their hands
into its throat. Sometimes they faften a live cormorant, which
they call a decoy, to the rope, and that it may not fwallow the
bait, tie down its bill with a cord ^ the others feeing the decoy
fwim fo near the fhore, come with greater fecurity to the bait.
The Kamtfchadales make needle cafes, and combs to comb their
nettles, of the bones of their wings.
Befides the above-mentioned tchaiki, or cormorants, there is
another fpecies which haunt the rivers: thefe are called robbers,
becaufe they take the prey from the fmall birds; their tail is
forked like that of the fwallow.
J&'The procellaria, or Storm birds,  are about the bignefs of a
/ fwallow; their  feathers are all black, except the tops of their
' wings, which are white ; their bill and legs black.    They haunt
about the iflands, and before a storm they fly low and fkim the
fea,  and fometimes into the fhips, which the failors look upon
as the Sign of an approaching violent gale.
The ftariki *, or glupifha, belong to this fpecies. The fta-
■ riki are about the bignefs of a pigeon; have bluifh bills, and
bluifh black feathers about the nostrils, which look like bristles;
the feathers of the head are of the fame colour, interfperfed here-
^hd there with white ones, which are longer and thinner than the
reft; the upper part of the neck is black, but the lower black and
* Mergus marinus niger ventre albo, plumis anguftis albis auritus.    Stell.
X 2 white 356
The Natural  History   of
white fpeckled. The belly is white, the wings fhort, the large feathers
of which are black, and the reft blue; the fides and tail are black $
the feet are red and webbed ; and the nails black and fmall: it
haunts about rocky iflands, where it likewife builds its nest: The
Kamtfchadales catcrjPthefe fowls easier than they do the tchaiki,
or cormorants: they put on a fur coat of a particular make, and
letting their hands fall down, fit down in a proper place, and
wait for the evening ; when the birds returning from the fea feek
to retire into holes for the night, and in the dark feveral of them
fly into their furs, and are caught.
Among the birds defcribed by Mr. Steller are the btack fta-
rikis *, whofe bills are as red as vermillion, the right fide of
which is crooked; it has a white tuft upon its head. He faw a
third fpecies in America,  which was spotted black and whi$%^
The glupifha are about the largenefs of the common river cormorants ; and are found upon the rocky iflands, in high Steep
places ;  their colours are grey, white, and black ; and are perhaps called glupifha, that is, foolifh, becaufe they frequently %
into the boats.  Mr. Steller fays, that numbers of them are caught
in the fourth and fifth Kurilfki iflands,, which the inhabitants dry in
the fun ; they fqueeze the fat through the fkin, which paffes very
easily, and ufe it for burning.    He likewife writes that all the
rocky iflands in the fea between Kamtfchatka and America are
covered with them.    He has feen fome as large as a goofe, or an
eagle ; their bills are crooked and yellowifh ; their eyes are large
like thofe of an owl j  they are black intermixed with white fpots
over the whole/body.    He once faw, 200 verfts from land, great
numbers of them feeding upon a dead whale, which ferved them,
alfo to appearance for lodging; and in his pafTage through the
Penfchinfka fea, he faw many of the glupifha, fome of which.
1      ipwii
* Mergulus jnarinus alter totus niger criflatus, roftro rvibro.   Stell..
were black, and others white; but none of them came fo near the
vefTel as to be exactly obferved.
The * kaiover, or kaior, a bird of this fpecies, is black,
with its bill and feet red; builds its nefl, which is very curious,
upon high rocks in the fea, and whistles very loud, for which
reafon the Cfcflacks call it ivofhik, or post-boy. I never faw this
bird. _$$
The fowl -(• urile, of which there is great plenty in Kamtfchatka, called,  by writers, fea ravens> is about the bignefs of a
common goofe, with a long neck and fmall head; the feathers
upon the whole body are of a bluifh black, except upon its thighs,
where they are white and in tufts; there are alfo fome long white
feathers like hairs, here and there upon its neck; it has a red
membrane or fkin round the eyes, a strait bill, black above and
reddifh below; and its feet are black and webbed : when it fwims
it holds up its head, but flying, it stretches it out like a crane ;
it flies fwift, but rifes heavily; and feeds upon fifh, which it
fwallows whole: in the night time, thefe fowls Stand in rows
upon the edges of the cliffs, from which in their fleep they frequently fall into the water; where they are caught by the ftone
foxes, who watch for them ; they breed in the month of July;
their eggs are green, about the bignefs of  a hen's egg,   and
feeing boiled thicken a little, but are  ill tatted; however the
Kamtfchadales climb the highest rocks in fearch of them, at the
hazard of their lives.    They catch them with nets, and in the
evening with noofes Jsntened to a long pole; and thefe creatures are fo void of apprehension, that,  though they fee the
jtext fowl to themfelves taken away, they will fit still and receive the  noofe,  'till they are all taken  off the cliff;   their
flefh is  hard  and   Sinewy ;.   but  the   natives   prepare   it   in
* Columba Groenlandica Batavorum.    Stell.
f Corvus aquatxcus maximus criftatus perioghtalnuis cinnabarinis, poftea can-
didis.    Stell
fuch V
1-58 T'he Natural History of
fuch a manner thaf|$as victuals are there, it is not bad; they
roaft it in holes dug in the earth, without plucking off the feathers, or taking out the entrails, and when roasted, they fkin
and eat it.
The natives fay-that thefe birds have no tongue; but this i£not
true, for they cry in the mornings and evenings : Mr. Steller
■compares their noife to the found of a trumpet.
Class II.    Of thofe Birds which haunt for the moft part about\
the frefh Water.
The first of this clafs is the fwan, which is fo common in
Kamtfchatka, both in fummer and winter, that the poorest perfon
can have no entertainment without a fwaa? | When they are
moulting they hunt them with dogs, and kill them with
clubs: in the winter they catch them in thofe rivers that do
ijot freeze.
Here are feven kinds of geefe, which are diftinguifhed thus:
large grey geefe, gumenniki, fhort necks, grey and fpeckled,
white necks, fmall white geefe, and foreign. They all come here
in the month of May, and depart in the month of October, as
Mr. Steller fays; who likewife writes, that they come; fjrom
America, and that he himfelf faw them, pafs Bering s ifland in
great flocks, flying eaft in the harvest and weft in the fpring.
In Kamtfchatka are principally found the large grey geefe, the
gumenniki, and the grey and fpeckled ; the fmall white goofe is
hardly ever found here. Again, in the North Sea, about Kolimi
and other rivers, are vaft numbers js£ them; and the best down
is brought to Jakutfki from thefe places. They catch them at
the time they cast their feathery in the following manner:—
They build huts with two doors, near thofe places where they
molt commonly fit at night. The fowler putting a white fhirt on,
above his cloaths, Steals as near the Stock as he can ;.and fhewing
himfelf he creeps away upon his hands and feet towards the
hut-: then going through it, and obferving that the geefe have
followed him, he fhu# the door behind him, and running round
he comes in at the other door^ which fhutting likewife, he en-
elofes all the geefe.
Mr. Stell§r obferved in the month of July upon Bering's
ifland an eighth kind of geefe, about the bignefs of the white
fpeckled Its back, neck, and belly were white; its wings
black ; its cheeks white, yet fomewhat greenifh; its eyes black,
with a yellow ring; the bill has a black stripe round it, and is
red, with a knob like the Chinefe or Mufcovy geefe : this knob is
bare and yellowifh, except that along it there is a fmall stripe of
Btuifh black feathers. The natives report that this fort of geefe
is likewife found upon the first Kurilfkoy ifland; however they
were never obferved upon the continent.
The people of Kamtfchatka have different methods of catching
geefe when they cast thek'feathers ; fometimes they purfue them-
in boats; fometimes they hunt them with dogs; but moft of
them are caught in pits, which they dig near thofe lakes where
the geefe haunt, and cover up carefully with grafs: thefe the
geefe coming upon the fhore fall into, and are caught.
There are eleven different fpecies of ducks in Kamtfchatka?,
namely, the felefni, fharp tails, tcherneti, plutonofi,. fvafi, krohali,.
lutki, gogoli, tchirki, turpani, and ftone ducks:. of which the
felefni/ tchirki, krohali, and gogoli, winter among the fprings;
all the reft come in the fpring, and fly away in harvest, as the
geefe do.
The fharp tails are of that kind which writers call the anas?
iaudacuta, five havelda iflandica. They haunt in the bays of
the fea, or about the mouths of great rivers: they fwim in
flocks, and with their cry, which is extraordinary, make no--
difagreeable mufick, Mr. Steller writes, that the larynx, or
lower part of their throat, has three openings, covered with
tm WTM
a 60
The  Natural   History  of
t>hin membranes.    The natives call this fowl aangitch, from their
manner of crying.
Thetfurpan is called by writers the black duck *. They are
not fo numerous about Kamtfchatka as at Ochotfka, where they
are caught in great plenty about the equinox. Fifty or more of
the natives here going out in boats furround a whole flock,
which in time of the flood they drive into the mouth of the river
Ochotfka; and fo foon as it begins to ebb, and the water in the
bay turns low, all the inhabitants fall upon them, and kill them
with clubs in fuch numbers, that every one gets 20 or 30 for his
The ftone ducks •f- have not hitherto been obferved in any
other place; they breed in the fummer time in the rivers. The
drakes are particularly beautiful, their head being like black
velvet, and having two white fpots upon their nofe, which
extend beyond the eyes, and end in a clay-coloured stripe behind
their head : there is a fmall white fpot near each ear; their bills
are broad and flat, like thofe of other ducks; they are of a bluifh
colour, and their necks of a bluifh black ; upon their breasts are
black feathers with a white border below ; the feathers are fmalier
and broader above ; the fore part of the back and belly are bluifh,
but more blackifh towards the tail; acrofs both wings are broad
white stripes with black borders; their fides, under the wings,
are of a clay colour; the large feathers of the wings, except fix,
bluifh; thefe are black and roughifh like velvet; the two last are
white with black borders, and the fecond row of the large wing
feathers are all black, the third grey, two only of thefe feathers
having white fpots upon their ends: their tails are fharp, and
their feet pale coloured: they weigh about two pounds. The
female is far from being fo beautiful: her feathers are black, each
* Anas niger.    Willoughby.
"f Anas pi&a capite pulchrfi fafcicato.   Steller.
being fomewhat yellowifh at the end, with a fmall white stripe;
the head is black, and upon its temples are fmall white fpots: it
weighs about a pound and a half.
jjgjfe'In the harvest the females are found in the rivers, but none of
the drakes: they are very stupid and easily caught where the waters are clear and fhallow, for they do not fly away at the fight of
a man, but only dive, and therefore may be eafily killed with
poles, as I myfelf have frequently done. Mr. Steller faw feveral
of this kind of ducks in the American iflands.
They catch the ducks with nets in the following manner:
in a wood that happens to Stand between two lakes, or between
a lake and a river, they cut a Strait paffage, through which the
ducks fly during the fummer; here in the harvest, when the
fifhery is over, the natives faften to long poles feveral nets, which
in the evenings they raife as high as the ducks are ufed to mount:
round the nets a string is drawn, by which they can reef them
together, as foon as they find the ducks entangled; but they
fometimes fly with fuch force and in fuch numbers, that they
break through. They likewife catch them in fmall rivers with
nets Stretched acrofs the stream : but this is a method not peculiar
to Kamtfchatka. $$&
To this clafs belongs likewife the gagari, or columbus, of
which there are four fpecies *, three of which are large, and
the other fmall: the first of the largest has a tail; the fecond
a clay coloured fpot upon its neck, a little above the crop : the
third is called by Wormius, the northern lumme ; and Marfilius
calls the fourth the little lumme. The natives pretend to fore-
tel the change of weather by their crying and flying; for they
think that the wind must always blow from that point towards
which they fly: however they are frequently deceived in their
judgment. &
• * x. Colymbus maximu5. Gesn. Stem.. 2. Colymbus arcticus lumme di&us.
Wo.r>i, 3, Colymbus macula fub mente cafranea, Steh. 4. Colymbus five
pedicipes cinereus.    Ejufdetn.
Y Here ffi
H. |||||H
The Natural History of
CHAP.    XI.
S Kamtfchatka abounds with lakes and marfhes, the fwarms
of infects in the fummer time would make life intolerable
there, if it were not for the frequent winds and rains. The
maggots are fo numerous as to occasion great destruction to their
provisions, particularly in the time of preparing their fifh, which
are fometimes entirely destroyed by them. In the months of
June, July, and Augufi, when the weather happens to be fine,
the mufketoes and fmall gnats are very troublefome; however
the inhabitants do not fuffer much from them, as they are at
that time, upon account of the fifhery, out at fea, where by reafon
of the cold and wind few of thefe infects are to be met with.
It is but lately that bugs appeared upon the river Awatfcha,
which were brought thither in chefts and cloaths: they are
not yet known in Kamtfhatka. Upon account of the wet
weather and Storms few of the butterfly kind are found here,
except in fome woods near the upper Kamtfchatkoi fort, where
they abound. It has been obferved that numbers of thefe infects
have fettled upon vefTels which were 30 verfts from the fhore:
it appears fomewhat extraordinary that they fhould be able to fly
to fuch a distance without resting; moft likely the Storms fb
frequent here might drive them out to fea, and by their violence
fupport them.
There are few Spiders in Kamtfchatka; fo that the women
who are fond of having children, and who have a notion that
thefe infects fwal lowed render them fruitful and their labour
eafy, have great trouble to find them.    Nothing plagues  the
natives in their huts fo much as the lice and fleas; the
women fuffer moft from the former, by wearing very long,
and fometimes falfe hair. Mr. Steller was told, that near the
fea is found an infect that refembles a loufe, which working
itfelf through the fkin into the flefh is never to be cured, unlets-
by cutting the creature intirely out; and that the fifhers are very
much afraid of them.
Iris remarkable that in Kamtfchatka there are neither frogs,
toads, nor ferpents. Lizards, indeed, are numerous enough, which
the natives look upon as Spies fent from the infernal powers for
information, and to foretel their death : therefore they are very
careful whenever they find them to cut them into fmall pieces,
that they may never carry back news to the power which fent
them j and if it happens that the animal efcapes alive, it throws
them into the greatest grief and despair, as they expect every
hour to die, which indeed fometimes happens from their own fear
and defpondency, and then ferves to confirm the superstition to
Of the TI D E S in the Penfchinfka Sea and Eafiern Ocean.
IT might perhaps appear fufficient to fay, that the tides are
agreeable in thefe feas to what are obferved in others; but
as  I made fome obfervations which appeared to me new,
I think it proper to communicate them.
It is a known rule in general, that the ebb and flood happen
twice in the natural day, and that the tides are highest about the
new and full moon : however, I do not recolledt that it hus been
obferved that the ebbs and floods are not equal here, or that they
do i66
The   Natural   History   of.
ali •'
do not happen at fixed times, but according to the age of the;
moon, as I obferved in the Penfchinfka fea; and if this general
opinion be true, that the ebbs and floods in other feas are equal,
and at fixed hours, then the Kamtfchatkoi fea refembles only the
White Sea, where I am told that there is one high fpring and ofiSi
low flood in the fame day. The last the natives call maniha;
therefore I thought it proper carefully to relate the difference of
the tides here, both with regard to the high water and the manifea *
for the better underftanding of which in the original is fubjoined
a long journal, which was kept for three months, and likewife
the journal of Captain Elagine, which was taken at the mouth of
the river Ochotfka, the Kurilfki iflands, and the haven of Petro-
paulaufkay; which we omit, as it would only be a ufelefs burthen
to the Englijh reader.
Now, in order to be the more intelligible, I must obferve, that
the fea water which flows into the bays does not always run in-
tirely back, but only according to the age of the moon ; fo that
fometimes in the time of ebb nothing remains but the water of
the river which is within its own banks, at other times thefe banks
are all overflowed with water. All the fea water runs out about
the full and new moon, when the flood follows immediately upon
the ebb, and it rifes near eight feet. The flood continues about
eight hours, and then it begins to ebb, which continues fix hours;
after which it flows again for three hours, the water not rising
quite a foot ; at last the ebb begins, which continues feven hours,
and all the fea water runs out In this manner are the floods and
ebbs regulated for three days after the full and new moon ; at the
end of which the time of the flowing and ebbing, and height of
the flood and ebb, is lefs, the maniha greater, the fea water which
was before faid to run all out now remains in fome part, and
as the moon approaches the quadratures, the large tides grow
lefs and the maniha greater; fo that after the ebb of the maniha
the greater quantity of water remains still in the bays, and at last,
4 at the quarter moons, what were the high tides change into the
maniha," and the maniha into them. I reckon the change of the
high tide into the maniha, and of the maniha into the high tide,
from the time when one tide begins at midday and the other at
midnight; or when it begins to flow or ebb at fix hours in the
morning and fix in the afternoon.
I fhall likewife communicate the methods that I followed
in my obfervations: In the mouth of a river I placed a stake,
divided into feet and inches of the Paris meafure; the lowest
mark was at the height of the river water in the time of the ebb
at the new and full moon. This Stake I fixed without great
trouble, j but am obliged to own that I was not able to afcertain
exactly the height of the water in the flood, becaufe it always
comes in Surges, which renders the stake wet fomewhat higher
than the true depth ; nor can I certainly determine whether the
water continues at the fame height, or not, for any certain
"^^T *^ *5&  OF      THE
NATIVES of Kamtfchatka.
PART      III.
CHAP.     I.
Of the  NATIVES of Kamtfchatka in general.
)9t*v*'3e£ H E  natives of Kamtfchatka are as wild as the coun-
<C    ^     3> try itfelf:  fome of them have no fixed habitations,
jfe & kut wander from place to place with their herds of
"***' rein-deer; others have fettled habitations, and reside
upon the banks of the rivers and the fhore of the Penfchinfka fea,
living upon fifh and fea animals, and fuch herbs as grow upon the
fhore. The former dwell in huts covered with deer-fkins, the
latter in places dug out of the earth ; both in a very barbarous
manner: their difpofitions and tempers are rough ; and they are
intirely ignorant of letters or religion.
Z The
3 ."        ','
1 1
1 1
I      h
1 f'»';'
jyrp Of   the      NATIVES      of
The natives are divided intothree different people; namely, the
Kamtfchadales, Koreki, and Kuriles. The Kamtfchadales live
upon the fouth fide of the promontory of Kamtfchatka, from the
mouth of the river Ukoi to the Kurilfkaya Lopatka, and upon the
first Kurilfkoy ifland Schujntfchu : the Koreki inhabit the northern
parts on the coaft of the Penfchinfka fea as far as the river
Nuktchan* and round the Eaftern Ocean almoft to Anadir : the
Kuriles inhabit the fecond Kuritfkof^n%no\, and the other iflands,
in that fea, reaching as far as thofe of Japan.
The Kamtfchadales rqay be derided into the northern and
fouthern ; the northern people, who live along the river Kamtfchatka on the coaft of the Eaftern Ocean as far as the mpwth of
the river Ukoi, and fouthward to the mouth of the river Nala-
cheva, may be esteemed the principal nation ; their manners being
more civilifed, and thejr language appearing every where to be
the fame; whereas the others fpeak differently on every ifland..
The fouthern nation live along the coaft of the Eaftern Ocean,
from the Nalacheva to the Kurilfkaya Lopatka, and thence along
the Penfchinfka fea northwards to the river Harioufkovoy.
The Koreki are commonly divided into two nations; one is
called the rein-deer Koreki, and the other the fixed Koreki.
The former wander with their herds from place to place; the
latter live near the rivers, like the Kamtfchadales. Their languages
are fo different that they do not underftand each other, particularly thofe that border upon the Kamtfchadales, from whom they
have borrowed much of their language.
Some likewife divide the Kuriles into two different nations or
tribes, calling one the diijtant and the other the nearer Kuriles.
By the distant they underftand the inhabitants of the fecond
Kurilfkoy ifland and the others that lie near Japan; by the neater
Kuriles, the inhabitants of Lopatka and of the first ifland. But
this division is not proper ; for though the inhabitants of the first
ifland and the Lopatka differ fomewhat from the Kamtfchadales
li  4
lifi K  A   M T  S   C   H   A  T  K   A,   3&.
both in their language and cuftoms, yet we haves r^fo*$fto believe
they are the' fame people^the difference only atifing from their
neighbourhood, and intermarriages wit&tthe true Kufiles.
The Kamtfchadales have this particular custom, that they endeavour to give every thing a name in their language which may
express the property of it; but if theydbn't underftand the thing
quite well themfelves, then they take a name ftom. fome foreign
language, which perhaps has no relation to the thing itfelf:
as, for example, they call a priest Bogbog, becaufe probably they
hear him ufe the word Bogbog, God ; bread they call Brightatin
Augfh, that is, Ruffian root; and thus of feveral ddher words to
which their language is a Stranger.
The names which the Ruffians give thefe different nations they'
did not take ftom the natives, b&t rather from thefe"'neighbours:
for example, the name of '-the Kamtfchadales was taken from the
Koreki, who call them Kontchat. The derivatfen of the name
Koreki is uncertain ; however Steller thinks that it probably came
from the word Kora, which in their language signifies a rein-deer;
and that the Ruffian Coflacks frequently hearing the word Kora,
or obferving that their whole riches consisted in rein-deer, gave
them the name of Koreki.
The inhabitants of Kamtfchatka have three languages, that
of the Kamtfchadales, the Koreki, and Kuriles; each of which is
divided into different dialects. The Kamtfchatka language has
three principal dialects: the first is ufed by the northern, the
fecond by the fouthern, which differ fo much that one may look
upon them as different languages; however they can underftand
one another without any interpreter: the third dialect, is that
which is fpoken by thofe who live upon the Penfchinfka fea,
between the rivers Vorovfkaya and Teghil, which is compofed of
both the above-mentioned dialects and fome words taken from
the Koreki.
7*2, TJie i72 Of    the    N   A   T   I   V   E   S     of
The language of the Koreki consists of two dialects; one of
which is fpoken by the rein-deer Koreki, and the other by the
fixed. We are not, indeed, certain what other dialects may be
amongst them, being well acquainted only with thofe who are
fubject to the Ruffians; but it is probable that thofe who are
fcattered among the iflands may have fome difference in their way
of fpeaking. • i *The Kamtfchatka language is fpoken half in the
throat and half >l$i the mouth : the pronunciation is flow and
difficult, and feems to indicate a timorous, flavifh, and deceitful
people ; as in fact they are.
The Koreki fpeak aloud, and in a fcreaming tone ; their
words are long, but their fentences fhort, and their words generally begin with two vowels, and end with one or two more;
as for example, uemkai, a rein-deer which has not been driven.
The Kuriles fpeak flow, distinctly, and agreeably : their words
are middling, the vowels and confonants being justly mixed : and
of all thefe wild people the Kuriles are the best, being honest, constant, civil, and hofpitable.
Seme ConjeMures concerning the Names of the Kamtfchadales, and
the other inhabitants of Kamtfchatka.
OME afTeft,  that the Kamtfchadales were fo named by
the Ruffians from the river Kamtfchatka, but it was called
fo before the Mffians had difcovered,   and had its name
ffem a chieftain, called Konchata,
We cannot find likewife why the Koreki call the Kamtfchadales, Kontchalo, nor can they give any reafons for it them-
felvei I The
The Kamtfchadales, befides the general name ltelmen, distinguish themfelves by adding the name of thet&ver, or remarkable
place where the j? live, as Kikjha-ai, an inhabitant upon the Great
River; Suatchu-ai, an inhabitant upon the river Awatfcha;
for the word ai being added to any river or remarkable situation,
denotes inhabitant of that place, as the word ltelmen is the general pame for inhabitant. Thofe who think Konchata to have
been a great captain, feem to have applied to him only all the
brave actions which ought to be attributed to the feveral*inhabitants upon the river Elouki, who are called Koatche-ai, or, in
the common way of fpeaking, Kontchat: befides, this being a received opinion, that the inhabitants of the river Elouki are the
bravest of all the Kamtfchadales, the Koreki, who are their
neighbours, might easily call the whole nation Kamtfchadales
from their name Koatche-ai ; and it is nothing extraordinary to
find the word Koatche-ai changed into Kontchala, and Kont-
cbala into Kamtfchadale, as we find feveral similar examples, not
only among thefe barbarous people, but the politest nations of
With regard to the place where the Kamtfchadales came
from, or at what time they first fettled here, we can have no
certain account; for all that can be obtained from thefe people
is only fabulous tradition ; and they pretend that they were
created upon this very fpot, and fay, their first ancestor was
Kuthu^vfho formerly lived in the heavens: however by their
manners, cuftoms, language, drefs, and other circumstances, it
would appear that the Kamtfchadales came over from Mun-
galia. Of the antiquity ofvthefe people Steller gives the following proofs: lfi, that they have loft every tradition of their
origin. 2d. That before the arrival the Ruffians, they knew
little of any other people, except the Koreki and Tchukotfkoi •
and it is but lately that they came to any knowledge of the Ku-.
rites and Japanefe, and this was owing to the arrival of the latter
among m
174        Of    the     "N   A   T   I   V   E   S     of
among them to -trade, from a Japanefe boat having been cast
away upon their coast, ^d. That thefe people;fare extremely
numerous notwithstanding fo many are destroyed every year by
wild beafts, &c. \th. From their great knowledge of the virtues and ufes of the natural produce of the country, which cannot be attained in a fhort time, not to mention that they 4iave
no more than four months in the year left for this enquiry, and
great part of thofe too they mutt employ in fifhing and making
provisions for winter. $th. Altadiek instruments and hou&iold
furniture are different from thofe of other nations, and thek/ne-
ceffities feem to have directed the invention of most of them*
6th. That their uncultivated State of nature and paiffions feem
to differ very little from that of the brute beafts, pleafores being their only purfuit, having no idea of futurity.
The following reafons incline us to think that they take
their origin from the Mungals, not from the Tartars who live
upon the river Amur, nor from the Kuriles or Japanefe ; for if.
they had Sprung from the Tartars it is probable they would
haye fettled about the river Lena, where the Jakutfki and Tun-
guffalWe at prefent, thefe places being formerly uninhabited,
and much more fruitful than Kamtfchatka; nor can we yass&i
gine that they were driven thence by  the Jakutfki; the difference of their manners, and make of their bodies from the
Kuriles is fuch that we cannot believe they sprung from thenr^
and that their origin fhould be Japanefe appears improbable, becaufe their fettlement mutt have been prior to the feparation of
the Japanefe from the empire of China;  and that they were
fettled there long before the Japanefe fixed in thefe iflands in
the fea of Kamtfchatka appears from their not knowing the ufe
of iron, or iron ore, though it is above two thoufand years Since
the Mungals made their arms and other instruments of iron, and
the other Tartars knives and daggers of copper; therefore it is
probable that the Kamtfchadales were driven hither by the tyranny
IK K A M  T   S C  H A  T   K  A,   &c.
3Ranny of th^Eaftern conquerors, as the Lopari, Ofliaks, and
Samojeds. were driven to the extremities of the North by the encroachments of other European nations. If Kamtfchatka had
not been inhabited before the Tungufi had got a fettlement, it is
probable they would have fixed here^ as being fafer from the
dangers of any fudden attacks of their enemies.
Th^ss it appears likely, that the Kamtfchadales lived formerly in Mungalia beyond the river Amur, and made one
people with the Mungals, which is farther confirmed by the following obfervations, fuch as the Kamtfchadales having feveral
words common to the Mungal Chinefe language, as their terminations in ong, ing, oang, chin, cha, ching,. kfi, kfung; it
would be Still a greater proof if we could fhow feveral words
and fentences the fam§,- in both languages: but not to insist only
upon the language, the Kamtfchadales and Mungals are both of
a fmall stature, are fwarthy, have black hair, a broad face, a
fharp nofe, with the eyes falling in, eyebrows fmall and thin, a
hanging belly, flender legs and arms; they are both remarkable
for cowardice, boasting, and flavifhnefs to people who ufe them,
hard, and for their obstinacy and contempt of thofe who treat
them with gentlenefs.
CHAP.     Ill
Of the ANCIENT STATE of the Natives of Kamtfchatka.
EFORE the Ruffian conquest they lived in perfect,
freedom, having no chief, being fubject to no law, nor
paying any taxes; the old men, or thofe who were remarkable for their bravery, bearing the principal authority in
their villages, though none ipad any right to command or inflict
punifhment.. i76 Of    the     NATIVES     of
punifhment. Although in outward appearance they refemble the
other inhabitants of Siberia, yet the Kamtfchadales differ in this,
that their faces are not fo long as the other Siberians', their cheeks
Stand more out, their teeth are thick, their mouth large, their
Stature middling, and their fhoulders broad, particularly thofe
people who inhabit the fea coaft.
Their manner of living is flovenly to the last degree; they never
wafh their hands nor face, nor cut their nails; they eat out of the
fame difh with the dogs, which^they never wafh; every thing
about them stinks of fifh; they never comb their heads, but both
men and women plait their hair in two locks, binding the ends
with fmall ropes: when any hair starts out, they fow it with
threads to make it lie clofe; by this means they have fuch a
quantity of lice that they can fcrape them off by handfuls, and
they are natty enough even to eat them. Thofe that have not
natural hair fufficient wear falfe locks, fometimes as much as
weigh ten pounds, which makes their heads look like a haycock.
They have extraordinary notions of God, of fins, and good
actions. Their chief happinefs consists in idlenefs and fatisfying
their natural lusts and appetites; thefe incline them to Singing,
dancing, and relating of love Stories Their greatest unhappinefs
or trouble is the want of thefe amufements: they fhun this by all
methods, even at the hazard of their lives, for they think it more
eligible to die than to lead a life that is difagreeable to
them; which opinion frequently leads them to felf-murd.
This was fo common after the conquest, that the Ruffians had
great difficulty to put a stop to it. They are chiefly employed
in providing what is abfolutely neceffary for the prefent, and take
no care for the future. They have no notion of riches, fame, or
honour; therefore covetoufnefs, ambitiqn, and pride, are unknown
among them. On the other hand, they are carelefs, lustful, and
cruel: thefe vices occasion frequent quarrels and wars among them
fometimes K A  M  T?S  C   H   A T   K  A,
fometimes With their neighbours, not from a defire of increasing
their power, but from fome other caufes; fuch as the carrying
off their provisions, or rather their girls, which is frequently
practifed as the most fummary method of procuring a wife.
Their trade is likewife not fo much calculated for the acquisition
of riches as for procuring the neceffaries and conveniencies of life.
They. #11 the Koreki fables, fox and white dog fkins, dried
mufhroons, or fuch trifles; and receive in exchange cloaths made
of deer-fkins and other hides: among themfelves they exchange
what they abound with for what they want, as dogs, boats, difhe^,
troughs, nets, hemp, yarn, and provisions. This kind of barter
is carried on under a great fhew of friendfhip; for when one
wants any thing that another has, he goes freely to visit him, and
without any ceremony makes known his wants, although perhaps he
never had any acquaintance with that perfon before : the landlord
is obliged to behave according to the custom of the country ;
and bringing whatever his guest has occasion for, gives it him.
He afterwards returns the visit, and mutt be received in the fame
manner; fo that both parties have their wants fupplied.
Their manners are quite rude : they never ufe any civil expression or falutation ; never take off their caps, nor bow to one
another ; and their difcourfe is Stupid, and betrays the most con-
fummate ignorance; and yet they are in fome degree curious, and
inquisitive upon many occasions.
They have filled almoft every place in heaven and earth with
different fpirits, which they both worfhip and fear more than
God: they offer them facrifices upon every occasion, and fome
carry little idols about them, or have them placed in their
dwellings; but, with regard to God, they not only neglect to
worfhip him ; but, in cafe of troubles and misfortunes, they
curfe  and  blafpheme him. -
They keep no account of their age, though they can count as
far as one hundred;  but this is  fo troublefome to them that
A a without 378 Of    the    N   A   f   I   V   E   S    of
without their fingers they do not tell three. It is very diverting
to fee them reckon more than ten; for having reckoned the fingers
of both hands they clasp them together, which signifies ten; then
they begin with their toes, a$d count to twenty; after which
^hey are quite confounded, and cry, Matcha I that is, Where fhall
I take more. They reckon ten months jia the yea#, fome of w&ich
are longer and fome fhorter; for they do noj^divide them by the
changes of the moon, but by the order of particular occurrences
that happen in thofe regions, as may be feen in the folfovfcing
j ft.  Purifier of fins; for 4n this month they have a holiday
j$r the purification of all their fins.
2d. breaker of hatchets, from l|he great. §*Qft.
3d.  Beginning of heat.
4th. Time of the long day.
^th. Preparing month. \
6th. Red fifh month. fvjfe
7th.  White fifh moniifcr
8th.  Kaiko fifh month.
9th. Great white fifh month.
1 oth. Leaf falling month.
This last month continues to the month of November, or that
of the purification, and it is the length of almoft three months \
however, thefe names of the months ape not the iame cverv
where, but are onlsp proper to the inhabitants upon the river
KamtJ&katka 1 the inhabitants of the notthern parts giw them
different names, fuch as,
ift. The month of the river$? freezings
2d.  H#ttf?fi|g rnontkfeji
I   3d.  Purifier of fins.
4th.  Breaker of hatchets, from the great froftMg|4
5th.  Time of the long day,
4ihi §ea beavers' puppying fee      »
7 th.. Sea K  A M   T  S C H   A T   K A.   gfr.
* 79
'  7th. Sea calves* puppying time. f$ >
8th.  Time when the tame deer bakig forth their young.
9th.  When the wild deer bring forth.
iot% Beginning of the fifhery.
The# divifion of time is pretty Singular ; they commonly
divide our-year into two, fo that winler is one year, and fummer
another: the fummer year begins in May, and tjhe winter in
They do not^diftinguiih the days by any |J2E8tfcti>lar appeifHiteo^
nor forrii them into weeks or months, nor yet know how many
days are in the month or year. They mark their epochs by fome
remarkable thing or other, fuch as the arrival of the Ruffians,
the great rebellion, or the first expedition &> Kamtfchatka. They
have no writings, nor hieroglyphick figures, topreferve the KiiP
mbt^r of any thing; fo that all their knowledge depends upon
tradition, which foon becomes uncertain and fabulous in regard to
what is long past.
They are ignorant of the caufes of eclipfes, but when they
happen, they carry fire out of their huts, and pray the luminary
eclipfed to fhine as formerly. They know only three constellations ; the Great Bear, the Pleiades, and the three ftars in
Orion; and give names only to the principal winds.
Their laws in general tend to give Satisfaction to the injured
perfon. If any one kills another, he is to be killed by the relations of the perfon flain. They burn the hands of people
who have been frequently caught in theft, but for the first
offence the thief mutt restore what he hath Stolen, and
live alone in folitude, without expecting any assistance from
others. They think they can punifh an undifcovered theft
by burning the Smews of the ftone-buck in a publick meeting
with great ceremonies of conjuration, believing that as thefe
finews are contracted by the fire fo the thief will  have all
A a 2 his *m
Of    the    NATIVES     of
his limbs contracted. They never have any difputes about their
land or their huts, every one having land and water more than
fufficient for his wants.
Although their manner of living be moft natty, and their
actions moft Stupid, yet they think themfelves the happiest
people in the world, and look upon the Ruffians who are fettled among them with contempt : however this notion begins
to change at prefent; for the old people who ate confirmed in
their customs, drop off, and the young ones being converted to the
Christian religion, adopt the customs of the Ruffians, and defpife
the barbarity and Superstition of their ancestors.
In every Ofirog, or large village, by order of her Imperial
Majefty, is appointed a chief who is fole judge in all caufes, except thofe of life and death ; and not only thefe chiefs, but even
the common people, have their chapels for publick worfhip.
Schools are alfo erected in almoft every village to which the
Kamtfchadales fend their children with great pleafure: by this
means it is to be hoped, that their barbarity will be in a.fhort..
time rooted out,   * *
, I ■.■■;!■
CHAP.   1 K  A  M T  S  C  H  A   T  K  A,   &c.      1S1
Of the O S T R O G S,   or  HABITATIONS,   of the:
UNDER the name of Oflrog  we underftand every habitation confuting of one or more huts, which are all
furrounded by an earthen wall or pallifadoe.
The huts are   built in the  following manner: they dig a
hole in the earth about five feet deep, the breadth and length of
which is proportioned to the number of people designed to live
in it.    In the middle of this hole they plant four thick wooden
pillars ; over thefe they lay balks, upon which they form their
roof or cieling,  leaving in the middle a fquare opening which
ferves them for a window and chimney; this they cover with
grafs and earth, fo that the outward appearance is like around
hillock ; but within they  are of an oblong fquare, and the fireplace is in one of the long fides of the fquare: between the
pillars round the walls of their huts they make benches, upon
which each family lies feparately; but on that fide opposite to
the fire, there are no benches, it being designed for their kitchen
furniture, in which they drefs their victuals for themfelves and
dogs.    In thefe huts where there are no benches,  there are balks
laid upon the floor, and covered with mats.    They adorn the.
walls of their huts with mats made of grafs.
'|pThey enter their huts by ladders commonly placed near the
fire hearth, fo that when they are heating their huts the Steps
of the ladder become fo hot, and the. fmoke fo thick, as almost
"-'^ to.
w llSM
a'8a        Qf    the    N   A,   T   I   V   E   S    of
to fuifqcate any one who is not inured to bear it :  but the
natives find no difficulty in going out or in;  and though they
can only fix their toes on the steps of the ladder, they mount
like fquirrels; nor do the women hefijsate to go through this
fmoke with their children upon their fhoulders;  though there is
another opening through which the women are allowed to pafs;
but if any man fhould pretend to do the fame he would be
laughed at.    The Kamtfchadales live in thefe huts all the winter,
after which they go out into others which they call balagans:
thefe ferve them not only to live in diaring the fummer, but
alfo for magazines.    They are made in the following manner:
Nine pillars, about two fathom long or moire, are fixed in the
ground, and bound  together with balks laid over them, \*hlch
they cover with rods* and over all lay grafs, fateung:%afls-tan4
a round fharp roof at top^ whishithfiy caver with bramble, and
thatch with grafs.   They fasten the tower ends of the fpars to
the balks, with ropes and thongs, and have a dooc on each fids
one directly oppofite to .the otheff.
They have fuch balagans, not only round their winter habka*
taions, but alfo in thofe places where- they lay up thsir food in
fommer; and they are certainly very cxMavenient in this coumflry
on account of the frequent rainsy which would: surely Spoil) afj
their fijh if it was not pueferved. in fuch places; besides^: swlaen
they return from fiUfoing and hunting in the harvest, they leave
their dry fifh here, 'till they can fetch it in the winter; and
this without any guard only taking away the ladders.    If thefe
buildings were not fo high the wild beafts would undoubtedly
plunder them; for notwithftandingaH their precaution, the bears
fometimes climb up and force their way into their magazines',
efpecially in the harvest when the fifh and berries begin to grow
fcarce.   In the fummer, when they go a hunting, they havej
befides their balagans, huts made of grafs, in. wHchl bhey> drefs
their    KAMTSCHATKA,   &c.
their victuals and clean their fifh in bad weather; and the Cof-
facks boil their fait from fea water in them. The villages, which
are well inhabited, having their common huts furrounded with
thefe balagans, make a very agreeable appearance at a distance.
The fouthern Kamtfchadales commonly build their villages;
in thick woods, and other places which are naturally strong, not
lefs than twenty verfts from the fea ; and their fummer habitations are near the mouths of their rivers; but thofe who live
upon the Penfchinfka fea. and the Eaftern Ocean build their villages very near the fhore.
* They look upon that river near which their village is situated,
as the inheritance of their tribe; and if one or two families at
any time desire to live feparate from their native village, they
build themfelves huts upon the fame river, or fome branch that
lalls into it; from which it is natural to imagine, that the inhabitants of every village have originally fprung from the fame,
father; and the Kamtfchadales themfelves fay, that Kut, whom
they fometimes call God, and fometimes their fir ft father, lived
two years upon each river, and left the children that river, on
which they were born, for their proper inheritance; and though,
formerly the Kamtfchadales ufed only to hunt and fifh upon their
own rivers, they now wander above 200 verfts to kill the
fea. ajamak upon the Awatfeba,_ or the Kurilfkaya Lopatka.
CHAP. 1I04
>®f    "the    NATIVES    of
C H A P.     V.
Of their HOUSHOLD FURNITURE,   and  other
necejfary Utenfils.
L L the Kamtfchatka houfhold furniture confifts in difhes,
bowls, troughs, and cans made of birch bark. As thefe
people have not the ufe of metals, we think it is proper
to explain, how without the ufe of instruments of iron, they are
able to perform their houfhold work, fuch as building, fawing,
making of fire, dreffing their victuals; being all the while fo
ignorant that they can fcarcely count ten. How powerfully
does necessity work upon the moft infenfible minds!
Before the arrival of the Ruffians the Kamtfchadales ufed ftones
and bones instead of metals, out of which they made hatchets,
fpears, arrows, needles, and lances.    Their hatchets were made of
the bones of whales and rein-deer, and fometimes of agate or flint
ftones.    They were fhaped in form of a wedge, and fattened to
crooked handles.    With thefe they hollowed out their canoes,
bowls, and troughs; but with fo much expence of trouble and
time, that a canoe would be three years in making, and a large
bowl one year.    For this reafon, a large canoe or trough was in
as great esteem among them as a vefTel of the  moft precious
metal and finest workmanfhip is with us; and the village which
was in pofieffion of fuch valued themfelves extremely upon it,
efpecially if they were matters of a bowl which would ferve for
more than one guest.    Thefe bowls they drefs their victuals in,
and heat their broth by throwing red-hot Stones into it.
Their knives were made of a greenifh mountain chryftal,
iharp-pointed, and fhaped like a lancet, which was Stuck into
a   AM T S C  H A T K A,   &c.
a wooden handle. .Of fuch ehryftals were made likewife their
arrows, fpears, and jauncets, with which they continue ltill to
'kt blootl.. Their fewing needles they made of the bones of fables,
with which they not only fewed their cloaths together, but made
nHb.'yeyy cu^|0^6 embroidery."  M?^^
ola' order to kindle fire they have a board of dry wood with
round holes in the fides of it, and a fmall round stick ; this they
$bb in a hole 'taffi it takes fire, and instead of tinder they ufe
dry grafs beat foft. Thefe instruments are held in fuch efteem
by the Kamtfchadales that they are never without them, and they
vsllijsrthemt more than our Steels and flints: but they are excef-
fively fond of other iron instruments, fueh as hatchets, knives,1
or needles; nay, at the firft arrival of die Ruffians a piece of
broken iron was looked upon as a great prcfent; and even yet
they receive it with thank&lnefs, knowing how to make ufe of
theleaft fragment either to point their arrows or make darts,
whiehsiithey do by hammering it out cold between two
ftones. All the favage inhabitants of thefe parts are par-;
^ficularly fond of iron, and know how to manage it very,
l«|jtotfly. As fome of them delight in war, the Ruffifan
merchants are forbid to fell them any warlike instruments; but
they are ingenious enough to makeipears and arrows out of the
iron pots'and kettles which they buy; and ilieyare fo dextrous
when the eye of a needle breaks, as to makfl^a new eye, which
thej&lyill repeat until nothing remains but the point. Even at the
time when I was there it was only the better fort and thofe that
lived near .to the Ruffians that made ufe of iron or copper veflels,
f^j'eihftill preferring their wooden difhes. fP|
It Js^faid, that the Kamtfchadales knew the ufe of if$n even
before the. ar^al of the Ruffians; that they received it from the
Japan$, who came to the Kurilfki iflands, and once to the
Igouth of the river Kamtfchatka ; and that the name which the
Kamtfchadales give the Japanefe of Shijmdn comes from fiifh,
Bb a
^^ 1
Of     the    NATIVES     of
a needle. The Japanefe certainly ufed to come and trade to
the -Kurilfki iflands, for I found there a Japanefe fabre, a
japanned waiter, and filver ear-rings, which could be brought
from no other place.
Of all the curiofitieS mad* by thefe wild people withMtheir Stone
knives and hatchets, nothing furprifed me fo much as a chain of
whales' bones, found in an empty hut near the Tchukotfkoi Nofs,
made of different links as fmooth as if they had been turned,
about a foot and a half long, and formed out of one tooth); It ib
very extraordinary that any of thefe wild people fhould witii
nothing but ftone instruments have beentocapable of making fo
curious a piece of workmanfhip, which was worttsjfeif the best
They have two methods of making thfeir boats; onestfort of
which is called koaihtahta, and the other tahta.    The former do
not differ from our fifhermens' boats, except that, the prow and
Stern are. higher, and the fides lower.    The tahta has the prow
and stern of an equal height; the middle is not bent out, but
rather falls in, which makes it very inconvenient, efpecially when
there is any wind, as being very foon filled with water.    They
ufe the koaihtahta only  upon the river Kamtfchatka, but the
tahta in moft other places.    When any planks are fewed upon
the tahta they are called baidars,   which are ufed by  the inhabitants upon the B&brovoi or  Beaver fea in purfoing the  fea
animals.    They fplit thefe baidars, and fewingthem with whales'
beards caulk them with mofs or nettles beat foft.    The Kuriles of
the iflands and tfeofe that live upon the Lopatka buiM the baidars
with a keel, to which they few planks \$ith whales' beard, and
caulk them with mofs.    In Kamtfchatka they make their boats
of poplar wood only; but the Kuriles, having no proper wood of
their own, are obliged to make ufe of what is thrown on fhore by
t&e fea, and which is fuppofed to come from the coaft of Japan,
Arnica, or China.    The northern inhabitants of Kamtfchatka,
the KAMTSCHATKA,    &c. 187
the fettled KoreM'md Tchukotfkoi, for want of proper timber and
plank, make their baidars of the lk^$fof fea agimals.
Thefe boats hold two perfons, one of which fits in t^e prow
and the other in the stern. They pufh them againft the stream
with poles, which is attended with great trouble: when the
current is ftrong they can fcarcely advance two feefetln ten
minutes; notwithstanding which, ^fthey will carry thefe boats
full loaded fometimes 20 verfts, and, when the stream is not
very ftrong, even 30 or 40 verfts.
In theilarger boats they can carry 30 or 40 pood ; and when
the goods are not very heavy^hey lay them upon a float or biidge
made between two boats joined together. They ufe tbUs method
in tranfporting their provifions down with the ftream, and alfo to
and from the iflands.
C H AiPe
Of the LABOUR appropriated to the Different Sexes%
N the fummer time the men are employed in catching, drying,
and tranfporting fifh to fheir habitations; in preparing
bones and four fifh to feed their dogs : the women, |a
cleaning the fifh, and ff>reading it out to dry ; and fomjjimqs^iey
go a fifhing with their hufbands. After thei^fj&Jng is over, they
gather in/the herbs, roots, and berries, both forifood and me-
dicine. $|ft
In the harvest th# men catch thMifh that appear at that time,
and kill fowl, fuch as geefe, ducks, fwans, and the like; they
teach their dogs to draw carriages, and prepare wood for their
B b 2 fledges, 188
Of     the    NAT   I   IV   E' -$|  of
fledges, and other ufes&«2Che women at this time are bnfy witfe
their hemp of nettle®,; in pulling it up, watering, breakings peel?*
Hig, and laying -Ut up in their balagans.
ft' The men in the winter feint for fables and foxes, wgayg fifhing
netsf make fledges; fetch wood, and bring their provisions from
feveral places, which they had prepared in the fummer, and coujft
not bring home in the harvest. The women are principally employed in fpinning thread for nets. &&
In the fpring, when the rivers begiaNto thaw, the fifh that w!%j
tered in them go towards the fea; and the men are busied, in
catching them or the fea animals that at this time frequent tries
bays. The people upon the Eaftern Ocean catch the fea beave%
All the women go into the fields, where they gather wild garlick,
and other young tender herbs, which they ufe not only in a fear-
pfcy of other provision, which often happens at this feafon of the
year, but likewise out of luxury; for fo fond are they ojf every
thing that is green, that during the wholehfpring they are feldom
without having fome of it in their mouths; and though they
always bring home a great bundle of greens, they feldom last them
above a day.
Befides the above-mentioned employments the men are obliged
to buMc&their huts and balagans, to heat their huts, drefs victuals^
feed their dogs, flea the animals, whofe fkins are ufed in cloathi*
ing, and provide all houfhold and warlike instrument^ the women are here th£ only taylors and fhoemakei^ for they; dreft
the fkiiis, make the cloaths, fhoes, and Stockings: it is even
a difgrace for the men to do any thing of that fort; fo that the^-
looked%pon the Ruffians who came here firft in a very ridiculous
light, whelf they faw tfe&m ufe either their needle or awl. The
women are likewife employedfin dying; ffeans, in conjuration, and
curing of the fic$u®»Their method of preparing and dying fkins,
fewing and joim&g them, is>M& follows r every fkin whifcfelj^ey
ufe K A M T S  C H A T K A,    &c. 189
ufe for cloaths, fuch as deer-(kins* feals, dogsj and beaverf^they
prepare one way: in the first place, wetfing and fpreading it out,
they fcrape off all the pieces of fat or veins,that remained aitje©
fleaing it, with ftones fixed in pieces of wood; then rubbarig it
over with frefh or four caviar, they roll it up and ttfead it with
their feet 'till the hide begins to ftink ; they again fcrape and
clean it, and continue this 'till the fkin is foft and clean. Such
fkins as they want to prepare wafeout the hair they ufe at faQ
in the fame manner as above; then-Jiang them in the fmoke for
a week, and afterwards foak them iaLwarm water to make the
hair fall off; at last rubbing them with caviar, by frequent
treading'and fcfaping them with stones, <they make them clean
and foft.
They dye the deer and dog fkins, which they ufe for cloathing,
wkh alder bark cut and rubbed very fmajfe; but the feal-flq&sj
whiCfe^they Ufe either for cloathing, fhoes, or-(traps for binding
their fledges, they dye in a .partidalar manner : having firft cleaned off djeiiairJthey make a bag of the fkin, and turning the hair
fide outward they pour into it a ftrong decoction of alder bark,;
after it has lain thus fometime, they hang it upon a tree, and beat
it with a ftick. This operation they repeat 'trll the colour4&gone
quite through the fkiit^then they rif*i|opeFfc and itre#hing>jijt out;
dry it in theuair; at last they rub it till it becomes foft and fit
for ufe. Such fkins are not unlike drefled goat-fkjjjsjtqjjowever,
JgteBetzfays that the Lamufhki have yet a better way of preparjgg
them. Thefe fkinsjfliey call mandari, and they are w^cth three
{hillings a-pies*. The hair 3f the foal^ withwhicjj, the^orna-
menfct&etr cloaths and fhoes, is dyed with the jgice of the red
wortleberry boiled with alder bark, alum, an& \q% lunas; w^|i
makes a very b&ight colour. They ufed to few their cloaks and
fhoes w$fo needles made of bone, and instead of thread tfcey made
M&of;dfe& fibres ofcifce deefi^vhi^ they fplit to the fize or
thicknefs required.
They tgo
Of    the     N    A
I   V   E    S     of
They make glue of the dried fkins of fifties, and particularly
of the whale-fkin.    A piece of this they wrap up in birch bark$
and laying it for a little while in warm afhes they^take it out ;
and it is then fit for ufe, and to me feems as good as the beft
Taick glue.
CHAP.     VII.
Of their D R E-^S  S.
HEIR cloaths, for the moft part, are made of the fkins
of deer, dogs, feveral .-<fea and land animals, and even of
the fkins of birds, frequently joining thofe of liferent
animals in the fame garment. i*HThey make the upper garment in two fafhions; fometimes cutting the fl&rts all of an
equal length; and fometimes leaving them long behind in forml^f
a train. They are made, of deer-fkins, with wide fleeves of a
length to come down below the knee: there is a hood or caul
behind, which in bad weather they put over their heads below
their caps: the opening above is only large enough to let their
head pafs: they few the fkins of dog's feet round this opening,
with which they cover their faces *4i££old ftormy weather, and
round their Skirts and fleeves they put a border of white dog-
fkin : upon their backs they few the fmall fhreds of fkins or silk
of different colours. They commonly wear two coats; the under coat with the hair-fide inwards, the other fide being dyed
*With alder; and the upper with the hair outwards. For the
upper garment they choofe' blaeK, white, or fpeckled fkins, the
hair of which is moft esteemed for the beauty of its colours^
Men and women, without dMftnction, ufe the above-mentioned
garments, their drefs only differing in their under cloathing, and in
the I A'. M  T S  C   H  A T K A,    fiffe
the covering of their feet ana iegs. The women nave an^nQef-"
garment which they commonly wear aflNhome in the houfe, consisting of breeches and waiftcoat fewed together. The breeches
are wide, like thofe of the Dutch fkippers, and tie below the knee •
the waiftcoat is wide above, and drawn round with a string
The fummer habits are made of dreffed fkins without hai
r -,  tneir
winter garment is made of deer or Stone-ram fkins with the
hair on. The undrefs or houfhold habit of the men is a girdle
of leather, with a bag before, and likewife a leathern apron to.
cover them behind : thefe girdles are fewed with hair of different
colours. The Kamtfchadales ufed formerfy to go'i'ir hunting and
fifhing during the fummer in this drefs; but now this fafhion is
changed, and below their girdles they wear linen fhirts, which
they buy from the Ruffians.
The covering of their feet and legs is made of fkins of different
forts ; in'ffie fummer time during the rains, they wear the fkins
of feals with the hair outwards; but their moft common covering
is the fkin of the legs of the rein-deer, and fometimes of
the legs of other beafts, the fhaggieft they can find, to preferve
them against the cold. But the finest bufkins, which both the
Cofiacks and Kamtfchadales ufe in their greatest drefs, are made.
in the following manner : the fole is of white feal-fkin, the upper
part of fine dyed leather,*»the hind quarters of white dog-skin ;
what comes round the legs is of dreffed leather or dyed feal-
skins: the upper parts are embroidered, Thefe buskins are fo
extraordinary, that if a batchelor is obferved to wear them he is
(immediately concluded to be upon a fcheme of courtfhip.
They wear the fame fort of caps as she people of Jakutfki.
In the fummer they have a fort of hats of birch bark tied about
their head : the Kuriles ufe in the fummer time caps made of
platted grafs. The women's head-drefs is the perukes that we
formerly mentioned; and thefe were fo dear to them, that when
36 they,- 1*2        Of    the    NATIVES    of
they came to be Christians they were with difficulty prevailed
upon to quit this drefs for one more decent: however, at prefent
round the Rufs fettlements all is intirely changed, the women
wearing fhirts, ruffles, waist coats, caps and ribbands; which
changi^obody now complains of, except the very old people.
The women do ali their work in mittins: they formerly never
wafhed their faces, but now they ufe both white and red paint;
for white paint they make ufe of a rotten wood, and for red a fea
plaryt*, which they boil in feals' fat, and rubbing their cheeks
with it make them^very red. They drefs most in the winter
time, efpecially when they either receive or pay visits.
The common cloaths for a Kamtfchadale and his family will
not coft him lefs than an hundred rubles, for the coarfeft worsted
Stockings, which coft in Rufijia 20 kopeeks, cannot be bought here
for lefs than a ruble ; and all other things are fold in the fame
proportion. The Kuriles are more able to buy good cloaths than
the Kamtfchadales, for they can purchafe for one fea beaver as
fnucn as the Kamtfchadales can for twenty foxes, and one beaver
costs the Kuriles no more trouble than five foxes do the Kami,
chadales ; for he must be a good hunter who catches more than
ten foxes in the winter, and a Kurili thinks himfelf unlucky if he
doth not catch three beavers in the feafon; befides which great
"lumbers are thrown upon the fhore by Storms.
* Fucus tnarinus abietis forma.   Pinus maritima, feu fucus teres.   Dood. Append. 336. Ray Linn.
CHAP. K   A   M   T   S   CHAT   K*  A.
Of their DIET and LIQJJORS,   together with  their
Method c/COOKING.
00u mmm ■■ -^w%«
HAVING already mentioned that the food of the
Kamtfchadales consists in roots, fifh, and fea animals,
which are all defcribed in the fecond part of this
book* we fhall now relate their method of dressing them.
And first, we wHl begin with the fifh, which they ufe instead
of bread. The principal food, called yokola, is prepared from
every fort of fifh, and ferves them for houfhold bread. They
divide their fifH into fix parts; the fides and tail are hung up to
dry; the back and thinner part of the belly are prepared apart,
and generally dried over the fire; the head is laid to four in pits,
and then they eat it like fait fifh, and esteem it much, though
the stink is fuch that a stranger cannot bear it; the ribs and the
flefh which remain upon them they hang up and dry, and afterwards pound them for ufe; the larger bones they likewife dry
for food for their dogs: in this manner all tnefe different people
prepare the yokola, and thev eat it for the moft part dry.
Their fecond favourite food is caviar, or the roes of fifl^
which they prepare in three different ways: they dry the roe
whole in the air, or take it out of the skin which envelopes it,
and, threading it upon a bed of grafs, dry it before the fire;
or lastly, make rolls of it with the leaves of grafs, which they
alfo dry. They never take a journey or go a hunting without
dry caviar; and if a Kamtfchadale has a pound of this, he can
fubfift without any other provision a great while; for every
birch and alder tree furnifhes him with bark, which, with his
C c dried I
294 Of    the      NATIVES      of
dried caviar, makes him an agreeable meal; but they cannot
eat either feparately, for the caviar Sticks like glue to the teeth,
and the bark, although it fhould be chewed ever fo long by itfelf,
they are hardly ever able to fwallow down alone. There is Still
a fourth method which both the Kamtfchadales and Koreki ufe
in preparing their caviar; having, covered the bottom of a pit
with grafs, they throw the frefh caviar into it, and leave it
there to grow four: the Koreki tie their's in bags and leave it.
to four; tijiis is esteemed tfoeir moft delicate difh.
There is a third fort of diet, called by the Kamtfchadales
tchupriki, which is prepared in this manner : in theirYihuts over
the fire-place th©y make a bridge of Stakes, u^on which iSiey
lay a heap of fifh, which remains there 'till the hut becomes
as Warm as a bagnio; if there was no great thicknefs of fifh
one fire would ferve to drefs it; but fometimes they are
obliged to make two, three, or more fires. Fifh drefTed in
this manner is half roafted, half fmoaked, and has a very agreeable tafte, and may be reckoned the best of all the Kamtfchatka
cookery; for the whole juice and fat is prepared with a gradual
heat, and kept in by the skin, in which it lies as in a bag, and
when ready may be easily feparated from the fifh; as foon as
tB'fS thus dreffed, they take out the guts, and fpread the body
upon a mat to dry; this^they afterwards break fmall and
put into bags, carrying it along with them for provision ; and
when dried eat it like the yokola.
The Kamtfchadales have a dim, which they efteem very
much, called huigul: it is fifh laid to grow four in pits; and
though the fmell of it is intollerable, yet the Kamtfchadales
efteem it a perfume. This fifh fometimes rots fo much in
the pits that they cannot take it out without ladles; however
in that cafe they ufe it for feeding their dogs.
Mr. Steller fays, that the fummer Samojeds likewife four their
fifh; but  that   the   earth   being   frozen  preferves   it   much
better; K  A   M T  S   C   H
T  K   A,   Be.
better; the Jakutfki alfo dig deep pits, in which thev lay their
fifh, fprinkling it with wood afhes, and cover it with leaves at
top, and over all put a layer of earth : this method is better
than any of the former. The Tungufi and CofTacks of Ochotfka
preferve their fifh in the fame manner, with this difference only,
that instead of wood afhes, they ufe the afhes of burnt fea weed.
They boil their frefh fifh in troughs, take it out with boards,
and letting it cool,  eat it with a foup made of the fweet grafs.
As for the flefh of land and fea animals, they boil it in their
troughs, with feveral different herbs and roots; the broth they
drink out of ladles and bowls, and the meat they take out upon
boards, and eat in their hands. The whale and fea horfe fat
they alfo boil with roots.
There is a principal difh at all their feasts and entertainments,
called felaga, which they make by poinding all forts of different roots and berries, with the addition of caviar, and whale
and feals' fat.
, .Before the conquest they feldom ufed any thing for drink
but water: but when they made merry they drank water
which had Stood fome time upon mufhroons •, but of this hereafter. At prefent they drink fpirits as fast as the Ruffians:
after dinner they drink water; and every one, when he goes to
bed at night, fets a vefTel of water by him, to which he pujtg
fnow or ice to keep it cold; and always drinks it up before
morning. In the winter time they amufe themfelves frequently by throwing handfuls of fnow into their mouths; and
the bridegrooms who work with the fathers of their future brides
find it their hardest task to provide fnow for their family in the
fummer time, for they must bring it from the highest hills be the
weather what it will, otherwife they would fo difoblige as never
to be forgiven.
Cc   2
CHAP. |$o        Of    ^NATIVES     of
CHAP.    IX.
The Method of TRAVELLING with DOGS,  and the
Furniture necejfary thereto.
H E Dogs of Kamtfchatka differ very little from the
common houfe dogs: they are of a middling size, of
various colours, though there feem to be more white,
black, and grey, than of any other. In travelling they make
ufe of thofe that are gelded, and generally yoke four to a
The alaki is made of broad double foft straps, which are put
over the dogs' ihoulders, the near Hog having it over his left,
and the off dog over his right. At the end of thefe alaki's is .a
fmall thong, with a hook at the end of it, which is fattened to
a ring in the fore part of the fledge.
The pobeffinick is a long strap, and ferves inftead' of a coach
pole. It paffes through a ring, which is in the middle of the
fore part of the fledge ; and to it is fattened a chairs that keeps
the dogs together, that they fhould not run afunder.
The bridle is a long Strap, with a hook and chain, which is
fixed to \the fofe dogs, and is much longer than the pobefhnick,
being faftened to a ring in the fore part of the fledge.
The ofheiniki, or collars, are broad straps made of bear-skin,
and are frequently put upon dogs merely for ornament.
They drive and direct their dogs with a crooked ftick about
four feet long, which they call the oftal, and fometimes adorn
it with different coloured thongs: this is looked upon as a great
piece of finery.    They drive their fledges fitting upon the right
iide K A  M  T   S C   H  A  T   K   A,
fide with their feet hanging down; and it would be looked upon
as a difgrace for any one to fit in the fledge, or to make ufe of
any perfon to drive them, no body doing this but the women.
A fet of four good dogs will cost in Kamtfchatka 15 rubles,
and with their harnefs complete come to near 20.
From the make of their fledges may be feen how difficult it
is to travel upon them ; for a man is obliged to keep the exacteft
balance, otherwife he is liable, from the height and narrownefs
of them, to be overturned. In a rugged road this would be very
ilgngerous, as the dogs never stop 'till they come to fome houfe,
or are entangled by fomething upon the road ; for they have this
fault, that in going down fteep hills they run with all their force,
and are fearcely to be kept in : for which reafon, m defeending any
great declivity they unyoke all the dogs except one, and lead them
foftly down the hUl. They likewife walk up hills; for it is as
much as the dogs can do to drag up the fledge empty. The
narta will carry, befides the provisions for the dogs and the driver,
about five poods. With this load, upon a tolerable road, they
can travel about 30 verfts a day; and without any load, in the
ipring when the fnow is hardened, and upon Aiders made of bone,
they can travel 150 verfts. After a deep fnow there is no travelling with dogs 'till a road be made, which is effected by a
man going before upon fnow-fhoes, whom they call brodov-
The! fnow-shoes are made of two thin boards, feparated' m
the middle, and bound together at the ends; the fore part is bent
a little upwards. They are bound together with thongs, and a
place made to flip in the foot, which they likewife tie with
thongs. The brodovfhika having one of thefe fhoes upon each
foot leaves the dogs and fledge, and going on, clears the road for
fome way; then returning leads forwards the dogs and fledge
fo far as the road is made ; a method which he mutt continue
'till II
;   ll
Of    &1   NATIVES    of
till he comes to fome dvvell^ig-houfe.    This is very laborious,
but it happens fo often, that no guide ever fet$ out without hi* -
fnow- fhoes.
The greatest dang$jL. is when a ftorm of driven fnow furpfcifes
them; then they are obliged with all hafte to feek the fhelter
of fome wood, where they Stay as long as the tempest lasts,
fHiich fometimes is a whole week^ If a ftorm at any time fur-
prifes a large company of travellers, they dig a place for themfelves under the fnow, and cover the entry with wood or
bramble. The Kamtfchadales feldom make thefe temporary huts^
but hide themfelves commonly in caves or holes of the earth,
wrapping themfelves in their furrs; and when thus covered, they
move or turn themfelves with the greatest caution, least they
fhould throw off the fnow, for under that they lie as warm
as in their common huts : they mutt only have the convenience
of a breathing place ; but if their cloaths are tight or hard girt
about them, the cold is unfufferable.
If the Storms furprife them in an open country where there is
no wood, they endeavour to find fome hollow place, in which
they fhelter themfelves, but mutt be careful to prevent being
fmothered with the fnow. The east and fouth-eaft winds are
generally attended with a moist fnow, which wets the travellers;
and being followed with the north wind and fevere colds, feveral
are then frozen to death.
Another danger attending the traveller is, that in the fevereft
frost feveral rivers are not quite frozen over; and as the road-S
for the most part lie clofe upon the rivers, the banks being very
steep, few years pafs in which many people are not drowned.
A difagreeable circumstance alfo to thofe who travel -in thefe
parts is their fometimes being obliged to pafs through copfes,
where they run the rifk of having their eyes fcratched out, or
their limbs broken; for the dogs always run moft violently in
the K  A  M T  S   C   H A   T  K  A,    &c.       i99
the worst roads,  and to free themfelves very often overturn
their driver.
The best travelling is in the month of March or April, when
the fnow is turned hard or frozen a little at top ; however, there
is ftill this inconvenience attending it, that fometimes travellers
are obliged to lodge two or three nights in defert places; and it
is difficult to prevail upon the Kamtfchadales to make sire either
for warming themfelves or dressing vi&uals, as they and their
dogs eat dried fifh, and find themfelves fo warm wrapt in their
#urrs that they want none ; nay, it is fUrpriflng to fee all the
people of this climate bearing the cold fo well, that after having
flept a whole night very found they awake next morning as
refrefhed and alert as if they had lain in the warmest bed. This
feems to be fo natural to all here, that I have feen fome of
them lie down with their backs uncovered against a fire, and
notwithstanding the fire has been burnt out long before morning,
yet they continued to fleep on very comfortably, and without
any inconvenience,
CHAP.   X.
Of the Kamtfchadales'  Method of making WAR.
LTHOUGH before they were conquered by the Ruffians, the Kamtfchadales did not feem to have had any
ambition of increajing their power, or enlarging their territories, yet they had fuch frequent quarrels among themfelves
that feldom a year pafied without one village or other being en-
tsely ruined.    The. end of their wars was to take prifoners, in
order <ZOO
Of    the     NATIVES     of
order to employ fhernfiif males, in their hardest labour, or, if
females, either for wives or concubines ; and fometimes the neighbouring villages went to war for quarrefe' that happened among
the children; or for neglecting to invite each other to tneir
Their wars are carried on more by stratagem than bravery ; for
they are fuch cowards that they will not openly attack any one
unlets forced by neceffity: this is the more extraordinary, becaufe no people feem tQ*d!efpife life more than they do, felf-
imurther being here very frequent. Their manner of attacking
is this: in the night-time they Steal into the enemy's village,
.and furprife them, which may easily be done as they keep no
watch ; thus a fmall party may destroy a large village, as they
have nothing more to do than to fecure the mouth of a
hut, and suffer no body to come out, which only one can
do at a time; therefore whoever first attempts to efcape is
knocked down, or obliged to fubmit to be bound.
The male prifoners which they take, efpecially if they are
men of any confequence, are treated with all manner of barbarity,
fuch as burning, hewing them to pieces, tearing their entrails
out when alive, and hanging them by the feet. This has been
the fate of feveral Ruffian CofTacks during the disturbances of
Kamtfchatka; and thefe barbarities are exercifed with great fhew
of triumph and rejoicing.
Thefe private differences among themfelves were very ufeful
to the CofTacks in their conquest of the whole nation; for
when the natives faw the latter attacking one village, fo far were
they from aflifting their countrymen, that they rejoiced at their
destruction, not confidering that the fame was to be their
fate next.
In their wars with the Coflacks, they destroyed more by
Stratagem than by arms; for when the CofTacks came to any
village to demand their tribute, they were received with all
marks of friendfhip, and not only the tribute was paid,
but likewife great prefents were made them. Thus the
natives having lulled them into a State of fecurity, they
either cut their throats in the night-time, or fet fire to
their huts, and burnt them with all the CofTacks which
were within. By fuch Stratagems 70 people were destroyed
in two places, which, confidering the fmall number of Cof-
facks that were there, was a very considerable lofs: nay, it
has fometimes happened that when they had no opportunity
of destroying the Coflacks at first, they Have for two years
quietly paid the tribute, wai&ng 'till they could find an opportunity of doing it.
By this cunning the Kamtfchadales destroyed at first many
CofTacks, but now the latter are more upon their guard,
and are particularly afraid of extraordinary careffes, always expecting fome bad intention when the women in the nighttime retire out of their huts. When the Kamtfchadales pretend
to have dreamed of dead people, or go to visit distant villages,
there is reafon to dread a general infurrection.
When this happens, they kill all the CofTacks which fall in
their way, and even the Kamtfchadales who will not join in
the rebellion. As foon as they hear that troops are coming
against them, instead of going to oppofe their enemies, they
retire to fome high place, which they fortify as strongly as
they can, and building huts there, wait 'till they are attacked, and
then they bravely defend themfelves with their bows and arrows, and every other method they can think of; but if they
obferve, that the enemy is likely to mal^e themfelves matters of
the fortrefs, they first cut the throats of their wives and children, and afterwards either throw themfelves down the precipice, or with their arms rufh in upon their enemies that they
D d may 202
Of    the     NATIVES     of
may not dye unrevenged: this they call making a bed for themfelves. In the year 1740, a girl was brought from Utkolok
whom the rebels in their hurry neglected to kill; the reft were
all murthered, and the rebels threw themfelves from the hiH,
upon which they were fortified, into the fea.
From the fiime that Kamtfchatfka was fubdued, there have
been only two rebellions which could be properly called fo. The
first happened in the year 1710, in Bolfcheretfkoi Oftrog; and
the other in "the year 1713 upon the river Awatfcha. Both
of them wet#, however, unfortunate for the authors. In the
first, great numbers besieged the Bolcheretfkoi fort, in which were
only 70 Cpfiacks, 35 of whom making a tally put thera all to
flight, and in endeavouring to reach their boats which brought
them thither, in thf dhurry fuch numbers were drowned ihat the
river was almoft choaked up by their dead bodies. The rebels
upon the Awatfcha thought themfelves fo fure of destroying the
Ruffians that they brought thongs to bind them ; however the
rebels were either all killed or taken prifoners*
Th^aV arms are bows and arrows, spears, and a coat of mail:
their quivers are made of the wood of the larch-tree, glued
round with birch-bark; their bow-ftrings of the blood vefTels
of the whale; and their arrows are commonly about four feet
long, pointed with flint Stones, or bone; and though they are but
indifferejjt, yet they are very -dangerous, being all poifoned, fo
that a perfon wounded by them generally dies in twenty-four
hours, unlefs the poifon be fucked out, which is the only remedy known. Their Spears are likewife pointed with flint or
bone; and their coats of mail are made of mats, or of the skins
of feals and fea horfes, which they cut out into thongs, and
plait together. They put them on upon the left fide, and tie
them with thongs upon the right j behind is fixed a high board
to defend their head, and anther before to guard the breast.
When K  A M  T  S   C   H
T   K  A,   6V.
When they march on foot it is remarkable that two never
go a-breaft, but follow one another imMthe fame path, which
by ufe becomes very deep and narrow; fo that it is almost im^
poffible for one that is not ufed to it to walk therein, for thefe
people always fet one foot ftrait before the other in waling.
CHAP.    XI.
7he Opinions of the Kamtfchadales concerning God, the Formation
of the World, and other Articles of Religion.
THE Kamtfchadales, like other barbarous nations, have
no notions of a deity, but what are abfurd, ridiculous,
and fhocking to a humanized mind. They call their
god Kutchu, but they pay him no religious worfhip, and the
only ufe they make of his name is to divert themfelves with it;
they relate fuch fcandalous ftories of him as one would be
afhamed to repeat. Amongst other things, they reproach him
with having made fo many Steep hills, fo many fmall and rapid
rivers, fo much rain, and fo many Storms; and in all the troubles
that happen to them upbraid and blaspheme him.
They place a pillar upon a large wide plain, which they bind
round with rags. Whenever they pafs this pillar they throw a
piece of fifh or fome other victuals to it; and near it they never
gather any berries, or kill any beafts or birds. This offering they
think preferves their lives, which otherwife would be fhortened :
however, they offer nothing which can be of ufe to themfelves,
but only the fins and tails of the fifh, or fuch things as they
would be obliged to throw away. In this all thefe people of
Afia agree, offering only fuch things as are ufelefs to themfelves.
D d 2 Befides 204.
Of    the ■    N   A   T   I   V   E   S     of
Befides thefe gjtlars feveral other places are reckoned facred, fuch
as burning and fmoaking mountains, hot fprings, and fome particular woods, which they imagine are inhabited by devils, whom
they fear and reverence more than their gods.
All,their opinions concerning both gods and devils are certainly
very Simple and ridiculous ; however, it fhews that they endeavour to give an account for the existence of every thing as
far as they are able; and fome of them try to penetrate into
the thoughts of the very birds and fifties ; but when once any
opinion is eftablifhed, they never trouble themfelves with enquiring whether the thing be possible or not. Hence their
religion entirely depends upon ancient tradition,, which they
believe without examination. They have no notion of a
fupreme Being that influences their happinefs or mifery, but
hold that every man's good or bad fortune depends upon*
himfelf. The world they believe is eternal, the foul immortal,
and that it fhall be again joined to the body, and live eternally
subject to the fame fatigues and troubles as in this prefent life,
with this difference only, that they fhall have greater plenty of
all the neceffaries of life : even the very fmalleft animals they
imagine will rife again, and dwell under the earth. They think.
the earth is flat, and that under it there is a firmament like
our's; and under that firmament another earth like our's, in
which when we have fummer they have winter, and when we
have winter they have fummer. With regard to future rewards
and punifhments, they believe that in the other world the rich,
will be poor and the poor will be rich.
Their notions of vice and virtue are as extraordinary as thofe
they entertain of God. They believe every thing lawful that
procures them the fatisfaCtion of their wifhes and passions, and
think that only to be a Sin from which they apprehend danger on
ruin; fo that they neither reckon murder, felf-murder, adultery,
oppression,  nor  the like,   any wickednefs:   on  the  contrary,
dm thev K  A  M T  S   C  K(  A   T   K   A,    &c.
they look upon it to be a mortal fin to fave any one that is
drowning, becaufe, according to their notions, whoever faves
him will be foon drowned himfelf They reckon it likewife a
fin to bathe in, or to drink, hot water, or to go up to the
burning mountains. They have befides thefe innumerable absurd
cuftoms, fuch as fcraping the fnow from their feet with a knife,
or whetting their hatchets upon the road. This may, however,
be faid, that they are not the only people who have ridiculous
•Befides the above-mentioned gods they pay a r^^gfous regard
to feveral animals, from wtu|jh they apprehend danger. They,
offer fire at the holes of the fables and foxes * when fifhiner.
they intreat the whales or fea horfes not to overturn their boats;
and in hunting, befeech the bears apd wolves not to hurt them.
This was the State of thefe people the first years of my being
amongst them; but now, by the care of the Emprefs Elizabeth,
mifrionaries are appointed to instruct them in the Christian faith.
In 1741 a Clergyman was fent by the fynod with affiftants and
every thing necettary for building a church, and instructing this
wild people ; which has been attended wit$^ fuch fuccefs, that not
only many of them are baptized, but fchools are alfo erected in
feveral places, to which the Kamtfchadales very readily fend
their children : fo that in a few years we may hope to fee the
Chriftian faith planted in all thefe northern countries.
CHAP. 2o6
Of   the    NATIVES
Of  their SHAMANS,   or Conjurers,
TH E Kamtfchadales have none who are protested Shamans,
or conjurers, as the neighbouring nations have£ but every
old woman is looked upon as a witch and an interpreter
of dreams.    In their conjurations they whifper upon the fins of
fifties, the fweet grafs, and fome other things; by which means
they cure difeafes, divert misfortunes, and foretel futurity.
They are very great obfervers of dreams, which they relate
to one another as foon as they awake in the morning, and
judge from thence of their future good or bad fortune ; and
fome of thefe dreams have their interpretation fixed and fettled.
Befides this conjuration they pretend to chiromancy, and to foretel
a man's good or bad fortune by the lines of his hand; but the
rules which they follow are kept a great fecret.
CHAP.   xnr.
^HE Kamtfchadales always celebrated three days in the
month of November, which is hence called the month
of Purification.     Steller imagines* that this was first
instituted by their ancestors to return thanks to God for all his
blessings; but that afterwards, through the Stupidity  of thefe
people, KAMTSCHATKA,    &c.
people, it has been perverted by foolifh and ridiculous ceremonies; and this appears the more probable, becaufe that, after
their fummer or harvest labour is over, they look upon it as a
fin to do any work, or make any visits, before this holiday,
which if any one neglects he is obliged to expiate it at that time,
if not before. From hence we may fee that the ancestors of this
■ people were accustomed to offer up the first fruits of their fummer labours to God, and to make merry with one another. The
northern and fouthern Kamtfchadales have different ceremonies in
the celebration of their holidays, whieh are extremely filly,
and consist of many ridiculous antieks. I fhall give a flight
sketch of one of thefe affemblies in the fouthern Kamtfchatka.
After many strange ceremonies they introduce a little bird and
a fUjh, which they roaft upon the coals, and divide amongst them,
when every one throws his fhare into the fire as a facrMce, or
an offering, to thofe fpirits which come to their feasts; then
they boil dried fifh, the broth of which they pour out before
their image, and eat the fifh themfelves ; and then take the
b&ch-tree out of the hut, and carrying it to their magazines,
lay it up there to be kept for the whole year. Thus ends the
THEY make feasts when one village entertains another,
either upon the account of a wedding, or having had a
plentiful fifhing or hunting. The landlords entertain their
guests with great bowls of opanga, 'till they are all fet a vomiting; II
20-8 Of     the     NATIVES     of
ing; fometimes they ufe a liquor made of a large mufhroon,
with which the Ruffians kill flies. This they prepare with the
juice of epilobium,  or French willow.
The first fymptom of a man's being affected with this liquor
is a trembling in all his joints, and in half an hour he begins to
rave as if in a fever; and is either merry or melancholy mad,
according to his peculiar constitution. Some jump, dance, and
Sing ; others weep, and are in terrible agonies, a fmall hole appearing to them as, a great pit, and a fpoonful of water as a
lake : but this is to be understood of thofe who ufe it to excels ;
for taken in a fmall quantity it raifes' their Spirits, and makes
them brifk, courageous, and chearful.
It is obferved, whenever they have eaten of this plant, they
maintain that, whatever foolifh things they did, they only obeyed
the commands of the mufhroon : however, the ufe of it is
certainly fo dangerous, that unlefs they were well looked after
it would be the destruction of numbers of them. The Kamtfchadales do not much care to relate thefe drunken frolicks, and
perhaps the continual ufe of it renders it lefs dangerous to them.
One of our CofTacks refolved to eat of this mufhroon in order
to furprife his comrades; and this he actually did, but it was
with great difficulty they preferved his life. Another of the
inhabitants of Kamtfchatka, by the ufe of this mufhroon, imagined that he was upon the brink of hell ready to be thrown
in, and that the mufhroon ordered him to fall upon his knees,
and make a full confession of all the fins he could remember,
which he did before a great number of his comrades, to their
no fmall diversion. It is related, that a foldier of the gar-
rifon having eaten a little of this mufhroon, walked a great
way without any fatigue, but at, last, -having taken too great
a quantity, he died. My interpreter drank fome of this
juice without knowing of it, and became fo mad, that it
was with   difficulty  that we   kept   him   from   ripping open
his K  A  M T   S  C   H  A   T   K   A,   &c.      2.09
his belly,   being,  as he faid,  ordered to  do it by the  mufhroon.
The Kamtfchadales and the Koreki eat of it when they refolve
to murder any body ; and it is in fuchrdfteem among the Koreki,
that they do not allow any one that is drunk with it to make
water upon the ground, but they give him a veffel to five his urine
in, which they drink, and it has the fame effect as the mufhroon
itfelf. None of this mufhroon grows in their country, fo that
they are obliged to purchafe it of the Kamtjkhadaks. Three or
four of them are a moderate dofe, but when they want to get
drunk they take ten. »*•
The women never ufe it; fo that all their merriment confifts
in jefting, dancing, and Singing. Their dance is/oin this manner:
The two women that are to dance fpread a mat in the middle
of the room, and kneel down upon it opposite to one another,
having a little tow in each hand. At first they begin to ting
very low, moving a little their hands and ihoulders; by degrees they raife their voice, and encreafe the motions of their
bodies, 'till they are quite out of breath and fatigued. This
strange, uncouth entertainment, as it appeared to me, feemed
greatly to delight the Kamtfchadales : fo ltrongly is every nation
prejudiced in favour of its own customs.
In their love-fongs they declare their passion to their lovers,
aheir grief, hope, and other affections. The women generally
compofe them, and have clear, agreeable voices. Though they
do not want an inclination for mufick, yet they have no muficar
•instrument, except a simple flute, and upon that they cannot
play.any tune.
Another of their amufements is mimicking other people in
their fpeaking, walking, and all other actions. Whenever a
ftranger comes to Kamtfchatka they give him a new name, and
cbferve every thing about him very carefully, which they mimick
E e for 210
Of    the    NATIVES    of
for their enverfion in all their entertainments. They fometimes
fmoke tobacco, and tell Stories; all which merriments are generally in the night tkbe. They haye alfo protested buffoons or
jefters j but their wit is intolerably indecent and obfcene.
CHAP.     XV.
WHEN any one of this country feeks the &iendfhip
of another he invites him to his hut, and for his entertainment dreffes as much of his best vidHualfc as
Ifcight ferve ten people. As~foon as the-ftranger comes into the
hut, which is made very hot for his reception, bofch he and the
landlord strip themfelves naked: then the latter fets before his
guest great plenty of victuals; and while he is eating it the
host throws water upon red-hot ftones, 'till he makes the hut
jtafupportably hot. The stranger endeavours alii he can to bear
this excessive heat, and to eat up all the victuals that were
dreffed; and the landlord endeavours to oblige his friend to
complain of the heat, and to beg to be excufed from eating ali
up. It is reckoned a difhonour to the landlord, and a mark of
niggardlinefs, if he fhould be able to accomplifh this. He himfelf eats nothing during the whole time, and is altowed to go
out of the hut; but the stranger is not fuffered to stir 'till he
acknowledges himfelf overcome. At thefe feafts they over-eat.
themfelves fo much, that for three days they cannot bear the.
fight of victuals, and are fcarce able to move, from repletion.
"TWhen the stranger is gorged, and can no longer  endure the
heat, he purchafes his difmimon with prefents of dogs, cloaths*
or K   A  M   T   S  C  H   A   T   K  A.    ®c.       211
or whatever is agreeable to his landlord ; in return for which he receives old rags, and ufelefs lame curs. This, however, is reckoned
no injury, but a proof of friendfhip ; and he expects, in turn,
to ufe his friend in the fame manner. And if that man, who
has thus plundered his friend, returns not his vifit in proper time,
he does not thereby fave his prefents, for the guest pays him a
fecond visit, at which time he is obliged to make him what
prefents he is able ; but if, either out of poverty or avarice, he
makes him none, it is looked upon as the greatest affront, and
he mutt expect this man always to be his enemy : befides, it is
fo difhonoUrable that no body elfe will ever live in friendfhip
with him afterwards.
In their banquets they treat their friendi in the fame manner,
only they do not torment them with heat, nor expect any
prefenlsi \ When they entertain with the fat of feals or whales,
they cut it out into flices ; and the landlord kneeling before his
company, with one of thefe flices in one hand and a knife in
the other, thrusts the fat into their mouths, crying in a furly
tone, Ta na~ and with his knife he cuts off all that hangs out
of their mouths, after they are crammed as full as they can hold.
Whoever wants any thing from another may generally obtain it
Hpon thefe occasions; for it is reckoned dishonourable for the
gueft to refufe his generous landlord any thing. An instance of
this happened, between a Kamtfchadale and a newly christened
Coffack, just before I arrived, and was then the common fubject
of converfation. The Coffack, according to the custom of that
country, had a Kamtfchadale to his friend, who he heard was
poffeffed of a very fine fox-fkin, which he greatly defired, but
which the Kamtfchadale would by no means part with. The
Coffack invited him to his hut, where he entertained him with
vast plenty of victuals, and by throwing water upon burning-hot
Stones made the heat of the hut intolerable to his friend the
Kamtfchadale, 'till at last   he was obliged  to beg for mercy.
E e 2 This
- i^M 2i2 Of    the    NATIVES     of
This the Coflack would not grant 'till he had obtained a promife
of the fine fox-fkin. It fhould feem, that this entertainment
could not be agreeable to the Kamtfchadale: however, he feemed
tobepleafed with it, an|^ to Swear that he never thought it
possible to make fuch a heat, or that the CofTacks could entertain
their friends with fo much refpect; and declared, that though
he looked upon his fox-fkin as an inestimable rarity, yet he
parted from it with pleafure on that occasion, and fhould always
remember the noble entertainment of his friend.
C H A P.     XVI.
H E N a Kamtfchadale refolves to marry, he looks
about for a bride in fome of the neighbouring villages, feldom in his own ; and when he finds one to
his mind, he difcovers his inclination to the parents, de%ing
that he may have the liberty of ferving them for fome time:
this permiffion he easily obtains, and, during his fervice, he thews
an uncommon zeal in order to fatisfy them of what he can do.
After having thus ferved, he desires liberty to feize his bride;
and if he has happened to pleafe the parents, his bride, and her
relations, this is prefently granted; but, if they difapprove of
it, they give him fome fmall reward for his fervices, and he departs. It fometimes happens that thefe bridegrooms, without
difcovering any thing of their intention, engage themfelves in
fervice in fome strange village; and though every one fufpects
their defign, yet no notice is taken of it, till either he or his
friend declares it.
When a bridegroom obtains the liberty of feizing' his bride, he
feeks every opportunity of finding her alone, j>r in the company
of a few people ; for during this time all the women in the village are obliged to protect her; befides fhe has two or three different coats, and is fwaddled round w^h fifh nets and straps, fo
that the has little more motion that a Statue. If the bridegroom
happens to find her alone, or in company but with a few, :j^e
throws himfelf upon her, and begins to tear off her cloaths,
nets, and straps; for to Strip the bride naked constitutes the
ceremony of marriage. This is not always an eafy tafk ;
for though fhe herfelf makes fmall refiftance, (and indeed
fhe can make but little) yet, if there happen to be many
women near, they all fall upon the bridegroom without any
mercy, beating him, dragging" him by the hair, fcratching his
face, and using every other method they can think of to prevent,
him from accomplifhing his design. If the bridegroom is fo
happy as to obtain his wifh, he immediately runs from her, and
the bride as a proof of her being conquered, calls him back
with a foft and tender voice : thus the marriage is concluded.
This victory is feldom obtained at once, but fometimes the
contest lasts a whole year ; and after every attempt the bridegroom is obliged to take fome time to recover Strength, and to
cure the wounds he has received. There is an instance of one,
who, after having per fevered for feven years, instead of obtaining a bride, was rendered quite a cripple, the women having
ufed him fo barbaronfly.
As foon as the above ceremony is over, he has liberty next
night to go to her bed, and the day following, without any ceremony, carries her off to his own village. After fome time,
the bride and bridegroom return to the bride's relations, where
the marriage feast is celebrated in the following manner;  of
^hich I was an eye-witnefs in 1739.
The 2i4        °f     ^NATIVE |    of
The bridegroom, his friends, and his wife, visited the father-
in-law in three boats. All the women were in the boats, and
the men being naked puttied them along with poles. About one
hundred paces from the village to which they were going, they
landed, began to' Sing, and ufed conjurations with tow fattened
upon a rod, muttering fomething over a dried fiffi's head, which
they wrapped in the tow, and gave to an old woman to hold.
The conjuration being over, they put upon the bride a coat of
fheep's fkin, and tied four images about her : thus loaded fhe had
difficulty to move. They went again into their boats, and came
up to the village, where they landed a fecond time; at this
landing-place, a boy of the village met them, and taking the
bride by the hand led her, all the women-following.
* When the bride came to the hut, they tied a Strap round her,
by which fhe was let down the Stairs, the old woman who carried the fifh's head going before her. The head the laid down
at the foot of the flairs, where it was trodden upon by the bride
and bridegroom and all the people prefent, and then thrown into
the fire.
All the strangers took their places, having firft stripped the
bride of fuperfluous ornaments. The bridegroom heated the hut
and dreffed the victuals which they had brought with them,
and entertained jhe inhabitants of the village. The next day the
landlord, entertained the strangers with great fuperfluity, who
on the third day departed ; the bride and bridegroom only remained to work fome time with their father. The fuperfluous
dreis which was taken from the bride was distributed among the
relations, who were obliged to return them prefents of far greater
The former ceremonies only relate to a first marriage ; for in
the marriage of widows, the man and woman's agreement is
fufficient; but he mutt not take her to himfelf before her fin*
are KAMTSCHA'TKA,     &c.
are taken away. This can only be done by fome stranger's
first lying with her for once; but as this taking off of fin is
looked upon by the Kamtfchadales as very difhonourable for the
man, it was formerly difficult to find one to undertake it; fo
that the poor widows were at a great lofs before our CofTacks
came amongst them ; fince which they have been in no want
of Strangers to take away their fins. Marriage is forbidden only
between father and daughter, mother and fon ; a fon-in-law may
marry his mother-in-law, and a father-in-law his daughter-in-
law ; and first cousins marry frequently. Their divorce is very
easy, confifting only in a man's feparating beds from his wife:.
in fuch cafes the man immediately marries another wife, and
the woman accepts of another hufband, without any further
A Kamtfchadale hath two or three wives, with whom he lies
by turns. Sometimes he keeps them all in one hut, and fometimes they live in different huts. With every maid that he marries he is obliged to go through the above-mentioned ceremonies.
Though thefe people are fond of women, yet they are not fo
jealous as the Koreki. In their marriages they do not feem to
regard the marks of virginity. Nor are the women more
jealous ; for two or three wives live with one hufband in.
all harmony : even though he alfo keeps feveral concubines.
When the women go out they cover their faces with a
fort of veil; and if they meet any man upon the road, and
cannot go out of the way, they turn their backs to him,,
and Stand till he is paffed. In their huts they fit behind a mat.
or a curtain made of nettles; but if they have no curtain, and
a Stranger comes into the hut, they turn their face to the wall,.
and continue their work. This is to be understood of thofe that
retain their ancient barbarity; for feveral of them now begin
to be civilized to a certain degree, though all of them ftili
preferve a rude harfhnefs in their manner of fpeaking.
CHAP. ;l6
Of     the    NATIVES     of
Of the  BIRTH   of   their Children.
N general thefe people are not fruitful, for I could never learn
that any one man had ten children by the fame woman.
Their women, as they fay, have commonly very eafy births:
Steller was prefent at the delivery of one of thefe women, who
went out of the hut about her ordinary bufinefs, and in a quarter
of an hour afterwards was carrying her child in her arms, without
any change in her countenance.. He likewife relates, that he faw
another woman who was in labour three days, and to his great
furprife was at last happily delivered of a child, which came
double, prefenting the hips firft. The conjurers attributed the
occasion of this unnatural posture to the father, who in the time
that the child ought to have been born was employed in making
fledges, and bending the wood over his knee. Such ridiculous
caufes do they assign for every uncommon effect. The women are
delivered upon their knees, in prefence of as many people as are in
the village, without distinction of age or fex. They wipe the newborn child w7ith tow, and tie the navel-string with thread' made
of nettles, and then cut it with a knife of flint: they throw
the placenta to the dogs. They put chewed epilobium upon the
navel, and wrap the infant in tow instead of Swaddling cloaths :
then every one careffes it, taking it in their arms, kitting it, and
rejoicing with the parents. This is the only ceremony which
they ufe. They can hardly be faid to have profeffed midwives,
and for the moft part the mother or nearest relation performs
the office.
T£te women, as was mentioned above, who deflre to have
children, "for this purpofe eat fpiders. Some child-bed women,
that they may the fooner conceive again, eat the navel-string of
the child. There are others who have as great aversion to having
children, and procure abortions by different poifonous medicines,
in which they are assisted by fome knowing old women; but this
can never be done, as it is well known, but at the hazard of
their own lives. There are others, who are fuch unnatural
wretches as to destroy their children when they.are born, or
throw them alive to the dogs. They ufe likewife feveral herbs
and different conjurations to prevent conception. Their fuper-
ftition, alfo, is fometimes the occasion of great barbarity; for
when a woman bears twins, one of them at least mutt be
destroyed, and fo mutt a child born in very Stormy weather;
though the last can be averted by fome conjurations. After the
birth, the women, to recover their strength, make ufe of fifh
broth, made with an herb which they call hale ; and then in
a few days return to their ordinary diet.
Of their -DISEASES *«/  REMEDIES,.
TH E principal ,difeafes in Kamtfchatka are the fcurvy,
boils, palfy, cancer, Jaundice, and the venereal distemper.
Thefe difeafes they think are inflicted upon them by the
fpirits that inhabit fome particular groves, if ignorantly they
happen to cut any of them down. Their principal medicines
consist in charms and conjurations, but at the fame ti^e they do
not negled the ufe of herbs and roots.   For the fcurvy they ufe a
p f certain asS
NATIVES     of
certain herb which they rub upon their gums, as alfo the leaves
of the cranberry * and blackberry -j-. The CofTacks cure themfelves with decoctions of the tops of cedar, and by eating wild
garlick. The good effects of this medicine were felt by all the
people that were in the Kamtfchatka expedition.
Boils are a most dangerous difeafe in Kamtfchatka, causing
the death of numbers. They are very large, being often two
and fometimes three inches over ; and when they break they open
in about forty or fifty little holes. It is looked upon to be a
very dangerous cafe, when no matter comes from thefe openings;
and thofe that recover are confined to their beds, fometimes fix
and fometimes ten weeks. The Kamtfchadales ufe raw hare-fkins
to bring the matter to a fuppuration. The palfy, cancer, and
French difeafe, are fuppofed to be incurable; the last, they fay,
was not heard of before the arrival of the Ruffians. There is
likewife another distemper which they call fufhutch, which is a
fort of fcab, that furrounds the whole body -under the ribs like
a girdle, When this does not come to fuppurate and fall off,
then it is mortal, and, they fay, every one mutt have this once
in his lifetime, as we have the fmall-pox. Mr. Steller gives a
more ample account of their difeafes and remedies. He relates,
that they ufe with fuccefs the fpunge for drawing out the matter
in thefe boils. The CofTacks apply to their boils the remains of
the fweet-grafs || after they have extracted their brandy, and this
often fuccefsfully refolves them.
The women ufe fea rafberries J to hasten their delivery; and
alfo a fort of coral, which they make into powder like crab-eyes,
in a gonorrhea. Against coftivenefs they ufe the fat of the fea
wolf; in gripes, pains of the bowels, and  colds, they ufe a
* Vaccinium ramis filiformibus repentibus, foliis ovatis perennantibus.
f- Impetrum.        || Spondylium foliolis pinnatifidij.        } Species fuch
decoction K A M  T S  C  H A T K A,   &c.
decoction of the pentaphylladis fruticofus, and that not without
fuccefs. To wounds they apply the bark of the cedar, and with
this they pretend they can even extract arrows.
In coftivenefs they likewife drink the broth of their stinking
fifh, and in fluxes they eat lac lunae, which is very common in
this country. For the fame distemper they likewife ufe meadow-
fweet and tormentilla root.
Thofe who have fore throats ufe a decoction of the epilobium,
which is alfo ufed by women in hard labours.    When they are
bit by a dog,  or wolf, they lay the bruifed leaves of the ulmaria
upon the wound, drinking at the fame time a decoction of them:
this decoction they alfo admininifter in the belly-ach and fcurvy.
The leaves and Stalks bruifed they ufe in burns.    The decoction
of this herb mixed with fifh they ufe alfo in the tooth-ach ; they
hold it warm in their mouths, and lay a piece of the root upon
the affected tooth.    They ufe a fpecies of gentian in the fcurvy,
and almoft against every diforder.    In the French difeafe they
apply the chamaenchododendros, but feldom to any advantage :
in fluxes they ufe the quercus marina : in Swellings of the legs
and fcurvy,  they drink a decoction of the dryas; and procure
fleep by eating the feed of the ephedra.    They foment their eyes
with a decoction of feramus.
The inhabitants of the Lopatka ufe clysters, which probably
they learned from the Kuriles : they prepare them from a decoction of different herbs, fometimes with fat and fometimes without : this they put into a teal's bladder, fattening to it any pipe
which they can procure, and apply it in the common way : this
medicine is in high esteem among them, and ufed in most dif-
In the jaundice,, they have a medicine, which they look upon
as infallible. They take the roots of the iris fylveftris, and
after cleaning them, beat them in warm water, and apply the
juice, which they fqueeze out, as a clyster,  continuing it for
F f 2 two 220
Of    rife  -NATIVES     of
two days three times a day : this produces a purging, and generally gives great relief. After fome time, ir the cure is riojt
completed, they repeat it again. They neither ufe lancets nor
cupping glafies, but with a pair of wooden pincers draw up the
fkin, and pierce it with an instrument of chryttal made on pur-
pofe, letting out as much blood as they want.
In pains of the back they rub the part affected before a fire with
a root of the cicuta, being careful not to touch the loins, which
they fay would produce fpafms. In pains of the joints they place
upon the part a little pyramid, made of a fungus which grows
upon the birch-trees, and fet the top of it on fire, letting it burn
till it comes to the fkin, which then cracks, and leaves a wound
behind that yields a great quantity of matter. The wound they
cure With afhes of the fungus, but fome give themfelves no
trouble about it at all. The root of the anemonides, or ranunculus, they ufe to hurt or poifon their enemies; and they Kkewife
poifon their arrows with it.
Of   the   B U R I A L   of   the    DEAD.
*A H E burial of the dead, if one can call throwing them
to the dogs a burial, is different here from what it is in
any other part of the world; for instead of burning or
laying the dead bodies in fome hole, the Kamtfchadales bind a
strap round the neck of the corps, draw it out of the hut, and
deliver it for food to their dogs: for which they give the following reafons; that thofe who are eaten by dogs will drive with
fine dogs in the other world ; and that they throw them round
near K   A   M  T   S   C H   A  T  K  A,   &c.
near the hut, that evil fpirits, whom they imagine to be the
occafion of their death, feeing the dead body, may be fatisfied
with the mifchief they have done.    Hdwever, they frequently
remove to fome other place, when any one has died in the hut
without dragging the corps along with them.
Thfe^ thrdW away &H the cloths of the decedfed, not becaufe
they imagine they fhall have occafion for them in the other
worlgl, but becaufe they believe that whoever weal's ttje cloaths
of one that is dead will certainly come to an untimely end.
This fuperftition prevails particularly among the Kuriles of the
Lopatka, who would not touch any thing which they thought
had belonged to a dead perfon, although they fhould have the
greatest inclination for it. The CofTacks make ufe of this fuperftition to prevent one another fometimes from felling ready-
made cloaths, by affuring the buyer that they belonged to a
dead perfon.
After the burial of the dead they ufe the following purification : Going to the wood they cut fome rods, of which they
make a ring; and creeping through it twice, they carry it to
the wood, and throw it towards the weft. Thofe who dragged
out the body are obliged to catch two birds of one fort or other ;
one of which they burn, and eat the other with the whole family. The purification is performed on the fame day ; for before
that they dare not enter any other hut, nor will any body elfe
enter their's. In commemoration of the dead, the whole family
dine upon a fifh, the fins of which they burn in the fire.
2 H A P.; I
224        W   WM  N    A    T   I    V   E   S      of
any are caught in adulter^, both patties',are certainly coflr
demned to death. For this reafon the women feem to take
pains to make themfelves difagreeable; for they never wafh
their faces or hands, nor comb their hair, and their upper garments are dirty,' ragged, and torn, the best being worn underneath. This they are obliged to do on account of the jealoufy
of their huihands ; who fay, that a woman has no occasion to
adorn herfelf unlefs to gain the affections of a stranger, for her
hufband loves her without that. On the contrary, the fixed
Koreki, and Tchukotfkoi, look upon it as the trueft mark of
^dendfhip, when they entertain a friend, to put him to beo*
j«fith their wife or daughter; and a refufal of this c|j$y$*y
they confer as the greatest affront ; and are even capable
of murdering a man for fuch a contempt. This happened to
feveral Ruffian Coflacks before they were acquainted with:;the
customs of the people. The wives of the fixed Koreki endeavour
to adorn themfelves as much as pofilble, painting their faces,
wearing fine cloaths, and using various means to fet off their
perfons. In their huts they fit quite naked, even in the
company of Strangers.
The whole nation is rude, passionate, revengeful, and cruel;
and the wandering Koreki are alfo proud and vain: they imagine
that no people in the world are fo happy as themfelves, regarding all the accounts that strangers give of the advantages
of other countries, as fo many lies and fables; for, fay they,
" If you could enjoy thefe advantages at home, what made you
•take fo much trouble to come to us ?. You feem to want feveral
things which we have; we, on the contrary, are fatisfied with
what wepofTefs, and never come to you to feek any thkig''. One
great reafon of their pride and haughtinefs may be o^ing to
the fettled or fixed Koreki,, who fhew the greatest fear and awe
of them; fo that if one of their deer-herds fhould come to a hut
of the latter, they all run out to meet him, treat him with the
greatest K  A  M   T   S  C   H  A  T   K   A,   &c.       225
greateltjceremony, and bear every affront. It was never heard
that the fettled Koreki did. the least injury to any of the
wanderers; and this is fo firmly believed, that our tax-gatherers
think themfelves entirely fafe, when they converfe with thofe
who live in huts, if they are guarded by one of the reindeer Koreki: which may appear very Strange, confidering that
the fettled Koreki are much their fuperiors in Strength; and
it can only be attributed to that general respect which poor
people pay to the rich : for the poverty of the fettled Koreki is fo great, that they depend upon the others in a great
meafure for their cloathing. The rein-deer Koreki call the
others their flaves, and treat them accordingly ; but they behave
very differently to the tchukotfkoi, who are fo terrible to them,
that fifty of the rein-deer Koreki dare not Stand against twenty
of thefe; and if it was not for the protection of the CofTacks
of Anadir, the Tchukotfkoi would have rooted them out by this
time. As every nation has fomething commendable, fo the Koreki
are more honest and industrious than the Kamtfchadales, and feem
to have a greater fenfe of fhame.
It is difficult to form an exact account of the numbers and
different families of the Koreki, but it is thought that all together
they are more numerous than the Kamtfchadales. They live in
fuch places as abound with mofs for their rein-deer, without regarding the fcarcity of wood or water: in the winter time they
can ufe fnow for water, and for firing mofs or grafs, of which
they have plenty every where. Their manner of living, efpecially in the winter time, is still more difagreeable than that of
the Kamtfchadales : for being frequently obliged to change their
habitations, the huts which they come into are all frozen 5 and
when they begin to thaw them by the fires, which are usually
made of green fhrubs or grafs, there arifes a fmoke, fo pernicious to the eyes, that it is enough to blind a perfon entirely
in one day.
G g Their 226
Of    the    N   A   T   I   V   E   S     of
Their huts are made much in the fame manner as thofe of
other wandering people, but lefs than thofe of the Calmucks.
In the winter they cover them with raw deer-fkins, and in the
fummer with tanned. They have no flooring or feparation
within their huts; in the middle only are four little Stakes
driven, between which is their hearth. To thefe Stakes they
commonly tie their dogs, which frequently drag the victuals out
of the kettles while it is dreffing ; and notwithstanding their
masters beat them very feverely, they generally come in for
a fhare of every piece. A man mutt be very hungry to be ablfc
to eat with thefe people. Instead of wafhing their kettles or
platters they give them to the dogs to lick, and the very flefh
which they tear from the mouths of the dogs they throw again
into the kettles without wafhing it.
The Tchukotfkoi winter huts are much preferable to thofe of
the Koreki, being much warmer and more roomy. Several
families live in the fame hut, all having their proper benches,
upon which deer-fkins are fpread, whereon they fit or fleep.
Upon each bench a lamp burns day and night, for which they
ufe fifh-oil and a wick of mofs. They have an opening in the
top, which ferves for a chimney; however they are almoft as
fmoaky as thofe of the Koreki, but fo warm, that in the coldest
places the women fit naked. The^tfloaths which they wear are
made of rein-deer fkins, not differing in the least from thofe
of the Kamtfchadales, who purchafe them from the Koreki.
They feed upon the flefh of the rein-deer, in which they very
much abound, fome of the rich having ten or twenty thoufand ;
nay, one of the chiefs was faid to have one hundred thoufand :
but yet they are fo penurious, that thev are forry to kill any
for their own ufe, fatisfying themfelves with fuch as die naturally, or are killed by the wolves. Of this carrion, indeed, they
have plenty ; and they are not afhamed to excufe themfelves
from entertaining travellers by telling them that none of their
deer KAMTS   C   HAT
A,   &c.
deer are killed or have died lately. For particular guefts,
indeed, they will kill fome of their stock, and at fuch times only
they have a hearty meal. They never milk the rein-deer, nor
know any ufe of milk. They eat their flefh for the moft part
boiled, and what they do not confume immediately they dry
with the fmoke in their huts. One of their principal difhes is
ealfedyamgayd, which is made thus; they put the blood of the
beaft mixed with fome fat into its ftomach or paunch, which
they hang up and fmoke. Our CofTacks reckon this a great
delicacy. Befides, the Koreki eat every other animal except
dogs and foxes. They ufe, in general, neither herbs, roots, nor
barks of trees; but the poor feed on them in time of great
fcarcity ; nor will any catch fifh, except the deer-herds, and
that very feldom. They make no provision of berries for the
winter, but only eat them frefh in the fummer. They think
nothing can be fweeter than cranberries beat up with the root
fatan and deej?s fat. I had an opportunity of feeing one of
their chieftains exceedingly furprifed upon the first fight of
fugar, whjeh he took for fait; but tatting it was fo pleafed with
its fweetnefs, that he begged fome pieces to carry to his wives:
but, as he vtfas not able to refill the temptation of fo delicious
a rarity, he ate it all up on the road; and when he came
home to hjs houfe, although he fwore to the women that he had
tatted fait fweeter than any mjng he had ever tatted before,
yet they would not believe him, infifting that nothing could be
fweeter than cranberries with deer's fat and lilly-roots.
They ride only in the winter time on fledges drawn by reindeer but never mount upon their backs in the fummer, as they
fay the Tungufi do. Their fledges are made about a fathom long :
the fides are about four inches thick, but rather thinner at the
fore part, where they are bent upwards: the two fide-pieces
are joined together by fmall pieces of wood.    They yoke two
G g 2 deer 228
Of    the     N    A    T    I    V    E    S     of
deer before every fledge. The harnefs is fomewhat like that they
ufe for reins of the dogs; the harnefs of that deer which is on
the right fide being fastened to the left fide of the fledge, and
that of the deer on the left fide to the right fide of the fledge.
Their bridles and reins are fomething like the collars of horfes.
Upon the deer's forehead they have four little bones, made liketeeth,
but very fharp, wh'ch are ufed as bits to pull them in when
they run too fast; for thefe fharp bones piercing the fkin Stop
them at once. The right hand deer only has thefe bones; for
if that is Stopped, the deer upon the left has not strength to run
away. The drivers fit near the fore part of the fledge ; and if
they want to turn to the right they only draw the rein, but
when they would turn to the left they beat the right fide of the
deer. They drive them with a goad, which is about four feet
long, having a fharp piece of bone at one end, and at the other
a hook : with the bone they prick the deer to go forwards, and
with the hook they lift up the harnefs when it happens to
fall down.
-^Travelling with rein-deer is much fwifter than with dogs:
good cattle will go 150 verfts a day; but you mutt take care to
feed them frequently, and to Stop often to allow them to Stale;
for you may kill them in one day, or at least make them good
for nothing. Deer that are ufed for draught are bred to it, as
horfes. The male they geld, which is done by piercing the
fpermatick veflels, and tying them tight with thongs. The
rein-deer which the Koreki ufe for draught feed along with
the others; and when they want to part them, they drive
them all home; then crying aloud in a particular manner, the
draught cattle feparate themfelves from the reft; and if any of
them fhould remain,  they are beat moft unmercifully.
The fettled Koreki have likewife fome rein-deer,   but very
few, and thofe fuch aS'they only ufe for drawing.    The Tchukotfkoi KAMTSCHAT.RA, &c.
kotjkoi have great herds, and yet feed for the moft part upon fea
animals. The Koreki would be miferable if they wanted the
rein-deer : for they know no way of keeping themfelves alive,
as they do not underftand how to catch fifh ; and if they did,
could not foon provide themfelves with boats, nets, or dogs :
fo that the poorer fort are employed by the richer in feeding
their deer, for which they receive meat and cloaths; and if they
have any fmall Stock of their own, they are allowed to feed
them with their matter's cattle.
The rein-deer K$reki exchange their deer and deer-fkins with
the neighbouring people for the very finest furrs, of which they
have always a large flock by them.
The religion of the Koreki is more abfurd than that of the
Kamtfchadales, at least that little chief, of whom I had my information, feemed to have fearce any idea of a God; they feem
more to refpect evil fpirits, which, according to their opinion,
inhabit the rivers and woods: this refpect feems to be owing to their
fear. The fettled Koreki acknowledge for their God, the Kuta
of the Kamtfchadales. They have no fixt time of worfhip
or offering facrifices; but, whenever they pleafe, they kill either
a rein-deer or a dog, which they fix upon a flake, turning its face
towards the east, leaving only the deer's head and tongue upon
the flake. They themfelves do not know to whom they make
thefe facrifices, and only ufe thefe. words, Vio coing yack ne la lu,
ban he
that is, This to you, and may you fend us fome-
thing that is good. The time of facrificing is when they are
going to pafs any river or watte, which they think the devils inhabit ; then they kill one of their deer, and eating the flefh,
they faften the bones of the head upon a pole, which they fix
oppofite to the habitation- of the fpirits. When the Koreki are
afraid of any infectious distemper, they kill a dog, and winding
the guts upon two poles, they pafs between them.
During Ip;       Of    the    NATIVES     of
During their facrifices their fhamans or forcerers beat a little
drum like that ufed by the Jakutfki, and the neighbouring nations.
Some of the Shamans are reckoned physicians,   and are thought,
by beating upon the drum, to drive away distempers.    In the
year 1739 I had an opportunity of feeing, at  the lower Kamtfchatkoi fort, the moft famous Shaman Carimlacha, who was not
only of great reputation among thefe wild people, but was alfo
refpected by our CofTacks, for the many extraordinary feats that
he performed ; particularly that of  Stabbing his belly with a
knife, and letting a great quantity of blood run out, which he
drank : however this he performed in fuch an awkward manner,
that any one, who was not blinded by fuperftition, might eafily
difcover the trick.    At first, fitting upon his knees, and beating
fome time upon his drum, he struck his knife into his belly, and
then, from below his furred coat, he drew out a handful of
blood, which he eat, licking his fingers.    I could not help laughing at the simplicity of the trick,  which the poorest player of
legerdemain would have been afhamed of.    One might fee him
flip the knife down below his furr, and that he fqueezed the
blood out of a bladder which he had in his bofom.    After all
this conjuration he thought Still to furprife us more by fhewing ^§
his belly all bloody, pretending to have cured the wound which he
had not made.    He told us, that the evil fpirits appeared to him
in different forms, and came from different places;   fome came
from the fea, others out of the burning mountains; fome of
them were very large, and fome very fmall; fome had no hands,
and fome were half burned;  the fpirits of the fea were mucji
finer dreffed than the others, and appeared to him as it were in
a dream,  and at fuch a time they tormented him fo much, that
he was almoft out of his fenfes.    *
When the forcerers pretend to cure any distemper by their
conjurations, fometimes they order a dog to be killed, at other
times K  A  M  T     C    H   A   T   K  A,     6rV.       231
times to fet little rods round their huts. When they kill a dog,
one perfon holds it by the head, another by the tail, and a third
Stabs it in the fide; when it is dead they flick it upon a flake,
turning its face towards the nearest burning mountain.
Their civil policy is as rude as their religious; they know
nothing of dividing the year into months; they have names
indeed for the four feafons. They have only names for the four
cardinal winds. Of the constellations they know the Great Bear,
which they call, in their language, the wild rein-deer; the
Pleiades they name the duck's nest; and the Milky Way the
fcattered. river.
The distance of places they reckon by their day's journey,
which is between 30 and 50 verfts.
Before they were subject to the Empire of Ruffia they nev^r
had any government or chief magistrate among them, only
thofe that were rich had fome fort of authority over the poor ;
nor before that did they know any thing of an oath. At prefent,
instead of fwearing upon the crofs or gofpel, our CofTacks oblige
them to hold a mufquet by the barrel, threatening, that whoever
does not obferve this oath will certainly be fhot by a ball. This
they are fo much afraid of, that rather than clear themfelves by
this oath, if guilty, they will .confefs their crime.
They are-e]uite ignorant of all good manners, not only in common compliments, but in receiving strangers, whom they treat
with an air of fuperiority. When they entertain their guefts they
don't oblige them to over-eat themfelves, as the Kamtfchadales do,
but give them what they have in fufficient plenty; their best victuals is fat meat, and all thefe barbarous nations are excessively
fond of fat, The Jakutfki would lofe an eye for a piece of fat
horfe flefh, and the Tchukotfkoi for a fat dog. The Jakutfki
khow that the Stealing of any cattle is punifhed with the lots of
all their goods; yet, if they have an opportunity, they can't restrain themfelves from stealing a fat horie, comforting themfelves
amidst 232
Of     the     NATIVES*/
amidst all their misfortunes, with"the pleafure of having once in
their life made a delicious meal.
* Amongfl all thefe barbarous nations, excepting the Kamtfchadales,
theft is reputable, provided they do not steal in their own tribe,
or if done with fuch art as to prevent difcovery; on the -other
hand, it is punifhed very feverely if difcovered, not for the theft,
but for want of addrefs in the art of Stealing. A Tchukotfkoi girl
cannot be married before the has fhewn her dexterity in this
r Murder is not looked upon as a great crime unlefs it be in
their own tribe, and then the relations of the murdered generally revenge it, but no one elfe takes any notice of it.
In their marriages the rich match with the rich, and the poor
with the poor, with little regard either to beauty or any other ac-
complifhment. They marry for the most part into their own family,
fuch as with a first cousin, an aunt, or mother-in-law; and, in
fhort, with any relation except their own mother or daughter.
The ceremonies of courtfhip are the fame as among the Kamtfchadales. Although the bridegroom fhould be very rich, yet he
is obliged to ferve three or five years for his bride; during which
time they allow them to fleep together, though the form of
catching the bride fhould not be performed, which they leave
till the marriage be celebrated, and that is done without any
great ceremony. They have fometimes two, and fometimes three
wives, whom they keep at different places, giving them a herd
of deer and a keeper. Their greatest pleafure is to go from place
to place and examine their cattle; and it is furprifing that the
Koreki, notwithstanding their herds are fo numerous, and they
are quite ignorant of arithmetick, can immediately difcover the
leaft lofs, and even defcribe all the marks of the deer that is
They have  a great  fondnefs   for   their  children,  and breed
them up from their infancy to labour and oeconomy.    Thofe
W- that K  A
S   C  H  A   T
A,   &c.
that are rich, as foon as the child is born, fet apart for him a certain
number of rein-deer, which however he cannot claim 'till he comes
to maturity. The old women give names to the children, with
the following ceremonies :—They fet up two little rods, which
they tie together with threads, to the middle of which they hang
a ftone wrapped in a piece of fheep-fkin ; then they afk of the
ftone in a muttering voice the name they fhall give, and running
over thofe of feveral of their relations, whatever name the Stone
fhakes at they give to the child. The child-bed woman does
not fhew herfelf nor come out of the hut for ten days ; if they
are obliged to remove their habitations during that time, fhe is
carried in a covered fledge. They give their children the breaft
till they are three years old and upwards; but they ufe neither
cradle nor fwaddling cloaths.
They carefully attend thofe who are tick, and their Shamans,
or conjurers, treat them in the manner above related ; but they
know nothing of the virtues of drugs or plants.
They burn their dead in the following manner :—Having first
dreffed them in their finest apparel, they draw them with thofe deer
which they think were their favourites to the place where they
are to be burned. Here they erect a great pile of wood, into
which are thrown' the arms of the deceafed and fome houfhold
furniture, fuch as their fpear, quiver and arrows«knives, hatchets,
kettles, &c. Then they fet fire to the pile; and while it is
burning, kill the deet that drew the corps, upon which they
feast, and throw the fragments into the fire.
They celebrate the memory of thePdead only once, and
that a year after their death. All the relations then affem-
ble; and taking two young rein-deers that have never been in
the draught, and a great many deers' horns, which they have
been collecting through the whole year for that purpofe, they
go to the place where the body was burned, if near, or if at a
distance, to fome other high place,  where they kill the  deer;
H h and Ill
236 Of     the    N    A    T    I    V    E    S     of
more that of the Tungufi, than the Kamtfchadales. Though
they are fo little regardful of uniformity in their own country
cloathing, they are very proud to acquire fuch as are made of
cloth, ferge, or Silk, particularly thofe of a fcarlet colour; but
fo little care do they take of them when they have got them,
that they will wear them when employed about the dirtiest
Their nuts are much the fame as thofe of the Kamtfchadales,
only they keep them a little cleaner, covering generally the floor
and walls with mats made of gfafs. They feed for the moft part
upon fea animals, and very little upon fifh.
They are as ignorant of a' deity as the Kamtfchadales. In
their huts they have idols made of chips or fhavings curioufly
curled. Thefe idols they call Ingool, and are faid to venerate
them in fome degree, but whether as good or evil fpirits I
never could learn. They facrifice to them the first animal
which they catch, eating the flefh themfelves, they hang up the
fkin before the image; and when they change their huts they leave
the fkin and the idol there. If they make any dangerous voyage
they take their idol along with them; which, in cafe of imminent
danger, they throw into the fea, expecting by this method to
pacify the ftorm ; and with this protector they think themfelves
Me in all their excursions.
They travel in the fummer time in boats, in the winter in
fnow fhoes. The men are employed in catching of fea animals^
the women in fewing, during the winter; but in the fummer
they go out w$th their hufbands to hunt.
They are more civilized than the neighbouring people,
being Steady honest, and peaceable; their way of Speaking is
foft and modest; they have a refpect for old people, and an
affection for each other, particularly their relations. It is a
pleafure to fee with what hofpitality they receive fuch as
come to visit them from, other iflands:  thofe that  come in
boats, and thofe that receive them from the huts, march in
great ceremony, dreffed in all their warlike accoutrements, fhak-
ing their fwords and fpears, and bending their bows, as if they
were going into an engagement, and dancing up to each other
till they meet, fhewing the greatest Signs of delight, embracing and
hugging one another, and fhedding tears of joy. The people of
the huts then carry the visitants into their habitation, where they
entertain them in the best manner, standing and hearing them
relate all the adventures that have happened to them in their
voyage. The honour of this relation is referved for the oldest,
who is always the orator; he informs them of every thing that
has happened Since the last meeting, how they have been,em-
ployed, how they lived, where they travelled, whom they faw,
what good fortune or misfortune has happened to them, who have
been tick, or who are dead. This relation fometimes continues
for three hours. When the Stranger has ended, the oldest of
the people who are visited gives him an equal information of every
thing that has happened to them. Before this the reft mufl not
ipeak to one another; then, according as circumstances are, they
either condole with, or congratulate, each other, and finifh the
entertainment with eating, dancing, tinging, and telling of
In their courtfhips, marriages, and the education of children,,
they differ very little from the other Kamtfchadales. They have-
two or three wives, with whom they never publickly fleep, but
Steal to them privately in the night time. They have an extraordinary way of punifhing adultery : the hufband of the adulte^-
refs challenges the a combat, which, is performed in
the following manner: both the combatants are ftripped quite
naked, and the challenger gives the challenged a club about three
feet long, and near as thick as one's arm ; therj|the challenger is
obliged to receive three strokes upon his back from the challenged,
Who then returns him the club, and is treated in the fame manner ;, 33B Of     the     NATIVES     of
ner; this they perform three times, and the refult is generally
the death of both the combatants: but it is reckoned as great
difhonour to refufe this combat, as to refufe an invitation to a
duel among the people of Europe. If any one prefers his life or
fafety to his honour, the adulterer then is obliged to pay to the
hufband of the adulterefs whatever he demands, either in fkins,
cloaths, provisions, or other things.
The women have a harder time in child-bearing than the
Kamtfchadales, for they fay, the Kuriles women do not recover
after child-bearing for three months. The midwives give names
to the children when they are born, which they always keep. If
they have twins they destroy one. j|p»|
Such as die in the winter they bury in the fnow ; but in the
fummer they are buried in the earth. Self-murder is as frequent
here as among the Kamtfchadales.
*,        A        ,*,        A » A
<j    *fcc'
O F O   F
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PA    R    T
C H A P.    I.
Of thefirft DISCOVERIES »«</<? of Kamtfchatka, and tU
Planting of Ruffian Colonies there.
%**%**& H O' the Ruffian territories upon the Frozen Ocean,
%> T <&> from the river Lena eaft to the river Anadir, were
*C 3* of prodigious extent,   yet it  was judged proper to
M^y^M g|ye or(jers t0 every commiffary to inform himfelf of
the countries beyond the Anadir, and to endeavour to bring the
inhabitants under fubjection. By this means a knowledge of
Kamtfchatka, and of the different people who inhabit it, was
long ago obtained;   efpecially fince the Koreki,   whicli   live
upon II
Of   the    CONGEST    co
upon the Penfchinfka and Olutorfkoy feas, came from Anadir, and
had communication with the inhabitants of Kamtfchatka, to
whofe country they frequently travelled. But we have still no
authentick account who was the first Ruffian that difcovered
thefe places: there is, it feems, a tradition of one Theodot, who
for the fake of trade went into Kamtfchatka as far as the river
Nicula, which river is now called after him, Theodotojhme. They
pretend, that he went out of the river Bova into the Frozen
Ocean with feven boats; that, being feparated from the reft by
a ftorm, he was driven to Kamtfchatka, where he paffed the winter ; that the next fummer, going round the Kurilfkaya Lopatka
through the Penfchinfka fea, he arrived at the river Teghil, where
he and ali his company were murdered by the Koreki, which
difafter was occasioned by their having feen one of the Ruffians
kill another with fire arms; for the Koreki upon obferving the effect of thefe weapons at first esteemed the Ruffians as fome fuperior
beings; but perceiving them to be mortal, they were glad to free
themfelves from fuch dangerous neighbours. This tradition is
confirmed by the account of one Simeon Defhnef; who relates,
that their voyage was very troublefome, and that they were
driven at last upon that promontory to the east of the river
Anadir: however, all this feems to be very uncertain.^There
is likewife an account, that in the year 1660 they recovered a
woman who had been carried away from Jakutfki by the Koreki,
and who related, that Theodot, with one of his companions died
there of the fcurvy; that others of them were murdered; and
thatjthe remainder, who efcaped in boats, were never heard of.
The Kamtfchadales acknowledge that fome winter huts upon the
river Nicula were built by Ruffians.
All thefe different reports may easily be reconciled, ,$£
we fuppofe that Theodot and his companions were loft between
Anadtiffaand Olutorfkoy. They had wintered in Kamtfchatka,
•upon the river Teghil;  whence in  returning to Anadirfk over
land, he died upon the road,
murdered or loft. However,
of no   great confequence  to
and his companions were either
at any rate, this difcovery was
the interest of the empire, as
no information of the country was thereby obtained; fo that
the first -jpfcovery of Kamtfchatka may be attributed to the
Coffack Atlafof.
This Atlafof was fent from Jakutfki to the fort Anadirfk in
the year 1697. He was ordered to fee if he could difcover
new countries, and bring them in fubjection to the empire of
JRuffia, by the affiftance of the Koreki Tukageri, who lay near Anadirfk. In the year 1698 he fent out one Luke Morofkoi, with
Sixteen Koreki, in order to gather in the taxes at the moft distant
places; who at their return reported, that they had not only been
among the Koreki, but even within four days'journey of Kamtfchatka ; that they had taken one of their little forts; and had got a letter written in a language which no body could underftand. Upon
this, Atlafof, :$ith sixty CofTacks and as many Tukageri, mai&hed
into the country of Kamtfchatka, in order to make difcoveries, and
to prevail upon them to pay tribute, which he by fair methods obtained from the Acklanfki, but the fort Talofki he reduced by %ce.
After this, as they relate, he divided his company into two corps;
the one of which he fent to the Eaftern Ocean, under the command
of Luke Morofkoi, and with the other he in perfon went towards the
Penfchinfka fea. Upon the Pallana his allies, the Tukageri, rebelled
against him, killed three of his CofTacks, and wounded Atlafof himfelf and fifteen others; however he overcame the Tukageri, and
killed tfjem all. Notwithstanding this misfortune he purfued his
jgurney fouth wards. Upon the river Teghil he joined the party
under Morofkoi, and exacted tribute from the people that lived
upon.the Napan, Kigil, Itche, Sintche, and Harufof, and refcued
a Japanefe prifoner that he found among the Kamtfchadales.
Returning from   the   river   Itche   he   went   to    the   river
Kamtfchatka,   where he built   the  upper .^Kamtfchatkoi   fof^.
I i and 242        Of    the     C   O   N   Q_U   E   S   T    $t-
and left in it Potap Sirukof, with fifteen CofTacks. Atlafof
returned fron^this joarneytto J&kutfki the 2d of July 1700, and
brought along with him the Japanefe he had refcued, and the
Kamtfeh&tka tribute, which con fitted of 3200 fables, ten fea bearers, feven pieces of beavers' fkins, four otter fkins, ten grey foxes,
and 191 red foxes ; and 440 fables on his own account. With
this tribute he was dilpatched to Mbfeow, where, for his fer-
vices, he was made Chief of the CofTacks at Jakutfki, and was
ordered to return again to Kamtfchatka, and to take along with
him from Tobolfka, Jenifei, and Jakutfki, 100 Coftacks. Orders were fent to Tobolfka to furnifh them with fome fmall cannon, colours, a drummer, arms, and ammunition. However
Atlafof was prevented fitom this expedition before the year
1706; loivin th&'year 1701, upon-^he fi&ver Tungufi, he plundered a boat With Chinefe goods, belonging to Logan Dobrin\
whofe. fervant petitioned against him, at the Chancery of Jakutfki, for which he and ten of the principal robbers were put
in prifon j and in the year 1702 Michael Zinoveef who had been
there formerly, was fent chief of this expedition.
All tfeife time the Comtek Potap Sirukof lived quietly in the
fort of Kamchatka, and for three years received no injury ftom
the inhabitants: for he did not demand any tribute, but only traded
With them like a merchant. At last they determined to leave the
fort; but on their return to Anadirfk, he and all his companions
were fet uriOiband killed by the Koreki. His fucceffor appears to
have been Timothy Xjobelof, who is reckoned the firft governor^
Kamtfchatka. In his time a fort was built upon the river Karakeef,
about half a verft diftant from the firft. He built winter huts upon
the river Telofka, and gathered voluntary tribute upon the river
Kamtfchatka, and upon the Penfchinfka and Beaver fea coaft ; witfc
whjfhhe returned, in the year 1704, to Jakutfki. At the fame
'<time a party of the Anadirfki Cofiacks, under the command of
Andrew Kutin, built feven winter huts upon the river Taka, which
3 K   AT M   T   S
C    H   A    T   K   A.      w&
and began to. gather taxfcs from
falfs into the liattern Ocean:
the neighbouring Koreki.
Miwhael 'gHnoveef, fe'm in place of Atlafof from Jakutfki^
fucceeded Cobelof; which place he Heftd tilft&e wfes relieved
by Kolefif, in the year 1704. In hi&time he made boo&Tof
tribute, in which the names of the Kamtfchadales were inferted j
he tranfported the winter huts to a more convenient place, built
a little fort upon the great river, and having brought things into
tolerable order, he returned to Jdfokfki with his tribute. Kole-
Jbf arrived there in the harveft 1704, and continued to the year
1706 ; for the Outori kflle^*two perfons on their journey thtft
were appointed to relieve him, viz. Vafili Protopopof fahybfy
and yifili $helcocofnte$f$n 1705. In his 4$me was the*firft expedition undertaken against the Kuriles, about twenty of whom ,
i&ey brought back With tJiem, and drove all the re& aw^y. He
carried all h^F't^oute fafe to Jakutfkfy notwithstanding he w&
way-laid at the fort Kafukif upon the riWer Pmgin, b^*the
Koreki, but he retired to another■ little fort called Aklaiifki,
where he fwed abotilPfilteen weeks, till the ^Winter way became
paflable. During thif>4&nt £he Koreki of Kafu£t tiled feveral times
to fiirbrife him, but he was defended by th#3fihfaMtants of Acklan-
fki. Here Kvlefbf met feven people that were fent with prefeflife
and ammunition to the fort of Kamtfchatka; as he was in great waitt
of the latt#, for their feculSty he added to them thirteen of his own
f>arty, and gave the command to Stmon Lomgaf whom herordered
3fikewi0 to gathe^Jtribute round the three KaSHtfthatka forts.
At the departure of Vifili KolefofaW the dfcbutary Kamtfchadales
■Were tolerably quiet; but afterwards, when Theodore Anqudenof
Was cod&mif3S!fy in the upper forty" Theodore Tareffiin the lowSr
fort, and Demetrie Taregin upon the Great RSver, the inhabitants of the Great River rebelled, burned the fort, and ttftur-
derefcall the inhabitants: at the fame time five t&8-gatherers
were killed upon the Beaver Sea.    The reafon of their rebelfion
I i a perhaps 244       °f 3$***  c   °^  Q_U   E   S  T     of
perhaps might be, that the taxes were gathered with feverity,
which was the more intolerable, as formerly they had never been
. abeuftomed to pay any, and therefore endeavoured, by4he murder
of their oppreffors, to recover their ancient liberty : befides, they
jjfeagined that thefe Ruffians might be themfelves fome runaway4f
as they had never obferved any new faces among them; they hoped
too, that the Koreki and Olutefies would prevent the ariival of new
recruits from the Anadirfk, as they heard that they had ntrurdered
two commiffaries, with the Coffacks under their command -, however they were deceived in their hopes, for a great many of $iem
were killed by their future conquerors, and their numbers very
All this while the <Joflacks were obliged to be very much upon
their guard, and keep themfel^s clofe in their forts. In the.
year 1705 Atlafof was freed frcim prifon, and fent commiflary
to Kamtfchatka, wifcn full auth^ty, the fame as he was invested
with in the year 1701. The abfofate power of punifhing with
rbds, or even the knout, was no otherwife circumfcribed than by
a recommendation to do strict justice, and to treat the Kamtfchadales
in particular jffi&h lenity and tendernefs. He went from Jakutfki
accompanied by a great number of Cofiacks, furnifhed with Warlike ftores, and two pieces of brafs cannon; but fo far did he forget the favour of the pardon he had obtained for his former robbery,
and difregardhis new instruction^, that before he arrived at Ana-
idhfik he began to exercife his cruelty upon thofe th&t were
under his command, and became fo intolerable that they fent a
petition thence against him to Jakutfki. Notwithstanding this
he arrived fafely at Kamtfchatka in the month of July 1707,
and took the chief command over all the commisTaries that were
In the month of Augufi he ordered one John Tare tin, with
feventy Coflae&s, to march against the rebels who had killed the
tax-gatherers upon the Beaver Sea.    He met with no opposition
before K   A   M   T   S   C   H   A- T    K   A.
before the 27th of November, in his whole mardtafrom the
upper fort to Awatfcha, but coming near the bay ofAwachin-
fkay, which is called at prefent the haven of Peter and PaujM
tlrey were met in the evening by 800 Kamtfchadales, who
$lough|Nthemfelves fo certain of oves^oming the CofTacks, that
they refolved not to kill but take them all prisoners, every one
being furnifhed wit^a ro