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Queeen of the Souanes, dethroned by her brother-in-law, came, it is said, to demand assistance against the usurper, and to engage the Russian Government in her views of power and revenge, she offered the sovereignty of her state as the price of its interposition. But Russia has no interest in the possession of these barbarous countries, and she would not interfere in their domestic disputes.” Vol. 1. p. 293.
It is remarkable that a people of the same name inhabited these very elevated vallies of the Caucasus in the days of Strabo.* It is seldom that history records of any nation or tribe so unchanged a residence.
To the notices we have given of the state of society in this country, we will annex a few general observations.
The supreme command is now exercised by a Governor, who unites in one person the military and a part of the civil power. Prince Gortschakoff, who for several years had retained this rank, is said to have been indefatigable in his efforts to improve the condition of the country.
There were formerly no written laws in Colchos.- Tradition governed their jurisprudence. Towards the middle of the last century, the Kings of Mingrelia and Imerithia adopted the code given to Georgia by Vagtang. But although this code was published in 1727, it bears all the indications of a barbarous and ignorant age. In the trial of high offences, the ancient practises of wager of battle, of boiling water, of red hot iron, were appealed to, or expurgators were permitted to swear away the crime.
The punishments were generally severe and sanguinary, and the religious creed of the offender influenced the punishment. If a christian committed a robbery, he was sold as a slave, and his property was confiscated; but his wife and children continued free. If a Mussulman committed a robbery, he lost one eye, his right hand was cut off, his property was confiscated, and his wife and children, as well as himself, were sold as slaves. A disobedient child was first admonished by the priest, but on the second complaint he was stoned to death. There is at present a supreme tribunal established at Kotais, which exercises both civil and criminal jurisdiction; of this, the President and two of the Judges are Russians, two are Imerithians. Political offences, or those which concern the Russian army, are referred to a council of war.
The Imerithians profess the Greek religion, and follow the rites of the Greek church. The Russian archbishop of Tifflis,
* Πλησίον δε και οι Σόανες ουδεν βελσίους τούτων σω πίνω, δυνάμει δε βελτίους, σχεδόν δέ τοι και κράτιστοι κατά αλησης και δυναμιν δυνας εύουσι γονύ των κύκλω τα άκρα του Καυκάσου κατέχοντες, τα υπέρ της Διοσκουρίαδος.-Strab. 1. si. p.
may be considered as their metropolitan. There are many Armenian Christians in the country, and as it becomes tranquil, their number is increasing by emigration from the Turkish provinces.
The money revenue of this country has always been very inconsiderable. The wealth of its former sovereigns consisted in those contributions of the produce of thc soil, which enabled them to feed and support their numerous retainers.
The climate of Colchos is very damp; it generally rains in each year, from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty days, while in Georgia, it scarcely rains more than thirty or forty. It is consequently very subject to fevers, and to the Russian troops who are singularly careless about their health, it has proven very fatal. M.Gamba supposes that as the forests are cleared, these evils will abate. This, however, does not accord with the experience of North-America.
The population of this country has always been a subject of vague conjecture. Gibbon remarks, (vol. vii. p. 325) that some faith is requisite to believe that the population of Mingrelia now amounts to four millions of inhabitants. Yet, he adds in a note, we must avoid the contrary extreme of Chardin, who allows no more than twenty thousand. These are wide differences, even if we should suppose that Gibbon referred to the whole country of Colchos, and Chardin alluded to the modern kingdom or district of Mingrelia.
The present population of these districts, according to the inquiries made by the Russians in 1821, may be estimated as follows: Imerithia,
160,000 scattered over this extensive and productive country. Abazie is still more depopulated—but the power of the Russians in that district is too unsettled to enable them to make any accurate estimates of its population.
In the war which is likely to occur between Russia and the Porte, it is not improbable that the borders of Colchos may become the theatre of active hostilities. If Russia should be restrained by foreign interference from extending her frontiers in Europe, besides securing the fortresses along the north-eastern coast of the Euxine, she will, probably, make exertions to acquire the province of Akhaltzikhè, which formerly belonged to Georgia, and advancing her banners to the ridges of Mount Ararat and the banks of the Thorouk, she will gain, besides a fertile and populous district, the port of Batoum, the most secure along the eastern shore of the Euxine, she will have the sources of the Euphrates under her feet, and Western Asia will be controlled by her influence, or governed by her power.
We may take some future occasion to review the excursions of M. Gainba into Georgia and the provinces bordering on the Caspian sea.
ART. V.—Malaria : An Essay on the production and propa
gation of this Poison, and on the nature and localities of the places by which it is produced, &c. By John MacCULLOUGH, M.D. F.R.S. London.
We make no apology for offering to our southern readers, an article upon the subject of Malaria. Indeed, we know not where we could have selected a topic of more general interest. The discussions relating to it, comprise matter of the highest importance to the well-being of every community. To ascertain the sources of disease, to point out the hidden springs from whence emanate the various modes of suffering and death, to determine the nature and influence of the several agents which shorten life or render it wretched and imperfect—these are surely objects worthy the most careful attention of the philosopher, the philanthropist and the statesman. If, as our author has stated, and as we unhesitatingly believe, the one half, and more than one half of our race are prematurely cut off by diseases, the product of Malaria, then this should claim of right, upon the gloomy catalogue of human maladies, the most conspicuous station. To us, especially, whose birth-place is in the midst of a region notoriously subjected to the influence of this evil agent, every point in its history is of serious import, and demands to be closely investigated and thoroughly understood.
Dr. MacCullough is already known advantageously to the public as the author of a work on the Highlands of Scotland. In the Essay before us, he has endeavoured, with a degree of success beyond that of any of his predecessors, to embody the principal facts recorded concerning the locality, production, propagation, nature and influence of Malaria. It is remarkable, that the most valuable treatise upon this matter, should have issued from the press in England--a country, less harassed by disorders arising from this source, than almost any other portion of the civilized world. But even England, if we may trust our author, has little reason to boast of the comparative exemption she has been considered to enjoy. “The Thames, indeed,” he exclaims, " is not the Congo, nor can we parallel Ostia or Terracina ;-our fevers do not slay in three days; but the disease is the same, the poison the same, and the same is the cause."
This cause of disease, the appellation of which-Malariawe have accepted from the Italians, consists, undoubtedly, in some peculiar vitiation of the atmospheric air, by some substance of a specific nature and peculiar qualities; and, as we infer from the analogy or identity of the effects attributed to it every where, is universally analogous or identical in nature, wheresoever and howsoever produced. No test, however, has yet been discovered, by which we can know, previously to the developement of its deleterious effects, the presence of this most widely extended and most mortal of all the forms of noxious effluvia. The odoriferous particles of musk and camphor, the delicate aroma exhaled by the flowers which scent the breath of spring—nay, the etherial atoms of which light itself is composed, are not, probably, more minute than the material elaborated from the several sources of Malaria, to be mingled with the air by which we are enveloped. Neither chemical nor mechanical philosophy has attributed to these particles form, colour, bulk, weight, or any other property by which they may be made cognizable to our senses. Yet this extreme tenuity, although it places them beyond the scope of even our scientific investigations, does not, in any measure, detract from their malignant potency.
It has been said, that from the close similarity of the effects produced, we infer the analogy in nature, if not the absolute identity of the agents to which we attribute their production. Peculiar forms of fever, precisely resembling each other in their modes of access, their type, their history, their various degrees of malignity under known circumstances, and the morbid changes which they occasion in the several organs of the body, are observed to be endemic in many regions or districts of the inhabited globe. Small-pox, as it occurs in the different parts of the world, is not more evidently, one and the same disease, than are the intermittents and remittents of our own continent, whether in the neighbourhood of the great lakes of the interior, VOL. II.-NO. 3.
upon the swamps of our Atlantic coast, among the rich rice fields of the South, and those of the fens of Lincolnshire in England, of Carthagena in South-America, of Walcheren in the Netherlands, of Corunna in Spain—those of Savoy, of the fertile plains of Lombardy-of the solitary Campagna of Rome, and the Pontine Marshes.
We shall not follow our author through his geographical detail of the localities of Malaria. Suffice it to say, that this is the most universally distributed of all the external causes of disease and death. If we are to trust the reports of travellers, not even Lapland and Norway can claim an exemption here, little is a northern latitude a security where there are wet lands and a hot summer," however short that summer may be. And our author is only one among many who bear testimony to the sway exercised by the same foul spirit of the marsh over the vallies and fields even of Ireland and England. “In that delightful land of meadows, and parks, and woods, and ponds, and rivers, to take a pleasant evening walk by the banks of the river or the lake, to watch the trout rise from the fish-pond or the canal at the coming flies, to attend the milking of the cows in the green meadow, to saunter among wet groves till the moon rises, listening to the nightingale--these, and more of such rural amusements and delights, these,” he exclaims, “are the true night-air, the Malaria and the fever.” If we turn to the shores of Italy-alas! “the fairest portions of this fair land are a prey to this invisible enemy; its fragrant breezes are poison, the dews of its summer evenings are death. The banks of its refreshing streams, its rich and flowery meadows, the borders of its glassy lakes, the luxuriant plains of its overflowing agriculture, the valley where its aromatic shrubs regale the eye and perfume the air, these are the chosen seats of this plague, the throne of Malaria.” In our own country, we acknowledge with pain its extended influence, its intense energy. All our alluvial soils, whether in the wide vallies of our magnificent rivers, or in the vicinity of our sea-like lakes, whether along the low plashy banks of the sluggish streams of our southern low country, or in the rich intervals between the hills which skirt the variable water-courses of our more elevated middle lands, all are under the dominion of Malaria. Our extensive forests have from the earliest time, sheltered the earth beneath them from the action of the sun, and have enriched it with their leaves, and fruits and flowers into a luxuriance pestilential to the intruder who first lifts the axe to let in air and light. Our flat Atlantic coast, from the Hudson to the Mississippi, is lined with reedy marshes, and studded over with ponds and swamps and