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of 'the Museum Petropolitanum, the second part of which appeared in 1745, but the whole of which is nearly useless now, any fresh catalogue has been made. If such an one exists, none was offered to me, nor did I find any trace of it. At present, I understand that there are no days in the week fixed for the admission of the public; but every facility is afforded to those who choose to visit the Museums privately. In the summer, to promenade through so many handsome, well-built, and substantial rooms, displaying on all sides, arranged in very excellent order, the thousands of objects which nature and the industry of man have produced, must be a delightful recreation. But winter is the season for study; and provisions for enabling a person to bear its severity in those apartments should be made, as an encouragement to those who must otherwise debar themselves for several months in the year from contemplating collections inferior in nothing, which they have in common, to those of the Jardin des Plantes at Paris; though not equal to them in general, and even deficient in some parts, if two or three of the principal departments of science of these collections are compared to those of that celebrated Museum.
Be that as it may, protected by a stout English cloak, and with the permission of wearing goloshes to my feet, as I had to stand for hours on the cold stone-pavement of the rooms, I proceeded to examine first the Museum of Natural History. My readers need not be alarmed at this formal announcement, lest it should imply a disposition on my part to enter into a regular and minute enumeration of the stuffed quadrupeds and birds; dried fishes, and still drier specimens of mineralogy; of the anatomical preparations, and brilliant collections of insects and mollusca: for that indeed would be supplying the deficiency of catalogues of which I have complained. It will be quite sufficient to the object of the present work to
state, in a general manner, the impression I received on viewing this establishment.
The Zoological and Mineralogical Museums seem to be in a flourishing state; but yet they are not on that grand scale which ought to characterize a great national depository. Several changes have taken place in them, owing to considerable augmentations, made since the latest published accounts of foreign travellers. Several apartments which formed part of the library having been appropriated to that purpose, the specimens have been arranged in a better manner, and more conformable with the actual state of knowledge in Natural History. Many of the departments of these Museums have been enriched by the collections forwarded from South America by the Academician LangsdorfF, or presented by M. Pander, one of the curators. They consist, first, in a collection of fishes, amphibious animals and moll u sea?, brought to Russia by Doctor Siewald on hia return from his voyage round the world; secondly, in a collection of insects, and petrifactions, together with a complete geognostical collection from the Crimea and the environs of Odessa, obtained in the course of that gentleman's travels undertaken at his own expense; and, thirdly, in a second collection of petrifactions, formed by the same Naturalist in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburgh, and particularly at Pawlosky and Tsarskoe-celo. The last affords a complete view of the geology of those districts, forming an appropriate continuation of the collections already in the possession of the Academy, illustrative of the geological formation of the Governments of Estonia, Finland, Novgorod, Olonetz and Perm, two highly interesting districts of Siberia, Ecatherineburg Tomsk, Irkoutsk and Kamtchatka. That part of the Museum of Natural History which is, properly speaking, mineralogical as well as geological, is arranged according to the new systems of Haiiy and Werner, and is highly creditable
to Monsieur Severguine, whose recent loss the Academy has had occasion to deplore. Besides a respectable assemblage of exotic minerals, this Museum contains some rich geognostic collections from Sweden and Hungary, together with some rare specimens from North America, the Island of Ferro, Greenland, Norway, and the Hartz. Towering above every surrounding object in interest as well as in magnitude, each of these two great branches of the Museum of Natural History includes a truly unique specimen, the reputation of which is as familiar to every civilized country in Europe, as it is justly the boast of Russian science. I allude on the one hand to the celebrated skeleton of that stupendous inhabitant of a former world which has been denominated the mammoth; and on the other to the gigantic mass known under the name of native iron of Pallas, a crystallized aerolithe weighing 1656 pounds. The contemplation of both these objects is, to the Naturalist, a sufficient inducement to undertake a journey to the Russian capital.
The history of their discovery is too well known to need repetition in this place. I stood before the gigantic animal, bv'the side of which even the skeletons of an African and Asiatic elephant looked insignificant, amazed and perfectly awed at its stupendous structure; I had never experienced similar feelings since the time when I had an opportunity of contemplating the perfect remains of the great Megatherium, which occupy the centre of a large room in the Royal Museum erf Madrid. But in the present case the condition of the huge beast, and the recollection of the manner and locality in which it was discovered, were additional causes for surprise; for instead of being fossilized, it has retained the skin, the very flesh and the powerful tendons of the legs, in a recent state, as if its own gigantic elements, aided by the preserving influence of perpetual snows, had been sufficient to resist those extraordinary changes which geological commotions
seem to have effected in other organized beings of an antediluvian world. Or is this, after all, one of a very limited race of animals not yet extinct, and perhaps wandering, even now, within a short distance of the polar sea?
It is around this large room that a very respectable, though not extensive collection of birds, in handsome glass cases, is arranged under a gallery, in which are disposed the books of the Academy, on a large scale, forming a very valuable and comprehensive library.
I could not but look with respect on the collection of anatomical specimens, from the hand of the celebrated Ruysch, purchased by Peter for 30,000 florins, which occupies several glazed presses, and was arranged by that . great naturalist himself: and I felt great interest in examining the series of human ova, from the earliest period at which their rudiments were supposed by Ruysch to be discernible; although it has since been ascertained that such rudiments are to be observed at a much earlier period, by the help of powerful lenses: the series of embryos amount to one hundred and ten. There is also in this part of the museum a very extensive collection of human monsters, which was considerably augmented in virtue of an order issued by Peter the Great, that all such examples of deviations from the ordinary course of nature in the procreation of man, occurring at any time throughout the Empire, should be forwarded to the Imperial Academy. Wolff undertook to give the public a description of this highly curious part of the Anatomical Museum. The whole is kept in excellent order, and evinces much skill as well as taste in the curator, through whose exertions the collections have been recently placed in a condition that leaves but little room for improvement. I confess that I consider the anatomical preparations as being misplaced in the museum of the Academy of Sciences. When they were |>urc-hased by Peter, there existed no university, much less
a public school of medicine, as at present in St. Petersburgh: they could not, therefore, be disposed more advantageously than under the care of the members of the Academy of Sciences; but now that such a school exists, and that a museum worthy of its reputation in Russia ought to be connected with it, the preparations of Ruysch, with all its subsequent additions, would not only be more appropriately placed in such a museum, but be productive of more good, by the information they could not fail to afford to the numerous students who would have daily access to them. The frequent contemplation of such specimens, I know from experience, to be of the greatest assistance to medical students.
The Cabinet of Peter the Great consists of a suite of apartments so called, in which a variety of objects are placed that had belonged to that sovereign. In one of these apartments are preserved several brass cylinders, turned and engraved by the monarch himself; the lathe is also in existence, and appears to have been of the most complicated description. The designs are curious. On the cylinders are basreliefs of battles, and on their coverings intaglios to represent portraits and buildings. Several mathematical and geographical instruments are disposed all round the room; in the centre of which hangs an ivory chandelier, of curious and highly wrought workmanship, also the production of Peter. In the inner room, a figure of the great founder of the Academy, in wax, dressed in the splendid costume which he wore, when, with his own hands, he placed the Imperial crown on the head of Catherine the First, and, seated in an arm-chair, attracts attention from its almost gigantic size. Around him are suspended the portraits of several sovereigns, many of them from pericils of considerable merit. The conqueror of Poltawa is placed not far from the Arabian horse which carried him through that bloody field, and the two favourite dogs which accompanied him on all occasions. These are preserved, Very