Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II.: Of Samoëdia, Siberia, and other countries north-east, subject to the Muscovites. - The Prose Works of John Milton, vol. 2
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CHAPTER II.: Of Samoëdia, Siberia, and other countries north-east, subject to the Muscovites. - John Milton, The Prose Works of John Milton, vol. 2 
The Prose Works of John Milton, With a Biographical Introduction by Rufus Wilmot Griswold. In Two Volumes (Philadelphia: John W. Moore, 1847). Vol. 2.
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Of Samoëdia, Siberia, and other countries north-east, subject to the Muscovites.
North-east of Russia lieth Samoëdia by the river Ob. This country was first discovered by Oneke a Russian; who first trading privately among them in rich furs, got great wealth, and the knowledge of their country; then revealed his discovery to Boris protector to Pheodor, showing how beneficial that country gained would be to the empire. Who sending embassadors among them gallantly attired, by fair means won their subjection to the empire, every head paying yearly two skins of richest sables. Those messengers traelling also two hundred leagues beyond Ob eastward, made report of pleasant countries, abounding with woods and fountains, and people riding on elks and loshes; others drawn on sleds by rein-deer; others by dogs as swift as deer. The Samoëds that came along with those messengers, returning to Mosco, admired the stateliness of that city, and were as much admired for excellent shooters, hitting every time the breadth of a penny as far distant as hardly could be discerned.
The river Ob is reported§ by the Russes to be in breadth the sailing of a summer’s day; but full of islands and shoals, having neither woods, nor, till of late, inhabitants. Out of Ob they turn into the river Tawze. The Russians have here, since the Samoëds yielded them subjection, two governors, with three or four hundred gunners; have built villages and some small castles; all which place they call Mongozey or Molgomsay.∥ Further upland they have also built other cities of wood, consisting chiefly of Poles, Tartars, and Russes, fugitive or condemned men; as Vergateria, Siber, whence the whole country is named, Tinna, thence Tobolsca on this side Ob, on the rivers Irtis, and Tobol, chief seat of the Russian governor; above that, Zergolta in an island of Ob, where they have a custom-house. Beyond that on the other side Ob, Narim, and Tooina, now a great city.¶ Certain churches also are erected in those parts; but no man forced to religion; beyond Narim eastward on the river Telta is built the castle of Comgoscoi, and all this plantation began since the year 1590, with many other towns like these. And these are the countries from whence come all the sables and rich furs.
The Samoëds have no towns or certain places of abode, but up and down where they find moss for their deer;* they live in companies peaceably, and are governed by some of the ancientest amongst them, but are idolaters. They shoot wondrous cunningly; their arrow-heads are sharpened stones, or fish bones, which latter serve them also for needles; their thread being the sinews of certain small beasts, wherewith they sew the furs which clothe them; the furry side in summer outward, in winter inward. They have many wives, and their daughters they sell to him who bids most; which, if they be not liked, are turned back to their friends, the husband allowing only to the father what the marriage feast stood him in. Wives are brought to bed there by their husbands, and the next day go about as before. They till not the ground; but live on the flesh of those wild beasts which they hunt. They are the only guides to such as travel Jougoria, Siberia, or any of those north-east parts in winter;† being drawn on sleds with bucks riding post day and night, if it be moonlight, and lodge on the snow under tents of deer-skins, in whatever place they find enough of white moss to feed their sled-stags, turning them loose to dig it up themselves out of the deep snow: another Samoëd stepping to the next wood, brings in store of firing: round about which they lodge within their tents, leaving the top open to vent smoke; in which manner they are as warm as the stoves in Russia. They carry provision of meat with them, and partake besides of what fowl or venison the Samoëd kills with shooting by the way; their drink is melted snow. Two deer being yoked to a sled, riding post, will draw two hundred miles in twenty-four hours without resting, and laden with their stuff, will draw it thirty miles in twelve.
[§ ]Purch. part 3. p. 543, 540.
[∥ ]Ibid. 524, 526.
[¶ ]Purch. part 3. p. 526, 527.
[* ]Purch. 522, 555.
[† ]Ibid. 548.