Tth Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin




XIX. 1766 - 1767.

[Emin at Catickh, where resides Yusup of the Beglarians, Melik of Gulistan - Danger from Shaverdy Khan - Yusup hawking and drinking, heeds nothing - His 500 fighting men go to their villages - Mahomedans attack - Yusup wants to run away - Emin persuades the few men left to stand firm and resist - Persians flee - Rallied by Ballah Mahomed - His provocation to Yusup - Aga Beg, in intervals of snuff-taking, shoots Ballah dead - His men fly - How the clever Armenian women concealed from Yusup all arms thrown away by the Persians, confiding in Emin alone - Disgust of Armenians with cowardly Yusup - Treacherous Aivaz - Hatham’s attempt to make Yusup submit to Shaverdy - Emin’s imaginary wealth turns the scale! - Yusup’s son Apov as hostage to Shaverdy - Returns with message warning Yusup that his "English guest" alone has saved him this time - Yusup goes to his citadel of Gulistan - Ibrahim Khan, the governor of Karabagh, provides corn for nine months - Wonderful fertility of this land, where inhabitants have everything but prudent management. ]

Trinabad, where Hatham resided, was nearer by six or seven miles to Ganja than Gedashen, where Yusup was. Here Emin, in his way to Curdistan, arrived, from the woods of Dagistan, at the village of Catickh, after having made that inroad which saved many thousands of Armenians from lasting captivity. Yusup receiving him with open arms, persuaded him to stay with him; and he, finding the chief very earnest in his desire, consented, and thought himself very happy, advising the chief not to stay longer at Gedashen, nor expect a single grain of wheat from Shameor, almost at the distance of twenty-five miles. "The city of Ganja, " said he, "is between you and that place, and the Khan Shaverdy growing more and more powerful every day, and having already collected twelve thousand men, will not easily let you have your provision from Shameor. " He said, "No, Sir; Hatham, a favourite of the khan’s, has promised that we shall have it all. " Emin then said, "Since you will not hear my advice, to set out directly from this town to the fortress of Gulistan, you must expect a visit from Shaverdy, with a formidable body of fighting men. " The chief smiled, saying, "Never mind; let us enjoy the wholesome wine of this place for some time, then we shall consider your advice. " In short, he could not be dissuaded from his way of thinking, and from the good opinion he had of Hatham’s interest with the khan. He went on amusing himself, hawking every day, and drinking every night, till three in the morning, with his officers and the elders of the tribe. On the contrary, Emin passed his time in rising early in the morning before the sun, taking with him his breakfast, and walking up and down the high mountains, so as to come to his quarters just half an hour after sun-set. As it was the latter end of autumn and beginning of winter, he enjoyed his health by breathing a fine air in the highest perfection; yet it made the people wonder what could be the reason of his going so many miles a-day, without any business or benefit.

Thus, for forty days, he reconnoitered in his walks every part of those mountains, observing the strong or weak passes in them; but the village Gedashen, where he and Yusup had quarters, was much exposed by its situation on the brow of a hill. Just on the top of it there was a breast-work thrown up in former days by some Persian general, deep enough to cover men, and to direct their pieces down; and behind that entrenchment there was the Armenian burying-ground, with a field round it, large enough to hold an army of forty thousand men, surrounded with high mountains, having only a high pass to the north, almost inaccessible; but as there were no men posted to guard it, and it was almost four miles distant from the village, it was of no use. Towards the south, over the river, there was a thick wood, which, in case of a surprize by an enemy, would have been an excellent retreat for the villagers; but the river being so rapid between it and the village, precluded all hope of passing over, though it was not so deep as six feet. Emin gave intelligence of all this, and described the bad situation of the place; but Yusup did not mind it, and said, "Let the enemy come, we will fight them at our own doors. " The generous wine had made him quite easy; till one Sunday, being the carnival of St. James’s holiday for the following fast week, when intoxicated with wine, he stupidly granted permission to his five hundred fighting men to go to their respective villages and enjoy themselves in celebrating that saint’s day, by eating and drinking. Emin was very much against it, and said to him, "That imprudent proceeding of yours, depend upon it, will be productive of evil consequences. If the enemy should pay you a visit, and their distance is but a day and a half’s journey, what will become of us then?" The answer the chief made to him was, again, "Never mind it; " and ordered his servants to prepare a drinking supper for that night. Emin hated the very name of it, went to his own quarters and slept after his supper. Unknown to him, about one in the morning, the chief fortunately happened to receive intelligence from an Armenian of Ganja, who was coming to Gedashen for some business of his own, with another Armenian; and falling unawares among the troops of Ganja, commanded by Mahommed Hassan Khan, his comrade was taken; but he being more active, made his escape, and brought the dreadful news to the chief, saying, "Yesterday there was report in the city of Ganja, that a body of Lazgui inroaders had crossed the river Cur, which is to the east of the town, about six miles distance. In the afternoon Mahommed Hassan Khan marched with his troops to meet them and give them battle. The people never suspected that his march out of the place was a kind of stratagem, in order to make us Christians easy in mind, and rest satisfied without giving information. Last night, about ten o’clock, I and another Armenian set out from Ganja, and having come half of the way, discovered to the eastward a great body of horse. They seeing us, gallopped towards us, and took my companion, but I made my escape by flight. As it was very dark, they could neither see nor find me out, since the horse are obliged to keep with the foot. I ran all the way to let you know, before their coming up, that you may be able to put yourself upon your guard. "

The chief had no more than forty men, with Aga Beg, commander of his body guards; and being greatly distressed, without knowing how to act, was ashamed of himself for not hearing Emin’s advice; and out of politeness did not send any person to wake him. Having divided the men into four unequal parts, he posted five of them, with himself and his son Beglar, behind a large rock, in the middle of the brow of that hill under which stood Gedashen. The second division consisted of twelve men, and the third of thirteen; and he placed them severally in the mouth of two vallies to the right and left of the village, reaching like two arms down to the river, so as to form almost a semicircle, in order to annoy the enemy who should come down that way. In this manner he made a disposition with his few men, and stood waiting to receive the enemy. Mohammed Hassan Khan, who, two hours before sun-rise, at the head of 2000 Kizelbashes, 2000 Mahometan foot, and 500 Ganja Armenians, arrived and took possession of the breast-work on the top of the village, mentioned before; finding those two easy passages guarded, he ordered the men to fire by vollies down to the village, in hope of frightening the inhabitants into consternation, having intelligence before of the foolish plan of Yusup, whose men were to go out holiday making; and not in the least doubting of success, took for granted that he should easily be in possession of the tribe, since the Armenians of Gedashen on the other hand, with its treacherous burghmaster Aratun, were his subjects, and would help within the place to promote his base designs. But Aratun, who, jealous of Yusup’s power, had encouraged the khan to undertake that expedition, happened to be secured that very night. He knew not indeed the diabolical intention of his master, who came not only to enslave Yusup’s clan, but to sell him also, and his twelve other villages, to the Tartars and Lazguis; so that the captives would amount to 18, 000 souls.

In that dreadful instant, the report of so many thousand fire-arms, the great noise of the Mahometans, crying "Allah! Allah!" the lamentable cries of the Christians, with their helpless families and innocent children, starting out of their beds, awakened Emin out of his sleep, not a little surprized at the disturbance. No sooner had he come out of the house, than he found the condition of those poor creatures, and saw the sad situation of the chief, who shrunk behind the rock with his son and five men, preparing to run away. Emin cried out to him, saying, "Chief, I find you want to act rashly; let your horse go, this is not a time to mount, for the place is too steep for galloping up, or rushing on the enemy sword in hand. " He understood the meaning of Emin’s words, let go the horse’s reins, and asked him, in great confusion, what they should do? Emin said, "Mind your business; persevere with patience; and when (by the help of God) you have finished the day’s work, you shall drink wine again. " In the mean time, he saw the twelve mountaineers marching down, and they honestly told him, that they were going to run away. They added, in anger, "We wish the devil had our chief, who did not follow your advice, and has got himself into this scrape! what can so few hands do against so many thousands, pouring like a deluge, ready to drown us all?" He said, "It is a shame for you to fly. Can you bear the thought of having your wives defiled by the Mahomedans? Can you live with a good conscience, after hearing that your harmless children have been made captives, and sold like cattle to the infidels? I, who have neither of those heart-destroying objects in view, am ready to die with a good will, and to lose my life like a man, and a true Christian. " They said, "You must have been inspired by some miracle; let us know it; then we will stand by you. " He had the presence of mind to say, "Yes; half an hour ago I invoked St. John the Baptist, who appeared to me in his glory, and said, Rise from thy bed; go, tell the Armenians, that victory is on their side, if two or three of them will but stand: I am St. John the Baptist, and will fight for them. "

No sooner had they heard this, than they turned their faces towards the enemy, who were all the while firing, and making a noise, saying, "Glory to Mahomed! Sword and fire to the Caffers!" It was highly pleasing to observe the exertion of those brave fellows; how they climbed up the hill; rushed on, like angry lions, into the thickest of the enemy’s fire, and put them almost in confusion; for about seven minutes they seemed as if they were lost among the multitude. From the left and right came those that were posted; and the chief, with his son and five men, followed the example with equal courage. They opened the first Persian they had killed; after cutting his head off, and taking out his heart, they dipt it in the river; a superstition in great credit among them; for they believe that by so doing, they cause a panic throughout the enemy’s forces. And so it happened; for they began to take to their heels. In the heat of the action, the brave Armenians cut off three heads, and killed 100 horses. They brought the heads, and threw them down before Emin; asking, if the English (whom he had been praising) could fight as well as they? The Persians were really so much panic-struck, that the Armenians grew wildly courageous; and two of them, without making use either of firearms or swords, ran towards the enemy, caught by the neck two Persians, and brought them to the chief.

When the enemy lost the ground where they were before posted, Ballah Mahomed, the second in command, mounted on a very fine horse, with sword in hand, rallied a great part of the broken army, seeing the small number of the Armenians; encouraging some, and abusing others, in language becoming all Mahomedan nations. Then, having put himself at the head of them, he returned very slowly back, till within sixty yards of the Armenians; when he began to insult Yusup the chief, and to threaten furiously, saying, that within half an hour he should be in possession of the clan; that he would slay all the fighting men with the sword of Mortza Aly; violate his women before his eyes, and sell the captives to the Lazguis. He added, that he dreamed the preceding night, that he was amusing himself with the Armenian young married women; and that the virgins were sent, by Mahomed the great prophet, to his seraglio.

That speech was sufficient to provoke God and man! It made the chief look round quite exasperated; and, in a hurry, he ordered Aga Beg, his uspashy or centurion, to fire at him. The gallant Armenian, instead of pointing his gun, took a large leather bag of snuff out of his pocket, with a string about a yard and a half long, and, opening it with the utmost composure, presented it to his chief, saying, "Sir, do not be out of patience; take a pinch; the abominable words of Ballah Mahomed will break his neck, and those of his cowardly Persians. " Then offering the snuff to Emin, he said, "I hope, Sir, you are not afraid, like my master, who will not take a pinch of snuff, though very fond of it. " Emin took it, and said, "My brave countryman, my mother would not have given me milk when I was born, if she had thought I should ever be afraid. " He replied, "Thou art the man whom we wanted; " and levelled his piece at the Persian. At the snapping of the lock, Ballah Mahomed turned his horse quickly, leaning his body over its left side; but the ball took him behind, and overthrew him headlong upon the ground. The valiant troops, seeing the fate of their commander, took to their heels, dropping their arms, and flew like a broken herd; when his own servants, with much difficulty, carried off the dead corpse of their master; which completed the victory. On the enemy’s side were forty heads cut off, fifty fine horses killed, 500 men wounded, of whom 300 died a few days after in their own houses. The loss on the Armenian side was but four men.

After pursuing the enemy very close about two miles, Emin thought it proper to call the Armenians back; and retreated to Gedashen, with an expectation, in their way, of picking up the enemy’s arms, or part of their baggage. But there was not a single thing left; for the Armenian women, availing themselves of the opportunity, had carried all away, and concealed them so as none could be discovered; nor would they confess the truth to their covetous chief, who did his utmost to exact at least a few of them, but to no purpose. Emin was surprized to find them so firm and resolute, as not to be tempted by the flattering promises of the chief, who examined them one by one, and assured each, that he would not take away her own booty, provided she would betray the others. The answer they made was no more than this: "Sir, we know nothing of it, nor do we betray any one. " But when Emin sent for them to his quarters, they had so great confidence in him, that they confessed the truth, and gave a very good reason for their conduct; saying, "When our children are grown up to manhood, the chief (who is no better than a heathen) will require arms, which they will be obliged to buy with their own money; if they can afford it, very well; if not, he will beat them almost to death: therefore we are under a necessity to deny the truth, in order to save our young ones from the oppression and tyranny of the chief, whom we saw at the beginning of the battle almost terrified, and going to mount his horse to run away, and leave us a prey to the Mahomedans. God knows what would have become of us poor wretches, if you had not been here! But Providence sent you to save us from that everlasting destruction, both of body and soul. " Then they cried bitterly; saying, "May God in heaven prosper and protect you! Take no notice of what we have said to you. " Then they went away to their habitations. This circumstance Emin never disclosed to any till this moment.

When the battle was supposed to be decided, all the fighting Armenians ran and kissed Emin’s hand; thanking him for his behaviour, and boldly using several sarcastical words, in regard to Yusup’s pusillanimous conduct; and this before his face. In the afternoon of that very day, the enemy, headed again by Mahomed Hussan Khan, with fresh troops, which were sent to join him by Shaverdy Khan his father, together with some field-pieces, battering cannons, and swivels on the backs of camels, marched in good order toward Gedashen; and posted upon a hill, about a small gun-shot’s distance to the eastward of the burying-ground; where the 500 Armenians who had been absent, had the day before arrived from their villages, and had raised a breast-work of huge stones, so as to shelter them in case of a surprize by night. The enemy began a few random shots, and at the same time made a great noise, with an intention to frighten; but to no effect. The brave Armenians, instead of returning the fire, laughed at them. The night coming on, about twelve o’clock Emin proposed to Yusup, the chief, a scheme to surprize the enemy’s camp; and as the men were ready to undertake the expedition, it would have been very easy, if Yusup had consented. But he made some frivolous excuses; thanking Emin for his readiness and resolution, and saying, "In case Melech Hatham, the chief of Charrabert, should happen to be with Mahomed Hussan Khan, ten to one he will meet with some accident from our men; so that the friendship which now subsists between us, will become an everlasting enmity; nor will our enemies be sorry for it. Although Hatham is caressed and bribed by Shaverdy, father to Mahomed Hussan Khan, yet in his heart he is our friend and brother. " Emin said, "Had he been with the khan, he would have come over to see you; for the distance between you and the enemy is but very small, " so that both armies could hear each other over the small valley, if they spoke loud. However, no expostulation could persuade Yusup to acquiesce; the little courage which, by the strength of good wine, he had in the morning, was then gone out of his head.

The backwardness of his behaviour excited wonder and contempt in his men; who said, "Our chief was the bravest man in this country, having killed no fewer than 400 Mahomedans with his own hand in different actions; but he is totally changed; nor is he the same man whom we have before seen!" Emin comforted them, saying, "Never mind it, my brave countrymen, he will recover his spirit; courage is like appetite; sometimes it will be present, and at other times absent. I have seen in my travels several instances of the kind, even in Frankistan, among the officers and soldiers: at one time the men would face lions, when their courage was present; at another time, they were frightened at a dog’s barking. Persons of sense and experience will not be so inconsiderate as wholly to condemn him, but will still retain their respect for him. I beg you will not be too hasty in your opinion of your noble chief, who has for twenty years protected your families, and defended the tribe. " They answered, "God in heaven bless you! your reasons are good; but we cannot help blaming that courage, which at this critical time has abandoned our chief, who is not even willing to let you manage the business. "

During the whole night, Emin continued expostulating with, and comforting them. But one Eyvaz, a native of Iravan, in the chief’s service, a very dastardly fellow, was within a hair’s breadth of spoiling everything, and defeating the inexpressible pains which Emin took to keep the men from deserting, through the unfortunate conduct of Yusup. This man fetched a very deep sigh, as if it had been from the bottom of his wicked heart, and groaning heavily, with a dismal voice, he said, "Great Sir, and my dear brethren; thirteen long years have passed since we have carried arms, and never rested in quiet; always in war and troubles, without relief!" His cowardly speech had such an effect on the minds of the men, that they began to whisper, and, in about five minutes, were going to march off. Emin, observing the condition they were in, made a terrible noise, insulted Eyvaz with fury, and reprimanded him, saying, "Nature never bestowed the two blessings at once on any man living, to enjoy the pleasures of voluptuousness, and to have his fame celebrated. Thou art a dirty spot among these brave fellows Corogly, the Turk, used to say, in his heroic songs to his men before they engaged, Laka ogurmasen meidana jundan basdan guichan gunyder; " that is, Let no black spot (or coward) appear in this field of action, but him that has forgotten his life and head. This verse Emin repeated to them singing very loud; and they, instead of running away, began to twirl their whiskers, and, grumbling like tigers, were very near putting an end to poor Eyvaz’s life, had not Emin prevented them. They all said to him, "You are the man to save us. " Yusup also complimented him, saying, "God has sent you to take care of us; what would have become of us, if you had not been here!"

In this manner they passed the whole night. Early in the morning, they saw Melech Hatham, with half-a-dozen horsemen, arrive at Mahomed Hussan Khan’s camp, and dismount near his tent, and enter it. Presently after, he, with Johannes the Catholicus of Ganja, accompanied by two of Hussan’s officers, came ever to Yusup’s camp, with a proposal of treating for peace, on condition that he would return to Shameor, to the north-west of Ganja, and become subject, as before, to Shaverdy Khan, his father. Yusup laughed, and said, "Yesterday we were but forty in all, yet did not yield; to-day we are 500 strong. Mahomed Hussan Khan is mistaken, nor will his threatening artillery have the smallest effect: on the contrary, by God’s assistance, in two hours time it shall be our property. You, Hatham, through avarice, and the bribes of that false Mahomedan, are persuading me to go over to him, and submit to his diabolical government; but his wicked design is to make an end of me first, and then to fall upon you like a wolf. The presents given by him are deposited in your coffers; but, one day or other, you will be very glad to return them to him, and yourself will fall a victim to his treachery. As for your fidelity to him, it is mere infatuation, with good intentions in your own heart! I wish we had known that you were not with him last night, we might have followed Emin’s advice, which would have saved us from the trouble of hearing his haughty message. I beg therefore you will be kind enough to withdraw yourself from that fellow, that we may a second time hazard our fortune with him. " Hatham said, "That cannot be done; I am not a Mahomedan; I have taken my oath on the Holy Scripture, either to make a good understanding between you and Mahomed Hussan, or to return to him upon amicable terms. As far as I can understand, Mahomed Hussan is already frightened out of his senses by yesterday’s affair, and had no rest all the night; sending me three troopers after one another, requesting me to go to him. [The distance between the khan and Hatham was twelve English miles; Hatham was at a place called Sernabad, an Armenian village, subject to Shaverdy Khan. ] I delayed, pretending sickness, and hoping that our noble prince Emin would surprize the enemy’s camp, and take the khan alive. As soon as I arrived, the commanders and the troops declared openly, that they were ready to march off, and leave the khan with his domestics in the lurch. But you have said, with your own lips, that you would not suffer Emin to decide the business at once. Now you are talking big, and pleading excuses! But I see you have lost your courage, and are not the same Yusup that we knew before. Grant that I had been with the khan, and had met the same fate with him; yet my son is alive; you would have had the glory; and he would have succeeded me. "

While Hatham and the Mahomedan officers were partly treating, and partly threatening, that they might persuade Yusup to march back or submit to the khan, one of his men shot a large bird of prey flying over the dead bodies; and thinking it a good omen (for the enemy’s side were firing up at the same time, but none of them could kill any), he brought it, and threw it down before Yusup. He was a Turk, the only one of the Mahomedan party, named Babba; and he thus expressed himself: "Dushmannin bryla olsen buegem; " that is to say, My prince, may your enemy become like this. He hoped to be rewarded by Yusup, who ordered Mirza Voscan, his Armenian secretary, to give him three rupees only, with a few empty words; for the chief’s avarice words cannot express! But poor Emin, having at that time in his pocket a few Venetian half-zeckins, gave the man one of them. He tossed it up three times in the air, and caught it; and then made seven very low bows to him, saying, "Dovlatan ziad olsen!" that is to say, May your prosperity increase! When this was seen by the Persians, and Hatham, who was sitting by Yusup, they were much surprized; and Hatham whispering in Yusup’s ear, asked, if Emin had any more of those gold pieces brought from England? He answered, yes; and said, that when he first came thither, he made him a present of 500 whole zeckins, his lady of 400, his eldest son 300, his youngest son 200, and his daughter 100; and that very morning had made an harangue to the fighting men, and promised, on their behaving gallantly, to give five to each of them, for every Mahomedan’s head, or every prisoner, that they brought from the field of battle. Hatham, in great amazement, communicated the information to the Persians, who looked as pale as death; then casting his eyes towards a Khurchin double portmanteau, made of fine Persian carpet, within twenty yards distance from them, guarded by twelve stout armed mountaineers, he asked Yusup, what that was? He (having had previous instructions from Emin) told him, that it was full of Venetian zeckins, which he had shewn the men, and ordered them to guard it; promising, that it should be opened as soon as the enemy’s messengers were gone away. "I wish, " added Yusup, "you would not stay five minutes with your beloved khan, after having returned his insolent message, and told him to prepare for battle; since we are resolved to fight, and rather to die than submit to his will; and (by God’s assistance) we shall see his whole army lying dead among the stones of these mountains. Hatham, depart! for ten to one the men will mutiny if you stay any longer. " This haughty language made them believe, that the bag really contained money; they not knowing that Emin had filled it to the brim with hard stones the night before, in the presence of Yusup and his men.

When Hatham went away to the khan, ten minutes had not passed, before he came back again alone on horseback, with most humble compliments from the khan, and begged for peace. Yusup referred it to Emin, whose expectation being answered, he granted peace with seeming backwardness, and said, "Sir, it is for your sake that we consent; otherwise the khan, with his numerous army, would not have existed in this world to see the next day. " Hatham also begged, as a favour, that Yusup’s youngest son Abar, about seven years of age, might go with him to Ganja, for the safety of the khan and his army, lest they should be annoyed by the mountaineers in the passes of Karajagdy, Emin having, the night before, sent forty men to secure it. (The word Karajagdy, in the Turkish language, signifies the first fall of snow. ) It is very difficult for an army to pass those mountains. Abar was allowed to go with the enemy back to Ganja, and he returned m thirty-six hours with a khalat from Shaverdy Khan, who had charged him expressly to say to his father, in the khan’s name, "That English guest of your’s saved you and your people from destruction. Go, pray to God first; then entertain him with due respect and honour: he alone deserves the praise of victory over my son: - neither you, nor your men, must pretend to have the least share in it. But I am assured, that you, giddy-headed and ungrateful Yusup! will, through the envy and jealousy of your bad heart, soon send him away from your station, and then we shall again try how you will conduct yourself a second time. While he remains there, you may drink wine, and sleep in peace: but woe be to you when he shall depart!" Yusup, hearing all this from his son, was convinced, that Shaverdy Khan would not easily forgive him, nor spare a grain of corn in Shameor; so that he stood a chance of losing his life by halting at Gedashen. Necessity therefore obliged him to follow Emin’s just counsel; and he tarried at Gedashen no longer than twenty-four hours after that menacing or prophesying message from the khan: he then issued a proclamation, in the afternoon, for the tribe to move from that place; and in a day and a half they arrived safe over the snow, at their own habitation, called the country of Kreshetzy, with a citadel named Gulstan, on a high mountain. They only lost a poor old woman by the severity of the cold. Ibrahim Khan, the sovereign of Carabagh, or head of the five Armenian chiefs, provided them with all sorts of provision for nine months, till the new crop of the tribe was ripe. They had been very diligent in the autumn, and came thirty leagues from Shameor to sow every inch of their land; and they calculated, that when the corn should be gathered in, it would suffice for five years without tilling the ground. No country in all Armenia, Georgia, or Persia, is so fertile as that of Carabagh, where one pound of seed produces 100 of grain. A stute load of wheat was sold for five abasis, or English shillings. It is the properest country to carry on war in, and to maintain liberty with ease. They have another valuable advantage over others, that the corn continues good for ten years, and remains as fresh as the new grain; whereas others, particularly in Georgia, hardly continues sound for the space of eighteen months, growing both bitter and full of insects. As for all sorts of fruits, they are in abundance; and silk, cotton, and wool, in great plenty. In other places, the fuel is chiefly the dung of cows, sheep, or horses; but in Carabagh, it is wood, for there is no village without a forest near it. In other parts, ewes have lambs once in the year; at Carabagh, twice - in the spring, and at the beginning of January. In short, they have all things in the world but one, which is the queen of all - prudent management; which seems to have bidden farewel to the inhabitants of Carabagh; and one may with good assurance say, to all Asia.


The southwest portion of Karabagh is undulating and thickly wooded, full of gardens and vineyards. The eastern portion between the rivers Kur or Kura, and the Ierask or Araxes, is flat. This part was the old province of Uthi. The western portion, which is Karabagh proper, is half of the province of Artsakh, towards Uthi, and the other half Siunek, towards the province of Haik. Lynch, in his Travels through Armenia, says, "Karabagh may be regarded as a separate geographical unit, combining in miniature many of the characteristics of the Armenian highlands, an inner plateau flanked by peripheral ranges. The immemorial home of Armenian inhabitants, the seat of Tartar immigrants, and the happy hunting-ground of nomad Kurds, it constitutes a solid outer buttress to Armenia on the side of the Caspian. The true boundary must be taken southward from the Ginal Dagh, over 11, 000 ft. to the Kety Dagh, where it forms a loop towards the west, and after almost encircling an upland sheet of water called the Ala Gol, is protracted through the heights of Sir-er-sgrchaly 11, 298 ft. and Salvarty 10, 422 ft. to the valley of the Araxes at Migry, just east of Ordubad. The Karadagh Mountains on the southern bank of the river continue the ridges of Karabagh, and the natural frontier is pushed westwards up the course of the Araxes as far as the village of Julfa. . . . . . . The plains through which the Arpa chai (grain river) eats its way to the Araxes constituted one of the granaries of Armenia in historical times. Extraordinary fertility is induced by the intermixture of the lavas with alluvial or lacustrine deposits. The black earth of the plain about Akhal kalaki is famous, and the soil in the neighbourhood of Alexandropol derives its richness from the incidence of a peculiar kind of lava side by side with the sediment of a former lake. The southerly extension of these vanished waters is marked by the belt of high ground extending from Alagoz across the plains to the Arpa chai. The river has forced its way through this elevation between Ani and Magapat. "