1853-09-05 THE RUSSIAN SQUADRON FOR JAPAN.
London Times, 5 September 1853, p. 8: THE RUSSIAN SQUADRON FOR JAPAN.
The naval force of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia now in Chinese waters with the intention of proceeding to Japan to watch the movements of the American squadron under orders for that destination consists of the Pallas, 52 guns; the Dwina, 10 guns; and the Vostock, 4 guns. After remaining at Hongkong for about a week, the Pallas and Vostock are to proceed in search of the American fleet, supposed to be about the Loochoo Islands, waiting for the Powhattan, hourly expected. The editor of the Friend of China was favoured with an invitation to go on board the Pallas, and gives some interesting particulars relative to that fine vessel and the Russian naval service: -- "She was built in St. Petersburg in 1838, and, as a specimen of her sailing qualities, made the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to Java Head in 32 days. Her armament is composed of 4 68-pounders and 48 24-pounders, with a beautiful stand of the newly invented rifles, carrying, at blank-point range, a distance of 400 paces. Her crew numbers altogether 400, including a brass band of 20. There are no marines, -- indeed every seaman is enlisted in Russia, and has to do military as well as naval duty if required of him. The period of service is, in some instances, 18 years, in others 22 years, at the expiration of which they retire on a pension, but at any time during the first five years afterwards they are liable to be called on to do duty should any emergency arise. For this service they receive, besides food and clothing, an annual payment, the average rate of which will astonish seamen of other navies -- one guinea per annum; for foreign service two guineas. Of course everything is found them; and, according to their appearance, they do not want for food or clothing. Besides this, the families of those who are married are maintained in barracks, for every son an extra ration being allowed (for daughters none), on the express condition, however, that when of sufficient age -- say 16 years -- the male youth does duty as a seaman or soldier. (The soldier's period of service is, for cavalry 10 years, infantry 15 years.) Children during the five years after period are totally exempt. A guinea per annum we have mentioned as the average rate of pay. There are, however, several classes of seamen -- 1st, helmsmen; 2d, topmen; 3d, able seamen; and then ordinaries, as in the English navy, with various grades of petty officers, as boatswains and their mates. Among the list of principal officers to be found below it will be seen that there is no paymaster or purser. The duty devolving on that officer in an English ship, in the Russian navy is attended to by one of the lieutenants, the actual working of the business being done by officers of the second grade. The following are the officers of his Imperial Majesty's ship Pallas: -- Vice-Admiral Putiatin; Post-Captain, Unkofski; Flag-Captain, Possiet; Admiral's Secretary, Goncharoff; Secretary of Legation, Goschkavitch; Chaplain (Archimandrite), Awvakoom; First-Lieutenant, Tihmanoff; second, the Baron Crudner, aide-de-camp to His Imperial Majesty the Grand Duke Constantine; third, Saevich; fourth, Belavinetz; fifth, Schwartz; first surgeon, Arefieff; first master, Gallezoff; second, Porfoff; gunner, Lasseff. There are three passed midshipmen, four midshipmen, and one naval cadet, the last-mentioned a son of Admiral Lazereff, who commanded one of the Russian ships of the line at Navarino, and who at his death was commodore of the Russian squadron in the Black Sea. We found the Pallas in first-rate order, the decks and every part of her as clean as we might expect to find, a cleaner than we have found British frigates just from sea, and a credit to any service. The squadron sent to the seas of China and Japan by the Emperor of Russia is not with any view to interrupting the squadron sent by America to Japan, but with instructions to co-operate with America if necessary, and to secure to Russia a share of the advantages expected to be derived by opening a commercial intercourse with that country. The Russians say their Emperor thought of sending an embassy to Japan long before the Americans did. Between Russian America and the most northern ports of Japan there is still, and for a long time has been, some trade, and it is in no way unreasonable to find his Imperial Majesty desirous of improving and regulating it on such terms as may be obtained by other Governments."
Provided by Stephen McLaughlin