Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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254             Music of the Waters.
In the beginning, the Russian Navy was formed entirely of foreigners, and principally of Englishmen, whilst the sailors and officers in the Black Sea were principally Greeks, and although the commerce of Russia is considerable, there is not, or at any rate up to the year 1844 there was not a single merchantman manned and sent out by Russians proper ; that is, by the Sclavonic population, which forms the real strength of the Russian Navy. Admirals Crown, Hamilton, Elphinstone, Dugdale, and Greig, and many of their own seamen who rose to posi­tions of importance, were brought up in the English Navy. The Greek influence until about 1840 was paramount in the Crimea, the languages most in vogue throughout the country were French and German. Small wonder, I think, that the Russian Navy should have so few charac­teristics, seeing of what cosmopolitan traits it is formed, and that its sailors should be of such little national in­dividuality, since so few real Russians are included amongst them.
With regard to the small portion of maritime affairs in which I am at present interested, namely, " Sailors' Songs," I have not been able to make so varied or comprehensive a collection as I should have liked, seeing what a truly musical country Russia is, but several reasons have pre­vented my doing as much as I should have wished—the chief being doubtless the cosmopolitanism that excludes anything partaking of a national character; another, I fancy, being that the Russian Navy is almost too young to have any history, and as I have before remarked, historical naval facts have invariably been the original theme of sailors' songs ; and a third is perhaps due to the fact that the " Russian sailors are all landsmen." The fleet is manned from the common conscription, with very little ethnologic distinction, excepting perhaps, that in the north preference is given to the Finns, and in the south to the Jew conscripts; not on account of the aptitude dis­played by these latter for naval service, but because as

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