Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward

No. 171.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 270 is received. I inclose you a statement of the minister of the interior, Mr. Valouïoff, in reference to schools, &c., in Russia. I was asked for the information, I believe, by one of the departments at Washington, or by the Smithsonian Institute. Please forward copy of it to the proper party.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

[Page 463]

Schools in Russia.

[From the minister of the interior, M. Valouïoff].

Special technical instruction was introduced in Russia by Peter the Great. But nearly all the schools of that character which exist at this day have been founded under Alexander I and Nicolas I. In all these establishments the instruction preserved a corresponding character: the course of special learning was united in them with a course of general studies, resembling the course of the gymnasiums, (establishments of instruction of the second order.) Under the present reign the instruction in technical knowledge has received a decided reorganization; in the superior schools all studies, not of a special character, are discontinued, but the youth who enter these schools must submit to an examination, proving that their knowledge corresponds with the course of studies of the gymnasium.

Agriculture.—The great schools of agriculture are the Academy of Agriculture of Moscow, and the Institute of Agriculture of St. Petersburg. After the emancipation of labor, its price having risen, the government resolved to give a new scope to the agricultural productive force by the propagation of the knowledge of rural economy. With that view the government founded, at its expense, the Academy of Moscow, and reorganized the Institute of St. Petersburg. Besides those two superior establishments, there exist in Russia several other similar schools of an inferior character:

Personnel. Cost to the government.
Teachers. Pupils.
Institute of agriculture 103,785
Academy 20 176 146,500
Agricultural school of Kharkou 6
59 }
Agricultural school of Gorki, (government of Mohilew) 6
Four metairies 16 161 64,400
Three schools of agriculture 13 64 45,000
Five forest schools 15 215 52,600
Oenology school, (Magaratch, in Crimea) 2 9 2,350

Besides these establishments there exists at St. Petersburg a public museum of rural economy, newly founded, but already enriched by a fine collection.

Mines.—The necessity to know and to explore the immense mineral riches of Russia has moved the government to found several establishments devoted to the instruction in the science of mining. These are, the Institute of Mining of St. Petersburg, (superior school,) having an extensive and fine mineral museum; the Essayers’ School of St. Petersburg; the Mining School of Catherinburg, and seven inferior schools in the mining districts of the Oural and Altaï mountains:

Personnel. Cost to the government.
Teachers. Pupils.
Mining institute 36 141 114,000
Essayers’ school 6 15 11,200
Mining school 7 24
24 }
Seven schools in the districts 22
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Roads.—This branch of technical knowledge has only one superior school, the Institute of Roads at St. Petersburg, with a museum of civil architecture.

Personnel: Teachers, 31; pupils, 210; cost to the government, 107,000 roubles.

Arts and trades.—Three establishments are employed to propagate the industrial arts. They are, the Technological Institute of St. Petersburg, the object of which is to educate manufacturers, and which is, at the same time, a sort of manufactory; the Artisans’ School, and the School of Technical Designs of Moscow:

Personnel. Cost to the government.
Teachers. Pupils.
Technological institute 41 409 148,605
Artizans’ schools 18
291 }
School of designs 25

Marine.—Concerning navigation, there exists in Russia a Corps of Marine Cadets at St. Petersburg, a School of Pilots at Cronstadt—both establishments devoted to the education of officers for the navy—and four Schools of Navigation: at Riga, Kherson, Archangel, and Kem, devoted to the education of pilots for the commercial navy:

Personnel. Cost to the government.
Teachers. Pupils.
Corps of marine cadets 33 162 174,000
School of pilots 24 143 62,300
Four schools of navigation 19 157 13,000

Commerce.—The central establishment for the propagation of commercial instruction is the Academy of Practical Sciences of Moscow, founded at the expense of the merchants. The establishments of the second order are, the Schools of Commerce of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, and Tiflis, founded by the aid of a subsidy furnished by the commercial order, and partially sustained by the government:

Teachers. Pupils.
Academy of Moscow 32 344
School of St. Potersbur 28 275
School of Moscow 20 160
School of Odessa 7 36
School of Tiflis 6 191

Fine arts.—There are in Russia several institutions, established by the government, at its expense, devoted to the study of the fine arts and the propagation of a taste for them. They consist of schools and museums. The central school of fine arts is the [Page 465] Imperial Academy of Fine Arts at St. Petersburg. It embraces the five following classes: painting, sculpture, architecture, engraving, and mosaic. The study of the fine arts is there accompanied by a course of æsthetics, history of art, literature, and other sciences tending towards the perfection of the youth who enter into an artistic career. Those among them evincing a superior talent are sent, at the expense of the government, to foreign countries for a period of from four to six years. The academy has a library and a museum containing over 1,500 pictures of different schools, 500 pieces of sculpture, and collections of Byzantine and ancient Russian objects of art, medals, cameos, and engravings. A special sum of 10,000 roubles is appropriated annually to the academy for the encouragement of young artists.

The School of Painting and Sculpture of Moscow is considered as a branch of the academy of St. Petersburg.

A School for Civil Architecture, attached to the Department of the Interior, was instituted for the special purpose of educating architects for the provinces:

Teachers. Pupils.
Academy of fine arts 23 500
School for painting and sculpture 20 161
School for civil architecture 32 104

The Imperial Museum of the Hermitage consists of several artistic collections. These are—

1. A gallery of 1,631 paintings, of which 327 belong to the Italian school, 115 to the Spanish school, 944 to the Flemish, Hollandish, and German schools, 172 to the French school, 8 to the English school, and 65 to the Russian school.

2. A gallery of Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek-Roman, and modern sculpture—361 pieces belonging to the Greek-Roman school, and 42 to the modern schools.

3. A collection of painted vases, said to be Etruscan—1,786 pieces.

4. A collection of antique bronze objects—343 pieces.

5. A collection of antique objects of baked clay—543 pieces.

6. A numerous collection of antiquities of Kertsch, and from the Greek colonies of the shores of the Black Sea.

7. A collection of 11,740 sketches, made by painters of different schools.

8. A collection of 200,000 engravings.

9. A library of 1,030 manuscripts, of which 140, in the Russian, Latin, French, German, and Italian languages, are adorned with miniatures.

10. A library of printed books.

The Public Museum of Moscow, newly instituted, is composed of various collections. Among them are—

1. A collection of objects of art, (ancient and modern sculpture, paintings of different schools, a collection of engravings.)

2. A collection of Christian, Byzantine, and Russian antiquities.

Both museums are accessible to the public during the entire year.