Views in Circassia, with Notes by the Late Admiral Saumarez Brock

Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, New Monthly Series, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Mar., 1892), pp. 173-177.  
There are probably many—even many Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society—who would be puzzled to say offhand in what part of the Caucasus is—or was— Circassia. The common blunder by which Schamyl, the hero of Daghestan, has been turned, in Western Europe, into a Circassian, is unfairly misleading. 
The home of the Circassians—before they left it for the Turkish dominions— was, roughly speaking, the Caucasian range west of Elbruz, excluding Abkhasia—the coast lands about Sukhum Kaleh. Of recent years this region has been but little explored by Englishmen. Mr. Craufurd Grove touched only a corner of it, Mr. Philipps Wolley another corner. Mr. and Mrs. Littledale have recently sojourned in its forests in pursuit of big game, but no account has yet been published of their experiences. The forests of the Zelenchuk are still the abode of the aurochs, or wild bull, of magnificent deer and countless chamois.

About and before the time of the Crimean War, Circassia was frequented by Englishmen with political motives. The volumes of Spencer, Bell and Longworth are full of curious matter, though sadly wanting in topographical details. It is to the same period that the sketches lately shown in our rooms belong. Captain,  afterwards Admiral, Saumarez Brock was sent on a political mission among the then still independent tribes, and made good use of his pen and pencil to record the features of their country. He gives, of course, but an imperfect picture; there is much left to be discovered—the snowy crests of the central chain, which even west of Sukhum Kaleh reaches a height of 10,600 feet, the strange remains of early races buried in the forests. There is probably no tract of country so near Central Europe so little known.

Download the full-text document in PDF format