Saint Petersburg, 3 March 1845. Printed form with the Imperial coat of arms and official stamps, completed in ink. Ca. 23,5x35,5 cm (9 ¼ x 14 in). Signed by the Military Governor of Saint Petersburg Kavelin. Paper slightly age-toned, fold marks, minor tears on folds neatly repaired, but overall a very good original document.
Interesting original document relating to the history of Alaska when still a Russian possession (1799-1867). The official “podorozhnaya” or transit pass was the main document that allowed travellers to obtain fresh horses while moving across the vast territories of European and Asiatic Russia in the pre-railway years and centuries (the first major railway in European Russia between Moscow and St. Petersburg was built in 1842-51, and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway would not start until 1891). This podorozhnaya obliged the managers of the government-funded stations on the roads from St. Petersburg to Okhotsk to provide two horses for a “newly appointed Preacher for the Russian American Colonies Gavriil Platan [or Platov?].” The document is signed by Alexander Kavelin (1793-1850), a Russian military officer, participant of the Napoleonic Wars and military governor of Saint Petersburg in 1842-1846. Nineteen manuscript entries on recto and verso document Platan’s route in April and June 1845, mostly while crossing the Ural Mountains. The April entries contain the names of stations of the 19th-century Vyatka and Perm provinces – modern-day Kirovskaya, Permskaya and Sverdlovskaya oblasts of Russia. Among them are Uzinskaya, Chemoshurskaya stations (Vyatka province), Klenovskaya, Sosnovskaya, Dubrovskaya, Poludennaya stations, Perm city, Yanychevskaya, Morgunovskaya, Achitskaya, and Beloyarskaya stations (all in Perm province). The only entry on recto dated June 1, 1845, records the passing of the Olekminsky okrug (district) in modern-day Yakutia. Overall a very rare and historically interesting survival, illustrating the typical travel of many Russian-American Company’s associates to Alaska – across Siberia to Okhotsk and thence by ship across the North Pacific.
The full text of the pass: “According to the Decree of His Imperial Majesty Nikolay Pavlovich, the Autocrat of All the Russias, from Saint Petersburg to Okhotsk to the Instated Preacher of the Russian-American Colonies Gavriil Platan [?] from the Postal Expenses Give two Horses with the Guide without delay…” Two official stamps on the lower margin read “On the state business.”.