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him was of the Mohammedan religion ; and besides marrying two of his Russian subjects, he was willing to contract an alliance now with the Protestant Queen of England, now with the daughter of King Sigismund of Poland, who was a Roman Catholic.
The negotiations for the hand of the Polish princess and of the English queen seem, oddly enough, to have been carried on almost simultaneously; and this, together with the absence of positive evidence of the fact in the corre
rrespondence between Ivan and Elizabeth, preserved in the archives of the Kremlin, has led Mr. George Tolstoi, in his lately published work on the early relations between Russia and England, to maintain that the tradition as to Ivan's intended marriage with Elizabeth is without foundation.
The legend on the subject, based on reports brought home by English travellers of the period, is that Ivan IV. made a formal offer to Elizabeth, which the Virgin Queen declined on the ground that she the Slavonians, “ the most finished tyrant was firmly resolved not to enter the mar- known in history-frivolous and debauchried state; and that on Ivan's declaring ed like Nero, stupid and ferocious like that he was determined, if the queen Caligula, full of dissimulation like Tibewould not have him, at least to marry rius or Louis XI.”—is interesting as marksome lady of her court, the daughter of ing the beginning of the intercourse bethe Earl of Huntingdon, Lady Mary Hast-tween Russia and Western Europe, and ings, was proposed to him as a willing especially between Russia and England. bride. The young Englislı girl, however, The natural approach to Russia from the could not have been very anxious to be- west was, of course, through Poland; but come the sixth wife of a Tartar-like mon- the Poles impeded systematically, and for ster who was already upward of fifty years political reasons, the introduction of arts of age; and nothing came of the affair. and artificers into Russia, and Sigismund
The ainbassadors from England who wrote a letter to Elizabeth, warning her from time to time visited Russia did their against the Muscovite power as a danger best to maintain the Tsar in his delusion to civilization, only not formidable for that an English wife of high degree would the moment because it was still semi-barreally be sent out to him; and this high | barous. diplomatic flirtation gave results in the Ivan the Terrible was the third of the form of commercial treaties and special independent Tsars ; and already under privileges for English merchants, who, for Ivan, sometimes called the “Great”—to instance, were allowed by one special per- whom, indeed, belongs the honor of havmit to seize all the foreign shipping in the ing finally liberated Russia from the Tartar White Sea, and confiscate it, on condition yoke-endeavors had been made to enter of giving half the proceeds to the Tsar into relations with various European naIvan.
tions. Foreigners, too, were encouraged to The reign of Ivan the Terrible—apart visit Russia and settle there. The movefrom the striking and appalling charac-ment of foreigners toward Russia increased ter of Ivan himself, whom Mickiewicz, with each succeeding reign; and beginthe Polish poet, calls, in his lectures on ning with the first Tsar of Muscovy, it became much more marked under the Nineteen years have yet to pass before third, that Ivan the Terrible under whose the election of the first of the Romanoffs to reign the mariners in the service of the the throne; for, strange as it may seem, English company of “merchant adven- the first member of the dynasty of the turers” entered the White Sea, and, in Romanoffs was chosen and appointed to their own language, “discovered” Russia. the imperial rule by an assembly repre
Russia was, indeed, until that time, so senting the various Estates. Meanwhile far as Western Europe was concerned, an the order of succession had been broken. unknown land, cut off from Western civ- Several pretenders to the throne had apilization for political and warlike reasons peared, one of whom, Demetrius, distinctby the Poles, and for religious reasons by ively known as the “Impostor," attained the Catholic Church.
for a time supreme power. Demetrius, On the 18th of March, 1584, Ivan was married to a Polish lady, Marina Mnissitting half dressed, after his bath, “sol- zek, was aided by her powerful family to lacing himself and making merie with maintain his position in Moscow, and the pleasant songs, as he used to doe,” and Mniszeks assembled and sent to the Ruscalling for his chess-board, had placed the sian capital a body of 4000 men. Then men, and was just setting up the king, Ladislas of Poland interfered, and after a when he fell back in a swoon, and died. time Moscow fell beneath the power of The government now passed into the hands the Poles. of five lords whom he had named guard- Soon, however, the national feeling of ians of his weak-minded son Feodor. Russia was aroused. A butcher, or cat
The death of Ivan was followed by strong tle dealer, of Nijni-Novgorod, named Midemonstrations of dislike against the Eng- nin, whose patriotism has made him one lish at Moscow; and the English diploma of the most popular figures in Russian tist and match-maker Sir Jerome Bowes, history, got together the nucleus of a naafter being ironically informed that “the tional army, and appealed to the patriotic English king was dead," found himself nobleman Prince Pojarski to place himseized and thrown into prison. He was self at its head. Pojarski and Minin liberated through the representations of marched together to Moscow, and their another envoy, who pointed out that it success in clearing the capital of the forwould be imprudent to excite Elizabeth's eign invaders is commemorated by a wrath; and though for a time intercourse group of statuary which stands in the between Russia and Western Europe seem- principal square of Moscow, and in a mied to be threatened, through the national nor way by the finely painted drop-scene hatred of foreigners as manifested by the of the Moscow opera-house, which repcouncillors of the late Tsar, yet when the resents the joint national leaders whose weak-minded Feodor fell beneath the in- names are now never dissociated.
fluence of his brother-in-law Boris Go- The period of the Polish occupation • dounoff, the previous policy, soon to be- and of the ultimate delivery of Moscow
come traditional, of cultivating relations has been further celebrated by what may with Western Europe, was resumed. be called the national opera of Russia,
Elizabeth responded warmly to Boris Glinka's Life for the Tsar, in which the Godounoff's advances, and in a letter ad- brilliancy and arrogance of the Poles are dressed to him spoke of “his noble line contrasted with the more solid qualities of age, great wisdom, and desert, which had the honest but humble-minded Russians, made him the principal councillor and and in which the peasant hero Ivan Soudirector of the state of so great a mon- sannin, seized by a party of Poles, who are arch.” From this time (1593) there was in search of the Tsar Michael, and forced an end to the disputes previously so nu- by them to act as guide in a pathless wood merous between English merchants and during a severe suow-storm, leads his capRussian officials, and Boris Godounoff turers easily to destruction, but himself having attained supreme power, nothing perishes at their hands. happened to disturb between the Queen The Tsar thus saved was Michael Feoand the Tsar" that amity and love which dorovitch, first of the line of the Romahad been betwixt her and his most noble noffs. father of famous memory, John Bassilie- The whole of this critical period of vitch, Lord Emperor and Grand Duke of Russian history has lasting memorials in all Russia."
one central spot within the city of Mos
cow. From the Kremlin battlements the | Peter the Great-a name which at once remains of Demetrius the Impostor were brings us down to modern times, and to a fired out of a cannon in the direction of comparatively modernized Russia. Alexis Poland. Beneath its walls stands the an- Michailovitch, like all his predecessors, imated group, already mentioned, which except those who were too much occupied marks the place where the last decisive with internal matters to be able to look victory of Pojarski and Minin was gain- across the frontier, gave encouragement ed. It was through the Kremlin's Holy Gate, which faces the group, and beneath which no one may pass without uncovering, that Prince Pojarski made his triumphal entry after driving out the Poles. The exact spot is shown where Demetrius the Impostor is alleged to have fallen in jumping from one of the windows at the back of the old palace; and it is certain that on the threshold of the Assumption, the most renowned of the three cathedrals clustered together in the Kremlin, the first of the Romanoffs received the oath of allegiance from the people by whom he had just been elected.
Among the tombs of the metropolitans buried in this cathedral are those of Philaret and Hermogenes, who were thrown into prison by the Poles for refusing to consent to the accession of Ladislas, the Polish prince, to the Russian throne. Hermogenes died to visitors from abroad; and he considersoon after his arrest. Philaret, at the ex-ed himself so entirely a member of the pulsion of the Poles, was carried away European family of kings that he maincaptive by them in their retreat from tained an intimate correspondence with Moscow (1612), and was kept nine years Charles I.-still preserved in the archives a prisoner in Poland. On his return to of the Kremlin-and gave that sovereign Russia he found his son Michael Feo- many proofs of sympathy during his time dorovitch elected to the throne. The of trouble. belief then of the Russian people in Mi- After Charles I.'s execution, Alexis ofchael's patriotism seems to have been fered money and men to the future Charles founded on a knowledge of the patriotism II., in view of a restoration. When, of his father. The surname of the metro- more than half a century before, Ivan the politan who had defied the Polish power Terrible had, in his letters to Elizabeth, and had suffered nine years' imprison- suggested that each monarch, in case of ment in Poland was Romanoff ; Phila- distress, should be considered free to seek ret was the name he had adopted on be- an asylum in the dominions of the other, coming a monk. His baptismal name the proposed arrangement must, to the was Feodor, and hence the patronymic English of those days, have seemed oneFeodorovitch attached to the name of Mi- sided. But the treaty of mutual safety chael, the first of the Romanoffs.
offered to Elizabeth might have been of There is little to say about the reign of use to more than one of her successors. Michael Feodorovitch, the circumstances It was partly, however, from kindness of having once been set forth under which heart, but also and above all from indighe was elected to the vacant throne; and nation at the idea of violent hands being his son and successor Alexis Michailo- laid upon the “Lord's anointed,” that vitch is chiefly remembered as father of | Alexis tendered to the Stuart family as
sistance which they would have been un- | the power of her great hereditary enemy; able to turn to account, and a home which which did not, however, until about a cenit would have suited neither their interests tury later, in the person of the Empress nor their tastes to accept.
Catherine, deprive it, as punishment for Alexis Michailovitch, like so many of rising in rebellion, of its much-prized libthe Russian sovereigns before and after erties. Thus the period in which Sobieski him, cultivated politics on a large scale. liberated Vienna from the Turks, by whom The idea of driving the Turks out of Eu- it was so seriously menaced, was that rope must have been cherished by the which witnessed the cession of the CosTsars of Russia from the days when Ivan, sack country, or Ukraine, to Sobieski's the first of the independent Tsars, married Russian contemporary and foe, Alexis Sophia, niece of the last of the Palæologi, Michailovitch. and invited to Russia the architects, art- The next Tsar worth mentioning at ists, and artificers who had taken flight length, after Alexis the son of Michael, is from Constantinople after its capture by Peter the son of Alexis, better known in the Turks. But Ivan the “Great” had to Western Europe as Peter the Great. The free himself from the Tartars; Ivan the immediate successor, however, of Michael Terrible had to complete the consolidation Feodorovitch was Peter's elder brother of the Muscovite power by reducing to Feodor, who again, before Peter ascended subjection (through wholesale massacres) the throne, was followed by another brothe still independent republics of Nov- ther, Ivan. gorod and Pskov. Then came the dis- At this time, and until the reign of Paul, puted succession, the appearance of Deme- at the end of the last century, the succestrius the Impostor, the difficulties with sion in the reigning family of Russia was Poland, and the occupation of Moscow by very irregular. Instead of descending, as the Poles. When the second sovereign at present, directly from fathers to sons, it of the Romanoff dynasty ascended the passed at times from father to son, at oththrone there was nothing more to fear ers from brother to brother, and Peter from the Tartars in the east, while on Alexievitch, before reigning alone, was the western side the Poles had in their associated in the imperial dignity first turn been driven back. Alexis Michailo- with Ivan, his brother, and afterward vitch then turned his attention toward with Natalie, his sister. the south, and proposed to form a league Peter the Great is a many-sided figure, of European princes, with the view of ex- and such a huge one that to view him pelling the Turks from Europe.
from all points would involve the making The Turks were at that time a real men- of a very considerable circuit. It would ace to European civilization. They held be easy to show that he was a coarse senHungary in their possession, and Buda sualist
, and he had undoubtedly many of was governed by a Turkish pasha. But the tastes of a mere barbarian. He drank such was the jealousy between the Euro- to excess, and delighted in such practical pean states that the combination proposed jokes as serving up live rats and mice in by Alexis Michailovitch — from which, a pie-dish covered over with the usual had it been adopted, it is quite possible paste. When he was in England his fathat he might have derived greater bene- vorite exercise consisted in charging with fits than any one else—had no chance of a wheelbarrow a trimly cut quickset being realized. Poland, in particular, de- hedge, which had at one time formed the clined to co-operate with him, and it was joy of its garden-loving proprietor. He ultimately at the expense, not of Turkey, not only sentenced to death, but apparentbut of Poland, that Alexis Michailovitch ly himself killed, the disaffected increased his dominions.
whom he had thrown into prison, and The Cossack country known as Little who perished there. Russia, with Kharkov and Kiev as its If you inquire in the museum of the chief towns, professing the same Greek Hermitage at St. Petersburg who carved religion as Muscovy, or Great Russia, had, those wooden figures, who turned those in order to free itself from the ties which ivory ornaments, who made that pair of bound it to Catholic Poland, placed itself boots, who built that boat, the answer is under the protection of the Russian Tsar. always, “The Tsar Peter.” Inquire furWorsted in the field, Poland saw her bor-ther who reformed the old Slavonic alphader territory, or Ukraine, pass beneath | bet by introducing into it the symbols of
sounds peculiar to the Russian language; who altered the constitution of the Russian Church so as to make the Tsar of Russia, in lieu of the Patriarch of Constantinople, its head; who established factories in Russia; who forced the Russian nobles, willing or unwilling, to accept the duties of state seryice, under pain of losing their privileges; who formed the Russian army; who created the Russian navy; who built St. Petersburg - "the window," as some one has said, “from which Russia looks out upon Europe”; who first led Russian levies with success against trained European troops; who among the Tsars was the first to get himself formally recognized by Europe as “Emperor"; who among the Tsars and Emperors
commenced that unceasing war against Turkey, which, beginning with a defeat, a capitulation, and the nearest approach to the personal surrender of the more remarkable for energy in every Tsar, has at length brought Russia up to possible direction than for piety or any and beyond the Balkans, and placed her, sort of moral quality. He did not, how
, but for the political attitude of other pow- ever, like killing the wrong man; and ers and the strategical position of Austria, when he was decapitating with his own within easy reach of Constantinople; who hand the rebellious strelitzes, or “archwith Russian ships first navigated the Cas- ers," who, detesting his innovations from pian; who with Russian troops first made the West, had, during his absence from war upon Persia; who sent out the first Russia, risen in insurrection against him, Russian expedition against Khiva, with he hesitated to strike one bold young solinstructions to its chief to dispatch from dier who advanced gayly toward the block, Khiva military, naval, and commercial exclaiming, “Make room here!” and kickagents disguised as traders” to India, ing on either side the fallen heads which in every case, the Tsar Peter.
stopped the way. “This man will be of Whether Peter was what is called use to me," thought Peter. He spoke a “good” need scarcely be considered, and few words to him, pardoned him, and certainly can not be decided. Exhorted gave him a commission in one of the on his death-bed to repent of some very regiments that he was forming. bad actions which he had undoubtedly The forgiven one proved worthy of his committed, he said that God would judge pardon. His name was Orloff, and his him, not by isolated deeds, but by the descendants have often shown the same general tenor of his life. He was far reckless daring which, as exhibited by
PETER THE GREAT.