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[1598 A.D.] higher classes, regarded foreigners with a kind of superstitious horror. They made no difference between a foreigner and an infidel, and applied the name of "pagan" indiscriminately to the idolatrous Tcheremiss, the Mussulman Tatar, and the Lutheran or Catholic German. Love of their country, or, to speak more correctly, of their native soil, was confounded by them with their attachment to their national religion. They called themselves the "orthodox people," and their country Holy Russia. Elsewhere than in that privileged land it was impossible, they believed, to obtain salvation. The early troubles of the Reformation in Germany had brought into Russia a large number


of poor adventurers, who had sought to turn their superior knowledge to account. The people were not slow to perceive the pre-eminence of these foreigners in the arts and industry, but they only detested them the more on this account. The Germans were continually charged by the vulgar herd with a desire to corrupt the national faith, and to appropriate to themselves the wealth of the country. Boris, indeed, flattered them and invited them into his dominions, feeling that he had need of them to guide his subjects towards a higher stage of civilisation. But the commercial privileges and facilities which he granted to Livonian and German merchants only served as a pretext to the most terrible accusation which could be brought against a sovereign - that of betraying his country and his religion. He sent eighteen young gentlemen to study in Germany, France, and England; their families lamented them as doomed victims. On either side of the frontier all contact with foreigners was deemed a pollution.b


The False Dmitri Appears

Suddenly, a surprising rumour was brought from the frontiers of Lithuania, and spread with incredible rapidity through all the provinces of the empire. The czarevitch Dmitri, who was believed to have been assassinated at Uglitch, was still living in Poland. Having been favourably received by a palatine, he had made himself known to the principal nobles of the republic, and was preparing to reclaim his hereditary throne. It was related that he had wandered for some time in Russia, concealed beneath the frock of a monk. The archimandrite of the convent of the Saviour at Novgorod Seversk had given him a lodging without recognising him. The prince had proceeded thence to Kiev, leaving in his cell a note, in which he declared that he was Dmitri, the son of Ivan the Terrible, and that he would one day recompense the hospitality of the archimandrite. On the other hand it was stated that the persons worthy of belief had seen the czarevitch among the Zaparogian Cossacks, taking part in their military expeditions and distin

[1603 A.D.] guishing himself by his courage and address in all warlike exercises. The name of the ataman under whose orders he had enrolled himself was also given. Other authorities declared that they had seen the same person at the same time studying Latin at Huszcza, a small town in Volhinia. Though reports were contradictory as to details, they all agreed on this one pointthat Dmitri was still living, and that he intended to call the usurper to account for all his crimes.b

Who was the personage whom the Russian historians have called the "false Dmitri." Was he really the son of Ivan the Terrible, saved by the foresight of the Nogai from the assassins' knife and replaced in the coffin, as he related, by the son of a pope (Russian parish priest)? Was he, as the czar and the patriarch proclaimed him, a certain Gregori Otrepiev, a vagabond monk who was for a time secretary to the patriarch Job and was thus enabled to surprise state secrets-who in his nomadic life afterwards appeared amongst the Zaparogians, where he is said to have become an accomplished rider and an intrepid Cossack? To all these questions, in the present state of our information, no absolutely certain answer can be given. Kostomarov compared the handwriting of the pretender with that of the monk Otrepiev and affirms that they do not resemble each other. Captain Margeret knew people who conversed with Otrepiev after the pretender's death. Not to prejudge the solution we will give this last not the name of Dmitri but that of Demetrius, with which he signed his letters to the pope.

About the year 1603 a young man entered the service of the Polish pan, Adam Vichnevetski. He fell or feigned to fall ill, sent for a Catholic priest, and under the seal of professional secrecy revealed to him that he was the czarevitch Dmitri, who had escaped from the assassins of Uglitch. He showed, suspended from his neck, a cross enriched with precious stones, which he asserted that he had received from Prince Mstislavski, the godfather of Dmitri. The priest dared not keep such a secret to himself. Demetrius was recognised by his master Vichnevetski as the legitimate heir of Ivan the Terrible. Mniszek, palatine of Sandomir, promised him his help. Demetrius had already fallen in love with Marina, the eldest daughter of Mniszek, and swore to make her czarina of Moscow; the father and the young girl accepted the proposal of marriage.

Meantime the strange tidings of the resuscitation of Dmitri spread through the whole kingdom of Poland. Mniszek and Vichnevetski conducted Demetrius to Cracow and presented him to the king. The papal nuncio interested himself in his behalf; the Jesuits and Franciscans worked in concert for his conversion; in secret he abjured orthodoxy and promised to bring Moscow within the pale of the Roman church. He corresponded with Clement VIII whose least servant, infimus cliens, he declared himself to be. Thus he was recognised by the king, the nuncio, the Jesuits, and the pope. Did they really believe in his legitimacy? It is probable that they saw in him a formidable instrument of disturbance; the king flattered himself that he would be able to turn it against Russia and the Jesuits-that they might use it against orthodoxy. Sigismund dared not take upon himself to break the truce concluded with Boris and expose himself to Muscovite vengeance. He treated Demetrius as czarevitch, but only in private; he refused to place the royal troops at his disposal, but authorised the nobles who were touched by the misfortunes of the young prince to aid him as they might desire. The pans had no need of a royal authorisation; many of them, with the light-heartedness and love of adventure which characterised the Polish nobility, took arms.


[1604-1605 A.D.] No revolution, be it the wisest and most necessary, is accomplished without setting in motion the dregs of society, without coming into collision with many interests and creating a multitude of outcasts. The transformation then being accomplished in Russia for the creation of the modern unitary state had awakened formidable elements of disorder. The peasant, whom the laws of Boris had just attached to the glebe, was everywhere covertly hostile. The petty nobility, to whose profit this innovation had been made, could only with great difficulty live by their estates: the czar's service had become ruinous; many were inclined to make up for the inadequacy of their revenues by brigandage. The boyars and the higher nobility were profoundly demoralised and were ready for any treason. The military republics of the Cossacks of the Don and Dnieper, the bands of serfs or fugitive peasants which infested the country districts, were only waiting an opportunity to devastate Moscow. The ignorance of the masses was profound, their minds greedy of marvels and of change: no nation has allowed itself to be so often captured by the same fable—the sudden reappearance of a prince believed to be dead. The archives of the secret chancery show us that there were in Russia, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, hundreds of impostors, of false Dmitris, false Alexises, false Peters II, false Peters III. It might be thought that the Russian people, the most Asiatic of European peoples, had not renounced the oriental dogma of reincarnations and avatars.

So long as power was in the hands of the skilful and energetic Godunov, he succeeded in maintaining order, in restraining the fomenters of disturbance, and in discouraging Demetrius. The patriarch Job, and Vasili Shuiski, who had directed the inquiry at Uglitch, made proclamations to the people and affirmed that Dmitri was indeed dead and that the pretender was no other than Otrepiev. Messengers were despatched bearing the same affirmations to the king and the diet of Poland. Finally troops were set on foot and a cordon was established along the western frontier. But already the towns of Severia were agitated by the approach of the czarevitch; the boyars ventured to say publicly that it was "difficult to bear arms against a legitimate sovereign"; at Moscow the health of the czar Dmitri was drunk at festive gatherings. In October, 1604, Demetrius crossed the frontier with a host of Poles, and banished Russians, German mercenaries, and Zaparogians. Severia immediately broke out into insurrection, but Novgorod Seversk resisted. After Severia, the towns of Ukraine joined in defection. Prince Mstislavski tried to arrest Demetrius by giving battle; but his soldiers were seized with the idea that the man against whom they were fighting was the real Dmitri. "They had no arms to strike with," says Margeret. Twelve thousand Little-Russian Cossacks hastened to join the pretender's standard. Vasili Shuiski, the successor of Mstislavski, did his best to restore their morale; this time Demetrius was vanquished at Dobrinitchi. Boris fancied that the war was ended: it was only beginning. Four thousand Don Cossacks came to join the brigand. The inaction of the Muscovite voyevods announced that the spirit of treason was gaining the higher nobility.

In 1605 Boris died, after recommending his innocent son to Basmanov, the boyars, the patriarch, and the people of Moscow. All took the oath to Feodor Borissovitch. But Basmanov had no sooner taken command of the army of Severia than he was in a position to convince himself that neither the soldiers nor their leaders intended to fight for a Godunov. Rather than be the victim of an act of treason he preferred to be its perpetrator; the man in whom the dying Boris had placed all his confidence joined Galitzin and Soltikov, the secret partisans of Demetrius. He solemnly announced to the

[1605 A.D.]

troops that the latter was indeed the son of Ivan the Terrible and the legitimate master of Russia; he was the first to throw himself at the feet of the pretender, who was immediately proclaimed by the troops. Demetrius marched on Moscow. At his approach his partisans rose: the son and the wife of Godunov were massacred. Such was the sanguinary end of the dynasty which Boris had thought to found in the blood of a czarevitch.

Let us bear in mind that in 1586 had appeared the narrative of Jean Sauvage, sailor and merchant of Dieppe, who had come to reconnoitre the harbours of the White Sea and prepare the way for French traffic. The same year the czar Feodor Ivanovitch sent to Henry III a Frenchman of Moscow, Pierre Ragon, to notify him of his accession; at Moscow appeared the first ambassador sent there by France, François de Carle. In 1587 a company of Parisian merchants obtained a commercial charter from the same czar. Henry IV was in correspondence with the czars Feodor Ivanovitch and Boris.


What was now taking place in Russia is one of the most extraordinary events of which the annals of the world make mention. An unknown man was making his triumphal entry into Moscow and the Kremlin (June 20th30th). All the people wept for joy, thinking they beheld the scion of so many princes. One man alone dared to affirm that he had seen Dmitri murdered and that the new czar was an impostor; this was Vasili Shuiski, one of those who had superintended the inquiry of Uglitch and who, at the battle of Dobrinitchi, had defeated the pretender. Denounced by Basmanov, he was condemned to death by an assembly of the three orders. His head was already on the block, when the czar sent an express bearing his pardon.

The son of the terrible czar was not recognisable in this act of mercy. Later on Demetrius was to repent of it. Job, the creature of Godunov, was replaced in the patriarchate by a creature of the new prince, the Greek Ígnatius. The czar had an interview with his pretended mother, Marie Nagoi, the widow of Ivan IV: whether because she wished to complete the work of an avenger, or because she was glad to recover all her honours, Marie recognised Demetrius as her son and publicly embraced him. He heaped favours on the Nagoi as his maternal relatives: the Romanovs also were recalled from exile and Philaret was made metropolitan of Rostov.

The czar presided regularly at the douma; the boyars admired the correctness of his judgment and the variety of his knowledge. Demetrius was a man of learning, brave and skilful in all bodily exercises. He was fond of foreigners and spoke of sending the Russian nobles to study in the west. This taste for foreigners was not unaccompanied by a certain contempt for the national ignorance and rudeness. He offended the boyars by his mockeries; he alienated the people and the clergy by his contempt for Russian religious rites and usages. He ate veal, did not sleep after dinner, did not frequent the baths, borrowed money from the convents, turned the monks into ridicule, opposed the hunting with bears, paid familiar visits to foreign jewellers and artisans, took no heed of the strict etiquette of the palace, himself pointed cannon, organised sham fights between the national and foreign troops, took pleasure in seeing the Russians beaten by the Germans, surrounded himself with a European guard at the head of which were found men like Margeret, Knutzen, Van Dennen. A conflict having broken out between the clergy and the pope's legate on the occasion of his entry into Moscow, two

[1605 A.D.] bishops were exiled. No one thanked him for resisting the pope and the king of Poland, refusing to the one to occupy himself in the cause of the reunion of the two churches, declaring to the other that he would not yield. an inch of Russian territory. The arrival of his wife, the Catholic Marina, with a suite of Polish noblemen, who affected insolence towards the Russians, completed the irritation of the Muscovites. Less than a year after the entry of Demetrius [or as we may henceforth call him, Dmitri] into the Kremlin, men's minds were ripe for a revolution./

The False Dmitri; Marriage and Death

It is difficult to understand why, though as unscrupulous as most adventurers, Demetrius persisted in his determination to espouse a Catholic Pole, although he was well aware that such a union would be highly distasteful to his people. When compelled to solicit the assistance of the palatines of Lithuania by all means in his power, it was not surprising that he eagerly sought to ally himself with Mniszek: but now that he was seated upon the throne of the czars, such an alliance could not be otherwise than prejudicial to his interests. Yet he was the first to remember his promise, and as soon as he had been crowned at Moscow he sent to invite Marina to share his throne. When he signed the promise of marriage in Poland, he was, doubtless, under the influence of Marina's charms, but at Moscow we cannot ascribe his impatience to conclude the projected union to the eagerness of love. For whilst Vlassiev, bearing magnificent presents for the bride and all her family, was on his way to Cracow to hasten their departure for Russia, the czar had an acknowledged mistress, who resided with him in the Kremlin, and this mistress was no other than the daughter of Boris.

"Xenia," writes a contemporary author, "was a girl of the greatest intelligence; her complexion was pink and white, and her black eyes sparkled with vivacity. When grief caused her to shed tears, they shone with a still greater radiance. Her eyebrows joined; her body was formed with perfect symmetry, and was so white that it seemed to have been moulded with cream. She was an accomplished person, speaking more elegantly than a book. Her voice was melodious, and it was a real pleasure to hear her sing songs."

This beauty was fatal to Xenia. After witnessing the death of her mother and brother, she took refuge first of all in a convent, or, according to some annalists, she found an asylum in the house of Prince Mstislavski. Soon afterwards she entered the palace of the enemy of her family, and for some months she was the favourite mistress of the czar. It was probably to her influence that several of the Godunovs were indebted for their lives, and even for some degree of favour. Whether she yielded to seduction or to violence, as some modern authors have asserted, it is impossible to discover at the present day. It is no less impossible to decide whether Dmitri allowed himself to be subdued by the charms of his captive, or whether, like a pitiless conqueror, he sacrificed her to his arrogant vanity, and desired, with a refinement of vengeance, to inflict the greatest dishonour on the enemy's family. At all events, it appears certain that for some time Xenia exercised such marked influence over him that Mniszek grew alarmed, and seriously remonstrated with the czar. It was only when Marina was actually on her way to Moscow that Dmitri dismissed his captive. He sent her into a monastery, according to the usage of the time. She took the vows in the convent of St. Sergius, at Moscow, under the name of Olga, and died there in 1622.

These singular amours, this fidelity to his engagements in the midst of

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