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merchandise imported at Archangel was prohibited from being sent to Moscow, and was consequently transmitted to St. Petersburg, which was the residence of the court, of the principal nobility, and of all the ambassadors from other powers, including at this period two from the East. The rapidity with which its prosperity advanced was unparalleled. Its manufactures increased with its external trade, and it soon assumed a rank equal to that of some of the most important cities in Europe. The fame and power of Peter were attaining their utmost height. Livonia, Esthonia, Karelia, Ingria, and nearly the whole of Finland were now annexed to the Russian Empire. He had established outlets to the sea by which he could communicate in security with civilised Europe; and within his own territories he had created new establishments adapted to the various departments of industry, to the army, the navy, and the laws. Prince Galitzin occupied Finland with a disciplined army; generals Bruce and Bauer had the command of thirty thousand Russians, who were scattered through Poland; Marshal Sheremetrev lay in Pomerania with a large force; Weimar had surrendered by capitulation, and all the sovereigns of the north were either his allies or his instruments. The dream of Russian aggrandisement appeared now to be realised almost in full by the sleepless activity and fertile genius of the czar. It was not surprising, therefore, that the people of Stockholm daily expected that he would appear before their gates, and, taking advantage of the disasters of their fugitive monarch, reduce Sweden to subjection, as he had previously laid waste the provinces that separated him from the coast of the Baltic Sea on the one side, and the Black Sea on the other. He was master of both shores of the gulf of Finland, and the possession of Sweden would have given him the entire command of the Baltic and the gulf of Bothnia, over which, even as it was, his flag ranged in freedom. But Peter was too politic to attempt at this juncture so enormous an extension of power. He was aware of the jealousies which such a disposition must have excited in Germany and Poland, and he wisely contented himself with the acquisitions he had already secured; suffering the headstrong Charles to bring his kingdom into greater jeopardy, in the hope, probably, that it might ultimately fall to pieces by its own weak


At this crisis of affairs the unprincipled Görtz endeavoured to effect a union between the two monarchs; and negotiations, having that object in view, were actually commenced, and might have been carried to a more decisive conclusion but for events which diverted the attention of both sovereigns into other channels. Görtz has been blamed for projecting this treaty of reconciliation, and accused of desiring to accomplish through its means a variety of results, such as the restoration of Pomerania to Sweden and the crown of Poland to Stanislaus, the dethronement of the king of England, and, by a conspiracy against the duke of Orleans, the reduction of France under a Spanish regency. It is very probable that the subtle minister might have contemplated some of these projects, that he might have anticipated from the combined armies of the two northern heroes the rescue of Spain and the advancement of Alberoni, and that he might have even calculated upon the cession of Pomerania and the recognition of Stanislaus. But, as the adviser of Charles XII, he was justified in seeking an alliance which must in any case have greatly benefited his master and protected his country against those imminent dangers that appeared to be impending over it at the moment; and if he looked beyond immediate advantages, to remote contingencies, the design was not, on that account, the less worthy of applause. As it was, it had the effect of openly confirming the dispositions of Peter towards Sweden,

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the czar declaring that he did not enter into war for the sake of glory, but for the good of the empire, and that he had no desire to exhibit any feelings of animosity against an enemy whom he had deprived of the power of doing mischief. Whatever faults may be charged upon Görtz-and there is no doubt that they were numerous enough-history must pronounce his conduct upon this occasion to have been guided by a sagacious policy.


Satisfied with the circumstances of the empire, and anxious to improve his knowledge of other nations, Peter now resolved to undertake a second tour through Europe. His first tour had been limited to practical inquiries into the useful arts; but his second was mainly addressed to an examination of the political systems of the European cabinets. When he first left his own country to acquire information abroad, he was young, ardent, uninstructed, and undistinguished; but now he had achieved a name that was famous all over the world, and he was regarded, with justice, as one of the most extraordinary persons of the age. During the nineteen years that had elapsed, in the interval, he had strengthened and enlarged his dominions, had traversed and subjugated many provinces, had succeeded in accomplishing the great purposes of his wise ambition, and had experienced amidst the splendid triumphs of his career some serious reverses, from which such a mind as his could not fail to extract useful admonitions. He went forth, followed by the gratitude of Russia, to improve his knowledge of the means by which he could contribute still more largely to her prosperity. The czarina accompanied him upon this journey, but being in her third pregnancy she rested for a short time at Schwerin, whence she soon afterwards set out to rejoin her husband at Holland. On her way, however, she was again taken ill, and delivered at Wesel of a prince, who died on the following day. This event, it appears, did not delay her intention of meeting her husband in Holland, as we find that in ten days afterwards she arrived in Amsterdam.

In the meantime Peter had visited Stralsund, Mecklenburg, Hamburg, and Pyrmont, and subsequently proceeded to Copenhagen, where he was received with great distinction by the king of Denmark. On this occasion, a squadron of British ships, under the command of Sir John Norris, and a squadron of Dutch ships, commanded by Rear-Admiral Grave, arrived at Copenhagen; and, it being understood that a Swedish fleet was out at sea, the four armaments, Russian, Danish, Dutch, and English, united under the standard of the czar, and put out to sea. Not falling in with the Swedes, who had secured their safety in Karlskrona, the fleets separated, and Peter, taking leave of the court of Denmark, proceeded to Hamburg. This incident was always referred to by Peter as one of the most gratifying circumstances of his life, and even his proudest victories appeared to afford him less pleasure than the recollection of the moment when he raised his flag as commanderin-chief of the united fleets.

From Hamburg he continued his route to Lubeck, and had a private interview with the king of Prussia at Havelberg, whence he returned by the Elbe to Hamburg. The anecdotes of his journey that have been preserved in a variety of personal memoirs are all calculated to show the simplicity of his manners and his natural aversion to parade and ceremony. At Nimeguen, where he arrived late at night in a common postchaise, accompanied by only two attendants, he is said to have supped upon poached eggs and a little bread and cheese, for which the landlord charged 100 ducats the next morn


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ing. Peter remonstrated against the demand, and inquired if eggs were so very scarce in that place. "No," replied the landlord, "but emperors are." Peter paid the bill, and was well satisfied to have purchased such a hint of European tactics at so small a rate.

At Amsterdam he was received with a feeling of delight almost approaching idolatry. The people regarded him as their pupil in the arts of commerce and ship-building; and shared in the glories of the victor of Pultowa, as if he were one of themselves. Nor did Peter hesitate in putting them as much at their ease in his presence as he had done when he had formerly lived amongst them, working like themselves and participating in their hard labour and rude fare. The cottage in which he had resided when he was learning the art of ship-building he now found just as he had left it, but distinguished by the name of the Prince's House, and preserved in order by the affectionate people with unabated interest. Upon entering this humble scene, he was deeply affected, and desired to be left alone. The recollections that pressed upon him at that moment were not amongst the least impressive of his busy life.

His residence in Holland, where he remained for three months, exhibited a succession of trivial incidents connected with his former associates, all of whom were recognised by the czar with the greatest cordiality; but while he was thus engaged in revisiting the dockyards, in examining models, and receiving small tokens of popular attachment, he was not indifferent to matters of higher importance. The Hague, from the time of the Peace of Nimeguen, had acquired the reputation of being the centre of the negotiations of Europe, and was crowded with travellers and foreign ministers. The foundations of a European revolution were then being laid in the diplomatic circles of that place; and the czar prolonged his stay in the Netherlands, with a view to assure himself more clearly of the state of parties in the south and in the north, and to prepare for the side which, in the course of time, it might become advisable for him to take.

Keeping himself aloof from the intrigues by which he was surrounded, and availing himself of all the opportunities within his reach of improving his information respecting the state of Europe, he proceeded to fulfil his intention of visiting France, after he had satisfied his curiosity in Holland. Vast preparations, worthy of the occasion, were made in France for his reception; but Peter, with his accustomed contempt of splendour, desired to avoid the display as much as possible. Accompanied by four gentlemen, he outstripped the escorts, and entered Paris without ostentation. His journey was a succession of fêtes; wherever he appeared he was treated with magnificence. His fame had penetrated the haunts of art and science, as well as the halls of palaces; portraits of himself and the czarina, medals with flattering inscriptions, and the most ingenious devices, representing some of the events of his life, started up before him in places where he least expected to meet such evidences of his greatness. He stepped in the midst of triumphs, and renewed, in his ovation at the French capital, the whole history of his glories as a hero and a legislator. But he could not be flattered out of his simplicity. Declining the offers of the court, he retired to a private hotel in a remote quarter of the town, in order that he might employ his time agreeably to his own wishes, instead of being trammelled by the fatiguing and idle ceremonies of the Louvre.

He left Catherine behind him in Holland on this occasion, apprehending that the witty court of France, with its sarcasms and its ceremonials, might possibly wound by neglect the delicacy of a woman whose greatness of soul

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elevated her above the conventions of the palace. The marriage of Louis XIV with Madame de Maintenon bore some resemblance, it is true, to his own union with Catherine; but Madame de Maintenon was an accomplished person, and Catherine's merits were of a different order. Catherine was a heroine, Madame de Maintenon a fascinating woman. Catherine had perilled life by the side of her husband, from the Pruth to the Baltic, upon land and sea; Madame de Maintenon, retreating from political display, was content to attest her devotion, and preserve her supremacy, in retirement. Catherine was of obscure origin, Madame de Maintenon was of noble birth; and while the czarina was publicly acknowledged by Peter, Madame de Maintenon became the wife of Louis XIV in private. Yet, although Peter determined not to risk the feelings of the czarina in the French court, especially as the death of Louis XIV had removed Madame de Maintenon from the position which she had previously held, the last wish he expressed on leaving Paris was to see that celebrated woman, the widow of the king.

Peter was not only a practical artist, but was well acquainted with those sciences upon which the practical arts are based. He possessed a mathematical mind and a skilful hand. The rapidity with which he accumulated knowledge could be paralleled only by the tenacity with which he retained it, and the facility with which he could employ it as the occasion served. At the Academy of Sciences they placed before him, amongst other curiosities, a map of Russia, which he instantly discovered to be full of errors, and pointed out to the exhibitors the mistakes they had made in the geography of his dominions, and of the tracts on the borders of the Caspian Sea. He afterwards accepted at their hands the honour of being admitted as a member of their body. He visited the manufactories and mercantile depots, and carried away all the information he could glean from them; had several private conferences with the French ministers in relation to the subsisting peace between the northern powers; and drew up the minutes of a treaty of commerce, which he caused to be shaped into regular form, and negotiated on his return to St. Petersburg.

Every moment was filled with business. He visited the tapestry of the Gobelins, the carpets of the Savonnerie, the residences of the goldsmiths, painters, sculptors, and mathematical instrument makers; and so far overcame his scruples against appearing in public that he went to see the French parliament, and attended public worship on two occasions in state. Amongst the objects that extracted unbounded admiration from him was the tomb of Cardinal Richelieu, one of the richest specimens of sculpture in Paris. But it was not on account of the glories of the chisel that it occupied his attention. He is said to have exclaimed, upon seeing it, "Great man! I would have given half of my empire to learn of thee how to govern the other half!”

Having satisfied his curiosity in France, he took his leave of that country, carrying with him several artisans for the purpose of establishing their different crafts in Russia. During the period of his short residence in the French capital he inspired a universal sentiment of respect. Although he did not hesitate to protest against the luxurious extravagance of the court, and even carried the expression of his opinions so far as to say that he "grieved for France and its infant king, and believed that the latter was on the point of losing his kingdom through luxury and superfluities"; yet the witty and satirical courtiers, who observed him closely, were compelled to bear testimony to the magnanimity of his nature. Contemporary criticism is of so much value in the attempt to determine historical character that the opinions which were pronounced concerning him at this period cannot be excluded

[1717 A.D.] from the estimate which posterity will make of his faults and merits. Louville, who was attached to the court, describes him thus:

His deportment is full of dignity and confidence, as becomes an absolute master. He has large and bright eyes, with a penetrating and occasionally stern glance. His motions, which are abrupt and hasty, betray the violence of his passions and the impetuosity of his disposition; his orders succeed each other rapidly and imperiously; he dismisses with a word, with a sign, without allowing himself to be thwarted by time, place, or circumstance, now and then forgetting even the rules of decorum; yet with the regent and the young king he maintains his state, and regulates all his movements according to the points of a strict and proud etiquette. For the rest, the court discovered in him more great qualities than bad ones; it considered his faults to be merely trivial and superficial. It remarked that he was usually sober, and that he gave way only now and then to excessive intemperance; that, regular in his habits of living, he always went to bed at nine o'clock, rose at four, and was never for a moment unemployed; and, accordingly, that he was well-informed, and seemed to have a better knowledge of naval affairs and fortification than any man in France." The writers of that period, who possessed the best opportunities of becoming acquainted with his movements, speak in terms of admiration of the experienced glance and skilful hand with which he selected the objects most worthy of admiration, and of the avidity with which he examined the studios of the artists, the manufactories, and the museums. The searching questions which he put to learned men afforded sufficient proof, they observe, of the sagacity of a capacious mind, which was as prompt to acquire knowledge as it was eager to learn.

The journey of the czar through France, to rejoin the czarina at Amsterdam, was distinguished by the same insatiable love of inquiry. Sometimes he used to alight from his carriage, and wander into the fields to converse with the husbandmen, taking notes of their observations, which he treasured up for future use. The improvement of his empire was always present to his thoughts, and he never suffered an occasion to pass away, however trivial, from which he could extract a practical hint, without turning it to account. His activity appeared to be incapable of fatigue. From Amsterdam, accompanied by Catherine, he passed on to Prussia. Upon his arrival at Berlin he went at once to a private lodging; but the king sending his master of the ceremonies to attend upon him, the czar informed that officer that he would wait upon his majesty the next day at noon. Two hours before the time, a magnificent cortege of royal carriages appeared before the door of the czar's lodging; but when noon arrived, they were informed that the czar was already with the king. He had gone out by a private way, to avoid the magnificence which he regarded as an impediment to action.

The character of Frederick of Prussia was distinguished by the same blunt, persevering, military qualities which belonged to that of Peter. He lived plainly, dressed like a common soldier, was extremely abstemious, and exhibited in his habits even a needless severity of discipline. The meeting, therefore, between sovereigns who so closely resembled each other in their tastes, who were equally self-devoted to the good of their people, and equally uncorrupted by the pomp and temptations of power, was a spectacle such as history rarely presents. The czarina was worthy of entering into the scene, for she was the only female sovereign in Europe who could share, without shrinking, the toils and difficulties of their career. Voltaire remarks that if Charles XII had been admitted to the group, four crowned heads would have been

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