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who paid a settled sum to the crown, and appointed their under-farmers and receivers.*

With respect to the ecclesiastical constitution of France, the Gallican church, though Catholic, and acknowledging the pope as supreme head in matters spiritual, had greatly limited his power within the kingdom. The declaration of the assembly of the clergy of France, signed in the year 1682, bears that the sovereign power in all temporal matters is in no shape subject to the power of the pope, which extends only to matters relative to salvation; that no temporal power can be deposed by the pope, nor subjects absolved from their allegiance to their lawful prince by his authority; that the pope himself is subject to the general councils of the church, which are to be obeyed in preference to his mandates; that the canons which are enacted by those general councils are the supreme rule of obedience in all matters ecclesiastical; and that the judgment of the pope in matters of faith is not infallible, unless it is supported by the assent of the catholic church, declared in a general council. In consequence of these regulations, neither the sovereign, his officers nor magistrates, were subject to any church discipline, either inflicted by the bishops or by the pope himself. The pope had no other jurisdiction in France than such as the king was pleased to grant him. No appeals were competent to the see of Rome, unless in a very few ecclesiasiastical cases, specially defined: no subject could be summoned to Rome; no legate from the pope could act in France without the royal license;

The h.story of the French finances may be best understood from the following books:-a small work published in 1599, under the administration of Sully, entitled, "Recueil des Réglemens, Edicts, Ordonnances, et Observations sur le facit des Finances;" and the "Comptes Rendus des Finances du Royaume sous Henri IV., Louis XIII., et Louis XIV.," by M. Mallet, printed at London in 1789, which contains an introduction of great merit, inquiring into the origin of the scveral taxes, and the ancient management of the revenues.

nor could the pope levy any money from the kingdom unless those small fees and imposts which are decreed to be payable to the see of Rome by the Concordat, a decree of a general council of the catholic church. The ecclesiastical power in France was, in fact, subordinate to the civil; for in all church matters where there was any suspicion of an abuse or an unjust sentence, it was competent to appeal from the ecclesiastical courts to the parliaments, where the matter was determined as a civil cause.


PETER THE GREAT, Czar of MUSCOVY, AND CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN-Origin of the Russian Empire-Siberia conquered-Rapid extension in Asia-Peter the Great-Forms the first small body of regular Troops-Equips a FleetTravels in search of Knowledge-Returns to Russia-His vast Innovations--Charles XII. of Sweden-Confederacy against-Defeats the Russians in the Battle of Narva--Invades Poland--Takes Warsaw and Cracow-Places Stanislaus on the Throne-Invades the Ukraine-Is defeated at Pultowa--Taken Prisoner by the Turks-Returns to his Dominions-Killed at Frederickshal-Character-Peter the Great puts his Son to Death-Death of Peter-Internal Improvements of his Empire.

DURING the latter part of the reign of Louis XIV. two most illustrious characters had begun to figure in the north of Europe-Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy, and Charles XII., king of Sweden. To the vast empire of Russia we have hitherto paid no attention, because till now, it was quite uncivilized, and had scarcely any connexion with the European kingdoms. Its early history is still very obscure. Till the middle of the fifteenth century, the Russians were an uncon nected multitude of wandering tribes professing dif

ferent religions, and most of them yet idolaters. A sovereign, or duke of Russia, paid a tribute to the Tartars of furs and cattle, to restrain their depredations. Ivan Vassilovich, a spirited chief, rescued them from this subjection. About the middle of the fifteenth century he increased his dominions by the accession of Novogorod and of the territory of Moscow, which he took from the Lithuanians; and from that period the Russian czars or princes began to assume the splendour and dignity of sovereigns, but their dominions were barbarous and uncultivated. It was not till the year 1645, when Alexis Michaelowitz succeeded to the throne, that the first code of Russian laws was published, and some attempts were made to introduce that civilization which was afterward so happily accomplished by his son Peter the Great. The limits of the empire at this time, too, did not comprehend one third of what is now subject to the dominion of the sovereigns of Russia.

Till about the end of the sixteenth century, the dominions of Russia were bounded by the river Wolga to the east, that is to say-they extended no farther than the limits of Europe. At that time a Cossack chief of the name of Jermack, who followed the profession of a robber, and was the leader of a gang of banditti, was the means of adding to the Russian empire all that immense tract of country known by the name of Siberia. He had long infested the Russian borders by his depredations, till at last being taken prisoner with the greatest part of his followers, and condemned to suffer death, he threw himself upon the clemency of the czar, and offered, on condition of receiving pardon, to point out an easy conquest of an immense extent of empire unknown to the Russians. His offer was accepted, the czar approved of the expedition, and Jermack set out as the general of a regular army for the conquest of Siberia, then in the hands of the Tartars. This expedition was attended with al the success that could be wished. The Tar

tars fled before the Russians; but venturing at length to make a stand, a general and decisive battle was fought near the city of Tobolsky, where the Tartars were entirely defeated, and their king with the whole of the royal family were sent in chains to Moscow. They were, however, very honourably treated, and the son of the last prince had an assignment of territory of a large extent given him in Russia, which is at this day, or has very lately been, enjoyed by his family, together with the title of Sibersky Czarovitz, or Prince of Siberia. The Russians continued to extend their conquests to the east with great rapidity, and in half a century found themselves confined only by the eastern limits of the Asiatic continent.

The czar Alexis Michaelowitz, who first introduced a regular system of laws among the Russians, paved the way for that civilization which his son Peter afterward accomplished. Alexis left three sons, Phædor, Ivan, and Peter, and a daughter Sophia. Phædor suc ceeded his father, but died young in the year 1682, leaving the crown to his youngest brother Peter, then only two years of age, in exclusion of the elder Ivan, a man of no capacity; but the princess Sophia had that capacity which her brother wanted. She committed some dreadful excesses to obtain the government of the empire, and carried the point so as to cause herself to be associated with her brothers in the regency; but this did not satisfy her. She aimed at an exclusive possession of the sovereignty, and for that purpose formed a conspiracy against the life of Peter, which terminated in her own ruin. The young Peter assembled some troops, severely punished the conspir ators, confined Sophia in a monastery, and, leaving only an empty title to his brother Ivan, made himselt master of the empire in the year 1689.

The rudeness and imperfection of Peter's education, and some early habits of intemperance and debauchery, did not prevent him from very soon exhibiting proofs of that genius by which he was so remarkably char

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acterized. An acquaintance with a young foreigner of the name of Le Fort, by birth a Swiss, and a man of penetrating genius, infused those first ideas of improvement into the mind of the czar, and gave birth to a variety of designs for the cultivation and refinement of his people. The first objects of his attention were the army and the marine. The Strelitzes, a body of militia consisting of about thirty thousand men, like the Turkish Janizaries, had frequently embroiled the empire by their seditions. Peter determined to abolish entirely this dangerous body, and for that purpose began with the formation of a regiment which, by degrees, he increased to the number of twelve thousand men. To set an example of subordination to his nobility, he served himself in the quality of a private soldier; thence advancing gradually to the rank of captain and general officer. In the formation of this first body of regular troops, he owed a great deal to the assistance of an able person, of the name of Gordon. He, at the same time, with the help of foreign workmen, constructed a small fleet, and resolved to make an early experiment of his power, by laying siege to Azoph, then a Turkish settlement, at the head of the Black sea, upon the mouth of the Don or Tanais. The enterprise was successful; he defeated the Turkish fleet, and made himself master of Azoph-upon the reduction of which he celebrated a triumph at his return to Moscow.

The genius of Peter was soon sensible, that it was not at home he was to learn those arts which were necessary for the cultivation of his empire. He resolved, therefore, to travel in search of knowledge through the different countries of Europe, and thence to bring home whatever might be of use or importance toward the prosecution of this great design. He named three ambassadors, Le Fort, and two of his nobility, who were to be the ostensible characters at the several courts which he intended to visit, while he himself appeared as a private man in their suite. He

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