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only neglected to cultivate them among his people, but opposed them throughout his life by the most violent and merciless means. Every religious denomination was proscribed except his own, and the Bible was rigorously banished his dominions. To close Russia against all liberal ideas, no matter how moderate, to prevent the faintest discussion and criticism of the acts of authority, to bear down all resistance, and subjugate and mould sixty millions of men until the harshest military despotism should appear a natural and almost an indispensable thing, to substitute his own will for right, and, as a necessary consequence, to think himself infallible-these were the principles which filled his mind as his blood did his veins, and made the very pulse of his life. By the exercise of a power so unlimited a man runs the risk of becoming mad with pride, but can never be great or good. His system resolves itself into a species of deification of himself, and of an insulting opinion of the rest of mankind. If the theory itself was flagrantly false, he who cherished and acted upon it could be little better than a huge delusion."1
Yet it is difficult to believe that any man would pursue such a course except under the spell of imperial fanaticism: a conviction that he was called upon to subdue everything to the one end of national aggrandisement under the personal direction of members of one family. The toil was exhausting, and would have killed almost any other man: the anxiety was so constant that everybody noted, not only the occasional wild and almost horrifying stare, but the heavy cloud of care that marred the lineaments of that proud, handsome face. Amidst all the exertion, the flattery, the constant work, and change, and wearing ambition —there was the constant suspicion, if not the dread of assassination or of poisoning. A story of a terribly suggestive kind as showing the violent and almost brutal temper of the czar, as well as the peril to which he thought he was liable, was told privately at Breslau by Dr. Mandt in 1852, when the emperor was fifty-six years old, and had therefore already
1 Quarterly Review, March, 1855.
passed the usual number of years attained by the members of the imperial family.
"The constitution of the emperor is excellent, but as he treats it like an enemy, and in spite of his age does not deny himself any excess, he often shakes this magnificent edifice. At the period of which I am speaking he suffered from an obstinate indisposition, of which the cause remained unknown. My enemies, my friends, and, above all, my brother physicians, took advantage of this to charge me first with want of foresight, then with ignorance, and ultimately with poisoning. At that critical juncture I was summoned by the Grand-duchess Helen, who received me with a countenance at once cold and stern. She inquired how the emperor was, and without waiting for an answer, added that she was forewarned, and would abandon that august health neither to ignorance, if there were ignorance, nor to treason, if there were treason! She then motioned to me to retire. reaching home I was summoned to wait upon her husband, the Grand-duke Michael; his agitation was extreme, and he rushed towards me. I remained motionless, and instead of strangling me as I expected, he contented himself with putting his fist in my face, exclaiming, 'Traitor!' I respectfully begged that he would give me the means of repelling an odious accusation by acquainting me with the error which had suggested it. 'You act the virtuous man!' he exclaimed; 'you play the philosopher, the stoic; but I will not suffer myself to be deceived by this jugglery. The health of the emperor is in your hands; you are answerable to me for it with your life. On the day of that precious health being endangered your learned head would only adhere to your shoulders by a thread. Not a word, sir; understand, and go!' and I withdrew, pursued by his threats. In my absence the emperor had sent for me. I found him alone, stretched upon an easy-chair, his lionlike head weighed down by suffering, his colour leaden, his air gloomy. He cast on me a penetrating glance, and after some minutes of a chilling silence, inquired how I found him. I felt his pulse, which was strong and agitated; his tongue was bad, his general state
THE EMPRESS OF RUSSIA.
alarming. 'Well, sir?' said the emperor; he always used to call me by my name, and this alteration boded no good. 'Sire, your majesty has oppression and fever; it will be necessary to take an emetic.' At the word emetic the emperor raised his head abruptly-'An emetic! you never prescribed one to me before.' I went into the laboratory adjoining his study, and soon after returned with the dose; it was not long before it acted, but I was not satisfied with the result. Another emetic appeared to me necessary, and after it had taken effect the emperor raised his pallid countenance and said to me, in a tone of suppressed wrath, 'Is that all?' 'No, sire, for I must have bile.' 'That is to say, you must have my bowels. Be it so; but remember this-I will have' (and he pronounced the word will in a manner to give it a threatening meaning), 'I will have this one produce an effect. Fully sensible of the danger and responsibility, I, at all risks, trebled the dose; the vomiting was instantaneous and complete. He inquired whether I was satisfied. 'Your majesty is completely out of danger,' answered I, and we parted. On the following day I found the emperor standing up and strong. 'Do you know, Mandt,' said he, 'that yesterday, while you were administering the medicine to me, I believed I was poisoned?' 'I knew it, sire!' 'You knew it—and you had the courage to advise me to take an emetic!' 'The state of your majesty required it.' 'But if it had operated ill, what would your enemies have said? for you have enemies, and they are numerous.' 'They would have asserted subsequently what they insinuated previously,they would have called me Mandt the Poisoner.' And that thought did not stop you?' and here he held out his hand to me."
The suspicion of the czar on this occasion has been explained by the fact that when an emetic was proposed he was at once reminded that this was the very remedy which had been mentioned as an antidote in case of a suspicion of poisoning; and that, as he was probably aware of the interview between Mandt and the Grand-duke Michael, he immediately began to consider whether the doctor, to save himself, was about to give a remedy
which would counteract the effects of some noxious drug previously administered. The story was not made public till after the death of the emperor, on whom Dr. Mandt (who, by the by, was a homoeopath) continued to attend.
It must not be supposed, however, that the outbursts of violence displayed by the czar were evidences of a brutal temper. They have been attributed as much to hereditary malady as to the conditions amidst which he was placed and the defects of his education. He was capable of great gentleness and of moods of deep sentiment, and those domestics who were in personal attendance on him were warmly attached to him as to a kind master. That he was an affectionate father and husband is well known, and indeed though his marked attentions to women and his gallantrieswhich were more commands than intrigueswere notorious, his deep regard and esteem for his wife remained unaltered to the day of his death. She was the daughter of Frederick William III. of Prussia, but according to the Russian usage changed her name on her marriage from Louise Charlotte to Alexandra Feodorowna. They were married in 1796 while Nicholas was grand-duke, and their eldest son was born in the following year, on which occasion Nicholas wrote to the metropolitan Bishop of Moscow a very touching letter mentioning his joy at the happy termination of his anxieties, and asking the bishop to be his guide and aid in accomplishing a vow to erect a chapel to the honour of Alexander Newski in the church of the New Jerusalem. In this letter he says, "It has pleased Divine Providence to make me taste the happiness of being a father. He has deigned to preserve both the mother and the son. The expression of gratitude, which is not necessary to Him who searches the heart, becomes indispensable for a heart which is penetrated with it." The deep affection and respect for his wife continued to the day of his death, and was manifested on many occasions and in characteristic ways. It is recorded that when the military insurrection broke out in St. Petersburg after the death of the emperor Alexander the First, the new czar repaired with his wife to the
chapel of the palace before putting himself at the head of the regiment of horse-guards to give battle to the insurgents in Isaac Square, and joined in prayer with her for the safety of the empire. While the engagement lasted, the empress, who could hear the incessant discharges of cannon, remained prostrate, imploring Heaven for the preservation of her husband, who, when victory had declared itself, returned to throw himself into her arms and offer up thanks with her on his knees for his complete success. This desire to be together in trying conjunctures was manifested anew during subsequent years. In spite of a disease of the lungs, which for several seasons forced her to exchange the rigorous winter of St. Petersburg for some milder climate, the empress would not leave her husband alone in his trials, and to this affectionate resolve he owed the consolation of having by his death-bed the companion of his life. In former days, when she was absent for her health, the emperor had posted through Europe to surprise her in her winter-quarters. In 1845 she had a country house at the gates of Palermo, and the door of her chamber being opened one morning with an unusual noise, the czar entered, having travelled incognito from Russia for the mere gratification of the interview.
It will be seen that as the Russian empress was sister to the King of Prussia, the czar may have had some reason to expect that whatever Austria might do in the way of "moral support" to the claims of France and England in favour of the Ottoman Empire, the Prussian government would follow her only for a short distance, and in this he was scarcely disappointed. It soon became evident that Nicholas had determined to accept no compromise which the sultan and his advisers would make. Though Lord Stratford de Redcliffe by his astuteness more than once prevented an excuse for proceeding to extremities by his sagacious advice to the Turkish government, the Russian emperor felt the appointment of Lord Stratford itself to be an additional cause for irritation, since the designs of Russia had previously been checked by the prompt and decisive diplomacy of the British plenipotentiary, who had been ill received, if not refused, when
he was sent on a mission to Russia. It became evident, not only, as Lord Aberdeen piteously exclaimed, that we were drifting into war, but that the burden would have to be sustained by England and France alone. It was afterwards declared, and not without reason, that the French people were not altogether favourable to the war, which they regarded as affecting English interests more than their own, but they were not averse to the alliance with England, and Napoleon III. was ready to represent a principle which France was willing to endorse, in checking those overweening assumptions of the czar which had led him to ignore the existence of French interests in his suggestions to the English government. The Emperor of the French too, though he was willing to accept the name of a new-comer, owed little to the courtesy of the high-handed Nicholas. It cannot be supposed that he went into a tremendous conflict for the purpose of resenting any supposed slight, but there appears to be a tone in the letter he addressed to the Emperor of Russia inviting a pacific settlement, which is precisely that of the new-comer, addressing an easy and rather familiar remonstrance to the haughty claimant of conservative rights which are put entirely out of the question.
It should be mentioned also that Napoleon III. had lost no time in forming a matrimonial alliance, and that he had made not the slightest attempt to seek it in any of the royal or imperial families of Europe.
The declaration of the empire had been almost immediately followed by the marriage. The French emperor had long before made choice of a lady distinguished for her beauty and for eminent social talents; Eugénie Marie de Montijo, second daughter of Count de Montijo, grandee of Spain, and of Marie Manuela Kirkpatrick de Closeburn, the descendant of a Scotch Roman Catholic family. Her education had been completed in France and in England, and during travels through Europe. She was twenty-seven years of age at the time of her marriage to the emperor, who on the 22d of January, 1853, announced his intention to the senate by saying:
"The alliance which I contract is not in
NAPOLEON III. PROPOSES PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.
accordance with the traditions of ancient policy, and therein is its advantage. France, by its successive revolutions, has separated from the rest of Europe. Every wise government ought to wish it to re-enter the pale of the old monarchies. But this result will be more surely attained by a straightforward and frank policy, by loyalty in conduct, than by royal alliances, which often create a false security, and substitute family interests for those of the nation. Moreover, the example of the past has left in the minds of the people certain superstitious feelings. They have not forgotten that for seventy years foreign princesses have mounted the throne only to behold their race dispossessed or proscribed by war or revolution.
"One woman alone seemed to bring happiness, and to live more than the others in the memory of the people. That woman, the modest and good wife of General Bonaparte, was not the issue of royal blood. It must, however, be admitted that in 1810 the marriage of Napoleon I. with Marie Louise was a great event. It was a pledge for the future, a real satisfaction, as the ancient and illustrious house of Austria, which had been so long at war with us, was seen to intrigue for the alliances of the elected chief of a new empire. Under the late reign, on the contrary, the patriotism of the nation suffered when the heir to the crown solicited fruitlessly, during several years, a princely alliance, to obtain it only in a secondary rank and a different religion.
"When, in the presence of Europe, a man is borne on by the force of a principle to the level of ancient dynasties, it is not by giving an ancient character to his escutcheon, and by seeking to introduce himself, at any cost, into a family, that he is accepted. It is rather, ever remembering his origin, by preserving his own character, and by adopting frankly in presence of Europe the position of parvenu -a glorious title when one obtains it by the voluntary suffrages of a great people. Thus departing from the precedents followed up to this time, my marriage became a private affair, and there remained only the choice of
"She who has been the object of my preference is of princely descent. French in heart, by education, and by the recollection of the blood shed by her father in the cause of the empire, she has, as a Spaniard, the advantage of not having in France a family to whom it might be necessary to give honours and fortune. Without despising any one, I yet yield to my inclinations, after having taken counsel with my reason and my convictions. In fine, by placing independence, the qualities of the heart, domestic happiness, above dynastic prejudices and the calculations of ambition, I shall not be less strong because I shall be more free."
It was on the 29th of January, 1854, and of course after the destruction of the Turkish fleet by the Russians at Sinope, that Napoleon III. wrote to the Emperor of Russia:
"Your majesty has given so many proofs of your solicitude for the tranquillity of Europe, and by your beneficent influence has so powerfully arrested the spirit of disorder, that I cannot doubt as to the course you will take in the alternative which presents itself to your choice. Should your majesty be as desirous as myself of a pacific conclusion, what would be more simple than to declare that an armistice shall now be signed, that all hostilities shall cease, and that the belligerent forces shall retire from the places to which motives of war have led them? Thus the Russian troops would abandon the Principalities, and our squadrons the Black Sea. Your majesty, preferring to treat directly with Turkey, might appoint an ambassador, who could negotiate with a plenipotentiary of the sultan a convention which might be submitted to a conference of the four powers. Let your majesty adopt this plan, upon which the Queen of England and myself are perfectly agreed, and tranquillity will be re-established and the world satisfied. There is nothing in the plan which is unworthy of your majesty, nothing which can wound your honour; but if, from a motive difficult to understand, your majesty should refuse this proposal, then France as well as England will be compelled to leave to the fate of arms and the chances
of war that which might now be decided by | evitable they were ready to engage in it with reason and justice."
The Emperor of Russia replied on the 9th | of February:-"I have made, for the maintenance of peace, all the concessions, both of form and substance, compatible with my honour; and in claiming for my coreligionists in Turkey the confirmation of the rights and privileges which they have long acquired at the price of Russian blood I claimed nothing which was not confirmed by treaties. If the Porte had been left to herself the difference which has so long kept Europe in suspense would have been solved. A fatal influence has thrown everything into confusion. By provoking gratuitous suspicions, by exciting the fanaticism of the Turks, and by deceiving their government as to my intentions and the real scope of my demands, it has so exaggerated the extent of the questions that the probable result seems to be war. My confidence is in God and in my right, and Russia, as I can guarantee, will prove herself in 1854 what she was in 1812. If, however, your majesty, less indifferent to my honour, should frankly return to our programme, if you should proffer me a cordial hand, as I now offer it to you at this last moment, I will willingly forget whatever has wounded my feelings in the past. Then, sire, but then only, we may discuss, and perhaps we may come to an understanding. Let your fleet limit itself to preventing the Turks from sending additional forces to the theatre of war: I willingly promise that they shall have nothing to fear from my attempts. Let them send a negotiator; I will receive him in a suitable manner. My conditions are known at Vienna. That is the only basis upon which I can allow discussion."
spirit and determination. It is said that the phrase of the czar, "Russia will prove herself in 1854 what she was in 1812," aroused the war fever in France. But we must briefly refer to the events which preceded this correspondence, and then as briefly indicate the progress of the struggle during 1854 and 1855. We have already seen that the demands of Russia were founded on a clause in a treaty which, it was alleged, gave the czar a protectorate over the Greek subjects of the sultan. The treaty was that of Kutchuk-Kainardji, made in 1774 between the Ottoman Porte and Catherine II. of Russia, at a time when Turkey had been repeatedly defeated, and was reduced to such extremities that she was ready to concede almost anything, and did in fact relinquish Azof and Taganrog, at the same time making the Crimea independent, with the result of its being afterwards calmly appropriated as a possession of the Russian Empire. It seems scarcely likely, therefore, that in the same treaty which enforced these enormous concessions a clause should have been knowingly accepted, which, under colour of giving Russia a right to demand from the sultan due protection to members of the Greek Church in Turkey, might be at any time interpreted to mean such a claim of interposition on the part of Russia as would virtually make the Porte entirely subservient to the czar in respect to a large proportion of its subjects. All Europe may be said to have been engaged in disputing about the literal interpretation of the clause in the treaty of Kutchuk-Kainardji, on which Russia founded its arrogant and inordinate claims, and many, among whom was Mr. Gladstone, contended that the wording of the treaty involved the right of Russia to interpose if the sultan failed to extend to the Christian churches the protection which had been promised. Of course, accepting even to the full this interpretation, it was still open to argue what was the kind or degree of protection intended, and to what extent Russian interposition could be permitted in a case affecting not the Ottoman Porte only, but the European powers; or at all events, not only the integrity
It was thought by Prince Albert and others who were thoroughly acquainted with the situation that the representations made by Napoleon III. to Russia, though they were little likely to find favour with the czar, were genuinely intended to avert if possible a war in which the French people were not at all desirous to engage; but the temper of the French people themselves underwent a change after the reply came, and the war being in