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Title: A Short History of Russia
Author: Parmele, Mary Platt, 1843-1911
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Short History of Russia" ***

[Frontispiece: Peter the Great.]








Copyright, 1899, 1904, 1906,



If this book seems to have departed from the proper ideal of historic
narrative--if it is the history of a _Power_, and not of a _People_--it
is because the Russian people have had no history yet.  There has been
no evolution of a Russian nation, but only of a vast governing system;
and the words "Russian Empire" stand for a majestic world-power in
which the mass of its people have no part.  A splendidly embroidered
robe of Europeanism is worn over a chaotic, undeveloped mass of
semi-barbarism.  The reasons for this incongruity--the natural
obstacles with which Russia has had to contend; the strange ethnic
problems with which it has had to deal; its triumphant entry into the
family of great nations; and the circumstances leading to the
disastrous conflict recently concluded, and the changed conditions
resulting from it--such is the story this book has tried to tell.

M. P. P.



  Natural Conditions
  Greek Colonies on the Black Sea
  The Scythians
  Ancient Traces of Slavonic Race


  Hunnish Invasion
  Distribution of Races
  Slavonic Religion
  Primitive Political Conceptions


  The Scandinavian in Russia
  Olga's Vengeance
  Olga a Christian
  Russia the Champion of the Greek Empire in Bulgaria
  Norse Dominance in Heroic Period


  System of Appanages
  Vladimir the Sinner Becomes Vladimir the Saint
  Russia Forcibly Christianized
  Causes Underlying Antagonism Between Greek and Latin Church
  Russia Joined to the Greek Currents and Separated from the Latin


  Headship of House of Rurik
  Relation of Grand Prince to the Others
  Civilizing Influences from Greek Sources
  Cruelty not Indigenous with the Slavs
  How and Whence it Came
  Primitive Social Elements
  The Drujina
  End of Heroic Period
  Andrew Bogoliubski
  New Political Center at Suzdal


  The Republic of Novgorod
  Invasion of Baltic Provinces by Germans
  Livonian and Teutonic Orders
  Russian Territory Becomes Prussia
  Mongol Invasion
  Genghis Khan
  Cause of Downfall


  The Rule of the Khans
  Humiliation of Princes
  Novgorod the Last to Fall
  Alexander Nevski
  Russia Under the Yoke


  Its Union with Poland
  A Conquest of Russia Intended
  Daniel First Prince of Moscow
  Moscow Becomes the Ecclesiastical Center
  Power Gravitates Toward that State
  Dmitri Donskoi
  Golden Horde Crumbling


  Origin of Ottoman Empire
  Turks in Constantinople
  Moscow the Spiritual Heir to Byzantium
  Ivan Married to a Daughter of the Caesars
  Civilizing Streams Flowing into Moscow
  Work for Ivan III.
  And How He Did it
  Friendly Relations with the Khans
  Reply to Demand for Tribute in 1478
  The Yoke Broken


  Vasili the Blind
  Fall of Pskof
  Splendor of Courts Ceremonial
  Nature of Struggle which was Evolving


  Ivan IV.
  His Childhood
  _Coup d'État_
  Unmasking of Adashef and Silvester
  A Gentle Youth Developing into a Monster
  Solicitude for the Souls of his Victims
  Destruction of Novgorod
  England Enters Russia by a Side Door
  Friendship with Elizabeth
  Acquisition of Siberia
  The _Sobor_ or States-General Summoned
  Ivan Slays his Son and Heir
  His Death


  Boris Godunof
  The Way to Power
  A _Boyar_ Tsar of Russia
  Serfdom Created
  The False Dmitri
  Mikhail the First Romanoff


  Time of Preparation
  The Cossacks
  Attempt of Nikon
  Death of Mikhail
  Sympathizes with Charles II.
  Death of Alexis


  Sophia Regent
  Peter I.
  Visit to Archangel
  Azof Captured
  How a Navy was Built
  Sentiment Concerning Reforms
  A Conspiracy Nipped in the Bud
  Peter Astonishes Western Europe


  Charles XII.
  Battle of Narva
  St. Petersburg Founded
  Peter's Marriage with Catherine


  Campaign against Turks
  Disaster Averted
  Azof Relinquished
  Treaty of Pruth
  The Raskolniks
  Visit to France
  His Son Alexis a Traitor
  His Death


  Catherine I.
  Anna Ivanovna
  Ivan VI.
  Elizabeth Petrovna
  French Influences Succeed the German
  Peter III.
  His Taking off
  Catherine II.


  Conditions in Poland
  Victories in the Black Sea
  Pugatchek the Pretender
  Peasants' War
  Partition of Poland
  Characteristics of Catherine and of her Reign
  Her Death


  Paul I.
  Napoleon Bonaparte
  Franco-Russian Understanding
  Assassination of Paul
  Alexander I.


  Plans for a Liberal Reign
  Alexander I. an Ally of Napoleon
  Rupture of Friendship
  French Army in Moscow
  Its Retreat and Extinction
  The Tsar a Liberator in Europe
  Failure of Reforms
  Araktcheef's Severities
  Conspiracy at Kief
  Death of Alexander I.


  Constantine's Renunciation
  Succession of Nicholas I.
  Order Restored
  Character of Nicholas
  His Policy
  Polish Insurrection
  Reactionary Measures
  Europe Excluded
  Turco-Russian Understanding
  Beginning of the Great Diplomatic Game
  Nature of the Eastern Question
  Intellectual Expansion in Russia


  1848 in Europe
  Nicholas Aids Francis Joseph
  Hungary Subjugated
  Nicholas claims to be Protector of Eastern Christendom
  Attempt to Secure England's Co-operation
  Russia's Grievance against Turkey
  His Demands
  France and England in Alliance for Defense of Sultan
  Allied Armies in the Black Sea
  The Crimean War
  Siege of Sevastopol
  Death of Nicholas I.


  Alexander II.
  End of Crimean War
  Reaction Toward Liberalism
  Emancipation of Serfs
  Means by which It was Effected
  Patriarchalism Retained
  Hopes Awakened in Poland
  How it was Disposed of


  Reaction toward Severity
  Bulgaria and the Bashi-Bazuks
  Russia the Champion of the Balkan States
  Turco-Russian War
  Treaty of San Stefano
  Sentiment in Europe
  Congress of Berlin
  Diplomatic Defeat of Russia
  Waning Popularity of Alexander II.


  Emancipation a Disappointment
  Social Discontent
  Birth of Nihilism
  Assassination of Alexander II.
  The Peasants' Wreath
  Alexander III.
  A Joyless Reign
  His Death


  Nicholas II.
  Russification of Finland
  Invitation to Disarmament
  Brief Review of Conditions


  Conditions Preceding Russo-Japanese War
  Nature of Dispute
  Results of Conflict
  Peace Conference at Portsmouth
  Treaty Signed
  A National Assembly
  Dissolution of First Russian Parliament
  Present Outlook




Peter the Great . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

The Czar Iván the Terrible and his son Iván Ivánovitch

The Coronation of the Czar Alexander III., 1883

Scene during the Russo-Japanese War: Russian
  soldiers on the march in Manchuria




The topography of a country is to some extent a prophecy of its future.
Had there been no Mississippi coursing for three thousand miles through
the North American Continent, no Ohio and Missouri bisecting it from
east to west, no great inland seas indenting and watering it, no
fertile prairies stretching across its vast areas, how different would
have been the history of our own land.

Russia is the strange product of strange physical conditions.  Nature
was not in impetuous mood when she created this greater half of Europe,
nor was she generous, except in the matter of space.  She was slow,
sluggish, but inexorable.  No volcanic energies threw up rocky ridges
and ramparts in Titanic rage, and then repentantly clothed them with
lovely verdure as in Spain, Italy, and elsewhere.  No hungry sea rushed
in and tore her coast into fragments.  It would seem to have been just
a cold-blooded experiment in subjecting a vast region to the most
rigorous and least generous conditions possible, leaving it unshielded
alike from Polar winds in winter or scorching heat in summer, divesting
it of beauty and of charm, and then casting this arid, frigid, torpid
land to a branch of the human family as unique as its own habitation;
separating it by natural and almost impassable barriers from civilizing
influences, and in strange isolation leaving it to work out its own
problem of development.

We have only to look on the map at the ragged coast-lines of Greece,
Italy, and the British Isles to realize how powerful a factor the sea
has been in great civilizations.  Russia, like a thirsty giant, has for
centuries been struggling to get to the tides which so generously wash
the rest of Europe.  During the earlier periods of her history she had
not a foot of seaboard; and even now she possesses only a meager
portion of coast-line for such an extent of territory; one-half of this
being, except for three months in the year, sealed up with ice.

But Russia is deficient in still another essential feature.  Every
other European country possesses a mountain system which gives form and
solidity to its structure.  She alone has no such system.  No skeleton
or backbone gives promise of stability to the dull expanse of plains
through which flow her great lazy rivers, with scarce energy enough to
carry their burdens to the sea.  Mountains she has, but she shares them
with her neighbors; and the Carpathians, Caucasus, and Ural are simply
a continuous girdle for a vast inclosure of plateaus of varying
altitudes,[1] and while elsewhere it is the office of great mountain
ranges to nourish, to enrich, and to beautify, in this strange land
they seem designed only to imprison.

It is obvious that in a country so destitute of seaboard, its rivers
must assume an immense importance.  The history, the very life of
Russia clusters about its three great rivers.  These have been the
arteries which have nourished, and indeed created, this strange empire.
The _Volga_, with its seventy-five mouths emptying into the Caspian
Sea, like a lazy leviathan brought back currents from the Orient; then
the _Dnieper_, flowing into the Black Sea, opened up that communication
with Byzantium which more than anything else has influenced the
character of Russian development; and finally, in comparatively recent
times, the _Neva_ has borne those long-sought civilizing streams from
Western Europe which have made of it a modern state and joined it to
the European family of nations.

It would seem that the great region we now call Russia was predestined
to become one empire.  No one part could exist without all the others.
In the north is the _zone of forests_, extending from the region of
Moscow and Novgorod to the Arctic Circle.  At the extreme southeast,
north of the Caspian Sea and at the gateway leading into Asia, are the
_Barren Steppes_, unsuited to agriculture or to civilized living; fit
only for the raising of cattle and the existence of Asiatic nomads, who
to this day make it their home.

Between these two extremes lie two other zones of extraordinary
character, the _Black Lands_ and the _Arable Steppes_, or prairies.
The former zone, which is of immense extent, is covered with a deep bed
of black mold of inexhaustible fertility, which without manure produces
the richest harvests, and has done so since the time of Herodotus, at
which period it was the granary of Athens and of Eastern Europe.

The companion zone, running parallel with this, known as the Arable
Steppes, which nearly resembles the American prairies, is almost as
remarkable as the Black Lands.  Its soil, although fertile, has to be
renewed.  But an amazing vegetation covers this great area in summer
with an ocean of verdure six or eight feet high, in which men and
cattle may hide as in a forest.  It is these two zones in the heart of
Russia that have fed millions of people for centuries, which make her
now one of the greatest competitors in the markets of the world.

It is easy to see the interdependence created by this specialization in
production, and the economic necessity it has imposed for an undivided
empire.  The forest zone could not exist without the corn of the Black
Lands and the Prairies, nor without the cattle of the Steppes.  Nor
could those treeless regions exist without the wood of the forests.  So
it is obvious that when Nature girdled this eastern half of Europe, she
marked it for one vast empire; and when she covered those monotonous
plateaus with a black mantle of extraordinary fertility, she decreed
that the Russians should be an agricultural people.  And when she
created natural conditions unmitigated and unparalleled in severity,
she ordained that this race of toilers should be patient and submissive
under austerities; that their pulse should be set to a slow, even
rhythm, in harmony with the low key in which Nature spoke to them.

It is impossible to say when an Asiatic stream began to pour into
Europe over the arid steppes north of the Caspian.  But we know that as
early as the fifth century B. C. the Greeks had established trading
stations on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and that these in the
fourth century had become flourishing colonies through their trade with
the motley races of barbarians that swarmed about that region, who by
the Greeks were indiscriminately designated by the common name of

The Greek colonists, who always carried with them their religion, their
Homer, their love of beauty, and the arts of their mother cities,
established themselves on and about the promontory of the Crimea, and
built their city of Chersonesos where now is Sebastopol.  They first
entered into wars and then alliances with these Scythians, who served
them as middle-men in trade with the tribes beyond, and in time a
Graeco-Scythian state of the Bosphorus came into existence.

Herodotus in the fifth century wrote much about these so-called
Scythians, whom he divides into the agricultural Scythians, presumably
of the Black Lands, and the nomad Scythians, of the Barren Steppes.
His extravagant and fanciful pictures of those barbarians have long
been studied by the curious; but light from an unexpected source has
been thrown upon the subject, and Greek genius has rescued for us the
type of humanity first known in Russia.

There are now in the museum at St. Petersburg two priceless works of
art found in recent years in a tomb in Southern Russia.  They are two
vases of mingled gold and silver upon which are wrought pictures more
faithful and more eloquent than those drawn by Herodotus.  These
figures of the Scythians, drawn probably as early as 400 B. C.,
reproduce unmistakably the Russian peasant of to-day.  The same
bearded, heavy-featured faces; the long hair coming from beneath the
same peaked cap; the loose tunic bound by a girdle; the trousers tucked
into the boots, and the general type, not alone distinctly Aryan, but
_Slavonic_.  And not only that; we see them breaking in and bridling
their horses, in precisely the same way as the Russian peasant does
to-day on those same plains.  Assuredly the vexed question concerning
the Scythians is in a measure answered; and we know that some of them
at least were Slavonic.

But the passing illumination produced by the approach of Greek
civilization did not penetrate to the region beyond, where was a
tumbling, seething world of Asiatic tribes and peoples, Aryan, Tatar,
and Turk, more or less mingled in varying shades of barbarism, all
striving for mastery.

This elemental struggle was to resolve itself into one between Aryan
and non-Aryan--the Slav and the Finn; and this again into one between
the various members of the Slavonic family; then a life-and-death
struggle with Asiatic barbarism in its worst form (the Mongol), with
Tatar and Turk always remaining as disturbing factors.

How, and the steps by which, the least powerful branch of the Slavonic
race obtained the mastery and headship of Russia and has come to be one
of the leading powers of the earth, is the story this book will try to

[1] In the Tatar language the word Ural signifies "girdle."



In speaking of this eastern half of Europe as _Russia_, we have been
borrowing from the future.  At the time we have been considering there
was no Russia.  The world into which Christ came contained no Russia.
The Roman Empire rose and fell, and still there was no Russia.  Spain,
Italy, France, and England were taking on a new form of life through
the infusion of Teuton strength, and modern Europe was coming into
being, and still the very name of Russia did not exist.  The great
expanse of plains, with its medley of Oriental barbarism, was to Europe
the obscure region through which had come the Hunnish invasion from

This catastrophe was the only experience that this land had in common
with the rest of Europe.  The Goths had established an empire where the
ancient Graeco-Scythians had once been.  The overthrowing of this
Gothic Empire was the beginning of Attila's European conquests; and the
passage of the Hunnish horde, precisely as in the rest of Europe,
produced a complete overturning.  A torrent of Oriental races, Finns,
Bulgarians, Magyars, and others, rushed in upon the track of the Huns,
and filled up the spaces deserted by the Goths.  Here as elsewhere the
Hun completed his appointed task of a rearrangement of races; thus
fundamentally changing the whole course of future events.  Perhaps
there would be no Magyar race in Hungary, and certainly a different
history to write of Russia, had there been no Hunnish invasion in 375
A. D.

The old Roman Empire, which in its decay had divided into an Eastern
and a Western Empire (in the fourth century), had by the fifth century
succumbed to the new forces which assailed it, leaving only a
glittering remnant at Byzantium.

The Eastern or Byzantine Empire, rich in pride and pretension, but poor
in power, was destined to stand for one thousand years more, the
shining conservator of the Christian religion (although in a form quite
different from the Church of Rome) and of Greek culture.  It is
impossible to imagine what our civilization would be to-day if this
splendid fragment of the Roman Empire had not stood in shining
petrifaction during the ages of darkness, guarding the treasures of a
dead past.

While these tremendous changes were occurring in the West, unconscious
as toiling insects the various peoples in Russia were preparing for an
unknown future.  The Bulgarians were occupying large spaces in the
South.  The Finns, who had been driven by the Bulgarians from their
home upon the Volga, had centered in the Northwest near the Baltic,
their vigorous branches mingled more or less with other Asiatic races,
stretching here and there in the North, South, and East.  The Russian
Slavs, as the parent stem is called, were distributing themselves along
a strip of territory running north and south along the line of the
Dnieper; while the terrible Turks, and still more terrible Tatar
tribes, hovered chiefly about the Black, the Caspian, and the Sea of
Azof.  No dream of unity had come to anyone.  But had there been a
forecast then of the future, it would have been said that the more
finely organized Finn would become the dominant race; or perhaps the
Bulgarian, who was showing capacity for empire-building; but certainly
not that helpless Slavonic people wedged in between their stronger

But there were no large ambitions yet.  It meant nothing to them that
there was a new "Holy Roman Empire," and that Charlemagne had been
crowned at Rome successor of the Roman Caesars (800 A. D.); nor that an
England had just been consolidated into one kingdom.  Nor did it
concern them that the Saracen had overthrown a Gothic empire in Spain
(710).  For them these things did not exist.  But they knew about
Constantinople.  The Byzantine Empire was the sun which shone beyond
their horizon, and was for them the supreme type of power and earthly
splendor.  Whatever ambitions and aspirations would in time awaken in
these Oriental breasts must inevitably have for their ideal the
splendid despotism of the Eastern Caesars.  But that stage had not yet
been reached.

Although branches of the Slavonic race had separated from the parent
stem, bearing different names, the Bohemians on the Vistula, the
Poliani in what was to become Poland, the Lithuanians near the Baltic,
and minor tribes scattered elsewhere, from the Peloponnesus to the
Baltic, all had the same general characteristics.  Their religion, like
that of all Aryan peoples, was a pantheism founded upon the phenomena
of nature.  In their Pantheon there was a Volos, a solar deity who,
like the Greek Apollo, was inspirer of poets and protector of the
flocks--Perun, God of Thunder--Stribog, the father of the Winds, like
Aeolus--a Proteus who could assume all shapes--Centaurs, Vampires, and
hosts of minor deities, good and evil.  There were neither temples nor
priests, but the oak was venerated and consecrated to Perun; and rude
idols of wood stood upon the hills, where sacrifices were offered to
them and they were worshiped by the people.

They believed that their dead passed into a future life, and from the
time of the early Scythians it had been the custom to strangle a male
and a female servant of the deceased to accompany him on his journey to
the other land.  The barbarity of their religious rites varied with the
different tribes, but the general characteristics were the same, and
the people everywhere were profoundly attached to their pagan
ceremonies and under the dominion of an intense form of superstition.

Slav society was everywhere founded upon the patriarchal principle.
The father was absolute head of the family, his authority passing
undiminished upon his death to the oldest surviving member.  This was
the social unit.

The Commune, or _Mir_, was only the expansion of the family, and was
subject to the authority of a council, composed of the elders of the
several families, called the _vetché_.  The village lands were held in
common by this association.  The territory was the common property of
the whole.  No hay could be cut nor fish caught without permission from
the _vetché_.  Then all shared alike the benefit of the enterprise.

The communes nearest together formed a still larger group called a
_Volost_; that is, a canton or parish, which was governed by a council
composed of the elders of the communes, one of whom was recognized as
the chief.  Beyond this the idea of combination or unity did not
extend.  Such was the primitive form of society which was common to all
the Slavonic branches.  It was communistic, patriarchal, and just to
the individual.  They had no conception of tribal unity, nor of a
sovereignty which should include the whole.  If the Slav ever came
under the despotism of a strong personal government, the idea must come
from some external source; it must be imposed, not grow; for it was not
indigenous in the character of the people.  It would be perfectly
natural for them to submit to it if it came, for they were a passive
people, but they were incapable of creating it.



The Russian Slavs were an agricultural, not a warlike, people.  They
fought bravely, but naked to the waist, and with no idea of military
organization, so were of course no match for the Turks, well skilled in
the arts of war, nor for the armed bands of Scandinavian merchants, who
made their territory a highway by which to reach the Greek provinces.
All the Slav asked was to be permitted to gather his harvests, and
dwell in his wooden towns and villages in peace.  But this he could not
do.  Not only was he under tribute to the Khazarui (a powerful tribe of
mingled Finnish and Turkish blood), and harried by the Turks, in the
South; overrun by the Finns and Lithuanians in the North; but in his
imperfect political condition he was broken up into minute divisions,
canton incessantly at war with canton, and there could be no peace.
The roving bands of Scandinavian traders and freebooters were
alternately his persecutors and protectors.  After burning his villages
for some fancied offense, and appropriating his cattle and corn, they
would sell their service for the protection of Kief, Novgorod, and
Pskof as freely as they did the same thing to Constantinople and the
Greek cities.  In other words, these brilliant, masterful intruders
were _Northmen_, and can undoubtedly be identified with those roving
sea-kings who terrorized Western Europe for a long and dreary period.

The disheartened Slavs of Novgorod came to a momentous decision.  They
invited these Varangians--as they are called--to come and administer
their government.  They said: "Our land is great and fruitful, but it
lacks order and justice.  Come--take possession, and govern us."  With
the arrival from Sweden of the three Vikings, Rurik and his two
brothers Sineus and Truvor, the true history of Russia begins, and the
one thousandth anniversary of that event was commemorated at Novgorod
in the year 1862.

Rurik was the Clovis of Russia.  When with his band of followers he was
established at Novgorod the name of Russia came into existence,
supposedly from the Finnish word _ruotsi_, meaning rowers or
sea-farers.  Slavonia was not only christened but regenerated at this
period, and infused into it were the new elements of martial order,
discipline, and the habit of implicit obedience to a chosen or
hereditary chief; and as Rurik's brothers soon conveniently died, their
territory also passed to him, and he assumed the title of Grand Prince.

Upon the death of Rurik in 879, his younger brother Oleg succeeded him
as regent during the minority of his son Igor; and when two more
Varangian brothers--Askold and Dir--in the same manner--except that
they were not invited--took possession of Kief on the Dnieper and set
up a rival principality in the South with ambitious designs upon
Byzantium, Oleg promptly had them assassinated, added their territory
to the dominion of Igor, and removed the capital from Novgorod to
Kief--saying, "Let Kief be the mother of Russian cities!"  Then after
selecting a wife named Olga for the young Igor, he turned his attention
toward Byzantium, the powerful magnet about which Russian policy was
going to revolve for many centuries.

So invincible and so wise was this Oleg that he was believed to be a
sorcerer.  When the Greek emperor blockaded the passage of the
Bosphorus in 907, he placed his two thousand boats (!) upon wheels, and
let the sails carry them overland to the gates of Constantinople.  The
Russian poet Pushkin has made this the subject of a poem which tells
how Oleg, after exacting tribute from the frightened Emperor Leo VI.,
in true Norse fashion, hung his shield upon the golden gates as a
parting insult.

Again and again were the Greeks compelled to pay for immunity from
these invasions of the Varangian princes.  After the death of Oleg,
Igor reigned, and in 941 led another expedition against Constantinople
which we are told was driven back by "Greek-fire."  Then enlisting the
aid of the Pechenegs, a ferocious Tatar tribe, he returned with such
fury, and inflicted such atrocities, that the Greek Emperor begged for
mercy and offered to pay any price to be left alone.  The invaders
said: "If Caesar speaks thus, what more do we want than to have gold
and silver and silks without fighting."  A treaty of peace was signed
(945), the Russians swearing by their god Perun, and the Greeks by the
Gospels; and the victorious Igor turned his face toward Kief.  But he
was never to reach that place.

The Drevlians, the most savage of the Tatar tribes, had been forced to
pay him a large tribute, and were meditating upon their revenge.  They
said: "Let us kill the wolf or we will lose the flock."  They watched
their opportunity, seized him, tied him to two young trees bent
forcibly together; then, letting them spring apart, the son of Rurik
was torn to pieces.

No act of the wise regent Oleg was more fruitful in consequences than
the choice of a wife for the young Igor.  Olga, who acted as regent
during the minority of her son, was destined to be not only the heroine
of the Epic Cycle in Russia, but the first apostle of Christianity in
that heathen land; canonized by the Church, and remembered as "the
first Russian who mounted to the Heavenly Kingdom."

When the Drevlians sent gifts to appease her wrath at the murder of
Igor, and offered her the hand of their prince, she had the messengers
buried alive.  All she asked was three pigeons and three sparrows from
every house in their capital town.  Lighted tow was tied to the tails
of the birds, which were then permitted to fly back to their homes
under the eaves of the thatched houses.  In the conflagration which
followed, the inhabitants were massacred in a pleasing variety of ways;
some strangled, some smothered in vapor, some buried alive, and those
remaining reduced to slavery.

But an extraordinary transformation was at hand; and this vindictive
heathen woman was going to be changed to an ardent convert to the
Christian faith.  Nestor, who is the Russian Herodotus, relates that
she went to Constantinople in 955, to inquire into the mysteries of the
Christian Church.  The emperor was astonished, it is said, at the
strength and adroitness of her mind.  She was baptized by the Greek
Patriarch, under the new name of Helen, the emperor acting as her

There were already a few Christians in Kief, but so unpopular was the
new religion that Olga's son Sviatoslaf, upon reaching his majority,
absolutely refused to make himself ridiculous by adopting his mother's
faith.  "My men will mock me," was his reply to Olga's entreaties, and
Nestor adds "that he often became furious with her" for her importunity.

Sviatoslaf, the son of Igor and Olga, although the first prince to bear
a Russian name, was the very type of the cunning, ambitious, and
intrepid Northman, and his brief reign (964-972) displayed all these
qualities.  He defeated the Khazarui, the most civilized of all those
Oriental people, and once the most powerful.  He subjugated the
Pechenegs, perhaps the most brutal and least civilized of all the
barbarians.  But these were only incidental to his real purpose.

The Bulgarian Empire was large, and had played an important part in the
past.  It had a Tsar, while Russia had only a Grand Prince, and,
although now declining in strength, was a troublesome neighbor to the
Greek Empire.  The oft-repeated mistake of inviting the aid of another
people was committed.  Nothing could have better pleased Sviatoslaf
than to assist the Greek Empire, and when he captured the Bulgarian
capital city on the Danube, and even talked of making it his own
capital instead of Kief, it looked as if a great Slav Empire was
forming with its center almost within sight of Constantinople.  The
Greeks were dismayed.  With the Russians in the Balkan Peninsula, the
center of their dominions upon the Danube--with the Scythian hordes in
the South ready to do their bidding--and with scattered Slavonic tribes
from Macedon to the Peloponnesos gravitating toward them, what might
they not do?  No more serious danger had ever threatened the Empire of
the East.  They rushed to rescue Bulgaria from the very enemy they had
invited to overthrow it.  After a prolonged struggle, and in spite of
the wild courage displayed by Sviatoslaf, he was driven back, and
compelled to swear by Perun and Volos never again to invade Bulgaria.
If they broke their vows, might they become "as yellow as gold, and
perish by their own arms."  But this was for Sviatoslaf the last
invasion of any land.  The avenging Pechenegs were waiting in ambush
for his return.  They cut off his head and presented his skull to their
Prince as a drinking cup (972).

It seems scarcely necessary to call attention to the fact that the
transforming energy in this early period of Russian history was not in
the native people; but that the Slav, in the hands of his Norse rulers,
was as clay in the hands of the potter.  In the treaty of peace signed
at Kief (945) by the victorious Igor, of the fifty names recorded by
Nestor only three were Slavonic and the rest Scandinavian.  There can
be no doubt which was the dominant race in this the heroic age of

So we have seen a weaker people submitting to the rule of a stronger,
not by conquest, like Spain under the Visigoths; not overrun and
overridden as Britain by the Angles and Saxons and Gaul by the Franks;
but, in recognition of its own helplessness, voluntarily becoming
subject to the control of strangers.

And we see at the same time the brilliant, restless Norseman, with no
plan of establishing a racial dominion, but simply in the temporary
enjoyment of his own warlike and robber instincts, engrafting himself
upon a less gifted people, and then adopting its language and customs,
letting himself be absorbed into the nationality he has helped to
create, and becoming a Russian, with the same facility as Rollo and his
sons at the very same period were becoming Frenchmen.



So the scattered clans of the Slav race were roughly drawn together
into something resembling a nation by the strong arm of the
Scandinavian.  But the course of national progress is never a straight
one.  Nature understands better than we the value of retarding
influences, which prevent the too rapid fusing of crude elements.  This
work of retardation was performed for Russia by Sviatoslaf.  When,
instead of leaving his dominions to his oldest son, he divided them
among the three, he introduced a vicious system which was to become a
fatal source of weakness.  This is known as the system of _Appanages_.
To his son Yaropolk he gave Kief, to Oleg the territory of the
Drevlians, and to Vladimir Novgorod.  But as Vladimir quickly
assassinated Yaropolk, who had already assassinated Oleg, the injurious
results of the system were not directly felt!

Vladimir became the sole ruler.  He then started upon a course of
unbridled profligacy.  He compelled the widow of his murdered brother
to marry him--then a beautiful Greek nun who had been captured from
Byzantium--then a Bulgarian and a Bohemian wife, until finally his
household was numbered by hundreds.  But this sensual barbarian began
to be conscious of a soul.  He was troubled, and revived the worship of
the Slav gods; erected on the cliffs near Kief a new idol of Perun,
with head of silver and beard of gold.  Two Scandinavian Christians
were by his orders stabbed at the feet of the idol.  Still his soul was
unsatisfied.  He determined upon a search for the best religion; sent
ambassadors to examine into the religious beliefs of Mussulmans, Jews,
Catholics, and the Greeks.  The splendor of the Greek ceremonial, the
magnificence of the vestments, the incense, the music, and the presence
of the Emperor and his court, filled the souls of the barbarians with
awe--and the final argument of his _boyars_ (or nobles) put an end to
doubts: "If the Greek religion had not been the best, your grandmother
Olga, the wisest of mortals, would not have adopted it."

Vladimir's choice was made.  He would be baptized in the faith of Olga.
But this must be done at the hand of the Greek Patriarch; so he would
conquer baptism--and ravish it like booty--not beg for it.  He besieged
and took a Greek city.  Then demanded the hand of Anna, sister of the
Greek Caesar, threatening in case of refusal to march on
Constantinople.  Consent was given upon condition of baptism, which was
just what the barbarian wanted.  So he came back to Kief a Christian,
bringing with him his new Greek wife, and his new baptismal name of

Amid the tears and fright of the people, the idols were torn down;
Perun was flogged and thrown into the Dnieper.  Then the old pagan
stream was consecrated, and men, women, and children, old and young,
master and slave, were driven into the river, the Greek priests
standing on the banks reading the baptismal service.  The frightened
Novgorodians were in like manner forced to hurl Perun into the Volkhof,
and then, like herded cattle, were driven into the stream to be
baptized.  The work of Olga was completed--Russia was Christianized

It would be long before Christianity would penetrate into the heart of
the people.  As late as the twelfth century only the higher classes
faithfully observed the Christian rites; while the old pagan ceremonies
were still common among the peasantry.  And even now the Saints of the
Calendar are in some places only thinly disguised heathen deities and
pagan rites and superstitions mingle with Christian observances.

The conversion of Vladimir seems to have been sincere.  From being a
cruel voluptuary and assassin, he was changed to a merciful ruler who
could not bear to inflict capital punishment.  He was faithful to his
Greek wife Anna.  On the spot where he had once erected Perun, and
where the two Scandinavians were martyred at his command, he built the
church of St. Basil; and he is now remembered only as the saint who
Christianized pagan Russia, and revered as the "Beautiful Sun of Kief."

So the two most important events considered thus far in the history of
this land have been, first, its military conquest from the North, and
second, its ecclesiastical conquest from the South.  If the first
helped it to become a nation, the second determined the character which
that nationality should assume.

To explain one fact by another and unfamiliar and uncomprehended fact
is one of the confusing methods of history!  In order to know why the
adoption of the form of religion known as the Greek Church so
powerfully influenced Russian development, one must understand what
that faith was and is, and the source of the antagonisms which divided
the two great branches of the Church of Christ--the Greek and the Latin.

The cause underlying all others is _racial_.  It is explained in their
names.  The theology of one had its roots in Greek Philosophy; that of
the other in Roman Law.  One tended to a brilliant diversity, the other
to centralization and unity.  One was a group of Ecclesiastical States,
a Hierarchy and a _Polyarchy_, governed by Patriarchs, each supreme in
his own diocese; the other was a _Monarchy_, arbitrarily and
diplomatically governed from one center.  It was the difference between
an archipelago and a continent, and not unlike the difference between
ancient Greece and Rome.  One had the tremendous principle of growth,
stability, and permanence; the other had not.

Such were the race tendencies which led to entirely different
ecclesiastical systems.  Then there arose differences in dogma; and
Rome considered the Church in the East schismatic, and Byzantium held
that that of the West was heterodox.  They now not only disapproved of
each other's methods, but what was more serious, held different creeds.
The Latin Church, after its Bishop had become an infallible Pope (about
the middle of the fifth century), claimed that the Church in the East
must accept his definition of dogma as final.

It was one small word which finally rent these two bodies of
Christendom forever apart.  It was only the word _filioque_ which made
the impassable gulf dividing them.  The Latins maintained that the Holy
Spirit proceeded from the Father--_and the son_; the Greeks that it
descended from the Father alone.  It was the undying controversy
concerning the relations and the attributes of the three Members of the
Trinity; and the insoluble question was destined to break up Greek and
Catholic Church alike into numberless sects and shades of belief or
unbelief; and over this Christological controversy, rivers of blood
were to flow in both branches of Christendom.

The theological question involved was of course too subtle for ordinary
comprehension.  But although men on both sides stood ready to die for
the decisions of their councils which they did not understand, there
was underlying the whole question the political jealousy existing
between the two: Byzantium, embittered by the effacement of its
political jurisdiction in the West, exasperated at the overweening
pretensions of Roman bishops; Rome, watching for opportunity to cajole
or compel the Eastern Church to submit to her authority and headship.

Such was the condition of things when Russia allied herself in that
most vital way with the empire in the East.  It is impossible to
measure the importance of the step, or to imagine what would have been
the history of that country had Vladimir decided to accept the religion
of Rome and become Catholic, as the Slav in Poland had already done.
By his choice not only is it possible that he added some centuries to
the life of the Greek Empire itself, but he determined the type of
Russian civilization.  When she allied herself with Byzantium instead
of Rome, Russia separated herself from those European currents from
which she was already by natural and inherited conditions isolated.
She thus prolonged and emphasized the Orientalism which so largely
shaped her destiny, and produced a nationality absolutely unique in the
family of European nations, in that there is _but one single root in
Russia which can be traced back to the Roman Empire_; and whereas most
of the European civilizations are built upon a Roman foundation, there
is only one current in the life of that nation to-day which has flowed
from a Latin source: that is a judicial code which was founded (in
part) upon Roman law as embodied by Justinian, Emperor of the Empire in
the East (527-565).



When Vladimir died, in 1015, the partition of his dominions among
numerous heirs inaugurated the destructive system of _Appanages_.  The
country was converted into a group of principalities ruled by Princes
of the same blood, of which the Principality of Kief was chief, and its
ruler _Grand Prince_.  Kief, the "Mother of Cities," was the heart of
Russia, and its Prince, the oldest of the descendants of Rurik, had a
recognized supremacy over the others; who must, however, also belong to
this royal line.  No prince could rule anywhere who was not a
descendant of Rurik; Kief, the greatest prize of all, going to the
oldest; and when a Grand Prince died, his son was not his rightful
heir, but his uncle, or brother, or cousin, or whoever among the
Princes had the right by seniority.  This was a survival of the
patriarchal system of the Slavs, showing how the Norse rulers had
adapted themselves to the native customs as before stated.

So while in thus breaking up the land into small jealous and rival
states independent of each other--with only a nominal headship at
Kief--while in this there was a movement toward chaos, there were after
all some bonds of unity which could not be severed: A unity of race and
language; a unity of historical development; a unity in religion; and
the political unity created by the fact that all the thrones were
filled by members of the same family, any one of whom might become
Grand Prince if enough of the intervening members could--by natural or
other means--be disposed of.  This was a standing invitation for
assassination and anarchy, and one which was not neglected.

Immediately upon the death of Vladimir there commenced a carnival of
fraternal murders, which ended by leaving Yaroslaf to whom had been
assigned the Principality of Novgorod, upon the throne at Kief.

The "Mother of Russian Cities" began to show the effect of Greek
influences.  The Greek clergy had brought something besides Oriental
Christianity into the land of barbarians.  They brought a desire for
better living.  Learning began to be prized; schools were created.
Music and architecture, hitherto absolutely unknown, were introduced.
Kief grew splendid, and with its four hundred churches and its gilded
cupolas lighted by the sun, was striving to be like Constantinople.
Not alone the Sacred Books of Byzantine literature, but works upon
philosophy and science, and even romance, were translated into the
Slavonic language.  Russia was no longer the simple, untutored
barbarian, guided by unbridled impulses.  She was taking her first
lesson in civilization.  She was beginning to be wise; learning new
accomplishments, and, alas!--to be systematically and judicially cruel!

Nothing could have been more repugnant or foreign to the free Slav
barbarian than the penal code which was modeled by Yaroslaf upon the
one at Byzantium.  Corporal punishment was unknown to the Slav, and was
abhorrent to his instincts.  This seems a strange statement to make
regarding the land of the _knout_!  But it is true.  And imprisonment,
convict labor, flogging, torture, mutilation, and even the death
penalty, came into this land by the way of Constantinople.

At the same time there mingled with this another stream from
Scandinavia, another judicial code which sanctioned private revenge,
the pursuit of an assassin by all the relatives of the dead; also the
ordeal by red-hot iron and boiling water.  But to the native Slav race,
corporal punishment, with its humiliations and its refinements of
cruelty, was unknown until brought to it by stronger and wiser people
from afar.

When we say that Russia was putting on a garment of civilization, let
no one suppose we mean the _people_ of Russia.  It was the Princes, and
their military and civil households; it was official Russia that was
doing this.  The _people_ were still sowing and reaping, and sharing
the fruit of their toil in common, unconscious as the cattle in their
fields that a revolution was taking place, ready to be driven hither
and thither, coerced by a power which they did not comprehend, their
horizon bounded by the needs of the day and hour.

The elements constituting Russian society were the same in all the
principalities.  There was first the Prince.  Then his official family,
a band of warriors called the _Drujina_.  This Drujina was the germ of
the future state.  Its members were the faithful servants of the
Prince, his guard and his counselors.  He could constitute them a court
of justice, or could make them governors of fortresses (_posadniki_) or
lieutenants in the larger towns.  The Prince and his Drujina were like
a family of soldiers, bound together by a close tie.  The body was
divided into three orders of rank: first, the simple guards; second,
those corresponding to the French barons; and, third, the _Boyars_, the
most illustrious of all, second only to the Prince.  The Drujina was
therefore the germ of aristocratic Russia, next below it coming the
great body of the people, the citizens and traders, then the peasant,
and last of all the slave.

Yaroslaf, the "legislator," known as the Charlemagne of Russia, died in
the year 1054.  The Eastern and Western Empires, long divided in
sentiment, were that same year separated in fact, when Pope Leo VI.
excommunicated the whole body of the Church in the East.

With the death of Yaroslaf the first and heroic period in Russia
closes.  Sagas and legendary poems have preserved for us its grim
outlines and its heroes, of whom Vladimir, the "Beautiful Sun of Kief,"
is chief.  Thus far there has been a unity in the thread of Russian
history--but now came chaos.  Who can relate the story of two centuries
in which there have been 83 civil wars--18 foreign campaigns against
one country alone, not to speak of the others--46 barbaric invasions,
and in which 293 Princes are said to have disputed the throne of Kief
and other domains!  We repeat: Who could tell this story of chaos; and
who, after it is told, would read it?

It was a vast upheaval, a process in which the eternal purposes were
"writ large"--too large to be read at the time.  It was not intended
that only the fertile Black Lands along the Dnieper, near to the
civilizing center at Constantinople, should absorb the life currents.
All of Russia was to be vitalized; the bleak North as well as the
South; the zone of the forests as well as the fertile steppes.  The
instruments appointed to accomplish this great work were--the disorder
consequent upon the reapportionment of the territory at the death of
each sovereign--the fierce rivalries of ambitious Princes--and the
barbaric encroachments to which the prevailing anarchy made the South
the prey.

By the twelfth century the civil war had become distinctly a war
between a new Russia of the forests and the old Russia of the fertile
steppes.  The cause of the North had a powerful leader in Andrew
Bogoliubski.  Andrew was the grandson of Monomakh and the son of Yuri
(or George) Dolgoruki--both of whom were Grand Princes of extraordinary
abilities and commanding qualities.  In 1169 Andrew, who was then
Prince of Suzdal, came with an immense army of followers; he marched
against Kief.  The "Mother of Russian Cities" was taken by assault,
sacked and pillaged, and the Grand Principality ceased to exist.
Russia was preparing to revolve around a new center in the Northeast;
and with the new Grand Principality of Suzdal, far removed from
Byzantine and Western civilizations, it looked like a return toward
barbarism, but was in fact the circuitous road to progress.  The life
of the nation needed to be drawn to its extremities, and the ambitious
Andrew, who assumed the title and authority of Grand Prince, had
established a line which was destined to lead to the Czars of future



The Principality of Novgorod had from a remote antiquity been the
political center of Northern, as was Kief of Southern Russia.  It was
the Novgorodians who invited the Norse Princes to come and rule the
land; and it was the Novgorodians who were their least submissive
subjects.  When one of the Grand Princes proposed to send his son, whom
they did not want, to be their Prince, they replied: "Send him here if
he has a spare head."  It was a fearless, proud republic, as patriotic
and as quarrelsome as Florence, which it somewhat resembled.  Their
Prince was in reality a figurehead.  He was considered essential to the
dignity of the state, but his fortunes were in the hands of two
political parties, of which he represented the party in the ascendant.
Novgorod was a commercial city--its life was in its trade with the
Orient and the Greek Empire, and like the Italian cities, its politics
were swayed by economic interests.  Those in trade with the East
through the Volga desired a Prince from one of the great families about
that Oriental artery in the Southeast; while those whose fortunes
depended upon the Greeks preferred one from Kief or the principalities
on the Dnieper.  When one party fell, the Prince fell with it, and as
the formula expressed it, they then "made him a reverence, and showed
him the way out of Novgorod"--or else held him captive until his
successor arrived.

Princes might come, and Princes might go, but an irrepressible spirit
of freedom "went on forever"; the reigns all too short and troubled to
disturb the ancient liberties and customs of the republic.  No Grand
Prince was ever powerful enough to impose upon them a Prince they did
not want, and no Prince strong enough to oppose the will of the people;
every act of his requiring the sanction of their _posadnik_, a high
official--and every decision subject to reversal by the _Vetché_, the
popular assembly.  The _Vetché_ was, in fact, the real sovereign of the
proud republic which styled itself, "My Lord Novgorod the Great."  Such
was the remarkable state which played an important, and certainly the
most picturesque, part in the history of Russia.

The first thought of the new Grand Prince at Suzdal was to prevent the
possible rivalry of this arrogant principality in the North, by
conquering it and breaking its spirit.  He was also resolved to break
thoroughly with the past, to destroy the system of Appanages, and had
conceived the idea of the modern undivided state.  He removed his
capital from the old town of Suzdal, which had its _Vetché_ or popular
assembly, to Vladimir, which had had none of these things, assigning as
his reason, not that he intended to be sole master and free from all
ancient trammels--but that the Mother of God had come to him in a dream
and commanded him so to do!  But an end came to all his dreams and
ambitions.  He was assassinated in 1174 by his own _boyars_, who were
exasperated by his subversive policy and suspicions of his daring

With the setting of the currents of Russian national life toward the
North, there was awakened in Europe a vague sense of danger.  Not far
from Novgorod, on and about the shores of the Baltic, were various
tributary Slav tribes, mingled with pagan Finns.  This was the only
point of actual contact, the only point without natural protection
between Russia and Europe, and it must be guarded.  German merchants,
hand in hand with Latin missionaries, invaded a strip of disputed
territory, and, under the cloak of Christianity, commenced
a--_conquest_.  A Latin Church became also a fortress; and the fortress
soon expanded into a German town, and these crept every year farther
and farther into the East.  In order to quell the resistance of native
Finns and Slavs, there was created, and authorized by the Pope, an
order of knighthood, called the "Sword-Bearers," with the double
purpose of driving back the Slavonic tide which threatened Germany and
at the same time Christianizing it.  These were the "Livonian Knights,"
who came from Saxony and Westphalia, armed _cap-à-pie_, with red
crosses embroidered upon the shoulder of their white mantles.  Then
another order was created (1225), the "Teutonic Order," wearing black
crosses on their shoulders, which, after fraternizing with the Livonian
Knights, was going to absorb them--together with some other
things--into their own more powerful organization.  Russia had no armed
warriors to meet these steel-clad Germans and Livonians.  She had no
orders of chivalry, had taken no part in the Crusades, the far-off
echoes of which had fallen upon unheeding ears.  The Russians could
defend with desperate courage their own flimsy fortifications of wood,
earth, and loose stones; but they could not pull down with ropes the
solid German fortresses of stone and cement, and their spears were
ineffectual upon the shining armor.  Their conquest was inevitable; the
conquered territory being divided between the knights and the Latin
Church.  So Königsberg and many other Russian towns were captured and
then Teutonized, by joining them to the cities of Lubeck, Bremen,
Hamburg, etc., in the "Hanseatic League."

This conquest was of less future importance to Russia than to Western
Europe.  It contained the germ of much history.  The territory thus
wrested from Russia became the German state of Prussia; and a future
master of the Teutonic order, a Hohenzollern, was in later years its
first King; and this was the beginning of the great German Empire which
confronts the Empire of the Czar to-day.

So the conquest by the German Orders was added to the other woes by
which Russia was rent and torn after the death of her Grand Prince at
Suzdal.  To us it all seems like an unmeaning panorama of chaos and
disorder.  But to them it was only the vicissitudes naturally occurring
in the life of a great nation.  They were proud of their nationality,
which had existed nearly as long as from Columbus to our own day.  They
gloried in their splendid background of great deeds and their long line
of heroes reaching back to Rurik.  Their Princes were proud and
powerful--their followers (the _Drujiniki_)--noble and fearless--who
could stand before them?  They would have exchanged their glories for
those of no nation upon the earth, except perhaps that waning empire of
the Caesars at Constantinople!

Such was the sentiment of Russian nationality at the time when its
overwhelming humiliation suddenly came, a degrading subjection to
Asiatic Mongols, which lasted 250 years.

In the year 1224 there appeared in the Southeast a strange host who
claimed the land of the Polovtsui, a Tatar clan which had been for
centuries encamped about the Sea of Azof.  The Russian chronicler
naively says: "There came upon us for our sins unknown nations.  God
alone knew who they were, or where they came from--God, and perhaps
wise men, learned in books"--which it is evident the chronicler was
not!  The invaders were Mongols--that branch of the human family from
which had come the Tatars and the Huns, already familiar to Russia.
But these Mongols were the vanguard of a vast army which had streamed
like a torrent through the heart of Asia, conquering as it came;
gathering one after another the Asiatic kingdoms into an empire ruled
by Genghis Khan, a sovereign who in forty years had made himself master
of China and the greater part of Asia--saying: "As there is only one
Sun in Heaven, so there should be only one Emperor on the Earth"; and
when he died, in 1227, he left the largest empire that had ever
existed, and one which he was preparing to extend into Western Europe.

It was the court of this great sovereign which, in 1275, was visited by
the Venetian traveler Marco Polo.  This was the far-off Cathay,
descriptions of which fired the imagination of Europe, and awoke a
consuming desire to get access to its fabulous riches, and which two
centuries later filled the mind of Columbus with dreams of reaching
that land of wonders by way of the West.

The Polovtsui appealed to the nearest principalities for help, offering
to adopt their religion and to become their subjects, in return for
aid.  When several Princes came with their armies to the rescue, the
Mongols sent messengers saying: "We have no quarrel with you; we have
come to destroy the accursed Polovtsui."  The Princes replied by
promptly putting the ambassadors all to death.  This sealed the fate of
Russia.  There could be no compromise after that.  Upon that first
battlefield, on the steppes near the sea of Azof, there were left six
Princes, seventy chief _boyars_, and all but one-tenth of the Russian

After this thunderbolt had fallen an ominous quiet reigned for thirteen
years.  Nothing more was heard of the Mongols--but a comet blazing in
the sky awoke vague fears.  Suddenly an army of five hundred thousand
Asiatics returned, led by Batui, nephew of the Great Khan of Khans.

It was the defective political structure of Russia, its division into
principalities, which made it an easy prey.  The Mongols, moving as one
man, took one principality at a time, its nobles and citizens alone
bearing arms, the peasants, by far the greater part, being utterly
defenseless.  After wrecking and devastating that, they passed on to
the next, which, however desperately defended, met the same fate.  The
Grand Principality was a ruin; its fourteen towns were burned, and
when, in the absence of its Grand Prince, Vladimir the capital city
fell, the Princesses and all the families of the nobles took refuge in
the cathedral and perished in the general conflagration (1238).  Two
years later Kief also fell, with its white walls and towers embellished
by Byzantine art, its cupolas of gold and silver.  All was laid in the
dust, and only a few fragments in museums now remain to tell of its
glory.  The annalist describes the bellowings of the buffaloes, the
cries of the camels, the neighing of the horses, and howlings of the
Tatars while the ancient and beautiful city was being laid low.

Before 1240 the work was complete.  There was a Mongol empire where had
been a Russian.  Then the tide began to set toward Western Europe.
Isolated from the other European states by her religion, Russia had
suffered alone.  No Europe sprang to her defense as to the defense of
Spain from the Saracens.  Not until Poland and Hungary were threatened
and invaded did the Western Kingdoms give any sign of interest.  Then
the Pope, in alarm, appealed to the Christian states.  Frederick II. of
Germany responded, and Louis IX. of France (Saint-Louis) prepared to
lead a crusade.  But the storm had spent its fury upon the Slavonic
people, and was content to pause upon those plains which to the Asiatic
seemed not unlike his own home.



Amid the wreck of principalities there was one state remaining erect.
Novgorod was defended by its remoteness and its uninviting climate.
The Mongols had not thought it worth while to attempt the reduction of
the warlike state, so the stalwart Republic stood alone amid the
general ruin.  All the rest were under the Tatar yoke.  Of Princes
there were none.  All had either been slaughtered or fled.  Proud
_boyars_ saw their wives and daughters the slaves of barbarians.
Delicate women who had always lived in luxury were grinding corn and
preparing coarse food for their terrible masters.

After the conquest was completed the Mongol sovereign exacted only
three things from the prostrate state--homage, tribute, and a military
contingent when required.  They might retain their land and their
customs, might worship any god in any way; their Princes might dispute
for the thrones as before; but no Prince--not the Grand Prince
himself--could ascend a throne until he had permission from the Great
Khan, to whom also every dispute between royal claimants must be
deferred.  Then when finally the messenger came from the sovereign with
the _yarlik_, or royal sanction, the Prince must listen kneeling, with
his head in the dust.  And if then he was invited (?) to the Mongol
court to pay homage, he must go, even though it required (as Marco Polo
tells us) four years to make the journey across the plains and the
mountains and rivers and the Great Desert of Gobi!

When Yaroslaf II., third Grand Prince of Suzdal, succeeded to the
Principality, he was _invited_ to pay this visit.  After reaching
there, and after all the degrading ceremonies to which he was
subjected--kissing the stirrup of his Suzerain, and licking up the
drops which fell from his cup as he drank--then this Prince of the
family of Rurik perished from exhaustion in the Desert of Gobi on his
return journey.  But this was not all.  The yoke was a heavy as well as
a degrading one.  Each Prince with his _Drujina_ must be always ready
to lead an army in defense of the Mongol cause if required; and, last
of all, the poll-tax bore with intolerable weight upon everyone, rich
or poor, excepting only the ecclesiastics and the property of the Greek
Church, which with a singular clemency they exempted.

What sort of a despotism was it, and what sort of a being, that could
wield such a power from such a distance! that, across a continent it
took four years to traverse, could compel such obedience; could by a
word or a nod bring proud Princes with rage and rebellion in their
hearts to his court--not to be honored and enriched, but degraded and
insulted; then in shame to turn back with their _boyars_ and
retinues,--if indeed they were permitted to go back at all,--one-half
of whom would perish from exhaustion by the way.  What was the secret
of such a power?  Even with all the modern appliances for conveying the
will of a sovereign to-day, with railroads to carry his messengers and
telegraph wires to convey his will, would it be conceivable to exert
such an authority?

And--listen to the language of a proud Russian Prince at the Court of
the Great Khan: "Lord--all-powerful Tsar, if I have done aught against
you, I come hither to receive life or death.  I am ready for either.
Do with me as God inspires you."  Or still another: "My Lord and
master, by thy mercy hold I my principality--with no title but thy
protection and investiture--thy _yarlik_; while my uncle claims it not
by your favor but by right!"  It was such pleading as this that
succeeded; so it is easy to see how Princes at last vied with each
other in being abject.  In this particular case the presumptuous uncle
was ordered to lead his victorious nephew's horse by the bridle, on his
way to his coronation at Moscow.  So the path to success was through
the dust, and it was the wily Princes of Moscow that most patiently
traveled that road with important results to Russia.

Novgorod, as we have said, had alone escaped from these degradations.
Her Prince Alexander was son of Yaroslaf, the Grand Prince who perished
in the desert on his way home.  At the time of the invasion Alexander
was leading an army against the Swedes and the Livonian Knights in
defense of his Baltic provinces.  It was Latin Christianity _versus_
Greek, and by a great victory upon the banks of the Neva he earned
undying fame and the surname of _Nevski_.  Alexander Nevski is
remembered as the hero of the Neva and of the North; yet even he was
finally compelled to grovel at the feet of the barbarians.  Novgorod
alone had stood erect, had paid no tribute and offered no homage to the
Khan.  At last, when its destruction was at hand, thirty-six years
after the invasion, Nevski had the heroism to submit to the inevitable.
He advised a surrender.  It needed a soul of iron to brave the
indignation of the republic.  "He offers us servitude!" they cried.
The _Posadnik_ who conveyed the counsel to the _Vetché_ was murdered on
the spot.  But Alexander persisted, and he prevailed.  His own son
refused to share his father's disgrace, and left the state.  Again and
again the people withdrew the consent they had given.  Better might
Novgorod perish!  But finally, when Alexander Nevski declared that he
would go, that he would leave them to their fate, they yielded, and the
Mongols came into a silent city, passing from house to house making
lists of the inhabitants who must pay tribute.

Then the unhappy Prince went to prostrate himself before the Khan at
Saraï.  But his heart had broken with his spirit.  He had saved his
state, but the task had been too heavy for him.  He died from
exhaustion on his journey home (1260).

On account of internal convulsions in the Great Tatar Empire, now
united by Kublai-Khan, the fourth in succession from Genghis-Khan, the
Golden-Horde had separated from the parent state, and its Khan was
absolute ruler of Russia.  So from this time the ceremony of
investiture was performed at Saraï; and the humiliating pilgrimages of
the Princes were made to that city.

The religion of the Mongols at the time of the invasion was a paganism
founded upon sorcery and magic; but they soon thereafter adopted
Islamism, and became ardent followers of the Prophet (1272).  Although
they never attempted to Tatarize Russia, 250 years of occupation could
not fail to leave indelible traces upon a civilization which was even
more than before Orientalized.  The dress of the upper classes became
more Eastern--the flowing caftan replaced the tunic, the blood of the
races mingled to some extent; even the Princes and _boyars_ contracting
marriages with Mongol women, so that in some of the future sovereigns
the blood of the Tatar was to be mingled with that of Rurik.

A weaker nation would have been crushed and disheartened by such
calamities as have been described.  But Russia was not weak.  She had a
tremendous store of vigor for good or for evil.  Life had always been a
terrible conflict, with nature and with man, and when there had been no
other barbarians to fight, they had fought each other.  Every muscle
and every sinew had always been in the highest state of activity, and
was toughened and strong, with an inextinguishable vitality.  Such
nations do not waste time in sentimental regrets.  Their wounds, like
those of animals, heal quickly, and they are urged on by a sort of
instinct to wear out the chains they cannot break.  By the time
Novgorod came under the Tatar yoke the entire state had adjusted itself
to its condition of servitude.  Its internal economy was
re-established, the peasants, in their _Mirs_ or communes, sowed and
reaped, and the people bought and sold, only a little more patient and
submissive than before.  The burden had grown heavier, but it must be
borne and the tribute paid.  The Princes, with wits sharpened by
conflict, fought as they always had, with uncles, cousins, and brothers
for the thrones; and then governed with a severity as nearly as
possible like the one imposed upon themselves by their own master--the
Great Khan.

The germ of future Russia was there; a strong, patient, toiling people
firmly held by a despotic power which they did not comprehend, and
uncomplainingly and as a matter of course giving nearly one-half of the
fruit of their toil for the privilege of living in their own land!
When her sovereigns had Tatar blood in their veins and Tatar ideals in
their hearts, Russia was on the road to absolutism.  All things were
tending toward a centralized unity of an iron and inexorable type--a
type entirely foreign to the natural free instincts of the Slavonic
people themselves.



The tumultuous forces in Russia, never at rest, were preparing to
revolve about a new center.  Whether this would be in the East or West
was long in doubt, and only decided after a prolonged struggle.
Western Russia grouped itself about the state of the Lithuanians on the
Baltic, and Eastern Russia about that of Muscovy.

The Lithuanians had never been Christianized; they still adored Perun
and their pagan deities; and the only bond uniting them with Russia was
the tribute they had for years reluctantly paid.  They were ripe for
rebellion; and when after long years of conflict with the Livonian and
Teutonic Orders, Latin Christianity obtained some foothold in their
land, they began to gravitate toward Catholic Poland instead of Greek
Russia; and when a marriage was suggested which should unite Poland and
Lithuania under their Prince Iagello, who should reign over both at
Cracow, and at the same time give them their own Grand Prince, they
consented.  The forces instigating this movement had their source at
Rome, where the Pope was unceasingly striving, through Germany and
Poland, to carry the Latin cross into Russia.  Again and again had the
Greek Church repulsed the offers of reconciliation and union made by
Rome.  So, much was hoped from the proselyting of the German Orders,
and of Catholic Poland, and from the union effected by the marriage of
the Lithuanian Prince Iagello with the Polish Queen Hedwig.

The threads composing this network of policies in the West were
altogether ecclesiastical, until Lithuania began to feel strong enough
to wash off her Christian baptism and to indulge in ambitious designs
of her own: to struggle away from Poland, and to commence an
independent and aggressive movement against Russia.

There was an immense vigor in this movement.  The power in the West,
sometimes Catholic and at heart always pagan, absorbed first towns and
cities and then principalities.  It began to be a Lithuanian conquest,
and overshadowed even Mongol oppression.  The Mongol wanted tribute;
while Lithuania wanted Russia!  But one of the gravest dangers brought
by this war between the East and the West was the standing opportunity
it offered to conspirators.  An army of disaffected uncles and nephews
and brothers, with their followers, could always find a refuge, and
were always plotting and intriguing and negotiating with Lithuania and
Poland, ready even to compromise their faith, if only they might ruin
the existing powers.

Such, in brief, was the great conflict between the East and West,
during which Moscow came into being as the supreme head, the living
center and germ of Russian autocracy.

It seems to have been the extraordinary vitality of one family which
twice changed the currents of national life: first drawing them from
Kief to Suzdal, then from Suzdal toward Moscow, and there establishing
a center of growth which has expanded into Russia as it exists to-day.
This was the family of _Dolgoruki_.  Monomakh and his son George
Dolgoruki, the last Grand Prince of Kief, were both men of commanding
character and abilities; and it will be remembered that it was Andrew
Bogoliubski, the son of George (or Yuri), who effected the revolution
which transferred the Grand Principality from Kief to Suzdal in the
bleak North.  Alexander Nevski, the hero of the Neva and of Novgorod,
was the descendant of this Andrew (of Suzdal), and it was the son of
Nevski who was the first Prince of Moscow and who there established a
line of Princes which has come unbroken down to Nicholas II.  Contrary
to all the traditions of their state this dominating family was going
to establish a _dynasty_, and again to remove the national life to a
new center, in a Grand Principality toward which all of Russia was
gradually but inevitably to gravitate until it became _Muscovite_.

The city which was to exert such an influence upon Russia was founded
in 1147 by George (or Yuri) Dolgoruki, the last Grand Prince of Kief.
The story is that upon arriving once at the domain of a _boyar_ named
Kutchko, he caused him for some offense to be put to death; then, as he
looked out upon the river Moskwa from the height where now stands the
Kremlin, so pleased was he with the outlook that he then and there
planted the nucleus of a town.  Whether the death of the _boyar_ or the
purpose of appropriating the domain came first, is not stated; but upon
the soil freshly sprinkled with human blood arose _Moscow_.

The town was of so little importance that its destruction by the Tatars
in 1238 was unobserved.  In 1260, when Alexander Nevski died, Moscow,
with a few villages, was given as a small appanage or portion to his
son Daniel.  Nevski, it must be remembered, was a direct descendant of
Monomakh, and of George Dolgoruki, the founder of Moscow.  So the first
Prince of Moscow was of this illustrious line, a line which has
remained unbroken until the present time.

When Daniel commenced to reign over what was probably the most obscure
and insignificant principality in all Russia, it was surrounded by old
and powerful states, in perpetual struggle with each other.  The
Lithuanian conquest was pressing in from the West and assuming large
proportions; while embracing the whole agitated surface was the odious
enslavement to the Mongols and their oft-recurring invasions to enforce
their insolent demands.

The building of the Russian Empire was not a dainty task!  It was not
to be performed by delicate instruments and gentle hands.  It needed
brutal measures and unpitying hearts.  Nor could brute force and
cruelty do it alone; it required the subtler forces of mind--cold,
calculating policies, patience, and craft of a subtle sort.  The
Princes of Russia had long been observant pupils, first at
Constantinople, and later at the feet of the Khans.  They could meet
cruelty with cruelty, cunning with cunning.  But it was the Princes of
Moscow who proved themselves masters in these Oriental arts.  Their
cunning was not of the vulgar sort which works for ends that are near;
it was the cunning which could wait, could patiently cringe and feign
loyalty and devotion, with the steady purpose of tearing in pieces.
Added to this, they had the intelligence to divine the secret of power.
Certain ends they kept steadily in view.  The old law of succession to
eldest collateral heir they set aside from the outset; the principality
being invariably divided among the sons of the deceased Prince.  Then
they gradually established the habit of giving to the eldest son
Moscow, and only insignificant portions to the rest.  So
_primogeniture_ lay at the root of the policy of the new state--and
they had created a dynasty.

Then their invariable method was by cunning arts to embroil neighboring
Princes in quarrels, and so to ingratiate themselves with their master
the Khan, that when they appeared before him at Saraï--as they
must--for his decision, while one unfortunate Prince (unless perchance
he was beheaded and did not come away at all) came away without his
throne, the faithful Prince of Moscow returned with a new state added
to his territory and a new title to his name!  Was he not always ready,
not only to obey himself, but to enforce the obedience of others?  Did
he not stand ready to march against Novgorod, or any proud, refractory
state which failed in tribute or homage to his master the Khan?  No
gloomier, no darker chapter is written in history than that which
records the transition of Russia into _Muscovy_.  It was rooted in a
tragedy, it was nourished by human blood at every step of its growth.
It was by base servility to the Khans, by perfidy to their peers, by
treachery and by prudent but pitiless policy, that Moscow rose from
obscurity to the supreme headship--and the name of _Muscovy_ was

There was a line of eight Muscovite Princes from Daniel (1260) to the
death of Vasili (1462), but they moved as steadily toward one end as if
one man had been during those two centuries guiding the policy of the
state.  The city of Moscow was made great.  The Kremlin was built
(1300)--not as we see it now.  It required many centuries to accumulate
all the treasures within that sacred inclosure of walls, crowned by
eighteen towers.  But with each succeeding reign there arose new
buildings, more and more richly adorned by jewels and by Byzantine art.

Then the city became the ecclesiastical center of Russia, when the
Metropolitan, second only to the Great Patriarch at Constantinople, was
induced to remove to Moscow from Vladimir, capital of the Grand
Principality.  This was an important advance; for in the train of the
great ecclesiastic came splendor of ritual, and wealth and culture and
art; and a cathedral and more palaces must be added to the Kremlin.  In
1328 Ivan I., the Prince of Moscow, being the eldest descendant of
Rurik, fell heir by the old law of succession to the Grand
Principality.  So now the Prince of Moscow was also Grand Prince of
Vladimir, or of Suzdal, which was the same thing; and as he continued
to dwell in his own capital, the Grand Principality was ruled from
Moscow.  The first act of this Grand Prince was to claim sovereignty
over Novgorod.  The people were deprived of their Vetché and their
_posadnik_, while one of his own _boyars_ represented his authority and
ruled as their Prince.  Then the compliant Khan bestowed upon his
faithful vassal the triple crown of Vladimir, Moscow, and Novgorod, to
which were soon to be added many others.

The next step was to be the setting aside of the old Slavonic law of
inheritance, and claiming the throne of the Grand Principality for the
oldest son of the last reigning Grand Prince; making sure at the same
time that this Prince belonged to the Muscovite line.  This was not
entirely accomplished until 1431, when Vasili carried his dispute to
the Horde for the Khan's decision.  The other disputant, who was making
a desperate stand for his rights under the old system of seniority, was
the "presumptuous uncle" already mentioned, who was, it will be
remembered, commanded to lead by the bridle the horse of his triumphant
Muscovite nephew.  The sons of the disappointed uncle, however,
conspired with success even after that; and finally, in a rage, Vasili
ordered that the eyes of one of his cousins be put out.  But time
brings its revenges.  Ten years later the Grand Prince, on an evil day,
fell into the hands of the remaining cousin,--brother of his
victim,--and had his own eyes put out.  So he was thereafter known as
"Vasili the Blind."  This wily Prince kept his oldest son Ivan close to
him; and, that there might be no doubt about his succession, so
familiarized him with his position and placed him so firmly in the
saddle that it would not be easy to unseat him when his own death

Many things had been happening during these two centuries besides the
absorption of the Russian principalities by Moscow.  The ambitious
designs of Lithuania, in which Poland and Hungary, and the German
Knights and Latin Christianity, were all involved, had been checked,
and the disappointed state of Lithuania was gravitating toward a union
with Poland.  More important still, the Empire of the Khan was falling
into pieces.  The process had been hastened by a tremendous victory
obtained by the Grand Prince Dmitri in 1378, on the banks of the Don.
In the same way that Alexander Nevski obtained the surname of Nevski by
the battle on the Neva, so Dmitri Donskoi won his upon the river Don.
Hitherto the Tatars had been resisted, but not attacked.  It was the
first real outburst against the Mongol yoke, and it shook the
foundations of their authority.  Then dissensions among themselves, and
the struggles of numerous claimants for the throne at Saraï broke the
Golden-Horde into five Khanates each claiming supremacy.



Something else had been taking place during these two centuries:
something which involved the future, not alone of Russia, but of all
Europe.  In 1250, just ten years before Daniel established the line of
Princes in Moscow, a little band of marauding Turks were encamped upon
a plain in Asia Minor.  They were led by an adventurer named Etrogruhl.
For some service rendered to the ruler of the land Etrogruhl received a
strip of territory as his reward, and when he died his son Othman
displayed such ability in increasing his inheritance by absorbing the
lands of other people that he became the terror of his neighbors.  He
had laid the foundation of the Ottoman empire and was the first of a
line of thirty-five sovereigns, extending down to the present time.  It
is the descendant of Othman and of Etrogruhl the adventurer who sits
to-day at Constantinople blocking the path to the East and defying
Christendom.  These Ottoman Turks were going to accomplish what Russian
Princes from the time of Rurik and Oleg had longed and failed to do.
They were going to break the power of the old empire in the East and
make the coveted city on the Bosphorus their own.  In 1453, the
successor of Othman was in Constantinople.

The Pope, always hoping for a reconciliation, and always striving for
the headship of a united Christendom, had in 1439 made fresh overtures
to the Greek Church.  The Emperor at Constantinople, three of the
Patriarchs, and seventeen of the Metropolitans--including the one at
Moscow--at last signed the Act of Union.  But when the astonished
Russians heard the prayer for the Pope, and saw the Latin cross upon
their altars, their indignation knew no bounds.  The Grand Prince
Vasili so overwhelmed the Metropolitan with insults that he could not
remain in Moscow, and the Union was abandoned.  Its wisdom as a
political measure cannot be doubted.  If the Emperor had had the
sympathy of the Pope, and the championship of Catholic Europe, the
Turks might not have entered Constantinople in 1453.  But they had not
that sympathy, and the Turks did enter it; and no one event has ever
left so lasting an impress upon civilization as the overthrow of the
old Byzantine Empire, and the giving to the winds, to carry whither
they would, its hoarded treasures of ancient ideals.  Byzantium had
been the heir to Greece, and now Russia claimed to be heir to
Byzantium; while the head of Russia was Moscow, and the head of Moscow
was Ivan III., who had just settled himself firmly on the seat left by
his father, "Vasili the Blind" (1462).

Christendom had never received such a blow.  Where had been before a
rebellious and alienated brother, who might in time be reconciled,
there was now--and at the very Gate of Europe--the infidel Turk, the
bitterest and most dangerous foe to Christianity; bearing the same
hated emblem that Charles Martel had driven back over the Pyrenees (in
732), and which had enslaved the Spanish Peninsula for seven hundred
years; but, unlike the Saracen, bringing barbarism instead of
enlightenment in its train.

The Pope, in despair and grief, turned toward Russia.  Its Metropolitan
had become a Patriarch now, and the headship of the Greek Church had
passed from Constantinople to Moscow.  A niece of the last Greek
Emperor, John Paleologus, had taken refuge in Rome; and when the Pope
suggested the marriage of this Greek Princess Zoë with Ivan III., the
proposition was joyfully accepted by him.  After changing her name from
Zoë to Sophia, and making a triumphal journey through Russia, this
daughter of the Emperors reached Moscow and became the bride of Ivan
III.  Moscow had long been the ecclesiastical head of Russia; now she
was the spiritual head of the Church in the East, and her ruling family
was joined to that of the Caesars.  Russia had certainly fallen heir to
all that was left of the wreck of the Empire, and her future sovereigns
might trace their lineage back to the Roman Caesars!

Moscow, by its natural position, was the distributing center of Russian
products.  The wood from the North, the corn from the fertile lands,
and the food from the cattle region all poured into her lap, making her
the commercial as well as the spiritual and political center.  Now
there flowed to that favored city another enriching stream.  Following
in the train of Ivan's Greek wife, were scholars, statesmen,
diplomatists, artists.  A host of Greek emigrants fleeing from the
Turks, took refuge in Moscow, bringing with them books, manuscripts,
and priceless treasures rescued from the ruined Empire.  If this was a
period of _Renaissance_ for Western Europe, was it not rather a
_Naissance_ for Russia?  What must have been the Russian _people_ when
her princes were still only barbarians?  If Ivan valued these things,
it was because they had been worn by Byzantium, and to him they
symbolized power.  There was plenty of rough work for him to do yet.
There were Novgorod and her sister-republic Pskof to be wiped out, and
Sweden and the Livonian Order on his borders to be looked after,
Bulgaria and other lands to be absorbed, and last and most important of
all, the Mongol yoke to be broken.  And while he was planning for these
he had little time for Greek manuscripts; he was introducing the
_knout_,[1] until then a stranger to his Slavonic people; he was having
Princes and _boyars_ and even ecclesiastics whipped and tortured and
mutilated; and, it is said, roasted alive two Polish gentlemen in an
iron cage, for conspiracy.  We hear that women fainted at his glance,
and _boyars_ trembled while he slept; that instead of "Ivan the Great"
he would be known as "Ivan the Terrible," had not his grandson Ivan IV.
so far outshone him.  That he had his softer moods we know.  For he
loved his Greek wife, and shed tears copiously over his brother's
death, even while he was appropriating all the territory which had
belonged to him.  And so great was his grief over the death of his only
son, that he ordered the physicians who had attended him to be publicly

The art of healing seems to have been a dangerous calling at that time.
A learned German physician, named Anthony, in whom Ivan placed much
confidence, was sent by him to attend a Tatar Prince who was a visitor
at his court.  When the Prince died after taking a decoction of herbs
prepared by the physician, Ivan gave him up to the Tatar relatives of
the deceased, to do with him as they liked.  They took him down to the
river Moskwa under the bridge, where they cut him in pieces like a

Ivan III. was not a warrior Prince like his great progenitors at Kief.
It was even suspected that he lacked personal courage.  He rarely led
his armies to battle.  His greatest triumphs were achieved sitting in
his palace in the Kremlin; and his weapons were found in a cunning and
far-reaching diplomacy.  He swept away the system of appanages, and one
by one effaced the privileges and the old legal and judicial systems in
those Principalities which were not yet entirely absorbed.  While
maintaining an outward respect for Mongol authority, and while
receiving its friendly aid in his attacks upon Novgorod and Lithuania,
he was carefully laying his plans for open defiance.  He cunningly
refrained from paying tribute and homage on the pretense that he could
not decide which of the five was lawful Khan.

In 1478 an embassy arrived at Moscow to collect tribute, bringing as
the symbol of their authority an image of the Khan Akhmet.  Ivan tore
off the mask of friendship.  In a fury he trampled the image under his
feet and (it is said) put to death all except one whom he sent back
with his message to the Golden Horde.  The astonished Khan sent word
that he would pardon him if he would come to Saraï and kiss his stirrup.

At last Ivan consented to lead his own army to meet that of the enraged
Khan.  The two armies confronted each other on the banks of the Oka.
Then after a pause of several days, suddenly both were seized with a
panic and fled.  And so in this inglorious fashion in 1480, after three
centuries of oppression and insult, Russia slipped from under the
Mongol yoke.  There were many Mongol invasions after this.  Many times
did they unite with Lithuanians and Poles and the enemies of Russia;
many times were they at the gates of Moscow, and twice did they burn
that city--excepting the Kremlin--to the ground.  But never again was
there homage or tribute paid to the broken and demoralized Asiatic
power which long lingered about the Crimea.  There are to-day two
millions of nomad Mongols encamped about the south-eastern steppes of
Russia, still living in tents, still raising and herding their flocks,
little changed in dress, habits, and character since the days of
Genghis Khan.  While this is written a famine is said to be raging
among them.  This is the last remnant of the great Mongol invasion.

In 1487 Ivan marched upon Kazan.  The city was taken after a siege of
seven weeks.  The Tsar of Kazan was a prisoner in Moscow and "Prince of
Bulgaria" was added to the titles of Ivan III.

[1] From the word knot.



Vasili, who succeeded Ivan III. in 1505, continued his work on the same
lines of absorption and consolidation by unmerciful means.  Pskof,--the
sister republic to Novgorod the Great,--which had guarded its liberties
with the same passionate devotion, was obliged to submit.  The bell
which had always summoned their _Vetché_, and which symbolized their
liberty, was carried away.  Their lament is as famous as that for the
Moorish city of Alhama, when taken by Ferdinand of Aragon.  The poetic
annalist says: "Alas! glorious city of Pskof--why this weeping and
lamentation?"  Pskof replies: "How can I but weep and lament?  An eagle
with claws like a lion has swooped down upon me.  He has captured my
beauty, my riches, my children.  Our land is a desert! our city ruined.
Our brothers have been carried away to a place where our fathers never
dwelt--nor our grandfathers--nor our great-grandfathers!"  In the whole
tragic story of Russia nothing is more pathetic and picturesque than
the destruction of the two republics--Novgorod and Pskof.

By 1523 the last state had yielded, and the Muscovite absorption was
complete.  There was but one Russia; and the head of the consolidated
empire called himself not "Grand Prince of all the Russias," but
_Tsar_.  When it is remembered that Tsar is only the Slavonic form for
_Caesar_, it will be seen that the dream of the Varangian Princes had
been in an unexpected way realized.  The Tsar of Russia was the
successor of the Caesars in the East.

Vasili's method of choosing a wife was like that of Ahasuerus.  Fifteen
hundred of the most beautiful maidens of noble birth were assembled at
Moscow.  After careful scrutiny the number was reduced to ten, then to
five--from these the final choice was made.  His wife's relations
formed the court of Vasili, became his companions and advisers,
_boyars_ vying with each other for the privilege of waiting upon his
table or assisting at his toilet.  But the office of adviser was a
difficult one.  To one great lord who in his inexperience ventured to
offer counsel, as in the olden time of the _Drujina_, he said sharply:
"Be silent, rustic."  While still another, more indiscreet, who had
ventured to complain that they were not consulted, was ordered to his
bedchamber, and there had his head cut off.

The court grew in barbaric and in Greek splendor.  As the Tsar sat upon
the throne supported by mechanical lions which roared at intervals, he
was guarded by young nobles with high caps of white fur, wearing long
caftans of white satin and armed with silver hatchets.  Greek
scholarship was also there.  A learned monk and friend of Savonarola
was translating Greek books and arranging for him the priceless volumes
in his library.  Vasili himself was now in correspondence with Pope Leo
X., who was using all his arts to induce him to make friends with
Catholic Poland and join in the most important of all wars--a war upon
Constantinople, of which he, Vasili, the spiritual and temporal heir to
the Eastern Empire, was the natural protector.

All this was very splendid.  But things were moving with the momentum
gained by his father, Ivan the Great.  It was Vasili's inheritance, not
his reign, that was great.  That inheritance he had maintained and
increased.  He had humiliated the nobility, had developed the movements
initiated by his greater father, and had also shown tastes magnificent
enough for the heir of his imperial mother, Sophia Paleologus.  But he
is overshadowed in history by standing between the two Ivans--Ivan the
Great and Ivan the Terrible.

[Illustration: The Czar Iván the Terrible and his son Iván Ivánovitch.
From the painting by I. E. Répin.]

Leo X. was soon too much occupied with a new foe to think about designs
upon Constantinople.  A certain monk was nailing a protest upon the
door of the Church at Wittenburg which would tax to the uttermost his
energies.  As from time to time travelers brought back tales of the
splendor of the Muscovite court, Europe was more than ever afraid of
such neighbors.  What might these powerful barbarians not do, if they
adopted European methods!  More stringent measures were enforced.  They
must not have access to the implements of civilization, and Sigismund,
King of Poland, threatened English merchants on the Baltic with death.

It is a singular circumstance that although, up to the time of Ivan the
Great, Russia had apparently not one thing in common with the states of
Western Europe, they were still subject to the same great tides or
tendencies and were moving simultaneously toward identical political
conditions.  An invisible but compelling hand had been upon every
European state, drawing the power from many heads into one.  In Spain,
Ferdinand and Isabella had brought all the smaller kingdoms and the
Moors under one united crown.  In France, Louis XI. had shattered the
fabric of feudalism, and by artful alliance with the people had
humiliated and subjugated the proud nobility.  Henry VIII. had
established absolutism in England, and Maximilian had done the same for
Germany, while even the Italian republics, were being gathered into the
hands of larger sovereignties.  From this distance in time it is easy
to see the prevailing direction in which all the nations were being
irresistibly drawn.

The hour had struck for the tide to flow toward _centralisation_; and
Russia, remote, cut off from all apparent connection with the Western
kingdoms, was borne along upon the same tide with the rest, as if it
was already a part of the same organism!  There, too, the power was
passing from the many to one: first from many ruling families to one
family, then from all the individual members of that family to a
supreme and permanent head--the Tsar.

There were many revolutions in Russia from the time when the Dolgorukis
turned the life-currents from Kief to the North; many centers of
volcanic energy in fearful state of activity, and many times when ruin
threatened from every side.  But in the midst of all this there was one
steady process--one end being always approached--a consolidation and a
centralization of authority before which European monarchies would
pale!  The process commenced with the autocratic purposes of Andrew
Bogoliubski.  And it was because his _boyars_ instinctively knew that
the success of his policy meant their ruin that they assassinated him.

In "Old Russia" a close and fraternal tie bound the Prince and his
_Drujina_ together.  It was one family, of which he was the adored
head.  What characterized the "New Russia" was a growing antagonism
between the Grand Prince and his lords or _boyars_.  This developed
into a life-and-death struggle, similar to that between Louis XI. and
his nobility.  His elevation meant their humiliation.  It was a
terrible clash of forces--a duel in which one was the instrument of
fate, and the other predestined to destruction.

It was of less importance during the period between Andrew Bogoliubski
and Ivan IV. that Mongols were exercising degrading tyranny and making
desperate reprisals for defeat--that Lithuania and Poland, and
conspirators everywhere, were by arms and by diplomacy and by treachery
trying to ruin the state; all this was of less import than the fact
that every vestige of authority was surely passing out of the hands of
the nobility into those of the Tsar.  The fight was a desperate one.
It became open and avowed under Ivan III., still more bitter under his
son Vasili II., and culminated at last under Ivan the Terrible, when,
like an infuriated animal, he let loose upon them all the pent-up
instincts in his blood.



In 1533 Vasili II. died, leaving the scepter to Ivan IV., an infant son
three years old.  Now the humiliated Princes and _boyars_ were to have
their turn.  The mother of Ivan IV., Helena Glinski, was the only
obstacle in their way.  She speedily died, the victim of poison, and
then there was no one to stem the tide of princely and oligarchic
reaction against autocracy; and the many years of Ivan's minority would
give plenty of time to re-establish their lost authority.  The _boyars_
took possession of the government.  Ivan wrote later: "My brother and I
were treated like the children of beggars.  We were half clothed, cold,
and hungry."  The _boyars_ in the presence of these children
appropriated the luxuries and treasures in the palace and then
plundered the people as well, exacting unmerciful fines and treating
them like slaves.  The only person who loved the neglected Ivan was his
nurse, and she was torn from him; and for a courtier to pity the
forlorn child was sufficient for his downfall.  Ivan had a superior
intelligence.  He read much and was keenly observant of all that was
happening.  He saw himself treated with insolent contempt in private,
but with abject servility in public.  He also observed that his
signature was required to give force to everything that was done, and
so discovered that he was the rightful master, that the real power was
vested only in him.  Suddenly, in 1543, he sternly summoned his court
to come into his presence, and, ordering the guards to seize the chief
offender among his _boyars_, he then and there had him torn to pieces
by his hounds.  This was a _coup d'état_ by a boy of thirteen!  He was
content with the banishment of many others, and then Ivan IV.
peacefully commenced his reign.  He seemed a gentle, indolent youth;
very confiding in those he trusted; inclined to be a voluptuary, loving
pleasure and study and everything better than affairs of state.  In
1547 he was crowned Tsar of Russia, and soon thereafter married
Anastasia of the house of Romanoff, whom he devotedly loved.  As was
the custom, he surrounded himself with his mother's and his wife's
relations.  So the Glinskis and the Romanoffs were the envied families
in control of the government.  His mother's family, the Glinskis, were
especially unpopular; and when a terrific fire destroyed nearly the
whole of Moscow it was whispered by jealous _boyars_ that the Princess
Anna Glinski had brought this misfortune upon them by enchantments.
She had taken human hearts, boiled them in water, and then sprinkled
the houses where the fire started!  An enraged populace burst into the
palace of the Glinskis, murdering all they could find.

Ivan, nervous and impressionable, seems to have been profoundly
affected by all this.  He yielded to the popular demand and appointed
two men to administer the government, spiritual and temporal--Adashef,
belonging to the smaller nobility, and Silvester, a priest.  Believing
absolutely in their fidelity, he then concerned himself very little
about affairs of state, and engaged in the completion of the work
commenced by Ivan III.--a revision of the old code of laws established
by Yaroslaf.  These were very peaceful and very happy years for Russia
and for himself.  But Ivan was stricken with a fever, and while
apparently in a dying condition he discovered the treachery of his
trusted ministers, that they were shamefully intriguing with his Tatar
enemies.  When he heard their rejoicings that the day of the Glinskis
and the Romanoffs was over, he realized the fate awaiting Anastasia and
her infant son if he died.  He resolved that he would not die.

Banishment seems a light punishment to have inflicted.  It was gentle
treatment for treason at the court of Moscow.  But the poison of
suspicion had entered his soul, and was the more surely, because
slowly, working a transformation in his character.  And when soon
thereafter Anastasia mysteriously and suddenly died, his whole nature
seemed to be undergoing a change.  He was passing from Ivan the gentle
and confiding, into "Ivan the Terrible."

Ivan said later, in his own vindication: "When that dog Adashef
betrayed me, was anyone put to death?  Did I not show mercy?  They say
now that I am cruel and irascible; but to whom?  I am cruel toward
those that are cruel to me.  The good! ah, I would give them the robe
and the chain that I wear!  My subjects would have given me over to the
Tatars, sold me to my enemies.  Think of the enormity of the treason!
If some were chastised, was it not for their crimes, and are they not
my slaves--and shall I not do what I will with mine own?"

His grievances were real.  His _boyars_ were desperate and determined,
and even with their foreheads in the dust were conspiring against him.
They were no less terrible than he toward their inferiors.  There never
could be anything but anarchy in Russia so long as this aristocracy of
cruel slave-masters existed.  Ivan (like Louis XI.) was girding himself
for the destruction of the power of his nobility, and, as one
conspiracy after another was revealed, faster and faster flowed the
torrent of his rage.

In 1571 he devoutly asked the prayers of the Church for 3470 of his
victims, 986 of whom he mentioned by name; many of these being followed
by the sinister addition: "With his wife and children"; "with his
sons"; "with his daughters."  A gentle, kindly Prince had been
converted into a monster of cruelty, who is called, by the historians
of his own country, the Nero of Russia.

He was a pious Prince, like all of the Muscovite line.  Not one of his
subjects was more faithful in religious observances than was this
"torch of orthodoxy"--who frequently called up his household in the
middle of the night for prayers.  Added to the above pious petition for
mercy to his victims, is this reference to Novgorod: "Remember, Lord,
the souls of thy servants to the number of 1505 persons--Novgorodians,
whose names, Almighty, thou knowest."

That Republic had made its last break for liberty.  Under the
leadership of Marfa, the widow of a wealthy and powerful noble, it had
thrown itself in despair into the arms of Catholic Poland.  This was
treason to the Tsar and to the Church, and its punishment was awful.
The desperate woman who had instigated the act was carried in chains to
Moscow, there to behold her two sons with the rest of the conspirators
beheaded.  The bell which for centuries had summoned her citizens to
the _Vetché_, that sacred symbol of the liberty of the Republic, is now
in the Museum at Moscow.  If its tongue should speak, if its clarion
call should ring out once more, perhaps there might come from the
shades a countless host of her martyred dead--"Whose names, Almighty,
thou knowest."  Ivan then proceeded to wreck the prosperity of the
richest commercial city in his empire.  Its trade was enormous with the
East and the West.  It had joined the Hanseatic League, and its wealth
was largely due to the German merchants who had flocked there.  With
singular lack of wisdom, the Tsar had confiscated the property of these
men, and now the ruin of the city was complete.

While Germany, and Poland, and Sweden,--resolved to shut up Russia in
her barbaric isolation,--were locking the front door on the Baltic and
the Gulf, England had found a side door by which to enter.  With great
satisfaction Ivan saw English traders coming in by way of the White
Sea, and he extended the rough hand of his friendship to Queen
Elizabeth, who made with him a commercial treaty, which was
countersigned by Francis Bacon.  Then, as his friendship warmed, he
proposed that they should sign a reciprocal engagement to furnish each
other with an asylum in the event of the rebellion of their subjects.
Elizabeth declined the asylum he kindly offered her, "finding, by the
grace of God, no dangers of the sort in her kingdom."  Then he did her
the honor to offer an alliance of a different kind.  He proposed that
she should send him her cousin Lady Mary Hastings to take the place
left vacant by his eighth wife--to become his Tsaritsa.  The
proposition was considered, but when the English maiden heard about his
brutalities and about his seven wives, so terrified was she that she
refused to leave England, and the affair had to be abandoned.
Elizabeth's rejection of his proposals, and also of his plan for an
alliance offensive and defensive against Poland and Sweden, so
infuriated Ivan that he confiscated the goods of the English merchants,
and this friendship was temporarily ruptured.  But amicable relations
were soon restored between Elizabeth and her barbarian admirer.  If she
had heard of his awful vengeance in 1571, she had also heard of the
massacre of St. Bartholomew in Paris in 1572!

Russia had now opened diplomatic relations with the Western kingdoms.
The foreign ambassadors were received with great pomp in a sumptuous
hall hung with tapestries and blazing with gold and silver.  The Tsar,
with crown and scepter, sat upon his throne, supported by the roaring
lions, and carefully studied the new ambassador as he suavely asked him
about his master.  A police inspector from that moment never lost sight
of him, making sure that he obtained no interviews with the natives nor
information about the state of the country.  Although the Tsar was
reputed to be learned and was probably the most learned man in his
nation, and had always about him a coterie of distinguished scholars,
still there was no intellectual life in Russia, and owing to the
Oriental seclusion of the women there was no society.  The men were
heavily bearded, and the ideal of beauty with the women, as they looked
furtively out from behind veils and curtains, was to be fat, with red,
white, and black paint laid on like a mask.  It must have been a dreary
post for gay European diplomats, and in marked contrast to gay, witty,
gallant Poland, at that time thoroughly Europeanized.

Next to the consolidation of the imperial authority, the event in this
reign most affecting the future of Russia was the acquisition of
Siberia.  A Cossack brigand under sentence of death escaped with his
followers into the land beyond the Urals, and conquered a part of the
territory, then returned and offered it to Ivan (1580) in exchange for
a pardon.  The incident is the subject of a _bilina_, a form of
historical poem, in which Yermak says:

  "I am the robber Hetman of the Don.
  And now--oh--orthodox Tsar,
  I bring you my traitorous head,
  And with it I bring the Empire of Siberia!

  And the orthodox Tsar will speak--
  He will speak--the terrible Ivan,
  Ha! thou art Yermak, the Hetman of the Don,
  I pardon thee and thy band,
  I pardon thee for thy trusty service--
  And I give to the Cossack the glorious and gentle
      Don as an inheritance."

The two Ivans had created a new code of laws, and now there was an
ample prison-house for its transgressors!  The penal code was
frightful.  An insolvent debtor was tied up half naked in a public
place and beaten three hours a day for thirty or forty days, and then,
if no one came to his rescue, with his wife and his children he was
sold as a slave.  But Siberia was to be the prison-house of a more
serious class of offenders for whom this punishment would be
insufficient.  It was to serve as a vast penal colony for crimes
against the state.  Since the beginning of the nineteenth century it is
said one million political exiles have been sent there, and they
continue to go at the rate of twenty thousand a year; showing how
useful a present was made by the robber Yermak to the "Orthodox Tsar"!

This reign, like that of Louis XI. of France, which it much resembled,
enlarged the privileges of the people in order to aid Ivan in his
conflict with his nobility.  For this purpose a _Sobor_, or
States-General, was summoned by him, and met at long intervals
thereafter until the time of Peter the First.

Of the two sons left to Ivan by his wife Anastasia, only one now
remained.  In a paroxysm of rage he had struck the Tsarevitch with his
iron staff.  He did not intend to kill him, but the blow was mortal.
Great and fierce was the sorrow of the Tsar when he found he had slain
his beloved son--the one thing he loved upon earth, and there remained
to inherit the fruit of his labors and his crimes only another child
(Feodor) enfeebled in body and mind, and an infant (Dmitri), the son of
his seventh wife.  His death, hastened by grief, took place three years
later, in 1584.



Occasionally there arises a man in history who, without distinction of
birth or other advantages, is strong enough by sheer ability to grasp
the opportunity, vault into power, and then stem the tide of events.
Such a man was Godwin, father of Harold, last Saxon King; in England;
and such a man was Boris Godunof, a _boyar_, who had so faithfully
served the terrible Ivan that he leaned upon him and at last confided
to him the supervision of his feeble son Feodor, when he should succeed
him.  The plans of this ambitious usurper were probably laid from the
time of the tragic death of Ivan's son, the Tsarevitch.  He brought
about the marriage of his beautiful sister Irene with Feodor, and from
the hour of Ivan's death was virtual ruler.  Dmitri, the infant son of
the late Tsar, aged five years, was prudently placed at a distance--and
soon thereafter mysteriously died (1591).  There can be no doubt that
the unexplained tragedy of this child's death was perfectly understood
by Boris; and when Feodor also died, seven years later (1598), there
was not one of the old Muscovite line to succeed to the throne.  But so
wise had been the administration of affairs by the astute Regent that a
change was dreaded.  A council offered him the crown, which he feigned
a reluctance to accept, preferring that the invitation should come from
a source which would admit of no question as to his rights in the
future.  Accordingly, the States-General or _Sobor_ was convened, and
Boris Godunof was chosen by acclamation.

The work of three reigns was undone.  A _boyar_ was Tsar of Russia--and
a _boyar_ not in the line of Rurik and with Tatar blood in his veins!
But this bold and unscrupulous man had performed a service to the
state.  The work of the Muscovite Princes was finished, and the
extinction of the line was the next necessary event in the path of

Boris had large and comprehensive views and proceeded upon new lines of
policy to reconstruct the state.  He saw that Russia must be
Europeanized, and he also saw that at least one radical change in her
internal policy might be used to insure his popularity with the Princes
and nobles.  The Russian peasantry was an enormous force which was not
utilized to its fullest extent.  It included almost the entire rural
population of Russia.  The peasant was legally a freeman.  He lived
unchanged under the old Slavonic patriarchal system of _Mirs_, or
communes, and _Volosts_.  These were the largest political
organizations of which he had personal cognizance.  He knew nothing
about Muscovite consolidation, nor oligarchy, nor autocracy.  No crumbs
from the modern banquet had fallen into his lap.  With a thin veneer of
orthodoxy over their paganism and superstition the people listened in
childish wonder to the same old tales--they lived their old primitive
life of toil under the same system of simple fair-dealing and justice.
If their commune owned the land it tilled, they all shared the benefit
of the harvests, paid their tax to the state, and all was well.  If
not, it swarmed like a community of bees to some wealthy neighbor's
estate and sold its labor to him, and then if he proved too hard a
taskmaster--even for a patient Russian peasant--they might swarm again
and work for another.

The tie binding them to special localities was only the very slightest.
There were no mountains to love, one part of the monotonous plateau was
about like another; and as for their homes, their wooden huts were
burned down so often there were no memories attached to them.

The result of this was that the peasantry--that immense force upon
which the state at last depended--was not stable and permanent, but
fluid.  At the slightest invitation of better wages, or better soil or
conditions, whole communities might desert a locality--would gather up
their goods and walk off.  Boris, while Regent, conceived the idea of
correcting this evil, in a way which would at the same time make him a
very popular ruler with the class whose support he most needed, the
Princes and the landowners.  He would chain the peasant to the soil.  A
decree was issued that henceforth the peasant must not go from one
estate to another.  He belonged to the land he was tilling, as the
trees that grew on it belonged to it, and the master of that land was
his master for evermore!

Such, in brief outline, was the system of serfdom which prevailed until
1861.  It was in theory, though not practically, unlike the institution
of American slavery.  The people, still living in their communes, still
clung to the figment of their freedom, not really understanding that
they were slaves, but feeling rather that they were freemen whose
sacred rights had been cruelly invaded.  That they were giving to hard
masters the fruit of their toil on their own lands.

Now that Russia was becoming a modern state, it required more money to
govern her.  Civilization is costly, and the revenues must not be
fluctuating.  Boris saw they could only be made sure by attaching to
the soil the peasant, whose labor was at the foundation of the
prosperity of the state.  It was the peasant who bore the weight of an
expanded civilization which he did not share!  The visitor at Moscow
to-day may see in the Kremlin a wonderful tower, 270 feet high, which
was erected in honor of Ivan the Great by the usurper Boris; but the
monument which keeps his memory alive is the more stupendous one

The expected increase in prosperity from the new system did not
immediately come.  The revenues were less than before.  Bands of
fugitive serfs were fleeing from their masters and joining the
community of free Cossacks on the Don.  Lands were untilled, there was
misery, and at last there was famine, and then discontent and
demoralization extending to the upper classes, and a diminished income
which finally bore upon the Tsar himself.

Suddenly there came a rumor that Dmitri, the infant son of Ivan the
Terrible, was not dead!  He was living in Poland, and with
incontestable proofs of his identity was coming to claim his own.  In
1604 he crossed the frontier, and thousands of discontented people
flocked to his standard with wild enthusiasm.  Boris had died just
before Dmitri reached Moscow.  He entered the city, and the infatuated
people placed in his hand and upon his head the scepter and the crown
of Ivan IV.; and after making sure that the wife and the son of Boris
Godunof were strangled, this amazing Pretender commenced his reign.

An extraordinary thing had happened.  A nameless adventurer and
impostor had been received with tears of joy as the son of Ivan and of
St. Vladimir, the seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible even recognizing
and embracing him as her son!  But Dmitri had not the wisdom to keep
what his cunning had won.  His Polish wife came, followed by a suite of
Polish Catholics, who began to carry things with a high hand.  The
clergy was offended and soon enraged.  In five years Dmitri was
assassinated, and his mutilated corpse was lying in the palace at the
Kremlin, an object of insult and derision; and then, for Russia there
came another chaos.

For a brief period Vasili Shuiski, head of one of the princely
families, reigned, while two more "false Dmitris" appeared, one from
Sweden and the other from Poland.  The cause of the latter was upheld
by the King of Poland, with the ulterior purpose of bringing the
disordered state of Russia under the Polish crown, and making one great
Slav kingdom with its center at Cracow.

So disorganized had the State become that some of the Princes had
actually opened negotiations with Sigismund with a view to offering the
crown to his son.  But when Sigismund with an invading army was in
Moscow (1610), and when Vasili Shuiski was a prisoner in Poland, and a
Polish Prince was claiming the title of Tsar, there came an
awakening--not among the nobility, but deep down in the heart of
orthodox Russia.  From this awakening of a dormant national sentiment
and of the religious instincts of the people there developed that
event,--the most health-restoring which can come to the life of a
nation,--a national uprising in which all classes unite in averting a
common disaster.  What disaster could be for Russia more terrible than
an absorption into Catholic Poland?  The Polish intruders and
pretenders were driven out, and then a great National Assembly gathered
at Moscow (1613) to elect a Tsar.

The name of Romanoff was unstained by crime, and was by maternal
ancestry allied to the royal race of Rurik.  The newly awakened
patriotism turned instinctively toward that, as the highest expression
of their hopes; and Mikhail Romanoff, a youth of 16, was elected Tsar.

It was in 1547 that Anastasia, of the House of Romanoff, had married
Ivan IV.  At about the same time her brother was married to a Princess
of Suzdal, a descendant of the brother of Alexander Nevski.  This
Princess was the grandmother of Mikhail Romanoff, and the source from
which has sprung the present ruling house in Russia.



In the building of an empire there are two processes--the building up,
and the tearing down.  The plow is no less essential than the trowel.
The period after Boris had been for Russia the period of the wholesome
plow.  The harvest was far off.  But the name Romanoff was going to
stand for another Russia, not like the old Russia of Kief, nor yet the
new Russia of Moscow; but another and a Europeanized Russia, in which,
after long struggles, the Slavonic and half-Asiatic giant was going to
tear down the walls of separation, escape from his barbarism, and
compel Europe to share with him her civilization.

The man who was to make the first breach in the walls was the grandson
of Mikhail Romanoff--Peter, known as "The Great."  But the mills of the
gods grind slowly--especially when they have a great work in hand; and
there were to be three colorless reigns before the coming of the
Liberator in 1689--seventy-six years before they would learn that to
have a savage despot seated on a barbaric throne, with crown and robes
incrusted with jewels, and terrorizing a brutish, ignorant, and
barbaric people--was not to be Great.

The reigns of Mikhail and of his son Alexis and his grandson Feodor
were to be reigns of preparation and reform.  Of course there were
turbulent uprisings and foreign wars, and perils on the frontiers near
the Baltic and the Black seas.  But Russia was gaining in ascendency
while Poland, from whom she had narrowly escaped, was fast declining.
The European rulers began to see advantages for themselves from Russian
alliances.  Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden and champion of
Protestantism, made an eloquent appeal to the Tsar to join him against
Catholic Poland--"Was not the Romish Church their common enemy?--and
were they not neighbors?--and when your neighbor's house is afire, is
it not the part of wisdom and prudence to help to put it out?"  Poland
suffered a serious blow when a large body of Cossacks, who were her
vassals, and her chief arm of defense in the Southeast, in 1681
transferred themselves bodily to Russia.

The Cossacks were a Slavonic people, with no doubt a plentiful infusion
of Asiatic blood, and their name in the Tatar language meant
Freebooters.  They had long dwelt about the Don and the Dnieper, in
what is known as Little Russia, a free and rugged community which was
recruited by Russians after the Tatar invasion and Polish conquest, by
oppressed peasants after the creation of serfdom, and by adventurers
and fugitives from justice at all times.  It was a military
organization, and its Constitution was a pure democracy.  Freedom and
independence were their first necessity.  Their Hetman, or chief, held
office for one year only, and anyone might attain to that position.
Their horsemanship was unrivaled--they were fearless and enduring, and
stood ready to sell their services to the Khan of Tatary, the King of
Poland, or to the Tsar of Russia.  In fact, they were the Northmen of
the South and East, and are now--the Rough-Riders of Russia.

They had long ago divided into two bands, the "Cossacks of the
Dnieper," loosely bound to Poland, and the "Cossacks of the Don,"
owning the sovereignty of Russia.  The services of these fearless
adventurers were invaluable as a protection from Turks and Tatars; and,
as we have seen in the matter of Siberia, they sometimes brought back
prizes which offset their misdoings.  The King of Poland unwisely
attempted to proselyte his Cossacks of the Dnieper, sent Jesuit
missionaries among them, and then concluded to break their spirit by
severities and make of them obedient loyal Catholic subjects.  He might
as well have tried to chain the winds.  They offered to the Tsar their
allegiance in return for his protection, and in 1681 all of the
Cossacks, of the Dnieper as well as the Don, were gathered under
Russian sovereignty.  It was this event which, in the long struggle
with Poland, turned the scales at last in favor of Russia.

One of the most important occurrences in this reign was the attempt of
the Patriarch Nikon to establish an authority in the East similar to
that of the Pope in the West--and in many ways to Latinize the Church.
This attempt to place the Tsar under spiritual authority was put down
by a popular revolt--followed by stricter orthodox methods in a sect
known as the _Raskolniks_.

Mikhail died in 1645, and was succeeded by his son Alexis.  The new
Tsar sent an envoy to Charles the First of England to announce his
succession.  He arrived with his letter to the King at an inopportune
time.  He was on trial for his life.  The Russian could not comprehend
such a condition, and haughtily refused to treat with anyone but the
King.  He was received with much ceremony by the House of Lords, and
then to their consternation arose and said: "I have come from my
sovereign charged with an important message to your King--Charles the
First.  It is long since I came, and I have not been permitted to see
him nor to deliver the letter from my master."  The embarrassed English
_boyars_ replied that they would give their reasons for this by letter.
When the Tsar was informed by Charles II. of the execution of his
father, sternly inflicted by his people, he could not comprehend such a
condition.  He at once forbade English merchants to live in any of his
cities except Archangel, and sent money and presents to the exiled son.

An interest attaches to the marriage of Alexis with Natalia, his second
wife.  He was dining with one of his _boyars_ and was attracted by a
young girl, who was serving him.  She was motherless, and had been
adopted by her uncle the _boyar_.  The Tsar said to his friend soon
after: "I have found a husband for your Natalia."  The husband was
Alexis himself, and Natalia became the mother of Peter the Great.  She
was the first Princess who ever drew aside the curtains of her litter
and permitted the people to look upon her face.  Thrown much into the
society of Europeans in her uncle's home, she was imbued with European
ideas.  It was no doubt she who first instilled the leaven of reform
into the mind of her infant son Peter.

One of the most important features of this reign was the development of
the fanatical sect known as _Raskolniks_.  They are the dissenters or
non-conformists of Russia.  Their existence dates from the time of the
Patriarch _Nikon_--and what they considered his sacrilegious
innovations.  But as early as 1476 there were the first stirrings of
this movement when some daring and advanced innovators began to sing "O
Lord, have mercy," instead of "Lord, have Mercy," and to say "Alleluia"
twice instead of three times, to the peril of their souls!  But it was
in the reign of Alexis that signs of falling away from the faith spoken
of in the Apocalypse were unmistakable.  Foreign heretics who shaved
their chins and smoked the accursed weed were tolerated in Holy Moscow.
"The number of the Beast" indicated the year 1666.  It was evident that
the end of the world was at hand!  Such was the beginning of the
_Raskolniks_, who now number 10,000,000 souls--a conservative Slavonic
element which has been a difficult one to deal with.

Upon the death of Alexis, in 1676, his eldest son Feodor succeeded him.
It is only necessary to mention one significant act in his short
reign--the destruction of the Books of Pedigrees.  The question of
precedence among the great families was the source of endless disputes,
and no man would accept a position inferior to any held by his
ancestors, nor would serve under a man with an ancestry inferior to his
own.  Feodor asked that the Books of Pedigrees be sent to him for
examination, and then had them every one thrown into the fire and
burned.  This must have been his last act, for his death and this
holocaust of ancestral claims both occurred in the year 1682.



A history of Russia _naïvely_ designates one of its chapters "The
Period of Troubles"!  When was there not a period of troubles in this
land?  The historian wearies, and doubtless the reader too, of such
prolonged disorder and calamity.  But a chapter telling of peace and
tranquillity would have to be invented.  The particular sort of trouble
that developed upon the death of Feodor was of a new variety.  Alexis
had left two families of children, one by his first wife and the other
by Natalia.  There is not time to tell of all the steps by which
Sophia, daughter of the first marriage, came to be the power behind the
throne upon which sat her feeble brother Ivan, and her half-brother
Peter, aged ten years.  Sophia was an ambitious, strong-willed,
strong-minded woman, who dared to emancipate herself from the tyranny
of Russian custom.

The _terem_, of which we hear so much, was the part of the palace
sacred to the Tsaritsa and the Princesses--upon whose faces no man ever
looked.  If a physician were needed he might feel the pulse and the
temperature through a piece of gauze--but see the face never.  It is
said that two nobles who one day accidentally met Natalia coming from
her chapel were deprived of rank in consequence.

But the _terem_, with "its twenty-seven locks," was not going to
confine the sister of Peter.  She met the eyes of men in public;
studied them well, too; and then selected the instruments for her
designs of effacing Peter and his mother, and herself becoming
sovereign indeed.  A rumor was circulated that the imbecile Ivan (who
was alive) had been strangled by Natalia's family.  In the tumult which
followed one of her brothers, Peter's uncle, was torn from Natalia's
arms and cut to pieces.  But this was only one small incident in the
horrid tragedy.  Then, after discovering that the Prince was not dead,
the bloodstains in the palace were washed up, and the two brothers were
placed upon the throne under the Regency of Sophia.  But while she was
outraging the feelings of the people by her contempt for ancient
customs, and while her friendship with her Minister, Prince Galitsuin,
was becoming a public scandal, Sophia was at the same time being
defeated in a campaign against the Turks at the Crimea; and her
popularity was gone.

In the meantime Peter was growing.  With no training, no education, he
was in his own disorderly, undisciplined fashion struggling up into
manhood under the tutelage of a quick, strong intelligence, a hungry
desire to know, and a hot, imperious temper.  His first toys were drums
and swords, and he first studied history from colored German prints;
and as he grew older never wearied of reading about Ivan the Terrible.
His delight was to go out upon the streets of Moscow and pick up
strange bits of information from foreign adventurers about the habits
and customs of their countries.  He played at soldiers with his boy
companions, and after finding how they did such things in Germany and
in England, drilled his troops after the European fashion.  But it was
when he first saw a boat so built that it could go with or against the
wind, that his strongest instinct was awakened.  He would not rest
until he had learned how to make and then to manage it.  When this
strange, passionate, self-willed boy was seventeen years old, he
realized that his sister was scheming for the ruin of himself and his
mother.  In the rupture that followed, the people deserted Sophia and
flocked about Peter.  He placed his sister in a monastery, where, after
fifteen years of fruitless intrigue and conspiracy, she was to die.
Then, conjointly with his unfortunate brother, he commenced his reign

If Sophia had freed herself from the customary seclusion of Princesses,
Peter emancipated himself from the usual proprieties of the palace.
Both were scandalous.  One had harangued soldiers and walked with her
veil lifted, the other was swinging an ax like a carpenter, rowing like
a Cossack, or fighting mimic battles with his grooms, who not
infrequently knocked him down.  In 1693 he gratified one great thirst
and longing.  With a large suite he went up to Archangel--and for the
first time a Tsar looked out upon the sea!  He ate and drank with the
foreign merchants, and took deep draughts of the stimulating air from
the west.  He established a dock-yard, and while his first ship was
building made perilous trips upon that unknown ocean from which Russia
had all its life been shut out!  His ship was the first to bear a
Russian flag into foreign waters, and now Peter had taken the first
step toward learning how to build a navy, but he had no place yet to
use one.  So he turned his nimble activities toward the Black Sea.  He
had only to capture Azof in the Crimea from the Turks, and he would
have a sea for his navy--and then might easily make the navy for his
sea!  So he went down, carrying his soldiers and his new European
tactics--in which no one believed--gathered up his Cossacks, and the
attack was made, first with utter failure--all on account of the new
tactics--and then at last came overwhelming success; and a triumphant
return (1676) to Moscow under arches and garlands of flowers.  Three
thousand Russian families were sent to colonize Azof, which was guarded
by some regiments of the _Streltsui_ and by Cossacks--and now there
must be a navy.

There must be nine ships of the line, and twenty frigates carrying
fifty guns, and bombships, and fireships.  That would require a great
deal of money.  It was then that the utility of the system of serfdom
became apparent.  The prelates and monasteries were taxed--_one vessel
to every eighty thousand serfs_!--according to their wealth all the
orders of nobility to bear their portion in the same way, and the
peasants toiled on, never dreaming that _they_ were building a great
navy for the great Tsar.  Peter then sent fifty young nobles of the
court to Venice, England, and the Netherlands to learn the arts of
shipbuilding and seamanship and gunnery.  But how could he be sure of
the knowledge and the science of these idle youths--unless he himself
owned it and knew better than they?  The time had come for his
long-indulged dream of visiting the Western kingdoms.

But while there were rejoicings at the victory over the Turks, there
was a feeling of universal disgust at the new order of things; with the
militia (the _Streltsui_) because foreigners were preferred to them and
because they were subjected to an unaccustomed discipline; with the
nobles because their children were sent into foreign lands among
heretics to learn trades like mechanics; and with the landowners and
clergy because the cost of equipping a great fleet fell upon them.  All
classes were ripe for a revolt.

Sophia, from her cloister, was in correspondence with her agents, and a
conspiracy ripened to overthrow Peter and his reforms.  As the Tsar was
one evening sitting down to an entertainment with a large party of
ladies and gentlemen, word was brought that someone desired to see him
privately upon an important matter.  He promptly excused himself and
was taken in a sledge to the appointed place.  There he graciously sat
down to supper with a number of gentlemen, as if perfectly ignorant of
their plans.  Suddenly his guard arrived, entered the house, and
arrested the entire party, after which Peter returned in the best of
humor to his interrupted banquet, quite as if nothing had happened.
The next day the prisoners under torture revealed the plot to
assassinate him and then lay it to the foreigners, this to be followed,
by a general massacre of Europeans--men, women, and children.  The
ringleaders were first dismembered, then beheaded--their legs and arms
being displayed in conspicuous places in the city, and the rest of the
conspirators, excepting his sister Sophia, were sent to Siberia.

With this parting and salutary lesson to his subjects in 1697, Peter
started upon his strange travels--in quest of the arts of civilization!

The embassy was composed of 270 persons.  Among them was a young man
twenty-five years old, calling himself Peter Mikhailof, who a few weeks
later might have been seen at Saardam in Holland, in complete outfit of
workman's clothes, in dust and by the sweat of his brow learning the
art of ship-carpentry.  Such was the first introduction to Europe of
the Tsar of Russia!  They had long heard of this autocrat before whom
millions trembled, ruling like a savage despot in the midst of
splendors rivaling the Arabian Nights.  Now they saw him!  And the
amazement can scarcely be described.  He dined with the Great Electress
Sophia, afterwards first Queen of Prussia, and she wrote of him:
"Nature has given him an infinity of wit.  With advantages he might
have been an accomplished man.  What a pity his manners are not less

But Peter was not thinking of the impression he made.  With an
insatiable inquisitiveness and an omnivorous curiosity, he was looking
for the secret of power in nations.  Nothing escaped him--cutlery,
rope-making, paper manufacture, whaling industry, surgery, microscopy;
he was engaging artists, officers, engineers, surgeons, buying models
of everything he saw--or standing lost in admiration of a traveling
dentist plying his craft in the market, whom he took home to his
lodgings, learned the use of the instruments himself, then practiced
his new art upon his followers.

At The Hague he endured the splendid public reception, then hurried off
his gold-trimmed coat, his wig and hat and white feathers, and was amid
grime and dust examining grist-mills, and ferry-boats, and irrigating
machines.  To a lady he saw on the street at Amsterdam he shouted
"Stop!" then dragged out her enameled watch, examined it, and put it
back without a word.  A nobleman's wig in similar unceremonious fashion
he snatched from his head, turned it inside out, and, not being pleased
with its make, threw it on the floor.

Perhaps Holland heard without regret that her guest was going to
England, where he was told the instruction was based upon the
principles of ship-building and he might learn more in a few weeks than
by a year's study elsewhere.  King William III. placed a fleet at his
disposal, and also a palace upon his arrival in London.  A violent
storm alarmed many on the way to England, but Peter enjoyed it and
humorously said, "Did you ever hear of a Tsar being lost in the North
Sea?"  England was no less astonished than Holland at her guest, but
William III., the wisest sovereign in Europe, we learn was amazed at
the vigor and originality of his mind.  The wise Bishop Burnet wrote of
him: "He is mechanically turned, and more fitted to be a carpenter than
a Prince.  He told me he designed a great fleet for attacking the
Turkish Empire, but he does not seem to me capable of so great an
enterprise."  This throws more light upon the limitations of Bishop
Burnet than those of Peter the Great, and fairly illustrates the
incompetency of contemporary estimates of genius; or, perhaps, the
inability of talent to take the full measure of genius at any time.
The good Bishop adds that he adores the wise Providence which "has
raised up such a furious man to reign over such a part of the world."
Louis XIV. "had procured the postponement of the honor of his visit";
so Peter prepared, after visiting Vienna, to go to Venice, but
receiving disturbing news of matters at home, this uncivilized
civilizer, this barbarian reformer of barbarism, turned his face toward

There was widespread dissatisfaction in the empire.  The _Streltsui_
(militia) was rebellious, the heavily taxed landowners were angry, and
the people disgusted by the prevalence of German clothes and shaved
faces.  Had not the wise Ivan IV. said: "To shave is a sin that the
blood of all the martyrs could not cleanse"!  And who had ever before
seen a Tsar of Moscow quit Holy Russia to wander in foreign lands among
Turks and Germans? for both were alike to them.  Then it was rumored
that Peter had gone in disguise to Stockholm, and that the Queen of
Sweden had put him into a cask lined with nails to throw him into the
sea, and he had only been saved by one of his guards taking his place;
and some years later many still believed that it was a false Tsar who
returned to them in 1700--that the true Tsar was still a prisoner at
Stockholm, attached to a post.  Sophia wrote to the _Streltsui_--"You
suffer--but you will suffer more.  Why do you wait?  March on Moscow.
There is no news of the Tsar."  The army was told that he was dead, and
that the _boyars_ were scheming to kill his infant son Alexis and then
get into power again.  Thousands of revolted troops from Azof began to
pour into Moscow, then there was a rumor that the foreigners and the
Germans--who were introducing the smoking of tobacco and shaving, to
the utter destruction of the holy faith--were planning to seize the
town.  Peter returned to find Moscow the prey to wild disorder, in the
hands of scheming revolutionists and mutineers.  He concluded it was
the right time to give a lesson which would never be forgotten.  He
would make the partisans of Old Russia feel the weight of his hand in a
way that would remind them of Ivan IV.

On the day of his return the nobles all presented themselves, laying
their faces, as was the custom, in the dust.  After courteously
returning their salutations, Peter ordered that every one of them be
immediately shaved; and as this was one of the arts he had practiced
while abroad he initiated the process by skillfully applying the razor
himself to a few of the long-beards.  Then the inquiry into the
rebellion commenced.  The Patriarch tried to appease the wrath of the
Tsar, who answered; "Know that I venerate God and his Mother as much as
you do.  But also know that I shall protect my people and punish
rebels."  The "chastisement" was worthy of Ivan the Terrible.  The
details of its infliction are too dreadful to relate, and we read with
incredulous horror that "the terrible carpenter of Saardam plied his
own ax in the horrible employment"--and that on the last day Peter
himself put to death eighty-four of the _Streltsui_, "compelling his
_boyars_ to assist"--in inflicting this "chastisement!"



The Baltic was at this time a Swedish sea.  Finland, Livonia, and all
the territory on the eastern coast, where once the Russians and the
German knights had struggled, was now under the sovereignty of an
inexperienced young king who had just ascended the throne of his father
Charles XI., King of Sweden.  If Peter ever "opened a window" into the
West, it must be done by first breaking through this Swedish wall.
Livonia was deeply aggrieved just now because of some oppressive
measures against her, and her astute minister, Patkul, suggested to the
King of Poland that he form a coalition between that kingdom, Denmark,
and Russia for the purpose of breaking the aggressive Scandinavian
power in the North.  The time was favorable, with disturbed conditions
in Sweden, and a youth of eighteen without experience upon the throne.
The Tsar, who had recently returned from abroad and had settled matters
with his _Streltsui_ in Moscow, saw in this enterprise just the
opportunity he desired, and joined the coalition.

At the Battle of Narva (1700) there were two surprises: one when Peter
found that he knew almost nothing about the art of warfare, and the
other when it was revealed to Charles XII. that he was a military
genius and his natural vocation was that of a conqueror.  But if
Charles was intoxicated by his enormous success, Peter accepted his
humiliating defeat almost gratefully as a harsh lesson in military art.
The sacrifice of men had been terrible, but the lesson was not lost.
The next year there were small Russian victories, and these crept
nearer and nearer to the Baltic, until at last the river upon which the
great Nevski won his surname was reached--and the Neva was his!  Peter
lost no time.  He personally superintended the building of a fort and
then a church which were to be the nucleus of a city; and there may be
seen in St. Petersburg to-day the little hut in which lived the Tsar
while he was founding the capital which bears his name (1703).  No
wonder it seemed a wild project to build the capital of an empire, not
only on its frontier, but upon low marshy ground subject to the
encroachments of the sea from which it had only half emerged; and in a
latitude where for two months of the year the twilight and the dawn
meet and there is no night, and where for two other months the sun
rises after nine in the morning and sets before three.  Not only must
he build a city, but create the dry land for it to stand upon; and it
is said that six hundred acres have been reclaimed from the sea at St.
Petersburg since it was founded.

Charles XII. was too much occupied to care for these insignificant
events.  He sent word that when he had time he would come and burn down
Peter's wooden town.  He was leading a victorious army toward Poland,
he had beheaded the traitorous Patkul, and everything was bowing before
him.  The great Marlborough was suing for his aid in the coalition
against Louis XIV. in the War of the Spanish Succession.  Flushed with
victory, Charles felt that the fate of Europe was lying in his hands.
He had only to decide in which direction to move--whether to help to
curb the ambition of the Grand Monarque in the West, or to carry out
his first design of crushing the rising power of the Great Autocrat in
the East.  He preferred the latter.  The question then arose whether to
enter Russia by the North or by way of Poland, where he was now master.
The scale was turned probably by learning that the Cossacks in Little
Russia were growing impatient and were ripe for rebellion against the

Peter was anxious to prevent the invasion.  He had a wholesome
admiration for the terrible Swedish army, not much confidence in his
own, and his empire was in disorder.  He sent word to Charles that he
would be satisfied to withdraw from the West if he could have one port
on the Baltic.  The king's haughty reply was: "Tell your Tsar I will
treat with him in Moscow," to which Peter rejoined: "My brother Charles
wants to play the part of an Alexander, but he will not find in me a

It is possible that upon Ivan Mazeppa, who was chief or Hetman of the
Cossacks at this time, rests the responsibility of the crushing defeat
which terminated the brilliant career of Charles XII.  Mazeppa was the
Polish gentleman whose punishment at the hands of an infuriated husband
has been the subject of poems by Lord Byron and Pushkin, and also of a
painting by Horace Vernet.  This picturesque traitor, who always rose
upon the necks of the people who trusted him, whose friendships he one
after another invariably betrayed, reached a final climax of infamy by
offering to sacrifice the Tsar, the friend who believed in him so
absolutely that he sent into exile or to death anyone who questioned
his fidelity.  Mazeppa had been with Peter at Azof, and abundant honors
were waiting for him; but he was dazzled by the career of the Swedish
conqueror, and believed he might rise higher under Charles XII. than
under his rough, imperious master at Moscow.  So he wrote the King that
he might rely upon him to join him with 40,000 Cossacks in Little
Russia.  He thought it would be an easy matter to turn the irritated
Cossacks from the Tsar.  They were restive under the severity of the
new military _régime_, and also smarting under a decree forbidding them
to receive any more fugitive peasants fleeing from serfdom.  But he had
miscalculated their lack of fidelity and his own power over them.

It was this fatal promise, which was never to be kept, that probably
lured Charles to his ruin.  After a long and disastrous campaign he met
his final crushing defeat at Poltova in 1709.  The King and Mazeppa,
companions in flight, together entered the Sultan's dominions as
fugitives, and of the army before which a short time ago Europe had
trembled--there was left not one battalion.

The Baltic was passing into new hands.  "The window" opening upon the
West was to become a door, and the key of the door was to be kept upon
the side toward Russia!  Sweden, which under Gustavus Adolphus, Charles
XI., and Charles XII. had played such a glorious part, was never to do
it again; and the place she had left vacant was to be filled by a new
and greater Power.  Russia had dispelled the awakened dream of a great
Scandinavian Empire and--so long excluded and humiliated--was going to
make a triumphal entry into the family of European nations.

The Tsar, with his innovations and reforms, was vindicated.  For
breadth of design and statesmanship there was not one sovereign in the
coalition who could compare with this man who, Bishop Burnet thought,
was better fitted for a mechanic than a Prince--and "incapable of a
great enterprise."

Of Charles XII. it has been said that "he was a hero of the
Scandinavian Edda set down in the wrong century," and again that he was
the last of the Vikings, and of the Varangian Princes.  But Mazeppa
said of him, when dying in exile: "How could I have been seduced in my
old age by a military vagabond!"

Ivan, Peter's infirm brother and associate upon the throne, had died in
1696.  Another oppressive tie had also been severed.  He had married at
seventeen Eudoxia, belonging to a proud conservative Russian family.
He had never loved her, and when she scornfully opposed his policy of
reform, she became an object of intense aversion.  After his triumph at
Azof, he sent orders that the Tsaritsa must not be at the palace upon
his return, and soon thereafter she was separated from her child
Alexis, placed in a monastery, and finally divorced.  At the surrender
of Marienburg in Livonia (1702) there was among the captives the family
of a Lutheran pastor named Glück.  Catherine, a young girl of sixteen,
a servant in the family, had just married a Swedish soldier, who was
killed the following day in battle.  We would have to look far for a
more romantic story than that of this Protestant waiting-maid.
Menschikof, Peter's great general, was attracted by her beauty and took
the young girl under his protection.  But when the Tsar was also
fascinated by her artless simplicity, she was transferred to his more
distinguished protection.  Little did Catherine think when weeping for
her Swedish lover in Pastor Glück's kitchen that she was on her way to
the throne of Russia.  But such was her destiny.  She did not know how
to write her name, but she knew something which served her better.  She
knew how to establish an influence possessed by no one else over the
strange husband to whom in 1707 she was secretly married.



While Peter was absorbing more territory on the Baltic, and while he
was with frenzied haste building his new city, Charles XII. was still
hiding in Poland.  The Turks were burning with desire to recapture
Azof, and the Khan of Tartary had his own revenges and reprisals at
heart urging him on; so, at the instigation of Charles and the Khan,
the Sultan declared war against Russia in 1710.

It seemed to the Russian people like a revival of their ancient glories
when their Tsar, with a great army, was following in the footsteps of
the Grand Princes to free the Slav race from its old infidel enemies.
Catherine, from whom Peter would not be separated, was to be his
companion in the campaign.  But the enterprise, so fascinating in
prospect, was attended with unexpected disaster and suffering; and the
climax was finally reached when Peter was lying ill in his tent, with
an army of only 24,000 men about to face one of over 200,000--Tatars
and Turks--commanded by skilled generals, adherents of Charles XII.
This was probably the darkest hour in Peter's career.  The work of his
life was about to be overthrown; it seemed as if a miracle could not
save him.  Someone suggested that the cupidity of the Grand Vizier,
Balthazi, was the vulnerable spot.  He loved gold better than glory.
Two hundred thousand rubles were quickly collected--Catherine throwing
in her jewels as an added lure.  The shining gold, with the glittering
jewels on top, averted the inevitable fate.  Balthazi consented to
treat for peace upon condition that Charles XII. be permitted to go
back to Sweden unmolested, and that Azof be relinquished (Treaty of
Pruth).  Peter's heart was sorely wrung by giving up Azof, and his
fleet, and his outlet to the Southern seas.  The peace was costly, but
welcome; and Catherine had earned his everlasting gratitude.

The Tsar now returned to the task of reforming his people.  There were
to be no more prostrations before him: the petitioner must call himself
"subject," not "slave," and must stand upright like a man in his
presence, even if he had to use his stick to make him do so!  The
Asiatic caftan and the flowing robes must go along with the beards; the
_terem_, with its "twenty-seven locks," must be abolished; the wives
and daughters dragged from their seclusion must be clothed like
Europeans.  Marriage must not be compelled, and the betrothed might see
each other before the wedding ceremony.

If it is difficult to civilize one willing barbarian, what must it have
been to compel millions to put on the garment of respectability which
they hated!  Never before was there such a complete social
reorganization, so entire a change in the daily habits of a whole
people; and so violently effected.  It required a soul of iron and a
hand of steel to do it; and it has been well said that Russia was
knouted into civilization.  A secret service was instituted to see that
the changes were adopted, and the knout and the ax were the
accompaniment of every reforming edict.  This extraordinary man was by
main force dragging a sullen and angry nation into the path of
progress, and by artificial means trying to accomplish in a lifetime
what had been the growth of centuries in other lands.  Then there must
be no competing authorities--no suns shining near to the Central Sun.
The Patriarchate--which, after Nikon's attempt in the reign of his
grandfather, had been shorn of authority--was now abolished, and a Holy
Synod of his own appointing took its place.  For the _Sobor_ or
States-General there was substituted a Senate, also of his own
appointing.  The _Streltsui_, or militia, was swept out of existence;
the military Cossacks were deprived of their _Hetman_ or leader; and a
standing army, raised by recruiting, replaced these organizations.
Nobility meant service.  Every nobleman while he lived must serve the
state, and he held his fief only upon condition of such service; while
a nobleman who could not read or write in a foreign tongue forfeited
his birthright.  This was the way Peter fought idleness and ignorance
in his land!  New and freer municipal organizations were given to the
cities, enlarging the privileges of the citizens; schools and colleges
were established; the awful punishment for debtors swept away.  He was
leveling up as well as leveling down--trying to create a great plateau
of modern society, in which he alone towered high, rigid, and

If the attempt was impossible and against nature, if Peter violated
every law of social development by such a monstrous creation of a
modern state, what could have been done better?  How long would it have
taken Russia to _grow_ into modern civilization?  And what would it be
now if there had not been just such a strange being--with the nature
and heart of a barbarian joined with a brain and an intelligence the
peer of any in Europe, capable of seeing that the only hope for Russia
was by force to convert it from an Asiatic into a European state?

One act bore with extreme severity upon the free peasantry.  They were
compelled to enroll themselves with the serfs in their Communes, or to
be dealt with as vagrants.  Peter has been censured for this and also
for not extending his reforming broom to the Communes and overthrowing
the whole patriarchal system under which they existed--a system so out
of harmony with the modern state he was creating.  But it seems to the
writer rather that he was guided by a sure instinct when he left
untouched the one thing in a Slavonic state, which was really Slavonic.
He and the long line of rulers behind him had been ruling by virtue of
an authority established by aliens.  Russia had from the time of Rurik
been governed and formed after foreign models.  Peter was at least
choosing better models than his predecessors.  If it was an apparent
mistake to build a modern, centralized state in the eighteenth century
upon a social organization belonging to the eleventh century, it may be
that in so doing, an inspired despot builded wiser than he knew.  May
it not be that the final regeneration of that land is to come some day,
from the leaven of native instincts in her peasantry, which have never
been invaded by foreign influences and which have survived all the
vicissitudes of a thousand years in Russia?

The _Raskolniks_, composed chiefly of free peasants and the smaller
merchant class, had fled in large numbers from these blasphemous
changes--some among the Cossacks, and many more to the forests, hiding
from persecution and from this reign of Satan.  The more they studied
the Apocalypse the plainer became the signs of the times.  Satan was
being let loose for a period.  They had been looking for the coming of
Antichrist and now he had come!  The man in whom the spirit of Satan
was incarnate was Peter the Great.  How else could they explain such
impious demeanor in a Tsar of Russia--except that he was of Satanic
origin, and was the Devil in disguise?  By his newly invented census
had he not "numbered the people"--a thing expressly forbidden?  And his
new "calendar," transferring September to January, was it not clearly a
trick of Satan to steal the days of the Lord?  And his new title
_Imperator_ (Emperor), had it not a diabolic sound?  And his order to
shave, to disfigure the image of God!  How would Christ recognize his
own at the Last Day?

Hunted like beasts, these people were living in wild communities, dying
often by their own hands rather than yield the point of making the sign
of the cross with two fingers instead of three--2700 at one time
voluntarily perishing in the flames, in a church where they had taken
refuge.  Peter put an end to their persecution.  They were permitted to
practice their ancient rites in the cities and to wear beards without
molestation, upon condition of paying a double poll-tax.

The millions of _Raskolniks_ in Russia to-day still consider New Russia
a creation of the evil one, and the Tsar as Antichrist.  They yield a
sullen compliance--pray for the Tsar, then in private throw away the
handle of door if a heretic has touched it.  It is a conservative
Slavonic element which every Tsar since Mikhail Romanoff has had to
deal with.

Not one of the reforms was more odious to the people than the removal
of the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.  It violated the most
sacred feelings of the nation; and many a soul was secretly looking
forward to the time when there would be no Peter, and they would return
to the shrine of revered associations.  But the new city grew in
splendor--a city not of wood, to be the prey of conflagrations like
Moscow; but of stone, the first Russia had yet possessed.  The great
Nevski was already there lying in a cathedral bearing his name, and the
Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul was ready to entomb the future Tsars.
And Peter held his court, a poor imitation of Versailles, and gave
great entertainments at which the shy and embarrassed ladies in their
new costumes kept apart by themselves, and the attempt to introduce the
European dances was a very sorry failure.  In 1712 Peter planned a
visit to Paris, with two ends in view--a political alliance and a
matrimonial one.  He ardently desired to arrange for the future
marriage of his little daughter Elizabeth with Louis XV., the infant
King of France.  Neither suit was successful, but it is interesting to
learn how different was the impression he produced from the one twelve
years before.  Saint-Simon writes of him: "His manner was at once the
most majestic, the proudest, the most sustained, and at the same time
the least embarrassing."  That he was still eccentric may be judged
from his call upon Mme. de Maintenon.  She was ill in bed, and could
not receive him; but he was not to be baffled.  He drew aside the
bed-curtains and stared at her fixedly, while she in speechless
indignation glared at him.  So, without one word, these two historic
persons met--and parted!  He probably felt curious to see what sort of
a woman had enthralled and controlled the policy of Louis XIV.  Peter
did not intend to subject his wife to the criticism of the witty
Frenchwomen, so prudently left her at home.

Charles XII. died in 1718, and in 1721 there was at last peace with
Sweden.  But the saddest war of all, and one which was never to cease,
was that in Peter's own household.  His son Alexis, possibly embittered
by his mother's fate, and certainly by her influence, grew up into a
sullen, morose, and perverse youth.  In vain did his father strive to
fit him for his great destiny.  By no person in the empire--unless,
perhaps, his mother--were Peter's reforms more detested than by the son
and heir to whom he expected to intrust them.  He was in close
communication with his mother Eudoxia, who in her monastery, holding
court like a Tsaritsa, was surrounded by intriguing and disaffected
nobles--all praying for the death of Peter.  Every method for reaching
the head or heart of this incorrigible son utterly failed.  During
Peter's absence abroad in 1717, Alexis disappeared.  Tolstoi, the
Tsar's emissary, after a long search tracked him to his hiding place
and induced him to return.  There was a terrible scene with his father,
who had discovered that his son was more than perverse, he was a
traitor--the center of a conspiracy, and in close relations with his
enemies at home and abroad, betraying his interests to Germany and to

The plan, instigated by Eudoxia, was that Alexis, immediately upon the
death of his father--which God was importuned to hasten--should return
to Moscow, restore the picturesque old barbarism, abandon the territory
on the Baltic, and the infant navy, and the city of his father's love;
in other words, that he should scatter to the winds the prodigious
results of his father's reign!  It was monstrous--and so was its
punishment!  Eudoxia was whipped and placed in close confinement, and
thirty conspirators, members of her "court," were in various ways
butchered.  Then Alexis, the confessed traitor, was tried by a tribunal
at the head of which was Menschikof--and sentenced to death.

On the morning of the 27th of June, 1718, the Tsar summoned his son to
appear before nine of the greatest officers of the state.  Concerning
what happened, the lips of those nine men were forever sealed.  But the
day following it was announced that Alexis, the son of the emperor, was
dead; and it is believed that he died under the knout.

The question of succession now became a very grave one.  Alexis, who
had under compulsion married Charlotte of Brunswick, left a son Peter.
The only other heirs were the Tsar's two daughters Anna and Elizabeth,
the children of Catherine.  Shortly after the tragedy of his son's
death, Peter caused Catherine to be formally crowned Empress, probably
in anticipation of his own death, which occurred in 1725.



The chief objection to a wise and beneficent despotism is that its
creator is not immortal.  The trouble with the Alexanders and the
Charlemagnes and the Peters is that the span of human life is too short
for their magnificent designs, which fall, while incomplete, into
incompetent or vicious hands, and the work is overthrown.  Peter's rest
in his mausoleum at Sts. Peter and Paul must have been uneasy if he saw
the reigns immediately succeeding his own.  Not one man capable of a
lofty patriotism like his, not one man working with unselfish energy
for Russia; but, just as in the olden time, oligarchic factions with
leaders striving for that cause which would best protect and elevate
themselves.  Menschikof, Apraxin, Tolstoi promoting the cause of
Catherine that they may not suffer for the death sentence passed upon
Alexis; Galitsuin and others seeing their interests in the succession
of Peter, son of Alexis and grandson of the Emperor.

Catherine's harmless reign was over in two years (1727) and was
followed by another, equally brief and harmless, by the young Peter II.
The wily Menschikof succeeded in betrothing his daughter to the young
Emperor, but not in retaining his ascendency over the self-willed boy.

We wonder if Peter saw his great minister scheming for wealth and for
power, and then his fall, like Wolsey's, from his pinnacle.  We wonder
if he saw him with his own hands building his hut on the frozen plains
of Siberia, clothed, not in rich furs and jewels, but bearded and in
long, coarse, gray smock-frock; his daughter, the betrothed of an
Emperor, clad, not in ermine, but in sheep-skin.  Perhaps the lesson
with his master the Carpenter of Saardam served him in building his own
shelter in that dread abode.  Nor was he alone.  He had the best of
society, and at every turn of the wheel at St. Petersburg it had
aristocratic recruits.  The Galitsuins and the Dolgorukis would have
joined him soon had they not died in prison, and many others had they
not been broken on the wheel or beheaded by Anna, the coarse and vulgar
woman who succeeded Peter II., when he suddenly died in 1730.

Anna Ivanovna was the daughter of Peter's brother Ivan V., who was
associated with him upon the throne.  She had the force to defeat an
oligarchic attempt to tie her hands.  The plan had originated with the
Galitsuins and Dolgorukis, and was really calculated to benefit the
state in a period of incompetent or vicious rulers by having the
authority of the Crown limited by a council of eight ministers.  But it
was reactionary.  It was introducing a principle which had been
condemned, and was a veiled attempt to undo the work of the Ivans and
the Romanoffs, and to place the real power as of old in the hands of
ruling families.  The plan fell, and the leaders fell with it, and a
host of their followers.  The executioners were busy at St. Petersburg,
and the aristocratic colony in Siberia grew larger.

Anna's reign was the period of a preponderating German influence in
politics and at court.  Germans held high positions; one of them,
Gustav Biron, the highest and most influential of all.  Anna's
infatuation for this man made him the ruling spirit in her reign and
the Regent in the next, until he had his turn in disgrace and exile.
Added to the dissatisfaction on account of German ascendency was a
growing feeling that the succession should come through Peter, instead
of through Ivan, his insignificant associate upon the throne.  Such was
the prevailing sentiment at the time of Anna's death (1740).  The
Tsaritsa named Ivan, a grand-nephew, the infant son of her niece Anna,
her successor under the Regency of Biron, the man who had controlled
the policy of the administration during her reign.

This was only a brief and tragic episode.  Biron was swiftly swept out
of power and into exile, and succeeded in the Regency by Anna, the
mother of the infant Emperor; then, following quickly upon that, was a
carefully matured conspiracy formed in the interest of Elizabeth
Petrovna, the beautiful daughter whose marriage with the young Louis
XV. had been an object of the great Peter's hopes.

In this connection it is well to mention that the terminations _vich_
and _vna_, so constantly met in Russian names, have an important
significance--_vich_ meaning son of, and _vna_ daughter of.  _Elizabeth
Petrovna_ is Elizabeth the daughter of Peter, and _Peter Alexievich_ is
Peter the son of Alexis.  In like manner Tsarevich and Tsarevna are
respectively the son and daughter of the Tsar; Czar, Czarevich, and
Czarevna being the modern form, and Czarina instead of Tsaritsa.  The
historian may for convenience omit the surname thus created, but in
Russia it would be a great breach of decorum to do so.

By a sudden _coup d'état_, Elizabeth Petrovna took her rightful place
upon the throne of her father (1741).  In the dead of night the
unfortunate Anna and her husband were awakened, carried into exile, and
their infant son Ivan VI. was immured in a prison, where he was to grow
up to manhood,--shattered in mind by his horrible existence of twenty
years,--and then to be mercifully put out of the way as a possible
menace to the ambitious plans of a woman.

Of the heads that dropped by orders of Elizabeth it is needless to
speak; but of one that was spared there is an interesting account.
Ostermann, a German, had been vice chancellor to the Empress Anna, and
had also brought about the downfall of Biron the Regent.  Now his turn
had come.  He was taken to the place of execution with the rest; his
gray head was laid upon the block, his collar unbuttoned and gown drawn
back by the executioner--when a reprieve was announced.  Her Gracious
Majesty was going to permit him to go to Siberia.  He arose, bowed,
said: "I pray you give me back my wig," calmly put it on the head he
had not lost, buttoned his shirt, replaced his gown, and started to
join his company of friends--and of enemies--in exile.

Elizabeth was a vain voluptuary.  If any glory attaches to her reign it
came from the stored energies left by her great father.  The marvel is
that in this succession of vicious and aimless tyrannies by shameless
women and incompetent men, Russia did not fall into anarchy and
revolution.  But nothing was undone.  The dignity of Moscow was
preserved by the fact that the coronations must take place there.  But
there was no longer a reactionary party scheming for a return to the
Ancient City.  The seed scattered by Peter had everywhere taken hold
upon the soil, and now began to burst into flower.  A university was
founded at Moscow.  St. Petersburg was filled with French artists and
scholars, and had an Academy of Art and of Science, which the great
Voltaire asked permission to join, while conferring with Ivan Shuvalof
over the History of Peter the Great which he was then engaged in
writing.  There were no more ugly German costumes; French dress,
manners and speech were the fashion.  Russia was assimilating Europe:
it had tried Holland under Peter, then Germany under Empress Anna; but
found its true affinity with France under Elizabeth, when to write and
speak French like a Parisian became the badge of high station and

So of its own momentum Russia had moved on without one strong competent
personality at its head, and had become a tremendous force which must
be reckoned with by the nations of Europe.  In every great political
combination the important question was, on which side she would throw
her immense weight; and Elizabeth was courted and flattered to her
heart's content by foreign diplomatists and their masters.  Frederick
the Great had reason to regret that he had been witty at her expense.
It was almost his undoing by turning the scale against him at a
critical moment.  Elizabeth did not forget it and had her revenge when
she joined Maria Theresa in the final struggle with Frederick in 1757.
And Frederick also remembered it in 1760, when, as he dramatically
expressed it, "The Barbarians were in Berlin engaged in digging the
grave of humanity."

But all benefit from these enormous successes was abandoned, when the
commanding Russian officer Apraxin mysteriously withdrew and returned
with his army to Russia.  This was undoubtedly part of a deeply laid
plot of which Frederick was cognizant, and working in concert with a
certain distinguished lady in Elizabeth's own court--a clever puller of
wires who was going to fill some important chapters in Russian history!

The Empress had chosen for her successor her nephew Peter, son of her
only sister and the Duke of Holstein.  The far-seeing Frederick had
brought about a marriage between this youth and a German Princess,
Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst.  Then the Future Emperor Peter III. and his
German bride took up their abode in the palace at St. Petersburg, she
having been rechristened _Catherine_, upon adopting the Greek faith.  A
mutual dislike deepened into hatred between this brilliant, clever
woman and her vulgar and inferior husband; and there is little doubt
that the treacherous conduct of the Russian commander was part of a
plan to place her infant son Paul upon the throne instead of his
father, and make her Regent.  Elizabeth's death was apparently at hand
and the general mistrust of Peter's fitness for the position opened the
way for such a conspiracy--which, however, is not known, but only

The one merciful edict which adorns this reign is the "abolishing of
the death penalty."  But as the knout became more than ever active, we
are left to infer that by a nice distinction in the Russian mind death
under that instrument of torture was not considered "capital

It is said that when the daughter of the austere Peter died, she left
sixteen thousand dresses, thousands of slippers, and two large chests
of silk stockings--a wardrobe which would have astonished her mother at
the time she was serving the table of the Pastor Glück.  Elizabeth
expired in 1761, and the throne passed to Peter III., grandson of Peter
the Great and Catherine I.

The first act of the new Tsar was a delightful surprise to the
nobility.  He published a manifesto freeing the nobles from the
obligation of service imposed by Peter the Great, saying that this law,
which was wise at the time it was enacted, was no longer necessary, now
that the nobility was enlightened and devoted to the service of their
ruler.  The grateful nobles talked of erecting a statue of gold to this
benign sovereign, who in like manner abolished the Secret Court of
Police and proclaimed pardon to thousands of political fugitives.  The
Birons were recalled from Siberia, and the old Duke of Kurland and his
wife came back like shades from another world, after twenty years of

But this pleasant prelude was very brief.  The nobles soon found that
their golden idol would have to be made instead of very coarse clay.
Nothing could exceed the grossness and the unbalanced folly of Peter's
course.  He reversed the whole attitude of the state toward Germany.
So abject was his devotion to Frederick the Great that he restored to
him the Russian conquests, and reached the limit which could be borne
when he shouted at one of his orgies: "Let us drink to the health of
our King and master Frederick.  You may be assured if he should order
it, I would make war on hell with all my empire."  He was also planning
to rid himself of Catherine and to disinherit her child Paul in favor
of Ivan VI.; and with this in view that unfortunate youth, who after
his twenty years' imprisonment was a mental wreck, was brought to St.

Catherine's plans were carefully laid and then swiftly executed.  The
Emperor was arrested and his abdication demanded.  He submitted as
quietly as a child.  Catherine writes: "I then sent the deposed Emperor
in the care of Alexis Orlof and some gentle and reasonable men to a
palace fifteen miles from Peterhof, a secluded spot, but very pleasant."

In four days it was announced that the late Emperor had "suddenly died
of a colic to which he was subject."  It is known that he was visited
by Alexis Orlof and another of Catherine's agents in his "pleasant"
retreat, who saw him privately; that a violent struggle was heard in
his room; and that he was found lying dead with the black and blue mark
of a colossal hand on his throat.  That the hand was Orlof's is not
doubted; but whether acting under orders from Catherine or not will
never be known.

This is what is known as the "Revolution of 1762," which placed
Catherine II. upon the throne of Russia.  Her son Paul was only six
years old; and in less than two years Ivan VI., the only claimant to
the throne who could become the center of a conspiracy against her
authority, was most opportunely removed.  It was said that his guards
killed him to prevent an attempted rescue.  No one knows or ever will
know whether or not Catherine was implicated in his "taking off."  But
certainly nothing at the time could have pleased her better.



European diplomacy at this period was centered about the perishing
state of Poland.  That kingdom, once so powerful, was becoming every
year more enfeebled.

It was a defective social organization and an arrogant nobility that
ruined Poland.  There existed only two classes--nobles and serfs.  The
business and trade of the state were in the hands of Germans and Jews,
and there existed no national or middle class in which must reside the
life of a modern state.  In other words, Poland was patriarchal and
mediaeval.  She had become unsuited to her environment.  Surrounded by
powerful absolutisms which had grown out of the ruins of mediaeval
forces, she in the eighteenth century was clinging to the traditions of
feudalism as if it were still the twelfth century.  It was in vain that
her sons were patriotic, in vain that they struggled for reforms, in
vain that they lay down and died upon battlefields.  She alone in
Europe had not been borne along on that great wave of centralization
long ago, and she had missed an essential experience.  She was out of
step with the march of civilization, and the advancing forces were
going to run over her.

The more enlightened Poles began too late to strive for a firm
hereditary monarchy, and to try to curb the power of selfish nobles.
Not only was their state falling to pieces within, but it was being
crushed from without.  Protestant Prussia in the West, Greek Russia in
the East, and Catholic Austria on the South, each preparing to absorb
all it could get away--not from Poland, but from each other.  It was
obvious that it was only a question of time when the feeble kingdom
wedged in between these powerful and hungry states must succumb; and
for Russia, Austria, and Prussia it was simply a question as to the
share which should fall to each.

Such was the absorbing problem which employed Catherine's powers from
the early years of her reign almost to its close.  Europe soon saw that
it was a woman of no ordinary ability who was sitting on the throne of
Russia.  In her foreign policy, and in the vigor infused into the
internal administration of her empire, the master-hand became apparent.

As a counter-move to her designs upon Poland, the Turks were induced to
harass her by declaring war upon Russia.  There was a great surprise in
store for Europe as well as for the Ottoman Empire.  This dauntless
woman was unprepared for such an emergency; but she wrote to one of her
generals: "The Romans did not concern themselves with the _number_ of
their enemies; they only asked, 'Where are they?'"  Her armies swept
the Peninsula clear of Tatars and of Turks, and in 1771 a Russian fleet
was on the Black Sea, and the terror of Constantinople knew no bounds.
If affairs in Europe and disorders in her own empire had not been so
pressing, the long-cherished dream of the Grand Princes might have been

A plague in Moscow broke out in 1771 which so excited the superstitions
of the people, that it led to an insurrection; immediately following
this, a terrible demoralization was created in the South by an
illiterate Cossack named Pugatchek, who announced that he was Peter the
Third.  He claimed that instead of dying as was supposed, he had
escaped to the Ukraine, and was now going to St. Petersburg with an
army to punish his wife Catherine and to place his son Paul upon the
throne.  As a _pretender_ he was not dangerous, but as a rallying point
for unhappy serfs and for an exasperated and suffering people looking
for a leader, he did become a very formidable menace, which finally
developed into a Peasants' War.  The insurrection was at last quelled,
and ended with the execution of the false Peter at Moscow.

In the midst of these distractions at home, while fighting the Ottoman
Empire for the shores of the Black Sea, and all Europe over a partition
of Poland, the Empress was at the same time introducing reforms in
every department of her incoherent and disordered empire.  Peter the
Great had abolished the Patriarchate.  She did more.  The monasteries
and the ecclesiastical estates, which were exempt from taxes during all
the period of Mongol dominion, had never paid tribute to Khans, had in
consequence grown to be enormously wealthy.  It is said the clergy
owned a million serfs.  Catherine placed the property of the Church
under the administration of a secular commission, and the heads of the
monasteries and the clergy were converted from independent sovereigns
into mere pensioners of the Crown.  Then she assailed the receiving of
bribes, and other corrupt practices in the administration of justice.
She struggled hard to let in the light of better instruction upon the
upper and middle classes.  If she could, she would have abolished
ignorance and cruelty in the land, not because she was a
philanthropist, but because she loved civilization.  It was her
intellect, not her heart, that made Catherine a reformer.  When she
severely punished and forever disgraced a lady of high rank for cruelty
to her serfs,--forty of whom had been tortured to death,--it was
because she had the educated instincts of a European, not an Asiatic,
and she had also the intelligence to realize that no state could be
made sound which rested upon a foundation of human misery.  She
established a Russian Academy modeled after the French, its object
being to fix the rules for writing and speaking the Russian language
and to promote the study of Russian history.  In other words, Catherine
was a reformer fully in sympathy with the best methods prevailing in
Western Europe.  She was profoundly interested in the New Philosophy
and the intellectual movement in France, was in correspondence with
Voltaire and the Encyclopedists, and a student of the theories of

Of course the influence exerted by French genius over Russian
civilization at this time did not penetrate far below the upper and
highly educated class; but there is no doubt it left a deep impress
upon the literature and art of the nation, and also modified Russian
characteristics by introducing religious tolerance and habits of
courtesy, besides making aspirations after social justice and political
liberty  entirely  respectable.  Catherine's "Book of Instructions" to
the commission which was created by her to assist in making a new code
of laws contained political maxims which would satisfy advanced
reformers to-day; although when she saw later that the French
Revolution was their logical conclusion, she repudiated them, took
Voltaire's bust down from its pedestal, and had it thrown into a
rubbish heap.  The work she was accomplishing for Russia was second
only to that of Peter the Great; and when she is reproached for not
having done more and for not having broken the chains forged by Boris
upon twenty million people, let it be remembered that she lived in the
eighteenth, and not the nineteenth, century; and that at that very time
Franklin and Jefferson were framing a constitution which sanctioned the
existence of negro slavery in an ideal republic!

A new generation had grown up in Poland, men not nobles nor serfs, but
a race of patriots familiar with the stirring literature of their
century.  They had seen their land broken into fragments and then
ground fine by a proud and infatuated nobility.  They had seen their
pusillanimous kings one after another yielding to the insolent demands
for their territory.  Polish territory extended eastward into the
Ukraine; now that must be cut off and dropped into the lap of Russia.
Another arm extended north, separating Eastern Prussia from Western.
That too must be cut off and fall to Prussia.  Then after shearing
these extremities, the Poland which was left must not only accept the
spoliation, but co-operate with her despoilers in adopting under their
direction a constitution suited to its new humiliation.  Her King was
making her the laughing-stock of Europe--but before long the name
Poland was to become another name for tragedy.  Kosciusko had fought in
the War of the American Revolution.  When he returned, with the badge
of the Order of the Cincinnati upon his breast and filled with dreams
of the regeneration of his own land by the magic of this new political
freedom, he was the chosen leader of the patriots.

The partition of Poland was not all accomplished at one time.  It took
three repasts to finish the banquet (the partitions of 1792-1793-1794),
and then some time more was required to sweep up the fragments and to
efface its name from the map of Europe.  Kosciusko and his followers
made their last vain and desperate stand in 1794, and when he fell
covered with wounds at the battle of Kaminski, Poland fell with him.
The Poles were to survive only as a more or less unhappy element among
nations where they were aliens.  Their race affinities were with
Russia, for they were a Slavonic people; their religious affinities
were with Catholic Austria; but with Protestant Prussia there was not
one thing in common, and that was the bitterest servitude of all.  The
Poles in Russia were to some extent autonomous.  They were permitted to
continue their local governments under a viceroy appointed by the Tsar;
their Slavonic system of communes was not disturbed, nor their language
nor customs.  Still it was only a privileged servitude after all, and
the time was coming when it was to become an unmitigated one.  But
effaced as a political sovereignty, Poland was to survive as a
nationality of genius.  Her sons were going to sing their songs in
other lands, but Mickiewiz and Sienkiewicz and Chopin are Polish, not

The alliance of the three sovereigns engaged in this dismemberment was
about as friendly as is that of three dogs who have run down a hare and
are engaged in picking nice morsels from its bones.  If Russia was
getting more than her share, the Turks would be incited by Austria or
Prussia to attack her in the South; and many times did Catherine's
armies desert Poland to march down and defend the Crimea, and her new
fort at Sebastopol, and her fleet on the Black Sea.  In 1787,
accompanied by her grandsons, the Grand Dukes Alexander and
Constantine, she made that famous journey down the Dnieper; visited the
ancient shrines about Kief; stood in the picturesque old capital of
Saraï, on the spot where Russian Grand Princes had groveled at the feet
of the Khans; and then, looked upon Sebastopol, which marked the limit
of the new frontier which she had created.

The French Revolution caused a revulsion in her political theories.
She indulged in no more abstractions about human rights, and had an
antipathy for the new principles which had led to the execution of the
King and Queen and to such revolting horrors.  She made a holocaust of
the literature she had once thought entertaining.  Russians suspected
of liberal tendencies were watched, and upon the slightest pretext sent
to Siberia, and she urged the King of Sweden to head a crusade against
this pestilential democracy, which she would help him to sweep out of
Europe.  It was Catherine, in consultation with the Emperor of Austria,
who first talked of dismembering Turkey and creating out of its own
territory a group of neutral states lying between Europe and the
Ottoman Empire.  And Voltaire's dream of a union of the Greek peoples
into an Hellenic kingdom she improved upon by a larger plan of her own,
by which she was to be the conqueror of the Ottoman Empire, while her
grandson Constantine, sitting on a throne at Constantinople, should
rule Greeks and Turks alike under a Russian protectorate.

Upon the private life of Catherine there is no need to dwell.  This is
not the biography of a woman, but the history of the empire she
magnificently ruled for thirty-four years.  It is enough to say she was
not better than her predecessors, the Tsaritsas Elizabeth and Anna.
The influence exerted by Menschikof in the reign of Catherine I., and
Biron in that of Anna, was to be exerted by Alexis Orlof, Potemkin, and
other favorites in this.  Her son Paul, who was apparently an object of
dislike, was kept in humiliating subordination to the Orlofs and her
other princely favorites, to whose councils he was never invited.
Righteousness and moral elevation did not exist in her character nor in
her reign; but for political insight, breadth of statesmanship, and a
powerful grasp upon the enormous problems in her heterogeneous empire,
she is entitled to rank with the few sovereigns who are called "Great."
A German by birth, a French-woman by intellectual tastes and
tendencies--she was above all else a Russian, and bent all the
resources of her powerful personality to the enlightenment and
advancement of the land of her adoption.  Her people were not "knouted
into civilization," but invited and drawn into it.  Her touch was
terribly firm--but elastic.  She was arbitrary, but tolerant; and if
her reign was a despotism, it was a despotism of that broad type which
deals with the sources of things, and does not bear heavily upon
individuals.  The Empress Catherine died suddenly in 1796, and Paul I.
was crowned Emperor of Russia.



Paul was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne he had for
twenty years believed was rightfully his.  The mystery surrounding the
death of his father Peter III., the humiliations he had suffered at his
mother's court, and what he considered her usurpation of his
rights--all these had been for years fermenting in his narrow brain.

His first act gave vent to his long-smothered indignation and his
suspicions regarding his father's death.  Peter's remains were
exhumed--placed beside those of Catherine lying in state, to share all
the honors of her obsequies and to be entombed with her; while Alexis
Orlof, his supposed murderer, was compelled to march beside the coffin,
bearing his crown.

Then when Paul had abolished from the official language the words
"society" and "citizen," which his mother had delighted to honor--when
he had forbidden the wearing of frock-coats, high collars, and
neckties, and refused to allow Frenchmen to enter his territory--and
when he had compelled his people to get out of their carriages and
kneel in the mud as he passed--he supposed he was strengthening the
foundations of authority which Catherine II. had loosened.

To him is attributed the famous saying, "Know that the only person of
consideration in Russia is the person whom I address, and he only
during the time I am addressing him."  He was a born despot, and his
reforms consisted in a return to Prussian methods and to an Oriental
servility.  The policy he announced was one of peace with Europe--a
cessation of those wars by which his mother had for thirty-four years
been draining the treasury.  He was going to turn his conquests toward
the East; and vast plans, with vague and indefinite outlines, were
forming in the narrow confines of his restless brain.  But these were
interrupted by unexpected conditions.

In 1796 the military genius of a young man twenty-seven years old
electrified Europe.  Napoleon Bonaparte, at the head of a ragged,
unpaid French army, overthrew Northern Italy, and out of the fragments
created a Cisalpine Republic.  The possession of the Ionian Isles,
quickly followed by the occupation of Egypt, threatened the East.  So
Turkey and Russia, contrary to all old traditions, formed a defensive
alliance, which was quickly followed by an offensive one between Russia
and Austria.  But the tactics so successful against Poles and Turks
were unavailing against those employed by the new Conqueror.  The
Russian commander Suvorov was defeated and returned in disgrace to his
enraged master at St. Petersburg, who refused to receive him.  In 1798
Bonaparte had secured Belgium, had compelled Austria to cede to him
Lombardy, also to promise him help in getting the left bank of the
Rhine from the Germanic body, and to acknowledge his Cisalpine Republic.

The Emperor Paul's feelings underwent a swift change.  He was blinded
by the glory of Napoleon's conquests and pleased with his despotic
methods.  He conceived not only a friendship but a passion for the man
who could accomplish such things.  Austria and England had both
offended him, so he readily fell into a plan for a Franco-Russian
understanding for mutual benefit, from which there developed a larger

The object of this was the overthrow of British dominion in India.
Paul was to move with a large army into Hindostan, there to be joined
by a French army from Egypt; then they would together sweep through the
country of the Great Mogul, gathering up the English settlements by the
way and so placating the native population and Princes that they would
join them in the liberation of their country from English tyranny and
usurpation.  Paul said in his manifesto to the army that the Great
Mogul and the Sovereign Princes were to be undisturbed; nothing was to
be attacked but the commercial establishments acquired by money and
used to oppress and to enslave India.  At the same time he said to his
army, "The treasures of the Indies shall be your recompense," failing
to state how these treasures were to be obtained without disturbing the
Sovereign Princes.

It is known that Napoleon had plans of an empire in the East, and it is
also known that some compact of this kind did exist between him and the
Emperor Paul.  In 1801 eleven regiments of Cossacks, the vanguard of
the army which was to follow, had started upon the great undertaking,
when news was received that the Emperor Paul I. was dead.

The unbalanced course pursued by the Tsar, his unwise reforms, and his
capricious policy had not only alienated everyone, but caused serious
apprehensions for the safety of the empire.  He had arrayed himself
against his wife and his children; had threatened to disinherit
Alexander, his oldest son and heir, whom he especially hated.  A plot
was formed to compel his abdication.  To that extent his sons Alexander
and Constantine were aware of and party to it.

On the night of the 23d of March, 1801, the conspirators entered Paul's
sleeping apartment after he had retired, and, sword in hand, presented
the abdication for him to sign.  There was a struggle in which the lamp
was overturned, and in the darkness the Tsar, who had fallen upon the
floor, was strangled with an officer's scarf.

On the 24th of March, 1801, Alexander, who was entirely innocent of
complicity in this crime, was proclaimed Emperor of Russia.

It is said that when Bonaparte saw the downfall of his vast design, he
could not contain his rage; and pointing to England as the instigator
of the deed, he said in the _Moniteur_: "It is for history to clear up
the secret of this tragedy, and to say what national policy was
interested in such a catastrophe!"

The Emperor Paul had an acute, although narrow, intelligence, and was
not without generous impulses.  But although he sometimes made
impetuous reparation for injury, although he recalled exiles from
Siberia and gave to Kosciusko and other patriots their freedom, unless
his kindness was properly met the reaction toward severity was
excessive.  A little leaven of good with much that is evil sometimes
creates a very explosive mixture, and converts what would be a mild,
even tyranny into a vindictive and revengeful one.  When we behold the
traits exhibited during this brief reign of five years, we are not
surprised at Catherine's unwillingness to resign to her son the empire
for which she had done so much; and we are inclined to believe it is
true that there was, as has been rumored, a will left by the Empress
naming as her heir the grandson whom she had carefully prepared to be
her successor, and that this paper was destroyed by the conspirators.

There is one wise act to record in the reign of Paul--although it was
probably prompted not by a desire to benefit the future so much as to
reverse the past.  Peter the Great, probably on account of his perverse
son Alexis, had set aside the principle of primogeniture; a principle
not Slavonic, but established by the Muscovite Princes.  Peter, the
ruthless reformer, placed in the hands of the sovereign the power to
choose his own successor.  Paul reestablished this principle, and
thereby bestowed a great benefit upon Russia.



A youth of twenty-five years was Tsar and Autocrat of All the Russias.
Alexander had from his birth been withdrawn entirely from his father's
influence.  The tutor chosen by his grandmother was Laharpe, a Swiss
Republican, and the principles of political freedom were at the
foundation of his training.  It was of course during the period of her
own liberal tendencies that Alexander was imbued with the advanced
theories which had captured intellectual Europe in the days before the
French Revolution.  The new Emperor declared in a manifesto that his
reign should be inspired by the aims and principles of Catherine II.
He then quickly freed himself from the conspirators who had murdered
his father, and drew about him a group of young men like himself,
utterly inexperienced, but enthusiastic dreamers of a reign of goodwill
which should regenerate Russia.  With the utmost confidence, reforms of
the most radical nature were proposed and discussed.  There was to be a
gradual emancipation of the serfs, and misery of all sorts to be lifted
from the land by a new and benign system of government which should be
representative and constitutional.  Many changes were at once
instituted.  The old system of "colleges," or departments, established
by Peter the Great was removed and a group of ministers after the
European custom constituted the Tsar's official household, or what
would once have been called his _Drujina_.  In the very first year of
this reign there began an accession of territory in Asia, which
gravitated as if by natural law toward the huge mass.  The picturesque
old kingdom of Georgia, lying south of the Caucasus between the Black
and Caspian seas, was the home of that fair and gifted race which,
fallen from its high estate, had become the victim of the Turks, and,
with its congener Circassia, had long provided the harems of the
Ottoman Empire with beautiful slaves.  The Georgians had often appealed
to the Tsars for protection, and in 1810 the treaty was signed which
incorporated the suffering kingdom with Russia.

A portion of the state passed to Russia in 1801, at the commencement of
Alexander's reign; but the formal surrender of the whole by treaty was
not until 1810.

So day by day, while the young Emperor and his friends were living in
their pleasant Utopia, Russia, with all its incoherent elements, with
its vast energies, its vast riches, and its vast miseries, was
expanding and assuming a more dominating position in Europe.  What
would be done at St. Petersburg, was the question of supreme
importance; and Alexander was being importuned to join the coalition
against the common enemy Bonaparte.

The night before the 2d of October, 1805, the Russian Emperor and his
young officers, as confident of victory as they were of their ability
to reconstruct Russia, were impatiently waiting for the morrow, and the
conflict at Austerlitz.  With a ridiculous assurance the young
Alexander sent by the young Prince Dolgoruki a note addressed--not to
the Emperor--but to the "Head of the French Nation," stating his
demands for the abandonment of Italy and immediate peace!  Before
sundown the next day the "Battle of the Three Emperors" had been
fought; the Russian army was scattered after frightful loss, and
Alexander, attended by an orderly and two Cossacks, was galloping away
as fast as his horse could carry him.  Then Napoleon was in
Vienna--Francis II. at his bidding took off his imperial crown--the
"Confederation of the Rhine" was formed out of Germanic States; and
then the terrible and invincible man turned toward Prussia, defeated a
Russian army which came to its rescue, and in 1806 was in
Berlin--master and arbiter of Europe!

Alexander, the romantic champion of right and justice, the dreamer of
ideal dreams, had been carried by the whirlpool of events into currents
too strong for him.  He stood alone on the continent of Europe face to
face with the man who was subjugating it.  His army was broken in
pieces, and perhaps an invasion of his own empire was at hand.  Should
he make terms with this man whose career had so revolted him?--or
should he defy him and accept the risk of an invasion, which, by
offering freedom to the serfs and independence to the Poles, might give
the invader the immediate support of millions of his own subjects?
Then added to the conflict with his old self, there was the
irresistible magic of Napoleon's personal influence.  A two-hours'
interview on the raft at Tilsit--June 25, 1807--changed the whole
direction of Alexander's policy, and made him an ally of the despot he
had detested, whom he now joined in determining the fate of Europe.
Together they decided who should occupy thrones and who should not; to
whom there should be recompense, and who should be despoiled; and the
Emperor of Russia consented to join the Emperor of the French in a war
upon the commercial prosperity of England--his old friend and ally--by
means of a continental blockade.

Times were changed.  It was not so long ago--just one hundred
years--since Peter the Great had opened one small window for the light
from civilized Europe to glimmer through; and now the Tsar of that same
Russia, in a two-hours' interview on a raft, was deciding what should
be the fate of Europe!

The Emperor's young companions, with small experience and lofty aims,
were keenly disappointed in him.  This alliance was in contravention of
all their ideals.  He began to grow distrustful and cold toward them,
leaning entirely upon Speranski, his prime minister, who was French in
his sympathies and a profound admirer of Napoleon.  Alexander, no less
zealous for reforms than before, hurt at the defection of his friends
and trying to justify himself to himself, said "Does not this man
represent the new forces in conflict with the old?"  But he was not at
ease.  He and his minister worked laboriously; a systematic plan of
reform was prepared.  Speranski considered the Code Napoleon the model
of all progressive legislation.  Its adoption was desired, but it was
suited only to a homogeneous people; it was a modern garment and not to
be worn by a nation in which feudalism lingered, in which there was not
a perfect equality before the law; hence the emancipation of the serfs
must be the corner-stone of the new structure.  The difficulties grew
larger as they were approached.  He had disappointed the friends of his
youth, had displeased his nobility, and a general feeling of irritation
prevailed upon finding themselves involved by the Franco-Russian
alliance in wars with England, Austria, and Sweden, and the prosperity
of the empire seriously impaired by the continental blockade.  But when
Bonaparte began to show scant courtesy to his Russian ally, and to act
as if he were his master, then Alexander's disenchantment was complete.
He freed himself from the unnatural alliance, and faced the inevitable

Napoleon, also glad to be freed from a sentimental friendship not at
all to his taste, prepared to carry out his long-contemplated design.
In July of 1812, by way of Poland, he entered Russia with an army of
over 678,000 souls.  It was a human avalanche collected mainly from the
people he had conquered, with which he intended to overwhelm the
Russian Empire.  It was of little consequence that thirty or forty
thousand fell as this or that town was captured by the way.  He had
expected victory to be costly, and on he pressed with diminished
numbers toward Moscow, armies retreating and villages burning before
him.  If St. Petersburg was the brain of Russia, Moscow--Moscow the
Holy--was its heart!  What should they do?  Should they lure the French
army on to its destruction and then burn and retreat? or should they
there take their stand and sacrifice the last army of Russia to save
Moscow?  With tears streaming down their cheeks they yielded to the
words of Kutuzof, who said: "When it becomes a matter of the salvation
of Russia, Moscow is only a city like any other.  Let us retreat."  The
archives and treasures of the churches and palaces were carried to
Valdimir, such as could of the people following them, and the city was
left to its fate.

On September the 14th, 1812, the French troops defiled through the
streets of Moscow singing the Marseillaise, and Napoleon established
himself in the ancient palace of the Ivans within the walls of the
Kremlin.  The torches had been distributed, and were in the hands of
the Muscovites.  The stores of brandy, and boats loaded with alcohol,
were simultaneously ignited, and a fierce conflagration like a sea of
flame raged below the Kremlin.  Napoleon, compelled to force his way
through these volcanic fires himself, narrowly escaped.

For five days they continued, devouring supplies and everything upon
which the army had depended for shelter and subsistence.  For
thirty-five days more they waited among the blackened ruins.  All was
over with the French conquest.  The troops were eating their horses,
and thousands were already perishing with hunger.  Then the elements
began to fight for Russia--the snow-flakes came, then the bitter polar
winds, cutting like a razor; and a winding sheet of snow enveloped the
land.  On the 13th of October, after lighting a mine under the Kremlin,
with sullen rage the French troops marched out of Moscow.  The Great
Tower of Ivan erected by Boris was cracked and some portions of palaces
and gateways destroyed by this vicious and useless act of revenge.

Then, instead of marching upon St. Petersburg as he had expected,
Napoleon escaped alone to the frontier, leaving his perishing wreck of
an army to get back as it could.  The peasantry, the mushiks, whom the
Russians had feared to trust--infuriated by the destruction of their
homes, committed awful atrocities upon the starving, freezing soldiers,
who, maddened by cold and hunger and by the singing in their ears of
the rarefied air, many of them leaped into the bivouac fires.  It was a
colossal tragedy.  Of the 678,000 soldiers only 80,000 ever returned.

The extinction of the grand army of invasion was complete.  But in the
following year, with another great army, the indomitable Napoleon was
conducting a campaign in Germany which ended with the final defeat at
Leipzig--then the march upon Paris--and in March, 1814, Alexander at
the head of the Allies was in the French capital, dictating the terms
of surrender.  This young man had played the most brilliant part in the
great drama of Liberation.  He was hailed as a Deliverer, and exerted a
more powerful influence than any of the other sovereigns, in the long
period required for rearranging Europe after the passing of
Napoleon--the disturber of the peace of the world.

In 1809 Sweden had surrendered to Russia Finland, which had belonged to
that country for six centuries.  The kindly-intentioned Alexander
conceded to the Finns many privileges similar to those enjoyed by
Poland, which until recent years have not been seriously interfered
with.  He guaranteed to them a Diet, a separate army, and the
continuance of their own language and customs.  A ukase just issued by
the present emperor seriously invades these privileges, and a forcible
Russification of Finland threatens to bring a wave of Finnish
emigration to America (1899).

When the Emperor Alexander returned after the Treaty of Paris he was
thirty-four years old.  Many of the illusions of his youth had faded.
His marriage with Elizabeth of Baden was unhappy.  His plans for reform
had not been understood by the people whom they were intended to
benefit.  He had yielded finally to the demands of his angry nobility,
had dismissed his liberal adviser Speranski and substituted Araktcheef,
an intolerant, reactionary leader.  He grew morose, gloomy, and
suspicious, and a reign of extreme severity under Araktcheef commenced.
In 1819 he consented to join in a league with Austria and Prussia for
the purpose of suppressing the very tendencies he himself had once
promoted.  The League was called the "Holy Alliance," and its object
was to reinstate the principle of the divine right of Kings and to
destroy democratic tendencies in the germ.  Araktcheef's severities,
directed against the lower classes and the peasantry, produced more
serious disorders than had yet developed.  There were popular
uprisings, and in 1823 at Kief there was held secretly a convention at
which the people were told that "the obstacle to their liberties was
the Romanoff dynasty.  They must shrink from nothing--not from the
murder of the Emperor, nor the extermination of the Imperial family."
The peasants were promised freedom if they would join in the plot, and
a definite time was proposed for the assassination of Alexander when he
should inspect the troops in the Ukraine in 1824.

When the Tsar heard of this conspiracy in the South he exclaimed: "Ah,
the monsters!  And I planned for nothing but their happiness!"  He
brooded over his lost illusions and his father's assassination.  His
health became seriously disordered, and he was advised to go to the
South for change of climate.  At Taganrog, on the 1st of December,
1825, he suddenly expired.  Almost his last words were: "They may say
of me what they will, but I have lived and shall die republican."  A
statement difficult to accept, regarding a man who helped to create the
"Holy Alliance."



As Alexander left no sons, by the law of primogeniture his brother
Constantine, the next oldest in the family of Paul I., should have been
his successor.  But Constantine had already privately renounced the
throne in favor of his brother Nicholas.  The actual reason for this
renunciation was the Grand Duke's deep attachment to a Polish lady for
whom he was willing even to relinquish a crown.  The letter announcing
his intention contained these words: "Being conscious that I have
neither genius, talents, nor energy necessary for my elevation, I beg
your Imperial Majesty to transfer this right to my brother Nicholas,
the next in succession."  The document accepting the renunciation and
acknowledging Nicholas as his successor was safely deposited by
Alexander, its existence remaining a profound secret even to Nicholas

At the time of the Emperor's death Constantine, who was Viceroy of
Poland, was residing at Cracow.  Nicholas, unaware of the
circumstances, immediately took the oath of allegiance to his brother
and also administered it to the troops at St. Petersburg.  It required
some time for Constantine's letter to arrive, stating his immovable
determination to abide by the decision which would be found in his
letter to the late Emperor.  There followed a contest of
generosity--Nicholas urging and protesting, and his brother refusing
the elevation.  Three weeks passed--weeks of disastrous
uncertainty--with no acknowledged head to the Empire.

Such an opportunity was not to be neglected by the revolutionists in
the South nor their co-workers in the North.  Pestel, the leader, had
long been organizing his recruits, and St. Petersburg and Moscow were
the centers of secret political societies.  The time for action had
unexpectedly come.  There must be a swift overturning: the entire
imperial family must be destroyed, and the Senate and Holy Synod must
be compelled to adopt the Constitution which had been prepared.

The hour appointed for the beginning of this direful programme was the
day when the senators and the troops should assemble to take the oath
of allegiance to Nicholas.  The soldiers, who knew nothing of the plot,
were incited to refuse to take the oath on the ground that
Constantine's resignation was false, and that he was a prisoner and in
chains.  Constantine was their friend and going to increase their pay.
One Moscow regiment openly shouted: "Long life to Constantine!" and
when a few conspirators cried "Long live the Constitution!" the
soldiers asked if that was Constantine's wife.  So the ostensible cause
of the revolt, which soon became general, was a fidelity to their
rightful Emperor, who was being illegally deposed.  Under this mask
worked Pestel and his co-conspirators, composed in large measure of men
of high intelligence and standing, including even government officials
and members of the aristocracy.

A few days were sufficient to overcome this abortive attempt at
revolution in Russia.  Pestel, when he heard his death sentence, said,
"My greatest error is that I tried to gather the harvest before sowing
the seed"; and Ruileef, "I knew this enterprise would be my
destruction--but could no longer endure the sight of my country's
anguish under despotism."  When we think of the magnitude of the
offense, the monstrous crime which was contemplated; and when we
remember that Nicholas was by nature the very incarnation of
unrestrained authority, the punishment seems comparatively light.
There was no vindictiveness, no wholesale slaughter.  Five leaders were
deliberately and ignominiously hanged, and hundreds of their misguided
followers and sympathizers went into perpetual exile in Siberia--there
to expiate the folly of supposing that a handful of inexperienced
enthusiasts and doctrinaires could in their studies create new and
ideal conditions, and build up with one hand while they were recklessly
destroying with the other.  Their aims were the abolition of serfdom,
the destruction of all existing institutions, and a perfect equality
under a constitutional government.  They were definite and
sweeping--and so were the means for accomplishing them.  Their benign
government was going to rest upon crime and violence.  We should call
these men Nihilists now.  There were among them writers and thinkers,
noble souls which, under the stress of oppression and sympathy, had
gone astray.  They had failed, but they had proved that there were men
in Russia capable of dying for an ideal.  When the cause had its
martyrs it had become sacred--and though it might sleep, it would not

The man sitting upon the throne of Russia now was not torn by conflicts
between his ideals and inexorable circumstance.  His natural instincts
and the conditions of his empire both pointed to the same simple
course--an unmitigated autocracy--an absolute rule supported by
military power.  Instead of opening wider the doors leading into
Europe, he intended to close them, and if necessary even to lock them.
Instead of encouraging his people to be more European, he was going to
be the champion of a new Pan-Slavism and to strive to intensify the
Russian national traits.  The time had come for this great empire to
turn its face away from the West and toward the East, where its true
interests were.  Such a plan may not have been formulated by Nicholas,
but such were the policies instinctively pursued from the beginning of
his reign to its close.

Such an attitude naturally brought him at once into conflict with
Turkey, with which country he was almost immediately at war.  Of course
no one suspected him of sentimental sympathy when he espoused the cause
of Greece in the picturesque struggle with the Turks which brought
Western Europe at last to her rescue.  It was only a part of a much
larger plan, and when Nicholas had proclaimed himself the Protector of
the Orthodox Christians in the East, he had placed himself in a
relation to the Eastern Question which could be held by no other
sovereign in Europe; for persecuted Christians in the East were not
Catholic but Orthodox; and was not he the head of the Orthodox Church?
It was to secure this first move in the game of diplomacy that Russia
joined England and France, and placed the struggling little state of
Greece upon its feet in 1832.

But the conditions in Western Europe were unfavorable to the tranquil
pursuit of autocratic ends.  Charles X. had presumed too far upon the
patient submission of the French people.  In 1830 Paris was in a state
of insurrection; Charles, the last of the Bourbons, had abdicated; and
Louis Philippe, under a new liberal Constitution _approved by the
people_, was King of the French.  The indignation of Nicholas at this
overturning was still greater when the epidemic of revolt spread to
Belgium and to Italy, and then leaped, as such epidemics will, across
the intervening space to Russian Poland.  The surface calm in that
unhappy state ruled by the Grand Duke Constantine swiftly vanished and
revealed an entire people waiting for the day when, at any cost, they
might make one more stand for freedom.  The plan was a desperate one.
It was to assassinate Constantine, who had relinquished a throne rather
than leave them; to induce Lithuania, their old ally, to join them; and
to create an independent Polish state which would bar the Russians from
entering Europe.

In 1831 the brief struggle was ended, and Europe had received the
historic announcement, "Order reigns at Warsaw."  Not only Warsaw, but
Poland, was at the feet of the Emperor.  Confiscations, imprisonments,
and banishments to Siberia were the least terrible of the punishments.
Every germ of a Polish nationality was destroyed--the army and the Diet
effaced, Russian systems of taxes, justice, and coinage, and the metric
system of weights and measures used in Russia were introduced,--the
Julian Calendar superseded the one adopted all over the world--the
University of Warsaw was carried to Moscow, and the Polish language was
prohibited to be taught in the schools.  Indemnity and pardon were
offered to those who abjured the Roman Catholic faith, and many were
received into the bosom of the National Orthodox Church; those refusing
this offer of clemency being subjected to great cruelties.  Poland was
no more.  Polish exiles were scattered all over Europe.  In France,
Hungary, Italy, wherever there were lovers of freedom, there were
thousands of these emigrants without a country, living illustrations of
what an unrestrained despotism might do, and everywhere intensifying
the desires of patriots to achieve political freedom in their own lands.

Nicholas, as the chief representative of conservatism in Europe, looked
upon France with especial aversion.  Paris was the center of these
pernicious movements which periodically shook Europe to its
foundations.  It had overthrown his ally Charles X., and had been the
direct cause of the insurrection in Poland which had cost him thousands
of rubles and lives; and now nowhere else was such sympathetic welcome
given to the Polish refugees, thousands of whom were in the French
army.  His relations with Louis Philippe became strained, and he was
looking about for an opportunity to manifest his ill will.  In the
meantime he addressed himself to what he considered the _reforms_ in
his own empire.  He was going to establish a sort of political
quarantine to keep out European influences.  It was forbidden to send
young men to Western universities--the term of absence in foreign
countries was limited to five years for nobles, three for Russian
subjects.  The Russian language, literature, and history were to be
given prominence over all studies in the schools.  German free-thought
was especially disliked by him.  His instincts were not mistaken, for
what the Encyclopedists had been to the Revolution of 1789, the new
school of thought in Germany would be to that of 1848.  So from his
point of view he was wise in excluding philosophy from the universities
and permitting it to be taught only by ecclesiastics.

The Khedive of Egypt, who ruled under a Turkish protectorate, in 1832
was at war with his master the Sultan.  It suited the Emperor of Russia
at this time to do the Sultan a kindness, so he joined him in bringing
the Khedive to terms, and as his reward received a secret promise from
the Porte to close the Dardanelles in case of war against Russia--to
permit no foreign warships to pass through upon any pretext.  There was
indignation in Europe when this was known, and out of the whole
imbroglio there came just what Nicholas and his minister Nesselrode had
intended--a joint protection of Turkey by the Great Powers, from which
France was excluded on account of her avowed sympathy for the Khedive
in the recent troubles.

The great game of diplomacy had begun.  Nicholas, for the sake of
humiliating France, had allied himself with England, his natural enemy,
and had assumed the part of Protector of an Ottoman integrity which he
more than anyone else had tried to destroy!  There were to be many
strange roles played in this Eastern drama--many surprises for
Christendom; and for Nicholas the surprise of a crushing defeat a few
years later to which France contributed, possibly in retaliation for
this humiliation.

The Ottoman Empire had reached its zenith in 1550 under Suleyman the
Magnificent, when, with its eastern frontier in the heart of Asia, its
European frontier touching Russia and Austria, it held in its grasp
Egypt, the northern coast of Africa, and almost every city famous in
biblical and classical history.  Then commenced a decline; and when its
terrible Janizaries were a source of danger instead of defense, when
its own Sultan was compelled to destroy them in 1826 for the protection
of his empire, it was only a helpless mass in the throes of dissolution.

But Turkey as a living and advancing power was less alarming to Europe
than Turkey as a perishing one.  Lying at the gateway between the East
and the West, it occupied the most commanding strategic position in
Europe.  If that position were held by a living instead of a dying
power, that power would be master of the Continent.  No one state would
ever be permitted by the rest to reach such an ascendency; and the next
alternative of a division of the territory after the manner of Poland,
was fraught with almost as much danger.  The only hope for the peace of
Europe was to keep in its integrity this crumbling wreck of a wicked,
crime-stained old empire.  Such was the policy now inaugurated by
Russia, Great Britain, Austria, and Prussia; and such in brief is the
"Eastern Question," which for more than half a century has overshadowed
all others in European diplomacy, and more than any other has strained
the conscience and the moral sense of Christian nations.  We wish we
might say that one nation had been able to resist this invitation to a
moral turpitude masked by diplomatic subterfuges.  But there is not one.

Although the question of the balance of power was of importance to all,
it was England and Russia to whom the interests involved in the Eastern
Question were most vital.  Every year which made England's Indian
Empire a more important possession also increased the necessity for her
having free access to it; while Russian policy more and more revolved
about an actual and a potential empire in the East.  So just because
they were natural enemies they became allies, each desiring to tie the
other's hands by the principle of Ottoman integrity.

But daily and noiselessly the Russian outposts crept toward the East;
first into Persia, then stretching out the left hand toward Khiva,
pressing on through Bokhara into Chinese territory; and then, with a
prescience of coming events which should make Western Europe tremble
before such a subtle instinct for power, Russia obtained from the
Chinese Emperor the privilege of establishing at Canton a school of
instruction where Russian youths--prohibited from attending European
universities--might learn the Chinese language and become familiarized
with Chinese methods!  But this was the sort of instinct that impels a
glacier to creep surely toward a lower level.  Not content with owning
half of Europe and all of Northern Asia, the Russian glacier was moving
noiselessly,--as all things must,--on the line of least resistance,
toward the East.

The Emperor Nicholas, who comprehended so well the secret of imperial
expansion, and so little understood the expanding qualities within his
empire, was an impressive object to look upon.  With his colossal
stature and his imposing presence, always tightly buttoned in his
uniform, he carried with him an air of majesty never to be forgotten if
once it was seen.  But while he supposed he was extinguishing the
living forces and arresting the advancing power of mind in his empire,
a new world was maturing beneath the smooth hard surface he had
created.  The Russian intellect, in spite of all, was blossoming from
seed scattered long before his time.  There were historians, and poets,
and romanticists, and classicists, just as in the rest of Europe.
There were the conservative writers who felt contempt for the West, and
for the new, and who believed Russia was as much better before Ivan
III. than after, as Ivan the Great was superior to Peter the Great; and
there were Pushkin and Gogol, and Koltsof and Turguenief, whom they
hated, because their voice was the voice of the New Russia.
Turguenief, who with smothered sense of Russia's oppression was then
girding himself for his battle with serfdom, says: "My proof used to
come back to me from the censor half erased, and stained with red ink
like blood.  Ah! they were painful times!"  But in spite of all,
Russian genius was spreading its wings, and perhaps from this very
repression was to come that passionate intensity which makes it so



The Revolution of 1831 was only the mild precursor of the one which shook
Europe to its foundations in 1848.  It had centers wherever there were
patriots and aching hearts.  In Paris, Louis Philippe had fled at the
sound of the word Republic, and when in Paris workmen were waving the
national banner of Poland, with awakened hope, even that land was
quivering with excitement.  In Vienna the Emperor Ferdinand, unable to
meet the storm, abdicated in favor of his young nephew, Francis Joseph.
Hungary, obedient to the voice of her great patriot, Louis Kossuth, in
April, 1849, declared itself free and independent.  It was the Hungarians
who had offered the most encouragement and sympathy to the Poles in 1831;
so Nicholas determined to make them feel the weight of his hand.  Upon
the pretext that thousands of Polish exiles--his subjects--were in the
ranks of the insurgents, a Russian army marched into Hungary.  By the
following August the revolution was over--thousands of Hungarian patriots
had died for naught, thousands more had fled to Turkey, and still other
thousands were suffering from Austrian vengeance administered by the
terrible General Haynau.  Francis Joseph, that gentle and benign
sovereign, who sits today upon the throne at Vienna, subjected Hungary to
more cruelties than had been inflicted by Nicholas in Poland.  Not only
were the germs of nationality destroyed--the Constitution and the Diet
abolished, the national language, church, and institutions effaced; but
revolting cruelties and executions continued for years.  Kossuth, who
with a few other leaders, was an exile and a prisoner in Asia Minor, was
freed by the intervention of European sentiment in 1851.  The United
States government then sent a frigate and conveyed him and his friends to
America, where the great Hungarian thrilled the people by the magic of
his eloquence in their own language, which he had mastered during his
imprisonment by means of a Bible and a dictionary.

It was to Russia that Austria was indebted for a result so satisfactory.
The Emperor Nicholas returned to St. Petersburg, feeling that he had
earned the everlasting gratitude of the young ruler Francis Joseph,
little suspecting that he was before long to say of him that "his
ingratitude astonished Europe."

There can be no doubt that the Emperor Nicholas, while he was, in common
with the other powers, professing to desire the preservation of Ottoman
integrity, had secretly resolved not to leave the Eastern Question to
posterity, but to crown his own reign by its solution in a way favorable
to Russia.  His position was a very strong one.  By the Treaty of 1841
his headship as protector of Eastern Christendom had been acknowledged.
Austria was now bound to him irrevocably by the tie of gratitude, and
Prussia by close family ties and by sympathy.  It was only necessary to
win over England.  In 1853, in a series of private, informal interviews
with the English ambassador, he disclosed his plan that there should be a
confidential understanding between him and Her Majesty's government.  He
said in substance: "England and Russia must be friends.  Never was the
necessity greater.  If we agree, I have no solicitude about Europe.  What
others think is really of small consequence.  I am as desirous as you for
the continued existence of the Turkish Empire.  But we have on our hands
a sick man--a very sick man: he may suddenly die.  Is it not the part of
prudence for us to come to an understanding regarding what should be done
in case of such a catastrophe?  It may as well be understood at once that
I should never permit an attempt to reconstruct a Byzantine Empire, and
still less should I allow the partition of Turkey into small
republics--ready-made asylums for Kossuths and Mazzinis and European
revolutionists; and I also tell you very frankly that I should never
permit England or any of the Powers to have a foothold in Constantinople.
I am willing to bind myself also not to occupy it--except, perhaps, as a
guardian.  But I should have no objection to your occupying Egypt.  I
quite understand its importance to your government--and perhaps the
island of Candia might suit you.  I see no objection to that island
becoming also an English possession.  I do not ask for a treaty--only an
understanding; between gentlemen that is sufficient.  I have no desire to
increase my empire.  It is large enough; but I repeat--the sick man is
dying; and if we are taken by surprise, if proper precautions are not
taken in advance, circumstances may arise which will make it necessary
for me to occupy Constantinople."

It was a bribe, followed by a threat.  England coldly declined entering
into any stipulations without the concurrence of the other Powers.  Her
Majesty's government could not be a party to a confidential arrangement
from which it was to derive a benefit.  The negotiations had failed.
Nicholas was deeply incensed and disappointed.  He could rely, however,
upon Austria and Prussia.  He now thought of Louis Napoleon, the new
French Emperor, who was looking for recognition in Europe.  The English
ambassador was coldly received, and for the first time since the
abdication of Charles X., the representative of France received a cordial
greeting, and was intrusted with a flattering message to the Emperor.
But France had not forgotten the retreat from Moscow, nor the presence of
Alexander in Paris, nor her attempted ostracism in Europe by Nicholas
himself; and, further, although Louis Napoleon was pleased with the
overtures made to win his friendship, he was not yet quite sure which
cause would best promote his own ends.

Fortunately Russia had a grievance against Turkey.  It was a very small
one, but it was useful, and led to one of the most exciting crises in the
history of Europe.  It was a question of the possession of the Holy
Shrines at Bethlehem and other places which tradition associates with the
birth and death of Jesus Christ; and whether the Latin or the Greek monks
had the right to the key of the great door of the Church at Bethlehem,
and the right to place a silver star over the grotto where our Saviour
was born.  The Sultan had failed to carry out his promises in adjusting
these disputed points.  And all Europe trembled when the great Prince
Menschikof, with imposing suite and threatening aspect, appeared at
Constantinople, demanding immediate settlement of the dispute.  Turkey
was paralyzed with fright, until England sent her great diplomatist Lord
Stratford de Redcliffe--and France hers, M. de Lacour.  No simpler
question was ever submitted to more distinguished consideration or was
watched with more breathless interest by five sovereigns and their
cabinets.  In a few days all was settled--the questions of the shrines
and of the possession of the key of the great door of the church at
Bethlehem were happily adjusted.  There were only a few "business
details" to arrange, and the episode would be closed.  But the trouble
was not over.  Hidden away among the "business details" was the germ of a
great war.  The Emperor of Russia "felt obliged to demand guarantees,
formal and positive," assuring the security of the Greek Christians in
the Sultan's dominions.  He had been constituted the Protector of
Christianity in the Turkish Empire, and demanded this by virtue of that
authority.  The Sultan, strengthened now by the presence of the English
and French ambassadors, absolutely refused to give such guarantee,
appealing to the opinion of the world to sustain him in resisting such a
violation of his independence and of his rights.  In vain did Lord
Stratford exchange notes and conferences with Count Nesselrode and Prince
Menschikof and the Grand Vizier and exhaust all the arts and powers of
the most skilled diplomacy.  In July, 1853, the Russian troops had
invaded Turkish territory, and a French and English fleet soon after had
crossed the Dardanelles,--no longer closed to the enemies of Russia,--had
steamed by Constantinople, and was in the Bosphorus.

Austria joined England and France in a defensive though not an offensive
alliance, and Prussia held entirely aloof from the conflict.

Nicholas had failed in all his calculations.  In vain had he tried to
lure England into a secret compact by the offer of Egypt--in vain had he
preserved Hungary to Austria--in vain sought to attach Prussia to himself
by acts of friendship; and his Nemesis was pursuing him, avenging a long
series of affronts to France.  Unsupported by a single nation, he was at
war with three; and after a brilliant reign of twenty-eight years
unchecked by a single misfortune, he was about to die, leaving to his
empire the legacy of a disastrous war, which was to end in defeat and

But a strange thing had happened.  For a thousand years Europe had been
trying to drive Mohammedanism out of the continent.  No sacrifice had
been considered too great if it would help to rid Christendom of that
great iniquity.  Now the Turkish Empire,--the spiritual heir and center
of this old enemy,--no less vicious--no less an offense to the instincts
of Christendom than before, was on the brink of extermination.  It would
have been a surprise to Richard the lion-hearted, and to Louis IX. the
saint, if they could have foreseen what England and France would do eight
hundred years later when such a crisis arrived!  While the Sultan in the
name of the Prophet was appealing to all the passions of a mad fanaticism
to arise and "drive out the foreign infidels who were assailing their
holy faith"--there was in England an enthusiasm for his defense as
splendid as if the cause were a righteous one.

It is not a simple thing to carry a bark deeply loaded with treasure
safely through swift and tortuous currents.  England was loaded to the
water's edge with treasure.  Her hope was in that sunken wreck of an
empire which fate had moored at the gateway leading to her Eastern
dominions, and what she most feared in this world was its removal.  As a
matter of state policy, she may have followed the only course which was
open to her; but viewed from a loftier standpoint, it was a compromise
with unrighteousness when she joined Hands with the "Great Assassin" and
poured out the blood of her sons to keep him unharmed.  For fifty years
that compromise has embarrassed her policy, and still continues to soil
her fair name.  In the War of the Crimea, England, no less than Russia,
was fighting, not for the avowed, but unavowed object.  But frankness is
not one of the virtues required by diplomacy, so perhaps of that we have
no right to complain.

On the 4th of January, 1854, the allied fleets entered the Black Sea.
The Emperor Nicholas, from his palace in St. Petersburg, watched the
progress of events.  He saw Menschikof vainly measuring swords with Lord
Raglan at Odessa (April 22); then the overwhelming defeat at the Alma
(September 20); then the sinking of the Russian fleet to protect
Sebastopol, about which the battle was to rage until the end of the war.
He saw the invincible courage of his foe in that immortal act of valor,
the cavalry charge at Balaklava (November 5), in obedience to an order
wise when it was given, but useless and fatal when it was received--of
which someone made the oft-repeated criticism--"_C'est magnifique--mais
ce n'est pas la guerre_."  And then he saw the power to endure during
that awful winter, when the elements and official mismanagement were
fighting for him, and when more English troops were perishing from cold
and neglect than had been killed by Russian shot and shell.

But the immense superiority of the armies of the allies could not be
doubted.  His troops, vanquished at every point, were hopelessly
beleagured in Sebastopol.  The majesty of his empire was on every side
insulted, his ports in every sea blockaded.  Never before had he tasted
the bitterness of defeat and humiliation.  Europe had bowed down before
him as the Agamemnon among Kings.  He had saved Austria; had protected
Prussia; he had made France feel the weight of his august displeasure.
Wherever autocracy had been insulted, there he had been its champion and
striven to be its restorer.  But ever since 1848 there had been something
in the air unsuited to his methods.  He was the incarnation of an old
principle in a new world.  It was time for him to depart.  His day had
been a long and splendid one, but it was passing amid clouds and darkness.

A successful autocrat is quite a different person from an unsuccessful
one.  Nicholas had been seen in the shining light of invincibility.  But
a sudden and terrible awakening had come.  The nation, stung by repeated
defeats, was angry.  A flood of anonymous literature was scattered
broadcast, arraigning the Emperor--the administration--the ministers--the
diplomats--the generals.  "Slaves, arise!" said one, "and stand erect
before the despot.  We have been kept long enough in serfage to the
successors of Tatar Khans."

The Tsar grew gloomy and silent.  "My successor," he said, "may do what
he likes.  I cannot change."  When he saw Austria at last actually in
alliance with his enemies he was sorely shaken.  But it was the voice of
bitter reproach and hatred from his hitherto silent people which shook
his iron will and broke his heart.  He no longer desired to live.  While
suffering from an influenza he insisted upon going out in the intense
cold without his greatcoat and reviewing his guards.  Five days later he
dictated the dispatch which was sent to every city in Russia: "The
Emperor is dying."



When his life and the hard-earned conquests of centuries were together
slipping away, the dying Emperor said to his son: "All my care has been
to leave Russia safe without and prosperous within.  But you see how it
is.  I am dying, and I leave you a burden which will be hard to bear."
Alexander II., the young man upon whom fell these responsibilities, was
thirty-seven years old.  His mother was Princess Charlotte of Prussia,
sister of the late Emperor William, who succeeded to the throne of
Prussia, left vacant by his brother in 1861.

His first words to his people were a passionate justification of his
father,--"of blessed memory,"--his aims and purposes, and a solemn
declaration that he should remain true to his line of conduct, which
"God and history would vindicate."  It was a man of ordinary flesh and
blood promising to act like a man of steel.  His own nature and the
circumstances of his realm both forbade it.  The man on the throne
could not help listening attentively to the voice of the people.  There
must be peace.  The country was drained of men and of money.  There
were not enough peasants left to till the fields.  The landed
proprietors with their serfs in the ranks were ruined, and had not
money with which to pay the taxes, upon which the prosecution of a
hopeless war depended.  Victor Emmanuel had joined the allies with a
Sardinian army; and the French, by a tremendous onslaught, had captured
Malakof, the key to the situation in the Crimea.  Prince Gortchakof,
who had replaced Prince Menschikof, was only able to cover a retreat
with a mantle of glory.  The end had come.

A treaty of peace was signed March 30, 1856.  Russia renounced the
claim of an exclusive protectorate over the Turkish provinces, yielded
the free navigation of the Danube, left Turkey the Roumanian
principalities, and, hardest of all, she lost the control of the Black
Sea.  Its waters were forbidden to men-of-war of all nations; no
arsenals, military or maritime, to exist upon its shores.  The fruits
of Russian policy since Peter the Great were annihilated, and the work
of two centuries of progress was canceled.

Who and what was to blame for these calamities?  Why was it that the
Russian army could successfully compete with Turks and Asiatics, and
not with Europeans?  The reason began to be obvious, even to stubborn
Russian Conservatives.  A nation, in order to compete in war in this
age, must have a grasp upon the arts of peace.  An army drawn from a
civilized nation is a more effective instrument than one drawn from a
barbarous one.  The time had passed when there might be a few highly
educated and subtle intelligences thinking for millions of people in
brutish ignorance.  The time had arrived when it must be recognized
that Russia was not made for a few great and powerful people, for whom
the rest, an undistinguishable mass, must toil and suffer.  In other
words, it must be a nation--and not a dynasty nourished by misery and
supported by military force.

Men high in rank no longer flaunted their titles and insignia of
office.  They shrank from drawing attention to their share of
responsibility in the great calamity, and listened almost humbly to the
suggestions of liberal leaders, suggestions which, a few months ago,
none dared whisper except behind closed doors.  A new literature sprang
into life, unrebuked, dealing with questions of state policy with a
fearless freedom never before dreamed of.  Conservative Russia had
suddenly vanished under a universal conviction that the hope of their
nation was in Liberalism.

The Emperor recalled from Siberia the exiles of the conspiracy of 1825,
and also the Polish exiles of 1831.  There was an honest effort made to
reform the wretched judicial system and to adopt the methods which
Western experience had found were the best.  The obstructions to
European influences were removed, and all joined hands in an effort to
devise means of bringing the whole people up to a higher standard of
intelligence and well-being.  Russia was going to be regenerated.  Men,
in a rapture of enthusiasm and with tears, embraced each other on the
streets.  One wrote: "The heart trembles with joy.  Russia is like a
stranded ship which the captain and the crew are powerless to move; now
there is to be a rising tide of national life which will raise and
float it."

Such was the prevailing public sentiment in 1861, when Emperor
Alexander affixed his name to the measure which was going to make it
forever glorious--the emancipation of over twenty-three million human
beings from serfdom.  It would require another volume to tell even in
outline the wrongs and sufferings of this class, upon whom at last
rested the prosperity and even the life of the nation, who, absolutely
subject to the will of one man, might at his pleasure be conscripted
for military service for a term of from thirty to forty years, or at
his displeasure might be sent to Siberia to work in the mines for life;
and who, in no place or at no time, had protection from any form of
cruelty which the greed of the proprietor imposed upon them.  Selling
the peasants without the land, unsanctioned by law, became sanctioned
by custom, until finally its right was recognized by imperial ukases,
so that serfdom, which in theory presented a mild exterior, was in
practice and in fact a terrible and unmitigated form of human slavery.

Patriarchalism has a benignant sound--it is better than something that
is worse!  It is a step upward from a darker quagmire of human
condition.  When Peter the Great, with his terrible broom, swept all
the free peasants into the same mass with the unfree serfs, and when he
established the empire upon a chain of service to be rendered to the
nobility by the peasantry, and then to the state by the nobility, he
simply applied to the whole state the Slavonic principle existing in
the social unit--the family.  And while he was Europeanizing the
surface, he was completing a structure of paternalism, which was
Asiatic and incompatible with its new garment--an incongruity which in
time must bring disorder, and compel radical and difficult reforms.

To remove a foundation stone is a delicate and difficult operation.  It
needed courage of no ordinary sort to break up this serfdom encrusted
with tyrannies.  It was a gigantic social experiment, the results of
which none could foresee.  Alexander's predecessors had thought and
talked of it, but had not dared to try it.  Now the time was ripe, and
the man on the throne had the nerve required for its execution.

The means by which this revolution was effected may be briefly
described in a sentence.  The Crown purchased from the proprietors the
land--with the peasants attached to it, and then bestowed the land upon
the peasants with the condition that for forty-five years they should
pay to the Crown six per cent. interest upon the amount paid by it for
the land.  It was the commune or _mir_ which accepted the land and
assumed the obligation and the duty of seeing that every individual
paid his annual share of rental (or interest money) upon the land
within his inclosure, which was supposed to be sufficient for his own
maintenance and the payment of the government tax.

These simple people, who had been dreaming of emancipation for years,
as a vague promise of relief from sorrow, heard with astonishment that
now they were expected to pay for their land!  Had it not always
belonged to them?  The Slavonic idea of ownership of land through labor
was the only one of which they could conceive, and it had survived
through all the centuries of serfdom, when they were accustomed to say:
"We are yours, but the land is ours."  Instead of twenty-five million
people rejoicing with grateful hearts, there was a ferment of
discontent and in some places uprisings--one peasant leader telling ten
thousand who rose at his call that the Emancipation Law was a forgery,
they were being deceived and not permitted to enjoy what the Tsar,
their "Little Father," had intended for their happiness.  But
considering the intricate difficulties attending such a tremendous
change in the social conditions, the emancipation was easily effected
and the Russian peasants, by the survival of their old Patriarchal
institutions, were at once provided with a complete system of local
self-government in which the ancient Slavonic principle was unchanged.
At the head of the commune or _mir_ was the elder, a group of communes
formed a _Volost_, and the head of the _Volost_ was responsible for the
peace and order of the community.  To this was later added the
_Zemstvo_ a representative assembly of peasants, for the regulation of
local matters.

Such a new reign of clemency awakened hope in Poland that it too might
share these benefits.  First it was a Constitution such as had been
given to Hungary for which they prayed.  Then, as Italy was
emancipating herself, they grew bolder, and, incited by societies of
Polish exiles, all over Europe, demanded more: that they be given
independence.  Again the hope of a Polo-Lithuanian alliance, and a
recovery of the lost Polish provinces in the Ukraine, and the
reestablishment of an independent kingdom of Poland, dared to assert
itself, and to invite a more complete destruction.

The liberal Russians might have sympathized with the first moderate
demand, but when by the last there was an attempt made upon the
integrity of Russia, there was but one voice in the empire.  So cruel
and so vindictive was the punishment of the Poles, by Liberals and
Conservatives alike, that Europe at last in 1863 protested.  The Polish
language and even alphabet were prohibited.  Every noble in the land
had been involved in this last conspiracy.  They were ordered to sell
their lands, and all Poles were forbidden to be its purchasers.
Nothing of Poland was left which could ever rise again.



Liberalism had received a check.  In this outburst of severity, used to
repress the free instincts of a once great nation, the temper of the
Russian people had undergone a change.  The warmth and ardor were
chilled.  The Emperor's grasp tightened.  Some even thought that
Finland ought to be Russianized precisely as Poland had been; but
convinced of its loyalty, the Grand Principality was spared, and the
privileges so graciously bestowed by Alexander the First were confirmed.

While the political reforms had been checked by the Polish
insurrection, there was an enormous advance in everything making for
material prosperity.  Railways and telegraph-wires, and an improved
postal service, connected all the great cities in the empire, so that
there was rapid and regular communication with each other and all the
world.  Factories were springing up, mines were working, and trade and
production and arts and literature were all throbbing with a new life.

In 1871, at the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War, the Emperor
Alexander saw his uncle William the First crowned Emperor of a United
Germany at Paris.  The approval and the friendship of Russia at this
crisis were essential to the new German Empire as well as to France.
Gortchakof, the Russian Chancellor, saw his opportunity.  He intimated
to the Powers the intention of Russia to resume its privileges in the
Black Sea, and after a brief diplomatic correspondence the Powers
formally abrogated the neutralization of those waters; and Russia
commenced to rebuild her ruined forts and to re-establish her naval
power in the South.

There had commenced to exist those close ties between the Russian and
other reigning families which have made European diplomacy seem almost
like a family affair--although in reality exercising very little
influence upon it.  Alexander himself was the son of one of these
alliances, and had married a German Princess of the house of Hesse.  In
1866 his son Alexander married Princess Dagmar, daughter of Christian
IX., King of Denmark, and in 1874 he gave his daughter Marie in
marriage to Queen Victoria's second son Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.  It
was in the following year (1875) that Lord Beaconsfield took advantage
of a financial crisis in Turkey, and a financial stringency in Egypt,
to purchase of the Khedive his half-interest in the Suez Canal for the
sum of $20,000,000, which gave to England the ownership of nearly
nine-tenths of that important link in the waterway leading direct to
her empire in India.

During all the years since 1856, there was one subject which had been
constantly upper-most in the mind of England; and that one subject was
the one above all others which her Prime Minister tried to make people
forget.  It was perfectly well known when one after another of the
Balkan states revolted against the Turk--first Herzegovina, then
Montenegro, then Bosnia--that they were suffering the cruelest
oppression, and that not one of the Sultan's promises made to the
Powers in 1856 had been kept.  But in 1876 no one could any longer
feign ignorance.  An insignificant outbreak in Bulgaria took place.  In
answer to a telegram sent to Constantinople a body of improvised
militia, called Bashi-Bazuks, was sent to manage the affair after its
own fashion.  The burning of seventy villages; the massacre of fifteen
thousand--some say forty thousand--people, chiefly women and children,
with attendant details too revolting to narrate; the subsequent
exposure of Bulgarian maidens for sale at Philippopolis--all this at
last secured attention.  Pamphlets, newspaper articles, speeches, gave
voice to the horror of the English people.  Lord Stratford de
Redcliffe, Gladstone, John Bright, Carlyle, Freeman, made powerful
arraignments of the government which was the supporter and made England
the accomplice of Turkey in this crime.

However much we may suspect the sincerity of Russia's solicitude
regarding her co-religionists in the East, it must be admitted that the
preservation of her Faith has always been treated--long before the
existence of the Eastern Question--as the most vital in her policy.  In
every alliance, every negotiation, every treaty, it was the one thing
that never was compromised; and Greek Christianity certainly holds a
closer and more mystic relation to the government of Russia than the
Catholic or Protestant faiths do to those of other lands.

Russia girded herself to do what the best sentiment in England had in
vain demanded.  She declared war against Turkey in support of the
oppressed provinces of Servia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro.  In the
month of April, 1877, the Russian army crossed the frontier.  Then came
the capture of Nikopolis, the repulse at Plevna, the battle of Shipka
Pass, another and successful battle of Plevna, the storming of Kars,
and then, the Balkans passed,--an advance upon Constantinople.  On the
29th of January the last shot was fired.  The Ottoman Empire had been
shaken into submission, and was absolutely at the mercy of the Tsar,
who dictated the following terms: The erection of Bulgaria into an
autonomous tributary principality, with a native Christian government;
the independence of Montenegro, Roumania, and Servia; a partial
autonomy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, besides a strip of territory upon
the Danube and a large war indemnity for Russia.  Such were the terms
of the Treaty of San Stefano, signed in March, 1878.  To the
undiplomatic mind this seems a happy conclusion of a vexed question.
The Balkan states were independent--or partially so; and the Ottoman
Empire, although so shorn and shaken as to be innocuous, still remained
as a dismantled wreck to block the passage to the East.

But to Beaconsfield and Bismarck and Andrassy, and the other
plenipotentiaries who hastened to Berlin in June for conference, it was
a very indiscreet proceeding, and must all be done over.  Gortchakof
was compelled to relinquish the advantages gained by Russia.  Bulgaria
was cut into three pieces, one of which was handed to the Sultan,
another made tributary to him, the third to be autonomous under certain
restrictions.  Montenegro and Servia were recognized as independent,
Bosnia and Herzegovina were given to Austria; Bessarabia, lost by the
results of the Crimean War, was now returned to Russia, together with
territory about and adjacent to Kars.  Most important of all--the
Turkish Empire was revitalized and restored to a position of stability
and independence by the friendly Powers!

So by the Treaty of Berlin England had acquired the island of Cyprus,
and had compelled Russia, after immense sacrifice of blood and
treasure, to relinquish her own gains and to subscribe to the line of
policy which she desired.  A costly and victorious war had been
nullified by a single diplomatic battle at Berlin.

The pride of Russia was deeply wounded.  It was openly said that the
Congress was an outrage upon Russian sensibilities--that "Russian
diplomacy was more destructive than Nihilism."

Emperor Alexander had reached the meridian of his popularity in those
days of promised reforms, before the Polish insurrection came to chill
the currents of his soul.  For a long time the people would not believe
he really intended to disappoint their hope; but when one reform after
another was recalled, when one severe measure after another was
enacted, and when he surrounded himself with conservative advisers and
influences, it was at last recognized that the single beneficent act
history would have to record in this reign would be that one act of
1861.  And now his prestige was dimmed and his popularity still more
diminished by such a signal diplomatic defeat at Berlin.



The emancipation had been a disappointment to its promoters and to the
serfs themselves.  It was an appalling fact that year after year the
death-rate had alarmingly increased, and its cause was--starvation.  In
lands the richest in the world, tilled by a people with a passion for
agriculture, there was not enough bread!  The reasons for this are too
complex to be stated here, but a few may have brief mention.  The
allotment of land bestowed upon each liberated serf was too small to
enable him to live and to pay his taxes, unless the harvests were
always good and he was always employed.  He need not live, but his
taxes must be paid.  It required three days' work out of each week to
do that; and if he had not the money when the dreaded day arrived, the
tax-collector might sell his corn, his cattle, his farming implements,
and his house.  But reducing whole communities to beggary was not wise,
so a better way was discovered, and one which entailed no disastrous
economic results.  He was flogged.  The time selected for this settling
of accounts was when the busy season was over; and Stepniak tells us it
was not an unusual thing for more than one thousand peasants in the
winter--in a single commune--to be seen awaiting their turn to have
their taxes "flogged out."  Of course, before this was endured all
means had been exhausted for raising the required amount.  Usury, that
surest road to ruin, and the one offering the least resistance, was the
one ordinarily followed.  Thus was created that destructive class
called _Koulaks_, or _Mir-eaters_, who, while they fattened upon the
necessities of the peasantry, also demoralized the state by creating a
wealthy and powerful class whom it would not do to offend, and whose
abominable and nefarious interests must not be interfered with.

Then another sort of bondage was discovered, one very nearly
approaching to serfdom.  Wealthy proprietors would make loans to
distressed communes or to individuals, the interest of the money to be
paid by the peasants in a stipulated number of days' work every week
until the original amount was returned.  Sometimes, by a clause in the
contract increasing the amount in case of failure to pay at a certain
time, the original debt, together with the accruing interest, would be
four or five times doubled.  And if, as was probable, the principal
never was returned, the peasant worked on year after year gratuitously,
in the helpless, hopeless bondage of debt.  Nor were these the worst of
their miseries, for there were the _Tchinovniks_--or government
officials--who could mete out any punishment they pleased, could order
a whole community to be flogged, or at any moment invoke the aid of a
military force or even lend it to private individuals for the
subjugation of refractory peasants.

And this was what they had been waiting and hoping for, for two
centuries and a half!  But with touching loyalty not one of them
thought of blaming the Tsar.  Their "Little Father," if he only knew
about it, would make everything right.  It was the nobility, the wicked
nobility, that had brought all this misery upon them and cheated them
out of their happiness!  They hated the nobility for stealing from them
their freedom and their land; and the nobility hated them for not being
prosperous and happy, and for bringing famine and misery into the
state, which had been so kind and had emancipated them.

As these conditions became year after year more aggravated acute minds
in Russia were employed in trying to solve the great social problems
they presented.  In a land in which the associative principle was
indigenous, _Socialism_ was a natural and inevitable growth.  Then,
exasperated by the increasing miseries of the peasantry, maddened by
the sufferings of political exiles in Siberia, there came into
existence that word of dire significance in Russia--_Nihilism_, and
following quickly upon that, its logical sequence--_Anarchism_, which,
if it could, would destroy all the fruits of civilization.

It was Turguenief who first applied the ancient term "Nihilist" to a
certain class of radical thinkers in Russia, whose theory of society,
like that of the eighteenth-century philosophers in France, was based
upon a negation of the principle of authority.  All institutions,
social and political, however disguised, were tyrannies, and must go.
In the newly awakened Russian mind, this first assumed the mild form of
a demand for the removal of _legislative_ tyranny, by a system of
gradual reforms.  This had failed--now the demand had become a mandate.
The people _must_ have relief.  The Tsar was the one person who could
bestow it, and if he would not do so voluntarily, he must be compelled
to grant it.  No one man had the right to wreck the happiness of
millions of human beings.  If the authority was centralized, so was the
responsibility.  Alexander's entire reign had been a curse--and
emancipation was a delusion and a lie.  He must yield or perish.  This
vicious and degenerate organization had its center in a highly educated
middle class, where men with nineteenth-century intelligence and
aspirations were in frenzied revolt against methods suited to the time
of the Khans.  The inspiring motive was not love of the people, but
hatred of their oppressors.  Appeals to the peasantry brought small
response, but the movement was eagerly joined by men and women from the
highest ranks in Russia.

Secret societies and organizations were everywhere at work, recruited
by misguided enthusiasts, and by human suffering from all classes.
Wherever there were hearts bruised and bleeding from official cruelty,
in whatever ranks, there the terrible propaganda found sympathizers, if
not a home; men--and still more, women--from the highest families in
the nobility secretly pledging themselves to the movement, until
Russian society was honeycombed with conspiracy extending even to the
household of the Tsar.  Proclamations were secretly issued calling upon
the peasantry to arise.  In spite of the vigilance of the police,
similar invitations to all the Russian people were posted in
conspicuous places--"We are tired of famine, tired of having our sons
perish upon the gallows, in the mines, or in exile.  Russia demands
liberty; and if she cannot have liberty--she will have vengeance!"

Such was the tenor of the threats which made the life of Emperor
Alexander a miserable one after 1870.  He had done what not one of his
predecessors had been willing to do.  He had, in the face of the
bitterest opposition, bestowed the gift of freedom upon 23,000,000
human beings.  In his heart he believed he deserved the good-will and
the gratitude of his subjects.  How gladly would he have ruled over a
happy empire!  But what could he do?  He had absolute power to make his
people miserable--but none to make them happy.  It was not his fault
that he occupied a throne which could only be made secure by a policy
of stern repression.  It was not his fault that he ruled through a
system so elementary, so crude, so utterly inadequate, that to
administer justice was an impossibility.  Nor was it his fault that he
had inherited autocratic instincts from a long line of ancestors.  In
other words, it was not his fault that he was the Tsar of Russia!

The grim shadow of assassination pursued him wherever he went.  In 1879
the imperial train was destroyed by mines placed beneath the tracks.
In 1880 the imperial apartments in "the Winterhof" were partially
wrecked by similar means.  Seventeen men marched stolidly to the
gallows, regretting nothing except the failure of their crime; and
hundreds more who were implicated in the plot were sent into perpetual
exile in Siberia.  The hand never relaxed--nor was the Constitution
demanded by these atrocious means granted.

On the 13th of March, 1881, while the Emperor was driving, a bomb was
thrown beneath his carriage.  He stepped out of the wreck unhurt.  Then
as he approached the assassin, who had been seized by the police,
another was thrown.  Alexander fell to the ground, exclaiming, "Help
me!"  Terribly mutilated, but conscious, the dying Emperor was carried
into his palace, and there in a few hours he expired.

In the splendid obsequies of the Tsar, nothing was more touching than
the placing of a wreath upon his bier by a deputation of peasants.  It
can be best described in their own words.  The Emperor was lying in the
Cathedral wrapped in a robe of ermine, beneath a canopy of gold and
silver cloth lined with ermine.  "At last we were inside the church,"
says the narrative.  "We all dropped on our knees and sobbed, our tears
flowing like a stream.  Oh, what grief!  We rose from our knees, again
we knelt, and again we sobbed.  This did we three times, our hearts
breaking beside the coffin of our benefactor.  There are no words to
express it.  And what honor was done us!  The General took our wreath,
and placed it straightway upon the breast of our Little Father.  Our
peasants' wreath laid on his heart, his martyr breast--as we were in
all his life nearest to his heart!  Seeing this we burst again into
tears.  Then the General let us kiss his hand--and there he lay, our
Tsar-martyr, with a calm, loving expression on his face--as if he, our
Little Father, had fallen asleep."

If anything had been needed to make the name Nihilism forever odious,
it was this deed.  If anything were required to reveal the bald
wickedness of the creed of Nihilism, it was supplied by this aimless
sacrifice of the one sovereign who had bestowed a colossal reform upon
Russia.  They had killed him, and had then marched unflinchingly to the
gallows--and that was all--leaving others bound by solemn oaths to
bring the same fate upon his successor.  The whole energy of the
organization was centered in secreting dynamite, awaiting a favorable
moment for its explosion, then dying like martyrs, leaving others
pledged to repeat the same horror--and so _ad infinitum_.  In their
detestation of one crime they committed a worse one.  They conspired
against the life of civilization--as if it were not better to be ruled
by despots than assassins, as if a bad government were not better than

The existence of Nihilism may be explained, though not extenuated.  Can
anyone estimate the effect upon a single human being to have known that
a father, brother, son, sister, or wife has perished under the knout?
Could such a person ever again be capable of reasoning calmly or sanely
upon "political reforms"?  If there were any slumbering tiger-instincts
in this half-Asiatic people, was not this enough to awaken them?  There
were many who had suffered this, and there were thousands more who at
that very time had friends, lovers, relatives, those dearer to them
than life, who were enduring day by day the tortures of exile, subject
to the brutal punishments of irresponsible officials.  It was this
which had converted hundreds of the nobility into conspirators--this
which had made Sophia Perovskaya, the daughter of one of the highest
officials in the land, give the signal for the murder of the Emperor,
and then, scorning mercy, insist that she should have the privilege of
dying upon the gallows with the rest.

But tiger-instincts, whatever their cause, must be extinguished.  They
cannot coexist with civilization.  Human society as constituted to-day
can recognize no excuse for them.  It forbids them--and the Nihilist is
the Ishmael of the nineteenth century.

The world was not surprised, and perhaps not even displeased, when
Alexander III. showed a dogged determination not to be coerced into
reforms by the assassination of his father nor threats of his own.  His
coronation, long deferred by the tragedy which threatened to attend it,
finally took place with great splendor at Moscow in 1883.  He then
withdrew to his palace at Gatschina, where he remained practically a
prisoner.  Embittered by the recollection of the fate of his father,
who had died in his arms, and haunted by conspiracies for the
destruction of himself and his family, he was probably the least happy
man in his empire.  His every act was a protest against the spirit of
reform.  The privileges so graciously bestowed upon the Grand Duchy of
Finland by Alexander I. were for the first time invaded.  Literature
and the press were placed under rigorous censorship.  The _Zemstvo_,
his father's gift of local self-government to the liberated serfs, was
practically withdrawn by placing that body under the control of the

[Illustration: The Coronation of the Czar Alexander III., 1883.  The
Emperor crowning the Empress at the Church of the Assumption.  From a
drawing by Edwin B. Child.]

It was a stern, joyless reign, without one act intended to make glad
the hearts of the people.  The depressing conditions in which he lived
gradually undermined the health of the Emperor.  He was carried in
dying condition to Livadia, and there, surrounded by his wife and his
children, he expired November 1, 1894.



When Nicholas II., the gentle-faced young son of Alexander, came to the
throne there were hopes that a new era for Russia was about to
commence.  There has been nothing yet to justify that hope.  The
austere policy pursued by his father has not been changed.  The recent
decree which has brought grief and dismay into Finland is not the act
of a liberal sovereign!  A forcible Russification of that state has
been ordered, and the press in Finland has been prohibited from
censuring the _ukase_ which has brought despair to the hearts and homes
of the people.  The Russian language has been made obligatory in the
university of Helsingfors and in the schools, together with other
severe measures pointing unmistakably to a purpose of effacing the
Finnish nationality--a nationality, too, which has never by disloyalty
or insurrection merited the fate of Poland.

But if this has struck a discordant note, the invitation to a
Conference of the Nations with a view to a general disarmament has been
one of thrilling and unexpected sweetness and harmony.  Whether the
Peace Congress at The Hague (1899) does or does not arrive at important
immediate results, its existence is one of the most significant facts
of modern times.  It is the first step on the way to that millennial
era of universal peace toward which a perfected Christian civilization
must eventually lead us, and it remained for an autocratic Tsar of
Russia to sound the call and to be the leader in this movement.

At the death-bed of his father, Nicholas was betrothed to a princess of
the House of Hesse, whose mother was Princess Alice, daughter of Queen
Victoria.  Upon her marriage this Anglo-German princess was compelled
to make a public renunciation of her own faith, and to accept that of
her imperial consort--the orthodox faith of Russia.  The personal
traits of the Emperor seem so exemplary that, if he fails to meet the
heroic needs of the hour, the world is disposed not to reproach him,
but rather to feel pity for the young ruler who has had thrust upon him
such an insoluble problem.  His character recalls somewhat that of his
great-uncle Alexander I.  We see the same vague aspiration after grand
ideals, and the same despotic methods in dealing with things in the
concrete.  No general amnesty attended his coronation, no act of
clemency has been extended to political exiles.  Men and women whose
hairs have whitened in Siberia have not been recalled--not one thing
done to lighten the awful load of anguish in his empire.  It may have
been unreasonable to have looked for reforms; but certainly it was not
too much to expect mercy!

What one man could reform Russia?  Who could reform a volcano?  There
are frightful energies beneath that adamantine surface--energies which
have been confined by a rude, imperfectly organized system of force; a
chain-work of abuses roughly welded together as occasion required.  It
is a system created by emergencies,--improvised, not grown,--in which
to remove a single abuse endangers the whole.  When the imprisoned
forces tried to escape at one spot, more force was applied and more
bands and more rivets brutally held them down, and were then retained
as a necessary part of the whole.

On the surface is absolutism in glittering completeness, and beneath
that--chaos.  Lying at the bottom of that chaos is the great mass of
Slavonic people undeveloped as children--an embryonic
civilization--utterly helpless and utterly miserable.  In the mass
lying above that exists the mind of Russia--through which course
streams of unduly developed intelligence in fierce revolt against the
omnipresence of misery.  And still above that is the shining, enameled
surface rivaling that of any other nation in splendor.  The Emperor may
say with a semblance of truth _l'état c'est moi_, but although he may
combine in himself all the functions, judicial, legislative, and
executive, no channels have been supplied, no finely organized system
provided for conveying that triple stream to the extremities.  The
living currents at the top have never reached the mass at the
bottom--that despised but necessary soil in which the prosperity of the
Empire is rooted.  There has been no vital interchange between the
separated elements, which have been in contact, but not in union.  And
Russia is as heterogeneous in condition as it is in elements.  It has
accepted ready-made the methods of Greek, of Tatar, and of European;
but has assimilated none of them; and Russian civilization, with its
amazing quality, its bewildering variety of achievement in art,
literature, diplomacy, and in every field, is not a natural
development, but a monstrosity.  The genius intended for a whole people
seems to have been crowded into a few narrow channels.  Where have men
written with such tragic intensity?  Where has there been music
suggesting such depths of sadness and of human passion?  And who has
ever told upon canvas the story of the battlefield with such energy and
with such thrilling reality, as has Verestchagin?

The youngest among the civilizations, and herself still only partially
civilized, Russia is one of the most--if not the most--important factor
in the world-problem to-day, and the one with which the future seems
most seriously involved.  She has only just commenced to draw upon her
vast stores of energy; energies which were accumulating during the ages
when the other nations were lavishly spending theirs.  How will this
colossal force be used in the future?  Moving silently and irresistibly
toward the East, and guided by a subtle and far-reaching policy, who
can foresee what will be the end, and what the ultimate destiny of the
Empire which had its beginning in a small Slavonic State upon the
Dnieper, and which, until a little more than a century ago, was too
much of a barbarian to be admitted into the fraternity of European

The farthest removed from us in political ideals, Russia has in the
various crises in our national life always been America's truest
friend.  When others apparently nearer have failed us, she has stood
steadfastly by us.  We can never forget it.  Owning a large portion of
the earth's surface, rich beyond calculation in all that makes for
national wealth and prosperity, with a peasantry the most confiding,
the most loyal, the most industrious in the world, with intellectual
power and genius in abundant measure, and with pride of race and a
patriotism profound and intense, what more does Russia need?  Only
three things--that cruelty be abandoned; that she be made a homogeneous
nation; and that she be permitted to live under a government capable of
administering justice to her people.  These she must have and do.  In
the coming century there will be no place for barbarism.  There will be
something in the air which will make it impossible that a great part of
a frozen continent shall be dedicated to the use of suffering human
beings, kept there by the will of one man.  There will be something in
the air which will forbid cruelty and compel mercy and justice, and
which will make men or nations feign those virtues if they have them

The antagonism between England and Russia has a deeper significance
than appears on the surface.  It is not the Eastern question, not the
control of Constantinople, not the obtaining of concessions from China
which is at stake.  It is the question which of two principles shall
prevail.  The one represented by a despotism in which the people have
no part, or the one represented by a system of government through which
the will of the people freely acts.  There can be but one result in
such a conflict, one answer to such a question.  The eternal purposes
are writ too large in the past to mistake them.  And it is the ardent
hope of America that Russia--that Empire which has so generously
accorded us her friendship in our times of peril--may not by cataclysm
from within, but of her own volition, place herself fully in line with
the ideals of an advanced civilization.


From Rurik to Nicholas III. the policy of Russia has been determined by
its thirst for the sea.  Every great struggle in the life of this
colossal land-locked empire has had for its ultimate object the opening
of a door to the ocean, from which nature has ingeniously excluded it.
In the first centuries of its existence Rurik and his descendants were
incessantly hurling themselves against the door leading to the
Mediterranean.  But the door would not yield.  Then Ivan IV. and his
descendants, with no greater success, hammered at the door leading to
the West.  The thirst growing with defeat became a national instinct.
When Peter the Great first looked out upon the sea, at Archangel, and
when he created that miniature navy upon the Black Sea, and when he
dragged his capital from "Holy Moscow" to the banks of the Neva,
planting it upon that submerged tract, he was impelled by the same
instinct which is to-day making history in the Far East.

It was in 1582 that Yermak, the Cossack robber and pirate, under
sentence of death, won a pardon from Ivan IV. ("the Terrible") in
exchange for Siberia--that unknown region stretching across the
Continent of Asia to the Pacific.  Eight hundred Cossacks under the
daring outlaw had sufficed to drive the scattered Asiatic tribes before
them and to establish the sovereignty of Yermak, who then gladly
exchanged his prize with the "Orthodox Tsar" for his "traitorous head."

It was the tremendous energy of one man, Muraviev, which led to the
development of Eastern Siberia.  Pathfinder and pioneer in the march
across the Asiatic continent, drawing settlers after him as he moved
along, he reached the mouth of the Amur river in 1846, and, at last,
the empire possessed a naval station upon the Pacific, which was named
Nikolaifsk, after the reigning Tsar, Nicholas I.

It was this Tsar, great-grandfather of Nicholas II., who, grimly
turning his back upon Western Europe, set the face of Russia toward the
East, reversing the direction which has always been the course of
empire.  What had Russia to gain from alliances in the West?  Her
future was in the East; and he intended to drive back the tide of
Europeanism which his predecessors had so industriously invited.
Russian youths were prohibited from being educated in Western
universities, and at the same time there was established at Canton a
school of instruction where they might learn the Chinese language and
the methods and spirit of Chinese civilization.  It was a determined
purpose to Orientalize his empire.  And violating all the traditions of
history, the flight of the Russian Eagle from that moment was toward
the rising, not the setting sun.

Muraviev, now Governor of the Eastern Provinces of Siberia, was
empowered to negotiate a treaty with China to determine the rights of
the two nations upon the river Amur, which separated Manchuria, the
northernmost province of China, from Russian Siberia.  The treaty,
which was concluded in 1858, conceded the left bank of this river to

Nikolaifsk, a great part of the year sealed up with ice, was only a
stepping-stone for the next advance southward.  From the mouth of the
Amur to the frontier of Korea there was a strip of territory lying
between the sea on the east and the Ussuri river on the west, which to
the Russian mind, at that time, seemed an ideal possession.  How it was
accomplished it is needless to say; but China reluctantly agreed that
there should be for a time a joint occupation of this strip, and, in
1859, needing Russia's friendship, it was unconditionally bestowed.
The "Ussuri Region" was now transformed into the "_Maritime Provinces
of Siberia_," and the Russian Empire, by the stroke of a pen, had moved
ten degrees toward the south.  Vladivostok, at the southern extremity
of the new province, was founded in 1860, and in 1872 made chief naval
station on the eastern coast, in place of Nikolaifsk.

But the prize obtained after such expenditure of effort and diplomacy
was far from satisfactory.  Of what use was a naval station which was
not only ice-bound half the year but from which, even when ice-free, it
was impossible for ships to reach the open sea except by passing
through narrow gateways controlled by Japan?  How to overcome these
obstacles, how to circumvent nature in her persistent effort to
imprison her--this was the problem set for Russian diplomacy to solve.

The eastern slice of Manchuria, which now had become the "Maritime
Province of Siberia," was a pleasant morsel, six hundred miles long.
But there was a still more desired strip lying in the sun south of
it--a peninsula jutting out into the sea, the extreme southern end of
which (Port Arthur) was ideally situated for strategic purposes,
commanding as it does the Gulf of Pechili, the Gulf of Liao-Tung and
the Yellow Sea.  Who could tell what might happen?  China was in an
unstable condition.  Her integrity was threatened.  England, France and
Germany, quickly following Russia's lead in the Ussuri strip, had
already wrung privileges from her.  Circumstances might any day justify
Russia's occupation of the entire peninsula.  She could afford to wait.
And while she waited she was not idle.

The post-road across Asia was no longer adequate for the larger plans
developing in the East; so the construction of a railway was planned to
span the distance between Moscow and Vladivostok.  At a point beyond
Lake Baikal the river Amur makes a sudden detour, sweeping far toward
the north before it again descends, thus enclosing a large bit of
Manchuria in a form not unlike the State of Michigan.  Many miles of
the projected road might be saved by crossing the diameter of this
semi-circle and moving in a straight line to Vladivostok, across
Chinese territory.  It did not seem wise at this time to ask such a
privilege, the patience of China being already strained by the matter
of the Ussuri strip, that much-harassed country being also suspicious
of the railroad itself.  So with consummate tact Russia proceeded to
build the road from the two extremities, leaving this gap to be
adjusted by time and circumstances.  She had not to wait long.  In 1894
an unexpected event altered the whole face of the problem.  War was
declared between China and Japan.

The three Oriental nations involved in this dispute--China, Japan and
Korea--offer three distinct and strongly contrasting types coming out
of the mysterious region the world used to know by the comprehensive
name of Cathay.  When we read of 160,000 Japanese soldiers in the year
1600 tramping across Korea for the purpose of conquering their great
neighbor China, it has a familiar sound!  But China was not conquered
by Japan in 1600, and remained the dominant power in the East, as she
had been since she struggled out of the Mongol yoke which, in common
with Russia, Kublai-Khan imposed upon her in 1260.

At the time of this Mongol invasion, the Manchus, a nomadic tribe,
gathered up their portable tents and fled into a province lying beyond
the Great Wall, permanently occupying the region now called Manchuria.
Remote and obscure, the Manchus were almost unknown to the Chinese
until the year 1580, when Tai-Tsu, a remarkable man and born leader, on
account of grievances suffered by his tribe, organized a revolt against
China and made a victorious assault upon his powerful Suzerain.  Upon
his death, in 1626, his victories were continued by his son, who
overthrew the reigning dynasty and was proclaimed Emperor of China.
And that wretched youth who is to-day obscured and dominated by the
powerful Empress Dowager at Pekin is the lineal descendant of Tai-Tsu
and the last representative of the Manchurian Dynasty, which has ruled
China for nearly four centuries.

The Manchus had not much in the way of civilization to impose upon the
people they had conquered.  But such as they had they brought with
them; and the shaven forehead and the queue, so precious to the
Chinese, are Manchurian exotics.  Mukden, the capital of Manchuria,
became the "Sacred City," where Manchurian Emperors at death were laid
beside Tai-Tsu.  Wealthy mandarins built residences there.  It became
splendid and, next only to Pekin, was known as the second official city
in the empire.

While the world has long been familiar with China and its civilization,
Japan and Korea have only recently come out from their Oriental
seclusion.  In looking into the past of the former, in vain do we seek
for any adequate explanation, anything which will reasonably account
for that phenomenally endowed race which occupies the centre of the
stage to-day; which, knowing absolutely nothing of our civilization
forty years ago, has so digested and assimilated its methods and
essential principles that it is beating us at our own game.

From its earliest period this country was under a feudal system of
government, with the Mikado as its supreme and sacred head.  The Divine
nature of this being separated him from the temporal affairs of the
nation, which were in the hands of the Shogun, who represented the
strong arm of the state.  Next below the Shogun were the Daimios, the
feudal or military chiefs; these in turn being the rulers of bands of
military retainers which constituted the aristocratic class, and were
called the Samurai.

Shintoism, a form of ancestral worship and sacrifice to dead heroes,
which was the primitive cult of Japan, was in 600 A. D. superseded, or
rather absorbed, by Buddhism, which for a thousand years has prevailed.
And although Shintoism to some extent still lingers, and although
Confucianism with its philosophical and abstract principles has always
had its followers, still Japanese civilization is the child of Gautama.

The dual sovereignty of the Mikado and the Shogun, like that existing
in the Holy Roman Empire, made a great deal of history in Japan.  The
things representing the real power in a state were in the hands of the
Shogun.  The Mikado was venerated, but this first servant in the land
was feared, the one dwelling in a seclusion so sacred that to look upon
him was almost a sacrilege, the other with armies and castles and
wealth and the pomp and circumstance which attend the real sovereign.
History again repeats itself as we see this Maire du Palais obscuring
more and more the titular sovereign, the Mikado, until like Pepin he
openly claimed absolute sovereignty, assuming the title of Tycoon.

The people rose against this usurpation.  It was while in the throes of
this revolution that the United States Government dispatched a few
ships under Commodore Perry, in protection of some American citizens in
Japan.  After this events moved swiftly.  In 1854 a treaty with the
United States--their first with foreign nations--was signed at
Yokohama.  Treaties with other nations speedily followed.  In 1860 a
Japanese embassy arrived at Washington, and similar ones were
established in European capitals.

In 1869 the revolution was over.  The party of the usurping Tycoon was
defeated and the Shogunate abolished.  The anti-foreign spirit which
was allied with it shared this defeat, and the party desiring to adopt
the methods of foreign lands was triumphant.  There was a
reorganization of the government, with the Mikado as its single and
supreme head.  The entire feudal structure, with its Daimios and
Samurai, was swept away.  A representative body was created holding a
relation to the Mikado similar to that of the Houses of Parliament to
the King of England.  The rights of the people were safeguarded.  In
other words, at a bound, an Oriental feudal and military despotism had
become a modern democratic free state.  From this moment dates an
ascent from obscurity to an advanced type of civilization, accomplished
with a swiftness without a parallel in the history of nations.

Japanese youths, silent, intent, studious, were in European and
American universities, colleges, technical schools, learning the arts
of war and of peace.  When war was declared between China and Japan
(1894), the world discovered that they had not studied in vain.

In order to understand the Chino-Japanese war, one must know something
of Korea, that, little peninsula jutting out between these two
countries, washed by the Yellow Sea on the west and by the Sea of Japan
on the east.

In the Koreans we seem to behold the wraith of a something which
existed long ago.  There are traditions of ancient greatness, the line
of their present King stretching proudly back to 1390, and beyond that
an indefinite background of splendor and vista of heroic deeds which,
we are told, made China and Japan and all the East tremble!  But to-day
we see a feeble and rather gentle race, eccentric in customs and dress
and ideals, with odd rites and ceremonials chiefly intended to placate
demoniacal beings to whom they ascribe supreme control over human
events.  Nothing may be done by the King or his humblest subject
without consulting the sorcerers and exorcists, who alone know the
propitious moment and place for every important act.  With no
recognition of a Supreme Being, no sacred books; without temples, or
art, or literature, or industries, excepting one or two of a very
simple nature, it is extremely difficult for the Western mind to
understand what life must mean to this people.  That it is a degenerate
form of national life which must be either absorbed or effaced seems
obvious.  And if the life of Korean nationality is prolonged in the
future, it will be simply because, like Turkey, it harmlessly holds a
strategic point too valuable to be allowed to pass into the hands of
any one of the nations which covet it.  And it is also easy to foresee
that in the interval existing until its absorption, Korea must remain,
also like Turkey, merely the plaything of diplomacy and the
battle-ground for rival nations.

Until the year 1876 Korea was really a "Hermit Kingdom," with every
current from the outside world carefully excluded.  In that year her
near neighbor, Japan, made the first rift in the enclosing shell.  A
treaty was concluded opening Chemulpo, Fusan and Won-San to Japanese
trade.  The civilizing tide pressed in, and by 1883 the United States,
France, England and Germany had all concluded treaties and Korea was
open to the outside world.

The government of Korea at this time was simply an organized system of
robbery and extortion--wearing not even the mask of justice.  The
undisguised aim of officialdom was to extort money from the people; and
the aim of the high-born Korean youth (or _yang-ban_) was to pass the
royal examination in Chinese classics, which was requisite to make him
eligible for official position, and then join the horde of vampires who
fed upon the people.  At irregular intervals there were revolts, and
under the pressure of violent acts temporary relief would be afforded;
then things would go on as before.

While such was the perennial condition of political unrest, a rebellion
of a different sort broke out at Seoul in 1885--an anti-foreign
rebellion--which had for its purpose the expulsion of all the foreign
legations.  This led to negotiations between China and Japan having an
important bearing upon subsequent events.  Li Hung Chang, representing
China, and Marquis Ito, the Japanese Foreign Minister, held a
conference (1885) at Tien-tsin, which resulted in what is known as the
"Li-Ito treaty."  In view of the disorders existing, it was agreed that
their respective governments should hold a joint control in Korea, each
having the right to dispatch troops to the peninsula if required.  This
agreement was later expanded into a joint occupation until reform
should be established insuring security and order.  These negotiations
left Korea as before an independent state, although tributary to China.

The Koreans attributed their calamities to their Queen, a woman of
intelligence and craft, who managed to keep her own family in the
highest positions and also, by intriguing with China, to thwart
Japanese reforms.  It soon became apparent that so far from
co-operating in these reforms, which were an essential part of the
Li-Ito agreement, China intended to make them impossible.  The
Government at Tokio came to a momentous decision.

In 1894 an outbreak more serious than usual occurred, known as the
"Tong-Hak Rebellion."  Li Hung Chang promptly sent an army from
Tien-tsin for its suppression, another from Japan coming simultaneously.

But the Japanese army poured into Chemulpo in such numbers and with a
perfection of equipment suggesting a purpose not mentioned in the
Li-Ito agreement!  China's protest was met by open defiance, Japan
declaring that, as the convention of 1885 had been violated, she should
no longer recognize the sovereignty of China in Korea.

War was declared Aug. 1, 1894.  The Mikado's Government was not
unprepared for this crisis.  There were no surprises awaiting the army
of little men as they poured into Korea.  They knew the measurements of
the rivers, the depth of the fords and every minutest detail of the
land they intended to invade.  Their emissaries in disguise had also
been gauging the strength and the weakness of China from Thibet to the
sea.  They knew her corruption, her crumbling defenses, her antique
arms and methods, the absence of all provision for the needs of an army
in the field.

With a bewildering suddenness and celerity the plan of the campaign
developed.  First the control of Korea was secured, then the command of
the sea, then the Yalu was crossed; and while one division of the army
was pouring into Manchuria, threatening Niu-Chwang and beyond that
Mukden, a second division landed at Pitsewo, making a rapid descent
upon Port Arthur, the chief stronghold of China, which was captured by
assault Nov. 20, 1894.

Wei-Hai-Wei, the next strongly fortified point on the coast of China,
south of Port Arthur, of almost equal strategic value, was defended
with desperation by sea and by land.  But in vain; and, with the
capitulation of Wei-Hai-Wei, Feb. 12, 1895, the war was ended.

With the "Sacred City" of Mukden threatened in the north, and Pekin in
the south, Japan could name her own terms as the price of peace.  First
of all she demanded an acknowledgment of the independence of Korea.
Then that the island of Formosa and the Manchurian peninsula
(Liao-Tung), embracing a coast line from the Korean boundary to Port
Arthur, should belong to her.

A severe blow had been dealt to Russia.  She saw her entire Eastern
policy threatened with failure.  The permanent occupation of the
Liao-Tung peninsula by Japan meant that she had to deal, not with an
effete and waning power which she might threaten and cajole, but with a
new and ambitious civilization which had just given proof of surprising
ability.  After vast expenditure of energy and treasure and diplomacy,
access to the sea was further off than ever.

Then came a masterly stroke.  Germany and France were induced to
co-operate with Russia in driving Japan out of Manchuria, upon the
ground that her presence so near to Pekin endangered the Chinese
Empire, the independence of Korea and the peace of the Orient.  So in
the hour of her triumph Japan was to be humiliated; the fruits of her
victory snatched from her, precisely as the "Berlin Treaty," in 1879,
had torn from Russia the fruits of her Turkish victories!  Japan wasted
no time in protests, but quietly withdrew and, as it is significantly
said, "proceeded to double her army and treble her navy!"

As the protector of Chinese interests Russia was in position to ask a
favor; she asked and obtained permission to carry the Siberian railway
in a straight line through Manchuria, instead of following the Amur in
its great northward sweep.  The Japanese word for statesman also means
_chess-player_.  Russian diplomatists had played their game well.  In
serving China, they had incidentally removed the Japanese from a
position which blocked their own game, and had at the same time opened
a way for their railway across that waiting gap in Northern Manchuria.

Just three years after these events Germany, by way of indemnity for
the murder of two missionaries, compelled China to lease to her the
province of Shantung.  Russia immediately demanded similar privileges
in the Liao-Tung peninsula.  China, beaten to her knees, could not
afford to lose the friendship of the Tsar, and granted the lease; and
when permission was asked to have a branch of the Russian railway run
from Harbin through the length of this leased territory to Port Arthur,
humbly conceded that too.

With wonderful smoothness everything had moved toward the desired end.
To be sure, the tenure of the peninsula was only by lease, and in no
way different from that of Shantung by Germany.  There was no pretext
in sight for garrisoning the dismantled fort at Port Arthur, but the
fates had hitherto opened closed doors and might do it again.  And so
she waited.  And while she waited the branch road from Harbin moved
swiftly down to Mukden, and on through the Manchurian peninsula, and
Port Arthur was in _direct line of communication with St. Petersburg_.

In 1900 the anti-foreign insurrection known as the "Boxer war" broke
out in China.  Russia, in common with all the Great Powers (now
including Japan), sent troops for the protection of the imperiled
legations at Pekin.  Nothing could better have served the Government of
the Tsar.  Russian troops poured into Manchuria, and the new road from
Harbin bore the Tsar's soldiers swiftly down to Port Arthur.  The fort
was garrisoned, and work immediately commenced--probably upon plans
already drawn--to make of this coveted spot what Nature seemed to have
designed it to be--the Gibraltar of the East.

The Western Powers had not been unobservant of these steady
encroachments upon Chinese territory, and while a military occupation
of the peninsula was necessary at this time, it was viewed with
uneasiness; but none was prepared for what followed.  Before peace was
actually concluded, Russia approached China with a proposition for her
permanent occupancy of--not the peninsula alone, but all of Manchuria.
A mystifying proposition when we reflect that Japan was forced out of
the southern littoral of Manchuria because her presence there
threatened Korea, China, and the peace of the world.  Port Arthur was
no farther from Pekin and Seoul than it was five years before, and it
was much nearer to St. Petersburg!  And as Russia had already made
surprising bounds from Nikolaifsk to Vladivostok, and from Vladivostok
to Port Arthur, she might make still another to one or both of these

So limp and helpless had China become since the overthrow by Japan and
the humiliations following the "Boxer war," and so compliant had she
been with Russia's demands, that the United States, Great Britain and
Japan, fearful that she would yield, combined to prevent this last
concession, which under this pressure was refused, and a pledge
demanded for the withdrawal of troops before a fixed date, which pledge
Russia gave.  At the specified dates, instead of withdrawing her troops
from Manchuria, Russia reopened negotiations with China, proposing new
conditions.  Garrisons were being strengthened instead of withdrawn.
Strategic positions were being fortified and barracks built in rushing
haste.  At the same time Russian infantry and bands of Cossacks were
crossing the Yalu to protect Russian sawmills and other industries
which had also crept into Korea.  And when the Korean Government
protested, Russian agents claimed the right to construct railways,
erect telegraphs or take any required measures for the protection of
Russian settlers in Korea; and every diplomatic attempt to open
Manchuria or Korea to foreign trade and residents was opposed by Russia
as if it were an attack upon her own individual rights.

Surprising as this was to all the Treaty Powers, it had for Japan the
added sting of injustice.  She had been ejected from her own territory,
fairly won in war, because her presence would endanger the independence
of Korea and the peace of the Orient.  She now saw Russia in full
occupation of this very territory, and the absorption of Korea itself

And what was the object of all this scheming?  Not more land!
Certainly a nation owning more than a sixth of the earth's surface
could not be hungering for land!  And no doubt Russia would long ago
gladly have given one-half of Siberia to the sea in exchange for a few
good harbors such as existed on the east coast of Korea.  It was that
ever-existent thirst for access to the ocean which tempted her into
tortuous diplomacy, drawing her on and on, like the hand of fate.
Manchuria itself would be unavailing unless she could control Korea,
which alone possessed the ocean facilities for which she had struggled
since the first year of her existence.

In the year 1900 the Trans-Siberian Railway was completed.  Its 6,600
miles of rails, if laid in a straight line, would pass one-quarter of
the distance around the earth!  It had traversed an unexplored
continent, creating, as it moved along, homes for the workmen, schools
for their technical instruction, churches, hospitals, inns, stores;
converting a wilderness, in fact, into a semi-civilization at the rate
of a mile a day for nine years!  And whereas in the days of the Mongol
subjection it required four years for the Grand Princes to go from
Moscow to Saraï, near Pekin, to prostrate themselves before the Great
Khan, many perishing by the way from fatigue and exposure, the journey
from Moscow to Pekin may now be accomplished in two weeks.  In perfect
good faith Japan commenced her task of reformation in Korea.  But the
way was obstructed by the large and powerful family of the Queen, who
were, in fact, the chief vampires in the kingdom.  A few Korean
miscreants led by Japanese officials formed a plot to get rid of these
people, seize the Government, and then administer the reforms
themselves.  Forcing their way into the palace Oct. 8, 1895, there was
enacted a tragedy similar to the one which recently horrified the world
in Servia.  While the King was being insulted and dragged about by his
hair, the fleeing Queen was stricken down and stabbed, several members
of her family sharing the same fate.  She, it is said, was then
carried, still breathing, to a grove in the park, where, after having
kerosene poured over her, she was incinerated.  Such was the fate of
the intriguing but fascinating Queen of Korea, of whom Count Inouye
said: "She has few equals in her country for shrewdness and sagacity,
and in the power of conciliating enemies and attaching friends."

The King, a prisoner in his palace, allowed to see or speak with no
one, unaware of the death of the Queen (as were all except those
engaged in the plot), was compelled to sign odious edicts framed by a
cabinet composed of men upon whose hands the blood of his adored wife
was scarcely dry.  The first of these brought for his signature was a
royal decree deposing the Queen, "who for 33 years has dulled our
senses, sold offices and titles," etc., etc.  "Since she will not give
up her wickedness and is hiding and plotting with low fellows, we
hereby depose her and degrade her to the lowest rank."  The King
declared he would have both his hands cut off before he would sign this
infamous paper, which did not prevent its appearing with his name

After four months of this torture the wretched man escaped in disguise
and found safe asylum in the Russian Legation, where he remained for
one year.

One of these reforming edicts signed under compulsion had ordered the
immediate abolishment of the Top Knot.  The Top Knot was the symbol of
nationality and personal dignity.  A man without it was less than
nothing, and its assumption was the most important event in his life.
The ceremony was costly.  But what money could be saved from the
officials was freely given to the sorcerers and astrologers, who must
determine the proper moment and place, and the sacrifices which would
be required when their ancestors were informed of the important event
which had taken place!  Then, when this horn-shaped knot had been
covered by a high hat of gauze tied tightly on with ribbons, the Korean
arose transformed into a being of dignity and consequence.  It was the
abolishment of this sacred adornment which brought about a rebellion.
Those who did not obey the order were hiding from the officials, while
those who did were mobbed and in danger of being killed by the populace.

The King's first act after his escape was to issue a royal proclamation
disclaiming with horror the edict degrading and casting infamous
reflections upon his beloved Queen.  It also rescinded the edicts he
had signed under compulsion.  It said: "As to the Top Knot, no one
shall be forced.  Do as you please"; and he continues: "Traitors by
their crimes have made trouble.  Soldiers, come and protect us!  You
are our children!  You are all pardoned.  But when you meet the chief
traitors" (naming them) "cut off their heads at once and bring them.

"Soldiers, attend us at the Russian Legation."

Within an hour all were aware of the repeal of the Top Knot decree, and
several of the cabinet officers had been beheaded on the streets of

Although the Government of the Mikado was innocent of any complicity
with this crime, renegade Japanese officials had been leaders in the
plot, and Japanese ascendancy had received a severe blow.  A point had
also been secured by Russia, when the King for one year ruled his
kingdom from her legation at Seoul.  It is easy to conceive that the
distracted man, grateful for protection, did at this time, as is
supposed, consent to the purchase of lands and cutting of timber by the
Russians on the Yalu, which the following year (1896) expanded into a
grant of an extended tract, and became the centre of a large Russian
industry in Northern Korea.  And it is significant that Admiral
Alexieff was one of the prime movers in this project, which to Japan
seemed to have a thinly veiled political purpose, and which became, in
fact, one of the chief _casus belli_.

In 1899 the Tsar issued an order for the creation of a city on the Bay
of Talien-Wan; and in two years Dalny stood in massive completeness,
with docks and wharves and defences which had cost millions of dollars.
Millions more had been expended upon Port Arthur, and still more
millions upon the railway binding Manchuria to Russia with bands of
steel.  This did not look like temporary occupation; like pitching her
tent for a passing emergency.  Still, in the frequent interchange of
notes with the powers, there was never an acknowledgment that a
permanent occupation was intended.  In displeasure at these repeated
violations of solemn pledges the Western Powers held aloof; the United
States and Great Britain, however, insistently declaring that the
"open-door" policy must be maintained, _i.e._, that all nations must
have equal industrial and commercial opportunities in Manchuria and
Korea, and also that the integrity of China must be preserved.

In the hope of arriving at a peaceful adjustment of their differences,
Japan made a proposition based upon mutual concessions.  She would
accept the Russian economic status in Manchuria if Russia would
recognize hers in Korea.

Russia absolutely refused to admit Japan's right to have anything
whatever to say concerning Manchuria--the land which eight years before
was hers by right of conquest, and from which Russia for her own
purposes had ejected her.  Admiral Alexieff was Viceroy of the Eastern
Provinces, and to him the Tsar confided the issues of peace or war.
Confident in her enormous weight and military prestige, Russia
undoubtedly believed that the Japanese must in the end submit.  But
after five months of fruitless negotiations the patience of the
Government at Tokio was exhausted.  On Feb. 8, 1904, the Japanese fleet
made a sudden descent upon Port Arthur.  This act, so audaciously
planned, resulted in the destruction of battle-ships, cruisers,
torpedo-boats--nine in all--to which were added the day following two
more battle-ships, destroyed at Chemulpo.

[Illustration: Scene during the Russo-Japanese War: Russian soldiers on
the march in Manchuria.]

There was dismay and grief at St. Petersburg.  The Tsar, realizing that
he had been misled regarding the chances of peace and also the military
strength of the foe, recalled Admiral Alexieff from Port Arthur.
Admiral Makaroff, Russia's military hero and ablest commander,
succeeded him.  Just as his invigorating influence was being felt in
awakened energy and courage, there came another disaster more terrible
than the first.  The Petropavlovsk, flag-ship of the fleet, coming in
contact with a submarine mine or boat, was torn to pieces and sank in
two minutes, with all on board, including Admiral Makaroff and his
entire staff of seventeen officers.

Still benumbed by these crushing blows, the Russians were bewildered by
the electrical swiftness with which the campaign developed, moving on
lines almost identical with those in the war with China, ten years
before.  A miracle of discipline and minute perfection in method and
detail, the Mikado's army of little men first secured control in Korea,
then the command of the sea.  Then one army division crossed the Yalu
with three converging lines, moving toward Mukden, pressing a
retreating army before them.  Then, still moving in the grooves of the
last war, there was a landing of troops at Pitsewo, threatening Dalny
and Port Arthur, the latter already isolated, with railroad and
telegraphic lines cut.  Seeing the capture of Dalny was imminent,
without a pause the Russians mined the harbor, docks and defences which
had cost millions of dollars, and the city created by fiat was by fiat
doomed to destruction.

Behind this life and death struggle with a foreign foe, another
struggle nearer home was being profoundly affected by these unexpected
calamities.  An unpopular war cannot afford to be an unsuccessful one.
This clash with Japan was distinctly the outcome of bureaucratic
ambitions and policy.  It had not one single issue in which the people
who were fighting its battles and bearing its burdens were even
remotely interested.  And then again--a despotism must not show signs
of weakness.  Its power lies in the fiction of its invincibility.
Liberals and Progressives of all shades, wise and not wise, saw their
opportunity.  Finns and Poles grew bolder.  The air was thick with
threats and demands and rumors of revolt.

At this critical moment M. Von Plehve, the leader of the party of
reaction, the very incarnation of the spirit of old Russia, of
Pobiedonostseff and the Holy Synod, was in power.

In 1903 there had occurred a shocking massacre of Jews at Kishineff.
This culmination of a prolonged anti-Semitic agitation was quickly
followed by an imperial edict, promising, among other reforms,
religious liberty for all.  With M. de Witte, the leader of the
progressive party, to administer this new policy, a better day seemed
to be dawning.  But under the benumbing pressure of autocratic
influences, and with his characteristic infirmity of purpose, the Tsar
almost immediately removed M. de Witte, replacing him with M. Von
Plehve, in whose hands the reforming edict became practically
inoperative, and in fact all reforms impossible.

On June 15, 1904, General Bobrikov, the recently appointed Russian
Governor of Finland, was assassinated by the son of a Finnish Senator
within the walls of the Senate.  Quickly following this, July 28th, M.
Von Plehve was killed on the streets of St. Petersburg by the explosion
of a dynamite bomb.  The Tsar, recognized the meaning of these events,
and quickly appointed Prince Mirski, known by his liberal tendencies,
to Von Plehve's place in the Ministry of the Interior.  One of the
first acts of the new minister was the authorizing of a meeting of all
the Presidents of the _Zemstvos_ for consultation over national
conditions.  When it is recalled that the _Zemstvo_ is a Peasants'
Court, that it is a representative assembly of the humblest class in
the Empire, and a gift which accompanied emancipation bestowed for
their own protection--when this is remembered, we realize the full
significance of this act of M. Von Plehve's successor.  This first
conference of the heads of the _Zemstvos_, which met at Moscow, Nov.,
1904, by permission of Prince Mirski, contained the germ of a
representative government.  It was an acknowledgment of a principle
hitherto denied; a recognition never before made of the right of the
people to come together for the purpose of discussing measures of
governmental policy.

In the meantime the Japanese, irresistible as fate, were breaking down
one after another of the supposed impregnable defences about Port
Arthur; climbing over hills of their own dead, fathers, sons, and
brothers, in order to do it.  Within the beleaguered fort the supply of
ammunition was running low, only one-quarter of the defenders were
left, and disease was slaying and incapacitating these.  Nearer and
nearer came the rain of fire.  In vain they listened for the booming of
Kuropatkin's guns sweeping down from the north.  In vain they watched
for the smoke of the long-promised Baltic fleet approaching from the
south.  No rescue came.  On the last night of the year, after
consultation with his officers, General Stoessel signed the conditions
of capitulation to General Nogi.  The key to the Russian power in the
East was lost.  When the new year dawned the Japanese flag floated from
the Citadel on the Golden Hill, and the greatest siege of modern times
was ended.

On Jan. 1, 1905, General Stoessel wrote to his Imperial Master: "Great
Sovereign, pardon us!  We have done everything humanly possible.  Judge
us, but be merciful!"  He then goes on to state the conditions which
would make further resistance a wanton sacrifice of the lives of those
remaining in the garrison.

St. Petersburg was stunned by the receipt of this intelligence; and
every day added to its dismay: Oyama, leaving the captured fortress
behind him, sweeping the Russians back from Mukden; Kuropatkin sending
despairing messages to the Tsar, who, bewildered and trembling before
his own subjects at home, was still vibrating between the two widely
opposing influences--the spirit of the old despotism, and that of a new
age which clamored to be admitted.

Rescript followed quickly upon rescript; one sounding as if written by
de Witte, the other as if dictated by Pobiedonostseff; while alarming
rumors were coming hourly from Moscow, Finland, Poland, the Crimea, the
Caucasus; and the great fabric before which the world had trembled
seemed threatened at every vital point.

In the midst of these colossal disasters stood a young man not
fashioned for great events--from whom the world and the situation
demand a statesmanship as able as Bismarck's, a political ideal as
exalted as Washington's, a prompt and judicious dealing with an
unprecedented crisis worthy of Peter the Great.  And not finding this
ample endowment, we call him a weakling.  It is difficult for the
Anglo-Saxon, fed and nourished for a thousand years upon the principles
of political freedom and their application, to realize the strain to
which a youth of average ability is subjected when he is called upon to
cast aside all the things he has been taught to reverence,--to abandon
the ideals he holds most sacred,--to violate all the traditions of his
ancestors,--to act in direct opposition to the counsel of his natural
advisers; and to do all these things at the dictation of men he has
been taught not only to distrust, but to hold in contempt.

Chief among his counsellors is the Procurator Pobiedonostseff, head of
the "Holy Synod,"--that evil genius of two reigns, who reminds him of
the sacredness of his trust, and his duty to leave his divine heritage
to his son unimpaired by impious reforms.  Next to him stands
Muravieff, the wise and powerful Minister of Justice, creator of modern
Siberia, and member of the Court of Arbitration at The Hague, who
speaks with authority when he tells him he has not the _right_ to
change a political system created by his predecessors; and still nearer
than these are the Grand Dukes, a phalanx of uncles and imperial
relatives surrounding him with a petrified wall of ancient prejudices.
Confronting these imposing representatives of imperial and historic
Russia are a few more or less discredited men, like M. de Witte and
Prince Mirski, counselling and warning with a freedom which would once
have sent them to Siberia, and with a power to which the bewildered
Nicholas cannot be indifferent, and to which, perhaps, he would gladly
yield were it not for the dominating sentiment about him.  Many a man
who could face a rain of bullets without a tremor, would quail and turn
coward if subjected to the same test before such a cumulative force of

But this is not a crisis to be settled in the Council-Chamber, nor to
be decided by convincing arguments, but by the march of events.  And
events were not slow in coming.

The assassination of the Grand Duke Sergius, uncle of the Tsar, and the
most extreme of the reactionaries at Moscow, of which he was governor,
was the most powerful argument yet presented for a change of direction
in the Government; and others were near at hand.

The derangement of industrial conditions induced by the war pressed
heavily upon the wage-earners; and the agitation upon the surface, the
threatened explosions here and there, were only an indication of the
misery existing in the deeps below.  At all industrial centres there
were strikes accompanied by the violence which invariably attends them.

On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 22d, an orderly concourse of workmen, in
conformity with a plan already announced, were on their way to the
Winter-Palace bearing a petition to the "Little Father," who, if he
only knew their wrongs, would see that justice was done them.  So they
were going to tell him in person of their grievances.  The letter of
the preceding day ran thus:

"Sovereign.  We fear the ministers have not told you the whole truth.
Your children, trusting in you, have resolved to come to the Winter
Palace tomorrow at 2 P. M. to tell you of their needs.  Appear before
us and receive our address of devotion."

Had these 8,000 or 10,000 men been marching to the Winter-Palace with
rifles in their hands, or with weapons of any sort indicating a violent
purpose, there might have been cause for alarm.  But absolutely
unarmed, even for their own defence, led by an orthodox priest carrying
an icon, these humble petitioners were met by a volley of rapid fire
from repeating rifles, were cut down by sabres and trampled by cavalry,
until "policing" had become an indiscriminate massacre of innocent
people upon the streets, regardless of age or sex.  Before midnight the
Tsar was miles away at his Palace Tsarskoe-Selo; and there was a new
cry heard in St. Petersburg, a cry unfamiliar to Russian ears,--"Down
with the Tsar!"  Those blood-stains in Nevski Prospect will be long in

The long-looked-for Baltic fleet, commanded by Admiral Rojestvenski,
was detained at the outset of its voyage by an untoward incident,
having fired into a fleet of British fishermen, which was mistaken for
the enemy in disguise.  After being acquitted by a court of inquiry,
the Admiral proceeded, his objective point now being changed from Port
Arthur to Vladivostock, the next most critical point.

On May 27-28th there occurred one of the most disastrous naval
engagements in the annals of war, in the Korean Straits, near Tsushima,
where Admiral Togo with sure instinct of the course which would be
taken, was lying in wait under the cover of darkness and fog.

Nineteen Russian vessels were destroyed, the Japanese ships sustaining
almost no injury.  All that remained of the Russian fleet was
surrendered to Admiral Togo, and Rojestvenski, desperately wounded, and
all of his surviving officers, were prisoners of war in Tokio.

With this climax of Russian disaster the end had come.  Although Russia
still doggedly refused to acknowledge defeat, and made feint of
preparation for reënforcements and future triumphs, the world saw that
there must be peace; and that the only existing obstacle was the
determination of a proud nation not to be placed in a humiliating

The absolute neutrality of the United States enabled President
Roosevelt to intervene at this critical moment as no European sovereign
could have done.  His proposal that there should be a meeting of envoys
for the discussion of some peaceable adjustment of their differences
was promptly accepted by both nations, and with the hostile armies
still facing each other in Manchuria, arrangements were made for the
Peace Conference to be held in the United States in August.

The envoys selected for this mission were M. de Witte and Baron Rosen,
Ambassador to the United States from Russia, on the one hand, and Baron
Komura, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and Kogaro Takahira,
Minister at Washington from that country, on the other.  If the
appointment of M. de Witte had awakened expectation of a presentation
of the Russian cause from the view-point of a progressive leader, the
mistake was quickly discovered.  M. de Witte, performing a duty
intrusted to him by his Imperial master, was quite a different person
from de Witte, the exponent of liberal ideas, pleading the cause of an
oppressed people before the Tsar; and an adamantine side of his
character, quite unexpected, was revealed.  The fencing between the two
skilled diplomats, de Witte and Komura, afforded a fascinating study in
racial methods and characteristics at a high point of development; the
impression left being that the intense sincerity of purpose in the
Japanese, and the lack of it in the other, was the main point of
difference.  The Russian argument throughout was upon a perfectly
insincere basis.  The Russian envoy never once recognized that he
represented a defeated nation, steadily maintaining the attitude of a
generous foe willing to stop fighting to prevent the shedding of more
blood.  In striking contrast to this was Baron Komura's calm
presentation of his twelve peace proposals, and the sad sincerity with
which he tenaciously maintained their justification by the results of
the war.

Eight of these proposals, of minor importance, were accepted, while the
four of real significance were at once rejected by M. de Witte.  These
were: the cession of the Island of Saghalien, already partly occupied
by the Japanese troops; the interning of all Russian ships lying in
Japanese waters; an indemnity of $600,000,000 to reimburse Japan for
the cost of the war, and a limitation of the naval power of Russia.

Many times negotiations were on the verge of breaking; at the last of
these crises, when the hope of an agreement was actually abandoned and
preparations were making for departure, it is said, strong pressure was
brought to bear upon Japan by President Roosevelt which led to a
modification of the terms--a modification so excessive that deep
resentment existed in Tokio, and a satisfaction correspondingly great
was experienced in St. Petersburg.  Japan withdrew her demands for
indemnity and for acquisition of territory in the following way: she
saved her adversary from the humiliation of reimbursing her for the
cost of the war by offering to sell to Russia the northern half of the
island in dispute,--Saghalien,--for two-thirds of the sum she had
demanded under the name of indemnity.

The Russo-Japanese treaty of peace, signed at Portsmouth in August,
1905, registers the concession of all the vital points in the demands
of the conquering nation.  The popular saying, "to the victor belong
the spoils," does not hold good in Japan!  Twice has she seen the
fruits of her splendidly won victories snatched from her by the same
hand; and twice has she looked with far-seeing eyes into the future,
and quietly submitted.  Perhaps she realizes that a time may come when
Russia's friendship will be more valuable to her than Saghalien!

The war was over.  The march of armies had ceased; but the march of
events, accelerated by the great upheaval, moved irresistibly on.
Realizing that something must be done to pacify the people, a new and
more liberal policy was announced, with de Witte, now Prime Minister,
in charge.  Russia was to have a _National Assembly_, a law-making body
in which every class would have representation.

This Russian Parliament was to be composed of two bodies: an Upper and
a Lower House.  The one to be called the "_Council of the Empire_," the
other the "_Duma_."  These were to be convoked and prorogued annually
by Imperial Ukase.  The President, Vice-President, and one-half the
members of the Council of the Empire (consisting of 178 members) were
to be appointed by the Tsar; twenty-four more to be elected by the
nobility and clergy, a very small number by some designated
universities and commercial bodies; each _Zemstvo_ (of which there are
fifty-one) being entitled to one representative.  The members composing
the _Duma_, or Lower House, were to be elected by the Electoral
Colleges, which had in turn been created by the votes of the people in
the various provinces of the Empire for that purpose.

The two bodies were to have equal rights in initiating legislation.
But a bill must pass both Houses and then receive Imperial Sanction in
order to become a law; and failing in this, cannot come up again during
the same session.  Thus hedged about and thus constituted, it is
obvious that a conservative majority was permanently secured and ways
provided to block any anti-imperial or revolutionary legislation in the
Duma.  And when it is added that matters concerning finance and
treasonable offences were almost entirely in the hands of the Council,
we realize how this gift of political representation to the Russian
people had been shorn of its dangers!

The first National Assembly was opened by the Tsar May 10, 1906, with
the form and splendor of a court ceremonial.  It was a strange
spectacle, that solid body of 100 peasants seated on the left of the
throne, intently listening to the brief and guarded speech of welcome
to the "representatives of the nation, who had come to aid him in
making laws for their welfare!"  And the first jarring note came when
not one of these men joined in the applause which followed.

The first _Duma_ was composed of 450 members.  The world was watching
this experiment, curious to find out what sort of beings have been
dumbly supporting the weight of the Russian Empire.  Almost the first
act was a surprise.  Instead of explosive utterances and intemperate
demands, the _Duma_ formally declared Russia to be a _Constitutional
Monarchy_.  No anarchistic extravagance could have been so disturbing
to autocratic Russia as was this wise moderation, which at the very
outset converted Constitutional Bureaucrats into Constitutional
Democrats, thus immensely strengthening the people's party at the
expense of the Conservatives.  The leaders in the _Duma_ knew precisely
what they wanted, and how to present their demands with a clearness, a
power, and a calm determination for which Russia,--and indeed that
greater audience, the world at large,--was quite unprepared.  That this
seriously alarmed the Imperial party was proved by an immediate
strengthening of the defences about the throne by means of a change in
what is called the _Fundamental Laws_.  These Fundamental Laws afford a
rigid framework, an immovable foundation for the authority of the
Emperor and his Cabinet Ministers.

Repairs in the Constitution of the United States have been usually in
the direction of increased liberties for the people.  The Tsar, on the
contrary, aided by his Cabinet and high Government officials, drafted a
new edition of the Fundamental Laws suited to a new danger.

The changes made were all designed to build up new defences around the
throne, and to intrench more firmly every threatened prerogative.  The
Tsar was deliberately ranging himself with the bureaucratic party
instead of the party of his people; and the hot indignation which
followed found expression in bitter and powerful arraignment of the
Government, even to the extent of demanding the resignation of the
Ministry.  What was at first a rift, was becoming an impassable chasm.

If Count Witte had disappointed the Liberals by his lukewarmness and by
what they considered an espousal of the conservative cause, he was even
less acceptable to the Bureaucrats, to whom he had from the first been
an object of aversion--an aversion not abated by his masterly diplomacy
at Portsmouth, for which he received only a grudging acknowledgment.
Whatever may be the verdict of the future, with its better historic
perspective, whether justly or unjustly, Count Witte had lost his hold
upon the situation; and the statesman who had been the one heroic
figure in Russia was no longer the man of the hour.  At all events, his
resignation of the head of the Ministry during this obnoxious attempt
to nullify the gift of popular representation was significant; and the
name of de Witte is not associated with this grave mistake made by the
master he has tried to serve.

The reforms insistently demanded by the _Duma_ were as follows:--The
responsibility of the Ministry to that body, as the representative of
the people; the distribution to the working peasants of the lands held
by the Crown and the clergy; a General Amnesty, with the release of all
political prisoners; and the abolition of the death penalty.

This was virtually a sweeping demand for the surrender of the
autocratic principle, the very principle the Fundamental Laws had just
been revised to render more inviolable.  The issue was now narrowed
down within definite limits.  It was a conflict for power, for
administrative control, and it was a life-and-death struggle between
the Tsar and his people.

Printed reports of the debates were sent broadcast, and for the first
time since Russia came into being the peasantry saw things as they
really were.  They had always attributed their wrongs to the nobility,
who, they believed, had cheated them out of their land and their rights
under the Emancipation Act.  But now it was not the nobility, not the
hated Boyars who were cruelly refusing to give them land and liberty,
but it was the Little Father, he whom they had always trusted and

It is a critical moment when the last illusion drops from the eyes of a
confiding people.  The _Duma_ at this moment was engaged in a task of
supreme difficulty and responsibility.  Millions of people hung upon
its words and acts.  A group of inexperienced but terribly determined
men were facing an equally determined group of well-seasoned officials,
veterans in the art of governing.  Never was there greater need of
calmness and wisdom, and at this very time a wild revolutionary faction
was doing its utmost to inflame the passions of a peasantry already
maddened with a sense of wrong and betrayal, who in gusts of
destructive rage were burning, pillaging, and carrying terror into the
remotest parts of the Empire.

Even while the _Duma_ was demanding this larger measure of liberty and
of authority over the Ministry, that body had already initiated and put
in force new and more vigorous methods of suppression.  Under M.
Durnovo, Minister of the Interior, a law had been promulgated known as
the Law of Reinforced Defense.  Under the provisions of this law, high
officials, or subordinates designated by them, were clothed with
authority to arrest, imprison, and punish with exile or death, without
warrant, without accusation, or any judicial procedure whatever.

On July 16, 1906, M. Makaroff, Assistant Secretary of the Interior,
appeared personally before the _Duma_; and in answer to thirty-three
interpellations concerning as many specific cases of imprisonment
without resort to the courts, frankly replied: "Yes.  We have held the
persons named in prison for the time mentioned without warrant or
accusation; and some of these, and many others, have been exiled to
Siberia.  But it is a precaution demanded by the situation and the
circumstances; a precaution we are authorized to take by the Law of
Reinforced Defense."

In October of last year (1905) the world was made glad by a manifesto
issued by the Tsar containing these words: "In obedience to our
inflexible will, we hereby make it the duty of our Government to give
to our beloved people freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom
of public assembly, freedom of association, and _real inviolability of
personal rights_."  The Tsar had also, with the same solemnity,
declared: "No law shall take effect without the sanction of the _Duma_,
which is also to have _participation in the control of the officials_."
Yet, Ministers and Governors General, or subordinates appointed by
them, may at their own discretion imprison, exile, or kill in defiance
of Imperial command, and find ample protection in the Law of Reinforced

The free handling of these governmental methods in the _Duma_, and the
immediate world-wide publicity given to these revelations, if allowed
to continue, must inevitably destroy the cause of Russian Bureaucracy.
There were but two courses open to the Tsar.  He must either surrender
the autocratic principle, and in good faith carry out his pledges and
share his authority with his people, or he must disperse a
representative body which flagrantly defied his Imperial will.  He
chose the latter course.

Five days after the examination of M. Makaroff, on July 21, 1906, the
first Russian Parliament was dissolved by Imperial ukase.

The reason assigned for this was that, "instead of applying themselves
to the work of productive legislation, they have strayed into a sphere
beyond their competence, and have been making comments on the
imperfections of the Fundamental Laws, which can only be modified by
our Imperial will."

The Tsar at the same time declared his immutable purpose to maintain
the institution of Parliament, and named March 5, 1907, as the date of
the convening of a new _Duma_.

A body of 186 Representatives, including the Constitutional and
Conservative members of the _Duma_, immediately reassembled at Viborg
in Finland, where, in the few hours before their forcible dispersion by
a body of military, they prepared an address to "The Citizens of All
Russia."  This manifesto was a final word of warning, in which the
people were reminded that for seven months, while on the brink of ruin,
they are to stand without representation; also reminding them of all
that may be done in that time to undermine their hopes, and to obtain a
pliable and subservient Parliament, if, indeed, any Parliament at all
be convoked at the time promised by the Tsar.

In view of all this they were solemnly abjured not to give "one kopek
to the throne, or one soldier to the army," until there exists a
popular representative Parliament.

The hand of autocracy is making a final and desperate grasp upon the
prerogatives of the Crown.  When the end will come, and how it will
come, cannot be foretold.  But it needs no prophetic power to see what
that end will be.  The days of autocracy in Russia are numbered.  A
century may be all too short for the gigantic task of habilitating a
Russian people--making the heterogeneous homogeneous, and converting an
undeveloped peasantry into a capable citizenship.  The problem is
unique, and one for which history affords no parallel.  In no other
modern nation have the life forces been so abnormal in their
adjustment.  And it is only because of the extraordinary quality of the
Russian mind, because of its instinct for political power, and its
genius for that instrument of power hitherto known as diplomacy--it is
only because of these brilliant mental endowments that this chaotic
mass of ethnic barbarism has been made to appear a fitting companion
for her sister nations in the family of the Great Powers.

It is vain to expect the young Tsar to set about the task of
demolishing the autocratic system created by his predecessors and
ancestors.  That work is in charge of more august agents.  It is
perishing by natural process because it is vicious, because it is out
of harmony with its environment, and because the maladjusted life
forces are moving by eternal laws from the surface to their natural
home in the centre.  And we may well believe that the fates are
preparing a destiny commensurate with the endowments of a
great--perhaps the greatest--of the nations of the earth.

Let it not be supposed that it is the moujik, the Russian peasant in
sheepskin, with toil-worn hands, who has conducted that brilliant
parliamentary battle in the _Duma_.  Certain educational and property
qualifications are required for eligibility to membership in that body,
which would of necessity exclude that humble class.  It is not the
emancipated serf, but it is _rural Russia_ which the _Duma_
represented, and the vastness of the area covered by that term is
realized when one learns that of the 450 members constituting that body
only eighteen were from cities.  It is the leaders of this vast rural
population, members of ancient princely families or owners of great
landed estates, these are the men who are coming out of long oblivion
to help rule the destinies of a new Russia.  Men like Prince
Dolgorouki, some of them from families older than the Romanoffs--such
men it is who were the leaders in the _Duma_.  They have been for years
studying these problems, and working among the _Zemstvos_.  They are
country gentlemen of the old style,--sturdy, practical, imaginative,
idealistic, and explosive; powerful in debate, bringing just at the
right moment a new element, a new force.  Happy is Russia in possessing
such a reserve of splendid energy at this time.  And if the moujik is
not in the forefront of the conflict, he, too, affords a boundless
ocean of elementary force--he is the simple barbarian, who will perhaps
be needed to replenish with his fresh, uncorrupted blood the Russia of
a new generation.



  Rurik,   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  862-879
  Oleg (Brother of Rurik, Regent),   . . . . . .  879-912
  Igor (Son of Rurik),   . . . . . . . . . . . .  912-945
  Olga (Wife of Igor, Regent),   . . . . . . . .  945-964
  Sviatoslaf,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  964-972
  Vladimir (Christianized Russia, 992),  . . . .  972-1015
  Yaroslaf (The Legislator),   . . . . . . . . . 1015-1054

  (Close of Heroic Period.)

  Isiaslaf,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1054-1078
  Vsevolod,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1078-1093
  Sviatopolk,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1093-1113
  Vladimir Monomakh,   . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1113-1125

  (Throne Disputed by Prince of Suzdal.)

  Isiaslaf,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146-1155
  George Dolgoruki (Last Grand Prince of Kief)   1155-1169

  (Fall of Kief, 1169.)

  Andrew Bogoliubski (First Grand Prince of
    Suzdal),   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1169-1174
  George II. (Dolgoruki),  . . . . . . . . . . . 1212-1238
  Yaroslaf II. (Father of Alexander Nevski and
    Grandfather of Daniel, First Prince of
    Moscow),   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1238-1246


  Daniel (Son of Alexander Nevski),  . . . . . . 1260-1303
  Iri (George) Danielovich,  . . . . . . . . . . 1303-1325
  Ivan I.,   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1328-1341
  Simeon (The Proud),  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1341-1353
  Ivan II. (The Debonair),   . . . . . . . . . . 1353-1359


  Dmitri Donskoi,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1363-1389
  Vasili Dmitrievich,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1389-1425
  Vasili I. (The Blind, Prince of Moscow,
    Novgorod, and Suzdal),   . . . . . . . . . . 1425-1462


  Ivan III. (The Great),   . . . . . . . . . . . 1462-1505
  Vasili II.,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1505-1533


  Ivan IV. (the Terrible),   . . . . . . . . . . 1533-1584
  Feodor Ivanovich,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1584-1598
  Boris Godunof (Usurper),   . . . . . . . . . . 1598-1605
  The False Dmitri,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1605-1606
  Vasili Shuiski,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1606-1609
  Mikhail Romanoff,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1613-1645
  Alexis (Son of former and Father of
    Peter the Great),  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1645-1676
  Feodor Alexievich,   . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1676-1682
  Ivan V. and Peter I.   )
  Sophia Regent,         ) Ivan died 1696  . . . 1682-1696
  Peter I. (The Great),  . . . . . . . . . . . . 1696-1725
  Catherine I.,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1725-1727
  Peter II. (Son of Alexis and Grandson of
    Peter the Great and Eudoxia),  . . . . . . . 1727-1730
  Anna Ivanovna (Daughter of Ivan V., Niece
    of Peter I.),    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1730-1740
  Ivan VI. (Infant Nephew of former Sovereign),  1740-1741
  Elizabeth Petrovna (Daughter of Peter I. and
    Catherine),  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1741-1761
  Peter III. (Nephew of Elizabeth Petrovna;
    reigned five months, assassinated),  . . . .      1762
  Catherine II. (Wife of Peter III.),  . . . . . 1762-1796
  Paul I. (Son of former),   . . . . . . . . . . 1796-1801
  Alexander I.,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1801-1825
  Nicholas I., . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1825-1855
  Alexander II.,   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1855-1881
  Alexander III.,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1881-1894
  Nicholas II.,    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1894-


  Absolutism, 244
  Act of Union, 71
  Adashef, 87, 88
  Akhmet (Khan), 76
  Alexander I, 164, 172, 175, 177, 178, 179, 183, 184, 186
  Alexander II, 213, 217, 223, 228, 234, 236
  Alexander III, 239
  Alexieff, Admiral, 275, 276
  Alexis, 105, 107, 109, 110, 111, 141, 142
  Alexis Orlof, 154, 166, 168
  Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, 224
  Alice (Princess), 242
  Alma (the), 210
  Anarchism, 232
  Anastasia, 86, 88, 95, 103
  Andrassy, 227
  Angles, 25
  Anna, 28, 29
  Anna Ivanovna, 142, 146, 148
  Anthony, 75
  Appanages, 26, 34
  Apraxin, 144, 150
  Arable Steppes, 4
  Araktcheef, 185
  Aryan, 8, 14
  Asia Minor, 70
  Asiatic Mongols, 46
  Askold, 19
  Austerlitz, 177
  Austria, 170, 180
  Azof, Sea of, 115

  Bacon, Francis, 91
  Baikal, Lake, 253
  Balthazi, 133
  Baltic (the), 13, 43, 59, 124
  Baltic Fleet, 286
  Barren Steppes, 4
  Bashi-Bazuks, 225
  Basil, 28
  Batui, 48
  Beaconsfield, 224, 227
  Berlin, Treaty of, 227
  Bessarabia, 227
  Biron, 146, 148
  Bismarck, 227
  Black Lands, 4, 39
  Black Sea, 6, 12, 115, 214
  Bogoliubski (Andrew), 40, 62, 83
  Bohemians, 13, 27
  Book of Instruction, 161
  Book of Pedigrees, 110
  Boris Godunof, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101
  Bosnia, 224, 226, 227
  Bosphorus (the), 20, 71
  Boxer War, 267
  Boyars, 27, 38, 43, 48, 51
  Bremen, 45
  Britain, 25
  Buddhism, 257
  Bulgaria, 24, 74, 226, 227
  Bulgarians, 11, 27
  Burnett, Bishop, 120
  Byzantine, 36, 49, 66
  Byzantine Empire, 11, 13, 72
  Byzantium, 19, 27, 31, 32, 33, 36, 72, 74

  Calendar (new), 138
  Candia, 204
  Carpathians, 3
  Caspian Sea, 12
  Cathay, 47
  Catherine I, 130, 132, 143
  Catherine II, 155, 157, 159, 160, 165, 166, 169, 175
  Catholics, 27
  Caucasus, 3
  Centaurs, 14
  Charlemagne, 13
  Charles Martel, 72
  Charles I, 108
  Charles II, 108
  Charles X, 192
  Charles XI, 124
  Charles XII, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132, 133, 140
  Charlotte (Princess), 213
  Charlotte of Brunswick, 142
  Chemulpho (Battle of), 276
  Chersonesos, 7
  China, 47, 253
  China-Japan War, 254, 259, 263
  Chopin, 164
  Christian IX, 224
  Church of Bethlehem, 206
  Cincinnati, Order of, 163
  Circassia, 176
  Code Napoleon, 180
  Commune (the), 15
  Confucianism, 257
  Constantine, Grand Duke, 164, 172, 187, 188, 189, 193
  Constantinople, 18, 20, 23, 28, 30, 39, 46, 64, 70
  Constitution, 292
  Cossacks, 101, 105, 106
  Council of the Empire, 290, 291
  Court of Arbitration, 281
  Cracow, 50, 102
  Crimea, 7, 77, 115, 164
  Crimean War, 210
  Cyprus, 227

  Dagmar, 224
  Daimios, 257
  Dalny, 275, 278, 279
  Daniel, 270
  Danube (the), 23
  Dir, 19
  Dmitri, 95, 96, 101, 102
  Dmitri Donskoi, 69
  Dnieper (the), 4, 12, 19, 39, 42
  Dolgorukis, 83
  Dolgoruki (Yuri), 40, 61, 62, 63
  Dolgoruki (Prince), 177, 301
  Don (the), 69, 101
  Drevlins (the), 21, 26
  Drujina, 37, 38, 52
  Drujiniki (the), 46
  Duma, 290, 291, 292, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 301
  Durnovo, M., 296

  Eastern Empire (the), 38
  Eastern Question, 198, 203
  Ecclesiastical States, 30
  Egypt, 170, 171
  Electoral College, 291
  Elizabeth Petrovna, 140, 142, 147, 148, 149, 152
  Emancipation Law, 220, 295
  Etrogruhl, 70
  Eudoxia, 130, 141

  Feodor, 95, 96, 97, 105, 110, 111
  Ferdinand, 82, 201
  Finland, 184, 222
  Finns, 8, 11, 12, 17, 43, 44
  Florence, 41
  Formosa, 264
  Francis II, 178
  Francis Joseph, 202
  Franks, 25
  Frederick II, 50
  Frederick the Great, 150, 153
  Fundamental Laws, 293, 295, 299

  Galitsuin (Prince), 113, 144
  Gaul, 25
  Gautama, 257
  Genghis Kahn, 47, 48
  Georgia, 176
  German Knights, 68
  German Orders, 45, 60
  Glinski (Anna), 87
  Glinski (Helena), 85
  Glück, 130
  Godwin, 96
  Golden Horde, 69, 71
  Gortchakof, 213, 223, 227
  Goths (the), 10
  Grand Principality (the), 66
  Great Desert of Gobi, 52
  Great Patriarchs, 66
  Great Tower of Ivan, 183
  Greece, 72
  Greek Church, 30, 31, 71, 72, 226
  Greeks (the), 6, 24, 27
  Gustavus Adolphus, 105

  Hague (the), 119, 281
  Hague, the Congress, 242
  Hamburg, 45
  Hanseatic League, 45
  Harold, 96
  Hastings, Lady Mary, 92
  Haynau, 202
  Hedwig, 60
  Helen, 22
  Helsingfors, 241
  Henry VIII, 82
  Herodotus, 7
  Herzegovina, 224, 226, 227
  Hindostan, 170
  Hohenzollern, 45
  Holy Alliance, 85
  Holy Roman Empire, 13
  Holy Shrines, 206
  Holy Synod, 135
  Horde (the), 67
  Hungary, 50, 68
  Huns, 47

  Iagello, 59, 60
  Icon, 285
  Igor, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25
  Imperator, 138
  Indemnity, 289
  India, 171
  Inouye, Count, 272
  Ionian Isles, 170
  Isabella, 82
  Islamism, 56
  Ito, Marquis, 262
  Ivan I, 66
  Ivan III (the Great), 72, 73, 74, 75, 81, 84
  Ivan IV (the Terrible), 75, 84, 85, 86, 88, 92, 96, 101, 113, 249
  Ivan (the Imbecile), 112, 130
  Ivan Mazeppa, 127, 128, 130
  Ivan V, 146
  Ivan VI, 148, 154, 155
  Ivan Shuvalof, 150

  Japan, 256
  Japan-Korea Treaty, 1876, 261
  Japan Treaty with U. S., 1854, 258

  Kaminski, Battle of, 163
  Karz, 226
  Kazan, 77
  Khazarui, the, 17, 23
  Kiel, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 35, 36, 39,
    40, 42, 49, 61
  Kishineff, 279
  Komura, Baron, 278, 288
  Knout, 30
  Königsberg, 45
  Koreans, 259
  Kosciusko, 163
  Kossuth, 201, 202
  Koulaks, 230
  Kremlin (the), 62, 66, 101
  Kublai-khan, 56
  Kurland, Duke of, 153
  Kuropatkin, 281
  Kutchko, 62
  Kutuzof, 181

  Lacour (M. de), 206
  Laharpe, 175
  Latin Church, 31, 44, 45
  Leipzig, 183
  Leo VI, 20
  Leo X, 80, 81
  Liao-Tung, Gulf of, 253
  Liberalism, 222
  Li Hung Chang, 262
  Li-Ito Treaty, 262
  Lithuania, 59, 60, 63, 68, 84
  Lithuanians (the), 13, 17, 59, 77
  Little Russia, 106, 127
  Livonia, 124
  Livonian Knights, 44, 54
  Livonian Orders, 74
  Lombardy, 170
  Louis IX, 50
  Louis XI, 82, 83, 95
  Louis XIV, 121, 126
  Louis XV, 140
  Louis Napoleon, 205
  Louis Phillippe, 192, 201
  Lubeck, 45

  Magyar, 11
  Makaroff, M., 297, 298
  Makaroff, Admiral, 277
  Malakof, 213
  Manchuria, 253
  Manchus (the), 255
  Marco Polo, 47
  Marfa, 90
  Maria Theresa, 150
  Marie, 224
  Maximilian, 82
  Menschikof, 131, 142, 144, 145, 206, 207, 210, 213
  Merienburg, 130
  Metropolitan (the), 66
  Mickiewiz, 164
  Mikhailof, Peter, 118
  Mir, 15, 57, 98
  Mir-eaters, 230
  Mirski, Prince, 279, 280, 283
  Mohammedanism, 208
  Mongols, 48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63
  Monomakh, 40, 61, 63
  Montenegro, 224, 226, 227
  Moscow, 54, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 90, 181, 182
  Moskwa (the), 62
  Mukden, 256, 277
  Muraviev, 250, 251, 283
  Muscovite, 66, 67
  Muscovy, 59, 65
  Mussulman, 27

  Napoleon Bonaparte, 169, 170, 171, 172, 177, 180, 183
  Narva, Battle of, 125
  Natalia, 108, 109, 111
  National Assembly, 103, 290, 292
  Nesselrode (Count), 207
  Nestor, 22, 25
  Neva (the), 4, 54
  Nevski, Alexander, 54, 55, 63, 69, 103
  Nevski, Daniel, 63, 66
  Nicholas I, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 194, 196, 199, 201,
    203, 208, 210
  Nicholas II, 241
  Nicholas III, 249
  Nihilism, 232, 237, 238
  Nikolaievsk, 250, 251
  Nikon (Patriarch), 107, 109
  Nikopolis, 226
  Nogi, General, 281
  Norse, 34
  Norsemen, 18, 25
  Novgorod, 14, 18, 26, 28, 35, 41, 42, 43, 54, 55, 57, 65, 67,
    74,79, 90

  Odessa, 210
  Oka (the), 76
  Oleg, 19, 20, 21, 26, 71
  Olga, 21, 23, 28
  Osterman, 148
  Othman, 70, 71
  Ottoman, 70
  Ottoman Empire, 158, 166, 226, 227
  Oyama, 281

  Paleologisk, John, 73
  Pantheon, 14
  Paris, Treaty of, 184
  Patkul, 124, 126
  Patriarchalism, 217
  Patriarchate (the), 135
  Patriarchs, 30
  Paul I, 159, 167, 168, 170, 171, 172, 173
  Peace Conference, 287
  Peace Congress, 242
  Pechenegs, 20, 23, 24
  Pechili, Gulf of, 253
  Peloponnesus (the), 13, 24
  Perry, Commodore, 258
  Perun, 14, 20, 24, 27, 28, 29, 59
  Pestel, 188, 189
  Peter the Great, 95, 104, 109, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, 118,
    120, 121, 122, 125, 127, 132, 135, 139, 145, 174, 176
  Peter III, 151, 168
  Plague of Moscow, 158
  Plevna, 226
  Pobiedonosteeff, 278, 283
  Poland, 13, 32, 50, 59, 60, 68, 105, 156, 162, 163, 164, 221
  Poles, 77
  Poliani (the), 13
  Polovtsui (the), 46, 48
  Poltova, 129
  Pope, 44
  Pope Leo VI, 38
  Port Arthur, 253, 264, 278, 279
  Portsmouth, Peace of, 290
  Posadnik, 38, 42, 45
  Potemkin, 166
  Proteus, 14
  Prussia, 45, 162
  Pruth, Treaty of, 133
  Pskof, 18, 74, 78, 79
  Pugatschek, the Cossack, 158
  Pushkin, 20
  Pyrenees, 72

  Raskolniks, 107, 109, 110, 137, 138
  Reinforced Defense, Law of, 296, 298
  Revolution of 1762, 155
  Rojestvenski, 286
  Rollo, 25
  Roman Empire, 31, 32
  Romanoff, 86, 301
  Romanoff, Mikhail, 103, 104, 105, 107
  Rome, 31, 32
  Romish Church, 105
  Rosen, Baron, 287
  Roosevelt, President, 287, 289
  Roumania, 226
  Ruileef, 189
  Rurik, 18, 21, 34, 46, 66, 71, 103, 249
  Russian Academy, 160

  Saardan, 118
  Sagas, 38
  Saghalien, 289, 290
  Samurai, 257
  San Stefano (Treaty of), 226
  Saracen, 13, 50
  Sarat, 55, 56, 65, 69, 271
  Saxons, 25
  Scandinavia, 37
  Scandinavians, 17, 25, 26, 27, 29
  Scythians, 6, 7, 14, 24
  Sea of Azof, 12, 46, 48
  Sebastopol, 7, 164, 210
  Senate, 135
  Sergius, Grand Duke, 284
  Servia, 226, 227
  Shantung, 266
  Shintoism, 257
  Shipka Pass, 226
  Siberia, 93
  Siberia, Maritime Provinces of, 252
  Sienkiewicz, 164
  Sigismund, 81, 102
  Silvesta, 87
  Sineus, 18
  Sisalpine, 170
  Slav, 8, 12, 15, 17, 18, 24, 26, 27, 32, 34, 36, 37, 43, 44
  Slavonia, 19, 58
  Slavonic, 15, 24, 25, 36, 50
  Sobor, 95, 97, 135
  Socialism, 232
  Sophia, 73, 81, 111, 113, 114, 117, 118, 122
  Sophia, Queen of Prussia, 118
  Sophia Perovskaya, 238
  Spain, 25
  Speranski, 179, 185
  St. Basil, Church of, 29
  St. Bartholomew, Massacre, 92
  Stoessel, General, 281
  St. Paul, Cathedral of, 130
  St. Petersburg, 125, 126
  St. Vladimir, 101
  Stratford de Redcliffe (Lord), 206, 207
  Stribog, 14
  Strultsui, 115, 116, 121, 123
  Suez Canal, 224
  Suleyman, the Magnificent, 197
  Suvorov, 170
  Suzdal, 40, 43, 46, 52, 61
  Sviatoslaf, 22, 23, 24, 26
  Sweden, 74, 124, 180
  Swedes, 54
  Sword-Bearers, 44

  Tai-Tsiu, 255
  Tartar, 8, 20, 21, 46, 49, 51, 63
  Takahira, Kogaro, 287
  Taxes, 229
  Tchinovniks, 231
  Teutonic Order, 44
  Togo, Admiral, 286
  Tokio, 287, 289
  Tolstoi, 141, 144
  Tong-Hak Rebellion, 263
  Top Knot (the), 273
  Topography, 1
  Trans-Siberian Railway, 267, 270
  Treaty of 1841, 203
  Treaty with China, 1858, 251
  Truvor, 18
  Tsar, 23
  Tsarkoe-Selo, Palace of, 286
  Tsushima, 286
  Turguenief, 200, 232
  Turk (the), 8, 9, 17, 70, 71, 132, 153
  Turkish Empire, 204, 208
  Tycoon, 258

  United States, 202
  Ural, 3, 93
  Ussuri Region, 252
  Usury, 229

  Vampires, 14
  Varangians, 18, 20
  Vasili, 66, 67, 68
  Vasili II, 71, 72, 78, 79
  Vasili Shuiski, 102
  Verestchagin, 245
  Vernet, Horace, 128
  Vetché, 15, 42, 55
  Viborg, 299
  Vich, 147
  Victor Emmanuel, 213
  Visigoths, 25
  Vistula, 13
  Vladimir, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 182
  Vladivostok, 252, 254, 286
  Vna, 147
  Volga (the), 3, 12, 42
  Volkof (the), 28
  Volost, 15, 98, 220
  Volus, 14
  Von Plehve, 278, 279, 280

  Warsaw, University of, 194
  Wei-Hai-Wei, Battle of, 1895, 264
  Western Empire (the), 38
  White Seat (the), 91
  Winter Palace, 283, 285, 287, 288, 294
  William I, 223
  William III, 120
  Witte (M. de), 278

  Yalu, the, 264
  Yaroslaf I, 35, 38, 54
  Yaroslaf II, 52
  Yaropolk, 26
  Yellow Sea (the), 253
  Yermak, 94, 250

  Zemstvo, 220, 239, 280, 291, 302
  Zoë, Princess, 73
  Zone of Forests, 4

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