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This the last of Catherine's favorites had been an officer of her Guard, and only twenty-four years of age when the czarina cast her eyes on him, and with her usual cynicism first promoted him to the rank of general, and then that of count, and finally gave him the title of prince, with promotions and favors for his brothers proportioned to her predilection for himself. He had a great deal of courage of a certain sort, as when Catherine once wrote to Grimm that she and General Zubow sat together translating Plutarch's "Lives "to the noise of the Swedish cannon at the battle of Swenska-Sund; one of the engagements of a war which left her so short of men that she had to put the very frotteurs of her palaces into the ranks. But Platon Zubow's courage was not proof against the trial of these November days of gloom and uncertainty.
and regret. Prince Platon Zubow, dishevelled, | duced by the accession of Paul Petrovitch. and in the utmost consternation, was remarked It was not to say that ministers and by all. Well might he be in despair, and so officials were changed, but faces, cosmight those whose fortunes had been made tumes, fashions, occupations, amusements, through him. all were altered. Paul, hating and hated by his mother, had for thirty-five years suffered every deprivation, and endured a yoke which made him determine now to reverse the whole order of government as established by her. He called up to St. Petersburg the regiments which he used to drill at Gatschina, and taking his son Constantine into his confidence, arranged many parades, and gave free vent to his mania for Prussian uniforms. But one of his exhibitions was of a more tragic and dramatic sort. He disinterred the body of his murdered father, Peter III.; had it laid out in state beside the corpse of Catherine; and set as watchers at this terrible lying-in-state all those officers and friends of the czarina who had first had a share in the murder, and had then been raised by her to the great functions of state. For forty days and nights - the forty days of expectation during which, according to the Russian creed, the soul still lingers about its former tenement of clay -did this lugubrious vigil last, and Prince Adam, who saw the close of it, says that some of these men, hardened intriguers and conspirators as they were, came out of the ordeal more dead than alive. By this time the Zubows, looking like dethroned sovereigns, had retired into the provinces, and Paul had filled their places with persons whose obscurity of birth was only to be equalled by their incapacity for office. His caprices were terrible, and even when terrible still ridiculous. Cruel and arbitrary regulations harassed every class; every detail of dress, and hair, and beard became a cause of vexatious tyranny; and had the czar's fits of fury not been varied by the intervals of calm which the empress Maria and Mademoiselle de Nelidoff procured, life would have soon become impossible. The intriguers who separated this half-frenzied czar from those two wise and soothing counsellors did much to hasten the catas
He spent hours in destroying papers which might have compromised him, and in running
to ascertain whether any of the remedies in
use promised recovery for the empress. The confusion was now so great that all court etiquette was suspended. We penetrated into the room where the empress lay stretched on a mattress on the floor. She was insensible, but breathing heavily, like a machine about to stop. When Prince Platon had learnt from the doctors that all chance of recovery was lost, he first destroyed some papers, and then inform the Grand Duke Paul of the state in which the empress-mother lay. Although Paul had occupied himself about the possibilities of recovery, he was very much impressed by the tidings, and reached St. Petersburg in no small stir as to the fate before him, particularly if his mother should even yet contrive to rally. As long as any movement remained in her limbs Paul would not assume the power which had already devolved on him. He would see no one, and remained either
sent off his brother Nicholas to Gatschina to
with the body, or in his own rooms. Thence
Never was there on any stage a transformation scene as complete as that pro
It is and it will remain a question how far Alexander was an accomplice in a crime which rid the Russias of this strange ruler. The "Memoirs of Prince Adam Czartoryski" throw, we think, new light on the question of his innocence or his guilt. The evidence is not only given dispassionately, but is so consonant with the character of Alexander Pavlovitch, that we are disposed to accept it as the
true reading. Alexander, romantic and sentimental, had a horror of despotism, and he saw in his father a furious and fatuous copy of the hard absolutism of the late czarina. Alexander was vain, with the vanity which never tires of fancies, or of contemplating new and varied rôles for self-display. Hence his wish to have an opportunity to do good; hence also his longing to have an opportunity to shine. Hardly had Paul been crowned in the Kremlin when the heir began to occupy himself about the fairer future which he intended, when his turn came, to give to Holy Russia. Adam Czartoryski was again his confidant.
when, like a clap of thunder, the news of Paul's murder burst on him.
The first effect of these unexpected tidings was amazement, accompanied by a sort of terror, but these feelings soon gave place to joy. Paul had never been liked, not even by those whom he patronized, or by those who He was too caprihad made use of him. cious; no one could depend upon him. The messenger who brought the news to the Russian legation was like a deaf and dumb man; he answered no questions, and uttered only some incomprehensible sounds, being at once under the impression of fear and of rigid orders to observe silence. He handed to me a few lines traced by the Emperor Alexander, requesting me to return, and that without loss of time, to St. Petersburg.
This letter, probably the first penned by the new ruler of Russia, is the first of those which M. Charles de Mazade has put together, and we transcribe it. It is a literary and historical curiosity.
March 17, 1801.
A despotism, sometimes bizarre, sometimes terrifying, and even cruel, produced on the grand duke a lively and painful impression, illed as that mind was with conceptions of liberty and justice. My brother and I, having got three months' leave, meant to go from Moscow direct to our parents in Poland. Alexander was sad and uneasy at the prospect of remaining without any friend in whom he You have already learnt, my dear friend, could confide. He asked me to draw up and that by the death of my father I am at the leave with him the draft of the proclamation head of affairs. I am silent as to the details, which should make known his resolutions in the meaning to give them by word of mouth. I first moment when sovereignty should devolve on write to you that you may pass on immedihim. (The whole court was in Moscow on ately all the business of your mission to whoaccount of Paul's coronation.) In vain I re-ever comes next to you in seniority, and set sisted. He left me no peace till I had formu- off for St. Petersburg.* I need not say with lated on paper the ideas with which he was what impatience await you. I hope that, incessantly occupied. To tranquillize him I Heaven watching over you by the way, you had to yield, and I drew up hastily enough, will be brought here safe and well. Adieu, but to the best of my ability, this projected dear friend! I cannot say more to you, proclamation. It was a series of "Whereas," to allow you to pass the frontier I enclose a ALEXANDER. in which I exposed the drawbacks of the repassport. gime under which Russia had up to the present moment existed, and all the advantages of the new one which Alexander wished to give her. It dwelt on the benefits of liberty and justice, to be enjoyed after the trammels which now hindered her prosperity should have been removed. Finally it announced the reformer's determination, after accomplishing his supreme task, then to abdicate, and to hand over his power to the one whom he had found most worthy of exercising it, and who would then be called on to consolidate and perfect the great work inaugurated by him. Need I say how little applicable to the real state of affairs were all the fine arguments and phrases which I strung together? Alexander was enchanted with my performance, because it chimed in with his fancy of the moment, highly elevated, though in truth intensely ego tistical, as that was! He put the paper in his pocket, and thanked me effusively for my work, which tranquillized him, he said, as to his future.
Our space will not permit us to follow the czarevitch through the labyrinth of intrigues which culminated in the great conspiracy. His friend was in Italy
This letter was written seven days after
Prince Adam was at that time employed in the
self for the event of Alexander's accession | had closed the egress through his wife's to power, which was, to say the least of apartment, and having locked the trap, it, symptomatic of an approaching and they felt they could reckon on the isolawished for change. We will even sup- tion of their victim. The conspirators pose that abdication and deposition had first met and drank pretty deep into the been the only things openly spoken of; night, so that none of them were really but, called by whatever name or names, sober when they appeared before Paul. the struggle with a madman to force him They had already murdered the sentry in to resign a sovereignty which was backed the passage, and on finding that the door up by one hundred thousand troops could of the emperor's room offered some resishardly, even by this sentimental czare- tance, Pahlen broke it open. He had in vitch, have been expected to end in any his hand when he did so a snuff-box given way except the one which "use and wont" him by Paul, only a few days previously, had rendered tolerably familiar to Musco- when the emperor had spoken to him of a vite czars and their courtiers. conspiracy on foot, and when Pahlen had reassured him by asking how that could be, "for if there were such a thing, I should be sure to have heard of it." Now the half-naked czar confronted Pahlen with the angry exclamation, What, you there, Pahlen!" Beningsen then stepped forward, acting as spokesman for the rest, and told the emperor that he must abdicate. Up to this moment, thanks to the complicity of the officer on duty at the foot of the staircase, the conspirators had had it all their own way; but now a noise frightened them and made them fear that a rescue was being attempted. It really came from the empress's rooms. She, hearing the scuffle, ran out, and swooned at the back of Paul's door. An attendant offered a glass of water, but the Cossack on guard in her passage, fearing treachery also in this case, dashed down the glass, and ran to fill another from a source which he knew was unpoisoned. Meanwhile to the frenzy of their deep potations the conspirators now added the stimulant of fear. Paul must die; he must not be rescued, must not survive to tell who had threatened him, nor even to plot, in an enforced confinement, vengeance on those who had robbed him of power. He had already tested the trap-door, and on finding it locked had given way to a paroxysm of terror and fury. Then it was that the armed men closed in upon him; the brothers Zubow, so eager for revenge, being the keenest, and Nicholas Zubow striking the first blow with a chair. This pros trated him. The sash of Pahlen seemed to be the weapon most suitable for their purpose, namely, to inflict a violent death which should leave few traces of violence, and which might be ascribed to a fit. The Courlander's sash was tied round the emperor's neck, and then the officer on guard (a Russian pur sang) noticed a strange instance of the divinity which, in the native Russian breast, does hedge in the white czar. All the Russians fell
Prince Adam reveals no secrets told him by Alexander, but he devotes a whole chapter to the tale of the murder. It is one of which many variants exist, and for the obvious reason that precisely the persons most directly implicated were those least anxious to divulge what passed. M. de Langeron's account is allowed to be fairly correct, and M. de la Roche-Aymon's to be fanciful. Rabbe ascribes the crime entirely to English agents, and throws the blame on English ministers and the necessity of opening the ports of the Baltic to English trade. Madame de ChoiseulGouffier (née Tiesenhausen), albeit an ardent admirer of Alexander, twice enters upon the subject of the murder. Her account of it was criticised by the friends of Count Pahlen, as well as by all those not disposed to believe that nothing worse was originally planned than a more or less forced abdication. Prince Adam says that he got all the details from General Beningsen, the man who literally forced from the czar the signature to the act which the conspirators presented. But the narrative as furnished by this Hanoverian veteran differs in many important respects from the account given by another witness, and it differs precisely on those points which inculpate the narrator. Beningsen not only avers that he was not in the room when the emperor was strangled, but that he had forgotten (!) to whom the scarf belonged with which the fatal deed was done. Here Madame de Choiseul differs from him, and we also happen to have from the family of the officer on duty that night particulars which confirm her judgment, and land on Beningsen and Pahlen all the guilt, which the former tries to disown. In the first place some violence must have been intended, because the trap-door in the floor of the czar's room was fastened by the conspirators, and this with the connivance of the officer on duty. They were all aware that Paul
back, and as Beningsen pulled the ends
Most of the conspirators were too tipsy
was a fountain pouring forth sweet waters and bitter, and he was worried by a sense of his own self-contradictions, which were so incessant that there is hardly a point in his career which is not marked by the strangest vacillations, one might almost say by alternations, of policy. Tilsit is so far a case in point, as it exhibits a sudden friendship for the Napoleon who had worsted him at Austerlitz, and whom he was to ruin at the Beresina. But it is not a perfect case of his alternate policy, because at Tilsit be was able to injure Prussia, and to prick out on the map of Europe the limits of a sort of duchy of Warsaw; both points which he had had at heart for some time before and after he struck hands with Napoleon. But Memel in 1802 is a genuine illustration of a caprice, and Adam Czartoryski did not scruple to tell his whimsical master that the personal sympathies he had conceived for the royal family of Prussia caused him to or a political question, and that this friendsee Prussia no longer as a European State ship had had most injurious effects on the campaign.
Agitated by the thousand confused doubts, terrors, and uncertainties which tore his soul, Alexander had that night flung himself, still dressed, upon his bed. Towards one o'clock there came a knock at his door, and he beheld entering Nicholas Zubow, with his head dishevelled, his face inflamed by the wine he had drunk, and by the fury of the murder hardly yet consummated. He strode up to the grand duke, who was sitting up in bed, and said, in a hoarse whisper, "All is done!" "What is it that has been done?" cried Alexander in consternation. His ears seem to become hard of hearing. Perhaps he was afraid Alexander's friendship with Speransky to hear what he had to be told, while Zubow is another instance. He made of that was, for his part, afraid to say out what had pope's son his finance minister, and emhappened. This lengthened the conversation, ployed him to draw up the swod or code and so far was murder from the grand duke's of laws by which Russians were for the thoughts that he did not at first admit such a future to be governed. But notwithstandpossibility. At last he noticed that the counting this code, with which the emperor was always addressed him as Sire," and "Your Majesty," while he took himself to be only a with Prince Adam's famous_manuscript as much delighted as he had ever been The grand duke was not ambitious, he never was so, and the idea of having proclamation for his accession, ukases were to continue; that is to say, codes were to give way at any moment to a sudden, sharp, and peremptory expression of the single autocratic will which governed the Russias. Speransky was at the summit of power, when one morning he was dragged out of bed and hurried off to Siberia. No swod was consulted as to his case. The czar had yielded to his enemies, to the reactionary party who hated the upstart, his Protestant marriage, and his theories. Before long Alexander repented, and Michael Speransky ruled as governor-general of Siberia, over the very provinces to which he had come a few months before as an exile—again without any trial or invocation of the swod.
caused his father's death was horrible to him.
Instances of his caprices might easily be multiplied. He went to war on account of the seizure and murder of the Duc d'Enghien, but was content later to receive Caulaincourt as French ambassador. He banished the Jesuits, but went often to pray in the chapels of Catholic convents. His relations with the Lithu
anian gentry during the French march on Moscow, as given by Madame de ChoiseulGouffier, are a study in themselves, and so was the cruelly tantalizing game that he played with Madame de La Bédoyère when the Allies were in Paris, and when he did not procure her husband's reprieve. What wonder, then, if in 1801, dreaming of a Utopia to be founded by himself, and hard pressed by Panin and Pahlen, he closed his eyes to the possibility of a foul deed of murder, and contemplated the mirage of his fancies while the crime was being committed which has ever since been supposed to have had his unfilial sanction?
What wonder either that this man of fair promises and of ever-changing purposes broke his servant Adam Czartoryski's heart? But we must not hurry on to that dénouement. We find Prince Adam newly returned to St. Petersburg, and occupied officiously, but not officially, in the emperor's suite till 1803. It is curious to find him drawing up a State paper about the means necessary for concluding the occupation and subjection of Georgia, of which the last sovereign, George XIII., had in 1801 made over the sceptre to Russia. That result was not welcome in the country, and to say nothing of the unsubdued hill tribes, Lesghians, Ossetes, and the like, an attempt had been made at, or even | after, the eleventh hour, to rally the national party, and to rescue Queen Maria while she was being carried by force through the gates of the Caucasus to
In 1803 Adam Czartoryski accepted, after many entreaties, the portfolio of foreign affairs. If he was to accept office at all in a Russian Cabinet, it was easy to see that this place would possess charms, and to reward him for accepting the place as adjunct to the chancellor Worontzow, Alexander named him curator of the University of Wilna, in other words, left in his patriotic hands the charge of public education throughout those provinces of Poland which now formed part of the Russian Empire. In 1804 he obtained the sole charge of the external and diplomatic relations of Russia, and he was in office when the great Coalition of 1805 was formed.
The fibre of Alexander's mind had hardened considerably in these four years. Liberal reveries were forgotten, like the famous project of abdication; if he was justly reproached for leaving unpunished the murder of Paul, he did not choose his counsellors or friends among the men of
the 10th of March, but, shaking off Pahlen and Panin, he worked with advisers such as Novosiltzow, La Harpe, Paul Stroganow, and Adam Czartoryski. A few Poles were admitted to places of trust; a code was drawn up by Speransky and Rozenkampf, and order began to appear in the chaos of Russian finances and of Russian affairs. Prince Adam complains of the way in which M. Thiers, in his "History of the Consulate and the Empire," speaks of the cabinet of Emperor Alexander. They were not so very young politicians; Kotchubey and Novosiltzow, at least, had no right to the epithet, and by their measures Russian policy was dragged, as it were, out of the ruts in which it had too long staggered, and the empire put on a footing which could compare with other civilized European countries. As for their foreign policy, they might with fairness aver that the bias of public opinion, making itself felt in Russia as in other countries, led on the emperor and the Cabinet of the emperor to the conception and execution of a general plan when hostilities should become inevitable.
The story of the great Coalition is well known, and has been often written; but we venture to think it has never been told so fairly, so lucidly, and so succinctly as by Prince Adam Czartoryski. We will go so far as to say that his account of it is superior to that of M. Thiers, even when we read the pages which are not personal to the minister of foreign affairs.
In the second volume will be found the secret instructions given to M. de Novosiltzow when he was sent to England (1804) to arrange a mediation. They are alluded to by M. Thiers, but in all proba bility he never saw them in their original shape. They were another day-dream of Alexander's, who flattered himself that Russia and England would be able to guarantee the peace and safety of Europe. To Mr. Pitt and Lord Harrowby the plan must have appeared rather visionary than practical, and we know that it ended in bringing "not peace, but a sword," resulting in no mediation, but in the third coalition against France. Alexander became exasperated first by the murder of the Duc d'Enghien, then by the occupation of Hanover, and by Napoleon's pompous coronation in Italy. War was inevitable, and he was to take the field; but this account of his start is characteristic:
The moment had come for the emperor to
draw near to the theatre of events, but in proportion as we saw the moment of action coming nearer, I perceived that his resolution