knowledged. Moreover, he was at heart is termed the first partition of Poland. a Saxon and not a Polish prince, and, From that moment the sorrows of the whenever the wars of Frederic the Great Poles have become matters of European allowed of it, he resided in Dresden far interest. Stanislaus Poniatowski made more willingly than either in Warsaw or some futile efforts to reorganize the fragin Cracow. But if he was an indifferent ments of the country, but his hand was absentee, there was another eye fixed day eminently unfitted for the task, and the and night on this expiring majesty of Diet of Grodno, like the Confederation of Poland.

Targovice, provoked fresh expressions of Russian statesmen are like vultures. the antagonism existing between the two They do not wait till their victim has ren- parties. A second war led to a second dered his last sigh, but they scent from partition (1772), and, after the triumphs of afar the taints of weakness, instability, Souvaroff and the abdication of a king bankruptcy, and decay in any country or who was one in name only, Poland was, government. They mean eventually to in 1793, finally dismembered. tear the carcase piecemeal, and to pick its To none of these scenes had the Czarbones, but they begin by hovering overtoryski and their heir, Prince Adam, been head. Before indicating conquest they strangers. The young man was present make tributaries, clients, debtors, and at the Diet of 1782. There he saw the partisans; and before proceeding to par- power of his family receive a heavy blow. tition and to the annihilation of race, lan. His father, sure of the sympathy of the guage, and creeds, they will offer freely Lithuanians, had hoped to carry by a masympathy, subsidies, and help. They jority the measures he advocated, and to intrigue, they foment insurrection, they promote to power the men of whom he was remove landmarks, separate families, ab- the head. But the royal and Muscovite duct rulers, browbeat regents and pala- party proved too strong for him. Russia tines, suggest candidates, bribe electors, scored another victory, and the stubborn and sow the land with Russian roubles, old starost retired to his estates in Powhich are as dragons' teeth ; so that in the dolia. His son says that the time passed' end they reap the crop they have long de there in hunting, coursing, fencing, and sired, “ red ruin, and the breaking up ” of studying. The family next moved across treaties, if not of laws. Catherine, whose Galicia to their estate of Pulavy, beyond policy was of this stealthy sort, had her Jaroslav. There their house served as a lest hand busy in Georgia. One struggle rendezvous for all who in politics and relimore, and hers would then be the sceptre gion shared their views, and the young of the famous Queen Tamara, and hers men had Polish and French professors, the inheritance of the oldest Christian went to Carlsbad, and made a tour in Gerdynasty in the world. Nor was one such many, visiting Goethe in Weimar. The intrigue sufficient for her ambition. With Diet of 1787 saw them again at Warsaw ; the right hand she had for long manipu- but the tide set strongly against nationallated Polish elections, and she it was who ism, and in 1789 Prince Adam travelled, in 1764 procured the nomination of her joined his married sister in Würtemberg, sometime lover, Stanislaus Poniatowski. and went with his mother to England. He

To Adam Casimir Czartoryski that elec. stayed with Lord Lansdowne, and made, tion was every way antipathetic. He at both in London and in the industrial cen. once proposed himself as a rival, and tres of England and of Scotland, valuable failed ; but four years later the Catholic, studies of our social and commercial sysnational, and anti-Muscovite party, to tems. In Edinburgh his name is not yet which he belonged, and which was headed forgotten, though the group of men who by Krasinski, formed itself into the so-founded this review, and who were his called Confederation of Bar. Its first act personal friends, have now all gone over was to ignore Catherine's nominee, and to the majority. to declare the throne vacant. A civil war The year 1791 was an important one was inaugurated, and on it followed what to the young politician. He went through

his drill under bis brother-in-law, Louis of Their hearts were not less full of wounded Würtemberg, and when, after the Confed- pride and patriotism, to say nothing of eration of Targovice, Russian troops again aversion to Catherine, whose crimes and broke into Poland, he fought at Polomna. indecorums, monstrous as they really

Now occurs a blank in the memoirs. were, had assuredly lost nothing when rePossibly the missing pages have been de hearsed in their ears by Polish tongues. stroyed by the writer, or for him. At all Their position was painful enough, but on events he does not explain how he came reaching St. Petersburg they found that to be in England when Kosciusko fell it was not singular. The struggle being (1793), nor how he came to be arrested in over it was to be expected that Catherine Brussels, when on his way home to carry would make some arrangement of the vast arms under the hero of Macziewice. It confiscated estates of the malcontent Powas the Austrian police who stopped him, lish aristocracy. Many hastened up to and as after the close of the campaign he the capital to assist at the curée. Some went to join his parents in Vienna, it is hoped to enrich themselves in the general only fair to suppose that the Austrian scramble, some to gratify an old grudge, emperor, judging the Polish cause to be and some, like the young Czartoryski, to hopeless, had begged his old servant and save a little out of this vast wreck. marshal, Adam Casimir Czartoryski, to Russian society was then, as it is to. restrain the patriotic ardor of his son. day, the mere reflection of the court. The heir was kept for some time longer This is Prince Adam's first impression of in Vienna, out of harm's way, and thus it :prevented from further endangering the

It might be compared to the vestibule of a family fortunes. The same imperial temple where all present had only ears and friend it was who next opened a negotia- eyes for the divinity before whom they burned tion with Catherine to get the Czartoryski incense. . . The Empress Catherine, the estates restored. The czarina had con- immediate author of the ruin of Poland fiscated them to render her great oppo- Catherine, whose very name disgusted us, nents powerless, but now that she had cursed as she was by every one who carried a carried every position, and ruled over a if judged out of her capital had neither virtue

Polish heart in his breast, this Catherine, who dismembered and prostrate Poland, it was her policy to rally, and as it were Russify, had gained none the less, in her own country,

nor even the decency required in a woman, as many of the great Polish nobles as she and above all in its capital, the veneration, could win over to her side. Humbler nay even the love, of her subjects. Through houses might perish, unpitied because the long years of her reign, the army, the unnoticed, but the Czartoryski were the privileged classes, and the administrators had observed of all observers, therefore it bad days of lustre and of prosperity. It is would be well to exhibit them in her train. beyond a doubt that ever since her accession She accordingly replied that she would the Muscovite empire had gained in considera. consider their case, but that as hostages

tion both at home and abroad, and that order

was established at home as it had never been for future good behavior she should first during the preceding reigns of Anne and of require to see both the young princes, Elizabeth. Men's minds were still full of the Adam and Ladislaus, at her court. At ancient fanaticism of a base adoration for their such a deinand the blood of all these autocrats, and the Russians had been conpalatines, old and young, rebelled. But firmed in this servility by the prosperous reign the emperor advised a more conciliatory of Catherine, and this although some gleams demeanor, and pointed out that ruin, and of European civilization had already pierced obliteration through ruin, stared them in among them. Thus the whole nation, the the face if they persisted in asking for great folk just as much as the small, and the favors while they conceded nothing to the poor just as well as the rich, felt themselves haughty and victorious sovereign whom nor at the crimes and murders committed by

to be in no way scandalized at her depravity, they had so long withstood, in the cabinet their sovereign. To her everything was peras in the field. Perhaps the old marshal, mitted — her luxury wore a halo; and men no Prince Adam Casimir, had a vague hope ' more thought of criticising her debaucheries that this might be a case of reculer pour than did the pagans who respected the crimes mieux sauter. At any rate, he gave in ; a and obscenities of their Olympian gods and confidential tutor, named Gorski, was se

Roman Cæsars. As for this Muscovite

The first lected to accompany them, and on this Olympus, it was in three stages. strange errand the young men departed. and princesses, grandchildren of the Empress,

and lowest was occupied by the young princes Their heads were full of curiosity as to who, full of graces, all promised the fairest the career along which Providence and the futures. The solitary tenant of the second czarina had unexpectedly started them. I sphere was Grand Duke Paul, whose gloomy temper and fantastic disposition inspired all | I first saw him. I hope that you enjoy sorts of terrors, and some contempt. At the yourselves in this country.' A Capua summit of the edifice sat Catherine the Great, for Polish spirits she hoped that St. Pe. in all the prestige of her victories and of her tersburg might prove, and accordingly prosperity; secure in the love of the subjects that evening the young men were admitted whom she led about at her good will and pleasure. All those hopes to which the sight to dine in her presence at one of those of the young court gave rise could only have dinners with which Grimm has made us their fruition in a distant future, and they in familiar. no way took off from the general affection for

There, in front of the imperial sofa and of the Czarina, or from her supreme authority: the sovereign of All the Russias, we talk and nay, the young court was considered as an chat of things gay, serious, or frivolous; often emanation or creation of the reigning power. gaily of grave things, often gravely of trifles. And in truth Catherine reserved to herself the | The entrée to the Hermitage makes every one exclusive education of her grandchildren. Any equal, and one leaves one's rank with one's influence of either father or mother was for. hat and one's sword at the door. In the bidden. From their birth the princes and dining-room there are two tables, placed side princesses had been withdrawn from parental by side, each with ten covers. The service is hands, and thus grew up under the eyes of done mechanically, no servants wait, and the Catherine, to whom alone they seemed to be lieutenant de police is sold, for he can never long. The Grand Duke Paul served as a send a single report to her Majesty of what mere shadow which only heightened the effect passes at those dinners. The places are drawn of this picture. The very terror which he in- by lot, and it sometimes happens that the emspired strengthened the general attachment to press finds herself placed at a corner of her the government of Catherine, for all must de- own table, and that M. Grimm, or some other sire that the reins of government should long man of his value, occupies the centre. * remain in the strong hands of his mother. Just

To be so entertained was indeed a mark as every one was afraid of Paul, so all admired the capabilities of a mother who was able to of favor, and the brothers accordingly keep him in subjection to herself, and far from received next day from flatterers many a throne which belonged to him by right. compliments on the step which they had

made in her imperial good graces. As to This is a masterly sketch, and it is fol. their estates, Catherine long observed a lowed by many more, all' equally well diplomatic and cruelly tantalizing silence. drawn, of Catherine's minions the brothers She had exhibited the hostages in her Zubow, and of despotic proconsuls like triumph, but they had as yet received Toutoulmine, of Bezborodko, of the vice- nothing from the supposed clemency of chancellor Ostermann, and of Poles like their conqueror. At last she sent to let his kinsman Lubomirski, come up to re-them know that it was impossible for her cover their fortunes, or of travellers like even to think of granting anything to De Ségur and the Prince de Ligne, come their father. The whole of his estates in to hear the wisdom and see the splendors Podolia were declared to be forfeited to of this Semiramis of the North.

the crown, but to Prince Adam and his Prince Adam does not mention Grimm. brother the value of forty-two thousand Perhaps the proud young Polish officer souls (inale serfs) was to be paid over, to secretly despised the factotum who was enable them to live in a manner suitable flatterer-in-chief to the czarina, and who to their station. It was understood, if not busied himself now with her literary ef- expressed, that these supplies were to be forts, now with her lace ruffles, and now subject to good behavior, so the young with the marriages of the eligible young men could see no term to their involuntary grand dukes and duchesses in Germany residence in the capital. They paid over and all the Russias. The two men certainly to their parents the fortune they had re. looked at her from very different points ceived, put on uniforms of the Russian of view. Both felt the originality of her Imperial Guard, and prepared to make the character and the strength of her will; best of life at the court of a woman who but Prince Adam, sick at heart from her had not only dismembered their country, tyranny, was biind to the gaiety and power but annexed their estates, and outwitted of pleasing which she possessed, and themselves. which she herself valued as her strongest While on duty Adam Czartoryski at. points. This is how she and the young tracted the attention of the young Grand Polish officer met: “ It was long before Duke Alexander Pavlovitch. Eldest of she would see us; but when we were pre- the sons of Paul Petrovitch and of Maria of sented to her she met us with her fixed Würtemberg, Alexander was really what smile, but was gracious enough to add, • Your age recalls that of your father when • Melchior Grimm, par Edmond Scherer, p. 263.


he was wont to term himself, “a happy gaged his esteem and gained his affection. accident.” His brother Constantine, who He sympathized with our sentiments, guessed already reproduced much of their father's them, and approved of them, so that he had strangeness and brutality, could not be felt the necessity of enlightening us as to termed an equally happy effort of nature, not bear the idea that we should take him to

his real way of thinking, and that he could and Catherine's education was in many be that which he was not. He told me that ways a peculiar one. Separated by her he in no degree shared the policy or approved from his parents, and little attracted to of the conduct of the cabinet, and was far from his brother Constantine, Alexander's gen- approving that of his grandmother; that he erous sensibilities ran out in friendships, condemned her principles; that the Poles had while in his head there fermented an odd his best wishes in Poland's glorious struggle; mixture of the autocratic traditions of his that he deplored her fall; that Kosciuskó race with the maxims of Colonel La Harpe, was, in his eyes, both great by his virtues and the Swiss tutor to whom his education by the cause he defended, which was that of had been committed. He was early mar

justice and humanity. He further confessed ried to a grand duchess of Baden, but the by whomsoever exercised; that he loved lib

to me that he detested despotism wherever or alliance contracted at sixteen years of age erty, to which all men have an equal right; was not one of intense affection. As for that he had taken a most lively interest in the Constantine's union with one of the daugh. French Revolution; and that, while he deters of the house of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, plored its greatest excesses, he wished all suffice it to say that it was one of the first success to the Republic, and rejoiced in it. of the great marriages by which that family

He said that he could not confide his has allied itself to every reigning house in sentiments to any one, because no one in RusEurope, and that, though it was of short sia was capable of understanding them, but

that for the future I must feel how sweet it duration, it was very far from happy.

would be for him to have some one to whom Alexander soon distinguished the two he could open his heart, and do so with entire Czartoryskis, and Empress Catherine

confidence. This conversation was intersaw with favorable eyes a liaison establishing woven, as may be supposed, with expressions itself between her grandson and the two broth- of friendship on his part, and of amazement,

She approved of the friendship, but gratitude, and protestations of devotion on assuredly without guessing its true motive, or mine. When I left him I was, I must confess what might have been its consequences. I it, transported as it were out of myself, and imagine that in her mind, and considering the deeply moved, not knowing, indeed, whether ideas prevalent about the splendor of the Pol- it was a reality or a dream. . . . I was young, ish aristocracy, she thought it useful to attach and full of such exalted thoughts and feelings a powerful family to her grandson. We that phenomenal things did not astonish me, made excursions together on foot every day, and I believed willingly in what seemed to me for Grand Duke Alexander enjoyed walking great and good — I was under a charm, easy and visiting the neighboring villages; and to be supposed, and to this young prince, so then it was that he gave vent to his favorite privileged by Providence, and sent upon earth, themes. He was under the charm of early as I believed, for the good of mankind and of youth, which creates images and dwells on Poland, I vowed an attachment which knew them without considering their impossibilities, no bounds. Many persons, especially and which constructs projects without limit countrymen of my own, have since blamed me for a future without an end. His opinions for having believed too much in the asseverawere those of a pupil of '89, who wishes to tions of Alexander, and I have often been see republics everywhere, and esteems only obliged to maintain before his detractors that that form of government which is conformable these opinions of his were sincere, and by no to the wishes and the rights of humanity.

means feigned. When Alexander was nine

teen years of age, when he spoke to me in On one spring day in 1796, just after the secret, and that with an effusion of feeling court had moved out to the palace known which was palpably a relief to him, about as La Tauride, Alexander begged Prince opinions and feelings which he hid from all Adam to meet him, that he might show the world, he did so because he really did so him the so-called “ English garden," and feel, and had a real need for confiding them

What other motive could he that they might talk together at their ease. have had? Whom did he wish to deceive ? The conversation, which for one of the He followed, then, the leanings of his own party at least was to be so momentous, heart, and he expressed but the thoughts of lasted three hours.

his own mind. The grand duke told me that the conduct of myself and my brother, our resignation under

Alexander, besides his liberal opinions, an existence which must be painful to us, and had other tastes and other dreams. He the calm indifference with which we accepted had a great love of nature and of country favors that in our eyes had no merit, had en- I life, and to it he often threatened to re

to some one.


tire, though, like his father, he loved | She had been wont to boast that " military spectacles and military details. Esculapius of them all had ever passed Parademania was perhaps the only taste her door.” She believed in gaiety and which Paul and his sons had in common, cold baths, in an orviétan, and in Bestoubut a circumstance was at hand which was jef's drops a quack inedicine which she to bring into stronger relief the terribie was apt to administer in the palace rather oddities of Paul, and the defective edu. at hazard. But now she had come to the cation which Catherine had given to the end of her simple pharmacopeia, or, grand-dukes Alexander and Constantine. rather, as Madame de Staël would have That authoritative and high-tempered said, " the forces of that powerful life

“ empress was suddenly called to her ac- were exhausted.” The czarina died of count. She had just received an affront overwork of the brain. She had written froin the young king of Sweden, come just before her seizure to Grimm, in that to her court to engage the hand of one tone of banter which she used with him, of her granddaughters. We know by about her literary occupations. She was Grimm's correspondence how closely she engaged on a work (not her autobiography) had these establishments at heart, and which would be, she assured him, very how she ransacked every court to find the useful to the country, and remedial in a cadets or cadettes suited to her purpose. hundred thousand ways. There can be This bridegroom had the hardihood to little doubt that, from the text of her own break off the match after the court had arguments, she preached in it the immeassembled to witness his betrothal. The diate succession of her grandson Alexan. ground assigned was that it would be im- der to a throne which she had ever treated possible for himn, in a Protestant country, her son as unfit to fill. Familiarity with to allow the bride to have in Stockholm ́a these views of hers goes far to explain chapel where the rites of the Russo-Ortho- Alexander's subsequent conduct, and his dox Church could be celebrated. Cath- first ukase, in which he speaks of himself erine was intensely mortified, and her as intended to continue the measures of face wore, says Prince Adam, a sombre his ever-glorious grandmother. She says expression of sadness and fury, though of the book she was compiling : she received all her guests with impassive firmness.

It is the most stupid work in the world, it

is immense! the six chapters I have written It was November. The weather was foggy are each of them marvels in their own way, and cold, but the Grand Duke Alexander con- and I put into it all an amount of work, exact. tinued his walks on the quays.

One day he itude, wit, and genius of which I never supmet my brother, and after walking for some posed myself to be capable. I am quite time they stopped at the gateway of the house amazed at myself when I finish a chapter. which we occupied. I had just reached it, Heaven bless those who will have to carry all and we were all there standing talking when a this out! It is really a curious affair ; and I

I work messenger from the Palace arrived, and told shall require another year to finish it. the grand duke that Count Soltykov expected hard, and I am so taken up with it that even him for a matter of great urgency. The grand during sleep my head composes whole chapters. duke left at once, unable to guess what could

we have unconscious cerebration; be the cause of the pressing summons. It was soon known that the empress had had an and when to this irritable state of the apoplectic fit. She had for some time had brain we add the blow to her pride just very swelled feet, but would not follow the received before her assembled court of orders of any physician, alleging that she did grandchildren, favorites, flatterers, and not believe in doctors, and applying at her officials, it is not unfair to say that Gus. own hand some old woman's remedies of tavus IV. shortened the empress's life by which her waiting woman had told her. Lying, as it were, insensible, the empress only account of her last hours :

some years. We resume Prince Adam's once opened her eyes. It was on the approach of her faithful valet, Zachary; then with a The morning after her seizure the fatal news look of intense suffering she laid her hand on spread through the town. Those who had her heart, and closed her eyes never to open the entrée crowded to the court all the haste them again in this world. That was the only of fear, and with anxious doubts as to what sign of consciousness she ever gave; but the might be going to happen. Most of the assistdoctors assembled, and for the space of three ing spectators expressed sincere grief, while days lavished on her all the resources of their there were many whose pale and fallen faces art. It was useless.

betrayed their dread of losing the advantages

they enjoyed, and of having to give an account There was in Catherine's resistance to all of their stewardship. My brother and I were remedies a something grimly appropriate. I among those present at these scenes of terror

« ElőzőTovább »