Imágenes de páginas

surrounded by a wealthy, powerful, passes without his appearance in his and often discontented aristocracy, am- one-horse sleigh. On his journeys he bitious of regulating the succession to travels rapidly. He usually makes the the crown as they have done repeatedly journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, in past generations. He is admonished 754 versts, about 500 miles, in thirtyby the example of his predecessor, that six hours, with post horses. towards them familiarity would be He is devoted in his attentions to the folly-concession dangerous. While, empress, who is and has been for years therefore, his manner is cordial to mer an invalid. It is said that her nerves itorious officers and those known to be were shattered by the revolutionary his friends, he moves among his dis- scenes at the time of his coronation, satisfied, intriguing, and frequently from which shock she has never enconspiring nobility, with all the stern tirely recovered. He frequently accommajesty of a monarch.

panies her in her walks in the streets One would naturally suppose that of St. Petersburg, or on the English the head of a military despotism would quay,--and in her rides, sometimes be necessarily a sort of prisoner in his driving in a barouche and acting as her own palace; especially one who is so coachman. frequently denounced as a cruel tyrant, Government and Laws.—The Emand against whom we might suppose peror is the absolute head of every a thousand daggers ever ready to be branch of the government, civil, milidrawn. Or, if such a monarch ever tary, and ecclesiastical. There are in passed the portals of his palace, we the empire fourteen governors general, should suppose he would at least take and about a hundred civil

and military the precaution of other monarchs, and governors of provinces. The council of appear surrounded by his attendants the Emperor is the highest in authority. and guards. It is not so, however, The Senate is the high court of appeals with the Emperor Nicholas; whether in all civil and criminal cases; but the walking, riding, or travelling, he is Emperor can reverse any of its decinever attended by any, except upon sions. While we see these despotic some military occasion. His only features in the higher branches of this guards seem to be “ a lion heart and government, we find in its minor insti. eagle eye;" for, fearless of danger and tutions the forms of primitive democonscious of his own security, he suf- cracy. The superintendants of labor, fers no other guards to attend him in justices of the peace, petty police, his promenades or drives by day or mayors and assistants, assessors, and night. No one knows better than the some of the judges, are elected by the Emperor when to play the monarch, people: and it is a rule there, as elseand when to dispense with majesty. where, that the party, prosecuted in He often visits balls and soirées at the any civil or criminal suit must be tried houses of the nobility, and very fre- by his peers; that is, a portion of the quently attends the balls and concerts judges must be selected from his class, at the Hall of the Nobility, where there whether peasant, freeman, or nobleare usually from two to three thousand man. All the ancient laws and regupersons assembled; among whom he lations were ordered to be embodied by moves about conversing familiarly with the present emperor, and have been in many. He seldom suffers a masquer- force since the 1st of January, 1835. ade to pass without being present, They have now, at least, the forms of whether at the theatre or the Hall of law in Russia; but it will require some the Nobility; and no one engages in generations to obtain what is more this amusement more heartily or fami- important, justice, owing to the haliarly. His manner is always adapted bitual corruption so long and so unito the occasion. Indeed, had his lot versally practised in the courts of that been the stage, he would have been the empire, where in former times corGarrick of the day; for he is equally ruption was connived at by government successful, whether he appears in as a means of support to the judges. comic or grave scenes. No monarch Religion.--Although the imperial is seen so frequently among his sub- family, and four-fifths of the Russian jects, or on so many and such various people profess the Russian Greek faith, occasions; and none in a more unpre- there is universal toleration in that tending style. Scarcely a day in winter empire; and the avenues to office and


renown are open to all, whatever may sian crown, and the extensive corrupbe their religious doctrines. Some of tion and peculation always attending the highest offices under that govern- it, we find that government to be one ment are held by Protestants. The of the most expensive in the world. monks, of whom there are five or six Its extravagance is not, however, the thousand, do not marry; but the secu. worst fruit of such a system. When lar clergy of the Russian Greek church government becomes, in effect, a mono

-more than two hundred and fifty polist in every branch of industry, it thousand--are obliged to be married not only wastes labor and produces

almost universal corruption and pecuFinances. The public debt of Rus- lation, but it stifles private enterprise, sia, funded and unfunded, amounts to restricts individual industry, and reupwards of three hundred millions of tards the growth of the aggregate dollars, and was increased during the wealth of the nation. last year by a new loan; but its un Banks and Currency.The crown funded debt, of more than a hundred is the proprietor of three banks, of millions, consists of a government Assignats, of Loans, and of Commerce. bank-note currency, which is constantly The first was established by Catharine fluctuating, and will probably perma- II., in 1768. It began with an issue nently increase, without any prospect of forty millions of roubles, * redeemof its ever being reduced. The govs able in current money, which meant ernment is, apparently, one of the most copper ; but the paper and silver roueconomical, considering the vast ex. ble were nearly equal, and continued so tent of the empire, its numerous gove for about twenty years. In 1787, anernments, and large army. The whole other issue of sixty millions was made, of its expenditure appears to be little and the faith of the crown pledged that more than a hundred millions of dollars; the aggregate amount should never exand the expense of an army of about ceed a hundred millions ; but in 1790 seven hundred thousand effective and the faith of the crown was violated, three hundred thousand non-effective, and continued to be violated in each with a perpetual war in the Caucasus, and every year, till 1810; issue followseems to be about thirty millions of ed issue, till the aggregate amount was dollars. But their financial reports five hundred and seventy-seven milpresent only a small proportion of the lions. The faith and wealth of the vast receipis and expenditures of the crown were then pledged for their reempire. The crown is an extensive demption ; but in 1811 one silver rouagriculturalist, manufacturer, miner, ble was equal to four in paper. In late banker, and merchant, in almost every years the Emperor Nicholas has branch of trade and industry. It is attempted to raise their relative value from all these sources, besides provin- by ukase, and 3! in paper are now excial commutations and contributions of changed for one silver rouble; but prices commodities, that the supplies are had become fixed for more than a genchiefly drawn for the support of the eration in this currency, at the old rate armies, fleets, and governments of Rus- of four for one. The consumer is thus sia. This extraordinary, and, as it obliged still to pay the same number would now be thought, unwarrantable of paper roubles, while he receives interference of the crown with the in- 34 instead of four in paper, and the imdustry of the nation, began prior to the perial decrees already operate as an time of Peter the Great, and owes its indirect tax upon consumption to the origin to the existence of a vast terri- extent of 124 per cent. tory of crown lands and mines, and the The Bank of Loans was established possession of millions of serfs, then in a by Catharine in 1786, for the purpose, barbarous condition. It has been per- it is said, of making the nobility more petuated because the officers of gov- dependent upon the crown, by loaning ernment have for generations profited them money upon their estates, to emby it. When we consider what a waste barrass them and weaken their auof labor must result from this trading thority. and manufacturing system of the Rus The Bank of Commerce was estab

*The value of the rouble is about 76 cents.

lished by Alexander, in 1818. It makes opportunity to witness this display, advances on merchandise at 6 per cent. when two frigates were launched in and receives money on deposite at 4. honor of the marriage of the Grand It has branches in the different cities Duke Alexander. After it was over, of the empire, and deals in bills of ex- the Empress and others returned from change. Since the 1st of January, the Admiralty to the Winter Palace in 1840, this Bank has been authorized to barges. The Empress was in the issue a new description of bank notes, leading one, commanded by the little equivalent to silver, in exchange for admiral. deposits. More than ten millions of Another anecdote told of the little these were issued in the first quarter. admiral is, that while lying on the The crown monopolizes all the profit sofa, as it was thought asleep, his arising from the circulation of bank elder brother, the Grand Duke Alexannotes.

der, in conversation with his sister, exThe Navy. It is very much the pressed his opinion of the difficulties fashion to ireat the naval power of and vexations attending the governRussia with contempt. She has not, ment of a vast empire, and hoped that it is true, that essential basis of a navy, it might never be his fate to ascend the a commercial marine; but her navy is throne. The little admiral, who is the well manned and officered, and she has next heir to the crown, immediately now what she had not formerly, about sprang up and exclaimed, “Why don't 2,300 naval cadets. In vessels and you abdicate ?" Whether these stories force her navy is nearly equal to the be true or not, the young Grand Duke French, and is constantly increasing. Constantine promises to make an able Among her admirals are some of the officer, and it is not improbable, at most scientific members of the acade- some future day, may realize the ammy, especially Admirals Greig and the bitious dream of Catharine II., and, celebrated voyager Krusenstern, Al. with his fleet, summon the Sultan though the Lord High Admiral of the to surrender, or batter down the walls Russian Navy is but a lad of fourteen, of the Seraglio. he is too important a personage to be The Military Power of Russia alarms overlooked. He is the Grand Duke Europe. If it was deemed formidable Constantine, the second son of the Em- in 1812, what must be thought of it peror, and a youth of great promise. now, when a material change has ocSome anecdotes are told of him, which, curred in the organization and disciwhether accurate or not, afford an idea pline of the Russian armies. Prior to of his character. It is said that on one Napoleon's invasion Russia was deof his cruises in the Baltic, the little pendent on the military science of Geradmiral fell from the shrouds and was many, France, and Great Britain. caught by a sailor, to whom he instantly Suwartoff was said to have been the said, “I make you a midshipman.” first native-born Russian who could When this reached the ears of the offi- fight a battle, or plan a campaign, cers, and especially the midshipmen— without instruction from his foreign generally connected with the nobility aids; and he relied, not upon science, --it created no little commotion. It but on his own genius, which enabled became a subject of inquiry at the Ad- him, on the plains of Lombardy, to miralty, and ultimately the case came contend successfully with Moreau, before the Emperor, who had a confer- M.Donald, and Joubert. Now, howence with the little admiral. After ever, the Russian armies are comlistening to his father attentively, it is manded, generally, by natives of the said his reply was, “Either I am Lord empire, possessing all the skill and High Admiral, or I am not; if I am science of Europe, and actively emnot, then you are all right; but if I am ployed in every province. There are Lord High Admiral, I have a right to besides about 9,000 military cadets at appoint a midshipman, and you are all schools under the superintendence of wrong.” The Emperor, it is said, ad- the Grand Duke Michael

, and more monished him to take care how he than 170,000 pupils at schools under made any more such midshipmen. the direction of the Minister at War,

When afloat the young Grand Duke including more than 10,000 officers. appears in his admiral's uniform and St. Petersburg is a camp. Not a day commands as such. We had but insses without a review of some kind;

and on special occasions of 40 or 50,000 The result was that the King of Poland men, displaying the costumes of every determined to unite the two crowns, regiment in the empire, and sometimes through his son, to whom the Muscoexercised in mock campaigns and sham vites in 1610 did homage, by proxy, as battles. From this school of instruc- their future sovereign, at the same tion officers and troops are sent to the time surrendering Moscow to the Poles. provinces. Russia is ready for war at The hesitation of Sigismund to allow any moment, whether in the east or his son to adopt the Greek faith lost the west; and whenever she is gov- him the crown of Russia. He returned erned by a monarch of an exclusively to Warsaw, carrying with him the military ambition, willing to sacrifice Tzar in chains, and leaving Moscow in his own country to acquire renown the hands of a Polish garrison. The and transient dominion abroad, the na- latter, however, became disorderly, tions of Europe may well fear the dis- quarrelled with the inhabitants, and ciplined armies and immense resources committed disgraceful excesses; and of that mighty power, whose bounda- the result was, according to an English ries already extend to the Danube in historian, “ that the Poles murdered Europe and the Araxes in Asia, near 100,000 Russians, and laid the greater the foot of Mount Ararat—in the north part of Moscow in ashes, after having to the Arctic Ocean; and whose longi- possessed themselves of a great quantude reaches the frontier of Prussia, tity of treasure, with which they rethrough Europe, across the Oural treated into the citadel.” After a long Mountains, through Asia, even to the and severe struggle and “an enormous hunting grounds of the Hudson's Bay sacrifice of blood,” the Muscovites Company on our continent.

drove the Poles out of the capital and The History of this warlike people the empire. The King of Poland then is worthy a brief notice—especially in “ offered to make his son conform to their relations with the Poles. Tra- the Greek church ;" but it was too dition traces the origin of the great late, and the proposition was indig. body of the nation to the ancient Scla- nantly rejected. After this bloody convonians--the vassals for centuries of flict was over, the nobles and people the Goths, the Huns, the Scandinavians fasted for three days, and invoked the and Tartars. To these masters may be aid of heaven. The noblemen elected ascribed their appetite for conquest and Romanoff, son of the Metropolitan, as war; and to them, and other neighbor- their sovereign; but, admonished by ing nations, are they indebted for that the tyranny of former monarchs, in elemilitary instruction and character vating him to the throne, they admiwhich have enabled them, for more nistered an oath, by which he was than a century past, to turn the tide of prohibited from altering any old or war and conquest against their ancient making any new law; from interfering invaders. Ten centuries ago they were in any manner with the administration conquered by the Scandinavians, who of the laws, civil or criminal; or, of governed them more than three centu- his own accord, making war or enterries and a half, and under whose ban- ing into any stipulations for a treaty of ner they captured Byzantium. Next peace. Thus Poland not only lost the came the Tartars of the South, who crown, but was instrumental in estabruled them for more than two centu- lishing, early in the seventeenth cenries and a half. In the meantime and tury, a limited monarchy in Russia. subsequently they had other instruct. In 1709 Charles XII., bylosing the ors, in the Teutonic Knights of Livo. battle of Pultowa, enabled Peter the nia--now a Russian province—and es. Great to establish an imperial and absopecially in the Poles. The wars be- lute despotism on the ruins of the montween the Poles and the Muscovites archy; and in 1812 Napoleon, by deswere frequent, during many centuries, stroying the combined army of Europe and generally favorable to the former, in a disastrous campaign, enabled the who ultimately extended their frontier Emperor Alexander, in 1814, to review by conquest to Mojaisk, not far from the Russian Imperial Guard in the Moscow. The crisis, however, in the Boulevards at Paris in presence of the fate of Poland and of Russia happened assembled sovereigns and armies of in their wars from 1604 to 1613, when Europe, who thus tacitly acknowledged the former aided the two impostors, the military supremacy of that colossal who assumed the name of Demotrius




This is one of the very pleasantest peculiarities of the dramatis persona, books of the day—that is to say, the and of recording, in evident freshness first two of the three parts which have from the lip, their smart small-talkas yet appeared. The third part, con- they are, on the whole, much alike; taining the journal of her court resi- though there is a finer delicacy of apdence, as one of the attendants on the prehension, a subtler sense of the ludiQueen of George III., not even her vi- crous, and a more graceful sportivenes vacity and gracefulness of style can of style, in the light and lively lady rescue from the dulness derived from than in the fond and foolish old Scotch the stupid monotony of life which it “memorandummer," the “ caricature portrays. It consists of the private of a caricature,” as she herself calls diary and letters of a woman both him. After we have closed her nawitty and wise, spirited and spirituelle, tural and graphic pages, giving an acwho mingled intimately in all that count, from time to time, to the absent was most distinguished alike in litera- friends for whose benefit she writes, ture and rank in English society“ Sixty of the various people she has met, Years Since." A bona fide private the when and the where, and how diary, too, and not that mere "solilo- they talked and acted, and what was quy” or “aside ” of the stage, which is said and thought of them, and how they so often palmed off as such, and which struck her, &c., &c., we feel very is so artificially natural, so elaborately much as if we had been actually introcareless, so publicly confidential. No; duced into the midst of that splendid a real and honest private diary, ad- circle, and had formed a sort of personal dressed, in an epistolary form, without acquaintance with a long array of the the shadow of a shade of an idea of principal celebrities that gave

it publication, chiefly to a sister and brilliancy unsurpassed, unequalled, by father, by the most affectionate of sisters any social period that has followed it. and the fondest of daughters-free and With Dr. Johnson we are on intimate frank, sportive and sketchy, gossipping terms-can visit freely at Bolt courtand gay, and withal transparent in and are accustomed to bear with the truthfulness and sincerity. Quick and growlings of the fine “old lion,” full just in her appreciation of character - well as we have come to know the not less quick and just in its expression right noble nature which, after all, so by a word, and exactly the word, pre- grandly characterized the mighty moncise and pat-and with a fine felicity arch of the forest. At Streatham we in dialogue style, by which to make are quite the habitués de la maison, her personages speak for themselves, and have learned to love so well its so as to reveal in a few touches of their bright and warm-hearted mistress that own talk all the sense or nonsense in we are half inclined to quarrel with them-no person could have been bet- “dear little Burney ” herself, for not ter fitted to diarize delightfully out of standing more stoutly by her side when the rich materials afforded by her social all the world felt called upon to turn position and career. There is much in so unmercifully against her, for prethe book that will remind the reader suming to marry without their consent of the unforgotten pleasure derived a man they did not approve, and to from Boswell. In general plan-in transform the beloved and bewitching the period and people--in the nice dis- Mrs. Thrale into the abused and decrimination of character-in the happy serted Mrs. Piozzi. With Sir Joshua knack of hitting off odd or whimsical Reynolds we are on quite good terms.


Diary and Letters of Madame d’Arblay, author of “ Evelina,” « Cecilia,” &c. Edited by her Niece. “The spirit walks of every day deceased.”-Young. In two volumes. Vol. I. Philadelphia : Carey and Hart. 1842.

« AnteriorContinuar »