The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 559 pages of information about The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08.
associated in its results had the people been instructed in the respect which was due to themselves.  But the Russians, profoundly venerating the person of the Grand Prince, and accustomed to consider him as the depository of a wisdom refined above the sphere of ordinary mortality, did not hesitate to ascribe this transcendent exploit to the genius of the reluctant autocrat.  They looked back upon his pusillanimity with awe, and extracted from his apparent fears the subtle elements of a second providence.  He was no longer the coward and the waverer.  He had seen the body of the future, before its extreme shadows had darkened other men’s vision; and the whole course of his timid bearing, even including his flight from the Lugra, was interpreted into a prudent and prophetic policy, wonderful in its progress and sublime in its consequences.  Without risking a life, or spilling a drop of blood, and merely by an evasive diversion of his means, he had vanquished the Asiatic spoiler; and at the very moment that the people were disposed to doubt his skill and his courage, he had actually destroyed the giant by turning the arms of his own nation against him.  Such was the unanimous feeling of Russia.  Transferring the glory of their signal deliverance from those who had achieved it to him who had evaded the responsibility of the attempt, they worshipped, in the Grand Prince, the incarnation of the new-born liberty.



A.D. 1468


From the planting of the Burgundian branch of the house of Valois, in 1364, arose a formidable rival of the royal power in France.  During the next hundred years the dukes of Burgundy played prominent parts in French history, and then appeared one of the line who advanced his house to its loftiest eminence.  This was Charles, surnamed the “Bold,” son of Philip, misnamed the “Good.”  Charles was born in 1433, and became Duke of Burgundy in 1467.  He “held the rank of one of the first princes in Europe without being a king, and without possessing an inch of ground for which he did not owe service to some superior lord.”  Some of his territories were held of the Holy Roman Empire, and some of the French crown, and he was at once a vassal of France and of the Emperor.  His dominions contained many prosperous and wealthy cities.

But the possessions of Charles lacked unity alike in territorial compactness, political distinction, and local rule, and in national characteristics, language, and laws.  His peculiar position exposed him to the jealous rivalry of Louis XI of France.  The King’s object was the consolidation of his monarchy, while Charles aimed to extend his duchy at the expense of Louis’ territories.  Thus the two rivals became deadly enemies.

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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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