“The integrity of Poland is indispensable to the general interests of Europe. The grandeur of Russia is becoming dangerous.”
Maximilian soon sent another embassador to Moscow, who very forcibly described the conquests made by the Turks in Europe, Asia and Africa, from the Thracian Bosporus to the sands of Egypt, and from the mountains of Caucasia to Venice. He spoke of the melancholy captivity of the Greek church, which was the mother of Russian Christianity; of the profanation of the holy sepulcher; of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Sinai, which had fallen under the domination of the Turk. He suggested, that the Turks, in possession of the Tauride—as the country upon the north shore of the Black Sea, bounded by the Dnieper and the Sea of Azof was then called—threatened the independence of Russia herself; that Vassili had every thing to fear from the ferocity, the perfidy and the success of Selim, who, stained with the blood of his father and his three brothers, dared to assume the title of master of the world. He entreated Vassili, as one of the most powerful of the Christian princes, to follow the banner of Jesus Christ, and to cease to make war upon Poland, thus exhausting the Christian powers.
Maximilian died before his embassador returned, and thus these negotiations were interrupted. But Russia was then all engrossed with the desire of obtaining provinces from Poland. Turkey was too formidable a foe to think of assailing, and the idea at that time of wresting any territory from Turkey was preposterous. All Europe combined could only hope to check any further advance of the Moslem cimeters. Influenced by these considerations, Vassili sent another embassador to Constantinople to propose a treaty with Selim, which might aid Russia in the strife with her hereditary rival. The sultan, glad of any opportunity to weaken the Christian powers, ordered his pachas to harass Poland in every possible way on the south, thus enabling Russia more easily to assail the distracted kingdom on the north. The King of Poland, Sigismond, was in consternation.
Poland was united with Rome in religion. The pope, Leo X., anxious to secure the cooeperation of both Poland and Russia against the Turks, who were the great foe Christianity had most to dread, proposed that the King of Poland, a renowned warrior, should be entrusted with the supreme command of the Christian armies, and adroitly suggested to Vassili, that Constantinople was the legitimate heritage of a Russian monarch, who was the descendant of a Grecian princess; that it was sound policy for him to turn his attention to Turkey; for Poland, being a weaker power, and combined of two discordant elements, the original Poland and Lithuania, would of necessity be gradually absorbed by the growth of Russia.