The Empire of Russia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 503 pages of information about The Empire of Russia.

In the year 1557 an English commercial fleet entered the Baltic Sea and proceeded to the mouth of the Dwina to establish there an entrepot of English merchandise.  The commander-in-chief of the squadron visited Moscow, where he was received with the greatest cordiality, and thence passed down the Volga to Astrachan, that he might there establish commercial relations with Persia.  The tzar, reposing entire confidence in the London merchants, entered into their views and promised to grant them every facility for the transportation of English merchandise, even to the remotest sections of the empire.  This commercial alliance with Great Britain, founded upon reciprocal advantages, without any commingling of political jealousies, was impressed with a certain character of magnanimity and fraternity which greatly augmented the renown of the reign of Ivan IV., and which was a signal proof of the sagacity of his administration.  How beautiful are the records of peace when contrasted with the hideous annals of war!

The merchants of the other nations of southern and western Europe were not slow to profit by the discovery that the English had made.  Ships from Holland, freighted with the goods of that ingenious and industrious people, were soon coasting along the bays of the great empire, and penetrating her rivers, engaged in traffic which neither Russia or England seemed disposed to disturb.  While the tzar was engaged in those objects which we have thus rapidly traced, other questions of immense magnitude engrossed his mind.  The Tartar horde in Tauride terrified by the destruction of the horde in Kezan, were ravaging southern Russia with continual invasions which the tzar found it difficult to repress.  Poland was also hostile, ever watching for an opportunity to strike a deadly blow, and Sweden, under Gustavus Vasa, was in open war with the empire.

CHAPTER XV.

THE ABDICATION OF IVAN IV.

From 1557 to 1582.

Terror of the Horde in Tauride.—­War with Gustavus Vasa of
Sweden.—­Political Punctilios.—­The Kingdom of Livonia Annexed to
Sweden.—­Death of Anastasia.—­Conspiracy Against Ivan.—­His
Abdication.—­His Resumption of the Crown.—­Invasion of Russia by the
Tartars and Turks.—­Heroism of Zerebrinow.—­Utter Discomfiture of the
Tartars.—­Relations Between Queen Elizabeth of England, and
Russia.—­Intrepid Embassage.—­New War with Poland.—­Disasters of
Russia.—­The Emperor Kills His Own Son.—­Anguish of Ivan IV.

The entire subjugation of the Tartars in Kezan terrified the horde in Tauride, lest their turn to be overwhelmed should next come.  Devlet Ghirei, the khan of this horde, was a man of great ability and ferocity.  Ivan IV. was urged by his counselors immediately to advance to the conquest of the Crimea.  The achievement could then doubtless have been easily accomplished.  But it was a journey of nearly a thousand miles from

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