The Empire of Russia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 601 pages of information about The Empire of Russia.

Friendly relations were immediately established between France and Russia, and they exchanged embassadors.  Paul had conferred an annual pension of two hundred thousand rubles (about $150,000) upon the Count of Provence, subsequently Louis XVIII., and had given him an asylum at Mittau.  He now withdrew that pension and protection.  He induced the King of Denmark to forbid the English fleet from passing the Sound, which led into the Baltic Sea, engaging, should the English attempt to force the passage, to send a fleet of twenty-one ships to assist the Danes.  The battle of Hohenlinden and the peace of Luneville detached Austria from the coalition, and England was left to struggle alone against the new opinions in France.

The nobles of Russia, harmonizing with the aristocracy of Europe, were quite dissatisfied with this alliance between Russia and France.  Though the form of the republic was changed to that of the consulate, they saw that the principles of popular liberty remained unchanged in France.  The wife of Paul and her children, victims of the inexplicable caprice of the tzar, lived in constant constraint and fear.  The empress had three sons—­Alexander, Constantine and Nicholas.  The heir apparent, Alexander, was watched with the most rigorous scrutiny, and was exposed to a thousand mortifications.  The suspicious father became the jailer of his son, examining all his correspondence, and superintending his mode of life in its minutest details.  The most whimsical and annoying orders were issued, which rendered life, in the vicinity of the court, almost a burden.  The army officers were forbidden to attend evening parties lest they should be too weary for morning parade.  Every one who passed the imperial palace, even in the most inclement weather, was compelled to go with head uncovered.  The enforcement of his arbitrary measures rendered the intervention of the troops often necessary.  The palace was so fortified and guarded as to resemble a prison.  St. Petersburg, filled with the machinery of war, presented the aspect of a city besieged.  Every one was exposed to arrest.  No one was sure of passing the night in tranquillity, there were so many domiciliary visits; and many persons, silently arrested, disappeared without it ever being known what became of them.  Spies moved about everywhere, and their number was infinite.  Paul thus enlisted against himself the animosity of all classes of his subjects—­his own family, foreigners, the court, the nobles and the bourgeois.  Such were the influences which originated the conspiracy which resulted in the assassination of the tzar.



From 1801 to 1807.

Assassination of Paul I.—­Implication of Alexander in the Conspiracy.—­Anecdotes.—­Accession of Alexander.—­The French Revolution.—­Alexander Joins Allies Against France.—­State of Russia.—­Useful Measures of Alexander.—­Peace of Amiens.—­Renewal of Hostilities.—­Battle of Austerlitz.—­Magnanimity of Napoleon.—­New Coalition.—­Ambition of Alexander.—­Battles of Jena and Eylau.—­Defeat of the Russians.

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The Empire of Russia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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