ページの画像
PDF
[ocr errors]

gave a temporary firinness. Having addressed ed with benefits, and destined by Peter as an in-
with dignity the venal herd, and received the strument in his views. Seduced by the hope of
oaths of the officers of his guard, he mounted on i reward, or intimidated by the fear of consequences,
horseback, and rode through the streets of Peters- he was, without difficulty, rendered subservient
burg, distributing money among the populace. to the wishes of his master, who hesitated only
The soldiers, Aocking about him, exclaiming, I while he should choose a successor.
“ If thou take care of us, we will serve thee with The hopes of Catherine received daily accession
the same fidelity with which we served the good from the imprudence of her husband, whose de-
Empress, thy predecessor." The shouts of the signs against her, though known but in part, em-
people mingled with their acclamations, nor did boldened her to dare every thing for their preven-
any symptoms of discontent manifest themselves lion. Dismissed to Peterhoft, she passed her
upon the occasion. The salisfaction of Peter was days in one of its most retired apartments, where
apparent on his delivery from the severe con she meditated the dethronement of Peter : her
straint in which he had so long been held, but evenings were devoted to the company of an ad-
he betrayed no signs of indecent joy.

herent, cunverted by her favour into an intrepid
Such, on the accession of Peter to the imperial conspirator.
crown, was the temper of the people. In the To secure a part of the tronps, the Princess
proclamation which announced this event to the

| Dashkoff, under pretence of paying her compliempire, no mention was made of Catherine or her

ments to some officers of her acquaintance, visited son, an omission which to some appeared to pre the barracks. It was there she was met by Orloff, sage the overthrow of the lineal succession :

when a mutual explanation took place. The neither was there any preparation for the coro Princess, flattering herself with having gained nation at Moscow; a solem mity, rendered by its Orloff to her party, suspected not his connection usage and antiquity, highly impressive to the with Catherine, or even that he was known to Russians. Blinded by his infatuation for the her: to her fancied acquisition, the brothers of King of Prussia, Peter, while yet lottering on the Orloff, with many others long prepared by him throne, inconsiderately proposed to quit the king. || for the purpose, were joined. dom, and, for the gratification of an interview The succession, and the methods by which the with Frederic, to repair to Germany.

place of the fallen Prince should be supplied, be· In the midst of his feasts and wailike prepara came no less a subject of disputation. Catherine tions, the Czar had not been unmindful of the aspired to the vacant throne, and was supported Countess of Voronizoff, whose ascendancy over li in her pretensions by Orloff and the Princess. him daily increased: this woman, aspiring in her | That she should be permitted to govern under the, temper, but of mean talents, aimed, under the title of Regent, was proposed by Panin, while that tutorage of an ambitious father, to raise herself of Eniperor should devolve on her son. to the imperial throne. By alternate carcesses, 1 Peter remained yet unsuspicious of all that was forwardness, and Aattery, she induced her lover to

passing: lulled into a fatal security, he had in the renew the promise, made when he was Grand.

morning ordered the arrest of an officer, who, Duke, of endowing her with the privileges, and faithful to his interest, had the preceding evening placing her in the seat of Catherine. Led by her hastened to inform him of what was on foot. He vanity to boast of this engagement, she found in had, with his mistress, his favourites, and the wo

her imprudence her disappointment and ruin. men of the court, set out from Oranienbaum, in be,

Her present influence, with the future prospects a calash, for Peterhoff, to be present on the fes-
of which she dared to vaunt, roused the partisans tival of the ensuing day.
of the Empress, with whom the enemies of her I During these transactions, Catherine, at the
husband united their force. Peter, not less weak head of her army, had halted at a small public.
and vain, authorised, by his conduct, the boast house by the road side, eight versts from Peters-
of his mistress; he no longer affected to conceal burg; under this hunable shelter she reposed for
his projects against his wife, which involved in soine hours on the cloaks of the officers. Gre.
them a declaration of the illegitimacy of her son. gory Orloff, at break of day, with a few volun.

To cover his conduct with a pretence of justice, teers, had reconnoitred the environs of Peterhoff: his com and to secure universal consent, he believed he finding there only some peasants, armed with

AR! had only to produce iestimonies of the infidelities scythes, who had collected the preceding evening, Fished of the Empress. The Countess, apprised by her | he dispersed them by blows with the flat of his ed 2father of the first amour of Catherine with Solti sabre, compelling them to join in the cry of cer,", koff, had not failed to convey her intelligence to “ Long live the Empress." were so the Czar, who, upon this information, grounded 1 Peter, informed of her hostile approach, ordered Feni" his proofs. Soltikoff, recalled from Hamburg, a horse to be prepared, with the design of escapOnded where he had been appointed minister, was load. lling, alone and disguised, towards the frontiers of

Poland. But, uniformly weak and irresolute, he || to afford a presumption; at least it appears pro. presently after gave orders for dismantling the bable that, respecting so horrible a service, her little fortress at Oranienbaum, as a mark of sub- || partisans would, from decency, forbear to consult mission to the victorious Empress, whose mercy | her : on a subject so delicate, and of so difficult and pardon he implored, in a letter, full of hu. decision, to lean to the side of candour is the miliation and abasement. He assured her, that || undoubted part of the historian. The victim of he would resign undisputed, the Imperial crown; his weakness rather than of his vices, it is imthat he asked only a pension, and liberty to retire possible not to contemplate the fate of Peter with to Holstein. To this address no answer was the sincerest commiseration. vouchsafed; the compassion of Catharine, it is || By the death of the Einperor Joseph II. Russia pot improbable, was stifted by contempt for the I was Jeft to contend alone with the Ottomans, and pusillanimity of her husband.

Catherine began to perceive that her victories The unhappy Peter, after his submission, was I were ruinous; while too proud to sue for peace conducted to a little imperial retreat at Ropsacha, of which slre felt the necessity, her armies call. where, in a retirement known only to the chiefs | tinued their conquests. Great Britain, which had of the conspiracy, and the soldiers who formed incited the Turks 10 declare war against Russia, his guard, he had remained six days. On the now proposed to itself an advantage in being the seventh, Alexius Orloff, with an officer, came mediator of an accommodation. Catherine, on with news of his speedy deliverance, and asked l this occasion, inaintained the same character of permission to dine with him. Wine glasses and haughty independence which she had supported brandy were, according to the custom of the through the war; and, though determined on country, brought before the dinner; while the concluding a peace with the Turks, managed to officer amused the Czar with conversation, his obtain the most advantageous conditions. Mr. companion filled the glasses, infusing into that Fawkner, the British minister, felt her power, and designed for Peter, a poisonous mixture. The I was baffled by her address. Czar having without distrust swallowed the potion, ll During this negociation, a traveller, connected was presently seized with the most cruel pangs: 1 buch by blood and friendship with the illustrious on pretence of relieving his sufferings, his per-| leader of the opposition party in the British Parfidious guests offered him a secund glass, which liament, appeared in Petersburg. The Empress he rejected with reproaches : on his calling aloud seized this opportunity of shewing a marked dise for milk, the remorseless assassins again prof respect to the British minister. To ihe traveller tered him poison, which they importuned him to | she gave, in the presence of his country man, the swallow. A French valet-de-chambre, attached place of honour on her right hand; and, on the to his master, now rushed in, into whose arms arrangement of the peace, her presents to the rePeter threw himself. “ It was not enough, then," llation of Mr. Fox, of whom, as an orator and a said he in a faint tone of voice, “to prevent me stalesman, she expressed her admiration, exceeded from reigning in Sweden, and to deprive me of in number and value those conferred upon the the Russian crown must also be put to ambassador. death !" The valet presuming to intercede for | Catherine, greatly interested in the French his master, the ruffians forced from the room a Revolution, appeared full of apprehension, lest witness so dangerous, and continued their out its principles should find thieir way into Russia, rages to the unfortunate victim. In the midst and subvert the sentiinents on which her authoof the tumult, the younger of the Princes of Ba-rity was established. The ambassador of France ratinsky entered, and joined the assassins. Peter quilted Petersburg; Catherine, while she cene had been thrown to the ground by Orloff, who, sured his opinions, did justice to his talents, to kneeling on his breast, grasped firmly his throat. his virtues, and to the amenity of his manners. The dying monarch, with the strength of despe. “ I am an aristocrat,” said she lo hiin on his ration, struggled with the monster who held him taking leave, “ for I must carry on my business." down, when a napkin, thrown round his neck by The bust of her favourite Voltaire was degraded, the assistant ruffians, put an end, by suffocation, nor was that of the English patriot suffered to to liis resistance and his life.

keep iis place. The French in her dominions Various circumstances combined to produce were compelled, like Hannibal, to swear im. this catastrophe; the murmurs of the populace,

mortal hatred against the new republic; and to the uncertain fidelity of the troops, the difficulty

take an oath of allegiance to the pretender to the of disposing of a captive so important, added to Freuch monarchy. It is yet a curious fact, that the hopes and projects which, during his life, the son of Count Esterhazy, an emigrant, used, would not fail to agitate his friends and adherents. at the desire of Catherine, to sing the French Of her innocence of this atrocious act, the gene patriotic songs at the Hermitage, which some. ral conduct and character of the Empress seems | times resounded with the Carmagnole and Ceira.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

One half of Poland, the Crimea, the Kuban, || hasten to inforın your excellent excellence, that and a part of the frontiers of Turkey, had yielded the excellent troops of the excellent court have to the arms or the intrigues of Catherine; but | given the French an excellent drubbing." She for the usurpation of another rich and populous | amused herself with rallying and laughing at her country she had no need of battles; for the con. grand-ecuyer and first buffoon; but retired soinequest of Courland and Semigallia her intrigues what earlier than usual, assigning as a reason, proved sufficient. The nobles were gained over that too much langhing had given her slight by her emissaries; the people, to elude her op- || symptoms of the colic. She arose the next pressions, with which they were wearied out, || morning at her accustomed hour, and transacted accepted her protection. The acquisition of business with her secretaries; on dismissing the Courland proved, from its corn aod timber, and last, she told him to wait in the antichamber, its ports on the Baltic, a valuable prize to Russia. !) whence she would presently recall him. The

Unsatiated with empire, per petual measures secretary, having w:ited for some time, and hearwere taken by Catherine for the annexing to ing no noise in the apartment, began to grow her dominions new kingdoms and states, whose uneasy. He at last opened the door, and beheld, miserable inhabitants were, on resistance, de to his surprise and terror, the Empress stretched spuiled of the heritage of their fathers, and driven on the floor, betireen the two doors leading from from their native soil.

the alcove to her closet. She was already with.. Her grandson, Alexander, having been mar out sense or motion. The secretary, on this ried by Catherine to the Princess Louisa of Baden spectacle, ran to the favourite, whose apartment Durlach, she became also desirous of choosing a was above : physicians were sent for, and an wife for Constantine. With this view the three universal consternation prevailed. A mattress daughters of the Prince of Saxe Coburg were in. was spread near the window, on which Catherinevited to her court, and the youngest selected for l was laid; bleeding, bathing, and every means the consort of the Prince.

usually resorted to on such occasions, were emBut in quiet usurpations, in treaties, and alli-ll ployed, by which some effect seemed to be proances, her restless mind remained unsatisfied. || duced. She was still alive, but without any Thirsting for conquest, and inured to the din of other perceptible mtion or sign than the bearing war, she turned her arms against Persia. At the of her heart. Every one was eager to dispatch a head of a numerous force, the brother of the messenger to Paul; the brother of the favourite favourite, Zuboff, penetrated into Daghesian, was the person employed in this service. The and laid siege to Derbent; the keys of which situation of the Empress was, till eleven o'clock, were delivered to him by the commandant, a her accustomed hour of seeing her family, kept venerable old man, 120 years of age, the same secret from the Grand-Dukes and from the hous. who, at the commencement of the century, had hold; every one feared to mention bis appresurrendered Derbent to Peter I. This triumph hensions; hier death was considered as the epoch received some alloy in a subsequent defeat by the of some extraordinary revolution, the court first, Persian army. But Catherine, not discouraged, and presently the city, were in a state of the most gave orders for the reinforcement of the troops, alarming agitation. not doubting of their ultimate success.

The Grand-Duke was absent on the arrival of The hope of obtaining a greater triumph also the messenger; six couriers met in the same Aattered her pride: the new treaty concluded instant: Paul was, with his court, gone a few with Austria and Great Britain, secured to her miles to inspect a will constructed by his orders. the assistance of these powers against Turkey : On receiving the intelligence, he appeared to be elated with this idea, the period seemed approach. affected; asked a thousand questions, gave instant ing for the accomplishment of her darling plan, orders for his journey, and proceeded rapidly to that of driving the Oltomans out of Europe, and | Petersburg; where, arriving with his consort at Feigning in Constantinople. Already, in idea, ll eight in the evening, he found the palace in conarrived at the summit of her ambition, her visions || fusion. The courtiers crowded around him ; the of greatness experienced a sudden check. The | favourite, a prey to grief and terror, had relinmagnificent Catharine was not immortal. I quished the reins of empire.

On the fourth day of November, 1796, the | Paul, accompanied by his family, repaired to Empress displayed in what was called her little ll the chamber of his mother; who, without shew. hermitage (a small party), uncommon cheerful. ing any consciousness, still existed. The young ness and vivacity. By a vessel froin Lubeck she I princes and princesses, dissolved in tears, formed had received news of the French, under Moreau, | around their grandmother an affecting groupe. having been obliged to repass the Rhine. She | The Grand-Duchesses, the gentlemen and ladies wrote on this occasion the following huinoursus li of the court, remained through the night waiting Bote to Cobenzel, the Austrian minister:~"Ill the last sigh of the Empress; the following day

passed in the saine anxious solicitude. Ca hell justice, order, and law, were sometimes violated, rine, still breathing, reinained in a kind of le- and the most odious tyranny practised with inthargy; she even moved one of her feet, and punity. Her situation in the empire, Helicate pressed the hand of one of her women. About and often cri'ical, restrained her judgment; it ten in the evening she appeared suddenly to l was by suffering her power to be abused that she revive; a terrible rattling was heard in her throat; was enabled to preserve it; she knew how to the family crowded around her; when, uttering reward, but dared not always punish. a piercing shriek, she expired, thirty-seven hours For her licentiousness as a woman, no excuse after her first seizure. She barayed no symptom ll can be offered ; as a sover ign, she must be alof pain till the moment before her decease: a lowed the title of great. If her love of glory too prosperous life was terminated by a happy death. often assuined the features of a des'ructive am.

The young Grand-Duchesses bewailed in their bition, the praise of an enlightened and magnagrandmother the source whence all their pleasure nimous mind cannot be denied to her. Howed; the ladies and courtiers who had enjoyed It has been well observed, that the splendour her private society, and experienced the captiva

and experienced the captiva- | of her reign, the magnificence of her court, ker tion of her manners, paid a tribute of tears to her institutions, her monuments, and her victories, loss; the happy evenings of the hermitage, the were to Russia what the age of Louis XIV. had freedom and pleasure which Catherine so well | been to Europe; as an individual, the character knew how to ditfuse, were contrasted by then

w to untuise, were contrasted by them | or Catherine had a belter title 10 great. The with the military constraint and formal etiquette

and formal etiquette | French formed the glory of Louis, Catherine that which were likely to succeed. The domestics of of the Russians; she reigned not like him over the Empress sincerely mourned a good and gene. a polished people, nor had she his advantages. rous mistress, whose mild and equal temper, She had a nation to form, and her measures were superior to petty caprices or sudden gusts of pas her own; however deceived or seduced, she sufsion, whose noble and dignified character, had

fereil not herself to be governed. Huinane and rendered their services equally easy and pleasant, generous, cheerful and aruiable, she constituted

Catharine still retained, though seventy years the happiness of those who surrounded her. Her of age, the vestiges of beauty. She was of the

active and regular life, her firinness, courage, and middle stature, and, carrying her head high, ap

sobriety, were moral qualities of no mean value; peared tall; her hair was auburn, her eye-brows

corrupted by prosperity, and intoxicated with dark, and her eyes blue; her countenance,

success, her crimes of a darker hue were those of though not deficient in expression, never betrayed

her station rather than those of her heart. The what passed in her mind; a mistress of dissimu barbarous country over which she reigned, the lation, she knew how to command her features. grossness of its manners, and the difficulties with She became corpulent as she advanced in years, which she had to struggle, must not be forgotten yet her carriage was graceful and dignified. In

in forming an estimate of her character. Whatprivate she inspired, by her conciliatory man ever may have been her faulls, and doubtless they ners, confidence and good humour; youth, play

were great, her genius, her talents, her courage, fulness, and gaiety appeared to surround her; but

and her success, must ever entitle her to a high in public, and on proper occasions, she knew how rank among those women whose qualities and to assume the Empress, to appear the 'Semiramis

attainments have thrown a lustre on their sex. of The North,' and to awe by her frowns. She She aspired to the character of an author, to usually dressed in the Russian mode; she wore

which, by her celebrated “ Instructions for a Cole a green gown or vest, with close sleeves reaching of Laws,” her dramatic pieces and proverbs, her to the wrist; her hair lightly powdered, and tales and allegories for the improvement of her towing upon her shoulders, was crowned wi'ha

grandchildren, she is justly entitled. Among small cap covered with diamonds; in the latter

the productions of her pen, her Letters to Vol. periods of her life she put on a great quantity of taire are accounted the most interesting. She rouge. In her habits and diet she was strictly

composed also for the Imperial fainily a plan of temperate; she took a ligh: breakfast, ate a mo

education, compiled principally from the writings derare dinner, and had no supper.

of Locke and Rousseau, which reflects infinite The estimate of her character must be formed

credit on her liberality and discernment. from her actions; her reign was perhaps for her

There are few reigns more interesting than that people rai her brilliant than happy. Within the

of Catherine, more strictly biographical; few that circle of her infuence, her governinent was ino

involve more important principles, that afford a derale and benign; at a distance, terrible and

wider scope, or that more forcibly tend to awaken despotic; under the protection of her favourites, ll

reflection.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE KINGS OF SHESHIAN :
TRUE HISTORY, TRANSLATED FROM THE SHESHIANESE.

[Continued from Page 235.]

SHAH GEBAL was (we know not wherefore) || no other purpose than to disseminate a spirit of 60 well satisfied with the narrative of the philo-li effeminacy throughout the world. do

effeminacy throughout the world, deterring the sopher Danishmende, particularly with the con- || members of the community froin all laborious clusion of it, that he iminediately ordered him exertion and arduous enterprise, and hy exciting to be paid five hundred baham-d'ors froin his the general desire to become as happy as these treasury. Whenever the place of superintendant imaginary darlings of nature, whose voluptuous of the dervises and bonzes, added he, shall be morality is given us for wisdom, to bring matters come vacant, Danishmende shall have it.

to such a pass that nobody will any longer be : It was not by chance, but because the Sultan willing to cultivate the ground, to execute labo. of Nurmahal had been previously informed that rious works, and to venture his life at sea, or the dervises were displeased with the conclusion against the enemies of the country. In general, of the doctor's story, that the principal iman of to the perfecting of any branch of the political the court received a command to attend upon || welfare, it is necessary to have people who are the Sultan that night at bed time. His majesty not averse to labour, and who vie with each other was not a little delighted in the embarrassment in such obstinate patient industry as no effemi. which he conceived the iman must feel at the nate character is capable of, * for bringing sonie metamorphosis of the emir into a dervise. But particular useful occupation to perfection. Is it probably because the iman, without being there ever to be expected that a voluptuous merchant fore more cunning than others, could not fail uf can become rich, a voluptuous artist expert, or perceiving why he had the honour of being there, il a voluptuous scholar famous? Will not this kept so strict a guard over himself that not the remark infallibly hold good, at least, in general ? least sign of uneasiness escaped him. However, or shall we imagine that a voluptuous judge he could not refrain from making the remark will execute his function the more punctiliously that even if there were, which he might reason. | and conscientiously, or an effeminate commander ably doubt, such a tribe in the world as these conduct himself more gallantly for coming from pretended children of nature, yet he thought it the lap of luxury, better sustain the hardships of would be much better, either entirely to sup la campaign, and more quickly and surely lay press the account of it, or at least not let it get the enemies of the Sultan, our master, prostrate abroad ainong the people.

at his feet? You see, Mr. Danishmende, that And for what reasons, if we may be so bold | I can have recourse to the weapons which my with your reverence? asked the Sultan.

peculiar station furnishes ine with against you. • I extend this my opinion, returned the iman, || While the iman was making this fine speech, to all those accounts of I know not what ideal The Sultan, with half shut eyes, and in a languid beings, who are reigned to lead, under the pre tone, amused himself with singing La faridontended sceptre of nature, an unsolicitous life, ilaine la faridondon, dondaine dondon dondaine, consisting of one continued tissue of voluptuousness and agreeable sensations. The more inno * Although it is not to be denice that the cent and amiable their manners are represented iman here produces some truths, yet we cannot to be, the more mischievous is the impression forbear to observe, that this last position is false; such figments will make upon the great niuli- || Solon, Pisistratus, Alcibiades, Demerin: Poliora tude. To speak honestly (continued he, in a cetes, Julius Cæsar, Anthony, and ten thousand soft insinuating tone, expressly adapted to his other instances have in all ages shewn the con. courteous looks), I cannot see what utility can trary. But, indeed, this iman might not have be expected to result from them, or how we can travelled much in history.-Note of the Latin conceal it from ourselves that they can tend to translator,

No. XVIII. Vol. II.

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »