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the other, let Poland be supposed to be re-established, Russia would then at once be cut off from Odessa and Turkey, as well as from all communication with central Europe. Poland has therefore become the conductor of the Czar's power from the north to the east, south and west, and is, in their political system, that which the heart is for the circulation of the blood,—the pulse of a new north." *
Though it little matters now with which of the three northern powers originated the partition of Poland, their crime being equal, since all shared in it, we agree with our author, that it was not Catherine, but Frederick the Great, who first conceived the idea. Notwithstanding the success of Prussia, during the seven years' war, that state was comparatively weak, when contrasted with the two neighbouring powers. Frederick and his brother Henry, no less good politicians than great generals, knew well the projects of Austria for recovering the provinces torn from her, and were aware that Russia would favour them, provided Austria did not oppose her own plans of aggrandizement in the south. In this critical situation, and already deserted by France, they perceived that Prussia could not preserve her rank unless they should succeed in binding her by a common interest with the two other powers, and with this view they conceived the project of the partition of Poland, which once accomplished became the tie of permanent alliance between the three powers, The conduct of Catherine, on that occasion, was very characteristic. When a dispute arose about the respective shares of each party, she put an end to it by dipping her finger in the ink and marking with it on the map the three portions. What had then become of the angel's smile for which she was said to be remarkable? Maria Theresa, on her part, stood with her handkerchief in one hand weeping for Poland, whilst with the sword in the other she divided the land in sections, and took her share. Frederick the Great exulted that Voltaire could no longer liken his state to a pair of gaiters, whilst his brother Henry drew the conclusion, that it would no longer be ridiculed for want of logic. Alas for justice! We cannot help extracting the passage on the character of the unfortunate Polish people, the more interesting from being written by a Russian, to whose candour also it does great honour.
"The Poles are one of the finest of the human races ; the personal beauty, both of the men and women, is such as can hardly be seen elsewhere. The men possess, in an eminent degree, both physical strength and energy of character. They are generons, hospitable to prodigality, full of noble sentiments, and their manners are those of true chivalry. They are amiable towards their equals, haughty to their vassals; susceptible on the point of honour, and magnificent in their domestic arrange
* Insurrection of Poland, in 1830-31, by S. B. Gnorowski.
ments. Their enthusiasm for liberty and national independence is unbounded, and for these they are ready to venture on the most daring undertakings. To these qualities may be added the unshakeable constancy they have lately shown in the midst of misfortunes. The Polish women have great influence over the other sex, and to the beauty of the English and the graces of the French women, they join the highest patriotism. By their superior education and the power of their charms, they keep alive in the hearts of the men the sentiments of honour, independence and patriotism. Civilization also is more generally developed amongst them than amongst their neighbours. During my sojourn in White Russia, I knew many gentlemen who, although their country had been for many years subjugated by Russia, displayed more knowledge, and more correct notions of law and justice, than I have subsequently witnessed in the members of ministerial committees and legislative assemblies."
Alluding to the insurrection of the Poles in 1880, the Admiral
"The extreme cruelties exercised upon the Polish nation since the insurrection of 1830, have no palliation, since that insurrection was the work of those to whom the government of the country was entrustedof the Grand Duke Constantine, half man, half monkey,' and of the grinding oppression of his minions. Yet the Poles are treated as though they had revolted against a wise and legitimate government. We may
discern, however, that powerful obstacles will one day arise to prevent the continuation of this violent state of affairs. The harsh treatment of the Poles only exasperates and disposes them to revolt, and the Russian government must therefore look upon them as a vanguard of the enemy. It is evident, that should Russia engage in a foreign war, her enemies would make good use of the hatred of the Poles for their oppressors. He who is resolved to exterminate a nation, exposes himself to the consequences of its despair, and his victims, until they are annihilated, will display all that is most sublime in civic virtue. On the other hand, if it is intended that they should constitute a part of the empire, what can the Russian government ultimately gain by endeavouring to weaken them?"
Besides the above causes, which render the amalgamation of the Poles with the Russians a thing impossible, others exist, according to the Admiral, still more powerful, and which cannot be removed, except by the total extirpation of the Polish race. The Admiral is, however, of opinion, that this cannot take place, and it is with pleasure that we quote his words.
"It must also be borne in mind, that the Russians and the Poles are, with regard to their respective moral characteristics, two races widely different, and that no power can ever fuse them together. The Russians not only do not fear slavery, but they cherish it, and make their boast of it, which is the lowest degree of baseness to which men may descend. The Poles, on the contrary, hold slavery in horror, and pant only for freedom. The observation of Machiavelli is particularly
VOL. XXVII. NO, LIII.
applicable to these two nations. It is,' says he, as difficult to render free, men made to be slaves, as to render slaves, men made to be free.' Two races of men thus directly opposed to each other have at length been found in the Russians and Poles. Their respective moral contrasts, acting as a permanent cause, will ultimately overpower the accidental cause, which has thrown the Poles into a false position--a state of violent constraint: just as the English, a nation independent by nature, long struggled against all kinds of tyranny with more or less success, until they ultimately obtained, by perseverance, a government suited to them. Let the Poles too persevere, and equal success awaits them."
We rejoice to hear these words of hope from a Russian, for the Admiral is still as ever an ardent Russian patriot, as well as an enthusiastic admirer of Catherine. Under her reign, the Admiral thinks the Poles were treated with all the regard due to their misfortune; but since her death, owing to the suspicious policy of her successors, every thing has been called in question: the rights, liberties, and privileges, granted one day, are swept away the next, and serve only as a pretext for persecution. "Let them hate me, provided they fear me !" Such is, according to him, the maxim of the master of Poland, whose sole ambition is to be formidable to his subjects.
"With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
The lower still he falls; only supreme
There are two other blemishes in the character of Catherine, which the Admiral endeavours to wipe away,—namely, that of having usurped the crown by dethroning and murdering her husband, Peter III.; and that of having purposely neglected the education of Paul, her son and successor. Peter III., though born with good dispositions, which he showed in his sober intervals, plunged, after his accession to the throne, into the most revolting debauchery. This, added to his mania for anti-national innovations, would have rendered his reign ruinous to his country. That révolution de palais,—the only revolution possible in Russia, by which he was dethroned, was prepared and consummated by some patriots, and Catherine is said to have kept aloof from all their proceedings, and to have joined them only when her personal interference became indispensable to the final success of the work. She had too no alternative but the throne or the tomb; as Peter had determined to shut her up for life in a fortress, and to marry the sister of the Princess Dashkoff. There cannot, therefore, be any question with regard to her pretended usurpation of the throne of Russia, the regular succession besides having been in no way determined; which led the famous Caraccioli to say, that the throne of Russia was neither hereditary nor elective, but occupative.
"It is also," says the Admiral, “ equally true, that the death of Peter III. no more took place by the order of Catherine, than that of Paul by the order of his sons. The imminence of a real or imaginary danger, which struck on the mind of some of the conspirators, was the sole moving cause in both cases. The only thing with which the Russians, who derived so much benefit from the change during Catherine's twenty-four years' reign, could reproach her for, would be, that she left them a series of legitimate successors, all more or less affected by the malady of Peter and Paul. In support of my opinion on this subject, I may be allowed to give an extract from the letter written by Prince Talleyrand to Louis XVIII. from Vienna on the 25th January, 1815, to dissuade him from giving his consent to the marriage of the Duc de Berry with a Russian Grand Duchess.
"Considering the state of the intellectual faculties of Peter III., the grandfather of the Grand Duchess, and of Paul I. her father; led by the examples of the late King of Denmark, and of the present reigning Duke of Oldenbourg, and of the unfortunate Gustavus IV., to look upon their deplorable infirmity as a dreadful appendage to the house of Holstein; I cannot but be apprehensive lest it should be introduced by this marriage into the royal family of France, and perhaps be inflicted on the heir of the throne. Shall Russia, who has been unable to establish any of her princesses upon any foreign throne, behold one of them called to that of France? Such a prospect would be, I venture to affirm, too much good fortune for her, and I should not wish that M. le Duc de Berry should thus find himself placed in circumstances of very close relationship with a multitude of princes in the lowest departments of sovereignty."
With regard to the second charge brought against Catherine, that of having neglected the education of her son Paul, those who are disposed to find fault with all her actions, assume that she did so, in order that the splendour of her reign, like that of the Roman Augustus, might be the better displayed, by being contrasted with the barbarous rule of her successor. Admiral Chichagoff thinks that Catherine was too generous to be capable of conceiving such an idea, and that those who blame her in this respect do not take into consideration the organization and
* " Ici considerant quel fut l'état des facultés intellectuelles chez Pierre III., aïeul de la Grande Duchesse, chez Paul I. son père; conduit par les exemples du feu Roi de Denemarck, du Duc actuellement regnant d'Oldenbourg, et du malheureux Gustave IV. à regarder leur deplorable infirmité comme une funeste appui de la maison de Holstein; je ne puis me defendre d'apprehender qu'elle ne fût transportée par ce mariage, dans la maison de France, et peut-être à l'heritier du trône. La Russie, qui n'a pu placer aucune de ses princesses sur ancun trône, en verra-t-elle une appellée à celui de France? Une telle perspective serait, j'ose le dire, une trop grande fortune pour elle, et je n'aimerai point, que M. le Duc de Berry se trouvât de la sorte dans des rapports de parenté fort étroits avec une foule de princes placés dans les dernieres divisions de la souveraineté."--Memoires tirés des papiers d'un homme d'état sur les causes secretes, qui ont determiné la politique des cabinets dans les guerres de la Revolution. Paris, 1838.
nature of man. Education may, to a certain extent, develope and improve the natural qualities of a man, but it can neither give him qualities, which nature has not bestowed upon him, nor entirely root up those with which he happens to have been born. Were it otherwise, M. Aurelius, a philosopher, and the most virtuous of the Roman emperors, would have left for his successor a son like himself, instead of a monster; and the father of Frederick the Great would, by his unnatural conduct, have rendered his son an idiot. Catherine, says the Admiral, having to bring up a son of perverse dispositions, endeavoured, unlike the father of Frederick the Great, to give him all the advantages of an education suited to a sovereign. Not satisfied with surrounding him with the most enlightened Russians, such as Panin and Platow, she requested the celebrated d'Alembert to become his tutor, but this latter could not be persuaded to undertake the charge. She tried subsequently to initiate Paul into state affairs, but at length came to the conviction that all her efforts to correct the vicious character of her son would be unavailing. In order therefore to avoid at least irritating his temper by further thwarting him, and in the hope of tranquilizing his nature, by allowing it fair play, she permitted him to indulge, as far as might be convenient, his soldier-like mania, and to amuse himself by equipping and organizing certain regiments, which he made up of deserters, robbers, and the worst characters in the army. He dressed and drilled them à la Prussienne, and it was with such a troop, that, after the death of Catherine, he made, as it were, an attack on the empire. Here it may naturally be asked, what prevented Catherine from doing that which Paul himself after. wards did, that is, to regulate the order of succession to the imperial throne, and by appointing a more capable successor, to secure to her people the advantages which she had conferred upon them. Where no law existed, could she not have made one? We should have been glad if the Admiral had solved this question. She might easily have perceived that by neglecting to do this, she had as yet done nothing effectual for the happiness of her people, who have been taught since, by experience, to regret her departure, but not to bless her memory. All the rights and privileges which she gave them, have one by one been torn from them, down to the charter of Peter III. emancipating the nobles, who are now as inalienably attached to their estates as the serfs. For this omission we must again abstract a considerable quantum from her greatness, though we are willing to allow that she was a shrewd and intelligent politician, and a well intentioned sovereign. Her personal appearance is thus described by the Admiral: