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many palaces of superlative magnificence of her life, illustrative of her reign as Emin St. Petersburgh and Moscow. The press of Russia. Catharine i was the crowns she wore are still preserved, afflu- Princess Sophia Augusta von Anhalt, beent with the richest jewels, gems and fore her marriage to her cousin Charles diamonds that earth has seen. The fa- Frederick, Duke of Holstein Gottorp, cade of her palace at Tzarsko-selo, twen- whom his aunt, the Empress Elizabeth ty miles from St. Petersburgh, is twelve of Russia, had chosen for her successor, hundred feet in length. Originally every having created him Grand-duke of Russtatue, pedestal and capital of the numer- sia. In adopting the Greek communion ous columns, the vases, carvings and he took the name of Peter, afterwards other ornaments in front, were covered Peter the mi, and his consort that of with gold leaf, and the gold used for Catharine Alexiewna. She
the that purpose amounted to more than a daughter of the Prince of Anhalt Zerbst, million of ducats. The interior rooms Governor of Stettin, in Prussian Poof this superb palace more than sur- merania. She was born May 20, 1729, passed the exterior. The eye of the and brought up by her mother in the traveler is still dazzled with its richness most simple manner. Her union with and magnificence. The chief wonder of Peter was an ill assorted and unhappy the palace is the amber-room, the walls match. Catharine was handsome, fond of which are literally panneled with this of pleasure, and at the same time clever, rich and rare material in various archi- ambitious, bold and unprincipled. Peter tectural designs. Another room adjoin-! was greatly inferior to his wife in abiliing is famed as the lapis lazuli apartment, ties, irresolute and imprudent. In consein which the door frames, the window quence of many disagreements with his frames, the mirror frames, the mirror wife, as soon as he came to the throne, tables and the centre tables are composed by the death of the Empress Elizabeth, of this very rare and costly mineral, while he began to talk of repudiating Cathathe floor of polished ebony is inlaid with rine, who was then living in retirement beautiful flowers of mother of pearl—a at Peterhoff
, some twenty miles from St. room like which the world itself can not Petersburgh, on the shore of the gulf of furnish a duplicate in such marvelous Finland. Since that time the Emperor magnificence. On first entering the Nicholas, has rendered it, by the expenroom we were a little timid, and hesi- diture of vast sums of money, the most tant at walking on flowers of mother of beautiful and charming spot in all Ruspearl. The bed-chambers and other pri- sia. Peter had caused a large building vate adjoining rooms of Catharine, are to be erected, which it began to be suradorned with walls of porcelain and pil-mised that he designed for the reception lars of glass, in purple, green and red, and imprisonment of Catharine, after her with all the freshness and beauty of disgrace and divorcement. The suspiyesterday. In the banqueting room, the cions of the Empress Catharine were entire walls to the height of about nine now converted into alarm. Peter disfeet are covered with gold. The ceilings missed her from the court, and sent her throughout all the state apartments, are into one of the most retired apartments gold, which is laid on most lavishly, as if at Peterhoff, where she passed her time at that time gold was of little account in in meditating how to escape from the the adornment of this fairy palace. The fate that threatened her, by hurling her whole palace, in fact, breathes recollec- husband from the throne. In the meantions of the great Catharine, whose por- time a conspiracy had been formed by trait is at the head of this number of the the enemies of Peter and the friends of ECLECTIC. It corresponds with the nu- Catharine. The five brothers Orloff, merous portraits which we saw in many formed the centre of this conspiracy, palaces in St. Petersburgh and Moscow. among whom Gregory played the chief Her achievements and energy in the part. The Princess Dashkof, the warm management of her empire gained for friend of Catharine was, moreover, the her the appellation of the Semiramis of soul of the whole conspiracy. She first the North.
gained over Count Panin, who was the The following is a brief outline sketch chief tutor of the Grand-duke Paul,
and several other men of great influence. his brother Alexis a key to this summerThe conspirators had at first no fixed house and he it was who had aroused the plan. They postponed the execution of Empress. “Your Majesty has not a motheir purpose from time to time. The ment to lose,” he exclaimed ; “get ready King of Prussia warned Peter of what to follow me;" and then instantly retired. was about to be attempted. But Peter The Empress, somewhat alarmed, callhad sunk at that time into an incon- ed her confidant Ivanova. They hastily ceivable degree of apathy and supine- dressed themselves in such a manner as ness. Suddenly, an event occurred which to avoid being recognized by the sentithreatened instant discovery and destruc- nels about the palace. Alexis immedition to all engaged in the plot. Passik, ately returned and told the Empress that who had offered to assassinate Peter, had a carriage was waiting for them at the imprudently half revealed the conspiracy, garden gate. The carriage belonged to and was immediately arrested and im- the Princess Dashkaw, which she had orprisoned. He was placed in a room un- dered to be in waiting. Catharine trustder a strong guard, but he contrived to ed her safety to the conspirator. She write with a pencil on a scrap of paper: and her companion reached the carriage “Proceed to execution this instant, or unobserved. Orloff then took the reins we are undone."
Giving the paper to a and drove off with the speed of a madman at the door, who was a spy in the man. So relentlessly did he urge the employ of the Princess Dashkof, the man | horses forward, that, after a time, they hurried with the paper to his mistress. fell exhausted upon the road, and reConvinced of the danger, the energetic mained unable to move. The distance Princess, disguising herself in a man's to St. Petersburgh was still considerable, great-coat, hurried forth, and caused or- and such was the imminent danger of deders to be conveyed to the officers in the lay, that they resolved to proceed on conspiracy to repair, without a moment's foot. Before they had gone far, they delay, to their regiment, the Ismaeloff- met a peasant driving a light country ski guards, and remain at their posts in cart. Alexis Orloff seized the horses, order to receive the Empress at the sub- the man ran away in alarm ; the Empress urbs of the city. She also desired Orloff, and her attendant got into the vehicle ; to fly like lightning to Peterhoff, and en- | and again they started with such speed treat the Empress to place herself instant- as they could urge the animals to accomly in a post carriage which she would plish. Soon they were met by another find in readiness, and drive to the quar- carriage containing Gregory Orloff, who, ters of the Ismaeloffski guards, whom on the rack of expectation, and alarmed she would find waiting to proclaim her at the non-appearance of the Empress, as sovereign, and to escort her into the had hurried forth to meet her. Recogcapitol. Alexis Orloff undertook the nizing her in an instant, he called out dangerous commission of going to bring that the conspirators only waited for her the Empress from Peterhoff.
presence to proceed to action, and then It was two o'clock in the morning hastily drove on before to receive her at when Catharine was roused from a pro- St. Petersburgh. There Catharine arfound sleep, and found a soldier stand- rived at seven in the morning, almost ing by her bed-side. To enable her the exhausted with fatigue and anxiety, but more easily to escape, in the event of dis- retaining sufficient command of herself covery of the conspiracy, Catharine had to assume a sedate and tranquil air. taken up her lodgings at a summer She proceeded immediately to the barhouse in the grounds of the palace. At racks of the Ismaeloffski guards, where, the foot of this building ran a canal, com on the report of her arrival, about thirty municating with the river Neva. Near soldiers, only half dressed, ran out and the door a small boat was fastened to received her with shouts of joy. Struck facilitate her escape into Sweden, should with alarm at seeing so small a number; such a step become necessary. We visit- Catharine remained silent for a few moed these historic scenes several times last ments. Addressing the soldiers in a summer, which give them almost a pres- tremulous voice, she said that her danent reality. Gregory Orloff had given ger had driven her to the necessity of
coming to ask their assistance; that the which had taken place at St. PetersCzar had intended to put her to death burgh. When informed of the flight of that very night, together with her son ; Catharine, he turned pale and was much that she had no other means of escaping agitated. By the advice of the aged her doom but by flight; and that she Marshal Munich, Peter resolved to go had so much confidence in their disposi- ' over to Cronstadt, in full view from Petertion as to put herself into their hands. hoff, where his large fleet lay at anchor
The auditors were greatly excited at and a numerous garrison. Two yatchs these words, and swore to defend her to were hurriedly prepared for the departhe utmost of their lives. The numbers ture of himself and court. But it was of the soldiers collected around the Em-/ too late. Catharine, aware of the impress increased every moment, and be- portance of securing the fleet in her fore long the veterai Rasumoffski made favor, despatched Admiral Talitzen to his appearance. The chaplain of the take the command of it in her name. As regiment was then called, and fetching a soon as the yacht containing the unforcrucifix from the altar, he received on it tunate monarch cast anchor, a sentinel the oath of the troops of fidelity to Catha- demanded, “Who comes there?” “The rine. Numerous shouts arose of “ Long Emperor,” was the answer. " There is live the Empress!” General Villebois no Emperor,” replied the sentinel. Peter and the artillery were also gained over, advanced on deck, and throwing back and in less than two hours she was fol- his cloak, to show the badges of his lowed by about 2,000 soldiers and a rank, exclaimed, “What do you not great number of the inhabitants of the know me?" A thousand voices answered, city. With these she proceeded to the “No, we know of no Emperor. Long church of Kazan (in which is the Holy of live the Empress Catharine!” The cables Holies, into which no woman, not even were cut and Peter sailed away froin the Empress of Russia, is allowed to Cronstadt by moonlight. On the 29th of enter, but into which we were allowed June, 1762, the imbecile monarch wrote to go) where the Archbishop of Novgo- and solemnly signed his abdication and rod, (who was animated by a bitter ha- | renunciation of the crown of Russia. The tred of Peter, because he had confiscated self-deposed monarch had been placed in the property of the church), arrayed in the custody of Count Alexis Orloff and an sacerdotal costume, and a great number officer named Taploff, who entered his of priests stood at the altar ready to re- apartment and asked permission to dine ceive her. Placing the imperial crown with him. The unsuspicious monarch reaupon her head, he proclaimed her sover- dily consented, and, according to the Ruseign of all the Russias, by the name of sian custom, wine glasses and brandy were Catharine 11, and declared the young brought in before dinner. While TapGrand-duke Paul, her successor, who, it loff amused the Czar with some trifling will be remembered, became, when Em- discourse, Orloff secretly poured some peror, so much enamoured of Napoleon 1, poison into the glass intended for the who had flattered his pride and vanity. Czar. Peter drank the deadly poison ofAfter a solemn Te Deum had been chant- fered to him without mistrust, and was ed, Catharine proceeded to the palace immediately seized with most acute pains. which had been occupied by the late The unhappy man then discovered their Empress Elizabeth, where for several terrible design. A struggle followed. hours the crowd was indiscriminately Orloff, a man of great strength, had admitted, many of whom fell upon their thrown the Emperor on the fioor, when knees before her and took the oath of Barinski terminated his life by stranguallegiance. Such was the manner in lation. We pass over as lightly as poswhich this celebrated Empress reached sible, this historic tragedy. The followthe throne of Russia, which she held for ing day it was publicly announced that thirty-five years. These particulars may the Emperor was dead. The informaadd interest to her portrait at the head tion was communicated to the court, while of this number.
Catharine was at table. Rising from her Peter, in the meantime, seems to have seat, with her eyes full of tears, she disbeen perfectly ignorant of the revolution missed her courtiers and foreign minis
ters, and returning to her apartment, ap- rumored marriage with Orloff had occapeared for several days to be plunged in sioned. A bold attempt was even made the most profound grief. During this to seize the person of the latter. time she published the following declar Among a number of favorites as they ation. “By the grace
of God, Catharine are termed in the annals of the times, 11, Empress etc., etc. The seventh day af- was Poniatowski, a Polish noble, whom ter our accession to the throne of all the Catharine raised to be King of Poland. Russias, we received information that Some personage at St. Petersburgh said the late Emperor, Peter ni, by means of to the Empress, Poniatowski was not of a disorder to which he was subject, was high rank enough for that station. She attacked with a most violent griping replied, “I will have him to be king, and cholic. But to our great regret and king he shall be.” And she kept her affliction, we were yesterday evening ap- word, and in the end the Empress took a prised that, by permission of the Al- large portion of Poland and added it to mighty, the late Emperor departed this her own dominions. life, etc.” His body was brought to St. In arranging with the King of Prussia Petersburgh, and afterwards interred in the terms for the partition of Poland, the monastery of Nevski. Soon after Catharine invited Prince Henry to the Catharine went to Moscow, for the pur- i Russian court. The Empress entertained pose of celebrating her coronation in the her guest with truly imperial magnifiancient capital of the empire. The Em- cence and hospitality. In her grand press and her court entered Moscow with palace at Tzarsko-celo the Empress gave great pomp, where she was crowned, in to the Prussian Prince one of those gorthe chapel of the Czars on the 22d of Sep- geous entertainments with which she at tember, in the presence of the soldiers times delighted and astonished her court. and the court. But there was manifested on the approach of evening, the Emno enthusiasm, and Catharine soon re- press, the Grand-duke Paul, and Prince turned to St. Petersburgh.
Henry entered an immense sledge drawn The Empress published a manifesto, by sixteen horses and set out from St. assuring foreigners that they should find Petersburgh, followed by some two thouwelcome and support in her dominions. sand sledges, filled with courtiers in This proclamation was the cause of an masquerade costumes. Along the road extensive emigration, chiefly from the were triumphal arches, lit up in the most German States. Thousands of Germans brilliant manner, illuminated temples, hastened to accept the invitation of the pyramids of lamps, displays of fireworks, Empress. As a consequence, there is a vaulting and tumbling, and rustic dances large German population at this day in by shepherds and shepherdesses. On apRussia, and, curious enough, many of proaching the palace, an artificial mounthem are unable to speak the German tain was seen through an avenue in the language.
wood, pouring out from its summit torCatharine had a correct estimate of rents of flames, in imitation of Vesuher own peculiar talents, and of the influ- vius during an eruption. On arriving at ence she was likely to exercise on the em- the palace, the company danced for two pire and on Europe. “You think, then, hours in a suit of apartments lit up by that Europe has, at present, its eyes fixed an enormous number of wax candles. on me, and that I have some weight in Then came a roar of cannon, the ball the principal courts,” said Catharine to a was suspended, the lights were all exforeign minister, one day, in answer to a tinguished, and the company ran to the remark which he made. Gregory Orloff, windows, from which they enjoyed a who had been so instrumental in placing magnificent exhibition of fireworks. Anthe Empress on the throne, was ambi- other discharge of artillery took place, the tious to share the throne with her, and wax candles were suddenly relit, as if by twelve bishops signed a petition to that magic, and a splendid supper was already effect, but she said she would never take served up for the guests. All the ena step which was surrounded with so tertainments of the Empress were conmany difficulties. She had much diffi- ducted with a magnificence not surpassed culty in silencing the murmurs which her by any court in Europe.
Among the numerous presents which | daylight. It was thus that the proud Catharine bestowed upon the Prince was Empress of the North, in the midst of the star of the order of St. Andrew, full the deepest night, willed and commanded of very large brilliants, and containing a that there should be light. single diamond valued at 40,000 roubles. Away went the cortege, with an almost The secret object of all this display was incredible celerity, over vast plains covthe dismemberment of Poland, which ered with snow, across frozen marshes, was in due time accomplished. On one and through forests of fir, whose dark occasion the Empress paid a visit in great branches hung with innumerable icicles, state to Moscow. She was preceded into irradiated with gleams of light, giving that city by 600 soldiers from each regi- them the lustre of the crystal and the ment of the guards, and followed by a bril-diamond. After six days' traveling, the liant retinue. Two triumphal arches had Empress became fatigued, and rested for been erected, at a cost of 40,000 roubles, three days at Smolensko, and gave a grand for the procession to pass under, and every ball to three hundred ladies splendidly thing connected with the entrance of the attired. A further journey of ten days Empress into the ancient city was grand brought the Imperial party to Kief, the and gorgeous. Catharine carried out her ancient capital of the first princes of Rusassumption of devotion at Moscow, by sia, where the Empress remained till the performing a pilgrimage on foot, attend first of May. Before renewing her joured by her whole court, to a convent sit- ney in the spring, the Empress distribuuated at a distance of forty versts (thirty ted decorations, diamonds and pearls to miles). These and other historic incidents various personages. “The Cleopatra of illustrate the habits and character of the the North,” wittily remarked the Prince Empress.
de Ligne,“ does not swallow pearls, but On the 18th of January, 1787, Catha- she gives many away.” The galley in rine started on a magnificent progress which the Empress embarked down the to Kherson and the Crimea. So great river, was attended by a fleet of more preparations were made for this journey, than eighty vessels manned by three that it was reported that the Cleopatra of thousand men. The vessels containing the North intended to be crowned Queen the Empress and her companions had of Taurida, and to be declared protectress splendid apartments, glittering with gold of all the nations of the Tartars. Cath- and silk, constructed on the deck. Every arine proposed, after taking the sceptre galley carried a band of music; the warof the Crimea, and awing the surround- like strains of which, added to the shouts ing nations into submission, to conduct of the spectators and the roar of cannon, her grandson, Constantine, to the gates produced a most imposing spectacle. The of that Oriental empire over which she return of spring had covered the earth 'had designed him to rule. The Empress with verdure, and a brilliant sun enlivenstarted on her journey in the depth of ed every object. winter, attended by a brilliant suite, and At Krementchuk the Empress was a cavalcade of fourteen carriages, and a lodged in a magnificent mansion, and hundred and eighty-four sledges. The entertained by a mock battle, carried on cold rose to seventeen degrees, the road by 12,000 men in new uniforms. This was excellent and the carriages mounted was arranged by Prince Potemkin, who on a sort of lofty skates, were drawn showed an extraordinary ingenuity and along with such rapidity that they seemed a boundless extravagance in providing to fly through the air. Wrapped in for the amusement of his imperial misabundance of the warmest and richest tress. Large flocks had been collected furs, they did not feel the cold. The for the occasion to impart animation to days were short, and dark night soon in- the meadows, groups of peasants enlivtervened, but at short distances from ened the banks, and boats full of youths each other, on both sides of the road, and maidens, singing the rustic airs of enormous piles of fir, cypress, birch and the country, surrounded the galley of the pine had been raised, which were set on Empress. On the return of Catharine fire, so that they posted through a range she visited the famous battle ground of of fires more brilliant than the rays of Pultawa. There a Russian army of