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A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. by Carlton J. H. Hayes

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which the spice ships passed. But more valuable as a future home for
English-speaking Europeans, and, therefore, as partial compensation for
the loss of the United States, was the vast island-continent of
Australia, which had been almost unknown until the famous voyage of
Captain Cook to Botany Bay in 1770. For many years Great Britain
regarded Australia as a kind of open-air prison for her criminals, and
the first British settlers at Port Jackson (1788) were exiled convicts.
The introduction of sheep-raising and the discovery of gold made the
island a more attractive home for colonists, and thenceforth its
development was rapid. To-day, with an area of almost 3,000,000 square
miles, and a population of some 4,800,000 English-speaking people,
Australia is a commonwealth more populous than and three times as large
as were the thirteen colonies with which Great Britain so unwillingly
parted in 1783.


BRITISH COLONIAL POLICY. A very brief survey: J. S. Bassett, _A Short
History of the United States_ (1914), ch. viii, ix. The most readable
and reliable detailed account of mercantilism as applied by the British
to their colonies is to be found in the volumes of G. L. Beer, _The
Origin of the British Colonial System_, 1578-1660 (1908); _The Old
Colonial System_, 1660-1754, Part I, _The Establishment of the System_,
2 vols. (1912); _British Colonial Policy_, 1754-1765 (1907); and _The
Commercial Policy of England toward the American Colonies_ (1893), a
survey. From the English standpoint, the best summary is that of H. E.
Egerton, _A Short History of British Colonial Policy_ (1897). Other
valuable works: C. M. Andrews, _Colonial Self-Government_ (1904), Vol.
V of the "American Nation" Series; O. M. Dickerson, _American Colonial
Government, 1696-1765_ (1912), a study of the British Board of Trade in
its relation to the American colonies, political, industrial, and
administrative; G. E. Howard, _Preliminaries of the Revolution, 1763-
1775_ (1905), Vol. VIII of the "American Nation" Series; Reginald
Lucas, _Lord North, Second Earl of Guilford_, 2 vols. (1913); and the
standard treatises of H. L. Osgood and of J. A. Doyle cited in the
bibliography to Chapter IX, above.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Sir G. 0. Trevelyan, _The American
Revolution_, 4 vols. (1899-1912), and, by the same author, _George the
Third and Charles Fox: the Concluding Part of the American Revolution_,
2 vols. (1914), scholarly and literary accounts, sympathetic toward the
colonists and the English Whigs; Edward Channing, _A History of the
United States_, Vol. III (1912), the best general work; C. H. Van Tyne,
_The American Revolution_ (1905), Vol. IX of the "American Nation"
Series, accurate and informing; John Fiske, _American Revolution_, 2
vols. (1891), a very readable popular treatment; S. G. Fisher, _The
Struggle for American Independence_, 2 vols. (1908), unusually
favorable to the British loyalists in America; _Cambridge Modern
History_, Vol. VII (1903), ch. v-vii, written in great part by J. A.
Doyle, the English specialist on the American colonies; J. B. Perkins,
_France in the American Revolution_ (1911), entertaining and
instructive; Arthur Hassall, _The Balance of Power_, 1715-1789 (1896),
ch. xii, a very brief but suggestive indication of the international
setting of the War of American Independence; J. W. Fortescue, _History
of the British Army_, Vol. III (1902), an account of the military
operations from the English standpoint.

Dorman, _History of the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century_, Vol.
I, 1793-1805 (1902), Vol. II, 1806-1900 (1904). On Ireland: W. O'C.
Morris, _Ireland_, 1494-1905, 2d ed. (1909). On Canada: Sir C. P.
Lucas, _A History of Canada_, 1763-1812 (1909). On India: Sir Alfred
Lyall, _Warren Hastings_, originally published in 1889, reprinted
(1908), an excellent biography; G. W. Hastings, _Vindication of Warren
Hastings_ (1909), the best apology for the remarkable governor of
India, and should be contrasted with Lord Macaulay's celebrated
indictment of Hastings; Sir John Strachey, _Hastings and the Rohilla
War_ (1892), favorable to Hastings' work in India. On Australia:
Greville Tregarthen, _Australian Commonwealth_, 3d ed. (1901), a good
outline, in the "Story of the Nations" Series; Edward Jenks, _A History
of the Australasian Colonies_ (1896), an excellent summary; Edward
Heawood, _A History of Geographical Discovery in the Seventeenth and
Eighteenth Centuries_ (1912); Arthur Kitson, _Captain James Cook_




[Sidenote: Backwardness of the Germanies]

In another connection we have already described the political condition
of the Germanies in the sixteenth century. [Footnote: See above, pp. 10
ff.] Outwardly, little change was observable in the eighteenth. The
Holy Roman Empire still existed as a nominal bond of union for a loose
assemblage of varied states. There was still a Habsburg emperor. There
were still electors--the number had been increased from seven to nine
[Footnote: Bavaria became an electorate in 1623 and Hanover in 1708; in
1778 Bavaria and the Palatinate were joined, again making eight.]--with
some influence and considerable honor. There was still a Diet, composed
of representatives of the princes and of the free cities, meeting
regularly at Ratisbon. [Footnote: Ratisbon or Regensburg--in the
Bavarian Palatinate. The Diet met there regularly after 1663.] But the
empire was clearly in decline. The wave of national enthusiasm which
Martin Luther evoked had spent itself in religious wrangling and
dissension, and in the inglorious conflicts of the Thirty Years' War.
The Germans had become so many pawns that might be moved back and forth
upon the international chessboard by Habsburg and Bourbon gamesters.
Switzerland had been lost to the empire; both France and Sweden had
deliberately dismembered other valuable districts. [Footnote: For the
provisions of the treaties of Westphalia, see above, pp. 228 f.]

[Sidenote: Deplorable Results of the Thirty Years' War]

It seemed as though slight foundation remained on which a substantial
political structure could be reared, for the social conditions in the
Germanies were deplorable. It is not an exaggeration to say that during
the Thirty Years' War Germany lost at least half of its population and
more than two-thirds of its movable property. In the middle of the
seventeenth century, at about the time Louis XIV succeeded to a fairly
prosperous France, German towns and villages were in ashes, and vast
districts turned into deserts. Churches and schools were closed by
hundreds, and religious and intellectual torpor prevailed. Industry and
trade were so completely paralyzed that by 1635 the Hanseatic League
was virtually abandoned, because the free commercial cities, formerly
so wealthy, could not meet the necessary expenses. Economic expansion
and colonial enterprise, together with the consequent upbuilding of a
well-to-do middle class, were resigned to Spain, Portugal, Holland,
France, or England, without a protest from what had once been a proud
burgher class in Germany. This elimination of an influential
bourgeoisie was accompanied by a sorry impoverishment and oppression of
the peasantry. These native sons of the German soil had fondly hoped
for better things from the religious revolution and agrarian
insurrections of the sixteenth century; but they were doomed to failure
and disappointment. The peasantry were in a worse plight in the
eighteenth century in Germany than in any other country of western or
central Europe.

[Sidenote: The German Princes]

The princes alone knew how to profit by the national prostration.
Enriched by the confiscation of ecclesiastical property in the
sixteenth century and relieved of meddlesome interference on the part
of the emperor or the Diet, they utilized the decline of the middle
class and the dismal serfdom of the peasantry to exalt their personal
political power. They got rid of the local assemblies or greatly
curtailed their privileges, and gradually established petty tyrannies.
After the Thirty Years' War, it became fashionable for the heirs of
German principalities to travel and especially to spend some time at
the court of France. Here they imbibed the political ideas of the Grand
Monarch, and in a short time nearly every petty court in the Germanics
was a small-sized reproduction of the court of Versailles. In a silly
and ridiculous way the princes aped their great French neighbor: they
too maintained armies, palaces, and swarms of household officials,
which, though a crushing burden upon the people, were yet so
insignificant in comparison with the real pomp of France, that they
were in many instances the laughingstock of Europe. Beneath an external
gloss of refinement, these princes were, as a class, coarse and
selfish, and devoid of any compensating virtues. Neither the common
people, whom they had impoverished, nor the Church, which they had
robbed, was now strong enough to resist the growing absolutism and
selfishness of the princes.


[Sidenote: Charles VI and his Hereditary Dominions]

At the opening of the eighteenth century, the largest and most
important states of the Holy Roman Empire were those which owned the
direct sovereignty of the Austrian Habsburgs. Charles VI (1711-1740),
who as the Archduke Charles had vainly struggled against Louis XIV to
secure the whole Spanish inheritance in the War of the Spanish
Succession (1702-1713), reigned over extensive and scattered dominions.
Around Vienna, his capital city, were gathered his hereditary
possessions: (1) Lower Austria, or Austria proper, on the Danube; (2)
Inner Austria, which comprised Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola; (3)
Further Austria, consisting of the mountainous regions about Innsbruck,
commonly designated the Tyrol; and (4) Upper Austria, embracing
Breisgau on the upper Rhine near the Black Forest. To this nucleus of
lands, in the greater part of which the German language was spoken
universally, had been added in course of time the Czech or Slavic
kingdom of Bohemia with its German dependency of Silesia and its Slavic
dependency of Moravia, and a portion of the Magyar kingdom of Hungary,
with its Slavic dependencies of Croatia and Slavonia and its Rumanian
dependency of Transylvania. Charles VI, like so many of his Habsburg
ancestors, was also emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and was thereby
accounted the foremost of German princes. But neither Bohemia nor
Hungary was predominantly German in language or feeling, and Hungary
was not even a part of the Holy Roman Empire.

[Sidenote: Conquests of Charles VI]

What additions were made to the Habsburg dominions by Charles VI were
all of non-German peoples. The treaty of Utrecht had given him the
Flemish- and French-speaking Belgian Netherlands and the Italian-
speaking duchy of Milan and kingdom of the Two Sicilies. [Footnote: See
above, p. 253, footnote.] A series of wars with the Ottoman Turks had
enabled his family to press the Hungarian boundaries south as far as
Bosnia and Serbia and to incorporate as a dependency of Hungary the
Rumanian-speaking principality of Transylvania. [Footnote: Definitely
ceded by Turkey by the treaty of Karlowitz (1699).] Of course all these
newer states of the Habsburgs remained outside of the Holy Roman

[Sidenote: Diversity of Habsburg Dominions]

Between the various peoples who were thus brought under the Habsburg
sway, the bond was of loosest description. They spoke a dozen different
languages and presented an even greater diversity of interests. They
did not constitute a compact, strongly centralized, national state like
France. Charles VI ruled his territories by manifold titles: he was
archduke of Austria, king of Bohemia, king of Hungary, duke of Milan,
and prince of the Netherlands; and the administration of each of these
five major groups was independent of the others. The single bond of
union was the common allegiance to the Habsburg monarch.

[Sidenote: Check upon Habsburg Ambitions in the Germanies]

To adopt and pursue a policy which would suit all these lands and
peoples would hardly be possible for any mortal: it certainly surpassed
the wit of the Habsburgs. They had made an attempt in the seventeenth
century to develop a vigorous German policy, to unify the empire and to
strengthen their hold upon it, but they had failed dismally. The
disasters of the Thirty Years' War, the jealousies and ambitions of the
other German princes, the interested intervention of foreign powers,
notably Sweden and France, made it brutally clear that Habsburg
influence in the Germanies had already reached its highest pitch and
that henceforth it would tend gradually to wane.

Blocked in the Germanies, the Austrian Habsburgs looked elsewhere to
satisfy their aspirations. But almost equal difficulties confronted
them. Extension to the southeast in the direction of the Balkan
peninsula involved almost incessant warfare with the Turks. Increase of
territory in Italy incited Spain, France, and Sardinia to armed
resistance. Development of the trade of the Belgian Netherlands aroused
the hostility of the influential commercial classes in England,
Holland, and France. The time and toil spent upon these non-German
projects obviously could not be devoted to the internal affairs of the
Holy Roman Empire. Thus, not only were the Germanies a source of
weakness to the Habsburgs, but the Habsburgs were a source of weakness
to the Germanies.

[Sidenote: Continued Prestige of the Habsburgs]

Despite these drawbacks, the Habsburg family was still powerful. The
natural resources and native wealth of many of the regions, the large,
if rather cosmopolitan, armies which might be raised, the intricate
marriage relationships with most of the sovereign families of Europe,
the championship of the Catholic Church, the absolutist principles and
practices of the reigning prince, all contributed to cloak the
weaknesses, under a proud name and pretentious fame, of the imperial
Austrian line.

[Sidenote: Question of the Habsburg Inheritance]
[Sidenote: The "Pragmatic Sanction" of Charles VI]

In the eighteenth century a particularly unkind fate seemed to attend
the Habsburgs. We have already noticed how the extinction of the male
line in the Spanish branch precipitated a great international war of
succession, with the result that the Spanish inheritance was divided
and the greater part passed to the rival Bourbon family. Now Charles VI
was obliged to face a similar danger in the Austrian inheritance. He
himself had neither sons nor brothers, but only a daughter, Maria
Theresa. Spurred on by the fate of his Spanish kinsman, Charles VI
directed his energies toward securing a settlement of his possessions
prior to his death. Early in his reign he promulgated a so-called
Pragmatic Sanction which declared that the Habsburg dominions were
indivisible and that, contrary to long custom, they might be inherited
by female heirs in default of male. Then he subordinated his whole
foreign policy to securing general European recognition of the right of
Maria Theresa to succeed to all his territories. One after another of
his manifold principalities swore to observe the Pragmatic Sanction.
One after another of the foreign powers--Prussia, Russia, Great
Britain, Holland, the Empire, Poland, France, Spain, and Sardinia,--to
whom liberal concessions were made--pledged their word and their honor
most sacredly to preserve the Pragmatic Sanction. When Charles VI died
in 1740, he left his daughter a disorganized state, a bankrupt
treasury, and a small ill-disciplined army, but he bequeathed her an
ample number of parchment guarantees. The cynical Prussian king
remarked that 200,000 fighting men would have been a more useful
legacy, and, as events proved, he was right.


[Sidenote: The Hohenzollern Family]

Next to the Habsburgs, the most influential German family in the
eighteenth century was the Hohenzollern. As far back as the tenth
century, a line of counts was ruling over a castle on the hill of
Zollern just north of what is now Switzerland. These counts slowly
extended their lands and their power through the fortunes of feudal
warfare and by means of a kindly interest on the part of the Holy Roman
Emperors, until at length, in the twelfth century, a representative of
the Hohenzollerns became by marriage burgrave of the important city of

[Sidenote: Brandenburg]

So far the Hohenzollerns had been fortunate, but as yet they were no
more conspicuous than hundreds of petty potentates throughout the
empire. It was not until they were invested by the Habsburg emperor
with the electorate of Brandenburg in 1415 that they became prominent.
Brandenburg was a district of northern Germany, centering in the town
of Berlin and lying along the Oder River. As a mark, or frontier
province, it was the northern and eastern outpost of the German
language and German culture, and the exigencies of almost perpetual
warfare with the neighboring Slavic peoples had given Brandenburg a
good deal of military experience and prestige. As an electorate,
moreover, it possessed considerable influence in the internal affairs
of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the sixteenth century, the acceptance of Lutheranism by the
Hohenzollern electors of Brandenburg enabled them, like many other
princes of northern Germany, to seize valuable properties of the
Catholic Church and to rid themselves of a foreign power which had
curtailed their political and social sway. Brandenburg subsequently
became the chief Protestant state of Germany, just as to Austria was
conceded the leadership of the Catholic states.

[Sidenote: The Hohenzollerns and the Thirty Years' War]

The period of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) was as auspicious to
the Hohenzollerns as it was unlucky for the Habsburgs. On the eve of
the contest, propitious marriage alliances bestowed two important
legacies upon the family--the duchy of Cleves [Footnote: Though the
alliance between Brandenburg and Cleves dated from 1614, the
Hohenzollerns did not reign over Cleves until 1666. With Cleves went
its dependencies of Mark and Ravensberg.] on the lower Rhine, and the
duchy of East Prussia, [Footnote: Prussia was then an almost purely
Slavic state. It had been formed and governed from the thirteenth to
the sixteenth century by the Teutonic Knights, a military, crusading
order of German Catholics, who aided in converting the Slavs to
Christianity. In the sixteenth century the Grand Master of the Teutonic
Knights professed the Lutheran faith and transformed Prussia into an
hereditary duchy in his own family. In a series of wars West Prussia
was incorporated into Poland, while East Prussia became a fief of that
kingdom. It was to East Prussia only that the Hohenzollern elector of
Brandenburg succeeded in 1618.] on the Baltic north of Poland.
Henceforth the head of the Hohenzollern family could sign himself
margrave and elector of Brandenburg, duke of Cleves, and duke of
Prussia. In the last-named role, he was a vassal of the king of Poland;
in the others, of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the course of the Thirty
Years' War, the Hohenzollerns helped materially to lessen imperial
control, and at the close of the struggle secured the wealthy
bishoprics of Halberstadt, Minden, and Magdeburg, [Footnote: The right
of accession to Magdeburg was accorded the Hohenzollerns in 1648; they
did not formally possess it until 1680.] and the eastern half of the
duchy of Pomerania.

[Sidenote: The Great Elector]

The international reputation of the Hohenzollerns was established by
Frederick William, commonly styled the Great Elector (1640-1688). When
he ascended the throne, the Thirty Years' War had reduced his scattered
dominions to utmost misery: he was resolved to restore prosperity, to
unify his various possessions, and to make his realm a factor in
general European politics. By diplomacy more than by military prowess,
he obtained the new territories by the peace of Westphalia. Then,
taking advantage of a war between Sweden and Poland, he made himself so
invaluable to both sides, now helping one, now deserting to the other,
that by cunning and sometimes by unscrupulous intrigue, he induced the
king of Poland to renounce suzerainty over East Prussia and to give him
that duchy in full sovereignty. In the Dutch War of Louis XIV (1672-
1678) he completely defeated the Swedes, who were in alliance with
France, and, although he was not allowed by the provisions of the peace
to keep what he had conquered, nevertheless the fame of his army was
established and Brandenburg-Prussia took rank as the chief competitor
of Sweden's hegemony in the Baltic.

In matters of government, the Great Elector was, like his contemporary
Louis XIV, a firm believer in absolutism. At the commencement of his
reign, each one of the three parts of his lands--Brandenburg, Cleves,
and East Prussia--was organized as a separate, petty state, with its
own Diet or form of representative government, its own army, and its
own independent administration. After a hard constitutional struggle,
Frederick William deprived the several Diets of their significant
functions, centered financial control in his own person, declared the
local armies national, and merged the three separate administrations
into one, strictly subservient to his royal council at Berlin. Thus,
the three states were amalgamated into one; and, to all intents and
purposes, they constituted a united monarchy.

The Great Elector was a tireless worker. He encouraged industry and
agriculture, drained marshes, and built the Frederick William Canal,
joining the Oder with the Elbe. When the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes caused so many Huguenots to leave France, the Great Elector's
warm invitation attracted to Brandenburg some 20,000, who were settled
around Berlin and who gave French genius as well as French names to
their adopted country. The capital city, which at the Great Elector's
accession numbered barely 8000, counted at his death a population of
over 20,000.

[Sidenote: Brandenburg-Prussia a "Kingdom," 1701]

Brandenburg-Prussia was already an important monarchy, but its ruler
was not recognized as "king" until 1701, when the Emperor Leopold
conferred upon him that title in order to enlist his support in the War
of the Spanish Succession. In 1713, by the treaty of Utrecht, the other
European powers acknowledged the title. It was Prussia, rather than
Brandenburg, which gave its name to the new kingdom, because the former
was an entirely independent state, while the latter was a member of the
Holy Roman Empire. Thereafter the "kingdom of Prussia" [Footnote: At
first the Hohenzollern monarch assumed the title of king _in_
Prussia, because West Prussia was still a province of the kingdom of
Poland. Gradually, however, under Frederick William I (1713-1740), the
popular appellation of "king of Prussia" prevailed over the formal
"king in Prussia." West Prussia was definitely acquired in 1772 (see
below, p. 387).] designated the combined territories of the
Hohenzollern family.

Prussia rose rapidly in the eighteenth century. She shared with Austria
the leadership of the Germanies and secured a position in Europe as a
first-rate power. This rise was the result largely of the efforts of
Frederick William I (1713-1740).

[Sidenote: King Frederick William I, 1713-1740]

King Frederick William was a curious reversion to the type of his
grandfather: he was the Great Elector over again with all his practical
good sense if without his taste for diplomacy. His own ideal of
kingship was a paternal despotism, and his ambition, to use most
advantageously the limited resources of his country in order to render
Prussia feared and respected abroad. He felt that absolutism was the
only kind of government consonant with the character of his varied and
scattered dominions, and he understood in a canny way the need of an
effective army and of the closest economy which would permit a
relatively small kingdom to support a relatively large army. Under
Frederick William I, money, military might, and divine-right monarchy
became the indispensable props of the Hohenzollern rule in Prussia.

By a close thrift that often bordered on miserliness King Frederick
William I managed to increase his standing army from 38,000 to 80,000
men, bringing it up in numbers so as to rank with the regular armies of
such first-rate states as France or Austria. In efficiency, it probably
surpassed the others. An iron discipline molded the Prussian troops
into the most precise military engine then to be found in Europe, and a
staff of officers, who were not allowed to buy their commissions, as in
many European states, but who were appointed on a merit basis,
commanded the army with truly professional skill and devoted loyalty.

In civil administration, the king persevered in the work of
centralizing the various departments. A "general directory" was
intrusted with the businesslike conduct of the finances and gradually
evolved an elaborate civil service--the famous Prussian bureaucracy,
which, in spite of inevitable "red tape," is notable to this day for
its efficiency and devotion to duty. The king endeavored to encourage
industry and trade by enforcing up-to-date mercantilist regulations,
and, although he repeatedly expressed contempt for current culture
because of what he thought were its weakening tendencies, he
nevertheless prescribed compulsory elementary education for his people.

King Frederick William, who did so much for Prussia, had many personal
eccentricities that highly amused Europe. Imbued with patriarchal
instincts, he had his eye on everybody and everything. He treated his
kingdom as a schoolroom, and, like a zealous schoolmaster, flogged his
naughty subjects unmercifully. If he suspected a man of possessing
adequate means, he might command him to erect a fine residence so as to
improve the appearance of the capital. If he met an idler in the
streets, he would belabor him with his cane and probably put him in the
army. And a funny craze for tall soldiers led to the creation of the
famous Potsdam Guard of Giants, a special company whose members must
measure at least six feet in height, and for whose service he attracted
many foreigners by liberal financial offers: it was the only luxury
which the parsimonious king allowed himself.

[Sidenote: Accession of Frederick the Great, 1740]

During a portion of his reign the crabbed old king feared that all his
labors and savings would go for naught, for he was supremely
disappointed in his son, the crown-prince Frederick. The stern father
had no sympathy for the literary, musical, artistic tastes of his son,
whom he thought effeminate, and whom he abused roundly with a quick and
violent temper. When Prince Frederick tried to run away, the king
arrested him and for punishment put him through such an arduous, slave-
like training in the civil and military administration, from the lowest
grades upward, as perhaps no other royal personage ever received. It
was this despised and misunderstood prince who as Frederick II
succeeded his father on the throne of Prussia in 1740 and is known in
history as Frederick the Great.

The year 1740 marked the accession of Frederick the Great in the
Hohenzollern possessions and of Maria Theresa in the Habsburg
territories. [Footnote: Below are discussed the foreign achievements
(pp. 354 ff.) of these two rival sovereigns, and in Chapter XIV (pp.
440 ff.) their internal policies.] It also marked the outbreak of a
protracted struggle within the Holy Roman Empire between the two
foremost German states--Austria and Prussia.


[Sidenote: German States Other than Austria and Prussia]

Of the three hundred other states which composed the empire, few were
sufficiently large or important to exert any considerable influence on
the issue of the contest. A few, however, which took sides, deserve
mention not only because in the eighteenth century they preserved a
kind of balance of power between the rivals but also because they have
been more or less conspicuous factors in the progress of recent times.
Such are Bavaria, Saxony, and Hanover.

[Sidenote: Bavaria]

Bavaria lay on the upper Danube to the west of Austria and in the
extreme southeastern corner of what is now the German Empire. For
centuries it was ruled by the Wittelsbach family, whose remarkable
prince, Maximilian I (1597-1651), had headed the Catholic League and
loyally supported the Habsburgs in the Thirty Years' War, and by the
peace of Westphalia had gained a part of the Palatinate [Footnote: The
other part of the Palatinate, under another branch of the Wittelsbachs,
was reunited with Bavaria in 1779.] together with the title of
"elector." His successor had labored with much credit in the second
half of the seventeenth century to repair the wounds caused by the war,
encouraging agriculture and industries, building or restoring numerous
churches and monasteries. But the Bavarian electors in the first half
of the eighteenth century sacrificed a sound, vigorous policy of
internal reform to a far-reaching ambition in international politics.
Despite the bond of a common religion which united them to Austria,
they felt that their proximity to their powerful neighbor made the
Habsburgs their natural enemies. In the War of the Spanish Succession,
therefore, Bavaria took the side of France against Austria, and when
Maria Theresa ascended the throne in 1740, the elector of Bavaria, who
had married a Habsburg princess disbarred by the Pragmatic Sanction of
Charles VI, immediately allied himself with Frederick of Prussia and
with France in order to dismember the Austrian dominions.

[Sidenote: Saxony]

The Saxony of the eighteenth century was but a very small fraction of
the vast Saxon duchy which once comprised all northwestern Germany and
whose people in early times had emigrated to England or had been
subjugated by Charlemagne. Saxony had been restricted since the
thirteenth century to a district on the upper Elbe, wedged in between
Habsburg Bohemia and Hohenzollern Brandenburg. Here, however, several
elements combined to give it an importance far beyond its extent or
population. It was the geographical center of the Germanies. It
occupied a strategic position between Prussia and Austria. Its ruling
family--the Wettins--were electors of the empire. It had been,
moreover, after the championship of Martin Luther by one of its most
notable electors, [footnote: Frederick the Wise( 1486-1525)] a leader
of the Lutheran cause, and the reformer's celebrated translation of the
Bible had fixed the Saxon dialect as the literary language of Germany.
At one time it seemed as if Saxony, rather than Brandenburg-Prussia,
might become the dominant state among the Germanies. But the trend of
events determined otherwise. A number of amiable but weak electors in
the seventeenth century repeatedly allied themselves with Austria
against the Hohenzollerns and thereby practically conceded to
Brandenburg the leadership of the Protestant states of northern
Germany.[Footnote: Another source of weakness in Saxony was the custom
in the Wettin family of dividing the inheritance among members of the
family. Such was the origin of the present infinitesimal states of
Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg.]

[Sidenote: Personal Union of Saxony and Poland]

Then, too, toward the close of the century, the elector separated
himself from his people by becoming a Roman Catholic, and, in order
that he might establish himself as king of Poland, he burdened the
state with continued Austrian alliance, with war, and with heavy taxes.
The unnatural union of Saxony and Poland was maintained throughout the
greater part of the eighteenth century: it was singularly disastrous
for both parties.

[Sidenote: Hanover, and its Personal Union with Great Britain]

A part of the original ancient territory of the Saxons in north western
Germany was included in the eighteenth century in the state of Hanover,
extending between the Elbe and the Weser and reaching from Brandenburg
down to the North Sea. Hanover was recognized as an electorate during
the War of the Spanish Succession, [Footnote: The emperor had given the
title of elector to Ernest Augustus in 1692; the Powers recognized
George I as elector in 1708.] but its real importance rested on the
fact that its first elector, through his mother's family, became in
1714 George I of Great Britain, the founder of the Hanoverian dynasty
in that country. This personal union between the British kingdom and
the electorate of Hanover continued for over a century, and was not
without vital significance in international negotiations. Both George I
and George II preferred Hanover to England as a place of residence and
directed their primary efforts towards the protection of their German
lands from Habsburg or Hohenzollern encroachments.

Enough has now been said to give some idea of the distracted condition
of the Germanies in the eighteenth century and to explain why the Holy
Roman Empire was an unimportant bond of union. Austria, traditionally
the chief of the Germanies, was increasingly absorbed in her non-German
possessions in Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands. Prussia, the rising
kingdom of the North, comprised a population in which Slavs constituted
a large minority. Saxony was linked with Poland; Hanover, with Great
Britain. Bavaria was a chronic ally of France. Add to this situation,
the political domination of France or Sweden over a number of the petty
states of the empire, the selfishness and jealousies of all the German
rulers, the looming bitter rivalry between Prussia and Austria, and the
sum-total is political chaos, bloodshed, and oppression.


[Sidenote: Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa]

In the struggle between Prussia and Austria--between Hohenzollerns and
Habsburgs--centered the European diplomacy and wars of the mid-
eighteenth century. On one side was the young king Frederick II (1740-
1786); on the other, the young queen Maria Theresa (1740-1780). Both
had ability and sincere devotion to their respective states and
peoples,--a high sense of royal responsibilities. Maria Theresa was
beautiful, emotional, and proud; the Great Frederick was domineering,
cynical, and always rational. The Austrian princess was a firm believer
in Catholic Christianity; the Prussian king was a friend of Voltaire
and a devotee of skepticism.

[Sidenote: Coalition against Maria Theresa]

Frederick inherited from his father a fairly compact monarchy and a
splendidly trained and equipped army of 80,000 men. He smiled at the
disorganized troops, the disordered finances, the conflicting interests
in the hodge-podge of territories which his rival had inherited from
her father. He also smiled at the solemn promise which Prussia had made
to respect the Austrian dominions. No sooner was the Emperor Charles VI
dead and Maria Theresa proclaimed at Vienna than Frederick II entered
into engagements with Bavaria and France to dismember her realm. The
elector of Bavaria was to be made Holy Roman Emperor as Charles VII and
Prussia was to appropriate Silesia. France was suspected of designs
upon the Austrian Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Frederick's Designs on Silesia]

Silesia thus became the bone of contention between Frederick II and
Maria Theresa. Silesia covered the fertile valley of the upper Oder,
separating the Slavic Czechs of Frederick's Bohemia on the west from
the Slavic Poles on the east. Its population, which was largely German,
was as numerous as that of the whole kingdom of Prussia, and if annexed
to the Hohenzollern possessions would make them overwhelmingly German.
On the other hand, the loss of Silesia would give Austria less direct
influence in strictly German affairs and would deprive her of a
convenient point of attack against Berlin and the heart of Prussia.

[Sidenote: Outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, 1740]

Trumping up an ancient family claim to the duchy, Frederick immediately
marched his army into Silesia and occupied Breslau, its capital. To the
west, a combined Bavarian and French army prepared to invade Austria
and Bohemia. Maria Theresa, pressed on all sides, fled to Hungary and
begged the Magyars to help her. The effect was electrical. Hungarians,
Austrians, and Bohemians rallied to the support of the Habsburg throne;
recruits were drilled and hurried to the front; the War of the Austrian
Succession (1740-1748) was soon in full swing.

[Sidenote: Entrance of Great Britain and Spain]

A trade war had broken out between Great Britain and Spain in 1739,
[Footnote: Commonly called the War of Jenkins's Ear. See above, p. 311]
which speedily became merged with the continental struggle. Great
Britain was bent on maintaining liberal trading privileges in the
Belgian Netherlands and always opposed the incorporation of those
provinces into the rival and powerful monarchy of France, preferring
that they should remain in the hands of some distant and less-feared,
less commercial power, such as Austria. Great Britain, moreover, had
fully recognized the Pragmatic Sanction and now determined that it was
in accordance with her own best interests to supply Maria Theresa with
money and to dispatch armies to the Continent to defend the Netherlands
against France and to protect Hanover against Prussia. On the other
side, the royal family of Spain sympathized with their Bourbon kinsmen
in France and hoped to recover from Austria all the Italian possessions
of which Spain had been deprived by the treaty of Utrecht (1713).

The main parties to the War of the Austrian Succession were, therefore,
on the one hand, Prussia, France, Spain, and Bavaria, and, on the
other, Austria and Great Britain. With the former at first joined the
elector of Saxony, who wished to play off Prussia against Austria for
the benefit of his Saxon and Polish lands, and the king of Sardinia,
who was ever balancing in Italy between Habsburg and Bourbon
pretensions. With Austria and Great Britain was united Holland, because
of her desire to protect herself from possible French aggression.

[Sidenote: Course of the War]

The war was not so terrible or bloody as its duration and the number of
contestants would seem to indicate. Saxony, which inclined more
naturally to Austrian than to Prussian friendship, was easily persuaded
by bribes to desert her allies and to make peace with Maria Theresa.
Spain would fight only in Italy; and Sardinia, alarmed by the prospect
of substantial Bourbon gains in that peninsula, went over to the side
of Austria. The Dutch were content to defend their own territories.

[Sidenote: Success of Frederick]

Despite the greatest exertions, Maria Theresa was unable to expel
Frederick from Silesia. Her generals suffered repeated reverses at his
hands, and three times she was forced to recognize his occupation in
order that she might employ all her forces against her western enemies.
By the third treaty between the two German sovereigns, concluded at
Dresden in 1745, Silesia [Footnote: Except a very small district, which
thereafter was known as "Austrian Silesia."] was definitely ceded by
Austria to Prussia. Frederick had gained his ends: he coolly deserted
his allies and withdrew from the war.

Meanwhile the Austrian arms had elsewhere been more successful. The
French and Bavarians, after winning a few trifling victories in
Bohemia, had been forced back to the upper Danube. Munich was occupied
by the troops of Maria Theresa at the very time when the elector was
being crowned at Frankfort as Holy Roman Emperor. The whole of Bavaria
was soon in Austrian possession, and the French were in retreat across
the Rhine. Gradually, also, the combined forces of Austria and Sardinia
made headway in Italy against the Bourbon armies of France and Spain.

In the last years of the war, the French managed to protect Alsace and
Lorraine from Austrian invasion, and, under the command of the gifted
Marshal Saxe, they actually succeeded in subjugating the greater part
of the Austrian Netherlands and in carrying the struggle into Holland.
On the high seas and in the colonies, the conflict raged between France
and Great Britain as "King George's War," which has already been
separately noted. [Footnote: See above, pp. 311 f.]

[Sidenote: Treaties of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748): Indecisive Character of
Struggle between Prussia and Austria]

The treaties which ended the War of the Austrian Succession were signed
at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. They guaranteed the acquisition of Silesia
by Frederick II of Prussia and restored everything else to the
situation at the opening of the conflict. The Wittelsbach family was
reinstated in Bavaria and in the Palatinate, and the husband of Maria
Theresa, Francis of Lorraine, succeeded Charles VII as Holy Roman
Emperor. France, for all her expenditures and sacrifices, gained
nothing. The War of the Austrian Succession was but a preliminary
encounter in the great duel for German leadership between Prussia and
Austria. It was similarly only an indecisive round in the prolonged
battle between France and Great Britain for the mastery of the colonial
and commercial world.

[Sidenote: Coalition against Frederick the Great]

In the war just closed, Austria had been the chief loser, and the
resolute Maria Theresa set herself at once to the difficult task of
recovering her prestige and her ceded territory. Her first efforts were
directed toward internal reform--consolidating the administrations of
her various dominions by the creation of a strong central council at
Vienna, encouraging agriculture, equalizing and augmenting the taxes,
and increasing the army. Her next step was to form a great league of
rulers that would find a common interest with her in dismembering the
kingdom of Frederick. She knew she could count on Saxony. She easily
secured an ally in the Tsarina Elizabeth of Russia, who had been deeply
offended by the caustic wit of the Prussian king. She was already
united by friendly agreements with Great Britain and Holland. She had
only France to win to her side, and in this policy she had the services
of an invaluable agent, Count Kaunitz, the greatest diplomat of the
age. Kaunitz held out to France, as the price for the abandonment of
the Prussian alliance and the acceptance of that of Austria, the
tempting bait of Frederick's Rhenish provinces. But Louis XV at first
refused an Austrian alliance: it would be a departure from the
traditional French policy of opposing the Habsburgs. Kaunitz then
appealed to the king's mistress, the ambitious Madame de Pompadour,
who, like the Tsarina Elizabeth, had had plenty of occasions for taking
offense at the witty verses of the Prussian monarch: the favor of the
Pompadour was won, and France entered the league against Prussia.

[Sidenote: The "Diplomatic Revolution"]

Meanwhile, however, Great Britain had entered into a special agreement
with Frederick with the object of guaranteeing the integrity of Hanover
and the general peace of the Germanies. When, therefore, the colonial
war between Great Britain and France was renewed in 1754, it was quite
natural that the former should contract a definite alliance with
Prussia. Thus it befell that, whereas in the indecisive War of the
Austrian Succession Prussia and France were pitted against Austria and
Great Britain, in the determinant Seven Years' War, which ensued,
Austria and France were in arms against Prussia and Great Britain. This
overturn of traditional alliances has been commonly designated the
"Diplomatic Revolution."

[Sidenote: The Seven Years' War, 1756-1763]

The Seven Years' War lasted in Europe from 1756 to 1763, and, as
regards both the number of combatants and the brilliant generalship
displayed, deserves to rank with the War of the Spanish Succession as
the greatest war which the modern world had so far witnessed. The story
has already been told of its maritime and colonial counterpart, which
embraced the French and Indian War in America (1754-1763) and the
triumphant campaigns of Clive in India, and which decisively
established the supremacy of Great Britain on the seas, in the Far
East, and in the New World. [Footnote: See above, pp. 312 ff.] There
remains to sketch its course on the European continent.

[Sidenote: Frederick's Victory at Rossbach, 1757]

Without waiting for a formal declaration of hostilities, Frederick
seized Saxony, from which he exacted large indemnities and drafted
numerous recruits, and, with his well-trained veteran troops, crossed
the mountains into Bohemia. He was obliged by superior Austrian forces
to raise the siege of Prague and to fall back on his own kingdom.
Thence converged from all sides the allied armies of his enemies.
Russians moved into East Prussia, Swedes from Pomerania into northern
Brandenburg, Austrians into Silesia, while the French were advancing
from the west. Here it was that Frederick displayed those qualities
which entitle him to rank as one of the greatest military commanders of
all time and to justify his title of "the Great." Inferior in numbers
to any one of his opponents, he dashed with lightning rapidity into
central Germany and at Rossbach (1757) inflicted an overwhelming defeat
upon the French, whose general wrote to Louis XV, "The rout of our army
is complete: I cannot tell you how many of our officers have been
killed, captured, or lost." No sooner was he relieved of danger in the
west than he was back in Silesia. He flung himself upon the Austrians
at Leuthen, took captive a third of their army, and put the rest to

The victories of Frederick, however, decimated his army. He still had
money, thanks to the subsidies which Pitt poured in from Great Britain,
but he found it very difficult to procure men: he gathered recruits
from hostile countries; he granted amnesty to deserters; he even
enrolled prisoners of war. He was no longer sufficiently sure of his
soldiers to take the offensive, and for five years he was reduced to
defensive campaigns in Silesia. The Russians occupied East Prussia and
penetrated into Brandenburg; in 1759 they captured Berlin.

[Sidenote: French Reverses. The "Family Compact"]

The French, after suffering defeat at Rossbach, directed their energies
against Hanover but encountered unexpected resistance at the hands of
an army collected by Pitt's gold and commanded by a Prussian general,
the prince of Brunswick. Brunswick defeated them and gradually drove
them out of Germany. This series of reverses, coupled with disasters
that attended French armies in America and in India, caused the French
king to call upon his cousin, the king of Spain, for assistance. The
result was the formation of the defensive alliance (1761) between the
Bourbon states of France, Spain, and the Two Sicilies, and the entrance
of Spain into the war (1762).

[Sidenote: Withdrawal of Russia]

What really saved Frederick the Great was the death of the Tsarina
Elizabeth (1762) and the accession to the Russian throne of Peter III,
a dangerous madman but a warm admirer of the military prowess of the
Prussian king. Peter in brusque style transferred the Russian forces
from the standard of Maria Theresa to that of Frederick and restored to
Prussia the conquests of his predecessor. [Footnote: Peter III was
dethroned in the same year; his wife, Catherine II, who succeeded him,
refused to give active military support to either side.] Spain entered
the war too late to affect its fortunes materially. She was unable to
regain what France had lost, and in fact the Bourbon states were
utterly exhausted. The Austrians, after frantic but vain attempts to
wrest Silesia from Frederick, finally despaired of their cause.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Hubertusburg (1763): Humiliation of the Habsburgs
and Triumph of the Hohenzollerns]

The treaty of Hubertusburg (1763) put an end to the Seven Years' War in
Europe. Maria Theresa finally, though reluctantly, surrendered all
claims to Silesia. Prussia had clearly humiliated Austria and become a
first-rate power. The Hohenzollerns were henceforth the acknowledged
peers of the Habsburgs. The almost synchronous treaty of Paris closed
the war between Great Britain, on the one hand, and France and Spain on
the other, by ceding the bulk of the French colonial empire to the
British. Thereafter, Great Britain was practically undisputed mistress
of the seas and chief colonial power of the world.

[Sidenote: Frederick the Great and the Partition of Poland]

Frederick the Great devoted the last years of his life to the
consolidation of his monarchy [Footnote: For the internal reforms of
Frederick, see below, pp. 440 ff.] and to enlarging its sphere of
influence rather by diplomacy than by war. Frederick felt that the best
safeguard against further attempts of Austria to recover Silesia was a
firm alliance between Prussia and Russia. And it was an outcome of that
alliance that in 1772 he joined with the Tsarina Catherine in making
the first partition of Poland. Catherine appropriated the country east
of the Düna and the Dnieper rivers. Frederick annexed West Prussia,
except the towns of Danzig and Thorn, thereby linking up Prussia and
Brandenburg by a continuous line of territory. Maria Theresa, moved by
the loss of Silesia and by fear of the undue preponderance which the
partition of Poland would give to her northern rivals, thought to
adjust the balance of power by sharing in the shameful transaction: she
occupied Galicia, including the important city of Cracow. Maria Theresa
repeatedly expressed her abhorrence of the whole business, but, as the
scoffing Frederick said, "She wept, but she kept on taking."

The partition of Poland was more favorable to Prussia than to Austria.
In the former case, the land annexed lay along the Baltic and served to
render East Prussia, Brandenburg, and Silesia a geographical and
political unit. On the other hand, Austria to some extent was
positively weakened by the acquisition of territory outside her natural
frontiers, and the addition of a turbulent Polish people further
increased the diversity of races and the clash of interests within the
Habsburg dominions.

When, a few years later, the succession to the electorate of Bavaria
was in some doubt and Austria laid claims to the greater part of that
state (1777-1779), Frederick again stepped in, and now by intrigue and
now by threats of armed force again prevented any considerable
extension of Habsburg control. His last important act was the formation
of a league of princes to champion the lesser German states against
Austrian aggression.

By hard work, by military might, by force of will, unhampered by any
moral code, Frederick the Great perfected the policies of the Great
Elector and of Frederick William I and raised Prussia to the rank of
partner with Austria in German leadership and to an eminent position in
the international affairs of Europe. Had Frederick lived, however, but
a score of years longer, he would have witnessed the total extinction
of the Holy Roman Empire, the apparent ruin of the Germanies, and the
degradation of his own country as well as that of Austria. [Footnote:
See below, Chapter XVI.] He might even have perceived that a personal
despotism, built by bloodshed and unblushing deceit, was hardly proof
against a nation stirred by idealism and by a consciousness of its own
rights and power.



GENERAL. Brief narratives: J. H. Robinson and C. A. Beard, _The
Development of Modern Europe_, Vol. I (1907), ch. iv, v; E. F.
Henderson, _A Short History of Germany_, Vol. II (1902), ch. i-iv; A.
H. Johnson, _The Age of the Enlightened Despot, 1660-1789_ (1910), ch.
vii, viii; Ferdinand Schevill, _The Making of Modern Germany (1916)_,
ch. i, ii; Arthur Hassall, _The Balance of Power, 1715-1789_ (1896),
ch. vi-ix; C. T. Atkinson, _A History of Germany, 1715-1813_ (1908),
almost exclusively a military history; H. T. Dyer, _A History of Modern
Europe from the Fall of Constantinople_, 3d ed. rev. by Arthur Hassall,
6 vols. (1901), ch. xlv-xlviii. Longer accounts: _Cambridge Modern
History_, Vol. V (1908), ch. xii, xx, xxi, and Vol. VI (1909), ch. vii-
ix, xx; _Histoire générale_, Vol. V, ch. xix, Vol. VI, ch. xvi, and
Vol. VII, ch. iv, v; Émile Bourgeois, _Manuel historique de politique
étrangère_, 4th ed., Vol. I (1906), ch. vi, xii, valuable for
international relations of the Germanies; Bernhard Erdmannsdörffer,
_Deutsche Geschichte, 1648-1740_, 2 vols. (1892-1893).

Whitman, _Austria (1899)_, and, by the same author, _The Realm of the
Habsburgs_ (1893), brief outlines; Louis Leger, _A History of Austro-
Hungary from the Earliest Time to the Year 1889_, trans. by Mrs. B.
Hill from a popular French work (1889); William Coxe, _House of
Austria_, 4 vols. (1893-1895) in the Bohn Library, originally published
nearly a century ago but still useful, especially Vol. Ill; C. M.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, _The Political Evolution of the Hungarian Nation_,
Vol. I (1908), ch. iv-vii; Ármin Vámbéry, _The Story of Hungary_
(1894), in the "Story of the Nations" Series. In German: Franz Krones,
_Handbuch der Geschichte Oesterreichs_, 5 vols. (1876-1879), Vol. IV,
Book XVIII. There is a good brief English biography of _Maria Theresa_
by J. F. Bright (1897) in the "Foreign Statesmen" Series, and a great
standard German biography by Alfred von Arneth, _Geschichte Maria
Theresias_, 10 vols. (1863-1879). See also A. Wolf and Hans von
Zwiedineck-Südenhorst, _Österreich unter Maria Theresia_ (1884).

THE RISE OF PRUSSIA. _History of All Nations_, Vol. XV, _The Age
of Frederick the Great_, Eng. trans. of a well-known German history
by Martin Philippson; Herbert Tuttle, _History of Prussia to the
Accession of Frederick the Great_ (1884), and, by the same author,
_History of Prussia under Frederick the Great_, 3 vols., coming
down to 1757 (1888-1896), primarily constitutional and political;
Reinhold Koser, _Geschichte der brandenburgisch-preussischen
Politik_, Vol. I (1914), from earliest times through the Thirty
Years' War, by the late general director of the Prussian State
Archives, an eminent authority on the history of his country; J. G.
Droysen, _Geschichte der preussischen Politik_, 14 vols. (1868-
1876), the most elaborate history of Prussia down to 1756 by a famous
national historian; Ernst Berner, _Geschichte des preussischen
Staates_ (1891), a briefer, popular account, richly illustrated;
Hans von Zwiedineck-Südenhorst, _Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitraum der
Gründung des preussischen Königtums_, 2 vols. (1890-1894), an
enthusiastic German appreciation; Albert Waddington, _Histoire de
Prusse_, Vol. I (1911), from the origins of the state to the death
of the Great Elector, an able French presentation. There is an
admirable old German biography of Frederick the Great's father, with
copious extracts from the sources, by F. C. Forster, _Friedrich
Wilhelm I König von Preussen_, 3 vols. (1834-1835). On Frederick the
Great: F. W. Longman, _Frederick the Great and the Seven Years'
War_, 2d ed. (1886), a good summary in English; W. F. Reddaway,
_Frederick the Great and the Rise of Prussia_ (1904) in the
"Heroes of the Nations" Series; Thomas Carlyle, _Frederick the
Great_, an English classic in many editions, sympathetic and in
spots inaccurate; Reinhold Koser, _Geschichte Friedrichs des
Grossen_, 5th ed., 4 vols. (1912-1914), a most thorough and
authoritative biography; _Politische Korrespondenz Friedrichs des
Grossen_, ed. by Reinhold Koser and others, in many volumes,
constitutes the most valuable original source for the reign of
Frederick the Great.

THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT. G. M. Priest, _Germany since 1740_
(1915), ch. i-iii, a useful outline; D. J. Hill, _History of Diplomacy
in the International Development of Europe_, Vol. III (1914), ch. vi-
viii, valuable for diplomatic relations; Richard Waddington, _La guerre
de sept ans: histoire diplomatique et militaire_, 5 vols. (1899-1914),
the best history of the Seven Years' War; A. D. Schaefer, _Geschichte
des siebenjährigen Kriegs_, 2 vols. in 3 (1867-1874), a careful German
account; Wilhelm Oncken, _Das Zeitalter Friedrichs des Grossen_, 2
vols. (1881-1882), an important work on Frederick's reign, in the
imposing Oncken Series. See also A. W. Ward, _Great Britain and
Hanover, Some Aspects of their Personal Union_ (1899).




How the backward, Oriental tsardom of Muscovy has been transformed into
the huge empire of Russia, now comprising one-sixth of the land surface
and one-twelfth of the population of the earth, is one of the most
fascinating phases of the history of modern times. It was not until the
eighteenth century that Russia came into close contact with the
commerce and culture of western Christendom; not until then did she
become a great power in the European family of nations.

[Sidenote: Russian Expansion]

Several occurrences during the two centuries which separated the reign
of the Tsar Ivan the Great from that of Peter the Great paved the way
for the subsequent, almost startling rise of the powerful empire of
northern and eastern Europe. The first in importance was the expansion
of the Russian race and dominion. Throughout the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries the farming folk of the region about Moscow were
emigrating south and east and establishing themselves in the fertile
plains of the Don, the Volga, and the Irtysh. [Footnote: Armies of the
tsar backed up the colonists: they occupied Kazan in 1552 and
Astrakhan, near the Caspian Sea, in 1554.] A glance at the map of
Russia will show how the network of rivers combined with the level
character of the country to facilitate this process of racial
expansion. The gentle southerly flowing Dnieper, Don, and Volga,
radiating from the same central region, and connected by way of the
Kama with the headwaters of the Dwina, which empties into the White Sea
in the extreme north, became chief channels of trade and migration, and
contributed much more to the elaboration of national unity than any
political institutions. Boats could be conveyed over flat and easy
portages from one river-basin to another, and these portages with a
relatively small amount of labor were gradually changed into navigable
channels, so that even now the canals are more important than many of
the railways as arteries of commerce.

[Sidenote: The Cossacks]

As the emigrants threaded their way along the river courses and over
the broad plains they had to be constantly on the alert against attacks
of troublesome natives, and they accordingly organized themselves in
semi-military fashion. Those in the vanguard of territorial expansion
constituted a peculiar class known as Cossacks, who, like frontiersmen
of other times and places, for example, like those that gained for the
United States its vast western domain, lived a wild life in which
agricultural and pastoral pursuits were intermingled with hunting and
fighting. In the basins of the southern rivers, the Cossacks formed
semi-independent military communities: those of the Volga and the Don
professed allegiance to the tsar of Muscovy, while those of the Dnieper
usually recognized the sovereignty of the king of Poland.

[Sidenote: Eastword Expansion into Asia]

Nor was the migration of the Russian race restricted to Europe. The
division between Europe and Asia is largely imaginary, as another
glance at the map will prove,--the low-lying Urals are a barrier only
toward the north, while southward the plains of Russia stretch on
interminably above the Caspian until they are merged in the steppes of
Siberia. Across these plains moved a steady stream of Cossacks and
peasants and adventurers, carrying with them the habits and traditions
of their Russian homes. Ever eastward wended the emigrants. They
founded Tobolsk in 1587 and Tomsk in 1604; they established Yakutsk on
the Lena River in 1632, and Irkutsk on Lake Baikal in 1652; in 1638
they reached the Sea of Okhotsk, and, by the close of the seventeenth
century, they occupied the peninsula of Kamchatka and looked upon the
broad Pacific. Thus at the time when the Spaniards were extending their
speech and laws throughout South America and the English were laying
the foundations for the predominance of their institutions in North
America, the Russians were appropriating northern Asia and
demonstrating that, with them at least, the course of empire takes its
way eastward.

Ivan the Great had already been described in church service as "the
ruler and autocrat of all Russia, the new Tsar Constantine [Footnote:
The last Cæsar of the Græco-Roman Empire, Constantine XI, had perished
in 1453 in vain defense of Constantinople against the Turks. It was a
significant fact that the Russian rulers, who owed their Christianity
and their nation's culture to the Greeks, should now revive the title
of Caesar (Russian form, tsar or czar).] in the new city of
Constantine, Moscow." His successors invariably had themselves crowned
as tsars and autocrats of all Russia. By military might they maintained
their control over the ever-widening territories of the Russian people;
with racial pride and religious fervor, the distant emigrants regarded
their royal family at Moscow. The power of the tsars kept pace with the
expansion of the state.

[Sidenote: Oriental Characteristics of Russia]

Yet this greater Russia remained essentially Oriental. Its form of
Christianity was derived from the East rather than from the West. Its
social customs savored more of Asia than of Europe. Its nobles and even
its tsars were rated by western Christendom as little better than
barbarians. In fact, the Russian state was looked upon in the
seventeenth century in much the same way as China was regarded in the
nineteenth century.

The reasons for this relative backwardness are not hard to ascertain.
In the first place, the religion of the state was a direct heritage of
the expiring Eastern Empire and was different from either the
Catholicism or the Protestantism of western Europe. Secondly, long and
close contact with the conquering Mongols or Tatars of Asia had
saturated the Russian people with Oriental customs and
habits.[Footnote: See above, pp. 21 f.] Thirdly, the nature of the
country tended to exalt agriculture and to discourage industry and
foreign commerce, and at the same time to turn emigration and expansion
eastward rather than westward. Finally, so long as the neighboring
western states of Sweden, Poland, and Turkey remained powerful and
retained the entire coast of the Baltic and Black seas, Russia was
deprived of seaports that would enable her to engage in traffic with
western Europe and thus to partake of the common culture of

Not until Russia was modernized and westernized, and had made
considerable headway against one or all of her western neighbors, could
she hope to become a European Power. Not until the accession of the
Romanov dynasty did she enter seriously upon this twofold policy.

[Sidenote: The "Troublous Times"]

The direct line of Ivan the Great had died out at the close of the
sixteenth century, and there ensued what in Russian history are known
as "the troublous times." Disputes over the succession led to a series
of civil wars, and the consequent anarchy invited foreign intervention.
For a time the Poles harassed the country and even occupied the
Kremlin, or citadel, of Moscow. The Swedes, also, took advantage of the
troublous times in Russia to enlarge their conquests on the eastern
shore of the Baltic and to seize the important trading center of
Novgorod. In the south, the Turks warred with the Cossacks and brought
many of the Crimean principalities under their control.

[Sidenote: The Accession of the Romanovs, 1613]

Under these discouraging circumstances a great national assembly met at
Moscow in 1613 to elect a tsar, and their choice fell upon one of their
own number, a certain Michael Romanov, whose family had been connected
by marriage ties with the ancient royal line. It is an interesting fact
that the present autocrat of Russia is a lineal descendant of the
Romanov who was thus popularly elected to supreme authority in 1613.

Michael Romanov proved an excellent choice. Accepted by all classes, he
reestablished order and security throughout the country and
successfully resisted foreign encroachments. He founded several
fortified towns in the south against the Tatars and the Turks. He
recovered Novgorod from the Swedes. During the reign of his son, Polish
depredations were stopped and the Dnieper River was fixed upon
[Footnote: Treaty of Andrussovo (1667), in accordance with which Poland
ceded to Russia Kiev, Smolensk, and eastern Ukraine.] as the general
dividing line between Poland and Russia.


[Sidenote: His Accession and Early Travels]

The grandson of Michael Romanov was the celebrated Peter the Great, who
may rightfully be designated as the father of modern Russia. His older
brothers, with whom during his youth he was nominally associated in the
government, died in turn without leaving direct heirs, and Peter became
sole ruler in 1696. From the outset he showed an insatiable curiosity
about the arts and sciences of western Europe, the authority of its
kings and the organization of its armies and fleets. To an intense
curiosity, Peter added an indomitable will. He was resolved to satisfy
his every curiosity and to utilize whatever he learned or found.

From childhood, Peter had displayed an aptitude for mechanical tools
and inventions and especially for boat-making. Shipbuilding and ship-
sailing became his favorite pastimes. When he was barely twenty-one, he
launched at Archangel, on the ice-bound White Sea, a ship which he had
built with his own hands. Now in 1696, being sole tsar at the age of
twenty-four, he fitted out a fleet which defeated the Turks on the
Black Sea and allowed him to capture the valuable port of Azov. No
other successes were gained, however, in this Turkish War; and the
young tsar began to perceive that if he were to succeed in his
cherished project he would have to obtain Western aid. In 1697,
therefore, a special commission left Moscow for the purpose of
soliciting the cooperation of the principal Powers against Turkey, and
to this commission the young tsar attached himself as a volunteer
sailor, "Peter Mikhailov," in order that he might incidentally learn
much about ship-building and other technical sciences.

In its primary purpose, the Russian commission failed signally. Western
Europe was on the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, and all the
European sovereigns seemed to be engrossed in the distractions of
dynastic politics. No help against the Turks was forthcoming. But
personally Peter learned many useful things. In Holland he studied
ship-building as well as anatomy and engraving. In England he
investigated industry and commerce. He closely scrutinized the military
establishment of Prussia. In all places which he visited he collected
artisans, sailors, engineers, or other workmen, whom he sent back to
Russia to instruct his people.

[Sidenote: Suppression of the Streltsi]

While he was on his way from Vienna to Venice, news reached him that
the royal bodyguard, called the _streltsi_, had taken advantage of
his absence of a year and a half and had mutinied at Moscow. In hot
haste he hurried home and wreaked dire vengeance upon the mutineers.
Two thousand were hung or broken on the wheel, five thousand were
beheaded, and Peter for many days amused himself and edified his court
by the wonderful dexterity he displayed in slicing off the heads of
_streltsi_ with his own royal arm.

The severe punishment of the rebellious _streltsi_ and the
immediate abolition of their military organization was clear evidence
that Peter was fully determined both to break with the past traditions
of his country and to compel all the Russian people to do likewise.

[Sidenote: Military Reform]

His first care was the reconstruction of the army on the Prussian
model. Officered and disciplined by foreigners dependent entirely upon
the tsar, the new army replaced the _streltsi_ and proved a potent
factor in furthering the domestic and foreign policies of Peter the

[Sidenote: Introduction of Occidental Customs]

The young reformer next turned his attention to the customs of his
people--their clothing and manners--which he would transform from
Oriental to Occidental. Edict followed edict with amazing rapidity. The
chief potentates of the empire were solemnly assembled so that Peter
with his own hand might deliberately clip off their long beards and
flowing mustaches. A heavy tax was imposed on such as persisted in
wearing beards. French or German clothes were to be substituted, under
penalty of large fines, for the traditional Russian costume. The use of
tobacco was made compulsory. The Oriental semi-seclusion of women was
prohibited. Both sexes were to mingle freely in the festivities of the
court. These innovations were largely superficial: they partially
permeated the nobility and clergy, but made little impression on the
mass of the population. Peter had begun a work, however, which was
certain of great results in the future.

[Sidenote: Development of Autocracy]

The reign of Peter the Great is notable for the removal of serious
checks upon the power of the tsar and the definitive establishment of
that form of absolutism which in Russia is called "autocracy." By sheer
ability and will-power, the tsar was qualified to play the role of
divine-right monarch, and his observation of the centralized government
of Louis XIV, as well as the appreciation of his country's needs,
convinced him that that kind of government was the most suitable for

[Sidenote: Subordination of the Orthodox Church to the Russian State]
[Sidenote: The Holy Synod]

We have already observed how Peter replaced the independent, turbulent
_streltsi_ with a thoroughly devoted and orderly standing army.
That was one important step in the direction of autocracy. The next was
the subordination of the Church to the state. The tsar understood the
very great influence which the Holy Orthodox Church exerted over the
Russian people and the danger to his policies that ecclesiastical
opposition might create. He was naturally anxious that the Church
should become the ally, not the enemy, of autocracy. He, therefore,
took such steps as would exalt the Church in the opinion of his
countrymen and at the same time would render it a serviceable agent of
the government. Professing the warmest faith in its religious tenets,
he deprived the patriarch [Footnote: Until late in the sixteenth
century, the metropolitan of Moscow was in theory under the authority
of the patriarch of Constantinople; thereafter, through Boris Godunov,
he became independent with full consent and approval of the whole Greek
Orthodox Church and was styled the patriarch of Moscow.] of Moscow of
his privilege of controlling the ecclesiastical organization and vested
all powers of church government in a body, called the Holy Synod, whose
members were bishops and whose chief was a layman, all chosen by the
tsar himself. No appointment to ecclesiastical office could henceforth
be made without the approval of the Holy Synod; no sermon could be
preached and no book could be published unless it had received the
sanction of that august body. The authority which the tsar thereby
obtained over the Russian Church was as complete and far-reaching as
that which Henry VIII had acquired, two centuries earlier, over the
Anglican Church. The results have been in keeping with Peter's fondest
expectations, for the Orthodox Church in Russia has been from his time
to the present the right-hand support of absolutism. The tsars have
exalted the Church as the fountain of order and holiness; as a
veritable ark of the covenant have the clergy magnified and extolled
the autocracy.

[Sidenote: Secular Power of the Tsar]

A remodeling of the secular government of Russia along autocratic lines
was another achievement of Peter the Great which long endured. At the
head of the state was the tsar or emperor, possessing absolute,
unlimited powers. An ancient assembly, or Duma, of nobles, which had
formerly exercised vague legislative rights, was practically abolished,
its place being taken by an advisory Council of State whose members,
usually noblemen, were selected by the tsar. All traces of local self-
government were similarly swept away, and the country was henceforth
administered by the tsar's personal agents. To enforce his autocratic
will, a system of police was organized on a militia basis, its chiefs
being made dependent on the central authority. In these, as in all his
other reforms, the tsar encountered a good deal of opposition, and for
a while was obliged to rely largely on foreigners to carry them out. As
soon as possible, however, Peter employed natives, for it was a
cardinal point in his policy that the Russians themselves must manage
their own state without foreign interference or help.

[Sidenote: Attempted Social Reforms of Peter the Great]

Like his contemporaries in western Europe, Peter gave considerable
attention to the economic condition of the monarchy. He strove, though
often in a bungling manner, to promote agriculture and to improve the
lot of the peasantry, who still constituted the overwhelming bulk of
forms of the population. He certainly deprived the nobles of many of
their former privileges and sought to rest political power and social
position on ability rather than on birth. He understood that Russia
grievously lacked a numerous and prosperous middle class, and he aimed
to create one by encouraging trade and industries. His almost constant
participation in wars, however, prevented him from bringing many of his
economic and social plans to fruition.

[Sidenote: Ambitious Foreign Policy of Peter the Great]

Internal reforms were but one-half of Peter's ambitious program. To him
Russia owes not only the abolition of the _streltsi_, the loss of
the independence of the Church, the Europeanization of manners and
customs, and the firm establishment of autocracy, but also the
pronouncement and enforcement of an elaborate scheme of foreign
aggrandizement. On one hand, the tsar showed a lively interest in the
exploration and colonization of Siberia and in the extension of Russian
dominion around the Caspian Sea and towards the Persian Empire. On the
other hand,--and this, for our purposes, is far more important,--he was
resolved to make the cultural and commercial connection between Russia
and Europe strong and intimate, to open a way to the west by gaining
outlets on both the Black and Baltic seas--"windows" to the west, as he
termed them.

On the Baltic Sea, Sweden blocked him; toward the Black Sea, the
Ottoman power hemmed him in. It was, therefore, against Sweden and
Turkey that Peter the Great waged war. It seemed to him a matter of
dire necessity for the preservation of European civilization in Russia
that he should defeat one or both of these states. Against the Turks,
as events proved, he made little headway; against the Swedes he fared

In order that we may understand the nature of the momentous conflict
between Russia and Sweden in the first quarter of the eighteenth
century, it will be necessary at this point to notice the parallel
development of Sweden.


[Sidenote: Sweden a Great Power in the Seventeenth Century]

It will be recalled that a century before Peter the Great, the
remarkable Gustavus Adolphus had aimed to make the Baltic a Swedish
lake. To his own kingdom, lying along the western shore of that sea,
and to the dependency of Finland, he had added by conquest the eastern
provinces of Karelia, Ingria, Esthonia, and Livonia [Footnote: Livonia,
occupied by Gustavus Adolphus during the Polish War of 1621-1629, was
not formally relinquished by Poland until 1660. Esthonia had been
conquered by the Swedes in 1561, but Russia did not renounce her
pretensions to this province until 1617.], and his successful
interference in the Thirty Years' War had given Sweden possession of
western Pomerania and the mouths of the Elbe, Oder, and Weser rivers
and a considerable influence in German affairs. For many years after
the death of Gustavus Adolphus, Sweden was the recognized leader of
continental Protestantism, and her trade on the Baltic grew and
thrived. The exports of Russia and Poland found a convenient outlet
through the Swedish port of Riga, and those of the northern Germanics
were frequently dispatched on Swedish vessels from Stettin or

Repeated efforts were made by Denmark, Poland, and Brandenburg to break
the commercial monopoly which Sweden enjoyed upon the Baltic and to
deprive her of her conquests, but for a long time in vain. Victory
continued to attend Swedish arms and a general treaty in 1660 confirmed
her dominion. At that time Sweden was not only a military power of the
first magnitude but also one of the largest states of Europe,
possessing about twice as much area as present-day Sweden. Her area
embraced a land-surface 7000 square miles larger than the modern German
Empire. All the islands and the greater part of the coast of the Baltic
belonged to her. Stockholm, the capital, lay in the very center of the
empire, whose second city was Riga, on the other side of the sea. In
politics, in religion, and in trade, Sweden was feared and respected.

[Sidenote: Elements of Weakness in Sweden's Position]

Yet the greatness of Sweden in the seventeenth century was more
apparent than real. Her commerce provoked the jealousy of all her
neighbors. Her dependencies across the Baltic were difficult to hold:
peopled by Finns, Russians, Poles, Germans, and Danes, their bond with
Sweden was essentially artificial, and they usually sympathized,
naturally enough, with their sovereign's enemies. They, therefore,
imposed on the mother country the duty of remaining a military
monarchy, armed from head to foot for every possible emergency. For
such a tremendous destiny Sweden was quite unfitted. Her wide territory
was very sparsely populated, and her peasantry were very poor. Only the
French alliance gave her solid backing in the Germanies, and, with the
decline of the fortunes of Louis XIV and the rise of Prussia and
Russia, she was bound to lose her leadership in the North.

To the fate of Sweden, her rulers in the seventeenth century
contributed no small share. Nearly all of them were born fighters and
nearly all of them were neglectful of home interests and of the works
of peace. The military instincts of the Swedish kings not only
sacrificed thousands of lives that were urgently needed in building up
their country and cost the kingdom enormous sums of money but likewise
impaired commerce, surrounded the empire with a broad belt of desolated
territory, and implanted an ineradicable hatred in every adjacent
state. Then, too, the extravagance and negligence of the sovereigns led
to chaos in domestic government. Taxes were heavy and badly
apportioned. The nobles recovered many of their political privileges.
The royal power steadily dwindled away at the very time when it was
most needed; and a selfish, grasping aristocracy hastened their
country's ruin. [Footnote: A reaction appeared under the capable
Charles XI (1660-1697), but its fruits were completely lost by his son
and successor, Charles XII.]

[Sidenote: Coalition against Charles XII]

At length, in 1697, when Charles XII, a boy of fifteen years, ascended
the throne of Sweden, the neighboring Powers thought the time had
arrived to partition his territories among themselves. Tsar Peter,
while returning home the following year from his travels abroad, had
discussed with Augustus II, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, a
plan which the latter had formed for the dismemberment of the Swedish
Empire: Poland was to recover Livonia and annex Esthonia; Russia was to
obtain Ingria and Karelia and thereby a port on the Baltic; Brandenburg
was to occupy western Pomerania; and Denmark was to take possession of
Holstein and the mouths of the Elbe and Weser. Charles XII was to
retain only his kingdom in the Scandinavian peninsula and the grand
duchy of Finland. At the last moment Brandenburg balked, but Saxony,
Denmark, and Russia signed the nefarious alliance in 1699. The allies
expected quick and decisive victory. All western and southern Europe
was on the verge of a great struggle for the Spanish inheritance and
would clearly be unable to prevent them from despoiling Sweden.

[Sidenote: Military Exploits of Charles XII]

But the allies grossly underrated their foe. Charles XII was a mere
boy, but precocious, gloomy, and sensitive, and endowed with all the
martial determination and heroism of his ancestors. He desired nothing
better than to fight against overwhelming odds, and the fury of the
youthful commander soon earned him the sobriquet of the "madman of the
North." The alliance of 1699 precipitated the Great Northern War which
was to last until 1721 and slowly, but no less inevitably, lower Sweden
to the position of a third-rate power. It was amid the most spectacular
exploits of the boy-king that the ruin of Sweden was accomplished. It
was a grander but more tragic fate than in the same period befell

Charles XII did not give the allies time to unite. Hurriedly crossing
the straits, he invaded Denmark, whose terrified king promptly signed a
treaty with him (1700), paying a large indemnity and engaging to keep
the peace in future.

Thence Charles hastened across the Baltic to Esthonia in order to deal
with the invading Russians. At Narva he met and annihilated their army.
Then he turned southward, clearing Livonia and Lithuania of Poles,
Saxons, and Russians.

Into the very heart of Poland he carried the war, possessing himself of
both Warsaw and Cracow. He obliged the Polish Diet to dethrone Augustus
and to accept a king of his own choice in the person of a certain
Stanislaus Leszczynski (1704).

All these things had been done by a young man between the age of
seventeen and twenty--two. It was quite natural that he should be
puffed up with pride in his ability and successes. It was almost as
natural that, hardened at an early age to the horrors of war, he should
become increasingly callous and cruel. Many instructions the impulsive
youth sent out over conquered districts in Russia, Poland, and Saxony
"to slay, burn, and destroy." "Better that the innocent suffer than
that the guilty escape" was his favorite adage.

Small wonder, then, that neither Peter the Great nor the Elector
Augustus would abandon the struggle. While Charles was overrunning
Poland, Peter was reorganizing his army and occupying Karelia and
Ingria; and when the Swedish king returned to engage the Russians,
Augustus drove out Stanislaus and regained the crown of Poland. Yet
Charles, with an unreasoning stubbornness, would not perceive that the
time had arrived for terminating the conflict with a few concessions.
Russia at that time asked only a port on the Gulf of Finland as the
price of an alliance against Poland.

[Sidenote: Battle of Poltava (1709): Defeat of Charles XII]

To all entreaties for peace, Charles XII turned a deaf ear, and pressed
the war in Russia. Unable to take Moscow, he turned southward in order
to effect a juncture with some rebellious Cossacks, but met the army of
Peter the Great at Poltava (1709). Poltava marks the decisive triumph
of Russia over Sweden. The Swedish army was destroyed, only a small
number being able to accompany the flight of their king across the
southern Russian frontier into Turkish territory.

Then Charles stirred up the Turks to attack the tsar, but from the new
contest he was himself unable to profit. Peter bought peace with the
Ottoman government by re-ceding the town of Azov, and the latter
gradually tired of their guest's continual and frantic clamor for war.
After a sojourn of over five years in Ottoman lands, Charles suddenly
and unexpectedly appeared, with but a single attendant, at Stralsund,
which by that time was all that remained to him outside of Sweden and

[Sidenote: Obstinacy and Death of Charles XII]

Still, however, the war dragged on. The allies grew in numbers and in
demands. Peter the Great and Augustus were again joined by the Danish
king. Great Britain, Hanover, and Prussia, all covetous of Swedish
trade or Swedish territory, were now members of the coalition. Charles
XII stood like adamant: he would retain all or he would lose all. So he
stood until the last. It was while he was directing an invasion of
Norway that the brilliant but ill-balanced Charles lost his life
(1718), being then but thirty-six years of age.

[Sidenote: Decline of Sweden]

Peace which had been impossible during the lifetime of Charles, became
a reality soon after his death. It certainly came none too soon for the
exhausted and enfeebled condition of Sweden. By the treaties of
Stockholm (1719 and 1720), Sweden resigned all her German holdings
except a small district of western Pomerania including the town of
Stralsund. Denmark received Holstein and a money indemnity. Hanover
gained the mouths of the Elbe and Weser; Prussia, the mouth of the Oder
and the important city of Stettin. Augustus was restored to the Polish
throne, though without territorial gain. Great Britain, Denmark, and
Prussia became the principal commercial heirs of Sweden.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Nystad (1721): Russia on the Baltic]
[Sidenote: Petrograd]

The treaty of Nystad (1721) was the turning point for Russia, for
thereby she acquired from Sweden full sovereignty over not only Karelia
and Ingria but the important Baltic provinces of Esthonia and Livonia
and a narrow strip of southern Finland including the strong fortress of
Viborg. Peter the Great had realized his ambition of affording his
country a "window to the west." On the waste marshes of the Neva he
succeeded with enormous effort and sacrifice of life in building a
great city which might be a center of commerce and a bond of connection
between Russia and the western world. He named his new city St.
Petersburg [Footnote: Known generally in the Teutonic form "St.
Petersburg" from its foundation until the War of the Nations in 1914,
when the Slavic form of "Petrograd" was substituted.] and to it he
transferred his government from Moscow. Russia supplanted Sweden in the
leadership of the Baltic and assumed a place among the Powers of

Peter the Great did not realize his other ambition of securing a
Russian port on the Black Sea. Although he captured and held Azov for a
time, he was obliged to relinquish it, as we have seen, in order to
prevent the Turks from joining hands with Charles XII.

[Sidenote: Character of Peter the Great]

Nevertheless, when Peter died in 1725, he left his empire a compact
state, well-organized, and well-administered, westernized at least
superficially, and ready to play a conspicuous role in the
international politics of Europe. The man who succeeded in doing all
these things has been variously estimated. By some he has been
represented as a monster of cruelty and a murderer, [Footnote: Peter
had his son and heir, the Grand Duke Alexius, put to death because he
did not sympathize with his reforms. The tsar's other punishments often
assumed a most revolting and disgusting character.] by others as a
demon of the grossest sensuality, by still others as a great national
hero. Probably he merited all such opinions. But, above all, he was a
genius of fierce energy and will, who toiled always for what he
considered to be the welfare of his country.


It is hardly possible to feel much respect for the character of the
Russian rulers who succeeded Peter the Great in the eighteenth century.
Most of them were women with loose morals and ugly manners. But they
had little to fear from Sweden, which, utterly exhausted, was now on a
steady decline; and domestic difficulties both in Poland and in Turkey
removed any apprehension of attacks from those countries. In policies
of internal government, Peter had blazed a trail so clear and
unmistakable that one would have difficulty in losing it.

[Sidenote: Character of the Tsarina Catherine II]

Of those female sovereigns of the Russian Empire, the most notable was
Catherine II, usually called Catherine the Great (1762-1796). By birth
she was not even a Russian, but a princess of Protestant Germany, whom
dynastic considerations made the wife of the heir to the Russian crown.
[Footnote: The marriage was arranged by Frederick the Great in order to
minimize Austrian influence at Petrograd.]

No sooner was she in her adopted country than she set to work to
ingratiate herself with its people. She learned the Russian language.
She outwardly conformed to the Orthodox Church. She slighted her German
relatives and surrounded herself with Russians. She established a
reputation for quick wit and lofty patriotism. So great was her success
that when her half-insane husband ascended the throne as Peter III in
1762, the people looked to her rather than to him as the real ruler,
and before the year was over she had managed to make away with him and
to become sovereign in name as well as in fact. For thirty-four years
Catherine was tsarina of Russia. Immoral to the last, without
conscience or scruple, she ruled the country with a firm hand and
consummated the work of Peter the Great.

[Sidenote: Her Administration]

In the administrative system Catherine introduced the "governments" and
"districts," divisions and subdivisions of Russia, over which were
placed respectively governors and vice-governors, all appointed by the
central authority. To the ecclesiastical alterations of Peter, she
added the secularization of church property, thereby making the clergy
distinctly dependent upon her bounty and strengthening the autocracy.

[Sidenote: Her Patronage of Learning]

The tsarina had some personal interest in the literary and scientific
progress of the eighteenth century and was determined to make Russia
appear cultured in the eyes of western Europe. She corresponded with
Voltaire and many other philosophers and learned men of the time. She
pensioned Diderot, the author of the great Encyclopædia, and invited
scholars to her court. She posed as the friend of higher education.

[Sidenote: Her Foreign Policy]

Of the three foreign countries which in the eighteenth century blocked
the western expansion of Russia, Sweden had been humbled by Peter in
the Great Northern War and the treaty of Nystad. Poland and Turkey
remained to be dealt with by Catherine the Great. Let us see what had
lately transpired to render this task comparatively easy for the

[Sidenote: Poland in the Eighteenth Century]

Poland in the first half of the eighteenth century was geographically a
large state, but a variety of circumstances contributed to render it
weak and unstable. In the first place, it was without natural
boundaries or adequate means of defense. To the west it was separated
from Prussia and Austria by an artificial line drawn through level
plains or over low-lying hills. To the south a fluctuating frontier,
fixed usually along the Dniester River, set it off from the Ottoman
Empire. The fertile valleys of the Dnieper, to the east, and of the
Dona, to the north, were shared by Russia and Poland. No chains of
mountains and no strongly fortified places protected the Polish people
from Germans, Turks, or Russians.

Nor was this wide, but indefensible, territory inhabited by a single
homogeneous people. The Poles themselves, centering in the western
cities of Warsaw and Cracow, constituted a majority of the population,
but the Lithuanians, a kindred Slavic folk, covered the east-central
part of the kingdom and a large number of Cossacks and "Little
Russians" [Footnote: Ruthenians.] lived in the extreme east, while
along the northern and western borders were settlements of Germans and
Swedes. Between the Poles and the Lithuanians existed a long-standing
feud, and the Germans regarded all the Slavs with ill-disguised

Religion added its share to the dissension created by race and language
within Poland. The Poles and most of the Lithuanians were stanch Roman
Catholics. Other Lithuanians--especially the great nobles--together
with the Russians and Cossacks adhered to the Greek Orthodox faith,
while Lutheran Protestantism was upheld by the western settlements of
Swedes and Germans. The Dissenters, as the Orthodox and Protestants
were called, demanded from the Catholic majority a toleration and a
freedom of worship which at that time existed in no other country of
Europe. When it was not forthcoming, they appealed to foreign Powers--
the Lutherans to Prussia, the Orthodox to Russia.

[Sidenote: Wretched Social Conditions in Poland]

Worst of all were the social conditions in Poland. By the eighteenth
century, the towns had sunk into relative insignificance, leaving
Poland without a numerous or wealthy middle class. Of the other
classes, the great nobles or magnates owned the land, lived in luxury,
selfishly looked out for their own interests, and jealously played
politics, while the mass of the nation were degraded into a state of
serfdom and wretchedness that would be difficult to parallel elsewhere
in Europe. With a grasping, haughty nobility on one hand, and an
oppressed, ignorant peasantry on the other, social solidarity, the best
guarantee of political independence, was entirely lacking.

[Sidenote: Weakness of Polish Political Institutions]

An enlightened progressive government might have done something to
remedy the social ills, but of all governments that the world has ever
seen, the most ineffectual and pernicious was the Polish. Since the
sixteenth century, the monarchy had been elective, with the result that
the reign of every sovereign was disfigured by foreign intrigues and
domestic squabbles over the choice of his successor, and also that the
noble electors were able not only to secure liberal bribes but to wring
from the elect such concessions as gradually reduced the kingship to an
ornamental figurehead. Most of the later kings were foreigners who used
what little power was left to them in furtherance of their native
interests rather than of the welfare of Poland. Thus the kings in the
first half of the eighteenth century were German electors of Saxony,
who owed their new position to the interested friendship of Austria,
Prussia, or Russia, and to the large sums of money which they lavished
upon the Polish magnates; these same Saxon rulers cheerfully applied
the Polish resources to their German policies.

Another absurdity of the Polish constitution was the famous "_liberum
veto_," a kind of gentlemen's agreement among the magnates, whereby
no law whatsoever could be enacted by the Diet if a single member felt
it was prejudicial to his interests, and objected. In the course of the
seventeenth century the principle of the _liberum veto_ had been
so far extended as to recognize the lawful right of any one of the ten
thousand noblemen of Poland to refuse to obey a law which he had not
approved. This amounted to anarchism. And anarchism, however beautiful
it might appear as an ideal, was hardly a trustworthy weapon with which
to oppose the greedy, hard-hearted, despotic monarchs who governed all
the surrounding countries.

[Sidenote: Steady Decline of Ottoman Power during Seventeenth Century]

The Ottoman Empire was not in such sore straits as Poland, but its
power and prestige were obviously waning. In another place we have
reviewed the achievements of the Turks in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries--how they overran the Balkan peninsula, captured
Constantinople, put an end to the ancient Græco-Roman Empire and under
Suleiman the Magnificent extended their conquests along the northern
coast of Africa and in Europe across the Danube into the very heart of
Hungary. Although the sea-power of the Turks suffered a serious reverse
at Lepanto (1571), their continued land advances provoked in
Christendom the liveliest apprehension throughout the seventeenth
century. After a twenty-five-years conflict they took Crete from
Venice. They subjugated to their dominion the Tatars and Russians
immediately north of the Black Sea. They exacted homage from the
princes of Rumania and Transylvania. They annexed Hungary. For a time
they received tribute from the king of Poland. In 1683 they laid siege
to the city of Vienna and would have taken it had not the patriotic
Polish monarch, John Sobieski, brought timely aid to the beleaguered
Austrians. That was the high-water mark of the Mohammedan advance in

Thenceforth the Turkish boundaries gradually receded. An alliance of
Venice, Poland, the pope, and Austria waged long and arduous warfare
with the Ottomans, and the resulting treaty of Karlowitz, signed at the
very close of the seventeenth century, gave the greater part of
Hungary, including Transylvania, to the Austrian Habsburgs, extended
the southern boundary of Poland to the Dniester River, and surrendered
important trading centers on the Dalmatian and Greek coasts to the
Venetians. Two subsequent wars between the sultan and the Habsburgs
definitely freed the whole of Hungary from the Ottoman yoke. The
reasons for the wane of Turkey's power are scarcely to be sought in the
inherent strength of her neighbors, for, with the possible exception of
Austria and Russia, they were notoriously weak and had seldom been able
or willing to work together in behalf of any common cause. The real
reasons lay rather in the character and nature of the Turkish power
itself. Domestic, not foreign, difficulties prepared the way for future

[Sidenote: Nature of the Turkish Conquests]

It should be borne in mind that the Turks never constituted a majority
of the population of their European possessions. They were a mere body
of conquerors, who in frenzies of religious or martial enthusiasm,
inspired with the idea that Divine Providence was using them as agents
for the spread of Mohammedanism, had fought valiantly with the sword or
cunningly taken advantage of their enemies' quarrels to plant over wide
areas the crescent in place of the cross. In the conquered regions, the
native Christian peoples were reduced to serfdom, and the Turkish
conquerors became great landholders and the official class. To extend,
even to maintain, such an artificial order of things, the Turks would
be obliged to keep their military organization always at the highest
pitch of excellence and to preserve their government from weakness and
corruption. In neither of these respects did the Turks ultimately

[Sidenote: Corruption In the Turkish Government]

The sultans of the eighteenth century were not of the stuff of which a
Suleiman the Magnificent had been made. To the grim risks of battle
they preferred the cushioned ease of the palace, and all their powers
of administration and government were quite consumed in the management
of the household and the harem. Actual authority was gradually
transferred to the Divan, or board of ministers, whose appointments or
dismissals were the results of palace intrigues, sometimes petty but
more often bloody. Corruption ate its way through the entire office-
holding element of the Ottoman state: positions were bought and sold
from the Divan down to the obscure village, and office was held to
exist primarily for financial profit and secondarily as a means of
oppressing the subject people.

The army, on which so much in the Turkish state depended, naturally
reflected the demoralized condition of the government. While Peter the
Great was organizing a powerful army in Russia, and Frederick the Great
was perfecting the Prussian military machine, the Ottoman army steadily
declined. It failed to keep pace with the development of tactics and of
firearms in western Europe, and fell behind the times. The all-
prevalent corruption ruined its discipline, and its regularly organized
portion--the "janissaries"--became the masters rather than the servants
of the sultans and of the whole Turkish government.

It was the fortune of the Russian tsarina--Catherine the Great--to
appreciate the real weakness of both Turkey and Poland and to turn her
neighbors' distress to the profit of her own country.

[Sidenote: Catherine's Interference in Poland]

No sooner had Catherine secured the Russian crown and by her inactivity
permitted Frederick the Great to bring the Seven Years' War to a
successful issue, than the death of Augustus III, elector of Saxony and
king of Poland, gave her an opportunity to interfere in Polish affairs.
She was not content with the Saxon line which was more or less under
Austrian influence, and, with the astute aid of Frederick, she induced
the Polish nobles to elect one of her own courtiers and favorites,
Stanislaus Poniatowski, who thus in 1764 became the last king of an
independent Poland.

With the accession of Stanislaus, the predominance of Russia was fully
established in Poland. Russia entered into an execrable agreement with
Prussia and Austria to uphold the anarchical constitution of the
unhappy and victimized country. When patriotic Poles made efforts--as
they now frequently did--to reform their government, to abolish the
_liberum veto_, and to strengthen the state, they found their
attempts thwarted by the allies either by force of arms or by bribes of
money. The racial animosities and the religious differences within
Poland afforded sufficient pretexts for the intervention of the
neighboring Powers, especially Prussia and Russia.

A popular insurrection of Polish Catholics against the intolerable
meddling of foreigners was crushed by the troops of Catherine, with the
single result that the Russians, in pursuing some fleeing insurgents
across the southern frontier, violated Turkish territory and
precipitated a war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia.

[Sidenote: Catherine's War with the Turks, 1768-1774]

This Turkish War lasted from 1768 to 1774. The Ottoman government was
profoundly alarmed by the Russian foreign policy, believing that the
intrigues in Poland would end in the annexation of that state to Russia
and the consequent upsetting of the balance of power in the East, and
that, Poland once being disposed of, the turn of Turkey would come
next. The Turks, moreover, were egged on by the French government,
which, anxious also to preserve the balance of power and to defend the
liberties of Poland, was too financially embarrassed itself to
undertake a great war against Prussia and Russia.

This war between Russia and Turkey fully confirmed the belief that the
power of the latter was waning. The Ottoman troops, badly armed and
badly led, suffered a series of reverses. The Russians again occupied
Azov, which Peter the Great had been compelled to relinquish; they
overran Moldavia and Wallachia; they seized Bucharest; and they seemed
likely to cross the Danube. Catherine went so far as to fan a revolt
among the Greek subjects of the sultan.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji (1774): Russia on the Black Sea]

At length, in 1774, the treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji was concluded between
the belligerents. It was most important in marking the southern
extension of Russia. By its provisions, (1) Turkey formally ceded Azov
and adjacent territory to Russia and renounced sovereignty over all
land north of the Black Sea; (2) Turkey recovered Wallachia, Moldavia,
and Greece, on condition that they should be better governed; (3)
Russia obtained the right of free navigation for her merchant ships in
Turkish waters; and (4) Russia was recognized as the protector of
certain churches in the city of Constantinople.

Within a few years after the signature of the treaty of Kuchuk
Kainarji, Catherine established Russian control over the various Tatar
principalities north of the Black Sea, whose sovereignty Turkey had
renounced, and by a supplementary agreement in 1792, the Dniester River
was fixed upon as the boundary between the Russian and Ottoman empires.

The Turkish policy of Catherine the Great bore three significant
results. In the first place, Russia acquired a natural boundary in
southern Europe, and became the chief Power on the Black Sea, whence
her ships might pass freely through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles
out into the Mediterranean to trade with western Europe. Russia's
second "window to the west" was gained. Then, in the second place,
Russia was henceforth looked upon as the natural ally and friend of
oppressed nationalities within the Turkish Empire. Finally, the special
clause conferring on Russia the protectorate of certain churches in
Constantinople afforded her a pretext for a later claim to protect
Christians throughout the Ottoman state and consequently to interfere
incessantly in Turkish affairs. Since the treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji,
Turkey has declined with ever-increasing rapidity, and Russia has
become an eager candidate for a liberal share of the spoils.

[Sidenote: Catherine and the Partition of Poland]
[Sidenote: First Partition, 1772]

Even while the Turkish War was in progress, Catherine the Great had not
lost sight of her Polish policy. Frederick of Prussia had doubtless
hoped that she would, in order that he might have a free rein to direct
a distribution of territory entirely satisfactory to himself and to
Prussia But the wily tsarina was never so immersed in other matters
that she neglected Russian interests in Poland. In 1772, therefore, she
joined with Frederick and with Maria Theresa of Austria in making the
first partition of Poland. Russia took all the country which lay east
of the Dona and Dnieper rivers. Prussia took West Prussia except the
town of Danzig. Austria took Galicia and the city of Cracow. In all,
Poland was deprived of about a fourth of her territory.

[Sidenote: Second Partition, 1793]
[Sidenote: Third and Last Partition, 1795]

The partition of 1772 sobered the Polish people and brought them to a
full realizing sense of the necessity of radical political reform. But
the shameful and hypocritical attitude of the neighboring sovereigns
continued to render their every effort abortive. For another twenty-one
years the wretched country struggled on, a victim of selfish foreign
tutelage. Although both Frederick and Maria Theresa died in the
interval, their successors proved themselves quite as willing to
coöperate with the implacable tsarina. In 1793 Russia and Prussia
effected the second partition of Poland, and in 1795, following a last
desperate attempt of the Poles to establish a new government, they
admitted Austria to a share in the final dismemberment of the unhappy
country. Desperately did the brave Kosciuszko try to stem the tide of
invasion which poured in from all sides. His few forces, in spite of
great valor, were no match for the veteran allies, and the defense was
vain. "Freedom shrieked when Kosciuszko fell." King Stanislaus
Poniatowski resigned his crown and betook himself to Petrograd. Poland
ceased to exist as an independent state.

By the partitions of 1793 and 1795, Austria obtained the upper valley
of the Vistula, and Prussia the lower, including the city of Warsaw,
while the rest--the major share--went to Russia. Little Russia
(Ruthenia) and approximately all of Lithuania thus passed into the
hands of the tsarina. Russia thenceforth bordered immediately on
Prussia and Austria and became geographically a vital member of the
European family of nations.

Catherine the Great survived the third and final partition of Poland
but a year, dying in 1796. If it can be said of Peter that he made
Russia a European Power, it can be affirmed with equal truth that
Catherine made Russia a Great Power. The eighteenth century had
witnessed a marvelous growth of Russia in Europe. She had acquired
territory and a capital on the Baltic. She had secured valuable ports
on the Black Sea. She had pushed her boundaries westward into the very
center of the Continent.

The rise of Russia was at the expense of her neighbors. Sweden had
surrendered her eastern provinces and lost her control of the Baltic.
Turkey had abandoned her monopoly of the shores and trade of the Black
Sea. Poland had disappeared from the map.



THE RISE OF RUSSIA. Elementary sketches: J. H. Robinson and C. A.
Beard, _The Development of Modern Europe_, Vol. I (1907), ch. iv;
H. O. Wakeman, _The Ascendancy of France, 1598-1715_ (1894), ch.
viii, xii, xiii; Arthur Hassall, _The Balance of Power, 1715-1789_
(1896), ch. v, xi; A. H. Johnson, _The Age of the Enlightened Despot,
1660-1789_ (1910), ch. iv, v; H. T. Dyer, _A History of Modern
Europe from the Fall of Constantinople_, 3d ed. rev. by Arthur
Hassall, 6 vols. (1901), ch. xxxvi, xxxviii, xli, xlix, 1. More
detailed histories: _Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. V (1908), ch.
xvi-xix, and Vol. VI (1909), ch. x, xix; _Histoire générale_, Vol.
V, ch. xvi-xviii, xx, Vol. VI, ch. xvii-xix, xxi, xxii, Vol. VII, ch.
viii, ix, excellent chapters in French by such eminent scholars as
Louis Leger and Alfred Rambaud; V. 0. Kliuchevsky, _A History of
Russia_, Eng. trans. by C. J. Hogarth, 3 vols. (1911-1913),
authoritative on the early history of Russia, but comes down only to
1610; Alfred Rambaud, _Histoire de la Russie depuis les origines
jusqu'à nos jours_, 6th ed. (1914), ch. xiv-xxxii,--an earlier
edition of this standard work was translated into English by Leonora B.
Lang and published in two volumes, of which the larger part treats of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; James Mayor, _Economic
History of Russia_, Vol. I (1914), Book I, ch. iv-vii, especially
useful for the economic and social reforms of Peter the Great. On the
Russian sovereigns: R. N. Bain, _The First Romanovs, 1613-1725_
(1905), and, by the same author, _Pupils of Peter the Great: a
History of the Russian Court and Empire from 1697 to 1740_ (1897);
Eugene Schuyler, _Peter the Great_, 2 vols. (1884), a scholarly
work; Kazimierz Waliszewski, _Peter the Great_, an admirable study
trans. from the French by Lady Mary Loyd (1900), and, by the same
author, though not as yet translated, _L'héritage de Pierre le Grand:
règne des femmes, gouvernement des favoris, 1725-1741_ (1900) and
_La dernière des Romanov, Elisabeth R_ (1902); Alexander Bruckner,
_Peter der Grosse_ (1879), and, by the same author, _Katharina
die Zweite_ (1883), important German works, in the Oncken Series; E.
A. B. Hodgetts, _The Life of Catherine the Great of Russia_
(1914), a recent fair-minded treatment in English. On the expansion of
the Russian people: Alfred Rambaud, _The Expansion of Russia_, 2d
ed. (1904); F. A. Golder, _Russian Expansion on the Pacific, 1641-
1850_; Hans Übersberger, _Russlands Orientpolitik in den letzten
zwei Jahrhunderten_, Vol. I, down to 1792 (1913).

_Scandinavia, a Political History of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden,
1513-1900_ (1905), and, by the same author, _Charles XII_
(1899) in the "Heroes of the Nations" Series. On Turkey: Stanley Lane-
Poole, _Turkey_ (1889), in the "Story of the Nations" Series, and
E. A. Freeman, _The Ottoman Power in Europe, its Nature, its Growth,
and its Decline_ (1877), suggestive outlines by eminent English
historians; Nicolae Jorga, _Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches_, 5
vols. (1908-1913), particularly Vols. III, IV, the best and most up-to-
date history of the Ottoman Empire; Joseph von Hammer, _Geschichte
des osmanischen Reiches_, 10 vols. (1827-1835), an old work, very
detailed and still famous, of which Vols. VI-VIII treat of the
eighteenth century prior to 1774. On Poland: W. A. Phillips,
_Poland_ (1915), ch. i-vi, a convenient volume in the "Home
University Library"; R. N. Bain, _Slavonic Europe: a Political
History of Poland and Russia from 1447 to 1796_ (1908), ch. v-xix;
_Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. VIII (1904), ch. xvii; W. R. A.
Morfill, _Poland_ (1893), in the "Story of the Nations" Series; R.
H. Lord, _The Second Partition of Poland: a Study in Diplomatic
History_ (1915), scholarly and well-written; R. N. Bain, _The Last
King of Poland and his Contemporaries_ (1909); U. L. Lehtonen,
_Die polnischen Provinzen Russlands unter Katharina II in den Jahren
1772-1782_ (1907), a German translation of an important Finnish
work. An excellent French account of international relations in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, affecting Russia, Sweden, Poland,
and Turkey, is Émile Bourgeois, _Manuel historique de politique
étrangère_, 4th ed., Vol. I (1906), ch. viii, x, xiii.

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