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fingle power in the north in a state of affured tranquillity.
The king of Denmark, though threatened by fo formidable a power engaged in pursuit of a favourite object, was not terrified into any mean conceffions. He recruited his army, repaired his fortifications, and prepared for his defence, with temper and magnanimity. As money must be much wanting for the fervices of fo important a war, as his country could furnish no great fupplies, and the borrowings in every part of Europe, together with the fudden invasion of his dominions, could enable him to form no fanguine hopes of public credit, he turned his hopes towards the city of Hamburgh, which had enriched itfelf by its industry and neutrality during the whole war, and by the number of wealthy perfons who had fled there for refuge from the calamities, which all the neighbour ing countries had fuffered.
His Danish majefty had always kept alive aclaim of fovereignty over that city, which (however founded) he exercised whenever he found himfelf able. He thought the preof thofe conjunctures. Therefore without any previous notice he appears with a strong June 18. army before Hamburgh, feizes the fuburbs, threa tens the city with an immediate fiege, if they did not immediately fubmit to a loan of 1,000,000 of rixdollars. The magiftrates of this trading city, little prepared for, or accustomed to war, having no ally at hand, and who would be equally endangered by the ftrength of any ally able to protect them, prudently fub⚫mitted, and furnished the king with fuch a fupply as his affairs required.
The king of Pruffia loft no time to profit of this great and unexpected
revolution in his favour. The neu trality of the Ruffians ftill left the Auftrians much fuperior to him. Their alliance brought him to act on the offenfive: the Auftrian armies in Silefia, and one in Saxony, were prepared to act, and it was not clear which fide would begin to act on the offenfive: the Auftrian armies threatened Glogau and Breslaw with a fiege, and the king of Pruffia's threatened Schweidnitz.
The active character of the king of Pruffia, and the caution of mar. fhal Daun, foon determined the part, which the feveral armies were to take, and the fpirit of the feveral operations. Very early in May 12. the campaign prince Henty made a vigorous push on the imperial polts towards the frontiers of Saxony. The Imperialists were obliged to evacuate Dippolfwalda with some loss in killed. About four thousand men were taken prisoners; 365 waggons were also taken, and feveral trophies,
By this fignal advantage, all the part of Saxony, poffeffed by the Pruffians, was effectually fecured; and any attempt which mighe hereafter be thought proper fer the recovery of Dresden, was much facilitated. Although the Auftrians, fenfible of the confequence of this lofs, and largely reinforced from the armies in Silefia, attempted to recover thefe pofts by feveral lively efforts, they were repulfed with no fmall flaughter on both fides; and prince Henry remained fo much mafter of Saxony, that it was neceffary to keep a large army. from the war in Silefia, to prevent if poffible his making irruptions into the heart of Bohemia.
His Pruffian majesty derived advantages from the conduct of his brother, which he did not neglect
to improve. It was not until the latter end of June that he was joined by his new Ruffian allies. As foon as this junction was formed, he refolved to make a trial of what those men could do in his favour, who had acted so strenuously against him. Marshal Daun's army occupied feveral strong, but detached eminencies, which enabled him to communicate with, and protect Schweidnitz from all attempts of the enemy. July 21. The king of Pruffia undertook to diflodge him from those advantageous pofts. In fome of his attempts he fucceeded, in others he was baffled with fome lofs.
This was no regular battle; but the king of Pruffia, though he did not fucceed immediately in his attack, yet by his judicious manœu→ vres he attained all the advantages he proposed from his enterprife. For marshal Daun, apprehenfive from the motions of his army, that the king of Pruffia intended to seize upon his principal magazine, and even to cut off his communication with Bohemia, abandoned those important pofts which he had hitherto maintained with fuccefs, fell back to the extremities of Silefia, and left Schweidnitz entirely uncovered.
different detachments of Pruffians, fome on the fide of Saxony, others, on the fide of Silefia, penetrated deep into Bohemia, laid many parts of the country uuder contribution, and spread an universal alarm. It was about five years fince they had been driven from thence by the victorious arms of marfhal Daun, who now found himself unable to protect that kingdom from their ravages. A confiderable body of Ruffian irregulars alfo made an irruption into Bohemia, and began there to retaliate on the Auftrians those exceffes, which they had themselves fo often before committed on the Pruffian dominions.
Whilft the king of Pruffia was thus playing with fpirit the great game which fortune had put into his hands, he was all at once threatened with a fudden reverse, by another revolution in Ruffia, which bore all the appearance of being as unfavourable to him, as the former had been beyond all hopes beneficial. That variable political climate of Ruffia, under whose influence all his fortune decayed or flourished, was covered with a fudden cloud by the depofition, followed close by the death of his fast friend, and faithful ally, the czar of Muscovy.
CHA P. IV.
Caufes of the Revolution in Ruffia. Czar irritates the clergy and foldiery. Differences with the czarina. Confpiracy against him. Czar depofed by the fenate. Attempts an escape. His imprisonment and death. She czarina declared emprefs. Her politic conduct. Ingratiates herself with the people.
FROM the moment of the late czar's acceffion to the throne of the Ruffias, fomething extraordinary was expected. His difpofition feemed to lead him to make alterations in every thing, and having set before himself two great examples, that of the king of Pruffia and of his predeceffor Peter I. it was expected that this vaft empire was going once more, almost within the life of a man, to affume a new face; a circumftance which could not fail of having a ferious influence on the affairs of Europe. Peter III. made more new regulations in Ruffia in a few weeks, than wife and cautious princes undertake in a long reign. It was to be feared that his actions were rather guided by a rash and irregular turn of mind, and the fpirit of innovation, than by any regular and well digefted plan, for the improvement of his extenfive dominions.
His first actions on coming to the throne, it is true, were laudable, and feemed well calculated to acquire him the affections of his people. But if in fome inftances he confulted their interefts, in many he shocked their prejudices; and he loft thereby that opinion, which is on all occafions neceffary, but is particularly fo far carrying fuch uncommon defigns as his into execution.
The power of the czars, though abfolute and uncontroulable in its VOL. V.
exercife, is extremely weak in its foundation. There is not perhaps in Europe a government, which depends fo much on the good will and affection of those that are governed; and which requires a greater degree of vigilance and a fteadier hand. The regular fucceffion which has been fo often broken, and the great change of manners, which in lefs than a century has been introduced, have left in Ruffia a weakness amidst all the appearance of ftrength, and a great faiclity to fudden and dangerous re volutions.
Peter III. paid little attention to thofe difficulties, which to him were the greater, as he was a foreigner born. They were augmented by the fuperior and invidious regard he feemed to pay to foreigne interefts, and foreign perfons. The preference he fo manifeftly gave to the uncertain hope of inconfiderable conqueft in Holftein over the folid and valuable poffeffions which the fortune of his predeceffor had left him, must have difgufted all the politicians of his country. His intimate connection with, and boundlefs admiration of that prince, with whom Ruffia had been fo lately, and fo long, in a state of the moft violent hoftility, could not add to the opinion of his prudence, They did not think he fufficiently confulted his dignity, in folliciting [C] with
with great anxiety a command in the Pruffian fervice. When he received it, he dressed himself in the Pruffian uniform, made a grand feftival, and displayed all the marks of an immoderate and puerile fatisfaction. He pushed his extravagance in this point fo far, that he made preparations in this immature ftate of his government to quit Ruffia, and to go into Germany for the fake of an interview with that great monarch, whofe genius, principles and fortune he fo greatly admired.
Although this proceeding was, almost in every refpect, extremely impolitic, it did not threaten fo dangerous confequences as the other fteps, which he took about the fame time. Nothing requires fo much judgment, and fo nice a hand, as to effect a change in the fettled eftablifhments of any country. Above all, there must be fomething favourable in the conjuncture; or fomething fo uncommon and over-ruling in the genius of the conductor of thofe changes, as will render him fuperior to all difficulties. This latter was the cafe of Peter I. who had in deed very little favourable in the conjuncture; but he did every thing by his capacity, courage, and perfeverance. The foldiery and the ecclefiaftics are the great fupports of all abfolute rule, and they are certainly the laft bodies, upon which a prince of this kind would chufe to exert an invidious act of authority. But the czar was indifcreet enough, very early in his reign, highly to provoke both thefe bodies; the foldiery, by the manifeft preference he gave to his Holftein guards, and to all officers of that nation; and by the change he made in favour of the Pruffian uniform to the exclufion of that, in which the Ruffiaus believed
they had fo often afferted the ho nour of their country, and gained many fignal advantages over the troops, diftinguished by those regimentals which were now preferred.
These trifles had very important confequences. Bnt what he did in matters of religion was ftill more dangerous. This prince had been educated a Lutheran ; and though he conformed to the Greek church, in order to qualify himself for the fucceffion, he never fhewed much refpect to that mode of religion, to the rites and doctrines of which his fubjects had been always extremely attached. He feized upon the revenues of the clergy, whether monks or feculars, whether bishops or inferiors, and for compenfation allowed them fome mean penfions, in fuch a proportion his fancy fuggefted. His capricous order that the clergy fhould be no longer diftinguished by beards, was in itself of lefs moment, but it was hardly lefs offenfive. He made alfo fome regulatious concerning the images and pictures in their churches, which gave them reason to apprehend his intention of accomplishing a total change in the religion of the empire, and introducing Lutheranifm.
Whilft he was taking thefe meafures to alienate the minds of his people in general, and efpecially of thofe bodies, with whom it was the moft his intereft to be well, he had not the good fortune to live in union with his own family. He had long flighted his confort, a princefs of the houfe of Anhalt Zerbst, a woman of a mafculine underftanding, and by whofe councils he might have profited. He lived in a very public manner with the countess of Woronzoff, niece to the chan
chancellor of that name, and feemed devoted to her with so strong a paffion, that it was apprehended he had some thoughts of throwing his emprefs into a monaftery, and raifing this lady to the throne of all the Ruffias. What feemed to confirm this opinion, was his omitting formally to declare his fon the grand duke Paul Petrowitz the fucceffor. This omiffion in a country, where the fucceffion is established and regular, would have been of no confequence; the punctual obfervance of fuch a ceremony would rather have betrayed fome doubt of the title. But the nature of this government, as well as pofitive conftitutions, had made it neceffary in Ruffia, and the omiffion was certainly alarming.
That unfortunate prince, having in this manner affronted his army, irritated his clergy, offended his nobility, and alienated his own family, without having left himself any firm ground of authority, in perfonal efteem or national prejudice, proceeded with his ufual precipitation to new changes. In the mean time a moft dangerous confpiracy was forming against him. The cruel punishments inflicted in Ruffia on state criminals, have only an effect to harden the minds of men already fierce and obdurate, and feldom deter them from the most desperate undertakings. Rofamoufki, Hetman or chief of the Cof. facks, a perfon of importance by that command, Panin, governor of the great duke Paul, marshal Butterlin, the chamberlain Teplow, the attorney general Glebow, baron Orlow major of the guards, and many others of the great officers and firft nobility of the empire, engaged in a confpiracy to dethrone the czar, who was now univerfally hated; and, what was more fatal to him, univerfally despised.
They affured themfelves, that their action could not be disagreeable to the emprefs; whofe conduct had always been the very reverfe of that of her confort. This princefs finding that the affections of her husband were irrecoverably alienated, endeavoured to fet up a feparate and independent intereft in her own favour, and for afferting the rights of her fon. She therefore affiduously cultivated the affections of the Ruffian nation, and paid a refpect to their manners and religion, in the fame degree that her hufband feemed to contemn them.
So ill was the czar ferved, that this confpiracy was grown general, without his receiving the leaft notice of it, and he remained in perfect fecurity, whilst the fenate and the clergy were affembled to
pafs the fentence of his June 28. depofition. At this time the emprefs and he were both abfent from the capital at different country feats. The emprefs, as foon the found that the defign was declared, got on horfe-back, and with all poffible fpeed arrived at Peterfburgh. She immediately harangued the guards, who chearfully and unanimously declared in her favour, and proclaimed her emprefs of Ruffia independently of her hufband. She then addreffed herself to the clergy, and the chief of the nobility, who applauded her refolution; and all orders immediately took the oath of allegiance to her as fole emprefs. She was no fooner acknowledged in this manner, than, without losing a moment's time, the marched from Petersburgh towards the emperor at the head of a body of troops.
This prince was indulging himfelf in indolent amusements, and [C] 2 lulled