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« The next morning the king went to Shirley's house, and entered fully into the discussion of the war and embassy to Europe, affecting to expect little hope from it, but to comply merely as a testimony of his extreme regard to Shirley, from whom he had received such undoubted proof of his own, by the fatigue and expense of his journey to Persia, and the risks to which he now offered to expose himself for his service. Shirley, in a very long discourse, explained all the probabilities of his plan :-that the emperor of Germany was already at war with the Turks; that the Pope would excite all the other catholic princes; that the king of Spain was at continual enmity with the government of Algiers, which was subservient to the Turkish empire; that the invitations of the king would attract merchants and Christians of all other arts, trades, and occupations, who would not only increase the commerce of his country, but introduce new methods and inventions of great utility, especially to the improvement of his warfare ; and that the liberal schism of religion, which the king wished to promote as a descendant of Sesi, between his own subjects and the Turks, would be encouraged by the intercourse of Christians, whom they would be accustomed to see drinking wine, and exercising other tolerances, which the Turks held in detestation.
“ The king still cautiously avoided any expressions which might indicate much expectation, or any solicitude of assistance from the Christian princes; in which he properly maintained his own dignity, by not trusting to the report of a stranger such a confession of the hopes or wishes he might entertain; but appeared much content with the probability of drawing European merchants to his country; for the increase of its trade had long been a principal attention of his government. On this ground he consented to the embassy, and required Shirley to undertake it; who, after many apologies of his insufficiency, accepted the commission with as much satisfaction as he had pretended diffidence. Shirley requested, that a young nobleman of distinction, named Assan Cawn, might accompany him, to be the witness of his conduct; which was granted, but soon after revoked, by reason of his marriage with an aunt of the king; when Shirley, to conciliate the vizir and other ministers, accepted Cuchin Allabi, a man of ordinary rank and suspected character. As Shirley could not pass through the Turkish dominions to Aleppo, excepting in disguise, it was resolved that he should proceed through Russia ; which at this time was so little frequented by travellers, and so suspicious of them, that the king sent forward one of his officers as an ambassador to the czar, in order to announce his mission, and to procure him good reception through the country.
“ The day before that appointed for his departure, the king visited him, as if to recapitulate all the points of the various negotiations which he had intrusted to his conduct ; and now, with his usual foresight and sagacity, broke his last proposal, which, although dictated by warrantable suspicion, he clothed with the garb of elegant compliment. It was, that Robert Shirley should remain at his court during his brother's absence. Robert was present; and, without waiting his brother's answer, proffered himself to remain. This resolution produced a new arrangement in the retinue of Anthony; and several of his English followers were left with Robert. The king, as the last compliment, according to Shirley's relation, rode with him, when he set out, six miles on the way from Ispahan ; and then, he says, took leave of him, not without tears, although they had never spoke to one another but through an interpreter.
“ The travellers were two months, not without evil chances, before they had passed the Caspian to Asa trachan, where they found the ambassador sent to the czar.”
PETER THE GREAT.
“I THINK," said Egeria one morning, « it is Dr Clarke who describes the Russians as plated savages,—their magnificence as but lackered barbarity; and I doubt not there is much truth in the remark. They set forward in the march of improvement when the rest of Europe was in comparative maturity, and assumed many of the exterior symbols of civilization before they had passed through the different stages by which the mental refinement can alone be attained. This was undoubtedly owing to the peculiar character and carpenter-accomplishments of Peter the Great. His mind was naturally of the European cast, but his subjects, as I have before observed to you, were in many points essentially Asiatic: his talents were of a rude and coercive kind. His administration may be described as a constant effort, to impose not only civilization in manners, but philosophy and mechanical industry on a people who knew not the worth nor the importance of either. He had, in truth, looked more at the physical results of political strength in other states than at the causes which produced it, and this mistake in any weaker or more delicate hand would have been fatal. His contempt of the lives of his people, and his ambition to build up a state, without reference to the opinions of his subjects, constitute the two grand features of his history. He knew that he could not be great in the community of the Euro
pean states, without fleets, arsenals, and armies. He had seen himself, that all great empires had magnificent capitals, and something too he had heard of Babylon and of Rome, and therefore he resolved to build St Petersburgh. But although all that he did with respect to those undertakings was founded in sagacious conceptions, both of immediate and remote policy, yet it was nevertheless barbaric. The nation for whom he planned and accomplished so many stupendous designs, neither knew their utility nor could comprehend their policy; but there was an intellectual power about the man that awed and commanded his barbarians like the influence of a god.
“ As a monarch, according to our British notions, Peter was one of the worst kind. It is because we see his character in what he achieved that we respect the memory of this colossal despot.' Were we to consider him in the means he employed, and to read the history of his glorious reign in the details, our aversion towards him would only be mitigated by the scorn with which we would regard his docile and ductile barbarians. Can any thing be more gross than his court was ?-Look at the ridiculous account of his visit to that of Berlin.”
unded his barbarians according to our "Tt is be
“ In the year 1717, Peter the Great came with his empress and court to pay a visit at Berlin. On his first presentation, the czar took Frederic by the hand, and said, he was glad to see him ; he then offered to kiss the queen, but she declined the honour. He next presented his son and daughter, and four hundred ladies in waiting, the greater part of whom, the princess assures us, were washerwomen and scullions promoted to that nominal dignity. Almost every one of them, however, she adds, had a baby richly dressed in her arins ; and when any one asked whose it was, answered with great coolness and complacency, that the czar had done her the honour to make her the mother of it.' The czarine was very short, tawny, and ungraceful, dressed like a provincial German player, in an oldfashioned robe, covered with dirt and silver, and with some dozens of medals and pictures of saints strung down the front, which clattered every time she moved like the bells of a pack-horse. She spoke little Ger. man, and no French ; and finding that she got on but ill with the queen and her party, she called her fool into a corner to come and entertain her in Russianwhich she did with such effect, that she kept her in a continual roar of laughter before all the court. The czar himself is described as tall and rather handsome, though with something intolerably harsh in his physi. ognomy. On first seeing our royal author he took her up in his arms, and rubbed the skin off her face in kissing her, with his rough beard ; laughing very heartily at the airs with which she resented this familiarity. He was liable at times to convulsive starts and spasms, and being seized with them when at table, with his knife in his hand, put his hosts into no little bodily terror. He told the queen, however, that he would do her no harm, and took her hand in token of his good humour ; but squeezed it so unmercifully that she was forced to cry out-at which he laughed again with great violence, and said, “ her bones were not so well knit as his Catherine's. There was to be a grand ball in the evening; but as soon as he had done eating, he got up, and trudged home by himself to his lodgings in the suburbs. Next day they went to see the curiosities of the place. What pleased him most was a piece of antique sculpture, most grossly indecent. Nothing, however, would serve him but that his wife should kiss this figure; and