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Alexander I
Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias
King of Poland; Grand Duke of Finland; Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign 24 March 1801 – 1 December 1825
(&0000000000000024.00000024 years, &0000000000000252.000000252 days)
Coronation 15 September 1801
Predecessor Paul I
Successor Nicholas I
Spouse Louise of Baden
House House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Paul I
Mother Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
Born 23 December 1777(1777-12-23)
Saint Petersburg
Died 1 December 1825 (aged 47)
Taganrog
Burial Unknown (believed interred at Peter and Paul Fortress, his tomb was found to be empty)

Alexander I of Russia (Russian: Александр I Павлович, Aleksandr I Pavlovich) (23 December [O.S. 12 December] 1777 – 1 December [O.S. 19 November] 1825), also known as Alexander the Blessed (Russian: Александр Благословенный, Aleksandr Blagoslovennyi) served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and Ruler of Poland from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania.

He was born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, later Emperor Paul I, and Maria Feodorovna, daughter of the Duke of Württemberg. Alexander was the eldest of four brothers. He succeeded to the throne after his father was murdered, and ruled Russia during the chaotic period of the Napoleonic Wars. In the first half of his reign Alexander tried to introduce liberal reforms, while in the second half he turned to a much more arbitrary manner of conduct, which led to the revoking of many early reforms. In foreign policy Alexander gained certain successes, mainly by winning several military campaigns. In particular under his rule Russia acquired Finland and part of Poland. The strange contradictions of his character make Alexander one of the most interesting Tsars. Adding to this, his death was shrouded in mystery, and the location of his body remains unknown.

Contents

Early life

Alexander and his younger brother Constantine were raised by their grandmother, Catherine the Great.[1] Some sources allege that she planned to remove her son (Alexander's father) Paul I from the succession altogether. Both she and his father tried to use Alexander for their own purposes, and he was torn emotionally between them. This taught Alexander very early on how to manipulate those who loved him, and he became like a chameleon, changing his views and personality depending on whom he was with at the time. From the free-thinking atmosphere of the court of Catherine and his Swiss tutor, Frédéric-César de La Harpe, he imbibed the principles of Rousseau's gospel of humanity. But from his military governor, Nikolay Saltykov, he imbibed the traditions of Russian autocracy. Andrey Afanasyevich Samborsky, whom his grandmother chose for his religious instruction, was an atypical, unbearded Orthodox priest. Samborsky had long lived in England and taught Alexander (and Constantine) excellent English, very uncommon for potential Russian autocrats at the time. Young Alexander sympathised with French and Polish revolutionaries, but his father seems to have taught him to combine a theoretical love of mankind with a practical contempt for humanity. These contradictory tendencies remained with him throughout his life as demonstrated by observed by the dualism in his domestic and foreign policy.

On 9 October 1793, when Alexander was still 15 years old, he married 14-year-old Louise of Baden, who took the name Elizabeth Alexeievna. Meanwhile, the death of Catherine in November 1796, before she could appoint Alexander as her successor, brought his father, Paul I, to the throne. Paul's attempts at reform were met with hostility and many of his closest advisers, as well as Alexander, were against his proposed changes. Paul I was murdered in March, 1801.

Alexander I, venerates the mortal remains of Frederick the Great in presence of King Frederick William III and Queen Louisa in 1805

Succession to the throne

Alexander I succeeded to the throne on 24 March 1801,[2] and was crowned in the Kremlin on 15 September of that year. Historians still debate about Alexander’s role in his father's murder. The most common opinion is that he was let into the conspirators' secret and was willing to take the throne but insisted that his father should not be killed. Alexander's having become Tsar through a crime that cost his father's life would give him a strong sense of remorse and shame.

At first, the Orthodox Church exercised little influence on the Emperor’s life. The young tsar was determined to reform the outdated, centralised systems of government that Russia relied upon. While retaining for a time the old ministers who had served and overthrown Emperor Paul, one of the first acts of his reign was to appoint the Private Committee, also called ironically the "Comité de salut public", comprising young and enthusiastic friends of his own—Victor Kochubey, Nikolay Novosiltsev, Pavel Stroganov and Adam Jerzy Czartoryski—to draw up a plan of domestic reform, which was supposed to result in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in accordance with the teachings of the Age of Enlightenment. Also Alexander wanted to resolve another crucial issue in Russia—the future of the serfs, although this was not achieved until 1861.

Several notable steps were made, however, including establishing freedom for publishing houses, the winding down of activities in the intelligence services and prohibition of torture. In a few years the liberal Mikhail Speransky became one of the Tsar’s closest advisors, and drew up many plans for elaborate reforms. The reformers' aims far outstripped the possibilities of the time, and even after they had been raised to regular ministerial positions little of their program could come to pass. Russia was not ready for a more liberal society; and Alexander, the disciple of the progressive teacher Laharpe, was—as he himself said—but "a happy accident" on the throne of the tsars. He spoke, indeed, bitterly of "the state of barbarism in which the country had been left by the traffic in men."

Legal reform

Bust of Alexander I, by Thorvaldsen.

The codification of the laws initiated in 1801 was never carried out during his reign; nothing was done to improve the intolerable status of the Russian peasantry; the constitution drawn up by Mikhail Speransky, and approved by the emperor, remained unsigned. Finally elaborate intrigues against Speransky initiated by his political rivals led to his loss of Alexander's support and subsequent removal in March 1812.

Alexander, who, without being consciously tyrannical, possessed in full measure the tyrant's characteristic distrust of men of ability and independent judgement, in fact lacked the first requisite for a reforming sovereign: confidence in his people; and it was this want that vitiated such reforms as were actually realised. He experimented in the outlying provinces of his Empire; and the Russians noted with open murmurs that, not content with governing through foreign instruments, he was conferring on Poland, Finland and the Baltic provinces benefits denied to themselves.

Social reforms

In Russia, too, certain reforms were carried out, but they could not survive the suspicious interference of the autocrat and his officials. The State Council and the Governing Senate, new bodies endowed for the first time with certain (theoretical) powers, became slavish instruments of the Tsar and his favourites of the moment.

The elaborate system of education, culminating in the reconstituted, or newly founded, universities of Dorpat (Tartu), Vilna (Vilnius), Kazan and Kharkiv, was strangled in the supposed interests of "order" and of the Russian Orthodox Church; while the military settlements which Alexander proclaimed as a blessing to both soldiers and state were forced on the unwilling peasantry and army with pitiless cruelty. Though they were supposed to improve living conditions of soldiers, the economic effect in fact was poor and harsh military discipline caused frequent unrest.

Even the Bible Society, through which the emperor in his later mood of evangelical zeal proposed to bless his people, was conducted on the same ruthless lines. The Roman Catholic archbishop and the Orthodox metropolitans were forced to serve on its committee side by side with Protestant pastors; and village priests, trained to regard any tampering with the letter of the traditional documents of the church as a mortal sin, became the unwilling instruments for the propagation of what they regarded as works of the devil.

Influence on European politics

Views held by his contemporaries

Autocrat and "Jacobin"[citation needed], man of the world and mystic, he appeared to his contemporaries as a riddle which each read according to his own temperament. Napoleon I thought him a "shifty Byzantine", and called him the Talma of the North, as ready to play any conspicuous part. To Metternich he was a madman to be humoured, to Jefferson a man of estimable character, disposed to do good, and expected to diffuse through the mass of the Russian people "a sense of their natural rights."[3] Castlereagh, writing of him to Lord Liverpool, gives him credit for "grand qualities", but adds that he is "suspicious and undecided".

Alliances with other powers

Upon his accession, Alexander reversed the policy of his father, Paul, denounced the League of Neutrals, and made peace with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (April 1801). At the same time he opened negotiations with Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire. Soon afterwards at Memel he entered into a close alliance with Prussia, not as he boasted from motives of policy, but in the spirit of true chivalry, out of friendship for the young King Frederick William III and his beautiful wife Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The development of this alliance was interrupted by the short-lived peace of October 1801; and for a while it seemed as though France and Russia might come to an understanding. Carried away by the enthusiasm of La Harpe, who had returned to Russia from Paris, Alexander began openly to proclaim his admiration for French institutions and for the person of Napoléon Bonaparte. Soon, however, came a change. La Harpe, after a new visit to Paris, presented to the Tsar his Reflections on the True Nature of the Consul for Life, which, as Alexander said, tore the veil from his eyes, and revealed Bonaparte "as not a true patriot", but only as "the most famous tyrant the world has produced." Alexander's disillusionment was completed by the murder of the duc d'Enghien. The Russian court went into mourning for the last member of the House of Condé, and diplomatic relations with France were broken off.

Opposition to Napoleon

The events of the Napoleonic Wars that followed belong to the general history of Europe; but Alexander's attitude throughout is personal to himself, though pregnant with issues momentous for the world. In opposing Napoleon I, "the oppressor of Europe and the disturber of the world's peace," Alexander in fact already believed himself to be fulfilling a divine mission. In his instructions to Novosiltsov, his special envoy in London, the Tsar elaborated the motives of his policy in language which appealed as little to the common sense of the prime minister, Pitt, as did later the treaty of the Holy Alliance to that of the foreign minister, Castlereagh. Yet the document is of great interest, as in it we find formulated for the first time in an official dispatch those exalted ideals of international policy which were to play so conspicuous a part in the affairs of the world at the close of the revolutionary epoch, and issued at the end of the 19th century in the Rescript of Nicholas II and the conference of the Hague. Alexander argued that the outcome of the war was not to be only the liberation of France, but the universal triumph of "the sacred rights of humanity". To attain this it would be necessary "after having attached the nations to their government by making these incapable of acting save in the greatest interests of their subjects, to fix the relations of the states amongst each other on more precise rules, and such as it is to their interest to respect."

A general treaty was to become the basis of the relations of the states forming "the European Confederation"; and this, though "it was no question of realising the dream of universal peace, would attain some of its results if, at the conclusion of the general war, it were possible to establish on clear principles the prescriptions of the rights of nations." "Why could not one submit to it", the Tsar continued, "the positive rights of nations, assure the privilege of neutrality, insert the obligation of never beginning war until all the resources which the mediation of a third party could offer have been exhausted, having by this means brought to light the respective grievances, and tried to remove them? It is on such principles as these that one could proceed to a general pacification, and give birth to a league of which the stipulations would form, so to speak, a new code of the law of nations, which, sanctioned by the greater part of the nations of Europe, would without difficulty become the immutable rule of the cabinets, while those who should try to infringe it would risk bringing upon themselves the forces of the new union."

1807 loss to French forces

Equestrian portrait of Alexander I (1812)

Meanwhile Napoleon, a little deterred by the Russian autocrat's youthful ideology, never gave up hope of detaching him from the coalition. He had no sooner entered Vienna in triumph than he opened negotiations with him; he resumed them after the Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805). Imperial Russia and France, he urged, were "geographical allies"; there was, and could be, between them no true conflict of interests; together they might rule the world. But Alexander was still determined "to persist in the system of disinterestedness in respect of all the states of Europe which he had thus far followed", and he again allied himself with the Kingdom of Prussia. The campaign of Jena and the battle of Eylau followed; and Napoleon, though still intent on the Russian alliance, stirred up Poles, Turks and Persians to break the obstinacy of the Tsar. A party too in Russia itself, headed by the Tsar's brother Constantine Pavlovich, was clamorous for peace; but Alexander, after a vain attempt to form a new coalition, summoned the Russian nation to a holy war against Napoleon as the enemy of the Orthodox faith. The outcome was the rout of Friedland (13/14 June 1807). Napoleon saw his chance and seized it. Instead of making heavy terms, he offered to the chastened autocrat his alliance, and a partnership in his glory.

The two Emperors met at Tilsit on 25 June 1807. Alexander, dazzled by Napoleon's genius and overwhelmed by his apparent generosity, was completely won over. Napoleon knew well how to appeal to the exuberant imagination of his new-found friend. He would divide with Alexander the Empire of the world; as a first step he would leave him in possession of the Danubian principalities and give him a free hand to deal with Finland; and, afterwards, the Emperors of the East and West, when the time should be ripe, would drive the Turks from Europe and march across Asia to the conquest of India, a realization of which was finally achieved by the British a few years later, and would change the course of modern history. Nevertheless, a programme so stupendous awoke in Alexander's impressionable mind an ambition to which he had hitherto been a stranger. The interests of Europe as a whole were utterly forgotten. "What is Europe?" he exclaimed to the French ambassador. "Where is it, if it is not you and we?"

Prussia

The brilliance of these new visions did not, however, blind Alexander to the obligations of friendship; and he refused to retain the Danubian principalities as the price for suffering a further dismemberment of Prussia. "We have made loyal war", he said, "we must make a loyal peace." It was not long before the first enthusiasm of Tilsit began to wane. The French remained in Prussia, the Russians on the Danube; and each accused the other of breach of faith. Meanwhile, however, the personal relations of Alexander and Napoleon were of the most cordial character; and it was hoped that a fresh meeting might adjust all differences between them. The meeting took place at Erfurt in October 1808 and resulted in a treaty which defined the common policy of the two Emperors. But Alexander's relations with Napoleon nonetheless suffered a change. He realised that in Napoleon sentiment never got the better of reason, that as a matter of fact he had never intended his proposed "grand enterprise" seriously, and had only used it to preoccupy the mind of the Tsar while he consolidated his own power in Central Europe. From this moment the French alliance was for Alexander also not a fraternal agreement to rule the world, but an affair of pure policy. He used it, in the first instance, to remove "the geographical enemy" from the gates of Saint Petersburg by wresting Finland from the Sweden (1809); and he hoped by means of it to make the Danube the southern frontier of Russia.

Franco-Russian alliance

Events were in fact rapidly tending to the rupture of the Franco-Russian alliance. Alexander, indeed, assisted Napoleon in the war of 1809, but he declared plainly that he would not allow the Austrian Empire to be crushed out of existence; and Napoleon complained bitterly of the inactivity of the Russian troops during the campaign. The Tsar in his turn protested against Napoleon's encouragement of the Poles. In the matter of the French alliance he knew himself to be practically isolated in Russia, and he declared that he could not sacrifice the interest of his people and empire to his affection for Napoleon. "I don't want anything for myself", he said to the French ambassador, "therefore the world is not large enough to come to an understanding on the affairs of Poland, if it is a question of its restoration."

The Treaty of Vienna, which added largely to the Duchy of Warsaw, he complained had "ill requited him for his loyalty". The annexation of Oldenburg, of which the Duke of Oldenburg (3 January 1754 – 2 July 1823) was the Tsar's uncle, to France in December 1810, added another to the personal grievances of Alexander against Napoleon; while the ruinous reaction of "the continental system" on Russian trade made it impossible for the Tsar to maintain a policy which was Napoleon's chief motive for the alliance. An acid correspondence followed, and ill-concealed armaments, which culminated in the summer of 1812 with Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Yet, even after the French had passed the frontier, Alexander still protested that his personal sentiments towards the Emperor were unaltered; "but", he added, "God Himself cannot undo the past". It was the occupation of Moscow and the desecration of the Kremlin, the sacred centre of Holy Russia, that changed his sentiment for Napoleon into passionate hatred. In vain the French Emperor, within eight days of his entry into Moscow, wrote to the Tsar a letter, which was one long cry of distress, revealing the desperate straits of the Grand Army, and appealed to "any remnant of his former sentiments". Alexander returned no answer to these "fanfaronnades". "No more peace with Napoleon!" he cried, "He or I, I or He: we cannot longer reign together!"

Polish General`s Uniform of Emperor Alexander I

Liberal political views

Once a supporter of limited liberalism, as seen in his approval of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland in 1815, from the end of the year 1818 Alexander's views began to change. A revolutionary conspiracy among the officers of the guard, and a foolish plot to kidnap him on his way to the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, are said to have shaken the foundations of his Liberalism. At Aix he came for the first time into intimate contact with Metternich. From this time dates the ascendancy of Metternich over the mind of the Russian Emperor and in the councils of Europe. It was, however, no case of sudden conversion. Though alarmed by the revolutionary agitation in Germany, which culminated in the murder of his agent, the dramatist August von Kotzebue (23 March 1819), Alexander approved of Castlereagh's protest against Metternich's policy of "the governments contracting an alliance against the peoples", as formulated in the Carlsbad Decrees of July 1819, and deprecated any intervention of Europe to support "a league of which the sole object is the absurd pretensions of absolute power."

He still declared his belief in "free institutions, though not in such as age forced from feebleness, nor contracts ordered by popular leaders from their sovereigns, nor constitutions granted in difficult circumstances to tide over a crisis. "Liberty", he maintained, "should be confined within just limits. And the limits of liberty are the principles of order."

It was the apparent triumph of the principles of disorder in the revolutions of Naples and Piedmont, combined with increasingly disquieting symptoms of discontent in France, Germany, and among his own people, that completed Alexander's conversion. In the seclusion of the little town of Troppau, where in October 1820 the powers met in conference, Metternich found an opportunity for cementing his influence over Alexander, which had been wanting amid the turmoil and feminine intrigues of Vienna and Aix. Here, in confidence begotten of friendly chats over afternoon tea, the disillusioned autocrat confessed his mistake. "You have nothing to regret," he said sadly to the exultant chancellor, "but I have!"

The issue was momentous. In January Alexander had still upheld the ideal of a free confederation of the European states, symbolised by the Holy Alliance, against the policy of a dictatorship of the great powers, symbolised by the Quadruple Treaty; he had still protested against the claims of collective Europe to interfere in the internal concerns of the sovereign states. On 19 November he signed the Troppau Protocol, which consecrated the principle of intervention and wrecked the harmony of the concert.

Revolt of the Greeks

At the Congress of Laibach, whither in the spring of 1821 the congress had been adjourned, Alexander first heard of the Revolt of the Greeks. From this time until his death his mind was torn between his anxiety to realise his dream of a confederation of Europe and his traditional mission as leader of the Orthodox crusade against the Ottoman Empire. At first, under the careful nursing of Metternich, the former motive prevailed.

He struck the name of Alexander Ypsilanti from the Russian army list, and directed his foreign minister, Giovanni, Count Capo d'Istria, himself a Greek, to disavow all sympathy of Russia with his enterprise; and, next year, a deputation of the Morea the Congress of Verona was turned back by his orders on the road.

He made some effort to reconcile the principles at conflict in his mind. He offered to surrender the claim, successfully asserted when the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II had been excluded from the Holy Alliance and the affairs of the Ottoman empire from the deliberations of Vienna, that the affairs of the East were the "domestic concerns of Russia," and to march into the Ottoman Empire, as Austria had marched into Naples, "as the mandatory of Europe."

Metternich's opposition to this, illogical, but natural from the Austrian point of view, first opened his eyes to the true character of Austria's attitude towards his ideals. Once more in Russia, far from the fascination of Metternich's personality, the immemorial spirit of his people drew him back into itself; and when, in the autumn of 1825, he took his dying Empress Louise of Baden (24 January 1779 – 26 May 1826) for change of air to the south of Russia, in order—as all Europe supposed—to place himself at the head of the great army concentrated near the Ottoman frontiers, his language was no longer that of "the peace-maker of Europe," but of the Orthodox Tsar determined to take the interests of his people and of his religion "into his own hands." Before the momentous issue could be decided, however, Alexander died, "crushed," to use his own words, "beneath the terrible burden of a crown" which he had more than once declared his intention of resigning.

Private life

On 9 October 1793, Alexander married Louise of Baden, known as Elisabeth Alexeyevna after her conversion to the Orthodox Church. He later told his friend Frederick William III that the marriage, a political match devised by his grandmother, Catherine the Great, regrettably proved to be a misfortune for him and his wife. Their two children of the marriage died young.

  • Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (29 May 1799 – 8 July 1800) – rumoured to be the child of Adam Czartoryski
  • Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexandrovna of Russia (16 November 1806 – 12 May 1808); died of infection

Their common sorrow drew husband and wife closer together. Towards the close of his life their reconciliation was completed by the wise charity of the Empress in sympathising deeply with him over the death of his beloved daughter Sophia Naryshkina, the daughter of his mistress Princess Maria Naryshkina.

Alexander had nine illegitimate children.

With Sophia Vsevolojsky (1775–1848)

  • Nikolai Loukache (11 December 1796 – 20 January 1868)

With Maria Naryshkina (1779–1854)

  • Zenaida Naryshkina (1806 – 18 May 1810)
  • Sophia Naryshkina (1808 – 18 June 1824)
  • Emanuel Naryshkin (30 July 1813 – 31 December 1901)

With Marguerite-Josephine Weimer (1787–1867)

  • Maria Alexandrovna Parijskaia (19 March 1814–1874)
  • Wilhelmine Alexandrine Pauline Alexandrov (1816 – 4 June 1863)

With Veronica Dzierzanowska

  • Gustave Ehrenberg (14 February 1818 – 28 September 1895)

With Princess Barbara Tourkestanova (1775 – 20 March 1819)

  • Maria Tourkestanova (20 March 1819 – 19 December 1843)

With Maria Ivanovna Katatcharova (1796–1824)

  • Nikolai Vassilievich Isakov (10 February 1821 – 25 February 1891)

Ancestry

Mysterious death

Death of Alexander I in Taganrog (19th century lithograph.
Alexander I Palace in Taganrog, where the Russian Emperor died in 1825.

Tsar Alexander I became increasingly suspicious of those around him, especially after an attempt was made to kidnap him when he was on his way to the conference in Aachen, Germany.

In the autumn of 1825 the Emperor undertook a voyage to the south of Russia due to the increasing illness of his wife. During his trip he himself caught a cold which developed into typhus from which he died in the southern city of Taganrog on 19 November (O.S.)/ 1 December 1825. His wife died a few months later as the emperor's body was transported to Saint Petersburg for the funeral. He was interred at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg on 13 March 1826.

The unexpected death of the Emperor of Russia far from the capital caused persistent rumors that his death and funeral were staged while the emperor allegedly renounced the crown and retired to spend the rest of his life in solitude. It is rumored that a "soldier" was buried as Alexander or that the grave was empty or that a British ambassador at the Russian court said he had seen Alexander boarding a ship. Some say the former emperor became a monk in either Pochaev Lavra or Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra or elsewhere. Many people, including some historians, supposed that a mysterious hermit Feodor Kuzmich (or Kozmich) who emerged in Siberia in 1836 and died in the vicinity of Tomsk in 1864 was in fact Alexander I under an assumed identity. While there are testimonies that "Feodor Kozmich" in his earlier life might have belonged to a higher level of society, his identity as Alexander I was never established beyond reasonable doubt. In 1925 the Soviet authorities opened Alexander's tomb and did not find a body.[citation needed]

The immediate aftermath of Alexander's death was also marked by confusion regarding the order of succession and by the attempt of military coup-d'etat by liberal-minded officers. The heir presumptive, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia had renounced his rights of succession in 1822, but this act was not publicly announced, nor known to anybody besides a few people within the tsar's family. For this reason, on 27 November (O.S.) 1825 the population, including Constantine's younger brother Nicholas, swore allegiance to Constantine. After the true order of succession was disclosed to the imperial family and general public, Nicholas I ordered that the allegiance to him to be sworn on 14 December (O.S.) 1825. Seizing the opportunity, the Decembrists revolted, allegedly to defend Constantine's rights to the throne, but in fact in order to initiate the change of regime in Russia. Nicholas I brutally suppressed the rebellion and sent the ringleaders to the gallows and Siberia.

Some confidantes of Alexander I reported that in the last years the Emperor was aware that the secret societies of future Decembrists were plotting the revolt, but chose not to act against them, remarking that these officers were sharing "the delusions of his own youth." Historians believe that these secret societies appeared after the Russian officers returned from their Napoleonic campaigns in Europe in 1815.

Other

Alexander I was the godfather of future Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom who was christened Alexandrina Victoria in honour of the tsar.

In the TV miniseries, Napoleon, Alexander was played by British actor Toby Stephens.

Alexander I was the namesake for the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Alexander I". http://www.russianlife.com/article.cfm?Number=255. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ Jean-Henri Schnitzler; Johann Heinrich Schnitzler (1847). "Chapter I. Character of Alexander I". Secret History of the Court and Government of Russia Under the Emperors Alexander and Nicholas. R. Bentley. http://books.google.com/books?id=EegDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA37. .
  3. ^ Jefferson to Harris, Washington, 18 April 1806 (in Lipscomb and Bergh, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson); Jefferson to Priestley, Washington, 29 November 1802 (Thomas Jefferson Papers)
  • Ghervas, Stella. Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance. Paris, Honoré Champion, 2008. ISBN 978-2-7453-1669-1
  • Henri Troyat, "Alexandre 1er", Flammarion, 1981.

Wikisource-logo.svg "Alexander I (tsar)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Alexander I of Russia
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 23 December 1777 Died: 1 December 1825
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Paul I
Emperor of Russia
23 March, 1801–1 December, 1825
Succeeded by
Nicholas I of Russia
Preceded by
Gustav IV Adolf
Grand Duke of Finland
1809–1825
Preceded by
Stanisław August Poniatowski
King of Poland
1815–1825
Russian royalty
Preceded by
Paul I of Russia
Heir to the Russian Throne
1796–1801
Succeeded by
Constantine I of Russia

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALEXANDER I. (ALEKSANDER PAVLOVIC) (1777-1825), emperor of Russia, son of the grand-duke Paul Petrovich, afterwards Paul and Maria Fedorovna, daughter of Frederick Eugene of Wurttemberg, was born on the 28th of December 1777. The strange contradictions of his character make Alexander one of the most interesting as he is one of the most important figures in the history of the 19th century. Autocrat and " Jacobin," man of the world and mystic, he was to his contemporaries a riddle which each read according to his own temperament. Napoleon thought him a " shifty Byzantine," and called him the Talma of the North, as ready to play any conspicuous part. To Metternich he was a madman to be humoured. Castlereagh, writing of him to Lord Liverpool, gives him credit for " grand qualities," but adds that he is "suspicious and undecided." His complex nature was, in truth, the outcome of the complex character of his early environment and education. Reared in the free-thinking atmosphere of the court of Catherine II. he had imbibed from his Swiss tutor, Frederic Cesar de Laharpe, the principles of Rousseau's gospel of humanity; from his military governor, General Soltikov, the traditions of Russian autocracy; while his father had inspired him with his own passion of military parade, and taught him to combine a theoretical love of mankind with a practical contempt for men. These contradictory tendencies remained with him through life, revealed in the fluctuations of his policy and influencing through him the fate of the world. Another element in his character discovered itself when in 180r he mounted the throne over the body of his murdered father: a mystic melancholy liable at any moment to issue in extravagant action. At first, indeed, this exercised but little influence on the emperor's life. Young, emotional, impressionable, well-meaning and egotistic, Alexander displayed from the first an intention of playing a great part on the world's stage, and plunged with all the ardour of youth into the task of realizing his political ideals. While retaining for a time the old ministers who had served and overthrown the emperor Paul, one of the first acts of his reign was to appoint a secret committee, called ironically the " Comite du salut public," consisting of young and enthusiastic friends of his own - Victor Gavovich Kochubey, Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsov, Paul Alexandrovich Strogonov and Adam Czartoryski - to draw up a scheme of internal reform. Their aims, inspired by their admiration for English institutions, were far in advance of the possibilities of the time, and even after they had been raised to regular ministerial positions but little of their programme could be realized. For Russia was not ripe for liberty; and Alexander, the disciple of the revolutionist Laharpe, was - as he himself said - but " a happy accident " on the throne of the tsars. He spoke, indeed, bitterly of " the state of barbarism in which the country had been left by the traffic in men." " Under Paul," he said, " three thousand peasants had been given away like a bag of diamonds. If civilization were more advanced, I would abolish this slavery, if it cost me my head." 1 But the universal corruption, he complained, had left him no men; and the filling up of the government offices with Germans and other foreigners merely accentuated the sullen resistance of the " old Russians " to his reforms. That Alexander's reign, which began with so large a promise of amelioration, ended by riveting still tighter the chains of the Russian people was, however, due less to the corruption and backwardness of Russian life than to the defects of the tsar himself. His love of liberty, though sincere, was in fact unreal. It flattered his vanity to pose before the world as the dispenser of benefits; but his theoretical liberalism was mated with an autocratic will which brooked no contradiction. " You always want to instruct me ! " he exlaimed to Derzhavin, the minister of justice, " but I am the autocratic emperor, and I will this, and nothing else ! " " He would gladly have agreed," wrote Adam Czartoryski, " that every one should be free, if every one had freely done only what he wished." Moreover, with this masterful temper was joined an infirmity of purpose which ever let " I dare not wait upon I would," and which seized upon any excuse for postponing measures the principles of which he had publicly approved. The codification of the laws initiated in 1801 was never carried out during his reign; nothing was done to improve the intolerable status of the Russian peasantry; the constitution drawn up by Speranski, and passed by the emperor, remained unsigned. Alexander, in fact, who, without being consciously tyrannical, possessed in full measure the tyrant's characteristic distrust of men of ability and independent judgment, lacked also the first requisite for a reforming sovereign: confidence in his people; and it was this want that vitiated such reforms as were actually realized. He experimented in the outlying provinces of his empire; and the Russians noted with open murmurs that, not content with governing through foreign instruments, he was conferring on Poland, Finland and the Baltic provinces benefits denied to themselves. In Russia, too, certain reforms were carried out; but they could not survive the suspicious interference of the autocrat and his officials. The newly created council of ministers, and the senate, endowed for the first time with certain theoretical powers, became in the end but the slavish instruments of the tsar and his favourites of the moment. The elaborate system of education, culminating in the reconstituted, or new-founded, universities of Dorpat, Vilna, Kazan and Kharkov, was strangled in the supposed interests of " order " and of orthodox piety; while the military colonies which Alexander proclaimed as a blessing to both soldiers and state were forced on the unwilling peasantry and army with pitiless cruelty. Even the Bible Society, through which the emperor in his later mood of evangelical zeal proposed to bless his people, was conducted on the same ruthless lines. The Roman archbishop and the Orthodox metropolitans were forced to serve on its committee side by side with Protestant pastors; and village popes, trained to regard any tampering with the letter of 1 Savary to Napoleon, Nov. 4, 1807. Tatischeff, p. 226.

the traditional documents of the church as mortal sin, became the unwilling instruments for the propagation of what they regarded as works of the devil.

Alexander's grandiose imagination was, however, more strongly attracted by the great questions of European politics than by attempts at domestic reform which, on the whole, wounded his pride by proving to him the narrow limits of absolute power. On the morrow of his accession he had reversed the policy of Paul, denounced the League of Neutrals, and made peace with England (April 1801), at the same time opening negotiations with Austria. Soon afterwards at Memel he entered into a close alliance with Prussia, not as he boasted from motives of policy, but in the spirit of true chivalry, out of friendship for the young king Frederick William and his beautiful wife. The development of this alliance was interrupted by the short-lived peace of October 180r; and for a while it seemed as though France and Russia might come to an understanding. Carried away by the enthusiasm of Laharpe, who had returned to Russia from Paris, Alexander began openly to proclaim his admiration for French institutions and for the person of Bonaparte. Soon, however, came a change. Laharpe, after a new visit to Paris, presented to the tsar his Reflexions on the True Nature of the Consulship for Life, which, as Alexander said, tore the veil from his eyes, and revealed Bonaparte " as not a true patriot," but only as " the most famous tyrant the world has produced." His disillusionment was completed by the murder of the duc d'Enghien. The Russian court went into mourning for the last of the Condes, and diplomatic relations with Paris were broken off.

The events of the war that followed belong to the general history of Europe; but the tsar's attitude throughout is personal to himself, though pregnant with issues momentous for the world. In opposing Napoleon, " the oppressor of Europe and the disturber of the world's peace," Alexander in fact already believed himself to be fulfilling a divine mission. In his instructions to Novosiltsov, his special envoy in London, the tsar elaborated the motives of his policy in language which appealed as little to the common sense of Pitt as did later the treaty of the Holy Alliance to that of Castlereagh. Yet the document is of great interest, as in it we find formulated for the first time in an official despatch those exalted ideals of international policy which were to play so conspicuous a part in the affairs of the world at the close of the revolutionary epoch, and issued at the end of the 10th century in the Rescript of Nicholas II.' and the conference of the Hague. The outcome of the war, Alexander argued, was not to be only the liberation of France, but the universal triumph of " the sacred rights of humanity." To attain this it would be necessary " after having attached the nations to their government by making these incapable of acting save in the greatest interests of their subjects, to fix the relations of the states amongst each other on more precise rules, and such as it is to their interest to respect." A general treaty was to become the basis of the relations of the states forming " the European Confederation "; and this, though " it was no question of realizing the dream of universal peace, would attain some of its results if, at the conclusion of the general war, it were possible to establish on clear principles the prescriptions of the rights of nations." " Why could not one submit to it," the tsar continued, " the positive rights of nations, assure the privilege of neutrality, insert the obligation of never beginning war until all the resources which the mediation of a third party could offer have been exhausted, having by this means brought to light the respective grievances, and tried to remove them? It is on such principles as these that one could proceed to a general pacification, and give birth to a league of which the stipulations would form, so to speak, a new code of the law of nations, which, sanctioned by the greater part of the nations of Europe, would without difficulty become the immutable rule of the cabinets, while those who should try to infringe it would risk bringing upon themselves the forces of the new union." 2 I Circular of Count Muraviev, Aug. 24, 1898.

2 Instructions to M. Novosiltsov, Sept. II, 1804. Tatischeff, p. 82.

Meanwhile Napoleon, little deterred by the Russian autocrat's youthful idealogy, never gave up hope of detaching him from the coalition. He had no sooner entered Vienna in triumph than he opened negotiations with him; he resumed them after Austerlitz. Russia and France, he urged, were " geographical allies "; there was, and could be, between them no true conflict of interests; together they might rule the world. But Alexander was still determined " to persist in the system of disinterestedness in respect of all the states of Europe which he had thus far followed," and he again allied himself with Prussia. The campaign of Jena and the battle of Eylau followed; and Napoleon, though still intent on the Russian alliance, stirred up Poles, Turks and Persians to break the obstinacy of the tsar. A party too in Russia itself, headed by the tsar's brother the grand-duke Constantine, was clamorous for peace; but Alexander, after a vain attempt to form a new coalition, summoned the Russian nation to a holy war against Napoleon as the enemy of the orthodox faith. The outcome was the rout of Friedland (June 13 and 14, 1807). Napoleon saw his chance and seized it. Instead of making heavy terms, he offered to the chastened autocrat his alliance, and a partnership in his glory.

The two emperors met at Tilsit on the 25th of June. Alexander, dazzled by Napoleon's genius and overwhelmed by his apparent generosity, was completely won. Napoleon knew well how to appeal to the exuberant imagination of his new-found friend. He would divide with Alexander the empire of the world; as a first step he would leave him in possession of the Danubian principalities and give him a free hand to deal with Finland; and, afterwards, the emperors of the East and West, when the time should be ripe, would drive the Turks from Europe and march across Asia to the conquest of India. A programme so stupendous awoke in Alexander's impressionable mind an ambition to which he had hitherto been a stranger. The interests of Europe were forgotten. " What is Europe ?" he exclaimed to the French ambassador. " Where is it, if it is not you and we ?" 3 The brilliance of these new visions did not, however, blind Alexander to the obligations of friendship; and he refused to retain the Danubian principalities as the price for suffering a further dismemberment of Prussia. " We have made loyal war," he said, " we must make a loyal peace." It was not long before the first enthusiasm of Tilsit began to wane. Napoleon was prodigal of promises, but niggard of their fulfilment. The French remained in Prussia, the Russians on the Danube; and each accused the other of breach of faith. Meanwhile, however, the personal relations of Alexander and Napoleon were of the most cordial character; and it was hoped that a fresh meeting might adjust all differences between them. The meeting took place at Erfurt in October 1808, and resulted in a treaty which defined the common policy of the two emperors. But Alexander's relations with Napoleon none the less suffered a change. He realized that in Napoleon sentiment never got the better of reason, that as a matter of fact he had never intended his proposed " grand enterprise " seriously, and had only used it to preoccupy the mind of the tsar while he consolidated his own power in central Europe. From this moment the French alliance was for Alexander also not a fraternal agreement to rule the world, but an affair of pure policy. He used it, in the first instance, to remove " the geographical enemy " from the gates of St Petersburg by wresting Finland from the Swedes (1809); and he hoped by means of it to make the Danube the southern frontier of Russia. Events were in fact rapidly tending to the rupture of the Franco-Russian alliance. Alexander, indeed, assisted Napoleon in the war of 1809, but he declared plainly that he would not allow Austria to be crushed out of existence; and Napoleon complained bitterly of the inactivity of the Russian troops during the campaign. The tsar in his turn protested against Napoleon's encouragement of the Poles. In the matter of the French alliance he knew himself to be practically isolated in Russia, and he declared that he could not sacrifice the interest of his people and empire to his affection for Napoleon. " I don't Savary to Napoleon, Nov. 18, 1807. Tatischeff, p. 232.

] want anything for myself," he said to the French ambassador, " therefore the world is not large enough to come to an understanding on the affairs of Poland, if it is a question of its restoration." 1 The treaty of Vienna, which added largely to the grand-duchy of Warsaw, he complained had " ill requited him for his loyalty," and he was only mollified for the time by Napoleon's public declaration that he had no intention of restoring Poland, and by a convention, signed on the 4th of January 1810 but not ratified, abolishing the Polish name and orders of chivalry.

But if Alexander suspected Napoleon, Napoleon was no less suspicious of Alexander; and, partly to test his sincerity, he sent an almost peremptory request for the hand of the grandduchess`'Anne, the tsar's youngest sister. After some little delay Alexander returned a polite refusal, on the plea of the princess's tender age and the objection of the dowager empress to the marriage. Napoleon's answer was to refuse to ratify the convention of the 4th of January, and to announce his engagement to the archduchess Marie Louise in such a way as to lead Alexander to suppose that the two marriage treaties had been negotiated simultaneously. From this time the relation between the two emperors gradually became more and more strained. The annexation of Oldenburg, of which the duke was the tsar's uncle, to France in December 1810, added another to the personal grievances of Alexander against Napoleon; while the ruinous reaction of " the continental system " on Russian trade made it impossible for the tsar to maintain a policy which was Napoleon's chief motive for the alliance. An acid correspondence followed, and ill-concealed armaments, which culminated in the summer of 1812 in Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Yet, even after the French had passed the frontier, Alexander still protested that his personal sentiments towards the emperor were unaltered; " but," he added, " God Himself cannot undo the past." It was the occupation of Moscow and the desecration of the Kremlin, the sacred centre of Holy Russia, that changed his sentiment for Napoleon into passionate hatred. In vain the French emperor, within eight days of his entry into Moscow, wrote to the tsar a letter, which was one long cry of distress, revealing the desperate straits of the Grand Army, and appealed to " any remnant of his former sentiments." Alexander returned no answer to these " fanfaronnades." " No more peace with Napoleon!" he cried, "He or I, I or He: we cannot longer reign together ! " 2 The campaign of 1812 was the turning-point of Alexander's life; and its horrors, for which his sensitive nature felt much of the responsibility, overset still more a mind never too well balanced. At the burning of Moscow, he declared afterwards, his own soul had found illumination, and he had realized once for all the divine revelation to him of his mission as the peacemaker of Europe. He tried to calm the unrest of his conscience by correspondence with the leaders of the evangelical revival on the continent, and sought for omens and supernatural guidance in texts and passages of scripture. It was not, however, according to his own account, till he met the Baroness de Kriidener - a religious adventuress who made the conversion of princes her special mission - at Basel, in the autumn of 1813, that his soul found peace. From this time a mystic pietism became the avowed force of his political, as of his private actions. Madame de Kriidener, and her colleague, the evangelist Empaytaz, became the confidants of the emperor's most secret thoughts; and during the campaign that ended in the occupation of Paris the imperial prayer-meetings were the oracle on whose revelations hung the fate of the world.

Such was Alexander's mood when the downfall of Napoleon left him the most powerful sovereign in Europe. With the memory of Tilsit still fresh in men's minds, it was not unnatural that to cynical men of the world like Metternich he merely seemed to be disguising " under the language of evangelical abnegation " vast and perilous schemes of ambition. The 1 Coulaincourt to Napoleon, 4th report, Aug. 3, 1809. Tatischeff, P. 496� 2 Alexander speaking to Colonel Michaud. Tatischeff, p. 612.

puzzled powers were, in fact, the more inclined to be suspicious in view of other, and seemingly inconsistent, tendencies of the emperor, which yet seemed all to point to a like disquieting conclusion. For Madame de Kriidener was not the only influence behind the throne; and, though Alexander had declared war against the Revolution, Laharpe was once more at his elbow, and the catchwords of the gospel of humanity were still on his lips. The very proclamations which denounced Napoleon as " the genius of evil," denounced him in the name of " liberty," and of " enlightenment." A monstrous intrigue was suspected for the alliance of the eastern autocrat with the Jacobinism of all Europe, which would have issued in the substitution of an all-powerful Russia for an all-powerful France. At the congress of Vienna Alexander's attitude accentuated this distrust. Castlereagh, whose single-minded aim was the restoration of "a just equilibrium" in Europe, reproached the tsar to his face for a " conscience " which suffered him to imperil the concert of the powers by keeping his hold on Poland in violation of his treaty obligation.' Yet Alexander was sincere. Even the Holy Alliance, the pet offspring of his pietism, does not deserve the sinister reputation it has since obtained. To the other powers it seemed, at best " verbiage " and " exalted nonsense," at worst an effort of the tsar to establish the hegemony of Russia on the goodwill of the smaller signatory powers. To the Liberals, then and afterwards, it was clearly a hypocritical conspiracy against freedom. Yet to Alexander himself it seemed the only means of placing the "confederation of Europe " on a firm basis of principle and, so far from its being directed against liberty he declared roundly to all the signatory powers that " free constitutions were the logical outcome of its doctrines." Europe, in fact, owed much at this time to Alexander's exalted temper. During the period when-his influence was supreme, the fateful years, that is, between the Moscow campaign and the close of the congress of Aix-laChapelle, it had been used largely in the interests of moderation and liberty. To him mainly it was due that France was saved from dismemberment, and received a constitution which, to use his own words, " united crown and representatives of the people in a sense of common interests." 5 By his wise intervention Switzerland was saved from violent reaction, and suffered to preserve the essential gains of the Revolution. To his protection it was due that the weak beginnings of constitutional freedom in Germany were able for a while to defy the hatred of Austria. Lastly, whatever its ultimate outcome, the constitution of Poland was, in its inception, a genuine effort to respond to the appeal of the Poles for a national existence.

From the end of the year 1818 Alexander's views began to change. A revolutionary conspiracy among the officers of the guard, and a foolish plot to kidnap him on his way to the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, are said to have shaken the foundations of his Liberalism. At Aix he came for the first time into intimate contact with Metternich, and the astute Austrian was swift to take advantage of the psychological moment. From this time dates the ascendancy of Metternich over the mind of the Russian emperor and in the councils of Europe. It was, however, no case of sudden conversion. Though alarmed by the revolutionary agitation in Germany, which culminated in the murder of his agent, the dramatist Kotzebue, Alexander approved of Castlereagh's protest against Metternich's policy of " the governments contracting an alliance against the peoples," as formulated in the Carlsbad decrees, 1819, and deprecated any intervention of Europe to support " a league of which the sole object is the absurd pretensions of absolute power." 6 He still declared his belief in " free institutions, though not in such as are forced from feebleness, nor contracts ordered by popular leaders from their Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 2, 1814. F.O. Papers. Vienna VII.

Martens IV. part i. p. 49.

5 Etat des negotiations actuelles, &c., mem. prepared by order of the Tsar, July 16, 1815, enclosed in Castlereagh to Liverpool, F.O. Cont. papers. Congress Paris, Castlereagh, 22.

Despatch of Lieven, Nov. 30 (Dec. 12), 1819, and Russ. Circular of Jan. 27, 1820. Martens IV. part i. p. 270.

sovereigns, nor constitutions granted in difficult circumstances to tide over a crisis. " Liberty," he maintained, " should be confined within just limits. And the limits of liberty are the principles of order." It was the apparent triumph of the principles of disorder in the revolutions of Naples and Piedmont, combined with increasingly disquieting symptoms of discontent in France, Germany and among his own people, that completed Alexander's conversion. In the seclusion of the little town of Troppau, where in October of 1820 the powers met in conference, Metternich found an opportunity for cementing his influence over Alexander which had been wanting amid the turmoil and feminine intrigues of Vienna and Aix. Here, in confidence begotten of friendly chats over afternoon tea, the disillusioned autocrat confessed his mistake. "You have nothing to regret," he said sadly to the exultant chancellor, " but I have ! " 2 The issue was momentous. In January Alexander had still upheld the ideal of a free confederation of the European states, symbolized by the Holy Alliance, against the policy of a dictatorship of the great powers, symbolized by the Quadruple Treaty; he had still protested against the claims of collective Europe to interfere in the internal concerns of the sovereign states. On the 19th of November he signed the Troppau Protocol, which consecrated the principle of intervention and wrecked the harmony of the concert. (See Troppau, Congress Of.) At Laibach, whither in the spring of 1821 the congress had been adjourned, Alexander first heard of the revolt of the Greeks. From this time until his death his mind was torn between his anxiety to realize his dream of a confederation of Europe and his traditional mission as leader of the Orthodox crusade against the Turks. At first, under the careful nursing of Metternich, the former motive prevailed. He struck the name of Alexander Ypsilanti from the Russian army list, and directed his foreign minister, Count Capo d'Istria, himself a Greek, to disavow all sympathy of Russia with his enterprise; and, next year, a deputation of the Greeks of the Morea on its way to the congress of Verona was turned back by his orders on the road. He made, indeed, some effort to reconcile the principles at conflict in his mind. He offered to surrender the claim, successfully asserted when the sultan had been excluded from the Holy Alliance and the affairs of the Ottoman empire from the deliberations of Vienna, that the affairs of the East were the " domestic concerns of Russia," and to march into Turkey, as Austria had marched into Naples, " as the mandatory of Europe." 3 Metternich's opposition to this, illogical, but natural from the Austrian point of view, first opened his eyes to the true character of Austria's attitude towards his ideals. Once more in Russia, far from the fascination of Metternich's personality, the immemorial spirit of his people drew him back into itself; and when, in the autumn of 1825, he took his dying empress for change of air to the south of Russia, in order - as all Europe supposed - to place himself at the head of the great army concentrated near the Ottoman frontiers, his language was no longer that of " the peace-maker of Europe," but of the Orthodox tsar determined to take the interests of his people and of his religion "into his own hands." Before the momentous issue could be decided, however,Alexander died at Taganrog on the 1st of December (November 18, O.S.) 1825, "crushed," to use his own words, "beneath the terrible burden of a crown " which he had more than once declared his intention of resigning. A report, current at the time and often revived, affirmed that he did not in fact die. By some it is supposed that a mysterious hermit named Fomich, who lived at Tomsk until 1870 and was treated with peculiar deference by successive tsars, was none other than Alexander.' Modern history knows no more tragic figure than that of Alexander. The brilliant promise of his early years; the haunting memory of the crime by which he had obtained the power to realize his ideals; and, in the end, the terrible ' Apercu des idees de l'Empereur, Martens IV. part i. p. 269.

Metternich Mem. ' Martens IV. part i. pp. 307, &c.

' See W. Gasiorowski, Tragic Russia, translated by Viscount de Busancy (London, 1908).

legacy he left to Russia: a principle of government which, under lofty pretensions, veiled a tyranny supported by spies and secret police; an uncertain succession; an army permeated by organized disaffection; an armed Poland, whose hunger for liberty the tsar had whetted but not satisfied; the quarrel with Turkey, with its alternative of war or humiliation for Russia; an educational system rotten with official hypocrisy; a Church in which conduct counted for nothing, orthodoxy and ceremonial observance for everything; economical and financial conditions scarce recovering from the verge of ruin; and lastly, that curse of Russia, - serfdom.

In private life Alexander displayed many lovable qualities. All authorities combine in praising his handsome presence and the affability and charm of his address, together with a certain simplicity of personal tastes, which led him in his intercourse with his friends or with the representatives of friendly powers to dispense with ceremonial and etiquette. His personal friendship, too, once bestowed, was never lightly withdrawn. By nature he was sociable and pleasure-loving, he proved himself a notable patron of the arts and he took a conspicuous part in all the gaieties of the congress of Vienna. In his later years, however, he fell into a mood of settled melancholy; and, though still accessible to all who chose to approach him with complaints or petitions, he withdrew from all but the most essential social functions, and lived a life of strenuous work and of Spartan simplicity. His gloom had been increased by domestic misfortune. He had been married, in 1793, without his wishes being consulted, to the beautiful and amiable Princess Maria Louisa of Baden (Elizabeth Feodorovna), a political match which, as he regretfully confessed to his friend Frederick William of Prussia, had proved the misfortune of both; and he consoled himself in the traditional manner. The only child of the marriage, a little grand-duchess, died on the 12th of May 1808; and their common sorrow drew husband and wife closer together. Towards the close of his life their reconciliation was completed by the wise charity of the empress in sympathizing deeply with him over the death of his beloved daughter by Madame Narishkine.

See also Europe; Russia; France; Turkey; Vienna, Congress Of; Napoleon; Metternich; Capo D'Istria.

Authorities. - F. de Martens, Recueil des traites conclus par la Russie, &c. (St Petersb., 1874, &c.); Wellington Despatches; Castlereagh Correspondence; Prince Adam Czartoryski, Memoires et correspondance avec l'empereur Alexandre I. (Paris, 1887, 2 vols.). P. Bailleu (ed). Briefwechsel Konig Friedrich Wilhelm's III. and der Konigin Luise mit Kaiser Alexander I. (Leipzig, 1900); Laharpe, Le Gouverneur d'un Prince (F. C. de Laharpe et Alexandre I. de Russie) 1902; Serge Tatischeff, Alexandre I. et Napoleon d'apres leur correspondance inedite (Paris, 1901); Joseph de Maistre, Memoires historiques et correspondance diplomatique, ed. A. Blanc (2nd ed., 1859); Comtesse de Choiseul-Gouffier, Memoires historiques sur l'empereur Alexandre (1829), and Reminiscences sur l'empereur Alexandre I., &c. (Paris, 1862); Rulemann Friedrich Eylert, Charakterziige and historische Fragmente aus dem Leben Konig Friedrich Wilhelm's III. (1846); H. L. Empaytaz, Notice sur Alexandre Empereur de Russie (2nd ed., Paris, 1840); Comte A. de la GardeChambonas, Souvenirs du Congres de Vienne; publ. avec introd. et notes par le Cte. Fleury (1901).

LIvEs. - The principal life of Alexander I. is that, in Russian, by Nikolai Karlovich Schilder, Imperator Aleksander, &c. (4 vols., St Petersb., 1897, 1898). See also Bogdanovich, History of the Government of the Emperor Alexander I. (St Petersburg, 1869-1871, 6 vols.); Theodor Schiemann, Geschichte Russlands unter Kaiser Nikolaus I. Band i. Kaiser Alexander I. and die Ergebnisse seiner Lebensarbeit (Berl., 1904), a valuable study based upon much new material from the state archives of St Petersburg, Paris, Berlin and Vienna; A. Vandal, Napoleon et Alexandre I.: l'alliance Russe sous le premier empire (3 vols., Paris, 1891-1896); A. N. Pypin, Political and Literary Movements under Alexander I. (Russian, 2nd ed. St Petersburg, 1885; German, Berlin, 1894). Among the numerous less authoritative biographies may be mentioned Ivan Golovin, Histoire d'Alexandre I. (Leipzig, 1859), and C. Joyneville, Life and Times of Alexander I. (3 vols., 1875). This last contains much valuable information, but the references in footnotes are often wanting in precision, and it has no index. (W. A. P.)


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