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Chap. of his sabre. In a transport of enthusiasm at this YII1' success, he with his own hand snatched the standard of 1826- the regiment from the officer who bore it, and, waving it in the air, exclaimed aloud, "Constantine for ever!" The soldiers loudly answered with the same acclamation, and immediately the greater part of the regiments, disregarding the voice of their superior officers, Colonel Adlesberg and Count Lieven, who held out for Nicholas, moved in a body forward from the front of their barracks, and took up a position on the Grand Place behind the statue of Peter the Great. There they were soon joined by a battalion of the marines of the guard, who had been roused in a similar manner by Lieutenant Arbouzoff, and by several companies of the grenadiers of the bodyguard. By ten o'clock, eighteen hundred men were drawn up in battle array on the Place of the Senate, behind the statue, surrounded by a great crowd of
x , civilians, most of whom were armed with pistols or sabres;
1.222,'223.'and the air resounded with cries of "Constantine for ever!"1
The die was now cast, and the danger was so imminent Heroic con- that, if there had been the slightest indecision at headNichoiM quarters, the insurrection would have proved successful, and lesion.°*" Russia have been delivered over to the horrors of military license and servile revolt. But in that extremity Nicholas was not awanting to himself; he won the empire by proving he was worthy of it. He could no longer reckon on his guards, and without their support a Russian emperor is as weak as with it he is powerful. At eleven he received intelligence that the oath had been taken by the principal officers in the garrison, and it was hoped the danger was over; but in a quarter of an hour news of a very different import arrived—that an entire regiment of horse-artillery had been confined to their barracks, to prevent their joining the insurgents, and that a formidable body of the guards in open revolt were drawn up on the Place of the Senate. He instantly took his resolution, and in a spirit worthy of his race. Taking the Chap.
empress, in whom the spirit, if not the blood, of Frederick the Great still dwelt, by the hand, he repaired to the chapel of the palace, where, with her, he invoked the blessing of the Most High on their undertaking. Then, after addressing a few words of encouragement to his weeping but still courageous consort, he took his eldest son, a charming child of eight years of age, by the hand, and descended to the chief body of the yet faithful guards, stationed in front of the palace, and gave orders to them to load their pieces. Then presenting the young Grand-duke to the soldiers, he said, "I trust him to you; yours it is to defend him." The chasseurs of Finland, with loud acclamations, swore to die in his cause; and the child, terrified at their cheers, was passed in their arms from rank to rank, amidst the tears of the men. They put him, while still weeping, into the centre ig^^,, of their column, and such was the enthusiasm excited';224'?:25;
'i -i • Ann. Hist.
that they refused to give him back to his preceptor, ix. 387, Sub. Colonel Moerder, who came to reclaim him.1 * "God
* What a scene for poetry or painting !—realising on a still greater theatre all that the genius of Homer had prefigured of the parting of Hector and Andromache:—
"Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy
Clasped his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy;
Tho babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
Scared at the nodding plume and dazzling crest.
With secret pleasure oach fond parent smiled,
And Hector hastened to relieve his child;
Tho glittering terrors from his brow unbound,
And placed the beaming helmet on the ground;
Then kissed the child, and, lifting high in air,
Thus to the gods preferred a father's prayer:
o Thou! whose glory fills the etheroal throno.
And all ye deathless powers, protect my son!
Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,
To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown;
Against his country's foes the war to wage,
And rise the Hector of tho future age.
So, when triumphant from successful toils,
Of heroes slain, he bears the reeking spoils,
Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim,
And say this chief transcends his father's fame;
While, pleased amidst the general shouts of Troy,
His mother's conscious heart o'orflows with joy."
—pope's Iliad, vi. 595, CIO.
Chap, knows our intention," said they; "we will restore the VI11- child only to his father, who intrusted him to us." 1826. Meanwhile Nicholas put himself at the head of the NichoU« first battalion of the regiment Preobrazinsky, which turned a^rtthe out with unheard-of rapidity, and advanced towards the rebels. rebels, supported by the third battalion, several companies of the grenadiers of Pauloffsky, and a battalion of the sappers of the guard. On the way he met a column proceeding to the rendezvous of the rebels. Advancing to them with an intrepid air, he called out in a loud voice, "Good morning, my children !"— the usual salutation of patriarchal simplicity of the emperors to their troops. "Hourra, Constantine!" was the answer. Without exhibiting any symptoms of fear, the emperor, pointing with his finger to the other end of the Place, where the insurgents were assembled, said, "You have mistaken your way; your place is there with traitors." Another detachment following them, to which the same salute was addressed, remained silent. Seizing the moment of hesitation, with admirable presence of mind he gave the order, "Wheel to the right—march!" with a loud voice. The instinct of discipline prevailed, and the men turned about and retraced their steps, as if iA'xl'iS! they had never deviated from their allegiance to their sovereign.1
The rebels, however, reinforced by several compaForcea on nieS and detachments of some regiments which succesamHrS sively joined them, were by one o'clock in the afternoon thechieL above three thousand strong, and incessant cries of TOit*TM" "Hourra, Constantine!" broke from their ranks. The ground was covered with snow, some of which had recently fallen; but nothing could damp the ardour of the men, who remained in close array, cheering, and evincing the greatest enthusiasm. Loud cries of " Long live the Emperor Constantine!" resounded over the vast Place, and were repeated by the crowd, which, every minute increasing, surrounded the regiments in revolt, until the shouts were heard even in the imperial palace. Already, however, Count Alexis Orlof had assembled Chap. several squadrons of his regiment of horse-guards, and YI11' taken a position on the Place in front of the mutineers; 1826and the arrival of the emperor, with the battalion of the Preobrazinsky regiment and the other corps from the palace, formed an imposing force, which was soon strengthened by several pieces of artillery, which proved of the greatest service in the conflict that ensued. Of the chiefs of the revolt, few had appeared on the other side. Troubetzkoi was nowhere to be seen; Colonel Boulatoff was in the square, but concealed in the crowd of spectators awaiting the event. Ryleif was at his post, as was Jakoubovitch; but the former, not seeing Troubetzkoi, could not take the command, and lost the precious minutes in going to seek him. Decision and resolution were to be found only on the other side, and, as is generally the case in civil conflicts, they determined the contest.1 Deeming the forces assembled sufficient to crush the
revolt, the generals who surrounded the emperor besought Death of him to permit them to act; but he long hesitated, from dotuch. feelings of humanity, to shed the blood of his subjects. As a last resource, he permitted General Milaradowitch, the governor of St Petersburg, a noble veteran, well known in the late war, who had by his single influence appeased the mutiny in the guards in the preceding year, to advance towards the insurgents, in hopes that his presence might again produce a similar effect. Milaradowitch, accordingly, rode\ forward alone, and when within hearing, addressed the men, in a few words, calling on them to obey their lawful sovereign, and return to their duty. He was interrupted by loud cries of "Hourra, Constantine!" and before he had concluded, Prince Obolonsky made a dash at him with a bayonet, which the veteran, with admirable coolness, avoided by wheeling his horse; but at the same instant Kakhofski dis- sSclmiUIer charged a pistol at him within a few feet, which wounded 'j^^Jf him mortally, and he fell from his horse.2 "Could I have 387. believed," said the veteran of the campaign of 1812,
Chap. "that it was from the hand of a Russian I was to receive VIIL death V "Who," said Kakhofski, "Now speaks of sub1826. mission?" Milaradowitch died the following morning, deeply regretted by all Europe, to whom his glorious career had long been an object of admiration.*
The emperor, notwithstanding this melancholy catasThe A«h- trophe, was reluctant to proceed to extremities ; and perhiism re" haps he entertained a secret dread as to what the troops mutineer! ne commanded might do, if called on to act decisively against the insurgents. A large part of the guards were there ranged in battle array against their sovereign : what a contest might be expected if the signal was given, and the chevalier guards were to be ordered to charge against their levelled bayonets! Meanwhile, however, the forces on the side of Nicholas were hourly increasing. The sappers of the guard, the grenadiers of PaulofFsky, the horse-guards, and the brigade of artillery, had successively come up; and the Grand-duke Michael, who acted with the greatest spirit on the occasion, had even succeeded in ranging six companies of his own regiment, the grenadiers of Moscow, the leaders of the revolt, on the side of his brother. Still the emperor was reluctant to give the word; and as a last resource, the Metropolitan Archbishop, an aged prelate, with a large part of the clergy, were brought forward, bearing the cross and the sacred
* * ' Hear me, good people : I proclaim, in the name of the king, free pardon
to all excepting' 'I give thee fair warning,' said Burley, presenting his piece.
* A free pardon to all but' 'Then the Lord grant grace to thy soul!' with these
words he fired, and Cornet Richard Graham fell from his horse. He had only strength to turn on the ground, and exclaim,' My poor mother !' when life forBook him in the effort. 'What have you done?' said one of Balfour's brother officers. 'My duty,' said Balfour firmly. 'Is it not written, Thou shalt be zealous even to slaying 1 Let those who dare note speak of truce or pardon.'"— Old Mortality, chap. viii. How singular that the insurrection of St Petersburg in 1825 should realise, within a few hours, what the bard of Chios had conceived in song and the Scottish novelist in prose, at the distance of twentyfive centuries from each other; and what a proof of the identity of human nature, and the deep insight which those master-minds had obtained into its inmost recesses, that a revolt in the capital of Bussia in the nineteenth century should come so near to what, at Buch a distance of time and place, they had respectively prefigured.