Page images


a Prey to Tyrants, and subject to that Slavery they have so long groaned under.

You are much mistaken, if you think it is fufficient for a Prince to have good Generals to act under his Command. All Mens Eyes are fixed upon the King; his Inclinations are studied and pursued, as all the World perceives. My Brother, for instance, during his Reign, was fond of Magnificence in Dress, and took Delight in Horses. This was by no means the Taste of the Country; but the Inclination of the Prince foon gained Ground among his Subjects, who are led to imitate him in what he loves, as they disregard what he hates.

If the People are so easily given to change in an Affair of Pleasure, will they not be ape to forget, in Course of Time, and even more easily abandon the Use of Arms, which cannot be exercised without some Labour and Pains, if they are not constantly inured to it.

You have no Inclination to learn the Business of War, nor apply yourself to it, and consequently can never possibly be acquainted with it. How then can you command over others, and judge of the Reward which they deserve who do their Duty, or punish those who neglect it? You can do nothing of yourself, and will be obliged to judge by the Eyes and Amistance of another, like a helpless Bird who is fed by its Dam,

You urge, that your Want of Health will not allow you to support the Fatigues of War; but this Excuse is no better than the rest. I do not require Fatigues from you ; I should only be glad to see such an Inclination in you which is not in the Power of Sickness to preEnquire of those who lived in my Bro



[ocr errors]

ther's Reign: His Health was far more indisposed than ever yours was; he was utterly unable to manage a rough Horse, and could hardly mount one; but he loved Horses, and for this Reason there never was, and perhaps never will be again in the Country, fo fine a Stable as he had.

You fee by this, that Success does not always depend upon Labour, but upon Inclination.

If you think, that the Affairs of some Princes are attended with Success, tho' themselves be not present in the War, you are certainly in the Right; but tho' they be not present, their Inclination is there, and it is the Business they understand.

For Instance, the late King of France did not always make War in Person ; but every one knows how fond he was of Military Expeditions, and how many glorious Exploits he performed, so that his Campaigns have been named the Theatre and School of the World. Nor was his Inclination confined only to Military Affairs ; he had Regard also to Mechanick Arts, Manufactures, and other Establishments, which have rendered his Kingdom more Aourishing than those of his Neighbours.

And now, after these Remonftrances, I return to my first Subject, which concerns you. ,

I am a Man, and by Consequence must die; and whom shall I leave behind me to finish what, by God's Grace, I have begun, and preferve what, in Part, I have received ? A Man, who, like the Sluggard in the Gospel, hides his Talent in the Ground, and neglects to exert the Faculties which God has given him. B 4



Call to Mind the Obstinacy of your Temper, and the Perverseness of your Disposition. How often have I reproached you with them, and even corrected you for them? and for how many Years have I defifted from speaking any longer of them? But all has been to no Purpose ; and my Reproofs have been fruitless. I have only lost my Time and beaten the Air. You do not so much as strive to grow better, and all your Satisfaction seems to consist in Laziness and Inactivity. What you ought to be moft alhamed of, as being a real Misery, you seem to be delighted with, without foreseeing the dangerous Consequences attending upon it, with Reference both to yourself and the whole State. It is a great Truth St. Paul has taught us, when he says, If a Man cannot govern bis own Family, how shall be be able to govern the Church of God.

After having considered all these Inconveniences, and reflected upon them, as I fee I have not been able to engage you by any Motives to do as you ought, I have judged it convenient to lay before you in Writing this Act of my last Will, resolving still to wait a little longer before I come to a final Execution of my Purpose, to try whether you will amend or no ; and if not, be assured that I'll deprive you of the Succession, and cut you off as an unprofitable Member.

Do not think, that because I have no other Child *, I say this only with a Design to fright you. I will certainly do what I say, if it


* This Litter was ceritten eighteen Days before the Birth of the Czarezeitz, PETER PETROWITZ, and jo the Czaretitz ALEXIS was then his only Son.


shall so please God. For as I spare not my own Life for the Good of my Country, and the Safety of my People, why should I spare you, who will not be at the Pains to be worthy of them? I shall rather chuse to transmit them into the Hands of a worthy Stranger, than give them to an unworthy Son.

[ocr errors]

The Original is signed with his Majesty's own


[ocr errors]

The Answer of the Czarewitz to bis Czarian Ma

jesty, written three Days after the Birth of the
Lord Czarewitz, PETER PETROWITZ.
Most Clement Lord and Father,
Have read the Writing your Majesty gave

me on the 27th of October, 1715, after the Interment of my late Spouse.

I have nothing to reply to it, but that if it is your Majesty's Pleasure to deprive me of the Succession to the Crown of Rusia, by Reason of my Inability, your Will be done. I even earnestly request it at your Majesty's Hands, as I do not think myself fit for the Government, My Memory's much weakened, and without it there is no Possibility of managing Affairs ; my Mind and Body are much decayed by the Distempers to which I have been subject, which renders me uncapable of governing so many People, who must necessarily require a more vigorous Man at their Head than I am.

For which Reason I should not aspire to the Succession of the Crown of Russia after you, whom God long preserve; tho’I had no Bro



ther, as I have at present, whom I pray God also to preserve. Nor will I ever hereafter lay Claim to the Succession, as I call God to Witness by a solemn Oath ; in Confirmation whereof, I write and sign the present Letter with my own Hand.

I give my Children into your Hands; and, for my Part, desire no more than a bare Maintenance so long as I live, leaving all the rest to your Consideration and good Pleasure.

Your most humble Servant,

And Son,


His Czarian Majesty's second Letter to the

Czarewitz, written the 19th of January,


The last Admonition.


S my Illness hath hitherto prevented me

from letting you know the Resolutions . I have taken, with Reference to the Answer you returned to my former Letter, I now fend you my Reply. I observe that you there speak of the Succession, as though I had need of your Consent, to do herein what absolutely depends upon my own Will. But whence comes it you make no Mention of your voluntary Incapacity, and the Aversion you constantly express to publick Affairs, which I spoke of in a more particular Manner than I did of your unhealthy Indisposition, though the latter is the only Thing you take Notice of? I farther expressed


« PreviousContinue »