Catherine Ii.

late empress of Russia, whose original name was Sophia Augusta Fredeiuca, the daughter of Christian Augustus, prince of Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and of the princess of Holstein, was born at Stettin, in Prussian Pomerania, May 2, 1729. In early life she was distinguished by her good humour, intelligence, and spirit, and was fond of reading, reflection, learning, and employment. About the beginning of the year 1744, she was introduced at the court of Petersburg!], where the empress Elizabeth received her very graciously, and formed the scheme of a matrimonial union between her nephew, the grand-duke, afterwards Peter III. and Sophia; who, though instructed under the tuition of her mother in the Lutheran doctrines, embraced the religion of the Greek church, and on this occasion changed her name to that of Catherine Alcxievna. Before the nuptials were celebrated, the grand duke was seized with the small-pox, which so much deformed his face, as to render it for a time almost hideous. This metamorphosis produced a horror in the mind of the young princess at the first Interview, which, however, she had sufficient art to disguise, and which proved no impediment to their marriage, which took place in 1745. At first their attachment appeared to be mutual, but their dispositions and accomplishments were soon discovered to be different. Catherine displayed a superior understanding, which in time Peter felt, and thus the seeds of mutual dislike were very early sown. Their consolations were now also different. Peter had recourse to drinking and gaming, while Catherine entered into all the arcana of political measures, and began to form a party. She also now formed the first of those personal attachments for which she has been so remarkable, with Soltikof, the prince’s chamberlain; and although, when accused, she defended her character with some address and spirit, her intercourse with Soltikof was renewed, and became less secret. At length, the grand chancellor Bestuchef | prevailed with the empress to appoint Soltikof minister plenipotentiary from the court of Russia to Hamburgh. For some time Catherine corresponded with him, but in 1755 formed a new connection of the same kind with Stanislaus Poniatowsky, the late king of Poland, and he being appointed plenipotentiary from Poland at the court of Russia, their intimacy was long visible to all, except the grand duke Peter. His jealousy being at length roused, he forbade the grand duchess to be seen with Poniatowsky, and prevailed on the empress to banish Bestuchef, who had been the means of Poniatowski’s mission to the court of Russia, and incensed her majesty against Catherine to such a degree, that it required her utmost cunning to effect a reconciliation, which was however at length brought about, and on the death of the empress Elizabeth, Dec. 25, 1761, Peter III. ascended the throne.

For some time his conduct was at least blameless, and he even discovered more wisdom and talent than had been attributed to him. He seemed also to live in harmony with Catherine, who was congratulated on the prudent and improved state of her husband’s actions. But these appearances, we are taught to think, were delusive; his uatural weakness and versatility returned, and whatever his intentions, many of his measures created enemies without, as well as within his court. His alienating the church revenues, and assigning to the clergy yearly salaries, rendered him very unpopular among that numerous body; and his attachment to the Greek church began to be questioned. Many of his expressions, very probably unguarded and weak, were circulated abroad to render him obnoxious, and alarm the pride of his subjects; and in the mean time his sensual habits of drinking and smoking rendered him an easyprey to the courtiers, who were meditating his ruin. With respect to his empress, he sometimes affected to honour her, but this in a way too capricious to impose upon her, and at length, when he thought himself secure on the throne, insulted her by introducing his mistress, the countess Woronzoff, at a public exhibition. Catherine despised him, but her pride was hurt, and when she saw that her tears gained her that popularity which he was losing, she was not sparing of them, nor of a wonderful shew of humility and circumspection, and even of piety, performing all the public ceremonies of religion with great apparent | devotion and she also kept her court with a mixture of dignity and affability which charmed all who approached her.

Peter’s conduct, on the other hand, was mere infatuation. He permitted his mistress the countess Woronzoff to have the most complete ascendancy over him, and this woman had the hardihood to claim the performance of a promise which he had made when grand duke, to marry her, place her, in the room of Catherine, on the throne, and bastardize his son Paul, whose place he was to supply by adopting prince Ivan, who had been dethroned by the empress Elizabeth. Whatever ground he might have for expecting success to this wild project, he had not the sense to conceal it; and his mistress openly made her boast of it. Such indiscretion was, no doubt, in favour of Catherine^ but still the part she had to play required all her skill. It was no less than a plot to counteract that of her husband, and dethrone him. The minute details of this would extend too far in a sketch like the present; her conspirators were numerous, secret, and well prepared, and by their means she, who had been confined at Peterhof by her husband, was enabled to enter Petersburgh July 9, 1762, where she was received as empress, and where, while the enthusiasm was fresh in the minds of her troops and subjects, she was crowned in the church of Kazan, by the archbishop of Novogorod, who proclaimed her with a loud voice, sovereign of all the Russias, by the title of Catherine II. and declared at the same time the young grand duke, Paul Petrovitch, her successor. But of all this Peter III. had yet no suspicion. Such was his security, that he set out, after having received some intimations of the conspiracy, from Oranienbaum in a calash with his mistress, his favourites, and the women of his court, for Peterhof; but in the way, Gudovitch, the general aidede-camp, met one of the chamberlains of the empress, by whom he was informed of her escape from Peterhof; and upon his communicating the intelligence to Peter, he turned pale, and appeared much agitated. On his arrival at Peterhof, his agitation and confusion increased, when he found that the empress had actually left the palace, and he soon received the certain tidings of the revolution that had been accomplished; and the chancellor Worouzof offered his services to hasten to Petersburgh, engaging to bring the empress back. The chancellor, on entering the | palace, found Catherine surrounded by a multitude of people in the act of doing homage; and forgetting his duty, he took the oath with the rest. He was permitted, however, at his earnest request, to return to his house, under the guard of some trusty officers; and thus secured himself from the vindictive spirit of the partisans of Catherine, and from the suspicions of the czar. After the departure of the chancellor, Peter became a prey to the most distressing anxieties, and he every instant received some fresh intelligence of the progress of the revolution, but knew not what steps to pursue. Although his Holstein guards were firmly attached to him, and the veteran marshal Munich offered to risk every thing for his service, he remained hesitating and undetermined; and after some fruitless attempts, he found it absolutely necessary to submit unconditionally to her will, in consequence of which he was compelled to sign a most humiliating act of abdication, in which he declared his conviction of his inability to govern the empire, either as a sovereign, or in any other capacity, and his sense of the distress in which his continuance at the head of affairs would inevitably involve it, and in the evening an officer with a strong escort came and conveyed him prisoner to Ropscha, a small imperial palace, at the distance of about 20 versts from Peterhof. He now sent a message to Catherine, requesting, that he might retain in his service the negro who had been attached to him, and who amused him with his singularities, together with a dog, of which he was fond, his violin, a Bible, and a few romances; assuring her, that, disgusted at the wickedness of mankind, he would henceforward devote himself to a philosophical life. Not one of these requests was granted. After he had been at Ropscha six days without the knowledge of any persons besides the chiefs of the conspirators, and the soldiers by whom he was guarded, Alexius Orlof, accompanied by Teplof, came to him with the news of his speedy deliverance, and asked permission to dine with him. While the officer amused the czar with some trifling discourse, his chief rilled the wine-glasses, which are usually brought in the northern countries before dinner, and poured a poisonous mixture into that which he intended for the prince. The czar, without distrust, swallowed the potion; on which he was seized with the most excruciating pains; and on his being offered a second glass, on pretence of its giving him relief, he refused | it with reproaches on him that offered it. Being pressed to take another glass, when he called for milk, a French valet-de-chamhre, who was greatly attached to him, ran in; and throwing himself into his arms, he said in a faint tone of \oice, “It was not enough, then, to prevent me from reigning in Sweden, and to deprive me of the crown of Russia! I must also be put to death.” The valet-dechamhre interceded in his behalf; but the two miscreant forced him out of the room, and continued their ill treatment of him. In the midst of the tumult, the younger of the princes Baratinsky, who commanded the guard, entered; Orlof, who in a struggle had thrown down the emperor, was pressing upon his breast with both his knees, and firmly griping his throat with his hand. In this situation the two other assassins threw a napkin with a running knot round his neck, and put an end to his life by suffocation, July 17th, just one week after the revolution; and it was announced to the nation, that Peter had died of an haemorrhoidal colic. When Catherine received the news of Peter’s death, she appeared at court, whither she was going, with a tranquil air; and afterwards shut herself up with Orlof, Panin, Rasumofsky, and others who had been concerned in her counterplot, and resolved to inform the senate and people next day of the death of the emperor. On this occasion she did not forget her part, but rose from her seat with her eyes full of tears, and for some days exhibited all the marks of profound grief. The best part of her conduct was, that she showed no resentment to the adherents of Peter, and even pardoned the countess Woronzoff.

In September, having had her title acknowledged by the sovereigns of Europe, she took a journey to Moscow, the ancient capital of the empire, for the purpose of celebrating her coronation; but her reception here was so cool on the part of her subjects, that she hastened her departure after the ceremony, and went back to Petersburgh. Being now securely established on the throne, she meditated a variety of enterprises and plans of improvement, which might in the mean time divert the people from contemplating 'the late revolution too closely, and hereafter redound to her glory and their benefit. She consulted in particular the advancement of commerce, the augmentation of the marine, and devised proper means for recovering the national finances. After engaging in business with | her ministers, she would frequently converse in private with Bestuchef and Munich. With the one she studied politics and the resources of the several courts of Europe, and the other communicated to her a plan for driving the Turks from Constantinople, which was ever after a favourite object with Catherine. In her internal policy she introduced those changes which could not fail to be popular, abolishing the secret-inquisition-chancery, and the use of the torture, and rendering her criminal laws so mild, that during her long reign, a sentence of death was extremely rare. She also held out liberal encouragement to foreigners to settle in her empire, either as agriculturists, artificers, or merchants. In order to eradicate a physical and moral cause of depopulation, the empress laid the foundation of the foundling and lying-in hospital at Moscow, and afterwards of another at St. Petersburgh. She also founded the medicinal college of the empire in the latter city, an:l colleges and hospitals in every part of her empire. She encouraged commerce and industry; and ordered new ships of war to be put upon the stocks. The beneficial consequence of the spirit she manifested, and of the regulations she adopted, have been since manifest in a variety of instances. Courland, on the Baltic, with its havens, was subjected by her to the Russian sceptre; and on the opposite side of Europe the Euxine laves her extensive conquests; Otchakow, the Cherson, the Crim, and the Cuban, bear witness to the force of her arms. The sails of her ships of commerce and of war are spread even in the Mediterranean. Qn the Greek islands the Russian banners are displayed. Her troops opened a road into Egypt, and there, in 1772, fought in support of Ali Bey, against the Turks. The free inhabitants of the extreme north-eastern point of Asia, the Tschuktsches, were at length obliged to submit; and a channel of no great width (the straits of Behring) there only divides the empire from America. A multitude of Russian islands in the northern part of the southern ocean, the Kuriles and several additional acquisitions, connect it with other islands, and even with the continent of the fourth quarter of the world; and there also the Russians have got a firm footing. The differences" that arose with China in 1778, were at length compromised; and if no caravans go from Moscow to Pekin, yet the merchants of these two great empires prosecute their trade together, and perhaps better, in the frontier towns of Kiachta | and Maimatshin. Orenburg, in Asiatic Russia, is excellently situated for commercial intercourse with the East Indies; the caravans require only three months for the whole journey; accordingly, at the half-way thither, at Balk, a town in Bactriana, or Khorasan, Russian and East Indian caravans already meet together. Towards the end of 1763, Catherine gave a proper form to the supreme college of the empire, the directing senate, which had been instituted by Peter I. She divided it into six departments, of which the four former should have their seat in St. Pete rsburo’n, and the two latter in Moscow.

In 1764, when the throne of Poland had become vacant by the death of Augustus III. in the October of the preceding year, Catherine displayed her political talents and influence in the advancement of her early favourite count Poiu’atowsky to that dignity. At this time she made a tour through Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland; but during her absence on this expedition, an insurrection broke out in the prison of the dethroned Ivan, which threatened the stability of her own throne. But this was soon quelled by the murder of that unhappy prince. What share the empress had in this affair is not very clear, but the event was certainly in her favour, and she now proceeded in her improvements, and in the establishment of useful institutions, endeavouring to soften the manners of her subjects by instruction. She also seemed determined to be at once both conqueror and legislatrix, and it is certain that the laws of the Russian empire were much simplified under her reign, and the administration of justice rendered milder and more impartial. Her purpose was to form a solid, and not an arbitrary legislation. Her whole plan was directed to prevent all those who governed under her from exercising a capricious and cruel authority, by subjecting them to invariable laws, which no authority should be able to infringe, but in this, when they were at a distance, she was not always successful. She also continued to cultivate and encourage the arts and sciences; to make her empire an asylum to the learned and ingenious and the transit of Vqihis, which happened in 1769, afforded an opportunity of exhibiting as well the munificence of Catherine as the attention she paid to astronomy. About the middle of the year 1767, the empress conceived the useful project of sending several learned men to travel into the interior of her immense territories, for the purpose of determining | the geographical position of the principal places, of marking their temperature, and of examining into the nature of their soil, their productions, their wealth, as well as the manners and characters of the several people by whom they are inhabited. The selection of the learned travellers destined for this expedition, the helps that were granted them, and the excellent instructions that were given them, will be a lasting honour to the academy of sciences, by which they were appointed. About this time, viz. in 1768, the court of Catherine became the asylum of the sciences, to which she invited learned men from every part of Europe. She encouraged artists and scholars of all denominations; she granted new privileges to the academy of sciences, and exhorted the members to add the names of several celebrated foreigners to those which already conferred a lustre on their society. Nor was she less attentive to the academy of arts, by increasing the number of its pupils, and adding such regulations as tended more than ever to the attainment of the end for which it was endowed. For the further encouragement of the fine arts in her dominions, the empress assigned an annual sum of 5000 rubles for the translation of foreign works into the Russian language. The improvement of the state of physic was another important object of her concern; and in order to give the highest possible sanction to the salutary practice of inoculating for the small pox, she herself submitted to the operation under the care of an English practitioner, and she persuaded the grand duke to follow her example. In 1768, Dr. T Dimsdale, of Hertford, was invited to Russia for the purpose of introducing inoculation:. upon the recovery of trie grand duke, Catherine rewarded his services by creating him a baron of the Russian empire, and appointed him counsellor of state and physician to her imperial majesty, with a pension of 500l. a year, to be paid him in England; besides 10,000l. sterling, which he immediately received; and she also presented him with a miniatnre picture of herself, and another of the grand duke, as a memorial of his services. Her majesty likewise expressed her approbation of the conduct of his son, by conferring on him the same title, and ordering him to be presented with a superb gold snuff-box, richly set with diamonds. On December 3, 1768, a thanksgiving service was performed in the chapel of the palace on account of her majesty’s recovery and that of the grand duke from the small-pox: and the senate decreed, | that this event should be solemnized by an anniversary festival, which has been regularly observed ever since.

Her schemes of foreign aggrandisement, which compose so great a part of her history, commenced with her violent and arbitrary interference in the affairs of Poland, which in 1768 caused the Ottoman Porte to declare war against her; but the Turks were very unequal to the contest, which in its progress brought on a series of disasters, and they lost several battles on the Pruth, Dniester, and Danube, with the towns of Bender and Ackcrman, the capital of Bessarabia. The provinces also of Walachia, Moldavia, and Bessarabia, submitting to the Russian arms, sent deputies to Petersburg!! to do homage to the empress. In September 1769, two squadron of Russian men of war sailed from Archangel and Revel, which were soon followed by others from the Baltic, and steered for the first time for the Mediterranean, an expedition which forms a remarkable aera in the history of marine tactics. Before the arrival of this fleet, some secret agents had been disposing the Greeks to expect the Russians as their deliverers; and at the instant when their squadron had gained the height of Cape Matapan (formerly the promontory of Tenaros), the whole Archipelago thought itself free. The Mainots, descendants *f the ancient Lacedaemonians, were the first that took up arms; their example was soon followed by their neighbours; and the Turks were massacred in several of the Slands. But the latter cruelly revenged themselves for cne insurrection of the Greeks. Some thousands of these miserable people were exterminated by the sabre of the Janizaries.

The squadron of Spiridof was soon joined by that of Elphinston, a native of England, vice-admiral in the Russian service, and the Turks, though possessing a superior navy, were compelled to shelter themselves in the narrow bay of Tschesme, near Lemnos, where some of them ran aground, and the others were so pressed for room, that it was impossible for them to act. The Russians, perceiving their disadvantageous situation, sent among them some fire-ships, commanded by British officers, and destroyed their whole fleet. This war,however, was not terminated till 1774, when the grand vizir, being invested on all sides by the Russian armies, was reduced to the necessity of si^ninjr a peace, by which were secured the independence of the Crimea, the free navigation of the Russians on the Euxine, and through | the Dardanelles, with the stipulation that they should never have more than one armed vessel in the seas of Constantinople, and a cession to them of that tract of land that lies on the Euxine between the Bog and the Danube. Russia, retaining Azof, Togaurok, Kertsch, and Kinburn, restored the rest of her conquests. These terms were undoubtedly favourable to Russia, but various circumstances at home rendered peace peculiarly desirable. The disordered state of the finances, the ravages of the plague, and a spirit of revolt in certain provinces, and above all, the rebellion of Pugatshef, afforded ample employment to the empress’s resources. This Pugatshef was a Cossack, and from some resemblance of features to Peter III. was encouraged to assume his name, and raise a revolt, which for some time threatened serious consequences, but about the end of 1774 it was terminated by the capture of Pugatshef, who was put to death.

During this tumultuous state of affairs, Catherine prosecuted her designs for encouraging the sciences and the arts of peace, and improved the finances so far as to be able to take off the war-taxes, and others which were unfavourable to agriculture, or oppressive to particular provinces or orders of the people. She also lent large sums of money, free of interest, and for a specified term of years, to those provinces which were ruined by the late rebellion. She likewise established a number of other salutary regulations, abolishing pernicious distinctions, destroying numerous monopolies, restraining the cruelty of punishment, and removing oppressive or impolitic restrictions or prohibitions. Imprisoned debtors were, under certain circumstances, released from confinement; and all the heirs of the debtors to the crown were discharged from their bonds and obligations. The insurgents every where returned to their duty; nor were the victims to justice numerous. As a general famine prevailed in the desolated countries, government was at great expence and trouble in supplying them with corn and meal from the magazines at Moscow and other places; and various methods were clevised for preventing th progress of famine.

The independence of Cam Tartary, however, soon occasioned an open rupture between the Turkish and Russian parties; and in 1778 it produced a declaration of war. From the measures that were pursued, it sufficiently appeared, that the ambition of the empress would not be | satisfied till she had gained entire possession of that peninsula. Her intrigues in the neighbouring courts of Denmark and Sweden tended to render these powers little more than dependencies on her crown; however, in 1780 her influence over them was employed in establishing the famous “armed neutrality,” the purpose of which was to protect the commercial rights of neutral states, then continually violated by the belligerent powers, and particularly by England, which availed itself of its superiority at sea, in preventing France and Spain from receiving naval stores from the Baltic. In this year Catherine had an interview at Mohilow with the emperor of Germany, Joseph II. and they travelled together in familiar intercourse into Russia; the prince of Prussia (afterwards Frederic William II.) also visited her court; and it was customary for the neighbouring princes to make visits of policy or curiosity to Petersburgh, where they were always treated with extraordinary magnificence. In 1782, Catherine, with a view of affording an asylum to the proscribed order of Jesuits, and probably imagining that all the Jesuits of Europe and America would bring into White Russia their treasures and their industry, erected a Roman catholic archbishopric at Mohilow, for the spiritual government of her subjects of that persuasion, and also gave him a Jesuit coadjutor. But the spoils of Paraguay never found their way to Mohilow. This year was marked by an event which indicated Catherine’s respect for the memory of Peter the Great, whom she affected to imitate: it was the erection at Petersburgh of his famous equestrian statue, which was executed by Stephen Falconet of Paris. This, artist conceived the design of having for the pedestal of his statue a huge and rugged rock, in order to indicate to posterity, whence the heroic legislator had set out and what obstacles he surmounted. This rock, the height of which from the horizontal line was 21 feet by 42 in length, and 34 in breadth, was conveyed, with great labour, from a bay on the gulf of Finland to Petersburgh, through the distance of 11 versts, or about 41,250 English feet. On the side next the senate it has this Latin inscription, which is in a style of sublime and proud simplicity: “Petro primo, Catharina secunda;” “Catherine the second to Peter the first.

In the following year, 1783, she augmented the splendour of her court, by instituting the new order of St. Wolodimir, or Vladimir, and this year, having acquired, | without a war, the sovereignty of the Crimea, of the isle of Taman, and a great part of the Kuban, she called the former of these countries Taurida, and the other Caucasus. Thus Catherine gained a point of much importance towards the main object of her ambition, i. e. the destruction of the Turkish empire in Europe; in the view of which she had named the grand duke’s second son Constantine, and had put him into the hands of Greek nurses, that he might be thoroughly acquainted with the language of his future subjects. Instigated by Potemkin, the empress formed a design in 1787 of being splendidly crowned in her new dominions “queen of Taurida;” but the expence being objected to by some of her courtiers, she contented herself with making a grand progress through them. At her new city of Cherson, she had a second interview with the emperor Joseph. She then traversed the Crimea, and returned to Moscow, having left traces in her progress of her munificence and condescension. This ostentatious tour was probably one cause of the new rupture with the Turkish court, in which the emperor of Germany engaged as ally to Russia, and the king of Sweden as ally to the Porte. The latter prevented the empress from sending a fleet into the Mediterranean; and even endangered Petersburgh itself by a sudden incursion into Finland. The danger, however, was averted by the empress’s own vigorous exertions, by the desertion of some of Gustavus’s troops, who would not fight against the Russians, and by an attack of Sweden, on the part of the prince of Denmark, who proceeded as far as Gottenburgh. The Turkish army, though superior to that of the empress, could not resist the efforts of the Russian generals. Potemkin at the head of a numerous army, and a large train of artillery, laid siege to Otchakof, and it was at length taken by storm, with the loss of 25,000 Turks and 12,000 Russians, but the issue of the war was upon the whole unfavourable, and all parties consented to the peace signed in 1792, by which the Dniester was declared to be in future the limit of the two empires. Mr. Pitt at this time had a strong desire to compel Russia to restore Otchakof to the Turks, but not being supported by the nation, this point was conceded. When the French revolution took place, the empress finding Prussia and Austria engaged in opposing it by force of arms, turned her attention to Poland, marched an army thither, overturned the new constitution the Poles had formed, and | finally broke the spirit of the Poles by the dreadful massacre made on the inhabitants of the suburbs of Warsaw by her general Suvarof: a new division took place of this illfated country, between Russia, Austria, and Prussia, and afforded precedents for other divisions which the two latter powers little suspected.

The remainder of Catherine’s life was employed in designs against Persia, and in endeavouring to effect her original project of driving the Turks from Constantinople; but in the midst of her ambitious hopes, she died suddenly of an apoplectic stroke, Nov. 7, 1796, and was succeeded by her son Paul I.

Catherine II. had been handsome in her youth; and at the age of seventy years she preserved some remains of beauty, connected with a peculiar gracefulness and majesty. Her stature was of the middle size, somewhat corpulent, but well proportioned; and as she carried her head very high, and raised her neck, she appeared very tall; she had an open front, an aquiline nose, an agreeable mouth, and her chin, though long, was not misshapen. Her hair was auburn, her eye-brows black (brown, says Rulhiere), and rather thick; and her blue eyes (animated hazle eyes, says Rulhiere, discovering shades of blue), indicated a gentleness which was often aiFected, but more frequently a mixture of pride. Haughtiness, says Rulhiere, was the true character of her physiognomy. The grace and kindness which were likewise visible in it, seemed, to the penetrating observer, only the effect of an extreme desire of pleasing; and these seducing expressions manifested too perceptibly even the design of seducing. A painter, desirous of expressing this character by an allegory, proposed to represent her under the figure of a charming nymph, who, with one hand extended, presents wreaths of flowers, and in the other, which she holds behind her, conceals a lighted torch. The empress was usually dressed in the Russian manner. She wore a green gown (green being the favourite colour with the Russians), somewhat short, forming in front a kind of vest, and with close sleeves reaching to the wrist. Her hair, slightly powdered, flowed upon her shoulders, topped with a small cap covered with diamonds. In the latter years of her life she used much rouge; for she was still desirous of preventing the impressions of time from being visible in her countenance; and she always practised the strictest temperance, making a light | breakfast and amoderate dinner, and never eating any supper. In her private life, the good humour and confidence with which she inspired all about her, seemed to keep her in perpetual youth, playfulness, and gaiety. Her engaging conversation and familiar manners placed all those who had constant access to her, or assisted at her toilette, perfectly at their ease; but the moment when she had put on her gloves to make her appearance in the neighbouring apartments, she assumed a sedate demeanour, and a very different countenance. From being an agreeable and facetious woman, she appeared all at once the reserved and majestic empress. A person, who then saw her, would spontaneously pronounce, “This is indeed the Setniramis of the north.” Her mode of saluting was dignified and graceful; by a slight inclination of the body, not without grace, but with a smile at command, that came and vanished with the bow.

As to the character of Catherine, it may be sufficiently estimated by the history of her actions. Her reign, for herself and her court, had been brilliant and happy; but the last years of it were particularly disastrous for the people and the empire. She governed too much by her favourites; and these, with their dependents and subordinate officers, became petty despots. The two most celebrated of these favourites were count Gregory Orlof and prince Potemkin; the former was a coarse vulgar man, of surprising muscular strength and brutal manners; the other shone with some splendour, and his memory still enjoys in Russia that sort of fame which is attached to conquests and military exploits. They and her other favourites are supposed to have received from her, in the course of her reign, nearly an hundred millions of roubles, with vast estates.

With respect to the government of Catherine, it was as mild and moderate, within the immediate circle of her influence, as it was arbitrary and terrible at a distance. Whoever, directly or indirectly, enjoyed the protection of the favourite, exercised, wherever he was situated, the most undisguised tyranny. He insulted his superiors, trampled on his inferiors, and violated justice, order, and the “ukases,” with impunity. The empress having usurped a throne, which she was desirous of retaining, was under the necessity of treating her accomplices with kindness. -Being a foreigner in the empire over which she | reigned, she endeavoured to identify herself by adopting and flattering its tastes and prejudices. But her reign was more particularly distinguished by the toleration which she afforded to all religions.

Catherine had two passions which never left her but with her last breath; the love of the other sex, which degenerated into licentiousness; and the love of glory, which sunk into vanity. By the former of these passions she was never so far governed as to become a Messalina; but she often disgraced both her rank and sex; and by the second, she was led to undertake many laudable projects, which were seldom completed: and to engage in unjust wars, from which she derived that kind of fame which is the usual result of success. Her crimes, it is said, were the crimes of her station, not of her heart: this is a nice distinction, and perhaps incomprehensible; but it is certain that the butcheries of her armies at Ismail and Praga appeared, to her court, to be humanity itself. If she had known misfortune, she might probably have possessed the purest virtues; but she was spoiled by the unvaried prosperity of her arms. Yet, in whatever light she is considered, she will ever be placed in the first rank among those who by their genius, their talents, and especially by their success, have attracted the admiration of mankind; and her sex, giving a bolder relief to the great qualities displayed by her on the throne, will place her above all comparison in history, nor can we find a woman who ha executed or undertaken such daring projects.

Misled by an extravagant confidence in her own abilities, she was desirous of emulating the literary talents of Frederic of Prussia, at one time the first royal author in Europe. With this view she wrote her celebrated “Instructions for a Code of Laws,” which she translated herself from the German, and printed at Petersburg, 1769, but not for sale. It was afterwards reprinted in French, Latin, German, and Husse, at Petersburg!), 1770, 4to. She wrote also several moral tales and allegories, for the education of her grandchildren; and a number of dramatic pieces and proverbs, which were acted and admired at the Hermitage, and published under the title of “The Theatre of the Hermitage,” 2 vols. 8vo. She likewise had a -design of collecting a number of words from 300 different languages, and forming them into a dictionary, but this was never executed. <>t all her writings, her letters to Voltaire are certainly | the best. Catherine was neither fond of poetry nor of music; and she often confessed it. She could not even endure the noise of the orchestra between the acts of a play, and therefore commonly silenced it. At her Tauridan palace she constantly dined with the two pictures of the sacking of Otchakof and Ismail before her eyes, in which Cazanova has represented, with hideous accuracy, the blood flowing in streams, the limbs torn from the bodies, and still palpitating, the demoniac fury of the slaughterers, and the convulsive agonies of the slaughtered. It was upon these scenes of horror that her attention and imagination were fixed, while Gasparini and Mandini were displaying their vocal powers, or Sarti was conducting a concert in her presence.

Previous to the death of Catherine the monuments of her reign resembled already so many wrecks and dilapidations: colleges, colonies, education, establishments, manufactories, hospitals, canals, towns, fortresses, every thing had been begun, and every thing given up before it was finished. As soon as a project entered her head, all preceding ones gave place, and her thoughts were fixed on that alone, till some new idea was started and drew off her attention. She abandoned her new code of laws, to drive the Turks out of Europe. After the glorious peace of Ka’inardgi, she seemed for a time to attend to the interior administration of her affairs; but the whole was presently forgotten, that she might be queen of Tauris. Her next project was the re-establishment of the throne of Constantino; to which succeeded that of humbling and punishing the king of Sweden. Afterwards the invasion of Poland became her ruling passion; and then a second Pugatshef might have arrived at the gates of Petersburgh without forcing her to relinquish her hold. She died, again meditating the destruction of Sweden, the ruin of Prussia, and mortified at the successes of France and republicanism. Thus was she incessantly led away by some new passion still stronger in its influence than the preceding, so as to neglect her government, both in its whole and in its parts. This mania of Catherine, of planning every thing and completing nothing, drew from Joseph II. a very shrewd and satirical remark. During his travels in Taurida, he was invited by the empress to place the second stone of the town of Ekatarinoslaf, of which she had herself, with great parade^ laid the first. On his return, he said, " I have | finished in a single day a very important business with the empress of Russia; she has laid the first stone of a city, and I have laid the last. 1


Coxe’s Travls.—Tooke’s Life of Catherine II. 3 vols.—Rees’s Cyclopædia. Rulhiere Hist. de la Revolution de Russie.—Segur Vie de Catherine II. &c. &c.