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Alexander I

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ALEXANDER I, Emperor of Russia, son of Grand Duke Paul Petrovitch and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, née Princess of Wurtemberg: b. 23 Dec. 1777; ascended the throne 24 March 1801,• d. 1 Dec. 1825. Em press Catharine the Great took care of his education, which was conducted according to the best standard prevailing in Europe by a Swiss pedagogue, La Harpe, in co-operation with Professor Kraft and others. But La Harpe was soon dismissed because of his en lightened ideas of the ale and his sympathy with the French revolutionists. Immediately upon the assassination of his father Paul I, of which crime it is alleged Alexander had a guilty knowledge, he ascended the throne and succeeded in restoring (15 June 1801) peace with Great Britain, and later (8 Oct. 1801) concluded conventions with France and Spain. During the reign of terror and insecurity of Paul I, Alexander conceived the idea of fram ing and giving to Russia a constitution with the national representation in the government, which was remarkable in a sovereign of his day and country, but which he, however, abandoned in the later years of his rule, adopting his pred ecessors' policy of repression and accepting the views of the notorious Prince Metternich. The following four years of his rule Alexander spent almost exclusively for the improvement of the internal affairs of which the most im portant are the two ukases, signed on 14 April 1801, whereby he diminished taxes, liberated debtors, emancipated priests and deacons, abolished corporal punishments, paved the way for complete abolition of serfdom, etc. His co-operators in his reforms were the Anglo phile Count Kotchubey, Prince Czartoryski, who was noted for his sympathy for the Poles, Count Strogonov, the great French admirer, and other able men of the empire. By his ukase of 8 Sept. 1802, he established definitely the duties and authorities of the senate and estab lished the ministries of war, navy, foreign af fairs, interior affairs, justice, finance, commerce and public education. In 1803 he established in Saint Petersburg the Academy of Science and in the following year the universities of Kazan and Kharkov. But the period of peace was soon to be disturbed. The incessant dis sensions between France and Great Britain made it necessary for Russia to effect a rap prochement with England, Austria and Switzer land in the beginning of 1805 for the purpose of resisting the encroachments of France on the territories of independent states. The de feat of the Austrian army in the battle of Ulm forced Russia to send Austria help under the leadership of General Kutuzov. Alexander was personally at the head of the Russian army in the battle of Austerlitz (2 Dec. 1805), when the combined armies of Russia and Austria were defeated by Napoleon. Alexander was compelled to retreat to his dominions together with the remains of his routed army. Further results of that memorable battle were: the ever-growing hostility of Prussia toward Rus sia and the treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, concluded 27 Dec. 1805, at Schoen brunn, between Austria and Russia. In the succeeding campaign the Russians were again beaten at Eylau (8 Feb. 1807), and Friedland (14 June), the result of which was an inter view a few days after the battle, on a raft anchored in the Niemen, between Alexander and Napoleon, which led to the treaty of peace signed at Tilsit. This treaty was confirmed by the convention of Erfurt (12 Oct. 1808) where by Napoleon consented to the annexation of Wallachia and Moldavia to the Russian empire. The Russian Emperor now for a time identified himself with the Napoleonic schemes. The seizure of the Danish fleet by the British brought about a declaration of war by Russia against Great Britain and Sweden, and Alex ander invaded Finland and conquered that long-coveted duchy. Alexander spent some time in Finland in order to establish personally good relations with the Finns, and to win their confidence; while in Saint Petersburg a separate Finnish committee was formed and a secretary of state for foreign affairs ap pointed. Less successful was the campaign carried on by Alexander against the Turks (1809-12) who now demanded the restora tion to the Ottoman empire of the provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia. The war was ended by the Peace of Bucharest (1812). The French alliance, however, he found to be too oppressive, and his having separated himself from Napoleon led to the French invasion of 1812 in which the Russian armies were utterly defeated in the battle of Borodino. On 15 Sept. 1812, Napoleon made a

triumphant entry into Moscow, which he found in flames. But seven days later, forced by famine, deprivation and by the lessening morale of his armies, Napoleon decided to leave Mos cow, and his great retreat was converted into a rout by the brilliant victories of the Russian General Miloradovitch at Vyasma, of the Cos sack hetman Platov at Vopa and of General Kutuzov at Krasnoe. The successful outcome of the campaign against Napoleon animated Alexander to further efforts to establish a permanent peace in Europe and, despite the advice of his pious friends, Chancellor Shish kov, General Kutuzov and Count Rumyantzev, who were unanimous against further wars, he was firmly resolved to cross the frontier (13 Jan. 1813) with his powerful army and to in vade Prussia, and in August 1813 made an offensive and defensive alliance with that government. However, the Russian armies headed by General Withenstein, suffered, to gether with their Prussian allies, crushing de feats in the battles of Liitzen and Bautzen (2 and 21 May respectively). The following year Austria joined hands with Russia and Prussia against Napoleon and, after numerous battles with alternative success, Paris fell into the hands of the Triple Alliance on 1 April 1814, and the campaign ended by the Treaty of Paris (1 June 1814). By the Treaty of Vienna, which was concluded 10 July 1815, Alexander secured for his empire a part of the duchy of Warsaw, the grand duchy of Poznan, and introduced into the part of Poland apportioned to Russia a liberal constitution. When the deposed Na poleon again landed in France, the Russian army moved rapidly from Poland to the banks of the Rhine and Alexander went from Vienna to Heidelberg. Napoleon's rule of the Hundred Days was ended, however, by his defeat at Waterloo and the French Bourbon dynasty was restored in the person of Louis XVIII. Alex ander, moved by the desire of establishing a lasting peace in Europe, composed and signed, together with his Prussian and Austrian allies, a treaty of peace (26 Sept. 1815) known as the Holy Alliance (q.v.). The remaining part of his reign was chiefly taken up in measures of internal reform including the gradual aboli tion of serfdom and the promotion of educa tion, religion, agriculture, commerce, navigation and manufactures.

Embittered and disappointed in liberalism and political altruism he turned even more toward religious fanaticism. The last years of his life Alexander spent either in traveling through the remotest parts of his empire or in complete seclusion in the Tsarskoe Selo. When in the year 1821 a Russian agent provoc ateur, Alexander Ipsilanti, started an insur rection in Greece against the Turks, Tsar Al exander formally protested and endeavored to reassure the Sublime Porte of the innocence of official Russia, but the Sultan would not believe in the sincerity of his action and a wholesale massacre of Christians in Constantinople took place, which forced the Russian ambassador. Baron Stroganov, to leave that capital in a hurry. The war, which for a time seemed imminent, was averted by Alexander's astute diplomacy only to break out shortly after his death. Alexander died at Taganroga where he had accompanied his consort, Empress Eliza beth Aleksyeevna, for the improvement of her health.

Bibliography.— Bogdanovich, M., (Istoriya Imperatora Aleksandra Ivo' Saint Petersburg 1869-71) ; Bychkov, I. A., 'Aleksandr I i yevo priblizhenie do epohi Speranskovo) (Ruskaya Starina, Saint Petersburg 1903, Vol. 113, p. 5) ; Empaytaz, H. L., respecting Alexander, Emperor of (Aberdeen 1855) ; Lloyd, H. E.., (Alexander I, Emperor of Russia; or, a sketch of his life and of the most important events of his reign) (London 1826) ; Martens, F. F., (Alexandr I i Napoleon I,— Poslednie Body ikh druzhbi i soyuza' (Vesnik Evropy, Feb.-April, St. Petersburg 1905)i Marezhkov ski, D. S., (Alekcandr (Saint Petersburg 1913) ; Id., (Alexander I, Historischer (Munich 1913) ; Schiemann, T., (Kaiser Alex ander and die Grossfiirstin Ekaterina Pay lona) (Zeitschift fiir osteuropOische Ge schichte, Bd. I, pp. 540-556, Berlin 1911) ; Solovyev, S., (Imperator Aleksandr (Saint Petersburg 1877).