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Nicholas I

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NICHOLAS I., l'Avr.orrrrn (1796-1S55). Emperor of Russia from 1825 to 1855. lie was the third son of Paul 1., and was horn at Saint Peters burg July 6 (old style .tune 25). 1796. ills early edueal ion was under the direction of his mother, a princess of Wiirttemberg. This later studies won` principally in the fields of economies and military science, but he evinced no especial abil ity in these branches. He traveled in England and on the Continent in 1816, and also made a tour through the Russian provinces. On July 13, 1517. he married Charlotte, the eldest daughter of Frederick William III. of Prussia. The death of Alexander 1., in December, 1825, and the previ ous renunciation by his elder brother, the Grand Duke Constantine (q.v.), of his claims to the throne (1822), made Nicholas Emperor, but lie was obliged to meet at the outset a military con spiracy, which was stamped out with ruthless severity—the celebrated rising of the Decent hrists. ( See IlussiA.) Ca pital punishment, abolished by the Empress Elizabeth, was revived, for the purpose of inflicting it nilon the leaders of the insurrection. Nicholas, like other czars, Fhowed at the beginning of his reign some zeal for reform; but the spirit (lied out, giving place to the old despotism, and he became the embodi ment of the reactionary spirit of the holy Alli ance. Nevertheless, his first great measure, the codification of Russian law, commenced in 1827, was continued and completed in 1840. A war with Persia began soon after his accession, and was concluded on February 2S, 1828, by the peace of Turkmantchai, which gave Persian Armenia to Russia. Close upon this followed a successful but costly war with Turkey, concluded by the Peace of Adrianople (q.v.) which obtained for Russia another increase of territory, the free navigation of the Danube, the right of free pass age between the Black and Mediterranean seas, and the protectorate over Moldavia and Wal lachia. The revolutionary agitation of 1830 com municated itself to Russian Poland, where there was a national rising, suppressed after a contest of nine months, which taxed the military re sources of the Empire. Nicholas converted the Kingdom of Poland into a Russian province, and began the process of Russilication, which has since been in progress. Russia, which had been

approaching more closely the standards of \Vest ern Europe, gradually lost its newer aspect. The press was placed under a strict censorship, and education was directed, not to the development of thepeople, hut to preparation for the work of the State. The process, begun in 'Poland. was to he carried out all over the Empire, until all the foreign elements were completely Russianized and unified in people ainl religion. The independence of the mountaineers of the Caucasus was incon sistent with the Emperor's schemes, and war was waged against them with the greatest energy and perseverance. but at the cost of immense sacrifices both of money and lives. Nicholas sought to check the advance of British influence in Central Asia, and to counteract it tried vari ous means, among which was the expedition for the conquest of Tchiva in 1839, which ended in disaster. Between 1S44 and 1810 he visited Eng lanil. Austria, and Italy. When the Revolution of 1848 broke upon Europe, Nicholas refrained from interference until, by aiding in the suppres sion of the Hungarian national uprising against Austria, lie was able to win Austria's gratitude and strike a blow at the who interfered with Panslavism. Nicholas was intent on carry ing into effect the hereditary Russian designs upon Constantinople, and in 1853 provoked a war with the Sultan; hut the opposition of °rent Britain and France plunged Nicholas into a numb more terrible struggle than he had anticipated. (See CRIMEAN WAR.) In the course of the war lie died at Saint Petersburg. March 2, 1855. his death having undoubtedly been hastened by chagrin at the repeated defeats which his auras sustained, and the excessive labor he under went to repair his losses. was remarkable fur temperance. frugality, and patriotism, but equally so for. vanity and ostentation. Consult: Smucker, icho/us I. (Philadelphia, 1800) ; Bal leydier, Histoirt de l'eutpcour, Nicolas (Paris, 1857) ; Lacroix, Ilistoire de Nicolas I. (ih., 1864 73) ; Edwards, The Romano ffs (London, 1890).