« TrướcTiếp tục »
311 thought that from a boyish, as it seemed, amusement, such serious, such important conséquences should have arisen? Many seeing a few young men with their young master, exercising themselves with diminutive arms, concluded that this was only an insignificant amusement; and therefore these new levies were named playfellows. Others pofsefsed of more penetration, and remarking in his youthful countenance, a blooming heroic boldness, his eyes filled with acute intelligence, and in his acti ons, majestic activity, reflected how brave a hero, how great a monarch, Russia in him had to expect. But to levy many and numerous legions, foot and horse; to provide them with clothing, with pay, with arms, and with warlike necefsaries; to teach them the use of arms, to establish field and besieging artillery, in which a great knowledge of geometry, mechanics, and chemistry is required; but above all, to furnish all the departments with experienced
He continued to reign jointly with Iwan, from 1689 to 1696, when, by the death of Iwan, Peter became sole monarch of Rufsia. It is to the struggles during this period the orator here alludes.
Even while his power was thus circumscribed, though his best friends were cut off, and his education was studiously neglected by the arts of Sophia; even in these circumstances, at that very tender age, he laid the plan of overturning the power of the Strelitzes, who like the Pretorian bands at Rome, or the Janiisaries in Turky, did nearly whatever they pleased in Russia. With that view he selected a number of the most promising youth nearly of his own age, and formed a mock army of these to go through the exercise with them, like boys in sport, which was taught to them by foreigners who were acquain ted with the regular military descipline in other parts of Europe. Thus was formed the rudiments of that army which soon after crush ed the Strelitzes, and became so formidable to others.
commanders; to execute all this, seemed in reality an impofsibility, because the want and deprivation of power in the sovereign had extinguished the last hope and probability: what then was the consequence? Bevond the public expectation, in opposition to the difbelief of those who had lost hope, and in spite of the intrigues and murmurs of malice itself, the new legions of Peter unexpectedly marched and excited in the faithful sons of Rufsia joyful hope; in the discontented, terror, and in both astonishment. Impofsibilities become pofsible by extraordinary afsiduity, and above all by unheard of example. The senate of Rome, when beholding Trajan standing before the consul for the acceptance of this dignity, exclaimed, "By this you are greater, by this you are more majestic," What exclamations, what clapping of hands are due to Peter the Great for his unaffected condescention. Our fathers saw; they saw their crowned sovereign, not amongst the number of candadites for the consulate of Rome; but amidst his fellow soldies: not demanding honours of the Romans; but conducting the exercises of his
own subjects. You beautiful plains you happy fields, which beheld so wonderfal a spectacle ! O how you enjoyed the friendly enmity of legions trained by a sovereign, conducting and subordinate; commanding and obedient! O how you wondered at sieges, defences, and surrenders of embattlements, not undertaken for present profit, but for future glory; not for the subjection of the rebellious, but for the encouragement of friends. We, reflecting n past years, represent to ourselves the love and
ardent zeal with which the incipient army was attached to their sovereign, when they beheld him in their own ranks, at the same table, partaking of the common fare; when they saw his face covered with the Same sweat and dust; when they saw that he differed in nothing, except that in exercise he was the most afsiduous, the most expert. By such extraordinary example, keeping pace with his subjects in promotion, this wise sovereign demonstrated, that monarchs can in no way so much advance their own majesty, the glory, and height of their own dignity, as by similar condescension.* The Russian army grew strong by this encouragement, and in a twelve years war with the crown of Sweden, as well as afterwards in many other expeditions, filled the ends of the universe with the victorious thunder of its arms. True the first engagement at Narva was unsuccessful; but the superiority of the enemy, and retreat of the Russians, have, from malice and pride, to increase their glory, and magnify our defeat, been much exaggerated beyond the truth. The Rufsian troops were only of two years standing; the enemy disciplined and in
* In every transaction of Peter's life, when nearly examined, we discover the amazing stretch of that man's mind. Before his time it was reckoned an indelible disgrace for any man in Rufsia to serve in the army under a man whose father had occupied a lower military rank than the father of the person whom he was to command. This was an insuperable bar to military discipline and a regular army. Peter saw at once that the only effectual way to de away all this, was to go into the army himself in the lowest station, and to obey with due submifsion every officer who was placed above him; as, what he did, no other person could think was dishonourable. Thus did he at once, by a noble self command, abolish a custom that no law however severe could have abrogated without the most violent struggles.
nured to war. Although difsension took place among our commanders, and a cunning spy communicated to the enemy all the circumstances of our camp; and although Charles xii. by an unexpected attack, prevented our army from being put in order of battle; however on retreating, the boldness of the enemy was so far checked as to disable them to continue the action and pursue the victory. The Russian guards and no small part of the other troops remained in good order; and it was only for want of their leaders, whom Charles having called to treat of peace, had detained prisoners, that they were withheld from falling on the enemy. The guards therefore and the rest of the army with their arms and baggage, colours flying and drums beating, returned into Russia. That this defeat proceeded more from these unfortunate circumstances, than from want of skill in the troops of Russia; and that the army of Peter even in its infancy was able to beat the veteran troops of his enemies, was fully proved the following summer, by many signal victories*, To be continued.
The Orator goes here farther than Peter himself is known to have done, for it is well known that great man used to console himself after a defeat by observing that there was no reason to be discouraged, for that by every defeat they acquired additional military skill, so that by perseverance their enemies in time would teach the Russians tę beat themselves; and this in fact he effected.
ON THE DELAYS INCIDENT TO THE COURT
Continued from p. 283.
MANY Y people imagine it is in the power of the judge, if he chuses, to give a speedy decision; and many more think the practitioners could procure an immediate judgement, if it were not their interest to protract the suit, and keep it long depending in court. This, however, is like the notion of the negroes, that monkeys could speak if they inclined, and that they only observe silence in order to avoid being obliged to work.
To finish a law-suit soon, would contribute much to the ease and comfort of the judge; and, contrary to the received opinion, it would also tend to the profit of the practitioners, as giving life and spirit to business, and much encouraging the number of suits: But upon the present footing of things, all the efforts of a party, joined with the concurrence of an attentive and discerning judge, cannot prevent delays. Nay, farther, the ripe and proper decision of a cause is in its nature a matter that requires a good deal of time; and of course a law suit mus: be tedious after all the change that can well be ventured on, or ought to be