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very by the nobility and clergy. Charles acquiesced in the prudent proposal for a moment; but, blinded by the illusions of romantic glory, he afterward told his minister, that he had more pleasure in giving away, than in conquering kingdoms! He accordingly recommended to the choice of the Polish diet, assembled at Warsaw, Stanislaus Leczinski, palatine of Posnania, who was immediately raised to the throne64.

What time Charles XII. was thus imposing a king on the vanquished Poles, the Danish monarch durst not presume to create him any disturbance; while the new king of Prussia courted his friendship, and his antagonist Augustus was forced to take refuge in his hereditary dominions, the czar Peter was growing every day more formidable. Though he had given the king of Poland but little immediate assistance, he had made a powerful diversion in Ingria; and was now not only become a good soldier himself, but had instructed his subjects in the art of war. He had able engineers, well served artillery, and experienced officers; discipline was established among his troops; and he had acquired the great secret of subsisting his armies. In consequence of these improvements, he took Narva by assault, on the 21st of Au gust 1704, after a regular siège, during which he had prevented it from receiving any succours, either by sea or land. Nor was this his only glory. The Russians were no sooner masters of the city, than they began to pillage it, and abandoned themselves to the most enormous barbarities. The czar flew from place to place, to stop the plunder and carnage; and having killed two soldiers, who refused to obey his orders, he entered the town-house, and laying his sword, yet reeking with gore, upon the table, said to the magistrates, "This weapon is not stained with the blood of your fellow"citizens, but with that of my own people, which I have shed "to save your lives65.

64. Voltaire, Hist. Charles XII. liv. iii.

65. Voltaire, Hist. Rus. chap. xii. Hist. Charles XII, liv. iii.


Had Peter always paid the same attention to the rights of humanity, his character would have stood fairer in the annals of history. And for his honour it must be recorded, that at the same time he was thus saving one city from destruction, he was employed in erecting another, not far from Narva, in the heart of his new conquests; namely, Petersburg, which he afterward made the place of his residence, and the center of his trade. That city is situated between Finland and Ingria, in a marshy Island, around which the Neva divides itself into several branches, before it falls into the gulph of Finland.

This desert and uncultivated island, which, during the short summer in those regions, was only a heap of mud, and in winter a frozen pool, into which there was no entrance on the land side, but through pathless forests and deep morasses, and which had been the haunt of wolves and bears, was filled, in 1703, with above three hundred thousand men, whom the czar brought thither from other parts of his dominions. The peasants of Astracan, and those who dwelt on the frontiers of China, were transported to Petersburg and the czar was obliged to clear forests, to make roads, to drain marshes, and to raise mounds before they could lay the foundations of his future capital. The whole was a violence upon nature. Peter was determined to people a country, that did not seem designed for the habitation of men; and neither the inundation that demolished his works, nor the sterility of the soil, nor the ignorance of the workmen, nor even the mortality which carried off near two hundred thousand men in the beginning of the undertaking, could divert him from his purpose! By a proper distribution of favours, he drew many strangers to the new city; bestowing lands upon some, houses upon others, and encouraging, by the most liberal rewards, artists of every description. Above all, he rendered it proof against the utmost efforts of his enemies; so that the Swedish generals, who frequently beat his troops, as we shall have occasion to see,


were never able to hurt this infant establishment. Petersburg remained in perfect security amid the destructive war by which it was surrounded66.

While the czar was employed in erecting a new capital, and in creating, as it were, a new people, he still held out a helping hand to the fugitive Augustus, who had again found his way into Poland; had retaken Warsaw, and been obliged a second time to abandon it. Peter invited him to Grodno, in order to concert measures for retrieving his affairs. To that place Augustus repaired in December 1705; and being no longer afraid of exasperating the Poles, by the introduction of foreigners into their country, as they had already done their worst against him, it was resolved that sixty thousand Russians should attack the Swedes in their late conquests. This prodigious force soon entered Poland; and dividing into several bodies, laid waste with fire and sword the lands of all the Palatines who had declared for Stanislaus. An army of Cossacks also entered the Polish territories, and spread desolation on every side, with all the fury of barbarians. And general Schullemberg, who had distinguished himself by the passage of the Oder, in sight of the king of Sweden, and by a retreat esteemed equal to a victory, even by Charles himself, was advancing with an army of Saxons67.

If success had depended upon numbers, the Swedish monarch must now have been crushed; but his usual good fortune, the effect of his active and enterprising spirit, still attended him. The Russian armies were attacked and defeated so fast, that the last was routed before it had heard of the disaster of the first. Nothing could stop the progress of the conquering Swedes, or equal their celerity. If a river interposed, they swam across it; and Charles, at the head of his cavalry, marched thirty leagues in twenty-four hours.

66. Id. Ibid.

67. Voltaire. Contin. Puffend. Parthenay.

68. Every soldier leading a horse in his hand to mount when his own was tired. Voltaire, Hist. Charles XII,


Struck with terror at such rapid movements, which to them appeared altogether miraculous, and reduced to a small number, by their various defeats, the Russians retired beyond the Boristhenes, leaving Augustus to his fate.

In the mean time Schullemberg, having repassed the Oder, offered battle to mareschal Renschild, who was reckoned the king of Sweden's best general, and called the Parmenio of the Alexander of the north. These two great commanders met on the 13th of February, 1706, at a place called Travanstad. Renschild had only thirteen battalions, and twenty-two squadrons, making in all about ten thousand men; Schullemberg had more than double that number, yet was he defeated with great slaughter. Seven thousand Russians and Saxons were killed on the spot; eight thousand were made prisoners; and all their artillery, baggage, ammunition, and provisions, fell into the hands of the victors. No quarter was granted to the Russians.

In order to put an end to the troubles of Poland, where by reason of its desolate state, his army could no longer subsist, Charles now proposed to carry the war into the hereditary dominions of Augustus. He accordingly directed his march toward Silesia; passed the Oder; entered Saxony with twenty-four thousand men ; and having laid the whole country under contribution, pitched his camp at Alt-Ranstadt, near the plains of Lutzern, rendered famous by the memorable victory and death of Gustavus Adolphus. Unable to contend with so powerful an adversary, already in the heart of his dominions, Augustus was under the necessity of suing for peace. He obtained it, but on the most humiliating terms; being forced to renounce forever all pretensions to the crown of Poland, and to acknowledge Stanislaus lawful sovereign of that kingdom". When his plenipotentiaries endeavoured to procure some mitigation of the ri

69. Id. Ibid.

70. Hist. du Nord, tom. ii. Voltaire, ubi sup.

71. Voltaire, Hist. Charles XII. liv. iii.


gour of these conditions, they were constantly answered by count Piper, "Such is the will of my master; and he never "alters his resolution"","

The march of the king of Sweden into Germany, his victories during the course of the war, and the arbitrary manner in which he had deposed Augustus, filled all Europe with hopes of his friendship, or apprehensions from his power. France courted his alliance with an ardour proportioned to the distressed state of her affairs. Offended at his gross violation of the privileges of the Germanic body, the diet at Ratisbon shewed a disposition to declare him an enemy of the empire; but the emperor Joseph, dreading the effects of such a measure, employed all his influence to oppose it, at the same time that he endeavoured to soften any resentment which it might excite in the breast of the northern conqueror, by flattering his pride. Charles was pleased with these attentions, without being swayed by them. Wholly occupied with the great project of humbling his other antagonist, the czar Peter, and even of reducing him to the same abject condition into which he had already brought Augustus, he disregarded all the solicitations of France, and seemed to favour the views of the emperor, without having any attachment to his interest.

Lewis XIV. thus disappointed in his hopes of engaging the king of Sweden in his cause, and broken in spirit by misfortunes, began seriously to think of putting an end to a war, which had brought accumulated disgrace upon his arms, and the deepest distress upon his subjects. Having privately made some ineffectual applications to the ministers of Holland, he resolved publicly to manifest his earnest desire of peace and ordered, for that purpose, the elector of Bavaria to write letters to the duke of Marlborough and the fielddeputies of the States, proposing a general congress. As a proof of his sincerity, he mentioned at once the sacrifices he

72. Ibid.


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