1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Peter II.

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PETER II. (1715-1730), emperor of Russia, only son of the Tsarevich Alexius, was born on the 18th of October 1715. From his childhood the orphan grand duke was kept in the strictest seclusion. His grandfather, Peter the Great, systematically ignored him. His earliest governesses were the wives of a tailor and a vintner from the Dutch settlement; a sailor called Norman taught him the rudiments of navigation; and, when he grew older, he was placed under the care of a Hungarian refugee, Janos Zeikin, who seems to have been a conscientious teacher. During the reign of Catherine I. Peter was quite ignored, but just before her death it became clear to those in power that the grandson of Peter the Great could not be kept out of his inheritance much longer. The majority of the nation and three-quarters of the nobility were on his side, while his uncle, the emperor Charles VI., through the imperial ambassador at St Petersburg, Rabutin, persistently urged his claims. The matter was arranged between Menshikov, Osterman and Rabutin, and on the 18th of May 1727 Peter II., according to the terms of the supposed last will of Catherine I., was proclaimed sovereign autocrat. The senate, the privy council and the guards took the oath of allegiance forthwith. The education of the young prince was wisely entrusted to the vice-chancellor Osterman. Menshikov, who took possession of Peter II. and lodged him in his own palace on the Vasily island, had intended to marry Peter to his daughter Maria; the scheme was frustrated by his fall (Sept. 21, 1727); but Peter only fell into the hands of the equally unscrupulous Dolgoruki, who carried him away from Petersburg to Moscow. Peter's coronation was celebrated at that city on the 25th of February 1728. He was betrothed to Catherine, second daughter of Alexis Dolgoruki, and the wedding was actually fixed for the 30th of January 1730; but on that very day the emperor died of small-pox.