Ivan the Terrible/Part 4/Chapter 2
THE LOSS OF LIVONIA—ROME AND MOSCOW
I.—CHÉVRIGUINE'S MISSION. II.—THE PAPAL MEDIATION. III.—THE TRUCE OF IAM-ZAPOLSKI. IV.—POSSEVINO AT MOSCOW. V.—THE DAY AFTER THE TRUCE.
The despatch of Chévriguine to Rome was an unprecedented event. Advances, up to that time, had always come from the Papal Court, and Poland had always interposed, and brought every attempt to nought, while Venice, to whose interest it was that commercial relations with Muscovy should be opened, vainly strove against the opposition of a watchful and suspicious diplomatic system. Batory's predecessor had stopped Pius IV.'s emissaries—Canobio, Giraldi, and Bonifaccio—on their way.
In 1570, Pope Pius V.'s Nuncio in Poland, Vincenzo del Portico, had endeavoured to mediate between Ivan and Sigismund-Augustus, with a view to forming a league against the Turks. But Ivan's envoy at Constantinople was at that very moment representing his master as exceedingly well disposed towards the Sultan. This fact became known at Rome, and the perusal of a memorandum drawn up by Albert Schlichting, a soldier of Prussian origin, who had escaped from a Moscow prison after a detention lasting seven years, still further contributed to chill the Sovereign Pontiff's ardour. In 1576 a fresh attempt was made. The Pope's Nuncio, Laureo, driven out of Poland by the double election of Batory and Maximilian, conferred on German soil with the two Russian envoys, Sougorski and Artsybachev. The new Legate at the Emperor's Court, Cardinal Morone, had a hand in this negotiation, and, duly authorized by Gregory XIII., chose Rudolph Clenke, a man of learning, gifted with a strong constitution and an adventurous spirit, to bring about the long-wished-for agreement. But Poland was on the watch, and at the very last moment Maximilian objected to the departure of the chosen representative. In 1575, too, during Batory's first campaign, Laureo's successor, Caligari, renewed Portico's attempt, but with no better success.
Now it was the Tsar who took the first step. He deputed Leonti Istoma Chévriguine, known to foreigners as Thomas Severingen, to propose that very league against the Turks on which the Roman calculations, half political, half religious, were all based, and to set forth the preliminary condition he demanded. This condition was that the King of Poland should be advised, and if necessary forced, to make peace. On his way through Prague, where the Emperor gave him a somewhat chilly reception, Chévriguine entered into relations with the Papal Nuncio and the Venetian envoy. Doubt has been expressed as to whether he had any mission to the Republic at all. He certainly was not even acquainted with the Doge's titles, and believed Venice to be part of the Papal States. But on his way to Prague he had taken him two companions—a Livonian German, named Wilhelm Popler, and a Milanese Italian, Francese Pallavicini. These two men were better informed than he, and possessed a lively imagination as well. Attended by these acolytes, he proceeded to Venice, and presented the Doge with a letter from the Tsar, forged by himself, as Father Pierling believes ('Russia and the Holy See,' ii. 14, etc.), to constitute a claim on the liberality of the Signory, or fabricated at Rome, as Monsieur Ouspiénski supposes ('Relations of Rome with Moscow,' Journal of the Min. of Public Instruction, August, 1885), so as to ensure the association of the Republic with the missionary undertaking the Roman authorities were now hoping to initiate.
This improvised Ambassador does not seem to have made any very great effort. diplomatically speaking. He enjoyed the civilities heaped upon him, spoke in a general way of commercial relations which might be established, with a somewhat vague reference to the route by the Caspian and the Volga; talked too freely, and so revealed the difficulties of his master's position; and hurried off to Rome, where he arrived on February 24, 1581.
He was made welcome at first, and better treated than his rank—that of a mere courier (goniéts)—warranted. But the perusal of the letter—genuine this time—he had brought from his master cast a chill over things. It expressed the Tsar's wish that the Pope should order Batory to 'renounce the Moslem alliance and the war he was making against the Christians.' But as to the religious question his message breathed never a word. Ivan was asking a great deal, and offering nothing at all, and the Roman authorities were well informed as to the extent of the Porte's share in the war that was being carried on. Yet the temptation to open intercourse by hook or by crook was too great, and the Pope decided to send an emissary to Moscow, charged with the duty of presenting the terms of the problem in their proper order: the religious union first of all, and after that the political understanding. Polish influences may, as some have supposed, have had something to do with the adoption of this plan. In any case, and from every point of view, it was the wisest.
But once the emissary had been chosen, matters, under his personal influence, went further still. Possevino was a diplomat by profession. He had been employed, twice over, in 1578 and 1580, on a somewhat similar mission to the Court of Sweden. He had been appointed Vicar Apostolic for all the North of Europe, had acquired a certain reputation for cleverness, and betrayed a strong inclination to suppress the spiritual in favour of the temporal side of his mission, and even to sacrifice the former to the latter. At Stockholm, where he had appeared dressed as a nobleman, sword on hip and bonnet in hand, he had not achieved any union with Rome, but he had been an active agent in the negotiations between Sweden and Poland for that alliance against Moscow which had turned out so ill. In 1579, he waited on Batory at Vilna, and with the same object. So well did he now play his cards that the Court of Rome, swayed by his influence, allowed itself to be led, unconsciously, to set politics before religion.
The idea of a league against Islam was a chimera. Portugal, Philip's new conquest, gave him too much trouble, and Venice had too many new-found interests in the Levantine seaports. But at Rome, as at Moscow, this same league—perpetually put forward, though Rome knew right well there was nothing and nobody behind it—was a sort of decorative façade, which concealed other and more practical arrangements. The Papacy, even if its attempt to induce the European Powers to arm for a fresh crusade resulted in failure, perceived a means, if so much as a mutual concert could be organized under its own auspices for such a purpose, of recovering some portion, at all events, of its ancient supremacy. At several points, already, Protestantism seemed to be shrinking backwards. Alexander Farnese was gaining ground in the Low Countries. The Guises were lifting their heads in France. In Sweden, the Queen, whose husband had already been secretly won over, was bringing up her son a fervent Catholic. In Poland the dissidents had no existence save as a political party; and Livonia, once lost to Germany, would be lost, likewise, to the Reformers. Very soon, according to the Roman view, the Reform would have nothing left save England, a portion of the Empire, and little Denmark. If, Muscovy and Poland once reconciled, it became possible, under pretext of common action against the Turks, to induce the House of Hapsburg and Venice to form a coalition of which Rome would be the natural president, she might yet rule the whole world once more!
The Papacy was approaching that phase of mind in which, realities being non-existent, appearances themselves become very precious things.
The Pope's brief to Ivan, in response to his letter, was inspired by all these considerations. His Holiness accepted the League, and the condition on which the Tsar made it contingent. He would intervene between the Tsar and the King of Poland. But on his side he burdened his mediation with conditions. Peace must be ensured by a bond—a bond only to be found in the bosom of the true Church. It was a bold move, but in Possevino's secret instructions, which he himself had helped to draw up, the sense of this reply was greatly attenuated. According to these, the union of the two Churches continued to be the higher end to which the Jesuit's mission was to tend; but his duties were reduced, practically speaking, to the attainment of two essentially secular objects—the establishment of commercial relations with Venice, and the re-establishment of peace between Poland and the Tsar. For the rest, His Holiness would be content with a minimum result. If Ivan should refuse to consent to the building of a church, or to allowing the Jesuits to settle in his capital, Possevino was to be content, for the present, with opening up regular intercourse with him.
Taking it all in all, Chévriguine had succeeded far better than his master could have expected. This barbarian, whom Rome could not dazzle, either with her works of art or her ecclesiastical pomp, and who, though he did show more interest in the Pope's presents—a magnificent Agnus Dei, a gold chain, and a purse of 600 ducats—would not say he was satisfied with them—this boor had not only succeeded in bringing about the reconciliation which Poland had so laboriously opposed—he had done it in spite of her. For while Batory had been going from triumph to triumph, and from conquest to conquest, Rome and Moscow had agreed to snatch the fruits of his victory out of his hands. And that although the Tsar's envoy had in no wise flattered the hopes of the Papal Court as to the religious advantages it might ultimately attain. This is proved by the correspondence of the Cardinal of Como, who drew up the greater part of the instructions Possevino took with him. Writing to Caligari, he expresses, in the clearest language, his conviction that Ivan's step had been dictated, not by any good intentions such as might give Rome reason to rejoice, but by the hard knocks which had been dealt him: 'Non nasce de buone intezione, ma solo delle buone battiture.'
Chévriguine left Rome on March 27, 1581, carrying a living testimony to his success with him; Possevino was his fellow-traveller. Together, on the road Ivan's envoy had already trodden at Venice and the Imperial Court, they were to carry out their preconcerted plan. The Pope's Legate expounded the common proposals before the Council of Ten. The Signory divided them up at once, and without any hesitation, in the manner most convenient to itself. Enter into commercial relations with Moscow? Good; that was a long-wished-for event. Reconcile the Tsar with the King of Poland? Good again; peace was indispensable to trade. As to the rest, they left it all to Rome. The Doge, Nicola da Ponte, expressly asserted, in the course of a confidential conversation with Possevino, that since Lepanto his faith in leagues was utterly broken. Both at Vienna and at Prague the idea of the League was entirely put aside. The Emperor, indeed, would not show himself at all, and the Legate only saw the Archduke Ernest, who, having been a candidate for the Polish Crown, viewed Muscovite affairs solely from that particular point of view. The Austrian diplomats probably found it easy to see through the quibble on which this new understanding between Moscow and Rome, the expenses of which were to be borne by Poland, was based. 'The King of Poland's whip,' wrote Possevino to the Cardinal of Como, 'is, perhaps, our best means of introducing the catechism into Muscovy.' Chévriguine, emboldened by the advantages he had gained, flattered himself he would be able, when he returned from Vienna, to carry his master the title of Emperor of the East. All he got for himself was a purse of 100 florins, and then the comrades parted—the Russian proceeding to Lubeck, while the Jesuit took his way to Vilna, there to begin his duties as a mediator.
III.—The Papal Mediation.
The Papal Nuncio, Caligari, had already informed the King of Poland of the Legate's approaching arrival, and requested passports for him. His reception had been cool in the extreme. The Rector of the College of Wilna, Skarga, himself a Jesuit, considered the mission most inopportune. Batory, in addition to the general reasons which made him share this opinion, had others of a more private nature, which led him to suspect the present policy of the Holy See. For some time the Pope had been holding him out hopes of a conquest of Wallachia, then just about to change masters, and it was a- well-known fact at Warsaw that Gregory XIII. was secretly assisting the candidature of Peter Czerczel, who was supported by the French. Advices from Rome also made it evident that Cardinal Madrucci, a former Papal Nuncio in Germany, had been present at the Congregation which had decided on the appointment of Possevino, and the conferences between the Legate and the Archduke Ernest could not fail to stir suspicion in the King of Poland's mind.
The passports were granted, nevertheless, and Possevino found Batory in a more friendly frame of mind. The delay about opening his campaign had something to do with this, we may be sure. In the Sovereign's immediate circle there was open talk of putting an end to the business by a peace of some sort or kind. When, towards the close of July, 1581, the Pope's envoy started for Ivan's residence, and the King marched away to Pskov, the best wishes of many Poles attended the Jesuit’s progress. On August 20, after some misadventures, one at Smolensk especially, when, believing he was going to a dinner (obiéd), he very nearly attended an obiédnia (Orthodox Mass), Possevino reached Staritsa, and was permitted to 'contemplate the calm eyes of the Tsar.'
Nothing that could have ensured the Roman representative a favourable reception had been overlooked by the Papal Court. To his brief for the Tsar the Pope had added a letter addressed to the Tsarina Anastasia, whom the Pontiff, unaware that she had been dead for years, and her place filled several times over, addressed as his 'well-beloved daughter.' The Sovereign Pontiff's gifts—a crucifix carved in rock crystal, enriched with gold; a copy, in the Greek language, of the records of the Council of Florence, splendidly bound; a rosary of precious stones mounted in gold; and a crystal cup, also gold-mounted—were rendered more precious by the addition of a morsel of the True Cross, enclosed in the crucifix, and Ivan declared them worthy of the giver. At the very last moment Possevino decided to withdraw a picture of the Holy Family, in which a perfectly nude figure of St. John the Baptist might have offended eyes accustomed to a more modest style of art.
The Jesuit employed tactics which had already served him well elsewhere, in the most skilful manner, and made the great object of a common faith the foundation of his speech, though he still contrived to keep it in the background. He was supple and insinuating, eloquent and crafty, all at once, and proved himself worthy of his mission. But his task was a hard one. The answer to the pacific overtures of the Roman envoy is a curious monument of Muscovite diplomacy. Six men of the Court were deputed to reply to the Legate, and given special instructions, so that each might treat one particular point of the whole problem—the League against the Turks, the state of the negotiations already entered into with Batory, the relations with Rome, etc. But when this first work was accomplished, the Tsar's Chancery began it all over again, in a fresh series of inquiries, superadded to the first, and which were followed by several more. In the end there was a total of six-and-thirty documents, which Possevino had to peruse. At the head of each was inscribed an invocation of the Holy Trinity, and a complete list of the Sovereign's titles, and this whole collection was only to serve as the basis of a controversy destined to drag on for weeks and weeks, diversified with personal discussions, exchanges of notes, perpetual interventions on the part of the Tsar himself, and misunderstandings as to meanings, such as arise between people who do not speak the same language—a Tower of Babel in a Labyrinth.
From the very outset, besides, it was clear that the two parties were not agreed as to the starting-point of the negotiations. The Legate represented Batory as having been led by the Papal influence to consent to large concessions, and requested Ivan to take some similar step on his side. Now, the very fact of the Pope's intervention made the Tsar exceedingly grasping. Instead of coming forward, he went backward, withdrew what he had previously offered, and demanded that the siege of Pskov should be raised at once, and a Polish embassy sent to him. Was it not for that he had applied to the Pope? Batory's letter challenging him to fight a duel was not calculated to inspire him with more conciliatory feelings. At first he affected to speak of it more in sorrow than in anger, and when Possevino asked to be allowed to see the document, the Tsar decided he should only be given a summary containing the political matter, and leaving out the abuse. But very soon after this he was unable to refrain from drawing up and exhibiting a reply, in which, to facilitate his retorts, he reproduced, one after the other, the most offensive passages in the letter, and employed the most unexpected arguments. If, as Batory asserted, he had not flown to the assistance of the besieged towns, it was because he felt himself prevented from so doing by the truce he had made with his adversaries. And how could the King deny the Roman descent of the reigning house of Moscow? If Prous had never existed, where did the name Prussia come from?
At the end of a whole month, in fact, the mediator was no further advanced than on the day of his arrival. As to the religious question, he had gained something—no churches, indeed, and no establishment for the Jesuits, but the Tsar was most willing to keep up constant intercourse with Rome, and offered free passage through his dominions to any envoys the Pope might desire to send into Persia. This was a beginning, and the civilities in which every refusal was enwrapped, the understandings coupled with every concession, gave the Pope's representative reason to hope for still better things once peace was established. The Jesuit was always being brought back to that primordial postulate, though what the Tsar called his 'final calculation'—which Batory had already refused—was steadily maintained. Possevino had hoped to kill two birds with one stone by reconciling Russia with his former clients, the Swedes, likewise. Out of respect for the Pope, the Tsar agreed to depart from the rule according to which negotiations with Sweden must take place at Novgorod, and consented to receive King John's Ambassadors at the Kremlin. But the Swedish King, instead of despatching an embassy, was carrying his career of personal conquest along the Baltic coast, and it was quite clear that Ivan was resolved to make him pay for them dearly, once he himself was clear of Batory, and likewise that, for getting rid of Batory, he relied on the winter season and the Pope. Very skilfully, pitting his own tactics against his adversary's, he applied himself to keeping the Legate in good humour, by pointing him to a far-distant mirage of religious union, while Bogdan Biélski, who, with Nicholas Zakharine, was employed to direct the negotiations, ventured an attempt—an unsuccessful one indeed—at corruption of a more brutal kind.
By the middle of September the Jesuit had realized he was losing his time in this quarter, and made up his mind to fall back on the Polish camp. This was just what suited Ivan best. 'Go to King Stephen,' he said, when he dismissed the Legate, 'salute him in our name, and when thou hast arranged peace according to the Pope's orders come back to us, for thy presence will always be welcome here, because of the Court which sends thee, and because of thine own faithfulness in our affairs!' He was taking the Jesuit into his service, and would gladly have paid him wages. And as the Pope had ordered peace should be made, according to the Tsar's desire, it must be made to suit the Muscovite Sovereign's convenience. Ivan would not hear of anything else. This is the one clear impression produced by this diplomatic episode.
Possevino arrived at the camp before Pskov in the early days of October, and this time played the part of the honest broker in most conscientious fashion. He informed the Poles as to the opinions he had arrived at during his stay at Staritsa, and endeavoured to combat those they had formed from the pamphlets written by Guagnino and Kruse. In his letters to Moscow he applied himself to representing military matters in the sense most favourable to the besiegers. The Poles, he said, were making great preparations. Supplies were coming in from Riga. Reinforcements were expected. Pskov was in a very bad way. The campaign would certainly be carried on all through the winter, and once the spring-time came there would be no possibility of stopping Batory.
All this was true enough at bottom, and proof of it ma be found in those very reports, drawn up on the spot, which have produced such a contrary impression on the minds of the Polish historians. I have already quoted the Abbé Piotrowski's testimony as to the effective strength of the Polish cavalry, which he represents as having been reduced almost to nothing, even by the month of October. Further on, the same witness refers to a review held on December 4, in which 7,000 horses figured. And 'the horses are good.' Losses cannot have been so great, then, or the Poles had been able to make them good, at all events. Possevino's own narrative falls into another mistake. The Jesuit mentions the enthusiastic welcome which greeted him in the Polish camp. This trait, if we take it to be correct at all, can only be ascribed to the turbulent and unruly element, the existence of which I have already noted, in Batory's army—an element which both he and Zamoyski knew how to control and bend to the necessities of war. Into this the intervention of the Papal Legate certainly introduced an additional ferment, and incited some minds to a cowardly abandonment of duty. But as far as the chief command was concerned, the Abbé Piotrowski is the first to strike a very different note. 'The great General'—he refers to Zamoyski—'has never met a more odious man'—the epithet is applied to Possevino—'and he means to drive him out with a stick as soon as peace is made.' Will my readers kindly imagine the appearance as a mediator, under the walls of Paris, while the Germans were besieging that city, of the representative of any of the European Powers? Possevino, being the Pope's emissary, seemed the natural ally of the Polish cause, the triumph of which, even in Livonia, involved the victory of Catholicism and of the Papacy. Yet the very essence of all mediation is that it should be used against the strongest, and the strongest in this case was most incontestably Poland. As a matter of fact, the siege of Pskov was destined to last till January 15, 1582, and by that time the most difficult period would be past, the terrible trials of the winter safely faced, the besiegers over the Christmas and New Year festivals without having yielded to the tempting summons of their own hearths, and the approach of spring would be bringing all the chances of success over to their side. Surrender was inevitable, and with that, Ivan's submission to the victor's demands. Even if Possevino hastened the issue of the conflict, all he could do was to make it rather less disadvantageous to the weakest side.
Ivan did not need the Jesuit to inform him as to the state of things at Pskov, and the condition of the Polish army, but no doubt the Legate's letters, which confirmed his other information, convinced him he had reckoned too surely on the result of his intervention. And very soon he changed his tone, and, 'recognising the power of Batory and his Swedish ally,' bowed his head once more. He was ready, now, to send Ambassadors to treat directly for peace, and he reduced his pretensions. On the twofold condition that the valley of the Viélikaïa and a point of territory running up to Louki should remain Russian, and that Sweden should not be included in the treaty with him, he was willing to give up the whole of Livonia. Part of this country was already in the hands of the Swedes, and, he thought, might ultimately become the object of victorious reprisals on his part, while the valley of the Viélikaïa would ensure him a sufficient line of defence on the north-west frontier, in rear of which he might lay the foundations of a not far distant revenge. A fresh effort in the direction of the sea-coast would be attended by more favourable circumstances.
Well conceived as this retreat was from the strategical point of view, a retreat it was, nevertheless. Some Russian historians, in their anxiety to spare the national pride, have gone so far as to take it to be quite the contrary. According to them, the Polish army, which was almost entirely destroyed by this time, was obliged to accept peace. The Russia of the present day can very well dispense with these travesties of the realities of history, the last and most pitiable refuge of the vanquished. In a war the result of which hangs on a siege, negotiations begun under the guns of the besieging army are simply capitulation in another form. There is only one way in which the besieged can bring the struggle to a victorious conclusion—that employed by Peter the Great under the walls of Poltava; and the valley of the Viélikaïa notwithstanding, the abandonment of Livonia threw the political, military, and social development of Russia back more than a hundred years.
Once Ivan gave up Livonia, the object of Batory's campaign was attained. The King, though he, too, might make reservations as to the future, could not refuse to treat, nor could he, Possevino being present, decline a mediator accepted by the Tsar. His opinion of this mediation is evidenced by the following fact. The Jesuit, on his own showing, had to deliver a regular assault before he could induce his Polish clients to inform him as to their intentions with regard to the peace in connection with which he himself was to act as arbiter.
Towards the middle of November, Iam-Zapolski, on the road to Novgorod, between Zavolotché and Porkhoy, was unanimously chosen as the meeting-place for the plenipotentiaries. Prince Eletski—who, as Zamoyski remarked, lacked nothing save a principality to make him a Prince—Roman Olferiev Verechtchaguine, and Sviazev, a secretary, were the somewhat shabby representatives of the Tsar of all the Russias. In the persons of Prince Zbaraski, Palatine of Braclaw, Prince Albert Radziwill, Marshal of the Court, and Secretary Haraburda, the King of Poland brought a more capable set of diplomatists into action. Batory's envoys were the bearers of carefully-prepared instructions. What did these embody? Possevino, who arrived at the same time, knew nothing about them, and wherefore, a message sent him by the King, just at this time, pretty plainly shows us. Distrust rings in every line of it. The Sovereign, not without bitterness, contrasts the devotion of Poland to the Holy See, which had stood firm for hundreds of years, with the Papal Legate's sudden zeal for the interests of a third party, which had no evident claim to such a favour.
The quibble which lay at the foundation of the Jesuit's mission inevitably doomed him to this disgrace. Thanks to it, even when he disappointed the hopes of one party, he was suspected by the other, and to the very end the part he played suffered from this fact. All through the Iam-Zapolski negotiations, which lasted from December 13, 1581, to January 15, 1582, while the Russians were accusing him of making common cause with the Poles, Zamoyski was to call him a sycophant and a traitor, cast doubt even on the sincerity of his religious zeal, and declare him 'more interested in political arrangements than in the hierarchy of heaven.'
III.—The Truce of Iam-Zapolski.
I will spare my readers the details of these negotiations, and refer them to Father Pierling's deep and learned study ('Russia and the Holy See,' ii., 115, etc.), in which I shall only have to notice a few errors of judgment quite explicable in the case of that eminent historian. Iam-Zapolski, an almost ruined village in a country which had been laid waste, could scarcely provide sufficient accommodation for the Polish envoys and their numerous suite. The Russians therefore sought shelter close by—at Kiverova-Gora—and as the mediator also established himself in a smoky cabin at the same place, the sittings of the Congress were practically removed to that locality. Under this humble roof, between a temporary altar and a brasero, the smoke of which, there being no other exit for it, had to find its way out of the windows, so that by the end of each sitting the negotiators looked like so many chimney-sweeps, the fate of two great Empires was discussed and settled.
Both sides, according to the tradition, which had grown into a sort of protocol between the two countries, began by formulating the most extravagant demands. This deceived Possevino at first, and for some considerable time. When he sounded the Muscovites, he became convinced that the surrender of certain Livonian towns by Poland was a sine quâ non if peace was to be established. He at once concentrated all his endeavours on this point, and thus played for one party, while he fancied he was serving the other. As a matter of fact, neither side gave him their full confidence, and he was really playing a game of blindman's-buff. It was not till the second half of December had been reached, indeed, that the Poles, after the inevitable preliminary hesitations and gropings, resolved on what their last word should be, and spoke it. Father Pierling is certainly wrong when he accuses Zamoyski of duplicity in this particular, as also when he concludes there was a disagreement between the King of Poland and his Chancellor, or between the Chancellor and the Polish plenipotentiaries. The learned historian seems to have depended, in this particular, on the Russian summary, frequently very incorrect, of the Polish documents published by Kojalowicz. Zamoyski was the King's own man, and from his twofold position as General-in-Chief and Chancellor we may argue that the persons he selected to treat were personally devoted to him. By the middle of December, a letter from Zamoyski, which embodied an absolute refusal to give up anything, of any sort, in Livonia, had reached Possevino's hands. A few days later, the Chancellor sent a courier to the Polish plenipotentiaries, authorizing them to give up three Livonian towns, which the Russians had previously claimed. The Jesuit was much astonished and sorely puzzled. But the incident was natural enough. Between the first date and the second, Zamoyski had changed his mind. His letter to Possevino was written on December 13, 1581, and he wrote to the King the same day and in the same sense—no concessions to be made in Livonia. But on December 16 bad news arrived. The Swedes were making steady progress in Livonia, and the arrival of a much-desired supply of powder had been delayed. The next morning the Chancellor decided to modify his last instructions; he suggested three fresh bases of agreement to his plenipotentiaries, and one of the three included the concession to which we have just referred. The trifling importance of the towns mentioned permitted the making of the sacrifice, to which Batory had agreed. Zamoyski adverts to the fact in his letter to the King, dated December 26, 1581. As regards this matter, therefore, there was no disagreement at all. As for the objections, and even reproaches, Father Pierling has imagined on the part of the Polish plenipotentiaries, the modern historian has suffered from the misunderstanding to which the mediator of the year 1581 likewise fell a victim. The Chancellor certainly ought to have kept Possevino informed, but the general watchword among the Poles was to keep the arbiter, whom they endured out of respect for the Pope, but whom they would far rather have done without, at a distance. Further, Zbaraski and Radziwill thought it wise to make more difficulties than their superior had made. They considered his concessions too liberal, declared they would not act on his letter until they had fresh orders, and wrote him—the letter, dated December 21, is still in existence—that 'it was only to deceive the Legate.' The proceeding was not altogether correct, but the three Livonian towns were not to be given up except in the very last resort, and only if the two other schemes utterly failed. Thus the whole thing was a diplomatic secret, and to have confided it to Possevino would, in the eyes of the Polish negotiators, have been to make it over to the Muscovites. This was Zamoyski's own view of, the matter, for, in a letter dated December 27, he expressed his approbation of his subordinates' conduct; and though his correspondence with Batory contains most uncomplimentary references to 'the good shepherd of the Muscovites, who is striving to turn wolves into sheep,' he had no need to advise the King, as Father Pierling has imagined him to have done, not to let the Legate into the secrets of the negotiations then being carried on—such advice would have been quite superfluous (Kojalowicz's 'Collections,' 1867, p. 396. etc.).
But the negotiations still threatened to drag on. The Russian plenipotentiaries were in no hurry at all. They found their rustic accommodation less trying than the Poles did; they knew better how to obtain the necessary supplies, and, with the ingeniousness of their race, they turned the position to account, transformed their camp into a fair-ground, and carried on a profitable trade in the intervals of the sittings. They still hoped, too, that the severity of the winter season would make their opponents more tractable. Zamoyski set about undeceiving them, and Polish swords were in the end to do more to overcome the final resistance than Possevino's eloquent tongue.
The General-in-Chief, who exhausted every means in his endeavour to worst the heroic defenders of Pskov, hit on some rather blameworthy devices. The story of a certain infernal machine introduced into the town is a somewhat obscure one. Zamoyski is said to have permitted the construction of a box filled with powder and projectiles, which a Russian prisoner undertook to deliver to Chouïski. In connection with this incident the Polish historians mention a violation of the law of nations, by which the besieged had fired on a flag of truce, and also to a trap into which Chouïski tempted Zamoyski by challenging him to single combat. The excuse is insufficient, and the provocation alluded to seems to have been given at a period subsequent to that at which the infernal machine, which indeed did no damage whatever, was sent into the town. The General-in-Chief, whose idea on this occasion was certainly a very bad one, was better inspired shortly afterwards. He resorted, on January 4, 1582, to a more legitimate trick, pretended to relax his guard, succeeded in tempting the garrison into a general sortie, and gave it a most terrible reception. In vain did he write the Polish plenipotentiaries, soon afterwards, that his army could not hold out for more than another week, and that they must make a speedy end of the business. He had just given clear proof to the contrary, and the Muscovite plenipotentiaries were not deceived. When Ivan heard the news, he sent them instructions of the most conciliatory nature, which included the total cession of Livonia, and any further difficulties they made solely concerned questions of detail.
Possevino raised one by his obstinate endeavour to have Sweden, which desired neither mediation nor peace, brought into the treaty. He was obliged to relinquish all hope of satisfaction on this point, but the Swedish conquests in Livonia were another source of complication. The Muscovites pointed out, not unfairly, that they could not be asked to give up places which had passed out of their possession. After a great deal of further discussion, the Poles agreed to reserve their rights with regard to the third belligerent party, and it was settled that a detailed list of the places given up by the Russians should be prepared. On the north-western frontier of the country a system of partition was resorted to—Viélije, which stood on the left bank of the Dvina, and belonged to the group of towns that were to pass under Polish rule, was handed over to that country; but Siebiéje, the outpost of the Muscovite provinces at the entrance to the valley of the Viélikaïa, was restored to its former owners. The question of titles remained. Ivan was not satisfied with being described in the text of the treaty as Tsar; he was anxious to continue the nominal Sovereign of Livonia, at all events. There is no sense in giving with one hand and taking back with the other, said the Poles, and what did this new title of Tsar mean? Tsar, after the fashion of the ancient Tartar Sovereigns of Kazan and Astrakan, was too small a thing for the master of Moscow, and if the word Tsar was to be translated into Cæsar, it was too much. The real Cæsar, the only one recognised by modern Europe, the Emperor, might fairly object. This last quarrel was an old one, as we know, and Zamoyski attached no importance to it. He spoke, indeed, in this connection, of a facetious nobleman of Warsaw, who had dubbed himself 'King of Zakharansk,' without raising anything beyond a laugh. The two parties could always fall back on the expedient, already so frequently employed, of drawing up double copies of the same treaty. There was no real difficulty in the matter, but Possevino, in his ignorance of precedents, made a mountain out of the molehill. Setting himself to rectify the historical facts on which the Russian plenipotentiaries based their claim, he strove to convince them that the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius, who had both died five centuries previously, could not have conferred the Imperial title on the great Kniaz Vladimir, took good care to hint that Rome was the fountain-head of all such honours, and reminded them that Charlemagne had been crowned by one of Gregory XIII.'s predecessors. A great deal of time was lost before the usual compromise was arrived at. And even then the Jesuit himself raised a fresh and final subject of debate.
Though the Poles had nothing to do with it—Father Pierling has certainly been completely misled, probably by a mistranslation, as to this matter—the Legate claimed that his signature should be appended to the treaty, or at all events that it should contain some mention of his share in it. The Russian envoys, who had received no instructions to this effect, absolutely refused to agree to his request. The Jesuit's patience was exhausted, and he lost his temper thoroughly. To conceal the real cause of his wrath, he fell back on a trick in the drawing up of the treaty, whereby Eletski and Olfériev desired, contrary to the principle adopted, to include Riga and Courland amongst the towns and territories ceded by the Tsar, thinking they would thus create a future title for their master. Whereupon the mediator threatened to break off everything. 'You have come here to steal, not to treat!' he shouted to the Muscovites. 'Be off! Away with you!' The plenipotentiaries did not move a muscle, and the Legate grew still angrier. Olfériev had the manuscript of the treaty in his hand. Possevino snatched it from him, threw it out of the window, and, taking hold of the astounded diplomatist by the buttons of his pelisse, shook him roughly, pushed him outside the door, and thrust his companions out after him.
His will carried the day, and on January 15, 1582, the signatures were duly exchanged. Not without some help on Possevino's part, the advantage, from the purely diplomatic point of view, lay with the Russians. Their final position was very much that they had taken. up at the opening of the Congress, and they only surrendered what the Tsar himself had sacrificed some three months previously: The sacrifice was a heavy one, nevertheless. After twenty years of a struggle which had apparently been crowned with success, Russia was once more cut off from Europe and the Baltic. Yet a twofold result, of which the country may scarcely have been aware, had been gained in that very country of Livonia, possession of which she was forced to relinquish for a time. The Teutonic order of knighthood was extinct, and that meant the destruction of the German garrison in the province. And a conflict between Poland and Sweden had been prepared—a storm-laden future—in the course of which the two countries, wearing out their own strength in a fierce struggle, were to ensure their common foe a double and most profitable revenge.
The Russian occupation of Livonia, shortlived as it had been, had left a durable mark on the Russian nation, and strongly influenced its ultimate development, by introducing a number of foreign elements into the country, which ultimately incorporated and absorbed them—the nucleus of that German colony destined to play so important a part in the Empire of the Tsars, and the civilizing influence of which cannot be denied.
After all. what had just been signed was not a peace—it was only a ten years' truce. According to precedent, certain disputed points which had been kept out of the discussion—such as the theoretical claim to the disputed possession of all the Russo-Lithuanian countries—prevented any final agreement. When the victors occupied the town and province of Derpt, now made over to Poland, they were struck by the proofs left by their beaten foes of a power—a gift of organization and a military superiority, at all events—which would have been turned to better account, no doubt, in the hands of such a genius as Batory. 'We were all astonished,' writes the Abbé Piotrowski, 'to find in every fort a quantity of guns and an amount of powder and ball such as we should not have been able to get together in the whole of our country.' And he adds: 'We have won something like a little kingdom; I doubt whether we shall know what to do with it!' In spite of the fault-finding quality so constantly apparent in the Abbé's diary, these impressions of his reproduce a certain amount of truth, the consequences of which were to be evidenced by history.
Latin inscriptions on the restored walls of the castle of Riga and on the doorway of the church at Wenden thus expressed the meaning of the event which was taking place.
'Devicto Moscho . . . .
Prisca religio Rigam renovato vigere
Cæperat in templo. …
And again :
'Hæresis et Moschi postquam devicta potestas
Livonidum primus pastor ovile rego.'
All this was a proof, in the eyes of the Livonians, that Batory's triumph was above all things the triumph of Catholicism and of the Jesuits, who came close on the victor's heels, wherever he went. The new Polish Government was to feel the consequences of this conviction.
As far as Possevino was concerned, the important matter was the form the treaty took. It openly asserted the Pope's authority, 'so that everything appeared to have been carried out in his name.' Thus the Legate boasted in his letters to the Cardinal of Como, and, in spite of his disagreement with the Muscovite envoys, he was eager to pursue the advantage he had gained at the Kremlin itself. To put forward the anti-Ottoman league once more, seeing it would serve as a pretext for the intervention of the Holy See; to open the question of the reunion of the two Churches, seeing it had been agreed that should be discussed when peace had been arranged, but, above all, without indulging in any great illusion as to the success of these two items in his programme; to carry on his mediatorial function; to intervene as to the difficulties arising out of the treaty of Iam-Zapolski; to make a fresh attempt to take Swedish affairs in hand; and in every case to appear, or make the Pope appear, the final arbiter accepted by both sides—such, seemingly, was the Jesuit's plan of action. Circumstances so fell out that this plan agreed fairly well with the state of mind then dominant at Moscow. Disappointed as the Tsar was with the power of the Pope's authority, he might still make use of it to mask the humiliation of his defeat to some extent; and it was well, for the sake of appearances, that the Pope's emissary should seem to have transacted the Tsar's business, and should continue to employ himself in the same fashion. Wherefore Possevino was to be made welcome at the Court of Ivan the Terrible.
IV.—Possevino at Moscow.
The historical terms of the religious problem, the solution of which was to be the ostensible and principal object of this journey, are well known. The separation of the two Churches, prepared as early as in the seventh century by John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople, who had assumed the title of 'Bishop Universal,' and then by the conciliable called in Trullo, or Quinisext (690), which authorized the marriage of priests, had been accomplished in the course of the ninth century. At that moment the Greek Church, during and after her war with the iconoclasts, reached the height of her glory and external development, gave birth to a pleiad of doctors, saints, and poets, and was called to the great work of evangelizing the Slav races, Photius, who carried the principle laid down by his predecessors, that the fall of the Roman Empire had involved the ruin of the spiritual sovereignty connected with it, to its extreme point, converted the schism into an actual fact. The union of the two Churches, re-established afterwards for a very short time, and in the most precarious manner, was finally severed by Michael Cerularius in 1054. Attempts to restore it were numerous, from the thirteenth century onwards. The Council of Florence (1439) only renewed the endeavour made at the Council of Lyons (1274). In 1518, Poland, contrary to her usual policy, seems to have favoured a fresh attempt (Fiedler, Ein Versuch der Vereinigung ... Sitzungsberichte der K.K. Akademie in Wien, vol. xl., 1862). But the idea of a third Rome, already well rooted and constantly strengthening at Moscow, was an unexpected obstacle to all such undertakings. In vain did a physician in attendance on the Grand Duke Vassili, one Nicholas Boulew, or Lueo, commonly called Niémtchine, carry on an active campaign in support of union at the Sovereign's own Court, and hold controversy on the subject with Maximus the Greek and Filofeï, a monk of Pskov. The only proselytes he is known to have won were a boïar named Feodor Karpov, and one prior whose name has not been handed down to us.
The Pontificate of Gregory XIII. did not appear likely to win much more success for the claims of the Roman Church. Though the Pope's skilful efforts had succeeded in making the King of Spain arm against the heretic Queen of England, and in supporting the struggle for restoration carried on by the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach—the Guises of Germany—they could not wipe out the stigma laid on the Catholic religion, in the eyes of the whole world, by Alva's rule in the Low Countries, by St. Bartholomew, by the horrors of the Inquisition, and, above all, by those scandals within the Papacy itself, which had been the direct cause of the Reform. It was to the political, and not to the religious, power in Rome that Ivan had first addressed himself through his Ambassador, and it was the representative of this same secular power, the diplomat, not the apostle, whom he prepared himself to welcome in Possevino's person.
The Jesuit reached Moscow on February 14, 1582. He found the Court in mourning, and the Tsar himself plunged into deep sorrow, by a tragic event, which, if the question they had to discuss had been one of moral interest only, should in itself have sufficed to exclude any possible communion of thought or feeling between the priest and his royal host. The Tsar, in a fit of rage, had just killed his own son. I shall have to return to this gloomy episode. But there was no question of moral interests here! The anti-Ottoman league itself was very soon to be put aside. Ivan, to enable him to hold his own against Batory, had been obliged to make a truce with the Khan of the Crimea; he now avowed himself ready to break it, and take up arms against the Turk, but not until the Pope had made arrangements with the Holy Empire, France, Spain, Venice, England, Denmark, and Sweden, and requested all these powers to send embassies to Moscow, to concert a final arrangement! The Tsar was evidently joking, though he did offer to send an important Ambassador of his own to Rome, instead of a mere courier. He was anxious to preserve the useful friendship he had made.
The agreement with Sweden fell through likewise. It was not for the sake of treating with King John that the Tsar had yielded up Livonia to Batory. Gently but firmly Ivan cleared the ground, limiting Possevino's good offices to the only matters still to be settled with Poland—frontier delimitations and exchanges of prisoners. At the same time, fond as he was of a controversy, he endeavoured to slip out of any discussion of a religious nature. He constantly affirmed that such a debate might become offensive to the Pope. When, on February 21, in the course of an audience devoted to secular interests, Possevino requested a private conversation to discuss 'the great business,' the Tsar devised another excuse. He was quite incompetent, personally, to carry on a controversy of this kind. But when the Jesuit pressed him, and begged to be allowed to communicate his views in writing, Ivan probably concluded he had better end the matter. And his love of polemics may have overcome his other objections.
By a literary artifice which has no doubt deceived himself, Father Pierling has imagined the existence of a dialogue prepared beforehand, as in Rokita's case, and graced with appropriate surroundings. The very dates and words quoted by the learned historian prove that nothing of the kind can have occurred. It was quite unexpectedly—this detail is somewhat important—at this very sitting, devoted, in the first place, to quite different subjects, and in the absence of those representatives of the clergy whose presence would have been indispensable if the discussion was to be of a really serious character, that the Tsar made up his mind to settle the question, or, rather, to cut short the importunities in connection with it, which were a constant worry to him. He did not fail, indeed, to lay stress on the uselessness of a controversy carried on under such circumstances. But, after all, as the Jesuit seemed so anxious about it, he should have an immediate explanation ('Diplomatic Documents,' 1851–1871, x. 247, etc.).
Possevino forthwith laid himself out to offer the most tempting arguments, with the most cunning precautions as to the language he employed. This was no question of a break with the Greek Church, the ancient and venerable Church of St. Athanasius, St. Chrysostom, and St. Basil, to which the Church of Rome felt herself bound by indissoluble ties, but that of restoring a unity which had only been disturbed by the abandonment of certain ancient traditions. It was a work of restoration, which would also inevitably lead to the creation of a new Empire of the East, whereof the Tsar, crowned by the Pope, like a second Charlemagne, might be the head. This proved the Jesuit little knew the formidable antagonist with whom he had to deal. Ivan, with his self-possession, his quickness, and his wealth of fantastic erudition, made short work of the brilliant display on which the Roman orator had reckoned to dazzle him. 'What was this talk of Byzantium and the Greeks? The Greek religion bore that name because King David, long before the birth of Christ, had foretold that Ethiopia should enjoy the first-fruits of the Divine mercy; now Ethiopia was Byzantium! But he, Ivan, cared neither for the Greeks nor for Byzantium! His religion was not that of the Greeks, but that of Christ—the only true religion! And what was this talk, again, of a traditional union with people who shaved their beards off, contrary to every tradition?'
Possevino fancied he had found a crushing answer: Gregory XIII.'s chin was adorned with a magnificent beard.
'And thou thyself?' rejoined the Tsar, pointing to the Legate's shaven countenance.
According to the record of the sitting drawn up at Moscow, Possevino, whose own report is dumb as to this incident, ascribed his hairless condition to a physical cause: he did not cut his beard, and neither did he shave. But already Ivan was growing hot over the game, and, carried away by his natural temperament, he was to deliver yet harder blows, and crush his adversary altogether. Very cunningly he turned the discussion to a question where all the advantage would be on his side, and which, indeed, was the crux of the disagreements between East and West—that of the Pope’s primacy. The Popes of the earlier centuries—Clement, Sylvester, and so forth—had always been revered as saints by the Muscovite Church. But their successors, who had cast off the poverty and austerity of the primitive Christians; who lived in a pomp which had astonished Chévriguine; who had mounted a throne, and wore the holy symbol of the Cross upon their boots; who, forgetting every feeling of decency, publicly indulged in the most shame debauchery—this new order of Pontiffs must be considered to have fallen from their ancient dignity! In vain did Possevino make signals of distress and strive to check the flood of invective. He had had his warning. If the dispute turned out ill, now, for his master and himself, so much the worse for them! Like all orators of his kidney, Ivan lost control of his own tongue, and when the Jesuit tried to put in a timid apology, the Tsar cried out, 'Your Roman Pontiff is not a shepherd at all: he is a wolf!'
'If the Pope is a wolf, I have nothing more to say!'
This reply, and the outrage which called it forth, both of them reproduced in the Russian version, do not appear in Possevino's published narrative (Moscovia). But the original manuscript, it would appear, does mention the incident (Pierling, as above, ii. 169). According to the Russian version, it ended the discussion, and Ivan dismissed the Jesuit with more kindly words, and immediately afterwards sent him dishes from his own table. But Possevino asserts that the dispute went on, and even grew more lively, so much so that the Tsar at one moment came very near striking his opponent with the terrible spear of which we have already heard, while the Russians present talked of ducking the Jesuit in the water.
In any case, the parties separated on tolerably cool terms, and a few days later, on February 23, when Possevino received another summons to the Palace, he betrayed no desire to re-open the conversation. This time the Tsar, on his own initiative, and as though to make up somewhat for his previous sharpness, suggested he should send him a memorandum dealing with the differences between the two Churches. But the Jesuit had convinced himself, no doubt, that this would be mere waste of time. He contented himself with offering the Sovereign a Latin copy of Gennadius' book on the Council of Florence, and fancied he had got rid of this far too dangerous subject. But he was reckoning without the great despot's capricious and masterful nature. A surprise was in store for him.
As to this final episode, again, the witnesses are at variance. Possevino, according to the Russian version, expressed a wish to see one of the churches in the capital, and the Tsar suggested his accompanying him to a service to be performed for his special benefit with all the pomp of the Orthodox rite. Whereupon the Jesuit, who had eagerly accepted the invitation, took it into his head to enter the precincts of the church before the Sovereign had arrived. A dispute ensued, and, to cut the matter short, the Tsar sent orders that the Legate was to be brought back to the Palace, there to continue the discussion of the political business still to be settled. The invitation, Possevino declares, was quite unexpected, and he simply declined it, and slipped away when the boïars tried to drag him towards the church. Most likely there is an equal amount of truth and invention in both stories. The Jesuit, in all probability, did betray a very natural curiosity, and also most probably refused to take part in a function which would certainly have compromised him. The one undoubted fact, amidst all the contradictions and obscurity which still hang round this chapter of history, is that the attempt to which Rome thought fit to sacrifice the interests of her Polish adherents utterly failed. On May 11, 1582, Possevino took farewell of the Tsar, and Ivan's Ambassador, Iakov Molvianinov, who was sent with him to Rome, went there empty-handed, save for civil speeches and sable skins. The Pope's representative had made an appearance in the agreement brought about between Russia and Poland, and might even claim to have played a leading part therein; but the work he had done, being purely secular, and in opposition, as I have shown, to those real interests which the Holy See should have striven to protect, was threatened, like all the rest, with early and complete extinction.
V.—The Day after the Truce.
Very soon—and this time Rome never even dreamt of any interference—the relations between the two countries were to culminate in a fresh and most violent rupture. The difficulties connected with the execution of the treaty of Iam-Zapolski were not very important in themselves, and on both sides the inclination was to solve them in the broadest and most conciliatory spirit. There was a dispute over the possession of a small fort in the province of Viélije, at the mouth of the Méja, on a very important line of river communication between Smolensk and Louki. When the Palatine of Witebsk, Paç, seized this place in a somewhat high-handed fashion, Ivan ordered his envoy to give up the whole province rather than risk any reopening of hostilities, and Batory, for his part, had the fort destroyed. But though both parties were bent, for the present, on avoiding any immediate conflict, we know that Ivan meditated a fresh appeal to arms, at a more or less distant period, and was soliciting England's help for the purpose. And the whole history of the closing years of Batory's reign proves that he himself looked on the truce of 1582 as a mere halt on that victorious march whereby, his turbulent Poles once thoroughly tamed and subjugated, he hoped to lead his armies on triumphant, far beyond Pskov. I have already made my readers aware of this vaster military undertaking meditated by the King, supported by the assistance. swiftly obtained, of Rome, and the hoped-for help of Florence and Venice, and which he began to put into execution in the course of the years next following. Under the charm of the great warrior's bold spirit, Gregory XIII.'s successor, Sixtus V., was to turn his back on fancies, and enter the sphere of practical realities, themselves splendid enough. The anti-Turkish league, in which Ivan proposed to wed Elizabeth with the Emperor, never advanced beyond the condition of a theme for the Tsar's bitter jests. But Batory, having proved the road from Moscow to Constantinople ran through Warsaw, was resolved, now, to pass through Moscow on his own way to Constantinople, and to make others furnish him with the means of doing it. In former conversations with Possevino at Wilna he had outstripped Peter the Great, and mentioned Azov as the indispensable base of any decisive action against the Ottoman power. To obtain a hold on Azov he must have a Moscow won over to the common cause behind him—and this had just proved impossible; or else a Moscow conquered—and this Batory was prepared to do.
That the plan was feasible was to be proved by Dmitri's easy triumph, and the victorious though useless campaigns of his Polish protectors under Sigismund III., and only the premature death of the victor of Polotsk, in 1586, wiped out a project so worthy of his powers. Ivan himself was not to live long enough to feel the direct threat it involved. But we may be quite sure he had an alarming inkling of it. The phantom thus rising up before him certainly darkened the Sovereign's closing days, and affected his last decisions. Even before the King of Poland, having resolved to relinquish his views on Hungary and end the consideration he had hitherto shown the Porte, fully revealed his idea to the Papal Nuncio Bolognetti, in a conversation lasting four hours (1584) (Boratynski, 'Stephen Batory and his Plans for a League against Turkey,' Reports of the Cracow Academy, May, 1902), Ivan, moved by his sense of approaching peril, had made up his mind to treat with the Swedes. After appealing to England, he appealed once more, and as vainly, to Germany. The Empire was wrapped up in its religious quarrels, and the Emperor in his artistic and scientific studies. By a truce made in August, 1583, all the Russian towns taken by the Swedes—Iam, Ivangorod, and Koporié—were made over to them altogether. And after this, as Vienna still turned him a deaf ear, Ivan fell back again on London, clinging to this last plank with the gestures of a drowning man.
In the hour of his supreme effort, death overtook him. But Fortune, who does not love old men, and who had steadily failed her former favourite, showed greater kindness, at that very moment, to the interests of the Empire he was leaving behind him. Batory was not to outlive his adversary long, and at the other end of the huge dominions, scarce nibbled at, as yet, by Poland, an unforeseen and mighty compensation for the loss of Polotsk and Livonia was beginning to appear. Siberia, distant, mysterious, far extending, was opening her arms, not, as has been so generally supposed, to the bold attack of a handful of Cossack raiders, but to the long and patient efforts of a peaceful army of toiling colonists.