The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Dashkoff, Yekaterina Romanovna
DASHKOFF, Yekaterina Romanovna, a Russian princess, born in 1744, died near Moscow, Jan. 4, 1810. She was the third daughter of Count Roman Vorontzoff, received a literary education at the house of her uncle the grand chancellor, and early exhibited an independent and energetic spirit. When hardly past childhood she was introduced into the court, and became attached to the person of the future empress Catharine II. In her 16th year she married Prince Dashkoff, with whom she lived for some time in Moscow, and then returned to the court, where her sister Elizabeth had become the favorite of the new emperor, Peter III. Jealous lest her sister should ascend the throne, and disgusted with the despotism and disorders of the court, she became at the age of 18 the soul of a conspiracy which deprived Peter of his throne and life, and made his German wife the autocrat of Russia. The means she employed to strengthen this conspiracy were often questionable; and at the execution, dressed in male costume and mounted on horseback, she commanded a body of soldiers. But the scanty rewards the empress bestowed upon her by no means answered the expectations of the princess; her request to be appointed colonel of the imperial guard was refused, and her independence of character and bluntness of manners soon deprived her of the imperial friendship. Retired from court, she devoted herself to study and the society of scholars; and after the death of her husband she travelled through the west of Europe. On her return to St. Petersburg in 1782, she met with a more favorable disposition on the part of the empress, who appointed her to the presidency of the academy of sciences, and in 1784 to that of the new Russian academy. She took an active part in the elaboration of the great Russian dictionary, which was completed according to her plan. She also wrote plays and contributions in prose and verse for periodicals, and edited a monthly magazine. After the death of Catharine (1796), she was commanded by Paul to retire to a poor village in the government of Novgorod, “where she could meditate on the events of 1762.” The intercession of her friends finally released her from this exile, and she spent the last years of her life on an estate near Moscow. The “Memoirs of the Princess Daschkaw, Lady of Honor to Catharine II., edited from the Originals by Mrs. Bradford” (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1840), were written from a manuscript of the princess which has been destroyed.