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THE MARRIAGE OF THE GRAND DUCHESS
Olga of Russia.
In the summer of 1846, I visited Russia for the third timehaving previously extended my travels in the North of Europe to that country in the summer of 1837, and again in the autumn of 1840. And most certainly if the object of my third visit had been to see the splendors of the Court of the modern Scythia, I could not have chosen a more opportune occasion. But this was far from being the case. I went for the double purpose of endeavoring to give another impulse to the Temperance movement, and of making arrangements for the employment of colporteurs to distribute the Sacred Scriptures and religious Tracts* at the great fairs, which are held at more than twenty places annually in that vast Empire.
On this tour I was accompanied by the Rev. Dr. B******, of Newark, N. J., the Rev. Mr. R****, of the same State, and Mr. B****, a young advocate, of the city of New York.
On our way through Denmark and Sweden, we had heard that the marriage of the Grand Duchess Olga, the second daughter of the Emperor, to the Crown Prince of Wurtemburg, was to take place sometime in July ; probably, it was said, about the middle of it. But inasmuch as it was our intention to remain only a week in St. Petersburg, and then go down to Moscow—whence it was our purpose to prosecute our journey to Odessa and Constantinople—we hoped to be far away from the scene of these festivities before the Russian July would commence; for the old style still rules the Russian calendar.
And this we might well expect to be able to do, inasmuch as we reached St. Petersburg on the 23d of June, according to the
* These Tracts are such as the Censorship of Russia allow and approve of. More than one hundred and fifty of such publications have been issued at St. Petersburg, with the sanction of the government.
new style. I had not, in reality, a great deal to do in the Northern Capital of the Empire. What concerned the more appropriate object of my visit, could have been accomplished in two or three days. And as to sight-seeing, there was certainly nothing for me to do; for the Emperor, the Empress, and other persons who have the direction of those institutions which possess the greatest interest for me, had given orders that they should be thrown open to me on my previous visits. During the weeks which I had spent in that city and in Moscow in 1837 and 1840, I had positively seen every thing which I had any desire whatever to see. And let me say, in passing, that these cities contain a great deal to interest an intelligent traveler.
But the ways of Providence are inscrutable. Two days had scarcely elapsed, after our arrival, before I was violently attacked by inflammatory rheumatism, which confined me to my bed for almost a fortnight, and then left me in no suitable state for traveling. During the second day of that period of suffering, fearing that I might not have an opportunity of speaking to the Emperor on the chief object of my visit in a private audience—for I foresaw that even if the termination of the malady should be the most speedy that could be reasonably expected, the exciting and busy time upon which the Court was entering would be highly unfavorable to my having such an audience, which in other circumstances would not have been difficult-I dictated a memorial in French, in which I set forth my views of what might be further done to advance the cause of Temperance in Russia. This I did at the suggestion of Count Kisseleff, Minister of the Emperor for the Public Domains, who kindly engaged to lay it before his Imperial Majesty-a promise which he speedily performed.
This done, and the other object of my visit having been attained, I had nothing to do but to try to get well, and then set off for Poland and Germany-for my illness had compelled me to renounce the prospect of the long and fatiguing journey through the Southern part of the Empire. Whilst waiting to be able to carry into effect this purpose, and as soon as I was able to leave my
bed and go about a little, I concluded to make a visit to Peterhoff, a small city, or large town rather, on the south side of the Gulf of Finland, some sixteen miles below St. Petersburg, where there is an Imperial palace, erected, I believe, in the time of the Empress
Elizabeth, and where, too, there is a more humble one, built by Peter the Great. At this place the Court was then staying; and here the marriage of the Grand Duchess was to take place.
This visit I wished to make in order to see the Prince and Princess of Oldenburg, * nephew and niece of the Emperor-his Imperial Highness having, three or four days after my arrival in St. Petersburg, kindly invited me to make him a visit at his beautiful country-residence, in the immediate vicinity of Peterhoffan invitation which I was hitherto unable, for reasons just stated, to accept.
As soon as the state of my health permitted, I made the proposed visit, and was most kindly received by the Prince and Princess, who invited me to return on the succeeding Monday, and spend a few days with them, inasmuch as I was manifestly unfit to prosecute my journey. This invitation I accepted with pleasure, for it would give me a fine opportunity of seeing a good deal of two most excellent persons, of the highest rank, with their lovely little children, and their admirably appointed establishment. And here I would say, in passing, that it would be difficult to find in any country a more interesting couple than the Prince and Princess of Oldenburg. They are both still young; were born in the highest circles of the nobility of Russia and Germany, and have inherited wealth and rank and title, which give them commanding influence. In addition to all, and above all, they are persons of exalted character, and reputation for virtue, for knowledgefor every thing which can adorn and bless human society. They are both descended from a long line of Protestant ancestors, whose faith they inherit and profess. The Prince is at the head of several important institutions of beneficence. He has charge, among other things, of a lyceum, in which nearly three hundred young men and boys are receiving an education, chiefly with a view to commercial pursuits. He is the founder of a law school, which has one hundred and fifty or two hundred students, the first institution of the sort, I believe, ever established in Russia, and greatly needed. He takes much interest in farming, and in
* The Prince is a son of one of the sisters of the Emperor, and the Princess is a sister of the reigning Duke of Nassau. They are related to almost all the Sovereigns in Europe, as they assured me.
all attempts to improve the breeds of horses, cattle, etc., in that great realm. He maintains Protestant worship in his palace, for the sake of his family and servants, who are almost all, if not all, Germans, from the Protestant Duchy of Oldenburg and other parts of Germany. He is certainly a remarkable man-so deeply interested in this country, as a field in which so much good may, with proper efforts, be done ; simple and unaffected in his manners, and withal so young. What an example to the Russian nobles ! Would to God that they all had a heart to follow it ! But this they have not, and exactly here Russia labors. Her numerous nobility, with few exceptions, as it seems to me, lack patriotism-a heart-felt interest in every thing which concerns the true welfare of the country.
The Princess is a charming woman, of sincere piety and benevolence, and beloved by all who know her. She, too, is at the head of one or more establishments of beneficence in St. Petersburg, and takes a great interest in them; not only visiting them frequently, but attending the meetings of business, and taking an active part in them. She is blessed with several interesting chil. dren. Both she and her husband have several times visited England, in their travels in Western Europe, and greatly admire many things in that country. The nurse as well as the governess of their children, at the time of iny visit, were excellent English wo
I think that I can say with truth that I have never seen another establishment in which so many persons of principle and good conduct are employed as servants.
It will be readily apprehended that I passed the few days which I spent at Peterhoff in a very agreeable manner, although I was still too unwell to be able to take much part in what was going on around me.
Immediately upon my arrival, on my second visit to Peterhoff, the Princess informed me that the Emperor and Empress had been so good as to send word that it was their pleasure that I should be present at the marriage of the Grand Duchess, which was to take place that day (the first of July, according to the old style, but the thirteenth according to the new) at noon. This was an honor wholly unexpected by me; for, owing to my illness, I had not been presented at the Court since my arrival ; though I had been on a former occasion. The number of persons, too, who