History, #107


  107.  Nicholas I, Czar of Russia (1796-1855).  Autograph letter, signed, to Count Alexander Benckendorff (with envelope). Peterhof, June 19, 1837. -- RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Benckendorff Family Papers (See fuller description below.)
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Nicholas the First was the personification of classic autocracy. His reactionary policies earned him the title "The emperor, who froze Russia for 30 years." Nicholas was faced early in his reign with an uprising in the army, the Decembrist revolt, which he dealt with swiftly and decidedly, thus establishing his reputation as a powerful leader. In this letter to a close friend, Count Alexander Khristoforovich Benckendorff (1782-1844), he discusses his architectural projects in Peterhof (his estate near St. Petersburg) as well as his observations on a situation in England in the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria.