Polish and Russian Political History – Boris Godunov And The Pseudo-Demetriuses, 1584-1613

THE death of Ivan IV left Moscovy in much the same position as it had been on the death of his father : in both cases a Regency was necessary, but, in the present instance, the regency had to be permanent ; for Theodore, the eldest surviving son of Ivan by Anastasia Romanov, was scarce able to walk, or speak, or indeed do anything but smile unceasingly at the orb and sceptre placed in his hands on state occasions. Such a regency was necessarily the arena of a struggle for power amongst the principal patricians, who fell into two well-defined groups. First came the princely families of the Mstislayskies and the Golitsuins, collateral descendants of Rurik and Gedymin respectively, the prime dignitaries of the land, but without sufficient ability or influence to assert them-selves. Next after them came two Boyar families, both closely connected with the Tsarish family, the Romanovs and the Godunovs. The Romanovs were the kinsfolk of the young Tsar’s grandmother, and had eminently distinguished them-selves in the service of his father. Less pure was the source of the greatness of the Godunovs. Their leader, Boris Theodorovich, a handsome, stately man of great ability, had first won the confidence of Ivan by marrying one of the daughters of his infamous favourite Malyutka Skuratov. The marriage of Boris’ sister Irene with the Tsarevich Theodore had brought Godunov still nearer to the throne ; but, during the first two years of the new reign, the dominant personage at court was Nikita Romanov, the young Tsar’s uncle. Theodore I was crowned Tsar on May 31, 15 84. An attempt to supersede him by placing his young half-brother, Demetrius, the son of Tsaritsa Martha Nagaya, on the throne, was easily frustrated ; and the Tsarevich Demetrius, with his kinsfolk, was forthwith banished to his appanage at Uglich. In April 1586 died Nikita Romanov; and Boris Godunov, chiefly through the influence of his sister, Irene, stepped into his place. A combination of all the other Boyars and of the merchants of Moscow, now, thanks to the encouragement of Ivan IV, a power in the State, was immediately formed, to oust Godunov; but the Tsar’s relations supported him and he prevailed. In the following year, Godunov, suspecting a fresh conspiracy, struck down his most inveterate enemies, the Shuiskies ; and, at the same time, some of the leading Moscow merchants disappeared, no man knew whither. An attempt of the Metropolitan Dionysius to save the fallen Boyars, by an appeal to the Tsar, recoiled on his own head. He was banished to a distant monastery as a simple monk ; and Job, Archbishop of Rostov, a creature of Godunov’s, was consecrated Metropolitan in his stead. Henceforth Godunov was without rivals. He assumed the title of ” Great intimate Boyar” and ” Administrator of the Kingdoms of Kazan and Astrakhan,” gave foreign powers to understand that if they wanted anything in Moscovy they were to apply to him direct, and exchanged gifts with Sovereign Princes as if he were their equal. In short, the Administrator was now the actual ruler of Moscovy. His vast wealth was an additional guarantee of his stability. His annual income at this period could not have been much below £500,000 a year. He and his family out of their private fortunes could fully equip 100,000 men-at-arms in forty days.

The foreign policy of the Administrator was enlightened in so far as it endeavoured to draw Moscovy out of her isolation by cultivating the friendship of foreign powers, but cautious to cowardice in its endeavours to avoid war except under impossibly favourable conditions. The dread of Stephen Bâthory still paralysed Moscovite politics. At the beginning of the new reign, Stephen had demanded Great Novgorod, Pskov, Smolensk and Severia; but the Pans took care that his great designs came to nothing. They chafed and fretted beneath the curb of a strong King, openly declared to a Moscovite embassy, sent to Poland, in 1585, to obtain a prolongation of the truce, their preference for ” a gentle and pious Prince ” like the young Tsar, and rejoiced indecently at the unsatisfactory condition of Bâthory’s wounds, which promised to relieve them shortly of that troublesome hero. On Bâthory’s death, the candidature of Theodore for the vacant throne was seriously discussed in Lithuania, where the orthodox were all in his favour. But the Moscovite deputies who attended the election Diet did not bring sufficient money with them for bribing purposes; and, in any case, there were three insuperable obstacles to the election of a Moscovite, (I) the coronation at Cracow, (2) the precedence of the Polish royal title in the act of homage, and (3) the conversion to Catholicism. The Moscovites succeeded, however, in renewing the Polish truce, for fifteen years, with the new King Sigismund III, who, at the beginning of his reign, was too much harassed by domestic rebels to be dangerous to Moscovy.

With Sweden the new Moscovite government first concluded a truce for four years from December 1585, which, after an indecisive war, was converted into a definitive peace (May 18, 1595), Moscovy retaining Carelia but relinquishing Narva. By the same treaty, free trade was established between the two countries ; and the Swedes undertook to allow doctors, artificers and master-mechanics to pass through their territories into Moscovy.

With the other European powers Moscovy had still but little to do. Abroad she was generally regarded as simple and barbarous enough to be exploited, skilfully, by the shrewder and more pushing western nations. Thus, in 1594, the imperial envoy, Varkoch, induced Godunov to send to Prague a quantity of most precious pelts, valued at 400;000 rubles, the proceeds of which were ostensibly to be employed in hiring mercenaries for the grand league against the Turk, Moscovy getting nothing in return. In 1595, and again in 1597 Clement VIII sent the Slavonian Bishop, Komulei, to Moscow on a similar errand. In 1586, Queen Elizabeth, intent on obtaining the monopoly of the Russian trade for her subjects, addressed a very flattering letter to Godunov, through Richard Horsey, in which she called the Administrator ” our most dear and loving cousin.” Boris more than satisfied the expectations of his “dear cousin” by favouring .the English merchants at the expense of their competitors. They were permitted to have their own ” courts,” or dépôts, at Yaroslav, Vologda and Kholmogory, and were freed from the payment of the most usual tolls. In 1588, after Fletcher’s embassy, they were even allowed to go through Russia to Persia and Bokhara, while the merchants of other lands were stopped short a hundred miles eastwards of Moscow.

The Tatars, though no longer dangerous, still continued to be troublesome. In 1591 they came against Moscow, but were defeated at Tula, on which occasion all the Boyars concerned were extravagantly rewarded, Godunov receiving a mantle from the Tsar’s shoulders and the new title of Sluga1, which was explained to be higher than that of Boyar. In 15921 however, after a Tatar raid of unprecedented severity, the Khan was propitiated by rich gifts ; but the Moscovite government now refused to pay a regular tribute.

Contemporaries justly and gratefully acknowledge that the thirteen years of the reign of Theodore I was a period of peace and prosperity. Godunov was an able administrator, and, whenever his personal interests were unconcerned, loved to shew his care for the commonwealth and his hatred of evil doers. He had, moreover, diligent and astute coadjutors in the two dumnie dyaki, or clerks of the council, the brothers Shchelkalov. The most salient phenomenon of the reign was the encroachment of the Tsardom upon the steppe in every direction. The fresh territory thus acquired was defended by a series of blockhouses, or fortified settlements, which gradually restricted the area of the Tatar raids. In this way Kursk, Voronezh, Byelogorod, Saratov, Tsaritsuin, and, in Siberia, Tyumen, Chulkov and Tobolsk (1587), sprang into existence. In 1584 Archangel was built and surrounded by wooden walls. In 1589, Astrakhan and, in 1596, Smolensk were provided with stone Kremls or citadels. In 1586, the White Town was built round Moscow, forming a third line of circumvallation. The army at this time consisted of 80,000 men, including 12,000 stryeltsui, or musketeers, and 300 foreign mercenaries. The chief duties of the troops were garrison-service and ” bank-service,” that is, the assembling on the banks of the Oka to protect Moscow against Tatar raids.

It is in the reign of Theodore I that the Russian peasant was first bound to the soil. The vastness of the land and the paucity of its cultivators put the agricultural labourer at a premium. Every landed proprietor strove to get and keep as many peasants as possible ; and the larger and wealthier proprietors successfully tempted the peasants away from the smaller and poorer proprietors. But the State also suffered considerably from this transmigration. The very numerous class of smaller proprietors held their estates on military tenure. These Sluzhivuie lyudi, or serving people, as they were officially called, were obliged, in war time, on the first summons, to assemble in thé nearest camp, “with men, horses and equip-ment.” But, as they received no pay for their services and lived entirely on the produce of their estates, the want of adequate peasant labour meant the ruin of their estates and their own consequent inability to perform military service.

The same difficulty had already arisen in Poland where such enticing away of peasants was made a penal offence. In Moscovy the Government tried to meet the difficulty by binding the peasant to the soil. By the Ukase of 1597 it was decreed that fugitive peasants could be pursued and reclaimed within five years after their flight or abduction.

The most important ecclesiastical event of this period was the elevation of the metropolitan see of Moscow to the dignity of a Patriarchate. After the fall of Constantinople there was a general wish among the Moscovites for an autocephalous church of their own. Many even opined that unity with the enslaved oriental churches might be injurious to orthodoxy. This wish grew stronger still when the Jesuits began their propaganda in Lithuania, and reproached the orthodox with being spiritually the subjects of the Turkish Sultan, who regularly sold the Con stantinopolitan Patriarchate to the highest bidder. A separate Patriarchate would also be advantageous to Moscovy politically by giving her the preeminence over the more ancient orthodox metropolitan see of Kiev, then under Poland. The wish was gratified when Jeremiah, Patriarch of Constantinople, visited Moscow, partly to collect alms, partly to visit the orthodox churches of the North. After several interviews with Godunov and the Shchelkalovs, he proposed to transfer the Constantinople Patriarchate bodily to Moscow. But his ignorance of Russian, the usefulness of the Metropolitan Job to Godunov—to say nothing of the strong patriotic sentiments of the Moscovites, who disliked the supersession of their own arch-pastor by a foreigner—were so many insuperable objections to this proposal. After six months of discussion and hesitation, Jeremiah consecrated Job first Patriarch of Moscow (Jan. 26, 1589), though it was not till June 1591 that the Metropolitan of Tirnova brought to Moscow the confirmatory epistle from Constantinople.

The century was now running out ; and with it disappeared the ancient dynasty of the Ruriks. Godunov had raised himself to power on the ruins of the more illustrious but less intelligent princely families. He had maintained his supremacy by making himself the mouth-piece and the right-hand of the Tsar fainéant; but the future was uncertain, and the higher he rose the more terrible was the prospect of a fall. Theodore had no son through whom Godunov might continue to rule ; and the rightful heir to the throne was the child Demetrius, Theodore’s half-brother, from whom, or, rather, from whose relatives, Godunov had nothing good to expect. It is intelligible with what feelings the Nagais would regard the author of their long disgrace ; and they took no pains to conceal their resentment. Not only Godunov but all who owed their advancement to him, and they were many, were equally apprehensive of a future which would bring Demetrius to the throne. Suddenly, in May 1591, the tidings reached Moscow that the young Demetrius was no more. The affair is still somewhat of a mystery, but, according to the contemporary lyetopis (and the best critics agree that there is no valid reason for doubting its simple and straightforward testimony), what actually happened was this. After an unsuccessful attempt to poison the lad, Godunov’s emissaries were sent to Uglich to take over the government of the town. The Tsaritsa Martha, suspecting their motives, kept strict watch over her son ; but his nurse, who was in the conspiracy, took him one day into the outer courtyard, and, while at play there, he was murdered by two of Godunov’s emissaries, who, along with eleven accomplices, were immediately afterwards killed by a crowd of people attracted to the spot by the alarm given by a bell-ringer of a neighbouring church, who had witnessed the crime. The child’s body was interred in the church of the Transfiguration; and Godunov was duly informed what had happened. He at once told the Tsar that Demetrius had mortally wounded himself in an epileptic fit; and Prince Vasily Shuiski, whom Godunov had sent to Uglich to suborn witnesses in support of the epilepsy theory, confirmed this statement. The Nagais were then haled to Moscow, brow-beaten and tortured ; an ostentatiously elaborate enquiry was opened at which all evidence in any way likely to conflict with the official theory of suicide was suppressed or ignored ; and the Patriarch Job, as President of the tribunal of investigation, declared that Demetrius had died by the visitation of God, and that the Nagais were guilty of treason for killing the Administrator’s emissaries. The Nagais were punished by mutilation and banishment ; the Tsaritsa Martha was forced to take the veil ; the inhabitants of Uglich, as the abettors of the Nagais, were transferred bodily to the new Siberian town of Pelim ; and Uglich itself gradually relapsed into the surrounding wilderness.

The Tribunal had publicly condemned the Nagais, but the Russian nation secretly condemned Godunov. Henceforth he was thought capable of any infamy, so that when Tsar Theodore died a natural death, on January 7, 1598, it was the general opinion that Boris had removed him by poison.

Ever since Tsar Ivan III had declared, ” to whom I will, to him will I give the realm,” none had disputed the right of the Moscovite Tsars to dispose of their throne. But Theodore had made no sign ; his Tsaritsa Irene, a capable woman whom many considered to be the lawful Regent, had, nine days after Theodore’s death, retired into the Novodyevichy Monastery ; and the Patriarch, as the highest dignitary in the land, took over the administration provisionally. But who then was to be Tsar ? The chances were in favour of Godunov. His prosperous administration during the last thirteen years was the most convincing proof of his capacity for ruling ; the Patriarch was his friend ; and the whole official class were his creatures. On the other hand, hé had powerful enemies among the Boyars, who hated him as an upstart. When first his sister Irene and the Patriarch united to beg him to accept the crown, he refused it, with ostentatious humility and tears. On being pressed, he declared that only the choice of the whole land, duly expressed by its representatives, could induce him to accept ” so sublime an office.” This, no doubt, was prudent, for, in the circumstances, only the free and deliberate choice of the whole land could give him an adequate guarantee for the future security of himself and his family. Accordingly, forty days after Theodore’s death, a national assembly, representing every class and district in the Tsardom, was summoned to Moscow. The assembly, consisting of 474 persons, met on February 17 ; and, on the proposal of the Patriarch, Boris was unanimously elected Gosudar. The Boyars would have imposed some limitations upon him, but they were overawed by an immense concourse of people which, under violent official and clerical pressure, proceeded to the Novodyevichy Monastery, where Boris occupied a modest cell near his sister’s, and implored him to accept the throne. Twice he refused, with protests of unworthiness, flinging himself down before the sacred ikons and wetting the ground with his tears. But, when the Patriarch, obviously playing a preconcerted part, finally threatened him with excommunication, Godunov piously submitted to the divine will,” and (April 30) took up his residence in the Kreml. With the same histrionic by-play, he postponed his coronation till he had given an audience to a Tatar embassy in the plains before Moscow. He went out to meet them escorted by 70,000 men, whom he fed every day at his table ; and the Tatars had to traverse seven versts, lined on both sides by troops of all arms, till, alarmed and humbled, they were admitted ” to the presence.” Boris then made his state entry into Moscow with as much pomp and circumstance as if he had conquered kingdoms. On September 1, the Moscovite New Year’s Day, he was solemnly crowned Tsar of all Russia.

Boris Godunov had grown up in an unhealthy, enfeebling, moral atmosphere. He had attained to his boyardom in the second, evil, half of the reign of Ivan the Terrible, when constant circumspection and absolute obsequiousness were the conditions of existence at the Tsarish Court. Ivan’s morbid suspiciousness naturally infected those of his servants who were predisposed to the same malady ; and Godunov, for one, was never able to free himself from the pernicious influence of his early environment. He was, certainly, a clever, far-seeing man. He was more fitted, perhaps, than any of his contemporaries to rule Moscovy. None recognised her needs so well as he ; and in this respect also he was Ivan’s best pupil. He was, besides, a well-meaning, good-natured man, anything but cruel ; but he had none of that magnanimity, that elevation of character, which one naturally expects in the founder of a new dynasty, in the elect of a whole nation. Instead of leaning, fearlessly and securely, on the people who had unanimously raised him to the throne, he saw in everyone around him an enemy to be conciliated or removed. Hence his extravagant promises and his still more extravagant largesses. He was, perhaps, the most craven monarch of old Moscovy, though that is saying a great deal ; and the constant exhibition of his cowardice, by encouraging his enemies, did more than anything else to undermine what was, originally, a very strong position.

The state of foreign affairs on the accession of Boris was most favourable to Moscovy. The very two Powers, Poland and Sweden, whose’ union under one King had lately seemed so menacing, were now at war with each other in consequence of that very union. It was therefore possible for the Tsar’s government in 1601 to obtain a renewal of the existing truce with Poland for 21 years. Indeed, Livonia might now have been easily recovered, with the willing assistance of Sweden, but for the indecision of Boris, his fear of warfare, and his suspiciousness of all his generals. Yet, like Ivan IV, he fully recognised the importance of Livonia, and thought of making it a vassal State under Prince Gustavus, the son of Eric XIV, whom he entertained for a time at his court, and would have married to his daughter Xenia but for Gustavus’ refusal to abandon the Protestant faith.

Boris took especial interest in the colonisation of Siberia, and saw to it that the aborigines were not over-taxed or otherwise oppressed. He also did something for the Russian peasants, by fixing the amount of labour, or its money equivalent, due by them to their masters, and by allowing peasants to flit from one small proprietor to another small proprietor, if maltreated, on St George’s Day, in each year (Ukases of 1601 and 1602). He was also the first Tsar to send young Russians to the West to learn arts and languages, and he greatly encouraged the immigration of skilled artisans and learned men, especially doctors. He himself had no fewer than six foreign physicians, whom he treated like princes. The same excessive care for his personal safety induced him never to leave Moscow, if only for a day, without an escort of at least 18,000 musketeers. He kept more foreign mercenaries than any of his predecessors; and his bodyguard was composed entirely of Livonians. The great influx of foreigners, during his reign, was not without its influence on the social habits of the people; and it is now that we first hear of the clipping of beards and the adoption of western modes in clothes, to the lively scandal of the more orthodox.

At first Boris was extremely popular, but his unconquerable suspiciousness was constantly in his way. As the old chronicle quaintly says : “The devil put it into the heart of Tsar Boris to know everything that was going on in the realm of Moscovy.” He was suspicious of every sound, of every movement. Hundreds of delators flocked to his court daily. Men of every degree of rank brought each other’s evil report to him. Fathers accused their sons, husbands their wives, wives their husbands. The most eminent families were naturally the most defamed. None stood higher than the Romanovs ; and the Romanovs were now accused of placing bags full of magical and poisonous herbs in the Tsar’s wardrobe. This was sufficient to bring about the ruin and banishment of the whole family, whose principal member, Theodore Nikitevich Romanov, was forced to take the monkish hood under the name of Philaret (June, 1601). The chief members of the next most eminent family, the Shuiskies, were forbidden to marry, lest the possession of progeny should awaken in them ambitious thoughts.

But this distrustfulness was not peculiar to Boris, it was the salient feature of Moscovite society at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Never had public morality in Moscovy sunk so low. The universal disregard of all social duties and obligations, the universal endeavour to suck the utmost advantage out of the weakness and distress of one’s neighbours, did not tend to mutual confidence. Everywhere the welfare of the Commonwealth was subordinated to personal interests. Everywhere there were ominous symptoms of unrest among the anti-social elements of the population, not only among the Cossacks of the Steppe but among those moral Cossacks who, in every society, prefer to live at the expense of the prosperous and the industrious, and whose interest it is to encourage and prolong disorder. The terrible natural calamities of the years 16o1-1603, by increasing the popular misery tenfold, fostered still further these anarchical tendencies. For three years running there was a total failure of the crops, with its inevitable consequences, plague, pestilence and famine. The starving people ate grass in summer and straw in winter like cattle. In the later stages of the visitation, parents ate their children, children their parents; and human flesh was exhibited for sale as ” beef” in the market places. The Tsar did his duty nobly on this occasion. His mercy and benevolence abounded and overflowed. Corn was collected from all parts of Russia and sold at Moscow at half price ; work was found for the myriads who flocked to the capital and were set to build new stone houses in place of the old wooden ones; every day he fed tens of thousands from his own table. But even these liberalities do not seem to have increased his popularity, while his personal enemies put them down to fear of a popular rising. Yet the enemies of Boris were even more craven than he. They wished to overthrow him without seeming to have a hand in it. What they looked for was a pretender strong enough to overthrow Boris, but insignificant enough to be cast aside at the right moment. Nor had they long to wait for such a pretender.

In the course of 1603, a Moscovite fugitive, calling himself the Tsarevich Demetrius Ivanovich, appeared at the Court of the Lithuanian magnate Prince Adam Wisniowiecki. His pretensions were taken for granted ; he received royal honours wherever he went, and, finally, settled down at the comfortable mansion of Pan Yury Mniszek, Palatine of Sandomir, to whose eldest daughter Mariana, or Marina, he was speedily betrothed, on condition that he first accepted the Catholic faith. The much enamoured suitor at once complied with this request. His conversion was duly accomplished by the Franciscans; and the Pretender to the throne of Moscovy was received into the bosom of the Catholic Church by Cardinal Rangoni, the papal Nuncio at Cracow, and straightway adopted a Jesuit confessor. In the beginning of 1604 he came to Cracow to be presented to King Sigismund III. Outwardly he was not at all attractive. He was an awkward loutish fellow, with a round common face covered with warts, very red hair and small light blue eyes. Most of the Polish dignitaries looked askance at him. Zamoyski compared him with the low comic rascals in the plays of Plautus and Terence. The King adopted a middle course. Willing enough to use the Pretender as a means of disturbing Moscovy, yet uncertain what to make of him, Sigismund privately acknowledged him as the Tsarevich Demetrius, and allowed him a pension, but refused to support him publicly. Yury Mniszek, a man as low in character as he was high in rank, then took up the cause of his future son-in-law as a private speculation. He undertook to place the Pseudo-Demetrius on the throne of Moscovy in return for one million Polish gulden, the principalities of Smolensk and Severia for himself, and the provinces of Pskov and Great Novgorod for his daughter as her private appanages. A contract to this effect was duly signed by the Pretender, on May 25, 1604; and Mniszek began to make the necessary preparations for putting the Tsarevich ” in possession of his patrimony.

But who then was this Pseudo-Demetrius ? Of the many conflicting theories concerning him we need only consider three : (1) he was set up by King Sigismund and the Polish Government; (2) he was the instrument of the Polish Jesuits, and (3) he was the tool of Tsar Boris’s enemies in Moscovy. The strongest arguments against the first theory are Sigismund’s genuine surprise and hesitation when the impostor first appeared, and his anxiety to get rid of him. Moreover, Sigismund had no particular interest in precipitating from the Moscovite throne so pacific and accommodating a Tsar as Boris. The second view is equally unsubstantial. In the first place, it was the Franciscans, not the Jesuits, who converted the Pseudo-Demetrius. In the second place, a pupil and tool of the Jesuits would certainly have issued from their hands with some knowledge of western culture, or, at least, with an excellent know-ledge of Latin, whereas the Pretender scarce knew the rudiments of that language, and could not spell the simplest Latin words. It is quite true that the Jesuits subsequently adopted him with enthusiasm, but it is equally true that they had never seen him before he suddenly plumped down among them as if from the sky. The third view, on the other hand, stands in no need of a posteriori hypotheses. We know that the first Pseudo-Demetrius was a Great-Russian, highly educated for his times, and speaking and writing his native language fluently and even eloquently. We know that the first person who pretended to recognise him as the Tsarevich was the fugitive Moscovite Petrovsky, a mortal enemy of Tsar Boris, and therefore interested in raising up rivals against him. We know that Boris himself, always uncommonly well informed, regarded the Pseudo-Demetrius as the tool of the malcontent Boyars. Further, all the Moscovite chroniclers, without exception, maintain that the first Pseudo-Demetrius was a certain person well known at Moscow ; and it would be extremely difficult to shake their testimony. Comparing, then, all the existing accounts of the Pretender, and omitting obvious inaccuracies, we arrive at the following conclusion.

The first Pseudo-Demetrius was one Gregory Otrepev, the son of a small Russian squire, Bogdan Otrepev, who met an untimely death in a brawl in the German Settlement at Moscow. The young Gregory grew up, apparently, as a servitor in one or more of the great Boyar families of the capital. His patrons, struck by the lad’s bright intelligence and frank fearlessness, seem to have conceived the idea of using him for their political purposes, and brought him up in the belief that he was the Tsarevich Demetrius. In no other way can we account for the extraordinary but indisputable fact that Otrepev always believed himself to be what he professed to be. The alternative hypothesis—that he deliberately made of his whole life a lie incarnate —presupposes him to have been a monster of iniquity, whereas, as a matter of fact, he was a man of so upright and noble a character that, if virtue were the best title to a throne, none so well deserved the throne of Moscovy as the first False-Demetrius. Anyhow, he does not seem to have concealed his aspirations, and was obliged to flee from Moscow to escape from the clutches of the ever-suspicious Boris. For the next few years he led a vagabond life, entered religion, frequented numerous monasteries, where he picked up some Polish and a very little Latin, and finally rejected his monkish habit when he thought that the time for his manifestation had come.

In October 1604 the Pseudo-Demetrius crossed the Moscovite border at the head of 1600 mercenaries and 20000 Don Cossack volunteers. On November 18, by which time his army had swollen to 16,000 men, he defeated the Moscovite host, 50,000 strong, at Novgorod Syeversk. By the beginning of December, he was recognised as Tsar for 60 versts east-wards of the Polish frontier. But now came bad news from Poland. The Sejm protested vehemently against the whole expedition, and recalled Mniszek; and Otrepev was left alone with his Cossacks. Nevertheless, at Dobruinchui January 21, 1605, he gallantly attacked the enormous Moscovite army, which had been steadily reinforced since the battle of Novgorod Syeversk, but was badly beaten and shut himself up in Putivl the capital of Severia. But the Tsar’s troops did not follow up their advantage ; and when, after extravagantly rewarding their modest success, Boris ventured to protest against their cowardly inaction, they threatened to go over to the Pretender. Boris, too cowardly to trust himself in his own camp, sent a German to Putivl to remove the .Pseudo-Demetrius by poison; but the emissary revealed the plot, and immediately afterwards, the news reached Putivl of the sudden death of Boris himself. On April 13, as he was rising from table, blood gushed from his mouth, nose and ears, and he died two hours afterwards in great agony. His son Theodore, a promising youth whom his contemporaries describe as “wiser than many grey beards, inasmuch as he was well versed in philosophy and in all bookish arts’,” was thereupon proclaimed Tsar, under the title of Theodore II ; and a strongly worded proclamation was issued denouncing the Pseudo-Demetrius as an impostor.

The reign of Theodore II lasted seven weeks. The generals appointed by the new government, regarding the cause of the Godunovs as hopeless, persuaded the army to revolt. The chief Boyars followed their example. When, on May 19, they did homage to the Pseudo-Demetrius in his camp at Orel, they at once recognised him as the monk Otrepev ; but it was too late to go back now. ()nn June i the Pretender’s envoys, Vasily Golitsuin and Vasily Shuisky, arrived at Moscow, and announced to the people, assembled in the Red Square, that Demetrius Ivanovich had miraculously escaped from his murderers at Uglich and was already at the gates of Moscow. The people, agitated but unconvinced, thereupon asked Vasily Shuisky, who had actually seen the real Demetrius buried and had solemnly testified to the fact more than once, whether these later tidings were true. Shuisky declared that the real Demetrius had escaped from Uglich, and that the son of a priest had been buried in his stead. The mob, egged on by the envoys, then hastened to the Kreml, the gates of which had, treacherously, been left open. The young Tsar, who stoutly resisted, was literally torn to pieces. His chief supporter, the Patriarch Job, was deposed, and shut up in a monastery.

The Pretender, who was not responsible for these outrages, made his triumphal entry into Moscow on June 20, 1605. The very same day, the perjured Shuisky secretly circulated among the people a rumour that he was an impostor after all. Shuisky’s villainy was detected and reported to the new Tsar; and, after a fair trial before the Council, the treacherous Boyar was condemned to death but reprieved on the very scaffold. On June 24 the Pseudo-Demetrius was officially proclaimed Tsar by the new Patriarch Ignatius. On July 30 he was solemnly crowned. The Tsaritsa Martha, the mother of the real Demetrius, brought to Moscow for the purpose, had already identified him as her son. This she did from fear, for the Pseudo-Demetrius had at once and completely won the hearts of the Russian people. All his measures were liberal, humane and conciliatory. The Nagai, the real Demetrius’s kinsfolk, were reinstated at Court. Philaret Romanov was released from prison and made metropolitan of Rostov. The plebeian clerks of the Council, the Shchelkalovs, Godunov’s ablest ministers, were retained and; to the general astonishment, ennobled—an unprecedented promotion. The diligence of the new Tsar was exemplary. He presided over the Council every day, and, after listening for hours, with an indulgent smile, to the interminable and unprofitable debates of the Boyars, would, in a few moments, unravel and elucidate the most complicated questions. Sometimes he gently reproached the Boyars with their ignorance. “I must send you abroad to learn things,” he would say. He attended to all petitions personally. When his friends the Poles warned him to beware of suspicious characters, he replied : ” There are two ways of ruling subjects, by tormenting or by encouraging them : I prefer the latter way.” It is true that his retention of Godunov’s Livonian bodyguard, his pronounced partiality for foreigners, his dislike of strict etiquette, and his rejection of all unnecessary pomps, produced some murmuring among the upper classes. But the common people excused such eccentricities on the score of youth. Even his public profession of Catholicism did not materially detract from his popularity, though here he obviously ‘stood on very dangerous ground.

Perhaps nothing demonstrates so clearly the intellectual superiority of the first False-Demetrius as his wide religious outlook. Partly from personal motives, partly from calculation, he had accepted the Roman Faith ; but of his attachment to Orthodoxy there can be no doubt. It is clear, from all his actions, that he regarded Catholicism and Orthodoxy as very much the same thing; and he seriously believed that the surest way out of his difficulties was to bring about a reunion of the Churches. He frequently expressed his belief in the possibility of another General Council; and, when asked by one of the Boyars whether he intended to build a church for his Polish friends in Moscow, he at once replied : ” Why not? Are they not Christians too, and have they not rendered me loyal service?” The Papal Court had great hopes of him. In response to the letter of congratulation which he sent to Paul V on his election, the Pope declared that Demetrius had been fore-ordained to convert to the true faith the great Russian nation, hitherto lying in darkness and the shadow of death, and knowing his desire for the imperial title addressed him as : ” Serenissimus et invictissimus monarcha, Cesar ac Magnus Dux totius Russiae, etc.” It was the Pope, too, who, at the urgent solicitation of Demetrius, commanded Yury Mniszek and Marina to proceed to Moscow without further delay. When, however, Demetrius begged that his bride-elect might be permitted to conform outwardly to the Orthodox religion, the Holy Father was inexorable. The Mniszscy arrived at Moscow on May 2, 1606. On May 8, Marina was espoused to Demetrius and crowned Empress, with great pomp and ceremony, according to the old Russian custom. Ten days later, Demetrius was no more. At the very time when, full of enthusiasm, he was preparing to participate, on a grand scale, in a general league against the Turks, Vasily Shuisky, whose life he had so generously spared a few months before, was intriguing to overthrow him. The conspiracy, with the connivance of Sigismund III, who was irritated by the spirited refusal of Demetrius to purchase the help of Poland by large cessions of Moscovite territory, had begun long before the wedding; and the arrival at Moscow of the Novgorod’ and Pskov divisions of the army, on its way to the Crimea, encouraged the conspirators to take the decisive step. Demetrius by his utter unsuspiciousness played into their hands. Well aware of the devotion of the stryeltsui and of the great majority of the population of Moscow, to say nothing of the Poles and Livonians, he dis-regarded repeated warnings, and took no extra precautions.

At midnight on May 18, Shuisky assembled his partisans in the Red Square. He solemnly assured them that the Tsar was an impostor, and in league with Poland to enslave their country and destroy their holy orthodox faith. Then, at the preconcerted signal, the pealing of the bell of St Elias, they burst into the Kreml, overwhelmed the thirty halbardiers on guard, and brutally murdered the Tsar (who might have escaped but for his solicitude for his wife2) flinging the battered, mutilated, corpse into the Red Square. The remainder of the night was passed in attacking the Poles in Moscow who, taken unawares, were massacred to the number of 2000. At 6 o’clock the following morning (May 19, 1606) Shuisky was proclaimed and, on June 6, crowned Tsar, under the title of Vasily V.

The new Tsar was neither the elect of the nation, like Godunov, nor even the elect of the capital, as Otrepev had been. He was but the puppet of a mob of conspirators hastily assembled in the Red Square at Moscow. In the provinces he was unknown. It was in vain that he issued manifestoes proclaiming that Demetrius was an impostor who had seized the throne by devilish arts ; the provincials were only perplexed by what they heard. What were they to make of the latest news from Moscow? The late Tsar had been solemnly declared to be the true Demetrius, and now he was described as an impostor. Which report was true ? And was Demetrius really dead? Was there, indeed, a new Tsar? and if so, whence had he sprung and who had chosen him ? The whole affair was so mysterious that the provincials became incredulous and, still worse, began to lose their old belief and confidence in Moscow. “And so,” as the contemporary lyetopis puts it, “the whole realm became dark with the darkness of the Father of lies.” Vasily’s peculiar vices tended to increase the general confusion. He was a near-sighted, nervous, little old man, very shrewd and very stingy, a firm believer in magic, averse from action and with his ears ever open to spies and delators. As if his authority was not already sufficiently limited by his character, he proceeded to limit it still further by swearing to punish nobody without the consent of his Council. At the same time he foolishly alienated his own partisans by withholding from them the promised re-wards for their services, although they knew him to be very wealthy.

In these circumstances, a fresh crop of pretenders was only a matter of time. As early as May 17, Michael Molchanov, one of the murderers of Theodore II, had suddenly appeared on the Lithuanian frontier and proclaimed himself to be Demetrius, who, he said, had escaped from his murderers. His statement was confirmed by Gregory Shakovsky, Vasily’s own voevoda, who had left Moscow with the great seal in his, pocket; and all Severia declared at once in favour of this second, False-Demetrius. Shuisky countered the blow by ordering the remains of the real Demetrius to be. exhumed at Uglich and reinterred in the Archangel. Cathedral at Moscow. But by this time the insurrection had spread throughout the southern provinces. Even the sudden disappearance of the second Pseudo-Demetrius made no difference. A Cossack claiming to be Peter, a purely imaginary son of Theodore I, was set up by Shakovsky; and the Pseudo-Peter’s ablest general, an enter-prising ex-galley slave named Bolotnikov, gained several victories over the Tsarish troops and advanced against Moscow. As, however, he proclaimed, and practised en route, a war of extermination against the upper classes, the Boyars of Moscow, despite their contempt for Shuisky, resolved to put up with him as the lesser of two evils. Shuisky’s one trustworthy general, his own cousin, Prince Michael Skopin-Shuisky, was accordingly sent against Bolotnikov, whom he defeated (December 2, 1606), and drove back to Kaluga. In the beginning of 1607, after an unsuccessful attempt to poison Bolotnikov, Shuisky was forced to take the field against him with 100,000 men. He defeated the rebels on the banks of the Vosina, and shut them up in ‘Fula, which surrendered a few weeks later, when both the Pseudo-Peter and Bolotnikov were hanged.

No sooner, however, had Shuisky returned to Moscow than a still more formidable rebellion broke out against him, headed by a third Pseudo-Demetrius, a man of infamous character, but some ability, whose real name seems to have been Gabriel Verevkin. From the fact that he could read and write, and was learned in the Scriptures, he was, most probably, an unfrocked priest, or monk. He first appeared at Starodub, and was quickly joined by 18,000 Polish adventurers, the remains of Zebrzydowski’s dissipated Roleasz 1, 28,000 Cossacks eager for pillage, and the scum of the population generally. After defeating the Tsar’s army at Bolkhov (May 10 and 11, 1606), he established himself, permanently, in a vast entrenched camp at Tushino, near Moscow, whence he derived the epithet by which he is generally known—-c’ the Thief of Tushino.” The Mniszek family were the most zealous supporters in Poland of the new Pretender; and the widowed Marina was induced to recognise him as her husband and live with him at Tushino2, taking the precaution, however, of being remarried by her Jesuit confessor. Pskov also declared for the new Pretender; and Sapieha, the conimander of his Polish allies, proceeded to besiege, happily in vain, the great Troitsa monastery, the most venerated sanctuary and the strongest fortress in Moscovy, which commanded the communications between the capital and the north-eastern provinces.

By this time we have reached the darkest hour of that terrible period which Russian historians aptly call “the anarchy,” when the Moscovite State actually passed through the initial stages of disintegration. The Tsardom had ceased to exist. Shuisky at Moscow and ” the thief” at Tushino were the merest figure-heads. The former, helplessly shut up in the Kreml with some hundreds of Boyars who openly flaunted him, the latter trembling daily for his life amidst desperadoes who called him an impostor to his face and murdered each other with impunity before his very eyes, helplessly followed the course of events they were powerless to control. The real struggle was between the orderly and the disorderly elements of a society left to itself ; between the predatory, vagabond, Cossack element and the landed and trading people who still had something to live and work for. The geographical area of the predatory class was, roughly speaking, the western and southern Steppe lands, that of the industrious and propertied class the north and north-eastern forest land, where the larger and older cities predominated. But now the Steppe was invading what remained of civilisation and threatening to submerge it. In every direction the Cossacks and their Polish allies levied blackmail and spread devastation. Yet, by general consent, the foreigner was not the worst enemy. The love of looting or of adventure had brought the Poles into Moscovy. Money and women were what they chiefly looked for. They had no particular animosity against the Moscovites. They were merciful to their captives ; exacted moderate ransoms ; and regarded with wonder and horror the unspeakable cruelties inflicted by their Cossack allies on men of their own language and religion. The Cossacks, on the other hand, seemed to regard all non-Cossacks with a furious hatred which was satisfied with nothing short of their extermination. It was they who kindled the torch of conflagration. It was they who desecrated the Churches, destroyed, or rendered uninhabitable, every human dwelling, and trampled beneath their horses’ feet all the corn they could not carry away with them. It was due to them that half Moscovy was already a wilderness, in the deserted villages of which bears, foxes, wolves and hares roamed fearlessly, while men, women, and children sought a precarious refuge in the natural haunts of the wild beast, the forest and the swamp.

Presently, to these horrors was superadded the scourge of two foreign invasions ; for both Sweden and Poland now intervened forcibly in the affairs of Moscovy. The Swedes were brought in by Shuisky who, in February 1609, through his cousin Michael Skopin-Shuisky, concluded an alliance with them at Great Novgorod by the terms of which he ceded Karelia and renounced his claims to Livonia, in return for the paid services of 5000 troopers under Pontus de la Gardie, cooperating with Skopin’s Russian contingent. The Swedes and Moscovites combined even obtained some victories over the Poles and Cossacks of ” the Tushino thief.” Sigismund III naturally could not regard with indifference the intrusion of Sweden in Moscovite affairs ; but the Sejm limited his operations to the recapturing of the great fortress of Smolensk, the key of the Dnieperian district. Not the royal house but Poland only was to benefit by the war. It is, indeed, very doubtful whether Sigismund ever seriously entertained the subsequent project, emanating from Moscow, of placing his son, the Krolewicz1 Wladislaus, on the Moscovite throne. In the circumstances, such a project was unrealisable because the conflicting interests of Moscovy and Poland were absolutely irreconcilable. At the very least the Poles would have insisted, beforehand, on large cessions of Moscovite territory, to which the Moscovites would never have consented. Had Wladislaus, as Tsar, insisted on such cessions, he would doubtless have shared the fate of the first Demetrius. On the other hand, had Sigismund pressed the candidature of his son to the throne of Moscovy when circumstances seemed to favour him most, the Poles would, most certainly, have considered their particular interests neglected, and have excluded Wladislaus from the succession to the Polish throne.

On September 21, 1609, Sigismund appeared before Smolensk with 17,000 Poles and 10,000 Cossacks. In his manifesto he declared that he had come not to shed blood but to pacify Moscovy. At the same time he wrote to Shuisky, reproaching him with the massacre of the Poles at Moscow and the conclusion of an alliance with his mortal foe ” the Duke of Sudermania.” He also summoned all the Poles at Tushino to join him before Smolensk. The ultimate effect of this summons was the break-up of the camp at Tushino (March 10, 1610). Most of the Poles joined Sigismund, most of the Boyars Shuisky, while the Cossacks followed “the Thief” to Kaluga. The Polish Grand Hetman Zolkiewski now appeared on the scene and routed Shuisky’s last army, 46,000 strong, at Klushino (June 23-24, 1610), the immediate consequence of which disaster was Shuisky’s deposition (July 17). The majority of the Council of Boyars, which ruled Moscow provisionally, preferred Wladislaus to “the Thief” as a candidate for the throne. “We will not be ruled by our own slaves,” they said. At the invitation of this party, Zolkiewski marched to Moscow, while the Thief” approached the capital from the opposite direction. The frank and genial humour of the Grand Hetman soon endeared him greatly to the Boyars, and, on August 27, he actually persuaded them to render homage to him as the representative of the Krolewicz. Even when they insisted on the candidate’s previous acceptation of orthodoxy, he induced them to submit that and every other point of dispute to the King at Smolensk. But the other principal towns of northern Russia, including Suzdal, Rostov, Vladimir, Yurev, alarmed for the future of orthodoxy, now began to open negotiations with the Pseudo-Demetrius, preferring even an orthodox impostor to a heretical Krolewicz.

From the moment, indeed, of the proclamation of Wladislaus as Tsar, the national movement in Moscovy assumed a religious character which was to traverse all the calculations of the politicians. Sigismund himself involuntarily gave impetus to this new movement. He sent word to Zolkiewski that the election of Wladislaus, on the Moscovite conditions, was impossible, for he meant to keep Moscovy for himself; and he ordered the Grand Hetman to explain his latest views to the Boyars. Zolkiewski did not even attempt to carry out these impossible instructions, the first effect of which would have been the destruction of himself and his little army. But he extricated himself from his extremely difficult position with consummate ability. First he persuaded the Boyars to send to Smolensk a grand deputation of 1246 distinguished persons, including Prince Golitsuin, one of the aspirants to the throne, and Philaret Romanov, Metropolitan of Rostov; thereby getting rid of formidable opponents and at the same time placing valuable hostages in Sigismund’s hands. Next, working on the Boyars’ fears of ” the Thief’s ” Cossack host, he induced them to admit the Poles into the Kreml, thus giving them the command of the capital (Sept. 20-21). But by this time his popularity was so great that the Moscovites were ready to do anything for him ; and, when he made a demonstration against the Cossack army, the premier Boyar of Moscovy, Prince Mstislaysky, with 10,000 Russians, actually followed the standard of the Polish Grand Hetman. When, shortly after-wards, he quitted Moscow, he took with him, as captives to swell his triumph, the ex-Tsar Vasily Shuisky and his brothers Demetrius and Ivan. His ablest lieutenant Gonsiewski, with a few thousand Poles, was left in charge of the Kreml.

Meanwhile the grand deputation from Moscow was, on October 1o, received in audience by Sigismund outside Smolensk. The Moscovites were willing enough to accept Wladislaus as their Tsar, but only on condition that he accepted and protected orthodoxy, excluded Catholicism from Moscovy, and came with a gift in his hand in the shape of all the Moscovite territory conquered by Sweden and Poland. Such terms it was impossible for Sigismund to accept without running the risk of losing his own crown. After months of futile wrangling, the members of the grand deputation were sent as hostages to Lithuania (April 12, 1611) ; and Sigismund seriously took in hand the siege of Smolensk. On June 3, 1611, a breach was made in the wall, and the fortress was taken by assault, after the garrison had been redûced from 80,000 to 8000. Smolensk, Sigismund’s real object, was thus secured ; but the assassination of “the Thief of Tushino” (Dec. 11, 1610), by a vindictive Tatar, led to fresh complications. The Cossacks, under one Zarucki, adopted ” the Thief’s ” baby son Ivan, born shortly after his death, as their Tsarevich ; and, in conjunction with an independent patriotic army under Lyapunov, a gentle-man of Ryazan, moved towards Moscow to drive out the Poles. After a long and bitter struggle (March—May, 1611), in the course of which three quarters of Moscow were burnt, the Poles abandoned the city and retired within the Kreml ; but, shortly afterwards, the Cossacks murdered Lyapunov, whereupon the better people separated from the Cossacks and began to act for themselves. The initiative came, in October 1611, from the Troitsa monastery, whence the saintly and heroic archimandrite Dionysius sent circular letters to all the chief towns of the Tsardom, exhorting them, as Orthodox Christians, to be mindful of the true Orthodox Christian faith, and stand firmly together, “against the eternal enemies of Christianity, the Poles and the Lithuanians.” “For God’s sake,” concluded this appeal, “lay aside all your dissensions for a time, and strive, all together, to save the Christian faith. Be merciful brethren, and come and help us with money and fighting men ! ”

The letters from Troitsa could not but produce an effect. The wretchedness of the last five years had taught all men of good will the necessity of self-sacrifice. The failure of the politicians, the worthlessness of the pretenders, the mischievousness of foreign assistance, turned the thoughts of the serious and the patriotic away from temporal, external protection; and, in the depths of their own hearts, they found that religious inspiration which, in the last resort, is alone capable of saving a sinking nation. From the first, this new movement was not so much political, or even national, as religious. ” We are brethren and kinsmen because we have been baptised into the same holy faith “—such was the basis of the league of towns and monasteries which now began to collect money and soldiers for the defence of the faith. Nizhny Novgorod was the first town to respond to the appeal of Dionysius. Here the lead was taken by one of the Starostas, Kuzma Minin, a master butcher by trade. He publicly declared that the time had come to sacrifice everything for the true orthodox faith,” and he set the example by devoting one third of his property to the holy cause. He and 2500 of his friends and colleagues speedily collected r 7,000 rubles; and a rich widow of the town surrendered 10,000 rubles out of the 12,000 left her by her husband. But where were they to look for a leader? Minin pronounced in favour of Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Pozharsky, who was recovering at Suzdal from the wounds he had received at the siege of Moscow. Pozharsky fearlessly accepted the perilous honour and was received with enthusiasm at Nizhny.

Both he and Minin, whom he appointed treasurer, insisted on the absolute obedience of their followers. Pozharsky’s first official act was to send out a circular to the other towns inviting their cooperation to drive out the foreigner. He refused to recognise either Wladislaus, or Marina’s son Ivan, or a fourth Pseudo-Demetrius who had just appeared at Pskov. Thus his manifesto was directed as much against the Cossacks as against the Poles, and appealed from a portion of the nation to the nation at large. Kazan, out of jealousy of Nizhny, held aloof from the movement ; but representatives from most of the other free towns kept pouring in, bringing with them both money and soldiers. But the prevalent confusion could not be overcome in a moment. At the beginning of 1612 there were still three parties in Moscovy, Pozharsky’s, the Wladislan Boyars in the Kreml, and the Cossacks under Zarucki who played for his own hand. In March, the Cossack host again advanced upon Moscow, while Pozharsky and Minin wrested Kostroma from the Wladislans, garrisoned Suzdal and fixed their temporary capital at Yaroslavl. The Patriarch Hermogen was starved to death by the philo-Poles at Moscow for blessing the bands of Pozharsky instead of cursing them ; but his martyrdom strengthened the national cause. While still too weak to advance on Moscow, Pozharsky skilfully prevented the Swedes, who bad now occupied Great Novgorod, from extending their area of conquest by negotiating with them, ostensibly with the view of setting Gustavus Adolphus’s younger brother Charles Philip on the Moscovite throne (May—July, 16r2). An attempt by the Cossacks to murder Pozharsky (July) determined him to proceed against the Cossack army, now encamped before Moscow, as public enemies. Simultaneously, the famous Lithuanian Grand Hetman, Chodkiewicz, had safely piloted a lilliputian army of 2000 men, through hundreds of miles of wilderness, for the purpose of relieving the Polish garrison at the Kreml, and was now almost within striking distance. On August 18, Pozharsky reached the river Janza, near Moscow, which alone separated him from the Cossack host. On the 21st Chodkiewicz also appeared. On the 22nd, he crossed the river and attacked Pozharsky, the Cossack host looking on without rendering their countrymen the slightest assistance. The Grand Hetman was finally re-pulsed, and all his subsequent determined efforts to reprovision the garrison (which by this time was reduced to feeding on human flesh, kept salted in barrels) were also frustrated. In mid-October, Pozharsky and Minin, with part of the Cossack army as well as their own, made a night attack on Chodkiewicz’s camp. It was repulsed. But the Grand Hetman lost 500 men, one fourth of his effective strength, in the struggle, and early next morning he was in full retreat towards Mozhaisk. On October 22 the Polish garrison capitulated, and on November 22, Pozharsky and Minin made their triumphal entry into the capital.

When the news reached Warsaw that things were going amiss in Moscovy, every one hastened to lay the blame upon the King, freely accusing him of carelessness, sluggishness and general incompetence. The Pans insisted that he should at once proceed to Moscow to set matters right, but nobody took the trouble to inform him where he was to find the means for raising an army for the purpose. Nevertheless, Sigismund, after incredible efforts and pledging his personal credit, man-aged to get together 3000 German mercenaries and with this little band set out to reconquer Moscovy. Then, for sheer shame, some 1200 of the Szlachta took horse and galloped after him, overtaking him at Vyazma, where the retreating Chodkiewicz also joined him, The combined forces, which did not amount to a single modern army corps, then marched on Moscow ; but the city refused to listen to Sigismund, and he returned empty-handed to Poland. Not a single Moscovite fort had opened its gates to him ; not a single Moscovite had joined him.

On hearing of the retreat of Sigismund, the Council of Boyars at Moscow sent out circulars summoning representatives of every class of the population to come to the capital to elect a native Gosudar. When sufficient deputies had arrived, a three days’ fast was proclaimed. Every one agreed that a prince of a foreign house was undesirable, while the Polish and Swedish candidates were expressly excluded as robbers and truce-breakers. Discord and confusion only began when the names of the native candidates were brought forward. Various factions were formed, but none of them was strong enough to prevail against the others. At last, says the contemporary chronicle, a certain nobleman from Halich laid before the assembly a mandate to the effect that, as Michael Thedorovich Romanov was nearest by kinship to the ancient dynasty, he should be chosen Tsar. A Cossack Hetman thereupon produced another, independent, mandate of the same purport. This decided the matter, and Michael was thereupon elected Tsar (Feb. 21, 1613). Then the senior prelate Theodoret, Archbishop of Riazan, the Kelar, or lay administrator, of the Troitsa Monastery, Avram Palitsuin, and the Boyar Vasily Morozov, proceeded to the Red Square and enquired of the people thronging it whom they wished to be their Tsar ? ” Michael Thedorovich Romanov!” was the unanimous and enthusiastic reply.