Excerpt from History of the Russian Empire: From Its Foundation, by Ruric the Pirate, to the Accession of the Emperor Alexander II
Before commencing a narrative Of 'the history of the gigantic empire of Russia, which comprehends nearly the half Of both Europe and Asia' within... its do minions, it will be well to dwell brie¿y upon the present condition of that great political power. Let us state what' Russia now is and then proceed to inquire how it Obtained its enormous territory, and its almost overwhelming influence in Europe. TO the student, the politician, the merchant, and the philosopher, the subject is one of intense interest; while to the statesman the inquiry assumes the aspect of an imperious necessity. That such an empire should have arisen from the binding together of many barbarous tribes and semi-savage states, who were, for the most part, in a condition Of perpetual antagonism, if not hostility, is one of the wonders of modern history. NO power, save an unrestrained despotism, could, in the infancy of so vast and diversified a dominion, have saved it from dissolu tion. Nor are the constituent parts of the colossal dominion of the North merely bound together by military force, like the dependencies and limbs of the Austrian empire. What Russia acquires eventually becomes Russian; it resolves itself at length not merely into a constituent, but also an integral part of herself. She acquires fresh states as much by treaties as by wars; and has the wondrous art Of imbuing her new subjects with a Russian nationality! Even Poland, with all its despairing bravery and' prolonged resistance, is undergoing this change. Its patriotic exiles regard their conqueror with the' profound bitter ness of burning hate; but the masses - the clusters of'human life which in Poland represent the people - are becoming satisfied with the change of rule that has passed over them: indifference, if not even contentment, issuzcceeding to a sense Of inevitable submission.
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