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View Sample Pages : Daily Courant, February 26, 1730

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Daily Courant (Newspaper) - February 26, 1730, London, Middlesex The Daily Courant Thurfday, February 25, 1729-30. To the Author of the DAILY COURANT. - $ 1 K, AVING read in the Daily Journal of the id paft, in an Article from Mofcow, by way of the Hague, That the unfortunate Knez Men-2ikoff dy'd the ad of November laft, at the Place of his Exile j I could not help committing to Piper'fdmeloofe Thoughts on that Occafion, which may ferve you to fill up a Vacancy if you think fit; and which perhaps you'll the rather be induc'd. to inlert, becaufe of the unexpected Death of the young Czar, who fo little a while has fur. vtv'd that unhappy Minifter, having departed this Life at fuch a critical Juncture, as has drawn the Attention of the Pubiick to thofe Northern Regions; which 'tis hot unlikely may be^Witnefles (by means.of this Change) of fome Revolutions in other great Families of thofe Domuhlohs, as fudden and as fatal, as that, which perhaps by their Means, have been brought oh that of MenzikofF. I atn-the rather indue'd to'defire a Place in your Paper on this Occafion,. becaufe fome time ago, the Author of the Craftfman, for fome vile Comparative Purpofes, thought fit to traduce the Character of this Great Man, and imputed to him imaginary Crimes, merely to ferve the moft wicked Views of Defa. mation : He had before ranfack'd the Hifto-ries of paft Times and all Nations, for Ex-amples of the Fall and Punifhment of wicked Minifters; but tie ought to have diftinguifh'd in this Cafe, between thofe of that Character in paft Time*, and a living and moft unhappy I-nftance of the greateft arid higheft Sacri--fice of ittuftrious Merit, to the blind and un-juft Suggeftibns of Envy, ingrafted on the ,moft perverfe and unjuftifiable National Prejudices, becaufe of the great Part he had acted to redeem "Ihem from that inglorious Obfcurity, which had fo long made them the Contempt of the Neighbouring Nations. The fudden Fall of this great Man from the higheft Pitch of Glory that ever a Subject faw, to the loweft Plunge of. Mifery, and ihe �terrible Severity exercifed on bis Perfon and Family, ought to have infpir'd a better Treatment from a Generous Mind, in the midft of fuch unparallel'd DiftreUes, even hed that Author been a Native Mufcovite, and inviolably attach'd to the dull old Cuftoms of that untraceable People. But to leave this Author to due Reflection : 'Tis certain, there never was a more eminent Inftance of the ftrange Viciflitude of Sublunary Affairs, and the Uncertainty of Human Greatnefs, than this Prince, or this JKjie%, as we have been lately taughr to call him: Who having contributed to the Glory and Triumphs of his moft Auguft Sovereign PETER the Great; and more, perhaps, than any other Native of thofe once favage Dominions, to the polifhing or rather humanizing of his fellow Subjects, at laft fell a Sacrifice to Envy, a Palfion more cruel and brutal than even thofe of the Boyars and Bears of Hujfia, whofe Manners be could not cultivate. Had this Great Man been fo happy, as riot to have furviv'd his Glorious Mafter, and the Great CZARINA, his immediate Suc-ceflbr, what an illuftrious Character bad he furnifhd out for Panegyric! This could not be his Crime ; but 'twas certainly his Misfortune ; and be bad then dy'd timely for his Glory, which is the principal Felicity a Prime Minifter has to wifh for, next to that of an opportune and honourable Retirement ; which is as rare a Cafe_as. -True Wif-dom in Minifters, who cannot perfuade them-felves to part with Power while they can grafp it, and who for that Reafon muft ne-ceflarily be precipitated into Ruin, when Fortune concurs to their Fall. Futurity, perhaps, will beft account for the hard Fate this Minifter has met with, when the Prejudices conceiv'd againft biin on occafion of his (plendid Elevation, are worn off, and when fome lefs glorious Admi-niftration has manifefted His Lofs, and reviv'd the Luftre of his. 'Tis evident already/ that the Arts fo newly introdue'd in that vaft Empire begin tolanguifb, and fome fatal Indications to appear, that the Reign of Peter I. will be allow'd for many Generations to.come the Zenith of the Ruffian Glory. This is certain, That none of all the various Peculations laid to the Charge of this Gene, ral, throughout his'long and glorious Mini-ftry, and which have been the Pretence for : the cruel Treatment and Difgraces he has met with, have been proved upon him; thV (as generally in the Cafe of fallen MiniftersJ it has been made a Merit to accufe bim, and WitnefTes have been invited, by public Proclamation, rocome in againft htm, and his own Papers fuddenly and unexpeijtedly fei-zed, as well as his Perfon, tortur'd and ftrain d to make out fomething to his Prejudice; and this in a Defpotic Government, where all Treafon and State Crimes depend for their Conftruction, on the Breath of the Sovereign.- ATryalthat perhaps no one great Minifter in the World betides himfelf, having had his Time and Opportunities, could have fo well fiipported; excepting perhaps the now firft General in the World, whofe Generous and Noble Contempt of the fordid Arts by which many others raife their private Fortunes, together with his high Birth, fets him even above the Sufpicion of mean Crimes. To fay, his afpiring to marry his Daughter to his young Sovereign, was his Crime, will hardly be believed, fince that Prince thought fit to efpoufethe Daughter of another Subject afterwards, and in ibme meafure jufti-fy'd thereby the Prefumption of the Minifter: For tho' it muft be confefs'd that the Dolgo-ruckj Family is much more noble by De-fcent than that of Men^jkpff, yet the latter was far more illuftrious by the Anions of its Chief, as he had contributed not a little to mak-e /{uflia it fe'lf Glorious among the Nations of Europe and Afitt and was a means of making the other Family fo much as heard of beyond the Limits of Mufcovy. The greateft Families on Earth had once a Beginning ; and 'tis certainly much more Glorious to be the Founder of a Houfe by Merit and illuftrious Actions, than to derive our oftentatious Boafts of Nobility from the Tombs of our Anceftors only: In which Cafe, if the whole Merit be the Ancejlry, the farther the Grounds of the Boaft is removed into Antiquity, the more difhonourable is it for the Descendant. 'Twas admirably faid by an excellent Captain to a Nobleman, as fuch continue to be called, who upbraided hirh with the Obfcurity of his Defcent : 'Tis true, faid he, my Family never yet had a Place in the Record: of Fame ; and you have it to boaft, that many, very many Ages ago, you had one Man of Merit in yours ! Tou are the Son of a Man of high Titles , hut I am the Son of my own Right Hand ; and when the Family I /hall be the Founder of, 'has gradually degenerated from the Example I fet'ibem for fome hundreds. of Tears, its Hepreferiiatiie will then have tb* fame to boaji of that )ou have now. 'Tis certainly very great Odds in the Character of thofe of any Nobility, of whom we can fay, Such a one is a Duke by ftiejit j but fucb a one had never been a Duke if* hit Father bad not been fo before him. The Me-� rit of this unfortunate Prince we are-now mentioning, is the clearer to me for the Di-ftinction he met with from a Prince who was the be ft Judge of it, and had the moft "to boaft of himfelf of any Prince, or even Man of his Age: A Prince who took Delight in the God-Jike Act of railing Merit from the Duft; and who, furmounting ail the low, Confideracions of meer Birth and Family} rais'd a Glorious Woman to a Partnerfhip jn his Throne and Bed, . and made. her the worthy Succeffor to his Crown and Glories, having found her the fitieft Perlon of either Sex throughout his valt Dominions, to tranfmic to his People 'he Enjoyment of the Glorious Fruits of his more than Hereof lean Labours for their Good. And the implim site Obedience paid her, and the Steadinefi wherewith flie held the Reins or Government,' for the whole Time of her majculine Reign, (in which fhe kept up the Glory of the Ruifian Empire) juftified his Choice to all the World. Hence it may be garher'd, that this Minifter wis not the Mufhrodm Production of4* fortunate Hour, the gaudy Offspring of tKe partial or interefted Paffibns of bis Prinde,' begot in the wanton Sunlhine of abfolute Power, which bftrier give's Rife to the Para* Jjte and Miniont> tban to the go