The chief of these men of good-will were Alexis Adashev and the monk Sylvester, men of so obscure an origin that almost every detail of their lives is conjectural, but both of them, morally, the best Muscovites of their day.
On the other hand, the khans of the Crimea were able, partly from their geographical position and partly from having placed themselves under the protection of the sultans of Turkey, to resist annexation for more than two centuries and to give the Muscovites a great deal of trouble, not only by frequent raids and occasional invasions, but also by allying themselves with the Western enemies of the tsars.
Finding himself unable to resist the Muscovites, the grand master of the Order put himself under Polish protection, and this led to a seven years' war (1563-70) with Poland, during which the Swedes and Danes intervened on their own account.
The most competent authorities gave the answers we chose to use.
While the Muscovites of the upper classes were thus beginning to abandon their old oriental habits, their government was preparing to make a political evolution of a similar kind.
He was one of the first Muscovites who diligently collected foreign books, and we hear of as many as sixty-nine Latin works being sent to him at one time from abroad.
He was the only Russian statesman of the day with sufficient foresight to grasp the fact that the Baltic seaboard, or even a part of it, was worth more to Muscovy than ten times the same amount of territory in Lithuania, and, despite ignorant jealousy of his colleagues, succeeded (Dec. 1658) in concluding a three-years' truce whereby the Muscovites were left in possession of all their conquests in Livonia.
During the reign of Alexander, who was too poor to maintain any adequate standing army in Lithuania, the Muscovites and Tatars ravaged the whole country at will, and were prevented from conquering it altogether only by their inability to capture the chief fortresses.
Thus he was obliged, in 1525, to grant local autonomy to the province of Prussia instead of annexing it; he was unable to succour his unfortunate nephew, Louis of Hungary, against the Turkish peril; he was compelled to submit to the occupation of one Lithuanian province after the other by the Muscovites, and look on helplessly while myriads of Tatars penetrated to the very heart of his domains, wasting with fire and sword everything they could not carry away with them.
Complications with the Turk were avoided by the adroit diplomacy of the king, while the superior discipline and efficiency of the Polish armies under the great Tarnowski (q.v.) and his pupils overawed the Tatars and extruded the Muscovites, neither of whom were so troublesome as they had been during the last reign.
With all the means at her disposal cheerfully placed in the hands of such valiant and capable ministers, it would have been no difficult task for the Republic to have wrested the best part of the Baltic littoral from the Scandinavian powers, and driven the distracted Muscovites beyond the Volga.
Within three years of his accession he compelled the Muscovites (Treaty of Polyankova, May 28, 1634) to retrocede Smolensk and the eastern provinces lost by Sigismund II., overawed the Porte by a military demonstration in October of the same year, and, by the Truce of Stumdorf (Sept.
King John Casimir, betrayed and abandoned by his own subjects, fled .to Silesia, and profiting by the cataclysm which, for the moment, had swept the Polish state out of existence, the Muscovites, unopposed, quickly appropriated nearly everything which was not already occupied by the Swedes.
In 1664 a peace congress was opened at Durovicha and the prospects of Poland seemed most brilliant; but at the very moment when she needed all her armed strength to sustain her diplomacy, the rebellion of one of her leading magnates, Prince Lubomirsky, involved her in a dangerous civil war, compelled her to reopen negotiations with the Muscovites, at Andrussowo, under far more unfavourable conditions, and after protracted negotiations practically to accept the Muscovite terms. By the truce of Andrussowo (Feb.
Of Sweden also attacked Russia, with 50,000 men, while in the south the Turks held the Muscovites at bay beneath the walls of Ochakov, and drove back the Austrian invaders into Transylvania.
From the 8th of July to the 22nd of September 1695 the Muscovites attempted in vain to capture Azov.
Wladislaus's first official act was to march against the Muscovites, who had declared war against Poland immediately after the death of Sigismund, and were besieging Smolensk, the key of Poland's eastern frontier.
It needed but a jolt to bring down the crazy anachronism, and the jolt came when, in 1558-60, floods of Muscovites poured over the land, threatening the whole province with destruction.
Of Sweden for the moment swept the Polish state out of existence; the Muscovites, unopposed, quickly appropriated nearly everything which was not already occupied by the Swedes, and when at last the Poles offered to negotiate, the whole grand-duchy of Lithuania was the least of the demands of Alexius.
He had long been thinking of entering the army and would have done so had he not been hindered, first, by his membership of the Society of Freemasons to which he was bound by oath and which preached perpetual peace and the abolition of war, and secondly, by the fact that when he saw the great mass of Muscovites who had donned uniform and were talking patriotism, he somehow felt ashamed to take the step.
The glow of the first fire that began on the second of September was watched from the various roads by the fugitive Muscovites and by the retreating troops, with many different feelings.