Description

    Lot of Two Imperial Russian Documents Signed Paul I of Russia, "Paul I" as tsar, one page in French 7.5" x 9", September 29, 1797, Gatchina; and, Maria Feodorovna of Russia, "Maria" as dowager empress, one page in Russian, 8.5" x 10", September 12, 1825, n.p.. Paul I of Russia (1754 - 1801) was the emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He was the son of the grand duchess, later empress, Catherine. In her memoirs, she strongly implies that his father was not her husband, the Grand Duke Peter, later emperor, but one of her lovers. Although the story was much aired by Paul's enemies, it is fairly likely that this was simply an attempt to cast doubt on Paul's right to the throne, in order to prop up Catherine's own somewhat shaky claim. He physically resembled the grand duke so one might doubt the illegitimate claims. Catherine's dissolute court provided a bad home for a boy destined to become the sovereign, but took she great trouble to arrange his marriage and allowed him to attend the council in order that he might be trained for his work as emperor. Although his tutor complained of him that he was "always in a hurry", acting and speaking without reflection. Once he became emperor in 1796, Paul viewed the Russian nobility as decadent and corrupt, and was determined to transform them into a disciplined, principled, loyal caste resembling a medieval chivalric order. His attempts to force the nobility to adopt a code of chivalry alienated many of his trusted advisors. The emperor also discovered outrageous machinations and corruption in the Russian treasury. Although he repealed Catherine's law which allowed the corporal punishment of the free classes and directed reforms which resulted in greater rights for the peasantry, and better treatment for serfs on agricultural estates, most of his policies were viewed as a great annoyance to the noble class and induced his enemies to work out a plan of action. On the night of the March 11, 1801, Paul was murdered in his bedroom by a band of dismissed officers. The other document is signed by Paul's second wife, Sophie Marie Dorothea Auguste Louise of Württemberg or Maria Feodorovna (1759 - 1828). Both documents are in fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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