Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Curse of The Romanoffs


Baron von Humboldt's Prophecy Regarding Nicholas of Russia.

James Russell Lowell used to tell this story to intimate friends. It was told him by John Lothrop Motley:

"In 1853, just before the Crimean war commenced, the venerable Baron von Humboldt came to London on a very important confidential mission. He called upon Lord Palmerston and said: 'I know a war is imminent between England at her allies on the one hand and Russia. If you will temporize, make diplomatic delays, do anything to gain time for a year or two, there will not need to be a war.'

" 'Why?' Palmerston asked.

"'Because Nicholas of Russia will die within two years. The fatal curse of the Romanoffs is on him. Do you not know that a great seeress told Peter the Great that no male member of the Romanoffs would ever live to see his sixty-fifth year?

" 'But Nicholas is not yet 50,' Palmerston announced.

" 'I wish to save an immense flow of human blood,' said old Humboldt solemnly. 'I know that the czar will die within two years.'

"Lord Palmerston was greatly impressed with Baron Humboldt's statements. But he could not hold his own hand then. France, in view of Louis Napoleon's ready recognition by Palmerston, and all Europe followed his lead, was then ready to take the field. So the Crimean war had to go on. But Nicholas of Russia died within four months of the two years' limit given him by Von Humboldt."

Leaving the prophecy out of the question, it is a fancy of history that the Russian czars have all died before 65. Alexander III's grandfather, the half insane Czar Paul, and the four heads of the Romanoffs before Nicholas all died before 50, and of the same disease that has been so deadly to Alexander III. Alexander I, at one time Napoleon's great ally, then his enemy, who so aided in the downfall of the French empire, died when he was 48 of "monomania bordering on insanity," says history. Metternich, the great Austrian premier of that date, bluntly declares he was insane.

The Grand Duke Constantine, who was really entitled to the Russian throne, waived his right in favor of Alexander I. He had sense enough to be aware that he was not mentally fit to rule such an empire as Russia. He died in his fifty-second year of what would now be called cerebrospinal meningitis.

The Grand Duke Michael was killed in his forty-eighth year by a fall from his horse while in a fit. He had shown signs of madness so often that it was a question whether it was safe for him to be at large. So goes the long but never ending record of the Romanoffs for two centuries.

Alexander III was personally a most kindly man and remarkably free from the grosser vices. He drank a little red wine sometimes, but no strong liquors, and he abhorred drunkenness, as did his father before him. — Washington Post.

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