No. 436.
Mr. Boker to Mr. Evarts.

No. 242.]

Sir: I have the honor to say that on Saturday last, December 22, His Majesty the Emperor of Russia returned from the army of the Danube, and made what may be termed a solemn entry into the capital.

As the popular excitement produced by the recent great victories of the Russian arms had not yet faded in the public mind, the Emperor was received with extraordinary public enthusiasm, and his progress from the railway station to his palace was almost a modern imitation of an ancient triumph. I herewith inclose a newspaper account of the incidents of the occasion, which, after abating somewhat from the warmth of coloring due to the official zeal of the writer, is sufficiently accurate in its statement of facts.

The chancellor of the empire, Prince Gortchacoff, and the officials of the ministry of foreign affairs who have been absent at Bucharest, returned to St. Petersburg with His Majesty, and the first named has given official information that he has again entered on the performance of the functions of his office.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 242.—Translation.]

Return of the Emperor.

[From the Journal de St. Petersburg of December 10.]

The old and naive French expression “joyeuse entrée” is that which best serves to characterize in a few words the reception which the population of St. Petersburg gave to-day to their august sovereign, returning to his capital after six months of absence passed at the seat of war. The city is filled with gladness. Joy unspeakable, and for which at the same time there is good reason, fills all hearts at the idea that the Czar Liberetor is once more among us, and that he returns happy and contented with the brilliant results obtained by his admirable armies.

One ought to see the aspect of our city notwithstanding this dark and somber day of December 10. All the streets are draped with flags of the national colors; all the houses with balconies or street projections are ornamented with draperies of brilliant colors, carpets, &c. Busts of His Majesty, surrounded with evergreens and flowers, often crowned with laurel, met the eye at every step. We have tried to improve on the ordinary decorations of fete days, to show that the solemnity of to-day is, in the eyes of all, an unusual solemnity, a historical event. The streets by which His Majesty was to pass from the Warsaw Station, first to the Cathedral of Kazan, and afterwards to the Winter Palace, had a truly fairy-like aspect. Thousands of flags of bright colors floated on the houses; the decorations of the balconies and of the porticos formed almost a continuous chain. From the Warsaw Station to the Winter Palace, the perspectives Ismailovsky and Voznessensky, the Grande Sadovaïa and the perspective of Nevsky, were bordered with a compact crowd, in which were indiscriminately mingled all classes of the population. The troops of the garrison of St. Petersburg were drawn up without arms, as a hedge, on one side of the chaussée, and military music filled the air with its joyous notes.

At the platform of the station His Majesty was received by the acclamation of the deputations of the police courts and of the noblesse of the government of St. Petersburg, as well as of the municipal council of the capital, while the members of the Council of the Empire and of the Senate, in full numbers, were collected in one of the imperial salons of the station to welcome the Emperor. In another room a great number of ladies of position were assembled, and at the moment when the Sovereign entered he was agreeably surprised by the chorus of warm acclamations which came from this group, while at the same time from all sides flowers and bouquets rained, and almost covered the august traveler and strewed the floor of the room. The Emperor had a gracious word for each of the numerous persons who surrounded him and pressed forward better to catch sight of him. His Majesty gave to some, news of their [Page 755] relatives remaining with the army; from others he inquired the condition of wounded officers whom he knew were with their families. Fresh acclamations rose from all sides when the Emperor got into his sleigh.

On the semicircular place of the Cathedral of Kazan platforms had been constructed for the public, in the shape of an amphitheater backed against the colonnade of the temple. The pupils of all the civil schools of St. Petersburg were massed in groups before the peristyle. On this point of the route the crowd was particularly compact, for the imperial cortège was to make a stop here, while His Majesty entered the church to worship the sacred pictures and to hear a thanksgiving service for his happy return. The clergy of the capital, the metropolitan at their head, awaited His Majesty under the porch with cross and banners.

On the place of the Winter Palace, from the great arch of the Staff, the troops were massed in a double hedge. The military schools of all classes were grouped around the palace.

Loud acclamations of hundreds of thousands of voices reverberating like the rolling of thunder announced on the whole route the approach of the beloved Sovereign. Preceded by the prefect of the city, mounted and followed by a numerous cortège of officers of every rank and every grade, His Majesty the Emperor advanced in an open sleigh, at a slow trot, accompanied by His Imperial Highness Monseigneur the Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovitch. The two august travelers wore their field uniforms, with caps.

It is impossible to describe the aspect of the crowd at the moment when they caught sight of the Monarch so impatiently awaited. The enthusiasm rose to delirium; caps and hats new into the air, handkerchiefs were waved on all sides, and it needed all the traditional respect of the Russians for their Sovereigns to prevent this human billow from breaking its ranks and barring the passage of the cortège.

On the Place of Kazan the enthusiasm reached its apogee. As he came out from the temple His Majesty was greeted with such hurrahs as have perhaps never been heard in the streets and on the places of St. Petersburg.

Behind the sleigh of His Majesty the Emperor came the carriage of Her Imperial Highness Madame the Grand Duchess Césarevna. The august wife of the heir to the throne was also very warmly acclaimed by the people.

His Majesty the Emperor arrived at the Winter Palace about eleven o’clock. The crowds which had pressed upon his route collected again before the palace, where an innumerable multitude remained for hours, singing “God protect the Czar,” and making the air resound with loud hurrahs. In the streets which the imperial cortege had followed, the regular circulation was not resumed till toward noon.

The city has kept all day long its air of fête. The principal streets appeared to be veritable forests of draperies. Toward evening all the capital was brilliantly illuminated. The perspective Nevsky and the Grande Morskaïa particularly presented a coup d’œil truly fairy-like. Enthusiastic manifestations took place in all the theaters.

The day of the 10th of December will remain forever memorable in the annals of St. Petersburg.