Pages

July 25 1812: The Te Deum and Kutuzov Prays



On July 26 1812, John Quincy Adams in St Petersburg, Russia writes about his attendance at a Te Deum for the peace concluded with the Ottoman Empire. A Te Deum is a religious service based upon the Te Deum hymn, an early Christian hymn of praise, and is held to bless an event or give thanks. Also present was Count Maistre, the counter-enlightmnent philosopher, and ambassador to Tsar Alexander in St Petersburg for the exiled King of Piedmont-Sardinia. Adams records a conversation with him as follows: "Count Maistre said, if the Emperor Alexander was in such a position we could not sleep for anxiety. "Mais — voila ce que c'est — I'etoile de cet homme. And, what is strange, the private letters from the officers in the army are written in the finest spirits imaginable — gay as larks; wherever they go, the ladies and gentlemen of the vicinities go into the cities with them and make agreeable society; and they have charming music.'' It is also of interest to note that General Koutouzof (also known as Mikhail Kutuzov) was present. Adams writes,"General Koutouzof himself also apparently had a private act of devotion of his own to perform, for he went alone into the sanctuary". Tsar Alexander will soon appoint Kutuzov as commander-in-chief of the combined Russian armies that will face Napoleon's Grande Armée. A little prayer cannot hurt. The fuller excerpt of Adams entry for this date is is reproduced below.


26th. At ten this morning, the hour appointed for the celebration of the Te Deum for the peace concluded with the Ottoman Porte, I went with Mr. Smith to the Kazan Church, and we were there waiting upwards of two hours before the Empresses, with the two Grand Dukes Nicholas and Michael, made their appearance. The mass preceded the Te Deum, and they were each more than an hour in performing. It was about half-past two when the services finished, and we returned home. The church was extremely crowded, but the only foreign Ministers present were Count Maistre, the Chevalier Bezerra, Baron Blomc, and myself. I saw there General Koutouzof, who signed the peace, and Count Lieven, late Russian Minister at Berlin. The Grand Master of the Ceremonies, Narishkin, read me, from the Russian, the hand-bill issued last evening concerning the military operations, and dated the 9/21 of this month. The commentaries upon the state of things were various. It was generally agreed that the French army is wedged in between the first and second Russian armies, and in an extremely dangerous position. Count Maistre said, if the Emperor Alexander was in such a position we could not sleep for anxiety. "Mais — voila ce que c'est — I'etoile de cet homme. And, what is strange, the private letters from the officers in the army are written in the finest spirits imaginable — gay as larks; wherever they go, the ladies and gentlemen of the vicinities go into the cities with them and make agreeable society; and they have charming music,'' &c. Mr. Bezerra could hardly believe that the Emperor should have gone to Moscow. But he knew Count Romanzoff had been some time at Veliki-Luki, and General Pfuhl was there too. General Pfuhl had lost all his influence with the Emperor. «Mr. Bezerra could not conceive, either, how the French should have taken the Russian magazines at Orsha. Why could not they have set fire to them? Twenty days' provisions for the whole army! Very strange! In substance, nothing is yet done. The two Russian armies appear to be near forming their junction, but whether they will be able to effect it without separately giving battle is still to be determined by the event There was an illumination at night; not very general. At the church General WiasmitinoflT, the military Governor of St Petersburg, performing the functions of the Minister of War, read before the Te Deum a paper announcing the conclusion of the peace with the Porte at Bucharest After the Te Deum the Empresses and Grand Dukes went up and performed their prostrations to the image of the Holy Virgin of Kazan, which they very devoutly kissed. General Koutouzof himself also apparently had a private act of devotion of his own to perform, for he went alone into the sanctuary.


No comments:

Post a comment