Martial Russia: 1836

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I am free to confess Russia astonished me. I have sailed down the mighty Mississippi,—I have been in the dark and silent bosom of our own forest homes,—I have been under the eye of Mont Blanc and Olympus,—I grew familiar with Rome and London,—without experiencing the same degree of wonder which fastened upon me in Russia. I thought there to have encountered with hordes of semi-barbarians, yet I found a people raised, as it were, at once from a state of nature to our level of civilization. Nor have they apparently, in their rapid onward course, neglected the means to render their progress sure. And then, what an army,—millions of men! and the best forms of men,—the best disciplined, and able to endure the “labored battle sweat” by their constant activity, the rigor of their climate, and their ignorance of all pleasures which serve to effeminate. … Only think of such a power, increasing every day,—stretching wider and wider, and all confessing one duty,—obedience to the will of the absolute sovereign!