Peter the Great: Emperor of All Russia

By Ian Grey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIV
The War in the Baltic: The Battle of Hango 1711-1714

Peter marched from the Pruth determined to force Sweden to an early peace. He needed it to compensate for his losses in the south and to erase the humiliation of the Pruth campaign; he needed it, too, because he was tired of war and had much to do in his own country.

But peace still evaded him, and for the next ten years he was to struggle in the entanglements of intrigue and diplomacy. Had he concentrated all his forces on crushing Sweden, he might have won peace earlier. But he was now more than ever cautious and reluctant to act without allies, no matter how weak or unreliable these might be. He was also ambitious that Russia should play her part, as a European power, in the policies of the West.

Nevertheless, although Peter suffered countless frustrations and failures, these years were far from being a barren period in his reign. Indeed he was at this stage more active than ever and, released at last from all threats of invasion, he gave his attention increasingly to internal affairs. He worked on constitutional, fiscal, and administrative reform with a persistence and intensity that were all the more remarkable in a man beset with problems and responsibilities in so many other fields. His reforms affected every part of Russian life, and were no longer hasty improvisations, geared to the needs of the war, but the work of a careful legislator determined to introduce a new efficiency, wealth, and well-being into his country. To this

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