Peter the Great: Emperor of All Russia

By Ian Grey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXV
The War in the Baltic: Peter in Paris 1714-1717

ON 27 August 1714, as he returned to St. Petersburg, Peter learnt of the death of Queen Anne and the accession of George, Elector of Hanover, to the English throne. It was momentous news. George I was known to be anxious to expel the Swedes from northern Germany, and Peter was convinced that England would now join actively in the alliance against Sweden.

During the reign of Queen Anne, war with France had absorbed England's energies, so that she had remained emotionally detached from the Northern War except when it impinged on her own Baltic trade. She had only given diplomatic aid to Russia in Turkey, because it fell in with her policy against France. The Treaty of Utrecht and the accession of George of Hanover, however, unexpectedly to Peter, had reversed this policy. France became England's ally; George I felt himself directly involved in the Baltic. England, turning her attention to northern Europe, now decided that the Tsar was bidding not only to dominate Baltic trade, but also to make his new capital the emporium of commerce between East and West. Jealous, suspicious, and watchful, England, contrary to all Peter's hopes, was in no mood to help Russia to destroy Sweden.

Peter's reaction to the accession of George I was immediate and practical. He wrote on 30 September to Frederick of Denmark, proposing that he should draw George I into their alliance.1 He was to write several letters and some months passed before he finally received news from Frederick that George had joined with Denmark

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