The Tatar Domination, its Effects on the National Manners and Character --On the Reigning Family and Political Status--Causes and Character of the Moscovite Autocracy--In what the Russia of the Seventeenth Century Differed from the West of the same Period--Gaps in Russian History.
THE invasion of the Mongols, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, snapped the thread of Russia's destinies. The consequences of this terrible event were peculiar to Russia; the causes were not. This catastrophe, seemingly isolated, was only an incident in the great struggle between Europe and Asia, of which the crusades were the chief incident. In this collision of two worlds the same causes were at work from the Russian steppes to the Spanish sierras. Russia defended the left wing of Christendom against the immense converging host which advanced from Asia and Africa, in the shape of a gigantic crescent, ready to extend its extremities so as to coil itself round Europe, while Spain defended the right wing, and France and England, Italy and Germany, boldly taking the offensive, attacked the enemy's centre by means of the crusades. Russia had done that sort of fighting, in her own southern deserts, against the Petchenègs, the Pòlovtsy, and other nomads of Turkish race, bearing the brunt of the strife against Asia, long before the great invasion of the thir teenth century. Being placed at the most perilous outpost, in the neighborhood of the most extensive gathering-place of the Barbarians, her fall was a foregone conclusion. The Russian princes, united against the hosts of Djinghiz-Khan, had valiantly held out against the first shock on the Kalka ( 1224). A second invasion