Alexander I

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Alexander I, Emperor of Russia is something of a puzzle to history. He was sometimes seized with a passionate enthusiasm for the liberal ideals of republican France, embracing its cause (and leader) with the utmost zeal; and at other times he carried himself like a true Czar, without the least concern for the so-called "Rights of Man". His was an unhappy childhood however, which may to some degree extenuate the oddities of his character. His father, Paul I, was seldom better than lunatic: he was eventually murdered. Alexander himself was raised at the court of that famous empress Catherine the Great, a woman who, though many ways remarkable, did not always successfully unite in her person the sublime qualities of a ruler with those of a tender and affectionate grandmother. Furthermore, it has often been observed that Russia is a particularly difficult country to govern well, and the strain of attempting to do so is generally enough to destroy the composure of even the strongest mind.

It was Alexander whom Jonathan Strange attempted to influence by sending him vivid and nightmarish dreams to forewarn him of the ill intentions of Napoleon. We may object that destroying the repose of an overburthened man was a cruel thing for Strange to have done, but we must consider that he saw this proceeding as merely a novel form of communicating advice:"I might, after all, send him a letter to say as much...nothing is more certain than that Buonaparte will betray him in the end.[25]"

More about Alexander, his policies, wars and irregular domestic arrangements, can be found here