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Item 199 - Peter the Great Catalog 595 (Nov 2020)

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Description


LS in Russian, signed “Piotr,” one page, 7.25 x 9, May 7, 1721. Written in a clear secretarial hand and addressed to General Golitsyn "at Abo or wherever else he may be," this important letter was written towards the end of Russia's 21-year conflict with Sweden, during which Russia had occupied the Swedish territory of Finland. Peter acknowledges the receipt through his aide Aleksey Tatishchev of Goltitsyn's letter about General Lacy in which he stated his intention of increasing the number of men and galleys going from Abo to Helsingfors, and instructs Golitsyn to carry this out according to his judgment. Peter adds a four-line confirmatory postscript in his own barely legible hand. In very good to fine condition, with splitting along the hinge, and repaired seal-related paper loss to the integral address leaf.

The recipient of this letter, Prince Michael Golitsyn, was Commander-in-Chief in Finland, from which the southeastern city of Viipuri (now Vyburg in Russia) had become detached on its surrender by the Swedes in 1710. The successful raids on the Swedish coast by Peter's Irish general, Count Peter Lacy, referred to in the present letter, during which 400 miles of coastline were ravaged, played a large part in forcing Sweden to conclude the Treaty of Nystad in September 1721. Sweden ceded Livonia, Ingria and Estonia in perpetuity to Russia, as well as the southeast corner of Finland adjacent to Viipuri; the remainder of Finland was however restored to Sweden. This humbling of Sweden, together with the large accession of territory to Russia, fully satisfied Peter's war aims and proved the climax of his considerable reign.

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