Home  »  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men  »  Gortschakoff

S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Prince Alexander Gortschakoff, a Russian statesman; born 1798; secretary of legation to London, 1824; councillor of the embassy, and minister to Vienna, 1832; minister of foreign affairs and chancellor of the empire, 1857; took part in the Black Sea Conference in London, 1871, and in the Berlin Congress, 1878; resigned the direction of foreign affairs, 1882; died March 11, 1883.]
  • Russia is not sulking, she is collecting herself (La Russie ne boude pas, elle se recueille).

  • This celebrated expression occurred in a circular to the Russian legations in Europe in 1856, in which the chancellor opposed the interference of the Western Powers in the internal affairs of the Two Sicilies, but disclaimed any such opposition to intervention, on Russia’s part, as the result of mortification at her defeat by England and France. It marked, even in this negative way, the reappearance of Russia in European politics after the Crimean war, from the effects of which she was “collecting herself.”
  • Gortschakoff’s acquaintance with Austria and her heterogeneous people caused him to say, what was perhaps more accurate thirty years ago than now: “Austria is not a state, she is only a government.” This resembles Metternich’s celebrated mot, when the peninsula was a congeries of often antagonistic principalities, “Italy is only a geographical expression.”