Nicholas I of Russia

Nicholas I reigned as Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. He was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland, he has become best known as a reactionary whose controversial reign was marked by geographical expansion, economic growth and massive industrialisation on the one hand, centralisation of administrative policies and repression of dissent in another. Nicholas had a happy marriage, his biographer Nicholas V. Riasanovsky says that Nicholas displayed determination, singleness of purpose, an iron will, along with a powerful sense of duty and a dedication to hard work, he saw himself as a soldier—a junior officer consumed by spit and polish. A handsome man, he was nervous and aggressive. Trained as an engineer, he was a stickler for minute detail. In his public persona, says Riasanovsky, "Nicholas I came to represent autocracy personified: infinitely majestic and powerful, hard as stone, relentless as fate." He was the younger brother of his predecessor, Alexander I. Nicholas inherited his brother's throne despite the failed Decembrist revolt against him and went on to become the most reactionary of all Russian leaders.

Nicholas I was instrumental in helping to create an independent Greek state, resumed the Russian conquest of the Caucasus by seizing Iğdır Province and the remainder of modern-day Armenia and Azerbaijan from Qajar Persia during the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828. He ended the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 as well. On, however, he led Russia into the Crimean War, with disastrous results. Historians emphasize that his micromanagement of the armies hindered his generals, as did his misguided strategy. Fuller notes that historians have concluded that "the reign of Nicholas I was a catastrophic failure in both domestic and foreign policy." On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its geographical zenith, spanning over 20 million square kilometers, but had a desperate need for reform. Nicholas was born at Gatchina Palace in Gatchina to Grand Duke Paul, Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia. Five months after his birth, his grandmother, Catherine the Great and his parents became emperor and empress of Russia.

He was a younger brother of Emperor Alexander I of Russia, who succeeded to the throne in 1801, of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia. Riasanovsky says he was, "the most handsome man in Europe, but a charmer who enjoyed feminine company and was at his best with the men."On 13 July 1817, Nicholas married Princess Charlotte of Prussia, who thereafter went by the name Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted to Orthodoxy. Charlotte's parents were Frederick William III of Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Nicholas and Charlotte were third cousins, as they were both great-great-grandchildren of Frederick William I of Prussia. With two older brothers, it seemed unlikely Nicholas would become tsar. However, as Alexander and Constantine both failed to produce sons, Nicholas remained to rule one day. In 1825, when Alexander I died of typhus, Nicholas was caught between swearing allegiance to Constantine and accepting the throne for himself; the interregnum lasted until Constantine, in Warsaw at that time, confirmed his refusal.

Additionally, on 25 December, Nicholas issued the manifesto proclaiming his accession to the throne. That manifesto retroactively named 1 December, the date of Alexander I's death, as the beginning of his reign. During this confusion, a plot was hatched by some members of the military to overthrow Nicholas and to seize power; this led to the Decembrist Revolt on 26 December 1825, an uprising Nicholas was successful in suppressing. Nicholas lacked his brother's spiritual and intellectual breadth. Nicholas I began his reign on 14 December 1825; this particular Monday dawned cold, with temperatures of −8 degrees Celsius. This was regarded by the Russian people as a bad omen for the coming reign; the accession of Nicholas I was marred by a demonstration of 3000 young Imperial Army officers and other liberal-minded citizens. This demonstration was an attempt to force the government to accept a constitution and a representative form of government. Nicholas ordered the army out to smash the demonstration.

The "uprising" was put down and became known as the Decembrist Revolt. Having experienced the trauma of the Decembrist Revolt on the first day of his reign, Nicholas I was determined to restrain Russian society; the Third Section of the Imperial Chancellery ran a huge network of spies and informers with the help of Gendarmes. The government exercised censorship and other forms of control over education and all manifestations of public life, he appointed Alexander Benckendorff to head this Chancellery. Benckendorff employed 16 staff in his office, he began intercepting mail at a high rate. Soon, because of Benckendorff, the saying that it was impossible to sneeze in one's house before it is reported to the emperor, became Benckendorff's creed. Tsar Nicholas abolished several areas of local autonomy. Bessarabia's autonomy was removed in 1828, Poland's in 1830 and the Jewish Qahal was abolished in 1843; as an exception to this trend, Finland was able to keep its autonomy


Alionza is a white Italian wine grape variety, grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of north central Italy, where it has a long history of being used since the 14th century as both a table grape and blending grape for wine production. While sometimes confused with the Greek wine grape Sklava, DNA analysis in the early 21st century has suggested, that Alionza may be related to the Tuscan wine grape Trebbiano. Alionza has been growing in the provinces of Bologna and Modena of Emilia-Romagna since at least the early 14th century, when it was documented in Italian agricultural writer Pietro de' Crescenzi's Ruralia commoda treatise. At once point the grape was widely grown in the Lombardy wine regions of Brescia and Mantova but today is quite rare; the grape has been confused with the Greek wine grape Sklava, grown in the eastern Peloponnese region of Argolis, but no evidence has suggested that the two grapes are related. While French ampelographers in the late 19th century believed that Alionza was among the numerous white wine grape varieties growing in the southern French regions of Provence and the Languedoc, there has been no evidence to indicate that Alionza has left Italy.

However, in the early 21st century, DNA analysis has suggested that there may be a close genetic relationship between Alionza and the white Tuscan wine grape Trebbiano, known as Ugni blanc in France. Alionza is a late ripening grape variety that thrives best on warm vineyard soils in well exposed hillside locations. Like the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol wine grape Schiava Grossa, Alionza has been trained in a pergola style system along horizontal wires which explains the common synonym of Alionza, Uva Schiava, derived from the Italian sciavo or "slave"; the grape has a reputation for being a reliable crop, producing consistent yields and having strong resistant to several viticultural hazards such as botrytis bunch rot, late spring frost and powdery mildew. As of 2012, there were 43 hectares of Alionza in Italy, growing exclusively in the Emilia-Romagna provinces of Bologna and Modena. While Alionza was more planted in the Lombardy region, the grape has seen its numbers drastically drop over the last several centuries.

Today it is used as a minor blending grapes in some of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica and Denominazione di Origine Controllata wines of the region. In addition to wine production, some vineyards sell their Alionza grapes for use as table grapes. Over the years, Alionza has been known under a variety of synonyms including: Aglionza, Aleonza, Bianca del Bolognese, Allionza bianca, Leonza, Uva Lonza and Uva Schiava

Thomas Rees (Unitarian)

Thomas Rees, Welsh Nonconformist divine, was a Unitarian minister and scholar. Rees was educated at the Presbyterian Carmarthen, he entered the Unitarian ministry in 1807 at London. He went to Southwark in 1813, earned the degree of LL. D. of Glasgow in 1819, went to Stamford Street, Blackfriars, in 1823. He had great knowledge of the history of anti-trinitarian opinion of the 16th century, he published papers, chiefly in the Monthly Repository between 1818 and 1822, on such subjects as Faustus Socinus and Francis David, including The Italian Reformation, Memoirs of the Socini. Financial troubles drove him to Spain in 1853, he died in obscurity in Brighton, he was born in Gelligron, the son of Josiah Rees. He started in the bookselling business, but on the advice of Abraham Rees, he was educated for the ministry at Carmarthen College. In 1807 Rees became afternoon preacher at Newington Green Chapel, London, of which he had sole charge from 1808 to 1813, when he moved to St. Thomas's Chapel, closed in 1822.

On 12 October 1823 a new chapel was opened in Stamford Street, London, built from the proceeds of the sales of St. Thomas's Chapel and the chapel in Prince's Street, Westminster. Here Rees ministered till 1831. Rees was a fellow of the Society of Arts, received the degree of LL. D. in January 1819 from Glasgow University. He was a trustee of Dr. Williams's Foundation from 1809 to 1853, a member of the Presbyterian board from 1813, its secretary from 1825 to 1853, some time secretary of the London Unitarian Society.. From 1828 to 1835 he was secretary to the London union of ministers of the "three denominations", his rejection in 1835 was resented by the unitarians, who claimed to represent the Presbyterians, from whom the secretary had until been chosen. They seceded from the union, obtained the separate privilege of presenting addresses to the throne. Rees in 1837 was appointed by government as principal receiver of the English regium donum, on the nomination of the three denominations. In 1853 Rees left England for Spain.

He died in obscurity at Brighton, on 1 August 1864. His wife, died at Hythe on 20 August 1856. Rees made a collection of the literature of antitrinitarian opinion during the 16th century, his intention, announced by 1833, of publishing a comprehensive work, was never fulfilled. For Rees's Cyclopædia he contributed articles on biography, various miscellaneous topics, examined and described the plates. Rees published, besides single sermons: The Beauties of South Wales, 1815; the Racovian Catechism in Latin translation. A Sketch of the History of the Regium Donum, 1834, his historical papers included: Faustus Socinus and Francis David in the Monthly Repository, 1818. Rees left in manuscript The Anti-papal Reformers of Italy in the Sixteenth Century, with a Glance at their Forerunners, the Sectaries of the Middle Ages, in six volumes, his promised memoir of Abraham Rees never appeared. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Rees, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica.

22. Cambridge University Press. P. 975. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Rees, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900