Manifesto of Emperor Alexander I, Confirming the Abdication of Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich and Designating Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich as Heir, 16 August 1823

By the Grace of God, We, Alexander I, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, etc., etc., etc.

We announce the following to all Our faithful subjects. From the moment of Our ascension to the Throne of All the Russias, We have always been aware of Our duty before Almighty God not only to assure and increase the prosperity of Our beloved Fatherland and people, but also to prepare for and to ensure their tranquility and prosperity after Us, by clearly and precisely indicating Our heir, in accordance with the laws of Our Imperial House and the needs of the Empire. We cannot, like our predecessors, proclaim him by name, since We are still abiding in anticipation of whether it will be acceptable to the inscrutable Will of God to grant Us an Heir to the Throne in the direct line. The more Our days pass, however, the more urgent do We feel it necessary to place Our Throne in a position in which it could not for an instant become vacant.

While We have been pondering over this solemn duty in Our heart, Our Beloved Brother, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, of his own, personal accord, presented Us with a request that the right to the dignity to which, by His birth, He might at some time be raised, should be handed over to the person to whom it belongs after Him. He stated, moreover, that it was His intention that His decision should provide new force to the Supplemental Decree on succession to the Throne which We have established in the year 1820 and which Decree He, inasmuch as it pertains to him, has freely and solemnly recognized.

We have been deeply touched by this sacrifice which Our Dear Brother has made, with no thought of His own person, for the sake of the strengthening of the familial laws of Our Imperial House and for the sake of the constant tranquility of the Empire of All the Russias.

Beseeching the aid of God and giving mature consideration to a subject so close to Our heart and so important for the State, and finding that the present enactments on the order of succession to the Throne do not deprive those who have a right to it from freely abdicating from this right in circumstances in which this does not create any difficulty in the following succession to the Throne—We have, with the agreement of Our Most August Mother and in accordance with Our supreme authority inherited by Us as Head of the Imperial Family and by the Autocratic Power granted unto Us by God, resolved, firstly: that the free abdication of Our first brother, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, from his right to the Throne of All the Russias, should be firm and immutable; that, in order to assure it accurately be made public at the proper time, the decree on this abdication should be kept in the Great Cathedral of the Assumption in Moscow and in the three supreme offices of authority in Our Empire: the Holy Synod, the State Council, and the Governing Senate. Secondly, in consequence thereof, in accordance with the Decree on succession to the Throne, Our heir is now Our second Brother, Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich.

Having done this, We remain in the calm assurance that, on the day when the King of Kings calls Us from this transient kingdom to eternity, as is the rule for all mortal men, that the Estates of the Realm, to whom this Our inviolable will and this Our legal enactment will be made known in due time and by Our provision, will immediately swear their loyalty as faithful subjects to the Hereditary Emperor here identified by Us, as succeeding to the one and indivisible Throne of the Empire of All the Russias, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. As for Us, We ask all Our loyal subjects that they would, with the same love through which We regard the care of their constant prosperity as the highest blessing on earth, bring their heartfelt prayers to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that, in His infinite mercy, He would receive Our soul into his everlasting kingdom.

Issued at Tsarskoe Selo on 16 August in the year of Our Lord 1823, in the twenty-third year of Our reign.

(The original has been signed in His Imperial Majesty’s own hand:)


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