Karl Robert Von Nesselrode, count, a Russian statesman, born on board a Russian frigate in the port of Lisbon, Dec. 14, 1780, died in St. Petersburg, March 23, 1862. He was baptized in the Protestant faith on board an English ship. He belonged to a noble German family settled in Livonia, and at the time of his birth his father was ambassador to Portugal. He began his career in the military service, but early became attaché to the various embassies of his father. Subsequently he served in that capacity with the embassies at Paris and the Hague. He gained the favor of the emperor Alexander by the brilliant style of his diplomatic compositions (which however were drawn up by his secretary), and received an appointment in the ministry of foreign affairs in St. Petersburg. As councillor of the cabinet he was frequently brought into personal contact with the emperor, who learned to appreciate his knowledge of international law and of European affairs. At the same time he knew how to disguise his superiority under an appearance of modesty, and to make the ideas which originated from his own mind appear to proceed from his master.
The favorable impression he thus produced led to his being intrusted with the ministry of foreign affairs before he was 32 years old (1812), at first under Count Razu-movski; and he began from that time to control the relations of Russia with foreign countries. He formed the coalition with England and Prussia in 1813, and the negotiations and treaties with England, Sweden, Prussia, and Austria, which determined the result of the conflict with France, were almost all concluded under his influence. In the night of March 30-31, 1814, he signed the capitulation of Paris, which put an end to the wars of the first French empire (excepting the hundred days); and 42 years afterward he retired from public service after the signing of the treaty of peace in Paris, March 30, 1856, which terminated the war with Napoleon III. and his allies. At the congress of Vienna (1814-'15) Nesselrode was the first to assume for Russia that attitude of superiority which, combined with a tone of courteous and bland moderation in communicating with other nations, has since given to Russian statecraft a distinguished position in the diplomatic world.
Sympathizing most with Austria, he endeavored at the same time to maintain intimate relations with Prussia, and also showed great moderation toward France, effectually opposing at the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) Great Britain's desire of prolonging the occupation of France by foreign garrisons, and exerting himself to obtain a reduction of the enormous fines imposed upon her after the battle of Waterloo. Louis XVIII. and his minister Richelieu showed their gratitude to Nes-selrode and his colleague Pozzo di Borgo, and immense amounts of money passed into the hands of both. The great wealth secured by him on that and other occasions made him one of the richest men of Europe. He was one of the most extensive sheep graziers in Russia, his flocks amounting to more than 150,000, and his personal property was enormous. But the prosaic tenor of his mind was not congenial to the poetical and mystical disposition of Alexander, who regarded the holy alliance as a religious matter, while Nesselrode looked upon it merely as a political power.
While preserving the first place in the foreign ministry, He was to some extent supplanted for a while in the emperor's confidence by Count Capo d'Istria, who was appointed as his colleague; but the outbreak of the Greek revolution led to his withdrawal and left Nessel-rode sole master of the foreign office. The revolutionary movements which at the same period agitated Italy, Spain, and Portugal, caused Nesselrode and Metternich to adopt a stringent policy, which had reached its climax at the time of the death of Alexander I. in 1825. Nesselrode continued to enjoy the confidence of the new czar Nicholas, whose energy and commanding individuality, however, made his position less influential than it had been under Alexander. Nesselrode's policy having always been marked by moderation and caution, the hostile attitude assumed toward Turkev soon after the accession of Nicholas was attributed rather to the emperor than to his minister; while the skill which the latter manifested in the negotiations, from those which preceded the battle of Navarino to the peace of Adrianople, contributed to strengthen the political influence of Russia. In 1844 he was promoted to the rank of chancellor of the empire. From that time his influence constantly increased.
His administration, distinguished for unity of spirit and perfect mechanism, was weakened by his inflexible adherence to the policy of the holy alliance, hut tempered by his desire of maintaining friendly relations with France and the other European powers. This peaceful disposition clashed with the- impetuous character of Nicholas, particularly during the complications which led to the Crimean war; and although Nesselrode continued to conduct the foreign affairs during the lifetime of Nicholas and while the war was in progress, he retired soon after the accession of Alexander H. Throughout his official career he was noted for kindness toward his subordinates. Conspicuous among his personal habits was his fondness for cooking; in his daily consultations his cooks are said to have had the precedence overall others, and the invention of many dishes is attributed to him, among which is the pudding ą la Nesselrode. His only son is now one of the " masters of the court" at St. Petersburg.