The site of the modern capital of the Russian empire is one of the most singular that has ever been voluntarily selected for the foundation of a great metropolis ; and yet, owing mainly to the genius and perseverance which have been displayed in overcoming natural disadvantages, St. Petersburg has, within a comparatively short period, acquired a magnitude and splendor which justly entitle it to rank among the first of European cities.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855