Like Alexander in the last period of his reign, Nicholas considered himself the supreme guardian of European order, and was ever on the watch to oppose revolution in all its forms. Hence he was generally in strained relations with France, especially in the time of Louis Philippe, who became king not by the grace of God but by the will of the people.
The natural route overland through Marseilles and Toulouse was held by his enemies; that through the empire from the head of the Adriatic was little safer, since Leopold of Austria was on the watch for him.
At the declaration of the republic, he closed his Ami du peuple, and commenced, on the 25th, a new paper, the Journal de la republique francaise, which was to contain his sentiments as its predecessor had done, and to be always on the watch.
He was occupied in trying to unite firmly together the whole evangelical movement; he laboured to give his countrymen a good system of schools; he was on the watch to defeat any attempt of the Roman Curia to regain its hold over Germany; and he was the confidential adviser of a large number of the evangelical princes.
Pierluigi being an uncompromising opponent of the emperor Charles V., Don Ferrante Gonzaga, the imperial governor of Milan, was ever on the watch for a pretext to deprive him of Piacenza, which the emperor greatly coveted.