3 (14) April 1754 in the village of Stryapkovo, Yuriev uyezd, Vladimir province, in a family of the famous general P. A. Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky was born son Nicholas, a future diplomat, chancellor, actual privy councilor, chairman of the State Council, patron, collector, founder of the private museum created "for a good education".
Rumyantsev was educated at home, and then entered the Life Guard Horse Regiment. In 1768 he was transferred to the Life Guards Semyonov regiment, and in January 1769 for the father’s service was granted the rank of a warrant officer. In August 1772 Rumyantsev was granted the rank of a gentleman of the bedchamber, and together with his brother Sergei was in the court of Empress Catherine II, visiting among the elite "the Hermitage meetings" of the empress. During 1774-76, in order to expand his education he traveled to Europe, attended lectures at Leiden University, met with Voltaire, a French philosopher and educator. In 1776-81 Rumyantsev again served at the court, where he became close friends with Cesarevich Paul Petrovich.
In 1781-95 Rumyantsev served as a diplomat in Germany. In his reports to St. Petersburg he described in detail the internal political developments and asked the Empress to appoint many of the emigrants to the Russian service.
Upon his return to Russia in 1795, Rumyantsev was appointed to the special Commission to discuss the issue of changing the rate of copper coins, and in April 1796 he became the head of the State Loan Bank, at the same time occupying the position of Senator of the 1st Department of the Senate. In May 1796 he became a member of the Committee for raising funds for the early repayment of state debts and to find new means to meet public needs.
Emperor Paul I, who had ascended the throne, favored Rumyantsev, and in November 1796 granted him the rank of a chamberlain, a week later he made him the chief chamberlain of the Imperial Court, and a few days later – an actual privy councilor. In December 1797, Rumyantsev became one of the directors of the Subsidiary bank for the nobility.
During the reign of Alexander I, Nicholas Petrovich was appointed a member of the Privy Council (from January 1810 – the State Council) and the 1st Department of the Senate. In 1801-09 he also was director of water communications. Under his direction were made Obvodny and Ligovsky channels in St. Petersburg, laid water pipes to Moscow from Mytischi. In the capital of the Russian empire he oversaw construction of two bridges over the River Moika, edging the Neva with granite and other important efforts.
With the establishment of ministries in Russia in 1802, Rumyantsev was appointed Minister of Commerce and held this post until the elimination of the Ministry in June 1811. In February 1808 he became Minister of Foreign Affairs. Apart from being a minister, he also served as chairman of the State Council and the Committee of Ministers. In September-October 1808, Nikolai Petrovich accompanied Alexander I in a meeting with the French Emperor Napoleon I at Erfurt, where he held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean B. Champagne. In 1809, as a result of skillful negotiation of the Russian diplomat with Sweden, was signed the Treaty of Fredrikshamn, under which Finland was given over to Russia. In return for this, Rumyantsev was promoted to the rank of State Chancellor. In July 1812, he concluded a treaty of alliance with Spain. After the end of war with Napoleon in 1813 Rumyantsev appealed to the emperor with a request for resignation, which was given to him in August 1814 (retaining the title of the State Chancellor)
For his services, Nikolai Rumyantsev had been awarded many top Russian orders; he had been an honorary member of the Free Economic Society, the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, the Society of Russian History and Antiquities in Moscow and other organizations. Rumyantsev gained fame as a collector of books and manuscripts, ethnographic and archaeological materials, painting, sculpture, which initiated the institution of the Rumyantsev Museum.
Rumyantsev united the famous Russian historians and archeographers of his time. In 1811, under the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, he established the Commission of printing government charters and treaties. On his initiative and his money was issued a number of Russian memorial books of a great historical and cultural value.
Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev died in St. Petersburg in 1826 and was buried at his estate Gomel, Mogilev province. He left no testament. At an oral request of his brother, Sergei Petrovich Rumyantsev gave his collection to the State "for the benefit of the Fatherland and good education", which became the basis for the Moscow Public and Rumyantsev Museum. This collection gave a start to the Russian State Library.
Lit.: Коваль Л. М. Дело и имя графа Николая Петровича Румянцева // Вестник Библиотечной Ассамблеи Евразии. 2003. № 1. С. 25-28; Николай Петрович Румянцев: жизнь и деятельность (1754-1826): Библиографический указатель книг, статей из сборников, журналов, газет на русском языке. М., 2001; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://www.rsl.ru/ru/s3/s331/s122/s1223366/; Николай Петрович Румянцев (1754-1826) // Великие люди — библиотекари: от А до Я. Сер. 1. Вып. 1. М., 2005; Переписка государственного канцлера графа Н. П. Румянцева с московскими учёными: Ко дню пятидесятилетнему юбилея Румянцевского музея. М., 1882; Румянцев Н. П. Письмо графа Н. П. Румянцева С. Ф. Стрекалову 26 февраля (9 марта) 1794 г. // Русская старина. 1896. Т. 88. № 12. С. 584; Сараскина Л. Граф Н. П. Румянцев и его время. М., 2003; Толстяков А. П. Румянцев Николай Петрович // Книга: Энциклопедия. М., 1999; Щукин Д. С. Государственная и просветительская деятельность Николая Петровича Румянцева конца XVIII — первой четверти XIX в.: дисс. ... к. и. н. Саранск, 2005.
From the Presidential library materials:
Депеша министра иностранных дел Н. П. Румянцева посланнику в Константинополе А. Я. Италинскому о поражении французских войск при городе Красном и освобождении Смоленска [Дело] : 15/27 ноября 1812 г. (АВП РИ Ф. Канцелярия Министра иностранных дел Оп. 468. Д. 56);