An Economic History of Russia - Vol. 1

By James Mavor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
THE BONDAGED PEASANTRY ON THE EVE OF EMANCIPATION

HAVING followed the discussions of the agrarian question in the "higher spheres," and in the committees and commissions down to the moment of Emancipation, we may now describe in a general way the condition of the bondaged peasantry during the epoch immediately preceding Emancipation. The notable fact which "springs into the eyes," is that although the total population of Russia was increasing rapidly, the peasant population, both of State lands and of the lands of pomyetschēkē, was exhibiting even diminution. This is shown by the following table:1

Number and Date of
Censuses.
Number of Pleasants
of pomyetschēkē. (a)
Number of State
Peasants. (a)
Tatol
Population. (e)
Column 1.Column 2.Column 3.Column 4.
1st 17223,200,000 (b)2,200,00014,000,000
5th 17969,789,6807,276,17036,000,000
6th 181210,416,8137,550,81441,000,000
8th 183510,872,229 (c)10,550,00060,000,000
9th 185110,708,85612,000,00069,000,000
10th 185910,696,136 (d)12,800,00074,000,000

According to Semevsky,2 the "serf percentage," or the percentage of serfs to the total population in Great Russia alone, was 53 per

____________________
1

Notes to Table.--(a) The figures in cols. 2 and 3 represent the number of souls of male sex in bondage in European Russia, the Baltic Provinces, and in Siberia. The figures in col.3 include State, Udelnye, and Cloister peasants. Cols. 2 and 3 include peasants working in mills and factories under bondage, as well as those working in the fields. The figures in col. 3 are derived from correspondence with V. E. Semevsky. See Appendix III, infra. (b) Semevsky, ibid. (c) From 1835 the figures exclude the Baltic Provinces, where towards that year 416,013 souls of male sex were liberated (see Semevsky, op. cit., ii. p. 570). (d) Semevsky. See Appendix III, infra. (e) Brockhaus and Ephron, Russia ( St. Petersburg, 1900), p. 75.

2
Smevsky V. E., Peasants in the Reign of Katherine II ( St. Petersburg, 1881), p. 16.

-418-

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