CHAPTER V.
THE NOBILITY.

Next to the Czar in the social scale stands the Nobility the strongest prop of the absolute throne, and the immediate instrument for the execution of the imperial will. They form a more compact body in Russia than in any other country whatever. Nowhere else is the aristocratic class so separate and distinct from the mass of the nation. Endowed with numerous privileges that utterly hedge it off from the people, at the same time that they firmly unite its members to each other and to the throne, its destiny is fatally blended with that of Czarism, to whose debasing, annihilating, destructive influence it is more than all other classes exposed.

In the legal meaning of the word, the Nobility form the only class enjoying the jus personœ, or personal right. This, however, it enjoys only with reference to the so-called lower classes, while with reference to the Czar, it is nothing more than a chattel. No privileges shield it from the unlimited, autocratic authority of the throne.

Whatever laws are enacted, or even temporarily observed, the Czar is above them. He is the living law, and observes the written one only as far as he condescends to do so. In principle and in reality he possesses more absolute, unbounded, uncontrolled power over the whole

-111-

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Russia as It Is
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents xv
  • INTRODUCTION. 9
  • Chapter I - CZARISM--ITS HISTORICAL ORIGIN. 37
  • Chapter II - THE CZAR NICHOLAS. 44
  • Chapter III - THE ORGANIZATION OF THE GOVERNMENT. 69
  • Chapter IV - THE ARMY AND NAVY. 80
  • Chapter V - THE NOBILITY. 111
  • Chapter VI - THE CLERGY. 125
  • Chapter VII - THE BOURGEOISIE. 137
  • Chapter VIII - THE COSSACKS. 170
  • Chapter IX - THE REAL PEOPLE, THE PEASANTRY-SERFDOM. 180
  • Chapter X - THE RIGHTS OF ALIENS AND STRANGERS. 219
  • Chapter XI - THE COMMUNE. 226
  • Chapter XII - EMANCIPATION. 233
  • Chapter XIII - MANIFEST DESTINY 251
  • APPENDIX. 289
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