CHAPTER VIII.
THE COSSACKS.

THE Population of the Cossacks once formed an independent sovereignty, parts of them, as for example, those of Little Russia, recognizing ever since the XVIth century, the Polish Republic and her king as lord paramount. In their organization, at the commencement exclusively military, the principle of equality absolutely prevailed. As their power extended, that is, when they spread over the lands surrounding their primitive cradle and at that time not subjected to any special dominion--lands known now as Little Russia, they were ruled by free institutions. At the present day they form still an exceptional population, and however deprived of ancient freedom, their position is far above that of the free peasantry.

The positive origin of the Cossacks dates, according to all probability, from the time when southern Russia was overflowed with Tartars, in the XIIIth century, when the capital was transferred from Kiïeff farther north, and the greatest part of Little Russia abandoned to her fate. It may be perchance, however, that previous to that epoch, even centuries before it indeed, in these extensive and unsettled regions, the highway of the inroads of Asiatic tribes, bands made up of all kinds of runaways, existed

-170-

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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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