Rus Articles Journal

Russian nobility. How in the country the highest estate was formed? Part 2

Carrying out large-scale reforms in the state, Peter I paid special attention to nobility, seeing in it that force which can give him real help in transformation of the country.

In 1714 Petr equaled an ancestral lands with estates, having issued the decree “About a Male Entail“, and in 1722 entered “Table of ranks“ according to which the new system of ranks divided into 14 classes was created. The tsar obliged all noblemen, including a nobility, to serve. All nobility was turned into the exclusive office community but which is completely under control of the monarchic power and deprived of many rights.

The Sluzhily nobility only benefited from it as it had an opportunity of fast promotion. The place of the nobleman in the state hierarchy was defined now not by merits of ancestors but only the appropriated rank. The well-born nobility significantly lost, forced to begin service with the lowest positions, and, in the conditions of fierce competition with ambitious “baby birds of a nest of Petrov“. Besides, imposed the sluzhily nobility that the tsar personally is engaged in their destiny, defines for study, invites to various actions, helps to get a secular luster.

Pyotr divided the nobility into two categories: hereditary and personal. From a historical shlyakhetstvo all were recognized as hereditary noblemen, the having old court or nation-wide ranks, including clerks, and their lineal descendants. But new ranks received from them only those who were employed. Part of well-born boyars, okolnichy etc. did not receive new ranks, but the tsar allowed them to be called temporarily on their old ranks.

From now on the person of any estate who received the first officer rank of the ensign (14 - y a class Tables of ranks), automatically became the hereditary nobleman. On civil service only the rank 8 - go a class gave the hereditary nobility, and with 14 - go on 9 - y only the personal nobility which was not descended, but for the rest granted to his owner practically the same rights that hereditary noblemen had. At Pyotr`s receivers the right of receiving the hereditary and personal nobility was extended also to winners by the Russian awards.

The number of noblemen in the country began to increase quickly. It was promoted by the fact that natives of other estates had a real possibility of acquisition of the nobility a period of service, it at once made service by the official, and especially the officer in the army very popular and even prestigious.

Finally Russian nobility turned into originally exclusive estate at Catherine II who confirmed with the special Appointed diploma the liberties granted still it by the spouse Peter III and privileges to noblemen, including freedom from obligatory service, personal taxes and corporal punishments, inviolability of noble advantage, the right of possession of the earth and serfs etc. The nobility was exempted from rigid control by the state and created own structures of self-government.

By this time finally the term “nobleman“ entered the use. It is curious that unambiguous and accurate interpretation of this term was not given neither then, nor later. So, in Laws on the states entering the Code of laws of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the XX century in article 15 it was written down: “The noble name is the consequence expiring from quality and virtue of the husbands commanding in the ancient time who distinguished themselves merits than, turning the service into a merit, got to the posterity a naritsaniye noble“.

Agree, sounds loftily, but it is very foggy. This formulation almost literally repeats that that it was provided for one and a half centuries in the Appointed diploma before. The enormous number of attempts to give more accurate formulation of the nobility, but unsuccessfully was during this time made.

Since Ekaterina in provinces genealogical noble books in which all hereditary noblemen who are living constantly or having estates in the territory of the province registered began to be kept. The nobleman could “be registered“ in this way only in one of provinces. If the hereditary nobleman had no property, he could “be registered“ in any province. Personal noblemen in the genealogical book were not brought, them, as well as honourable citizens, wrote down in the fifth section of the city narrow-minded book.

In the genealogical book 6 categories (parts) in one of which were selected wrote down the nobleman depending on a way which received the nobility, existence of a title and antiquity of a sort.

During existence of the noble genealogical book the form of its maintaining put at Ekaterina did not change. In already mentioned Laws on states it was enshrined that “the nobility potomstvenno has 6 categories: 1) nobility appointed or valid; 2) the nobility is military; 3) the nobility on the ranks received in civil service and on awards; 4) foreign childbirth; 5) titles noted childbirth; 6) ancient noble noble childbirth“.

As the most honourable were considered 4 - y, 5 - y and 6 - y categories as in them wrote down the ancient and titled noble childbirth.

In 4 - yu part of the genealogical book all foreign “imperial, sovereign, princely and other vyezzhy honest childbirth“ was brought which “entered the Russian citizenship and about which it is mentioned in decrees of 195 (7195 g from creation of the world or from river mean 1687 x.) about replenishment of the digit genealogical book“. In Russia it was fashionable to conduct the sort from - for borders from the Lithuanian princes, zolotoordynsky murz etc. But on trust similar data were not taken, in the second half of the 17th century in the Digit order the Chamber of genealogical affairs which subjected to check the documents confirming sort antiquity was created. In 4 - yu (and in 6 - yu, about it below) part of the genealogical noble book only that childbirth which in the 17th century at the first Romanov was written down in the Velvet book and genealogical lists could be included.

In 5 - yu part the distinguished childbirth was brought “by titles“ to which “it is appropriated or it is hereditary, or on a pleasure of the crowned head the name either princely, or count, or baronial, or other“. There was not public, but very clear split into the primordial titled childbirth and those that received a title from the monarchical power. If to trust legends, then some noblemen (for example, And. P. Yermolov) even refused assignment of a title as considered that the sort antiquity confirmed with introduction in 4 - y or 6 - y the section of the genealogical book, is more honourable, than the granted title.

In 6 - yu part of the book ancient noble Russian noble childbirth was brought alphabetically, “which proofs of noble advantage in hundred years and ascend above; their noble beginning is covered with uncertainty“. Counting by the time of emergence of a sort was conducted from the middle of the 18th century. This noble childbirth still called “stolbovy“ as at the time of the first tsars from a dynasty Romanov they were already written down in the Digit order in columns - the digit lists curtailed into a roll according to which were imposed on service and received estates, and someone from them and in the Velvet book.

As less honourable were considered the three first undressed books as generally brought the noblemen who left the lowest estates in them. The Russian nobility also consisted of these noblemen whose number promptly increased on the whole.