Russian nobility. For what merits it was possible to become the prince? Part 1
the Title of the prince was the only thing which was constantly applied since ancient times in Russia. Till the 18th century this title was exclusively patrimonial, inherited it only on the man`s line.
At the beginning of Peter I`s reign in Russia of the princely childbirth happening from the Russian grand and specific dukes there was only 47. Four more sorts (Golitsyn, Kurakina, Trubetskoy and Khovansky) were descendants of the grand Lithuanian duke Gedimin. There was also a small amount of princely surnames whose ancestors arrived to Russia from the European countries. Grant cases a princely title of people of humble origin did not exist, but the statement practiced in this title of representatives of the highest nobility (usually murz, bek, etc.) the nomadic and mountain people passing under a hand of the Russian monarch.
Similar grants began at grand Moscow dukes. So, in 1509 Vasily III welcomed Akchura - to Adashev`s murz reigning over konyalsky mordvy. From now on conduct the princely family of Akchurina. Since 1524 Chegodayev, since 1526 - Mansyrev conduct a princely sort.
The number of princes from the nomadic and mountain people began to grow promptly at the tsar Alexey Mikhaylovich, soon considerably having exceeded the number of primordially Russian princes. The expert on history of the nobility E. P. Karpovich in the book published at the end of the 19th century noted, that “only among one mordva it was gathered to 80 Mordovian childbirth, more or less Russified and using legally a hereditary princely title though the majority them and lives as there live simple peasants, being engaged, by the way, and izvozchichy trade“.
There was a paradoxical situation when a significant amount of carriers of the highest title to everyday measures did not correspond to it in any way. It should be added that by this time and many Russian princely surnames ceased to take high places at court and in the state, being content with insignificant positions, and even rolling down to the provision of odnodvorets. Karpovich gives an example that in the 17th century princes Vyazma “served in several generations as priests and sextons in villages at mediocre landowners, and Beloselskiye`s princes were spongers at some Travinykh“.
Reached that the word “prince“ in Russia began to call the Tatars who were engaged in trade in a rating in the cities. Curiously, as actually people whose princely title was supported by the documents occurred among similar dealers. In the 17th century to call someone just “prince“, without having entered his name, was considered as an insult (disgrace) that it was even recorded in the decree of 1675. Especially humiliating was to call someone “princeling“. It is natural that all this led to noticeable falling of prestige of a title of the prince.
By then when Peter I began to create uniform nobility in the country, the title of the prince was appreciated much below, than a rank of the boyar and even okolnichy. The first attempt “to rehabilitate“ a princely title was carried out by Petr in 1707 when he appropriated it to the colleague A. D. Menshikov. But before at the request of Petr the emperor of the Sacred Roman Empire already built Menshikova at first in columns, and then and in princes. Actually, the title of the lightest prince granted by Pyotr Menshikovu was only confirmation of the foreign title which was already available for Alexander Danilovich. However, to a princely title the tsar added also the duke`s title, it is more in Russia never appropriated.
The following assignment in Russia of a title of the prince happened only in 90 years. Not least it was connected with the fact that the Russian nobility preferred to receive from the monarch count titles which, though were a rank below, but were considered as more honourable, than princely as in the country were not applied earlier and were not discredited.
The situation began to change only during Catherine II`s reign. By then the part of impoverished princely childbirth fell into oblivion, but the part of others rose to tops of the power and wealth. But the empress began to appropriate a princely title to nobody, having limited to the fact that by already developed tradition built the several confidants in columns and barons. And at this time in Russia there were princes on grant (G. G. Eagles, G. A. Potemkin, P. A. Teeth), but they received a high title from the emperor of the Sacred Roman Empire, as well as before A. D. Menshikovu.
Paul I resumed assignment of princely advantage. For the short reign it built in it four people, including the field marshal A. V. Suvorov who had by then the count title received from Catherine II. The subsequent Russian emperors began to build in the princely dignity of large military and statesmen, at the same time was usually conferred a title on them additional (predicate) of “grace“. There was similar not often therefore always became an event.
Alexander I granted a princely title to prominent military leaders M. I. Kutuzov and M. B. Barclay - - to Tolly, and also the chairman of the State Council N. I. Saltykov and the ambassador on the Vienna congress A. K. Razumovsky. And all granted in princes for several years before received also count titles. Such approach (in princes from counts) was observed and subsequently, except rare exceptions.
At Nicholas I the princely title was received already by 8 people, including military leaders I. F. Paskevich, F. V. Osten - Saken, A. I. Chernyshev, M. S. Vorontsov. Besides, the title of the prince was appropriated to Sultan - Saeb - the Weight to Chingis, the descendant of the Kyrgyz khan whose sort consisted more than 100 years in the Russian citizenship. Society considered that the new prince is a lineal descendant of Genghis Khan, but documentary confirmations to it were not.
Though not many personal grants were a princely title at Nicholas I, but the total of princes at this emperor increased on several hundreds of people. As it could occur, it will be told in the following part of article.