Page images

and every Room its Guardian Picture in a Corner, the Rujstan Place of Honour, to which Strangers pay their Reverence coming in, before they begin their Business, or take any Notice of the Company: The/e Representations are all called by the general Name of Bog, or God. The rest of their Worship is, in observing; the Fasts, which _ .

r. o ' Fasts.

are four in the Year, besides Wednesdays ami Fridays, and very severe; in frequenting the Church, if nigh at hand, once a Day, in lighting up Wax Candles to their Saints, and often repeating the Gospodi Pohmeli, or Lord have Mercy upon me, without any farther Attention : Since the War, and frequent Voyages of their young Gentry, they begin to be less strict in their Fasts; the Czar himself «ats Flesh on all of them in private Houses, but refrains from giving any Scandal in Public. Their Churches are very numerous, some of Stone, ctunit the rest of Wood, all built in the Form of a Cross, with five little Cupolas ; every Nobleman's Seat has one; to build a Church being thought a meritorious Act, and laying a fort of Obligation on Heaven, though they are left at Liberty to frequent them. Their Parish Priests and Chaplains are of the meanest People, Hufiands of one s^}ar Wife in a literal Explication of the Scripture; and when she died, the Priest was formerly excluded from the Service, and obliged to turn Monk, or take up some sorry Trade for a Livelihood; but this Czar allows them to continue in the Under-Ossices of the Church; from this Parentage and Condition, it is no wonder they are very ignorant, rant, their utmost Education being to repeat the Service with a-musical Accent, and to read a Chapter in the Bible, which, being in the Sclavonian Language, is understood by very sew of them; they never read the Old Testament in the Church, and much less allow it to be placed on the Altar. Their

Monks and dignified Clergy, though al2*j2Tife!i mo^ cqaa",y ignorant, except some sew Clergy. educated at Chiojs, are in much greater

Esteem, their Habits, Fasts (for they never eat any Flesh), Gravity, and continual Devotion, draw to them the Eyes and Veneration of the People, and'their large Possessions formerly strengthened their temporal Interests so far, that the Patriarch Nichon durst struggle with the Czar's Father for Independency, and was not kept under without great Disturbance. This Power has been so dangerous, that the present Czar, on the Death of the late Patriarch, sequestered the Ossice, committing the spiritual Administration to the Archbishop of Rezan, and the Management of the temporal Affairs to a Lay-commission, who have likewise the Dispofal of the Abbey Lands and Revenues, which he took away some Years ago on a pleafant Pretence; for the Abbots, on his Enquiry, affecting to appear very poor, alledging, that they were scarce able to maintain their Monks though they confined themselves to the poor Pittance of fifteen Rubles a Year fer Head; the Czar in a seeming Compassion told them he would take Care of their Revenues, and double that Allowance; as he has done in Effect, which, besides the annual Advantage of one hundred


and fifty thoufand Pounds Sterling to his Treasury, has quite broke their Interest in the Country, where they have no more Freehold left, and their Peafants or Subjects now immediately depend upon the Czar's Ossicers.

The Government is Absolute to the last Degree, not hound up by any Law or Custom, but depending on the Breath of the Prince, by which the Lives and Fortunes of all the Subjects are decided; the common Compliment of the greatest Nobility being, I Am Thy Slave, Take Mt Head: However, such as are employed in the State have their Share of arbitrary Power, their Proceedings being without Appeal, all in the Cxar\ Name, which they ofteff abuse to fatisfy their Avarice, Revenge, or other guilty Passions. For Right between private Men, they have written Laws and Precedents which they generally follow, though whithout any Obligation, and their Methods are easy and short enough, could their Justice be Proof against the Temptation of a Bribe, which is seldom found in this Nation. The

, Administration.

Lzar used formerly to keep up the veneration of their Subjects, by appearing very rarely, except in public Acts of Ceremony and Devotion, and then with a Solemnity suitable to the Occasion; while theBojars,or Privy-Counsellors, disposed of the Empire at their Pleasure: But his present Majesty has broke through this formal Servitude, and omits no Occasion of exposing them and their Customs to tke common people; to weaken ancient Families farther,

he he often obliges their Children to the meanest Service, as being common Soldiers in his Foot-guards, and raises Persons of no Extraction to the great Employments. The Bojars, or Privy Gounjellors, had formerly the chief Direction of all the e yrt. prica£esx or Ossices: The Ocolnitxtn were their Assistants, being a lower Sort of Privy Counsellors, only admitted on extraordinary Occasions. The Dumnoy are the Judges of Tb-Dummy ^jj the processes and tne Dlaeks the

ami D tacts. - '

Secretaries: Every Pncafle was composed of those Ossicers, and had a sovereign Jurisdiction of Lise and Death, independent one of another, which often caused no small Confusion; they were above thirty in Number, forthe several Branches or Provinces of the Empire; and though they are still kept up, yet the head Ossicers, as Bojars and Ocolnitzen, have been dropt by Degrees, and most of them left to the Diach, or Secretary. In 1710,

the Czar fe\\ upon a new Scheme, which Xcw Schau. in T;.^ mav cause great Alterations ; he

has divided the Empire into eight Governments.

Mosco, with all its Dependencies, is given to Mr Stresnoff, the President at War.

Archangel, to Prince Galliczyn, formerly Envoy at Vienna.

Asoph and the Don, to Count Apraxin, HighAdmiral.



Casan and Astracan, to Lieutenant General Apraxin, his Brother.

Chioff and the Ukraine, to Lieutenant General Gallicxyn, who was Commissary of War with Muscovite Troops in Saxony.

Siberia, to Prince Gagarin.

Livonia, Ingaria, Plescow and Novogrod, to Prince Menzicoff'the Favorite.

Smolensko, to Monsieur Soltikoff".

Veronitz and the Ship-Yards, are to be a small Government apart, which the Czar, reserves in petto.

These Governors havethe Disposal of all Employe ments Civil and Military, receive the Revenues, and defray all the Expences in their several Provinces, and send a certain Sum Yearly into the great Treasury, clear of all Charges; they have absolute Power, except in relation to the regular Troops, who are never to be under their Direction, nor paid by them, though quartered in their Jurisdiction, but are to receive their Orders immediately from the Czar and his Generals.

The present Czar is in his thirty-eighth Year, a handsome Prince, of a strong Constitution but of late much broke by irregular Living <T>' Cxar' and other Fatigues: He was very subject to Convulsions, 1

« PreviousContinue »