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and every Room its Guardian Picture in a Cornert the Ruffian Place of Honour, to which Strangers pay their Reverence coming in, before they begin their Business, or take any Notice of the Company: These Representations are all called by'the general Name of Bog, or God. The rest of their Wor&ip is, in observing the Fasts, which are four ih the Year, besides Wednesdays . 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 open mut withsut 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 eats Flesh on all of them in private Houses, but refrains from giving any Scandal in Publick. Their Churches are very numerous, some of Stone, the rest of Wood, all built in the Form of Cl"rcb"a Cross, with five little Cupolas; every Nobleman's Seat has one j to build a Church being thought a meritorious Act, and laying a fort of Obligation on Heaven, though they are lest at Liberty to frequent them. Their Parish Priests and Chaplains, are of the meanest People, Hujbands of one clergy. Wife in a literal Explication of the Scripture j 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 Livelih»od; but this Czar allows them lo continue in the under Offices of the Church; from this Parentage and Conditionj it is no wonder they are very ignorant rant, their utmost Education being to repeat the Service with a imusical Accent, and" to read a Chapter in the Bible, which being in the Sclavtnian Language, is understood by very few 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 aljlnV regular most equally ignorant, except some few
and dignified . . 'AT. . ,
CUrgs. educated at Lhioff, 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 Nichen 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 Office, committing the spiritual Administration to the Archbishop of Rezsnt and the Management of the temporal Affairs to a Lay-commission, who have likewise the Disposal of the'Abbey Lands and Revenues, which he took away some Years ago on a pleasant 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 per 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 thousand Pounds Sterling to his Treasury, has quite broke their Interest in the Country, where they have no more Freehold left, and their Peasants or Subjects, now immediately depend upon the Czar's Officers. ^ *>:
'? .; :• • .1**7 ■ \
The Government is Absolute in the last Degree, not bound up by any Law or Custom, but depending on the Breath of the Prince, by Cwtrnmas' 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 Czar's Name, which they often abuse to satisfy their Avarice, Revenge, or other guilty Passions. For Right between private Men, they have written Laws and Precedents which they generally follow, LeKU: though without 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 Czars used formerly to keep up the Ve- J^m"!J}rat'"s' iteration 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 the Bojars, or privy Counsellors disposed of the Empire at their pleasure: But his preserft Majesty has broke through this formal Servitude, and omits no Occasion of exposing them and their Customs to the common People j to weaken antient Families farther, . :.?;..}*>■ '.'i-. :A *,».>.; 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 Counsellors^ had formerly the chief Direction of all the ***** Pricajfts, 0r Offices: The Ocolnitzett were their Assistants, being a lower Sort of privy Counsellors, only admitted on extraordinary Occasions. The Dumnoy are the Judges of
SK? a11 the Processes> and the Diach> the Secretaries: Every Pricasse was composed of those Officers, and had a sovereign Jurisdiction of Life and Death, independant one of another, which often caused no small Confusion; they were above thirty in Number, for the several Branches or Provinces of the Empire, and though they are still kept up, yet the head Officers, as Bojars and Ocolnitzen, have been dropt by Degrees, and most of them left to the Diaei, or Secretary. In 1710* the Czar fell upon a new Scheme, which
Nnv Scheme. . - .
in 1 lme may cause great Alterations 5 he has divided the Empire into eight Governments*
Mosco, with all its Dependencies, is given to Mr. Stresnsjs, the President at War.
Archangel, to Prince Gafficzyti, formerly Envoy at Vienna.
Asoph and the Don, to Count /Ipraxin, HighAdmiral.
Casan and Astra-can, to Lieutenant General Jpraxin, his Brother1
Chioff and the Ukraine, to Lieutenant-G«r neral Galliczyn, who was Commiflary of War with the Muscovite Troops in Saxony;. . .
Siberia, to Prince Gagarin.
Livonia, Ingria, Plescow and Novogrod, to Prince Menzicoff the Favorite.
Smolensko, to Monsieur Soltikojf.
Veronitz and the Ship-Yards, areto be a small Government apart, which the Czar reserves in petto.
These Governors have the Disposal of all Employments Civil and Military, receive the Revenues, and defray all the Expences in their several Provinces, and fend a certain Sum Yearly into the great Treasury, clear of all Charges; they have absolute Power, except in relation to the regular Toops, Who arc 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 hi3 thirty-eighth Year, a handsome Prince, of a strong Constitution, but of late much broke by irregular Living, 'Cxir' and other Fatigues: He was very subject to Convulsions,