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• He regulated the successions of families, and as he had much at heart their preservation, he made use of the means which he had seen practised in England, to keep his Nobility in their genuine luftre and purity. He ordained that the real estates of the deceased parents should not be divided in equal portions among their children, but that they should descend to one of the fons, or, in default of such, to one of the daughters : leaving to the father or the mother, or the survivor of these, the right of chusing, among the boys, if there were more than one, or among the daughters, if there were no fons, him or her whom they should think proper to appoint the heir, And, if the parents died without making these dispositions, the right of feniority regulated the inheritance.
• This Ordinance had another end, which was to oblige the younger fons, or those who were not called to the facceffion, to devote themselves entirely to the military life, or to make their fortunes by applying themselves to politics or commerce. Afterwards, by the regulation of the sale of estates, it is said that the younger children, or those who were excluded from succession, could not porchase their family.eftates, till after a limited time of military service, and that those who had indolently refused to bear arms, could never be admitted.
• To perpetuate the great families, he ordained that when the laft heir male hould be without issue, he might convey his fortune to a person of the other sex, provided the were of the fame family, but on condition that the hulband should take upon him the name of the family, from which the estate descended, that it might not be extinct. We have seen several instances in the branches of Golowkin, Romandanowsky, Balck, Polet, and others. There was reason to foresee that this measure would produce the effect the great Monarch had promised himself. But that general liberty which parents had of chufing their successors indifferently, occasioned, afterwards, such confusion and cabals, that the Empress Ann was persuaded in the year 1731 to put the order of succession on the ancient footing.
The Ordinance which Peter I. caused to be published the 24th of December 1714 against the corruption of the Judges, is one of those that merit the highest attention. The different Conftitations made after the publication of the Oulogeny had opened to the Judges a large field for the gratification of their avarice: And this evil, lo dangerous to the State, had gained imperceptibly on all manner of business, insomuch that the greatest part of it was transacted entirely by the spirit of Party, and it was well known that justice would be knocked down to the best bidder. The Prince, desirous to strike at the root of a custom at once fo fcandalous and so pernicious, forbade the Judges and all others who were in any official capacity to take the least consideration from the client on any pretext whatever: he likewise forbade the client to attempt to corrupt the Judge, and the pains and penalties on the person convicted either of giving or receiving a bribe, were death and confiscation of goods. The Judges were to content themselves with the emoluments which the Prince had been pleased to annex to their appointments; and that none of those, who came of course and as their turn to the Judicial Offices, might excuse himself through ignorance of that regulation, it was
ordained that no person should be admit:ed to any Place in a Court of Judicature, who had not figned that Ordinance with his own hand. In 1716 he took new precautions against this abuse, by forbidding the Judges to determine any affair in their own chambers, requiring that every thing of this kind should be transacted in the Courts of Judicature publicly, and in the presence of those who composed them.
• Peter comprehended every thing in his plan, and nothing elcaped his attention. It would be endless to specify all the edicts he published within the space of seven years, on the detention of crimi. nals, on the means of taking highwaymen, on the measures to be taken with those who were accused of the crime of lefe Majesty, on peculation, on the manner of announcing in full Senate the Idiots of either sex, who were declared incapable of succession or contracting marriage, on compulsory marriages of children and servants, and on the attention to be paid by the Judges to the reformation of criminal justice.
• All these edicts thewed how zealous the Monarch was to have the adminiftration of justice in his dominions conformed to the plan of other European Nations; but as these various regulations served only to pave the way to the great object he proposed, I pass them slightly over to see him march with hafty steps, possibly too ardent for the purpose, towards its execution.
• In the year 1718, Peter being, after the maturest reflections, determined to adopt the model of the Swedish Government in preference to others, ordered a collection to be made at Stockholm of all the regulations and all the edicts, which he thought might be of any service to him. For the ancient Courts of Justice, which they called Pirakes, he substituted Colleges, which he diftinguished by the names of those several affairs, whereof they had the respective cognizance ; for inftance, the College of Foreign Affairs, of War, of the Admi. ralty, of the Finances, of Justice, of Commerce, of Mines and Ma. nufactures, to which he afterwards added the Exchequer, the Synod, and the Magiftracy.
• He determined what cases should belong to the department of each College, ascertained the number of Members of which each thould be composed; and for fear the new Judges should pass the bounds of the authority reposed in them, he published what was called a general regulation, which entered minutely into the duties of their respective charges.
• More than this, he sent several persons of credit into Germany, and to other European Courts, in order to engage men of learning and abilities, whom they should find worthy of filling Places in these new Colleges; and he allowed the Swedih prisoners who were in his dominions to be Candidates, provided they understood the language
• It was an object with this wonderful man to have in Place a mix. ture of Atrangers and natives; perfuaded that the latter by modelling themselves upon the former, would acquire the civility and intelligence which they wanted, and that the others, by conforming themselves to the customs of the country, would fall habitually into the character and idea of Citizens.
of the country.
• To engage the young Nobility to apply to business, he ordered a fixed number to be taken into each Court, to pass through the employments of the lower offices, in order to rise to the higher Departments of Judicature. He took care, indeed, that people of low birth in general should have no Place in the Courts of Justice, unless their particular talents claimed an exception in their favour.
• He likewise instituted Judges of Alize in the country, who had the right of giving judgment in the first instance, with orders to lay their decisions before Government. The appeal was carried from the Governor to the Court of Justice, and from thence to the Senate, as the Dernier Refort. To render this last mentioned Tribunal more respectable, he published an edict forbidding all persons whatever to carry any complaints to the Sovereign on cases that had been heard before the established Courts, being desirous that every one should abide by the determination of the Senate. The edict added, if, notwithstanding, any one should have the presumption to appeal from the Senate to the Sovereign, and should not be able to support his allegations, he should suffer death, because his conduct thould be considered as an impeachment of the honour and dignity of a Tribunal, over which the Sovereign presided.
. As matters of appeal might arise on which the Statute was filent, the Senate could determine nothing without knowing the resolutions of the. Czar, and was to pronounce only according to the orders it should receive from him." That this measure might not expose the parties to too long delay, a Master General of the Requests was appointed, whose office, duly executed, was to procure prompt juftice on complaints against the lower Courts. This measure, wife as it was, had its enemies; and certain memorials appeared charging with inhumanity the prohibiting appeals to the Monarch upon pain of death. But if we consider the multitude of business with which this Prince was overwhelmed for the general interest of Society, wherein every institute was directed by himself, one cannot be surprised that he exempted himself from hearing complaints, which might be, for the most part, ill-founded *.
. Peter's only object hitherto had been a strict attention to the Oulogeny, to the explication of obscure parts, or the addition of new decisions on cases neglected, or omitted. But as he more and more observed the little advantage he derived from these applications, he set himself serioutly about forming a new Code.
* Such is the apology which the Chevalier D'Eon makes for an onpardonable fault in the great Prince whose legislation he describes; the only palliation, indeed, which appears to suggest itself, but which is very insufficient to invalidate the charge. To debar the fabject from appealing, in very uncommon and extraordinary instances, to the justice or humanity of his Prince, and this on pain of death, is not only an infringement of that eternal natural relation which fubfifts between the governor and the governed, but replete with a degree of barbarity that ftained not even the annals of the East. Pyrrhus, no less arbitrary than Peter, and much more ferocious, refused not to receive the petitions of his people, whatever regard he paid to them afterwards.
* The method he proposed was this. With regard to the Oulogeoy and the Constitutions made afterwards, to arrange the whole in diftin&t articles, and, opposite to each article, on the margin, to ser down the sense of the Swedish laws on the respective heads, in matters civil and criminal, and the purport of the Livonian and Eshonian laws, in matters concerning fiefs.
. For this purpose he appointed a Commission confilling of a cer. tain number of persons from different Courts, who, under the direction of the Senate, were to examine and select what should be found most suitable to the present fituation of Ruflia; afier which, each article was to be presented by the Committee to the Senate, who were to give their opinion thereupon to the Sovereign; and thus he Hattered him felf that, in a thort time, he should go through this great work.
• They applied to it without delay, and the Prince neglected nothing that might promote the zeal and second the endeavours of the Commissioners. He was continually laying before them new matters that required their attention, or instructing them in the manner of clearing up former disputes. In 1721 he published a new form of judiciary proceedings, which is followed in all the Courts of Justice at this day. Its brevity, I acknowledge, obliges them frequently to have recourse to the ancient code, which I have myself charged with insufficiency : but it is to be observed that he was now only to give the Commislion a sketch for their guide, and that they were to extend and compleat it.
• In 1722 the Emperor forbad, upon pain of death, any Judge to put an interpretation upon the Laws or Conftitutions, in order that they might be literally adhered to. Nevertheleis he left the Chief Jultices at liberty to explain to the Senate any doubts that might accidentally arise; but they were obliged to wait the decision, and likewise the approbation of the Emperor. And, that no one might escape this law, he ordered that it ihonld be paited upon a small board and lie on the table during the feflions, that they might have their eyes continually upon it; and this is still customary in all the Courts of the Empire.
• To establish better order in the Senate and in the orher departe ments of Justice, he appointed for the use of the former an Attorney General, whose office it was to afif at their feslions; to see that business was conducted according to the laws and conftitutions of the empire ; to attend to the due and speedy execution of the orders of the Court, and forth with to enter in the regillers every obitacle. This Officer had orders to observe the zcal and attention with which every Senator discharged the dutics of his office. If he was found deficient he had a right to reprehend him publicly, and if his remonftrances proved ineffectual, he might suspend the course of bufiness, and address the Emperor, who should take cognizance of the offen. ders, and compel them to return to their duty.
• This new Officer had also the superintendency of the Chancery, and of all that belonged to it. The Solicitor of the Treasury himfelf was obliged to lodge informations with him of all public delin. quencies. So wide an official range being not easily filled by one man, the Emperor aisociated with him in office the Solicitor Gene. 5.
ral, who was to aslift him when present, and to supply his place, when absent. Both these Officers had it in strict charge to examine such laws and consticutions, as were capable of a two-fold interpretation, and to propose to the Sovereign the means of removing the ambiguity.
. That the Magistrates, charged with such important fonctions, might be treated with the greatest veneration and respect, he ordered that, as to what appertained to the execution of their office, they 'fhould be dependent on no one but himself; and in every subaltera Court, he appointed persons who, under the title of Attorneys, should represent the Attorney General ; to whom they were to give an account of any thing that passed in their respective Courts, contrary to the constitutions, in order that he might rectify it by the authority of the Senate.
• From such inftitutions, such care, pains and application, what would one not have hoped ? Nevertheless, in the year 1723, the. Commissioners appointed to digest the new Code, found that, after an application of five years, the first measures had been so ill taken, that there were no other means of coming at the end proposed, but beginning entirely upon a new plan. They represented to the Emperor that the ancient Code, the model of which they had followed, was so very unsystematic, and the matter fo vilely arranged, that there was no pollibility of confining themselves to it, without leaving in the new one that confusion, which would be extremely prejudicial to public business, and that, therefore, they thought it necessary to give it some other form.
• Concerned to find that so much labour had been ineffectual, but resolved to surmount all difficulties, Peter allowed the Commisioners in future to dispense with the usual adherence to the plan of the Qulogeny, and permitted them to take for their model the Code of Denmark, provided they were particularly careful to insert those Statutes of the ancient Russian Code, which were suitable to the manners and customs of the times.
• For this purpose he caused to be printed in several small volumes all the laws that, in his wisdom, he had given to his people, as proper materials for the conduct of the new work. But at the time when, wholly intent upon his project, this great Prince had reason to hope for the most certain success ; Providence, unsearchable in all its purposes, cut him off in the midft of the most glorious career that ever Monarch maintained or pursued.
• His last moments were devoted to the indulgence of that sincere defire he always had of giving to his people an impartial adminiftration of justice : witness the last ediæt, which he published a few days before his death, wherein, not contented with having endeavoured to prevent the bribery of the Judges, he forbad all the people of the Court, of whatever condition, to pay any attention to the folicitations of those who had suits at law, to support their pretensions, or solicit the favour of the judges.
• After the death of this incomparable Prince, his fucceffors, it is reasonable to suppose, would new the fame zeal, for accomplishing a work so necessary for the welfare of the empire; but one cannot be surprised if their efforts were unsuccessful, when it is considered