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times ill painted; but the pictures are all unvarying copies of some original, in which the Emperor is depicted in uniform, with white leather breeches and jack-boots, looking sternly over a green and blue landscape to the right, with his cocked-hat in his right hand, and his left thumb stuck into his sash, apparently to relieve himself from the exceeding pressure of that tightly drawn portion of his costume.
The nobles, that is to say the gentlemen, of every government in Russia, form an assembly, in which every one who owns within the province a hundred peasants, is entitled to vote. They meet once in three years to elect a Marshal for each district, of which there are twelve in every province, and a Grand-Marshal for the whole government. The latter stands next in rank to the governor. He has the title of Excellency and the grade of General while he remains in office, and if he is elected three several times, he retains his precedence for life. After being elected, he must be confirmed in his office by the Emperor, before he can enter on his functions. These Marshals represent the nobles, and meet, from time to time, for the transaction of business, since the General Assembly cannot meet oftener than triennially, except by an extraordinary permission from the Emperor. The business of the Assembly relates chiefly to the management and disposal of funds raised by a voluntary rate among themselves for the establishment and maintenance of
public institutions, such as schools, hospitals, &c. The wardship of minors, lunatics, and even spendthrifts among their own number, is vested in their hands, and, practically speaking, in the hands of their representatives the Marshals. If a noble is injuring his children by wasting his estate, the Assembly have the power, which is often exercised, of taking the management of his property into their own hands for the benefit of his family, and of putting him upon an allowance,
At the meeting of the Assembly, thirteen tables are placed in the great hall, one for the Marshal of the government, and one for the nobles of each district, with their Marshal as chairman. A government in Russia may be considered as a county, and the districts into which it is divided as corresponding to our English hundreds. When the Grand-Marshal proposes a question, he assembles the twelve Marshals at his table, and addresses himself to them; each of them then goes to the table of his district and puts the question, after it has been discussed, to the vote, and having thus ascertained the decision of the majority of his constituents, he returns to the Marshals' table and gives his voice accordingly, and the question is finally decided by the majority of districts.
Any individual may propose a question : in this case, it is first put to the vote at the table to which he belongs; if it is rejected there, it is of course
lost; but if it is carried, the Marshal reports it to the Grand-Marshal, who puts it to the vote of the meeting in the manner which I have described above.
In this way the nobles assess themselves voluntarily for various purposes of public utility according to the number of peasants possessed by each. Their vote receives the ratification of the Emperor, and is then binding on all, and payment of the contributions, though originally voluntary, can be enforced.
The election of the Marshals is by ballot; in case the Grand-Marshal is ill, or from any other cause incapacitated from attending to his duties, the Marshal of the district in which the government-town is situated, supplies his place ad interim. The functions of the Assembly are very narrowly limited, and the discussion in it of political questions is altogether prohibited; its existence, nevertheless, may hereafter prove the germ of free institutions; its powers may be developed, and the habit thus acquired of electing representatives, and of discussing public questions may be extended to more important objects, even to legislation and government.
We have just received accounts of the Emperor having been upset in his carriage in a very dangerous way, near Tiflis, in Georgia. Considering the reckless pace at which he insists upon being driven over all sorts of roads, it is surprising he does not more frequently meet with accidents; two years ago, however, he was overturned, and broke his collar
bone, and he is very generally blamed for the manner in which in his frequent journeys he risks his life without any object, considering how valuable that life is to the preserving the internal peace and tranquillity of Russia, which would incur the utmost risk should any unfortunate accident place a young and inexperienced sovereign on the throne in the place of Nicholas, whose firm and severe character smothers rebellion and discontent.
The accident which has just occurred happened as follows. At Tiflis, the Master-of-police put the horses belonging to the fire-engines to the Emperor's carriage. These being spirited animals, accustomed to be driven at a great pace, were not easy to manage ; and it seems that a peasant who knew little of driving, and was not used to the horses, was put on the box, in place of the man who usually had the charge of them, but whom it was not etiquette to send with the Emperor because he was a soldier.
In descending a steep mountain by a zigzag road overhanging a precipice, the servant neglected to lock the wheel, the horses refused to hold, and broke into a gallop, and at length, at a corner, the leaders, instead of taking the turn, jumped over the low parapet, against which the calêche was dashed and upset, with violence, the front part of it being broken to pieces. The Cossack soldiers who were escorting the Emperor immediately cut the traces, and the leaders fell down the precipice, the postillion
escaping. Count Orloff, who was with the Emperor, had his shoulder dislocated; the Emperor fell over him, and was received in the arms of the officer of Cossacks, to whom, seeing he was much alarmed, he said, “ Don't be frightened, I am not hurt;" he then shook himself to ascertain the fact, crossed himself, and thanked God for having preserved him, and presently asked for a horse, which he mounted and rode fifteen miles to the next station, where he got another carriage, and proceeded on his journey. He travels at the rate of from fifteen to eighteen miles an hour, being preceded by an avant-courier, so that he finds horses always waiting, and the time allowed for changing is but two minutes. It is said, that he went into Georgia contrary to his original in. tentions, in order to enquire into certain abuses and acts of tyranny under which it was alleged that the people were suffering. The result of his visit was, that various abuses were rectified, and the perpetrators punished. The colonel of a regiment at Tiflis, in particular, a man who was also son-in-law to the Governor, was convicted of numerous acts of cruelty and perversion of his authority. The Emperor ordered his epaulettes to be stripped off; and seeing that every one hesitated to obey his orders, he tore them off with his own hands, declaring that the guilty officer was unworthy to wear them, and then he presented the forfeited epaulettes to the brotherin-law of the disgraced colonel, the governor's son,