This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1807 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER XX. Sketch of the Ancient Constitution. New Constitution Changes since the Partition. Conclusion. Before I produce the little I have to offer on the changes which have been. the consequences of the dismemberment of Poland, it may serve to render my observations the more clear, if I give a glance at the previous state of things—the ancient constitution—and the new one by which it was attempted to displace and amend it.. The nobles have always been the only citizens of Poland. Till a very recent date, they were the exclusive proprietors of land. According to the ancient Polish laws, the circumstances constituting a noble were, either the actual possession of a freehold estate, or the being able. to prove descent from ancestors formerly possessing a freehold estate, the following of no trade nor profession. and the being at liberty to choose his place of abode. Hence the number of nobility was prodigious; and a large portion of them must have been in a state of extreme indigence, had not the necessitous been divided among and maintained by their richer brethren. They were provided for, as before noticed, by posts under the government, or by commissions as officers of their patrons' troops. The palaces therefore of all those nobles who possessed large territorial property, contained, besides their peculiar family, a considerable number, as twenty, thirty, or forty, of such prateges; Hence, the establishments of the Polish nobles, even down to the last partition, differed little' from those of the feudal barons. There are various circumstances of resem: blance, even at the present day, as the reader must already have observed from the preceding account. According to-the strict letter of the law, all the nobles were by birth equal; nor were even titles ...
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VIEW OF THE PRESENT STATE OF P
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