Lot 592
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Estimation :
20000 - 30000 EUR
[Rules and regulations for peasants freed from servile dependency] [in Russian]. St. Petersburg, 1861. In-folio, green morocco, large plate consisting of four ornamental cold-stamped spandrels on the covers with cold title on the top cover, smooth mute spine and cold threaded, first cover plate (Russian binding of the time). Extremely rare first edition of the act proclaiming the abolition of serfdom in Russia. After six years of intense negotiations, Alexander II (1818-1881) promulgated on March 5, 1861, despite recalcitrant nobility, the Manifesto of Serf Emancipation which proclaimed the abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire. The Ukase (edict), written by the Metropolitan of Moscow, Philarete, regulated the legal status of peasants, who became "free rural subjects": they could no longer be sold, bought or exchanged, they were free in their private life and obtained the right to exercise a profession, to own property, the choice to marry, etc. The Manifesto of Emancipation of the Serfs was published in 1881. For 23 million enslaved men and women throughout Russia, this act marked the end of the peasant subjugation that Gogol had strongly denounced in one of his masterpieces, The Dead Souls (1842). The manifesto will be read in all the churches of Russia and Alexander II was occasionally given the nickname of Tsar Osvoboditel, i.e. the "liberating Tsar". Alexander II was assassinated on 13 March 1881, having failed to give his people a constitution. His murder was seen as the revenge of nobles. It is interesting to note that the enactment of this important act in Russian history occurred a few weeks before the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the United States was considering the issue of slavery. A perfect copy in a decorated morocco binding of the time, executed in Russia. It contains four additional leaves (compared to the one in the National Library of Russia), including a Notice of the State Council and Alexander II'
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